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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, July 12, 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...
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Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
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'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: Climate journalist, videographer Peter Sinclair; Also: Farmers rally for climate in D.C.; MI Democrats repeal GOP anti-union laws...
By Brad Friedman on 3/15/2023 4:23pm PT  

All of that clean, green, renewable energy needs to come from somewhere if we're gonna save humanity. Shamefully, many of those working to help produce it in rural America, including farmers and small town elected officials, have been paying an awful price for their heroic efforts, as detailed on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up today, a few quick news items. Speaking of farmers and the climate, last week saw hundreds of climate activists and farmers rally in D.C. in hopes of increased support for climate provisions in this year's federal farm bill. Congress is working toward passage of their latest, half-a-billion dollar, five-year spending bill for farmers and nutrition support. The Biden Administration, the USDA and Congressional Democrats have made climate and net-zero farming a top priority, as agriculture currently contributes almost 10% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Farmers are on the front lines of our quickly changing climate and hope to get more help. Republicans, on the other hand, want to cut funding from the bill despite the farmer's asking for more help thanks to our worsening climate crisis.

Also, some good news out of Michigan today, where the state Senate has followed the state House in passing a bill to repeal the state's so-called "Right-to-Work" (for less!) law, adopted when the GOP controlled the state legislature in 2012. Pending final approval in the House, the measure, seen as a major victory for organized labor, will then be signed by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. All of that made possible by passage of a statewide ballot initiative that ended gerrymandering in Michigan, resulting in a legislative trifecta for Democrats as of last November, giving them control of both chambers of the state legislature and the Governor's mansion. And all of that is resulting in good news for the working class!

Then, speaking of farmers, the climate and Michigan, we're joined by PETER SINCLAIR, a longtime climate videographer, journalist, climate-denial debunker and Michigan native who has been documenting a disturbing --- and disturbingly under-reported --- attack on farmers and elected officials in rural communities in the American heartland.

Through a series of short videos based on interviews with folks in a number of small townships in rural Montcalm County, MI, (see here, here, and here, for example), Sinclair has been telling the story of a broad and well-coordinated misinformation and disinformation campaign, resulting in attacks, threats and boycotts against those who are daring to consider support for wind and solar projects on their own farmlands and in their small towns.

Sinclair, an award-winning climate communicator and producer of Yale Climate Connections' This is Not Cool series, and creator of his long-running Climate Denial Crock of the Week, details the chilling threats and harassment being faced by folks in these communities from clearly coordinated anti-renewable energy campaigns which have polluted local residents with a bombardment of lies about climate change and clean energy.

Today, we share a number of clips from his video series, as farmers and current and former public officials explain the harassment they have been facing; the tools used by the harassers (such as Facebook); how these campaigns mirror other, better-reported ones coming from the right in recent years, such as those town-hall meetings with angry opponents of "ObamaCare" more than a decade ago and similar scenes at school board hearings over COVID requirements, etc.

"This campaign is so well-oiled that it is kind of self-replicating," Sinclair explains. "People hear there's going to be a solar or wind project nearby, they've been primed by twenty, thirty years of Fox News, talk radio to be suspicious. They go on to social media [and] they find literally thousands of references to misinformation and disinformation that's being constantly circulated and recirculated out there. Then they replicate this template. It typically starts by forming a Facebook group, making it private, not allowing any dissension, and herding a whole lot of people into it and continually bombarding them with a stream of negative misinformation. Pretty soon you've got people that are terrified, angry, and aggrieved, and then it's just a matter of pointing them in the direction of the nearest local planning commission or township board."

He tells me: "We have evolved a generation of people who are attuned to this culture war mindset. Some of the earliest anti-wind energy memes that really stood out had a picture of wind turbines and it said, 'The production tax credit, Obamacare's worst tax.' This was ten, twelve years ago, but you're supposed to make a connection between Obamacare, which you're supposed to hate, and wind turbines, which then, I guess you're supposed to make a connection that it has something to do with Obama. Of course there's no connection whatsoever!," laughs Sinclair, "but that connection is continually made."

We also discuss the dirty fingerprints of the fossil fuel industry on these sleazy campaigns (though they are often obscured by "a lot of dark, untraceable money floating around for this kind of activity"); one of the men who seems to be "the big cheese" organizer behind many of them (a guy by the name of Kevon Martis from a climate denier outfit known as the Energy and Environment Legal Institute is cited over and over as a cult-like figure by many of the harassed locals in different townships); and what the public can do to help push back against this corrupt and dangerous madness.

"Mr. Martis follows me closely on social media," Sinclair quipped. "One of my favorite tweets is, 'Peter Sinclair doesn't just want to take your energy, he wants to take your guns!'"

Ridiculous attacks aside, all of this is going on in hundreds of counties in dozens of states across America's farm belt and, frankly, deserves much more light and attention than it has been receiving from both state and national media, as well as state and national politicians. We try to offer some of that long-overdue public attention today in our conversation with Sinclair...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Campaign finance expert Brendan Fischer of Documented; Also: My ridiculous, couldn't-possibly-be-true George Santos theory...
By Brad Friedman on 1/25/2023 6:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast we focus on two different rightwing scammers: The Heritage Foundation and George Santos. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

The Heritage Foundation's decades-long effort to suppress the vote received a multi-million dollar boost following the 2020 election. Also, there is some new news today on what appears to be a fairly huge campaign finance violation by newly-elected Republican pathological liar, Rep. George Santos. But is it possible that Santos' scam is larger than anybody seems to yet appreciate?

We're joined today to discuss both scammers by BRENDAN FISCHER, one of the nation's foremost campaign finance experts who now serves as Deputy Executive Director for Documented, an investigative watchdog and journalism organization.

For some time, Fischer's group has been digging into and exposing the multi-state, multi-million dollar campaign by the rightwing Heritage Foundation's political action offshoot, Heritage Action. The "dark money" group has been pushing new voter suppression bills through swing-state legislatures with copy and paste "model legislation" in the wake of false claims of fraud in the 2020 Presidential election. Their work is often disguised --- as Executive Director Jessica Anderson was caught boasting to donors about in a 2021 video tape --- to have that "grassroots, ya know, from the bottom-up type of vibe."

Documented recently unearthed Heritage's four-page "Election Integrity Plan" [PDF] from 2021. It details the effort to push restrictions on voting through state legislatures after "in some cases, we actually draft" the bills for them, as Anderson, a former Trump official, is seen bragging to donors on that tape.

"Iowa's the first state that we got to work in," she explains, "and we did it quickly and we did it quietly. Honestly? Nobody noticed!" Anderson also cites "eight key provisions" the group supposedly was able to get into Georgia's controversial 2021 voter suppression measure, SB202, which was quickly signed into law --- supposedly at Heritage's urging --- by Gov. Brian Kemp.

IA and GA were two of "19 states [that] passed 34 laws restricting access to voting" in 2021, according to the Brennan Center for Justice that year, more than in any year since they began tracking such legislation in 2011.

Earlier this month, in addition to obtaining and publishing Heritage Action's "Election Integrity Plan", Fischer joined with Ed Pilkington at The Guardian to detail the organization's previously-unreported tax filings from 2021 [PDF], detailing more than $5 million in outside lobbying services in at least 24 states. That, after spending $0 on outside lobbying the previous year. The anti-democracy "dark money" outfit also spent more than $6 million on contractors for "marketing and advertising" in 2021, a substantial increase from the year before. The expenditures including more than a million dollars spent in support of GA's bill alone. In all, as Fischer and Pilkington report, Heritage's "Election Integrity Plan" earmarked at least $24 million to push these measures in at least eight swing-states over the past two years.

In addition to efforts to adopt restrictions on voting in the states, Heritage also worked to block legislation that would protect voting rights at the federal level. "The millions of dollars that Heritage Action spent in 2021 included substantial expenditures to pressure [Senators Joe] Manchin and [Kyrsten] Sinema in order to not reform the filibuster and thwart democracy reform legislation," Fischer tells me today.

"In West Virginia, in particular, they also did it with drummed-up fake grassroots activity," he explains. "Heritage Action and other groups organized buses to bus activists from out of state to West Virginia for a rally that was intended to 'save the filibuster' and protest Manchin's potential openness to changing the filibuster rules." It worked. Manchin and Sinema refused to reform the Senate's anti-democratic filibuster rule to pass the landmark Freedom to Vote Act in 2021. That measure would have been the most comprehensive voting rights and campaign finance reform measure since the 1960s. And, yes, as Fischer notes, the bill would have also "ended dark money!"

We've got a lot more to discuss along those lines with Fischer today. But, as long as he was here, there was an unrelated matter I wanted to get his thoughts on.

On Tuesday night, newly elected Republican Congressman and unrepentant liar George Santos amended several of his campaign finance disclosure documents. Santos had previously claimed in FEC disclosures that he had loaned his own campaign some $700,000. That was already suspicious, given that two years earlier, Santos claimed to have been making about $50,000/year. But, as The Daily Beast's Roger Sollenberger noticed on Tuesday, his amended forms now claim the funds did not come from him personally --- though they don't explain where the money actually did come from. Any campaign donation that large from someone other than the candidate would be an unlawful contribution.

While the Santos campaign seems to be admitting to what Josh Marshall characterizes as "major crimes" in their new filings, I have a different, completely ridiculous, couldn't-possible-be-true theory to ask Fischer about today: Is it possible that nobody actually gave $700,000 to Santos' campaign? That it was a paper claim only? There was no such loans at all?

Of course, that seems absurd, but this is George Santos we're talking about. More to the point, it should be noted that last year Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) successfully won a case at the corrupt U.S. Supreme Court which held that personal loans made to campaigns by candidates could actually be paid back after the election, in unlimited amounts, by anyone else. Lobbyists, etc. Is it even possible that Santos could have claimed to have made those personal loans to his campaign but that no money was actually ever given to his campaign at all? Allowing him to be "repaid" later by others after the election? It would certainly be a swell way for a wayward conman like Santos to make a cool $700,000, no?

I pose the question about this to Fischer with the full expectation that I'll be told there's no way something like that could have happened without it being discovered by officials long ago. Tune in to hear his response...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Latest spate of mass shootings; Pence found classified docs at IN home, returned them; Media still failing on Trump document theft story...
By Brad Friedman on 1/24/2023 6:46pm PT  

Some tea leaf reading was necessary on today's BradCast, but it's our consensus that the news out of a hearing today at the Fulton County, Georgia Superior Court is encouraging. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

BUT FIRST TODAY, maddeningly, we've got to run through the litany of mass shooting over just the past 24 hours or so, following the horrific massacre over the weekend at a dance hall in Monterey Park, near Los Angeles. Since covering that shooting which resulted in 11 dead and 9 injured on yesterday's program, the massacres --- most apparently carried out with semi-automatic weapons and extended magazines that allow at least 30 rounds to be fired in seconds --- have continued. Two more in California. Another in Iowa. Another in Washington state. Republicans continue to send their thoughts and prayers. Democrats continue to try and actually do something about the epidemic.

AND SPEAKING OF EPIDEMICS, apparently the mishandling of classified documents by former Vice Presidents is a bit of an epidemic. Today, it was Mike Pence's turn to announce that his attorneys found "a small number of documents bearing classified markings" stored at his new palatial home in Indiana. While CNN's report compares the situation to Joe Biden's in paragraph 3, one must read all the way to paragraph 13 before the former President is mentioned.

You may remember him. He's the one who, literally, stole hundreds of classified documents comprising thousands of pages, on purpose, when he left the White House. He then repeatedly refused to return them to federal government officials (to whom he lied) for more than a year, despite the government begging him to return them and being forced to subpoena them, before finally taking them by force via a federal search warrant finding probable cause that multiple crimes were under way by the former President.

Once again, we've got to provide appropriate context to the story today since corporate media continues to fail to do so. In brief, the Pence and Biden cases are ones in which they discovered they had several documents they shouldn't have had in their possession, likely stored there by aides without their knowledge. After discovering them, the former Veeps then notified authorities and returned the documents. That, of course, is nothing like the felony crimes that Donald Trump pulled off and, apparently, continues to pull off even today, with dozens of classified documents still known to be missing.

Our friend Marcy Wheeler, investigative national security journalist, provided a handy chart today to help a few of our failed corporate media friends out when attempting to report on these apparently totally confusing matters...

NEXT, we move to the fascinating --- and encouraging, we think --- hearing at Fulton County Superior Court today. Two weeks ago, a Special Process Grand Jury convened by Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis completed its work and was dissolved. After eight months of investigation and some 75 interviews with subpoenaed witness, the panel completed a report and submitted it to Willis and Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney. While Special Process Grand Juries in GA, unlike regular Grand Juries, are not empaneled to issue indictments, they may recommend such indictments in their final report.

The panel has been investigating efforts by Trump and his supporters after the 2020 Presidential election to strong-arm state officials into stealing results on his behalf after he narrowly lost in the Peach State. The probe was kicked off by Willis shortly after the release of Trump's infamous, January 2, 2021 phone call to GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger, asking him to "find" 11,870 votes "one more than we have" to steal the election for Trump and threatening the Secretary with legal action if he failed to do so.

In addition to that, the Special Grand Jury is believed to have been investigating calls made by other Trump allies to state officials; false allegations of election fraud proffered to state legislators; attempts to threaten and pressure poll workers into falsely confessing to fraud; the 16 Georgia Republicans who falsely claimed to be "duly elected and qualified" electors; the abrupt resignation of Trump's U.S. Attorney in Atlanta; and the unlawful breach and duplication of voting system software and data in rural Coffee County (as originally reported in detail on this program.)

Nobody other than Willis and McBurney (and the Special Grand Jurors) know what is in their report, but the panel requested that it be made public. Today's hearing in Atlanta was convened to determine if that would happen in full immediately, in part immediately, or not at all until sometime in the future. Willis and her office argued against immediate public disclosure of report, offering some tasty morsels as to why.

"We think, for future defendants to be treated fairly, it's not appropriate at this time to have this report released," Willis told the Judge. "At this time, in the interest of justice and the rights of, not the state, but others, we are asking that the report not be released because you, having seeing that report... [pause]...decisions are imminent."

What does that mean exactly? We discuss. Along with the counter arguments from an attorney representing media outlets such as the Atlanta Journal Constitution, New York Times and Wall Street Journal who argued today for the immediate public disclosure of the Special Grand Jury report. "We believe the report should be released now and in its entirety," argued the media intervenors' attorney, Tom Clyde. The question is difficult, given the rarity of Special Process Grand Juries in GA and the extraordinary circumstances of what they've been investigation. Judge McBurney is now considering his options. Willis is free to move ahead with indictments at any time, no matter what is ultimately decided about the report.

FINALLY TODAY, Desi Doyen has our latest Green News Report, with news on California's recently disastrous string of punishing storms; a new report on whether off-shore wind power is killing whales off the U.S. northeast coast; the high cost of weather disasters in the U.S. in 2022; and some good news for manatees off the coast of Florida...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: ACLU attorney Jonathan Topaz; Also: IA, NY GOPers charged with mass vote fraud; OH Guv signs bill restricting voting rights...
By Brad Friedman on 1/13/2023 6:17pm PT  

What a way to "celebrate" Martin Luther King Day this year on The BradCast. Fifty-eight years since the passage of the Voting Rights Act and 10 years since the rightwingers on the U.S. Supreme Court gutted one of its central provisions, our even farther rightwing courts now appear to be gunning for much of the rest of the landmark civil rights voting law. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up today, while GOP-appointed federal judges are finding new ways to allow racial discrimination at the voting booth, Republicans --- including a top election official in upstate New York, and the wife of a U.S. House candidate in Iowa --- are nabbed by the Justice Department for committing mass vote fraud with absentee ballots.

The DoJ announcements in those cases come after a year in which Republicans filed a record number of anti-voting lawsuits --- in hopes of preventing (certain) voters from voting and/or having their votes counted as cast --- under the pretend guise of fighting fraud. They also come just days after Ohio's supposedly "moderate" GOP Governor signed new legislation to make it more difficult for (certain) voters to vote at all in upcoming elections.

Voting rights advocates in the Buckeye State charge the new measure will create barriers to the ballot for the elderly, rural voters and members of the military. But if it makes it more difficult for minority voters to vote, it may soon be impossible for groups like the League of Women Voters or the NAACP or the ACLU to file lawsuits charging violations of anti-discrimination laws under the Voting Rights Act.

When SCOTUS gutted Section 5 of the VRA in 2013 --- the part that required new election laws in jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination at the polling place to be precleared by federal authorities before they could go into effect --- the rightwing majority on the High Court claimed the provision was antiquated and no longer necessary. Besides, even though thousands of discriminatory laws had been blocked by Section 5 since 1965, there was always Section 2, which blocks racially discriminatory voting laws in all 50 states.

After all, as an ACLU attorney was forced to point out during a federal appeals court hearing this week: “For over 40 years, dozens of federal courts have heard hundreds of Section 2 claims brought by federal plaintiffs.”

Unfortunately, that lawyer was defending the use of Section 2 before a three-judge panel, where she had to add that, “In that time, not one court denied the plaintiffs their day in court because of a lack of private action.”

The hearing in question came this week after a lower, federal district Court judge in Arkansas tossed out a challenge to a new state House district map implemented by state Republicans. The map includes 11 black majority districts, when the population of the state suggests there should be 16 such districts.

But Judge Lee Rudofsky, a Donald Trump appointee, dismissed the challenge to the new map, declaring that Section 2 of the VRA does not allow private individuals and groups, like the ACLU or NAACP, to file suit against such laws. Only the U.S. Attorney General may do so, he held.

As our guest explains today, Rudofsky's court "the first court in the history of the country to find that there is no private right of action" in Section 2. For a host of reasons, it's an absurd argument. And yet, this week at the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, according to CNN, two of the three judges on the appeals panel (all of them are Republican appointees) appeared open to the idea that there is no right to private action under Section 2, because the federal statute doesn't specifically say as much. Never mind that private parties have been suing for decades under Section 2, including at the U.S. Supreme Court, where the Justices never said a word against it.

We're joined to explain this newly-attempted GOP voter suppression nightmare by JONATHAN TOPAZ, the ACLU Voting Rights Project staff attorney who served as the trial attorney on the initial case that was tossed by Judge Rudofsky last year.

"I think it's hard for most people to fathom that this is a question that needs to be litigated in 2023," Topaz tells me. "There have been hundreds of cases over the course of Section 2's history litigated by private plaintiffs, and many of those cases --- at least 10 at the Supreme Court, and at least 18 in the 8th Circuit where we were arguing earlier this week --- were brought by private plaintiffs."

"Congress had opportunities --- in 1982 when they amended the Voting Rights Act, as recently as 2006 when they reauthorized the Voting Rights Act --- to correct any mistakes it saw out there as private plaintiffs brought cases across the country, which would have been purportedly in open defiance of what Congress had intended, and Congress never saw fit to correct anyone," he explains.

Topaz goes on to cite a case as recently as 1996 when "five justices of the Supreme Court --- so, a majority --- held that there was a private right of action under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act." Of course, our newly corrupted, stolen, and extremist rightwing majority on the High Court has had no trouble of late reversing its own precedents whenever they feel like it. So this case, which will almost certainly end up at SCOTUS no matter what happens at the 8th Circuit, could tee up a potentially near-fatal blow to the already teetering VRA.

"Section 2 is one of the crown jewels of American legislative history," Topaz argues today. "It's one of the finest statutes ever passed. Section 2 is absolutely essential in terms of ensuring equal voting access around the country. And we will do everything we can do defend it."

In the meantime, as he observes, this particular fight has prevented the courts from deciding on the merits of the original case, which means that --- even if it's ultimately settled at SCOTUS in favor of the ACLU --- "there will have been several elections taking place with discriminatory maps in Arkansas."

In 1957, in his "Give us the Ballot" speech eight years before passage of the VRA, MLK reportedly said: "So long as I do not firmly and irrevocably possess the right to vote I do not possess myself. I cannot make up my mind --- it is made up for me. I cannot live as a democratic citizen, observing the laws I have helped to enact --- I can only submit to the edict of others."

Happy Martin Luther King Day. It's on Monday.

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Guest: Redistricting expert, author David Daley; Also: How Fox 'News' dupes followers via smartphone; Latest key Senate, House, Guv results...
By Brad Friedman on 11/10/2022 6:25pm PT  

On today's BradCast: If the Republican Party wins a narrow majority in the U.S. House following this week's nowhere-near-a-red-wave midterm elections, will it have been because of gerrymandering? Our guest today explains why the answer to that question is unequivocal. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

First up, however, a few observations on how Fox "News" uses its smartphone app to insidiously further brain-poison followers with rightwing propaganda and disinformation. Today's example: How very encouraging news from the federal government on the economy, with signs that inflation may be easing, sent the stock market soaring. But for duped users of the Fox "News" app, it became just more terrible news about the economy injected straight into their brains.

Next, we get caught up on the latest reported results from the ongoing tabulation of very tight Senate (and Gubernatorial) races in Arizona and Nevada, which, along with the critical December 6th U.S. Senate runoff election in Georgia will determine control of the upper chamber of Congress for the next two years.

Also, an update on the vote counting in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District where far-right Rep. Lauren Boebert --- listed in the New York Times' "Republicans expected to win easily" column this year --- has regained a razor-thin 0.38% lead over Democratic challenger Adam Frisch. That, after she was losing by just 64 votes overnight out of more than 300,000 counted.

In all of those states --- Arizona, Nevada and Colorado --- Democratic advocates are suggesting confidence that remaining untallied votes will secure victories for their candidates in most of those races, including those in which tallies show them trailing at the moment or just barely ahead. I'm dubious about some of those claims, but we'll see if they're right and which of the races end up in recounts as the grueling battles for narrow control of both chambers of Congress continues.

When it comes to the House, however, given the limp performance by Republicans on Tuesday, it's become clear that if they regain a majority there, it will only be due to gaming the electorate through both extreme partisan and racial gerrymandering...with the help of corrupt courts at both the state and federal level.

We're joined once again today by redistricting expert and author DAVID DALEY, a Senior Fellow at FairVote. In an article on this today at The Nation he describes how aggressive --- and frequently unlawful and unconstitutional --- gerrymandering by GOP legislatures in several "red" states following the 2020 Census, in concert with corrupt rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court and several state high courts, is to be credited for what most currently see as a likely, if very narrow, GOP takeover of the U.S. House. He calls it a "rigged House majority.'

"Republicans really won the redistricting wars," Daley tells me today. "Their partisan and racial gerrymanders won them more than enough seats to make up the difference between the two parties in what was essentially a jump ball election. By having gerrymandered maps in Florida, Ohio, Texas, Georgia; by having courts put a thumb on the scales for them in Alabama, Wisconsin, Louisiana and elsewhere; and by having blue state courts not allow Democrats to engage in the same kind of anti-democratic behavior, Republicans were able to take enough seats to take the House."

He explains: "Once you start adding up all of the states that Republicans claimed either through extreme partisan gerrymandering, and what the federal courts and the state courts gifted them; when you take the four seats in Florida, a couple seats in Ohio, a couple in Texas, in Tennessee, and Wisconsin; when you take the seats that Republicans bulldozed or hijacked from independent commissions in Arizona and Iowa, you're looking at somewhere between 12 and 14 seats --- which, I think, will probably end up being something close to twice what the ultimate majority in the House ends up being."

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with news on the rare, late-season Hurricane Nicole, which slammed into Florida's eastern seaboard overnight and a round-up of climate related victories and losses in Tuesday's midterm elections...

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

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

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

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

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

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Guest: Sue Wilson of Media Action Center; Also: DoJ recommend six months for Bannon; Rightwing '2000 Mules' fraudsters face FBI, IRS referrals from AZ's GOP A.G.; And, Could Grassley actually lose in IA?!...
By Brad Friedman on 10/17/2022 6:55pm PT  

We are finally beginning to see the start of some real accountability for so many of the countless rightwing hoaxsters, fraudsters and scam artists who enjoyed their hey days during the Trump Era. Specifically on today's BradCast, we're beginning to see accountability for rightwing hoaxsters Steve Bannon, Alex Jones and the fraudsters calling themselves True the Vote. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

WE KICK THINGS OFF today with Donald Trump's former aide Steve Bannon, a guy willing to allegedly hoax millions of Trump's own supporters to raise money to build a border wall, while secretly keeping millions for himself and his fellow hoaxsters. He will face trial for those charges in New York. But this week he's facing sentencing after being found guilty on two counts of contempt of Congress for failing to respond to subpoenas for documents and testimony from the bipartisan House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection and Trump's failed attempts to steal the 2020 Presidential election. The DoJ is recommending 6 months of prison time and a $200,000 fine. The sentencing hearing will be before a Trump-appointed federal judge this Friday.

NEXT UP, we're joined by award-winning broadcast journalist turned media activist SUE WILSON of Media Action Center to discuss the dangerous lies of rightwing hoaxster Alex Jones. Last week in Connecticut, Jones was ordered to pay $965 million in damages to parents of children killed in 2012's Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. Jones was previously held liable in Texas in a separate defamation suit by other parents who also lost children in the mass shooting that resulted in the murders of 20 first graders and 6 adults.

Jones, as Wilson reported at The BRAD BLOG last week, denied that anyone was ever killed at Sandy Hook, claiming the parents of the children were "crisis actors" and that it was all a hoax by those who support gun safety measures. After years of using our public airwaves to repeat those false claims, many of the parents in question were traumatized, confronted by Jones' supporters and were forced to move, thanks to continuous harassment from some of Jones' deranged fans.

But the critical point Wilson asked in her piece was why it is that Jones is still broadcasting over our public airwaves at all? She notes today that some activists have complained to radio stations to successfully have his show removed from the air. But, she says he still remains on about 25 stations which are licensed to broadcast in exchange for "serving in the public interest". As Wilson details on today's show, there are still FCC regulations on the books barring the use of our public airwaves to promote hoaxes that involve crimes such as murder. Nevertheless, no action has been taken by the federal government against Jones or the stations who air him. We discuss why that may be, how listeners can take action to change that and the First Amendment issues surrounding the matter.

THEN, we've spent too much time on past shows already detailing how the GOP "voter fraud" fraudster group calling itself True the Vote (TTV) attempted to hoax the nation by creating a fake documentary with fellow hoaxster (and convicted election fraudster) Dinesh D'Souza called 2000 Mules.

The premise of the film is that TTV claims to have purchased third-party cellphone geolocation data that supposedly reveals thousands of phone users repeatedly visiting absentee ballot drop-boxes in multiple battleground states in 2020 to cast hundreds of thousands of fraudulent votes. Moreover, the group claims they have thousands of hours of surveillance camera video footage revealing the same "mules" visiting these drop-boxes over and over to cast the phony ballots.

The film was thoroughly debunked as nonsense almost immediately upon its release earlier this year. In fact, it includes no actual footage of anybody casting fraudulent votes. But certain rightwing dupes, including the former President, falsely insist that it does. Just last week, for example, in response to the House J6 Committee voting to subpoena Trump, he responded with an absurd 14-page reply [PDF] citing dozens of (long-ago debunked) instances of fraud in the 2020 election. He cited TTV's 2000 Mules film, claiming the group "collected over 4 million minutes of ballot drop box video, showing ballot stuffing at a level not seen before." The result, he falsely asserted, proved that "millions of ballots were stuffed...an Election-changing number many times over."

All of it, of course, is nonsense. And, as it turns out, even the office of Arizona's far-right, voter-suppression friendly Attorney General Mark Brnovich has now noticed. On Friday, the Criminal Division in his office referred TTV to the FBI and IRS for investigation. The AZ A.G. explains in their two-page referral letter [PDF] that, despite multiple meetings with the group's founder Catherine Engelbrecht and researcher Greg Phillips, who both claimed to have video evidence of fraud they promised to turn over, they never actually did. Furthermore, as the letter explains, the pair also met with FBI officials in Phoenix and claimed to have turned over the data to Brnovich's office. They later met again with Brnovich's office and claimed they gave the data to the FBI!

"Given TTV's status as a nonprofit organization," the Chief Special Agent in Brnovich's criminal division office wrote to the FBI and IRS on Friday, "it would appear that further review of its financials may be warranted."

FINALLY, on one of our programs last week, I broke down the five Republican U.S. Senate seats (in PA, OH, WI, NC and FL) that appear to have a plausible possibility of flipping to Democratic in November's critical midterm elections, and the two Democratic seats (in GA and NV) that could plausibly flip to Republican. But over the weekend, the Des Moines Register poll --- considered the Gold Standard for political polling in Iowa --- released an eyebrow raising survey finding that the state's 89-year old seven-term Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, now running for his eighth term, is only three points ahead of his Democratic challenger, retired U.S. Navy Admiral Mike Franken, among likely voters. The poll shows Grassley leads with 46% of the vote to Franken's 43%. Could that seat really be up for grabs in the Hawkeye State next month?!...

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Also: Beer shortage?!; More on DeSantis' migrant scam; Electoral Count Act reform news; Good (and bad) news for disabled voters...
By Brad Friedman on 9/20/2022 6:38pm PT  

Today's BradCast starts off with a show-stopper! Everything else thereafter, well, you'll decide for yourself. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

On today's program...

  • Since it's, apparently, National Voter Registration Day today (yes, that's a thing), we thought we'd celebrate by starting off with a fantastic new lyric rewrite video from the cast of Broadway's Hamilton. They've updated a song from the show called "The Election of 1800" to a new version called "The Election of 2022" to raise awareness of the importance of voting this year. Their effort is in partnership with Michelle Obama's When We All Vote and Vote Riders. But for help in registering to vote, checking to make sure your registration still exists (and is at the address where you actually live), and for information on the type of ID required to vote where you live, I recommend either the DNC's IWillVote.com app or the federal government's Vote.gov. Both sites allow you to check your registration or register to vote without having to give information to a third party. And, since merely voting is no longer enough, we are officially enlisting you to spread the word to others on all of this! Ask your friends, co-workers, neighbors etc., if they are registered to vote; help them do so, if not; make sure they get to the polls to vote by November 8 this year, etc. etc. Yes, it's that important this year!
  • There is a weird beer shortage looming! Why? Lack of carbon dioxide due to contamination at an extinct volcano in Mississippi. Yes, I realize that sounds bizarre --- especially given the deadly over-abundance of CO2 in our atmosphere, causing our deadly climate crisis --- but, well...tune in for the full bizarre explanation.
  • On yesterday's program, we detailed some of the apparent federal criminal statutes, such as kidnapping, that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis seems to have violated when he shipped 48 Venezuelan migrants from San Antonio, Texas to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts on behalf of the state of Florida. We noted that requests had been made to the MA Attorney General U.S. Attorney's office in the state to investigate whether laws were violated. But shortly after airtime yesterday, news broke that Bexar County (San Antonio), Texas Sheriff's office has opened a criminal investigation into the matter. Good news!
  • As to what actually happened --- versus what DeSantis is claiming --- TPM's Josh Marshall has been trying to do some digging, after first noting that the initial story "Doesn't Add Up". Why did DeSantis hunt down migrants in Texas seeking asylum to entice (with false promises) to go to Massachusetts? Are there no migrants in Florida that could have been similarly abused, since the Florida state legislature has set allocated some $12 million to use to transport migrants out of the state (as opposed to out of the state of Texas)?! Who is this mysterious "Perla" character who has been identified as having recruited the migrants and organized luxury corporate jets to fly theme to MA? And, though the Florida Governor and Presidential hopeful is refusing to offer specifics, what clues can be gleaned about all of this from some of the statements that he has made, referencing a "contractor" or "vendor" who seems to have been hired for all of this, rather than government workers. In other words, what the hell is really going on here?
  • Then, in some election law related news today, the House January 6 Select Committee Vice-Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) and committee member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) detailed proposed reforms to the Electoral Count Act, over the weekend. The Committee, they explain, hopes to make it more difficult in the future to steal elections via the Electoral College, as Donald Trump attempted to do on January 6, 2021. The new measure, officially introduced by the Committee in the House on Monday, is called the Presidential Election Reform Act. It would clarify the role of the Vice President on January 6 as purely ministerial; increase the number of Representative and Senators required to challenge any state's Electoral College votes; offer legal options to Presidential candidates in the event that a state fails to certify its Electoral Votes (as a number of GOP candidates for Governor and Sec. of State this year have said they would have done in 2020, had they been in office at the time); and prevents state legislatures from changing the rules for determining election results after the election has already started. The House measure is similar to one recently introduced by a bipartisan group in the Senate, and would need to be reconciled with that version if both versions are successfully brought to a vote in each chamber.
  • Some good news --- and some troubling news --- for disabled voters. New voting restrictions adopted by Republicans in several different states have made it literally impossible for some disabled voters to vote at all without breaking the law. For example, a Wisconsin law had mandated that nobody other than the voter him or herself could place an absentee ballot in a mailbox. That means that those without use of their arms --- such as voters suffering from advanced multiple sclerosis or who may have been injured --- might not be able to vote absentee at all. A recent federal court victory in WI will at least allow disabled voters in that state to receive assistance when casting their ballot. But several other states, such as Kansas, Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri, still have measures in place that could make it impossible --- and/or illegal --- for some disabled voters to vote at all in 2022 and beyond.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as three major storms made simultaneous, catastrophic landfall in Puerto Rico, Alaska and Japan over the weekend; a new report finds climate change made Pakistan's recent catastrophic flooding much much worse; better news in Australia where the nation, until recently controlled by climate change deniers, is finally moving to reduce carbon emissions; and, in Louisiana, a court has blocked the construction of a massive, toxic plastics plant in area of the state known as "Cancer Alley"...

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Also: Elections results from ME, NV, ND, SC, TX; Vote system prob leads to IA recounts; MAGA County Commission in NM refuses to certify June 7 primaries...Just cuz...
By Brad Friedman on 6/15/2022 6:13pm PT  

With the bipartisan January 6 Committee having postponed today's hearing, we take the opportunity on today's BradCast to spend some time rebutting the disgraced former President's supposed rebuttal to the two damning hearings held to date. But, of course, we've got much more as well, including election results from Tuesday and evidence of both voting system problems and bad faith elected MAGA officials already trying to disenfranchise 2022 voters. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

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

  • An error caused by paper jams during ballot scanning on Election Day at the precincts on the state's computer tabulators in Iowa during their June 7 primaries has reportedly resulted in a whole bunch of recounts across the state. Cedar Rapid's KCRG cites an email from the Sec. of State's office which has lead to those recounts, in hopes of reconciling the number of ballots misreported by the scanners as cast with the number of voters who actually signed in to vote.
  • Noteworthy election results from four states which held primaries on Tuesday (Maine, Nevada, North Dakota and South Carolina) and one (Texas) which purposely held a low-turnout U.S. Special Election yesterday, instead of at the same time as their regular primaries in March or primary runoffs in May. While we cover a lot of Tuesday's races, and why they matter (or don't), the most disturbing one is likely the Secretary of State's race in Nevada, where a 2020 election denialist by the name of Jim Marchant has apparently won a 38% plurality to become the GOP's nominee to become the critical swing-state's chief election official in advance of the 2024 election.
  • The dangers of an election denier like Marchant, who served as one of the state GOP's fake electors in 2020, and who has said he wouldn't have certified Joe Biden's victory over Donald Trump that year had he been SoS at the time, is a stark warning of what lies ahead. But we're already seeing the dangers of brain-poisoned MAGA Mobsters in positions of elected authority. The three-person County Commission in a very right-leaning rural county in New Mexico, is refusing to certify results from their June 7 primary. Even though votes are cast on hand-marked paper ballots across the state, the County Commission unanimously voted against certification of primary results, citing distrust of the County's digital ballot scanners made by Dominion Voting. They have no evidence of fraud, which might otherwise allow a court to order the hand-count they are seeking. They just don't trust the results in the County where Trump won 62% of the vote in 2020. The Republican County Clerk is furious and the Democratic Sec. of State is now suing the County Commission ahead of this Friday's deadline for County certification. Expect much more of this in the months and years ahead. We've long warned about exactly this type of fallout from our irresponsible rush to the use secret vote casting and counting systems made by private vendors and the avenues it opens for opportunists to claim fraud without any evidence of same.
  • On Monday night, after the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol and other efforts by Trump to steal the 2020 election, our corrupt former President issued a 12-page rebuttal [PDF] to the Committee's first two hearings. We rebut his dumb rebuttal today. It leans heavily on tired, long-ago debunked nonsense, such as his lead in some swing-states on Election Night "inexplicably" disappearing (after heavily-Republican polling place ballots were quickly tallied before the arduous task of opening and verifying and counting heavily-Democratic vote-by-mail ballots one-by-one) and how thousands attended his rallies, while Biden chose not to hold super-spreader events during the worst pandemic in 100 years. Much of Trump's (ghost-writer's) claims were already debunked during the Committee hearings to date, which he seems to presume that his supporters didn't watch or are too dumb to understand.

    Trump's ghost-writer spends most of the rebuttal ink citing what is laughably described as "indisputable proof" of "Ballot Trafficking" presented in the repeatedly debunked 2000 Mules movie. That's a pretend documentary film created by a long-discredited GOP "election integrity" group named True the Vote and a rightwing activist named Dinesh D'Souza who actually pleaded guilty himself to several federal election fraud crimes before he was later pardoned by Trump.

    As noted, the film has been repeatedly debunked, including by us, several times by now. Months before it was even released, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) and FBI concluded the group's claims about cell phone data purporting to reveal evidence of "ballot harvesting" by "mules" of tens or hundreds of thousands of fraudulent ballots cast in drop-boxes, in fact, reveals no crimes at all. A GA state Board of Elections investigation after the movie's release found that supposed "ballot mules" in Atlanta, shown via security camera footage in the film, were just regular voters legally casting their own ballot and those of direct family members. None of the "mules" are ever seen in the film visiting a drop-box or multiple boxes more than once.

    But, perhaps the most stinging rebuttal came from Trump's own Attorney General, Bill Barr this week. During sworn testimony to the J6 Committee, shared by the panel on Monday, Barr laughed out loud at even the mention of the name of the film, before going on to explain how he found it to be "singularly unimpressive," "indefensible," and that it failed to "establish widespread illegal harvesting." That, of course, is a long way from the "indisputable proof" Trump's dumb rebuttal claimed it to be.

  • Finally, speaking of the House J6 Committee, Republican Vice Chair Liz Cheney released a video teaser on Tuesday for its next upcoming hearing scheduled for Thursday. This one will focus on the pressure Trump placed on Vice President Mike Pence to help him steal the 2020 election by tossing out valid Electoral College votes on January 6, 2021. Cheney's teaser video includes testimony from one of Trump's top White House attorneys who says he warned outside lawyer John Eastman, who developed the scheme for Pence to toss out the votes, to "get a great f'ing criminal defense lawyer," adding "you're gonna need it."

Special Coverage of tomorrow's J6 Hearing, of course, on tomorrow's BradCast!...

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Guest: The Nation's John Nichols on that and midterm primary lessons; Also: Noteworthy results from primaries in IA, MS, MT, NJ, NM, SD, CA...
By Brad Friedman on 6/8/2022 6:25pm PT  

We've got yet another jam-packed BradCast for ya today, with results of note --- as we have them so far --- from the 7 states which held primaries on Tuesday. Then, we're joined by our guest with some helpful insight on what Democrats and progressives should learn from this year's elections to date and some of his critical concerns about the upcoming hearings by the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating January 6, 2021 insurrection. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First, we fly through an extremely curated selection of results from several key races on Tuesday. Among them...

  • IOWA: Retired Navy Admiral Mike Franken upset former U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer in the state's Democratic U.S. Senate primary. He will face off against 88-year old, six-term U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley. Also noteworthy in the Hawkeye State: progressive Democratic criminal justice reformer Kimberly Graham won the Democratic primary for prosecutor in Polk County (Des Moines), where she is likely to win this November.
  • MISSISSIPPI: Two-term Republican Rep. Michael Guest was forced into a runoff by GOP voters as punishment for having voted in favor of a bipartisan, outside Commission to investigative the January 6th insurrection.
  • MONTANA: Donald Trump's disgraced, scandal-plagued, forced-to-resign Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is locked in a tight race to win his old job back as a U.S. Congressman. The final results of the close race with state Sen. Al Olszewski, which Zinke leads by about 1,000 votes as of airtime, will be held up by a day or two due to a ballot printing error that will require, under state law, that all ballots now be hand-counted.
  • NEW JERSEY: While there may have been races of note there, we didn't have time for ANY of them today! Sorry about that, NJ! (I know. Always the bridesmaid...)
  • NEW MEXICO: Seasoned TV weather guy Mark Ronchetti won the GOP primary for Governor after promising to increase the state's already record oil production, deriding new standards in state schools for increased instruction on race (in a state that is half Hispanic and has 23 federally recognized Native American tribes and nations), and by slamming his November opponent, Democratic Gov. Michelle Luhan Grisham, for closing in-person schooling during the worst pandemic in 100 years. Also: Progressive Democrat Gabriel Vasquez was victorious in the 2nd Congressional District race to take on GOP Rep. Yvette Herrell in what is seen by Dems as a possible House pickup this November.
  • SOUTH DAKOTA: The state's only House Member, Republican Dusty Johnson, easily won his primary despite voting to certify the 2020 election results and in favor of the January 6 Commission. Shamefully, there is no Democrat running for the state's single At Large Congressional seat. Of greater note, a ballot proposition that would have raised the threshold for passage of certain future ballot propositions to 60% was soundly rejected by voters. That proposition was meant to make it harder to pass a ballot proposition this November that would expand Medicaid under ObamaCare to state residents. Similar expansions measures have been adopted by voter initiatives in about 7 other states. GOP lawmakers in SD must really hate their own constituents.
  • CALIFORNIA: All statewide office holders are Dems, so there isn't much drama there. But two local contests have received quite a bit of national notice. The Los Angeles Mayoral race will go to a runoff, after Trumpy Republican real estate billionaire turned "Democrat" Rick Caruso failed to clear the 50% bar, despite dropping some $40 million of his own money into the race. He'll face progressive Rep. Karen Bass, previously seen as the favorite to win until Caruso and his money showed up, in the November runoff. But, interestingly, receiving as much or more notice from national corporate news outlets than almost any other race on Tuesday, voters recalled progressive criminal justice reformer, Chesa Boudin, after two and half years as San Francisco's District Attorney. Predictably, national media is (mis)reporting this as a story of "failed progressive policies" that resulted in rampant crime in the city, despite the fact that overall crime decreased during Boudin's tenure.

We're then joined by longtime progressive champion, journalist, and author JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation for analysis of Tuesday's contests --- and those from week's past --- along with his concerns and warnings about the upcoming January 6 hearings in the House.

As to the primaries so far this season, Nichols observes, among other things that while "Republican turnout is very spiked" and Dems "not so spiked", that is "not necessarily a complete disaster" for Democrats. He also notes that "progressives are winning a lot of Democratic primaries" and "in some unexpected and really interesting places".

"Despite what a lot of the pundits will tell you," he argues, means that "the grassroots Democratic voters seem to be sending a very clear signal that they want to go up against these Trump Republicans in this very tough year with clearly defined progressive candidates."

While he offers thoughts on the recall defeat of progressive District Attorney Boudin in San Francisco, Nichols also observes that criminal justice reformers are actually still winning elections in many other places around California and elsewhere. (See, for example, a progressive criminal justice reformer victories in neighboring counties to San Francisco and Kim Reynolds in Des Moines, IA, as mentioned above, as just two such examples.)

Then, it's on to the upcoming January 6 hearings, where Nichols has both advice and concerns, particularly about what the Committee will ultimately offer in their critical recommendations. His greatest concerns seem to center on what Democrats are willing to compromise on in order to find unanimity with the Committee's anti-Trump, but still hard-right Republican Vice Chair Liz Cheney.

Among Nichols' top hopes for the Committee: Recommendations that Congress adopt a resolution that bars insurrectionists like Donald Trump from office, as per Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment; and (in what will clearly be a much heavier lift for the Committee's Republicans like Cheney), a call to abolish the Electoral College.

But will the hearings ultimately make any difference to a divided nation, with so many already having hardened their positions on Trump and his attempt to steal the 2020 election? We've got a whole lot to discuss with Nichols today, so I hope you'll tune in!...

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Special coverage with guests Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Richard 'RJ' Eskow of 'The Zero Hour'; Also: TX primary results, election probs...
By Brad Friedman on 3/2/2022 5:37pm PT  

"Democracies are rising to the moment," President Biden forcefully asserted during his first official State of the Union address on Tuesday night. "And the world is clearly choosing the side of peace and security." Is he right? We discuss that and much more on Biden's impossible address last night on today's BradCast.

Before we jump in, however, it was also Election Day in Texas on Tuesday, the nation's first primaries of the 2022 mid-term cycle. We briefly cover the reported results of the top-line races for Governor and Attorney General, as well as some interesting House races with progressive challengers on the Democratic side. There were also several curious anomalies we are looking into out Houston's Harris County, regarding the reported shutdown of some polling places to Democrats (and others, purportedly, shut down to Republican voters); some post-election squabbles on delayed results from the County, reportedly due to problems tallying long ballots on their new, 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems; and continuing concerns about thousands of rejected vote-by-mail ballots thanks to new restrictions on absentee voting enacted by the Republican lawmakers last year in the state's newly adopted SB1 law.

Our main focus today, of course, is on Biden's first SOTU. This one, amid a newly raging war on Ukraine, as the autocratic Russia continues its appalling attack on its democratic sovereign neighbor, and as the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday condemned Russia's aggression and atrocities by a lopsided 141 to 5 vote. There were 35 abstentions (including China) and support for Russia offered from Belarus, Cuba, North Korea and Syria.

As if Biden didn't already have enough to worry about with the continuing, if waning (for now), pandemic; an insurrectionist and obstructionist Republican Party; two obstructionist Democrats blocking the bulk of his domestic agenda; and both an opposition party and corporate media hell-bent on weaponizing predictable post-pandemic inflation, even amid a booming economy with growing wages, record corporate profits, record low unemployment, and the highest growth in GDP since the 1980s. All of which has resulted, reasonably or not, resulted in Biden's approval ratings plummeting in advance of this year's critical mid-terms.

Any one of those issues (and, yes, there are more!) would be enough for one State of the Union address. Biden, somehow, had to deal with them all on Tuesday night.

We're joined today for our special coverage by fellow longtime progressive troublemakers and muckrakers HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo and RICHARD 'RJ' ESKOW of The Zero Hour.

There is a lot to discuss today, as we break down key moments from Biden's remarks. But, just for a taste, while they both Parton and Eskow laud the President for rising to the moment and bringing the world together regarding Russia, on the domestic front, political trouble may loom.

"Democrats always have this problem," Parton notes. "The historical pattern here is clear. The Republicans come in and they wreck the place, and Democrats come in and have to clean up the mess. And in the first two years, it's really hard."

"He's not getting a break from the media," Eskow argues. "I think people are also terribly sick of COVID, and he's had to bow to that fatigue. On the grand scheme of things, the big lesson here is the limits of Presidential power, and the fact that he would love to be doing a lot more. Here's a man who spent 50 years running for President, now he's got it, and I feel sorry for him."

Did last night serve to help Biden and the Democrats change their trajectory as we head toward a mid-term election which the media continues to remind voters is (almost always) a historically difficult one for the party in power? Tune in for our special coverage and conversation on that and much, much more...

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FL blocks Univ. of Florida profs from serving as expert witnesses in lawsuits against the state; SCOTUS may be having second thoughts about TX' unconstitutional anti-abortion law; And more chilling stories of democracy dying before our eyes...
By Brad Friedman on 11/1/2021 6:23pm PT  

The through-line for today's BradCast comes courtesy of Meathead. Actor and director Rob Reiner was arguing, via Twitter over the weekend, that "until Donald Trump is prosecuted for leading a deadly Insurrection to overthrow the Government and Voting Rights are passed," we are witnessing the death of Democracy.

He was much more correct than he may have realized. But the stories we cover today --- only half of those we had hoped to get today, and none of which directly covered the two issues Reiner was referring to --- underscore that theme. If it's not immediately obvious, tune into today's show to find out how.

Among the stories covered, discussed, explained, warned about, expounded and ranted upon on today's program (along with listener calls throughout)...

  • Election Day is Tuesday in states across the country. As discussed last week, democracy itself is on the ballot in New York state. But most attention on Tuesday has been going to Virginia, where Trump-endorsed Gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin has now taken a lead in FiveThirtyEight's pre-election polling average over VA's former Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe. We explain why history is on Youngkin's side. Perhaps by Wednesday we'll find out if the voters in Virginia are as well, as democracy is not yet dead (hopefully) in some pockets of the nation.
  • In Florida, a simply remarkable and, yes, chilling story. The University of Florida has barred three professors --- each one an expert in democracy and voting rights (two of whom have appeared on The BradCast multiple times over the years) --- from testifying as expert witnesses for the plaintiffs in a challenge to the state's new voter suppression law passed earlier this year. The measure, signed on Fox "News" by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, surrounded by Trump supporters and with local media locked out entirely, restricts the use of drop-boxes for absentee ballots, while making it more difficult to obtain Vote-by-Mail ballots and harder to register to vote, among other democracy killing provisions. The university (whose Board of Trustees is headed up by a close DeSantis confidante and major GOP donor) claims that testifying against a state law would represent a conflict of interest for UF. That's an idea that is unheard of, frankly, and would prevent experts in their fields from being able to testify on their expertise in states in which they live and work. The same profs were never prevented from doing so in the past and experts on academic freedom describe this novel notion as unprecedented. A lawsuit seeking the review of documents from DeSantis on this matter, to determine his involvement in the University's decision, was filed on Friday.
  • At the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, the new "unprecedented" anti-abortion law in Texas, barring the otherwise Constitutionally protected medical procedure after just six weeks of pregnancy, before many women even known they are pregnant, was heard on SCOTUS' rocket docket just two months after they'd allowed it to take effect in the Lone Star State. The matter in question is whether a case filed by abortion providers in the state and another by the U.S. Department of Justice should be allowed to proceed, despite the virtually unquestioned matter of the new state law, S.B. 8, violating Roe v. Wade. The reason the question even arises is because Texas purposely structured the law in a way that hopes to side-step any and all judicial review of the law. That is done by the statute empowering members of the public with a right to file a civil lawsuit against anyone who, in any way, aids a woman in receiving an abortion after six weeks. Under S.B. 8, plaintiffs may even sue an Uber driver who brought a woman to a clinic, for at least $10,000, and the State argues that because they are not enforcing the law, members of the public are doing so, the law cannot be challenged in either federal or state court.

    But even far-right Republican Justice Brett Kavanaugh (and, of course, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan) was able to put two and two together during today's hearing to realize that if this type of law is allowed to go forward, states could adopt laws that effectively outlawed many other long-settled Constitutional rights, and avoid judicial oversight in the bargain. So, yes, California could adopt a law similar to S.B. 8 that makes owning a gun a civil violation for which anyone in the public could sue a gun owner for, say, a million dollars. Are the Justices on the High Court --- who allowed this law to take effect two months ago, ending almost all abortions for now in TX --- sure they want the nation to go down this path?

  • One of the other several stories we quickly covered of democracy dying today, referenced the newly gerrymandered maps for the four U.S. House seats in Iowa. Last week, after Republicans rejected a new map that would have split the state into two districts that voted for Biden last year and two that voted for Trump, they instead approved a second version of a map in which Trump won all four districts. One expert in redistricting describes the new maps as "a dream Republican map." Yes. That is yet another way in which democracy dies...unless we fight like hell to prevent it from doing so.

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Guest: 30-year veteran Leon County, FL elections chief Ion Sancho; Also: Callers ring in on that and Biden's progressive American Rescue Plan...
By Brad Friedman on 3/15/2021 6:43pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The Republican assault on voting rights is not only happening in states where the GOP lost, for the first time in many years, at the Presidential level in 2020, like Georgia. It's also happening in states that Donald Trump won in 2020, but by a smaller margin than in 2016, like Texas. And, yes, it's also happening in the few states where Trump won in 2020 and actually increased his winning margin over 2016, like Florida. But in Florida, state elections officials, including Republicans, are furious about it. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

While GOP state lawmakers are, right now, pushing hundreds of vote suppression bills in more than 40 states, based on Trump's Big Lie that he won the 2020 election (he didn't), a very small handful of Republicans are pushing back. In Georgia, on Sunday, the state's Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan appeared to decry at least some of the GOP efforts to curb voting rights in the Peach State. Last week, he walked out of the state Senate while presiding over a debate over passage of a new GOP bill that would disallow no-excuse absentee voting and implement many other restrictions. Over the weekend on NBC's 'Meet the Press', Duncan argued "Republicans don’t need election reforms to win, we need leadership."

Meanwhile, in Florida, where even Trump didn't forward phony claims about absentee fraud --- where he actually lauded their absentee vote system (in no small part because he voted illegally by absentee there) --- GOPers are, nonetheless, instituting new restrictions that would ban drop-boxes and remove the state's system that allows voters to sign up to be on the mail-in voting list for four years at a time. That, and other new restrictions on voting rights in the Sunshine State, are all included in an omnibus bill introduced by state Sen. Dennis Baxley called SB90. But, at least in Florida, state elections officials --- Democratic and Republican alike --- are pushing back.

Why, after the 2020 election, when even Republicans in the state like Gov. Ron DeSantis declared it to be one of the best and most secure elections in state history are GOPers now moving to restrict the franchise?

We're joined for some answers today by 30-year veteran Leon County (Tallahassee), FL Supervisor of Elections, ION SANCHO. The longtime, legendary champion of voting rights finally retired in 2016, after becoming so well respected by his fellow county elections officials, from all parties, that he was tapped to oversee the contentious and eventually aborted 2000 statewide recount between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

But now, the longtime Election Integrity champion says, he is furious at what Republicans are doing, and says that it's all about DeSantis' 2022 re-election hopes. "What's being overlooked by the national press," Sancho tells us today, "is that this issue, while framed nationally by the disgraced ex-President, is really being pushed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who in 2018 won by a scant 30,000 votes out of 8 million cast. He's scared to death because the Democrats right now have an over-half-a-million vote margin for individuals signed up to get that vote-by-mail ballot."

All of that plays into Republican fears of mail-in ballot drop-boxes, even though, as Sancho notes, they are far more secure than the U.S. mail, particularly after Republicans in the state's General Assembly previously adopted rules to ensure secure, manned drop-boxes in every county.

"Of the millions of Democratic voters that voted by mail, 1.5 million of them dropped them off in those vote-by-mail ballot drop-boxes before Trump laid out his plot to try to steal the election by damning vote-by-mail ballots," Sancho explains. "The Republican legislature, whose Republican base had always outvoted the Democrats from 2000 to 2020, required by law that each vote-by-mail ballot establishment have a drop -box."

"Then the bottom dropped out. COVID hit and the Democratic Party in the State of Florida said we don't want to subject our voters to go door to door, so they embarked on a phone program to enroll people in vote-by-mail . That was overwhelmingly successful, and vote-by-mail dramatically increased on the Democratic Party side to the point now that today, if Gov. DeSantis doesn't get rid of that list [of voters signed up for long-term absentee voting], he's facing a half a million vote margin to begin with. That's what's driving this particular bill this year." The new bill would wipe out the existing list and mandate that all voters re-sign up for it now, and then every two years thereafter.

"This is deja vu all over again," rails Sancho who charges "this slander" that "has caused people to doubt the veracity of elections" has made him "very angry." He draws a bead on Republican state Senator Baxley, the sponsor of SB90, charging this is not his "first drive-by shooting on carrying the Republican voter suppression. In 2010 he was author of [a bill] which dramatically curtailed early voting, because Obama carried early voting here in Florida [in 2008] by such a large margin that an actual majority of all African-Americans in this state voted at an early voting location. This is a tried-and-true playbook with the same characters involved."

As usual, there is much more in our conversation, including Sancho's take on the evidence-free, post-2020 GOP attacks on the Dominion Voting Systems company. Sancho has been a longtime thorn in the side of private elections vendors and their computerized voting and tabulation systems. He played a starring role in HBO's Emmy-nominated 2006 documentary Hacking Democracy, when he oversaw what became the first known hack of a Diebold optical-scan tabulator, as depicted live, as it happened, in the film's climactic finale.

"It's been rigged here," he tells me flatly. "Again, I've been watching these 'How can we curtail this? How can we do that?', and it's been going on since 2000."

Finally, we open the phones up for a few minutes for listener feedback on all of the above (including one fun Trump-supporting caller who is hopping mad about the conversation with Sancho!), and on my contention last week that Joe Biden and the Democrats' massive, progressive $1.9 trillion COVID relief and stimulus bill, the American Rescue Plan, could finally signal the long-overdue end of the four-decade old Ronald Reagan Era in this country...

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Working class, poor waited decades for Dems' progressive, equitable, paradigm-shifting $1.9T COVID rescue, relief and stimulus package
Also: Rememberinig 1 year since the world locked down, 10 years since Japan's triple disaster; And Trump is in big trouble in GA...
By Brad Friedman on 3/11/2021 6:34pm PT  

If nothing else, the thing to remember from today's BradCast is that not one single Republican in either the House or Senate voted for Joe Biden and the Democrats' remarkably robust, progressive and equitably written American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion COVID rescue and relief package that history may someday regard as the long-overdue end of the four-decade old Reagan Era.

The President signed the sweeping bill on Thursday, which our friend David Dayen at The American Prospect described today as "maybe the largest pure economic uplift bill in U.S. history." GOPers may come to rue the day they didn't vote for it. Especially in 2022 when some of the key provisions --- like lowered health care premiums and monthly checks amounting to up to $3,600 per child, per year --- will expire unless those provisions are made permanent.

We discuss today a number of the less reported pieces built into the ARP, most of which --- unlike previous stimulus and rescue plans over the past several decades --- are crafted to benefit the poor and working class, and actually help lift many of them out of poverty. That is, by contrast, with the Trump/Republican 2017 tax cuts which also cost about $2 trillion, but overwhelmingly benefited corporations and the already wealthy.

All Republicans in both house of Congress voted against a nearly $2 trillion measure meant to largely help the middle class and the poor. Yet all Republicans in both houses of Congress voted in favor of the nearly $2 trillion measure to help the rich and corporations, which were already enjoying record profits at the time. Got it? Please keep that in mind --- and share it with your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers, in case they are lied to about all of this --- when 2022 rolls around.

This bill marks a fundamental progressive change in the way our federal government has been doing business for the past four decades since the so-called Reagan Revolution. And it comes not a moment too soon, as we discuss today.

Today also marks the one year anniversary since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus to be an official pandemic, when I stated on the program (to the surprise of, at least, Desi Doyen) that America was "shutting down". We share a clip of that somewhat breathtaking historical moment today.

More than 2.5 million have since died around the world, but the U.S., under Donald Trump's horrifically failed leadership, saw more deaths than any other country, with more than half a million lost here and still counting. That, even as we represent only about 5 percent of the world's population.

It is also the 10th anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that struck Japan in 2011. We remember that still-ongoing disaster as well today, and the nearly 16,000 lives that were lost that fateful day.

In somewhat brighter news...As Republican state lawmakers around the country are moving hundreds of bills in more than 40 states to try and disenfranchise voters in a way not seen since the end of Reconstruction, according to a new analysis by Washington Post, it may be Donald Trump's attempted election fraud that could be the biggest news in coming weeks. It appears he may be in even more trouble than it previously appeared in the state of in Georgia!

A new recording of his phone call to the top Georgia state election investigator, made during a post-election audit in Cobb County prior to Christmas last year, was released Wednesday night by the Wall Street Journal. We share the full, gob-smacking conversation, in which our then President is heard buttering up the investigator and telling her, among other things, that "when the right answer comes out, you'll be praised."

The newly released 6-minute recording with the Georgia Secretary of State's chief investigator Frances Watson, can't really be heard in any other way than Trump hoping to encourage her into finding "fraud" where none existed. The recording is now undoubtedly part of the growing body of evidence being examined by Fulton County, Georgia's District Attorney, Fani Willis. The Democratic prosecutor is investigating "the solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election's administration" after the 2020 Presidential election in the Peach State.

Willis has reportedly hired a racketeering and conspiracy expert for her grand jury probe, which could ultimately rope in Trump, his former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, his attorney Rudy Giuliani and even Sen. Lindsey Graham, who are all known to have tried to encourage state officials to change the results of Georgia's 2020 Presidential election after Trump lost. That alone is a state felony punishable by a year in jail. With added charges for racketeering and conspiracy, those convicted under those state felony statutes could face 20 years in jail!

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with more on the 10-year anniversary of the still-ongoing disaster at the Fukushima Daichii nuclear plant and several much brighter and more hopeful pieces of news...

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Guest: Public Citizen's Matt Kent on the Congressional Review Act's closing window; Also: IA, GA Repubs pass vote suppression bills; Palm Beach resident Trump votes by absentee...again...
By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2021 6:32pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Democrats could roll back dozens of toxic and/or corrupt Trump-era regulations, many of which had, themselves, rolled back previous regulations. And they can do it with a simple, filibuster-proof majority vote in the U.S. Senate. But they must act quickly. So, what's the hold up? [Audio link to full show follows below summary.]

First up today, however, some quick elections news. Donald Trump, who decried absentee voting for everyone but himself while he lived at the White House and voted by mail unlawfully using Mar-a-Lago as his voting address, had previous claimed it was just fine that he voted by absentee, since he was legitimately not in Palm Beach, Florida to cast his vote.  Well, Palm Beach is holding municipal elections today, and guest which current resident of the town has requested an absentee ballot to vote?

Meanwhile, the post-2020 GOP attempt to roll back access to the ballot is gaining speed in state legislatures across the country. The Brennan Center for Justice cites more than 200 such measures proposed in more than 40 states as of mid-February.  One of them, a bill in Iowa that shortens Early Voting days and polling place hours, among other restrictions, was signed into law by the state's Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds on Monday.  On Tuesday, civil rights groups filed suit.

Down in Georgia, a massive number of restrictions on voting --- most notably, mail-in voting --- are being quickly passed by both chambers of the state General Assembly.  As in Iowa, it's all being done with party line votes, with furious Democrats voting in opposition. On Monday, the GA state Senate passed a bill that, among other things, ends no-excuse absentee voting for most voters, even as 1.3 million took advantage of the convenient (and, during a pandemic, safer) way to vote in last year's Presidential election. But after Democrats won that election in November and both U.S. Senate runoffs in January, Republicans are now hoping to reverse the no-excuse mail-in voting law they themselves passed with their GOP-majority back in 2005. Shamefully, that is not the only new restriction that Republican state lawmakers are trying to enact in the Peach State, with many of the new restrictions aimed at suppressing minority voters.  And, as in Iowa, despite a lack of evidence of any voter fraud in their elections, Republicans are pretending that these new suppression tactics are necessary to prevent voter fraud.

Many provisions of the restrictive bills being pushed through state legislatures would be blocked by the Democrats' major voting rights bill, H.R.1, the "For the People Act" at the federal level.  The bill has already been passed in the U.S. House (with zero GOP votes), but unless the Senate filibuster rules are reformed --- or Joe Manchin comes to his senses (or both) --- the bill will almost certainly fail to overcome Republican opposition in the upper chamber.

At the same time, however, while Democrats are forced to look forward to protect upcoming elections, there are scores of corrupt, dangerous, Trump-era federal regulations that can now be rolled back with a simple majority vote in both chambers of Congress. No need to get 60 votes in the Senate! But Democrats have to act fast to overturn these Trump rules before the clock runs out on the 60 legislative days since the new Congress began which allow for rolling back a previous Administration's regulatory rules under the Clinton-era Congressional Review Act (CRA).

There is an enormous number of measures that Democrats could reverse immediately, enacted at the last minute by the Trump Administration at dozens of federal agencies such as the EPA, Dept. of Interior, Dept. of Energy, USDA, NOAA, Dept. of Justice, Dept. of Transportation, Dept. of Labor, HUD, HHS, the Veterans Administration, DHS and others. But, as Public Citizen has been reporting, the window to repeal parts of "Trump's deregulatory legacy" is quickly closing before an April 4th deadline to introduce simple resolutions for each specific regulatory action they wish to roll back.

We're joined today by MATT KENT, Regulatory Policy Associate at Public Citizen who, with Amit Narang, has been furiously attempting to sound the alarm about all of this (and about the regulations that the Trump Administration screwed up when issuing them, making it even easier for Biden to reverse on his own.)

"Anything completed within 60 legislative days of the end of the preceding Congress --- so, for our purposes, anything the Trump Administration finalized after August 21, 2020 --- anything after that is available to be undone by this Congress," Kent explains. "There's a real opportunity here for the Biden Administration and the Democratic Congress to more or less supercharge their efforts to use the CRA, to really expand the scope of regulations that are available to be removed --- deregulatory action is a better way to put it."

"This is a filibuster buster," he tells me. "This is something you can use to really get around a huge roadblock in the Senate. That's the way it was designed by the Republicans who created the law."

While the non-partisan government watchdog Public Citizen has long opposed the CRA, Kent argues turnabout is fair play. While the law was little used until Trump came to office, Republicans too advantage of it to overturn more than a dozen Obama-era rules. Kent advises it should be used here again, and then "pull up the ladder" to abolish it.

"The sands are moving through the hourglass here," he says, referencing the upcoming CRA deadline before offering some bewildering news: "So far, there have not been any Congressional  Review Act resolutions introduced at all. I am a little surprised that no Democrat has introduced a disapproval resolution."

He predicts "we'll probably see some in the next few weeks, but the pace has definitely been slow." What could possibly explain the hold up? We discuss.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with some more news about rollbacks to Trump-era rollbacks, specifically, in this case, at the Dept. of Interior. That good news, as usual in the GNR, is balanced by some decidedly less good news --- on another bankrupt coal company hoping to pass its toxic mess on to the tax-payers, and a sleazy (and so far, successful) effort by the natural gas industry to block any and all changes to city building codes, meant to combat climate change, around the nation...

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