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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, October 6, 2022
KBJ Defends VRA on 'Originalist' Terms at SCOTUS: 'BradCast' 10/5/22
Guest: Dan Vicuña of Common Cause; Also: Walker revelations prove GOP doesn't care about abortion or think it's 'murder'...
'Green News Report' 10/4/22
  w/ Brad & Desi
Ian's catastrophic damage, death toll; FL climate resilience community passes Ian's test; Biden vows timely, full aid to P.R. after Fiona; PLUS: SCOTUS threatens clean water...
Recent GNRs: 9/29/22 - 9/27/22 - Archives...
New Bill Would Bar Congressmembers, Family from Trading Stocks: 'BradCast' 10/3/22
Guest: Craig Holman; Also: Ian's death toll; Biden in P.R.; Putin's failures; Brazil's lessons...
Sunday 'Think About It' Toons
There's plenty to ponder in PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best political toons...
High Cost of Climate Denial and Collapse of FL's Insurance Industry: 'BradCast' 9/30/22
Guest: Thomas Frank of E&E News; Also: DeSantis suddenly supports federal aid; Big Oil exposed (again) lying about climate change...
Keeping Up With Ian and Trump's GOP Fraudsters: 'BradCast' 9/29/22
Guest: Nicole Sandler from FL; Also: Election tampering charges in MI; Bad days in court for Powell, Dobbs, Fox 'News'; Trump's corrupt MAL judge strikes again...
'Green News Report' 9/29/22
  w/ Brad & Desi
Ian smashes records, pummels FL; Manchin's permitting bill collapses; New probe for PG&E; PLUS: Mysteriioius breaches on Russian pipelines to Europe...
Recent GNRs: 9/27/22 - 9/22/22 - Archives...
KS Abortion Referendum Data Suggest Women Being Under-Counted in Midterm Polling: 'BradCast' 9/28/22
Guest: Tom Bonier of TargetSmart; Also: Hurricane Ian storms ashore in FL...
Critical Elections, Catastrophic Storm Bear Down: 'BradCast' 9/27/22
Poll workers needed!; Ian closing in on FL; Scofflaw TX A.G. flees process server; Congress nears Electoral Count Act update; Listener mail...
'Green News Report' 9/27/22
Ian takes aim at FL; Fiona broke records in Canada; Noru pummels Philippines; Winter fuel prices soar; PLUS: Island nations call for fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty at U.N.
'Gold Standard' SCOTUS Poll Finds Majority of Americans Support Expansion of High Court: 'BradCast' 9/26/22
Also: Disinformationists; Fascism rising; Hurricane Ian threatens FL; Callers ring in...
Sunday 'Heavy Traffic' Toons
Be sure to check PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best toons before crossing state borders. You're welcome!...
Trump, Lindell, Ginni Thomas --- Geniuses All!: 'BradCast' 9/22/22
GOP election conspiracists have bad lawyers; Also: Garland's moving (and telling) remarks at swearing-in of new American citizens...
'Green News Report' 9/22/22
U.N. Sec-Gen wants fossil fuel industry to pay up; New plastics initiative; P.R. still lacking power and clean water; PLUS: Senate approves first climate treaty in decades...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Guest: Ernest A. Canning on that and CA's big step toward socialized medications; Also: Trump's election theft effort on GA prosecutor's mind; GOP Senate nom no longer an election denier (now that he won the nomination); Patagonia gives away the company to save the planet...
By Brad Friedman on 9/16/2022 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The story of why Americans are still paying the health care price (in both blood and treasure) in 2022 for "free market champion" Ronald Reagan's 1987 Executive Order that gave away the tax-payer store to Big Pharma. Plus, a bunch of other somewhat happier stories. [Audio link to full story is posted below this summary.]

First up today, an update in the still-broadening criminal conspiracy probe by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis into Donald Trump's many faceted and failed efforts to steal the 2020 Presidential election in Georgia. With 17 known "targets" in the probe so far, including Rudy Giuliani and 16 fake Trump electors, the prosecutor tells Washington Post in an exclusive interview that there will be more "targets" announced soon and that she believes some are likely "facing prison sentences." She has yet to decide if the former President will be among them, though, with dozens of witnesses who have already been subpoenaed and testified to her Special Grand Jury in Atlanta, Willis says the Grand Jury should wrap up by year's end. A decision whether to call Trump in to testify --- or declare him a target --- is likely "to be made late this fall," she says.

Next, now that far-right retired Brigadier General and dyed-in-the-wool conspiracy theorist Don Bolduc won the GOP nomination in New Hampshire this week to challenge incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan this November, he's...um...re-evaluating some of his previous positions. During a primary debate with fellow GOP candidates before the primary, he proudly denied Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election. "I signed a letter with 120 other Generals and Admirals saying that Trump won the election and, dammit, I stand by my words!," Bolduc bravely declared to cheers from Party faithful. When asked about his position this week on Fox "News," however, after winning the GOP nomination, Bolduc hemmed and hawed his newly discovered belief after "a lot of research on this", finding the 2020 "election was not stolen" and that "President Biden is the legitimate President of this country." Granite Staters will undoubtedly fall for his pretend new "moderate" line, right?

Then, newly reformulated COVID vaccine booster shots from both Pfizer and Moderna, designed to combat both the classic coronavirus and several newer Omicron variants, are now available to the general public in the U.S. The White House and CDC are recommending Americans get the new shot by Halloween to lessen the chance of infection --- or killing your grandmother --- over Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays when a new surge is expected. (They also recommend getting a flu shot at the same time.)

But why are new COVID vaccines even necessary more than two years into the pandemic? One reason is thanks to the fact that, despite tens of billions of tax-payer dollars given by the federal government to private companies for the development of the life-saving vaccines, the private pharmaceutical giants who make them refuse to give up their patent and intellectual property rights to make the vaccines available to the world. That means new variants continue to emerge, leading to more infections and the need for updated vaccines and, yes, more profit for Big Pharma. It's a pretty nice deal...for them.

So, how did we get here? We're joined today by ERNEST A. CANNING, longtime legal analyst at The BRAD BLOG, who recently took a deep dive into a 1987 Executive Order by Ronald Reagan that gifted patents and profits that go with them to huge, for-profit pharmaceutical companies that used tax-payer dollars to develop their inventions. That, from the Republican idol who, ironically, once declared: "We who live in free market societies believe that growth, prosperity and ultimately human fulfillment, are created from the bottom up, not the government down."

The pharmaceutical industry may disagree, even if they won't say so out-loud. "No matter how big a company and how much money was poured in by federal government for research and development, the patent would belong to the giant company," Canning explains. "We've been paying, just in general research, about $28 billion in pharmaceutical R&D every year." Given the "value of those patents," he notes, "we're talking trillions of dollars in a gift, not just tens of billions."

He also explains how all of this came about (beginning with Jimmy Carter) and why its now so difficult for Joe Biden to merely repeal Reagan's Executive Order in regard to the COVID vaccines.

But Canning also offers some brighter news related to patent abuse by Big Pharma, which he also recently wrote about at The BRAD BLOG. In a landmark initiative, the state of California is now fighting back. Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom recently announced the state will begin manufacturing insulin and will make the hundred-year old drug available for just slightly more than it costs to produce. Canning explains why that has become necessary as Big Pharma takes advantage of loopholes in Intellectual Property laws to bilk diabetics with outrageous prices for the inexpensive, life-saving medicine.

Finally, a private company that is --- shockingly enough --- apparently doing the right thing for the country and the world. (What?!) The family that owns outdoor gear brand Patagonia, headed up by its 83-year old founder, announced this week that they will be "making Earth our only shareholder". While the company will remain a for-profit entity, currently valued at around $3 billion, it will now begin giving away all profits --- about $100 million a year --- to two newly created entities, a trust and a non-profit, both devoted to combating our climate crisis.

(Any chance we can coax Patagonia into the pharmaceutical business while we're at it?!)

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: The American Prospect's Harold Meyerson; Also: Rail worker strike looms; Noteworthy primary results from DE, RI, NH...
By Brad Friedman on 9/14/2022 6:32pm PT  

We've got a lot of news, both good and not as good, for labor on today's BradCast. Also, some results of some pretty crazy primary contests on Tuesday from the final three states to hold primary elections this year before November's critical midterms. [Audio link to full show is posted after this summary.]

First up, those primary results in Delaware, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. After a couple of races in DE and RI, we hit the most notable on the night, coming out of the Granite State, where Republican voters have elected another hard-right, conspiracy theorist and election denying loon as their nominee in a U.S. Senate race they might have been able to easily win this fall with a non-insane candidate. Instead, retired Army Brigadier General Don Bolduc --- who wants to abolish the FBI and the 17th Amendment (the direct election of U.S. Senators) and has described the state's popular, relatively moderate Republican Governor Chris Sununu as "a Chinese communist sympathizer” --- will now take on New Hampshire's incumbent Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan in November.

Two hard-right Trumpers also won the GOP nominations for the NH's two U.S. House Seats, each currently held by Democrats. We take a bit of time today to focus on Karoline Leavitt, the apparent winner of the Republican nod in the NH's 1st Congressional District, where she will fake Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas after winning her upset victory against establishment-preferred Trumper Matt Mowers. The 25-year old Leavitt (who, mark my words, will be a new GOP star whether she wins or loses), previously worked in the Trump White House and has clearly taken on the hard-right mantle and obnoxious manner of her former boss. That resulted in an extraordinarily ugly primary battle between her and fellow Trump Administration colleague Mowers for the nomination and the title of who was the Trumpiest of them all. In both the Senate and House GOP primaries, the candidates preferred (and heavily invested in) by Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy lost. Democrats are likely just fine with the results.

Then, railroad workers appear to be ready to go on strike as of 12:01am on Friday, over the horrific working conditions they have been required to endure for years. We detail some of those terrible conditions in advance of what could be a wildly disruptive and expensive work stoppage in advance of the midterm elections, with some 57,000 workers now set to strike barring a breakthrough.

Next, we're joined for some significantly more positive labor news today by The American Prospect's longtime Editor-at-Large, HAROLD MEYERSON to discuss what he describes as a "groundbreaking" new labor law in California to improve the wages and working conditions of some 550,000 fast-food workers in the state. The measure was signed last week, on Labor Day, by the state's Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom.

In addition to setting a $22/hour minimum wage for the state's half-million fast-food workers (adjusted annually to keep up with the consumer price index), AB 257 also mandates the creation of a 10-person Council to oversee working conditions in the sector statewide. The Council, as Meyerson reported recently at The Prospect, would include "two representatives of franchise owners, two from the corporate chains, two fast-food workers, two fast-food 'advocates' (likely SEIU), and two who are the governor’s appointees to head labor-related state agencies."

"It's been really groundbreaking," Meyers explains today, "There's been nothing like it, really, in American history. It sets up what's called sectoral bargaining, in which representatives of workers in an entire industry sit down with representatives of management in the industry, and in this case, with a couple of state officials, as well. And they set standards for the industry...to craft wage and benefit and workplace safety and other standards for every worker in a chain fast-food outlet in California that has at least 100 outlets nationwide. So McDonalds, Jack in the Box, Starbucks, you name it."

That is a huge victory for labor groups like the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and is likely to bring positive change for workers faster than otherwise unionizing hundreds of Taco Bell shops, one at a time.

Along with a helpful dose of American Labor history, Meyerson details how "sectoral bargaining is actually fairly common in Western Europe [where] it evolved on top of a much higher level of unionization of their workers than we have here in the United States." For now, however, as the SEIU has been fighting for a decade to unionize fast-food shops and establish a $15 minimum wage for their workers, the CA state effort is indeed both progressive and ground-breaking.

Of course, that means that an effort is already under way by the franchise industry and other wealthy business interests to shut the whole thing down. If the anti-worker forces in the state can collect enough signatures in the next several months, they can prevent the measure from going into full effect until voters decide on it via a 2024 ballot initiative. Otherwise, as Meyerson explains, "the law goes into effect. They can always then put an initiative on the ballot [in 2024 anyway], but at that point they would effectively be demanding a wage cut for half a million workers and their families."

All of this comes as a new Gallup survey found that, as of Labor Day, support for unions was at 71% among Americans, a nearly 60-year high. That, paradoxically, as just 6% of workers are currently in private unions. Yet, approval for labor unions hasn't been this high since 1965. Interestingly, when Gallup began their annual survey in 1936, amid the Great Depression, approval for labor unions was only one point higher, at 72%.

Lots to digest, I suspect, on today's BradCast. Buckle up...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Dismantling pharmaceutical monopolies begins with repealing his 1987 Executive Order giveaway...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/14/2022 11:05am PT  

We should be both relieved and outraged!

Relieved that, earlier this month, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new round of booster shots specifically re-designed to address new variants of the deadly COVID virus.

Outraged because, despite the expenditure of tens of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars on research and development (R&D), the pharmaceutical industry's refusal to waive its "gifted" patent rights prevented a global rollout of the COVID vaccines. In turn, that refusal resulted in the need for the new booster shots.

Outraged because the industry's refusal to waive their patent rights has produced "excess mortality" with COVID that, as of the beginning of this month, has killed at least 6.5 million people worldwide, with no end in sight.

Outraged because this will, in all likelihood, not be the last newly reconstituted booster shot needed. It is the considered opinion of two thirds of the world's epidemiologists that the failure to provide global vaccinations will give rise to mutations that "could render current COVID vaccines ineffective."

And, yes, the patent rights were, indeed, a gift --- from the United States to the Pharmaceutical Industry...

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




Newsom makes good on vow to manufacture generic drugs, highlighting Big Pharma's long manipulation of Intellectual Property laws for profit...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/29/2022 11:05am PT  

The state of California is embarking on a ground-breaking effort to manufacture and distribute a life-saving drug. The plan also deals a first major blow to private pharmaceutical companies that have long abused the nation's legal system for profit at the expense of the health of the citizenry.

"On my first day in office I signed an Executive Order to put California on a path towards creating our own prescription drugs," Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom declared in a July 7 video posted to Twitter, referencing his inauguration promise in January of 2019. "And now it's happening".

Newsom's statement came in the wake of his approval of a Golden State Budget Proposal that will invest $50 million into development and $50 million more into a State-owned facility that will manufacture and distribute generic (aka biosimilar) insulin to Californians at slightly above cost.

If it succeeds, California, which has the world's 5th largest economy, will not only become the first State, but also the only government, other than Cuba, to embrace the socialized production of generic medications. (Although Cuba develops and manufactures its own generic medications and provides free "preventative medical care, diagnostic tests and medications for hospitalized patients", Pharmacy Times reported, "Cubans pay out-of-pocket for outpatient medications.")

California's progressive Democratic Governor pointed to the extraordinarily high cost of insulin as a form of "market failure" that justifies his embrace of socialized medications. His decision to allow the Golden State to produce its own generic insulin also highlights the immoral manipulation of the nation's patent laws by for-profit drug companies...

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




The Everything-Everywhere-All-At-Once Era continues... And we continue to try and help you (and us) make sense of it all...
By Brad Friedman on 8/18/2022 7:07pm PT  

Years ago, the month of August was considered the slowest news month of the year. Those years are obviously over. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

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

  • There are some huge economic advantages on the horizon for large companies who transition their fleets to all-electric vehicles, including 18-wheelers. A writer at Torque News recently broke down the "staggering economics" in "fuel" savings for a 200-mile trip in the coming-very-soon Tesla Semi. The calculation finds, the costs for such a trip would plummet from about $170 now to just $28 in an all-electric semi-truck, an 83% reduction! (Not to mention the savings in lower maintenance costs "due to no engine and oil changes" and, yes, most critically, savings for the planet in huge cuts to carbon emissions amid our worsening climate crisis!)
  • And speaking of climate emergencies...A new federal study out today from the Dept. of Energy largely confirms several recent independent analyses finding the Democrats' newly-signed Inflation Reduction Act --- which invests nearly $400 billion to move the nation from dirty, deadly fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy --- will cut greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change by about 40% by 2030. It will remove more than one billion tons of heat-trapping gasses, including cutting 35 tons for every one that it adds, according to the study. As we discuss, while there are valid criticisms of the law as passed with several giveaways to the fossil fuel industry in order to win Joe Manchin's vote. But ya gotta start somewhere. And this is a very good start. Want even more climate action? (We do!) Then elect more Democrats to Congress this year, since the IRA passed with the barest of Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress without the support of one single Republican --- a party which still, in 2022, describes climate change as "a hoax"!
  • And speaking of denial...On Tuesday in Wyoming, GOP voters elected a Trump-backed 2020 election denier to become the state's next chief election official. Because no Democrat ran for the job, it means the winner on Tuesday, Chuck Gray, will become WY's next Secretary of State. Of course, it's a very Republican state (Trump won 70% of the vote in 2020), but there are now 2020 election deniers running to become chief state election officials in five battlegrounds states: Mark Finchem (Arizona); Kristina Karamo (Michigan); Kim Crockett (Minnesota); Jim Marchant (Nevada); Audrey Trujillo (New Mexico). While the 2022 election will be about a lot of things, it will likely prove to be about the 2024 election --- and the survival of American democracy --- as much as anything else.
  • And, speaking of even more election deniers...One GOP 2020 election denier who won't be a Republican Party nominee for Secretary of State this year is Tina Peters. She is the Mesa County, Colorado Clerk who has been indicted on 7 felonies and 3 misdemeanors related to making unlawful copies of her county's sensitive Election Management System Software in the middle of the night, and allowing it to be released to the public to make hacking future elections easier. Last month, Peters ran for the GOP nomination to become Colorado Sec. of State. She lost. By a lot. Nonetheless, she raised $250,000 for a statewide recount and...lost again. She gained just 13 votes in the re-tally out of the 90,000 votes needed to defeat the GOP's nominee, Pam Anderson. (Anderson will run against incumbent Democratic Sec. of State Jena Griswold in November.) But Colorado does statewide recounts by employing the same computers to re-tally hand-marked paper ballots that tallied them (either correctly or incorrectly) in the first place, rather than hand-counting them. While Peters is a duped rightwing loon, even duped rightwing loons deserve to know for certain if they won or lost an election. If candidates are willing to follow the law and raise the money to pay for a hand-count, they should be allowed to have one. Such counts will help, not hurt, to regain confidence in our electoral system after it has been so grievously harmed by the lies of Donald Trump and his party.
  • And speaking of hand-recounts...A group of anti-choice activists in Kansas this week had sought a statewide hand-count of the ballot initiative this month that would have rewritten the state Constitutional to allow Republicans to ban abortion rights. The measure failed by a stunning 165,000 votes (18 points), according to computer tallies. But the activists failed to raise the $229,000 needed for a full, statewide count, so they are settling for hand-counts in just nine counties. If supporters of the failed referendum want to spend their money on a hand-count to make sure it really really failed, that's perfectly fine by us, and likely to prove a good thing for our faltering democracy after Trump and his party have worked so hard to undermine confidence in it.
  • And speaking of confidence-men...The Trump Organization's longtime Chief Financial Officer, Allen Weisselberg, pleaded guilty in state court on Thursday to all 15 criminal counts related to tax fraud that he was charged with last year, along with the Trump Organization itself, by the Manhattan District Attorney's office. Weisselberg will not be cooperating with prosecutors in their criminal investigation of Trump himself. But he has agreed, as part of his plea deal, to testify truthfully for the prosecution in the company's upcoming fraud trial in October. If he does so, the 75-year old will then be sentenced to just 5 months in Rikers Island, will have to pay nearly $2 million in taxes, penalties and interest, and face five years of probation. He remains an employee of the Trump Organization even after being indicted and even after pleading guilty to all charges.
  • And speaking of attempts at accountability for the disgraced former President...A federal magistrate judge in Florida --- the same one who signed the FBI's warrant for a search at Mar-a-Lago last week finding "probable cause" that Trump violated the Espionage Act and several other federal statutes --- is considering the release of a redacted version of the affidavit the Dept. of Justice submitted to obtain the warrant. The DoJ strongly objects to its release, even with redactions. Nonetheless, the Judge ordered the Department to submit a redacted version of the affidavit by next week and said during his bench order that he will consider its release in a "careful process".
  • Finally...Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report following President Biden's signing of the largest single investment to take on the climate crisis by any nation. The historic bill was followed by Massachusetts' Governor signing a sweeping new climate and energy law this week. Both new laws can't have come soon enough, as several other stories Desi covers today, regarding unprecedented water worries in the U.S. West, make abundantly clear...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 8/18/2022 10:46am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Inflation Reduction Act's landmark climate action is now the law of the land; Western states hit with unprecedented water cuts; Massachusetts passes sweeping climate and energy bill; PLUS: California proposes big changes amid historic drought... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

GNR's now celebrating 13 YEARS of independent green news, politics, analysis, snarky comment and connecting climate change dots over your public airwaves!
PLEASE CLICK HERE TO HELP US CELEBRATE WITH A DONATION!

Click here to listen or download MP3 (6 mins)...

Link:
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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Hundreds of thousands drop flood insurance as rates rise; Court clears path for Biden oil and gas leasing pause; Judge halts federal coal leasing; Five million in southwest China face power cuts in heatwave; 20 years of data confirm forest fires are getting worse; EU food companies break their plastics promises; San Francisco's salt marsh restoration a stunning success; Ants can be better than pesticides in growing crops; Major cities blighted by nitrogen dioxide pollution... PLUS: Climate change is a secret driver of inflation... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 7/26/2022 10:39am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: State of emergency declared over explosive new Oak Fire near Yosemite National Park; Simultaneous, concurrent heat waves are now six times more frequent, thanks to global warming; PLUS: New study quantifies just how much climate damage rich nations have caused to poor ones... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

GNR's now celebrating 13 YEARS of independent green news, politics, analysis, snarky comment and connecting climate change dots over your public airwaves!
PLEASE CLICK HERE TO HELP US CELEBRATE WITH A DONATION!

Click here to listen or download MP3 (6 mins)...

Link:
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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): The 7 climate tipping points that could change the world forever; Dramatic NASA photos reveal Lake Mead water levels at lowest point since 1937; Gavin Newsom hopes California can become epicenter of wind energy; FPL Secretly Took Over A Florida News Site And Used It To Bash Critics; Air Conditioning Will Not Save Us... PLUS: Is California Carbon Capture Play a Climate Solution or a Ruse?... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 7/14/2022 10:10am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Spain and Portugal hit with driest climate in more than a thousand years; Yes, U.S. summers are getting hotter, longer, and more dangerous; California enacts nation's most sweeping law to phase out single-use plastics; PLUS: Deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest hits new all-time record high... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

GNR's now celebrating 13 YEARS of independent green news, politics, analysis, snarky comment and connecting climate change dots over your public airwaves!
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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Rich nations caused climate harm to poorer ones, study says; Is burying power lines fire-prevention magic, or magical thinking?; Haaland defends Interior policies, cites unused leases; EPA faces legal dead ends after SCOTUS climate decision; Spain and Portugal face fires and locusts; Critics condemn Biden administration move to approve new oil drilling project on Alaska’s North Slope; Midwest wind energy transmission line gets supersized; Advanced E.V. batteries move from labs to mass production; NIH: Common chemicals linked to preterm births... PLUS: Once nearly extinct, bison are now climate heroes... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Also: 'A lot of people are about to get sick' due to 'explosive' Omicron...
By Brad Friedman on 12/16/2021 6:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we cover both COVID and SCOTUS and how to try and stay safe from and/or fight back against the very serious threats now posed by both of these hideous, rogue, all-caps acronyms. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up, it's COVID. Specifically, the Omicron variant, as the CDC finds that, according to their latest data, unvaccinated people are 14 times more likely to die and 11 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than those who are vaccinated. Those numbers seem to refer to those vaccinated by two mRNA shots without a booster shot, which is now key to fighting the quickly rising threat of Omicron.

As Josh Marshall bluntly warns in one of his chilling recent updates on newly emerging data on the new, highly transmissible variant --- which still include a number of unknowns --- "A lot of people are about to get sick."

New studies just coming in from around the world suggest that Omicron is incredibly aggressive, even for those with some immunity from two vaccine shots or previous infection. A booster shot, the studies are finding, help tremendously to ward off both the likelihood of infection, as well as the worst symptoms. Two doses and a booster will roughly offer the same protection against Omicron as two shots alone did against Delta. Marshall reports the data show "late December through January will be explosive in terms of numbers of infections" in the U.S. He repeated a similar warning based on newer incoming data on Omicron last night: "The rate of growth is simply explosive. There’s no other way to put it...we should expect a very, very large wave of infections in the coming weeks...The pace and scope of the surge looks likely to be something like the original one in the Spring of 2020."

Too many people, I believe, have been placating themselves on the somewhat misleading data point suggesting Omicron infection appears to be less severe than previous variants. There are a number of reasons that it could be (including the fact that many now have at least some immunity due to vaccination or antibodies from a previous infection), but the severity level misses the point of the somewhat terrifying transmissibility numbers emerging right now and how that is likely to overwhelm health systems in this country and result in a lot of people dying. A more mild disease that infects 5 times more people is equally or potentially even more deadly.

The current surge under way in the U.S. is still almost entirely comprised of Delta cases. Once Omicron --- which is really good at breaking through immunity created by both infection antibodies and vaccines --- begins to rise over the next 2 to 4 weeks, things could get really bad on several levels. We are already seeing deaths spike again to more than 1,700 a day in the U.S., and that's almost entirely from Delta.

Bottom line: Get boosted. "It's not a marginal difference" from two shots, Marshall advises, based on a very close reading of emerging data and discussion with experts, "It's a big one." He goes on to write: "I would also seriously consider limiting obvious vectors of exposure: indoor activities in large groups, eating indoors, large crowds indoors or out. We all have our own levels of risk aversion and we can’t hide forever. But you should assume that your risk of being exposed to COVID is about to go up a lot. So plan accordingly.

Of course, he's hardly the only one sending this similar message. "All the models right now are flashing bright red," warns New York "Intelligencer" science writer David Wallace-Wells in one of his latest pieces headlined "Omicron is About to Overwhelm Us: The new COVID variant has all the makings of a mass wave." Pay attention please. Get boosted.

Next up, it's SCOTUS. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) penned a blistering --- if absolutely correct on every key point --- op-ed at Boston Globe yesterday, calling for the expansion of the Republicans "packed" and "stolen" and "corrupt" Supreme Court. The call comes not a moment too soon (and, perhaps a year or so too late). Still, it's good to hear elected officials speak as directly about the threat now posed by this corrupted, partisan Court to "basis principles of law" which now "threaten the democratic foundations of our nation."

We share most of her piece on air today. But if you don't listen to the show, read her must-read piece. She breaks down precisely how Mitch McConnell's hypocritical "Republican court-packing has undermined the legitimacy of every action the current court takes" as its illegitimate 6 to 3 rightwing "supermajority will continue to threaten basic liberties for decades to come." Democrats, she advises, must exercise their Constitutional Article III, Section 1 authority to change the size of the Court, as Congress has done at least seven times before. That number doesn't even include what happened after McConnell, corruptly "reduced the size of the court for over a year solely for ... partisan gain and then turned around and jammed through another nominee days before losing the presidency."

But, as welcome as op-eds are, action is better. So we were delighted when, immediately after the Supremes last week once again allowed Texas' clearly unconstitutional six-week abortion ban law to stay in place, the Governor of California announced plans for actual action to push back. If its now judicially acceptable to write laws that both undermine Constitutional rights and evade judicial review by allowing private citizens to enforce it, as the Texas law does, the same can be done with other rights.

On Saturday, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared his intention to "work with the Legislature and the Attorney General on a bill that would create a right of action allowing private citizens to seek injunctive relief, and statutory damages of at least $10,000 per violation plus costs and attorney’s fees, against anyone who manufactures, distributes, or sells an assault weapon or ghost gun kit or parts in the State of California."

"If states can now shield their laws from review by the federal courts that compare assault weapons to Swiss Army knives, then California will use that authority to protect people’s lives, where Texas used it to put women in harm’s way," the Governor noted in his brief statement. "If the most efficient way to keep these devastating weapons off our streets is to add the threat of private lawsuits, we should do just that."

He seems quite serious. And so does New York Attorney General Leticia James who, when asked about whether her state might take similar actions to Newsom's this week on ABC's The View, cited the outrageous immunity against prosecution that gun manufacturer's have been afforded by federal statute to say: "Yes! When I heard about that, I said to my team, we need to follow his lead."

Good. It's remarkable that the extremist radical rightwingers on the High Court either didn't see this coming, or didn't care. Of course, if the Supremes are cool with the Texas law as written, what is to stop any state from allowing "lawful" private, vigilante law suits against people who are simply exercising their First Amendment rights by, say, wearing a MAGA hat or being members of the Republican Party? In truth, nothing stops that at all, which is why Sen. Warren's op-ed is so on point.

Finally, as if those threats are aren't enough, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with more threats to our climate than the Supreme Court should allow us to fit into six minutes...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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House holds Bannon in contempt; TX Lt. Gov. pays out for GOP voter fraud; CA GOP's recall boondoggle; Vets dump Sinema; Manchin could dump Dems; TX steals minority House seats; IL boosts Dems (a little)...
By Brad Friedman on 10/21/2021 6:06pm PT  

We covered a whole bunch of stories on today's BradCast. You'll have to tune in to find out what I have to say about most of them. Suffice to say there was a lot of both good news and bad. Often at the same time. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of this summary.]

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

  • The full U.S. House voted to recommend criminal contempt charges to the DoJ for Steve Bannon's refusal to answer his subpoena for documents and testimony from the House Select Committee investigating Trump's January 6th insurrection.
  • California certifies the results from last month's GOP Gubernatorial recall election, with the state's Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom winning by the exact same percentages --- to the decimal --- that he won his first term back in 2018. Money well spent, Repubs! And thanks for wasting $300 million taxpayer dollars.
  • Five veteran advisors to Arizona's Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema have had enough. They quit her advisory board for service members with a blistering letter citing her obstruction of democracy and the Biden agenda. The progressive veterans group Common Defense has now turned the letter into a TV ad with a seven figure buy to condemn the obstructionist Dem.
  • MoJo's David Corn reports that West Virginia's obstructionist Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has a plan to quit the Democratic Party altogether. Manchin disputes the report. Corn stands by it. Either way, it should serve as a reminder of how fraught things are in the Senate right now, how narrow the Democratic majority is, and how the Senate could see Mitch McConnell and the GOP back in control, literally, at any moment. That, of course, would immediately end any hope of passing any part of the Biden, Democratic and/or progressive agenda. Perhaps there's good reason that President Biden isn't calling out Manchin by name for failing to reform the filibuster as many progressive voting rights activists have been demanding?
  • The GOP's ongoing assault on American democracy continues apace, as they plan to gerrymander their way into the House majority in 2022, and then use that control --- along with new election subversion laws in states they control --- to try and steal the 2024 Presidential election in a way they weren't prepared to do in 2020. All of which should serve as a reminder to every democracy loving American that it's time to step up --- even if it means reconsidering long-held, rock-solid beliefs. For example, that extreme partisan gerrymandering is wrong. It is. But is it wrong if it's needed to actually save American democracy? In Texas, new Republican-adopted Congressional (and state legislative) maps steal seats from minorities, despite the fact that the state's population growth --- and two new U.S. House seats to go with it --- is due almost entirely to minorities. Happily, states like Illinois are not taking the matter (entirely, anyway) lying down.

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 10/21/2021 11:05am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Fossil fuel production 'dangerously out of sync' with global climate targets, U.N. warns; Failure to act on climate change imperils millions of lives, new report finds; California expands emergency drought declaration; PLUS: New study finds cutting U.S. emissions is difficult, but doable, and will lower consumers' energy bills... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): What if Build Back Better builds back worse?; Summer 2021 sets new high for average land temperature; If the U.S. spends big on climate, the rest of the world might follow; COP26: Document leak reveals nations lobbying to change key climate report; Is the UK's green plan enough to halt climate change?; Wildland firefighters struggle with homelessness; Wildfire smoke harms more people in the Eastern U.S. than in the West; How big chemical companies avoid paying for pollution... PLUS: Dammit, coal is back... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Guest: Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA-47); Also: More on media failure to take the rise of Trump/GOP autocracy with the gravity deserved; Callers...
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2021 6:46pm PT  

The good news is that one of the Southern California beaches hit hardest by last week's toxic oil spill reopened today. The bad news comprises the rest of today's BradCast.

The beach at the SoCal town known as Huntington Beach --- in the heart of "Surf City USA" --- was reopened on Monday, after last week's oil spill of anywhere from 25,000 to 144,000 gallons of crude. It leaked from a fractured, 17.5 mile pipeline terminating in Long Beach from a complex of platforms about 5 miles offshore in federal waters. It took anywhere from 10 hours to several days --- we still don't know --- to shut the pipeline down after it cracked, perhaps due to being dragged by a ship anchor along the ocean floor.

But, by the weekend, earlier than expected, there were no longer toxins associated with petroleum at detectable levels in the water off of Huntington Beach, according to officials, even as crews continued to remove tarballs from the sand onshore. That beach, at least for now, has been reopened. Neighboring beaches remain closed to the south, including those at Newport Beach and Laguna Beach. The Orange County Oil Spill was just the latest in a long series of disastrous oil spills that have fowled the CA coastline going back decades, and it has renewed calls to ban offshore drilling in the state.

We're joined today by REP. ALAN LOWENTHAL (D-CA), a member of the House Progressive Caucus whose 47th Congressional District includes Long Beach in Orange County and parts of western L.A. County. Last week, appearing at a news conference with Gov. Gavin Newsom in Huntington Beach just after the spill, Lowenthal called for "a plan to not only stop new drilling, but to figure out how do we stop all drilling that's going on in California." The Congressman joins us today to discuss just that. Long story short, but none of it is easy and for many reasons.

"In California, there have not been any new offshore pipelines in forty years, so there is no new technology. It's all old technology, it's all corroding, it's all waiting for the next disaster to occur," he tells me, before we dive into the murky waters of what would be required to end both leasing and drilling permits at the federal level --- in federal waters, 3 or more miles offshore --- as well as in California waters. Here, the Governor argued last week, it's easy to block new leases (the state hasn't issued any in decades), but shutting down existing platforms and pipelines, and replacing those jobs, is far more difficult.

Lowenthal, who has served in the House since 2013, after many years as a CA Assemblyman and then Senator, is calling for a Congressional probe into the OC Spill and fighting to keep language banning new offshore federal drilling leases in the Democrats' Build Back Better Act. But those provisions could be targeted by West Virginia's fossil fuel friendly Senator Joe Manchin, as Democrats battle with Manchin and Arizona's Kyrsten Sinema to pass Biden's agenda into law. In a best case scenario, the BBB Act would only ban new drilling leases off shore, while permitting existing leases to be developed. Back in the state, on the other hand, a bit more can and should be done, he argues. As we discuss, even the progressive Newsom Administration's oil and gas regulators have approved thousands of new drilling permits on existing leases since the Governor took office in 2019.

"There are two things that California can do," says Lowenthal. "One is to stop the pipelines that come from the federal waters. And the second is not to provide permitting. It's one thing when you say 'no new leases,' but once you already have an existing lease that's developing, there are permits to change the flow, to change the direction and California doesn't have to issue those permits. They can stop it."

There was much more from the Congressman, both enlightening and frustrating at various times. I'll urge you to tune in for the full discussion.

Then, we've been discussing on several recent shows how the media are failing to adequately sound the alarm bells about the terrifying and dangerous rise of rightwing authoritarianism in the U.S., as Trump threatens to run again in 2024 after blatantly trying, but failing, to steal the 2020 election. This time, according to a lengthy and very disturbing monologue from Bill Maher this weekend, he is laying the groundwork to avoid the mistakes he made last time. "He's like a shark that's not gone. Just gone out to sea," Maher warns of the "slow moving coup", before explaining why "we're gonna need a bigger boat," as the GOP is now playing along with his long con. That, as the media begin to repeat many of the very same mistakes they made before his 2016 election.

How can we, in the media, avoid those mistakes and do a better job of informing the nation about the unprecedented assault on democracy itself that we all now face? I really don't know. But we discuss that and open up the phone lines to listeners at the end of today's show to at least begin that critical, much-needed conversation...

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Guest: Laura Deehan of Environment California on SoCal pipeline rupture that spilled at least 126,000 gallons of crude; Also: GOP economic terrorism on 'debt ceiling'; Callers on all of the above...
By Brad Friedman on 10/4/2021 6:25pm PT  

With a long history of fossil fuel disasters up and down the California coastline, another one erupted over the weekend here in Southern California, as we discuss at the top of today's BradCast, along with the latest on the Congressional GOP Caucus threat to tank the U.S. economy by defaulting on trillions of dollars in debt they long ago agreed to incur.

First up, at least 126,000 gallons (approximately 3,000 barrels) of crude spilled into the ocean waters near Huntington Beach, California over the weekend, about 30 minutes south of Los Angeles. The full extent and cause of the damage is currently unknown as we went to air, but it includes a 13-square mile oil slick, dead birds and fish washing ashore, and sensitive ecological preserves along the coastline having been sullied by thick oil and tarballs.

The oil appears to have leaked from some part of a 17.5 mile pipeline which has extended, since the 1980s, from oil drilling and production platforms more than 3 miles offshore, in federal waters overseen by the U.S. Dept. of Interior. The pipeline is one of hundreds running up and down the oil rich CA coastline, where the state has banned new fossil fuel infrastructure, but where, as our guest notes today, the Trump Administration attempted to open up still more dangerous oil production over the past four years. The U.S. Coast Guard is now investigating whether a ship anchor dragging on the ocean floor may have caused the rupture.

We're joined on the program by LAURA DEEHAN, State Director of the non-profit Environment California, for the latest on the state's most recent fossil fuel disaster and what can and should be done about it moving forward.

"We need to get to the bottom of what's happened here," she tells us, adding: "I think our immediate concern is let's protect the wildlife, let's minimize the damage to our beaches and coastline as much as we can right now. But ultimately, of course, we're calling for a permanent end to this activity. Because clearly enough is enough."

Similar disasters have been killing wildlife and covering Southern California beaches in sticky, toxic tarballs for decades. The current spill has now shut down the tourism rich beaches of Huntington Beach, resulted in the cancellation of the third day of an air show on Sunday featuring the Blue Angeles and some 1.5 million spectators, and may similarly affect other beaches in the area from Long Beach to Newport Beach in Orange County in the coming days.

Deehan confirmed that the sensitive, 25-acre Talbert Marsh ecological reserve near Huntington Beach has now been sullied, threatening the lives of dozens of rare and endangered birds and other species. "We clearly need to end our dependence on oil to power our lives as fast as possible. So, we're calling for an end to drilling of the California coast," she explains. "Our coastline is too precious, it's too vulnerable, and we need to prevent anything like this from happening ever again."

So, who is to blame here? The private companies who run the platforms and pipelines (the Elly platform near where the leak occurred is run by a company named Beta Offshore, which is owned by another named Amplify Energy Corp.) Or is the state and/or federal government to blame? It took nearly 24 hours after residents smelled petroleum fumes and reported boats coming into docks with oiled hulls before a response was mounted and the pipeline, eventually, shut down. Dolphins and whales have reportedly been seen swimming through the oil slick ever since.

We discuss all of that and how the Biden Build Back Better agenda, supported by almost the entirety of the Congressional Democratic Caucus, might help to begin making all of these recurring disasters a thing of the past. Eventually. If Dems can overcome a handful of party obstructionists, which largely amount to two Senators, Joe Manchin from West Virginia coal country and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

"When you think about the consequences of NOT ending our dependence on oil, I really think the costs to our society are so much greater," Deehan argues. "We can no longer afford to have these significant negative events, like a massive oil spill off our coast. There are economic impacts from that, too. The coastal communities, the people who want to be able to go surfing, the people who want to visit our Southern California beaches, the tourism industry, the fishing industry. All of these industries are going to lose a lot from this event."

As you might imagine, we'll be keeping our eye on that mess. But, next today, we head back to D.C. for the latest in the GOP's threat to tank the entire U.S. economy --- and the world's with it --- by obstructing Democratic efforts to lift the debt ceiling in order to continue paying off our already existing debt (including $8 trillion in deficit spending approved by Congress during the Trump Administration). The stakes are nothing less than the avoidance of a global fiscal calamity if the U.S. defaults on its debt for the first time in history, as of October 18. President Biden called out Republicans at the White House today for their brinkmanship, asking them to "get out of the way" if they won't help, and arguing that a "meteor is headed to crash into our economy" while the GOP plays "Russian Roulette" with it. Over the weekend, Democratic Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois called out Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for "playing games with a loaded weapon".

We open up the phones to discuss all of the above and more with listeners today...

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Guest: Dr. Christy Brigham, chief science officer at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks; Also: Late breaking COVID news, democracy news, and callers...
By Brad Friedman on 9/20/2021 6:30pm PT  

Today's BradCast is a bit of a grab bag of late updates on stories we've been covering, new breaking news of the day, a fantastic guest from on the ground amid massive wildfires in and near Sequoia National Park and listeners calling in with thoughts about all of the above. [Audio link to the full show follows this summary.]

First up today, just before we get to our guest, a bit of a rant about the not-in-the-least-"conservative" Republicans and rightwingers who forced taxpayers to spend millions to defend the U.S. Capitol from domestic terrorists during Trump's dumb, failed "Justice for J6" rally over the weekend. That's the same not-conservative Republican Party who just forced California tax-payers to cough up nearly $300 million for a sore loser do-over Gubernatorial recall election, where the Governor appears to have received a higher percentage of the vote than he did the first time he ran in 2018, and almost the exact same percentage of the vote by which Joe Biden trounced Donald Trump in the state in 2020. (Little wonder, with California now having the lowest COVID infection rate in the nation, and creating jobs at three times the national rate! Thank you, Governor Newsom! After months of being told by rightwing media --- and non-rightwing media alike --- that the popular governor was unpopular, we hope you'll keep that in mind as the media churns out a similar narrative right now about President Biden.)

Next, we pick up on a breaking story we covered first on Friday's show, as massive wildfires were then encroaching about a mile from the world's oldest and largest tree, known as "General Sherman", one of many majestic, awe-inspiring giants in Sequoia National Park that are as old as 3,000 years, stand as tall as 250 feet, and as wide as 100 feet around at their base.

That tree and thousands of others are being defended right now in the park from fires that have already scorched hundreds of square miles in the national forest, with many of the trees being wrapped, one-by-one in fire-resistant blanketing at their base. We're joined for the latest on this active, potentially unspeakable tragedy by DR. CHRISTY BRIGHAM, Chief of resources management and science at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, which are located about 3 and a half hours north of Los Angeles on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Despite the threats of at least three different, major, converging fires, Brigham reports today that "the news so far is quite good." She explains that "the fire has burned into Giant Forest, but because of five decades of prescribed burning in that forest, the fire really laid down and is not progressing rapidly in the grove." She describes seeing "great fire behavior in that grove, the kind of fire that sequoias like." That new is "quite good," indeed!

In fact, the reason Sequoia's trees are so old and enormous is due to natural, fire-resistant tannins in the bark, which can be as thick as 12 inches. But after decades (centuries!) of fires, holes in the base of the bark can allow fire into the tree, which can kill it. Brigham also explains how climate change is now "at the root of this problem," resulting in fires and dryness the likes of which we've "never seen before in recorded history, or even deep history looking at fire scars."

This, she says, "has changed everything in terms of how we fight wildfire and keep it out of these sequoia groves if we can." Citing more than 10% of the world's giant sequoias that were lost in one single fire in the area last year, Brigham notes four groves of giants have burned in recent days, but that they've yet to be able to get to in order to survey the damage. "Fingers crossed that we won't see terrible outcomes, but we've got a long way to go with this fire still burning, and still threatening a number of groves."

Next up, a number of stories breaking today, including the U.S. easing pandemic travel restrictions on foreign visitors by mandating that they must prove they are fully vaccinated and have been tested within three days of traveling to the U.S., and another related-ish story on Pfizer finding that the use of its COVID vaccine is effective for children between the ages of 4 and 11. The FDA will review their application for emergency authorization in the next few weeks.

We're certain that even COVID vaccine opponents don't want unvaccinated foreign travelers flying into the U.S., right? So, surely they support the Biden Administration's new travel guidelines, right? And, like all of the other vaccines mandated for public school children, the same folks almost certainly support kids being vaccinated amid a deadly pandemic, now featuring a huge Delta variant spike in pediatric infections and deaths, right?

We open the phones today to listeners on all of those topics and more. Please tune in, won't you?...

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Guest: The American Prospect's Harold Meyerson; Also: Senate's 'Freedom to Vote Act' will mandate hand-marked paper ballots for all!...
By Brad Friedman on 9/15/2021 6:19pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: It takes a lot of chutzpah --- and plenty of confidence that corporate media is too cowed to call you out for it --- to continue calling your party a "conservative" one, after forcing state taxpayers to waste almost $300 million to run a special Recall Election that ends with almost the exact same results as the last time Republicans tried to defeat the popular Democratic Governor in an election. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But, yeah, that's what happened on Tuesday. With about three quarters of the vote now tabulated in California, Governor Gavin Newsom has clearly crushed the GOP's attempted Recall Election in California --- by a mile. As of now, the vote to keep the Governor in office is ahead by about 28 points, or 64% to 36%. That's almost the same margin by which President Biden annihilated Donald Trump in the state in 2020, and slightly smaller than Newsom first term victory in 2018. (Though the results may still widen for Newsom before all is said and done with the processing of late Vote-by-Mail ballots and Provisionals over the next few weeks.)

The Governor, who will face a normal reelection contest in just over a year, offered brief remarks after media called the race on Tuesday night. "'No' is not the only thing that was expressed tonight," Newsom told supporters. "I want to focus on what we said ‘yes’ to as a state: We said yes to science, we said yes to vaccines, we said yes to ending this pandemic."

Along with a laundry list of rights and freedoms that progressive California voters "said yes" to, in contrast to the rightwingers hoping to end public health mandates and more, Newsom also noted the state "said yes to people's right to vote without fake fraud or voter suppression."

On Monday, the day before the Recall --- before any results were known at all --- the GOP's top candidate, far-right radio talk show host Larry Elder, unveiled a "Stop CA Fraud" website demanding a special session of the state legislature be convened to "investigate and ameliorate the twisted results of this 2021 Recall Election." That would have been unknown results, at the time, which he disingenuously charged included "improperly formed ballots"; "instances of undocumented ballots"; and "statistical analyses [that] have detected fraud in California resulting in Governor Gavin Newsom being reinstated as governor." Without such a special session --- presumably at an even higher "conservative" cost to taxpayers --- Elder's campaign threatened use of the "ammo-box."

Hours after most media outlets had called the race for Newsom on Tuesday night --- after Fox "News" had quickly pulled down all of their Election Night incoming results numbers in order to pretend there had been no election at all that day --- Elder finally conceded and encouraged supporters to be "gracious in defeat". But, after lying about "fraud" in the election and threatening use of the "ammo-box", he should receive zero credit for those remarks. He then pledged that, though he "may have lost the battle, we are going to win the war."

We're joined today by longtime Editor of The American Prospect, former Editor of L.A. Weekly and frequent Los Angeles Times contributor HAROLD MEYERSON. We discuss whatever lessons may be learned from the Recall for both Democrats and Republicans in the state, as well as across the nation, as we head into next year's mid-term elections and, as Meyerson writes at The Prospect today, "the California GOP has gone down the same rathole as the rest of the Trumpified horde."

"They're saying Larry Elder is now the dominant figure in the California Republican Party," Meyerson observes, regarding GOP hopes for a rematch against Newsom next year. "If you want your party leader, your standard bearer, your best electoral prospect to come into the next race trailing by four to five million votes --- okay! Take it away!"

We also discuss why and how California's 100-year old, once well-intentioned progressive Recall and Ballot Initiative process needs to be overhauled in the state, where it should have been done by Democrats years ago.

Finally, in a BradCast with way more good news than we are accustomed to these days, more good news on the Senate Democrats' newly unveiled election reform compromise bill known as the "Freedom to Vote Act". We summarized the wildly encouraging key points of the new bill, crafted by eight Senate Dems including Joe Manchin, on yesterday's program. But, we didn't have the legislative text at the time to report on whether the summary's promise of "Voter-Verified Paper Ballots," would truly offer the long-overdue right to a hand-marked paper ballot for all voters across the country, or whether the legislation would offer gaping holes on that point, as the Dems' otherwise excellent For the People Act --- on which the Freedom to Vote Act is based --- currently does.

On that point, now that we've seen the actual text of the proposed 592-page bill [PDF], we can happily report the good news that the new legislation does, on page 318, appear to promise long-overdue HMPBs for all "at every in-person voting location" in the country! Passage of this bill --- if Dems can figure out how to get Manchin's permission to reform the filibuster to do it --- would be the most transformative legislation for American democracy since the Voting Rights Act of 1965...and could, arguably, even out do it!

Let's get the "Freedom to Vote Act" passed, ASAP!!!

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