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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, April 23, 2024
'Election Fraud, Pure and Simple': 'BradCast' 4/23/24
Trump NY criminal trial update; Also: SCOTUS nixes Lake's 2022 fraud claims; WI U.S. Senate candidate 'doesn't oppose' elderly voters; Trump/RNC's 'election integrity' plan; AZ GOP Rep's apparent petition fraud...
'Green News Report' 4/23/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Europe's record rate of warming; Plastic manufacturing's effect on global warming; Biden unveils American Climate Corps, Solar For All, and a slew of new actions on conservation...
Previous GNRs: 4/18/24 - 4/16/24 - Archives...
'First Domino Falls' in UAW Effort to Unionize the South: 'BradCast' 4/22/24
Guest: Labor journo Steven Greenhouse; Also: House passes Ukraine aid; Prosecutors accuse Trump of 2016 'election fraud' in NY trial...
Sunday 'Popcorn Ready' Toons
THIS WEEK: Stormy outlook ... Abortion wrongs ... American values ... Earth Day ... And much more in our latest collection of the week's best political toons!...
Bad Climate News for Home, Car Owners; Good Labor News for Workers in the South: 'BradCast' 4/18/24
Also: Jury seated in NY; NV okays abortion initiative; OH Repubs block Biden from ballot...
'Green News Report' 4/18/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Deluge in Dubai; Climate impacts to cost trillions per year; New lightbulb efficiency standards; PLUS: Biden Admin cracks down on toxic silica dust to protect workers' lungs...
Previous GNRs: 4/16/24 - 4/11/24 - Archives...
SCOTUS Suddenly Worried About Overcriminalization ... for J6 Insurrectionists: 'BradCast' 4/17/24
Guest: LawDork's Chris Geidner; Also: GOP impeachment ends; Turnout doubles in AL...
'Trump Media' Plummeting, MAGA Buyers Losing Life Savings: 'BradCast' 4/16/24
Also: Trump's ridiculous 'immunity'; 7 jurors seated in NY criminal trial; Repubs deliver impeachment to Senate; Smartmatic, OAN settle 2020 defamation suit...
'Green News Report' 4/16/24
Record ocean heat bleaching corals worldwide; EV charging roads in Indiana; Biden raising drilling, mining royalties for first time in a century; PLUS: A marine mystery in Florida...
Trump's First Criminal Trial, for Cheating in 2016, Begins in NY: 'BradCast' 4/15/24
Special coverage of an historic day with Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos...
Sunday 'Party Like It's 1864' Toons
THIS WEEK: Bad politics, good toonery and at least one wake-up call, in our latest collection of the week's best toons!...
Biden Closes 'Gun Show Loophole'; Repubs Turn Desperate: 'BradCast' 4/11/24
RNC Chair says Ukraine our enemy; GA Lt. Guv faces probe; Fox hides AZ abortion ruling, Hannity blames Dems; WI Justice to retire...
'Green News Report' 4/11/24
10th hottest month ever in a row; Swiss climate inaction violates human rights; PLUS: EPA crack down on airborne chemical plant pollution, 'forever chemicals' in drinking water...
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...


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

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

Among our stories today...

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Reformed 'Ultra-MAGA' member Rich Logis on 'Leaving MAGA'; Also: Is this the week the tide finally begins to turn against Trump?...
By Brad Friedman on 1/29/2024 6:06pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Escaping MAGA and whether real accountability for the former President's many crimes and civil verdicts might finally begin to bend the curve against him from within his own party and from his own supporters. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

On Friday, a nine-member federal jury in New York ordered Donald Trump to pay an additional $83.3 million to writer E. Jean Carroll, who an earlier 9-member jury determined last year that he had sexually assaulted and repeatedly defamed. The original verdict cost him $5 million, but wasn't enough to stop the repeated defamation of Carroll.

All of this comes on the cusp of a completely separate verdict in a state case in NY where the judge has already determined Trump committed massive fraud by falsely inflating his assets to receive more favorable rates on bank loans, insurance and taxes. The State A.G. has asked that the judge now find Trump and his companies and his top executives (including his two eldest sons) liable for at least $370 million. That ruling is likely to come any day now.

A hundred million here, a hundred million there, and, before ya know it, you're talking about real money. Even for a "billionaire" like Trump. But will any of it make a difference to Trump's most ardent supporters? How about the few Republicans left who are neither Never Trumpers nor hardcore MAGA? Will they finally take notice? Might these rulings begin to make a difference in GOP primary polling, as the disgraced former President continues to be the party's front-running nominee for the 2024 Presidential election?

For thoughts on all of that and much more, we're delighted to be joined again today by RICH LOGIS, a former hardcore MAGA member himself who voted for Trump in both 2016 and 2020, before eventually coming to terms with the fact that he had become captive to what is a far-right political cult. (Our first conversation with him, with more details on that, was in October last year.)

Logis now runs PerfectOurUnion.us, devoted to "healing political trauma" and "building diverse, pro-democracy alliances". Today, he offers his insight, as a reformed MAGA member and former Republican pundit, on whether any of the recent verdicts against Trump --- and/or those that are still to come in the four separate criminal felony cases he is facing this year --- might finally begin to turn the tide away from the GOP's cult leader.

We also discuss Logis' thoughts published recently at Salon, on why the MAGA crowd is so gullible to mythologization and race-baiting, and how even Nikki Haley is now tapping into the same bloodstream to capitalize on a party that has long been captured (well before Trump) by racist polarization and "White fright".

Logis is now creating a new organization specifically devoted to "Leaving MAGA" and we begin the important discussion of how to help those captured by MAGA find their way out, and what friends and family members may be able to do to begin helping their loved ones find their way home.

"As someone who was in MAGA for seven years," he tells me, "Most MAGA voters are good people, deep down. But, unfortunately, the relationship between most MAGA Americans and Donald Trump is a very toxic one. While I don't defend ignorance, MAGA Americans have been traumatized by Trump and the rightwing and the Republican Party. They just have a skill set at keeping MAGA Americans desperate and panicked."

But, he insists optimistically, "if someone got into MAGA, they can get out of it." His own catalyst came after coming to terms with the fact that his own Governor, Ron DeSantis, who he had previously supported, was willing to let people die by lying to them about COVID vaccines in 2021.

"If someone who is very pro-MAGA speaks to someone who is very anti-MAGA, I guarantee, if they speak long enough, they're going to find some issues that they have some common ground and agreement on." He cautions, however, that vilification doesn't work. If it did, "everybody would have left at this point."

"It's going to take time," Logis insists. But he believes "there are more out there who are in the nascent stages of remorse. Because ultimately the strength of the numbers in Leaving MAGA will be in how many we can encourage and empower to leave and tell their stories publicly."

Until his new organization is formally unveiled, he asks folks to contact him at his website. This conversation will continue, I hope. Because it must...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Haley notches small victory in Dixville, NH; 2020 mistallies in VA benefited Trump; Deadly, climate-fueled storms slam nation...
By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2024 4:12pm PT  

As noted on today's BradCast, CBS News' legendary radio and TV broadcaster Charles Osgood has passed away at age 91. Other than that, we've got some arguably much brighter news throughout the bulk of today's program. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many stories covered today...

  • Last night, just after midnight, Nikki Haley won every single vote cast in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, the first town in the state to vote in the state's first-in-the-nation Primary on Tuesday. They had a 100% turnout. Haley won all 6 votes. Donald Trump won 0. We discuss why that matters (and doesn't). Voters across the entire state are voting today on hand-marked paper ballots. In Dixville Notch --- and about 40% of towns in the state --- ballots are publicly hand-counted by human beings after polls close. The rest of the towns, the larger ones in general, are tallied by 15 or 20-year old computerized optical scanners. Though, due to a write-in campaign for Joe Biden in the state, where there is no officially sanctioned Democratic primary, most of those towns will be hand-counting a lot of ballots as well. We'll have full reported results out of NH --- and why they matter (or don't) --- on tomorrow's show, of course.
  • For years, Republicans have been citing evidence of miscounted votes in Prince William County, Virginia as evidence of massive fraud in the 2020 Presidential race. The state's Republican A.G., after taking office in 2022, even filed criminal charges against the County's Registrar. Recently, however, the charges were unceremoniously dropped. And now we learn that, due to largely understandable tabulation errors, Joe Biden should have received 1,648 more votes than he was credited for, and that Donald Trump was given 2,327 votes that he shouldn't have, in a county that Biden won by more than 60,000 votes --- in a state where the Democrat won the Presidential race by some 450,000 votes. Races for U.S. Senate and U.S. House were also affected by the counting errors, though none of errors would reportedly have changed the results of any contest. We explain the whole mess.
  • We've got quite a bit of good news for you today when it comes to redistricting and rolling back GOP racial and partisan gerrymanders! In North Dakota, a federal judge has ordered new state legislative map after Republicans, following the 2020 Census, cracked two Native American reservations into different districts in order to flip both state House and Senate seats from D to R. It worked in 2022. But now, the judge has ordered not only new maps, but also new elections this fall in the districts found to have been in violation of the Voting Rights Act.
  • Louisiana's new Republican Governor approved a new U.S. House map for the state this week, after the GOP state legislature finally adopted it last week, following a federal court order to draw an additional majority-Black voting district in the state. The Republican-controlled legislature previously had just 1 such district out of its 6 Congressional seats, despite African-Americans accounting for nearly a third of the statewide population. GOP lawmakers only agreed to do so after many appeals, and after realizing that if they didn't draw up their own maps, the court would do it for them. The new map will likely result in an additional Democratic member of Congress from the Bayou State next year.
  • And, in Wisconsin last week, voters filed a motion with the state's newly liberal-leaning Supreme Court seeking a new U.S. House map in time for the 2024 elections. Last month, the state's high court agreed with petitioners that the state GOP's state legislative maps for the Assembly and Senate, in place for more than a decade, were unlawful gerrymanders in violation of state Constitutional requirements. The new motion filed last week asks the same Supreme Court to order a new U.S. House map as well, on the same basis that the Justices determined the state legislative districts were unconstitutional. Petitioners argue that the unconstitutional and politically gerrymandered map resulted in Republicans winning 75% of the state’s Congressional seats despite winning just 50% of the statewide vote in the 2022 election. That year, the closely divided, if Dem-leaning Presidential battleground state also re-elected its Democratic Governor in the same statewide election.
  • Finally today, San Diego was deluged on Monday with a year's worth of rain in a matter of three hours, overwhelming infrastructure in the usually mild Southern California city. But, as discussed in our latest Green News Report today with Desi Doyen, it was just one of dozens of cities across the U.S. in recent weeks where infrastructure has been hammered by climate change-fueled extreme Winter weather. Nearly 100 have been killed in the recent storms in a number of states as of airtime. That, as Big Oil gears up a multi-million ad blitz to hoax Americans into supporting fossil fuel friendly candidates in 2024, as the unstoppable transition to clean, renewable energy is finally underway...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: ACLU voting rights attorney Jonathan Topaz; Also: Israel-Hamas truce extended for two more days amid more hostage releases...
By Brad Friedman on 11/27/2023 6:05pm PT  

We're back live on today's BradCast after a much-needed holiday break. Thanks to those of you who helped us avoid disaster last week! Now the question is whether we'll be able to avoid disaster in next year's Presidential election where we will have "as stark a choice as the United States has ever faced."

A lot happened while we were off (as usual), but none as critical, as far as I'm concerned, as the mind-blowing ruling issued last week by a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal, upholding an insane lower U.S. District Court Judge's ruling in an Arkansas voting rights case.

The lawsuit, filed by the NAACP, challenges Arkansas' gerrymandered legislative maps which should --- if the rule of law and Constitution mean anything anymore --- include another five Black-majority voting districts before the 2024 elections.

However, last year, a Trump-appointed District Court Judge, while recognizing the merits of the case, found for the first time in U.S. history that individual voters and private organizations like the NAACP and ACLU have no "right to private action" to sue against violations of Section 2 of the landmark Voting Rights Act. The lower court judge found that only the U.S. Attorney General may sue to block racially discriminatory laws under Section 2. And, last week, incredibly enough, that ruling was upheld by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals panel featuring two Trump judges and one George W. Bush appointed judge.

We're joined today by JONATHAN TOPAZ, Staff Attorney at the ACLU's Voting Rights Project, who worked on the case at both the district and appellate court level. He explains that the District Court ruling "was the first court in the history of the United States to determine that Section 2 lacked a private right of action, which means that private plaintiffs are unable to vindicate their rights under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. This, at the time, and is today, is an incredibly radical ruling. We appealed, because it had no basis in the text and structure of the Voting Rights Act, it had no basis in the precedent, and it certainly had no basis in the practice of decades and decades of private plaintiffs bringing suits to vindicate the incredibly important right to vote free of racial discrimination under the Voting Rights Act."

But, as Topaz goes on to explain, it got worse. Last week "a divided panel of the 8th Circuit voted to affirm the District Court's finding. So now these are the only two courts in the history of the United States that have ever made such a finding."

Indeed, the arguably even more "conservative" 5th Circuit Court of Appeal, recently found the opposite, that private plaintiffs do have the right to sue. So, the 8th Circuit Court is an outlier, with what Topaz describes as "a radical opinion on appeal to the voters of Arkansas and voters around the country."

What happens next? What will it mean if it is upheld by SCOTUS? What are the chances of that actually happening? How can it be that neither SCOTUS nor Congress nor dozens and dozens of courts have previously noticed this flaw in the VRA over the past six decades? And, if SCOTUS does find in favor of the 8th Circuit, what will that mean for the hundreds of Section 2 cases previously decided in favor of private plaintiffs? Tune in for answers to all of those questions and many more.

Also today, a bit of what suffices for "good news" out of the Middle East on Monday, as Israel and Hamas agreed to extend their four-day pause in hostilities for another two days to allow for the release of more hostages from Gaza and more Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons.

That largely encouraging news, however, is somewhat tempered by events back here in the U.S. over the weekend, where three Palestinian students were shot at close range in otherwise peaceful Burlington, Vermont. The three young men, all 20 years old, were heading to dinner at one of the men's grandmother's house. A suspect was arrested on Sunday. We discuss.

Then, we open things up to listeners via phone and email in our closing few minutes...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Grim news in Maine, Acapulco and the U.S. House, followed by much better news in Colorado, Georgia, and for union workers of the UAW...
By Brad Friedman on 10/26/2023 6:54pm PT  

I promise, things get brighter after the first segment of today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among our stories, first grim, and then much less so, today...

  • We begin with the horrible news out of Lewiston, Maine, following Wednesday night's mass shootings that have, so far, resulted in 18 dead and another 13 wounded, with several still in critical condition. The state was largely shut down as of airtime, with a broad, statewide manhunt underway for the suspect who is alleged to have had serious mental health issues...but was still able to obtain a deadly, high-powered, military-style assault rifle for his rampage somehow, because...freedom!
  • Similarly grim news out of Acapulco, where a climate change-fueled Hurricane Otis experienced explosive intensification off the Pacific Coast this week, as it spun up from Tropical Storm to a catastrophic Category 5 in just twelve hours time. As of airtime, 27 were confirmed dead in Mexico, with searches underway for more missing as authorities struggle to clear major roads of knee-deep mud and restore power to the battered resort city and nearby villages.
  • All of that, amid what is likely to be the hottest year ever recorded, as Republicans in the U.S. House just elected a long-time climate science denier from the oil and gas state of Louisiana to be House Speaker. Rep. Mike Johnson received more money last year from the fossil fuel industry than any other. Since 2018, the far-right religious zealot has received some $240,000 from the industry. Some of it, as it turns out, came --- unlawfully --- from Russian oligarchs, according to FEC investigators last year.
  • IN BRIGHTER NEWS...A federal judge in Georgia has ordered the state's legislature to reconvene to redraw its Congressional and state legislative maps before 2024, after being found in violation of the Voting Rights Act. The state must now add new Black-majority voting districts to all three of its maps. The judge's 516-page(!) ruling [PDF] issued today, finds the Republican-controlled legislature drew new maps following the 2020 Census which completely ignored the fact that ALL of the state's population growth since 2010 has been among the non-white population. U.S. District Judge Steven Jones has ordered one new Black-majority Congressional district, two new districts in the state Senate, and five for the state House by December 8, or he would have the maps drawn himself.
  • More good news for U.S. Constitution lovers, this time in Colorado, where a state judge ruled on Wednesday that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, the "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause", is self-executing. In other words, public officials who have "engaged in insurrection" are simply disqualified from running for public office, even without a federal law detailing precise enforcement of the provision. Donald Trump, whose qualifications for the 2024 Presidential ballot have been challenged in a state lawsuit, argued to the contrary. But he lost. Next week, a hearing will be held to determine if the former President "engaged in insurrection", as per the Constitutional Amendment. Similar challenges to Trump's eligibility for office are also pending in Michigan and Minnesota.
  • And good news for striking autoworkers, as the United Auto Workers union announced on Wednesday night that they reached a tentative agreement with Ford. The new four-year contract, if approved by workers, will boost base pay by at least 25%, increase starting hourly wages to $28/hour and includes a myriad of other benefits sought by the labor union. It is hoped that the agreement will also pressure management for a similar contract at the other two "Big Three" automakers, G.M. and Stellantis, where the UAW also began its walk-outs about six weeks ago. Chalk up yet another in a series of very big wins for organized labor over the past year!
  • Finally, both good news and bad, as usual, with Desi Doyen in our latest Green News Report. She has more on Hurricane Otis; more on our new climate denying U.S. House Speaker; More on Big Oil doubling down before the bottom falls out for the industry; and an encouraging projection from a normally very conservative international body for the beginning of the end of fossil fuels...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Admin urges Israel to allow aid in, foreign nationals out as death toll rises, situation grows dire; Also: 6-year old Palestinian boy killed by angry rightwinger in IL; Admin settles suit over Trump's child separation policy...
By Brad Friedman on 10/16/2023 5:57pm PT  

It was another necessarily grim BradCast today, as conditions worsen and the death toll rises in Gaza while Israel continues relentless airstrikes in the wake of Hamas' horrific attack over one week ago. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Hundreds of innocent civilians, including women and children, have been killed over the past week in the Gaza Strip in advance of Israel's likely ground invasion. Food, water, medical supplies and fuel remains cut off to the territory of 2.3 million, with supplies now running dangerously low. The U.S., along with the U.N. and human rights organizations are calling for humanitarian aid to be allowed in, and for innocent victims and foreign nations to be allowed out of the region. The death toll is now in the thousands and 30 Americans have been confirmed as killed.

Hopefully, as grim as it may be, today's program is an insightful one, with both accurate news and a number of spirited conversations with callers. You'll be the judge of the that.

Among just some of the stories we covered before opening our phone lines to listeners today...

  • Washington Post: "U.S. signals push to ease Gaza humanitarian crisis"
  • U.S. State Dept: Secretary Antony Blinken's Remarks to the Press in Cairo on Sunday
  • CBS' 60 Minutes: Interview with Joe Biden on Israel-Hamas conflict
  • Reuters: "Slain Palestinian boy mourned in Illinois after suspect appears in court"
  • NBC News: "Suspect in death of 6-year-old Palestinian American boy was obsessed with Israel-Hamas war, prosecutors say"
  • NYTimes letter from Fadi Abu Shammala: "What More Must the Children of Gaza Suffer?"
  • AP News: "Settlement over Trump family separations at the border seeks to limit future separations for 8 years"

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Election officials grapple with Trump's Constitutional ballot disqualification; Also: Proud Boy boss gets 22 years for 1/6; Courts order lawless AL, FL to restore Black-majority U.S. House Districts...
By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2023 6:24pm PT  

We're back! Both on today's BradCast and even in L.A., after fleeing the state last month to avoid weeks of construction on the roof of the apartment housing our home studio. To no one's surprise, the work is taking longer than we were told, so please pardon our efforts this week to work around it as best as possible after taking last week off to both avoid it and to enjoy the last days of Summer 2023 before the 2024 fight for Democracy (represented this year by Democrats) and Autocracy (represented by a lawless Republican party) begins in earnest.

Among our stories today...

  • Enrique Tarrio, former head of the far-right Proud Boys gang was sentenced to 22 year in federal prison on Tuesday following his conviction for Seditious Conspiracy for his role in the January 6th, 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection. It's the longest sentence for any of the MAGA insurrectionists to date. Also, of note, Tarrio wasn't even in Washington D.C. that day. Point taken: One didn't need to be personally smashing windows and storming the Capitol to be held to serious account for what happened that day. Got it. Hopefully other jurors in other upcoming related cases will get it as well.
  • The federal Courts are still holding. Mostly. For now. On Tuesday, a three-judge panel found that Alabama Republicans blatantly defied an order from the U.S. Supreme Court to add another Black-majority district to their U.S. House map. The SCOTUS order to do so --- after finding the state violated both the U.S. Constitution and Voting Rights Act with their racially gerrymandered districts --- came in Allen v. Milligan [PDF] in early June. Alabama didn't care. In an unprecedented move, they gave the finger to the Court and drew up a new map with the very same deficiencies featuring just one Black-majority district out of seven, in a state where some 27% of residents are Black. The federal court panel has now assigned a Special Master to draw U.S. House districts for the state, after a lawless Gov. Kay Ivey joined with lawless legislators in the gerrymandered statehouse to defy SCOTUS, the Rule of Law and the U.S. Constitution. Alabama is now appealing the ruling to the same U.S. Supreme Court Justices who rejected their arguments barely three months ago.
  • The story is similar in authoritarian Governor and Presidential candidate Ron DeSantis' lawless state of Florida this weekend. In this case, a state court judge on Saturday ordered the state legislature to draw a new U.S. House map restoring a Black-majority district in Northern Florida that DeSantis had personally ordered state lawmakers to break into pieces and divvy up its Black voters into White Republican districts. The weekend's court order would seem to be good news. However, the State will now appeal the ruling directly to its Supreme Court where DeSantis has hand-picked a majority of the Justices. As we have long been warning, the fight between Democracy and Autocracy (or Fascism, as one of our longtime listeners insists), continues into 2024.
  • Next, I finally catch up with a bunch of news on a growing story --- some of which we've been discussing over the past two years --- that I've otherwise been trying to get to for weeks, but for all of the various indictments, hurricanes, wildfires, debates, etc. continually sidetracking me. The news has to do with the continuing feeling I have that Donald Trump will ultimately not be on the ballot come next November. As noted, that's not a prediction or an inside scoop. It's simply a feeling for now, but one that I can't shake as an increasingly swelling body of evidence seems to support its possibility.

    Today, that evidence includes polling last month finding nearly two-thirds of Americans say they will either "definitely" (53%) or "probably" (11%) not support Trump in 2024. Might such numbers begin to grab the notice of Republican Primary voters? (So far, the answer is largely no. But we've got a long way to go --- and a lot of criminal trials --- before the GOP's nominating convention next July.) There are already a number of high profile Republicans calling on Trump to drop out of the race or noting that he very well may be Constitutionally disqualified entirely from the ballot.

    It is that part of this story today --- disqualification from the ballot via Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution for his role in the January 6 Insurrection --- that we focus on today. Namely, the far-right, Federalist Society legal scholars who recently issued a 126-page law review paper [PDF] finding Trump to be Constitutionally ineligible for the ballot --- "cannot be president --- cannot run for president, cannot become president, cannot hold office" --- due to his roll in the January 6 insurrection.

    And now, there is a host of state Secretaries of State --- both Republican and Democratic --- around the country who are currently or soon to be grappling with the decision as to whether Trump is even eligible to be on their state ballots in 2024.

    Among those Secretary of State's discussed today, after they recently offered various opinions on the matter: New Hampshire's David Scanlan (R); Ohio's Frank LaRose (R); Arizona's Adrian Fontes (D), New Mexico's Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D); Maine's Shenna Bellows (D) and Michigan's Jocelyn Benson (D). (Benson gets credit for the first part of today's headline. REO Speedwagon gets credit for the alternate hed.)

    I welcome your feelings on this matter as well. Feel free to drop me an email or a note in comments and perhaps I'll share it on air in the days ahead.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen is back as well, of course, with our latest Green News Report, catching up with a bunch of stuff we missed while we were out, and as the Summer of Climate Disasters turns to...well, most likely the Autumn of Climate Disasters...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Actors on strike; Contraceptives for sale; GOP megadonors blown off; New U.S. House maps for NY; Free tuition at UNC; Biden's new student loan repayment plan; And much more...
By Brad Friedman on 7/13/2023 6:30pm PT  

We not only cover a whole bunch of news stories on today's BradCast, we also explain what they mean and why they matter. As always, we want you to not only know what happened, but understand why it did and what can be done about it, so you can pass that important information on to others. [Audio link to full program follows this summary.]

Among the many stories both reported and explained on today's program...

  • Film and TV actors of SAG-AFTRA join the Writers Guild of America (WGA) in going on strike against producers in hopes of proper payment and residuals for streaming services and AI usage, among other appropriate demands.
  • We take another quick spin through my new favorite website --- FoxWeather.com --- where they report on all of the catastrophic effects of climate change now devastating much of the planet, but because Fox hates its duped readers and viewers so much, they never even once explain why all of these disasters are now happening. (Hint for Fox "News" dupes, if I'm lucky enough that you stopped by: It's the climate change, stupid, as caused by the burning of fossil fuels.)
  • The Biden FDA approves the first ever over-the-counter birth control pill. Happily, this should be bring the abortion rate way down. So, rightwingers will be delighted with this news, right?
  • Dumb GOP megadonors in Illinois lose their ill-considered fight to prevent the use of clean, electric leaf blowers on their 22-acre estate. But it's a win for their neighbors and for the rest of us. (And even for them, whether they too dumb to know it or not!)
  • A state court orders New York to redraw U.S. House maps before the 2024 elections. That alone could end up flipping the House back to Democratic control next year, after the GOP flipped four NY seats from "blue" to "red" last year, after the state court blocked an attempted Democratic gerrymander. It's complicated.
  • Great news for North Carolina residents! After Republicans on the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court recently blocked Affirmative Action for college admissions at the University of North Carolina (and everywhere else in the bargain), the school has announced it will be offering FREE tuition to many in-state students "as part of their continued effort to boost diversity".
  • Late last month, the corrupt rightwing SCOTUS majority used their recently invented-from-whole-cloth "Major Questions Doctrine" to block the Biden Administration from using the specific text of the federal HEROES Act to forgive up to $20,000 in student loans to borrowers. The President has announced a new plan to use a different law to accomplish even broader forgiveness, though it will take a bit more time than his initial plan. In the meantime, beginning next month, a newly restructured repayment plan for loans will allow millions to pay just $0 a month (you read that right) without seeing any interest added. Their entire loan may then be considered as paid in full after 10 years. We break down the key details of the new plan and how Republicans are already attempting to undermine it, because they hate people who aren't millionaires or billionaires.
  • Finally, it's our latest disturbing Green News Report with Desi Doyen here to drive you crazy as the summer of climate catastrophes continue. Among our coverage: another major insurer flees Florida; California works out a deal with manufacturers to phase out polluting big rigs; and the U.S. becomes the blackout capital of the world, thanks to the many failures of natural gas...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern of Slate on that and other 'Major Questions' from our radical, activist, corrupted U.S. Supreme Court...
By Brad Friedman on 7/12/2023 6:35pm PT  

It's been too long, but we're delighted to have one of our favorite guests back on today's BradCast! [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But first, in a rare, one day only special session of the State Legislature called by Iowa's Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday, GOP lawmakers in the Hawkeye State hastily adopted a ban on almost all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, before most know they are even pregnant.

Reynolds had the temerity to declare that "the voices of Iowans and their democratically elected representatives cannot be ignored any longer." That, despite recent state polling finding that 61% of voters in Iowa support legal abortion in all or most cases, with just 35% saying it should be banned.

Well, the "elected representatives" have now been heard --- Reynolds plans to sign the measure on Friday, when it will immediately take effect --- but the voices of Iowans certainly haven't. The new law was passed with only Republican votes. It allows limited exceptions after 6 weeks in some cases of rape, incest and certain medical emergencies. A lawsuit by proponents of reproductive freedom was filed today. We explain the details and the news that former Vice President and current 2024 GOP candidate for President, Mike Pence, is both calling for a similar ban at the federal level and believes abortion should be banned even when a pregnancy is not viable and doctors have determined a baby cannot survive outside of the womb. (None of the other 2024 GOP candidates has been willing to say they disagree with Pence.)

That cruelty, unfortunately, is now par for the course in the Republican Party, and is reflected in similar legislative bans on reproductive freedoms now in at least 17 states just one year after the corrupted, far-right U.S. Supreme Court activist majority overturned Roe v. Wade's 50 years of Constitutional reproductive freedoms.

Rulings made by SCOTUS this year, sadly, are no less radical, even as several of them issued at term's end last month have been cited by some in the media to suggest that Chief Justice John Roberts has somewhat "moderated" the most extreme positions of the Court. That would be inaccurate, but exactly what Roberts had hoped for.

We're joined today by the great MARK JOSEPH STERN, legal journalist at Slate to discuss a number of those decisions, and what has now emerged as Roberts' neat trick to hoax the media into regarding him and some of the opinions issued by the Court this year as "moderate".

In short, as Stern details today, Roberts is essentially manipulating the Court's docket --- by determining which cases to hear and which ones not to --- in order to make SCOTUS' end-of-term opinions appear less extreme, overall, than they actually are.

"They have consistently taken up these cases that sort of seem designed to terrify liberals. Then, when the case comes down in a way that's not the end of the world, they get good headlines," he explains.

"The Court really shouldn't have been hearing a lot of these cases in the first place. So, by deciding them in a so-called 'liberal way', they create this image of balance and moderation that's not really deserved," he argues. "There's no better example of that than the Independent State Legislature case [Moore v. Harper]. There was absolutely no reason for the Supreme Court to intervene, and yet it reached down and grabbed that case. And, by deciding it in a somewhat moderate way --- although Roberts left the door open for mischief, as he so often does --- the Court got great headlines as being so moderate and thoughtful."

"That is a trick that the Chief Justice is very good at playing on the media. But it's not one I think we should fall for, given how obvious it is and how many decisions that he really cares about [that] end up coming out so far to the right over and over again."

"We pretend as though these cases emerged out of nowhere, when in reality, the Court is building a very careful story, using each individual case to try to show something about the Court that it thinks will appeal to the public." But that doesn't reveal the full story, Stern argues. "The 'liberal victories' simply leave the law as it was, without making any changes. Whereas the conservative victories radically overhaul the law in ways that were unimaginable just five or six years ago. That's also something that I think is very difficult to explain to people who don't watch the Court closely, but becomes blazingly obvious once you apply a little bit of scrutiny to how this Court operates."

And now, it's all making much more sense.

We saw that neat trick play out once again this year, as the stolen, packed and corrupted far-right majority, at terms end, ultimately reverted to form to overturn decades-old precedents regarding race-based Affirmative Action in college admissions (though not other Affirmative Actions, for example, legacy admissions and those for the kids of high ticket donors); the Court expanded newly discovered Constitutional "religious freedoms" to allow web page designers (and, actually, any other business) to discriminate against LGBTQ+ customers based on imaginary --- in fact, wholly fraudulent --- grievances; they picked up on last year's Judicial Activism by further restricting the EPA's ability to meet mandates of landmark laws passed by Congress, in this year's case, the Clean Water Act; and, they determined that while forgiving millions of dollar in loans to so-called small businesses and cutting taxes for billionaires was just fine, forgiving $10,000 to student loan borrowers during a national emergency --- in specific accordance with the original text of federal law --- was a bridge too far for a President of the United States...or, at least for the current President of the United States. (The Court showed no such "conservatism" when Donald Trump used the same exact law to "modify or waive" conditions for the same student loans.)

As bad as all of those decisions were, I had specific questions about one of them that sort of seems to give away the game for this far-right Court, with six Republican-appointed Justices now more than happy to legislate from the bench after years of their party pretending to be against that sort of thing.

As it turns out, the case I had questions about --- the one I saw as the most alarming and worst ruling of the term --- is one that Stern felt the same about. It's the one in which the Court relies on a made-up-out-of-whole-cloth, completely subjective test they now refer to as the "Major Questions Doctrine" whenever they don't have a legitimate reason to block an Executive Branch action, even when it's based on the specific text of a law they may not like.

"Justice Kagan has called this a 'get-out-of-text-free card,'" Stern tells me. "This is not a legitimate tool of statutory interpretation, because it means that the Court can set aside what the actual words of the law say, and just apply their own opinion, under this very thin guise of trying to uphold Congress' will." Last year they cited this pretend "doctrine" to say the EPA couldn't regulate carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act, despite the specific text of the law, because it was just too much of a "Major Question" that Congress had to speak to in more specific language somehow. This year, they used it to block President Biden from forgiving certain student loans amid the COVID pandemic, as specifically allowed by the HEROES Act.

"When you're dealing with the federal government, every policy is going to be major," Stern argues. "Every policy is going to affect as many as 300 million Americans. Every policy is going to have a fiscal impact of more than billions of dollars. So this is really just an excuse, in every single case, for the Court to ignore the law that Congress has passed, perversely while claiming to uphold Congress' wishes."

We discuss that and much more today, including which upcoming cases most concern him on the docket for the Court's next term. Should we freak out about them? Or are they also now just part of Robert's insidious manipulation to be sure to have a few cases on which the Court's rightwingers can appear to be far less radical than they actually are?...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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The fight against propaganda, denial, corruption and racism continues...
By Brad Friedman on 6/29/2023 6:37pm PT  

We wrap up our last BradCast before standing down next week with a bunch of disparate stuff, both good and bad, and even a song to help you whistle as you leave the theater before next week's holiday. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

WE DID START THE FIRE: And we're also responsible for the smoke from hundreds of them in Canada, now threatening the health of more than 100 million Americans. We're also responsible for the record, weeks-long deadly, triple-digit heat wave in Texas now spreading north and east and touching off deadly severe storms along with it. Of course, those who watch Fox "News" and the read their deceptive Fox Weather website will never know who's to blame for it all and who is endangering their lives and those of their great grand-kids. But keeping their viewers and readers dumb and disinformed is the whole purpose of the Fox fake news project. Sadly, we all pay the price.

'CEASEFIRE AND NEGOTIATE!': Happily, it seems the 24-hour mutiny in Russia last weekend --- wherein longtime Vladimir Putin-ally, Yevgeny Prigozhin, gave the game away by declaring that their imperialist invasion of Ukraine was built on lies and was never about either "demilitarizing" or "de-Nazifying" Ukraine --- has helped the scales fall from a bunch of Americans' eyes. New polling from Reuters/Ipsos since the Prigozhin's short-lived insurrection finds a nearly 20-point bump since last month in American support for Joe Biden's policy of helping Ukraine defend themselves. That includes majorities in both major parties as well as independents. That's very good news. And, while I'm unlikely to reach many of the duped rightwingers who have fallen hook, line and sinker for Putin (and Trump) propaganda about the conflict, I am hoping that I might still be able to help some of those on the supposed anti-war Left who have fallen for the same propaganda. I'm talking largely about the "ceasefire and negotiate!" crowd. A few words for them today in hopes of helping a least a few of them understand how they have also been played by the same, authoritarian sources as the rightwingers.

'THIS IS NOT A NORMAL COURT': President Biden was right about that today, at least. We knew after all of the surprisingly good rulings of late from our otherwise corrupted, stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court majority --- on issues of democracy and voting, in particular --- that it was almost certainly too good to last. As the high court's 2022 term comes to a close, they returned to their corrupted form on Thursday by overturning more than 40 years of precedent to bar Affirmative Action policies in college admissions for all private and public colleges and universities (while exempting military academies for some odd reason). Though it's not easy, we try to make sense of the Court's dizzying 237-page ruling [PDF], including multiple concurrences and dissents, as the far-right activists on the bench --- and those that put them there --- get to cross another long-term project off their list today.

SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES: And lungs, from the record shattering Canadian wildfires. At least if you live in any of a whole bunch of states in the mid-west or east this week. That, and more climate news, both good and bad, as Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report.

THEY DEFINITELY DIDN'T START THE FIRE: But they did, after 34 years, put all news words to it! And not a moment too soon, in my opinion! Yours may vary. Either way, we're happy to close out today's final show before taking off next week over the Independence Day holiday, with Fall Out Boy's brand-new version of a 1989 Billy Joel classic...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Unrelenting climate change-fueled weather pummels nation...
By Brad Friedman on 6/26/2023 6:17pm PT  

Welp, it was another slow news weekend [insert eyes-rolling emoji here]. But we try to come up with something to cover on today's BradCast nonetheless. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

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

  • Extreme weather and warnings of same walloping much of the nation today, as two weeks of historic triple digit temperatures in Texas spread to other states, resulting in major storms, deadly tornadoes, widespread power outages and cancelled flights from Arizona through the mid-west up into New England and down to the Carolinas and Florida. But if you hear about these seemingly ever-worsening nightmares from some major U.S. outlets --- like Fox "News" (and even ABC, etc.) --- you may hear absolutely nothing about the man-made climate change that is fueling our intensifying global crisis.
  • On Friday, Politico finally covered the story that we broke on this show six weeks ago about how Georgia Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger says he will not be installing urgently recommended security upgrades to its horribly vulnerable Dominion voting systems until after the 2024 Presidential election in the critical battleground state. We covered that news exclusively here in mid-May. Politico covered it here on Friday. And my tweet pointing both out was throttled by Twitter over the weekend so that it's nearly impossible to find without a direct link. That is here. (More, hopefully, on this issue tomorrow!)
  • Speaking of Georgia, a federal judge has ordered Rudy Giuliani to pay the legal fees for the two Atlanta election workers --- Shaye Moss and her elderly mother Ruby Freeman --- who are suing him for defamation after he (and Trump, and the rest of the MAGA crew) falsely accused them of committing fraud in the ballot tabulation room during the 2020 Presidential election.
  • Curiously enough, the far-right, wildly corrupted U.S. Supreme Court keeps making not terrible rulings at the end of this year's term. Today, a challenge to a ruling on a case out of Louisiana, where a federal court mandated an additional black majority U.S. House district, was rejected. The case will be sent back to a lower court. If the lower court rules as SCOTUS did a few weeks ago --- when they stunned the world by upholding the Voting Rights Act and requiring another black majority House district in Alabama --- today's decision could be very good news for those that care about voting rights, the Constitution, and equal representation for all.
  • Also today, SCOTUS allowed several lawsuits against Ohio State University to proceed, after it was discovered the school had, for years, protected a serial sexual abuser who served as a team doctor for years. This is probably not good news for OSU's former wrestling coach and serial denier Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).
  • The lower courts are holding as well, for now. Last week, a federal judge permanently overturned Arkansas' unspeakably cruel ban on gender-affirming medical care for transgender kids, and a federal judge in Florida temporarily blocked Gov. Ron DeSantis' anti-freedom crusade to ban minors from attending drag shows. Amusingly, one of the reasons the judge blocked the new law was because it was in conflict with DeSantis' so-called "Parents Bill of Rights" legislation adopted in 2021.
  • Finally today, before opening the phones to listeners, we discuss the bizarre story of whatever the hell happened over the weekend in Russia where, for about 24 hours or so, civil war nearly broke out. That, as Yevgeny Prigozhin, formerly a close ally of Vladimir Putin and commander of the mercenary Wagner Group (arguably Russia's best fighting force in Ukraine), declared Russia's justification for attacking Ukraine --- to demilitarize and de-Nazify the sovereign nation --- to be a lie. Wagner's march toward Moscow, however, ended as quickly as it began, with Putin theoretically granting Prigozhin safe harbor in Belarus, even if both his future and those of the troops in the Wagner brigade remain uncertain at this hour. We open the phones with what is left of today's show to discuss what the hell is going on and where both Russia and Putin's fortunes may be heading from here...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Author, redistricting expert David Daley of FairVote; Also: House Republicans mutiny against House Republicans...
By Brad Friedman on 6/8/2023 6:26pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Yes, some actual, unqualified good and, frankly, surprisingly good news from our otherwise wildly corrupted U.S. Supreme Court on voting rights and racial gerrymandering! [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Last year, following oral argument at the High Court in Allen v. Milligan, a Voting Rights Act challenge in Alabama, pretty much all Court watchers and voting rights advocates thought that Section 2 of the VRA was in big, big trouble. That, after the Supremes had already gutted Section 5 of the Act in the Shelby County case back in 2013 and have been nibbling away at the rest of the landmark 1965 law ever since.

But on Thursday, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh actually joined with the Court's three liberals in a 5 to 4 majority opinion [PDF], upholding a lower court ruling by a three-judge panel --- including two Trump appointees --- which had determined that Alabama must rewrite its redistricted Congressional maps after the 2020 Census to include a second majority Black U.S. House District.

Early last year SCOTUS had used the "shadow docket" to temporarily put the lower court's ruling on hold without a hearing, allowing the 2022 elections to move forward with just one out of AL's seven U.S. House Districts having a Black majority, despite African-Americans comprising some 27% of the state's population. That ruling --- along with tea leaves read from oral argument last year and Roberts' history of working to dismantle the VRA --- led many to believe the Court would permanently allow the state's racial gerrymander to remain in place, effectively overturning the ban on election laws and House maps created with a racially discriminatory intent.

Alabama's GOP gerrymander had been challenged as a violation of both the Constitution and Section 2 of the VRA, after the Supremes' previous gutting of Section 5 of the Act removed the mandate for jurisdictions to demonstrate in advance that new election laws did not discriminate on the basis of race. Challenges under the Act may still be filed under Section 2, but only after the discriminatory voting measure has been enacted.

The Court's actions last year also allowed similar racial gerrymanders in several other states, including Louisiana, Georgia, Texas and elsewhere, resulting in the GOP winning a razor-thin 5-seat majority in the U.S. House in November.

Thursday's stunning decision, according to experts, could net Democrats as many as four or more seats in the House in the 2024 elections, and is likely to affect ongoing legal challenges in as many as 10 states.

Our guest on today's program believes that, "Gerrymandering and redistricting was one of the big reasons why Republicans probably had about a net gain of between 12 and 15 seats [last year] when you look at the various partisan gerrymanders and the various racial gerrymanders that the Court allowed."

We're joined today to discuss all of this, the details of how it happened, and what it appears to mean going by forward by a stunned DAVID DALEY of FairVote, where he is an expert on gerrymandering and author of two different books on the topic.

"I don't even know what to say," Daley explains at the top of our conversation. "I'm so used to delivering the bad news, and all of a sudden I'm a doctor telling you you're going to live forever. This is an unusual role for me."

But, don't worry. Daley is still able to share a number of concerns about several other cases with opinions coming soon from SCOTUS, despite today's unreservedly good news for voters, voting rights, and the future of the not-dead-yet Voting Rights Act!

THEN, with today's excellent news that may well result in Democrats regaining the majority arguably stolen from them by unlawful GOP gerrymanders last November, the current GOP majority in the House is busy eating itself alive. The party's far-right flank has mounted a mutiny on the House floor this week, in rebellion against Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's debt ceiling deal last week with President Biden to avoid the first-ever default of the U.S. Government. And it's all quite hilarious.

FINALLY, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as the worsening affects of our climate crisis are now choking Americans across much of the east coast and midwest with toxic smoke from hundreds of record, out-of-control, Canadian wildfires blanketing much of the nation. We also cover the Biden EPA's long-overdue upgrades of Jackson, Mississippi's water system and the ecological disaster in the wake of the destruction of a critical dam in Russian-occupied Ukraine.

[NOTE: Today's program was completed just prior to the breaking news late today of Donald Trump's reportedly 7-count federal criminal indictment in Special Counsel Jack Smith's probe in the disgraced former President's stolen documents case. We'll pick up on that historically good news, no doubt, next week!]

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Guest: Former AL Gov. Don Siegelman; Also: A smoky climate crisis wake-up call; Biden EPA upgrades Jackson, MS water system; Clarence Thomas delays annual financial disclosure for some reason...
By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2023 6:36pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Amidst all the madness, we take a moment to revisit a continuing stain on the nation and what can be done about it, with a longtime friend of this program. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

FIRST UP, however, a few news headlines...

  • The cost of our climate crisis strikes home for a huge swath of the nation, as smoke from hundreds of Canadian wildfires chokes American states from Minnesota to New York to the Ohio Valley to the Carolinas.
  • Joe Biden's EPA announces it is sending $115 million to Jackson, Mississippi to begin repairing the city's long deteriorating water system. It's the first of some $600 million Congress has allocated to support long-overdue water infrastructure upgrades in the state's capital city, where more than 80% of the population is Black and drinking water supplies have repeatedly failed in recent years.
  • The corrupt U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has asked for another 90 days before filing his annual financial disclosures, following months of brutal investigative reporting revealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of his undisclosed luxury vacations, real estate deals and more with billionaire GOP megadonor Harlan Crow.

THEN, we're joined by Alabama's former Democratic Governor DON SIEGELMAN, who recently penned an op-ed at Washington Post with the state's former Republican Governor Robert Bentley. As explained in their piece, both men have come to "regret" overseeing executions during their time as the state's chief executive after witnessing, first hand, "the flaws in our nation's justice system" during their own prosecutions.

Siegelman discusses one death penalty case in particular, the 2000 execution of Freddie Lee Wright, which he says he is now "personally haunted by", telling me today that Wright "should never have been charged with capital murder in the first place. He was exonerated by a jury, 11-1 voted to acquit him of this crime. Then the D.A. came back and struck Blacks from the jury and got a conviction."

There are many other such cases, and he details a few of them. In fact, while AL currently has 167 people on death row, both Bentley and Siegelman write that "at least" 146 of them should have their death sentences commuted. Siegelman tells me he believes all of them should be spared from the barbaric practice of state execution.

He and Bentley are calling for several reforms of the criminal justice system, particularly as it applies to the death penalty. Siegelman details reforms he seeks for the secret Grand Jury system and the outrage of "judicial overrides" that allowed judges to overrule juries to issue death sentences and the lack of unanimous verdicts required for sentencing a convicted criminal to death.

Siegelman also discusses the politics of the death penalty, including during the time that he held the power to block executions as Governor. We discuss that awesome and horrible power as it is wielded by government officials today, even after all that we now know about the racial injustices of a Jim Crow era system that disproportionately targets people of color and has been found to have been exercised against innocent people in the cases of at least 12% of those who have been put to death.

"Here we are in 2023, still using a method that was devised after the Civil War as a way of thwarting a Black juror. The white power structure at the time had a unanimous verdict. But they said, 'No, you know, with Blacks being able to be on a jury, we can't risk not being able to put somebody to death when we want to, so let's go with a non-unanimous jury.' So that's where this relic of the Jim Crow era came from. It was purely a racist process."

"It is just wrong, certainly morally wrong, for Alabama or for any other state. Now Florida has even lowered the bar," notes Siegelman, citing a bill recently signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis. "Alabama has a 10-2 verdict. Florida has an 8-4 verdict, to make it even easier to put people to death by this relic of the 1870s."

"Until I was actually convicted of something that didn't exist except in the minds of the prosecutors, I thought that our system would somehow or another work itself out and be fair," he tells me. "But at the moment that I heard the word 'guilty' from the foreman of my jury, I said a prayer. It was instantaneous, more like a flash, asking God to forgive me because I remembered setting execution dates as Attorney General. And I remembered those that came before me while I was Governor asking that their sentences be commuted."

"But it wasn't even then that I realized how perverted our system of justice is. If in everything there is a purpose, or in every situation one should find a purpose, it was as if God was telling me, 'Okay, Governor, you see what's wrong. Now go fix it.'"

NOTE: We have covered Gov. Siegelman's personal story many times over the past two decades, before, during and after his time as a political prisoner as he was targeted for prosecution by a corrupt Republican cabal, including Karl Rove, state officials, and a federal judge who was eventually forced to resign after being arrested for beating his wife. Alabama's Governor from 1999 to 2003 and the only Democrat to serve in every statewide office, Siegelman tells his story in full in his 2020 book, STEALING OUR DEMOCRACY: How the Political Assassination of a Governor Threatens Our Nation.

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Guest: Former federal prosecutor Randall D. Eliason; Also: How DeSantis robbed freedoms and weaponized Big Government 'cancel culture' in FL...
By Brad Friedman on 5/24/2023 6:47pm PT  

After more than twenty years of rolling back corruption and bribery statutes, is it any wonder, as our guest on today's BradCast observed in his latest op-ed, that the U.S. Supreme Court is now "blind to its own corruption"?

BUT FIRST, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is announcing his 2024 Presidential run today, and corporate media outlets are focusing on his horse race with the disgraced former President. We mark the day, however, by focusing on several of the latest victims of DeSantis' Big Government weaponization against people of color and the LGBTQ+ community. That, by a guy whose 2022 re-election slogan in Florida was, laughably, "Freedom Lives Here".

DeSantis deserves credit for leading the way for other, similarly gerrymandered and GOP-controlled states which have begun to adopt many of the same, hateful, Big Government "cancel culture" statutes that, in Florida, have resulted in banned books, muzzled teachers, lost rights, vile threats against those who support freedom and travel warnings issued for those visiting the Sunshine State.

Today, the effort is playing out in terroristic threats against Target employees; an investigation of a Florida grade school teacher for showing an animated Disney film to her class; and the removal of The Hill We Climb --- a poem by Amanda Gorman which she read at Joe Biden's 2021 inauguration --- from a grade school library. That's just a sampling of some of the latest victims of DeSantis' cruel agenda during his tenure as Governor.

As California's Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted in response to Target's removal of items from its Pride Month collection under threats from the MAGA right, "Wake up America. This doesn’t stop here. You’re black? You’re Asian? You’re Jewish? You’re a woman? You’re next."

THEN, it's back to the seemingly never-ending, decades-long corruption of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and some similar, recently revealed corruption by Justice Neil Gorsuch and even Chief Justice John Roberts who, by and large, refuses to do anything about any of it.

There's an explanation for that, argues RANDALL D. ELIASON, George Washington University Law School professor and former chief of the fraud and public corruption section at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C.

"Over more than two decades, the Supreme Court has gutted laws aimed at fighting corruption and at limiting the ability of the powerful to enrich public officials in a position to advance their interests. As a result, today wealthy individuals and corporations may buy political access and influence with little fear of legal consequences, either for them or for the beneficiaries of their largess," Eliason argued in a New York Times op-ed over the weekend, adding: "No wonder Justice Thomas apparently thought his behavior was no big deal."

Today, Eliason tells me, "the Court itself has contributed to a legal environment over the last twenty years, where, at least as far as the Court is concerned, many of the things that are going on are not, in fact, corrupt, because they've taken this extremely narrow view of what corruption is." Essentially, he explains, cases such as Citizens United v. FEC; United States v. Sun-Diamond Growers; Skilling v. U.S.; and McDonnell v. U.S. have all greatly narrowed the definition of corruption to largely nothing less than a very specific quid pro quo bribe where a politician promises a very specific official act in exchange for payment.

That means, as some on the Court may now see it, long-term relationships where a GOP megadonor like Harlan Crow has sponsored hundreds of thousands of dollars in undisclosed luxury travel for Thomas, or purchased his mother's house, improved it, and allowed her to live there rent-free to this day, or even paying private school tuition for Thomas' grand-nephew, is not seen as "corruption" if it wasn't in return for a specific thing. Even Thomas' wife Ginni can receive tens of thousands of dollars in payoffs by far-right activists, and it's not considered corruption.

"These long term relationships, where wealthy donors can shower a politician or a Supreme Court justice with huge gifts over years --- that's okay. At least it's not criminal, unless prosecutors can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that one particular gift was because of one particular thing they did," Eliason explains, detailing how the Court has cloistered itself into a world where all of this is somehow okay.

"The reality of corruption is usually much more subtle that that, and pervasive than that. It's a long-term 'You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours' kind of arrangement. 'I'll give you these fancy trips and gifts and things over time, and then when things happen to come up that I'm interested in, you'll do the right thing for me, and we don't even have to talk about it. We don't have to have an explicit deal, it's just an understanding between us.' That's what real-world corruption is like. But for more than twenty years, the Court has issued a series of opinions that have largely put arrangements like that --- like the arrangement between Harlan Crow and Clarence Thomas --- out of the reach of the law."

We've got a lot to discuss on these matters with Eliason today, including his suggestions for how Congress could fix this clearly broken and corrupt system, even as the Chief Justice suggests (inaccurately) that doing so would somehow be a violation of the Constitution's Separation of Powers doctrine. Ironically enough, if Congress finally does manage to legislate ethics reform for the Court and someone did challenge it as unconstitutional, guess who would get to be the final arbiter? "I wonder how they are going to rule?," quips Eliason...

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Guest: Author David Margolick; Also: Fox pays Dominion $787.5 million to make defamation suit go away...
By Brad Friedman on 4/18/2023 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Our former President is slimier and even more racist than you knew. And Fox "News" is at least as slimy and racist as you thought. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

FIRST UP, just before airtime, and just as attorneys in Dominion Voting Systems' $1.6 billion defamation suit were literally moments away from beginning opening arguments in a Delaware courtroom, the judge announced the case was over. Fox had agreed to settle with the private voting system vendor, essentially conceding that every claim made on their Republican propaganda outlet, claiming the 2020 Presidential election was stolen from Trump, was actually a lie.

We wade through today's news, even as it breaks this afternoon, in which Fox has apparently agreed to pay $787.5 million to make their problems --- at least in this case --- go away. Star witnesses previously expected to take the stand in the case starting this week had included Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch, and hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Maria Bartiromo. For now anyway, they're off the hook and won't have to testify about the lies they repeatedly told their listeners.

It was unclear as of airtime whether there was more to the settlement agreement. In other words, whether Fox would be forced to inform their brain-poisoned listeners about the lies they were told. But, Fox issued a statement conceding, "We acknowledge the court's rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false," and adding: "We are hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, instead of the acrimony of a divisive trial, allows the country to move forward from these issues."

Dominion's separate defamation suits against Trump's lawyers and liars Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Mike Lindell and others continue, as does the $2.7 billion defamation suit against Fox, as filed by Smartmatic, another voting system company about which Fox "News" repeatedly and knowingly lied.

Additional problems are expected for Fox in the days ahead, including a bevy of shareholder lawsuits and a campaign by the nation's largest progressive veterans group, Vote Vets, to demand U.S. military installations stop airing the Republican fake news network in common areas. "Nearly one-in-seven of those arrested in relation to the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the Capitol had military backgrounds," the group notes in their ad campaign, "showing the ill-effect of disinformation among military and veteran communities."

NEXT UP (after a quick note on the scheduled start next week of columnist E. Jean Carroll's rape and defamation suit against Trump in New York), have you noticed those weird comments that Donald Trump keeps making in regard to Special Counsel Jack Smith's name? He's been doing it since just after the prosecutor was tapped to oversee the criminal probes of Trump's January 6 insurrection and the documents he stole upon leaving the White House.

"Jack Smith (nice, soft name, isn’t it?)," Trump wrote on his social media site last November. "Speaking of LEAKS, Special 'Prosecutor' Jack Smith (What did his name used to be?) leaked massive amounts of information to The Washington ComPost," the disgraced former President lied at the same outlet the day before he was indicted on 34 criminal felony charges in New York earlier this month. That night, as he spoke to his supporters back at Mar-a-Lago, he did it again, referencing "this lunatic special prosecutor named Jack Smith," before adding: "I wonder what it was prior to a change?" He then paused for effect, as some of those present shared a knowing, sinister chuckle.

I read and saw all of that as it happened, but had no idea what the hell Trump was insinuating. Neither, apparently, did many in the mainstream media, according to our guest today, author DAVID MARGOLICK, who wrote about it last week at The Nation. He explains that it was part of a long-faded anti-Semitic trope. Notorious racist and Jew-hater Henry Ford deployed it about 100 years ago in his newspapers, and members of Sen. Joe McCarthy's infamous UnAmerican Activities Committee used it as well to tar Jewish entertainers as Communists.

"I thought that it needed to be explained," Margolick tells me today, as he explains it, "because if even someone like you didn't pick up on it, it just shows how ancient this trope is, how largely forgotten it is, and how deeply embedded it is in the psyche of Donald Trump. I think that subsequent generations need to know what was going on with him, and how hard-wired this is with him, that he can't help doing it, even if no one is going to pick up on it."

We discuss the long, grotesque history of the slur in the U.S., and how dangerous it remains, even as many Americans have no clue what it's all about. Some of his supporters certainly do. "The history of this thing should be called out. People should really know what's really going on with him," says Margolick, noting a line from his piece at The Nation, in which describes Trump as "a perfect time capsule of prejudice."

"It's really odious," argues Margolick, discussing what moved him to take a break from working on books about Sid Caesar and Jonas Salk. "It's disturbing that it's going on uncontradicted, and nobody is objecting to it."

FINALLY, Desi Doyen joins us today for our latest Green News Report, with news on the Administration's newly released list of Electric Vehicles that are now eligible for $7,500 rebates, thanks to Joe Biden and the Democrats' landmark Inflation Reduction Act. Also of note in today's report, Germany has finally shut down the last of its nuclear power plants. So, that's a good thing...right?

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