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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, July 21, 2024
What J.D. Vance Forgot to Tell You (and Lied About) at the RNC: 'BradCast' 7/18/24
Also: More pressure from top Dems for Biden to reconsider candidacy; Judge nixes GOP vote suppression suit in NV; Biden calls for SCOTUS reform, national rent control...
'Green News Report' 7/18/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Toronto crippled by extreme storms, flooding; Heat related costs rising in U.S.; Extreme weather and aging dams; PLUS: Marathon Oil pays record fine under Clean Air Act...
Previous GNRs: 7/16/24 - 7/11/24 - Archives...
Holding on for Dear Life Amid the Political Whirlwind: 'BradCast' 7/17/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton and 'Driftglass' on Presidential politics after the shooting; Dems still fighting over Biden; Trump's weird choice of Vance for VP; the RNC's 'unity' convention...
Cannon's Corruption: 'BradCast' 7/16/24
Guest: Attorney Keith Barber; Also: Menendez 'guilty' on all counts...
'Green News Report' 7/16/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Texas grid buckles under multiple disasters; Hurricane Beryl damages now estimated at $3 billion; PLUS: Climate crisis flip-flopper J.D. Vance gets GOP Veep nod...
Previous GNRs: 7/11/24 - 7/9/24 - Archives...
Amid the Assassination Attempt Aftermath:
'BradCast' 7/15/24
Also: Trump Stolen Docs Case Dismissed; OH's J.D. Vance named as GOP Veep nom; Callers ring in on all of the nightmares...
Sunday Monday 'Google Project 2025' Toons
After a brief pause following Saturday's assassination attempt of Donald Trump, we are back with our latest collection of last week's best political toons...
Meanwhile... :
'BradCast' 7/11/24
Biden's tenuous candidacy; Trump and Orban; Inflation, prices falling; Climate liar Inhofe dies; California's stunning solar revolution...
'Green News Report' 7/11/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Flooding, power outages, sweltering heat as deadly Beryl fallout continues; New FEMA flood risk standards; PLUS: House Republicans bravely seek Freedom for Refrigerators!...
Previous GNRs: 7/9/24 - 6/25/24 - Archives...
Paging 'Johnny Unbeatable'! Dems (Actually!) in Disarray!: 'BradCast' 7/10/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, 'Driftglass' of 'Pro Left Podcast'...
SCOTUS Immunity Ruling 'As Bad as it Sounds', And Worse: 'BradCast' 7/9/24
Guest: LawDork's Chris Geidner on that and the Court's massive 'power grab'; Also: Record-breaking Beryl; U.S. heat records smashed...
'Green News Report' 7/9/24
Beryl breaks records, slams TX; 140m in U.S. under heat advisories; Big SCOTUS gifts for polluters; PLUS: Biden unveils first-ever extreme heat protections for workers...
So, What Now?: 'BradCast' 7/8/24
Listeners have strong opinions about where we are and how to move forward to save democracy after corrupt SCOTUS rulings and disastrous Presidential Debate...
Debunking MAGA Cult Xenophobia
CANNING: Throughout U.S. history, decent, hard-working immigrants (like me) have contributed to the economy and our nation's security: CANNING
Sunday 'Courting Disaster' Toons
THIS WEEK: Kings and Things! In our special SCOTUS-sized edition of the last impossible week's best political toons!...
Sunday 'Bad Medicine' Toons
THIS WEEK: Trump's hot pants ... Biden's cool reception ... SCOTUS gone wild ... and more in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
'Green News Report' 6/27/24
China flooding; Heatwave, crop failure in India; Disaster upon disaster in NM; On edge for SCOTUS decision; PLUS: Biden climate law creates 300,000 jobs!...
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: The American Prospect's David Dayen; Also, Breaking: AZ's Democratic Governor vetoes bipartisan election transparency bill...
By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2023 6:29pm PT  

At some point, the President is just gonna have to do the right thing and stop playing footsie with disingenuous, bad faith Republicans who are holding the nation's economy hostage over the unconstitutional debt limit law. Also, the Democratic Governor in Arizona has some splainin' to do on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

After a bit of breaking news at the top of the show (regarding a breakthrough agreement on water sharing between Western states on the drought-stricken Colorado River, and E. Jean Carroll suing Trump yet again for defaming her yet again), it's onto the dangerous negotiations still taking place, for some reason, between the White House and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy over whether or not the U.S. will follow the law and pay its bills or go into default for the first time in the nation's history.

We're joined today by investigative financial journalist, author and Executive Editor of The American Prospect, DAVID DAYEN. He has been reporting on a lawsuit recently filed by the National Association of Government Employees (NAGE) against President Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, charging that they are already violating the law by "suspending investments into...employee retirement plans" as part of Yellen's so-called "extraordinary measures" to avoid hitting the arbitrary borrowing limit implemented by Congress. She has said that those measure will run out as early as June 1, before the U.S. won't be able to pay all of its bills without borrowing more money. "There is active and ongoing harm which will get worse if the ceiling is hit," the NAGE suit alleges.

At the same time, as listeners may know, we've been covering the text of Section 4 of the 14th Amendment which states in clear language: "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts ... shall not be questioned." While Biden has made clear he is aware of the Constitutional option, he has said (not necessarily correctly) that invoking the 14th Amendment to follow the law by ordering the Treasury Department to continue borrowing to keep paying all of our bills would have to be litigated. That, he suggests, would take too much time to be adjudicated in court in order to avoid an upcoming debt default. Thus, he has been negotiating with McCarthy to find an agreement that McCarthy, as Dayen points out today, is unlikely to be able to even get his own caucus to agree to vote for.

With all of that in mind, and NAGE having filed for an emergency injunction in their lawsuit late last week, Biden and Yellen now have until June 6 to respond to the suit. Dayen points out, in both his X-DATE newsletter today and on our program, that Biden/Yellen merely need to respond to the suit by saying they agree with the plaintiffs suing them. The federal judge will then have no choice but to find in favor of NAGE, ruling that the President cannot pick and choose which bills will or won't be paid and that the 14th Amendment likely makes the Debt Ceiling law unconstitutional.

Problem solved! At least if Biden and the White House finally take this golden opportunity that has been handed to them. Sure, there are some nuances, as we discuss with Dayen, but, in general, Biden could use this to end the standoff in short order, before a global financial catastrophe --- which will only increase the U.S. deficit that Republicans in the House are only now pretending to give a damn about --- comes crashing down as early as next week.

"Here's your chance, Joe," says Dayen. "You have to write a response in this active litigation, and what you can say is 'I agree, and I am not going to contest this lawsuit.'" Once the judge receives that, Dayen explains, he'll have to say, "'Okay, I've got two sides in this lawsuit. One side says the debt ceiling is unconstitutional, and the other says it, too.' Presumably, the outcome, the ruling, would be that the debt ceiling is unconstitutional. Who would appeal it? There are two parties in this case, and neither are House Republicans."

ALSO TODAY: Last week on the show we spoke with Arizona's former Republican Secretary of State, now state Senator Ken Bennett, about a bipartisan bill passed out of the state's legislature last week to greatly improve election oversight, transparency and security by making digital ballot images of every ballot cast available for anyone to download and count for themselves in their own home if they wish. (A ballot image is a digital photo of each ballot that is taken as the ballot is scanned by the computer tabulators. It shows exactly how the voter voted at the time the ballot was cast and counted.)

The landmark measure, HB2560 --- which would make it much more difficult for the MAGA right to falsely claim elections are stolen --- was sponsored by Bennett in the AZ legislature and supported by the state's current Democratic Sec. of State Adrian Fontes as well. Thus, last week, when we spoke with Bennett, his hope was that the state's new Democratic Governor (and former Democratic Sec. of State) Katie Hobbs would sign the landmark transparency measure this week.

Instead, just before airtime, Hobbs vetoed the bill, falsely claiming it would "threaten anonymity" of voters and "open the door to the spread of additional election mis- and dis-information."

As Bennett explained last week on the show, he strongly disagrees. So does the nonpartisan election transparency group, AUDIT USA, headed up by longtime Democrat and ballot image proponent, John Brakey. They issued a statement responding to Hobbs' veto, calling it "a blow to efforts to reduce election conspiracies."

They charge the measure would "achieve just the opposite" of spreading "mis- and dis-information." In the statement, Brakey said that "By claiming the bill would compromise the privacy and anonymity of voters and lead to the increased spread of disinformation, the Governor has ignored the experience of multiple jurisdictions around the country that have been posting ballot images without the problems she claims would be caused."

The group is now hoping to win the one more vote in the state Senate and 9 more votes in the state House that will be needed to override Hobbs' veto. They will have about 21 days after they come back into session in mid-June. Stay tuned...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Attorney Ernest A. Canning on how Biden can safely avoid default; Also: Suit against Giuliani details how Trump's scheme to steal 2020 was hatched by early 2019; Election results from FL, KY, PA...
By Brad Friedman on 5/17/2023 6:06pm PT  

Is President Biden falling into a dangerous GOP trap by negotiating the debt ceiling? Our guest on today's BradCast argues that a potential disaster could and should easily be avoided entirely.

BUT FIRST, while we covered the grotesque lawsuit filed by Noelle Dunphy detailing sexual abuse by the repulsive, alleged sexual predator Rudy Giuliani on yesterday's show, I had the chance to read the full 70-page complaint [PDF] this morning. And I discovered one paragraph that I hadn't yet seen reported elsewhere and just want to make sure it gets out there.

Paragraph 124 on page 23 details how Trump and Giuliani, according to Dunphy, already had worked out plans by early 2019 to claim phony "voter fraud" and that the election was stolen, if the then-President turned out to be the loser in 2020.

"On February 7, 2019," the suit alleges, "Giuliani told Ms. Dunphy...about a plan that had been prepared for if Trump lost the 2020 election. Specifically, Giuliani told Ms. Dunphy that Trump's team would claim that there was 'voter fraud' and that Trump had actually won the election."

Just wanted to make sure that gets out there today.

NEXT UP, we cover the reported results of a number of key state and local elections held on Tuesday, with overall very good results for Democrats (again) and some embarrassment for Florida Governor and hapless GOP Presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis. In an upset victory, voters in Jacksonville --- long the most populous city in the nation with a Republican Mayor --- chose Democrat Donna Deegan to take over. A Republican has served as Mayor there for all but 4 of the past 30 years. Now, it will be run by both a Dem and the city's first-ever female chief executive. That, after DeSantis endorsed her Republican opponent.

That wasn't the only embarrassment for Meatball Ron on Tuesday. In Kentucky, for some reason, he endorsed Trump's former U.N. ambassador at the last minute in the GOP primary for Governor. She came in third by more than 30 points. Trump's choice, Mitch McConnell protege and the state's first Black Attorney General, Daniel Cameron, will run against the popular incumbent Democratic Governor Andy Beshear this November. So, ol' Ron was 0 for 2 on the night, even if the candidate he endorsed in KY was a GOP megadonor that he hopes, I suspect, will want to return the favor by supporting a loser herself next year.

In Philadelphia, moderate Democrat Cherelle Parker emerged victorious from a group of five front-runners, defeating a more progressive Dem to win the primary. The win almost ensures Parker will become the City of Brotherly Love's 100th Mayor this fall, and the very first female, after 99 dudes in a row, to hold the position in the nation's 5th most populous city.

Dems also held on to the majority in Pennsylvania's state House, after narrowly taking it over, by one seat, for the first time in a dozen years in February. On Tuesday, the Democratic candidate won a seat in the state House recently vacated by a Dem accused of sexual harassment. In PA, the House sets the agenda for the entire state legislature, where Republicans still control the Senate.

And, Republicans may have dodged a bullet on Tuesday in the Keystone State when the only judge in the nation to rule in favor of blocking certification of the 2020 Presidential race lost the GOP primary to a not-insane Republican who will run against a Dem this fall for a recently vacated seat on the state's Supreme Court. No matter what happens in the general election, Democrats will retain a majority on the court in the critical battleground state.

FINALLY, an ever-optimistic President Biden on Wednesday announced that he will cut his planned overseas trip short to return to Washington on Sunday to finish what he believes is a possible deal to prevent the GOP from forcing the federal government into defaulting on our debts for the first time in history. We'll see if he's right about that. The Treasury Department warns that, without Congress raising the debt ceiling, we'll hit the dumb statutory debt limit as early as June 1, barring Treasury from borrowing more money to pay the bills for stuff that Congress and Presidents of both parties have already committed to paying for. Economic calamity would likely ensue in the U.S. and even across the globe if that happens.

But is it even necessary to play along with far-right Republicans hell-bent on holding the nation and world economy hostage to their pretend concerns about spending and debt? A number of Constitutional law experts, including Harvard's well-respected Laurence Tribe, argue that it is not. That the 14th Amendment makes clear: "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts ... shall not be questioned."

We're joined today by BRAD BLOG's longtime legal analyst, ERNEST A. CANNING, who agrees with Tribe and his argument that, in fact, there is no one who actually has the legal standing to sue the Biden Administration if he simply instructs Treasury to keep paying the nation's bills, as required by law, whether Congress raises the debt ceiling or not. Canning recently wrote an article explaining how a simple Executive Order from the President would do the trick.

But wouldn't litigating over the matter --- even the act of determining if, say, the GOP House had standing to sue --- still end up crashing the markets? Canning explains why he believes that will not happen and why Biden's concerns about invoking the 14th Amendment are unwarranted.

We also discuss Canning's recent article on how Ronald Reagan's veto of a 1987 bill to codify the FCC's Fairness Doctrine into law, led directly to the January 6 insurrection and the extreme threat that U.S. democracy now faces...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance on that and new fake electors news; Also: Santos charged with 13 federal felonies...
By Brad Friedman on 5/10/2023 6:27pm PT  

It's been quite the GOP crime wave this week on The BradCast. But today, in addition to that we've got some disturbing --- if not entirely unrelated --- kinda mind-blowing exclusive news out of a federal courtroom in the great state of Georgia. [Audio link to full show follows at the bottom of this summary.]

After quickly covering today's news on the 13-count federal indictment [PDF] filed in New York against Rep. George Santos (R-NY) for charges including wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making false statements to Congress, it's back to Georgia.

We have, for years now, been covering the long-running federal lawsuit challenging the use of the state's expensive, unverifiable, and --- according to one of the nation's top experts --- wildly vulnerable and insecure touchscreen voting systems.

The touchscreen Ballot Marking Device (BMD) systems made by Dominion Voting, currently in use in Georgia, were selected for use in 2020 by Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger. He did so against the strong recommendations of cybersecurity and voting system experts following a ruling by a federal judge, in 2019, barring the further use of the state's previous touchscreen voting systems made by Diebold. U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg found the previous systems to be unverifiable, insecure and, thus, unconstitutional. Unfortunately, instead of moving to a hand-marked paper ballot system at the time, as strongly recommended by experts, Raffensperger chose new touchscreen systems that had many of the same problems as the old ones.

The plaintiffs in the original federal case, Curling v. Raffensperger, quickly moved to bar the Dominion systems from being forced on every voter at every polling place in the state, as Raffensperger demanded. That suit continues. As part of it, Dr. Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan, an expert for the plaintiffs, was allowed to examine the Dominion touchscreen systems and found vulnerabilities so serious that Judge Totenberg sealed his complete findings, even from the plaintiffs! The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), however, was allowed to review Halderman's sealed report and made a list of critical software and physical security recommendations for the continued use of those systems in the battleground state.

Now, according to the transcript [PDF] from a hearing in Judge Totenberg's court last week in the Curling case, an attorney for the Sec. of State's office explained that while Dominion has completed CISA's recommended upgrades to the software and has had them certified for use by the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) in late March, the state will not be installing those software upgrades until after the 2024 Presidential election.

As explained to the judge by the State's attorney Bryan Tyson, after spending hours "with the technical staff in the Secretary's office" and "hearing from folks with Dominion", it was determined that upgrades to the state's 35,000 touchscreen voting machines would be delayed until 2025.

"No jurisdiction has yet installed that upgrade...It has not been used in any election yet," Tyson told Judge Totenberg. "The upgrade process is a very intensive multistep process that involves multiple pieces of media, multiple components, and it involves touching every piece of the election system."

He explained that "every ballot-marking device has to have three different pieces of media installed on it to complete the upgrade. Every precinct scanner has to be upgraded. Every central count scanner has to be upgraded. And every election management server also has to either be replaced or upgraded. So, the implementation process for doing that is very involved."

According to our guest today, MARILYN MARKS of the Coalition for Good Governance, one of the plaintiffs in the Curling case, plaintiffs were stunned by the news. "You could hear gasps in the courtroom," she tells us today. "2025?! Immediately everyone thought, 'Presidential election, Georgia swing state.' We will have no way of knowing who won. And let's don't forget how much of a tinderbox Georgia was after the 2020 election. I believe it was a key part of the tinderbox that led to the insurrection. We're asking for it again."

There is, obviously, a lot to discuss on this matter with Marks today, including the most obvious point that, had Raffensperger listened to the experts and gone with hand-marked paper ballots, upgrading just one scanner per precinct for security reasons would have been a hell of a lot easier, faster, and cheaper, than upgrading every single voting machine --- 35,000 of them --- across the state.

"And we're not even beginning to talk about all of the warranty costs, maintenance costs, and printer costs and all that this system involves, when we're talking about just being a substitute for a ball-point pen," laments Marks. In addition to the time the State claims it will now take, she estimates the cost for upgrading the otherwise brand-new, $150 million system just purchased for first-time use in 2020 is likely to be in the tens of millions of dollars. "I don't think that $50 million and upwards is going to surprise anyone."

So, there is much more to discuss about all of this with Marks. Please tune in for the full conversation. But there was one more stunning bit of related breaking news from Marks today...

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

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ALSO: JURY FINDS TRUMP LIABLE FOR SEXUAL ABUSE, DEFAMATION, AWARDS E. JEAN CARROLL $5 MILLION...
By Brad Friedman on 5/9/2023 6:43pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's official. Our former President has now been found liable by a federal jury for sexual assault. And, it's not a matter of partisanship, but a matter of facts and evidence. The Republican Party has now clearly become a Party of Terrorism in these United States. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the stories backing up those assertions on today's program...

  • A federal jury in New York on Tuesday, after no more than three hours of deliberation, found Donald J. Trump to liable for sexual abuse and defamation against magazine writer E. Jean Carroll after what she described as a rape in a New York department store in the 1990s. The jury in the civil case ordered Trump to pay some $5 million in damages to Carroll, even as he continued to lie about her both before and after the jury's unanimous decision.
  • Nations around the world are now warning their citizens to take precautions when traveling to the U.S. due to all the terrorism, specifically the gun-violence by domestic-terrorists which the Republican Party refuses to do anything about. Instead, like Texas Governor Greg Abbott --- who has presided over an untold number of mass murders carried out with AR-15 and similar weapons in his state during his three terms as Governor --- they are pretending (again) that the real issue isn't the easy availability of weapons of war, but "mental health". And yet, at the same time, Republicans like Abbott have slashed hundreds of millions of dollars from, you guessed it, mental health care, even while working hard to both take health care away from folks who need it entirely and make it easier for those with and without mental health issues to buy still more high-powered, military-style weapons.
  • We now know the identities of the 8 killed in the weekend mass murder at the Allen, Texas outlet mall, allegedly carried out by a neo-Nazi who echoed many ideas expressed by Republicans in his social media postings. One Korean American six-year old became an orphan during the weekend rampage as his mother, father and younger brother were all killed in the shooting. Two sisters in grade school were also murdered at the same time, along with a mall security guard and several others.
  • Over the same weekend, a 14-year old girl, miraculously, wasn't killed in Louisiana, even though she was shot in the head by a man who saw shadows outside of his house and started shooting at them. The shadows were of neighborhood children playing hide and seek. But, at least the 58-year old man bravely "stood his ground" against the "threat". Yet another victory for the Republican Party of Terror.
  • All of that as the Dept. of Justice Sentencing Memo we discussed on yesterday's program, "throwing the book" at the rightwing, Trump-supporting militia group Oath Keepers for their seditious conspiracy on January 6th at the U.S. Capitol, included a request for increased penalties for "terrorism" in the addition to the charges for which the conspirators were previously found guilty.
  • If being the Party of Terror by Murder and Terror by Insurrection wasn't enough for today's Republicans, they are now working on adding the Party of Economic Terror to their list of accomplishments. With the "X-Date" now looming for when the U.S. Government runs out of borrowing authority to pay its bills --- including payments for decades of stuff mandated by Congress and Presidents of both parties --- the U.S. is facing the real possibility of default for the first time in its history. That's because House Republicans are, so far, refusing to simply vote to raise or ignore the dumb debt ceiling law unless the White House agrees to cut billions of dollars in spending on food assistance, health care (including for veterans) and much more. If the U.S. defaults on its debts and its ability to pay interest on loans, social security checks and salaries to the military (and much, much more), we could see a financial calamity in world markets and economies as early as June 1, according to the Treasury Department.

    If Republicans shoot the proverbial hostage this time around, the Biden Administration is reportedly considering invoking Section 4 of the 14th Amendment, the text of which states clearly, in pertinent part: "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred ...shall not be questioned."

    Under this theory, the Treasury Department would simply continue to borrow, as needed, in order to pay bills already incurred, even if Republicans refuse to lift the Debt Limit. Remember, the Executive Branch is required, by law, to pay bills that Congress already mandated be paid. If the Government runs out of money and can't pay its bills, it would be in violation of myriad laws. On the other hand, if Treasury borrows money to pay our bills without the Debt Ceiling limit being raised by Congress, it would also be violating the law, albeit only that one, dumb one and, arguably, the U.S. Constitution. Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe explains all of this in a weekend op-ed at the New York Times in which he details his reasons for having changed his mind about the debt limit.

  • But, as Simon Rosenberg observed over the weekend, "If there was a terror org operating inside the US, how would it look any different then what we're seeing," from today's Republican Party? Good question, Simon. If al-Qaeda or ISIS had helped people obtain weapons to kill thousands of Americans, attempted to overthrow the U.S. Government in an insurrection and threatened to crash the U.S. and world economies, I suspect we'd have been in an actual shooting war with them long ago...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Abortion bans blocked by GOPers in two 'red' states; Trump Camp also paid a second research firm to find zero fraud in the 2020 election...
By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2023 6:27pm PT  

Time is running out on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many clock-ticking stories covered today...

  • The contract for film and television writers ran out as of midnight last night. Today, 11,500 union members in the Writers Guild of America went on strike. The late-night comedy shows have already been shut down and, sadly, Americans are likely to be less well-informed because of it. We explain.
  • The deadline for how long Republicans can hold the nation and world economy hostage to ill-considered, self-destructive extremist idiocy --- before blowing everything up and creating a first-ever default of the U.S. Government in the process --- got much closer as of Monday. The new earliest date for when the U.S. Government may run out of authority to borrow the funds needed to pay for stuff that Republicans and Democrats alike long ago committed to paying for is now June 1, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

    Yet, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his band of reckless Republicans in Congress continue to exploit our dumb debt limit law to try and extort huge cuts to food and health care to millions of Americans (including veterans) along with a rollback of critical climate crisis initiatives in exchange for not destroying the nation's economy.

    President Biden is right not to negotiate with terrorists on this matter. The way the media covers this mess, however, will make a big difference in whether or not Biden's able to continue to do the right thing. In the meantime, we sure do hope he has a plan to handle the worst-case scenario that today's gerrymandered, death-wish GOPers may actually be dumb enough to cause for the first time in U.S. history.

  • Not all Republicans have a death wish, apparently. On the same day last week, in two different "red" states, South Carolina and Nebraska, a handful of Republican state lawmakers voted to protect abortion rights. For now. It took the only two female Republican state Senators in South Carolina and one 80-year old Republican in Nebraska to block complete bans on reproductive freedoms. We'll see how long that lasts and/or if any other GOPers can figure out why they keep losing elections that they should have won after the corrupt U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.
  • Back in February we covered the news from Washington Post's Josh Dawsey that the Donald Trump's Campaign paid $600,000 to a research firm to investigate every single potential claim of fraud in the 2020 Presidential election. They found absolutely nothing and told Trump as much in December of that year. Nonetheless, on January 6, 2021, Trump went out and lied yet again to his supporters about fraud in the election, even though he was told all such claims were baseless. And now, Dawsey reports, a second firm was paid $750,000 by the Trump Campaign at the same time to also find no evidence of fraud. That firm told him as well, in advance of January 6. Special Counsel Jack Smith has now reportedly subpoenaed records and testimony from both firms, as he probes the Trump Campaign fraudulently raising more than $250 million from their own supporters based on fraudulent claims we now know Trump absolutely knew to be fraudulent at the time he made the fraudulent claims.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with non-fraudulent news on the impact of climate change on East Africa's deadly drought; the corrupted SCOTUS plans to undermine climate regulations next term; SpaceX grounded in Texas; and some better news for the climate out of the great state of California...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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By Desi Doyen on 4/25/2023 10:41am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Biden EPA to launch new landmark effort to limit carbon pollution from power plants; Earth hits grim new records for global ice loss and rising seas, new report finds; 1 in 3 Americans breathe polluted air; PLUS: President Biden boosts environmental justice... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Half the global population saw all-time record temperatures over past decade; Water permits for Saudi Arabia-owned farm in Arizona revoked; Renewable Energy Is Charging Ahead; In Florida, Harris announces $562M for climate resilience; As epic snow melts, a California community braces for floods; Chile's lithium nationalization shines light on emerging tech; Massive Caribbean sea urchin die-off caused by parasite...PLUS: David Attenborough, the voice of Our Planet: "Things are going to get worse"... and much, MUCH more! ...

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McCarthy's DOA plan to gut spending on the poor and make his own constituents sick in exchange for not crashing the U.S. economy; Also: Lindell loses a $5 million election fraud bet; Peters still facing jail time...
By Brad Friedman on 4/20/2023 6:40pm PT  

We've got lots of dupes and lots of dopes on today's BradCast. You'll have to figure out which is which. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has introduced a 320-page proposal [PDF] of cuts to the federal budget that he suggests Republicans must have in exchange for not blowing up the nation's economy for less than a year. The cuts being demanded in order for a vote to raise the nation's borrowing limit to pay for what we've already committed to spending and avoid a first-ever U.S. government default, include taking away food stamps from more than 4 million hungry Americans, and federal health insurance from more than 2 million poor and disabled people. He's also demanding another $130 billion dollars of cuts in social programs for Americans next year alone, though he doesn't say which programs. The White House believes it would most likely include deep cuts to "education, veterans medical care, cancer research, meals on wheels, food safety and law enforcement.” McCarthy's dead-on-arrival debt limit proposal --- if he's even able to get his own party to pass it in the House --- would also increase the deficit (which Republicans pretend to care about) by nearly $200 billion in cuts to IRS enforcement. But that will keep more money in the pockets of corporations and the wealthy, so there's that.
  • Perhaps most disturbingly of all, McCarthy is calling for cuts to much of the $400 billion in climate initiatives to clean the air and fight global warming over the next decade, as adopted by Democrats in last year's Inflation Reduction Act. If I was one of McCarthy's constituents in Bakersfield, California, I'd be particularly pissed off about that, given this year's "State of the Air" report from the American Lung Association, released on the same day as McCarthy's debt ceiling bill. If I lived in Bakersfield, I might wonder why my own Congressman wants to kill me? The new report finds McCarthy's home town at the very top of two of the Lung Association's lists...but not the good ones. Bakersfield is the #1 most polluted city in the nation, as ranked by both short-term and year-round particle pollution. On the other hand, it's only the third worst in the nation when it comes to ozone pollution. Why does Kevin McCarthy want to slash climate programs and further harm his own constituents?!
  • Some of these folks may be both dupes and dopes. Back in 2021, bedding impresario and 2020 election liar Mike Lindell promised to reveal iron-clad evidence that China helped steal the Presidential election from the former guy. Lindell declared he had data, from a whistleblower or something, proving that they had done so, somehow, via the Internet. He offered a $5 million challenge at a three-day "cyber symposium" in South Dakota that year to anyone who could "Prove Mike Wrong" by showing that the data packets he claimed revealed evidence of Chinese interference of the election didn't actually prove as much. Well, some guy, a Trump voter named Robert Zeidman, did exactly that, according to an arbitration panel who was called in after Lindell refused to pay up. The panel found that Zeidman proved the so-called "packet captures" included little more than jibberish and had nothing to do with the 2020 election. Now Lindell has 30 days to pay up, though he says he's going to court instead. It's all quite hilarious, in truth. But it may just be an appetizer for the $1.3 billion defamation suit [PDF] still pending against him by the Dominion Voting Systems company.
  • Of course, Lindell wasn't the only one to screw himself over at that "cyber symposium" in SD. That's where Colorado's former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters was speaking on stage when sensitive Dominion Voting System software from her own county was leaked to the public over the Internet. Peters was later charged by CO with 7 felonies and 3 misdemeanors related to her alleged scheme to sneak into the secure voting system room in her county with accomplices late at night, as they turned off the security cameras to make unlawful copies of the election tabulation software. Her trial on those state charges comes later this year, but last month Peters was found guilty of obstructing a law enforcement investigation related to one of her accomplices. Last week she was sentenced to 4 months of home detention and 120 hours of community service. The penalties she is likely to face for breaching the County's voting system software is likely to be much much worse if she's found guilty.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with more on Speaker McCarthy's attempt to gut landmark climate initiatives at the expense of humanity; record deadly heat in Asia; Trump-appointed judges gutting Berkley, CA's attempt to fight climate change; and a landmark approval for clean electricity transmission across several western states...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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By Desi Doyen on 4/20/2023 10:49am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Fort Lauderdale struggles with gas shortage and other ripple effects after extreme rain disaster; Historic, record-shattering heat in Asia turns deadly; Republican appeals court judges overturn Berkeley, CA's natural gas installation ban; PLUS: House Republicans hold U.S. clean energy sector hostage to raise the nation's debt limit... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): GOP House fails to override Biden’s veto of resolution to overturn EPA water rule; As states replace lead pipes, plastic alternatives could bring new risks; Hydro: Oil-rich Norway could become Europe’s 'green battery'; Clogged transmission cost consumers $13B in 1 year; Growing insurance crisis spreads to Texas; Rapid snowmelt causing significant flooding across northern Plains... PLUS: Beyond The Poles: The far-reaching dangers of melting ice

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Uncertainty and necessity of Trump indictment(s); Bragg ponders 'perp walk' protocol; MAGA fears a protest 'trap'; Fox 'News' eating its own...
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2023 5:33pm PT  

Looks like Donald Trump was not "ARRESTED ON TUESDAY" as he lied (again) to his easily-duped followers over the weekend. But, just to put this up front on today's BradCast: We reject the notion that indicting the former President in relation to a hush-money payment made to help him win the 2016 Presidential election --- and the payments made while he was in the White House to cover it all up --- is a "minor crime" not worth indicting a former President for. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

That point is explained in much more detail on today's program, along with other related stories and important points, as the GOP begins to collapse in on itself...

  • Given that no U.S. President has ever been indicted, nobody knows how (or if) this will work out, and what will happen after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in New York (or Fani Willis in Georgia, or Special Counsel Jack Smith at the federal level), actually brings an indictment against Trump. That is, presuming one or more of them actually do, as we also discussed with callers on yesterday's program.
  • A so-called "liberal" at Facebook was critical of our coverage yesterday, even if he doesn't appear to have either listened to it, or even read the item we posted along with it. His critique seems to be that, on this week's 20th Anniversary of George W. Bush's unlawful, accountability-free invasion of Iraq and the war crimes that followed it (as discussed yesterday as well), we shouldn't be wasting time discussing accountability for Donald Trump. He is wrong for a host of reasons...
  • ...Several of which also happen to be discussed in Will Bunch's newsletter at Philly Inquirer today, headlined "U.S. presidents and their crime spree since 1968." Bunch concludes his piece with this on-point observation:

    So let me get this straight: We look the other way when our leaders oversee war crimes or greenlight torture or commit quasi-treason with foreign adversaries because the American presidency is too big to fail, but we're also going to ignore a cut-and-dried lower-level crime because it's too small? I'd argue that charging Trump with violating a law that applies to 333 million other Americans is a first baby step toward undoing 55 years of gross injustice, and it's long overdue. We need to rediscover that it's still illegal even when a president does it.
  • Meanwhile, as GOP House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (along with the Republican chairs of the Oversight and Administration Committees) is demanding NY D.A. Bragg come in to testify and turn over all documents from his criminal grand jury probe of Trump --- before any indictment has even been issued --- it seems worth noting that Congressional subpoenas are now optional. Jordan and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and several other GOP members made that clear last year when they ignored similar requests from the House January 6 Committee and faced no accountability for their Contempt. Nonetheless, they are apparently hoping to weaponize the federal government at this point to prevent elected state law enforcement officials from doing their job of fighting crime.
  • All of that, while Bragg is reportedly considering whether Trump will be forced to carry out the same "perp walk" that all other white collar criminals facing felony crimes in NYC must face, or whether a former President should be given special consideration for some reason.
  • At the same time, in the wake of Trump exhorting supporters to "PROTEST, PROTEST, PROTEST!!!", very few seem to be answering his call so far. That may be because many of them reportedly believe it's all a trap by the Feds! (Marjorie Taylor Greene, however, believes there's no need to protest, because any indictment of Trump only assures he will be re-elected in 2024. Maybe. Though it begs the question as to how other Republicans, like Jordan and Trump himself, can claim that indictments are only being brought to hurt his chances in 2024.)
  • And while all of those rightwingers collapse in on themselves, Fox "News" appears to be doing the same thing. A producer named in Dominion Voting Systems' $1.6 billion defamation suit against the Republican propaganda outlet is now suing Fox, claiming misogyny by Tucker Carlson and his staff and that she and Maria Bartiromo are being sacrificed by the company for their false reporting on fraud in the 2020 Presidential election. She is also charging she was coerced by Fox attorneys into offering misleading testimony in the Dominion lawsuit. As Media Matters' Angelo Carusone told us on this show several weeks ago regarding the damage that Dominion's suit may due to Fox: "It's sort of like a Jenga puzzle. Pulling one block is not going topple it down, but its certainly gonna make it a lot more vulnerable to toppling. The tiniest little breeze will probably knock the rest of it over." --- Well, it's getting pretty windy at Fox "News" these days.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, including news on the 12th(!) major winter storm now slamming California this season; unprecedented heat records smashed in Argentina; and the latest warning from the U.N. that the window for avoiding catastrophic, irreversible damage to the climate is almost closed, requiring an unprecedented worldwide effort to radically cut fossil fuel emissions before the end of this decade...

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Also: Jeffries blocks GOP attempt to kill Office of Congressional Ethics; PA special elections give Dems full control of state House; New Dem trifecta in MN protects abortion rights, mandates 100% clean power...
By Brad Friedman on 2/9/2023 6:05pm PT  

The long-awaited GOP-led House hearings are now getting under way in full. And, as we've previously predicted, they ain't going well...for the Republicans. Also on today's BradCast, a few critical (and good news) updates to several stories we've covered in the recent past, as well as some encouraging breaking news on the worsening woes of our failed former President. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

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

  • A few weeks back, longtime Congressional ethics expert Craig Holman of Public Citizen joined us to explain the House GOP's attempt, buried in their new rules package adopted at the beginning of the new session last month, to kill the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. That is the very effective body that runs real investigations into Congressional members' crimes and ethics lapses, by way of contrast with the House Ethics Committee which, as Holman told us at the time, is "literally designed to sweep ethics matters under the rug." The new House rules were cleverly crafted by Republicans to cripple the OCE --- along with any real probes of folks like George Santos or Kevin McCarthy and the several other GOP members who defied Congressional subpoenas last year. But, at the last second this week, House Dem Leader Hakeem Jeffries appears to have saved the day --- and the OCE --- with some very quick work to thwart the GOP scheme to kill this critical agency.
  • In another good news update today to yet another story we've been covering in recent weeks, the long and confusing battle over majority control of the Pennsylvania state House is now all but settled with the election of all three Democrats in three different Special Elections held on Tuesday to fill three vacancies in the chamber. That means that Dems will now have full control of the House in the Keystone State for the first time in over a decade. Critically, they will now be able to thwart the effort by the previously GOP-controlled legislature's plan to adopt a state Constitutional amendment that would declare there is no right to an abortion in the state.
  • And, in still more good news on reproductive freedoms and the importance of elections, last November, Democrats won a trifecta in the great state of Minnesota, as they gained majority control of both chambers in the state legislature and control of the Governor's mansion. They have now begun to move a huge number of long-overdue progressive priorities forward. Last week, they adopted a statute to protect reproductive freedoms in the state --- the first state to do so after last summer's SCOTUS reversal of Roe v. Wade --- and, this week, Gov. Tim Walz signed a measure that mandate MN's move to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040! (And there is much more to come. Elections matter!)
  • Next, it's on to the ridiculous hearing held on Wednesday in the newly GOP-controlled Oversight Committee in the U.S. House. The long-awaited hearing, featuring a panel of witnesses who formerly worked at Twitter, was meant to examine alleged federal government censorship on the social media site. Specifically, a two-day pause on the broad sharing of a questionable New York Post article in early October 2020 on a laptop purportedly abandoned by Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden. The hearing did not go well for the Republicans. As it turns out (and as we've told you previously), there is no actual evidence of the FBI or any other government agency, censoring the laptop story --- or any other --- at the social media network, even though Republicans are now pretending that the FBI (Trump's FBI, by the way!) somehow used Twitter to rig the 2020 election for Biden. If all of that sounds ridiculous, it's because it is. We share several clips today from the hearing, which failed to reveal evidence that Biden or the Democrats or the FBI or the "deep state" violated the First Amendment in somehow censoring --- or trying to censor --- Twitter. But, you know who did? Yup, Donald Trump and his White House, as revealed by Democrats and the former Twitter employees who testified at Wednesday's sort of hilariously failed hearing.
  • Also today, Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report with details on environmental elements of Biden's Tuesday State of the Union address; new evidence of more lies and war profiteering by BP; a foiled neo-Nazi attack on the power grid in Baltimore; and more on that great news about the clean energy mandate (as noted above) out of MN.
  • Finally, some breaking news as today's show wraps up: former Vice President Mike Pence has reportedly been subpoenaed by Jack Smith's federal Special Counsel probe of Donald Trump's attempt to steal the 2020 Presidential election. That, according to ABC News, which broke the story first, suggests "a major escalation of Smith's probe"...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Special Coverage of the President's ingenious, off-the-cuff GOP Rope-a-Dope and much more with guests Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Hullabaloo, and 'Driftglass' of the 'Pro Left Podcast'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/8/2023 4:52pm PT  

For the first time in a long time on today's BradCast, we're happy to feature a Special Coverage episode of something that isn't actually horrible. In fact, it's something that turned out to be an unexpected amount of fun to watch and cover, while including what was, as I described it on today's show, "the greatest Rope-a-Dope Moment in the all-time history of State of the Union addresses." [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

We've got full post-speech team coverage today of Joe Biden's second SOTU as President (actually his third address to a joint session of Congress), and it was a humdinger! Both the speech and today's coverage. In fact, as our panel appeared to agreed today, it was likely the most enjoyable SOTU any of us had ever witnessed!

We're joined today by the great HEATHER DIGBY PARTON, award-winning columnist at Salon and founder of Digby's Hullabaloo blog (which just celebrated it's 20th anniversary!) and "DRIFTGLASS", otherwise known as @Mr_Electrico on Twitter and as simply Bill at home, where he produces The Professional Left Podcast each week with his wife Fran/"BlueGal". Like Digby and me, he too is a longtime, old-school progressive blogger!

Biden's lively remarks on Tuesday --- and his surprisingly brilliant off-the-cuff responses to jeers and obnoxiously inaccurate heckles from members of the new Republican House majority --- cannot be described as delivered by "Sleepy Joe". The 73-minute speech actually flew by, surprisingly enough.

During the address, he, justifiably, sang his Administration's praises for what has amounted to one of the most successful first two years of any Presidency going back to at least FDR. (That, as we discuss, is particularly surprising given the narrowest of majorities he had to work with for the past two years in Congress. And is true, whether or not you liked his many accomplishments, had hoped for still more, or preferred entirely different policies.)

Snap polling following Tuesday's SOTU revealed a whopping 72% of Americans who watched it reacted positively, with some of the most favorable reactions coming from those who, prior to the speech, disapproved of Biden or felt his policies would not move the country in the right direction. So will his remarks on Tuesday make any difference in his approval ratings moving forward?

We cover a lot of ground on today's Special Coverage episode, including thoughts on Biden's brilliant Rope-a-Dope / Jedi Mind Trick that resulted in Republicans yelling and screaming to insist they are absolutely not hoping to gut or cut or even sunset Social Security and Medicare(!); other details from the surprisingly populist and progressive speech; insight on why Biden's approval ratings have been so low over the past year (and who is to blame for that); analysis of the bizarre movement by some in the supposed "Anti-war Left" to oppose support for the fight for democracy in sovereign Ukraine and against the authoritarian invasion by its imperialist neighboring Russia; and of the weird, creepy, dark, up is down/down is up GOP response to Biden's SOTU by Donald Trump's former Press Secretary and "prolific liar" turned new Governor of Arkansas, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Lots of insight --- and hilarity! --- ensues during today's 'BradCast' Special Coverage! Enjoy!...

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The President's son threatens legal action against rightwing media, seeks legal probe of 'stolen' emails; Also: Omar pushes back against GOP revenge vote; And, a 'BradCast' programming announcement!...
By Brad Friedman on 2/2/2023 6:51pm PT  

Apparently, our week of GOP debunkery continues on today's BradCast. I have a feeling we may be at it for quite some time, as Republicans are just getting started with their crash and burn majority control of the U.S. House. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

On yesterday's program, we shared a few clips from interviews this week with the new Republican Chair of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. James Comer of Kentucky. He explained why he was dead set on his committee investigating the connection between classified documents found by Joe Biden's aides at his Delaware residence (and immediately returned to the federal government) and concerns about "influence peddling" by the President and his family. That, despite any actual evidence to support the allegations.

Comer also made clear he had no interest in his Committee investigating the former President, despite the hundreds of classified documents he'd stolen from the White House (and refused to return, with many still missing) and mountains of evidence of influence peddling by Donald Trump and many of his children, including son-in-law Jared Kushner who received $2 billion from the Saudis just after Trump left office.

There was one point Comer focused on, however, in an effort to buttress his case. "There's one email that's been identified that is suspicious, that we want to look into," he explained. "We want to make sure that this one email that was on Hunter Biden's laptop wasn't one of the classified documents" found at Biden's residence in DE.

This claim seems to stem from an allegation first published by a New York Post columnist, apparently. GOP Senators have also been citing the same claim of late. Sen. Ron Johnson (WI) recently argued on Fox Business that an email from 2014, said to have been found on what Republicans have long claimed to be an "abandoned" laptop from the President's son contained "a very detailed analysis of what's happening in Ukraine." Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) alleged on a podcast that information in the email "could easily have come from a classified briefing."

Washington Post's Glenn Kessler examined the allegation and the evidence today. He found that the facts stated in the 22-point email said to be from Hunter actually lined up with information that was not only on the public record at the time, but published by major news outlets just weeks before the date of the email. "Laptop email suggests Hunter Biden read newspapers, not classified documents," Kessler's headline reads today. He awarded "Three Pinocchios" to the claims from Johnson and Cruz, as echoed by Oversight Committee Chair Comer on Sunday.

At the same time, Hunter Biden, after years of staying quiet about all of this, appears to now be pushing back. His attorneys recently sent legal letters to Fox "News" and Tucker Carlson, for example, demanding they retract and apologize for what the letters characterize as defamatory statements. They've also sent letters seeking criminal investigations by both state and federal authorities into the dissemination of his personal data by folks like Rudy Giuliani in the run-up to the 2020 election, making clear that while some of the data discovered was his, he neither authorized its public release, nor dropped off an allegedly abandoned laptop at a repair shop, as the GOP story, initially spread by Giuliani, goes.

Much more on all of the above today. But if Republican members of Congress believe that House investigations into this sort of stuff is what voters want them to do, after months of campaigning on claims of out-of-control crime, record inflation, high gas prices, etc., they are likely very wrong. At least according to a new report on focus groups of independent voters in Wisconsin, Virginia and Texas.

Next up today, we share some of the remarks by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the House floor today before a vote by House Republicans to remove her from the Foreign Affairs Committee based on comments they regard as anti-Israel four years ago. In truth, the move by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy --- who was finally able to scrounge up the minimum number of votes needed to remove her (all Dems voted in her favor) --- was clearly revenge for Democrats removing Reps. Marjorie Taylor Green (GA) and Paul Gosar (AZ) from their committee assignments during the last Congress. That, after they each posted violent threats against Democrats. (For example, Green promoted a comment from a supporter calling for the assassination of then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Gosar posted a video in which he is depicted as decapitating Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden with a ninja sword.)

Then, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as Big Oil profiteers announce all-time record profits after a year or two of inflating gas prices; and the Biden EPA announces some very good news for longtime opponents of what would have been a toxic mining project in a pristine part of Alaska.

Finally today, a programming announcement for The BradCast! We will be moving to a four-day-a-week, Monday through Thursday schedule (with rebroadcasts scheduled for Friday) for the foreseeable future. While there are no emergencies, as noted on the program, there are several reasons for this change. Catching up on some long overdue health issues (physical, emotional, mental) is just one of them. We're fine. But, after moving from a weekly to a daily schedule back in early 2015, in order to cover the 2016 elections, and then staying with that schedule thanks to the "surprise" ending of that election, and then continuing on through four years of Trump and a years-long pandemic...well, we've got a lot to catch up with here and hope you will both understand and forgive us for our need to take Fridays off for a while. Perhaps even permanently. (Feel free to leave any complaints in the comments section below, however!)

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Guest: Kevin Drum of Jabberwocking; Also: Prepare yourself for the GOP's crash and burn Congressional 'investigations'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/1/2023 6:04pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: The so-called investigations of the Biden Administration by GOP-led Congressional committees are virtually guaranteed to crash and burn for Republicans in the months ahead. But whether they crash and burn the national and global economies in the meantime remains a very real question. It's one about which our guest today has a few very interesting suggestions for Democrats. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up, however, we pick up a bit on yesterday's coverage helping to gird you for the circus of insanity now barreling toward all of us with the GOP's takeover of the U.S. House. Yesterday, we detailed NBC's Chuck Todd (of all people!) calling out the lies of Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan --- the new Chair of both the House Judiciary Committee and the GOP's newly formed Select Subcommittee on "The Weaponization of the Federal Government" --- regarding Jordan's false equivalency between the handful of classified documents discovered and promptly returned by President Biden's aides, and Donald Trump's more than a year-and-a-half long effort to retain hundreds of classified documents he stole from the White House and refused to return.

In a similar vein today, the new Chair of the House Oversight Committee, Kentucky Rep. James Comer, made a yutz of himself on CNN over the weekend, trying to explain why President Joe Biden and his family must be investigated for "influence peddling," despite the lack of evidence to support the charge. That while, he insisted, there is absolutely nothing to look into regarding the mountain of actual known evidence suggesting influence peddling by Donald Trump and his family.

For good measure, we also help Marjorie Taylor Greene embarrass herself today by simply playing some of her very serious questions to the U.S. Comptroller --- about Drag Queen Story Hour and an elementary school she claimed received $5.1 billion in "COVID Cash" to teach Critical Race Theory --- at a House hearing today.

As to real damage that Republicans are capable of causing, the Treasury Department is currently taking "extraordinary measures" to avoid defaulting on our national debt for the first time in U.S. history as House Republicans figure out how to best hold the nation's (and world's) economy hostage to demands of cuts to federal spending before they are willing to raise the statutory debt limit. Unless they do so very soon, giving authority to the U.S. Treasury to borrow the money needed to pay for stuff that Congress and Presidents of both parties long ago authorized and/or purchased, the global economy could come crashing down on everyone. The White House refuses to negotiate on whether our bills must be paid. But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, on behalf of his far-right caucus, is holding out for...something...though he has yet to make clear precisely what they want.

We're joined today by KEVIN DRUM, longtime blogger formerly of Washington Monthly and Mother Jones, now back on the indie blogging beat at his site, Jabberwocking, for insight on this dangerous mess.

In addition to thoughts on how he sees all of this ultimately shaking out; whether Republicans will really pull the trigger on the hostage this time; how it played out the last time they tried the same gambit when they had control of Congress while a Democrat occupied the White House in 2011; and the history of why the U.S. stands nearly alone among developed democracies in even having such a dumb statutory limit on paying our bills, Drum recently wrote about a couple of ways that Dems may consider moving forward without a vote from Republicans at all.

One idea long discussed by many on the Internet is that the President has the authority to simply order the minting of a $1 trillion platinum coin. Drum explains that well-worn --- if never invoked --- theory, what makes it lawful, and if it would actually work to allow our bills to continue to be paid without Congress voting to raise the debt ceiling.

Another idea he prefers, however, involves calling the GOP's bluff by citing Section 4 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which plainly states "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law ... shall not be questioned" and telling Republicans to "pound sand." Just continue writing checks as usual and let Republicans go to court to get a ruling that the U.S. Government must immediately stop sending Social Security checks to grandma, stop issuing food stamps to hungry families, stop paying for medical care for the poor and elderly, stop all military spending, and stop all interest payments on U.S. treasury bonds, etc.

"If this goes to court for one reason or another, that's actually pretty useful," Drum argues. "It makes Republicans really take a stand. It makes it clear that Republicans are the ones who are trying to cut off food stamps or Social Security or whatever it is."

But, while Drum explains why he believes it's a "low-risk" option, it could still be a dangerous one nonetheless. A favorable decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in days of yore might have been a no-brainer. But, with an entirely corrupted, far-right extremist super-majority now at SCOTUS, it's anyone's guess as to whether they would vote to uphold the clear text of the Constitution or not.

There's a lot to discuss with Drum today! I hope you'll tune in!...

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Dark money fossil fuel bribery and disenfranchising military voters in the Buckeye State; Also: GOP House continues dangerous debt limit game...
By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2023 6:13pm PT  

Is there any amount of blatant corruption that would result in Ohio voters finally turning against Republicans? As we discuss in detail on today's BradCast, state GOP lawmakers seem to really be testing that question at this point. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But, first up, speaking of testing voters, the Treasury Department made it official today. The U.S. Government has now hit its current, statutory borrowing limit. We are now officially using "extraordinary measures" to continue paying our bills to avoid defaulting on our debts. But that can only go on for so long. At this point, according to Treasury's best guess, the U.S. will see its first-ever default "before early June" unless House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his Republicans in Congress cast a simple vote to raise the amount we are allowed to borrow so that we can pay for all the stuff that Congress and Presidents of both parties long ago agreed to pay for.

It's not hard. It's been done about 80 times since the 1960s, mostly without a problem. But now, with a Democrat in the White House and radicalized Republicans in control of the U.S. House, GOP hard-liners seem determined to play a dangerous game that could result in a national or even world-wide recession or depression. They are pretending to care about the national debt, after years of voting to increase spending while reducing revenue with huge tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. Their performative actions now --- as they hold the nation hostage, demanding cuts to Social Security and Medicare --- will only make the national debt worse. Will voters remember, the next time they go to the voting booth, the damage the GOP seems hell-bent on causing?

We can only hope there will be some not totally insane, "moderate" Republicans left in Congress to join with Democrats to end this madness before its too late, because nobody knows how bad the damage will soon be if they don't. They are likely to run this up to the wire. Again. So, buckle up.

Meanwhile, there's Republican-controlled Ohio, with its totally not insane, supposedly "moderate" Republican Governor, Mike DeWine. He just signed legislation, passed by the GOP state legislature, redefining natural gas --- one of the worst causes of global warming --- as "green energy" under state law. Not insane or corrupt at all, right?

As it turns out, DeWine and state Republicans, once again, seem to be participants in another dark money corruption scandal courtesy of the fossil fuel industry. That, as the state's Republican former House Speaker, Larry Householder, begins his $60 million federal bribery trial next week. That, after Householder, former Ohio Republican Party chair Matt Borges, three others and a dark money political group controlled by Householder participated in "an elaborate scheme, secretly funded by FirstEnergy, to secure Householder's power, elect his allies, pass legislation containing a $1 billion bailout for two aging nuclear power plants, and then vex a ballot effort to overturn the bill with a dirty tricks campaign," according to prosecutors.

Householder shepherded the 2019 passage of the bill to bailout the nuke plants (and a coal-fired power plant) owned by FirstEnergy, a huge energy and fossil fuel conglomerate based in Akron. The bailout was to have been paid for with an additional fee on the utility bills of Buckeye State rate payers, according to the legislation that was signed be DeWine just hours after passage.

And now, it seems, DeWine has done it again. This time on behalf of the natural gas industry. But, why not? Last November, Ohio voters said they didn't mind all the corruption. DeWine easily won a second term in office and state GOP lawmakers increased their super-majorities in both chambers of the legislature.

But, just in case the voters get wise, DeWine recently signed a major overhaul of state election laws, implementing a series of new restrictions on voters. One of those restrictions, however, will make it more difficult for active-duty military members overseas to cast their votes without being disenfranchised. Oops. Military families are said to be furious. But do Republicans actually care about that either? Why would they?

Finally, Desi Doyen joins for our latest Green News Report with more details on DeWine's friendly payback to the natural gas industry; the European Union's new plan to try and compete with renewable energy incentives in the U.S. adopted last year by Democrats; and Germany's recent crack down on anti-coal protesters...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Public Citizen's Government Affairs lobbyist Craig Holman; Also: VA's Youngkin kills new Ford EV battery plant, 2,500 new jobs; Kobach fined by FEC as he takes seat as top law enforcement official in KS...
By Brad Friedman on 1/18/2023 5:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast: With so many referrals of Republican members of Congress to House ethics investigators of late, is it any wonder the GOP and Kevin McCarthy just voted to gut the critical Office of Congressional Ethics (or OCE) as part of their new rules package for taking over the majority in the 118th Congress? [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

At the end of last year, the bipartisan House Select Committee investigating the Trump-incited insurrection on January 6, 2021, recommended Congressional ethics investigations of then-Minority Leader, now-Speaker McCarthy (R-CA); Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) and Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) for their failure to respond to lawful Congressional subpoenas. More recently, there have been calls for an ethics investigation of New York's newly seated Republican Rep. and pathological liar, George Santos.

Naturally then, as their first order of business when approving the chambers Rules Package last week, which will now be used to govern for the next two years, Republicans moved to all but kill the only investigative ethics body in the House with actual teeth, the OCE.

We're joined today for insight on all of this by longtime Government Affairs lobbyist on ethics, lobbying and campaign finance rules for good government group Public Citizen, CRAIG HOLMAN. He helps us understand the difference between the House Ethics Committee and the totally separate and independent Office of Congressional Ethics, and explains how Republicans have just implemented a "one-two punch to shut down" the latter and any real ethics investigations along with it.

"The ethics process in Congress, in both the House and the Senate, has historically been run by members of Congress themselves," Holman explains. "So we've got this permanent committee called the House Ethics Committee that is run by members of Congress who are very, very reluctant to be critical of their fellow colleagues. They operate in secret. They will do their investigations, sometimes, but we never really know what they found or what they ended up recommending because they operate in secret. The House Ethics Committee is literally designed to sweep ethics matters under the rug, so that the public doesn't know what's going on."

On the other hand, "In 2008, as part of the huge ethics and lobby reform package that we passed in the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, we created an outside, independent Office of Congressional Ethics," he continues, explaining why the OCE is so critical. To be on its eight-member Board, you can't be a lobbyist or Congressional member. You must be a bona fide outsider. "It's staffed by eight board members --- four Republicans, four Democrats --- and it's done a phenomenal job at opening up the whole ethics process."

"Even though OCE doesn't have any actual enforcement authority, it does an actual investigation and then publishes the results of that investigation. And when it becomes public record, that has compelled the House Ethics Committee to actually do something." Holman observes that, since OCE's creation, actual enforcement actions by the House Ethics Committee has literally quadrupled.

Now, however, new rules adopted last week by House Republicans will force almost every Democratic member of the OCE's Board to step down, any replacements for them must be approved by at least four existing Board Members (which would now be 3 Rs and 1 D). Critically, Dems will have just 30 days find and to appoint those new members, hire staff and have it all approved by the Board. That, he explains, will be virtually impossible. "After that 30-day window, there's no staff. There's no investigators. There's no one able to do the work of OCE. It will effectively shut down OCE."

"It's a very strategic one-two punch to close down the ethics process," Holman argues. So, what does all of this mean for ethics investigations under GOP House rule over the next two years? And is there any way to either reverse the newly adopted rules or re-interpret them somehow in the GOP-majority Rules Committee? We discuss. But Holman describes the outlook as "grim" at this point.

Also on today's show...

  • Virginia's Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin has killed a new Ford Motor Co. project to build electric vehicle batteries in his state. The new plant would have brought at least 2,500 new jobs to a rural area of the commonwealth which has been under development for years in hopes of attracting new industry. But the plant was to have been a partnership with a Chinese company. Youngkin, who is believed likely to run for a Presidential nod in 2024, claims the company is a secret front for the "Chinese Communist Party" and poses a threat to the security of Virginians somehow. Meanwhile the new Ford employees will be hired in a different state, and the 3,500-acre megasite in VA remains vacant after 15 years and more than $200 million in public development funding. Desi Doyen suggests that the oil industry's efforts to put the brakes on the EV boom also plays a part in this fiasco.
  • Last week, Kansas' Democratic Governor Laura Kelly was sworn in for a second term in the usually "red" state. This time, however, she was joined by longtime immigration opponent, vote suppressor and GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach, who was sworn in as the state's new Attorney General. Kobach's long-sought political comeback --- after losing the Governor's contest to Kelly in 2018 and the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in 2020 --- comes along with a $30,000 fine from the Federal Election Commission for election law violations during his failed 2020 election when he received unlawful help from a fraudulent private border wall group called "We Build the Wall". After embarrassing the state of KS, Kobach served as Board Member and General Counsel for the group which is, itself, facing fraud charges at both the federal and state level in New York (along with Board Member Steve Bannon). Other than that, of course, and the federal court sanctions he received while serving as SoS --- including orders to attend law school classes at the time --- there's a new sheriff in town in the great state of Kansas. I'm sure it will go very well...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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