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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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: Election integrity expert Marilyn Marks; Also: Stormy takes the stand in NY; GA's Republican former Lt. Gov. endorses Biden...
By Brad Friedman on 5/7/2024 6:37pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A new cybersecurity incident has emerged in Coffee County, Georgia. That's the now-notorious rural enclave in the southeastern part of the Presidential battleground state where Donald Trump allies and operatives, in January of 2021, unlawfully breached, copied and distributed the state's proprietary touchscreen voting system software after the 2020 Presidential election. Five participants in that breach were charged with felonies as part of the broad racketeering conspiracy case against Trump filed in Fulton County, GA. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Before we get there today, however, some quick news on Trump's New York criminal trial, where he stands accused of 34 felonies related to hush-money payments made just before the 2016 election to porn star Stormy Daniels. She took the stand today. We cover a few quick details, but will cover that and other related news in more depth on tomorrow's mid-week Trump Trial "Ketchup" program.

Also today, we're happy to announce another very rarely-bestowed BRAD BLOG Intellectually Honest Conservative Award. This one for Georgia's Republican former Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan. The prestigious honor comes in response to his courageous op-ed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution this week, in which he endorsed Joe Biden and encouraged fellow Never Trump Republicans to do the same, noting, "Unlike Trump, I’ve belonged to the GOP my entire life. This November, I am voting for a decent person I disagree with on policy over a criminal defendant without a moral compass."

Then, it's back to Georgia, where the Coffee County Board of Commissioners released a notice [PDF] late last month that they'd been notified by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), 11 days earlier, about "unusual cyberactivity" on the County's local IT system. The terse statement from the County confirmed indications of "cyber-activity by an unknown malicious actor(s)". It claimed that "Steps have been taken to further secure the network and protect Coffee County's IT infrastructure", while noting that it had "informed Federal Authorities of the incident". (Yes, that would seemingly be the same incident that the very same press release says Federal Authorities, DHS and CISA, notified THEM about.)

We're joined today by longtime Election Integrity and Transparency champion MARILYN MARKS of the Coalition for Good Governance (CGG). Marks was the one who first learned about Team Trump's unlawful breach of GA's statewide voting system hardware and software in Coffee County that first took place on January 7, 2021 (the day after Trump's insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.) Her revelations resulted in the charges filed by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis against Trump attorney Sidney Powell (who pleaded guilty) and others involved in the Coffee County break in.

As Director of CGG, Marks is also the plaintiff in civil lawsuit in federal court, filed in 2017, seeking to ban GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger's mandated use of the state's easily-hacked, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems in favor of verifiable hand-marked paper ballots. The trial in that long-running case, known as Curling v. Raffensperger, was finally held in January of this year. As Marks explains today, plaintiffs are still waiting on a verdict from U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg who oversaw the trial, which included demonstrations from plaintiffs' experts revealing that Raffensperger's systems can be hacked by any voter at the polling place with nothing more than a ballpoint pen.

Today, Marks charges that Coffee County appears to have "hid and concealed" information about the new cybersecurity incident from the Sec. of State's office "for some number of days." Though little is still known publicly about the new hack, she is troubled by the news. "This cannot just be coincidence that there have been two such cyberattacks this year on counties, one in Fulton and one in Coffee. That's it. The two counties that have a lot of information challenging Trump and his allies related to [the earlier breach in Coffee] and the theft of the [voting] software to begin with."

We also get an update from Marks on the status of the Curling case, where it is getting very late in the election year for the judge to issue a ruling that would require Georgia to make hand-marked paper ballots available to voters at the polls this November. Marks, however, remains ever hopeful, noting that the move to hand-marked ballots would require no new equipment above and beyond what is already available at each GA precinct.

Marks also discusses a new Georgia law (signed by Gov. Brian Kemp this evening) that will eventually ban the use of tabulation via QRCodes on computer-marked ballots, requiring computer scanners to tabulate from the ballots' human-readable text that is supposedly verified by voters after it is printed and before its cast. Unfortunately, as she explains, that bill, even if implemented in 2026 as mandated by the legislation, will not make the state's touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices any less vulnerable to manipulation or any more verifiable by the public after an election.

Marks, whose organization found no evidence that Biden's 2020 victory in the Peach State was decided incorrectly, is also offering testimony this week to the GA State Board of Elections, advocating that recounts in the state must be carried out by hand, rather than by the same computerized scanners that tallied ballots in the first place.

"The state law is quite clear, a recount is to be done by hand, for obvious reasons such as the machine [used to tally ballots] is coded wrong," she explains. Otherwise, she adds, you're going to get the same incorrect results "if you just run the ballot back through the machine that is miscoded."

The reason that Trump supporters are still arguing over the 2020 tally in the state, she believes, is thanks to the lack of a public hand-count after that very close election. Raffensperger insisted on a machine tally instead. "All of that could have been solved if they had done a manual recount, as the law required. Which would have allowed Trump to appoint a counter at every table, handle every single ballot. And they would have had a hard time arguing then about counterfeit ballots, wrong counts, no transparency," Marks tells me. "A lot of the problems that we've lived with now over three years would have been solved if they had just followed the law and done a manual recount."

Finally today, we close with our latest Green News Report, with Desi Doyen's coverage of relentless rain and deadly flooding in both Brazil and Houston; the hottest April ever recorded on Planet Earth; and President Biden's unveiling of billions of dollars to spur clean energy production in rural areas and the removal and replacement of toxic lead water pipes across the nation...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Latest in Israel's war on Gaza; Latest in Trump's NY criminal trial...
By Brad Friedman on 5/6/2024 6:52pm PT  

We've got a lot of news from around the globe and right here at home on today's BradCast. Some of it is even not terrible! But, yeah, much of it is. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • It will be eight years next month since the 2016 BREXIT referendum in Great Britain offered a foreboding omen in advance of that year's Presidential election here in the U.S. We'll hope this past weekend's election results for mayoral races in London and elsewhere in Britain --- where the Conservative Party suffered crushing defeats against the Labour Party --- offer a much brighter omen for the UK's national elections later this year and the 2024 Presidential election here in the U.S. in November.
  • On the other hand, hopefully it is not Panama's weekend elections offering us an omen instead. A last-minute replacement for the country's former, popular, charismatic but criminal President --- who is barred from the ballot as he seeks sanctuary in the Nicaraguan Embassy after being sentenced to 10 years in prison for money laundering --- defeated three other rivals to win the Presidency on Sunday.
  • In other foreign affairs, we've got a lot of news out of Israel today. Over the weekend, the government of rightwing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shut down the local operations of Qatar-based news agency Al-Jazeera in a crackdown being decried by world journalism organizations as an attack on press freedoms. Hamas announced on Monday that it had accepted a cease-fire proposal forwarded via the Egyptian-Qatari based negotiations with Israel, but Israel --- which says it is studying the proposal --- appeared to be rejecting it as they began striking targets in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. That, as the Biden Administration has been warning Israel of threatened changes in U.S. support if a ground invasion in southern Gaza does not include measures to insure the safety of hundreds of thousands of civilian refugees. And all of that follows on what Axios reported last week as a hold placed by the Administration on a shipment of U.S.-made ammo earmarked for Israel, which may now be caught up in President Biden's push for more guarantees about its use by Israel.
  • But I thought the disgraced former President told us that the U.S. Justice Department has been weaponized by Democrats to go after Republicans?! If so, they've got a funny way of showing it. Last year, the DoJ indicted New Jersey's sitting Democratic Senator Bob Menendez (and his wife) on bribery and corruption charges. On Friday, the DoJ indicted Texas' Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar (and his wife) on bribery and corruption charges. Its almost as if Trump was lying about the justice system being "weaponized" by Democrats to go after him and Republicans.
  • Speaking of our corrupt, lying, former President. Donald Trump was slapped with another fine on Monday for violating the court's gag-order against attacking jurors and witnesses. That brings the total number of contempt violations during his 2016 election interference case to 10. New York Superior Court Justice Juan Merchan once again warned that a jail sentence may be imposed after any more violations. As to the actual trial on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to hide a hush-money payment made to a porn star to help him win in 2016, the Trump Organization's former Controller and its Accounts Payable Supervisor testified for the Prosecution on Monday about how Trump, while serving in the White House, signed checks from his personal account, fraudulently logged as legal expenses, to reimburse his former attorney Michael Cohen for the hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels.
  • Record flooding from climate change-fueled downpours in a wealthy section of Brazil is being described as among the worst disasters in its history, leading to chaos, the shutdown of highways and airports, hospitals without power, widespread looting, helicopter rooftop rescues, 20,000 left homeless and, so far, at least 83 deaths. "This was the third record flood in the same region of the country in less than a year," lamented Brazil's President, decrying his nation's lack of preparedness for the worst effects of climate change and for the "historic debt" that wealthy nations who caused this problem through the unfettered emission of climate warming greenhouse gasses owe to poorer countries who emitted little of it, but are now suffering the worst of the global consequences nonetheless.
  • Brazil's weekend disaster reportedly evoked scenes from post-Katrina New Orleans and post-Harvey Houston here in the U.S. But, over the same weekend, new scenes from Houston itself evoked the same thing, following days of downpours that pummeled the region and left residents stranded on rooftops requiring hundreds of rescues. Again. Some 23 inches of rain fell in Harris County over the past week, as floodwaters are finally beginning to recede in the nation's third-largest county today. Flood insurance has become all but unaffordable for many residents after years of ever-worsening storms as our global climate crisis continues to tighten its deadly grip. A disaster declaration was issued by the state's Governor in 91 counties impacted by the latest round of extreme weather in Texas.
  • Finally, with increased heat and moisture in the air, traditionally mosquito-free Los Angeles County is mosquito-free no more. County officials are now unleashing tens of thousands of irradiated male mosquitos (which don't bite), as part of a pilot program to target the female population (which do) for a particularly aggressive strain of bugs that have grown more aggressive in recent years, and are now said to be a vector for a number of deadly diseases. All thanks to climate change. Happy Spring!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Congressional Dems expose depths of Big Oil deception, denial...
By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2024 6:16pm PT  

Today's BradCast is perhaps better listened to than explained. But here's a quick summary and some links for more details. [Audio link to full program follows this summary.]

We focus today on the largely peaceful pro-Palestinian protests that have sprung up on college campuses across the U.S. over the past week or two in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's punishing, ongoing assault of Gaza and the Biden Administration's facilitation --- reluctant or otherwise --- of that effort. Our central focus is on the responses to the protests here in the U.S. by counter protesters, media, politicians (including remarks by Joe Biden today), and, most disturbingly, armed riot police who seem to be touching off the bulk of the violence, or at least the eye-catching "if it bleeds it leads" scenes of chaotic confrontations that are easy to show on television news, whether they capture the truth of the moment or not.

As noted, today's program is better listened to than explained, I think. But, among the source material referenced in our coverage...

As usual, I welcome your responses in comments below or via email. If you can keep 'em short and sweet perhaps I'll share them on the show.

Also today, Desi Doyen covers the damning new report [PDF] from Congressional Democrats exposing how the oil industry spent decades deceiving the public and sowing doubt about the dangers of burning the fossil fuels that are the primary drivers of our climate crisis. Internal documents reveal how Big Oil shifted from outright climate denial to a covert strategy of "deception, disinformation and doublespeak" to delay the transition to clean energy and preserve their profits --- publicly professing support for reducing emissions while privately lobbying against climate laws and regulations. The tranche of subpoenaed communications were the focus of a Senate Budget Committee hearing on Wednesday, with expert testimony delving into the details of the oil industry's ongoing efforts to mislead the public about fossil fuels and the climate crisis.

And finally, our latest Green News Report with a bit more on the above, and on the unforgiving costs the world continues to pay for it, including this week with extreme heat and storms in Asia and the oil industry-facilitated plastic pollution crisis across the globe...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Pandora, TuneIn, Google, Amazon or our native RSS feed!

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Guests: Dr. Allison Gill of 'Mueller, She Wrote', Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: Dems outperform again in NY; 4th Circuit nixes some PA ballots; Federal judges strike down LA's new Black majority House district...
By Brad Friedman on 5/1/2024 6:15pm PT  

The historic trial for Donald Trump's 2016 election interference indictment continues, but was on a break today in New York. That gives us an opportunity to get caught up with all the action since our previous mid-week "ketchup" episode in the first-ever criminal trial of a former U.S. President. We have much to discuss to that end on today's BradCast, but we first kick it off with some election and voting rights news. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

  • Democrats "massively outperformed" pre-election polling yet again on Tuesday, in a Special Election for the U.S. House in New York's 26th Congressional District. Timothy Kennedy was predicted to win the seat by 9 points. He won by 36!!!
  • The Trump-appointee heavy 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals voted to uphold a three-judge panel finding that mail-in ballots with missing or incorrect dates on their outer envelope in Pennsylvania must be tossed out, even though, as both sides agree, that date is used for exactly nothing. If a voter, for example, writes 2023 instead of 2024 on the ballot's outer sleeve this November, it cannot be counted, according to the Court. Democrats disproportionately vote by mail, as compared to Republicans, in the Keystone State. Voting Rights advocates are now deciding whether to take the matter to SCOTUS (good luck with that) or rehear the matter on a different basis at the trial court. Both options offer a perilous path before this year's election in the critical battleground state.
  • In an absolutely twisted ruling, a three-judge federal panel ruled on Tuesday struck down Louisiana's newly-drawn second majority-Black U.S. House district, declaring it to be "an impermissible racial gerrymander". The new House map was approved by the state's GOP-controlled legislature earlier this year after they'd lost their long fight in federal court against adding a second Black voting district in a state which has long had just one (out of six), despite Black voters comprising one-third of the state. The new map with the newly redrawn district was already used to select candidates in the state's primaries last month. As explained today, this is likely to become a real test of the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court's often opportunistically used, so-called "Purcell Principle".

NEXT, we're joined by longtime Trump-crime watchers DR. ALLISON GILL of the notorious Mueller, She Wrote and The Daily Beans Podcast, and attorney KEITH BARBER of Daily Kos. Among the topics we finally get caught up on today...

  • Why Trump is reportedly furious at his attorneys.
  • Trump's Tuesday conviction on criminal contempt of court charges for violating his gag order nine times, and what those charges may mean for the bail conditions in his three other criminal indictments.
  • How Trump is benefiting from --- and staying out of jail due to --- an obviously two-tiered justice system.
  • Drowsy Don's reported inability to stay awake during the trial, why it's happening and what jurors are likely to make of it.
  • What we've learned from recent witnesses including CSPAN's archivist; Stormy Daniels' and Karen McDougal's former attorney Keith Davidson (and why they both had the same attorney?!); and Gary Farro, the banker who set up the account that then Trump attorney Michael Cohen used to send $130,000 in hush-money to Daniels just before the 2016 election.
  • Why Trump's family, friends and supporters are largely failing to show up for him in NY at all.
  • And how convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein's recently overturned NY conviction may affect the case against our disgraced former President...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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NY judge finds Trump in criminal contempt; A 'key' prediction for 2024; UAW wins again; Indicted AZ state Senator rewarded by RNC; Good news for trans people in WV, NC; Biden goes to pot...not a moment too soon...
By Brad Friedman on 4/30/2024 6:56pm PT  

We've got quite a few good news items amidst all the madness on today's BradCast. You may enjoy a few hits of dopamine along the way. Your welcome. Please listen responsibly. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • Just to help kick things off...American University distinguished professor Allan Licthman has a "13 keys to the White House" method for predicting who will win any Presidential election. His method has accurately called the winners in 9 of the past 10 elections. (In fact, he was arguably right in 10 out of 10!) We discuss his method and, though he's not yet made his "official" prediction this year, who he believes currently has the upper hand in 2024.
  • Donald Trump was found in criminal contempt of court in his New York trial related to his 2016 election interference via hush-money felony charges. Justice Juan Merchan found [PDF] Trump violated his gag order barring attacks on jurors and witnesses via social media and elsewhere in nine different instances. The judge made clear that incarceration is pretty much the only option left by state law if Trump commits new violations. Veteran federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner suggests today's ruling may make things "significantly worse" for the disgraced former President, as the bail conditions in all four of his criminal indictments in four different jurisdictions bar him from committing new crimes. We also get you quickly up to speed on some of the Prosecution's new witnesses on the stand in the actual trial on Tuesday.
  • United Auto Workers' chief Shawn Fain is on a roll. Just over a week ago workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga voted by a 3 to 1 margin to unionize on the heels of the UAW's huge victories last year in their strike against Detroit's Big Three automakers. The victory by workers at the Tennessee plant was the first of its kind in the South. And then, late last week, the union struck a last minute deal for a new contract with Daimler Truck in North Carolina, bringing big pay raises and major benefit increases to workers at four of the company's plants in the state.
  • As we reported previously, 18 Trump allies in Arizona last week were criminally indicted on nine charges each of conspiracy, fraud and forgery related to their failed attempt to steal the 2020 election for Trump in the state via a Fake Electors plot. Over the weekend, state Sen. Jake Hoffman, one of two sitting state Senators indicted as a Fake Elector, was chosen, just days later, by the Republican National Committee to be an official National Committeeman in the 2024 election. Apparently criminal indictments for election fraud are now being rewarded by today's GOP.
  • The full 4th U.S. Court of Appeals on Monday ruled that West Virginia and North Carolina's decision to refuse health care for transgender people under government-sponsored insurance is discriminatory and a violation of federal law. NC blocked gender-affirming care for state employees and WV Medicaid blocked coverage for gender-affirming surgery. The plaintiffs won in an 8 to 6 ruling at the appeals court, though the thoroughly corrupted and illegitimate U.S. Supreme Court Republican majority will almost certainly have the final say in the matter.
  • The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will finally remove marijuana as a Schedule III narcotic, according to a report by AP today. It will no longer be treated similar to heroin and cocaine, as the Biden Administration plans to finally reclassify the popular plant as Schedule I after 50 years, now that some 38 states have already legalized cannabis for medicinal and/or recreational use. President Biden previously pardoned thousands of Americans charged with simple possession under federal law and urged states to do the same. Democrats in Congress, in the meantime, are pushing the DEA and Attorney General to drop it from the list of controlled-substances entirely to treat it more like alcohol.
  • The news above is one of a spate of newly or soon-to-be finalized regulations from a bunch of Biden Administration Executive Agencies. You may (or may not) have heard news of late about a cascade of new rules issued by the Administration on everything from Student Loan forgiveness to dozens of new environmental and climate-related regulations. There is a reason they are all happening right about now, and it has to do with the Congressional Review Act, which we explain in detail on today's program.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our 1,400th Green News Report! And yes, along with troubling news for Africa and the U.S. Gulf Coast, she's got some historic news of landmark new regulations from the EPA to curb pollution from U.S. power plants. And, yes, that too should be in time to beat GOP abuse of the Congressional Review Act as cited above...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Pandora, TuneIn, Google, Amazon or our native RSS feed!

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So what do we do now? Callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 4/29/2024 5:47pm PT  

Today we had our first live BradCast out of KPFK's new (if temporary) broadcast facility, where everything is not yet quite in place. Nonetheless, I think we survived it in good order, including some good callers! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

On our last show last week, with two top-notch federal law experts, we went to air just after the U.S. Supreme Court completed hearing the absurd Oral Argument on whether Presidents have "absolute immunity" for any and all crimes they commit while in office. They don't. It's nowhere to be found in the Constitution or anywhere else. But Donald Trump has made that argument in order to delay his federal criminal trial on charges related to having attempted to steal the 2020 Presidential election. The lower courts denied his argument, and yet the corrupted SCOTUS decided to hear it anyway and took their sweet time in doing so.

We spent a fair amount of time on that previous show discussing the ridiculous question that the Supremes claim to be examining --- whether a President is immune "from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office" --- and how the Justices on the Court questioned the counselor representing Special Counsel Jack Smith and the attorney representing Trump in the disgraced former President's delayed 2020 election interference case.

The decision to hear the case, of course, has prevented that federal trial --- originally scheduled for March --- from moving forward at all. The Court took enough time even scheduling Oral Argument to likely prevent the case on four felony charges from going to trial, much less completing, before America is asked to vote on whether to give the President who tried to steal the 2020 election another term of office in the 2024 election.

But we didn't spend as much time in our coverage last week on just how transparently corrupt this entire exercise was and is, with at least five of the rightwing Justices appearing more concerned about the potential rogue prosecution of a President than about the ability for the American people to bring criminal accountability against an actual rogue President.

The upside --- if there can be one --- is that it seems the scales have fallen from the eyes of most serious Court watchers who had long fooled themselves into believe that, when the rubber meets the road, even the rightwing Justices (three of them appointed by Trump himself) would do the right thing for the nation instead of their party. Thursday's absurd hearing seems to have made it clear to just about every serious person that the Roberts court is now doing little more than running interference for Republican policies in general and the former Republican President in particular. In a word: it is corrupt.

Our long-held position that the stolen and packed rightwing supermajority on the U.S. Supreme Court has been completely corrupted is no longer a particularly radical, or even minority view among serious people. Recognizing that is a first step toward figuring out what to do about it and how, if possible, to overcome it.

We were also able to take some calls from listeners today --- (surprisingly, we were able to do so at the new KPFK location, where the phone system is largely only half in place ) --- regarding what, if anything, can or should be done about any of this as the nation stumbles its way toward November, potential autocracy under a rogue, criminal President and his Court, and whatever dystopian American future may accompany it...

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Guests: Former Dep. Asst. AG Lisa Graves, former Asst. U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eliason; Also: Meadows, Giuliani, 16 others charged in 2020 AZ fake elector plot; CA now running regularly on 100% renewable energy...
By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2024 6:01pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Honestly, I tried. But it was really hard to find any part of the case heard by the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday that wasn't just absolutely ridiculous. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

For nearly three hours this morning, the nine Justices themselves --- including a number of its rightwingers --- seemed to struggle to pretend that any of this made sense. In Trump v. United States [PDF], the disgraced four-time indictee is arguing that former Presidents of the United States have "absolute immunity" from any and all crimes they may have committed while serving in office, including murdering his political opponents or anything else you can think of.

As absurd as it sounds, Donald Trump has used this novel claim to, so far, successfully delay his federal trial on four criminal counts brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith related to Trump's many failed efforts to steal the 2020 Presidential election. SCOTUS has helped by delaying today's hearing for months and may help further depending on when they decide to release their opinion, and whether or not that opinion will lead to still more delays in the lower courts.

After losing this argument at the trial court last year and then unanimously at the D.C. Court of Appeals, Trump brought the case to SCOTUS, packed with three of his own appointees. They did him the favor of taking up his losing argument and putting off their Oral Argument on it until today, almost certainly delaying his trial for trying to steal the 2020 election until AFTER the 2024 election. [Transcript and audio of today's proceedings here.]

"This Court has never recognized absolute criminal immunity for any public official. Petitioner, however, claims that a former President has permanent criminal immunity for his official acts, unless he was impeached and convicted," argued Michael Dreeban, Counselor to Jack Smith, in his opening statement. "His novel theory would immunize former Presidents for criminal liability for bribery, treason, sedition, murder and, here, conspiring to use fraud to overturn the results of an election and perpetuate himself in power. Such Presidential immunity has no foundation in the Constitution."

In taking the case, the Court decided to hear the following question: "Whether and if so to what extent does a former President enjoy Presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office."

But what "official acts" are they even talking about? Smith's indictment accuses Trump of things like organizing fake slates of electors; pressuring state officials and the DOJ and his Vice President to fraudulently change certified election results; and directing supporters to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 after telling them to "fight like hell or we won't have a country anymore." The Justices --- as well as our two guests today --- all seemed to have a very difficult time finding any "official acts" for which Trump is being accused.

We're joined today by two excellent guests. Former Chief of the Fraud and Public Corruption unit at the U.S. Attorney's office in D.C., RANDALL D. ELIASON now teaches at George Washington University Law School, publishes the SidebarsBlog newsletter, and contributes to New York Times. Former Deputy Asst. Attorney General at DoJ, LISA GRAVES is now Executive Director of Truth North Research. They each know far more about all of this and the specifics of the Rule of Law than I do. But they too had trouble coming up with much of anything Trump has been charged with that has anything to do with "official acts" as President.

Its an "astonishing argument," says Graves. "What's at issue in this case is a set of conduct by this President to basically subvert our democracy through a variety of means. None of these are official acts. But even if somehow a President were engaged in an 'official act,' like appointing an ambassador, he couldn't take a bribe in the context of doing so. It just seems crazy that here we are with the U.S. Supreme Court basically delaying the prosecution of Donald Trump for a set of acts that are clearly outside the bounds of a Commander-in-Chief, whose job is to take care that the law is faithfully executed."

There was no conflict in the lower courts to resolve, but at least four members of the High Court decided they wanted to hear this silly argument nonetheless in which Trump and his attorney John Sauer have been arguing that, without immunity, Presidents would be unable to take bold, decisive action. It would "chill" their ability to do their job for the American people.

"The easiest response is that for nearly 250 years, that hasn't deterred Presidents from taking bold, decisive action," Eliason responds today. "Because they've also been willing to recognize that they need to act in compliance with federal criminal law, and they might be held accountable if they don't. On the one hand, he's saying there's a chilling effect on all these Presidents, even though it hasn't bothered any President in the past. On the other hand, he's saying 'But of course he could be prosecuted IF he's impeached and removed.' Well there's a chilling effect. So why doesn't that undercut his argument?"

We share audio clips from today's hearing, along with much more insight on all of it from Eliason and Graves, including why this case was accepted in the first place; the "Bizarro Superman world" in which we are having this argument and the "repugnant" idea of Clarence Thomas sitting on this case at all, as Graves observes; the argument by Sauer that unless statutes specifically say they are to apply to the President, like the federal bribery statute, they can't be held against him (Eliason, who headed up the DOJ's bribery prosecutions unit in D.C., notes the bribery statute actually "does not name the President, but nobody thinks that the President is immune for bribery"); and, of course, how and when they believe the Court will ultimately rule.

ALSO TODAY... On Wednesday, a grand jury in Arizona indicted Trump's former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, his attorney Rudy Giuliani, his other attorney John Eastman and 15 others, including 11 Republican fake electors (including two sitting state Senators and the former head of the state GOP), for their efforts to try and steal the 2020 election for Trump in the state.

AND FINALLY... Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with grim-as-ever news, but also some really cool news from out here in California, where the state has been powered by 100% renewable energy --- largely solar --- for much or all of the day for a whole bunch of days in a row in recent weeks. So, there's that positive note to end today with, in any event!...

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: PA primary results; Biden signs Ukraine aid bill; SCOTUS revisits abortion rights; AZ House Dems repeal 1864 near-total abortion ban...
By Brad Friedman on 4/24/2024 6:48pm PT  

The court takes Wednesdays off in Donald Trump's New York criminal trial on 34 felony counts related to his use of hush-money paid to a porn star to help him cheat his way to winning the 2016 Presidential election. So, today is a good opportunity for us here on The BradCast to get caught up on our trial story so far with two guests who are following it closely. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But, FIRST UP, it was Primary day in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, and though the nominations for both major party's Presidential candidates are long ago all but official, the turnout and results from the Keystone State's closed primaries on both sides are somewhat revealing. Tune in for details, but suffice to say, Joe Biden appears to have outperformed Trump in the narrowly divided battleground state yesterday, where Dem turnout outpaced Republicans and Nikki Haley, who quit the race weeks ago, racked up nearly 17% of the GOP Presidential vote. There were several U.S. House races of note and uncontested primaries for this year's critical U.S. Senate race in PA, where incumbent Democrat Bob Casey is taking on billionaire hedge-fund manager Dave McCormick (who has been less than forthright about his upbringing.)

President Biden signed a long-overdue $61 billion aid package for our democratic allies in Ukraine after overwhelming Senate passage on Tuesday night. That followed on the heels of Saturday's passage in the House by Democrats following an about-face by GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson. The package adopted by Congress and signed by the President today is for $95 billion in all, including funding to replenish Israel's missile defense systems following Iran's attack last week, billions of dollars in humanitarian aid in Gaza, and military aid to Taiwan. The bill also includes a ridiculous measure that may result in the popular social media app TikTok being banned in the U.S.

In reproductive rights (or lack thereof) news, the corrupted far-right majority on the U.S. Supreme Court appeared skeptical during heated Oral Argument on Wednesday over a Biden Administration mandate under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). The 1986 statute requires hospitals that accept federal medicare funding to offer emergency, life-stabilizing care to all patients who arrive in the emergency room. After SCOTUS overturned Roe v. Wade, the Administration reminded facilities that such care includes abortions when a patient is "in serious jeopardy" or any condition that might impair bodily functions or organs, no matter the state's own restrictions on reproductive care. Idaho disagreed and sued. The packed rightwing supermajority on the High Court was working hard today to side with Idaho.

There was somewhat brighter related news in Arizona on Wednesday when, after three weeks of trying, Democrats in the state's House were finally able to vote to repeal the state's 1864 territorial ban on nearly all abortions. Three Republicans joined all 29 Democrats to repeal the law. The measure still needs passage in the GOP-controlled state Senate, after which AZ's 15-week abortion ban would take the place of the 160-year old near-total ban.

And THEN, we're joined again today our friends award-winning columnist and blogger HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullaballoo and former attorney (and former Republican) KEITH BARBER of Daily Kos to get up to speed on this week's fits and starts in Donald J. Trump's New York criminal trial.

After last week's faster-than-expected jury selection, the trial began with Opening Statements on Monday in which prosecutors described Trump's criminal scheme to hide several sexual affairs just before the 2016 election as "election fraud, pure and simple". On Tuesday morning, during a contempt hearing on at least 10 instances in which Defendant Trump violated the court's gag order against attacking jurors and witness, the judge instructed Trump's attorney Todd Blanche that he was "losing all credibility with the court." Says Barber today: "In a list of phrases that could be the worst to come out of a judge's mouth in the first two days of a trial, that would be right at the top of the list."

On both days, shortened for the Passover holidays, David Pecker, former National Enquirer publisher and longtime friend of Trump, took the stand on behalf of the prosecution to discuss hush-money payoffs he'd arranged as part of an alleged conspiracy with Trump and his attorney Michael Cohen to publish damaging stories about Trump's political opponents and quash stories that might be damaging to him. As Pecker detailed, that included paying off a Trump Tower doorman to shut up about his claim that Trump fathered an out-of-wedlock child with a maid who also worked there, and to "catch and kill" the story of Playboy model Karen McDougal who says she carried on a nearly year-long affair with Trump while his wife Melania was pregnant.

Parton describes the first witness in this case as offering several ironies since Pecker "said that their little scheme back in 2015 and 2016 was all fake news. Literally fake news. They made up stories. They killed negative stories about Trump and pushed negative stories that were literally fake news about his rivals. It's like gaslighting to the thousandth power."

Pecker's is expected to continue his testimony on Thursday regarding the $130,000 hush-money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels, which was repaid to Cohen by Trump via monthly installments during his first year in the White House. Those payments became the falsified business records at the center of this trial, as the Trump Organization logged them as legal retainer fees, rather than unreported reimbursements that ran afoul of campaign finance laws, according to prosecutors.

Both Parton and Barber find it curious that, while Trump has been relentless in his attacks on witnesses like his longtime attorney and fixer Cohen, he has not said a negative word about his friend Pecker since the former Enquirer chief signed a cooperation agreement with prosecutors in 2018. She believes there is much more that Pecker knows about Trump above and beyond the scandals he's already detailed in this case. Barber concurs: "There's reason to believe that David Pecker has more of Trump's bodies buried in various places."

Each offer many more thoughts and insights on all of the above, including much more that we've learned over just the first two days of this historic trial, the legal hurdles faced by prosecutors, and what we should expect in the days ahead...

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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'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/23/2024 7:13pm PT  

During opening statements in the disgraced former President's ongoing criminal trial, prosecutors argued the scheme surrounding his hush-money payments to a porn star just before the 2016 election amounted to "election fraud, pure and simple." Similar fraud since then, by Trump and now much of his Republican party, pervades many of our stories on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • It's Primary Day in Pennsylvania. We'll have noteworthy results and/or problem reports on tomorrow's program. (Recent elections in PA have revealed serious problems with the touchscreen voting systems still shamefully used in a number of jurisdictions.) But the election in the Keystone State today --- as some voters are reportedly struggling with newly implemented Photo ID requirements --- also provides a reminder as to why it's a good idea to vote in primaries, even when races at the top of the ticket may already be foregone conclusions.
  • Donald Trump's election-fraud-via-hush-money criminal trial in New York continued on Tuesday. We offer a a few quick updates. One point we missed Monday's opening statements, included the fact that prosecutors say they have hand-written documentation from longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg as to why Michael Cohen was paid $420k as reimbursement for his $130k payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. Today, the day began with a contempt hearing over at least ten instances in which prosecutors allege that Trump has violated the court's gag order on attacking jurors and witnesses. The judge has yet to issue his ruling, but the hearing culminated with Trump's attorney Todd Blanche being upbraided by a frustrated Justice Juan Merchan, who told him, "You are losing all credibility with the court." For that, it appears, Trump's campaign and associated groups have been paying about $145,000 in donor money for legal fees each day since early 2023, according to newly released numbers. After the jury arrived, the trial's first witness continued his testimony. That would be former National Enquirer publisher, longtime Trump pal, and alleged "catch and kill"/hush-money co-conspirator David Pecker.
  • Arizona's 2022 Republican election losers, Kari Lake and Mark Finchem, both falsely claim their elections, for Governor and Sec. of State respectively, were stolen from them somehow, by the Republican officials who run elections in the state's largest County. They sued in 2022 and have lost in court after court ever since. On Monday, the corrupted rightwing U.S. Supreme Court also rejected their case. They are both running again in 2024, for U.S. Senate and state Senate respectively. What could possibly go wrong?
  • Speaking of 2024 Republican U.S. Senate candidates in battleground states, Wisconsin's Eric Hovde really, really wants you to know that he totally thinks "elderly should absolutely vote". Even after his previous comments about elderly voters in nursing homes that really kinda makes it seem otherwise.
  • The Trump Campaign and the RNC (now effectively one and the same) have announced their plans for an "Historic, 100,000 person strong Election Integrity operation"! We've got a few thoughts about what that really means. Though it probably doesn't help that a statement from Trump himself included in the announcement echoes almost precisely a statement long attributed to Josef Stalin that "it's not who votes that matters, but who counts the votes".
  • As to actual election fraud, as usual, the call is coming from inside the Republican house. This time, it's a guy named Austin Smith, an Arizona's Republican state Rep. and top leader of Turning Point Action --- a group which has long echoed Trump's false 2020 election fraud claims. Smith has apparently been caught submitting dozens of signatures, in his own hand-writing, for his own reelection campaign. While denying the charges, now being investigated by the AZ Attorney General, Rep. Smith has since resigned from Turning Point and called off his reelection campaign. But really, he insists, he didn't do it!
  • Finally, Desi Doyen is here for our latest Green News Report, including today: news on Europe's stunning rate of warming; new details on the plastic manufacturing industries contribution to man-made climate change; and another series of sweeping actions from the Biden Administration on Solar for All, the American Climate Corps and a whole bunch of brand new conservation initiatives that I can almost bet you haven't heard about until now...

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Guest: Labor journalist Steven Greenhouse; Also: House finally passes aid package for Ukraine; Prosecutors accuse Trump of 'election fraud' in NY criminal trial opening statement...
By Brad Friedman on 4/22/2024 6:05pm PT  

Nothing but huge news --- all of several different sorts --- on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

FIRST UP: After months of stalling to the benefit of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and our wannabe dictator former President, Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson, to his credit, bucked the majority of his own caucus and reversed course last week on Ukraine. The full reason for his sudden about-face remains unclear --- and a majority of his own party still voted against aid to our besieged democratic allies in Europe --- but whatever the reason, it is very good news for both Ukraine and global democracy. The full Democratic caucus in the House backed Johnson's plan to adopt some $95 billion in military, humanitarian and economy aid to Ukraine, Israel (including more than $9 billion in assistance to residents of Gaza), Taiwan and other Indo-Pacific allies. Far-right House Republicans derided the legislation as "America Last" aid to foreign wars and have been threatening to invoke another motion to vacate the Speaker's chair. So far, however, they've failed to pull the trigger.

NEXT UP: The first criminal trial of a former (and perhaps future) U.S. President got underway for reals on Monday in New York, with opening statements presented by both sides in what Prosecutors are characterizing as a 2016 "election fraud" via hush-money case against Donald J. Trump. We step through the opening presentations of each side's case today. NY prosecutors detailed how they intend to demonstrate that Trump, in a panic following the release of the infamous Access Hollywood tape, where he boasted about assaulting women, took measures just before the 2016 election to pay off women he was alleged to have had affairs with, including Playboy Model Karen McDougal and adult film star Stormy Daniels.

The schemes to silence the women, according to state prosecutor Matthew Colangelo, were carried out via an elaborate conspiracy between Trump, his then attorney and fixer Michael Cohen, and then publisher of the National Enquirer, David Pecker. The plot involved 34 allegedly falsified business transactions --- including checks signed by Trump while serving in the White House --- disguised as legal retainers to Cohen, rather than reimbursement money for hush-money payments. The Trump Organization couldn’t cut a check to Cohen with the memo "reimbursement for porn star payoff," so "they agreed to cook the books," said Colangelo, to make the payments appear to be for legal services.

The Enquirer produced what prosecutors described as "checkbook journalism" on Trump's behalf to "catch and kill" McDougal's story of a nearly year-long affair with Trump while his wife Melania was pregnant in 2006. And Cohen paid Daniels directly in exchange for signing a $130,000 non-disclosure agreement that prevented her from revealing her 2006 tryst with Trump while Melania was nursing their infant son. "He covered up that criminal conspiracy by lying in his New York business records over and over and over again," Colangelo told the jury, detailing what he characterized as "election fraud, pure and simple."

In Trump's defense, his attorney Todd Blanche made the case that none of the actions described by prosecutors are crimes. "I have a spoiler alert," he told the jury, "there’s nothing wrong with trying to influence an election. It’s called democracy."

Prosecutors called Pecker as their first witness on Monday, but the court session was cut short on due to a dental emergency for one of the jurors and a planned early finish to the day due to the Jewish Passover holiday. Pecker is set to return to the stand for the prosecution on Tuesday.

FINALLY: The story that (understandably, given the above) is not getting nearly the attention it deserves today. On Friday, by an overwhelming 3 to 1 margin, workers at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee voted to unionize by joining the United Auto Workers. The landmark vote came after a full-court press against it the day before the unionization election was to begin last Wednesday, via an unprecedented joint statement by six Republican southern state Governors. TN's Gov. Bill Lee and the Governors of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas warned in the statement against workers voting to join the union, charging that it would result in jobs leaving the state.

Nonetheless, VW's workers overwhelmingly approved the historic resolution, in what UAW leader Shawn Fain described on Sunday to our guest today, veteran labor journalist and author STEVEN GREENHOUSE of The Guardian, as "the first domino to fall" in what Greenhouse describes as the UAW's "ambitious $40m campaign targeting 13 automakers, including VW, Mercedes, Tesla, BMW, Toyota, Nissan and Hyundai, with a total of 35 non-union plants across the US."

"It's a very big deal," Greenhouse tells me today. "It's a big deal because unions have had a very hard time organizing the South. Indeed, unions and union leaders are often told 'it's impossible to win the South, don't even bother.' Factory-workers are so worried that if they vote to unionize, the plant will close and move overseas. So this victory really bursts the citadel, breaks down the tradition of all these losses in the South. This finally shows you can win."

In fact, two previous efforts to unionize the same VW plant failed some 10 and 15 years ago. But now, post-pandemic and, most notably, with the rise and inspiration of the UAW's new, charismatic leader Fain, there is renewed action and optimism. "This gives a lot of momentum, a lot of energy and inspiration to autoworkers, and I think to the larger labor movement," says Greenhouse, the author of several books on the subject including his latest, Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present and Future of American Labor.

We discuss, among other things today: why this effort at VW succeeded where previous votes failed; how unprecedented the statement was from those six southern Governors (In Greenhouse's interview with Fain on Sunday, the labor leader called them "liars" and "puppets for corporate America" that "don't give a damn about working-class people...even though workers are the ones who elect them."); how the unionization in the auto industry may inspire similar efforts by workers in other industries for the first time in man years; whether the UAW will actually be able to unionize Tesla, as led by the very anti-union Elon Musk, as well as the other non-union plants being targeted by the UAW around the country, following their wildly successful strike against Detroit's Big Three automakers last year.

One of those targeted non-union plants belongs to Mercedes-Benz in Vance, Alabama where workers are scheduled to hold a unionization vote next month. If both VW and Mercedes are unionized, as Greenhouse reported a Georgetown labor historian observing last week, it would "be nothing less than an earthquake [and] the biggest breakthrough in private-sector organizing in decades."

As noted, some pretty huge news on today's program...

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Also: 12 jurors now seated in Trump's NY criminal trial; NV Supreme Court approves ballot measure to protect 'reproductive freedoms'; OH Republicans still refusing to put Biden on the 2024 ballot...
By Brad Friedman on 4/18/2024 6:49pm PT  

You may be happy to know we don't begin today's BradCast with news about the disgraced former President. But you may be less happy about what we do lead with, especially if you own a home or a car or live on Planet Earth. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among our many stories today...

  • Recently, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell confirmed that, thanks in no small part to our quickly worsening climate, insurance rates for cars and homes continue to skyrocket. Yes, manmade climate change is a key factor in slowing the decrease of inflation (which, of course, is just one reason Republicans would rather do nothing about it). As the frequency and intensity of weather-related disasters quickens (just ask the folks in New Orleans who were swamped with some 8 inches of rain in a matter of hours last week), the cost of insurance is spiking, becoming unaffordable for many and even unattainable in a number of coastal states. You may soon discover that your home is worth a lot less than you think, thanks to the climate crisis. We step through some of those grim details today, the trillions of dollars it is ALREADY costing Americans, and the even grimmer news about what is still to come unless and until we can end the burning of fossil fuels that is only beginning to wreak so much havoc across the entire globe.
  • We started reporting on this story last week, when it didn't seem like it could really be a story. Well, it's beginning, at least, to look more like it really could be a real story. Ohio's Republican Attorney General has now joined the state's Republican Sec. of State to say they will not allow Joe Biden on the state's ballot this November unless the Democratic Party certifies his candidacy before the state's statutory deadline of August 7. The Democratic National Convention, which is set to officially nominate the President, doesn't happen until August 19. When a similar situation occurred in 2020 --- which might have kept Donald Trump off the ballot --- the GOP state legislature simply changed the statutory deadline for that year. But now, because it's only Democrats whose convention isn't scheduled to take place until after OH's 90-day deadline before the November 5th election, Buckeye State Republicans seem to be suggesting they may actually not put Biden on the ballot...as impossible as that seems to believe. Let the lawsuits begin...
  • The Nevada Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a lower court ruling that had blocked a broad, Constitutional "Reproductive Freedom" measure to protect prenatal care, abortion, vasectomies and infertility care from appearing on this November's ballot in the critical battle ground state. Supporters of the measure are celebrating today, but are also said to be gathering signatures for a second measure that will focus only on abortion rights for this year's ballot.
  • After two of seven previously-seated jurors were dismissed on Thursday morning in Donald Trump's criminal trial in New York, seven more were seated before the day was done. Barring any other dismissals, that fills out the 12 jurors that will be needed to begin the case proper, once six alternate jurors are chosen. The judge admonished the press for reporting enough details about jurors that one who asked to be removed this morning said that friends had been able to identify her from media reports. Also, after prosecutors earlier this week sought sanctions against Trump for three violations of his gag order, they cited another seven incidents since then. That issue will be heard next week. Opening Statements in the trial could begin as early as Monday if the case continues to move briskly forward.
  • Very exciting news is underway in the South this week, specifically in Tennessee, where workers at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga are now voting to unionize and join the United Auto Workers. Workers at the plant seem confident that the election will be successful. But that's just the first of 13 non-union automakers who are being targeted for unionization by the UAW since labor unions huge victories last year in strikes against GM, Ford and Stellantis (which now owns Jeep and Chrysler). Another election is likely to happen soon at a Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama, with 36 non-union plants targeted in all. If workers are successful in unionizing at both VW and Mercedes in the two southern states, according to one labor historian, it "would be nothing less than an earthquake" for the labor movement and its "biggest breakthrough in private-sector organizing in decades." It apparently has anti-labor Republicans worried. In a joint statement described by one expert as "unprecedented and shocking", six southern state governors, all Republican --- from Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas --- issued a joint statement on the day before voting began at VW, charging that "unionization would put our states' jobs in jeopardy." Kentucky's Democratic Governor, Andy Beshear, by contrast, announced last week that he was "proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder" with the UAW.
  • Finally, in case we didn't frighten you enough with our opening coverage of the catastrophic, climate change-fueled weather driving insurance rates through the roof, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with much more to frighten you about. But she also has good news for workers as well, and bad news for the fossil fuel industry tools at Fox "News"...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: LawDork's Chris Geidner; Also: Scam GOP impeachment trial ends in one day; AZ Repubs spike repeal of 1864 abortion law (again); Voter turnout doubles in AL's new majority minority U.S. House District...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2024 6:34pm PT  

On today's BradCast: If only the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court cared as much about the exact words in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment (the "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause") as they pretend to care about the word "otherwise" in a criminal statute used to hold hundreds of January 6 insurrectionists --- including the former President --- accountable for obstructing an official government proceeding. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But, first up today, a few news items of note...

  • Yesterday, House Republicans formerly delivered two articles of revenge impeachment against DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the U.S. Senate for a trial. Today the trial began and ended, as Democrats determined the articles contained no High Crimes and Misdemeanors as required by the Constitution.
  • Despite pleas from Donald Trump and GOP U.S. Senate candidate Kari Lake for Arizona state lawmakers to repeal their draconian 1864 total abortion ban (which Lake long supported...until the all-GOP state Supreme Court revived the law last week), Republicans lawmakers in the state legislature blocked another attempt by Democrats to repeal the 160-year old territorial law.
  • In Tuesday's Democratic Primary runoff for Alabama's newly redrawn 2nd Congressional District, the popular progressive, Shomari Figures, easily won. The more important news, however, may be that Democratic voter turnout during the first round of voting last month on Super Tuesday doubled from two years earlier. That, after the state was finally ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court to redraw their unconstitutionally, racially gerrymandered Congressional Map to include a second district where Black voters may have a chance of selecting a candidate of their choosing.

Next, we're joined by longtime legal journalist CHRIS GEIDNER of Law Dork News to discuss Tuesday's Oral Argument in Fischer v. U.S. at the U.S. Supreme Court. The case questions whether a January 6th insurrectionist was properly charged with a 2002 law that criminalizes obstruction of an official government proceeding.

Some 300 of about 1,400 of those charged for their participation in the Trump-incited attack on the U.S. Capitol --- including Trump himself --- have been charged and/or convicted by more than a dozen D.C. federal judges under this same statute. But one of those judges, a Trump appointee, rejected the use of the law. He was overturned by the D.C. Court of Appeals, but the plaintiff --- a police officer at the time --- took his case to SCOTUS, which heard it on Tuesday.

Geidner was at the Court this week during Oral Argument and joins us today to explain how the hearing went; why this challenge over the the meaning of the word "otherwise" in the statute even exists; the rightwing Justices' newly-discovered concerns about overcriminalization; whether he believes the Court will kill, narrow or allow the statute to stand as is; and how their ruling might affect both the cases for hundreds of insurrectionists and two of the four criminal charges that rely on the statute in Special Counsel Jack Smith's federal indictment of the former President for his multiple failed attempts to steal the 2020 election.

Geidner also offers a preview of next Thursday's looong-awaited hearing on Trump's ridiculous, rejected-by-every-lower-court, "Presidential Immunity" case, in which he asserts that all Presidents must have absolute immunity to commit any and all crimes they like while in office.

"The arguments advanced by Trump have no foundation in history, in practice, or in experience. And there is a very strong case for imagining that we will get a 9-0 decision in that case, even with this Court," Geidner argues, before noting: "The bottom line here is Trump will still have delayed [his federal 2020 election interference] case. It will be at least May before we get a ruling on this. So, in some ways, win lose or draw, he has won, if the goal here is to avoid the possibility of a conviction on these charges before the election is held in November."

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Trump's ridiculous 'immunity' rant; Seven jurors now seated in his NY criminal trial; House Repubs deliver impeachment articles to Senate; Smartmatic, OAN settle 2020 defamation suit...
By Brad Friedman on 4/16/2024 7:07pm PT  

Even Joe Biden is now making jokes about the plummeting value of the former President's latest scam, his attempt to turn his failing social media site into a Wall Street meme stock. As discussed on today's BradCast, it ain't working. At least for now. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

The value of Trump Media & Technology Group, trading under Donald Trump's initials as DJT, has lost about two-thirds of its value since it debuted as a publicly traded stock at the beginning of the month. If it "drops any lower," Biden quipped at a rally in Pennsylvania today, Donald Trump "might do better under my tax plan than his."

When it first went public, DJT quickly shot up to nearly $80 per share. It has been nose-diving by double-digit percentages pretty much every day since. The stock closed on Tuesday at less than $23 a share. On Monday night, the Washington Post's Drew Harwell posted a piece that is nearly equal parts hilarious, for those who enjoy the schadenfreude of Trump losing billions of theoretical dollars in just a few weeks time, and heart-breaking, for those who feel for the hundreds of thousands of Trump fans who have lost, in some cases, their "whole nest egg" because they were brain-poisoned enough to buy into Trump's latest fraudulent scheme.

Harwell's report of the reaction to the plummeting value of the stock by Trump supporters themselves on Truth Social, the money-losing venture that is currently DJT's only actual business, is harrowing and amazing. (But just more evidence of the "deep state", if you believe some of the denialists who are still buying more shares every day now!) But it serves as yet another reminder that, as sick as Trump is, it is our nation itself, and its people, whose illness we must eventually figure out how to attend to.

Anyway, tune in to today's show for many more thoughts on the above, and a whole bunch of other news of the day, including...

  • Trump's recent Truth Social video rant on how Presidents simply can't do the job of Presidenting without absolute criminal immunity, the way the Founders wanted it. Then again, there is no evidence that the Founders wanting anything of the sort (quite the opposite, in fact); every President of the United States before (and since) Trump has been able to function just fine without it; and --- oh, yeah --- as Trump said in a separate rant just one day earlier, apparently "Crooked Joe Biden...can't put two-sentences together" but has been clever enough to mastermind all four of Trump's current criminal indictments in two different states and two separate federal jurisdictions, all without leaving a trace of evidence. "At what point are the actions of a sitting President...against his opponent for election interference considered illegal?," Trump asked. But, according to Trump just one day earlier, even if the President had anything to do with Trump's criminal indictments (he doesn't) it would still never be illegal!
  • The disgraced former President's criminal trial in New York, on 34 federal counts related to hush-money payments to a porn star to help him win the 2016 election, seems to be moving faster than expected. On Tuesday, seven jurors were selected on the second day of the trial. Just five more jurors and six alternates are needed before opening statements can begin, perhaps as early as the beginning of next week.
  • On Tuesday, House GOP lawmakers finally delivered their two articles of impeachment against Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the U.S. Senate, where the high-crime-and misdemeanor-free charges are expected to die either very quickly or somewhat less quickly, in an impeachment trial that, according to the rules, must begin immediately and continue until complete. Good thing there is nothing else Congress needs to be doing right now.
  • The far-right conspiracy outlet known as One American News (OAN) has reportedly struck a confidential settlement with voting system vendor Smartmatic, in the defamation lawsuit brought against the Trump-supporting TV channel for lies told about the company's voting systems following the 2020 election. Despite repeated false claims by OAN anchors and guests that Smartmatic software was used "in 30 states" to steal the election for Biden --- with zero evidence in support of those claims --- the company's voting systems are only used in one U.S. jurisdiction: here in Los Angeles County, where even brain-poisoned MAGA dupes aren't dumb enough to claim the election was stolen from Trump.

    For the role that we personally played in confusing Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and the OAN clowns regarding Smartmatic's role in U.S. elections, I can only say: "You're welcome!"

    The terms of the settlement are undisclosed, but it follows on last year's $787 million settlement between Fox "News" and Dominion Voting Systems over similarly false claims, as well as a settlement between OAN and a former Dominion executive. There are many other similar defamation suits still pending, however, by both Smartmatic and Dominion over lies told about them following 2020 by other well-known Trump conspiracists.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with several pieces of pretty cool news littered amidst a number of terrifying climate crisis omens...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Special coverage of an historic day with Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos...
By Brad Friedman on 4/15/2024 5:11pm PT  

After a number of quick news headline since our previous BradCast last week, it's on to the biggest story of the day: the first day of the first criminal trial of a former U.S. President. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Of course, the nation has never seen anything like it. I might suggest we'd otherwise be unlikely to see anything like it again in our lifetimes, but for the fact that the trial on 34 felony counts against Donald J. Trump that began in New York on Monday is just the first of four criminal trials awaiting the disgraced former President and presumptive Republican Party nominee for the 2024 Presidential election.

Jury selection finally got underway late on Monday after a series of pretrial arguments in the indictment brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. It alleges that that Trump created a series of fraudulent business records with the intent to hide a $130,000 hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels just weeks prior to the 2016 Presidential election. The payment was made amid Trump's panic in the wake of the release of the Access Hollywood videotape in the closing days of the 2016 race, during which Trump is heard bragging about sexually assaulting women.

Then, while serving as President of the United States, Trump signed and sent monthly payments to his then personal attorney/fixer Michael Cohen to reimburse him for the payment to Daniels on Trump's behalf, as well as for several hundred thousand additional dollars for Cohen's efforts.

The payments were meant to prevent Daniels from discussing a sexual affair she says she had with Trump ten years earlier, while Trump's wife Melania was nursing their newborn son.

The payments, according to Federal Elections Commission (FEC) findings, violated federal campaign finance laws which, Bragg alleges, changes the charges for Trump's falsified business records from misdemeanors to felonies. Thirty-four of them, in fact, all in service of cheating to win the 2016 election. Bragg describes the scheme --- just as Trump would, had a Democratic candidate done anything even close to it --- as "election interference".

We're joined today for special coverage of the legal, political and cultural significance of this historic day by two longtime friends of the program: Award-winning columnist HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and her Hullaballoo blog, and former attorney and former lifelong Republican KEITH BARBER, who now covers legal and constitutional issues as "KeithDB" for the progressive Daily Kos website.

Both offer explanations of the alleged crimes themselves and their insights on the Prosecution's witness list, which includes, among many others, Cohen and Daniels as well as Playboy model Karen McDougal --- who is said to have carried out a year-long sexual dalliance with Trump during Melania's pregnancy --- and David Pecker, the head of the company which owned the National Enquirer in 2016. Pecker has since admitted to buying McDougal's story to make it go away --- a so-called "Catch and Kill" scheme --- on behalf of Trump, his longtime friend.

Barber details some of the complexities of the NY criminal case and how unusual it is for prosecutors to call some 6,000 potential jurors. Parton discusses the historic, political and cultural ramifications of this trial. Both offer thoughts on the likelihood that Trump ends up spending time in jail, either for the crimes themselves, which could result in a sentence of up to four years, or for violating the gag order placed on Trump by the trial judge, Justice Juan Merchan, after Trump has spent weeks attacking potential witnesses and the judge's family. Prosecutors charged today that Trump violated the gag order three times over this past weekend alone. A hearing on that matter will be held next Wednesday, April 24 Tuesday, April 23.

"It is a shocking, unprecedented moment to see an ex-President --- and current nominee for one of the major parties for President --- whining like a 5-year-old every five minutes about being politically persecuted because he committed the crime of paying hush money to an adult film actress, and in the process of doing that, violated New York state law," Parton argues. "And motivated at the time in order to win an election. What he keeps calling 'election interference' is actually true."

Barber notes that what Trump continues to complain about "a two-tiered system of justice", which somehow disadvantages HIM. That might be true, Barber suggests, "if Trump did not face the same justice that Michael Cohen did for being his co-conspirator in all of this, and really doing the same thing." Cohen served a year in federal prison after pleading guilty to participating in the criminal conspiracy "directed" by Trump the then-President. "This is an equalization of justice. Bringing this case to trial is saying, 'Look, the guy who Cohen helped is also going to be held accountable.' And I think it's a triumph for justice that that is going to be happening."

As you might guess, there is a lot to cover on this historic first day of Trump's first criminal trial. And, as shameful as it all is, we also find the time for more than a few laughs along the way during today's Special Coverage...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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New RNC Chair suggests Ukraine a U.S. enemy; GA Lt. Guv facing fake elector probe; OH, AL may keep Biden off ballot; Fox 'News' hides AZ abortion ruling, then Hannity blames Dems; Liberal WI Justice to retire...
By Brad Friedman on 4/11/2024 6:49pm PT  

Desperate times, desperate measures and all that that entails on today's BradCast. Plus, we've got several pieces of long-overdue and wildly under-reported very good news as well. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

  • Yes, Donald Trump's newly hand-picked RNC Chair Michael Whatley really did argue this week that America's enemies include Ukraine and charged that the President's "feckless leadership" encourages them to "meddle with our elections here." He also mentioned China and Iran as U.S. adversaries, but failed to say a word about Russia.
  • Gun safety advocates --- which is to say, the vast majority of Americans --- have been hoping for years to see the so-called "gun show loophole" to avoid background checks closed. Today, after a lengthy rule-making process by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) following passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act in 2022, President Biden and the Dept. of Justice announced they are finally doing it. "This is going to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and felons," said Biden in a statement today. His Attorney General, Merrick Garland, who signed off on the rule on Thursday, told reporters: "Under this regulation, it will not matter if guns are sold on the Internet, at a gun show or in a brick and mortar store. If you sell guns [you] must conduct background checks."
  • Last week it was Ohio's Republican Secretary of State, and now Alabama's is warning Democrats that he may not allow Joe Biden on the state's ballot this November because the Democratic National Convention falls several days after state ballot deadlines. Both Secretaries of State had previously opposed Trump's removal from the ballot in Colorado due to the state Supreme Court's finding that he violated the U.S. Constitution's "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause". And both OH and AL allowed Donald Trump on their state's ballots in 2020 despite the Republican National Convention being convened after each state's statutory deadlines that year. Are Republicans really that desperate?
  • In 2022, Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis was disqualified from criminally investigating Georgia's Lt. Governor Burt Jones, who aided Trump's attempt to steal the Peach State's 2020 election as a "fake elector". Willis was blocked because she had hosted a fund-raiser for a political rival of Jones. Now, two years later, a former Republican D.A. in the state, Pete Skandalakis, who was tasked with naming an alternate prosecutor to probe Jones --- and sued for taking so long to do it --- has finally named a replacement. Himself.
  • The rightwing propagandists at Fox "News" are definitely getting desperate following the all-Republican Arizona Supreme Court's ruling this week that reinstates an 1864 territorial law mandating a near-total ban on abortion in the state. On Tuesday, the day the ruling was handed down, not one of the rightwing propaganda outlet's evening prime-time stars even discussed it on their shows. That day, the topic was discussed for just 12 minutes across three different Fox programs earlier in the day, as compared to more than two-hours each of coverage on both CNN and MSNBC that same day and night. The next day, on Wednesday, Sean Hannity decided the 160-year old law should now be overturned and blamed the AZ Court's wildly unpopular decision --- and the predicament it offers to both women in the state and Republican candidates around the country --- on Arizona's Democratic Governor and Attorney General (who opposed the ruling.)
  • After the most expensive state Supreme Court race in U.S. history last year, resulting in liberals retaking a majority on Wisconsin's high court for the first time in 15 years, the longest serving member of its now-liberal majority, 73-year old Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, announced she will not run for another 10-year term next year as previously planned. Thursday's decision by the popular, longtime jurist offers a chance for rightwingers to retake control of the Court in the state's 2025 Spring election. They will have to defend seats on the Court in both 2026 and 2027 thereafter. So, if they don't win next year, they won't get another chance at winning back a majority until 2028. The stakes could hardly be higher.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with more wildly under-reported good news on the Biden EPA's new rules to end deadly airborne pollution from chemical plants pollution and cancer-causing PFAS "forever chemicals" in our drinking water. It's about damn time. She's got still more good --- and not so good --- news in today's report as well...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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