Somehow, all of the disparate stories on today's BradCast seem to come together in the end. Whether they make sense or not, we'll leave to you. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]
Among our many stories covered today...
- We start with End Times. A plague of locusts --- of a sort --- across six counties in Nevada. And, yes, the infestation is thanks in no small part to climate change.
- It appears to be the end of the DoJ's 5-year criminal probe of Hunter Biden by a Donald Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney who President Biden allowed, upon taking office, to remain in his job to finish the probe. The younger Biden has agreed to a deal to plead guilty to two tax-related misdemeanors and will be allowed to avoid jail on an even less-often prosecuted gun-related charge which likely would never have been raised at all but for the fact that he is Joe Biden's son and Trump weaponized his Dept. of Justice against his political rivals.
- The federal judge currently overseeing Trump's stolen documents indictment in Florida. U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, has set an August 14 start date for the trial. Nobody, however, believes it will begin anywhere close to that date.
- Over the weekend, Trump continued to make his defense more difficult and ridiculous in the 37-count federal felony indictment he faces for charges under Section 793(e) of the Espionage Act related to retention of national defense information. He originally (wrongly) claimed that the Presidential Records Act allowed him to take anything he wanted from the White House upon leaving office and it would become his personal property. The Act does the opposite. Nonetheless, Trump blew that defense over the weekend, offering a different explanation for why he refused to respond to a DoJ subpoena requiring he return all documents during a very good interview by Bret Baier of Fox "News". The remarks will almost certainly be used against him at trial --- if one ever happens --- by Special Counsel Jack Smith.
- Another one of Trump's repeated lies (also attempted again during his interview with Baier) is that he declassified all of the highly classified documents he stole before leaving office. While there is no evidence in support of that lie, there is at least one document --- Document #19 in the indictment --- which can't be declassified solely by the Executive, as it pertains to U.S. nuclear weapons. According to the federal Atomic Energy Act, that highly classified record may only be declassified via a lengthy process that includes sign-off from the top officials at both the Dept. of Defense and Energy.
- Another recent defense of Trump's, this one hauled out the night after his arraignment last week, is that "the Espionage Act has been used to go after traitors and spies. It has nothing to do with a former President legally keeping his own documents." In fact, while the Espionage Act of 1917 does have provisions that "go after traitors and spies", it also has a provision that goes after anyone who "willfully retains" national defense information "and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it." In fact, there are tons of folks in prison right now who you have never heard of, serving years after pleading guilty to a single count of what Trump has now been charged with in 31 counts. Many of those Americans, who neither spied nor transmitted the documents, were charged, convicted and sentenced between the time Trump became President in 2017 through today.
- And then there are those who are charged under the Espionage Act who should never have been. Reality Winner, for example, was an NSA contractor who stole a classified document detailing Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election and unlawfully shared it with media in 2017. (Trump shared documents with media as well, according to his federal indictment, though, unlike Winner, not for altruistic reasons.) She was sentenced to more than 5 years in prison under the Trump Administration's Dept. of Justice, even after pleading guilty. She was neither a traitor nor a spy and said she "acted out of love for what this country stands for," in response to Trump's lies that there had been no Russian interference in the 2016 election.
- Which brings us to some thoughts about a different American whistleblower and hero, DANIEL ELLSBERG (pictured above). While working at a defense contractor in the 1960s, Ellsberg photocopied and leaked the so-called "Pentagon Papers" report to the New York Times and Washington Post in 1971. The 7,000-page classified document detailed U.S. lies and atrocities surrounding the Vietnam War. Though never identified by the media he leaked to, Ellsberg turned himself in to federal authorities despite facing more than 100 years in prison under the Espionage Act. The case was eventually dismissed due to government misconduct after the discovery of Nixon's dirty tricksters, E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy, overseeing the break-in of Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office seeking incriminating medical records.
For the next five decades, Ellsberg would go on to become an inspirational anti-war and anti-nuclear advocate, as well as a supporter of whistleblowers like Reality Winner, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. He was also a longtime friend of both this show and The BRAD BLOG.
Dan Ellsberg died last Friday at the age of 92 after a struggle with inoperable pancreatic cancer. He remains a hero and inspiration to many of us.
His final appearance on this program was as a guest on our first show after The BradCast moved from a weekly to a daily program back in April of 2015. We share some of our conversation with Ellsberg from that day's show --- regarding the Obama Administration's aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers and a bit more --- on today's program.
- Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as early extreme summer weather slams much of the south while renewable energy saves the day in parts of Texas and reaches an encouraging new milestone across the rest of the nation...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)