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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Bush's War Became Obama's War Becomes Trump's War: 'BradCast' 8/22/17
Guest: Historian, Middle East expert Juan Cole on Trump's Afghanistan 'flip-flop', why the hell we're there & if we'll ever be able to get out...
'Green News Report' 8/22/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Monsanto pesticide decimating crops; Federal climate advisors not going away easily; Court lets Exxon off hook (again); PLUS: Trump's Nat'l Park Service ends plastic bottle ban...
Previous GNRs: 8/17/17 - 8/15/17 - Archives...
Democrats. Remember Them?: 'BradCast' 8/21/17
Guest: Author, journalist David Dayen on the Democratic Party's 'quietly radical' 'Better Deal' plan and much more; Plus: The eclipse!...
Why I Anonymously Wrote an Election Integrity Novel in 2008, and Why I'm 'Anonymous' No More
Guest blogged by the no-longer anonymous author of Cassandra, Chanting...
Sunday Toons of the 'Many Sides' Moment
This week, PDiddie's collection of political toons mark what could be a seminal point in the Trump Presidency, examining the issue 'on many sides, many sides'...
The 25th for 45?:
'BradCast' 8/18/17
Guest: Political scientist, author David Faris; Plus: BANNON IS OUT and more than 1.5M Chicago voter registration records exposed (again), by nation's largest e-voting vendor...
Fighting for Free Speech For and Against Nazis, Trump, and Israel: 'BradCast' 8/17/17
Guest: Inst. for Policy Studies' Aniqa Raihan; Also: Bannon interview's revelation on North Korea; Fox 'News' buckling under stress...
'Green News Report' 8/17/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump revokes infrastructure protection; July 2017 hottest month ever; Solar eclipse to challenge power grid; PLUS: Nat'l monuments on chopping block in unprecedented review...
Previous GNRs: 8/15/17 - 8/10/17 - Archives...
After C'Ville, Trump's Presser: Is Something Happening Here?: 'BradCast' 8/16/17
Also: Attorney Ernest Canning on IN vote suppression suits; Callers on Trump's support for White Supremacists...
Federal Lawsuits Challenge Indiana's Wildly Disparate Voting Site Laws
Legal analyst Ernie Canning on suits filed against years-long, blatant voter suppression in Mike Pence's Indiana...
Path to Peace w/ NK? Also: CBO Undercuts Trump Threat: 'BradCast' 8/15/2017
And Trump keeps digging deeper on C'Ville, despite newly revealed FBI, DHS warning of violent RW extremism...
'Green News Report' 8/15/17
Deadly Sierra Leone mudslide; Largest Gulf 'dead zone' ever; 'Super heat waves' on rise; Fossil fuel ind's $5T in subsidies/yr; PLUS: Sea rising faster in Southeast...
Making America Hate Again: From C'Ville to OK to White House: 'BradCast' 8/14/17
Guest: Former neo-Nazi Tony McAleer; Also: U.S., N. Korea remain on edge of World War...
Sunday Toons of the 'Superior Race/Arms Race' Moment
At this rate, between N. Korea, C'ville and climate crisis, it's unclear if America can survive more "greatness", as the cartoonists in PDiddie's latest weekly collection illustrate...
More Trump Admin Sabotage of ObamaCare Revealed: 'BradCast' 8/11/17
Guest: TPM's Alice Ollstein; Also: Trump continues NK threats, experts worry, diplomatic solutions remain...
'Fire and Fury': Overblown Bluster or Time for Real Alarm?: 'BradCast' 8/10/17
Guest: VOA's WH House Bureau Chief, 26-yr Asia journo Steve Herman; Also: DoJ flips in voting rights case; Trump still ignoring MN mosque attack...
'Green News Report' 8/10/17
Fed scientists leak climate report; Admin wants to stay in Paris accord?; EPA finds regs don't hurt economy; PLUS: Obama climate policies save billions...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
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: Historian, Middle East expert Juan Cole of Univ. of Michigan on why the hell we're still there, and if we'll ever be able to get out...
By Brad Friedman on 8/22/2017 6:02pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Now that he's President, after years of decrying "our very stupid leaders" for "wasting" blood and treasure to stay in Afghanistan, Donald Trump announced on Monday night that the U.S. will be spending more blood and treasure to stay in Afghanistan --- for an indefinite period of time. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, he claimed, justifying his flip-flop, he has a "new" strategy for "victory" in the war torn nation, more than 16 and a half years since the U.S. first invaded following the 9/11 attacks. What exactly is that "new" strategy? Based on his prime-time televised address from Fort Myer in Arlington, VA, it's not entirely clear. Then again, neither is whatever the hell is going on in Afghanistan. "It's complicated," my guest explains today.

Joining me to try and help us understand America's longest war and where it goes from here under the ownership of Donald Trump is blogger, historian and longtime Middle East/South Asia expert JUAN COLE, of the University of Michigan. Professor Cole, who has been writing about this "invisible war" at his "Informed Comment" blog since 2002, describes the difficulties faced by the last three U.S. Presidents in Afghanistan --- not to mention previous colonial powers from other nations --- and how Trump's plans appear to be both different and the same as his two predecessors'.

If President Obama was unable to succeed with his counter-insurgency strategy with 100,000 U.S. troops, it seems unlikely that Trump, with some 12,000 soon to be there, will do much better with his "not nation building --- killing terrorists" strategy.

"There's no real danger the Taliban are going to take over the [Afghan] government and kick us out," Cole tells me, in trying to explain why we are still there. "However, if the U.S. got out, I don't imagine that the government in Kabul would last more than a year."

So, is it possible to ever get out, at this point? What good has 16+ years of bombing, 1 trillion in tax-payer dollars and the lives of some 3,500 U.S. troops --- not to mention untold millions of Afghans --- actually accomplished? We discuss the roots and the reasons for the ongoing quagmire and much more with the good professor.

"Whatever resources and capacity Afghanistan had to be an independent country were destroyed from 1978 forward, once the [Soviet] Communists took over, and then Reagan conducted what I call the 'Reagan Jihad'," Cole explains. "He got all the Muslim fundamentalists all together --- including what became al-Qaeda --- to kill the Communists. Since that time, since 1978 forward, Afghanistan has been roiled and in turmoil. I figure a couple million people have been killed. The country has no real resources. It's one of the poorest countries in the world. So this is just not a place, especially given what was done to it in the last 30 years, that is very likely to stand up a government. This is one of the reasons the U.S. is stuck there."

"The thing that puzzles me --- I can't entirely understand it --- is that no one in the United States cares about Afghanistan. No one cares if we're there or we're not there. If troops are killed over there, it hurts me in my gut. I'm an Army brat. But they put it on page 17 of the Washington Post. And it never comes on cable news," says Cole, adding: "It's an invisible war."

After that conversation today, a quick look at Trump's domestic war with the leadership of his own party and others, before we finally turn to Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report, on how corporate lobbyists from Monsanto, Exxon and other major corporations continue to game the system for their own profits, while playing the rest of us for suckers...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Guest: Author, journalist David Dayen on the Democratic Party's 'quietly radical' 'Better Deal' plan and much more...
By Brad Friedman on 8/21/2017 5:57pm PT  

For a few blessed moments on Monday, the peoples of the United States set politics aside, for the most part, to look skyward, toward the first continent-wide total solar eclipse in the U.S. since 1918. But the welcome distraction from politics in the madness of the Trump Era didn't last long, as reflected on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

More and more top Republicans and Trump allies continue to publicly distance themselves from this President, following the past tumultuous month of his Presidency (breathlessly summarized today, courtesy of CNN's Brook Baldwin), as capped by his defiant defense last week of the white supremacist rally that turned deadly in Charlottesville.

Democrats are now reportedly beginning to salivate at the idea that a wave election could be ahead for them in 2018, in which they re-gain control of the U.S. House. But is that hope a realistic one? And is their new "Better Deal" plan to capture the majority, focusing on populist economic issues, enough to get them there?

We're joined today by financial author and journalist DAVID DAYEN of The Nation and The Intercept (among other places) to discuss the Democratic Party's plan for rebuilding with new populist regulatory agencies and oversight, which Dayen describes as "quietly radical".

"I don't have high expectations for Democratic campaign plans," he tells me. "But what I will say is that all of the things they've put out thus far all really boil down to one phrase, and that's Fighting Corporate Power."

He details how, based on the popularity of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), created during the Obama Administration with Elizabeth Warren to fight for consumers rights, Democrats have a host of new oversight organizations that they hope to put in place, in what Dayen describes as the most expansive addition of federal agencies since FDR's Depression-era "New Deal". But, he warns, "credibility is the issue for Democrats --- whether they're going to follow through on this 'people vs. the powerful' rhetoric that they sometimes try to bring up to win elections."

We discuss that, as well as the debate on the Democratic/progressive side of the aisle between so-called "identity politics" and economic populism, and what he says he should know about all of the business leaders seemingly abandoning Trump and his Presidential economic councils, which have been publicly disbanded in the wake of Charlottesville. Dayen tells me he "can't believe that people are being duped by [it]...All you have to do is look beyond these 'advisory boards' --- which are really nothing more than direct lobbying efforts --- to know that the lobbying has just gone underground!"

Also, Dayen explains the purported "trade war" with China that Trump's now-former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon was murmuring about on his way out the door last week...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Political scientist, author David Faris of Roosevelt University...
By Brad Friedman on 8/18/2017 6:03pm PT  

On today's BradCast, another tumultuous week, another White House firing, another major election system breach and another look at how it all could end. [Audio link follows below.]

White House Chief Strategist --- and once and future head of the far-right fake 'news' outlet Breitbart --- is fired after yet another tumultuous week of self-inflicted wounds by Donald Trump.

Also today, 11 years after The BRAD BLOG first reported exclusively on a massive breach of personal voting records for some 1.5 million Chicago voters, the private company contracted to run the city's voter registration system did it again. ES&S, the largest electronic voting system vendor in the nation, was discovered to have been storing 1.8 million voter registration records on an unprotected web server this week, exposing citizens to data theft and the city's administrative voting system passwords. All underscoring, yet again, the continuing failures and dangers of having privatized our public electoral system, as we've been trying to highlight for nearly 15 years now.

Then, with the President's approval rating at an historic low and support for his impeachment climbing, concerns about his fitness for office continue to mount in the wake of his equivalence between neo-Nazis and those who protest them, following the murder of a counter-protester in Charlottesville. New articles of impeachment are filed in the U.S. House, more Presidential advisory councils are disbanding, with CEOs and other business leaders (even James Murdoch of Fox "News"!) quickly distancing themselves from Trump, even some top Republicans who previously supported him are now finally suggesting he may be unfit for office.

So, how might this all end? We're joined today by columnist, author and political scientist DAVID FARIS of Roosevelt University to discuss that, Bannon, and his new piece at The Week on the Constitutional ambiguities of the 25th Amendment. Can it and should it be invoked to remove Trump from office? And how the hell does it even work?

Faris argues "we cannot take three-and-a-half more years of this nonstop hell without experiencing a collective nervous breakdown," describes the firing of Bannon as "a great victory for The Resistance", and offers his thoughts on whether the latest shake-up at the continuously chaotic White House is ultimately good for the nation. Then, he compares the difficulties of the impeachment process versus those in invoking the never-before-used Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to remove a President who is judged to be unfit for office. Faris also handicaps the odds --- and advantages to both the GOP Congress and Vice-President --- of either option actually being triggered.

Finally, as if things aren't troubling enough, we're joined by Desi Doyen for the latest Green News Report, as National Monuments are on the Administration's chopping block, Trump revokes Obama's Executive Order protecting the nation's infrastructure, and the U.S. looks forward to its first total eclipse of the sun in nearly 100 years...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Aniqa Raihan of the Institute for Policy Studies | Also: Bannon interview's revelation on North Korea; Fox 'News' buckling under stress...
By Brad Friedman on 8/17/2017 5:10pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Constitutional free political speech matters, especially speech we may disagree with. There's seems to be a lot of confusion about that of late. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first today, after breaking news on Thursday's deadly terror attack in Barcelona, new evidence, via Steve Bannon of all people, that at least some inside the White House appear to understand that "there's no military solution" for North Korea, despite President Trump's dangerous militaristic posturing over the past two weeks.

Then, we move on to a number of free speech issues regarding last weekend's white supremacist rally in Charlottesville and those protesting against them, a wildly intrusive warrant from the Department of Justice demanding personal information on some 1.3 million Americans who visited an anti-Trump website, and a bill working its way through Congress that would seem to call for a wildly unconstitutional ban on the free speech of those wishing to peacefully protest the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

We're joined by ANIQA RAIHAN of the Institute for Policy Studies to discuss her article, recently published by The Nation and Foreign Policy in Focus, detailing the proposed "Israel Anti-Boycott Act" which is currently being co-sponsored by nearly 50 Republican and Democratic U.S. Senators. "Leading Republicans and Democrats in both parties," Raihan stresses, including many on the Right who pretend to advocate for both free speech and free markets.

The bill would make it a felony --- assessing harsh financial penalties and even jail time --- for Americans who boycott Israeli-owned business and companies which do business with them. "What's really scary about it is that it tells you --- no matter what your views are on Israel-Palestine, whether you support a two-state solution or a one-state solution --- as long as you don't do business with Israel, we're going to criminalize you," Raihan explains. "There are tons of people who go through their lives and, for whatever reason, don't happen to buy products made in Israel, and there's no problem with that. But the second that you say 'I'm doing this because I believe in XYZ, I believe in Palestinian human rights', that becomes a problem. Which is completely criminalizing people for their political action, and their commitment to living their values out in their lives."

The legislation, on its face, appears to be in direct contrast with a unanimous 1982 U.S. Supreme Court opinion, finding that penalties assessed against Mississippi civil rights advocates in response to a 1960's civil rights era boycott of white-owned businesses, was an unconstitutional violation of political free speech rights. Last month, the ACLU blasted the bill in a letter to lawmakers, leading one Democrat, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, to remove her co-sponsorship. We discuss all of that, as well as the origins and controversies behind the new proposal.

Finally today, yet another Fox "News" personality breaks down in tears on air in response to the controversies and related racial issues following Charlottesville and Trump's disturbing response to it. Is the original fake news channel finally being to crack under the stress of the wildly unfit and arguably racist President that they created?...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Also: Attorney Ernest A. Canning on two new Indiana voter suppression suits | Callers respond to Trump's support for White Supremacists...
By Brad Friedman on 8/16/2017 5:57pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Is something happening here? Finally? [Audio link to show follows below.]

Following Donald Trump's insane press conference at Trump Tower on Tuesday, during which he vociferously equated neo-Nazis and White Supremacists with those who oppose them --- just days after the murder of a counter-protester by an apparent White nationalist in Charlottesville --- even some Republicans are finally condemning him. Sort of. But not nearly enough.

At the same time, Confederate monuments are being removed around the country and business leaders who claim to be furious have withdrawn from Trump's two different business councils, which he has now been forced to shut down. Nonetheless, despite their half-hearted protestations, Republicans continue to intentionally suppress minority voting in state after state. Another Federal Court determined as much this week in Texas, finding --- for the 11th time in recent years --- that state Republicans intentionally suppressed minority voters there.

Another such state is Vice President Mike Pence's Indiana, where a new analysis from the Indy Star finds that early voting sites were shuttered in Democratic counties and expanded in Republican counties after Obama won the state in 2008, and as Pence served as Governor. The strategy worked. Republican turnout increased in counties where voting rights were expanded and Democratic votes decreased in the state's largest and most Democratic leaning counties, where voting sites were shuttered. Now Pence heads up Trump's so-called "Election Integrity" Commission.

Long-time BRAD BLOG legal analyst ERNEST A. CANNING joins us to detail his new article on the two federal lawsuits, alleging violations of both the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution, that have now been filed in the Hoosier State.

Then, along with a clip of a GOP strategist breaking down into tears on Fox "News" in the wake of Trump's response to Charlottesville, callers --- including my own father! --- ring in on all of the above. Is Trump "a Nazi" himself? Will this moment ultimately make any difference moving forward? And, can the GOP officials rebuking Trump be taken seriously, given that they are still suppressing the votes of African-Americans and Latinos all across the nation at the very same time?...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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And Trump keeps digging himself deeper on Charlottesville, despite newly revealed warnings from FBI and DHS of violent Rightwing extremism...
By Brad Friedman on 8/15/2017 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Digging deeper and/or trying to catch up with the runaway news on North Korea, Charlottesville and Trump's continuing threats to radically undermine the Affordable Care Act. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the (many) stories covered on today's show:

  • A faint glimmer of hope for peace --- or at least diplomacy --- breaks out in the U.S./North Korea nuclear standoff, as all sides (including South Korea) suggest options that could help to avert disaster;
  • Trump digs himself deeper by using a somewhat insane press conference on Tuesday at Trump Tower to equate the "alt-left" (his words) with White Nationalists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville over the weekend, even while claiming (over and over again) that his previously criticized remarks were only due to the fact that he insists on getting his facts straight before speaking. "Unlike you," he said to the assembled press, over and over, without irony, "before I make a statement, I like to know the facts." (Insert your own joke here);
  • New reporting reveals an FBI and DHS intelligence report warned the Trump Administration in May about the threat of violent Rightwing domestic terrorism far out-pacing that of Islamic (or any other form of) terrorism in the U.S., at the same time the Administration was deciding to block a previously announced grant to a group that helps people escape the grip of White Nationalist groups. (Following up our conversation on yesterday's show with former neo-Nazi Tony McAleer of Life After Hate, the group whose grant was withdrawn);
  • More CEO's remove themselves and their companies from the President's Manufacturing Council in protest of his response to the tragic violence in Charlottesville over the weekend. (By the end of the show today, the number went from four to six);
  • The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office issues a report [PDF] today finding that Trump's threats of withholding funding to insurance companies meant to cover costs for low-income consumers under the Affordable Care Act ('ObamaCare'), could spike all individual premium rates by 20 percent in 2018, force companies to stop selling insurance at all in certain regions, and raise the federal deficit by nearly $200 billion over the next decade.

All of that (and more) may explain why Trump's approval ratings hit new, all-time lows this week. Enjoy!...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Former neo-Nazi Tony McAleer on the new rise of white nationalism | Also: U.S., North Korea remain on the knife's edge of World War...
By Brad Friedman on 8/14/2017 6:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the disturbing and tragic weekend events in Charlottesville, how they came about, the failure by Donald Trump to single out white nationalism in their wake, and what some former domestic extremists are trying to do about it all. And, the world remains on edge of war as the Trump Administration continues its aggressive threats in response to North Korea's. [Audio link to show follows below.]

With the weekend's tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that the leaders of North Korea and the United States are still promising annihilation at one another and, as discussed today, should the U.S. shoot first, China has a longstanding treaty obligation to side with its ally North Korea. So, yes, we remain on the brink of what could quickly become another World War under the deft leadership of President Donald Trump today.

Also today, an alleged anti-government militant in Oklahoma attempted to set off what he believed was a 1,000 pound bomb at a Federal Reserve bank, in the fashion of Timothy McVeigh's 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, according to the FBI. The domestic terrorist was charged over the weekend.

And, speaking of aggrieved white men, we get caught up with the White Supremacist march which led to violence and death on Saturday in Charlottesville, Trump's refusal to declare any of it a terrorist incident or single out the armed and dangerous white nationalist neo-Nazi groups, as well as the condemnation of both him and Rightwing hate groups by other officials, including top Republicans. All of that before Trump's "mulligan" remarks today in which he finally condemned the hate movement by name...sort of.

Then, for insight and perspective on all of this, we're joined by TONY MCALEER, co-founder and board chair at LifeAfterHate.org, a non-profit group formed by former members of violent American far-right extremist movements, with the goal of "countering the seeds of hate" they once planted. Life After Hate was promised federal grant funding by the Obama Administration, as part of their anti-extremist efforts targeting both domestic extremism and Islamic terror. But, funding for the domestic Rightwing extremist groups was pulled by the Trump Administration's DHS in June, despite the mountain of evidence revealing that such homegrown terrorists pose a greater immediate threat to Americans.

McAleer, a former skinhead and organizer for the White Aryan Resistance (WAR), explains what the rather well-to-do white nationalists parading in Charlottesville --- and those in the White House and elsewhere who seem to support them --- are actually angry about (it doesn't have much to do with Confederate statues), and why it is that their message is so appealing to some.

"The removal of the statues, I think, is deemed as a battle line that has been drawn, and their perceived threat of political correctness," McAleer tells me. "I think they perceive it as erasing white history. The memory of the Confederacy is being erased. I think that's a philosophical and political battle line that they've drawn. [But,] I think most of the people that were there [in Charlotte] aren't even from the South, so it doesn't make sense from that perspective."

"Their message doesn't thrive unless people are in a place of pain, looking for someone to blame," he explains. "When things aren't going so well, they start looking for someone to blame. And you've got a large group of people looking for answers, and then you've got demagogues stepping forward and offering simplistic solutions and answers that aren't correct and people are buying into them."

McAleer goes on to discuss his own journey into the dark world of neo-Nazism and how he was eventually able to both pull out of it and co-found his organization to help others do the same.

"I actually believe the level to which we're willing to dehumanize another human being is a reflection of how internally disconnected and dehumanized we are within ourselves. Who joins extremist groups?," he asks rhetorically, citing research on terrorism and its causes. "The number one correlated factor in the history of somebody joining a violent extremist group is childhood trauma. Because nobody comes into the world a neo-Nazi."

Finally today, Trump had no problem quickly condemning, by name, an African-America CEO today, after his withdrawal from the President's Manufacturing Council in response to Trump's failure to condemn the racists groups on Saturday. And then, today's show wraps up where it began, with more breaking news on still more dangerous saber-rattling between the US and North Korea...

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Guest: TPM Congressional reporter Alice Ollstein | Also: Trump continues N. Korea threats, experts worry, diplomatic solutions remain...for now...
By Brad Friedman on 8/11/2017 6:45pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Trump Administration continues to destabilize both the Korean Peninsula and the U.S. health care insurance markets. [Audio link to show follows below.]

President Trump continued to increase his threatening rhetoric against North Korea (and to play the victim himself, as is his wont) on Friday, even as experts on the region see little new in the North's own bluster and saber-rattling. Instead, they worry that the Trump Administration's own unpredictable rhetoric and instability could lead to a misunderstanding or miscommunication that could, itself, result in military action by either side, the results of which could be catastrophic.

Still, there remain diplomatic ways out, via Russia and China, from the seemingly deadly collision course, so long as those options are not closed off by Trump. There are even direct, ongoing back-channel communications between representatives of both the US and NK, as reported on our previous show and confirmed today by the Associated Press.

Then, on the heels of the recently failed Republican attempt in Congress to repeal and/or replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA or 'ObamaCare'), new polling finds the public strongly prefers that Congress and the President move on to other issues, shore up funding for the ObamaCare exchanges where needed, and will otherwise hold both Republicans and the Administration responsible for further problems with U.S. health care coverage.

Nonetheless, the Trump Administration continues to take deliberate measures to undermine the landmark federal health care law, even as those actions have resulted in double-digit increases in premiums rates for 2018 across the country --- including for non-ObamaCare customers --- according to insurers. To date, the Administration has sabotaged the ACA by cutting the length of the open enrollment period in half, has cancelled advertising to let the public know about it, has used those resources instead on propaganda to attack the federal law, has ended some $20 million in contracts for in-person sign-up assistance in 18 under-served cities, and has threatened to end Cost-Sharing Reduction (CSR) payments to insurers for low-income individuals which, according to my guest today, could "send the market into a tailspin" if the President makes good on those threats.

Today, we are joined by Congressional reporter ALICE OLLSTEIN of Talking Points Memo to discuss her new exclusive revealing yet another way in which the Administration appears to be radically undermining the continuing success of the ACA, this time in the vastly under-served Latino community.

In this case, Ollstein explains, "It's more about what they are not doing." She explains that, at this time last year, and in previous years in advance of the annual open enrollment period beginning in November, hundreds of health care advocacy groups "were really revving up with tons of outside groups, and corporations, and religious organizations, health organizations, to get the word out and work with the government to promote information about open enrollment."

This year, however, after speaking with dozens of such groups, she says "every single one said" they have heard nothing from the government. "And I found a very stark pattern, particularly with the groups that focused on Latino enrollment," she tells me. "Latinos have the highest rate of un-insurance out of any racial demographic. They also disproportionately live in states like Texas and Florida that did not expand Medicaid. Those partnerships for outreach, leading up to open enrollment, are so far not happening this year."

The results, she reports, could be disastrous not only for the Latino Community, but for the health care market itself around the country. We also discuss what Trump and both Congressional Republicans and Democrats are considering for their various next steps regarding federal health care law.

[Update 8/14/2017: Ollstein follows up her exclusive with another, finding that it's not only Latino groups which had previously partnered with the government, but are now being ignored by the White House in the lead up to the open enrollment period.]

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report before late-breaking news on Trump's announcement that he is now also considering military action against Venezuela...

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Guest: VOA White House Bureau Chief and 26-year East Asia correspondent Steve Herman; Also: DoJ flips in key voting rights case; Trump continues to ignore terror attack on MN mosque...
By Brad Friedman on 8/10/2017 6:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the fire, fury, and potentially deadly bluster continues. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Donald Trump re-upped and doubled-down on his recent threats to bring "fire and fury like the world has never seen before" against North Korea, telling reporters at his golf club in New Jersey on Thursday that "maybe that statement wasn't tough enough."

His original threat earlier this week was in response to North Korea's threats against the U.S., after the United Nation's security council voted unanimously for new sanctions against the isolated nation. And, in response, North Korea's military offered an unusually detailed plan to fire a salvo of missiles at Guam, a U.S. territory and home to several U.S. military bases.

We're joined to discuss the still-increasing tensions between the two nuclear powers by VOA's White House Bureau Chief STEVE HERMAN, who returned to report stateside earlier this year after serving as a correspondent and bureau chief in east Asia for more than 25 years.

When he last joined us in April, during the last round of threats between NK and the U.S., the always-remarkably level-headed Herman offered a tip, as a veteran journalist in the region, as to how to assess whether or not NK was bluffing with their public statements. We find out whether the new round of threats from NK's military is now finally cause for legitimate concern, and whether Trump's own bellicose threats --- and the potential for a preemptive U.S. strike --- pose an even greater threat to stability in the region.

Herman also offers some criticism of the U.S. commercial broadcast coverage on this issue, details the divides over the matter within the Trump Administration itself, discusses what North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may actually be seeking here, how big the stakes are for all sides in "this ultimate poker game", and confirms that, despite the increasingly heated rhetoric from both sides, back-channel diplomacy is still ongoing and may ultimately help to avoid what otherwise appears to be a deadly collision course.

He also offers a thought or two on which has been more difficult to cover, the whole of East Asia during his time overseas, or the Trump Administration now that he's reporting from the White House.

Also today: Political appointees (not career civil rights officials) file legal documents to flip the DoJ's previous position in a crucial voting rights case scheduled to be heard this fall by the U.S. Supreme Court. And, nearly a week has gone by without Donald Trump saying or tweeting a word about last weekend's terror bombing of a mosque in Minnesota...

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By Brad Friedman on 8/9/2017 5:58pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the world reacts to Donald Trump's alarming threat on Tuesday to rain down "fire and fury like the world has never seen before" on North Korea, if they continue to threaten the U.S. with nuclear weapons. [Audio link to show follows below.]

North Korea further threatens an attack on a U.S. airbase in Guam and describes Trump as "bereft of reason" on whom "only absolute force can work"; U.S. Sec. of State Rex Tillerson tries to calm frayed nerves, promising “Americans should sleep well at night," during a stop-over in the island U.S. territory; some in Congress pretend to assert Constitutional authority for a preemptive strike on North Korea (maybe they should have thought about that when they lauded his unconstitutional bombing in Syria several months back), the President tweets a few lies about himself and the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and the nations of the world try to determine what the hell Trump was actually thinking, if anything, with his reckless "improvised" remarks.

For our part, we cover all of the above and open up the phone lines to callers to get their take on which madman with nuclear weapons, North Korea's Kim Jong-un or U.S. President Donald J. Trump, they are most worried about.

Then, Desi Doyen joins for the 800th episode of our Green News Report!...

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Guest: David Faris of Roosevelt Univ. on our broken Congress...
By Brad Friedman on 8/8/2017 6:39pm PT  

During a press avail in New Jersey on the opioid epidemic on Tuesday, Donald Trump threatened "fire and fury like the world has never seen". Disturbingly, he was threatening the Korean peninsula with those remarks. But he may as well have been talking about climate change without even realizing it. On today's BradCast: so much for the momentary sense of calm some of us may have felt for a few blessed hours with both Congress and Donald Trump on "vacation." [Audio link to complete show follows below.]

First up today, deadly dangerous saber rattling is quickly ratcheting up world tensions on the heels of new United Nations sanctions against North Korea. The isolated nation responded with threats of "physical action". Trump responded with promises of "fire and fury". NK responded in kind with a reported threat to attack Guam --- a U.S. territory and home to U.S. military bases --- with "enveloping fire", as our show got under way today.

Then, speaking of global threats, the New York Times published a disturbing leaked report last night authored by scientists from 13 federal agencies, warning of quickly accelerating man-made global warming. The report, already approved by the National Academy of Sciences, is part of the U.S. National Climate Assessment, a statutorily mandated quadrennial report now awaiting final approval by the climate science-denying Trump Administration. We discuss the alarming details of the report, why it was leaked to the press in advance of the August 18 deadline for approval, and the question of whether Trump, his EPA and other science-based federal agencies will sign off on it (or change it before they do).

Then we're joined by author and political scientist DAVID FARIS of Roosevelt University, to discuss his recent article on "Why the GOP Congress will be the most unproductive in 164 years". He blames the increasing extremism and polarization within the GOP's own caucus, which, he argues, has virtually hamstrung the Trump/GOP agenda.

"What has happened over the last forty years is Republicans have moved much, much further to right than Democrats have to the left," Faris tells me. "They've moved a little bit to the left since 1980, but not my much --- it's almost imperceptible. Whereas if you chart the movement of the GOP, it's just a long, consistent straight march off the ideological map into uncharted territory."

He describes what he sees as the the reasons for this historic "asymmetric polarization" among Republicans, and why there does not appear to be nearly as much of an ideological divide within the Democratic caucus in Congress.

Finally, we mark today's passing of country/pop superstar Glen Campbell before we return again to a world now very much on edge --- a fact made even more troubling as Trump's approval ratings, even from his most ardent base voters, appear to be quickly eroding at the 200th day mark of his Presidency...

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Guest: Dave Anderson of Energy and Policy Institute; Plus: No vacation from Trump lies; MN mosque bombed; USDA censoring 'climate change'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/7/2017 6:07pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Congress is in recess and the President may be on a 17-day "working vacation", but that doesn't seem to have kept Donald Trump from his usual barrage of lies to the American people. And, speaking of lies, just like the oil and coal companies, a new report finds the nation's utilities companies learned decades ago about the threat of global warming...before deciding to launch a PR campaign to cover it up. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

First up today: Trump's misleading claim that a new immigration proposal he is supporting will bar legal immigrants from obtaining various public welfare benefits for five years after entering the U.S. Which, by the way, is already federal law, even if Trump either doesn't appear know it, or is simply choosing to lie about it. Trump's new proposal, however, is even crueler, as we discuss today.

Also, not discussed by Trump (and barely noticed by much of the corporate media): the weekend bombing of an Islamic mosque in Minnesota. And, also today: Emails obtained from the USDA reveal that employees at the federal agency were instructed to avoid the use of phases such as "climate change" after Trump took office, even when dealing with farming issues that are directly affected by climate change. That on the heels of Trump's nominee for the top science position at USDA, a non-scientist and denialist rightwing talk radio host, having described progressives as "race traitors".

Then, speaking of denialism, we're joined by DAVE ANDERSON of the Energy and Policy Institute on his new report documenting how the nation's utilities companies learned of the threat of global warming decades ago --- at least as long ago as 1968 --- before purposely choosing to mislead customers and the public about it so they could continue to profit from the burning of cheap, dirty coal.

"What they wanted to do was put the science on ice, you could say," Anderson tells me. In fact, they even created an astroturf outfit calling itself the "Information Council on the Environment" (ICE) in order to mislead the public with a series of magazine and radio ads meant to dispute the science of global warming. (See the "Chicken Little" ad in the graphic above.)

The newly reported revelations echo those recently discovered about Exxon and other fossil fuel companies which confirmed the science of climate change and dangers of burning carbon decades ago, before spending millions on climate change denialism in hopes of confusing and misleading both the public and their own investors.

"Earlier reports had been commissioned by President Lyndon Johnson, and before him, John F. Kennedy, that also touched upon the possible threat posed by CO2 emissions," Anderson says. "Even way back then, government was starting to get involved in climate research, and it seems like utilities were involved in the creation of those reports, and probably knew even earlier than 1968 that this could be a problem."

"In 1971," he documents, "they saw this as a really long term potential issue for power generation. ... Once it exploded onto the front pages of the New York Times, after some pretty interesting Congressional testimony in 1988, it seems like the utilities kind of freaked out. They started looking for people who could spread the message that climate science wasn't legit, and even a hoax."

"One of the interesting documents that we found was Congressional testimony by an expert from the Electric Power Research Institute, which is the utility industry's own R&D shop," Anderson says. "He actually warned Congress that if climate change proved to be a major concern, it could actually make the burning of fossil fuels essentially unacceptable. That was a pretty bold statement in 1977."

A number of large oil and coal companies have recently been sued for their denialism, in cases which mirror those against Big Tobacco in the 90s. (Which makes sense, since Big Fossil Fuel employed many of the same "experts" and attorneys who spent decades misleading the public about the harms of smoking.) Will the utilities companies, some of which are still lying to the public about this, face similar accountability soon? We discuss that and much more today.

Finally today, another Fox 'News' star is suspended amidst new allegations that he sent unwanted genital photos to colleagues. Are we starting to see a pattern here yet?...

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Guest: Bob Kincaid of H.O.R.N. and Coal River Mountain Watch | Also: GOP Senators move away from Trump, as his approval ratings plummet...
By Brad Friedman on 8/4/2017 5:46pm PT  

On today's BradCast, there's at least one place in the country where time seems to have stopped and Donald Trump remains wildly popular. But that place isn't Washington D.C. right now. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

Some Republicans in the U.S. Senate are finally beginning to separate themselves from the historically unpopular President Trump and his similarly unpopular agenda. They've even taken steps to try and keep Trump from removing Attorney General Jeff Sessions and hiring someone willing to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller over the August Senate recess and thereafter.

With Trump's approval ratings plummeting, even in Rightwing polls that Trump used to favorably cite (as recently as June), GOPers like Arizona's Senator Jeff Flake, whose own approval rating is now even lower than Trump's, are now hoping to distance themselves from the President, in Flake's case, even after recently voting with him to take health care away from tens of million of Americans.

But not everyone is cutting ties with Trump. In fact, West Virginia's wealthiest man --- and, not coincidentally, its newly-elected Governor and longtime coal baron --- Jim Justice, changed his party affiliation this week from Democratic to Republican. And he announced it at a Donald Trump campaign rally on Thursday night.

We're joined today by 9th generation West Virginian BOB KINCAID, host of Head-On Radio and President of Coal River Mountain Watch, to explain Justice's flip and why so many in the state still believe in Trump.

"Jim Justice earned his money the old fashioned way --- he inherited it," quips the always-colorful Kincaid, noting many more of the Governor's very Trump-like characteristics. Kincaid warned Democrats long ago about Justice, whose flip, he tells me, is "almost a killing stroke for the now-moribund West Virgina Democratic Party."

"Trump's approval ratings may be in the toilet in the rest of the country, but they're not in the toilet here --- this is still the Trumpiest place in the world."

We also discuss the surprising votes by both of WV's U.S. Senators (Republican Shelly Moore-Capito and Democrat Joe Manchin) during the Senate's recent attempt to repeal ObamaCare. ("Joe Manchin getting something right can be filed under 'even a blind hog finds an acorn now and then,'" the progressive Kincaid says. As to unseating him next year in a primary, he handicaps the odds, and details what would occur if it did, beginning with the phrase: "If pigs grew wings, and sheep were perched in trees, and leprechauns rode across the open plain on three-legged unicorns, and a progressive actually beat Joe Manchin in the primary...")

Tune in for the always-delightful visit from our old friend and longtime Coal Country hero on all of that, and more, including an update from the front lines now that the pretend "War on Coal" is finally over and, as Trump will tell you lie to you, tens of thousands of coal jobs have finally returned!

Lastly today, Desi Doyen joins us for a shocking amount of encouraging news in our 799th(!) Green News Report, including several setbacks for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and a major oil company CEO who's now buying an electric car as he sees the world moving to renewable energy and the end quickly nearing for Big Oil...

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Guest: Dave Johnson of 'Seeing the Forest' | Also: Mueller reportedly impanels a new grand jury in D.C.; Senators work to keep him from being fired; And Iran charges new sanctions violate nuclear deal...
By Brad Friedman on 8/3/2017 5:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Trump noose tightens, and the Trump leaks continue. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

"Trump O'Clock" came particularly early today, so after shuffling things around at the last minute again, several times, we cover reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington D.C., which has issued subpoenas as part of the probe into Team Trump and various charges of collusion with Russia. At the same time, several Republicans in the U.S. Senate are reportedly filing legislation meant to prevent Trump (and/or future Presidents) from being able to fire a Special Counsel established by the Department of Justice without judicial review.

Also, getting lost once again in the "Russia" panic, as we explained on yesterday's show, there is a good reason Bernie Sanders voted against the bill slapping sanctions against Russia, North Korea and Iran, as approved almost unanimously in both chambers of Congress, and signed reluctantly by the President on Wednesday. Specifically, as Sanders explained, new sanctions may give Iran justification for dropping out of the long-negotiated nuclear deal signed by them and the U.S., UK, Russia, France, China and Germany in 2015. Not long after we got off air last night, Iran declared that the new sanctions "violated" the deal.

Then we're joined by DAVE JOHNSON, founder of the "Seeing the Forest" blog and formerly a Senior Fellow at the progressive policy organization People's Action, to discuss the remarkable leaked transcripts, published Thursday by the Washington Post, of Trump's phone conversations just after taking office with the President of Mexico and the Prime Minister of Australia.

The documents offer a fascinating --- and often troubling --- look at how Trump dealt with two of our closest allies on topics such as his proposed border wall with Mexico (and Trump's insistence that President Enrique Peña Nieto NOT state publicly that Mexico won't pay for the wall), and the agreement, struck during the Obama Administration, to consider U.S. entry for as many as 2,000 economic refugees who were, at the time, being held in detention camps on islands off of Australia's coast (a conversation that ended with Trump abruptly terminating the call with conservative Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.)

Johnson offers his thoughts and insight on the apparent strong-arm tactics employed by Trump with the two heads of state, as well as what appears to have been a rather alarming lack of preparedness for the conversations and a startling lack of policy knowledge revealed by the published transcripts.

We discuss the policy implications as well as the political ones for both Trump and Republican in Congress who will have to run for office next year under this President, his broken promises, and the often gob-smacking revelations of his infamous "deal-making prowess"...

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Plus: Open lines for callers in the angry heat of mid-Summer...
By Brad Friedman on 8/2/2017 5:56pm PT  

On today's BradCast: a hodge-podge of mid-Summer news and D.C. dysfunction with listener calls to help make it all better somehow. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the stories covered on today's very busy show:

  • Trump reluctantly signs a new bipartisan bill sanctioning Russia, North Korea and Iran (and why Bernie Sanders didn't support the bill either);
  • A recently discovered Department of Justice announcement signals political appointees at Trump's DoJ civil rights unit plans to target affirmative action measures at colleges and universities on behalf of white Americans;
  • A federal judge rules Alabama does not have to notify thousands of former felons that their right to vote has been restored;
  • In addition to every single voting machine being hacked at last weekend's DefCon hackers conference in Las Vegas, electronic pollbook systems were also hacked there, and one contained the personal records of some 650,000 Tennessee voters.
  • A long-serving, top EPA official resigns citing Trump Administration rollbacks to environmental protection in a blistering exit letter [PDF].

Then we open up the phone lines to callers on any and all of the above (and more), before Desi Doyen joins us finally for the latest similarly-busy Green News Report on South Carolina canceling plans for new nuclear plants, new studies predicting big trouble for humanity (especially those who live near the coast) and much much more...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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