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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, July 27, 2017
Deflect, Distract, Deny and Other Lead Balloons: 'BradCast' 7/26/17
Trump's transgender military ban, GOP's still failing O'Care repeal, bullying of Jeff Sessions and listeners call in on all of the above...
'People Will Die': GOP Senate Opens Debate on Unknown Health Care Repeal Scheme: 'BradCast' 7/25/17
Guest: Health advocate Jacki Schechner; Also: Trump attacks AG again, WH readies purge...
'Green News Report' 7/25/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Evacs, rescues as extreme weather slams US; Extreme heat to be "new normal"; Exxon violated Russia sanctions; PLUS: Talk-radio host nominated for top USDA science job...
Previous GNRs: 7/20/17 - 7/18/17 - Archives...
Myths, Dangers, and Powers of the Presidential Pardon: 'BradCast' 7/24/17
Guest: Constitutional expert Ian Millhiser; Also: Senate vows O'Care repeal vote; Dems unveil 2018 plan, put 'single-payer on table'...
Sunday Toons of the 'Job Well Done' Moment
PDiddie's latest weekly toon collection finds White House shake-ups, a still undead health care bill, and Dems still infighting...
Constitutional Crisis Nears, Democracy Crisis Now: 'BradCast' 7/20/17
Guest: Legal analyst Ernest A. Canning on lawsuit and media fail in GA-06; Also: Trump's DoJ threat; NYT health care failure; Israel to hand-count ballots due to hack threat...
'Green News Report' 7/20/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
CA extends landmark climate program, but enviros say it's not enough; Trump re-opens offshore drilling in Arctic; PLUS: 2017 already breaking new global heat records as of June...
Previous GNRs: 7/18/17 - 7/13/17 - Archives...
Civilian War Deaths Skyrocket; Bipartisan CA Climate Action: 'BradCast' 7/19/17
Guest: R.L. Miller, climate hawk Dem, on opposition to the CA bills; Also: Big Oil's big trouble; State Dept. war crimes office closing...
GOP's ObamaCare Repeal Collapses (Again. Twice.): 'BradCast' 7/18/2017
What's the next illegit plan for Trump and Congress?; Also: 2016 election hacks worse than known; Kobach commission's voter suppression already a success...
'Green News Report' 7/18/17
Raging wildfires in British Columbia; Trump reduces royalties on offshore drilling; Energy Dept. study contra- dicts Energy Sec. claims; PLUS: Nuns block gas pipeline...
With ObamaCare Repeal on Brink, Admin Ups Their Lies: 'BradCast' 7/17/17
Guest: Ned Resnikoff of ThinkProgress; Plus: Guess what happened after TX cut family planning funding...
Sunday Toons of 'Borscht Thickens' Moment
Trump White House 'nothing burgers' more rancid by the moment. Plus: Voter suppression, e-voting, melting Antarctica in PDiddie's latest weekly toon collection...
Are They Liars? Or Just Incompetent? Or Both?: 'BradCast' 7/14/2017
Breathtaking Team Trump perfidy. Congressional GOPers not much better. Also: Espionage Act turns 100...
Why Do Georgia Election Officials Insist on 100% Unverifiable Elections?
Another contested election in GA following more than a decade of failures, vulnerabilities, repeated warnings...
Nun Too Happy: Catholic Order Builds Chapel to Block Pipeline: 'BradCast' 7/13/17
Guest: Pastor Malinda Harnish Clatterbuck; Plus: What is Team Trump hiding? And why?...
'Green News Report' 7/13/17
Huge iceberg breaks off Antarctica; Tesla builds world's biggest battery; EPA reviving controversial Pebble Mine; PLUS: France nixing coal, internal combustion engine...
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: R.L. Miller, climate hawk Dem, on opposition to the CA bills | Also: Big Oil faces big new lawsuits; State Dept. shutting down war crimes office; Latest GOP health care repeal takes insurance from 32 million...
By Brad Friedman on 7/19/2017 6:36pm PT  

On today's BradCast: U.S. war atrocities and California's fight against global warming. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The State Department is reportedly planning to close their office that investigates war crimes. That may come in handy for Donald Trump, as his campaign promise to "bomb the shit out of 'em", appears to be working. A startling new report from international analysts finds the U.S. has killed twice as many civilians in Iraq and Syria during Trump's first six months in office, compared to the previous three years of war against ISIS under Barack Obama. The U.S. air war is now killing, on average, 12 or more civilians per day in those two countries alone --- with 2,200 said to have been killed since Trump took office --- and neither Republicans nor Democrats are willing to even debate the issue in Congress.

At the same time, House Republicans have stripped Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)'s amendment repealing the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) from the Defense Authorization bill, despite the amendment's bi-partisan adoption in a House Committee late last month.

Meanwhile, on the heels of Trump vowing to pull the U.S. from the landmark Paris Climate Agreement, California and its Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown have stepped up to fill the leadership vacuum Trump has left behind in the battle against global warming. Two counties in the San Francisco Bay area and a city in Southern California have filed what are being regarded as landmark lawsuits against 37 of the world's largest oil and coal companies. The plaintiffs charge the companies --- including Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell and others --- have known about the climate change dangers of their products for some 50 years, but have covered it up. They are filing similar claims as those brought successfully against the tobacco industry in the 90's.

Moreover, after a bruising battle, this week the CA state assembly adopted a bipartisan package of climate bills that would, among other things, extend California's cap-and-trade legislation to curb the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses through 2030. While some are describing the legislation, which passed both houses with two-thirds majorities, as a "stunning" bipartisan victory, many environmentalists are unhappy with the bills they fought bitterly against.

R.L. MILLER, the elected chair of the CA Democratic Party's Environmental Caucus and founder of Climate Hawks Vote, is one of those who opposed the bills. She joins us to explain why. As she describes, even though the state has radically reduced emissions levels in recent years and has enacted one of the toughest targets to curb greenhouse gases, the newly adopted extension of the state's Cap-and-Trade program through 2030 was drafted to disproportionately meet the concerns of oil companies, and will result in restrictions on local regulations.

"The problem with it is that the people who live next to the refineries in California have correctly pointed out that this is not doing a darn thing to make their lives any better. And they live in California. And they vote. And they're mad," she tells me, going on to argue that the new measures "will not enable us to meet our 2030 goals."

Also today: The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office finds the ObamaCare repeal bill Senate Republicans are now promising a vote on next week, despite opposition from their own caucus, would result in 32 million Americans losing health care, including 17 million losing coverage next year alone...

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

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Guest: Kait Sweeney of Progressive Change Campaign Committee...
By Brad Friedman on 6/30/2017 7:03pm PT  

Desi Doyen and I will be off from The BradCast next week. (Angie Coiro will be guest-hosting for us during our much-needed break.) But we sure are being sent away with a mess in this country --- and in the world --- before the July 4th holiday. Though we still manage to find a few rays of hope today nonetheless. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

Among the many stories covered on today's jam-packed BradCast...

  • After years of persistence by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), a powerful U.S. House committee finally votes to repeal the post-9/11 "Authorization for the Use of Military Force" which has been used and abused by Presidents from Bush to Obama to Trump to deploy U.S. troops and military action across the globe ever since. Can it pass in the rest of Congress? (Lee was the only member of the House or Senate to vote against the original Authorization in 2001.);
  • A new heat record for planet Earth may have just been recorded in Iran, amidst the Middle East's latest deadly heat wave, just as scientists have been warning for decades;
  • The U.S. Senate recesses for the 4th of July without Republicans coming up with a plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act that can earn 50 votes from their caucus. But a new scheme to repeal only is now being floated by a GOP Senator and it could make things very difficult for Democratic ObamaCare supporters when they return;
  • KAIT SWEENEY, Press Secretary at the grassroots Progressive Change Campaign Committee joins us to discuss their efforts and recommendations over the holiday recess to convince vulnerable GOP Senators to oppose the GOP plan to replace Obamacare by slashing Medicaid in exchange for billions in tax cuts to the rich. (And how to convince Democrats to push for a single-payer "Medicare-for-All" style system or, at least, a public insurance or Medicare buy-in option. "We are not going to go backwards," she vows.);
  • Dept. of Homeland Security admits, yet again, that they have done no forensic investigation of any electronic voting machines or tabulators anywhere in the country since the election, despite their repeated allegations that Russia attempted to manipulate the 2016 President race and despite the extraordinary vulnerability of our easily-hacked, oft-failed computerized voting and counting systems;
  • The man running Trump's so-called 'Election Integrity Commission' (really a "Voter Suppression Commission"), Kansas Sec. of State and top GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach, shoots himself in the foot with his request to all 50 states on behalf of the sham Commission, for voter registration and voting record data, including private information such as Social Security number, birthdate, military status, etc., on every voter in the nation (which he also promises to make public). Also, yet another top Republican "voter fraud" scammer, Hans Von Spakovsky, is added to the President's Commission;
  • MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski charge the White House attempted to blackmail them prior to Trump's horrible tweet about her this week, revealing again what a dangerous moment this is for the country under a twisted Presidency;
  • And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report before we hit the dusty road over the July 4th holiday...

If you can hit our tip-jar to help us fill up the Prius tank once or twice over the next week, it will, as ever, be greatly appreciated! Enjoy the show and please have a safe and peaceful holiday!...

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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State contracted e-vote and pollbook programmers at Kennesaw State Univ. told of vulnerability last year, covered it up, left files unprotected
Also: Unlawful U.S. war on Syria expands, incurs Russian wrath; Dem plan to slow GOP Senate's secret health care bill; Fatal anti-Muslim attacks in London, Virginia...
By Brad Friedman on 6/19/2017 6:47pm PT  

On today's BradCast, another blockbuster report confirms vulnerabilities in our nation's voting systems that I've been trying to warn about for more than a decade, and several other stories not receiving the dire attention merited this week. [Audio link to complete show is posted below.]

In advance of Tuesday's highly contested U.S. House Special Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District --- the most expensive House race in U.S. history --- Politico Magazine's Kim Zetter offers an absolutely chilling bombshell of a report headlined "Will the Georgia Special Election Get Hacked?" She reports that gigabytes of unsecured data --- including passwords for e-voting system central tabulators, voter registration databases and much more were kept on a wholly unsecured web server, potentially for years, at Kennesaw State University's Center for Election Systems.

The KSU Center, as they describe on their website, was "created and charged with the responsibility of ensuring the integrity of voting systems in Georgia" since the state adopted its statewide, 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting system in 2002. Those same machines are still used there today, despite their age (they run on a version of Windows 2000) and massive, well-documented vulnerabilities to hacking and insider manipulation. Nonetheless, the Center for Election Systems has long been cited as a model for election administration by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and is responsible for the security and programming of every 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting system, computerized central tabulator, and electronic pollbook used across the state of Georgia.

The unsecured data files at Kennesaw, according to Zetter, were discovered prior to last year's Presidential Election and reported to the Center, but were still available online for download without a password at the beginning of March this year, during the run-up to the April primary election in the GA-06 House race. The data may, in fact, have been available there for years, even as Kennesaw's Executive Director Merle King, who has spent years testifying in court on behalf of Diebold's systems, reportedly failed to inform GA Sec. of State Brian Kemp about the breach last year after he was informed of it. In fact, Zetter notes that he warned the outside computer security researcher who discovered it not to inform the state. GA's former Sec. of State, Karen Handel, is the Republican House candidate in the reportedly very tight GA-06 race against Democrat Jon Ossoff and is said to have repeatedly blocked a security analysis of the Center years earlier while serving as the state's chief election official.

When the results of the House contest are announced on Tuesday night --- whichever party's candidate is declared the winner --- it will be virtually impossible to know if the results are accurate or if even one vote cast on GA's 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems were recorded as per any voter's intent.

While many of the vulnerabilities in GA's terrible voting and tabulation systems have been publicly known for years, the fact that the security at Kennesaw's Center for Elections is even far worse than ever imagined is both new and absolutely chilling in regard to both Georgia elections, and all others across the country, as I explain in detail on today's program.

Beyond that nightmarish report today, we also cover two different fatal attacks on Muslims over the past 24 hours, one in London and one in Virginia (and Donald Trump's failure to comment on either of them); The new Democratic strategy to slow down progress on the Obamacare replacement bill being crafted by Senate Republicans in complete secrecy, without public hearings or amendments in advance of a possible floor vote on the controversial legislation before the July 4th recess; And, the U.S. shoots down a Syrian bomber over Syria in violation of international law and without any authorization (or complaint or debate) from Congressional Republicans or Democrats alike, even as the weekend incident has drawn the wrath and potential targeting of U.S. aircraft over Syria by its ally Russia...

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

Several other recent programs in The BradCast's series of reports leading up to the GA-06 U.S. House Special Election:

  • 4/4/2017: Computer and e-voting expert Barbara Simons on the initial reports of a "massive breach" of the state voter database files at Kennesaw State University
  • 5/8/2017: Garland Favorito of election watchdog VoterGA.org on the group's disturbing analysis of the central computer tabulator failure on the night of the April primary in GA-06.
  • 6/6/2017: Election integrity expert Marilyn Marks on her lawsuit demanding hand-counted paper ballots in the GA-06 race.
  • 6/12/2017: Diebold document whistleblower Steven Heller on Diebold caught lying in California in 2004 about the exact same machines still used in Georgia in 2017. (CA decertified them after Heller's disclosure.) And on the NSA analysis recently released by NSA contractor Reality Winner on spear-phishing attacks that may have allowed access to the voting system computers of election officials across the country prior to the 2016 Presidential election.

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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: John Nichols of The Nation | Plus: Trump undermines own 'travel ban', blasts London Mayor after attacks, ignores Orlando mass shooting...
By Brad Friedman on 6/5/2017 6:18pm PT  

On today's BradCast: How Donald Trump continues to be his own worst enemy (and, arguably, the world's) and the case for why Democrats should declare themselves "the accountability party" and immediately begin the effort to impeach the President of the United States. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First, the fallout from Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement continues as, CNN reports today that the Acting U.S. Ambassador to China, a 27-year career foreign service officer, has resigned over the decision. But he's not the only American diplomat Trump seems to have upset of late, as the acting U.S. Ambassador to the U.K. was also forced to publicly take sides against Trump following the weekend terror attacks in London.

At the same time, Trump seems determined to make certain he loses his own Department of Justice's appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to restore his second Executive Order "travel ban" which has been put on hold, repeatedly, by federal courts from Maryland to Hawaii. In a weekend long Twitter tirade, continuing through Monday, the President offered one incriminating statement after another, blasting both the courts and his own DoJ, in a series of statements that will almostly certainly be held against him and his own Solicitor General's case to lift the current injunction on his ban.

Trump also thought it wise, for reasons few can figure out, to disparage (now, at least twice!) the Mayor of London following the attacks in Britain on Saturday. And while Trump had plenty to say about London, it should be noted he had far less to say last week after two American men were killed defending Muslim women from an anti-Muslim tirade by a self-proclaimed "patriot" on a train in Portland, Oregon.

Moreover, Trump has, so far, had absolutely nothing to say following a mass shooting rampage on Monday morning in Orlando, Florida. That attack, with a semi-automatic pistol, allegedly carried out by a white, non-Muslim American, killed five of the shooter's former co-workers, all said to have been shot in the head multiple times by the assailant who then killed himself. Some suicide attacks, it seems, are worse than others to this President and his party which continue to insist on making firearms easier to obtain, even by the mentally ill.

Then, as Trump's approval ratings continue to fall, and a plurality of Americans, according to at least one poll, support his impeachment, we're joined by progressive author and journalist John Nichols of The Nation who argues that the time to begin the effort to impeach Donald Trump is now. Nichols details his case for impeachment, from both a Constitutional and historical point of perspective, and offers just some of what he believes should be investigated during impeachment proceedings in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"Congress doesn't have to wait" for the DoJ Special Counsel to complete its own criminal investigation, Nichols tells me. "In fact, it shouldn't wait...to allow the office of the Presidency to be polluted, to be undermined, to be warped in a way that might harm the country."

"Virtually half --- and I suspect after recent events it may get higher --- of Americans now say that the President should be impeached," he argues. "I know that a lot of people would like to begin with the list of particulars of what Trump did. But the fact that there is mass popular support for impeachment, [that's] the place at which we ought to begin. A representative branch of government should respond to that. It should recognize that there are tremendous numbers, tens of millions of Americans, who believe that this guy is governing in a way so atrocious, so damaging, that action should be taken to remove him from his position."

"We ought to stop fetishizing the impeachment power and start recognizing that it is a tool of governance that was established to make government work better. Not to create a Constitutional crisis, but to address the potential of a Constitutional crisis," Nichols says.

"If Democrats are serious about politics, they have to be about accountability," he tells me. "I think when you take [impeachment] off the table, as so many Democratic leaders have suggested we should, you really disarm. You put yourself in a position where holding a President to account is left to chance, left to long term processes that lack the urgency that the American people would like to see."

So, should Dems go so far as to promise impeachment to voters if they are elected to the majority in Congress in 2018? Or does such a promise risk political blow-back making it harder for them to take majorities in the House and Senate in the first place? And, frankly, should that even matter? We discuss all of that and much more along those lines today, and also the national Democratic party's failure to adequately support their own candidates in special U.S. House elections in recent weeks, in both Kansas and Montana, and whether they've learned any lessons on that in advance of still more U.S. House special elections set for both Georgia and South Carolina later this month...

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: Trump travel ban blocked by full Appeals Court; UK furious at Admin over intel leaks; Trump praises Philippines extrajudicial murders; More...
By Brad Friedman on 5/25/2017 5:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast, one of the most amazing candidate meltdowns ever seen (or, in this case, heard) and how the Speaker of the House hopes to look the other way in the event that he wins anyway. But that's just the tip of today's news iceberg(s). [Audio link to show posted below.]

In one of the most remarkable Election Eve unravelings ever by a U.S. candidate for...pretty much anything, Republican U.S. House candidate Greg Gianforte melted down on the eve of what should have been an easy victory in his statewide Special Election for Montana's only U.S. House seat against Democratic candidate Rob Quist. Instead, in an incident caught on stunning audio tape and witnessed by Fox "News" reporters, Gianforte "body slammed" a Guardian reporter, has been charged with assault, and saw his newspaper endorsements rescinded on the night before voters went to the polls on Thursday.

But many voters already cast their vote by absentee ballot by time of the Wednesday incident, and House Speaker Paul Ryan suggests he'll accept whatever results are reported from the election. That, as I explain today, conveniently ignores Congress's Article 1, Section 5 Constitutional right (and duty) to determine who is actually seated in the House of Representatives. It's a right they have exercised on a number of other controversial elections in the past, so surely Ryan is familiar with that. But, of course, we'll soon see (hopefully) who voters in Montana have decided they want for their only Representative in the U.S. House.

At the same time, it was another enormous news day in which Donald Trump's second attempted travel ban Executive Order was blocked, yet again, this time by the full U.S. 4th Circuit of Appeals. His Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced he will appeal the case to the GOP's stolen U.S. Supreme Court.

Also today, yet another embarrassment for the Trump Administration, which was publicly taken to task by British Prime Minister Theresa May for leaking British intelligence to media regarding the UK's Manchester Bombing investigation. The leaks not only invoked the wrath of (and temporarily stopped intelligence sharing from) the United States' closest ally, but it was hardly the only highly sensitive information recently and inappropriately disclosed to friend and foe alike by Trump and/or his Administration in recent days.

And, in a (related) news item we didn't get to yesterday, after disclosing the whereabouts of two U.S. nuclear submarines, it appears Trump actually praised Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte during a recent phone call for the "unbelievable...great job" he has done on that nation's drug epidemic --- in which thousands of people have been murdered in a brutal extrajudicial campaign carried out by Duterte's police force.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us with a jam-packed Green News Report, before still more news breaks at the buzzer, reportedly finding Trump's top adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner 'under FBI scrutiny' in the Bureau's ongoing Trump/Russia probe...

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: Journalist, health care reform advocate Jacki Schechner...
By Brad Friedman on 5/24/2017 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast, big wins for Democrats in very Republican districts, more trouble for the GOP as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) finally scores the House healthcare bill, and trouble likely ahead for still-divided Democrats. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

As Republicans struggle to pass any major legislation in the wake of Donald Trump's continuing political and legal troubles, Democrats saw two different huge state-level electoral victories in "deeply red districts" in New York and New Hampshire during special elections on Tuesday. Both seats had been previously held by Republicans for years and, in NY, the former Bernie Sanders delegate who won the set, helped flip the district "an astounding 39 points" since the November election!

All of that comes in advance of a statewide special election for the U.S. House in Montana on Thursday, believed to be "closer than it should be" in a state that went for Trump last November by more than 20 points, and a U.S. House special election runoff next month in Georgia's 6th Congressional District which also went to Trump last year, but where the Democrat is now said to be leading his Republican opponent by 7 points.

The first-time Democratic candidates in both the MT and GA races are raising record-shattering money from small donors, though in Georgia, non-partisan election watchdogs are urging voters to cast absentee paper ballots by mail or, preferably, dropped off at County HQ, rather than via the 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems the state will once again, shamefully, force voters to use at the precincts on June 20th.

Then, just before airtime, the non-partisan CBO finally released its score of the Republicans' American Health Care Act (ACHA), which was narrowly adopted in the U.S. House three weeks ago. Like previous GOP versions of the bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), the CBO finds the latest version will result in more than 20 million Americans (23 million, in this case) losing their health care coverage over the next ten years, including 14 million next year alone.

Journalist and health care reform advocate Jackie Schechner joins us with details from the CBO's just-released report, and what it is likely to mean for the future of the GOP legislation in the House and in the U.S. Senate. (She believes the GOP will ultimately fail to pass a bill that both houses can agree upon, so Obamacare will stay in place for the foreseeable future.)

Schechner details how the GOP's House bill will imperil health care for those with preexisting conditions (the CBO found such people "would ultimately be unable to purchase...health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law, if they could purchase it at all"); the Senate GOP leadership's strange plan to create a competing bill in the upper chamber with a "group of 13 white men" and no Democrats or even industry experts taking part; how she believes Republicans and President Trump have purposely undermined Obamacare; and how Democrats and Republicans together could actually fix the problems in the Affordable Care Act --- if they actually wanted to.

"I think it's important that we take a step back and take the politics out of this, and start to focus on the policy of what we're trying to do," she tells me. "What we're trying to do is get people in this country access to health care, and to make it affordable. That's where the policy specifics need to come into play, and that's not going to happen if you got 13 white men who are crafting this behind closed doors who have no experience in health care policy."

We then close with a very lively discussion of a Democratic single-payer "Medicare for All" health care bill introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) in the House. The legislation, HR-626, for the first time ever, now has support from more than half of the Democratic caucus. Does that bill present a way forward for health care reform in the U.S. --- and for Democrats at the ballot box?

We discuss, debate and, hopefully, inform on that and much more on today's BradCast!...

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

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Guest: Former White House economic adviser Seth Hanlon | Also: Latest on Manchester Bombing, FBI Trump investigation, more...
By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2017 6:25pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Trump Administration introduces what economists --- on both the Right and Left --- are describing as a massive 2 trillion dollar accounting error (or, less generously, 'fraudulent' numbers) in their new budget proposal introduced today. And we get caught up on the latest late updates on yesterday's Manchester Bombing and the FBI's ongoing investigation of Team Trump. [Audio link follows below.]

As Trump continues his overseas trip, the White House released his Budget Policy plan in full, including some $1 trillion in cuts to social programs, billions of dollars of increases in defense spending and what they describe as deficit reduction measures over the next 10 years. The plan, if enacted, would deeply slash programs from Medicaid to Social Security Disability Insurance to food stamps to financial student aid to agricultural subsidies relied upon by an enormous number of Trump voters.

But, aside from those cruel cuts, as our guest today, former Obama Administration tax policy adviser Seth Hanlon explains, the budget includes a huge, $2 trillion accounting error. Actually, Hanlon described it last night in a Twitter rant as '[Bernie] Madoff-level accounting fraud...designed to fleece vulnerable people'. Others today, including conservative budget experts, also describe the gimmick Team Trump uses to hide the decline in revenue as fraudulent --- or "impossible magic math" --- in that it counts the same (questionable) claims for increased revenues from massive tax cuts twice! Once to pay for the $5.5 trillion in tax cuts themselves, and then again to pay for $2 trillion in revenue in the Trump budget.

As Hanlon details, it's quite a trick! An impossible one, in fact, which he doesn't believe to be an accident, describing it as a "$7.5 trillion lie."

"In their budget," he explains, "they just pretend that this $5.5 trillion in tax cuts does not exist. And then at the same time...they say that the economy is going to grow by a full percentage point every year, so the economy is going to grow by 3% a year...And because of that extra economic growth --- and there's not much basis to think there would be that growth --- that brings in an additional $2 trillion of revenue. So they include that extra $2 trillion of revenue in their budget, while at the same time not including...the tax cuts that are supposedly producing that magic growth that results in the $2 trillion."

Hanlon, now a Senior Fellow at Center for American Progress, previously served as special assistant to President Obama for economic policy at the White House National Economic Council, coordinating the Obama administration's tax policy. He calls the Trump scheme "a deliberate decision simply to wave a wand and take the entire $5.5 trillion cost of the tax cuts out of the budget," adding that he "can't find anybody who actually defends it," including so-called conservative deficit hawks. We also discuss the cruel nature of many of the cuts, despite its unlikeliness to get very far as written, even in the Republican controlled Congress.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with details on the "slash and burn" environmental aspects of the budget plan and for some good news out of Switzerland. (We'll take it!)

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

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Guest: Brennan Center's Elizabeth Goitein says Trump may have violated the law during Oval Office meeting with Russians; And then... BREAKING: Trump said to have asked Comey to shut down Flynn probe...
By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2017 5:54pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Coverage of the two (yes, two) most recent (yes, most recent) blockbuster reports regarding the President, as leaked out of the Oval Office. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up today: Washington Post's explosive report from late yesterday detailing Donald Trump's alleged (and all but confirmed by Trump himself) sharing of highly classified information (reportedly now from Israel) during his recent meeting in the Oval Office with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and Ambassador Kislyiak. The White House, largely via National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, strongly denies any wrong doing.

We're joined to discuss that and what we know and don't about it all, by Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at NYU's Brennan Center for Justice. And, unlike those who are reporting that Trump broke no laws in his alleged disclosure of sensitive information regarding ISIS, Goitein argues the case is not so clear cut.

Classification and declassification of sensitive information is spelled out by Executive Order of the President. "The existing Executive Order was written by President Obama. It is still in force unless or until Trump revokes it or replaces it," Goitein explains. "But President Obama himself would not have been bound by his own Executive Order. President Trump is not bound by that Executive Order. I think it's problematic that Presidents are not bound by their own Executive Orders. Or, I should say, it's problematic they can secretly depart from those orders. Ideally we would have a classification Executive Order that says what the President can do, even if it's just 'The President is exempt from all of these rules.'"

However, Goitein suggests that even a President could face legal exposure via the Espionage Act of 1917.

"The Executive Order is not the only law that is at play here," she tells me. "Congress has also stepped in on various occasions, to regulate the disclosure of national security information. And there are several statutes in which Congress has done that. The statute that seems most relevant here is the Espionage Act. And this is the law that President Obama infamously used to prosecute national security whistle-blowers and others who leaked information to the media, rather than actual spies and traitors, which is whom the law was designed to address. But this law, on its face, prohibits the communication of information related to the national defense --- whether that information is classified or not --- to anyone not entitled to receive it, if there's reason to believe it could be used either to harm the United States or to aid a foreign nation. So on it's face, that statute would certainly seem to apply."

I discuss that and much more with Goitein about this entire fine mess today. It's worth tuning in for that alone. But then...

Breaking hard mid-show today: The New York Times' perhaps even more explosive report detailing a memo written by then FBI Director James Comey describing his February one-on-one meeting with the President in the Oval Office, in which Comey reportedly charges that Trump requested he drop the Bureau's ongoing investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. "I hope you can let this go," Trump said to Comey, according to the Times, in an account also vigorously denied by the White House, but which, if true, would amount to a very serious case of Obstruction of Justice by the President of the United States.

If only there was a taping system of some kind in the Oval Office so we could figure out who's telling the truth.

Finally today, after disembarking from that insane news roller coaster, if only for the moment, we finish up today with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, because the planet doesn't really give a damn about either national security or politics...

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

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Guest: Journalist Robert Parry of Consortium News | Also: Media failure on Science March; AR kills again; Trump blocked again by federal court...
By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2017 6:28pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Donald Trump may be failing in the courts, in Congress, failing the planet itself, but when it comes to military adventurism in Syria, the U.S. media --- left, right and center --- all seem to be fully on board. That, despite the lack of independent evidence supporting the White House's justification for its unauthorized, unconstitutional, and likely illegal April 6 cruise missile attack on the sovereign, if war-torn Middle East nation. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Today, we follow-up yesterday's interview with Theodore A. Postol, MIT Prof. Emeritus of Science, Technology and National Security Policy, by speaking with independent investigative journalist Robert Parry of Consortium News, who recently asked: "Did Al Qaeda Fool the White House Again?"

We discuss Postol's analyses, as covered in detail on yesterday's show, charging that the evidence presented by the White House to justify its military attack on Syria --- purportedly in response to a deadly April 4 chemical weapons incident allegedly carried out by Bashar al-Assad's government against civilians in the rebel-held Idlib province --- does not support the claims being made by the Administration and echoed uncritically by the U.S. media.

Parry, formerly an Associated Press reporter who helped break the Iran-Contra scandal in the mid-80s, responds to my questions about the remarkable lack of media coverage of Postol's analyses (if only to debunk them), as well as the seemingly complete lack of skepticism by the entirety of the U.S. corporate mainstream media on Syria and other recent U.S. military adventures. That, even after having been fooled before (Iraq, is just one example), and otherwise claiming a new found interest in fact-checking and skepticism in the Trump Era.

"We've seen now a recurring situation," says Parry. "We had the case of the Iraq War, where you might've thought 'well, after that, the New York Times and the Washington Post and others will be more skeptical and more self-critical about the need to show skepticism'. But that hasn't happened. In fact, it's gone increasingly in the other direction."

"For the first two months or so of his Presidency, everything he said was put under a microscope and often laughed at, often rightly so," he tells me. "So there's been this attitude that this guy is not to be trusted on anything he says. Yet, he immediately jumps to a conclusion, way before there could've been any serious intelligence analysis of it, that Assad was responsible for this incident, and the mainstream media completely flipped around and just rallied to his position and then refused to listen to any alternative points of view on this."

As a former mainstream journalist himself, before founding Consortium News in 1995 as "the first investigative news magazine on the Internet," Parry speaks to the "tremendous downside to your career if you ask too many questions" in the corporate media, whether covering Republican or Democratic administrations.

Parry describes some of "serious questions" raised by Postol analyses concerning "not only the logic" behind the alleged sarin attack that seems wildly counter-intuitive for Assad to have carried out, "but the evidence that's been presented in connection with the April 4 incident."

Also today: CNN and CBS fail miserably during their coverage of last weekend's worldwide March for Science by offering platforms to fossil-fueled climate change denialists; Arkansas kills two more prisoners; Federal court blocks Trump's Executive Order concerning "sanctuary cities" and Trump, the self-declared "Great Negotiator", reportedly folds once again like a paper tiger, this time concerning budget threats for his long-promised Mexican border wall...

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

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Guest: MIT's Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology and National Security Policy, Theodore A. Postol...
By Brad Friedman on 4/24/2017 6:58pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Just days after the April 4 chemical attack in Syria's rebel-held Idlib province, the U.S. launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles against the air base said to have been where Bashar al-Assad's government launched an alleged sarin attack that reportedly killed some 80 civilians, including many children. But how much of the evidence of the chemical attack has actually been independently confirmed? My guest today charges that the evidence offered by the U.S. to justify its military response is entirely false. [Audio link to complete show is posted at end of article below.]

The horrific aftermath of the release of the nerve agent was seen in videos played around the world, and said to have been the impetus for Donald Trump reversing his position on Syria, which he had, for years (and even just days earlier), said we should stay out of. Nonetheless, without debate or Constitutional approval by the U.S. Congress, we launched a military assault on yet another sovereign nation and today the Administration announced a series of tough new sanctions against the regime. But there has yet to be any findings from an international investigation of the incident, and evidence supporting the allegations that it was Assad, not the rebels or terrorists he is fighting against, responsible for the attack, was laid out only in a brief, April 11 report issued by the White House --- notably, not issued by the U.S. Intelligence services.

That report, charges my guest today, Theodore A. Postol, Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology and National Security Policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), cannot possibly be accurate. Furthermore, he says, the April 11 White House Report (WHR), as he details in now four separate analyses he has issued since its release, "was not properly vetted by the intelligence community."

"The report contains absolutely no evidence that this attack was the result of a munition being dropped from an aircraft," as the White House has claimed, Postol finds in his initial analysis [PDF], based on phographic evidence of the crater said to have been caused when Syria dropped a chemical munition. "In fact, the report contains absolutely no evidence that would indicate who was the perpetrator of this atrocity."

Postol is a physicist and rocket trajectory expert who formerly served as a science advisor to the chief of Naval operations at the Pentagon, has been vindicated a number of times over the years concerning similarly skeptical analyses of claims concerning the U.S. military's use of Patriot missile technology in the first Gulf War (see Charlie Pierce's 2005 Boston Globe profile of Postol here), as well as the Obama White House claims about Assad's alleged chemical weapons attack in 2013. He joins me today to explain his analyses and to speak to the remarkable lack of skeptical coverage by the U.S. mainstream media regarding the WHR on the April nerve agent incident.

On the day of Trump's retaliatory attack on Syria, Peter Ford, Britain's former Ambassador to Syria expressed skepticism on BBC News about Assad being behind the chemical attack ("Assad may be cruel, brutal, but he's not mad. It defies belief that he would bring this all on his head for no military advantage," he told BBC at the time.) But in the U.S. mainstream media, no such skepticism has been explored, despite well known misleading intelligence used to justify U.S. military action in the recent past, such as during the lead-up to the Iraq War (which, in turn, opened the door to so much of the violence and war in the Middle East ever since, including in Syria.)

"We again have a situation where the White House has issued an obviously false, misleading and amateurish intelligence report," Postol argues in his first report on the April 4 incident, issued after studying photographic evidence presented by the White House or otherwise publicly available. "What I can say for sure herein is that what the country is now being told by the White House cannot be true [emphasis in original] and the fact that this information has been provided in this format raises the most serious questions about the handling of our national security."

Even the New York Times, which, Postol tells me today, used to cover his analyses in detail, have not bothered to contact him this time --- even to debunk his claims --- for reasons that remain unknown, despite his past track record. In fact, I've been able to find little if any coverage that attempts to debunk his assertions in response to the WHR.

"It is very disturbing to see how uncritical the mainstream press has been of this matter," Postol tells me today. "From my point of view, this may be the most serious event --- with regard to American democracy --- from this whole incident. Because the only way American democracy can function is if the press performs the role of providing accurate information, and also raising questions if those questions deserve to be looked at. And there's no question here that the questions deserved to be looked at."

Writing over the weekend, in his 4th report [PDF] on the matter, Postol charged: "Without an independent media providing accurate and unbiased information to the nation's citizens, the government can do what it chooses without being concerned about the reactions of citizens who elected it. The critical function of the mainstream media in the current situation should be to investigate and report the facts that clearly and unambiguously contradict the government's claims on this matter."

Though we are hardly "mainstream media", we do our best today to fill a bit of the vacuum left by the woefully credulous U.S. reportage on this event --- particularly since it's virtually impossible to know what really went on in the absence of independent investigation --- as the U.S. enters yet another war in the Middle East...

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

Postol's reports on the April 4 chemical incident, to date:

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By Brad Friedman on 4/13/2017 5:55pm PT  

It's a serious question. Is Donald Trump insane? You can offer your opinion on my Twitter poll, if it's still open. But, on today's BradCast, we examine just some of the evidence, as our unstable U.S. President threatens war against the unstable leader of North Korea, with potentially unspeakable consequences now hanging dangerously in the balance. [Audio to today's show follows below.]

Among the stories on today's program:

  • U.S. drops the largest non-nuclear bomb ever deployed, for the first time, in the 15th year of our war in Afghanistan;
  • Coalition forces "misdirected" air strike in Syria, killing 18 allied fighters;
  • Japan's Prime Minister warns that nuclear armed North Korea could deploy chemical weapons in response to U.S. provocation, as Trump sends U.S. Navy battle group to Korean Peninsula in advance of an anticipated NK nuclear test;
  • Russian Asia expert warns a conventional weapons attack by North Korea against South Korea's nuclear power plants could result in "five-six Chernobyl-type disasters";
  • Over the past 48 hours, Trump completely reverses long-held positions on NATO, U.S. military strength, China currency manipulation, and more, and reveals that he learned, after speaking with China's President "for 10 minutes" recently that China's relationship with North Korea is "not so easy" (before threatening to "go it alone" in a strike against North Korea, which, he says, "means going it with lots of other nations");
  • EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt goes on Fox "News" today to blatantly lie about U.S., China, and India's obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the UN's landmark Paris Climate Agreement;
  • Proposed cuts to specific EPA programs are draconian, dangerous and ridiculous;
  • And, to help us forget about all of the above, Canada's Prime Minister introduces legislation to legalize recreational marijuana across their entire country...

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

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Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern...
By Brad Friedman on 4/7/2017 5:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the world and the U.S. Congress respond to Trump's bombing of Syria earlier this morning, even as Republicans in the Senate complete their unprecedented theft of the U.S. Supreme Court. In a related matter, an appellate court issues a landmark expansion of the Civil Rights Act. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

While many in the corporate media are joining a number of world leaders and members of Congress in celebrating Donald Trump's cruise missile attack on a Syrian air base days after an horrific chemical attack in the country, Russia is citing the action as a "significant blow" to U.S.-Russia relations and an act of "aggression" in violation of international law. Moreover, a number of Congress members, both Republican and Democratic from both chambers, are similarly citing Trump's attack as "an act of war" that is unlawful under the U.S. Constitution, as well as ill-considered and dangerous on several levels. Congress itself has now scuttled away for a two-week holiday recess, after refusing to even debate U.S. action in Syria more than 4 years, in the wake of some 400,000 deaths in the war-torn country.

At the same time, before heading home for the holidays, as the nation, the media and world were otherwise distracted today, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans finalized their historic judicial coup by confirming "Justice" Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court with a simple majority after unilaterally changing Senate rules to kill the right to filibuster SCOTUS nominees in the wake of their year-long refusal to hold a hearing or a vote for Barack Obama's nominee Judge Merrick Garland.

Then, following a landmark 8 to 3 bi-partisan Civil Rights Act ruling this week by the full 7th Circuit Court of Appeals (where most of the judges were appointed by Republicans and are considered quite conservative), Mark Joseph Stern, legal reporter for Slate, joins us to explain why he sees the decision as a precedent-setting "thunderbolt" for civil rights and the LGBTQ community.

The case involves a community college which was found sued for having discriminated against a woman in its employment practices on the basis that she was gay. The ruling, as Stern details, is the first time an appellate court has extended the Civil Rights Act to include protections against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in addition to simply race and gender.

"What the 7th Circuit majority said was, look, it is logically incoherent to remove sexual orientation discrimination from the concept of sex discrimination. When an employer discriminates against a woman for dating another woman, he is discriminating against her explicitly on the basis of her sex. If she were a man dating a woman, then she would not face discrimination. If she were a woman dating a man, then she would not face discrimination. It is only because she is a woman and she is associating intimately with other women that she faces this kind of discrimination," Stern explains.

The case is likely to have broad national implications and will be "impossible to ignore" at the Supreme Court, says Stern. It's also important thanks to Reagan-appointed conservative Judge Richard Posner's opinion in which he argues that courts, as Stern short-hands it, "should interpret statutes in a manner that 'infuses' them 'with vitality and significance today' rather than relying on their original meaning. Posner contrasted this theory with the conservative 'originalism' championed by Justice Antonin Scalia." That is no small matter as it's being sung out by Posner, the Supreme Court's most cited federal jurist of the 20th century. (And, incredibly enough, even the far-right activist Judge Frank Easterbrook joined the majority in this case!)

Stern also discusses what we should expect when and if the case is heard by what he also considers to be a "stolen" Supreme Court in the wake of the GOP's illegitimate confirmation today of Gorsuch.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report with an unconscionable corporate media failure, and as the GOP-controlled U.S. House Science Committee shamefully uses McCarthy-esque tactics to put science itself on trial...

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

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Guest: Constitutional law and SCOTUS expert Ian Millhiser; Also: Trump eyes military response against Syria...
By Brad Friedman on 4/6/2017 6:03pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's theft of the U.S. Supreme Court is nearly complete after his use of the so-called "nuclear option" today and his blatant, continuing lies in support of it. Also, concern grows about Donald Trump's reaction to this week's chemical attack in Syria on a dark day for both the country and the world. [Audio link to show follows below.]

As of today, it's almost done. McConnell's scheme to steal the Court majority for a generation on behalf of the GOP is now virtually a fait accompli with his procedural maneuver to kill the use of filibusters for SCOTUS nominees in light of the Democrats' attempt to block the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch. The Senate rules change comes as McConnell continues to lie about his unprecedented obstruction of Barack Obama's nominee for the same seat, Judge Merrick Garland, for more than a year following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February of 2016.

Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser, author of a recent book on SCOTUS and its widening political divide, joins us today to help explain what all of this is likely to mean for the Senate, the Court and the country in both the short and long-terms. None it very good, I'm afraid.

"I'm not the least bit surprised," that there were not three Republican Senators willing to step forward today to block McConnell's rule change with a simple majority vote, Millhiser, the Editor of ThinkProgress Justice, tells me. "After you make the deal with the Devil that leads to you supporting Trump in the White House, going one step further and saying 'we're also going to change the rules of the Senate' - that's not too heavy of a lift all of a sudden."

"It's absolutely a stolen seat. This is the Merrick Garland seat," he charges, referring to the Republican's years-long blockade of Garland and failure to even hold hearings, much less an up or down vote. "The block of Democrats who voted against Gorsuch represent more than 53% of the nation. So, the only reason this guy is going to be on the Supreme Court is because a President who lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes nominated him, and a group of Senators who represent a minority of the country, are going to vote to confirm him."

Millhiser also offers his thoughts on whether the filibuster for legislative actions may be next on the GOP Senate's chopping block, whether Democratic then-Majority Leader Harry Reid made a mistake by nuking the filibuster for non-SCOTUS judicial nominations back in 2013 (and we discuss what actually happened that led up to it), and what, if anything, Americans can now do to try and reverse the dangerous course the nation is clearly on.

Speaking of dangerous courses...Also today: Trump bangs the drums of war in response to the horrific chemical attack in Syria this week, despite his previous insistence that Obama and the U.S. stay out of the matter (even after an even more deadly chemical attack there in 2013) and despite the lack of international investigation, to date, as to who and what was behind the incident. And, finally, we close with a bit of good-ish news (the best we can find on a grim day) concerning a significant change in the way Americans, including Republicans, now view the Affordable Care Act in the five short months since last year's election.

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

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Guest: Frank Schaeffer on what Dems must do to win again; Also: U.S. civilian massacres explode in Middle East; NC paying high price for anti-LGBT law; ND pipeline leak much worse than previously known...
By Brad Friedman on 3/27/2017 6:02pm PT  

On today's BradCast, a former evangelical Christian who, after decades of participating in the political rightwing anti-abortion con has since seen the light, joins us to explain what Democrats need to do in order to encourage his "brainwashed" former followers to realize they've been scammed by Donald Trump. [Audio link to show at end of article.]

But first up today, U.S. officials admit some 200 Iraqi civilians in Mosul may have been killed during a U.S. bombing campaign last week, in what has become a startling and savage escalation in the so-called "War on Terror" since Trump has taken office. While the Obama Administration had carried out similar campaigns, the increase in indiscriminate lethality by the new President's campaigns in Iraq, Syria and Yemen is both alarming and vastly underreported or downplayed by U.S. media --- not to mention, counter-productive in the so-called "War on Terror".

Meanwhile, in North Carolina, the GOP's anti-LGBT "bathroom bill" is costing the state economy thousands of jobs and billions of dollars, according to a new analysis by the Associated Press. That, even as Republicans in other states, like Texas, are quickly moving to enact similarly "conservative" anti-LGBT laws in their own state.

Then, as Trump's approval rating continues to plummet to record lows, even his numbers among his own base of supporters --- white, male Republicans --- are beginning to erode. Still, overall support for the President remains high among Republicans as a whole, for now.

Author Frank Schaeffer, who formerly spent decades along with his father, theologian Dr. Francis Schaeffer, creating (and profiting from) the far right anti-abortion political movement, joins us to discuss how he believes Democrats can win back both the White House and Congress, from the perspective of someone who, for many years, had preyed on the fears and false facts favored by rightwing, so-called "values voters". You can't convince them of facts, a fired-up Schaeffer tells me today, but you can drop a lit metaphorical match into their gas tanks by helping them understand how Trump himself has "betrayed them."

"The over-arching bloc of people without whom [Trump] could not have been elected are white evangelicals, and that's my stomping ground." Schaeffer explains. "This was all before I left the evangelical world and changed sides both, you might say, theologically and politically. When it comes to understanding the brain of the evangelical movement, I know what I'm talking about. From birth, people raised in the fundamentalist subculture are taught to mistrust, distrust, renounce so-called 'world facts'. So, when science says that evolution proves something, or that the Earth is very old, or there wasn't a Noah's ark, you are taught from birth they are lying. We have our own facts. We have our own truth. That truth is in the Bible and our denomination's interpretation of it."

You can't convince these folks with facts alone that they are wrong, he argues, but you can help them see how they have been scammed. "If you come up with a fact-based argument, people's eyes in the evangelical world just glaze over, and instead of talking to you about the issue or the facts, all you get back is this stream-of-consciousness which is really more of a Pavlovian reaction and brain-washing," he says. "So, [Trump] had a built-in audience that liked what he was saying just because he's giving the finger to the established order of science, university teaching, learning --- and all those other things that so-called 'secular' people live by."

"That group of people is going to be looking at what he's doing to them when they lose healthcare," Shaeffer, whose latest book is Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God, observes. "They're going to be looking at the fact that in that new budget of his, Meals on Wheels doesn't show up for their grandma anymore on that farm in Omaha. They're going to see one tweak too many ... That drip-drip-drip-drip of actual evidence in their own lives --- not reason, not argument --- but things going wrong because he is a fool, he is a charlatan, he is a faker, he is a fraud. In other words, when they wake up in the position your average Trump University student woke up in, finding their degree was worthless, they are going to simply start losing faith."

But will they? Haven't these same folks fallen for the same con many times in the past? Schaeffer, who worked with past Republican Presidents, responds to that question, and many others today in a lively (and angry) dressing down of both Trump and his supporters, who, Schaeffer insists, he still knows all too well.

Finally today, a pro-Trump demonstration in California over the weekend ends with a counter-demonstrator being repeatedly beaten with a "Make American Great Again" sign, and the pipeline oil spill reported last December in North Dakota, not far from the site of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, turns out to have been at least three time larger than originally reported...

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

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Guest: The Intercept's Jon Schwarz...
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2017 5:51pm PT  

On today's BradCast, while the U.S. media and public are obsessed by whatever Trump's relationship is or isn't with Russia and his bizarre tweets over the weekend, real policies and federal agencies --- relied upon for decades by millions of Americans --- are about to be gutted by the President and his Republican friends in the U.S. Congress. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Once again today, however, we must lead with more terrorism. And, once again, it's another alleged attack by a white man against someone --- a man of the Sikh faith, in this case --- told by the shooter, to "Go back to your own country!" While the incident, once again, has been ignored by the White House, Donald Trump found time today to sign a new Executive Order being described by critics as "Muslim Ban 2.0". While it's more narrowly tailored than his last one, which was blocked by the federal courts, the new order still provides no evidence that it will actually increase national security in any way.

Then, while Trump was unleashing his latest evidence-free Twitter tantrum over the weekend, charging that President Obama had "wire tapped" his phones at Trump Tower before leaving office, White House budget busters were sharpening their knives with huge planned increases in defense spending to be paid for by draconian slashes to thousands of jobs and billions of dollars at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

But why stop protecting the environment and health of Americans there? Our guest today, Jon Schwarz of The Intercept, joins us to explain how, while much of what Trump said in last week's address to Congress (at least some of the encouraging parts, like his promise to "promote clean air and clean water") can "safely be ignored", at least one point should not be. His comments about Medicaid, relied upon by millions of Americans, should be taken very seriously, Schwarz warns.

"Medicaid is not just healthcare for the poor," he explains. "It also pays the bills for over 60 percent of nursing home residents, and 40 percent of all national long-term care costs." With GOP control of Congress and Trump no longer promising "no cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid," as he repeatedly did on the campaign trail, Schwarz decodes the President's comments from last week's speech promising to "give our state governors the resources and flexibility they need with Medicaid."

"It truly is awful what the Republicans have planned for Medicaid," Schwarz says, detailing how Trump's language now syncs up almost perfectly with House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has long called for schemes that would gut Medicaid. "The reason that they will go after it first is because the people who are the main recipients are either children, or they are over 65, or they are blind or they are disabled --- they truly are the people with the least ability to fight back. So it makes sense that that's who you want to attack first."

Schwarz explains what replacing the current federally-funded system with "block grants" to states actually means, who it will most harm, and how it will harm them. Medicaid, he says, is "not an incredibly generous program" as is. "But, it is crucial for anyone who has not made a lot of money their whole lives. People don't understand that if Medicaid is cut, old people truly will be dying in the streets. If you're a bit luckier, and you have kids with an extra room, maybe you will be dying on your kids' fold out couch."

As noted during the interview, Schwartz, a former writer for Saturday Night Live, is not particularly funny today. But Americans, particularly younger Americans, who will become the victims of these schemes while they are not paying attention --- unless Republicans can block them --- need to pay attention to what is likely about to happen, if Trump and GOP leadership get their way.

Finally, we close today with a moving word or two from MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski on the woeful and embarrassing White House reaction to Trump's bizarre weekend Tweet storm...

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

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