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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, October 21, 2018
Harvard Law Prof: Dems Must Pack SCOTUS or Face 'Political Suicide': 'BradCast' 10/19/18
Guest: Harvard's Michael Klarman; Also: Trump praises GOP Rep's violence against journalist in MT, as Khashoggi murder roils...
GOPers Rethink Climate Change, Elections in NC, FL: 'BradCast' 10/18/18
Also: NC Election Board 'unconstitutional'; FL Guv 'bends' election rules after Michael; More Repubs endorse Dems for Guv in WI, KS...
'Green News Report' 10/18/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Deadly flooding in TX and France; Death toll rising after Michael; Global warming coming for your beer; PLUS: O'Rourke, Cruz asked about climate in Texas U.S. Senate debate!...
Previous GNRs: 10/16/18 - 10/8/18 - Archives...
WV Smartphone Vote Scheme Threatens Midterms, Security: 'BradCast' 10/17/18
Guest: Dr. David Jefferson on myth of 'secure' blockchain voting; Also: More suppression in GA, ND, elsewhere...
Repubs Attempt State Supreme Court Coups in FL, WV: 'BradCast' 10/16/18
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: SCOTUS stealing Senate; GA Early Vote failure; Michael death toll rising...
'Green News Report' 10/16/18
Florida Panhandle facing catastrophe; Michael was 4th 'major' hurricane to make US landfall in 15 months; PLUS: GOP still denying science, economic impacts...
GA Rejecting Alarming Number of Mail-in Ballots: 'BradCast' 10/15/18
Guest: WhoWhatWhy's Jordan Wilkie; Also: Despite cost of recent hurricanes, Rubio, Trump offer false claim about economy to justify lack of climate action...
Sunday Category 5 Distraction Toons
Anything and everything to keep us looking away from stuff that matters, in PDiddie's latest toon collection...
Ignoring Cries of Stranded Kids:
'BradCast' 10/12/18
Guest-host Angie Coiro w/ Tina Vasquez on ICE; Bill Browder on Khashoggi; Sarah Craft on the death penalty; Eliza Griswold on a family's fight against fracking...
Where is Khashoggi?: 'BradCast' 10/11/18
Guest-host Angie Coiro on Trump protecting Saudis; Also: Power of women's rage w Nelini Stamp, Soraya Chemaly...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


And other news, both good and bad, around the country and world, 78 days out from the midterm elections...
By Brad Friedman on 8/20/2018 6:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Some good news and bad for voters in New Hampshire and Georgia. Bad news for breathers. And Donald Trump has the worst. Attorney. Ever. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the many stories we cover on today show...

  • A federal court has struck down New Hampshire's law that allowed local election workers, without expertise in hand-writing analysis, to toss absentee ballots, essentially, due to bad penmanship. The law had allowed officials to disenfranchise voters --- without notice or time to cure the problem --- if they judged a signature on an absentee ballot does not match closely enough with the signature on the voter's absentee ballot application form. We discuss the story of one of the plaintiffs in the case, 94-year old, legally blind Mary Saucedo, whose 2016 Presidential election ballot was tossed, without her knowledge, until she was contacted by the ACLU months after the election. This is a problem with absentee vote-by-mail ballots in many states. The good news is, it may stop in NH, at least.
  • A two-person county election board in Randolph County, Georgia will vote this Friday on a scheme to close 7 of 9 precincts for this November's crucial midterm elections in the rural, poor, predominantly African-American county. There is no public transportation in most of the county, where many do not own cars. The closures would result in some voters needing to walk three and a half hours to cast their votes, the ACLU of Georgia argues. Voter registration at one of precincts to be shuttered is 97 percent black. That, in a year when Georgia could elect the nation's first African-American female governor, Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams.
  • The blistering summer of record heat, fire, flooding and related deadly disasters continues around the globe. Monsoon rains have, so far, killed hundreds and dislocated more than 800,000 in the southern Indian state of Kerala. That story underscores, yet again, the horrible if expected news that...
  • The Trump Administration is set to announce a plan this week which would roll back President Obama's "Clean Power Plan" which would have, in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement, greatly curbed carbon dioxide and other deadly emissions from coal-fired power plants. The Trump EPA scheme would allow states to devise their own plans for emissions reductions at coal plants. Where Trump's plan would result in the equivalent of 2 to 5 million cars being taken off the road, Obama's would have removed the equivalent of 75 million vehicles and more than 265 million metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. The reduction of carcinogens that cause diseases such as asthma and lung cancer in the Obama plan similarly dwarfs the toxins expected to be reduced by Trump's plan, which the dying (and deadly) coal industry is applauding today.
  • Finally, Rudy Giuliani may be the worst lawyer ever. And his client, the President of the United States, deserves him. We discuss Giuliani's already-infamous "truth isn't truth" statement on NBC's 'Meet the Press' on Sunday, and what the documented truth actually is, regarding the Trump Campaign's 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian government-allied attorney said to have been promising dirt on Hillary Clinton that year. Giuliani's gob-smacking admissions that Team Trump committed a crime in 2016 by meeting with the Russian attorney "for the purpose of getting information about...Clinton" --- along with his evidence-defying claim that "she didn't represent the Russian government" and that Team Trump may not have known "that she was Russian at the time" --- will certainly be of note to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into the alleged conspiracy to manipulate the 2016 Presidential election...

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

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Guest: Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance; Also: Trump, Giuliani 'obliterate' the 'collusion' goalposts as Manafort goes on trial...
By Brad Friedman on 7/31/2018 6:59pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Desi and I are back today. (Our thanks to Angie Coiro of In Deep Radio for filling in over the last couple of shows!) And we've got a lot to catch up on today --- including the fact that the crucial midterm elections are now less than 100 days away, and the paper ballots and other materials from the 2016 Presidential election may be destroyed entirely in just over one month, with nobody, to this day, actually knowing for certain who actually won it. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today, for some reason Donald Trump's lousy personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has spent the last few days seemingly making things much worse for his client. Most notably, in addition to suggesting that Trump may have known in advance about the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between his son, son-in-law, campaign chair Paul Manafort and a team of Russians promising "dirt" on Hillary Clinton, both Giuliani and Trump have now extended their ubiquitous claims of "no collusion" to become "no collusion, but even if there was collusion, that's not illegal."

They are both wrong, however, as we explain today. Collusion --- better known as "conspiracy", in this alleged case, with a foreign power working to influence the 2016 U.S. Presidential election --- would most certainly be unlawful. But why the sudden media offensive by Team Trump on this point, just before the first of two federal trials for Manafort was scheduled to begin today? We discuss.

Then, just over than three months from the crucial 2018 midterm general election, U.S. computerized voting and tabulation systems remain wildly unsecured and virtually impossible for the public to oversee (for the most part) in order to confirm that computer-reported results actually reflect the will of the voters. Today, better late than never, I guess, the Dept. of Homeland Security announced a new cybersecurity task force to help protect against attacks on critical infrastructure such as the power grid, our banking systems and, yes, the election system. But, in announcing the new effort, DHS once again misled the American people by suggesting that no votes were manipulated in the 2016 election. In truth, that point that remains unknown since, as DHS admitted last year, they never actually conducted forensic analyses of voting and tabulation systems --- nor even bothered to count existing hand-marked paper ballots --- to determine if the most startling election result in U.S. history was, in fact, manipulated or accurate.

Moreover, the ballots in question from 2016 (where such hand-marked paper actually exists) may be destroyed as early as September, after the 22-month federal requirement for retention of all election materials --- such as ballots and ballot programming code, etc. --- expires. We call today on citizens and legal organizations --- and the media --- today to file public records request to examine those ballots and/or at least ensure they are retained beyond the September expiry date, since almost none of the ballots cast in 2016 have ever been examined by human beings to determine if they were accurately tallied.

That is true in all 50 states. But nowhere in the U.S. is it more difficult to oversee the accuracy of election results than in Georgia, where Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp reportedly won his GOP primary runoff for the gubernatorial nomination last week against Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. As the Atlanta Journal Constitution describes, based on a new study, Cagle's failure to defeat Kemp in the runoff election, after easily placing first in the state's May primary, was the most dramatic runoff collapse in Georgia political history. And the paper doesn't note, though we do, that it was all done on the state's 100% unverifiable Diebold touchscreen voting systems "overseen" by Kemp himself.

Today we're joined by longtime Republican election integrity advocate MARILYN MARKS, Executive Director of the Coalition for Good Governance, to discuss all of the above and, specifically, her group's ongoing lawsuit against Georgia. The complaint demands the state dump their 15-year old, easily manipulated, unverifiable electronic vote-casting system before November, in favor of the state's existing hand-marked paper ballot system long used for absentee voting.

Marks tells me how this can easily be done in time for this year's general election (and in other states as well!), how SoS Kemp has been lying about state law in order to avoid such a switch, and whether or not we have learned any more, since last year, about the mysterious wipe of the state's long-vulnerable election server (and its backup) just days after her lawsuit was originally filed last summer.

On destroying the 2016 ballots, Marks joins our call for folks to file FOIA requests to keep the ballots from being destroyed: "I fear that many election officials in those swing states, that they are standing there over their records with a can of kerosene in one hand and a book of matches in other, just waiting for a month from now. ... People need to understand that there is no requirement that the records be destroyed after 22 months. That is up to each election official in each county. They can retain them as long as they want. They can't destroy them before 22 months, although I fear some of them have. But even if local citizens can convince their election official not to destroy them, even that is progress."

On the claim by the Trump Administration that results were not manipulated in 2016: "I have never have any confidence in that. That's not to say that I believe that voters were changed, but I don't have any belief one way or the other because there is no evidence. How do these people make this claim when no one has looked, and no one has any evidence one way or the other?"

On what citizens can do in locations where voters are forced to vote on unverifiable touch-screen systems: "Go now --- I mean NOW --- to your local election boards, local board of county commissioners, and demand paper ballots. Because they can get it!"

Much more, must-listen thoughts in our conversation today!

Finally today, the Koch Brothers' Republican political network --- which has spent hundreds of millions each election cycle over the past decade or more, supporting GOP candidates and attacking Democrats --- say they're now having second thoughts about Donald Trump and his toady Republicans in Congress. We explain why you shouldn't believe their crocodile tears of disappointment for a second...

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

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Guest-hosted by Angie Coiro with Gary Ferguson; John R. Platt; Jodi Jacobson; Barry Lynn...
By Angie Coiro on 7/27/2018 7:56pm PT  

On today's BradCast, I'm sitting in for Brad and Desi. Nice to be back!

Today's news roundup includes this eternal riddle: is the tendency to be loathsome genetic? C.f. Trump, Trump Jr.: a deconstruction of yet another lying tweet, this time about market growth. Hint: again, TrumpCo trumpets financial news that only benefits the very few.

More news: Facebook's market drop sets a record – in fact, there’s so much going on with Facebook it's sprinkled throughout the show. A nod to an excellent Charles Pierce column in Esquire. And something small but wonderful on the medical marijuana front: a jury in Dublin Georgia solemnly listened to the case against Javonnie McCoy, who admitted he had marijuana for personal medical use. And yes, that's against the law. And the jurors shrugged and sent him home anyway. Seems they couldn’t get a head of steam up about a nice guy who wasn’t hurting anyone.

GARY FERGUSON, author of Land On Fire, joined me to tie the California conflagrations to global warming. This is a twofer: I include an earlier conversation I had with him on In Deep, explaining how the costs of a regional disaster become everyone's financial problem.

JOHN R. PLATT, editor of The Revelator, delves into a story that's too low-profile: shockingly high numbers of attacks on and Rewire News, tallies up what’s happening in legal and political realms on repro justice issues.

Lastly – it's Facebook again. Freedom from Facebook, a project of the Open Markets Institute, is one of a number of groups working to force Facebook to reform. BARRY LYNN, Executive Director of the Institute, explains how laws already in place can be used to make Facebook a better corporate citizen --- and help save news organizations at the same time.

Download MP3 or listen 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!




Guest: Legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern of Slate...
By Brad Friedman on 6/14/2018 6:37pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Happy birthday, Mr. President! To celebrate today, the New York Attorney general filed a civil lawsuit [PDF] against Donald J. Trump, his so-called "charitable foundation", and his children Eric, Don Jr. and Ivanka, charging that his foundation was used as little more than a personal and business slush fund, and to benefit his 2016 Presidential campaign. [Audio link to show follows below.]

All of that, NY Attorney General Barbara Underwood alleges in her suit, is in violation of both state and federal law. Many of the allegations against Trump's unlawful use of his foundation were reported in the run-up to the election, though much more self-dealing was discovered in the course of the AG's 2-year investigation, including that the Trump Foundation's board of directors had not met since 1999, that some board members had no idea they were even on the board, and that Trump's then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski personally directed checks to be written from the foundation for campaign purposes.

Underwood's petition seeks nearly $3 million in reparations and to bar both Trump and his children from sitting on the boards of other nonprofit charitable organizations. She also refers the matter [PDF] to the Federal Elections Commission and the Internal Revenue Service for further investigation.

In other important news today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 7 to 2 opinion finding that Minnesota's polling place ban on t-shirts and buttons with political slogans, such as those worn by 'Tea Party' members at the polls in 2010, is overly broad and violates Constitutional First Amendment free speech protections. Slate legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN joins us to explain the Court's opinion, as well as the far more disturbing ruling from the GOP's stolen SCOTUS earlier this week, when the Court found 5 to 4 in favor of Ohio's voter roll purge scheme by Republican Sec. of State Jon Husted.

That scheme begins the process for removing voters from the rolls after a voter fails to vote in one single federal election. Stern discusses the troubling opinion which overturns the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal's 2016 finding that the Buckeye State's scheme directly violates the 1993 National Voter Registration Act's restriction against removing a voter from the rolls "by reason of the person's failure to vote."

On today's ruling, I am somewhat less sanguine about what the Court ruled than Stern is, but it's a close call. On the Ohio case, I think we're both in agreement. As he notes: "First, you are identified for a purge because you didn't vote just one single time, and second, you are purged because you failed to cast a ballot. Again, that would seem to go against not just the text but the express purpose of both [the National Voter Registration Act and the Help America Vote Law]. So for Alito to claim that he's just following the text of the law, and dissenters are trying to enact their own policy --- that rings absolutely false to me."

Sterns explains the largely semantic trick that Justice Samuel Alito used to, essentially, flip the provision written by Congress onto its head on behalf of the court's five Republican appointees; how the state's massive purges have disproportionately affected minority and low-income voters; and how Trump and Jeff Session's Dept. of Justice has reversed an unprecedented number of positions on federal laws since taking office.

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, as even some Republicans appear to finally be turning against wildly corrupt fossil fuel industry "swamp monster" and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt...

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

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Guest: Fordham Univ. School of Law's legal historian Jed Shugerman...
By Brad Friedman on 6/4/2018 6:34pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The nation appears to be lurching ever closer to a full-blown Constitutional Crisis, as Trump and his team offer a series of extraordinary and largely unprecedented (save for Nixon) claims in support of sweeping Presidential powers, over the past few days, which would place the Executive completely above the rule of law. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Over the weekend, Team Trump was once again on the offensive in the media, following the disclosure of a 20-page letter sent by Trump's attorneys to Special Counsel Robert Mueller in January, wherein they argued, among other things, that Presidents cannot legally be subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury, cannot be guilty of obstruction of justice, since they have unfettered power over all Dept. of Justice investigations, cannot be indicted while serving, and have absolute power to pardon anybody for any crime at any time for any reason.

Moreover, on Monday, Trump took to Twitter to charge that the Mueller probe is, itself "totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL" (his caps) and that he has "the absolute right to PARDON" himself. Many constitutional law experts disagree with many of those points.

In response, author, blogger, Slate contributor and Fordham University School of Law legal historian JED SHUGERMAN joins us on today's show to offer historical, legal, and Constitutional points of clarity and precedent on the power and scope of Presidential pardons, subpoenas, indictments and the expansive interpretation of those powers that Trump and his attorneys have been proffering in recent days.

Among the historically relevant cases and precedents referenced by Shugerman today: United States v. Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton v. Paula Jones, and even the more recent case of Rod Blagojevich, who, Trump recently said, he was considering pardoning after the disgraced Illinois Governor was convicted for trying to sell off the vacant U.S. Senate seat left by Barack Obama when he became President. "It's no accident that Trump is talking about pardoning [Blagojevich]," argues Shugerman, detailing how Trump sees him as unfairly convicted for simply using his constitutional powers, "even with a bribe, because that's just politics as normal. It's an incredibly cynical move."

"Just because the Constitution gives someone the power to do something, it doesn't mean they can use it for whatever purpose they want," he tells me. "Even if you have five good reasons for doing something, but one illegal reason, that illegal reason still makes it illegal."

"The Constitution says 'the President shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed'," Shugerman notes, while explaining why many of the current arguments being made by Team Trump may work effectively for propaganda purposes, but appear to have little legal basis or precedent, particularly while describing that a President would be acting "faithlessly" by pardoning himself. But, even if that happens, he says, he is confident (more so than I) that state prosecutors who are unbound by federal pardons, will pick up the prosecutorial ball against Trump and his cohorts.

[Update 6/5/2018: Shugerman and more than a dozen other distinguished constitutional law experts outline their case against Trump's expansive pardon powers claim in a letter to Trump's Whitehouse attorneys now posted here.]

Shugerman also describes the "bombshell" disclosure from that newly revealed letter from Trump's lawyers, in their admission that the President "dictated" the false written response from Don Jr. after the disclosure of the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russian nationals to receive "dirt" on Hillary Clinton.

Also on today's show...

  • Republican House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy --- believed to be the front-runner to become the next Speaker of the House if the GOP maintains control of the chamber this November --- refused to respond to CNN's on-air questions over the weekend about the Trump attorneys' concession that they and the White House had lied to the public about the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting;
  • Despite his continuing lies and chaotic presidency, Trump remains wildly popular among Republicans, according to Gallup. As of his 500th day in office, he enjoys a higher "own party" approval rating than any other President since WWII, other than George W. Bush (following 9/11), at a similar point in their presidencies;
  • The U.S. Supreme Court allows a baker in Colorado to discriminate against a gay couple. (More on this tomorrow.)
  • Corporate CEOs are now admitting out loud that, despite record profits, a theoretically booming economy and huge recent tax cuts, they have no intention of raising pay for workers;

And, on the day before 2018 mid-term primary elections are held in eight states tomorrow, an Election Integrity author rings in to remind us that Russia isn't the only threat to vulnerable, easily-manipulated computerized election results in the U.S. --- not by a long shot...

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: Bartlett Naylor, former U.S. Senate Banking Comm. investigator; Also: New Russia sanctions, FL bridge collapse, TX chemical explosion...
By Brad Friedman on 3/15/2018 6:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Why in the world did 16 U.S. Senate Democrats vote in favor of gutting central provisions of the Dodd-Frank banking reform bill, as originally put in place by Congress after the 2008 global financial meltdown to avoid another such catastrophe? That and many other disasters covered on today's show. [Audio link is posted at end of article.]

Ironically enough, the new bank deregulation bill was passed on Wednesday with the votes of those Democrats and all of the Senate Republicans on the tenth anniversary of the 2008 collapse. We're joined today by the U.S. Senate Banking Committee's former chief investigator, BARTLETT NAYLOR, who is now Financial Policy Advocate for Public Citizen's Congress Watch division. He explains what this bill will do and how it allows for the same type of dangerous speculation by big Wall Street banks that led to the Great Recession ten years ago.

Naylor says the bill is "going to take the guardrails down" for banks that have less than $250 billion in assets. "This is a class of banks that collectively took some $50 billion of bailout money. A dozen of them have engaged in misconduct and have been sanctioned by regulators int he last three or four years. This class would have included Countrywide, [which] made so many bad loans that it toxified the entire industry. By taking their eyes off this class, it invites another financial calamity."

He also offers his thoughts as to why it is that those 16 Democrats appear so willing to do the bidding of the Big Bank lobby, even as many other Democrats, led by Senators Elizabeth Warren of MA and Sherrod Brown of OH, strongly opposed the measure. "I suspect it's about campaign contributions, but I don't know why any Senator who is up for re-election wants to tell his or her constituents that they're trying to help the banks," Naylor tells me. "They're not trying to help consumers, they're trying to help the banks."

"Labor unions, faith groups, civil rights groups, consumer advocacy groups such as ours," all oppose the bill. "The only people that are supporting this bill are bankers," he argues. Naylor says it could still be stopped before final passage while it is being reconciled with an even more draconian U.S. House version. Donald Trump campaigned on gutting the protections of the Dodd-Frank law, whose provisions remain very popular among voters, adding still more questions as to why those Dems are going along with it, even in an election year.

All of that comes as Trump confirms his appointment of rightwing TV economist Larry Kudlow as his new top economic adviser, despite the fact that Kudlow had insisted the economy was booming under George W. Bush --- ("There's no recession coming," Kudlow wrote at the time. "It's not going to happen.") --- during the very same month in which economists have since concluded the Great Recession actually began.

But, all of those stories, sadly, are not the only disasters to report on today's show. We also cover the horrific pedestrian bridge collapse in Miami and a deadly explosion at yet another chemical plant in Texas today.

And all of that came after the White House announced new sanctions today against Russia, related to allegations of interference in the 2016 election and also for what the Administration describes as a concerted hacking operation targeting critical U.S. infrastructure like the energy grid, water and aviation systems and other key elements of the U.S. economy.

The Kremlin quickly vowed retaliation today in response to the new sanctions. And, while the move suggests somewhat of an about-face for this Administration, there still remains no explanation for why the Dept. of Homeland Security --- as concerned about hacks to our infrastructure as they claim to --- have yet to forensically examine any of the nation's extremely vulnerable computerized voting and tabulation systems (or even count any of the ballots!) for evidence of manipulation during the 2016 Presidential election.

Finally today, after late breaking news that Donald Trump, Jr.'s wife Vanessa is reportedly filing for divorce, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report on, among other things, the nomination of Trump's CIA Director Mike Pompeo to become the nation's first climate science denying Secretary of State. Because everything is awesome!...

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: Salon's Heather Digby Parton on the memo mess, Special Counsel mess, immigration/DACA mess, and several others; Also: Elected PA GOPer trying to impeach 5 of 7 state Supreme Court Justices...
By Brad Friedman on 2/6/2018 6:28pm PT  

On today's BradCast, as one political mess piles up on top of another in D.C. (and across the country), at what now seems to be an impossible pace, our old friend HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and "Digby's Hullabaloo" blog is here today to try and help us dig out of from under it. Wish her luck. [Audio link to show is posted at end of article.]

First up, Parton responds to Donald Trump's charge on Monday that Democrats who failed to stand and applaud during his State of the Union address last week were "unAmerican" and may have committed "treason". Yes, he actually said as much, even though treason is punishable by death, and couldn't possibly be applied in this case. (And, yes, we also discuss how many others also misuse the charge of "treason" against Trump.)

Then, Republicans on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee have finally voted to release the Democratic Rebuttal Memo written in response to the cherry-picked Republican Memo produced by committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA), perhaps in collusion with the White House. The Nunes memo, though landing with a thud after it's release on Friday, is still being used by Fox "News" GOPers to falsely make the case that Robert Mueller's Special Counsel probe must be shut down due to an alleged misuse of material from the so-called "Trump/Russia Dossier" written by a former British intelligence agent, for the FISA warrant application sought and obtained by the FBI in 2016 (and renewed three times) to intercept communications with Carter Page, a former Trump Campaign advisor and suspected Russian asset.

But will the President actually allow the House Democrats' rebuttal memo to be released to the public? Parton has her doubts ("I don't know why people think it's a done deal. I mean, I keep wanting to say, 'Have you met Donald Trump?!'") She also has a few thoughts on Nunes and the entire GOP attempt to undermine the Mueller probe on specious grounds and on the promise by Nunes' to produce several new memos in what is part of his new effort to make the case that Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, conspired with Russia before the 2016 election. Parton compares the effort to go after members of the FBI and DoJ, etc., to Sen. Joseph McCarthy's targeting, in the 1950s, of alleged Communists in the FBI, Dept. of Justice and State Department. Sadly, the effort by Nunes, Trump and friends seems to be working, at least partially, according to a stunning new Axios poll.

I also share my own concern with Parton about what I see as a serious weakness in the Democrats' case for "collusion" against Trump, and she shares her prediction that "there's an excellent chance" a second Special Counsel will be convened to try and prosecute Hillary Clinton before this is all said and done.

We then go on to discuss the mess in Congress in advance of another possible federal government shutdown later this week, which Trump, on Tuesday, said he welcomes amid what has been his own bad faith deal-making with Democrats over the fate of some 800,000 children of immigrants brought here illegally decades ago. Those kids had been protected from deportation by the Obama-era DACA program, until Trump reversed it --- using them as human shields for his radical new immigration demands --- setting a deadline to begin their deportation as early as March 5th, unless a deal can be struck for legislation passed by Congress to protect them.

"This is a mess. It's been a mess," Parton argues. "Giving the Democrats a little bit of slack, this immigration problem and the DACA kids have been out there for a long time, and they have tried. The problem for the Democrats was that they thought, when Donald Trump was elected, because of this promises "Oh, I love the [DACA] kids!', that he had the credibility to bring along the Freedom Caucus and all these right-wing anti-immigration hawks in the Congress. That was the game that Trump talked. It turns out that he's a complete mess. He doesn't know how the government works. He doesn't know how to negotiate."

So, now, such a deal must somehow be worked out between the Dems, who are lousy negotiators, and Trump, who is a dishonest one, in advance of Friday's government shutdown deadline, or be pushed off yet again, leaving the fate of the DACA kids in jeopardy as March approaches. Not helping in the matter, as Parton observes, is Trump's far-right, anti-immigrant Chief of Staff John Kelly, not to mention the untrustworthy Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Next, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest news-filled Green News Report.

And, finally, some new developments out of Pennsylvania where, speaking of the rise of authoritarianism under Republican rule, an elected GOPer in the state House is now moving to impeach five of the seven Justices on the state Supreme Court after they voted to require new U.S. House maps for the state. The new districts would replace the GOP's illegally gerrymandered Congressional Districts that Republicans have been using to hold 13 of 18 U.S. House seats in the closely divided (but Democratic-leaning) swing-state. The nascent impeachment effort --- though one that should be taken seriously --- in the PA House comes as the Republican President of the state Senate continues to defy the court's orders, despite their ruling being upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday.

Yes, this mess keeps getting messier. By the minute...

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Plus: On the Espionage Act's 100th Anniversary, it's now being used against whistleblowers and journalists rather than spies...
By Brad Friedman on 7/14/2017 6:15pm PT  

On today's BradCast, take your pick. Either the Trump Administration (and its cronies in Congress) are liars or completely incompetent. There is plenty of evidence for both. [Audio link for show follows below.]

For a start today, the number of people now reported to have been at that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian attorney said to have dirt on Hillary Clinton has now risen to eight. And, not single day has gone by since the revelation of that meeting one week ago, without the Team Trump explanations for it --- including from the President himself --- changing. Why?

But those aren't the stories today to suggest they are either liars or buffoons (and can't do math either.). Among the many additional stories placed into appropriate context today:

  • Trump's own Sec. of State takes a withering shot at Trump's government;
  • A congressional GOPer laments Republicans "simply don't know how to govern";
  • The non-partisan CBO finds Trump's budget doesn't actually balance (it's only off by $3.4 trillion);
  • Senate Republicans newest health care repeal plan doesn't either;
  • Some GOPers are willing to shut down the government if Trump's wall isn't funded (by tax-payers, not by Mexico, as promised);
  • Trump's border "wall" is beginning to sound exactly like Dubya and Obama's border fence (And his plans for immigration reform are beginning to sound a lot like Obama's as well.)

Given a new Pew survey finding a huge majority of Republican voters now believe higher education at universities and colleges has a "negative effect" on the country, perhaps none of today's stories should come as much of a surprise.

Finally, on the 100th Anniversary of the Espionage Act, the Committee to Protect Journalists offers a report on how, since Nixon first did so in the 70's, the Act has been misused to prosecute whistleblowers rather than spies, particularly under Obama, and how Trump may well begin using it against journalists in the bargain...

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Guest: Pastor Malinda Harnish Clatterbuck of Lancaster Against Pipelines | Plus: GOP tries again on health care, and what is Team Trump hiding?...
By Brad Friedman on 7/13/2017 6:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Republicans in the U.S. Senate gets desperate, Team Trump keeps getting caught in lies, and an order of Catholic nuns in rural Pennsylvania takes action to block a pipeline from being built on their own land. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up: The Senate GOP today released the newest version of their attempted scheme to repeal and replace ObamaCare, and it's as bad as we'd warned it would be on our previous shows this week. The new version removes some of the tax cuts for the wealthy, but leaves in the massive Medicaid cuts that will remove health care for millions, and adds a new provision by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) that would allow private insurers to sell largely worthless health care plans to suckers in order to claim they have "lowered premiums!"

The newest proposal will also likely continue to have a very difficult time finding the 50 GOP votes needed for passage in the Senate, but it would be a huge mistake to count them out and let your guard down. As that is moving forward, with a vote said to be scheduled for next week, two House Democrats have now officially filed an Article of Impeachment against Donald J. Trump for Obstruction of Justice, and more evidence of Team Trump having lied about contacts with various Russians and other foreign agents continues to emerge. What, if anything, are they trying to hide? And why?

Then, an order of Catholic nuns in central Pennsylvania dedicated a new outdoor chapel last Sunday at the edge of a cornfield and smack-dab in the path of a planned $3 billion natural gas pipeline. PASTOR MALINDA HARNISH CLATTERBUCK of Lancaster Against Pipelines and the Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster joins us to explain the defiant action by the nuns of The Adorers of the Blood of Christ, in the ongoing attempt to block the huge "Atlantic Sunrise" pipeline from being built by a private, Oklahoma-based company. The Williams Partners company has received federal Eminent Domain orders from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that would allow them to steal the use of the land from the sisters and other residents along the 300-mile path of the massive pipeline path in rural Lancaster County, PA.

Clatterbuck scoffed at the "irreparable harm" argument being made in U.S. District Court by the company in their emergency motion, to be heard next week, against the sisters' open-air chapel . "It's really ironic that they would use that language when the harm that they are proposing to do, not just to Lancaster County, but to the whole extension of Central Pennsylvania with this pipeline, would be violating the waterways --- 380-some waterways --- this pipeline would be crossing. And it would be going through more than 250 wetlands. And permanently fragmenting over 44 deep forests. I feel like that's irreparable harm that we're really pushing back against," she tells me.

"The audacity of an industry to feel as though they have an entitlement to put a pipeline wherever they want to is unfathomable to me," the pastor and longtime community organizer says, while responding to Williams' statement that they have no problem with peaceful protest by the nuns, as long as they move their chapel to a different location on the land they have owned for almost 100 years. "Isn't that amazing, how arrogant they are? It's not their property. This is the nuns' property. And the nuns have a right to do on their property what they want, right? Isn't this America?"

Paging Sean Hannity! (Who used to pretend to be infuriated by eminent domain...at least when it was done by Democratic Administrations.) And, paging Republicans and Donald Trump! (Who still pretend to be infuriated by encroachments on "religious freedoms," such as when other Catholic nuns, like the Little Sisters of the Poor, challenged the contraceptives mandate of ObamaCare.)

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on the Delaware-sized iceberg that has just broken off of Antarctica, Tesla's plan to build the world's largest battery in just 100 days (or it's free!), and much more, including a Phoenix weatherman who has been lying to his viewers --- over our public airwaves --- about global warming...in the middle of yet another record heat wave...

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

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Guest: Lisa Gilbert, Public Citizen's VP of Legislative Affairs...
By Brad Friedman on 7/12/2017 6:09pm PT  

On today's BradCast, good-ish news on several fronts. But only good-ish. That said, we'll take what we can get these days. [Audio link to complete show is posted below.]

First up: Hackers have been stealing thousands of credit card numbers and social security numbers from Donald Trump's hotels for months. Years, actually. But, other than that, no need to worry about his ability to oversee our nation's cybersecurity. (Or, for that matter, the security of private voter registration data his so-called "Election Integrity Commission" has requested from all 50 states.)

In related-ish news, Trump is reportedly furious in the wake of Donald Trump Jr.'s recently revealed meeting with a Russian attorney who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton during the campaign last year. But, he's not mad at Trump Jr., he's mad at the media for reporting it, apparently, and at dozens and dozens of sources inside his own White House and otherwise close to him, who keep leaking these sorts of things to the press.

In turn, even Congressional Republicans (including folks like Rep. Trey "Benghazi" Gowdy) are growing increasingly furious at the Administration, as their legislative agenda continues to be sidetracked by the ever-growing turmoil of the seemingly hapless Team Trump.

Nonetheless, Senate Republicans say they are planning to unveil the newest version of their health care repeal on Thursday, with a vote planned for early next week. The good-ish news is that they've reportedly removed some of the huge tax cuts to the wealthy from the bill in hopes of winning enough GOPers for approval in the chamber. But the huge cuts to Medicaid are said to still be in the legislation, which means it may still have the same problem finding 50 votes for passage in the Senate.

All of that, even as a new study finds that the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare"), which Republicans hope to dismantle, isn't in the "death spiral" Republicans and Trump continue to pretend it is. In fact, the study finds the landmark health care law is having its best year yet, and is actually more healthy and profitable than ever, despite continuing attempts by the GOP and White House attempts to undermine it.

Finally today, some more good-ish news as the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), created in response to the 2007 global banking crisis, has finally enacted a new rule to curb fine-print "arbitration clauses" in contracts that prevent customers from being able to sue banks and credit card companies who are ripping them off.

Public Citizen's Vice President of Legislative Affairs, LISA GILBERT, joins us today to explain the good-ish news, and the Republicans' plan to undermine it all together as soon as humanly possible.

"We call them 'rip-off clauses' because that is exactly what they do. Many people sign contracts without reading the tiny fine print --- we would say most --- and in those contracts, whether it's with a financial institution, whether it's a credit card, whether it's a cell phone contract, people are foreclosed on the right to sue a company if it wrongs them," Gilbert explains. "If they can't sue, they are instead forced into arbitration. It's a kangaroo court set up. It's something the corporation itself funds and pays for, so you can imagine, it is biased in their direction. Few people ever go to it at all, but when they do, they tend to lose. So it's a way for corporations to get out of jail free if they rip off their customers."

After a 5-year process, the CFPB has finally enacted the regulation as called for by the Dodd-Frank Act. So, naturally, Republicans already have several plans in place to kill it. Unless you stop them...

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

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Guest: ACLU's Theresa Lee | Also: Trump Jr.'s legal probs; Senate GOP health care repeal; 'Green News Report' returns for another heat wave...
By Brad Friedman on 7/11/2017 6:07pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we're still trying to keep our eye on the ball, as Trump and the Republicans work to take away both health and voting rights even as the nation is otherwise consumed with new breaking news in the ongoing criminal investigations of Team Trump. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

First up today, a few comments on the news regarding Donald Trump, Jr.'s meeting with a Russian attorney during the campaign last year and the federal election laws he may have violated in the bargain. But, with everyone else in the world covering that story today, fewer are covering the ongoing plans by the Senate GOP to try and repeal the health care for millions of Americans in exchange for tax cuts for the wealthy, possibly as early as next week, according to a top Senate Republican. And, if not next week, shortly thereafter, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has now cancelled much of the August recess in hopes of jamming both ObamaCare repeal and a major tax cut scheme through Congress before Summer ends.

Similarly, with all of the noise regarding the incompetence and/or corruption of Team Trump, it's important to keep an eye on their ongoing efforts at voter suppression via Trump's so-called "Election Integrity" Commission which has already resulted in voters around the nation removing themselves from registration roles for fear that Commission Vice-Chair and notorious "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach will publicly release the personal information of registered voters, such as birthdate, social security number, military status, etc., as he recently promised in a letter to all 50 states seeking that data.

But, as Kobach has made a career out of pretending there is a massive voter fraud epidemic and threatening prosecution against voters for small and often inadvertent violations of the law, you'd think his Commission would follow the rule of law to the letter. That does not appear to be the case, however, as at least four different legal complaints, alleging violations of federal law, have already been filed against Kobach and the Commission over the past week, even as even more notorious GOP 'voter fraud' fraudsters are being quietly added to the Presidential panel.

THERESA LEE, staff attorney at the ACLU's Voting Rights Project, one of the groups which have filed legal complaints against the Commission, joins us to explain their lawsuit [PDF] charging multiple violations of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), how this Presidential Commission on elections is wildly different from those created in the recent past, and what it is that Kobach and friends are really up to under the sham Commission's pretext of combating 'voter fraud'.

"One of the main purposes of the Act was public accountability, the idea that if the government is getting advice, it should not be biased advice, and the public should know what's going into it," Lee tells me, describing the extraordinary imbalance of the Trump-Pence-Kobach Commission and the secrecy under which it has so far been operating.

Finally today, it's the return of the Green News Report with Desi Doyen after a week off over the holidays, and just in time for another heat wave across much of the country, embarrassment at the G-20, and both good news and bad in California...

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

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