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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, September 23, 2018
Sunday KavaNO Toons!
PDiddie's latest weekly toon round-up, including a few blasts from the 30-years-ago toon past!...
Federal Judge Rules GA Vote Systems Insecure, Unveri-fiable. Allows Them in Nov. Anyway: 'BradCast' 9/21/18
Guest: Plaintiff Marilyn Marks; Also: Toxic crisis worsens in Carolinas; Midterm voting begins...
Defining 'Disaster' One Year After Maria, One Week After Florence: 'BradCast' 9/20/18
Guest: Disaster historian Scott Knowles; Also: Kavanaugh's accuser is willing to testify next week under certain conditions...
'Green News Report' 9/20/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Hurricane Florence floodwaters pose toxic public health threat; NC begins long road of recovery; PLUS: Trump Interior Dept. formally rolls back still more methane regulations...
Previous GNRs: 9/18/18 - 9/13/18 - Archives...
GOP's Panic to Confirm Kavanaugh 'ASAP':
'BradCast' 9/19/18
Also: Toxic disaster begins after Florence; AL SoS sued for Twitter blocking; Bad news for 'dark money', good news for voters...
Kavanaugh Nomination Falling Apart: 'BradCast' 9/18/18
Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: Florence fallout made worst by Trump tariffs; Judge allows use of GA's 100% unverifiable touchscreen vote systems in Nov...
'Green News Report' 9/18/18
Florence wreaks havoc, death in 4 states; Strongest storm of year (so far) slams Philippines, Hong Kong; PLUS: Aftermath of Boston-area natural gas pipeline explosions...
'I Believe Christine': 'BradCast' 9/17/18
Guest-host Angie Coiro w/ guest Chris Hedges on his new book; Also: some thoughts on the sexual assault allegation against SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh...
Sunday Gale Force Toons
There are more storms and responses to them than we can possibly keep track of over this past week -- and in PDiddie's latest weekly toon collection...
Progressive Wins, Losses in NY End Primaries That Redefined Dems: 'BradCast' 9/14/18
Guest: David Dayen; Also: Florence flooding, nuke threat; Manafort guilty plea; MA NatGas explosions; 10 years after the crash...
'Disaster's at the Doorstep':
'BradCast' 9/13/18
RI primary results; NY registration probs; Florence rolls ashore; Olivia threatens HI dam; Trump denies Maria death toll; Fires explode in MA homes...
'Green News Report' 9/13/18
Florence impacts could be felt for weeks; 10 million also threatened by Super Typhoon Mangkhut; Trump releases methane; PLUS: U.N. chief warns climate at tipping point...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Guest: Stuart Naifeh of Demos; Also: 500k disenfranchised voters in AZ?; Trump says he's quitting NAFTA; DNC scraps 'SuperDelegates'; U.S. Govt student loan ombudsman quits in disgust; Callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 8/27/2018 6:30pm PT  

Lots of news (for a change?) on today's BradCast after a tremendously busy news weekend (for a change?) [Audio link to today's show is posted below.]

Among the stories covered on today's program: In a fairly transparent attempt to distract from all of his Administration's --- and his own personal --- scandals, Donald Trump announed today that he plans to pull the U.S. out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and is striking a new trade agreement with Mexico only. We caution to be very aware of that claim.

Then, we're joined by STUART NAIFEH, Senior Counsel at Demos to discuss the lawsuit recently filed by his group and a number of Hispanic-American organizations against 32 counties in the state of Florida. Following last year's catastrophic Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, more than 133,000 U.S. citizens living on the island relocated to the Continental U.S., according to the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, which estimates [PDF] more than 54,000 of them now live in Florida. These U.S. Citizens, many of whom speak Spanish only, can now re-register and vote in the state, but the counties named in the lawsuit make election materials available in English only, in violation, the groups argue, of Section4(e) of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The groups are suing to force those counties to produce election materials in Spanish before the November 2018 midterms and argue that the English-only procedures have led to lower than expected registration by these potential voters in the Sunshine State. Naifeh says this has been a longstanding issue in Florida, but even more of an issue since Maria, since there are suddenly "a lot of people coming all at once with limited English," he says.

Naifeh also explains another lawsuit just filed by the group against the state of Arizona, where the Secretary of State is not properly re-registering voters who have changed their addresses on their drivers licenses through the DMV. That, he argues, means that some 500,000 registered voters, whose registrations should be automatically moved, may find themselves unable to vote or will have their provisional ballots tossed out this November, because "Arizona has been systematically failing to update voting addresses," as required by 1993's National Voter Registration Act. Voters in both states --- Florida and Arizona --- are heading to the polls on Tuesday for their state's midterm primary elections.

Then, some breaking news out of North Carolina, where a federal court panel has found the state's U.S. House Districts to be an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. That, after the federal courts found the previous maps were unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. The court may order new maps to be redrawn in advance of the November election! If they do, and if the U.S. Supreme Court is deadlocked 4 to 4 on an emergency appeal by the state before a new Justice is seated, then the lower court's order to use new maps for the November 6th election would stand!

Next, over the weekend, the DNC voted to change their bylaws to restrict the role of so-called SuperDelegates (party insiders, activists and elected officials) in the nominating process for Presidential candidates. Under the new scheme, adopted by an overwhelming voice vote at the weekend's annual Summer meeting in Chicago, SuperDelegates would have no vote for the party's Presidential nominee on the first ballot at the Democratic National Convention, leaving the selection of the nominee (if he or she can get a majority on the first ballot) up to state primary and caucus voters, rather than party insiders, before the Convention.

Also today, the Government's student loan ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has resigned, charging in a scathing resignation letter that the Trump Administration is using the Bureau "to serve the wishes of the most powerful financial companies in America" by allowing private for-profit colleges, universities and student loan companies to run roughshod over American families, despite mandates from Congress to end the decades-long ripoffs by such companies.

Finally, we open up the phone lines today to calls on all of the above!...

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

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Also: Mick Mulvaney's stunning admission and Mother Jones' Rebecca Leber on Scott Pruitt's new 'secret science' scam at EPA...
By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2018 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast: More encouraging signs for Democrats following special elections in both Arizona and New York on Tuesday. And more troubling news from Donald Trump's never-ending cavalcade of corporate cabinet corruption. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

All signs suggest that a potential Blue Wave continues to build for Democrats in the Trump Era, even as the party reportedly lost a U.S. House special election in the very "red" 8th Congressional District west of Phoenix on Tuesday. After Maricopa County, AZ's new, even-more computerized polling place election system broke down in several precincts --- a potentially ominous sign for the much-larger, upcoming mid-terms --- former Republican State Senator Debbie Lesko is said to have defeated first time Democratic candidate Dr. Hiral Tipirneni by just 5 points, in a district that Trump won by 21 points in 2016.

The previously deep "red" House district in a longtime "red" state, had been represented for some 15 years by GOP Rep. Trent Franks, until he stepped down amid sexual misconduct allegations last December. While the Dems narrowly lost the race on Tuesday, thanks in part to big spending by national Republicans (and none by national Dems), election analysts regard the stunning 15+ point swing from "red" to "blue" as one of the strongest signs to date that Republicans in the House and Senate may be in very big trouble this fall.

Similarly, in New York, special elections on Tuesday for several state legislative seats resulted in one Assembly seat flipping from R to D for the first time in four decades, and in Democrats winning a majority of seats in the state Senate for the first time in years. However, one Democrat who caucuses with Republicans in that chamber means that the GOP will remain in control of the Senate until at least the end of the current session.

Meanwhile, back in D.C., Donald Trump's swamp of corruption continues apace. Interim Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Mick Mulvaney reportedly told a crowd of some 1,300 banking executives and lobbyists yesterday that they need to keep donating to the GOP if they wanted still more regulations gutted and oversight trashed. He appears to have admitted --- out loud --- that as a Congressman, he would only consider meeting with lobbyists who had donated to him. (And, many in the financial sector, which the CFPB was mandated to regulate on behalf of consumers after the 2008 global banking crisis, did exactly that during Mulvaney 's time as a House Rep. from South Carolina.)

But it's scandal-plagued Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt who seemingly continues to lead the corruption cavalcade in Trump's corporatized Executive Agency lagoon. Pruitt is not letting the mountain of scandals, corruption revelations and calls for his resignation stop him from doing the bidding of his fossil fuel industry funders at the EPA.

In a ceremony for fellow climate science deniers on Tuesday night, ironically trumpeting a supposed new era of EPA "transparency" as media and scientists were locked out of the event, Pruitt signed a proposed new rule barring what he describes as the use of "secret science" in the EPA rule-making process.

We're joined today by Mother Jones' environmental reporter REBECCA LEBER to discuss what the anti-science Pruitt actually means by that, what this deceptive new rule would actually do if finalized, and why, as she argues, this scheme may be his "most destructive move yet".

"What Pruitt has done here is propose limiting the studies that the EPA can use in crafting regulations. Those studies would have to have data that is publicly available --- which sounds great on its face. Who doesn't want more transparency? But there is a lot of complications here that effectively limit the pool drastically and really could conceivably cut out our best available science showing that air pollution and water pollution is a health problem," Leber tells me. "That's because these studies typically rely on medical records that are, by law, forced to be private and also may include proprietary information that academic institutions and even industry don't want to be public."

Nonetheless, hiding behind false claims of "transparency" in science, Pruitt is now hoping to severely restrict the use of science and, in fact, rewriting decades-old rules for the use of science itself in public government. No wonder Trump prefers not to fire him, as Leber explains, no matter how wildly corrupt Pruitt is actually proven to be...

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

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Guest: James Goodwin of Center for Progressive Reform; Also: DNC files Trump/Russia 'conspiracy' lawsuit; Wells Fargo fined $1B; Comey memos reveal Trump wants to jail journalists...
By Brad Friedman on 4/20/2018 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast: As usual, the big headlines obscure the most disturbing ones. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

On Friday, the Democratic National Committee filed a surprise federal lawsuit against Donald Trump, his son Don Jr., his son-in-law Jared Kushner, several other members of the Trump Campaign, as well as Russia and WikiLeaks, for what the DNC's characterizes in the complaint as a broad "conspiracy" to steal private documents and undermine the DNC and the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign in "an act of previously unimaginable treachery". If allowed to move forward, the suit could result in the President, and all of his men, being forced to turn over documents and give depositions under oath. (It could also set a troubling precedent for journalists.)

Also on Friday, Wells Fargo was slapped with a $1 billion fine by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) for hoaxing more than half a million customers into purchasing car insurance they did not need. While it was the first major action by the CFPB since Trump muscled his own Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney into the dual role of Acting CFPB Director, the record fine is only a small percentage of what Wells is receiving from Trump's recent massive tax cuts.

Mulvaney, who, as a Tea Party Congressman had spent years trying to abolish the consumer bureau formed after the 2008 global banking and mortgage crisis, was upbraided by Sen. Elizabeth Warren during a recent hearing in the Senate, for his ongoing efforts to undermine the CFPB's critical assistance to consumers.

And, related to all of that, while the worst of the Trump/GOP's major legislative agenda under Trump was broadly considered to be behind us with Democrats believed likely to take over one or both chambers of Congress this November, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA, pictured above) recently came up with a scheme to twist the obscure Congressional Review Act (CRA), in order to gut decades of executive agency regulations with a simple majority vote in each house. While the CRA, only used once in its 21-year history before Trump took office, was meant as a way for Congress to roll back new formal rules enacted by executive agencies, it has been used over the past year to gut dozens of formal regulations enacted during the last 60 days of the Obama Administration.

Toomey, however, has now come up with a new interpretation of the law to allow Republicans to kill regulations from decades ago. This week, the GOP Senate began using his interpretation to do just that. They voted to kill a 2013 CFPB "guidance" document enacted to prevent racial discrimination in auto loans after hundreds of thousands of minority car buyers were found to have been charged higher interest rates for loans (resulting in more than $100 million in fines by the CFPB and money paid back to customers.)

Toomey's maneuver, however, allows such guidelines --- as opposed to only recently enacted formal rules --- to be killed under the CRA, which also prevents executive agencies from ever reinstating a similar regulation in the future. In the bargain, decades of established executive agency regulations could now be done away with, with simple majority votes, between now and the start of the next Congressional term in 2019.

We're joined today by JAMES GOODWIN of the Center for Progressive Reform to discuss this dangerous and insidious new scheme which has received disturbingly sparse media attention since its first time use this past week. Goodwin details what the CRA was meant to do, versus how Republicans have now decided to use, and the many ways in which the CRA might now be abused across the federal government with this new precedent. "One of the main dangers of this new precedent," he explains, "is we have all of these critical safeguards that we thought were in place, that now could simply vanish. And, really, the only limitation [Republicans] face is time."

Finally, the release of memos [PDF] written by fired FBI Director James Comey just after his several meetings with Donald Trump, confirm Comey's earlier descriptions of those bizarre encounters, and have received much coverage for the President's described concerns about Russian hookers and his former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who has pleaded guilty to felonies in Robert Mueller's Special Counsel probe. Less discussed, however, are the troubling details from the memos revealing that Trump was similarly obsessed with convincing the FBI Director to throw journalists in jail --- in stark violation of the First Amendment --- for reporting on embarrassing leaks coming out of his White House...

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: Karen McKim of Wisconsin Election Integrity...
By Brad Friedman on 11/28/2017 6:55pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The three stories we cover at the top of today's show --- another long-range missile launch by North Korea, GOP tax cuts for the wealthy moving forward in Congress, and a Trump-appointed federal judge who just decided in favor of Trump (and seemingly, against the rule of law) in an unprecedented battle for leadership of a federal agency --- all underscore the importance of the rest of today's disturbing program. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

An effort just before the Thanksgiving holiday by citizen volunteers at WisconsinElectionIntegrity.org (WIE) finds that inaccurate results were certified in Wisconsin's 2016 Presidential election, which Donald Trump is said to have won by just 22,000 votes over Hillary Clinton, out of some 3 million ballots cast.

Wisconsin was one of three states, along with Michigan and Pennsylvania, where Green Party candidate Jill Stein had filed for "recounts" and forensic audits of voting systems, after the Clinton Campaign declined to heed the pleas for such an audit by computer scientists and voting systems experts who begged her campaign to do so. Stein's post-election effort was largely stymied by Team Trump and various statutes in each of those states. A statewide tally was allowed to move forward in Wisconsin, however only about half of the state's ballots were hand-counted, as municipalities were allowed to carry out their choice of either manual- or machine-tallied "recounts".

After finding an alarming number of uncounted ballots in Racine County precincts during last year's machine "recount" (see documentary filmmaker Lulu Friesdat's alarming coverage of election officials refusing to hand-tally clearly valid votes there during Stein's attempted "recount") the volunteers at WIE filed, and paid for, a public records request to examine the hand-marked paper ballots in a number of those wards.

Recently, they were allowed to review those ballots and, as they feared, many perfectly valid votes had gone uncounted by the optical-scan systems both during the original Election Night tally and the so-called "recount" in counties that used the same faulty computer scanners for the second count, after they had similarly mistallied ballots on Election Night.

I'm joined on today's show by longtime election integrity advocate and WIE's statewide coordinator KAREN McKIM to discuss the group's findings, revealing that the ballot scanning computers used in some 57 municipalities across the state had failed to tally anywhere from 2% to 6% of the ballots with valid Presidential votes in each of the Racine precincts they were allowed to examine a week or so ago. In other WI cities which chose to count by hand during Stein's "recount", McKim tells me, those same scanners had originally missed anywhere from 9% to 30% of valid Presidential votes! All of that in a state which Donald Trump is said to have won last year by less than 1%.

"They were ignored by the voting system entirely," says McKim, "and that's what made the miscount - or should have made the miscount obvious to the election officials even before they certified. You could look at those election results that the voting machines spit out on their face and you could see that hundreds of votes were just missing. If you compared the total number of ballots cast to the total number of presidential votes counted, you should have known --- they should have known --- that two percent of the voters didn't go to the polls so that they could cast a blank ballot. The miscounts were obvious at the time of the canvas, and the county officials did nothing about it."

Nearly a year after the election, in late September of this year, the state Election Commission finally decertified the 20-year old Optech Eagle computer tabulators, after finding that the systems fail to tally votes at all if the "wrong" type of ink is used to make selections by the voter. The same systems are still used, according to Verified Voting, in other states, such as Indiana, Massachusetts and Virginia, and may be used again in Wisconsin next year, as the state decertification allows municipalities to wait until after the November 2018 mid-term elections to replace them.

McKim, however, tells me that those faulty machines don't necessarily explain "the really widely varying error rates from precinct to precinct. ... Why the city of Racine machines were missing more votes than the suburban machines? I don't know. You'd really have to do a forensic investigation to figure that out." But, of course, Stein was not allowed such an investigation in any of the states where she sought them.

If it weren't for Stein's attempted audit, she says, the problems may have gone completely ignored. "The poll workers noticed the missing votes when they closed the polls that night. They noted it on their inspector's reports. The municipal canvas looked at it, and I talked to the Municipal Clerk, and she said, 'I didn't know what we were supposed to do about this, so I certified it and sent it to the County Clerk.' And then the County Clerk looked at those results. She too --- and again, you could not ignore a miscount of that size --- and she just said, 'Well, it's the municipality's job to send me the accurate results. Whatever they send me, it's not my job to correct it.'"

"There is not a county in the state of Wisconsin where the county election officials check accuracy of the vote totals. They all just certify by looking at the computer tape and saying, 'Oh, look who won.'"

McKim, who is a retired quality-assurance manager, says "Every other manager that uses computers, from your grocery store to the bank to the city treasurers, they all know and accept that their computers are going to miscount from time to time. So they have routine procedures in place to check and correct before it's too late. Election administrators are the only computer-dependent managers we allow to get away with not checking the computer output for accuracy. It's insane."

"The county canvass procedures clearly allowed massive miscounts, obvious miscounts, just to go undetected and uncorrected. And that's unacceptable," she added, going on to detail what the group plans to do next, and how computer tabulation systems other than the Optech Eagle, "new or old", should never be trusted for use without citizen oversight.

We also discuss what such oversight should look like, if public Election Night hand-counts are possible in Wisconsin, how citizens elsewhere can carry out similar audits, and much more during today's show...

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: Adam Levitin, Georgetown law prof and former CFPB adviser; Also: Kochs buy Time Inc.; GOP Senate must pass corporate tax cuts this week; Trump uses Native American slur at White House ceremony for Navajo...
By Brad Friedman on 11/27/2017 6:00pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A rather extraordinary power battle, turf war, legal dispute is now being played out for control of the independent federal agency formed to protect consumers from fraud and deceptive practices by Wall Street banks and other large corporations following the 2008 global banking crisis and financial meltdown. [Audio link to show follows below.]

On Friday, Richard Cordray, the Obama-appointed Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) resigned to, likely, run for Governor of Ohio. As he did, he named his Chief of Staff Leandra English, as the new Deputy Directory, which means that, according to the 2010 Dodd-Frank law that created the CFPB, English becomes Acting Director of the Bureau.

Nonetheless, hours later on Friday, Donald Trump appointed Mick Mulvaney, his own chief of the White House Office of Management and Budget --- and a long time foe of the CFPB, which he has described as a "sick, sad joke" --- as the new Acting Director of the important consumer agency. The White House claims the authority of a 1998 law, the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, allows the President to make the appointment. A strict reading of the rule of law seems to suggest otherwise. But, today, we now have two different "Acting Directors" of the same federal agency.

We're joined on today's show by Georgetown University law professor and former CFPB advisor ADAM LEVITIN --- who warned about this potential showdown well before it came to pass --- to explain which law takes precedent, why Trump is so desperate to name Mulvaney as Acting Director rather than simply appoint a permanent chief at the CFPB, whether English's federal lawsuit filed on Sunday will prevail, and how the Trump/Mulvaney scheme represents several extraordinary conflicts of interest and a plan for a full regulatory capture of the (theoretically) independent executive agency.

Levitin describes this power battle as unprecedented in the U.S.. "The closest thing I can think of is Bush v. Gore," he tells me. "For two different people claiming a federal office, I can't think of any situation like this in modern times. This seems like it's something out of Game of Thrones, where there are multiple contenders for the same throne."

In other unprecedented Trump Era news today: A hugely profitable media outlet named Meredith Corporation purchased Time Inc. (including TIME magazine, and others) over the weekend, with the help of $650 million from the far-right Koch Brothers; The US Senate is making a desperate run this week for massive tax cuts for hugely profitable corporations (like Meredith and Koch Industries), at the expensive of low- and middle-class Americans who will end up with increased taxes and cuts to social services like health care; And, finally, Trump, during a solemn ceremony for native American Navajo code talkers, used an offensive racial slur in describing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) as "Pocahontas". It didn't go over well...

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: Reporter Mike Stark of ShareBlue; Also: The coherent, corporatist, anything-but-populist rightwing Republican agenda of Donald Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 10/25/2017 6:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we offer a bit of a response to those who are still under the impression, for some reason, that Trump is a "different kind of Republican", or that he's a non-ideological populist "draining the swamp" and taking on Wall Street and the Big Banks, or --- perhaps most dangerously --- that he has no coherent agenda. We also dive into the upcoming November 7 race for Governor in Virginia and questions about the corrupt past (and future?) of the GOP nominee. [Audio link to show follows below.]

As chaotic as everything he is doing seems to be, Trump's agenda is, in fact, very coherent, and little more than radical George W. Bush right-wing Republicanism on steroids --- albeit without the educated and politically correct artifice. Among the exhibits in today's argument: His administration's attempt to physically (and emotionally) prevent a teen immigrant from receiving a Constitutionally lawful abortion by keeping her locked up, despite court orders; and the Republican Senate vote late Tuesday night, with a huge assist from the Trump Administration, to dismantle a key consumer protection reform that had been five years in the making following the 2008 mortgage crisis and subsequent global economic meltdown.

That big win for Trump and Wall Street will prevent American consumers from having the right to sue huge corporations even after being screwed by deceptive, fraudulent practices. Yes, elections have consequences. And there is another big one set for just under a week from now to replace the outgoing Democratic Governor of Virginia.

The polls are reportedly tightening in the race between Democratic Lt. Governor Ralph Northam and former RNC chair, corporate lobbyist and George W. Bush Administration official Ed Gillespie. We're joined from Capitol Hill today by muckraking ShareBlue reporter MIKE STARK, who has been covering the Gillespie campaign and recently plowed through Bush-era White House visitor logs during Gillespie's term as a White House advisor, to find several instances of meetings with executives and lobbyists for big banks and energy companies that Gillespie had previously represented. The very next day after those meetings, Stark reports, the Bush Administration changed policies on issues those companies had been lobbying for.

The revelations and concerns of quid pro quo corruption come on the heels of the last Republican Governor from Virginia, Bob McDonnell, having been convicted of multiple counts of public corruption related to expensive gifts and huge sums of cash received from the CEO of a company hoping to win favors from the Governor.

Stark details his findings from those 2007 White House logs; his attempts to press Gillespie on the stump regarding his corporate lobbying work for big banks, big tobacco, big energy, and big pharma; his ties to the NRA, which, along with the Koch Brothers' Americans for Prosperity, is making huge television ad buys on Gillespie's behalf; the GOP candidate's claims to oppose bigotry and racism in all forms, despite racist ads and disgraced former U.S. Sen. George Allen (R-VA), forced out of the Senate after racist comments, serving as Gillespie's campaign chair. We also discuss Trump's role in the race and whether Democrats may be on the verge of losing what should be an otherwise easy off-year election victory in Virginia.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us to discuss the bizarre news regarding the tiny company from Montana that was, for some reason, granted a $300 million contract to rebuild Puerto Rico's energy grid after the devastation of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and the report late today from the Wall Street Journal that a federal oversight board plans to install an Emergency Manager to takeover, and potentially privatize, Puerto Rico's state-owned power company. We get comment from a former Puerto Rico Power Commissioner who describes why the news is "unfortunate" for the island's 3.5 million struggling residents...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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