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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, May 20, 2018
Amnesty Intl Is Ready For Haspel; Also: How About A Job?: 'BradCast' 5/17/18
Guest-hosted by Angie Coiro with Daphne Eviatar, Dave Johnson, Robert Sapolsky...
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Punching Bags Michael Cohen and John McCain:
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Guest-host Angie Coiro with Trita Parsi, Brad Adams, Daphne Eviatar, Elena Saxonhouse...
O Gina, O Michael, O Voters!:
'BradCast' 5/9/18
Guest-host Angie Coiro with guests Marcy Wheeler, Jed Shugerman, Beth Becker, Deborah Rhode...
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Guest-host Angie Coiro with Trita Parsi, Julie Lythcott-Hamis...
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Guest-host Angie Coiro with authors Morgan Jerkins and Dave Neiwert...
Sunday 'Hush Money' Toons
Trump's new attorney Rudy Giuliani is doing a bang-up job so far, as documented by the cartoonists featured in PDiddie's latest collection...
Tennessee's Election Night Cyberattack; Swamp Things: 'BradCast' 5/4/18
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'Green News Report' 5/3/18
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Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
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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...

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Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
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ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
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'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
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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
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RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Guest: Mike Liszewski of Drug Policy Alliance; Also: Goodbye, Chris Christie and other encouraging news from the states...
By Brad Friedman on 1/16/2018 5:39pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the consequences of elections, from D.C. on immigration, to VA and NJ on gun safety legislation, and across both D.C. and dozens of states when it comes to marijuana policy under Trump's Attorney General. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

The White House, lawmakers and corporate media continue to squabble today over Donald Trump's racist and reportedly vulgar slur of black majority nations as either "shitholes" or "shithouses" during a bipartisan meeting on immigration last week, even as his Departments of Justice and Homeland Security issued a new and misleading report on terrorism that downplays the far greater threat of domestic attacks by homegrown white Americans, in favor of a focus on foreign-born terrorists.

In the meantime, as the White House and Congress attempt to strike a government spending deal that includes protections for DACA recipients in time to avoid a government shutdown at the end of this week, a changing of the guards in both New Jersey and Virginia following last November's elections is taking place and already reshuffling public policy.

NJ's wildly unpopular Republican Gov. Chris Christie was finally replaced on Tuesday by the new Democratic Governor Phil Murphy, one day after Christie finally signed a law that will ban deadly bumpstock devices, like those used to kill 58 people and wound hundreds of others in minutes in Las Vegas last year, in the Garden State. (To his discredit, he had little choice, as the legislation passed both state chambers with zero votes opposing it.)

At the same time, in VA, where Republicans managed to barely hang on to majorities in the state legislature, thanks to some gaming of several House races and of legislative district maps across the state (allowing them to retain control despite losing statewide by a 55% to 45% margin), the GOP's majority control in the state Senate resulted in the gutting of most of the gun safety agenda on which that state's new Democratic Governor Ralph Northam ran and won by a landslide.

Then, we head back to D.C., where Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced after the turn of the new year that the DoJ was reversing Obama-era enforcement guidance on federal law, in order to crack down on states where marijuana has been made legal for medicinal and/or recreational use after decades of prohibition.

As Drug Policy Alliance advisor and marijuana legislation lobbyist MIKE LISZEWSKI joins us to explain, the new DoJ guidance, rolling back the so-called "Cole Memo" from the Obama years, has not gone over well, even with a number of Republican lawmakers, particularly those from cannabis-friendly states where they have seen a dramatic rise in tax revenue thanks to new policies adopted by voters and state lawmakers.

"The Cole Memo was just guidance, it was never binding. But by removing it, Sessions has really given the green light to US Attorneys throughout the country to say, if you want to prosecute against state marijuana conduct you have our backing," Liszewski tells me, before arguing that there is no need for such policy, given that state laws, where pot has been legalized, are already very tough. "If someone was using a state marijuana law to shield some sort of bad activity, they're clearly in violation of state law. There's so much oversight, you're likely going to get caught rather quickly. So there's really no need for additional federal prosecution. It's really addressing a concern that doesn't actually exist --- unless you have some hysterical views about marijuana."

Sessions, of course, famously has views. Last year, for example, he famously stated that marijuana was "only slightly less awful" than heroin. Liszewski breaks down the DoJ's announced change in prosecutorial guidance and the effect it is likely to have (if any) in pro-cannabis states where, he says, it has "turned out to be wonderful for generating state tax revenue...in terms of the money it's pulling in, but also the law enforcement resources, the jail resources, the court resources, that don't have to go into prosecuting low-level marijuana cases."

We also discuss how Congress may still be able to move forward on drug policy under an Attorney General who is an avowed enemy of pot users and a President who claims to favor states' rights on the matter. Congress, Liszewski argues, is close to having the votes to end prohibition at the federal level all together, if it doesn't have those votes already. But, he says, thanks to a few "old guard" Committee Chairs in Congress, it may take a full reshuffling of the deck in the 2018 mid-term elections to see it actually happen.

"The 2018 elections are going to be so crucial to the future of marijuana reform," he says. "Because whether it's a shift in which party controls each chamber, or if it's just voting out the old guard and getting some new Republicans in, either way would be helpful towards ending federal marijuana prohibition."

"It would be very, very difficult to get the genie back in the bottle at this point," Liszewski adds, "especially seeing a good number of Republicans as well as states continuing to move forward right after the Sessions announcement. It really shows that Sessions is alone on an island with this and has very few supporters. I think the writing is on the wall."

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

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Guest: Mark Joseph Stern of Slate...
By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2017 6:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The bloodbath for Republicans in Tuesday's off-year elections and a great idea for how Democratic states can take action against real bloodbaths immediately by helping victims of gun violence with a tax against the industry that works around both the 2nd Amendment and federal immunity from lawsuits granted by Congress. [Audio link to show follows below.]

One year to the day after Donald Trump was named the winner of the Presidency in 2016 (while losing the national vote by 3 million), we review what appears to be the remarkable 'blue tidal wave' that swept across much of the country in Tuesday's contests in about one-third of the states. From big races to small, from high office to city councils and boards of education, voters turned out in impressive numbers and Democratic candidates reportedly performed very well in the bargain wherever they ran.

Democratic candidate Ralph Northam walloped the Trump-supported GOP candidate Ed Gillespie by some 9 points for Governor in Virginia, a clear rebuke to both the President and the racially-based scare campaign both he and Gillespie ran on. Democrats also won for Lt. Governor (only the second African-American to win statewide since the Civil War) and for Attorney General. In perhaps the biggest surprise in the state, voters also turned out at least 15 Republicans from the state's House of Delegates which, depending on some challenges and "recounts", may result in a stunning Democratic takeover of the state's lower chamber that had a 66 to 34 GOP majority before last night. (VA also moved from 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems to optically-scanned hand-marked paper ballots this year. So, at least there will be something to count in "recounts" there this year.) Minorities of all sorts --- including the first openly transgender candidate who replaced a homophobic hard right incumbent --- won in the VA House, where Dems out-voted the GOP by more than 200,000 votes. Nonetheless, thanks to Republican gerrymandering, they may still end up in a slim minority there.

Dems also took over the gubernatorial mansion in NJ from the wildly unpopular Chris Christie and won re-election for mayor in NYC by a landslide. African-American candidates won mayoral victories for the first time in cities from North Carolina to South Carolina to Georgia to Montana to Minnesota. Topeka, KS picked up its first Hispanic mayor and Hoboken, NJ now has its first Sikh mayor. And, in Maine, voters overwhelmingly approved the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which will result in health care for some 80,000 Mainers if the dumbest Governor in the nation, Paul LePage, stops blocking it. (It is also likely to inspire similar ballot initiatives in 2018 in other states where Republicans are denying federally-funded health care to their own residents.) It also appears that the last Republican-controlled legislature on the West Coast, the Washington state Senate, has fallen to Democratic-control, creating a "Blue Wall" of states in the West from Canada to Mexico. So it was a good day for Dems, and seemingly a very troubling omen for Trump and the GOP in 2018.

Meanwhile, it's been just days since 26 were massacred and 20 others shot by a man with a semi-automatic rifle in Sutherland Springs, TX. But Republicans have already made clear they intend to take no legislative action in response. Our guest today, however, legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN of Slate, has a fantastic idea that Democratic-controlled states could implement almost immediately. It's one that works around the NRA's 2nd Amendment challenges, as well as the outrageous federal "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" (PLCAA) of 2005, which largely granted total immunity to gun manufacturers and dealers from lawsuits filed by victims.

"PLCAA is an entirely unique law. There is literally nothing else like it in the federal code," Sterns explains. "This law literally erased hundreds of years of laws and statutes, and jury verdicts, and forced all states to comply with this federal statute that basically prevents anybody from successfully suing a gun manufacturer or a gun seller, and gives them complete immunity to be as negligent as they want."

Stern's idea, as he explains, would result in help for victims of gun violence (more than 300 per day across the country) and their families, who often face bankruptcy after such incidents, as gun violence costs some $2.8 billion each year in health care costs alone. The measure would also force the gun industry to finally pay up for at least a small part of the unspeakable damage, pain, suffering and injury that they help to inflict every day on Americans.

State's "need to propose a special tax on the income of gun manufacturers and gun sellers that is high without being exorbitant. Tax their profits at every stage. They make a huge amount of money, so this would not burden them. This would not shutter manufacturers. But it would force them to pay a lot more, millions more, every year in taxes. What the legislature needs to do is take this extra revenue and place it in a fund that is explicitly designated to be paid out to victims of gun violence. When people are shot, and it is not at all their fault, they should be able to draw money from this fund to pay for their medical expenses and other care. There should be no cap, no limit on it. And no one would be able to raise a Constitutional objection. This is perfectly compliant with the Second Amendment and PLCAA."

Listen to today's show and please see Stern's excellent piece at Slate this week as well. Then get your state legislators busy! Many already have similar funds for victims of all sorts, like those harmed by the vaccine industry. This, Stern argues, should be a no-brainer for states like California and, perhaps now, even Virginia.

Finally, we close today with a few comments from Stephen Colbert that help bring all of the topics discussed on today's show together and into stark perspective...

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

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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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