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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, January 22, 2018
Dems' Shutdown Letdown: 'BradCast' 1/22/18
Callers ring in on that and the weekend's massive Women's Marches; Also, PA's U.S. House maps struck down by state Supreme Court, natural gas rig explodes in OK...
Sunday Toons of the 'Doctor's Exam' Moment
PDiddie's offers a clean bill of health for the nation's political cartoonists, if nothing else, in this week's toon collection...
'We Are in a Reverse Democracy Right Now'': 'BradCast' 1/19/2018
Guest: Barbara Arnwine of the new Nat'l Commission for Voter Justice; Also: Shutdown politics; 'Wicked' SCOTUS; Criminal candidates, and much more!...
Our Way or the Kids Get It!: 'BradCast' 1/18/18
The return of GOP government by hostage taking. Plus: Our own 'Fake News' awards! (Can you guess the winner?); 2017 breaks heat records; and much more...
'Green News Report' 1/18/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Burning oil tanker sinks off China coast; Warmer temps damaging coral, turtles; Ocean dead zones dramatically expanding; PLUS: Big shift to electric cards at Detroit Auto Show...
Previous GNRs: 1/11/18 - 1/9/18 - Archives...
Dems Help Trump Spy on All Americans Without Warrant: 'BradCast' 1/17/18
Guest: Elizabeth Goitein of Brennan Center; Also: Dems flip WI seat; Sex scandals; Mass NPS resignation...
'Reshuffling the Decks' on Guns, Marijuana, Immigration: 'BradCast' 1/16/18
Guest: Mike Liszewski of Drug Policy Alliance; Also: Goodbye, Chris Christie and other encouraging news...
Sunday Toons of the $h!thole Moment
And so now it's come to this. And on Martin Luther King Day weekend of all times. PDiddie's latest toon collection...
Trump is a Symptom, Not the Disease: 'BradCast' 1/12/18
In the wake of the President of the United States' reported 'shithole countries' comment, the GOP's toxic, racist policies are laid bare in the U.S. and across the globe...
More White Supremacist Neo-Nazi Domestic Terror Ignored by Trump, Congress, Media: 'BradCast' 1/11/18
Guest: HuffPo's Ryan Reilly; House re-ups 702, Trump clueless, calls Haiti, Africa 'shitholes'
'Green News Report' 1/11/18
Record rain, mudslides in CA after record fires; Trump reverses on offshore drilling for FL; PLUS: NYC sues oil industry, divests over climate change damage...
Chaos Reigns: 'BradCast' 1/10/18
DACA scheme blocked; Off-shore drilling reversed; CA's latest disaster; VA's gamed elections; NC's gamed Congressional maps; much more...
Battling 'Big Lies' in 'Trump Country' with Facts and Sustainable Farming in IA: 'BradCast' 1/9/18
Guest: Farmer John Gilbert; Also: Detente in Korea; Arpaio returns; Landmark NC ruling...
'Green News Report' 1/9/18
2017 shatters US record for costliest weather disasters; Oil tanker on fire off China; Opposition to Trump expansion of offshore drilling; PLUS: Norway all in on e-cars...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Callers ring in on that and the weekend's massive Women's Marches; Also, PA's U.S. House maps struck down, natgas rig explodes in OK...
By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2018 6:07pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Trying to make sense of the Senate Democrats' decision on Monday to vote in favor of re-opening the federal government, following Friday's vote that resulted in a short shutdown over the weekend. Callers ring in on that today, the Women's March over the weekend, and a number of other late breaking news items. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Democrats in the U.S. Senate appear to have folded in their demand that Republicans protect 800,000 "Dreamers" in a short-term spending bill. In the bargain, they voted to re-open the federal Government on Monday, after a nearly identical bill was blocked from passage on Friday, resulting in a two-day shutdown of the federal government. The difference between Monday's vote and Friday's? A three week Continuing Resolution to fund the government, instead of a four week extension, and a promise (of sorts) from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow a vote on a measure to protect those 800,000 children of immigrants brought here years ago through no fault of their own, but who are now facing deportation beginning on March 5, following Donald Trump ending the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

On today's show we discuss the politics around all of this, whether Democrats were right to give in for now, despite polls suggesting the public by and large blamed Republicans for the standoff, the angry progressives and immigration advocates who are furious about it, and whether there's a chance in hell that Republicans will allow a real fix to DACA without being forced to do so through a full and extended government shutdown.

We take calls from listeners today on all of that, on the huge and absurdly under-covered Women's Marches held over the weekend in hundreds of cities, where anywhere from 1.3 to 2.1 million turned out --- not that you would know it from the lack of media coverage.

Also on today's show: A natural gas rig explodes in Oklahoma and Pennsylvania's Supreme Court orders the Republican-controlled state legislature to redraw gerrymandered U.S. House maps in time for the 2018 primaries which begin in weeks in the Keystone State. The PA ruling follows similar ones by courts in Wisconsin, Texas, North Carolina, Florida and elsewhere, finding Republicans unconstitutionally discriminated against non-Republican voters in U.S. House and state legislative maps drawn after the 2010 census. Most of the rulings in those states, to date, have been delayed by the Republican's stolen U.S. Supreme Court, likely allowing the worst of the gerrymandering to continue into the crucial 2018 mid-term elections...

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

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Guest: Barbara Arnwine of the new Nat'l Commission for Voter Justice...
By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2018 6:50pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we're still fighting for the right to vote and to have that vote counted, 60 years after MLK's "Give Us the Ballot" speech, 50 years after the passage of the hard-won Voting Rights Act, 4 years after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted it, and one day after what my guest today describes as a "really wicked decision" by the Court on Thursday to set aside a landmark ruling on gerrymandering that was meant to finally correct a grave injustice to voters in 2018. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

With Republicans in the U.S. House, on Thursday, having passed a short-term stopgap spending bill to keep the U.S. Government from shutting down beginning on Friday night at midnight, Republicans in the U.S. Senate are still racing to figure out how to overcome a filibuster of the same bill. The measure includes support for kids that rely on the currently-expired Children's Healthcare Insurance Program (CHIP), but leaves some 800,000 kids of immigrants who came here with their parents still facing deportation as early as March, after Trump ended Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. So, once again, rather than simply including a fix to DACA, Republicans are using children as human shields to try and force Democrats to vote with them for a short-term bill to avoid a shutdown of the federal government. It would be the first such shutdown in U.S. history while the House, Senate and White House are all controlled by the same party.

Sick of this sort of BS? If so, you can theoretically do something about it this year at the ballot box. But the GOP's stolen U.S. Supreme Court isn't making it easy. On Thursday, SCOTUS stayed a landmark ruling by a lower federal court panel that had ordered North Carolina to immediately redraw the state's U.S. House district maps, since the Republican majority legislature admitted that they, unconstitutionally, drew them to ensure a Republican advantage. Though it's largely a 50/50 state, NC Republicans hold 10 seats in the U.S. House to the Democrats' 3.

That's just one of the ways that Republicans hope to keep cheating voters this year in order to hang on to power as the mid-terms approach. Another way was through Trump's discredited and now disbanded "Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity", run by the GOP "voter fraud" fraudster and Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach. He had hoped to use the Commission to make it harder (for certain people) to vote, but he faced yet another embarrassment in court this week. When Kobach's Commission was originally shut down a week or two ago, there was a cry from voting rights advocates for a national committee to study and call out the real scourge of American democracy: voter suppression.

That call may have been answered this week with the formation of the non-partisan National Commission for Voter Justice, co-chaired by my guest today, BARBARA ARNWINE, former longtime Executive Director of the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and now President and Founder of the Transformative Justice Coalition. Arnwine explains the new Commission's mission, responds to the "wicked" SCOTUS ruling on NC maps and other recent voting rights issues, and details many of the threats to democracy that must be overcome in 2018, more than sixty years after, as she and John Nichols note at The Nation this week, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his landmark "Give Us the Ballot" address on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1957.

"We gotta remember, we are looking at the Roberts Court. This is a man who made his life ambition the evisceration and the weakening of the Voting Rights Act. In fact, if he had had his way, there wouldn't be a Voting Rights Act, as he wrote many, many years ago," Arnwine says in response to the SCOTUS stay on the NC redistricting ruling and a similar one in Texas. "They are fine with these kinds of schemes --- gerrymandering and other devices and tactics that deny people the right to vote --- because they believe in their hearts that the result is fair, it's a result that they want, and it's a result that puts people into power that they favor. And that's wrong."

"We believe that democracy should be for every single voter. That's why we created the National Commission for Voter Justice, because every voter should have the right to be able to vote and to have their vote counted," the animated Arnwine explains. "Democracy should always be about a competition of ideas, a competition of the best candidates, and then the people make their choices. Politicians should never pick who their constituents are. The constituents should pick the politicians. We are in a reverse democracy right now."

It has, sadly, been that way for a while. I recalled today, while prepping for the show, that Arnwine and I were on a National Public Radio show back in 2008, facing off against the notorious GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Hans von Spakovsky, who, I suspect, was very used to getting away with his lies before that show. I also recall Arnwine's testimony to the Baker/Carter Commission on Voting Rights which was a panel created by Republican Party vote suppressors in 2005 to push for Photo ID voting restrictions. In comparison to the Trump/Kobach Commission, however, that panel was blue ribbon! The fight for democracy is never ending, it seems.

"Democracy is never permanent. It requires vigilance. It requires engagement. It requires organizations to monitor, to advocate for it," Arnwine tells me. "But it shouldn't be as bad as it is in the United States. That's the problem. The problem is that even with the fact that you've got to constantly seek it, it shouldn't be this bad. We should not have millions upon millions of voters finding themselves blocked from the polling booth. We shouldn't have three-hour lines. We shouldn't have machinery that everybody knows is worthless."

"But that's why the National Commission for Voter Justice is going to be coming to every area where we can," she says. "We're going to have over 20 hearings around the country, so that we can hear directly from voters what they are encountering, what their experiences are and, more importantly, what some of the solutions are, helping people to advocate for those changes."

Don't miss the full conversation today! It should get you pretty fired up for 2018, if you need any help.

And, finally, speaking of what Republicans are willing to do to get and hang on to power, a disturbing comparison of the dates set for U.S. House Special Elections to fill the seats of two different Congress members who both resigned during the same week last year (there will be a special election to fill the GOP seat in May, but the Dem seat will remain vacant until November), and the four --- count 'em, four --- convicted Republican criminals who have declared their intention to run for seats in the U.S. House and Senate in 2018...

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

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Plus: Our own 'Fake News' awards! And 2017 breaks heat records...
By Brad Friedman on 1/18/2018 5:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Republicans have returned to form, via government by hostage taking. Vote our way or the kids get it it! [Audio link to show follows below.]

The chaos in Congress, as Republicans race to come up with a plan to avoid a Government shutdown this weekend, echoes what happened just last week as they they tried to pass a reauthorization and extension of the FISA Amendment Act in the U.S. House. Though GOP leadership and the White House had long lobbied for the reauthorization, Donald Trump unleashed chaos when he tweeted against his own bill. That legislation, which allows for warrantless surveillance of emails and phone calls by all Americans, ultimately passed after Paul Ryan called the President to explain it, and enough Democrats came on board to help them in the House. (It passed today, again with the help of Democrats in the Senate, and now heads to Trump's desk to be signed.)

On Thursday, as Congressional Republicans attempted to pass a short-term spending bill to keep the government open --- after a long-term deal was plunged into chaos when Trump refused a deal that included immigrants from "shithole countries" --- Trump did it again. He tweeted against a GOP stopgap plan which includes reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The reauthorization, which both helps sick kids and saves the government billions of dollars, was included by Republicans in hopes of enticing Democrats to help them avoid a full government shutdown as of midnight Friday. Most Dems don't seem to be buying it --- despite Ryan, once again, calling the White House to get Trump back on board --- as they appear unwilling to help Republicans out of this jam without the inclusion of a fix to the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Republicans refuse to include a fix to DACA, the Obama-era protection against deportation of some 800,000 children of immigrants, which Trump reversed, in their short-term measure. Dems say they won't support such a bill unless DACA is included. In other words, the children helped by both CHIP and DACA are now being held as hostages by the Republican Party. The measure squeaked by tonight in the U.S. House, but passage in the Senate, where 60 votes are needed to overcome a filibuster, is far from certain.

Then, after Donald Trump's fake "Fake News" awards face plant on Wednesday night, we have a few real "Fake News" awards to offer, based on actual facts, as we reach the end of Trump's agonizingly long first year in office this weekend.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with bad news out of China, good news out of the Detroit Auto Show (and even from McDonald's), and some late breaking news from NOAA and NASA on the record heat of 2017, as man-made global warming continues apace in the new year...

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: Elizabeth Goitein of Brennan Center; Also: Dems flip a GOP seat in WI; Sex scandals go overlooked; Mass resignation at Nat'l Park Service...
By Brad Friedman on 1/17/2018 6:21pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Donald Trump and his Great American Shitshow continues today, though he has now received a very helpful hand from Congressional Democrats, for reasons that may beggar the imagination. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

First up today, a quick word on the allegations regarding $130k in hush money said, by the Wall Street Journal, to have been paid by Donald Trump to a porn star just before the 2016 election, reportedly to hide a sexual liaison during his marriage with the now-First Lady, and on the sordid sex and blackmail scandal now roiling Missouri's new "family values" Republican governor, Eric Greitens. In normal times, of course, both stories would be huge news everywhere and we'd be discussing impeachment and/or resignation of both men. These days, however, each scandal is barely breaking the national news radar.

Then, more encouraging election news for Democrats this week in Tuesday's special elections around the country, with Dems flipping another long-held Republican seat in a deeply "red' area, this time in the Wisconsin State Senate. The results seem to be freaking out the state's controversial GOP Governor Scott Walker in advance of his own re-election contest later this year and signals a possible Dem takeover of the state Senate in advance of 2020 redistricting!

Next, Congress is on the verge of reauthorizing a warrantless mass surveillance program that civil libertarians on the right and left have long opposed and characterize as a blatant violation of the U.S. Constitution's 4th Amendment privacy protections against unwarranted search and seizure. Last week, after Trump made it clear he had no idea what Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act actually was --- despite his administrations' long time lobbying of Congress to reauthorize and, indeed, expand it, it for another 6 years --- Republicans in the U.S. House passed it with the help of several Democrats (including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi).

This week in the U.S. Senate, a bi-partisan group lead by Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) fell one vote shy of blocking the measure through a filibuster. So it now appears the legislation will clear both houses and sent to Trump for his signature.

We're joined today by ELIZABETH GOITEIN, former Dept. of Justice attorney, now co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at NYU's Brennan Center for Justice, to explain Section 702, the efforts to lobby against its reauthorization, and why it is that many Congressional Democrats are willing to join Republicans in granting the Trump Administration's NSA, DHS, FBI, DOJ, CIA, etc., extraordinary new powers to secretly spy on every American citizen's phone calls and emails without warrant, due diligence or even probable cause.

While the legislation was "driven primarily by Republican leadership," she says, there were "enough Tea Party style Republicans who have really rallied in support of greater privacy protections" that some marginal reforms were added. Though, she explains, they aren't really reforms at all, and the entire dangerous package could not have moved forward had Dems stuck together in opposition.

"It's a failure of Democratic leadership," Goitein tells me. "At the last minute, [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer said he would vote no on cloture [to end the filibuster] --- but he hedged that and said, 'Amendments should be in order and we should have the chance to look at amendments, but the bill itself is not that bad, it makes improvements to the law'. Which is not true. It actually takes the law backwards. Minority Leader Pelosi in the House did even more damage...coming out in support of the bill and opposing the amendment that would have made these improvement. And then a whole bunch of Democrats went along with her."

Goitein argues "there was a full court press by intelligence officials" to pass this measure. So, even Trump's cluelessness about it was unable to prevent it from moving forward, even as it allows for the emails of two American citizens speaking to each other --- with no foreign target in the mix --- to be indexed, searched and read by the FBI without an order from any court. She explains the horrible details in depth on today's show, and why it has been so difficult to challenge this provision in a court of law.

Finally, nearly every member of the bipartisan National Park Service Advisory Board has resigned en masse this week, citing the Interior Department and its Secretary Ryan Zinke's failure to hold any meetings with the board, as required by law, during the entire first year of Trump's Presidency. The Administration's response to the mass resignation today is almost as disturbing, if not more so, than the resignation itself.

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: 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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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: Ryan Reilly of Huff Post; Also: House re-ups dragnet surveillance, Trump has no idea what it is, and calls Haiti and Africa 'shitholes'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2018 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Who's actually running this disastrous Administration? And why don't they give a damn about terrorism when it's at the hands of white, domestic, neo-Nazis? That question may answer itself. But what's the excuse for Congress and media? [Audio link to full show at end of article.]

First up, today in the U.S. House, Republicans, with the help of a number of Democrats, voted to approve the re-authorization of a sweeping surveillance law --- Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act --- that results in the phone calls and emails of millions of Americans being scooped up for review without cause or court warrant. Civil libertarians on both the Right and Left have been hoping, for years, to end or radically limit the dragnet measure which they say violates Constitutional rights to privacy and against unwarranted search and seizure.

Though the White House has been lobbying for this re-authorization, which must still be approved in the U.S. Senate, a tweet this morning by Donald Trump, while watching Fox "News", harshly criticized the measure. Following that tweet, two hours later, after a call from House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and chaos in the House GOP caucus in response to the tweet, the President took to Twitter again, this time in support of the measure, which he clearly knows nothing about.

Only his later description of Haiti and African nations as "shithole countries", as reportedly uttered during bi-partisan immigration negotiations today with lawmakers, moved the nation's media on to the next Trump embarrassment of the day.

In the meantime, as Trump and Congressional Republicans pretend to be concerned about terrorism and putting "America first", a major terrorism case brought by the Dept. of Justice just before Christmas has gone almost entirely unnoticed by the media, after the DoJ itself failed to even issue a statement on the recent arrest. Why? The obvious reason is that it involves a white supremacist neo-Nazi from Missouri (as opposed to someone with a middle-eastern sounding name) who had amassed an arsenal of deadly weapons in hopes of allegedly "killing black people". But there are several other reasons why the case has largely failed to become much more than a blip on the corporate media and cable news radar, much less be mentioned by either the DoJ or tweeted about by Donald Trump.

We're joined by HuffPost's senior justice reporter RYAN REILLY to discuss the matter today. Reilly has been investigating the disturbing lack of coverage of a case which includes an Amtrak train stopped by the accused 26-year old right-winger, Taylor Michael Wilson, in the dead of night in the middle of rural Nebraska several months ago, before he was arrested, then released on bail for several weeks, before finally being charged on a number of federal terrorism counts before Christmas.

"When I didn't see the story pop up until Friday, I was like wait, how did I miss this? What's going on? Federal prosecutors are charging a white supremacist with terrorism?," Reilly says, explaining why the case in which Wilson was originally charged with "criminal mischief" went unnoticed by media and unreported by law enforcement officials, who are usually eager to get publicity for terrorism cases.

"The broader issue is that it's a demonstration, an illustration of exactly how differently the Justice Department apparatus, and the national security apparatus of the US Government, treats domestic terrorism in comparison to anything that remotely has a sniff of anything related to Islamic terrorism," Reilly tells me. The reasons, for that, above and beyond strictly racism (which is certainly a large part of this), may be more complicated than you think, both statutorily and Constitutionally. None of those reasons, as we also discuss, necessarily excuse the media's apparent lack of interest in such cases, despite the fact that domestic terror remains a far greater threat to Americans than the threat posed by those claiming an association with international terror groups.

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on the tragic climate disaster unfolding in Southern California which has, so far, taken 17 lives in the past several days; the Trump Administration's about-face on its recently announced expansion of off-shore drilling (but only for one politically important state); and an important lawsuit filed this week by New York City, along with the promise of divestiture, against major oil companies. The suit could prove to be a serious blow against the fossil fuel industry, and is said to have been filed in response to billions of dollars in climate change-related damages after years of those companies hiding their own scientific knowledge of climate change from the public...

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DACA scheme blocked; Off-shore drilling reversed; CA's latest disaster; VA's gamed elections; NC's gamed Congressional maps; much more...
By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2018 6:21pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we do our best to try and make some sense of the utter chaos, havoc and non-stop breaking news plaguing the nation over the past 24 hours. Wish us luck! [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the stories covered on today's extremely busy program...

  • Late updates on the devastating mud-flows that have, so far, resulted in the deaths of 17 in Southern California's Santa Barbara County, just north of Los Angeles, following a massive rainfall this week in the area just burned by the largest fire in state history;
  • A federal judge has temporarily blocked Donald Trump's attempt to lift the DACA program, which has protected some 800,000 children of immigrants who came here with their parents through no fault of their own;
  • Just days after announcing their intention to open 90% of U.S. coastline to off-shore drilling, Trump's Dept. of Interior chief Ryan Zinke reverses course, but only for the state of Florida, in what appears to be a political (and unlawful) favor to Florida's Governor Rick Scott, who Trump is supporting in a run for the U.S. Senate;

In election and voting news today...

  • Just minutes before Virginia's House of Delegates convened its new legislative session today, Democrat Shelly Simonds conceded her 94th District race against Republican David Yancey without seeking the second "recount" she is entitled to by state law. The first "recount" resulted in a declared "tie" vote and a random drawing, following a very questionable ballot [JPG] counted for the Republican after the initial "recount" had handed the victory to Simonds by a single vote. (She could still ask for a recount as late as the 17th, if she and the Democratic Party wise up and changes their minds. Republicans absolutely would have demanded such a count had the random drawing gone the other way. They would also have prevented her from being seated until that count was completed. Moreover, I share some disturbing comments from a conversation about all of this with the Voter Registrar who oversaw the election in Newport News, VA.)
  • In the 28th District race for Virginia's House, an appeals court denied the Democrats emergency motion for a new election today, after the Republican was declared the winner by 73 votes even though 147 voters were given the wrong ballot on Election Day last November. (With both of those Dems out, the GOP majority in the VA House has shrunk from 66-34 last session, to just 51-49 as of today, despite Democrats winning 55% of the vote statewide in the Republican gerrymandered state);
  • In North Carolina, a federal court panel issued a landmark and blistering ruling on Tuesday night, finding state Republicans had blatantly gerrymandered the swing-state's U.S. House Districts on a partisan bases to ensure a 10 to 3 majority for themselves, in what the panel found to be a violation of the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause. The court ordered new Congressional maps to be drawn up immediately, in the next two weeks, in time for the 2018 primaries. But Republicans vow to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is currently deciding a separate but very similar case on partisan gerrymandering of state legislative districts by Wisconsin Republicans.
  • And today, a divided (and stolen by the GOP) U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in a case challenging Ohio Secretary of State John Husted's scheme to purge voter rolls after voters have gone just two years without voting in a federal election, in what Democrats and voting rights advocates argue is a violation of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).

Finally today...

  • Trump's Energy Secretary and former Texas Governor Rick Perry sees his scheme to extend the life of coal and nuclear plants under the false guise of "grid resiliency" go up in smoke after all of the appointees on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), most of whom were appointed by Trump, unanimously reject the plan, which was seen as a payoff to a coal baron benefactor of both Perry and Trump. A former Trump Campaign official, however, sees a far more insidious (and laughable) conspiracy.

What. A. Mess. Enjoy!...

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Also: More under-covered news, and listeners ring in from around the world, including a call from one REALLY angry Trumper...
By Brad Friedman on 1/8/2018 6:05pm PT  

On today's BradCast, more news you need to know about in 2018, while cable news hypnotizes you with everything else. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Today, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a new report tallying up the extraordinary costs of weather and climate disasters in the United States during 2017. All told, the damage adds up to a record-shattering $306 billion from devastating hurricanes, droughts, fires, floods, freezes and more last year, as our climate crisis continues to worsen, just as scientists have long warned.

But the corporate media, particularly cable news channels, instead of covering stories you need to know, continue their 24/7 speculation about what Special Counsel Robert Mueller may or may not be up to, the salacious fall-out from Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury book, and now whether Oprah Winfrey will run for President in 2020 following her barn-burner speech at the Golden Globes last night. (Full transcript/video)

Instead, we continue our efforts to focus on stuff that matters to voters in 2018, which they are far less likely to have heard about on those same cable channels. Among those other stories covered today, in addition to our climate-related nightmares: At year's end, the Trump Administration gutted more regulations intended to protect the elderly in nursing homes(!), and continues to cut from the federal work force those who help protect American workers from injury and death on the job at construction sites and manufacturing plants, and anyone who lives near sites containing dangerous chemicals.

Then we open up the phone lines to listeners with other under-covered news and get a bunch of interesting calls, including one from a pharmacist reporting a dangerous saline and antibiotics shortage due to the ongoing disaster in Puerto Rico, where many of the manufacturers were once located and where power is still out for more than a million U.S. citizens following Hurricanes Irma and Maria more than 100 days ago.

But our favorite callers, as usual, are the rightwingers and conspiracy theorists and we get some humdingers today. Don't miss the call from a VERY angry woman by the name of Shannon! She straightens us all out with the truth about "fake news" and "illegal aliens". :-)

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Guest: Election law Prof. Joshua A. Douglas of Univ. of Kentucky...
By Brad Friedman on 1/3/2018 6:29pm PT  

We're back on today's BradCast after a brief New Year holiday break! But it wasn't entirely a break, as Alabama's Secretary of State John Merrill decided to launch a bizarre Twitter exchange with me over the holiday weekend. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The conversation included the state's chief election official repeatedly (and inaccurately) insisting that Alabama's paper ballot computer scanners do not "capture" scanned ballot images that can be retained by the system for review by the public after an election. He is wrong, as I politely noted during the conversation.

In fact, Merrill almost certainly knows he is wrong, since he actually went to the State Supreme Court to block an order by a lower court, issued the day before the December 12th U.S. Senate Special election between Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore, to instruct all county election officials to set their computer scanners to retain all captured ballot images! [We discussed that multi-partisan lawsuit with one of the organizers, John Brakey, before it was filed, and again with one of the plaintiff attorneys, Chris Sautter, after the order was blocked by the state Supreme Court, allowing counties to destroy their captured ballot images.]

Nonetheless, after I questioned Merrill about the inaccurate information he was offering to the public, he decided to block me on Twitter, rather than admit that he had misinformed the public. Here's a PDF that reconstructs as much of the conversation as I could, given that I'm now blocked by him, so can't easily see his Tweets. Moreover, he also deleted a number of his own Tweets after he blocked me, and he repeatedly broke the conversation thread throughout. So, that PDF reconstruction will have to suffice for now to give you an idea of what at least one Twitter user accurately described as a "bonkers" exchange!

It wasn't the first time Merrill would block journalists, election law experts, or even his own constituent voters on social media after someone dared to suggest that he was wrong about AL election procedures. We're joined today by JOSHUA A. DOUGLAS, professor of election and constitutional law at the University of Kentucky College of Law. He, too --- like me, and like UC Irvine election law professor Rick Hasen --- was blocked on Twitter by Alabama's Republican Sec. of State after asking a question, in November, about the state's election code.

"I said, it's not about lying, it's about asking questions of a public official running their elections, and the next thing I knew, I was blocked myself. So, kind of ironically, Merrill blocked me for questioning whether he should be allowed to block others on Twitter who were trying to interact with him about the election," Douglas explains. He wrote about the incident and why it matters at AL.com.

We discuss all of this bizarre behavior, and whether or not it's a violation of the Constitution when folks like Merrill and, yes, the President of the United States, block citizens from being able to read their social media comments. All of which makes what we do --- as journalists, legal professionals and, yes, voters --- more difficult and even Constitutionally problematic in a number of ways.

Also today: Despite Merrill's odd behavior before, during and after the election (Merrill supported Roy Moore), Doug Jones was sworn in to the U.S. Senate today after (apparently) defeating Moore to become the state's first Democratic U.S. Senator in some 25 years, narrowing the GOP majority to just 51 to 49. And, King of the Twitter Trolls, Donald Trump threatened nuclear war again with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and social media had a huge laugh at Trump's comments about having a "much bigger" nuclear button than Kim. But is any of it --- including the threat of war between two nuclear-armed nations --- really all that funny?...

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Guest-host Angie Coiro with George Lakey on democratic socialism in action; James Forman, Jr. on equal rights for minorities; Jessica Bruder on the itinerant white underclass...
By Angie Coiro on 12/29/2017 5:54pm PT  

On today's BradCast, guest hosted by my own self, Angie Coiro, we have a whole passel of topics to cover.

First up, we deal as quickly as possible with the latest eye-rolling idiocy from Trump. Then - what a contrast! - the amazing, multi-faceted GEORGE LAKEY – long-time activist and educator who’s been arrested for righteous causes more times than he can remember. His latest book Viking Economics explores four Scandinavian countries, and how their democratic socialist economic models can transfer to the US. Maybe we should at least look at countries that have eliminated poverty – yes, he says: eliminated poverty.

There’s a lot that’s heartbreaking about Erica Garner suffering a heart attack reportedly brought on by asthma. Turns out there’s a racial component to that, with African American children twice as likely to suffer from asthma. Following that – a conversation with JAMES FORMAN, JR. He puts the ongoing battle for equal rights and respect in the context of drug laws passed and enforced by well-meaning minorities. Those very groups have suffered the most from those laws.

Finally – who got those holiday gifts out of those big-box warehouses so they could sparkle under your tree? With Amazon and other retailers reporting record sales, JESSICA BRUDER introduces a hidden subculture: white, formerly middle class Americans living on the roads, moving from job to job with the seasons. It’s a strange, symbiotic relationship between these mobile citizens and the companies that hire them: Amazon, Walmart, state and federal park concessionaires, food giants. The companies provide living accommodations but barely-living wages; some nomads work 24 hours a day while getting paid for eight. Jessica’s book Nomadland was selected by the New York Times as one of the 100 notable books of 2017.

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(And a few sugar plums, too!)
By Brad Friedman on 12/21/2017 6:09pm PT  

On today's BradCast: He's a mean one. But you already knew that. So, we'll try not to let him ruin Christmas, at least if we can help it. [Audio link to today's show follows below.]

As Christmas nears, why not become even more of a pariah to the rest of the world by literally threatening friends and foes alike at the United Nations over Trump's unpopular plan to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the divided city of Jerusalem? That's what UN Ambassador Nikki Haley did on Thursday, and it wasn't taken kindly --- by friend or foe. She also repeatedly lied about support from Americans for the dangerous scheme. (They're strongly against it, including a plurality of American Jews, though Trump and the GOP's big donors are in favor of it.) The move is just the latest by this Administration to cause U.S. standing in the world to plummet even further since taking office. So much for making American "great again".

But, there is some good news today for Americans who favor health care, as the Administration is forced to admit that sign-ups for the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") this year were nearly as high as they were under President Obama last year, despite the Trump Administration defunding advertisement and assistance for the Open Enrollment period, cutting its length in half, and Trump's repeated lies that is Obamacare is "dead", "gone", "imploding", etc. In the bargain, as many Americans now favor government-run healthcare as those who prefer a private healthcare system. That, after Americans had previously preferred a private insurance system by nearly 30 points in the same poll back in 2010, before Obamacare was initially enacted.

And more good news before the holidays: another completely unqualified nominee for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench has withdrawn, though the GOP is still jamming similarly unqualified nominees through the Senate confirmation process at a record pace.

Next, Desi Doyen joins us for another busy Green News Report with some discouraging news, with the passage of the GOP tax bill, for the pristine Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and for victims of our quickly increasing climate-fueled natural disasters, but also some encouraging news elsewhere in the world.

And, finally, since it's Desi and my last show before Christmas --- (Though not the last BradCast before Christmas! Angie Coiro sits in for tomorrow's show with her exclusive interview with AL GORE!) --- it seems only fitting today to end today with a dramatic holiday reading of How the Trump Stole America.

Merry Christmas, Bedford Falls!...

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

(h/t Mark Fiore for today's logo graphic!)

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Guest: Jeet Heer of New Republic...
By Brad Friedman on 12/20/2017 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast: An all too remarkable reminder that every vote --- every single vote --- matters. Or should, with control of the Virginia's House of Delegates and, potentially, healthcare for hundreds of thousands now at stake amid a remarkable "recount" in the state. Also, now that the massive GOP tax bill has been passed, are Democrats still relying too much on potential findings of the Special Counsel and the possibility of impeachment in 2018? [Audio link to today's show follows below.]

Just after our show yesterday, the Commonwealth of Virginia completed a partial-machine, partial-hand "recount" of one of last month's House of Delegates races that, by one single vote, appeared last night to hand the victory to the Democratic candidate Shelly Simonds. One single vote. If Democrats pick up that seat, it would, in turn, end decades of Republican-majority control of the House, with a 50/50 seat split among Ds and Rs. Before the November 7 election, Republicans held a 66-34 seat advantage.

It appeared, as of last night, to be a done deal, with the Dem having been declared the winner after the "recount" by one vote on the state's hand-marked paper ballots and the Republicans having conceded the race. (Virginia finally got rid of all of its 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems this after.) The bi-partisan election official judges signed off on Tuesday's new tally, handing the victory to Simonds over Republican David Yancey who had led by just 10 votes prior to the "recount".

But on Wednesday morning, a GOP election official judge had second thoughts about one ballot which, previously, the judges had unanimously determined to be an overvote --- with a selection in the bubbles for both the Democrat Simonds and for the incumbent Republican Yancey. The Simonds bubble, however, appears to have a slash through it. The rest of the selections on the ballot were for Republicans, though the choice for the Republican candidate for Governor also appears to have a cross through it, with no other candidate selected by the voter in that race. (The full ballot in question can be viewed here [JPG].)

So, after a two hour court hearing on Wednesday, it was decided by a three-judge panel that the race was/is a tie instead, with 11,608 votes for each candidate. That means control of the VA House --- and the increased possibility of health care coverage via Medicaid expansion for nearly half a million Virginians --- will be left up to a random draw to see who wins the seat.

There are, of course, still many questions about this story, which was still breaking as we went to air today. The "losing" candidate after the random draw will also be able to ask for a second "recount". We discuss all of those questions, the ballot, the "recount" methods used in the state, the state's published guidelines [PDF] for counting various types of questionably hand-marked paper ballots in VA, and much more related to this remarkable episode, including whether digitally scanned "Ballot Images" from Election Night may exist to determine whether the cross-out on the ballot in question was there originally or added somehow during the post-Election Night chain of custody. (The city of Newport News, where this election in the 94th District was held, does appear to have the type of computer-scanners that create digital ballot images, though I've yet to hear back from the Registrar if those systems were set to retain the images after scanning them.)

It should also be noted here that Democrats received some 53% of the vote, compared to just 43% for Republicans across the state when the entire House was up for grabs in November. Nonetheless, as things currently stand, Democrats may only achieve a 50/50 split in the House. That should offer an idea of how badly the Republicans have gerrymandered the state.

Also, a separate recount for a separate very close VA House of Delegates race is still pending, though Democrats there are suing for a completely new election, since at least 100 voters were given the wrong ballot in a race currently decided for the Republican incumbent --- before the "recount" --- by just 82 votes.

Then, we're joined today by JEET HEER, Senior Editor at New Republic to discuss the final passage of the GOP's massive tax cuts, largely for the wealthy, how Democrats are responding to them, and whether or not they are over-relying on the possibility of impeachment to take down President Trump as they head into the 2018 mid-term election year. Heer argued as much in a recent article discussing "the Democrats' dangerous obsession with impeachment". It's a highly debatable subject, about which I am of at least two minds, as discussed in detail with Heer on today's show.

Finally, we close with Bernie Sanders' late-night response to the passage of the $1.5 trillion tax bill in the middle of the night on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning in the U.S. Senate, and how the GOP is now planning to come for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in order to pay for it...

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Guest: Political scientist Spencer Piston of Boston University...
By Brad Friedman on 12/19/2017 5:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Is it time for Dems to run on soaking the rich? If the GOP's tax legislation doesn't reveal Republicans' own continuing class warfare against the poor and middle-class, nothing will. But will Democrats be smart enough to take advantage of it? [Audio link to show follows below.]

On Tuesday, House Republicans passed what they thought would be the final version of their massive tax legislation to transfer hundreds of billions, if not trillions of dollars from the poor and middle class to the wealthy and corporations already raking in record profits. A parliamentary issue in the Senate, however, may require the House to vote on the measure once again on Wednesday. But, either way, the bill now looks as if the temporary tax cuts for individuals and massive permanent cuts for corporations will clear both chambers and head to Donald Trump's desk for signing before Christmas.

So, what happened to all of those Tea Party folks who, back in 2010, under a Democratic President, pretended to be demanding fiscal discipline and an end to deficit spending in Congress? All of those dupes, patsies, chumps and suckers --- not to mention the GOPers who scammed them about it all in the first place --- now seem to be cool with adding $1.5 trillion to the national debt via the GOP tax bill. In Congress, Republicans are now giddy about their hopes of dealing with that debt by cutting social programs, like health care to people who need it, including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, to help pay for their massive tax cuts to the wealthy and for huge increases in spending for the U.S. war-making machine.

At the same time, Democrats ought to be eying the fact that the vast majority of voters --- including huge majorities of Trump supporters --- would prefer to see taxes raised, not lowered, on the rich. Political scientist and researcher SPENCER PISTON of Boston University, author of the upcoming book Class Attitudes in America: Sympathy for the Poor, Resentment of the Rich, and Political Implications joins us today to discuss his recent article at The Nation with Sean McElwee, on how Republican politicians continue to get away with cutting taxes for the wealthy, despite overwhelming popular opposition to it.

Piston explains how tactics are used by the GOP to confuse the public (which are then echoed by the media) and, when all else fails and such measures are still wildly unpopular --- as with the current GOP tax cuts --- they go ahead and vote for it anyway. It's time, he argues, for Democrats to stop shying away from leveraging resentment of the rich in their politics. And he has the data to prove it.

"There's a common assumption out there that, in a democratic political system, the desires of the public should guide public policy," he tells me. "And in some cases that's certainly true. But, in many cases, the opinions of the public have very little to do with the policy outcomes that actually occur. This [GOP tax plan] is no exception. Americans have desired higher taxes on the rich for decades. And yet, fairly consistently, albeit with some notable exceptions, taxes on the rich over the past few decades have plummeted."

"The reason that this happens is policy makers who don't want to do what majorities of the public want, follow a playbook of confuse, distract, and ignore." Piston explains how it works and what it means --- or should --- for Democrats as they move into the 2018 mid-term election year and look to 2020 beyond it. "There is certainly a benefit to running against the rich, which is that it's easier to get the public on your side," he explains, before cautioning, "But it's not as easy to get donors on your side."

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report on the cause of the Atlanta airport blackout, the massive, still-out-of-control winter wildfires in Southern California, Trump's ridiculous new declaration that climate change is no longer a national security threat, and an update on the deadly Amtrak train derailment near Seattle, which could have been avoided...with proper funding from Congress...

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By Brad Friedman on 12/15/2017 6:21pm PT  

On today's BradCast, a spoonful or two of sugar where we can find it, along with much too much bitter medicine. [Audio link to show follows below.]

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

First up: The massively unpopular Republican tax scam lurches toward the finish line after the last of the pretend GOP hold-outs in the U.S. Senate now seem to be on board. They all know it's a scam, of course, one that will not, as they pretend, "pay for itself". And most predict the tax bill will gravely hurt the GOP's chances of holding on to the U.S. House in 2018. But they don't seem to care for some reason Moreover, they are openly admitting publicly that they are coming for cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid almost as soon as the largest redistribution of wealth from the poor and middle class to corporations and the wealthy in the history of the nation is completed before Christmas.

Then: Earlier in the week, Trump's beleaguered Sec. of State Rex Tillerson had announced that the U.S. was ready to meet with the North Koreans for peace talks without preconditions. By week's end, however, that hopeful message of potential peace took a drastic u-turn, as Tillerson appears to have reversed course at the last minute during his remarks at the U.N. on Friday.

Meanwhile, even though they have, up until now, failed to enact any major legislation to date, Trump and the Republicans have been wildly successful at ramming lifetime appointments of radical right-wing jurists to the federal bench through the U.S. Senate. Some of those appointees have been ridiculously unqualified, though at least one Senate Republican is beginning to put the brakes on those nominees. We share part of the astonishing Senate Judiciary Committee colloquy this week between Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) and Mark Spencer Petersen, Trump's embarrassingly unqualified nominee for a lifetime post on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Finally, we get to at least a spoonful of sugar with a musical tribute to the apparently failed U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama, plummeting approval ratings for the President, the Vice-President and the entire Republican Party, and the hilarious case of pretty much every member of the Trump family in D.C. successfully suppressing their own votes in last month's New York mayoral election.

All of that and much more in today's BradCast. Enjoy!

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Guest: Sue Wilson of Media Action Center; Also: More mega-mergers before GOP tax cuts; Trump noms to EPA, federal bench withdrawn...
By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2017 6:27pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Disturbing news for Americans and free speech before Christmas, but great news for huge corporations enjoying record profits already. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up, yet another media mega-merger is announced as Disney says they will purchase much of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox in a $52 billion dollar deal, even as Trump and the Congressional GOP push to give them all huge tax breaks --- at the expense of the poor and middle class. Republicans are hoping for final passage of their tax bill before Christmas and before presumptive Sen.-elect Doug Jones (D-AL) can be seated and further reduce the GOP's slim U.S. Senate majority.

On the upside today, one of Trump's wildly inappropriate industry shills nominated to the EPA has reportedly withdrawn, as have two wholly unqualified nominees for lifetime judgeship appointments to the federal bench.

Then, as expected on Thursday, Trump's Republican-led Federal Communications Commission (FCC), voted 3 to 2 along party lines to kill "Net Neutrality" rules for Internet Service Providers like AT&T, Verizon, Charter and Comcast. That, despite a letter from 18 state Attorneys General who asked the Commission to delay the vote until after a legitimate public comment period. The previous one, they charge, was manipulated by as many as 2,000,000 comments that New York's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has found found to have been faked.

Nonetheless, right-wing FCC Commissioner and former Verizon attorney Ajit Pai did not delay the vote, and the Commission voted to kill the rules that had long prevented ISP's from blocking or slowing down certain websites or apps, or charging more for access to them. Longtime media reform activist SUE WILSON joins us today and describes the latest actions by the FCC as little more than a move toward the end of free speech on the Internet.

She argues that the move to kill Net Neutrality echoes the efforts to pass the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which was also sold by proponents at the time as a boon for competition and innovation that would result in more free speech over our public airwaves. Instead, the public radio waves have become the nearly exclusive domain of corporate right-wing political speech and propaganda in the 20 years since the measure was signed by President Bill Clinton.

"They made a lot of promises, when they consolidated radio, that we would end up with a much more diverse speech for everybody," Wilson explains. "Anybody who listens to radio knows that it's almost impossible to find a show like The BradCast on the air because it is now dominated by pro-Republican, conservative --- no, 'alt-right' --- speech, to the exclusion of all others. They flat-out lied to us, and guess what? That's what they're doing today."

A similar future may soon be in store for the Internet, unless promised lawsuits or Congressional legislation is able to block or reverse today's shamefully under-reported and disturbing turn of events.

"The claim that the Federal Communications Commission Republicans are making is that we need to give more money to broadband services so that they can invest in rural areas," says Wilson. "However, if you look at the Securities and Exchange [Commission] documents, which these corporations have to fill out --- under penalty of prosecution if they lie --- the six CEOs of publicly-traded broadband companies are telling their investors that the FCC's current Net Neutrality rules have not in any way impacted their investment strategies. Again, we're looking at the Federal Communications Commission, as headed by Ajit Pai, just making things up out of whole cloth."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with an update on the record and still-growing Southern California wildfires, more bad news about the Arctic, some good news for Tesla, and a worldwide embarrassment for the United States...

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

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