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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, September 25, 2017
Will 'Medicare-for-All' Prove a Pathway to Democratic Congressional Majorities?
Despite timid Dem leadership, Ernie Canning makes the case for single-payer heatlhcare as a major key to the party's resurrection...
Sunday Toons of the 'One Minute to Midnight' Moment
If they weren't so chilling, some of the editorial toons in PDiddie's latest collection might be hilariously funny...
The 'Madman' v.
the 'Mentally Deranged':
'BradCast' 9/22/2017
Callers ring in on Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un and how this all madness ends; Also: Is the GOP ObamaCare 'repeal' finally dead?...
'Green News Report' 9/21/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Hurricane Maria devastates Puerto Rico; Earthquake devastates Mexico City; CA cities sue fossil fuel industry; PLUS: French President takes lead to rally U.N. on climate action...
Previous GNRs: 9/19/17 - 9/14/17 - Archives...
Political and Corporate Hypocrisy on Parade: 'BradCast' 9/20/17
Guest: CPI journalist Rachel Leven; Also: Kimmel slams Cassidy; Catastrophic Maria in Puerto Rico, 7.1 M earthquake in Mexico...
Trump Blusters UN; GOP 'Repealing' Again; Dems 'Look Forward' w/ 'Medicare-for-All': 'BradCast' 9/19/17
Guest: John Judis of TPM; Also: Irma slams Caribbean, Quake devastates Mexico...
'Green News Report' 9/19/17
Maria slams Caribbean, more storms in wings; Trump denies climate link; Zinke to shrink 10 Nat'l Monuments; PLUS: UN gathers 30th yrs after 1st global climate treaty...
Lack of 'Convictions': Repubs on Trump, Dem Senator on Trial: 'BradCast' 9/18/17
Guest: Former Asst. U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eliason; Also: Hurricane Maria on Irma's path of destruction...
Sunday Toons: Cognitive Dissonance
Pity the poor 'PDiddie' trying to make sense of the past week, much less the political toons about all of it...
Nothin' But News (Good, Bad and Otherwise): 'BradCast' 9/15/17
From North Korea to London to Charlottesville to Florida to Texas to Ohio to California to Alaska and beyond...
Trump Plays Both Sides on DACA and Wall; Also: Equifax and You, Dems and 'Medicare-for-All': 'BradCast' 9/14/17
Guest: Gaius Publius of 'Down With Tyranny'; And another hurricane, another NK missile...
'Green News Report' 9/14/17
Desperate conditions after Irma; 8 dead in FL nursing home as power out for millions; Toxic spills, lawsuits follow Harvey; PLUS: Impact of climate in warming world...
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...


By Ernest A. Canning on 9/25/2017 10:25am PT  

"Some men see things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not." - Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, 1968

It is really of no moment whether or not the mainstream media was correct when it proclaimed that "Medicare-for-All" will be "dead-on-arrival in a Republican-controlled Congress."

Politically, the decision by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), together with 16 co-sponsoring Democratic Senators, to introduce a new "Medicare-for All", single-payer healthcare bill, must be seen as a stroke of political genius --- a strategy that could provide a path to securing Democratic majorities in both Houses of Congress as a result of the 2018 midterm elections.

Most Americans, including the author, thought the national trauma occasioned by "repeal and replace" ended on July 28 with the dramatic thumb down presented by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). But, alas, like a zombie, another monstrosity --- the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson ACA repeal bill --- has arisen from the crypt of its legislative graveyard. And this time, the desperate hope was to move so swiftly that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will not have time to score it.

According to the Center for American Progress, Graham-Cassidy would not only add 32 million to the ranks of the uninsured but create huge premium surcharges for pre-existing conditions, ranging from $17,320 for pregnancy to $142,650 for metastatic cancer.

Republican willingness, indeed outright audacity, to repeatedly bring back a legislative obscenity that elicits as little as 12% support amongst the American electorate, is, in part, reflective of the tactically flawed strategies of their Democratic opposition.

Tactically, with the 2018 midterms on the horizon, the introduction of a "Medicare-for-All" --- a single-payer healthcare bill that by every objective measure is vastly superior to our existing corrupt, inefficient, dysfunctional and deadly government-subsidized, "free market" system --- has the potential to be a game changer, especially if the latest "repeal and replace" measure somehow defies the momentary odds and succeeds...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Callers ring in on Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un; Also: Is the GOP ObamaCare 'repeal' finally dead?...
By Brad Friedman on 9/22/2017 5:51pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we open the phone lines to callers, mainly on the Donald Trump v. Kim Jong Un madness that may get us all killed. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

As you'll recall, in an unprecedented speech by a U.S. President, Trump called Kim "Rocket Man" and threatened to "totally destroy North Korea" at the United Nations General Assembly.

That, as reported today, was apparently a surprise even to Trump's top officials, who are said to have "warned him not to deliver a personal attack on North Korea’s leader at the United Nations." In turn, North Korea said they are considering a test of a hydrogen bomb above and the Pacific, and Kim issued an unprecedented first-person response, describing Trump as a "mentally deranged dotard". Trump answered back via Twitter (naturally), calling Kim a "madman". But the school yard bully act by both is far more complicated, nuanced and, yes, dangerous, as revealed in part by the full statement from Kim, which we share today.

Then, Sen. John McCain now says he's a "no" on the last-gasp desperate efforts by Senate Republicans to gut the Affordable Care Act with the wildly unpopular Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson amendment, that would take hundreds of billions away from federal health care, and result in loss of coverage for at least 21 million Americans. Does McCain's announcement finally signal the end for the GOP's zombie-like attempt to '"repeal and replace" ObamaCare? Don't count your chickens just yet.

Also today: breaking news on the Guajataca Dam in Puerto Rico that is now reportedly failing following Hurricane Maria, and threatening tens of thousands already struggling without power in the wake of the record storm; and a 30-year old reminder from then UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, of all people, that, yes, the nations of the world can come together to save the planet in the fight against deadly emissions.

Callers ring in today on all of that and more (and even on NASA's totally "fake" moon landing!) in a very lively, and occasionally chilling, BradCast...

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

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Guest: Journalist David Dayen of The Nation...
By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2017 6:09pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the "fun" from this week's United Nations General Assembly continues today, with the leaders of both Iran and North Korea pushing back against incendiary comments by the U.S. President. And the "fun" in the U.S. Senate continues as well, as the GOP frantically attempts (again) to repeal 'ObamaCare' at the very last minute. [Audio link to show follows below...]

First up, in response to Donald Trump's threat earlier in the week at the U.N. to "completely destroy" his country, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called Trump "deranged" and said he would "pay dearly" for those threats and, undoubtedly, for new financial sanctions Trump announced today via executive order. (We also discuss questions about Trump's claims regarding China with those new sanctions.)

For his part, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani lashed back at Trump's characterization of Iran as a "murderous regime" and a "corrupt dictatorship", calling the remarks "ignorant, absurd and hateful" and coming from "rogue newcomers to the world of politics." And, at the same time, Trump surprised his own top cabinet officials this week by claiming he'd made a "decision" regarding the anti-nuclear arms agreement struck in 2015 with Iran (and China, Russia, France, UK and Germany), even as the US, the other nations in the deal, and the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) all agreed that Iran had fully upheld its side of the bargain to date.

If Trump is seen as willing to break that multilateral international deal --- on the heels of withdrawing from the landmark global Paris Climate Agreement --- should any nation in the world, much less North Korea, even consider making a deal with the U.S. and Donald Trump? We discuss.

Then, Republicans in the U.S. Senate are frantically hoping to pass a bill to finally repeal the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") before the end of next week, when Senate rules will make it much harder, if not impossible, to do so. The latest attempt, the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill, would take billions of dollars from so-called "blue states" that expanded Medicaid and radically increased the number of insured citizens under ObamaCare, and give those dollars to "red states" instead --- before tossing Medicaid recipients in all states over a cliff in 2027.

Financial journalist and author DAVID DAYEN of The Nation and The Intercept (and everywhere else) joins us today to detail what he describes as the "shocking dishonesty" of the particularly hypocritical sales pitch Republican sponsors of the legislation are deploying in hopes of boondoggling lawmakers and the public in a desperate bid to justify passage of the unpopular scheme. We also discuss/debate why the Senate GOP is so eager to pass legislation that will result in the loss of health care for millions, including many of their own voters, and whether Republicans in the U.S. House will be willing to go along with it.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report' following the record Hurricane Maria's devastating landfall on Puerto Rico, the latest catastrophic earthquake in Mexico, and more fallout from world leaders following Trump's address at the U.N...

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

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Guest: Investigative journalist Rachel Leven | Also: Catastrophic Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, 7.1 M earthquake in Mexico...
By Brad Friedman on 9/20/2017 6:13pm PT  

We shine a spotlight on a whole lot of hypocrisy --- both corporate and political --- on today's BradCast. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first, we begin with the seeming unending string of natural disasters slamming North America of late. After a quick riposte from French President Emmanuel Macron in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's failure at the U.N. General Assembly to mention "climate change" or his withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement on Tuesday --- even as yet another Category 5 hurricane was about to slam the U.S. --- we cover the latest on several ongoing disasters. In Mexico, hundreds are dead and as many as a thousand still unaccounted for following Tuesday's catastrophic earthquake. And, in Puerto Rico, the power is out across the entire island after the record winds and rain of Hurricane Maria slammed ashore early on Wednesday, putting some 3.5 million U.S. citizens in dire danger.

Then, amidst all of that, Republicans continue their last ditch frantic attempt to repeal and replace ObamaCare before a deadline will make it much more difficult to do so at the end of the month. That, despite the Affordable Care Act's continuing success in helping to provide medical care to tens of millions of Americans, and the fact that the latest GOP repeal scheme will seriously hurt those in both 'red' and 'blue' states with enormous cuts to health care funding and the gutting of many long-sought protections offered by the Affordable Care Act.

Most galling, perhaps, is the hypocrisy of Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana (pictured above), one of the new bill's lead sponsors and a doctor himself. Cassidy had publicly promised, during the last round of GOP attempts to gut ObamaCare, that he would vote against any scheme that did not pass what he dubbed at the time as "The Jimmy Kimmel Test". That was a reference to the touching story regarding the late night comedian's son who was born with congenital heart disease during the previous attempts by Republicans to kill the ACA earlier this year.

On Tuesday night, at the top of his show, Kimmel offered a sharp and very well-informed response to Cassidy's hypocrisy. We share that accurate response on today's show.

Finally, speaking of remarkable hypocrisy, we're joined by investigative journalist RACHEL LEVEN of The Center for Public Integrity to discuss her new exposé this week, with Jamie Smith Hopkins, documenting dozens of major U.S. corporations --- from Google to eBay to Walmart to Coca-Cola to General Electric and more --- who publicly declared their "opposition" to Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, even while those very same companies invested millions of dollars in a Republican political group leading the fight to kill the Obama plan meant to meet the emissions reduction standards under the landmark global pact...

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: John Judis of TPM; Also: Hurricane Maria devastates Caribbean, new earthquake devastates central Mexico...
By Brad Friedman on 9/19/2017 6:09pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, its yet another day with an impossibly huge number of important breaking news stories to cover. But we try. Along with some conversation about a potential ray of sunlight for Democrats. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up, the President of the United States threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea and called its leader names from the dias, during his first address to a U.N. General Assembly today. Donald Trump went on to call Iran a "rogue nation", describing the deal struck between between Iran and six other nations (U.S., Russia, China, France, Germany and UK) to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, "an embarrassment" and "the worst" agreement the U.S. has ever made.

Allies and adversaries alike pushed back at the U.S. President. * North Korea dismissed "impotent threats by international shouting magnate Donald Trump...as the twitchings of a Dog licking its flea-riddled scrotum"; Iran's President charged the U.S. would "pay a high price" if it withdraws from the nuclear pact by losing both "trust and credibility" with the rest of the world; and France's Emmanuel Macron chided Trump for failing to mention climate change (speaking of hard-fought agreements that Trump hopes to abandon) during his address, and said that if the U.S. renounced the nuclear deal with Iran, which the French President described as "essential for peace", it would be a "grave error".

Meanwhile, in D.C., Democrats and health care advocates are sounding the alarm about the latest frantic Republican attempt in the U.S. Senate to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act before the option to do so with only 50 votes is over at the end of this month. The latest Senate GOP scheme is a bill that would end ObamaCare's premium subsidies and expansion of Medicaid by handing limited block grants to states who, they say, should decide how health care money is best spent. Despite that, one Republican Senator is attempting to add an amendment to the measure that would bar all states from using those federal grants for a single-payer type system, if they so choose.

All of that, just after Vermont's independent Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a "Medicare-for-All" bill last week with the support of 16 Senate Democrats. We're joined today by TPM's Editor-at-Large JOHN JUDIS to discuss the politics behind Sanders' plan, whether its aspirational goals outweigh its "political dangers", and if it might serve to help the Democratic Party overcome the "thinktank incrementalism" in which, Judis charges, the party has long been mired.

"Health care is something that really should not be in the hands of private corporations that deal with health care in order to make a profit for their stockholders [and] raise the incomes of their executives," Judis argues. "And I think a lot of Americans are coming to feel that way. And, in fact, I think we've felt this way since 1948. It's a longstanding issue in America."

While detailing political perils that Dems will face in pressing the measure and noting that he doesn't believe that support of Medicare-for-All should necessarily be a "litmus test" for every Democrat running for office, Judis explains why "a vision, a horizon to look beyond" is very important to the Democratic Party which, he says, has "been bereft of a kind of visionary component" for many decades. It is the "responsibility of a party to put forward what people might want and not just what you could achieve in Congress over the next month, or year, or two years."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, as Hurricane Maria devastates the Caribbean in Irma's path, Trump continues to deny the link between climate and extreme weather, his Administration prepares to shrink a number of national monuments, and as the UN celebrates 30 years since the wildly successful Montreal Protocol pact began curbing global CFC emissions that had been destroying Earth's ozone layer. Also, late news on the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck central Mexico today, collapsing buildings and, so far, killing at least than 120 people...

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

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* CORRECTION: Oh, noes! Even I got punked this time on today's show by fake news! That quote above from the "DPRK News Service", as good and North Korean sounding as it may be, is actually from a parody account! Though, as Washington Post has reported, it's a very persuasive one that larger news outlets than me have taken as real in the past! So, I guess I'll take some solace from that. Sorry for the error!

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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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From North Korea to London to Charlottesville to Florida to Texas to Ohio to California and beyond...
By Brad Friedman on 9/15/2017 5:44pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we finally catch up on a whole bunch of stories previously postponed "due to weather", and a bunch of new stories today, on North Korea, London terror attacks and our President's disturbing response to both. [Audio link to show posted below.]

Among the many stories covered on today program:

  • First, some good news (before everything else goes to hell), a federal court blocks Attorney General Jeff Sessions' attempt to withhold DoJ funding from so-called "sanctuary cities";
  • North Korea's latest missile test bodes ominously, but there is a potential way to avoid war, if officials are smart enough to use it;
  • Another terror attack in London today and, as Scotland Yard and Prime Minister Theresa May described it, Trump's very "unhelpful" response to it;
  • Speaking of terror, Donald Trump is very quick to comment on alleged Muslim terror attacks, but both he (and the corporate media) are very good at ignoring and/or downplaying domestic acts of terror by white people with guns, including a deadly high school shooting this week in suburban Washington and one of the worst mass murders in a decade this week in suburban Texas.
  • The growing cost to the U.S. economy of Harvey, Irma and other increasingly intense storms (another may hit the U.S. in the coming week) --- and the ever-increasing costs of ignoring climate change altogether;
  • More on the massive Equifax hack;
  • Hundreds of thousands of voter files left unprotected online (again), this time in Alaska;
  • The election office in Ohio largest county, with voted ballots inside, was discovered completely unlocked and vacant, just days before a municipal election;
  • Both bad and good news out of the California state legislature, including the success of a Dem-supported bill (AB 840) that will make election fraud easier to carry out by keeping nearly 40% of the state's ballots from being subject to any post-election hand "audits" (if you're in the state, feel free to contact Gov. Jerry Brown to ask him to veto it!) and the passage of a different bill that Donald Trump won't like at all;

And, finally today, a few pieces of listener mail, also both good and bad, at the end of another insane week in these United States...

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: Gaius Publius of 'Down With Tyranny'; And another hurricane over Mexico, another North Korean missile over Japan...
By Brad Friedman on 9/14/2017 5:45pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The Art of the Scammer; the Equifax outrage, and Dems work to win back the populist Left. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Donald Trump is working very hard to have it both ways since reversing Barack Obama's Executive Order last week on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (or DACA). The program had served to protect some 800,000 children of undocumented immigrants, brought here through no fault of their own, from deportation. On Wednesday night, following dinner with the President, Democratic Congressional leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi announced they had struck an agreement with Trump to pass DACA legislatively, in exchange for more border security, as long as it didn't include Trump's long-promised border wall with Mexico.

Trump has been flip-flopping and flop-flipping on that reported deal ever since, pretending that his wall is already being built, and trying to otherwise appease his angry(ish) base at the same time he's apparently trying to close a deal with both Democratic and Republican leadership in Congress.

Then, we're joined by blogger GAIUS PUBLIUS to discuss his coverage of last week's massive Equifax data breach, including what you can and should do to protect yourself in its wake, and whether the massive credit monitoring firm will face any accountability at all for what they did to help cause --- and cover up --- the hack which reportedly exposed the personal information of some 143 million Americans.

We also discuss Sen. Bernie Sanders' single-payer "Medicare-for-All" health care bill, introduced in the U.S. Senate this week, with the co-sponsorship of some 16 Senate Democrats, many of whom are thought to be 2020 Presidential contenders. What does the sudden popularity of "Medicare-for-All" in both the U.S. Senate and House signal for Democrats? And will their tepid steps towards economic populism help turn the tide for them at the national level in 2018 and 2020?

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, on the long tail of catastrophic devastation left behind by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. And, as if all of that isn't enough, also today: Yet another hurricane comes ashore in Mexico (their second in the past week), and North Korea launches another ballistic missile over Japan...

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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Corporate media falls for 'Trump pivot' again. Callers ring on on that, VA finally decertifying touch-screen voting systems, and much more...
By Brad Friedman on 9/12/2017 5:26pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the corporate media fall for it again. They always do. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

Over the past several days, following Donald Trump's agreement last week with the Democratic Congressional leadership to extend the nation's debt ceiling (to pay our bills!) and continuing funding the government for another three months, the corporate media have been falling over themselves to declare "Trump the Independent" (AP)! A President who is "upending 150 years of two-party rule" (NYTimes) and out-Bull Moosing even Theodore Roosevelt as a "populist dealmaker able to cut through the mores of Washington to get things done" (WaPo), as he finally carves out a "bi-partisan path" forward!

We open the phone lines today to tons of callers to see if they're buying that ridiculous narrative from an easily-played corporate media any more than I am.

Also today, as we try to begin catching up with some important news that has otherwise gotten washed away in recent days by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, the Virginia Board of Elections has finally decertified the easily-manipulated, oft-failed, 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems used in some 22 voting jurisdictions in the state. The race is now on, in advance of their gubernatorial election this November, to replace them with verifiable paper ballots systems.

Then, after more calls on that as well, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with the continuing aftermath of the devastating and deadly Irma disaster, and a few folks who are pushing back against climate change denialism from several different surprising places...

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: Mayra Joachin of the Nat'l Immigration Law Center; MUCH more...
By Brad Friedman on 9/7/2017 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Climate mayhem unleashed in the Atlantic; Legal push-back against Trump's latest anti-immigrant policy; and much more. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

On the heels of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, one of the most ferocious Category 5 storms ever tracked in the Atlantic, is wreaking catastrophic devastation to Caribbean island nations as it remains on target to slam south Florida (including Trump's Mar-a-Lago) over the weekend, before creating a "buzz saw" up Florida's East Coast and into Georgia and the Carolinas. All signs suggest this is going to be exceedingly bad for the continental U.S. as well, particularly where developers successfully lobbied to ensure new construction along coastal Florida only needed to be able to withstand Category 3 hurricanes. Desi Doyen joins us for details on the reported damage and what officials and experts fear is still to come.

Then, we're joined by MAYRA JOACHIN, staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, to discuss the lawsuits filed by her organization and 15 state Attorneys General against Donald Trump's reversal of Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Joachin details the lawsuits' allegations that the Trump Administration is in violation of federal law for overturning, without a compelling governmental reason, the previous Administration's program that protected nearly one million children of undocumented immigrants from deportation.

"The Administrative Procedure Act prohibits any reversals of longstanding policies on which individuals have relied. DACA is a program that almost 800,000 individuals have benefited from. This program has enabled them to secure a job, to advance their educational goals, to obtain access to items such as a home, or to purchase a car, that they wouldn't have been able to attain without the DACA program," she explains. "This program has been in existence for now five years, and it was in place for about seven months since the Trump Administration took office. And throughout this time frame, individuals have constantly relied on a promise that they would be able to obtain temporary deferred action because of the DACA program. And the reversal of this policy without any adequate reason for doing so is a violation of federal law."

An immigrant herself from Central America, Joachin also speaks to how the new Trump policy has shaken the immigrant community. "There's fear. Fear in the fact that these individuals who will start phasing out of the DACA program can be picked up by immigration agencies and placed into removal procedures," she tells me. "These are individuals --- many of them for decades in the United States and who call the United States their home --- there's a fear as to what can happen to their relatives. Fear as to what will happen to their employment opportunities --- will they be able to secure a job? --- even though many of these individuals have worked hard for years, they've pursued advanced educational degrees, and are now facing the reality that, as of March 6th, many of them will no longer be able to be employed under federal regulations."

Joachin, whose work at NILC focuses on health insurance coverage for immigrants, also discusses how, even though federal law has not (yet) changed regarding the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), many in immigrant community are now afraid to exercise their rights when it comes to health care coverage, given the Trump Administration's anti-immigrant rhetoric. But, she also says she sees "a small glimmer of hope". You'll have to tune in to find out why.

Among the other stories also covered on today's very busy show: Right behind Irma is Hurricane Jose, now a Category 3 storm, and taking a similar same path toward some of the same Caribbean islands just ravaged by Irma; The U.S. West is being ravaged by heat and wildfires; Post-Harvey Houston is being ravaged by massive benzene releases by fossil fuel companies; A lawsuit has been filed against Texas by first responders after the state withheld information on dangerous chemicals stored at a facility that blew up during Harvey's worst flooding; And, as if all of that is not enough, breaking news at the end of today's show on the social security numbers and other personal information of some 143 million Americans (about half the country!) reportedly breached and stolen from the credit monitoring firm Equifax....

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Guest: TPM Congressional reporter Alice Ollstein previews next week's return of Congress | Also: Lots of U.S./Russia news, Harvey updates...
By Brad Friedman on 8/31/2017 6:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast: As bad it's all been, it's about to get much worse, as the devastation from Harvey continues and as Congress returns to session following the Labor Day holiday. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first up today: What we know and don't (and why we don't) about the explosions at a swamped chemical plant north of Houston; Russia warns the U.S. that further sanctions against North Korea would be "dangerous"; U.S. continues diplomatic tit-for-tat with Russia by ordering several more diplomatic facilities closed, and; Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now reportedly working with NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in their criminal probes of Team Trump in what could serve as an end run around Donald Trump's pardon power of his associates at the federal level, and even a hedge against the possibility of the President removing the Special Counsel from his post in some way.

Then, as horrible as August has been on so many levels, TPM Congressional reporter ALICE OLLSTEIN joins us for some breaking news, and to explain why September could be even worse as Congress reconvenes next week following Summer recess, with "a nightmarishly short calendar during which they must pass a host of bills" to, among other things, approve a budget to keep the government from shutting down and avoid a federal default by raising the debt ceiling.

That, along with the need to fund disaster relief for Harvey, reauthorize children's healthcare and the national flood insurance programs by the end of the month, amid ongoing feuds between Trump and GOP Congressional leadership while the President threatens to shutdown the government if Congress fails to fund his border wall, almost assure what Ollstein characterizes as "The September From Hell".

Even if we had a "Congress who generally got along, and generally got along with the President," Ollstein tells me, "it would have been so hard to pass all of these bills that are coming up. But we don't have that. We have a President who is attacking members of his own party --- leaders in his own party --- and the opposing party. We have a lot of bad blood."

Add to it all the Trump/GOP hopes of passing huge tax cuts ("an even heavier lift than health care reform," she says) and today's late breaking news from Ollstein, fresh off a call with the Health and Human Services Dept. announcing the Administration plans to slash the Affordable Care Act's advertising budget by 90% in advance of this year's truncated Open Enrollment period, and it all amounts to not only a September from Hell, but likely a rest-of-the-year from same.

Enjoy the upcoming holiday weekend if possible, but buckle up thereafter, as Ollstein warns: "We thought it couldn't get any crazier than August, but get ready."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with more coverage of the ongoing devastation from Harvey, before we finish up with some actually very good news concerning nuclear power, solar power, and the nation's largest utility company...

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Guest: Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) | Plus: 'The end of the beginning' of Harvey, and top Trump officials distance themselves from the President...
By Brad Friedman on 8/30/2017 6:25pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Harvey disaster continues, even as skies clear over Houston. And a Democratic Congressman joins us to blast several of Trump's new policies, issued as the record storm was rolling in. [Audio link to show follow below.]

Floodwaters have begun to recede a bit in Houston, as some sunshine finally returns and the airport begins to re-open after five hellish days. But its only "the end of the beginning" in the Bayou City, cautions one meteorologist as Harvey moves back onshore near the Texas/Louisiana border, continuing to threaten lives there and in states to the north, even as officials expect the death toll in and near Houston to surge in the days ahead. Moreover, a nearby chemical plant in Crosby is likely to explode soon, due to the flooding, according to the company's CEO.

All of this as Congress prepares to return from their long Summer recess after Labor Day, and members respond to some of the startling Executive Actions taken by Donald Trump as the record-shattering hurricane slammed ashore last Friday night.

We're joined by CONGRESSMAN HANK JOHNSON today to discuss some of those actions, including the President's pardon of former Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was found guilty of criminal contempt of court for violating federal court orders against detaining Latinos on nothing more than suspicious of being undocumented and Trump's less-noticed Executive Order reversing President Obama's restrictions on the Pentagon's infamous "1033 Program".

On the Arpaio pardon, Johnson tells me: "President Trump has proclaimed loudly, by that action, that he will use the power of the presidency to benefit himself, and to benefit his supporters, his friends, and his family. And so it does not augur well for a future for this country under Donald Trump."

"To follow up the notorious pardon of Joe Arpaio with a rescinding of President Obama's executive order which placed limits on the Pentagon's 1033 program --- it does send a clear message to law enforcement that it's open season on the civil rights of anyone who you choose to violate the civil rights of. It's not a good thing for America."

The DoD's "1033 Program" supplies surplus military weapons and equipment --- such as automatic rifles, mine-resistant vehicles, armored drones and even grenade launchers --- for free, to local law enforcement agencies around the country. Johnson has been introducing and re-introducing his bi-partisan "Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act" (H.R. 1556) for three successive years now and explains today --- as Republican Sen. Rand Paul appears to agree in the Senate --- why curbs must be placed on the program.

In an op-ed by Johnson, to be published by the Guardian on Friday, he explains one of the things that "makes it dangerous is the fact that 1033 requires that the equipment be 'placed into use' within 12 months of being acquired." He tells me today that means that "if they don't use them, then they have to turn them back in. And so it's a recipe for misuse. It's a recipe for abuse of civil rights of the citizens who law enforcement is sworn to protect and serve. It's frightening that this onslaught of weaponry, straight from the battlegrounds of Afghanistan and Iraq, will find its way back to the streets of America's cities and towns."

The controversial program originally came to the nation's attention after military vehicles and gear were deployed by local law enforcement in Ferguson, MO in response to protests after the police killing of African-American teenager Michael Brown in 2014. After the nation was horrified by the militarization of local military and it was discovered that some weaponry had been disappearing, or was being sold by local agencies, Obama placed restrictions on the program that Trump, last Friday night, lifted with a stroke of his pen.

I also ask Johnson about whether he believes Congressional Republicans from Texas will support Harvey disaster relief upon their return next week (unlike after SuperStorm Sandy slammed the East coast in 2013), about his Election Integrity bill, and whether he intends to join fellow Democrats in the House who have filed Articles of Impeachment against President Trump.

Finally, Defense Secretary James Mattis appears to be separating himself somewhat from Trump --- though not nearly as much as some on the Left are suggesting --- following the order to ban transgender members of the U.S. Military and saber-rattling with North Korea. And, as more longtime State Dept. officials announce they are leaving, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's job may be on the line following a clear separation from the President's "values" following Trump's statements about neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville...

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Also: Trump's pardon of Arpaio; North Korea fires missile over Japan...
By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2017 6:04pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the years of ignored warnings in Houston, as the devastation continues, and what Trump did as the storm came ashore, threatened millions of Americans. [Audio link to show follows below.]

As unprecedented rains from Hurricane Harvey continue to overwhelm Houston, Texas and surrounding areas with as much as 50 inches of catastrophic flooding, the storm is now moving slowly back into the Gulf of Mexico, where it may regain strength for a second landfall on the Texas/Louisiana border. Rainfall is likely to double between now and the end of the week.

My producer and Green News Report co-host, Desi Doyen, a Texas native, joins me to discuss why evacuation orders weren't issued for Houston, before we go on to review the years of warnings about this very type of event amid the recent population boom in Harris County (Houston), the nation's 3rd most populous county.

As it turns out --- as revealed in an excellent and detailed investigative report published by The Texas Tribune and Pro Publica late last year --- the County's 18-year flood manager aggressively dismissed those warnings for years and marginalized the scientists repeatedly offering them. All, while denying the threat of over-development and destruction of flood-mitigating wetlands, poor (and poorly enforced) flood mitigation regulations, and the ever-increasing devastation of such storms due to climate change.

Also today: the "uncharted territory" of the President of the United States issuing a pardon to notorious Maricopa County (Phoenix) Sheriff Joe Arpaio --- even as the Category 4 hurricane was bearing down on Houston late Friday night --- after Arpaio was convicted for contempt of federal court orders. Arpaio had, for years, unlawfully and unconstitutionally profiled Latino-looking residents in defiance of the Court. But much of what else he did during his reign of terror as Sheriff was far worse than that, as the Phoenix New Times had long reported, and as we also detail today. Even more troubling, however, is the intended message of Trump's pardon to both law enforcement officials, the federal judiciary and the Constitution itself.

And, as if all of that isn't enough, as we took to the air today, North Korea reportedly fired a missile that passed over northern Japan. It's another harrowing show today as the wheels continue to come off the world...

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Guest: Former U.S. Army Captain Sue Fulton of Sparta...
By Brad Friedman on 8/25/2017 6:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast: With millions of Americans imperiled by a massive, potentially "catastrophic" hurricane tonight, the President of the United States took the moment to give the finger to the Pentagon by signing a ban on transgender service members in the military. [Audio link to show follows below.]

(Note: Giving the finger to the federal court system and the U.S. Constitution itself, with a pardon of the reviled Sheriff Joe Arpaio, didn't happen until the hurricane became a Category 4 and we were already off air today.)

First today, Hurricane Harvey is set to slam into the Texas Gulf coast as dire warnings are issued by the National Weather Service that some areas may be "uninhabitable for weeks or months" thereafter. The startling language in the forecasts echo that not heard since it was used by in the extraordinary NWS warning issued prior to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, 12 years ago this week (as we also covered on air at the time).

Our own Desi Doyen --- a native of south Texas herself --- explains the concerns of changing, global warming-fueled weather patterns that are leading forecasters to predict that Harvey may stall in place for days, dropping massive amounts of rainfall (as much as 40 inches in some places) over the next several days, before the storm could move back out to the Gulf only to return for a second landfall. Are state and federal officials --- with many key posts still unfilled by Trump --- fully prepared for what's to come?

Then, we're joined by SUE FULTON, former President of Sparta, an organization supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of the military and their families, to discuss Donald Trump's recent surprise Twitter-announcement that "The United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military."

Fulton, a former U.S. Army Captain and a member of the first coed graduating class at West Point, had worked with the Obama Administration's Pentagon on the policy that had previously lifted the ban on openly transgender service members last year. She describes the detailed and meticulous process that had been carried out by the Department of Defense, with stakeholders from every branch, as well as outside organizations, and the military's own interest in carrying out the policy change that Trump is now reversing.

We discuss how Trump's own process to reverse the policy change appears to run precisely counter to the one carried out by Obama, as well as the wishes of military leaders and service members and the vast majority of Americans of all parties. We also discuss why Trump appears to be carrying this reversal out, despite both the success of lifting the ban to date and comparable changes to similar exclusionary policies that had previously barred both women and openly gay members.

Fulton has a lot to share and inform us about all of this. I strongly recommend tuning in for today's show in full.

For now, however, especially with all of the breaking news I'm still trying to follow tonight, I'll share just this one quote from Fulton for now: "[The Pentagon] did not make this decision to open transgender service willy-nilly --- they made it based on their judgment about military readiness. That's as it should be. I hear people telling me, 'This should be about military readiness', and the answer is: this is absolutely about readiness. This is about having the strongest, most effective military force that we can muster to protect and defend the interests of the United States. And, as part of that, the Pentagon has determined that allowing transgender people to serve --- to keeping that talent within the armed forces, and continuing to recruit talent from as broad a pool as possible --- is right, is the best thing to create this strongest possible force. And that decision was made carefully. Now that decision is being overthrown based on no evidence. In fact, based on saying that the evidence that the Pentagon itself uncovered and determined to be accurate should somehow be thrown out the window."

Then, as luck would have it, no sooner did I finish speaking with Fulton, then news broke late today that, in fact, Trump has made good on his threat and has officially signed new guidance, ordering the Pentagon to proceed with restoration of the ban on transgender service members.

That, just days after calling for "unity" in the country, and telling members of the military at Fort Myers: "Every person who puts on the uniform makes our nation proud. They all come from across our land. They represent every race, ethnicity, and creed. But they all pledge the same oath, fight for the same cause, and operate as one team --- with one shared sense of purpose."

What an extraordinary monster. And I'm being very polite here...

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Guest: Author, journalist Zachary Roth of The Daily Democracy | Also: Juan Cole responds to listeners on Afghanistan; Trump Admin reviews on Nat'l Monuments and the power grid; Hurricane Harvey aims at Texas...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2017 6:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we pick up with the news that broke at the end of yesterday's show, as a federal court in Texas had --- yet again (for at least the 6th or 8th time, nobody can even keep it straight anymore!) --- found the state's Photo ID voting restriction to be discriminatory, and intentionally so, against racial minorities. [Audio link to show follow below.]

We're joined by journalist and author ZACHARY ROTH, formerly of MSNBC, now of The Daily Democracy, to discuss what he describes as "the Rasputin of voting laws. It just refuses to die."

But, while it may or may not finally be dead forever, U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzalez Ramos has "permanently" struck down both the strict Photo ID law passed by Texas Republicans in 2011 (SB 14) and the amendment to it (SB 5) passed just this year in response to her previous rulings finding that the GOP law was written to intentionally and disproportionately disenfranchise racial minorities.

Roth finds that both of Gonzalez Ramos' rulings, on SB 14 previously and on SB 5 now, are "incredibly careful, well-reasoned and cogent. What she found in Wednesday's ruling is that the new, modified voter ID law that Texas passed this year does not do nearly enough to fix the problems of the original law that led to it being blocked." He says that she found, in fact, some elements of the new amendment make it "even more racially discriminatory" and include harsh new penalties that "appear to be efforts at voter intimidation" which, he describes as a "remarkably strong statement from a judge about a state's intentions."

The biggest questions now are: a) Will the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the most conservative in the land, overturn the lower court (they didn't last time)?; b) Will the stolen Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme Court do so?; c) Will SCOTUS finally block all such discriminatory Photo ID laws nationally?, and; d) Perhaps the biggest question: Will Texas finally be bailed back in to the Voting Rights Act's provision requiring federal pre-clearance for all new voting laws in jurisdictions with a long history of racial discrimination? (Texas was covered under that requirement until SCOTUS struck down the VRA's list of such jurisdictions in 2013. Meanwhile, courts have now blocked three different discriminatory voting laws there in just the last eight days!)

We discuss all of that and more with Roth today, including why the GOP has been working so hard, for so many years, to enact this law; the lack of any evidence that it is actually meant to prevent fraud; the Trump DoJ's reversed position on this case; several other recent cases regarding redistricting in TX in which state Republicans were also found to have intentionally discriminated against minorities; and Roth's 2016 book, The Great Suppression: Voting Rights, Corporate Cash, and the Conservative Assault on Democracy.

Then, we received a number of interesting responses this week to my recent discussion with Middle East expert Juan Cole regarding Trump's flip-flop decision to remain in Afghanistan. We share some of those responses --- regarding oil pipelines and opium production --- along with Cole's e-mailed responses to them.

And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report' and a number green-related stories that have broken since, including on Ryan Zinke's Interior Department review of whether or not to shut down a number of National Monuments, Rick Perry's Energy Department review of whether renewable energy threatens the nation's power grid, and Hurricane Harvey which is now set to barrel into the Texas Gulf coast and linger for days, with a huge amount of rainfall along with it...

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Guest: Bob Kincaid of Coal River Mountain Watch | Plus: Trump's rampage of lies in Phoenix; TX Photo ID law found discriminatory again; more...
By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2017 6:20pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The President is an extraordinarily accomplished liar, and real journalist should unambiguously report as much. And, oh, yeah, he doesn't give an actual damn about coal miners or their families, either. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up today, following Donald Trump's wildly unhinged and indescribably embarassing campaign rally in Phoenix on Tuesday night, a few words on the unapologetic liar who has become President of the United States, and the responsibility that journalists have --- not just "commentators", but actual, hard news journalists --- to call him out as such.

Then, the UN calls out the United States with an "early warning" regarding the rise of racist demonstrations and the failure of "high-level politicians" --- wonder who they're referring to? --- "to unequivocally and unconditionally reject and condemn racist hate speech". And, a science envoy at the U.S. State Department publicly resigns following Trump's response to Charlottesville and the Administrations' ongoing War on Science.

Then, speaking of that "war", we're joined by West Virginia's own Bob Kincaid of the Coal River Mountain Watch, in response to the Interior Department's halt of a study by the National Academies of Sciences regarding the dangers of Mountain Top Removal coal mining to residents of West Virginia and Kentucky's Appalachian communities. Kincaid, co-founder of the Appalachian Communities Health Emergency Campaign (click the link to watch their :30 second video, and get more info about contacting your members of Congress!) is furious over what he describes as an attempt by the Administration and the coal industry to keep the well-established science linking Mountain Top Removal to cancer, death and birth defects from becoming widely known.

"It's not really mountain top removal," Kincaid tells me, explaining the process that is killing not only coal miners and their families, but their jobs as well. "It's mountain removal. You take vast amounts of...high explosives...and then you set it off. Huge clouds of dust then boil off the strip mine site and roll down into the hollers and into the valleys, and onto the places where people live, who then breathe it. Nothing in the human body can stop the dust. Because it's so fine, it's so tiny."

He goes on to explain how this has now been done "to over 500 mountains. They've buried over 2,500 miles of streams. That causes poisons to run into the water, etc., etc., etc. Over 2 dozens reports have shown that there are vastly elevated rates of cancer, birth defects, genitourinary diseases, pulmonary diseases, heart diseases, in areas where this dust falls."

And, he says, even though it was the state of West Virginia which requested the National Academies' study in the first place, the state's two U.S. Senators (Republican Shelly Moore-Capito and Democrat Joe Manchin), not to mention its Repub-turned-Dem-turned-Repub coal billionaire Governor Jim Justice, have been "as silent as a graven image," after the Interior Department halted this study of those "over 2 dozen" studies late last week. "It's sort of like 'Home on the Range', where never is heard a discouraging word, and the coal dust isn't toxic all day."

"You wind up getting this downright un-American suppression of science," tells me. "I'm not kidding. This isn't American! We used to follow science. It's not always been this way. This suppression is the kind of stuff they do in North Korea or the old Soviet Union."

Finally today, breaking news on yet another federal court ruling (it's either the 6th or the 8th, I can't even remember anymore!) finding the Texas GOP's Photo ID voting restriction intentionally discriminates against minority voters, and an all-electric Tesla SUV(!) smokes a half-million dollar Lamborghini in a record-setting drag race...

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

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