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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, April 25, 2017
'Green News Report' 4/25/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
March for Science a global success; What's next? Recruiting scientists to run for office; Earth hits rising CO2 milestone; PLUS: Britain's first full day w/o coal since the 1880s...
Previous GNRs: 4/20/17 - 4/18/17 - Archives...
MIT Rocket Scientist: WH Evidence of Alleged Syrian Chemical Attack is 'False': 'BradCast' 4/24/17
Guest: MIT's Prof. Emeritus of Science, Tech and NatSec Policy, Theodore A. Postol...
Sunday Toons of the 'Trump or Chump' Moment
Trump continues to put the planet in danger -- either on purpose, because he doesn't know any better...or both. PDiddie's toon collection, once again this week, tells the story...
GA Blocks Voter Registrations Before U.S. House Run-off: 'BradCast' 4/21/17
Also: Court finds TX intentionally discriminated (AGAIN!); NV SoS invents non-citizen voting scare; Stolen SCOTUS helps AR kill a man...
Science Rising, O'Reilly Fallen and the 'False God of False Balance': 'BradCast' 4/20/17
Guest: Wash Monthly's D.R. Tucker; Also: Trump's Iran flip-floppery, court karma; AR killing spree; More...
'Green News Report' 4/20/17
Saudis invest $50B in renewables; Global warming torch-
ing wildfires; New Arctic garbage patch; EPA to scuttle more pollution regs; PLUS: Scientists ready to march...
100% Unverifiable Diebold System Saves the Day for GOP in GA06!: 'BradCast' 4/19/17
How Dem Jon Ossoff ended up in a run-off for GA's US House special election. Plus: Bill O'Reilly finally fired!...
Death and Democracy: 'BradCast' 4/18/17
Guest: Attorney Robert Dunham on AR's unprecedented planned killing spree; Also: More concerns about GA-06 results; UK snap elections; Turkey's referendum probs...
'Green News Report' 4/18/17
Toxic spill in Lake Michigan; BP's new oil blowout in Alaska; US nuclear co. bankruptcy; March 2017 heat record; PLUS: London's iconic black cabs go electric...
Cyberwarfare v. NK?; And Dems to 'Vote Their Ossoff' in GA-06: 'BradCast' 4/17/17
Guest: Jim Dean of Democracy for America; Also: Trump popularity still falling; BP springs another oil leak...
Sunday Toons of the Holy (Crap) Moment
No Easter bunnies this year (budget cuts), but PDiddie's got Spicer, 10 Plagues, a stolen SCOTUS, a spinning O'Relly and Trump through Virtual Reality glasses...
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 4/3/2017 8:35am PT  

In August of 1822, James Madison, one of this nation's Founding Fathers, famously argued: "Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

On the other hand, on January 6, 2017, a joint Intelligence Community Report ("IC Report"), entitled "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections" explained: "The Intelligence Community rarely can publicly reveal the full extent of its knowledge or the precise bases for its assessments, as the release of such information would reveal sensitive sources or methods and imperil the ability to collect critical foreign intelligence in the future."

There is a core conflict seen in those two quotes. What we see proclaimed in the IC Report is a direct collision between self-proclaimed national security interests and the public's right to know.

There is no question that Congress has both the Constitutional right and obligation to investigate "Russia-gate". It does so in accordance with its exceedingly broad powers of oversight that include the ability to "provide new statutory controls over the executive," executive accountability and to exercise its exclusive power of impeachment.

It is really not controversial to suggest, as did The Chicago Tribune, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), and Adam Schiff (D-CA), that Congressional hearings be conducted either by an independent or select committee. But even if a reasonable level of investigative objectivity and integrity is achieved, the thorny question remains as to the extent to which such hearings, and testimony from witnesses, should be carried out in public.

It is a difficult issue that pits the public's right to know against (a) avoiding disclosure of classified information, and (b) compromising the ability of federal prosecutors to secure criminal convictions in their own parallel investigations...

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




Guest: Lambda Legal's Tara Borelli; Plus: Trump's $25 million fraud settlement, and a former CIA Chief notices dangers of e-voting...sort of...
By Brad Friedman on 3/31/2017 6:08pm PT  

Today, the President of the United States was ordered to pay $25 million in a fraud settlement to some 4,000 Americans. But, incredibly enough, that news has been barely noticed.

On today's BradCast [audio link to show posted at end of article], as the frenzied pitch of investigation into Team Trump and Russia ticks up a notch from 10 to at least 11, a former CIA Director bothers to notice the vulnerability of our nation's electronic voting systems...but fails to appreciate, or even understand, the actual threat. And North Carolina picked a very strange way this week to "celebrate" the 7th International Transgender Day of Visibility. And, this time, both Republicans and Democratic elected officials share the shame.

First up, a quick thought on today's federal court approval of a settlement requiring President Donald Trump to pay $25 million to those defrauded by his Trump University scam.

Then, James Woolsey, Bill Clinton's former CIA Director and short-term member of Trump's transition team, tells CNN that the media is focused on "the wrong issue" in the Trump/Russia investigations. Never mind his "government by tweet" or questions about the Republican Chair of the House Intel Committee caught colluding with the White House amidst their investigation. The real concern, he argues, should be that "25 percent, approximately, of our voting machines in the United States do not have paper backups, so if the electronics have been tampered with, you will never know, and you can’t do a recount. ... The rest is very minor by comparison."

He has more to say on the matter, some of which he is right about, some of which he is either wildly naive, misinformed, or hoping to misinform the public. So I have a few things to say myself in response to it all, as you might imagine.

Next, facing the loss of billions to their economy, North Carolina Republicans on Thursday finally "repealed" their discriminatory anti-LGBTQ "bathroom bill" (HB2) by replacing it with another (HB142) which LGBTQ advocates charge is nearly as odious and, in some measures, even worse than the original. This time, however, the new legislation was signed into law by a Democratic governor.

Attorney Tara Borelli of Lambda Legal, which has sued to block the state's law, joins us to explain the beguiling "fake repeal" and shameful reasons it was jammed through the state assembly in just hours yesterday.

"If you're struggling to figure out how HB142 fixes things in any real way for LGBT people, join the club," she tells me. "We, and a host of others, are incredibly disappointed, outraged, and frustrated with this so-called 'compromise' repeal deal. HB142 simply took a bunch of the bad old provisions of HB2 and perpetuated them, and further enshrined them into North Carolina law." Borelli details how and why state lawmakers "have tried to put, just to be blunt, a lot of lipstick on the pig" and why they were in such a hurry to do it.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on the beginning of push-back from Dems and environmentalists in the wake of Trump's executive order on Tuesday, attempting to gut Obama's climate and environmental policies and legacy...

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

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Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton on that and much more...
By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2017 6:24pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: So, what now? What's the next step for Donald Trump's seemingly perpetually faltering Presidency? He and Congressional Republicans suggest they'll go for Tax Reform next. But will that scheme be any more successful than the big promises that Trump has, so far, tried and failed to accomplish? [Audio link to show follows below.]

His Muslim travel ban was blocked for the foreseeable future, once again last night, by a federal judge in Hawaii. His border wall, if it ever actually gets built, won't be paid for by Mexico, apparently, but by U.S. tax-payers. Reportedly, the Administration's not even sure where to put it. His attempt at repealing and replacing ObamaCare went famously down in flames. His effort at rolling back Obama's climate legacy is already facing its first legal challenges on a number of fronts and in a number of courts.

But he and Congressional Republicans say massive reform of the tax code will be next, even though it hasn't been successfully accomplished since the 1980's. And, in hopes of getting some Democrats on board, the Administration has been floating the idea of a massive infrastructure bill, perhaps, to go with it. But is Trump's version of a "Grand Bargain" to bring enough Republicans and Democrats together to accomplish this next scheme any more viable than his previous ones? (Or more viable than when Obama tried, but failed, at something similar?) And, does it help that Trump attacked both Democrats and the far-right Congressional Freedom Caucus today?

The great Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo returns today to discuss all of the above, and a bit more, including whether Democrats can actually hold together in opposition; some little-noticed hypocrisy related to Team Trump attorneys hoping to block a sexual harassment-related lawsuit against a sitting President; an interesting explanation for Ivanka Trump's "new" role in the Administration; and whether Senate Democrats can or will successfully filibuster to keep Judge Neil Gorsuch from being confirmed to the GOP's stolen U.S. Supreme Court seat, as vacated with the death of Antonin Scalia more than one year ago...

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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Rightwingers indicted and sentenced from CA to TX to NJ; Plus: Federal regulations undone and otherwise...
By Brad Friedman on 3/29/2017 5:55pm PT  

On today's BradCast, some accountability news for a happy change of pace! What are the odds? [Audio link to the show posted below.]

Among the accountability stories covered on today's show:

  • 15 felony counts filed in CA against the rightwing activists who secretly video taped and then lied about Planned Parenthood;
  • 28 federal criminal counts filed in TX against a former Tea Party Republican U.S. Congressman for massive fraud and money laundering;
  • Two of NJ Gov. Chris Christie's top staffers are sentenced to prison in the "BridgeGate" scandal (as he continues to escape justice);

Also today:

  • More on Donald Trump's absurd "Energy Independence" executive order, meant to roll back Obama-era environment and climate regulations (and the legal problems he will face in court while trying to roll them back);
  • Republicans in Congress send a bill to gut the FCC's Internet privacy regulations to Trump for his signature;
  • Trump's approval ratings continue to plummet to another record (today, according to Gallup, he is now a remarkable 24 points under water);
  • "Buy American, hire American"?! Eric Trump's winery is seeking foreign, yes, foreign workers;
  • And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, including, among other stories, a bit of good news on a Republican Governor who has just signed a law to permanently ban fracking in his state...

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: Frank Schaeffer on what Dems must do to win again; Also: U.S. civilian massacres explode in Middle East; NC paying high price for anti-LGBT law; ND pipeline leak much worse than previously known...
By Brad Friedman on 3/27/2017 6:02pm PT  

On today's BradCast, a former evangelical Christian who, after decades of participating in the political rightwing anti-abortion con has since seen the light, joins us to explain what Democrats need to do in order to encourage his "brainwashed" former followers to realize they've been scammed by Donald Trump. [Audio link to show at end of article.]

But first up today, U.S. officials admit some 200 Iraqi civilians in Mosul may have been killed during a U.S. bombing campaign last week, in what has become a startling and savage escalation in the so-called "War on Terror" since Trump has taken office. While the Obama Administration had carried out similar campaigns, the increase in indiscriminate lethality by the new President's campaigns in Iraq, Syria and Yemen is both alarming and vastly underreported or downplayed by U.S. media --- not to mention, counter-productive in the so-called "War on Terror".

Meanwhile, in North Carolina, the GOP's anti-LGBT "bathroom bill" is costing the state economy thousands of jobs and billions of dollars, according to a new analysis by the Associated Press. That, even as Republicans in other states, like Texas, are quickly moving to enact similarly "conservative" anti-LGBT laws in their own state.

Then, as Trump's approval rating continues to plummet to record lows, even his numbers among his own base of supporters --- white, male Republicans --- are beginning to erode. Still, overall support for the President remains high among Republicans as a whole, for now.

Author Frank Schaeffer, who formerly spent decades along with his father, theologian Dr. Francis Schaeffer, creating (and profiting from) the far right anti-abortion political movement, joins us to discuss how he believes Democrats can win back both the White House and Congress, from the perspective of someone who, for many years, had preyed on the fears and false facts favored by rightwing, so-called "values voters". You can't convince them of facts, a fired-up Schaeffer tells me today, but you can drop a lit metaphorical match into their gas tanks by helping them understand how Trump himself has "betrayed them."

"The over-arching bloc of people without whom [Trump] could not have been elected are white evangelicals, and that's my stomping ground." Schaeffer explains. "This was all before I left the evangelical world and changed sides both, you might say, theologically and politically. When it comes to understanding the brain of the evangelical movement, I know what I'm talking about. From birth, people raised in the fundamentalist subculture are taught to mistrust, distrust, renounce so-called 'world facts'. So, when science says that evolution proves something, or that the Earth is very old, or there wasn't a Noah's ark, you are taught from birth they are lying. We have our own facts. We have our own truth. That truth is in the Bible and our denomination's interpretation of it."

You can't convince these folks with facts alone that they are wrong, he argues, but you can help them see how they have been scammed. "If you come up with a fact-based argument, people's eyes in the evangelical world just glaze over, and instead of talking to you about the issue or the facts, all you get back is this stream-of-consciousness which is really more of a Pavlovian reaction and brain-washing," he says. "So, [Trump] had a built-in audience that liked what he was saying just because he's giving the finger to the established order of science, university teaching, learning --- and all those other things that so-called 'secular' people live by."

"That group of people is going to be looking at what he's doing to them when they lose healthcare," Shaeffer, whose latest book is Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God, observes. "They're going to be looking at the fact that in that new budget of his, Meals on Wheels doesn't show up for their grandma anymore on that farm in Omaha. They're going to see one tweak too many ... That drip-drip-drip-drip of actual evidence in their own lives --- not reason, not argument --- but things going wrong because he is a fool, he is a charlatan, he is a faker, he is a fraud. In other words, when they wake up in the position your average Trump University student woke up in, finding their degree was worthless, they are going to simply start losing faith."

But will they? Haven't these same folks fallen for the same con many times in the past? Schaeffer, who worked with past Republican Presidents, responds to that question, and many others today in a lively (and angry) dressing down of both Trump and his supporters, who, Schaeffer insists, he still knows all too well.

Finally today, a pro-Trump demonstration in California over the weekend ends with a counter-demonstrator being repeatedly beaten with a "Make American Great Again" sign, and the pipeline oil spill reported last December in North Dakota, not far from the site of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, turns out to have been at least three time larger than originally reported...

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

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Guest: Journalist, health care reform advocate Jacki Schechner; Also: Trump approves KeystoneXL; Senate GOP sells your privacy...
By Brad Friedman on 3/24/2017 5:39pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, GOP health care scheme to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act ('ObamaCare') went down in spectacular flames in the U.S. House. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

After both Trump and Ryan had promised a vote on the Republican bill on Friday, it was pulled from the floor, in a "humiliating" loss, just minutes before voting was to begin, as Republicans failed to muster the needed votes for passage. Trump blamed Democrats for his failure to deliver on his own long-held promise to immediately replace ObamaCare with something that is cheaper and provides better coverage for more people. (The GOP bill he had hoped to see pass would have resulted in premiums rising and some 24 million Americans losing coverage over the next 10 years, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.)

We're joined today by Jacki Schechner who served as the National Communications Director for Health Care for America Now, the nation’s largest health care reform campaign, during the Democrats' 2009 and 2010 passage of Obama's landmark health care insurance reform bill.

"I'm not gloating, because I wouldn't put it past the Republicans to come up with some alternate shady plan, but I do feel like we got a little stay of execution today, and that part feels good," Schechner tells me. We discuss, among many other things, the politics of the remarkable GOP failure, Trump's press avail afterward, why they couldn't pull it off, some of their many years-long lies about ObamaCare and some of the very real problems that still need to be fixed in the Affordable Care Act.

In response to Trump's assertion that there is nothing to be done for health care now other than wait for ObamaCare to, in his word, "explode", Schechner notes: "I think it's incredibly traitorous for the President of the United States to say 'well, all we can do now is just wait for stuff to fail'. I mean, aren't you supposed to work for the benefit of the country?" She also argues that Trump had simply no clue how health insurance actually works, or the difficult politics behind reform. "He doesn't really care how the sausage is made, he just wants to eat sausage."

But the week wasn't entirely a disaster for Republicans. Just mostly. In the Senate on Thursday, the GOP won passage of a bill set to allow Internet Service Providers to sell your online behavior and browsing habits to commercial advertisers. And, today, Trump officially gave White House approval for TransCanada's controversial KeystoneXL pipeline, set to ship dirty tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico for export --- maybe. But, as the President seems to have learned today, even that may not go as smoothly for him as he thinks.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report on Trump's ill-informed push to "bring back coal", his hopes of dashing Obama's climate policies, and how the world is moving towards reducing carbon emissions whether he likes it or not...

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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Sen. Whitehouse calls out 'dark money' used to deny global warming, help install Trump's nominee onto a stolen U.S. Supreme Court...
By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2017 6:24pm PT  

On today's BradCast, with the consistent help of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), we connect some of the dots between the Citizens United ruling, the GOP theft of the U.S. Supreme Court and the undermining of climate change legislation. Yes, it's all of a piece, and it begins well before the fateful SCOTUS ruling in 2010. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Today we go back as far as 1991 when a newly formed rightwing non-profit group by the name of Citizens United spent $100,000 to make sure alleged sexual harasser Clarence Thomas would be confirmed as a Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Twenty years later, in 2010's 'Citizens United v. FEC' ruling, Thomas then decided with the majority to help unleash a tsunami of undisclosed "dark money" into our political, electoral and judicial system (including more than half a million dollars to his wife's new non-profit, in the two months following the case's oral argument at the Court.)

In 2014, Sen. Whitehouse cited that fateful decision as the point in time when Republicans, who used to support action on climate change, immediately stopped doing so. And, this week, at the confirmation hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch --- Donald Trump's nominee for the GOP's stolen Supreme Court seat --- Whitehouse confronted Gorsuch in a fascinating extended exchange, about dark money corruption in politics, including the $10 million spent by undisclosed rightwingers backing Gorsuch's confirmation, and the $7 million the same shady groups spent to block the confirmation of Barack Obama's nominee, Judge Merrick Garland.

All of that and more on today's program, including Desi Doyen and the latest Green News Report and the Colorado GOP's former chairman-turned-talk show host who, one month before last November's election, told listeners: "virtually every case of voter fraud I can remember in my lifetime was committed by Democrats." He's now been charged absentee voter fraud...

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: Law professor Peter Shane on lack of 'institutional penalty' for GOP theft of SCOTUS; Also: House GOP makes healthcare bill even crueler...
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2017 5:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Donald Trump's U.S. Supreme Court nominee faced questions all day in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. But what the hell is Judge Neil Gorsuch even doing there at all? And doesn't normal coverage of the hearings do little more than normalize a decidedly abnormal situation? [Audio link to show follows below.]

Donald Trump's selection to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia more than a year ago, represents nothing less than a stolen seat on a stolen U.S. Supreme Court. If he is confirmed, Republicans are likely to be rewarded for their theft with a majority on the high court for another generation, following their unprecedented refusal to even hold hearings for Barack Obama's nominee for the seat, Judge Merrick Garland.

I've been wrestling with how to cover this week's hearings, which I consider to be illegitimate (and that is true even setting aside the disturbing matter of Trump as President!) Professor Peter M. Shane of Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law joins me to try and help make sense of the situation. His recent piece at the American Constitutional Society, cited by the New York Times today, details how neither Democrats nor corporate media, to date, seem to have figured out how to issue any kind of institutional penalty for the GOP's blatant, brazen and unheard of theft.

Shane explains that, historically, despite Republican assertions to the contrary, "there is no close precedent" in history for what the GOP has done here. "The reason that they didn't want Judge Garland to become Justice Garland was, of course, the fear that they would be losing what had been a secure 5-4 conservative majority on the court. But they also didn't want to give him a hearing because they knew, if they gave him a hearing, that Judge Garland would appear to be so thoughtful, so reasonable, so accomplished and balanced a person, that it would be politically much more difficult to vote 'no'. Nobody in the Senate is constitutionally obligated to vote in favor of Judge Garland, it would just be hard to explain why [they didn't.]"

So they stole the seat instead, by refusing to even hold a hearing, much less a vote. As to the Democrats' lack of an organized response, such as a promise to filibuster Judge Gorsuch (or any other Trump nominee other than Garland), despite the threat of the GOP doing away with the filibuster for SCOTUS nominees, Shane observes: "It seems to me that the Democrats very frequently anticipate the political defeat that lies ahead, and just keep their powder dry for a fight that never happens." He argues Dems are likely "worried about political blowback for being a fierce party of resistance," adding: "That's what the Republicans have been, increasingly, since 1980. If they've paid a penalty for it, I haven't noticed."

Also on today's program: While Congressional hearings have taken over the beginning of the week, House Republicans are making last minute changes to their scheme to replace the Affordable Care Act, by making it still crueler for millions of Americans (but with even more kickbacks for wealthy ones!) in hopes of wheeling and dealing for enough votes to squeek by with passage in the U.S. House, where they plan to ram the bill through for a full floor vote this week before tossing it to the Senate.

Finally: A majority of Americans are unable to name even a single SCOTUS Justice, and the tax-payer cost for Trump's constant weekend vacations could cover four federal programs for the arts, the elderly, the jobless and the homeless that his budget proposal hopes to slash entirely...

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: Marcy Wheeler on the public testimony from FBI, NSA chiefs in the U.S. House Intel Committee, and the many still-unanswered questions...
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2017 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast, FBI Director James Comey and NSA chief Mike Rogers testified for more than five hours today before the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, confirming the existence of an FBI counterintelligence probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, and batting down charges by President Trump that then-President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower before leaving office. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We're joined by national security journalist Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel.com for analysis of today's long-awaited public hearing, with a focus on the many still-unanswered questions surrounding the charges of collusion between Trump and Russia and of the leaked classified information documenting a phone conversation between Trump's National Security Advisor Mike Flynn and the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Why was Flynn's part of the conversation captured and transcribed by the Intel Community in the first place, before the content of that discussion, concerning sanctions against the former Soviet Union, was leaked to media? Why wasn't Flynn's side of the discussion "masked" or "minimized", as many Americans believe is the case when it comes to the capture of information from U.S. persons during foreign counterintelligence investigations?

"Since 2008," she explains, "it's been permissible for the FBI, in whatever intercepts they get directly, to be able to go back in and look up stuff without distinction of whether the somebody is a US person or a foreigner. This is why the Republicans are so buggy about this."

"What many people are discovering, for the first time, is that the FBI can do backdoor searches. It means they do not need a warrant...where some analyst in the FBI or the NSA has decided someone is of foreign intelligence interest. The FBI doesn't need a warrant for that at all. They access that stuff without any criminal evidence against Americans. If they get a tip on you, they can look you up by your name, just on that tip alone."

Wheeler goes on to detail the legal statutes on that, the lack of public evidence concerning the alleged "cutout" between stolen DNC emails and WikiLeaks, why it took so long for Comey to inform Congress about his investigation at all (he said it's been under way since last July), questions about whether Trump and others in his Administration are susceptible to compromise by foreign agents, and whether or not she has confidence in the Congressional and FBI investigations into all of these matters.

Also today: Trump's approval rating hits a new low, and a federal appellate court protects a Constitutional right in Mississippi by blocking another GOP attempt to close the state's last remaining abortion clinic...

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Guest: Will Fischer, Director of Government Relations at VoteVets.org...
By Brad Friedman on 3/17/2017 6:04pm PT  

On today's BradCast, health advocacy organizations say they are shocked by Donald Trump's proposed cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) among other federal agencies being slashed or eliminated in order to pay for a massive increase in military spending. But even some veterans organizations, whose members might otherwise stand to gain from increases to the budget of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, are slamming the cuts being proposed everywhere else. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Groups such as the American Heart Association, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (representing Cancer specialists) and the American Lung Association are charging that Trump's budget would have a "devastating" effect on both the health of the nation and its economy, both now and into the future. Even some Republicans in Congress are pushing back against the cruelest of cuts in Trump's proposal, such as slashing programs that fund Meals on Wheels and school lunch programs which, the White House continues to maintain, have not proven themselves to work.

The draconian cuts to science, arts, diplomacy and services for the poor are supposedly proposed in order to pay for huge increases in spending on military and veterans programs. Today, as Trump held a "Listening Session" with veterans groups at the White House, we're joined by Will Fischer of VoteVets.org, the largest progressive veterans organization, representing some 500,000 veterans and their families and which has come out strongly against Trump's proposed budget.

Fischer, a U.S. Marine, decorated Iraq War combat vet and VoteVets' Director of Congressional Relations joins us from Capitol Hill to argue that, while increased spending on VA issues is fine, the loss of domestic and non-military programs (not to mention repealing the Affordable Care Act, or "ObamaCare") is likely to be exceedingly damaging to vets. "This is un-American, and a blatant attempt to try to divide military and veterans and everyone else," he argues. "Nobody is going to leave unscathed by the Trump budget."

"No one is questioning that we need to have a military that is ready and equipped for the modern century," Fischer tells me. "What we don't want to see happen is this ridiculous notion that somehow we need to be forcing the American people to make a choice between having a strong national defense and having heating assistance for someone on hard times --- who very well may be a veteran. Choosing between having new equipment at a VA or scientists investigating climate change --- we need all these things, and we need to ensure everyone is paying their fair share so we can realize and have all of these things."

He also explains why his group rejects Trump's "national security" claims to justify a travel ban from Muslim countries. "It is absolutely not in line with the oath that I swore," Fischer says. "Donald Trump is deploying troops into Syria. Now, how in the world are our commanders on the ground supposed to go to Syrians and say, 'Hey, work with us, help us out, and we'll be sure to take care of you', when all they have to do is turn on the TV and see us turning away Afghanis who helped us, turning away Iraqis who helped us, and sentencing those people to death? People who kept Marines from walking into ambushes, these are people who served right alongside us, and Donald Trump is saying, 'no, you're not welcome here.'"

I hope you'll click below to tune in for what, I think, is a must-hear conversation.

Finally, we close with Desi Doyen and the latest Green News Report, with more on Trump's proposed slashing of the EPA budget, the global warming caused death of the Great Barrier Reef, Fukushima, six years after nuclear disaster and a hint, at least, of some encouraging news from the new Defense Secretary, who apparently understands the national security threat posed by climate change, even if his new boss clearly doesn't.

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Guest: Vox.com's David Roberts on Trump, Pruitt, Tillerson and the GOP's ongoing war on science, facts, health care, journalism and much more...
By Brad Friedman on 3/14/2017 6:11pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's no longer about facts. For Republicans and Team Trump, it's now about undermining virtually every authority on which American democracy has, for so long, relied. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

As an unusual late season blizzard slams the Northeast, the White House continues to deploy a blizzard of disinformation in hopes of disparaging the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in the wake of its estimate [PDF] released yesterday, finding that some 24 million Americans will go without health care coverage by 2026 under the Republican's proposed bill to replace the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare"). That, even as the White House had reportedly made similarly dire estimates on their own concerning the disastrous affect of the imperiled GOP legislation.

The attack against the non-partisan CBO is just one example of many key, American institutions now under fire by Republicans. David Roberts, climate and politics journalist from Vox.com, joins us to today to discuss the recent comments made with CNBC's Joe Kernan by Donald Trump's EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, pretending that he doesn't know that scientists determined long ago that carbon dioxide is the primary driver for man-made climate change.

But outrage over those falacious remarks and Pruitt's dismissal of basic scientific facts misses the bigger point, Roberts explains. "If the science was going to settle anything, it would have settled it by now," he says. The issue is not about facts or science, but about the Republican Party itself and their on-going assaults on our nation's institutions --- from science to government to academia to journalism to, yes, the CBO.

"If it wasn't Scott Pruitt, it would be someone else who denies climate change," as head of Trump's EPA, Roberts argues. "That's what the party is. It's one major party, in the U.S. --- alone among major parties in the developed democratic world, alone, completely idiosyncratic and unique in this --- den[ying] that climate change is happening and that humans are causing it. So if Pruitt outrages you, the proper target of your outrage is the party. He's just a party functionary. If it wasn't him, it'd be someone else."

Roberts discusses why that denial is so important to the party, and whether or not even they believe their own nonsense anymore.

Finally today, speaking of climate change denial: Some very encouraging news when it comes to renewable energy in the U.S. (don't tell Donald Trump or the Republicans) and some bad news in court for Sec. of State and former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson...

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Guest: Jeff Hauser of CEPR's Revolving Door Project on Team Trump's successful and ongoing 'deconstruction of the administrative state'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/13/2017 6:22pm PT  

A few weeks ago, Donald Trump's top White House strategist Steve Bannon vowed to bring about the "deconstruction of the administrative state". On today's BradCast, it sure looks like he's getting what he and Trump set out for. [Audio link to show posted below.]

First up today, after a week of devastating analyses of the bill by GOP leadership and Trump to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) and replace it with the American Health Care Plan (the Republican plan), the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) finally came out today with its estimate [PDF] of what the scheme will cost Americans in money and health care. And it isn't pretty.

Some 14 million Americans will go without health insurance in 2018 under the Republican scheme, according to the CBO's estimate, which they note is based on "the middle of the distribution of potential outcomes." Some 24 million Americans will go without by 2026, as compared to projections for the current law. Hardest hit, as a number of reports over the weekend have found: elderly and rural voters in areas where support for Donald Trump was highest in the 2016 election.

Then, as Trump prepares to announce his "historic" slashing of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of federal jobs from non-military programs, hundreds, if not thousands of key roles at Executive agencies across the federal government remain unfilled. Many agencies are currently gutted following the resignation and/or firings of Obama staffers, and top appointments remain vacant in the meantime (because Trump has failed to nominate people to fill the roles, much less see public Senate confirmation hearings for the appointees.)

In the meantime, hundreds of unknown campaign staffers with no government experience at all, and others who are longtime industry lobbyists, are still heading up his "beachhead" transition teams, effectively controlling dozens of federal agencies on behalf of the Trump Administration. Those findings come via an analysis by ProPublica, based on responses to public records requests

Jeff Hauser of the Revolving Door Project at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), joins us to explain what that means, and the havoc these folks --- some just out of high school and college who had worked on the Trump campaign, others lobbyists for industries being overseen by the very federal agencies they now oversee --- are able to wreak on government and policy while barely even being noticed by media or Congress.

"The level of separation between industry and the government has gone from a thin veneer of separation to no separation whatsoever," Hauser warns, describing the situation as "an intentional breeding ground for corruption".

"The State Department is a topic of particular concern," he tells me. "They have only nominated the Secretary of State. That is the only nominee. So you've seen the Obama people all leave. You've seen the strata of the top professional career people pushed out. You've seen no names offered. So you have a complete vacuum at the top of the State Department, beneath Sec. of State Tillerson. And the only people with any authority are the people who can claim to be acting on behalf of the President via their status on the 'beachhead.'"

"I think people seem to be underestimating what a federal government that seems to be more focused on enriching Donald Trump, his family, and his closest allies, could do to the lives of normal people," he explains, charging that the entire operation appears to be little more, at this point, than an attempt at "wrecking the country for financial gain."

Finally today, we close with one more story of a very popular (and right-leaning) town that supported Trump "bigly" last November, but now, perhaps, having second thoughts about what his immigration policies are doing to their own business interests...

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

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Guest: Attorney Ernest A. Canning on invoking the 25th Amendment
Also: More bad news on GOP plan to 'repeal and replace' ObamaCare; Trump out-bombs Obama (by far) in Yemen; Bad news (for the environment), some good news (for voters)...
By Brad Friedman on 3/10/2017 5:44pm PT  

On today's BradCast, trouble continues to brew for Congress, the White House, the nation, the world and, yes, for Donald Trump. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Among the stories covered on today's program:

  • The Treasury Secretary warns that the U.S. will soon hit its statutory debt ceiling and will default on loan payments unless Congress takes action. Will Republicans be more likely to do so now than they were under Obama? Or is a government shutdown and/or defaulting on our loan payments for the first time in history in store?
  • A new study finds that some 15 million Americans are likely to lose their health care coverage under the GOP plan to "repeal and replace" ObamaCare. And, while Medicaid recipients are sure to be hard hit under the Republican scheme, experts are warning that the tax cuts in the GOP's scheme will also serve to gut the Medicare Trust Fund;
  • Over the past week alone, with little media attention, the Trump Administration has dropped more bombs on Yemen than the Obama Administration had in any single full year of his presidency;
  • More new concerns arise about Trump's conflicts of interest and apparent violations of the foreign 'Emoluments Clause' of the U.S. Constitution (this time concerning China);
  • But as the specter of impeachment continues to loom over this Presidency, attorney and BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernest A. Canning, our guest today, explains how the provisions of the 25th Amendment could become a more viable path for the removal of this President from office, particularly if his disturbing and unpredictable rage and mood swings continue to spiral. We discuss the potential triggers, likelihood, downsides, history and more.
  • As a very early and deadly wildfire seasons breaks out in a number of states, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report;
  • She also has a few thoughts on the incredibly stupid (and (and absolutely incorrect) comments this week by the new EPA chief Scott Pruitt (and the stooge Joe Kernen interviewing him on CNBC) regarding the affects of CO2 on climate change;
  • And, finally, we finish up with a bit of good news on voting, for a happy change...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 3/10/2017 9:54am PT  

The never before utilized Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (full text posted below) may provide the most efficient lawful means to facilitate a swift end to the madness brought on by the Presidency of Donald J. Trump.

The real issue is not whether Donald Trump --- an utterly dishonest raging authoritarian narcissist and "pathological liar" --- should be removed from office. Instead, the focus should be on which of two alternative constitutional means for removing this miscreant from office has the best chance of ultimately succeeding.

Impeachment is a cumbersome process that, assuming the GOP-controlled Congress would permit it, entails lengthy investigative hearings, and the introduction of Articles of Impeachment alleging High Crimes and Misdemeanors --- Articles that must be approved by a majority of the House. This would be followed by a trial in the Senate. Trump would then be removed from office only if two-thirds of the Senate votes to convict. Tall orders for both Republican-majority chambers, to say the least.

Throughout the length of those protracted proceedings, Trump would remain in office with access to the nuclear codes.

In his recent New York Times op-ed, Nicholas Kristof, quoting Harvard's renowned Constitutional Law Professor Laurence Tribe, opined that the 25th Amendment offered a viable means for removing Trump from office. Per the language of Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, if Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of Trump's own cabinet transmitted to the leaders of the House and Senate "their written declaration that [Trump] is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President." The burden would then shift to Trump to submit "his written declaration that no inability exists." If he submits a declaration contending that he is able to carry out the duties of his office, Trump would not be permanently removed unless two-thirds of both Houses of Congress upheld the Vice President's declaration.

Irrespective of the legal bases for impeachment --- such as Trump's corrupt and remarkably overt violations of the Constitution's Emoluments Clauses --- it is unlikely that a GOP-controlled Congress would be willing to entertain, let alone vote to impeach a Republican President. This would especially be true if, as is likely, the Articles of Impeachment were introduced by Democratic members of the House.

By contrast, as observed by Lawrence O'Donnell during a Feb. 20 airing of The Last Word (see video below) --- if successfully invoked, the 25th Amendment would pit Republicans against Republicans: to wit, Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the cabinet against Trump and a minority of the cabinet. If the chaos that is the Trump administration continues and potentially threatens GOP majority rule in either or both houses of Congress in 2018, there's a distinct possibility that, as predicted by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), the dynamics within the GOP could undergo a significant change. If he could overcome loyalty to the man who named him as his running mate, Pence and a majority of the cabinet could legally initiate a swift end to the Trump presidency.

That's a lot of "ifs"...and even if they all came to pass, there is more to think about regarding this path...

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




Guest: Journalist Alice Ollstein from Capitol Hill; Plus: The high cost of cutting IRS funding and the benefits of single-payer national health care...
By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2017 5:10pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Congressional GOP leadership continues to ram their "ObamaCare" repeal and replacement bill through House Committees, even as the future of their American Health Care Act remains uncertain with Republican opposition in both the House and Senate, not to mention growing opposition from health care advocacy groups. But that's just one of the potential battles on the near horizon amongst Republicans in the House, Senate and White House. [Audio link to show posted below.]

Donald Trump's budget proposals include a huge increase in military spending and huge cuts across the board to domestic programs --- and just about everything else --- in order to pay for it, including taxes and cuts to the IRS itself, by itself, will cost the government billions in revenue alone. (The IRS brings in $4 for every $1 that funds it --- so why would the GOP and Trump want to cut it? We discuss.)

But the question of whether Republicans in the House and Senate can come to terms with the White House, much less each other, on spending priorities is another matter entirely. Journalist Alice Ollstein of Talking Points Memo joins us from Capitol Hill today to discuss what may be ahead for the upcoming budget battle that could include, yes, another Government Shutdown (today the Treasury Department announced we will hit the debt ceiling against next week) and even an attempt by Trump to circumvent the law entirely, "because you can't legally do what President Trump wants to do," she explains.

By way of just one example of surprises that Trump may encounter even with a friendly Republican Congress, Ollstein explains: "I am hearing a lot of opposition from Republican lawmakers, especially to cuts to the State Department, saying 'We do not support cutting the State Department's budget by a third, because diplomacy keeps us safe and would make us eventually have to spend more on war.'" Those proposed cuts to State, 37% of their current budget, have already been opposed by Trump's own Secretary of Defense James Mattis, among others.

Ollstein also cites "the ghost of Ronald Reagan" as a specter that could end up haunting Trump's plans, since he seems to be following a path for radically growing the military, cutting taxes and blowing out the deficit in the bargain, a model that even Reagan ultimately had to try and roll back. "So, we'll see if this Trump plan, that is sort of Reagan 2.0, goes forward" at all, she explains.

Finally, we close today with some listener e-mail from Costa Rica, on what a national health care system, actually looks like in a civilized country...

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

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