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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, August 20, 2017
The 25th for 45?:
'BradCast' 8/18/17
Guest: Political scientist, author David Faris; Plus: BANNON IS OUT and more than 1.5M Chicago voter registration records exposed (again), by nation's largest e-voting vendor...
Fighting for Free Speech For and Against Nazis, Trump, and Israel: 'BradCast' 8/17/17
Guest: Inst. for Policy Studies' Aniqa Raihan; Also: Bannon interview's revelation on North Korea; Fox 'News' buckling under stress...
'Green News Report' 8/17/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump revokes infrastructure protection; July 2017 hottest month ever; Solar eclipse to challenge power grid; PLUS: Nat'l monuments on chopping block in unprecedented review...
Previous GNRs: 8/15/17 - 8/10/17 - Archives...
After C'Ville, Trump's Presser: Is Something Happening Here?: 'BradCast' 8/16/17
Also: Attorney Ernest Canning on IN vote suppression suits; Callers on Trump's support for White Supremacists...
Federal Lawsuits Challenge Indiana's Wildly Disparate Voting Site Laws
Legal analyst Ernie Canning on suits filed against years-long, blatant voter suppression in Mike Pence's Indiana...
Path to Peace w/ NK? Also: CBO Undercuts Trump Threat: 'BradCast' 8/15/2017
And Trump keeps digging deeper on C'Ville, despite newly revealed FBI, DHS warning of violent RW extremism...
'Green News Report' 8/15/17
Deadly Sierra Leone mudslide; Largest Gulf 'dead zone' ever; 'Super heat waves' on rise; Fossil fuel ind's $5T in subsidies/yr; PLUS: Sea rising faster in Southeast...
Making America Hate Again: From C'Ville to OK to White House: 'BradCast' 8/14/17
Guest: Former neo-Nazi Tony McAleer; Also: U.S., N. Korea remain on edge of World War...
Sunday Toons of the 'Superior Race/Arms Race' Moment
At this rate, between N. Korea, C'ville and climate crisis, it's unclear if America can survive more "greatness", as the cartoonists in PDiddie's latest weekly collection illustrate...
More Trump Admin Sabotage of ObamaCare Revealed: 'BradCast' 8/11/17
Guest: TPM's Alice Ollstein; Also: Trump continues NK threats, experts worry, diplomatic solutions remain...
'Fire and Fury': Overblown Bluster or Time for Real Alarm?: 'BradCast' 8/10/17
Guest: VOA's WH House Bureau Chief, 26-yr Asia journo Steve Herman; Also: DoJ flips in voting rights case; Trump still ignoring MN mosque attack...
'Green News Report' 8/10/17
Fed scientists leak climate report; Admin wants to stay in Paris accord?; EPA finds regs don't hurt economy; PLUS: Obama climate policies save billions...
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...


Guest: Journalist, health care reform advocate Jacki Schechner...
By Brad Friedman on 5/24/2017 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast, big wins for Democrats in very Republican districts, more trouble for the GOP as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) finally scores the House healthcare bill, and trouble likely ahead for still-divided Democrats. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

As Republicans struggle to pass any major legislation in the wake of Donald Trump's continuing political and legal troubles, Democrats saw two different huge state-level electoral victories in "deeply red districts" in New York and New Hampshire during special elections on Tuesday. Both seats had been previously held by Republicans for years and, in NY, the former Bernie Sanders delegate who won the set, helped flip the district "an astounding 39 points" since the November election!

All of that comes in advance of a statewide special election for the U.S. House in Montana on Thursday, believed to be "closer than it should be" in a state that went for Trump last November by more than 20 points, and a U.S. House special election runoff next month in Georgia's 6th Congressional District which also went to Trump last year, but where the Democrat is now said to be leading his Republican opponent by 7 points.

The first-time Democratic candidates in both the MT and GA races are raising record-shattering money from small donors, though in Georgia, non-partisan election watchdogs are urging voters to cast absentee paper ballots by mail or, preferably, dropped off at County HQ, rather than via the 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems the state will once again, shamefully, force voters to use at the precincts on June 20th.

Then, just before airtime, the non-partisan CBO finally released its score of the Republicans' American Health Care Act (ACHA), which was narrowly adopted in the U.S. House three weeks ago. Like previous GOP versions of the bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), the CBO finds the latest version will result in more than 20 million Americans (23 million, in this case) losing their health care coverage over the next ten years, including 14 million next year alone.

Journalist and health care reform advocate Jackie Schechner joins us with details from the CBO's just-released report, and what it is likely to mean for the future of the GOP legislation in the House and in the U.S. Senate. (She believes the GOP will ultimately fail to pass a bill that both houses can agree upon, so Obamacare will stay in place for the foreseeable future.)

Schechner details how the GOP's House bill will imperil health care for those with preexisting conditions (the CBO found such people "would ultimately be unable to purchase...health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law, if they could purchase it at all"); the Senate GOP leadership's strange plan to create a competing bill in the upper chamber with a "group of 13 white men" and no Democrats or even industry experts taking part; how she believes Republicans and President Trump have purposely undermined Obamacare; and how Democrats and Republicans together could actually fix the problems in the Affordable Care Act --- if they actually wanted to.

"I think it's important that we take a step back and take the politics out of this, and start to focus on the policy of what we're trying to do," she tells me. "What we're trying to do is get people in this country access to health care, and to make it affordable. That's where the policy specifics need to come into play, and that's not going to happen if you got 13 white men who are crafting this behind closed doors who have no experience in health care policy."

We then close with a very lively discussion of a Democratic single-payer "Medicare for All" health care bill introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) in the House. The legislation, HR-626, for the first time ever, now has support from more than half of the Democratic caucus. Does that bill present a way forward for health care reform in the U.S. --- and for Democrats at the ballot box?

We discuss, debate and, hopefully, inform on that and much more on today's BradCast!...

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

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And MUCH more today...
By Brad Friedman on 5/9/2017 5:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The stunning breaking news that FBI Director James Comey has been fired by Donald Trump hits smack dab in the middle of today's show.

Other than that, we also cover a whole bunch of other noteworthy stuff today, including...

  • South Korea elects liberal candidate who wants to open relations with North Korea as new President, Donald Trump about to get very confused;
  • Trump Campaign scrubs own website amid federal court hearing on 'unconstitutional' Muslim travel ban;
  • Sally Yates makes mincemeat of both hypocritical U.S. Senators from Texas during her Monday Senate testimony;
  • Vulnerable Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA) walks out of interview in a huff after being asked perfectly reasonable question;
  • New study finds GOP Photo ID voting restriction laws suppressed huge number of voters in 2016, including some 200,000 in Wisconsin (which Trump reportedly won by 22,700 votes);
  • Illinois Senate calls Republican Governor's bluff, advances bi-partisan bill for automatic voter registration;
  • Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report as France votes for climate action and climate change-fueled extreme weather turns deadly in Midwest and South East.

Oh, and did I mention Donald Trump suddenly fired FBI Director James Comey today?!!...

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: Maricopa County, AZ Recorder Adrian Fontes...
By Brad Friedman on 5/5/2017 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the new election chief in Maricopa County (Phoenix), AZ has discovered tens of thousands of voter registration forms from citizens who, he says, are otherwise eligible to vote, but were never added to the voting rolls by his predecessor, due to what he describes as an unconstitutional or, at least, immoral state statute. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Democrats seem quite giddy (with good reason) about their chances of re-taking the U.S. House next year following Thursday's passage of the wildly unpopular Republican bill to replace ObamaCare. But their voters will have to be able to actually cast a vote next year --- and have their votes counted as cast --- in order for Democrats to have any chance of regaining a majority in Congress.

On that note, we are joined on today's show by Maricopa's brand new County Recorder Adrian Fontes. Last November, the Democratic former prosecutor unseated Pheonix' previous election chief, Republican Helen Purcell, who had served in the post unopposed for 30 years. He was inspired to run following the disastrous Presidential Primary in Maricopa last year, when hundreds of precincts were shut down and many voters were forced to wait for hours to cast a vote in the Sanders/Clinton primary.

Since taking office, Fontes has discovered tens of thousands of voter registration forms, going as far back as a decade, stored in dusty boxes in a county warehouse. The forms, he explains, were never entered in to the voter database, since the applicants failed to include proof of citizenship, as required by Prop 200, a 2004 ballot initiative that is now Arizona law.

Fontes explains that he is now attempting to confirm the citizenship of the would-be voters himself, by checking their status as already tracked by the state's Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) database. "We had a policy in this office that uses what I consider to be a mis-read of state law," he tells me. "The read that was happening says that the County Recorder is to reject the form. My read is, if you've already proven to the State of Arizona that you're a citizen, then you should be allowed to vote."

Critics, specifically Republican critics, charge that Fontes, a U.S. Marine who formerly worked as a prosecutor in both the County Attorney's office as well as for the Arizona Attorney General, is not shy in countering those critics. "Why in the world would anyone not want me to go check with the MVD and say 'lo and behold, the Motor Vehicle Division of the State of Arizona has on file a document proving that this person is a citizen. I will therefore register you to vote!' Why would anybody oppose that?"

Making matters worse or more "ironic" or "laughable", as Fontes describes it, because the federal voter registration form has no instructions for attesting to citizenship status, state guidance requires him to check with the MVD himself to confirm citizenship status for those voters. But if the very same person were to have used a state voter registration form and forgot to fill in their drivers license number or provide other proof of citizenship, he is not supposed to register that person, according to the state rulebook. Moreover, he tells me, an online state registration system automatically checks that very same MVD database for applicants. "So, something that the state does, automatically, on its own website, you've got people telling me that I'm barred from doing. If that's not the epitome of craziness, I don't know what is!"

In all, Fontes tells me, he now believes "nearly 91,000" otherwise eligible voters may be found in those dusty boxes and he plans to register them all if he is able to confirm their status.

In addition to all of that, I ask Fontes about claims by Bernie Sanders supporters (he is one himself) that the DNC and/or Hillary Clinton Campaign were somehow behind the Primary election disaster in Phoenix last year, in order to rig the contest against the progressive Vermont U.S. Senator. That disaster, he explains, is what inspired him to run against Purcell. We also discuss allegations of Arizona's voter database being hacked last year, concerns about the county's electronic ballot tabulation system and whether there is actually any evidence to support claims by Republicans like Donald Trump and his adviser, Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach (who also instituted a "proof of citizenship" requirement in that state), that millions of illegal votes, including by non-citizens, were cast in last year's election.

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for the Green News Report with her usual disturbing news, but also with a number of happily encouraging reports on the amazing growth of clean, renewable energy both in the U.S. and around the world!...

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: Brendan Fischer of Campaign Legal Center...
By Brad Friedman on 5/4/2017 6:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast, House Republicans finally pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) --- a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ('ObamaCare') --- but at what cost? Also: Donald Trump signs a bill that pretends to protect religious liberties. But what does it really do? [Audio link to show follows below.]

It's difficult, if not impossible, to know the real cost of the Republicans' ACHA, since House Speaker Paul Ryan refused to allow the bill to be analyzed first by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office before forcing a vote in the House today. Instead, it was rammed through with a very narrow margin of all-Republican votes just hours after the final text was made available to members. That, as you'll recall, is exactly what Republicans used to pretend Democrats did during the 13-month process to pass ObamaCare in 2009 and 2010.

The costs, however, are likely to be enormous to the American public, if the bill gets through the Senate and is signed by the President, particularly to the poor, the elderly, the more than 25% of Americans with pre-existing conditions, and to those who found themselves filing bankruptcy due to medical expenses prior to the passage of ACA. The political cost to House Republicans, however, who left today for yet another 11-day recess, may be a whole different matter. The CBO predicted 24 million Americans would lose their health care coverage in the next decade under the GOP's failed plan six weeks ago. This version is likely to be much worse.

Also today, Donald Trump signed another one of his Executive Orders. This one pretends to counter the "religious discrimination" of the Johnson Amendment, a piece of otherwise almost 70 year old, non-controversial, bipartisan legislation originally signed by President Eisenhower, barring tax-exempt non-profit groups, like churches, from explicitly endorsing or opposing candidates for office. But what's the real point behind Trump's otherwise empty action today? And why is the religious Right so eager to see Trump "get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment," as he promised at the National Prayer Breakfast in February, just weeks after taking office?

Brendan Fischer, associate counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, joins us to explain this move that could ultimately result in allowing even more "dark money" to make its way into politics and elections. And, this time, while giving secret political funders a tax deduction for it in the bargain!

"We, as taxpayers, are subsidizing these groups, and we are not subsidizing these groups to offer wealthy donors a tax deduction for their secret political spending," Fischer explains. The Johnson Amendment, so-named for its original sponsor, then Sen. Lyndon Johnson, was enacted in response to a "dark money" attack against him during his 1954 reelection campaign by a non-profit, tax-exempt group.

While Presidential Executive Orders don't actually have the power to reverse legislation (whether this President understands that or not), Trump is pretending that his order will prevent the IRS from "targeting" religious institutions, as he and his evangelical allies claim to be the case, despite all evidence to the contrary.

"The Johnson Amendment is not targeting churches at all," says Fischer. "Because donors to these churches and charities get a tax deduction for their donations, 501(c)3's are prohibited from engaging in political activity. The reason that taxpayers are effectively subsidizing these groups is for their charitable, or religious or social welfare oriented activities, not for their political activities and partisan political engagement." But, of course, the religious Right would like to change that, and Trump appears more than willing to try and help.

The greater danger is that a provision to reverse the rarely-enforced Johnson Amendment could be slipped into upcoming legislation. Then, warns Fischer, churches and charities could potentially become what he describes as "super dark money groups" --- as if we don't already have enough problem with dark money in politics!

Finally: Fox "News" offers one more example today of the Right finding all new ways to pretend that they are victims. This time, if you believe Fox's fake news about a recent shooting, climate "skeptics" are becoming victims of those 'violent and dangerous' environmentalists...

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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[Cross-posted from The BRAD BLOG...]




Guest: Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Hullabaloo...
By Brad Friedman on 4/28/2017 6:00pm PT  

On today's BradCast, at the 100 days milestone for his Presidency --- which Donald Trump recently dismissed as an "artificial barrier" --- Heather Digby Parton of Salon and the Hullabaloo blog, joins us to try to make sense of (wish us luck) the extraordinary chaos, few successes and many failures, to date, of his historically unpopular Administration. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We do so on a day that Trump watches his hopes for a health care bill fall apart once again in the U.S. House, addresses the NRA in Atlanta, suggests a "major, major confrontation" may be ahead with North Korea, and as he seems to threaten trade wars with everyone from South Korea to Canada to Saudi Arabia.

All of that, as North Korea fires off another ballistic missile test today and Trump tells Reuters he thought being President of the United States "would be easier" than his old job as a real estate hustler and reality TV personality.

Digby --- who also wrote recently about the 100-day mark --- offers her always-enlightening insight on all of the above, explains what has, so far, surprised her most about Trump's Presidency, and speaks to how the corporate media, Congressional Democrats and we, the people, are holding up in The Resistance.

Just another day of havoc and confusion for a stressed out nation (and world) fighting to survive the Trump Era.

Then, speaking of, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report as Florida burns and the melting Arctic now appears to be accelerating the rate of sea level rise beyond previous scientific predictions...

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: Marta Segura of the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute; Plus: Another immigration face-plant, another healthcare reform debacle, another Mike Flynn related embarrassment for Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 4/27/2017 6:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Trump and the GOP trip over themselves in their mad rush to his 100th day as President, while Americans plan to hit the streets yet again in protest, this time in a Saturday demonstration on behalf of Planet Earth. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Amidst the Trump Administration's panic to try and un-embarrass themselves about their historic lack of accomplishments before this weekend's "100 Day" benchmark, things only seem to be getting worse for them. Among their latest embarrassments: A new DHS program launched by the Administration to supposedly help victims of crimes purportedly committed by immigrants goes awry in several different ways; the new scramble to pass an updated health care bill in the House to replace the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") has put some Republicans in an untenable position once again, and risks undermining a separate plan to avoid another government shutdown this weekend; the Pentagon confirms that Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is under an Inspector General's investigation for allegedly failing to obtain permission for payments from foreign sources; and Sean Spicer confirms the Administration didn't even bother to run a security background check on Flynn before naming him as NSA. (So much for "extreme vetting".)

But, on Saturday, the 100th Day of his Presidency, another embarrassment awaits as thousands plan to hit the streets yet again, this time for the People's Climate March, just days after Trump signed an Executive Order attempting, for the first time in U.S. history, to reverse national monument declarations made by three former Presidents. Among the public lands Trump hopes to remove protection for, to allow oil, gas and mineral extraction: the Bears Ear National Monument in Utah, a million acres "sacred to Native Americans and home to tens of thousands of archaeological sites, including ancient cliff dwellings."

Marta Segura of the Climate Law Institute at the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute (whose modest mission is "Saving Life on Earth"), and a member of the steering committee for Los Angeles' version of this weekend's march, joins us to discuss all of that and more.

On Trump's attempt to reverse public lands declarations, Segura charges: "The agenda of the Trump Administration is to strengthen the fossil fuel industry and to give them access to lands that have not been explored for fossil fuels, and which they suspect there will be a lot of opportunity to make a lot of people, and a lot of the refineries, very rich, very fast."

"He's claiming that the government has had a 'land grab' on these lands across the nation, and has taken control without the consent of the people," she tells me. "He's misusing that term. He's basically trying to control these lands so that he can benefit the industries. The people are the ones that are benefiting from these public lands right now. That's the definition of public lands."

Speaking about this weekend's climate march and why it's separate from last weekend's March for Science, she explains why organizers in L.A. chose to hold their version of the People's Climate March near the site of a planned Tesoro Oil refinery expansion in Wilmington, near a densly populated residential area on the coast. If the expansion is allowed, she says, it would result in the "the largest refinery in the Western region. And it will be expanding at a time when we really need reductions in greenhouse gases."

"This march," Segura tells me before finishing on a hopeful note, "is for the representation and lifting voices of front-line communities who are disproportionately impacted by the greenhouse gases and pollution."

And, speaking of Planet Earth, we close today with some of Bill Maher's thoughts on hopes by some billionaires (and environmentalists) for colonizing Mars...

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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Also: The news fire hose is back on as Congress returns from recess and Trump gets desperate with '100 Days' milestone approaching...
By Brad Friedman on 4/26/2017 6:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Yes, it matters why we go to war and when we go to war and where we go to war --- even if the U.S. media (right, left and center) and U.S. Congress (Republicans and Democrats) would rather not discuss it. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first today: As Donald Trump nears his 100th day as President and Congress returns from their two week Easter recess, the news fire hose is back on, with House Republicans announcing a new amendment to their previously failed scheme to try and repeal and replace Obamacare. The new plan will likely cover less and be even worse for the sick and elderly than their previous plan, but it does exempt members of Congress and their staffers from the worst of it. At the same time, Trump's Treasury Department has unveiled a hastily-released, deficit-increasing, "trickle down", tax cut for corporations and individuals. And, in more desperation to distract from his lack of success during his first 100 days, Trump also goes to war with Canada! (a trade war anyway...and via Twitter!).

Then: On that whole war thing, where we now, apparently, bomb sovereign nations without discussion, debate, authorization, media skepticism or evidence --- Listeners ring in with calls, comments and emails in response to our interviews earlier this week with MIT Professor Emeritus Theodore Postol and with Consortium News' Robert Parry, both of whom question the evidence hastily released in a White House report on April 11 to justify Trump's April 6 cruise missile attack on Syria. That attack is said to have been in response to a deadly April 4 chemical weapons incident two days earlier in the rebel-held province of Idlib. But why have the U.S. media failed to question the evidence presented by Trump (not by the U.S. Intelligence Community), and why has Congress failed to debate, much less Constitutionally authorize, Trump's military action? And, hey, why does it all matter anyway, since everyone knows Bashar al-Assad is a bad guy and every President needs a military "doctrine" after all?! We discuss all of that and much more today...since, apparently, somebody has to.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest (unusually encouraging) Green News Report and with a heads up in advance of this weekend's People's Climate March...

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: Constitutional law and SCOTUS expert Ian Millhiser; Also: Trump eyes military response against Syria...
By Brad Friedman on 4/6/2017 6:03pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's theft of the U.S. Supreme Court is nearly complete after his use of the so-called "nuclear option" today and his blatant, continuing lies in support of it. Also, concern grows about Donald Trump's reaction to this week's chemical attack in Syria on a dark day for both the country and the world. [Audio link to show follows below.]

As of today, it's almost done. McConnell's scheme to steal the Court majority for a generation on behalf of the GOP is now virtually a fait accompli with his procedural maneuver to kill the use of filibusters for SCOTUS nominees in light of the Democrats' attempt to block the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch. The Senate rules change comes as McConnell continues to lie about his unprecedented obstruction of Barack Obama's nominee for the same seat, Judge Merrick Garland, for more than a year following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February of 2016.

Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser, author of a recent book on SCOTUS and its widening political divide, joins us today to help explain what all of this is likely to mean for the Senate, the Court and the country in both the short and long-terms. None it very good, I'm afraid.

"I'm not the least bit surprised," that there were not three Republican Senators willing to step forward today to block McConnell's rule change with a simple majority vote, Millhiser, the Editor of ThinkProgress Justice, tells me. "After you make the deal with the Devil that leads to you supporting Trump in the White House, going one step further and saying 'we're also going to change the rules of the Senate' - that's not too heavy of a lift all of a sudden."

"It's absolutely a stolen seat. This is the Merrick Garland seat," he charges, referring to the Republican's years-long blockade of Garland and failure to even hold hearings, much less an up or down vote. "The block of Democrats who voted against Gorsuch represent more than 53% of the nation. So, the only reason this guy is going to be on the Supreme Court is because a President who lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes nominated him, and a group of Senators who represent a minority of the country, are going to vote to confirm him."

Millhiser also offers his thoughts on whether the filibuster for legislative actions may be next on the GOP Senate's chopping block, whether Democratic then-Majority Leader Harry Reid made a mistake by nuking the filibuster for non-SCOTUS judicial nominations back in 2013 (and we discuss what actually happened that led up to it), and what, if anything, Americans can now do to try and reverse the dangerous course the nation is clearly on.

Speaking of dangerous courses...Also today: Trump bangs the drums of war in response to the horrific chemical attack in Syria this week, despite his previous insistence that Obama and the U.S. stay out of the matter (even after an even more deadly chemical attack there in 2013) and despite the lack of international investigation, to date, as to who and what was behind the incident. And, finally, we close with a bit of good-ish news (the best we can find on a grim day) concerning a significant change in the way Americans, including Republicans, now view the Affordable Care Act in the five short months since last year's election.

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Guest: Attorney Jenny Harbine of Earth Justice...
By Brad Friedman on 4/3/2017 5:28pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Democrats now have the votes needed to filibuster Trump's SCOTUS nominee and the President faces still more lawsuits against his climate, energy and environmental policies --- and his pretend attempt to revive coal jobs. [Audio link to show follows below.]

It's official, as of this afternoon. Democratic Senators have announced enough votes opposing Judge Neil Gorsuch, Trump's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court seat stolen by Republicans, to successfully hold a filibuster and block the nominee in the U.S. Senate. 42 Dems are now on board (enough to prevent the 60 votes currently needed to end a filibuster.) So, it's now up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the rest of the Republicans to use the so-called "nuclear option" to do away with the filibuster rule for SCOTUS nominations all together. Just three Republican defections, however, would prevent the filibuster rule from being scuttled by majority vote.

In the meantime, the opposition to Trump's faltering attempts at policy making --- particularly policies meant to try and roll back Barack Obama's environment and climate legacy --- continue to face new legal challenges. Today, a number of state Attorneys General announced their intention to challenge the Administration's costly suspension of energy efficiency standards; last Thursday, environmental groups filed suit to block the State Department's approval of the controversial KeystoneXL pipeline; and, just one day after Trump's so-called "Energy Independence" executive order was signed on Tuesday, Earth Justice sued to overturn Trump's lifting of Obama's moratorium on new coal leases on public lands and a review of royalty rates paid under the program to the government by the dying coal industry (which, as we also discuss, now employs fewer workers than Arby's, car washes or even U.S. theme parks!)

Jenny Harbine, the lead attorney in Earth Justice's case [PDF] against the Administration, joins us to explain the new lawsuit, as well as the one the same group filed against the Obama Administration in 2014, which led to the moratorium in the first place.

"Trump made a lot of campaign promises to his cronies in the coal industry," she tells me. "But the President has a legal obligation, that courts have enforced for decades, to engage in rational decision-making, to make decisions that are based on science. And here it couldn't be clearer that the directive that came down from Trump [to lift the moratorium] last week, was based solely on politics, and not on science."

She explains how the policy not only "flies in the face of the reality we all face as a nation and a world on climate change," but also how Trump's various claims at attempting to help coal miners is as likely to ultimately harm them, by keeping the federal government from investing in investing and retraining workers for the now-unstoppable renewable energy future.

"Trump's short-sighted attempt to revive a dying coal industry through subsidized leasing" is little more than "an attempt, really, to line the pockets of coal industry executives" while causing "real harm to real people and communities that are depending on the federal government to look after our interests," Harbine explains, adding: "I fear that those workers will be left in the dust."

Finally today, bad news for 180,000 low-income Kansans hoping to receive health care under Republican rule in the state, and the L.A. Times Editorial Board issues a remarkable series of anti-Trump editorials...

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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...

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Guest: Mother Jones' climate and energy reporter Rebecca Leber...
By Brad Friedman on 3/28/2017 6:04pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Donald Trump has finally signed his long-promised Executive Order in hopes of gutting Barack Obama's climate policies and legacy, while pretending that it's about "ending the theft of American prosperity" by delusionally declaring an end to the imaginary "War on Coal". [Audio link to show follows below.]

Surrounded by coal miners and fossil fuel industry titans, Trump went to the Environmental Protection Agency today to sign what he is nonsensically calling his "Energy Independence" Executive Order. In his remarks before signing --- remarks which did not include the words "climate change" or "global warming" or even just "climate" or "wind" or "solar" or "renewable energy" --- Trump claimed the effort is meant to focus on "job creation" and "bringing back the coal jobs", even though experts agree those jobs are highly unlikely to return. That's thanks to the lower cost of cleaner burning natural gas, the automation of coal mining, and, most importantly, the renewable energy revolution which is creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in both wind and solar.

Mother Jones' climate and energy reporter Rebecca Leber joins us on today's show to explain the details of Trump's order and the difficulties he is likely to encounter trying to implement much of it, including rolling back Obama-era (and earlier) environmental regulations that took years to enact, not to mention the long-standing court rulings and legislation they are meant to enforce.

Trump's orders, if enacted, would begin to roll back Obama's landmark Clean Power Plan (which allows states to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to help meet the U.S. commitment to the U.N. Paris Climate Agreement); gut emissions standards for new coal-fired power plants (if anyone ever decides to build another one); reconsider regulations on methane; revisit the previous Administration's "social cost of carbon" metric (Leber explains that important issue on today's show); and lift the moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands, among other things that Fox "News" and the fossil fuel industry have hoaxed Trump into supporting.

But, as we've seen in Trump's travel ban and attempt to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act (ACA or "ObamaCare"), simply signing an order is not the same as actually implementing complex legislation or even reversing previous policy and regulations. We discuss all of that, the opposition that is promised from environmental groups and Democrats, some amazing comments from the White House on a press call last night, and how the rest of the world is likely to respond to all of this, with Leber and our own Desi Doyen on today's show.

Also today: Speaking of ObamaCare, now that the GOP's scheme to repeal and replace it has, at least for now, gone down in such spectacular flames, both chambers of the Kansas state legislature have voted, by large numbers to expand Medicaid under the ACA. But, will the state's far-right, wildly unpopular Governor Sam Brownback sign the bill meant to help some 180,000 Kansans obtain access to health care --- even with the federal legislation footing the bill for almost all of it?

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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...

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Guest: James Wilt of DeSmog Canada on why KeystoneXL may never happen; Plus: House GOP fails to hold 'ObamaCare' replacement vote, Senate Dems announce plan to filibuster stolen SCOTUS nomination...
By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2017 6:02pm PT  

On today's BradCast, while the scheme to replace ObamaCare remains a disaster for Trump and Republicans in Congress, and as Dems begin to mount opposition to the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch, at least the President's hope of completing two massive oil pipelines is going well, right? Maybe not. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Chaos continued today on Capitol Hill, as Trump and GOP House leadership were unable to amend their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") as promised, in time to hold their planned vote today, the 7th anniversary of the signing of Barack Obama's landmark health care insurance bill. In a "stinging setback" Republicans were forced to delay the floor vote after failing to whip enough support from both Republican "conservatives" and "moderates" alike to ensure passage.

The vote has now been rescheduled for Friday, though that too remains uncertain at the moment, even after Trump and Ryan agreed with the far-right Freedom Caucus to do away with the 10 Essential Health Benefits --- basic services like outpatient, emergency room, hospital, mental health, prenatal care and prescription drug coverage --- required to be included with each policy sold under ObamaCare. And all of that played out today as a devastating new Quinnipiac poll revealed the GOP's deadly healthcare plan is wildly unpopular among American voters (including Republicans).

As that mess was happening in the House, the Democratic minority leader in the Senate announced his intention to vote against the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch, the President's nominee to fill the GOP's stolen seat on the U.S. Supreme Court and urged his colleagues to join him in filibustering to block Gorsuch. Some Democrats, however, are reportedly hoping to cut a deal with Republicans to support Gorsuch in exchange for not doing away with the right to filibuster SCOTUS nominees in the future. (You can call your Senator --- particularly Democratic Senators up for re-election next year in states said to have been won by Trump last year --- at 202-224-3121 if you've got an opinion about that, or just to let them know how you expect them to vote.)

In the meantime, receiving far less coverage, Trump's push for two new massive oil pipelines is moving ahead apace. The Dakota Access Pipeline is reportedly set to start sending crude from North Dakota to Illinois any day now. But the controversial KeystoneXL pipeline to send dirty tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico for export, may soon run into a number of problems. In fact, though it's expected to receive approval from Trump's State Department very soon, the $8 billion pipeline may never actually be completed at all, according to our guest today, James Wilt, freelance reporter at DeSmog Canada.

Wilt details the three main obstacles --- economics, land owners and climate/environment --- that, he reports, could end up delaying or permanently derailing the completion of the Canadian-owned pipeline which the Obama Administration had previously rejected.

Finally, we finish up today with some listener mail in response to a number of recent shows regarding the stolen SCOTUS nominee and Citizens United...

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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...

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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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