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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Elizabeth Goitein of Brennan Center; Also: Dems flip a GOP seat in WI; Sex scandals go overlooked; Mass resignation at Nat'l Park Service...
By Brad Friedman on 1/17/2018 6:21pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Ryan Reilly of Huff Post; Also: House re-ups dragnet surveillance, Trump has no idea what it is, and calls Haiti and Africa 'shitholes'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2018 6:35pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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: Journalist David Dayen on how Repubs just admitted 'trickle-down' doesn't actually work | Also: Accountability for high-profile sexual misconduct, if not in Alabama, the White House or on Main Street...
By Brad Friedman on 11/30/2017 6:10pm PT  

According to my guest on today's BradCast, last minute GOP maneuvering on the U.S. Senate versions of the tax bill, in hopes of buying off holdouts within their own caucus, definitively proves that so-called 'trickle-down' economic theory doesn't actually work --- and that Republicans know it. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first up on today's show, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) calls for long-serving Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan to resign in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations by a series of women, and long-serving Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Texas announces he will not run for re-election, after admitting to sexual misconduct with a series of women.

Those are just two of a flood of powerful men in politics, entertainment and journalism to be called out of late. However, how many women are still facing sexual assault and harassment from men who aren't as high-profile and, therefore, not being exposed by the mainstream media? And, how many others, even powerful ones like President Donald Trump and, perhaps, Alabama's Republican U.S. Senate nominee Roy Moore --- whose poll numbers are back up over Democrat Doug Jones in advance of the Dec. 12th U.S. Senate special election, even after multiple allegations of sexual assault with under-aged girls --- still get away without any accountability at all? We discuss.

Then, while Republicans claim their massive $1.5 trillion tax cut scheme for corporations and the wealthy (and tax increases for most everyone else) will magically pay for itself, history and all independent analysis suggest otherwise. So does evidence from large corporations, most of which indicates that companies have no plans to use their expected windfall profits from tax cuts to increase employment or raise worker wages.

With that in mind, in order to get the massive tax measure passed at all, some Republicans in the U.S. Senate are demanding a 'trigger' in the legislation that would automatically kick in to reverse some of the tax cuts if the GOP and Trump Administration's rosy scenarios that tax cuts pay for themselves do not actually come to pass.

We're joined today by financial journalist DAVID DAYEN who explains why such a trigger is the GOP's worst idea yet for their already terrible scheme. "You could let monkeys bang on typewriters for several millennia and not come up with an idea as profoundly stupid," he reports at The Nation this week.

The result, he tells me, would be that taxes would potentially be automatically increased and/or spending reduced, at the worse possible moment for doing so. "Austerity in the midst of an economic slowdown is economic suicide. It would intentionally destabilize the economy if it slowed down. It would turn recessions into depression," he warns. "I cannot stress enough how stupid this idea is."

He also notes how opposition to such a trigger from so-called "conservatives"-- other members of the Senate, as well as right-wing advocacy groups like the Koch Brothers' Americans for Prosperity, Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform and the US Chamber of Commerce --- "gives the game away" that 'trickle-down', and this bill as a whole, are all "all a scam"...and Republicans know it.

Please tune in for another very insightful conversation with Dayen, revealing just how hypocritical, dangerous and misleading the entire scam is, how much it will cost the American people in real terms, whether the GOP and Trump will be able to get it passed at all, and how the American electorate are likely to react if so, in 2018 and beyond.

Finally, a quick reminder that Open Enrollment for the Affordable Care Act ('ObamaCare') at Healthcare.gov is still under way until December 15th in most states and, while sign-up numbers have been very high so far this year, they are very low as a percentage compared to last year, since Trump has cut the period for enrollment in half from previous years.

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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When needed to prevent catastrophe and preserve the rule of law, impeachment is both a necessity and a superior political strategy...
By Ernest A. Canning on 11/18/2017 2:44pm PT  

Earlier this month, billionaire Democratic Party donor Tom Steyer unleashed his $10 million nationwide "Need To Impeach" campaign (1-minute video ad is posted below). He recently purchased another $10 million in ad time, bringing the campaign total to $20 million.

In targeting Donald Trump for accountability, according to the Los Angeles Times, Steyer "raised the ire of both President Trump and the president's Democratic nemesis, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi."

"The president," the Times reported, "lashed out at Steyer in a tweet, deriding him as 'wacky & totally unhinged'." Trump also appears to have managed to convince Fox "News" to stop running the ad on his favorite channel, which claimed it was banning the spot "due to the strong negative reaction...by our viewers."

Trump's distain for the ad is understandable. Pelosi's opposition, however, while consistent with her historical record, should be regarded as unacceptable.

Avoiding real accountability for this President --- and calling on others in her party to do the same --- is deeply flawed and misguided political calculus, calling to mind the admonition of Edmund Burke: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing".

In this case, impeachment is needed to preserve the rule of law and prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. Contrary to Pelosi's calculations, it is both a necessity and good political strategy...

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




Guest: Longtime nuclear weapons analyst Stephen Schwartz; Also: Flake won't seek re-election, rebukes Trump, party; Corker/Trump's sad war...
By Brad Friedman on 10/24/2017 6:49pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Trump continues to blow up the GOP today. But what, if anything, will stop him from doing the same, literally, to the world? [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Yet another Republican U.S. Senator has decided they've had enough. Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake stunned D.C. today by joining Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker in deciding that he will not run for re-election in 2018 after all. He offered a blistering rebuke of Donald Trump, fellow GOP members of Congress, and the Republican Party itself while making his announcement on the Senate floor on Tuesday. That development came after a remarkably rancorous (and, in truth, very sad) series of media/Twitter back and forths earlier on Tuesday between Corker and Trump.

We cover all of the above today, with a focus on Corker's charge that the President of the United State is, himself, not only failing the country, but a real and present threat to national security in regard to North Korea and other foreign policy concerns.

With that in mind, following the disturbing report over the weekend that the U.S. Air Force is now preparing for the possibility of placing nuclear-armed bombers on 24/7 ready alert for the first time since the end of the Cold War, we are joined by longtime nuclear weapons policy analyst STEPHEN SCHWARTZ of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Schwartz, formerly the longtime Executive Director and Publisher of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (keepers of the infamous "Doomsday Clock"), explains the reasons --- sensible or otherwise --- the White House and US military might make this extraordinary move, which, he charges, is fraught with any number of perils. It's particularly puzzling, he explains, given that the U.S. already has hundreds, if not thousands of nuclear-armed Intercontinental Missiles at the ready on both land and sea. It is, at various times, a chilling, maddening, and (somewhat) comforting conversation and incredibly enlightening from top to bottom.

(For those interested, here's that disturbingly graphic idea from Roger Fischer in the 1981 Bulletin that I mentioned, regarding making a President's decision to launch nukes much less abstract".)

Schwartz speaks to, among many other things: Why the Air Force may be doing this; How China and Russia, much less North Korea, may respond; Whether or not Congress should finally step in to ensure the U.S. never launches a nuclear first strike, no matter who occupies the Oval Office; Whether or not he agrees with Corker's assessment that Trump is a threat to national security and world peace; And what, if anything, might prevent Trump from "pushing the button" in "a fit of Twitter pique."

"I think we are long overdue for the point of having a national discussion over what it means to put one person and one person alone in charge of authorizing the use of nuclear weapons," he tells me. "Regardless of who is President, if anything good comes out of this, it will be that people are much more aware of the power that a President has to incinerate the world, how many nuclear weapons we have, still, and what our plans are for them."

"I don't worry about Donald Trump so much deciding in a fit of Twitter pique or whatever to launch a nuclear attack," he warns. "I worry that his ignorance, and his arrogance, and his complete lack of knowledge about all things nuclear, not to mention all things foreign policy, will end up getting him blundering into some sort of crisis from which there will be no real escape."

On that point, Schwartz also offers his assessment of whether the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists will move their Doomsday Clock forward once again in their annual assessment, after moving it forward to "2 and a half minutes to midnight" back in January. That was well before the recent disturbing threats by Trump to bring "fire and fury" and "totally destroy" North Korea several weeks ago. The last adjustment was also prior to the Trump Administration's wildly aggressive actions to undermine environmental policy meant to mitigate the existential threat of Climate Change, which the Doomsday Clock has also taken into account since 2007.

Finally, speaking of our climate crisis (and making it worse), we're joined by Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report as the hottest World Series in baseball history gets under way out here in Los Angeles, with the mercury hitting a record 104 degrees today...in late October...

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In less than 24 hours, Trump aggressively unleashes fresh havoc on the American health care system and foreign policy with Iran...
By Brad Friedman on 10/13/2017 6:27pm PT  

On today's BradCast: At the end of another hectic (and deadly) week in our now Dysfunctional States of America, Donald Trump has decided to turn his self-loathing and rage over his own failing Presidency into chaos unleashed on the citizens of the nation and the world. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Just hours after his Executive Order on Thursday, issued in hopes of paving the way for worse health care policies to be sold to Americans, the White House announced it would no longer pay subsidies to health insurance companies meant to help cover out-of-pocket medical expenses for low-income citizens. Over the Summer, after months of Trump threatening to cut off the so-called Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) payments defined by the Affordable Care Act ('ObamaCare'), the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that doing so would raise premiums by 20%, result in lost health care for 1 million in 2018, and increase the federal deficit by nearly $200 billion over the next decade.

So, of course Trump did it anyway.

The matter now moves to the federal courts, where state Attorneys General have announced they will file suit (along with the insurance companies who will likely do so as well, since they are still legally required to give customers the discounts, whether Trump reimburses them or not) and to Congress, which could pass legislation to mandate the payments be made. We explain what it all means, what Republican lawmakers may do next, and who will be most harmed by the President's attempted murder of the Affordable Care Act, as he tries to hoax his own gullible voters into believing it was a 'suicide'.

On Friday, Trump similarly injected even more chaos into U.S. foreign policy by falsely declaring that the seven-nation agreement that prevents Iran from creating nuclear weapons was not in the U.S. interest and that they had violated "the spirit" of the deal. In order to do so, he offered a litany of straight-from-Fox-"News" propaganda about Iran and the deal that would likely embarrass even those from the George W. Bush Administration who falsely sold the case for war in Iraq claiming that they were developing weapons of mass destruction.

That issue, on whether to officially end the long-sought pact --- which all other parties (Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia) all agree has been working well --- will also now goes to our broken Congress to determine its fate.

But, it's a Congress with Republicans like Rep. Scott Perry (PA) who accused CNN of "making up" the still-ongoing humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico.

Amidst all of this, one leading Democrat, for what its worth, has an "urgent" idea that might end up saving the world if the otherwise impotent elected members of Congress can ever come to terms with the dysfunction they've sown and the monster they've given rise to: Take away his nuclear button. Immediately.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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By Brad Friedman on 6/14/2017 6:05pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we cover the breaking news of several mass shootings that happened today in the US, and the reactions to them, and/or lack thereof. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

In Alexandria, VA during early morning batting practice for a charity baseball game between Republican and Democratic members of Congressman, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), a Congressional aide, a member of the Capitol Police and a lobbyist were taken down in a hail of least at 50 bullets, during a shooting spree that reportedly went on, according to Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), who was also on the scene, "for 5 to 10 minutes".

House GOP Whip Scalise and the Tyson Foods lobbyist, Matt Mika, are both said to be in critical condition following surgery as of air time. The alleged shooter, reported to have been a supporter of Bernie Sanders' Presidential campaign and an opponent of the Trump Administration (with a history of domestic violence), was eventually killed by members of the Capitol Police and the Alexandria Police after a lengthy gun battle.

We have reaction from lawmakers and statements of unity issued in the aftermath by the President, the Republican and Democratic House leaders, as well as the condemnation of the violence from Sen. Sanders.

Shortly thereafter, in San Francisco, five were shot, three fatally, before the shooter killed himself at a UPS facility.

Neither incident is believed to be related to international terrorism (the shooter in VA was a white, middle-aged man from Belleville, IL, the shooter in San Francisco has not been identified as of air time), yet a Republican Senator led off a hearing today by appearing to link the attack in D.C. to Islamic extremism.

Despite some 32,000 gun deaths per year and so many mass shootings by domestic extremists, including the 2011 Tucson shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, which killed six and wounded 12 others, Congress has failed to take any action (other than to pass a bill signed by Donald Trump earlier this year making it easier for the mentally ill to purchase firearms.)

We take some great calls from listeners today, with some very smart insight on all of the above and the reasons for it (one sagely notes, after recognizing the violence on which our country was build, "we have lost our national soul"), before a few quick news headlines, details of which we must put off until another day due to the breaking news. And then, finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report...

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

*** NOTE: I'm on the road for the next two days, so will be running 'Best Ofs'! But please read this (which I couldn't get to today, but it's VERY important!) in the meantime. We'll be back with a fresh BradCast on Monday!

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Guest: John Nichols of The Nation | Plus: Trump undermines own 'travel ban', blasts London Mayor after attacks, ignores Orlando mass shooting...
By Brad Friedman on 6/5/2017 6:18pm PT  

On today's BradCast: How Donald Trump continues to be his own worst enemy (and, arguably, the world's) and the case for why Democrats should declare themselves "the accountability party" and immediately begin the effort to impeach the President of the United States. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First, the fallout from Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement continues as, CNN reports today that the Acting U.S. Ambassador to China, a 27-year career foreign service officer, has resigned over the decision. But he's not the only American diplomat Trump seems to have upset of late, as the acting U.S. Ambassador to the U.K. was also forced to publicly take sides against Trump following the weekend terror attacks in London.

At the same time, Trump seems determined to make certain he loses his own Department of Justice's appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to restore his second Executive Order "travel ban" which has been put on hold, repeatedly, by federal courts from Maryland to Hawaii. In a weekend long Twitter tirade, continuing through Monday, the President offered one incriminating statement after another, blasting both the courts and his own DoJ, in a series of statements that will almostly certainly be held against him and his own Solicitor General's case to lift the current injunction on his ban.

Trump also thought it wise, for reasons few can figure out, to disparage (now, at least twice!) the Mayor of London following the attacks in Britain on Saturday. And while Trump had plenty to say about London, it should be noted he had far less to say last week after two American men were killed defending Muslim women from an anti-Muslim tirade by a self-proclaimed "patriot" on a train in Portland, Oregon.

Moreover, Trump has, so far, had absolutely nothing to say following a mass shooting rampage on Monday morning in Orlando, Florida. That attack, with a semi-automatic pistol, allegedly carried out by a white, non-Muslim American, killed five of the shooter's former co-workers, all said to have been shot in the head multiple times by the assailant who then killed himself. Some suicide attacks, it seems, are worse than others to this President and his party which continue to insist on making firearms easier to obtain, even by the mentally ill.

Then, as Trump's approval ratings continue to fall, and a plurality of Americans, according to at least one poll, support his impeachment, we're joined by progressive author and journalist John Nichols of The Nation who argues that the time to begin the effort to impeach Donald Trump is now. Nichols details his case for impeachment, from both a Constitutional and historical point of perspective, and offers just some of what he believes should be investigated during impeachment proceedings in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"Congress doesn't have to wait" for the DoJ Special Counsel to complete its own criminal investigation, Nichols tells me. "In fact, it shouldn't wait...to allow the office of the Presidency to be polluted, to be undermined, to be warped in a way that might harm the country."

"Virtually half --- and I suspect after recent events it may get higher --- of Americans now say that the President should be impeached," he argues. "I know that a lot of people would like to begin with the list of particulars of what Trump did. But the fact that there is mass popular support for impeachment, [that's] the place at which we ought to begin. A representative branch of government should respond to that. It should recognize that there are tremendous numbers, tens of millions of Americans, who believe that this guy is governing in a way so atrocious, so damaging, that action should be taken to remove him from his position."

"We ought to stop fetishizing the impeachment power and start recognizing that it is a tool of governance that was established to make government work better. Not to create a Constitutional crisis, but to address the potential of a Constitutional crisis," Nichols says.

"If Democrats are serious about politics, they have to be about accountability," he tells me. "I think when you take [impeachment] off the table, as so many Democratic leaders have suggested we should, you really disarm. You put yourself in a position where holding a President to account is left to chance, left to long term processes that lack the urgency that the American people would like to see."

So, should Dems go so far as to promise impeachment to voters if they are elected to the majority in Congress in 2018? Or does such a promise risk political blow-back making it harder for them to take majorities in the House and Senate in the first place? And, frankly, should that even matter? We discuss all of that and much more along those lines today, and also the national Democratic party's failure to adequately support their own candidates in special U.S. House elections in recent weeks, in both Kansas and Montana, and whether they've learned any lessons on that in advance of still more U.S. House special elections set for both Georgia and South Carolina later this month...

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

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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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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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