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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, December 14, 2018
Fine Messes in Trump World, Congress, Kentucky, North Carolina, Michigan and The Arctic: 'BradCast' 12/13/18
Trump trouble; Shutdown looms; Bevin brays; NC9 redo?; MI GOP powerplay; Arctic melt...
'Green News Report' 12/13/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Very bad news from the Arctic; Bad news in the Senate energy committee; Good news in WA state; PLUS: Trump EPA rolls back yet another major water protection rule (so, bad news)...
Previous GNRs: 12/11/18 - 12/6/18 - Archives...
Cohen Sentenced. Trump Cooked. (O'Care Still Hanging On!): 'BradCast' 12/12/18
Guest: Politico's Alice Ollstein; Also: New revelations in NC-9 GOP election fraud scandal all but guarantee new election coming...
'If We Don't Get What We Want, I Will Shut Down the Govt!': 'BradCast' 12/11/18
Trump's Oval Office tantrum with Pelosi, Schumer; The 'Bottomless Pinocchio'; New misconduct revealed by NC-9 election fraud probe; FL's late absentee ballots; 'Axis of Oil'...
'Green News Report' 12/11/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
'Axis of Oil' roils U.N. climate conf. consensus; U.S. fossil fuelsters gets laughed; France nixes gas tax; PLUS: Youth activists demand climate action from Poland to Congress...
Previous GNRs: 12/6/18 - 12/4/18 - Archives...
The DoD's Great Budget 'Fraud': 'BradCast' 12/10/18
Guest: Investigative journalist Dave Lindorff; Also: U.S. House contests may be coming in NC-9, FL-15, ME-2; Schiff says Trump may face prison time upon leaving office...
Sunday 'Painted Into a Corner' Toons
In this week's toon collection, 'PDiddie' offers a few fine illustrations of what happens as a party and its President swirl toward utter collapse...
Trump Appointment Spree; Cohen 'Deserves' Prison Time: 'BradCast' 12/7/18
Guest-Host Angie Coiro with a slew of Mueller news and new Trump noms; Revisiting the Bush Legacy; Huawei as spy?; And guest Lara Bazelon on justice for the wrongly imprisoned...
Dem Unconcedes NC-9 U.S. House Race Tainted by GOP Fraud: 'BradCast' 12/6/18
GOP knew about NC fraud, ignored it; Also: GOP election fraud in NY; 82 Walker noms approved in WI lame duck; Lame duck 'GOP smash and grab' in MI...
'Green News Report' 12/6/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Global carbon emissions on the rise again; France suspends fuel tax hikes; Greenland ice melt in overdrive; PLUS: World's largest shipping co. targets 100% zero emissions...
Previous GNRs: 12/4/18 - 11/29/18 - Archives...
GOP Death Throes?: Govt by Chaos, Elections by Fraud: 'BradCast' 12/5/18
Trump tariff idiocy; Runoff results and contest in GA; Good news in AR; More on NC-9's GOP election fraud scandal; WI Repubs muscle through their brazen power grab...
GOP Lame Duck Power Grabs in NC, MI and Especially WI: 'BradCast' 12/4/18
Guest: OneWisconsinNow's Analiese Eicher; Also: Updates on GOP absentee ballot election fraud probe in NC-9 U.S. House race...
'Green News Report' 12/4/18
Trump isolates US at G20; UN climate summit begins w/ a warning in Poland's coal country; PLUS: The environmental legacy of President George H.W. Bush...
In Wake of Bush's Death, a Thousand Points of GOP Corruption: 'BradCast' 12/3/18
Assessing 41's legacy; Also: AK House control determined by one vote; GA agrees to count 'late' ballots; Criminal record for GOPer in NC-9 fraud case...
Sunday 'Tough Calls' Toons
In fact, none of these are tough calls at all, at this point...as detailed in PDiddie's latest weekly toon collection...
Every. Single. Vote. Matters.:
'BradCast' 11/30/18
One vote KY contest; One 'mystery ballot' in AK; GA runoff lawsuit; GOP Election Fraud in NC-9; Also: Pam Vogel on Sinclair's latest abuse of our public airwaves...
'Green News Report' 11/29/18
World not doing enough, U.N. warns; Amazon's new HQ is in flood zone; House Dems introduce price on carbon; PLUS: Australia grapples with fires, heat wave, flooding...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
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...


One vote contest in KY; One 'mystery ballot' could determine control of AK House; New GA lawsuit before Tuesday's runoff; More on the GOP Election Fraud case in NC's 9th Cong. District; Also: Media Matters' Pam Vogel on Sinclair's latest offensive abuse of our public airwaves...
By Brad Friedman on 11/30/2018 6:56pm PT  

Every. Single. Vote. Matters. Or, at least it's supposed to. On today's BradCast we've got a bevy of stories, almost a month after the midterm elections, to prove it. Also, a rightwing broadcast media behemoth --- the nation's largest single owner of local television stations --- faces new blowback for offensive, anti-immigrant commentary they forced their local news outlets to carry. [Audio link to today's jam-packed show is posted below.]

First today, in Kentucky, where nearly half a dozen state House races were determined by half a dozen votes or less, a Republican incumbent has now filed a contest in House District 13 after reportedly losing to his Democratic challenger by just one single vote. No matter how that challenge ends, and it may take a while, Republicans will still hold super-majority control in the Bluegrass State.

But, in Alaska --- which, incidentally, was struck by a major earthquake today --- one single still-uncounted "mystery ballot" in one single state House race may determine control of the entire body for the next two years. We explain.

Meanwhile, in Georgia (the nation's apparent new headquarters for mass voter suppression) the midterms aren't over yet either, with two statewide runoffs set for Tuesday in the Secretary of State and Public Service Commissioners race. But, on Thursday, the state Democratic Party sued the state to allow absentee mail ballots postmarked by Election Day to be counted. Their complaint charges that many counties in the state failed to timely send out requested vote-by-mail ballots until just one week before next week's December 4th runoff. That, they say, will not allow enough time for many voters to receive their ballots and mail them back to the county by Election Day, when state law says they are due.

Dems note that overseas and military votes are tallied, as long as they are postmarked by Election Day and arrive no later than three days after the election. They want the same rules applied to all absentee by mail voters, thanks to the Secretary of State and Counties' delay in sending out tens of thousands of ballots. The GA Sec. of State's office, incredibly, blames the delays on Democrats for trying to ensure all votes were tallied from the November 6th general election! [Post-air update!: GA agrees to count ballots that arrive by December 7th, if post-marked by Election Day!]

In North Carolina, the U.S. House election mystery in the 9th Congressional District has now fairly clearly become a GOP election fraud case. We've got new details today, based on affidavits from voters in Bladen County who describe an unlawful scheme, apparently by a GOP contractor for the Republican candidate, to collect absentee ballots and either alter them before delivery to the County or not deliver them at all. This follows on the surprise State Board of Election decision on Tuesday to not certify the NC-9 race, as previously expected, between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready. Until the new revelations of apparent election fraud, Harris had reportedly won the race by just 905 votes out of more than 280,000 cast. However, as recent analyses have revealed, Harris apparently received a virtually impossible number of absentee by mail votes in Bladen County. On Friday, the NC State Board of Elections decided to delay action until after a a hearing to review evidence in the matter on 6 December 21. They have the authority to, among other things, order a completely new election in the Congressional District.

Finally today, in a widely-reported skirmish at the U.S. southern border with Mexico near San Diego last weekend, U.S. officials fired tear gas into Mexico, sending many women and children migrants from Central American running for the lives. 42 arrests were made by U.S. Customs and Border officials, but AP reports this week that none of the migrants detained will actually be charged with any crimes!

Nonetheless, in the wake of the U.S. use of tear gas on asylum seekers, former Trump staffer Boris Epshteyn, who is now Sinclair Broadcast Group's Chief Political Analyst, offered a commentary in response which local news outlets at hundreds of Sinclair-owned television stations around the country were told to run. Epshteyn's offensive "must-run" commentary charges that migrants were "attempting to storm" the U.S. border in an "attempted invasion of our country. Period." The commentary, as usual, echoed the politics and rhetoric of Epshteyn's far-right nationalist fear-mongering former boss who had sent thousands of U.S. military troops to the border in the days before the midterm elections to, purportedly, help propel the so-called "invasion" by men, women and children fleeing violence and poverty in Central America by foot.

We're joined today by PAM VOGEL of Media Matters who has been documenting Sinclair's abuse of our public airwaves at otherwise-trusted local media outlets, which are now required to carry Epshteyn's "must-run" commentaries as often as five times a week. While Sinclair initially distanced themselves from their own Chief Political Analyst in a "tepid response" after public outrage emerged following Epshteyn's offensive "invasion" commentary, the company has since come out in his support, turning their efforts to false attacks on Media Matters instead. Vogel details the shameful story and how Sinclair could --- and indeed may --- face license renewal problems from the FCC for their abuse of our public airwaves with biased, false and far-right propaganda on their nearly two-hundred television stations across the nation.

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

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Guest: Harold Feld of Public Knowledge; Also: Khashoggi was banned by Saudi Arabia after criticizing TRUMP; Still fighting voter suppression...
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2018 6:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast: More chilling Khashoggi news, more maddening voter suppression, and the Republican deregulation of phone companies in Florida and at the FCC have deadly consequences in the Sunshine State. [Audio link to full show is at bottom of article.]

First up today, an update on the latest in the alleged Saudi murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the wildly unreported fact that he had "self-exiled" from Saudi Arabia after being banned by the Saudis from writing and appearing on television or at conferences back in December of 2016 --- for being critical of then President-elect Donald Trump! That point seems quite important, given the Trump Administration's continuing efforts to help cover up the assassination in coordination with the Saudis and their ruling Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, after they repeatedly lied about the grisly killing of a journalist who had been mildly critical of Trump, as first reported in late 2016 and by the U.S. State Department in 2017.

Next, GOP voter suppression continues across many states in advance of the crucial November 6th midterms. Over the weekend on Twitter, President Trump lauded Georgia's Republican Gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, who as Secretary of State, has been working for years to suppress tens and even hundreds of thousands of disproportionately African-American voters in the Peach State. Kemp, as the state's chief election official, is overseeing his own election in a reportedly tight race for Governor against African-American Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams.

Trump also took the opportunity on Twitter over the weekend to falsely fan the flames of the GOP's phony claims of "VOTER FRAUD" in hopes, according to the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, of inciting government officials and law enforcement to intimidate minority voters before the crucial November 6 election. The Lawyer's Committee heads up the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline to answer question and help trouble-shoot voting problems, such as recent reports that early voters are being either turned away or forced to vote by provisional ballot --- rather than normal ones --- if the address on their ID does not match the one under which they are registered. Georgia's Photo ID voting restriction does not require registration addressees to match those on IDs (e.g. student voters who may not have in-state driver licenses or those who recently moved but have not yet updated their license.) Please contact the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline with questions about local voting laws or any problems at the polls --- and share that number far and wide over the next two weeks!

Finally, despite national media now focusing elsewhere, the devastation in Florida's Panhandle following the Category 4 Hurricane Michael two weeks ago continues and the official death toll is still rising. At the same time, power and phone service is still out in a number of rural areas, thanks in no small part to the deregulation of telecommunications company rules by Florida's Republican Gov. Rick Scott shortly after taking office in 2011, and by Donald Trump's FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

We're joined today by Public Knowledge's Senior Vice President HAROLD FELD, who has been warning for years about exactly such a situation. Feld explains how Scott gutted almost all of Florida's telecom company rules when he signed the "Regulatory Reform Act of 2011" and how Pai went still further when he gutted Obama-era phone company regulations in November of 2017.

Scott's 2011 measure "was a complete deregulation of the telephone industry in Florida. It removed the state Public Service Commission from any sort of jurisdiction over residential telephone service. It removed something called 'Carrier of Last Resort,' which means there always has to be a telephone provider in the area. It even removed the ability of the Public Service Commission to take complaints from consumers," Feld tells me. He describes it as "one of the most radical deregulations in the country."

As to the federal regulations scrapped by Trump's FCC, that was in response to federal regulations enacted in the wake of the disastrous performance by Verizon following SuperStorm Sandy in 2012, when copper lines were swept away, and phone companies failed to restore them, claiming that the use of cell phones meant they were no longer necessary. Obama's FCC insisted that "no repairing was not an option," says Feld. But Pai "insisted that there was no reason for any of these regulations [and] that companies have private incentive to deploy these networks, despite everything that actually happened," particularly in rural areas, following Sandy.

The Government, he notes, largely for decades has recognized "that it's always going to be profitable [to ensure service] in the cities, [but] it's not going to be profitable once you get out into the rural areas." So, it's been a value and tradition "through each upgrade of our communication network --- when we went from letters to the telegraph, from the telegraph to the telephone" to ensure service to all. But that's no longer the case.

Like Gov. Scott's Florida, Feld describes, some 37 states have lifted similar decades-old telecommunications requirements, thanks to legislation encouraged by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a privately-funded partnership between major corporations and (mostly) Republican state lawmakers.

The Republicans' deregulate-at-all-costs efforts to gut regulations --- regulations that Pai scoffed at before he became Trump's FCC Chairman --- may now be costing lives in Florida, as many in rural areas, as of late last week, remained unaccounted for, weeks after the storm. The non-partisan Public Knowledge group is suing for a reversal of those deregulations, and Florida's own Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal, a longtime resident of the Panhandle himself, is now also begging Pai to consider a reversal...

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

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Guest: Journalist David Dayen on new NAFTA, CA's new Net Neutrality law (and DoJ lawsuit), Amazon's new minimum wage; Also: Senate Repubs hope to force vote, bury FBI probe on U.S. Supreme Court nominee...
By Brad Friedman on 10/2/2018 6:27pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the FBI investigation into multiple allegations of sexual assault and belligerent drunken behavior by U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh continues, as Republicans in the U.S. Senate prepare to force a vote on his confirmation before Senators, much less the public, get a full look at the information gathered by the brief and limited probe. As that shameful illustration of a process broken by Republicans for the nation's highest court plays out, a number of other noteworthy news stories slip through the cracks just over one month before the crucial 2018 midterm elections. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

On Sunday, California's Governor signed a Net Neutrality bill into law, meant to replace the Obama-era consumer protection that was gutted by the Trump Administration's Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Hours later, Trump's Dept. of Justice sued the Golden State to prevent the new law from taking effect. So much for the GOP's pretend love of "states rights".

On Monday, Trump announced "a brand new deal to terminate and replace NAFTA" [the North American Free Trade Agreement] with a "totally" new deal between the U.S., Canada and Mexico as "the biggest trade deal in United States History." Even though it is NAFTA 2.0, it will now be called, if adopted by the U.S. Congress (a big "if", as our guest explains today), the United States Mexico Canada Agreement, or USMCA.

And, on Tuesday, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos announced the company will be increasing their minimum wage for all workers, both permanent and seasonal, to $15/hour beginning next month, after years of attacks by critics for low wages paid by the world's second most valuable company.

We're joined by financial journalist and author DAVID DAYEN to discuss all three of those news items, whether they are a "Big Deal or No Big Deal?", and how the news may or may not affect the upcoming November elections.

On Amazon's increased wages, Dayen tells me it is "only going to bid the price of labor up. So that is a good thing." He also explains why it is "a political success for Bernie Sanders and this idea that you need to put pressure on these huge, monopolistic companies in order the get them to do right by their workers." But, he also warns, "there's an escape valve here for Amazon."

The new NAFTA includes an end to what Dayen calls the "corporate shakedown regime" in NAFTA's "horrendous" extrajudicial process for settling trade disputes between corporations and countries. That's a "huge deal" he says, which could help set a template to vastly improve other trade deals as well, and potentially increase wages for workers. But he also explains why unions are, nonetheless, not yet all in for the deal and notes that it can only be approved by the next Congress --- which will likely be far more Democratic than the current one --- if labor buys in.

On DoJ's challenge to California's own Net Neutrality law, Dayen explains, the Administration may have little choice but to try and block it, even as Republicans --- when it comes to states other than California, anyway --- argue states should decide what's best for their own residents. In the Golden State, however, "if you give net neutrality protections, if you allow the state of California to pass them, then that's going to migrate," he says. "There's a genuine concern that these regulations --- which of course were in place at the federal level and were taken out by FCC Chair Ajit Pai and the conservatives on the FCC --- would almost, by default, come back if this were allowed to stand. ... All that work they did at the FCC could be for naught."

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen with our latest Green News Report, with record rainfall numbers from Hurricane Florence (and the giant mosquitoes which have arrived in its wake), the Trump Administration's use of catastrophic climate change data to justify a deadly rollback of Obama-era fuel efficiency standards, and the French President calling for the nations of the world to reject trade deals with any country who is not a party to the Paris Climate Agreement (that would include only the U.S., which has announced its intention of pulling out of the landmark pact as soon as allowable --- the first day after the Presidential election in 2020)...

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-host Angie Coiro with Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dave Johnson...
By Angie Coiro on 7/30/2018 6:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast, you won't hear Brad or Desi --- because you'll be very busy hearing me. I'm the host of In Deep with Angie Coiro.

You may have been fooled for a second --- nah, you're too smart --- but casual observers might mistake Jeff Sessions' announcement of a new DOJ "Religious Liberty Task Force" as an effort to address genuine hate crimes, including attacks on Muslim Americans, Jewish Americans, and Sikh Americans. But of course not. He made it clear it’s about bakers afraid of serving LGBTQ customers, or taxpayers having to support icky women – that sort of thing. ANNIE LAURIE GAYLOR is co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. She puts this latest news in the wider context of Trump’s pro-Christian pandering. While we're at it, we look at how bad for basic civil rights Brett Kavanaugh would be on the Supreme Court.

More news headlines, then DAVE JOHNSON of Seeing The Forest ponders how the concepts of markets, capitalism, and socialism get contorted by propaganda. Even respectable journalists fall victim...

Download MP3 or listen 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!




Guest: Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern; Also: FCC appointee arrested for fraud and forgery, Trump nominee for VA appears to be in trouble...
By Brad Friedman on 4/24/2018 6:00pm PT  

On today's BradCast: After a months-long drought of one of our favorite guests, legal journalist MARK JOSEPH STERN of Slate returns today! And we make up for the deficit with a legal lightning round on a number of big cases being heard this and in recent weeks at the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as a number of important cases from elsewhere around the country.

Among the cases covered with Stern today: The years-long challenge to Texas Republicans' racial gerrymandering of Congressional and statehouse districts, which were struck down as unlawful by several lower courts, and Donald Trump's controversial anti-Muslim travel ban(s), which were also blocked by lower courts. The U.S. Supremes, however, may be on the verge of restoring both laws, according to Stern, despite previous findings of unconstitutionality. We also discuss the pending fate of two separate challenges to partisan gerrymandering heard recently by SCOTUS.

In both cases, Stern notes, referring to the stolen GOP majority on the Court after Obama's nominee Merrick Garland was blocked for a year, before Trump appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch: "I hope against hope that my predictions are wrong, but Republicans stole this seat for a reason."

But that's not all! We also hit several other important recent cases from federal courts around the country, which prove to offer a bit more encouraging news. Stern details the "complete train wreck" seen in a federal court in Kansas earlier this month, as their Sec. of State and top-shelf GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach disastrously attempted to defend his "proof of citizenship" voter registration law at trial. Kobach's humiliating effort resulted in a George W. Bush-appointed federal judge slapping him with the second of two contempt of court sanctions during the long case, and may signal, as Stern posits, the near end of the Republican Party's years-long disingenuous claims about a "voter fraud" epidemic.

"Kobach had committed a major self-own," Stern tells me. "He had gone into that trial thinking he was going to prove once and for all that 'voter fraud' was real, and he left that trial having inadvertently proved that it wasn't. He undermined all of the evidence that he had worked so hard to build up."

That, as one of Kobach's longtime colleagues in the long GOP "voter fraud" con, J. Christian Adams, finds himself as the defendant in a new lawsuit filed in Virginia by a number of U.S. citizens who were inaccurately accused by Adam's group, the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), in error-riddled reports titled "Alien Invasion of Virginia" and "Alien Invasion II", of committing voter fraud. Adams is accused by the lawful voters of violations of the Constitution, the Voting Rights Act, and even the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871.

"It's satisfying to see these guys have to answer in court for all that they've said and done for so long, and it's great to see the victims of their slander fighting back in such a powerful way," Stern argues.

We finish up our legal lightening round today with a case decided last week by the Supreme Court, in which Justice Gorsuch, who enjoys the seat stolen for him by Senate Republicans last year, actually joined the Court's four liberal Justices in striking down a law that allows the deportation of immigrants accused of "violent crimes". While Stern applauds Gorscuh joining the liberal justices in this case, given the vague statutory language used for defining "violent crimes", he also cautions that Gorsuch's interest here may signal a broader, more disturbing scheme down the road by Trump's far rightwing appointee.

Also today: The Trump Administration doesn't appear to do any vetting of any of their nominees for any office, it seems. Last week, Elizabeth Anne Pierce, a corporate member of a public commission created by Trump's FCC Chair Ajit Pai, purportedly to help expand broadband Internet access, was arrested on allegations of fraud to the tune of $250 million for forging signatures on contracts on behalf of her startup high-speed fiber-optic company. And, on Capitol Hill today, Navy Admiral Ronny Jackson, Trump's personal physician turned nominee to head the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, comes under fire from Senators of both parties, regarding his complete lack of experience for such a role, but also for reports of fostering a "hostile work environment", "excessive drinking on the job" and "improperly dispensing meds" among other things. In the bargain, today at the White House, Trump appeared to begin the process of throwing Jackson --- who he reportedly had to convince to accept the nomination to head the VA and its 360,000 employees --- under the nearest bus.

And finally, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report, and for a tribute or two to Schoolhouse Rock creator Bob Dorough, who died today at the age of 94...

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: Clueless Trump now to rejoin TPP?; Sinclair continues to abuse public airwaves; And, why local news matters...
By Brad Friedman on 4/12/2018 6:29pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it's like deja vu all over again. But with a Commander-in-Chief who is completely clueless about any of it and powerful adversaries who claim they are prepared to shoot back. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The President of the United States has no idea what he's doing, and is simply making up policy from minute to minute, according to a Washington Post report last night, detailing how White House aides are forced to scramble each day to either explain Donald Trump's actions "or clean them up."

"There is no proactive strategic thinking," one staffer told the paper. Another senior administration official conceded that aides are often forced to "reverse-engineer a policy process to match whatever the President said" on any given day. That may be workable, sort of, when it comes to something like Trump's announcement today that, after years of bashing the Trans-Pacific Partnership and pulling the U.S. out of it shortly after taking office, he is now considering rejoining the TPP after all.

But when it comes to sending the U.S. to war, Trump's erratic behavior poses a very serious danger. To that end --- as Trump has flip-flopped over the past week between demanding the U.S. pull its troops out of Syria within 48 hours, to publicly warning Syria's main ally Russia to "get ready" for incoming missiles, to reversing positions yet again to declare a U.S. attack on the war-torn nation "could be very soon or not soon at all" --- his Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis was busy conceding to lawmakers in the U.S. House on Thursday that the Pentagon lacks evidence of the alleged chemical attack in over the weekend, reportedly carried out by the Syrian government against its own citizens in one of the last rebel-held areas near Damascus.

While noting that he "believe[s] there was a chemical attack," Mattis told lawmakers on Capitol Hill today "we're looking for the actual evidence" and admitted that even if inspectors from the international Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) get access to the site of the alleged attack, "we will not know who did it. They can only say that they found evidence or did not."

It's not the first time that Mattis has conceded we've attacked Syria in response to purported chemical attacks for which the U.S. had "no evidence".

Nonetheless, the media continue to report the weekend attack in Syria --- said to have killed more than 40 civilians with some form of poison gas --- as having been carried out by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Even as Mattis was admitting the lack of evidence the U.S. has to support the charge, NBC News was busy reporting breathlessly and unskeptically, in an eerie echo of the run-up to the U.S. war(s) against Iraq, on claims from two unnamed "U.S. officials" citing "blood and urine samples from last Saturday's deadly attack in Syria that have tested positive for chemical weapons." It's like deja vu all over again, but with a clueless President and powerful countries like Russia and Iran already having warned that they are prepared to retaliate against any attack against the Syrian government by the U.S. or its allies.

In not-entirely-unrelated news today, as Trump continues to lie about "voter fraud" in the 2016 election (and about everything else), an alarming new study from Politico finds that voters with less access to local news voted in larger numbers for Trump in 2016 than they did for Mitt Romney in 2012. At the same time, the study reveals, those with more access to such news sources voted in higher proportion for Hillary Clinton.

The findings come as the rightwing Sinclair Broadcasting Group, the nation's largest owner of local TV news outlets, attempts to receive FCC approval to buy up enough local stations to reach some 72% of American households. While public push-back against the effort builds, the pro-Trump broadcast behemoth is revealed to be using the public airwaves at their own currently-owned stations (and websites) to lie about the mounting criticism against their practices.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on Shell's recently revealed decades long knowledge that their products cause global warming, and the mountain of scandal that continues to engulf Trump's embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt...

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By Brad Friedman on 4/5/2018 6:19pm PT  

On today's BradCast: While everything still sucks, there are, nonetheless, a growing number of encouraging signs that Americans --- even those in so-called "red" states --- have had just about enough of the rightwing Republican corporate takeover and ravaging of this country and so much that we hold dear. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Among the stories covered towards that end on today's program...

  • A record-breaking number of women are now running for Congress, and the filing deadlines haven't even passed in half of the states;
  • Sinclair Broadcasting Group's insidious misuse of our public airwaves for rightwing pro-Trump propaganda purposes finally begins to catch the attention of Democrats in Congress, as company executives mouth off with pathetic excuses, former employees speak out, some staffers resign in protest, and others, while embarrassed by being forced to read on-air nonsense from their owners, find reasonable excuses for not quitting (such as outrageously onerous contract terms) at once-respected TV news outlets now controlled by the nation's largest owner of television stations;
  • Teachers in so-called "red" states like Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona and West Virginia continue walkouts to push back against state education budgets that have been slashed in recent years to pay for huge tax cuts to wealthy corporations in failed experiments with supposedly "pro-growth" Reaganomics;
  • And while Republican officials in those states have made clear they were only pretending to give a damn about kids, their pretend love for coal miners has also been exposed as a lie in Kentucky, where lawmakers just made it much more difficult for miners to receive compensation amid an epidemic surge of deadly black lung disease cases;
  • The jaw-dropping corruption scandals of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt continue to be revealed on a daily basis. So, will Donald Trump finally find the courage to fire him?;
  • And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, in which Mobil Oil joins Exxon in being revealed as having been fully aware, decades ago, that the burning of fossil fuels is causing civilization-threatening climate change, and Americans tell Ryan Zinke and his Interior Department to take a hike over huge proposed increases to entry fees at our national parks...

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Guest: Pam Vogel of Media Matters; Also: Another mass shooting; Good news for voters in two federal voter registration cases in TX and FL...
By Brad Friedman on 4/3/2018 6:25pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Good news for voters in two separate federal court cases concerning the National Voter Registration Act, and bad news for democracy, as a rightwing media outlet is using trusted local television anchors --- and our public airwaves --- to deceptively promote the Trump Agenda. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up, some breaking news as we go to air today on yet another mass shooting. This time, it was at the YouTube headquarters building in San Bruno, California, with few details known as of airtime, other than the news that four were known to have been wounded and the shooter appears to have been a women who killed herself after her spree.

Then, some happier breaking news out of Texas, where a federal court found in favor of the Texas Civil Rights Project on Tuesday, in their lawsuit against the state on behalf of plaintiffs who were denied voter registration via the online Department of Public Safety (DPS) website system when they obtained or changed their drivers' licenses. Under the federal National Voter Registration Act (NVRA or "motor voter" law), the judge ruled the state is required to process changes to drivers' licenses as voter registration applications when users click a box to confirm they wish to register to vote. Some 1.5 million Texans annually, according to the complaint [PDF], have attempted to do so, only to find out they were not actually registered to vote via the system when they showed up to the polls.

In further encouraging court news for voters, a federal judge in Florida on Friday found against a group of long-time Republican "voter fraud" fraudsters who sued, under a different provision of the NVRA, claiming that Broward County wasn't purging their voting rolls aggressively enough. That case was the first to come to trial among several similar cases filed by the rightwing groups calling themselves Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) and the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU). The judge's ruling seriously undercuts at least one of the major claims made by longtime GOP "voter fraud" fraudsters asserting evidence of massive "voter fraud" supposedly being carried out by Democrats.

Then, after a remarkable video mashup of dozens and dozens of local TV news anchors all robotically reading the same corporate-supplied script decrying "fake news" went viral over the weekend, there has been intense scrutiny of the rightwing Sinclair Broadcast Group, the company which forced the local stations it owns to produce the promos. Sinclair currently owns nearly 200 local TV stations and, despite already being the largest owner of stations nationwide, is in the process of purchasing at least 40 more that are owned by Tribune Media.

Media Matters' researcher PAM VOGEL, who has been reporting on Sinclair's misuse of our public airwaves via their local stations for several years, joins us to detail the concerns behind otherwise longtime trusted local media outlets becoming little more than propaganda outlets for the Trump Administration.

"Sinclair has been so successful for so long, because they kind of fly under the radar with smaller-scale local news," Vogel explains. The company uses it's stations --- affiliates of various networks, like ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox --- to "exploit the inherent trust that people have for their local news. You aren't necessarily aware of who is pulling the strings behind the scenes. There's no Sinclair logo on the screen."

Beyond forcing stations to run promos like the "hostage video" that went viral over the weekend, Sinclair also forces them to use regular "must-run" commentaries like those from former Trump Campaign official Boris Epshteyn.

Vogel also details what is known about the FCC Inspector General's reported investigation into whether Trump Administration officials and his FCC Chairman Ajit Pai improperly colluded with Sinclair executives to change long-standing FCC media ownership rules in order to accommodate Sinclair's attempted takeover of Tribune Media.

"They are already the largest owner of local television stations in the country, but this deal is completely unprecedented," she tells me. "And it wouldn't have actually been possible unless Trump's FCC --- now that it was under Republican-majority control, with Trump in office --- made some special moves to make that deal possible in the first place."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, in which the EPA has reversed fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks enacted by the Obama Administration; EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt finds himself under renewed scrutiny in several corruption scandals; DoJ sues the state of California over federal lands; and ExxonMobil's attempt to block climate change lawsuits against them gets tossed by a federal judge...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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FCC is poised to kill Net Neutrality…and it will be a horror show…again…
By Sue Wilson on 12/13/2017 9:13am PT  

Two days before Thanksgiving, the Federal Communications Commission announced [PDF] it will vote December 14 on a new Federal rule that may very easily take away our Freedom of Speech on the Internet.

That's not an exaggeration.

The three Republican presidential appointees on the FCC will pass a federal rule that could result in any content provider with a website or app --- from AirBnb to Zillow to The BRAD BLOG --- being forced to pay your Internet Service Provider big fees for the privilege of bringing their content onto your device or computer. If they don't pay up, their content slows down, and you can't get the content you want unless you wait. And wait. Research shows if you wait just ten seconds, many just give up. It's not so bad for content from well-funded players, but what happens when the guy who blogs about your local school board gets shut out? Chalk another one up for Big Media controlling what information we are allowed to see...

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




Guest: Former Obama tax policy advisor Seth Hanlon on GOP tax cuts; Also: Trump endorses accused child molester for U.S. Senate; Trump's FCC announces plans to kill landmark 'Net Neutrality' protections...
By Brad Friedman on 11/21/2017 6:19pm PT  

On today's BradCast: If you're still clinging to the idea that elections don't really matter and the incredibly lazy assertion that "there's no difference between the two major parties", today's show may help you reassess those ill-considered, self-defeating, knee-jerk notions. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

First up, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, explains why he believes it would be better to have an accused child molester, Alabama's Republican U.S. Senate nominee, Roy Moore, in the U.S. Senate, than to see the Democratic candidate Doug Jones elected on December 12. His argument today that Moore "totally denies" the charges of sexual improprieties with teenagers as young as 14 (sourced to more than 30 people) is part of his Administration's desperate attempt to pass their massive tax cuts for the rich, at all costs, through a very slim GOP majority in the U.S. Senate. That majority would get slimmer still if Jones is elected. So bring on the pedophiles!

We're joined today by SETH HANLON, President Obama's former Special Assistant for Economic and Tax Policy, to explain how the GOP's proposed tax scheme is being rushed through the Senate during the holidays, in hopes that voters don't notice that it will actually raise taxes for some 82 million middle-income Americans, while keeping permanent tax cuts in place for the wealthy. And, as bad as that sounds, other provisions are even worse and will result in an increase of $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit, the loss of health care coverage for some 13 million Americans, and an immediate $25 billion cut to Medicare, among other nightmares.

"The number one thing" that people need to known about this bill, Hanlon tells me, "is that this thing is happening now. This bill could be law by the end of next week. It might take longer than that, but they are trying to jam it through the Senate, which is the key to all this, next week. There are reasons why they are doing that so fast. Sunlight's the best disinfectant and they do not want people to scrutinize this bill to find out what's in it, to understand the ramifications. So they are trying to get it through as fast as they possibly can."

"If you want to see what's really happening with this bill, you look at what's permanent in it. A lot of it is just temporary, but there's really only three parts that are permanent. Number 1 is a massive tax cut for corporations. Number 2 is a hidden tax increase on basically every single American household. Number 3 is an attack on the Affordable Care Act. They're repealing a key part of Obamacare, the ACA, and it's been estimated to result in 13 million without health insurance, and premiums increasing for people who buy them through marketplaces by 10 percent."

"This is a permanent tax cut for corporations, paid for with a permanent tax increase on individuals and by fewer people having health care," Hanlon, now a Senior Fellow at Center for American Progress, explains. He also speaks to whether the ACA provision is included only as a bargaining chip, whether the Obama Administration used similar tactics to get legislation through Congress, and whether there is any evidence that tax cuts of this sort "pay for themselves", as Trump's Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (pictured above with his new wife and new money) and his Economic Policy Adviser Gary Cohn, among others, have asserted in the desperate effort to pass what would be the only major legislation to be adopted under Trump during his first year of office.

But, if all of that doesn't underscore the difference between Republicans, who support the scheme, and Democrats who virulently oppose it, Trump's Chair of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, announced today that the FCC's 3 to 2 Republican majority will vote next month to kill landmark Net Neutrality protections instituted during the Obama Administration. We explain what that means, and how it is likely to result in higher prices for customers and content providers (like BradBlog.com and The BradCast) and slower Internet speeds for sites and consumers who don't pay up tolls to Internet provider behemoths like AT&T and Comcast for access to the "fast lane" on the information super-highway. It will be, as one of the two Democratic commissioners on the FCC said in a statement today, a "green light to our nation's largest broadband providers to engage in anti-consumer practices, including blocking, slowing down traffic, and paid prioritization of online applications and services."

Also today, Trump's DHS announced their intention to deport tens of thousands of Haitians who came to the U.S. legally after the devastating 2010 earthquake (along with their U.S. born citizen children?), and an Obama appointed federal judge has permanently blocked the Trump DoJ's attempt to unlawfully withhold federal funding to so-called "sanctuary cities".

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with very cool news for electric vehicle fans and some encouraging news for breathers and voters alike in Virginia (which, once again, underscores that, yes, elections matter and yes, there is a difference between the two major parties, whether you like it or not.) And we've also got some good news for endangered elephants, but some bad news for endangered lions in today's report...

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Guest: Dana Floberg of FreePress.net; Also: Nebraska approves KeystoneXL route after spill; Trump ratchets up war-mongering with NK...
By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2017 6:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Apparently, the mega-merger of non-wingnut media corporations is bad for consumers and competition, according to Trump's U.S. Department of Justice. But the mega-merger of right-wing media goliaths is just fine, according to Trump's FCC --- even if they must roll back decades of rules (and change the way math works) to maintain local media ownership of newspaper and TV stations in order to do it. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Today, just minutes before airtime, the U.S. Dept. of Justice announced their lawsuit to try and block the proposed $85 billion mega-merger between AT&T and Time-Warner, claiming the takeover would "substantially lessen competition" and result in "higher prices and less innovation for millions of Americans." While that might normally be encouraging and long-overdue anti-trust news from a U.S. Administration, the Trump Administration's war on CNN (whose parent company is owned by Time-Warner) and a separate move by Trump's FCC Chairman Ajit Pai late last week, gutting decades-old regulations that prevented companies from buying up local TV and newspaper outlets in the same market, makes the DoJ's claims a bit difficult to accept at face value.

Joining us today is DANA FLOBERG, policy analyst at the non-partisan media watchdog FreePress.net, to explain how the FCC's vote last week to kill those rules threatens independent media and local news competition and seems to contradict the Administration's response to to the AT&T/Time-Warner merger, even as it paves the way for another planned mega-merger between the far right-wing Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media. That merger, along with the FCC's disturbing actions last week, with little publiclity and no public comment period, would allow Sinclair to reach some 72% of American viewers in an unprecedented takeover of as many as all of the local TV news outlets in your home town, eventually!

Floberg tells me her organization favors blocking the deal between AT&T and Time-Warner, but she remains "concerned on Trump's saber-rattling" with CNN as part of the Administration's objection to the deal. She says that merger must be blocked becaus "it's the right thing to do for Americans, not to suit Trump's personal vendetta."

As to last week's vote to overturn decades of local media consolidation regulations, she details what the new rules will allow, and explains how the FCC's Pai has "been rushing all these changes so they're in place by the time they have to approve the merger" between Sinclair and Tribune Media. In the bargain, as she discussed in a recent article at Free Press, Pai's argument that the consolidation of local media by huge corporations is needed to help struggling newspaper outlets doesn't meet the smell test. "They've already used the argument that 'consolidation will invigorate' local markets," she says, "and it hasn't worked". Sinclair is "already the largest broadcaster in the U.S.," she warns and the "first thing they do" after buying up stations "is they close newsrooms."

Then, Desi Doyen joins us to explain the decision made by by Nebraska's Public Service Commission on Monday to adopt an alternate route for the long-sought, controversial KeystoneXL Pipeline, just days after more than 200,000 gallons of dirty tar-sands crude from Canada spilled out of the original Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota.

Also today, Trump ratchets up his war-mongering with North Korea, this time by declaring them to be a state-sponsor of terrorism. And, one of his top generals explained over the weekend how Americans needn't worry, because he'd never facilitate an "illegal" war or nuclear launch by Trump. (Feel better? I don't.)

Callers then ring in on all of the above today. Enjoy!...

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Guest: Sue Wilson of Media Action Center; Also: Trump says now seeking diplomacy with NK; Many red flags should have prevented TX shooting...
By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2017 6:15pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Very troubling news from the FCC, largely being ignored by both corporate media and Democrats, as the GOP-controlled federal agency is now set to make a disastrous decision to allow local media ownership monopolies as early as next week. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today: In an encouraging about-face, some good news out of Donald Trump's trip to Asia. After publicly attacking his own Secretary of State on Twitter for seeking the same just weeks ago, Trump, in South Korea on Tuesday, says he now hopes for a peacefully negotiated diplomatic solution to his nuclear brinkmanship with North Korea.

Next: The man who used a legally purchased military-style semi-automatic assault rifle and some 450 rounds of ammunition to slaughter 26 churchgoers in Sutherland Springs, Texas on Sunday, was not only convicted by a U.S. Air Force court martial for assaulting his wife and child (whose skull he cracked), but he also spent a year in the brig, was discharged for "bad behavior", was charged for beating up a dog, had a restraining order filed in Court against him, escaped from a psychiatric hospital, threatened to kill his commanding officers, and attempted to smuggle weapons onto a military base.

But, somehow, none of those red flags --- through both the military and civilian law enforcement --- prevented him from legally purchasing four firearms, more than a dozen high-capacity magazines, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. While Republicans and media are claiming the Air Force was "in error" for not reporting his domestic assaults to the federal background check database in a way that would have kept him from purchasing firearms from a licensed deal, it was not an "error". Evidence suggests that it is actual policy for the entire U.S. military. Nonetheless, as I explain today, the GOP will use the issue to demand a change to how the military reports crimes, declare victory, even while ignoring all of the many other red flags that should have helped to prevent the bloodbath from happening at all.

Then: Ajit Pai (pictured above), the rightwing Chair of Donald Trump's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced a vote to be held next week to do away with the last of the few remaining media consolidation rules we have left in the U.S. If the 3 to 2 majority Republican Commission votes, as expected, to overturn decades-long limits on local broadcast and newspaper ownership, one company --- for example, the far rightwing (farther than Fox "News" even) Sinclair Broadcast Group, which is attempting to purchase Tribune Media --- will be able to buy up every single local television station (and their newsrooms) in the town where you live. Newspapers would also be allowed to own local television stations in the same market, for the first time ever.

Media Action Center's SUE WILSON, whose documentary Broadcast Blues covered just some of the real life dangers of media monopoly ownership (like that by Clear Channel aka I Heart Media in radio), joins us today to sound the alarm and explain the madness, which is quietly set to move forward with almost no attention or opposition whatsoever from either media, Democrats or many of the major media advocacy groups.

The Trump administration is "using their power behind the scenes, without legislation, to derail all the rules and regulations that we have in place to protect We, The People," Wilson explains. "The real threat here is, just imagine one corporate owner owns every TV station, and the newspaper, and the radio stations in your town. One owner, one newsroom, shoving whatever they want you to know down your throat, and no other viewpoints, no other facts, will be allowed. That's what we're really talking about here."

"This is something that Republicans on the Federal Communications Commission have been lobbying for for years," she says. "And they have tried this underhanded technique in the past, where they don't take any public comment, they just put this out for a vote." Unless they are stopped somehow, it looks as if they are likely to get away with it this time. (Remember when Republicans used to claim to be in favor of "competition"? Those were the days, huh?)

"What we're really talking about here is one group having complete control over everything that you are told over the public airwaves. And that will decimate the real reporting that goes on. Those are the newsrooms that hire real reporters, that go out and beat the streets and find out what happening at city hall, or the statehouse --- or the White House. They like to compete with each other, which offers We, The People a much broader spectrum of information that we can access."

Those days, however, may soon be over if this goes through. "Their goal is to take the radio model --- the model which is 98% of all the information you get on the news-talk stations is rightwing. You don't get any kind of pushback. Sound these fire alarms now because the house is burning and they don't want you to know it!" Wilson, whose op-ed on this, headlined "Fake News is only the beginning..." was published at Sacramento Bee today, also details how you can help to fight back on today's show. See this "URGENT" page at her Media Action Center for details. And please do so quickly! The vote to scrap ownership limitations and gut whatever is left of our public airwaves is scheduled for next week!

Finally: Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report, including special coverage of the newly released, and quite dire, National Climate Assessment, and Syria's announcement on Tuesday that the war-torn country now intends to join the Paris Climate Agreement, leaving the U.S. as the only nation on the planet that will NOT be a party to it, if Trump's promise to pull out goes through as scheduled...

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

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Guest: Media reformer Sue Wilson; Also: The GOP's stolen SCOTUS lie...
By Brad Friedman on 4/5/2017 5:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast: With Republicans in the U.S. Senate on the verge of completing their brazen and historically unprecedented theft of the U.S. Supreme Court majority for a generation --- and still grimmer news elsewhere around the world --- we're happy to cover an inspiring David v. Goliath story about a media activist who took on a major media conglomerate (and the FCC) and seems to have won! At least mostly. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Former award-winning broadcast journalist turned media reformer Sue Wilson of Media Action Center joins us today to detail an encouraging ending to what began ten years ago as an unspeakably tragic story. After the death of a listener, following a stunt contest on Entercom Communication's KDND 107.9 "The End" in Sacramento, and a trial finding the company liable for that death, Wilson decided to file a Petition to Deny renewal of the company's license with the FCC for its 50,000 watt powerhouse frequency.

The FCC has not revoked any corporate license to use our public airwaves in the federal agency's memory. What happened next, however, was detailed over the weekend by Dan Morain at the Sacramento Bee, by Wilson herself today at The BRAD BLOG, and, in person on today's BradCast, where she details the difficulties she had in finding any of the larger, more established media reform organizations or attorneys willing to join her effort.

This story is a remarkably encouraging (and timely) reminder that, yes, one person actually can make a difference by taking on both corporate giants and intransigent federal agencies --- and win! But, as importantly, it's also an important reminder that those for-profit corporations entrusted with controlling our public airwaves, still have a legal responsibility to use those airwaves in the public interest.

Also today: Breaking down the GOP lie at the center of their SCOTUS theft (and what you can still try and do about it); Steve Bannon dumped from the National Security Council; The first city council in the nation (that we know of) adopts a resolution calling for the impeachment of Donald Trump; a Republican Governor bans fracking in his state; some U.S. House special election news; and Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report...

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

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How I took on a major media conglomerate for abusing our public airwaves and challenged the FCC to do its job --- and (mostly) won...
By Sue Wilson on 4/5/2017 10:20am PT  

Over the weekend, Dan Morain, editorial page editor at Sacramento Bee, wrote an article about what I've been working on, and writing about here at The BRAD BLOG and elsewhere, for many years now.

Morain's article starts this way:

From her home outside the no-stoplight settlement of Fiddletown, Sue Wilson tilted at a corporate windmill, and a funny thing happened.

Sue from Fiddletown won, on our behalf. You can hear the sound of that victory at the end of the FM radio dial in Sacramento. Where there once was commercial pop music, hooting deejays and stupid radio stunts, there’s static.

"We the People own the air waves," she said, and repeats: "We the People."

It's a very nice article, that begins with a tragic story. That story, however, now has at least a somewhat encouraging ending for, yes, We the People.

Here's what happened...

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




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