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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, April 23, 2019
To Impeach or Not to Impeach? That is the (Democrats') Question: 'BradCast' 4/23/19
But it may be Republicans who provide them with the courage to oust a scofflaw President...
'Green News Report' 4/23/19
  w/ Brad & Desi
Gas prices spike, will get worse as Trump vows new Iran sanctions; Mueller finds Russia stoked 2016 coal fights; EU curbs plastic pollution; PLUS: NYC goes big with Green New Deal...
Previous GNRs: 4/18/19 - 4/16/19 - Archives...
Mueller Report Reveals 2016 Vote Systems, Results Never Examined for Manipulation: 'BradCast' 4/22/19
Also: News avalanche; AOC 'looks back' from future; Callers ring in on impeachment...
Easter Sunday Toons!
'PDiddie' has been busy gathering a festive basket of colorful surprises for you in his latest weekly toon collection...
MUELLER REPORT DETAILS TRUMP'S REPEATED OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE: 'BradCast' 4/18/19
Guests: Zero Hour's Richard Eskow, Comm. to Investigate Russia's Jacki Schechner...
'Green News Report' 4/18/19
  w/ Brad & Desi
Arrests at London climate protests; March 2019 third hottest ever; Bank of England's stark warning about climate risks; PLUS: Teen climate activist addresses EU Parliament...
Previous GNRs: 4/16/19 - 4/11/19 - Archives...
Another Cruel New Border Policy, More Impeachable Chaos: 'BradCast' 4/17/19
Guest: Sarah Pierce of Migration Policy Inst.; Also: Trump vetoes Congress ban on support for Saudi war in Yemen; Media (and Dems) can't handle Trump lawlessness...
The Billionaire Opportunists of Notre Dame:
'BradCast' 4/16/19
Also: WA adopts 'public option'; Fox town hall goes wild for Bernie; Warren to end drilling; Unspeakable cruelty of Trump immigration policies and a hero stands up to them...
'Green News Report' 4/16/19
Deadly tornadoes from TX to DE; Int. IG probing new Int. Sec.; WA's 100% clean electricity target; PLUS: 2020 Dems to expand renewables, combat climate change...
Institutions Burning (And How YOU Can Help Fight to Save One!): 'BradCast' 4/15/19
Guest: Author Josh Douglas; Also: Notre Dame burns; Trump flouts law, endangers Congresswoman; Buttigieg is in; GOPers in AR, TN move to game elections...
Sunday 'Black Hole' Toons
'PDiddie' fills a bunch of endless holes, voids and vacuums in his latest weekly toon collection...
'Beyond Background Checks':
'BradCast' 4/12/19
Dems need bold, progressive action for a safe, prosperous, just future, w/ guest Igor Volsky; Also: Lawless Trump; Regulatory capture; Freshmen Dems step up...
'Green News Report' 4/11/19
Trump authorizes self to authorize pipelines, strip states rights; New 'bomb cyclone'; Earth CO2 levels highest in 3M yrs; PLUS: Glaciers melting faster than predicted...
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...


Also: Several other indictments today and, yes, still more unprecedented Trump Administration corruption...
By Brad Friedman on 4/11/2019 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast: You get an indictment! You get an indictment! You get an indictment! Everyone gets an indictment!!! Well, not everyone. At least not everyone who deserves an indictment. But a bunch of folks got indicted today in a bunch of separate federal cases. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

One time Democratic hero and former Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti was charged in a 36-count federal indictment in California for allegedly stealing from clients, not paying his taxes, and committing bank fraud. Former Obama White House Counsel Greg Craig was charged by prosecutors in D.C. for lying to federal agents regarding his lobbying work in Ukraine, a case that came out of the Robert Mueller Special Counsel probe (where Trump Campaign chair Paul Manafort was previously found guilty of very related charges).

And, of course, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was finally arrested in the U.K. after being kicked out of the Ecuadorean embassy in London (where he's claimed asylum for the past seven years) before being found guilty by a British judge of skipping out on bail while facing extradition for charges of sexual assault in Sweden back in 2012. The Swedish charges have since been dropped, but Assange now faces both prison time in Britain and an extradition request from the U.S. where prosecutors unsealed a one-count indictment [PDF] against him today, as filed under seal in March of 2018.

For now, that charge is an allegation of "conspiracy to commit computer intrusion". Federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia claim he attempted to help crack a password for a classified Defense Department computer system to assist then U.S. Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning in hacking documents. That, after Wikileaks had already released hundreds of such documents --- many containing evidence of serious U.S. crimes --- taken by Manning, back in 2010. Freedom of the press advocates, however, warn today that the charges being brought by Trump's Dept. of Justice against Assange could be expanded to include normal journalistic activities, which could threaten the Constitutional rights of many media outlets and journalists alike.

We detail today what we know --- and don't --- about the indictment; what we know --- and don't --- about what Assange and WikiLeaks have done (including the release of documents stolen from the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016); and what all of this may --- or may not --- mean for U.S. press freedoms as the case moves forward.

Also today: Some good news regarding the death penalty in New Hampshire; Some quick updates on Trump Treasury Dept. Secretary Steven Mnuchin's refusal (so far) to turn over Trump's tax returns to Congress in violation of the law; Trump Attorney General William Barr's obnoxious, hypocritical, and (so far) evidence-free claim that the Obama Administration was "spying" on the Trump Campaign in 2016; And more disturbing details on the perfidy and corruption of David Bernhardt, the longtime oil and gas industry lobbyist who was shamefully confirmed today by the U.S. Senate as Trump's new Interior Department Secretary.

Finally, Desi Doyen brings us the latest Green News Report on Trump's newly signed Executive Orders authorizing himself to, among other things, authorize new oil and gas pipelines without approval from other federal agencies, and to remove states' rights to block energy infrastructure that threatens local water supplies; the second bomb cyclone in weeks to likely bring billions in damages to a number of Midwestern states; and several troubling new studies regarding the acceleration of climate change and glacial ice melt now outpacing previous scientific predictions...

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

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Guest: Heather Digby Parton on today's House Oversight hearing, revealing evidence from the President's former lawyer, and his damning description of Trump as 'a racist, conman and cheat'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/27/2019 6:01pm PT  

On today's BradCast: As you may have heard, Donald Trump's former personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen publicly testified under oath for some 7 hours in the U.S. House Oversight Committee on Wednesday. We're all over it today with special coverage. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Among the "highlights" were Cohen's detailed allegations --- along with supporting documentation --- revealing that Trump committed felony crimes both before his election and since taking office, including secretly writing checks while President to reimburse Cohen for illicit hush-money payments made to Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election. Cohen pleaded guilty last year to felony charges related to participating in that felony campaign finance conspiracy, which he says was "directed" by Trump to affect the election by keeping Daniels quiet about the affair she allegedly had with Trump.

Cohen also testified that Trump's son Don, Jr. participated in the conspiracy scheme in the months following the 2017 inauguration. Moreover, Cohen charged that Trump was told in advance by Roger Stone during the campaign that WikiLeaks' planned to release DNC emails said to have been hacked by Russia. He also offered evidence to suggest that Trump was well aware of the infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russians offering "dirt" on Hillary Clinton before it took place. Trump has previously denied both matters.

Cohen is set to soon begin a three-year federal prison sentence for his part in the hush-money conspiracy and for lying to Congress previously about Trump's plans to build a condominium project in Moscow.

In his damning and masterful opening statement [PDF], some of which we share at length today (and which you should read in full if you missed it), Cohen explains how he is seeking redemption and describes the man for whom he worked for ten years, in no uncertain terms, as a "racist, conman and cheat".

We're joined today by the great HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo to discuss what we now know (and still don't), as well and how both Republican and Democratic lawmakers handled the day's astonishing and historic proceedings.

She describes Cohen's testimony as revealing how he "joined Trump's cult of personality and it destroyed him. The rottenness at the center of this cult of personality around Donald Trump was laid out, exposed. And [Cohen] looked in the eye of the Republicans sitting there on that panel who were defending Trump, saying to all these people, 'This will happen to you too. This is what happens if you follow this man.' It was almost a warning to the country [that] there's a rottenness surrounding this man on every level."

Indeed. Our full special coverage follows below...

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: The Intercept's Akela Lacy on Admin approval for religious discrimination; Also: Kushner was rejected for top secret clearance, but granted it anyway; Stone arrested and charged in Florida...
By Brad Friedman on 1/25/2019 6:39pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Why Donald Trump finally buckled in his demand for border wall funding and how the unprecedented government shutdown helped distract all of us from the Administration's new policy that endangers children by officially allowing blatant religious discrimination --- at least against religions other than Protestant. [Audio link to show follows below.]

On Friday, Trump caved. He finally agreed to reopen the federal government --- at least temporarily --- after five weeks and the longest shutdown in U.S. history. He pretended he'd made a "deal" with Democrats. In fact, he simply agreed to continue funding the government at its previous levels until February 15. He received zero dollars for his border wall in the bargain, while suggesting during bizarre, inaccurate and, at times, graphic remarks at the White House that, without some sort of "deal" for a wall, he would either shut the government down again in three weeks or declare a "national emergency" to take the money to build it from elsewhere.

There were many reasons Trump finally buckled today, including increasing anger from lawmakers in his own party, plummeting poll numbers, news that the IRS was in "panic mode" without enough workers as tax season begins, and flight delays up and down the Eastern Seaboard thanks to a shortage of Air Traffic Controllers, according to the FAA. But there were at least two stories that the Administration, no doubt, was eager to get off the front pages today and over the weekend.

One, a stunning report from NBC News Thursday night that Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner had been rejected for top secret clearance in 2017, for a host of reasons, by two career security professionals at the White House, only to have that security recommendation overruled (along with similar rejections for "at least 30" others!) and granted to him by a Trump appointee. Also, Trump's longtime supporter and dirty trickster Roger Stone --- who helped lead the "lock her up!" charge against Hillary Clinton with the release of hacked emails by WikiLeaks --- was arrested in Florida on Friday morning by FBI officials and charged with seven counts of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction of justice by a grand jury convened as part of Robert Mueller's Special Counsel probe. Following the GOP's fake "outrage" about national security concerns related to Clinton's private email server, which Stone helped amplify, there's no small amount of irony here with his arrest on the heels of news that the Trump Administration appears to have forgone top level security concerns altogether in order to allow Kushner and others access to the nation's most closely guarded intelligence materials.

Trump's "deal" to temporarily reopen the government may have served to change the news cycle for a few hours, but it didn't endear him to Republican extremists like Ann Coulter, whose critiques late last year led Trump to break his agreement with lawmakers and demand $5.7 billion for a southern border wall resulting in the five week shutdown. Today she deried him as "the biggest wimp ever to serve as President."

While all of these nightmares have been unfolding in recent weeks, few noticed that the Trump Administration's Health and Human Services Department quietly approved a very controversial waiver to allow a Protestant South Carolina group called Miracle Hill Ministries to discriminate against Muslims, Jews, Catholics and atheists in the placement of foster care children. We're joined by criminal justice reporter AKELA LACY of The Intercept today to explain this very real and disturbing outrage which very few have noticed, and how the Administration's partnership with "Religious Right" Republicans under the guise of "religious freedom" is now officially sanctioning religious discrimination in the U.S.

"South Carolina is saying that the foster care statute in HHS rules and regulations does not specify religion as a characteristic on which they are not allowed to discriminate. They say that the foster care program statute says that agencies that receive federal funding can't deny parents based on race, color or national origin, but that because that statute does not specify religion, the request that Miracle Hill accept these families is outside of the law," Lacy tells me, noting that state law in South Carolina bars this sort of discrimination, as do federal non-discrimination laws that the Administration appears to be ignoring.

"The other really scary part of this," she notes, "is that, aside from these individual waivers, eighty Republican lawmakers signed a letter to the President in May asking for even further repeal of these federal protections against discrimination. So this is not just something that is being advocated for on a state-by-state basis. This is a quiet effort from the right to change these rules in the interests of mostly Christian organizations."

Describing a similar waiver request from Texas --- which also seeks to allow discrimination against LGBTQ families as well --- she says (real) advocates of religious freedoms and civil liberties fear the South Carolina precedent is likely now to spread to other states, other federal agencies, and other matters that reach well beyond foster care while much of the media continue to be distracted with the ongoing Trump chaos...

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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Trump's dark week gets darker; Dems nix SCOTUS nom meetings; Majority of Repubs support 'Medicare for All'; Very bad polling news for GOP; GA county poll closure scam falls apart; Hurricane Lane threatens Hawaii...
By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2018 6:30pm PT  

Like the news cycle, we're all over the place on today's BradCast with politics, accountability and corruption news, democracy and voting news, green news and court news and much much more. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the many stories covered today...Some Democratic Senators are now refusing to meet with Donald Trump's U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, following the convictions of Trump's campaign chair Paul Manafort and the guilty pleas of his personal lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen, implicating the President himself in a conspiracy to commit serious criminal campaign finance felonies.

On related fronts today: Trump has now finally admitted (after years of lies about it by him and his staff) that he did, in fact, make hush-money payouts to women before the 2016 election; Cohen's lawyer Lanny Davis offers more details on what his client may know regarding Trump's early knowledge of hacked DNC emails before they were released in 2016; and Trump's longtime friend David Pecker [pictured above], who runs the National Enquirer and helped kill stories about Trump's mistresses, is reportedly now cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller after being granted an immunity deal.

Also, a Trump-supporting juror from the first Manafort trial says there was only one person on the jury who prevented him from being found guilty on all 18 counts of tax and bank fraud, versus the 8 on which he was found guilty. A mistrial was declared on the 10 other counts.

A new Reuters poll today finds that more than 70% of Americans now support a "Medicare for All" styled universal healthcare program, including a majority of Republicans. And a new poll from Fox "News" offers an avalanche of bad news for Trump and Republicans in advance of the 2018 midterm elections. (For example, Mueller is more popular than Trump by double-digits, and other numbers that may spell trouble in November.)

Speaking of which, following a public outcry, Randolph County, Georgia, whose two-person Board of Elections is set to vote on a proposal to close 7 of 9 polling places before the November election in the majority African-American county, now admits it has no evidence to support the claim that those precincts need to be closed due to violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Moreover, it has now fired the consultant --- hired on the recommendation of GA Sec. of State Brian Kemp (the Republican nominee for Governor this year) --- who urged the poll closures at, what he initially said, had been Kemp's recommendation.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report on the Trump EPA's deadly new proposed rule to replace Obama's landmark "Clean Power Plan", the Administration's spate of recent court failures blocking their attempts to overturn environmental protections, and the latest news on Hurricane Lane which is bearing down on Hawaii and threatening record rainfall among other potential dangers which, the Governor warns, could cripple the island for several weeks...

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: James Goodwin of Center for Progressive Reform; Also: DNC files Trump/Russia 'conspiracy' lawsuit; Wells Fargo fined $1B; Comey memos reveal Trump wants to jail journalists...
By Brad Friedman on 4/20/2018 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast: As usual, the big headlines obscure the most disturbing ones. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

On Friday, the Democratic National Committee filed a surprise federal lawsuit against Donald Trump, his son Don Jr., his son-in-law Jared Kushner, several other members of the Trump Campaign, as well as Russia and WikiLeaks, for what the DNC's characterizes in the complaint as a broad "conspiracy" to steal private documents and undermine the DNC and the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign in "an act of previously unimaginable treachery". If allowed to move forward, the suit could result in the President, and all of his men, being forced to turn over documents and give depositions under oath. (It could also set a troubling precedent for journalists.)

Also on Friday, Wells Fargo was slapped with a $1 billion fine by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) for hoaxing more than half a million customers into purchasing car insurance they did not need. While it was the first major action by the CFPB since Trump muscled his own Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney into the dual role of Acting CFPB Director, the record fine is only a small percentage of what Wells is receiving from Trump's recent massive tax cuts.

Mulvaney, who, as a Tea Party Congressman had spent years trying to abolish the consumer bureau formed after the 2008 global banking and mortgage crisis, was upbraided by Sen. Elizabeth Warren during a recent hearing in the Senate, for his ongoing efforts to undermine the CFPB's critical assistance to consumers.

And, related to all of that, while the worst of the Trump/GOP's major legislative agenda under Trump was broadly considered to be behind us with Democrats believed likely to take over one or both chambers of Congress this November, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA, pictured above) recently came up with a scheme to twist the obscure Congressional Review Act (CRA), in order to gut decades of executive agency regulations with a simple majority vote in each house. While the CRA, only used once in its 21-year history before Trump took office, was meant as a way for Congress to roll back new formal rules enacted by executive agencies, it has been used over the past year to gut dozens of formal regulations enacted during the last 60 days of the Obama Administration.

Toomey, however, has now come up with a new interpretation of the law to allow Republicans to kill regulations from decades ago. This week, the GOP Senate began using his interpretation to do just that. They voted to kill a 2013 CFPB "guidance" document enacted to prevent racial discrimination in auto loans after hundreds of thousands of minority car buyers were found to have been charged higher interest rates for loans (resulting in more than $100 million in fines by the CFPB and money paid back to customers.)

Toomey's maneuver, however, allows such guidelines --- as opposed to only recently enacted formal rules --- to be killed under the CRA, which also prevents executive agencies from ever reinstating a similar regulation in the future. In the bargain, decades of established executive agency regulations could now be done away with, with simple majority votes, between now and the start of the next Congressional term in 2019.

We're joined today by JAMES GOODWIN of the Center for Progressive Reform to discuss this dangerous and insidious new scheme which has received disturbingly sparse media attention since its first time use this past week. Goodwin details what the CRA was meant to do, versus how Republicans have now decided to use, and the many ways in which the CRA might now be abused across the federal government with this new precedent. "One of the main dangers of this new precedent," he explains, "is we have all of these critical safeguards that we thought were in place, that now could simply vanish. And, really, the only limitation [Republicans] face is time."

Finally, the release of memos [PDF] written by fired FBI Director James Comey just after his several meetings with Donald Trump, confirm Comey's earlier descriptions of those bizarre encounters, and have received much coverage for the President's described concerns about Russian hookers and his former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who has pleaded guilty to felonies in Robert Mueller's Special Counsel probe. Less discussed, however, are the troubling details from the memos revealing that Trump was similarly obsessed with convincing the FBI Director to throw journalists in jail --- in stark violation of the First Amendment --- for reporting on embarrassing leaks coming out of his White House...

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: BuzzFeed News Journalist, 'FOIA Terrorist' Jason Leopold; Also: Trump says he was bluffing about audio tapes...but was he?...
By Brad Friedman on 6/22/2017 6:09pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Republicans in the U.S. Senate finally released a draft of their secret plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or 'ObamaCare', and the Dept. of Defense finally releases a redacted version of a damage assessment from 2011, examining the fallout to national security from the Bradley/Chelsea Manning leaks of 2010. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up: The secret working group of white, male Republicans in the Senate finally revealed their new scheme, dubbed the "Better Care Reconciliation Act", to rewrite 1/5th of the U.S. economy by replacing ObamaCare with what Donald Trump has promised would be a healthcare plan "with heart" that was less "mean" than the version he celebrated after its narrow passage by Republicans in the U.S. House several weeks ago.

The release of the new Senate plan did not go well. Democrats, independents, and healthcare advocates alike --- not to mention elderly protesters in wheelchairs dragged away from outside the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell --- slammed the legislation for its massive tax cuts to the wealthy in exchange for deeply cruel cuts to federal Medicaid funding, and the promise of stingier premium subsidies for less generous health care policies.

A number of Republicans in the Senate also currently oppose the plan as written, because it doesn't repeal ObamaCare enough, but we'll see if they change their tune before the bill comes up for a vote next week, as promised by McConnell, before Congress leaves for the July 4th recess. The GOP can only afford to lose the support of two Republicans among their 52-seat caucus.

Then, we're joined by BuzzFeed News journalist and "FOIA terrorist" JASON LEOPOLD, to discuss the newly unearthed Dept. of Defense damage assessment of the hundreds of thousands of documents on the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, as well as diplomatic cables, leaked by U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in 2010.

During her trial, Government officials charged that the disclosures caused massive damage to national security and endangered counts lives of both U.S. personnel and our allies, but is that what the DoD's own secret 2011 assessment --- finally released this week in heavily redacted form in response to Leopold's Freedom of Information Act request --- actually found? We discuss that and the "passionate responses" he has received since publishing the assessment.

We also discuss the new White House ban on cameras during press briefings and how the Trump Administration compares to previous administrations on matters of government secrecy and document classification.

"In the overall picture, you have an administration that operates under intense secrecy that wants to limit access --- 'access' being the key word there --- that journalists depend upon. Access is really important, and it's really important to be able to confront government officials," Leopold tells me, while placing the news about the ban in context with the Trump Administration's secrecy and on-going battle with journalists elsewhere. "This type of behavior trickles down to various levels within the federal government and, I've seen, it also goes into local and state governments, as well. This intense secrecy, where elected officials who are accountable to the people are simply not interested in speaking --- and then try and set up some new rules that basically bars the press from confronting them."

Leopold goes on to cite the increased difficulty he is beginning to have prying documents loose via FOIA requests under the Administration, while noting that "some of these agencies are having trouble trying to figure out how to respond to requests, largely because you have a President now who is tweeting, who is arguably declassifying --- instantly declassifying --- information that would otherwise remain secret."

Speaking of which, finally today, Trump tweeted that, despite his previous suggestions, he has no audio tapes of his one-on-one conversations with now-fired FBI Director James Comey. But is he telling the truth, or bluffing yet again?...

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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Plus: More bad court news for Trump on his 'travel ban' and the Emoluments Clause, but perhaps good court news for him in GA-06...
By Brad Friedman on 6/12/2017 6:46pm PT  

On today's BradCast, things are not going well in the judicial system for Donald Trump. And, an election-related whistleblower joins us to offer insight into the undoubtedly agonizing decision of another election-related whistleblower who was arrested just last week. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The week is not starting off well for Trump in the courts. A second U.S. Court of Appeals has now upheld lower court rulings blocking his second Muslim "travel ban" Executive Order. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals echoed a similar finding by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals late last month. The new court loss comes on the same day that the Attorneys General of Washington D.C. and Maryland filed a lawsuit against Trump's alleged violations of the U.S. Constitution's Emoluments Clauses, prohibiting elected officials like Trump from receiving payments from foreign and state governments.

But he may have won one in Georgia where, late last week, a state judge denied and dismissed [PDF] a complaint [PDF] and motion for a Temporary Restraining Order [PDF] seeking to demand paper ballots at the polling place for next week's much-watched (and most expensive ever) U.S. House special election. That, as voters will still be forced instead to use 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems at the polling place instead.

Then, speaking of elections and Diebold's unverifiable touch-screen systems, we're joined by "Diebold Document Whistleblower" [PDF] STEPHEN HELLER who, while working at a law firm in 2004, discovered the company and its attorneys were lying to the state of California about having illicitly installed uncertified hardware and software into its unverifiable voting systems that were, back then, allowed for use in the state. The touch-screen voting systems were decertified by the state following Heller's disclosures, but he paid a stiff price for sharing attorney-client privileged documents with the media. The same system he blew the whistle on in 2004 will be use in Georgia for next week's Special Election, and Heller offers thoughts on that issue.

But Heller joined us specifically today to share his unique perspective on another election-related leaker/whistleblower, 25-year old NSA contractor and Air Force vet Reality Leigh Winner. Her arrest comes on the heels of the release of U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, whose 35-year sentenced was commuted by President Obama before leaving office, to the seven years Manning served since her conviction.

Winner was charged [PDF] last week under the 1917 Espionage Act for leaking a "Top Secret" NSA analysis to the press, which asserted that, prior to last year's election, Russian intelligence had used spear-phishing attacks to try and gain access to the computers of election officials around the country. Those same computers are often used to program voting systems, tabulators and voter registration databases. Under the espionage charges, Winner will not be allowed to make her case to the jury as to why she leaked the classified materials, nor explain how she believed them to be in the public interest, said fellow NSA-contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden last week.

Heller offers his own insight into the difficult decision he believes Winner faced when deciding to leak the documents, and explains why whistleblowers like him are often forced to decide to do the wrong things for the right reasons. "I felt that the crime of violating attorney-client privilege in this single, isolated, discrete instance, was worthwhile --- that I had to get this information out to the public so that the people of California and the rest of the country would know that this corporation was diddling our elections," he tells me.

"I think the message in both Ms. Winner's situation and mine is essentially the same --- our elections are under attack. And we Americans can't be complacent. We must protect our elections. Keep them clean, fair, open, untainted either by corporations or foreign nations or our own politicians and elections officials."

"What is illegal is not always wrong," Heller goes on to explain, from his unique perspective on the agonizing choices that folks like him and Winner (and Manning, and Snowden, et al) face when deciding to do what they did. "There's no question that if she did indeed leak these documents, as is alleged, that was illegal. But is it wrong? Reasonable minds may disagree."

Lots of stuff in my conversation with Heller (who, by way of full disclosure, has become a friend and occasional BRAD BLOG contributor in his years since blowing the whistle on Diebold) is worth tuning in for today. Much more than I can detail here!

Finally, a major energy utility company in Virginia tries to help choose the winner of the state's Democratic gubernatorial primary on Tuesday, and an otherwise Trump-loving Fox "News" anchor charges Trump's problem isn't fake news or the media, it's Donald Trump...

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Guest: Author, activist Norman Solomon of ImpeachDonaldTrumpNow.org | Plus: Trump's latest insane press conference; More on Flynn and the Logan Act; and our 8th Anniversary 'Green News Report'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/16/2017 6:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Donald Trump holds his first solo press conference as President...and it's a doozy. But just before that presser was going on at the White House, so was another at the National Press Club in D.C. to announce that nearly 1 million signatures calling for Trump's immediate impeachment were being delivered to Congress. [Audio link to complete show follows below.]

Journalist, author and activist Norman Solomon of Roots Action --- who, with Free Speech for People, have created the ImpeachDonaldTrumpNow.org campaign --- joins us to explain the grounds for the remarkable effort to begin Congressional proceedings to remove Trump from office, not even one month into his Presidency.

"This is a very long process, but not as long as many people think. This could be a lot quicker than we might have imagined just a few weeks ago," Solomon tells me, detailing what he sees as crystal clear violations of the U.S. Constitution's foreign and domestic "Emoluments" clauses, as well as a number of statutes as well.

Solomon charges that "It's such a dangerous precedent to have a President willfully, flagrantly, violating the Constitution," why he believes this can be done even with Republicans in control of both the House and Senate, and why the question of whether Vice President Mike Pence would be even worse for progressives, if he were to ascend to the Presidency, does not matter.

"If we shrug and say 'Well, we don't think it's practical', or 'We don't like the result of the Vice President becoming President', then we've bought further into what, frankly, is moving towards dictatorship," he argues. "If we say this is okay, that the President is above the supreme law of the land, then that opens the floodgates to autocracy and the antithesis of democracy."

The author of War Made Easy: How President and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death also discusses what he sees as the "big danger" of "Democrats attacking Trump with over-the-top extreme rhetoric" concerning Russia.

Then, Desi Doyen joins us for our 8th Anniversary(!) episode of the Green News Report! And, finally, I respond to some listener mail which disagrees with my take on the Logan Act (as detailed during Tuesday's BradCast), and how some believe it should be used to prosecute former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in regard to his conversation about sanctions with Russia's ambassador prior to the Inauguration...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 1/18/2017 5:56pm PT  

It was another hugely busy news day on today's BradCast. But, as usual, we try, at least, to keep our eyes not on the shiny objects, but on the stuff that actually matters. Wish us luck. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Among the stories we cover on today's show...

  • President Obama's final press conference as President of the United States, on Chelsea Manning; Trump; Russia; Cuba; Israel and the need to preserve a free press and protect democracy;
  • The World Meteorological Organization declares data from NOAA, NASA, the UK, and the European weather and climate center, as well as other datasets, all find that 2016 set the record for the hottest year ever recorded on Planet Earth. It was the third year in a row to shatter the record, posing what scientists categorize as a "profound threat to both the natural world and to human civilization;
  • Billionaire charter school proponent Betsy DeVos, Trump's nominee to become Secretary of Education, gets hammered by Democrats in her U.S. Senate confirmation hearings. She was unphased;
  • Oklahoma Attorney General, climate science denier, and enemy of the EPA Scott Pruitt faces tough questions at his confirmation hearings in the U.S. Senate, as Trump's nominee to head...yes...the EPA. He was also unphased.;
  • Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with at least some good news in our increasingly pretend world;
  • And listeners call in with a few time capsule messages for the future...from the final days before Donald Trump will have become President of the United States...

All of that and much more on today's BradCast...

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

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Guest: Journalist David Dayen on Trump nominees whose confirmations may be in jeopardy; Also: Obama commutes whistleblower Manning's sentence; Senate hearings continue; and more...
By Brad Friedman on 1/17/2017 6:09pm PT  

On today's BradCast, a few of Donald Trump's nominees for top cabinet slots may be facing trouble, as Senate hearings continue this week in the U.S. Senate, preparations are finalized (and changed) for the Inauguration, and President Obama issues last minute pardons and commutations. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

First today, as we go to air, breaking news on Obama's merciful commutation of the unprecedented 35-year prison sentence for U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning and a number of additional last-minute pardons and commutations.

Then, as Senate confirmation hearings resume today for Donald Trump's nominees, including for Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos and Interior Dept. Secretary nominee Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT), we look at concerns about both of them. Billionaire DeVos, for example, has given, quite literally, millions of dollars in donations to Republicans and GOP causes over the years, including tens of thousands to the GOP Senators set to vote on her nomination in the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee today. And, in the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Sen. Bernie Sanders pressed Zinke on whether or not he believes, like Trump, that climate change is "a hoax".

Then, we're joined by financial journalist and award-winning author David Dayen, to discuss several Trump nominees whose confirmations could now be in jeopardy, including the President-elect's picks to head up Health and Human Services (Rep. Tom Price), Labor (billionaire Andrew Puzder), Treasury (billionaire Steve Mnuchin) and Commerce (billionaire Wilbur Ross). We also discuss Dayen's recent big scoop at The Intercept on a memo detailing "widespread misconduct" (including fraud) at Mnuchin's mortgage bank OneWest and CA's then Democratic Attorney General, now U.S. Senator Kamala Harris' failure to further investigate or prosecute, despite recommendations from her own staff to do so.

Whether or not some of those nominations fall apart, Dayen notes a "supreme irony" in the both the election of Trump and the nominations of guys like Mnuchin and Ross, both profiteers of the "Great Foreclosure Machine".

"There was never any accountability for that. The Obama Administration famously kind of walked off the field in terms of prosecuting bankers and financial institution executives who instigated [the 2007 financial crisis]," argues Dayen. "And then who gets placed into power in the aftermath is the same people whose reputations have been rehabilitated effectively, who weren't given any sanctions for the actions that they took. And, in addition, the fact that there was no accountability created this sort of broken social fabric that helped lead to the rise of populist figures like Donald Trump in the first place."

"There are a lot of ways you can look at this," he tells me. "But there's no question that that failure to get the accountability that the American people wanted in the wake of the financial crisis played a role in the actions that occurred on Election Day 2016, and now those same people who profited off that neglect will be in charge."

Finally, as public pressure builds against some of those nominations, pressure has also led to a number of changes in plans for this week's Inauguration...

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

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Guest: 27-year CIA vet Ray McGovern on why he disputes the secretly sourced allegations, and on Trump skipping Presidential Daily Briefings...
By Brad Friedman on 12/21/2016 6:03pm PT  

On today's BradCast, how corporate media control of our public airwaves helped elect Donald Trump, and a decades-long, top-level CIA intelligence briefer of U.S. Presidents responds to concerns about Trump skipping Presidential Daily Briefings and on, so far, evidence-free, anonymous claims that Russia hacked and manipulated the U.S. election.

First up today, speaking of questioning "conventional wisdom", there is no doubt that the stranglehold of our public airwaves by corporate media helped elect Trump. But a new report suggests their helping hand may have been even worse than we knew, as Sinclair Broadcasting, the infamously rightwing media behemoth and largest single owner of television stations in the nation, apparently struck a deal with the Trump campaign to provide non-critical coverage on its scores of television "news" outlets in the South, Midwest and elsewhere.

Then I'm joined by 27-year CIA analyst, Ray McGovern, who served as Chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and prepared and personally delivered the CIA's Presidential Daily Briefings (PDBs) each morning to American Presidents from Kennedy to Clinton. Since leaving the agency, he has become an outspoken anti-war advocate and peace activist and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), a group which includes esteemed former intel officials, analysts, experts, and whistleblowers such as Daniel Ellsberg, Coleen Rowley, William Binney, Thomas Drake, John Kiriakou, Karen Kwiatkowski, Col. Ann Wright and others. He is also a contributor at Consortium News and his writings and appearances can also be found at RayMcGovern.com.

I invited him back on today to offer insight as to how the preparation and delivery of PDBs to Presidents and Presidents-Elect have changed over the years and how important they are. McGovern offers some fascinating insight and inside Presidential stories on all of the above. But I wanted to talk to McGovern about this specifically in the wake of Trump's somewhat alarming recent admission that, he rarely attends the briefings because he's "smart", and doesn't "have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years." Instead, Trump says, he sends his national security team to attend what McGovern describes as "the acme of the intelligence cycle, just to give you an awareness off how important the process is."

But our conversation soon moved to the various allegations --- still without evidence and said to be from unnamed intelligence sources citing secret National Security Estimates (NIEs) that some respectable critics say don't necessarily make a lot of sense --- charging that Russia hacked DNC and other emails during the campaign in hopes of helping Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.

In short, McGovern and his fellow team of longtime intelligence analysts, experts and whistleblowers believe the allegations are, in McGovern's words, 'a crock'. He explains why he and his colleagues recently released a memo explaining their dispute with the charges, and what they actually believe is at the root of the thousands of leaked emails. While I agree with Ray on the lack of evidence presented at this time in support of the claims against Russia, I am also skeptical of VIPS' assertions about what they believe really happened, as we discuss on today's show as well.

But, of course, I am always skeptical of anything that cannot be independently verified, especially when it comes to anonymous claims and secret evidence used to lead us into wars. McGovern offers some fascinating details and reminders on the show today as to why such skepticism is a very good idea! Unfortunately, similar skepticism seems to be all too rare these days in much of the rest of our media. Either way, I'll look forward to your thoughts on today's program...

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

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Guest: David Jarman, Editor of Daily Kos Elections...
By Brad Friedman on 10/24/2016 6:05pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Will Hillary Clinton's apparent lead in national polling and turnout to date translate into a Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate? Poll watchers and analysts, at least Democratic leaning ones, seem to think so. For now. But just barely. [Audio link for show posted below.]

More early voting numbers in several states continue to suggest a potentially banner year for Democrats. In addition to those new indicators today, Hillary Clinton's poll numbers continue to rise, even as Donald Trump argued over the weekend that all the polls are "phony", not to be believed, and are meant to do little more than suppress the vote. (Though someone may want to let his own campaign manager know about that.)

But, will the hints of success for the Clinton campaign translate into Democrats taking back control of the U.S. Senate? David Jarman, editor of Daily Kos Elections, joins me to explain what the polls currently suggest about the likelihood of a Senate majority for Dems, the races in 9 states that he believes will determine that balance and, specifically, the 3 states he believes will ultimately be the tipping points for control of the upper chamber of Congress over the next two years.

While Daily Kos is a website meant to support Democrats, Jarman explains the roll of the analysts at Daily Kos Elections: "We're sort of the quantitative side of Daily Kos, but we also do more qualitative analysis of where we feel the chances are in the Senate and the House, looking at it race by race, doing the sort of old-fashioned scouting approach of 'this is a toss-up, this is lean-Democratic', that kind of thing. We also compile a lot of the data that eludes other people, about where the ad dollars are going, what the topics of ads are, every poll, we collect those in our daily digest."

Jarman and I also discuss, among other things, how and if things like voter suppression are included in his predictions; how large a majority Democrats would need in order to be able to bypass some of the more conservative/corporatist members of its caucus; whether Democrats could also retake a majority in the U.S. House, and some serious havoc that may occur for House Speaker Ryan even in the likelihood that they don't; and, also, some of the gubernatorial races that may end up going "blue" this year as well.

Finally, Bernie Sanders responds to Wikileaks' release of emails from Clinton staffers painting him in a less than favorable light, and Donald Trump says that he has plans to rethink freedom of the press, as defined by the Constitution's First Amendment, should he become the next President.

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

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, David Dayen of Fiscal Times...
By Brad Friedman on 10/20/2016 5:27pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Bad hombres! Nasty women! And SUSPENSE! Real coverage of the final Presidential Debate of 2016, some of which is almost guaranteed to piss off just about everybody in one way or another. You're welcome! [Audio link to show posted below.]

For our analysis of the final --- and, by our count, 25th! --- debate of the 2016 cycle, I'm joined once again by award-winning journalist Heather Digby Parton of Salon and the Hullabaloo blog, and by David Dayen, of Fiscal Times and author of Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street's Great Foreclosure Fraud.

As you probably expect, we spend some time focusing on Trump's dishonest claims that the election is being "rigged" and his refusal to promise a peaceful transfer of power. But we also discuss the, at times, disingenuous outrage about it all from the media as well as both Republicans and Democrats, each of whom seem to have developed more than a bit of convenient amnesia about recent elections, about the mechanics of our electoral system, and even very recent assertions about all of the above.

Yes, election fraud and election integrity are topics about which we have some familiarity around here. And, while nuance and complexity and facts may not play well in the corporate media or among angry partisans near the end of an insane election cycle, no small amount of each are called for today. We do our best.

"Digby" and Dayen also bring insight on a number of the other surprisingly substantive issues raised at the debate (as well as important issues that, once again, were not), many of which have been largely overlooked in the wake of Trump's latest embarrassing tantrum(s)...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2016 5:01pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we await the (mercifully) final Presidential Debate of 2016 to get under way in Las Vegas, as Donald Trump's poll numbers continue to plummet --- even in some surprising states --- but the GOP nominee continues to say all is well ("peachy dory", in fact)...except that the election is being "rigged". [Audio link posted below.]

Among the many other related (and unrelated) stories covered on today's show...

• Some good news today for voters in Kansas and Florida and maybe in Georgia (where there has been huge turnout for Early Voting);

• Some disturbing and, so far, mysterious news about potential voter registration fraud in Indiana. (This is a good reminder to check your registration to make sure it's accurate!);

• Some listener response to the former New Hampshire GOP official who told me on The BradCast earlier this week that he doesn't believe "the party has been pushing" phony voter fraud myths. "Please don't blame the party for institutionalizing this nonsense," he said. (Elizabeth Warren doesn't agree with him either.);

• The amazing story of how a new "voter fraud" myth became "fact" this week amongst gullible Republicans, with the aid of rightwing;

• Another example of how theoretically non-rightwing corporate news outlets help spread the same mythical "voter fraud" bullshit;

• Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on a major new international global warming agreement and some harsh words for environmentalists from Hillary Clinton, as revealed by a new Wikileaks document;

• And a bit of amusing listener mail. #FreeDesi!

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 10/18/2016 12:07pm PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Major new international agreement to phase out refrigerants (HFCs); First-ever international agreement to cut emissions from airplane travel; US emissions hit lowest level since 1991; September 2016 was the hottest September ever recorded; PLUS: Harsh words for climate activists in latest Clinton-Wikileaks revelations... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

Link:
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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Judge Tosses Riot Charge Against Journalist Amy Goodman Covering Dakota Protest; Celebrities Rally Behind Filmmaker Arrested In Pipeline Protests; North Carolina: Damage from Hurricane Matthew estimated; Duke confirms coal ash spill at North Carolina plant due to Hurricane Matthew flooding; Greenland Is Melting; Exxon Now Seeks to Block New York Attorney General's Climate Probe; GAO: Other Cities Face Problems That Led To Flint Crisis; Little-Noticed Court Settlement Will Probably Save Millions Of Animals; Feds Plan To Seal Part Of Nuke Waste Repository... PLUS: Today's Climate Progress and Tomorrow's Climate Challenges... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




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