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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, October 21, 2017
Real News from the Land of Reality: 'BradCast' 10/20/17
And a thought or two on the toxic poison injected this week into our body politic by the President of the United States...
Trump's Reckless Disregard for Puerto Rican Lives is an Impeachable Offense
Ernest Canning makes the case for adding the President's woeful, deadly response in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria to the list...
Trump's Schizophrenia, Congress' Fresh 'Health Care Hell': 'BradCast' 10/19/17
Guest: TPM's Alice Ollstein from Capitol Hill; Also: Trump meets with P.R. Guv, gives himself a '10' on Maria response!...
'Green News Report' 10/17/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Alaska's ANWR on chopping block, again; Toxic ash from CA wildfires; US Virgin Islands w/o power, clean water; PLUS: Shell opens e-car charging network at gas stations -- in Britain...
Previous GNRs: 10/12/17 - 10/10/17 - Archives...
DHS Misled on 2016 'Russian Hacks'
(Will They Get It Right in 2018?):
'BradCast' 10/18/17
Guest: Orange Cnty, CA Registrar Neal Kelley on new DHS 'Election Infrastructure' Council...
Impeachable Offenses: Trump's 'ObamaCare' Lie: 'BradCast' 10/17/17
Also, Guest: Pastor Michael McBride on the 'Cost for Peace vs. Death' and programs that stop gun violence...
'Green News Report' 10/17/17
Hurricane slams Ireland; Deadliest fire week in CA history; Puerto Ricans drinking water from toxic Superfund sites; Coal plants closed in TX; PLUS: Oil rig explodes in LA...
Something's Happening Here (Maybe): 'BradCast' 10/16/17
Guest: Heather Digby Parton on Trump rage, GOP 'cowardice'; Also: Deadly hurricane in Ireland(?!), fires in CA, war between US-armed allies in Iraq...
Sunday 'Just Undo It' Toons
'PDiddie' rounds up another week in American politics where words fail, but the political cartoonists do not...
'Chaos': 'BradCast' 10/13/2017
In less than 24 hours, Trump aggressively unleashes fresh havoc on the American health care system and foreign policy with Iran...
'Green News Report' 10/12/17
Historic, deadly firestorms grow in CA; Water-borne diseases in Puerto Rico; PLUS: Trump EPA makes way for controversial mine in world's most valuable fishery...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


And a thought or two on the toxic poison injected this week into our body politic by the President of the United States...
By Brad Friedman on 10/20/2017 6:12pm PT  

Among the demonstrably real, not fake, news stories covered on today's BradCast [Audio link to show posted below]...

  • A brief word about the mercilessly toxic and sad "debate" Donald Trump injected into the American body politic this week to divert from his failure to recognize U.S. special forces killed by ISIS during a still-mysterious ambush in Niger, the shameful lie told by his Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, in service of Trump's failure, and the White House doubling down on that lie despite video evidence to the contrary;
  • Speaking of wishing reality away, the EPA removes more facts about climate change from its website, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt charges peer-reviewed climate science is biased due to grants from the EPA (and hints at a purge of scientists), while his highly-paid corporate cronies are appointed to top agency posts and begin their work in defiance of the U.S. Senate (and the Rule of Law);
  • A federal judge rules the guilty verdict against federal criminal and former Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio will not be vacated despite Trump's Presidential pardon and a plea from his Dept. of Justice to ignore the Rule of Law;
  • More apparent violations of the Rule of Law and lies about the income of Alabama's GOP U.S. Senate nominee Roy Moore (twice removed as state Supreme Court Justice for defying federal court orders) are unearthed in advance of the state's Special Election in December;
  • And, so-called "conservatives" in the U.S. Senate pass a budget resolution to increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion dollars, while cutting nearly $500 billion from Medicare and $1 trillion from Medicaid over the next decade, in order to fund massive tax cuts for rich people...

Also today, a brief plea to stop by BradBlog.com/Donate to help Desi and me continue to bring you independent news from the Land of Reality (and the Rule of Law) over your public airwaves as long as we can! My continuing thanks to those who have already done so! To everyone else: Now is great time to help us out! (Pretty please?)

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: Congressional reporter Alice Ollstein of TPM; Also: Trump meets with Puerto Rico Guv, gives himself a '10' on Hurricane Maria response!...
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2017 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Donald Trump declares the U.S. government response to the devastating Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico couldn't have been better, and a bi-partisan effort in the U.S. Senate gains support, but struggles to overcome the President's sabotage of ObamaCare and schizophrenic response to the measure. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First, the President met with Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló at the White House on Thursday, and gave himself a "10 out of 10" rating for his federal government's response to the disaster and ongoing humanitarian crisis following Hurricanes Maria and Irma on the island of 3.5 U.S. citizens. During the sometimes uncomfortable 30-minute press avail, Trump sought approval for the response from an on-the-spot Rosselló.

The official death toll after Maria stands at 48, though independent analyses put the number of dead at more than 400. The power grid is still down across the vast majority of the island, and many are still struggling for fresh running water, though CNN offers some good news today regarding the many desperate citizens who had been drinking from wells at toxic Superfund sites.

Then, following Trump's announcement late last week that he was cutting off subsidy payments mandated by the Affordable Care Act (or 'ObamaCare') to help cover out-of-pocket health care expenses for low-income Americans, a bi-partisan agreement was struck in the U.S. Senate to pay those Cost-Sharing Reductions (CSR) subsidies. Trump originally lauded the deal announced between Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) on Tuesday. But he has since flip-flopped on support of the bill by the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Health Committee in the 48 hours since. Trump's cut-off to those CSR payments has already resulted in health care premiums sky-rocketing around the country, including in states like Pennsylvania, where, its insurance commissioner announced Monday, rates are now set to soar some 30% for many in 2018.

We're joined by TPM's Congressional reporter ALICE OLLSTEIN from the Capitol today for the latest on what the Alexander-Murray measure, now co-sponsored by some 24 U.S. Senators from both parties, would actually do; how members are reacting to Trump's predictably unpredictable roller-coaster responses to it; how each party is attempting to sell the bill to its members; and whether GOP leadership will even allow the legislation to come to the floor for a vote, much less whether it can be passed by the Senate or the even more rabidly-opposed right-wing members of U.S. House.

Trump "has been all over the map on this," Ollstein explained, when I asked about the response on Capitol Hill to his ever-shifting statements. "Every time he opens his mouth, it's a new and confusing statement. No one has any idea, really, where he stands on this. So I think they're just trying to rally as many votes as they can, and worry about the President later."

"Keep in mind, this bill is coming kind of too late to make anything better for 2018," she says. "If they had gotten it done by mid-September, the insurers could have lowered their rates and prevented some of the big increases we're seeing. Now they blew past that deadline because they wanted to take one more whack at repeal, which failed. So now it's all about stabilizing the market, preventing additional chaos, and we won't really see the benefits of this until [the] end of 2018, beginning of 2019. That's right when the midterms are going to be. And so does the Republican leadership want their members to face re-election amid all of this healthcare chaos that they might get blamed for, as many polls indicate?"

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on the newest GOP scheme to allow drilling in the pristine Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to export oil to China; updates on the deadly wildfires in CA and storm disasters in Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands; and some very good news indeed regarding electric vehicles...at least in Europe.

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: Orange County, CA Registrar of Voters, Neal Kelley, member of new DHS Election Infrastructure Coordinating Council...
By Brad Friedman on 10/18/2017 6:26pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Accurate reporting matters. So do accurately tabulated elections. So does accurately reporting about elections and their results and allegations made about attempts to "hack" American elections. [Audio link to show follow below.]

While the U.S. corporate media have ever-so-slightly improved since they fell hook, line and sinker for the George W. Bush Administration's government propaganda following 9/11 --- resulting in the Iraq War and all that has come, and is still coming ever since --- they're not doing much better when it comes to Trump's saber rattling over Iran's non-existent "nuclear weapons program", or their coverage of the government's claims concerning Russia's alleged "hacking" of election systems in 2016. (Or, as MSNBC's Rachel Maddow unhelpfully describes it over and over, "Russia's attack on our election!")

We try, today, to help clarify what the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security and the corporate media did not, when it came to DHS' erroneous allegation in late September that the "Russian government" attempted to hack voter registration systems in 21 states and that "no votes were manipulated or changed" in the 2016 election. (For example, as we noted at the time, days later, DHS admitted they were wrong about Wisconsin, and California's Democratic Sec. of State said further investigation revealed that claims "turned out to be bad information from DHS." As to whther any votes were changed in 2016, the DHS admitted over the Summer that they don't know, because they never actually checked!)

But, hey, if it takes concerns, accurate or otherwise, about "Russia hacking" our elections to wake up the nation and its government to the very real threats posed by electronic voting, tabulation and registration systems we'll take it! We've worked for nearly 15 years here at The BRAD BLOG and on The BradCast to warn about that threat --- whether it comes from Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, ISIS, France, Germany, some guy in Little Rock, Arkansas or any election official or insider anywhere in the nation!

So, on related matters, and what we will all look forward to as the 2018 election cycle begins, we're joined by longtime Orange County, CA Registrar of Voters NEAL KELLEY, following the first meeting of the new DHS Election Infrastructure Coordinating Council, created after President Obama's Directive in January declaring the nation's election systems, in all 50 states, to be recognized as "Critical Infrastructure" by the U.S. Government.

Kelley, a member of the new 27-member council which convened in D.C. over the weekend for the first time, joins us to explain what this panel actually is; what the designation as "critical infrastructure" actually means in practical terms for the nation's voting, tabulation and registration systems; how this commission was set up, who appointed its members, and how it differs from Trump's phony "Election Integrity" Commission; whether the "critical infrastructure" designation intrudes on states' Constitutional independence in running their own elections; whether the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (or EAC, on which Kelley is also an Advisory Board member) should be defunded, as Republicans in Congress have long sought; how DHS dropped the ball on 2016 and its aftermath; and, while we have him here, whether or not Orange County will ever replace its 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems with a verifiable paper ballot system. (See my own disastrous experience with the OC's voting system back in 2011 here.)

We also get Kelley's reaction to a newly-signed CA law (AB-840), supported by Democrats and virulently opposed by many Election Integrity advocates, that allows County Registrars to completely ignore millions of provisional and Vote-by-Mail ballots when conducting their state-mandated 1% post-election manual "audits".

Finally, speaking of Trump's phony voter fraud commission (which is decidedly distinct from the DHS panel that Kelley now sits on!), we've got several pieces of troubling news today, including the recently reported child pornography arrest of one of its researchers, and the sudden death on Monday of one of the Commission's very few Democratic appointees...

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, Guest: Pastor Michael McBride on the 'Cost for Peace vs. Death' and cutting gun violence rates in communities which need it most...
By Brad Friedman on 10/17/2017 6:32pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Donald Trump's assertion at the White House on Monday that "ObamaCare is finished, it's dead, it's gone...There is no such thing as ObamaCare anymore" is a blatant, cruel and malevolent lie. It is also, along with Trump's other efforts to undermine the federal law, an impeachable offense. Also today, very real and proven effective solutions to gun violence, which do not receive attention or funding they deserve. [Audio link to full show is posted at bottom of article.]

First up, Trump's recent comments and actions to sabotage American health care are, as I argue, in violation of his sworn oath to "protect and defend the Constitution", which includes the Article 2 requirement that the President must "take care that the laws be faithfully executed."

Instead of faithfully executing the law, Trump is undermining it, and putting millions of Americans at risk of losing access to affordable health care, as provided by the Affordable Care Act. In addition to his unforgivable lies about ObamaCare on Monday, thanks to his announcement late last week that he will stop payments to help cover out-of-pocket expenses such as deductibles and co-pays for low-income citizens (as mandated by the ACA), insurance premiums have now sky-rocketed in a number of states, including in Pennsylvania, which, its insurance Commissioner announced on Monday, will see average increases of more than 30%. (Similar increases are also slated for Florida, Arkansas, Oregon, Alaska and dozens of other states, thanks to Trump and the GOP's attempt to gut the Obama-era law that has helped some 30 million obtain and pay for health care, while improving health care insurance plans for hundreds of millions of Americans.)

Despite Trump's dangerous and impeachable lie, ObamaCare still very much exists. Its Open Enrollment period runs November 1 through December 15 at HealthCare.gov. (Please spread the word, since Trump also cut millions of dollars of funding to do exactly that, so most simply don't know.)

At the same time, Republicans continue to block gun safety legislation, even after 58 were murdered and more than 500 wounded in a matter of minutes by a gunman in Las Vegas just over two weeks ago. But while such mass murders make momentary headlines and gun safety legislation continues to be mired at the state and federal level --- thanks to the arms industry representatives of the terrorist-enabling National Rifle Association (NRA) --- very successful efforts to curb gun violence in the areas that need it most go largely overlooked by both Democrats and Republicans alike across the country.

We're joined today by PASTOR MICHAEL MCBRIDE, National Director for the LiveFreeUSA.org campaign, comprising hundreds of faith congregations throughout the US committed to addressing gun violence and mass incarceration of young people of color. McBride explains how, despite the organization's remarkable success rate in curbing gun violence in minority communities (see his recent NYTimes op-ed), such programs are often shamefully overlooked or ignored by public officials.

"We have been able to, over the years, figure out strategies to target those at the highest risk of shooting and being shot. And help make sure that their lives are saved, their lives are redirected, they're behavior is transformed and changed," McBride explains. "And, most importantly, we have communities that are not over-determined, that are not traumatized, that are not filled with fear because of the prevalence of gun violence."

"We believe that these are the strategies that we can implement and fully resource at the local level, without having to change the policies or get bogged down in a 2nd Amendment argument," he tells me, explaining how it can be done without over policing as well. "Too often in the black community, in poor communities, brown communities, racial profiling is used as the primary tool to try and identify these individuals, and that creates a 'collective punishment' kind of environment, where everyone in the community who looks like a 'criminal' is then treated as one. And we have found that that is not only unconstitutional, but it is certainly not effective."

McBride, who served as an Advisor on President Obama’s Faith Based Advisory Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, explains "we have found, consistently in cities across the country where this is done, decreases in violence in the first 18-24 months that can be as low as 30% and as high as 60%. Those numbers are unprecedented." He adds those numbers are achieved "without more arrests, without more incarceration" and even result in drops in police shootings, misconduct charges and complaints.

As to why such strategies are too often overlooked by politicians of all stripes, McBride argues that "'tough-on-crime' [policies] and growing police departments and building more prisons has been a bipartisan slam-dunk for those who want to seem they are being responsive" to neighborhood gun violence. But, these "very much underfunded" programs work and are far less expensive than too-often tragic alternatives. He describes it as "the cost for peace vs. the cost for death".

Please tune in for this highly informative conversation with more details than I can properly relay here.

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with a remarkable amount of news on, among other things, the record hurricane that smashed into Ireland this week, the post-Hurricane crisis in Puerto Rico, the historic deadly wildfires in California (and elsewhere) and coal plants being shut down in both China and Texas...

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: Heather Digby Parton on Trump rage, GOP 'cowardice', so-called 'Values Voters'; Also: Deadly hurricane in Ireland(?!), fires in CA, war between US-armed allies in Iraq...
By Brad Friedman on 10/16/2017 6:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast,something's happening here. Or is it? [Audio link to full show follows below.]

On the climate front, something is definitely happening. As of air time, three were killed in Ireland --- yes, Ireland --- from what, over the weekend, had been a Category 3 hurricane named Ophelia. It is the farthest east and north that a major Atlantic hurricane has ever been recorded. We also explain why the storm turned the blue Irish sky into an eerie orange as it came ashore.

In California, at least 40 are dead with nearly 200 still missing as of airtime and some 5,700 houses and commercial structures completely incinerated after more than a week of record wildfires have ravaged Northern California's wine country and other areas. The blazes follow California's record drought, then wettest winter ever, followed by its warmest summer ever --- all symptoms of the global warming which helped fuel the conditions that thousands of fire officials are still battling across the state. Donald Trump made his first public remarks about the deadly CA fires today, over a week since they broke out, when pressed at a hastily convened White House press conference (with hostage Mitch McConnell at his side.)

In related news over the weekend, an oil rig platform blew up in Lake Pontchartrain north of New Orleans, injuring seven (three critically), with one worker still missing. And the US-armed and trained Iraqi army faced off against the US-armed and trained independent Kurdish army in battles over oil fields in Northern Iraq. The US arms industry is, no doubt, rejoicing in the wake of Trump's increasingly chaotic and incoherent foreign policy, even as Iraq's Prime Minister had just days earlier described a possible military confrontation with the Kurds as "fake news". (Sound familiar?)

Then we're joined by the one and only HEATHER 'DIGBY' PARTON of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo blog to discuss whether something is actually happening inside the White House and among Republicans in Congress as Trump's Fox "News"-fueled (read: largely fact-free) versions of both foreign and domestic policy have begun to catch up with him, and as his fury is reportedly increasing with his failure to enact any substantive legislative policies nearly nine months into his Presidency.

"This is like a cry for help that's coming from inside the White House," she tells me, citing numerous reports from dozens of sources, "that the man is losing it." But, she warns, if "cowardly" Democrats in Congress are waiting for their Republican counterparts to actually do something about it, they may be waiting a while. She descries the GOP as "the worst-of-all-possible-worlds cowardly. 'Sure, let's threaten nuclear war, let's have the entire world look down on us, let's have all soft power by the United States be completely destroyed because, you know, I might lose my seat and that's just too much.' I mean, these people are really, really cowardly."

Also over the weekend, Trump spoke at the far-right Family Research Council's so-called "Values Voter Summit" in D.C., where the "alt-right" has apparently merged with the "religious right". It was as insane as you might expect, but the question Parton speaks to is why Trump's so-called "religious right" base still buys the immoral nonsense and lies he keeps selling them.

"The idea that these Christians are seeing him as some godly creature who somehow has a biblical world view," she muses incredulously, "this is not what I had ever thought, growing up, was the standard Christian world view. They're not living in that world."

Finally, speaking of "fake news", Trump himself unleashed some remarkably fake news regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA or "ObamaCare"), by blatantly lying about it before a cabinet meeting today at the White House when he asserted to the gathered media: "Obamacare is finished. It's dead. It's gone. You shouldn't even mention it. It's gone. There is no such thing as Obamacare any more."

Despite Trump's unforgivable lie, the ACA is still very much federal law. Open Enrollment for 2018 begins at HealthCare.gov, where tens of millions have signed up for and received access to health care and federal subsidies to help cover its costs, on November 1...

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

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

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

So, of course Trump did it anyway.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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: Igor Volsky of Center for American Progress...
By Brad Friedman on 10/12/2017 5:56pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Donald Trump is enraged. Again. [Audio link to show follows below.]

He's furious that the media keeps accurately pointing out that many are suffering and dying in Puerto Rico following two hurricanes and his Administration's botched federal response which has left most of the island's 3.4 million American citizens without power, half of them without potable running water and, as senior FEMA officials reportedly admit to The Guardian, hundreds of thousands of them are without food altogether, amidst a "massive shortage of meals" some three weeks after Hurricane Maria! So, on Thursday morning, the President of the United States threatened to pull out federal disaster assistance all together.

He's "livid" that President Obama's nuclear agreement with Iran and six other nations is actually working as it was designed, despite what he was told by Fox "News" for so many years. So, after he "threw a fit", his handlers have reportedly been scrambling to present President ManChild a new option in time for the latest Congressionally-mandated "certification" deadline for the deal that he can somehow live with, according to Washington Post.

And, of course, he remains incensed by the fact that Obama's Affordable Care Act has helped some 30 million Americans obtain access to health care coverage. Even his own Dept. of Health and Human Services was forced to admit that, like the Iran anti-nuclear agreement, it's "working as intended". So, as he has been impotent at getting his Republican Congress to "repeal and replace" the law that Fox "News" swore to him --- for years! --- was a "total disaster," Trump continued his effort to undermine the Affordable Care Act. On Thursday, he held another big splashy Executive Order signing ceremony to help "save the American people from the nightmare of ObamaCare".

We're joined today by IGOR VOLSKY of the Center for American Progress, to explain what Thursday's new EO actually does and doesn't do, and whether, as Trump claimed, it will "lower premium costs", provide "great, great health care," and "cost the United States government virtually nothing."

Volsky, who we've been discussing health care reform with for more than a decade, now co-hosts, with Michele Jawando, his own weekly podcast "Thinking CAP". He tells me today that Trump's new, one-page Order asks federal agencies to develop new regulations for ObamaCare that will have to be developed, go through public-comment periods and face potential legal challenge. "He's not just flicking a switch and making these reforms. It's going to take a matter of months. So we're going to be able to use those months --- and I mean by 'we', of course, I mean the very same coalition that defeated the legislative effort to repeal Obamacare --- we're now going to be able to regroup and defeat this, as well."

He warns the new directive, which would allow skimpier health care policies to be sold, will ultimately result in some healthier people paying less, but finding themselves with fewer benefits when they actually need them, while raising the costs of premiums for everyone else in the risk pool, including sick people.

"Who will be impacted the most?," he asks rhetorically, "The answer would be middle-class Americans. Because Obamacare has tax credits that it offers to lower-income Americans. But Americans in the middle-class, they may not qualify for the tax credits, and they would face the full burden of the price increase that results from younger people leaving the risk pool. So they would have to pay more for health care coverage." Another result could also be the very same "death spiral" for the insurance markets that Trump and fellow Republicans have been claiming the largely successful Affordable Care Act is already facing. Also, a rise in premiums means the federal government (tax payers) will have to shell out more to cover some of the costs for those who qualify for subsidies on the ACA exchanges.

"Basically, everything you hear Trump criticize ObamaCare for --- when he says that it's failing, when he says that premiums are increasing, when he says that there are no insurers offering coverage --- just know that this series of executive actions [including cutting the Open Enrollment period in half, and other sabotage measures] actually makes sure that that's the case, that he's kind of painting that reality with the actions that he's taking here."

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report, including updates on the still-growing humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, the still-worsening, deadly wildfires in Northern California, and more...

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Guest: Shannyn Moore of Alaska Dispatch News...
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2017 6:22pm PT  

Donald Trump appears to have either never read the U.S. Constitution that he is sworn to protect and defend, or he just doesn't understand it, or he just doesn't care about it, as his new attack on the press being "able to write whatever they want to write" reveals again today. But that may be the least of our problems at the moment --- and on today's BradCast. [Link to full audio posted below.]

After quick updates today on still rising death tolls in the continuing unspeakable disasters following Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the massive, ongoing and deadly wildfires in California, it's back to North Korea, where the U.S. military continues to flex its muscle and threaten the nation in a way that we would neverallow another nation to do off our own shores. With B-1 bombers and F-15 fighters now conducting missile launch drills off both costs of the Korean Peninsula (even North of the Demilitarized zone that divides North and South Korea) and the USS Ronald Reagan steaming its way there, we continue to provide reason and cover for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to increase his own military arsenal. In the bargain, as a new poll reveals, two-thirds of Americans now feel Trump's rhetoric threatening to "completely destroy" the isolated nation is making the situation worse, not better, between the two countries.

Then, we're joined by progressive Alaska Dispatch News columnist SHANNYN MOORE to explain the gob-smacking scheme --- approved just one hour after Trump's EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt met with a lobbyist from a Canadian mining company, as recently revealed by internal emails --- to re-kindle the possibility of federal approval for Pebble Mine on Alaska's pristine Bristol Bay watershed.

The move toward allowing the mammoth copper and gold mine comes after years of protest by Alaskan natives (like Moore), three years of study by the Obama Administration's EPA (which found the mine could "result in complete loss of fish habitat" in the sensitive spawning ground of more than half of the world's sockeye salmon), risks the loss of some 14,000 jobs, and runs directly counter to last November's statewide ballot initiative in which voters sought overwhelmingly to protect the area from mining interests and irreversible destruction. (You may leave public comment for the EPA here on this, before October 17th.)

We also talk with Moore, who, like many Alaskans, is a hunter and gun-owner, about her most recent column on the terrorist-enabling NRA/GOP's indefensible block of any and all legislative gun safety measures, despite wildly overwhelming support from Americans --- of all parties --- for a wide variety of such reforms in the wake of last week's massacre in Las Vegas...

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Guest: Dr. Trita Parsi of the National Iranian-American Council on Trump's dangerous, and foolish, scheme to break the Iran nuclear deal...
By Brad Friedman on 10/10/2017 6:11pm PT  

Republican U.S. Senator Bob Corker, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, suggested to the New York Times over the weekend that Donald Trump's reckless comments on North Korea and Iran and other issues, could be setting the nation "on the path to World War III." Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy argues in response that we should take Corker's --- and Trump's --- words much more seriously. Well, we do...pretty much every day here on The BradCast. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Today we discuss how, even as the President continues to threaten war with nuclear-armed North Korea, his own CIA argues leader Kim Jong Un is not a "madman", and poses no direct threat to the U.S. or its allies --- unless Trump forces him into a corner. At the same time, Trump continues to back Kim into a corner while undermining his own Sec. of State Rex Tillerson's diplomatic efforts in the region.

The claims that he's concerned about NK's nuclear program are difficult to accept while Trump seems dead set on undermining the very successful anti-nuclear agreement with Iran (and Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain), despite his own top diplomatic and military officials stating repeatedly that Iran has been honoring the deal to the letter, since it was struck under President Obama in 2015. Breaking that agreement, as Trump is threatening, will only boost the political fortunes of hard-line clergy in Iran, while undermining the moderates there who have risen in the Iranian parliament and presidency in the wake of the deal. It might also result in Iran restarting it's nuclear enrichment program that was ended by the deal, putting them much closer to nuclear weapons. So, why is Trump threatening to break that agreement by decertifying it, and sending the issue to Congress to decide whether to reimpose sanctions?

We're joined today by DR. TRITA PARSI, Founder and President of the National Iranian-American Council, which worked with the Obama White House to help shepherd the nuclear pact through Congress, to discuss why Trump is vowing to try and kill the deal, and what the ramifications are likely to be in the U.S. and Iran --- and even in North Korea --- if he does.

Parsi, is an expert on Middle Eastern foreign affairs and US-Iranian relations. He says there is simply no reasonable explanation for Trump's interest in killing the Iran deal and, as he describes today in an article at the NY Review of Books, hand a "gift" to Iran's conservative hard-liners, who already distrust the U.S.

"More than anything else, to be completely frank," he says, "this seems to be in line with almost everything else Trump has done since he took office --- which is, he just simply opposes anything that has Obama's signature on it. Whether it's the Affordable Care Act, whether it is the Iran deal. And there seems to be an obsession, on his end, to undo it for that simple reason. Because in his own administration, his Secretary of State tells him 'don't decertify'. His Secretary of Defense tells him 'don't decertify'. His Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff tells him 'don't decertify'. So what is it that Trump, with his brilliant real estate mind manages to see as a flaw with this deal that no one else seems to be able to identify?"

Parsi, whose most recent book is Losing An Enemy: Obama, Iran, and the Triumph of Diplomacy, says while all parties --- including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), eight times since January 2016 --- have certified that Iran is honoring the agreement, some in Iran already see the U.S. as having broken it. He cites Trump's recent efforts at the G20 to discourage other nations from trading with Iran.

"Trump is in clear violation of Article 29 of the agreement, which says that no country shall stand in the way of what is now legitimate trade between Iran and the outside world. You can't lift sanctions as an incentive for the deal and then go and encourage countries not to trade with Iran, and that's exactly what Trump went and did at the G20 meeting," Parsi explains, adding: "Fortunately, thus far, the Iranians have refrained from further escalating this."

The larger concern is that Trump is undermining world interests in dealing with the U.S. on anything. "Why would you negotiate with Trump? What is it that gives you the confidence that he has the capacity of upholding his promises? That's the problem here. In order to get [a better deal, as Trump claims to want], you need to have the credibility of being a good and fair and trustworthy negotiator. Trump does not have that reputation anywhere."

"This is not a strategy that has any chance of success on the international stage. The only question is how much damage will it incur on the United States before Trump stops doing what he's doing right now." Parsi cautions Trump's dangerous game could result in military conflict. "It's only creating more uncertainty, which then leads to more instability, and then potentially a collapse of the deal that can bring the United States back on a path towards war with Iran."

Mission accomplished?

Finally, we're joined today by Desi Doyen for the latest Green News Report with updates on the apocalyptic wildfires in Northern California, the latest in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and the Trump EPA's hypocritical explanation for gutting the Obama 'Clean Power Plan' to reduce man-made greenhouse gas emissions that helped fuel 2017's record hurricane season and the fires still blazing out of control in California...

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Guest: Author, journalist John Nichols; Also: Nate dissipates after landfall; Massive wildfires explode across CA; Trump EPA announces reversal of Obama 'Clean Power Plan'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/9/2017 6:18pm PT  

On today's BradCast, one climate change bullet dodged on the Gulf Coast, even as another explodes on the West Coast, and Donald Trump, despite his distracting buffoonery, continues to move his far-right agenda forward as my guest today details in no uncertain terms. [Audio link to show follows below.]

New Orleans and the Gulf Coast appear to have averted another catastrophe with Hurricane Nate, the fourth hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. in the past six weeks, bringing heavy rains, but less damage than feared to the region. (Reminder: there are still two more months left in the official hurricane season!) But, millions are still struggling to rebuild from the recent storms Harvey, Irma and Maria, especially in Puerto Rico, where most of the power remains out over two weeks since Maria made landfall, despite Trump's rosy scenarios and the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offering a disturbing remark over the weekend.

Even as Nate dissipates, however, the U.S. received yet another troubling reminder of the deadly perils of climate change over night Sunday and into Monday. As of air time, at least 1,500 homes and commercial building have been completely destroyed by wildfires that broke out late Sunday night across eight counties in Northern California wine country, sending tens of thousands of residents fleeing for their lives, many of them dodging flames and wildly gusting winds in the middle of the night. 10 have now been pronounced dead, in a toll that is expected to rise.

Another massive blaze erupted and is threatening homes and businesses in Southern California on Monday as well. All signs of a warming planet, not only being ignored but actively exacerbated by the Trump Administration which announced plans on Monday --- even as all of this was going on --- to reverse Barack Obama's 'Clean Power Plan', instituted to meet U.S. commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement between some 200 nations. Trump announced the Administration's intention to drop out of the Paris accord to curb man-made greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, earlier this year.

So, even as the media, Congress, and the public remain continuously obsessed and distracted by Donald Trump's obnoxious Twitter feed, his radical hard-right Republican agenda stays on target on issues both foreign and domestic. We're joined to discuss that issue and more today by journalist JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation, author of the newly published Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse: A Field Guide to the Most Dangerous People in America and his new report for the non-profit Rosa Luxemburg foundation titled "Donald Trump's Dangerously Coherent Agenda".

"The greatest strength that Donald Trump has in American politics --- his number one strength --- is that he is not taken seriously. And, for so long as he is not taken seriously, he is able to continue to entertain, to control the discourse, because people are just looking for what more cute, adorable, horrifying, freakish thing that he does," Nichols tells me, explaining why, despite his low approval ratings, "he knows how to survive. And his survival instinct is locking in a very coherent agenda, which is the agenda of the hard, hard social right."

"I'll be blunt with ya," he adds, "I see very little evidence of Democrats figuring out the play, either."

Among topics of our conversation, in addition to his new book and disturbing new report, are the chilling recent comments from Trump regarding "the calm before the storm"; underwhelming responses to his Twitter attacks on members of his own party (and own Administration) in recent days; the temptation (and accompanying dangers) for Democrats in making deals with Trump as his approval ratings falls; and efforts by Bernie Sanders supporters in Texas toward flipping some of the most reportedly "conservative" Congressional districts in the state from "red" to "blue". Nichols checks in today from the Lone Star State, where he is currently reporting for his upcoming cover story at The Nation on what he describes as impressive organizational work in advance of 2018, now being carried out there by members of Sanders' Our Revolution group...

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Trump's chilling remark; Another hurricane for the Gulf Coast; More deadly coal and chemical shills for the EPA; Abolishing the 2nd Amendment?; and the President's 'reverse Midas touch'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/6/2017 6:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we can only hope that Donald Trump's ominous comments to reporters last night at the White House were as ill-informed and misleading as he usually is on just about everything else. [Audio link to show follows below.]

In somewhat chilling and wholly cryptic remarks during a short press avail Thursday night, Donald Trump suggested the moment might be seen as "the calm before the storm." He refused to clarify to the media, beyond gesturing to military leaders and their spouses who were at his side for a White House dinner, and adding "you'll find out." We discuss what it may (or may not) mean.

The storm he almost certainly wasn't referring to was Tropical Storm Nate, which, after killing more than 20 in Central America, is now expected to slam the U.S. Gulf Coast (possibly New Orleans) as a hurricane over the weekend.

That, even as disaster relief continues in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island more than two weeks ago. More than 90% of the island's 3.4 million U.S. citizens are still without power and some 50% without clean running water, despite recent Administration attempts to obscure the ongoing catastrophe. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, in the meantime, has now publicly offered to help rebuild Puerto Rico's entire power grid with solar panels and batteries and the island's Governor seems interesting in taking him up on it. That may be a glimmer of good news --- for Puerto Rico and all the rest of us --- as the island could become a highly visible U.S. proving ground for clean, renewable energy and micro-grids.

And, in not-at-all unrelated news, Trump has nominated a top coal industry lobbyist to be second-in-command at the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as a chemical industry scientist, whose work has, for years, downplayed peer-reviewed scientific studies critical of his clients' products, to head up EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.

Then, in the aftermath of last Sunday's Las Vegas Massacre, some progressives and, yes, even conservatives are calling for an idea that is rarely mentioned, much less debated in this country: amend or abolish the Constitution's Second Amendment entirely. As U.S. democracy has been stifled and bastardized so much on issues related to guns and gun safety --- and even the Constitution itself --- after years of distorting propaganda by the NRA (the gun lobby) and its tools in both government and media, we discuss the issue today, not in support of abolishing the 2nd Amendment (necessarily), but in hopes of welcoming actual debate on both that and other related issues.

Finally, several recent polls --- on issues from health care to the NFL to media to immigration to climate change --- all find opposition steadily growing AGAINST pretty much every position that Trump and Republicans hold on them. Trump, it seems, has "the reverse Midas touch", as one writer observes, in what suffices today for a bit of encouraging news at the end of another horrible week in the U.S...

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Guest: Brendan Fischer of Campaign Legal Center; Also: PA Congressman resigns in scandal, NRA gives (some) cover to GOP on gun safety regs...
By Brad Friedman on 10/5/2017 6:09pm PT  

On today's BradCast: More corruption by top Trump Administration (and other) officials than we can barely squeeze into a single show. And most of it largely revealed over just the past week or so! [Audio link to full show follows below.]

As we go to air, staunch anti-choice "conservative" Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) announces he will resign from the U.S. House following the revelation of text messages with his mistress in which he is said to have advised her to have an abortion. Murphy, the only clinical psychiatrist serving in Congress, is the author of the GOP's mental health care reform legislation passed last year, supposedly in response to a number of mass shootings. Mental health reform is still the GOP's only legislative answer to our gun epidemic and public health crisis in the U.S.

However, today the NRA gave permission to Republicans to "politicize" Sunday's massacre in Las Vegas by calling on the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to review its regulations regarding "bump stock" devices that can turn semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic weapons. The shooter in Vegas who shot nearly 600 people, killing 58 of them in a matter of minutes from his 32nd floor hotel room, reportedly used a number of those devices to carry out his bloodbath. It should be noted (as we do), that such a change in regulation would still not necessarily require the NRA-owned Republican members of Congress to vote on any new gun safety legislation.

Then, we're joined by BRENDAN FISCHER of the Campaign Legal Center to discuss a tidal wave of corruption issues recently revealed about top Trump Administration officials. Among those issues: Jared Kushner is fined again for filing late financial disclosure forms, after revising them dozens of times, while giving different numbers on his forms than his own wife, Ivanka Trump, did regarding joint assets. (She was also forced to amend her own forms several times); Kushner and Ivanka and half a dozen other top Admin officials used private email addresses (and lied to Congress about them) for public business in the White House. Lock them up!); The heads of the EPA (Pruitt), Interior (Zinke) and Treasury (Mnuchin) all have issues regarding tens of thousands of dollars of tax-payer funded travel on private and military chartered jets, after Trump's Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was finally forced to resign for spending nearly $1 million on same last week; and the Secret Service now claims they kept no visitor logs at Mar-a-Lago during Trump's many weekends there over the past eight months.

Fischer explains why all of those issues of "trickle down corruption" actually matter --- even in the Trump Era beset by otherwise distracting daily crises. He also discusses Republican U.S. Senate nominee and former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore's failure to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars of both own income and liabilities on his U.S. Senate ethics filings and why the partisan gerrymandering case, Gill v. Whitford, as heard earlier this week at the U.S. Supreme Court (much more on this from yesterday's show), is so important to overcoming all of the nightmares discussed on today's show.

"It's really like drinking from a fire-hose when it come to trying to track some of these ethics violations," Fischer, Associate Counsel at CLC, tells me. "And this comes from the top. This comes from President Trump entirely disregarding ethics laws, rules and norms that past Presidents have followed voluntarily. This entire disregard for the laws that are on the books --- that are designed to guarantee that public officials are working for the public rather than private interests --- has permeated the entire administration and is now trickling its way down to down-ballot races, like this Senate race in Alabama."

Plus: Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with updates on Puerto Rico's ongoing Hurricane Maria disaster, as well as the billions of tax-payer dollars spent due to global warming and subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.

And, finally today, a bit of breaking news on Trump's reported plans to try and "decertify" the 2015 anti-nuclear agreement with Iran, despite his own Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, and Chairman of his Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon all recently agreeing that Iran is in compliance with the hard-won 7-nation treaty...

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Guest: David Daley of FairVote.org on 'Gill v. Whitford'; Plus: Updates on the disaster in Puerto Rico, gun massacre in Las Vegas...
By Brad Friedman on 10/4/2017 6:28pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the future of American democracy itself is once again in the hands of a now-stolen U.S. Supreme Court, in what democracy advocates describe as a case that is likely to help determine the partisan balance of Congress and state legislatures for decades.

But, first up today: Updates on Donald Trump's embarrassing Tuesday jaunt to hurricane-torn Puerto Rico, where the official death toll has now doubled from 16 to 34 and is expected to go much higher as 3.4 million U.S. citizens on the island still face desperate circumstances with food and water shortages and 95% of the island remains without power two weeks after Hurricane Maria (despite Trump's bizarre claims to the contrary.) Also, a few updates on what little more we now know about the massacre in Las Vegas on Sunday, the lack of a known motive for the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, and the shamefully transparent attempts by both the White House and Congressional Republicans to avoid any legislative policy action in its wake.

Then we move on to what democracy advocates describe as one of the most important cases to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in years. Oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford were heard on Tuesday. That is the case where a three-judge federal court determined the state of Wisconsin had used severe (and secret) partisan gerrymandering to redraw district maps after the 2010 census. In so doing, despite receiving a minority of votes (48.6%) after the new maps were drawn, Republicans gained an extraordinary 60-to-39 majority in the State Assembly.

The GOP is now appealing that federal court ruling to SCOTUS, which has held racial gerrymandering to be unconstitutional in the past, but has never ruled on whether purely partisan gerrymandering, as in this case, violates the Constitutional rights of voters.

We're joined by the man who wrote the book on modern-day gerrymandering, DAVID DALEY, author of Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy. Daley, formerly Editor-in-Chief at Salon, now Senior Fellow at at FairVote.org, spent the night on the sidewalk outside the Court on Monday, to get one of 50 seats at Tuesday's hearing.

He explains how high the stakes are in this case (which could result in court challenges to electoral maps in virtually every state in the union), the arguments presented by both sides in the matter, and how everyone --- attorneys and Justices alike, were focused on making their case to Justice Anthony Kennedy, who will most likely determine the course of U.S. democracy for decades to come, thanks to the Republicans' stolen 5 to 4 majority on the Supreme Court itself.

"This case is everything," Daley tells me. "If this case is not decided on the side of democracy, on the side of competitive elections, there will be nothing to stop Republicans, who are likely to be holding the pens in all of these states in 2021 from doing the same thing, only with more sophisticated technology that's developed over the last decade, with better data analytic skills than they had in 2011, with stronger predictive algorithms to try to figure out where people are going to live and how they are going to vote for the next decade. It will be 2031 before Democrats get another shot at the maps if this case is decided the other way."

Daley sees the case now before the Supremes as "potentially bigger" than either 2010's Citizens United, which gutted campaign finance laws, or 2013's Shelby County, which gutted the Voting Rights Act. "This is the future of our democracy right here."

"Republicans reinvented the gerrymander in 2010 and 2011. This is not the same kind of gerrymander that you had 'back in the day.' This is different," he insists, as I press him on whether Democrats are carrying out the same type of partisan maps in states that they control. "This is space-age extreme gerrymandering on steroids. It has given Republicans huge advantages in all of these states that they control. Ohio, a very swing state, is represented by 12 Republicans and 4 Democrats. Michigan is 9-5, even though Democrats in 2012 got a quarter of a million more votes. These are 50-50 states and it has made our politics deeply uncompetitive. There's no swing in these swing districts. You have not had a single seat go from red to blue in any of those swing states. On these maps, no seats have gone from red to blue this entire decade."

Incredibly, the Republican Justices other than Kennedy seem to believe the matter should not be decided by the courts, but should be left to the same rigged legislatures which created this mess in the first place. "In Michigan, this last decade," he notes, "Democrats have gotten more total votes every time. Republicans have kept control. This is the case in state after state. They have enshrined this problem. We need the Court here to come in and fix democracy"...

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Guest: Author, journalist Art Levine on GOP hypocrisy, progressive fear; Plus: Trump goes to Puerto Rico, blames the victims again...
By Brad Friedman on 10/3/2017 5:58pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we move from the "too soon" moment and on to the GOP's "mental health reform" ruse, in hopes of avoiding any actual legislative action to curb gun violence after another record mass murder in the U.S. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We have some good news, however, following the Sunday night massacre in Las Vegas, which killed 59 and wounded more than 550 others in a hail of automatic weapon fire rained down from a casino onto concert-goers on the streets below: The House GOP has put off plans to make silencers easier to purchase! For a while anyway. Feel better? Other than that, it's either "premature" to discuss legislative changes to help curb America's 30,000+ gun deaths per year, or time to pull out the old "mental health reform" scam again, as House Speaker Paul Ryan did today when pressed for what action Congress might take after the latest "worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history."

While toy guns are illegal to carry on the streets of Vegas, real ones are not. Not even fully automatic machine guns. And even a statewide ballot measure passed by Nevada voters last year to expand background checks has been declared unenforceable by the Republican, NRA-owned state Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt. So, if the only thing that the terrorist-enabling NRA will allow to be enacted in order to prevent a man who was allowed to lawfully amass 42 military-style assault weapons and thousands of rounds of ammo from committing mass murder is "mental illness reform", are Republicans even serious about that much?

We're joined by veteran journalist ART LEVINE, author of the new book Mental Health Inc: How Corruption, Lax Oversight and Failed Reforms Endanger Our Most Vulnerable Citizens (and next week's Newsweek cover story) to discuss Republican hypocrisy after Vegas, and how the hopes of forcing mandatory medication by the Right and concerns about stigmatizing the mentally ill on the Left, have all helped to prevent real mental health reform.

That, even as the American College of Physicians calls for an assault weapon ban in response to the "public health crisis" of our gun death epidemic in the U.S., existing laws to prevent gun use by the mentally infirmed that go unenforced or are otherwise being repealed altogether, and a mental health reform bill which was already passed by Congress and signed by President Obama last year.

Ryan "apparently doesn't know that the Congress --- he is the head of the House --- actually passed a bill called 'Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act'. In other words, it's such a trope, and such a nostrum that's thrown out --- they throw it out like a tic --- when in fact there was a law [already] actually passed! That is one of the areas of hypocrisy about it," Levine tells me, as he cites the hypocrisy of those who oppose improved gun safety laws and claim to support mental health reform while voting for ObamaCare repeal and cutting back Medicaid. "They are moving forward [with] a war on people with mental illness, opioid addiction and chronic pain."

Levine cites a program by Los Angeles County which he writes about in his book, and describes as "a world-class preventative outreach program that stopped over 50 campus attacks." Yet, he goes on to explain, the successful program is "a political orphan" because the Right won't cite it as a national model ("their big golden goal is mandated drug and outpatient treatment") and neither will liberals and mental health progressives ("it stigmatizes people" as being potentially violent, even though the mentally ill, he says, are far more likely to be the victims of gun violence, rather than perpetrators of it.)

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report as Trump finally goes to Puerto Rico for a few hours (to blame the victims of Hurricane Maria) and as China finally forces GM to get back into the electric car business. Also today: Rock in Peace, Tom Petty...

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By Brad Friedman on 10/2/2017 6:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it's one of the darkest days in U.S. history. Again. [Audio link to show follows below.]

At least 58 are dead and more than 500 were wounded in the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday, as a lone gunman rained down thousands of rounds from his fully automatic rifles on to attendees at outdoor country music concert. The shooter, reportedly a retired real estate investor and high-stakes gambler who lived in nearby Mesquite, is said to have killed himself as the Las Vegas SWAT team located him in his room, from where he was firing on the 32nd floor of the Monterey Bay Hotel and Casino, where he had been firing from. He was reportedly in custody of as many as 19 high-powered weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition in his hotel room, which he used to carry out the shooting on concert goers at least 400 yards away.

In the bargain, 64-year old Stephen Craig Paddock was allegedly able to carry out the worst mass shooting murder in modern American history in a matter of 10 to 15 horrifying minutes. After a brief update on some of the important news from over the weekend (other than in Vegas) regarding Puerto Rico and North Korea, we discuss what is known about the massacre as of air time and the White House reaction to it from both the President and his Press Secretary (who says, predictably, that it's "premature" to discuss what to do about such things.)

For the record, while the shooting in Vegas was the worst in modern history, according to GunViolenceArchive.org, the Las Vegas massacre marks the 273rd mass shooting in 2017, in 275 days so far this year. A total of 11,652 people have been killed in all gun violence incidents this year, with 23,512 having been injured. (Those statistics do not include the number of suicides by gun, which would tens of thousands of more victims to those totals for 2017, according to the Archive.)

No motive is currently known for the shooting, though it hardly matters. Whether homegrown terrorist or ISIS recruit, it's very easy to legally obtain obscenely deadly, military-style assault weapons in this country. The results are the same, no matter the motive.

Then, we examine just some of hard data on violent gun deaths in the U.S., much of it compiled by Vox.com's Zack Beauchamp, including why studies find the rates of murder and suicide by gun in the U.S. are so much higher (some 25 times higher) than in other prosperous developed nations with otherwise comparable crime rates. The difference between those countries and ours? The number of guns per capita. We also look at the available empirical data on how (and if) gun safety laws actually reduce the rate of both homicide and suicide in countries around the world (including the U.S.) after gun safety restrictions are strengthened and/or loosened. Australia, for a number of reasons, provides a particularly stark example. But other nations do as well.

Much of what we cover and discuss today, on the surface, seems as if it should be blatantly obvious. The data sets are true no matter how one feels about guns and the Second Amendment and why the Founders enacted it. Unfortunately, many of these facts are not as well understood by the public as one might think and hope, particularly given the partisan political restrictions on tracking and/or debating and/or even discussing these matters. That, thanks in no small part to the decades of propaganda and partisan political campaigning by the terrorist-enabling National Rifle Association (NRA) and the arms lobby that it represents...

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

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