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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, July 23, 2017
Constitutional Crisis Nears, Democracy Crisis Now: 'BradCast' 7/20/17
Guest: Legal analyst Ernest A. Canning on lawsuit and media fail in GA-06; Also: Trump's DoJ threat; NYT health care failure; Israel to hand-count ballots due to hack threat...
'Green News Report' 7/20/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
CA extends landmark climate program, but enviros say it's not enough; Trump re-opens offshore drilling in Arctic; PLUS: 2017 already breaking new global heat records as of June...
Previous GNRs: 7/18/17 - 7/13/17 - Archives...
Civilian War Deaths Skyrocket; Bipartisan CA Climate Action: 'BradCast' 7/19/17
Guest: R.L. Miller, climate hawk Dem, on opposition to the CA bills; Also: Big Oil's big trouble; State Dept. war crimes office closing...
GOP's ObamaCare Repeal Collapses (Again. Twice.): 'BradCast' 7/18/2017
What's the next illegit plan for Trump and Congress?; Also: 2016 election hacks worse than known; Kobach commission's voter suppression already a success...
'Green News Report' 7/18/17
Raging wildfires in British Columbia; Trump reduces royalties on offshore drilling; Energy Dept. study contra- dicts Energy Sec. claims; PLUS: Nuns block gas pipeline...
With ObamaCare Repeal on Brink, Admin Ups Their Lies: 'BradCast' 7/17/17
Guest: Ned Resnikoff of ThinkProgress; Plus: Guess what happened after TX cut family planning funding...
Sunday Toons of 'Borscht Thickens' Moment
Trump White House 'nothing burgers' more rancid by the moment. Plus: Voter suppression, e-voting, melting Antarctica in PDiddie's latest weekly toon collection...
Are They Liars? Or Just Incompetent? Or Both?: 'BradCast' 7/14/2017
Breathtaking Team Trump perfidy. Congressional GOPers not much better. Also: Espionage Act turns 100...
Why Do Georgia Election Officials Insist on 100% Unverifiable Elections?
Another contested election in GA following more than a decade of failures, vulnerabilities, repeated warnings...
Nun Too Happy: Catholic Order Builds Chapel to Block Pipeline: 'BradCast' 7/13/17
Guest: Pastor Malinda Harnish Clatterbuck; Plus: What is Team Trump hiding? And why?...
'Green News Report' 7/13/17
Huge iceberg breaks off Antarctica; Tesla builds world's biggest battery; EPA reviving controversial Pebble Mine; PLUS: France nixing coal, internal combustion engine...
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...


With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 6/13/2017 10:20am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Interior Sec. Zinke recommends redrawing Bears Ears National Monument --- even as 99% of Americans want their national monuments unchanged; Climate change has made heat waves more deadly in India; U.S. coastal cities to see more 100-year floods more frequently; PLUS: French President puts his money where his mouth is, enticing U.S. scientists to come work in France... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

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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): U.S. left as a footnote to G7 climate talks; Who are the Republican lawmakers whose bills attack public lands?; There's a new way U.S. is committing to Paris Climate Agreement; West Coast waters rapidly acidifying, threatening fishing industry; Pros and cons of fracking; Human activities taking a toll on the deep ocean; Interior Secretary floats privatizing campgrounds; 'No pattern of deception' in Gold King Mine Spill; On nuclear waste, Finland shows U.S. how it can be done; EPA delays chemical safety rule until 2019... PLUS: The dying Salton Sea... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




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...

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

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Guest: Author, journalist Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel.net...
By Brad Friedman on 6/8/2017 6:18pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it was a day many have been anticipating for some time. Fired FBI Director James Comey testified in open session before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday about his one-on-one meetings with President Trump, during which, he claims, Trump asked for "loyalty" during one meeting and asked Comey to help end the FBI's investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in the other. Comey was fired by Trump shortly thereafter. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

During his written and opening statements, and subsequent Q&A with members of the Committee, Comey charged the Trump Administration with having "defamed" both him and the FBI, and lying about the reason for his firing, which he characterizes as an attempt to scuttle the Bureau's counter-intelligence probe into alleged Team Trump coordination with Russia both before and after last year's election.

Following today's testimony, Trump's personal attorney Marc Kasowitz claimed, once again, that Comey's testimony "completely vindicated" his client, and he otherwise vehemently rejected the assertion that Trump either demanded Comey's "loyalty" or sought to shut down the Flynn investigation.

Joining us for full analysis today is journalist and author Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel.net. She offers a comparison to the breadth of this widening scandal and others she's covered in the past, such as the deliberate outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame during the George W. Bush Administration. "Dick Cheney was just so much more effective at coverup and abuse of power than Trump is," Wheeler quips.

Among many other points in our discussion today, Wheeler responds to Kasowitz' charge that Comey made "unauthorized disclosures of privileged communications" (he didn't, she explains); details the new revelations from Comey's testimony regarding his various meetings with the President and his contemporaneous documentation of those meetings; potential legal exposure for Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Vice President Mike Pence in this matter; whether we should have confidence in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's oversight of the still-widening probe; whether Trump himself is now being investigated for obstruction of justice (she says it's "clear" that he now is); whether any of it amounts to impeachable offenses; and the possibility --- raised several times during today's hearing --- that White House audio tapes of the Trump/Comey meetings may exist. "Lordy, I hope there are tapes," Comey declared today.

She also breaks down the bizarre testimony before the same U.S. Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, when the heads of the NSA and DNI, without any apparent legal basis or precedent, refused to answer questions about whether Trump had asked them to intercede into the FBI probe. "Just because Donald Trump is President," Wheeler tells me, "it has not changed the rule that you have Congressional overseers and you answer their questions."

Finally, near the end of today's show, news breaks out of the UK regarding Exit Poll results from Britain's parliamentary election, suggesting a stunning surprise loss of majority power for Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May and what is likely to be regarded as a huge victory for the Labour Party's Jeremy Corbyn, sometimes regarded as "Britain's Bernie Sanders"...

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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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 6/8/2017 11:15am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: As Trump steps back from the Paris Climate Agreement, Hawaii steps up; Defiant California partners with China on clean energy; Switching from coal to solar would save 52,000 lives a year; PLUS: Elections have consequences --- Nevada Democrats reverse anti-solar regulations... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

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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): VIDEO: John Oliver breaks down everything wrong with Trump’s decision to leave Paris agreement; EPA delays ozone rule; U.S. airlines reaffirm aviation emissions deal despite Trump's Paris Agreement withdrawal; Historic heat wave sweeps Europe, Asia, Middle East; Canada moves to work directly with U.S. states on climate change; Coastal cities will flood more often and more severely; U.S. topsoil is blowing away; Trump to put infrastructure burden on cities, states... PLUS: Sec. Zinke to order review of sage grouse management plans - again... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2017 5:58pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it's great to be back live at our flagship Los Angeles affiliate station, KPFK on the Pacifica Radio Network in Los Angeles after their recent fund drive. So we throw open the phones to listeners in celebration after several insanely busy news weeks! [Audio link to show is posted below.]

But, first, former FBI Director James Comey released his prepared statement [PDF] in advance of his much-anticipated testimony on Thursday before the U.S. Senate Intelligence committee. In the remarks, Comey details a number of his one-on-one meetings with and phone calls from Donald Trump, including the infamous "loyalty dinner" at the White House in late January and the similarly-infamous early-February meeting in the Oval Office, the day after National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was forced to resign, where Comey charges that he was asked by the President to end the FBI's investigation of Flynn.

We review the details of that prepared testimony, including Comey's confirmation that he did, in fact, indicate to Trump on three different occasions that he was not personally being investigated by the Bureau at the time. Trump's personal attorney cites that testimony to claim the President is "completely and totally vindicated" by it. Others, however, regard the testimony as "explosive" and as confirmation that Trump attempted to obstruct justice.

Also today, more on the leaked NSA analysis charging that Russian intelligence attempted to access the computers of election officials around the country after successfully sending spear-phishing emails to employees at a private voter registration firm. That rather rudimentary hacking effort just before last year's election, no matter who did it (as explained in much more detail on yesterday's show), may have allowed access for the intruders to the computers that program voting machines, results tabulators and voter registration systems around the country. Also, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's offers a response to the arrest of the alleged leaker, Reality Leigh Winner, and the charges filed against her under the 1917 Espionage Act.

Then, as just-retired Dir. of National Intelligence James Clapper charges "Watergate pales...compared to what we're confronting now," we take calls on all of the above and whether listeners believe Democrats should begin impeachment proceedings against Trump (as The Nation's John Nichols argued earlier this week on the show) or at least promise such proceedings if they are elected to the majority in Congress in 2018. We received some rather surprising answers to that question from callers, as well as in regard to the charges filed against Winner!

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report on the swift and global fallout following Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the historic Paris Climate Agreement...

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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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 6/6/2017 10:11am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Fallout is swift, and global, after Trump abandons Paris Climate Agreement; Even Fox 'News' questions the economic case for exiting U.N. climate accord; States and cities step up to fulfill U.S. pledges; PLUS: India announces it will sell only electric cars by 2030... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

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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): China moves to capitalize on renewable energy after U.S. retreat; California signs clean energy deal with China; Trump to allow seismic testing for oil in Atlantic Ocean; Switching from coal to solar could save 52,000 lives a year; Exxon's climate accounting a 'sham'; 'Wild West' of deep sea mining underway; Monsanto buries inconvenient data as 'confidential business information'; Trump supporters worry about solar industry's prospects... PLUS: How GOP leaders came to view climate change as 'fake' science... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Long road, many questions, battles lie ahead...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/5/2017 10:59am PT  

Late last week, the California state Senate adopted a proposal for a state-run, single-payer, "Medicare for All" style healthcare system. That's just the latest encouraging news to suggest that, on the surface, single-payer healthcare advocates have the wind at their sails in the Golden State.

Buoyed by a public opinion poll that showed that 70% of Californians support SB-562 ("The Health California Act") --- the state Senate measure that aspires to provide publicly-funded quality healthcare to all California residents --- and a newly released Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) Study, which concluded that the measure would save California $37.5 billion in annual healthcare expenditures while covering millions of additional residents, single-payer advocates have encountered smooth sailing in the California State Senate. Last Thursday, that legislative body approved the bill by a 23-14 vote with three members not voting.

The measure now moves to the state Assembly, and irrespective of whether it is similarly approved there, the good ship Single-Payer is about to encounter choppy waters and a stiff headwind.

SB-562's authors, Senators Ricardo Lara (D-Baldwin Park) and Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), deferred questions about the new taxes needed to fully fund their proposed, state-run single-payer healthcare system. A separate tax measure would have to be approved by a 2/3 vote in both Houses of the California legislature. Democrats hold super majorities in each chamber. However, 2/3 passage is by no means a given.

The landmark single-payer initiative and tax measure to fund it would then have to be signed into law by Democratic Gov. Jerry "Budget Miser" Brown, who has already expressed concerns about how a single-payer system could be financed.

Moreover, as evidenced in recent days, the otherwise popular measure also faces a hostile corporate-owned media...

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




Guest: Craig Holman of Public Citizen...
By Brad Friedman on 6/2/2017 6:20pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The political price of becoming the world's pariah, and new documents finally released by the Trump Administration prove yet again that they are doing anything but "draining the swamp" as promised.

The brutal fallout, including both nationwide and worldwide condemnation for President Trump's regrettable decision to pull the US out of the historic Paris Climate Agreement, continues as the Administration tries and lies to explain the wildly irresponsible and seemingly senseless move, while also working hard to avoid answering whether or not the President of the United States still believes that climate change is a "hoax", as he's previously asserted.

As that story unfolded this week, the Administration was finally forced to release the ethics waivers they say were granted to dozens of White House and executive agency officials allowing them to avoid ethics requirements set out in Trump's Executive Order issued, purportedly, to keep corporate lobbyists out of the government and ensure those working for the Administration did not work with companies whose employ they had just left.

But getting the waivers released at all was "like pulling teeth," according to my guest today, Craig Holman, the long time Government Affairs lobbyist, specializing in campaign finance and government ethics at Public Citizen. He joins us to discuss what is revealed by the waivers released by the White House so far, and why Trump's approach to ethics guidelines cannot even be compared to previous Administrations. "There is a sea-change of difference between the Obama system and the Trump system," he says, describing how even though Obama issued some waivers himself, he did so only in line with "a very tough legal standard" and only after it was "demonstrated that no one else could do the appointee's job."

Trump, on the other hand, "eliminated any criteria for issuing waivers" and even went a step further by failing to disclose them until group's like Holman's and the aggressive current head of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), Walter Shaub, required White House Counsel Don McGahn (who also apparently waivered himself!) to do so.

In addition to top White House officials like Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway and Reince Priebus receiving waivers, Holman explains, "We saw people like Shahira Knight, who was a lobbyist for Fidelity on retirement issues, stepping in to the White House and being the special adviser for retirement issues, which would appear to be a violation of the ethics Executive Order. But was she issued a waiver? We didn't know. So we're banging at the door of the White House wondering what was going on." (As it turns out, yes, she got one too.)

Holman is more troubled still by the fact that almost all of the waivers seem only to have been created this past Wednesday, in order to meet a disclosure deadline on Thursday. "I've gone through each and every waiver, and almost all of them are undated, and unsigned," he says. If it's true that they were issued retroactively, Walter Shaub, the Director of the OGE told the New York Times, "There is no such thing as a retroactive waiver...You have violated a rule." Richard Painter, George W. Bush's White House ethics lawyer told the Times,"The only retroactive waiver I have ever heard of is called a pardon."

But what punishment exists for violating Executive Orders and ethics rules, even though both supposedly carry "the force of law"? And who, exactly, would enforce such violations, anyway? White House Counsel Don McGahn? Attorney General Jeff Sessions? Can groups like Public Citizen sue for enforcement? We discuss all of that and much more with Holman today.

Finally today, an iceberg the size of Delaware is on the brink of falling off of an Antarctic ice shelf; the Special Counsel's investigation of the Trump Administration may reportedly be widening to include a probe of AG Jeff Sessions himself; and what is likely the real (and disturbing) reason that Trump ultimately decided to pull out of the Paris Accord? All of that and much more on today's BradCast!...

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

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Guest: Princeton political historian Prof. Julian Zelizer...
By Brad Friedman on 6/1/2017 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Making history and breaking history. From historic worldwide climate pacts to nuclear arms treaties, from Trump and Russia to Nixon and the Soviet Union and back again. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First, in an historic Rose Garden speech on Thursday, President Donald Trump --- against the advice of world leaders, major American companies, and even many in his own Administration --- announced his intention of pulling the U.S. out of the historic Paris Climate Agreement. The landmark 2015 pact is signed by nearly 200 nations and was crafted as part of a 20-year U.N. effort to decrease greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, in hopes of avoiding the worst effects of man-made climate change.

Trump's announcement has largely been met with worldwide derision from China to India to Russia to the EU and back here at home. And his announced intention of "renegotiating" a different deal was quickly nixed today by France, Germany and Italy. We offer extended experts from Trump's remarks announcing his intention to withdraw, some much-needed fact-checking, and a look at where the tortured decision --- which will take four years and another Presidential election --- leaves the U.S.

But, as that unfortunate history was being made today, we also take a look back at historic parallels for the recently reported, and seemingly bizarre, attempt by Trump's son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner to create a secret back-channel line of communications with Russia during last year's Presidential transition.

Princeton University political history professor and author Julian E. Zelizer, joins us to describe two different similar back-channels created with two different countries (including one to Russia --- actually, then, the Soviet Union) by Richard Nixon, both during his campaign and his transition.

One such line of secret diplomacy, Zelizer explains, turned out to be hugely successful for both the U.S. and USSR alike. The other...well, it didn't turn out so well, even as we've only learned details about both in recent years. Zelizer also describes the recent history of diplomatic back-channel diplomacy by Presidents other than Nixon and Trump, offers a few other uncomfortable parallels for the current President, and explains why Kushner's purported scheme to use Russian facilities to speak with the Kremlin is so bizarre, even, apparently, to the Russians themselves.

"Part of the idea that both Richard Nixon believed in, and his top National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, was that there needed to be a new approach to handling U.S. relations with the Soviet Union," Zelizer tells me. "The key to doing this was simply opening up the lines of dialogue. [Kissinger] sets up a back-channel, as it was called, to the Soviet ambassador, which is top secret. He believed this had to be done around the existing government bureaucracy. They were worried about leaks, they were worried about political push-back."

"Nixon was totally paranoid and frightened about the existing bureaucracy in the State Department, and to some extent in the Defense Department, and was really determined to try to do things --- which would ultimately lead to his downfall --- on his own. And to have these kinds of communications without the official government knowing what he was doing, and subverting him."

Sound familiar? In that case, as Zelizer writes at CNN, it was actually a huge success that eventually resulted in the SALT I Agreement to limit nuclear weapons in both nations. The other Nixon back-channel was far more nefarious, dealing with his campaign's attempt to scuttle peace talks by Lyndon Johnson in Vietnam before his election.

In both Nixon cases, it took years before we even learned about any of it. In the more recent case of Kushner and Russia, Zelizer notes, "There's a lot of uncertainty, both about context and the substance of this effort, which is why it is something that's raised a lot of suspicion and is the focus of an investigation. It's not the back-channel, it's what this back-channel was meant to do and why it was being put into place --- if it's true."

Finally, Desi Doyen re-joins us for special, breaking Green News Report coverage of, well...see if you can guess...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
TRUMP WITHDRAWS FROM PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT
By Desi Doyen on 6/1/2017 2:59pm PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: 'GNR' Special Coverage: President Trump announces he will withdraw the U.S. from the landmark United Nations Paris Agreement, sending shockwaves around the world... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

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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): Larsen C ice shelf on verge of breaking off; Wind power rising but falling under political cloud; Commercial plant starts removing CO2 from the air; California Senate sends package of climate bills to offset Trump; Trump would face legal battle to withdraw from 1992 treaty; Extreme warmth has dominated U.S. weather records since 2010; EPA reportedly helped Paris agreement opponents place op-eds in newspapers; Financial firms lead shareholder rebellion against ExxonMobil climate change policies... PLUS: Judge blocks Montana mine, in victory for grassroots groups... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




White House 'sources' say Trump plans to pull out of landmark Paris Climate Agreement, but will he really? And what happens if he does?...
By Brad Friedman on 5/31/2017 5:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Trump Administration leaks the suggestion that they, are indeed, planning to drop out of the historic 2015 world pact to limit the dangerous global rise of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions in order to prevent, or at least stall, the worst effects of climate change. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The comments from unnamed White House sources today that President Donald Trump plans to withdraw from the landmark U.N. Paris Climate Agreement are ricocheting across the globe. But will he really drop out? If so, what do leaders from the rest of the world --- friend and foe --- have to say about it? What do leaders here in the U.S. think? What do senior members of his own administration think? What will Trump's own voters think?

And how can it be that Republicans have been so wrong, for so long, even now, on the issue, including over the past decade when they insisted over and again that China and India would never be willing to cut emissions? (Both countries are willing and have each reaffirmed their commitment to the pact, despite Trump's threats to get out.)

How would the decision effect both the global climate itself and the United States' standing in the world? What are the costs financially of ceding leadership on issues of energy and climate, particularly at a moment when the costs of renewable energy like wind and solar are absolutely plummeting and even many fossil fuel companies (and even some coal companies!) are both recognizing the dangers of global warming and encouraging Trump to stay in the agreement with nearly 200 other nations?

What are Trump's legal options for getting out of the pact, and what the hell explains his grievance and bizarre affection for the dying and dirty coal industry, anyway? Oh, and what do ExxonMobil shareholders think about it all?

Those are just some of the many questions asked and answered on today's show, featuring Desi Doyen of The Green News Report, at this perilous moment in world history...

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

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Guest: Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern of Slate...
By Brad Friedman on 5/30/2017 6:43pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Trump is back from his "incredible, historic" overseas trip, where everything was wildly successful, according to the White House. Longtime U.S. allies, however, do not appear to agree. Also, both he and fellow Republicans are facing a number of setbacks in court on both immigration and election-related matters. [Audio link to show posted below.]

The President returned from his 9-day overseas trip over the weekend amid still-growing investigations into Team Trump's secretive dealings with Russia and after, apparently, ticking off a number of very close U.S. allies. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in particular, appeared disturbed about several issues, including Trump's failure to commit to keeping the US in the landmark UN Paris Climate agreement. Also, both before and during the trip, Trump managed to repeatedly lie about NATO members' commitments to the alliance. We've got some much-needed fact checking on that.

In the meantime, over the past week, there have been a number of landmark court rulings, both at the Appellate Court level (regarding Trump's second attempt at an Executive Order banning travel from six Muslim-majority nations and indefinitely barring refugees from war-torn Syria) and at the U.S. Supreme Court in two separate election-related cases (one on campaign finance and one on partisan and racial gerrymandering that could have far-reaching consequences.) Both cases also reveal interesting --- and somewhat surprising --- positions from Justice Clarence Thomas and the stolen Supreme Court's newest Justice Neal Gorsuch.

Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern of Slate.com joins us to unpack all of those encouraging rulings, to explain why each is important, and to discuss what happens moving forward in all of them. He also offers a much-needed reminder of how the Trump Administration is still working below the mainstream media radar to deport thousands of undocumented immigrants --- on the thinnest of grounds, such as a traffic ticket --- despite many of them having lived in the U.S. since childhood or otherwise having children and family here. Those disturbing deportations continue, even as so many in the media (including us!) get too easily distracted by, as Stern notes, "Trump's latest tweets".

As to the election-related cases at SCOTUS, one of them, upholding campaign finance restrictions on the amount that individuals are allowed to donate to candidates and parties, may reveal what many have argued about Gorsuch --- whose seat was stolen for him by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Senate Republicans. Namely, that he is at least as far to the Right as Clarence Thomas, and perhaps even more so.

The other finding by the Supremes last week, agreeing with a lower court ruling that two North Carolina Congressional Districts were unlawfully drawn on a racial basis, is likely to have far reaching consequences as applied to a number of other recent, similar cases (in Texas, Virginia, Alabama, etc.) in which Republicans were found to have unconstitutionally drawn districts based on race. But, and here's where last week's ruling may set an important precedent, the majority opinion written by Justice Elena Kagan also finds that using race as a proxy for partisan gerrymandering is also in violation of the Constitution. In recent years, Republicans have argued that certain voting restrictions and gerrymandered districts were not done on a racial basis, but on a partisan one. The latter, they argue, is perfectly legal and Constitutional. Incredibly enough, that may be true --- at least for the moment --- but it was rejected in the NC case.

The state had argued that black voters were packed into just a couple of districts because they tend to vote Democratic, not because they were black. "The problem for the Court with that was that even though North Carolina purported to be using race as a mere proxy for partisanship,it was still using race," Stern explains. "And the five Justices in the majority said, 'Look, we get that you think this was just about partisanship. We get that you weren't trying to discriminate against black people. You were trying to discriminate against Democrats. But you still used race, you used black people, to accomplish your goals. And that, in itself, is a violation of the Equal Protection clause.'"

In other words, he says, the Court found: "You are no longer allowed to use the excuse that you weren't discriminating against blacks, you were discriminating against Democrats. It doesn't matter who you were trying to discriminate against --- what matters is that you used race as a proxy. That is the constitutional tripwire."

As to whether discriminating against Democrats on a partisan basis, that argument is now being tested in courts, says Stern. For now, though, it appears to have failed, at least in this North Carolina case and, in a seemingly shocking turn, didn't even win over Clarence Thomas, of all people. He joined the Court's liberal justices to give them the 5 to 3 majority in the case!...

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

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Guest: Michael Slater of Project Vote | Also: Reason for (some) optimism regarding Trump and the UN Paris climate accord...
By Brad Friedman on 5/26/2017 6:47pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Trump-toxified GOP appears to have abandoned all pretense of "values" and "personal responsibility" to elect someone to federal office even after he violently assaulted a journalist on the Eve of the Election. And a longtime voting rights group announces they are forced to shutter their doors for lack of funding. What's wrong with this picture? [Audio link to show is posted below.]

On Thursday, after being cited on assault charges for "body slamming" a reporter from The Guardian the night before, Republican Greg Gianforte was nonetheless elected as Montana's next U.S. Congressman in the Special Election to fill the seat vacated by Donald Trump's Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke. The At-Large seat for the state's only member of the House of Representatives has long been held by Republicans. And, though Trump won the state by more than 20 points last November (Zinke won his seat by 16 points), first time Democratic candidate Rob Quist was polling within single digits of Gianforte and thought to have a shot especially after the GOPer melted down on Election Eve.

Alas, it wasn't to be. We discuss what the Dem loss means going forward (they did swing the vote from GOP to Dem by some 10 points since November), why it likely happened (more than 72% of voters had already cast votes by mail before the meltdown, and many Republicans liked it anyway), Gianforte's apology (only after the election was over), how Trump's own threatening rhetoric has poisoned his party, and how House Speaker Paul Ryan could, Consitutionally, prevent the criminally-charged Gianforte from being seated in the House of Representatives, if he wanted to (and how you can help encourage that).

Next up, while partisan eyes remain on political candidates, and GOP-controlled states like New Hampshire and many others use phony "voter fraud" claims to try and make it harder for left-leaning voters to vote, non-partisan, non-profit voting rights groups are forced to fight for resources just to stay in operation. One such group, the decades-old ProjectVote.org, which has helped register millions of voters, trained voter registration groups around the country, helped to expose how a GOP scheme to promote fraudulent "voter fraud" claims led to the U.S. Attorney Purge during the George W. Bush Administration, and has otherwise filed lawsuits in more than a dozen states to ensure compliance with 1993's National Voter Registration (or "Motor Voter") Act, announced this week they are being forced to shut their doors at the end of the month due to a lack of funding.

Project Vote's President and Executive Director Michael Slater joins us today to discuss the sad and maddening news at a time that groups like his are needed more than ever.

We discuss some of Project Vote's many accomplishments, going back to their founding in the 80s, how the Right has created a "machine to develop propaganda to justify policy outcomes that are in no way in the interests of democracy", improvements (if not enough) in the media in shining a light on the GOP's "voter fraud" lies; and how "folks in the funder community" need to step up to make sure others can fill the void that will be left behind in Project Vote's absence.

"I would encourage people that make contributions to set a portion of those contributions aside for democracy work," Slater says. "There are a number of very good organizations that do democracy work that include Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Brennan Center, League of Women Voters, Common Cause --- there's a range of good organizations. The challenge, I often think, is that as an emergency comes up like what we've seen with the attacks on immigrant rights, people immediately put all of their available money into those programs or those emergencies, and they they forget about the ongoing work that we need to do on the democracy sector."

Yup. I would also argue, as I have for years, that many partisans seem to have no problem giving money to candidates and political parties, but only look to support "the democracy sector" after their candidate has lost an election and it is otherwise too late to do anything about it. Or, as in this case, after the folks doing the difficult democracy work are forced outta business.

Finally, to help get all of that our of my system, some encouraging news, believe it or not, concerning the Trump Administration's deliberations on whether to drop out of the landmark UN Paris Climate Agreement, and a musical moment guaranteed to leave you feeling groovy over the upcoming holiday weekend...sort of...

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

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Also: Trump travel ban blocked by full Appeals Court; UK furious at Admin over intel leaks; Trump praises Philippines extrajudicial murders; More...
By Brad Friedman on 5/25/2017 5:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast, one of the most amazing candidate meltdowns ever seen (or, in this case, heard) and how the Speaker of the House hopes to look the other way in the event that he wins anyway. But that's just the tip of today's news iceberg(s). [Audio link to show posted below.]

In one of the most remarkable Election Eve unravelings ever by a U.S. candidate for...pretty much anything, Republican U.S. House candidate Greg Gianforte melted down on the eve of what should have been an easy victory in his statewide Special Election for Montana's only U.S. House seat against Democratic candidate Rob Quist. Instead, in an incident caught on stunning audio tape and witnessed by Fox "News" reporters, Gianforte "body slammed" a Guardian reporter, has been charged with assault, and saw his newspaper endorsements rescinded on the night before voters went to the polls on Thursday.

But many voters already cast their vote by absentee ballot by time of the Wednesday incident, and House Speaker Paul Ryan suggests he'll accept whatever results are reported from the election. That, as I explain today, conveniently ignores Congress's Article 1, Section 5 Constitutional right (and duty) to determine who is actually seated in the House of Representatives. It's a right they have exercised on a number of other controversial elections in the past, so surely Ryan is familiar with that. But, of course, we'll soon see (hopefully) who voters in Montana have decided they want for their only Representative in the U.S. House.

At the same time, it was another enormous news day in which Donald Trump's second attempted travel ban Executive Order was blocked, yet again, this time by the full U.S. 4th Circuit of Appeals. His Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced he will appeal the case to the GOP's stolen U.S. Supreme Court.

Also today, yet another embarrassment for the Trump Administration, which was publicly taken to task by British Prime Minister Theresa May for leaking British intelligence to media regarding the UK's Manchester Bombing investigation. The leaks not only invoked the wrath of (and temporarily stopped intelligence sharing from) the United States' closest ally, but it was hardly the only highly sensitive information recently and inappropriately disclosed to friend and foe alike by Trump and/or his Administration in recent days.

And, in a (related) news item we didn't get to yesterday, after disclosing the whereabouts of two U.S. nuclear submarines, it appears Trump actually praised Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte during a recent phone call for the "unbelievable...great job" he has done on that nation's drug epidemic --- in which thousands of people have been murdered in a brutal extrajudicial campaign carried out by Duterte's police force.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us with a jam-packed Green News Report, before still more news breaks at the buzzer, reportedly finding Trump's top adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner 'under FBI scrutiny' in the Bureau's ongoing Trump/Russia probe...

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

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