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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Barr Brawl: Trump AG's Summary of Mueller Report Does Justice No Favors: 'BradCast' 3/25/19
But Trump's happy to lie about new, conflicted AG getting him off the hook (for now)...
Sunday Toons of the Very Thirsty Moment
With the Mueller Report finally delivered to the A.G., many angry customers are waiting for service from the "Barr" tender in PDiddie's latest weekly toon collection...
Insider 'Backdoor' Found During 'Public Hack Test' of Vaunted Swiss Online Vote System: 'BradCast' 3/22/19
Guest: CyberSec journallist Kim Zetter; ALSO BREAKING: Mueller delivers report to A.G....
WI GOP Power-Grab Undone by Judge; Military 'Readiness' Undermined by Trump: 'BradCast' 3/21/19
Also: 'Historic' U.S. flooding; New Zealand bans 'weapons of war'; Trump's new arms race...
'Green News Report' 3/21/19
  w/ Brad & Desi
Staggering losses in Midwest flooding; Houston chemical fire warning; EPA chief delays climate action as 2020 Dems demand it; PLUS: 'Holy Grail' ruling in WY oil, gas drilling case...
Previous GNRs: 3/19/19 - 3/14/19 - Archives...
FL Repubs Undermining Ex-Felon Voting Rights Amend-ment: 'BradCast' 3/20/19
Guest: ACLU Florida's Micah Kubic; Also: Beto on voter suppression; Abrams says she 'won' in GA; U.S. judge blocks oil, gas drilling in WY...
Under Water, Under the Gun, Under Pressure: 'BradCast' 3/19/19
Climate catastrophe in 'Trump County'; Also: Dem 2020 candidates seek to abolish Electoral College; DST haters strike back; Much more...
'Green News Report' 3/19/19
Devastating Midwest flooding; As many as 1,000 dead in Mozambique cyclone; 2 toxic Houston refinery fires; PLUS: The kids' Climate Strike heard 'round the world...
Court News on Gerrymanders, Voting, Guns, Abortion: 'BradCast' 3/18/19
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Record Midwest flooding; Beto, Bernie and Buttigieg; The definitive truth on Daylight Saving Time...
Sunday 'Hate Ain't Funny' Toons
And neither is ignorance. Don't miss PDiddie's latest, disturbing, weekly toon collection...
Looming Disaster?: Dems Adding Online Voting for 2020 Caucuses: 'BradCast' 3/15/19
Guest: Steven Rosenfeld; Also: Kids strike for climate action; Trumpers against unverifiable voting...
'Green News Report' 3/14/19
GAO: Admin climate policy rollbacks cost billions; Air pollution and autism; Climate change and property values; PLUS: Activism pushing a shift in fossil fuel industry?...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


McConnell won't allow Senate vote on HR-1 or restoration of Voting Rights Act; Also: Hand-marked paper ballots for PA County; Cohen sues Trump Org; Brown won't run in 2020; GOPers re-thinking climate denial...
By Brad Friedman on 3/7/2019 6:18pm PT  

54 years to the day after the Bloody Sunday march in Selma, Alabama led to the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, and nearly 6 years following the rightwing U.S. Supreme Court's gutting of the VRA's most crucial provision, Republicans in Congress are still both blocking its restoration and working to prevent the Democrats' newly introduced and much-needed effort to expand voting rights. That's just one of a number of outrages on today's BradCast, otherwise brought to you with no small measures of hope to counter-balance the outrages. [Audio link to today's complete show is posted below.]

Among the stories covered on today's program...

  • Michael Cohen is suing the Trump Organization for at least $1.9 million dollars to cover his legal expenses which they had apparently promised to pay --- at least until Cohen began cooperating with federal investigators.
  • Another worthy Democratic Senator, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, announces he will not seek the Democratic nomination in 2020. He joins Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Attorney General Eric Holder and (for the most part) Hillary Clinton who all declared this week that they will not be seeking the Presidency this year.
  • Some good news for voters out of the Republican-leaning Butler County, Pennsylvania. Officials there have decided to dump their 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems in favor of hand-marked paper ballots. The local news report of this common sense measure in at least this one corner of the important swing-state is somewhat of a hoot, as we share on today's program.
  • Meanwhile, back in Congress, House Democrats will soon be holding a vote on HR-1, the "For the People Act", a massive elections and ethics measure which, among things things, calls for automatic universal voter registration; the expansion of early voting; an end to mass voter purges; independent redistricting commissions to avoid partisan gerrymandering; allows every voter in America to cast their vote on a hand-marked paper ballot; endorses D.C. statehood; requires disclosure of funders to dark money groups; and requires Presidential candidates to release their tax returns. Naturally, Republicans oppose the measure, and Mitch McConnell vows to not allow it to see the light of day in the U.S. Senate, even if it passes in the U.S. House as expected.
  • Similarly, Democrats in the House and Senate have introduced the Voting Rights Advancement Act, a bill to restore Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, by reinstating the requirement for the federal government to pre-approve new election-related laws in jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination at the polls. Naturally, Republicans oppose the measure, and Mitch McConnell vows to not allow it to see the light of day in the U.S. Senate, even if it passes in the U.S. House as expected.
  • Next, there is some curious movement in the Republican Congressional caucus in regard to climate change. Clearly reading the writing on the wall, as the public overwhelmingly not only believes in global warming but is becoming increasingly concerned about it, longtime GOP science deniers in both the House and Senate are finally admitting that man-made greenhouse gas emissions are the cause of it. The recent introduction of the wildly popular Green New Deal by Democrats --- a sweeping effort to move the nation to 100% carbon-neutral energy sources and provide millions of jobs over the next ten years --- is another reason Republicans are now acknowledging they must do something about climate change, if only for appearances. We discuss what could be a sea-change (or not) in this long, existential battle today.
  • Finally, on related matters, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with disturbing news on toxic coal ash waste found in groundwater in 39 states, plastic pollution found in the deepest parts of the ocean, former military officials slamming the Trump Administration over their climate change denial, and Democrats vowing --- as they now are with elections and voting rights, as well --- to go on the offensive in the U.S. Senate...

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

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Guest: Emily Atkin of New Republic; Also: Inslee jumps into 2020 race to battle climate change; Repub trouble defending Trump against Cohen charges; Cummings' 'righteous rant' to save democracy...
By Brad Friedman on 3/1/2019 6:38pm PT  

As usual, there is no shortage of insane Trump news at the end of another insane week. But we also find time on today's BradCast to focus on Democrats plans for 2020 and the internecine battle over how to take on the existential and urgent threat of climate change. [Audio link to show follows below.]

On Friday, Washington state Governor Jay Inslee became the latest Democratic to announce his intention to seek the 2020 nomination for President amidst an already very crowded field. He's the first Governor to jump into the fray, as we're now just months away from the start of Democratic Party Primary Debates beginning in June. He's also the first Dem to make it his "number one priority" to "rise up to the most urgent challenge of our time: defeating climate change."

Even so, Inslee, unlike many of the other announced hopefuls, has yet to fully endorse the Green New Deal resolution [PDF] recently introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), preferring instead a more piece-meal approach. The GND is a sweeping, ten-year blueprint for a wartime-like push to transition the American economy and power-grid to 100% carbon-neutrality by 2030, while providing millions of public works jobs to upgrade U.S. infrastructure, clean up legacy pollution, and ensure that vulnerable communities, including coal miners, survive and thrive the crucial transition.

Last week, a group of children from the Sunrise Movement visited the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to urge her support for the GND. The 85-year old Senator appeared to speak down to the kids, explaining that she had her own version [PDF] of a Green New Deal that, she believed, unlike the AOC/Markey proposal, could gain Republican support while also including a mechanism to fund itself. While a viral edited video of the encounter between the Senator and the children makes it look worse than it really was, even the full length version (which is marginally better, if still not great) reveals the long-serving California Democrat doesn't truly seem to grasp the urgency of the moment that scientists have now been warning about for decades.

We're joined to discuss all of this today by environmental reporter EMILY ATKIN who received some push-back recently from Democrats after arguing at The New Republic that Dems like Feinstein present a "bigger threat to the left's goal of slowing climate change before it's too late" than even out-and-out climate science deniers like Donald Trump. At the same time, she makes the case in a separate article this week that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi --- who has taken some heat herself for appearing to dismiss the GND as a "green dream" --- is actually a valuable ally who hopes to see advocates rally public support for the program.

"What I mean is that [Feinstein] is a bigger threat [than Trump] to our one opportunity that we have to make a dent in climate change, to make a significant dent," Atkin explains, detailing the urgency of the next twelve years that world scientists find to be the last chance to avoid the worst impacts of global warming. "Feinstein has a preoccupation at this moment with what's passable with Republicans in charge. She's focusing on this in a moment when they're not going to pass anything either way, because Republicans are in charge. Right now is the time to mobilize on the idea of the most aggressive, most exciting climate plan possible. And use that to take control of the House and the Senate and the Presidency in 2020 --- and then you talk about what is passable."

Atkins says the DiFi legislation is "mostly a reinstatement of the status quo during the Obama Administration. So, putting back all of the regulations for the climate that Trump is attempting and has repealed. Getting back into the Paris Climate Agreement. Putting forth another big money mobilization in new technologies. It doesn't call for any of the social reforms that Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal resolution calls for."

"The path forward is to support something exciting, demonstrate that you know, as a Democrat, what it means when you say climate change is the biggest crisis of our time. Which is what Dianne Feinstein said, but doesn't demonstrate it with the type of plan she put forward," she tells me. "The path forward right now is to demonstrate to voters that you truly understand the magnitude of this crisis. That you're willing to support societal change to get there. Excite people, make them hopeful for the future, instead of saying well, we're going to support this lukewarm thing that's not going to do anything. And then people are just drawn back into apathy." We've got lots to discuss on all of those fronts today as Atkin details her arguments and offers her thoughts on Inslee's candidacy as well.

Also today, Congressional Republicans are still having a very difficult time constructing a defense for the indefensible Donald Trump following Michael Cohen's stunning U.S. House Oversight Committee testimony on Wednesday, when he detailed [PDF], with documentation, at least five felonies that Trump appears to have committed both before and after becoming President. But Trump's former nemesis-turned-lapdog Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) managed to cobble together a defense --- if a pretty thin one --- for one of the most serious alleged felonies detailed by Cohen. For his part, the President himself sputtered out another unhinged attempt at defending himself by attacking Cohen as a liar in a Twitter rant this morning.

Finally, as we wrap up another extraordinary week, NBC News reports that Congressional Dems in the Ways and Means Committee now plan to request 10 years of Trump's tax returns from the IRS, following on information provided by Cohen.

And we close with a couple more must-listen clips from the Cohen hearing that you may not have heard. One is the closing remarks from Cohen, who served as Trump's personal lawyer and fixer for about a decade, making the chilling case that Trump may not leave office peacefully if he's defeated in 2020. The closing comments include a direct, personal appeal to Trump himself. And then, one "righteous rant" from Committee chair Elijah Cummings (D-MD) as he closed the proceedings on Wednesday, appealing to all of us to somehow leave this democracy in better shape than we found it and to fight like hell in the meantime to "get back to normal" someday soon in the midst of this very dark chapter in American history...

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

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House votes to overturn Trump 'Emergency'; Gaetz threatens Cohen before House testimony; Harris won't run in NC-9 do-over; Judge nixes NC Photo ID measure due to unlawful gerrymander; 12-year old journo exposes bad AZ cop; Kids push for climate action...
By Brad Friedman on 2/26/2019 6:46pm PT  

This is the week that everything is now all happening at once, apparently. We do our best to cover as much of it as we can, and then some. How it all fits together, you'll have to tune in and find out. Among the stories covered on today's whirlwind BradCast whirlwind [audio link to show is posted below]...

  • With the nation's top U.S. General for homeland defense telling a Senate committee today that there is no military emergency on the southern border, and scores of former national security officials and former GOP lawmakers declaring this week that Trump's "national emergency" declaration is unjustified and even unlawful and/or unconstitutional, the U.S. House voted on Tuesday to block Trump's "emergency" declaration that takes money allocated by Congress for other purposes in order to build his border wall. Prospects for similar passage in the Senate are currently unknown, but currently looking positive. Overriding a promised Presidential veto, however, will be much more difficult, so this is all likely to be decided by the courts and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court;
  • Trump landed in Vietnam today for the start of his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, where senior Administration officials have reportedly said the President plans to stay up overnight to watch Wednesday's televised hearing in the U.S. House Oversight Committee with Michael Cohen. Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer is expected, according to reports today, to testify --- with documentation --- on criminal acts he claims to have been carried out by Trump both before and during his Presidency. He's also expected to detail Trump's history of racist behavior and lies regarding his own personal wealth, among other things. Incredibly, Trump partisan Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) issued an extraordinary threat against Cohen via Twitter just before airtime today, which experts immediately cited as a potentially unlawful attempt at criminal witness tampering and/or intimidation;
  • Also in the Democratic-majority U.S. House on Tuesday, hearings on the Administration's policy of family separation at the southern border amid new reports today of thousands of children alleging sexual abuse during their detention;
  • In North Carolina, disgraced 9th Congressional House District Republican candidate Mark Harris announced he will not run in a new election called for the district after the November 2018 race was tainted by absentee ballot fraud carried out by Harris' campaign. According to his Harris' own attorney, after stunning surprise testimony against him by his own son at public hearings held by the NC State Board of Elections, the candidate and evangelical minister lied about his knowledge of the scheme. Harris now claims his health is preventing him from running in the not-yet-scheduled do-over election, and is also the reason for his faulty memory about his knowledge of fraud by a campaign contractor he hired to run his absentee ballot effort in Bladen County. The Democratic candidate, Dan McCready, previously announced his intention to run again, and several Republicans have now expressed interest in vying for the nomination in what will be the GOP's second bite at the apple, after getting caught committing election fraud the first time out;
  • Also in NC, a state court judge late last week nullified two state Constitutional amendments approved by voters in November after they were placed on the ballot by a super-majority of Republican lawmakers in both chambers of the legislature. That state legislature, however, is built on an unlawful racial gerrymander by those same state Republicans, as confirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court last year. Therefore, the judge ruled, the illegitimately constructed chambers do not have the lawful right to place state constitutional measures on the ballot. One measure imposes photo ID voting restrictions previously found in violation of the state Constitution and another lowers a state cap on tax rates. The extraordinary ruling has already been appealed by the Republicans and legal experts are dubious as to whether it will be upheld by higher courts, but it reminds us (again) how, even when they know its unlawful and will eventually be overturned, it pays for lawmakers to gerrymander;
  • And, in Arizona, 12-year old journalist Hilde Lysiak of Orange Street News (who, three years ago when she was 9, broke the story of a murder in her Pennsylvania neighborhood!) posted a videotaped conversation with Patagonia, AZ Town Marshall Joseph Patterson lying to her about the law regarding taping cops. Patterson had previously threatened her with arrest and/or detention in juvenile jail on the basis of still more false claims when he reportedly said he didn't "want to hear about any of that freedom of the press stuff." We share the video of hero Lysiak's second encounter with Patterson. She has reportedly been interviewing local residents about border security in the state and Patterson has reportedly been disciplined;
  • Also this week, kids from the Sunrise Movement have been turning up to demand action on climate change and passage of the Green News Deal in the U.S. Senate, where Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) talked down to the children who visited her in her office asking for her vote on the GND, and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)'s office had a number of protesters in the group that visited his office arrested on Monday;
  • All of which leads us up to our latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen today, with details on a new Trump climate change Commission to be headed up by a climate science denier; very bad news in Antarctica; and children around the globe protesting and walking out of school to demand action on climate change...

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

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Trump's own Commission shuts coal plants in KY, TN; Barr confirmed; Funding bill approved, fake 'National Emergency' to come; Freshmen light up Committee hearings; GOP Green New Deal freak-out...
By Brad Friedman on 2/14/2019 6:53pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Seriously, coal miners should have voted for Hillary, as we learn once again today. But those who voted for progressives in Congress are getting their money's worth already! [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Leading off today's rather lively show: The federal utility board known as the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), now dominated by Donald Trump appointees, voted today to shut down the last remaining coal-fired power plant in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, once the heart of "Coal Country" as the nation's top producer. The move is expected to save some $320 million dollars for 10 million rate-payers in the region, not to mention the resulting cleaner air and water and lower medical expenses in the bargain.

The decisive 6 to 1 vote (which includes 4 Trump appointees) to close the dirty, inefficient decades-old plant comes despite pleas to the board from Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, Trump himself and one of his top donors (Robert Murray of Murray Energy) who owns the nearby mine that supplies the plant. The TVA also voted to close another coal plant in Tennessee.

Several hundred of jobs will be lost in the bargain, which gives us the opportunity to remind listeners of Hillary Clinton's 2016 plan to invest $30 billion for support and retraining of miners and others effected by coal's inevitable end. It was while describing that plan when Clinton correctly, if infamously, noted that "we're gonna put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business". The phrase was then opportunistically taken out of context by Fox 'News', Republicans and Trump himself to endlessly blast her during the campaign, even though she had been explaining the need to help those effected Coal Country miners and families to survive. Those miners, most of whom fell for the dishonest Rightwing smears and voted for Trump, will soon be out of work without the help Clinton had tried to offer them.

In other news: The U.S. Senate confirmed William Barr, largely along party lines, as the next U.S. Attorney General at a crucial moment in the Robert Mueller Special Counsel probe.

The Senate also voted to approve a $330 billion compromise bill to fund the Government, including $23 billion for border security, but just $1.4 billion for Trump's border wall, less than he would have gotten had he accepted the deal offered last December. Instead, he shut down the federal government for a record 35 days. The House just approved it as well, though a small group of progressive freshman Congresswomen vowed to vote against the measure due to its increased funding for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The spending bill is expected to pass the House nonetheless and, Ann Coulter's ALL-CAPS Twitter threat notwithstanding, McConnell has said that Trump intends to both sign it and then declare a "National Emergency" in order to steal tax-payer funds from elsewhere to fund his border wall. That move, if it happens, will be vigorously challenged in court and is even opposed by many Republicans.

Also today, a few quick words about Daily Beast's report that DHS is allowing two teams created in 2016 to help protect elections from foreign influence wither away in advance of the 2020 President election, in favor of moving resources toward border and immigration efforts. (More on that matter, hopefully, at a later date.);

Then, we share a couple of killer Q&A's from recent Congressional hearings by two of the aforementioned freshman Congresswomen. The first is a colloquy in the House Foreign Affairs Committee between Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and disgraced diplomatic operative Elliot Abrams, who has been pulled out of mothballs to serve as Trump's Special Venezuela Envoy. That, despite his having pleaded guilty to withholding documents from Congress during the 1980's Iran-Contra Scandal probe and his subsequent pardoned by then President George H.W. Bush. Omar calls him out on that, noting that she "fail[ed] to understand why members of this committee of the American people should find any testimony that you give today to be truthful", and asking if he stood by his 1982 Senate testimony dismissing a massacre by U.S. backed troops in El Salvador.

Then, in another brilliant round of questioning, this time from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) in the House Oversight Committee, the shameful lack of campaign finance laws and ethics rules for members of Congress accepting funding from corporate interests is laid bare. We share both rounds of Committee questioning in full today.

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report on the hilariously panicked Fox "News"/GOP freak-out and lie-fest regarding AOC's Green New Deal proposal (in which, among other things, they charge that the legislation would result in banning cars, cows, ice cream and cheeseburgers), some very bad news about insects, and some very good news about the City of Los Angeles, which has already dumped coal-fired power plants, and is now moving to get rid of natural gas-powered electricity in favor of 100% renewable power....

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 2/14/2019 11:08am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Banning cars, cows and ice cream?! Republicans move quickly to demonize the Green New Deal; New study warns insects are declining at an alarming rate; Massive public lands bill passes in the Senate; PLUS: Los Angeles ditches natural gas for electricity... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

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

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): If Not the Green New Deal, Then What?: We asked two GND critics to share their good-faith alternatives for reversing climate change; EPA Scientists: The Toxic Chemicals Our Agency Won’t Regulate Are Definitely in Our Drinking Water; TVA board rebukes Trump, votes to close two coal-fired power plants; School climate strike children’s garners academics' support; Landmark Australian ruling rejects coal mine over global warming; Weedkiller 'raises risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma by 41 percent; With Democrats in Charge, House Science Committee Talks About Climate Science... PLUS: PGE, NextEra team up for largest wind-solar-storage project in US... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




Guest: Inst. for Policy Studies' Chuck Collins; Also: SD moves to restrict early voting; Panelists at Davos take on the wealthy over tax avoidance...
By Brad Friedman on 2/1/2019 6:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast, after some quick news on the House Democrats' much-needed omnibus election and ethics reform bill (HR1) to expand voting rights and on elected South Dakota Republicans now working to restrict voting in the state, it's on to our main story today. [Audio link to complete show is posted below.]

"Someone has to explain, if our economy is doing so great, how come everyone is broke?," Bill Maher asked during a recent segment of HBO's Real Time in the middle of Trump's 35-day federal government shutdown over December and January. "To me, the real lesson of this government shutdown," he argued, "is that we found out that federal workers, quintessential middle-class jobs, can't afford to miss one paycheck!" He's right. Remarkable stories made their way into the media during the shutdown, about struggling furloughed federal workers, some of whom had been working for the same agencies for decades, forgoing medical care, at risk of losing their homes or being forced to use free food pantries after missing one single pay day.

The U.S. has been slashing taxes, largely for the wealthy and corporations, for decades now as middle-class wages have remained stagnant and poverty continues to grow in the richest nation on earth. That, even as the rich get obscenely richer and Americans are told we simply can't afford our existing social safety nets and government programs, much less expansions of them to include Medicare for All, a Green New Deal or free college tuition --- even though they are all wildly popular ideas. As Ernie Canning recently summarized: "81% of the electorate support a Green New Deal. 70% of all Americans --- including 52% of Republicans and 84% of Democrats --- support Medicare for All. Some 75% of Americans support tuition free college. 82% of Americans want the federal government to negotiate lower prescription drug prices. 59% support the Ocasio-Cortez proposal to raise the top marginal tax rate to 70%."

So, did the month long federal government shutdown teach us anything about how close most Americans are to the brink? Did our elected officials (ahem, Republicans) actually notice or care? This past week, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) and GOP Senators Chuck Grassley (IA) and John Thune (SD) introduced the "Death Tax Repeal Act of 2019" to do away all together with estate taxes for the very wealthy, even though, as our guest today points out in a recent Common Dreams column, the current estate tax applies to fewer than two dozen people in those three Senators' states combined. Racial inequality means that economic inequality is even worse for those who aren't white, begging the question as to why it is described as "economic anxiety" when white people are feeling squeezed, but dismissed as poverty and laziness from everyone else.

We're joined to discuss all of this today by author CHUCK COLLINS, an expert on U.S. inequality and the racial wealth divide at the Institute for Policy Studies. He is also co-editor of Inequality.org and a contributing columnist at many outlets.

Collins discusses how the inequality gaps have become so wide in the U.S.; why so many continue to support candidates for elected office who work against the economic interests of the poor and working class; how attitudes about race exacerbate the problem; and how we may finally be "heading into a re-alignment" with a new crop of progressive elected officials and a potential awakening of the American people after being conned for last 40 years.

"I think a lot of people were surprised about the percentage of people who live in poverty, and who live paycheck to paycheck," he tells me about lessons learned during the shutdown. "I think it was eye-opening and even empathy-producing. I think people silently suffer the economic insecurities that they experience and this was another shared moment where a lot of people were saying, 'Yeah, I don't have any savings, I have no cushion, I have to go to the food bank and I'm a median income worker.' So I think it opened a lot of eyes, and potentially some hearts and minds, as well."

"Forty years of stagnant wages has certainly hit a lot of white households," Collins explains. "There is a lot of rising insecurity, certainly coming out of the economic meltdown a decade ago. A lot of white families experienced a sort of shock and vulnerability and, I would say, kind of keeps us from being able to see the parallel experience of everyone else, and the fact that the racial inequalities are even deeper, and even more insecure. 37% of African-American households --- zero or negative wealth. 33% of Latino households --- underwater. So, yes, a lot of white people are feeling the pain, but a lot of people of all colors and all races are feeling that insecurity and pain."

"Why wouldn't we want to have a minimal safety net?," he asks rhetorically, in response to my questions about whether so many popular policy ideas to help close the inequality gaps and lift the poor and middle-class may finally being getting a foothold. "Why wouldn't we want to have a system of higher education that allows young people to go to college and graduate without tens of thousands of dollars in debt? It worked for the post-World War II generation. It worked for millions of people who got debt-free college and launched their lives and careers. Have we forgotten that entirely? There's a certain amnesia at work, as well --- that public investments and public support have made it possible for lots of people to move forward in their lives and have good lives. And we shouldn't forget that when it comes to the next generation."

"I think we're heading into a kind of realignment," Collins adds optimistically, underscoring some of his recent articles on the trillions in revenue that could be raised through Elizabeth Warren's proposal to tax the ultra-wealthy and Bernie Sanders' plan to increase not decrease the estate taxes on inheritances over $1 billion. "I think most people understand that these inequalities and insecurities are a dead end. They also are getting tired of hearing billionaires telling us what to do and how the economy should be organized, realizing that this corrosive corruption and concentration of wealth at the top is bad."

There is lots to dig into in today's full conversation with Collins.

Finally, we close today's show with some must-listen conversation from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where two members of a panel on income inequality (historian Rutger Bregman and Oxfam International's Winnie Byanyima) take on the millionaires and billionaires in attendance for their unwillingness to face "the real issue of tax avoidance and the rich not paying their fair share." They also take on an outraged challenge from an audience member (former CFO of Yahoo, Ken Goldman) which only seems to underscore the need to raise taxes on the wealthy in order to lift up the needy and struggling workers around the globe...

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Also: McConnell's Election Day holiday lie; Schumer's Trump 'intervention'; Much more...
By Brad Friedman on 1/31/2019 6:10pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Some encouraging news for democracy (at least in Georgia), some predictable lies from the Senate Majority leader, a gentle rebuke for Trump from both parties, and a call for intervention from the Senate Minority Leader, among other things.

Just some of the many stories covered on today's program...

  • Georgia Democrat and potential U.S. Senate candidate Stacey Abrams, who will be giving the Democratic response to the State of the Union Address on Tuesday, is set to run a television ad during Sunday's Super Bowl in Atlanta with a north Georgia Republican County Commissioner calling for HAND-MARKED paper ballots in the state!

    The ad is sponsored by Abrams' non-partisan voting rights organization Fair Fight, formed after Abrams is said to have very narrowly lost her contest to become the nation's first African-American female governor last November to Republican Secretary of State and champion vote suppressor Brian Kemp. Both he and his GOP successor are now calling for the state's 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems to be replaced with new, very expensive and also 100% unverifiable touchscreen systems that produce computer-marked, human-unreadable barcoded ballot summary cards, rather than hand-marked paper ballots which computer science and voting systems experts all agree [PDF] to be the most secure, auditable and overseeable way to carry out elections;
  • In the U.S. Senate, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered a huge lie about the Democrats' "For the People Act" (HR-1), recently introduced in the U.S. House to call for a series of major election reforms. Among the many provisions in the measure --- such as universal automatic voter registration, expanded early voting, ending partisan gerrymandering and yes, ensuring a HAND-MARKED paper ballot for every voter --- it also seeks to declare Election Day as a federal holiday. Naturally, McConnell lied about what the bill calls for on that point, and absurdly describes the measure as a "Democrat power-grab". We respond;
  • Also in the U.S. Senate, Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sent a letter to Trump's Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats calling for him and the other Administration Intelligence Chiefs to "stage an intervention" with the Commander-in-Chief, after Donald Trump described his own top intel officials on Wednesday as "wrong", "naive" and needing to "go back to school!" on a host of foreign policy issues. Trump's remarks came in response to the Intelligence Community's new annual "Worldwide Threat Assessment" PDF. The report, and Senate testimony from the chiefs about it on Tuesday, argues that Trump is essentially wrong on everything from North Korea, to Iran, to ISIS to Syria and Afghanistan, and on his claims about an imagined "national emergency" at the U.S. -Mexico board.
  • But if Schumer really wants to "stage an intervention" with this President, his Democrats in the Senate and House could be calling for an immediate Impeachment inquiry. As detailed by Ernest Canning at BradBlog.com this week, the Nixon impeachment process reveals that it is both unnecessary and, arguably, unwise for Dems to wait for a report from the Special Counsel investigation before exercising their Constitutional duty;
  • Also today, Republicans and about half of Senate Democrats passed an amendment that (gently) rebukes the President by calling for U.S. troops to remain in both Syria and Afghanistan, in contrast to Trump's recent military directives;
  • An upside to the recent federal government shutdown? A beach in Northern California that had been closed will remain closed, because elephant seals have taken it over;
  • And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with updates on the record bone-chilling --- and deadly --- Polar Vortex cold snap in the Midwest and Northeast, evidence that Trump's intervention in Venezuela is, of course, all about oil, and some good news out of Germany which is now on its way to quitting coal entirely...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guest: Ricky Garza of Texas Civil Rights Project on Trump's Rio Grande land grab; Also: Historic shutdown fallout across the nation, and an impossible (but real!) 60-year old warning about 'Trump' and his 'wall'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2019 6:34pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Donald Trump's federal government shutdown is the now the longest in U.S. history and landowners in Texas are fighting to keep the federal government from stealing their land even before Trump shakes down the U.S. Treasury somehow for $5.7. Also, we might have avoided all of these messes had we only paid attention to a remarkably prescient warning from a 1958 episode of an obscure television show on CBS. [Audio link to show follows below.]

On Friday, some 800,000 furloughed federal workers missed their paychecks, after hundreds of them protested the shutdown, lockout, "shakedown" outside the White House as they are having trouble paying rents, mortgages and for food and medical needs. Nonetheless, Trump continues to threaten a "national emergency" declaration to force the funding of his long-promised southern border wall with money the Administration is considering taking from U.S. military disaster relief funding earmarked for hurricane and fire-ravaged states like Florida, Texas, California and dozens of others.

House Democrats (and a handful of Republicans) continue to vote to reopen the government --- or, at least, some of its various agencies which have nothing to do with immigration or a wall --- while Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to allow a vote on same in the upper chamber, even for identical bills to the those passed virtually unanimously there last year. Airports are being forced to enact closures for lack of TSA personnel, the nation's foods supply is going untested by the FDA for contamination, FBI agents are sending letters to the White House and Congress describing the furlough of thousands of special agents as a national security threat, and federally subsidized HUD housing for the elderly and poor is being forced to do without.

Meanwhile, down in Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley, even before Trump receives the $5.7 billion he is demanding for hundreds of miles of new border wall/fencing, property owners are receiving letters from the federal government to begin the process of eminent domain. Families who have lived on the banks of the Rio Grande for generations are being threatened with having their homes taken away to pave the way for the construction of Trump's wall. Even an historic, 150-year old Catholic mission chapel on the banks of the river --- and on the city seal of Mission, TX --- finds itself in a legal battle with the federal government to remain in place.

We're joined today by RICKY GARZA, Rio Grande Valley native and staff attorney for the non-profit Texas Civil Rights Project. As Trump came to the area for another photo-op on Thursday, Garza is working to help hundreds of local property owners in the valley understand their legal rights to fend off a government takeover of their land and homes.

Garza scoffs at the President's claims of "crisis" conditions in what he describes as a "diverse region of over a million people that lives and dies by the water that comes from the river," but which may soon be cut off from it entirely. "The only crisis that exists now is artificially created by this administration," he tells me. "The only time I heard any talk about a crisis along the border was when I turned on cable news."

"Polling consistently shows that an overwhelming majority of people that actually live and work on the border oppose the border wall, and oppose the militarization of our communities," he says.

"What we're seeing on the ground is that people are having their lives interrupted by this intrusion into the borderlands by the federal government and border militarization. We've seen a decrease in apprehensions along the border, yet an increase in Border Patrol hiring, staffing and construction of things like the border wall, erections of things like security towers along the areas close to the river, and aerostat blimps that were formerly used in Iraq now deployed in some neighborhoods to surveil the border, and implicitly, all of us," Garza laments. "It's just another sad example of the federal government failing to understand the realities of life on the border, and what it's really like for us, just trying to live our lives in peace."

Finally today, a few minutes from a gob-smacking episode of the 1958 CBS Television series called Trackdown in which --- and this is for real --- a colorful con-man named "Trump" (seriously!) comes to town and tries to tell its gullible, terrified residents that only he can save them...by selling them on a "wall" to protect them from total destruction!!!...

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Guest: Harvard Law's Michael Klarman; Also: Trump praises GOP Rep's violence against journalist at MT rally, as Khashoggi assassination roils...
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2018 6:46pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's no longer only political pundits and activists calling for Democrats to pack the U.S. Supreme Court by adding several seats as soon as possible, in the wake of the Republican Party's blatant theft of the high court majority. Esteemed law professors are now joining that call. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today, a word or two on the President of the United States' appalling celebration of violence against journalists at a political rally in Montana on Thursday night. To the cheers of his supporters, Donald Trump praised the criminal assault on Guardian journalist Ben Jacobs by Republican U.S. House member Greg Gianforte. The attack last year was carried out by Gianforte, and caught on tape, on the eve of his special election to the state's only U.S. House seat.

"Any guy that can do a body slam --- he's my kind of guy," Trump declared to laughter and wild applause from supporters at the campaign rally for Gianforte in Missoula on Thursday, lauding him as "one tough cookie." The Congressman initially lied to police after the assault, claiming that he was attacked by Jacobs. Later, after he won the election, and after a Fox News crew who witnessed the attack detailed what actually happened, Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault, apologized to Jacobs and paid a small fine in addition to performing 40 hours of community service and receiving 20 hours of anger management counseling.

Trump's disgusting --- and chilling --- praise for the violent attack against a reporter doing his job, comes amidst Trump's seeming support for Saudi Arabia following their reported assassination and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist and Virginia resident Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago. Journalists today --- including the Guardian's Editor and the head of the White House Correspondents Association --- are decrying Trump's support for violence against reporters, despite his sworn oath to protect and defend the Constitution's First Amendment. We decry it --- and the dark path where it's leading --- on today's show as well.

Next, we're joined by MICHAEL KLARMAN, the Kirkland & Ellis Professor at Harvard Law School to discuss his recent essay at the Take Care Blog, detailing "Why Democrats Should Pack the Supreme Court" if they are ever able to regain control of the White House and both chambers of Congress. The public conversation in support of expanding the number of seats on the high court --- which can be done statutorily, without a Constitutional Amendment --- has been intensifying in recent weeks. What had begun as a call from activists to restore a Democratic majority, stolen from them by Republicans in 2016, has quickly spread to academic and legal circles.

Klarman, the author of many books on American law and history and a former clerk to Ruth Bader Ginsberg, argues that, in addition to the GOP's historically unprecedented theft of the high court and his belief that Trump was likely elected only due to unlawful foreign interference, a host of radical actions by Republicans in recent years at both the state and federal level, leaves Democrats with only the choice to respond in kind. If not, he argues, it will be nothing less than "unilateral disarmament" and an act of "political suicide" for the party.

"It's not radical. It's responding to an extraordinary rightward shift in the Republican Party that is tearing apart the rules of democracy," he argues. "The Republicans have already packed the Court," so "unpacking" it, he says, would be warranted.

"There's a kind of sickness that's been spreading in the Republican Party for the last decade or two. It's certainly not true of all Republican voters, many of whom I think would be unaware of these things, and would have a problem with them if they knew about it," he tells me. "But the Democratic Party can't go on playing by the established norms and traditions of democracy when the Republican Party is willing to do anything to win. That's unilateral disarmament. It usually doesn't work out well for the party that disarms. So this is a fairly mild way to fight back."

"My argument is not that Democrats should control the Supreme Court at any cost --- I think that's the Republicans' position, [that] 'we get to control the Supreme Court even if it means stealing an appointment.' My position is their theft has to be offset, and put us back in the position that we ought to have been at if the seat hadn't been stolen."

He leaves the case of whether Dems should run on a promise to expand the Court, or wait until they gain back control before announcing such a plan, to political scientists, but he notes: "We're going to have to think creatively in order to rescue democracy. And that may mean occasionally fighting back in ways that Democrats don't gravitate toward naturally, and that they would prefer not to have to use at all in a normal political environment. But you can't just respond by disarming in the face of this incredible threat that the Republican Party is posing to the basic norms and institutions of democracy."

Finally today, more news on the ongoing allegations of attempted voter suppression, particularly in southern states once covered by the Voting Rights Act until the central part of the Act was gutted by SCOTUS Republicans in 2013. That, on the same day that Trump's former longtime lawyer and business partner Michael Cohen broke his media silence to plead with the American public to vote this November or face "another two or another six years of this craziness." And then we enjoy another musical close to today's show, this time from actress Jenifer Lewis, of ABC's Blackish, who explains, in song, why it's time to "Get your ass out and vote!"...

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Guests: AUDIT-USA's Emily Levy and attorney Chris Sautter; Also: Reports of FBI ignoring dozens of Kavanaugh witnesses persist, Trump mocks accuser, Americans can't wait to vote...
By Brad Friedman on 10/3/2018 6:56pm PT  

We work hard on today's BradCast to stay focused on the crucial upcoming elections, even as Brett Kavanaugh's cavalcade of shame continues in D.C. [Audio link to full show posted below.]

Senate Republicans intensified their push for a floor vote as soon as possible, even as reports persist that the FBI is either refusing or failing to interview dozens of witnesses in their supplemental background probe of Kavanaugh following sexual assault against the U.S. Supreme Court nominee. At the same time, former classmates and clerks of Kavanaugh are retracting previous support for him, and three key Republican Senators (Flake, Collins and Murkowski) gently rebuked Donald Trump on Wednesday for mocking Kavanaugh's first accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, at a campaign rally in Mississippi on Tuesday night.

Amidst that circus, it's no easy feat to stay focused on the crucial upcoming midterm elections. But we try. And so are an extraordinary number of Americans. Today we learn that last week, on National Voter Registration Day, more than 800,000 signed up to vote, stunning organizers and smashing the previous record of 771,000 who registered on National Voter Registration Day in 2016, before the Presidential election.

But, even with all of the apparent enthusiasm, will all of those new and previous voters be allowed to vote this year? If so, will their votes be counted, tallied accurately, and in a way that the public can know they have been tallied accurately? In recent days, corporate media --- right on schedule --- has suddenly begun to churn out articles questioning the accuracy and security of our wildly insecure and frequently inaccurate electronic voting and tabulation systems...once its largely too late to do much about any of it, just weeks before an election. (That, of course, is why we have been trying to do so year 'round over the past 15 years!)

The corporate election vendors who have been allowed to privatize our public elections with systems that have long ago (over a decade ago) been found to be easily hacked --- and which have failed in election after election --- continue to sell their flawed systems to officials and offer false claims about security to the public.

One of those companies, Election Systems & Software, LLC (ES&S), the nation's largest voting system vendor, has now threatened a lawsuit against a small, non-profit election transparency organization which has been fighting to encourage election officials to take advantage of a security setting available on newer models of paper ballot scanners made by ES&S and others. The group, AUDIT-USA, has been sent a cease and desist letter [PDF] by ES&S corporate attorneys objecting to the organization posting user manuals for their scanners that capture digital images of ballots when they are scanned. The group has been working to encourage states and counties to make sure those which use the newer systems have them set to retain all such ballot images so they can potentially be reviewed by the public after an election. That, in lieu of the public being allowed to examine paper ballots themselves in order to assure unverified computer-tabulated results are accurate.

We're joined today by long-time election integrity champion EMILY LEVY of AUDIT-USA and their long-time election attorney CHRIS SAUTTER of American University, to discuss the ES&S threat letter sent to the group last week, charging copyright infringement for making their instruction manuals available to the public. The letter, as we discuss, fails to even cite security concerns. Levy notes the irony in this case, given that AUDIT-USA is actually supporting the newer ES&S systems for their security feature that many election officials appear unaware of.

"What we've found from talking to election officials around the country is that a lot of them don't really understand the systems that they're using in their own counties," Levy tells me. "They don't understand why they need ballot images when they have the paper ballots. And they don't understand that, in order to preserve the ballot images, all they need to do is not change the settings that the machines come with. The default settings on the machines are to preserve the ballot images, and it's only by having someone --- whether a vendor working for them or elections officials themselves --- changing those settings that the ballot images get destroyed.

"So we want people to understand both the importance of the ballot images and preserving them --- that it's legally required to preserve them, just as it is to preserve all election materials. And that's it's not a difficult thing to do."

Sautter argues the information in question, as posted to their website, is in the public interest and, therefore, falls under the Fair Use Doctrine. "Cease and desist letters like the one that ES&S sent AUDIT-USA are a common form of intimidation," he says. "These companies have a lot of money, and sometimes they figure, well, we can overpower them, we'll file this lawsuit and we'll try to break this little non-profit in attorneys fees and we'll set an example."

As we also discuss, threats of lawsuits by voting system vendors against voting system experts and computer scientists have been going on for years (here's The BRAD BLOG exclusive from 2008 that I cite on the show), even as tax payers continue dolling out billions of dollars to these shameless and irresponsible private companies...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guest: Attorney, journalist Jessica Mason Pieklo of Rewire.News; Also: More good news for Democrats in KS and in the U.S. House...
By Brad Friedman on 10/1/2018 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Brett Kavanaugh circus continued over the weekend and into Monday, as the U.S. Supreme Court nominee now faces an expanded investigation by the FBI into multiple sexual assault allegations and --- depending on the breadth of that probe, which is up to the White House and/or Senate Republicans --- into his excessive drinking in high school and college. But it's his lies about it all today, not thirty years ago which are of the most note. [Audio link to show follows below.]

A number of Kavanaugh's fellow classmates have come forward in recent days to call him out for lying to Congress during his angry rebuttal testimony last Thursday in response to accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Those classmates report they have had trouble reaching the FBI to share their thoughts and observations. At the same time, the scope of the background probe is being questioned by Democrats, with conflicting reports about whether a witness list will be limited to a handful of people said to have been present during an alleged attempted rape by Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge in 1982, and the charge by accuser Deborah Ramirez that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a drunken party at Yale.

All of that follows Sen. Jeff Flake's (R-AZ)'s dramatic request for a "limited" FBI probe as he voted in favor of Kavanaugh's nomination in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday. In a 60 Minutes interview on Sunday, Flake claimed that if Trump's SCOTUS nominee is shown to have lied to the Committee, his nomination would be over. But Kavanaugh demonstrably lied multiple times already in both his initial testimony and his emotional response to Ford on Thursday. We detail just a few of the small but unmistakable lies --- which were non-partisan, non-political, and non-ideological --- that the longtime GOP operative turned federal judge offered to the Committee last week regarding his high school yearbook page on which he used slang references to several sex acts, his own excessive use of alcohol, and then lied about all of them, under oath (a felony), to the U.S. Senate.

We're joined today by former litigator turned journalist and podcast host JESSICA MASON PIEKLO of Rewire.News, to discuss what we know --- and don't --- about the FBI probe, who they should talk to if it is to be a legitimate investigation, and the "window into Judge Kavanaugh's judicial temperament" revealed on Thursday before being all too happily ignored by the bulk of GOP Senators.

"You might remember during the Sonia Sotomayor confirmation hearings," she reminds us, "Sen. Lindsey Graham, for example, spent a lot of time on Justice Sotomayor's temperament and writings she had done about her experience growing up as a Latina, and what that brought to her judging." Graham doesn't seem to care all that much of such concerns anymore, it seems.

"So, while we have some really serious and, in some cases, salacious allegations against Judge Kavanaugh, the confirmation hearing isn't a criminal trial. This is about probing his temperament for the bench. And federal judicial standards say that you have to have a judicial temperament that includes no evidence of excessive partisanship, for example," Pielko, who Tweets as "Hegemommy", observes. "We have a whole list of things that, so far, indicate he does not have the temperament to sit on the Supreme Court, let alone retain his seat on the D.C. Court of Appeals, frankly."

"We have allegations against Judge Kavanaugh, and evidence that suggests that he misled Senate Judiciary Committee members under oath, if not outright lied. And that, in itself, is disqualifying," she tells me, while detailing how the FBI's investigation could also help to exonerate Kavanaugh. "Their job is to get as much information from both sides of these allegations. It's actually an extension of the 'advice and consent' and disclosure processes that is supposed to happen in the routine course of nominations."

We also discuss what may happen to the information gathered by the FBI after its handed over to the White House and whether the Senate, much less the public, will ever be allowed to see it. And, we talk about what may happen --- and how Democrats should move forward hereafter --- once Kavanaugh is either rejected or confirmed for a lifetime seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Finally, some new polling is out showing that Kansas' Secretary of State and infamous GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach could be in trouble in his bid to become Governor against Democrat Laura Kelly (and independent Greg Orman), and there are still more new signs that Republicans are heading into triage mode to try and save their U.S. House majority from a possible "blue wave" in the November midterm elections...

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Guest: Media critic Eric Boehlert; Also: National Voter Registration Day!...
By Brad Friedman on 9/25/2018 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's National Voter Registration Day as the crucial midterm general elections on November 6th are now exactly 6 weeks away. Other than that, today's news may be somewhat less encouraging --- though we, and the world, manage to have a bit of a laugh at Donald Trump's expense, in the bargain. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up: Happy National Voter Registration Day! Do you need to register to vote before November 6th? Have you checked your registration lately to make sure it's accurate? Today is a great day to do so!

Today is also a great day, apparently, for the world to laugh at the President of the United States, as they literally did at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. Not with Donald Trump, but at him, during his address to the Assembly.

While there, during a joint media avail with the President of Colombia, Trump also took the time to attack the two named women who have accused his U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, of sexual assault during high school and his first year at Yale. Trump also dismissed the allegations as little more than "a con game being played by the Democrats." That, even as new information continues to buttress the allegations by the women and as the calls grow louder (even from Mormon women) for a full, legitimate investigation of their charges, which the White House and Republicans refuse to ask the FBI for (and which even potential Kavanaugh swing vote Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) now says she'd like to see.)

Meanwhile, Kavanaugh, a longtime GOP operative who claimed during his initial Senate confirmation hearings just weeks weeks ago that "the Supreme Court must never be viewed as a partisan institution", took to the right-wing Fox 'News' air waves on Monday night for a softball interview with his wife, in hopes of defending himself against the growing allegations. He and his first accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, are scheduled to give testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. In advance, the all-white, all-male Republicans on the Committee have announced they are hiring a woman to ask questions of Ford on their behalf, though they won't identify her. They have also now scheduled a committee vote on Kavanaugh's nomination the very next day, on Friday.

At the same time on Thursday, Trump is scheduled to meet at the White House with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Republican who oversees the Robert Mueller Special Counsel probe into the alleged conspiracy between Team Trump and Russia. The meeting, at which many expect Rosenstein will be fired, follows a misleading exclusive report published by the New York Times charging Rosenstein had suggested secretly taping Trump and recruiting White House staffers to invoke the 25th Amendment early last year. As subsequent reporting by other outlets reveals, however, Rosenstein was reportedly being sarcastic with his comments, according to people who were actually at the meeting in question. Nonetheless, we are still barreling toward a potential Constitutional Crisis as early as Thursday, thanks in no small part to the pretext for firing Rosenstein --- and perhaps Mueller, shortly thereafter --- äs provided by the Times' reporting.

We're joined today by former Media Matters media critic, author and political writer ERIC BOEHLERT of ShareBlue to discuss both of these stories and where they may be headed, as well as for some insight into what the hell is wrong with the New York Times.

On the Supreme Court, Boehlert says, among many things of note today: "With Merrick Garland, and with Kavanaugh, the Republican Party in 18 months is this close to demolishing the legitimacy of the United States Supreme Court. That has huge implications, not just for law and justice, but for an authoritarian like Trump. Because corrupting the high courts is always a goal of any authoritarian, just like de-legitimizing the free press."

As to his analysis of the "institutional problems" at the Times, you'll have to tune in for details, but he notes: "There does seem to be a pattern. When they get things wrong, they get things wrong in a way that helps Republicans."

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as the impacts of Hurricane Florence continue in the Carolinas two weeks after landfall, including new evacuations, more record flooding, the toxic release of coal ash into North Carolina waters, and the media failure to connect the climate change dots to all of it. She also offers a bit of good news for us today, for a change, out of Cleveland, OH! So there's that!...

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

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Guest: Meteorologist Guy 'Climate Guy' Walton; Also: NH Primary results...
By Brad Friedman on 9/12/2018 6:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A multitude of terrifying threats from Hurricane Florence loom large across at least four states in the Southeast, as millions of Americans hunker down or evacuate on the final week of primary elections in the U.S. before the crucial 2018 midterm elections. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up, after a quick warning to ignore the President of the United State's assertion that the federal government is "totally prepared" for the damage that awaits the still-growing Hurricane Florence (while citing his Administration's response to last year's Hurricane Maria that killed nearly 3,000 citizens in Puerto Rico as "an incredible unsung success"), we head to New Hampshire for the penultimate federal primaries of the season. (Rhode Island voted today and New York holds state and local primaries on Thursday.)

On Tuesday, voters in the Granite State went to the polls with, happily, few problems reported so far, beyond the larger than anticipated turnout, particularly in a number of the state's many college towns. That may signal good news for Democrats, at least until the state GOP's new law making it much harder for college students to register to vote kicks in in 2019 (unless its blocked by courts before then). We fill you in on the noteworthy reported results today, including the single mom, Molly Kelly, who won the Democratic primary for Governor, the openly gay man, Chris Pappas, who defeated 10 other Democrats (including Bernie Sanders' son) to win the U.S. House nomination in one of the swingiest swing districts in the country, and 27-year old refugee from Afghanistan, Safiya Wazir, who unseated a four-term incumbent Democrat and appears poised to become a NH state Representative just 9 years after leaving her war-torn country for a better life in these United States.

Then, all eyes (pun intended) on the disturbing amount of cyclonic activity churning across the globe --- not just off the Eastern U.S. seaboard --- at the peak of hurricane season. The "monster" storm, Hurricane Florence grew in size today, as its movement continues to slow, and as it's trajectory appears to have taken a slight turn toward the southwest. The storm's brutal winds, surging waters and threat of days of unforgiving rainfall, now pose a grave threat to some 10 million residents of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and, as of Wednesday's latest predictions, Georgia.

But, while Florence may be the fiercest and most immediate threat to Americans, it's hardly the only storm worth keep an eye on, as nine --- count 'em --- nine storms across the globe are now either hurricanes, typhoons, tropical storms or depressions, or otherwise threatening to become one of the above at any moment. Among the most immediate non-Florence threats are Tropical Storm Olivia, slamming into Hawaii today (just two weeks or so following Hurricane Lane's record 50 inches of rainfall dumped on some parts of the island), Category 5 Typhoon Mangkhut, which just slammed Guam and now heads toward The Philippines and Hong Kong, and another storm currently brewing in the record warm Gulf of Mexico waters that could visit Texas and/or Louisiana by this weekend, even as Florence wreaks its own separate havoc on the East Coast. (Is Trump's FEMA "totally prepared" for all of that also?)

According to our guest today, 30-year veteran Weather Channel meteorologist, "Climate Guy" GUY WALTON this amount of cyclonic activity is not normal, and much of it is attributable to warming waters and highly unusual weather patterns in a climate-changed world.

"As you get more heat, you'll get more storms, and that's exactly what we're seeing," says Walton who points to sub-tropical storm Joyce, which was just named today, taking its place along with Hurricanes Helene and Isaac behind Florence in the Atlantic. "That will make four in the Atlantic basin alone. And if you look at the Gulf of Mexico, there could be a potential fifth, I guess named Kirk. If we have five simultaneous named systems in the Atlantic basin, that would be a record."

As to Florence, he warns: "Meteorologically, the greatest concern is the slowing of the storm and stalling right off the Carolina coast, right around Wilmington, and then very, very slowly moving south or southwest back towards Charleston. If that's the case, you could have winds and waves for many, many hours, if not for two or three days, just lashing at the shore. And that could produce more damage than, say, a Category 4 Hugo," in 1989, which killed 27 in South Carolina, left nearly 100,000 homeless and wreaked nearly $10 billion in damage.

"These things usually move northeast, they don't move southwest or west. If it does, that would be highly unusual. And devastating," he tells me.

Walton explains how climate change-fueled weather patterns are resulting in slower moving storms causing much more rainfall and flooding in recent years and why he believes some broadcast meteorologists --- versus climatologists --- are still either climate deniers or simply fail to connect the dots of increasingly extreme weather to global warming. He also discusses his upcoming children's book on climate, with Nick Walker, The World of Thermo: Thermometer Rising.

Finally today, we bounce off of Will Bunch at the Philadelphia Daily News today with a few thoughts on talking about the rapidly increasing dangers of climate change, even while a major storm imperils millions of American citizens. As Bunch observes, many of them live in southern states with political leadership that has ill-served their residents by lying to them about climate change science over a shameful number of years, even as they now find themselves at the center of some of its most threatening and deadly effects...

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

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