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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, October 20, 2017
Trump's Schizophrenia, Congress' Fresh 'Health Care Hell': 'BradCast' 10/19/17
Guest: TPM's Alice Ollstein from Capitol Hill; Also: Trump meets with P.R. Guv, gives himself a '10' on Maria response!...
'Green News Report' 10/17/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Alaska's ANWR on chopping block, again; Toxic ash from CA wildfires; US Virgin Islands w/o power, clean water; PLUS: Shell opens e-car charging network at gas stations -- in Britain...
Previous GNRs: 10/12/17 - 10/10/17 - Archives...
DHS Misled on 2016 'Russian Hacks' (Will They Get It Right in 2018?): 'BradCast' 10/18/17
Guest: Orange Cnty, CA Registrar Neal Kelley on new DHS 'Election Infrastructure' Council...
Impeachable Offenses: Trump's 'ObamaCare' Lie: 'BradCast' 10/17/17
Also, Guest: Pastor Michael McBride on the 'Cost for Peace vs. Death' and programs that cut gun violence where it's needed most...
'Green News Report' 10/17/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Hurricane batters Ireland; Deadliest wildfire week in CA history; Puerto Ricans drinking water from toxic Superfund sites; Coal plants closed in TX; PLUS: Oil rig explodes in LA...
Previous GNRs: 10/12/17 - 10/10/17 - Archives...
Something's Happening Here (Maybe): 'BradCast' 10/16/17
Guest: Heather Digby Parton on Trump rage, GOP 'cowardice', so-called 'Values Voters'; Also: Deadly hurricane in Ireland(?!), fires in CA, war between US-armed allies in Iraq...
Sunday 'Just Undo It' Toons
'PDiddie' rounds up yet another week in American politics where words frequently fail, but the political cartoonists do not...
'Chaos':
'BradCast' 10/13/2017
In less than 24 hours, Trump aggressively unleashes fresh havoc on the American health care system and foreign policy with Iran...
'Green News Report' 10/12/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Historic, deadly firestorms grow in CA; Water-borne diseases in Puerto Rico; PLUS: Trump EPA makes way for controversial mine in world's most valuable fishery...
Previous GNRs: 10/10/17 - 10/5/17 - Archives...
North Korea, Iran and Trump's Determined 'Path to WWIII': 'BradCast' 10/10/17
Guest: Dr. Trita Parsi of the National Iranian-American Council on Trump's dangerous, and foolish, scheme to break the Iran nuclear deal...
'Green News Report' 10/10/17
Deadly wildfires explode in CA; 2017 shattering disaster records -- and not over yet; PLUS: Trump EPA moves to kill Obama 'Clean Power Plan' to curb global warming...
Underestimating 'Trump's Dangerously Coherent Agenda': 'BradCast' 10/9/17
Guest: Author, journalist John Nichols; Also: Massive wildfires explode across CA; Trump EPA announces reversal of Obama 'Clean Power Plan'...
Sunday 'Now is Not the Time' Toons
GOP says 'not time' to discuss gun safety or climate or anything else they don't want to talk about. Cartoonists in PDiddie's latest toon collection beg to differ...
'Calm Before the Storm'?!:
'BradCast' 10/6/17
Trump's chilling remark; More deadly coal, chemical shills for EPA; Trump's 'reverse Midas touch'; Plus: Time to abolish the 2nd Amendment?...
Trump's Cabinet of 'Trickle-Down Corruption': 'BradCast' 10/5/17
Guest: Brendan Fischer of Campaign Legal Center; Also: GOP Rep. resigns in sex/abortion scandal, NRA gives (some) cover to GOP...
'Green News Report' 10/5/17
Trump visits PR, downplays disaster; US gives fossil fuel ind. $20B/year subsidies; Scotland bans fracking; PLUS: Climate change costing US 100s of billions per year...
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...


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Heather Digby Parton on Trump rage, GOP 'cowardice', so-called 'Values Voters'; Also: Deadly hurricane in Ireland(?!), fires in CA, war between US-armed allies in Iraq...
By Brad Friedman on 10/16/2017 6:31pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Brendan Fischer of Campaign Legal Center; Also: PA Congressman resigns in scandal, NRA gives (some) cover to GOP on gun safety regs...
By Brad Friedman on 10/5/2017 6:09pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: David Daley of FairVote.org on 'Gill v. Whitford'; Plus: Updates on the disaster in Puerto Rico, gun massacre in Las Vegas...
By Brad Friedman on 10/4/2017 6:28pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern of Slate...
By Brad Friedman on 9/29/2017 5:58pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Trouble in TrumpLand continues, but we're all paying the price for it --- and likely will for decades to come. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Donald Trump's Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price is out. He’s just the latest top Administration official to be fired or to resign during the first eight chaotic months of this Administration. Price, who claimed to be a fiscal conservative during his years in the U.S. House, had come under fire for spending hundreds of thousands of tax-payer dollars on chartered private and military plane travel since taking office, even while working to take health care away from millions of Americans. Several other top Trump cabinet officials (EPA’s Pruitt, Treasury’s Mnuchin, Interior’s Zinke) are also now under the spotlight for similar travel issues, even though Price's corruption, while in the U.S. House, was an open secret completely ignored by the GOP Senate during his confirmation.

Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico, the situation on the ground following Hurricane Maria continues to deteriorate, despite Trump and his Acting Director of the Dept. of Homeland Security declaring the recovery effort "a good news story", to date. The Mayor of San Juan urgently and desperately disagrees.

Then, speaking of U.S. Senate Republicans rubber-stamping Presidential nominees no matter how extremist, crazy or corrupt they may be, we're joined by Slate's legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN to discuss what he describes as the Trump Administration's attempt to lay the groundwork for overturning marriage equality. Yes, really.

While it seems impossible to imagine, Stern makes his case --- a disturbing one --- after we discuss whether a High School principal in Louisiana has the legal right, as threatened, to suspend student football players for taking a knee in peaceful protest during the national anthem.

The letter sent this week to students and parents by Parkway High School's Wayne Bates "made my jaw drop to the floor," Stern says, going on to detail well-established SCOTUS rulings on the First Amendment in schools. “You just can't do that. Students have a fundamental free speech right to take a knee during the anthem. And if this principal goes any farther with this crazy campaign, he's gonna get slapped with a lawsuit that is going to make his hair fall out.”

But, how interested are Trump’s judicial appointees in maintaining “settled” law? Stern warns that with some of Trump’s lifetime appointees still likely to still be serving on the federal bench as late as 2067, a long list of extreme Rightwingers now been confirmed by Senate Republicans, same-sex marriage rights are not nearly as secure as many of us may think.

“Republicans are completely ruthless in their endeavor to stack the court with wackadoodles,” he says. “And Democrats need to get their act together, or the world is going to be incredibly bleak in 2067 --- so bleak that Trump judges may be the least of our problems.”

Finally, Stern has a few choice thoughts on the unapologetic rightwing extremism of illegitimate Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, as the Court returns for its first full new term with a stolen Republican majority...

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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(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)




Also: Trump dismisses Puerto Rico's humanitarian crisis after Maria, pushes U.S. closer to (nuclear?) war with North Korea, and more...
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2017 5:49pm PT  

On today's very busy, very newsy BradCast, we try, once again, to focus on the issues that actually matter. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the many stories covered on today's show:

  • It's National Voter Registration Day! Are you registered to vote? Are you sure about that? Are you really sure?;
  • Republicans in the U.S. Senate finally throw in the towel (again) on their latest scheme for killing the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), which would have taken away health care from "millions" of Americans. But is this really the end? (Might we suggest Bernie Sanders' "Medicare-for-All" instead, Mr. President?);
  • The humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria worsens. Rather than take action, Donald Trump tweets insults appearing to blame the 3.5 million American citizens who live there for their woes after the devastating Category 4 storm;
  • Trump continues to issue threats to North Korea, with one expert now putting the odds of a conventional war with the isolated Asian nation at 50% --- and of nuclear war at better than 1 out of 10!;
  • A new and very careful academic study finds thousands of eligible voters were prevented and/or deterred from voting in just two of Wisconsin's largest counties in the 2016 Presidential election, thanks to discriminatory Republican Photo ID voting restrictions in the state;
  • Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with updates on Puerto Rico after Maria, toxic exposure and cleanup in Texas after Harvey, and how global warming has made all of those dangers much worse;

And, finally, The Daily Show's Trevor Noah perfectly sums up Trump's ginned-up "controversy" over NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem in solemn, respectful protest of racial injustice, in just 22 seconds...and it even rhymes!...

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Guest: TPM Congressional reporter Alice Ollstein previews next week's return of Congress | Also: Lots of U.S./Russia news, Harvey updates...
By Brad Friedman on 8/31/2017 6:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast: As bad it's all been, it's about to get much worse, as the devastation from Harvey continues and as Congress returns to session following the Labor Day holiday. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first up today: What we know and don't (and why we don't) about the explosions at a swamped chemical plant north of Houston; Russia warns the U.S. that further sanctions against North Korea would be "dangerous"; U.S. continues diplomatic tit-for-tat with Russia by ordering several more diplomatic facilities closed, and; Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now reportedly working with NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in their criminal probes of Team Trump in what could serve as an end run around Donald Trump's pardon power of his associates at the federal level, and even a hedge against the possibility of the President removing the Special Counsel from his post in some way.

Then, as horrible as August has been on so many levels, TPM Congressional reporter ALICE OLLSTEIN joins us for some breaking news, and to explain why September could be even worse as Congress reconvenes next week following Summer recess, with "a nightmarishly short calendar during which they must pass a host of bills" to, among other things, approve a budget to keep the government from shutting down and avoid a federal default by raising the debt ceiling.

That, along with the need to fund disaster relief for Harvey, reauthorize children's healthcare and the national flood insurance programs by the end of the month, amid ongoing feuds between Trump and GOP Congressional leadership while the President threatens to shutdown the government if Congress fails to fund his border wall, almost assure what Ollstein characterizes as "The September From Hell".

Even if we had a "Congress who generally got along, and generally got along with the President," Ollstein tells me, "it would have been so hard to pass all of these bills that are coming up. But we don't have that. We have a President who is attacking members of his own party --- leaders in his own party --- and the opposing party. We have a lot of bad blood."

Add to it all the Trump/GOP hopes of passing huge tax cuts ("an even heavier lift than health care reform," she says) and today's late breaking news from Ollstein, fresh off a call with the Health and Human Services Dept. announcing the Administration plans to slash the Affordable Care Act's advertising budget by 90% in advance of this year's truncated Open Enrollment period, and it all amounts to not only a September from Hell, but likely a rest-of-the-year from same.

Enjoy the upcoming holiday weekend if possible, but buckle up thereafter, as Ollstein warns: "We thought it couldn't get any crazier than August, but get ready."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with more coverage of the ongoing devastation from Harvey, before we finish up with some actually very good news concerning nuclear power, solar power, and the nation's largest utility company...

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

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Guest: Historian, Middle East expert Juan Cole of Univ. of Michigan on why the hell we're still there, and if we'll ever be able to get out...
By Brad Friedman on 8/22/2017 6:02pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Now that he's President, after years of decrying "our very stupid leaders" for "wasting" blood and treasure to stay in Afghanistan, Donald Trump announced on Monday night that the U.S. will be spending more blood and treasure to stay in Afghanistan --- for an indefinite period of time. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, he claimed, justifying his flip-flop, he has a "new" strategy for "victory" in the war torn nation, more than 16 and a half years since the U.S. first invaded following the 9/11 attacks. What exactly is that "new" strategy? Based on his prime-time televised address from Fort Myer in Arlington, VA, it's not entirely clear. Then again, neither is whatever the hell is going on in Afghanistan. "It's complicated," my guest explains today.

Joining me to try and help us understand America's longest war and where it goes from here under the ownership of Donald Trump is blogger, historian and longtime Middle East/South Asia expert JUAN COLE, of the University of Michigan. Professor Cole, who has been writing about this "invisible war" at his "Informed Comment" blog since 2002, describes the difficulties faced by the last three U.S. Presidents in Afghanistan --- not to mention previous colonial powers from other nations --- and how Trump's plans appear to be both different and the same as his two predecessors'.

If President Obama was unable to succeed with his counter-insurgency strategy with 100,000 U.S. troops, it seems unlikely that Trump, with some 12,000 soon to be there, will do much better with his "not nation building --- killing terrorists" strategy.

"There's no real danger the Taliban are going to take over the [Afghan] government and kick us out," Cole tells me, in trying to explain why we are still there. "However, if the U.S. got out, I don't imagine that the government in Kabul would last more than a year."

So, is it possible to ever get out, at this point? What good has 16+ years of bombing, 1 trillion in tax-payer dollars and the lives of some 3,500 U.S. troops --- not to mention untold millions of Afghans --- actually accomplished? We discuss the roots and the reasons for the ongoing quagmire and much more with the good professor.

"Whatever resources and capacity Afghanistan had to be an independent country were destroyed from 1978 forward, once the [Soviet] Communists took over, and then Reagan conducted what I call the 'Reagan Jihad'," Cole explains. "He got all the Muslim fundamentalists all together --- including what became al-Qaeda --- to kill the Communists. Since that time, since 1978 forward, Afghanistan has been roiled and in turmoil. I figure a couple million people have been killed. The country has no real resources. It's one of the poorest countries in the world. So this is just not a place, especially given what was done to it in the last 30 years, that is very likely to stand up a government. This is one of the reasons the U.S. is stuck there."

"The thing that puzzles me --- I can't entirely understand it --- is that no one in the United States cares about Afghanistan. No one cares if we're there or we're not there. If troops are killed over there, it hurts me in my gut. I'm an Army brat. But they put it on page 17 of the Washington Post. And it never comes on cable news," says Cole, adding: "It's an invisible war."

After that conversation today, a quick look at Trump's domestic war with the leadership of his own party and others, before we finally turn to Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report, on how corporate lobbyists from Monsanto, Exxon and other major corporations continue to game the system for their own profits, while playing the rest of us for suckers...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 8/1/2017 11:19am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: South Carolina nuclear plants cancelled; North Carolina's Outer Banks are out of power; Humanity on track to blow past 2 degrees Celsius of global warming; Some coastal towns will see 'effective inundation' within twenty years; TransCanada suggests it may not build Keystone XL after all; PLUS: Blowback as Trump threatens to protect Alaska's environment, or else... 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): Court orders Trump’s EPA to enforce methane rule for oil and gas drillers; Google's Alphabet researching salt batteries; 60,000 Indian farmer suicides linked to climate change; Koch front group uses misleading ads to attack electric vehicles; VW settlement will expand electric vehicle highway across CA; Big Oil warns Texas over 'bathroom bill'; Meat industry blamed for largest-ever 'dead zone' in Gulf of Mexico; 12 years later, feds start investigating leaking offshore oil platform in Gulf; How Congress is cementing Trump's anti-climate orders into law... PLUS: We are in danger of loving our national parks to death... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




Also: GOP and Trump still playing voters for morons, Priebus is out; 'The Mooch' unleashed; More evidence Dems still denying vaping science...
By Brad Friedman on 7/28/2017 5:50pm PT  

On today's BradCast, an insane week in D.C. ends with a dramatic flourish (or two). [Audio link to show follows below.]

Unprecedented chaos besetting U.S. Senate Republicans over the past week, amidst their 7-year quest to kill the Affordable Care Act, came to a suspenseful and dramatic close late on Thursday night and early Friday morning --- as the ailing Sen. John McCain joined Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins to defeat the last of the GOP proposals drafted in haste in hopes of repealing ObamaCare. At least for now. If there's one thing you can count on, Republicans will continue to treat their voters like suckers and morons.

And, an insane, profanity-filled tirade of a phone call to a reporter by Donald Trump's new White House Communications Director results not in the firing of Anthony Scaramucci, but with the firing of Trump's Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

In the meantime, while Democrats, to their credit, were successful in their efforts to save health care coverage for tens of millions of Americans, their efforts to prevent the use of vaping devices, which might otherwise help save the lives of half a million Americans each year, suffers a setback as the FDA delays restrictions on e-cigarettes and yet another new scientific study finds vaping is one of the most effective ways to help smokers quit.

Finally, speaking of science deniers, our latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen details U.S. Coast Guard plans to prepare for six feet of sea level rise and the GOP chair of the U.S. House Science Committee argues that climate change will actually be "beneficial". But, never fear, we've got quite a bit of good news in today's GNR as well!...

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

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Trump's transgender military ban, GOP's still failing health care repeal, the bullying of Jeff Sessions and listeners call in on all of the above...
By Brad Friedman on 7/26/2017 5:50pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we open the phones up for listeners to discuss all that has been going on in D.C. in recent days in these "slow news days of summer". [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first, among the stories covered on today's show, which callers also ring in on...Donald Trump's new Twitter-announced policy to bar transgender people from the U.S. military catches his own military staff by surprise and otherwise goes over like a lead balloon with. not only the LGBTQ community, but with veterans and even conservative Republican members of Congress.

Then, speaking of lead balloons, Republican Senate schemes for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), or just repealing it without a replacement, continue to be voted down (bigly) by Republicans in the U.S. Senate. Their options for killing the GOP great white whale of ObamaCare are dwindling, but don't count them out yet.

At the same time, Trump continues to berate his own Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in hopes of convincing him to quit so he doesn't have to fire him (so, presumably, Trump can then appoint someone who will fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller). Republican Senators, however, are defending their old colleague Sessions, and some are even charging that Trump is showing "weakness" with his bullying of his own Attorney General and long-time ally.

Lots of fodder for calls today before Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report as a sweltering summer reveals the "new normal" and Trump names a Rightwing talk radio host to a top science job at the USDA...

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

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Guest: Health reform advocate Jacki Schechner | Also: Trump continues attacks on his own Attorney General; White House plans purge...
By Brad Friedman on 7/25/2017 6:34pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we try and figure out WTF Republicans in the U.S. Senate are doing, and why, since even they don't seem to have a clue --- and many of them don't seem to care. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Without even knowing what bill they were actually voting on, fifty Republican Senators on Tuesday voted to proceed to debate some scheme or another to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), or just repeal it, or even just kick the can down the road to worry about it later in conference with the U.S. House.

They had help from Sen. John McCain, who flew back from Arizona after surgery and a diagnosis of brain cancer, and a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence. Just two GOP Senators (Collins of Maine and Murkowski of Alaska) had the courage to join all of the Democrats and vote 'no', though McCain, just after his 'yes' vote, offered remarks excoriating Republican Senate leadership for their secretive process in creating unworkable legislation without committee processes or input from Democrats.

We're joined by journalist and health care reformer JACKI SCHECHNER to help us try and make sense of what is being characterized as one of "the most chaotic, rudderless, un-Senate-like" moments in modern American history. She explains how today's process differs from the one that resulted in ObamaCare in 2009 and 2010, when she served as Communications Director for one of the nation's largest health care reform organizations.

"There is this myth that things happened behind closed doors [in 2009], but that's not in fact the case. There was plenty of public disclosure when it came to what was up for consideration, and it took a long time," Schechner tells me. "We worked from the outside pushing the President to do what he campaigned on. The myth that Republicans were excluded is just that --- a myth."

She charges that the various GOP plans, if adopted, will result not only in tens of millions of Americans losing health care coverage, but that, in many cases, "people will die" in the bargain. She explains why that is, and how it'ss going to "throw our system into a spiral that's going to jack up premiums for the people who are still paying private health insurance costs."

"It's really dangerous when partisanship overtakes policy, and that's what happening here. This is about Trump getting a win. He has no idea what health care is, how the health care system works. Twice now he's confused it with life insurance. He has no clue," she tells me before declaring she's "over mincing words" and really unloads on the President. (You'll have to tune in for that part.)

"People who worked on health care reform [during Obama's Presidency] actually care if people live or die," Schechner continues. "I don't understand how you stand up and vote for a bill that's going to strip millions and millions of Americans of their access to quality, affordable health care."

She also explains how related moves from both Congress and the White House suggest the U.S. is rapidly devolving into an authoritarian nation, before offering a number of critical words for Democratic Party leadership in the bargain.

Also today, speaking of authoritarianism, Trump continues his extraordinary attacks on his own Attorney General (we discuss why), and the President's new Communications Director moves to purge White House staffers who leak to the media and aren't sufficiently loyal to the President...according to a number of leaking White House staffers...

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

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Guest: R.L. Miller, climate hawk Dem, on opposition to the CA bills | Also: Big Oil faces big new lawsuits; State Dept. shutting down war crimes office; Latest GOP health care repeal takes insurance from 32 million...
By Brad Friedman on 7/19/2017 6:36pm PT  

On today's BradCast: U.S. war atrocities and California's fight against global warming. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The State Department is reportedly planning to close their office that investigates war crimes. That may come in handy for Donald Trump, as his campaign promise to "bomb the shit out of 'em", appears to be working. A startling new report from international analysts finds the U.S. has killed twice as many civilians in Iraq and Syria during Trump's first six months in office, compared to the previous three years of war against ISIS under Barack Obama. The U.S. air war is now killing, on average, 12 or more civilians per day in those two countries alone --- with 2,200 said to have been killed since Trump took office --- and neither Republicans nor Democrats are willing to even debate the issue in Congress.

At the same time, House Republicans have stripped Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)'s amendment repealing the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) from the Defense Authorization bill, despite the amendment's bi-partisan adoption in a House Committee late last month.

Meanwhile, on the heels of Trump vowing to pull the U.S. from the landmark Paris Climate Agreement, California and its Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown have stepped up to fill the leadership vacuum Trump has left behind in the battle against global warming. Two counties in the San Francisco Bay area and a city in Southern California have filed what are being regarded as landmark lawsuits against 37 of the world's largest oil and coal companies. The plaintiffs charge the companies --- including Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell and others --- have known about the climate change dangers of their products for some 50 years, but have covered it up. They are filing similar claims as those brought successfully against the tobacco industry in the 90's.

Moreover, after a bruising battle, this week the CA state assembly adopted a bipartisan package of climate bills that would, among other things, extend California's cap-and-trade legislation to curb the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses through 2030. While some are describing the legislation, which passed both houses with two-thirds majorities, as a "stunning" bipartisan victory, many environmentalists are unhappy with the bills they fought bitterly against.

R.L. MILLER, the elected chair of the CA Democratic Party's Environmental Caucus and founder of Climate Hawks Vote, is one of those who opposed the bills. She joins us to explain why. As she describes, even though the state has radically reduced emissions levels in recent years and has enacted one of the toughest targets to curb greenhouse gases, the newly adopted extension of the state's Cap-and-Trade program through 2030 was drafted to disproportionately meet the concerns of oil companies, and will result in restrictions on local regulations.

"The problem with it is that the people who live next to the refineries in California have correctly pointed out that this is not doing a darn thing to make their lives any better. And they live in California. And they vote. And they're mad," she tells me, going on to argue that the new measures "will not enable us to meet our 2030 goals."

Also today: The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office finds the ObamaCare repeal bill Senate Republicans are now promising a vote on next week, despite opposition from their own caucus, would result in 32 million Americans losing health care, including 17 million losing coverage next year alone...

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

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Plus: 2016 election hack attempts even worse than previously known, Kobach voter fraud commission's suppression efforts already a success...
By Brad Friedman on 7/18/2017 6:34pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans' attempt to govern continue to fall apart. Also, the assault on our nation's elections continue as well, both from without and within. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

After new defections by two more GOP Senators late Monday night led to the stunning collapse of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's latest attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare"), his subsequent plan, to repeal ObamaCare now and replace it later, also collapsed within hours, after the number of Republican Senators needed to kill the measure almost immediately vowed to vote against it. Cue Donald Trump's blame game, avoidance of responsibility and lies about the entire matter.

So what's next on the Republican agenda? A budget resolution must be passed to avoid a Government shutdown by the end of September and a major tax cut effort has long been promised. Evidence suggests both items may run into a similar inability of Congressional Republicans to even agree amongst themselves. Such is the danger of radicalized, illegitimate political enterprises. They may work for winning elections, but not so much when it comes to actually governing.

Also today: New and startling revelations (even to me) of hundreds of thousands of attempts to hack South Carolina's general election system last November offer a dark omen and yet another much-needed reminder regarding election systems in the rest of the country, as well as the need for the public to be able to oversee results; Thousands of legitimate Colorado voters un-register in response to the massive data request for private information by Trump's "Election Integrity" Commission headed up by "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach; and new details about the hack last year of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission --- the federal agency tasked with overseeing electronic voting and tabulation systems in the U.S. --- highlight, yet again, why it's so disturbing that the GOP is attempting to shut down the agency entirely. (No matter how many times over the past decade The BRAD BLOG has found the EAC to be both corrupt and a failure.)

Finally: Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with huge wildfires in Canada, Trump giving away more tax-payer dollars to fossil fuel companies and much more...including, yes, some heroic nuns and a small, disorganized Tropical Storm named Don...

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

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Plus: On the Espionage Act's 100th Anniversary, it's now being used against whistleblowers and journalists rather than spies...
By Brad Friedman on 7/14/2017 6:15pm PT  

On today's BradCast, take your pick. Either the Trump Administration (and its cronies in Congress) are liars or completely incompetent. There is plenty of evidence for both. [Audio link for show follows below.]

For a start today, the number of people now reported to have been at that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian attorney said to have dirt on Hillary Clinton has now risen to eight. And, not single day has gone by since the revelation of that meeting one week ago, without the Team Trump explanations for it --- including from the President himself --- changing. Why?

But those aren't the stories today to suggest they are either liars or buffoons (and can't do math either.). Among the many additional stories placed into appropriate context today:

  • Trump's own Sec. of State takes a withering shot at Trump's government;
  • A congressional GOPer laments Republicans "simply don't know how to govern";
  • The non-partisan CBO finds Trump's budget doesn't actually balance (it's only off by $3.4 trillion);
  • Senate Republicans newest health care repeal plan doesn't either;
  • Some GOPers are willing to shut down the government if Trump's wall isn't funded (by tax-payers, not by Mexico, as promised);
  • Trump's border "wall" is beginning to sound exactly like Dubya and Obama's border fence (And his plans for immigration reform are beginning to sound a lot like Obama's as well.)

Given a new Pew survey finding a huge majority of Republican voters now believe higher education at universities and colleges has a "negative effect" on the country, perhaps none of today's stories should come as much of a surprise.

Finally, on the 100th Anniversary of the Espionage Act, the Committee to Protect Journalists offers a report on how, since Nixon first did so in the 70's, the Act has been misused to prosecute whistleblowers rather than spies, particularly under Obama, and how Trump may well begin using it against journalists in the bargain...

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

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