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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, February 17, 2019
Trump is a Nat'l Emergency: 'BradCast' 2/15/19
Guest-host Angie Coiro w/ Joel Simon of Comm. to Protect Journalists; Also: The fate of big-tech host cities; Weld to primary Trump?; RBG returns to SCOTUS...
Power to the People! (& Why Coal Miners Should've Voted Hillary): 'BradCast' 2/14/19
Trump Commission shuts KY, TN coal plants; Barr confirmed; Funding bill approved, fake 'Emergency' soon; Freshmen light up House; GOP Green New Deal freak-out...
'Green News Report' 2/14/19
  w/ Brad & Desi
Repubs move quickly to demonize Green New Deal; Insects declining at alarming rate; Public lands bill passes in Senate; PLUS: Los Angeles ditches natural gas for electricity...
Previous GNRs: 2/12/19 - 2/7/19 - Archives...
Butterfly Refuge Sues to Block Wall, Break-ins by CBP Officials: 'BradCast' 2/13/19
Guest: Marianna Trevino-Wright of the Nat'l Butterfly Center; Also: Hannity allows Trump to take wall deal; FEMA Director abruptly quits...
Targeted? 1000s of Black Votes 'Missing' from GA's 2018 Lt. Guv Election Results: 'BradCast' 2/12/19
Guest: Marilyn Marks; Also: Trump's sad El Paso rally, new (even worse) 'wall' deal...
'Green News Report' 2/12/19
GNR Special Coverage: Democratic Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Markey introduce the Green New Deal. What's in it, what's not, and what happens next...
Groundhog Day All Over Again?:
'BradCast' 2/11/19
Trump Border Lies, Shutdown Talks, Virginia's Political Mess. Plus: Listener calls! Including one calling for segregation?! (Yup.)
Sunday 'Year of the Pig' Toons
PDiddie celebrates the Lunar Looney New Year in his latest collection of the week's best political toons...
'Green New Deal' Rising: 'BradCast' 2/8/19
Guest: Climate/energy reporter David Roberts of Vox on the policy and the politics; Also: Witless Whitaker's remarkable House Judiciary testimony...
'Green News Report' 2/7/19
Trump SOTU was low on facts, high on oil; Dems bring climate science back to the U.S. House; PLUS: It's official: we've just lived through the five hottest years on record...
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...


Guest: Former Dep. Asst. Sec. of State Michael Fuchs; Also: Trump fails SOTU 'unity' vow; Inaugural Comm. slapped with federal subpoena...
By Brad Friedman on 2/5/2019 5:49pm PT  

So, a 30-year old, landmark nuclear arms agreement between the U.S. and Russia is now history. Just like that. And, beyond a few short hours of media coverage, it now seems all but forgotten. No big deal at all. Our guest on today's BradCast, however, strongly disagrees. [Audio link to full show is posted after this summary.]

But first, a few quick items to kick off the show, including...

  • The Trump Administration vows that Tuesday night's State of the Union address will be a call for unity and bipartisan cooperation, before the Second Stupidest Man on the Internet (yes, Trump) attacks Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for not winning enough seats in last year's midterm elections;
  • And federal prosecutors in New York file a subpoena seeking a massive amount of documents from Trump's 2017 Inauguration Committee, looking at virtually every aspect of the record $107 million raised, whether any of it unlawfully came from foreign sources, whether anything was unlawfully offered in exchange for donations, whether even more more was unlawfully paid directly by donors to vendors (and thus, unlawfully undisclosed to the FEC), and where all of that money (legalized bribes, in fact, a disgrace for all modern Presidents) actually went. It all amounts to more seemingly criminal chaos from anything Trump touches, from his inaugural committee, to the Trump Organization (his main private company), to the Trump Foundation (his phony, self-dealing slush-fund and "charity"), to Trump University (his fraudulent scam that settled several cases for $25 million just before he took office), to the Trump Campaign (facing myriad criminal probes and several convictions, guilty pleas and indictments), to the Trump Administration and everyone involved in it --- all being investigated by multiple state and federal probes at this point, at the very same time.

Then, we're joined by former Deputy Assistant Sec. of State for East Asian and Pacific affairs under President Obama, MICHAEL FUCHS, now a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, to discuss the Trump Administration's announced withdrawal over the weekend from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) agreement struck between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. The historic pact had been the first to ban an entire class of nuclear weapons, ground-launched cruise missiles with a range between 310 and 3,400 miles.

With the Administration charging that Russia was in violation of the accord (which Fuchs confirms), Trump simply announced the U.S. pull-out, which was answered almost immediately by Russian President Vladimir Putin's own declaration in response that his country would now do the same. In the bargain, Fuchs explains, the U.S. has lost its ability under the agreement to inspect hundreds of nuclear missile sites and other weapons facilities.

What did we gain in return? Well, pretty much nothing, says Fuchs, who calls this "a very big deal", joining me in astonishment that coverage of this historic move to end such an important anti-nuclear proliferation treaty has all but disappeared from the corporate media within hours amidst continuing Trump-induced chaos. "In the age of Trump, nuclear weapons, climate change, things that could potentially end life on earth as we know it only merit fifteen minutes in the news cycle," Fuchs notes.

He goes on to detail what has been lost with the dissolution of "perhaps one of the biggest agreements ever reached as far as reducing the potential threat of nuclear weapons destroying us" and whether Trump's claims that this is all necessary to stand up against a supposedly growing military menace from China is actually true. We also discuss the real reasons that this "gift to Vladimir Putin" seems to have come about, how Trump's dangerous National Security Advisor John Bolton appears to oppose any and all international accords that tie the hands of the U.S. in any way, shape or form, and whether Trump's planned second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un can possibly bear any realistic denuclearization fruit --- particularly on the heels of Trump again sending the message to the world that treaties between the U.S. and other nations are meant to be broken at the whim of an angry, brain-addled, and clueless President of the United States.

"The major problem here with throwing out this treaty is that, it is equivalent to basically throwing the baby out with the bathwater," Fuchs tells me. "Right now Russia is violating this treaty in a specific way, but a lot of the benefits of the treaty are still intact. Which includes the ability of the United States to actually conduct inspections and do verification of a number of different aspects of Russia's compliance with the treaty. By taking ourselves out of treaty, we are taking away our ability to inspect the other things that the Russians are doing here. And not only does that allow Russia to potentially start violating it even more, posing more danger to the United States, but it's giving a giant gift to Vladimir Putin."

Finally, Desi Doyen returns to "cheer us all up" with the latest Green News Report on hellish global warming-related nightmares from Australia to the U.S. to Antarctica; the oil lobbyist now nominated to be the next Interior Secretary; and the Administration's imminent plans to bulldoze the National Butterfly Center wildlife refuge to make way for a new border wall on the banks of the Rio Grande in Texas...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Meteorologist Guy Walton on the polar vortex and the 'sinking fossil-fuel Titanic'; Also: Trump's own intel chiefs say he's wrong...about pretty much everything; And a new, game-changing e-cig study...
By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2019 6:42pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Baby, it's COLD outside in much of the Midwest and Northeast. Record cold, in fact, with wind chills dipping near an unfathomable 60 degrees below zero in some parts of the country, as discussed with --- and explained by --- our guest today. [Audio link to full show posted below.]

But, first up: Donald Trump's own top intelligence chiefs --- the FBI and CIA Directors as well as his Director of National Intelligence and others --- all directly contradicted the Commander-in-Chief on matters of foreign affairs this week, from the nuclear threat posed by North Korea, to the continuing threat from ISIS in Syria and Iraq, to the cybersecurity threat to elections posted by China and Russia, and to the lack of nuclear threat from Iran or at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Testifying before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, the intel heads --- appointed by Trump himself (not so-called "Deep State Obama Democrats") --- expanded on their newly published annual "Worldwide Threat Assessment" [PDF]. As it turns out, neither the new report nor the officials themselves cite border concerns as any sort of danger to the nation, despite Trump's persistent and unsupported claims to the contrary and his threat to declare a "National Emergency" if he's not given $5.7 billion for his southern border wall before the Continuing Resolution for government funding runs out, once again, on February 15. Today, in response, Trump mocked his own intel staff as "naive".

The testimony from Trump's own intel chiefs is likely to be used against the President in court, should he declare that "emergency", according to U.S. House Intel Committee chair Adam Schiff (D-CA). But, as Democratic Committee member Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), points out, House Republicans have yet to actually appoint their members to either that Committee or three others (on Climate Change, Ethics or House Administration, which handles election challenges, such as the one in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District, where the House seat is still empty due to a GOP absentee ballot election fraud scandal.) Those committees may not proceed with virtually any business until House Republicans appoint their members and end the purposeful slow-walking.

After that warm up, it's on to the sub-freezing temps that have kept even the U.S. Post Office from completing their appointed rounds in a number of states. Of course, the big chill has led the Fox "News" clowns and climate change Denier-in-Chief to have a grand old time avoiding the actual scientific explanation for the bone-numbing depression in the Polar Vortex which, yes, is tied to global warming.

We're joined today by "Climate Guy" GUY WALTON, a 30-year Weather Channel veteran meteorologist, for some actual science on what's going on. Walton pens a daily "Extreme Temperature Diary" and is co-author, with Nick Walker, of the new (joyfully snarky) children's book and climate primer World of Thermo: Thermometer Rising.

Walton explains why and how global weather patterns have changed in recent years to bring bitter cold snaps like the one experienced this week in parts of the U.S., even as the rest of the globe --- like Australia, where temps have neared 120 degrees Fahrenheit and touched off record bush fires in recent days --- continues to suffer from record heat, thanks to anthropomorphic Global Warming. This "Age of Weather Extremes" is precisely in line with what climate scientists have long predicted.

"Right now, as far as global warming goes, we're having a lot of warmth from the sub-tropics moving northward over the polar areas, where, prior to, say, the 1970s, we hadn't been seeing that as much," he tells me. "What we had in the past, when we had Arctic outbreaks in the 70s and 80s, we had a larger, colder Polar Vortex encompassing the Northern Hemisphere. Now we have a warmer Polar Vortex which is not quite as large, and it's having a tendency to pinch off pieces...when they do pinch off, they're quite cold, and you can get cold air, colder than what you have right now at the North Pole, sitting right over say, Chicago or Detroit."

As to Trump's recent tweet making light of "Global Waming [sic]" amidst the Arctic blast, Walton argues: "A lot of this is out of greed, and to perhaps make more money through the fossil fuel industry. And to some extent, it's just denial, in that they know deep down the Titanic is sinking, they're just not wanting to admit that the ship's going to go under the water, so to speak."

Finally, some encouraging news today from the world of science, which we could have told you about (and, in fact, did!) years ago. A new "seminal study" finds that e-cigs or vaping is more than twice as likely to lead smokers to kick the habit than the use of Big Pharma-approved nicotine delivery systems such as patches and gums. While that may be bad news for Big Pharma's billion dollar nicotine industry, it's good news for the world which sees more than 6 million die annually thanks to tobacco, including nearly half a million alone here in the U.S. Now, if someone would just inform the Democrats in Congress and around the U.S. who are working to make it harder, not easier, for people to quit smoking and dying by moving to vaping, it would be VERY much appreciated...

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: NatSec journalist Marcy Wheeler: Also: SCOTUS allows Trump's cruel trans ban to proceed, makes no moves (yet) on DACA...
By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2019 6:29pm PT  

We pick up on today's BradCast, somewhat near where we left off on Friday, following BuzzFeed News' blockbuster report charging that Donald Trump directed his former attorney Michael Cohen to lie to federal investigators in order to obscure their work on a project to build a Trump Tower in Moscow even as Americans were voting during the 2016 Presidential election. [Audio link to today's show is posted below.]

The explosive reported allegations that the President of the United States had suborned perjury led to calls on Friday for Trump's impeachment, only to be dampened by a very rare --- and very carefully worded --- response from Robert Mueller's office, disputing "Buzzfeed's description of specific statements to the Special Counsel's office" and the "characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office."

My guest today, legal and national security journalist MARCY WHEELER of Emptywheel, says those words were carefully selected by Mueller's office and for a very specific reason. Given all the confusion following both the report and Mueller's unusual statement late last week --- not to mention conflicting remarks from Trump's TV lawyer Rudy Giuliani over the weekend --- Wheeler helps us try to make sense of what is now known and unknown on all of this, why Mueller's office chose to speak out in response to it, and whether or not he was encouraged to do so directly by Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, the White House or someone else on Trump's legal team.

"Buzzfeed offered some particular details that match exactly with details that Mueller has offered," Wheeler explains, while noting that the news outlet "made a news claim that Trump had ordered this lie. What Mueller is pushing back against is a legal claim." She tells me how the two interests are different, even as they may be describing much of the same events and documentation.

Moreover, she argues, "there's abundant evidence that Trump has ordered people to lie, and that subsequent to his orders to tell lies, his people have continued to tell those lies...and that's illegal. That should be a no-brainer and the press needs to start telling that story."

Wheeler, who has long been covering all things related to the Trump/Russia probe as close --- or closer --- than virtually anybody in the nation, offers much insight today on all of the above, including details on Buzzfeed's sourcing for their report (which they continue to stand by "100%"), based on information from two unnamed "federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter," as well as "multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents."

Also today, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5 to 4 vote, allows Trump's ban on transgender members of the military to move forward, even as ongoing cases in several lower courts have blocked his cruel directive, and even as at least one legal obstacle remains.

In slightly more encouraging --- and certainly less cruel --- news from SCOTUS today, despite pleas from the Administration the Court made no announcement of plans to hear argument on any of the many ongoing lower court cases challenging Trump's reversal of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Obama's DACA order was meant to help prevent the deportation of more than a million undocumented immigrants brought here by their parents as children many years ago. Should the Court decide to hear one of the cases, it would now most likely not happen until the session that begins in October, with an opinion coming months later. Temporary protection under DACA for so-called "Dreamers" was used over the weekend as an attempted bargaining chip by Trump, as part of an offer to Democrats in exchange for the $5.7 billion he has demanded for a border wall, leading to the longest (and still ongoing) federal government shutdown in U.S. history.

And, finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with news on the tragic pipeline explosion in Mexico over the weekend, toxic coal ash groundwater contamination discovered in 22 states, and how the government shutdown is setting the table for a dangerous wildfire season, even as its temporarily protecting aquatic wildlife from seismic testing during offshore drilling exploration in the Atlantic...

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: Analiese Eicher of One Wisconsin Now; Also: MI's new Dem SoS looks to settle gerrymander case; Buzzfeed charges Trump told Cohen to lie to feds about Moscow Trump Tower project...
By Brad Friedman on 1/18/2019 6:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast, good news for voters in Wisconsin and Michigan, not nearly as good news for Donald Trump. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up today, the White House is desperately scrambling for new distractions from Trump's unpopular, nearly month-long federal government shutdown and, of more pressing import for the President on Friday, an explosive report published Thursday night by BuzzFeed News. The otherwise uncorroborated article alleges that Trump instructed his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to federal investigators about the Trump Organization's proposed deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. The story cites two unnamed sources as "federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter" and claims that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office learned about the directive "through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents."

Cohen has admitted to lying to Congress and federal investigators about a number of matters and was sentenced last November to three years in prison after cooperating with Mueller's probe. If the story proves true that Trump instructed him to lie about the project --- which was reportedly still being worked on by Trump through June of 2016, much later than he had initially admitted --- it would, according to Democrats today, amount to evidence of the subornation of perjury as well as obstruction of justice, both impeachable offenses.

We also share the reaction today from Trump and the White House, neither of which denied the reporting initially, choosing to attack Cohen and BuzzFeed instead. Later, Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani asserted that "Any suggestion --- from any source --- that the President counseled Michael Cohen to lie is categorically false." [POST-SHOW UPDATE: In a rare and carefully worded statement issued late Friday evening by Mueller's office, after we got off air, they disputed BuzzFeed's "description of specific statements...and characterization of documents and testimony obtained" by the Special Counsel.]

In other news today, a federal judge in Wisconsin on Thursday made short order of a challenge to new limits on Early Voting and allowable polling place IDs in the state after Republicans rammed through new restrictions during an extraordinary lame-duck session of the legislature last December, following Governor Scott Walker's re-election loss in the November midterm election. Thanks to heavy turnout, including record Early Voting numbers, Democrats won every statewide contest on the ballot and 54% of the votes for the State Assembly. But, thanks to partisan gerrymandering by state Republicans, they won only one third of its seats.

In a terse, 5-page ruling [PDF] on Thursday, U.S. District Judge James Peterson ruled it was "not a close question" that the GOP's newly enacted voting restrictions were an unconstitutional violation of voting rights, just as he had found nearly identical provisions to be, as passed by GOP lawmakers in 2016.

We're joined today by ANALIESE EICHER, one of the named plaintiffs from One Wisconsin Now's lawsuit challenging both the 2016 law and the late 2018 lame-duck version which Walker signed just days before leaving office. In addition to that court victory on Thursday, the non-partisan group had another on Friday, when a different court ruled that Republican lawmakers were in violation of the First Amendment by blocking the organization and others on Twitter. (Heads up, Alabama Sec. of State John Merrill!)

In neighboring Michigan, the new Democratic Sec. of State Jocelyn Benson announced she was seeking a settlement with Democratic challengers to the legislative and Congressional districts drawn by Republicans in that state. The previous Sec. of State, a Republican, was preparing to defend what Dems describe, with very good evidence, to be an extreme and unconstitutional partisan gerrymander after the 2010 Census. (One such piece of evidence are emails from GOP lawmakers discussing districts mean to "give the finger" to a former Democrat Congressman, and to "cram ALL the Dem garbage" into four districts so Republicans could control more seats across the state.)

A settlement with the newly seated SoS could result in new district maps drawn before the 2020 election. Last November, MI voters approved a ballot initiative that would put an independent redistricting commission in charge of drawing maps following the 2020 Census.

Finally today, we're sent off into the weekend with a pretty hilarious song about Donald Trump's wall, courtesy of satirist Randy Rainbow...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Trump paid Cohen to rig online polling; Giuliani moves the Russia goal posts (again); President throws tantrum at Pelosi; Government shutdown taking toll; And why Ocasio-Cortez is joyfully freaking out the GOP...
By Brad Friedman on 1/17/2019 6:26pm PT  

The federal government continue to spiral towards utter dysfunction under a President on the precipice of (take your pick). But one freshman Congresswoman provides a bit of a light at the end of the Trump tunnel. [Audio link to today's complete BradCast is posted below.]

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

  • Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen admits he paid a guy from Jerry Falwell Jr.'s Liberty University to rig online polls for Trump before he announced his candidacy in 2015. That, as Cohen is reportedly reconsidering his decision to testify to Congress next month in advance of his three year prison sentence, due to threats (witness tampering? intimidation?) by the President against him and his family. Trump failed to report the $50,000 payoff to rig polls to the FEC, which is yet another potential federal felony and/or article of impeachment for the sitting President. While the story should surprise no one at this point (remember, he also paid extras to cheer him on while announcing his candidacy at Trump Tower that year), its somehow still stunning and disturbing as yet another indication of just what Trump was likely willing to do, at any cost, to win in 2016;
  • Speaking of what Trump and his campaign were willing to do, his new personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, may have broken the Internet after his appearance on CNN Wednesday night, in which he moved the "collusion" goal posts by falsely claiming that neither he nor the President ever claimed his campaign --- if not Trump himself --- "colluded" with Russia. In fact, contrary to Giuliani's ridiculous assertions, both men claimed repeatedly that nobody on the Trump Campaign was involved in such an activity. As of Wednesday night, it seems, Trump's lawyer is officially backing off that claim on behalf of the President...for some reason;
  • Reverberations and consequences of Trump's nearly-month long federal government shutdown continue. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a Congressional delegation were preparing to leave today for a secret trip to visit U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Trump, in retribution for Pelosi's threat to postpone his scheduled State of the Union Address during the shutdown, rescinded permission for the use of a military plane set to take Pelosi and the others on the overseas trip. You'll also be shocked to hear he lied about it all too;
  • Meanwhile, as more Congressional Republicans --- and even a top former Administration official --- are questioning the wisdom of shutting down the federal government over Trump's demand for $5.7 billion to begin building his southern border wall, senior citizens and people with disabilities are facing the threat of potential eviction in HUD and USDA subsidized housing across the country;
  • At the same time, the Administration is calling some 50,000 furloughed federal employees back to work without pay at agencies such as the FDA, FAA, and at the IRS as tax season begins;
  • But, speaking of taxes, there is a reason that Republicans are freaking out --- and lying --- about the recent proposal floated by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to raise the nation's top tax bracket to 70% on those earning more than $10 million: the proposal is wildly popular --- by double-digit margins --- across virtually every demographic and every area of the country. Thus, folks like Wisconsin's failed former GOP Gov. Scott Walker was out bragging on social media this week about lying to school children about how AOC's proposal would actually work, who would and wouldn't be affected by it, and by how much;
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, as Dems grill the Administration's new nominee/coal lobbyists tapped to head an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) where pollution prosecutions have plummeted since Trump took office, while Australia faces yet another record heat wave, and as the business world slowly begins waking up to the mounting threat of climate change...

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: Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance; Also: Crippling winter weather, Trump shutdown and probe news, CA's PG&E to file for bankruptcy protection, L.A. teachers on strike...
By Brad Friedman on 1/14/2019 6:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it's another one of those impossible Mondays catching up with a weekend full of news in the Trump Era, and the seemingly impossible fight on behalf of voters who seek actually verifiable election results (which require HAND-MARKED paper ballots, according to a new letter from two dozen computer science, security and voting system experts.) [Audio link to show posted at end of article.]

Before we get to our guest today on that crucial issue which threatens elections oversight from Georgia to Los Angeles, a bunch of news and quick headlines from across the country. Among those headlines...

Winter weather crippled much of nation over the weekend and into the beginning of this week, from heavy rains and flash floods in recently fire-ravaged California, to monster snowfall in the Midwest, to icy conditions in the East. The latter succeeded in shutting down even parts of the federal government in D.C. that weren't already closed due to Donald Trump's continuing partial federal government shutdown --- now the longest in U.S. history --- to demand $5.7 billion for his promised, pointless and ill-considered southern border wall.

Decidedly not shutdown in D.C. this week are disturbing new revelations, as reported by New York Times late Friday, that the FBI had opened a counterintelligence probe of the President of the United States in 2017, to determine whether Trump was either a witting or unwitting agent of Russia. That, as Trump's Attorney General nominee William Barr, on Monday, released his prepared opening remarks in advance of his confirmation hearings this week in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Despite his previous criticism of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe and his argument that Presidents cannot be investigated for certain things, Barr now says the Special Counsel investigation should be allowed to finish and its report should be made public.

In California, the state's largest private utility company, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), announced their intention to seek bankruptcy protection in light of tens of billions of dollars in potential legal liability for maintenance failures that helped spark a number of the historic and deadly fires that crippled the state during last year's record wildfire season. And, in Los Angeles, some 35,000 teachers at the nation's second-largest school district walked out, striking to demand higher pay and smaller class sizes.

Next, we turn to some election news, with New York state, one of the most restrictive in the nation when it comes to voting access, finally moving to update its system with a package of bills this week that include early voting, vote-by-mail, same-day voter registration and other long-overdue reforms.

In Georgia, meanwhile, two dozen of the nation's top Computer Security and Voting Systems experts issued a critical landmark letter [PDF] last week to the state's Secure, Accessible and Fair Elections (SAFE) Commission, essentially begging the panel, convened by former Republican Sec. of State and incoming Governor Brian Kemp, to not move the state's voting system from 100 percent unverifiable touchscreen Direct Record Electronic (DRE) systems to similarly unverifiable touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices (BMD), which print out a computer-marked and barcoded summary of voters' ballots. They call instead for hand-marked paper ballots, which they describe as "the best method for recording votes in public elections."

The letter notes that BMD systems are more expensive than hand-marked paper ballot systems but, more importantly, cannot be audited after an election to determine whether the results reflect the actual intent of voters. Despite the scientists crucial recommendation last week, and every comment --- other than from election officials and private voting system vendor lobbyists --- made by the public at last week's SAFE Commission hearing, Kemp's panel shamefully voted to recommend BMDs to state lawmakers.

But, while that virtually inexplicable action moves ahead in the Peach State under Republican rule, the nation's largest voting jurisdiction, Los Angeles County, under Democratic rule, has already decided to move to a pricey and similarly unverifiable touchscreen BMD system before the 2020 Presidential election!

We're joined today by MARILYN MARKS, a national leader in the fight for HAND-MARKED paper ballot systems. She heads up the non-partisan Coalition for Good Governance --- which filed several landmark lawsuits last year against Georgia's current unverifiable voting systems and in hopes of preventing their new ones.

"The point is a very, very simple point that the SAFE Commission --- and apparently L.A. --- pretends that they are missing," argues Marks. "They all talk about how they want elections that can be audited. Well, when you use these Ballot Marking Devices, the election cannot be audited, because the source document [the computer-marked, barcoded ballot] is not an original transaction. It cannot be audited. Therefore you cannot audit the results."

Making matters worse, even if every single voter manages to correctly verify the computer-printed, human-readable summary of voter selections, "what's actually cast and the actual official vote is a barcode. Now, none of us can read barcodes. I don't know what vote I'm actually casting. I am casting a barcode, but what in the world does that barcode actually say? That, to me, is a Constitutional violation."

We discuss that and the many other dangers of BMD systems being implement across the country --- with little or no pushback in places like L.A. --- as well as the differences between the proposed new systems from private vendors in GA and the publicly-owned one already coming to L.A. County. In short, despite a number of explanations offered to us by the County's Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan (shared on today's program) Marks argues there is little, if any, difference in the lack of verifiability and auditablity of such voting systems.

Finally, we take just a few listener calls on all of the above on our way out today...

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Guest-host Angie Coiro on the shutdown, the wall, Election 2020, and the legacy of Harry Reid --- with help from Dave Johnson and Sarah Kendzior...
By Angie Coiro on 1/2/2019 7:01pm PT  

On today's BradCast, I'm in for Brad and Desi; they're on a well-deserved break til next week; I'm on my own holiday hiatus from In Deep with Angie Coiro, so doesn't that work out nicely?

It's early days in D.C., where Reps and Sens are shuffling back into their offices preparing for various swearings-in. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi --- retaking the leadership gavel Thursday --- is wasting absolutely no time letting Donald Trump know she plans to lead, not follow. He's wiped Mike Pence's offer to drop the border fund demand by some three billion bucks; Donny's back to demanding $5 billion, dismissing "someone" (um, Pence) who floated that lower figure. In both an appearance on the Today show and outside the White House following a border security meeting with Trump, Pelosi made it clear that taking the federal budget hostage cuts no ice --- he's getting no money for a wall.

Meanwhile, Apple is the latest company singed by Trump's tariffs. The company revised (lowered) its quarterly earnings estimate by 7.6%. Once that news went public, its stock dropped by nearly the same percentage. Apple CEO Tim Cook says it's not entirely a matter of the Trump/China trade war, but that was no small factor.

DAVE JOHNSON joins me to talk about how the 2020 presidential race is shaping up, starting with the news that Elizabeth Warren has officially gotten serious about running. Then, the tension between the Sanders and O'Rourke camps, and Beto's less-than-stellar track record with fossil fuel legislation. Has he just changed his tune because the record's gone public, or has he truly shifted his priorities?

By the way, Dave's a partner in the launch of what could be a very important site: We Can Have Nice Things, explaining modern economic theory in plain language, including how infrastructure and citizens' health and welfare get paid for in sane economic systems.

The New York Times Magazine has published Mark Leibovitch's profile of Harry Reid, who, as it turns out, is expecting to die soon. SARAH KENDZIOR says something critical is missing from that article: how Reid tried to get Comey to take Trump's Russian connections seriously, and how he pushed the media to pay attention to Trump's corruption --- both for naught.

Sarah's podcast, Gaslit Nation, has just moved from monthly to weekly production.

Finally, a few minutes deflecting attention from Mitt Romney's self-serving yabber in his anti-Trump op-ed to Lamar Alexander's much more productive, thoughtful exercise in how a willing Congress and a sane, savvy president can triumph over impasse together. Feels more like a fairy tale than a possibility in today's circumstances, but still - it's a worthy read.

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Guest-host Angie Coiro on the Russia/Britain media feud; Big Ag strangling family dairies; and James Hatch on recovery...
By Angie Coiro on 12/27/2018 6:15pm PT  

On today's BradCast, I'm in for Brad and Desi --- popping in here from my own show, In Deep with Angie Coiro.

So much for a budget compromise - although we really didn't expect one, did we? Ah well. The Dems are counting noses for January 3rd.

Hey, about that "discredited" dossier: not so fast. McClatchy has the tip that Michael Cohen was too in Prague, and that Robert Mueller knows it. Over at the Washington Post, Philip Bump explains exactly how heavy a domino this is - if it's true.

A bit more of the news roundup, then MARK KASTEL of Cornucopia explains a terrible trend --- why America's organic farmers are not only fleeing the business, but in some cases taking their own lives (more on that latter herefrom the Guardian).

Our conversation grew out of this column by his friend and colleague Jim Goodman, who's owned a family dairy farm for forty years. He knew the name of every one of his 45 cows. The reason he quit --- the reason so many are throwing in the towel --- is a complex tale of inadequate labeling, Big Ag masquerading as small producers of genuinely organic products, and the resulting glut of milk and produce that strangles the little guy.

Hang on to these handy-dandy scorecards, telling you which producers of eggs, dairy, grains, and more are truly organic and responsibly produced.

Finally --- in light of the White House occupant preening and playing the hero on his campaign swing through Iraq --- I bring you a genuine hero telling his own tale: JAMES HATCH, author of "Touching the Dragon" --- a heartily-recommended read...

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Guest: Heather Digby Parton on Trump, Flynn, Russia, Mueller and what Dems must do about the 'criminal and con man in the White House'
Also: Admin's cruel asylum policy ruled unlawful; KS GOP lawmakers flip to Dem Party...
By Brad Friedman on 12/19/2018 6:25pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The Trump Presidency feels as if it is now in free-fall. Is it? [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today, a federal judge in Washington D.C. (the same judge involved in Tuesday's dramatic sentencing hearing of Donald Trump's disgraced former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn) declared the Trump Administration's new policy of rejecting asylum claims made on the basis of domestic abuse and gang violence to be a violation of the law. We discussed then Attorney General Jeff Sessions' cruel new policy guidance on this matter after it was announced back in June with Karen Musalo, a longtime immigration rights attorney who told us, at the time, that the Admin's new policy was in violation of the law. Turns out she was right, according to today's federal court ruling, which is just the latest legal and/or political blow to Donald Trump's efforts to harden immigration policy in the U.S.

His failed policies on that and much more --- all eagerly supported by his Republican Party over the past two years --- resulted in last month's midterm elections "blue wave", when Democrats picked up an historic net gain of at least 40 seats in the U.S. House to take majority control in January. But the GOP losses were also felt at the state level around the country, including in formerly "deep red" Kansas, where voters elected a Democratic Governor and rejected a number of Republican state lawmakers. This week, things are getting worse for Kansas Republicans as a new wave of party defectors has resulted, so far (more may be on the way), in three elected Republicans in the state legislature (all women, by the way) flipping their allegiance to the Democratic Party in advance of next month's new legislative session.

Given the revelations and dramatic sentencing hearings related to various state and federal investigations into the unprecedented corruption of Donald Trump, his campaign, his businesses, his family and his Administration over the past week, things are likely to get much worse for Republicans before getting better any time soon.

On that matter and more, we're joined today by HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo to discuss what is now beginning to feel like a Presidency that is falling apart by the day, if not the hour, particularly following Tuesday's dramatic sentencing hearing of Flynn and last week's sentencing of Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen, who implicated the President as "directing" a felony hush-money payoff conspiracy carried out just before the 2016 election, in clear violation of campaign finance laws.

All of that, as Trump and his associates and family are now facing criminal investigations and/or prosecutions at both the pardon-proofed state level and in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe of the Trump Campaign's alleged coordination with Russia and his own obstruction of justice. As usual, Parton offers her keen observations as the investigations continue to quickly close in on the President, describing all of this as "the most serious political crisis we have ever had," outside of wars, while adding the understated obvious: "It's not good to have a criminal and a con man in the White House."

We discuss, among many other things, Tuesday's astonishing Flynn hearing which went off the rails, and the judge's curious references to "treason"; whether or not there is a "grand conspiracy" at the heart of the Russia matter resulting in the seemingly inexplicable number of lies being told by Trump and his associates about their various contacts with Russians; whether Trump will be able to withstand the ever-increasing pressure of the probes; how his wingnut fans and media supporters are (often hilariously) still trying to justify it all as a partisan "hoax"; and what Democrats will (or, at least, should) do in response once they take over the House majority next month...

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Trump 'charity' shuttered; Admin backs off shutdown threat; Flynn sentencing fiasco; McSally appointed in AZ; NC-9 fraud hearing delayed...
By Brad Friedman on 12/18/2018 6:31pm PT  

Today was the first day that it really began to feel like things are finally falling completely apart for Donald Trump and his administration. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the mountain of stories covered on today's BradCast amid an astonishing day of news on several fronts...

  • The New York state Attorney General entered an agreement with the Trump Foundation to permanently shut down the supposed charitable organization. Her investigation and prosecution of alleged fraud, campaign violations and self-dealing via the organization by Trump, his three adult children and his 2016 campaign will continue, despite the Foundation's dissolution;
  • The Trump Administration blinked on Tuesday, at least a bit, following Trump's previous televised threats to shut down the federal government this Friday over funding for his border wall with Mexico (which, we were repeatedly told during the campaign, they, not tax-payers, would pay for.) Last week, Trump said on camera he would be "proud" to shut down the federal government before Christmas if Democrats didn't agree to $5 billion for wall funding in a budget agreement that must pass by this Friday. Today, Trump's Press Secretary suggested they'd find the money elsewhere, even as Congress remained at a standstill with Republicans not having enough votes to pass a bill that meets Trump's demands;
  • At the same time, in a federal court room in D.C., Trump's disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators last year, had been expected to walk away from his sentencing hearing a free man today following his cooperation with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team. They had requested no jail time for Flynn after his help in several known and unknown probes. But, thanks to Flynn's attorneys falsely suggesting in a sentencing memorandum last week that he had been duped, tricked and entrapped by FBI investigators into lying about his contacts with the Russian ambassador, the sentencing was mercifully postponed until March. In a remarkable colloquy with U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, a Ronald Reagan appointee, Flynn quickly backed off his attorneys claims. In blistering remarks from the bench, Sullivan railed that he could not "hide my disgust, my disdain" for Flynn's behavior, and upbraided the former top Trump official and retired Lt. General for having "arguably sold out your country". A reportedly shaken Flynn then asked for his sentencing to be delayed, so that the could further cooperate with the Special Counsel in hopes of being credited to avoid jail time. All of that, after Trump had wished Flynn "good luck" via Twitter prior to today's hearing;
  • In Arizona, the loser of November's U.S. Senate contest, Republican Rep. Martha McSally, was appointed by the state's GOP Governor to take the seat of Sen. Jon Kyle, who had temporarily replaced the late Sen. John McCain earlier this year. McSally narrowly lost her Senate bid in November to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, who she had described as a "traitor" during the campaign. McSally also tried to make amends with McCain's family after insulting the ailing Senator before his death;
  • In the North Carolina GOP absentee ballot election fraud scandal, state Republicans reversed their position for a second time regarding the certification of Republican Mark Harris. State Republican leaders demanded that he be certified in the state's 9th Congressional District House race, despite an ongoing fraud investigation. The current results show that Harris defeated Democrat Dan McCready by just 905 votes in November. The State Board of Elections, however, has refused to certify the race due to the allegations of absentee ballot fraud and has postponed it's planned evidentiary hearing from December 21 to January 11, thanks to what the Board describes as delayed document production by subpoenaed parties. Harris has now admitted that he hired the GOP contractor accused of altering or withholding perhaps thousands of absentee ballots in the race;
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with a surprising amount of actually encouraging news for a change.

Yes, it really is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

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Guest: Politico's Alice Ollstein; Also: New revelations in NC-9 GOP election fraud scandal all but guarantee a new election will be coming...
By Brad Friedman on 12/12/2018 6:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Trump appears now to be in very big trouble. So do Republicans in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District. But President Obama's Affordable Care Act soldiers on, even as signups are down as the open enrollment period for 2019 on the federal HealthCare.gov exchange quietly nears its close on Saturday, December 15th.

On Wednesday, Donald Trump's former personal lawyer and 'fixer' Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison and some $2 million in fines after cooperating with federal prosecutors following guilty pleas to several felonies in August. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team noted that Cohen has been helpful in their probe of Trump's still-unexplained relationship with Russia, but it was the charges brought by federal prosecutors against Cohen in New York's Southern District related to hush-money payoffs to women with whom Trump was said to have had sexual affairs that most immediately appears to cook Trump's goose.

Both Cohen and the federal government now allege that Trump, in the waning days of the 2016 campaign, "directed" a conspiracy to pay off the women in order to buy their silence in an illicit scheme to "influence the election". Those payoffs of $130,000 to porn actress Stormy Daniels and $150,000 to Playboy model Karen McDougal (via National Enquirer publisher AMI) are considered illegal campaign contributions.

Also on Wednesday, prosecutors announced a non-prosecution agreement with AMI, run by longtime Trump pal David Pecker, in exchange for their cooperation in the case. As discussed on today's show, Trump now appears to be in very VERY big trouble, at this point. If the man who helped make the payoffs at Trump's "direction" --- who had also cooperated with investigators --- received three years in prison for his crimes, imagine what may happen to the man who actually directed the conspiracy.

While there are still a number of potential escape hatches such as the Presidential pardon power for Trump, his associates, his family members and his businesses, a new interview with incoming New York state Attorney General-elect Letitia James suggests she has that base covered as well. James says she intends to "use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well" at the state level, including "anyone" in his circle who may have violated state law. Trump's businesses and campaign are based in New York. James tells NBC she intends to bring state charges in an attempt to ensure Trump, his associates, his family and his various organizations are unable to evade accountability with Presidential pardons at the federal level.

In North Carolina, meanwhile, fresh revelations continue to emerge regarding the 9th Congressional District election which is at the center of an ongoing GOP absentee ballot election fraud scandal. New details in that matter today include the state Republican Party's admission that a new election will most likely be needed, following news this week that Early Voting results in Bladen County were reportedly leaked, illegally, in advance of the November 6th election.

Moreover, a new affidavit from a Republican now charges that McCrae Dowless, the GOP contractor hired by Republican Mark Harris to run his absentee ballot campaign in Bladen, where the fraud scheme appears centered, told him that he (unlawfully) had as many as 800 absentee ballots in his possession prior to the election. What came of those ballots we don't yet know, but Harris is said to have defeated Democrat Dan McCready by just 905 votes in the 9th District last month. At this point, I see no way that a new election in the district can be avoided, other than simply naming McCready the winner.

Also today, we're joined by ALICE OLLSTEIN, formerly of Talking Points Memo, now a congressional reporter at Politico, to discuss the nearly 10 percent drop off in signups this year for the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), as the federal open enrollment period comes to a close this weekend. "It's not high prices that are deterring people," Ollstein argues, citing a key piece of data to back that up, before explaining the several different reasons why signups are down this year so far, and how that may affect the future stability of the federal exchanges.

With Democrats set to take the majority in the U.S. House in January, Ollstein also details their dilemma in how to best defend against a federal lawsuit brought by several Republican-controlled states (and now supported by the Trump Administration) hoping to kill the landmark ACA and its vital protections for those with preexisting conditions...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 12/11/2018 10:44am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: 'Axis of Oil': U.S. joins forces with Saudi Arabia and Russia to block action at U.N. COP24 climate talks in Poland; US fossil fuel event at conference draws laughter; Meeting Paris Agreement targets would also save millions of lives from air pollution, finds WHO; France nixes fuel tax hike in response to protests; PLUS: Youth climate activists from Poland to the halls of Congress pressure politicians to act on climate change... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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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): The Arctic is in even worse shape than you realize; Inslee wants 100 percent clean energy in Washington by 2045;
GM fights to retain tax credit amid Trump threat to cut all subsidies; More rural jobs in clean energy than fossil fuels; How to convince MAGA cretins to fear climate change; A devastating report details a 'monumental' assault on science at the Department of the Interior; The Camp Fire took my home. Now I understand that no one ends up sleeping under an overpass by choice... PLUS: The simplest climate action you tan Take is in the kitchen... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Guest-Host Angie Coiro with a slew of Mueller news and three new Trump noms; Revisiting the Bush Legacy; Huawei as spy?; And guest Lara Bazelon on justice for the wrongly imprisoned...
By Angie Coiro on 12/7/2018 6:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast, I'm your host - Angie Coiro, host of In Deep with Angie Coiro.

Donald Trump's tweet fingers were a'twitchin', as he tried to keep up with the flow of Mueller investigation news while churning out headlines of his own. For starters, he made three key appointments/nominations:

  • Army head General Mark Milley will move over to chair the Joint Chiefs of Staff;
  • Former H.W. Bush Attorney General William Barr is up for confirmation as Trump's next A.G.;
  • Former Fox 'News' talking head Heather Nauert is up to replace Nikki Haley as UN ambassador.

I've got the whys and wherefores on those for you. Also, Trump went into rage mode at word of his former Sec. of State Rex Tillerson's very frank discussion on Thursday at a public interview with CBS news veteran Bob Schieffer. Tillerson's explanation of Trump's incomprehension of basic issues, along with his trademark lack of discipline, provoked high-minded Trump tweets calling Tillerson "dumb as a rock" and "lazy as hell".

The BBC has a good basic rundown if you're trying to catch up with the case of Chinese telecom Huawei's alleged spying. I bring you the highlights plus updated news.

Meanwhile, a Swiss paper has published a conversation with Fox's Tucker Carlson who damned the White House occupant as "incapable" of fulfilling his promises. And he went further: "I don't think he's capable of sustained focus. I don't think he understands the system. I don't think the Congress is on his side. I don't think his own agencies support him."

Then, legal expert and journalist LARA BAZELON joins me to discuss her work on restorative justice for wrongly-convicted parolees. She's covered the topic for years for Slate.com, and has now released a book called Rectify. The full version of our conversation will be posted here over the weekend. Don't wait for that, though - I've brought you a big chunk of it right here on The BradCast!

Plus, so much more! It's a bellyful of news today. Check it out!...

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Also: Predictable call for 'recount' in ME's Ranked Choice Voting election...
By Brad Friedman on 11/29/2018 6:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Another guilty plea and more trouble for Donald Trump; More details from the newly revealed North Carolina election fraud mystery; And, Maine's first statewide Ranked Choice Voting election predictably results in a challenge, confusion and a "recount". [Audio link to full show follows below.]

First up, in a surprise new guilty plea in Robert Mueller's Special Counsel probe on Thursday. Trump's former personal lawyer and "fixer" Michael Cohen pleaded guilty today to lying to Congress multiple times last year about a proposed plan to build a luxury condominium complex in Russia. He said he did so to protect the President. In papers filed in federal court on Thursday, Cohen revealed that Trump's attempt to make a deal for a Trump Tower in Moscow continued until at least June of 2016, after Trump had already clinched the GOP nomination for President and many months later than previously known. That, despite Trump's repeated claims during the campaign and after that he had no business with Russia.

The President responded today by calling Cohen "weak", describing him as a liar, and pretending that these details were already publicly known. (They weren't.) But if the written answers Trump submitted just last week to Mueller in response to a series of questions in the Special Counsel's Russia probe are in conflict with the information and evidence detailed by today's guilty plea and court filing, it could raise serious new legal issues for his increasingly erratic and manic Presidency.

Then, we have a number of new details today in the stunning mystery regarding the U.S. House election in North Carolina's 9th District, which the State Board of Elections declined to certify earlier this week after an objection from a Democratic board member. Republican Mark Harris reportedly defeated Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes out of more than 280,000 cast in the contest. But the state board unanimously voted 9 to 0 to delay certification only in that House race, due to allegations of "unfortunate activities" which, the Board member charged, have been "ongoing for a number of years."

Today, we learn that state investigators are eyeing absentee ballot applications and envelopes in at least two counties in NC-9, one of which had an extraordinarily high rate of absentee votes, as well as absentee ballots that were never returned to the counties. Moreover, a new analysis finds "unusual" absentee numbers in the GOP primary as well, back in May, when Harris is said to have defeated incumbent Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger by just 828 votes. All of this in a state were Republicans, ironically enough, have long (falsely) accused Democrats of fraud and have worked for years (in repeated violation of federal law) to make it more difficult for them to vote.

Next, Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin has filed for a "recount" in Maine's 2nd Congressional District, after winning the first round of vote counting, but ultimately losing the election to Democratic challenger Jared Golden in the state's first Ranked Choice Voting election. Poliquin's campaign accurately charges that the tabulation relied upon a "black-box" voting system and "computer algorithm" that "no one is able to review".

They argue that the RCV scheme "confused and even frightened" voters who felt their votes "did not count due to computer-engineered rank voting". This predictable outcome, of course, is just one of the reasons we've long warned against the use of RCV, despite many progressives who support the virtually unoverseeable voting scheme which allows voters to rank their choices, and reassigns second choice votes to other candidates if nobody obtains a majority in the initial round of counting. (Feel free to leave your hate comments below. Though please look at Approval Voting first, as a workable, publicly overseeable, hand-countable and far less confusing alternative.) Poliquin's campaign says they've filed for "a traditional ballot recount conducted by real people". Due to the complicated nature of RCV elections, a multiple-round hand-count could take as long as a month, according to state officials, potentially delaying Golden's expected swearing in to the U.S. House on January 3.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with a new report from the U.N., finding the world is not on track to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, Amazon's new HQ is in a flood zone, House Dems introduce legislation for a price on carbon and Australia is now facing massive wildfires, heat, and flooding as our global climate crisis continues to worsen...

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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!"...

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

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