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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, June 22, 2017
Secrets Revealed: DoD Assessment of Manning Leaks, GOP Senate Healthcare Bill: 'BradCast' 6/22/17
Guest: BuzzFeed 'FOIA Terrorist' Jason Leopold; Also: Trump's audio tape bluff?...
'Green News Report' 6/22/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump's solar border wall; Perry's science denial; Trump Admin seeks to reactivate Yucca Mountain Nuclear Repository; Plastic reaches Antarctica; PLUS: UK to shift to e-cars...
Previous GNRs: 6/20/17 - 6/13/17 - Archives...
Tuesday's 100% Unverifiable Special Election Results in GA, SC: 'BradCast' 6/21/17
And, ironically enough, Wednesday's mostly disinformative hearings in the U.S. Senate on alleged manipulation of the 2016 election...
'Bedlam' Ahead: Obstruction, Recusals, Chain of Succession, Impeachment, Indictments: 'BradCast' 6/20/17
Guest: Attorney Seth Abramson; Plus: Senate moving healthcare; Rick Perry still dumb...
'Green News Report' 6/20/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record heat wave in Western U.S.; New criminal indictments in Flint; Massive Portugal wildfire kills more than 60; PLUS: Court victory, enviro award for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe...
Previous GNRs: 6/13/17 - 6/8/17 - Archives...
GA's Unverifiable E-Vote Passwords, Database, Found on Unsecured Server: 'BradCast' 6/19/17
State contracted programmers told of security prob last year, covered it up, left files online...
Sunday Toons of the Rhetoric Toning Moment
If only we could tone down the rhetoric in D.C., everything would be happily every after, right? The cartoonist in PDiddie's weekly collection aren't so sure...
NC Racial Gerrymandering Highlight's GOP 'Justice Delayed, Denied' Strategy
But after SCOTUS ruling and government realignment, justice may soon be at hand...
As Sessions Testifies, GOP Schemes: 'BradCast' 6/13/17
Guest: David Dayen on Congress/Trump plans to sell off public assets, gut banking reforms, more; Also: How to win young voters and the House Dem rift over impeachment...
'Green News Report' 6/13/17
Int. Sec. wants new nat'l monument borders; Heat waves more deadly in India; More 100-year floods in US; PLUS: French grants for US scientists...
Election Whistleblower Stephen Heller on Election Whistleblower Reality Winner: 'BradCast' 6/12/17
Also: More bad federal court news for Trump, but maybe good court news for him in GA-06...
Sunday Toons of the 'Lordy' Moment
As Comey prayed for audio tapes, God may have been ignoring him, but Trump wasn't. At the same time, the GOP enjoyed the distraction and Reality went to jail. All of that and more in PDiddie's latest toon collection...
'Conservatism' Failing from Topeka to Tulsa to the River Thames: 'BradCast' 6/9/17
And a lot of other important stuff you've been distracted from by the Trump Circus over the past week or two...
'Lordy, I Hope There Are Tapes': Comey Testifies, Accuses Trump WH of 'Lies': 'BradCast' 6/8/17
Guest: Author, journalist Marcy Wheeler; Also: Stunning loss reported for UK Conservatives...
'Green News Report' 6/8/17
As Trump leaves Paris pact, HI steps up, CA partners w/ China; Switching coal to solar would save 52,000 lives a year; PLUS: NV Dems reverse anti-solar regs...
Comey's Testimony and Callers on Trump Impeachment: 'BradCast' 6/7/17
Former FBI Director confirms 'obstruction' reports, Trump says he's 'vindicated'. Plus: Somewhat surprising calls on impeachment and alleged NSA 'Leaker' Reality Winner...
'Green News Report' 6/6/17
Global fallout after Trump leaves Paris pact; Even Fox questions case for exiting accord; States, cities step in to fill void; PLUS: India to sell only electric cars...
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: Brennan Center's Elizabeth Goitein says Trump may have violated the law during Oval Office meeting with Russians; And then... BREAKING: Trump said to have asked Comey to shut down Flynn probe...
By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2017 5:54pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Coverage of the two (yes, two) most recent (yes, most recent) blockbuster reports regarding the President, as leaked out of the Oval Office. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up today: Washington Post's explosive report from late yesterday detailing Donald Trump's alleged (and all but confirmed by Trump himself) sharing of highly classified information (reportedly now from Israel) during his recent meeting in the Oval Office with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and Ambassador Kislyiak. The White House, largely via National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, strongly denies any wrong doing.

We're joined to discuss that and what we know and don't about it all, by Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at NYU's Brennan Center for Justice. And, unlike those who are reporting that Trump broke no laws in his alleged disclosure of sensitive information regarding ISIS, Goitein argues the case is not so clear cut.

Classification and declassification of sensitive information is spelled out by Executive Order of the President. "The existing Executive Order was written by President Obama. It is still in force unless or until Trump revokes it or replaces it," Goitein explains. "But President Obama himself would not have been bound by his own Executive Order. President Trump is not bound by that Executive Order. I think it's problematic that Presidents are not bound by their own Executive Orders. Or, I should say, it's problematic they can secretly depart from those orders. Ideally we would have a classification Executive Order that says what the President can do, even if it's just 'The President is exempt from all of these rules.'"

However, Goitein suggests that even a President could face legal exposure via the Espionage Act of 1917.

"The Executive Order is not the only law that is at play here," she tells me. "Congress has also stepped in on various occasions, to regulate the disclosure of national security information. And there are several statutes in which Congress has done that. The statute that seems most relevant here is the Espionage Act. And this is the law that President Obama infamously used to prosecute national security whistle-blowers and others who leaked information to the media, rather than actual spies and traitors, which is whom the law was designed to address. But this law, on its face, prohibits the communication of information related to the national defense --- whether that information is classified or not --- to anyone not entitled to receive it, if there's reason to believe it could be used either to harm the United States or to aid a foreign nation. So on it's face, that statute would certainly seem to apply."

I discuss that and much more with Goitein about this entire fine mess today. It's worth tuning in for that alone. But then...

Breaking hard mid-show today: The New York Times' perhaps even more explosive report detailing a memo written by then FBI Director James Comey describing his February one-on-one meeting with the President in the Oval Office, in which Comey reportedly charges that Trump requested he drop the Bureau's ongoing investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. "I hope you can let this go," Trump said to Comey, according to the Times, in an account also vigorously denied by the White House, but which, if true, would amount to a very serious case of Obstruction of Justice by the President of the United States.

If only there was a taping system of some kind in the Oval Office so we could figure out who's telling the truth.

Finally today, after disembarking from that insane news roller coaster, if only for the moment, we finish up today with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, because the planet doesn't really give a damn about either national security or politics...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/16/2017 11:33am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: North Carolina's request for disaster relief denied; April 2017 the second hottest April on record for the planet; US Secretary of State Tillerson signs climate change declaration; PLUS: US military warns of national security impacts of climate change --- again... 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): Trump is America's experiment in having no government; DAPL pipeline has no spill response plan for Standing Rock; Regulatory Accountability Act is bad for science; Obama's Clean Power Plan face news battle in court; EPA unfazed by strong case against pesticide; Trump Country is flooding, and climate ideas are shifting; Mexico enlists dolphins to help save endangered tiny porpoise... PLUS: China and India set to reach climate goals early... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




Guest: David Roberts of Vox; Also: Good voting rights news for NC, more details on the thousands turned away from the polls in WI in 2016...
By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2017 6:29pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Our friend David Roberts of Vox.com on making sense of Donald Trump's seemingly senseless decision making process --- and, somehow, learning to live with it and/or contain the damage. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today, some good news! The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear North Carolina Republicans' appeal of the U.S. 4th Circuit Appeals Court ruling last year striking down what many have describes as the "Mother of All Voter Suppression" laws. The appellate court had found that state Republicans included provisions in the law that were intentionally discriminatory in that they were drafted in order to "target African-Americans with almost surgical precision".

But while that law was blocked last year in NC and will now remain blocked for the foreseeable future there, a similarly discriminatory Photo ID voting restriction was allowed to be used in Wisconsin last year, where Trump is said to have won by just 22,000 votes despite some 300,000 voters in the Badger State --- disproportionately African-American, poor, elderly and students --- who do not have the type of ID now required to vote under the GOP's restriction.

Last week, we detailed a new analysis of the affect of that law on the Presidential election results in WI last year, finding that some 200,000 otherwise legal voters may have been prevented from casting their vote. Today, we detail some of the specific voters who were prevented from voting last November, because of the discriminatory law, including, as AP reports: "The Navy veteran whose out-of-state driver’s license did not suffice, or the dying woman whose license had expired, or the recent graduate whose student ID was deficient", among others.

Then, we're joined by Vox' Roberts who, late last week, published a Tweetstorm in response to Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, in which he attempted to explain why it's so difficult, if not impossible, for journalists, politicians and the public to make sense of the President's decision making process. That is largely, Roberts detailed in his Tweetstorm and in a follow-up article at Vox and to me today, because Trump doesn't have any such process --- at least beyond what feels good at the moment he makes the decision based largely on whatever the last person he talked to told him about the issue.

Roberts' assessment, which cites psychological conditions such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder and something called "Theory of Mind", actually helps to illuminate the reasons for Trump's otherwise, seemingly, reason-free process.

"There's clearly something wrong with the dude," says Roberts. "From all indications he just doesn't have those beliefs and commitments that carry over from situation to situation. By all indications on the surface, what he's doing is: every situation is new. He gropes around for what makes him feel powerful or in charge, and then sort of lunges at that, with no thought of commitments that came before, or consequences that might come after, or how it relates to other things he's said, or other people he's committed to, or anything really!"

"I compare it to a goldfish. Every situation is new. Every day is new. And he's just this sort of bundle of impulses." But while that, Roberts explains, makes Trump so difficult to cover from a journalistic standpoint, or to understand from a political or voter's perspective, it's also what makes him exceedingly dangerous. "Imagine if there's a viral outbreak, or imagine if North Korea really tries to provoke him. Even his allies --- even the people in his administration --- have to be thinking 'Do I know what he's going to do in that situation?'"

While many try to explain Trump's decisions as some grand design, or even as an attempt to distract from one issue or another, Roberts argues it's usually far simpler (and more troubling) than that. He also speaks to what we --- journalists, politicians and citizens --- can all do now in hopes of minimizing the damage that he will be able to cause until he finally leaves office one way or another...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/11/2017 11:03am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Temporary reprieve for the planet as Trump postpones decision on Paris Climate Agreement; Emergency declared at the most contaminated nuclear site in the U.S.; Majority of toxic Superfund sites located near low-income residential areas; PLUS: A win for taxpayers, and the climate, as Republicans fail to repeal methane flaring rule... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

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

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): U.S. regulators block new drilling on pipeline after 18 spills; U.S. wind energy installations surge; Glacier National Park's namesakes will be gone within a few decades; WI grapples with manure-tainted drinking water wells; Oil industry to begin seismic surveys in Atlantic Ocean; New Jersey's working class are forgotten as federal government funds fixes for wealthier neighbors; Climate deniers predictably side with authoritarians; Uncertainty over Trump decision on Paris Agreement clouds Arctic Council meeting; The economy-changing power of LED bulbs; Water crisis unfolding on Long Island, NY... PLUS: Trump's reasons for leaving the Paris Climate Agreement are based on a myth... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




Guest: Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress Justice...
By Brad Friedman on 5/10/2017 6:03pm PT  

On today's BradCast, as you might have guessed, we pick up on the news that broke mid-show yesterday of Donald Trump's stunning and sudden firing of FBI Director James Comey, while the fallout and reeling continues in D.C. and across the nation today. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The pretext for that firing, which even some on Fox "News" describe as "almost inexplicable", was Comey's alleged mishandling last year of the Bureau's investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while Sec. of State, according to a letter [PDF] written by new Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

A handful of Republican Senators (though some key ones) have expressed concern or "disappointment" over "the timing" of Trump's unprecedented firing of the FBI chief, which appears to have caught just about everybody by surprise, even as investigations continue at both the FBI and Congress into Trump and members of his campaign regarding allegations of undeclared ties to Russia and/or other foreign nations both during the campaign and after the election.

Democrats, meanwhile, are outraged by Comey's firing, despite their furor about the way he oversaw the Clinton probe last year during the run-up to the Presidential election. They are calling for a special prosecutor to be named by Rosenstein at the DoJ and an independent bi-partisan special committee to be named by Congress to investigate all of this. Many are comparing Trump's dismissal of Comey to Nixon's "Saturday Night Massacre" at the height of the Watergate investigation, others describing it as "a grotesque abuse of power by the President", while some Congressional Democrats are citing this moment as "a full-blown Constitutional crisis."

Joining us today to try and explain what is or isn't going on here, and whether it amounts to such a Constitutional crisis, full-blown or otherwise, is author and Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress Justice. He explains the legitimate complaints against Comey, while making the case that his firing was little more than an effort by Trump to disrupt the FBI's ongoing Russia probe.

"What is the emotion you're supposed to feel when the biggest villain in the United States fires the second biggest villain in the United States?," Millhiser wryly asks, before detailing the legal underpinnings for Trump's move, whether any of it is in violation of the law or the U.S. Constitution, and whether Rosenstein or his new boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, acted inappropriately in collusion with Trump and the White House.

"The story of the last nine years of American politics," he goes on to explain, "has been that people like Trump, and Jeff Sessions, and James Comey, and Mitch McConnell --- maybe I shouldn't lump Comey in with them because I don't know that he was necessarily acting in bad faith in the way that some of the other ones are --- but people have figured out that we don't have a system of rules that prevents you from doing a lot to blow stuff up, and that prevents you from engaging in a lot of sabotage. What we have are norms that people just didn't violate because they cared enough about the United States of America not to do so."

Those days, Millhiser argues today, appear to be over --- at least as of right now --- in these United States.

Finally, we close with a tiny bit of good news today --- thanks, in part, to the surprising vote of at least one Republican Senator --- regarding the GOP's continuing attempt to roll back Obama Administration fossil fuel-related regulations on public lands...

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

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And MUCH more today...
By Brad Friedman on 5/9/2017 5:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The stunning breaking news that FBI Director James Comey has been fired by Donald Trump hits smack dab in the middle of today's show.

Other than that, we also cover a whole bunch of other noteworthy stuff today, including...

  • South Korea elects liberal candidate who wants to open relations with North Korea as new President, Donald Trump about to get very confused;
  • Trump Campaign scrubs own website amid federal court hearing on 'unconstitutional' Muslim travel ban;
  • Sally Yates makes mincemeat of both hypocritical U.S. Senators from Texas during her Monday Senate testimony;
  • Vulnerable Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA) walks out of interview in a huff after being asked perfectly reasonable question;
  • New study finds GOP Photo ID voting restriction laws suppressed huge number of voters in 2016, including some 200,000 in Wisconsin (which Trump reportedly won by 22,700 votes);
  • Illinois Senate calls Republican Governor's bluff, advances bi-partisan bill for automatic voter registration;
  • Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report as France votes for climate action and climate change-fueled extreme weather turns deadly in Midwest and South East.

Oh, and did I mention Donald Trump suddenly fired FBI Director James Comey today?!!...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/9/2017 10:58am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: France votes for climate action in Presidential election; Wildfires force evacuations in Florida and Georgia; Extreme storms and flooding kill 13 in the Midwest; Time is running out to speak up for EPA regulations you'd like to keep; PLUS: Conservative climate group trolls Trump on climate change denial... 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): GOP senator says ‘the Indians’ should ‘just take my word for it’ on sacred tribal lands; Carbon pollution is suffocating ocean life and speeding up the next mass extinction; Thawing Alaska permafrost causes state's CO2 emissions to surge; Climate change raises fears of dam failures in CA; Trump to soon decide fate of US participation in Paris Agreement; Trump appoints Clean Power Plan critic to serve on crucial federal energy regulator board... PLUS: Bannon is pulling one over on Trump. There is zero reason to exit the Paris climate accord... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




Guest: Brendan Fischer of Campaign Legal Center...
By Brad Friedman on 5/4/2017 6:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast, House Republicans finally pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) --- a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ('ObamaCare') --- but at what cost? Also: Donald Trump signs a bill that pretends to protect religious liberties. But what does it really do? [Audio link to show follows below.]

It's difficult, if not impossible, to know the real cost of the Republicans' ACHA, since House Speaker Paul Ryan refused to allow the bill to be analyzed first by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office before forcing a vote in the House today. Instead, it was rammed through with a very narrow margin of all-Republican votes just hours after the final text was made available to members. That, as you'll recall, is exactly what Republicans used to pretend Democrats did during the 13-month process to pass ObamaCare in 2009 and 2010.

The costs, however, are likely to be enormous to the American public, if the bill gets through the Senate and is signed by the President, particularly to the poor, the elderly, the more than 25% of Americans with pre-existing conditions, and to those who found themselves filing bankruptcy due to medical expenses prior to the passage of ACA. The political cost to House Republicans, however, who left today for yet another 11-day recess, may be a whole different matter. The CBO predicted 24 million Americans would lose their health care coverage in the next decade under the GOP's failed plan six weeks ago. This version is likely to be much worse.

Also today, Donald Trump signed another one of his Executive Orders. This one pretends to counter the "religious discrimination" of the Johnson Amendment, a piece of otherwise almost 70 year old, non-controversial, bipartisan legislation originally signed by President Eisenhower, barring tax-exempt non-profit groups, like churches, from explicitly endorsing or opposing candidates for office. But what's the real point behind Trump's otherwise empty action today? And why is the religious Right so eager to see Trump "get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment," as he promised at the National Prayer Breakfast in February, just weeks after taking office?

Brendan Fischer, associate counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, joins us to explain this move that could ultimately result in allowing even more "dark money" to make its way into politics and elections. And, this time, while giving secret political funders a tax deduction for it in the bargain!

"We, as taxpayers, are subsidizing these groups, and we are not subsidizing these groups to offer wealthy donors a tax deduction for their secret political spending," Fischer explains. The Johnson Amendment, so-named for its original sponsor, then Sen. Lyndon Johnson, was enacted in response to a "dark money" attack against him during his 1954 reelection campaign by a non-profit, tax-exempt group.

While Presidential Executive Orders don't actually have the power to reverse legislation (whether this President understands that or not), Trump is pretending that his order will prevent the IRS from "targeting" religious institutions, as he and his evangelical allies claim to be the case, despite all evidence to the contrary.

"The Johnson Amendment is not targeting churches at all," says Fischer. "Because donors to these churches and charities get a tax deduction for their donations, 501(c)3's are prohibited from engaging in political activity. The reason that taxpayers are effectively subsidizing these groups is for their charitable, or religious or social welfare oriented activities, not for their political activities and partisan political engagement." But, of course, the religious Right would like to change that, and Trump appears more than willing to try and help.

The greater danger is that a provision to reverse the rarely-enforced Johnson Amendment could be slipped into upcoming legislation. Then, warns Fischer, churches and charities could potentially become what he describes as "super dark money groups" --- as if we don't already have enough problem with dark money in politics!

Finally: Fox "News" offers one more example today of the Right finding all new ways to pretend that they are victims. This time, if you believe Fox's fake news about a recent shooting, climate "skeptics" are becoming victims of those 'violent and dangerous' environmentalists...

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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[Cross-posted from The BRAD BLOG...]




With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/4/2017 11:16am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Indiana governor signs bill to gut state's rooftop solar industry; Another coal mine tragedy, this time in Iran; Exxon ordered to pay $20 million for refinery pollution; Denmark moves to phase out renewable energy subsidies; PLUS: Rhode Island town makes history as first in U.S. to be powered by offshore wind... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

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

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Diseases hidden within the ice are waking up; CA Exxon refinery explosion report finds weak safety standards; Environmental groups sue over rollback of coal water pollution rules; Ohio state lawmakers seek to open state parks to fracking; Congress' spending deal overrides climate science on burning trees for electricity; How satellite data caught Gulf oil companies hiding enormous spills; Trump puts critic of renewable energy in charge of renewable energy office... PLUS: EPA asks what regulations to scrap, gets an earful from citizens about dirty water... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




Callers ring in on that, Hillary's explanation and NYT's new climate denier...
By Brad Friedman on 5/3/2017 5:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Hillary Clinton and FBI Director James Comey are both still explaining what exactly happened last year, and callers ring in with lots of thoughts on both of them. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Comey returned to Congress on Wednesday to testify before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on his decision to announce the re-opening of the investigation into Clinton's private email server just over a week before last year's November 8th election. The testimony, in which Comey describes his two choices as being either "really bad or catastrophic", comes one day after Clinton cited that decision as one of several causes for her loss in the Presidential Election last year.

Today, we offer some extended clips from Comey's testimony and Clinton's commentary, before taking listener calls in response to both, as well as on the New York Times controversial decision (as discussed in more detail on yesterday's show) to hire climate science denier Bret Stephens for its op-ed page.

Also, Desi Doyen explains the Trump Administration pending decision on whether to pull out of the landmark U.N. Paris Agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions, and possibly the entire U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. Also, she joins us for latest Green News Report', as Donald Trump rolls back safety regulations for off-shore drilling, implemented by the Obama Administration following the 2010 BP Gulf Oil Disaster...

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

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Guest: Will Bunch of Philadelphia Daily News...
By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2017 6:20pm PT  

Over the weekend, at least two noteworthy media-related things happened, neither of them related (at least directly) to the White House Correspondents' Dinner. We discuss both matters on today's BradCast. [Audio link to show is posted at bottom of article.]

The President of the United States and the White House Chief of Staff discussed the possibility of doing away with the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment freedom of the press. As my guest today, Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News wrote last night, that "probably should have led every paper and TV newscast in America, but for many everyday news consumers this wasn't even the biggest media-related outrage of the weekend."

The larger outrage, at least for many, seems to have come from liberal and progressive New York Times readers who called in to the paper, in reportedly huge numbers, to cancel their subscriptions following the first op-ed filed by the paper's new hire, Bret Stephens, a rightwing, former Wall Street Journal columnist and climate science denier.

I chat with Bunch --- author, journalist and longtime writer of the Philly.com's Attytood blog, which he describes as an "uber-opinionated, fair-but-dangerously unbalanced opinion blog" --- about both concerns today, and what they may mean for the future of U.S. news gathering, reporting and publishing.

On Trump's First Amendment threat, he notes how difficult it actually is to amend the Constitution and that the Trump Administration, after all, appears to be "the gang that couldn't shoot straight." On the other hand, Bunch cautions, "the fact that they would make these threats absolutely is newsworthy."

"The reason I wrote a piece that was largely about the Bret Stephens controversy, but also wrapped in this whole First Amendment thing, is I feel there's a relationship between the two," he tells me. "The press in this country is under assault in ways it hasn't been before. The media, to fight back, needs to be on its 'A' game. It can't make unforced errors, which the Bret Stephens thing arguably is." Bunch also goes on to explain how papers like the Times came to offer the fake balance that they have, for years, published on their op-ed pages, and suggests that perhaps it's time to do away with that all together. He explains why.

We also discuss another column of his from over the weekend, arguing that it will take years to undo the long-lasting damage that Trump has already brought to both the nation and the Presidency in just his first 100 days.

Also on today's program: Trump already appears to have violated federal election laws for his 2020(!) campaign; his Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross huddles with other millionaires and billionaires to make light of the recent unauthorized, illegal, deadly and expensive U.S. cruise missile attack on Syria as little more than 'after-dinner entertainment'; and a new study by the American Press Institute and the Associated Press finds that, yes, Americans (even younger ones) are willing to actually pay for their news...at least under certain conditions...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/2/2017 11:38am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: People's Climate March draws hundreds of thousands in the sweltering heat; Trump's EPA deletes climate change from its website; Last-minute government funding deal ignores Trump's proposed environmental cuts; Largest electric utility in Iowa to go 100% renewable; PLUS: Trump rolls back oil spill safety regulations implemented after the BP Gulf Oil Disaster... 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): The New York Times should not have hired climate change bullshitter Bret Stephens; Scientists have shown they can march. Can they help win elections?; Sea-Level Rise: Gentrification As High Ground Becomes Hot Property; New York Plan to Dump Chlorine Into Sewers Worries Environmentalists; Justices Deny Review Of Case Challenging Polar Bear Habitat; Nitrite Pollution Puts Warming Waters At Risk; USDA Secretary Rolls Back Obama Nutrition Standards For School Lunches... PLUS: Melting Arctic Threatens Age-Old Hunt In Northernmost Greenland Village... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




Guest: Dave Johnson of People's Action/Campaign for America's Future...
By Brad Friedman on 5/1/2017 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Republicans continue to pretend we don't face a gun violence epidemic in the U.S., that human-caused climate change isn't happening and that massive tax cuts help, rather harm, the economy and the middle class. They may need to pretend harder. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

First up today, a number of multiple victim shootings that played out across America --- from San Diego to Topeka to Dallas --- in the past 24 hours, but received very little media coverage, for some strange reason. At the same time, on Saturday, hundreds of thousands turned out across the country for the People's Climate March --- nearly 200,000 of them in sweltering 90 degree heat (in late April!) in Washington D.C. alone. The latest mass demonstration against the Trump Administration's attempts to deny science and cut funding to climate-related programs came just hours after Trump's EPA began the removal of climate change-related facts and scientific data from its website.

And, all of that happened as Donald Trump's Presidency hit its first 100 days, a period marked by, among other things, a failure to pass any of the legislative goals announced during his campaign. In hopes of distracting from that failure to date, Trump's Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (pictured above) released a hastily compiled one-page outline for what the White House describes as "The Biggest Individual And Business Tax Cut In American History."

But, as critics from the right, left and center, including my guest today, Dave Johnson, a Senior Fellow at the progressive Campaign for America's Future notes in response to Trump's proposal, bigger isn't necessarily better. In this case, the proposed cuts would actually hurt poor and middle-class Americans, Johnson explains, while defunding the very things that help boost the economy, serving as a huge gift to the very wealthy, and blowing a massive hole in the federal deficit to boot.

Johnson explains the "smokescreen of bamboozlement [and] propaganda" by Republicans for decades on these issues which, he argues, citing similar cuts and claims from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush, have never "paid for themselves" as the Trump Administration is claiming once again. "How many times have they done this and the results have not come through?," Johnson rails, describing how even the Congressional Research Service, when asked by Republicans to create a report in 2012 looking back at tax cut data all the way back to 1945, found that "cutting taxes does not boost the economy."

Moreover, he notes, "corporate profits are at the highest ever right now," making it hard to justify Trump's proposed corporate tax cuts (from 39.5% to 15%) as anything more than an economic boost to a small handful of very wealthy investors. Cutting taxes, he argues, is meant for little more than enriching the already very rich and "forc[ing] cuts in government by forcing a crisis in budgeting."

"Democracy doesn't have an advertising agency, but all of these anti-government people do," Johnson tells me, in response to my questions about how GOPers are still able to continue arguing for something that has proven time and again to be little more than a myth, albeit one that many Americans still seem to fall for. We also discuss whether or not Congressional "Tea Party" Republicans will actually approve such a huge increase in the federal deficit, or if, as with attempts at health care reform, they, not Democrats, will be the real obstacle.

Finally today, more firings and fall-out announced at the Fox 'News' Channel, in response to the myriad and systemic sexual harassment complaints against its now-former creator Roger Ailes and its now-former top star Bill O'Reilly...

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

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Guest: Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Hullabaloo...
By Brad Friedman on 4/28/2017 6:00pm PT  

On today's BradCast, at the 100 days milestone for his Presidency --- which Donald Trump recently dismissed as an "artificial barrier" --- Heather Digby Parton of Salon and the Hullabaloo blog, joins us to try to make sense of (wish us luck) the extraordinary chaos, few successes and many failures, to date, of his historically unpopular Administration. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We do so on a day that Trump watches his hopes for a health care bill fall apart once again in the U.S. House, addresses the NRA in Atlanta, suggests a "major, major confrontation" may be ahead with North Korea, and as he seems to threaten trade wars with everyone from South Korea to Canada to Saudi Arabia.

All of that, as North Korea fires off another ballistic missile test today and Trump tells Reuters he thought being President of the United States "would be easier" than his old job as a real estate hustler and reality TV personality.

Digby --- who also wrote recently about the 100-day mark --- offers her always-enlightening insight on all of the above, explains what has, so far, surprised her most about Trump's Presidency, and speaks to how the corporate media, Congressional Democrats and we, the people, are holding up in The Resistance.

Just another day of havoc and confusion for a stressed out nation (and world) fighting to survive the Trump Era.

Then, speaking of, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report as Florida burns and the melting Arctic now appears to be accelerating the rate of sea level rise beyond previous scientific predictions...

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

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Guest: Marta Segura of the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute; Plus: Another immigration face-plant, another healthcare reform debacle, another Mike Flynn related embarrassment for Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 4/27/2017 6:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Trump and the GOP trip over themselves in their mad rush to his 100th day as President, while Americans plan to hit the streets yet again in protest, this time in a Saturday demonstration on behalf of Planet Earth. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Amidst the Trump Administration's panic to try and un-embarrass themselves about their historic lack of accomplishments before this weekend's "100 Day" benchmark, things only seem to be getting worse for them. Among their latest embarrassments: A new DHS program launched by the Administration to supposedly help victims of crimes purportedly committed by immigrants goes awry in several different ways; the new scramble to pass an updated health care bill in the House to replace the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") has put some Republicans in an untenable position once again, and risks undermining a separate plan to avoid another government shutdown this weekend; the Pentagon confirms that Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is under an Inspector General's investigation for allegedly failing to obtain permission for payments from foreign sources; and Sean Spicer confirms the Administration didn't even bother to run a security background check on Flynn before naming him as NSA. (So much for "extreme vetting".)

But, on Saturday, the 100th Day of his Presidency, another embarrassment awaits as thousands plan to hit the streets yet again, this time for the People's Climate March, just days after Trump signed an Executive Order attempting, for the first time in U.S. history, to reverse national monument declarations made by three former Presidents. Among the public lands Trump hopes to remove protection for, to allow oil, gas and mineral extraction: the Bears Ear National Monument in Utah, a million acres "sacred to Native Americans and home to tens of thousands of archaeological sites, including ancient cliff dwellings."

Marta Segura of the Climate Law Institute at the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute (whose modest mission is "Saving Life on Earth"), and a member of the steering committee for Los Angeles' version of this weekend's march, joins us to discuss all of that and more.

On Trump's attempt to reverse public lands declarations, Segura charges: "The agenda of the Trump Administration is to strengthen the fossil fuel industry and to give them access to lands that have not been explored for fossil fuels, and which they suspect there will be a lot of opportunity to make a lot of people, and a lot of the refineries, very rich, very fast."

"He's claiming that the government has had a 'land grab' on these lands across the nation, and has taken control without the consent of the people," she tells me. "He's misusing that term. He's basically trying to control these lands so that he can benefit the industries. The people are the ones that are benefiting from these public lands right now. That's the definition of public lands."

Speaking about this weekend's climate march and why it's separate from last weekend's March for Science, she explains why organizers in L.A. chose to hold their version of the People's Climate March near the site of a planned Tesoro Oil refinery expansion in Wilmington, near a densly populated residential area on the coast. If the expansion is allowed, she says, it would result in the "the largest refinery in the Western region. And it will be expanding at a time when we really need reductions in greenhouse gases."

"This march," Segura tells me before finishing on a hopeful note, "is for the representation and lifting voices of front-line communities who are disproportionately impacted by the greenhouse gases and pollution."

And, speaking of Planet Earth, we close today with some of Bill Maher's thoughts on hopes by some billionaires (and environmentalists) for colonizing Mars...

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

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