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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, May 23, 2017
The Surreal and Present Danger of Donald Trump: 'BradCast' 5/22/17
Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: Two big election-related SCOTUS decisions, & this week's US House Special Election in MT...
Mike Pence and the 'Sergeant Schultz Defense'
The VP claims he was kept in the dark by Team Trump on key issues regarding disgraced former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn. But is his alibi even plausible?...
Sunday Toons of the 'Witch Hunt!' Moment
Looks like it's double, double toil and trouble for Trump once again this week in PDiddie's collection of the week's best political toons...
Sessions Rolls Back Justice Reform, Trump Digs Himself Deeper: 'BradCast' 5/19/17
Guest: Former Asst. DA Ames Grawert on DoJ's 'draconian' news guidelines; Also: Trump called Comey a 'nut job' in Oval Office with Russians, now heads overseas for nine days...
'Single Greatest Witch Hunt of a Politician in American History!': 'BradCast' 5/18/17
'Chaotic darkness' at Trump White House; Cold Turkey for Flynn, Pence; Eye on McGahn; More unauthorized US war in Syria; MUCH more from today's news tsunami...
'Green News Report' 5/18/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
VA creates carbon cap-and-trade system; Bears Ears Nat'l Monument targeted for gas, oil; Public to EPA: 'Keep regs!'; PLUS: Glacier National Park's glaciers are going, going...
Previous GNRs: 5/16/17 - 5/11/17 - Archives...
What is 'Obstruction of Justice'?:
'BradCast' 5/17/17
Guest: Former Asst. US Attorney Randall D. Eliason of GWU Law School; Also... BREAKING: Special Counsel named to take over Trump/Russia probe...
'Espionage Act': The Oval Office is Leaking (Bigly): 'BradCast' 5/16/17
Guest: Brennan Center's Elizabeth Goitein says Trump may have violated law in Russia meeting; Then... BREAKING: Trump asked Comey to end Flynn probe...
'Green News Report' 5/16/17
NC hurricane disaster relief denied; April 2017 second hottest on record; Tillerson signs climate change pact; PLUS: DoD warns again of climate's NatSec impacts...
Making Sense of (& Surviving) President 'Goldfish': 'BradCast' 5/15/17
Guest: David Roberts of Vox; Also: Good voting news for NC, thousands turned away from WI polls in 2016...
Sunday Toons of the Moment:
'Comey on Both Sides'...
Everybody hates Comey! Except when they don't, as 'PDiddie' details, among other things, in his latest collections of the week's best political toons...
'Green News Report' 5/11/17
Trump postpones decision on UN climate pact; Emergency at WA nuke site; Superfund sites mostly in low-income areas; PLUS: Repubs fail to repeal methane flaring rule...
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...


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




Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton on that and much more...
By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2017 6:24pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: So, what now? What's the next step for Donald Trump's seemingly perpetually faltering Presidency? He and Congressional Republicans suggest they'll go for Tax Reform next. But will that scheme be any more successful than the big promises that Trump has, so far, tried and failed to accomplish? [Audio link to show follows below.]

His Muslim travel ban was blocked for the foreseeable future, once again last night, by a federal judge in Hawaii. His border wall, if it ever actually gets built, won't be paid for by Mexico, apparently, but by U.S. tax-payers. Reportedly, the Administration's not even sure where to put it. His attempt at repealing and replacing ObamaCare went famously down in flames. His effort at rolling back Obama's climate legacy is already facing its first legal challenges on a number of fronts and in a number of courts.

But he and Congressional Republicans say massive reform of the tax code will be next, even though it hasn't been successfully accomplished since the 1980's. And, in hopes of getting some Democrats on board, the Administration has been floating the idea of a massive infrastructure bill, perhaps, to go with it. But is Trump's version of a "Grand Bargain" to bring enough Republicans and Democrats together to accomplish this next scheme any more viable than his previous ones? (Or more viable than when Obama tried, but failed, at something similar?) And, does it help that Trump attacked both Democrats and the far-right Congressional Freedom Caucus today?

The great Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo returns today to discuss all of the above, and a bit more, including whether Democrats can actually hold together in opposition; some little-noticed hypocrisy related to Team Trump attorneys hoping to block a sexual harassment-related lawsuit against a sitting President; an interesting explanation for Ivanka Trump's "new" role in the Administration; and whether Senate Democrats can or will successfully filibuster to keep Judge Neil Gorsuch from being confirmed to the GOP's stolen U.S. Supreme Court seat, as vacated with the death of Antonin Scalia more than one year ago...

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: Frank Schaeffer on what Dems must do to win again; Also: U.S. civilian massacres explode in Middle East; NC paying high price for anti-LGBT law; ND pipeline leak much worse than previously known...
By Brad Friedman on 3/27/2017 6:02pm PT  

On today's BradCast, a former evangelical Christian who, after decades of participating in the political rightwing anti-abortion con has since seen the light, joins us to explain what Democrats need to do in order to encourage his "brainwashed" former followers to realize they've been scammed by Donald Trump. [Audio link to show at end of article.]

But first up today, U.S. officials admit some 200 Iraqi civilians in Mosul may have been killed during a U.S. bombing campaign last week, in what has become a startling and savage escalation in the so-called "War on Terror" since Trump has taken office. While the Obama Administration had carried out similar campaigns, the increase in indiscriminate lethality by the new President's campaigns in Iraq, Syria and Yemen is both alarming and vastly underreported or downplayed by U.S. media --- not to mention, counter-productive in the so-called "War on Terror".

Meanwhile, in North Carolina, the GOP's anti-LGBT "bathroom bill" is costing the state economy thousands of jobs and billions of dollars, according to a new analysis by the Associated Press. That, even as Republicans in other states, like Texas, are quickly moving to enact similarly "conservative" anti-LGBT laws in their own state.

Then, as Trump's approval rating continues to plummet to record lows, even his numbers among his own base of supporters --- white, male Republicans --- are beginning to erode. Still, overall support for the President remains high among Republicans as a whole, for now.

Author Frank Schaeffer, who formerly spent decades along with his father, theologian Dr. Francis Schaeffer, creating (and profiting from) the far right anti-abortion political movement, joins us to discuss how he believes Democrats can win back both the White House and Congress, from the perspective of someone who, for many years, had preyed on the fears and false facts favored by rightwing, so-called "values voters". You can't convince them of facts, a fired-up Schaeffer tells me today, but you can drop a lit metaphorical match into their gas tanks by helping them understand how Trump himself has "betrayed them."

"The over-arching bloc of people without whom [Trump] could not have been elected are white evangelicals, and that's my stomping ground." Schaeffer explains. "This was all before I left the evangelical world and changed sides both, you might say, theologically and politically. When it comes to understanding the brain of the evangelical movement, I know what I'm talking about. From birth, people raised in the fundamentalist subculture are taught to mistrust, distrust, renounce so-called 'world facts'. So, when science says that evolution proves something, or that the Earth is very old, or there wasn't a Noah's ark, you are taught from birth they are lying. We have our own facts. We have our own truth. That truth is in the Bible and our denomination's interpretation of it."

You can't convince these folks with facts alone that they are wrong, he argues, but you can help them see how they have been scammed. "If you come up with a fact-based argument, people's eyes in the evangelical world just glaze over, and instead of talking to you about the issue or the facts, all you get back is this stream-of-consciousness which is really more of a Pavlovian reaction and brain-washing," he says. "So, [Trump] had a built-in audience that liked what he was saying just because he's giving the finger to the established order of science, university teaching, learning --- and all those other things that so-called 'secular' people live by."

"That group of people is going to be looking at what he's doing to them when they lose healthcare," Shaeffer, whose latest book is Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God, observes. "They're going to be looking at the fact that in that new budget of his, Meals on Wheels doesn't show up for their grandma anymore on that farm in Omaha. They're going to see one tweak too many ... That drip-drip-drip-drip of actual evidence in their own lives --- not reason, not argument --- but things going wrong because he is a fool, he is a charlatan, he is a faker, he is a fraud. In other words, when they wake up in the position your average Trump University student woke up in, finding their degree was worthless, they are going to simply start losing faith."

But will they? Haven't these same folks fallen for the same con many times in the past? Schaeffer, who worked with past Republican Presidents, responds to that question, and many others today in a lively (and angry) dressing down of both Trump and his supporters, who, Schaeffer insists, he still knows all too well.

Finally today, a pro-Trump demonstration in California over the weekend ends with a counter-demonstrator being repeatedly beaten with a "Make American Great Again" sign, and the pipeline oil spill reported last December in North Dakota, not far from the site of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, turns out to have been at least three time larger than originally reported...

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: Will Fischer, Director of Government Relations at VoteVets.org...
By Brad Friedman on 3/17/2017 6:04pm PT  

On today's BradCast, health advocacy organizations say they are shocked by Donald Trump's proposed cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) among other federal agencies being slashed or eliminated in order to pay for a massive increase in military spending. But even some veterans organizations, whose members might otherwise stand to gain from increases to the budget of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, are slamming the cuts being proposed everywhere else. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Groups such as the American Heart Association, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (representing Cancer specialists) and the American Lung Association are charging that Trump's budget would have a "devastating" effect on both the health of the nation and its economy, both now and into the future. Even some Republicans in Congress are pushing back against the cruelest of cuts in Trump's proposal, such as slashing programs that fund Meals on Wheels and school lunch programs which, the White House continues to maintain, have not proven themselves to work.

The draconian cuts to science, arts, diplomacy and services for the poor are supposedly proposed in order to pay for huge increases in spending on military and veterans programs. Today, as Trump held a "Listening Session" with veterans groups at the White House, we're joined by Will Fischer of VoteVets.org, the largest progressive veterans organization, representing some 500,000 veterans and their families and which has come out strongly against Trump's proposed budget.

Fischer, a U.S. Marine, decorated Iraq War combat vet and VoteVets' Director of Congressional Relations joins us from Capitol Hill to argue that, while increased spending on VA issues is fine, the loss of domestic and non-military programs (not to mention repealing the Affordable Care Act, or "ObamaCare") is likely to be exceedingly damaging to vets. "This is un-American, and a blatant attempt to try to divide military and veterans and everyone else," he argues. "Nobody is going to leave unscathed by the Trump budget."

"No one is questioning that we need to have a military that is ready and equipped for the modern century," Fischer tells me. "What we don't want to see happen is this ridiculous notion that somehow we need to be forcing the American people to make a choice between having a strong national defense and having heating assistance for someone on hard times --- who very well may be a veteran. Choosing between having new equipment at a VA or scientists investigating climate change --- we need all these things, and we need to ensure everyone is paying their fair share so we can realize and have all of these things."

He also explains why his group rejects Trump's "national security" claims to justify a travel ban from Muslim countries. "It is absolutely not in line with the oath that I swore," Fischer says. "Donald Trump is deploying troops into Syria. Now, how in the world are our commanders on the ground supposed to go to Syrians and say, 'Hey, work with us, help us out, and we'll be sure to take care of you', when all they have to do is turn on the TV and see us turning away Afghanis who helped us, turning away Iraqis who helped us, and sentencing those people to death? People who kept Marines from walking into ambushes, these are people who served right alongside us, and Donald Trump is saying, 'no, you're not welcome here.'"

I hope you'll click below to tune in for what, I think, is a must-hear conversation.

Finally, we close with Desi Doyen and the latest Green News Report, with more on Trump's proposed slashing of the EPA budget, the global warming caused death of the Great Barrier Reef, Fukushima, six years after nuclear disaster and a hint, at least, of some encouraging news from the new Defense Secretary, who apparently understands the national security threat posed by climate change, even if his new boss clearly doesn't.

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

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52 years following LBJ's Voting Rights Act speech, and four since the VRA was gutted by SCOTUS, two recent cases prove it's still much needed...
By Brad Friedman on 3/16/2017 6:24pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it was another bad day in court for Donald Trump, a disturbing day in the nation (and around the world) for those who care about science, the arts, the war ravaged and the poor, and a pretty encouraging week for those voters who actually give a damn about racial discrimination at the polling place. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Donald Trump's second attempt at a travel ban is, so far, not faring much better than his first one. Two federal courts have now blocked his newer Executive Order attempting to block Muslims and refugees from entering the country.

In the meantime, Trump finally released his alarming budget proposal, detailing draconian cuts to science, the arts, and policies that assist and aid the poor, in order to pay for a massive $54 billion increase in military spending and the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. The cuts, if they were to be enacted, are far worse than you might have imagined, and even more drastic than many Congressional Republicans --- and even some in Trump's own Administration --- had been calling for. We detail the cruel mess and some of the responses, including one from the Corporation for Public Broadcast (for which each American pays just $1.35 per year), and who, along with the National Endowment for the Arts and organizations which help the poor and hungry across the globe, would be wiped out by Trump's "American First: Budget Blueprint to Make American Great Again".

Then, on the 52nd anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson's historic 1965 introduction of the Voting Rights Act in Congress following the Bloody Sunday march in Selma, Alabama --- and four years since the U.S. Supreme Court gutted that landmark voting law in 2013 --- several court cases over the past week have, once again, found racial discrimination at the polling place by elected officials. We cover two such cases today, one that unlawfully purged African-American voters in a rural Georgia county before a white man unseated a black incumbent mayor in 2015, and the other, with far-reaching implications, in Texas, where a 2 to 1 appellate court ruling finds the state intentionally discriminated against Hispanic voters when drawing up its 2011 Congressional redistricting maps. That ruling (with a remarkable dissent) could result in the state being required to once again obtain federal pre-clearance under the VRA before enacting any new voting laws in the future.

Finally, we close with an amusing --- and telling --- look at what Fox "News" considers to be "anti-Trump media bias"...

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: The Intercept's Jon Schwarz...
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2017 5:51pm PT  

On today's BradCast, while the U.S. media and public are obsessed by whatever Trump's relationship is or isn't with Russia and his bizarre tweets over the weekend, real policies and federal agencies --- relied upon for decades by millions of Americans --- are about to be gutted by the President and his Republican friends in the U.S. Congress. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Once again today, however, we must lead with more terrorism. And, once again, it's another alleged attack by a white man against someone --- a man of the Sikh faith, in this case --- told by the shooter, to "Go back to your own country!" While the incident, once again, has been ignored by the White House, Donald Trump found time today to sign a new Executive Order being described by critics as "Muslim Ban 2.0". While it's more narrowly tailored than his last one, which was blocked by the federal courts, the new order still provides no evidence that it will actually increase national security in any way.

Then, while Trump was unleashing his latest evidence-free Twitter tantrum over the weekend, charging that President Obama had "wire tapped" his phones at Trump Tower before leaving office, White House budget busters were sharpening their knives with huge planned increases in defense spending to be paid for by draconian slashes to thousands of jobs and billions of dollars at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

But why stop protecting the environment and health of Americans there? Our guest today, Jon Schwarz of The Intercept, joins us to explain how, while much of what Trump said in last week's address to Congress (at least some of the encouraging parts, like his promise to "promote clean air and clean water") can "safely be ignored", at least one point should not be. His comments about Medicaid, relied upon by millions of Americans, should be taken very seriously, Schwarz warns.

"Medicaid is not just healthcare for the poor," he explains. "It also pays the bills for over 60 percent of nursing home residents, and 40 percent of all national long-term care costs." With GOP control of Congress and Trump no longer promising "no cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid," as he repeatedly did on the campaign trail, Schwarz decodes the President's comments from last week's speech promising to "give our state governors the resources and flexibility they need with Medicaid."

"It truly is awful what the Republicans have planned for Medicaid," Schwarz says, detailing how Trump's language now syncs up almost perfectly with House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has long called for schemes that would gut Medicaid. "The reason that they will go after it first is because the people who are the main recipients are either children, or they are over 65, or they are blind or they are disabled --- they truly are the people with the least ability to fight back. So it makes sense that that's who you want to attack first."

Schwarz explains what replacing the current federally-funded system with "block grants" to states actually means, who it will most harm, and how it will harm them. Medicaid, he says, is "not an incredibly generous program" as is. "But, it is crucial for anyone who has not made a lot of money their whole lives. People don't understand that if Medicaid is cut, old people truly will be dying in the streets. If you're a bit luckier, and you have kids with an extra room, maybe you will be dying on your kids' fold out couch."

As noted during the interview, Schwartz, a former writer for Saturday Night Live, is not particularly funny today. But Americans, particularly younger Americans, who will become the victims of these schemes while they are not paying attention --- unless Republicans can block them --- need to pay attention to what is likely about to happen, if Trump and GOP leadership get their way.

Finally, we close today with a moving word or two from MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski on the woeful and embarrassing White House reaction to Trump's bizarre weekend Tweet storm...

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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Guests: Journalists Jacki Schechner and Gaius Publius...
By Brad Friedman on 3/1/2017 4:30pm PT  

While the corporate media have been somewhat beside themselves with effusive praise of Donald Trump's success at reading a speech from a teleprompter at his address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night, our guests on today's BradCast see it somewhat differently.

Suffice to say journalists Jacki Schechner and Gaius Publius were far less impressed. They both join us today to un-spin Trump's speech and some of the alternative facts he presented --- on healthcare, energy, the hate-crime epidemic, his exploitation of the widow of a Navy SEAL killed recently in Yemen and more --- as well as both the media's and Democrats', at times, beguiling response to it all.

Both also offer thoughts on the very happy "merger" of the Trump and Republican Party brands, as well as the DNC's election of a new party chair over the weekend --- and what all of it means going forward.

That's a very short description for today's very jam-packed BradCast!. Enjoy!...

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Guest: APA's Dr. Vaile Wright; Also: DoJ flips on discriminatory voting law; Hate-crime epidemic continues; Americans grow fond of Obamacare...
By Brad Friedman on 2/28/2017 5:22pm PT  

I'm back on today's BradCast! (Thanks to Angie Coiro for filling in recently!) But, don't worry, there's still plenty to stress about anyway. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

First up today, as we await whatever madness will come during tonight's Presidential address to a joint session of Congress, Donald Trump's Dept. of Justice makes it official and flips its position on the case against Texas' racially discriminatory Photo ID voting restriction law.

Also, another wave of bomb threats are issued against dozens of Jewish Community Centers and schools across the country this week. And nearly a full week goes by before the White House offers any comment at all on the triple shooting in Olathe, Kansas, where the suspect is said to have shouted "Get out of my country!" before opening fire on two engineers from India --- both men in the country for years on legal work visas --- because he reportedly believed they were Iranians here illegally. Do you suppose that tragic story would have received more attention from both the U.S. media and the White House had the shooter been a Muslim man shouting "Allahu Akbar!" before opening fire in the same crowded bar?

Then, we're joined by Dr. Vaile Wright, Director of Research and Special Projects at the American Psychological Association (APA), to discuss the group's new two-part survey [PDF] finding, for the first time in their "Stress in America" study's history, a notable up-tick in stress among Americans of all political persuasions in the wake of last year's election.

Wright breaks down which demographic groups are most likely to be suffering from what is now being called "Post-Election Stress Disorder"; how Trump's rhetoric against immigrants has serious consequences ("Words absolutely matter," Wright says); how social media and mobile devices seems to be making us all more stressed, depressed and angry; and what you can do if you are among the now-majority of the nation feeling overwhelmed by the constant and disturbing barrage of troubling news.

"Some of the things that have happened, post-inauguration, have had pretty swift and real consequences," Wright explains, while detailing a long list. In the meantime, she notes, "You've got a news media that is 24/7. You've got social media that is nearly constant for those who use it, where they refresh their feed over and over again. And you get to this information overload, where basically it's hard to separate out truth from non-truth, and it just increases everybody's anxiety level." Tell me 'bout it. But it's somehow comforting, nonetheless, to have some empirical statistics to demonstrate that this nightmare is more than just our collective imagination.

Finally, we close with a bit of encouraging news, as a new poll finds some two-thirds of Americans do not want to see the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") completely dismantled. Moreover, huge majorities in the survey now, in fact, support the landmark legislation's key provisions, even as Congressional Republicans struggle to find a plan to "repeal and replace" it, and Trump declares: "Nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated!" Really, Mr. President?...

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Guest: Attorney Mark Joseph Stern of Slate...
By Brad Friedman on 2/22/2017 5:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast, as dark as yesterday's show was, today is somewhat the opposite, with a whole bunch of encouraging news from the courts and the people across these United States. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Attorney and legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern of Slate joins us to break down the full 4th Circuit Court of Appeals' potentially landmark decision upholding the state of Maryland's ban on semi-automatic "weapons of war" and the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling today on a race-based death penalty case out of Texas.

On MD's ban on military-style assault weapons, enacted by the legislature following the 2012 Sandyhook Elementary school massacre, the full court's majority ruling, including a number of Republican-appointed judges, soundly rejected the opponents argument that, as Stern says, "once enough people own a certain type of gun, the 2nd Amendment magically begins to protect it." He explains what may happen next with this case as it moves toward the Supreme Court and offers his thoughts on why GOPers and the NRA are suddenly unconcerned with their "states rights" arguments when it comes to guns.

On the SCOTUS death penalty case, granting a repreive, for now, to a Texas man on death row since 1997, Stern explains how the case underscores that "people who are sentenced to death in this country get the worst lawyers sometimes...It's really quite shocking." Incredibly enough, Chief Justice John Roberts eloquently agreed --- at least in this case.

And more encouraging news also covered today...

  • A federal court in Texas blocks the state's attempt to defund Planned Parenthood;
  • North Carolina's Democratic governor moves to withdraw the state's appeal to SCOTUS, filed by his Republican predecessor seeking to overturn a federal appeals court finding that the state's election reform law unconstitutionally discriminated against African-Americans "with surgical precision";
  • An FEC commissioner refuses to back down in the face of legal threats from Koch Brothers'' funded group after her demand to see Trump's alleged evidence of thousands of illegal votes cast in New Hampshire's 2016 Presidential election;
  • Another new poll finds Trump's approval ratings "sinking like a rock";
  • A Muslim group raises $90 thousand (so far) to help repair the desecrated Jewish cemetery in St. Louis, MO;
  • A people continue to exercise democracy, whether Republicans and Donald Trump like it or not, by showing up in huge numbers at Congress member town halls across the country...

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

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Guest: Wendy Feliz of the American Immigration Council...
By Brad Friedman on 2/21/2017 5:57pm PT  

It's a dark day on today's BradCast, as hate crimes continue to rise across the country and Donald Trump's Administration issues new, radical guidelines on the detention and deportation of immigrants. [Audio link to show posted below.]

Wendy Feliz of the American Immigration Council joins us to help unpack the Department of Homeland Security's disturbing new instructions to law enforcement regarding the arrest and deportation of virtually any undocumented immigrant at any time for any reason, including the most minor of crimes or even just a suspicion of such crimes.

The memos issued today are "sort of our worst fears realized," she explains, before detailing the "very stark and very punitive" measures that are "broader than is almost imaginable."

"Essentially, they've done away with all the priority enforcement memos that were written under the Obama Administration, whereby they were trying to narrow down who was deportable. That's just basic Law Enforcement 101 --- the idea that if you go after jaywalkers with the same force that you go after bank robbers, then you're not really doing a good job of stopping people that pose a real threat to society."

Feliz goes into the troubling details of the orders --- which, she charges, are "going to be very disruptive, and potentially disastrous to the economy" --- and the madness of attempting to allocate law enforcement resources for the expulsion of 400,000 people for 11 million instead. Those numbers will now include both children and those who came here as children and had received legal federal work permits under Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. We also discuss what is likely to be an explosion of litigation in response to the orders ("Make American litigate again," Feliz quips) and what it is that those directly affected by these new mandates must now do in order to try and both defend and protect themselves.

Also today, the unprecedented string of bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers across the nation continues, with the organizations now reportedly targeted in at least 26 states since the first of the year, and some 200 headstones desecrated in a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri (the one where my grandparents are buried, in fact).

On the upside, Donald Trump has finally spoken out, sort of, against the string of anti-Semitic events and has also appointed someone who is not insane to be the next National Security Advisor following last week's resignation/firing of Michael Flynn.

Desi Doyen joins us once again for the latest Green News Report on the confirmation of EPA enemy Scott Pruitt as the next head of the EPA and with some good news on wind energy. Finally, we close with a bit of breaking good news from the courts concerning guns...

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

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Guest: Maria Castro of People United for Justice | Plus: Senate confirms Price in middle of night, Racists celebrate Sessions as new A.G....
By Brad Friedman on 2/10/2017 6:09pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Trump took a serious thumping from a federal appeals court this week, but his other Executive Orders on immigration move forward nonetheless, resulting, for a start, in the heart-breaking deportation of an undocumented married mother of two young U.S. born children on Thursday. [Link to full audio posted below.]

Today we cover both Trump's embarassing smack-down by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late yesterday, and the real life effect of his extreme immigration policies. For the latter, we are joined by Maria Castro, a 23-year old organizer with People United for Justice. She was was arrested in Phoenix this week along with other supporters of 36-year old Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, who was deported to Mexico on Thursday, after coming to the U.S. when she was 14 years old.

Castro, an American-born citizen, describes how she and her family find themselves in a similar situation with her own undocumented immigrant mother who originally came here 24 years ago on a legal visa, but is now at risk of deportation. She discusses her arrest and efforts to help Garcia de Rayos who had been dutifully meeting with officials from the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency every six months since her 2008 arrest during a raid at her workplace in Mesa, Arizona. Garcia de Rayos she was convicted of a 6th-degree felony for using a fraudulent Social Security number so she could work (and pay into benefits that she would likely never receive back.)

During our conversation, Castro, who successfully worked to defeat controversial Maricopa County (Phoenix) Sheriff Joe Arpaio last November, describes the mixed feelings of the community as he lost while Trump won. We also discuss the mood in the community among those now threatened by Trump's policies, how they plan to fight it (along with your support), and her criticism of Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, who has been outspoken against the Garcia de Rayos deportation, even while, Castro charges, helping to facilitate it in a number of ways.

"My mother is undocumented," Castro tells me, adding that even a jay-walking ticket could now result in her being sent away. "Anything could happen. Any type of interaction with law enforcement could lead to her deportation. She was deported (over a decade ago) and she fought her way back to us. I was 12 years old and my little sister was in kindergarten. We needed our mom, and she made it happen."

As to going public with her name on the record, she tells me: "I have faith in my community and in the resistance, and the work that we do. I feel that the more I lean on my community, the more people I have to support me, the better. For us, for me, what we need to do as a community and community organizers, is we need to start to come together. We can no longer sit in our homes and watch TV and share things on Facebook."

I hope you'll tune in for today's interview. I think it's important to hear.

Finally, in the middle of the night last night (2:30am), Republicans in the U.S. Senate, on a party-line vote, confirmed Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), Trump's nominee to head Health and Human Services, despite a long list of corruption allegations concerning insider stock trading and more, and racists across the country celebrated the confirmation this week of new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

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

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Guest: Lindsay Gibbs, Think Progress sports reporter with some much-needed progressive perspective on the Superbowl...
By Brad Friedman on 2/6/2017 6:57pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Despite the New England Patriots' amazing, come-from-behind overtime victory at the Superbowl, it was yet another very rough weekend for Donald Trump. [Audio link to show follows below.]

More startling insider reports continued to pour out from the leakiest White House ever over the weekend, as a federal judge appointed by George W. Bush temporarily blocked Trump's entire Muslim immigration and refugee ban on Friday, and then refused to reinstate it late on Saturday, despite an emergency motion by the Administration.

Moreover, more than 100 major corporations told the court they opposed the ban on Sunday, and a bunch of very senior former security and intelligence officials and cabinet secretaries (mostly Dems, but also a number of Republicans) filed a brief with the court on Monday explaining why Trump's order makes the U.S. less, not more, safe.

All of that took place before John Yoo, the GOP lawyer who penned the infamous "torture memos", arguing in favor of brutal and sweeping executive powers on behalf of the Bush Administration, announced in an op-ed today that even he thinks Trump has gone too far. As if all of that wasn't bad enough for Trump, even conservative members of parliament from one of our oldest and best allies are now announcing they want nothing to do with him, following what they describe as his racism and disrespect for the judiciary after his weekend Tweets blasting the federal judge who stayed his travel ban.

But one thing didn't suck for Trump this weekend, the "gobsmacking" victory by his friend Tom Brady and the Patriots over the Atlanta Falcons, who managed to lose despite a 25-point margin. The Falcons' stunning loss --- grasped from the jaws of what seemed like certain victory --- had a disturbingly familiar ring for many Democrats watching the game. But Lindsay Gibbs, sports writer at Think Progress, joins us for some much-needed perspective for progressives on the politics surrounding and, at times, overtaking Sunday's big game.

"With Trump, everything is political these days. There's no escaping our reality right now," argues Gibbs. "These days, even saying stuff like 'America is Beautiful' is seen as a politically charged statement." But, she notes, citing many of the surprisingly progressive and not-sexist-as-usual ads aired during the game (including the stunning spot from 84 Lumber, which Fox would not allow to run in full), "the fact that all these ads were touting these progressive values, or were openly mocking Trump, does say that right now companies think inclusiveness sells."

Finally today, another disturbing update from the still-insanely-warm-and-getting-warmer Arctic.

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

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Plus: White nationalist Trump supporter alleged to have carried out weekend mass shooting at Quebec City mosque...
By Brad Friedman on 1/31/2017 6:05pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the fallout and chaos continues following Donald Trump's reckless Executive Order banning travel from seven majority-Muslim countries and his firing of the Acting U.S. Attorney General who refused to enforce it, after announcing that she was unconvinced the order was lawful. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

But first today, the shooter alleged to have killed six and wounded 19 others at a mosque in Quebec City over the weekend is reported to be a white nationalist (and Trump supporter). Therefore, as with deadly climate change, Trump, Republicans and the corporate media can largely ignore the entire matter...as they largely have. That's particular disturbing in light of new reporting on the FBI's awareness of white supremacists and sympathizers inside the ranks of the nation's law enforcement agencies.

Then, when Sally Yates, the Acting U.S. AG was fired shortly after announcing her act of conscience on Monday night, Trump's White House described it as an act of "betrayal" to the Department. (She is sworn to defend and protect the U.S. Constitution, not the DoJ or the White House). Shortly thereafter, the White House also removed another top official at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, but without explanation. Yates' act was one that she, herself, might have predicted during her 2015 Senate Confirmation hearings, and largely did, while being questioned by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) who now happens to be Trump's nominee for U.S. Attorney General. We play some of the remarkable exchange between Sessions and Yates on today's show, which suggests that a) Sessions should come out in support of Yates (he won't) and b) Democrats should not vote on Sessions' nomination until he answers the very same questions he put to Yates in 2015, seeking to find out if she would, correctly, defy an unlawful, unconstitutional order from a President.

The entire mess is being referred to as the "Monday Night Massacre" by some, for its obvious echoes of Richard Nixon's infamous "Saturday Night Massacre" in 1973 at the height of the Watergate Scandal. Nixon's White House Counsel John Dean, for example, predicts today that "The way the Trump Presidency is beginning, it is safe to say it will end in calamity."

Calamity is already underway across much of the nation and at a number of other federal agencies reporting turmoil and despair following the wildly unpopular President's Friday order. But Democrats appear to be finding at least a partial spine and are now boycotting a Senate committee in order to hold up votes on Trump's nominees to head up the Treasury Department (Steven Mnuchin) and Health and Human Services (Rep. Tom Price), due to alleged financial improprieties and dishonest answers given to Congress about them by both men.

In the meantime, Speaker Paul Ryan and the House GOP remain 100% all-in with Trump, as are most Senate Republicans. So, unless Democrats can figure out how to hold the line (and the public can figure out how to force Dems to do so), the nation's near and long-term future remains perilous, as Donald Trump plans announces his nomination tonight to replace Antonin Scalia on the GOP's stolen U.S. Supreme Court...

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

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Shame and scandal before new Admin even takes office; Plus: Guest Fred Karger, activist and former GOP Presidential candidate, charges Comcast blocking new anti-Mormon ad in Utah at behest of LDS Church...
By Brad Friedman on 1/16/2017 6:06pm PT  

On today's BradCast, resignation and evidence of corruption continue to dog the wildly unpopular incoming Trump Administration just days before his Inauguration; And is Comcast/NBCUniversal doing the bidding of the Mormon Church in Utah? [Audio link to show follows below.]

As we barrel towards what is certain to be an incredibly bizarre (to say the least) Inauguration Day for the historically unpopular Donald Trump, the Obama Administration has reportedly transferred out another 10 Gitmo detainees to Oman. In the meantime, a senior Trump White House appointee (and former Fox "News" contributor) has already resigned after revelations of massive plagiarism, as new questions about financial improprieties continue to mount for a number of Trump cabinet nominees and for the Trump Campaign itself.

Then, we are joined by former GOP Presidential candidate and gay rights activist Fred Karger, to discuss his latest campaign against the Mormon Church, which he believes should lose their tax exempt status revoked by the IRS due to participation in a number of anti-gay political campaigns and other corruption. Karger is charging that Comcast/NBCUniversal has blocked the airing of his new TV ad for MormonTips.com, after the media behemoth had previously agreed to run the 30 second spots in the state of Utah.

"I know how the Mormon Church operates," Karger explains, describing his claim that the Church is behind Comcast nixing the spots. "They are all powerful, particularly in the state of Utah. It's a virtual theocracy. They exercise a tremendous amount of power."

"They don't like me," he notes. "I'm the guy that discovered their vast involvement in California's Prop 8 in 2008 to take away gay marriage. I got them investigated and prosecuted by [California's] ethics office because they only admitted to spending $2,078 on the campaign. Turns out it was hundreds of thousands of dollars they ended up reporting. Much more likely millions. So I've learned they are very dishonest, and they've have done things very secretively." He argues that they've used their muscle to convince Comcast (which, he says, "controls something like 90% of the [cable television] market in Utah") to kill the ads. "So they're using censorship to quash our free speech and I'm going to be fighting back against them."

Finally today: Is the Trump Administration planning to shut down the White House Press Room after taking office? Esquire reported over the weekend that the matter is under serious consideration and, in response, Trump's top officials are not denying it...though they do appear to be lying about their reasons for it...

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

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