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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, October 22, 2018
Sunday 'House of Sawed' Toons
This week, PDiddie has gathered another chilling and, unfortunately, dark collection of political toons...
Harvard Law Prof: Dems Must Pack SCOTUS or Face 'Political Suicide': 'BradCast' 10/19/18
Guest: Harvard's Michael Klarman; Also: Trump praises GOP Rep's violence against journalist in MT, as Khashoggi murder roils...
GOPers Rethink Climate Change, Elections in NC, FL: 'BradCast' 10/18/18
Also: NC Election Board 'unconstitutional'; FL Guv 'bends' election rules after Michael; More Repubs endorse Dems for Guv in WI, KS...
'Green News Report' 10/18/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Deadly flooding in TX and France; Death toll rising after Michael; Global warming coming for your beer; PLUS: O'Rourke, Cruz asked about climate in Texas U.S. Senate debate!...
Previous GNRs: 10/16/18 - 10/8/18 - Archives...
WV Smartphone Vote Scheme Threatens Midterms, Security: 'BradCast' 10/17/18
Guest: Dr. David Jefferson on myth of 'secure' blockchain voting; Also: More suppression in GA, ND, elsewhere...
Repubs Attempt State Supreme Court Coups in FL, WV: 'BradCast' 10/16/18
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: SCOTUS stealing Senate; GA Early Vote failure; Michael death toll rising...
'Green News Report' 10/16/18
Florida Panhandle facing catastrophe; Michael was 4th 'major' hurricane to make US landfall in 15 months; PLUS: GOP still denying science, economic impacts...
GA Rejecting Alarming Number of Mail-in Ballots: 'BradCast' 10/15/18
Guest: WhoWhatWhy's Jordan Wilkie; Also: Despite cost of recent hurricanes, Rubio, Trump offer false claim about economy to justify lack of climate action...
Sunday Category 5 Distraction Toons
Anything and everything to keep us looking away from stuff that matters, in PDiddie's latest toon collection...
Ignoring Cries of Stranded Kids:
'BradCast' 10/12/18
Guest-host Angie Coiro w/ Tina Vasquez on ICE; Bill Browder on Khashoggi; Sarah Craft on the death penalty; Eliza Griswold on a family's fight against fracking...
Where is Khashoggi?: 'BradCast' 10/11/18
Guest-host Angie Coiro on Trump protecting Saudis; Also: Power of women's rage w Nelini Stamp, Soraya Chemaly...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Also: NV's primary election failures much worse than previously known; Mystery group seeking copies of MI 2016 Presidential ballots revealed...
By Brad Friedman on 8/29/2018 6:57pm PT  

On today's BradCast, results, as reported by computer tabulators, from Tuesday's primary elections in Florida and Arizona and primary runoff elections in Oklahoma. Also, more details on what went so terribly wrong in Maricopa County, AZ which kept many voters from being able to cast a vote at all. Nevada's June primary disasters were far worse than reported. And an answer to at least one mystery regarding 2016 Presidential ballots in Michigan. [Audio link to complete show is posted at end of article.]

First up, among the noteworthy results we cover from yesterday's midterm primary elections...

  • In Florida, progressive Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum came from seemingly out of nowhere for an upset win of the Democratic nomination for Governor. If the Bernie Sanders-endorsed Democrat defeats the Donald Trump-endorsed Rep. Ron DeSantis in November, he'd become the state's first African-American Governor. That, as the current two-term Governor Rick Scott won his primary to vie for incumbent U.S. Senator Bill Nelson's seat, in what will likely become the most expensive U.S. Senate race this year (and, possibly, in U.S. history).
  • In Arizona, establishment favorite Rep. Martha McSally held off two challengers from the hard right to win the GOP nomination to fill the seat being vacated by the state's retiring U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R). She'll face off against Democratic nominee Rep. Kyrsten Sinema in November for a seat that Dems believe they may be able to flip from "red" to "blue", even in a state like Arizona, in a very anti-Trump year. And Republican Gov. Greg Ducey --- who will soon name a replacement for the state's other U.S. Senate seat, vacated by the death of Sen. John McCain --- will now face off against David Garcia, a Latino and former educator who won the Democratic nomination for Governor, in a year in which teachers have walked out in protest of education funding cuts in so-called "red" states Arizona and Oklahoma. (Also of note, Republican Sec. of State Michelle Reagan lost her primary for re-election to the hard-right Steve Gaynor who is calling for English-only elections in AZ. Democratic nominee Katie Hobbs should see an opening there in the race to become the state's top election official)
  • And, speaking of teachers and Oklahoma, it was a "bloodbath" in the primary runoff elections for incumbent GOP state legislators who voted against recent tax hikes to pay for new education funding. Just 4 of the 19 Republican state legislators who voted against the tax hike to give teachers a long-overdue raise have survived to run for re-election on this November's ballot.

Then, we turn to the massive problems at polling places in Maricopa County (Phoenix), AZ on Tuesday, as at least 62 polling places were unable to open for hours in the morning. It now appears that the reason was electronic pollbooks which were not properly set up, or set up at all, or which couldn't get Internet access. That effectively prevented voters from being checked in to vote on the County's hand-marked paper ballot voting systems (which use computer optical-scanners to tally votes.)

Remarkably, the County's Republican-majority Board of Supervisors rejected the recommendations of both Sec. of State Michelle Reagan (R) and Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes (D) to seek a court order to keep polling places open for an extra two hours at precincts which failed to open on time on Tuesday.

As to the electronic pollbook disasters that kept them from opening in the first place, Fontes blames an IT contractor for not supplying as many personnel as promised for polling place installation and tech support. The contractor, Insight Enterprises, blames Fontes for being under prepared. What's clear for the moment is that voters --- potentially thousands of them --- were prevented from voting entirely because, once again, a voting jurisdiction has relied on oft-failed, mission-critical computer systems, supported by private vendors, to run our public elections without backup plans, such as paper pollbooks in this case.

We also learn this week that the failures reported during and shortly after Nevada's primary elections in June were much worse than officials and the private voting system vendor admitted to the public when the state's new, 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems failed across the state. A new report from the Reno Gazette-Journal, based on public records requests, finds that complaints about candidates missing from ballots and selections already filled in on the screen for some voters, were far more numerous than previously known. Nonetheless, election officials in the state are standing by their vendor (Dominion Voting, which took over for Sequoia Voting Systems) and, as the paper notes, parroting back talking points almost word-for-word from the voting machine manufacturer in hopes of minimizing the massive problems as little more than "human error" that did not effect reported results. (Sound familiar?) Evidence reported by the RGJ strongly suggests otherwise.

Finally, with the 22-month federal requirement for retaining all ballots and other elections materials from the 2016 Presidential election ending next week (September 8th), a voting rights group now known to be allied with the Democratic Party has requested copies of all 2016 general election ballots from the state of Michigan. The massive, and expensive, public records request should prevent the ballots, in that state at least, from being destroyed for now, after an attempt to hand-count them by Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein was ended by a Republican court challenge in 2016. That, despite Trump's stunning, if unverified, upset win in the state by just over 10,000 votes and some 75,000 ballots said to have contained no vote for President at all, according to the computer-tabulated results. No such records request has yet been filed in either Wisconsin or Pennsylvania, however, despite the fact that had just three votes at each precinct in those three states been recorded for Hillary Clinton instead of Trump, she, not he, would now be President of the United States...

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

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Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern on that and WV GOP's state Supreme Court coup; Also: Massive voting system failures in AZ primary...
By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2018 6:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Details on the extraordinary court ruling out of North Carolina on Monday, and the judicial coup being staged in West Virginia. But first, voters went to the polls for Tuesday's primary elections in Arizona and Florida and in Oklahoma for primary runoff elections. It did not go well in Arizona. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

Maricopa County (Phoenix)'s paper ballot optical-scan computer systems failed in at least 100 precincts, according to the County Recorder. Many polling places were closed entirely this morning, and it was nearly noon before the systems were said to finally be working in all precincts. It's still unclear what the precise failure was, but the new County Recorder Adrian Fontes (who won his election after the previous, long-time Recorder was booted out for shutting polling places during the 2016 Primaries), tied it to pre-election tests that failed on Monday, and then a lack of contractors from the voting machine company (Dominion Voting) on hand to properly set up the systems before polls were to open today. "The contractor responsible for the voting machines was supposed to provide more than 100 technicians to assist with issues, but only 70 were available," the Arizona Republic reports Fontes as telling them at a news conference this morning. If we learn more, of course, we'll share it on tomorrow's show along with noteworthy problems and results in all three states holding elections today.

Then, following up on a story that broke minutes before airtime on Monday, we're joined today by Slate's excellent legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN to detail the extraordinary ruling issued by a three judge federal court panel finding all of North Carolina's U.S. House districts --- for a second time --- to be partisan gerrymanders in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Remarkably, the judges are considering ordering new maps to be drawn up before this November's elections, after already having found last January that Republicans had unlawfully gerrymandered the state's U.S. House districts. That ruling, however, was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court which punted in June by ordering the lower court to review matters of standing. After having done so, the three-judge panel found the same Constitutional infirmities.

"The real villain here, in a sense --- aside from the Republicans, who obviously drew these incredibly gerrymandered maps --- is the Supreme Court and Justice Anthony Kennedy," says Stern. "A virtually identical ruling came down in January, at which point the US Supreme Court could have and should have acted on this question of partisan gerrymandering. Instead, the Supreme Court punted [and] sent this case back down for reconsideration. Now the [lower] court has reached the same conclusion it did in January."

The map in question was the one drawn up in 2016 after the state's previous GOP-drawn map, used in 2012 and 2014, was found to have been an unlawful racial gerrymander. So, Stern explains, the federal judges in North Carolina seem to have had enough and may now order new maps "on this incredibly compressed timetable where the election is looming" in just over 70 days, ballots need to go out to overseas voters 45 days in advance, and the state's primaries were already been held in May.

The unconstitutional maps have resulted in a wildly unbalanced 10 to 3 GOP majority in the state's Congressional delegations, despite North Carolina's status as a very divided swing state which narrowly elected Obama in 2008, Trump in 2016, and a Democrat to be its Governor in that same election. If the matter is appealed to SCOTUS by the state (as it almost certainly will be), the Supremes could deadlock 4 to 4, if Justice Kennedy's seat has yet to be filled, and the lower court ruling would stand. We could be in for a lot of chaos ahead (as if we need any more this year.)

Stern also explains the astonishing situation in West Virginia, where that state's Republican-majority House of Delegates recently impeached all four sitting members of the state's Supreme Court. (Its 5th member had already resigned after been charged with a felony crime.) The move, Stern reports, was timed in such a way to avoid allowing voters to replace the justices at the ballot box this year. That means the previously 3 to 2 Democratic-leaning court may soon become a 5 to 0 Republican court, and stay that way through 2020. Following impeachment trials of the justices in the state Senate, any vacancies will be filled by the appointments of Trump-loving Republican Gov. Jim Justice, a Democrat when he ran and won the Governor's race in 2016, but who flipped parties shortly thereafter.

"There are no good guys, per se, in this story," Stern notes. However, it serves as yet another example of Republicans blatantly hoping to pack the courts, and could prove to be another useful example that Democrats could cite in the future. If they ever re-take control of the U.S. House, Senate and White House, they'll be able to cite such moves when and if they decide to move to add seats to the U.S. Supreme Court in order to restore a majority that should have been theirs, until Senate Republicans stole a vacant seat in 2017 after holding it open for nearly a year following the early 2016 death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Speaking of that stolen U.S. Supreme Court, Stern also offers his thoughts on whether Senate Democrats will be able to block --- or even stall --- the seating of Donald Trump's second nominee to the Court. Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Senate Judiciary Confirmation hearings are currently scheduled to begin next week and, Stern argues, "he owes an explanation as to why he thinks it's perfectly valid and legitimate and acceptable to be nominated by a racist and openly corrupted President to the Supreme Court."

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report on, among other things, the record rainfall in Hawaii following Hurricane Lane over the weekend, and the complicated climate legacy of the late Republican U.S. Senator and former GOP Presidential nominee, John McCain.

(And, on a related note, next week will be our 900th episode of the GNR! If you have not contributed lately to our efforts to continue connecting the climate change dots over your public airwaves for the past 10 years --- along with all else that we do --- please consider doing so now by stopping by BradBlog.com/Donate! Thanks! We rely only on you to keep going! But, don't do it for me! Do it for Desi! Pretty please?)

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

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Guest: Slate legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern on 'having cake and eating it too'; Also: Probs for voters in CA and SD, as eight states hold primaries...
By Brad Friedman on 6/5/2018 6:05pm PT  

On today's BradCast: As voters head to the polls in eight states (CA, AL, IA, MS, MT, NJ, NM and SD) on Tuesday, we cover a few "sorta victories" elsewhere for now, including at the U.S. Supreme Court. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Reports of problems at the polls have already cropped up, however, in South Dakota, where electronic pollbooks failed in eight counties, and here in Los Angeles, where a "random issue with the print job" on paper rosters at polling places, according to the County Clerk, has led to some voters needing to cast provisional ballots.

As we await election results and likely reports of more problems elsewhere, a "sorta victory" for Twitter users who had sued the President after he blocked them on Twitter. Those seven plaintiffs were finally unblocked by Trump after a federal court found last month that he was violating their Constitutional First Amendment free speech rights. But, on the same day those seven were unblocked, the Dept. of Justice appealed the court's ruling anyway.

In Alabama, another "sorta victory" as the story of Sec. of State John Merrill blocking folks on Twitter for pointing out his errors as the state's top election official, has finally been picked up by the corporate media in the state. That, just hours before voters headed to the polls, with Merrill himself on the ballot. The coverage comes after we first reported on Merrill's behavior months ago (when he blocked me for being right about the state's computerized election tabulators), and again last week after he sent me a flurry of insane emails [PDF] in response to a simple query as to whether he planned to unblock followers now that a federal court has found his behavior to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution. The Montgomery Advertiser's weak coverage, however, largely serves to offer the Sec. of State a platform to call election experts and journalists "trolls" (for being correct and polite), while still refusing to unblock them.

In Arizona, a lawsuit against the state for keeping tens of thousands of registered voters off the rolls for failing to provide "proof of citizenship" before being allowed to vote has now been settled with a consent decree that will enfranchise many voters, even if it will still result in thousands being disallowed from voting in state and local contests. So, a "sorta victory" there as well.

And, at the U.S. Supreme Court this week, a "sorta victory" for both anti-gay bigots and civil rights advocates as the long-awaited ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. CO Civil Rights Commission, a case involving a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex couple's wedding reception is finally decided by a narrow 7 to 2 ruling in favor of the baker...sorta.

Slate legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN joins us to explain how Justice Anthony Kennedy, with his majority opinion. tries to "have his cake and eat it too," by largely kicking the can down the road for another day, while ostensibly siding with the baker against the state Commission on rather dubious religious freedom grounds.

The decision, however, also appears to strengthen the existing right of states to bar discrimination by similar businesses on the basis of sexual orientation. So much so, that, under the ruling, the two plaintiffs, according to their ACLU attorney, should be able to walk into Jack Phillip's Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, CO today and purchase a cake for their wedding anniversary, if they wished. If they are blocked, that would be in violation of the Constitution. Nonetheless, a definitive opinion from SCOTUS on the issue of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation will have to wait for another day.

"If the Supreme Court applied the same standard to the [Trump] travel ban case as they have applied to Masterpiece, the Court would have no trouble striking down the travel ban as a violation of First Amendment religious freedoms," Stern tells me, when I ask whether Kennedy's weak religious liberty argument here may apply more to some religions than others. "Unfortunately, I do not think the court is going to be consistent. I think, instead, the Court's going to wind up applying a much stricter standard when it's Christians' rights on the line, than when it's Muslims' rights on the line. And we're all going to be very disappointed in this kind of inconsistent religious liberty --- 'for me, but not for thee.'"

Stern offers smart insight on the Court's opinion(s) --- which were widely misreported elsewhere on Monday --- as well as another decision this week from the Court on the Trump Administration's failed attempt to punish the ACLU for supporting a teen immigrant who sought a lawful abortion after being detained at the border. That ruling, at least, was a complete victory, he explains, not just a "sorta" one.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with news on two deadly volcanoes in Guatemala and Hawaii, the Administration's new scheme to bail-out the coal industry, Canada's new scheme to nationalize a controversial pipeline, and more distressing fossil fuel and climate change news...

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

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Teachers walk out in AZ, CO; Cosby found guilty; GOP Senate majority threatened; Pompeo confirmed as Sec. of State; Jackson withdraws as VA nom; EPA's Pruitt ducks responsibility in House; Macron slams Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 4/26/2018 6:38pm PT  

At long last, we're beginning to see shades, shadows, clouds of accountability rolling in across D.C. and even elsewhere in the country. Many of those clouds seemed to roll in all at once today for some reason, but we cover as many as we can on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

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

  • Huge explosions, a raging fire, and 10-mile evacuations at another oil refinery today, this time in Wisconsin;
  • Bill Cosby is found guilty on three felony counts of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman and now faces the rest of his life in prison;
  • Tens of thousands of teachers walked out in Arizona and Colorado on Thursday, demanding increased funding for education after years of slashed state budgets to help pay for tax cuts to the rich and corporations;
  • A spate of new polling suggest Senate Republicans may face a storm of accountability this November, with encouraging numbers for Democratic candidates in at least three different states --- Arizona, Tennessee and Nevada --- where they hope to flip "red" seats to "blue" to regain majority control of the upper chamber of Congress this fall. (And also in a fourth state, if you include Texas, where Sen. Ted Cruz' challenger Rep. Beto O'Rourke is now within "too close to call" striking distance, according to new polling, even as the Democrat is refusing corporate and super PAC funding, even from billionaire Tom Steyer);
  • No accountability to date, however, for the anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-environment, pro-war CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who was narrowly confirmed in the U.S. Senate today as Donald Trump's new Secretary of State;
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve a bi-partisan bill to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller from being fired by Trump, though obstructionism from GOP leadership in the full Senate and U.S. House will likely prevent the legislation from going any further;
  • Admiral Ronny Jackson, Trump's personal White House physician and his nominee to head the Dept. of Veterans Affairs finally withdrew his name from consideration following a host of damning allegations from current and former White House and military co-workers unearthed by Sen. Jon Tester (MT), the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee;
  • Trump's wildly corrupt and scandal-plagued EPA chief Scott Pruitt finally faced a bit of accountability, at least from Dems, as he testified before two separate House Committees on Thursday and refused to answer many direct questions, threw much of his staff under the bus, and denied responsibility for the mountain of personal corruption scandals he continues to face --- even as bi-partisan calls for his resignation continue;
  • And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with more on Pruitt's anti-climate perfidy, French President Emmanuel Macron's blistering swipes at President Trump's environmental record during a joint session of Congress, and much more.

Yes, it was another insanely busy news day, but we gotcha covered, in one fast moving hour today. Buckle up!...

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

P.S. We will be off tomorrow, but don't panic! We're back on Monday, as usual!

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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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Also: Mick Mulvaney's stunning admission and Mother Jones' Rebecca Leber on Scott Pruitt's new 'secret science' scam at EPA...
By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2018 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast: More encouraging signs for Democrats following special elections in both Arizona and New York on Tuesday. And more troubling news from Donald Trump's never-ending cavalcade of corporate cabinet corruption. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

All signs suggest that a potential Blue Wave continues to build for Democrats in the Trump Era, even as the party reportedly lost a U.S. House special election in the very "red" 8th Congressional District west of Phoenix on Tuesday. After Maricopa County, AZ's new, even-more computerized polling place election system broke down in several precincts --- a potentially ominous sign for the much-larger, upcoming mid-terms --- former Republican State Senator Debbie Lesko is said to have defeated first time Democratic candidate Dr. Hiral Tipirneni by just 5 points, in a district that Trump won by 21 points in 2016.

The previously deep "red" House district in a longtime "red" state, had been represented for some 15 years by GOP Rep. Trent Franks, until he stepped down amid sexual misconduct allegations last December. While the Dems narrowly lost the race on Tuesday, thanks in part to big spending by national Republicans (and none by national Dems), election analysts regard the stunning 15+ point swing from "red" to "blue" as one of the strongest signs to date that Republicans in the House and Senate may be in very big trouble this fall.

Similarly, in New York, special elections on Tuesday for several state legislative seats resulted in one Assembly seat flipping from R to D for the first time in four decades, and in Democrats winning a majority of seats in the state Senate for the first time in years. However, one Democrat who caucuses with Republicans in that chamber means that the GOP will remain in control of the Senate until at least the end of the current session.

Meanwhile, back in D.C., Donald Trump's swamp of corruption continues apace. Interim Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Mick Mulvaney reportedly told a crowd of some 1,300 banking executives and lobbyists yesterday that they need to keep donating to the GOP if they wanted still more regulations gutted and oversight trashed. He appears to have admitted --- out loud --- that as a Congressman, he would only consider meeting with lobbyists who had donated to him. (And, many in the financial sector, which the CFPB was mandated to regulate on behalf of consumers after the 2008 global banking crisis, did exactly that during Mulvaney 's time as a House Rep. from South Carolina.)

But it's scandal-plagued Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt who seemingly continues to lead the corruption cavalcade in Trump's corporatized Executive Agency lagoon. Pruitt is not letting the mountain of scandals, corruption revelations and calls for his resignation stop him from doing the bidding of his fossil fuel industry funders at the EPA.

In a ceremony for fellow climate science deniers on Tuesday night, ironically trumpeting a supposed new era of EPA "transparency" as media and scientists were locked out of the event, Pruitt signed a proposed new rule barring what he describes as the use of "secret science" in the EPA rule-making process.

We're joined today by Mother Jones' environmental reporter REBECCA LEBER to discuss what the anti-science Pruitt actually means by that, what this deceptive new rule would actually do if finalized, and why, as she argues, this scheme may be his "most destructive move yet".

"What Pruitt has done here is propose limiting the studies that the EPA can use in crafting regulations. Those studies would have to have data that is publicly available --- which sounds great on its face. Who doesn't want more transparency? But there is a lot of complications here that effectively limit the pool drastically and really could conceivably cut out our best available science showing that air pollution and water pollution is a health problem," Leber tells me. "That's because these studies typically rely on medical records that are, by law, forced to be private and also may include proprietary information that academic institutions and even industry don't want to be public."

Nonetheless, hiding behind false claims of "transparency" in science, Pruitt is now hoping to severely restrict the use of science and, in fact, rewriting decades-old rules for the use of science itself in public government. No wonder Trump prefers not to fire him, as Leber explains, no matter how wildly corrupt Pruitt is actually proven to be...

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Guest: Barbara Arnwine of the new Nat'l Commission for Voter Justice...
By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2018 6:50pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we're still fighting for the right to vote and to have that vote counted, 60 years after MLK's "Give Us the Ballot" speech, 50 years after the passage of the hard-won Voting Rights Act, 4 years after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted it, and one day after what my guest today describes as a "really wicked decision" by the Court on Thursday to set aside a landmark ruling on gerrymandering that was meant to finally correct a grave injustice to voters in 2018. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

With Republicans in the U.S. House, on Thursday, having passed a short-term stopgap spending bill to keep the U.S. Government from shutting down beginning on Friday night at midnight, Republicans in the U.S. Senate are still racing to figure out how to overcome a filibuster of the same bill. The measure includes support for kids that rely on the currently-expired Children's Healthcare Insurance Program (CHIP), but leaves some 800,000 kids of immigrants who came here with their parents still facing deportation as early as March, after Trump ended Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. So, once again, rather than simply including a fix to DACA, Republicans are using children as human shields to try and force Democrats to vote with them for a short-term bill to avoid a shutdown of the federal government. It would be the first such shutdown in U.S. history while the House, Senate and White House are all controlled by the same party.

Sick of this sort of BS? If so, you can theoretically do something about it this year at the ballot box. But the GOP's stolen U.S. Supreme Court isn't making it easy. On Thursday, SCOTUS stayed a landmark ruling by a lower federal court panel that had ordered North Carolina to immediately redraw the state's U.S. House district maps, since the Republican majority legislature admitted that they, unconstitutionally, drew them to ensure a Republican advantage. Though it's largely a 50/50 state, NC Republicans hold 10 seats in the U.S. House to the Democrats' 3.

That's just one of the ways that Republicans hope to keep cheating voters this year in order to hang on to power as the mid-terms approach. Another way was through Trump's discredited and now disbanded "Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity", run by the GOP "voter fraud" fraudster and Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach. He had hoped to use the Commission to make it harder (for certain people) to vote, but he faced yet another embarrassment in court this week. When Kobach's Commission was originally shut down a week or two ago, there was a cry from voting rights advocates for a national committee to study and call out the real scourge of American democracy: voter suppression.

That call may have been answered this week with the formation of the non-partisan National Commission for Voter Justice, co-chaired by my guest today, BARBARA ARNWINE, former longtime Executive Director of the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and now President and Founder of the Transformative Justice Coalition. Arnwine explains the new Commission's mission, responds to the "wicked" SCOTUS ruling on NC maps and other recent voting rights issues, and details many of the threats to democracy that must be overcome in 2018, more than sixty years after, as she and John Nichols note at The Nation this week, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his landmark "Give Us the Ballot" address on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1957.

"We gotta remember, we are looking at the Roberts Court. This is a man who made his life ambition the evisceration and the weakening of the Voting Rights Act. In fact, if he had had his way, there wouldn't be a Voting Rights Act, as he wrote many, many years ago," Arnwine says in response to the SCOTUS stay on the NC redistricting ruling and a similar one in Texas. "They are fine with these kinds of schemes --- gerrymandering and other devices and tactics that deny people the right to vote --- because they believe in their hearts that the result is fair, it's a result that they want, and it's a result that puts people into power that they favor. And that's wrong."

"We believe that democracy should be for every single voter. That's why we created the National Commission for Voter Justice, because every voter should have the right to be able to vote and to have their vote counted," the animated Arnwine explains. "Democracy should always be about a competition of ideas, a competition of the best candidates, and then the people make their choices. Politicians should never pick who their constituents are. The constituents should pick the politicians. We are in a reverse democracy right now."

It has, sadly, been that way for a while. I recalled today, while prepping for the show, that Arnwine and I were on a National Public Radio show back in 2008, facing off against the notorious GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Hans von Spakovsky, who, I suspect, was very used to getting away with his lies before that show. I also recall Arnwine's testimony to the Baker/Carter Commission on Voting Rights which was a panel created by Republican Party vote suppressors in 2005 to push for Photo ID voting restrictions. In comparison to the Trump/Kobach Commission, however, that panel was blue ribbon! The fight for democracy is never ending, it seems.

"Democracy is never permanent. It requires vigilance. It requires engagement. It requires organizations to monitor, to advocate for it," Arnwine tells me. "But it shouldn't be as bad as it is in the United States. That's the problem. The problem is that even with the fact that you've got to constantly seek it, it shouldn't be this bad. We should not have millions upon millions of voters finding themselves blocked from the polling booth. We shouldn't have three-hour lines. We shouldn't have machinery that everybody knows is worthless."

"But that's why the National Commission for Voter Justice is going to be coming to every area where we can," she says. "We're going to have over 20 hearings around the country, so that we can hear directly from voters what they are encountering, what their experiences are and, more importantly, what some of the solutions are, helping people to advocate for those changes."

Don't miss the full conversation today! It should get you pretty fired up for 2018, if you need any help.

And, finally, speaking of what Republicans are willing to do to get and hang on to power, a disturbing comparison of the dates set for U.S. House Special Elections to fill the seats of two different Congress members who both resigned during the same week last year (there will be a special election to fill the GOP seat in May, but the Dem seat will remain vacant until November), and the four --- count 'em, four --- convicted Republican criminals who have declared their intention to run for seats in the U.S. House and Senate in 2018...

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Guest: Farmer John Gilbert; Also: Detente in Korea; Arpaio to run for Senate; Landmark court ruling in NC; More climate-related tragedy in CA...
By Brad Friedman on 1/9/2018 6:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Enough with the so-called "forgotten Trump voters"! What of the forgotten Democrats and progressives who far outnumber them? Where are all of those profiles in the MSM? We pick up that ball a bit today. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first, just some of the news breaking today: North and South Korea are now talking again, and have struck an agreement that will result in North Korea participating in the winter Olympic Games that begin next month in South Korea. They also appear to be planning for talks in the near future on the militarization of the North/South border and other related matters, even as the Trump Administration continues to send very mixed signals about negotiations that might include the U.S.

Meanwhile, back here at home, the far right-wing "news" site Breitbart has fired its far right-wing Executive Chairman Steve Bannon following comments he made about Trump's son Don Jr. in Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury book. Bannon was previously fired by the White House as Trump's top political strategist. And, speaking of the GOP's continuing internecine Trump Era War, the disgraced, far right-wing 85-year old Joe Arpaio, controversial former Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff found guilty of contempt of court last year before being pardoned by Trump shortly thereafter, says he will run for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate this year, in a bid to replace outgoing Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.

Then, amidst seemingly endless sympathetic corporate media profiles of supposedly "forgotten" Trump voters in rural America, what of the majority of American voters who didn't vote for Trump, even in so-called "Trump Country"? We're joined today by sustainable family farmer JOHN GILBERT [pictured above] of Gibralter Farms, who, with his wife and extended family, has been farming and ranching on land maintained by his family since the 1890s.

Gilbert was briefly mentioned in a Washingont Post profile at year's end of another nearby farmer in Hardin County, Iowa --- part of the paper's long series of stories so-called on "THE FORGOTTEN: The issues at the heart of Trump's America" --- who remains an ardent and seemingly confused Trump supporter, angry with the way she believes the Obama Administration and its Environmental Protection Agency were enforcing too many rules that made her work difficult or costly. While Trump has begun to reverse many of those Obama Era regulations, such as the controversial Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, Gilbert believes we need more, not fewer regulations to remain good stewards of the land, so that "humanity stays alive".

He says the "big lie" about WOTUS was that, in fact, "most farming activity was exempted. I think it's also clear that that was an issue that was ginned up almost entirely by the Farm Bureau as a way to scare farmers, and I think farmers were duped into opposing that."

The 68-year old Gilbert explains how many of his fellow farmers, in Iowa and elsewhere, have been misled by the American Farm Bureau --- a lobbying group which he says largely represent the interests of "Big Ag" --- about both that and the so-called "death tax", while the Republican party and its media outlets have been helping to spread the group's disinformation for many years. "Politicians and Republicans have called it the 'death tax' for a long time," he tells me, "and always say 'Oh, it's hard on farmers.' Well, there's almost never been a farmer who has ever been affected enough by it that they had to do like they claim and sell the farm. These are all just manufactured fear tactics."

He also comments on Trump's at times bewildering appearance on Monday at the Bureau's national convention in Nashville, and discusses the principals of sustainable agriculture, for which he and his wife recently won the 2017 Sustainable Agriculture Achievement Award from the Practical Farmers of Iowa.

"The whole issue of sustainability stems from a basic acceptance of the fact that there is not enough in this world for everybody to have all they want, whether it's enough water, enough food, enough energy, enough power, enough room. There's not enough. That means that we have to share, I guess, for lack of a better word," he tells me. "The one thing that has kept humanity above the animals over all these years is the ability to control our greed...And if you don't control greed, then you use up too many resources today and don't have any left for the future."

"Agriculture, in itself, is strictly the process by which humanity stays a live," he tells me. "We in agriculture do a lot of things, but basically we're trying to keep humanity alive. The question that we don't know is how long 'forever' is. And if we're going to keep humanity alive essentially forever, we have to make sure that we have the resources available to our descendants thousands of years from now --- to continue to support humanity. When you put those two things together, you end up with a system of farming that is much more aligned with natural systems. You tend to use principles of nature rather than the test tube or the chemical companies, or the big expert input suppliers who tend to be more interested in making money off of what you do than you making money."

There is much more in our conversation today than I can adequately cover here, so I'd encourage you to tune in for my full discussion with Gilbert, from the heartland of the first-in-the-nation caucus state. He's great.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report', before several late breaking news items, including a late day landmark Appeals Court ruling striking down North Carolina's Congressional maps due to partisan gerrymandering, and the tragic news out of Southern California that at least 13 have died, so far, in mud slides amid remarkable overnight rainfall in areas recently burned by the recent record Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties north of Los Angeles, the largest fire in state history...

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And a thought or two on the toxic poison injected this week into our body politic by the President of the United States...
By Brad Friedman on 10/20/2017 6:12pm PT  

Among the demonstrably real, not fake, news stories covered on today's BradCast [Audio link to show posted below]...

  • A brief word about the mercilessly toxic and sad "debate" Donald Trump injected into the American body politic this week to divert from his failure to recognize U.S. special forces killed by ISIS during a still-mysterious ambush in Niger, the shameful lie told by his Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, in service of Trump's failure, and the White House doubling down on that lie despite video evidence to the contrary;
  • Speaking of wishing reality away, the EPA removes more facts about climate change from its website, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt charges peer-reviewed climate science is biased due to grants from the EPA (and hints at a purge of scientists), while his highly-paid corporate cronies are appointed to top agency posts and begin their work in defiance of the U.S. Senate (and the Rule of Law);
  • A federal judge rules the guilty verdict against federal criminal and former Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio will not be vacated despite Trump's Presidential pardon and a plea from his Dept. of Justice to ignore the Rule of Law;
  • More apparent violations of the Rule of Law and lies about the income of Alabama's GOP U.S. Senate nominee Roy Moore (twice removed as state Supreme Court Justice for defying federal court orders) are unearthed in advance of the state's Special Election in December;
  • And, so-called "conservatives" in the U.S. Senate pass a budget resolution to increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion dollars, while cutting nearly $500 billion from Medicare and $1 trillion from Medicaid over the next decade, in order to fund massive tax cuts for rich people...

Also today, a brief plea to stop by BradBlog.com/Donate to help Desi and me continue to bring you independent news from the Land of Reality (and the Rule of Law) over your public airwaves as long as we can! My continuing thanks to those who have already done so! To everyone else: Now is great time to help us out! (Pretty please?)

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Guest: Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) | Plus: 'The end of the beginning' of Harvey, and top Trump officials distance themselves from the President...
By Brad Friedman on 8/30/2017 6:25pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Harvey disaster continues, even as skies clear over Houston. And a Democratic Congressman joins us to blast several of Trump's new policies, issued as the record storm was rolling in. [Audio link to show follow below.]

Floodwaters have begun to recede a bit in Houston, as some sunshine finally returns and the airport begins to re-open after five hellish days. But its only "the end of the beginning" in the Bayou City, cautions one meteorologist as Harvey moves back onshore near the Texas/Louisiana border, continuing to threaten lives there and in states to the north, even as officials expect the death toll in and near Houston to surge in the days ahead. Moreover, a nearby chemical plant in Crosby is likely to explode soon, due to the flooding, according to the company's CEO.

All of this as Congress prepares to return from their long Summer recess after Labor Day, and members respond to some of the startling Executive Actions taken by Donald Trump as the record-shattering hurricane slammed ashore last Friday night.

We're joined by CONGRESSMAN HANK JOHNSON today to discuss some of those actions, including the President's pardon of former Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was found guilty of criminal contempt of court for violating federal court orders against detaining Latinos on nothing more than suspicious of being undocumented and Trump's less-noticed Executive Order reversing President Obama's restrictions on the Pentagon's infamous "1033 Program".

On the Arpaio pardon, Johnson tells me: "President Trump has proclaimed loudly, by that action, that he will use the power of the presidency to benefit himself, and to benefit his supporters, his friends, and his family. And so it does not augur well for a future for this country under Donald Trump."

"To follow up the notorious pardon of Joe Arpaio with a rescinding of President Obama's executive order which placed limits on the Pentagon's 1033 program --- it does send a clear message to law enforcement that it's open season on the civil rights of anyone who you choose to violate the civil rights of. It's not a good thing for America."

The DoD's "1033 Program" supplies surplus military weapons and equipment --- such as automatic rifles, mine-resistant vehicles, armored drones and even grenade launchers --- for free, to local law enforcement agencies around the country. Johnson has been introducing and re-introducing his bi-partisan "Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act" (H.R. 1556) for three successive years now and explains today --- as Republican Sen. Rand Paul appears to agree in the Senate --- why curbs must be placed on the program.

In an op-ed by Johnson, to be published by the Guardian on Friday, he explains one of the things that "makes it dangerous is the fact that 1033 requires that the equipment be 'placed into use' within 12 months of being acquired." He tells me today that means that "if they don't use them, then they have to turn them back in. And so it's a recipe for misuse. It's a recipe for abuse of civil rights of the citizens who law enforcement is sworn to protect and serve. It's frightening that this onslaught of weaponry, straight from the battlegrounds of Afghanistan and Iraq, will find its way back to the streets of America's cities and towns."

The controversial program originally came to the nation's attention after military vehicles and gear were deployed by local law enforcement in Ferguson, MO in response to protests after the police killing of African-American teenager Michael Brown in 2014. After the nation was horrified by the militarization of local military and it was discovered that some weaponry had been disappearing, or was being sold by local agencies, Obama placed restrictions on the program that Trump, last Friday night, lifted with a stroke of his pen.

I also ask Johnson about whether he believes Congressional Republicans from Texas will support Harvey disaster relief upon their return next week (unlike after SuperStorm Sandy slammed the East coast in 2013), about his Election Integrity bill, and whether he intends to join fellow Democrats in the House who have filed Articles of Impeachment against President Trump.

Finally, Defense Secretary James Mattis appears to be separating himself somewhat from Trump --- though not nearly as much as some on the Left are suggesting --- following the order to ban transgender members of the U.S. Military and saber-rattling with North Korea. And, as more longtime State Dept. officials announce they are leaving, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's job may be on the line following a clear separation from the President's "values" following Trump's statements about neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville...

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Also: Trump's pardon of Arpaio; North Korea fires missile over Japan...
By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2017 6:04pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the years of ignored warnings in Houston, as the devastation continues, and what Trump did as the storm came ashore, threatened millions of Americans. [Audio link to show follows below.]

As unprecedented rains from Hurricane Harvey continue to overwhelm Houston, Texas and surrounding areas with as much as 50 inches of catastrophic flooding, the storm is now moving slowly back into the Gulf of Mexico, where it may regain strength for a second landfall on the Texas/Louisiana border. Rainfall is likely to double between now and the end of the week.

My producer and Green News Report co-host, Desi Doyen, a Texas native, joins me to discuss why evacuation orders weren't issued for Houston, before we go on to review the years of warnings about this very type of event amid the recent population boom in Harris County (Houston), the nation's 3rd most populous county.

As it turns out --- as revealed in an excellent and detailed investigative report published by The Texas Tribune and Pro Publica late last year --- the County's 18-year flood manager aggressively dismissed those warnings for years and marginalized the scientists repeatedly offering them. All, while denying the threat of over-development and destruction of flood-mitigating wetlands, poor (and poorly enforced) flood mitigation regulations, and the ever-increasing devastation of such storms due to climate change.

Also today: the "uncharted territory" of the President of the United States issuing a pardon to notorious Maricopa County (Phoenix) Sheriff Joe Arpaio --- even as the Category 4 hurricane was bearing down on Houston late Friday night --- after Arpaio was convicted for contempt of federal court orders. Arpaio had, for years, unlawfully and unconstitutionally profiled Latino-looking residents in defiance of the Court. But much of what else he did during his reign of terror as Sheriff was far worse than that, as the Phoenix New Times had long reported, and as we also detail today. Even more troubling, however, is the intended message of Trump's pardon to both law enforcement officials, the federal judiciary and the Constitution itself.

And, as if all of that isn't enough, as we took to the air today, North Korea reportedly fired a missile that passed over northern Japan. It's another harrowing show today as the wheels continue to come off the world...

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Guest: Former U.S. Army Captain Sue Fulton of Sparta...
By Brad Friedman on 8/25/2017 6:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast: With millions of Americans imperiled by a massive, potentially "catastrophic" hurricane tonight, the President of the United States took the moment to give the finger to the Pentagon by signing a ban on transgender service members in the military. [Audio link to show follows below.]

(Note: Giving the finger to the federal court system and the U.S. Constitution itself, with a pardon of the reviled Sheriff Joe Arpaio, didn't happen until the hurricane became a Category 4 and we were already off air today.)

First today, Hurricane Harvey is set to slam into the Texas Gulf coast as dire warnings are issued by the National Weather Service that some areas may be "uninhabitable for weeks or months" thereafter. The startling language in the forecasts echo that not heard since it was used by in the extraordinary NWS warning issued prior to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, 12 years ago this week (as we also covered on air at the time).

Our own Desi Doyen --- a native of south Texas herself --- explains the concerns of changing, global warming-fueled weather patterns that are leading forecasters to predict that Harvey may stall in place for days, dropping massive amounts of rainfall (as much as 40 inches in some places) over the next several days, before the storm could move back out to the Gulf only to return for a second landfall. Are state and federal officials --- with many key posts still unfilled by Trump --- fully prepared for what's to come?

Then, we're joined by SUE FULTON, former President of Sparta, an organization supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of the military and their families, to discuss Donald Trump's recent surprise Twitter-announcement that "The United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military."

Fulton, a former U.S. Army Captain and a member of the first coed graduating class at West Point, had worked with the Obama Administration's Pentagon on the policy that had previously lifted the ban on openly transgender service members last year. She describes the detailed and meticulous process that had been carried out by the Department of Defense, with stakeholders from every branch, as well as outside organizations, and the military's own interest in carrying out the policy change that Trump is now reversing.

We discuss how Trump's own process to reverse the policy change appears to run precisely counter to the one carried out by Obama, as well as the wishes of military leaders and service members and the vast majority of Americans of all parties. We also discuss why Trump appears to be carrying this reversal out, despite both the success of lifting the ban to date and comparable changes to similar exclusionary policies that had previously barred both women and openly gay members.

Fulton has a lot to share and inform us about all of this. I strongly recommend tuning in for today's show in full.

For now, however, especially with all of the breaking news I'm still trying to follow tonight, I'll share just this one quote from Fulton for now: "[The Pentagon] did not make this decision to open transgender service willy-nilly --- they made it based on their judgment about military readiness. That's as it should be. I hear people telling me, 'This should be about military readiness', and the answer is: this is absolutely about readiness. This is about having the strongest, most effective military force that we can muster to protect and defend the interests of the United States. And, as part of that, the Pentagon has determined that allowing transgender people to serve --- to keeping that talent within the armed forces, and continuing to recruit talent from as broad a pool as possible --- is right, is the best thing to create this strongest possible force. And that decision was made carefully. Now that decision is being overthrown based on no evidence. In fact, based on saying that the evidence that the Pentagon itself uncovered and determined to be accurate should somehow be thrown out the window."

Then, as luck would have it, no sooner did I finish speaking with Fulton, then news broke late today that, in fact, Trump has made good on his threat and has officially signed new guidance, ordering the Pentagon to proceed with restoration of the ban on transgender service members.

That, just days after calling for "unity" in the country, and telling members of the military at Fort Myers: "Every person who puts on the uniform makes our nation proud. They all come from across our land. They represent every race, ethnicity, and creed. But they all pledge the same oath, fight for the same cause, and operate as one team --- with one shared sense of purpose."

What an extraordinary monster. And I'm being very polite here...

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Guest: Bob Kincaid of Coal River Mountain Watch | Plus: Trump's rampage of lies in Phoenix; TX Photo ID law found discriminatory again; more...
By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2017 6:20pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The President is an extraordinarily accomplished liar, and real journalist should unambiguously report as much. And, oh, yeah, he doesn't give an actual damn about coal miners or their families, either. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up today, following Donald Trump's wildly unhinged and indescribably embarassing campaign rally in Phoenix on Tuesday night, a few words on the unapologetic liar who has become President of the United States, and the responsibility that journalists have --- not just "commentators", but actual, hard news journalists --- to call him out as such.

Then, the UN calls out the United States with an "early warning" regarding the rise of racist demonstrations and the failure of "high-level politicians" --- wonder who they're referring to? --- "to unequivocally and unconditionally reject and condemn racist hate speech". And, a science envoy at the U.S. State Department publicly resigns following Trump's response to Charlottesville and the Administrations' ongoing War on Science.

Then, speaking of that "war", we're joined by West Virginia's own Bob Kincaid of the Coal River Mountain Watch, in response to the Interior Department's halt of a study by the National Academies of Sciences regarding the dangers of Mountain Top Removal coal mining to residents of West Virginia and Kentucky's Appalachian communities. Kincaid, co-founder of the Appalachian Communities Health Emergency Campaign (click the link to watch their :30 second video, and get more info about contacting your members of Congress!) is furious over what he describes as an attempt by the Administration and the coal industry to keep the well-established science linking Mountain Top Removal to cancer, death and birth defects from becoming widely known.

"It's not really mountain top removal," Kincaid tells me, explaining the process that is killing not only coal miners and their families, but their jobs as well. "It's mountain removal. You take vast amounts of...high explosives...and then you set it off. Huge clouds of dust then boil off the strip mine site and roll down into the hollers and into the valleys, and onto the places where people live, who then breathe it. Nothing in the human body can stop the dust. Because it's so fine, it's so tiny."

He goes on to explain how this has now been done "to over 500 mountains. They've buried over 2,500 miles of streams. That causes poisons to run into the water, etc., etc., etc. Over 2 dozens reports have shown that there are vastly elevated rates of cancer, birth defects, genitourinary diseases, pulmonary diseases, heart diseases, in areas where this dust falls."

And, he says, even though it was the state of West Virginia which requested the National Academies' study in the first place, the state's two U.S. Senators (Republican Shelly Moore-Capito and Democrat Joe Manchin), not to mention its Repub-turned-Dem-turned-Repub coal billionaire Governor Jim Justice, have been "as silent as a graven image," after the Interior Department halted this study of those "over 2 dozen" studies late last week. "It's sort of like 'Home on the Range', where never is heard a discouraging word, and the coal dust isn't toxic all day."

"You wind up getting this downright un-American suppression of science," tells me. "I'm not kidding. This isn't American! We used to follow science. It's not always been this way. This suppression is the kind of stuff they do in North Korea or the old Soviet Union."

Finally today, breaking news on yet another federal court ruling (it's either the 6th or the 8th, I can't even remember anymore!) finding the Texas GOP's Photo ID voting restriction intentionally discriminates against minority voters, and an all-electric Tesla SUV(!) smokes a half-million dollar Lamborghini in a record-setting drag race...

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Guest: Maricopa County, AZ Recorder Adrian Fontes...
By Brad Friedman on 5/5/2017 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the new election chief in Maricopa County (Phoenix), AZ has discovered tens of thousands of voter registration forms from citizens who, he says, are otherwise eligible to vote, but were never added to the voting rolls by his predecessor, due to what he describes as an unconstitutional or, at least, immoral state statute. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Democrats seem quite giddy (with good reason) about their chances of re-taking the U.S. House next year following Thursday's passage of the wildly unpopular Republican bill to replace ObamaCare. But their voters will have to be able to actually cast a vote next year --- and have their votes counted as cast --- in order for Democrats to have any chance of regaining a majority in Congress.

On that note, we are joined on today's show by Maricopa's brand new County Recorder Adrian Fontes. Last November, the Democratic former prosecutor unseated Pheonix' previous election chief, Republican Helen Purcell, who had served in the post unopposed for 30 years. He was inspired to run following the disastrous Presidential Primary in Maricopa last year, when hundreds of precincts were shut down and many voters were forced to wait for hours to cast a vote in the Sanders/Clinton primary.

Since taking office, Fontes has discovered tens of thousands of voter registration forms, going as far back as a decade, stored in dusty boxes in a county warehouse. The forms, he explains, were never entered in to the voter database, since the applicants failed to include proof of citizenship, as required by Prop 200, a 2004 ballot initiative that is now Arizona law.

Fontes explains that he is now attempting to confirm the citizenship of the would-be voters himself, by checking their status as already tracked by the state's Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) database. "We had a policy in this office that uses what I consider to be a mis-read of state law," he tells me. "The read that was happening says that the County Recorder is to reject the form. My read is, if you've already proven to the State of Arizona that you're a citizen, then you should be allowed to vote."

Critics, specifically Republican critics, charge that Fontes, a U.S. Marine who formerly worked as a prosecutor in both the County Attorney's office as well as for the Arizona Attorney General, is not shy in countering those critics. "Why in the world would anyone not want me to go check with the MVD and say 'lo and behold, the Motor Vehicle Division of the State of Arizona has on file a document proving that this person is a citizen. I will therefore register you to vote!' Why would anybody oppose that?"

Making matters worse or more "ironic" or "laughable", as Fontes describes it, because the federal voter registration form has no instructions for attesting to citizenship status, state guidance requires him to check with the MVD himself to confirm citizenship status for those voters. But if the very same person were to have used a state voter registration form and forgot to fill in their drivers license number or provide other proof of citizenship, he is not supposed to register that person, according to the state rulebook. Moreover, he tells me, an online state registration system automatically checks that very same MVD database for applicants. "So, something that the state does, automatically, on its own website, you've got people telling me that I'm barred from doing. If that's not the epitome of craziness, I don't know what is!"

In all, Fontes tells me, he now believes "nearly 91,000" otherwise eligible voters may be found in those dusty boxes and he plans to register them all if he is able to confirm their status.

In addition to all of that, I ask Fontes about claims by Bernie Sanders supporters (he is one himself) that the DNC and/or Hillary Clinton Campaign were somehow behind the Primary election disaster in Phoenix last year, in order to rig the contest against the progressive Vermont U.S. Senator. That disaster, he explains, is what inspired him to run against Purcell. We also discuss allegations of Arizona's voter database being hacked last year, concerns about the county's electronic ballot tabulation system and whether there is actually any evidence to support claims by Republicans like Donald Trump and his adviser, Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach (who also instituted a "proof of citizenship" requirement in that state), that millions of illegal votes, including by non-citizens, were cast in last year's election.

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for the Green News Report with her usual disturbing news, but also with a number of happily encouraging reports on the amazing growth of clean, renewable energy both in the U.S. and around the world!...

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: Steve Horn of DeSmogBlog...
By Brad Friedman on 9/12/2016 6:04pm PT  

On today's BradCast, yes, Donald Trump even lied about 9/11. And, speaking of lies, Big Oil has been using a loophole in U.S. federal law to to skirt environmental concerns and receive quick approval for dirty, dangerous new pipelines.

First, as the media continue to ignore one of the worst and most expensive environmental disasters in U.S. history last month, Trump was busy lying about 9/11, even on the 15th anniversary of the attacks. He lied about why he received taxpayer money after the tragedy and suggested he personally removed rubble. Imagine, just imagine, what the media would have done to Hillary Clinton (appropriately) had she falsely suggested anything even close.

The corporate media's false equivalency between the two candidates continues, as facts concerning stuff like Colin Powell's very specific directions to Clinton on how to use a private email address as Secretary of State are overlooked, and as both national and state polling continues to tighten in the bargain.

Then, speaking of issues ignored by the corporate media, investigative environmental journalist Steve Horn of DeSmogBlog joins us to discuss the little-known federal permitting policy called "Nationwide Permit 12" --- a loophole in federal law increasingly used by the oil industry to fast-track federal approval for major pipeline infrastructure projects like the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota, and as a way to skirt more stringent federal environmental review in the process.

"Nationwide Permit 12, before the past three or four years, was generally and exclusively used for small projects, usually 1/2 an acre in size and smaller," Horn tells me. "It wasn't really until the Keystone XL debate, and in particular the southern leg of it, where the industry saw Nationwide Permit 12 as a convenient way to split up its pipelines into many, many, many pieces. Sometimes, in the case of Keystone XL, it was some 2000 segments that they called 'single and complete projects'."

"You can call it a loophole, you can call it a fast-track trick, a maneuver. For all intents and purposes, it's like the pipeline industry's equivalent of a tax loophole. And, looking at what billionaires do, it serves the equivalent for the pipeline industry," he explains. Given those in the fossil industry who are now publicly supporting the scam --- including the industry billionaire who Trump has said he may tap as his Secretary of the Dept. of Energy --- Horn's analogy is disturbingly on point. The good news, however (and we could use some today!): the scam is now under federal review after its use to approve construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. That controversial project, which, as of Friday, was at least temporarily halted by the Obama Administration, may finally "have been a tipping point for use of Nationwide Permit 12," Horn notes.

Finally, some listener mail on a recent program seems to blame voters for the failure of politicians. We discuss.

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

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