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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, December 16, 2017
GOP Tax Scam's Final Mile; Tillerson's NK Flip; Packing the Courts; Trump Family Fail: 'BradCast' 12/15/17
A spoonful or two of sugar along with some of today's bitter medicine...
Trump FCC Kills 'Net Neutrality', Endangering Internet Free Speech: 'BradCast' 12/14/2017
Guest: Media reformer Sue Wilson; Also: More mega-mergers, Trump noms withdrawn, more...
'Green News Report' 12/14/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Toxic smoke warnings from SoCal fires; New bad news for the Arctic; New good news for Tesla; World fights climate change without U.S.; PLUS: French prez makes good on promise...
Previous GNRs: 12/12/17 - 12/7/17 - Archives...
Veteran Recount Attorney Sees Little Chance for Moore in AL: 'BradCast' 12/13/17
Guest: Recount expert Chris Sautter on Jones' win, Moore's odds, AL Supremes' 'ballot images' ruling...
Internet Freedom of Speech Now at Stake
With Trump's Repub-majority FCC set to kill Net Neutrality, a media reformer on why the result will be another political horror show for Dems and the nation...
AL Supremes Allow 'Ballot Images' to Be Destroyed: 'BradCast' 12/12/17
Guest: David Rothschild's new study on whether real or fake news was the bigger prob in the 2016 election...
'Green News Report' 12/12/17
SoCal fire now CA's 5th largest ever; Trump Admin attacks private co. in nat'l monument fight, opens E. Coast to drilling, slows EPA actions against polluters...
Moore, Moore, Moore... and Other Vital News: 'BradCast' 12/11/2017
Terror attacks in NY, KS, NM; Pentagon to allow trans-gender enlistment; SoCal fires; Election integrity court win and deep dive before AL's insane U.S. Senate election...
GOP/NRA's 'Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act' Likely Unconstitutional
New bill rammed through House blocks states' rights on gun safety laws and may violate the U.S. Constitution...
Sunday Toons of the Soulless Moment
A lot of souls have been sold in recent days. For what in return? 'PDiddie' rounds up the consequences in his latest weekly toon collection...
Former CO GOP Chair Found Guilty of Voter Fraud: 'BradCast' 12/8/17
And other ironies and outrages: SoCal fires spread; Trump dumps science; Election Integrity suit in AL; House GOP ignores states' rights on guns; Listener e-mail...
'Green News Report' 12/7/17
Trump rolls back protections for two national monuments; Tribes, conservationists sue; GOP tax bill slashes renewables; PLUS: Credit firm warns cities on climate...
Two SCOTUS Cases This Week 'Take the Cake' for Absurdity: 'BradCast' 12/6/17
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Fires worsen in, near L.A.; Franken pressured by Dem Senators to resign...
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...


By Brad Friedman on 12/15/2017 6:21pm PT  

On today's BradCast, a spoonful or two of sugar where we can find it, along with much too much bitter medicine. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the stories covered on today's jam-packed 'BradCast'...

First up: The massively unpopular Republican tax scam lurches toward the finish line after the last of the pretend GOP hold-outs in the U.S. Senate now seem to be on board. They all know it's a scam, of course, one that will not, as they pretend, "pay for itself". And most predict the tax bill will gravely hurt the GOP's chances of holding on to the U.S. House in 2018. But they don't seem to care for some reason Moreover, they are openly admitting publicly that they are coming for cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid almost as soon as the largest redistribution of wealth from the poor and middle class to corporations and the wealthy in the history of the nation is completed before Christmas.

Then: Earlier in the week, Trump's beleaguered Sec. of State Rex Tillerson had announced that the U.S. was ready to meet with the North Koreans for peace talks without preconditions. By week's end, however, that hopeful message of potential peace took a drastic u-turn, as Tillerson appears to have reversed course at the last minute during his remarks at the U.N. on Friday.

Meanwhile, even though they have, up until now, failed to enact any major legislation to date, Trump and the Republicans have been wildly successful at ramming lifetime appointments of radical right-wing jurists to the federal bench through the U.S. Senate. Some of those appointees have been ridiculously unqualified, though at least one Senate Republican is beginning to put the brakes on those nominees. We share part of the astonishing Senate Judiciary Committee colloquy this week between Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) and Mark Spencer Petersen, Trump's embarrassingly unqualified nominee for a lifetime post on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Finally, we get to at least a spoonful of sugar with a musical tribute to the apparently failed U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama, plummeting approval ratings for the President, the Vice-President and the entire Republican Party, and the hilarious case of pretty much every member of the Trump family in D.C. successfully suppressing their own votes in last month's New York mayoral election.

All of that and much more in today's BradCast. Enjoy!

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

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Guest: Journalist David Dayen on how Repubs just admitted 'trickle-down' doesn't actually work | Also: Accountability for high-profile sexual misconduct, if not in Alabama, the White House or on Main Street...
By Brad Friedman on 11/30/2017 6:10pm PT  

According to my guest on today's BradCast, last minute GOP maneuvering on the U.S. Senate versions of the tax bill, in hopes of buying off holdouts within their own caucus, definitively proves that so-called 'trickle-down' economic theory doesn't actually work --- and that Republicans know it. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first up on today's show, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) calls for long-serving Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan to resign in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations by a series of women, and long-serving Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Texas announces he will not run for re-election, after admitting to sexual misconduct with a series of women.

Those are just two of a flood of powerful men in politics, entertainment and journalism to be called out of late. However, how many women are still facing sexual assault and harassment from men who aren't as high-profile and, therefore, not being exposed by the mainstream media? And, how many others, even powerful ones like President Donald Trump and, perhaps, Alabama's Republican U.S. Senate nominee Roy Moore --- whose poll numbers are back up over Democrat Doug Jones in advance of the Dec. 12th U.S. Senate special election, even after multiple allegations of sexual assault with under-aged girls --- still get away without any accountability at all? We discuss.

Then, while Republicans claim their massive $1.5 trillion tax cut scheme for corporations and the wealthy (and tax increases for most everyone else) will magically pay for itself, history and all independent analysis suggest otherwise. So does evidence from large corporations, most of which indicates that companies have no plans to use their expected windfall profits from tax cuts to increase employment or raise worker wages.

With that in mind, in order to get the massive tax measure passed at all, some Republicans in the U.S. Senate are demanding a 'trigger' in the legislation that would automatically kick in to reverse some of the tax cuts if the GOP and Trump Administration's rosy scenarios that tax cuts pay for themselves do not actually come to pass.

We're joined today by financial journalist DAVID DAYEN who explains why such a trigger is the GOP's worst idea yet for their already terrible scheme. "You could let monkeys bang on typewriters for several millennia and not come up with an idea as profoundly stupid," he reports at The Nation this week.

The result, he tells me, would be that taxes would potentially be automatically increased and/or spending reduced, at the worse possible moment for doing so. "Austerity in the midst of an economic slowdown is economic suicide. It would intentionally destabilize the economy if it slowed down. It would turn recessions into depression," he warns. "I cannot stress enough how stupid this idea is."

He also notes how opposition to such a trigger from so-called "conservatives"-- other members of the Senate, as well as right-wing advocacy groups like the Koch Brothers' Americans for Prosperity, Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform and the US Chamber of Commerce --- "gives the game away" that 'trickle-down', and this bill as a whole, are all "all a scam"...and Republicans know it.

Please tune in for another very insightful conversation with Dayen, revealing just how hypocritical, dangerous and misleading the entire scam is, how much it will cost the American people in real terms, whether the GOP and Trump will be able to get it passed at all, and how the American electorate are likely to react if so, in 2018 and beyond.

Finally, a quick reminder that Open Enrollment for the Affordable Care Act ('ObamaCare') at Healthcare.gov is still under way until December 15th in most states and, while sign-up numbers have been very high so far this year, they are very low as a percentage compared to last year, since Trump has cut the period for enrollment in half from previous years.

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: Nuclear analyst Stephen Schwartz: Also: Dems win again in OK; Moore madness in AL; Maddening new details on N. Cal mass shooting...
By Brad Friedman on 11/15/2017 6:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast, more good news for Dems, more bad news for Republicans, and more disturbing news for all Americans --- and the world. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We start today with the encouraging news for Democrats, as a 26-year old lesbian candidate for state Senate in deep "red" Oklahoma has unseated yet another Republican in a special election this week. It's the third time a state Senate seat has been flipped by Dems in OK since a 24-year old woman became the youngest chair of a state Democratic Party last year.

Speaking of trouble for Republicans, we've also got the latest on the Roy Moore mess in Alabama, as President Trump, also accused of sexual assault by multiple women before his own election last year, has frustrated fellow Republicans by failing to speak out in the matter, following bombshell allegations that Moore assaulted a number of teenagers, as young as 14 years old, while serving as a 32-year old prosecutor. But Moore and his supporters are fighting back today, as is his wildly embarassing attorney. A robocall falsely claiming to be from a reporter at the Washington Post (which originally broke the initial allegations against Moore last week) has reportedly been circulating in Alabama, in advance of the December 12 election, claiming to be offering money in exchange for new allegations against the far Rightwing GOP nominee for US Senate. And, far Rightwing radio propagandist Rush Limbaugh has come up with a very novel defense for the accused GOP child molester at the same time.

Also today, more news on the mass shooting at and near an elementary school in Northern California that killed 5 and wounded 10 others on Tuesday. Many new questions have surfaced about why the shooter, a local man with a criminal record and anger management issues, was able to purchase and then retain semi-automatic weapons even after recent encounters with police including domestic violence complaints and being charged with stabbing a neighbor. But, at least the mass killer wasn't Muslim, so NRA-bribed Republicans can begin ignoring yet another domestic mass shooting immediately.

Then, as concerns continue to grow worldwide over Donald Trump's saber rattling with North Korea and his access to nuclear weapons, the U.S. Senate held a hearing this week to discuss Presidential authority to wage war and launch nuclear weapons without anyone having the ability to prevent him from doing so, if he chooses.

Longtime nuclear weapons policy analyst STEPHEN SCHWARTZ of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies joins us to discuss what, if anything, was accomplished at the Senate hearing, the first on the topic since 1976, and what, if anything, can (or should) be done to restore a more sane use-of-nukes policy in the only nuclear-armed nation in the world which rests sole decision-making power on whether to use such weapons with one single person. That person, currently being Donald J. Trump, has raised many worries from Democrats and Republicans in Congress alike. Whether they're willing or able to do anything about it, however, is a different matter, as we also discuss today.

"The reality of the situation is that you're putting enormous power in the hands of one person," Schwartz, tells me, detailing how, short of "mass insubordination" by military leadership, even they would be unable to prevent such an event if Trump ordered it. And, he explains, even objections on legal or Constitutional grounds by military leadership might be insufficient to prevent disaster in the "at most 15 minutes, perhaps, as little as five or ten" during which a President would have to make a decision about how to respond in the event of an apparent incoming attack.

You'll want to tune in for this conversation, if only to hear the explanation of how the nuclear "football", at all times within reach of any American President since the Cold War, actually works. Schwartz, the former longtime Executive Director and Publisher of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (keepers of the infamous "Doomsday Clock") also suggests several ways in which we could improve (or, help Trump-proof) the current dangerous system to help avoid "what could be a life-ending, a world-ending decision"...

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: John Nichols of The Nation; Also: More GOPers call it quits; Hearings on Presidential use of nukes; New bad news for Puerto Rico...
By Brad Friedman on 11/9/2017 5:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's kind of remarkable, but things continue to get even worse for Republicans this week. Worse even than the thumping they from Democrats at the polls on Tuesday. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

A bombshell investigative Washington Post report today details allegations of inappropriate sexual contact by Roy Moore, the controversial far-right, homophobic, anti-Muslim, religious zealot and twice removed AL Supreme Court Justice, who is also currently the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate Special Election in December. Moore is accused of inappropriate conduct with several teenage girls, one as young as 14, while serving as an Assistant District Attorney in his 30s. The charges have led to GOP Senators calling on him to immediately drop out of the race, even though the deadline for doing so before the December 12 election to fill the seat left vacant by Attorney General Jeff Sessions appears to have passed.

Moore and his campaign vehemently deny the reporting as "fake news" by "the National Democrat Party" and Washington Post, though the now 53-year old woman at the center of the report has nothing to do with Democrats and voted for Republicans in the last three Presidential elections (including for Donald Trump). She, like the other women in the story, who do not know each other, reportedly had to be convinced to tell their stories to the paper.

We're joined today by The Nation's JOHN NICHOLS, progressive journalist and author of Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse, to discuss that stunning breaking news as well as the remarkable Democratic victories in Tuesday's elections up and down the ballot in VA, NJ and many other states. Nichols, a long time progressive champion, offers insight into the quickly escalating "chaos" for Congressional Republicans and the ongoing divides among progressives --- even in the wake of Tuesday's victories --- between grassroots activists and more establishment Democrats.

On the breaking Moore news, Nichols offers wryly: "Who would've thought, in what wild imagination might would you have possibly thought that a xenophobic, racist, lawless, just brutal character, by any measure, would turn out to be a bad guy? The story, if it is true --- and let us be fair, let's be more fair than Roy Moore would be --- if it is true, this is really scary, ugly, awful stuff." He adds: "I'm not sure that Roy Moore will stand down. Remember Roy Moore has made his career by not following the rules, not accepting political logic or reason, and also by absolutely denying that which appears in the media. He makes Trump look like a cautious, responsible believer in mainstream media."

As to electoral politics, Nichols agrees with my assertion "one hundred percent" that the Democratic Party establishment continue to underestimate their chances in "red" states and jurisdictions. He cites, for example, the lack of support previously given to Moore's Democratic opponent, former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones, "an exemplary candidate for this position, with some unique abilities to pull together the traditional Democratic coalition in Alabama" where, he argues, "you can build a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, urban-rural coalition."

Nichols goes on to describe the "amazing day for the Democrats" on Tuesday, while noting that "a heck of a lot of it was dumb luck," given the mood of the country toward Donald Trump. He argues Dems might have done even better had they "put a candidate on the ballot in every district, and [found] ways to get resources and support to that candidate, because you have the potential, in a wave election, of winning in places you could never win." He cites a number of progressive and minority candidates, some "abandoned by Dems", who ending up winning nonetheless. "What we want to take away from Tuesday night is that where Democrats thought outside the box --- where they pushed harder, did more interesting things --- they won!"

In the bargain, he adds, for Republicans in Congress, the result is now utter "chaos" and he believes the current tax cut proposals by the GOP may never even get passed at all, at least not as current proposed.

Also today on today's show: As expected, still more top GOPers in the U.S. House announce they will not run again in 2018 following Tuesday's thumping; Outgoing Senator and Trump adversary Bob Corker (R-TN) announces long-overdue hearings in the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee (which he chairs) on Presidential authority to declare war and deploy nuclear weapons; And Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report' on, among other things, U.S. isolation on the world stage regarding climate change and some late breaking newly bad news for Puerto Rico, nearly two months after Hurricane Maria made landfall to devastate the island...

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: Longtime nuclear weapons analyst Stephen Schwartz; Also: Flake won't seek re-election, rebukes Trump, party; Corker/Trump's sad war...
By Brad Friedman on 10/24/2017 6:49pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Trump continues to blow up the GOP today. But what, if anything, will stop him from doing the same, literally, to the world? [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Yet another Republican U.S. Senator has decided they've had enough. Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake stunned D.C. today by joining Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker in deciding that he will not run for re-election in 2018 after all. He offered a blistering rebuke of Donald Trump, fellow GOP members of Congress, and the Republican Party itself while making his announcement on the Senate floor on Tuesday. That development came after a remarkably rancorous (and, in truth, very sad) series of media/Twitter back and forths earlier on Tuesday between Corker and Trump.

We cover all of the above today, with a focus on Corker's charge that the President of the United State is, himself, not only failing the country, but a real and present threat to national security in regard to North Korea and other foreign policy concerns.

With that in mind, following the disturbing report over the weekend that the U.S. Air Force is now preparing for the possibility of placing nuclear-armed bombers on 24/7 ready alert for the first time since the end of the Cold War, we are joined by longtime nuclear weapons policy analyst STEPHEN SCHWARTZ of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Schwartz, formerly the longtime Executive Director and Publisher of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (keepers of the infamous "Doomsday Clock"), explains the reasons --- sensible or otherwise --- the White House and US military might make this extraordinary move, which, he charges, is fraught with any number of perils. It's particularly puzzling, he explains, given that the U.S. already has hundreds, if not thousands of nuclear-armed Intercontinental Missiles at the ready on both land and sea. It is, at various times, a chilling, maddening, and (somewhat) comforting conversation and incredibly enlightening from top to bottom.

(For those interested, here's that disturbingly graphic idea from Roger Fischer in the 1981 Bulletin that I mentioned, regarding making a President's decision to launch nukes much less abstract".)

Schwartz speaks to, among many other things: Why the Air Force may be doing this; How China and Russia, much less North Korea, may respond; Whether or not Congress should finally step in to ensure the U.S. never launches a nuclear first strike, no matter who occupies the Oval Office; Whether or not he agrees with Corker's assessment that Trump is a threat to national security and world peace; And what, if anything, might prevent Trump from "pushing the button" in "a fit of Twitter pique."

"I think we are long overdue for the point of having a national discussion over what it means to put one person and one person alone in charge of authorizing the use of nuclear weapons," he tells me. "Regardless of who is President, if anything good comes out of this, it will be that people are much more aware of the power that a President has to incinerate the world, how many nuclear weapons we have, still, and what our plans are for them."

"I don't worry about Donald Trump so much deciding in a fit of Twitter pique or whatever to launch a nuclear attack," he warns. "I worry that his ignorance, and his arrogance, and his complete lack of knowledge about all things nuclear, not to mention all things foreign policy, will end up getting him blundering into some sort of crisis from which there will be no real escape."

On that point, Schwartz also offers his assessment of whether the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists will move their Doomsday Clock forward once again in their annual assessment, after moving it forward to "2 and a half minutes to midnight" back in January. That was well before the recent disturbing threats by Trump to bring "fire and fury" and "totally destroy" North Korea several weeks ago. The last adjustment was also prior to the Trump Administration's wildly aggressive actions to undermine environmental policy meant to mitigate the existential threat of Climate Change, which the Doomsday Clock has also taken into account since 2007.

Finally, speaking of our climate crisis (and making it worse), we're joined by Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report as the hottest World Series in baseball history gets under way out here in Los Angeles, with the mercury hitting a record 104 degrees today...in late October...

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: Former Puerto Rican power commissioner Ramon Cruz...
By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2017 6:03pm PT  

The struggle for 3.5 million U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico is "getting worse by the day", my guest who recently returned from the island tells me on today's BradCast. So, I'm afraid, is everything else, it seems, as the President of the United States continues to put the nation on a war footing (potentially, a nuclear war footing) in advance of his upcoming trip to Asia. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

A disturbing new report over the weekend cites the U.S. Air Force readying a Louisiana military base to place "nuclear-armed bombers back on 24-hour ready alert" for the first time since the end of the Cold War in 1991. Why? What is the imagined threat that makes such a dangerous (and expensive) posture necessary? Particularly as nuclear armed land- and submarine-based Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles are already in place by the hundreds or thousands and would surely provoke response from adversaries real and perceived?

And, of course, all of that, even as Americans are still fighting for their lives in Puerto Rico, thanks in part, to a shortage of relief funding. Yes, power remains out for some 80% of the island, more than a month after Hurricane Maria made her devastating landfall. We're joined today by former Puerto Rico Energy Commissioner, RAMON CRUZ, who is now on the Sierra Club's National Board of Directors and serves as an advisor to the United Nations on climate policy.

Recently back from the island, Cruz, a Puerto Rican native, details the deteriorating situation on the ground, particularly away from the capital of San Juan, and warns, as he did in his recently published op-ed for The Hill, that the "vultures" are already descending "to feast on the opportunities presented by the recovery efforts."

Cruz tells me that things in the interior of the island are "getting worse by the day," despite Trump grading his own federal relief efforts with a "10" out of 10 last week during a press avail at the White House. "Ultimately, who cares about what grade he gives? There's still people that [lack] all these necessities. It's really infuriating. The fact that they lost everything, and they still are drinking contaminated water, in ways that are completely preventable. That's the real disaster. In that case, if I could give negative points, I would give that."

He notes that his own father, for instance, who lives just 40 minutes from San Juan "still has no electricity, cell or water service" and many in mountain towns "have received a visit from the authorities only once, if any, and to bring a couple of water bottles and some canned sausages." The relief effort is failing, he charges, citing, for example, a delivery of "100 pallets of solar panels, but it still will take at least a month to go through the shipping process" before they can actually be deployed.

Cruz details why PR's power grid took such a hit from the storm, why it is so difficult to restore it to the already-deficient state it was in prior to the storm, and how decentralized energy micro-grids, relying on clean, renewable energy and battery storage, are now more important than ever, even as opportunists begin to take advantage of relief funds and the desperate Puerto Rican people.

"A lot of these [power generating stations] are decades old," he notes. "So you have these monstrosities of this very centralized system. They're very inefficient, they operate with some of the dirtiest fuels, and they should have been changed, should have been retired [a] long time ago. But because of several reasons --- everything from mismanagement, corruption, lack of capital, lack of creativity, bad business models, etc., they were not changed. And now you see these kinds of effects."

"In terms of human power, you have a lot of able Puerto Ricans to help," Cruz argues. "As a policy person, I think Americans in the mainland could help a lot by putting pressure on their elected officials to send a decent relief package to Puerto Rico, or to hurricane-affected areas. And to have, for example, a climate adaptation plan. I think everywhere on the coast, everywhere that is vulnerable to climate change, to global warming, there should be a plan for how to deal with essential infrastructure." That, he says, is "extremely important" but lacking in Puerto Rico and, unfortunately, too many other locations which could find themselves, before long, in as bad or worse condition than Puerto Rico...

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

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Guest: Heather Digby Parton on Trump rage, GOP 'cowardice', so-called 'Values Voters'; Also: Deadly hurricane in Ireland(?!), fires in CA, war between US-armed allies in Iraq...
By Brad Friedman on 10/16/2017 6:31pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guest: Dr. Trita Parsi of the National Iranian-American Council on Trump's dangerous, and foolish, scheme to break the Iran nuclear deal...
By Brad Friedman on 10/10/2017 6:11pm PT  

Republican U.S. Senator Bob Corker, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, suggested to the New York Times over the weekend that Donald Trump's reckless comments on North Korea and Iran and other issues, could be setting the nation "on the path to World War III." Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy argues in response that we should take Corker's --- and Trump's --- words much more seriously. Well, we do...pretty much every day here on The BradCast. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Today we discuss how, even as the President continues to threaten war with nuclear-armed North Korea, his own CIA argues leader Kim Jong Un is not a "madman", and poses no direct threat to the U.S. or its allies --- unless Trump forces him into a corner. At the same time, Trump continues to back Kim into a corner while undermining his own Sec. of State Rex Tillerson's diplomatic efforts in the region.

The claims that he's concerned about NK's nuclear program are difficult to accept while Trump seems dead set on undermining the very successful anti-nuclear agreement with Iran (and Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain), despite his own top diplomatic and military officials stating repeatedly that Iran has been honoring the deal to the letter, since it was struck under President Obama in 2015. Breaking that agreement, as Trump is threatening, will only boost the political fortunes of hard-line clergy in Iran, while undermining the moderates there who have risen in the Iranian parliament and presidency in the wake of the deal. It might also result in Iran restarting it's nuclear enrichment program that was ended by the deal, putting them much closer to nuclear weapons. So, why is Trump threatening to break that agreement by decertifying it, and sending the issue to Congress to decide whether to reimpose sanctions?

We're joined today by DR. TRITA PARSI, Founder and President of the National Iranian-American Council, which worked with the Obama White House to help shepherd the nuclear pact through Congress, to discuss why Trump is vowing to try and kill the deal, and what the ramifications are likely to be in the U.S. and Iran --- and even in North Korea --- if he does.

Parsi, is an expert on Middle Eastern foreign affairs and US-Iranian relations. He says there is simply no reasonable explanation for Trump's interest in killing the Iran deal and, as he describes today in an article at the NY Review of Books, hand a "gift" to Iran's conservative hard-liners, who already distrust the U.S.

"More than anything else, to be completely frank," he says, "this seems to be in line with almost everything else Trump has done since he took office --- which is, he just simply opposes anything that has Obama's signature on it. Whether it's the Affordable Care Act, whether it is the Iran deal. And there seems to be an obsession, on his end, to undo it for that simple reason. Because in his own administration, his Secretary of State tells him 'don't decertify'. His Secretary of Defense tells him 'don't decertify'. His Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff tells him 'don't decertify'. So what is it that Trump, with his brilliant real estate mind manages to see as a flaw with this deal that no one else seems to be able to identify?"

Parsi, whose most recent book is Losing An Enemy: Obama, Iran, and the Triumph of Diplomacy, says while all parties --- including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), eight times since January 2016 --- have certified that Iran is honoring the agreement, some in Iran already see the U.S. as having broken it. He cites Trump's recent efforts at the G20 to discourage other nations from trading with Iran.

"Trump is in clear violation of Article 29 of the agreement, which says that no country shall stand in the way of what is now legitimate trade between Iran and the outside world. You can't lift sanctions as an incentive for the deal and then go and encourage countries not to trade with Iran, and that's exactly what Trump went and did at the G20 meeting," Parsi explains, adding: "Fortunately, thus far, the Iranians have refrained from further escalating this."

The larger concern is that Trump is undermining world interests in dealing with the U.S. on anything. "Why would you negotiate with Trump? What is it that gives you the confidence that he has the capacity of upholding his promises? That's the problem here. In order to get [a better deal, as Trump claims to want], you need to have the credibility of being a good and fair and trustworthy negotiator. Trump does not have that reputation anywhere."

"This is not a strategy that has any chance of success on the international stage. The only question is how much damage will it incur on the United States before Trump stops doing what he's doing right now." Parsi cautions Trump's dangerous game could result in military conflict. "It's only creating more uncertainty, which then leads to more instability, and then potentially a collapse of the deal that can bring the United States back on a path towards war with Iran."

Mission accomplished?

Finally, we're joined today by Desi Doyen for the latest Green News Report with updates on the apocalyptic wildfires in Northern California, the latest in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and the Trump EPA's hypocritical explanation for gutting the Obama 'Clean Power Plan' to reduce man-made greenhouse gas emissions that helped fuel 2017's record hurricane season and the fires still blazing out of control in California...

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

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Guest: Author, journalist John Nichols; Also: Nate dissipates after landfall; Massive wildfires explode across CA; Trump EPA announces reversal of Obama 'Clean Power Plan'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/9/2017 6:18pm PT  

On today's BradCast, one climate change bullet dodged on the Gulf Coast, even as another explodes on the West Coast, and Donald Trump, despite his distracting buffoonery, continues to move his far-right agenda forward as my guest today details in no uncertain terms. [Audio link to show follows below.]

New Orleans and the Gulf Coast appear to have averted another catastrophe with Hurricane Nate, the fourth hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. in the past six weeks, bringing heavy rains, but less damage than feared to the region. (Reminder: there are still two more months left in the official hurricane season!) But, millions are still struggling to rebuild from the recent storms Harvey, Irma and Maria, especially in Puerto Rico, where most of the power remains out over two weeks since Maria made landfall, despite Trump's rosy scenarios and the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offering a disturbing remark over the weekend.

Even as Nate dissipates, however, the U.S. received yet another troubling reminder of the deadly perils of climate change over night Sunday and into Monday. As of air time, at least 1,500 homes and commercial building have been completely destroyed by wildfires that broke out late Sunday night across eight counties in Northern California wine country, sending tens of thousands of residents fleeing for their lives, many of them dodging flames and wildly gusting winds in the middle of the night. 10 have now been pronounced dead, in a toll that is expected to rise.

Another massive blaze erupted and is threatening homes and businesses in Southern California on Monday as well. All signs of a warming planet, not only being ignored but actively exacerbated by the Trump Administration which announced plans on Monday --- even as all of this was going on --- to reverse Barack Obama's 'Clean Power Plan', instituted to meet U.S. commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement between some 200 nations. Trump announced the Administration's intention to drop out of the Paris accord to curb man-made greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, earlier this year.

So, even as the media, Congress, and the public remain continuously obsessed and distracted by Donald Trump's obnoxious Twitter feed, his radical hard-right Republican agenda stays on target on issues both foreign and domestic. We're joined to discuss that issue and more today by journalist JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation, author of the newly published Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse: A Field Guide to the Most Dangerous People in America and his new report for the non-profit Rosa Luxemburg foundation titled "Donald Trump's Dangerously Coherent Agenda".

"The greatest strength that Donald Trump has in American politics --- his number one strength --- is that he is not taken seriously. And, for so long as he is not taken seriously, he is able to continue to entertain, to control the discourse, because people are just looking for what more cute, adorable, horrifying, freakish thing that he does," Nichols tells me, explaining why, despite his low approval ratings, "he knows how to survive. And his survival instinct is locking in a very coherent agenda, which is the agenda of the hard, hard social right."

"I'll be blunt with ya," he adds, "I see very little evidence of Democrats figuring out the play, either."

Among topics of our conversation, in addition to his new book and disturbing new report, are the chilling recent comments from Trump regarding "the calm before the storm"; underwhelming responses to his Twitter attacks on members of his own party (and own Administration) in recent days; the temptation (and accompanying dangers) for Democrats in making deals with Trump as his approval ratings falls; and efforts by Bernie Sanders supporters in Texas toward flipping some of the most reportedly "conservative" Congressional districts in the state from "red" to "blue". Nichols checks in today from the Lone Star State, where he is currently reporting for his upcoming cover story at The Nation on what he describes as impressive organizational work in advance of 2018, now being carried out there by members of Sanders' Our Revolution group...

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

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Guest: Political scientist, author David Faris of Roosevelt University...
By Brad Friedman on 8/18/2017 6:03pm PT  

On today's BradCast, another tumultuous week, another White House firing, another major election system breach and another look at how it all could end. [Audio link follows below.]

White House Chief Strategist --- and once and future head of the far-right fake 'news' outlet Breitbart --- is fired after yet another tumultuous week of self-inflicted wounds by Donald Trump.

Also today, 11 years after The BRAD BLOG first reported exclusively on a massive breach of personal voting records for some 1.5 million Chicago voters, the private company contracted to run the city's voter registration system did it again. ES&S, the largest electronic voting system vendor in the nation, was discovered to have been storing 1.8 million voter registration records on an unprotected web server this week, exposing citizens to data theft and the city's administrative voting system passwords. All underscoring, yet again, the continuing failures and dangers of having privatized our public electoral system, as we've been trying to highlight for nearly 15 years now.

Then, with the President's approval rating at an historic low and support for his impeachment climbing, concerns about his fitness for office continue to mount in the wake of his equivalence between neo-Nazis and those who protest them, following the murder of a counter-protester in Charlottesville. New articles of impeachment are filed in the U.S. House, more Presidential advisory councils are disbanding, with CEOs and other business leaders (even James Murdoch of Fox "News"!) quickly distancing themselves from Trump, even some top Republicans who previously supported him are now finally suggesting he may be unfit for office.

So, how might this all end? We're joined today by columnist, author and political scientist DAVID FARIS of Roosevelt University to discuss that, Bannon, and his new piece at The Week on the Constitutional ambiguities of the 25th Amendment. Can it and should it be invoked to remove Trump from office? And how the hell does it even work?

Faris argues "we cannot take three-and-a-half more years of this nonstop hell without experiencing a collective nervous breakdown," describes the firing of Bannon as "a great victory for The Resistance", and offers his thoughts on whether the latest shake-up at the continuously chaotic White House is ultimately good for the nation. Then, he compares the difficulties of the impeachment process versus those in invoking the never-before-used Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to remove a President who is judged to be unfit for office. Faris also handicaps the odds --- and advantages to both the GOP Congress and Vice-President --- of either option actually being triggered.

Finally, as if things aren't troubling enough, we're joined by Desi Doyen for the latest Green News Report, as National Monuments are on the Administration's chopping block, Trump revokes Obama's Executive Order protecting the nation's infrastructure, and the U.S. looks forward to its first total eclipse of the sun in nearly 100 years...

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Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern...
By Brad Friedman on 4/7/2017 5:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the world and the U.S. Congress respond to Trump's bombing of Syria earlier this morning, even as Republicans in the Senate complete their unprecedented theft of the U.S. Supreme Court. In a related matter, an appellate court issues a landmark expansion of the Civil Rights Act. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

While many in the corporate media are joining a number of world leaders and members of Congress in celebrating Donald Trump's cruise missile attack on a Syrian air base days after an horrific chemical attack in the country, Russia is citing the action as a "significant blow" to U.S.-Russia relations and an act of "aggression" in violation of international law. Moreover, a number of Congress members, both Republican and Democratic from both chambers, are similarly citing Trump's attack as "an act of war" that is unlawful under the U.S. Constitution, as well as ill-considered and dangerous on several levels. Congress itself has now scuttled away for a two-week holiday recess, after refusing to even debate U.S. action in Syria more than 4 years, in the wake of some 400,000 deaths in the war-torn country.

At the same time, before heading home for the holidays, as the nation, the media and world were otherwise distracted today, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans finalized their historic judicial coup by confirming "Justice" Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court with a simple majority after unilaterally changing Senate rules to kill the right to filibuster SCOTUS nominees in the wake of their year-long refusal to hold a hearing or a vote for Barack Obama's nominee Judge Merrick Garland.

Then, following a landmark 8 to 3 bi-partisan Civil Rights Act ruling this week by the full 7th Circuit Court of Appeals (where most of the judges were appointed by Republicans and are considered quite conservative), Mark Joseph Stern, legal reporter for Slate, joins us to explain why he sees the decision as a precedent-setting "thunderbolt" for civil rights and the LGBTQ community.

The case involves a community college which was found sued for having discriminated against a woman in its employment practices on the basis that she was gay. The ruling, as Stern details, is the first time an appellate court has extended the Civil Rights Act to include protections against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in addition to simply race and gender.

"What the 7th Circuit majority said was, look, it is logically incoherent to remove sexual orientation discrimination from the concept of sex discrimination. When an employer discriminates against a woman for dating another woman, he is discriminating against her explicitly on the basis of her sex. If she were a man dating a woman, then she would not face discrimination. If she were a woman dating a man, then she would not face discrimination. It is only because she is a woman and she is associating intimately with other women that she faces this kind of discrimination," Stern explains.

The case is likely to have broad national implications and will be "impossible to ignore" at the Supreme Court, says Stern. It's also important thanks to Reagan-appointed conservative Judge Richard Posner's opinion in which he argues that courts, as Stern short-hands it, "should interpret statutes in a manner that 'infuses' them 'with vitality and significance today' rather than relying on their original meaning. Posner contrasted this theory with the conservative 'originalism' championed by Justice Antonin Scalia." That is no small matter as it's being sung out by Posner, the Supreme Court's most cited federal jurist of the 20th century. (And, incredibly enough, even the far-right activist Judge Frank Easterbrook joined the majority in this case!)

Stern also discusses what we should expect when and if the case is heard by what he also considers to be a "stolen" Supreme Court in the wake of the GOP's illegitimate confirmation today of Gorsuch.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report with an unconscionable corporate media failure, and as the GOP-controlled U.S. House Science Committee shamefully uses McCarthy-esque tactics to put science itself on trial...

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

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Also: Comey and FBI face 'email' investigation; Govt. ethics chief blasts President-elect; Senate confirmation hearings continue; and Hustler's publisher tells me why he blames U.S. media for giving us all Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 1/12/2017 6:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the GOP "dogs" having finally caught up with the "reality" bus on ObamaCare and Iran and more. So, what will they do now? Also, free speech icon Larry Flynt joins us to blame the U.S. media for Donald Trump and much more. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First today, the DoJ Inspector General announces he will investigate the FBI and its Director James Comey concerning their controversial actions regarding Hillary Clinton's private email server in the run-up to last year's election and whether they ran afoul of long-established Justice Department guidelines.

Then, the head of the Office of Government Ethics blasts Donald Trump for failing to divest his business holdings. And, in the U.S. Senate, Trump's unprecedented conflicts of interest came into play during Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)'s questioning of super-genius Dr. Ben Carson, Trump's nominee (for some reason) to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Meanwhile, Trump's Secretary of Defense nominee, Gen. James Mattis, began his confirmation hearings today in the Senate, where he said he intends to honor the anti-nuclear agreement with Iran that the GOP pretends to hate. At the same time, Republicans in both the House and Senate are finally beginning to face reality on that and on the fact that their years of pretending the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") was a disaster may now be a huge problem for them, as they have no actual plan to "repeal and replace" the program.

Finally, we're joined by Larry Flynt, longtime First Amendment champion and publisher of Hustler Magazine, to discuss his recent ad [PDF] in Variety which slammed the U.S. media, blamed them for the rise and Presidency of Trump, and called on them to "wake up!"

He tells me that while he's seen a lot during his decades of battles with Republicans like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, but "it's never been as bad as with Trump. Every time this guy opens his mouth, he tells a lie. I mean, that should not be tolerated by any member of the press."

Flynt also discusses what his $1 million bounty for incriminating video tape on Trump has uncovered so far, and why it's so difficult to actually damage him at this point. We also discuss, among other things, Hustler's consistent years of covering news in the magazine, in addition to porn, even when other media outlets have pulled their punches at various times when Republicans were in power. [Full disclosure: I have, for some years, written news articles and columns for the magazine and we discuss that a bit as well during today's program.]

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

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