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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, December 17, 2018
Sunday 'Hung by the Chimney' Toons
'He's seen what you've been Tweeting!...He knows that you're a fake!...' Don't miss PDiddie's latest holiday toon collection!...
Trump's Indictable Campaign Felony and the 25th Amend-ment: 'BradCast' 12/14/18
Guest: Public Citizen's Craig Holman; Also: Walker signs power grab; Snyder undermines voters; ME RCV hand-count ended; NC9 GOP Election Fraud scandal spreads...
Fine Messes in Trump World, Congress, Kentucky, North Carolina, Michigan and The Arctic: 'BradCast' 12/13/18
Trump trouble; Shutdown looms; Bevin brays; NC9 redo?; MI GOP powerplay; Arctic melt...
'Green News Report' 12/13/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Very bad news from the Arctic; Bad news in the Senate energy committee; Good news in WA state; PLUS: Trump EPA rolls back yet another major water protection rule (so, bad news)...
Previous GNRs: 12/11/18 - 12/6/18 - Archives...
Cohen Sentenced. Trump Cooked. (O'Care Still Hanging On!): 'BradCast' 12/12/18
Guest: Politico's Alice Ollstein; Also: New NC-9 GOP election fraud revelations set stage for new election...
'If We Don't Get What We Want, I Will Shut Down the Govt!': 'BradCast' 12/11/18
Trump's Oval Office tantrum with Pelosi, Schumer; 'Bottomless Pinocchio'; NC-9 election fraud probe finds new misconduct; FL's late absentee ballots; 'Axis of Oil'...
'Green News Report' 12/11/18
'Axis of Oil' roils U.N. climate conf. consensus; U.S. fossil fuelsters gets laughed; France nixes gas tax; PLUS: Youth activists demand climate action from Poland to Congress...
The DoD's Great Budget 'Fraud':
'BradCast' 12/10/18
Guest: Investigative reporter Dave Lindorff; Also: U.S. House contests coming in NC-9, FL-15, ME-2?; Schiff says Trump may face prison upon leaving office...
Sunday 'Painted Into a Corner' Toons
In this week's toon collection, 'PDiddie' offers a few fine illustrations of what happens as a party and its President swirl toward utter collapse...
Trump Appointment Spree; Cohen 'Deserves' Prison Time: 'BradCast' 12/7/18
Guest-host Angie Coiro with Mueller news and new Trump noms; Revisiting the Bush Legacy; Huawei as spy?; Guest Lara Bazelon on justice for the wrongly imprisoned...
'Green News Report' 12/6/18
Global carbon emissions rising again; France ends fuel tax hikes; Greenland ice melt overdrive; PLUS: World's largest shipping co. targets 100% zero emissions...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Guest: Public Citizen's Craig Holman; Also: WI's Walker signs power grab bills; MI's Snyder undermines voters; NC's GOP Election Fraud scandal spreads to new district; ME's RCV hand-count ends early...
By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2018 6:47pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Lock him up! Plus a whole bunch of November 6 midterm fallout, follow-up and fraud. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Yes, despite his many desperate and ever-shifting attempts to explain (lie) his way out of it, all evidence demonstrates that Donald Trump quite clearly committed a major, indictable, campaign finance felony in his hush-money payoffs before the 2016 election to women with whom he had had sexual affairs. We're joined today by longtime campaign finance expert CRAIG HOLMAN of Public Citizen for a very sober, clear, point-by-point explanation of Trump's apparent crime in this matter and what can (or, at least should) be done about it.

Holman methodically debunks each of Trump's various claims --- offered via both Fox "News" and on Twitter --- in the wake of the criminal sentencing in federal court on Wednesday, of his longtime personal attorney and "fixer" Michael Cohen. Cohen pleaded guilty for, among other things, facilitating the illicit, covert payoff scheme "directed" by Trump to cover up the trysts so they wouldn't adversely effect his 2016 election chances. Holman elaborates on how any other elected federal official would "absolutely" be indicted for the exact same unlawful scheme.

"Every other government official is subject to the laws of the nation, just like you and I. And we have seen many members of Congress, for instance, and other Executive Branch officials face indictment, prosecution and even imprisonment for this type of felony behavior," he tells me.

The only thing preventing similar accountability for Trump, Holman argues, is the controversial opinion from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) which states that a sitting President may not be indicted on criminal charges. But, Holman says, citing recent arguments from Richard Nixon's former counsel John Dean, that's precisely what the U.S. Constitution's 25th Amendment was already designed to handle.

"The entire rationale behind [the OLC opinion] it is that indicting a President would incapacitate the Executive Branch, and therefore you just can't indict a sitting President," he says. But "we've got the 25th Amendment in the Constitution, and that sets up an entire transition period if the President becomes incapacitated. So there is no incapacitation. We know the transition. So the president should be subject to indictment."

Beyond the protection of the OLC opinion, Holman notes one very narrow potential argument that Trump might otherwise be able to use to avoid try and avoid legal accountability. But, he concludes, "The evidence is overwhelming that our President committed a felony."

In other news today, Wisconsin's rejected Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed a sweeping host of bills --- adopted with lightning speed by the gerrymandered GOP state legislature in an extraordinary lame duck session --- designed to undermine the Executive powers of incoming Democratic Governor-elect Tony Evers, and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul, as well as the state's voters. At least one lawsuit in response has already been announced to challenge the new provision that restricts Early Voting in the state. A similar provision was ruled unconstitutional by the federal courts in 2016 (as we discussed recently with the plaintiff in that case.)

In Michigan, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, also soon to be replaced by a Democrat, signed several bills on Friday that similarly undermine voters.

In North Carolina -- where Republicans invented these very types of unprecedented lame duck power grabs back in 2016 --- the GOP absentee ballot election fraud scandal that has, so far, prevented the certification of Republican Mark Harris' reported 905-vote "victory" over Democrat Dan McCready in the state's 9th Congressional District, may be spreading to a completely different U.S. House District. In Columbus County, in the state's 7th CD, there was reportedly an even larger percentage of mysteriously unreturned absentee ballots from Democratic voters than that which originally sparked the 9th CD's ongoing election fraud probe. In Columbus, a Republican candidate for Sheriff is said to have unseated the Democrat Sheriff by by just 37 votes after hiring the same GOP contractor at the center of the NC9 absentee ballot fraud allegations. As we've been reporting, evidence revealed during the ongoing investigation in NC9 will, almost certainly at this point, result in a new U.S. House election there.

Finally today, in Maine, incumbent Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin saw his Constitutional challenge to the state's new Ranked Choice Voting system rejected by a Trump-appointed federal judge on Thursday. On Friday, he called off the ongoing hand-count he had requested in his 2nd Congressional District race. Poliquin, after winning the most votes in the first computer tally by more than 2,200 votes, failed to win a majority. In the next round of counting, after voters' second place choices were redistributed to other candidates according to the computerized RCV algorithm now used to tally ballots in the state, Democrat Jared Golden was declared the winner of the November 6th contest. The complicated RCV hand-count began last week and, until ended by Poliquin today, was otherwise expected to continue for several more weeks. The outgoing Republicans says he is still mulling an appeal to the federal court ruling.

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Trump in trouble; Shutdown looms; Bevin brays in KY; NC9 primary do-over?; MI GOP power grab; Arctic collapsing...
By Brad Friedman on 12/13/2018 6:45pm PT  

Among the many messes covered on today's BradCast [Audio link to full show is posted below]...

  • Trump can't seem to find anyone who wants to be his new Chief of Staff. So, his son-in-law Jared Kushner now appears to be in the running;
  • Trump finally responded (on Fox "News", naturally) to Wednesday's news that his former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen received a three year prison sentence after cooperating with federal investigators and pleading guilty to a number of felonies. The charges include an illegal 2016 hush-money payout scheme to women said to have had sexual affairs with Trump, which Cohen and the prosecutors describe as having been "directed" by Trump in violation of campaign finance laws. Trump now says it wasn't unlawful, but if it was, it was only a civil, not criminal violation --- and that he didn't do it in any case, but if he did, it was all Cohen's fault --- and that Cohen only pleaded guilty to it as a favor to federal prosecutors in order to "embarrass" Trump. Or something. Got it?;
  • Meanwhile, a federal government shutdown next week before Christmas is looking increasingly likely. After Trump's televised Oval Office tantrum with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer earlier this week over funding for his Border Wall, it's become apparent that Republicans in Congress currently have no plan to avoid a shutdown next week after Trump declared during the meeting that he would happily take the blame for such a shutdown. Even in the House, where Republicans still hold a large majority until January, they seem unable to pass a version of a spending bill that includes funding for the wall that Trump repeatedly promised Mexico would pay for;
  • In Kentucky, taking a page from Trump, Tea Party Republican Governor Matt Bevin released a bizarre video on Twitter Wednesday night, attacking the Louisville Courier-Journal for their new partnership with independent, non-profit investigative reporting outlet ProPublica. Bevin charges ProPublica is a "far-left" organization secretly funded by "George 'I Hate America' Soros" and, therefore, everyone should "disregard" the reporting from the Courier-Journal. ProPublica responded to the charges, and suggests a recent damning exposé by the paper finding Bevin hired an old friend for a top IT job in the state and gave him a $215,000 raise after less than a year, is just one of the reasons Bevin may be hoping Kentuckians stop reading the paper;
  • In North Carolina, the mess created by the GOP absentee ballot election fraud scandal in the state's 9th Congressional District continues. Republican lawmakers, on Wednesday, passed legislation that would allow the State Board of Elections to call not just a new general election for the U.S. House in NC9, but for a new primary as well, following evidence of absentee fraud in both elections this year by a GOP contractor hired by Mark Harris, the Republican candidate. Harris is said to have defeated incumbent Congressman Robert Pittenger by just over 800 votes in the May GOP primary and his Democratic opponent Dan McCready by just over 900 votes in the November midterm. State Republicans seem to now be conceding that both races were tainted with fraud by their candidate and will now require a do-over;
  • In Michigan, GOP lawmakers are scrambling to pass a measure in the lame duck session that would make it much harder for voters to place statewide initiatives on the ballot. That's just one of several ongoing efforts by Republicans in the state to strip power from voters and the Executive Branch before Democrats can be sworn in as Governor, Attorney General and Secretary of State next month.
  • And finally, in The Arctic....well, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report to detail that frightening and worsening mess, along with several others...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Trump's Oval Office tantrum; The 'Bottomless Pinocchio'; New misconduct in NC-9 election fraud probe; FL's late absentee ballots; The 'Axis of Oil'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/11/2018 6:29pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A preview of the unimaginably worse dysfunction that awaits us all after Democrats take over the U.S. House majority in January and Donald Trump becomes even worse and more dishonest at his job? [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up today, some quick news headlines, including Time Magazine's announcement that several journalists, killed or imprisoned, are "Person of the Year" for 2018, and a life sentence plus 419 years recommended by the jury for the neo-Nazi who murdered activist Heather Heyer by plowing a car into counter-protesters during the August 2017 "United the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Also, the Washington Post Fact Checkers have been forced to create a new category to describe Donald Trump's dozens of endlessly repeated lies, such as his claims that Mexico would pay for his border wall (he's demanding U.S. tax-payers do so instead) and that his tax cuts were the largest in U.S. history (they weren't. They were the 8th largest.) The new category will be called "Bottomless Pinocchio" and will apply to lies that repeated more than 20 times after they've long been debunked by the fact-checkers as a falsehood. To date, Trump is the only politician to merit such a rating. At least 14 of his most frequently repeated lies have already earned the dubious new distinction.

Then, Trump's bizarre on-camera pageant in the Oval Office today with presumptive, soon-to-be Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer. During a media avail before what was to be a meeting regarding the impending federal budget deadline, the three bickered about Trump's threat to shut down the U.S. Government if a budget deal fails to include billions for his southern border wall. "If we don't get what we want," Trump threatened the Democrats during the lengthy and bizarre televised negotiation, "I will shut down the government."

Pelosi and Schumer tried to convince the President to accept one of two bi-partisan deals they say could be immediately passed by both the House and Senate. But Trump, the great deal-maker, failed to budge --- so far. Trump's threat to shutdown the U.S. Government despite the costs to Americans and the economy, comes even while Republicans still control both chambers of Congress. Things are likely to get much uglier once Dems take over the House with their (at least) 40-seat majority on January 3.

Speaking of which, we've got a few more new details today on the GOP election fraud scandal in North Carolina's still-uncertified 9th Congressional District race. Republican Mark Harris is said to have won the election in November by just 905 votes over Democrat Dan McCready. But evidence of absentee ballot fraud by a GOP contractor hired by Harris (in both the general election and Republican primary) has delayed certification of the race by the State Board of Elections. They will decide whether to order a new election or declare one of the two candidates the winner. The Board had planned to review evidence from the ongoing investigation by December 21, but has now told a state court they they may need more time, given that the Harris Campaign has been slow in responding to documents subpoenaed by the Board.

Also, new evidence this week reveals that election workers in Bladen County (one of two NC counties at the center of the probe), illegally tabulated early vote results and leaked them to non-election officials (the Harris campaign?) several days prior to the close of polls on November 6th.

Meanwhile, election officials in Florida have now revealed that more than 6,600 vote-by-mail absentee ballots sent and post-marked by Election Day went uncounted in the Sunshine State's midterm election. Those numbers don't yet include ballots from Palm Beach County, a Democratic stronghold. The untabulated ballots might have effected a number of close races in FL, including those tallied in statewide "recounts" for U.S. Senate, Governor and Agricultural Commissioner. While state law allows ballots post-marked by Election Day from overseas military votes to be included in the tally if they are received up to ten days after the election, all other "late" ballots are ignored.

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with news from COP24, the U.N. climate conference in Poland, where the U.S. has joined Russia and Saudi Arabia in an "Axis of Oil" and is, literally, being laughed at for pushing coal while youth protesters demand fossil fuels be kept in the ground. Back home, the Trump Administration is now planning to reclassify high-level nuclear waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state (and other facilities) in order to avoid billions of dollars in clean-up at the nation's most polluted former nuclear weapons site...

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: Investigative journalist Dave Lindorff; Also: U.S. House contests in NC-9, FL-15, ME-2; Schiff says Trump may face prison time...
By Brad Friedman on 12/10/2018 6:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The boondoggles continue --- from the Pentagon to the U.S. House and American elections --- as we can't look ahead to the new year without the continuing unresolved muck from this year. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

When Democrats take the majority in the new Congress after the first of the year, one of their first orders of business will be determining who actually is allowed to be seated following the November 2018 midterm elections. There could be as many as three (and possibly more) seats challenged in the 116th Congress, thanks to the burgeoning GOP absentee ballot election fraud scandal in North Carolina, an admission by a newly-elected Florida Republican that he "may have" violated federal campaign finance laws, and a lengthy hand-count process in Maine's first-ever Ranked Choice Voting election for a U.S. House seat.

In NC's 9th Congressional District, Mark Harris --- the GOP candidate whose uncertified 905-vote "victory" is now being probed by state and federal officials after the emergence of evidence of absentee ballot fraud by a GOP contractor Harris hired in both the primary and general elections --- has said he'd agree to a new election, but only if evidence surfaces that the fraud in question would have changed the final results. That's a much higher bar than called for by state law, which allows the State Board of Election to take any necessary actions to "assure that an election is determined without taint of fraud or corruption."

In FL, Ross Spano, the Republican who is said to have won the race in the state's 15th Congressional District, now admits he received nearly $200,000 in personal loans for his campaign from two friends, in violation of the $2,700 per person federal contribution limit. One of those friends, despite having no official government role, is today reported to be helping to select Spano's Congressional hires. In both the NC and FL cases, it's not just Democrats crying foul. Tthe Republicans who were defeated in the primaries by Harris and Spano are also joining the public outcries.

In ME, a "recount" request by ousted Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin in the 2nd Congressional District could result in a vacant seat for a while, as a hand-count of the complicated RCV counting process --- initially carried out after the election by a computer algorithm --- is a lengthy and onerous one that could stretch beyond January 3, when the new Congress is sworn in.

In non-election related news today, Donald Trump will reportedly call for an unprecedented $750 billion budget next year for the Pentagon after his previous increases to military spending. That, despite his description of Defense Department spending last week as "crazy" and previous vows to cut DoD's budget by 5 percent. The Administration's proposal for $750 billion is reported to be a "negotiating tactic" to ensure the $733 billion requested by the Pentagon, which is a far cry from the $700 billion Trump had called for previously and a substantial bump from the "crazy" $716 billion allocated for the current fiscal year.

We're joined today by investigative journalist DAVE LINDORFF to discuss the decades-long "accounting fraud" being carried out by the Pentagon, as detailed in his new exclusive exposé for The Nation. Citing whistleblowers, Inspector General's reports and a recent admission by the private accounting firm Ernst & Young that the Pentagon's books were so poorly documented that they simply cannot be audited, Lindorff explains how the DoD continues to seek --- and receive --- more tax-payer dollars year-after-year, even without needing or spending all they received in previous years. Rather than returning unpsent funds to the federal Treasury, DoD accounting gimmicks ("nippering" and "plugs") ensure endlessly increasing budgets and payments to Defense Contractors. The unchecked spending --- which amounts to trillions of dollars --- also helps to ensures that services Americans may actually need and want --- like healthcare, education and maintenance for infrastructure --- continue to be on the chopping block every fiscal year, even as Defense spending now accounts for 54 cents out of every federal tax-payer dollar collected.

"What the Pentagon does is they ask for more money than they need. They don't spend it all, and then they tuck away what isn't spent in ways that it won't be found --- violating the Constitution, by the way --- then that unspent money becomes a slush fund that's available to use however they want," Lindorff tells me.

"They've known about this stonewalling by the Pentagon for 26 years, which includes a lot of Democratic Congresses. Nobody has ever called them to the carpet on this," he charges. Despite Inspector General reports detailing the gimmicks and unaccounted for budget holes, "Nobody has been prosecuted for this. Nobody has been fired for this....If it's signed off on by the proper authority in the chain of command then it's 'supported' whether or not there's evidentiary material to back it."

Lindorff also argues that, with one recent exception, Democrats --- including progressives from Bernie Sanders to Beto O'Rourke --- have been largely silent on what he describes as a massive account fraud.

Finally today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who will chair the U.S. House Intelligence Committee after Dems take over Congress next year, argued over the weekend that new filings from federal prosecutors on Friday suggest "There’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him" and "that he may be the first President in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time." Schiff was referencing, among other things, details from a sentencing memo filed by federal prosecutors in New York on Friday charging that Trump "directed" a criminal conspiracy with his former attorney Michael Cohen to pay hush money to two women with whom Trump had affairs, in order to effect election results in violation of federal campaign finance laws...

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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GOP knew about fraud, ignored it; Also: GOP fraud in NY; 82 Walker noms approved in WI lame duck; Lame duck 'GOP smash and grab' in MI...
By Brad Friedman on 12/6/2018 6:45pm PT  

No, Iraq hasn't (yet) announced plans to invade North Carolina to help spread democracy. But, on today's BradCast, it's starting to look like it might not be a bad idea. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Just before air today, Dan McCready, the Democratic candidate in NC's 9th Congressional District U.S. House race tainted by evidence of GOP absentee ballot election fraud, withdrew his concession offered last month. McCready charges that Republican Mark Harris "bankrolled criminal activity" in the district in the hiring of contractor McCrae Dowless who appears to have gamed absentee ballots in Bladen and perhaps Robeson Counties, resulting in the 905-vote margin by which Harris had previously been thought to have won.

At the same time, NC-9's incumbent Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger, who Harris reportedly defeated in the primary last May, tells Washington Post that his concerns about fraud during that race --- when he lost to Harris by just 828 votes (more than half of them absentee ballots from Bladen) --- were shared with both state and national GOP officials at the time. Nonetheless, despite years-long claims of concern about fraud leading to passage of often unconstitutional GOP laws that restrict the ability of many Democratic-leaning voters to cast ballots, Republicans took no action after the primary. In fact, similar concerns about absentee ballot fraud by the same contractor surfaced after the 2016 election in the state as well.

The Charlotte Observer has now called for the 2018 election in NC-9 to be started over, from scratch, beginning with the primary. "Evidence demands it," their editorial board opined this week. We've got a whole bunch of late-breaking news related to the burgeoning NC-9 election fraud scandal today (along with my completely irresponsible prediction about how this entire thing ends).

Also, in related news, a newly emerging election fraud scandal in New York, where Republican and Independence Party leaders have now been charged with forging signatures on nominating petitions in order to boost chances for GOP candidates. (If that sounds familiar, it's because Republicans, apparently --- including very high-profile ones --- do that quite a bit.)

Meanwhile, GOP lawmakers in Wisconsin and Michigan this week continued their efforts to undermine the will of the midterm voters in the wake of disastrous performances in the November elections. In Wisconsin, where the GOP-gerrymandered legislature on Wednesday adopted unprecedented measures during an extraordinary lame duck session to remove power from the Governor, the Attorney General and voters in advance of Democratic Governor-elect Tony Evers and AG-elect Josh Kaul taking office next month, state lawmakers also confirmed 82 appointees of outgoing Republican Governor Scott Walker to state positions in one single day. Several of the positions had reportedly been vacant for as long as a year, and more than 30 of the new appointees have had no public hearing whatsoever in the state Senate. That power grab is particularly hypocritical for Walker, who warned his Democratic predecessor in 2010 to avoid all new appointments in the final two months of his term.

In Michigan, GOP lawmakers have proven similarly disdainful of voters during the lame duck session. Earlier this year, they adopted two voter-initiated ballot measures concerning increases to the state's minimum wage and paid sick leave for workers in order to prevent the proposals from appearing on the November ballot. But, this week, during the lame duck period before Democrat Gretchen Whitmer can be sworn in, Republican lawmakers gutted the measures they had just adopted in September. They would not have been able to do that had they been voted on by voters. The controversial --- and perhaps unconstitutional --- effort was given the green light by outgoing Republican AG Bill Schuette, who lost his bid for Governor in November to Whitmer.

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with a bunch of very bad news on global carbon emissions and climate change, but a bit of encouraging news from several major companies in response to it...

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Trump tariff idiocy; Runoff results and an election contest in GA; Good news in Little Rock, AR; More on NC-9's GOP election fraud scandal; WI Republicans muscle through their brazen power grab...
By Brad Friedman on 12/5/2018 7:10pm PT  

Given many of the stories covered on today's BradCast, it's beginning to feel more and more each day like the GOP is a party in its death throes. Of course, rumors of that death have been greatly exaggerated in the past. [Audio link to show follows below]

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

  • The stock market was closed today in observance of a national day of mourning declared for President George H.W. Bush, whose funeral ceremony was held on Wednesday at the National Cathedral in D.C. The market closures may prove to have been a good thing, given that the Dow plummeted some 800 points on Tuesday after it became clear that Donald Trump and his Administration had lied over the weekend regarding a deal with China to avoid more tariffs on Chinese imports. During a Twitter rant that helped send the markets plunging, Trump appeared to reveal once again that he has no idea what tariffs actually are. He seems to believe they involve foreign countries paying money to the U.S., rather than an actual tax on American consumers. Is it conceivable that he really does not understand this by now? Or is he just continuing to play his supporters for chumps? We discuss;
  • In Georgia's runoff election for Secretary of State on Tuesday, Republican Brad Raffensperger has declared himself the winner over Democrat John Barrow, in a race that will have serious repercussions for the 2020 Presidential election in the trending-"blue" southern state, where voter suppression and 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems created havoc in the 2018 Gubernatorial race said to have been won by GOP Sec. of State Brian Kemp. Raffensperger has called for new 100% touchscreen systems that create unverifiable computer-marked/barcoded ballot summary cards. Barrow, who is waiting for late absentee ballots to actually be tallied, has called for the only system of voting that is actually verifiable by the public after an election: hand-marked paper ballots.

    At the same time, the state's largest newspaper, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, has finally noticed the wildly anomalous undervote rate from the November 6th general election in the Lt. Governor's race, as only seen in the unverifiable touchscreen results, not on the vote-by-mail paper absentee ballots. Last week, we discussed these concerns with plaintiff Marilyn Marks of the non-partisan Coalition for Good Governance. Two weeks ago, Marks filed an election lawsuit contesting the results of the Lt. Governor's race. She and other plaintiffs are seeking a first-of-its-kind post-election forensic audit of the state's voting systems in light of the seemingly inexplicable undervote numbers;

  • But there was some good news from Tuesday's runoffs as well. In Little Rock, Arkansas, where, six decades after angry white mobs protested the integration of nine black students at the Little Rock Central High School in 1957, the town will now have its very first elected African-American mayor!;
  • In North Carolina, new details continue to emerge from the intensifying GOP absentee ballot election fraud scandal which has prevented the certification of Republican Mark Harris' purported 905-vote "win" over Democrat Dan McCready in the 9th District U.S. House race. A second woman has now come forward to allege that she was paid to unlawfully collect absentee ballots by McCrae Dowless, a former felon contracted by Harris in Bladen Country and, as discussed today, by the Bladen County Sheriff Jim McVicker. The GOP Sheriff has deleted his campaign webpage on Facebook and refuses to comment after he was found to have paid thousands of dollars to Dowless along with Harris.

    A top Democrat in the U.S. House has now suggested that "Republican operatives stole" the House seat and cites the silence from the Trump Administration about it. "LOCK THEM UP," quipped new House Democratic Caucus chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) on Tuesday. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) has now called for a new election and, on Wednesday, he was joined in that call by the editorial board of The Charlotte Observer, the state's largest newspaper.

    (For my part, I'm just happy that at least some in the media reporting on this have finally noticed they were previously misreporting on it as a "voter fraud", rather than election fraud, scandal, even though voters are accused of having done nothing wrong here. In fact, they are the ones who appear to have been defrauded in this matter by GOP insiders! Happily, the Washington Post removed three references to "voter fraud" in one of their stories after my complaints last week.)

    All of that, even as Republicans in the state's legislature continue to jam through a polling place Photo ID voting restriction during the lame duck period before they lose their supermajority in the upcoming new session, along with their ability to override a veto from the state's Democratic Governor. The Photo ID measure, which they've been trying to adopt for years, claiming it necessary to prevent "voter fraud", did not, until today, apply to absentee voting --- where actual fraud clearly exists;

  • Finally today, speaking of lame ducks, the GOP-gerrymandered and controlled state legislature in Wisconsin worked, literally, all night to jam through a bill aimed at stealing power from incoming Democratic Governor Tony Evers, incoming Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul and from the state's voters who elected Democrats for every statewide office in November. Adopted by party line votes in both chambers as the sun rose today after another all-night session, Republicans hope GOP Gov. Scott Walker will sign the measure before leaving office after the first of the year. Walker, who was rejected by voters last month, has said he planned to do so.

    As we discussed on yesterday's program, the outrageous GOP power grab in WI mirrors a similar coup by the NC legislature in 2016 after a Democrat was elected as Governor in that state. Republican lawmakers in Michigan are also considering similarly desperate measures before Democrats take over as Governor and Sec. of State in that state next month. All in all, the desperate power grabs by GOPers around the country do not suggest a healthy party but, rather, one that may well be revealing its political death throes.

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Guest: OneWisconsinNow's Analiese Eicher; Also: Updates on the GOP absentee ballot election fraud probe in the NC-9 U.S. House race...
By Brad Friedman on 12/4/2018 6:41pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The GOP's utter contempt for democracy and voters is now on full display in several states where things did not go well for the party during the November midterms, and nowhere more so than Wisconsin. [Audio link to show follows below.]

In states where Democratic candidates did well in last month's midterms, leading to a loss of control by Republican lawmakers, there is now a desperate and brazen scramble in lame duck legislative sessions to pass laws in hopes of robbing power from incoming Democrats before they can be seated. In Michigan, for example, where Dems won statewide races for Governor and Secretary of State and voters overwhelmingly adopted ballot initiatives to expand voting rights, GOPers are jamming through last-minute legislation to prevent the Election Day registration that voters had adopted.

In North Carolina, the Republican-controlled state legislature is ramming through a Photo ID restriction law before they lose their Super-Majority to override Democratic Governor Roy Cooper's vetoes. That action is particularly hypocritical as the state is in the midst of a massive absentee ballot election fraud scandal, apparently perpetrated by a GOP contractor and former felon hired by Republican Mark Harris in his race against Democrat Dan McCready for the U.S. House seat in the state's 9th district. Republicans claim that Photo ID voting restrictions at the polling place are necessary to prevent fraud --- of which there is little or none by voters --- even while calling for Harris to be certified by the state despite clear evidence of serious absentee ballot fraud on behalf of the Republican candidate. We've got more new details on that ongoing probe today, which has prevented Harris' reported win --- by just 905 votes out of more than 280,000 tallied --- from being certified by the state Board of Elections.

But it is Wisconsin today where the GOP is attempting perhaps the most audacious power grab in the nation this year. As Republican Gov. Scott Walker was voted out in November in favor of Democrat Tony Evers, the GOP is attempting to usurp the powers of the incoming Governor, along with Democratic Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul, on a litany of issues before they can be sworn in. The new provisions, never mentioned by Republicans during the campaign, were introduced suddenly in a massive 144-page bill unveiled late last Friday night in a special legislative lame duck session called before Walker is finally out.

Despite Democrats having won every statewide contest on the ballot in Wisconsin's 2018 midterms, Republicans were able to retain control of the wildly gerrymandered State Assembly. They received just 45 percent of the vote overall, but will nonetheless control 63 of 99 seats in the Assembly. This week, they are using that ill-gotten legislative muscle to swipe the incoming Governor and AG's powers. They hope to block the Democrats' campaign promises to expand healthcare and ease suppressive voting restrictions (which arguably resulted in enough voter disenfranchisement to narrowly give the state to Donald Trump in 2016). Republicans are also attempting to restrict early voting in 2020 in hopes of avoiding losses similar to those suffered by GOPers in 2018. The unprecedented Republican power grab has led to protests at the state capital in Madison this week of the type not seen since shortly after Walker took power in 2011 and immediately worked with the Republican legislature to strip collective bargaining rights from public union members.

We're joined today by OneWisconsinNow's ANALIESE EICHER --- a plaintiff in the 2016 federal case which struck down the WI GOP's previous attempt to curtail early voting --- to detail the outrageous and unprecedented #WIGOPPowerGrab being strong-armed through the state legislature tonight.

"What we're seeing here is the obliteration of the separation of powers," Eicher tells me. "We know that when Republicans don't like the results, they seek to change the rules and to change how things operate. With Democrats sweeping six statewide elections here in Wisconsin, the only option for the Republicans to maintain what they thought was their really, really great unilateral control of the State of Wisconsin is to make changes."

"We're seeing everything from limiting local governments' abilities to do work on their roads, limiting their abilities to pay a prevailing wage, changing the makeup and composition of boards and commissions in Wisconsin, so that the legislature has equal or more power than the Governor in regards to appointments. We're seeing change's to people's abilities to get healthcare and receive benefits," she says.

"We're seeing changes to the Attorney General's office, as to whether the Attorney General can leave a lawsuit or join a lawsuit," she explains, referring to Kaul's vow to remove WI from the federal lawsuit by several GOP-controlled states challenging the Constitutionality of ObamaCare and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions. "This extraordinary session bill severely limits his ability to essentially do what he campaigned on, and what people voted for him to do."

As one Democrat noted during hearings today in Madison, the action being taken by the legislature "will invalidate the results of the will of the people and shows direct contempt for the voters". But, of course, that is the whole idea, since Republicans now clearly hate democracy. Eicher argues Republicans "want to stay in power, no matter what the cost" and suggests "voters are not responding well to what's happening in this extraordinary session." She believes they will pay a price for this in 2020.

Finally today, we're joined by Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report, with a look at the late George H.W. Bush's environmental legacy, Donald Trump's isolation of the U.S. on climate change policy at the recent G20 meeting in Argentina, and a warning for the world issued this week as the annual U.N. climate summit opened this week in Poland...

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Honestly assessing 41's legacy; Also: AK House control won by one vote; GA to count 'late' absentee runoff ballots; Criminal record of GOP contractor at center of NC U.S. House election fraud scam...
By Brad Friedman on 12/3/2018 6:18pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The complicated death of a U.S. President during the Trump-era and fresh updates on several midterm election count controversies, fiascos and fraud investigations. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up: George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States died on Friday. Remarkably enough, there was a question as to whether Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States would attend his memorial service, given his obnoxious attacks on the Bush family in recent years, as recently as this past summer. Reportedly, Trump will attend, even after making Bush Sr. the butt of campaign rally jokes just months ago. We review parts of Bush Sr.'s legacy today --- without either dancing on his grave or lionizing --- particularly on the environment, while leaving the more unsavory parts of that legacy to callers who ring in with their own thoughts on "41".

Also today, updates on several recent stories we've been closely following of late, including a state House District contest in Alaska that was tied after the initial tally and then "recounted" on Friday, with control of the entire state legislature hanging in the balance. The state's "recount" of hand-marked paper ballots was carried out by hand late last week, and also ended in a tie, until one previously untallied ballot was added after finding that it had been wrongly excluded from the count. That one vote was enough to hand the election to Republicans and, with it, the full reigns of state government to the GOP which now controls the state House, Senate and Governor's mansion. We explain.

In another follow-up from Friday's show, a lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party in Georgia was settled late last week to allow more time for absentee ballots to be received in Tuesday's crucial midterm runoff elections was resolved in favor of voters. With the state's next Secretary of State on the line in the runoff, scores of counties had waited until just one week before Election Day to mail out absentee ballots, requiring that they be returned by Election Day on December 4th. An agreement with the state now allows such ballots to be tallied, as Democrats had sought, so long as they are post-marked by Election Day and arrive up to three days afterward.

Finally today, still more new details on the growing GOP election fraud scandal in North Carolina, which has kept a reported 905-vote Republican U.S. House "win" from being certified by the State Board of Elections. New details have emerged on the rather stunning criminal record of GOP contractor McCrae Dowless [pictured above right], who was hired to run an absentee ballot campaign in NC's 9th Congressional District in Bladen County on behalf of GOP candidate Mark Harris. Analyses of absentee ballots both returned and, mysteriously, not returned, reveal inexplicable irregularities in both the 2018 GOP primary and the general election. In both cases there are now more and more indications of a massive absentee ballot fraud scheme that may have affected the final results.

The controversy and likely criminal investigations come after evidence from the 2016 election suggested Dowless ran a similar absentee scam in that election as well. Dowless, according to police records, spent time in jail from an outrageous life insurance fraud scheme in the 1990s. So, naturally, he was hired by the GOP to work on their elections in 2016 and 2018. We discuss some of those stunning new details in a state where Republicans, ironically enough, have been claiming for years that new restrictions are needed at the polling place in order to deter fraud by Democrats!...

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One vote contest in KY; One 'mystery ballot' could determine control of AK House; New GA lawsuit before Tuesday's runoff; More on the GOP Election Fraud case in NC's 9th Cong. District; Also: Media Matters' Pam Vogel on Sinclair's latest offensive abuse of our public airwaves...
By Brad Friedman on 11/30/2018 6:56pm PT  

Every. Single. Vote. Matters. Or, at least it's supposed to. On today's BradCast we've got a bevy of stories, almost a month after the midterm elections, to prove it. Also, a rightwing broadcast media behemoth --- the nation's largest single owner of local television stations --- faces new blowback for offensive, anti-immigrant commentary they forced their local news outlets to carry. [Audio link to today's jam-packed show is posted below.]

First today, in Kentucky, where nearly half a dozen state House races were determined by half a dozen votes or less, a Republican incumbent has now filed a contest in House District 13 after reportedly losing to his Democratic challenger by just one single vote. No matter how that challenge ends, and it may take a while, Republicans will still hold super-majority control in the Bluegrass State.

But, in Alaska --- which, incidentally, was struck by a major earthquake today --- one single still-uncounted "mystery ballot" in one single state House race may determine control of the entire body for the next two years. We explain.

Meanwhile, in Georgia (the nation's apparent new headquarters for mass voter suppression) the midterms aren't over yet either, with two statewide runoffs set for Tuesday in the Secretary of State and Public Service Commissioners race. But, on Thursday, the state Democratic Party sued the state to allow absentee mail ballots postmarked by Election Day to be counted. Their complaint charges that many counties in the state failed to timely send out requested vote-by-mail ballots until just one week before next week's December 4th runoff. That, they say, will not allow enough time for many voters to receive their ballots and mail them back to the county by Election Day, when state law says they are due.

Dems note that overseas and military votes are tallied, as long as they are postmarked by Election Day and arrive no later than three days after the election. They want the same rules applied to all absentee by mail voters, thanks to the Secretary of State and Counties' delay in sending out tens of thousands of ballots. The GA Sec. of State's office, incredibly, blames the delays on Democrats for trying to ensure all votes were tallied from the November 6th general election! [Post-air update!: GA agrees to count ballots that arrive by December 7th, if post-marked by Election Day!]

In North Carolina, the U.S. House election mystery in the 9th Congressional District has now fairly clearly become a GOP election fraud case. We've got new details today, based on affidavits from voters in Bladen County who describe an unlawful scheme, apparently by a GOP contractor for the Republican candidate, to collect absentee ballots and either alter them before delivery to the County or not deliver them at all. This follows on the surprise State Board of Election decision on Tuesday to not certify the NC-9 race, as previously expected, between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready. Until the new revelations of apparent election fraud, Harris had reportedly won the race by just 905 votes out of more than 280,000 cast. However, as recent analyses have revealed, Harris apparently received a virtually impossible number of absentee by mail votes in Bladen County. On Friday, the NC State Board of Elections decided to delay action until after a a hearing to review evidence in the matter on 6 December 21. They have the authority to, among other things, order a completely new election in the Congressional District.

Finally today, in a widely-reported skirmish at the U.S. southern border with Mexico near San Diego last weekend, U.S. officials fired tear gas into Mexico, sending many women and children migrants from Central American running for the lives. 42 arrests were made by U.S. Customs and Border officials, but AP reports this week that none of the migrants detained will actually be charged with any crimes!

Nonetheless, in the wake of the U.S. use of tear gas on asylum seekers, former Trump staffer Boris Epshteyn, who is now Sinclair Broadcast Group's Chief Political Analyst, offered a commentary in response which local news outlets at hundreds of Sinclair-owned television stations around the country were told to run. Epshteyn's offensive "must-run" commentary charges that migrants were "attempting to storm" the U.S. border in an "attempted invasion of our country. Period." The commentary, as usual, echoed the politics and rhetoric of Epshteyn's far-right nationalist fear-mongering former boss who had sent thousands of U.S. military troops to the border in the days before the midterm elections to, purportedly, help propel the so-called "invasion" by men, women and children fleeing violence and poverty in Central America by foot.

We're joined today by PAM VOGEL of Media Matters who has been documenting Sinclair's abuse of our public airwaves at otherwise-trusted local media outlets, which are now required to carry Epshteyn's "must-run" commentaries as often as five times a week. While Sinclair initially distanced themselves from their own Chief Political Analyst in a "tepid response" after public outrage emerged following Epshteyn's offensive "invasion" commentary, the company has since come out in his support, turning their efforts to false attacks on Media Matters instead. Vogel details the shameful story and how Sinclair could --- and indeed may --- face license renewal problems from the FCC for their abuse of our public airwaves with biased, false and far-right propaganda on their nearly two-hundred television stations across the nation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guest: Journalist, activist Norman Solomon; Also: GOP's narrow Senate win in MS; House race called for Dems in NY; A mystery emerges in NC...
By Brad Friedman on 11/28/2018 6:45pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Even as final results are still being determined from this year's midterms, the Democratic Caucus in the U.S. House prepared for its new majority with leadership votes on Wednesday, including on Rep. Nancy Pelosi's bid to retake her previous role as Speaker of the House. Also, three weeks after the November 6th election and Tuesday's runoff for the U.S. Senate in Mississippi, more Houses races are called and one race, believed to have been won by a Republican, offers a new mystery in the state of North Carolina. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

In MS, Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith reportedly won Tuesday's runoff against Democrat Mike Espy, as expected, but by a far narrower margin than previously expected in the deep "red" state, after she made a number of disturbing, racialized comments throughout the campaign. Trump won the state by 18 points in 2016. Hyde-Smith won by eight points. A ten-point shift towards Democrats. Nonetheless, the GOP win in MS results in an overall pickup of 2 seats for Republicans in the U.S. Senate this January.

The U.S. House, however, is a very different story. Today, AP finally called the still-undecided contest in New York's 22nd Congressional District for Democrat Anthony Brindisi over incumbent (and very Trumpy) Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney. The Dem flip comes in another "red" district where Trump had won in 2016 by 16 points. That brings the Democratic Party's pickups to 39 among AP's "called" races, with one more contest leaning Dem in California and another leaning GOP in New York state.

But, in North Carolina, where all 13 U.S. House races were expected to be certified by a routine vote of the State Election Board on Tuesday, a Democratic member refused to do so, citing "unfortunate activities" in one part of the state's 9th Congressional District, where Republican Mark Harris is said to have defeated Democrat Dan McCready by just 905 votes. After a two-hour session behind closed doors, the Board finally voted unanimously to certify all but the 9th District race for now. We've got a number of details on what may be behind this wildly unusual and still-unfolding mystery, which seems to center on Bladen County, in the eastern part of the district.

"I’m very familiar with the unfortunate activities that have happened in my part of the state," Democratic SBE vice-chair Joshua Malcolm announced during the meeting before the Board went into closed session. "And I am not going to turn a blind eye to what took place to the best of my understanding, which has been ongoing for a number of years, and which has been repeatedly referred to the United States attorney and the district attorneys to clean up. Those things have not taken place."

We'll keep an eye on that one. But, with Democrats now likely to end up with at least a 40 member majority in the U.S. House after having officially won by the overall largest popular vote margin in history for any party, the battle over party leadership and direction played out today with a vote by the Democratic Caucus in favor of Nancy Pelosi to be their nominee for the next U.S. House Speaker. She reportedly received 32 votes against her, however, which would be more than enough to block her return to Speaker when the full House votes in January.

I'm joined today by progressive journalist, author and activist NORMAN SOLOMON of RootsAction.org to discuss the challenge to Pelosi --- largely by less progressive members of her own party --- and how progressives will need to pressure the Democratic Congressional leadership from the bottom up when they take control in January. Solomon, who helped pen both a Democratic "autopsy" after the disastrous 2016 election, and a follow-up to it just before the November midterms, explains today how both newly elected Democrats and the voters who put them there will need to step up over the next two years to support wildly popular progressive reforms on everything from the minimum wage to healthcare and tax policy, if mistakes made by Democrats (with some of the same leadership) in years past is to be avoided.

"It's all about constituent power," says Solomon. "At RootsAction.org we are dedicated to mobilizing to make sure that more and more progressive constituents make their senators and representatives fully aware that they are being watched closely, and there are such things as primary challenges."

He argues that "the party has changed partly" over these past two years, though "not profoundly." Where it has changed, where Dems have rejected unpopular corporatist establishment positions, "its been because of a lot of these on-the-ground progressives".

Still, Solomon warns against complacency. "When they get Democrats in charge, there's more of a tendency among a lot of progressives to think, 'Well, the worst is over. The emergency is gone.' In fact, whether it's climate change, or perpetual war, or the rich continuing to get richer, these problems are festering. Yes, worse under Republicans, but for us to sit back in any way and not continue to organize and pressure is to leave Congress to its natural setting. It's sort of 'The Call of the Corporate Wild' that they're immersed in," he tells me. "The only way to counter that is that we have to mobilize no matter who is in power, to fight back against Wall Street."

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Guest: Plaintiff Marilyn Marks; Also: Abrams files federal vote suppression suit in GA; Dem takes unexpected lead in CA U.S. House race...
By Brad Friedman on 11/27/2018 6:26pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Another U.S. House race flips (unexpectedly) from "red" to "blue" as California continues to bother to count ballots, and two lawsuits are filed in Georgia following the November 6th midterm elections, including one that seeks to overturn a major statewide race due to a seemingly inexplicable failure of the state's touchscreen voting machines. [Audio link to full posted at bottom of article.]

First up: Shortly after we got off air on Monday, AP and a host of other news outlets began retracting their previous calls for the incumbent Republican Rep. David Valadao in California's 21st Congressional District election after Democrat T.J. Cox took the lead for the first time since vote-counting began on the night of the November 6th midterms. Cox is now reportedly up by just 436 votes over Valadao with more than 110,000 tallied so far, in a district easily won by the Republican with a wide margin in 2016. If Cox' lead holds, as appears likely, the Democratic midterm "blue wave" is now on track to pick up a full 40 seats in the U.S. House this January.

In the meantime, Stacey Abrams, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Georgia gave up her hopes of defeating Republican Secretary of State and champion vote suppressor Brian Kemp over a week ago. But today, her new organization, Fair Fight Georgia, filed a federal lawsuit against the state over suppressive tactics and for paper ballots for all voters in future elections. She was then hectored by CNN's Jake Tapper about whether she believed Kemp's victory as Governor-elect was "legitimate". (It wasn't, as she suggests in her answers.)

While Abrams' complaint does not seek to overturn the Governor's race in Georgia, a separate lawsuit was filed on Friday -- the last day possible for a 2018 election contest in the state --- by the Coalition for Good Governance seeking to toss out the results of the Lieutenant Governor's contest. The central basis for the suit is the virtually inexplicable residual vote count (ballots where no vote was recorded) in the race. The anomaly occurs only in the Lt. Governor race, and only on votes cast via the state's 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems. Residual vote counts are as expected from hand-marked paper absentee and provisional ballots in the same race.

We're joined by plaintiff MARILYN MARKS, the Coalition's Executive Director, who explains how the undervote rate for Lieutenant Governor is far higher --- almost twice the rate --- than in contests that were much lower on the ballot, such as for Agriculture or Insurance Commissioner. The residual vote rate was also much higher than it was in the Lt. Governor's race during the 2014 election, when it was roughly along the lines of all the other races on the ballot that year.

"There was no meaningful drop-off at all if we just look at paper ballots. If you look at the mail-in ballots and provisional ballots, there was virtually no drop-off," Marks says. "So what this tells us is that the undervote is related only to the machine. Now please explain that!"

Marks, who says her group has obtained affidavits from voters who charge that a problem with the touchscreens prevented them from voting in the Lt. Governor's race, describes the potential explanations for this anomaly and suggests the suit may lead to an unprecedented forensic examination of Georgia's easily-hacked, oft-failed, unverifiable, Diebold touchscreen voting machines. Moreover, she notes, thanks to an earlier suit filed in federal court before the election, seeking to replace the state's touchscreens with hand-marked paper ballot systems --- the judge found the Diebold touchscreens unverifiable and dangerously insecure, but allowed their use for one more election anyway --- will be very helpful in illuminating the concerns outlined by the new complaint.

"There were innumerable reports of voters who didn't have this race show up on their electronic ballot," she tells me. "Some people in fact did find it on their review screen. For many voters, apparently, that's the first time they saw the Lt. Gov. race. In many cases, apparently, when they got to the review screen, staring at it, trying to get ready to make a correction --- without even touching the screen --- it automatically cast the vote and the message came up 'Thank you for voting, your vote was cast.'"

The state recently certified Republican Geoff Duncan as the winner over Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico by nearly 3.5 points in the race for Lt. Governor. In Georgia, the state's second highest executive official also serves as President of the state Senate, determining which initiatives are to be taken up for debate and possible passage by state lawmakers. Marks, a Republican who runs the non-partisan organization, also details her concerns that evidence of programming failure or manipulation from November 6th may have been destroyed, in apparent violation of Georgia's own election rules, when the machines were recently reprogrammed for the state's December 4th runoff elections for Secretary of State and Public Service Commissioner.

"They are absolutely violating their own law," says Marks. "Not only did we need those machines preserved for our court case --- the [separate] election security case that's in federal court --- but also we certainly need them in this new case that challenges the election results for the Lt. Governor's race. [We] said to the Sec. of State: 'Your rule, your own election code, says they cannot touch these machines, the internal memory, for one month if there is no election contest pending. Now there is an election contest pending. Obviously they are needed as evidence and the Secretary is continuing to take the position that over-writing the data, uploading new ballot programming for the Dec. 4th runoff, and putting these machines in unsecured voting places somehow does not make the internal memory data at risk."

On the topic of the GA SoS runoff next week, Marks also notes that the Democratic candidate John Barrow is strongly in favor of hand-marked paper ballots, where the Republican, Brad Raffensperger, is calling for unverifiable computer-marked/barcoded ballots instead.

All of these matters, including Abrams own lawsuit filed today, offer a chance for us to discuss the necessity of challenging insecure, non-overseeable voting systems before elections rather than after, which Democrats, she charges, failed to do this year in Georgia.

Finally today, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report, with special coverage of the federal government's landmark National Climate Assessment released by the Trump Administration on Friday after Thanksgiving in hopes that few would notice its devastating warnings about the climate change threat to both the environment and the nation's economy...

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Guest: Dr. Michael E. Mann of Penn State's Earth System Science Center; Also: Trump deregulation to blame for E. coli outbreak; Dems pick up another House seat (in Utah!); Callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 11/26/2018 6:48pm PT  

On Friday of the Thanksgiving weekend, in hopes that nobody would notice, the Trump Administration quietly released the latest National Climate Assessment, a 1,700-page report compiled by 13 federal agencies with more than 300 scientists, including data from over 1,000 peer-reviewed scientific studies. On today's BradCast, we notice. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The report is mandated by Congress every few years, so the Administration had little choice but to release it, though doing so a month earlier than expected over a holiday weekend --- without even notifying the scientists who worked on it --- was as noteworthy as the report's stark contradictions with Donald Trump's own climate change denialism.

Global warming, the report warns, may warm the U.S. by as much as 12 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. It has already cost Americans $150 billion in various forms of damage since 2015 and, by the end of the century, unless severe steps are taken to curb emissions, climate change will result in a cost of some 10% to the nation's Gross Domestic Product. That hit to the economy will be more than twice that of the Great Recession a decade ago, the report finds, unless a very serious effort is undertaken immediately to curb man-made greenhouse gasses that cause global warming. Such action on a federal level, of course, seems very unlikely given that Donald Trump, when asked about the devastating economic effects detailed by his own administration's report, told reporters on Monday: "I don't believe it."

We're joined today by DR. MICHAEL E. MANN, Distinguished Professor and Director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, to discuss the troubling scientific findings and the entirely predictable reaction by denialist Republicans and corporate media over the weekend since its release.

Mann's climate science work, as author of nearly 200 peer-reviewed and edited publications, as well as several landmark climate change books, has warned for years of the breathtaking scope of our current climate crisis, illustrated again by recent record hurricanes, wildfires, droughts and floods and outlined by the report. The new study was compiled prior to the recent fires in CA which have, so far, killed nearly 90 people, as well as before this year's Hurricanes Michael and Florence which devastated parts of Florida and the southeast coast of the U.S.

"Simply stating what the science has to say is alarming," Mann tells me. "We are seeing the impacts now play out in real time. That means we are much farther down this road than we ever should have allowed ourselves to get. And time is running out. There is a level of urgency unlike we've seen before. We have to bring our carbon emissions down dramatically now, to avoid ever more catastrophic warming of the planet. And this is what you see in the form of scientists, who are usually quite conservative, coming out and saying, 'Look, we have, in essence, an emergency now.'"

At the same time, Mann notes, "The emergency is heightened by the fact that, at a time when we need to see even more action if we're going to stabilize warming below catastrophic levels, we have a president who is trying to take us in exactly the opposite direction."

Last week, in response to a cold spell just days before his own Administration released its report, Trump tweeted: "Whatever happened to global warming?" When asked about that today, Mann responds today by saying: "I'm looking out the window now and it's dark outside. Whatever happened to the sun? His comments about climate change are about as sensible and intelligent as that. Even a 5-year-old understands the absurdity of the claims that he makes."

As usual, Mann has a lot of important thoughts and science to share on all of this, on whether action at this late date can even make a difference, on the media's coverage of the issue, and even on his "disagreement" with a recent comment made by newly elected Democratic progressive Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Please tune in.

Also today: Speaking of the costs of Trump's reckless deregulation and science denial, last week's E. coli outbreak in Romaine lettuce (and the similar nationwide taint that sickened hundreds and killed five earlier this year), was also entirely predictable. It followed the Trump Administration's rollback of Obama Administration testing requirements for water used by producer growers, which would have kicked in this year. Trump's deregulation was supposed to save growers $12 million a year, while the costs of tainted fruits and vegetables costs consumers about $180 million in healthcare costs annually.

We've also got some more midterm election news as well (no, it's still not over!), including Republican Rep. Mia Love finally conceding her U.S. House reelection bid to Democrat Ben McAdams in otherwise ruby red Utah --- and slamming both Trump and her own party in the bargain. That brings the total to 38 House seats picked up by Democrats, so far, with two more still-undecided races in New York.

It's not just midterm counting that continues, but voting as well, as super-genius GOP U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith faces a tougher-than-expected runoff on Tuesday in Mississippi against Democrat Mike Espy, after a string of disturbing remarks about "public hangings" and voter suppression during her campaign.

And, finally today, listeners ring in with calls on the new climate change report and more...

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Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern with legal insight on a fire hose of news, from Ivanka's emails to Whitaker's appointment to Trump's trouble in court to encouraging midterm push-back against partisan gerrymandering...
By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2018 6:43pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we fly through a mountain of incoming stories (with the help of a great guest!) as the news gods seem to be unleashing a tidal wave in advance of the Thanksgiving Day holiday. [Audio link posted below. Buckle up before clicking.]

Among the ridiculous number of stories covered today...

  • Five are dead after three shootings in three different states over the past 24 hours;
  • Despite warning of an "invasion" on the U.S. southern border by a migrant caravan from Central America prior to the midterm elections, now that the elections are done, the Trump Administration is reportedly withdrawing more than 5,000 military troops they had deployed to the border just weeks ago;
  • The President's daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump reportedly sent hundreds of government related emails via a private email server over the course of 2017 in the months following her father's election in which he repeatedly called for his opponent, Hillary Clinton, to be "locked up" for doing the same thing. Ivanka's husband, Jared Kushner, also a senior adviser to Trump, reportedly used the same private server for government-related communications.

On the election results front...

  • Republican Rep. Will Hurd has reportedly squeaked out a victory over Democratic challenger Gina Ortiz Jones in Texas' 23rd Congressional District. The contest was among a handful of still-undecided races;
  • At the same time, Democrat Ben McAdams appears to have pulled back into the lead over GOP Rep. Mia Love in Utah's 4th Congressional District, where it now appears McAdams will be the victor by fewer than 700 votes out of some 270,000 tallied, flipping yet another U.S. House seat from "red" to "blue". The final margin is reportedly 0.258%, just above the 0.25% that would have allowed Love to request a recount in the otherwise ruby "red" state.
  • When the few remaining undecided U.S. House seats are called, Democrats appear on track to have picked up an extraordinary 39 seats in their "blue wave".
  • One of the three still-undecided House races is in Georgia, where this year's Libertarian candidate for Sec. of State has now endorsed Democratic candidate John Barrow in the upcoming December 4th runoff against Republican Brad Raffensperger to replace GA's vote suppressing Sec. of State, now Governor-elect Brian Kemp;
  • In Wisconsin, Democrats won every single statewide race on November 6th, including Governor (unseating Scott Walker) and U.S. Senate. They also outvoted Republicans in State Assembly races by 8 percentage points, 54 to 46 percent. Nonetheless, thanks to the GOP's extreme partisan gerrymandering in the Badger State, Republicans will hold 63 seats to the Democrats' 36 in the new Assembly;

The great (and newly wed!) MARK JOSEPH STERN, legal journalist at Slate, joins us to discuss how voters pushed back against gerrymandering this year by approving ballot initiatives --- and other measures --- in several states on November 6th, in an attempt to restore fair(er) elections in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court opting to not strike down partisan gerrymanders as unconstitutional in states such as Wisconsin and North Carolina earlier this year. Among the many other issues we fly through with Stern today, on which he offers his as-always cogent legal insight...

  • Ivanka and Hillary's email issues (Stern hopes a Democratic House investigation will result in real reform to the "arguably improper" if not unlawful use of private email by officials like Trump and Clinton, though not in the opportunistic political fashion that GOPers previously dealt with the issue);
  • Trump's appointment of GOP operative Matthew Whitaker as Acting Attorney General (which Stern describes as blatantly "illegal" and, he believes, very likely to be struck down by the Courts). He also describes the DoJ's legal defense of the maneuver as "laughable";
  • A federal court on Monday night blocked the Trump Administration's new regulation denying asylum claims by immigrants who fail to present themselves at a port of entry (Stern explains the judge found the Administration's new rule to be in strict violation of federal laws, and predicts that even Chief Justice John Roberts, based on similar rulings he made against the Obama Administration, will be forced to agree when the case reaches SCOTUS);
  • The decision by a Trump-appointed federal judge to order the White House to restore press credentials to CNN's Jim Acosta (Stern is impressed with the Trump judge's anti-Trump ruling, I remain a bit more skeptical);
  • And how (and why) Trump's controversial new Justice Brett Kavanaugh has, so far, laid low by not yet fuly tossing in with the Court's nihilist right-wing caucus.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report as the catastrophic wildfires continue to burn in California, Trump shows up to make things worse, and a coming turn in the weather signals both good news and bad for firefighters and recovery workers amid the record disaster...

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

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