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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, February 28, 2021
SCOTUS Could Soon Kill the Voting Rights Act:
'BradCast' 2/26/21
Guest host Nicole Sandler with Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser...
Texans Pay Big Price for Enron-Like Deregulation
A Green New Deal didn't cause the Lone Star State's deadly power crisis, but it could help prevent the next one...
You Never Forget Your First: 'BradCast' 2/25/21
Guest host Nicole Sandler with historian/author Alexis Coe...
'Green News Report' 2/25/21
  w/ Brad & Desi
Historic Interior nom fends off GOP attacks; New USPS trucks won't be all-electric; TX deregulation cost users $28 billion; PLUS: TX refineries released tons of toxins during crisis...
Previous GNRs: 2/23/21 - 2/18/21 - Archives...
SCOTUS Puts Both Trump and Future Elections in Serious Legal Peril: 'BradCast' 2/24/21
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Virginia is no longer for death penalty lovers...
Merrick Garland, Cyrus Vance and Trump Accountability: 'BradCast' 2/23/21
Guest: Emptywheel's Marcy Wheeler; Also: SCOTUS ends 2020 GOP election challenges; GA Repubs move vote suppression bills...
'Green News Report' 2/23/21
  w/ Brad & Desi
Texas power crisis mostly over, as water crisis continues; Repubs who lied about wind energy got big bucks from Big Oil; PLUS: U.S. officially rejoins Paris Climate Agreement...
Previous GNRs: 2/18/21 - 2/16/21 - Archives...
Seeking Environmental Justice in the 'ALONE' Star State: 'BradCast' 2/22/21
Guest: Dr. Robert Bullard of TSU and Nat'l Black Environmental Justice Network; Also: COVID kills 500k; SCOTUS denies Trump; Dominion sues MyPillow guy for $1.3B...
Sunday 'Kick the Can' Toons...
Kick back with PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best political toons...
'RECOUNTED' w/ Terror Analyst Colin P. Clarke,
Const'l Expert John Bonifaz: 'BradCast' 2/19/21
On the rise of rightwing domestic terrorism; Accountability for Trump and the GOP...
Cruz Deserts Texas,
NASA Returns to Mars:
'BradCast' 2/18/21
Guest: Margot Paez, formerly of 'BradCast' and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Also: TX crisis spikes oil, gas prices; sparks int'l ire...
'Green News Report' 2/18/21
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: Texas power grid devastated by deep freeze, death toll climbs, privatization to blame, Rightwingers launch TX disinfo campaign to falsely blame wind power...
Previous GNRs: 2/16/21 - 2/11/21 - Archives...
States Respond to 2020 With 'Avalanche' of Vote Supp-ression: 'BradCast' 2/17/21
Guest: MoJo's Ari Berman; Also: TX Repubs blame wind energy for own fossil fueled failure; LIMBAUGH DEAD, HIS POISON LIVES ON...
Accountability Amidst the Storms. All of Them.: 'BradCast' 2/16/2021
Guest: Const'l law expert John Bonifaz of Free Speech for People; Also: Fossil fuel failure freezes out TX grid in deadly winter storm...
'Green News Report' 2/16/21
Historic storm cripples Texas, takes out power for millions, brings record low temps to dozens of states; PLUS: Biden warns China outpacing U.S. on infrastructure...
BIPARTISAN SENATE MAJORITY VOTES TRUMP GUILTY AS CHARGED: 'BradCast' 2/15/21
Also: Winter storm locks down TX; Biden, Dems push progressive agenda; Callers on Impeach vote...
Prosecute Trump or Perish
Ernie Canning on why republic's survival may hinge on a criminal probe by DoJ into our former President's role in deadly Jan. 6 insurrection...
Sunday 'Case Dismissed' Toons
PDiddie's back with more unimpeachable guilty pleasures in his latest weekly toon collection...
'Green News Report' 2/11/21
Biden puts climate at center of NatSec, Foreign policy; Fossil fuels and premature deaths; U.S. wind's best year yet; PLUS: Pipeline spill in San Fran Bay...
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: NILC's Jess Hanson on what's next for DACA; Also: Another big win for Dems in MO, and GOP set to nominate Nazi for U.S. House in IL...
By Brad Friedman on 2/7/2018 6:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Several encouraging election-related news items for Democrats and others in the fact-based community, but still more troubling news for American immigrants and their families as DACA recipients are left out of a new Senate deal to keep the government open. [Audio link to show posted at end of article.]

We start with some of the good news for Democrats, as yet another special election on Tuesday has resulted in yet another state legislative seat flipped from "red" to "blue". This time it was a special election for the Missouri House in a district where Trump is said to have won by 28 points in 2016. The stunning victory continues a tidal wave of Republican seats picked up by Democrats since Donald Trump took office last year. There is less good news for Republicans, however, as a holocaust denier and actual member of the American Nazi party is now set to become the GOP's nominee for the U.S. House in Illinois' 3rd Congressional district this fall.

Meanwhile, U.S. Senate leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced a breakthrough agreement on Wednesday to keep the federal government funded and open in advance of Thursday night's shutdown deadline. The deal, if adopted by both chambers of Congress, would increase both military and domestic spending by some $300 billion, includes additional disaster relief to states rebuilding after last year's hurricanes, funds community health centers for several years, and increases the debt ceiling to avoid a government default, as lost revenue following the GOP's $1.5 trillion tax cut last year means federal borrowing must be increased sooner than previously expected.

The deal, however, does not include protections for "Dreamers", those who immigrated here with their parents years ago, who now face the possibility of mass deportation as early as March 5, after Trump reversed the Obama-era DACA program that had previously protected them. Some progressives and self-identified conservatives in the U.S. House oppose the Senate plan, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who took to the House floor today for a record 8-hour marathon speech to highlight the DACA issue and contributions made by hundreds of thousands of "Dreamers" who have lived here most of their lives.

Pelosi says she opposes the Senate bill and called on House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to promise a vote on immigration issues, as McConnell has in the Senate. Freedom Caucus Republicans in the House also claim to be upset by the bill, thanks to its additional new government spending. So, it remains to be seen if today's breakthrough package will make it to the President's desk before the midnight Thursday deadline or not. Either way, it doesn't appear that a fix to DACA will be included, assuring more continued uncertainty for some 800,000 previously protected Dreamers who could soon face deportation.

We're joined today by JESSICA HANSON, attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, to discuss how a recent federal court ruling, temporarily blocking some of Trump's attempted DACA reversal, may effect his March 5 deadline for legislation to protect "Dreamers", as well as the rise of white nativism in the GOP, including Trump and his Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Hanson explains the "temporary reprieve" by a federal court ruling in California that has allowed "individuals who have had DACA previously to renew their DACA grant." But, she says, while NILC recommends such renewals, even where some may have already expired, she notes that those who never had DACA protection are still out in the cold, at the moment, as "the government took the unusual step of seeking to skip the 9th Circuit and instead appeal directly to the Supreme Court" in the ruling.

In response to recent remarks from Kelly, alleging that those not covered by DACA were "too lazy to get off their asses" and that he "doubts very much" Trump will extend the program beyond March 5, Hanson charges: "Those remarks reflect an ongoing, deep, white nativist sentiment with this administration that has shown itself over and over again."

We also discuss a number of other related issues, including Trump's lies about our legal immigration policies, such as the Diversity Lottery and Family Reunification programs that he is now trying to restrict and ties to a DACA deal ("The President has been completely misrepresenting these programs," explains Hanson, who describes it as yet another effort "to make America white again"), and concerns about millions of other American immigrants already being terrorized by detention, deportation and separation from their families, business and lives under Trump's radical anti-immigrant policies.

She joins NILC in decrying today's Senate deal, charging that "it is inexcusable that the Senate leadership has agreed to put immigrant issues aside" and explains that "the mainstream media could do a lot more to lift up these stories" about abuses by Trump's immigration enforcement agencies like ICE and CBP, "because a lot of people don't realize it's happening [and] have no idea that this is going on."

Finally, we finish up with a bit more encouraging election news for those still interested in facts and reality and science, as a record number of scientists are now lined up to run for office in 2018, on the state, local and federal level, in response to the Trump Administration and GOP's increasingly anti-science policies and positions...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton on the memo mess, Special Counsel mess, immigration/DACA mess, and several others; Also: Elected PA GOPer trying to impeach 5 of 7 state Supreme Court Justices...
By Brad Friedman on 2/6/2018 6:28pm PT  

On today's BradCast, as one political mess piles up on top of another in D.C. (and across the country), at what now seems to be an impossible pace, our old friend HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and "Digby's Hullabaloo" blog is here today to try and help us dig out of from under it. Wish her luck. [Audio link to show is posted at end of article.]

First up, Parton responds to Donald Trump's charge on Monday that Democrats who failed to stand and applaud during his State of the Union address last week were "unAmerican" and may have committed "treason". Yes, he actually said as much, even though treason is punishable by death, and couldn't possibly be applied in this case. (And, yes, we also discuss how many others also misuse the charge of "treason" against Trump.)

Then, Republicans on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee have finally voted to release the Democratic Rebuttal Memo written in response to the cherry-picked Republican Memo produced by committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA), perhaps in collusion with the White House. The Nunes memo, though landing with a thud after it's release on Friday, is still being used by Fox "News" GOPers to falsely make the case that Robert Mueller's Special Counsel probe must be shut down due to an alleged misuse of material from the so-called "Trump/Russia Dossier" written by a former British intelligence agent, for the FISA warrant application sought and obtained by the FBI in 2016 (and renewed three times) to intercept communications with Carter Page, a former Trump Campaign advisor and suspected Russian asset.

But will the President actually allow the House Democrats' rebuttal memo to be released to the public? Parton has her doubts ("I don't know why people think it's a done deal. I mean, I keep wanting to say, 'Have you met Donald Trump?!'") She also has a few thoughts on Nunes and the entire GOP attempt to undermine the Mueller probe on specious grounds and on the promise by Nunes' to produce several new memos in what is part of his new effort to make the case that Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, conspired with Russia before the 2016 election. Parton compares the effort to go after members of the FBI and DoJ, etc., to Sen. Joseph McCarthy's targeting, in the 1950s, of alleged Communists in the FBI, Dept. of Justice and State Department. Sadly, the effort by Nunes, Trump and friends seems to be working, at least partially, according to a stunning new Axios poll.

I also share my own concern with Parton about what I see as a serious weakness in the Democrats' case for "collusion" against Trump, and she shares her prediction that "there's an excellent chance" a second Special Counsel will be convened to try and prosecute Hillary Clinton before this is all said and done.

We then go on to discuss the mess in Congress in advance of another possible federal government shutdown later this week, which Trump, on Tuesday, said he welcomes amid what has been his own bad faith deal-making with Democrats over the fate of some 800,000 children of immigrants brought here illegally decades ago. Those kids had been protected from deportation by the Obama-era DACA program, until Trump reversed it --- using them as human shields for his radical new immigration demands --- setting a deadline to begin their deportation as early as March 5th, unless a deal can be struck for legislation passed by Congress to protect them.

"This is a mess. It's been a mess," Parton argues. "Giving the Democrats a little bit of slack, this immigration problem and the DACA kids have been out there for a long time, and they have tried. The problem for the Democrats was that they thought, when Donald Trump was elected, because of this promises "Oh, I love the [DACA] kids!', that he had the credibility to bring along the Freedom Caucus and all these right-wing anti-immigration hawks in the Congress. That was the game that Trump talked. It turns out that he's a complete mess. He doesn't know how the government works. He doesn't know how to negotiate."

So, now, such a deal must somehow be worked out between the Dems, who are lousy negotiators, and Trump, who is a dishonest one, in advance of Friday's government shutdown deadline, or be pushed off yet again, leaving the fate of the DACA kids in jeopardy as March approaches. Not helping in the matter, as Parton observes, is Trump's far-right, anti-immigrant Chief of Staff John Kelly, not to mention the untrustworthy Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Next, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest news-filled Green News Report.

And, finally, some new developments out of Pennsylvania where, speaking of the rise of authoritarianism under Republican rule, an elected GOPer in the state House is now moving to impeach five of the seven Justices on the state Supreme Court after they voted to require new U.S. House maps for the state. The new districts would replace the GOP's illegally gerrymandered Congressional Districts that Republicans have been using to hold 13 of 18 U.S. House seats in the closely divided (but Democratic-leaning) swing-state. The nascent impeachment effort --- though one that should be taken seriously --- in the PA House comes as the Republican President of the state Senate continues to defy the court's orders, despite their ruling being upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday.

Yes, this mess keeps getting messier. By the minute...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: David Faris of 'The Week'; Also: L.A. school shooting; PA GOP scoffs at court redistricting order; Great voting rights ruling in FL...
By Brad Friedman on 2/1/2018 6:39pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The government shutdown ended just last week. Next week, the next deadline for funding the government is upon us, along with the same fight to protect some 800,000 "Dreamers" from being deported. Do Democrats have any better plan to stand up to Trump and the Republicans this time? [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up, some important news headlines that are likely to disappear among all of the madness in D.C. and much of the corporate media: There was yet another school shooting today, following the one in rural Kentucky just last week. This time it was a middle school in Los Angeles, where a 12-year old girl is said to be in custody after two 15-year olds were shot.

In Pennsylvania, the Republican President of the Senate, Joe Scarnati, is blatantly refusing orders by the State Supreme Court to turn over districting documents after the court found last week that the GOP-controlled legislature in the largely 50/50 swing-state had gerrymandered U.S. House districts in violation of state law. Republicans currently hold 13 seats to the Democrats' 5 under the GOP-drawn maps. The Court has ordered the maps immediately redrawn, but Republicans are trying to prevent that, and are now defying the court in doing so. Scarnati's behavior continues a growing and disturbing pattern by Republicans across the country --- and now all the way up to the White House --- to simply refuse to follow the rule of law and orders of the court.

Meanwhile, some very good news for voters in Florida, as a federal court, just before airtime, finds the "scheme" employed by Republican Gov. Rick Scott to consider restoration of voting rights for some 1.5 million former felons in the state, to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution's 1st Amendment Free Speech clause and 14th Amendment Equal Protection clause. Currently, the process to overcome Florida's lifetime ban on voting rights for former felons who have long ago completed their sentences, finished parole and paid off all restitution, requires personally groveling to the Governor and hoping rights are restored, at his standard-free whim, according to the federal judge. That may now, finally, change (unless the ballot initiative to restore such rights to former felons is adopted first this November, after the measure's proponents successfully gathered nearly 1 million signatures in support last week!)

Then, it was only last week that Senate Democrats caved to Donald Trump and the Republicans following just two days of a government shutdown. After promising to vote against any government spending bill unless it included protections for some 800,000 "Dreamers" --- Obama-Era DACA recipients who, thanks to Trump, now face deportation as soon as March 5 --- the Dems folded and reversed course.

That, as our guest today, DAVID FARIS, Roosevelt University political scientist and The Week contributor, argues, has now further weakened what had previously been a fairly strong hand for Democrats.

Now, the next funding deadline and possible shutdown looms just one week from today, as the previous reversal by Democrats has likely bolstered Republican resolve and afforded time for Trump to move the goal posts even farther right on his immigration demands. He detailed those demands during his offensive remarks on the matter in his State of the Union Address Tuesday night.

"It highlights to me way it was such a huge mistake for Democrats to cave and come back to the table and reopen the government. Because what it did was it allowed the President and his allies to seize the initiative here, and to release this plan to the public. It's just shocking to me that Democrats didn't think ahead, 'What's coming up? The State of the Union.' This will allow the President to set the parameters of the debate," Faris says.

He charges that Democrats "went from a situation where they were fighting for one issue that they had a 53 point advantage on --- and that's DACA and the Dreamers --- to a situation where now we have multiple immigration proposals thrown together, and they all, at least, have good plurality polling for the President."

Faris, author of the upcoming book, It's Time to Fight Dirty: How Democrats Can Build a Lasting Majority in American Politics, argues the fate of the "Dreamers" may now, unthinkably, be left up to the hope that Trump decides to simply do the right thing for those 800,000 children brought here illegally as children decades ago by their parents.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with some good news (for a change) for Puerto Rico, some very good news for the state of New Jersey under their new Democratic Governor, and some more bad news for the planet and the state of Maine under their dumbest Governor in the nation...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Justin George of The Marshall Project; Also: FL initiative to restore former felon voting rights qualifies for November ballot, dirty Trump Family laundry, and 14 years of muck-raking at The BRAD BLOG!...
By Brad Friedman on 1/24/2018 6:19pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we celebrate The BRAD BLOG's 14th anniversary of independent investigative blogging, journalism, broadcasting, trouble-making and muck-raking! Thanks to those who've stopped by BradBlog.com/Donate to help us continue into our 15th year! If you haven't done so yet, what's stopping you? We really need your help! [Audio link to today's show follow below.]

Beyond that, on today's program, we've got some encouraging news on voting rights in the state of Florida, believe it or not. A citizen initiative to allow former felons to vote has officially qualified for the state's November ballot, after an herculean effort to gather more than 800,000 qualified signatures by proponents who hope to help re-enfranchise some 1.7 million Floridians who have completed their sentences, many of them years ago.

While the grassroots effort has already been monumental --- as a segment from Sam Bee's Full Frontal highlighted last year --- the measure must still receive more than 60% approval from voters this November in order to amend the state's constitution. More former felons --- who are disproportionately African-American in FL --- are disqualified from voting in the Sunshine State than any other. Only they, Kentucky, Virginia and Iowa currently ban such citizens from voting for life. "Florida accounts for nearly 25 percent, or 1.6 million, of the people who have lost their right to vote" in the U.S., according to the ACLU. "As a result, one in ten Floridians are shut out of our democracy."

But, if it was up to the Trump Administration, there would be many more such felons in FL and everywhere else. We're joined today by criminal justice journalist JUSTIN GEORGE of The Marshall Project, to discuss his recent article looking at "Trump Justice, Year One: The Demolition Derby", in which he examines "nine ways Trump has transformed the landscape of criminal justice, just one tumultuous year into his presidency."

We discuss the many changes made by Trump's Department of Justice and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as they attempt to "demolish" the legacy of the Obama Administration. From their rhetoric and tone on crime, the "drug war" and immigration, to policy changes on policing, sentencing, mass incarceration, the private prison industry, and in stacking the federal bench with rightwingers, Team Trump is hoping to unwind many of the criminal justice reforms successfully enacted by Obama and his DoJ, particularly in the later years of his Presidency.

But have Trump and Sessions' attempts to rollback Obama's criminal justice legacy, to date, been particularly effective? And, for that matter, why did Obama's efforts at reform come so late in his Presidency?

We cover a lot of ground in my conversation with George today, before somewhat departing from our usual beat to close with a bit of dirty laundry, sleaze, speculation and rumor mongering concerning Donald and Melania Trump --- though we've got a reasonable justification for doing so today...mostly...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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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: Paul S. Ryan of Common Cause; Also: KY school shooting, Trump supporter threatens CNN, Dems' tough decision as next shutdown nears...
By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2018 6:08pm PT  

Did Donald Trump or the Trump Campaign or the Trump Organization violate federal law in a hush money payoff to a porn star? On today's BradCast, we speak with the lawyer from a good-government group that has now filed complaints with the Federal Elections Commission and Dept. of Justice to that end, which he describes as "a very obvious and very clear violation of federal campaign finance law." [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

But first up today, the latest news on the latest school shooting, this time in rural Kentucky, where 12 students were shot, two of them killed, after a 15-year old student unleashed a barrage of gunfire at Marshall County High School just before classes were set to begin on Tuesday morning. It was the first fatal school shooting of 2018, though reportedly the 9th since the first of the year, and 283rd since 2013. In related news, a 19-year old apparent Trump supporter was arrested after repeatedly threatening CNN's Atlanta headquarters earlier this month on the heels of the President's continued targeting of the news network as "fake news".

Then, we discuss some of the newly reported details outlining how it is that Senate Democrats caved on Monday in their government shutdown standoff with Trump and Republicans in regard to protecting some 800,000 "Dreamers" from deportation, including evidence to strongly suggest we are quickly heading towards another shutdown and/or cave in just over two weeks time when the stop-gap spending measure passed on Monday night runs out.

Next, we're joined by PAUL S. RYAN, Vice President of Policy & Litigation at Common Cause, to discuss the two complaints filed on Monday with the FEC [PDF] and with the DoJ [PDF] regarding the payoff made via a shell company set up by Trump's attorney Michael Cohen, allegedly to buy the silence of adult film actress Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) just before the 2016 Presidential election. Trump is alleged to have had an affair, according to the Wall Street Journal, with Clifford/Daniels in 2006, shortly after his wife Melania had given birth to their son.

Ryan and Common Causes' complaints contend that the $130,000 payout appears to have been an unlawful, unreported in-kind donation to the Trump campaign, funded either by the Trump Organization, another person or corporation or Trump himself which, in any of those cases, would be a violation of the Federal Elections Campaign Act (FECA). The longtime campaign finance attorney explains the law in question and handicaps the odds of whether the FEC or DoJ will take action in response.

"At a minimum here," Ryan tells me, detailing who may be culpable, "we seem to be looking at a campaign finance disclosure violation --- because the Trump Campaign Committee didn't report any of this --- and, unless the money came from Trump's own pocket, then we're also talking about a contribution violation, as well."

While the question of who put up the $130k is still unknown, he argues that there is no legitimate way to argue that the payout --- given its timing, shortly after the Access Hollywood "grab 'em by the pussy" tape came out, and the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct from nearly 20 women --- was not meant to influence the election by keeping Daniels from talking to the press. "The timing, with the imminent threat by Stormy Daniels that she was going public with her story, to me, makes this clearly stand as a payment that was all about the election and keeping her quiet up to and until the election."

In related matters, Ryan also offers a few quick takes in response to some questions I had on several other recent news events from the past 24 hours or so, including whether the Trump Administration violated the law with their partisan outgoing voice message on the White House comment line during the shutdown over the weekend; whether any laws were violated by a Monday night dinner meeting on what are said to have been "important issues facing our country", between several Republican Senators, members of Trump's cabinet and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch; and whether Republicans in Pennsylvania have a leg to stand on in their promise to make a federal case out of a Monday ruling by the state Supreme Court ordering the GOP-controlled state legislature to immediately redraw the state's U.S. House district maps, in time for the 2018 primaries, after the maps were found to have been illegally gerrymandered under Pennsylvania's Constitution to discriminate against non-Republican voters.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on Monday's natural gas rig explosion in Oklahoma, new tariffs on solar panels instituted by Trump, and environmental fallout from the Congressional battle over a government spending bill. [Photo above via MySpace/Stormy Daniels.]

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Callers ring in on that and the weekend's massive Women's Marches; Also, PA's U.S. House maps struck down, natgas rig explodes in OK...
By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2018 6:07pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Trying to make sense of the Senate Democrats' decision on Monday to vote in favor of re-opening the federal government, following Friday's vote that resulted in a short shutdown over the weekend. Callers ring in on that today, the Women's March over the weekend, and a number of other late breaking news items. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Democrats in the U.S. Senate appear to have folded in their demand that Republicans protect 800,000 "Dreamers" in a short-term spending bill. In the bargain, they voted to re-open the federal Government on Monday, after a nearly identical bill was blocked from passage on Friday, resulting in a two-day shutdown of the federal government. The difference between Monday's vote and Friday's? A three week Continuing Resolution to fund the government, instead of a four week extension, and a promise (of sorts) from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow a vote on a measure to protect those 800,000 children of immigrants brought here years ago through no fault of their own, but who are now facing deportation beginning on March 5, following Donald Trump ending the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

On today's show we discuss the politics around all of this, whether Democrats were right to give in for now, despite polls suggesting the public by and large blamed Republicans for the standoff, the angry progressives and immigration advocates who are furious about it, and whether there's a chance in hell that Republicans will allow a real fix to DACA without being forced to do so through a full and extended government shutdown.

We take calls from listeners today on all of that, on the huge and absurdly under-covered Women's Marches held over the weekend in hundreds of cities, where anywhere from 1.3 to 2.1 million turned out --- not that you would know it from the lack of media coverage.

Also on today's show: A natural gas rig explodes in Oklahoma and Pennsylvania's Supreme Court orders the Republican-controlled state legislature to redraw gerrymandered U.S. House maps in time for the 2018 primaries which begin in weeks in the Keystone State. The PA ruling follows similar ones by courts in Wisconsin, Texas, North Carolina, Florida and elsewhere, finding Republicans unconstitutionally discriminated against non-Republican voters in U.S. House and state legislative maps drawn after the 2010 census. Most of the rulings in those states, to date, have been delayed by the Republican's stolen U.S. Supreme Court, likely allowing the worst of the gerrymandering to continue into the crucial 2018 mid-term elections...

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Plus: Our own 'Fake News' awards! And 2017 breaks heat records...
By Brad Friedman on 1/18/2018 5:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Republicans have returned to form, via government by hostage taking. Vote our way or the kids get it it! [Audio link to show follows below.]

The chaos in Congress, as Republicans race to come up with a plan to avoid a Government shutdown this weekend, echoes what happened just last week as they they tried to pass a reauthorization and extension of the FISA Amendment Act in the U.S. House. Though GOP leadership and the White House had long lobbied for the reauthorization, Donald Trump unleashed chaos when he tweeted against his own bill. That legislation, which allows for warrantless surveillance of emails and phone calls by all Americans, ultimately passed after Paul Ryan called the President to explain it, and enough Democrats came on board to help them in the House. (It passed today, again with the help of Democrats in the Senate, and now heads to Trump's desk to be signed.)

On Thursday, as Congressional Republicans attempted to pass a short-term spending bill to keep the government open --- after a long-term deal was plunged into chaos when Trump refused a deal that included immigrants from "shithole countries" --- Trump did it again. He tweeted against a GOP stopgap plan which includes reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The reauthorization, which both helps sick kids and saves the government billions of dollars, was included by Republicans in hopes of enticing Democrats to help them avoid a full government shutdown as of midnight Friday. Most Dems don't seem to be buying it --- despite Ryan, once again, calling the White House to get Trump back on board --- as they appear unwilling to help Republicans out of this jam without the inclusion of a fix to the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Republicans refuse to include a fix to DACA, the Obama-era protection against deportation of some 800,000 children of immigrants, which Trump reversed, in their short-term measure. Dems say they won't support such a bill unless DACA is included. In other words, the children helped by both CHIP and DACA are now being held as hostages by the Republican Party. The measure squeaked by tonight in the U.S. House, but passage in the Senate, where 60 votes are needed to overcome a filibuster, is far from certain.

Then, after Donald Trump's fake "Fake News" awards face plant on Wednesday night, we have a few real "Fake News" awards to offer, based on actual facts, as we reach the end of Trump's agonizingly long first year in office this weekend.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with bad news out of China, good news out of the Detroit Auto Show (and even from McDonald's), and some late breaking news from NOAA and NASA on the record heat of 2017, as man-made global warming continues apace in the new year...

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Guest: Mike Liszewski of Drug Policy Alliance; Also: Goodbye, Chris Christie and other encouraging news from the states...
By Brad Friedman on 1/16/2018 5:39pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the consequences of elections, from D.C. on immigration, to VA and NJ on gun safety legislation, and across both D.C. and dozens of states when it comes to marijuana policy under Trump's Attorney General. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

The White House, lawmakers and corporate media continue to squabble today over Donald Trump's racist and reportedly vulgar slur of black majority nations as either "shitholes" or "shithouses" during a bipartisan meeting on immigration last week, even as his Departments of Justice and Homeland Security issued a new and misleading report on terrorism that downplays the far greater threat of domestic attacks by homegrown white Americans, in favor of a focus on foreign-born terrorists.

In the meantime, as the White House and Congress attempt to strike a government spending deal that includes protections for DACA recipients in time to avoid a government shutdown at the end of this week, a changing of the guards in both New Jersey and Virginia following last November's elections is taking place and already reshuffling public policy.

NJ's wildly unpopular Republican Gov. Chris Christie was finally replaced on Tuesday by the new Democratic Governor Phil Murphy, one day after Christie finally signed a law that will ban deadly bumpstock devices, like those used to kill 58 people and wound hundreds of others in minutes in Las Vegas last year, in the Garden State. (To his discredit, he had little choice, as the legislation passed both state chambers with zero votes opposing it.)

At the same time, in VA, where Republicans managed to barely hang on to majorities in the state legislature, thanks to some gaming of several House races and of legislative district maps across the state (allowing them to retain control despite losing statewide by a 55% to 45% margin), the GOP's majority control in the state Senate resulted in the gutting of most of the gun safety agenda on which that state's new Democratic Governor Ralph Northam ran and won by a landslide.

Then, we head back to D.C., where Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced after the turn of the new year that the DoJ was reversing Obama-era enforcement guidance on federal law, in order to crack down on states where marijuana has been made legal for medicinal and/or recreational use after decades of prohibition.

As Drug Policy Alliance advisor and marijuana legislation lobbyist MIKE LISZEWSKI joins us to explain, the new DoJ guidance, rolling back the so-called "Cole Memo" from the Obama years, has not gone over well, even with a number of Republican lawmakers, particularly those from cannabis-friendly states where they have seen a dramatic rise in tax revenue thanks to new policies adopted by voters and state lawmakers.

"The Cole Memo was just guidance, it was never binding. But by removing it, Sessions has really given the green light to US Attorneys throughout the country to say, if you want to prosecute against state marijuana conduct you have our backing," Liszewski tells me, before arguing that there is no need for such policy, given that state laws, where pot has been legalized, are already very tough. "If someone was using a state marijuana law to shield some sort of bad activity, they're clearly in violation of state law. There's so much oversight, you're likely going to get caught rather quickly. So there's really no need for additional federal prosecution. It's really addressing a concern that doesn't actually exist --- unless you have some hysterical views about marijuana."

Sessions, of course, famously has views. Last year, for example, he famously stated that marijuana was "only slightly less awful" than heroin. Liszewski breaks down the DoJ's announced change in prosecutorial guidance and the effect it is likely to have (if any) in pro-cannabis states where, he says, it has "turned out to be wonderful for generating state tax revenue...in terms of the money it's pulling in, but also the law enforcement resources, the jail resources, the court resources, that don't have to go into prosecuting low-level marijuana cases."

We also discuss how Congress may still be able to move forward on drug policy under an Attorney General who is an avowed enemy of pot users and a President who claims to favor states' rights on the matter. Congress, Liszewski argues, is close to having the votes to end prohibition at the federal level all together, if it doesn't have those votes already. But, he says, thanks to a few "old guard" Committee Chairs in Congress, it may take a full reshuffling of the deck in the 2018 mid-term elections to see it actually happen.

"The 2018 elections are going to be so crucial to the future of marijuana reform," he says. "Because whether it's a shift in which party controls each chamber, or if it's just voting out the old guard and getting some new Republicans in, either way would be helpful towards ending federal marijuana prohibition."

"It would be very, very difficult to get the genie back in the bottle at this point," Liszewski adds, "especially seeing a good number of Republicans as well as states continuing to move forward right after the Sessions announcement. It really shows that Sessions is alone on an island with this and has very few supporters. I think the writing is on the wall."

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DACA scheme blocked; Off-shore drilling reversed; CA's latest disaster; VA's gamed elections; NC's gamed Congressional maps; much more...
By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2018 6:21pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we do our best to try and make some sense of the utter chaos, havoc and non-stop breaking news plaguing the nation over the past 24 hours. Wish us luck! [Audio link to show follows below.]

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

  • Late updates on the devastating mud-flows that have, so far, resulted in the deaths of 17 in Southern California's Santa Barbara County, just north of Los Angeles, following a massive rainfall this week in the area just burned by the largest fire in state history;
  • A federal judge has temporarily blocked Donald Trump's attempt to lift the DACA program, which has protected some 800,000 children of immigrants who came here with their parents through no fault of their own;
  • Just days after announcing their intention to open 90% of U.S. coastline to off-shore drilling, Trump's Dept. of Interior chief Ryan Zinke reverses course, but only for the state of Florida, in what appears to be a political (and unlawful) favor to Florida's Governor Rick Scott, who Trump is supporting in a run for the U.S. Senate;

In election and voting news today...

  • Just minutes before Virginia's House of Delegates convened its new legislative session today, Democrat Shelly Simonds conceded her 94th District race against Republican David Yancey without seeking the second "recount" she is entitled to by state law. The first "recount" resulted in a declared "tie" vote and a random drawing, following a very questionable ballot [JPG] counted for the Republican after the initial "recount" had handed the victory to Simonds by a single vote. (She could still ask for a recount as late as the 17th, if she and the Democratic Party wise up and changes their minds. Republicans absolutely would have demanded such a count had the random drawing gone the other way. They would also have prevented her from being seated until that count was completed. Moreover, I share some disturbing comments from a conversation about all of this with the Voter Registrar who oversaw the election in Newport News, VA.)
  • In the 28th District race for Virginia's House, an appeals court denied the Democrats emergency motion for a new election today, after the Republican was declared the winner by 73 votes even though 147 voters were given the wrong ballot on Election Day last November. (With both of those Dems out, the GOP majority in the VA House has shrunk from 66-34 last session, to just 51-49 as of today, despite Democrats winning 55% of the vote statewide in the Republican gerrymandered state);
  • In North Carolina, a federal court panel issued a landmark and blistering ruling on Tuesday night, finding state Republicans had blatantly gerrymandered the swing-state's U.S. House Districts on a partisan bases to ensure a 10 to 3 majority for themselves, in what the panel found to be a violation of the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause. The court ordered new Congressional maps to be drawn up immediately, in the next two weeks, in time for the 2018 primaries. But Republicans vow to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is currently deciding a separate but very similar case on partisan gerrymandering of state legislative districts by Wisconsin Republicans.
  • And today, a divided (and stolen by the GOP) U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in a case challenging Ohio Secretary of State John Husted's scheme to purge voter rolls after voters have gone just two years without voting in a federal election, in what Democrats and voting rights advocates argue is a violation of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).

Finally today...

  • Trump's Energy Secretary and former Texas Governor Rick Perry sees his scheme to extend the life of coal and nuclear plants under the false guise of "grid resiliency" go up in smoke after all of the appointees on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), most of whom were appointed by Trump, unanimously reject the plan, which was seen as a payoff to a coal baron benefactor of both Perry and Trump. A former Trump Campaign official, however, sees a far more insidious (and laughable) conspiracy.

What. A. Mess. Enjoy!...

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Guest: Former Asst. U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eliason of George Washington University; Hurricane Maria on Irma's path of destruction...
By Brad Friedman on 9/18/2017 6:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Here come more hurricanes, political and otherwise. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Hurricane Maria, on a similar path to the devastating Hurricane Irma just over a week ago, has now strengthened to a deadly Category 4 before its projected landfall on many of the same Caribbean islands still reeling from Irma. But Maria is hardly the only storm swirling right now in the Atlantic and the Pacific (including Jose, Norma, Lee and Otis!).

Then, while Republicans and so-called "conservatives" last week pretended to be furious about the suggestion that Trump was working out an agreement with Democrats to protect some 800,000 kids of undocumented immigrants --- previously protected by DACA until Trump reversed it --- from deportation, in exchange for non-Border Wall border security, it turns out they're not all that angry after all. Evidence to support that argument --- along with the GOP's stated intention to balloon the national debt with massive new tax cuts and military spending --- underscores, yet again, that Republicans, like their President, have no real ideology, other than saying and doing what they believe is necessary to stay in power.

Yes, even anti-immigration zealot Rep. Steve King (R-IA) who claimed, after the deal between Dems and Trump was made public last week, that Trump's base was "blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair," said over the weekend that he was "gonna stick with President Trump".

Speaking of a lack of "convictions" (pun intended there), we're then joined by former Asst. U.S. Attorney RANDALL D. ELIASON, now a blogger and professor of law at George Washington University, to explain the ongoing corruption trial of sitting U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ). Given the recent constraints the U.S. Supreme Court has placed on charges of bribery and public corruption by officials (see SCOTUS' dismissal last year of the guilty convictions against Republican Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and the limits on quid pro quo political bribery detailed by Citizens United and related rulings), can prosecutors successfully make charges stick against Menendez, who is charged with a number of felony counts relating to taking a huge amount of "gifts" from a physician friend, allegedly in exchange for "official acts" by the Senator.

"It's basically an exchange for these luxury trips, and jet trips, and pretty large political donations over the years, that Senator Menendez was working on these various things on Dr. Melgen's behalf," according to federal prosecutors, explains Eliason. "What the government has to prove is that there was a corrupt link between the two, that it was because of the gifts that the Senator was doing this."

Eliason, who headed up the Public Corruption/Government Fraud section at the U.S. Attorney's District of Columbia office for many years, walks us through the legal weeds of the case, which has received shockingly little attention in the corporate media, as storms --- both political and climatic --- have sucked up a lot of press attention in recent weeks.

And, though the investigation into Menendez was begun under Obama (on the heels of a completely fake news story, published by a Rightwing "news" outlet), are there any lessons we may take from this prosecution as it relates to potential charges being investigated against Team Trump? As it turns out, there are, as the always-insightful Eliason details today.

Finally, Trump's Homeland Security Advisor H.R. McMaster claimed over the weekend that Trump might be willing to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, but only if the there were better terms for the U.S. Our own Desi Doyen has a thought or two in response to that claim...

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Guest: Gaius Publius of 'Down With Tyranny'; And another hurricane over Mexico, another North Korean missile over Japan...
By Brad Friedman on 9/14/2017 5:45pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The Art of the Scammer; the Equifax outrage, and Dems work to win back the populist Left. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Donald Trump is working very hard to have it both ways since reversing Barack Obama's Executive Order last week on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (or DACA). The program had served to protect some 800,000 children of undocumented immigrants, brought here through no fault of their own, from deportation. On Wednesday night, following dinner with the President, Democratic Congressional leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi announced they had struck an agreement with Trump to pass DACA legislatively, in exchange for more border security, as long as it didn't include Trump's long-promised border wall with Mexico.

Trump has been flip-flopping and flop-flipping on that reported deal ever since, pretending that his wall is already being built, and trying to otherwise appease his angry(ish) base at the same time he's apparently trying to close a deal with both Democratic and Republican leadership in Congress.

Then, we're joined by blogger GAIUS PUBLIUS to discuss his coverage of last week's massive Equifax data breach, including what you can and should do to protect yourself in its wake, and whether the massive credit monitoring firm will face any accountability at all for what they did to help cause --- and cover up --- the hack which reportedly exposed the personal information of some 143 million Americans.

We also discuss Sen. Bernie Sanders' single-payer "Medicare-for-All" health care bill, introduced in the U.S. Senate this week, with the co-sponsorship of some 16 Senate Democrats, many of whom are thought to be 2020 Presidential contenders. What does the sudden popularity of "Medicare-for-All" in both the U.S. Senate and House signal for Democrats? And will their tepid steps towards economic populism help turn the tide for them at the national level in 2018 and 2020?

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, on the long tail of catastrophic devastation left behind by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. And, as if all of that isn't enough, also today: Yet another hurricane comes ashore in Mexico (their second in the past week), and North Korea launches another ballistic missile over Japan...

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Guest: Mayra Joachin of the Nat'l Immigration Law Center; MUCH more...
By Brad Friedman on 9/7/2017 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Climate mayhem unleashed in the Atlantic; Legal push-back against Trump's latest anti-immigrant policy; and much more. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

On the heels of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, one of the most ferocious Category 5 storms ever tracked in the Atlantic, is wreaking catastrophic devastation to Caribbean island nations as it remains on target to slam south Florida (including Trump's Mar-a-Lago) over the weekend, before creating a "buzz saw" up Florida's East Coast and into Georgia and the Carolinas. All signs suggest this is going to be exceedingly bad for the continental U.S. as well, particularly where developers successfully lobbied to ensure new construction along coastal Florida only needed to be able to withstand Category 3 hurricanes. Desi Doyen joins us for details on the reported damage and what officials and experts fear is still to come.

Then, we're joined by MAYRA JOACHIN, staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, to discuss the lawsuits filed by her organization and 15 state Attorneys General against Donald Trump's reversal of Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Joachin details the lawsuits' allegations that the Trump Administration is in violation of federal law for overturning, without a compelling governmental reason, the previous Administration's program that protected nearly one million children of undocumented immigrants from deportation.

"The Administrative Procedure Act prohibits any reversals of longstanding policies on which individuals have relied. DACA is a program that almost 800,000 individuals have benefited from. This program has enabled them to secure a job, to advance their educational goals, to obtain access to items such as a home, or to purchase a car, that they wouldn't have been able to attain without the DACA program," she explains. "This program has been in existence for now five years, and it was in place for about seven months since the Trump Administration took office. And throughout this time frame, individuals have constantly relied on a promise that they would be able to obtain temporary deferred action because of the DACA program. And the reversal of this policy without any adequate reason for doing so is a violation of federal law."

An immigrant herself from Central America, Joachin also speaks to how the new Trump policy has shaken the immigrant community. "There's fear. Fear in the fact that these individuals who will start phasing out of the DACA program can be picked up by immigration agencies and placed into removal procedures," she tells me. "These are individuals --- many of them for decades in the United States and who call the United States their home --- there's a fear as to what can happen to their relatives. Fear as to what will happen to their employment opportunities --- will they be able to secure a job? --- even though many of these individuals have worked hard for years, they've pursued advanced educational degrees, and are now facing the reality that, as of March 6th, many of them will no longer be able to be employed under federal regulations."

Joachin, whose work at NILC focuses on health insurance coverage for immigrants, also discusses how, even though federal law has not (yet) changed regarding the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), many in immigrant community are now afraid to exercise their rights when it comes to health care coverage, given the Trump Administration's anti-immigrant rhetoric. But, she also says she sees "a small glimmer of hope". You'll have to tune in to find out why.

Among the other stories also covered on today's very busy show: Right behind Irma is Hurricane Jose, now a Category 3 storm, and taking a similar same path toward some of the same Caribbean islands just ravaged by Irma; The U.S. West is being ravaged by heat and wildfires; Post-Harvey Houston is being ravaged by massive benzene releases by fossil fuel companies; A lawsuit has been filed against Texas by first responders after the state withheld information on dangerous chemicals stored at a facility that blew up during Harvey's worst flooding; And, as if all of that is not enough, breaking news at the end of today's show on the social security numbers and other personal information of some 143 million Americans (about half the country!) reportedly breached and stolen from the credit monitoring firm Equifax....

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Guest: Election Integrity expert Jim Soper of CountedAsCast.org; Plus: Three hurricanes and a tropical depression now in the Atlantic...
By Brad Friedman on 9/6/2017 6:16pm PT  

On today's BradCast, an insane hurricane season suddenly gets insaner, what Democrats should do to counter our insane President's threat to nearly 1 million young undocumented immigrants, and how Democratic legislators in California are about to undermine one of the few post-election audit laws in the nation. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Three hurricanes (Irma, Jose and Katia) and one still-unnamed tropical depression are all now spinning in the Atlantic, with the massive, record-breaking Category 5 Irma devastating Caribbean nations, slamming Puerto Rico and still on target for south Florida, where evacuations are being advised. Desi Doyen joins us for the latest.

Then, after some good news, for a change, for voters in Illinois and word that Donald Trump's Kris Kobach-led "Election Integrity" Commission is violating federal law by using personal email addresses for public business (Lock them up!), we move to some troubling news for voters in California.

I'm joined by longtime Election Integrity advocate JIM SOPER, just back from lobbying at the California state legislature in Sacramento, against an amendment to an election bill (AB 840), slipped in at the last minute by Dems in the state Senate and supported by Democratic Secretary of State Alex Padilla. Soper, founder of CountedAsCast.org and co-chair of the Voting Rights Task Force, explains how the state Senate's 11th-hour changes to a bill that had already passed in the Assembly, would put some 4 million vote-by-mail and provisional ballots out of reach of the state's already-weak post-election 1% "audit" law.

Soper explains the sleight-of-hand, and what California voters need to do to help prevent it --- and quickly --- as well as what voters in other states can learn from this mess.

"They snuck this in, hoping we wouldn't notice," he tells me. "We're now in the end-game period in the legislature, where the last votes are being taken. They tried to sneak it in. We got a call last week, and we've just been at it full bore ever since, trying to mount an opposition, saying, 'Wait a minute - you have to subject all the ballots --- all of them --- to a random spot check.' The [county] Registrars are saying, 'Oh, no we don't, we're just trying to check the scanners and once we've proved with the first batch that they're good --- they're good.' No. That's not what the law says."

"Instead of following the law," Soper explains, "they want to re-write the law so they don't have to include 4 million ballots in the spot check." That, he details, creates a very "predictable" road map for defrauding the election system.

Finally, following up on yesterday's show with Salon's Heather Digby Parton, we open the phone to callers today to get their thoughts on what Congressional Democrats should be willing to trade --- or willing to threaten --- in exchange for passage of a legislative version of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (or DACA) program which Donald Trump cruelly decided to end this week. Some 800,000 "dreamers" are now at risk of being deported by the Trump Administration in six months, to countries that many of them don't even remember, for the "crime" of being brought here as children by their undocumented immigrant parents.

Listeners ring in on that topic today, including one who claims to be an immigrant himself, even while asserting that Trump "solved" the problem with DACA. As you may imagine, lively conversation therewith ensues...

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Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton | Also: Record heat, fires in the West; Record breaking Hurricane Irma in the Atlantic...
By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2017 6:16pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The Trump Administration imperils the lives and futures of nearly one million "Dreamers", as heat and fire burn up the West, flood waters continue to ravage Texas and Louisiana, Congress returns to an impossible schedule, war concerns remain on the Korean Peninsula and now a record shattering new hurricane is gunning for Florida. [Audio link to show follows below.]

In addition to still-mounting death toll from the Hurricane Harvey disaster in Texas and Louisiana, the holiday weekend brought a bevy of disturbing news, including a major new nuclear test (possibly a hydrogen bomb) in North Korea, threats by Donald Trump to end a trade deal with our allies in South Korea (for some reason), and record wildfires and heat up and down the Western U.S., including here in Los Angeles.

All of that, however, may pale in comparison to what could be in store over the next several days, as Hurricane Irma, a record Category 5 storm, threatens Caribbean nations in the Atlantic, and could grow even more intense over the next several days with a trajectory toward south Florida, where record warm waters could place us all even further into uncharted climate territory than we are already.

That's just some of the news as Congress returns to session this week with a virtually unprecedented calendar of "must-pass" bills by the end of the month to avoid government shutdown and default.

And, it is into that mix that Donald Trump decided on Tuesday to have his Attorney General Jeff Sessions announce the Administration is ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program instituted by President Obama. The much-derided new policy threatens some 800,000 children of undocumented immigrants, brought to the U.S. by their parents through no fault of their own, many of whom have never known any other country.

Salon's award-winning columnist and blogger HEATHER 'DIGBY' PARTON joins us today to discuss what Trump's cruel new policy will mean and whether our already-dysfunctional Congress may finally be able to pass legislation in the next six months to allow those "Dreamers" who came out of the shadows under the previous Administration to avoid deportation by this one.

"This is going to be seen as an historic day," Parton argues. "It's one thing to let things kind of slide, [Trump's] nasty rhetoric, and say he's kind of a showman, he's somebody who has activated the racist, bigoted, xenophobic id of White America because they have all these anxieties and he's sort of exploiting that --- that is real. This is a real thing that they are doing potentially to close to a million people. This is a million people, all over the United States, deeply embedded into our economy, into our culture, into our communities."

"The fact that they were brought here with no say in it, and had absolutely no control over what was happening to them, they're going to have to pay for that decision by their parents. It's really, really ugly," she explains. "Since Trump took office, we've seen that picture of the Statue of Liberty crying, many many times. This is the day when it really comes home. The Emma Lazarus poem that's on the bottom of there says everything, and Trump has just basically defaced it."

Trump had previously claimed he would "deal with DACA with heart." Parton, citing Sessions making the announcement on Tuesday (not Trump) and the now desperate need for Congress to clean up this new mess somehow before six months is out, tells me: "'Cowardice' is the way to put it, not 'heart'"

She also has a controversial thought or two on whether Democrats in Congress ought to make a deal with Republicans in exchange for funding Trump's border wall with Mexico in order to circumvent the unspeakably inhumane course of events that could transpire now that the President has decided to overturn DACA...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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