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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, May 18, 2024
FEC Repubs Vote to Allow Campaign Donor Anonymity: 'BradCast' 5/16/24
Guest: Public Citizen's Craig Holman; Also: Two (generally) encouraging SCOTUS rulings on CFPB funding and a second Black-majority U.S. House district in Louisiana...
'Green News Report' 5/16/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Canadian wildfires expand; Climate change exacerbated extreme heat in Asia; Broadcast media ignored Trump's billion dollar Big Oil quid pro quo; Plus: Biden v. China on EVs...
Previous GNRs: 5/14/24 - 5/9/24 - Archives...
Trump Trial Ketchup: Cohen, a 'Smoking Gun', and 'The Cult of Trump': 'BradCast' 5/15/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: MD, NE, WV primary results; Biden, Trump agree to early debates...
LAPD Right-Wing Bias in Violent Response to UCLA Protest Was No Surprise
U.S. law enforcement has long sided with the right against peaceful anti-war, environmental, racial and economic injustice protesters...
Could Ohio Repubs REALLY Keep Biden Off the Ballot?!: 'BradCast' 5/14/24
Also: GOP dirty tricks in WA; More GOP voter suppression in GA; Brighter news from WI and on the slow painful death of 'stare decisis'...
'Green News Report' 5/14/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Canada's fire season erupts, as smoke chokes U.S. Upper Midwest; Record-breaking increase in global CO2 levels; PLUS: MI is newest state to sue Big Oil for climate damages...
Previous GNRs: 5/9/24 - 5/7/24 - Archives...
Recount in Tied U.S. House Primary Highlights Probs in CA Law: 'BradCast' 5/13/24
Guest: Dr. John Maa; Also: Bannon denied; Giuliani fired; Menendez trial begins; Cohen takes stand in Trump's NY criminal trial...
Sunday 'Stormy Weather Continues' Toons
THIS WEEK: Cannon Fire ... Catch and Kill ... Parasites ... Protesting Too Much ... and more, in our latest collection of the week's most turbulent toons...
Facing Down the Threat to American Democracy: 'BradCast' 5/9/24
A veteran reporter speaks out; DHS marshals defenses; Lara lies about ballots; Johnson lies about 'illegals' voting; Also: MTG's spectacular fail; Stormy wins the day; Biden cuts off Israel...
'Green News Report' 5/9/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Tornado outbreaks across U.S.; FL Repubs ban 'climate change'; House Repubs' latest salvo in 'War on Woke Appliances'; PLUS: US culture shift in portrayal of climate reality...
Previous GNRs: 5/7/24 - 5/2/24 - Archives...
Trump Trial Ketchup:
Stormy Takes the Stand: 'BradCast' 5/8/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: 'Warning signs' from IN primary results; Blankenship's run in WV...
New Cybersecurity Breach in Coffee County, GA: 'BradCast' 5/7/24
Guest: Election integrity expert Marilyn Marks; Also: Stormy takes the stand in NY; GA's Republican former Lt. Gov. endorses Biden...
'Green News Report' 5/7/24
Relentless rain, flooding in Houston and Brazil; April 2024 was hottest on record; PLUS: Biden unveils billions for rural clean energy, replacing toxic lead water pipes...
2024 Electoral -- and Climate -- Omens: 'BradCast' 5/6/24
From Britain to Panama to Brazil to Houston; Also: Latest in Israel's war on Gaza and in Trump's NY criminal trial...
Sunday 'Self Reflecting' Toons
THIS WEEK: Champions of 'free speech' ... 'Captain Fascism' ... Kristi 'Dog Gone' Noem... and more, in our latest collection of the week's best political toons...
'Green News Report' 5/2/24
Extreme heat, storms grip Asia; Big brands and Big Plastic; Plastic pollution treaty talks end; PLUS: Congress finds Big Oil still trying to deceive the public...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Also: Democracy, accountability, corruption and hypocrisy news from Sudan to Russia to SCOTUS and beyond...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2023 6:12pm PT  

Just to be clear, while we're debating whether California's senior Democratic Senator should step down on today's BradCast, the longest-serving U.S. Supreme Court Justice should not only have stepped down long ago, he should have been removed by the force of impeachment long ago as well. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

It was a very busy and lively show today, covering a bunch of interesting and occasionally related news. Among today's story's...

  • Democracy seems to be out of reach yet again in the Middle Eastern/Sub-Saharan nation of Sudan, as deadly fighting broke out between two military factions in the country's capital and elsewhere over the weekend.
  • A well-known Kremlin opposition figure and critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin's horrific invasion of Ukraine was sentenced to 25-years of hard labor today for daring to speak out against the war last year. 41-year old Vladimir Kara-Murza is just the latest facing a long prison sentence for public opposition to Putin's barbaric, criminal assault on his sovereign neighbor.
  • Last week we explained why Fox "News", if they were smart, would do everything in their power to reach a settlement with Dominion Voting Systems before the trial in the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed by the voting machine vendor against the Republican propaganda outlet began in earnest this week. Jury selection in the trial, in which Dominion has Fox dead to rights for repeatedly, falsely and knowingly lying to viewers that Dominion somehow rigged the 2020 election for Joe Biden, was supposed to begin today. But Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis, without explanation, announced the trial would begin tomorrow instead, leading some to believe Fox may be trying to strike a last minute settlement.
  • On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a brief, administrative stay on the rulings by far-right, activist U.S. District Judge Mathew Kacsmaryk and the far-right U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that ban the FDA-approved use of mifepristone, the nation's top abortion medication, in all 50 states. The temporary stay will only remain in place until Wednesday, at which time the full SCOTUS will either keep it in place throughout the appeal to Kacsmaryk's unprecedented, activist ruling --- in which he is attempting to legislate from the bench and overrule the FDA's 23-year old approval of the safe and effective drug --- or they will allow a first-of-its-kind ban to go into effect while the appeal moves forward. Today, we cite a few of the 5th Circuit's huge errors in their recent ruling, as detailed by The BRAD BLOG's Ernie Canning.
  • And, speaking of our corrupted, rightwing federal judiciary, there was yet more jaw-dropping news over the weekend of the unspeakable corruption and seemingly endless lawlessness of Justice Clarence Thomas, the longest-serving current member of the U.S. Supreme Court. We quickly review the full story again today, from Clarence's unlawful failure to disclose his activist wife Ginni's salary from the Heritage Foundation for some 20 years, until called out for it in 2011; to Ginni's apparent "Judicial Insider Trading" on the infamous 2010 Citizens United ruling; to ProPublica's blockbuster exclusive two weeks ago detailing decades of Clarence's unlawfully undisclosed luxury travel courtesy of GOP megadonor Harlan Crow; to last week's second ProPublica jaw-dropper revealing that Crow purchased properties from Thomas, including his mother's house (which she still lives in, rent free!) and which also went unlawfully undisclosed in in his annual disclosure forms; and then this weekend's latest scoop from WaPo finding Clarence hasn't bothered for years to report income from a real estate firm owned by Ginni and her family.
  • Finally, speaking of both the rightwing federal judiciary and people who should arguably resign immediately, California's 89-year old senior Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein has missed about 60 of 80 floor votes in the U.S. Senate this year, as she is sidelined in San Francisco with shingles. There is currently no date for her return to the 51-49 upper chamber. But, even more importantly, her extended absence from the Senate Judiciary Committee has stalled the confirmation process for more than a dozen federal court judges nominated by President Biden. As calls for her resignation began last week, the fading trailblazer has asked to be removed, temporarily, from the powerful Judiciary Committee. Unfortunately, it's not quite as easy as that, as we explain today.

    In the bargain, a debate has surfaced among Congressional Democrats, some of whom are calling for her resignation after decades of service, others describing the push as misogynistic, others defending her during her convalescence, while still others appear to be supporting her at the moment, though their patience is clearly wearing thin.

    We cover all of that today before opening our phones to listeners --- her constituents in Southern California --- for their opinions on whether DiFi should stay or go. We had a lot of really smart and interesting callers today...even if their opinions were ultimately in sync. They believe its time for her to fly...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: New jobs under Biden blow away records; Trump wanted to bomb Mexico, says his former SecDef...
By Brad Friedman on 5/6/2022 6:32pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The five Republican Supreme Court Justices who were revealed this week to have voted to overturn the well-settled law of 1973's landmark 'Roe v. Wade' and the Constitutional freedoms it guaranteed for the right to privacy and reproductive healthcare, all appear to have lied about their positions on well-established precedent during their Senate confirmation hearings. And now Republicans are running for cover and Democrats are trying to figure out how to respond. All of which is shaking up "Conventional Wisdom" about this November's midterm elections. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Before we get there with our guest today, however, some quick news. The Labor Department reported on Friday that 428,000 new jobs were added, beating economists' expectations for the month once again. Unemployment remains near a 50-year low and hourly wages are now 5.5% higher than they were a year ago. The U.S. economy has now regained nearly 95% of the 22 million jobs lost during Trump's mishandled pandemic, according to the New York Times, and Joe Biden's jobs numbers continue to smash all-time Presidential records with 12 straight months of job growth higher than 400,000. That has never happened since recording keeping of national jobs numbers began in 1939.

As Steve Benen observes, "Over the course of the first three years of Donald Trump’s term --- when the then-Republican president said the United States’ economy was the greatest in the history of the planet --- the economy created roughly 6.5 million jobs. This includes all of 2017, 2018, and 2019." That was all before the pandemic. Meanwhile, since Biden took office in January 2021, just 15 months ago, 8.8 million jobs have been created, "well above the combined total of Trump's first three years."

And the news of Trump's disastrous reign continues to pour out from the memoir, to be published next week, from his former Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper. Earlier in the week, we learned Trump wanted soldiers to shoot Black Lives Matter protesters in the street following the police murder of George Floyd. Last night, the Times' Maggie Haberman reports that Esper's book details Trump's repeated suggestion in 2020 that the U.S. bomb our southern neighbor. He wanted to "shoot missiles into Mexico to destroy the drug labs," and then lie about it to the public, says Esper. "We could just shoot some Patriot missiles and take out the labs, quietly," Esper reports Trump as telling him, "no one would know it was us." He made that suggestion twice, to a stunned Esper.

Trump's last Senate-confirmed SecDef also reveals that a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff began researching the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office after being shaken by his erratic behavior during a meeting on China in May of 2020. There's more. Tune in for it.

NEXT, we're joined by our old friend HEATHER DIGBY PARTON, award-winning opinion and analysis journalist from Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo to help us make sense of all of the considerable fallout following this week's stunning leak of a SCOTUS majority draft opinion that would overturn 'Roe v. Wade' in its entirety.

Among the related points discussed: Parton's take on the on draft opinion itself; why it may have been leaked; the GOP's "big tell" reaction revealing "that they weren't really prepared" for this in advance of an election they thought they had in the bag; and the need for Democrats to coalesce around a message in solid response to the unprecedented removal of freedoms for Americans which will not stop with abortion.

Digby also shares thoughts on the show vote that Dems have scheduled for next week to codify 'Roe' into law, even though its certain to fail, if only because they won't be able to wrangle the votes needed to overcome a GOP filibuster or to waive the 60-vote requirement in the U.S. Senate. (Remember: Republicans voted to do away with the filibuster for Supreme Court Justices when they packed the Court with the lying Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett during the Trump Administration.)

But Parton would also like to see a series of separate votes on related matters to get all members on record. For example, a law that establishes "that you're not allowed to punish women for any pregnancy-related crime" and one that would protect abortion in cases of rape or incest. "Are you for rape?' Get them on the record," she advises. "If you want to raise awareness about what these people are really talking about, maybe you need to get more explicit about it."

Also, we discuss my belief that buying into the Conventional Wisdom emanating from the corporate media which presumes Dems will take a shellacking this November is a huge mistake in these decidedly unconventional times.

FINALLY today, Desi Doyen's got our latest Green News Report, on the EU's plan for a Russian oil embargo; CA's investigation of Big Oil lies about plastic recycling; and plummeting levels at western reservoirs leading to unprecedented water cuts and revealing...wait for it...long dead bodies.

Enjoy!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Former FEC Chair Ann Ravel on 'insane' legal and campaign finance assertions by Dershowitz, Philbin in Senate Impeachment trial...
By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2020 5:28pm PT  

Day two --- the final day --- of the Questions phase in the Senate Impeachment Trial of Donald John Trump was perhaps best characterized by lead House Manager Adam Schiff on Thursday, when he described the new defenses offered by the White House Counsel's team as "a descent into Constitutional madness" and "the normalization of lawlessness." Those comments were echoed by the former chair of the Federal Election Commission, who joins us on today's BradCast. She called Trump's new line of defense as "insane". [Audio link to show is posted at bottom of article.]

On Wednesday, the first day of written Questions from the U.S. Senators, as read to both legal teams by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Trump's defense attorney Alan Dershowitz made an extraordinary argument: "If a President does something which he believes will help him get elected, in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment." He went on to offer an analogy. "If a hypothetical President of the United States said to a hypothetical leader of a foreign country, 'unless you build a hotel with my name on it, and unless you give me a million dollar kickback, I will withhold the funds'." That, he said, would be an "easy case" and "purely corrupt". However, he continued, a more complex case was one where a President says: "I want to be elected. I think I'm a great President. I think I'm the greatest President there ever was and if I'm not elected the national interest will suffer greatly. That cannot be an impeachable offense."

In other words, he seemed to argue, it's just fine for a President to solicit a foreign power for help in an election (which is a violation of the law), so long as he or she believed it was in the best national interest for him or her to be elected. Dershowitz has spent a lot of time since those remarks, on Twitter and elsewhere, attempting to defend himself by saying that he did not say what he said. But he absolutely did say it, and so we share audio of some of his extended argument saying as much today, so you can hear it for yourself.

It wasn't the only way in which Trump's team of defense counselors moved the goal posts to accommodate his well-documented Abuse of Power, the basis for the first Article of Impeachment against him. Deputy White House Counsel Patrick Philbin on Wednesday astonishingly charged that "mere information" about a political opponent, even from a foreign source, "is not something that would violate the campaign finance laws."

“Apparently it’s okay for the President to get information from foreign governments in an election," House Impeachment Manager Zoe Lofgren responded with alarm. The California Democrat who worked on the Judiciary Committee during the Nixon Impeachment added, "That's news to me!" The new lines of argument from the President's team is what led Schiff to charge Trump's defense has become "a descent into Constitutional madness," adding "that way madness lies," before citing a similar, then-rejected defense from Richard Nixon who claimed "when a President does it, it's not illegal," before he eventually resigned the Presidency in disgrace. "Have we learned nothing in the last half century?," asked Schiff in response to Dershowitz today.

We share all of those assertions and counter-assertions today, before we turn to someone with no small amount of authority on all of this, ANN RAVEL, who served four years on the Federal Election Commission and as its Chair for two years before leaving her post in 2017. Prior to that, she chaired a similar state commission overseeing campaign finance matters in California.

"There are so many things wrong with [Dershowitz'] argument it's hard to know where to start," she tells me, charging that the claim that a quid pro quo is "somehow justified because it's important for the nation is ridiculous. It would be like saying, for any elected public official, that because it's so important for them to be re-elected that they can commit any criminal act. That's not what the framers of the Constitution intended with regard to the Presidency, and it's exactly why they have the laws relating to impeachment procedures."

"The law does not have an exception for people who think they are so important, that their worth is necessary for the whole country and therefore they can act with illegality and with impunity," she opines, before similarly torching Philbin's argument that there is nothing unlawful about soliciting a thing of value from a foreign power --- an express violation of campaign finance law.

Ravel, who is currently running for office herself in the California State Senate, laments the fact that "there is no FEC in existence now" with only three members currently seated on the six-person panel, and at least four required for a quorum to vote on enforcement of federal law. Similarly, she warns that Trump's Attorney General Bill Barr, responsible for overseeing criminal violations of campaign finance regulations, "is not acting as an Attorney General who would act with integrity to enforce the laws fairly and evenly. Instead, he seems to be biased in favor of assuring that he supports this President, so he remains in office I presume. As a result, we do not have any enforcement whatsoever of campaign finance laws."

Ravel offers alarming insight and a grim assessment as voting in the critical 2020 Presidential election begins just days from now in Iowa. "This is like sending a flare up indicating it's open season for illegality in our electoral process," she warns, along with many other thoughts, including on what she has come to learn about elections now that she is on the other side of the issue as a candidate herself. Running for office, Ravel tells me, has led her to be believe that "more constraints" are needed on electoral campaign finance, not less. She would like to see publicly financed elections in the future.

Finally today, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report, with a few encouraging signs (though not nearly enough) on how some institutions are attempting to step up and deal with our worsening climate crisis, both in the U.S. and around the globe...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Countering the deadly media-supported, health insurance industry spin...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/29/2020 9:35am PT  

As Americans are being hoodwinked by a slick health insurance industry PR campaign, the time has come to carefully examine Medicare For All by separating myth from reality.

While morally repugnant, the privately-owned health insurance industry's deceptions are economically understandable. By the time Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2019 in the U.S. Senate --- two months after Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, introduced H.R. 1384 - Medicare for All Act of 2019 in the House --- the industry realized that it faced an existential threat.

Medicare for All would create an entirely new single-payer healthcare system that, with limited exceptions (cosmetic surgery, home care nursing), would eliminate the need for anyone to purchase health insurance.

While the parasitic health insurance industry has faced-off against them in the past, single-payer advocates are better positioned to prevail in 2020 than at any time in the past 75 years. Sanders' single-payer healthcare legislation, S. 1129, was co-sponsored by 14 Senate Democrats. Those co-sponsors included several Presidential candidates --- Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamela Harris (D-CA). More than one-half of all Democrats in the House (112), co-sponsored Jayapal's version of the bill. Medicare for All is also supported by 63 national organizations. More importantly, a poll taken in 2018 --- prior to a barrage of pro-insurance industry propaganda --- found that Medicare for All was immensely popular. It was supported by a whopping 70% of all Americans, including 84% of Democrats and a mind-boggling 52% of Republicans.

With their very survival at stake, the health insurance profiteers, along with large hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry, created a new PR front-group, Partnership for America's Healthcare Future (PAHF), to wage their defensive. According to Wendell Potter, a former CIGNA executive and author of Deadly Spin: How PR is Killing Healthcare and Deceiving Americans (2011), PAHF is the industry's newest propaganda arm.

In addition to carefully-timed commercial advertising, PAHF acts in concert with industry-funded politicians and mainstream media pundits. Their goal is to erect an industry-friendly frame that serves to mask the blatant deficiencies of our inordinately expensive, yet woefully inefficient, subsidized "free market" healthcare system. This, as Julie Hollar of the media watchdog FAIR observed, has succeeded in turning some of the recent Democratic Presidential Debates into "over the top, industry-friendly spectacle[s]."

Potter, the recovering healthcare industry veteran, told Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzek: "Health insurers have been successful at two things: making money and getting the American public to believe they're essential." But, "the truth", argues Hiltzik, "is that private health insurers have contributed nothing to the American healthcare system."

Most Americans, he charges, "blindly tolerate" our inordinately expensive, yet dysfunctional private insurance system "because the vast majority...don't have a complex interaction with the healthcare system within a given year...[One percent] of patients account for more than one-fifth of all medical spending, and 10% account for two-thirds." Far too many Americans fail to appreciate the "inadequacies of our private insurance system" until those inadequacies are thrust upon them by an unexpected serious illness or injury, according to the Pulitzer Prize winning business columnist.

Hence, the need to separate healthcare insurance myth from fact-based reality...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 8/6/2019 11:29am PT  


Follow @GreenNewsReport...

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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Historic ice melt in Greenland raises worldwide sea levels; We've all just lived through the hottest month ever recorded on Planet Earth; PLUS: CNN's 2020 Democratic Presidential debate, for the first time, covered climate change and climate action in-depth... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): We must change food production to save the world, says leaked report; Top climate scientist quits USDA, alleging political suppression; Who will pay for the huge costs of holding back rising seas?; Climate liability lawsuits are on the rise; N.J. lakes closed due to toxic algae blooms; El Paso suspect’s alleged manifesto highlights eco-fascism’s revival; U.S. has lost 24 million acres of natural land in 16 years; As Gulf Stream cools and weakens, what’s in store for Florida?; Heat headache for 2020 planners as Tokyo swelters a year before Olympic Games... PLUS: The new ruins of the melting Alps... and much, MUCH more! ...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Guests: David Dayen and Jacki Schechner on surprises from Wed. night, clarity on real 'costs' of Medicare-for-All, thoughts on Yang's plan for $1000/month Universal Basic Income, and Harris' record as CA AG...
By Brad Friedman on 8/1/2019 4:53pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Special coverage --- and a lot of smart information --- on Night Two of the second 2020 Democratic Presidential debate in Detroit, as hosted by CNN. [Audio link to today's show is posted below.]

The ten candidates featured during the second night's combative, two-and-a-half-hour long festivities were: former Vice President Joe Biden; CA Sen. Kamala Harris; NJ Sen. Cory Booker; entrepreneur Andrew Yang; Former HUD Sec. Julian Castro; NY Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; HI Rep. Tulsi Gabbard; WA state Gov. Jay Inslee; CO Sen. Michael Bennet and NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio.

As during night one, the broad array of topics about which CNN's moderators worked hard to create confrontation between the candidates included healthcare (again leading the debate at the top and in the length of time spent on the issue), immigration, race, the climate crisis, the economy, foreign policy and, unlike the first night, even a question or two on how the candidates might take on Donald Trump and whether he should be held accountability for his crimes with impeachment.

Biden, the perceived front-runner, seemed at least slightly more prepared and less frail than in his first outing during the June debate in Miami, while finding his policies as a Senator over the last many decades and as President Obama's Veep sharply attacked by a number of the other participants. For her part, Harris --- who seemed to get the best of Biden in a number of exchanges during the June forum, seeing her fortunes rise thereafter --- was met with tough attacks from both Biden and several of the other candidates hoping to grab the spotlight. Booker stood out in a number of exchanges, including several with the former Vice President. Other candidates had their moments as well, as we discuss, even as the field for the next debates in September may now be cut by half or more.

We're joined today, once again, by two guests for our special coverage. Journalist, former CNN producer and healthcare reform expert JACKIE SCHECHNER is back with us again today, and we're also joined by prolific investigative financial journalist and award-winning author DAVID DAYEN, who now also serves as Executive Editor for The American Prospect.

Their smart analysis and insight today focuses on, among other things...

  • Whether CNN improved on its questioning and format for night two after facing sharp criticism for their opening round on Tuesday (Schechner saw moderate improvement, Dayen saw none);
  • which candidates, if any, stood out over their past performances (Booker and Inslee receive the most noteworthy nods on that score);
  • whether or not proposals by a number of the more progressive candidates for a Medicare-for-All style single-payer universal coverage system is actually affordable, or if the more modest proposals to build on the existing Affordable Care Act with a so-called "Public Option", as sought by the more conservative candidates like Biden, is actually more realistic. (Dayen describing the "entire conversation about costs" as "a complete red herring", offers a more concise, clear answer to that question than any of the 20 candidates over the past two nights! In short, he explains: "A Medicare For All system would save money. We know that because the Koch-funded Mercatus Center, which put together the very study that Joe Biden and these others are quoting, said that a system where the government would cover all medical costs would actually cost $32 trillion dollars over a ten-year period, but doing nothing right now would cost Americans, through their total national health expenditures, $34 trillion. So the overall savings to America from moving into a single payer system is two trillion dollars over ten years.");
  • how Democrats seem to be pulling their punches when it comes to one of the largest cost drivers of healthcare;
  • whether debates over these weedy details are helpful or even necessary right now, or if they should take a back seat for the moment to the question of who can best defeat Donald Trump in 2020. (The conversation now simply "muddies the waters" and is "totally unecessary," Shechner argues. "We need to bring this up to a higher level at this point, and say, 'You're going to have a choice in the election between somebody who wants to do something about the broken healthcare system and somebody who doesn't care about the broken healthcare system, has no plan for it, has no interest in fixing it, and is simply interested in dismantling anything that President Obama put into place.")
  • how Yang's interesting proposal for a $1000/month Universal Basic Income for every American would (or wouldn't) actually work;
  • and a number of concerns about Harris' record as CA's Attorney General before she became a U.S. Senator. That as she cited her record as a prosecutor taking on the Big Banks during her closing statement on Wednesday night.

All of that and much more is covered during our lively --- and, I believe, quite enlightening --- conversation on today's BradCast special coverage...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton and Richard 'RJ' Eskow on Harris' 'breakout', Biden's 'stumble', Bernie's plan for private insurers, Yang's Universal Basic Income, and Marianne Williamson's '4th dimension'!...
By Brad Friedman on 6/28/2019 4:51pm PT  

Our Special Coverage of this week's first 2020 Democratic Presidential Debate in Miami continues on today's BradCast, with post-debate analysis, insight and occasional snarky comment regarding Night Two of the festivities! [Audio link to show follows below.]

The second night featured ten more Presidential hopefuls, including: VT Sen. Bernie Sanders; former Vice President Joe Biden; CA Sen. Kamala Harris; South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg; NY Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; CO Sen. Michael Bennett; CA Rep. Eric Swalwell; former CO Gov. John Hickenlooper; former tech executive Andrew Yang; and author and spiritual advisor Marianne Williamson. It was a very lively affair, to say the least, and our coverage today, I'm fairlly certain, rises to a similar level.

Joining us once again today for the hour is Salon's and Hulaballo's award-winning HEATHER DIGBY PARTON as our through-line from yesterday's coverage. She's paired today with our old friend RICHARD "RJ" ESKOW, longtime political columnist, host of the weekly The Zero Hour radio and TV program and, most helpfully today, a former insurance industry executive!

Among the many issues discussed after Thursday's debate:

  • What the media are describing as a breakout performance from Harris, including her face-off with Biden over his history of working with segregationists in the U.S. Senate (and what it may tell us about her ability to take on Trump);
  • whether Biden can sustain his polling lead after a shaky performance, raising questions about his age (along with similar concerns about Sanders and MA Sen. Elizabeth Warren, to be fair);
  • how the matter of whether the candidates' various proposals for universal healthcare coverage deal with private insurers will be used against them by both the Right and the corporate media (as well as whether or not those proposals will apply to undocumented immigrants);
  • how well the cases made by younger candidates such as Buttigieg or Swalwell seems to be going over after the first debate; whether Silicon Valley tech exec Andrew Yang's proposal for Universal Basic Income makes any sense;
  • at least one topic that the moderators, shamefully, did not raise yesterday;
  • and even a few "insider" thoughts on the seemingly "4th dimensional" Marianne Williamson.

All of that and much more on today's very lively and hopefully both entertaining and informative BradCast Special Coverage!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

[And if you missed our Night ONE coverage, it's right here!]

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Dems call for Trump A.G.'s resignation, impeachment, may cite with contempt; Also: Hillary, Trump FBI chief warn of 2020 election theft...
By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2019 5:59pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Following a shameful performance in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Trump's Attorney General (and personal fixer) William Barr failed to even show up for his testimony in the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, as calls for his resignation increase and as both Trump's FBI Director Christopher Wray and Hillary Clinton issue similarly warnings about the possibility of a stolen election in 2020. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

While some so-called "moderate" Democrats are only now having second thoughts about having voted for the confirmation of Trump's new A.G. following revelations this week of a letter from Special Counsel Robert Mueller to Barr complaining that he had misrepresented the Special Counsel's two-year report to the American people, other Democrats, including many running for the 2020 Presidential nomination are calling for Barr to step down. When even Chris Wallace of Fox "News" calls out a Republican --- and the "opinion people who appear on this network, who may be pushing a political agenda" --- you know that Republican must have done something very bad.

At a press conference today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described Barr's sworn Congressional testimony in early April as a crime, citing his statements that he had no idea how Mueller and his team felt about the 4-page letter Barr had released, inappropriately clearing Donald Trump of obstruction of justice, despite the probe detailing at least 10 instances when the President appears to have done just that. "What is deadly serious is that the attorney general of the United States of America was not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States. That’s a crime," Pelosi asserted, adding: "If anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime. Nobody is above the law, not President of the United States and not the Attorney General."

At the same time, Barr failed to show up for a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee today, after previously agreeing to testify. He changed his mind after facing tough questions at yesterday Senate Hearing, while citing the House panel's decision to allow staff counsel to ask questions as the reason for bowing out. The Committee's Chair Rep. Jerrold Nadler, during his opening remarks before Barr's empty witness chair, slammed the A.G. for a "lack of candor" and of having "misrepresented the findings of the Special Counsel." Nadler accused him of "failing to check the President's worst instinct", for having "failed to protect the Special Counsel's investigation from unfair political attacks", for having "failed the men and women of the Department of Justice", adding that "he has even failed to show up today." Democratic members of the panel mocked Barr's absence by munching on KFC and placing a toy plastic chicken in front of his witness name tag. While he didn't yet move to hold the nation's top cop in contempt of Congress, he suggested that may happen soon.

As we wait for Democrats to take real action to hold either Barr or Trump accountable, on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show Wednesday night, the 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton warned that "unless we know how to protect our election from what happened before and what could happen again," even the very best Democratic candidate could lose in 2020, due to the ongoing threat of foreign interference.

The former Democratic Senator and Secretary of State's comments echoed those recently offered by Trump's own FBI chief Christopher Wray. Last week, during comments at the Council of Foreign Relations, Wray claimed "enormous strides have been made since 2016 by all the different federal agencies, state and local election officials" and others," but said he is viewing whatever happened in 2018 as a "dress rehearsal" for "the big show in 2020".

We explain what both Clinton and Wray got right and wrong in their warnings and how, despite Clinton's stated concern that she might "scare" people with her language, voters should, in fact, be very worried about 2020, as jurisdictions around the nation are being allowed to implement new systems in advance of the next Presidential election that are even more difficult for the public to oversee (and thus, prevent manipulation) than many of the voting and tabulation systems they are replacing.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with details on new climate action plans from Presidential hopefuls Beto O'Rourke and Cory Booker, some good news from voters regarding climate concerns, bad climate change news for Jakarta and Washington D.C., and some good news for residents of New York State...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Trump's chilling remark; Another hurricane for the Gulf Coast; More deadly coal and chemical shills for the EPA; Abolishing the 2nd Amendment?; and the President's 'reverse Midas touch'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/6/2017 6:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we can only hope that Donald Trump's ominous comments to reporters last night at the White House were as ill-informed and misleading as he usually is on just about everything else. [Audio link to show follows below.]

In somewhat chilling and wholly cryptic remarks during a short press avail Thursday night, Donald Trump suggested the moment might be seen as "the calm before the storm." He refused to clarify to the media, beyond gesturing to military leaders and their spouses who were at his side for a White House dinner, and adding "you'll find out." We discuss what it may (or may not) mean.

The storm he almost certainly wasn't referring to was Tropical Storm Nate, which, after killing more than 20 in Central America, is now expected to slam the U.S. Gulf Coast (possibly New Orleans) as a hurricane over the weekend.

That, even as disaster relief continues in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island more than two weeks ago. More than 90% of the island's 3.4 million U.S. citizens are still without power and some 50% without clean running water, despite recent Administration attempts to obscure the ongoing catastrophe. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, in the meantime, has now publicly offered to help rebuild Puerto Rico's entire power grid with solar panels and batteries and the island's Governor seems interesting in taking him up on it. That may be a glimmer of good news --- for Puerto Rico and all the rest of us --- as the island could become a highly visible U.S. proving ground for clean, renewable energy and micro-grids.

And, in not-at-all unrelated news, Trump has nominated a top coal industry lobbyist to be second-in-command at the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as a chemical industry scientist, whose work has, for years, downplayed peer-reviewed scientific studies critical of his clients' products, to head up EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.

Then, in the aftermath of last Sunday's Las Vegas Massacre, some progressives and, yes, even conservatives are calling for an idea that is rarely mentioned, much less debated in this country: amend or abolish the Constitution's Second Amendment entirely. As U.S. democracy has been stifled and bastardized so much on issues related to guns and gun safety --- and even the Constitution itself --- after years of distorting propaganda by the NRA (the gun lobby) and its tools in both government and media, we discuss the issue today, not in support of abolishing the 2nd Amendment (necessarily), but in hopes of welcoming actual debate on both that and other related issues.

Finally, several recent polls --- on issues from health care to the NFL to media to immigration to climate change --- all find opposition steadily growing AGAINST pretty much every position that Trump and Republicans hold on them. Trump, it seems, has "the reverse Midas touch", as one writer observes, in what suffices today for a bit of encouraging news at the end of another horrible week in the U.S...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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