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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, April 13, 2021
The SCOTUS-Approved, FCC Ownership Rule Catch-22: 'BradCast' 4/12/21
Guest: Sue Wilson of the Media Action Center; Also: More news from vaccination nation; More corporate pushback against vote suppression...
SCOTUS Approves FCC Rule to Allow Further Consolidation of Local Media Outlets
Under Trump, the federal agency created a Catch-22 on new rule by requiring private research to counter hidden public data...
Sunday 'Avoid the Politicks' Toons
PDiddie's Springtime reminder to avoid the 'blood-sucking insects' in his latest collection of the week's best political toons...
GOP 'Legislative' Agenda Now Carried Out by Activist SCOTUS: 'BradCast' 4/9/21
Guest: Court expert Ian Millhiser; Also: Amazon union vote loses in AL; Biden's new SCOTUS reform Comm.; Hating on Cruz and Graham...
The Swift and Pathetic Downfall of AL's Sleazy SoS John Merrill: 'BradCast' 4/8/21
Also: Other sorry sleazy news from a GOP in free fall; Biden's gun safety executive actions; Manchin's ridiculous blockade of progress...
'Green News Report' 4/8/21
  w/ Brad & Desi
Biden speaks to dumb GOP infrastructure attacks; Looming wave of abandoned oil, gas wells; Treasury to help private sector decarbon-ize economy; PLUS: GM's all in on EV future...
Previous GNRs: 4/6/21 - 4/1/21 - Archives...
Overcoming Trump's Sabotage to Restore Landmark Iran Nuke Deal: 'BradCast' 4/7
Guest: Dr. Trita Parsi of the Quincy Inst.; Also: 10 Dem Reps join insurrection lawsuit against Trump; Update on Amazon union vote in AL...
Dems Hit Legislative Jackpot; Repubs' Trip to Looneyland: 'BradCast' 4/6/21
Also: State GOPers adopt Fossil Fuel Ind. bills to nix renewables, block small govt; Rep. Hastings RIP; Vaccines to all on April 19...
'Green News Report' 4/6/21
FL Wastewater crisis FL; Admin pushes back on GOP opposition to infrastructure; Earliest cherry blossoms in 1,200 years; PLUS: Springfield, MA victory for breathers...
Vaccination Nation: 'BradCast' 4/5/21
Wherein Brad and Desi get a first dose; COVID cases surge again, esp. among young; U.S. tops its record for shot distribution in race with new variants; Listeners ring in with own experiences, concerns on all of the above...
Sunday 'Hippity Hoppity' Toons
Here comes PDiddie's latest toon collection for Easter Day! Hop on over!...
EAC Sued After Allowing Modems in Vote Systems Following Private Meets with Vendors: 'BradCast' 4/2/21
Guest: FSFP's Susan Greenhalgh; Also: Capitol attack; MLB pulls GA All-Star game...
Paying the High Price of Corporate Capture: 'BradCast' 4/1/21
Also: CA drought returns; De-Trumpifying the EPA...
'Green News Report' 4/1/21
'GNR' Special Coverage: Biden's sweeping, $2T American Jobs Plan to rebuild nation's infrastructure, take on the climate crisis...
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: Dr. Trita Parsi of the Quincy Inst. for Responsible Statecraft; Also: 10 more Dem Reps join insurrection lawsuit against Trump; Update on Amazon unionization vote in Alabama...
By Brad Friedman on 4/7/2021 6:43pm PT  

The long, necessary and arduous 'Clean up on Aisle 45' isn't only a domestic challenge. The disgraced former President also left a disastrous mess behind in hard won foreign alliances and unilaterally broken international agreements. On today's BradCast, we dive back into the landmark, 7-party nuclear accord with Iran which Donald Trump not only violated and broke, but specifically sabotaged thereafter in order to make it more difficult, if not impossible, for future American Presidents to restore. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

But before we dive into that foreign mess today, the domestic disaster Trump unleashed on January 6th at the U.S. Capitol continues to reverberate. On Wednesday, 10 more members of Congress joined the federal civil suit filed against the former President in February by Mississippi's Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson. The suit charges Trump violated the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 by inciting his supporters to block Congress from carrying out its Constitutional duty of counting and ratifying the Electoral College vote from the 2020 Presidential election.

The newly amended complaint, filed by the NAACP, also names Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, the white supremacist group The Proud Boys (and several newly formed entities created after the legal dissolution of that extremist organization), as well as the Oath Keepers as defendants. It details the trauma suffered by the Congressional members during the deadly attack and in the days that followed.

In February, a 57-43 majority of the U.S. Senate, including 7 Republicans, found Trump guilty of "Incitement of Insurrection" during his historic second impeachment trial. The plaintiffs in the amended Thompson complaint seek both compensatory and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief, with the dollar amount to be determined by jurors at a D.C. federal court trial.

Coincidentally today, the New York Times obtained an excerpt from a new book by former Republican U.S. House Speaker John Boehner who correctly writes that his party has been taken over by "whack jobs" and cites Trump as having "incited that bloody insurrection," charging him with "stoking the flames of conspiracy that turned into violence in the seat of our democracy."

Next, we turn to one of Trump's (many) foreign disasters, as talks began this week in Vienna, through intermediaries for the U.S. and Iran, in hopes of finding a way toward restoration of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between the two countries. The pact was struck after years of delicate negotiation by the Obama Administration along with China, France, Russia, the UK and Germany. As you'll recall, Trump unilaterally violated the otherwise successful deal that curbed Iran's nuclear program and removed stockpiles of uranium from the country in exchange for the lifting of certain sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Even though the Trump Administration confirmed Iran's compliance with the terms of the deal, the 45th President nonetheless violated it by by pulling the U.S. out and re-imposing punishing sanctions. According to our guest today, however, that's not all he did. Trump also imposed additional punishing sanctions and did so in a way that would cripple the ability for any future President to lift them and return to the agreement.

We're joined today by DR. TRITA PARSI, Middle East foreign policy expert and Executive Vice President of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Parsi, who also co-founded the National Iranian American Council, the largest Iranian-American grassroots organization in the U.S., worked as an advisor to the Obama White House during the complicated negotiations for the 2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (or JCPOA). He documents those efforts in his book, Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran, and the Triumph of Diplomacy.

Today, Parsi details Trump's sabotage of the JCPOA, and the clever trick employed by the Administration to make it far more difficult to lift the "sanctions wall" they imposed. While his Administration was a failure at just about everything else, Parsi quips, "I don't think anyone actually has accused them of being bad at destruction. At destruction they actually excelled quite well, and in almost an unprecedented and unparalleled way."

During the conversation, he goes on to explains the clear --- if difficult --- road back toward restoration of the accord; discusses the week's encouraging news out of Vienna; outlines the urgency of the talks just two months before new elections are held in Iran; and offers insight on the price the U.S. may now have to pay in order to win back the trust of the Iranians after the U.S. violated the hard-won terms of the agreement.

"To put it into context," Parsi tells me, "the Iranians just signed a 25-year agreement with the Chinese. The Iranians probably do not care at all who comes in and replaces [Chinese President] Xi, they don't care who is the head of the Communist Party, because they have confidence that the Chinese are going to keep their word. Whereas on our end, unfortunately, we couldn't keep an agreement for two years, even one that we were the lead negotiator of."

In some related-ish news which broke during our conversation with Parsi, the Biden Administration announced plans to restore some $325 million in U.S. humanitarian assistance to Palestinians which had been terminated by the Trump Administration.

Finally, we close today with an update on the landmark unionization vote at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, at what would be the first such facility in the U.S. for the retail giant where workers win collective bargaining rights. Voting in the mail-in election ended about a week and a half ago. So what's the delay in learning the results? I explain the complicated process the federal National Labor Relations Board must carry out in tallying the secret ballots from the company's 5,800 warehouse workers in Bessemer. Long story short: We may be hearing news of the results fairly soon...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Special Coverage Day 3 of Trump's second Impeachment Trial as House Managers wrap up their damning case to Republicans who may fail to realize they could now take away his last remaining 'superpower'; Also: Disenchanted GOPers consider forming new national party...
By Brad Friedman on 2/11/2021 6:33pm PT  

Our BradCast special coverage continues today, as House Impeachment Managers completed their opening argument in Donald Trump's second Senate Impeachment trial, closing out a damning case for the charge of "Incitement of Insurrection" and pre-butting the arguments expected from the former President's defense team. [Audio link for today's full show is posted below the summary.]

But first up today, in not-at-all-unrelated news, Reuters is reporting a nascent effort by unhappy Republicans --- many of whom served in the Administrations of Reagan, Bush Sr., Bush Jr. and even Trump --- to begin building a third national party to help break away from the Trump-captured GOP. They claim the new party would reflect "principled conservatism" and could be called the "Integrity Party" or "Center Right Party". Or the effort, discussed on a Zoom call late last week by some 120 Republicans disenchanted by their party's hard-right, nativist turn, could fizzle all together. We discuss.

Then, following Wednesday's emotionally gripping first day of opening arguments in the Impeachment Trial, in which Democratic House Managers presented a tightly-knit, point-by-point, media-rich case detailing Trump's incitement of the murderous January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, Republican Senators were reportedly moved by some of the harrowing, never-before-seen-or-heard audio and video shared during the presentation. Nonetheless, even after seeing hard, persuasive evidence of Trump's long-planned attempt to steal the election after all of his non-violent schemes had fizzled, Washington Post reports that most of the GOP Senate jurists were still likely to vote against conviction. That, even as some of the Senators were visibly shaken by the dramatic presentation of the MAGA mob's violent ransacking of the Capitol with Trump's encouragement and their hopes of assassinating Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, or any of the other lawmakers who came frighteningly close to being overrun by the insurrectionists.

Foolishly, it seems, the cowardly Republican Senators who are still in thrall to Trump and in fear of his supporters don't seem to understand that this Impeachment Trial is affording them an opportunity to neutralize the only real superpower that Trump now has left: his control over them and the Party itself, thanks to his ability to run again in 2024 --- where he is currently the easy front-runner for the GOP nomination. End the possibility of him ever becoming President again and his one remaining superpower will almost certainly dissipate in surprisingly short order, as I explain today.

Nonetheless, the Impeachment case picked up on Thursday, with House Managers underscoring Trump's personal role in inciting the violence and his complete failure to take any action at all to stop it after it had begun, leaving lawmakers "for dead", as compellingly detailed yesterday. Even now, the Managers noted, Trump has failed to take any personal responsibility for the riot or even concede that he lost the 2020 election. That "Big Lie", as the Managers explained, continues to threaten national security; has cost the federal government nearly half a billion dollars for protection of the Capitol; has resulted in adversaries in China, Russia and Iran dismissing America's promise of Constitutional democracy; and has made a joke of Republican claims to support either the rule of law or law enforcement itself. (One Capitol Police officer was killed in the January 6 assault, two more killed themselves in the days that followed, and hundreds were seen being attacked by MAGA mobsters on video, describing them as "traitors" before more than 100 were seriously injured that day.)

Today we share excerpts from presentations made by Impeachment Managers Jamie Raskin (MD); Diana DeGette (CO); Ted Lieu (CA); Joaquin Castro (TX); and Joe Neguse (CO).

Each warned in different ways that if the Senate fails to convict and then bar Trump from holding future office, the chances are very good that he --- or a future President --- will repeat his deadly, authoritarian tactics. The most chilling moment of the day, however, may have belonged to Lieu, who noted that the disgraced former President "will undoubtedly cause future harm if allowed, because he still refuses to account for his high, grave crime against our government."

"I'm not afraid of Donald Trump running again in four years," Lieu warned. "I'm afraid he's gonna run again and lose...because he can do this again."

Their case concluded, essentially, with the reminder that if an insurrection directed by the President of the United States against the U.S. Government itself is not impeachable, then nothing is. The Managers also pre-butted the expected arguments from Trump's attorneys, noting that the First Amendment free speech clause does not protect incitement of violence. And, since Trump declined their invitation to answer himself under oath, the Managers asked his lawyers to explain why Trump took no action at all as Commander-in-Chief to stop the murderous attack once it began and if they even agree that a President inciting an insurrection against the U.S. Government amounts to an impeachable offense.

Trump's attorneys will present their own case beginning on Friday...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Insurgency, terrorism expert Colin P. Clarke of The Soufan Center...
By Brad Friedman on 12/4/2020 8:16pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The monster isn't quite dead yet, but it's getting close. His zombie minions, however, pose an entirely different concern. [Audio link to full show is posted beneath summary below.]

Late on Thursday night, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito announced a schedule for the Court to examine a late challenge to Pennsylvania's election results, as filed by a top Trump ally in Congress and a number of state lawmakers. If successful, the challenge would result in the disqualification of hundreds of thousands of lawfully cast ballots in the Keystone State, handing its electors to the loser, Donald Trump. But Alito's delayed schedule to review the case --- until after the statutory so-called "safe harbor date" to conclude state Electoral College result challenges --- appears to all but preclude the possibility of SCOTUS overturning results in the state showing that Joe Biden defeated Trump by more than 80,000 votes.

That case, just like all of those filed (and rejected) by the Trump Campaign to date, does notinclude any evidence or allegation of fraud, widespread or otherwise.

So, is Trump's narrow path to overturning the will of the people now completely shut? Almost...though it's not quite foreclosed just yet, as we explain.

Then, following a week of death threats against Republican officials across the country by Republican supporters of Trump, as encouraged by the President of the United States himself, an expert in terrorism and insurgencies joins us to explain why he believes Trump is now actively laying the groundwork for a violent insurgency during Joe Biden's presidency.

COLIN P. CLARKE, is a senior research fellow at The Soufan Center, where he studies terrorism, insurgency and political violence. This week, in an Los Angeles Times op-ed, he argued that "President Trump's post-election antics are dangerous." Clarke, who has studied every political insurgency between WWII and 2009 writes: "I firmly believe that the president of the United States is laying the groundwork for violence and disruption to unfold regularly over the next four years. As a national security researcher, I never imagined I'd write that sentence."

Clarke, who also teaches Carnegie Mellon University's Institute for Politics and Strategy (IPS) and is author of a number of books on international terrorism, joins us today to explain his concerns, the evidence for them and why he believes it's important for Americans to understand the very real threat posed to U.S. national security by Donald J. Trump.

"Beyond just embarrassing himself, his administration and his band of sycophants, he's endangering the country," Clarke tells me. "As a counter-terrorism analyst, I find it my duty to be a sober assessor, to err on the side of caution, not to think that the sky is falling at all times. But I genuinely believe that what the President is doing right now is actively and deliberately attempting to undermine the legitimacy of the elections, of our democracy, and of the incoming Biden Administration."

Amid what Clarke describes as a political "tinderbox" created in the U.S. over the past four years, he charges that "Trump has always thrived on instability. He doesn't care if it happens to be in his own country. I don't consider him a patriot. I don't think he has the best interests of the United States in mind, and I don't think he ever has."

Following last week's assassination of Iran's top nuclear scientist (as discussed on a BradCast earlier this week with former National Security Council member William Tobey), Clarke also offers his assessment of whether it is the Islamic Republic or Trump himself who poses a greater threat to national security as Biden begins his Presidency next month.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report as the U.N. issues another dire warning on humanity "waging war against nature,"; the world's formerly most profitable corporation, Exxon Mobil, sees its value quickly disappearing as the world continues to move away from disastrously climate changing fossil fuels; and New Zealand's government declares a climate emergency and vows to reach net-zero carbon neutrality by 2025.

P.S. If you're wondering about that pretty hilarious clip we opened today's show with from the Lincoln Project, the full uncensored version is posted here.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Former National Security Council member, William Tobey of Harvard's Belfer Center...
By Brad Friedman on 12/2/2020 7:58pm PT  

Everything and everybody seem to be on edge. It feels like we're near a breaking point. At home and abroad, as detailed throughout today's harrowing BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

"It's all gone too far," Georgia's top voting systems chief made clear during powerful unscripted remarks at an emotional press conference on Tuesday night. "All of it!" Gabe Sterling's impassioned comments came after learning of new death threats against a young elections worker in his state. He is right to be infuriated. Things have now become damned dangerous thanks to our deranged President who seems to be turning more unhinged by the hour as his days in the White House wane.

We share an extended cut of the Republican Sterling's tirade today, as he called out both the Republican President and the state's two Republican Senators for failing to condemn the increasing hostility and threats against election officials in Georgia, as well those directed to its Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger. "Stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence," Sterling implored the President. "Someone's gonna get hurt. Someone's gonna get shot. Someone's gonna get killled...All of this is wrong!"

Both of Georgia's U.S. Senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, face tough election re-election runoffs against Rafeael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively, on January 5. The contests will determine partisan control of the Senate. Both GOPers have decided to support Trump and his false claims about the state's election being stolen for Joe Biden with the aid, absurdly enough, of Kemp and Raffensperger. The President is currently scheduled to travel to the Peach State on Saturday to campaign with Loeffler and Perdue. We'll see if he makes it...and whether they both come to regret it.

It is, of course, insane that we find ourselves in support of Sterling, Raffensperger and Kemp, at least on these points. We have been vocally and justifiably critical of all three for a very long time on this program regarding the way they run elections in the state and undermine voter confidence in the bargain. But we'd never even consider the type of rhetoric that the President of the United States and his followers --- including Loeffler and Perdue --- are now using because Trump is too cowardly to concede that he lost and the two Senators are too cowardly to run without him.

None have any actual interest in cleaning up Georgia's elections. If they did, they'd have joined my weeks-old call to get the Dominion Voting Systems company out of the state entirely for the January elections by demanding hand-marked and hand-counted paper ballots for all during the runoff. None of them, of course, have done so.

Rather than take Sterling's concerns to heart, Trump doubled down on Twitter thereafter to falsely declare a "Rigged Election" and "massive voter fraud in Georgia," charging the very Trumpy Governor Kemp is "afraid" of "what we'll find". And then, as released by the White House just before airtime, Trump delivered even more dangerously incendiary and deluded remarks in a fact-free 46-minute pre-taped video rant, asserting that "our election system is now under coordinated assault and siege."

But this is what is happening. And if all of it sounds insane, you'll be shocked to learn that top Trumpers, like his recently pardoned former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, are now literally calling for sedition by encouraging the President "to immediately declare a limited form of Martial Law and temporarily suspend the Constitution and civilian control of these federal elections for the sole purpose of having the military oversee a national re-vote."

Several weeks ago, I was uncertain about covering Trump's baseless claims of "massive fraud" in the election at all, back when he first began lying about all of this. Given where we are now, I'm glad we did. We all need to be informed about what is actually going on right now in this nation, no matter how twisted, and depressing, and damned dangerous it is now becoming.

But, for some "lighter" news today...We then turn to the recent assassination of Iran's top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, and the latest fallout following both that, Trump's undermining and violation of the landmark Obama era Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement with Iran which had successfully blocked the Islamic Republican from the ability to create a nuclear weapon for at least ten years, and Trump's drone assassination earlier this year of Iran's revered General Qassam Soleimani. (Yes, that also took place in 2020!)

We're joined today for a great deal of insight on all of this --- as well as the history of targeting nuclear scientists, both in Iran in recent years and elsewhere since the dawn of the nuclear age, and whether the strategy actually works --- by someone who knows a great deal about all of it. WILLIAM TOBEY served on the White House National Security Council staff under three presidents, and as Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation at the National Nuclear Security Administration from 2006-2009, where he managed the U.S. government's largest program to prevent nuclear proliferation and terrorism. He is now a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and the Director of the U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism.

Among the many related topics discussed with Tobey today: How difficult it may be for the incoming Biden Administration to strike a new deal with Iran after Trump pulled the U.S. out of the JCPOA and the assassinations of both Soleimani and Fakhrizadeh, as Iran now vows both revenge and an increase in nuclear production; Whether the JCPOA, which Tobey was critical of, made us safer and why "we are in a more dangerous position today than we were in 2018"; And, why nations like North Korea and Iran justifiably see the development of nuclear weapons as an existential issue.

And with all of those pretty heavy topics, listeners who make it all the way to the end of today's BradCast may be richly rewarded with the concession speech that we all should have heard long ago...

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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Also: 87-year old Grassley tests positive for COVID; Graham reportedly attempts unlawful interference in GA's vote count...
By Brad Friedman on 11/17/2020 7:59pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we open with the breaking news about the longest serving Senator in Congress. 87-year old Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley from Iowa has tested positive for the coronavirus. We wish him well, as the COVID crisis explodes across the nation because Grassley's party and President failed to even try to combat the deadly pandemic that has, so far, killed almost a quarter of a million Americans, and may kill as many more by the time Donald Trump mercifully leaves office in January. The rest of today's show is moderately less infuriating. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We start off today with good news/bad news stories regarding both the incoming President-elect and the definitely, whether he's man enough to say it out loud, soon-to-be-former outgoing President. Unfortunately with 64 more days until he's out, by law, the increasingly unstable Trump still has his finger on the nuclear button. The bad news is, as the New York Times reports, he is attempting to launch an attack on Iran his final days. The predicate is a recent report from the the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) finding that --- thanks to Trump reneging on the hard-fought, successful 6-party deal struck under President Obama that prevented Iran from being able to build a nuclear weapon --- the nation is once again rebuilding its nuclear stockpile. The good news is that there are apparently just enough not-insane top officials left in the White House and Pentagon that they were reportedly able to talk our deranged President out of sparking WWIII on his way out the door. For now.

The good news/bad news regarding President-elect Joe Biden is that, according to sources who spoke with NBC News, he is disinclined to seek accountability for the many crimes committed by Trump and his administration over the past four years. Yes, it's an echo of Obama's failed "look forward, not back" policy regarding George W. Bush Administration crimes after the Democrat took back the White House in 2008. As we've long argued, that lack of accountability paved the way for the rise of Donald Trump and other GOP miscreants. The good news (good-ish, anyway), is that Biden also says, according to advisers, that he hopes to restore the important separation between the White House and the Department of Justice upon taking office. That means that prosecutors will be free to follow the law and investigate and prosecute as they see fit. Much of this, therefore, rests upon whoever Biden names as Attorney General, though none of this will protect Trump from criminal accountability at the state level, especially in New York.

Then, it's back to Election 2020 Crazy Land, where...

  • Trump must decide by Wednesday if he's gonna cough up $7.9 million dollars for an almost certainly futile "recount" in Wisconsin;
  • Trump crony Sen. Lindsey Graham appears to have tried to convince Georgia's Republican Secretary of State to toss out lawfully cast ballots in the state, according to the woeful and embattled Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger. That could amount to any number of both state and federal crimes committed by the man who heads the Senate Judiciary Committee, as we explain;
  • Amid Raffensperger's ongoing quasi-audit, quasi-recount, quasi-recanvass in Georgia --- an otherwise wholly-meaningless and extra-legal exercise invented by Raffensperger to try to kiss up to Trump and the other Republicans who are being mean to him because Trump lost Georgia --- nearly 2,600 untallied ballots were discovered in GOP-leaning Floyd County. With those ballots added to the current totals, Trump will pick up some 778 votes on his approximately 14,000 vote deficit against Biden in the Peach State;
  • In Pennsylvania, the crazy is almost too much to keep up with today. On Sunday, Team Trump revised its baseless federal lawsuit by removing a demand to toss some 680,000 ballots. That leaves only a complaint regarding Democratic-leaning counties which lawfully allowed voters who cast mail-in ballots that were deficient in some way (missing a signature or the secrecy ballot) to come in and "cure" the deficiency before Election Day. Republican-leaning counties, for unknown reasons, didn't bother. Either way, there are reportedly nowhere near enough such ballots to overcome Trump's current deficit of more than 73,000 votes.

    But the amusing part is that almost the entire legal team representing the Trump Campaign in the Keystone State withdrew from the case entirely by Monday, leaving one poor GOP schmo with a rightwing radio show representing Trump as his attorney on the case. (Just days after Election Day, the same schmo also told his listeners on air that "no bombshells are about to drop that will derail a Biden presidency," that "litigation will not work" and "will not reverse this election.")

    After a federal judge denied the schmo an extension for Tuesday's emergency hearing, so he could bone up on the case, Trump sent Rudy Giuliani to rescue him, even though Rudy hasn't appeared as an attorney in a courtroom since 1992. We had no news from today's hearing by airtime, but we have since heard it did not go well.

    But just before airtime, we did get word out of the PA Supreme Court on a separate case, in which Team Trump lost yet again. This time, on their counter-factual claims that Republican observers were not allowed to properly oversee counting in Philadelphia. The state Justices found that they were allowed, as per state law, and that the claim was false. That brings Trump's losses to date in his election related challenges to something like 25 out of 26 cases nationally. But don't worry! He's totally gonna "win" this thing any day now!

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report as Hurricane Iota slams Nicaragua (the record-smashing 30th Atlantic storm of the season, and the most powerful to date in 2020); the Trump Administration rushes to sell off drilling rights in the previously-pristine Alaska National Wildlife Refuge; and President-elect Biden meets with business and labor leaders to begin moving forward again on both the economy and climate...

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Guest: Attorney Ron Fein of Free Speech for People; Also: Biden's plan for SCOTUS expansion; Graham breaks rules to approve Barrett w/out Dems; SCOTUS blocks AL curbside voting; Admin claims Iran (not Russia, not Proud Boys) behind email threats to Dem voters...
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2020 5:17pm PT  

Last week, Trump's new "sham" nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court appeared to not know if voter intimidation was even a violation of federal law. This week, as we report on today's BradCast, Trump and his henchmen find themselves facing a federal lawsuit over exactly that. [Audio link to show follows below.]

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

  • First up, Joe Biden has finally stated his position on expanding the U.S. Supreme Court. That position? A bi-partisan commission to study reforms for the federal court system, to offer recommendations after six months...if Biden wins the White House and Dems take the Senate. We discuss what is probably a pretty smart political position for the former VP to take right now, considering that corporate media can't stop using the words "court packing" to describe long-overdue reforms after years of actual court packing by the GOP.
  • Speaking of which, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, led by South Carolina's increasingly vulnerable Sen. Lindsey Graham, broke their own rules today to ram through the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett without a single Democrat present, after Dems refused to allow a quorum for today's vote. If she is confirmed by the full Senate on Monday, as Republicans currently plan, it will be one of the shortest confirmation processes and the closest to a Presidential Election Day for the seating of a Supreme Court Justice in the nation's history. That, after just 4 years ago Republicans blocked a Democratic SCOTUS nominee entirely for a full year, while vowing that a new Justice should never be seated during a Presidential election year. Republicans also changed the rules in the middle of that game as well, when they killed the filibuster for SCOTUS nominees after failing to get enough votes to pack Neil Gorsuch, Trump's first nominee, onto the Court. Over the past five years, Republicans have succeeded at completely delegitimizing the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • The GOP's already-stolen Supreme Court on Wednesday sided with Alabama's dishonest, lying, somewhat deranged, unlawfully Twitter-blocking, Republican Sec. of State John Merrill to nix curbside voting in counties that wished to use it to help keep disabled voters safe during the COVID crisis, as recommended by the CDC and approved the U.S. Dept. of Justice as a way to prevent violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). All three remaining Democratic appointees on the Court dissented, siding with the U.S. District Court and federal appeals court which, after a three day trial, found the now-scrapped accommodation to be a "modest" and "reasonable" way to avoid a potentially fatal illness for some voters.
  • In recent days, Democratic voters in Florida and several other battleground states have been receiving threatening warnings via email, instructing them to "Vote for Trump or else!" The body of the emails, which appear to come from a Trump-supporting extremist group, cite the recipient's name and addresses and promise to "come after you" if they do not change their party affiliation to Republican and vote as instructed. Incredibly, and with zero supporting evidence, Trump's "partisan hack" Director of National Intelligence John Ratclifffe hastily convened an absurd press conference on Wednesday night to declare that Iran was actually behind the threatening emails to Democrats. He claimed they were designed to "damage President Trump". He also muttered something about Russia. But, again, no actual specifics and no actual supporting evidence for his claim that both countries accessed voter registrations systems to obtain the data (most of which is publicly available without actually hacking into election-related systems). Suffice to say, I believe absolutely nothing from this Administration at this point, about any of it, and, short of independently verifiable information, neither should you.
  • Then, we are joined by the Legal Director at Free Speech for People, RON FEIN, to explain the federal lawsuit his non-partisan good government organization filed on Wednesday on behalf of the Latino civic engagement group Mi Familia Vota Education Fund and several voters, charging that Donald Trump, Attorney General Bill Barr and Acting Sec. of Homeland Security Chad Wolf are violating federal laws against voter intimidation.

    The complaint [PDF] and accompanying request for a preliminary injunction, as Fein details, alleges defendants have exhibited a pattern of intimidation against voters that violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, and the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

    As FSFP explains in their announcement of the suit, the complaint is "based on the defendants’ violent suppression of public protests opposing police brutality, the encouragement of white supremacist 'vigilantes,' threats to send 'sheriffs' and other law enforcement to the polls, the undermining of mail-in voting, and the rejection of the peaceful transfer of power, which, the complaint alleges, constitute illegal voter intimidation."

    Fein offers more details on what he describes as a "threatening pattern of conduct stretching over the past few months," that has resulted in the suit. "People understand what it means when the President talks about sending law enforcement...When he tells the Proud Boys to 'stand by,' people understand what that means...This is not one piece of conduct, one isolated statement. This is a months-long pattern that the President and his top officials have been involved in, that has the purpose and effect --- hopefully not successfully --- but it certainly has that effect, of intimidating people from voting either in person or by mail."

    Explaining the relief sought by the complaint, he tells me: "First of all, we want relief prohibiting the defendants from deploying armed federal agents at or near polling places; from ordering federal agents to block the delivery of ballots or interfere in the counting of ballots; from taking any actions that could limit with the speed or reliability of mail delivery. And specifically to Trump, prohibiting him from encouraging his supporters to bring weapons to polling places, block access to polling places, to question voters, or from using official government public communications channels --- which now includes his Twitter account --- to suggest that lawful votes will be scrutinized or challenged."

    He also discusses a somewhat related federal case also filed this week by FSFP on behalf of the Minnesota chapters of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and League of Women Voters against a private mercenary contractor who has posted job listings, reported recently by the Washington Post, seeking to hire and deploy armed former special ops troops to patrol polling sites in the state.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with news on yet another record hurricane in an already-record season; the death of half of Australia's Great Barrier Reef and the return of the Hummer, this time as an all-electric "supertruck"...

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And how the War Powers Act was created and then ignored...
By Richard Hayes Phillips, Ph.D. on 2/24/2020 10:35am PT  

In response to President Donald Trump having ordered a drone strike that killed a top Iranian general, the United States Senate on February 13 passed a resolution that would prevent him from engaging in further hostilities against Iran without first getting approval from Congress. The resolution had already passed the House by a vote of 224-194. It passed in the Senate by a vote of 55-45, with eight Republicans voting in favor.

Those Republicans include Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Susan Collins of Maine, Todd Young of Indiana, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

President Trump is almost certain to veto the resolution. Both chambers lack the two-thirds majority necessary to override a Presidential veto. But the War Powers Act was written to be exempt from the possibility of a Presidential veto.

So, what's going on here? One of the most contentious fronts in the current power struggle between the Congress and the President involves the power to declare war. The Constitution makes clear that this power resides in Congress. Over time, this power has effectively shifted from the Congress to the President. Here's how that happened...

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




Caucus errors lead to unsupported charges of 'rigging'; Sanders seeks 'partial recanvass'; Unattended L.A. Vote-by-Mail drop-box removed thanks to public oversight; More Trump disasters and lies...
By Brad Friedman on 2/10/2020 6:25pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We get you all caught up after Friday night's lively Democratic debate in New Hampshire --- which included many calls for unity by most of the candidates --- and as voters in the Granite State prepare to vote on Tuesday in the first-in-the-nation primary. But the reported results from first-in-the-nation caucuses, held last week in Iowa, are still roiling some Democratic partisans. Others, meanwhile, are taking important actions to make our elections more secure, as we report on a citizen action that led to small, if positive change in Los Angeles in advance of the critical March 3rd Super Tuesday primary. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

The only thing that appears reasonably certain regarding last week's Iowa mess at this hour is that Bernie Sanders received more votes than any other candidates and that Pete Buttigieg appears to have come in second, while perhaps winning an infinitesimally larger portion of "State Delegate Equivalents", thanks to the absurdly complex Iowa Caucus math and a number of seemingly random errors in that math on enough precinct worksheets that Associated Press is still refusing to call the race one way or another.

As discussed on today's program, those math worksheets were signed off on as accurate, not only by every Precinct Leader and Secretary at each caucus cite, but also by the campaign captains of each candidate at every caucus site. Nonetheless, with math errors discovered on those sheets at a small number of precincts (thankfully due to the transparency of the otherwise complex caucus processes in Iowa as demanded by Sanders after the 2016 caucuses) and the state Democratic Party attorney's claim that correcting the math worksheets would amount to election tampering under state law, the Sanders campaign is requesting a "partial recanvass" of results from about 20 or 30 of the state's more than 1,700 caucuses.

While the ultimate delegate count out of Iowa is unlikely to change very much --- Sanders and Buttigieg are largely tied on that score --- a number of his supporters are charging the contest was rigged or stolen from him by the DNC and/or Iowa Democratic Party (and/or, apparently, the Buttigieg Campaign. Based on the currently available evidence, I disagree with that charge and explain why on today's program.

Despite the increasing animosity between some supporters of the candidates, pretty much all of the Democrats still in the hunt for the nomination spent portions of Friday's debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, and subsequent media appearances and rallies thereafter, calling for unity among the party faithful, in order to defeat Donald Trump this November. Whether their supporters heard those pleas or not is another matter, but we make an effort to help them hear that message just a bit better on today's program.

We also take some time to share a few news headlines from the past couple of days underscoring again what a dangerous and unprecedentedly dishonest menace this American President represents to both the nation and the world. Among those news headlines today...

  • The African-American fourth-grader who Trump awarded with a scholarship at his State of the Union Address last week, as it turns out, already attends one of Philadelphia's most prestigious charter schools and needs no scholarship. The privately-run public school is already paid for with tax dollars. Yes, Trump's stunt was another scam;
  • The deadly and injurious fallout from Trump's unlawful assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani at the beginning of the year, on the heels of his impeachment, continues today. More than 100 U.S. service members, according to a new report from CNN today, have now been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries following the missile attack response by Iran on a military base in Iraq housing U.S. troops. After the Iranian response, Trump claimed all was well, and that no service members were killed or injured. That turns out to have been another lie. Last month, after the first reports of traumatic brain injury to troops was reported, Trump dismissed them as "headaches". The head of the influential Veterans of Foreign Wars is now demanding an apology from the President;
  • And, in one more reminder today about what a dangerous menace this President is and his reelection would be to the nation and its people, Trump released his $4.8 trillion budget proposal on Monday. It includes calls for deep cuts to student loan assistance, affordable housing, food stamps, health care (Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act), education and the environment. With those calls for slashing the federal public safety net, Trump is also proposing increased spending on the military, his border wall, his "Space Force" program, and an extension to his tax cuts which mostly benefited corporations and wealthy Americans.

Finally today, we have an interesting story about a Sanders supporter out here in Los Angeles who discovered a dangerously light and apparently totally unguarded table-top drop-off for Vote-by-Mail ballots at a UCLA facility over the weekend. According to the campaign volunteer, It was "light as a feather...not bolted down...right by the door [and] weighs about 5 pounds and could easily be taken."

After we contacted the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan with the report over the weekend, including a photograph of the unattended drop-box [as seen in the graphic above], Logan told us this morning that the vulnerable table-top container at the facility has now been replaced with a permanent, 1,000 pound collection box. We share the telling (and just a bit snarky) email exchange between he and me that led to the upgrade in advance of California's March 3rd Super Tuesday primary. That good news comes thanks to PUBLIC OVERSIGHT of our public election processes by a concerned voter! We could use a helluva lot more of that!...

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Repubs called out for blocking subpoenas for key documents, witnesses; Dershowitz, Graham cited for flipping 1998 positions on impeachment; Fox 'News' bags out of coverage; 'Doomsday Clock' nears 'midnight'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2020 5:57pm PT  

Our special BradCast coverage of the Impeachment Trial of Donald John Trump continues on Day 2 of the Democratic House Managers' opening argument --- which could well be their closing argument as well, if Republicans continue to block subpoenas for contemporaneous documentation and first-hand eye-witnesses like Trump's former National Security Advisor John Bolton and Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. [Audio link to show follows summary below.]

Before we get to our impeachment coverage today, however, some less-than-fantastic news from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, who have, for the first time in the more than 70 year history of their infamous "Doomsday Clock", moved its minute hand inside the two-minute mark (where it was set in 2018 and at the height of the Cold War) before "midnight." We are now, according to the Bulletin's board of advisers, just 100 symbolic seconds from "midnight", thanks to growing threats of nuclear weapons following the dissolution of landmark arms control pacts and the ever-increasing acceleration of our climate crisis. "We are now expressing how close the world is to catastrophe in seconds --- not hours, or even minutes," according to Rachel Bronson, the Bulletin's president and CEO. "We now face a true emergency --- an absolutely unacceptable state of world affairs that has eliminated any margin for error or further delay." The Bulletin also cited the increasing threat of cyberattacks in their explanation as one of "multiple existential threats."

Meanwhile, one of world's greatest threats, Donald Trump, stands trial for removal from office in the U.S. Senate. Not that many who watch Fox "News" would understand exactly why, given that the pretend "news" outlet has, unlike CNN and MSNBC, been cutting away from their exceedingly truncated live coverage of the proceedings to carry their regular programming, on which they are lying about what is happening in the actual trial. What their viewers have not heard was the detailed, granular evidence revealing how Trump abused the power of his office to withhold nearly $400 million in military assistance from Ukraine in hopes of extorting the war-torn nation to agree to announce an investigation of Joe Biden and an evidence-free, Russia-generated claim that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election on behalf of Hillary Clinton. It was done in hopes of cheating in the 2020 election.

The chronology of those events was expertly detailed by lead House Manager Adam Schiff on Wednesday, along with the other House Managers. At key moments in their presentations, each pointed out how existing documentation and eye-witness testimony is currently unavailable to the trial, being withheld at the orders of the President, and how that information should and could be made available now, if Republican Senators agree to do so. If not, Schiff warned, "the truth will come out" eventually anyway.

But GOP Senators have clearly calculated that, for most of them, it will be better to have that damning information come out later, after they have voted to acquit, rather than before they cast such a vote. All of this, ironically (or hypocritically) enough, as a number of Republican Senators have been complaining to Fox "News" (where viewers have no clue what's actually going on) and elsewhere, that they have not learned anything new from the Democrats' presentation.

On Thursday, Democrats detailed the legal and Constitutional underpinnings of the first Article of Impeachment against Trump for Abuse of Power, with House Manager Jerrold Nadler describing the allegations as "overwhelmingly supported by the evidenced amassed by the House" and "among the most serious charges ever brought against a President." The Chair of the Judiciary Committee went on to detail how the President's conduct in attempting to pressure a foreign nation to help him cheat in an American election is without precedent since the nation's founding and is "wrong, dangerous and captures the worst fears of our founders and the Constitution." Nadler characterized Trump's extortion scheme as one that "puts even President Nixon to shame," as the President and his defenders offer the "terrifying" argument that they see "no limits on his power or on his ability to use his public office for private gain."

He also played clips of Trump's own impeachment attorney, Alan Dershowitz, from before the Bill Clinton impeachment in 1998, when he argued that a violation of a statutory crime is not necessary before bringing charges of High Crimes and Misdemeanors and then-Representative, now-Senator Lindsey Graham making a similar case during his own presentation against Clinton while serving as a House Manager during that 1999 Impeachment Trial.

That's just some of our special coverage --- and debunkery --- in today's packed program, which ends with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report as Big Oil tries to rebrand itself as an opponent of climate change (hold your laughter); Trump beclowns himself again at Davos; a new study finds far worse drinking water contamination in the U.S. than previously estimated; and teen climate action superstar Greta Thunberg dresses down the elites at the World Economic Conference in Davos by telling them to end their investments in fossil fuels and start behaving as if they actually love their own children...

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon; 'Driftglass' of 'Pro Left Podcast'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/15/2020 5:27pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Once again, our plans for Special Coverage of the latest Democratic Presidential Debate is somewhat truncated today to make room for our Special Coverage of impeachment and the new, wildly disturbing evidence released on Tuesday night to go with it. [Audio link to show follows summary below.]

We're joined today by guests HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo and fellow longtime progressive blogger "DRIFTGLASS" (otherwise known as @Mr_Electrico on Twitter, or "Bill" to a few friends), co-host of the Professional Left Podcast, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this week.

We start with coverage of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision to finally transmit the two Articles of Impeachment against Donald John Trump, as approved by the House last year, over to the Senate for just the third Presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history. With the articles, on Wednesday, she also announced the selection of seven House members who will serve as prosecutors (known as House Managers) for the trial. They include House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler, and Reps. Hakeem Jeffries of NY, Sylvia Garcia of TX, Val Demings of FL, Jason Crow of CO and Zoe Lofgren of CA.

Moreover, we discuss the troubling new documentary evidence released late on Tuesday by the House Judiciary Committee from the phone of Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. That material, among other things, reveals a bizarre and creepy 2019 text message thread between Parnas and Republican Connecticut Congressional candidate and Trump superfan, Robert H. Hyde, detailing what appears to be Hyde's surveillance of movements of then U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

The texts suggest the now-ousted Yovanovitch, who was eventually recalled for her own safety on the next available flight out of the country, may have been targeted, given the content of the conversation, including remarks such as "They are willing to help if we/you would like a price." Ambassador Yovanovitch, an anti-corruption warrior, was described by Trump in his phone conversation with Ukraine's President as "bad news", claiming "she's going to go through some things."

As if all of that is not enough for one show, we then move on to coverage and analysis of Tuesday night's debate in Des Moines, Iowa, the final Democratic Presidential debate before voting begins in earnest for the 2020 nominating cycle with the Iowa Caucuses on February 3rd. Digby and Driftglass offer insight on all of the candidates who qualified for the debate --- Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer --- and a number of topics discussed on Tuesday night, including the bubbling feud between Sanders and Warren, the many and shifting Democratic positions on the Military/Industrial Complex and our forever wars in the Middle East.

We also discuss the failures of the debate moderators from CNN and the Des Moines Register, the problem with culling down the field to just 6 candidates before a single vote has even been cast, and whether Tuesday's debate has shifted the fortunes of any of the front-runners before voting finally gets under way next month....

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Could be approved for 2020 anyway. Public comment period ends soon! Hand-marked paper ballots needed in nation's largest jurisdiction!
Also: Booker out; Trump still lying about Iran; NBC covers huge e-vote security prob...
By Brad Friedman on 1/13/2020 6:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast, after a necessarily quick news round-up today (on Cory Booker dropping out of the Democratic Presidential nominating contest and the Trump Administration's continuing attempt to lie about about Donald Trump's unlawful assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani), we get on to the most important business of the day --- at least for voters in the state of California, though all across the country as well.

Brand-new, 100% unverifiable computer touchscreen Ballot Marking Device (BMD) voting systems, which all voters at the polls will be forced to use for the first-time in the 2020 Presidential election in Los Angeles County, beginning with the March 3rd Super Tuesday primary, are currently undergoing the CA state certification process. The $300 million system is failing state security and certification testing miserably, according to documents buried at the CA Sec. of State website, and reported on today's program for the first time.

In addition to producing a computer-marked ballot that can never be verified as reflecting any voters' intent after an election, documentation of state certification tests of the new "Voting Solutions for All People" system (or VSAP), reveal a myriad of incredibly serious security failures and violations of state law, according to experts we've consulted.

As we detail on today's program, the testers have discovered, among other very serious concerns, more than 40 violations of California Voting System Standards, including findings that reveal:

  • The VSAP system can be booted from a USB drive that would bypass all security and logging protections and that access to the master account is needed for too many things, meaning that "too many people have access to the root password," according to state testers. That means "The excessive root access and the ability to boot the system from a USB port give access to the system by unauthorized individuals. Either scenario can result in undetected changes to files and data...Both scenarios can allow functions to be executed in non-intended ways. The unrestricted access to, and the ability to boot from, the USB port allows access to voting data";
  • Many problems were discovered with security regarding encryption and cryptography in the new system;
  • The testers discovered "It is possible to insert or remove ballots from both the BMD and ballot transfer boxes without detection";
  • "The printer cover allows access to the ballot box and can be opened without detection";
  • "Seals, locks, labels and sensors can all be bypassed" without detection.

Those are just some of the many findings that led one national voting system and cybersecurity expert to wryly describe the results to us as "not good" and another to describe the system as "a security fail".

Nonetheless, CA Secretary of State Alex Padilla could still certify the systems for use in the 2020 primaries and general election anyway, following the passage of a law he championed in 2013 as a State Senator that gives the SoS the ability to approve the use of new voting systems, even if they fail both federal and state testing, for actual elections.

The very quiet Public Comment period regarding certification of the unverifiable, unsecure VSAP touchscreen computer voting system ends next Monday, Jan. 20, 2020 at 5pm Pacific Time. We are urging those concerned to contact the state at VotingSystems@sos.ca.gov immediately to ask them to not certify this dangerous, unverifiable system, and to require a HAND-MARKED paper ballot for all voters at the polling place in this year's crucial primary and general elections.

We offer much more frightening detail on all of this on today's program regarding the dangers of this type of voting system as they are proliferating not just in Los Angeles County, but also in key battleground states such as Georgia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and many others before the critical 2020 elections begin in just weeks time!

We appear to be the only media outlet, to our knowledge, reporting this important information on the failed VSAP tests out of California, so please share widely! We cannot afford to wait until corporate media bother to notice (such as NBC News, which just noticed on Friday a very serious concern about modems in voting systems in several battleground states that we had covered on The BradCast more than six months ago!)...

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Dems and Reps charge Admin has no evidence of 'imminent threat' before Soleimani assassination; Ukrainian passenger plane believe downed by Iranian missile; New study confirms new computer BMD voting systems should not be used in 2020; Trump guts landmark environmental rule...
By Brad Friedman on 1/9/2020 4:53pm PT  

On today's BradCast, a whole lot of evidence as to why Desi Doyen calls us "your early warning system". [Audio link to show posted beneath summary below.]

Among the stories covered today...

  • The deadly and dangerous fallout continues from Donald Trump's assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, with Democratic and Republican members of Congress from both the House and Senate, blasting the Administration for failing to provide evidence of an "imminent attack" which might have legally justified Trump's targeted killing of the second most powerful public official in Iran. Members who attended classified briefings by top Administration officials on Wednesday were outraged by the failure of those officials to provide the information they claimed they had regarding the killing. Without that information, Trump's targeted assassination of Iran's top military general was very possibly in violation of both domestic and international law. But are Democrats enraged enough to bring another article of impeachment over it?;
  • Not all Congressional members were upset by the classified briefing. Some, like Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL), charged that members such as Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), who claimed after the briefing that Trump "recklessly assassinated" Soleimani with "no evidence of an imminent threat or attack", was actually an "Ayatollah sympathizer" who was "divid[ing] our country" (Seriously. That's what he said. Rutherford's challengers this year are Donna Deegan and Christopher Eagle on the Democratic side, and 20-year Navy vet Dr. Erick Aguilar in the August Republican primary in the state.);
  • In related matters, as we surmised based on available evidence during yesterday's BradCast, U.S. officials today are now confirming their belief that the Ukrainian Airlines passenger jet that crashed minutes after takeoff from the airport in Tehran on Wednesday was, in fact, shot down by an Iranian missile. The crash killed all 176 on board just hours after Iran's non-lethal ballistic missile revenge attack on Wednesday in response to Trump's killing of Soleimani last week. Officials in the U.S., Ukraine and Canada (which lost 63 residents in the tragic disaster) believe Iran might have mistaken the passenger flight for a military response from the U.S. that night. Along with the 56 killed during a stampede amidst the massive funeral processions for Soleimani, the death toll of Trump's action has been extraordinary. How any of this has made Americans safer is anybody's guess;
  • In election news, a new, landmark study [PDF] was released this week by computer scientists, cybersecurity and voting systems experts at the University of Michigan. It finds that new, touchscreen computer Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) --- which we have long been warning about, and which are now proliferating the country in advance of the critical 2020 Presidential election --- are "extremely unsafe" and vulnerable to undetectable hacking.

    Most alarming (at least to those who haven't heard the same loud warnings from BradBlog.com and The BradCast for many years now) is that the researchers found that in a mock election, where they had rigged the new voting systems to misprint a voter selection on the computer-marked paper ballot printouts, more than 93% of voters failed to notice that their vote had been changed by the computer! 93%!

    And yet, these all-new, vulnerable, 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems are now being deployed to battleground states like Pennsylvania and Georgia and North Carolina, and even to the nation's most populous voting jurisdiction, Los Angeles County, in advance of this year's elections! We explain the study's disturbing findings and what you can do to try and avoid having your vote lost to a touchscreen Ballot Marking Device in your home jurisdiction;

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with some good news (coal plant shutdowns have save some 26,000 American lives!), scary news (new findings that Trump's EPA and FEMA are not prepared for disasters) and terrible news (the Trump Administration is announcing a new rule that would do away with most environmental impact studies before construction of major federal projects, such as roads, bridges and even oil pipelines!)...

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Guest: Former Deputy Asst. Sec. of State Michael Fuchs on the path toward de-escalation with Iran; Also: Lights out (again) for Puerto Rico...
By Brad Friedman on 1/8/2020 5:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast, while "all" is anything but "well", it may at least be a bit better than it was 24 hours ago at this time --- at least if the backing away from the likelihood of an apocalyptic military confrontation in the Middle East serves as any gauge. [Audio link to today's program is posted at end of summary.]

Shortly after air time on Tuesday, Iran launched a 22 ballistic missile fusillade at two Iraqi military bases housing thousands of U.S. troops in response to Donald Trump's assassination late last week of revered Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. And shortly after that, a Ukrainian Airliner made by Boeing fell from the sky and crashed after take off from Tehran's airport, killing everyone on board. While it's still early and unclear what exactly caused the disaster, some experts believe the plane could have been attacked either accidentally or on purpose. We discuss.

As to the Iranian attack on U.S. troops, thankfully there were no casualties, either American or Iraqi, as Iran announced there would be no more military reappraisals for Soleimani's killing, so long as America does not attack the nation again. What turned out to be a largely symbolic revenge attack for domestic consumption by Iran appears to have been an act of mercy to help deescalate a military confrontation touched off late last week by Trump that many feared had been spiraling out of control since the targeted drone strike against Soleimani.

After declaring "All is well!" on Twitter Tuesday evening, amidst the missile assault and deadly airliner crash, Trump offered mercifully brief remarks at the White House on Wednesday morning, flanked by the Vice President and top cabinet members and military officials, to suggest he was taking the off-ramp offered him by the grown-ups in Iran. In between several blatant lies told about the anti-nuclear pact struck with Iran and other leading nations during the Obama Administration and on other related matters, Trump promised new economic sanctions against Iran, but said the nation "appears to be standing down", that Iran and the US should "work together" against their mutual enemy of ISIS, and that the United States is ready to embrace peace."

Whether any of that turns out to be true, given a President of the United States who lies as easily as he breathes, is anyone's guess. But it may allow many of us to breathe a bit easier for the moment, at least until Trump's next unnecessary self-inflicted crisis.

We're joined today by former Deputy Asst. Secretary of State MICHAEL FUCHS, to try and help clear up much of the confusion and anxiety of the last 12 hours since Iran's attack and the six days since Trump's assassination of Soleimani. Among the questions discussed with Fuchs...

  • Was Iran's missile attack, in fact, an "act of mercy"?;
  • Should we take any comfort from Trump's response today?;
  • Will there be additional responses from Iran (including cyberattacks) against the U.S.?;
  • Why were there no grown-ups in either the State or Defense Departments to warn Trump off of his wildly ill-considered murder of Iran's second most powerful official?;
  • What can and should be done to keep a President from being able to do something as irresponsible and dangerous like this in the future?;
  • Haven't both Republicans and Democrats in Congress ceded far too much of their Constitutional war-making authority to Presidents of both parties in recent years?;
  • What can Congress do to prevent this President and future ones from acting so dangerously?;
  • While the deal with Iran to block their path to a nuclear weapon had been a success (Trump's demonstrable lies about it not withstanding), until he unilaterally pulled the U.S. from the deal, wouldn't Iran be within their rights, and indeed wise, to now pursue a nuclear weapon, given the behavior of the U.S.?;
  • With Iranian and Iraqi leaders both demanding that U.S. troops leave the region, and Trump pretending for years that he wants the same, wouldn't this be a great time to find common ground and finally pull out of our many decades-long disastrous adventures in the Middle East once and for all?;
  • Can U.S. diplomacy actually rise in the Trump Administration with his widly hawkish Sec. of State Mike Pompeo?;

Fuchs, a former senior State Department official turned Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and Guardian columnist, gamely offers insightful answers to all of those questions and many others at the (hopeful) end of another series of exhausting, unnerving and confusing days during the horrific Trump Presidency.

"It is entirely possible that Iran might respond more to this most recent series of events. They might use cyberattacks, they might use their proxies throughout the region, which is a little bit hands-off, allows them a little bit of plausible deniability in their mind to attack US interests," Fuchs tells me. "But even if there is no immediate other response from Iran, we are still in this very dangerous and precarious moment where tensions between the two countries are incredibly high. And neither side seems, frankly, to have the ability nor the interest, at the moment at least, to finding a sustainable solution to these tensions. So for the moment, we want to hope for a very quick de-escalation, but the bigger problem is still very much there."

Finally, with the ability to breathe just a bit easier (at least for now) for the first time since the turn of the New Year, we turn to some quick coverage of some stories we've had to put off during Trump's latest world-threatening tantrum, beginning with the fact that two-thirds of Puerto Rico has been without power, and hundreds of thousands without clean water, since a major (and unusual) earthquake on Tuesday took out the U.S. island's largest power plant...

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Guest: National security law expert Karen J. Greenberg; Also: McConnell says has votes to begin fixed impeachment trial; 'GNR' returns for 2020!...
By Brad Friedman on 1/7/2020 5:50pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the world remains on edge in the wake of Donald Trump's targeted assassination of Iran's top military general Qassem Soleimani. [Audio link to show is posted at bottom of summary.]

At least 56 mourners reportedly died during a stampede at funeral processions for the revered figured in Iran, were millions turned out to show their respects and to vow revenge against the U.S. Meanwhile, U.S. customs and border officials were reportedly detaining Iranian-American citizens for extended questioning as they re-entered the country; Trump's Secretaries of Defense and State each tried to walk back Trump's twice-threatened war crimes against Iran, should they dare to retaliate; And both Secretaries along with the White House continued to claim, without evidence, that an "imminent attack" that would have killed "hundreds" of Americans was prevented by the killing and served to justify the targeted drone strike against Soleimani and several Iraqi officials; Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell claimed to have the votes necessary to move Donald Trump's impeachment trial forward in the U.S. Senate (which Trump had clearly hoped to distract from with his attack on Iran) without allowing for either first-hand witnesses or subpoenaed White House documents to be presented as evidence; and the Foreign Minister of Iran described the assassination of Soleimani as "state terrorism" and President Trump as "lawless".

On that last point, and many related, we are joined today by KAREN J. GREENBERG, Director of the Center on National Security at Fordham University School of Law and the author of Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State. Professor Greenberg, an expert on national security, terrorism, and civil liberties, detailed in a New York Times op-ed today headlined "Killing Qassim Suleimani Was Illegal. And Predictable.," how American Presidents have been expanding their own executive authority for "targeted killings" and assassination since the post-Watergate Church Committee in the Senate called for reforms to ban such activity by the Executive Branch in 1975. President Gerald Ford, in 1976, issued an Executive Order to ban all political assassinations by the U.S.

Over the years since, however, as Greenberg documents, Presidents from Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton to George W. Bush to Barack Obama have each stretched the definitions of what amounts to an allowable "targeted killing" under certain restricted circumstances in order to prevent an "imminent attack". And while such killings eventually numbered in the hundreds under Obama (and included at least one U.S. citizen, albeit in a different country), Greenberg explains that no President, until Donald Trump, has broadened the definitions to include an out-and-out assassination of a state official, much less one as highly revered as Soleimani in Iran.

"President Obama attempted to expand the authority for targeted killing, excepting it from the category 'assassination', and giving many reasons --- including international law reasons --- for why this would be lawful. And tying it, however, to the War on Terror, which in a way, puts it in a different scenario than what we're now seeing. Because what we've seen this week is a successful attempt to attack a leading member of a sovereign state," Greenberg tells me. "It distinguishes in many ways from what the Obama Administration had done. But what the Obama Administration did was to open the window for that. They did it because they wanted to expand the targeted killing program of George [W.] Bush. Obama said it would cause less trouble, less reprisal on the ground, and therefore less violence against American troops. And they thought it would work in cases where they couldn't capture somebody who they thought was being tremendously detrimental to the United States."

The authority he and other Presidents granted to themselves, however, "essentially bypasses the idea of laws that restrain" and "comes down to 'trust me' government", in that the public must rely on classified evidence by the Intelligence Community --- and, hopefully, its review by members of Congress --- as legal justification for the actions. But Trump, she explains, while previously dismissing the assessments of the intelligence community as dishonest "Deep State" actors, is now citing what he claims to be their evidence and asking us to trust it.

The result of all of this is what Greenberg describes as "a lack of foresight to put in place policies, by any President or any administration that, should it get into the wrong hands, can prove truly dangerous. We've now crossed that threshold." She goes on to note that "The basic bottom line is this is not something that the United States has supported or allowed since the Church Committee" in 1975.

We discuss how Ford's Executive Order, the War Powers Act of 1973 (meant to constrain Presidents from acts of war without approval by Congress), and the Authorizations for Use of Military Force adopted by Congress after 9/11 and again before our invasion of Iraq, have all now been stretched to the point of near meaningless. At the same time, the U.S. has also pushed the boundaries of Geneva Convention restrictions against war crimes to fit its defensive/aggressive needs of the moment, with as little enforcement by international agencies as Congress has brought against U.S. Presidents from both major parties at home for violations of domestic laws and Constitutional mandates.

There is quite a bit in this conversation that can't adequately be summarized here, so I hope you'll tune in for much more.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our first Green News Report of the new year, which, sadly, picks up with the continuing, record, devastating Australian wildfires which also led our last GNR of the year in 2019, some two and a half weeks ago...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 1/7/2020 11:01am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Australia grapples with unprecedented wildfires in a taste of its climate future; Climate-change intensified deluges flood Jakarta; PLUS: Buckle up - Trump's escalation of tensions with Iran is spiking global oil prices... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO HELP US WITH A (MUCH-NEEDED) DONATION to celebrate 1000+ episodes of independent, listener-supported climate, energy and environmental news! Thank you!
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): Australia's climate change prophecy is coming true and it's going to cost the nation billions; Shutdown of US coal power facilities saved over 26,000 lives, study finds; U.S. greenhouse gas emissions dip, but Trump politics put future cuts in doubt; FEMA threat report ignores climate change, sea-level rise; Backlog of toxic Superfund cleanups grows under Trump; Duke Energy agrees to remove coal ash pits in North Carolina... PLUS: Where is the Green New Deal headed in 2020?... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




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