Guest: Author, columnist, gun safety advocate Cliff Schecter on recent mass shootings in Texas, Florida, Vegas; Also: Trump remains dangerously clueless in advance of planned summit with North Korea...
On today's BradCast: The shootings and body counts mount while GOP politicians refuse to take action and rightwing media fan the flames. [Audio link to show follows below.]
First up today (after a quick thanks to In Deep Radio's Angie Coiro for covering for us late last week so I could "enjoy" some emergency oral surgery), a quick preview of Tuesday's primary elections in Arkansas, Kentucky and Georgia and primary run-offs in Texas, where the internecine battles between progressives and establishment Democrats continue to shake out.
Also, news that Don Blankenship, West Virginia coal baron and former federal felon (convicted for his role in safety violations resulting in the 2010 deaths of 29 minors in one of his mines in 2010) announces his plan to run on the Constitution Party ticket for U.S. Senate this November after coming in third in WV's GOP U.S. Senate primary two weeks ago.
Then, new details on the politically brain-addled man who opened fire inside the Trump National Doral Miami resort in South Florida on Friday, and a trove of witness statements are released related to the October 2017 massacre in Las Vegas where a gunman opened fire on outdoor concert goers on the Strip, killing 58 and wounded more than 800 in a matter of minutes. Though officials never declared a motive for that shooting, the newly released statements suggest the shooter was an anti-government fanatic who had cited longtime Fox "News" and Rightwing talk radio tropes such as Waco, Ruby Ridge and FEMA camps in the days before the massacre.
Then, in a sadly similar vein, we're joined by author, Daily Beast columnist, podcaster and longtime gun legislation advocate CLIFF SCHECTER on fallout following Friday's mass shooting at Santa Fe High School outside of Houston, where a 17-year old student killed 10 and wounded at least 10 others. With the US now averaging at least one school shooting per week in 2018, we discuss who is to blame, what (if anything) can finally be done about any of it, and how Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo has courageously taken a very hard stand against the years-long failure of NRA-backed Republican politicians who offer "thoughts and prayers", but no actual action to try and help curb the nation's continuing, tragic and obscene gun epidemic.
"In Western European countries, you certainly have these radical rightwing groups like you do here," Schecter argues. "The key is they don't all have access to guns. They do here. That's what we're seeing. We're seeing white men radicalized and then armed. This is the predictable result of that."
"You're never going to prevent everything. There's still one shooting or two in Canada, and they've got much more stringent gun control. The key here is when you look at a public health crisis, you say 'What are the various ways, through regulations, policy, cultural change, shaming and the rest, that we can get to a place where people take this more seriously?'" Schecter goes on to explain how recent changes to gun laws have decreased gun violence, despite the idiotic statements of folks like Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, and others who suggest that gun regulations make things worse, and how citizen ballot initiatives can be used to work around intransigent politicians.
Finally today, some thoughts on the perilously planned June summit between North Korea's Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, and the embarrassingly plain fact that Trump has absolutely no idea what he is doing, as revealed (once again) following National Security Adviser John Bolton's ridiculously ill-advised "Libyan model" comments...
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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: At G-20 summit, the world moves forward on climate change as Trump retreats alone; Trump Administration announces 'red team' effort to question mainstream climate science; Court rejects EPA bid to roll back methane emissions rule; Volvo to make every car model electric; PLUS: California's green governor trumps Trump with global climate summit... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): The Power and Peril of “Climate Disaster Porn”; The Uninhabitable Earth: When will climate change make earth too hot for humans?; Obama Rues Loss of ‘American Leadership’ on Climate Change; Tribal, environmental groups sue over methane rule delay; Nuns protest Atlantic Sunrise pipeline by building chapel on route; Environmental groups slam Senate energy bill; Deep industry ties in Trump's deregulation team; Coal no longer fuels America, but the myth remains; Ganges River in India "dying", succumbing to pollution; Trump analysis of WOTUS omits economic benefits of clean water... PLUS: Franken and Letterman take on climate change in hilarious web series.... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: In Rio Olympics' opening ceremony, Brazil goes big on global warming and the environment; U.S. government to use global warming 'litmus test' for all new projects; Melting Arctic ice uncovering anthrax and toxic waste; Happy Earth Overshoot Day; PLUS: Florida gets approval to release GMO mosquitoes... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): What Happens to the U.S. Midwest When the Water's Gone?; Researchers find unsafe levels of industrial chemicals in drinking water of 6 million Americans; Climate Changes at Rio Olympics is Risky For The Health and Performance of Athletes; Chevron Wins Big in $9.5 Billion Oil Pollution Case. But It’s Not Over; A Year After Toxic River Spill, No Clear Plan To Clean Up Western Mines; Two former Republican EPA administrators throw support to Clinton... PLUS: Customers Could Pay $2.5 Billion for Nuclear Plants That Never Get Built... and much, MUCH more! ...
In the weeks since its debut on HBO, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has slowly, if assuredly, evolved from being little more than a weekend knockoff of its progenitor The Daily Show, to finding its own unique voice and ability to take advantage of the more in-depth "coverage" afforded by the lack of self-censorship otherwise required for commercial television and longer segments due to the lack of on-the-clock commercial breaks necessary for its Comedy Central brethren.
That maturity and evolution revealed itself in full flower during last night's lengthy segment on America's horrific and insane --- and getting horrificker and insaner --- prison and incarceration policy.
Aside from being really really funny at times, the lengthy segment was one of the smartest, most complete, most accessible treatises I've seen on TV --- or anywhere really --- in a very long time, if ever.
It concludes with a laugh-out-loud Sesame Street-style song on the broken state of America's prison policy, after covering obscenities along the way such as the explosive growth in our prison population; the failed "War on Drugs"; racial disparities in sentencing; our grotesque cultural fetish with "hysterical" prison rape humor; some fairly jaw-dropping Congressional testimony (courtesy of Sen. Al Franken); to the privatization and profiteering of the national Prison Industrial Complex which has culminated, as a judge described in 2012, in "a cesspool of unconstitutional and inhuman acts".
This smart piece is well worth watching in full for too many reasons to list here...
[Note: For a somewhat less amusing, if no less important take on one related issue not mentioned by Oliver during his otherwise surprisingly complete overview, see the second part of Ernie Canning's three-part 2012 BRAD BLOG essay on the so-called "War on Drugs", which discusses how legalization might well disrupt the economics of the Prison Industrial Complex and its increasingly relied-upon pool of slave --- yes, slave --- laborers.]
CORRECTION: Our original article had the name of HBO's show wrong, as well as the quote from a federal judge about the privatized prison system in Mississippi. Both have been corrected above, thanks to commenter "Niemand" pointing out the errors below.