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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, May 24, 2019
'Green News Report' 5/23/19
  w/ Brad & Desi
Beleaguered Midwest walloped by tornadoes, floods; Study sees coastal cities inundated by century's end; LA's plan to retreat from rising seas; PLUS: Trump EPA good news and bad...
Previous GNRs: 5/21/19 - 5/16/19 - Archives...
Baltimore BOE Crippled by Ransomware Attack; 'Crapshow' Worsens in D.C.: 'BradCast' 5/22/19
Guest: Eric Boehlert on Barr, impeachment, why 'no one will break glass on the alarm'...
'Our Subpoenas Are Not Optional' (Even If Impeachment Clearly Is): 'BradCast' 5/21/19
Also: More GOP Absentee Ballot Election Fraud, this time in Florida....
'Green News Report' 5/21/19
  w/ Brad & Desi
More extreme weather for Midwest; Another coal co. goes bankrupt; BP, Shell lobby for a carbon tax (with a catch!); PLUS: Inslee and Warren unveil comprehensive climate plans...
Previous GNRs: 5/16/19 - 5/14/19 - Archives...
GOP's Amash Declares Trump 'Impeachable'; Gerrymanders Allowed Radical Abortion Bills: 'BradCast' 5/20/19
Guest: FairVote's Dave Daley: Also: Tornado swarms amid climate crisis; Ford to fire 1000s...
Sunday CSA* Toons
(* Coathanger States of America) As usual, 'PDiddie' flags the very best political toons of the week in his latest collection...
Time to Impeach Yet?: 'BradCast' 5/17/19
Guest-hosted by Nicole Sandler with Senate Judiciary Committee vet Lisa Graves and Tweeter 'GottaLaff'...
The Republican Party is a Culture of Corruption: 'BradCast' 5/16/19
Spate of GOP pol scams, indictments, corrupt pardons; Also: Are Congress and corporate media finally waking up to our woefully insecure, non-overseeable elections?...
'Green News Report' 5/16/19
  w/ Brad & Desi
PG&E caused deadliest fire in CA history; CO2 level hits milestone, exactly as Exxon predicted; Climate action delay will cost trillions; PLUS: The Impossible Whopper goes national...
Previous GNRs: 5/14/19 - 5/7/19 - Archives...
FL's Sancho: 'No Confidence' 2020 Will Be Secure After New 2016 FBI Disclosures: 'BradCast' 5/15/19
30-yr elexn chief says FBI lied in 2016; Rubio covered up in 2018; FL unverifiable in 2020...
22 Candidates, 2020 Visions:
'BradCast' 5/14/2019
Bad news CO2 landmark; Biden booed on climate, pushes back; MT's Bullock jumps in to 2020 as Dem Gov from 'red state'; Warren says no to FNC's 'hate-for-profit racket'...
'Green News Report' 5/14/19
Trump trade war hits U.S. NatGas; Admin ices Arctic Council; Houston floods as U.S. sees wettest year on record; PLUS: UK, Scotland declare 'climate emergency'...
GA Supremes Hear Case of 125k 'Missing' 2018 Lt. Gov. Votes: 'BradCast' 5/13/19
Guest: Plaintiff Marilyn Marks; Also: Trump's trade war, Congress'l war; FL voting news; NC-9 do-over primary...
Sunday Billion Dollar Loser Toons
Once again, lots of losers from which to choose in PDiddie's latest weekly toon collection...
House All Action Against Trump, with Help from Repubs: 'BradCast' 5/10/19
Guest-host Angie Coiro w/ UCSF's Dr. Monica McLemore, NARAL's Amy Everitt on what's next for abortion laws...
Trump Uses Exec Privilege to Block Mueller Report; Judiciary Finds Barr in Contempt: 'BradCast' 5/8/19
Guest: Heather Digby Parton; Also: Don Jr. subpoenaed by GOP-Senate Intel Comm...
'Green News Report' 5/7/19
U.N. report warns humans pushing 1 million species to extinction; Trump repeals post-BP spill safety rules; PLUS: Midwest flooding breaks all-time records...
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...


New study finds rich guys lie the most; WaPo finds Trump lies constantly; CNN finds Mueller found Trump and associates lied like crazy; Legal experts find Team Trump learned nothing from 'Russia-gate'; Trump and Barr find out if they can obstruct Congress; And many other findings...
By Brad Friedman on 4/30/2019 6:47pm PT  

Why tell the truth and follow the rule of law when BS'ing and obstructing truth and justice (and Congress) now appear to be a far more successful way to get ahead in life...and in the Presidency of the United States? As Donald Trump recently reached a new milestone of having told more than 10,000 lies while in office, according to Washington Post's fact-checker database, these are among the related stories covered on today's BradCast. [Audio link is posted below]...

  • A fascinating new study finds that wealthy men are more likely than women and those of lesser means to simply make stuff up. That's right, lying appears to work for many, and is carried out far more frequently in North America than in other English speaking countries around the world. Or, as WaPo's headline summarizes the academic survey: "Rich guys are most likely to have no idea what they're talking about, study suggests". (Though, as you'll also learn, both Desi and Canada should be ashamed of themselves);
  • That may also help us understand today who our President is and why he and his supporters do what they do, as a new CNN analysis catalogs 77 different "lies and falsehoods" by Trump and his associates, documented in Robert Mueller's redacted Special Counsel report. The lies were told by Trump, his "campaign staff, administration officials and family, Republican backers and his associates" who all "made false assertions to the public, Congress, or authorities," according to the analysis. While a handful of those lies were prosecuted as crimes (for example, some of those told to the FBI by Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and to Congress by his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen), most went unprosecuted for varying reasons, including the fact that lying to the public and the press is not a crime, even when the White House does it, repeatedly, apparently. Among the many lies cataloged, a plurality of which were told by the President himself, many concerned his dealings with Russia and those of campaign staff and administration officials;
  • Speaking of which, in March, Trump's 2020 Campaign Manager Brad Parscale flew to Romania to deliver a paid speech to Romanian politicians and policy experts, raising questions among U.S. legal experts about conflicts of interest and whether Team Trump has learned anything after their extensive dealings with Russia during the 2016 campaign. They paid little price for that, however, so why worry about a Trump/Romania Special Counsel investigation now?;
  • Mid-show today we covered some breaking news regarding today's U.S. support for a military coup being called for by Valenzuela's opposition leader and self-declared "President" Juan Guaido, and claims by U.S. Sec. of State Mike Pompeo that the nation's actual President Nicolas Maduro was preparing to leave the country in response. At the last minute, however, according to Pompeo, Maduro was talked out of it by Russia. But, of course, our Sec. of State is a huge and very successful liar as well, so there's no particular reason to believe any of his assertions regarding the attempted U.S. overthrow of Venezuela today;
  • In other breaking news, a federal judge today determined that a lawsuit filed by some 200 Congressional Democrats against Donald Trump charging he is in violation of the Constitutional Emoluments clause may move ahead, allowing plaintiffs to gain access to information about Trump's private business dealings;
  • And, in related news, Trump's private attorneys on Monday night filed a lawsuit on behalf of him, his company and his children's behalf against Deutsche Bank and Capital One in hopes of forcing them to not respond to lawful subpoenas for Trump financial documents as issued by a number of Congressional committees. Normally we'd say "good luck with that", but for Trump's stolen Supreme Court majority who have proven themselves capable of doing anything on his behalf at this point;
  • The obstruction also continued today by Trump's Attorney General William Barr, who, the Justice Department has said, still plans to appear before the Republican-majority Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday to give testimony regarding the Mueller Report, but that he is objecting to a planned appearance before the Democratically-run House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, where members may allow counsel from both the majority and minority to question Barr during the scheduled testimony. House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler asserts it's not up to Barr to determine who gets to question him or how the hearing is to be carried out, suggesting he may ultimately need to subpoena the A.G. to force his testimony. But if Barr defies that subpoena, as other Administration officials have been ordered by Trump in recent days, then what? Who would enforce a Contempt of Congress citation against the nation's top law enforcement official? And how would it even be done? Well, there is a House Sergeant-at-Arms and, reportedly, a jail in the basement of the Capitol Building. We discuss;
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, on the back-to-back devastating cyclones in Mozambique, a delay to the Interior Department's plan to expand off-shore drilling, air pollution getting worse under Donald Trump, and voter support for a Green New Deal in Spain's recent elections...

Yes. All of that. In under one hour. Somehow. You're welcome...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Heather Digby Parton on Trump, Flynn, Russia, Mueller and what Dems must do about the 'criminal and con man in the White House'
Also: Admin's cruel asylum policy ruled unlawful; KS GOP lawmakers flip to Dem Party...
By Brad Friedman on 12/19/2018 6:25pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The Trump Presidency feels as if it is now in free-fall. Is it? [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today, a federal judge in Washington D.C. (the same judge involved in Tuesday's dramatic sentencing hearing of Donald Trump's disgraced former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn) declared the Trump Administration's new policy of rejecting asylum claims made on the basis of domestic abuse and gang violence to be a violation of the law. We discussed then Attorney General Jeff Sessions' cruel new policy guidance on this matter after it was announced back in June with Karen Musalo, a longtime immigration rights attorney who told us, at the time, that the Admin's new policy was in violation of the law. Turns out she was right, according to today's federal court ruling, which is just the latest legal and/or political blow to Donald Trump's efforts to harden immigration policy in the U.S.

His failed policies on that and much more --- all eagerly supported by his Republican Party over the past two years --- resulted in last month's midterm elections "blue wave", when Democrats picked up an historic net gain of at least 40 seats in the U.S. House to take majority control in January. But the GOP losses were also felt at the state level around the country, including in formerly "deep red" Kansas, where voters elected a Democratic Governor and rejected a number of Republican state lawmakers. This week, things are getting worse for Kansas Republicans as a new wave of party defectors has resulted, so far (more may be on the way), in three elected Republicans in the state legislature (all women, by the way) flipping their allegiance to the Democratic Party in advance of next month's new legislative session.

Given the revelations and dramatic sentencing hearings related to various state and federal investigations into the unprecedented corruption of Donald Trump, his campaign, his businesses, his family and his Administration over the past week, things are likely to get much worse for Republicans before getting better any time soon.

On that matter and more, we're joined today by HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo to discuss what is now beginning to feel like a Presidency that is falling apart by the day, if not the hour, particularly following Tuesday's dramatic sentencing hearing of Flynn and last week's sentencing of Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen, who implicated the President as "directing" a felony hush-money payoff conspiracy carried out just before the 2016 election, in clear violation of campaign finance laws.

All of that, as Trump and his associates and family are now facing criminal investigations and/or prosecutions at both the pardon-proofed state level and in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe of the Trump Campaign's alleged coordination with Russia and his own obstruction of justice. As usual, Parton offers her keen observations as the investigations continue to quickly close in on the President, describing all of this as "the most serious political crisis we have ever had," outside of wars, while adding the understated obvious: "It's not good to have a criminal and a con man in the White House."

We discuss, among many other things, Tuesday's astonishing Flynn hearing which went off the rails, and the judge's curious references to "treason"; whether or not there is a "grand conspiracy" at the heart of the Russia matter resulting in the seemingly inexplicable number of lies being told by Trump and his associates about their various contacts with Russians; whether Trump will be able to withstand the ever-increasing pressure of the probes; how his wingnut fans and media supporters are (often hilariously) still trying to justify it all as a partisan "hoax"; and what Democrats will (or, at least, should) do in response once they take over the House majority next month...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Trump 'charity' shuttered; Admin backs off shutdown threat; Flynn sentencing fiasco; McSally appointed in AZ; NC-9 fraud hearing delayed...
By Brad Friedman on 12/18/2018 6:31pm PT  

Today was the first day that it really began to feel like things are finally falling completely apart for Donald Trump and his administration. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the mountain of stories covered on today's BradCast amid an astonishing day of news on several fronts...

  • The New York state Attorney General entered an agreement with the Trump Foundation to permanently shut down the supposed charitable organization. Her investigation and prosecution of alleged fraud, campaign violations and self-dealing via the organization by Trump, his three adult children and his 2016 campaign will continue, despite the Foundation's dissolution;
  • The Trump Administration blinked on Tuesday, at least a bit, following Trump's previous televised threats to shut down the federal government this Friday over funding for his border wall with Mexico (which, we were repeatedly told during the campaign, they, not tax-payers, would pay for.) Last week, Trump said on camera he would be "proud" to shut down the federal government before Christmas if Democrats didn't agree to $5 billion for wall funding in a budget agreement that must pass by this Friday. Today, Trump's Press Secretary suggested they'd find the money elsewhere, even as Congress remained at a standstill with Republicans not having enough votes to pass a bill that meets Trump's demands;
  • At the same time, in a federal court room in D.C., Trump's disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators last year, had been expected to walk away from his sentencing hearing a free man today following his cooperation with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team. They had requested no jail time for Flynn after his help in several known and unknown probes. But, thanks to Flynn's attorneys falsely suggesting in a sentencing memorandum last week that he had been duped, tricked and entrapped by FBI investigators into lying about his contacts with the Russian ambassador, the sentencing was mercifully postponed until March. In a remarkable colloquy with U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, a Ronald Reagan appointee, Flynn quickly backed off his attorneys claims. In blistering remarks from the bench, Sullivan railed that he could not "hide my disgust, my disdain" for Flynn's behavior, and upbraided the former top Trump official and retired Lt. General for having "arguably sold out your country". A reportedly shaken Flynn then asked for his sentencing to be delayed, so that the could further cooperate with the Special Counsel in hopes of being credited to avoid jail time. All of that, after Trump had wished Flynn "good luck" via Twitter prior to today's hearing;
  • In Arizona, the loser of November's U.S. Senate contest, Republican Rep. Martha McSally, was appointed by the state's GOP Governor to take the seat of Sen. Jon Kyle, who had temporarily replaced the late Sen. John McCain earlier this year. McSally narrowly lost her Senate bid in November to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, who she had described as a "traitor" during the campaign. McSally also tried to make amends with McCain's family after insulting the ailing Senator before his death;
  • In the North Carolina GOP absentee ballot election fraud scandal, state Republicans reversed their position for a second time regarding the certification of Republican Mark Harris. State Republican leaders demanded that he be certified in the state's 9th Congressional District House race, despite an ongoing fraud investigation. The current results show that Harris defeated Democrat Dan McCready by just 905 votes in November. The State Board of Elections, however, has refused to certify the race due to the allegations of absentee ballot fraud and has postponed it's planned evidentiary hearing from December 21 to January 11, thanks to what the Board describes as delayed document production by subpoenaed parties. Harris has now admitted that he hired the GOP contractor accused of altering or withholding perhaps thousands of absentee ballots in the race;
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with a surprising amount of actually encouraging news for a change.

Yes, it really is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: NatSec journalist Marcy Wheeler on leaked Mueller questions, Cohen tossed under the bus, and Trump stealing his own medical records; Also: GOP photo ID voting restriction law blocked in AR, allowed in TX...
By Brad Friedman on 5/1/2018 6:29pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The chaos that is the Trump Administration continues to move faster than anyone can possibly keep up with. But we try. [Audio link to show follows below]

First up today: Late last week a judge in Arkansas found the state's second try at a Photo ID voting restriction law to be as unconstitutional as the one struck down by the state Supreme Court four years ago. The new measure, adopted by Arkansas' Republican-majority legislature, has now been blocked in advance of the state's mid-term primaries coming up later this month. Leslie Rutledge, the state Attorney General who unsuccessfully defended the law, failed to demonstrate any evidence of voter fraud in court. The state is now appealing the lower court ruling. But, as we reported back in 2014, Rutledge herself committed actual voter fraud when she voted by mail in Arkansas even after registering to vote in Washington D.C.!

News out of Texas on this front is not as encouraging, as a split decision by a three-judge panel on the conservative 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided to allow that state's new version of its voter-suppressing Photo ID law to be used in the 2018 mid-terms, though opponents are likely to appeal. Lower courts --- and even a unanimous panel on the 5th Circuit itself --- have repeatedly found both versions of the state's GOP-adopted state statute to be unlawful and/or in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Then, we're joined today by national security journalist MARCY WHEELER of Emptywheel to try and make sense of, among other things, the nearly four dozen questions said to be from Robert Mueller's Special Counsel probe for Donald Trump, as published by the New York Times on Monday night after apparently being leaked by someone on Team Trump. Those questions include queries on Trump's alleged obstruction of justice, as well as Team Trump's so-called "collusion" with Russia before and after the 2016 election.

Wheeler explains why she believes the information was leaked and how its being desperately used by Trump to (falsely) suggest the Special Counsel has found no evidence of "collusion", despite the many published questions in the list which cite issues related to a conspiracy between Russians and members of the Trump Campaign.

"These guys are incompetent at governing and most every other thing, but they are very competent at playing the press. And they have played the press for the last six months, making it seem as if the only risk to Trump has to do with obstruction," Wheeler argues. "More than a third of these questions go to the conspiracy. It was never just about just obstruction."

We also try to make sense of the bizarre, late-breaking story regarding Trump's infamous gastroenterologist, Dr. Harold Borenstein, who is now charging that Trump's longtime personal bodyguard Keith Schiller and a Trump Organization lawyer "raided" his office last year to take Trump's medical records without the required legal forms, shortly after Borenstein told the media that Trump uses a hair-loss drug.

Wheeler also offers her insights into the new evidence suggesting that Trump is now tossing his old business partner and personal lawyer Michael Cohen under the bus in the wake of the recent FBI raids on Cohen's office and residences. "There are so many weird things about the Cohen thing that I hesitate to settle on an explanation for what's going on there, aside from the fact that I think that yeah, Trump is worried about him flipping."

All of it is perhaps best summed up by Wheeler's comment today: "It's a mess. Trump is in trouble."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report as an EPA whistleblower (and Trump supporter) charges that embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt lied to Congress during recent testimony, and the Trump Administration is trying again to rollback fuel efficiency standards for vehicles. Both of those stories also have late updates today, as we now learn that two top (and controversial) EPA officials have recently resigned amid the mountain of Pruitt-related scandals, and as California and 17 other states sue the Trump Administration over its new attempt to rollback fuel efficiency...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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By Brad Friedman on 12/4/2017 5:58pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The GOP rammed the largest tax increase in American history through the U.S. Senate in the middle of the night last Friday, and we open the phones to try to figure out what the alleged Trump/Russia "collusion" is actually supposed to be. [Audio link to show follows below.]

After several important breaking news items (Trump's unprecedented reversal of National Monument declarations in Utah by Presidents Obama and Clinton; His stolen U.S. Supreme Court allows his Muslim travel ban to be enforced, even while it's being challenged in lower courts; His new, full-throated endorsement of alleged Republican child molester Roy Moore in next week's U.S. Senate special election against Democrat Doug Jones in Alabama), we're back to the GOP "tax cut" hustle and the Special Counsel investigation of Team Trump.

First, on taxes, details on the thousands of corporate lobbyists (more than 6,000 of them!) who crawled out of the swamp to help write what will be the largest tax increase in U.S. history, as billions, if not trillions in wealth is set to be redistributed from the poor and middle class to the wealthy and already-wildly profitable corporations. The GOP and Donald Trump have been using a dubious list of "economists" to lie about and help jam through their scheme, which was passed by the U.S. Senate just before 2am on Friday night/Saturday morning, just hours after the 500-page final bill had finally been released to Democrats.

Then, we open up the phone lines for callers to answer my question about the alleged Trump/Russia "collusion", following the guilty plea on Friday by Trump's disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the F.B.I.

While Trump's attempted obstruction of that investigation is quite clear (despite his personal lawyers absurd claims), as is the fact that members of his Campaign and Administration lied to federal law enforcement officials, which also unlawful, evidence of the originally alleged "collusion" on the 2016 election remains elusive.

Why all the lying by Team Trump? What are they attempting to hide? As much as I'd be delighted for all of this to bring down a wildly lawless and anti-American Administration, of course, I still remain unclear on what the initial crime actually was, or is even alleged to have been. So, at risk of being called "obtuse", I ask callers today about what that actual, specific original crime is --- before all of the obstruction and lying --- that is seemingly being hidden by Team Trump, alleged by Democrats and probed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

We open the phone lines for callers to explain it all...if they can...

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By Brad Friedman on 12/1/2017 6:28pm PT  

On today's BradCast, there are two major stories to cover. Both huge. But the one that is receiving less coverage than it needs, is the one likely to upset American life as we know it for decades.

First today, Donald Trump's former National Security Adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to one count of lying to F.B.I investigators about conversations he had with Russia's U.S. Ambassador concerning sanctions against Russia and a U.N. vote regarding Israel during Trump's transition to office, among other things.

He is being offered leniency by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in exchange for his cooperation in the on-going Trump/Russia probe. The White House spent the day downplaying the charges, though reports and court documents filed on Friday indicate the President's Son-in-Law and senior adviser Jared Kushner could be among those now in the sites of federal investigators. Flynn is the fourth member of Team Trump to be charged by the Special Counsel and the first to have served during the Administration itself.

As that played out on Friday, Senate Republicans continued to push their massive $1.5 trillion tax scam through Congress, which, as we discuss today, is much more than just a massive tax cut for corporations, donors and the wealthiest U.S. citizens. The bill has also become a catch-all for long-sought, far right-wing causes, such as establishing rights for fetuses and repealing a 60-year old ban on partisan political activity by tax-exempt religious organizations.

In addition to offering windfalls for the rich, while increasing taxes on most of the middle-class, the far-reaching legislation will also curb the ability for states and cities to provide basic needs to residents, while otherwise undermining the economic system on a generational scale by removing deductions for state and local taxes, higher education and much more.

Perhaps most disturbingly, as experts and lawmakers admit, the scheme will blow such an enormous hole in the long-term national debt that, as Republicans have made clear, additional massive cuts to social safety-net programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security will be next on their agenda. In all, the massive redistribution of wealth from low- and middle-income Americans to the richest elite in the country will serve to cripple generations of younger Americans.

But, yes, Michael Flynn was charged with a crime on Friday and may now sing on the President and his team. The White House is likely unhappy about that, even if Republicans in Congress are unlikely to mind the distraction at all, as they push their generational tax scam over the finish line.

Finally today, speaking of paying a price for generations to come, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report...

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Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: Two important election-related SCOTUS decisions and this week's U.S. House Special Election in MT...
By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2017 6:35pm PT  

The new Twin Peaks (which is excellent, by the way!) may be less surreal than the latest goings on inside our current White House. On today's BradCast, the latest news on the ever unfolding investigations into Team Trump and on his overseas trip (stories Trump already managed to conflate today), along with big election-related news from the U.S. Supreme Court and a quick preview of this week's upcoming U.S. House special election in the state of Montana. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Today, before we get to the latest in the David Lynchian tales of President Trump, two new and important election-related rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court. One, being described by UC Irvine Election professor Rick Hasen as a very "big deal" and "a major victory for voting rights plaintiffs" deals with racial and partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina, with ramifications for a number of other similar Republican gerrymanders in several states. The other is a victory for campaign finance restrictions. Both cases feature surprising alliances between Republican and Democratic-appointed Justices following last month's confirmation of Neal Gorsich to fill the vacant seat stolen by Republicans after the death of Justice Anton Scalia.

And, speaking of elections, we also preview the U.S. House Special Election set to take place in Montana this Thursday, as populist first-time candidate and popular folk singer Rob Quist barnstormed the state over the weekend with Bernie Sanders. Republican establishment candidate Greg Gianforte is said to have a small lead in pre-election polls, despite being recently caught on tape supporting the GOP health care bill while seeking money from wealthy lobbyists, even while telling voters on the stump he hadn't made up his mind about it yet. In addition to providing a bellwether for the 2018 elections, it may also serve to shake up the current, very serious divide within the Democratic Party itself, depending on how the results shake out this week. That divide has been somewhat obscured by the madness of the Trump White House, but the bitter split between Bernie and Hillary partisans is still very much creating a rift among progressives and Democrats.

Then, we're joined by the great Heather Digby Parton of Salon.com and the Hullabaloo blog to try and make sense of ALL of the latest in the increasingly surreal Trump Administration investigations, and the ongoing troubles Trump ("the clear and present danger"), his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn ("something wrong with him"), his Vice President Mike Pence ("Involved up to his eyeballs"), and many others. In addition to all of that and whether or not it may be heading towards impeachment, Parton also shares thoughts on Trump's overlooked recently reported threat to lock up journalists (reminding us that AG Jeff Sessions is "by far the most dangerous, malevolent person in the Administration") and offers insight on a number of late-breaking stories related to all of the above, including: Flynn, reportedly, now taking the 5th to avoid self-incrimination in response to Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenas; Trump digging himself deeper in Tel Aviv during his 9-day jaunt overseas; and now he may have even have lost a few of his own supporters following his speech on Islam in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

If you watched the new Twin Peaks over the weekend, as I did (the first two hours all year that I haven't thought about Trump, frankly!), what's going on in this Administration is even more difficult to make sense of right now, believe it or not. So, enjoy!...

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

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'Chaotic darkness' at Trump's White House; Bipartisan agreement in Congress; Flynn and Pence go cold Turkey; Eye on McGahn; More unauthorized US war in Syria; MUCH more from today's news tsunami...
By Brad Friedman on 5/18/2017 6:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we do our best to surf today's news tsunami, with a focus on a few troubling and under-appreciated stories amid the political flood pouring out of Washington and around the world in the wake of the DoJ's appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Among the huge number of quickly moving and/or under-covered stories pieced together on today's show...

  • CA Assembly bill calls for Donald Trump's impeachment;
  • U.S. launches new airstrike on Syrian forces (despite Congressional failure to authorize attacks on a sovereign nation, which could result in war with Russia);
  • Michael Flynn blocked President Obama's planned offensive against ISIS, which was opposed by Flynn's secret client Turkey;
  • Trump Team was told of FBI investigation of Flynn long before inauguration;
  • VP Mike Pence, head of Trump Transition, still claims he knew nothing about Flynn's ties to foreign nations;
  • Suspicion grows over Team Trump attorney, White House counsel Don McGahn;
  • Senate Intel Chair offers two different stories on Flynn subpoenas;
  • House Oversight Chair announces he's quitting Congress next month;
  • Mueller's appointment receives mostly bipartisan support, as....;
  • ...White House turns 'chaotically dark', cancels Kellyanne Conway appearance on Fox 'News', before...
  • Trump turns against appointment of Mueller to describe it as 'unprecedented witch hunt', which 'divides the country', even as he begins to separate himself from 'Russia collusion' and prepares to throw campaign team under the bus;
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with, among other things, a citizen call to action to save National Monuments set for possible repeal by the Trump Administration...

I wish our countries had "scandals" like this one instead...

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Guest: Former Asst. US Attorney Randall D. Eliason of GWU Law School...
By Brad Friedman on 5/17/2017 6:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast, yes, like yesterday, more huge breaking news mid-show. [Audio link follows below.]

But before we get to that, today, controversial, extremist and, perhaps, insane Milwaukee Sheriff David C. Clarke claimed today that he has been appointed to a position in Donald Trump's Dept. of Homeland Security. If true, his appointment would be disturbing. Not only given the number of people who have died in his jail cells, but also because he has, literally, called for about a million people in the U.S. to be rounded up and shipped off to Gitmo, indefinitely, without attorney or trial. Really.

Then, the fallout from yesterday's huge mid-show breaking news concerning the report that, in February, Donald Trump asked then FBI Director James Comey to end the Bureau's investigation of Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Republicans, both last night and today on Capitol Hill, are having trouble grappling with and/or responding to the news, though at least one GOP Senator, John McCain, compared what's now going on to Watergate. And committees in both the House and Senate have now asked to see the Comey memos said to document his private meetings with Trump.

And, along with all of that, the phrase "Obstruction of Justice" is being heard more and more regarding Trump's apparent efforts to shut down the FBI's probe into his campaign associates alleged coordination with Russia during the 2016 Presidential election. So, we are joined today by former Asst. U.S. Attorney, now Professor Randall D. Eliason of George Washington University Law School to discuss what "Obstruction of Justice" actually means, in both the criminal sense (as it might apply in an indictment) and in the political sense (as it might apply in Articles of Impeachment) Eliason recently discussed both applications in a lengthy article at his Sidebars Blog.

"The important thing," he tells me today, "is to distinguish between Obstruction of Justice in the broader sense --- the way the term gets thrown around a lot --- and the more narrow criminal sense of an actual criminal violation that fits the Obstruction of Justice statutes. That's a much higher standard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, all of the elements of an actual crime, as opposed to a more general claim that the President is kind of violating all these norms and rules and traditions that we have about not interfering with ongoing investigation, appearing to pressure the FBI Director, things like that."

The key issue, Eliason explains, is whether there was "corrupt intent" in the many different incidents that now appear as Trump's obstruction. "It's not enough if the President does something that just has the effect of hurting the investigation, as a kind of side effect. The prosecutor would have to show that was what he set out to do --- he had the wrongful and deliberate intent to try to thwart, in [the Flynn] case, the ongoing grand jury investigation."

As to the use of Obstruction of Justice as used in Articles of Impeachment against a President, there is a different standard, which Eliason also explains. We discuss the cases (and defenses) being built for both types of obstruction, whether a sitting President can actually be indicted on criminal charges, and also the meaning of another phrase being bandied about of late: "abuse of power".

In the course of the conversation we also discuss the likelihood of impeachment and the potential application of the 25th Amendment remedy as a way to remove Trump from power and the need for a Special Counsel to be named by the Dept. of Justice.

No sooner do we complete that conversation, than the huge news breaks late today that, indeed, former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been named by Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein as Special Counsel to take over the the FBI's probe into "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump"...

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Guest: Brennan Center's Elizabeth Goitein says Trump may have violated the law during Oval Office meeting with Russians; And then... BREAKING: Trump said to have asked Comey to shut down Flynn probe...
By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2017 5:54pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Coverage of the two (yes, two) most recent (yes, most recent) blockbuster reports regarding the President, as leaked out of the Oval Office. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up today: Washington Post's explosive report from late yesterday detailing Donald Trump's alleged (and all but confirmed by Trump himself) sharing of highly classified information (reportedly now from Israel) during his recent meeting in the Oval Office with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and Ambassador Kislyiak. The White House, largely via National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, strongly denies any wrong doing.

We're joined to discuss that and what we know and don't about it all, by Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at NYU's Brennan Center for Justice. And, unlike those who are reporting that Trump broke no laws in his alleged disclosure of sensitive information regarding ISIS, Goitein argues the case is not so clear cut.

Classification and declassification of sensitive information is spelled out by Executive Order of the President. "The existing Executive Order was written by President Obama. It is still in force unless or until Trump revokes it or replaces it," Goitein explains. "But President Obama himself would not have been bound by his own Executive Order. President Trump is not bound by that Executive Order. I think it's problematic that Presidents are not bound by their own Executive Orders. Or, I should say, it's problematic they can secretly depart from those orders. Ideally we would have a classification Executive Order that says what the President can do, even if it's just 'The President is exempt from all of these rules.'"

However, Goitein suggests that even a President could face legal exposure via the Espionage Act of 1917.

"The Executive Order is not the only law that is at play here," she tells me. "Congress has also stepped in on various occasions, to regulate the disclosure of national security information. And there are several statutes in which Congress has done that. The statute that seems most relevant here is the Espionage Act. And this is the law that President Obama infamously used to prosecute national security whistle-blowers and others who leaked information to the media, rather than actual spies and traitors, which is whom the law was designed to address. But this law, on its face, prohibits the communication of information related to the national defense --- whether that information is classified or not --- to anyone not entitled to receive it, if there's reason to believe it could be used either to harm the United States or to aid a foreign nation. So on it's face, that statute would certainly seem to apply."

I discuss that and much more with Goitein about this entire fine mess today. It's worth tuning in for that alone. But then...

Breaking hard mid-show today: The New York Times' perhaps even more explosive report detailing a memo written by then FBI Director James Comey describing his February one-on-one meeting with the President in the Oval Office, in which Comey reportedly charges that Trump requested he drop the Bureau's ongoing investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. "I hope you can let this go," Trump said to Comey, according to the Times, in an account also vigorously denied by the White House, but which, if true, would amount to a very serious case of Obstruction of Justice by the President of the United States.

If only there was a taping system of some kind in the Oval Office so we could figure out who's telling the truth.

Finally today, after disembarking from that insane news roller coaster, if only for the moment, we finish up today with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, because the planet doesn't really give a damn about either national security or politics...

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

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Guest: Election integrity and IT expert Garland Favorito of VoterGA.org...
By Brad Friedman on 5/8/2017 6:42pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A new technical analysis of the root causes of the Election Night tabulation disaster that halted counting during the U.S. House primary special election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District last month finds several "critical security flaws" in the computerized tabulation system that, the reports authors find, could affect both the highly contested upcoming June run-off, as well as other elections across Georgia and the rest of the nation. [Audio link to complete show posted at bottom of article.]

But, first today: Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates finally testified in the U.S. Senate on Monday about the concerns she relayed to White House legal counsel shortly after the January inauguration, that then National Security Advisor Michael Flynn had lied about his conversations with a Russian diplomat and had, therefore, opened himself up to compromise and blackmail. We cover some of her Congressional testimony today, which was still ongoing at airtime.

In the meantime, voters who might wish to respond at the voting booth to the many concerns about the Trump Administration continue to face new obstacles placed in their way by new Republican enacted restrictions on voting. Another example comes out of Iowa, where, on Friday, the Governor signed a bill to require one of a small number of government-issued Photo IDs at the polling place, despite any evidence that such a restriction would have prevented any voter fraud in the Hawkeye State.

But even voters who are able to cast a vote continue to have legitimate concerns as to whether their votes are counted as cast. That's certainly the case in states like Georgia, which still forces voters to vote on 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems. On today's BradCast, Garland Favorito, co-founder of the non-partisan election integrity organization VoterGA, joins us to discuss his group's disturbing new preliminary Root Cause Analysis [PDF], published late last week, finding "critical security flaws" at the heart of the computer tabulation disaster that occurred on Election Night in Fulton County during last month's U.S. House Special Election primary in Georgia's 6th Congressional District.

Favorito, a long time career IT professional, explains the group's finding of a number of serious flaws, and his response to the state's Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp who dismissed the problem, which halted vote counting for several hours on April 18th, as little more than "human error". Favorito also notes that, despite Kemp's promise of an investigation into the matter, public records requests have revealed that nobody has been assigned to carry out the probe as of last week when VoterGA issued their report.

Favorito explains that a memory card --- with results from a completely different election --- were allowed to be uploaded to the GA-06 contest on Election Night, and that the GEMS computer tabulation system (used across the state, but also used in hundreds of counties in other states as well, even on paper ballot optical-scan systems) failed to prevent the invalid data from being sent to the central tabulator.

"The system should have caught that," he tells me. "We found that to be almost amazing and we would consider those to be absolutely critical software flaws, that there was no validation" either at the remote location where results were uploaded, or at the main database server when they were received at county headquarters. "So, basically, that scenario could play itself out again almost any time." The real concern, he adds: "a bad guy could in fact legitimately change the results of an election through fraud" via these newly discovered security flaws.

When I asked Favorito whether I am right to characterize the state's Diebold touch-screen systems as "100% unverifiable," Favorito says: "You're 100% plus accurate. They are unverifiable. There is no way to detect whether or not fraud really occurred. We do not have verifiable elections in Georgia."

In hopes of avoiding another disaster, VoterGA is calling on voters to request absentee paper ballots for the much anticipated and hotly contested June 20th runoff election between Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff and his Republican opponent Karen Handel, the state's former Sec. of State, in what has already "smashed" the all-time record for the most money ever spent to win a single U.S. House election.

"You could actually conduct this race on Election Night and report the results, by paper, by hand [counting], faster than you could lugging all those expensive unverifiable machines to all the different precincts, and then going through the same upload process again just for this one race. It would be faster and cheaper. That's the irony of the whole situation," he says.

Favorito also explains what, if any, evidence of fraud was uncovered by the VoterGA analysis; SoS Kemp's failure to even respond to computer scientists and e-voting experts at Verified Voting who called for paper ballots in GA following a "massive data breach" in March at Kennesaw State University's Center for Elections, which is contracted to program all of the state's voting systems and electronic poll books; and some of the past election disasters in Georgia, such as a 2005 local tax referendum, with billions of dollars of taxes at stake in Cobb County, when hundreds of "blank" touch-screen ballots were reported in the results, despite the measure being the only item on the ballot during that special election. ("Why would voters take the time to drive to the polls, stand in line --- because it was a pretty hot issue --- sign in, go up into the voting booth, put their card in, and then decide not to cast their ballot after they got in there? That's just hard to believe. In fact, It's just unbelievable," Favorito insists.)

There's much more in today's, frankly, alarming conversation which should be of concern not just to voters of all political stripes in GA, but all across the country, given these latest findings revealing, yet again, that electronically tabulated results can be corrupted or manipulated in a way that would be virtually impossible for election officials, much less the public, to ever detect. Little wonder the latest Electoral Integrity Project report out today from Harvard and the University of Sydney, rate U.S. elections, once again, as the "worst among western democracies"...

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Guest: Marta Segura of the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute; Plus: Another immigration face-plant, another healthcare reform debacle, another Mike Flynn related embarrassment for Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 4/27/2017 6:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Trump and the GOP trip over themselves in their mad rush to his 100th day as President, while Americans plan to hit the streets yet again in protest, this time in a Saturday demonstration on behalf of Planet Earth. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Amidst the Trump Administration's panic to try and un-embarrass themselves about their historic lack of accomplishments before this weekend's "100 Day" benchmark, things only seem to be getting worse for them. Among their latest embarrassments: A new DHS program launched by the Administration to supposedly help victims of crimes purportedly committed by immigrants goes awry in several different ways; the new scramble to pass an updated health care bill in the House to replace the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") has put some Republicans in an untenable position once again, and risks undermining a separate plan to avoid another government shutdown this weekend; the Pentagon confirms that Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is under an Inspector General's investigation for allegedly failing to obtain permission for payments from foreign sources; and Sean Spicer confirms the Administration didn't even bother to run a security background check on Flynn before naming him as NSA. (So much for "extreme vetting".)

But, on Saturday, the 100th Day of his Presidency, another embarrassment awaits as thousands plan to hit the streets yet again, this time for the People's Climate March, just days after Trump signed an Executive Order attempting, for the first time in U.S. history, to reverse national monument declarations made by three former Presidents. Among the public lands Trump hopes to remove protection for, to allow oil, gas and mineral extraction: the Bears Ear National Monument in Utah, a million acres "sacred to Native Americans and home to tens of thousands of archaeological sites, including ancient cliff dwellings."

Marta Segura of the Climate Law Institute at the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute (whose modest mission is "Saving Life on Earth"), and a member of the steering committee for Los Angeles' version of this weekend's march, joins us to discuss all of that and more.

On Trump's attempt to reverse public lands declarations, Segura charges: "The agenda of the Trump Administration is to strengthen the fossil fuel industry and to give them access to lands that have not been explored for fossil fuels, and which they suspect there will be a lot of opportunity to make a lot of people, and a lot of the refineries, very rich, very fast."

"He's claiming that the government has had a 'land grab' on these lands across the nation, and has taken control without the consent of the people," she tells me. "He's misusing that term. He's basically trying to control these lands so that he can benefit the industries. The people are the ones that are benefiting from these public lands right now. That's the definition of public lands."

Speaking about this weekend's climate march and why it's separate from last weekend's March for Science, she explains why organizers in L.A. chose to hold their version of the People's Climate March near the site of a planned Tesoro Oil refinery expansion in Wilmington, near a densly populated residential area on the coast. If the expansion is allowed, she says, it would result in the "the largest refinery in the Western region. And it will be expanding at a time when we really need reductions in greenhouse gases."

"This march," Segura tells me before finishing on a hopeful note, "is for the representation and lifting voices of front-line communities who are disproportionately impacted by the greenhouse gases and pollution."

And, speaking of Planet Earth, we close today with some of Bill Maher's thoughts on hopes by some billionaires (and environmentalists) for colonizing Mars...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 4/3/2017 8:35am PT  

In August of 1822, James Madison, one of this nation's Founding Fathers, famously argued: "Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

On the other hand, on January 6, 2017, a joint Intelligence Community Report ("IC Report"), entitled "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections" explained: "The Intelligence Community rarely can publicly reveal the full extent of its knowledge or the precise bases for its assessments, as the release of such information would reveal sensitive sources or methods and imperil the ability to collect critical foreign intelligence in the future."

There is a core conflict seen in those two quotes. What we see proclaimed in the IC Report is a direct collision between self-proclaimed national security interests and the public's right to know.

There is no question that Congress has both the Constitutional right and obligation to investigate "Russia-gate". It does so in accordance with its exceedingly broad powers of oversight that include the ability to "provide new statutory controls over the executive," executive accountability and to exercise its exclusive power of impeachment.

It is really not controversial to suggest, as did The Chicago Tribune, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), and Adam Schiff (D-CA), that Congressional hearings be conducted either by an independent or select committee. But even if a reasonable level of investigative objectivity and integrity is achieved, the thorny question remains as to the extent to which such hearings, and testimony from witnesses, should be carried out in public.

It is a difficult issue that pits the public's right to know against (a) avoiding disclosure of classified information, and (b) compromising the ability of federal prosecutors to secure criminal convictions in their own parallel investigations...

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




Guest: Marcy Wheeler on the public testimony from FBI, NSA chiefs in the U.S. House Intel Committee, and the many still-unanswered questions...
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2017 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast, FBI Director James Comey and NSA chief Mike Rogers testified for more than five hours today before the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, confirming the existence of an FBI counterintelligence probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, and batting down charges by President Trump that then-President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower before leaving office. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We're joined by national security journalist Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel.com for analysis of today's long-awaited public hearing, with a focus on the many still-unanswered questions surrounding the charges of collusion between Trump and Russia and of the leaked classified information documenting a phone conversation between Trump's National Security Advisor Mike Flynn and the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Why was Flynn's part of the conversation captured and transcribed by the Intel Community in the first place, before the content of that discussion, concerning sanctions against the former Soviet Union, was leaked to media? Why wasn't Flynn's side of the discussion "masked" or "minimized", as many Americans believe is the case when it comes to the capture of information from U.S. persons during foreign counterintelligence investigations?

"Since 2008," she explains, "it's been permissible for the FBI, in whatever intercepts they get directly, to be able to go back in and look up stuff without distinction of whether the somebody is a US person or a foreigner. This is why the Republicans are so buggy about this."

"What many people are discovering, for the first time, is that the FBI can do backdoor searches. It means they do not need a warrant...where some analyst in the FBI or the NSA has decided someone is of foreign intelligence interest. The FBI doesn't need a warrant for that at all. They access that stuff without any criminal evidence against Americans. If they get a tip on you, they can look you up by your name, just on that tip alone."

Wheeler goes on to detail the legal statutes on that, the lack of public evidence concerning the alleged "cutout" between stolen DNC emails and WikiLeaks, why it took so long for Comey to inform Congress about his investigation at all (he said it's been under way since last July), questions about whether Trump and others in his Administration are susceptible to compromise by foreign agents, and whether or not she has confidence in the Congressional and FBI investigations into all of these matters.

Also today: Trump's approval rating hits a new low, and a federal appellate court protects a Constitutional right in Mississippi by blocking another GOP attempt to close the state's last remaining abortion clinic...

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

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