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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, December 13, 2019
'The President Is the Smoking Gun': 'BradCast' 12/12/19
Impeachment continues in Judiciary Comm., newspapers support; First 2020 ballots go out in 2 weeks; St. Louis County's easy move from touchscreens to hand-marked paper ballots...
'Green News Report' 12/12/19
  w/ Brad & Desi
Exxon wins climate fraud case in NY; 'Sweep-ing' changes underway in Arctic; Extreme weather threatening global food crisis; PLUS: Thunberg named Time's 'Person of the Year'...
Previous GNRs: 12/10/19 - 12/5/19 - Archives...
USMCA, UK Elections, Much More: 'BradCast' 12/11/19
Guest host Nicole Sandler with Global Trade Watch's Lori Wallach and American ex-pat Denis Campbell...
IMPEACHMENT ARTICLES FOR DONALD J. TRUMP:
'BradCast' 12/10/19
Guest Hosted by Nicole Sandler with a day of Dem whiplash on impeachment and a new trade deal; Also author Ramesh Srinivasan...
'Green News Report' 12/10/19
  w/ Brad & Desi
Heat wave for Aussie bushfires; Oceans losing oxygen; Bankrupt PG&E reaches $13.5 billion settlement; PLUS: Thousands of young activists pressure U.N. climate summit to get moving...
Previous GNRs: 12/5/19 - 12/3/19 - Archives...
'Trump a Clear and Present Danger to Elections, Nat'l Security': 'BradCast' 12/9/19
Guest Hosted by Nicole Sandler with the DOJ's IG report on the Russia probe and the latest Judiciary Comm. impeachment hearing...
Sunday 'Low Flow' Toons
When he goes low, the cartoonists in PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best political toons go lower...
U.S. Economy 'Whistling Past a Climate Graveyard':
'BradCast' 12/6/19
Guest: The Prospect's David Dayen on mag's landmark Green New Deal edition; Also: House GOPers jumping ship (several heading to jail)...
'Green News Report' 12/5/19
  w/ Brad & Desi
The hottest ten years on record; GOP Senate confirms lobbyist as Energy Sec; CA bans all new fracking, for now; PLUS: Greta Thunberg is back in Europe, with a warning for politicians...
Previous GNRs: 12/3/19 - 11/26/19 - Archives...
'A President Should Resist Foreign Interference in Our Elections, Not Demand It': 'BradCast' 12/4/19
First House Judiciary hearing on Trump's impeachable crimes w/ Heather Digby Parton...
'Abuse of Office, Abuse of Power, Abuse of the Public Trust': 'BradCast' 12/3/19
Guest: Const'l law, impeachment expert John Bonifaz; Also: Kamala out; Another bad court day for Team Trump...
'Green News Report' 12/3/19
U.N. climate summit kicks off with 'catastrophic' news in Madrid; PLUS: Residents back home after yet another petrochemical explosion in TX ruins Thanksgiving...
2019 Foreshadows 2020 Vote System Catastrophes: 'BradCast' 12/2/19
Also: Bullock out; Hunter 'guilty'; Impeachment to run right up until 2020 voting begins; L.A. County Clerk still refuses to answer Qs about his new unverifiable vote systems...
Sunday 'It's Just a Cyst' Toons
As usual, as PDiddie proves once again, there is nothing at all to worry about in his latest Sunday collection of political toons...
Don't Just Debunk the Ukraine DNC Hack Conspiracy Theory. Expose Its Absurdity.
Why the evidence-free Trump/GOP claims about Ukraine and the 2016 election make no sense whatsoever...
Turkey Day Toons!
PDiddie doesn't even take Sundays off! Did you think he would stand down for Thanksgiving?! Gobble gobble!...
Trump Is Up Schiff's Creek Without an Alibi:
'BradCast' 11/27/19
Debunking the 'impeachment is a disaster for Democrats!' lie with actual, independently verifiable facts...
'Green News Report' 11/26/19
Climate change finds way into latest Dem debate; Greenhouse gas at record highs; 2019 wettest year on record; PLUS: Oxford Dictionary's 'Word of the Year' is...
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: Constitutional expert Ian Millhiser; Also: Senate vows ObamaCare repeal vote; Dems unveil 2018 plan, put 'single-payer on the table'; Healthcare fight moves U.S. to the left; Impeachment getting popular...
By Brad Friedman on 7/24/2017 6:01pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the turmoil continues in the Senate over the GOP undead attempt to repeal health care for millions, and in the White House where Team Trump faces the ongoing investigations of the Dept. of Justice's Special Counsel. [Audio link to complete show follows at end of article.]

A new analysis out late Friday from the U.S. Senate Parliamentarian suggests that a number of provisions in the GOP's scheme to repeal and replace ObamaCare may not pass muster under Senate rules for passage under 'budget reconciliation' with just a 51 vote majority. Instead, 60 votes may be needed, in which case, the scheme may be in even more trouble than it already appears. Or, Senate Republicans could simply try to kill the legislative filibuster instead. Either way, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is promising a vote to proceed on Tuesday, even though it remains unclear exactly what Senators will be voting on.

At the same time, Democrats are unveiling their own scheme ("A Better Deal") to try and win back voters in 2018. Comments over the weekend from Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer suggest that the passionate advocacy from progressives for a "Medicare-for-all" style system (single payer) or, at least a public option for health care insurance, may finally be moving the party establishment.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump continues publicly attacking his own Attorney General Jeff Sessions and talking about Presidential pardon powers for some reason. But some of those powers, contrary to conventional wisdom, may not be as absolute as he and others have argued, including the power to pardon himself. We're joined by author and Constitutional law expert IAN MILLHISER, Senior Editor of ThinkProgress Justice, to discuss legal assessments from the Nixon era though the Clinton era through now, in regards the power of the Presidential pardon, and the dangers that power could present for Donald Trump himself if he chooses to exercise it for some of his close aides and family members.

Among the man related questions and "myths" discussed: What dangers lurk for the President from those he may pardon? Can the President really pardon himself? Can a sitting President be criminally indicted?

But, of course, much remains unknown when it comes to the various extraordinary ways we are discussing the power of the Presidential pardon, of late, because the U.S. Supreme Court has not rung in on most of it. That's because, as Millhiser notes, "most Presidents don't commit federal offenses when they're in office."

"Here's what this really comes down to: Everyone has assumed that the President would be capable of shame. I'm dead serious about that. Why did Nixon resign? He resigned because he was capable of shame," Millhiser argues. "Everyone assumes that if the President somehow was not capable of shame, then the Congress would be capable of shaming him. When you go back and you read James Madison or Alexander Hamilton, they did not understand the inevitability of political parties," Millhiser argues. "So the Constitution was written on this assumption that you've got all these ambitious people in Congress...and so if you've got a rogue President, they'll all band together to throw that President out because it's good for their careers. They did not understand that, in 2017, we would have the kind of extraordinary partisanship we have right now, where you have a President who is incapable of shame, and you have Congress controlled by the President's party, which is unwilling to do anything to undermine its party's President. Our Constitution is not fit for this set of circumstances."

Finally today, in related matters, the public is much more in favor of impeachment now than they were at the start of the Watergate scandal, four years and six months into Richard Nixon's term as President. And, speaking of public interests, it appears the GOP attempt to undermine ObamaCare has resulted in many more Americans believing the federal government has a responsibility to ensure health care coverage for all...

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

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Guest: Elizabeth Hagan of Families USA...
By Brad Friedman on 7/21/2017 5:50pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Another roller-coaster as Trump's war on his own nation and its people takes several dark and/or ominous turns. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We continue to move closer to the coming Constitutional and political crisis we discussed yesterday, as shakeups in the Trump Administration and in his legal team rocked D.C. and the nation. Embattled Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned on Friday in protest of the hiring of Fox 'News' contributor, Wall Street financier and former Goldman-Sachs executive (yes, yet another one) Anthony Scaramucci as new White House Communications Director.

Late on Thursday, Marc Corallo, the spokesman for Trump's legal team, also quit in protest of infighting among attorneys and White House officials and, specifically, due to the Administration's plan to go to war against Special Counsel Robert Mueller who is leading the Justice Department's investigation of Team Trump. At the same time, Trump appears to be going to war with the rule of law itself as the likelihood of firing Mueller and others at the Justice Department seems to be increasing each day (hour?) while the probe focuses in on Trump family finances. That has reportedly led the President to inquire about his own power to pardon staffers, family members and even himself.

Meanwhile, amidst all the noise, Senate Republicans press ahead toward votes on repealing and replacing ObamaCare (or just repealing it) in the coming days, despite questions about whether they have enough support for passage. But while Trump has, at times, called for letting the Affordable Care Act "fail" if it can't be replaced by Republicans in Congress, more and more evidence is piling up to reveal that his Administration is not just letting it fail, but actively trying to make it fail.

ELIZABETH HAGAN, Associate Director of Coverage Initiatives at Families USA, a non-partisan health care advocacy group, joins us to detail the number of ways the Administration is now, aggressively and affirmatively (and possibly unlawfully) attempting to sabotage the ACA itself, and putting at risk millions of Americans who have gained access to health care coverage, thanks to the landmark law.

"Without repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, there are a lot of things that the Trump Administration can do to undermine the law," Hagan says, detailing the effect of the Administration's cancellation of contracts this week, for in-person sign-up assistance in 18 major cities. "Consumers that have in-person assistance are twice as likely to successfully enroll as those who didn't. And I would argue that that's probably even more likely now, given all the rhetoric and attempts to undermine the law going on."

"I think it is clear that this is part of a larger effort to sabotage and undermine the Affordable Care Act, absolutely," she tells me, as we detail a number of those efforts recently reported, including changes to the Health & Human Services (HHS) and HealthCare.gov exchange websites to make sign-ups more difficult, cutting days for the open enrollment period in half for 2018, cancelling advertisements for the enrollment period, and even spending tax-payer money on propaganda videos meant to convince Americans that the law is failing, when it isn't.

"The ACA is doing well," Hagan argues, citing a great deal of evidence to support the case. "A lot of the insurance companies are finally seeing a more stable market, and the only instability that they're seeing is due to the Trump Administration."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report amidst the newly record-breaking heat of 2017, California's ambitious if controversial extension to its landmark cap-and-trade emissions law, and the President announces 45,000 new mining jobs in just his first six months of office! (In fact, there are only 800, which is 500 fewer new coal jobs than in the final six months of Obama's Administration.)

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

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Plus: On the Espionage Act's 100th Anniversary, it's now being used against whistleblowers and journalists rather than spies...
By Brad Friedman on 7/14/2017 6:15pm PT  

On today's BradCast, take your pick. Either the Trump Administration (and its cronies in Congress) are liars or completely incompetent. There is plenty of evidence for both. [Audio link for show follows below.]

For a start today, the number of people now reported to have been at that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian attorney said to have dirt on Hillary Clinton has now risen to eight. And, not single day has gone by since the revelation of that meeting one week ago, without the Team Trump explanations for it --- including from the President himself --- changing. Why?

But those aren't the stories today to suggest they are either liars or buffoons (and can't do math either.). Among the many additional stories placed into appropriate context today:

  • Trump's own Sec. of State takes a withering shot at Trump's government;
  • A congressional GOPer laments Republicans "simply don't know how to govern";
  • The non-partisan CBO finds Trump's budget doesn't actually balance (it's only off by $3.4 trillion);
  • Senate Republicans newest health care repeal plan doesn't either;
  • Some GOPers are willing to shut down the government if Trump's wall isn't funded (by tax-payers, not by Mexico, as promised);
  • Trump's border "wall" is beginning to sound exactly like Dubya and Obama's border fence (And his plans for immigration reform are beginning to sound a lot like Obama's as well.)

Given a new Pew survey finding a huge majority of Republican voters now believe higher education at universities and colleges has a "negative effect" on the country, perhaps none of today's stories should come as much of a surprise.

Finally, on the 100th Anniversary of the Espionage Act, the Committee to Protect Journalists offers a report on how, since Nixon first did so in the 70's, the Act has been misused to prosecute whistleblowers rather than spies, particularly under Obama, and how Trump may well begin using it against journalists in the bargain...

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: Pastor Malinda Harnish Clatterbuck of Lancaster Against Pipelines | Plus: GOP tries again on health care, and what is Team Trump hiding?...
By Brad Friedman on 7/13/2017 6:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Republicans in the U.S. Senate gets desperate, Team Trump keeps getting caught in lies, and an order of Catholic nuns in rural Pennsylvania takes action to block a pipeline from being built on their own land. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up: The Senate GOP today released the newest version of their attempted scheme to repeal and replace ObamaCare, and it's as bad as we'd warned it would be on our previous shows this week. The new version removes some of the tax cuts for the wealthy, but leaves in the massive Medicaid cuts that will remove health care for millions, and adds a new provision by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) that would allow private insurers to sell largely worthless health care plans to suckers in order to claim they have "lowered premiums!"

The newest proposal will also likely continue to have a very difficult time finding the 50 GOP votes needed for passage in the Senate, but it would be a huge mistake to count them out and let your guard down. As that is moving forward, with a vote said to be scheduled for next week, two House Democrats have now officially filed an Article of Impeachment against Donald J. Trump for Obstruction of Justice, and more evidence of Team Trump having lied about contacts with various Russians and other foreign agents continues to emerge. What, if anything, are they trying to hide? And why?

Then, an order of Catholic nuns in central Pennsylvania dedicated a new outdoor chapel last Sunday at the edge of a cornfield and smack-dab in the path of a planned $3 billion natural gas pipeline. PASTOR MALINDA HARNISH CLATTERBUCK of Lancaster Against Pipelines and the Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster joins us to explain the defiant action by the nuns of The Adorers of the Blood of Christ, in the ongoing attempt to block the huge "Atlantic Sunrise" pipeline from being built by a private, Oklahoma-based company. The Williams Partners company has received federal Eminent Domain orders from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that would allow them to steal the use of the land from the sisters and other residents along the 300-mile path of the massive pipeline path in rural Lancaster County, PA.

Clatterbuck scoffed at the "irreparable harm" argument being made in U.S. District Court by the company in their emergency motion, to be heard next week, against the sisters' open-air chapel . "It's really ironic that they would use that language when the harm that they are proposing to do, not just to Lancaster County, but to the whole extension of Central Pennsylvania with this pipeline, would be violating the waterways --- 380-some waterways --- this pipeline would be crossing. And it would be going through more than 250 wetlands. And permanently fragmenting over 44 deep forests. I feel like that's irreparable harm that we're really pushing back against," she tells me.

"The audacity of an industry to feel as though they have an entitlement to put a pipeline wherever they want to is unfathomable to me," the pastor and longtime community organizer says, while responding to Williams' statement that they have no problem with peaceful protest by the nuns, as long as they move their chapel to a different location on the land they have owned for almost 100 years. "Isn't that amazing, how arrogant they are? It's not their property. This is the nuns' property. And the nuns have a right to do on their property what they want, right? Isn't this America?"

Paging Sean Hannity! (Who used to pretend to be infuriated by eminent domain...at least when it was done by Democratic Administrations.) And, paging Republicans and Donald Trump! (Who still pretend to be infuriated by encroachments on "religious freedoms," such as when other Catholic nuns, like the Little Sisters of the Poor, challenged the contraceptives mandate of ObamaCare.)

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on the Delaware-sized iceberg that has just broken off of Antarctica, Tesla's plan to build the world's largest battery in just 100 days (or it's free!), and much more, including a Phoenix weatherman who has been lying to his viewers --- over our public airwaves --- about global warming...in the middle of yet another record heat wave...

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: Lisa Gilbert, Public Citizen's VP of Legislative Affairs...
By Brad Friedman on 7/12/2017 6:09pm PT  

On today's BradCast, good-ish news on several fronts. But only good-ish. That said, we'll take what we can get these days. [Audio link to complete show is posted below.]

First up: Hackers have been stealing thousands of credit card numbers and social security numbers from Donald Trump's hotels for months. Years, actually. But, other than that, no need to worry about his ability to oversee our nation's cybersecurity. (Or, for that matter, the security of private voter registration data his so-called "Election Integrity Commission" has requested from all 50 states.)

In related-ish news, Trump is reportedly furious in the wake of Donald Trump Jr.'s recently revealed meeting with a Russian attorney who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton during the campaign last year. But, he's not mad at Trump Jr., he's mad at the media for reporting it, apparently, and at dozens and dozens of sources inside his own White House and otherwise close to him, who keep leaking these sorts of things to the press.

In turn, even Congressional Republicans (including folks like Rep. Trey "Benghazi" Gowdy) are growing increasingly furious at the Administration, as their legislative agenda continues to be sidetracked by the ever-growing turmoil of the seemingly hapless Team Trump.

Nonetheless, Senate Republicans say they are planning to unveil the newest version of their health care repeal on Thursday, with a vote planned for early next week. The good-ish news is that they've reportedly removed some of the huge tax cuts to the wealthy from the bill in hopes of winning enough GOPers for approval in the chamber. But the huge cuts to Medicaid are said to still be in the legislation, which means it may still have the same problem finding 50 votes for passage in the Senate.

All of that, even as a new study finds that the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare"), which Republicans hope to dismantle, isn't in the "death spiral" Republicans and Trump continue to pretend it is. In fact, the study finds the landmark health care law is having its best year yet, and is actually more healthy and profitable than ever, despite continuing attempts by the GOP and White House attempts to undermine it.

Finally today, some more good-ish news as the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), created in response to the 2007 global banking crisis, has finally enacted a new rule to curb fine-print "arbitration clauses" in contracts that prevent customers from being able to sue banks and credit card companies who are ripping them off.

Public Citizen's Vice President of Legislative Affairs, LISA GILBERT, joins us today to explain the good-ish news, and the Republicans' plan to undermine it all together as soon as humanly possible.

"We call them 'rip-off clauses' because that is exactly what they do. Many people sign contracts without reading the tiny fine print --- we would say most --- and in those contracts, whether it's with a financial institution, whether it's a credit card, whether it's a cell phone contract, people are foreclosed on the right to sue a company if it wrongs them," Gilbert explains. "If they can't sue, they are instead forced into arbitration. It's a kangaroo court set up. It's something the corporation itself funds and pays for, so you can imagine, it is biased in their direction. Few people ever go to it at all, but when they do, they tend to lose. So it's a way for corporations to get out of jail free if they rip off their customers."

After a 5-year process, the CFPB has finally enacted the regulation as called for by the Dodd-Frank Act. So, naturally, Republicans already have several plans in place to kill it. Unless you stop them...

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: Princeton political historian Prof. Julian Zelizer...
By Brad Friedman on 6/1/2017 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Making history and breaking history. From historic worldwide climate pacts to nuclear arms treaties, from Trump and Russia to Nixon and the Soviet Union and back again. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First, in an historic Rose Garden speech on Thursday, President Donald Trump --- against the advice of world leaders, major American companies, and even many in his own Administration --- announced his intention of pulling the U.S. out of the historic Paris Climate Agreement. The landmark 2015 pact is signed by nearly 200 nations and was crafted as part of a 20-year U.N. effort to decrease greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, in hopes of avoiding the worst effects of man-made climate change.

Trump's announcement has largely been met with worldwide derision from China to India to Russia to the EU and back here at home. And his announced intention of "renegotiating" a different deal was quickly nixed today by France, Germany and Italy. We offer extended experts from Trump's remarks announcing his intention to withdraw, some much-needed fact-checking, and a look at where the tortured decision --- which will take four years and another Presidential election --- leaves the U.S.

But, as that unfortunate history was being made today, we also take a look back at historic parallels for the recently reported, and seemingly bizarre, attempt by Trump's son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner to create a secret back-channel line of communications with Russia during last year's Presidential transition.

Princeton University political history professor and author Julian E. Zelizer, joins us to describe two different similar back-channels created with two different countries (including one to Russia --- actually, then, the Soviet Union) by Richard Nixon, both during his campaign and his transition.

One such line of secret diplomacy, Zelizer explains, turned out to be hugely successful for both the U.S. and USSR alike. The other...well, it didn't turn out so well, even as we've only learned details about both in recent years. Zelizer also describes the recent history of diplomatic back-channel diplomacy by Presidents other than Nixon and Trump, offers a few other uncomfortable parallels for the current President, and explains why Kushner's purported scheme to use Russian facilities to speak with the Kremlin is so bizarre, even, apparently, to the Russians themselves.

"Part of the idea that both Richard Nixon believed in, and his top National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, was that there needed to be a new approach to handling U.S. relations with the Soviet Union," Zelizer tells me. "The key to doing this was simply opening up the lines of dialogue. [Kissinger] sets up a back-channel, as it was called, to the Soviet ambassador, which is top secret. He believed this had to be done around the existing government bureaucracy. They were worried about leaks, they were worried about political push-back."

"Nixon was totally paranoid and frightened about the existing bureaucracy in the State Department, and to some extent in the Defense Department, and was really determined to try to do things --- which would ultimately lead to his downfall --- on his own. And to have these kinds of communications without the official government knowing what he was doing, and subverting him."

Sound familiar? In that case, as Zelizer writes at CNN, it was actually a huge success that eventually resulted in the SALT I Agreement to limit nuclear weapons in both nations. The other Nixon back-channel was far more nefarious, dealing with his campaign's attempt to scuttle peace talks by Lyndon Johnson in Vietnam before his election.

In both Nixon cases, it took years before we even learned about any of it. In the more recent case of Kushner and Russia, Zelizer notes, "There's a lot of uncertainty, both about context and the substance of this effort, which is why it is something that's raised a lot of suspicion and is the focus of an investigation. It's not the back-channel, it's what this back-channel was meant to do and why it was being put into place --- if it's true."

Finally, Desi Doyen re-joins us for special, breaking Green News Report coverage of, well...see if you can guess...

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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White House 'sources' say Trump plans to pull out of landmark Paris Climate Agreement, but will he really? And what happens if he does?...
By Brad Friedman on 5/31/2017 5:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Trump Administration leaks the suggestion that they, are indeed, planning to drop out of the historic 2015 world pact to limit the dangerous global rise of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions in order to prevent, or at least stall, the worst effects of climate change. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The comments from unnamed White House sources today that President Donald Trump plans to withdraw from the landmark U.N. Paris Climate Agreement are ricocheting across the globe. But will he really drop out? If so, what do leaders from the rest of the world --- friend and foe --- have to say about it? What do leaders here in the U.S. think? What do senior members of his own administration think? What will Trump's own voters think?

And how can it be that Republicans have been so wrong, for so long, even now, on the issue, including over the past decade when they insisted over and again that China and India would never be willing to cut emissions? (Both countries are willing and have each reaffirmed their commitment to the pact, despite Trump's threats to get out.)

How would the decision effect both the global climate itself and the United States' standing in the world? What are the costs financially of ceding leadership on issues of energy and climate, particularly at a moment when the costs of renewable energy like wind and solar are absolutely plummeting and even many fossil fuel companies (and even some coal companies!) are both recognizing the dangers of global warming and encouraging Trump to stay in the agreement with nearly 200 other nations?

What are Trump's legal options for getting out of the pact, and what the hell explains his grievance and bizarre affection for the dying and dirty coal industry, anyway? Oh, and what do ExxonMobil shareholders think about it all?

Those are just some of the many questions asked and answered on today's show, featuring Desi Doyen of The Green News Report, at this perilous moment in world history...

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

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Also: Trump travel ban blocked by full Appeals Court; UK furious at Admin over intel leaks; Trump praises Philippines extrajudicial murders; More...
By Brad Friedman on 5/25/2017 5:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast, one of the most amazing candidate meltdowns ever seen (or, in this case, heard) and how the Speaker of the House hopes to look the other way in the event that he wins anyway. But that's just the tip of today's news iceberg(s). [Audio link to show posted below.]

In one of the most remarkable Election Eve unravelings ever by a U.S. candidate for...pretty much anything, Republican U.S. House candidate Greg Gianforte melted down on the eve of what should have been an easy victory in his statewide Special Election for Montana's only U.S. House seat against Democratic candidate Rob Quist. Instead, in an incident caught on stunning audio tape and witnessed by Fox "News" reporters, Gianforte "body slammed" a Guardian reporter, has been charged with assault, and saw his newspaper endorsements rescinded on the night before voters went to the polls on Thursday.

But many voters already cast their vote by absentee ballot by time of the Wednesday incident, and House Speaker Paul Ryan suggests he'll accept whatever results are reported from the election. That, as I explain today, conveniently ignores Congress's Article 1, Section 5 Constitutional right (and duty) to determine who is actually seated in the House of Representatives. It's a right they have exercised on a number of other controversial elections in the past, so surely Ryan is familiar with that. But, of course, we'll soon see (hopefully) who voters in Montana have decided they want for their only Representative in the U.S. House.

At the same time, it was another enormous news day in which Donald Trump's second attempted travel ban Executive Order was blocked, yet again, this time by the full U.S. 4th Circuit of Appeals. His Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced he will appeal the case to the GOP's stolen U.S. Supreme Court.

Also today, yet another embarrassment for the Trump Administration, which was publicly taken to task by British Prime Minister Theresa May for leaking British intelligence to media regarding the UK's Manchester Bombing investigation. The leaks not only invoked the wrath of (and temporarily stopped intelligence sharing from) the United States' closest ally, but it was hardly the only highly sensitive information recently and inappropriately disclosed to friend and foe alike by Trump and/or his Administration in recent days.

And, in a (related) news item we didn't get to yesterday, after disclosing the whereabouts of two U.S. nuclear submarines, it appears Trump actually praised Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte during a recent phone call for the "unbelievable...great job" he has done on that nation's drug epidemic --- in which thousands of people have been murdered in a brutal extrajudicial campaign carried out by Duterte's police force.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us with a jam-packed Green News Report, before still more news breaks at the buzzer, reportedly finding Trump's top adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner 'under FBI scrutiny' in the Bureau's ongoing Trump/Russia probe...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/13/2017 5:55pm PT  

It's a serious question. Is Donald Trump insane? You can offer your opinion on my Twitter poll, if it's still open. But, on today's BradCast, we examine just some of the evidence, as our unstable U.S. President threatens war against the unstable leader of North Korea, with potentially unspeakable consequences now hanging dangerously in the balance. [Audio to today's show follows below.]

Among the stories on today's program:

  • U.S. drops the largest non-nuclear bomb ever deployed, for the first time, in the 15th year of our war in Afghanistan;
  • Coalition forces "misdirected" air strike in Syria, killing 18 allied fighters;
  • Japan's Prime Minister warns that nuclear armed North Korea could deploy chemical weapons in response to U.S. provocation, as Trump sends U.S. Navy battle group to Korean Peninsula in advance of an anticipated NK nuclear test;
  • Russian Asia expert warns a conventional weapons attack by North Korea against South Korea's nuclear power plants could result in "five-six Chernobyl-type disasters";
  • Over the past 48 hours, Trump completely reverses long-held positions on NATO, U.S. military strength, China currency manipulation, and more, and reveals that he learned, after speaking with China's President "for 10 minutes" recently that China's relationship with North Korea is "not so easy" (before threatening to "go it alone" in a strike against North Korea, which, he says, "means going it with lots of other nations");
  • EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt goes on Fox "News" today to blatantly lie about U.S., China, and India's obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the UN's landmark Paris Climate Agreement;
  • Proposed cuts to specific EPA programs are draconian, dangerous and ridiculous;
  • And, to help us forget about all of the above, Canada's Prime Minister introduces legislation to legalize recreational marijuana across their entire country...

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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