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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...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
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On today's BradCast, guest hosted by my own self, Angie Coiro, we have a whole passel of topics to cover.
First up, we deal as quickly as possible with the latest eye-rolling idiocy from Trump. Then - what a contrast! - the amazing, multi-faceted GEORGE LAKEY – long-time activist and educator who’s been arrested for righteous causes more times than he can remember. His latest book Viking Economics explores four Scandinavian countries, and how their democratic socialist economic models can transfer to the US. Maybe we should at least look at countries that have eliminated poverty – yes, he says: eliminated poverty.
There’s a lot that’s heartbreaking about Erica Garner suffering a heart attack reportedly brought on by asthma. Turns out there’s a racial component to that, with African American children twice as likely to suffer from asthma. Following that – a conversation with JAMES FORMAN, JR. He puts the ongoing battle for equal rights and respect in the context of drug laws passed and enforced by well-meaning minorities. Those very groups have suffered the most from those laws.
Finally – who got those holiday gifts out of those big-box warehouses so they could sparkle under your tree? With Amazon and other retailers reporting record sales, JESSICA BRUDER introduces a hidden subculture: white, formerly middle class Americans living on the roads, moving from job to job with the seasons. It’s a strange, symbiotic relationship between these mobile citizens and the companies that hire them: Amazon, Walmart, state and federal park concessionaires, food giants. The companies provide living accommodations but barely-living wages; some nomads work 24 hours a day while getting paid for eight. Jessica’s book Nomadland was selected by the New York Times as one of the 100 notable books of 2017.
Download MP3 or listen online below...
On today's BradCast, one last battle over democracy before 2017 comes to a close, and an early look forward to the battles --- and, perhaps, "democracy's revenge" --- that lie ahead in 2018. [Audio link to show follows below.]
In his last minute bid to prevent final certification of the first Democrat to be elected to the U.S. Senate in more than two decades, Alabama's Republican candidate Roy Moore filed an 80-page lawsuit [PDF] late Wednesday night alleging massive "voter fraud" and other somewhat confusing irregularities are to blame for his December 12 Special Election loss to the Democratic candidate Doug Jones.
A state court judge quickly dismissed Moore's complaint on Thursday morning and Jones was certified shortly thereafter as having defeated him by nearly 22,000 votes out of some 1.3 million cast. Jones will fill the seat vacated by Alabama's former Republican Senator turned Donald Trump's U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions shortly after the new year.
We're joined today by long-time BRAD BLOG legal analyst ERNEST A. CANNING who largely dismisses the allegations detailed in Moore's suit. Though, as we discuss, the GOP may have themselves to blame for making it difficult, if not impossible, for federal candidates in Alabama (and elsewhere) to ensure the accuracy of computer-reported vote tallies, even when they are based, as in AL, on hand-marked paper ballots scanned by computer systems but never verified for accuracy by human beings.
Moore's complaint, Canning adds, is also deficient when it comes to presenting any actual hard evidence of fraud by voters. The controversial Republican cites statistical analyses focusing on high turnout in a number of African-American districts said to contrast with Exit Poll data, and the affidavit of one poll worker who claims she saw more out-of-state IDs than usual used by voters even though that's perfectly lawful under the state's strict Photo ID voting restriction. Beyond that, no hard evidence is offered by the complaint to prove that any illegal votes were cast in the election, much less thousands of them.
Then, we discuss two of Canning's recent articles at The BRAD BLOG, both looking forward towards what he describes as the possibility of "democracy's revenge" in 2018. In one, he details why every single Republican U.S. House member from California could be in jeopardy of losing their seat in the "deep blue" state next year. In the other, he lays out what he describes as "Revolutionary Strategies to End GOP Rule in 2018" across the nation.
The CA attorney and 2016 Senior Adviser to Veterans for Bernie also discusses the need for "political maturity" among both progressive and establishment Democrats alike, in order to effectively take on the GOP following the 2016 election of Trump and his compliant Republicans in Congress who, he argues, have since revealed their true nature of legislating only for the benefit of the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class.
Desi Doyen then joins us for our final Green News Report of 2017, rounding up both the good and horrific news over the past year, including, despite Trump's best efforts, a number of very hopeful signs for the environment as we head into 2018. And, finally, we close with one last punch in the face at the intolerable and seemingly endless 2017, from comedian Lewis Black.
Angie Coiro guest-hosts for us on tomorrow's BradCast, and Desi and I will see you again after the New Year holiday! Until then, my thanks to those of you who have answered our call by stopping by BradBlog.com/Donate in support of our efforts to try and continue our work --- over your public airwaves --- as long as possible into the new year!
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: 2017 leaves parting gift, dumping record snowfall in Pennsylvania; Southern California's Thomas Fire is now the largest in state history; 2017 to rank among top three hottest years ever recorded; PLUS: The clean energy revolution is unstoppable, no matter what Trump does... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): The 10 Most Important U.S. Climate Stories in 2017; How Big Oil lost control of its climate disinformation machine; Climate change is happening faster than predicted; Climate change is creating more refugees, so why don't they count as refugees?; Pentagon strategy document will not include climate change; Pebble Mine kicks of permit process; EPA officials are leaving in droves; Fossil fuel industry makes huge investment in plastics production; How much it will cost the United States to save itself from rising seas over the next 50 years?...PLUS: Megadisasters devastated America this year. They’re going to get worse... and much, MUCH more! ...
On today's BradCast, the GOP has made an industry out of protecting their power and their Presidents, from Richard Nixon right up through Donald Trump. And neither the Democrats nor the corporate media seem to have figured out how to counter the Right's radical transformation of the American political landscape over the past 40+ years. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]
But first today, a bit of voting and election news: A federal judge on Friday, just before the Christmas holiday, found in favor of Maine's Democratic Sec. of State Matt Dunlap after he was forced to sue Donald Trump's so-called "Election Integrity" Commission headed up by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas' Republican Sec. of State --- and infamous GOP "voter fraud" fraudster --- Kris Kobach. Dunlap had sued because, even though he is on the Commission itself, Kobach and the other rightwing fraudsters on it had been withholding documents and keeping Dunlap completely out of the decision making process. While that was a loss for the Government, a separate lawsuit against the Commission, filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), was rejected by a federal Appeals Court on Tuesday, on the basis that the group did not have standing to sue.
Also today, an update on the November 7th, 94th District Virginia House of Delegates race where Democrat Shelly Simonds appeared to have unseated Republican David Yancey by one single vote, until one of the Republican election official judges decided, the day after a "recount" was completed last week, that a previously discarded over-vote ballot [JPG] was actually a vote for the Republican after all. A three-judge court panel of GOP-appointed judges agreed, which meant the race was tied and the winner would be determined --- along with the balance of control of the Virginia House, which had been controlled by the GOP for decades --- by a random draw. That draw, scheduled for Wednesday, was postponed late on Tuesday by the state's Election Commission at Simonds request, while she challenges the three-judge panel's ruling in court.
Then, with the calls intensifying from the Fox "News" rightwing for Trump to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, are Democrats doing enough to counter the Constitutional Crisis that would likely ensue if he did so? For that matter, how have we arrived at a moment in American history when an investigation by a Republican Special Prosecutor into the firing of a Republican FBI Director by a Republican President can be considered a partisan Democratic witch hunt?!
JON SCHWARZ of The Intercept joins us to discuss the historical chain of events, connecting the dots of lawless GOP Presidential administrations from (at least) Richard Nixon up through Donald Trump, to illustrate exactly how we got here. In his recent historical essay, he details a fairly direct line of actions taken by the right during and after Nixon, right up through the present, that has largely prevented real accountability for lawless Republican Presidents, while both the Democrats and the corporate media have continued to pull their punches for various reasons.
"The history of Watergate has been completely rewritten in the past 45 years," Schwarz explains. "The reality is that it just barely succeeded. All of the investigations, all of the obvious, blatant wrongdoing by Nixon was just barely enough to get him out of office. Under other circumstances --- if the Republicans had controlled Congress, if they'd had Fox News then, if they'd had decades of appointing people to the courts --- it's very likely that Nixon would have stayed in office, and people would remember it as just a minor blip."
As is, he tells me, Nixon still escaped accountability for the worst of his crimes including collusion with a foreign power which resulted in the deaths of thousands of Americans, and an untold number of others in Indochina. "It's kind of shocking how this has been completely kept out of history."
Nonetheless, during his administration, a young Nixon staffer by the name of Roger Ailes came up with "A Plan for Putting the GOP on TV News," which would eventually become Fox "News", while a separate if related scheme by a future Supreme Court Justice that became known as the "Powell Memo", helped to restructure the federal judiciary and paved the way for the corporate takeover of our electoral and political system. "It describes exactly what has happened for the last forty, forty-five years," Schwarz notes. "They laid out a plan and they executed it, and it worked."
And now, we live in a world where only Republicans allowed to be appointed to investigate Presidents, whether they are Republicans or Democrats, and only Republicans have ever been appointed as FBI Directors, even by Democratic Presidents. And, despite that, we now hear the ever-increasing drumbeat charging that Mueller's investigation is a "partisan Democratic witch hunt", leaving Dems fighting among themselves as to whether they should push for impeachment, and the media pulling punches when reporting on GOP Administrations.
"If Hillary Clinton were President and had done the things that Donald Trump has done," Schwarz argues, "everyone knows she would have already been impeached 97 times."
Finally, we close today with some related listener e-mail, a few more thoughts on the Powell Memo, and a few words of thanks to those of you who have stopped by BradBlog.com/Donate to help us try and continue BradCasting into the new year...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)
"We must become the change we wish to see in the world" - Mohandas Gandhi
In a recent article, I explored the question as to whether California Congressional Republicans should now be looked upon as an endangered species.
The article touched upon the declining numbers of registered California Republican voters, the fact that no Republican official has won a race for statewide office since 2006, and the fact that the Trump/GOP oligarchic agenda is so immensely unpopular, especially in "deep blue" California, that no incumbent Congressional Republican seat in the state should be considered a lock as we head into 2018.
But, political transformation cannot be accomplished by simply sitting back and waiting for the GOP to self-destruct, as hard as they seem to be working toward that goal. Instead, the great masses of the American electorate, who's economic survival has been threatened by the greed of the privileged few, must coalesce into an active and overwhelming political force prepared to make 2018 the year of democracy's revenge...
On today's BradCast: We're back at work between the holidays, even as the President only pretends to be. But maybe that's a good thing. For everyone. [Audio link to today's show is posted below.]
(Also, my thanks once again to Angie Coiro of In Deep Radio for filling in for us on Friday! Her must-listen exclusive interview with former Vice President Al Gore is right here!)
Over the weekend before Christmas there were several noteworthy federal court rulings against the Trump Administration. Among them, one blocked a plan by Trump's Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agency to overturn an Obama Administration rule meant to help low-income Americans obtain affordable housing as of January 1, 2018. The judge ruled Trump's HUD overturned Obama's new rule arbitrarily, with no supportable reason for doing so, which is unlawful. Another federal court over the holiday weekend partially lifted parts of Trump's third attempt at banning travelers and refugees from several Muslim-majority countries. The Administration claimed they were doing so for national security purposes. The judge determined that national security was actually threatened by the ban itself.
As the President pretended, on Tuesday, to be "back to work" --- before playing another round of golf on his 85th day of staying at one of his own branded properties during his Presidency --- we discuss a number of the ongoing hoaxes played by him and fellow Republicans on the American people, beginning with the absurd, Fox "News"-created "War on Christmas".
"I can't even believe I have to say this," Parton tells me with no small amount of exasperation, but "how far have we come that we are actually at a point that we have to prove that there was no 'War on Christmas'?" Good question, since it seems a non-trivial number of Trump supporters actually believe there was/is such a war. That said, as she further observes, it's become very difficult to know who really believes what anymore and who is playing whom at the end of a remarkably "disorienting" (to say the least) first year of Trump's Presidency.
"If you go over to Fox News, or you look at any of the rightwing media, or talk radio, of course, it's no longer that we're just arguing over stuff," she says, "they're in a completely different dimension than we are. The arguments they are having are not arguments that are taking place in our world. They're not arguing with real people. We're not existing on the same level of reality."
While the "War on Christmas" is a pretend reality, the "War for Truth," on the other hand, is "definitely raging," she argues. Among the many truths and frauds we seek to highlight during our conversation today: we discuss the GOP tax bill and whether voters will be moved by it to vote Republican in 2018 as the GOP seems to think; whether media (and Democrats) will stop falling for the mostly phony "economic concerns" of many Trump voters ("It was not based on economics, it was based on resentment," she argues); whether Democrats should or will take the bait being offered by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to work across the aisle next year as both he and Trump now claim to want after a year of shutting Dems out of the Congressional process entirely; whether Truth Warrior Al Franken should have resigned from the U.S. Senate amid sexual misconduct claims; and what "Digby" finds herself most surprised by as Trump wraps up his intolerably long first year in office...
Just a quick note --- that I'll pin up on top here for a few days (scroll down for the latest) --- to ask, if you've got anything leftover after Christmas, to drop a few dollars in the BRAD BLOG tip jar.
We are at a very crucial moment, both here at the blog, on the daily radio show and on the Green News Report, and very much need your support to try and keep going with all of the above. If you can help with either a one-time donation, or a more long-term, automated monthly donation, it would be very much appreciated as we head into another new year.
While some Presidents say it's "back to work" after Christmas, before going on to Tweet about Fox "News" and hitting the golf course for the 85th time in less than a year --- and some radio shows run re-broadcasts during the time between Christmas and New Years, we'll be on the job with fresh shows and blog items all week! So, thanks in advance for any support you can muster for what we do here. We rely on you!
Also, while I have you here, if you haven't had time to listen to Angie Coiro's exclusive interview with Al Gore from Friday's BradCast, I'd strongly recommend you carve out some time do yourself a holiday favor and give it a listen. I believe it's the best, most informative, most personal interview I've ever heard with the former Vice President, and I'm both grateful to Angie for bringing it to us and very proud we are able to share it with you on The BradCast!
Anyway, back to work here, my thanks to all of you for your support over an impossible year, and my even greater thanks for whatever help you can offer for the days ahead via BradBlog.com/Donate (or just use the form below)! Here's to a very merry holiday season, somehow, and a happy new year!
- Brad (and Desi and Ernie and 'PDiddie' and Angie and all the other BradBloggers and Casters by proxy!)
On today's BradCast, I’m happy to sit in for Brad again with a holiday offering and a former Vice President of the United States. [Audio link posted below.]
As the latest blob of crap --- the new tax law --- floats out of Congress and the White House, how about a change of pace: a little hope? Not fairy-tale and pixie-dust hope, but realistic ideas for tackling former VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE tells me is the biggest challenge ever to face the human race: global warming, aka climate change.
The former Veep is also founder and chair of The Climate Reality Project. Eleven years after the original Inconvenient Truth film and book comes his latest, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. I spent an hour on stage with Gore for my own show, In Deep with Angie Coiro, talking about both the book and its companion documentary.
It seems the right note to strike here on The BradCast as well, when everything is pretty damned bleak. Gore is a walking lesson in how to realistically assess our situation, then push forward with what can be changed. As he says, change can take longer than you expect, then suddenly come faster (and better) than you hoped.
Special thanks to the Kepler's Literary Foundation in Menlo Park, California, who co-produced the original event, and to Brad for his enthusiasm in bringing you highlights of it on The BradCast...
Download MP3 or listen online below...
[Photo credit: Irene Searles/KLF]
On today's BradCast: He's a mean one. But you already knew that. So, we'll try not to let him ruin Christmas, at least if we can help it. [Audio link to today's show follows below.]
As Christmas nears, why not become even more of a pariah to the rest of the world by literally threatening friends and foes alike at the United Nations over Trump's unpopular plan to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the divided city of Jerusalem? That's what UN Ambassador Nikki Haley did on Thursday, and it wasn't taken kindly --- by friend or foe. She also repeatedly lied about support from Americans for the dangerous scheme. (They're strongly against it, including a plurality of American Jews, though Trump and the GOP's big donors are in favor of it.) The move is just the latest by this Administration to cause U.S. standing in the world to plummet even further since taking office. So much for making American "great again".
But, there is some good news today for Americans who favor health care, as the Administration is forced to admit that sign-ups for the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") this year were nearly as high as they were under President Obama last year, despite the Trump Administration defunding advertisement and assistance for the Open Enrollment period, cutting its length in half, and Trump's repeated lies that is Obamacare is "dead", "gone", "imploding", etc. In the bargain, as many Americans now favor government-run healthcare as those who prefer a private healthcare system. That, after Americans had previously preferred a private insurance system by nearly 30 points in the same poll back in 2010, before Obamacare was initially enacted.
And more good news before the holidays: another completely unqualified nominee for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench has withdrawn, though the GOP is still jamming similarly unqualified nominees through the Senate confirmation process at a record pace.
Next, Desi Doyen joins us for another busy Green News Report with some discouraging news, with the passage of the GOP tax bill, for the pristine Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and for victims of our quickly increasing climate-fueled natural disasters, but also some encouraging news elsewhere in the world.
And, finally, since it's Desi and my last show before Christmas --- (Though not the last BradCast before Christmas! Angie Coiro sits in for tomorrow's show with her exclusive interview with AL GORE!) --- it seems only fitting today to end today with a dramatic holiday reading of How the Trump Stole America.
Merry Christmas, Bedford Falls!...
(h/t Mark Fiore for today's logo graphic!)
PLEASE NOTE: We are at a very critical time for both The BRAD BLOG and The BradCast! Please consider donating here (or on the form below) to help us keep telling the truth on the blog and over your public airwaves as long as possible! Both one-time donations and, especially, monthly subscriptions are greatly appreciated!!!
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: A reprieve for renewable energy, but not for disaster victims, in Republicans' massive tax cut bill; GOP achieves their dream of drilling in Alaska's pristine National Wildlife Refuge; Australia finds renewable energy more reliable than coal; PLUS: California's Thomas Fire now 2nd largest in state history... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Trump signs executive order to expand critical minerals production; EPA delays implementing ban on toxic chemicals; Trump EPA pick for Chicago cut enforcement in WI; Plastic ocean pollution now found in seafood; France law bans all oil and gas production by 2040; Mistral declared in Bundy Ranch armed standoff; Jakarta is sinking fast; Beavers emerge as agents of Arctic destruction (besides humans, that is); Electric trucks quietly report for duty across U.S. without all the fumes; Ottawa plans to declare deadly hydrogen sulfide gas is non-toxic; Nebraska regulators deny TransCanada request on Keystone XL route... PLUS: Republicans blow their chance to pass a carbon tax... and much, MUCH more! ...
On today's BradCast: An all too remarkable reminder that every vote --- every single vote --- matters. Or should, with control of the Virginia's House of Delegates and, potentially, healthcare for hundreds of thousands now at stake amid a remarkable "recount" in the state. Also, now that the massive GOP tax bill has been passed, are Democrats still relying too much on potential findings of the Special Counsel and the possibility of impeachment in 2018? [Audio link to today's show follows below.]
Just after our show yesterday, the Commonwealth of Virginia completed a partial-machine, partial-hand "recount" of one of last month's House of Delegates races that, by one single vote, appeared last night to hand the victory to the Democratic candidate Shelly Simonds. One single vote. If Democrats pick up that seat, it would, in turn, end decades of Republican-majority control of the House, with a 50/50 seat split among Ds and Rs. Before the November 7 election, Republicans held a 66-34 seat advantage.
It appeared, as of last night, to be a done deal, with the Dem having been declared the winner after the "recount" by one vote on the state's hand-marked paper ballots and the Republicans having conceded the race. (Virginia finally got rid of all of its 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems this after.) The bi-partisan election official judges signed off on Tuesday's new tally, handing the victory to Simonds over Republican David Yancey who had led by just 10 votes prior to the "recount".
But on Wednesday morning, a GOP election official judge had second thoughts about one ballot which, previously, the judges had unanimously determined to be an overvote --- with a selection in the bubbles for both the Democrat Simonds and for the incumbent Republican Yancey. The Simonds bubble, however, appears to have a slash through it. The rest of the selections on the ballot were for Republicans, though the choice for the Republican candidate for Governor also appears to have a cross through it, with no other candidate selected by the voter in that race. (The full ballot in question can be viewed here [JPG].)
So, after a two hour court hearing on Wednesday, it was decided by a three-judge panel that the race was/is a tie instead, with 11,608 votes for each candidate. That means control of the VA House --- and the increased possibility of health care coverage via Medicaid expansion for nearly half a million Virginians --- will be left up to a random draw to see who wins the seat.
There are, of course, still many questions about this story, which was still breaking as we went to air today. The "losing" candidate after the random draw will also be able to ask for a second "recount". We discuss all of those questions, the ballot, the "recount" methods used in the state, the state's published guidelines [PDF] for counting various types of questionably hand-marked paper ballots in VA, and much more related to this remarkable episode, including whether digitally scanned "Ballot Images" from Election Night may exist to determine whether the cross-out on the ballot in question was there originally or added somehow during the post-Election Night chain of custody. (The city of Newport News, where this election in the 94th District was held, does appear to have the type of computer-scanners that create digital ballot images, though I've yet to hear back from the Registrar if those systems were set to retain the images after scanning them.)
It should also be noted here that Democrats received some 53% of the vote, compared to just 43% for Republicans across the state when the entire House was up for grabs in November. Nonetheless, as things currently stand, Democrats may only achieve a 50/50 split in the House. That should offer an idea of how badly the Republicans have gerrymandered the state.
Also, a separate recount for a separate very close VA House of Delegates race is still pending, though Democrats there are suing for a completely new election, since at least 100 voters were given the wrong ballot in a race currently decided for the Republican incumbent --- before the "recount" --- by just 82 votes.
Then, we're joined today by JEET HEER, Senior Editor at New Republic to discuss the final passage of the GOP's massive tax cuts, largely for the wealthy, how Democrats are responding to them, and whether or not they are over-relying on the possibility of impeachment to take down President Trump as they head into the 2018 mid-term election year. Heer argued as much in a recent article discussing "the Democrats' dangerous obsession with impeachment". It's a highly debatable subject, about which I am of at least two minds, as discussed in detail with Heer on today's show.
Finally, we close with Bernie Sanders' late-night response to the passage of the $1.5 trillion tax bill in the middle of the night on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning in the U.S. Senate, and how the GOP is now planning to come for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in order to pay for it...
On today's BradCast: Is it time for Dems to run on soaking the rich? If the GOP's tax legislation doesn't reveal Republicans' own continuing class warfare against the poor and middle-class, nothing will. But will Democrats be smart enough to take advantage of it? [Audio link to show follows below.]
On Tuesday, House Republicans passed what they thought would be the final version of their massive tax legislation to transfer hundreds of billions, if not trillions of dollars from the poor and middle class to the wealthy and corporations already raking in record profits. A parliamentary issue in the Senate, however, may require the House to vote on the measure once again on Wednesday. But, either way, the bill now looks as if the temporary tax cuts for individuals and massive permanent cuts for corporations will clear both chambers and head to Donald Trump's desk for signing before Christmas.
So, what happened to all of those Tea Party folks who, back in 2010, under a Democratic President, pretended to be demanding fiscal discipline and an end to deficit spending in Congress? All of those dupes, patsies, chumps and suckers --- not to mention the GOPers who scammed them about it all in the first place --- now seem to be cool with adding $1.5 trillion to the national debt via the GOP tax bill. In Congress, Republicans are now giddy about their hopes of dealing with that debt by cutting social programs, like health care to people who need it, including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, to help pay for their massive tax cuts to the wealthy and for huge increases in spending for the U.S. war-making machine.
At the same time, Democrats ought to be eying the fact that the vast majority of voters --- including huge majorities of Trump supporters --- would prefer to see taxes raised, not lowered, on the rich. Political scientist and researcher SPENCER PISTON of Boston University, author of the upcoming book Class Attitudes in America: Sympathy for the Poor, Resentment of the Rich, and Political Implications joins us today to discuss his recent article at The Nation with Sean McElwee, on how Republican politicians continue to get away with cutting taxes for the wealthy, despite overwhelming popular opposition to it.
Piston explains how tactics are used by the GOP to confuse the public (which are then echoed by the media) and, when all else fails and such measures are still wildly unpopular --- as with the current GOP tax cuts --- they go ahead and vote for it anyway. It's time, he argues, for Democrats to stop shying away from leveraging resentment of the rich in their politics. And he has the data to prove it.
"There's a common assumption out there that, in a democratic political system, the desires of the public should guide public policy," he tells me. "And in some cases that's certainly true. But, in many cases, the opinions of the public have very little to do with the policy outcomes that actually occur. This [GOP tax plan] is no exception. Americans have desired higher taxes on the rich for decades. And yet, fairly consistently, albeit with some notable exceptions, taxes on the rich over the past few decades have plummeted."
"The reason that this happens is policy makers who don't want to do what majorities of the public want, follow a playbook of confuse, distract, and ignore." Piston explains how it works and what it means --- or should --- for Democrats as they move into the 2018 mid-term election year and look to 2020 beyond it. "There is certainly a benefit to running against the rich, which is that it's easier to get the public on your side," he explains, before cautioning, "But it's not as easy to get donors on your side."
Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report on the cause of the Atlanta airport blackout, the massive, still-out-of-control winter wildfires in Southern California, Trump's ridiculous new declaration that climate change is no longer a national security threat, and an update on the deadly Amtrak train derailment near Seattle, which could have been avoided...with proper funding from Congress...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Atlanta airport blackout exposes serious vulnerabilities in nation's air transportation system; Fast-growing winter wildfire in Southern California now third largest in state history; Study finds climate change already wreaking havoc on our weather; PLUS: Trump removes climate change from the list of national security threats... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Derailed Amtrak train was 50 mph over the speed limit; EPA moves to replace Obama-era Clean Power Plan; EPA's opp-research firm scrutinized EPA employees' emails to find dissenters; EPA's ties to GOP oppo-research firm go back years; China unveils ambitious plan to curb carbon emissions; British Columbia bans grizzly bear hunting; Trump kills USDA organic animal welfare rules, years in the making; GOP tax bill largely preserves renewable energy investment tax breaks; Trump rule change exploits taxpayers for mine cleanup; Meet the microgrid... PLUS: 60 environmental rules on the way out under Trump... and much, MUCH more! ...
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