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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, February 19, 2018
Real Guns, Fake News, and New Russia Indictments: 'BradCast' 2/16/18
Trump's horrible week; Rubio, Grassley shame after FL shooting; Russians used GOP 'fake news' and the party's doubling down...
NRA 'Blood Money', Weapons 'Designed to Bring Pure Hell and Fury': 'BradCast' 2/15/18
Guest: Wendy Wheatcroft of 'Moms Demand Action', after the FL High School massacre...
'Green News Report' 2/15/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
U.S. intel agencies contradict Admin on climate risks; Exxon counter-sues; Trump repeals methane rule; Broadcast news still failing; PLUS: The Queen is done with plastic waste...
Previous GNRs: 2/13/18 - 2/8/18 - Archives...
'This Happens Nowhere Else Other Than the United States': 'BradCast' 2/14/18
Another school shooting leaves 17 dead in S. Florida as corporate 'dark money' continues to undermine our nation; Also: More stormy weather for the White House...
A 'Paper Ballot' is Not Enough:
'BradCast' 2/13/18
Guest: David Daley on the battle to overcome partisan gerrymandering; Also: Many now finally calling for 'paper ballots', but are still missing larger concerns...
'Green News Report' 2/13/18
Trump's infrastructure scam shifts costs, guts air, water regs; Sea level rise accelerating; PLUS: Tesla, South Australia team up for world's largest virtual power plant...
Labor Dept. Hid Analysis to Allow New Tip-Stealing Rule: 'BradCast' 2/12/18
Guest: Obama's chief DoL economist, Heidi Shierholz; Also: New Trump budget slashes domestic programs, grows trillion dollar deficits, and scam infrastructure plan...
Beyond the 'Steele Dossier'
Ernie Canning dives deep into newly released Congressional transcripts, separates fact from GOP myth about the 'Steele Dossier', Fusion GPS research...
Sunday 'I Love a Parade' Toons
PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best political toons just keeps marching on...
Rep. Barbara Lee is 'Pushing Ahead', Staying 'Optimistic': 'BradCast' 2/9/18
CA Dem joins touts new 'Woman and Climate' bill, much more!; Also: Rand Paul defines 'hypocrisy'; Trump, Kelly undermining national security at WH...
'Green News Report' 2/8/18
EPA's Pruitt lies about climate science over your public airwaves; Trump reverses on flood resilience; Dunkin' ditches foam cups; PLUS: CA to block Trump's drilling...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
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: Mike Liszewski of Drug Policy Alliance; Also: Goodbye, Chris Christie and other encouraging news from the states...
By Brad Friedman on 1/16/2018 5:39pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the consequences of elections, from D.C. on immigration, to VA and NJ on gun safety legislation, and across both D.C. and dozens of states when it comes to marijuana policy under Trump's Attorney General. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

The White House, lawmakers and corporate media continue to squabble today over Donald Trump's racist and reportedly vulgar slur of black majority nations as either "shitholes" or "shithouses" during a bipartisan meeting on immigration last week, even as his Departments of Justice and Homeland Security issued a new and misleading report on terrorism that downplays the far greater threat of domestic attacks by homegrown white Americans, in favor of a focus on foreign-born terrorists.

In the meantime, as the White House and Congress attempt to strike a government spending deal that includes protections for DACA recipients in time to avoid a government shutdown at the end of this week, a changing of the guards in both New Jersey and Virginia following last November's elections is taking place and already reshuffling public policy.

NJ's wildly unpopular Republican Gov. Chris Christie was finally replaced on Tuesday by the new Democratic Governor Phil Murphy, one day after Christie finally signed a law that will ban deadly bumpstock devices, like those used to kill 58 people and wound hundreds of others in minutes in Las Vegas last year, in the Garden State. (To his discredit, he had little choice, as the legislation passed both state chambers with zero votes opposing it.)

At the same time, in VA, where Republicans managed to barely hang on to majorities in the state legislature, thanks to some gaming of several House races and of legislative district maps across the state (allowing them to retain control despite losing statewide by a 55% to 45% margin), the GOP's majority control in the state Senate resulted in the gutting of most of the gun safety agenda on which that state's new Democratic Governor Ralph Northam ran and won by a landslide.

Then, we head back to D.C., where Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced after the turn of the new year that the DoJ was reversing Obama-era enforcement guidance on federal law, in order to crack down on states where marijuana has been made legal for medicinal and/or recreational use after decades of prohibition.

As Drug Policy Alliance advisor and marijuana legislation lobbyist MIKE LISZEWSKI joins us to explain, the new DoJ guidance, rolling back the so-called "Cole Memo" from the Obama years, has not gone over well, even with a number of Republican lawmakers, particularly those from cannabis-friendly states where they have seen a dramatic rise in tax revenue thanks to new policies adopted by voters and state lawmakers.

"The Cole Memo was just guidance, it was never binding. But by removing it, Sessions has really given the green light to US Attorneys throughout the country to say, if you want to prosecute against state marijuana conduct you have our backing," Liszewski tells me, before arguing that there is no need for such policy, given that state laws, where pot has been legalized, are already very tough. "If someone was using a state marijuana law to shield some sort of bad activity, they're clearly in violation of state law. There's so much oversight, you're likely going to get caught rather quickly. So there's really no need for additional federal prosecution. It's really addressing a concern that doesn't actually exist --- unless you have some hysterical views about marijuana."

Sessions, of course, famously has views. Last year, for example, he famously stated that marijuana was "only slightly less awful" than heroin. Liszewski breaks down the DoJ's announced change in prosecutorial guidance and the effect it is likely to have (if any) in pro-cannabis states where, he says, it has "turned out to be wonderful for generating state tax revenue...in terms of the money it's pulling in, but also the law enforcement resources, the jail resources, the court resources, that don't have to go into prosecuting low-level marijuana cases."

We also discuss how Congress may still be able to move forward on drug policy under an Attorney General who is an avowed enemy of pot users and a President who claims to favor states' rights on the matter. Congress, Liszewski argues, is close to having the votes to end prohibition at the federal level all together, if it doesn't have those votes already. But, he says, thanks to a few "old guard" Committee Chairs in Congress, it may take a full reshuffling of the deck in the 2018 mid-term elections to see it actually happen.

"The 2018 elections are going to be so crucial to the future of marijuana reform," he says. "Because whether it's a shift in which party controls each chamber, or if it's just voting out the old guard and getting some new Republicans in, either way would be helpful towards ending federal marijuana prohibition."

"It would be very, very difficult to get the genie back in the bottle at this point," Liszewski adds, "especially seeing a good number of Republicans as well as states continuing to move forward right after the Sessions announcement. It really shows that Sessions is alone on an island with this and has very few supporters. I think the writing is on the wall."

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

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DACA scheme blocked; Off-shore drilling reversed; CA's latest disaster; VA's gamed elections; NC's gamed Congressional maps; much more...
By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2018 6:21pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we do our best to try and make some sense of the utter chaos, havoc and non-stop breaking news plaguing the nation over the past 24 hours. Wish us luck! [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the stories covered on today's extremely busy program...

  • Late updates on the devastating mud-flows that have, so far, resulted in the deaths of 17 in Southern California's Santa Barbara County, just north of Los Angeles, following a massive rainfall this week in the area just burned by the largest fire in state history;
  • A federal judge has temporarily blocked Donald Trump's attempt to lift the DACA program, which has protected some 800,000 children of immigrants who came here with their parents through no fault of their own;
  • Just days after announcing their intention to open 90% of U.S. coastline to off-shore drilling, Trump's Dept. of Interior chief Ryan Zinke reverses course, but only for the state of Florida, in what appears to be a political (and unlawful) favor to Florida's Governor Rick Scott, who Trump is supporting in a run for the U.S. Senate;

In election and voting news today...

  • Just minutes before Virginia's House of Delegates convened its new legislative session today, Democrat Shelly Simonds conceded her 94th District race against Republican David Yancey without seeking the second "recount" she is entitled to by state law. The first "recount" resulted in a declared "tie" vote and a random drawing, following a very questionable ballot [JPG] counted for the Republican after the initial "recount" had handed the victory to Simonds by a single vote. (She could still ask for a recount as late as the 17th, if she and the Democratic Party wise up and changes their minds. Republicans absolutely would have demanded such a count had the random drawing gone the other way. They would also have prevented her from being seated until that count was completed. Moreover, I share some disturbing comments from a conversation about all of this with the Voter Registrar who oversaw the election in Newport News, VA.)
  • In the 28th District race for Virginia's House, an appeals court denied the Democrats emergency motion for a new election today, after the Republican was declared the winner by 73 votes even though 147 voters were given the wrong ballot on Election Day last November. (With both of those Dems out, the GOP majority in the VA House has shrunk from 66-34 last session, to just 51-49 as of today, despite Democrats winning 55% of the vote statewide in the Republican gerrymandered state);
  • In North Carolina, a federal court panel issued a landmark and blistering ruling on Tuesday night, finding state Republicans had blatantly gerrymandered the swing-state's U.S. House Districts on a partisan bases to ensure a 10 to 3 majority for themselves, in what the panel found to be a violation of the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause. The court ordered new Congressional maps to be drawn up immediately, in the next two weeks, in time for the 2018 primaries. But Republicans vow to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is currently deciding a separate but very similar case on partisan gerrymandering of state legislative districts by Wisconsin Republicans.
  • And today, a divided (and stolen by the GOP) U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in a case challenging Ohio Secretary of State John Husted's scheme to purge voter rolls after voters have gone just two years without voting in a federal election, in what Democrats and voting rights advocates argue is a violation of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).

Finally today...

  • Trump's Energy Secretary and former Texas Governor Rick Perry sees his scheme to extend the life of coal and nuclear plants under the false guise of "grid resiliency" go up in smoke after all of the appointees on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), most of whom were appointed by Trump, unanimously reject the plan, which was seen as a payoff to a coal baron benefactor of both Perry and Trump. A former Trump Campaign official, however, sees a far more insidious (and laughable) conspiracy.

What. A. Mess. Enjoy!...

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

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All of that and more evidence of wheels coming off everywhere...
By Brad Friedman on 1/4/2018 6:03pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The wheels seem to be coming off everywhere. That's both good and bad news. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We start here: After a two month back and forth since the November 2017 off-year elections in Virginia, it appears that Republicans will retain --- if just barely --- their majority control of the Virginia House of Delegates (for now) following a random drawing out of a bowl in Richmond today resulted in Republican David Yancey being named the winner over Democrat Shelly Simonds.

That, despite a "recount" in the 94th District race finding the Democrat had won, until a Republican observer changed his mind and a Republican Circuit Court panel of judges agreed with him. That was followed by a rejected court challenge by the Democrat, today's random drawing to determine the winner of that court-declared tie, a likely second "recount" to come in the same race, a court challenge to a separate very close race in the 28th district decided by 73 votes with at least 147 voters receiving the wrong ballot entirely, and Democrats across the obscenely gerrymandered state having out-voted Republicans by a "landslide" 10% margin in the November 7, 2017 elections.

We detail all of that today --- including my brief, if telling, email conversation with the election official in the city of Newport News who supposedly oversaw the race in the 94th district. And, for the record, here is a JPG of the one single ballot in question which led to the current tie.

Then, in other election related news, we move on to Donald Trump's monumentally failed "voter fraud" Commission, disastrously helmed by longtime GOP "voter fraud" fraudster and Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach. The Commission, created after Trump's evidence-free assertions that millions of unlawful votes were cast against him in 2016, has been besieged with lawsuits against it, including by one of its own Commissioners. But there may be another reason that Trump suddenly, and without notice to anyone, disbanded it entirely by Executive Order on Wednesday evening: he got mad at Steve Bannon. Democrats and voting rights advocates are rejoicing after the news, but will the dissolution of the Commission result in even more concerns for advocates of free and fair elections?

Speaking of which, heads up! Trump's Dept. of Justice appears to have a new idea for how to game the 2020 Census (which is also an election-related issue).

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for a bone-chilling first Green News Report of the new year, as a dangerous blast from the melting Arctic slams much of the country, the Trump Administration guts even more environmental and safety regulations over the holiday weekend when few were noticing, before announcing a new disturbing scheme today to open up 90 percent of nation's off-shore oil reserves to new commercial drilling.

The wheels seem to be coming off both the world and the Trump Administration. We'll hope for the latter in time to prevent the former...

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: Election law Prof. Joshua A. Douglas of Univ. of Kentucky...
By Brad Friedman on 1/3/2018 6:29pm PT  

We're back on today's BradCast after a brief New Year holiday break! But it wasn't entirely a break, as Alabama's Secretary of State John Merrill decided to launch a bizarre Twitter exchange with me over the holiday weekend. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The conversation included the state's chief election official repeatedly (and inaccurately) insisting that Alabama's paper ballot computer scanners do not "capture" scanned ballot images that can be retained by the system for review by the public after an election. He is wrong, as I politely noted during the conversation.

In fact, Merrill almost certainly knows he is wrong, since he actually went to the State Supreme Court to block an order by a lower court, issued the day before the December 12th U.S. Senate Special election between Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore, to instruct all county election officials to set their computer scanners to retain all captured ballot images! [We discussed that multi-partisan lawsuit with one of the organizers, John Brakey, before it was filed, and again with one of the plaintiff attorneys, Chris Sautter, after the order was blocked by the state Supreme Court, allowing counties to destroy their captured ballot images.]

Nonetheless, after I questioned Merrill about the inaccurate information he was offering to the public, he decided to block me on Twitter, rather than admit that he had misinformed the public. Here's a PDF that reconstructs as much of the conversation as I could, given that I'm now blocked by him, so can't easily see his Tweets. Moreover, he also deleted a number of his own Tweets after he blocked me, and he repeatedly broke the conversation thread throughout. So, that PDF reconstruction will have to suffice for now to give you an idea of what at least one Twitter user accurately described as a "bonkers" exchange!

It wasn't the first time Merrill would block journalists, election law experts, or even his own constituent voters on social media after someone dared to suggest that he was wrong about AL election procedures. We're joined today by JOSHUA A. DOUGLAS, professor of election and constitutional law at the University of Kentucky College of Law. He, too --- like me, and like UC Irvine election law professor Rick Hasen --- was blocked on Twitter by Alabama's Republican Sec. of State after asking a question, in November, about the state's election code.

"I said, it's not about lying, it's about asking questions of a public official running their elections, and the next thing I knew, I was blocked myself. So, kind of ironically, Merrill blocked me for questioning whether he should be allowed to block others on Twitter who were trying to interact with him about the election," Douglas explains. He wrote about the incident and why it matters at AL.com.

We discuss all of this bizarre behavior, and whether or not it's a violation of the Constitution when folks like Merrill and, yes, the President of the United States, block citizens from being able to read their social media comments. All of which makes what we do --- as journalists, legal professionals and, yes, voters --- more difficult and even Constitutionally problematic in a number of ways.

Also today: Despite Merrill's odd behavior before, during and after the election (Merrill supported Roy Moore), Doug Jones was sworn in to the U.S. Senate today after (apparently) defeating Moore to become the state's first Democratic U.S. Senator in some 25 years, narrowing the GOP majority to just 51 to 49. And, King of the Twitter Trolls, Donald Trump threatened nuclear war again with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and social media had a huge laugh at Trump's comments about having a "much bigger" nuclear button than Kim. But is any of it --- including the threat of war between two nuclear-armed nations --- really all that funny?...

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

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Guest: The Intercept's Jon Schwarz; Plus: Kobach loses in court; Battle over election results and control of VA House continues...
By Brad Friedman on 12/27/2017 5:55pm PT  

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...

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: Jeet Heer of New Republic...
By Brad Friedman on 12/20/2017 6:13pm PT  

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...

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CA GOP could be left with zero U.S. House Reps after 2018...
UPDATE: 13 of 14 CA Congressional Repubs voted 'yes' on final version of tax bill...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/4/2017 9:41am PT  

A month ago, the notion that every one of California's fourteen (14) Congressional Republicans could be voted out of office in 2018 would have been dismissed as little more than a utopian dream for the Democratic Party.

If we've learned anything, however, from November's "Tidal Wave" off-year elections, which saw a diverse group of Democrats defeating Republicans in deep red districts in Virginia and elsewhere, it's that no Republican seat should be considered an absolute lock in 2018.

That proved to be the case in another special election, a week or so later, when a 26-year-old lesbian, Democrat Allison Ikley-Freeman narrowly defeated an incumbent Republican state senator in a "deep red" Oklahoma district that Trump carried in 2016 by nearly 40%.

There are a multitude of factors, some unique to California, that suggest that no Golden State Republican --- not even House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) who trounced his 2016 Democratic opponent by nearly 39 percentage points --- should take their seat in the state's 53-member U.S. House delegation for granted...

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Guest: Emily Atkin of New Republic...
By Brad Friedman on 11/29/2017 6:06pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it's a grim day in the U.S.A. And while that's been happening quite a bit lately, today seems particularly dark. [Audio link to show follows below.]

As the GOP's devastating tax cuts increases for millions of low- and middle-income Americans and seniors move forward in the U.S. Senate, Donald Trump, the President of the United States, tweeted out three different anti-Muslim propaganda videos initially posted by a member of a far-right extremist nationalist party in the UK called Britain First. The disturbing postings by the President of what are being described as "ISIS snuff films", drew worldwide statements of condemnation from conservative British Prime Minister Theresa May and many other members of Parliament, as well as Muslim and Jewish groups in the US, academics and more. But, at least one person, in addition to Britain First, thanked Trump for the postings: David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the KKK. We discuss this rather embarrassing and dispiriting moment in American history.

Then, we take a much-needed shower before heading to Charleston, West Virginia, where the (now, ironically named) Environmental Protection Agency is holding its one and only hearing on EPA Chief Scott Pruitt's plan to kill Obama's Clean Power Plan, a landmark measure meant to curb dangerous greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

Environment reporter EMILY ATKIN of New Republic joins us from WV, after spending the past two days at the forum which she describes as a "tragedy" and a "farce", featuring testimony from coal barons like Robert Murray, CEO of the nation's largest private coal company --- who brought his employees in full mining regalia, hard hats and all, to the hearing room --- as well as from environmentalists who were allowed to testify, but were largely relegated to separate rooms entirely.

Atkin discusses what the hearings suggest about the current EPA, which is now doing the bidding of the fossil fuel industry itself, as well as how industry leaders and Republican officials admit that coal has a bleak future --- thanks to cleaner, cheaper natural gas and renewable energy --- even while lying about it to those directly suffering in Coal Country, like miners and their families.

The miners, she tells me, "completely buy into" the industry's "War on Coal" propaganda. "And that was what I think is the tragedy of the whole thing. They accept that there has been decline in the industry. The miners that I spoke to --- and just the average coal supporting people in West Virginia that I spoke to --- completely attribute it to Obama-era regulations, and completely believe what they're being told by coal executives and Republican politicians, that once [the Clean Power Plan] is gone, everything's going to be okay. And their industry is going to thrive again in the way that it used to. ... It's the hypocrisy of these executives and these politicians who go in front of the miners and tell them everything's going to be okay when, in other settings, they well admit that the decline of coal is happening no matter what."

Atkin describes her brief conversation at the hearing with Murray, and how his own employees there contradicted one of his claims. And she explains how, though Pruitt chose to hold the forum in Charleston in order "to hear from those most impacted" by the Clean Power Plan, there are many others, in non-coal states, that are "equally affected", including those "communities that surround emitting coal plants [and] communities that surround coal ash pits that hold coal's toxic waste that can seep into groundwater and into water systems."

"The fence-line communities that live near producing plants, which often are disproportionately low-income and minority communities, those aren't based in West Virginia. And I would argue that they are just as impacted by the Clean Power Plan as a coal miner. And yet, the EPA doesn't have any scheduled public hearings in any of those areas."

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen for the latest Green News Report, with some of the most encouraging news of the day, before a bit of breaking news out of the U.N. on Trump's continuing threats of war against North Korea...

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Guest: Former Obama tax policy advisor Seth Hanlon on GOP tax cuts; Also: Trump endorses accused child molester for U.S. Senate; Trump's FCC announces plans to kill landmark 'Net Neutrality' protections...
By Brad Friedman on 11/21/2017 6:19pm PT  

On today's BradCast: If you're still clinging to the idea that elections don't really matter and the incredibly lazy assertion that "there's no difference between the two major parties", today's show may help you reassess those ill-considered, self-defeating, knee-jerk notions. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

First up, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, explains why he believes it would be better to have an accused child molester, Alabama's Republican U.S. Senate nominee, Roy Moore, in the U.S. Senate, than to see the Democratic candidate Doug Jones elected on December 12. His argument today that Moore "totally denies" the charges of sexual improprieties with teenagers as young as 14 (sourced to more than 30 people) is part of his Administration's desperate attempt to pass their massive tax cuts for the rich, at all costs, through a very slim GOP majority in the U.S. Senate. That majority would get slimmer still if Jones is elected. So bring on the pedophiles!

We're joined today by SETH HANLON, President Obama's former Special Assistant for Economic and Tax Policy, to explain how the GOP's proposed tax scheme is being rushed through the Senate during the holidays, in hopes that voters don't notice that it will actually raise taxes for some 82 million middle-income Americans, while keeping permanent tax cuts in place for the wealthy. And, as bad as that sounds, other provisions are even worse and will result in an increase of $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit, the loss of health care coverage for some 13 million Americans, and an immediate $25 billion cut to Medicare, among other nightmares.

"The number one thing" that people need to known about this bill, Hanlon tells me, "is that this thing is happening now. This bill could be law by the end of next week. It might take longer than that, but they are trying to jam it through the Senate, which is the key to all this, next week. There are reasons why they are doing that so fast. Sunlight's the best disinfectant and they do not want people to scrutinize this bill to find out what's in it, to understand the ramifications. So they are trying to get it through as fast as they possibly can."

"If you want to see what's really happening with this bill, you look at what's permanent in it. A lot of it is just temporary, but there's really only three parts that are permanent. Number 1 is a massive tax cut for corporations. Number 2 is a hidden tax increase on basically every single American household. Number 3 is an attack on the Affordable Care Act. They're repealing a key part of Obamacare, the ACA, and it's been estimated to result in 13 million without health insurance, and premiums increasing for people who buy them through marketplaces by 10 percent."

"This is a permanent tax cut for corporations, paid for with a permanent tax increase on individuals and by fewer people having health care," Hanlon, now a Senior Fellow at Center for American Progress, explains. He also speaks to whether the ACA provision is included only as a bargaining chip, whether the Obama Administration used similar tactics to get legislation through Congress, and whether there is any evidence that tax cuts of this sort "pay for themselves", as Trump's Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (pictured above with his new wife and new money) and his Economic Policy Adviser Gary Cohn, among others, have asserted in the desperate effort to pass what would be the only major legislation to be adopted under Trump during his first year of office.

But, if all of that doesn't underscore the difference between Republicans, who support the scheme, and Democrats who virulently oppose it, Trump's Chair of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, announced today that the FCC's 3 to 2 Republican majority will vote next month to kill landmark Net Neutrality protections instituted during the Obama Administration. We explain what that means, and how it is likely to result in higher prices for customers and content providers (like BradBlog.com and The BradCast) and slower Internet speeds for sites and consumers who don't pay up tolls to Internet provider behemoths like AT&T and Comcast for access to the "fast lane" on the information super-highway. It will be, as one of the two Democratic commissioners on the FCC said in a statement today, a "green light to our nation's largest broadband providers to engage in anti-consumer practices, including blocking, slowing down traffic, and paid prioritization of online applications and services."

Also today, Trump's DHS announced their intention to deport tens of thousands of Haitians who came to the U.S. legally after the devastating 2010 earthquake (along with their U.S. born citizen children?), and an Obama appointed federal judge has permanently blocked the Trump DoJ's attempt to unlawfully withhold federal funding to so-called "sanctuary cities".

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with very cool news for electric vehicle fans and some encouraging news for breathers and voters alike in Virginia (which, once again, underscores that, yes, elections matter and yes, there is a difference between the two major parties, whether you like it or not.) And we've also got some good news for endangered elephants, but some bad news for endangered lions in today's report...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 11/21/2017 11:20am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Nebraska greenlights controversial Keystone XL pipeline --- but it still may not get built; Virginia moves to cut emissions 30 percent by 2030; Trump withdraws plan to lift ban on importing elephant body parts; PLUS: Elon Musk unveils breakthrough all-electric, long haul semi-truck... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): New study reaches a stunning conclusion about the cost of solar and wind energy; Battered by extreme weather, Americans are more worried about climate change; Whitefish halts work early in Puerto Rico over non-payment; Head of Puerto Rico's utility resigns; Antarctic glacier's rough belly exposed; New science of climate change impacts on agriculture implies higher social cost of carbon; Growing gas glut threatens West Texas oil boom; Panel's approval of off-shore drilling bill imperils ban off Florida; Global energy storage market to double 6 times by 2030... PLUS: How politics and bad decisions starved NY's subway system... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Guest: Ross Morales Rocketto of 'Run for Something'; Also: Another mass shooting at an elementary school...
By Brad Friedman on 11/14/2017 6:21pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Have you ever considered running for office? If so, and if you're a progressive, you probably couldn't come up with a better year to it than in the upcoming 2018 mid-term elections! And my guest on today's show says he'd love to help you do it! [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today: It was another day in America, so another mass shooting. We cover today's breaking news out of Northern California where 4 were killed and 10 shot by a gunman who was eventually shot by police in a very rural and economically depressed part of the state. The shooter reportedly fired, sometimes randomly, at some seven different scenes and targeted an elementary school before he was finally taken down. While still officially unidentified as of airtime, the gunman is said to have had a history of domestic violence and neighbors who complained that he was threatening and had recently been heard firing off large magazines of gunfire in recent days. Despite his record, however, he was somehow able to legally obtain the semi-automatic rifle and two hand guns found with him after he was killed.

Republican elected officials who represent the area offered "prayers", as usual, in the wake of this latest shooting. Democratic Gubernatorial hopefuls in the state vowed to take action to help curb American's continuing gun epidemic.

In not-unrelated news, it happens to be "National Run for Office Day", as declared by a host of progressive organizations. To help celebrate, we're joined today by ROSS MORALES ROCKETTO, co-founder of Run for Something, a national progressive organization dedicated to helping first- and second-time progressive grassroots candidates --- particularly millennials, women and people of color --- step up and run for state and local offices.

The group, "born of the tears of the 2016 election", hopes to run more than 1,000 candidates across the country next year, for everything from state representative to city council to local library boards and Boards of Education. They also saw at least 32 of their endorsed candidates win races in last week's 2017 off-year elections, including a number of stunning underdog Democratic victories by first time candidates against long-entrenched Republican office holders.

Rocketto explains how and why he formed the group along with a former Hillary Clinton Campaign staffer; how they determine which candidates to endorse and help; what is needed to run and win a successful grassroots progressive campaign; and how you --- yes, YOU! --- may wish to consider visiting their webpage and getting started to run for something yourself in 2018!

"What we're really trying to do is recruit and support the next generation of progressive Democrats running down-ticket," he tells me. "We think that 2018, for example, is going to be the year of the down-ballot candidates. We know that only 5% of state legislators across the country are millennial, and the millennial generation is going to be the largest voting bloc in the next set of presidential elections. That's what we're setting out to do specifically in 2018."

"We've been hearing from people all across the country that in this particular moment, they want to make a difference in their communities. And, honestly, one of the best ways and the most effective ways to make a difference in your community is to run for office locally," Rocketto says. "The things that impacts people's lives the most on a day-to -day basis tend to be at that local level. And that's what's been so powerful about the stories that we hear from our candidates that are running."

He goes on to cite stories of some of them, like 22-year old Heather Ward in Pennsylvania, who ran and won last week for school board "in a district that is largely Republican" to become the youngest ever to serve on the board, and transgender candidate Danica Roem who unseated a virulent homophobe in Virginia's House of Delegates. We also discuss other progressive groups similarly working to recruit grassroots candidates, like Bernie Sanders' Our Revolution, which supported a 30-year old Marine vet Lee Carter, who unseated the GOP House Majority Whip in Virginia while running as a Democratic Socialist.

Also on today's program: Late updates on Alabama's disastrous GOP nominee for U.S. Senate, Roy Moore following new allegations yesterday of a violent sexual assault against a minor; Several hearings held today in the U.S. House and Senate; and Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report...

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Guest: John Nichols of The Nation; Also: More GOPers call it quits; Hearings on Presidential use of nukes; New bad news for Puerto Rico...
By Brad Friedman on 11/9/2017 5:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's kind of remarkable, but things continue to get even worse for Republicans this week. Worse even than the thumping they from Democrats at the polls on Tuesday. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

A bombshell investigative Washington Post report today details allegations of inappropriate sexual contact by Roy Moore, the controversial far-right, homophobic, anti-Muslim, religious zealot and twice removed AL Supreme Court Justice, who is also currently the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate Special Election in December. Moore is accused of inappropriate conduct with several teenage girls, one as young as 14, while serving as an Assistant District Attorney in his 30s. The charges have led to GOP Senators calling on him to immediately drop out of the race, even though the deadline for doing so before the December 12 election to fill the seat left vacant by Attorney General Jeff Sessions appears to have passed.

Moore and his campaign vehemently deny the reporting as "fake news" by "the National Democrat Party" and Washington Post, though the now 53-year old woman at the center of the report has nothing to do with Democrats and voted for Republicans in the last three Presidential elections (including for Donald Trump). She, like the other women in the story, who do not know each other, reportedly had to be convinced to tell their stories to the paper.

We're joined today by The Nation's JOHN NICHOLS, progressive journalist and author of Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse, to discuss that stunning breaking news as well as the remarkable Democratic victories in Tuesday's elections up and down the ballot in VA, NJ and many other states. Nichols, a long time progressive champion, offers insight into the quickly escalating "chaos" for Congressional Republicans and the ongoing divides among progressives --- even in the wake of Tuesday's victories --- between grassroots activists and more establishment Democrats.

On the breaking Moore news, Nichols offers wryly: "Who would've thought, in what wild imagination might would you have possibly thought that a xenophobic, racist, lawless, just brutal character, by any measure, would turn out to be a bad guy? The story, if it is true --- and let us be fair, let's be more fair than Roy Moore would be --- if it is true, this is really scary, ugly, awful stuff." He adds: "I'm not sure that Roy Moore will stand down. Remember Roy Moore has made his career by not following the rules, not accepting political logic or reason, and also by absolutely denying that which appears in the media. He makes Trump look like a cautious, responsible believer in mainstream media."

As to electoral politics, Nichols agrees with my assertion "one hundred percent" that the Democratic Party establishment continue to underestimate their chances in "red" states and jurisdictions. He cites, for example, the lack of support previously given to Moore's Democratic opponent, former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones, "an exemplary candidate for this position, with some unique abilities to pull together the traditional Democratic coalition in Alabama" where, he argues, "you can build a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, urban-rural coalition."

Nichols goes on to describe the "amazing day for the Democrats" on Tuesday, while noting that "a heck of a lot of it was dumb luck," given the mood of the country toward Donald Trump. He argues Dems might have done even better had they "put a candidate on the ballot in every district, and [found] ways to get resources and support to that candidate, because you have the potential, in a wave election, of winning in places you could never win." He cites a number of progressive and minority candidates, some "abandoned by Dems", who ending up winning nonetheless. "What we want to take away from Tuesday night is that where Democrats thought outside the box --- where they pushed harder, did more interesting things --- they won!"

In the bargain, he adds, for Republicans in Congress, the result is now utter "chaos" and he believes the current tax cut proposals by the GOP may never even get passed at all, at least not as current proposed.

Also today on today's show: As expected, still more top GOPers in the U.S. House announce they will not run again in 2018 following Tuesday's thumping; Outgoing Senator and Trump adversary Bob Corker (R-TN) announces long-overdue hearings in the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee (which he chairs) on Presidential authority to declare war and deploy nuclear weapons; And Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report' on, among other things, U.S. isolation on the world stage regarding climate change and some late breaking newly bad news for Puerto Rico, nearly two months after Hurricane Maria made landfall to devastate the island...

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Guest: Mark Joseph Stern of Slate...
By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2017 6:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The bloodbath for Republicans in Tuesday's off-year elections and a great idea for how Democratic states can take action against real bloodbaths immediately by helping victims of gun violence with a tax against the industry that works around both the 2nd Amendment and federal immunity from lawsuits granted by Congress. [Audio link to show follows below.]

One year to the day after Donald Trump was named the winner of the Presidency in 2016 (while losing the national vote by 3 million), we review what appears to be the remarkable 'blue tidal wave' that swept across much of the country in Tuesday's contests in about one-third of the states. From big races to small, from high office to city councils and boards of education, voters turned out in impressive numbers and Democratic candidates reportedly performed very well in the bargain wherever they ran.

Democratic candidate Ralph Northam walloped the Trump-supported GOP candidate Ed Gillespie by some 9 points for Governor in Virginia, a clear rebuke to both the President and the racially-based scare campaign both he and Gillespie ran on. Democrats also won for Lt. Governor (only the second African-American to win statewide since the Civil War) and for Attorney General. In perhaps the biggest surprise in the state, voters also turned out at least 15 Republicans from the state's House of Delegates which, depending on some challenges and "recounts", may result in a stunning Democratic takeover of the state's lower chamber that had a 66 to 34 GOP majority before last night. (VA also moved from 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems to optically-scanned hand-marked paper ballots this year. So, at least there will be something to count in "recounts" there this year.) Minorities of all sorts --- including the first openly transgender candidate who replaced a homophobic hard right incumbent --- won in the VA House, where Dems out-voted the GOP by more than 200,000 votes. Nonetheless, thanks to Republican gerrymandering, they may still end up in a slim minority there.

Dems also took over the gubernatorial mansion in NJ from the wildly unpopular Chris Christie and won re-election for mayor in NYC by a landslide. African-American candidates won mayoral victories for the first time in cities from North Carolina to South Carolina to Georgia to Montana to Minnesota. Topeka, KS picked up its first Hispanic mayor and Hoboken, NJ now has its first Sikh mayor. And, in Maine, voters overwhelmingly approved the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which will result in health care for some 80,000 Mainers if the dumbest Governor in the nation, Paul LePage, stops blocking it. (It is also likely to inspire similar ballot initiatives in 2018 in other states where Republicans are denying federally-funded health care to their own residents.) It also appears that the last Republican-controlled legislature on the West Coast, the Washington state Senate, has fallen to Democratic-control, creating a "Blue Wall" of states in the West from Canada to Mexico. So it was a good day for Dems, and seemingly a very troubling omen for Trump and the GOP in 2018.

Meanwhile, it's been just days since 26 were massacred and 20 others shot by a man with a semi-automatic rifle in Sutherland Springs, TX. But Republicans have already made clear they intend to take no legislative action in response. Our guest today, however, legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN of Slate, has a fantastic idea that Democratic-controlled states could implement almost immediately. It's one that works around the NRA's 2nd Amendment challenges, as well as the outrageous federal "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" (PLCAA) of 2005, which largely granted total immunity to gun manufacturers and dealers from lawsuits filed by victims.

"PLCAA is an entirely unique law. There is literally nothing else like it in the federal code," Sterns explains. "This law literally erased hundreds of years of laws and statutes, and jury verdicts, and forced all states to comply with this federal statute that basically prevents anybody from successfully suing a gun manufacturer or a gun seller, and gives them complete immunity to be as negligent as they want."

Stern's idea, as he explains, would result in help for victims of gun violence (more than 300 per day across the country) and their families, who often face bankruptcy after such incidents, as gun violence costs some $2.8 billion each year in health care costs alone. The measure would also force the gun industry to finally pay up for at least a small part of the unspeakable damage, pain, suffering and injury that they help to inflict every day on Americans.

State's "need to propose a special tax on the income of gun manufacturers and gun sellers that is high without being exorbitant. Tax their profits at every stage. They make a huge amount of money, so this would not burden them. This would not shutter manufacturers. But it would force them to pay a lot more, millions more, every year in taxes. What the legislature needs to do is take this extra revenue and place it in a fund that is explicitly designated to be paid out to victims of gun violence. When people are shot, and it is not at all their fault, they should be able to draw money from this fund to pay for their medical expenses and other care. There should be no cap, no limit on it. And no one would be able to raise a Constitutional objection. This is perfectly compliant with the Second Amendment and PLCAA."

Listen to today's show and please see Stern's excellent piece at Slate this week as well. Then get your state legislators busy! Many already have similar funds for victims of all sorts, like those harmed by the vaccine industry. This, Stern argues, should be a no-brainer for states like California and, perhaps now, even Virginia.

Finally, we close today with a few comments from Stephen Colbert that help bring all of the topics discussed on today's show together and into stark perspective...

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Guest: Journalist Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel; Also: Reporter Mike Stark violently arrested covering VA's GOP Gubernatorial candidate...
By Brad Friedman on 10/31/2017 6:05pm PT  

To paraphrase an infamous tweet from the now-suspended Twitter account of long-time dirty trickster and Trump ally Roger Stone, it could soon be Attorney General Jeff Sessions' "time in the barrel", according to my guest on today's BradCast. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The Trump Administration and his supporters have been very busy today, working hard to downplay the Monday indictments unsealed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller against three campaign officials. Two of them, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, pleaded not guilty. The other, George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty, has been quietly cooperating with prosecutors for several months. The Campaign's former foreign policy advisor, has since been dismissed by Team Trump as little more than a "low-level volunteer" and a "coffee boy" over the 24 hours since the indictments were unsealed, revealing that Papadopoulos was charged with lying to federal prosecutors about conversations he had had with an unnamed "professor" said to be tied to Russia and claiming that Moscow had "thousands of emails" revealing "dirt" on Hillary Clinton.

I'm joined today by investigative journalist MARCY WHEELER of Emptywheel to help separate partisan hope from partisan hype regarding Mueller's investigation. We focus on the Papadopoulos case specifically, discuss whether it reveals "collusion" with Russia (which both the Trump Administration and Russian officials strongly deny), and why she believes, as reported at The Intercept, that, more than anything, the specific charges in that case may signal very bad news for Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

We also discuss what we now know (and don't) about the email hacks, what Mueller may have gained by waiting until Monday to reveal the indictments (Hello, unqualified USDA nominee Sam Clovis! Sam who?), and whether it's possible --- or even likely --- that Papadopoulos may have been wearing a wire during conversations with Trump officials in the months since he agreed to cooperate with federal investigators.

"Papadopoulos plead guilty for lying. We don't know why he lied, and why everyone keeps lying," Wheeler observes, adding a note of caution for the many anti-Trumpers who have been giddy since "Mueller Monday". "There's some smoke there. There may well be fire. I just think that everyone who opposes Trump has to be very careful about screaming 'fire' before we have evidence of fire. We have a legal system to sort that out. And until Trump does something to fire Mueller, or in another way thwart the investigation, we should let the investigation do what our legal system is supposed to do."

Also covered on today's show...

  • Reporter Mike Stark of ShareBlue, who has been dogging Virginia's Republican Gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillsepsie with questions about his lobbying past in advance of the state's November 7 election next Tuesday, was violently arrested over the weekend. Stark appeared on The BradCast as our guest just last week. We've got details on what happened, including comment from Stark;
  • A new poll finds Americans very pessimistic about the current state of American democracy and politics (including the vast majority of those who lived through the Vietnam era.);
  • Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with what suffices for some 'good news' updates out of Puerto Rico and much more;
  • And, we end with the breaking news late today of what New York officials are describing as a "terror" attack in lower Manhattan, after a pickup truck plowed into bicyclists, leaving 8 dead and 11 seriously injured as of the end of today's show...

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

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Guest: Reporter Mike Stark of ShareBlue; Also: The coherent, corporatist, anything-but-populist rightwing Republican agenda of Donald Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 10/25/2017 6:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we offer a bit of a response to those who are still under the impression, for some reason, that Trump is a "different kind of Republican", or that he's a non-ideological populist "draining the swamp" and taking on Wall Street and the Big Banks, or --- perhaps most dangerously --- that he has no coherent agenda. We also dive into the upcoming November 7 race for Governor in Virginia and questions about the corrupt past (and future?) of the GOP nominee. [Audio link to show follows below.]

As chaotic as everything he is doing seems to be, Trump's agenda is, in fact, very coherent, and little more than radical George W. Bush right-wing Republicanism on steroids --- albeit without the educated and politically correct artifice. Among the exhibits in today's argument: His administration's attempt to physically (and emotionally) prevent a teen immigrant from receiving a Constitutionally lawful abortion by keeping her locked up, despite court orders; and the Republican Senate vote late Tuesday night, with a huge assist from the Trump Administration, to dismantle a key consumer protection reform that had been five years in the making following the 2008 mortgage crisis and subsequent global economic meltdown.

That big win for Trump and Wall Street will prevent American consumers from having the right to sue huge corporations even after being screwed by deceptive, fraudulent practices. Yes, elections have consequences. And there is another big one set for just under a week from now to replace the outgoing Democratic Governor of Virginia.

The polls are reportedly tightening in the race between Democratic Lt. Governor Ralph Northam and former RNC chair, corporate lobbyist and George W. Bush Administration official Ed Gillespie. We're joined from Capitol Hill today by muckraking ShareBlue reporter MIKE STARK, who has been covering the Gillespie campaign and recently plowed through Bush-era White House visitor logs during Gillespie's term as a White House advisor, to find several instances of meetings with executives and lobbyists for big banks and energy companies that Gillespie had previously represented. The very next day after those meetings, Stark reports, the Bush Administration changed policies on issues those companies had been lobbying for.

The revelations and concerns of quid pro quo corruption come on the heels of the last Republican Governor from Virginia, Bob McDonnell, having been convicted of multiple counts of public corruption related to expensive gifts and huge sums of cash received from the CEO of a company hoping to win favors from the Governor.

Stark details his findings from those 2007 White House logs; his attempts to press Gillespie on the stump regarding his corporate lobbying work for big banks, big tobacco, big energy, and big pharma; his ties to the NRA, which, along with the Koch Brothers' Americans for Prosperity, is making huge television ad buys on Gillespie's behalf; the GOP candidate's claims to oppose bigotry and racism in all forms, despite racist ads and disgraced former U.S. Sen. George Allen (R-VA), forced out of the Senate after racist comments, serving as Gillespie's campaign chair. We also discuss Trump's role in the race and whether Democrats may be on the verge of losing what should be an otherwise easy off-year election victory in Virginia.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us to discuss the bizarre news regarding the tiny company from Montana that was, for some reason, granted a $300 million contract to rebuild Puerto Rico's energy grid after the devastation of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and the report late today from the Wall Street Journal that a federal oversight board plans to install an Emergency Manager to takeover, and potentially privatize, Puerto Rico's state-owned power company. We get comment from a former Puerto Rico Power Commissioner who describes why the news is "unfortunate" for the island's 3.5 million struggling residents...

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

* * *
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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