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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, October 23, 2017
Real News from the Land of Reality: 'BradCast' 10/20/17
And a thought or two on the toxic poison injected this week into our body politic by the President of the United States...
Trump's Reckless Disregard for Puerto Rican Lives is an Impeachable Offense
Ernest Canning makes the case for adding the President's woeful, deadly response in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria to the list...
Trump's Schizophrenia, Congress' Fresh 'Health Care Hell': 'BradCast' 10/19/17
Guest: TPM's Alice Ollstein from Capitol Hill; Also: Trump meets with P.R. Guv, gives himself a '10' on Maria response!...
'Green News Report' 10/17/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Alaska's ANWR on chopping block, again; Toxic ash from CA wildfires; US Virgin Islands w/o power, clean water; PLUS: Shell opens e-car charging network at gas stations -- in Britain...
Previous GNRs: 10/12/17 - 10/10/17 - Archives...
DHS Misled on 2016 'Russian Hacks'
(Will They Get It Right in 2018?):
'BradCast' 10/18/17
Guest: Orange Cnty, CA Registrar Neal Kelley on new DHS 'Election Infrastructure' Council...
Impeachable Offenses: Trump's 'ObamaCare' Lie: 'BradCast' 10/17/17
Also, Guest: Pastor Michael McBride on the 'Cost for Peace vs. Death' and programs that stop gun violence...
'Green News Report' 10/17/17
Hurricane slams Ireland; Deadliest fire week in CA history; Puerto Ricans drinking water from toxic Superfund sites; Coal plants closed in TX; PLUS: Oil rig explodes in LA...
Something's Happening Here (Maybe): 'BradCast' 10/16/17
Guest: Heather Digby Parton on Trump rage, GOP 'cowardice'; Also: Deadly hurricane in Ireland(?!), fires in CA, war between US-armed allies in Iraq...
Sunday 'Just Undo It' Toons
'PDiddie' rounds up another week in American politics where words fail, but the political cartoonists do not...
'Chaos': 'BradCast' 10/13/2017
In less than 24 hours, Trump aggressively unleashes fresh havoc on the American health care system and foreign policy with Iran...
'Green News Report' 10/12/17
Historic, deadly firestorms grow in CA; Water-borne diseases in Puerto Rico; PLUS: Trump EPA makes way for controversial mine in world's most valuable fishery...
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...


In less than 24 hours, Trump aggressively unleashes fresh havoc on the American health care system and foreign policy with Iran...
By Brad Friedman on 10/13/2017 6:27pm PT  

On today's BradCast: At the end of another hectic (and deadly) week in our now Dysfunctional States of America, Donald Trump has decided to turn his self-loathing and rage over his own failing Presidency into chaos unleashed on the citizens of the nation and the world. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Just hours after his Executive Order on Thursday, issued in hopes of paving the way for worse health care policies to be sold to Americans, the White House announced it would no longer pay subsidies to health insurance companies meant to help cover out-of-pocket medical expenses for low-income citizens. Over the Summer, after months of Trump threatening to cut off the so-called Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) payments defined by the Affordable Care Act ('ObamaCare'), the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that doing so would raise premiums by 20%, result in lost health care for 1 million in 2018, and increase the federal deficit by nearly $200 billion over the next decade.

So, of course Trump did it anyway.

The matter now moves to the federal courts, where state Attorneys General have announced they will file suit (along with the insurance companies who will likely do so as well, since they are still legally required to give customers the discounts, whether Trump reimburses them or not) and to Congress, which could pass legislation to mandate the payments be made. We explain what it all means, what Republican lawmakers may do next, and who will be most harmed by the President's attempted murder of the Affordable Care Act, as he tries to hoax his own gullible voters into believing it was a 'suicide'.

On Friday, Trump similarly injected even more chaos into U.S. foreign policy by falsely declaring that the seven-nation agreement that prevents Iran from creating nuclear weapons was not in the U.S. interest and that they had violated "the spirit" of the deal. In order to do so, he offered a litany of straight-from-Fox-"News" propaganda about Iran and the deal that would likely embarrass even those from the George W. Bush Administration who falsely sold the case for war in Iraq claiming that they were developing weapons of mass destruction.

That issue, on whether to officially end the long-sought pact --- which all other parties (Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia) all agree has been working well --- will also now goes to our broken Congress to determine its fate.

But, it's a Congress with Republicans like Rep. Scott Perry (PA) who accused CNN of "making up" the still-ongoing humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico.

Amidst all of this, one leading Democrat, for what its worth, has an "urgent" idea that might end up saving the world if the otherwise impotent elected members of Congress can ever come to terms with the dysfunction they've sown and the monster they've given rise to: Take away his nuclear button. Immediately.

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

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Guest: Dr. Trita Parsi of the National Iranian-American Council on Trump's dangerous, and foolish, scheme to break the Iran nuclear deal...
By Brad Friedman on 10/10/2017 6:11pm PT  

Republican U.S. Senator Bob Corker, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, suggested to the New York Times over the weekend that Donald Trump's reckless comments on North Korea and Iran and other issues, could be setting the nation "on the path to World War III." Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy argues in response that we should take Corker's --- and Trump's --- words much more seriously. Well, we do...pretty much every day here on The BradCast. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Today we discuss how, even as the President continues to threaten war with nuclear-armed North Korea, his own CIA argues leader Kim Jong Un is not a "madman", and poses no direct threat to the U.S. or its allies --- unless Trump forces him into a corner. At the same time, Trump continues to back Kim into a corner while undermining his own Sec. of State Rex Tillerson's diplomatic efforts in the region.

The claims that he's concerned about NK's nuclear program are difficult to accept while Trump seems dead set on undermining the very successful anti-nuclear agreement with Iran (and Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain), despite his own top diplomatic and military officials stating repeatedly that Iran has been honoring the deal to the letter, since it was struck under President Obama in 2015. Breaking that agreement, as Trump is threatening, will only boost the political fortunes of hard-line clergy in Iran, while undermining the moderates there who have risen in the Iranian parliament and presidency in the wake of the deal. It might also result in Iran restarting it's nuclear enrichment program that was ended by the deal, putting them much closer to nuclear weapons. So, why is Trump threatening to break that agreement by decertifying it, and sending the issue to Congress to decide whether to reimpose sanctions?

We're joined today by DR. TRITA PARSI, Founder and President of the National Iranian-American Council, which worked with the Obama White House to help shepherd the nuclear pact through Congress, to discuss why Trump is vowing to try and kill the deal, and what the ramifications are likely to be in the U.S. and Iran --- and even in North Korea --- if he does.

Parsi, is an expert on Middle Eastern foreign affairs and US-Iranian relations. He says there is simply no reasonable explanation for Trump's interest in killing the Iran deal and, as he describes today in an article at the NY Review of Books, hand a "gift" to Iran's conservative hard-liners, who already distrust the U.S.

"More than anything else, to be completely frank," he says, "this seems to be in line with almost everything else Trump has done since he took office --- which is, he just simply opposes anything that has Obama's signature on it. Whether it's the Affordable Care Act, whether it is the Iran deal. And there seems to be an obsession, on his end, to undo it for that simple reason. Because in his own administration, his Secretary of State tells him 'don't decertify'. His Secretary of Defense tells him 'don't decertify'. His Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff tells him 'don't decertify'. So what is it that Trump, with his brilliant real estate mind manages to see as a flaw with this deal that no one else seems to be able to identify?"

Parsi, whose most recent book is Losing An Enemy: Obama, Iran, and the Triumph of Diplomacy, says while all parties --- including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), eight times since January 2016 --- have certified that Iran is honoring the agreement, some in Iran already see the U.S. as having broken it. He cites Trump's recent efforts at the G20 to discourage other nations from trading with Iran.

"Trump is in clear violation of Article 29 of the agreement, which says that no country shall stand in the way of what is now legitimate trade between Iran and the outside world. You can't lift sanctions as an incentive for the deal and then go and encourage countries not to trade with Iran, and that's exactly what Trump went and did at the G20 meeting," Parsi explains, adding: "Fortunately, thus far, the Iranians have refrained from further escalating this."

The larger concern is that Trump is undermining world interests in dealing with the U.S. on anything. "Why would you negotiate with Trump? What is it that gives you the confidence that he has the capacity of upholding his promises? That's the problem here. In order to get [a better deal, as Trump claims to want], you need to have the credibility of being a good and fair and trustworthy negotiator. Trump does not have that reputation anywhere."

"This is not a strategy that has any chance of success on the international stage. The only question is how much damage will it incur on the United States before Trump stops doing what he's doing right now." Parsi cautions Trump's dangerous game could result in military conflict. "It's only creating more uncertainty, which then leads to more instability, and then potentially a collapse of the deal that can bring the United States back on a path towards war with Iran."

Mission accomplished?

Finally, we're joined today by Desi Doyen for the latest Green News Report with updates on the apocalyptic wildfires in Northern California, the latest in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and the Trump EPA's hypocritical explanation for gutting the Obama 'Clean Power Plan' to reduce man-made greenhouse gas emissions that helped fuel 2017's record hurricane season and the fires still blazing out of control in California...

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

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Trump's chilling remark; Another hurricane for the Gulf Coast; More deadly coal and chemical shills for the EPA; Abolishing the 2nd Amendment?; and the President's 'reverse Midas touch'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/6/2017 6:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we can only hope that Donald Trump's ominous comments to reporters last night at the White House were as ill-informed and misleading as he usually is on just about everything else. [Audio link to show follows below.]

In somewhat chilling and wholly cryptic remarks during a short press avail Thursday night, Donald Trump suggested the moment might be seen as "the calm before the storm." He refused to clarify to the media, beyond gesturing to military leaders and their spouses who were at his side for a White House dinner, and adding "you'll find out." We discuss what it may (or may not) mean.

The storm he almost certainly wasn't referring to was Tropical Storm Nate, which, after killing more than 20 in Central America, is now expected to slam the U.S. Gulf Coast (possibly New Orleans) as a hurricane over the weekend.

That, even as disaster relief continues in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island more than two weeks ago. More than 90% of the island's 3.4 million U.S. citizens are still without power and some 50% without clean running water, despite recent Administration attempts to obscure the ongoing catastrophe. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, in the meantime, has now publicly offered to help rebuild Puerto Rico's entire power grid with solar panels and batteries and the island's Governor seems interesting in taking him up on it. That may be a glimmer of good news --- for Puerto Rico and all the rest of us --- as the island could become a highly visible U.S. proving ground for clean, renewable energy and micro-grids.

And, in not-at-all unrelated news, Trump has nominated a top coal industry lobbyist to be second-in-command at the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as a chemical industry scientist, whose work has, for years, downplayed peer-reviewed scientific studies critical of his clients' products, to head up EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.

Then, in the aftermath of last Sunday's Las Vegas Massacre, some progressives and, yes, even conservatives are calling for an idea that is rarely mentioned, much less debated in this country: amend or abolish the Constitution's Second Amendment entirely. As U.S. democracy has been stifled and bastardized so much on issues related to guns and gun safety --- and even the Constitution itself --- after years of distorting propaganda by the NRA (the gun lobby) and its tools in both government and media, we discuss the issue today, not in support of abolishing the 2nd Amendment (necessarily), but in hopes of welcoming actual debate on both that and other related issues.

Finally, several recent polls --- on issues from health care to the NFL to media to immigration to climate change --- all find opposition steadily growing AGAINST pretty much every position that Trump and Republicans hold on them. Trump, it seems, has "the reverse Midas touch", as one writer observes, in what suffices today for a bit of encouraging news at the end of another horrible week in the U.S...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/2/2017 6:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it's one of the darkest days in U.S. history. Again. [Audio link to show follows below.]

At least 58 are dead and more than 500 were wounded in the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday, as a lone gunman rained down thousands of rounds from his fully automatic rifles on to attendees at outdoor country music concert. The shooter, reportedly a retired real estate investor and high-stakes gambler who lived in nearby Mesquite, is said to have killed himself as the Las Vegas SWAT team located him in his room, from where he was firing on the 32nd floor of the Monterey Bay Hotel and Casino, where he had been firing from. He was reportedly in custody of as many as 19 high-powered weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition in his hotel room, which he used to carry out the shooting on concert goers at least 400 yards away.

In the bargain, 64-year old Stephen Craig Paddock was allegedly able to carry out the worst mass shooting murder in modern American history in a matter of 10 to 15 horrifying minutes. After a brief update on some of the important news from over the weekend (other than in Vegas) regarding Puerto Rico and North Korea, we discuss what is known about the massacre as of air time and the White House reaction to it from both the President and his Press Secretary (who says, predictably, that it's "premature" to discuss what to do about such things.)

For the record, while the shooting in Vegas was the worst in modern history, according to GunViolenceArchive.org, the Las Vegas massacre marks the 273rd mass shooting in 2017, in 275 days so far this year. A total of 11,652 people have been killed in all gun violence incidents this year, with 23,512 having been injured. (Those statistics do not include the number of suicides by gun, which would tens of thousands of more victims to those totals for 2017, according to the Archive.)

No motive is currently known for the shooting, though it hardly matters. Whether homegrown terrorist or ISIS recruit, it's very easy to legally obtain obscenely deadly, military-style assault weapons in this country. The results are the same, no matter the motive.

Then, we examine just some of hard data on violent gun deaths in the U.S., much of it compiled by Vox.com's Zack Beauchamp, including why studies find the rates of murder and suicide by gun in the U.S. are so much higher (some 25 times higher) than in other prosperous developed nations with otherwise comparable crime rates. The difference between those countries and ours? The number of guns per capita. We also look at the available empirical data on how (and if) gun safety laws actually reduce the rate of both homicide and suicide in countries around the world (including the U.S.) after gun safety restrictions are strengthened and/or loosened. Australia, for a number of reasons, provides a particularly stark example. But other nations do as well.

Much of what we cover and discuss today, on the surface, seems as if it should be blatantly obvious. The data sets are true no matter how one feels about guns and the Second Amendment and why the Founders enacted it. Unfortunately, many of these facts are not as well understood by the public as one might think and hope, particularly given the partisan political restrictions on tracking and/or debating and/or even discussing these matters. That, thanks in no small part to the decades of propaganda and partisan political campaigning by the terrorist-enabling National Rifle Association (NRA) and the arms lobby that it represents...

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

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Callers ring in on Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un; Also: Is the GOP ObamaCare 'repeal' finally dead?...
By Brad Friedman on 9/22/2017 5:51pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we open the phone lines to callers, mainly on the Donald Trump v. Kim Jong Un madness that may get us all killed. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

As you'll recall, in an unprecedented speech by a U.S. President, Trump called Kim "Rocket Man" and threatened to "totally destroy North Korea" at the United Nations General Assembly.

That, as reported today, was apparently a surprise even to Trump's top officials, who are said to have "warned him not to deliver a personal attack on North Korea’s leader at the United Nations." In turn, North Korea said they are considering a test of a hydrogen bomb above and the Pacific, and Kim issued an unprecedented first-person response, describing Trump as a "mentally deranged dotard". Trump answered back via Twitter (naturally), calling Kim a "madman". But the school yard bully act by both is far more complicated, nuanced and, yes, dangerous, as revealed in part by the full statement from Kim, which we share today.

Then, Sen. John McCain now says he's a "no" on the last-gasp desperate efforts by Senate Republicans to gut the Affordable Care Act with the wildly unpopular Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson amendment, that would take hundreds of billions away from federal health care, and result in loss of coverage for at least 21 million Americans. Does McCain's announcement finally signal the end for the GOP's zombie-like attempt to '"repeal and replace" ObamaCare? Don't count your chickens just yet.

Also today: breaking news on the Guajataca Dam in Puerto Rico that is now reportedly failing following Hurricane Maria, and threatening tens of thousands already struggling without power in the wake of the record storm; and a 30-year old reminder from then UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, of all people, that, yes, the nations of the world can come together to save the planet in the fight against deadly emissions.

Callers ring in today on all of that and more (and even on NASA's totally "fake" moon landing!) in a very lively, and occasionally chilling, BradCast...

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

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Guest: Historian, Middle East expert Juan Cole of Univ. of Michigan on why the hell we're still there, and if we'll ever be able to get out...
By Brad Friedman on 8/22/2017 6:02pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Now that he's President, after years of decrying "our very stupid leaders" for "wasting" blood and treasure to stay in Afghanistan, Donald Trump announced on Monday night that the U.S. will be spending more blood and treasure to stay in Afghanistan --- for an indefinite period of time. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, he claimed, justifying his flip-flop, he has a "new" strategy for "victory" in the war torn nation, more than 16 and a half years since the U.S. first invaded following the 9/11 attacks. What exactly is that "new" strategy? Based on his prime-time televised address from Fort Myer in Arlington, VA, it's not entirely clear. Then again, neither is whatever the hell is going on in Afghanistan. "It's complicated," my guest explains today.

Joining me to try and help us understand America's longest war and where it goes from here under the ownership of Donald Trump is blogger, historian and longtime Middle East/South Asia expert JUAN COLE, of the University of Michigan. Professor Cole, who has been writing about this "invisible war" at his "Informed Comment" blog since 2002, describes the difficulties faced by the last three U.S. Presidents in Afghanistan --- not to mention previous colonial powers from other nations --- and how Trump's plans appear to be both different and the same as his two predecessors'.

If President Obama was unable to succeed with his counter-insurgency strategy with 100,000 U.S. troops, it seems unlikely that Trump, with some 12,000 soon to be there, will do much better with his "not nation building --- killing terrorists" strategy.

"There's no real danger the Taliban are going to take over the [Afghan] government and kick us out," Cole tells me, in trying to explain why we are still there. "However, if the U.S. got out, I don't imagine that the government in Kabul would last more than a year."

So, is it possible to ever get out, at this point? What good has 16+ years of bombing, 1 trillion in tax-payer dollars and the lives of some 3,500 U.S. troops --- not to mention untold millions of Afghans --- actually accomplished? We discuss the roots and the reasons for the ongoing quagmire and much more with the good professor.

"Whatever resources and capacity Afghanistan had to be an independent country were destroyed from 1978 forward, once the [Soviet] Communists took over, and then Reagan conducted what I call the 'Reagan Jihad'," Cole explains. "He got all the Muslim fundamentalists all together --- including what became al-Qaeda --- to kill the Communists. Since that time, since 1978 forward, Afghanistan has been roiled and in turmoil. I figure a couple million people have been killed. The country has no real resources. It's one of the poorest countries in the world. So this is just not a place, especially given what was done to it in the last 30 years, that is very likely to stand up a government. This is one of the reasons the U.S. is stuck there."

"The thing that puzzles me --- I can't entirely understand it --- is that no one in the United States cares about Afghanistan. No one cares if we're there or we're not there. If troops are killed over there, it hurts me in my gut. I'm an Army brat. But they put it on page 17 of the Washington Post. And it never comes on cable news," says Cole, adding: "It's an invisible war."

After that conversation today, a quick look at Trump's domestic war with the leadership of his own party and others, before we finally turn to Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report, on how corporate lobbyists from Monsanto, Exxon and other major corporations continue to game the system for their own profits, while playing the rest of us for suckers...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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By Sandy Morganstein on 8/21/2017 9:35am PT  

During the process of building support for turning my novel Cassandra, Chanting into a movie (working title Ballot Holes), several have asked me why I published Cassandra anonymously in 2008. In Cassandra, I imagined foreign powers infiltrating voting machine companies to steal a presidential election…not because they care who won, but because they know this is the clearest shot at undermining American democracy.

In Greek mythology, as I detail in the book, Cassandra was the Trojan beauty with the gift of prophecy. She was eventually cursed by Apollo to make certain that her prophesies would fall only on deaf ears. (More about the novel, Cassandra, below. Read The BRAD BLOG's 2008 review by Ellen Theisen here.)

The decision to publish near-future prophecy anonymously was not hard at the time. As an insider at a voting machine company and someone who is critical of the federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC), I didn't want the challenges with respect to EAC certification to become more difficult. The EAC creates the rules by which electronic voting and tabulation systems must comply in order to be used in states which require federally certified machines. In some cases, the rules are onerous and do not result in better voting systems. At the time, I was an executive and major shareholder in the Populex Corporation. We had developed a voting system that allowed voters to use a computer to mark a paper ballot, to then be tabulated by an optical-scan system, or even by hand. (Similar so-called "Ballot Marking Devices" or BMDs are currently in development in places like Los Angeles County in California.)

Complying with the EAC rules (and they change them from time to time) is a very expensive proposition. A book about the dangers posed by our then current (and, mostly still-in-use) electronic voting systems, many of which had previously received EAC approval, might have been seen as a slight to the EAC. Although our company had received EAC approval, it was best not to do anything that they might consider tweaking them...

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




Guest: VOA White House Bureau Chief and 26-year East Asia correspondent Steve Herman; Also: DoJ flips in key voting rights case; Trump continues to ignore terror attack on MN mosque...
By Brad Friedman on 8/10/2017 6:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the fire, fury, and potentially deadly bluster continues. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Donald Trump re-upped and doubled-down on his recent threats to bring "fire and fury like the world has never seen before" against North Korea, telling reporters at his golf club in New Jersey on Thursday that "maybe that statement wasn't tough enough."

His original threat earlier this week was in response to North Korea's threats against the U.S., after the United Nation's security council voted unanimously for new sanctions against the isolated nation. And, in response, North Korea's military offered an unusually detailed plan to fire a salvo of missiles at Guam, a U.S. territory and home to several U.S. military bases.

We're joined to discuss the still-increasing tensions between the two nuclear powers by VOA's White House Bureau Chief STEVE HERMAN, who returned to report stateside earlier this year after serving as a correspondent and bureau chief in east Asia for more than 25 years.

When he last joined us in April, during the last round of threats between NK and the U.S., the always-remarkably level-headed Herman offered a tip, as a veteran journalist in the region, as to how to assess whether or not NK was bluffing with their public statements. We find out whether the new round of threats from NK's military is now finally cause for legitimate concern, and whether Trump's own bellicose threats --- and the potential for a preemptive U.S. strike --- pose an even greater threat to stability in the region.

Herman also offers some criticism of the U.S. commercial broadcast coverage on this issue, details the divides over the matter within the Trump Administration itself, discusses what North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may actually be seeking here, how big the stakes are for all sides in "this ultimate poker game", and confirms that, despite the increasingly heated rhetoric from both sides, back-channel diplomacy is still ongoing and may ultimately help to avoid what otherwise appears to be a deadly collision course.

He also offers a thought or two on which has been more difficult to cover, the whole of East Asia during his time overseas, or the Trump Administration now that he's reporting from the White House.

Also today: Political appointees (not career civil rights officials) file legal documents to flip the DoJ's previous position in a crucial voting rights case scheduled to be heard this fall by the U.S. Supreme Court. And, nearly a week has gone by without Donald Trump saying or tweeting a word about last weekend's terror bombing of a mosque in Minnesota...

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By Brad Friedman on 8/9/2017 5:58pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the world reacts to Donald Trump's alarming threat on Tuesday to rain down "fire and fury like the world has never seen before" on North Korea, if they continue to threaten the U.S. with nuclear weapons. [Audio link to show follows below.]

North Korea further threatens an attack on a U.S. airbase in Guam and describes Trump as "bereft of reason" on whom "only absolute force can work"; U.S. Sec. of State Rex Tillerson tries to calm frayed nerves, promising “Americans should sleep well at night," during a stop-over in the island U.S. territory; some in Congress pretend to assert Constitutional authority for a preemptive strike on North Korea (maybe they should have thought about that when they lauded his unconstitutional bombing in Syria several months back), the President tweets a few lies about himself and the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and the nations of the world try to determine what the hell Trump was actually thinking, if anything, with his reckless "improvised" remarks.

For our part, we cover all of the above and open up the phone lines to callers to get their take on which madman with nuclear weapons, North Korea's Kim Jong-un or U.S. President Donald J. Trump, they are most worried about.

Then, Desi Doyen joins for the 800th episode of our Green News Report!...

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

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Guest: David Faris of Roosevelt Univ. on our broken Congress...
By Brad Friedman on 8/8/2017 6:39pm PT  

During a press avail in New Jersey on the opioid epidemic on Tuesday, Donald Trump threatened "fire and fury like the world has never seen". Disturbingly, he was threatening the Korean peninsula with those remarks. But he may as well have been talking about climate change without even realizing it. On today's BradCast: so much for the momentary sense of calm some of us may have felt for a few blessed hours with both Congress and Donald Trump on "vacation." [Audio link to complete show follows below.]

First up today, deadly dangerous saber rattling is quickly ratcheting up world tensions on the heels of new United Nations sanctions against North Korea. The isolated nation responded with threats of "physical action". Trump responded with promises of "fire and fury". NK responded in kind with a reported threat to attack Guam --- a U.S. territory and home to U.S. military bases --- with "enveloping fire", as our show got under way today.

Then, speaking of global threats, the New York Times published a disturbing leaked report last night authored by scientists from 13 federal agencies, warning of quickly accelerating man-made global warming. The report, already approved by the National Academy of Sciences, is part of the U.S. National Climate Assessment, a statutorily mandated quadrennial report now awaiting final approval by the climate science-denying Trump Administration. We discuss the alarming details of the report, why it was leaked to the press in advance of the August 18 deadline for approval, and the question of whether Trump, his EPA and other science-based federal agencies will sign off on it (or change it before they do).

Then we're joined by author and political scientist DAVID FARIS of Roosevelt University, to discuss his recent article on "Why the GOP Congress will be the most unproductive in 164 years". He blames the increasing extremism and polarization within the GOP's own caucus, which, he argues, has virtually hamstrung the Trump/GOP agenda.

"What has happened over the last forty years is Republicans have moved much, much further to right than Democrats have to the left," Faris tells me. "They've moved a little bit to the left since 1980, but not my much --- it's almost imperceptible. Whereas if you chart the movement of the GOP, it's just a long, consistent straight march off the ideological map into uncharted territory."

He describes what he sees as the the reasons for this historic "asymmetric polarization" among Republicans, and why there does not appear to be nearly as much of an ideological divide within the Democratic caucus in Congress.

Finally, we mark today's passing of country/pop superstar Glen Campbell before we return again to a world now very much on edge --- a fact made even more troubling as Trump's approval ratings, even from his most ardent base voters, appear to be quickly eroding at the 200th day mark of his Presidency...

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

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Guest: Dr. David Jefferson of Livermore National Laboratory and Verified Voting | Also: 'The Mooch' is fired, and the health care wars continue...
By Brad Friedman on 7/31/2017 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast: How hackers in Las Vegas over the weekend confirmed what we've been yelling and screaming about for nearly 15 years. Namely, every single computer voting, tabulation and registration system used in the U.S. is absurdly vulnerable to manipulation that would likely go undetected unless hand-marked paper ballots exist and are actually counted, by hand, by human beings. [Audio link to full show posted below at end of article.]

At the annual hackers convention in Vegas known as DefCon, thirty voting system computers (both voting machines and electronic pollbooks) were made available to attendees to crack at will! And, boy howdy, did they! Every single system was reportedly compromised in some fashion by the end of the weekend --- several of them fell within just minutes of opening DefCon's so-called "Voting Machine Hacking Village".

We're joined today for some of the amazing details on what happened in Vegas (in hopes that it doesn't just stay there!) by DR. DAVID JEFFERSON, a longtime computer scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Chair of the Board of Directors at VerifiedVoting.org. Jefferson, who has a been a pioneer in the field of voting system security for some 20 years, serving as an advisor to five successive Secretaries of State in California (both Republican and Democratic) also presented at the wildly popular DefCon "Voting Village".

"It was a wild time, I have to tell ya. This hacking village was set up --- really, in just six weeks it came together --- and in that short a time, they managed to gather all these voting machines," he says. It was quite a contrast from the "cloak and dagger" days when folks like us had to obtain voting machines from secret sources to share with independent investigators in order to have any kind of independent analysis of system vulnerabilities.

"That room was just crowded from morning to night," Jefferson says, describing the room at DefCon. "And the amazing thing is that all of those successful hacks, these were by people who, most of them, had never seen a voting machine before, and certainly not the system sitting in front of them, and they had not met each other before. They didn't come with a full set of tools that were tailored toward attacking these machines. They just started with a piece of hardware in front of them and their own laptops and ingenuity, attacking the various systems. And it was amazing how quickly they did it!"

Jefferson tells me, after all of these years, he is now seeing a major difference among the public, as well as election and elected officials (a number of whom were also in attendance), regarding the decades-long concerns by experts about electronic voting, tabulation and registration systems.

"I am seeing a kind of sea change here. For the first time, I am sensing that election officials, and the Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI, and the intelligence community, and Congress, and the press, are suddenly, after the 2016 election experience, receptive to our message that these systems are extremely vulnerable and it's a serious national security issue. As you know, in a democracy, the legitimacy of government depends on free and fair and secure elections. And people are beginning to realize that we haven't had those for a long time."

He explains how hacking methods attributed by many to Russians following the 2016 elections "are the same methods that anyone on Earth could use --- insiders, criminal syndicates, nation-states other than Russia, as well, or our own political partisans. The fear, of course, is that these hacking attempts will be totally undetectable. But even if they are detectable, it's difficult often to determine who did it, whether it's an insider, or a domestic partisan, or some foreign organization."

He also confirms what I've been trying to point out since the 2016 election, that despite officials continuously claiming that no voting results were changed by anyone, be it Russia or anybody else, "they cannot know that. They simply can't know. Certainly in those states where there are no paper ballots, such as in Georgia, for example, it's impossible for them to know. And even in states where there are, if they don't go back and either recount the paper ballots, or at least recount a random sample of them, no, they can't know either."

"Election officials have fooled themselves into believing the claims of their [private voting machine] vendors that the systems are secure from all kinds of attack. And it's just never been true," Jefferson argues.

But will the weekend's short order hacks of every voting system presented at DefCon actually help the U.S. to finally move toward systems that are overseeable by the public? And what does that mean, exactly? Is replacing old computer election systems --- many of which still run on no-longer-supported software like Windows 2000 --- with new ones the answer? Are paper ballots, which voting systems experts call for, enough? Particularly given that we saw, after the 2016 election, how it's nearly impossible, even for a Presidential candidate, to see those ballots publicly hand-counted ("Democracy's Gold Standard") in order to confirm results?

"We have to change the way we think about securing elections. Instead of trying to harden the voting systems themselves against all forms of attack --- I think that is going to be a hopeless task for as far into the future as computer scientists can see. Instead of hardening those systems themselves, we need to design systems so that after the election is over we can verify that the results were correct. And then if they're not, we have to be able to change the results accordingly. So the emphasis is on detection and correction, not prevention."

I hash all of that out and much more with my friend Dr. Jefferson today, who also details DefCon's plans to make the "Voting Village" a permanent fixture of its annual convention, which just spectacularly wrapped up its 25th year.

Also on today's show: Trump fires his incoming White House Communications Director Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci before he even officially begins in his new role, and the mop-up from last week's health care repeal disaster for Republicans in the Senate continues, as the White House demands the U.S. Senate vote on nothing else until they can vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, despite a new poll finding Americans want Congress to move on, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders vowing to introduce a single-payer healthcare bill in the U.S. Senate...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 7/27/2017 11:03am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: U.S. Coast Guard planning for six feet of sea level rise by 2100; U.S. House Science Committee chairman pushes myth that climate change will be "beneficial"; Rome may go to water rationing amid serious drought; Oil companies sued over climate change; Hundreds of new panda-shaped Chinese solar farms; South Miami law mandates solar; PLUS: Environmental factors linked to serious decline in North American men's sperm counts... 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): Trump threatens to protect the environment if Alaska senators don’t back health care bill; Unusual weather phenomenon explains simultaneous eastern and western India flooding; AEP plans the largest onshore wind farm in the U.S in OK; CA's marine sanctuaries face new offshore drilling threat from Trump Admin; New massive plastic garbage patch found in Pacific Ocean; EPA to seek public comment on water rule repeal; Bundy follower gets 68 years in prison for role in armed NV standoff; New database shows myriad pollutants in U.S. water systems... PLUS: New diesel and petrol cars and vans will be banned in the UK from 2040... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wildly unpopular Senate bill will be back soon, and why Dems can never 'compromise' on what is, in fact, an issue of national security...
By Brad Friedman on 6/28/2017 5:50pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it ain't over till it's over. And, despite a brief setback in the Senate on Tuesday, the GOP's attempted assault on American health care is anything but over. [Audio link to complete show is posted below.]

First up: More Trump-fueled embarrassment for the U.S. around the world, according to a new Pew Poll survey and even with our otherwise longtime allies in Germany, where the Trump Administration's Commerce Secretary became a laughing stock, in advance of next week's G-20 summit.

And then, in the wake of Senate Republicans pulling their health care bill from a vote on Tuesday, their hopes of undermining the American health care system by repealing the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") continues. That, despite several new polls confirming that the Senate GOP's measure is wildly unpopular among the American people and even among Republican voters. One poll shows support for the scheme at just 12%, another at 17%, with almost all of the data gathered prior to the CBO analysis finding the measure would result in 22 million Americans kicked off the health care rolls.

Nonetheless, even as Trump seems to have no clue, what is actually in the bill or what it will and won't do, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has access to some $200 billion to buy off a number of wavering Senators to get him to the bare minimum 50 votes he needs to strip health care from millions of Americans in exchange for huge tax cuts, the promise of undermining Medicaid and much more.

A new version of the bill could be locked down by Friday, before Congress leaves for their holiday recess.

Today we open up the phone to listeners on the issue (a few others, somewhat amusingly), before finishing up with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report as climate change-fueled early Summer heat waves are already bring death and destruction around the world...

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

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Guest: BuzzFeed News Journalist, 'FOIA Terrorist' Jason Leopold; Also: Trump says he was bluffing about audio tapes...but was he?...
By Brad Friedman on 6/22/2017 6:09pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Republicans in the U.S. Senate finally released a draft of their secret plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or 'ObamaCare', and the Dept. of Defense finally releases a redacted version of a damage assessment from 2011, examining the fallout to national security from the Bradley/Chelsea Manning leaks of 2010. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up: The secret working group of white, male Republicans in the Senate finally revealed their new scheme, dubbed the "Better Care Reconciliation Act", to rewrite 1/5th of the U.S. economy by replacing ObamaCare with what Donald Trump has promised would be a healthcare plan "with heart" that was less "mean" than the version he celebrated after its narrow passage by Republicans in the U.S. House several weeks ago.

The release of the new Senate plan did not go well. Democrats, independents, and healthcare advocates alike --- not to mention elderly protesters in wheelchairs dragged away from outside the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell --- slammed the legislation for its massive tax cuts to the wealthy in exchange for deeply cruel cuts to federal Medicaid funding, and the promise of stingier premium subsidies for less generous health care policies.

A number of Republicans in the Senate also currently oppose the plan as written, because it doesn't repeal ObamaCare enough, but we'll see if they change their tune before the bill comes up for a vote next week, as promised by McConnell, before Congress leaves for the July 4th recess. The GOP can only afford to lose the support of two Republicans among their 52-seat caucus.

Then, we're joined by BuzzFeed News journalist and "FOIA terrorist" JASON LEOPOLD, to discuss the newly unearthed Dept. of Defense damage assessment of the hundreds of thousands of documents on the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, as well as diplomatic cables, leaked by U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in 2010.

During her trial, Government officials charged that the disclosures caused massive damage to national security and endangered counts lives of both U.S. personnel and our allies, but is that what the DoD's own secret 2011 assessment --- finally released this week in heavily redacted form in response to Leopold's Freedom of Information Act request --- actually found? We discuss that and the "passionate responses" he has received since publishing the assessment.

We also discuss the new White House ban on cameras during press briefings and how the Trump Administration compares to previous administrations on matters of government secrecy and document classification.

"In the overall picture, you have an administration that operates under intense secrecy that wants to limit access --- 'access' being the key word there --- that journalists depend upon. Access is really important, and it's really important to be able to confront government officials," Leopold tells me, while placing the news about the ban in context with the Trump Administration's secrecy and on-going battle with journalists elsewhere. "This type of behavior trickles down to various levels within the federal government and, I've seen, it also goes into local and state governments, as well. This intense secrecy, where elected officials who are accountable to the people are simply not interested in speaking --- and then try and set up some new rules that basically bars the press from confronting them."

Leopold goes on to cite the increased difficulty he is beginning to have prying documents loose via FOIA requests under the Administration, while noting that "some of these agencies are having trouble trying to figure out how to respond to requests, largely because you have a President now who is tweeting, who is arguably declassifying --- instantly declassifying --- information that would otherwise remain secret."

Speaking of which, finally today, Trump tweeted that, despite his previous suggestions, he has no audio tapes of his one-on-one conversations with now-fired FBI Director James Comey. But is he telling the truth, or bluffing yet again?...

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

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