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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, February 18, 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: Obama's former chief economist at DoL, Heidi Shierholz; Also: New Trump budget slashes domestic programs, calls for trillion dollar deficits, includes long-awaited, scam infrastructure plan...
By Brad Friedman on 2/12/2018 6:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast: If there's anything the Trump Administration excels at, it's their reverse Robin Hood penchant of taking from the poor to give to the rich. But their new wage theft plan for workers in the restaurant industry may bring that penchant to new heights --- or depths, as the case may be. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first up, and very much related, Trump's new $4.4 trillion budget proposal, released on Monday, calls for moving still more money from the poor to the rich --- on the heels of last year's unpaid-for $1.5 trillion tax scam --- with cuts to domestic programs, more obscene increases to our national war budget, and trillion dollar deficit spending as far as the eye can see. And all of that is separate from his Department of Labor's plan to steal tips off the tables of waiters and waitresses. Yes, literally!

We break down Trump's dead-on-arrival proposal for his 2019 budget, which doubles the deficit spending called for by his dead-on-arrival 2018 budget. The scheme, described Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) as "morally bankrupt", also includes what he and corporate media (inaccurately) have been referring to as a $1.5 trillion Infrastructure Plan to rebuild the nation's roads, bridges, airports and much more. That scheme would actually invest just $200 billion in federal money, with the rest being paid for, in theory, by cash-strapped states and wealthy private corporations --- even as the $200 billion in proposed federal spending actually comes by way of cuts to the Dept. of Transportation and EPA. In other words, as we detail today, his $1.5 trillion infrastructure program, is really a $0 infrastructure program, in which we sell off our national assets to private companies. Other than that, it sounds great!

Then, speaking of Trump scams, we're joined by President Obama's former chief economist at the Department of Labor, HEIDI SHIERHOLZ, now Senior Economist and Director of Policy at the Economic Policy Institute, to discuss the Trump Dept. of Labor's new plan to steal tips earned by service professionals and give it to restaurant owners instead. No, really.

"There is long-standing practice by the DOL that interpreted tips as belonging to the workers who earned them. That was codified in a 2011 rule, that just said very clearly, 'Employers, you can't take tips, they belong to the workers who earned them." What this proposed rule does is it just rescinds those regulations --- it says employers can do whatever they want with worker's tips, as long as they pay workers minimum wage," Shierholz tells me. "This has been a dream of the National Restaurant Association, which is the big industry group for restaurants forever. [Trump's DoL] cared so much about giving a big gift to the National Restaurant Association, that they were willing to propose a rule that would literally shift billions of dollars from workers to employers."

And, as if that's not outrageous enough, as Bloomberg Law revealed earlier this month, it turns out the DoL, when asking for Public Comment on this new rule, withheld their own agency's analysis, finding the new scheme would transfer billions of dollars from wait staff to the restaurant owners themselves, who'd get to keep anything earned above the federal hourly minimum wage of $7.35 hour! Shierholz details how the Department is hoping to scam the public by not including their own analysis of the cost of this new rule, even as her own organization's analysis estimates that the new regulation, allowing owners to keep tip money, could transfer nearly $6 billion annually await from wait staff, and potentially as much as $13 billion each year.

"But this is the key: there are rules that they have to follow as a part of the rule-making process, and it includes, very clearly, that they have to do a very comprehensive cost-benefit analysis. They have to estimate the impacts of the rule on workers. We now know that they did do that. But it looked really bad, and so they tried to bury it."

Yup. Prepare yourself to pay up once again to defend still more lawsuits filed against this lawless Administration.

We also discuss how this rule, if finalized, will adversely affect women in particular, who stand to lose $4.6 billion of the $5.8 taken from tipped workers each year. "The fact they are forging ahead with this, despite knowing how bad it is for workers, really is primarily about their far greater interest in supporting corporate interests over those of workers. The fact that it's massively, disproportionately going to affect women may be sort of a bonus," Shierholz quips.

Finally, with the unthinkable possibility of peace between North and South Korea breaking out over the weekend during the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang --- despite the Trump Administration's determined hopes for a new, potentially nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula --- deadly new military skirmishes broke out between Israel, Iran and Syria over the weekend. So, just in case you're worried that all of Trump's new U.S. military spending would go for naught, don't worry! We'll always find new wars on which to spend it...while your kids can't pay for college, you can't afford medical care and the Trump Administration is stealing tips off the table.

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

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Guest: Nuclear analyst Stephen Schwartz on why the clock was moved forward, Trump's new 'Nuclear Posture Review', and Hawaii's false alarm...
By Brad Friedman on 1/25/2018 6:29pm PT  

On today's BradCast, a "grim assessment" and, hopefully, wake-up call from a group comprised of the nation's top nuclear (and climate) experts. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

While much of the corporate media continued their 24/7 coverage of Republicans' pretending there is a "secret society" at the FBI to take down President Trump and Democrats' ongoing speculation about what Special Counsel Robert Mueller may or may not be finding in his probe, an august body of nuclear and climate scientists offered yet another chilling warning to the world. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, keepers of the so-called "Doomsday Clock" since 1945, announced that they were moving the symbolic clock forward to two minutes to midnight, which is as close as the world has metaphorically been to apocalypse since the end of World War II, including at the height of the Cold War.

We're joined to discuss today's announcement and related matters by longtime nuclear weapons policy analyst STEPHEN SCHWARTZ, who formerly served for years as the Bulletin's Executive Director and Publisher, and now as an adjunct professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.

Schwartz shares the fascinating origin of the Doomsday Clock's creation (originally meant as little more than a magazine cover), and offers insight into why the Bulletin's scientific board --- which includes 15 Nobel Laureates --- decided, for the second year in a row, to move the clock "thirty seconds" forward.

"This is the closest that it's ever been, as it was in 1953, when it hit two minutes. The furthest away was at 17 minutes to midnight in 1991, reflecting the end of the Cold War, the creation of the START Treaty that sharply reduced US and Soviet strategic nuclear weapons, and a general feeling at that point that we were moving very much in the right direction. Obviously, the people at the Bulletin today, and many people around the world, feel that we're moving very much in the wrong direction," Schwartz tells me, noting that while there are "far fewer nuclear weapons in the world today than in 1953 when the hands were last at 'two minutes to midnight'," we now have far more countries with their "fingers on proverbial buttons. Thus, he charges, the "the likelihood of nuclear weapons being used, whether by accident or design, is higher, certainly, than at any time since the Cold War ended."

"It's an interesting and obviously symbolic arbiter of global dangers," he explains. "And since about 2007 it also includes global warming in the mix, so it's not just about nuclear dangers."

At what is now "two minutes to midnight", we also discuss a draft report from the Pentagon of a new "Nuclear Posture Review" currently being reviewed for final release by the White House. The new Defense Department plan calls for, among other disturbing things, clearance for the President to launch a first strike nuclear attack in response to non-nuclear events such as a cyberwarfare attack on U.S. infrastructure.

"I think is really problematic," Schwartz warns, explaining how the new policy would set a very dangerous precedent not just for the U.S., but with other nuclear armed nations. "It just seems incredible that the first thing we would do if we were attacked via cyberwarfare is to start thinking about lobbing nuclear weapons. We're sending a very clear signal to every country in the world that has or wants nuclear weapons, 'Hey, this is what you should be thinking about doing with your nuclear arsenal.' And if they were to adopt our posture, it would come back to haunt us in a really big way."

We also talk about lessons learned from the recent false alarm of an incoming ballistic missile attack on Hawaii, how and why the terrifying alert was issued, similar such false alarms in recent U.S. history, and why this particular event highlights the many dangers of "Donald Trump's intemperate rhetoric and threats against [a nuclear-armed] North Korea."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report to help underscore the other major reason the Doomsday Clock was notched forward again today, as climate change has helped lead to the world's first major city about to completely run out of water, even as another major city in California becomes the 9th to sue the fossil fuel industry for damage to the climate.

All of that before we close today with a few listener comments on the milestone of The BRAD BLOG's 14th Anniversary of investigative journalism, blogging, broadcasting, trouble-making and muck-raking this week. (To that end, PLEASE consider a donation to our work on the form below, or at BradBlog.com/Donate! Thank you!!!)

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: Farmer John Gilbert; Also: Detente in Korea; Arpaio to run for Senate; Landmark court ruling in NC; More climate-related tragedy in CA...
By Brad Friedman on 1/9/2018 6:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Enough with the so-called "forgotten Trump voters"! What of the forgotten Democrats and progressives who far outnumber them? Where are all of those profiles in the MSM? We pick up that ball a bit today. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first, just some of the news breaking today: North and South Korea are now talking again, and have struck an agreement that will result in North Korea participating in the winter Olympic Games that begin next month in South Korea. They also appear to be planning for talks in the near future on the militarization of the North/South border and other related matters, even as the Trump Administration continues to send very mixed signals about negotiations that might include the U.S.

Meanwhile, back here at home, the far right-wing "news" site Breitbart has fired its far right-wing Executive Chairman Steve Bannon following comments he made about Trump's son Don Jr. in Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury book. Bannon was previously fired by the White House as Trump's top political strategist. And, speaking of the GOP's continuing internecine Trump Era War, the disgraced, far right-wing 85-year old Joe Arpaio, controversial former Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff found guilty of contempt of court last year before being pardoned by Trump shortly thereafter, says he will run for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate this year, in a bid to replace outgoing Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.

Then, amidst seemingly endless sympathetic corporate media profiles of supposedly "forgotten" Trump voters in rural America, what of the majority of American voters who didn't vote for Trump, even in so-called "Trump Country"? We're joined today by sustainable family farmer JOHN GILBERT [pictured above] of Gibralter Farms, who, with his wife and extended family, has been farming and ranching on land maintained by his family since the 1890s.

Gilbert was briefly mentioned in a Washingont Post profile at year's end of another nearby farmer in Hardin County, Iowa --- part of the paper's long series of stories so-called on "THE FORGOTTEN: The issues at the heart of Trump's America" --- who remains an ardent and seemingly confused Trump supporter, angry with the way she believes the Obama Administration and its Environmental Protection Agency were enforcing too many rules that made her work difficult or costly. While Trump has begun to reverse many of those Obama Era regulations, such as the controversial Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, Gilbert believes we need more, not fewer regulations to remain good stewards of the land, so that "humanity stays alive".

He says the "big lie" about WOTUS was that, in fact, "most farming activity was exempted. I think it's also clear that that was an issue that was ginned up almost entirely by the Farm Bureau as a way to scare farmers, and I think farmers were duped into opposing that."

The 68-year old Gilbert explains how many of his fellow farmers, in Iowa and elsewhere, have been misled by the American Farm Bureau --- a lobbying group which he says largely represent the interests of "Big Ag" --- about both that and the so-called "death tax", while the Republican party and its media outlets have been helping to spread the group's disinformation for many years. "Politicians and Republicans have called it the 'death tax' for a long time," he tells me, "and always say 'Oh, it's hard on farmers.' Well, there's almost never been a farmer who has ever been affected enough by it that they had to do like they claim and sell the farm. These are all just manufactured fear tactics."

He also comments on Trump's at times bewildering appearance on Monday at the Bureau's national convention in Nashville, and discusses the principals of sustainable agriculture, for which he and his wife recently won the 2017 Sustainable Agriculture Achievement Award from the Practical Farmers of Iowa.

"The whole issue of sustainability stems from a basic acceptance of the fact that there is not enough in this world for everybody to have all they want, whether it's enough water, enough food, enough energy, enough power, enough room. There's not enough. That means that we have to share, I guess, for lack of a better word," he tells me. "The one thing that has kept humanity above the animals over all these years is the ability to control our greed...And if you don't control greed, then you use up too many resources today and don't have any left for the future."

"Agriculture, in itself, is strictly the process by which humanity stays a live," he tells me. "We in agriculture do a lot of things, but basically we're trying to keep humanity alive. The question that we don't know is how long 'forever' is. And if we're going to keep humanity alive essentially forever, we have to make sure that we have the resources available to our descendants thousands of years from now --- to continue to support humanity. When you put those two things together, you end up with a system of farming that is much more aligned with natural systems. You tend to use principles of nature rather than the test tube or the chemical companies, or the big expert input suppliers who tend to be more interested in making money off of what you do than you making money."

There is much more in our conversation today than I can adequately cover here, so I'd encourage you to tune in for my full discussion with Gilbert, from the heartland of the first-in-the-nation caucus state. He's great.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report', before several late breaking news items, including a late day landmark Appeals Court ruling striking down North Carolina's Congressional maps due to partisan gerrymandering, and the tragic news out of Southern California that at least 13 have died, so far, in mud slides amid remarkable overnight rainfall in areas recently burned by the recent record Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties north of Los Angeles, the largest fire in state history...

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

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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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By Brad Friedman on 12/15/2017 6:21pm PT  

On today's BradCast, a spoonful or two of sugar where we can find it, along with much too much bitter medicine. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the stories covered on today's jam-packed 'BradCast'...

First up: The massively unpopular Republican tax scam lurches toward the finish line after the last of the pretend GOP hold-outs in the U.S. Senate now seem to be on board. They all know it's a scam, of course, one that will not, as they pretend, "pay for itself". And most predict the tax bill will gravely hurt the GOP's chances of holding on to the U.S. House in 2018. But they don't seem to care for some reason Moreover, they are openly admitting publicly that they are coming for cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid almost as soon as the largest redistribution of wealth from the poor and middle class to corporations and the wealthy in the history of the nation is completed before Christmas.

Then: Earlier in the week, Trump's beleaguered Sec. of State Rex Tillerson had announced that the U.S. was ready to meet with the North Koreans for peace talks without preconditions. By week's end, however, that hopeful message of potential peace took a drastic u-turn, as Tillerson appears to have reversed course at the last minute during his remarks at the U.N. on Friday.

Meanwhile, even though they have, up until now, failed to enact any major legislation to date, Trump and the Republicans have been wildly successful at ramming lifetime appointments of radical right-wing jurists to the federal bench through the U.S. Senate. Some of those appointees have been ridiculously unqualified, though at least one Senate Republican is beginning to put the brakes on those nominees. We share part of the astonishing Senate Judiciary Committee colloquy this week between Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) and Mark Spencer Petersen, Trump's embarrassingly unqualified nominee for a lifetime post on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Finally, we get to at least a spoonful of sugar with a musical tribute to the apparently failed U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama, plummeting approval ratings for the President, the Vice-President and the entire Republican Party, and the hilarious case of pretty much every member of the Trump family in D.C. successfully suppressing their own votes in last month's New York mayoral election.

All of that and much more in today's BradCast. Enjoy!

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: Karen McKim of Wisconsin Election Integrity...
By Brad Friedman on 11/28/2017 6:55pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The three stories we cover at the top of today's show --- another long-range missile launch by North Korea, GOP tax cuts for the wealthy moving forward in Congress, and a Trump-appointed federal judge who just decided in favor of Trump (and seemingly, against the rule of law) in an unprecedented battle for leadership of a federal agency --- all underscore the importance of the rest of today's disturbing program. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

An effort just before the Thanksgiving holiday by citizen volunteers at WisconsinElectionIntegrity.org (WIE) finds that inaccurate results were certified in Wisconsin's 2016 Presidential election, which Donald Trump is said to have won by just 22,000 votes over Hillary Clinton, out of some 3 million ballots cast.

Wisconsin was one of three states, along with Michigan and Pennsylvania, where Green Party candidate Jill Stein had filed for "recounts" and forensic audits of voting systems, after the Clinton Campaign declined to heed the pleas for such an audit by computer scientists and voting systems experts who begged her campaign to do so. Stein's post-election effort was largely stymied by Team Trump and various statutes in each of those states. A statewide tally was allowed to move forward in Wisconsin, however only about half of the state's ballots were hand-counted, as municipalities were allowed to carry out their choice of either manual- or machine-tallied "recounts".

After finding an alarming number of uncounted ballots in Racine County precincts during last year's machine "recount" (see documentary filmmaker Lulu Friesdat's alarming coverage of election officials refusing to hand-tally clearly valid votes there during Stein's attempted "recount") the volunteers at WIE filed, and paid for, a public records request to examine the hand-marked paper ballots in a number of those wards.

Recently, they were allowed to review those ballots and, as they feared, many perfectly valid votes had gone uncounted by the optical-scan systems both during the original Election Night tally and the so-called "recount" in counties that used the same faulty computer scanners for the second count, after they had similarly mistallied ballots on Election Night.

I'm joined on today's show by longtime election integrity advocate and WIE's statewide coordinator KAREN McKIM to discuss the group's findings, revealing that the ballot scanning computers used in some 57 municipalities across the state had failed to tally anywhere from 2% to 6% of the ballots with valid Presidential votes in each of the Racine precincts they were allowed to examine a week or so ago. In other WI cities which chose to count by hand during Stein's "recount", McKim tells me, those same scanners had originally missed anywhere from 9% to 30% of valid Presidential votes! All of that in a state which Donald Trump is said to have won last year by less than 1%.

"They were ignored by the voting system entirely," says McKim, "and that's what made the miscount - or should have made the miscount obvious to the election officials even before they certified. You could look at those election results that the voting machines spit out on their face and you could see that hundreds of votes were just missing. If you compared the total number of ballots cast to the total number of presidential votes counted, you should have known --- they should have known --- that two percent of the voters didn't go to the polls so that they could cast a blank ballot. The miscounts were obvious at the time of the canvas, and the county officials did nothing about it."

Nearly a year after the election, in late September of this year, the state Election Commission finally decertified the 20-year old Optech Eagle computer tabulators, after finding that the systems fail to tally votes at all if the "wrong" type of ink is used to make selections by the voter. The same systems are still used, according to Verified Voting, in other states, such as Indiana, Massachusetts and Virginia, and may be used again in Wisconsin next year, as the state decertification allows municipalities to wait until after the November 2018 mid-term elections to replace them.

McKim, however, tells me that those faulty machines don't necessarily explain "the really widely varying error rates from precinct to precinct. ... Why the city of Racine machines were missing more votes than the suburban machines? I don't know. You'd really have to do a forensic investigation to figure that out." But, of course, Stein was not allowed such an investigation in any of the states where she sought them.

If it weren't for Stein's attempted audit, she says, the problems may have gone completely ignored. "The poll workers noticed the missing votes when they closed the polls that night. They noted it on their inspector's reports. The municipal canvas looked at it, and I talked to the Municipal Clerk, and she said, 'I didn't know what we were supposed to do about this, so I certified it and sent it to the County Clerk.' And then the County Clerk looked at those results. She too --- and again, you could not ignore a miscount of that size --- and she just said, 'Well, it's the municipality's job to send me the accurate results. Whatever they send me, it's not my job to correct it.'"

"There is not a county in the state of Wisconsin where the county election officials check accuracy of the vote totals. They all just certify by looking at the computer tape and saying, 'Oh, look who won.'"

McKim, who is a retired quality-assurance manager, says "Every other manager that uses computers, from your grocery store to the bank to the city treasurers, they all know and accept that their computers are going to miscount from time to time. So they have routine procedures in place to check and correct before it's too late. Election administrators are the only computer-dependent managers we allow to get away with not checking the computer output for accuracy. It's insane."

"The county canvass procedures clearly allowed massive miscounts, obvious miscounts, just to go undetected and uncorrected. And that's unacceptable," she added, going on to detail what the group plans to do next, and how computer tabulation systems other than the Optech Eagle, "new or old", should never be trusted for use without citizen oversight.

We also discuss what such oversight should look like, if public Election Night hand-counts are possible in Wisconsin, how citizens elsewhere can carry out similar audits, and much more during today's show...

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Guest: Dana Floberg of FreePress.net; Also: Nebraska approves KeystoneXL route after spill; Trump ratchets up war-mongering with NK...
By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2017 6:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Apparently, the mega-merger of non-wingnut media corporations is bad for consumers and competition, according to Trump's U.S. Department of Justice. But the mega-merger of right-wing media goliaths is just fine, according to Trump's FCC --- even if they must roll back decades of rules (and change the way math works) to maintain local media ownership of newspaper and TV stations in order to do it. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Today, just minutes before airtime, the U.S. Dept. of Justice announced their lawsuit to try and block the proposed $85 billion mega-merger between AT&T and Time-Warner, claiming the takeover would "substantially lessen competition" and result in "higher prices and less innovation for millions of Americans." While that might normally be encouraging and long-overdue anti-trust news from a U.S. Administration, the Trump Administration's war on CNN (whose parent company is owned by Time-Warner) and a separate move by Trump's FCC Chairman Ajit Pai late last week, gutting decades-old regulations that prevented companies from buying up local TV and newspaper outlets in the same market, makes the DoJ's claims a bit difficult to accept at face value.

Joining us today is DANA FLOBERG, policy analyst at the non-partisan media watchdog FreePress.net, to explain how the FCC's vote last week to kill those rules threatens independent media and local news competition and seems to contradict the Administration's response to to the AT&T/Time-Warner merger, even as it paves the way for another planned mega-merger between the far right-wing Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media. That merger, along with the FCC's disturbing actions last week, with little publiclity and no public comment period, would allow Sinclair to reach some 72% of American viewers in an unprecedented takeover of as many as all of the local TV news outlets in your home town, eventually!

Floberg tells me her organization favors blocking the deal between AT&T and Time-Warner, but she remains "concerned on Trump's saber-rattling" with CNN as part of the Administration's objection to the deal. She says that merger must be blocked becaus "it's the right thing to do for Americans, not to suit Trump's personal vendetta."

As to last week's vote to overturn decades of local media consolidation regulations, she details what the new rules will allow, and explains how the FCC's Pai has "been rushing all these changes so they're in place by the time they have to approve the merger" between Sinclair and Tribune Media. In the bargain, as she discussed in a recent article at Free Press, Pai's argument that the consolidation of local media by huge corporations is needed to help struggling newspaper outlets doesn't meet the smell test. "They've already used the argument that 'consolidation will invigorate' local markets," she says, "and it hasn't worked". Sinclair is "already the largest broadcaster in the U.S.," she warns and the "first thing they do" after buying up stations "is they close newsrooms."

Then, Desi Doyen joins us to explain the decision made by by Nebraska's Public Service Commission on Monday to adopt an alternate route for the long-sought, controversial KeystoneXL Pipeline, just days after more than 200,000 gallons of dirty tar-sands crude from Canada spilled out of the original Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota.

Also today, Trump ratchets up his war-mongering with North Korea, this time by declaring them to be a state-sponsor of terrorism. And, one of his top generals explained over the weekend how Americans needn't worry, because he'd never facilitate an "illegal" war or nuclear launch by Trump. (Feel better? I don't.)

Callers then ring in on all of the above today. Enjoy!...

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Guest: Nuclear analyst Stephen Schwartz: Also: Dems win again in OK; Moore madness in AL; Maddening new details on N. Cal mass shooting...
By Brad Friedman on 11/15/2017 6:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast, more good news for Dems, more bad news for Republicans, and more disturbing news for all Americans --- and the world. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We start today with the encouraging news for Democrats, as a 26-year old lesbian candidate for state Senate in deep "red" Oklahoma has unseated yet another Republican in a special election this week. It's the third time a state Senate seat has been flipped by Dems in OK since a 24-year old woman became the youngest chair of a state Democratic Party last year.

Speaking of trouble for Republicans, we've also got the latest on the Roy Moore mess in Alabama, as President Trump, also accused of sexual assault by multiple women before his own election last year, has frustrated fellow Republicans by failing to speak out in the matter, following bombshell allegations that Moore assaulted a number of teenagers, as young as 14 years old, while serving as a 32-year old prosecutor. But Moore and his supporters are fighting back today, as is his wildly embarassing attorney. A robocall falsely claiming to be from a reporter at the Washington Post (which originally broke the initial allegations against Moore last week) has reportedly been circulating in Alabama, in advance of the December 12 election, claiming to be offering money in exchange for new allegations against the far Rightwing GOP nominee for US Senate. And, far Rightwing radio propagandist Rush Limbaugh has come up with a very novel defense for the accused GOP child molester at the same time.

Also today, more news on the mass shooting at and near an elementary school in Northern California that killed 5 and wounded 10 others on Tuesday. Many new questions have surfaced about why the shooter, a local man with a criminal record and anger management issues, was able to purchase and then retain semi-automatic weapons even after recent encounters with police including domestic violence complaints and being charged with stabbing a neighbor. But, at least the mass killer wasn't Muslim, so NRA-bribed Republicans can begin ignoring yet another domestic mass shooting immediately.

Then, as concerns continue to grow worldwide over Donald Trump's saber rattling with North Korea and his access to nuclear weapons, the U.S. Senate held a hearing this week to discuss Presidential authority to wage war and launch nuclear weapons without anyone having the ability to prevent him from doing so, if he chooses.

Longtime nuclear weapons policy analyst STEPHEN SCHWARTZ of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies joins us to discuss what, if anything, was accomplished at the Senate hearing, the first on the topic since 1976, and what, if anything, can (or should) be done to restore a more sane use-of-nukes policy in the only nuclear-armed nation in the world which rests sole decision-making power on whether to use such weapons with one single person. That person, currently being Donald J. Trump, has raised many worries from Democrats and Republicans in Congress alike. Whether they're willing or able to do anything about it, however, is a different matter, as we also discuss today.

"The reality of the situation is that you're putting enormous power in the hands of one person," Schwartz, tells me, detailing how, short of "mass insubordination" by military leadership, even they would be unable to prevent such an event if Trump ordered it. And, he explains, even objections on legal or Constitutional grounds by military leadership might be insufficient to prevent disaster in the "at most 15 minutes, perhaps, as little as five or ten" during which a President would have to make a decision about how to respond in the event of an apparent incoming attack.

You'll want to tune in for this conversation, if only to hear the explanation of how the nuclear "football", at all times within reach of any American President since the Cold War, actually works. Schwartz, the former longtime Executive Director and Publisher of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (keepers of the infamous "Doomsday Clock") also suggests several ways in which we could improve (or, help Trump-proof) the current dangerous system to help avoid "what could be a life-ending, a world-ending decision"...

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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: Sue Wilson of Media Action Center; Also: Trump says now seeking diplomacy with NK; Many red flags should have prevented TX shooting...
By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2017 6:15pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Very troubling news from the FCC, largely being ignored by both corporate media and Democrats, as the GOP-controlled federal agency is now set to make a disastrous decision to allow local media ownership monopolies as early as next week. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today: In an encouraging about-face, some good news out of Donald Trump's trip to Asia. After publicly attacking his own Secretary of State on Twitter for seeking the same just weeks ago, Trump, in South Korea on Tuesday, says he now hopes for a peacefully negotiated diplomatic solution to his nuclear brinkmanship with North Korea.

Next: The man who used a legally purchased military-style semi-automatic assault rifle and some 450 rounds of ammunition to slaughter 26 churchgoers in Sutherland Springs, Texas on Sunday, was not only convicted by a U.S. Air Force court martial for assaulting his wife and child (whose skull he cracked), but he also spent a year in the brig, was discharged for "bad behavior", was charged for beating up a dog, had a restraining order filed in Court against him, escaped from a psychiatric hospital, threatened to kill his commanding officers, and attempted to smuggle weapons onto a military base.

But, somehow, none of those red flags --- through both the military and civilian law enforcement --- prevented him from legally purchasing four firearms, more than a dozen high-capacity magazines, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. While Republicans and media are claiming the Air Force was "in error" for not reporting his domestic assaults to the federal background check database in a way that would have kept him from purchasing firearms from a licensed deal, it was not an "error". Evidence suggests that it is actual policy for the entire U.S. military. Nonetheless, as I explain today, the GOP will use the issue to demand a change to how the military reports crimes, declare victory, even while ignoring all of the many other red flags that should have helped to prevent the bloodbath from happening at all.

Then: Ajit Pai (pictured above), the rightwing Chair of Donald Trump's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced a vote to be held next week to do away with the last of the few remaining media consolidation rules we have left in the U.S. If the 3 to 2 majority Republican Commission votes, as expected, to overturn decades-long limits on local broadcast and newspaper ownership, one company --- for example, the far rightwing (farther than Fox "News" even) Sinclair Broadcast Group, which is attempting to purchase Tribune Media --- will be able to buy up every single local television station (and their newsrooms) in the town where you live. Newspapers would also be allowed to own local television stations in the same market, for the first time ever.

Media Action Center's SUE WILSON, whose documentary Broadcast Blues covered just some of the real life dangers of media monopoly ownership (like that by Clear Channel aka I Heart Media in radio), joins us today to sound the alarm and explain the madness, which is quietly set to move forward with almost no attention or opposition whatsoever from either media, Democrats or many of the major media advocacy groups.

The Trump administration is "using their power behind the scenes, without legislation, to derail all the rules and regulations that we have in place to protect We, The People," Wilson explains. "The real threat here is, just imagine one corporate owner owns every TV station, and the newspaper, and the radio stations in your town. One owner, one newsroom, shoving whatever they want you to know down your throat, and no other viewpoints, no other facts, will be allowed. That's what we're really talking about here."

"This is something that Republicans on the Federal Communications Commission have been lobbying for for years," she says. "And they have tried this underhanded technique in the past, where they don't take any public comment, they just put this out for a vote." Unless they are stopped somehow, it looks as if they are likely to get away with it this time. (Remember when Republicans used to claim to be in favor of "competition"? Those were the days, huh?)

"What we're really talking about here is one group having complete control over everything that you are told over the public airwaves. And that will decimate the real reporting that goes on. Those are the newsrooms that hire real reporters, that go out and beat the streets and find out what happening at city hall, or the statehouse --- or the White House. They like to compete with each other, which offers We, The People a much broader spectrum of information that we can access."

Those days, however, may soon be over if this goes through. "Their goal is to take the radio model --- the model which is 98% of all the information you get on the news-talk stations is rightwing. You don't get any kind of pushback. Sound these fire alarms now because the house is burning and they don't want you to know it!" Wilson, whose op-ed on this, headlined "Fake News is only the beginning..." was published at Sacramento Bee today, also details how you can help to fight back on today's show. See this "URGENT" page at her Media Action Center for details. And please do so quickly! The vote to scrap ownership limitations and gut whatever is left of our public airwaves is scheduled for next week!

Finally: Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report, including special coverage of the newly released, and quite dire, National Climate Assessment, and Syria's announcement on Tuesday that the war-torn country now intends to join the Paris Climate Agreement, leaving the U.S. as the only nation on the planet that will NOT be a party to it, if Trump's promise to pull out goes through as scheduled...

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Also: Trump in Asia, wildly misled on U.S. defensive missile capabilities...
By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2017 6:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it was yet another tragic and bloody weekend in the U.S., after yet another horrific gun massacre. And, now on his Asian tour, President Trump appears to know little about how missile defense systems actually work (or don't.) [Audio link to show follows below.]

As you've heard by now, at least 26 were killed, with another 20 injured, in minutes, in yet another semi-automatic gun massacre. This time, it was another white American guy who shot up a church during Sunday services in the tiny Texas town of Sutherland Springs. Once again, Republican lawmakers fell over themselves to Tweet "thoughts and prayers" while, again, offering no other solutions, suggesting nothing more could possibly be done to help curb the obscene, ongoing gun epidemic in the country.

That, even though the shooter in this case, formerly in the U.S. Air Force, appears to have previously been charged with assaulting his wife and child and spent a year in military confinement, before receiving a "bad conduct" discharge. He was later charged with animal cruelty and reportedly had a protective order issued against him by a court. Despite all of that, he was nonetheless able to purchase semi-automatic weapons in Texas without a problem.

The state's Republican Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton (who is still facing felony securities fraud charges himself) indicated on Sunday and Monday that nothing can really be done other than hoping "the forces of God overcome this evil" since "killing is already illegal" in the state of Texas. Paxton's called for more people to carry guns, even in Church.

For his part, Donald Trump, reacting to the shootings from his two-week Asia trip, also agrees that there is no reason to change any laws, because "this isn't a guns situation...it's a mental health problem." Without citing any evidence, the President argued that only mental health issues are to blame --- in stark contrast to when he offered very specific immigration policy proposals within hours of last week's truck terror attack in New York City. Trump offered no policy or legislative prescriptions whatsoever in his comments yesterday and today in response to the Texas bloodbath. Perhaps the tens of millions of dollars he and Republican lawmakers have received from the arms lobbyists at the terrorist-enabling NRA might explain that?

We discuss all of that, the latest breaking news on the case, as well as some of the Democratic responses (Former Rep. Gabby Giffords here. Sen. Chris Murphy here.)

Then, with Trump now in Asia, he is continuing to play tough guy in Japan after reportedly expressing frustration that the "country of samurai warriors" failed to shoot down North Korean missile tests that recently flew over their northern-most main island. It seems the U.S. President has some troubling misconceptions both about what Japan's post-WWII Constitution allows them to do (and not do) and, more disturbingly, has apparently been given some very misleading information about the capabilities (and lack thereof) of U.S. defensive missile interceptor systems. As he recently told Fox "News" propagandist Sean Hannity: "We have missiles that can knock out a missile in the air 97 percent of the time, and if you send two of them, it's going to get knocked down." He's wrong.

Despite those misconceptions, it hasn't prevented Trump from announcing plans to sell millions, if not billions of dollars worth of those missile systems to Japan today. And, so, once again, the vaunted U.S. Military Industrial Complex wins again --- from Sutherland Springs, Texas all the way to Tokyo...

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Also: New details in the mystery of Georgia's 'wiped' election server...
By Brad Friedman on 10/27/2017 5:53pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Who ordered the state of Georgia's election server to be completely destroyed amidst a federal lawsuit filed in July? And working to mitigate the "clear and present danger" President Donald J. Trump poses to the nation and the world. [Audio link follows below.]

First up today, a number of follow-up details, for now, on the story we reported yesterday in depth about the state election server computer that was mysteriously "wiped clean" in Georgia, just after a lawsuit was filed questioning whether results were electronically manipulated in some fashion during last year's Presidential election and this year's U.S. House Special Election in the state's 6th Congressional District.

Both contests were run on Georgia's easily-hacked, 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen systems and computer tabulators, and programmed by Kennesaw State University's Center for Elections. As AP reported on Thursday, the Center, after 15 years handling all programming for the state's elections, has now completely deleted the server that had been used for programming, including its two back-up servers. Questions remain as to whether the FBI might have an "image" copy of that server, officials are calling for a criminal investigation, and nobody yet knows who ordered the computer hard drives to be completely wiped and "degaussed three times".

We also share a terrific related listener email, and detail some of the terrible reporting on this matter by at least one corporate outlet (which we were able to get them to, at least partially, correct last night.) But, we hope to have much more on this story on our next BradCast.

Then, among the other stories covered on today's program...

  • The American Legion is calling on Trump to protect veterans by vetoing legislation passed this week that will prevent Americans from being able to file class-action lawsuits against big banks and other corporate institutions for fraudulent and deceptive practices;
  • A Military Times poll finds Trump is very unpopular among military officers, though somewhat more popular among enlisted troops;
  • Defense Sec. James Mattis is wildly popular among everybody in the military, though he may be less so, of late, with the Commander-in-Chief. Mattis has been speaking with troops in South Korea and calling for diplomatic solutions in the very dangerous, potentially-nuclear standoff between Trump and North Korea;
  • Democrats in the U.S. Senate introduce legislation to keep Trump from launching a pre-emptive strike, "nuclear or conventional", with North Korea, in hopes of forcing him to follow the Constitution as per the founders, who specifically granted Congress the exclusive right and duty of declaring war against another nation;
  • Trump responds to the $10 million NeedToImpeach.com campaign launched by Tom Steyer, by describing the California activist billionaire as "wacky" and "totally unhinged" in response to the campaign's ad describing the President as "a clear and present danger";
  • And, speaking of "wacky" and "unhinged", Roy Moore --- the twice-disgraced, far-right Republican former Alabama Supreme Court Justice who Trump is supporting in Alabama's U.S. Senate special election coming up in December --- explains why he believes the U.S. Supreme Court's Obergefell ruling that legalized same-sex marriage is "even worse" than the Court's infamous 1857 Dredd Scott opinion which essentially legalized slavery across the U.S. and helped lead the country into the Civil War...

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Guest: Longtime nuclear weapons analyst Stephen Schwartz; Also: Flake won't seek re-election, rebukes Trump, party; Corker/Trump's sad war...
By Brad Friedman on 10/24/2017 6:49pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Trump continues to blow up the GOP today. But what, if anything, will stop him from doing the same, literally, to the world? [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Yet another Republican U.S. Senator has decided they've had enough. Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake stunned D.C. today by joining Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker in deciding that he will not run for re-election in 2018 after all. He offered a blistering rebuke of Donald Trump, fellow GOP members of Congress, and the Republican Party itself while making his announcement on the Senate floor on Tuesday. That development came after a remarkably rancorous (and, in truth, very sad) series of media/Twitter back and forths earlier on Tuesday between Corker and Trump.

We cover all of the above today, with a focus on Corker's charge that the President of the United State is, himself, not only failing the country, but a real and present threat to national security in regard to North Korea and other foreign policy concerns.

With that in mind, following the disturbing report over the weekend that the U.S. Air Force is now preparing for the possibility of placing nuclear-armed bombers on 24/7 ready alert for the first time since the end of the Cold War, we are joined by longtime nuclear weapons policy analyst STEPHEN SCHWARTZ of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Schwartz, formerly the longtime Executive Director and Publisher of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (keepers of the infamous "Doomsday Clock"), explains the reasons --- sensible or otherwise --- the White House and US military might make this extraordinary move, which, he charges, is fraught with any number of perils. It's particularly puzzling, he explains, given that the U.S. already has hundreds, if not thousands of nuclear-armed Intercontinental Missiles at the ready on both land and sea. It is, at various times, a chilling, maddening, and (somewhat) comforting conversation and incredibly enlightening from top to bottom.

(For those interested, here's that disturbingly graphic idea from Roger Fischer in the 1981 Bulletin that I mentioned, regarding making a President's decision to launch nukes much less abstract".)

Schwartz speaks to, among many other things: Why the Air Force may be doing this; How China and Russia, much less North Korea, may respond; Whether or not Congress should finally step in to ensure the U.S. never launches a nuclear first strike, no matter who occupies the Oval Office; Whether or not he agrees with Corker's assessment that Trump is a threat to national security and world peace; And what, if anything, might prevent Trump from "pushing the button" in "a fit of Twitter pique."

"I think we are long overdue for the point of having a national discussion over what it means to put one person and one person alone in charge of authorizing the use of nuclear weapons," he tells me. "Regardless of who is President, if anything good comes out of this, it will be that people are much more aware of the power that a President has to incinerate the world, how many nuclear weapons we have, still, and what our plans are for them."

"I don't worry about Donald Trump so much deciding in a fit of Twitter pique or whatever to launch a nuclear attack," he warns. "I worry that his ignorance, and his arrogance, and his complete lack of knowledge about all things nuclear, not to mention all things foreign policy, will end up getting him blundering into some sort of crisis from which there will be no real escape."

On that point, Schwartz also offers his assessment of whether the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists will move their Doomsday Clock forward once again in their annual assessment, after moving it forward to "2 and a half minutes to midnight" back in January. That was well before the recent disturbing threats by Trump to bring "fire and fury" and "totally destroy" North Korea several weeks ago. The last adjustment was also prior to the Trump Administration's wildly aggressive actions to undermine environmental policy meant to mitigate the existential threat of Climate Change, which the Doomsday Clock has also taken into account since 2007.

Finally, speaking of our climate crisis (and making it worse), we're joined by Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report as the hottest World Series in baseball history gets under way out here in Los Angeles, with the mercury hitting a record 104 degrees today...in late October...

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

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Guest: Former Puerto Rican power commissioner Ramon Cruz...
By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2017 6:03pm PT  

The struggle for 3.5 million U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico is "getting worse by the day", my guest who recently returned from the island tells me on today's BradCast. So, I'm afraid, is everything else, it seems, as the President of the United States continues to put the nation on a war footing (potentially, a nuclear war footing) in advance of his upcoming trip to Asia. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

A disturbing new report over the weekend cites the U.S. Air Force readying a Louisiana military base to place "nuclear-armed bombers back on 24-hour ready alert" for the first time since the end of the Cold War in 1991. Why? What is the imagined threat that makes such a dangerous (and expensive) posture necessary? Particularly as nuclear armed land- and submarine-based Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles are already in place by the hundreds or thousands and would surely provoke response from adversaries real and perceived?

And, of course, all of that, even as Americans are still fighting for their lives in Puerto Rico, thanks in part, to a shortage of relief funding. Yes, power remains out for some 80% of the island, more than a month after Hurricane Maria made her devastating landfall. We're joined today by former Puerto Rico Energy Commissioner, RAMON CRUZ, who is now on the Sierra Club's National Board of Directors and serves as an advisor to the United Nations on climate policy.

Recently back from the island, Cruz, a Puerto Rican native, details the deteriorating situation on the ground, particularly away from the capital of San Juan, and warns, as he did in his recently published op-ed for The Hill, that the "vultures" are already descending "to feast on the opportunities presented by the recovery efforts."

Cruz tells me that things in the interior of the island are "getting worse by the day," despite Trump grading his own federal relief efforts with a "10" out of 10 last week during a press avail at the White House. "Ultimately, who cares about what grade he gives? There's still people that [lack] all these necessities. It's really infuriating. The fact that they lost everything, and they still are drinking contaminated water, in ways that are completely preventable. That's the real disaster. In that case, if I could give negative points, I would give that."

He notes that his own father, for instance, who lives just 40 minutes from San Juan "still has no electricity, cell or water service" and many in mountain towns "have received a visit from the authorities only once, if any, and to bring a couple of water bottles and some canned sausages." The relief effort is failing, he charges, citing, for example, a delivery of "100 pallets of solar panels, but it still will take at least a month to go through the shipping process" before they can actually be deployed.

Cruz details why PR's power grid took such a hit from the storm, why it is so difficult to restore it to the already-deficient state it was in prior to the storm, and how decentralized energy micro-grids, relying on clean, renewable energy and battery storage, are now more important than ever, even as opportunists begin to take advantage of relief funds and the desperate Puerto Rican people.

"A lot of these [power generating stations] are decades old," he notes. "So you have these monstrosities of this very centralized system. They're very inefficient, they operate with some of the dirtiest fuels, and they should have been changed, should have been retired [a] long time ago. But because of several reasons --- everything from mismanagement, corruption, lack of capital, lack of creativity, bad business models, etc., they were not changed. And now you see these kinds of effects."

"In terms of human power, you have a lot of able Puerto Ricans to help," Cruz argues. "As a policy person, I think Americans in the mainland could help a lot by putting pressure on their elected officials to send a decent relief package to Puerto Rico, or to hurricane-affected areas. And to have, for example, a climate adaptation plan. I think everywhere on the coast, everywhere that is vulnerable to climate change, to global warming, there should be a plan for how to deal with essential infrastructure." That, he says, is "extremely important" but lacking in Puerto Rico and, unfortunately, too many other locations which could find themselves, before long, in as bad or worse condition than Puerto Rico...

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

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Guest: Shannyn Moore of Alaska Dispatch News...
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2017 6:22pm PT  

Donald Trump appears to have either never read the U.S. Constitution that he is sworn to protect and defend, or he just doesn't understand it, or he just doesn't care about it, as his new attack on the press being "able to write whatever they want to write" reveals again today. But that may be the least of our problems at the moment --- and on today's BradCast. [Link to full audio posted below.]

After quick updates today on still rising death tolls in the continuing unspeakable disasters following Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the massive, ongoing and deadly wildfires in California, it's back to North Korea, where the U.S. military continues to flex its muscle and threaten the nation in a way that we would neverallow another nation to do off our own shores. With B-1 bombers and F-15 fighters now conducting missile launch drills off both costs of the Korean Peninsula (even North of the Demilitarized zone that divides North and South Korea) and the USS Ronald Reagan steaming its way there, we continue to provide reason and cover for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to increase his own military arsenal. In the bargain, as a new poll reveals, two-thirds of Americans now feel Trump's rhetoric threatening to "completely destroy" the isolated nation is making the situation worse, not better, between the two countries.

Then, we're joined by progressive Alaska Dispatch News columnist SHANNYN MOORE to explain the gob-smacking scheme --- approved just one hour after Trump's EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt met with a lobbyist from a Canadian mining company, as recently revealed by internal emails --- to re-kindle the possibility of federal approval for Pebble Mine on Alaska's pristine Bristol Bay watershed.

The move toward allowing the mammoth copper and gold mine comes after years of protest by Alaskan natives (like Moore), three years of study by the Obama Administration's EPA (which found the mine could "result in complete loss of fish habitat" in the sensitive spawning ground of more than half of the world's sockeye salmon), risks the loss of some 14,000 jobs, and runs directly counter to last November's statewide ballot initiative in which voters sought overwhelmingly to protect the area from mining interests and irreversible destruction. (You may leave public comment for the EPA here on this, before October 17th.)

We also talk with Moore, who, like many Alaskans, is a hunter and gun-owner, about her most recent column on the terrorist-enabling NRA/GOP's indefensible block of any and all legislative gun safety measures, despite wildly overwhelming support from Americans --- of all parties --- for a wide variety of such reforms in the wake of last week's massacre in Las Vegas...

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

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