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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, April 22, 2018
Senate GOP Twists Law to Gut Decades-Old Regs (Forever): 'BradCast' 4/20/18
Guest: James Goodwin of CPR: Also: DNC files Trump/Russia suit; Wells Fargo fined $1B; Memos reveal Trump wants to jail journalists...
Senate Confirms Climate Science Denier as NASA Chief: 'BradCast' 4/19/18
...and many more otherworldly reminders of the importance of elections...
'Green News Report' 4/19/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Puerto Rico power knocked out again; Studies find Gulf Stream slowing down; New climate lawsuits for oil industry, Florida; PLUS: Earth Day 2018 focused on ending plastic pollution...
Previous GNRs: 4/17/18 - 4/12/18 - Archives...
'Dark Lord of Coal Country' Rising, GOP Panicking Before WV U.S. Senate Primary: 'BradCast' 4/18/18
Guest: Bob Kincaid; Also: McConnell says no, Mattis got Trumped, Kobach in contempt...
'Corrupt Intent': 'BradCast' 4/17/18
Guest: Former Asst. US Attorney Randall Eliason on Trump, Cohen, Mueller, indicting a sitting Prez; Also: Tax cut support falls, GOPers keep heading for the exits...
'Green News Report' 4/17/18
Federal watchdogs say EPA violated law for Admin Scott Pruitt; Senate confirms coal industry lobbyist for deputy EPA chief; PLUS: Google and Apple go 100% renewable...
Trump's Unlawful, Evidence-Free 'Mission Accomplished': 'BradCast' 4/16/18
Congress acquiesces after second US attack on Syria; Hannity revealed as secret Cohen client; Callers ring in...
Sunday Toons: 'One Raid Begets Another'
It didn't take long after Donald Trump's friend, business associate and personal lawyer was raided by the FBI for Trump to unleashes the missiles, as the cartoonists observe in PDiddie's latest collection...
As Trump Goes Ugly, How Dems Can 'Fight Dirty' to Win for the Country: 'BradCast' 4/13/18
Guest: Author David Faris on radically reform-ing 'long-term barriers to progressive power'...
Mattis: U.S. Lacks 'Actual Evidence' of Syrian Chemical Attack: 'BradCast' 4/12/18
Also: Clueless Trump to rejoin TPP?; Sinclair's abuse of public airwaves; And, why local news matters...
'Green News Report' 4/12/18
Newly unearthed docs reveal Shell knew about warming since 1950s; Dems want Pruitt to resign; EPA docs under-mine his claims; PLUS: Obama EPA chief speaks out...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Guest: James Goodwin of Center for Progressive Reform; Also: DNC files Trump/Russia 'conspiracy' lawsuit; Wells Fargo fined $1B; Comey memos reveal Trump wants to jail journalists...
By Brad Friedman on 4/20/2018 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast: As usual, the big headlines obscure the most disturbing ones. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

On Friday, the Democratic National Committee filed a surprise federal lawsuit against Donald Trump, his son Don Jr., his son-in-law Jared Kushner, several other members of the Trump Campaign, as well as Russia and WikiLeaks, for what the DNC's characterizes in the complaint as a broad "conspiracy" to steal private documents and undermine the DNC and the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign in "an act of previously unimaginable treachery". If allowed to move forward, the suit could result in the President, and all of his men, being forced to turn over documents and give depositions under oath. (It could also set a troubling precedent for journalists.)

Also on Friday, Wells Fargo was slapped with a $1 billion fine by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) for hoaxing more than half a million customers into purchasing car insurance they did not need. While it was the first major action by the CFPB since Trump muscled his own Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney into the dual role of Acting CFPB Director, the record fine is only a small percentage of what Wells is receiving from Trump's recent massive tax cuts.

Mulvaney, who, as a Tea Party Congressman had spent years trying to abolish the consumer bureau formed after the 2008 global banking and mortgage crisis, was upbraided by Sen. Elizabeth Warren during a recent hearing in the Senate, for his ongoing efforts to undermine the CFPB's critical assistance to consumers.

And, related to all of that, while the worst of the Trump/GOP's major legislative agenda under Trump was broadly considered to be behind us with Democrats believed likely to take over one or both chambers of Congress this November, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA, pictured above) recently came up with a scheme to twist the obscure Congressional Review Act (CRA), in order to gut decades of executive agency regulations with a simple majority vote in each house. While the CRA, only used once in its 21-year history before Trump took office, was meant as a way for Congress to roll back new formal rules enacted by executive agencies, it has been used over the past year to gut dozens of formal regulations enacted during the last 60 days of the Obama Administration.

Toomey, however, has now come up with a new interpretation of the law to allow Republicans to kill regulations from decades ago. This week, the GOP Senate began using his interpretation to do just that. They voted to kill a 2013 CFPB "guidance" document enacted to prevent racial discrimination in auto loans after hundreds of thousands of minority car buyers were found to have been charged higher interest rates for loans (resulting in more than $100 million in fines by the CFPB and money paid back to customers.)

Toomey's maneuver, however, allows such guidelines --- as opposed to only recently enacted formal rules --- to be killed under the CRA, which also prevents executive agencies from ever reinstating a similar regulation in the future. In the bargain, decades of established executive agency regulations could now be done away with, with simple majority votes, between now and the start of the next Congressional term in 2019.

We're joined today by JAMES GOODWIN of the Center for Progressive Reform to discuss this dangerous and insidious new scheme which has received disturbingly sparse media attention since its first time use this past week. Goodwin details what the CRA was meant to do, versus how Republicans have now decided to use, and the many ways in which the CRA might now be abused across the federal government with this new precedent. "One of the main dangers of this new precedent," he explains, "is we have all of these critical safeguards that we thought were in place, that now could simply vanish. And, really, the only limitation [Republicans] face is time."

Finally, the release of memos [PDF] written by fired FBI Director James Comey just after his several meetings with Donald Trump, confirm Comey's earlier descriptions of those bizarre encounters, and have received much coverage for the President's described concerns about Russian hookers and his former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who has pleaded guilty to felonies in Robert Mueller's Special Counsel probe. Less discussed, however, are the troubling details from the memos revealing that Trump was similarly obsessed with convincing the FBI Director to throw journalists in jail --- in stark violation of the First Amendment --- for reporting on embarrassing leaks coming out of his White House...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/5/2018 6:19pm PT  

On today's BradCast: While everything still sucks, there are, nonetheless, a growing number of encouraging signs that Americans --- even those in so-called "red" states --- have had just about enough of the rightwing Republican corporate takeover and ravaging of this country and so much that we hold dear. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Among the stories covered towards that end on today's program...

  • A record-breaking number of women are now running for Congress, and the filing deadlines haven't even passed in half of the states;
  • Sinclair Broadcasting Group's insidious misuse of our public airwaves for rightwing pro-Trump propaganda purposes finally begins to catch the attention of Democrats in Congress, as company executives mouth off with pathetic excuses, former employees speak out, some staffers resign in protest, and others, while embarrassed by being forced to read on-air nonsense from their owners, find reasonable excuses for not quitting (such as outrageously onerous contract terms) at once-respected TV news outlets now controlled by the nation's largest owner of television stations;
  • Teachers in so-called "red" states like Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona and West Virginia continue walkouts to push back against state education budgets that have been slashed in recent years to pay for huge tax cuts to wealthy corporations in failed experiments with supposedly "pro-growth" Reaganomics;
  • And while Republican officials in those states have made clear they were only pretending to give a damn about kids, their pretend love for coal miners has also been exposed as a lie in Kentucky, where lawmakers just made it much more difficult for miners to receive compensation amid an epidemic surge of deadly black lung disease cases;
  • The jaw-dropping corruption scandals of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt continue to be revealed on a daily basis. So, will Donald Trump finally find the courage to fire him?;
  • And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, in which Mobil Oil joins Exxon in being revealed as having been fully aware, decades ago, that the burning of fossil fuels is causing civilization-threatening climate change, and Americans tell Ryan Zinke and his Interior Department to take a hike over huge proposed increases to entry fees at our national parks...

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: Pam Vogel of Media Matters; Also: Another mass shooting; Good news for voters in two federal voter registration cases in TX and FL...
By Brad Friedman on 4/3/2018 6:25pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Good news for voters in two separate federal court cases concerning the National Voter Registration Act, and bad news for democracy, as a rightwing media outlet is using trusted local television anchors --- and our public airwaves --- to deceptively promote the Trump Agenda. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up, some breaking news as we go to air today on yet another mass shooting. This time, it was at the YouTube headquarters building in San Bruno, California, with few details known as of airtime, other than the news that four were known to have been wounded and the shooter appears to have been a women who killed herself after her spree.

Then, some happier breaking news out of Texas, where a federal court found in favor of the Texas Civil Rights Project on Tuesday, in their lawsuit against the state on behalf of plaintiffs who were denied voter registration via the online Department of Public Safety (DPS) website system when they obtained or changed their drivers' licenses. Under the federal National Voter Registration Act (NVRA or "motor voter" law), the judge ruled the state is required to process changes to drivers' licenses as voter registration applications when users click a box to confirm they wish to register to vote. Some 1.5 million Texans annually, according to the complaint [PDF], have attempted to do so, only to find out they were not actually registered to vote via the system when they showed up to the polls.

In further encouraging court news for voters, a federal judge in Florida on Friday found against a group of long-time Republican "voter fraud" fraudsters who sued, under a different provision of the NVRA, claiming that Broward County wasn't purging their voting rolls aggressively enough. That case was the first to come to trial among several similar cases filed by the rightwing groups calling themselves Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) and the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU). The judge's ruling seriously undercuts at least one of the major claims made by longtime GOP "voter fraud" fraudsters asserting evidence of massive "voter fraud" supposedly being carried out by Democrats.

Then, after a remarkable video mashup of dozens and dozens of local TV news anchors all robotically reading the same corporate-supplied script decrying "fake news" went viral over the weekend, there has been intense scrutiny of the rightwing Sinclair Broadcast Group, the company which forced the local stations it owns to produce the promos. Sinclair currently owns nearly 200 local TV stations and, despite already being the largest owner of stations nationwide, is in the process of purchasing at least 40 more that are owned by Tribune Media.

Media Matters' researcher PAM VOGEL, who has been reporting on Sinclair's misuse of our public airwaves via their local stations for several years, joins us to detail the concerns behind otherwise longtime trusted local media outlets becoming little more than propaganda outlets for the Trump Administration.

"Sinclair has been so successful for so long, because they kind of fly under the radar with smaller-scale local news," Vogel explains. The company uses it's stations --- affiliates of various networks, like ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox --- to "exploit the inherent trust that people have for their local news. You aren't necessarily aware of who is pulling the strings behind the scenes. There's no Sinclair logo on the screen."

Beyond forcing stations to run promos like the "hostage video" that went viral over the weekend, Sinclair also forces them to use regular "must-run" commentaries like those from former Trump Campaign official Boris Epshteyn.

Vogel also details what is known about the FCC Inspector General's reported investigation into whether Trump Administration officials and his FCC Chairman Ajit Pai improperly colluded with Sinclair executives to change long-standing FCC media ownership rules in order to accommodate Sinclair's attempted takeover of Tribune Media.

"They are already the largest owner of local television stations in the country, but this deal is completely unprecedented," she tells me. "And it wouldn't have actually been possible unless Trump's FCC --- now that it was under Republican-majority control, with Trump in office --- made some special moves to make that deal possible in the first place."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, in which the EPA has reversed fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks enacted by the Obama Administration; EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt finds himself under renewed scrutiny in several corruption scandals; DoJ sues the state of California over federal lands; and ExxonMobil's attempt to block climate change lawsuits against them gets tossed by a federal judge...

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: Journalist Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza on her suit against Trump: Also: Another bomb in TX; Another school shooting in MD; Another storm in the Northeast...
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2018 6:24pm PT  

On today's BradCast: What happens when the President of the United States blocks you on Twitter? How about when the President blocks a journalist? Does that violate an American's First Amendment free speech rights or Constitutional protections granted to the press? Our guest today thinks so, and is one of seven plaintiffs now suing Donald J. Trump in federal court for having blocked them on the social media platform from viewing or replying to his tweets or participating in discussion about them on the site. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today, a few breaking news items, beginning with the fifth package bomb to explode in Texas this month, as an apparent "serial bomber" continues to terrorize the Austin community in what may be a deadly spree targeting minorities in the area. Today, Donald Trump and his White House finally made their very first comments on the bombings, that have, so far, killed two and seriously injured several others.

Then, there was another school shooting today, the 17th since the beginning of the year, this time at a high school in Maryland where, just last week, many of its students participated in a national walkout to demand reform of our nation's gun laws. The shooter in today's incident is now dead after a school resource officer fired on him (though it remains unclear if the 17-year old student shot himself and if one of the victims may have been shot by the officer.) The two student victims, a 16-year old female and 14-year old male remain in the hospital. The girl is reportedly in critical condition.

But, we also have some encouraging news on that front out of Florida, where a recent gun safety reform package was adopted by the state in the wake of the Parkland, FL massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The new measure allows, among other things, law enforcement officials with a court order to temporarily seize weaponry from those judged to be a threat to themselves or others. The first such court order was granted last week in Broward County, resulting in four firearms and 267 rounds of ammo being taken from a 56-year old man who, under a separate state law, was involuntarily institutionalized by police after what the judge described as a series of delusional episodes by the man. Naturally, right-wingers are both freaking out about it and not informing their audience about why those steps were actually taken.

Next: My guest today, REBECCA BUCKWALTER-POZA, judicial affairs editor at Daily Kos and a contributor to Democracy Journal, is one of seven plaintiffs now suing Donald J. Trump in federal court for having blocked them on Twitter from viewing or replying to his tweets or participating in discussion about them on the site. The attorney and journalist turned plaintiff joins us today to discuss her lawsuit and the recent hearing in federal court on the landmark case.

As Buckwalter-Poza, who is still blocked by Trump on the social media platform, explains: "It turns out the President really doesn't like it when you suggest that Russia was involved in the 2016 election. He tweeted something about having won the White House, and I all I did was quote that and say, 'To be fair, you didn't win it --- Russia won it for you.'" She says there were "no obscenities, no threats, absolutely nothing more than a reference to Russia's involvement in the election."

As part of its defense case, the U.S. Department of Justice (yes, we, the tax-payers, are footing the bill to defend Trump in this case!) has admitted that plaintiffs were blocked for no other reason than they were critical of the President. "They've conceded that it's 'viewpoint discrimination', which is the legal term for when you are, in this case, blocking someone from Twitter because you don't like what they're saying. There's no other justification. It's just the content. It's a criticism. That definitely violates my First Amendment rights," she argues.

Explaining how she sees those rights as being violated, Buckwalter-Poza tells me: "As a journalist, there's the immediate fact of not being able to follow Trump, not being able to engage other people, not being able to respond. To put it into First Amendment terms, though, I have a right to be part of this public forum, to engage other people, and to have my point of view be heard. And I have a right to try and catch the President's attention. Unfortunately, in this case I did, but his response was to block me instead of to respond."

I can attest to the difficulties in covering stories when the focus of the story blocks you on Twitter, as I reported last week regarding recent false comments about torture made by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who now apparently blocks me on Twitter for reasons unknown, and an incident at the end of last year which resulted in Alabama's Sec. of State John Merrill blocking me as well, after I politely corrected [PDF] his inaccurate statements about the state's computerized vote tabulation systems.

After a recent hearing with an apparently very well-informed federal judge, Buckwalter-Poza says the case could now result in a settlement. But that still remains to be seen.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on the first day of spring, as extreme winter weather continues to pummel the nation, including with what could be a fifth back-to-back Nor'easter for the East Coast over the weekend (they are currently facing their fourth), and as the Trump Administration continues to make "climate change" disappear, even from FEMA's natural disaster recovery plans...

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

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In wake of President's reported 'shithole countries' comment, the GOP's toxic, racist policies are laid bare in the U.S. and across the globe...
By Brad Friedman on 1/12/2018 6:43pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Buckle up, and maybe take a few pre-emptive antibiotics just for safety. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We begin with a few responses to the racist President of the United States Donald Trump's reported description of Haiti, El Salvador and Africa nations as "shithole countries". As a measure of just how appalling the comments were, we actually declare George W. Bush no longer the "Worst President Ever", before turning to outraged responses from right-wingers Glenn Beck and Frank Luntz, of all people, to help underscore both how offensive and, frankly, inaccurate Trump's comments were.

But, as several have noted, while Trump's remarks are disturbing, the fact that his racism is embodied within his policies --- on immigration, policing, and much more, including voting and elections --- is far more troubling. That racism and dishonesty was on display in the sham Presidential Commission created by Trump, supposedly to root out the millions of illegal votes he falsely claims were cast against him when he lost the popular vote by millions to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

But his bogus Commission, headed up by disgraced GOP "voter fraud" fraudster and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, was abruptly shut down last week after facing an onslaught of legal challenges and finding none of the supposed voter fraud they had set out to highlight. After the Commission's ignominious closure, Kobach claimed he would be advising the Dept. of Homeland Security who, he said, would be taking the Commission's data and preliminary findings to continue the investigation. While worrying a number of voting rights advocates, those claims too have so far proven to be false, according to statements from DHS and legal documents filed by the DoJ in response to lawsuits.

Meanwhile, Trump's poisonous racism and failed Presidency is having ripple effects across the globe, and not just with those nations he is said to have described as "shitholes". The U.N. and the Vatican have now condemned his remarks, he has been forced to cancel a planned trip to Great Britain (which, naturally, he has lied about) and, following the recent resignation of the U.S. Ambassador to Panama who says he can no longer justify serving under this Administration, Trump's newly appointed Ambassador to the Netherlands, Pete Hoekstra, has been mercilessly called out by the Dutch in recent days for multiple lies.

Hoekstra, a former Republican Congressman from Michigan and immigrant from the Netherlands, had recently denied having made wholly discredited racist charges, in 2015, claiming Muslim immigrants were burning Dutch politicians to death and creating so-called "no-go zones" in the Netherlands. After he charged a Dutch journalist with reporting "fake news" for asking him about his fully-documented and video-taped false claims (and then claiming in the same interview he hadn't charged the journalist with reporting "fake news") the new Ambassador's first press conference this week in The Hague did not go well, to say the least. On Friday, Hoekstra was finally forced to admit his 2015 comments were wrong, though his shame appears to not yet be over.

All of which underscores that while Donald Trump may be the highest profile symptom of a very sick Republican Party, he is but a small part of a very widely spread disease that has poisoned his party and has made America anything but "great again" in the eyes of the world...

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: 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!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also covered on today's show...

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

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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...

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Guest: Bob Kincaid of Coal River Mountain Watch | Plus: Trump's rampage of lies in Phoenix; TX Photo ID law found discriminatory again; more...
By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2017 6:20pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The President is an extraordinarily accomplished liar, and real journalist should unambiguously report as much. And, oh, yeah, he doesn't give an actual damn about coal miners or their families, either. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up today, following Donald Trump's wildly unhinged and indescribably embarassing campaign rally in Phoenix on Tuesday night, a few words on the unapologetic liar who has become President of the United States, and the responsibility that journalists have --- not just "commentators", but actual, hard news journalists --- to call him out as such.

Then, the UN calls out the United States with an "early warning" regarding the rise of racist demonstrations and the failure of "high-level politicians" --- wonder who they're referring to? --- "to unequivocally and unconditionally reject and condemn racist hate speech". And, a science envoy at the U.S. State Department publicly resigns following Trump's response to Charlottesville and the Administrations' ongoing War on Science.

Then, speaking of that "war", we're joined by West Virginia's own Bob Kincaid of the Coal River Mountain Watch, in response to the Interior Department's halt of a study by the National Academies of Sciences regarding the dangers of Mountain Top Removal coal mining to residents of West Virginia and Kentucky's Appalachian communities. Kincaid, co-founder of the Appalachian Communities Health Emergency Campaign (click the link to watch their :30 second video, and get more info about contacting your members of Congress!) is furious over what he describes as an attempt by the Administration and the coal industry to keep the well-established science linking Mountain Top Removal to cancer, death and birth defects from becoming widely known.

"It's not really mountain top removal," Kincaid tells me, explaining the process that is killing not only coal miners and their families, but their jobs as well. "It's mountain removal. You take vast amounts of...high explosives...and then you set it off. Huge clouds of dust then boil off the strip mine site and roll down into the hollers and into the valleys, and onto the places where people live, who then breathe it. Nothing in the human body can stop the dust. Because it's so fine, it's so tiny."

He goes on to explain how this has now been done "to over 500 mountains. They've buried over 2,500 miles of streams. That causes poisons to run into the water, etc., etc., etc. Over 2 dozens reports have shown that there are vastly elevated rates of cancer, birth defects, genitourinary diseases, pulmonary diseases, heart diseases, in areas where this dust falls."

And, he says, even though it was the state of West Virginia which requested the National Academies' study in the first place, the state's two U.S. Senators (Republican Shelly Moore-Capito and Democrat Joe Manchin), not to mention its Repub-turned-Dem-turned-Repub coal billionaire Governor Jim Justice, have been "as silent as a graven image," after the Interior Department halted this study of those "over 2 dozen" studies late last week. "It's sort of like 'Home on the Range', where never is heard a discouraging word, and the coal dust isn't toxic all day."

"You wind up getting this downright un-American suppression of science," tells me. "I'm not kidding. This isn't American! We used to follow science. It's not always been this way. This suppression is the kind of stuff they do in North Korea or the old Soviet Union."

Finally today, breaking news on yet another federal court ruling (it's either the 6th or the 8th, I can't even remember anymore!) finding the Texas GOP's Photo ID voting restriction intentionally discriminates against minority voters, and an all-electric Tesla SUV(!) smokes a half-million dollar Lamborghini in a record-setting drag race...

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And Trump keeps digging himself deeper on Charlottesville, despite newly revealed warnings from FBI and DHS of violent Rightwing extremism...
By Brad Friedman on 8/15/2017 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Digging deeper and/or trying to catch up with the runaway news on North Korea, Charlottesville and Trump's continuing threats to radically undermine the Affordable Care Act. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the (many) stories covered on today's show:

  • A faint glimmer of hope for peace --- or at least diplomacy --- breaks out in the U.S./North Korea nuclear standoff, as all sides (including South Korea) suggest options that could help to avert disaster;
  • Trump digs himself deeper by using a somewhat insane press conference on Tuesday at Trump Tower to equate the "alt-left" (his words) with White Nationalists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville over the weekend, even while claiming (over and over again) that his previously criticized remarks were only due to the fact that he insists on getting his facts straight before speaking. "Unlike you," he said to the assembled press, over and over, without irony, "before I make a statement, I like to know the facts." (Insert your own joke here);
  • New reporting reveals an FBI and DHS intelligence report warned the Trump Administration in May about the threat of violent Rightwing domestic terrorism far out-pacing that of Islamic (or any other form of) terrorism in the U.S., at the same time the Administration was deciding to block a previously announced grant to a group that helps people escape the grip of White Nationalist groups. (Following up our conversation on yesterday's show with former neo-Nazi Tony McAleer of Life After Hate, the group whose grant was withdrawn);
  • More CEO's remove themselves and their companies from the President's Manufacturing Council in protest of his response to the tragic violence in Charlottesville over the weekend. (By the end of the show today, the number went from four to six);
  • The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office issues a report [PDF] today finding that Trump's threats of withholding funding to insurance companies meant to cover costs for low-income consumers under the Affordable Care Act ('ObamaCare'), could spike all individual premium rates by 20 percent in 2018, force companies to stop selling insurance at all in certain regions, and raise the federal deficit by nearly $200 billion over the next decade.

All of that (and more) may explain why Trump's approval ratings hit new, all-time lows this week. Enjoy!...

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Also: GOP and Trump still playing voters for morons, Priebus is out; 'The Mooch' unleashed; More evidence Dems still denying vaping science...
By Brad Friedman on 7/28/2017 5:50pm PT  

On today's BradCast, an insane week in D.C. ends with a dramatic flourish (or two). [Audio link to show follows below.]

Unprecedented chaos besetting U.S. Senate Republicans over the past week, amidst their 7-year quest to kill the Affordable Care Act, came to a suspenseful and dramatic close late on Thursday night and early Friday morning --- as the ailing Sen. John McCain joined Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins to defeat the last of the GOP proposals drafted in haste in hopes of repealing ObamaCare. At least for now. If there's one thing you can count on, Republicans will continue to treat their voters like suckers and morons.

And, an insane, profanity-filled tirade of a phone call to a reporter by Donald Trump's new White House Communications Director results not in the firing of Anthony Scaramucci, but with the firing of Trump's Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

In the meantime, while Democrats, to their credit, were successful in their efforts to save health care coverage for tens of millions of Americans, their efforts to prevent the use of vaping devices, which might otherwise help save the lives of half a million Americans each year, suffers a setback as the FDA delays restrictions on e-cigarettes and yet another new scientific study finds vaping is one of the most effective ways to help smokers quit.

Finally, speaking of science deniers, our latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen details U.S. Coast Guard plans to prepare for six feet of sea level rise and the GOP chair of the U.S. House Science Committee argues that climate change will actually be "beneficial". But, never fear, we've got quite a bit of good news in today's GNR as well!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guest: Author, naturalist Tony Russell...
By Brad Friedman on 6/29/2017 5:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's been 29 years since NASA's chief scientist, Dr. James Hansen, offered landmark testimony to the U.S. Senate in June of 1988, explaining that scientists had determined with 99% certainty, as the New York Times reported it at the time, that record atmospheric warming since the 1950s "was not a natural variation but was caused by a buildup of carbon dioxide and other artificial gases in the atmosphere." [Audio link to show follows below.]

Of note in the Times coverage at the time --- headlined "Global Warming Has Begun, Expert Tells Senate" --- there was nobody quoted from the fossil fuel industry offering denial to the basic scientific facts about which Hansen and others testified that day, based on temperature records going back (at the time) 130 years, and finding that the first five months of that year had been the hottest on record. (The record temperatures that year don't even rate among the top 20 anymore.)

"It is time to stop waffling so much and say that the evidence is pretty strong that the greenhouse effect is here," Hansen told the paper after his 1988 testimony. "Global warming has reached a level such that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and observed warming,'' he testified to the Senators. ''It is already happening now.''

The panel of scientists warned that "If the current pace of the buildup of these gases continues, the effect is likely to be a warming of 3 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit from the year 2025 to 2050." They were pretty much exactly on target, so far, with those projections. Then Senator Timothy E. Wirth (D-CO), chair of the Committee, responded: "'As I read it, the scientific evidence is compelling: the global climate is changing as the earth's atmosphere gets warmer. Now, the Congress must begin to consider how we are going to slow or halt that warming trend and how we are going to cope with the changes that may already be inevitable."

In the 29 years since --- particularly in the seven years since the Supreme Court's Citizen United opinion unleashed unlimited fossil fuel industry funds into our electoral process --- Republicans (and some Democrats) have instead figured out how to "cope with the changes" by denying they exist at all, or pretending there is uncertainty about who is responsible for it.

But the science is very clear, even more now than than. (And it was even clear some 30 years prior to Hansen's 1988 testimony, as a clip from a 1958 television program, dug up by Desi Doyen and played in part on today's show, makes evident.) And yet, the President of the United States and his top lieutenants --- among them EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Energy Secretary Rick Perry --- have been taking to the airwaves of late to confuse the public with blatant misinformation to distract from the point that man is responsible for all of Earth's warming recorded since the 1950s.

Marking the 29th anniversary of Hansen's testimony, naturalist and author Tony Russell penned a very simple, very clear explanation --- "Global Warming in a Nutshell" --- of the very simple science and math behind global warming, how we know that man is responsible for the 48% increase of heat-trapping CO2 over the past 60 years (CO2 emitted by the burning of fossil fuels lacks a specific carbon isotope, so we can actually measure it!), and what we must do about it...and quickly. He joins us today to discuss that article, and the reasons he wrote it. "I have 9 grandchildren," he tells me, "so they are very much on my mind."

"In some ways, I'm starting to see our situation as desperate," he warns, explaining how it is that we know that disinformation from folks like Pruitt and Perry is simply, and demonstrably, wrong. "When you have warming in the pipeline, with CO2 hanging in the atmosphere that's going to continue to re-radiate heat for tens of thousands of years, and we keep adding new carbon dioxide to the mix, there's no way to stop it. We're loosing a runaway train."

Noting that natural sources, such as oceans and forests, have been able (at least up until recently) to absorb some 50% of the carbon we release, Russell explains: "If you want to stop adding to the CO2 in the atmosphere, then humans have to cut their emissions by 50% from current levels. The figures you see are usually on the order of cutting emissions by 20% by, say, the year 2025. Every year that you hold it at 20%, then 30% will go into the atmosphere. CO2 levels will keep on climbing, more long term warming will be locked in. It really is that simple."

We've covered climate quite a bit over the years on The BradCast and, of course, on our Green News Report. But sometimes it's important to go back to the basics on how stark the science and the reality of our dire situation now is.

On the same topic, speaking of U.S. Senate testimony that's been too-much overlooked, as Dr. Joe Romm at Climate Progress notes this week, Sen. Al Franken (D) recently "set climate deniers' last strawman on fire" during an exchange last week with Sec. Perry, when the Minnesota Senator pointed out that even the Koch Brothers own climate scientist Richard Muller recently conceded that all of the recent warming in the atmosphere was due to our burning of fossil fuels. We play the remarkable exchange today in full.

Also today: Wildfires break out across the West (for some reason); Senate Republicans are having a difficult time getting to 50 votes on their legislation to repeal ObamaCare (at least without Democrats helping); And our small, bitter President unleashes an ugly, bitter, embarrassing and mostly just sad assault against journalist Mika Brzezinski, from atop his bully pulpit (pun intended)...

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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?...

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