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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, October 21, 2017
Real News from the Land of Reality: 'BradCast' 10/20/17
And a thought or two on the toxic poison injected this week into our body politic by the President of the United States...
Trump's Reckless Disregard for Puerto Rican Lives is an Impeachable Offense
Ernest Canning makes the case for adding the President's woeful, deadly response in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria to the list...
Trump's Schizophrenia, Congress' Fresh 'Health Care Hell': 'BradCast' 10/19/17
Guest: TPM's Alice Ollstein from Capitol Hill; Also: Trump meets with P.R. Guv, gives himself a '10' on Maria response!...
'Green News Report' 10/17/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Alaska's ANWR on chopping block, again; Toxic ash from CA wildfires; US Virgin Islands w/o power, clean water; PLUS: Shell opens e-car charging network at gas stations -- in Britain...
Previous GNRs: 10/12/17 - 10/10/17 - Archives...
DHS Misled on 2016 'Russian Hacks'
(Will They Get It Right in 2018?):
'BradCast' 10/18/17
Guest: Orange Cnty, CA Registrar Neal Kelley on new DHS 'Election Infrastructure' Council...
Impeachable Offenses: Trump's 'ObamaCare' Lie: 'BradCast' 10/17/17
Also, Guest: Pastor Michael McBride on the 'Cost for Peace vs. Death' and programs that stop gun violence...
'Green News Report' 10/17/17
Hurricane slams Ireland; Deadliest fire week in CA history; Puerto Ricans drinking water from toxic Superfund sites; Coal plants closed in TX; PLUS: Oil rig explodes in LA...
Something's Happening Here (Maybe): 'BradCast' 10/16/17
Guest: Heather Digby Parton on Trump rage, GOP 'cowardice'; Also: Deadly hurricane in Ireland(?!), fires in CA, war between US-armed allies in Iraq...
Sunday 'Just Undo It' Toons
'PDiddie' rounds up another week in American politics where words fail, but the political cartoonists do not...
'Chaos': 'BradCast' 10/13/2017
In less than 24 hours, Trump aggressively unleashes fresh havoc on the American health care system and foreign policy with Iran...
'Green News Report' 10/12/17
Historic, deadly firestorms grow in CA; Water-borne diseases in Puerto Rico; PLUS: Trump EPA makes way for controversial mine in world's most valuable fishery...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The VP will now oversee Trump's sham 'Election Integrity' Commission; Also: Trump/Comey goes 'Godfather' and even more Nixon-like...
By Brad Friedman on 5/12/2017 6:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The story of Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey turns even more bizarre and takes a decidedly thuggish turn (don't worry, your President is 'not a crook') and Vice President Mike Pence gets tapped to head Trump's new "voter fraud" commission, despite his own (much overlooked) record of stoking false GOP allegations of "voter fraud" and helping to shut down a major registration drive in his home state, just before last year's Presidential election, while campaigning for Veep and serving as Governor of Indiana.

First, the Trump/Comey affair turns more insane and Godfather-like by the hour...or Nixon-like, if you prefer, now that Trump has hinted there may be audio recordings of his private conversation with the now-former FBI Director. We bring you up to date on the latest madness and lies on that quickly moving soap opera, which continues to tie the White House into knots.

We then turn to the Executive Order signed this week by the President amidst all the Comey fallout, which creates a new sham commission, by fiat, to examine Trump's false claims that as many as five million votes were illegally cast in the 2016 election. The so-called "Election Integrity Commission" --- which, according to the Order, is to look at only voter and voter registration fraud, rather than voter suppression, which is a far more extensive problem or concerns about the vulnerability of vote casting and counting systems --- is to be headed up by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas' notorious vote-suppressing Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

While many may be familiar, by now, with Kobach's years-long storied history of fraudulent 'voter fraud' claims, many are likely unaware of Pence's efforts last year during the campaign, while serving as Indiana's Governor, to suppress a major voter registration drive targeting African-Americans in Indiana, with false claims of "voter fraud" and the outrageously heavy-handed use of his State Police force.

On today's show, we detail how the offices of the Indiana Voter Registration Project were raided and shut down, with computers, cell phones and paperwork confiscated by Pence's cops, just days before the state's October 11, 2016 voter registration deadline. The effort (also aided and abetted by the state's Republican Sec. of State Connie Lawson, who is also set to serve on Trump's phony commission), served to shut down the major registration drive by a Democratic-leaning organization and resulted in the Marion County Prosecutor demanding an end to misleading and suppressing public statements from Superintendent of the State Police. It did not, however, despite claims of "thousands" of fraudulent forms, result in any arrests, and it was all quickly forgotten, as usual, after Election Day. In all, some 50,000 valid registrations may have been scuttled in the Hoosier State, thanks to the false claims of forged and fraudulent registration forms across dozens of counties in what Pence described to brain-addled supporters on the campaign trail as a "vigorous investigation into voter fraud".

Finally today: The White House lies about the number of new manufacturing and coal jobs created last month and North Carolina receives just 1% of their requested funding for Hurricane Matthew relief from Congress and the President...

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

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Guests: Carleton Bowekaty & Matthew Campbell of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition | Plus: The latest insanity from the Comey firing fallout...
By Brad Friedman on 5/11/2017 6:28pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the fallout from the James Comey firing swirl further out of control, as I suspect it will for quite some time, while other disturbing Administration policies move forward with much less focus from either media or Congress. One such policy is Trump's recent Executive Order calling for the dismantling of National Monuments --- "public land grabs" and "outrageous abuses of power", as he has taken to incorrectly describing them --- on behalf of corporate drilling and mining interests. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The madness of King Donald continues to devolve at now breakneck speeds, as the White House and an increasingly enraged Trump continue their unsustainable spinning, flip-flopping and nonsensical rants concerning the President's sudden firing of the FBI Director earlier this week under an obviously phony pretext. The need to create fresh lies to cover up older ones is also creating fresh perils for those foolish enough to enter Trump's orbit, like Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. So, we've got the latest on all of that, including an interesting suggestion for Comey's permanent replacement, a bit of pushback from his Acting replacement, and some ill-considered admissions about the entire affair by Trump himself.

Meanwhile, as Trump keeps digging, and the media and Congress continue (justifiably) to obsess about and investigate it all, the Administration's other corrupt policy measures move forward with measurably less attention. Among those efforts is the unprecedented attempt to roll back National Monument designations by the three previous Presidents, including the Obama-designated Bears Ears National Monument in southern Utah.

In response to an Executive Order signed in April, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is touring the area this week, where more than 1 million acres of land that is sacred to Native Americans and home to tens of thousands of archaeological sites, including ancient cliff dwellings, are now being reviewed on behalf of Trump, Congressional Republicans and corporate fossil fuel interests.

Joining us today to describe the local, tribal efforts to protect these native public lands --- and the Utah Congressional delegation's efforts to undermine them (literally) --- are Carleton Bowekaty, a Zuni Tribal councilman and co-chair of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, and Matthew Campbell, attorney with the Native American Rights Fund.

They both explain the reasons why the Antiquities Act of 1906 was invoked by President Obama to protect the lands; speak to some recent "extremely offensive" comments by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT); and the absurdity of Trump describing these designation of federal lands as national monuments as "federal land grabs".

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for the Green News Report, with news on the Administration's deliberations regarding the landmark UN Paris Climate Agreement, the latest on the nuclear emergency in Washington state, and much more...

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

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Guest: Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress Justice...
By Brad Friedman on 5/10/2017 6:03pm PT  

On today's BradCast, as you might have guessed, we pick up on the news that broke mid-show yesterday of Donald Trump's stunning and sudden firing of FBI Director James Comey, while the fallout and reeling continues in D.C. and across the nation today. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The pretext for that firing, which even some on Fox "News" describe as "almost inexplicable", was Comey's alleged mishandling last year of the Bureau's investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while Sec. of State, according to a letter [PDF] written by new Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

A handful of Republican Senators (though some key ones) have expressed concern or "disappointment" over "the timing" of Trump's unprecedented firing of the FBI chief, which appears to have caught just about everybody by surprise, even as investigations continue at both the FBI and Congress into Trump and members of his campaign regarding allegations of undeclared ties to Russia and/or other foreign nations both during the campaign and after the election.

Democrats, meanwhile, are outraged by Comey's firing, despite their furor about the way he oversaw the Clinton probe last year during the run-up to the Presidential election. They are calling for a special prosecutor to be named by Rosenstein at the DoJ and an independent bi-partisan special committee to be named by Congress to investigate all of this. Many are comparing Trump's dismissal of Comey to Nixon's "Saturday Night Massacre" at the height of the Watergate investigation, others describing it as "a grotesque abuse of power by the President", while some Congressional Democrats are citing this moment as "a full-blown Constitutional crisis."

Joining us today to try and explain what is or isn't going on here, and whether it amounts to such a Constitutional crisis, full-blown or otherwise, is author and Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress Justice. He explains the legitimate complaints against Comey, while making the case that his firing was little more than an effort by Trump to disrupt the FBI's ongoing Russia probe.

"What is the emotion you're supposed to feel when the biggest villain in the United States fires the second biggest villain in the United States?," Millhiser wryly asks, before detailing the legal underpinnings for Trump's move, whether any of it is in violation of the law or the U.S. Constitution, and whether Rosenstein or his new boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, acted inappropriately in collusion with Trump and the White House.

"The story of the last nine years of American politics," he goes on to explain, "has been that people like Trump, and Jeff Sessions, and James Comey, and Mitch McConnell --- maybe I shouldn't lump Comey in with them because I don't know that he was necessarily acting in bad faith in the way that some of the other ones are --- but people have figured out that we don't have a system of rules that prevents you from doing a lot to blow stuff up, and that prevents you from engaging in a lot of sabotage. What we have are norms that people just didn't violate because they cared enough about the United States of America not to do so."

Those days, Millhiser argues today, appear to be over --- at least as of right now --- in these United States.

Finally, we close with a tiny bit of good news today --- thanks, in part, to the surprising vote of at least one Republican Senator --- regarding the GOP's continuing attempt to roll back Obama Administration fossil fuel-related regulations on public lands...

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

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And MUCH more today...
By Brad Friedman on 5/9/2017 5:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The stunning breaking news that FBI Director James Comey has been fired by Donald Trump hits smack dab in the middle of today's show.

Other than that, we also cover a whole bunch of other noteworthy stuff today, including...

  • South Korea elects liberal candidate who wants to open relations with North Korea as new President, Donald Trump about to get very confused;
  • Trump Campaign scrubs own website amid federal court hearing on 'unconstitutional' Muslim travel ban;
  • Sally Yates makes mincemeat of both hypocritical U.S. Senators from Texas during her Monday Senate testimony;
  • Vulnerable Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA) walks out of interview in a huff after being asked perfectly reasonable question;
  • New study finds GOP Photo ID voting restriction laws suppressed huge number of voters in 2016, including some 200,000 in Wisconsin (which Trump reportedly won by 22,700 votes);
  • Illinois Senate calls Republican Governor's bluff, advances bi-partisan bill for automatic voter registration;
  • Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report as France votes for climate action and climate change-fueled extreme weather turns deadly in Midwest and South East.

Oh, and did I mention Donald Trump suddenly fired FBI Director James Comey today?!!...

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

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Guest: Maricopa County, AZ Recorder Adrian Fontes...
By Brad Friedman on 5/5/2017 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the new election chief in Maricopa County (Phoenix), AZ has discovered tens of thousands of voter registration forms from citizens who, he says, are otherwise eligible to vote, but were never added to the voting rolls by his predecessor, due to what he describes as an unconstitutional or, at least, immoral state statute. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Democrats seem quite giddy (with good reason) about their chances of re-taking the U.S. House next year following Thursday's passage of the wildly unpopular Republican bill to replace ObamaCare. But their voters will have to be able to actually cast a vote next year --- and have their votes counted as cast --- in order for Democrats to have any chance of regaining a majority in Congress.

On that note, we are joined on today's show by Maricopa's brand new County Recorder Adrian Fontes. Last November, the Democratic former prosecutor unseated Pheonix' previous election chief, Republican Helen Purcell, who had served in the post unopposed for 30 years. He was inspired to run following the disastrous Presidential Primary in Maricopa last year, when hundreds of precincts were shut down and many voters were forced to wait for hours to cast a vote in the Sanders/Clinton primary.

Since taking office, Fontes has discovered tens of thousands of voter registration forms, going as far back as a decade, stored in dusty boxes in a county warehouse. The forms, he explains, were never entered in to the voter database, since the applicants failed to include proof of citizenship, as required by Prop 200, a 2004 ballot initiative that is now Arizona law.

Fontes explains that he is now attempting to confirm the citizenship of the would-be voters himself, by checking their status as already tracked by the state's Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) database. "We had a policy in this office that uses what I consider to be a mis-read of state law," he tells me. "The read that was happening says that the County Recorder is to reject the form. My read is, if you've already proven to the State of Arizona that you're a citizen, then you should be allowed to vote."

Critics, specifically Republican critics, charge that Fontes, a U.S. Marine who formerly worked as a prosecutor in both the County Attorney's office as well as for the Arizona Attorney General, is not shy in countering those critics. "Why in the world would anyone not want me to go check with the MVD and say 'lo and behold, the Motor Vehicle Division of the State of Arizona has on file a document proving that this person is a citizen. I will therefore register you to vote!' Why would anybody oppose that?"

Making matters worse or more "ironic" or "laughable", as Fontes describes it, because the federal voter registration form has no instructions for attesting to citizenship status, state guidance requires him to check with the MVD himself to confirm citizenship status for those voters. But if the very same person were to have used a state voter registration form and forgot to fill in their drivers license number or provide other proof of citizenship, he is not supposed to register that person, according to the state rulebook. Moreover, he tells me, an online state registration system automatically checks that very same MVD database for applicants. "So, something that the state does, automatically, on its own website, you've got people telling me that I'm barred from doing. If that's not the epitome of craziness, I don't know what is!"

In all, Fontes tells me, he now believes "nearly 91,000" otherwise eligible voters may be found in those dusty boxes and he plans to register them all if he is able to confirm their status.

In addition to all of that, I ask Fontes about claims by Bernie Sanders supporters (he is one himself) that the DNC and/or Hillary Clinton Campaign were somehow behind the Primary election disaster in Phoenix last year, in order to rig the contest against the progressive Vermont U.S. Senator. That disaster, he explains, is what inspired him to run against Purcell. We also discuss allegations of Arizona's voter database being hacked last year, concerns about the county's electronic ballot tabulation system and whether there is actually any evidence to support claims by Republicans like Donald Trump and his adviser, Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach (who also instituted a "proof of citizenship" requirement in that state), that millions of illegal votes, including by non-citizens, were cast in last year's election.

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for the Green News Report with her usual disturbing news, but also with a number of happily encouraging reports on the amazing growth of clean, renewable energy both in the U.S. and around 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: Brendan Fischer of Campaign Legal Center...
By Brad Friedman on 5/4/2017 6:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast, House Republicans finally pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) --- a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ('ObamaCare') --- but at what cost? Also: Donald Trump signs a bill that pretends to protect religious liberties. But what does it really do? [Audio link to show follows below.]

It's difficult, if not impossible, to know the real cost of the Republicans' ACHA, since House Speaker Paul Ryan refused to allow the bill to be analyzed first by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office before forcing a vote in the House today. Instead, it was rammed through with a very narrow margin of all-Republican votes just hours after the final text was made available to members. That, as you'll recall, is exactly what Republicans used to pretend Democrats did during the 13-month process to pass ObamaCare in 2009 and 2010.

The costs, however, are likely to be enormous to the American public, if the bill gets through the Senate and is signed by the President, particularly to the poor, the elderly, the more than 25% of Americans with pre-existing conditions, and to those who found themselves filing bankruptcy due to medical expenses prior to the passage of ACA. The political cost to House Republicans, however, who left today for yet another 11-day recess, may be a whole different matter. The CBO predicted 24 million Americans would lose their health care coverage in the next decade under the GOP's failed plan six weeks ago. This version is likely to be much worse.

Also today, Donald Trump signed another one of his Executive Orders. This one pretends to counter the "religious discrimination" of the Johnson Amendment, a piece of otherwise almost 70 year old, non-controversial, bipartisan legislation originally signed by President Eisenhower, barring tax-exempt non-profit groups, like churches, from explicitly endorsing or opposing candidates for office. But what's the real point behind Trump's otherwise empty action today? And why is the religious Right so eager to see Trump "get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment," as he promised at the National Prayer Breakfast in February, just weeks after taking office?

Brendan Fischer, associate counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, joins us to explain this move that could ultimately result in allowing even more "dark money" to make its way into politics and elections. And, this time, while giving secret political funders a tax deduction for it in the bargain!

"We, as taxpayers, are subsidizing these groups, and we are not subsidizing these groups to offer wealthy donors a tax deduction for their secret political spending," Fischer explains. The Johnson Amendment, so-named for its original sponsor, then Sen. Lyndon Johnson, was enacted in response to a "dark money" attack against him during his 1954 reelection campaign by a non-profit, tax-exempt group.

While Presidential Executive Orders don't actually have the power to reverse legislation (whether this President understands that or not), Trump is pretending that his order will prevent the IRS from "targeting" religious institutions, as he and his evangelical allies claim to be the case, despite all evidence to the contrary.

"The Johnson Amendment is not targeting churches at all," says Fischer. "Because donors to these churches and charities get a tax deduction for their donations, 501(c)3's are prohibited from engaging in political activity. The reason that taxpayers are effectively subsidizing these groups is for their charitable, or religious or social welfare oriented activities, not for their political activities and partisan political engagement." But, of course, the religious Right would like to change that, and Trump appears more than willing to try and help.

The greater danger is that a provision to reverse the rarely-enforced Johnson Amendment could be slipped into upcoming legislation. Then, warns Fischer, churches and charities could potentially become what he describes as "super dark money groups" --- as if we don't already have enough problem with dark money in politics!

Finally: Fox "News" offers one more example today of the Right finding all new ways to pretend that they are victims. This time, if you believe Fox's fake news about a recent shooting, climate "skeptics" are becoming victims of those 'violent and dangerous' environmentalists...

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

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[Cross-posted from The BRAD BLOG...]




Callers ring in on that, Hillary's explanation and NYT's new climate denier...
By Brad Friedman on 5/3/2017 5:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Hillary Clinton and FBI Director James Comey are both still explaining what exactly happened last year, and callers ring in with lots of thoughts on both of them. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Comey returned to Congress on Wednesday to testify before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on his decision to announce the re-opening of the investigation into Clinton's private email server just over a week before last year's November 8th election. The testimony, in which Comey describes his two choices as being either "really bad or catastrophic", comes one day after Clinton cited that decision as one of several causes for her loss in the Presidential Election last year.

Today, we offer some extended clips from Comey's testimony and Clinton's commentary, before taking listener calls in response to both, as well as on the New York Times controversial decision (as discussed in more detail on yesterday's show) to hire climate science denier Bret Stephens for its op-ed page.

Also, Desi Doyen explains the Trump Administration pending decision on whether to pull out of the landmark U.N. Paris Agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions, and possibly the entire U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. Also, she joins us for latest Green News Report', as Donald Trump rolls back safety regulations for off-shore drilling, implemented by the Obama Administration following the 2010 BP Gulf Oil Disaster...

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: Will Bunch of Philadelphia Daily News...
By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2017 6:20pm PT  

Over the weekend, at least two noteworthy media-related things happened, neither of them related (at least directly) to the White House Correspondents' Dinner. We discuss both matters on today's BradCast. [Audio link to show is posted at bottom of article.]

The President of the United States and the White House Chief of Staff discussed the possibility of doing away with the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment freedom of the press. As my guest today, Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News wrote last night, that "probably should have led every paper and TV newscast in America, but for many everyday news consumers this wasn't even the biggest media-related outrage of the weekend."

The larger outrage, at least for many, seems to have come from liberal and progressive New York Times readers who called in to the paper, in reportedly huge numbers, to cancel their subscriptions following the first op-ed filed by the paper's new hire, Bret Stephens, a rightwing, former Wall Street Journal columnist and climate science denier.

I chat with Bunch --- author, journalist and longtime writer of the Philly.com's Attytood blog, which he describes as an "uber-opinionated, fair-but-dangerously unbalanced opinion blog" --- about both concerns today, and what they may mean for the future of U.S. news gathering, reporting and publishing.

On Trump's First Amendment threat, he notes how difficult it actually is to amend the Constitution and that the Trump Administration, after all, appears to be "the gang that couldn't shoot straight." On the other hand, Bunch cautions, "the fact that they would make these threats absolutely is newsworthy."

"The reason I wrote a piece that was largely about the Bret Stephens controversy, but also wrapped in this whole First Amendment thing, is I feel there's a relationship between the two," he tells me. "The press in this country is under assault in ways it hasn't been before. The media, to fight back, needs to be on its 'A' game. It can't make unforced errors, which the Bret Stephens thing arguably is." Bunch also goes on to explain how papers like the Times came to offer the fake balance that they have, for years, published on their op-ed pages, and suggests that perhaps it's time to do away with that all together. He explains why.

We also discuss another column of his from over the weekend, arguing that it will take years to undo the long-lasting damage that Trump has already brought to both the nation and the Presidency in just his first 100 days.

Also on today's program: Trump already appears to have violated federal election laws for his 2020(!) campaign; his Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross huddles with other millionaires and billionaires to make light of the recent unauthorized, illegal, deadly and expensive U.S. cruise missile attack on Syria as little more than 'after-dinner entertainment'; and a new study by the American Press Institute and the Associated Press finds that, yes, Americans (even younger ones) are willing to actually pay for their news...at least under certain conditions...

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

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Guest: Dave Johnson of People's Action/Campaign for America's Future...
By Brad Friedman on 5/1/2017 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Republicans continue to pretend we don't face a gun violence epidemic in the U.S., that human-caused climate change isn't happening and that massive tax cuts help, rather harm, the economy and the middle class. They may need to pretend harder. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

First up today, a number of multiple victim shootings that played out across America --- from San Diego to Topeka to Dallas --- in the past 24 hours, but received very little media coverage, for some strange reason. At the same time, on Saturday, hundreds of thousands turned out across the country for the People's Climate March --- nearly 200,000 of them in sweltering 90 degree heat (in late April!) in Washington D.C. alone. The latest mass demonstration against the Trump Administration's attempts to deny science and cut funding to climate-related programs came just hours after Trump's EPA began the removal of climate change-related facts and scientific data from its website.

And, all of that happened as Donald Trump's Presidency hit its first 100 days, a period marked by, among other things, a failure to pass any of the legislative goals announced during his campaign. In hopes of distracting from that failure to date, Trump's Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (pictured above) released a hastily compiled one-page outline for what the White House describes as "The Biggest Individual And Business Tax Cut In American History."

But, as critics from the right, left and center, including my guest today, Dave Johnson, a Senior Fellow at the progressive Campaign for America's Future notes in response to Trump's proposal, bigger isn't necessarily better. In this case, the proposed cuts would actually hurt poor and middle-class Americans, Johnson explains, while defunding the very things that help boost the economy, serving as a huge gift to the very wealthy, and blowing a massive hole in the federal deficit to boot.

Johnson explains the "smokescreen of bamboozlement [and] propaganda" by Republicans for decades on these issues which, he argues, citing similar cuts and claims from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush, have never "paid for themselves" as the Trump Administration is claiming once again. "How many times have they done this and the results have not come through?," Johnson rails, describing how even the Congressional Research Service, when asked by Republicans to create a report in 2012 looking back at tax cut data all the way back to 1945, found that "cutting taxes does not boost the economy."

Moreover, he notes, "corporate profits are at the highest ever right now," making it hard to justify Trump's proposed corporate tax cuts (from 39.5% to 15%) as anything more than an economic boost to a small handful of very wealthy investors. Cutting taxes, he argues, is meant for little more than enriching the already very rich and "forc[ing] cuts in government by forcing a crisis in budgeting."

"Democracy doesn't have an advertising agency, but all of these anti-government people do," Johnson tells me, in response to my questions about how GOPers are still able to continue arguing for something that has proven time and again to be little more than a myth, albeit one that many Americans still seem to fall for. We also discuss whether or not Congressional "Tea Party" Republicans will actually approve such a huge increase in the federal deficit, or if, as with attempts at health care reform, they, not Democrats, will be the real obstacle.

Finally today, more firings and fall-out announced at the Fox 'News' Channel, in response to the myriad and systemic sexual harassment complaints against its now-former creator Roger Ailes and its now-former top star Bill O'Reilly...

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

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Guest: Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Hullabaloo...
By Brad Friedman on 4/28/2017 6:00pm PT  

On today's BradCast, at the 100 days milestone for his Presidency --- which Donald Trump recently dismissed as an "artificial barrier" --- Heather Digby Parton of Salon and the Hullabaloo blog, joins us to try to make sense of (wish us luck) the extraordinary chaos, few successes and many failures, to date, of his historically unpopular Administration. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We do so on a day that Trump watches his hopes for a health care bill fall apart once again in the U.S. House, addresses the NRA in Atlanta, suggests a "major, major confrontation" may be ahead with North Korea, and as he seems to threaten trade wars with everyone from South Korea to Canada to Saudi Arabia.

All of that, as North Korea fires off another ballistic missile test today and Trump tells Reuters he thought being President of the United States "would be easier" than his old job as a real estate hustler and reality TV personality.

Digby --- who also wrote recently about the 100-day mark --- offers her always-enlightening insight on all of the above, explains what has, so far, surprised her most about Trump's Presidency, and speaks to how the corporate media, Congressional Democrats and we, the people, are holding up in The Resistance.

Just another day of havoc and confusion for a stressed out nation (and world) fighting to survive the Trump Era.

Then, speaking of, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report as Florida burns and the melting Arctic now appears to be accelerating the rate of sea level rise beyond previous scientific predictions...

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

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Also: The news fire hose is back on as Congress returns from recess and Trump gets desperate with '100 Days' milestone approaching...
By Brad Friedman on 4/26/2017 6:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Yes, it matters why we go to war and when we go to war and where we go to war --- even if the U.S. media (right, left and center) and U.S. Congress (Republicans and Democrats) would rather not discuss it. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first today: As Donald Trump nears his 100th day as President and Congress returns from their two week Easter recess, the news fire hose is back on, with House Republicans announcing a new amendment to their previously failed scheme to try and repeal and replace Obamacare. The new plan will likely cover less and be even worse for the sick and elderly than their previous plan, but it does exempt members of Congress and their staffers from the worst of it. At the same time, Trump's Treasury Department has unveiled a hastily-released, deficit-increasing, "trickle down", tax cut for corporations and individuals. And, in more desperation to distract from his lack of success during his first 100 days, Trump also goes to war with Canada! (a trade war anyway...and via Twitter!).

Then: On that whole war thing, where we now, apparently, bomb sovereign nations without discussion, debate, authorization, media skepticism or evidence --- Listeners ring in with calls, comments and emails in response to our interviews earlier this week with MIT Professor Emeritus Theodore Postol and with Consortium News' Robert Parry, both of whom question the evidence hastily released in a White House report on April 11 to justify Trump's April 6 cruise missile attack on Syria. That attack is said to have been in response to a deadly April 4 chemical weapons incident two days earlier in the rebel-held province of Idlib. But why have the U.S. media failed to question the evidence presented by Trump (not by the U.S. Intelligence Community), and why has Congress failed to debate, much less Constitutionally authorize, Trump's military action? And, hey, why does it all matter anyway, since everyone knows Bashar al-Assad is a bad guy and every President needs a military "doctrine" after all?! We discuss all of that and much more today...since, apparently, somebody has to.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest (unusually encouraging) Green News Report and with a heads up in advance of this weekend's People's Climate March...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 4/26/2017 12:09pm PT  

I couldn't help but burst out laughing while reading White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's description of U.S. District Court Judge William H. Orrick's late Tuesday decision partially blocking a Presidential Executive Order on funding to so-called "sanctuary cities" as an "egregious overreach by a single, unelected district judge."

(All federal judges are nominated by a President and confirmed by the Senate. None are "elected.")

Not to be outdone by his Press Secretary, Trump via Twitter described the ruling to enjoin the enforcement provision of his January 25 Executive Order as "ridiculous."

In that Executive Order, Trump threatened to withhold and/or recapture all federal funds and grants from any local jurisdiction that did not assist the federal government in its newly aggressive efforts to deport undocumented immigrants.

Trump vowed to appeal all the way to the Supreme Court.

Hilarious!

In the forty (40) years that have passed since I was first admitted to the California State Bar, I can scarcely recall a more one-sided "contested" case --- one in which I actually felt sorry for the Justice Department attorney who had been assigned to defend this indefensible Executive Order...

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




Guest: Journalist Robert Parry of Consortium News | Also: Media failure on Science March; AR kills again; Trump blocked again by federal court...
By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2017 6:28pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Donald Trump may be failing in the courts, in Congress, failing the planet itself, but when it comes to military adventurism in Syria, the U.S. media --- left, right and center --- all seem to be fully on board. That, despite the lack of independent evidence supporting the White House's justification for its unauthorized, unconstitutional, and likely illegal April 6 cruise missile attack on the sovereign, if war-torn Middle East nation. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Today, we follow-up yesterday's interview with Theodore A. Postol, MIT Prof. Emeritus of Science, Technology and National Security Policy, by speaking with independent investigative journalist Robert Parry of Consortium News, who recently asked: "Did Al Qaeda Fool the White House Again?"

We discuss Postol's analyses, as covered in detail on yesterday's show, charging that the evidence presented by the White House to justify its military attack on Syria --- purportedly in response to a deadly April 4 chemical weapons incident allegedly carried out by Bashar al-Assad's government against civilians in the rebel-held Idlib province --- does not support the claims being made by the Administration and echoed uncritically by the U.S. media.

Parry, formerly an Associated Press reporter who helped break the Iran-Contra scandal in the mid-80s, responds to my questions about the remarkable lack of media coverage of Postol's analyses (if only to debunk them), as well as the seemingly complete lack of skepticism by the entirety of the U.S. corporate mainstream media on Syria and other recent U.S. military adventures. That, even after having been fooled before (Iraq, is just one example), and otherwise claiming a new found interest in fact-checking and skepticism in the Trump Era.

"We've seen now a recurring situation," says Parry. "We had the case of the Iraq War, where you might've thought 'well, after that, the New York Times and the Washington Post and others will be more skeptical and more self-critical about the need to show skepticism'. But that hasn't happened. In fact, it's gone increasingly in the other direction."

"For the first two months or so of his Presidency, everything he said was put under a microscope and often laughed at, often rightly so," he tells me. "So there's been this attitude that this guy is not to be trusted on anything he says. Yet, he immediately jumps to a conclusion, way before there could've been any serious intelligence analysis of it, that Assad was responsible for this incident, and the mainstream media completely flipped around and just rallied to his position and then refused to listen to any alternative points of view on this."

As a former mainstream journalist himself, before founding Consortium News in 1995 as "the first investigative news magazine on the Internet," Parry speaks to the "tremendous downside to your career if you ask too many questions" in the corporate media, whether covering Republican or Democratic administrations.

Parry describes some of "serious questions" raised by Postol analyses concerning "not only the logic" behind the alleged sarin attack that seems wildly counter-intuitive for Assad to have carried out, "but the evidence that's been presented in connection with the April 4 incident."

Also today: CNN and CBS fail miserably during their coverage of last weekend's worldwide March for Science by offering platforms to fossil-fueled climate change denialists; Arkansas kills two more prisoners; Federal court blocks Trump's Executive Order concerning "sanctuary cities" and Trump, the self-declared "Great Negotiator", reportedly folds once again like a paper tiger, this time concerning budget threats for his long-promised Mexican border wall...

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

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Guest: MIT's Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology and National Security Policy, Theodore A. Postol...
By Brad Friedman on 4/24/2017 6:58pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Just days after the April 4 chemical attack in Syria's rebel-held Idlib province, the U.S. launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles against the air base said to have been where Bashar al-Assad's government launched an alleged sarin attack that reportedly killed some 80 civilians, including many children. But how much of the evidence of the chemical attack has actually been independently confirmed? My guest today charges that the evidence offered by the U.S. to justify its military response is entirely false. [Audio link to complete show is posted at end of article below.]

The horrific aftermath of the release of the nerve agent was seen in videos played around the world, and said to have been the impetus for Donald Trump reversing his position on Syria, which he had, for years (and even just days earlier), said we should stay out of. Nonetheless, without debate or Constitutional approval by the U.S. Congress, we launched a military assault on yet another sovereign nation and today the Administration announced a series of tough new sanctions against the regime. But there has yet to be any findings from an international investigation of the incident, and evidence supporting the allegations that it was Assad, not the rebels or terrorists he is fighting against, responsible for the attack, was laid out only in a brief, April 11 report issued by the White House --- notably, not issued by the U.S. Intelligence services.

That report, charges my guest today, Theodore A. Postol, Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology and National Security Policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), cannot possibly be accurate. Furthermore, he says, the April 11 White House Report (WHR), as he details in now four separate analyses he has issued since its release, "was not properly vetted by the intelligence community."

"The report contains absolutely no evidence that this attack was the result of a munition being dropped from an aircraft," as the White House has claimed, Postol finds in his initial analysis [PDF], based on phographic evidence of the crater said to have been caused when Syria dropped a chemical munition. "In fact, the report contains absolutely no evidence that would indicate who was the perpetrator of this atrocity."

Postol is a physicist and rocket trajectory expert who formerly served as a science advisor to the chief of Naval operations at the Pentagon, has been vindicated a number of times over the years concerning similarly skeptical analyses of claims concerning the U.S. military's use of Patriot missile technology in the first Gulf War (see Charlie Pierce's 2005 Boston Globe profile of Postol here), as well as the Obama White House claims about Assad's alleged chemical weapons attack in 2013. He joins me today to explain his analyses and to speak to the remarkable lack of skeptical coverage by the U.S. mainstream media regarding the WHR on the April nerve agent incident.

On the day of Trump's retaliatory attack on Syria, Peter Ford, Britain's former Ambassador to Syria expressed skepticism on BBC News about Assad being behind the chemical attack ("Assad may be cruel, brutal, but he's not mad. It defies belief that he would bring this all on his head for no military advantage," he told BBC at the time.) But in the U.S. mainstream media, no such skepticism has been explored, despite well known misleading intelligence used to justify U.S. military action in the recent past, such as during the lead-up to the Iraq War (which, in turn, opened the door to so much of the violence and war in the Middle East ever since, including in Syria.)

"We again have a situation where the White House has issued an obviously false, misleading and amateurish intelligence report," Postol argues in his first report on the April 4 incident, issued after studying photographic evidence presented by the White House or otherwise publicly available. "What I can say for sure herein is that what the country is now being told by the White House cannot be true [emphasis in original] and the fact that this information has been provided in this format raises the most serious questions about the handling of our national security."

Even the New York Times, which, Postol tells me today, used to cover his analyses in detail, have not bothered to contact him this time --- even to debunk his claims --- for reasons that remain unknown, despite his past track record. In fact, I've been able to find little if any coverage that attempts to debunk his assertions in response to the WHR.

"It is very disturbing to see how uncritical the mainstream press has been of this matter," Postol tells me today. "From my point of view, this may be the most serious event --- with regard to American democracy --- from this whole incident. Because the only way American democracy can function is if the press performs the role of providing accurate information, and also raising questions if those questions deserve to be looked at. And there's no question here that the questions deserved to be looked at."

Writing over the weekend, in his 4th report [PDF] on the matter, Postol charged: "Without an independent media providing accurate and unbiased information to the nation's citizens, the government can do what it chooses without being concerned about the reactions of citizens who elected it. The critical function of the mainstream media in the current situation should be to investigate and report the facts that clearly and unambiguously contradict the government's claims on this matter."

Though we are hardly "mainstream media", we do our best today to fill a bit of the vacuum left by the woefully credulous U.S. reportage on this event --- particularly since it's virtually impossible to know what really went on in the absence of independent investigation --- as the U.S. enters yet another war in the Middle East...

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

Postol's reports on the April 4 chemical incident, to date:

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Also: Federal court finds TX intentionally discriminated (AGAIN!); NV Sec. of State invents non-citizen voting scare; Trump sold millions in access for inauguration; Stolen SCOTUS helps AR kill a man; Much more...
By Brad Friedman on 4/21/2017 5:37pm PT  

On today's BradCast, more Republican efforts to keep (certain) voters from voting in several states where demographics are quickly moving against them, and they're beginning to get very worried, for good reason, in advance of 2018 --- but even ahead of the important U.S. House special election run-off election set for June in Georgia! [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Among the many stories covered on today's news-packed show...

  • The Republicans' stolen U.S. Supreme Court helped Arkansas kill a man on Thursday night;
  • Trump sold millions of dollars of access to corporate giants during his inauguration in January;
  • Nevada's Republican Sec. of State invents a "non-citizen" voting scare in the state;
  • Georgia's GOP Sec. of State is sued for blocking new voter registrations in violation of federal law, in advance of June's high-profile U.S. House special election run-off in GA-06;
  • Yet another federal court finds that Republican legislators in Texas intentionally discriminated against Hispanic voters when drawing up statehouse districts. (The 4th finding by a federal court of intentional racial discrimination by the TX GOP in the past two months, making the state more than eligible for special oversight under the Voting Rights Act!)
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (and other Republicans) may find themselves in big trouble in 2018;
  • Britain goes coal free for the first time since the industrial age;
  • Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report as Saudi Arabia invests $50 billion in renewable energy and scientists prepare to march for science;
  • U.S. Treasure Dept. rejects ExxonMobil's request to lift sanctions against Russia so that the company can drill for oil in the Arctic...

Enjoy!...

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

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