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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Trump's $2 TRILLION 'Bernie Madoff-Level Budget Fraud': 'BradCast' 5/23/17
Guest: Former White House tax adviser Seth Hanlon; Also: Latest on Manchester Bombing, FBI's Team Trump probe, more...
'Green News Report' 5/23/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Global Seed Vault flooded by melting perma-frost; Antarctica going green (not in good way); Swiss vote to accelerate renewables; PLUS: Trump's budget slashes, burns environment...
Previous GNRs: 5/18/17 - 5/16/17 - Archives...
The Surreal and Present Danger of Donald Trump: 'BradCast' 5/22/17
Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: Two big election-related SCOTUS decisions, & this week's US House Special Election in MT...
Mike Pence and the 'Sergeant Schultz Defense'
The VP claims he was kept in the dark by Team Trump on key issues regarding disgraced former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn. But is his alibi even plausible?...
Sunday Toons of the 'Witch Hunt!' Moment
Looks like it's double, double toil and trouble for Trump once again this week in PDiddie's collection of the week's best political toons...
Sessions Rolls Back Justice Reform, Trump Digs Himself Deeper: 'BradCast' 5/19/17
Guest: Former Asst. DA Ames Grawert on DoJ's 'draconian' news guidelines; Also: Trump called Comey a 'nut job' in Oval Office with Russians, now heads overseas for nine days...
'Single Greatest Witch Hunt of a Politician in American History!': 'BradCast' 5/18/17
'Chaotic darkness' at Trump White House; Cold Turkey for Flynn, Pence; Eye on McGahn; More unauthorized US war in Syria; MUCH more from today's news tsunami...
'Green News Report' 5/18/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
VA creates carbon cap-and-trade system; Bears Ears Nat'l Monument targeted for gas, oil; Public to EPA: 'Keep regs!'; PLUS: Glacier National Park's glaciers are going, going...
Previous GNRs: 5/16/17 - 5/11/17 - Archives...
What is 'Obstruction of Justice'?:
'BradCast' 5/17/17
Guest: Former Asst. US Attorney Randall D. Eliason of GWU Law School; Also... BREAKING: Special Counsel named to take over Trump/Russia probe...
'Espionage Act': The Oval Office is Leaking (Bigly): 'BradCast' 5/16/17
Guest: Brennan Center's Elizabeth Goitein says Trump may have violated law in Russia meeting; Then... BREAKING: Trump asked Comey to end Flynn probe...
'Green News Report' 5/16/17
NC hurricane disaster relief denied; April 2017 second hottest on record; Tillerson signs climate change pact; PLUS: DoD warns again of climate's NatSec impacts...
Making Sense of (& Surviving) President 'Goldfish': 'BradCast' 5/15/17
Guest: David Roberts of Vox; Also: Good voting news for NC, thousands turned away from WI polls in 2016...
Sunday Toons of the Moment:
'Comey on Both Sides'...
Everybody hates Comey! Except when they don't, as 'PDiddie' details, among other things, in his latest collections of the week's best political toons...
'Green News Report' 5/11/17
Trump postpones decision on UN climate pact; Emergency at WA nuke site; Superfund sites mostly in low-income areas; PLUS: Repubs fail to repeal methane flaring rule...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Guest: Former White House economic adviser Seth Hanlon | Also: Latest on Manchester Bombing, FBI Trump investigation, more...
By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2017 6:25pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Trump Administration introduces what economists --- on both the Right and Left --- are describing as a massive 2 trillion dollar accounting error (or, less generously, 'fraudulent' numbers) in their new budget proposal introduced today. And we get caught up on the latest late updates on yesterday's Manchester Bombing and the FBI's ongoing investigation of Team Trump. [Audio link follows below.]

As Trump continues his overseas trip, the White House released his Budget Policy plan in full, including some $1 trillion in cuts to social programs, billions of dollars of increases in defense spending and what they describe as deficit reduction measures over the next 10 years. The plan, if enacted, would deeply slash programs from Medicaid to Social Security Disability Insurance to food stamps to financial student aid to agricultural subsidies relied upon by an enormous number of Trump voters.

But, aside from those cruel cuts, as our guest today, former Obama Administration tax policy adviser Seth Hanlon explains, the budget includes a huge, $2 trillion accounting error. Actually, Hanlon described it last night in a Twitter rant as '[Bernie] Madoff-level accounting fraud...designed to fleece vulnerable people'. Others today, including conservative budget experts, also describe the gimmick Team Trump uses to hide the decline in revenue as fraudulent --- or "impossible magic math" --- in that it counts the same (questionable) claims for increased revenues from massive tax cuts twice! Once to pay for the $5.5 trillion in tax cuts themselves, and then again to pay for $2 trillion in revenue in the Trump budget.

As Hanlon details, it's quite a trick! An impossible one, in fact, which he doesn't believe to be an accident, describing it as a "$7.5 trillion lie."

"In their budget," he explains, "they just pretend that this $5.5 trillion in tax cuts does not exist. And then at the same time...they say that the economy is going to grow by a full percentage point every year, so the economy is going to grow by 3% a year...And because of that extra economic growth --- and there's not much basis to think there would be that growth --- that brings in an additional $2 trillion of revenue. So they include that extra $2 trillion of revenue in their budget, while at the same time not including...the tax cuts that are supposedly producing that magic growth that results in the $2 trillion."

Hanlon, now a Senior Fellow at Center for American Progress, previously served as special assistant to President Obama for economic policy at the White House National Economic Council, coordinating the Obama administration's tax policy. He calls the Trump scheme "a deliberate decision simply to wave a wand and take the entire $5.5 trillion cost of the tax cuts out of the budget," adding that he "can't find anybody who actually defends it," including so-called conservative deficit hawks. We also discuss the cruel nature of many of the cuts, despite its unlikeliness to get very far as written, even in the Republican controlled Congress.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with details on the "slash and burn" environmental aspects of the budget plan and for some good news out of Switzerland. (We'll take it!)

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/23/2017 10:27am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: The Global Seed Vault flooded by melting permafrost; Antarctica is going green, and not in a good way; Switzerland votes to accelerate renewable energy transition; PLUS: Trump's final budget proposal takes a hatchet to the environment... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

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

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 2 more leaks found on Dakota Access Pipeline; Rate of sea level rise has tripled since 1990; Senate's Regulatory Review Act is bad for science; No one lives on this remote Pacific island but it’s covered in 38 million pieces of trash; Rural Trump voters fight to keep their land from oil industry eminent domain abuse; States push for stronger oil train rules; Exxoh climate fraud investigation widens over missing Tillerson alias emails... PLUS: Withdrawing from the Paris climate deal could cause ‘lasting damage’ to ties between U.S. and Europe, official warns... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: Two important election-related SCOTUS decisions and this week's U.S. House Special Election in MT...
By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2017 6:35pm PT  

The new Twin Peaks (which is excellent, by the way!) may be less surreal than the latest goings on inside our current White House. On today's BradCast, the latest news on the ever unfolding investigations into Team Trump and on his overseas trip (stories Trump already managed to conflate today), along with big election-related news from the U.S. Supreme Court and a quick preview of this week's upcoming U.S. House special election in the state of Montana. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Today, before we get to the latest in the David Lynchian tales of President Trump, two new and important election-related rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court. One, being described by UC Irvine Election professor Rick Hasen as a very "big deal" and "a major victory for voting rights plaintiffs" deals with racial and partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina, with ramifications for a number of other similar Republican gerrymanders in several states. The other is a victory for campaign finance restrictions. Both cases feature surprising alliances between Republican and Democratic-appointed Justices following last month's confirmation of Neal Gorsich to fill the vacant seat stolen by Republicans after the death of Justice Anton Scalia.

And, speaking of elections, we also preview the U.S. House Special Election set to take place in Montana this Thursday, as populist first-time candidate and popular folk singer Rob Quist barnstormed the state over the weekend with Bernie Sanders. Republican establishment candidate Greg Gianforte is said to have a small lead in pre-election polls, despite being recently caught on tape supporting the GOP health care bill while seeking money from wealthy lobbyists, even while telling voters on the stump he hadn't made up his mind about it yet. In addition to providing a bellwether for the 2018 elections, it may also serve to shake up the current, very serious divide within the Democratic Party itself, depending on how the results shake out this week. That divide has been somewhat obscured by the madness of the Trump White House, but the bitter split between Bernie and Hillary partisans is still very much creating a rift among progressives and Democrats.

Then, we're joined by the great Heather Digby Parton of Salon.com and the Hullabaloo blog to try and make sense of ALL of the latest in the increasingly surreal Trump Administration investigations, and the ongoing troubles Trump ("the clear and present danger"), his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn ("something wrong with him"), his Vice President Mike Pence ("Involved up to his eyeballs"), and many others. In addition to all of that and whether or not it may be heading towards impeachment, Parton also shares thoughts on Trump's overlooked recently reported threat to lock up journalists (reminding us that AG Jeff Sessions is "by far the most dangerous, malevolent person in the Administration") and offers insight on a number of late-breaking stories related to all of the above, including: Flynn, reportedly, now taking the 5th to avoid self-incrimination in response to Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenas; Trump digging himself deeper in Tel Aviv during his 9-day jaunt overseas; and now he may have even have lost a few of his own supporters following his speech on Islam in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

If you watched the new Twin Peaks over the weekend, as I did (the first two hours all year that I haven't thought about Trump, frankly!), what's going on in this Administration is even more difficult to make sense of right now, believe it or not. So, enjoy!...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 5/22/2017 9:35am PT  

Faced with his own inept inability to control the antics of his American prisoners, the only defense for bumbling Luftwaffe POW camp guard Sergeant Schultz was to pretend he had no knowledge of events. Confronted with what he saw and was told in this classic Hogan's Heroes clip, Schultz proclaims: "I see nothing! I was not here! I did not even get up this morning!"

Last Thursday, we witnessed a version of the Sergeant Schultz defense. But it wasn't for laughs. It came from a source said to be "close to the [Trump] administration". According to an NBC News report (later echoed by a number of other outlets), the source claimed that "Vice President Mike Pence has been kept in the dark about former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn's alleged wrongdoing"...

Earlier this year, Pence said he was not made aware of Flynn's discussions with Russian officials until 15 days after Trump and the White House were notified.

The source close to the administration, who requested anonymity as the White House denies the story, is now saying that Pence and his team were not made aware of any investigation relating to Flynn's work as a foreign agent for Turkey.

"It's also a fact that if [Flynn] told [Trump Transition attorney, now White House Chief Counsel, Don] McGahn that during the transition, it's also a fact that not only was Pence not made aware of that, no one around Pence was as well," the source said. "And that's an egregious error — and it has to be intentional. It's either malpractice or intentional, and either are unacceptable."

The source's claims are offered despite the fact that Flynn himself also served as one of Pence's vice-chairs on the Presidential transition.

The NBC report offers a plausible sounding explanation for Pence's seeming ability to be everywhere, yet know absolutely nothing about what happened, particularly given the number of occasions where Trump has swiftly thrown those defending his actions under the bus: e.g., when, one day after Pence said the President had simply complied with Assistant Attorney General Rob Rosenstein's "recommendation" when he fired FBI Director James B. Comey, Trump acknowledged he'd made the decision to fire Comey before Rosenstein wrote the memo.

But there are a multitude of reasons why the "I know nothing!" defense doesn't really wash, particularly given Pence's penchant to quietly lie with a straight face, even when directly confronted by contradictory information and instances in which Pence has denied all knowledge of otherwise broadly publicized information...

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




'Chaotic darkness' at Trump's White House; Bipartisan agreement in Congress; Flynn and Pence go cold Turkey; Eye on McGahn; More unauthorized US war in Syria; MUCH more from today's news tsunami...
By Brad Friedman on 5/18/2017 6:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we do our best to surf today's news tsunami, with a focus on a few troubling and under-appreciated stories amid the political flood pouring out of Washington and around the world in the wake of the DoJ's appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Among the huge number of quickly moving and/or under-covered stories pieced together on today's show...

  • CA Assembly bill calls for Donald Trump's impeachment;
  • U.S. launches new airstrike on Syrian forces (despite Congressional failure to authorize attacks on a sovereign nation, which could result in war with Russia);
  • Michael Flynn blocked President Obama's planned offensive against ISIS, which was opposed by Flynn's secret client Turkey;
  • Trump Team was told of FBI investigation of Flynn long before inauguration;
  • VP Mike Pence, head of Trump Transition, still claims he knew nothing about Flynn's ties to foreign nations;
  • Suspicion grows over Team Trump attorney, White House counsel Don McGahn;
  • Senate Intel Chair offers two different stories on Flynn subpoenas;
  • House Oversight Chair announces he's quitting Congress next month;
  • Mueller's appointment receives mostly bipartisan support, as....;
  • ...White House turns 'chaotically dark', cancels Kellyanne Conway appearance on Fox 'News', before...
  • Trump turns against appointment of Mueller to describe it as 'unprecedented witch hunt', which 'divides the country', even as he begins to separate himself from 'Russia collusion' and prepares to throw campaign team under the bus;
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with, among other things, a citizen call to action to save National Monuments set for possible repeal by the Trump Administration...

I wish our countries had "scandals" like this one instead...

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

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Guest: Former Asst. US Attorney Randall D. Eliason of GWU Law School...
By Brad Friedman on 5/17/2017 6:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast, yes, like yesterday, more huge breaking news mid-show. [Audio link follows below.]

But before we get to that, today, controversial, extremist and, perhaps, insane Milwaukee Sheriff David C. Clarke claimed today that he has been appointed to a position in Donald Trump's Dept. of Homeland Security. If true, his appointment would be disturbing. Not only given the number of people who have died in his jail cells, but also because he has, literally, called for about a million people in the U.S. to be rounded up and shipped off to Gitmo, indefinitely, without attorney or trial. Really.

Then, the fallout from yesterday's huge mid-show breaking news concerning the report that, in February, Donald Trump asked then FBI Director James Comey to end the Bureau's investigation of Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Republicans, both last night and today on Capitol Hill, are having trouble grappling with and/or responding to the news, though at least one GOP Senator, John McCain, compared what's now going on to Watergate. And committees in both the House and Senate have now asked to see the Comey memos said to document his private meetings with Trump.

And, along with all of that, the phrase "Obstruction of Justice" is being heard more and more regarding Trump's apparent efforts to shut down the FBI's probe into his campaign associates alleged coordination with Russia during the 2016 Presidential election. So, we are joined today by former Asst. U.S. Attorney, now Professor Randall D. Eliason of George Washington University Law School to discuss what "Obstruction of Justice" actually means, in both the criminal sense (as it might apply in an indictment) and in the political sense (as it might apply in Articles of Impeachment) Eliason recently discussed both applications in a lengthy article at his Sidebars Blog.

"The important thing," he tells me today, "is to distinguish between Obstruction of Justice in the broader sense --- the way the term gets thrown around a lot --- and the more narrow criminal sense of an actual criminal violation that fits the Obstruction of Justice statutes. That's a much higher standard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, all of the elements of an actual crime, as opposed to a more general claim that the President is kind of violating all these norms and rules and traditions that we have about not interfering with ongoing investigation, appearing to pressure the FBI Director, things like that."

The key issue, Eliason explains, is whether there was "corrupt intent" in the many different incidents that now appear as Trump's obstruction. "It's not enough if the President does something that just has the effect of hurting the investigation, as a kind of side effect. The prosecutor would have to show that was what he set out to do --- he had the wrongful and deliberate intent to try to thwart, in [the Flynn] case, the ongoing grand jury investigation."

As to the use of Obstruction of Justice as used in Articles of Impeachment against a President, there is a different standard, which Eliason also explains. We discuss the cases (and defenses) being built for both types of obstruction, whether a sitting President can actually be indicted on criminal charges, and also the meaning of another phrase being bandied about of late: "abuse of power".

In the course of the conversation we also discuss the likelihood of impeachment and the potential application of the 25th Amendment remedy as a way to remove Trump from power and the need for a Special Counsel to be named by the Dept. of Justice.

No sooner do we complete that conversation, than the huge news breaks late today that, indeed, former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been named by Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein as Special Counsel to take over the the FBI's probe into "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump"...

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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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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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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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: 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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Critical vulnerabilities remain on state's 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/5/2017 12:54pm PT  

Two things occurred last Thursday that should bolster the chances of Democrat Jon Ossoff in the June 20, 2017 runoff special election for the U.S. House in Georgia's 6th Congressional District. One thing --- one big thing --- remains in place that could help to derail those prospects.

The first helpful item entails the removal of an obstacle to casting a vote at all in the upcoming election, thanks to a ruling by a federal judge yesterday. The court has effectively blocked an effort by Georgia election officials to prevent any otherwise eligible voter in the 6th District who had not been registered prior to March 20, 2017 from casting a vote in the run-off election between Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel.

A Georgia statute treats a run-off election as a "continuation" of a primary election. Thus, Georgia election officials had asserted that, under state law, only those timely registered before the April 18 primary election could vote in the run-off. The GA State Conference of the NAACP and other voting rights advocates filed a lawsuit alleging that the state's restriction on new voter registrations is in violation of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) which mandates that any qualified voter who submits a valid registration form more than 30 days prior to a federal election must be allowed to vote.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy C. Batten, Sr., a George W. Bush appointee, agreed with the NAACP plaintiffs. On Thursday he issued a Temporary Restraining Order mandating the state "extend the voter-registration deadline for the June 20, 2017 special runoff election to no earlier than May 21." Any "eligible resident" who has "registered to vote" on or before that date is entitled to cast a ballot "that will count in the June 20 special runoff election."

Prior to the ruling, Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp had contended that only voters registered by March 20th would be eligible to vote in the run-off election, three months later(!), on June 20.

The second issue that could enhance the Democrat's chances for filling the U.S. House vacancy in an otherwise Republican-leaning district --- a vacancy created when Rep. Tom Price became Donald Trump's Sec. of Health and Human Services --- is related to yesterday's narrow passage in the U.S. House of the so-called "American Health Care Act" (AHCA, or what many have referred to as #wealthcare, since the legislation includes, among other things, a massive tax cut for the top 2% at the expense of healthcare coverage and other benefits for the poor and middle class).

A Congressional Budge Office scoring predicted that the original version of the ACHA would result in the loss of health care coverage for 24 million Americans over the next 10 years. Not surprisingly, the Ryan/Trump wealthcare initiative has proved immensely unpopular according to a Quinnipiac poll in March, finding just 17% of Americans support the measure. The Center for American Progress described the amended version of the bill, that was rammed through the House yesterday without an updated CBO score, as far worse than the original bill. It is expected not only to "explode premiums," they find, but also allow states to negate ObamaCare's most popular feature --- the prohibition on health insurance companies discriminating against those with pre-existing conditions.

While both of these factors could serve to aid Ossoff's chances in June, there's no escaping the fact that the runoff will be conducted using the same 100% unverifiable, easily-manipulated, oft-failed Diebold touch-screen voting system that may have cost him an outright win on April 18...

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




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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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/2/2017 11:38am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: People's Climate March draws hundreds of thousands in the sweltering heat; Trump's EPA deletes climate change from its website; Last-minute government funding deal ignores Trump's proposed environmental cuts; Largest electric utility in Iowa to go 100% renewable; PLUS: Trump rolls back oil spill safety regulations implemented after the BP Gulf Oil Disaster... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

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

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): The New York Times should not have hired climate change bullshitter Bret Stephens; Scientists have shown they can march. Can they help win elections?; Sea-Level Rise: Gentrification As High Ground Becomes Hot Property; New York Plan to Dump Chlorine Into Sewers Worries Environmentalists; Justices Deny Review Of Case Challenging Polar Bear Habitat; Nitrite Pollution Puts Warming Waters At Risk; USDA Secretary Rolls Back Obama Nutrition Standards For School Lunches... PLUS: Melting Arctic Threatens Age-Old Hunt In Northernmost Greenland Village... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




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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Guest: Marta Segura of the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute; Plus: Another immigration face-plant, another healthcare reform debacle, another Mike Flynn related embarrassment for Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 4/27/2017 6:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Trump and the GOP trip over themselves in their mad rush to his 100th day as President, while Americans plan to hit the streets yet again in protest, this time in a Saturday demonstration on behalf of Planet Earth. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Amidst the Trump Administration's panic to try and un-embarrass themselves about their historic lack of accomplishments before this weekend's "100 Day" benchmark, things only seem to be getting worse for them. Among their latest embarrassments: A new DHS program launched by the Administration to supposedly help victims of crimes purportedly committed by immigrants goes awry in several different ways; the new scramble to pass an updated health care bill in the House to replace the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") has put some Republicans in an untenable position once again, and risks undermining a separate plan to avoid another government shutdown this weekend; the Pentagon confirms that Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is under an Inspector General's investigation for allegedly failing to obtain permission for payments from foreign sources; and Sean Spicer confirms the Administration didn't even bother to run a security background check on Flynn before naming him as NSA. (So much for "extreme vetting".)

But, on Saturday, the 100th Day of his Presidency, another embarrassment awaits as thousands plan to hit the streets yet again, this time for the People's Climate March, just days after Trump signed an Executive Order attempting, for the first time in U.S. history, to reverse national monument declarations made by three former Presidents. Among the public lands Trump hopes to remove protection for, to allow oil, gas and mineral extraction: the Bears Ear National Monument in Utah, a million acres "sacred to Native Americans and home to tens of thousands of archaeological sites, including ancient cliff dwellings."

Marta Segura of the Climate Law Institute at the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute (whose modest mission is "Saving Life on Earth"), and a member of the steering committee for Los Angeles' version of this weekend's march, joins us to discuss all of that and more.

On Trump's attempt to reverse public lands declarations, Segura charges: "The agenda of the Trump Administration is to strengthen the fossil fuel industry and to give them access to lands that have not been explored for fossil fuels, and which they suspect there will be a lot of opportunity to make a lot of people, and a lot of the refineries, very rich, very fast."

"He's claiming that the government has had a 'land grab' on these lands across the nation, and has taken control without the consent of the people," she tells me. "He's misusing that term. He's basically trying to control these lands so that he can benefit the industries. The people are the ones that are benefiting from these public lands right now. That's the definition of public lands."

Speaking about this weekend's climate march and why it's separate from last weekend's March for Science, she explains why organizers in L.A. chose to hold their version of the People's Climate March near the site of a planned Tesoro Oil refinery expansion in Wilmington, near a densly populated residential area on the coast. If the expansion is allowed, she says, it would result in the "the largest refinery in the Western region. And it will be expanding at a time when we really need reductions in greenhouse gases."

"This march," Segura tells me before finishing on a hopeful note, "is for the representation and lifting voices of front-line communities who are disproportionately impacted by the greenhouse gases and pollution."

And, speaking of Planet Earth, we close today with some of Bill Maher's thoughts on hopes by some billionaires (and environmentalists) for colonizing Mars...

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

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