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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, December 12, 2017
AL Supremes Allow 'Ballot Images' to Be Destroyed: 'BradCast' 12/12/17
Also, guest David M. Rothschild on a new study finding real, not fake, news was the problem in the 2016 Presidential election...
'Green News Report' 12/12/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
SoCal fire now 5th largest in state history; Trump Admin attacks private co. in nat'l monument fight, opens East Coast to offshore drilling, slows EPA actions against polluters...
Previous GNRs: 12/7/17 - 12/5/17 - Archives...
Moore, Moore, Moore...
and Other Vital News: 'BradCast' 12/11/2017
Terror attacks in NY, KS, NM; Pentagon to allow transgender enlistment; SoCal fires; A big court win for election integrity and a deep dive on the eve of Alabama's insane U.S. Senate election...
GOP/NRA's 'Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act' Likely Unconstitutional
A new bill just rammed through the U.S. House would block states' rights on gun safety laws and may violate the U.S. Constitution...
Sunday Toons of the Soulless Moment
A lot of souls have been sold in recent days. For what in return? 'PDiddie' rounds up the consequences in his latest weekly toon collection...
Former CO GOP Chair Found Guilty of Voter Fraud: 'BradCast' 12/8/17
And other ironies and outrages: SoCal fires spread; Trump dumps science; Election Integrity suit before AL election; House GOP ignores states' rights on guns; Listener e-mail...
'Green News Report' 12/7/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump rolls back protections for two national monuments; Tribes, conservationists sue; GOP tax bill slashes renewables; PLUS: Credit firm warns cities to address climate risks or else...
Previous GNRs: 12/5/17 - 11/30/17 - Archives...
Two SCOTUS Cases This Week 'Take the Cake' for Absurdity: 'BradCast' 12/6/17
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Fires worsen in, near L.A.; Franken pressured by Dem Senators to resign...
Battle for 'Ballot Images' Before AL's U.S. Senate Election: 'BradCast' 12/5/17
Guest: Election expert John Brakey; Also: Conyers resigns, Farenthold skates, RNC & Trump all-in for accused pedophile...
'Green News Report' 12/5/17
Trump rolls back national monuments; Tribes, conserv-ationists sue; GOP tax bill slashes renewables; PLUS: Credit firm warns cities to address climate risks or else...
GOP Tax 'Cut' Hustle; Callers on Trump-Russia 'Collusion': 'BradCast' 12/4/17
Repub Senate rams through largest tax increase in history; What is Team Trump trying to hide?...
CA Congressional Repubs Endangered
Ernie Canning explains why it's actually now possible that the GOP could be left with zero U.S. House Representatives after 2018...
Sunday Toons of the 'Lock Him Up' Moment
As it turns out, 'fake news' can actually result in real jail time, according to the cartoonists in PDiddie's latest weekly collection...
FLYNN FLIPS, Cops Plea; GOP Tax Scam's Generational Upheaval: 'BradCast' 12/1/17
Two huge stories. One, a transformational shift in the U.S. that will alter it for decades...
'Trigger' Warning: GOP Tax Maneuver Proves It's 'All a Scam': 'BradCast' 11/30/17
Guest: The Nation's David Dayen; Also: Accountability for sexual misconduct, if not in AL, White House or Main St...
'Green News Report' 11/30/17
EPA climate hearings in Coal Country; Winter heat breaks records; Another FEMA scandal slows PR recovery; PLUS: Good news for breathers in WI and MO...
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...


By Brad Friedman on 12/4/2017 5:58pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The GOP rammed the largest tax increase in American history through the U.S. Senate in the middle of the night last Friday, and we open the phones to try to figure out what the alleged Trump/Russia "collusion" is actually supposed to be. [Audio link to show follows below.]

After several important breaking news items (Trump's unprecedented reversal of National Monument declarations in Utah by Presidents Obama and Clinton; His stolen U.S. Supreme Court allows his Muslim travel ban to be enforced, even while it's being challenged in lower courts; His new, full-throated endorsement of alleged Republican child molester Roy Moore in next week's U.S. Senate special election against Democrat Doug Jones in Alabama), we're back to the GOP "tax cut" hustle and the Special Counsel investigation of Team Trump.

First, on taxes, details on the thousands of corporate lobbyists (more than 6,000 of them!) who crawled out of the swamp to help write what will be the largest tax increase in U.S. history, as billions, if not trillions in wealth is set to be redistributed from the poor and middle class to the wealthy and already-wildly profitable corporations. The GOP and Donald Trump have been using a dubious list of "economists" to lie about and help jam through their scheme, which was passed by the U.S. Senate just before 2am on Friday night/Saturday morning, just hours after the 500-page final bill had finally been released to Democrats.

Then, we open up the phone lines for callers to answer my question about the alleged Trump/Russia "collusion", following the guilty plea on Friday by Trump's disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the F.B.I.

While Trump's attempted obstruction of that investigation is quite clear (despite his personal lawyers absurd claims), as is the fact that members of his Campaign and Administration lied to federal law enforcement officials, which also unlawful, evidence of the originally alleged "collusion" on the 2016 election remains elusive.

Why all the lying by Team Trump? What are they attempting to hide? As much as I'd be delighted for all of this to bring down a wildly lawless and anti-American Administration, of course, I still remain unclear on what the initial crime actually was, or is even alleged to have been. So, at risk of being called "obtuse", I ask callers today about what that actual, specific original crime is --- before all of the obstruction and lying --- that is seemingly being hidden by Team Trump, alleged by Democrats and probed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

We open the phone lines for callers to explain it all...if they can...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 12/1/2017 6:28pm PT  

On today's BradCast, there are two major stories to cover. Both huge. But the one that is receiving less coverage than it needs, is the one likely to upset American life as we know it for decades.

First today, Donald Trump's former National Security Adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to one count of lying to F.B.I investigators about conversations he had with Russia's U.S. Ambassador concerning sanctions against Russia and a U.N. vote regarding Israel during Trump's transition to office, among other things.

He is being offered leniency by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in exchange for his cooperation in the on-going Trump/Russia probe. The White House spent the day downplaying the charges, though reports and court documents filed on Friday indicate the President's Son-in-Law and senior adviser Jared Kushner could be among those now in the sites of federal investigators. Flynn is the fourth member of Team Trump to be charged by the Special Counsel and the first to have served during the Administration itself.

As that played out on Friday, Senate Republicans continued to push their massive $1.5 trillion tax scam through Congress, which, as we discuss today, is much more than just a massive tax cut for corporations, donors and the wealthiest U.S. citizens. The bill has also become a catch-all for long-sought, far right-wing causes, such as establishing rights for fetuses and repealing a 60-year old ban on partisan political activity by tax-exempt religious organizations.

In addition to offering windfalls for the rich, while increasing taxes on most of the middle-class, the far-reaching legislation will also curb the ability for states and cities to provide basic needs to residents, while otherwise undermining the economic system on a generational scale by removing deductions for state and local taxes, higher education and much more.

Perhaps most disturbingly, as experts and lawmakers admit, the scheme will blow such an enormous hole in the long-term national debt that, as Republicans have made clear, additional massive cuts to social safety-net programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security will be next on their agenda. In all, the massive redistribution of wealth from low- and middle-income Americans to the richest elite in the country will serve to cripple generations of younger Americans.

But, yes, Michael Flynn was charged with a crime on Friday and may now sing on the President and his team. The White House is likely unhappy about that, even if Republicans in Congress are unlikely to mind the distraction at all, as they push their generational tax scam over the finish line.

Finally today, speaking of paying a price for generations to come, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report...

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: Former Obama tax policy advisor Seth Hanlon on GOP tax cuts; Also: Trump endorses accused child molester for U.S. Senate; Trump's FCC announces plans to kill landmark 'Net Neutrality' protections...
By Brad Friedman on 11/21/2017 6:19pm PT  

On today's BradCast: If you're still clinging to the idea that elections don't really matter and the incredibly lazy assertion that "there's no difference between the two major parties", today's show may help you reassess those ill-considered, self-defeating, knee-jerk notions. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

First up, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, explains why he believes it would be better to have an accused child molester, Alabama's Republican U.S. Senate nominee, Roy Moore, in the U.S. Senate, than to see the Democratic candidate Doug Jones elected on December 12. His argument today that Moore "totally denies" the charges of sexual improprieties with teenagers as young as 14 (sourced to more than 30 people) is part of his Administration's desperate attempt to pass their massive tax cuts for the rich, at all costs, through a very slim GOP majority in the U.S. Senate. That majority would get slimmer still if Jones is elected. So bring on the pedophiles!

We're joined today by SETH HANLON, President Obama's former Special Assistant for Economic and Tax Policy, to explain how the GOP's proposed tax scheme is being rushed through the Senate during the holidays, in hopes that voters don't notice that it will actually raise taxes for some 82 million middle-income Americans, while keeping permanent tax cuts in place for the wealthy. And, as bad as that sounds, other provisions are even worse and will result in an increase of $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit, the loss of health care coverage for some 13 million Americans, and an immediate $25 billion cut to Medicare, among other nightmares.

"The number one thing" that people need to known about this bill, Hanlon tells me, "is that this thing is happening now. This bill could be law by the end of next week. It might take longer than that, but they are trying to jam it through the Senate, which is the key to all this, next week. There are reasons why they are doing that so fast. Sunlight's the best disinfectant and they do not want people to scrutinize this bill to find out what's in it, to understand the ramifications. So they are trying to get it through as fast as they possibly can."

"If you want to see what's really happening with this bill, you look at what's permanent in it. A lot of it is just temporary, but there's really only three parts that are permanent. Number 1 is a massive tax cut for corporations. Number 2 is a hidden tax increase on basically every single American household. Number 3 is an attack on the Affordable Care Act. They're repealing a key part of Obamacare, the ACA, and it's been estimated to result in 13 million without health insurance, and premiums increasing for people who buy them through marketplaces by 10 percent."

"This is a permanent tax cut for corporations, paid for with a permanent tax increase on individuals and by fewer people having health care," Hanlon, now a Senior Fellow at Center for American Progress, explains. He also speaks to whether the ACA provision is included only as a bargaining chip, whether the Obama Administration used similar tactics to get legislation through Congress, and whether there is any evidence that tax cuts of this sort "pay for themselves", as Trump's Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (pictured above with his new wife and new money) and his Economic Policy Adviser Gary Cohn, among others, have asserted in the desperate effort to pass what would be the only major legislation to be adopted under Trump during his first year of office.

But, if all of that doesn't underscore the difference between Republicans, who support the scheme, and Democrats who virulently oppose it, Trump's Chair of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, announced today that the FCC's 3 to 2 Republican majority will vote next month to kill landmark Net Neutrality protections instituted during the Obama Administration. We explain what that means, and how it is likely to result in higher prices for customers and content providers (like BradBlog.com and The BradCast) and slower Internet speeds for sites and consumers who don't pay up tolls to Internet provider behemoths like AT&T and Comcast for access to the "fast lane" on the information super-highway. It will be, as one of the two Democratic commissioners on the FCC said in a statement today, a "green light to our nation's largest broadband providers to engage in anti-consumer practices, including blocking, slowing down traffic, and paid prioritization of online applications and services."

Also today, Trump's DHS announced their intention to deport tens of thousands of Haitians who came to the U.S. legally after the devastating 2010 earthquake (along with their U.S. born citizen children?), and an Obama appointed federal judge has permanently blocked the Trump DoJ's attempt to unlawfully withhold federal funding to so-called "sanctuary cities".

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with very cool news for electric vehicle fans and some encouraging news for breathers and voters alike in Virginia (which, once again, underscores that, yes, elections matter and yes, there is a difference between the two major parties, whether you like it or not.) And we've also got some good news for endangered elephants, but some bad news for endangered lions in today's report...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Trump, terror, justice, guns, Gitmo, Puerto Rico, Kobach, voter fraud, tax cuts, and climate...
By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2017 5:53pm PT  

Trump may be leaving the country for a couple of weeks, but the sordid lies and demonstrable fraud he leaves behind still need truth and facts to take their place.

Among the many stories covered, lies called out, and frauds revealed on today's BradCast [Audio link to show is posted below.]...

  • After the terror attack in NYC this past week, Donald Trump called the U.S. justice system a "joke" and a "laughing stock" (and he also suggested sending the perp to prison in Guantanamo Bay, where the system of "justice" really is a joke and a laughing stock.) But just hours later, the White House Press Secretary said he never said any of that, even though he very much did;
  • At the same time, he failed to mention that a white guy opened fire in another mass shooting at a Walmart this week, killing three Latinos, and terrifying customers, some of whom pulled out guns of their own and, according to police, made it much more difficult to identify the perp (who the President has not called for sending to Gitmo);
  • Puerto Rico is still in desperate need, according to a new United Nations report this week which slams FEMA for failing to respond as quickly and thoroughly as they did after hurricanes in Florida and Texas this year, and yet, a U.S. House Committee overseeing FEMA once again canceled a planned oversight hearing this week --- though only after the Mayor of San Juan flew all the way to Washington D.C. to testify before the panel;
  • Taking a signal from the President of the United States, hate crimes are still very much on the rise this year, including anti-Semitic incidents, which are up 67% compared to last year, according to a new study, especially following this year's White Supremacist rally and murder in Charlottesville;
  • Kris Kobach's so-called Presidential "Election Integrity" Commission has gone missing --- or so it seems to its few Democratic commissioners, to Democrats in the U.S. Senate charged with oversight of the panel, and to GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Kobach's own hometown paper, which now calls for the fraudulent Commission to be disbanded entirely;
  • And, speaking of frauds, the Republicans unveiled their long-awaited tax cut scheme this week, but the highly-touted $1,182 tax cut promised to the average middle-class American family of four, will actually turn into a $500 tax increase for that same family, as the GOP scheme is currently devised. That, even as wealthy individuals and huge corporations will see their taxes slashed permanently. And who will pay the price for those massive tax cuts that will result in trillions of dollars in GOP deficits? Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have some thoughts in answer to that question today;
  • And, finally today, the White House signed off on Friday on the Congressionally mandated National Climate Assessment, which finds, among other things, that there is "no convincing alternative explanation" for global warming other than that human beings are causing it. So Donald Trump no longer believes climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese after all? I guess he can ask them when he gets there...

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: Marilyn Marks, Republican election integrity advocate of Coalition for Good Governance and Georgia election lawsuit plaintiff...
By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2017 6:21pm PT  

The fallout --- and disturbing mysteries --- following a lawsuit filed in Georgia after its U.S. House Special Election last June get curiouser and curiouser, as we learned late last night that the state Attorney General's office has now quit its defense of the Secretary of State and the state's other top election official defendants in the case. We discuss all of those bombshells and still-dropping shoes with one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit on today's BradCast. [Audio link to today's must-listen show follows below.]

We've been covering this entire mess for months now (years, really), but particularly since the lawsuit [PDF] was filed in July, after the somewhat surprising results from June's U.S. House Special Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District, where GA's former Republican Sec. of State Karen Handel reportedly defeated Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff, but only on the state's 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems. (He defeated her nearly 2 to 1 on the only verifiable ballots in the race, the mail-in paper votes. Everything else regarding the results is unverifiable speculation.)

Late last week, we learned via Frank Bajak at the Associated Press, that technicians at Kennesaw State University's Center for Elections, which has been contracted to program all of Georgia's computer voting and tabulation systems systems for some 15 years, "wiped clean" the election server that was used to program the elections, ballots and tabulators, just days after the suit was filed in July. Its two backup servers were also subsequently wiped and "degaussed three times" in August, the day after the suit was moved from state to federal court.

GA's chief election official, Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp, claims he knew nothing of the server deletions until AP's report last week. Previously, a huge fan of the Center for Elections at Kennesaw, Kemp cited the "gross incompetence" and "undeniable ineptitude" of the folks at KSU for whatever happened. Nobody has yet to take credit, however, for giving the instructions to delete the servers which held critical evidence that plaintiffs had hoped to have forensically investigated as part of the lawsuit. And then yesterday, in another flip-flop, Kemp called the entire matter "#fakenews".

All of that is disturbing on its own, but even more so in light of revelations earlier this year that the election server in question --- which stored personal data for all of GA's 6.7 million voters and the electronic ballot programming and administrative passwords for the state's voting and tabulation systems --- was left completely accessible online, no password necessary, for at least 6 months. Kennesaw was notified about the vulnerability by a data security researcher in August of 2016 (months before last year's Presidential election), but they failed to secure the server until after Politico's Kim Zetter revealed the vulnerability just prior to the GA-06 U.S. House race this year. (Samantha Bee's Full Frontal covered much of the story up to this point on her show last night, posted here.)

Then, on Wednesday evening, AP's Bajak offered another bombshell in reporting that the Republican state Attorney General's office, which had been defending Kemp, Kennesaw and the state Elections Board in the matter, has now pulled out from defending them. The reasons offered by the state AG and Kemp's campaign for Governor (he's running in 2018) have conflicted with each other or with known evidence obtained during the multi-partisan lawsuit, which a Kemp campaign spokesperson describes to AP yesterday as "a tasteless nothingburger cooked up by liberal activists who know their lawsuit is nothing short of stupid."

One of those "liberal activist" plaintiffs, Republican MARILYN MARKS, a longtime Election Integrity advocate and Executive Director of the Coalition for Good Governance, joins me today to try and help us all figure out just what the hell is actually going on in this increasingly disturbing case.

Marks confirms that nobody still knows who ordered the server deletion, nor why the state AG has dropped out of the case. "It's an enormous mystery, and the mysteries continue to increase every day," she says.

"I think that Brian Kemp is --- and rightfully so --- getting a black eye here," Marks tells me. "What he has done is shameful. There's no way to explain it. So I'm sure his defenders and campaign managers are doing everything they can to go on the offensive and try to make other people look like they are to blame, and that their candidate is innocent. But I think when people step back and say, wait a minute, if they erased the servers --- and they did it twice --- they did it for some reason. And it wasn't because our lawsuit was stupid."

She goes on to explain the "number of conflicting stories that Brian Kemp's people are telling" about when and why the compromised servers were deleted and why the AG's office is no longer willing to defend the case. She also details whether any of the information plaintiffs had hoped to examine from the servers might still be available in what is believed to be a partial copy of the servers obtained by the FBI when they came in to examine the reported data breach that occurred earlier this year, when the servers were discovered to have been left vulnerable online.

Marks' appearance on today's show comes just days before Georgia voters head to the polls for municipal elections being held next Tuesday, which will also be overseen by Kemp, programmed by Kennesaw, and run on the same wildly-hackable, 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting and tabulation systems that lead to this entire mess in the first place. She recently wrote [PDF] to Kemp and other election officials to ask them to make paper ballots available to voters since, as she tells me today, if the system was contaminated during the months it had been left vulnerable on the Internet, "They wouldn't have had time, even within the last year, to have cleaned up everything. Because, as you know, that malware can travel down to the memory cards, the voting machines, the optical scanners, and the jump servers down in the counties. Things could have traveled there in the last six months, year, two years --- and there's been no effort to try to disinfect all of the various components. I mean, there are 27,000 of these touch-screen voting machines in Georgia. There's no way that they should be in use when we know that this system was subject to a high degree of risk."

There is much more today in my conversation with Marks than I can adequately summarize here. So please give today's show a listen for the full story --- or, as much as we know about it to date --- along with many other mind-blowing details.

Also on today's show, a few other items, including Trump's non-scientist nominee for the USDA's chief scientist post, rightwing talk radio host Sam Clovis, withdrawing his nomination after becoming entangled in the Special Counsel's investigation of Team Trump (as you might have been able to predict, had you listened to Tuesday's BradCast with guest Marcy Wheeler); Clovis' fellow climate science denier Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chair of the U.S. House Science Committee announcing he will not run for re-election; and, in the latest Green News Report, Desi Doyen reports on, among many other things, EPA chief Scott Pruitt removing all of the scientists from the EPA's scientific advisory panels...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also covered on today's show...

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

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Guest: Garland Favorito of VoterGA; Also: Special Counsel Mueller unseals Team Trump indictments. One pleads guilty, two plead not guilty...
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2017 6:55pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The first indictments by Special Counsel Robert Mueller are unsealed, and we continue to stay on the disturbing case of the state of Georgia's "wiped" election server as revealed late last week. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up, two Trump Campaign officials pleaded not guilty and one plead guilty, to indictments unsealed on Monday stemming from the Special Counsel's investigation of Team Trump and charges of "collusion" between them and Russia during the 2016 Presidential election. We detail the facts as layed out by the 12-count federal indictment against former Trump Campaign chairman and CEO Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates charging that Manafort received some $75 million in income via his work for now-ousted Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych and the political party which supported him. Both are allies of Russia.

The charges do not include any "collusion" between Manafort/Gates and Russia on behalf of the Trump Campaign, but detail how Manafort, aided by Gates, hid his income from federal officials, failed to register as a Foreign Agent related to his lobbying work in the U.S., and otherwise attempted to launder some $18 million from their many offshore accounts through various schemes in the U.S.

Pleading guilty, according to indictment documents released by the Special Counsel, was George Papadopoulos, an unpaid foreign policy adviser to the Trump Campaign, who allegedly lied to federal investigators about his contacts with an unnamed "professor" said to have told him about "dirt" that Russia supposedly had regarding Hillary Clinton from "thousands of emails" that the US Intelligence Community later said were hacked by Russian agents. Papadopoulos is now cooperating with federal prosecutors.

The White House denies that any of the charges implicate the President or his Campaign. The DNC argues otherwise.

Then, picking up on the disturbing breaking news late last week that officials in Georgia "wiped clean" the Election Server used to program both last year's Presidential Election in the state and this year's U.S. House Special Election in June, we speak with GARLAND FAVORITO of VoterGA.org

The server wipe, confirmed via internal emails, came just days after a bi-partisan lawsuit [PDF] had been filed in July regarding the results of those elections, which were carried out on the state's 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems, and after the systems had been programmed via the server that we learned earlier this year had been left completely vulnerable on the Internet for at least 6 months, beginning as early as August of 2016.

The vulnerable server was used to store personal voter registration data for 6.7 million GA voters, as well as ballot programming definition files for the state's computer voting and tabulation systems, and administrative passwords to access those systems. It was first discovered as freely accessible via the Internet by a data security researcher who informed officials at the Kennesaw State University Center for Elections, which has been contracted to handle all of Georgia's elections systems for the past 15 years. The Center left the system up and completely vulnerable during last year's Presidential election and until just prior to the June special election.

Favorito explains the latest developments in that case, as well as his group's new statistical analysis, published a week before the news of the wiped server (and its two backup servers) became public. The report explains what the group sees anomalous election results in the Special U.S. House Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District in June. The longtime Election Integrity advocate and IT expert details the 72-page report's analysis, concluding that it is "statistically improbable that the reported results are correct" and that they are more likely explained by the manipulation of GA-06 results at the state level, possibly by "external or internal" hackers with free access to the unprotected and now-deleted server.

His conclusion, he explains, is based on analysis of results finding that the Democrat Jon Ossoff soundly defeated Republican Karen Handel by a nearly 2 to 1 margin in the only publicly verifiable results (the mail-in paper ballots) even with a Republican-leaning mail-in electorate. Yet, the Democrat still managed to "lose" somehow, according to the state's highly-vulnerable, easily hackable, unverifiable touch-screen voting and tabulation systems used for early in-person and election day voting.

"The nutshell, the bottom line of it," Favorito tells me, "is that we found that it is statistically improbable that these 6th District runoff results could be correct. And if they are not correct, that means there had to either be some kind of tampering or fraud involved."

We discuss all of that today, including whether GA's Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp's claims that he knew nothing about the server wipe should be trusted, and whether its still possible to piece together what may have happened in the recent U.S. House race, now that the server at Kennesaw has been mysteriously, if thoroughly, deleted.

All of this comes just days before voters in GA head back to the polls for next Tuesday's municipal elections in Atlanta and elsewhere, which are set to be run on the very same hackable, vulnerable and 100% unverifiable systems...

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Also: New details on how 'dark money' helped GOP steal SCOTUS, with guests Margaret Sessa-Hawkins & Andrew Perez of MapLight...
By Brad Friedman on 10/26/2017 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It often feels like we're fighting to save whatever little is left of representative American democracy. Today is certainly one of those days. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

First up today, Associated Press reports that the computer server at Kennesaw State University's Center for Elections in Georgia was "wiped clean" in early July, just days after the state's contentious June 20 Special Election Runoff for the U.S. House Seat in GA's 6th Congressional District, and as a federal lawsuit [PDF] was filed to challenge the results of that election.

Kennesaw's Center has been contracted by the state for some 15 years to program virtually all aspects of Georgia's elections, including their electronic pollbook voter registration databases and the highly hackable and 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems and electronic tabulators used across the entire state.

The complete deletion of information on the server in July --- and, reportedly, two backups of that server in August --- is particularly disturbing given questions about the accuracy of the reported results in the race, said to have been won by Georgia's former Republican Sec. of State Karen Handel over Democrat Jon Ossoff. Some of the concerns were detailed in the ongoing lawsuit filed by a number of plaintiffs, including Republican election integrity advocate Marilyn Marks of the Coalition of Good Governance. (We discussed that suit with Marks on The BradCast in July and concerns revealed about the results of the April Primary with VoterGA's Garland Favorito in May. We hope to speak with both of them on the show again very soon.)

The federal complaint had sought a forensic analysis of the Kennesaw server to determine whether it may have been manipulated in some way. AP reports: "Wiping the server clean 'forestalls any forensic investigation at all,' said Richard DeMillo, a Georgia Tech computer scientist who has closely followed the case. 'People who have nothing to hide don't behave this way.'" Marks is quoted in the same report noting: "I don't think you could find a voting systems expert who would think the deletion of the server data was anything less than insidious and highly suspicious."

The server was discovered by a data security researcher to have been left online and unprotected --- exposing personal voter records, voting system programming files and administrative system passwords --- in August of 2016. Yet, GA's Secretary of State, Republican Brian Kemp (who is running for Governor in 2018), claims to have not been notified, and the server was left unprotected through both the 2016 Presidential election, as well as this year's special U.S. House race. The personal information of some 6.7 million voters, ballot definition files used on voting machines and tabulators, as well as system passwords used by election officials to access those systems were reportedly left vulnerable to manipulation for at least six months, if not longer. (We reported on that aspect of this mess in June of this year.)

Today we discuss the alarming new AP report and what it means, following our own months of coverage of related concerns about the GA-06 special election, failures during tabulation, many questions from Election Integrity advocates about its reported results and, of course, our years (nearly 15 of them) warning about exactly such a situation as this.

Then, speaking of a "rigged" democracy, we're joined by Maplight's Dark Money Watch journalists MARGARET SESSA-HAWKINS and ANDREW PEREZ to discuss their new reporting on federal 'disclosure' documents revealing that millions of dollars were spent to support the Republican U.S. Senate effort to block President Obama's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, and the subsequent effort to confirm the nomination of President Trump's nominee to that same seat, Neil Gorsuch. The two reporters detail their findings including that, of the $17 million in "dark money" raised and spent on both efforts, a single donation for $17.9 million, from an unknown source to the rightwing Judicial Crisis Network, may have accounted for most, if not all of that effort.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on concerns about two dodgy contracts for $500 million to purportedly help rebuild Puerto Rico's power grid; a new report by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the $350 BILLION U.S. tax-payer dollars spent on climate-related disasters over the past decade, and much MUCH more!...

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Guest: Former Asst. U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eliason of George Washington University; Hurricane Maria on Irma's path of destruction...
By Brad Friedman on 9/18/2017 6:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Here come more hurricanes, political and otherwise. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Hurricane Maria, on a similar path to the devastating Hurricane Irma just over a week ago, has now strengthened to a deadly Category 4 before its projected landfall on many of the same Caribbean islands still reeling from Irma. But Maria is hardly the only storm swirling right now in the Atlantic and the Pacific (including Jose, Norma, Lee and Otis!).

Then, while Republicans and so-called "conservatives" last week pretended to be furious about the suggestion that Trump was working out an agreement with Democrats to protect some 800,000 kids of undocumented immigrants --- previously protected by DACA until Trump reversed it --- from deportation, in exchange for non-Border Wall border security, it turns out they're not all that angry after all. Evidence to support that argument --- along with the GOP's stated intention to balloon the national debt with massive new tax cuts and military spending --- underscores, yet again, that Republicans, like their President, have no real ideology, other than saying and doing what they believe is necessary to stay in power.

Yes, even anti-immigration zealot Rep. Steve King (R-IA) who claimed, after the deal between Dems and Trump was made public last week, that Trump's base was "blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair," said over the weekend that he was "gonna stick with President Trump".

Speaking of a lack of "convictions" (pun intended there), we're then joined by former Asst. U.S. Attorney RANDALL D. ELIASON, now a blogger and professor of law at George Washington University, to explain the ongoing corruption trial of sitting U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ). Given the recent constraints the U.S. Supreme Court has placed on charges of bribery and public corruption by officials (see SCOTUS' dismissal last year of the guilty convictions against Republican Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and the limits on quid pro quo political bribery detailed by Citizens United and related rulings), can prosecutors successfully make charges stick against Menendez, who is charged with a number of felony counts relating to taking a huge amount of "gifts" from a physician friend, allegedly in exchange for "official acts" by the Senator.

"It's basically an exchange for these luxury trips, and jet trips, and pretty large political donations over the years, that Senator Menendez was working on these various things on Dr. Melgen's behalf," according to federal prosecutors, explains Eliason. "What the government has to prove is that there was a corrupt link between the two, that it was because of the gifts that the Senator was doing this."

Eliason, who headed up the Public Corruption/Government Fraud section at the U.S. Attorney's District of Columbia office for many years, walks us through the legal weeds of the case, which has received shockingly little attention in the corporate media, as storms --- both political and climatic --- have sucked up a lot of press attention in recent weeks.

And, though the investigation into Menendez was begun under Obama (on the heels of a completely fake news story, published by a Rightwing "news" outlet), are there any lessons we may take from this prosecution as it relates to potential charges being investigated against Team Trump? As it turns out, there are, as the always-insightful Eliason details today.

Finally, Trump's Homeland Security Advisor H.R. McMaster claimed over the weekend that Trump might be willing to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, but only if the there were better terms for the U.S. Our own Desi Doyen has a thought or two in response to that claim...

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From North Korea to London to Charlottesville to Florida to Texas to Ohio to California and beyond...
By Brad Friedman on 9/15/2017 5:44pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we finally catch up on a whole bunch of stories previously postponed "due to weather", and a bunch of new stories today, on North Korea, London terror attacks and our President's disturbing response to both. [Audio link to show posted below.]

Among the many stories covered on today program:

  • First, some good news (before everything else goes to hell), a federal court blocks Attorney General Jeff Sessions' attempt to withhold DoJ funding from so-called "sanctuary cities";
  • North Korea's latest missile test bodes ominously, but there is a potential way to avoid war, if officials are smart enough to use it;
  • Another terror attack in London today and, as Scotland Yard and Prime Minister Theresa May described it, Trump's very "unhelpful" response to it;
  • Speaking of terror, Donald Trump is very quick to comment on alleged Muslim terror attacks, but both he (and the corporate media) are very good at ignoring and/or downplaying domestic acts of terror by white people with guns, including a deadly high school shooting this week in suburban Washington and one of the worst mass murders in a decade this week in suburban Texas.
  • The growing cost to the U.S. economy of Harvey, Irma and other increasingly intense storms (another may hit the U.S. in the coming week) --- and the ever-increasing costs of ignoring climate change altogether;
  • More on the massive Equifax hack;
  • Hundreds of thousands of voter files left unprotected online (again), this time in Alaska;
  • The election office in Ohio largest county, with voted ballots inside, was discovered completely unlocked and vacant, just days before a municipal election;
  • Both bad and good news out of the California state legislature, including the success of a Dem-supported bill (AB 840) that will make election fraud easier to carry out by keeping nearly 40% of the state's ballots from being subject to any post-election hand "audits" (if you're in the state, feel free to contact Gov. Jerry Brown to ask him to veto it!) and the passage of a different bill that Donald Trump won't like at all;

And, finally today, a few pieces of listener mail, also both good and bad, at the end of another insane week in these United States...

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Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton | Also: Record heat, fires in the West; Record breaking Hurricane Irma in the Atlantic...
By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2017 6:16pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The Trump Administration imperils the lives and futures of nearly one million "Dreamers", as heat and fire burn up the West, flood waters continue to ravage Texas and Louisiana, Congress returns to an impossible schedule, war concerns remain on the Korean Peninsula and now a record shattering new hurricane is gunning for Florida. [Audio link to show follows below.]

In addition to still-mounting death toll from the Hurricane Harvey disaster in Texas and Louisiana, the holiday weekend brought a bevy of disturbing news, including a major new nuclear test (possibly a hydrogen bomb) in North Korea, threats by Donald Trump to end a trade deal with our allies in South Korea (for some reason), and record wildfires and heat up and down the Western U.S., including here in Los Angeles.

All of that, however, may pale in comparison to what could be in store over the next several days, as Hurricane Irma, a record Category 5 storm, threatens Caribbean nations in the Atlantic, and could grow even more intense over the next several days with a trajectory toward south Florida, where record warm waters could place us all even further into uncharted climate territory than we are already.

That's just some of the news as Congress returns to session this week with a virtually unprecedented calendar of "must-pass" bills by the end of the month to avoid government shutdown and default.

And, it is into that mix that Donald Trump decided on Tuesday to have his Attorney General Jeff Sessions announce the Administration is ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program instituted by President Obama. The much-derided new policy threatens some 800,000 children of undocumented immigrants, brought to the U.S. by their parents through no fault of their own, many of whom have never known any other country.

Salon's award-winning columnist and blogger HEATHER 'DIGBY' PARTON joins us today to discuss what Trump's cruel new policy will mean and whether our already-dysfunctional Congress may finally be able to pass legislation in the next six months to allow those "Dreamers" who came out of the shadows under the previous Administration to avoid deportation by this one.

"This is going to be seen as an historic day," Parton argues. "It's one thing to let things kind of slide, [Trump's] nasty rhetoric, and say he's kind of a showman, he's somebody who has activated the racist, bigoted, xenophobic id of White America because they have all these anxieties and he's sort of exploiting that --- that is real. This is a real thing that they are doing potentially to close to a million people. This is a million people, all over the United States, deeply embedded into our economy, into our culture, into our communities."

"The fact that they were brought here with no say in it, and had absolutely no control over what was happening to them, they're going to have to pay for that decision by their parents. It's really, really ugly," she explains. "Since Trump took office, we've seen that picture of the Statue of Liberty crying, many many times. This is the day when it really comes home. The Emma Lazarus poem that's on the bottom of there says everything, and Trump has just basically defaced it."

Trump had previously claimed he would "deal with DACA with heart." Parton, citing Sessions making the announcement on Tuesday (not Trump) and the now desperate need for Congress to clean up this new mess somehow before six months is out, tells me: "'Cowardice' is the way to put it, not 'heart'"

She also has a controversial thought or two on whether Democrats in Congress ought to make a deal with Republicans in exchange for funding Trump's border wall with Mexico in order to circumvent the unspeakably inhumane course of events that could transpire now that the President has decided to overturn DACA...

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Guest: TPM Congressional reporter Alice Ollstein previews next week's return of Congress | Also: Lots of U.S./Russia news, Harvey updates...
By Brad Friedman on 8/31/2017 6:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast: As bad it's all been, it's about to get much worse, as the devastation from Harvey continues and as Congress returns to session following the Labor Day holiday. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first up today: What we know and don't (and why we don't) about the explosions at a swamped chemical plant north of Houston; Russia warns the U.S. that further sanctions against North Korea would be "dangerous"; U.S. continues diplomatic tit-for-tat with Russia by ordering several more diplomatic facilities closed, and; Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now reportedly working with NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in their criminal probes of Team Trump in what could serve as an end run around Donald Trump's pardon power of his associates at the federal level, and even a hedge against the possibility of the President removing the Special Counsel from his post in some way.

Then, as horrible as August has been on so many levels, TPM Congressional reporter ALICE OLLSTEIN joins us for some breaking news, and to explain why September could be even worse as Congress reconvenes next week following Summer recess, with "a nightmarishly short calendar during which they must pass a host of bills" to, among other things, approve a budget to keep the government from shutting down and avoid a federal default by raising the debt ceiling.

That, along with the need to fund disaster relief for Harvey, reauthorize children's healthcare and the national flood insurance programs by the end of the month, amid ongoing feuds between Trump and GOP Congressional leadership while the President threatens to shutdown the government if Congress fails to fund his border wall, almost assure what Ollstein characterizes as "The September From Hell".

Even if we had a "Congress who generally got along, and generally got along with the President," Ollstein tells me, "it would have been so hard to pass all of these bills that are coming up. But we don't have that. We have a President who is attacking members of his own party --- leaders in his own party --- and the opposing party. We have a lot of bad blood."

Add to it all the Trump/GOP hopes of passing huge tax cuts ("an even heavier lift than health care reform," she says) and today's late breaking news from Ollstein, fresh off a call with the Health and Human Services Dept. announcing the Administration plans to slash the Affordable Care Act's advertising budget by 90% in advance of this year's truncated Open Enrollment period, and it all amounts to not only a September from Hell, but likely a rest-of-the-year from same.

Enjoy the upcoming holiday weekend if possible, but buckle up thereafter, as Ollstein warns: "We thought it couldn't get any crazier than August, but get ready."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with more coverage of the ongoing devastation from Harvey, before we finish up with some actually very good news concerning nuclear power, solar power, and the nation's largest utility company...

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Guest: Author, journalist Zachary Roth of The Daily Democracy | Also: Juan Cole responds to listeners on Afghanistan; Trump Admin reviews on Nat'l Monuments and the power grid; Hurricane Harvey aims at Texas...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2017 6:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we pick up with the news that broke at the end of yesterday's show, as a federal court in Texas had --- yet again (for at least the 6th or 8th time, nobody can even keep it straight anymore!) --- found the state's Photo ID voting restriction to be discriminatory, and intentionally so, against racial minorities. [Audio link to show follow below.]

We're joined by journalist and author ZACHARY ROTH, formerly of MSNBC, now of The Daily Democracy, to discuss what he describes as "the Rasputin of voting laws. It just refuses to die."

But, while it may or may not finally be dead forever, U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzalez Ramos has "permanently" struck down both the strict Photo ID law passed by Texas Republicans in 2011 (SB 14) and the amendment to it (SB 5) passed just this year in response to her previous rulings finding that the GOP law was written to intentionally and disproportionately disenfranchise racial minorities.

Roth finds that both of Gonzalez Ramos' rulings, on SB 14 previously and on SB 5 now, are "incredibly careful, well-reasoned and cogent. What she found in Wednesday's ruling is that the new, modified voter ID law that Texas passed this year does not do nearly enough to fix the problems of the original law that led to it being blocked." He says that she found, in fact, some elements of the new amendment make it "even more racially discriminatory" and include harsh new penalties that "appear to be efforts at voter intimidation" which, he describes as a "remarkably strong statement from a judge about a state's intentions."

The biggest questions now are: a) Will the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the most conservative in the land, overturn the lower court (they didn't last time)?; b) Will the stolen Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme Court do so?; c) Will SCOTUS finally block all such discriminatory Photo ID laws nationally?, and; d) Perhaps the biggest question: Will Texas finally be bailed back in to the Voting Rights Act's provision requiring federal pre-clearance for all new voting laws in jurisdictions with a long history of racial discrimination? (Texas was covered under that requirement until SCOTUS struck down the VRA's list of such jurisdictions in 2013. Meanwhile, courts have now blocked three different discriminatory voting laws there in just the last eight days!)

We discuss all of that and more with Roth today, including why the GOP has been working so hard, for so many years, to enact this law; the lack of any evidence that it is actually meant to prevent fraud; the Trump DoJ's reversed position on this case; several other recent cases regarding redistricting in TX in which state Republicans were also found to have intentionally discriminated against minorities; and Roth's 2016 book, The Great Suppression: Voting Rights, Corporate Cash, and the Conservative Assault on Democracy.

Then, we received a number of interesting responses this week to my recent discussion with Middle East expert Juan Cole regarding Trump's flip-flop decision to remain in Afghanistan. We share some of those responses --- regarding oil pipelines and opium production --- along with Cole's e-mailed responses to them.

And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report' and a number green-related stories that have broken since, including on Ryan Zinke's Interior Department review of whether or not to shut down a number of National Monuments, Rick Perry's Energy Department review of whether renewable energy threatens the nation's power grid, and Hurricane Harvey which is now set to barrel into the Texas Gulf coast and linger for days, with a huge amount of rainfall along with it...

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

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Guest: Aniqa Raihan of the Institute for Policy Studies | Also: Bannon interview's revelation on North Korea; Fox 'News' buckling under stress...
By Brad Friedman on 8/17/2017 5:10pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Constitutional free political speech matters, especially speech we may disagree with. There's seems to be a lot of confusion about that of late. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first today, after breaking news on Thursday's deadly terror attack in Barcelona, new evidence, via Steve Bannon of all people, that at least some inside the White House appear to understand that "there's no military solution" for North Korea, despite President Trump's dangerous militaristic posturing over the past two weeks.

Then, we move on to a number of free speech issues regarding last weekend's white supremacist rally in Charlottesville and those protesting against them, a wildly intrusive warrant from the Department of Justice demanding personal information on some 1.3 million Americans who visited an anti-Trump website, and a bill working its way through Congress that would seem to call for a wildly unconstitutional ban on the free speech of those wishing to peacefully protest the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

We're joined by ANIQA RAIHAN of the Institute for Policy Studies to discuss her article, recently published by The Nation and Foreign Policy in Focus, detailing the proposed "Israel Anti-Boycott Act" which is currently being co-sponsored by nearly 50 Republican and Democratic U.S. Senators. "Leading Republicans and Democrats in both parties," Raihan stresses, including many on the Right who pretend to advocate for both free speech and free markets.

The bill would make it a felony --- assessing harsh financial penalties and even jail time --- for Americans who boycott Israeli-owned business and companies which do business with them. "What's really scary about it is that it tells you --- no matter what your views are on Israel-Palestine, whether you support a two-state solution or a one-state solution --- as long as you don't do business with Israel, we're going to criminalize you," Raihan explains. "There are tons of people who go through their lives and, for whatever reason, don't happen to buy products made in Israel, and there's no problem with that. But the second that you say 'I'm doing this because I believe in XYZ, I believe in Palestinian human rights', that becomes a problem. Which is completely criminalizing people for their political action, and their commitment to living their values out in their lives."

The legislation, on its face, appears to be in direct contrast with a unanimous 1982 U.S. Supreme Court opinion, finding that penalties assessed against Mississippi civil rights advocates in response to a 1960's civil rights era boycott of white-owned businesses, was an unconstitutional violation of political free speech rights. Last month, the ACLU blasted the bill in a letter to lawmakers, leading one Democrat, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, to remove her co-sponsorship. We discuss all of that, as well as the origins and controversies behind the new proposal.

Finally today, yet another Fox "News" personality breaks down in tears on air in response to the controversies and related racial issues following Charlottesville and Trump's disturbing response to it. Is the original fake news channel finally being to crack under the stress of the wildly unfit and arguably racist President that they created?...

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

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