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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, August 24, 2017
'Where Never is Heard a Discouraging Word, and the Coal Dust Isn't Toxic All Day': 'BradCast' 8/23/17
Guest: WV's Bob Kincaid; Plus: Trump's lie rampage; TX Photo ID nixed again; more...
No First or Second Amendment Right to Armed White Supremacist Protests
After Charlottesville, the ACLU changed its position on the right to armed protest -- and for good reason, argues Ernest Canning...
Bush's War Became Obama's War Becomes Trump's War: 'BradCast' 8/22/17
Guest: Historian, Middle East expert Juan Cole on Trump's Afghanistan 'flip-flop', why the hell we're there & if we'll ever be able to get out...
'Green News Report' 8/22/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Monsanto pesticide decimating crops; Federal climate advisors not going away easily; Court lets Exxon off hook (again); PLUS: Trump's Nat'l Park Service ends plastic bottle ban...
Previous GNRs: 8/17/17 - 8/15/17 - Archives...
Democrats. Remember Them?: 'BradCast' 8/21/17
Guest: Author, journalist David Dayen on the Democratic Party's 'quietly radical' 'Better Deal' plan and much more; Plus: The eclipse!...
Why I Anonymously Wrote an Election Integrity Novel in 2008, and Why I'm 'Anonymous' No More
Guest blogged by the no-longer anonymous author of Cassandra, Chanting...
Sunday Toons of the 'Many Sides' Moment
This week, PDiddie's collection of political toons mark what could be a seminal point in the Trump Presidency, examining the issue 'on many sides, many sides'...
The 25th for 45?:
'BradCast' 8/18/17
Guest: Political scientist, author David Faris; Plus: BANNON IS OUT and more than 1.5M Chicago voter registration records exposed (again), by nation's largest e-voting vendor...
Fighting for Free Speech For and Against Nazis, Trump, and Israel: 'BradCast' 8/17/17
Guest: Inst. for Policy Studies' Aniqa Raihan; Also: Bannon interview's revelation on North Korea; Fox 'News' buckling under stress...
'Green News Report' 8/17/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump revokes infrastructure protection; July 2017 hottest month ever; Solar eclipse to challenge power grid; PLUS: Nat'l monuments on chopping block in unprecedented review...
Previous GNRs: 8/15/17 - 8/10/17 - Archives...
After C'Ville, Trump's Presser: Is Something Happening Here?: 'BradCast' 8/16/17
Also: Attorney Ernest Canning on IN vote suppression suits; Callers on Trump's support for White Supremacists...
Federal Lawsuits Challenge Indiana's Wildly Disparate Voting Site Laws
Legal analyst Ernie Canning on suits filed against years-long, blatant voter suppression in Mike Pence's Indiana...
Path to Peace w/ NK? Also: CBO Undercuts Trump Threat: 'BradCast' 8/15/2017
And Trump keeps digging deeper on C'Ville, despite newly revealed FBI, DHS warning of violent RW extremism...
'Green News Report' 8/15/17
Deadly Sierra Leone mudslide; Largest Gulf 'dead zone' ever; 'Super heat waves' on rise; Fossil fuel ind's $5T in subsidies/yr; PLUS: Sea rising faster in Southeast...
Making America Hate Again: From C'Ville to OK to White House: 'BradCast' 8/14/17
Guest: Former neo-Nazi Tony McAleer; Also: U.S., N. Korea remain on edge of World War...
Sunday Toons of the 'Superior Race/Arms Race' Moment
At this rate, between N. Korea, C'ville and climate crisis, it's unclear if America can survive more "greatness", as the cartoonists in PDiddie's latest weekly collection illustrate...
More Trump Admin Sabotage of ObamaCare Revealed: 'BradCast' 8/11/17
Guest: TPM's Alice Ollstein; Also: Trump continues NK threats, experts worry, diplomatic solutions remain...
'Fire and Fury': Overblown Bluster or Time for Real Alarm?: 'BradCast' 8/10/17
Guest: VOA's WH House Bureau Chief, 26-yr Asia journo Steve Herman; Also: DoJ flips in voting rights case; Trump still ignoring MN mosque attack...
'Green News Report' 8/10/17
Fed scientists leak climate report; Admin wants to stay in Paris accord?; EPA finds regs don't hurt economy; PLUS: Obama climate policies save billions...
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: Historian, Middle East expert Juan Cole of Univ. of Michigan on why the hell we're still there, and if we'll ever be able to get out...
By Brad Friedman on 8/22/2017 6:02pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Now that he's President, after years of decrying "our very stupid leaders" for "wasting" blood and treasure to stay in Afghanistan, Donald Trump announced on Monday night that the U.S. will be spending more blood and treasure to stay in Afghanistan --- for an indefinite period of time. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, he claimed, justifying his flip-flop, he has a "new" strategy for "victory" in the war torn nation, more than 16 and a half years since the U.S. first invaded following the 9/11 attacks. What exactly is that "new" strategy? Based on his prime-time televised address from Fort Myer in Arlington, VA, it's not entirely clear. Then again, neither is whatever the hell is going on in Afghanistan. "It's complicated," my guest explains today.

Joining me to try and help us understand America's longest war and where it goes from here under the ownership of Donald Trump is blogger, historian and longtime Middle East/South Asia expert JUAN COLE, of the University of Michigan. Professor Cole, who has been writing about this "invisible war" at his "Informed Comment" blog since 2002, describes the difficulties faced by the last three U.S. Presidents in Afghanistan --- not to mention previous colonial powers from other nations --- and how Trump's plans appear to be both different and the same as his two predecessors'.

If President Obama was unable to succeed with his counter-insurgency strategy with 100,000 U.S. troops, it seems unlikely that Trump, with some 12,000 soon to be there, will do much better with his "not nation building --- killing terrorists" strategy.

"There's no real danger the Taliban are going to take over the [Afghan] government and kick us out," Cole tells me, in trying to explain why we are still there. "However, if the U.S. got out, I don't imagine that the government in Kabul would last more than a year."

So, is it possible to ever get out, at this point? What good has 16+ years of bombing, 1 trillion in tax-payer dollars and the lives of some 3,500 U.S. troops --- not to mention untold millions of Afghans --- actually accomplished? We discuss the roots and the reasons for the ongoing quagmire and much more with the good professor.

"Whatever resources and capacity Afghanistan had to be an independent country were destroyed from 1978 forward, once the [Soviet] Communists took over, and then Reagan conducted what I call the 'Reagan Jihad'," Cole explains. "He got all the Muslim fundamentalists all together --- including what became al-Qaeda --- to kill the Communists. Since that time, since 1978 forward, Afghanistan has been roiled and in turmoil. I figure a couple million people have been killed. The country has no real resources. It's one of the poorest countries in the world. So this is just not a place, especially given what was done to it in the last 30 years, that is very likely to stand up a government. This is one of the reasons the U.S. is stuck there."

"The thing that puzzles me --- I can't entirely understand it --- is that no one in the United States cares about Afghanistan. No one cares if we're there or we're not there. If troops are killed over there, it hurts me in my gut. I'm an Army brat. But they put it on page 17 of the Washington Post. And it never comes on cable news," says Cole, adding: "It's an invisible war."

After that conversation today, a quick look at Trump's domestic war with the leadership of his own party and others, before we finally turn to Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report, on how corporate lobbyists from Monsanto, Exxon and other major corporations continue to game the system for their own profits, while playing the rest of us for suckers...

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

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Guest: Political scientist, author David Faris of Roosevelt University...
By Brad Friedman on 8/18/2017 6:03pm PT  

On today's BradCast, another tumultuous week, another White House firing, another major election system breach and another look at how it all could end. [Audio link follows below.]

White House Chief Strategist --- and once and future head of the far-right fake 'news' outlet Breitbart --- is fired after yet another tumultuous week of self-inflicted wounds by Donald Trump.

Also today, 11 years after The BRAD BLOG first reported exclusively on a massive breach of personal voting records for some 1.5 million Chicago voters, the private company contracted to run the city's voter registration system did it again. ES&S, the largest electronic voting system vendor in the nation, was discovered to have been storing 1.8 million voter registration records on an unprotected web server this week, exposing citizens to data theft and the city's administrative voting system passwords. All underscoring, yet again, the continuing failures and dangers of having privatized our public electoral system, as we've been trying to highlight for nearly 15 years now.

Then, with the President's approval rating at an historic low and support for his impeachment climbing, concerns about his fitness for office continue to mount in the wake of his equivalence between neo-Nazis and those who protest them, following the murder of a counter-protester in Charlottesville. New articles of impeachment are filed in the U.S. House, more Presidential advisory councils are disbanding, with CEOs and other business leaders (even James Murdoch of Fox "News"!) quickly distancing themselves from Trump, even some top Republicans who previously supported him are now finally suggesting he may be unfit for office.

So, how might this all end? We're joined today by columnist, author and political scientist DAVID FARIS of Roosevelt University to discuss that, Bannon, and his new piece at The Week on the Constitutional ambiguities of the 25th Amendment. Can it and should it be invoked to remove Trump from office? And how the hell does it even work?

Faris argues "we cannot take three-and-a-half more years of this nonstop hell without experiencing a collective nervous breakdown," describes the firing of Bannon as "a great victory for The Resistance", and offers his thoughts on whether the latest shake-up at the continuously chaotic White House is ultimately good for the nation. Then, he compares the difficulties of the impeachment process versus those in invoking the never-before-used Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to remove a President who is judged to be unfit for office. Faris also handicaps the odds --- and advantages to both the GOP Congress and Vice-President --- of either option actually being triggered.

Finally, as if things aren't troubling enough, we're joined by Desi Doyen for the latest Green News Report, as National Monuments are on the Administration's chopping block, Trump revokes Obama's Executive Order protecting the nation's infrastructure, and the U.S. looks forward to its first total eclipse of the sun in nearly 100 years...

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

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Also: Attorney Ernest A. Canning on two new Indiana voter suppression suits | Callers respond to Trump's support for White Supremacists...
By Brad Friedman on 8/16/2017 5:57pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Is something happening here? Finally? [Audio link to show follows below.]

Following Donald Trump's insane press conference at Trump Tower on Tuesday, during which he vociferously equated neo-Nazis and White Supremacists with those who oppose them --- just days after the murder of a counter-protester by an apparent White nationalist in Charlottesville --- even some Republicans are finally condemning him. Sort of. But not nearly enough.

At the same time, Confederate monuments are being removed around the country and business leaders who claim to be furious have withdrawn from Trump's two different business councils, which he has now been forced to shut down. Nonetheless, despite their half-hearted protestations, Republicans continue to intentionally suppress minority voting in state after state. Another Federal Court determined as much this week in Texas, finding --- for the 11th time in recent years --- that state Republicans intentionally suppressed minority voters there.

Another such state is Vice President Mike Pence's Indiana, where a new analysis from the Indy Star finds that early voting sites were shuttered in Democratic counties and expanded in Republican counties after Obama won the state in 2008, and as Pence served as Governor. The strategy worked. Republican turnout increased in counties where voting rights were expanded and Democratic votes decreased in the state's largest and most Democratic leaning counties, where voting sites were shuttered. Now Pence heads up Trump's so-called "Election Integrity" Commission.

Long-time BRAD BLOG legal analyst ERNEST A. CANNING joins us to detail his new article on the two federal lawsuits, alleging violations of both the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution, that have now been filed in the Hoosier State.

Then, along with a clip of a GOP strategist breaking down into tears on Fox "News" in the wake of Trump's response to Charlottesville, callers --- including my own father! --- ring in on all of the above. Is Trump "a Nazi" himself? Will this moment ultimately make any difference moving forward? And, can the GOP officials rebuking Trump be taken seriously, given that they are still suppressing the votes of African-Americans and Latinos all across the nation at the very same time?...

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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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/16/2017 10:35am PT  

In two separate federal lawsuits, Common Cause v Marion County Board of Elections (May 2, 2017) and Indiana NAACP v. Lawson (Aug. 9, 2017), both challenging restrictions on voting rights in Indiana, civil rights organizations have sought to block what they describe as unconstitutional Republican schemes that, with "surgical precision", seek to depress the vote in large minority, Democratic-leaning counties while contemporaneously enhancing voter turnout in white, Republican-leaning counties.

The lawsuits entail two sets of laws. One of the lawsuits seeks to block a law that specifically targets Lake County --- and only Lake County --- for precinct consolidation and/or elimination. Lake County sports the state's second largest African-American population and its largest Hispanic population. The other lawsuit challenges a voter suppression scheme that significantly reduces early absentee voting sites for a significant number of African-American (Democratic) voters in Marion County, even while mostly white (Republican) voters in neighboring counties benefit from a significant expansion in the number of available early absentee voting sites.

Both sets of laws, as observed by Slate's Mark Joseph Stern, are part of the still-ongoing Republican response to the 2008 Presidential Election in which Barack Obama narrowly defeated John McCain 49.85% to 48.82% in long-Republican Indiana. That narrow victory was secured, in part, because, in the two populous counties that are the subject of these lawsuits, Lake and Marion, Obama received 66.7% and 63.8% of the vote totals, respectively.

That was a bridge too far for many Republican officials in the Hoosier State...

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




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

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

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

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

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

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 neo-Nazi Tony McAleer on the new rise of white nationalism | Also: U.S., North Korea remain on the knife's edge of World War...
By Brad Friedman on 8/14/2017 6:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the disturbing and tragic weekend events in Charlottesville, how they came about, the failure by Donald Trump to single out white nationalism in their wake, and what some former domestic extremists are trying to do about it all. And, the world remains on edge of war as the Trump Administration continues its aggressive threats in response to North Korea's. [Audio link to show follows below.]

With the weekend's tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that the leaders of North Korea and the United States are still promising annihilation at one another and, as discussed today, should the U.S. shoot first, China has a longstanding treaty obligation to side with its ally North Korea. So, yes, we remain on the brink of what could quickly become another World War under the deft leadership of President Donald Trump today.

Also today, an alleged anti-government militant in Oklahoma attempted to set off what he believed was a 1,000 pound bomb at a Federal Reserve bank, in the fashion of Timothy McVeigh's 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, according to the FBI. The domestic terrorist was charged over the weekend.

And, speaking of aggrieved white men, we get caught up with the White Supremacist march which led to violence and death on Saturday in Charlottesville, Trump's refusal to declare any of it a terrorist incident or single out the armed and dangerous white nationalist neo-Nazi groups, as well as the condemnation of both him and Rightwing hate groups by other officials, including top Republicans. All of that before Trump's "mulligan" remarks today in which he finally condemned the hate movement by name...sort of.

Then, for insight and perspective on all of this, we're joined by TONY MCALEER, co-founder and board chair at LifeAfterHate.org, a non-profit group formed by former members of violent American far-right extremist movements, with the goal of "countering the seeds of hate" they once planted. Life After Hate was promised federal grant funding by the Obama Administration, as part of their anti-extremist efforts targeting both domestic extremism and Islamic terror. But, funding for the domestic Rightwing extremist groups was pulled by the Trump Administration's DHS in June, despite the mountain of evidence revealing that such homegrown terrorists pose a greater immediate threat to Americans.

McAleer, a former skinhead and organizer for the White Aryan Resistance (WAR), explains what the rather well-to-do white nationalists parading in Charlottesville --- and those in the White House and elsewhere who seem to support them --- are actually angry about (it doesn't have much to do with Confederate statues), and why it is that their message is so appealing to some.

"The removal of the statues, I think, is deemed as a battle line that has been drawn, and their perceived threat of political correctness," McAleer tells me. "I think they perceive it as erasing white history. The memory of the Confederacy is being erased. I think that's a philosophical and political battle line that they've drawn. [But,] I think most of the people that were there [in Charlotte] aren't even from the South, so it doesn't make sense from that perspective."

"Their message doesn't thrive unless people are in a place of pain, looking for someone to blame," he explains. "When things aren't going so well, they start looking for someone to blame. And you've got a large group of people looking for answers, and then you've got demagogues stepping forward and offering simplistic solutions and answers that aren't correct and people are buying into them."

McAleer goes on to discuss his own journey into the dark world of neo-Nazism and how he was eventually able to both pull out of it and co-found his organization to help others do the same.

"I actually believe the level to which we're willing to dehumanize another human being is a reflection of how internally disconnected and dehumanized we are within ourselves. Who joins extremist groups?," he asks rhetorically, citing research on terrorism and its causes. "The number one correlated factor in the history of somebody joining a violent extremist group is childhood trauma. Because nobody comes into the world a neo-Nazi."

Finally today, Trump had no problem quickly condemning, by name, an African-America CEO today, after his withdrawal from the President's Manufacturing Council in response to Trump's failure to condemn the racists groups on Saturday. And then, today's show wraps up where it began, with more breaking news on still more dangerous saber-rattling between the US and North Korea...

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: Dave Johnson of 'Seeing the Forest' | Also: Mueller reportedly impanels a new grand jury in D.C.; Senators work to keep him from being fired; And Iran charges new sanctions violate nuclear deal...
By Brad Friedman on 8/3/2017 5:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Trump noose tightens, and the Trump leaks continue. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

"Trump O'Clock" came particularly early today, so after shuffling things around at the last minute again, several times, we cover reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington D.C., which has issued subpoenas as part of the probe into Team Trump and various charges of collusion with Russia. At the same time, several Republicans in the U.S. Senate are reportedly filing legislation meant to prevent Trump (and/or future Presidents) from being able to fire a Special Counsel established by the Department of Justice without judicial review.

Also, getting lost once again in the "Russia" panic, as we explained on yesterday's show, there is a good reason Bernie Sanders voted against the bill slapping sanctions against Russia, North Korea and Iran, as approved almost unanimously in both chambers of Congress, and signed reluctantly by the President on Wednesday. Specifically, as Sanders explained, new sanctions may give Iran justification for dropping out of the long-negotiated nuclear deal signed by them and the U.S., UK, Russia, France, China and Germany in 2015. Not long after we got off air last night, Iran declared that the new sanctions "violated" the deal.

Then we're joined by DAVE JOHNSON, founder of the "Seeing the Forest" blog and formerly a Senior Fellow at the progressive policy organization People's Action, to discuss the remarkable leaked transcripts, published Thursday by the Washington Post, of Trump's phone conversations just after taking office with the President of Mexico and the Prime Minister of Australia.

The documents offer a fascinating --- and often troubling --- look at how Trump dealt with two of our closest allies on topics such as his proposed border wall with Mexico (and Trump's insistence that President Enrique Peña Nieto NOT state publicly that Mexico won't pay for the wall), and the agreement, struck during the Obama Administration, to consider U.S. entry for as many as 2,000 economic refugees who were, at the time, being held in detention camps on islands off of Australia's coast (a conversation that ended with Trump abruptly terminating the call with conservative Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.)

Johnson offers his thoughts and insight on the apparent strong-arm tactics employed by Trump with the two heads of state, as well as what appears to have been a rather alarming lack of preparedness for the conversations and a startling lack of policy knowledge revealed by the published transcripts.

We discuss the policy implications as well as the political ones for both Trump and Republican in Congress who will have to run for office next year under this President, his broken promises, and the often gob-smacking revelations of his infamous "deal-making prowess"...

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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Plus: Open lines for callers in the angry heat of mid-Summer...
By Brad Friedman on 8/2/2017 5:56pm PT  

On today's BradCast: a hodge-podge of mid-Summer news and D.C. dysfunction with listener calls to help make it all better somehow. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the stories covered on today's very busy show:

  • Trump reluctantly signs a new bipartisan bill sanctioning Russia, North Korea and Iran (and why Bernie Sanders didn't support the bill either);
  • A recently discovered Department of Justice announcement signals political appointees at Trump's DoJ civil rights unit plans to target affirmative action measures at colleges and universities on behalf of white Americans;
  • A federal judge rules Alabama does not have to notify thousands of former felons that their right to vote has been restored;
  • In addition to every single voting machine being hacked at last weekend's DefCon hackers conference in Las Vegas, electronic pollbook systems were also hacked there, and one contained the personal records of some 650,000 Tennessee voters.
  • A long-serving, top EPA official resigns citing Trump Administration rollbacks to environmental protection in a blistering exit letter [PDF].

Then we open up the phone lines to callers on any and all of the above (and more), before Desi Doyen joins us finally for the latest similarly-busy Green News Report on South Carolina canceling plans for new nuclear plants, new studies predicting big trouble for humanity (especially those who live near the coast) and much much more...

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

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Guest: Zina Merritt, Govt. Accountability Office Director on 'a systematic breakdown in the controls at every level' | Also: Keystone XL may be dead after all; EPA loses in court; Kobach's 'bizarre' appeal motion; more...
By Brad Friedman on 8/1/2017 5:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast, a stunning story of remarkably lax Department of Defense oversight of lethal weaponry given away for free to state and local law enforcement agencies, and the government office which discovered the horrifying failure. [Audio link to complete show follows below.]

But, before and after that story, a few more sordid tales of government dysfunction, including: The U.S. Senate confirmation of a new FBI Director; Keystone XL pipeline may never get built after all; EPA loses in court attempting to roll back methane regulation; Earth is in very very big trouble (or, at least those of us who live on it are); GOP "voter fraud" fraudster and federal court scofflaw Kris Kobach's latest "bizarre" court appeal to avoid an under-oath deposition; and fired White House Comms Director Anthony Scaramucci's terrible week gets even worse.

As to our main story today: The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently set up a phony law enforcement agency website and was able to use it to obtain over one million dollars worth of military-grade equipment and weaponry via the Pentagon's so-called 1033 program. The Department of Defense program offers everything from surplus mine-resistant armored vehicles, to high-powered assault weaponry and even helicopters and airplanes to state and local law enforcement agencies --- for free. The program, as of 2014, had doled out more than $5 billion in such equipment.

We're joined today by ZINA MERRITT, who, as Director of Defense Capabilities and Management at the GAO, helped create the disturbingly successful sting operation and the accompanying report on what happened, including recommendations to keep it from happening again. She also testified before Congress about all of this last week. The DoD's controversial 1033 program gained notoriety in 2014, during the protests in Ferguson, MO, when St. Louis County's police force rolled out tactical military gear and weaponry in response.

Merritt explains how the sting --- which netted "over 100 controlled items with an estimated value of $1.2 million, including night-vision goggles, simulated rifles, and simulated pipe bombs" --- was carried out, and what she describes as the "systematic breakdown in the controls at every level." The GAO had been tasked by Congress, during reforms to the program instituted under Obama, to probe the DoD unit where fake law enforcement officials were able to obtain real gear with a fake website and fake IDs (which weren't even checked at several of the warehouses when they picked up what could have been lethal equipment. Good thing they weren't attempting to vote!)

"We submitted [the application] online, and all you had to have, in order to do that, was a website as well as a point of contact, a physical location, and actual names --- points of contact --- within the agency. Also, you had to identify how many particular sworn officials that you have as a part of your agency. So we created all of that and submitted it," Merritt tells me, explaining that apparently none of it was actually verified by the DoD. "The actual physical location that we provided was an empty lot," she says.

Merritt also explains the recent reforms that have been made to the program, via Executive Order by Obama in 2016 (grenade launchers, for example, are no longer available, even though the Los Angeles Unified School District had obtained several prior to those reforms!), the several recommendations the GAO has now made to correct the startling security gaps in the program revealed by the sting operation, and whether "bad guys" may have already pulled off what the GAO has now discovered was easily done.

We also discuss how the 1033 program could be changed again by Trump, and whether the GAO --- an agency controlled by the U.S. Congress --- is facing changes under the new Administration...

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

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Guest: Health reform advocate Jacki Schechner | Also: Trump continues attacks on his own Attorney General; White House plans purge...
By Brad Friedman on 7/25/2017 6:34pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we try and figure out WTF Republicans in the U.S. Senate are doing, and why, since even they don't seem to have a clue --- and many of them don't seem to care. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Without even knowing what bill they were actually voting on, fifty Republican Senators on Tuesday voted to proceed to debate some scheme or another to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), or just repeal it, or even just kick the can down the road to worry about it later in conference with the U.S. House.

They had help from Sen. John McCain, who flew back from Arizona after surgery and a diagnosis of brain cancer, and a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence. Just two GOP Senators (Collins of Maine and Murkowski of Alaska) had the courage to join all of the Democrats and vote 'no', though McCain, just after his 'yes' vote, offered remarks excoriating Republican Senate leadership for their secretive process in creating unworkable legislation without committee processes or input from Democrats.

We're joined by journalist and health care reformer JACKI SCHECHNER to help us try and make sense of what is being characterized as one of "the most chaotic, rudderless, un-Senate-like" moments in modern American history. She explains how today's process differs from the one that resulted in ObamaCare in 2009 and 2010, when she served as Communications Director for one of the nation's largest health care reform organizations.

"There is this myth that things happened behind closed doors [in 2009], but that's not in fact the case. There was plenty of public disclosure when it came to what was up for consideration, and it took a long time," Schechner tells me. "We worked from the outside pushing the President to do what he campaigned on. The myth that Republicans were excluded is just that --- a myth."

She charges that the various GOP plans, if adopted, will result not only in tens of millions of Americans losing health care coverage, but that, in many cases, "people will die" in the bargain. She explains why that is, and how it'ss going to "throw our system into a spiral that's going to jack up premiums for the people who are still paying private health insurance costs."

"It's really dangerous when partisanship overtakes policy, and that's what happening here. This is about Trump getting a win. He has no idea what health care is, how the health care system works. Twice now he's confused it with life insurance. He has no clue," she tells me before declaring she's "over mincing words" and really unloads on the President. (You'll have to tune in for that part.)

"People who worked on health care reform [during Obama's Presidency] actually care if people live or die," Schechner continues. "I don't understand how you stand up and vote for a bill that's going to strip millions and millions of Americans of their access to quality, affordable health care."

She also explains how related moves from both Congress and the White House suggest the U.S. is rapidly devolving into an authoritarian nation, before offering a number of critical words for Democratic Party leadership in the bargain.

Also today, speaking of authoritarianism, Trump continues his extraordinary attacks on his own Attorney General (we discuss why), and the President's new Communications Director moves to purge White House staffers who leak to the media and aren't sufficiently loyal to the President...according to a number of leaking White House staffers...

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

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Guest: R.L. Miller, climate hawk Dem, on opposition to the CA bills | Also: Big Oil faces big new lawsuits; State Dept. shutting down war crimes office; Latest GOP health care repeal takes insurance from 32 million...
By Brad Friedman on 7/19/2017 6:36pm PT  

On today's BradCast: U.S. war atrocities and California's fight against global warming. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The State Department is reportedly planning to close their office that investigates war crimes. That may come in handy for Donald Trump, as his campaign promise to "bomb the shit out of 'em", appears to be working. A startling new report from international analysts finds the U.S. has killed twice as many civilians in Iraq and Syria during Trump's first six months in office, compared to the previous three years of war against ISIS under Barack Obama. The U.S. air war is now killing, on average, 12 or more civilians per day in those two countries alone --- with 2,200 said to have been killed since Trump took office --- and neither Republicans nor Democrats are willing to even debate the issue in Congress.

At the same time, House Republicans have stripped Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)'s amendment repealing the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) from the Defense Authorization bill, despite the amendment's bi-partisan adoption in a House Committee late last month.

Meanwhile, on the heels of Trump vowing to pull the U.S. from the landmark Paris Climate Agreement, California and its Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown have stepped up to fill the leadership vacuum Trump has left behind in the battle against global warming. Two counties in the San Francisco Bay area and a city in Southern California have filed what are being regarded as landmark lawsuits against 37 of the world's largest oil and coal companies. The plaintiffs charge the companies --- including Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell and others --- have known about the climate change dangers of their products for some 50 years, but have covered it up. They are filing similar claims as those brought successfully against the tobacco industry in the 90's.

Moreover, after a bruising battle, this week the CA state assembly adopted a bipartisan package of climate bills that would, among other things, extend California's cap-and-trade legislation to curb the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses through 2030. While some are describing the legislation, which passed both houses with two-thirds majorities, as a "stunning" bipartisan victory, many environmentalists are unhappy with the bills they fought bitterly against.

R.L. MILLER, the elected chair of the CA Democratic Party's Environmental Caucus and founder of Climate Hawks Vote, is one of those who opposed the bills. She joins us to explain why. As she describes, even though the state has radically reduced emissions levels in recent years and has enacted one of the toughest targets to curb greenhouse gases, the newly adopted extension of the state's Cap-and-Trade program through 2030 was drafted to disproportionately meet the concerns of oil companies, and will result in restrictions on local regulations.

"The problem with it is that the people who live next to the refineries in California have correctly pointed out that this is not doing a darn thing to make their lives any better. And they live in California. And they vote. And they're mad," she tells me, going on to argue that the new measures "will not enable us to meet our 2030 goals."

Also today: The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office finds the ObamaCare repeal bill Senate Republicans are now promising a vote on next week, despite opposition from their own caucus, would result in 32 million Americans losing health care, including 17 million losing coverage next year alone...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guest: Jane Mayer, DARK MONEY
Guest hosted by ANGIE COIRO of IN DEEP RADIO
By Angie Coiro on 7/5/2017 6:17pm PT  

Sure, Brad and Desi can take the week off from The BradCast. It's a holiday - how big a news week can it be?

So much for that. Your guest host this week is me, Angie Coiro, and right up front I've gathered various reactions and opinions on North Korea's claim to have successfully tested a missile that could hit Alaska. More headlines: the American Enterprise Institute (!) has found that the gender pay gap has tripled since Trump moved into the White House - it's 37% compared to the national 17%; accusations of CNN's "blackmail" of a "15-year-old" ex-Redditor turn out to be wrong in both senses; and Rep. Maxine Waters has some deliciously spicy words for HUD's Ben Carson. And White House aides are - not surprisingly - nervous about Trump's pending meeting with Putin.

Trump's EPA got dinged by a DC federal court, leaving intact for the moment President Obama's plan to curb oil industry methane emissions. I talked with Jane Mayer not too long ago, about how demonstrably false "science" funded by dark money ends up part of mainstream dialogue, eventually yielding battles just like this. She discusses too the influence of Steve Bannon in the White House, and how investigating the Kochs compromised her own safety.

Finally, taco salad + Queen Victoria + Chris Christie = revelations about America's class system. You'll just have to listen.

Download MP3 or listen 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!




Wildly unpopular Senate bill will be back soon, and why Dems can never 'compromise' on what is, in fact, an issue of national security...
By Brad Friedman on 6/28/2017 5:50pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it ain't over till it's over. And, despite a brief setback in the Senate on Tuesday, the GOP's attempted assault on American health care is anything but over. [Audio link to complete show is posted below.]

First up: More Trump-fueled embarrassment for the U.S. around the world, according to a new Pew Poll survey and even with our otherwise longtime allies in Germany, where the Trump Administration's Commerce Secretary became a laughing stock, in advance of next week's G-20 summit.

And then, in the wake of Senate Republicans pulling their health care bill from a vote on Tuesday, their hopes of undermining the American health care system by repealing the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") continues. That, despite several new polls confirming that the Senate GOP's measure is wildly unpopular among the American people and even among Republican voters. One poll shows support for the scheme at just 12%, another at 17%, with almost all of the data gathered prior to the CBO analysis finding the measure would result in 22 million Americans kicked off the health care rolls.

Nonetheless, even as Trump seems to have no clue, what is actually in the bill or what it will and won't do, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has access to some $200 billion to buy off a number of wavering Senators to get him to the bare minimum 50 votes he needs to strip health care from millions of Americans in exchange for huge tax cuts, the promise of undermining Medicaid and much more.

A new version of the bill could be locked down by Friday, before Congress leaves for their holiday recess.

Today we open up the phone to listeners on the issue (a few others, somewhat amusingly), before finishing up with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report as climate change-fueled early Summer heat waves are already bring death and destruction around the world...

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

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