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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, September 23, 2017
The 'Madman' v.
the 'Mentally Deranged':
'BradCast' 9/22/2017
Callers ring in on Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un and how this all madness ends; Also: Is the GOP ObamaCare 'repeal' finally dead?...
'Green News Report' 9/21/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Hurricane Maria devastates Puerto Rico; Earthquake devastates Mexico City; CA cities sue fossil fuel industry; PLUS: French President takes lead to rally U.N. on climate action...
Previous GNRs: 9/19/17 - 9/14/17 - Archives...
Political and Corporate Hypocrisy on Parade: 'BradCast' 9/20/17
Guest: CPI journalist Rachel Leven; Also: Kimmel slams Cassidy; Catastrophic Maria in Puerto Rico, 7.1 M earthquake in Mexico...
Trump Blusters UN; GOP 'Repealing' Again; Dems 'Look Forward' w/ 'Medicare-for-All': 'BradCast' 9/19/17
Guest: John Judis of TPM; Also: Irma slams Caribbean, Quake devastates Mexico...
'Green News Report' 9/19/17
Maria slams Caribbean, more storms in wings; Trump denies climate link; Zinke to shrink 10 Nat'l Monuments; PLUS: UN gathers 30th yrs after 1st global climate treaty...
Lack of 'Convictions': Repubs on Trump, Dem Senator on Trial: 'BradCast' 9/18/17
Guest: Former Asst. U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eliason; Also: Hurricane Maria on Irma's path of destruction...
Sunday Toons: Cognitive Dissonance
Pity the poor 'PDiddie' trying to make sense of the past week, much less the political toons about all of it...
Nothin' But News (Good, Bad and Otherwise): 'BradCast' 9/15/17
From North Korea to London to Charlottesville to Florida to Texas to Ohio to California to Alaska and beyond...
Trump Plays Both Sides on DACA and Wall; Also: Equifax and You, Dems and 'Medicare-for-All': 'BradCast' 9/14/17
Guest: Gaius Publius of 'Down With Tyranny'; And another hurricane, another NK missile...
'Green News Report' 9/14/17
Desperate conditions after Irma; 8 dead in FL nursing home as power out for millions; Toxic spills, lawsuits follow Harvey; PLUS: Impact of climate in warming world...
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: Investigative journalist Rachel Leven | Also: Catastrophic Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, 7.1 M earthquake in Mexico...
By Brad Friedman on 9/20/2017 6:13pm PT  

We shine a spotlight on a whole lot of hypocrisy --- both corporate and political --- on today's BradCast. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first, we begin with the seeming unending string of natural disasters slamming North America of late. After a quick riposte from French President Emmanuel Macron in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's failure at the U.N. General Assembly to mention "climate change" or his withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement on Tuesday --- even as yet another Category 5 hurricane was about to slam the U.S. --- we cover the latest on several ongoing disasters. In Mexico, hundreds are dead and as many as a thousand still unaccounted for following Tuesday's catastrophic earthquake. And, in Puerto Rico, the power is out across the entire island after the record winds and rain of Hurricane Maria slammed ashore early on Wednesday, putting some 3.5 million U.S. citizens in dire danger.

Then, amidst all of that, Republicans continue their last ditch frantic attempt to repeal and replace ObamaCare before a deadline will make it much more difficult to do so at the end of the month. That, despite the Affordable Care Act's continuing success in helping to provide medical care to tens of millions of Americans, and the fact that the latest GOP repeal scheme will seriously hurt those in both 'red' and 'blue' states with enormous cuts to health care funding and the gutting of many long-sought protections offered by the Affordable Care Act.

Most galling, perhaps, is the hypocrisy of Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana (pictured above), one of the new bill's lead sponsors and a doctor himself. Cassidy had publicly promised, during the last round of GOP attempts to gut ObamaCare, that he would vote against any scheme that did not pass what he dubbed at the time as "The Jimmy Kimmel Test". That was a reference to the touching story regarding the late night comedian's son who was born with congenital heart disease during the previous attempts by Republicans to kill the ACA earlier this year.

On Tuesday night, at the top of his show, Kimmel offered a sharp and very well-informed response to Cassidy's hypocrisy. We share that accurate response on today's show.

Finally, speaking of remarkable hypocrisy, we're joined by investigative journalist RACHEL LEVEN of The Center for Public Integrity to discuss her new exposé this week, with Jamie Smith Hopkins, documenting dozens of major U.S. corporations --- from Google to eBay to Walmart to Coca-Cola to General Electric and more --- who publicly declared their "opposition" to Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, even while those very same companies invested millions of dollars in a Republican political group leading the fight to kill the Obama plan meant to meet the emissions reduction standards under the landmark global pact...

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: Mayra Joachin of the Nat'l Immigration Law Center; MUCH more...
By Brad Friedman on 9/7/2017 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Climate mayhem unleashed in the Atlantic; Legal push-back against Trump's latest anti-immigrant policy; and much more. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

On the heels of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, one of the most ferocious Category 5 storms ever tracked in the Atlantic, is wreaking catastrophic devastation to Caribbean island nations as it remains on target to slam south Florida (including Trump's Mar-a-Lago) over the weekend, before creating a "buzz saw" up Florida's East Coast and into Georgia and the Carolinas. All signs suggest this is going to be exceedingly bad for the continental U.S. as well, particularly where developers successfully lobbied to ensure new construction along coastal Florida only needed to be able to withstand Category 3 hurricanes. Desi Doyen joins us for details on the reported damage and what officials and experts fear is still to come.

Then, we're joined by MAYRA JOACHIN, staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, to discuss the lawsuits filed by her organization and 15 state Attorneys General against Donald Trump's reversal of Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Joachin details the lawsuits' allegations that the Trump Administration is in violation of federal law for overturning, without a compelling governmental reason, the previous Administration's program that protected nearly one million children of undocumented immigrants from deportation.

"The Administrative Procedure Act prohibits any reversals of longstanding policies on which individuals have relied. DACA is a program that almost 800,000 individuals have benefited from. This program has enabled them to secure a job, to advance their educational goals, to obtain access to items such as a home, or to purchase a car, that they wouldn't have been able to attain without the DACA program," she explains. "This program has been in existence for now five years, and it was in place for about seven months since the Trump Administration took office. And throughout this time frame, individuals have constantly relied on a promise that they would be able to obtain temporary deferred action because of the DACA program. And the reversal of this policy without any adequate reason for doing so is a violation of federal law."

An immigrant herself from Central America, Joachin also speaks to how the new Trump policy has shaken the immigrant community. "There's fear. Fear in the fact that these individuals who will start phasing out of the DACA program can be picked up by immigration agencies and placed into removal procedures," she tells me. "These are individuals --- many of them for decades in the United States and who call the United States their home --- there's a fear as to what can happen to their relatives. Fear as to what will happen to their employment opportunities --- will they be able to secure a job? --- even though many of these individuals have worked hard for years, they've pursued advanced educational degrees, and are now facing the reality that, as of March 6th, many of them will no longer be able to be employed under federal regulations."

Joachin, whose work at NILC focuses on health insurance coverage for immigrants, also discusses how, even though federal law has not (yet) changed regarding the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), many in immigrant community are now afraid to exercise their rights when it comes to health care coverage, given the Trump Administration's anti-immigrant rhetoric. But, she also says she sees "a small glimmer of hope". You'll have to tune in to find out why.

Among the other stories also covered on today's very busy show: Right behind Irma is Hurricane Jose, now a Category 3 storm, and taking a similar same path toward some of the same Caribbean islands just ravaged by Irma; The U.S. West is being ravaged by heat and wildfires; Post-Harvey Houston is being ravaged by massive benzene releases by fossil fuel companies; A lawsuit has been filed against Texas by first responders after the state withheld information on dangerous chemicals stored at a facility that blew up during Harvey's worst flooding; And, as if all of that is not enough, breaking news at the end of today's show on the social security numbers and other personal information of some 143 million Americans (about half the country!) reportedly breached and stolen from the credit monitoring firm Equifax....

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: 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...

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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After three Presidents, trillions spent and hundreds of thousands killed, it's time to end the endless war...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/30/2017 11:00am PT  

There have been occasions during the history of our Republic where a traumatized Congress has, under the gravity and stress of a calamity, made a hasty decision without sustained debate or thoughtful consideration of its consequences. One of those occurred just three days after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack.

Over the singular objection of Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), the only member to vote against it in either chamber, Congress passed a joint resolution --- the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). This joint resolution differed markedly from the formal Declarations of War that were issued in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor.

During World War II, there were specific nation-state enemies and an attainable, concrete goal --- the defeat of the Axis powers. Congress did not authorize and Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman did not embark upon a fool's errand --- the permanent elimination of any and all future threats to our republic created by the very existence of Nazi and fascist ideologies.

The 2001 AUMF, however, was not confined to specified nation-state enemies. Congress authorized the President to use military force against "nations, organizations or persons" as part of an impossible task: the prevention of any and all "future attacks of terrorism against the United States."

As astutely observed by Retired U.S. Army General William Odom in 2002...

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




Guest: Former U.S. Army Captain Sue Fulton of Sparta...
By Brad Friedman on 8/25/2017 6:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast: With millions of Americans imperiled by a massive, potentially "catastrophic" hurricane tonight, the President of the United States took the moment to give the finger to the Pentagon by signing a ban on transgender service members in the military. [Audio link to show follows below.]

(Note: Giving the finger to the federal court system and the U.S. Constitution itself, with a pardon of the reviled Sheriff Joe Arpaio, didn't happen until the hurricane became a Category 4 and we were already off air today.)

First today, Hurricane Harvey is set to slam into the Texas Gulf coast as dire warnings are issued by the National Weather Service that some areas may be "uninhabitable for weeks or months" thereafter. The startling language in the forecasts echo that not heard since it was used by in the extraordinary NWS warning issued prior to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, 12 years ago this week (as we also covered on air at the time).

Our own Desi Doyen --- a native of south Texas herself --- explains the concerns of changing, global warming-fueled weather patterns that are leading forecasters to predict that Harvey may stall in place for days, dropping massive amounts of rainfall (as much as 40 inches in some places) over the next several days, before the storm could move back out to the Gulf only to return for a second landfall. Are state and federal officials --- with many key posts still unfilled by Trump --- fully prepared for what's to come?

Then, we're joined by SUE FULTON, former President of Sparta, an organization supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of the military and their families, to discuss Donald Trump's recent surprise Twitter-announcement that "The United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military."

Fulton, a former U.S. Army Captain and a member of the first coed graduating class at West Point, had worked with the Obama Administration's Pentagon on the policy that had previously lifted the ban on openly transgender service members last year. She describes the detailed and meticulous process that had been carried out by the Department of Defense, with stakeholders from every branch, as well as outside organizations, and the military's own interest in carrying out the policy change that Trump is now reversing.

We discuss how Trump's own process to reverse the policy change appears to run precisely counter to the one carried out by Obama, as well as the wishes of military leaders and service members and the vast majority of Americans of all parties. We also discuss why Trump appears to be carrying this reversal out, despite both the success of lifting the ban to date and comparable changes to similar exclusionary policies that had previously barred both women and openly gay members.

Fulton has a lot to share and inform us about all of this. I strongly recommend tuning in for today's show in full.

For now, however, especially with all of the breaking news I'm still trying to follow tonight, I'll share just this one quote from Fulton for now: "[The Pentagon] did not make this decision to open transgender service willy-nilly --- they made it based on their judgment about military readiness. That's as it should be. I hear people telling me, 'This should be about military readiness', and the answer is: this is absolutely about readiness. This is about having the strongest, most effective military force that we can muster to protect and defend the interests of the United States. And, as part of that, the Pentagon has determined that allowing transgender people to serve --- to keeping that talent within the armed forces, and continuing to recruit talent from as broad a pool as possible --- is right, is the best thing to create this strongest possible force. And that decision was made carefully. Now that decision is being overthrown based on no evidence. In fact, based on saying that the evidence that the Pentagon itself uncovered and determined to be accurate should somehow be thrown out the window."

Then, as luck would have it, no sooner did I finish speaking with Fulton, then news broke late today that, in fact, Trump has made good on his threat and has officially signed new guidance, ordering the Pentagon to proceed with restoration of the ban on transgender service members.

That, just days after calling for "unity" in the country, and telling members of the military at Fort Myers: "Every person who puts on the uniform makes our nation proud. They all come from across our land. They represent every race, ethnicity, and creed. But they all pledge the same oath, fight for the same cause, and operate as one team --- with one shared sense of purpose."

What an extraordinary monster. And I'm being very polite here...

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: 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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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: 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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