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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, July 23, 2017
Constitutional Crisis Nears, Democracy Crisis Now: 'BradCast' 7/20/17
Guest: Legal analyst Ernest A. Canning on lawsuit and media fail in GA-06; Also: Trump's DoJ threat; NYT health care failure; Israel to hand-count ballots due to hack threat...
'Green News Report' 7/20/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
CA extends landmark climate program, but enviros say it's not enough; Trump re-opens offshore drilling in Arctic; PLUS: 2017 already breaking new global heat records as of June...
Previous GNRs: 7/18/17 - 7/13/17 - Archives...
Civilian War Deaths Skyrocket; Bipartisan CA Climate Action: 'BradCast' 7/19/17
Guest: R.L. Miller, climate hawk Dem, on opposition to the CA bills; Also: Big Oil's big trouble; State Dept. war crimes office closing...
GOP's ObamaCare Repeal Collapses (Again. Twice.): 'BradCast' 7/18/2017
What's the next illegit plan for Trump and Congress?; Also: 2016 election hacks worse than known; Kobach commission's voter suppression already a success...
'Green News Report' 7/18/17
Raging wildfires in British Columbia; Trump reduces royalties on offshore drilling; Energy Dept. study contra- dicts Energy Sec. claims; PLUS: Nuns block gas pipeline...
With ObamaCare Repeal on Brink, Admin Ups Their Lies: 'BradCast' 7/17/17
Guest: Ned Resnikoff of ThinkProgress; Plus: Guess what happened after TX cut family planning funding...
Sunday Toons of 'Borscht Thickens' Moment
Trump White House 'nothing burgers' more rancid by the moment. Plus: Voter suppression, e-voting, melting Antarctica in PDiddie's latest weekly toon collection...
Are They Liars? Or Just Incompetent? Or Both?: 'BradCast' 7/14/2017
Breathtaking Team Trump perfidy. Congressional GOPers not much better. Also: Espionage Act turns 100...
Why Do Georgia Election Officials Insist on 100% Unverifiable Elections?
Another contested election in GA following more than a decade of failures, vulnerabilities, repeated warnings...
Nun Too Happy: Catholic Order Builds Chapel to Block Pipeline: 'BradCast' 7/13/17
Guest: Pastor Malinda Harnish Clatterbuck; Plus: What is Team Trump hiding? And why?...
'Green News Report' 7/13/17
Huge iceberg breaks off Antarctica; Tesla builds world's biggest battery; EPA reviving controversial Pebble Mine; PLUS: France nixing coal, internal combustion engine...
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: Salon's Heather Digby Parton on that and much more...
By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2017 6:24pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: So, what now? What's the next step for Donald Trump's seemingly perpetually faltering Presidency? He and Congressional Republicans suggest they'll go for Tax Reform next. But will that scheme be any more successful than the big promises that Trump has, so far, tried and failed to accomplish? [Audio link to show follows below.]

His Muslim travel ban was blocked for the foreseeable future, once again last night, by a federal judge in Hawaii. His border wall, if it ever actually gets built, won't be paid for by Mexico, apparently, but by U.S. tax-payers. Reportedly, the Administration's not even sure where to put it. His attempt at repealing and replacing ObamaCare went famously down in flames. His effort at rolling back Obama's climate legacy is already facing its first legal challenges on a number of fronts and in a number of courts.

But he and Congressional Republicans say massive reform of the tax code will be next, even though it hasn't been successfully accomplished since the 1980's. And, in hopes of getting some Democrats on board, the Administration has been floating the idea of a massive infrastructure bill, perhaps, to go with it. But is Trump's version of a "Grand Bargain" to bring enough Republicans and Democrats together to accomplish this next scheme any more viable than his previous ones? (Or more viable than when Obama tried, but failed, at something similar?) And, does it help that Trump attacked both Democrats and the far-right Congressional Freedom Caucus today?

The great Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo returns today to discuss all of the above, and a bit more, including whether Democrats can actually hold together in opposition; some little-noticed hypocrisy related to Team Trump attorneys hoping to block a sexual harassment-related lawsuit against a sitting President; an interesting explanation for Ivanka Trump's "new" role in the Administration; and whether Senate Democrats can or will successfully filibuster to keep Judge Neil Gorsuch from being confirmed to the GOP's stolen U.S. Supreme Court seat, as vacated with the death of Antonin Scalia more than one year ago...

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

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Guest: Mother Jones' climate and energy reporter Rebecca Leber...
By Brad Friedman on 3/28/2017 6:04pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Donald Trump has finally signed his long-promised Executive Order in hopes of gutting Barack Obama's climate policies and legacy, while pretending that it's about "ending the theft of American prosperity" by delusionally declaring an end to the imaginary "War on Coal". [Audio link to show follows below.]

Surrounded by coal miners and fossil fuel industry titans, Trump went to the Environmental Protection Agency today to sign what he is nonsensically calling his "Energy Independence" Executive Order. In his remarks before signing --- remarks which did not include the words "climate change" or "global warming" or even just "climate" or "wind" or "solar" or "renewable energy" --- Trump claimed the effort is meant to focus on "job creation" and "bringing back the coal jobs", even though experts agree those jobs are highly unlikely to return. That's thanks to the lower cost of cleaner burning natural gas, the automation of coal mining, and, most importantly, the renewable energy revolution which is creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in both wind and solar.

Mother Jones' climate and energy reporter Rebecca Leber joins us on today's show to explain the details of Trump's order and the difficulties he is likely to encounter trying to implement much of it, including rolling back Obama-era (and earlier) environmental regulations that took years to enact, not to mention the long-standing court rulings and legislation they are meant to enforce.

Trump's orders, if enacted, would begin to roll back Obama's landmark Clean Power Plan (which allows states to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to help meet the U.S. commitment to the U.N. Paris Climate Agreement); gut emissions standards for new coal-fired power plants (if anyone ever decides to build another one); reconsider regulations on methane; revisit the previous Administration's "social cost of carbon" metric (Leber explains that important issue on today's show); and lift the moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands, among other things that Fox "News" and the fossil fuel industry have hoaxed Trump into supporting.

But, as we've seen in Trump's travel ban and attempt to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act (ACA or "ObamaCare"), simply signing an order is not the same as actually implementing complex legislation or even reversing previous policy and regulations. We discuss all of that, the opposition that is promised from environmental groups and Democrats, some amazing comments from the White House on a press call last night, and how the rest of the world is likely to respond to all of this, with Leber and our own Desi Doyen on today's show.

Also today: Speaking of ObamaCare, now that the GOP's scheme to repeal and replace it has, at least for now, gone down in such spectacular flames, both chambers of the Kansas state legislature have voted, by large numbers to expand Medicaid under the ACA. But, will the state's far-right, wildly unpopular Governor Sam Brownback sign the bill meant to help some 180,000 Kansans obtain access to health care --- even with the federal legislation footing the bill for almost all of it?

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: Journalist, health care reform advocate Jacki Schechner; Also: Trump approves KeystoneXL; Senate GOP sells your privacy...
By Brad Friedman on 3/24/2017 5:39pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, GOP health care scheme to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act ('ObamaCare') went down in spectacular flames in the U.S. House. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

After both Trump and Ryan had promised a vote on the Republican bill on Friday, it was pulled from the floor, in a "humiliating" loss, just minutes before voting was to begin, as Republicans failed to muster the needed votes for passage. Trump blamed Democrats for his failure to deliver on his own long-held promise to immediately replace ObamaCare with something that is cheaper and provides better coverage for more people. (The GOP bill he had hoped to see pass would have resulted in premiums rising and some 24 million Americans losing coverage over the next 10 years, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.)

We're joined today by Jacki Schechner who served as the National Communications Director for Health Care for America Now, the nation’s largest health care reform campaign, during the Democrats' 2009 and 2010 passage of Obama's landmark health care insurance reform bill.

"I'm not gloating, because I wouldn't put it past the Republicans to come up with some alternate shady plan, but I do feel like we got a little stay of execution today, and that part feels good," Schechner tells me. We discuss, among many other things, the politics of the remarkable GOP failure, Trump's press avail afterward, why they couldn't pull it off, some of their many years-long lies about ObamaCare and some of the very real problems that still need to be fixed in the Affordable Care Act.

In response to Trump's assertion that there is nothing to be done for health care now other than wait for ObamaCare to, in his word, "explode", Schechner notes: "I think it's incredibly traitorous for the President of the United States to say 'well, all we can do now is just wait for stuff to fail'. I mean, aren't you supposed to work for the benefit of the country?" She also argues that Trump had simply no clue how health insurance actually works, or the difficult politics behind reform. "He doesn't really care how the sausage is made, he just wants to eat sausage."

But the week wasn't entirely a disaster for Republicans. Just mostly. In the Senate on Thursday, the GOP won passage of a bill set to allow Internet Service Providers to sell your online behavior and browsing habits to commercial advertisers. And, today, Trump officially gave White House approval for TransCanada's controversial KeystoneXL pipeline, set to ship dirty tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico for export --- maybe. But, as the President seems to have learned today, even that may not go as smoothly for him as he thinks.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report on Trump's ill-informed push to "bring back coal", his hopes of dashing Obama's climate policies, and how the world is moving towards reducing carbon emissions whether he likes it or not...

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: James Wilt of DeSmog Canada on why KeystoneXL may never happen; Plus: House GOP fails to hold 'ObamaCare' replacement vote, Senate Dems announce plan to filibuster stolen SCOTUS nomination...
By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2017 6:02pm PT  

On today's BradCast, while the scheme to replace ObamaCare remains a disaster for Trump and Republicans in Congress, and as Dems begin to mount opposition to the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch, at least the President's hope of completing two massive oil pipelines is going well, right? Maybe not. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Chaos continued today on Capitol Hill, as Trump and GOP House leadership were unable to amend their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") as promised, in time to hold their planned vote today, the 7th anniversary of the signing of Barack Obama's landmark health care insurance bill. In a "stinging setback" Republicans were forced to delay the floor vote after failing to whip enough support from both Republican "conservatives" and "moderates" alike to ensure passage.

The vote has now been rescheduled for Friday, though that too remains uncertain at the moment, even after Trump and Ryan agreed with the far-right Freedom Caucus to do away with the 10 Essential Health Benefits --- basic services like outpatient, emergency room, hospital, mental health, prenatal care and prescription drug coverage --- required to be included with each policy sold under ObamaCare. And all of that played out today as a devastating new Quinnipiac poll revealed the GOP's deadly healthcare plan is wildly unpopular among American voters (including Republicans).

As that mess was happening in the House, the Democratic minority leader in the Senate announced his intention to vote against the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch, the President's nominee to fill the GOP's stolen seat on the U.S. Supreme Court and urged his colleagues to join him in filibustering to block Gorsuch. Some Democrats, however, are reportedly hoping to cut a deal with Republicans to support Gorsuch in exchange for not doing away with the right to filibuster SCOTUS nominees in the future. (You can call your Senator --- particularly Democratic Senators up for re-election next year in states said to have been won by Trump last year --- at 202-224-3121 if you've got an opinion about that, or just to let them know how you expect them to vote.)

In the meantime, receiving far less coverage, Trump's push for two new massive oil pipelines is moving ahead apace. The Dakota Access Pipeline is reportedly set to start sending crude from North Dakota to Illinois any day now. But the controversial KeystoneXL pipeline to send dirty tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico for export, may soon run into a number of problems. In fact, though it's expected to receive approval from Trump's State Department very soon, the $8 billion pipeline may never actually be completed at all, according to our guest today, James Wilt, freelance reporter at DeSmog Canada.

Wilt details the three main obstacles --- economics, land owners and climate/environment --- that, he reports, could end up delaying or permanently derailing the completion of the Canadian-owned pipeline which the Obama Administration had previously rejected.

Finally, we finish up today with some listener mail in response to a number of recent shows regarding the stolen SCOTUS nominee and Citizens United...

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: Law professor Peter Shane on lack of 'institutional penalty' for GOP theft of SCOTUS; Also: House GOP makes healthcare bill even crueler...
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2017 5:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Donald Trump's U.S. Supreme Court nominee faced questions all day in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. But what the hell is Judge Neil Gorsuch even doing there at all? And doesn't normal coverage of the hearings do little more than normalize a decidedly abnormal situation? [Audio link to show follows below.]

Donald Trump's selection to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia more than a year ago, represents nothing less than a stolen seat on a stolen U.S. Supreme Court. If he is confirmed, Republicans are likely to be rewarded for their theft with a majority on the high court for another generation, following their unprecedented refusal to even hold hearings for Barack Obama's nominee for the seat, Judge Merrick Garland.

I've been wrestling with how to cover this week's hearings, which I consider to be illegitimate (and that is true even setting aside the disturbing matter of Trump as President!) Professor Peter M. Shane of Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law joins me to try and help make sense of the situation. His recent piece at the American Constitutional Society, cited by the New York Times today, details how neither Democrats nor corporate media, to date, seem to have figured out how to issue any kind of institutional penalty for the GOP's blatant, brazen and unheard of theft.

Shane explains that, historically, despite Republican assertions to the contrary, "there is no close precedent" in history for what the GOP has done here. "The reason that they didn't want Judge Garland to become Justice Garland was, of course, the fear that they would be losing what had been a secure 5-4 conservative majority on the court. But they also didn't want to give him a hearing because they knew, if they gave him a hearing, that Judge Garland would appear to be so thoughtful, so reasonable, so accomplished and balanced a person, that it would be politically much more difficult to vote 'no'. Nobody in the Senate is constitutionally obligated to vote in favor of Judge Garland, it would just be hard to explain why [they didn't.]"

So they stole the seat instead, by refusing to even hold a hearing, much less a vote. As to the Democrats' lack of an organized response, such as a promise to filibuster Judge Gorsuch (or any other Trump nominee other than Garland), despite the threat of the GOP doing away with the filibuster for SCOTUS nominees, Shane observes: "It seems to me that the Democrats very frequently anticipate the political defeat that lies ahead, and just keep their powder dry for a fight that never happens." He argues Dems are likely "worried about political blowback for being a fierce party of resistance," adding: "That's what the Republicans have been, increasingly, since 1980. If they've paid a penalty for it, I haven't noticed."

Also on today's program: While Congressional hearings have taken over the beginning of the week, House Republicans are making last minute changes to their scheme to replace the Affordable Care Act, by making it still crueler for millions of Americans (but with even more kickbacks for wealthy ones!) in hopes of wheeling and dealing for enough votes to squeek by with passage in the U.S. House, where they plan to ram the bill through for a full floor vote this week before tossing it to the Senate.

Finally: A majority of Americans are unable to name even a single SCOTUS Justice, and the tax-payer cost for Trump's constant weekend vacations could cover four federal programs for the arts, the elderly, the jobless and the homeless that his budget proposal hopes to slash entirely...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Will Fischer, Director of Government Relations at VoteVets.org...
By Brad Friedman on 3/17/2017 6:04pm PT  

On today's BradCast, health advocacy organizations say they are shocked by Donald Trump's proposed cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) among other federal agencies being slashed or eliminated in order to pay for a massive increase in military spending. But even some veterans organizations, whose members might otherwise stand to gain from increases to the budget of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, are slamming the cuts being proposed everywhere else. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Groups such as the American Heart Association, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (representing Cancer specialists) and the American Lung Association are charging that Trump's budget would have a "devastating" effect on both the health of the nation and its economy, both now and into the future. Even some Republicans in Congress are pushing back against the cruelest of cuts in Trump's proposal, such as slashing programs that fund Meals on Wheels and school lunch programs which, the White House continues to maintain, have not proven themselves to work.

The draconian cuts to science, arts, diplomacy and services for the poor are supposedly proposed in order to pay for huge increases in spending on military and veterans programs. Today, as Trump held a "Listening Session" with veterans groups at the White House, we're joined by Will Fischer of VoteVets.org, the largest progressive veterans organization, representing some 500,000 veterans and their families and which has come out strongly against Trump's proposed budget.

Fischer, a U.S. Marine, decorated Iraq War combat vet and VoteVets' Director of Congressional Relations joins us from Capitol Hill to argue that, while increased spending on VA issues is fine, the loss of domestic and non-military programs (not to mention repealing the Affordable Care Act, or "ObamaCare") is likely to be exceedingly damaging to vets. "This is un-American, and a blatant attempt to try to divide military and veterans and everyone else," he argues. "Nobody is going to leave unscathed by the Trump budget."

"No one is questioning that we need to have a military that is ready and equipped for the modern century," Fischer tells me. "What we don't want to see happen is this ridiculous notion that somehow we need to be forcing the American people to make a choice between having a strong national defense and having heating assistance for someone on hard times --- who very well may be a veteran. Choosing between having new equipment at a VA or scientists investigating climate change --- we need all these things, and we need to ensure everyone is paying their fair share so we can realize and have all of these things."

He also explains why his group rejects Trump's "national security" claims to justify a travel ban from Muslim countries. "It is absolutely not in line with the oath that I swore," Fischer says. "Donald Trump is deploying troops into Syria. Now, how in the world are our commanders on the ground supposed to go to Syrians and say, 'Hey, work with us, help us out, and we'll be sure to take care of you', when all they have to do is turn on the TV and see us turning away Afghanis who helped us, turning away Iraqis who helped us, and sentencing those people to death? People who kept Marines from walking into ambushes, these are people who served right alongside us, and Donald Trump is saying, 'no, you're not welcome here.'"

I hope you'll click below to tune in for what, I think, is a must-hear conversation.

Finally, we close with Desi Doyen and the latest Green News Report, with more on Trump's proposed slashing of the EPA budget, the global warming caused death of the Great Barrier Reef, Fukushima, six years after nuclear disaster and a hint, at least, of some encouraging news from the new Defense Secretary, who apparently understands the national security threat posed by climate change, even if his new boss clearly doesn't.

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: Meteorologist, author, and Republican climate change champion Paul Douglas; Also: GOP healthcare plan still failing; Republicans repudiate Trump 'wire-tap' claim; much more...
By Brad Friedman on 3/15/2017 6:09pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, the record-breaking March Blizzard of 2017 (sorry, Weather Channel, we won't call it "Stella"!), may be mostly gone from the Northeast, but a blizzard of disinformation remains in its wake. We do our best to shovel out a bit today with our favorite Republican meteorologist. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

I'm happy to be joined today by Paul Douglas, longtime Minnesota broadcast meteorologist, StarTribune columnist and co-author of Caring for Creation: The Evangelicals Guide to Climate Change and a Healthy Environment to respond to, among many other things, those on the right (led by Matt Drudge), charging that the blockbuster late-season winter storm that swept through the Midwest and Northeast, leaving record snowfall in its wake, was actually evidence that Donald Trump should "clear out [the] climate hysterics" from the National Weather Service.

While he's here, Douglas also explains the dangers of Donald Trump's proposed massive cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other science, weather and climate-related federal agencies. NOAA, he says, whose satellites are relied upon as the "eyes" of the National Weather Service, is also "essential for the private sector, and for the military". Without those eyes, many of which are already beyond their expected lifespan, Douglas argues that the nation will be "more vulnerable" to all matter of threats.

Douglas also offers his thoughts on last week's comments by Trump's EPA Chief Scott Pruitt, claiming, in contradiction of well-established science, that the scientific evidence is lacking to prove that CO2 is the primary driver of man-made climate change. Douglas gives us a non-denier Republican perspective on the entire matter, noting that we "can't pollute our way to prosperity" and argues that "the final chapter is not written yet" when it comes to the GOP response to climate change. Somehow or another he remains "optimistic" that his party will come around to reality on that score...eventually. (I remain dubious.)

Also today: A new poll finds the (deadly) GOP/Trump plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is wildly unpopular among voters; Top Congressional Republicans repudiate Trump's wire-tapping claim against former President Obama; We take a few fairly salacious calls from listeners; and Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Vox.com's David Roberts on Trump, Pruitt, Tillerson and the GOP's ongoing war on science, facts, health care, journalism and much more...
By Brad Friedman on 3/14/2017 6:11pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's no longer about facts. For Republicans and Team Trump, it's now about undermining virtually every authority on which American democracy has, for so long, relied. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

As an unusual late season blizzard slams the Northeast, the White House continues to deploy a blizzard of disinformation in hopes of disparaging the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in the wake of its estimate [PDF] released yesterday, finding that some 24 million Americans will go without health care coverage by 2026 under the Republican's proposed bill to replace the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare"). That, even as the White House had reportedly made similarly dire estimates on their own concerning the disastrous affect of the imperiled GOP legislation.

The attack against the non-partisan CBO is just one example of many key, American institutions now under fire by Republicans. David Roberts, climate and politics journalist from Vox.com, joins us to today to discuss the recent comments made with CNBC's Joe Kernan by Donald Trump's EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, pretending that he doesn't know that scientists determined long ago that carbon dioxide is the primary driver for man-made climate change.

But outrage over those falacious remarks and Pruitt's dismissal of basic scientific facts misses the bigger point, Roberts explains. "If the science was going to settle anything, it would have settled it by now," he says. The issue is not about facts or science, but about the Republican Party itself and their on-going assaults on our nation's institutions --- from science to government to academia to journalism to, yes, the CBO.

"If it wasn't Scott Pruitt, it would be someone else who denies climate change," as head of Trump's EPA, Roberts argues. "That's what the party is. It's one major party, in the U.S. --- alone among major parties in the developed democratic world, alone, completely idiosyncratic and unique in this --- den[ying] that climate change is happening and that humans are causing it. So if Pruitt outrages you, the proper target of your outrage is the party. He's just a party functionary. If it wasn't him, it'd be someone else."

Roberts discusses why that denial is so important to the party, and whether or not even they believe their own nonsense anymore.

Finally today, speaking of climate change denial: Some very encouraging news when it comes to renewable energy in the U.S. (don't tell Donald Trump or the Republicans) and some bad news in court for Sec. of State and former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson...

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Guest: Jeff Hauser of CEPR's Revolving Door Project on Team Trump's successful and ongoing 'deconstruction of the administrative state'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/13/2017 6:22pm PT  

A few weeks ago, Donald Trump's top White House strategist Steve Bannon vowed to bring about the "deconstruction of the administrative state". On today's BradCast, it sure looks like he's getting what he and Trump set out for. [Audio link to show posted below.]

First up today, after a week of devastating analyses of the bill by GOP leadership and Trump to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) and replace it with the American Health Care Plan (the Republican plan), the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) finally came out today with its estimate [PDF] of what the scheme will cost Americans in money and health care. And it isn't pretty.

Some 14 million Americans will go without health insurance in 2018 under the Republican scheme, according to the CBO's estimate, which they note is based on "the middle of the distribution of potential outcomes." Some 24 million Americans will go without by 2026, as compared to projections for the current law. Hardest hit, as a number of reports over the weekend have found: elderly and rural voters in areas where support for Donald Trump was highest in the 2016 election.

Then, as Trump prepares to announce his "historic" slashing of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of federal jobs from non-military programs, hundreds, if not thousands of key roles at Executive agencies across the federal government remain unfilled. Many agencies are currently gutted following the resignation and/or firings of Obama staffers, and top appointments remain vacant in the meantime (because Trump has failed to nominate people to fill the roles, much less see public Senate confirmation hearings for the appointees.)

In the meantime, hundreds of unknown campaign staffers with no government experience at all, and others who are longtime industry lobbyists, are still heading up his "beachhead" transition teams, effectively controlling dozens of federal agencies on behalf of the Trump Administration. Those findings come via an analysis by ProPublica, based on responses to public records requests

Jeff Hauser of the Revolving Door Project at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), joins us to explain what that means, and the havoc these folks --- some just out of high school and college who had worked on the Trump campaign, others lobbyists for industries being overseen by the very federal agencies they now oversee --- are able to wreak on government and policy while barely even being noticed by media or Congress.

"The level of separation between industry and the government has gone from a thin veneer of separation to no separation whatsoever," Hauser warns, describing the situation as "an intentional breeding ground for corruption".

"The State Department is a topic of particular concern," he tells me. "They have only nominated the Secretary of State. That is the only nominee. So you've seen the Obama people all leave. You've seen the strata of the top professional career people pushed out. You've seen no names offered. So you have a complete vacuum at the top of the State Department, beneath Sec. of State Tillerson. And the only people with any authority are the people who can claim to be acting on behalf of the President via their status on the 'beachhead.'"

"I think people seem to be underestimating what a federal government that seems to be more focused on enriching Donald Trump, his family, and his closest allies, could do to the lives of normal people," he explains, charging that the entire operation appears to be little more, at this point, than an attempt at "wrecking the country for financial gain."

Finally today, we close with one more story of a very popular (and right-leaning) town that supported Trump "bigly" last November, but now, perhaps, having second thoughts about what his immigration policies are doing to their own business interests...

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Guest: Attorney Ernest A. Canning on invoking the 25th Amendment
Also: More bad news on GOP plan to 'repeal and replace' ObamaCare; Trump out-bombs Obama (by far) in Yemen; Bad news (for the environment), some good news (for voters)...
By Brad Friedman on 3/10/2017 5:44pm PT  

On today's BradCast, trouble continues to brew for Congress, the White House, the nation, the world and, yes, for Donald Trump. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Among the stories covered on today's program:

  • The Treasury Secretary warns that the U.S. will soon hit its statutory debt ceiling and will default on loan payments unless Congress takes action. Will Republicans be more likely to do so now than they were under Obama? Or is a government shutdown and/or defaulting on our loan payments for the first time in history in store?
  • A new study finds that some 15 million Americans are likely to lose their health care coverage under the GOP plan to "repeal and replace" ObamaCare. And, while Medicaid recipients are sure to be hard hit under the Republican scheme, experts are warning that the tax cuts in the GOP's scheme will also serve to gut the Medicare Trust Fund;
  • Over the past week alone, with little media attention, the Trump Administration has dropped more bombs on Yemen than the Obama Administration had in any single full year of his presidency;
  • More new concerns arise about Trump's conflicts of interest and apparent violations of the foreign 'Emoluments Clause' of the U.S. Constitution (this time concerning China);
  • But as the specter of impeachment continues to loom over this Presidency, attorney and BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernest A. Canning, our guest today, explains how the provisions of the 25th Amendment could become a more viable path for the removal of this President from office, particularly if his disturbing and unpredictable rage and mood swings continue to spiral. We discuss the potential triggers, likelihood, downsides, history and more.
  • As a very early and deadly wildfire seasons breaks out in a number of states, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report;
  • She also has a few thoughts on the incredibly stupid (and (and absolutely incorrect) comments this week by the new EPA chief Scott Pruitt (and the stooge Joe Kernen interviewing him on CNBC) regarding the affects of CO2 on climate change;
  • And, finally, we finish up with a bit of good news on voting, for a happy change...

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Guest: Journalist Alice Ollstein from Capitol Hill; Plus: The high cost of cutting IRS funding and the benefits of single-payer national health care...
By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2017 5:10pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Congressional GOP leadership continues to ram their "ObamaCare" repeal and replacement bill through House Committees, even as the future of their American Health Care Act remains uncertain with Republican opposition in both the House and Senate, not to mention growing opposition from health care advocacy groups. But that's just one of the potential battles on the near horizon amongst Republicans in the House, Senate and White House. [Audio link to show posted below.]

Donald Trump's budget proposals include a huge increase in military spending and huge cuts across the board to domestic programs --- and just about everything else --- in order to pay for it, including taxes and cuts to the IRS itself, by itself, will cost the government billions in revenue alone. (The IRS brings in $4 for every $1 that funds it --- so why would the GOP and Trump want to cut it? We discuss.)

But the question of whether Republicans in the House and Senate can come to terms with the White House, much less each other, on spending priorities is another matter entirely. Journalist Alice Ollstein of Talking Points Memo joins us from Capitol Hill today to discuss what may be ahead for the upcoming budget battle that could include, yes, another Government Shutdown (today the Treasury Department announced we will hit the debt ceiling against next week) and even an attempt by Trump to circumvent the law entirely, "because you can't legally do what President Trump wants to do," she explains.

By way of just one example of surprises that Trump may encounter even with a friendly Republican Congress, Ollstein explains: "I am hearing a lot of opposition from Republican lawmakers, especially to cuts to the State Department, saying 'We do not support cutting the State Department's budget by a third, because diplomacy keeps us safe and would make us eventually have to spend more on war.'" Those proposed cuts to State, 37% of their current budget, have already been opposed by Trump's own Secretary of Defense James Mattis, among others.

Ollstein also cites "the ghost of Ronald Reagan" as a specter that could end up haunting Trump's plans, since he seems to be following a path for radically growing the military, cutting taxes and blowing out the deficit in the bargain, a model that even Reagan ultimately had to try and roll back. "So, we'll see if this Trump plan, that is sort of Reagan 2.0, goes forward" at all, she explains.

Finally, we close today with some listener e-mail from Costa Rica, on what a national health care system, actually looks like in a civilized country...

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Medical advocacy groups come out against the GOP leadership's scheme to 'repeal and replace' ObamaCare...
By Brad Friedman on 3/8/2017 5:55pm PT  

On today's BradCast, can Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump overcome the mountain of push-back --- from Right, Left and Center --- against their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare")? [Audio link to show is posted below.]

First up today, we check in with KPFK/Pacifica Radio's Alan Minsky from the scene of today's International Women's Day demonstrations in downtown Los Angeles, where, he reports, thousands are gathering in protest.

Then, it's on to the quickly growing opposition to Speaker Ryan and the rest of the GOP leadership's scheme to "repeal and replace" ObamaCare, as introduced on Monday, and being "rammed" through House Committees beginning today, even before the bill, the American Health Care Act, has been scored by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

So far, the conservative right is revolting against the replacement bill, dubbed the American Health Care Act, endangering its potential for passing in either the House or Senate. But the scheme is also now being opposed by major medical advocacy groups like the American Hospital Association (AHA), the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), who all charge that millions will lose health care coverage under the Republican plan.

Will the GOP and Donald Trump be able to overcome the opposition to keep their long-held promise to kill ObamaCare? Do they really event want to, as discussed on yesterday's show? We take listener calls today on that and more, including the continuing progressive push for a single-payer plan that covers all Americans.

Also today, with yesterday's document dump at WikiLeaks revealing (among other things) that the CIA has been able to hack into encrypted apps and devices, it's yet another reminder that encryption schemes cited by supporters of electronic vote casting and counting, like all non-transparent forms of tabulation, should be dismissed.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as Trump continues to break his promise to "protect our air and water" with his new EPA and Interior Department chiefs rushing to return favors to the fossil fuel industry...

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

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Guest: Huffington Post Washington Bureau Chief Ryan Grim | Also: Trump lied about U.S. steel for new pipelines; France cancels on-line voting...
By Brad Friedman on 3/7/2017 6:15pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the GOP health care plan to "repeal and replace" Obamacare has landed with a thud among Democrats and, only somewhat more suprisingly, among so-called conservatives. And, as our guest argues today, that may have been the plan all along. [Audio link to show posted below.]

House Republicans leadership introduced their long awaited health care plan on Capitol Hill late yesterday and we break down the details of it today. But, other than Donald Trump who described it, via Twitter, as "our wonderful new healthcare bill", the plan does not seem to be going over well in a number of key quarters. Of course, Democrats oppose the new scheme to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act (or, "ObamaCare") and Republicans have yet to have their new plan, dubbed the American Health Care Act, scored by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). So we don't know how much it will cost or how many people will actually be covered under it (or lose their coverage, thanks to it.)

But, the more important push-back against the new plan appears to be coming from Republican members of Congress and the rightwing policy groups like the Heritage Foundation and the Koch Brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity. They are calling it "ObamaCare-lite" and vowing to block it, as our guest Ryan Grim, Washington Bureau Chief for Huffington Post reports today.

Grim tells me why, based on his reporting, the roll-out --- and the plan itself --- appears to be such a disaster, and suggests that Republicans, including Speaker Ryan and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have no actual intention of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act at all. "They're pretending," he says. "Also they didn't think they were going to win the election. They didn't think they were going to catch this car that they've been chasing down the road. The problem for them is that Obamacare itself was basically designed by the Heritage Foundation years ago. So it's almost unfair for them to try to come up with an alternative to the thing that they developed themselves. But they're the ones who disavowed their original plan, so it's not that unfair."

"Paul Ryan is not an idiot. He has the phone numbers for the Koch Brothers, Club for Growth, Freedom Works, Heritage, all these different outfits that piled on it today. So how was this not worked out [in the last 8 years]? It suggests to me that it's not actually a serious attempt," Grim explains before detailing why it is not even a safe bet, at this point, to assume that Ryan and McConnell "actually want to pass something" at all.

Also on today's show: Trump lied about requiring U.S.-made steel in pipelines like KeystoneXL, and France, fearing the possibility of hacking, cancels on-line voting in advance of their upcoming elections...

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

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Guest: The Intercept's Jon Schwarz...
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2017 5:51pm PT  

On today's BradCast, while the U.S. media and public are obsessed by whatever Trump's relationship is or isn't with Russia and his bizarre tweets over the weekend, real policies and federal agencies --- relied upon for decades by millions of Americans --- are about to be gutted by the President and his Republican friends in the U.S. Congress. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Once again today, however, we must lead with more terrorism. And, once again, it's another alleged attack by a white man against someone --- a man of the Sikh faith, in this case --- told by the shooter, to "Go back to your own country!" While the incident, once again, has been ignored by the White House, Donald Trump found time today to sign a new Executive Order being described by critics as "Muslim Ban 2.0". While it's more narrowly tailored than his last one, which was blocked by the federal courts, the new order still provides no evidence that it will actually increase national security in any way.

Then, while Trump was unleashing his latest evidence-free Twitter tantrum over the weekend, charging that President Obama had "wire tapped" his phones at Trump Tower before leaving office, White House budget busters were sharpening their knives with huge planned increases in defense spending to be paid for by draconian slashes to thousands of jobs and billions of dollars at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

But why stop protecting the environment and health of Americans there? Our guest today, Jon Schwarz of The Intercept, joins us to explain how, while much of what Trump said in last week's address to Congress (at least some of the encouraging parts, like his promise to "promote clean air and clean water") can "safely be ignored", at least one point should not be. His comments about Medicaid, relied upon by millions of Americans, should be taken very seriously, Schwarz warns.

"Medicaid is not just healthcare for the poor," he explains. "It also pays the bills for over 60 percent of nursing home residents, and 40 percent of all national long-term care costs." With GOP control of Congress and Trump no longer promising "no cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid," as he repeatedly did on the campaign trail, Schwarz decodes the President's comments from last week's speech promising to "give our state governors the resources and flexibility they need with Medicaid."

"It truly is awful what the Republicans have planned for Medicaid," Schwarz says, detailing how Trump's language now syncs up almost perfectly with House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has long called for schemes that would gut Medicaid. "The reason that they will go after it first is because the people who are the main recipients are either children, or they are over 65, or they are blind or they are disabled --- they truly are the people with the least ability to fight back. So it makes sense that that's who you want to attack first."

Schwarz explains what replacing the current federally-funded system with "block grants" to states actually means, who it will most harm, and how it will harm them. Medicaid, he says, is "not an incredibly generous program" as is. "But, it is crucial for anyone who has not made a lot of money their whole lives. People don't understand that if Medicaid is cut, old people truly will be dying in the streets. If you're a bit luckier, and you have kids with an extra room, maybe you will be dying on your kids' fold out couch."

As noted during the interview, Schwartz, a former writer for Saturday Night Live, is not particularly funny today. But Americans, particularly younger Americans, who will become the victims of these schemes while they are not paying attention --- unless Republicans can block them --- need to pay attention to what is likely about to happen, if Trump and GOP leadership get their way.

Finally, we close today with a moving word or two from MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski on the woeful and embarrassing White House reaction to Trump's bizarre weekend Tweet storm...

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

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Guests: Journalists Jacki Schechner and Gaius Publius...
By Brad Friedman on 3/1/2017 4:30pm PT  

While the corporate media have been somewhat beside themselves with effusive praise of Donald Trump's success at reading a speech from a teleprompter at his address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night, our guests on today's BradCast see it somewhat differently.

Suffice to say journalists Jacki Schechner and Gaius Publius were far less impressed. They both join us today to un-spin Trump's speech and some of the alternative facts he presented --- on healthcare, energy, the hate-crime epidemic, his exploitation of the widow of a Navy SEAL killed recently in Yemen and more --- as well as both the media's and Democrats', at times, beguiling response to it all.

Both also offer thoughts on the very happy "merger" of the Trump and Republican Party brands, as well as the DNC's election of a new party chair over the weekend --- and what all of it means going forward.

That's a very short description for today's very jam-packed BradCast!. Enjoy!...

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

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