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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, December 12, 2017
AL Supremes Allow 'Ballot Images' to Be Destroyed: 'BradCast' 12/12/17
Also, guest David M. Rothschild on a new study finding real, not fake, news was the problem in the 2016 Presidential election...
'Green News Report' 12/12/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
SoCal fire now 5th largest in state history; Trump Admin attacks private co. in nat'l monument fight, opens East Coast to offshore drilling, slows EPA actions against polluters...
Previous GNRs: 12/7/17 - 12/5/17 - Archives...
Moore, Moore, Moore...
and Other Vital News: 'BradCast' 12/11/2017
Terror attacks in NY, KS, NM; Pentagon to allow transgender enlistment; SoCal fires; A big court win for election integrity and a deep dive on the eve of Alabama's insane U.S. Senate election...
GOP/NRA's 'Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act' Likely Unconstitutional
A new bill just rammed through the U.S. House would block states' rights on gun safety laws and may violate the U.S. Constitution...
Sunday Toons of the Soulless Moment
A lot of souls have been sold in recent days. For what in return? 'PDiddie' rounds up the consequences in his latest weekly toon collection...
Former CO GOP Chair Found Guilty of Voter Fraud: 'BradCast' 12/8/17
And other ironies and outrages: SoCal fires spread; Trump dumps science; Election Integrity suit before AL election; House GOP ignores states' rights on guns; Listener e-mail...
'Green News Report' 12/7/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump rolls back protections for two national monuments; Tribes, conservationists sue; GOP tax bill slashes renewables; PLUS: Credit firm warns cities to address climate risks or else...
Previous GNRs: 12/5/17 - 11/30/17 - Archives...
Two SCOTUS Cases This Week 'Take the Cake' for Absurdity: 'BradCast' 12/6/17
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Fires worsen in, near L.A.; Franken pressured by Dem Senators to resign...
Battle for 'Ballot Images' Before AL's U.S. Senate Election: 'BradCast' 12/5/17
Guest: Election expert John Brakey; Also: Conyers resigns, Farenthold skates, RNC & Trump all-in for accused pedophile...
'Green News Report' 12/5/17
Trump rolls back national monuments; Tribes, conserv-ationists sue; GOP tax bill slashes renewables; PLUS: Credit firm warns cities to address climate risks or else...
GOP Tax 'Cut' Hustle; Callers on Trump-Russia 'Collusion': 'BradCast' 12/4/17
Repub Senate rams through largest tax increase in history; What is Team Trump trying to hide?...
CA Congressional Repubs Endangered
Ernie Canning explains why it's actually now possible that the GOP could be left with zero U.S. House Representatives after 2018...
Sunday Toons of the 'Lock Him Up' Moment
As it turns out, 'fake news' can actually result in real jail time, according to the cartoonists in PDiddie's latest weekly collection...
FLYNN FLIPS, Cops Plea; GOP Tax Scam's Generational Upheaval: 'BradCast' 12/1/17
Two huge stories. One, a transformational shift in the U.S. that will alter it for decades...
'Trigger' Warning: GOP Tax Maneuver Proves It's 'All a Scam': 'BradCast' 11/30/17
Guest: The Nation's David Dayen; Also: Accountability for sexual misconduct, if not in AL, White House or Main St...
'Green News Report' 11/30/17
EPA climate hearings in Coal Country; Winter heat breaks records; Another FEMA scandal slows PR recovery; PLUS: Good news for breathers in WI and MO...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Plus: Disgraced Bill O'Reilly finally fired by Fox 'News'!...
By Brad Friedman on 4/19/2017 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast, not that we enjoy saying "we told ya so," but, yeah, another election result goes south on 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen systems in a key election for Democrats, as we've been warning for weeks (years, really). And, yes, the disgraced Bill O'Reilly has finally been fired by Fox 'News'. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

In Tuesday's U.S. House special election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District, Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff appears to have soundly defeated a split Republican field in a very Republican district, in the "jungle primary" race for a House seat held by the GOP since 1978 and recently vacated by Trump's appointment of Rep. Tom Price as Director of Health and Human Services.

However, the final results of Tuesday's contest, as taken from the state's 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems, report that Ossoff just failed to go over the 50% threshold by which he would have won the seat outright. Instead, he'll compete in a run-off in June against the second place finisher on Tuesday, Republican Karen Handel, former GA Sec. of State.

So, are the reported results accurate? It is impossible, in fact, to know, as I've long been warning. That fact is made even more maddening by the fact that a reported central tabulator "error", said to have been caused by a faulty memory card from one of the voting machines, stopped all results from being reported for hours in Fulton County, as Ossoff results were stuck at 50.3%.

At the time, all counties in the district but Fulton (Handel's home county) had reported 100% percent of their results. Hours later, after the computer tabulator problem was said to have been corrected, and results started coming in again from Fulton, Ossoff's numbers dropped to 48.6%, below the threshold that would have prevented a run-off.

So, was the election stolen? Or was the all-too familiar problem during the tally just a routine error on the state's unverifiable, easily-manipulated, oft-failed voting system? The state's Diebold voting systems and tabulators were first installed in 2002. They are, shamefully, still used today, despite multiple massive vulnerabilities, including one that allows results to be flipped without detection, as first reported by The BRAD BLOG as early as 2006. At the very least, as I noted last night on Twitter during the hours long freak-out over the reported faulty memory card(s): "If I'm Ossoff, I get to court and have ALL of those memory cards in Fulton locked down and sequestered for forensic inspection."

Adding to the concerns in that GA-06 election: The reported "massive data breach" last month at the facility which programs both the voting machines and the state's electronic pollbook systems and, over the weekend, the theft of a number of those e-pollbooks from a poll workers car. (Widely mis-reported as a theft of "voting machines".)

I discuss all of the above, in much more detail (including the political fallout from the race, which is still very bad for Trump and the GOP), on today's show --- and take a number of calls about it all of it as well.

Also today: Bill O'Reilly, the biggest star on Fox "News" since it's inception, has finally been fired, following the latest round of multiple sexual harassment allegations against him, millions of dollars in settlements paid by both him and Fox to his accusers, and dozens of advertisers who pulled out of the show following the latest round of allegations. (Here's the recent BradCast where I discussed the latest allegations with Media Matters' Eric Boehlert late last week, and where he pretty much predicted what has finally happened today.)

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report', with toxic oil and chemical spills, new heat records, and some otherwise encouraging news about London's iconic black cabs...

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

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Guest: Jim Dean of Democracy for America; Also: Trump popularity keeps falling and BP springs another uncontrolled oil well leak...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2017 5:56pm PT  

On today's BradCast, with the world on pins-and-needles over the weekend, thermo-nuclear war has been averted on the Korean Peninsula --- at least for the moment. And voters in Georgia head to the polls again on Tuesday for a U.S. House special election, in which they have the opportunity, again, to express their opinions about our current President. [Audio link to full show is at end of article.]

No nuclear weapons, either by North Korea or the U.S., were fired off over a weekend of high tensions amid U.S. Navy battleships sent to the Korean Peninsula as North Korea prepared for their biggest holiday of the year over the weekend. In past years, NK has 'celebrated' by testing firing new missiles or nuclear weapons. This year, Kim Jong-Un did attempt to fire a missile, but it reportedly blew during the launch.

The failure was the latest in an unusual string of similarly failed tests in the isolated nation recently. So, are we now seeing the results of U.S. cyber-warfare, as reportedly launched against North Korea three years ago by President Obama? Administration sources have been dodgy over the weekend, but say they'd prefer something "short of a military option" if possible. That moderation in tone is a bit different than Trump's chest-thumping last week. And, in the meantime, today, he bashed his Democratic predecessors, Bill Clinton and Obama, for their policies in NK, though he failed to mention George W. Bush (on whose watch NK developed their nuclear weapons program in the first place!)

Trump's poll numbers continue to fall, particularly on whether Americans believe him to be someone who "keeps his promises". And, all of that may well be on the mind of voters as they head to the polls for another U.S. House special election on Tuesday in Georgia's 6th Congressional District. This one, to fill the seat vacated by Trump's Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

So, will Democrats have any better luck in picking off the seat from Republicans in Georgia than they did last week in Kansas? Both districts are heavily Republican, but unlike KS-4, which voted for Trump by nearly 30 points last November, he won GA-6 by just over a single percentage point. And, in GA, a popular young Democratic candidate, Jon Ossoff, has racked up a record amount of money for this House race, largely from grassroots activists. He is currently far ahead of a split field of Republicans in the unusual all-party primary, in which a candidate who wins more than 50% of the vote takes the House seat outright. Otherwise, he would go on to face the second place finisher in a June run-off.

Jim Dean, Chair of Democracy for America (the grassroots, progressive organization founded following his brother Howard Dean's Presidential run in 2004), joins us to explain DFA's endorsement of Ossoff and his chances on Tuesday, as well as to discuss his strong critique of the national Democratic Party for failing to adequately support the Dem candidate last week in Kansas.

"It's time we stood up for what we are," Dean tells me, referring to Democratic candidate James Thompson's run in Kansas last week, and Ossoff's in Georgia, as well as national party Democrats' fear of running as progressives. "When we do, we win. Especially at a time like this, when even Trump voters realize they're being marginalized."

"Real progressive candidates are the key to Democrats winning. 'Republican Lite' doesn't work. Real progressive candidates usually reflect the majority of values of America, particularly when it comes to issues that surround economic inequality. We think if you're a real progressive running anywhere, you've got a better shot at winning, even in West Virginia," he argues.

Dean also rings in with a thought or two on the 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems that Georgia is once again forcing on voters, even after the organization that programs all of them was said to have been hacked just last month. We also discuss next month's upcoming Special Election for the U.S. House in Montana, where Dems have put forward a popular and populist candidate, Rob Quist, and whether the DNC, in 2018, will finally return to its "50-state strategy" initially championed by his brother Howard when he ran the DNC --- and seemingly abandoned thereafter. On that front, Jim has both encouraging and not-so-encouraging news for progressives.

Finally, we close today with the latest on the BP oil well that sprung two leaks and has been spewing both crude oil and natural gas onto Alaska's North Slope near Prudhoe Bay since last Friday...

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: Attorney and BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernest A. Canning...
By Brad Friedman on 4/12/2017 6:00pm PT  

With special elections for the U.S. House under way (yesterday in Kansas, next week in Georgia, for a start), new voting restrictions being put in place by Republicans in Iowa, and a federal court slapping down Texas Republican's voting laws as racially discriminatory yet again, it looks like we're fully back on the democracy beat for today's BradCast.

First up, Republicans reportedly won Tuesday's special election for a vacant U.S. House seat in deep "red" Kansas, but it wasn't easy for them. The progressive Democratic candidate James Thompson was able to secure a 20+ point swing against the Republican Ron Estes in KS-04 from Donald Trump's landslide victory in the district just months ago. But should national Democrats have done more to support their candidate in what had previously been regarded as an unwinnable seat for Dems? And can the results fairly be seen an encouraging bellwether for next week's special election for the U.S. House in Georgia, in another Republican (if less so) district?

In the meantime, the GOP continues their efforts to keep Democratic-leaning voters from being able to vote at all. In Iowa, as internal emails from his own deputy reveal, the GOP Sec. of State recently cited misleading "voter fraud" evidence in support of new voting restrictions. And Republicans in the state legislature eye spending some $650,000 in support of it, while planning cuts to social programs, like those meant to protect Buckeye State kids.

But, in Texas, a federal court this week, for a second time, has found the state's Photo ID voting restriction to have been purposely discriminatory against racial minorities. Will Texas finally be forced to kill their racial discriminatory voting law entirely? And, of more note, now that intentional discrimination by the state Republicans has been found yet again, will the federal courts force Texas to obtain federal approval for any new voting laws, as per Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act?

Attorney Ernest A. Canning, who has been covering the Texas case, and others related, for years at The BRAD BLOG, joins us to explain this week's "huge" ruling from the U.S. District Court concerning what he describes as the state's "zombie voter suppression bill" that never dies, no matter how many times it's struck down as unlawful by federal courts and the DoJ. Also, what does this latest ruling portend for the future of this law and others like it, at both the federal Court of Appeals and the (now stolen) U.S. Supreme Court? We discuss.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report with some more disturbing news about Trump's EPA, but some very encouraging news on California's historic drought...

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: VOA's long-time Asia correspondent, now White House Bureau Chief Steve Herman; Plus: Can democracy save democracy?...
By Brad Friedman on 4/11/2017 5:54pm PT  

On today's BradCast, rising tensions and ratcheted up concerns about Donald Trump's escalating saber rattling against North Korea, even as Americans head to the polls in disapproval of the Administration for the first federal elections of the Trump Era.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said something incredibly stupid today. And while that's hardly a news flash, our guest today, Steve Herman, Voice of America's White House Bureau Chief, was there and explains what happened.

More importantly, the veteran 26-year journalist who, until recently, had been based in Asia, joins us to offer key background and perspective on the Trump's provocative, arguably aggressive and certainly cryptic new position on nuclear armed North Korea, on the heels of his cruise missile strike last week on Syria, a U.S. Navy strike group now reportedly heading towards the Korean Peninsula in a "show of force", and North Korea warning of a nuclear strike if provoked.

The always-remarkably level-headed Herman offers important insight on what could be yet another new American military confrontation with a nation that has long charged the U.S. is preparing to attack them. Is Trump offering evidence to prove Kim Jong Un correct? Is this all little more than a continuation of decades-old U.S. policy following the Korean War which has never officially been declared over? Should Americans be confident that Trump's military advisers are fully explaining the potential fall-out from an attack on the politically isolated nation? Will he even listen to them if so? And what about China, Japan, South Korea and others in the region? Are they on board with Trump's new show of force?

Herman speaks to all of those questions and many others, while both succeeding, in part, and failing, in part to talk me fully off the ledge regarding my concerns about a potential new provocation and military confrontation with another, even less stable, nuclear power. Just one example: "One thing I've observed about them [North Korea] over many, many decades --- they seem to have this amazing ability to do something provocative without it leading to an actual military retaliation by the South Koreans and the U.S.," Herman reassures, before cautioning: "But, again, we may be in a different era here with President Trump. He may not want to have the same sort of restraint that we saw through both Republican and Democratic administrations over several decades."

I'd suggest today's conversation is a must-listen.

Also today: Voting is underway today in a special election for what is being seen by both Republicans and Democrats to be a remarkably tight race to fill an open Republican U.S. House seat in a deeply Republican district in Kansas. Today's results could be a bellwether for not only 2018, but for another special election next Tuesday for the U.S. House in another GOP district, in Georgia, which is now being regarded by political analysts, incredibly enough, as a "toss-up". Can democracy really save U.S. democracy? And, finally today, in hopes of lightening things up a bit on the way out, some happily ironic news about the Kentucky Coal Museum in a nearly forgotten tiny coal town...

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: Howie Klein of 'Down With Tyranny' on surprisingly good odds for progressives in KS, GA, MT, CA; Also: Tons of breaking news today...
By Brad Friedman on 4/10/2017 6:11pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A ton of breaking (and largely distressing) news, before largely encouraging review of four upcoming U.S. House special elections that may offer a bit of an antidote to some of that distressing news, at least for Democrats and progressives. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Today's show both opens and closes with a ton of breaking news, including, for a start: Another school shooting, which appears to be a murder-suicide, in San Bernardino, CA (the same town where 14 were killed in a mass shooting in late 2015); The white supremacist Charleston church shooter is sentenced to 9 consecutive life sentences in state court after being sentenced earlier this year to execution in federal court; Stolen U.S. Supreme Court "Justice" Neil Gorsuch is sworn in, as President Trump thanks Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell for the theft; War planes take off from the very same air base said to have been bombed by Trump last Friday, and U.S. war ships head toward the Korean Peninsula for a possible confrontation with nuclear-armed North Korea; and Trump huddles with the Koch Brothers at Mar-a-lago as special elections to fill Republican U.S. House vacancies left by Administration appointees get underway in Kansas, Georgia and Montana (and in Los Angeles, where there is a Democratic vacancy).

We're joined today by the great Howie Klein, progressive champion and founder of DownWithTyranny.com for an overview of all four upcoming U.S. House races and the surprising (if still long-shot) possibilities of Democratic pickups in the three otherwise very Republican districts. Klein breaks down the likelihood for Dem victories in each district, describes the candidates who are running, and why it is that both the Republican and Democratic parties seem to have been underestimating the possibility of several of those seats "going blue" in the first federal elections of the Trump Era.

Among the upcoming U.S. House races, Klein notes that in CA-34, leading candidate Jimmy Gomez is a very progressive Dem running against another Dem who, he charges, is actually a Republican who changed his party affiliation for this race; in KS-4 (which votes on Tuesday, 4/11), Klein tells me that a week ago he'd have said the Dem candidate, James Thompson, had no chance in the deeply "red" district. But now that national GOPers are suddenly pouring panic money and other resources into the race, he thinks it's still long odds, but possible that Republican Ron Estes could face an upset in the home district of Koch Industries. In GA-6, he details, progressives have very high hopes for 30-year old Jon Ossoff who is running way ahead of a split GOP field in a "Jungle Primary" compromised of some 18 candidates in the first round of voting set for 4/18, where any candidate who gets 50%+1 could win the whole thing outright; And, finally, we review Montana's at-large U.S. Congressional race which, he says, could also be vulnerable to the populist Democratic candidate now running in a Republican state that has shown itself able elect Democrats to statewide seats in the very recent past.

Klein spares no criticism, however, for a number of Democratic organizations, like the Kansas Democratic Party which, he says, "should be ashamed of themselves" for failing to spend money on the House race. "They haven't had a candidate this strong running for that seat ever, and they haven't had an opportunity like this as long I can remember. They should be all over this, and they're not."

"These are dark, deep 'red' districts, and normally there would be no Democrats having any chance. But because of Trump's policies, because of that crackpot healthcare bill --- TrumpCare or whatever it was --- because of that, Republicans are discouraged and thinking, 'I'm not even going to go vote'. Or other Republicans are thinking, 'You know what? I'll vote for the Democrat!,'" Klein tells me. We'll soon see if he's right. But, of course, we'll also have to presume that Georgia's 15-year old, 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems weren't manipulated by (or since) a recent "massive" hack of its voter database.

And finally, as we head off air today, breaking news about the resignation and criminal booking of Alabama's Republican Governor Robert Bentley in the face of impeachment charges and...as if that's all not enough...a U.S. District Judge in Texas once again finds that state Republicans deliberately discriminated against racial minorities with their controversial Photo ID voting law...

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: Constitutional law and SCOTUS expert Ian Millhiser; Also: Trump eyes military response against Syria...
By Brad Friedman on 4/6/2017 6:03pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's theft of the U.S. Supreme Court is nearly complete after his use of the so-called "nuclear option" today and his blatant, continuing lies in support of it. Also, concern grows about Donald Trump's reaction to this week's chemical attack in Syria on a dark day for both the country and the world. [Audio link to show follows below.]

As of today, it's almost done. McConnell's scheme to steal the Court majority for a generation on behalf of the GOP is now virtually a fait accompli with his procedural maneuver to kill the use of filibusters for SCOTUS nominees in light of the Democrats' attempt to block the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch. The Senate rules change comes as McConnell continues to lie about his unprecedented obstruction of Barack Obama's nominee for the same seat, Judge Merrick Garland, for more than a year following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February of 2016.

Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser, author of a recent book on SCOTUS and its widening political divide, joins us today to help explain what all of this is likely to mean for the Senate, the Court and the country in both the short and long-terms. None it very good, I'm afraid.

"I'm not the least bit surprised," that there were not three Republican Senators willing to step forward today to block McConnell's rule change with a simple majority vote, Millhiser, the Editor of ThinkProgress Justice, tells me. "After you make the deal with the Devil that leads to you supporting Trump in the White House, going one step further and saying 'we're also going to change the rules of the Senate' - that's not too heavy of a lift all of a sudden."

"It's absolutely a stolen seat. This is the Merrick Garland seat," he charges, referring to the Republican's years-long blockade of Garland and failure to even hold hearings, much less an up or down vote. "The block of Democrats who voted against Gorsuch represent more than 53% of the nation. So, the only reason this guy is going to be on the Supreme Court is because a President who lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes nominated him, and a group of Senators who represent a minority of the country, are going to vote to confirm him."

Millhiser also offers his thoughts on whether the filibuster for legislative actions may be next on the GOP Senate's chopping block, whether Democratic then-Majority Leader Harry Reid made a mistake by nuking the filibuster for non-SCOTUS judicial nominations back in 2013 (and we discuss what actually happened that led up to it), and what, if anything, Americans can now do to try and reverse the dangerous course the nation is clearly on.

Speaking of dangerous courses...Also today: Trump bangs the drums of war in response to the horrific chemical attack in Syria this week, despite his previous insistence that Obama and the U.S. stay out of the matter (even after an even more deadly chemical attack there in 2013) and despite the lack of international investigation, to date, as to who and what was behind the incident. And, finally, we close with a bit of good-ish news (the best we can find on a grim day) concerning a significant change in the way Americans, including Republicans, now view the Affordable Care Act in the five short months since last year's election.

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: Computer science and e-voting systems expert Barbara Simons...
By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2017 6:32pm PT  

On today's BradCast, a story out of Georgia serves as a jarring reminder that we'd better not wait until 2018 to be concerned about the integrity and public oversight of our electronically tabulated elections. Also, the political blame game is underway regarding the Republicans' planned use of the "nuclear option" in the U.S. Senate. [Audio link to show posted at bottom of article.]

Early last month, someone reportedly hacked into the voting records database at Kennesaw State University's Center for Election Systems, which is contracted to maintain and program all of Georgia's 100% unverifiable touch-screen Diebold voting systems and electronic poll books. The state still uses the same unverifiable 2002 voting systems that, as we reported more than a decade ago, were hacked in a minute's time by researchers at Princeton University, where they were able to implant a virus that could pass itself from machine to machine and flip the results of an election with little or no possibility of detection.

The recent hack at Georgia's KSU, which the Atlanta Journal-Constitution described at the time as possibly compromising some 7.5 million voter records, resulted in a quiet FBI investigation, and comes as special elections are about to be held in a number of states to fill U.S. House seats vacated by Republican members of Congress tapped to serve in the Trump Administration.

One of those special elections is in Georgia on April 18, where the contest to fill GOP Rep. Tom Price's seat in CD-6 (he's now Trump's Secretary of Health and Human Services) is drawing both national attention and a lot of money from both Democrats and Republicans. With a suprisingly popular 30-year old Democrat, Jon Ossoff, poised to potentially upset a splintered GOP field in the otherwise solidly Republican district, the race is being regarded as a potential bellwether for the 2018 elections.

Longtime computer scientist and voting systems expert Barbara Simons of VerifiedVoting.org joins me today to explain the ongoing concerns about the still-mysterious Georgia hack, Verified Voting's effort to get answers about it from GA's Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp; the group's request to have him to offer paper ballots to voters in the wake of the reported "massive data breach"; and this weekend's similarly cryptic news that the FBI has now concluded its investigation.

As we discuss what we know, and don't, about the GA hack, Simons, co-author of Broken Ballots: Will Your Vote Count? and a member of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission's Board of Advisers since 2008, tells me that "it's a national scandal" that the state is still using those unverifiable systems for all elections.

Simons had also joined a number of renowned voting systems experts to plea with the Hillary Clinton campaign last year to seek a public hand-count of the Presidential election in several states, given questions about the exceedingly close race and the surprising results in a number of them. When Clinton declined to file for that common sense oversight, Green Party candidate Jill Stein responded affirmatively to the same plea. Nonetheless, as we also discuss today, hand-counts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania were largely blocked, thanks to efforts by Team Trump, state Republicans and even some Democrats.

We discuss all of that, the years-long effort to institute legislative safeguards against electronic voting and computerized tabulation systems; and why even paper ballots tallied by computers leave the public uncertain about the accurate results of elections. "Paper ballots in and of themselves are not sufficient. That lesson was very clear from the 2016 election," she tells me, as I ask about what I see as the need to publicly hand-count hand-marked paper ballots on election night in order to restore public confidence and oversight of results. "The problem is we have some very bad laws," she responds, offering her thoughts on legislative changes that are needed, short of ditching the computers entirely, in order to respond to what she sees as "a national security issue" in our elections.

Also on today's show: Republican Senators lament the idea of killing the filibuster for U.S. Supreme Court nominees...as they prepare to vote to kill it anyway; The NCAA falls for North Carolina's "repeal" scam of its anti-LGBT law; and Trump repeals an Obama-era rule seeking to keep bears from being hunted and killed during hibernation in Alaska...

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Guest: Attorney Jenny Harbine of Earth Justice...
By Brad Friedman on 4/3/2017 5:28pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Democrats now have the votes needed to filibuster Trump's SCOTUS nominee and the President faces still more lawsuits against his climate, energy and environmental policies --- and his pretend attempt to revive coal jobs. [Audio link to show follows below.]

It's official, as of this afternoon. Democratic Senators have announced enough votes opposing Judge Neil Gorsuch, Trump's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court seat stolen by Republicans, to successfully hold a filibuster and block the nominee in the U.S. Senate. 42 Dems are now on board (enough to prevent the 60 votes currently needed to end a filibuster.) So, it's now up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the rest of the Republicans to use the so-called "nuclear option" to do away with the filibuster rule for SCOTUS nominations all together. Just three Republican defections, however, would prevent the filibuster rule from being scuttled by majority vote.

In the meantime, the opposition to Trump's faltering attempts at policy making --- particularly policies meant to try and roll back Barack Obama's environment and climate legacy --- continue to face new legal challenges. Today, a number of state Attorneys General announced their intention to challenge the Administration's costly suspension of energy efficiency standards; last Thursday, environmental groups filed suit to block the State Department's approval of the controversial KeystoneXL pipeline; and, just one day after Trump's so-called "Energy Independence" executive order was signed on Tuesday, Earth Justice sued to overturn Trump's lifting of Obama's moratorium on new coal leases on public lands and a review of royalty rates paid under the program to the government by the dying coal industry (which, as we also discuss, now employs fewer workers than Arby's, car washes or even U.S. theme parks!)

Jenny Harbine, the lead attorney in Earth Justice's case [PDF] against the Administration, joins us to explain the new lawsuit, as well as the one the same group filed against the Obama Administration in 2014, which led to the moratorium in the first place.

"Trump made a lot of campaign promises to his cronies in the coal industry," she tells me. "But the President has a legal obligation, that courts have enforced for decades, to engage in rational decision-making, to make decisions that are based on science. And here it couldn't be clearer that the directive that came down from Trump [to lift the moratorium] last week, was based solely on politics, and not on science."

She explains how the policy not only "flies in the face of the reality we all face as a nation and a world on climate change," but also how Trump's various claims at attempting to help coal miners is as likely to ultimately harm them, by keeping the federal government from investing in investing and retraining workers for the now-unstoppable renewable energy future.

"Trump's short-sighted attempt to revive a dying coal industry through subsidized leasing" is little more than "an attempt, really, to line the pockets of coal industry executives" while causing "real harm to real people and communities that are depending on the federal government to look after our interests," Harbine explains, adding: "I fear that those workers will be left in the dust."

Finally today, bad news for 180,000 low-income Kansans hoping to receive health care under Republican rule in the state, and the L.A. Times Editorial Board issues a remarkable series of anti-Trump editorials...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 4/3/2017 8:35am PT  

In August of 1822, James Madison, one of this nation's Founding Fathers, famously argued: "Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

On the other hand, on January 6, 2017, a joint Intelligence Community Report ("IC Report"), entitled "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections" explained: "The Intelligence Community rarely can publicly reveal the full extent of its knowledge or the precise bases for its assessments, as the release of such information would reveal sensitive sources or methods and imperil the ability to collect critical foreign intelligence in the future."

There is a core conflict seen in those two quotes. What we see proclaimed in the IC Report is a direct collision between self-proclaimed national security interests and the public's right to know.

There is no question that Congress has both the Constitutional right and obligation to investigate "Russia-gate". It does so in accordance with its exceedingly broad powers of oversight that include the ability to "provide new statutory controls over the executive," executive accountability and to exercise its exclusive power of impeachment.

It is really not controversial to suggest, as did The Chicago Tribune, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), and Adam Schiff (D-CA), that Congressional hearings be conducted either by an independent or select committee. But even if a reasonable level of investigative objectivity and integrity is achieved, the thorny question remains as to the extent to which such hearings, and testimony from witnesses, should be carried out in public.

It is a difficult issue that pits the public's right to know against (a) avoiding disclosure of classified information, and (b) compromising the ability of federal prosecutors to secure criminal convictions in their own parallel investigations...

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Guest: Lambda Legal's Tara Borelli; Plus: Trump's $25 million fraud settlement, and a former CIA Chief notices dangers of e-voting...sort of...
By Brad Friedman on 3/31/2017 6:08pm PT  

Today, the President of the United States was ordered to pay $25 million in a fraud settlement to some 4,000 Americans. But, incredibly enough, that news has been barely noticed.

On today's BradCast [audio link to show posted at end of article], as the frenzied pitch of investigation into Team Trump and Russia ticks up a notch from 10 to at least 11, a former CIA Director bothers to notice the vulnerability of our nation's electronic voting systems...but fails to appreciate, or even understand, the actual threat. And North Carolina picked a very strange way this week to "celebrate" the 7th International Transgender Day of Visibility. And, this time, both Republicans and Democratic elected officials share the shame.

First up, a quick thought on today's federal court approval of a settlement requiring President Donald Trump to pay $25 million to those defrauded by his Trump University scam.

Then, James Woolsey, Bill Clinton's former CIA Director and short-term member of Trump's transition team, tells CNN that the media is focused on "the wrong issue" in the Trump/Russia investigations. Never mind his "government by tweet" or questions about the Republican Chair of the House Intel Committee caught colluding with the White House amidst their investigation. The real concern, he argues, should be that "25 percent, approximately, of our voting machines in the United States do not have paper backups, so if the electronics have been tampered with, you will never know, and you can’t do a recount. ... The rest is very minor by comparison."

He has more to say on the matter, some of which he is right about, some of which he is either wildly naive, misinformed, or hoping to misinform the public. So I have a few things to say myself in response to it all, as you might imagine.

Next, facing the loss of billions to their economy, North Carolina Republicans on Thursday finally "repealed" their discriminatory anti-LGBTQ "bathroom bill" (HB2) by replacing it with another (HB142) which LGBTQ advocates charge is nearly as odious and, in some measures, even worse than the original. This time, however, the new legislation was signed into law by a Democratic governor.

Attorney Tara Borelli of Lambda Legal, which has sued to block the state's law, joins us to explain the beguiling "fake repeal" and shameful reasons it was jammed through the state assembly in just hours yesterday.

"If you're struggling to figure out how HB142 fixes things in any real way for LGBT people, join the club," she tells me. "We, and a host of others, are incredibly disappointed, outraged, and frustrated with this so-called 'compromise' repeal deal. HB142 simply took a bunch of the bad old provisions of HB2 and perpetuated them, and further enshrined them into North Carolina law." Borelli details how and why state lawmakers "have tried to put, just to be blunt, a lot of lipstick on the pig" and why they were in such a hurry to do it.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on the beginning of push-back from Dems and environmentalists in the wake of Trump's executive order on Tuesday, attempting to gut Obama's climate and environmental policies and legacy...

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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...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 3/30/2017 10:58am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Rising tide of opposition against Trump's latest executive order; Trump's climate denial puts China first in the global clean energy race; Texas judge kicks ExxonMobil case back to New York; PLUS: Mobilizing the Power of the People with the upcoming March for Science and the March for Climate... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

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

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): "Trump Is a Chinese Agent"; Trump’s Interior Secretary says ‘clean energy’ is a hoax; Unbalanced Climate-Change Hearing Proves Pointless; Lamar Smith, unbound, lays out political strategy at climate doubters’ conference; While Ohio Coal Employment Falls, Solar Jobs Double In Cleveland Area; Trump’s Executive Order is Out of Step With Americans; Energy Department Climate Office Bans Use Of Phrase ‘Climate Change’; Westinghouse Files for Bankruptcy, in Blow to Nuclear Power... PLUS: If you liked buying your oil from Saudi Arabia, you’ll love buying your electric cars, solar panels, efficiency software and batteries from China.... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




Guest: Frank Schaeffer on what Dems must do to win again; Also: U.S. civilian massacres explode in Middle East; NC paying high price for anti-LGBT law; ND pipeline leak much worse than previously known...
By Brad Friedman on 3/27/2017 6:02pm PT  

On today's BradCast, a former evangelical Christian who, after decades of participating in the political rightwing anti-abortion con has since seen the light, joins us to explain what Democrats need to do in order to encourage his "brainwashed" former followers to realize they've been scammed by Donald Trump. [Audio link to show at end of article.]

But first up today, U.S. officials admit some 200 Iraqi civilians in Mosul may have been killed during a U.S. bombing campaign last week, in what has become a startling and savage escalation in the so-called "War on Terror" since Trump has taken office. While the Obama Administration had carried out similar campaigns, the increase in indiscriminate lethality by the new President's campaigns in Iraq, Syria and Yemen is both alarming and vastly underreported or downplayed by U.S. media --- not to mention, counter-productive in the so-called "War on Terror".

Meanwhile, in North Carolina, the GOP's anti-LGBT "bathroom bill" is costing the state economy thousands of jobs and billions of dollars, according to a new analysis by the Associated Press. That, even as Republicans in other states, like Texas, are quickly moving to enact similarly "conservative" anti-LGBT laws in their own state.

Then, as Trump's approval rating continues to plummet to record lows, even his numbers among his own base of supporters --- white, male Republicans --- are beginning to erode. Still, overall support for the President remains high among Republicans as a whole, for now.

Author Frank Schaeffer, who formerly spent decades along with his father, theologian Dr. Francis Schaeffer, creating (and profiting from) the far right anti-abortion political movement, joins us to discuss how he believes Democrats can win back both the White House and Congress, from the perspective of someone who, for many years, had preyed on the fears and false facts favored by rightwing, so-called "values voters". You can't convince them of facts, a fired-up Schaeffer tells me today, but you can drop a lit metaphorical match into their gas tanks by helping them understand how Trump himself has "betrayed them."

"The over-arching bloc of people without whom [Trump] could not have been elected are white evangelicals, and that's my stomping ground." Schaeffer explains. "This was all before I left the evangelical world and changed sides both, you might say, theologically and politically. When it comes to understanding the brain of the evangelical movement, I know what I'm talking about. From birth, people raised in the fundamentalist subculture are taught to mistrust, distrust, renounce so-called 'world facts'. So, when science says that evolution proves something, or that the Earth is very old, or there wasn't a Noah's ark, you are taught from birth they are lying. We have our own facts. We have our own truth. That truth is in the Bible and our denomination's interpretation of it."

You can't convince these folks with facts alone that they are wrong, he argues, but you can help them see how they have been scammed. "If you come up with a fact-based argument, people's eyes in the evangelical world just glaze over, and instead of talking to you about the issue or the facts, all you get back is this stream-of-consciousness which is really more of a Pavlovian reaction and brain-washing," he says. "So, [Trump] had a built-in audience that liked what he was saying just because he's giving the finger to the established order of science, university teaching, learning --- and all those other things that so-called 'secular' people live by."

"That group of people is going to be looking at what he's doing to them when they lose healthcare," Shaeffer, whose latest book is Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God, observes. "They're going to be looking at the fact that in that new budget of his, Meals on Wheels doesn't show up for their grandma anymore on that farm in Omaha. They're going to see one tweak too many ... That drip-drip-drip-drip of actual evidence in their own lives --- not reason, not argument --- but things going wrong because he is a fool, he is a charlatan, he is a faker, he is a fraud. In other words, when they wake up in the position your average Trump University student woke up in, finding their degree was worthless, they are going to simply start losing faith."

But will they? Haven't these same folks fallen for the same con many times in the past? Schaeffer, who worked with past Republican Presidents, responds to that question, and many others today in a lively (and angry) dressing down of both Trump and his supporters, who, Schaeffer insists, he still knows all too well.

Finally today, a pro-Trump demonstration in California over the weekend ends with a counter-demonstrator being repeatedly beaten with a "Make American Great Again" sign, and the pipeline oil spill reported last December in North Dakota, not far from the site of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, turns out to have been at least three time larger than originally reported...

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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...

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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...

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