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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, October 22, 2017
Real News from the Land of Reality: 'BradCast' 10/20/17
And a thought or two on the toxic poison injected this week into our body politic by the President of the United States...
Trump's Reckless Disregard for Puerto Rican Lives is an Impeachable Offense
Ernest Canning makes the case for adding the President's woeful, deadly response in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria to the list...
Trump's Schizophrenia, Congress' Fresh 'Health Care Hell': 'BradCast' 10/19/17
Guest: TPM's Alice Ollstein from Capitol Hill; Also: Trump meets with P.R. Guv, gives himself a '10' on Maria response!...
'Green News Report' 10/17/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Alaska's ANWR on chopping block, again; Toxic ash from CA wildfires; US Virgin Islands w/o power, clean water; PLUS: Shell opens e-car charging network at gas stations -- in Britain...
Previous GNRs: 10/12/17 - 10/10/17 - Archives...
DHS Misled on 2016 'Russian Hacks'
(Will They Get It Right in 2018?):
'BradCast' 10/18/17
Guest: Orange Cnty, CA Registrar Neal Kelley on new DHS 'Election Infrastructure' Council...
Impeachable Offenses: Trump's 'ObamaCare' Lie: 'BradCast' 10/17/17
Also, Guest: Pastor Michael McBride on the 'Cost for Peace vs. Death' and programs that stop gun violence...
'Green News Report' 10/17/17
Hurricane slams Ireland; Deadliest fire week in CA history; Puerto Ricans drinking water from toxic Superfund sites; Coal plants closed in TX; PLUS: Oil rig explodes in LA...
Something's Happening Here (Maybe): 'BradCast' 10/16/17
Guest: Heather Digby Parton on Trump rage, GOP 'cowardice'; Also: Deadly hurricane in Ireland(?!), fires in CA, war between US-armed allies in Iraq...
Sunday 'Just Undo It' Toons
'PDiddie' rounds up another week in American politics where words fail, but the political cartoonists do not...
'Chaos': 'BradCast' 10/13/2017
In less than 24 hours, Trump aggressively unleashes fresh havoc on the American health care system and foreign policy with Iran...
'Green News Report' 10/12/17
Historic, deadly firestorms grow in CA; Water-borne diseases in Puerto Rico; PLUS: Trump EPA makes way for controversial mine in world's most valuable fishery...
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: Gregory Elich of the Korea Policy Institute...
By Brad Friedman on 9/25/2017 6:12pm PT  

What had been insanely busy news weeks are now being compressed into insanely busy news weekends, apparently. [Audio link to the complete show follows below.]

So, today on The BradCast, we do some serious triage to try and highlight the news of recent days that folks need to focus on, even as much of the corporate media is otherwise fixated on Donald Trump's obnoxious comments about NFL owners and players, who he described on Friday as "sons of bitches" for choosing to exercise their First Amendment rights of free speech, instead of standing for the National Anthem the way Donald Trump wants them to.

In fact, as we discuss today, Trump's profane attacks on those players who peacefully protest against racialized violence by members of law enforcement across the country, by taking a knee during the anthem, is little more than part of his latest effort to feed the "chaos addiction" that seems to rule this President, along with his hope of dividing Americans by forcing them to choose sides in whatever may be Trump's latest counterproductive fixation.

At the same time, of far greater immediate importance than another Trump Twitter fit, is the latest church shooting massacre near Nashville over the weekend and the quickly escalating humanitarian crisis for 3.5 million American citizens still without power (and facing other extreme hardships) across Puerto Rico, a full week after Hurricane Maria devastated the U.S. territory. We also cover U.S. Senate Republicans' last ditch attempt to gut health care for millions by repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCAre") before their ability to do so with only 50 votes in the Senate is over by the end of this week. On that, we've got some encouraging breaking news by show's end today.

Then, as Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un continue their dangerous and escalting war of words following Trump's unprecedented threat at the U.N. General Assembly last week to "totally destroy" their country, we're joined by GREGORY ELICH, of the Korea Policy Institute's Advisory Board, to discuss the real life consequences, already under way, on the people of North Korea, thanks to Trump's increasing economic sanctions against them.

In response to the North Korean Foreign Minister's threat today to shoot down U.S. war planes like the ones flown in a show of force by the U.S. off the Korean Peninsula over the weekend, Elich explains: "If you look back to the 1950-53 Korean War, US bombers obliterated every single town and city in North Korea. There wasn't a single building left standing. So this is sending a message to North Korea that the U.S. would consider repeating the experience of carpet-bombing every city. So, obviously the North Koreans are going to react emotionally to such a an action."

Elich, whose latest CounterPunch column details "Trump's War on the North Korean People", breaks down the latest in the ill-considered standoff between Trump and the isolated Asian nation, how it must eventually be resolved, and the high price already being exacted on its citizens, if not the military program Trump believes he is targeting.

"If the goal is to denuclearize North Korea, then of course it will have no effect whatsoever except to encourage North Korea to accelerate its efforts," he tells me. "But if the goal is to impose economic hardship on the population of North Korea, then it is quite likely that it will work in the long run."

Elich goes on to detail why he believes the U.S. attempt to force "denuclearlization" on the North through saber rattling and economic sanctions amounts to what he calls "an international protection racket", "gangsterism as foreign policy" and "the weaponization of food." All of that, as millions stand to suffer in both Asia and the U.S., thanks to Trump's continuing addition to chaos in the U.S. and, apparently now, around the globe...

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

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

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

Among the many stories covered on today program:

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

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

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

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Guest: Disaster historian Dr. Scott Knowles of Drexel University...
By Brad Friedman on 9/11/2017 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The latest on our nation's quickly piling up megadisasters, what we need to do about them, what we should have done long ago, and why we haven't. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

First up today: A quick overview of Irma's disastrous weekend course as a massive and deadly hurricane which lashed the entire state of Florida. Now, disaster recovery is under way as power remains out for millions, and the storm continues wreaking havoc in that state, as well as Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and elsewhere as a dangerous tropical storm.

This latest storm has been playing out on the heels of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana along with a number of other contemporaneous and ongoing natural disasters. So, naturally, Donald Trump over the weekend called for "speeding up" massive tax cuts that he and Republicans have long been promising. But, if taxes are slashed, who, and what, is going to pay for the likely-record disaster relief funding that will now be needed, not to mention the infrastructure upgrades that are long overdue in the storm areas, as well as across the U.S. --- particularly as we face a quickly changing climate?

We're joined today for a fascinating interview with DR. SCOTT KNOWLES, disaster historian (who knew there was such a thing?), at Drexel University's Center for Science, Technology and Science, to help put the costs of the one-two punch of Harvey and Irma into historical perspective, to discuss what lessons must be learned from those two record storms, what lessons we should have learned long ago and, frankly, why it is that we haven't learned those lessons by now, given what once was a robust U.S. government effort at disaster research and infrastructure management.

There is a lot of ground covered in my conversation with Knowles, author of The Disaster Experts: Mastering Risk in Modern America, today. Please give it a listen in full below. But, I'll quickly share just one or two of his thoughts to hopefully whet your appetite. Following massive deadly floods and fires in the 18th and 19th century, he explains, there was a largely successful effort to avoid those catastrophic and deadly events by local, state and federal officials in the world's wealthiest nation. That post-WWII effort, however, began to change in recent decades. And, with the worsening of our climate crisis, the "deferred maintenance" of our infrastructure and reduced environmental regulations, the still-prevalent notion that government needs to be scaled back in every way, couldn't have come at a worse time for the nation and the planet.

"We're able now more accurately to trace back the causes of these disasters to historical decisions that have been made since World War 2," Knowles explains. "Where we live, how we live, how we write our building codes, what we choose to spend our money on and not spend money on. Those are traceable historical pathways.

"One would have thought we could've had national standards for safety by now," he tells me. "I think this is the core of what we're really arguing about now. Can we make a national commitment to safety from disaster? If we can't, then I think we've really let down what Americans expect out of science, and government, and infrastructure and engineering, and all other things that we rely on every day."

As to climate change itself, and the need to act on the "settled science" that Republicans continue to ignore at our peril --- Trump's EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt recently said, that now is not the time to discuss such things --- Knowles argues: "These are the moments when people are attuned. This is when you have their attention. I don't think it's disrespectful to people who are suffering to raise the cause of their suffering into political light at these moments. In fact, I think it does them a service. And that's why so many of my colleagues who do this work do that"...

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

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Guest Host Angie Coiro w/ Sarah Jaffe on Labor; James Forman Jr, 'Locking Up Our Own' and Charlottesville...
By Angie Coiro on 9/1/2017 5:07pm PT  

On today's BradCast, guest hosted by me, Angie Coiro of In Deep, we start out with a round-up of headlines. Among the fun:

More confirmation of voter disenfranchisement in 21 states, apparently aided by Russian meddling.

From Politico, how Mick "The Knife" Mulvany used Donald Trump's ignorance of exactly what Social Security is to get him to propose Social Security cuts.

Two more cases of police brutality; one cop already off scot-free, a second apparently a law unto himself.

Then - appropriate to the season - we spend time with Sarah Jaffe, author of Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt. She's got an all-encompassing update on labor issues around the US. Surprise: organized labor is at least as popular as our "president"! The paperback edition of her book is out in November.

Finally, excerpts from an hour long conversation with James Forman, Jr., author of Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America. We touch on black Americans' influence on the justice system, Charlottesville, the Confederate flag, and of course Trump.

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Also: Trump's pardon of Arpaio; North Korea fires missile over Japan...
By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2017 6:04pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the years of ignored warnings in Houston, as the devastation continues, and what Trump did as the storm came ashore, threatened millions of Americans. [Audio link to show follows below.]

As unprecedented rains from Hurricane Harvey continue to overwhelm Houston, Texas and surrounding areas with as much as 50 inches of catastrophic flooding, the storm is now moving slowly back into the Gulf of Mexico, where it may regain strength for a second landfall on the Texas/Louisiana border. Rainfall is likely to double between now and the end of the week.

My producer and Green News Report co-host, Desi Doyen, a Texas native, joins me to discuss why evacuation orders weren't issued for Houston, before we go on to review the years of warnings about this very type of event amid the recent population boom in Harris County (Houston), the nation's 3rd most populous county.

As it turns out --- as revealed in an excellent and detailed investigative report published by The Texas Tribune and Pro Publica late last year --- the County's 18-year flood manager aggressively dismissed those warnings for years and marginalized the scientists repeatedly offering them. All, while denying the threat of over-development and destruction of flood-mitigating wetlands, poor (and poorly enforced) flood mitigation regulations, and the ever-increasing devastation of such storms due to climate change.

Also today: the "uncharted territory" of the President of the United States issuing a pardon to notorious Maricopa County (Phoenix) Sheriff Joe Arpaio --- even as the Category 4 hurricane was bearing down on Houston late Friday night --- after Arpaio was convicted for contempt of federal court orders. Arpaio had, for years, unlawfully and unconstitutionally profiled Latino-looking residents in defiance of the Court. But much of what else he did during his reign of terror as Sheriff was far worse than that, as the Phoenix New Times had long reported, and as we also detail today. Even more troubling, however, is the intended message of Trump's pardon to both law enforcement officials, the federal judiciary and the Constitution itself.

And, as if all of that isn't enough, as we took to the air today, North Korea reportedly fired a missile that passed over northern Japan. It's another harrowing show today as the wheels continue to come off the world...

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: Author, journalist David Dayen on the Democratic Party's 'quietly radical' 'Better Deal' plan and much more...
By Brad Friedman on 8/21/2017 5:57pm PT  

For a few blessed moments on Monday, the peoples of the United States set politics aside, for the most part, to look skyward, toward the first continent-wide total solar eclipse in the U.S. since 1918. But the welcome distraction from politics in the madness of the Trump Era didn't last long, as reflected on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

More and more top Republicans and Trump allies continue to publicly distance themselves from this President, following the past tumultuous month of his Presidency (breathlessly summarized today, courtesy of CNN's Brook Baldwin), as capped by his defiant defense last week of the white supremacist rally that turned deadly in Charlottesville.

Democrats are now reportedly beginning to salivate at the idea that a wave election could be ahead for them in 2018, in which they re-gain control of the U.S. House. But is that hope a realistic one? And is their new "Better Deal" plan to capture the majority, focusing on populist economic issues, enough to get them there?

We're joined today by financial author and journalist DAVID DAYEN of The Nation and The Intercept (among other places) to discuss the Democratic Party's plan for rebuilding with new populist regulatory agencies and oversight, which Dayen describes as "quietly radical".

"I don't have high expectations for Democratic campaign plans," he tells me. "But what I will say is that all of the things they've put out thus far all really boil down to one phrase, and that's Fighting Corporate Power."

He details how, based on the popularity of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), created during the Obama Administration with Elizabeth Warren to fight for consumers rights, Democrats have a host of new oversight organizations that they hope to put in place, in what Dayen describes as the most expansive addition of federal agencies since FDR's Depression-era "New Deal". But, he warns, "credibility is the issue for Democrats --- whether they're going to follow through on this 'people vs. the powerful' rhetoric that they sometimes try to bring up to win elections."

We discuss that, as well as the debate on the Democratic/progressive side of the aisle between so-called "identity politics" and economic populism, and what he says he should know about all of the business leaders seemingly abandoning Trump and his Presidential economic councils, which have been publicly disbanded in the wake of Charlottesville. Dayen tells me he "can't believe that people are being duped by [it]...All you have to do is look beyond these 'advisory boards' --- which are really nothing more than direct lobbying efforts --- to know that the lobbying has just gone underground!"

Also, Dayen explains the purported "trade war" with China that Trump's now-former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon was murmuring about on his way out the door last week...

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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Intra-party Republican disarray over health care repeal, Trump's trans ban, threats to replace AG, more | GUEST: Former Acting CBO Director Donald Marron on why GOP plan to gut the agency is 'a terrible idea'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/27/2017 6:51pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Trump's White House and the GOP Senate devolve into utter chaos. And a former CBO director joins us to explain why the Congressional Budget Office is so important. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Both Congress and the White House are, figuratively, exploding today, with unprecedented, intra-party, public food fights and disarray among Republicans that now seems to be breaking out in virtually every direction --- inside the U.S. Senate, inside the Trump Administration, not to mention between Congress and a number of Executive Branch agencies.

The U.S. Senate is in disarray as they try to pass a "skinny repeal" to the Affordable Care Act, a last gasp effort to pass something, anything, to call a "win" in the 7-year effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare. But a number of Senators are concerned that the effort which guts the requirement for individuals to buy health insurance, could be adopted as is in the U.S. House, sending premiums skyrocketing and the insurance market into a death spiral.

The White House is in disarray as Administration officials face down bipartisan outrage over Trump's surprise military transgender ban. Turns out, as we've since learned, he was actually trying to save funding for his border wall with Mexico (and other priorities) in exchange for spiking medical funding for trans members of the military, when he shocked lawmakers by announcing a complete ban, which is much more than those Rightwing Congressmembers had actually been lobbying for.

And, of course, there's the disarray that spans between a number of Executive agencies, the White House and Congress, as Senators hope to avert a full-blown Constitutional crisis by attempting to block Trump from firing his own Attorney General and appointing a replacement without Senate confirmation during the upcoming recess. And the Secretary of the Department of Interior threatens members of the Senate on behalf of the President, for not voting as the White House wishes on repealing health care for millions of Americans. Yes, the Secretary is actually threatening to protect the environment if the Senators don't play ball!

All of that without even delving into the wildly bizarre intra-White House disarray between Trump's new Communications Director and his own Chief of Staff!

Then we're joined by a former Acting Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) DONALD MARRON, now a Fellow with the Urban Institute, to discuss the recent attacks by Republicans on the office responsible for scoring legislation like health care reform. Such analyses by the CBO help to let both Congress and the American public know how much such schemes will cost in both tax-payer dollars and Americans losing access to health care.

Marron, who also served as Chief Economist on the President's Council of Economic Advisers under George W. Bush, says the recent attempts by the Congressional Freedom Caucus to gut the CBO and have the office's work replaced by outside private research institutions is "a terrible idea". He explains why, what the CBO actually does for Congress and the American people --- such as scoring some 600 pieces of legislation a year and privately advising members as they develop bills --- that most are not familiar with, and how the office was formed out of the budget battles during the Nixon years.

"The folks at CBO are accustomed to some background level of being beaten up on --- just as umpires and referees are used to it," Marron tells me, but "the level of enmity towards CBO by some circles today is quite extreme." He goes on to detail why outside groups --- his own Urban Institute was cited by the Freedom Caucus as one of those which could help replace the CBO --- cannot take the place of the Congressional agency. "If you're going to run an intelligent Congressional budget process, Congress really ought to have its own agency, producing its own numbers, that works directly for Congress, is part of Congress, and responds to the needs of Congress in ways that outside groups simply can't," he explains.

He also responds to critiques that CBO analyses have been inaccurate in the past and that the office, currently headed up by a conservative Republican appointed by a Republican Congress, is biased against Republican proposals. "From my point of view, the Congressional Budget Office is a real jewel in our government. It is a wonderful agency, filled with non-partisan professional staff whose job it is to give their best read to members of Congress about what the budget and economic implications will be of proposed policy."

Finally, as today's show closes, the U.S. Senate adopts a new sanctions package against Russia, Iran and North Korea, which now heads to the White House for the President's signature...or veto. And Kris Kobach, the GOP "voter fraud" fraudster heading up Trump's so-called "Election Integrity" Commission has court sanctions upheld against him, and receives another smack-down from another federal judge for having 'demonstrat[ed] a pattern' of 'deceptive conduct' and 'patently misleading representations' in the ACLU's lawsuit against his proof-of-citizenship voter registration restrictions as Kansas Sec. of State...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guest: RJ Eskow, Tom Nichols, Kelly Macias
GUEST HOST: ANGIE COIRO of IN DEEP Radio
By Angie Coiro on 7/7/2017 7:00pm PT  

On today's BradCast, guest hosted one last time by yours truly, Angie Coiro of In Deep with Angie Coiro.

Putin, Trump, and Tillerson climbed into the clubhouse today and pulled up the ladder, so no icky observers could get in. Angie reviews the already conflicting reports that emerged, when Donald Trump broke with tradition, bringing only the former CEO of Exxon-Mobile into his G20 convo with Vladimir Putin. Even their accounts of "confrontation" over election tampering conflict.

My guest Richard "RJ" Eskow, host of The Zero Hour, thinks Democrats are putting too many eggs in that latter basket, anyway. And he has very emphatic opinions about that New York Times opinion piece urging the Democratic Party to abandon progressives.

When it comes to Russia - or anything else, for that matter - you might find yourself confused by all those experts out there. That's probably because we've learned to conflate opinionators with actual experts. In an excerpt from In Deep, Tom Nichols, author of The Death of Expertise explains the decay of faith in people who actually know their stuff.

Finally, Kelly Macias, reporter with Daily Kos, parses some stories getting less attention this week: tenant marches on HUD, Texas as a scary barometer for the direction of the country, and how the noose has reemerged as a tool to terrorize African Americans...

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Guest: Igor Volsky of the Center for American Progress...
By Brad Friedman on 6/23/2017 6:37pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Donald Trump repeatedly promised not to cut Medicaid during his Presidential Campaign. During his Inauguration, he vowed to "end the American carnage". Now he's prepared to slash Medicaid under the GOP health care legislation, which is certain to create untold "American carnage" in its wake. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

Hospitals, doctors and other health care providers have been blasting the Senate Republicans' health care bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare", since the legislation, crafted in secret, was finally unveiled on Thursday. It has not aged well in the past 24 hours. That's for very good reason, as my guest today, IGOR VOLSKY, health care reform advocate, a Vice President at the Center for American Progress, and co-host of the Thinking CAP podcast explains in detail.

Volsky, who we last spoke with during the Democrats' fight to enact Obamacare back in 2009 and 2010, explains how the GOP plan's cuts and restructuring of both the ACA's Medicaid expansion and the traditional, 52-year old Medicaid program will stifle or end medical care for massive numbers of children and elderly, not to mention the poor.

"Medicaid is a program that covers 74 million Americans," says Volsky. "It's not just lower income Americans --- who we usually, I think, think of when we talk about Medicaid --- 49% of all births are covered by Medicaid. 64% of all nursing home residents have Medicaid coverage. 76% of poor children, 39% of all children. So you're really talking 20% of Americans rely on Medicaid. The House bill cuts it by about $834 billion. The Senate bill is even worse. Because not only do they go after [Obamacare's] Medicaid expansion, but they also cap the [traditional Medicaid] program and change the way its funded by the federal government."

"It's really going after lower-income and middle-income Americans in a way that we've never seen before," he tells me. "They want to push those folks into private insurance. That's really the end goal --- to drown the program over time in the bathtub entirely."

But the GOP's scheme will also adversely affect those who receive health insurance via the Obamacare exchanges as well as via employers, while giving massive tax cuts to a tiny handful of very wealthy families in exchange.

"My favorite statistic is that for the 400 richest tax filers, they get a tax cut totaling --- are you ready for this? --- 2.8 billion dollars," Volsky explains. "You look at this bill, and it looks like Republicans don't think they'll ever have to face a fair election ever again." Hmmm...

We also discuss what you can do to help derail this deadly plan (among those things, call your Senators and otherwise check out the Center's TrumpCareToolkit.org for more info), and which Republican Senators may be in a position to block the scheme together.

Finally then, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with a bunch of news related to Trump's super-genius Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry and much more....

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Guest: Journalist David Dayen | Also: How to win young voters and the House Democratic caucus rift over impeachment...
By Brad Friedman on 6/13/2017 6:37pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the latest testimony you probably already know about, and the Republican/Trump schemes on banking regulations, infrastructure and healthcare that aren't receiving nearly as much media attention. [Audio link to show is posted at end of article.]

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in case you hadn't heard, testified before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee in open session on Tuesday, and pushed back strongly against what he described as the "secret innuendo" to smear him with the "appalling and detestable lie" that he colluded with Russia on behalf of Team Trump in any way. He said he did not violate his official recusal from the FBI's Trump/Russia investigation when he recommended that the President fire FBI Director James Comey, but then went on to refuse to answer a number of questions concerning his conversations with Trump, despite the fact that Trump has not invoked Executive Privilege for the conversations in question.

There were a number of heated exchanges with Democratic Senators on the Committee, including with one who accused Sessions of "obstructing" the Congressional investigation with his refusal to answer questions or provide a valid legal reason as to why. He also says that he is not aware whether there is a White House taping system that may have recorded Trump's one-on-one conversations with Comey, and that he has received no briefings as Attorney General on the allegations that Russian intelligence used cyberattacks to try and interfere in the 2016 elections.

We cover those hearings today, just completed before air time, before turning to a number of matters that have received far less attention by the media, with our guest DAVID DAYEN, author and prolific financial journalist for The Nation, New Republic, the Fiscal Times, The Intercept and elsewhere.

Among the topics we discuss: The stunning results of last week's UK elections and what it means for the UK, the US, and a what it may portend for a more progressive future for young voters in both countries ("The lesson is that you run on things that people can tangibly experience," says Dayen); The CHOICE Act ("A big ball of deregulation") passed by Republicans in the House last week to gut the modest banking regulations enacted in response to the 2007 global economic collapse (can it possibly pass in the Senate? And does the White House even want it to, given that they are already rolling back those same regulations on their own?); Trump's new scheme to invest in infrastructure, and how it's actually a very thinly veiled plan to privatize public assets, like the federal Air Traffic Control system ("Trump's plans for infrastructure are indistinguishable with privatization").

And finally today, more infighting among Democrats in Congress, as some members are the caucus move forward with a plan to impeach Donald Trump, as Dem leadership pushes back to kill, or at least slow down the process...

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And other things you've been distracted from by the Trump Circus...
By Brad Friedman on 6/9/2017 6:39pm PT  

We'll not be distracted by the Trump Circus (well, mostly), despite what he said in the Rose Garden and on Twitter today! On today's BradCast, just a little bit of Trump, but a whole lot of failed 'conservatism' from the American Heartland to Great Britain. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Thursday's elections in the UK resulted in disaster for Prime Minister Theresa May. Her Conservative Party took an absolute drubbing as young voters turned out to reject the conservative austerity agenda by casting a for change with the Labour Party's Jeremy Corbyn.

Back here in the U.S., hard evidence of the utter failure of "conservative" policies is very much on display if you bother (or know where) to look. Republican-run states like Kansas and Oklahoma are facing desperate budget shortfalls following years of tax cuts that neither boosted the economy nor increased government revenues, as promised. Cuts to essential services like health care and public education have been implemented in hopes of making up for failed GOP economics. Yes, the young, the sick, the poor and the elderly pay the price in the bargain, as usual.

But voters last November and legislators this week in Kansas, at least, are striking back at Gov. Sam Brownback by reversing his failed GOP austerity policies. Given what school kids in Oklahoma are now facing after years of budget shortfalls due to tax cuts and subsidies for the fossil fuel industry by the state's GOP legislature and aptly-named Governor Mary Fallin, voters in the Sooner State will --- hopefully sooner rather than later --- reject similarly failed hard-right policies and elected officials just as Kansas has finally begun to do.

Later this month, at least in one part of Georgia, voters may also send a similar message in the upcoming U.S. House Special Election in a very "red" district, where the young, first-time Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff is now said to be leading by 7 points, at least in one new poll, over Karen Handel, his "conservative" GOP establishment opponent. (She made the case against "conservatism" very nicely this week, when she said, during a debate, that she does "not believe in a livable wage", citing that as "the fundamental difference between a liberal and a conservative".)

Meanwhile, millionaire Greg Gianforte, the Trump "conservative" who managed to eke out a win in the U.S. House special election in Montana last week after body slamming a reporter the night before the election, will now plead guilty to misdemeanor assault in the matter after buying his way out of a civil suit.

Back at the D.C. White House Circus today, the day after his fired FBI Director James Comey's sworn testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Donald Trump accused him of lying and suggested again that the White House may have tapes to prove it. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees have finally asked for copies of those tapes...if they exist. And, as you were distracted, Republicans in the House were quietly passing a bill to roll back the Dodd-Frank big banking reforms enacted after the 2007 global economic collapse and, in the Senate, quietly paving the way to repeal Obamacare, no matter how many millions of Americans will lose their healthcare in the bargain.

Finally, with more news of failed "conservative" policies in both practice and at the polling place, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report, before we close with yet another U.S. Supreme Court rejection this past week of a massive racial gerrymandering scam in yet another "red" state...

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Guest: Former White House economic adviser Seth Hanlon | Also: Latest on Manchester Bombing, FBI Trump investigation, more...
By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2017 6:25pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Trump Administration introduces what economists --- on both the Right and Left --- are describing as a massive 2 trillion dollar accounting error (or, less generously, 'fraudulent' numbers) in their new budget proposal introduced today. And we get caught up on the latest late updates on yesterday's Manchester Bombing and the FBI's ongoing investigation of Team Trump. [Audio link follows below.]

As Trump continues his overseas trip, the White House released his Budget Policy plan in full, including some $1 trillion in cuts to social programs, billions of dollars of increases in defense spending and what they describe as deficit reduction measures over the next 10 years. The plan, if enacted, would deeply slash programs from Medicaid to Social Security Disability Insurance to food stamps to financial student aid to agricultural subsidies relied upon by an enormous number of Trump voters.

But, aside from those cruel cuts, as our guest today, former Obama Administration tax policy adviser Seth Hanlon explains, the budget includes a huge, $2 trillion accounting error. Actually, Hanlon described it last night in a Twitter rant as '[Bernie] Madoff-level accounting fraud...designed to fleece vulnerable people'. Others today, including conservative budget experts, also describe the gimmick Team Trump uses to hide the decline in revenue as fraudulent --- or "impossible magic math" --- in that it counts the same (questionable) claims for increased revenues from massive tax cuts twice! Once to pay for the $5.5 trillion in tax cuts themselves, and then again to pay for $2 trillion in revenue in the Trump budget.

As Hanlon details, it's quite a trick! An impossible one, in fact, which he doesn't believe to be an accident, describing it as a "$7.5 trillion lie."

"In their budget," he explains, "they just pretend that this $5.5 trillion in tax cuts does not exist. And then at the same time...they say that the economy is going to grow by a full percentage point every year, so the economy is going to grow by 3% a year...And because of that extra economic growth --- and there's not much basis to think there would be that growth --- that brings in an additional $2 trillion of revenue. So they include that extra $2 trillion of revenue in their budget, while at the same time not including...the tax cuts that are supposedly producing that magic growth that results in the $2 trillion."

Hanlon, now a Senior Fellow at Center for American Progress, previously served as special assistant to President Obama for economic policy at the White House National Economic Council, coordinating the Obama administration's tax policy. He calls the Trump scheme "a deliberate decision simply to wave a wand and take the entire $5.5 trillion cost of the tax cuts out of the budget," adding that he "can't find anybody who actually defends it," including so-called conservative deficit hawks. We also discuss the cruel nature of many of the cuts, despite its unlikeliness to get very far as written, even in the Republican controlled Congress.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with details on the "slash and burn" environmental aspects of the budget plan and for some good news out of Switzerland. (We'll take it!)

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

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Guest: Brendan Fischer of Campaign Legal Center...
By Brad Friedman on 5/4/2017 6:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast, House Republicans finally pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) --- a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ('ObamaCare') --- but at what cost? Also: Donald Trump signs a bill that pretends to protect religious liberties. But what does it really do? [Audio link to show follows below.]

It's difficult, if not impossible, to know the real cost of the Republicans' ACHA, since House Speaker Paul Ryan refused to allow the bill to be analyzed first by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office before forcing a vote in the House today. Instead, it was rammed through with a very narrow margin of all-Republican votes just hours after the final text was made available to members. That, as you'll recall, is exactly what Republicans used to pretend Democrats did during the 13-month process to pass ObamaCare in 2009 and 2010.

The costs, however, are likely to be enormous to the American public, if the bill gets through the Senate and is signed by the President, particularly to the poor, the elderly, the more than 25% of Americans with pre-existing conditions, and to those who found themselves filing bankruptcy due to medical expenses prior to the passage of ACA. The political cost to House Republicans, however, who left today for yet another 11-day recess, may be a whole different matter. The CBO predicted 24 million Americans would lose their health care coverage in the next decade under the GOP's failed plan six weeks ago. This version is likely to be much worse.

Also today, Donald Trump signed another one of his Executive Orders. This one pretends to counter the "religious discrimination" of the Johnson Amendment, a piece of otherwise almost 70 year old, non-controversial, bipartisan legislation originally signed by President Eisenhower, barring tax-exempt non-profit groups, like churches, from explicitly endorsing or opposing candidates for office. But what's the real point behind Trump's otherwise empty action today? And why is the religious Right so eager to see Trump "get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment," as he promised at the National Prayer Breakfast in February, just weeks after taking office?

Brendan Fischer, associate counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, joins us to explain this move that could ultimately result in allowing even more "dark money" to make its way into politics and elections. And, this time, while giving secret political funders a tax deduction for it in the bargain!

"We, as taxpayers, are subsidizing these groups, and we are not subsidizing these groups to offer wealthy donors a tax deduction for their secret political spending," Fischer explains. The Johnson Amendment, so-named for its original sponsor, then Sen. Lyndon Johnson, was enacted in response to a "dark money" attack against him during his 1954 reelection campaign by a non-profit, tax-exempt group.

While Presidential Executive Orders don't actually have the power to reverse legislation (whether this President understands that or not), Trump is pretending that his order will prevent the IRS from "targeting" religious institutions, as he and his evangelical allies claim to be the case, despite all evidence to the contrary.

"The Johnson Amendment is not targeting churches at all," says Fischer. "Because donors to these churches and charities get a tax deduction for their donations, 501(c)3's are prohibited from engaging in political activity. The reason that taxpayers are effectively subsidizing these groups is for their charitable, or religious or social welfare oriented activities, not for their political activities and partisan political engagement." But, of course, the religious Right would like to change that, and Trump appears more than willing to try and help.

The greater danger is that a provision to reverse the rarely-enforced Johnson Amendment could be slipped into upcoming legislation. Then, warns Fischer, churches and charities could potentially become what he describes as "super dark money groups" --- as if we don't already have enough problem with dark money in politics!

Finally: Fox "News" offers one more example today of the Right finding all new ways to pretend that they are victims. This time, if you believe Fox's fake news about a recent shooting, climate "skeptics" are becoming victims of those 'violent and dangerous' environmentalists...

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[Cross-posted from The BRAD BLOG...]




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