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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, April 19, 2018
'Green News Report' 4/19/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Puerto Rico power knocked out again; Studies find Gulf Stream slowing down; New climate lawsuits for oil industry, Florida; PLUS: Earth Day 2018 focused on ending plastic pollution...
Previous GNRs: 4/17/18 - 4/12/18 - Archives...
'Dark Lord of Coal Country' Rising, GOP Panicking Before WV U.S. Senate Primary: 'BradCast' 4/18/18
Guest: Bob Kincaid; Also: McConnell says no, Mattis got Trumped, Kobach in contempt...
'Corrupt Intent':
'BradCast' 4/17/18
Guest: Former Asst. U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eliason on Trump, Cohen, Mueller and indicting a sitting President; Also: Slim support for tax cut falls, GOPers keep heading for the exits...
'Green News Report' 4/17/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Federal watchdogs find EPA violated law for embattled Admin Scott Pruitt; Senate confirms coal industry lobbyist for deputy EPA chief; PLUS: Google and Apple go 100% renewable...
Previous GNRs: 4/12/18 - 4/10/18 - Archives...
Trump's Unlawful, Evidence-Free 'Mission Accomplished': 'BradCast' 4/16/18
Congress acquiesces after second US attack on Syria; Also: Sean Hannity revealed as secret Michael Cohen client; Callers ring in...
Sunday Toons: 'One Raid Begets Another'
It didn't take long after Donald Trump's friend, business associate and personal lawyer was raided by the FBI for Trump to unleashes the missiles, as the cartoonists observe in PDiddie's latest collection...
As Trump Goes Ugly,
How Dems Can 'Fight Dirty'
to Win for the Country: 'BradCast' 4/13/18
Guest: Author David Faris on radically reform-ing 'long-term barriers to progressive power'...
Mattis: U.S. Lacks 'Actual Evidence' of Syrian Chemical Attack: 'BradCast' 4/12/18
Also: Clueless Trump now to rejoin TPP?; Sinclair continues to abuse public airwaves; And, why local news matters...
'Green News Report' 4/12/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Newly unearthed docs reveal Shell Oil knew for decades its products cause warming; Dems want Pruitt to resign; EPA docs undermine his claims; PLUS: Obama EPA chief speaks out...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/18 - 4/5/18 - Archives...
Long Cons: Trump's War; Ryan Quits; Shell Knew Too: 'BradCast' 4/11/18
Guest: Carroll Muffett of Center for International Environmental Law...
'Green News Report' 4/10/18
Scandals engulf EPA chief; Canadian pipeline in doubt; Keystone spill twice as big as reported; PLUS: MI okays Nestle groundwater grab, ends bottled water to Flint...
COHEN OFFICES RAIDED; Rick Scott to Run for Senate, While Blocking 1.5M from Rolls: 'BradCast' 4/9/18
Also: Man dies in Trump Tower blaze; Good news for voter registration news in MD, CA...
Sunday 'Lost Control of the Agenda' Toons
Trade wars, Pruitt, Stormy, the wall, the teachers, the guns, and all the other Trump agenda items now careening off the rails in PDiddie's latest toon collection...
Why Haspel's Nomination Matters to an American Whose Father Was Tortured in WWII: 'BradCast' 4/6/18
Guest: Ernest A. Canning; Also: GOP 'Green Party' dirty tricks in MT's U.S. Senate race...
Rising Up Against the Rightwing Takeover of Public Airwaves, Education, Lands and More: 'BradCast' 4/5/18
Some encouraging signs that Americans, even in 'red' states, have had just about enough...
'Green News Report' 4/5/18
Admin buries NOAA report; Trump trade war to hurt drillers; Interior to nix nat'l park fee hikes; PLUS: Oil CEO admitted, 20 yrs ago, fossil fuels cause climate change...
'First Genuinely Good Election for WI Progressives' in Years: 'BradCast' 4/4/18
Guest: John Nichols; Also: MO GOP wants paper ballots; PA wants more unverifiable voting; MLK, 50 years later...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
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...


Congress acquiesces after second US attack on war-torn sovereign nation; Also: Hannity revealed as secret Cohen client; Callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 4/16/2018 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Bill Maher quipped Friday night that the U.S. attack, with France and Britain, on Syria was code-named "Operation Desert Stormy", an attempt by Donald Trump to force his legal and ethical nightmares off the front pages. It didn't work. [Audio link to show follows below.]

On Sunday night, fired FBI Director James Comey described Trump as "morally unfit" for the Presidency in a prime-time ABC News interview, and on Monday, just before air today, Sean Hannity of Fox "News" was revealed in federal court to be a secret client of Trump's hush money payoff "fixer" Michael Cohen, and Cohen and Trump's motion to review documents seized in the raid on Cohen's office and residences last week was denied (for now) by the federal judge.

Nonetheless, before it's forgotten entirely in the fog of Trump Scandal, we focus mostly today on the fact that the pre-dawn bombing of Damascus by US and its allies, said to be in response to an alleged chemical attack by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against his own people a week earlier in Douma, was done without any actual hard evidence of a chemical attack or who was actually responsible for it. Trump's Secretary of Defense James Mattis admitted as much during Congressional hearings just one day before more than 100 cruise missiles were unleashed on supposedly chemical weapons-related facilities in Damascus. (No proof was offered to buttress the claim about those facilities either.)

Moreover, there is absolutely no legal authority whatsoever for Trump's attack --- either domestically or internationally --- despite various claims to the contrary. Shamefully, most of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats alike, have so far failed to demand accountability for the unconstitutional use of military force (even after threatening President Obama with impeachment when he wanted to launch a similar attack in response to an alleged Syrian chemical attack in 2013).

For his part, the hapless Trump, who mercilessly derided Obama for calling for Syrian airstrikes in 2013, took to Twitter on Saturday to echo George W. Bush's infamous appearance on a U.S. Aircraft Carrier in 2003 after the ill-fated invasion of Iraq, to declare "Mission Accomplished" in Syria.

Friday's unlawful US attack, as we also discuss today, is believed to have cost some $200 million. That could have paid for the replacement of all of Flint, MI's lead water pipes some four times over, as new studies reveal that reading proficiency levels for third-graders in Flint has plummeted in the wake of the lead drinking water contamination crisis. That continuing crisis came about after MI's Gov. Rick Snyder (R), following his election in 2010, ordered an Emergency Manager takeover of the city and a subsequent change to its water supply.

As one caller observed today, some poisoned children, like those in Syria apparently, seem to be a larger concern for the Trump Administration than others...no matter the evidence or lack thereof...

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

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Guest: Political scientist and author David Faris of Roosevelt University on radically reforming 'long-term structural barriers to progressive power'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/13/2018 6:41pm PT  

On one of the ugliest political days in recent memory (and they are likely to get still uglier --- and deadlier, as Trump launches a military attack against Syria moments ago), we fight our way on today's BradCast, out of the slime to look beyond the near horizon for how progressives can change structural impediments in our political system, just as soon as Democrats are able to regain majorities in both Congress and the White House. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

But first, we wade into the swamp long enough to cover Donald Trump's stunning pardon on Friday of former Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff Scooter Libby, a felon who was found guilty of having lied to federal investigators and obstructing justice after purposely leaking the highly classified identify of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame to the media during the run up to the Iraq War. That, as an enraged Trump took to Twitter on Friday to tar former Republican FBI Director James Comey as a "LEAKER & LIAR" and "slime ball" following the release of his new book.

But, as we strive today to look towards a brighter future somehow, we are joined by DAVID FARIS, political science professor at Roosevelt University and author of the new book out this week, It's Time to Fight Dirty: How Democrats Can Build a Lasting Majority in American Politics. Faris' book outlines a number of radical ideas for a progressive institutional restructuring of our democracy which, he argues, can and should all be carried out just as soon as Democrats regain control of the House, Senate and White House.

The "procedural proposals", as he describes them, include, among other things: statehood ("on Day 1") for Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico (and breaking California into several smaller states); transformation of our federal judiciary (by, among other things, doing away with lifetime tenures on the federal bench and a forced restoration of a Democratic majority on the Republican's stolen Supreme Court); and restructuring the U.S. House for proportional representation to help overcome the scourge of extreme partisan gerrymandering. All of which, Faris takes pains to note, can be done without the daunting task of amending the U.S. Constitution, and, as he argues, would be no more radical than ideas that Republicans have both been instituting for decades and plan to implement in the near future, unless they are prevented from doing so.

"Most of the ideas in this book I consider a process of rectifying existing injustices in our electoral system and our political processes, and then responding in kind to some of these Republicans escalations --- partly to convince the Republican Party that some of the things they are doing are deeply destructive, and that they will lead to retaliation," Faris tells me. "I think they are assuming things like holding a Supreme Court seat open for Neil Gorsuch will not get a reply from the opposition."

"Part of the purpose of the book," he continues, "is to outline a series of ideas that are actually the right thing to do. I don't consider them to be 'fighting dirty'. I think it will be perceived as fighting dirty, but I actually really believe in all these ideas as improving the long-term performance of our democracy overall."

Faris argues that "Democrats have to take some of these procedural issues and these electoral issues much more seriously. I think they need to take them as seriously as they take their policy proposals, and their intra-party battles over what the party's stance should be on certain issues. Because the reality is in national politics, in every election for the last twenty years, the Democrats have been fighting at a really significant disadvantage, due to things like felon disenfranchisement laws, like gerrymandering, like voter ID laws. And if they don't seriously rethink some of these things, they may come back to power in 2020, but they're going to kick it right back in 2022, or 2024, or 2026. Because these long-term structural barriers to progressive power are very poorly understood by the broader public. And, in all cases, they are an affront to the spirit of small-d 'democracy' as it should be practiced, and as it is practiced in most of the rest of the world."

I hope you'll tune in for the detailed discussion (and debate) on a number of Faris' fascinating proposals for reform on today's program --- and why it is that Democrats have shied away from them for too long --- before we then head back into Trump's swamp for a few more minutes at show's end.

Among those slimy stories to close out the week: The U.S. Senate confirms Andrew Wheeler as second in command to embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Wheeler was, until his nomination late last year, a very powerful coal industry lobbyist and will now take charge of the EPA if Pruitt is pushed out.

And, finally today, wealthy Trump and George W. Bush donor Elliot Broidy steps down as the RNC's deputy finance chair after revelations that he paid a Playboy playmate $1.6 million to keep quiet about an affair in which she was reportedly impregnated and had an abortion. The man who set up the hush money payoff for Broidy? Donald Trump's personal attorney and "fixer" Michael Cohen, whose office and residences were raided at the beginning of the week in relation to, among other things, virtually identical schemes to prevent adult film actress Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal from revealing their own affairs with Trump in the days just before the 2016 Presidential 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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Also: Clueless Trump now to rejoin TPP?; Sinclair continues to abuse public airwaves; And, why local news matters...
By Brad Friedman on 4/12/2018 6:29pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it's like deja vu all over again. But with a Commander-in-Chief who is completely clueless about any of it and powerful adversaries who claim they are prepared to shoot back. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The President of the United States has no idea what he's doing, and is simply making up policy from minute to minute, according to a Washington Post report last night, detailing how White House aides are forced to scramble each day to either explain Donald Trump's actions "or clean them up."

"There is no proactive strategic thinking," one staffer told the paper. Another senior administration official conceded that aides are often forced to "reverse-engineer a policy process to match whatever the President said" on any given day. That may be workable, sort of, when it comes to something like Trump's announcement today that, after years of bashing the Trans-Pacific Partnership and pulling the U.S. out of it shortly after taking office, he is now considering rejoining the TPP after all.

But when it comes to sending the U.S. to war, Trump's erratic behavior poses a very serious danger. To that end --- as Trump has flip-flopped over the past week between demanding the U.S. pull its troops out of Syria within 48 hours, to publicly warning Syria's main ally Russia to "get ready" for incoming missiles, to reversing positions yet again to declare a U.S. attack on the war-torn nation "could be very soon or not soon at all" --- his Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis was busy conceding to lawmakers in the U.S. House on Thursday that the Pentagon lacks evidence of the alleged chemical attack in over the weekend, reportedly carried out by the Syrian government against its own citizens in one of the last rebel-held areas near Damascus.

While noting that he "believe[s] there was a chemical attack," Mattis told lawmakers on Capitol Hill today "we're looking for the actual evidence" and admitted that even if inspectors from the international Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) get access to the site of the alleged attack, "we will not know who did it. They can only say that they found evidence or did not."

It's not the first time that Mattis has conceded we've attacked Syria in response to purported chemical attacks for which the U.S. had "no evidence".

Nonetheless, the media continue to report the weekend attack in Syria --- said to have killed more than 40 civilians with some form of poison gas --- as having been carried out by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Even as Mattis was admitting the lack of evidence the U.S. has to support the charge, NBC News was busy reporting breathlessly and unskeptically, in an eerie echo of the run-up to the U.S. war(s) against Iraq, on claims from two unnamed "U.S. officials" citing "blood and urine samples from last Saturday's deadly attack in Syria that have tested positive for chemical weapons." It's like deja vu all over again, but with a clueless President and powerful countries like Russia and Iran already having warned that they are prepared to retaliate against any attack against the Syrian government by the U.S. or its allies.

In not-entirely-unrelated news today, as Trump continues to lie about "voter fraud" in the 2016 election (and about everything else), an alarming new study from Politico finds that voters with less access to local news voted in larger numbers for Trump in 2016 than they did for Mitt Romney in 2012. At the same time, the study reveals, those with more access to such news sources voted in higher proportion for Hillary Clinton.

The findings come as the rightwing Sinclair Broadcasting Group, the nation's largest owner of local TV news outlets, attempts to receive FCC approval to buy up enough local stations to reach some 72% of American households. While public push-back against the effort builds, the pro-Trump broadcast behemoth is revealed to be using the public airwaves at their own currently-owned stations (and websites) to lie about the mounting criticism against their practices.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on Shell's recently revealed decades long knowledge that their products cause global warming, and the mountain of scandal that continues to engulf Trump's embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt...

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: Ernest A. Canning; Also: GOP 'Green Party' dirty tricks in MT's U.S. Senate race; And, the movement to repeal the 2nd Amendment...
By Brad Friedman on 4/6/2018 6:24pm PT  

On today's BradCast: GOP dirty tricks in Montana; why an alleged torturer should be imprisoned rather than promoted to CIA chief; and, abolishing the 2nd Amendment all together. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted this week that stealing a Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme Court was his crowning achievement after three decades in Congress. But he's not done packing the federal courts just yet for another generation, which underscores his urgency in trying to hang on to the GOP's thin majority in the U.S. Senate this November.

That may also help to explain the bizarre situation in Montana's U.S. Senate race, where the GOP appears to have ginned up a fake Green Party candidate who was previously on the state Republican Party's payroll, in hopes of siphoning votes away from Democratic Sen. Jon Tester in an otherwise very Trumpy state. (But did the Dems do something similar in supporting a Libertarian candidate for the U.S. Senate back in 2012, the last time Tester was on the ballot?)

Meanwhile, the Senate returns from their recess next week, and will soon begin confirmation hearings for a number of recent high-level Trump cabinet and executive agency nominees. Among them is Gina Haspel, the CIA's Deputy Director who has been tapped to take Mike Pompeo's spot as CIA chief (after Pompeo was nominated to become the new Sec. of State following Trump's firing of Rex Tillerson.)

Haspel, however, was the CIA's chief of a secret U.S. prison in Thailand following the 9/11 attacks, where a number of terror suspects were tortured in 2002, in violation of long-held international treaties, to which the U.S. has been a party, at least, since the days of Ronald Reagan. She also reportedly signed off on the destruction of the video-taped evidence that documented the horrific torture by the U.S. at that prison.

We're joined today by ERNEST A. CANNING, attorney and longtime BRAD BLOG legal analyst, for whom the matter of someone alleged to have overseen torture becoming the next CIA director is very personal.

Canning's father, as he detailed in a recent article, was imprisoned and waterboarded by the Japanese during WWII, before testifying against his torturers during the war crimes trials held by the Allies after the war. We discuss what happened to his father at the hands of the Japanese command of the notorious Bridge House prison, why the U.S. has long held torture to be a violation of international law, and how the Democrats' failure to demand accountability of Bush-era torturers has resulted in Haspel's nomination, rather than imprisonment.

He explains that while the Japanese general in charge of the notorious Shanghai prison "did not personally take part in my father's torture, he was sentenced to a life sentence under a principle called 'command responsibility'. He had command responsibility over the people who were carrying out torture in an agency that he was responsible for. And if you use that same principle of 'command responsibility', which remains viable under intentional law today, Gina Haspel should be in prison. She should not be coming before the Senate to be confirmed as the CIA's next director. And, I think it's a slap in the face of everybody who has ever undergone such horrific treatment that Donald Trump would nominate her."

(Also, just to lighten things up a bit, I also get Ernie's take on Trump's asinine and evidence-free reiteration in West Virginia on Thursday, that millions of fraudulent votes accounted for his 3 million vote loss to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 popular vote count.)

Finally, a federal judge in Massachusetts on Friday upheld the state's ban on military-style assault weapons. And we share some listener mail in response to retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens' op-ed last week, wherein he suggested that it's time to repeal the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution...

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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If Gina Haspel, Trump's nominee to lead CIA, were subjected to the same standards that were applied by the Allies after WWII to those who tortured my father, she would now be languishing in prison...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/2/2018 12:36pm PT  

Three years ago, in "Torture: A War Crime Then And Now", I described the legal principles that led to a conviction and life sentences of those who were responsible for my father's torture during WWII. I argued that, if applied now, the architects of the Bush/Cheney torture regime would be languishing in prison.

While it is troubling that none of those individuals were prosecuted for war crimes, it is beyond disturbing that President Donald J. Trump has seen fit to nominate Gina Haspel, the current Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, to be the CIA's next chief.

Given that Haspel not only oversaw torture at a CIA "black site" in Thailand but was also later involved in the destruction of videotaped evidence of CIA torture, such as the water-boarding of Abu Zubaydah 83 times in a single month, it seems appropriate to revisit several segments of that previous article, which had been initially published in response to a long, very well researched U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee report on U.S. torture...

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




Guest: FairVote's David Daley; Also: Maine's LePage calls federal judge 'imbecile'; Wisconsin's Walker finally agrees to court order on elections...
By Brad Friedman on 3/29/2018 6:15pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The GOP war on democracy and the judicial branch continue today, with a noteworthy lost battle in Wisconsin, an imbecilic turn of events in Maine, and a continuing hung jury in the U.S. Supreme Court. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First today, Austin's police chief finally describes the white evangelical American man who terrorized the city over the past month with a string of deadly package bombs as a "domestic terrorist". Yes, that actually qualifies as news these days.

Then, the nation's dumbest governor, Maine's Paul LePage (R), repeatedly berates a federal court judge as an "imbecile" for allowing a case brought by Maryland and Washington D.C. to move forward. The case charges that Donald Trump's continuing ownership of Trump International Hotel in D.C. is a violation of the U.S. Constitution's Emoluments Clause, barring gifts to the President from foreign or state governments. The "imbecile" judge in question that LePage decided to attack, found merely that plaintiffs have standing to proceed with their case.

In related GOPers-who-hate-the-rule-of-law news, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker finally decided to follow state law today, by scheduling special elections to fill two vacant state legislative seats in Republican districts, which he is terrified could flip to Democrats. After three different state judges each demanded he declare a date for elections by today, Walker and the Republicans in the state legislature appear to have given up their attempted scheme to call a special session of the legislature to change the law in order to undermine the orders of the courts. Their hope had been to leave those seats vacant --- and the voters in their districts unrepresented --- for more than a year. After deciding to do the right thing and follow state law, Walker remained outraged about it today.

Next up, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in another partisan gerrymandering case this week. Last October, speaking of Wisconsin, they heard arguments in Gill v. Whitford, a landmark case where a federal court tossed out all of the state legislative districts after finding them to be unlawfully gerrymandered by state Republicans in violation of the U.S. Constitution. This week, the SCOTUS Justices heard arguments in another redistricting case, Benisek v. Lamone, which focuses on a single U.S. House district in Maryland, held for years by Republicans, before Democrats gerrymandered it in their favor.

We're joined again today by FairVote's DAVID DALEY, who was as the Court for oral arguments in both cases. The author of RATF**KED: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy, explains the differences and similarities in the two SCOTUS cases (along with other recent rulings by both state and federal courts finding Republicans used unlawful partisan gerrymanders in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, in order to assure legislative majorities even when receiving far fewer votes than Democrats.)

Daley also shares his assessment, based on this week's oral arguments, as to whether there will be five Justices willing to finally end the scourge of extreme partisan gerrymanders. If they don't (as a number of others suggest) Daley warns this problem may not be fixed for at least another generation, as the Court's swing-vote, 81-year old Justice Anthony Kennedy, is rumored to be contemplating retirement at the end of the term in June.

"They are searching for a standard to measure [partisan gerrymandering], that this Court can apply, but also that future Courts can apply," Daley tells me. "If the courts do not solve this now, it's not only the last opportunity for the next generation, but the gloves will be off in 2020 in a really aggressive way. No matter what they do, if it is not a finding against partisan gerrymandering, it will essentially take off any guardrails for legislators of either party when this process comes back around" after the next Census.

Then, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with, as usual, mostly disturbing news --- but also some very good news for a group of natural gas pipeline protesters in Massachusetts, including the daughter of former Vice President Al Gore! (And, for those who may have missed it, here's Angie Coiro's BradCast interview with Gore last December, in which, among many other things worth listening to, he proudly discusses his daughter Karenna's arrest in the protest.)

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: NatSec journalist Marcy Wheeler; Also: Trump signs spending bill, lies about it, calls for unconstitutional line-item veto...
By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2018 6:37pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The Fox "News"-ification of Donald Trump's U.S. Government ramps way up with the terrifying late Thursday appointment of far-right neo-con, controversial former George W. Bush Administration official, and longtime Fox "News" contributor John Bolton as the President's third National Security Advisor. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Last week, national security journalist MARCY WHEELER of Emptywheel joined us to discuss the sudden firing of Sec. of State Rex Tillerson, and the move of wingnut CIA Director Mike Pompeo into Tillerson's role, with Pompeo's Deputy Director, Gina Haspel's nomination to become the next CIA Director. Haspel oversaw torture and the destruction of evidence of it while in charge of a secret overseas U.S. prison in 2002. But, unlike those positions, which require U.S. Senate confirmation, the President's National Security Advisor is a direct appointment, as Wheeler noted at the very end of the show last week, explaining that there would be nothing to prevent Bolton's appointment. If Trump wants Bolton as NSA, she chillingly warned, "he's in charge of nuking North Korea."

Well, sure enough, on Thursday, H.R. McMaster was pushed out as NSA and Bolton was named to replace him. So, Wheeler returns today discuss the many concerns --- from right, left and center --- about the dangerous new appointment of a man who strongly supported the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, arguing at the time that the role of the U.S. there, after removing Saddam's (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction, would be "fairly minimal". He is also long and loudly on record calling for similar first-strike U.S. aggression against both Iran and nuclear-armed North Korea.

As Iraq War veteran and chair of VoteVets Jon Solz warned in a statement upon the news: "Let there be no mistake – there is no war for regime change, anywhere, that John Bolton wasn’t for. He sees troops not as human beings, with families, but as expendable resources, in his real-life game of Risk." He added: "To the Trump voters out there we say: You were suckered. John Bolton and Mike Pompeo represent the neocon foreign policy that Donald Trump falsely said he was against."

Bolton, according to one former senior Bush Administration official "was by far the most dangerous man we had," adding that his hiring is "an invitation to war, perhaps nuclear war." Senior Bush Administration diplomat Richard Haass cautions: "This is the most perilous moment in modern American history." They aren't the only ones very panicked about the appointment, charging Bolton's appointment puts us "on the path to war."

Wheeler offers her own additional concerns about Bolton, citing the very curious, potentially "casus belli" timing on Friday morning of Justice Department indictments of nine Iranians said to have been sponsored by their government to hack and steal academic papers (not U.S. Government secrets!) from thousands of university professors around the world.

She also cites the observation of former Bush Administration attorney Matthew Waxman at Lawfare, as "the most frightening thing I've read" about Bolton's appointment.

Waxman, she explains, "worked with Bolton, and he basically says, unlike everybody else who has worked with Trump, Bolton is very, very, very bureaucratically competent, like Dick Cheney. We've been blessed so far --- if we can use that term --- in the Trump Administration, in that he keeps hiring incompetents. Or, even if they're competent, people who don't understand how government bureaucracy works. John Bolton was trained by the master, Dick Cheney. He knows how government bureaucracy works. He's a vindictive man, and he knows how to get the bureaucracy to do what he wants it to do. And that is, I think, the most terrifying part of John Bolton being named National Security Advisor."

We discuss why Defense Secretary James Mattis may now suddenly be the most important man in the world. And, in related Trump Foxification news, Wheeler also offers reason to be dubious about the reports that Fox "News" wingnut contributor Joe diGenova and his Fox "News" wingnut contributor wife, Victoria Toensing, will actually be joining Trump's personal legal team dealing with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

Other related stuff covered today: Trump signs the massive $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill passed by Congress to keep the government open as of midnight Friday, after pretending to threaten to veto the 2,200-page bill just hours before signing it as is --- and then lying about it. (He also seems unaware that a Presidential line-item veto he called for today was long ago found unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.); A former Fox "News" anchor with no government or foreign policy experience has been quietly promoted to become the 4th highest ranking diplomat at the U.S. State Department; One longtime Fox "News" military analyst finally quits after ten years, charging that Trump's favorite "news" outlet is now "a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration."; And, in case you needed more proof for that charge, we've got an hilarious disturbing compilation of video clips comparing the way the outlet's anchors and contributors (including Bolton!)blasted the nation of Barack Obama meeting Kim Jong Un face-to-face some years ago, versus Trump's plans to actually do so in May...

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Guest: Journalist Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza on her suit against Trump: Also: Another bomb in TX; Another school shooting in MD; Another storm in the Northeast...
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2018 6:24pm PT  

On today's BradCast: What happens when the President of the United States blocks you on Twitter? How about when the President blocks a journalist? Does that violate an American's First Amendment free speech rights or Constitutional protections granted to the press? Our guest today thinks so, and is one of seven plaintiffs now suing Donald J. Trump in federal court for having blocked them on the social media platform from viewing or replying to his tweets or participating in discussion about them on the site. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today, a few breaking news items, beginning with the fifth package bomb to explode in Texas this month, as an apparent "serial bomber" continues to terrorize the Austin community in what may be a deadly spree targeting minorities in the area. Today, Donald Trump and his White House finally made their very first comments on the bombings, that have, so far, killed two and seriously injured several others.

Then, there was another school shooting today, the 17th since the beginning of the year, this time at a high school in Maryland where, just last week, many of its students participated in a national walkout to demand reform of our nation's gun laws. The shooter in today's incident is now dead after a school resource officer fired on him (though it remains unclear if the 17-year old student shot himself and if one of the victims may have been shot by the officer.) The two student victims, a 16-year old female and 14-year old male remain in the hospital. The girl is reportedly in critical condition.

But, we also have some encouraging news on that front out of Florida, where a recent gun safety reform package was adopted by the state in the wake of the Parkland, FL massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The new measure allows, among other things, law enforcement officials with a court order to temporarily seize weaponry from those judged to be a threat to themselves or others. The first such court order was granted last week in Broward County, resulting in four firearms and 267 rounds of ammo being taken from a 56-year old man who, under a separate state law, was involuntarily institutionalized by police after what the judge described as a series of delusional episodes by the man. Naturally, right-wingers are both freaking out about it and not informing their audience about why those steps were actually taken.

Next: My guest today, REBECCA BUCKWALTER-POZA, judicial affairs editor at Daily Kos and a contributor to Democracy Journal, is one of seven plaintiffs now suing Donald J. Trump in federal court for having blocked them on Twitter from viewing or replying to his tweets or participating in discussion about them on the site. The attorney and journalist turned plaintiff joins us today to discuss her lawsuit and the recent hearing in federal court on the landmark case.

As Buckwalter-Poza, who is still blocked by Trump on the social media platform, explains: "It turns out the President really doesn't like it when you suggest that Russia was involved in the 2016 election. He tweeted something about having won the White House, and I all I did was quote that and say, 'To be fair, you didn't win it --- Russia won it for you.'" She says there were "no obscenities, no threats, absolutely nothing more than a reference to Russia's involvement in the election."

As part of its defense case, the U.S. Department of Justice (yes, we, the tax-payers, are footing the bill to defend Trump in this case!) has admitted that plaintiffs were blocked for no other reason than they were critical of the President. "They've conceded that it's 'viewpoint discrimination', which is the legal term for when you are, in this case, blocking someone from Twitter because you don't like what they're saying. There's no other justification. It's just the content. It's a criticism. That definitely violates my First Amendment rights," she argues.

Explaining how she sees those rights as being violated, Buckwalter-Poza tells me: "As a journalist, there's the immediate fact of not being able to follow Trump, not being able to engage other people, not being able to respond. To put it into First Amendment terms, though, I have a right to be part of this public forum, to engage other people, and to have my point of view be heard. And I have a right to try and catch the President's attention. Unfortunately, in this case I did, but his response was to block me instead of to respond."

I can attest to the difficulties in covering stories when the focus of the story blocks you on Twitter, as I reported last week regarding recent false comments about torture made by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who now apparently blocks me on Twitter for reasons unknown, and an incident at the end of last year which resulted in Alabama's Sec. of State John Merrill blocking me as well, after I politely corrected [PDF] his inaccurate statements about the state's computerized vote tabulation systems.

After a recent hearing with an apparently very well-informed federal judge, Buckwalter-Poza says the case could now result in a settlement. But that still remains to be seen.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on the first day of spring, as extreme winter weather continues to pummel the nation, including with what could be a fifth back-to-back Nor'easter for the East Coast over the weekend (they are currently facing their fourth), and as the Trump Administration continues to make "climate change" disappear, even from FEMA's natural disaster recovery plans...

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CIA nominee oversaw unlawful waterboarding, destruction of evidence at U.S. secret prison; Also: Trump brags about lying to allies; More good 2018 news for Dems; Rep. Louise Slaughter RIP...
By Brad Friedman on 3/16/2018 6:16pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Don't be confused. Donald Trump has vowed "to bring back waterboarding and a hell of a lot worse", and he has now nominated someone to become CIA Director who has actually overseen such torture. [Audio link to show follows below.]

A noteworthy correction published by ProPublica on Thursday night, to an article they published last year, does not change the fact that Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel, Trump's new nominee to become the next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, personally oversaw the torture of U.S. held prisoners at a secret prison ("black site") in Thailand in 2002, and then directed the destruction of evidence documenting the torture.

To be clear, ProPublica (and others) are standing by their reporting that Haspel ran the prison in question during the torture of terror suspect Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who the U.S. has admitted to torturing by waterboarding him three times at the secret prison. She also reportedly suggested the method used, an industrial shredder, to permanently destroy the video-taped evidence of both his torture and the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah.

Those acts are impermissible under several different torture conventions to which the U.S. --- under the negotiation and urging of no less than President Ronald Reagan --- is a party, and European prosecutors are now reportedly investigating whether Haspel must be arrested for war crimes if she arrives anywhere on European soil.

All of that, as her nomination has returned U.S. torture to an issue of "debate" under this President, who promised, during his 2016 campaign, to "bring back" torture. Of course, leading the way is Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), daughter of the Vice President who set the standard for blatantly lying about modern day U.S. torture following the 9/11 attacks. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), after taking some heat for suggesting she might vote for Haspel's promotion, is now calling for the declassification of documents detailing Haspel's role in these matters, in advance of U.S. Senate confirmation hearings.

Also today, news of Special Counsel Robert Mueller nearing what Trump has described as a 'red line' in his investigation, and growing concerns about what Trump's response to that may soon be. And, a few thoughts on the remarkable matter of the President of the United States bragging to donors this week of how he simply made stuff up while speaking to the Prime Minister of Canada, one of our closest allies and trading partners, about the U.S. trade surplus we have them (which Trump says he described as a "deficit", even though he proudly admits he had no idea.)

Then, very sad news today on the sudden loss of 88-year old progressive Democratic U.S. House "giant" Rep. Louise Slaughter of New York; Some brighter 2018 midterm news for Democrats from the Cook Political Report; and, finally, Republicans are having such a difficult time finding candidates to run for office in Nevada that they are now offering to pay them --- anyone --- to do so...

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Guest: Bartlett Naylor, former U.S. Senate Banking Comm. investigator; Also: New Russia sanctions, FL bridge collapse, TX chemical explosion...
By Brad Friedman on 3/15/2018 6:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Why in the world did 16 U.S. Senate Democrats vote in favor of gutting central provisions of the Dodd-Frank banking reform bill, as originally put in place by Congress after the 2008 global financial meltdown to avoid another such catastrophe? That and many other disasters covered on today's show. [Audio link is posted at end of article.]

Ironically enough, the new bank deregulation bill was passed on Wednesday with the votes of those Democrats and all of the Senate Republicans on the tenth anniversary of the 2008 collapse. We're joined today by the U.S. Senate Banking Committee's former chief investigator, BARTLETT NAYLOR, who is now Financial Policy Advocate for Public Citizen's Congress Watch division. He explains what this bill will do and how it allows for the same type of dangerous speculation by big Wall Street banks that led to the Great Recession ten years ago.

Naylor says the bill is "going to take the guardrails down" for banks that have less than $250 billion in assets. "This is a class of banks that collectively took some $50 billion of bailout money. A dozen of them have engaged in misconduct and have been sanctioned by regulators int he last three or four years. This class would have included Countrywide, [which] made so many bad loans that it toxified the entire industry. By taking their eyes off this class, it invites another financial calamity."

He also offers his thoughts as to why it is that those 16 Democrats appear so willing to do the bidding of the Big Bank lobby, even as many other Democrats, led by Senators Elizabeth Warren of MA and Sherrod Brown of OH, strongly opposed the measure. "I suspect it's about campaign contributions, but I don't know why any Senator who is up for re-election wants to tell his or her constituents that they're trying to help the banks," Naylor tells me. "They're not trying to help consumers, they're trying to help the banks."

"Labor unions, faith groups, civil rights groups, consumer advocacy groups such as ours," all oppose the bill. "The only people that are supporting this bill are bankers," he argues. Naylor says it could still be stopped before final passage while it is being reconciled with an even more draconian U.S. House version. Donald Trump campaigned on gutting the protections of the Dodd-Frank law, whose provisions remain very popular among voters, adding still more questions as to why those Dems are going along with it, even in an election year.

All of that comes as Trump confirms his appointment of rightwing TV economist Larry Kudlow as his new top economic adviser, despite the fact that Kudlow had insisted the economy was booming under George W. Bush --- ("There's no recession coming," Kudlow wrote at the time. "It's not going to happen.") --- during the very same month in which economists have since concluded the Great Recession actually began.

But, all of those stories, sadly, are not the only disasters to report on today's show. We also cover the horrific pedestrian bridge collapse in Miami and a deadly explosion at yet another chemical plant in Texas today.

And all of that came after the White House announced new sanctions today against Russia, related to allegations of interference in the 2016 election and also for what the Administration describes as a concerted hacking operation targeting critical U.S. infrastructure like the energy grid, water and aviation systems and other key elements of the U.S. economy.

The Kremlin quickly vowed retaliation today in response to the new sanctions. And, while the move suggests somewhat of an about-face for this Administration, there still remains no explanation for why the Dept. of Homeland Security --- as concerned about hacks to our infrastructure as they claim to --- have yet to forensically examine any of the nation's extremely vulnerable computerized voting and tabulation systems (or even count any of the ballots!) for evidence of manipulation during the 2016 Presidential election.

Finally today, after late breaking news that Donald Trump, Jr.'s wife Vanessa is reportedly filing for divorce, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report on, among other things, the nomination of Trump's CIA Director Mike Pompeo to become the nation's first climate science denying Secretary of State. Because everything is awesome!...

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Guest: National Security journalist Marcy Wheeler...
By Brad Friedman on 3/13/2018 6:01pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Trump's unending White House chaos appears to have morphed into Trump's White House purge of not-insane top officials, beginning with his Tuesday firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, via Tweet. [Audio link follow below.]

At the same time, Trump named rightwing former Congressman and Fox "News" Tea Party flunky turned CIA Director Mike Pompeo as his nominee to take over the role of the nation's top diplomat and Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel, who oversaw torture at so-called "black site" prisons during the George W. Bush presidency, to take over Pompeo's role as CIA chief.

We're joined today by national security and civil rights journalist MARCY WHEELER of emptywheel.net to discuss all of today's alarming developments. At the center of our conversation, after discussion of why Trump off-loaded Tillerson, is whether Pompeo and Haspel will even be able to make it through the confirmation process in the U.S. Senate at all at this point, and how the entire mess, once again, highlights the shameful failure by Congressional Democrats and former President Barack Obama to demand real accountability for the war criminals at the center of Bush's torture regime.

"When people talk about how we ended up with Donald Trump, this is the problem," Wheeler argues. "We have excused things like torture for so long that it's just created the opportunity for Donald Trump. Yes, those precedents really created the way for him."

Remarkably, as discussed today, even Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein --- who spent years heroically fighting the U.S. Intelligence agencies to expose their horrific torture practices --- seems prepared to approve Haspel, for some reason, as do the former heads of those agencies --- the very same folks who claim to oppose Trump and object to his response to allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

On Haspel, Wheeler warns: "She's terrible for two reasons. One is that she's a torturer, and not just a torturer but a particularly sadistic one. But the second one is that she orchestrated both a personal and agency cover-up. And so we should expect, with her as CIA Director, to have the CIA even less in control than it is now." Yes, Haspel also oversaw the CIA's destruction of their videotapes of torture sessions.

Hard to figure out who's more furious about it all, me or Wheeler, after years of warning about precisely this day.

On Pompeo, Wheeler says: "He is much closer to Trump's views on [Russia, North Korea and Iran]. Very importantly, especially on Iran. So I think if Pompeo is confirmed, I think the chances of us going to war with Iran are significantly higher."

And, just to make my day, she warns that, should National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster be replaced, as rumored, his replacement won't even have to struggle with Senate confirmation (a road, which she predicts, may be difficult for both Haspel and Pompeo, though more so for the latter.) If McMaster is replaced by John Bolton, as some have suggested, "he gets appointed, because it's not Senate confirmed. So If Trump wants him, he's in charge of nuking North Korea."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for some more thoughts on the removal of Tillerson (ironically enough, even though he previously served as CEO of ExxonMobil, he was decidedly not a climate change denier and actually supported the U.S. staying in the Paris Agreement) and for the latest Green News Report, in which the nation and planet continue to suffer from the perfidy of dishonest Republican climate change denialism...

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Also: Swamp things! White House, EPA grant ethics waivers to dozens of 'ex'-lobbyists to work on issues related to their corporate clients...
By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2018 6:00pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Donald Trump seems to believe he's the first U.S. President to have been invited by a North Korean leader for face-to-face talks. He's not. And he may not have even been officially invited at all. Not that any of that kept President Stable Genius from immediately accepting the invitation. [Audio link to show follows below.]

It's been another remarkable 24 hours, as Trump's White House appears to believe that his "maximum pressure campaign" against the North led to what he clearly saw as a breakthrough invitation from Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un to discuss "denuclearization" on the Korean Peninsula. But our own great leader appears to have failed to check with any of his own top diplomatic officials --- where he actually has any in place --- before quickly accepting the invitation without per-conditions and, as we began to learn late Friday, may not have actually been a formal invitation at all.

But, even if he wishes to believe his tough sanctions regime and blustery military threats of "fire and fury" over the past year have somehow led to progress with the North (which appears to have been moved, if at all, by outreach from South Korean President Moon Jae-in), it seems the Trump Administration has no actual strategy in place to push for the disarmament and necessary verification that has alluded many previous U.S. Presidents who were wise enough to decline such invitations.

That may be why the Administration, on Friday, appeared to begin backing away from their Thursday night commitment to meet Kim...only to unback away a few minutes later.

So, who knows what will happen? In truth, nobody does, including (perhaps, especially) the President of the United States, who is making all of this shit up as he goes.

All of that said, reported and discussed on today's program, I also explain why I believe that a face-to-face Trump meeting with Kim would be a very good thing for all of us --- no matter how good or bad any deal that may or may not come out of it actually is.

Also today: The swamp is decidedly not only not being drained by Donald Trump, it's being quickly filled with more swamp dwellers than ever before. New reports from the Associated Press reveal that the White House Counsel has waived ethics requirements for dozens of top White House and executive agency appointees to work on issues directly related to corporate clients they very recently lobbied for or represented as attorneys. Some have even been granted permission to continue working for previous companies even while they now officially work for the federal government at the very same time! The spate of ethics waivers, issued by White House Counsel Don McGahn and top EPA attorneys, among others, have been sparse in explanation, while some have even been redacted before being shared with Congressional lawmakers attempting to oversee the executive branch. Yes, seriously...

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Guest: David Roberts of Vox; Also: Trump's terrible tariffs; Good news for voters in WA and CA; U.S. Senators query U.S. voting system vendors...
By Brad Friedman on 3/8/2018 6:09pm PT  

On today's BradCast, so many great cons to debunk, so little time. But we've actually got some good news for voters today as well. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

First up today, Trump unleashes his massive and wildly unpopular --- and, yes, job-killing --- new taxes on imported steel and aluminum.

Then, some voting news, most of it good. The state of Washington is the ninth state in the union to adopt automatic voter registration, and a federal court has ruled that California must inform Vote-by-Mail voters before their ballots are tossed out when election officials decide that the signature on the ballot doesn't match the one on the voter's registration form. According to the ACLU's lawsuit, as many as 45,000 voters in the state were disenfranchised, without their knowledge, thanks to California's horrible practice, carried out by the whim of officials who are anything but handwriting experts.

Meanwhile, two Democratic U.S. senators have sent a letter to the nation's top three election vendors, ES&S, Dominion, and Hart Intercivic, asking if they have shared the source code from their computerized voting and tabulation systems with Russia. We discuss what this actually means and doesn't. (For example: No, it's not necessary for Russia or anybody else, including elections officials, to have access or familiarity with proprietary source code from voting and tabulating systems in order to manipulate computer-tallied elections!) We also call out Reuters for continuing to spread the evidence-free claim in their report on this that "voting machines were not directly affected" by meddling during the 2016 election.

Next, we're joined by Vox.com's environment and politics writer DAVID ROBERTS to discuss a new report [PDF] released by the Trump Administration's own Office of Management and Budget(!) which, as he writes, "demolishes the GOP’s deregulatory claims." In short, it finds that benefits to the public of federal regulations far outstrip their costs in pretty much every imaginable way.

The aggregate costs of major federal regulations (those with an impact of $100 million or more) between 2006 and 2016, according to the annually mandated report released late on a Friday night for some reason, "were somewhere between $59 and $88 billion. And the aggregate benefits were somewhere between $219 and $695 billion," says Roberts. "So, even if you take the highest possible estimate of costs, and the lowest possible estimate of benefits, the benefits are still well over double what the costs were, in the most conservative analysis."

While Donald Trump has attempted to cut hundreds of rules and regulations across federal agencies --- repeatedly boasting about doing away with a record number of "job-killing regulations" and bureaucratic red-tape --- the fact is, as his own OMB (headed up by the far-right, Tea Party, regulation-hating Mick Mulvaney!) detailed in their report, those regulations do not "kill jobs" or cost the government money. In fact, killing those rules costs the government far more, particularly the environmental rules being radically gutted by this Administration.

But, as Roberts argues, the "job-killing" mantra has been so often repeated by Republicans since the days of Ronald Reagan --- and gone largely unchallenged by corporate media --- much of the public now simply accepts those false assertions as reality.

"Just to be clear, we've known this about federal regulations for a long time," Roberts notes. "These things have been subjected to cost-benefit analysis out the wazoo for years and years. Not only by the federal government, but by outside analysts. They all more or less converge on this same answer, which is that the public health and social and employment benefits of these things wildly outweigh the costs, and have for years."

"The reason Republicans hate this is because, when you see it in aggregate like this, it's almost enough to convince you that government can be an agent of good, that it can improve public health and welfare while still maintaining economic growth."

"It's revealing, I think, that this is treated as a revelation," he tells me. "It ought to be commonplace by now. It's the consensus of the experts. We just don't accept it, because Republicans, just through the sheer weight of repetition, have been saying 'job-killing regulations', 'burdensome regulations', etc., etc., for so long, that that's just sort of baked into the cake as one side of the debate, even though there's no support for it. There's no analysis that supports that."

We discuss why that is and who actually benefits from the GOP's great con. (Hint: It isn't the bulk of the folks who voted for Donald Trump!) Robert's also goes on to argue why he believes that Democrats are at least partly to blame for this con having taken such a death grip on the American conscience as self-defeating "conventional wisdom" over the past several decades.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report for yet another demonstration of how the decades-long scam to gut regulations continues to threaten the nation and the world...

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Guest: Nuclear policy analyst Stephen Schwartz; Also: Top WH economist quits; Clueless Trump calls for 'paper backup' to protect 2018 elections...
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2018 6:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Chaos Presidency continues apace, as do the nuclear threats, despite a potential thaw of tensions on the Korean Peninsula today. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

First up, another top White House official, top economic advisor Gary Cohn, has had enough. He announced his resignation late on Tuesday in response to Trump vowing to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum that virtually everyone in the country and world has come out in opposition to.

At the same time, as we also discuss today, Donald Trump makes clear that he has no actual plans to "counteract" interference of the 2018 and 2020 elections, though he managed to say the words "paper backup" out-loud during a press appearance today, as if to indicate he knew anything about how easily computerized election results can be manipulated (presuming he cares).

Meanwhile, after meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, officials in South Korea announced plans for face-to-face talks between the leaders of the both countries, along with an easing of tensions and the possibility of direct talks between Pyongyang and Washington D.C. --- unless Trump blows it. The potentially encouraging news on the Korean Peninsula comes just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a number of new, high-tech nuclear weapons which he says his nation has now developed in response to so-called U.S. missile defense systems deployed near Russia's border and Trump's own efforts to greatly expand the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Longtime nuclear policy analyst STEPHEN SCHWARTZ of Middlebury Institute of International Studies, joins us to help explain what's actually going on, what isn't, and why all of it is happening in the first place in both potential conflicts and/or nuclear standoffs..

“Winston Churchill once said that 'It's better to jaw-jaw than war-war’. And I think that's probably the first takeaway from today's news” out of Korea, says Schwartz, noting “the good news is we are talking about the possibility of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, and we're not talking about lobbing nuclear weapons in both directions.” But, while he says he is “cautiously optimistic,” he believes talks between NK and Trump’s Administration are not likely to go anywhere. The former longtime Executive Director and Publisher of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (keepers of the infamous “Doomsday Clock”) reminds us of similar agreements with NK in the past --- and how our previous Republican President, George W. Bush, (No, you don't "look pretty good" now, George) helped to scuttle them.

As to the dizzying array of new high-tech weaponry revealed by Putin in Moscow late last week, Schwartz believes “it’s sort of less than meets the eye,” and argues much of the show “was for domestic political consumption” in advance of Russian’s Presidential election later this month. While the new weapons systems are, ostensibly, said to be a response to the deployment of U.S. defensive missiles, Schwartz contends those systems don’t actually work --- even if Russia believes they do.

The massive new Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) revealed by Putin, however, “is for real”, Schwartz says, adding: “It's worth pointing out that the New START agreement just went into effect officially last month. If Donald Trump does not choose to extend it, it will expire in three years, in 2021, and if it does, that means Russia can deploy as many nuclear ICBMs and submarines and bombers, without any constraint whatsoever, and completely overwhelm any missile defense system we have. And then we'd be truly off to the races.” To date, he notes, “Trump has said this is a bad deal and we're not going to do it.”

Finally, as if all of that doesn’t offer enough doom and gloom for ya, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as potential nuclear doomsday scenarios are matched only by our ongoing doomsday climate crisis...

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

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CA Dem joins 'BradCast' to tout new 'Woman and Climate' bill, much more!; Also: Rand Paul defines 'hypocrisy' in budget battle; Porter scandal reveals Trump, Kelly undermining national security at White House...
By Brad Friedman on 2/9/2018 6:43pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We're joined by progressive Democratic REP. BARBARA LEE of California, the only member of Congress, in either house, to vote against the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) after 9/11, calling it a blank check that would lead to endless war. As we now know, 17 years later, with the War in Afghanistan and many others still raging under the third President to cite the AUMF to justify military action anywhere in the world without Congressional oversight, she was, of course, correct. Along with continuing her fight to repeal that 2001 AUMF, this week Lee introduced a new bill regarding woman and climate change, which we discuss as well today. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first up, on another insanely busy program, we detail what happened on Thursday night and Friday morning when Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) single-handedly held up passage of the new, bi-partisan government spending bill, which includes up to $500 billion in new military and domestic spending, as well as disaster aid. In shutting down the government for the second time this year, for about seven hours, Paul described approval of the bill and increased deficit spending by his fellow Republicans to be the "the very definition of intellectual dishonesty [and] hypocrisy". That, after the intellectually dishonest and hypocritical Paul just voted in December, along with the entire Senate Republican caucus, for massive, unpaid-for tax cuts set to blow a $1.5 trillion hole in the national debt.

Then, late details on this week's newest scandal surrounding the resignation of White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter on Wednesday, following the public disclosure of his alleged violence against his two former wives. Among the new developments: Donald Trump's Chief of Staff John Kelly and other top White House officials reportedly knew about the charges long ago; Kelly has now said he'd be willing to resign over what happened, and several outlets are reporting that their remain "dozens" of White House staffers, some in very senior positions, still operating without full security clearance.

That suggests that many of them, like the President's son-in-law Jared Kushner, may never receive full security clearances, despite Trump and the GOP having run their entire Presidential campaign hypocritically (and falsely) charging that Hillary Clinton carelessly allowed classified information to be seen by those without proper security clearance. According to Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), a former White House Staff Secretary himself, describes this situation as "nuts", saying that Porter would have handled the nation's most highly classified secrets in his top Oval Office role. He believes an investigation is warranted to determine what both Kelly and Trump knew about the "eminently blackmailable" Porter and who gave him the okay to remain on, even after the FBI had determined he would not qualify for a full security clearance.

Next, we're joined by Congresswoman Lee, to detail her new "Woman and Climate Change Act of 2018" [PDF]. We discuss how women and girls around the world are "bearing the brunt in many ways", as the first and most affected victims of the dangerous effects of global warming and whether Republican members of the bi-partisan Women's Working Group may help in co-sponsoring this effort, despite "the climate deniers who are within the federal government running the show."

"Women are especially vulnerable to these changes in the environment," Lee explains. "We know women are the ones that are finding water, collecting food, caring for family members. And so now, more than ever, we need to focus on climate change as a whole, but also ways to empower women, as they are the most vulnerable people, and will be impacted most by these health epidemics, refuge crises, forced migration --- all the issues that we know women are disproportionately impacted by."

She also shares her opinion on the odds of Ivanka Trump, self-proclaimed women's champion, coming aboard this particular campaign. Lee, a former co-chair of the Progressive Caucus in the House, who now serves as Senior Democratic Whip, responds as to whether Democrats fought hard enough, during the recent government funding battle, to protect "Dreamers" facing imminent deportation as early as March 5, unless a legislative deal can be struck, and whether she believes House Speaker Paul Ryan will ever allow such a measure to be brought up for a vote. She urges Americans to keep contacting their members of Congress on both of these efforts.

"Listen, you have to stay optimistic. Otherwise we get stuck with their negativity and trying to take us back. The public has to be hopeful and has to work hard to get this done," she tells me.

Finally, Lee also shares her thoughts on the bi-partisan momentum in both the House and Senate for finally repealing (and replacing?) the 2001 AUMF. "Congress has been missing in action. We need to do our job, and we're not. But, believe you me, we are building support to do this," she insists. "Hold your elected officials accountable!"

We close today with a bit of listener mail in response to a recent story we covered on the record number of scientists now said to be running for office in 2018, and on the dangerous new effort by the Trump Administration place lifetime limits on Medicaid for the first time in the popular social safety net program's history...

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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