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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, November 19, 2017
Pelosi's Misguided Anti-Impeachment Calculus
When needed to prevent catastrophe and preserve the rule of law, as Ernest Canning argues, impeachment is both a necessity and a superior political strategy...
Of Pipelines, Tax Cuts, and Corrupt Trump Appointments: 'BradCast' 11/17/17
It's astonishing how many GOP policies, practices and nominees must be pushed through by force, scheming, lying and the breaking of norms and traditions...
Recall Effort for GA SoS After Election Disasters, 'Server Wipe': 'BradCast' 11/16/17
Guest: John Ziegler of 'Voice for All GA'; Also: Keystone Pipeline spill; House passes tax bill; Menendez mistrial in NJ; Moore tanking in AL...
'Green News Report' 11/16/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
AK's National Wildlife Refuge now one step closer to oil drilling; African-Americans bear brunt of fossil fuel pollution; PLUS: France to cover U.S. funding for U.N. climate science...
Previous GNRs: 11/14/17 - 11/9/17 - Archives...
Chilling Senate Hearing on Presidential Use of Nukes: 'BradCast' 11/15/17
Guest: Nuclear analyst Stephen Schwartz: Also: Dems win in OK; Moore madness in AL; Details on N. Cal shooting...
Ready to Step Up? It's 'National Run for Office Day'!: 'BradCast' 11/14/17
Guest: Ross Morales Rocketto of 'Run for Something'; Also: Another mass shooting at an elementary school...
'Green News Report' 11/14/17
US a bit schizophrenic at U.N. climate talks; Paris Agreement targets not nearly enough; Fossil fuel lobbyist approved for top EPA post; PR damages nearly $95B...
New Assault Claim Against Moore, More Trouble for GOP: 'BradCast' 11/13/17
Callers ring in on latest developments, allegations plaguing Alabama's 'conservative' 'Christian' U.S. Senate nom...
Moore Sunday Toons
Moore, Moore, Moore...How do ya like it? How do ya like it? Moore, Moore, Moore! And then still more in PDiddie's latest toon collection...
Real Moore News and More Real News: 'BradCast' 11/10/17
(And real news about fake news!) Also: Trump/Kobach Election Comm. sued by own Commissioner!...
'Green News Report' 11/9/17
US now alone on climate denial; Cities, states picking up slack; Now a 'Blue Wall' for climate action in West; PLUS: Ozone hole smallest ever, after global treaty...
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: Kait Sweeney of Progressive Change Campaign Committee...
By Brad Friedman on 6/30/2017 7:03pm PT  

Desi Doyen and I will be off from The BradCast next week. (Angie Coiro will be guest-hosting for us during our much-needed break.) But we sure are being sent away with a mess in this country --- and in the world --- before the July 4th holiday. Though we still manage to find a few rays of hope today nonetheless. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

Among the many stories covered on today's jam-packed BradCast...

  • After years of persistence by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), a powerful U.S. House committee finally votes to repeal the post-9/11 "Authorization for the Use of Military Force" which has been used and abused by Presidents from Bush to Obama to Trump to deploy U.S. troops and military action across the globe ever since. Can it pass in the rest of Congress? (Lee was the only member of the House or Senate to vote against the original Authorization in 2001.);
  • A new heat record for planet Earth may have just been recorded in Iran, amidst the Middle East's latest deadly heat wave, just as scientists have been warning for decades;
  • The U.S. Senate recesses for the 4th of July without Republicans coming up with a plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act that can earn 50 votes from their caucus. But a new scheme to repeal only is now being floated by a GOP Senator and it could make things very difficult for Democratic ObamaCare supporters when they return;
  • KAIT SWEENEY, Press Secretary at the grassroots Progressive Change Campaign Committee joins us to discuss their efforts and recommendations over the holiday recess to convince vulnerable GOP Senators to oppose the GOP plan to replace Obamacare by slashing Medicaid in exchange for billions in tax cuts to the rich. (And how to convince Democrats to push for a single-payer "Medicare-for-All" style system or, at least, a public insurance or Medicare buy-in option. "We are not going to go backwards," she vows.);
  • Dept. of Homeland Security admits, yet again, that they have done no forensic investigation of any electronic voting machines or tabulators anywhere in the country since the election, despite their repeated allegations that Russia attempted to manipulate the 2016 President race and despite the extraordinary vulnerability of our easily-hacked, oft-failed computerized voting and counting systems;
  • The man running Trump's so-called 'Election Integrity Commission' (really a "Voter Suppression Commission"), Kansas Sec. of State and top GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach, shoots himself in the foot with his request to all 50 states on behalf of the sham Commission, for voter registration and voting record data, including private information such as Social Security number, birthdate, military status, etc., on every voter in the nation (which he also promises to make public). Also, yet another top Republican "voter fraud" scammer, Hans Von Spakovsky, is added to the President's Commission;
  • MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski charge the White House attempted to blackmail them prior to Trump's horrible tweet about her this week, revealing again what a dangerous moment this is for the country under a twisted Presidency;
  • And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report before we hit the dusty road over the July 4th holiday...

If you can hit our tip-jar to help us fill up the Prius tank once or twice over the next week, it will, as ever, be greatly appreciated! Enjoy the show and please have a safe and peaceful holiday!...

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

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Guest: BuzzFeed News Journalist, 'FOIA Terrorist' Jason Leopold; Also: Trump says he was bluffing about audio tapes...but was he?...
By Brad Friedman on 6/22/2017 6:09pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Republicans in the U.S. Senate finally released a draft of their secret plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or 'ObamaCare', and the Dept. of Defense finally releases a redacted version of a damage assessment from 2011, examining the fallout to national security from the Bradley/Chelsea Manning leaks of 2010. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up: The secret working group of white, male Republicans in the Senate finally revealed their new scheme, dubbed the "Better Care Reconciliation Act", to rewrite 1/5th of the U.S. economy by replacing ObamaCare with what Donald Trump has promised would be a healthcare plan "with heart" that was less "mean" than the version he celebrated after its narrow passage by Republicans in the U.S. House several weeks ago.

The release of the new Senate plan did not go well. Democrats, independents, and healthcare advocates alike --- not to mention elderly protesters in wheelchairs dragged away from outside the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell --- slammed the legislation for its massive tax cuts to the wealthy in exchange for deeply cruel cuts to federal Medicaid funding, and the promise of stingier premium subsidies for less generous health care policies.

A number of Republicans in the Senate also currently oppose the plan as written, because it doesn't repeal ObamaCare enough, but we'll see if they change their tune before the bill comes up for a vote next week, as promised by McConnell, before Congress leaves for the July 4th recess. The GOP can only afford to lose the support of two Republicans among their 52-seat caucus.

Then, we're joined by BuzzFeed News journalist and "FOIA terrorist" JASON LEOPOLD, to discuss the newly unearthed Dept. of Defense damage assessment of the hundreds of thousands of documents on the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, as well as diplomatic cables, leaked by U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in 2010.

During her trial, Government officials charged that the disclosures caused massive damage to national security and endangered counts lives of both U.S. personnel and our allies, but is that what the DoD's own secret 2011 assessment --- finally released this week in heavily redacted form in response to Leopold's Freedom of Information Act request --- actually found? We discuss that and the "passionate responses" he has received since publishing the assessment.

We also discuss the new White House ban on cameras during press briefings and how the Trump Administration compares to previous administrations on matters of government secrecy and document classification.

"In the overall picture, you have an administration that operates under intense secrecy that wants to limit access --- 'access' being the key word there --- that journalists depend upon. Access is really important, and it's really important to be able to confront government officials," Leopold tells me, while placing the news about the ban in context with the Trump Administration's secrecy and on-going battle with journalists elsewhere. "This type of behavior trickles down to various levels within the federal government and, I've seen, it also goes into local and state governments, as well. This intense secrecy, where elected officials who are accountable to the people are simply not interested in speaking --- and then try and set up some new rules that basically bars the press from confronting them."

Leopold goes on to cite the increased difficulty he is beginning to have prying documents loose via FOIA requests under the Administration, while noting that "some of these agencies are having trouble trying to figure out how to respond to requests, largely because you have a President now who is tweeting, who is arguably declassifying --- instantly declassifying --- information that would otherwise remain secret."

Speaking of which, finally today, Trump tweeted that, despite his previous suggestions, he has no audio tapes of his one-on-one conversations with now-fired FBI Director James Comey. But is he telling the truth, or bluffing yet again?...

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

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State contracted e-vote and pollbook programmers at Kennesaw State Univ. told of vulnerability last year, covered it up, left files unprotected
Also: Unlawful U.S. war on Syria expands, incurs Russian wrath; Dem plan to slow GOP Senate's secret health care bill; Fatal anti-Muslim attacks in London, Virginia...
By Brad Friedman on 6/19/2017 6:47pm PT  

On today's BradCast, another blockbuster report confirms vulnerabilities in our nation's voting systems that I've been trying to warn about for more than a decade, and several other stories not receiving the dire attention merited this week. [Audio link to complete show is posted below.]

In advance of Tuesday's highly contested U.S. House Special Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District --- the most expensive House race in U.S. history --- Politico Magazine's Kim Zetter offers an absolutely chilling bombshell of a report headlined "Will the Georgia Special Election Get Hacked?" She reports that gigabytes of unsecured data --- including passwords for e-voting system central tabulators, voter registration databases and much more were kept on a wholly unsecured web server, potentially for years, at Kennesaw State University's Center for Election Systems.

The KSU Center, as they describe on their website, was "created and charged with the responsibility of ensuring the integrity of voting systems in Georgia" since the state adopted its statewide, 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting system in 2002. Those same machines are still used there today, despite their age (they run on a version of Windows 2000) and massive, well-documented vulnerabilities to hacking and insider manipulation. Nonetheless, the Center for Election Systems has long been cited as a model for election administration by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and is responsible for the security and programming of every 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting system, computerized central tabulator, and electronic pollbook used across the state of Georgia.

The unsecured data files at Kennesaw, according to Zetter, were discovered prior to last year's Presidential Election and reported to the Center, but were still available online for download without a password at the beginning of March this year, during the run-up to the April primary election in the GA-06 House race. The data may, in fact, have been available there for years, even as Kennesaw's Executive Director Merle King, who has spent years testifying in court on behalf of Diebold's systems, reportedly failed to inform GA Sec. of State Brian Kemp about the breach last year after he was informed of it. In fact, Zetter notes that he warned the outside computer security researcher who discovered it not to inform the state. GA's former Sec. of State, Karen Handel, is the Republican House candidate in the reportedly very tight GA-06 race against Democrat Jon Ossoff and is said to have repeatedly blocked a security analysis of the Center years earlier while serving as the state's chief election official.

When the results of the House contest are announced on Tuesday night --- whichever party's candidate is declared the winner --- it will be virtually impossible to know if the results are accurate or if even one vote cast on GA's 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems were recorded as per any voter's intent.

While many of the vulnerabilities in GA's terrible voting and tabulation systems have been publicly known for years, the fact that the security at Kennesaw's Center for Elections is even far worse than ever imagined is both new and absolutely chilling in regard to both Georgia elections, and all others across the country, as I explain in detail on today's program.

Beyond that nightmarish report today, we also cover two different fatal attacks on Muslims over the past 24 hours, one in London and one in Virginia (and Donald Trump's failure to comment on either of them); The new Democratic strategy to slow down progress on the Obamacare replacement bill being crafted by Senate Republicans in complete secrecy, without public hearings or amendments in advance of a possible floor vote on the controversial legislation before the July 4th recess; And, the U.S. shoots down a Syrian bomber over Syria in violation of international law and without any authorization (or complaint or debate) from Congressional Republicans or Democrats alike, even as the weekend incident has drawn the wrath and potential targeting of U.S. aircraft over Syria by its ally Russia...

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

Several other recent programs in The BradCast's series of reports leading up to the GA-06 U.S. House Special Election:

  • 4/4/2017: Computer and e-voting expert Barbara Simons on the initial reports of a "massive breach" of the state voter database files at Kennesaw State University
  • 5/8/2017: Garland Favorito of election watchdog VoterGA.org on the group's disturbing analysis of the central computer tabulator failure on the night of the April primary in GA-06.
  • 6/6/2017: Election integrity expert Marilyn Marks on her lawsuit demanding hand-counted paper ballots in the GA-06 race.
  • 6/12/2017: Diebold document whistleblower Steven Heller on Diebold caught lying in California in 2004 about the exact same machines still used in Georgia in 2017. (CA decertified them after Heller's disclosure.) And on the NSA analysis recently released by NSA contractor Reality Winner on spear-phishing attacks that may have allowed access to the voting system computers of election officials across the country prior to the 2016 Presidential election.

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Guest: Author, journalist Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel.net...
By Brad Friedman on 6/8/2017 6:18pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it was a day many have been anticipating for some time. Fired FBI Director James Comey testified in open session before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday about his one-on-one meetings with President Trump, during which, he claims, Trump asked for "loyalty" during one meeting and asked Comey to help end the FBI's investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in the other. Comey was fired by Trump shortly thereafter. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

During his written and opening statements, and subsequent Q&A with members of the Committee, Comey charged the Trump Administration with having "defamed" both him and the FBI, and lying about the reason for his firing, which he characterizes as an attempt to scuttle the Bureau's counter-intelligence probe into alleged Team Trump coordination with Russia both before and after last year's election.

Following today's testimony, Trump's personal attorney Marc Kasowitz claimed, once again, that Comey's testimony "completely vindicated" his client, and he otherwise vehemently rejected the assertion that Trump either demanded Comey's "loyalty" or sought to shut down the Flynn investigation.

Joining us for full analysis today is journalist and author Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel.net. She offers a comparison to the breadth of this widening scandal and others she's covered in the past, such as the deliberate outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame during the George W. Bush Administration. "Dick Cheney was just so much more effective at coverup and abuse of power than Trump is," Wheeler quips.

Among many other points in our discussion today, Wheeler responds to Kasowitz' charge that Comey made "unauthorized disclosures of privileged communications" (he didn't, she explains); details the new revelations from Comey's testimony regarding his various meetings with the President and his contemporaneous documentation of those meetings; potential legal exposure for Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Vice President Mike Pence in this matter; whether we should have confidence in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's oversight of the still-widening probe; whether Trump himself is now being investigated for obstruction of justice (she says it's "clear" that he now is); whether any of it amounts to impeachable offenses; and the possibility --- raised several times during today's hearing --- that White House audio tapes of the Trump/Comey meetings may exist. "Lordy, I hope there are tapes," Comey declared today.

She also breaks down the bizarre testimony before the same U.S. Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, when the heads of the NSA and DNI, without any apparent legal basis or precedent, refused to answer questions about whether Trump had asked them to intercede into the FBI probe. "Just because Donald Trump is President," Wheeler tells me, "it has not changed the rule that you have Congressional overseers and you answer their questions."

Finally, near the end of today's show, news breaks out of the UK regarding Exit Poll results from Britain's parliamentary election, suggesting a stunning surprise loss of majority power for Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May and what is likely to be regarded as a huge victory for the Labour Party's Jeremy Corbyn, sometimes regarded as "Britain's Bernie Sanders"...

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: John Nichols of The Nation | Plus: Trump undermines own 'travel ban', blasts London Mayor after attacks, ignores Orlando mass shooting...
By Brad Friedman on 6/5/2017 6:18pm PT  

On today's BradCast: How Donald Trump continues to be his own worst enemy (and, arguably, the world's) and the case for why Democrats should declare themselves "the accountability party" and immediately begin the effort to impeach the President of the United States. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First, the fallout from Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement continues as, CNN reports today that the Acting U.S. Ambassador to China, a 27-year career foreign service officer, has resigned over the decision. But he's not the only American diplomat Trump seems to have upset of late, as the acting U.S. Ambassador to the U.K. was also forced to publicly take sides against Trump following the weekend terror attacks in London.

At the same time, Trump seems determined to make certain he loses his own Department of Justice's appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to restore his second Executive Order "travel ban" which has been put on hold, repeatedly, by federal courts from Maryland to Hawaii. In a weekend long Twitter tirade, continuing through Monday, the President offered one incriminating statement after another, blasting both the courts and his own DoJ, in a series of statements that will almostly certainly be held against him and his own Solicitor General's case to lift the current injunction on his ban.

Trump also thought it wise, for reasons few can figure out, to disparage (now, at least twice!) the Mayor of London following the attacks in Britain on Saturday. And while Trump had plenty to say about London, it should be noted he had far less to say last week after two American men were killed defending Muslim women from an anti-Muslim tirade by a self-proclaimed "patriot" on a train in Portland, Oregon.

Moreover, Trump has, so far, had absolutely nothing to say following a mass shooting rampage on Monday morning in Orlando, Florida. That attack, with a semi-automatic pistol, allegedly carried out by a white, non-Muslim American, killed five of the shooter's former co-workers, all said to have been shot in the head multiple times by the assailant who then killed himself. Some suicide attacks, it seems, are worse than others to this President and his party which continue to insist on making firearms easier to obtain, even by the mentally ill.

Then, as Trump's approval ratings continue to fall, and a plurality of Americans, according to at least one poll, support his impeachment, we're joined by progressive author and journalist John Nichols of The Nation who argues that the time to begin the effort to impeach Donald Trump is now. Nichols details his case for impeachment, from both a Constitutional and historical point of perspective, and offers just some of what he believes should be investigated during impeachment proceedings in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"Congress doesn't have to wait" for the DoJ Special Counsel to complete its own criminal investigation, Nichols tells me. "In fact, it shouldn't wait...to allow the office of the Presidency to be polluted, to be undermined, to be warped in a way that might harm the country."

"Virtually half --- and I suspect after recent events it may get higher --- of Americans now say that the President should be impeached," he argues. "I know that a lot of people would like to begin with the list of particulars of what Trump did. But the fact that there is mass popular support for impeachment, [that's] the place at which we ought to begin. A representative branch of government should respond to that. It should recognize that there are tremendous numbers, tens of millions of Americans, who believe that this guy is governing in a way so atrocious, so damaging, that action should be taken to remove him from his position."

"We ought to stop fetishizing the impeachment power and start recognizing that it is a tool of governance that was established to make government work better. Not to create a Constitutional crisis, but to address the potential of a Constitutional crisis," Nichols says.

"If Democrats are serious about politics, they have to be about accountability," he tells me. "I think when you take [impeachment] off the table, as so many Democratic leaders have suggested we should, you really disarm. You put yourself in a position where holding a President to account is left to chance, left to long term processes that lack the urgency that the American people would like to see."

So, should Dems go so far as to promise impeachment to voters if they are elected to the majority in Congress in 2018? Or does such a promise risk political blow-back making it harder for them to take majorities in the House and Senate in the first place? And, frankly, should that even matter? We discuss all of that and much more along those lines today, and also the national Democratic party's failure to adequately support their own candidates in special U.S. House elections in recent weeks, in both Kansas and Montana, and whether they've learned any lessons on that in advance of still more U.S. House special elections set for both Georgia and South Carolina later this month...

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

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Also: Trump travel ban blocked by full Appeals Court; UK furious at Admin over intel leaks; Trump praises Philippines extrajudicial murders; More...
By Brad Friedman on 5/25/2017 5:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast, one of the most amazing candidate meltdowns ever seen (or, in this case, heard) and how the Speaker of the House hopes to look the other way in the event that he wins anyway. But that's just the tip of today's news iceberg(s). [Audio link to show posted below.]

In one of the most remarkable Election Eve unravelings ever by a U.S. candidate for...pretty much anything, Republican U.S. House candidate Greg Gianforte melted down on the eve of what should have been an easy victory in his statewide Special Election for Montana's only U.S. House seat against Democratic candidate Rob Quist. Instead, in an incident caught on stunning audio tape and witnessed by Fox "News" reporters, Gianforte "body slammed" a Guardian reporter, has been charged with assault, and saw his newspaper endorsements rescinded on the night before voters went to the polls on Thursday.

But many voters already cast their vote by absentee ballot by time of the Wednesday incident, and House Speaker Paul Ryan suggests he'll accept whatever results are reported from the election. That, as I explain today, conveniently ignores Congress's Article 1, Section 5 Constitutional right (and duty) to determine who is actually seated in the House of Representatives. It's a right they have exercised on a number of other controversial elections in the past, so surely Ryan is familiar with that. But, of course, we'll soon see (hopefully) who voters in Montana have decided they want for their only Representative in the U.S. House.

At the same time, it was another enormous news day in which Donald Trump's second attempted travel ban Executive Order was blocked, yet again, this time by the full U.S. 4th Circuit of Appeals. His Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced he will appeal the case to the GOP's stolen U.S. Supreme Court.

Also today, yet another embarrassment for the Trump Administration, which was publicly taken to task by British Prime Minister Theresa May for leaking British intelligence to media regarding the UK's Manchester Bombing investigation. The leaks not only invoked the wrath of (and temporarily stopped intelligence sharing from) the United States' closest ally, but it was hardly the only highly sensitive information recently and inappropriately disclosed to friend and foe alike by Trump and/or his Administration in recent days.

And, in a (related) news item we didn't get to yesterday, after disclosing the whereabouts of two U.S. nuclear submarines, it appears Trump actually praised Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte during a recent phone call for the "unbelievable...great job" he has done on that nation's drug epidemic --- in which thousands of people have been murdered in a brutal extrajudicial campaign carried out by Duterte's police force.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us with a jam-packed Green News Report, before still more news breaks at the buzzer, reportedly finding Trump's top adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner 'under FBI scrutiny' in the Bureau's ongoing Trump/Russia probe...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Journalist, health care reform advocate Jacki Schechner...
By Brad Friedman on 5/24/2017 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast, big wins for Democrats in very Republican districts, more trouble for the GOP as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) finally scores the House healthcare bill, and trouble likely ahead for still-divided Democrats. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

As Republicans struggle to pass any major legislation in the wake of Donald Trump's continuing political and legal troubles, Democrats saw two different huge state-level electoral victories in "deeply red districts" in New York and New Hampshire during special elections on Tuesday. Both seats had been previously held by Republicans for years and, in NY, the former Bernie Sanders delegate who won the set, helped flip the district "an astounding 39 points" since the November election!

All of that comes in advance of a statewide special election for the U.S. House in Montana on Thursday, believed to be "closer than it should be" in a state that went for Trump last November by more than 20 points, and a U.S. House special election runoff next month in Georgia's 6th Congressional District which also went to Trump last year, but where the Democrat is now said to be leading his Republican opponent by 7 points.

The first-time Democratic candidates in both the MT and GA races are raising record-shattering money from small donors, though in Georgia, non-partisan election watchdogs are urging voters to cast absentee paper ballots by mail or, preferably, dropped off at County HQ, rather than via the 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems the state will once again, shamefully, force voters to use at the precincts on June 20th.

Then, just before airtime, the non-partisan CBO finally released its score of the Republicans' American Health Care Act (ACHA), which was narrowly adopted in the U.S. House three weeks ago. Like previous GOP versions of the bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), the CBO finds the latest version will result in more than 20 million Americans (23 million, in this case) losing their health care coverage over the next ten years, including 14 million next year alone.

Journalist and health care reform advocate Jackie Schechner joins us with details from the CBO's just-released report, and what it is likely to mean for the future of the GOP legislation in the House and in the U.S. Senate. (She believes the GOP will ultimately fail to pass a bill that both houses can agree upon, so Obamacare will stay in place for the foreseeable future.)

Schechner details how the GOP's House bill will imperil health care for those with preexisting conditions (the CBO found such people "would ultimately be unable to purchase...health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law, if they could purchase it at all"); the Senate GOP leadership's strange plan to create a competing bill in the upper chamber with a "group of 13 white men" and no Democrats or even industry experts taking part; how she believes Republicans and President Trump have purposely undermined Obamacare; and how Democrats and Republicans together could actually fix the problems in the Affordable Care Act --- if they actually wanted to.

"I think it's important that we take a step back and take the politics out of this, and start to focus on the policy of what we're trying to do," she tells me. "What we're trying to do is get people in this country access to health care, and to make it affordable. That's where the policy specifics need to come into play, and that's not going to happen if you got 13 white men who are crafting this behind closed doors who have no experience in health care policy."

We then close with a very lively discussion of a Democratic single-payer "Medicare for All" health care bill introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) in the House. The legislation, HR-626, for the first time ever, now has support from more than half of the Democratic caucus. Does that bill present a way forward for health care reform in the U.S. --- and for Democrats at the ballot box?

We discuss, debate and, hopefully, inform on that and much more on today's BradCast!...

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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!)

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Guest: Former Asst. US Attorney Randall D. Eliason of GWU Law School...
By Brad Friedman on 5/17/2017 6:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast, yes, like yesterday, more huge breaking news mid-show. [Audio link follows below.]

But before we get to that, today, controversial, extremist and, perhaps, insane Milwaukee Sheriff David C. Clarke claimed today that he has been appointed to a position in Donald Trump's Dept. of Homeland Security. If true, his appointment would be disturbing. Not only given the number of people who have died in his jail cells, but also because he has, literally, called for about a million people in the U.S. to be rounded up and shipped off to Gitmo, indefinitely, without attorney or trial. Really.

Then, the fallout from yesterday's huge mid-show breaking news concerning the report that, in February, Donald Trump asked then FBI Director James Comey to end the Bureau's investigation of Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Republicans, both last night and today on Capitol Hill, are having trouble grappling with and/or responding to the news, though at least one GOP Senator, John McCain, compared what's now going on to Watergate. And committees in both the House and Senate have now asked to see the Comey memos said to document his private meetings with Trump.

And, along with all of that, the phrase "Obstruction of Justice" is being heard more and more regarding Trump's apparent efforts to shut down the FBI's probe into his campaign associates alleged coordination with Russia during the 2016 Presidential election. So, we are joined today by former Asst. U.S. Attorney, now Professor Randall D. Eliason of George Washington University Law School to discuss what "Obstruction of Justice" actually means, in both the criminal sense (as it might apply in an indictment) and in the political sense (as it might apply in Articles of Impeachment) Eliason recently discussed both applications in a lengthy article at his Sidebars Blog.

"The important thing," he tells me today, "is to distinguish between Obstruction of Justice in the broader sense --- the way the term gets thrown around a lot --- and the more narrow criminal sense of an actual criminal violation that fits the Obstruction of Justice statutes. That's a much higher standard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, all of the elements of an actual crime, as opposed to a more general claim that the President is kind of violating all these norms and rules and traditions that we have about not interfering with ongoing investigation, appearing to pressure the FBI Director, things like that."

The key issue, Eliason explains, is whether there was "corrupt intent" in the many different incidents that now appear as Trump's obstruction. "It's not enough if the President does something that just has the effect of hurting the investigation, as a kind of side effect. The prosecutor would have to show that was what he set out to do --- he had the wrongful and deliberate intent to try to thwart, in [the Flynn] case, the ongoing grand jury investigation."

As to the use of Obstruction of Justice as used in Articles of Impeachment against a President, there is a different standard, which Eliason also explains. We discuss the cases (and defenses) being built for both types of obstruction, whether a sitting President can actually be indicted on criminal charges, and also the meaning of another phrase being bandied about of late: "abuse of power".

In the course of the conversation we also discuss the likelihood of impeachment and the potential application of the 25th Amendment remedy as a way to remove Trump from power and the need for a Special Counsel to be named by the Dept. of Justice.

No sooner do we complete that conversation, than the huge news breaks late today that, indeed, former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been named by Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein as Special Counsel to take over the the FBI's probe into "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump"...

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Guest: Brennan Center's Elizabeth Goitein says Trump may have violated the law during Oval Office meeting with Russians; And then... BREAKING: Trump said to have asked Comey to shut down Flynn probe...
By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2017 5:54pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Coverage of the two (yes, two) most recent (yes, most recent) blockbuster reports regarding the President, as leaked out of the Oval Office. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up today: Washington Post's explosive report from late yesterday detailing Donald Trump's alleged (and all but confirmed by Trump himself) sharing of highly classified information (reportedly now from Israel) during his recent meeting in the Oval Office with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and Ambassador Kislyiak. The White House, largely via National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, strongly denies any wrong doing.

We're joined to discuss that and what we know and don't about it all, by Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at NYU's Brennan Center for Justice. And, unlike those who are reporting that Trump broke no laws in his alleged disclosure of sensitive information regarding ISIS, Goitein argues the case is not so clear cut.

Classification and declassification of sensitive information is spelled out by Executive Order of the President. "The existing Executive Order was written by President Obama. It is still in force unless or until Trump revokes it or replaces it," Goitein explains. "But President Obama himself would not have been bound by his own Executive Order. President Trump is not bound by that Executive Order. I think it's problematic that Presidents are not bound by their own Executive Orders. Or, I should say, it's problematic they can secretly depart from those orders. Ideally we would have a classification Executive Order that says what the President can do, even if it's just 'The President is exempt from all of these rules.'"

However, Goitein suggests that even a President could face legal exposure via the Espionage Act of 1917.

"The Executive Order is not the only law that is at play here," she tells me. "Congress has also stepped in on various occasions, to regulate the disclosure of national security information. And there are several statutes in which Congress has done that. The statute that seems most relevant here is the Espionage Act. And this is the law that President Obama infamously used to prosecute national security whistle-blowers and others who leaked information to the media, rather than actual spies and traitors, which is whom the law was designed to address. But this law, on its face, prohibits the communication of information related to the national defense --- whether that information is classified or not --- to anyone not entitled to receive it, if there's reason to believe it could be used either to harm the United States or to aid a foreign nation. So on it's face, that statute would certainly seem to apply."

I discuss that and much more with Goitein about this entire fine mess today. It's worth tuning in for that alone. But then...

Breaking hard mid-show today: The New York Times' perhaps even more explosive report detailing a memo written by then FBI Director James Comey describing his February one-on-one meeting with the President in the Oval Office, in which Comey reportedly charges that Trump requested he drop the Bureau's ongoing investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. "I hope you can let this go," Trump said to Comey, according to the Times, in an account also vigorously denied by the White House, but which, if true, would amount to a very serious case of Obstruction of Justice by the President of the United States.

If only there was a taping system of some kind in the Oval Office so we could figure out who's telling the truth.

Finally today, after disembarking from that insane news roller coaster, if only for the moment, we finish up today with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, because the planet doesn't really give a damn about either national security or politics...

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Guest: Dave Johnson of People's Action/Campaign for America's Future...
By Brad Friedman on 5/1/2017 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Republicans continue to pretend we don't face a gun violence epidemic in the U.S., that human-caused climate change isn't happening and that massive tax cuts help, rather harm, the economy and the middle class. They may need to pretend harder. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

First up today, a number of multiple victim shootings that played out across America --- from San Diego to Topeka to Dallas --- in the past 24 hours, but received very little media coverage, for some strange reason. At the same time, on Saturday, hundreds of thousands turned out across the country for the People's Climate March --- nearly 200,000 of them in sweltering 90 degree heat (in late April!) in Washington D.C. alone. The latest mass demonstration against the Trump Administration's attempts to deny science and cut funding to climate-related programs came just hours after Trump's EPA began the removal of climate change-related facts and scientific data from its website.

And, all of that happened as Donald Trump's Presidency hit its first 100 days, a period marked by, among other things, a failure to pass any of the legislative goals announced during his campaign. In hopes of distracting from that failure to date, Trump's Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (pictured above) released a hastily compiled one-page outline for what the White House describes as "The Biggest Individual And Business Tax Cut In American History."

But, as critics from the right, left and center, including my guest today, Dave Johnson, a Senior Fellow at the progressive Campaign for America's Future notes in response to Trump's proposal, bigger isn't necessarily better. In this case, the proposed cuts would actually hurt poor and middle-class Americans, Johnson explains, while defunding the very things that help boost the economy, serving as a huge gift to the very wealthy, and blowing a massive hole in the federal deficit to boot.

Johnson explains the "smokescreen of bamboozlement [and] propaganda" by Republicans for decades on these issues which, he argues, citing similar cuts and claims from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush, have never "paid for themselves" as the Trump Administration is claiming once again. "How many times have they done this and the results have not come through?," Johnson rails, describing how even the Congressional Research Service, when asked by Republicans to create a report in 2012 looking back at tax cut data all the way back to 1945, found that "cutting taxes does not boost the economy."

Moreover, he notes, "corporate profits are at the highest ever right now," making it hard to justify Trump's proposed corporate tax cuts (from 39.5% to 15%) as anything more than an economic boost to a small handful of very wealthy investors. Cutting taxes, he argues, is meant for little more than enriching the already very rich and "forc[ing] cuts in government by forcing a crisis in budgeting."

"Democracy doesn't have an advertising agency, but all of these anti-government people do," Johnson tells me, in response to my questions about how GOPers are still able to continue arguing for something that has proven time and again to be little more than a myth, albeit one that many Americans still seem to fall for. We also discuss whether or not Congressional "Tea Party" Republicans will actually approve such a huge increase in the federal deficit, or if, as with attempts at health care reform, they, not Democrats, will be the real obstacle.

Finally today, more firings and fall-out announced at the Fox 'News' Channel, in response to the myriad and systemic sexual harassment complaints against its now-former creator Roger Ailes and its now-former top star Bill O'Reilly...

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Also: The news fire hose is back on as Congress returns from recess and Trump gets desperate with '100 Days' milestone approaching...
By Brad Friedman on 4/26/2017 6:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Yes, it matters why we go to war and when we go to war and where we go to war --- even if the U.S. media (right, left and center) and U.S. Congress (Republicans and Democrats) would rather not discuss it. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first today: As Donald Trump nears his 100th day as President and Congress returns from their two week Easter recess, the news fire hose is back on, with House Republicans announcing a new amendment to their previously failed scheme to try and repeal and replace Obamacare. The new plan will likely cover less and be even worse for the sick and elderly than their previous plan, but it does exempt members of Congress and their staffers from the worst of it. At the same time, Trump's Treasury Department has unveiled a hastily-released, deficit-increasing, "trickle down", tax cut for corporations and individuals. And, in more desperation to distract from his lack of success during his first 100 days, Trump also goes to war with Canada! (a trade war anyway...and via Twitter!).

Then: On that whole war thing, where we now, apparently, bomb sovereign nations without discussion, debate, authorization, media skepticism or evidence --- Listeners ring in with calls, comments and emails in response to our interviews earlier this week with MIT Professor Emeritus Theodore Postol and with Consortium News' Robert Parry, both of whom question the evidence hastily released in a White House report on April 11 to justify Trump's April 6 cruise missile attack on Syria. That attack is said to have been in response to a deadly April 4 chemical weapons incident two days earlier in the rebel-held province of Idlib. But why have the U.S. media failed to question the evidence presented by Trump (not by the U.S. Intelligence Community), and why has Congress failed to debate, much less Constitutionally authorize, Trump's military action? And, hey, why does it all matter anyway, since everyone knows Bashar al-Assad is a bad guy and every President needs a military "doctrine" after all?! We discuss all of that and much more today...since, apparently, somebody has to.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest (unusually encouraging) Green News Report and with a heads up in advance of this weekend's People's Climate March...

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Guest: Journalist Robert Parry of Consortium News | Also: Media failure on Science March; AR kills again; Trump blocked again by federal court...
By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2017 6:28pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Donald Trump may be failing in the courts, in Congress, failing the planet itself, but when it comes to military adventurism in Syria, the U.S. media --- left, right and center --- all seem to be fully on board. That, despite the lack of independent evidence supporting the White House's justification for its unauthorized, unconstitutional, and likely illegal April 6 cruise missile attack on the sovereign, if war-torn Middle East nation. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Today, we follow-up yesterday's interview with Theodore A. Postol, MIT Prof. Emeritus of Science, Technology and National Security Policy, by speaking with independent investigative journalist Robert Parry of Consortium News, who recently asked: "Did Al Qaeda Fool the White House Again?"

We discuss Postol's analyses, as covered in detail on yesterday's show, charging that the evidence presented by the White House to justify its military attack on Syria --- purportedly in response to a deadly April 4 chemical weapons incident allegedly carried out by Bashar al-Assad's government against civilians in the rebel-held Idlib province --- does not support the claims being made by the Administration and echoed uncritically by the U.S. media.

Parry, formerly an Associated Press reporter who helped break the Iran-Contra scandal in the mid-80s, responds to my questions about the remarkable lack of media coverage of Postol's analyses (if only to debunk them), as well as the seemingly complete lack of skepticism by the entirety of the U.S. corporate mainstream media on Syria and other recent U.S. military adventures. That, even after having been fooled before (Iraq, is just one example), and otherwise claiming a new found interest in fact-checking and skepticism in the Trump Era.

"We've seen now a recurring situation," says Parry. "We had the case of the Iraq War, where you might've thought 'well, after that, the New York Times and the Washington Post and others will be more skeptical and more self-critical about the need to show skepticism'. But that hasn't happened. In fact, it's gone increasingly in the other direction."

"For the first two months or so of his Presidency, everything he said was put under a microscope and often laughed at, often rightly so," he tells me. "So there's been this attitude that this guy is not to be trusted on anything he says. Yet, he immediately jumps to a conclusion, way before there could've been any serious intelligence analysis of it, that Assad was responsible for this incident, and the mainstream media completely flipped around and just rallied to his position and then refused to listen to any alternative points of view on this."

As a former mainstream journalist himself, before founding Consortium News in 1995 as "the first investigative news magazine on the Internet," Parry speaks to the "tremendous downside to your career if you ask too many questions" in the corporate media, whether covering Republican or Democratic administrations.

Parry describes some of "serious questions" raised by Postol analyses concerning "not only the logic" behind the alleged sarin attack that seems wildly counter-intuitive for Assad to have carried out, "but the evidence that's been presented in connection with the April 4 incident."

Also today: CNN and CBS fail miserably during their coverage of last weekend's worldwide March for Science by offering platforms to fossil-fueled climate change denialists; Arkansas kills two more prisoners; Federal court blocks Trump's Executive Order concerning "sanctuary cities" and Trump, the self-declared "Great Negotiator", reportedly folds once again like a paper tiger, this time concerning budget threats for his long-promised Mexican border wall...

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

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Guest: MIT's Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology and National Security Policy, Theodore A. Postol...
By Brad Friedman on 4/24/2017 6:58pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Just days after the April 4 chemical attack in Syria's rebel-held Idlib province, the U.S. launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles against the air base said to have been where Bashar al-Assad's government launched an alleged sarin attack that reportedly killed some 80 civilians, including many children. But how much of the evidence of the chemical attack has actually been independently confirmed? My guest today charges that the evidence offered by the U.S. to justify its military response is entirely false. [Audio link to complete show is posted at end of article below.]

The horrific aftermath of the release of the nerve agent was seen in videos played around the world, and said to have been the impetus for Donald Trump reversing his position on Syria, which he had, for years (and even just days earlier), said we should stay out of. Nonetheless, without debate or Constitutional approval by the U.S. Congress, we launched a military assault on yet another sovereign nation and today the Administration announced a series of tough new sanctions against the regime. But there has yet to be any findings from an international investigation of the incident, and evidence supporting the allegations that it was Assad, not the rebels or terrorists he is fighting against, responsible for the attack, was laid out only in a brief, April 11 report issued by the White House --- notably, not issued by the U.S. Intelligence services.

That report, charges my guest today, Theodore A. Postol, Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology and National Security Policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), cannot possibly be accurate. Furthermore, he says, the April 11 White House Report (WHR), as he details in now four separate analyses he has issued since its release, "was not properly vetted by the intelligence community."

"The report contains absolutely no evidence that this attack was the result of a munition being dropped from an aircraft," as the White House has claimed, Postol finds in his initial analysis [PDF], based on phographic evidence of the crater said to have been caused when Syria dropped a chemical munition. "In fact, the report contains absolutely no evidence that would indicate who was the perpetrator of this atrocity."

Postol is a physicist and rocket trajectory expert who formerly served as a science advisor to the chief of Naval operations at the Pentagon, has been vindicated a number of times over the years concerning similarly skeptical analyses of claims concerning the U.S. military's use of Patriot missile technology in the first Gulf War (see Charlie Pierce's 2005 Boston Globe profile of Postol here), as well as the Obama White House claims about Assad's alleged chemical weapons attack in 2013. He joins me today to explain his analyses and to speak to the remarkable lack of skeptical coverage by the U.S. mainstream media regarding the WHR on the April nerve agent incident.

On the day of Trump's retaliatory attack on Syria, Peter Ford, Britain's former Ambassador to Syria expressed skepticism on BBC News about Assad being behind the chemical attack ("Assad may be cruel, brutal, but he's not mad. It defies belief that he would bring this all on his head for no military advantage," he told BBC at the time.) But in the U.S. mainstream media, no such skepticism has been explored, despite well known misleading intelligence used to justify U.S. military action in the recent past, such as during the lead-up to the Iraq War (which, in turn, opened the door to so much of the violence and war in the Middle East ever since, including in Syria.)

"We again have a situation where the White House has issued an obviously false, misleading and amateurish intelligence report," Postol argues in his first report on the April 4 incident, issued after studying photographic evidence presented by the White House or otherwise publicly available. "What I can say for sure herein is that what the country is now being told by the White House cannot be true [emphasis in original] and the fact that this information has been provided in this format raises the most serious questions about the handling of our national security."

Even the New York Times, which, Postol tells me today, used to cover his analyses in detail, have not bothered to contact him this time --- even to debunk his claims --- for reasons that remain unknown, despite his past track record. In fact, I've been able to find little if any coverage that attempts to debunk his assertions in response to the WHR.

"It is very disturbing to see how uncritical the mainstream press has been of this matter," Postol tells me today. "From my point of view, this may be the most serious event --- with regard to American democracy --- from this whole incident. Because the only way American democracy can function is if the press performs the role of providing accurate information, and also raising questions if those questions deserve to be looked at. And there's no question here that the questions deserved to be looked at."

Writing over the weekend, in his 4th report [PDF] on the matter, Postol charged: "Without an independent media providing accurate and unbiased information to the nation's citizens, the government can do what it chooses without being concerned about the reactions of citizens who elected it. The critical function of the mainstream media in the current situation should be to investigate and report the facts that clearly and unambiguously contradict the government's claims on this matter."

Though we are hardly "mainstream media", we do our best today to fill a bit of the vacuum left by the woefully credulous U.S. reportage on this event --- particularly since it's virtually impossible to know what really went on in the absence of independent investigation --- as the U.S. enters yet another war in the Middle East...

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

Postol's reports on the April 4 chemical incident, to date:

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By Brad Friedman on 4/13/2017 5:55pm PT  

It's a serious question. Is Donald Trump insane? You can offer your opinion on my Twitter poll, if it's still open. But, on today's BradCast, we examine just some of the evidence, as our unstable U.S. President threatens war against the unstable leader of North Korea, with potentially unspeakable consequences now hanging dangerously in the balance. [Audio to today's show follows below.]

Among the stories on today's program:

  • U.S. drops the largest non-nuclear bomb ever deployed, for the first time, in the 15th year of our war in Afghanistan;
  • Coalition forces "misdirected" air strike in Syria, killing 18 allied fighters;
  • Japan's Prime Minister warns that nuclear armed North Korea could deploy chemical weapons in response to U.S. provocation, as Trump sends U.S. Navy battle group to Korean Peninsula in advance of an anticipated NK nuclear test;
  • Russian Asia expert warns a conventional weapons attack by North Korea against South Korea's nuclear power plants could result in "five-six Chernobyl-type disasters";
  • Over the past 48 hours, Trump completely reverses long-held positions on NATO, U.S. military strength, China currency manipulation, and more, and reveals that he learned, after speaking with China's President "for 10 minutes" recently that China's relationship with North Korea is "not so easy" (before threatening to "go it alone" in a strike against North Korea, which, he says, "means going it with lots of other nations");
  • EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt goes on Fox "News" today to blatantly lie about U.S., China, and India's obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the UN's landmark Paris Climate Agreement;
  • Proposed cuts to specific EPA programs are draconian, dangerous and ridiculous;
  • And, to help us forget about all of the above, Canada's Prime Minister introduces legislation to legalize recreational marijuana across their entire country...

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