As I suggested earlier today, I believe Donald Trump just blew up the 2016 Republican Presidential primary, and maybe even the 2016 general election.
All bets are off, now that, as our guest on today's BradCast, Heather 'Digby' Parton of Salon and Digby's Hullabalo explains, the very embodiment of the misbegotten Reaganist American Dream --- and a TV star, at that --- has entered the contest for the Republican nomination.
Born a millionaire, Trump "became a billionaire, which is really kind of the ultimate American Dream. In fact, it's the only American Dream now," Parton opines. "You're a billionaire or your not and anything less than that is, you're kind of a loser."
Am I right when I argue that media and political pundits who disregard him as a clown (which he is), "misunderestimate" Trump's candidacy at their own peril? Parton, a 2014 Hillman Foundation Prize winner for Opinion and Analysis Journalism, seems to believe I could be. After all, she notes, "this is the culmination of about 30 years of propaganda" that folks like Reagan, Fox "News" and Roger Ailes put in place.
Trump "is channeling the GOP id," she says, adding: "The grand metaphor of this era, is Frankenstein's monster getting out of control. And that's what happened on the Right. And Donald Trump is another manifestation of that particular metaphor coming to life."
Plus: Speaking of misbegotten Reaganists, how Gov. Sam Brownback's Kansas has officially become "a Dickensian nightmare"; And Politifact fails again in rating Hillary Clinton's facts about the voting rights records of her opponents...
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No, "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people" is not global warming, as scam artists like Rush Limbaugh and fellow climate change denier Sen. James Inhofe would like you to believe. The greatest hoax was the one set in motion by Ronald Reagan some 35 years ago --- and its still in play today, unfortunately.
Plus: The New York Times deeply misinforms America again; Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee (RI) gets into the 2016 Presidential race...for some reason; Jeb Bush continues to blatantly flout campaign laws; And FOIA goes on 'trial' in the U.S. House. All of that and more on today's BradCast...
While we post The BradCast here everyday, 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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MONTHLY BRAD BLOG SUBSCRIPTION
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)
We granted the rarely-bestowed award to Davis last week for her courageous stand in favor of women's rights in Texas, where every other GOP lawmaker in her state Legislature is actively trying to remove them. She offers a (truly) conservative basis for her stance, arguing that Government has no business inserting itself into health decisions between a women and her doctor.
Where Tucker takes issue is that he believes if Davis really cared about women's rights she'd have no choice but to "leave her misogynist party and [tell] her right-wing colleagues to kiss her Tex-ass."
In making the case, he offers up an interesting anecdote worth sharing about Mary Crisp, for those of us who didn't know about it. She was the first female co-chair of the Republican National Committee. She had worked her way up from a party volunteer to eventually become one of its top officials before, essentially, being pushed out of the role by Ronald Reagan in 1980, thanks to her stance on abortion and the Equal Rights Amendment --- the latter of which the GOP had long supported...until they didn't anymore...
"Honest statement," "Karl Rove" and "Fox News" are three phrases that usually do not belong in the same sentence (unless it's the one I'm writing now!), but George W. Bush's aide-de-camp actually told the truth on the January 6 edition of Fox's "America's Newsroom."
Karl Rove says Jeb Bush's support for Common Core education standards will be the biggest obstacle he faces as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination.
"Common Core is, I think, the biggest challenge he faces," Rove said Tuesday on the Fox News show "America's Newsroom." "The question is, how can he defend high academic standards, which he believes in, when it has been conflated with the Obama administration."
Rove, formerly the top adviser to Bush's brother, President George W. Bush, said Common Core was originally a Republican idea put forth by Bill Bennett, the secretary of Education under President Reagan who was later appointed to a post in the administration of President George H.W. Bush.
But Rove said President Obama has since grasped onto it, making it toxic to Republican voters.
Now how about that! Common Core --- a national state standards initiative for k-12 education --- was a GOP concept until a Democrat found merit in the idea, at which point it became radical-left tyranny.
The same, of course, is now true for the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare"), a scheme first proposed by the rightwing Heritage Foundation before it was later embraced by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, before Obama embraced it, so Republicans decided to pretend it was a precursor to full apocalypse.
But I can think of yet another major policy initiative that Republicans used to love until Democrats said they thought it was a good idea, too...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: "The science has spoken": final UN climate change report - the bad news, the good news, and room for hope; PLUS: Flashback: 25th anniversary of Margaret Thatcher's historic climate change speech --- back to when conservatives accepted science ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Your next electric car may not even need a battery; Who’s really been running W.Va. all these years? [cough-COAL-cough]; California’s strawberry industry is hooked on dangerous pesticides; Rich countries subsidize oil, gas, coal by $88bn a year; Worker deaths hit all-time high in Alberta; Amazon.com doubles down on coal; Water treatment plant run by solar power; BP foiled again ... PLUS: Will China help Obama save the planet? ... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Going the wrong way! Greenhouse gas emissions jump at fastest rate on record; Australia's emissions jump after carbon tax axed; Oceans acidifying at rate not seen in 300 million years; PLUS: Some good news: Ozone Hole begone! The ozone layer is bouncing back... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Stopping climate meltdown needs the courage that saved the ozone layer; The Water’s Edge: the crisis of rising sea levels; 5 consumer products linked to illegal rainforest destruction; 97 Hours of 97% Climate Consensus - with cartoons!; Despite overwhelming consensus, some media still unclear on the concept; Study finds living near frack sites may be making residents sick; UK national grid pays companies not to use energy; Is India's PM a climate skeptic?; Montana firefighters call for global action on global warming ... PLUS: We have 5 years to stop building coal plants and gas-powered cars ... and much, MUCH more! ...
Today's ruling follows an unbroken string of federal decisions --- in both U.S. District and Appellate courts --- striking down similar bans in state after state after the 2013 Windsor decision's determination that the U.S. government may not deny equal benefits to married same-sex couples.
In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman, wrote that the concept of same-sex marriage was "nonexistent and even inconceivable until very recently"; that the state had a "legitimate interest...in linking children to an intact family formed by their two biological parents"; and that marriages between two individuals of the same sex was based on "lifestyle choices".
And now, you'll be shocked to learn that Feldman --- a Ronald Reagan-appointee and a close friend of Justice Antonin Scalia (who wrote the Windsor dissent for the Court's minority) --- has a damning record of judicial corruption.
As Canning detailed at the time, despite financial holdings in the oil industry that would have been directly affected by his own ruling, Feldman failed to properly disclose those conflicts of interest and recuse himself from the case.
"Despite having served as a federal judge for 27 years, Judge Feldman is unfit to sit in judgment of others," Canning wrote in response to the evidence in June of that year. "The only appropriate recourse is for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, who takes his or her oath of office seriously, to introduce articles of impeachment against Judge Martin Leach-Cross Feldman."
Reagan, who happened to be a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association (which virulently opposed the "Brady Bill"), nevertheless regarded the legislation as a common-sense effort to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals.
Marking the passing of Reagan's Press Secretary and the legislation's namesake James Brady, Kornacki observed that Reagan's support for the "Brady Bill" helped to ease the pathway towards its passage under President Bill Clinton in November 1993. However, after Congress passed a now-expired assault-weapons ban in August 1994, opponents of gun safety seized political power (beginning with the November 1994 midterm elections) and began to thwart any further efforts to decrease the carnage that turned children into corpses.
However, what Kornacki failed to mention was that the same Republican icon who boldly supported the "Brady Bill" also helped create, through one infamous Executive Order, the very circumstances that led to the demise of gun safety measures in the US --- as well as health and climate safety in the world...
As the idiotic Republican shutdown continues and debt ceiling collapse looms, GOP approval ratings plummet yet again in latest poll. The new survey from ABC/WaPo finds a stunning 74% of Americans disapprove of the way the GOP is handling budget negotiations, that's up 11 points from before the shutdown started.
But more important to remember, as all of this idiocy drags on --- and as Dems consider some form of "concessions" to allow the GOP the face-saving measures they need to get out of this mess --- are numbers like the following, underscoring just how idiotic and hypocritical all this nonsense actually is...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Special 'While We Were Out' Edition: Fukushima nuclear incident raised to Level 3; UN: climate change still a very big problem; Frackers drain TX towns of water; Wildfires n' water fights in the dried-out West; PLUS: The White House goes solar --- again ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): What Al Jazeera America didn't say about climate change; Germany breaks its own solar record; MSM's ambivalent coverage of climate change’s ‘new normal’; Battle over global warming is all in your head; Why so many conservatives deny climate sciece [they hate the solution]; Why US power grid's days are numbered; All US nuclear reactors vulnerable to terrorists; Mosquitos are worse this summer ... PLUS: Might as well face it, you’re addicted to oil (an intervention) ... and much, MUCH more! ...
In the wake of the latest revelations of our massive, secret, invasive national security surveillance state, I've been trying to remind folks how we got here, and how it was that many on both the Right and Left --- though far more robustly on the Right --- not only allowed for these outrageous intrusions into the private lives of Americans, but actually supported them, a great deal, for well over a decade.
The hypocrisy of some, particularly those on the Right, to be "outraged" about it all now, is laughable.
Nonetheless, for some of the very important context and backstory about how we got to this place --- and how, in fact, some Democrats tried (and failed) to reign in at least the most unlawful excesses of it (even while some also supported it --- talking to you, Sen. Feinstein & Sen./President Obama) --- Rachel Maddow's piece from last night's show is extremely helpful and educational...
Other than what appears, at first blush, to be the front entrance to the official Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Sewer System, the entire complex, shining at the top of a hill in Simi Valley, CA, is beautiful. Had we not arrived so late in the day, we would likely have paid the somewhat pricey $21 per head entrance fee to tour the actual museum, see the old Air Force One that is on display and, perhaps, even pay the extra $6 to check out the "Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives" exhibit which is also currently on display there, for some reason, until the end of the month.
As late as it was, however, we decided this time around to just enjoy the grounds, the memorial site, and the gift shop --- all free to access --- and make a mental note to try to go back for a full day at some point in the not too distant future.
But we were still able to take a few photos that you may enjoy, including this one just outside the entrance to the museum portion of the Reagan Presidential Library. I call it: "Trust But Photograph"...
Here are a few more of the photos we took yesterday, some odder and/or more ironic than others...
It's a beautiful and maddening film, featuring many voices --- such as Julian Assange, John Nichols, Dan Rather, Amy Goodman, Robert Parry, Robert McChesney, Dan Ellsberg, Sibel Edmonds and many more, including even yours truly --- who will be familiar to readers of The BRAD BLOG. While aspects of a number of the stories told in the film may be familiar, there were elements that even I hadn't heard about it, in just about every one of them.
I had planned to ask Tremblay about his struggles finding commercial theatrical distribution for the film in the U.S. I'd presumed that, at least, would be next to impossible, given the subject matter of the film (the corporate takeover/merger of the near-entirety of our mainstream media in collusion with the highest levels of the U.S. government.) What I hadn't counted on --- what caught me completely off-guard --- was that Tremblay said that, while the film has been featured at prestigious film festivals around the world, the bulk of the major festivals in the U.S. had turned the film down. Yes, those supposedly "independent" film festivals are, apparently, not quite as independent as they used to be, it seems.
Our conversation, today, was the first, as I understand it, that Tremblay has been able to have in the U.S. media about this important film which has been several years in the making. (I was interviewed for the film about three years ago as I recall.)
The good news: We were able to talk about all of that today, unencumbered by any corporate filter and over our public airwaves on Pacifica Radio in L.A. (and over 110,000 blazing FM watts across much of Southern and Central California!)
The even better news: You can watch the film, in its entirety, streaming on the Internet as of tomorrow, Thursday, April 4 at Shadows.KCETlink.org. (You can watch a number of clips from the film there already.)
And, the even better news still: Shadows of Liberty will air on actual television, beginning Friday, April 5th at 8pm ET and PT on independent KCET in Los Angeles and nationwide on Link TV (DISH Channel 9410, DIRECTTV Channel 375).
Until then, you can listen to my conversation with Tremblay from today's BradCast, which includes a number of clips from the film --- along with a few more items of note in the news week (such as concerns about the 100% unverifiable voting systems set for use in the race of Stephen Colbert's sister, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, in her run for the U.S. House in S. Carolina against former Gov. Mark Sanford; the Virginia GOP voter registration worker who was caught tossing registration forms into a dumpster just before the Presidential Election last year, but who seems to now be getting off the hook, and, of course, a visit from our own Desi Doyen, as usual, with the latest Green News Report) --- all right now here.
P.S. Please be the media and spread the word. Thanks. P.P.S. If I haven't "sold" you enough on the film here and in the radio show above, see the official trailer embedded below. Those of you who know my voice will recognize it a few times...
We've been quite remiss by failing to offer the The BRAD BLOG's much-sought yet rarely-bestowed "Intellectually Honest Conservative" Award to Bruce Bartlett, Ronald Reagan's domestic policy adviser and George H.W. Bush's Deputy Asst. Secretary for Economic Policy.
We were reminded of our delinquency again today upon reviewing his candid assessment of the downfall of modern Republicanism and its central core of pretend conservatism as published in a must-read article for the December 2012 issue of American Conservative. The confessional includes, among many on-target money quotes, this one: "Living in the Fox News cocoon, most Republicans had no clue that they were losing [in 2012] or that their ideas were both stupid and politically unpopular."
Bartlett begins by detailing his decades-long list of unquestionably rock-solid conservative credentials, all of which have earned him exactly nothing from today's clueless, brain-addled, incurably propagandized Fox "News" "conservative" crowd. In fact, he has garnered their utter contempt by attempting to tell them the truth over the past decade or so, finding himself tossed "under a bus" along with The BRAD BLOG's very few other past "Intellectually Honest Conservative" awardees and dissident, reality-based Republicans such as David Frum and Andrew Sullivan.
"To this day," Bartlett writes, "I don't think they understand that my motives were to help them avoid the permanent decline that now seems inevitable"...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Debating the future - contrasting the candidates on energy; Obama fast-tracks solar on public lands; Car battery maker goes bankrupt; PLUS: It's official: September 2012 was the hottest month ever. Ever, people! ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Corn Belt Shifts North With Climate as Kansas Crop Dies; TEPCO admits Fukushima was avoidable; New Study Ties Hurricane Strength To Global Warming; Keystone XL pipeline opponents turn to civil disobedience; Iraq to invest up to $1.6 bln in solar and wind ... PLUS: World's biggest geoengineering experiment 'violates' UN rules ... and much, MUCH more! ...