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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, April 23, 2018
White Privileged Election Fraud, Mass Shootings, More: 'BradCast' 4/23/18
White Waffle House mass shooter peacefully apprehended, White GOP Judge in TX gets slap on the wrist for election fraud, and other recent tales of gentle accountability...
Sunday 'Consensual Collusion' Toons
Documenting the not-so-strange bedfellows of the week and much more, in PDiddie's latest weekly Sunday toon collection...
Senate GOP Twists Law to Gut Decades-Old Regs (Forever): 'BradCast' 4/20/18
Guest: James Goodwin of CPR: Also: DNC files Trump/Russia suit; Wells Fargo fined $1B; Memos reveal Trump wants to jail journalists...
Senate Confirms Climate Science Denier as NASA Chief: 'BradCast' 4/19/18
...and many more otherworldly reminders of the importance of elections...
'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. US Attorney Randall Eliason on Trump, Cohen, Mueller, indicting a sitting Prez; Also: Tax cut support falls, GOPers keep heading for the exits...
'Green News Report' 4/17/18
Federal watchdogs say EPA violated law for Admin Scott Pruitt; Senate confirms coal industry lobbyist for deputy EPA chief; PLUS: Google and Apple go 100% renewable...
Trump's Unlawful, Evidence-Free 'Mission Accomplished': 'BradCast' 4/16/18
Congress acquiesces after second US attack on Syria; Hannity revealed as secret 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 to rejoin TPP?; Sinclair's abuse of public airwaves; And, why local news matters...
'Green News Report' 4/12/18
Newly unearthed docs reveal Shell knew about warming since 1950s; Dems want Pruitt to resign; EPA docs under-mine his claims; PLUS: Obama EPA chief speaks out...
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...


Guest: James Goodwin of Center for Progressive Reform; Also: DNC files Trump/Russia 'conspiracy' lawsuit; Wells Fargo fined $1B; Comey memos reveal Trump wants to jail journalists...
By Brad Friedman on 4/20/2018 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast: As usual, the big headlines obscure the most disturbing ones. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

On Friday, the Democratic National Committee filed a surprise federal lawsuit against Donald Trump, his son Don Jr., his son-in-law Jared Kushner, several other members of the Trump Campaign, as well as Russia and WikiLeaks, for what the DNC's characterizes in the complaint as a broad "conspiracy" to steal private documents and undermine the DNC and the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign in "an act of previously unimaginable treachery". If allowed to move forward, the suit could result in the President, and all of his men, being forced to turn over documents and give depositions under oath. (It could also set a troubling precedent for journalists.)

Also on Friday, Wells Fargo was slapped with a $1 billion fine by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) for hoaxing more than half a million customers into purchasing car insurance they did not need. While it was the first major action by the CFPB since Trump muscled his own Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney into the dual role of Acting CFPB Director, the record fine is only a small percentage of what Wells is receiving from Trump's recent massive tax cuts.

Mulvaney, who, as a Tea Party Congressman had spent years trying to abolish the consumer bureau formed after the 2008 global banking and mortgage crisis, was upbraided by Sen. Elizabeth Warren during a recent hearing in the Senate, for his ongoing efforts to undermine the CFPB's critical assistance to consumers.

And, related to all of that, while the worst of the Trump/GOP's major legislative agenda under Trump was broadly considered to be behind us with Democrats believed likely to take over one or both chambers of Congress this November, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA, pictured above) recently came up with a scheme to twist the obscure Congressional Review Act (CRA), in order to gut decades of executive agency regulations with a simple majority vote in each house. While the CRA, only used once in its 21-year history before Trump took office, was meant as a way for Congress to roll back new formal rules enacted by executive agencies, it has been used over the past year to gut dozens of formal regulations enacted during the last 60 days of the Obama Administration.

Toomey, however, has now come up with a new interpretation of the law to allow Republicans to kill regulations from decades ago. This week, the GOP Senate began using his interpretation to do just that. They voted to kill a 2013 CFPB "guidance" document enacted to prevent racial discrimination in auto loans after hundreds of thousands of minority car buyers were found to have been charged higher interest rates for loans (resulting in more than $100 million in fines by the CFPB and money paid back to customers.)

Toomey's maneuver, however, allows such guidelines --- as opposed to only recently enacted formal rules --- to be killed under the CRA, which also prevents executive agencies from ever reinstating a similar regulation in the future. In the bargain, decades of established executive agency regulations could now be done away with, with simple majority votes, between now and the start of the next Congressional term in 2019.

We're joined today by JAMES GOODWIN of the Center for Progressive Reform to discuss this dangerous and insidious new scheme which has received disturbingly sparse media attention since its first time use this past week. Goodwin details what the CRA was meant to do, versus how Republicans have now decided to use, and the many ways in which the CRA might now be abused across the federal government with this new precedent. "One of the main dangers of this new precedent," he explains, "is we have all of these critical safeguards that we thought were in place, that now could simply vanish. And, really, the only limitation [Republicans] face is time."

Finally, the release of memos [PDF] written by fired FBI Director James Comey just after his several meetings with Donald Trump, confirm Comey's earlier descriptions of those bizarre encounters, and have received much coverage for the President's described concerns about Russian hookers and his former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who has pleaded guilty to felonies in Robert Mueller's Special Counsel probe. Less discussed, however, are the troubling details from the memos revealing that Trump was similarly obsessed with convincing the FBI Director to throw journalists in jail --- in stark violation of the First Amendment --- for reporting on embarrassing leaks coming out of his White House...

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

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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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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: Carroll Muffett of Center for International Environmental Law...
By Brad Friedman on 4/11/2018 6:38pm PT  

We unpack alotta long cons on today's BradCast, some of them decades in the making. Among them: Trump's new position on U.S. war in places like Syria, versus his position before he became President; GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan's position on deficit spending before he and Congressional Republicans exploded the deficit and he announced on Wednesday he's retiring from the U.S. House; And, Royal Dutch Shell's position on the dangers of global warming before a new, recently revealed treasure trove of internal company documents going back to the 50's revealed their real position on the matter. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up today, Donald Trump prepares to go to war in Syria and, despite mercilessly criticizing previous Presidents for revealing their intentions before taking military action, does exactly the same today on Twitter, in order to give a warning to Syria's top ally, Russia. That, despite unanswered questions about who was actually behind a recent reported chemical attack in a rebel-held town in the war-torn nation, the U.S. Congress' failure to authorize any such military action, as per the Constitution, and the threat that both Russia and Iran say they will target a response to efforts by the U.S. and its allies in the region like Israel.

Next, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan decides to call it quits, rather than risk losing his re-election bid this November in a predicted "blue wave", just after a new report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects trillion dollar budget deficits as far as the eye can see, thanks to the GOP/Trump tax cuts and their recent spending bill. So much for the long-time, so-called "budget hawk" that Ryan (and Trump) pretended to be, while spending years attempting to gut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security for Americans.

Then, we're joined by CARROLL MUFFETT, President and CEO of the Center for International Environmental Law to discuss a remarkable trove of recently unearthed internal documents from Royal Dutch Shell, revealing that the oil giant, just like Exxon and Mobil Oil before them, have known for decades about the threat of global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

Muffett describes the newly unearthed documents, as detailed in their jaw-dropping new report, "A Crack in the Shell" [PDF], which shows that, as long ago as 1958(!), Shell was well aware of the dangerous consequences of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere caused by the burning of oil. And, as early as 1962, as the documents reveal, even urged internally "a "serious consideration of the maximum utilization of solar energy".

"The earliest document that we have with respect to Shell," he tells me, "was a report for the oil industry's Smoke and Fumes Committee that was reporting on research that the industry was funding into a variety of air pollutants. And even in 1958, one of those air pollutants was the pollution of the atmosphere by carbon from fossil sources."

"By 1962, we can demonstrate that Shell's chief geologist was very explicitly acknowledging the links between Shell's products and carbon dioxide from fossil fuels, and the potential for global warming," says Muffett. "So much so, that this scientist even highlighted the recommendations of other scientists that the switch to solar energy should begin as soon as possible."

Despite their scientific knowledge, as Muffett details today, the company eventually joined others in downplaying the threat of man-made climate change and now, according to the longtime attorney and leader in the newly emerging field of legal responses to global climate change, may face increased exposure for their part in our ever-worsening climate crisis.

"We see a remarkable transformation that goes on between 1988 and 1991, where the company is acknowledging these risks, and then by the mid-90s, Shell is, as with other oil companies, actively promoting uncertainty, and the need for inaction instead of action, in the face of mounting evidence," he explains, adding: "What we can now show, and this is very legally relevant, is that for decades, Shell was aware of those risks, and it continued to take those risks on the assumption that, ultimately, it would be consumers and governments that bore the cost, rather than Shell itself."

Please tune in for this remarkable discussion. It matters...

Finally today, a renewed bi-partisan effort emerges in the U.S. Senate to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller from being fired by the President. But, with GOP leaders like Mitch McConnell in the Senate and Ryan still in the House, the legislation may not get very far, even as Trump continues to fume --- and lie --- about the ongoing 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: Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Hullabaloo...
By Brad Friedman on 4/10/2018 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It is "a very dangerous time", as longtime White House reporter and historian Paul Brandus may have understated last night. "Objectively speaking," he observed in a "difficult to write" tweet, he has "never seen, or known of, a President as unhinged and unstable as" Donald Trump appeared during remarks at the White House before his Monday meeting with his military team.

On Monday evening, following FBI raids on the office and residences of his personal attorney Michael Cohen, President Trump lashed out at law enforcement, calling the court-approved searches "disgraceful", "an attack on our country", and falsely claimed that the search warrant approved by a federal judge and the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan, amounted to a "break in". Trump's remarks also included musings about the possibility of firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose office is said to have shared information with the U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, leading to yesterday's raids.

Trump's friend, attorney and business partner Cohen is currently embroiled in the scandal involving a $130,000 hush money payoff to porn star Stormy Daniels, made just days before the 2016 election. The lawful raid, however, which may involve far more serious crimes, comes at a particularly precarious moment.

On Tuesday --- one day after Trump's new and extraordinarily hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton's first day on the job --- longtime White House Homeland Security Advisor, Tom Bossert, was abruptly fired. His dismissal came after Bossert, while making clear that all options were on the table, had argued in favor of Trump's recent position on Syria over the weekend, in opposition to increased U.S. military action in the war-torn nation. But, after a recent chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma, Trump has now cancelled a scheduled trip to Latin America and appears to be readying military action against the sovereign nation --- a close ally of both Russia and Iran --- even without authorization from Congress. Such action would likely, at a minimum, mirror the missile attack Trump unleashed on a Syrian airbase last year, which both Congressional Republicans and Democrats lauded at the time, even though Republicans had threatened President Obama with the possibility of impeachment when he considered doing the very same thing during his term in office. This time, however, the action could be much larger, more deadly, and far more dangerous for the region and the U.S.

At the same time, nobody seems to be certain as to exactly why Cohen was raided in the first place. Speculation ranges from the Stormy Daniels affair, to bank and wire fraud, to alleged schemes and payouts from Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs, to Cohen's taxi business in New York.

We're joined today by the great HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo blog, to try and make sense of all of the above. Wish us luck. "It's like there's this unharmonic convergence happening with all this news," she tells me. "I don't know what it is, but it's not good."

"In this situation, when you've got Syria there and Trump under the gun, feeling Robert Mueller breathing down his neck, this is something that a guy like Bolton --- if he is smart enough to suss that out about Trump, and I have a suspicion that he might be --- he could be feeding that into Trump and we're going to see some kind of --- what do they call it these days? --- 'kinetic violence'. That's another word for war," she says.

We've got a lot to discuss about all of this on today's show with 'Digby', including what is likely to happen if (when) Trump moves to fire Mueller, as well as how this entire long national nightmare may finally end.

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, as the scandals involving EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt continue to mount, and with some good news, once again, for pipeline protesters, this time in Canada, but more bad water news for Michigan. Also, we've got a bit some more late-breaking Pruitt/EPA news, as well...

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: Investigative journalist Jason Leopold; Also: Trump expels Russian diplomats; Fox 'News' lawyers won't join Trump legal team after all; 'March for Our Lives'; Callers on all of the above...
By Brad Friedman on 3/26/2018 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The allegation made by adult film actress Stormy Daniels that someone associated with Donald Trump physically threatened her, appears to track quite well with decades of similar allegations made by those who Trump, at one point, believed to have cross him. [Audio link to today's show follows below.]

During her 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper on Sunday night, adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, a.k.a. Stormy Daniels, claimed she was physically threatened in 2011 in a Las Vegas parking lot, in front of her young daughter, by someone warning her to not to speak publicly about the sexual tryst she says she had with Donald Trump back in 2006. Immediately after the interview aired, an attorney for Michael Cohen (Trump's personal lawyer, fixer, and business partner) sent a "cease and desist" letter to Daniels' attorney, demanding she retract the "false and defamatory" claims made on the program, charging that Cohen "was responsible" in some way for the alleged threat. The attorney charged that Daniels' claims accusing Cohen "of criminal conduct" were "false", "libel[ous]" and "defamatory".

The only problem: Daniels didn't actually tie Cohen to the story about the thug who, she says, threatened her in 2011!

Cohen formed the LLC created to pay $130,000 in hush money to Daniels just weeks before the 2016 Presidential election, though he says he did not do so on behalf of Trump or the Trump Organization, that he was never reimbursed for the payment (which would be a violation of federal campaign finance law, if it was meant to help Trump win the election as Paul S. Ryan of Common Cause told us in January, just after he filed his complaints with the FEC and DoJ), and that, in any event, the tryst between Trump and Daniels never happened at all.

But, whether Daniels' tied Cohen to the alleged 2001 threat or not, it's hardly the first time the Trump Organization --- and Donald Trump specifically --- has been accused of physical threats against his perceived adversaries.

We're joined today by BuzzFeed investigative journalist and renowned "FOIA terrorist" JASON LEOPOLD to discuss three different incidents, revealed via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request documents he obtained from the FBI and other law enforcement agencies last year, detailing physical threats said to have been made against Trump business associates in the 80s, 90s and 2000s.

The details of the three different alleged incidents are chilling, including one terrifying and profane phone threat to an attorney, made on the day Trump's Casino business declared bankruptcy, from a payphone outside the Ed Sullivan Theater on the very same day that Trump was appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman, which is shot there. As Leopold explains, the incidents which he reported on exclusively last year at BuzzFeed, came immediately to mind upon hearing Daniels recount her own frightening tale on 60 Minutes.

Then, we open up the phone lines to hear from listeners on all of the above, as well as a number of other stories that we also cover on today's program, including: Saturday's massive March for Our Lives rallies for gun safety reform, as led by the students of Parkland, Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and supported by Pope Francis; the Trump Administration's announcement that they plan to expel 60 Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of a former Russian intelligence agent in Britain; and the Sunday announcement that, despite reports to the contrary last week, Fox "News" wingnut attorneys Joe diGenova and his wife Victoria Toensing will not, in fact, be joining Trump's personal defense team responding the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller after all (precisely as predicted by Friday's guest on The BradCast, Marcy Wheeler!)...

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Also: Dow plunges; Trump lead attorney quits; Massive funding bill approved; Walker ordered to call elections; PA lawmakers file impeachment against 4 state Supreme Court Justices; MUCH MORE...
By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2018 6:36pm PT  

Before Thursday's late bombshell news that Trump's National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster is being replaced by hard-right Fox "News" neo-con wingnut John Bolton, we covered a number of stories on today's --- at times maddening, sad, frightening (and occasionally humorous and encouraging) --- BradCast.

Among them...

  • The Dow plunges more than 700 points after Trump announces his trade war with China;
  • John Dowd, Trump's lead defense attorney responding to the Special Counsel probe, has had enough, quits, as hard-right Fox 'News' conspiracist/attorney Joe diGenova joins the team;
  • U.S. House approves massive last-minute $1.3 trillion spending bill to keep the government open before Friday's midnight deadline for a government shutdown, and so they can get out of town before student protesters show up on Saturday for the "March for Our Lives" gun safety rally;
  • Included in the massive, last-minute omnibus spending bill is hundreds of millions of dollars for cybersecurity "upgrades" to our nation's election systems. That funding comes on the heels of ill-considered new recommendations [PDF] from the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, meant to protect U.S. elections by increasing, rather than decreasing, the amount of cyber hardware and software used in elections, and instead of increasing the ability for public oversight of elections. (I have just a few words to say about all of that,as you might imagine, if you can hear them over the sound of my brain exploding. You might hear me mentioning hand-counted, hand-marked paper ballots once or twice, since election officials and members of Congress still seem to have trouble hearing that phrase, despite what happened in 2016, and after some 15+ years of folks like me trying to warn them about the very vulnerabilities they think they are now trying to correct. P.S. Russia isn't the only serious and ongoing threat to U.S. elections...by a long shot. But my brain is exploding now again. So just listen to the show.);
  • Wisconsin's Gov. Scott Walker is ordered by a judge (who he appointed) to immediately call special elections for two vacant state legislative seats. He's avoided doing that ever since a recent long-held Republican seat in the state Senate was lost to a Democrat in a January special election amid anti-Trump fervor;
  • Trump-loving Republican U.S. House candidate Rick Saccone finally concedes last week's special U.S. House election in Pennsylvania's very Republican 18th Congressional district to Democrat Connor Lamb, who appears to have defeated Saccone by about 750 votes out of more than 225,000 cast;
  • Republicans in the PA House of Representatives file articles of impeachment against four Democratic state Supreme Court Justices who mandated a new U.S. House district map before the 2018 mid-term elections, after finding the one drawn by Republicans in 2011 was an unlawful partisan gerrymander resulting in a 13 to 5 advantage in PA's U.S. House delegation over the last three elections (in an otherwise 50/50, slightly Dem-leaning swingstate);

Finally, just after the breaking news of McMaster out and Bolton in arrives...Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with some good news for the EPA, some disturbing news about bottled water, and some heartbreaking news for mankind...

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Guests: Jean Kaczmarek, DuPage County candidate, election integrity champ; Howie Klein, progressive 'Down With Tyranny' blogger...
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2018 6:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast: An actual Nazi won the Republican Party nomination for a U.S. House seat on Tuesday in Illinois' 2018 mid-term primaries. But, while Democratic turnout was way up, progressive candidates on the 'blue' team did less well than hoped, according to the reported results. And, once again, there was another computer vote-counting disaster in a deep 'red' Illinois county. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

After an update on what Texas law enforcement officials hope will have been the dramatic late-night conclusion to the three-week long bombing spree in Austin (carried out, as it turns out, by a white domestic rightwinger), we tackle the results, fallout and concerns about the computer tabulation systems from Tuesday's primary. We're joined first today by longtime election integrity champ and government watchdog JEAN KACZMAREK, who is now, officially, the Democratic nominee for County Clerk in DuPage County, IL, where the computer tallies of hand-marked paper ballots just happened to collapse on Tuesday night.

Kaczmarek explains what is believed to have gone wrong, leading election officials in the county to halt all tallies in the very Republican county last night, until some 256 precinct-based optical-scan computers could be collected and brought back from the precincts to the County headquarters.

The failure, apparently, is being chalked up to "ender cards" that were said to be on paper stock too thick to run through the scanners, despite being supplied by a vendor the county had relied on for many years to print up ballots for use with their Diebold optical-scan systems first purchased in 2002. "Ender cards" are run through the scanners at the close of polls, to then allow the printing of results tapes before the scanners' sensitive memory cards are removed and returned to county headquarters for final tallying. The monumental failure, coincidentally, came on the same day voters were asked in ballot referendum about combining the County Election Commission with the County Clerk's office (as most counties already do in the state), and as the county was premiering its new, fancy election night results website.

County officials claim the system was "rigorously" tested before Election Day, even though they failed on Tuesday. "My guess is the ender cards won't be a problem in November," says Kaczmarek. That might be the one thing that they do really well in November. There seems to always be some type of problem going on in DuPage on Election Night."

Then, we're joined next by HOWIE KLEIN of Down With Tyranny to discuss the tough day for progressive Democrats in the Land of Lincoln, where a number of conservative establishment (and even far-right) Democrats were able to edge out their more progressive challengers. We discuss, among other races yesterday, the gubernatorial primary contests, which have resulted in a race that will now feature two billionaires going head-to-head this fall, and the much-watched and highly contentious U.S. House race in the 3rd Congressional District where rightwing Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski is reported to have barely defeated progressive candidate Marie Newman, who had been strongly endorsed by Klein's BlueAmericaPAC.

"Well, he's not a 'full-on Republican'," Klein says about Lipinski, countering one of Newman's claims during the campaign. "But he does tend to vote with Republicans on key, crucial issues. For example, he was one of the Democrats to vote against Obamacare. He literally votes against equality for gay people. He is so anti-choice that the Republican anti-choice organization, the Susan B. Anthony List, not only supported him, they spent $150,000 supporting him. This is a very, very serious, rightwing candidate and rightwing groups know that, and they gave him a lot of support."

There were, however, some bright spots for progressives on Tuesday in IL, which we discuss as well. Along with all of that, Klein also tells me why Congressional leadership chose to put their support behind the incumbent, anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-Obamacare Lipinski, rather than Newman, and how it may be difficult to keep Donald Trump from congratulating the actual Nazi who will be running against Lipinski this fall.

As if all of that isn't enough, we even have some conversation about the Talking Heads' David Byrne, whose new solo album has debuted at #1, and who Klein represented for years while a top Hollywood record executive, before ditching that life for the glamor and big bucks of independent progressive political blogging...

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Callers ring in on all of the above and much more today!...
By Brad Friedman on 3/19/2018 6:00pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We have a lot to catch up from over the weekend, and callers with lots of opinions to go with it. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today, both a Republican federal court panel and the U.S. Supreme Court both rejected Pennsylvania Republican lawmaker's last ditch attempt to block a new U.S. House map forced upon them by the state Supreme Court in February after the previous map enacted in 2011 was determined to be an unlawful partisan gerrymander in violation of the state's Constitution. Those were the last chances for the state GOP to restore the unlawful maps --- which had given them a 13 to 5 advantage in U.S. House seats over the past three elections --- before the candidate filing deadline for the 2018 primary elections in the largely 50/50 swing-state.

At the same time, voters head to the polls in Illinois on Tuesday for the second primary of the crucial 2018 mid-terms. Among the contested races is a primary challenge by progressive Marie Newman to longtime, very right-wing Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski in IL's 3rd Congressional district. The race is said to be statistically tied, as Lipinski fights for his political life, and as the winner of Tuesday's primary in the very "blue" area of Chicago will likely go on to win in November, since the GOP, literally, has only a proud neo-Nazi running on the ballot for the Republican nomination.

But concerns about Illinois' computerized voting, tabulation and registration system continue to haunt officials and undermine democracy and voter confidence --- justifiably. The state's voter registration system was breached during the 2016 election, and remains wildly vulnerable along with the state's voting and tabulation systems. Despite purported concerns of "Russian interference", little has changed in any of our nation's easily hacked, oft-failed electoral systems following the 2016 election.

Then: On last Friday's show, we noted that nobody in the Trump Admin had yet been fired that day. But, shortly after airtime, FBI Deputy Director and former Acting Director Andrew McCabe was fired just two days shy of receiving his lifetime pension after 21 years of service to the Bureau.

We discuss the reasons he was said to have been fired and the fact that Attorney General Jeff Sessions (who officially fired him) was supposed to have recused himself from the matter. Nonetheless, Donald Trump rejoiced at the news via Twitter --- since McCabe is a witness against Trump's apparent attempted obstruction of justice in the firing of FBI Director James Comey --- before turning his wrath back against Comey and, for the first time on Twitter, Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Is a newly emboldened Trump preparing again to fire Mueller? If he does, will Congressional Republicans do anything to block him? And what, for that matter, will the American people do --- if anything --- in response to what many (over-confidently) believe would be a Constitutional crisis? We open the phone lines to talk about all of that and much more on today's BradCast!...

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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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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...

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Guest: NatSec journalist Marcy Wheeler on Jared's jeopardy; Also: Trump loses 'last emotional crutch' and Ivanka reportedly facing FBI probe...
By Brad Friedman on 3/1/2018 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We begin with some very brief good news today on a new automatic voter pre-registration scheme for 16 and 17-year olds in California, as signed into law by the Governor on Wednesday. That, before diving headlong into the deep dark heart of Donald Trump's seemingly, very quickly imploding White House. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

The spate of jaw-dropping news over the past 48 hours, all pointing in one direction, is remarkable, even by the standards of this particular White House. Following on Wednesday's shock news that Trump's third Communications Director, Hope Hicks is resigning, there has been much speculation as to why she is leaving. As one of Trump's closest personal confidantes and most trusted advisors --- and among the last of the original team that's been with Trump since he announced his candidacy in 2015 --- some are reporting that the 29-year old former model quit after being berated by Trump for admitting to a Congressional committee the day prior that she was required to lie on his behalf. Other reporting suggests she could be facing legal jeopardy after finding herself at the center of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into obstruction of justice by the President.

Hicks was also described as Trump's "last emotional crutch", which does not bode well for where this White House may now be heading.

At the same time, a number of blockbuster stories have broken in recent days regarding Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner, whose family real estate business has long faced financial woes. Kushner's interim top secret security level clearance was recently downgraded after his FBI background check failed to clear him for permanent security clearance, a number of foreign countries were reported to have been intercepted discussing how to manipulate him based on his financial problems, two major money lenders reportedly gave his family company huge refinancing loans shortly after meetings with him in the White House, and our guest today, MARCY WHEELER, believes that Mueller could be working toward charges against Kushner for "conspiracy against the United States."

Wheeler, a longtime national security journalist at Emptywheel, detailed the reasons why Mueller may now be closing in on Kushner in a New York Times op-ed yesterday. She joins us today to explain those possibilities --- centered, in part, on his various foreign entanglements and multiple failures to properly disclose them --- on today's show.

"We've been talking about 'collusion' since before the election," Wheeler says. "Collusion is not a crime. It is a shiny object used by Trump to be able to deny something over and over again. He was never going to be indicted for it, because collusion is not a crime. He will or could, however, be an un-indicted co-conspirator in a conspiracy." And, in the broad conspiracy that Mueller seems to be documenting through his indictments to date, she argues, Kushner may well find himself indicted as one of those conspirators.

We also discuss whether and how Trump can possibly survive the apparent ongoing implosion, with Hicks soon gone and Kushner now believed to be in serious jeopardy. "Trump is losing people he trusts. And eventually he's going to be sitting there alone in the White House watching 25 screens, all of them playing Fox and Friends, and tweeting angrily in response," Wheeler tells me. "At some point, the White House becomes so hollowed out it starts collapsing, and I feel like we're pretty close to that."

Finally today, after our discussion of Hicks' departure and Kushner's tightening noose, CNN breaks a new story reporting that the FBI is said to be eyeing financial questions surrounding business dealings by Kushner's wife Ivanka Trump, the President's daughter, close advisor, and one of the only other still-standing "originals" left, along with Hicks and Kushner, in the Administration...

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

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Trump's horrible idea; FL's tepid gun reform package; Melania's parents' 'chain migration'; Gates cops a plea; McMaster may soon be out; Why Republicans must be removed; Stoneman Douglas students shine...
By Brad Friedman on 2/23/2018 6:03pm PT  

We catch up with a lot of news today, at the end of another ridiculously busy week, on today's very busy BradCast! But, hey, we start with a laugh and end with a song. So, it can't be all that bad, right? [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the many stories covered on today's program...

  • Donald Trump's horrendous idea for arming school teachers and workers appears to have come straight from Archie Bunker, and it won't work out well, especially for black teachers;
  • After the NRA's A+ rated, Florida Gov. Rick Scott joins the NRA's A+ rated Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in blowing away Second Amendment straw-man arguments, he proposes a package of tepid gun reforms for the state in the wake of the Parkland, FL massacre, including barring those under 21 from buying a semi-automatic rifle;
  • A handful of D.C. GOPers also consider raising the federal age for gun purchases (though don't hold your breath, the NRA is against it.);
  • The problem isn't 'Washington' or 'Congress', it's Republicans, and it's time to remove them from office at the federal, state and local level;
  • After new charges against him and former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort were filed on Thursday, Manafort's partner and former Trump aide Rick Gates copped a guilty plea on Friday and agreed to cooperate with Robert Mueller's Special Counsel probe. Mueller filed even more new charges against Manafort on Friday;
  • Trump may be about to fire his second National Security Advisor, Gen. H.R. McMaster;
  • Did Melania Trump's parents receive permanent U.S. residency, and soon citizenship, thanks to the "chain migration" (family reunification) program that Donald Trump and the GOP are hoping to kill in exchange for protection of DACA kids?;
  • Fox "News" reports that Defense Sec. James Mattis has quietly decided to allow transgender troops to serve in the military, despite Trump's declaration last year that they would be barred from serving "in any capacity";
  • New effort launched by Democrats and gun reform advocates to register high school students to vote in advance of the 2018 mid-terms;

And, finally, some closing thoughts on the heroically shining students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and their performance of the song they wrote just days after a former student, armed with a legally purchased semi-automatic weapon, killed 17 of their fellow students and teachers and wounded more than a dozen others...

[Note: Angie Coiro is in for us on the next BradCast as we take a day off for Desi's birthday! If you'd like to give her a much-deserved birthday gift, please do so in any amount, at BradBlog.com/Donate! And thank you!]

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

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