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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, April 19, 2018
'Dark Lord of Coal Country' Rising, GOP Panicking Before WV U.S. Senate Primary: 'BradCast' 4/18/18
Guest: Bob Kincaid; Also: McConnell says no, Mattis got Trumped, Kobach in contempt...
'Corrupt Intent':
'BradCast' 4/17/18
Guest: Former Asst. U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eliason on Trump, Cohen, Mueller and indicting a sitting President; Also: Slim support for tax cut falls, GOPers keep heading for the exits...
'Green News Report' 4/17/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Federal watchdogs find EPA violated law for embattled Admin Scott Pruitt; Senate confirms coal industry lobbyist for deputy EPA chief; PLUS: Google and Apple go 100% renewable...
Previous GNRs: 4/12/18 - 4/10/18 - Archives...
Trump's Unlawful, Evidence-Free 'Mission Accomplished': 'BradCast' 4/16/18
Congress acquiesces after second US attack on Syria; Also: Sean Hannity revealed as secret Michael Cohen client; Callers ring in...
Sunday Toons: 'One Raid Begets Another'
It didn't take long after Donald Trump's friend, business associate and personal lawyer was raided by the FBI for Trump to unleashes the missiles, as the cartoonists observe in PDiddie's latest collection...
As Trump Goes Ugly,
How Dems Can 'Fight Dirty'
to Win for the Country: 'BradCast' 4/13/18
Guest: Author David Faris on radically reform-ing 'long-term barriers to progressive power'...
Mattis: U.S. Lacks 'Actual Evidence' of Syrian Chemical Attack: 'BradCast' 4/12/18
Also: Clueless Trump now to rejoin TPP?; Sinclair continues to abuse public airwaves; And, why local news matters...
'Green News Report' 4/12/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Newly unearthed docs reveal Shell Oil knew for decades its products cause warming; Dems want Pruitt to resign; EPA docs undermine his claims; PLUS: Obama EPA chief speaks out...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/18 - 4/5/18 - Archives...
Long Cons: Trump's War; Ryan Quits; Shell Knew Too: 'BradCast' 4/11/18
Guest: Carroll Muffett of Center for International Environmental Law...
'Green News Report' 4/10/18
Scandals engulf EPA chief; Canadian pipeline in doubt; Keystone spill twice as big as reported; PLUS: MI okays Nestle groundwater grab, ends bottled water to Flint...
COHEN OFFICES RAIDED; Rick Scott to Run for Senate, While Blocking 1.5M from Rolls: 'BradCast' 4/9/18
Also: Man dies in Trump Tower blaze; Good news for voter registration news in MD, CA...
Sunday 'Lost Control of the Agenda' Toons
Trade wars, Pruitt, Stormy, the wall, the teachers, the guns, and all the other Trump agenda items now careening off the rails in PDiddie's latest toon collection...
Why Haspel's Nomination Matters to an American Whose Father Was Tortured in WWII: 'BradCast' 4/6/18
Guest: Ernest A. Canning; Also: GOP 'Green Party' dirty tricks in MT's U.S. Senate race...
Rising Up Against the Rightwing Takeover of Public Airwaves, Education, Lands and More: 'BradCast' 4/5/18
Some encouraging signs that Americans, even in 'red' states, have had just about enough...
'Green News Report' 4/5/18
Admin buries NOAA report; Trump trade war to hurt drillers; Interior to nix nat'l park fee hikes; PLUS: Oil CEO admitted, 20 yrs ago, fossil fuels cause climate change...
'First Genuinely Good Election for WI Progressives' in Years: 'BradCast' 4/4/18
Guest: John Nichols; Also: MO GOP wants paper ballots; PA wants more unverifiable voting; MLK, 50 years later...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Guest: Wendy Wheatcroft of Moms Demand Action on Gun Sense...
By Brad Friedman on 2/15/2018 6:10pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Our coverage continues of Wednesday's bloodbath at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 were killed and 13 remain hospitalized today, following the nation's most deadly school shooting since Newton, Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

We have many more new details today about the alleged shooter, a 19-year old former student who is said to have legally purchased the semi-automatic AR-15 military-style assault weapon and arsenal of ammo and magazines to go with it. (A photo of his collection, reportedly from one of his Instagram pages, is above.) State law enforcement officials reportedly say, late today, that the previously expelled and recently orphaned student, Nikolas Cruz, has now confessed to the mass shooting.

The predictable fight between gun safety proponents and those opposed to any such measures got underway in full today, as Republicans from President Donald Trump to Florida Gov. Rick Scott to U.S. Senator Marco Rubio went out of their way to avoid discussion of guns and deflect from the need to take action on the nation's continuing gun violence epidemic. They chose instead to declare the need for mental health reform as the only way to prevent the "true evil" behind such massacres, while spreading some of the blame to victims who, they claim, failed to alert authorities to earlier concerns about the shooter.

That charge, as we discuss, appears disingenuous at best, even as news breaks today that Cruz appears to have been associated with and/or trained by a white supremacist organization in the Sunshine State. (Over the past year, Trump has both signed legislation to make it easier for the mentally ill to purchase weapons like the one used in Parkland, Florida, and has cut funding to research and combat of domestic white supremacist violence.)

By way of contrast to the uniform GOP denial and misdirection, Broward County School District Superintendent Robert Runcie offered a plea on behalf of Stoneman Douglas High School students who are demanding real action in response to gun violence in the wake of their Valentine's Day nightmare. "I hope we can get it done in this generation," he said at a news conference today, flanked by two of the National Rifle Association's top benefactors in Florida, Gov. Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi. "But if we don't, they will," he vowed.

We're joined to discuss all of the above, including the stranglehold that the terror-enabling NRA continues to have over Republicans from D.C. all the way to state and local governments, by WENDY WHEATCROFT, Group Leader of the San Diego Chapter of Moms Demand Action on Gun Sense. Wheatcroft, a former elementary school teacher, explains that she has lived through active shooter lockdowns herself, and charges that "the NRA has been infiltrating local government for years. Not just local government offices, but school boards, water boards, every lower level of government. They have been infiltrating and pushing out these talking points."

She details her own group's efforts to enact common sense gun reform, such as "red flag" laws that were adopted in California, to enable "family members or police to remove weapons from someone they deem to be a threat to themselves or others."

"There is no such thing as 'too soon' to talk about gun violence," Wheatcroft argues. "These shootings are compounding, one upon the other upon the other, so when is the time? It's too late for those families --- it's too late for those moms whose kids did not come home from school on Valentine's Day. Can you imagine?," she asks tearfully.

She also speaks to how gun safety proponents can take on the NRA (who "will say and do anything possible to sell their guns and make money"), and cites removing NRA-supported elected officials from office as the most effective weapon for doing that. "It's just so important for us, in every city, to buckle down locally and to make sure that we are supporting candidates who do not share this narrative and this message."

"Right now, our House is dominated by legislators who have been bought by the NRA," Wheatcroft says. "Gun Sense candidates aren't just Dems. It's not enough to just be a Dem anymore. We need people who are champions for gun violence prevention, and who will outspoken and unafraid to speak out and stand up to the NRA."

"We are not trying to take anyone's guns away. We are not here to ban the 2nd Amendment. We are here to help put in place gun safety measures that enable gun owners to maintain their rights, and to keep their guns, while also keeping people safe from guns."

Finally, we close today with a look back at how U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell led the successful 2013 GOP effort to block majority-supported passage of any and all bi-partisan gun safety legislation brought to the Senate floor for a vote, just months after the nation's deadliest school shooting in Newtown, CT...

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

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Another school shooting leaves at least 17 dead in S. Florida as corporate 'dark money' continues to undermine our nation; Also: Still more stormy weather for the White House...
By Brad Friedman on 2/14/2018 6:43pm PT  

Once again on today's BradCast, we must lead with breaking details of yet another mass shooting. This time, at a high school in South Florida where, by the end of today's show, authorities report that 17 had been killed, with a 19-year old former student in custody. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

The horrific tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL led Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) to take to the Senate floor to note, yet again, that these this "epidemic of mass slaughter...happen nowhere else other than the United States of America", where Republican officials, controlled by the funding of the massacre-enabling National Rifle Association, refuse to take even the slightest action, year after year, massacre after massacre, to try and curb the nation's gun violence epidemic.

Murphy, who represented Newtown, Connecticut as a U.S. House member during the 2012 Sandy Hook Massacre, where 20 elementary school children and 6 adults were killed by a 20-year old with an assault weapon, notes that the South Florida shooting was the 19th school shooting since the beginning of this year, which is not even two months old.

The Republican Party is, in fact, controlled from top to bottom by big money corporate donors. And, where many Democrats are similarly enthrall to corporate donations, at least a number of the leading Presidential hopefuls are finally beginning to swear off of corporate "dark money" PAC donations. As we have argued for years --- and do so again today, in light of this latest tragedy, get money out of politics, particularly anonymous "dark money" from corporate PACs like the NRA, and most of our nation's problems, including the 'American Carnage' from our worsening gun violence epidemic, can finally be dealt with.

We cover a number of stories today that underscore that necessity. In one, House of Delegates candidate Lissa Lucas in West Virginia is physically dragged off the floor during a Public Comment period on new fracking legislation, because she dared to list the donations from the fossil fuel industry received by the Delegates who were preparing to vote on the bill.

In another, Republicans in the Arizona statehouse are moving a bill forward that would bar cities from requiring that "dark money" donations be disclosed. The state legislation comes after the City Council in Tempe voted unanimously for a ballot initiative that, if approved by local voters, would require such disclosure. Voting on that local transparency measure began on Wednesday, even as the state government moved to nullify its effect.

And, speaking of money in GOP politics, new disclosures from Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen suggest he used his own personal money to buy the silence of porn star Stormy Daniels regarding an alleged affair she had with Donald Trump. A statement from Cohen, first reported by the New York Times, seems to suggest the $130,000 paid to Daniels, just weeks before the 2016 Presidential election and days after the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape was released, came "out of his own pocket".

But a closer look at his statement reveals he may not have admitted any such thing. In the meantime, attorney Paul S. Ryan of Common Cause, who filed complaints with both the Federal Election Commission and the Dept. of Justice in January (he discussed the complaints on The BradCast at the time), stands by his belief that the payout was an unlawful, unreported, in-kind campaign donation.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with still more news on the dangerous and deadly effects of corporate money polluting our air, water and, yes, politics...

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

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Guest: David Faris of 'The Week'; Also: L.A. school shooting; PA GOP scoffs at court redistricting order; Great voting rights ruling in FL...
By Brad Friedman on 2/1/2018 6:39pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The government shutdown ended just last week. Next week, the next deadline for funding the government is upon us, along with the same fight to protect some 800,000 "Dreamers" from being deported. Do Democrats have any better plan to stand up to Trump and the Republicans this time? [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up, some important news headlines that are likely to disappear among all of the madness in D.C. and much of the corporate media: There was yet another school shooting today, following the one in rural Kentucky just last week. This time it was a middle school in Los Angeles, where a 12-year old girl is said to be in custody after two 15-year olds were shot.

In Pennsylvania, the Republican President of the Senate, Joe Scarnati, is blatantly refusing orders by the State Supreme Court to turn over districting documents after the court found last week that the GOP-controlled legislature in the largely 50/50 swing-state had gerrymandered U.S. House districts in violation of state law. Republicans currently hold 13 seats to the Democrats' 5 under the GOP-drawn maps. The Court has ordered the maps immediately redrawn, but Republicans are trying to prevent that, and are now defying the court in doing so. Scarnati's behavior continues a growing and disturbing pattern by Republicans across the country --- and now all the way up to the White House --- to simply refuse to follow the rule of law and orders of the court.

Meanwhile, some very good news for voters in Florida, as a federal court, just before airtime, finds the "scheme" employed by Republican Gov. Rick Scott to consider restoration of voting rights for some 1.5 million former felons in the state, to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution's 1st Amendment Free Speech clause and 14th Amendment Equal Protection clause. Currently, the process to overcome Florida's lifetime ban on voting rights for former felons who have long ago completed their sentences, finished parole and paid off all restitution, requires personally groveling to the Governor and hoping rights are restored, at his standard-free whim, according to the federal judge. That may now, finally, change (unless the ballot initiative to restore such rights to former felons is adopted first this November, after the measure's proponents successfully gathered nearly 1 million signatures in support last week!)

Then, it was only last week that Senate Democrats caved to Donald Trump and the Republicans following just two days of a government shutdown. After promising to vote against any government spending bill unless it included protections for some 800,000 "Dreamers" --- Obama-Era DACA recipients who, thanks to Trump, now face deportation as soon as March 5 --- the Dems folded and reversed course.

That, as our guest today, DAVID FARIS, Roosevelt University political scientist and The Week contributor, argues, has now further weakened what had previously been a fairly strong hand for Democrats.

Now, the next funding deadline and possible shutdown looms just one week from today, as the previous reversal by Democrats has likely bolstered Republican resolve and afforded time for Trump to move the goal posts even farther right on his immigration demands. He detailed those demands during his offensive remarks on the matter in his State of the Union Address Tuesday night.

"It highlights to me way it was such a huge mistake for Democrats to cave and come back to the table and reopen the government. Because what it did was it allowed the President and his allies to seize the initiative here, and to release this plan to the public. It's just shocking to me that Democrats didn't think ahead, 'What's coming up? The State of the Union.' This will allow the President to set the parameters of the debate," Faris says.

He charges that Democrats "went from a situation where they were fighting for one issue that they had a 53 point advantage on --- and that's DACA and the Dreamers --- to a situation where now we have multiple immigration proposals thrown together, and they all, at least, have good plurality polling for the President."

Faris, author of the upcoming book, It's Time to Fight Dirty: How Democrats Can Build a Lasting Majority in American Politics, argues the fate of the "Dreamers" may now, unthinkably, be left up to the hope that Trump decides to simply do the right thing for those 800,000 children brought here illegally as children decades ago by their parents.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with some good news (for a change) for Puerto Rico, some very good news for the state of New Jersey under their new Democratic Governor, and some more bad news for the planet and the state of Maine under their dumbest Governor in the nation...

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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Special coverage with blogger Dave Johnson and podcaster Tara Devlin...
By Brad Friedman on 1/31/2018 5:37pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we try to make sense (wish us luck!) of Donald Trump's first, anything-but-normal State of the Union Address on Tuesday night. [Audio link to show follows below.]

After some quick news headlines --- (on another top Trump official resigning in shame, another senior Republican Congressman announcing he won't run for reelection, a Democratic Senator avoiding a second corruption trial, and a literal GOP train-wreck) --- we dive into our special coverage of what used to be a solemn and largely serious U.S. tradition.

We're joined today for commentary, fact-checking and other post-SOTU analysis by DAVE JOHNSON, longtime blogger, creator of "Seeing the Forest", and former Senior Fellow at Campaign for America's Future, and TARA DEVLIN, comedian, creator of RDTDaily.com and host of the weekly, TaraBuster podcast.

Desi Doyen joins us as well, of course, to help break down and fact-check Trump's misleading claims and outright SOTU lies on the economy, tax cuts, healthcare, immigration, drug prices, dangerous "national security" plans, his deceptive infrastructure proposal, his racist dog-whistles and shameless attempts at fear-mongering the American people during Tuesday night's joint session of Congress.

We also review just some of the things that Trump didn't mention in his speech for some reason (America's deadly gun epidemic and climate change, among others), whether Democrats will be able to counter the coming tsunami of GOP propaganda in advance of the 2018 midterms, and how Rep. Joe Kennedy, III performed in his Democratic Response to Trump's address.

"It's another flim-flam plan from the greatest con-man who ever lived," explains Devlin about at least one of the items mentioned above. "That's going to be one of those things that in a few months Trump is going to deny he said. It ain't gonna happen. The opposite is going to happen," says Johnson about another one of those items. Take your pick. But tune in for our special coverage on a very lively show amid very dark times!...

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: Paul S. Ryan of Common Cause; Also: KY school shooting, Trump supporter threatens CNN, Dems' tough decision as next shutdown nears...
By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2018 6:08pm PT  

Did Donald Trump or the Trump Campaign or the Trump Organization violate federal law in a hush money payoff to a porn star? On today's BradCast, we speak with the lawyer from a good-government group that has now filed complaints with the Federal Elections Commission and Dept. of Justice to that end, which he describes as "a very obvious and very clear violation of federal campaign finance law." [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

But first up today, the latest news on the latest school shooting, this time in rural Kentucky, where 12 students were shot, two of them killed, after a 15-year old student unleashed a barrage of gunfire at Marshall County High School just before classes were set to begin on Tuesday morning. It was the first fatal school shooting of 2018, though reportedly the 9th since the first of the year, and 283rd since 2013. In related news, a 19-year old apparent Trump supporter was arrested after repeatedly threatening CNN's Atlanta headquarters earlier this month on the heels of the President's continued targeting of the news network as "fake news".

Then, we discuss some of the newly reported details outlining how it is that Senate Democrats caved on Monday in their government shutdown standoff with Trump and Republicans in regard to protecting some 800,000 "Dreamers" from deportation, including evidence to strongly suggest we are quickly heading towards another shutdown and/or cave in just over two weeks time when the stop-gap spending measure passed on Monday night runs out.

Next, we're joined by PAUL S. RYAN, Vice President of Policy & Litigation at Common Cause, to discuss the two complaints filed on Monday with the FEC [PDF] and with the DoJ [PDF] regarding the payoff made via a shell company set up by Trump's attorney Michael Cohen, allegedly to buy the silence of adult film actress Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) just before the 2016 Presidential election. Trump is alleged to have had an affair, according to the Wall Street Journal, with Clifford/Daniels in 2006, shortly after his wife Melania had given birth to their son.

Ryan and Common Causes' complaints contend that the $130,000 payout appears to have been an unlawful, unreported in-kind donation to the Trump campaign, funded either by the Trump Organization, another person or corporation or Trump himself which, in any of those cases, would be a violation of the Federal Elections Campaign Act (FECA). The longtime campaign finance attorney explains the law in question and handicaps the odds of whether the FEC or DoJ will take action in response.

"At a minimum here," Ryan tells me, detailing who may be culpable, "we seem to be looking at a campaign finance disclosure violation --- because the Trump Campaign Committee didn't report any of this --- and, unless the money came from Trump's own pocket, then we're also talking about a contribution violation, as well."

While the question of who put up the $130k is still unknown, he argues that there is no legitimate way to argue that the payout --- given its timing, shortly after the Access Hollywood "grab 'em by the pussy" tape came out, and the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct from nearly 20 women --- was not meant to influence the election by keeping Daniels from talking to the press. "The timing, with the imminent threat by Stormy Daniels that she was going public with her story, to me, makes this clearly stand as a payment that was all about the election and keeping her quiet up to and until the election."

In related matters, Ryan also offers a few quick takes in response to some questions I had on several other recent news events from the past 24 hours or so, including whether the Trump Administration violated the law with their partisan outgoing voice message on the White House comment line during the shutdown over the weekend; whether any laws were violated by a Monday night dinner meeting on what are said to have been "important issues facing our country", between several Republican Senators, members of Trump's cabinet and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch; and whether Republicans in Pennsylvania have a leg to stand on in their promise to make a federal case out of a Monday ruling by the state Supreme Court ordering the GOP-controlled state legislature to immediately redraw the state's U.S. House district maps, in time for the 2018 primaries, after the maps were found to have been illegally gerrymandered under Pennsylvania's Constitution to discriminate against non-Republican voters.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on Monday's natural gas rig explosion in Oklahoma, new tariffs on solar panels instituted by Trump, and environmental fallout from the Congressional battle over a government spending bill. [Photo above via MySpace/Stormy Daniels.]

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: Mike Liszewski of Drug Policy Alliance; Also: Goodbye, Chris Christie and other encouraging news from the states...
By Brad Friedman on 1/16/2018 5:39pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the consequences of elections, from D.C. on immigration, to VA and NJ on gun safety legislation, and across both D.C. and dozens of states when it comes to marijuana policy under Trump's Attorney General. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

The White House, lawmakers and corporate media continue to squabble today over Donald Trump's racist and reportedly vulgar slur of black majority nations as either "shitholes" or "shithouses" during a bipartisan meeting on immigration last week, even as his Departments of Justice and Homeland Security issued a new and misleading report on terrorism that downplays the far greater threat of domestic attacks by homegrown white Americans, in favor of a focus on foreign-born terrorists.

In the meantime, as the White House and Congress attempt to strike a government spending deal that includes protections for DACA recipients in time to avoid a government shutdown at the end of this week, a changing of the guards in both New Jersey and Virginia following last November's elections is taking place and already reshuffling public policy.

NJ's wildly unpopular Republican Gov. Chris Christie was finally replaced on Tuesday by the new Democratic Governor Phil Murphy, one day after Christie finally signed a law that will ban deadly bumpstock devices, like those used to kill 58 people and wound hundreds of others in minutes in Las Vegas last year, in the Garden State. (To his discredit, he had little choice, as the legislation passed both state chambers with zero votes opposing it.)

At the same time, in VA, where Republicans managed to barely hang on to majorities in the state legislature, thanks to some gaming of several House races and of legislative district maps across the state (allowing them to retain control despite losing statewide by a 55% to 45% margin), the GOP's majority control in the state Senate resulted in the gutting of most of the gun safety agenda on which that state's new Democratic Governor Ralph Northam ran and won by a landslide.

Then, we head back to D.C., where Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced after the turn of the new year that the DoJ was reversing Obama-era enforcement guidance on federal law, in order to crack down on states where marijuana has been made legal for medicinal and/or recreational use after decades of prohibition.

As Drug Policy Alliance advisor and marijuana legislation lobbyist MIKE LISZEWSKI joins us to explain, the new DoJ guidance, rolling back the so-called "Cole Memo" from the Obama years, has not gone over well, even with a number of Republican lawmakers, particularly those from cannabis-friendly states where they have seen a dramatic rise in tax revenue thanks to new policies adopted by voters and state lawmakers.

"The Cole Memo was just guidance, it was never binding. But by removing it, Sessions has really given the green light to US Attorneys throughout the country to say, if you want to prosecute against state marijuana conduct you have our backing," Liszewski tells me, before arguing that there is no need for such policy, given that state laws, where pot has been legalized, are already very tough. "If someone was using a state marijuana law to shield some sort of bad activity, they're clearly in violation of state law. There's so much oversight, you're likely going to get caught rather quickly. So there's really no need for additional federal prosecution. It's really addressing a concern that doesn't actually exist --- unless you have some hysterical views about marijuana."

Sessions, of course, famously has views. Last year, for example, he famously stated that marijuana was "only slightly less awful" than heroin. Liszewski breaks down the DoJ's announced change in prosecutorial guidance and the effect it is likely to have (if any) in pro-cannabis states where, he says, it has "turned out to be wonderful for generating state tax revenue...in terms of the money it's pulling in, but also the law enforcement resources, the jail resources, the court resources, that don't have to go into prosecuting low-level marijuana cases."

We also discuss how Congress may still be able to move forward on drug policy under an Attorney General who is an avowed enemy of pot users and a President who claims to favor states' rights on the matter. Congress, Liszewski argues, is close to having the votes to end prohibition at the federal level all together, if it doesn't have those votes already. But, he says, thanks to a few "old guard" Committee Chairs in Congress, it may take a full reshuffling of the deck in the 2018 mid-term elections to see it actually happen.

"The 2018 elections are going to be so crucial to the future of marijuana reform," he says. "Because whether it's a shift in which party controls each chamber, or if it's just voting out the old guard and getting some new Republicans in, either way would be helpful towards ending federal marijuana prohibition."

"It would be very, very difficult to get the genie back in the bottle at this point," Liszewski adds, "especially seeing a good number of Republicans as well as states continuing to move forward right after the Sessions announcement. It really shows that Sessions is alone on an island with this and has very few supporters. I think the writing is on the wall."

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By Ernest A. Canning on 12/11/2017 9:25am PT  

Last week, at the behest of the "terrorist-enabling" National Rifle Association (NRA), the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act [PDF] (CCRA or HR-38), by way of a mostly party-line vote, 231 to198.

Under the provisions of this proposed federal statute, anyone who has a right to carry a concealed handgun in their own state --- such as "Wild, Wild West Nevada" where everyone is entitled to open or conceal carry all manner of firearms --- must now be permitted to carry a concealed weapon inside any other state that allows citizens to apply for, but not necessarily receive, a permit to carry a concealed handgun.

According to Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr., "Someone from Vermont, where there are no permit requirements, could come into New York City with a loaded gun, come to Times Square, go to the subways." This, NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill added, "will make New York City less safe and our job as law enforcement much harder."

Organizing for America's Jesse Lehrich similarly observed in a tweet, that where Massachusetts "has a rigorous process to obtain a Concealed Carry permit, Vermont has no requirements. Under HR-38, a guy from MA could just buy a gun in VT & bring it back & override MA laws."

As a practical matter, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for local law enforcement to determine whether an individual sporting a concealed weapon has a permit from another state without first "detaining" them long enough to check their ID. That, as Lehrich notes, could also get them sued, because HR-38 allows someone with a permit from another state to sue law enforcement for simply detaining them.

The legislation, if adopted, would also appear to override states' rights in gun safety conscious states, like California, where both open and concealed carry is generally prohibited, though residents may apply for a license to carry a concealed firearm. The NRA's proposed federal statute would prohibit CA law enforcement from "arresting or detaining" a NV resident with a permit, even though CA residents who could not meet the criteria for a concealed carry license under state law could be prosecuted for the same offense.

Fortunately, if the life-endangering CCRA is enacted into law, there's a good chance it will subsequently be struck down as unconstitutional, even by our current U.S. Supreme Court...

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




SoCal fires spread; Trump dumps science; Election Integrity suit before AL election; House GOP ignores states' rights on guns; Listener e-mail...
By Brad Friedman on 12/8/2017 6:17pm PT  

Among the stories covered on today's BradCast...with no small amount of gusto and an occasional comedic turn in an otherwise dark (and smokey) world...

  • Devastating wildfires spread down the Southern California coast toward San Diego, in a record wildfire season that has lasted all the way into winter, as predicted by scientists at least a decade ago. Alas, few heeded their warnings;
  • Clearly not heeding such warnings is Donald Trump who, according to a new AP analysis, is failing to appoint actual scientists to scores of Senate-confirmable, top scientific positions at multiple important federal agencies, from the EPA to the Energy Dept. to the White House itself;
  • The former Chair of the CO Republican Party turned rightwing radio host, Steve Curtis, had claimed before last year's election that "virtually every case of voter fraud I can remember in my lifetime was committed by Democrats." Well, he was proven wrong in court this week as he, himself, is found guilty of....you guessed it. (His failed excuse for it is equally astonishing.)
  • And, speaking of...on the eve of Tuesday's much-watched U.S. Senate special election in Alabama, multi-partisan Election Integrity advocates file suit to force the state to retain "ballot images" from the state's paper ballot digital-scanners. New York Daily News' Editorial Board joins them in that call...for very good reason. (My interview several days ago with the longtime election integrity champ, John Brakey, who helped organize the lawsuit and effort, is right here.)
  • After a spate of mass shootings, Congress finally moves some gun legislation forward, as Republicans in the U.S. House do the bidding of their terrorist-enabling NRA masters in passing a bill to expand the right to carry concealed deadly weapons into states whose laws prohibit it;

And, finally today, we end with some listener e-mail on a few of the topics we've covered on recent shows from guns to the Democratic Party to Trump/Russia...

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Guest: Gaius Publius of 'Down With Tyranny'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/7/2017 6:19pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Are Democrats falling for all of these rightwing traps? Or are they willingly walking right into them...because they want to? [Audio link to show follows below.]

After a few news headlines today --- Australia's parliament finally adopts marriage equality; the white Charleston, SC cop who killed unarmed black man Walter Scott receives a 20 year sentence; another school shooting, this time in NM --- we move on to Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)'s announcement today on the floor of the U.S. Senate that he plans to resign "in the coming weeks".

The stunning announcement by the popular and dogged comedian-turned-Senator comes after fellow Democrats this week called for him to step down in the wake of several allegations of sexual misconduct said to have occurred before he became a U.S. Senator. Franken, who has been a champion for women's rights during his time in the Senate, maintains he either doesn't recall the incidents at all or remembers them quite differently than reported. He has described the most recent charge leveled against him this week by an unnamed victim, said to have been a Congressional staffer in 2006, as "preposterous". Nonetheless, while expressing confidence he would have been cleared by the Senate Ethics Committee of any wrongdoing, he says he will now step aside before that probe was even able to begin in earnest.

We share excerpts of Franken's remarks on the floor today, which include, as he notes, "some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate [in Alabama] with the full support of his [Republican] party."

So, did Democrats fall for another right-wing trap in pushing Franken out? It wouldn't be the first time. We discuss several such traps --- including one that MSNBC seems to have fallen for this week regarding progressive radio host Sam Seder, before wisely changing course two days later --- with longtime progressive writer and blogger GAIUS PUBLIUS, who wrote earlier this week about Democrats falling, yet again, into the Republicans' "deficit trap" regarding federal spending on military and social programs. We debate why and whether Democrats fall into these rightwing traps or if they willingly choose to walk into them, for some reason.

"Why is it that Democrats seem to be one foot in the Republican camp and afraid to be too much in opposition, and one foot in the Democratic camp and not so fully pro-democratic values as we'd like them to be?," Publius observes as we discuss Franken, the 'deficit trap' and more. "I would argue that it's not fear. We're not dealing with cowards here. We're dealing with people who are, in some sense, compromised by their own values. Their own values are putting them in this position where they can't please anybody."

There's lots to chew on in today's conversation on these topics!

Finally, Desi Doyen offers our latest Green News Report as wildfires continue to rage near us here in Los Angeles, and as several breaking news items, related to all of the above, break late during today's show...

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On healthcare, guns, equality and standing up to Nazis...
By Brad Friedman on 11/22/2017 6:18pm PT  

On today's BradCast: With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, we take a short break from the grimmest of news on today's show to dig deep and find at least a few things to be thankful for this year. Sort of. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

With every bit of good news we find, there seems to be some less-than-good news to go along with it. Still, we do our best today to keep both your heads and mine from exploding for a change. Among the manystories covered on today's show...

Sign-ups for the Affordable Care Act ('ObamaCare') are actually up this year, despite the Trump Administration's work to undermine the federal law and keep Americans from knowing about the Open Enrollment period at all. (It runs through December 15 at Healthcare.gov). But, given the shortened Open Enrollment period, there would need to be a far higher number of signups to match last year's totals. Still, a surprising number of "free" policies are available this year and Trump supporters finally appear to be realizing that he is the one undermining their health care.

While temperatures are breaking records out here in Los Angeles (it hit a record 93 degrees today, and broke the century mark in a nearby coastal town), a new report presented at the recent U.N. climate talks in Bonn, Germany finds that the world could move to 100% renewable electricity with existing technologies by 2050, and it would be less expensive than continuing to generate power with fossil fuels and nuclear energy!

There's even some good-ish news regarding guns in the U.S. A bipartisan measure to improve background checks for gun purchases, following a number of recent mass shootings, has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. Also, new polling finds that an incredible record of 94% of gun owners support universal background checks for all gun sales (and a majority of them would also support a ban on the sale of assault weapons entirely!)

In Australia, a nationwide referendum results in overwhelming majority support for marriage equality. In Palm Springs, CA, voters have just elected the first all-LGBTQ City Council in U.S. history. And, in related-ish news, Sec. of State Rex Tillerson appears to disagree with his boss, Donald Trump, regarding rights for transgender people.

And, finally, a recent demonstration by Nazis and White Supremacists in Tennessee was met by a huge resistance of counter-protesters that effectively shut down the demonstration (and another one scheduled for later in the day) entirely. Documentary filmmaker David Earnhardt was on the scene in Shelbyville, TN, and spoke to counter-protesters who stood up to shut down the Nazis. We share some of his interviews on today's show. You can watch his entire short film here.

So, see? There are quite a few things to be thankful for this year after all...Sort of...

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Guest: Nuclear analyst Stephen Schwartz: Also: Dems win again in OK; Moore madness in AL; Maddening new details on N. Cal mass shooting...
By Brad Friedman on 11/15/2017 6:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast, more good news for Dems, more bad news for Republicans, and more disturbing news for all Americans --- and the world. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We start today with the encouraging news for Democrats, as a 26-year old lesbian candidate for state Senate in deep "red" Oklahoma has unseated yet another Republican in a special election this week. It's the third time a state Senate seat has been flipped by Dems in OK since a 24-year old woman became the youngest chair of a state Democratic Party last year.

Speaking of trouble for Republicans, we've also got the latest on the Roy Moore mess in Alabama, as President Trump, also accused of sexual assault by multiple women before his own election last year, has frustrated fellow Republicans by failing to speak out in the matter, following bombshell allegations that Moore assaulted a number of teenagers, as young as 14 years old, while serving as a 32-year old prosecutor. But Moore and his supporters are fighting back today, as is his wildly embarassing attorney. A robocall falsely claiming to be from a reporter at the Washington Post (which originally broke the initial allegations against Moore last week) has reportedly been circulating in Alabama, in advance of the December 12 election, claiming to be offering money in exchange for new allegations against the far Rightwing GOP nominee for US Senate. And, far Rightwing radio propagandist Rush Limbaugh has come up with a very novel defense for the accused GOP child molester at the same time.

Also today, more news on the mass shooting at and near an elementary school in Northern California that killed 5 and wounded 10 others on Tuesday. Many new questions have surfaced about why the shooter, a local man with a criminal record and anger management issues, was able to purchase and then retain semi-automatic weapons even after recent encounters with police including domestic violence complaints and being charged with stabbing a neighbor. But, at least the mass killer wasn't Muslim, so NRA-bribed Republicans can begin ignoring yet another domestic mass shooting immediately.

Then, as concerns continue to grow worldwide over Donald Trump's saber rattling with North Korea and his access to nuclear weapons, the U.S. Senate held a hearing this week to discuss Presidential authority to wage war and launch nuclear weapons without anyone having the ability to prevent him from doing so, if he chooses.

Longtime nuclear weapons policy analyst STEPHEN SCHWARTZ of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies joins us to discuss what, if anything, was accomplished at the Senate hearing, the first on the topic since 1976, and what, if anything, can (or should) be done to restore a more sane use-of-nukes policy in the only nuclear-armed nation in the world which rests sole decision-making power on whether to use such weapons with one single person. That person, currently being Donald J. Trump, has raised many worries from Democrats and Republicans in Congress alike. Whether they're willing or able to do anything about it, however, is a different matter, as we also discuss today.

"The reality of the situation is that you're putting enormous power in the hands of one person," Schwartz, tells me, detailing how, short of "mass insubordination" by military leadership, even they would be unable to prevent such an event if Trump ordered it. And, he explains, even objections on legal or Constitutional grounds by military leadership might be insufficient to prevent disaster in the "at most 15 minutes, perhaps, as little as five or ten" during which a President would have to make a decision about how to respond in the event of an apparent incoming attack.

You'll want to tune in for this conversation, if only to hear the explanation of how the nuclear "football", at all times within reach of any American President since the Cold War, actually works. Schwartz, the former longtime Executive Director and Publisher of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (keepers of the infamous "Doomsday Clock") also suggests several ways in which we could improve (or, help Trump-proof) the current dangerous system to help avoid "what could be a life-ending, a world-ending decision"...

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Guest: Ross Morales Rocketto of 'Run for Something'; Also: Another mass shooting at an elementary school...
By Brad Friedman on 11/14/2017 6:21pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Have you ever considered running for office? If so, and if you're a progressive, you probably couldn't come up with a better year to it than in the upcoming 2018 mid-term elections! And my guest on today's show says he'd love to help you do it! [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today: It was another day in America, so another mass shooting. We cover today's breaking news out of Northern California where 4 were killed and 10 shot by a gunman who was eventually shot by police in a very rural and economically depressed part of the state. The shooter reportedly fired, sometimes randomly, at some seven different scenes and targeted an elementary school before he was finally taken down. While still officially unidentified as of airtime, the gunman is said to have had a history of domestic violence and neighbors who complained that he was threatening and had recently been heard firing off large magazines of gunfire in recent days. Despite his record, however, he was somehow able to legally obtain the semi-automatic rifle and two hand guns found with him after he was killed.

Republican elected officials who represent the area offered "prayers", as usual, in the wake of this latest shooting. Democratic Gubernatorial hopefuls in the state vowed to take action to help curb American's continuing gun epidemic.

In not-unrelated news, it happens to be "National Run for Office Day", as declared by a host of progressive organizations. To help celebrate, we're joined today by ROSS MORALES ROCKETTO, co-founder of Run for Something, a national progressive organization dedicated to helping first- and second-time progressive grassroots candidates --- particularly millennials, women and people of color --- step up and run for state and local offices.

The group, "born of the tears of the 2016 election", hopes to run more than 1,000 candidates across the country next year, for everything from state representative to city council to local library boards and Boards of Education. They also saw at least 32 of their endorsed candidates win races in last week's 2017 off-year elections, including a number of stunning underdog Democratic victories by first time candidates against long-entrenched Republican office holders.

Rocketto explains how and why he formed the group along with a former Hillary Clinton Campaign staffer; how they determine which candidates to endorse and help; what is needed to run and win a successful grassroots progressive campaign; and how you --- yes, YOU! --- may wish to consider visiting their webpage and getting started to run for something yourself in 2018!

"What we're really trying to do is recruit and support the next generation of progressive Democrats running down-ticket," he tells me. "We think that 2018, for example, is going to be the year of the down-ballot candidates. We know that only 5% of state legislators across the country are millennial, and the millennial generation is going to be the largest voting bloc in the next set of presidential elections. That's what we're setting out to do specifically in 2018."

"We've been hearing from people all across the country that in this particular moment, they want to make a difference in their communities. And, honestly, one of the best ways and the most effective ways to make a difference in your community is to run for office locally," Rocketto says. "The things that impacts people's lives the most on a day-to -day basis tend to be at that local level. And that's what's been so powerful about the stories that we hear from our candidates that are running."

He goes on to cite stories of some of them, like 22-year old Heather Ward in Pennsylvania, who ran and won last week for school board "in a district that is largely Republican" to become the youngest ever to serve on the board, and transgender candidate Danica Roem who unseated a virulent homophobe in Virginia's House of Delegates. We also discuss other progressive groups similarly working to recruit grassroots candidates, like Bernie Sanders' Our Revolution, which supported a 30-year old Marine vet Lee Carter, who unseated the GOP House Majority Whip in Virginia while running as a Democratic Socialist.

Also on today's program: Late updates on Alabama's disastrous GOP nominee for U.S. Senate, Roy Moore following new allegations yesterday of a violent sexual assault against a minor; Several hearings held today in the U.S. House and Senate; and Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report...

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Guest: Mark Joseph Stern of Slate...
By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2017 6:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The bloodbath for Republicans in Tuesday's off-year elections and a great idea for how Democratic states can take action against real bloodbaths immediately by helping victims of gun violence with a tax against the industry that works around both the 2nd Amendment and federal immunity from lawsuits granted by Congress. [Audio link to show follows below.]

One year to the day after Donald Trump was named the winner of the Presidency in 2016 (while losing the national vote by 3 million), we review what appears to be the remarkable 'blue tidal wave' that swept across much of the country in Tuesday's contests in about one-third of the states. From big races to small, from high office to city councils and boards of education, voters turned out in impressive numbers and Democratic candidates reportedly performed very well in the bargain wherever they ran.

Democratic candidate Ralph Northam walloped the Trump-supported GOP candidate Ed Gillespie by some 9 points for Governor in Virginia, a clear rebuke to both the President and the racially-based scare campaign both he and Gillespie ran on. Democrats also won for Lt. Governor (only the second African-American to win statewide since the Civil War) and for Attorney General. In perhaps the biggest surprise in the state, voters also turned out at least 15 Republicans from the state's House of Delegates which, depending on some challenges and "recounts", may result in a stunning Democratic takeover of the state's lower chamber that had a 66 to 34 GOP majority before last night. (VA also moved from 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems to optically-scanned hand-marked paper ballots this year. So, at least there will be something to count in "recounts" there this year.) Minorities of all sorts --- including the first openly transgender candidate who replaced a homophobic hard right incumbent --- won in the VA House, where Dems out-voted the GOP by more than 200,000 votes. Nonetheless, thanks to Republican gerrymandering, they may still end up in a slim minority there.

Dems also took over the gubernatorial mansion in NJ from the wildly unpopular Chris Christie and won re-election for mayor in NYC by a landslide. African-American candidates won mayoral victories for the first time in cities from North Carolina to South Carolina to Georgia to Montana to Minnesota. Topeka, KS picked up its first Hispanic mayor and Hoboken, NJ now has its first Sikh mayor. And, in Maine, voters overwhelmingly approved the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which will result in health care for some 80,000 Mainers if the dumbest Governor in the nation, Paul LePage, stops blocking it. (It is also likely to inspire similar ballot initiatives in 2018 in other states where Republicans are denying federally-funded health care to their own residents.) It also appears that the last Republican-controlled legislature on the West Coast, the Washington state Senate, has fallen to Democratic-control, creating a "Blue Wall" of states in the West from Canada to Mexico. So it was a good day for Dems, and seemingly a very troubling omen for Trump and the GOP in 2018.

Meanwhile, it's been just days since 26 were massacred and 20 others shot by a man with a semi-automatic rifle in Sutherland Springs, TX. But Republicans have already made clear they intend to take no legislative action in response. Our guest today, however, legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN of Slate, has a fantastic idea that Democratic-controlled states could implement almost immediately. It's one that works around the NRA's 2nd Amendment challenges, as well as the outrageous federal "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" (PLCAA) of 2005, which largely granted total immunity to gun manufacturers and dealers from lawsuits filed by victims.

"PLCAA is an entirely unique law. There is literally nothing else like it in the federal code," Sterns explains. "This law literally erased hundreds of years of laws and statutes, and jury verdicts, and forced all states to comply with this federal statute that basically prevents anybody from successfully suing a gun manufacturer or a gun seller, and gives them complete immunity to be as negligent as they want."

Stern's idea, as he explains, would result in help for victims of gun violence (more than 300 per day across the country) and their families, who often face bankruptcy after such incidents, as gun violence costs some $2.8 billion each year in health care costs alone. The measure would also force the gun industry to finally pay up for at least a small part of the unspeakable damage, pain, suffering and injury that they help to inflict every day on Americans.

State's "need to propose a special tax on the income of gun manufacturers and gun sellers that is high without being exorbitant. Tax their profits at every stage. They make a huge amount of money, so this would not burden them. This would not shutter manufacturers. But it would force them to pay a lot more, millions more, every year in taxes. What the legislature needs to do is take this extra revenue and place it in a fund that is explicitly designated to be paid out to victims of gun violence. When people are shot, and it is not at all their fault, they should be able to draw money from this fund to pay for their medical expenses and other care. There should be no cap, no limit on it. And no one would be able to raise a Constitutional objection. This is perfectly compliant with the Second Amendment and PLCAA."

Listen to today's show and please see Stern's excellent piece at Slate this week as well. Then get your state legislators busy! Many already have similar funds for victims of all sorts, like those harmed by the vaccine industry. This, Stern argues, should be a no-brainer for states like California and, perhaps now, even Virginia.

Finally, we close today with a few comments from Stephen Colbert that help bring all of the topics discussed on today's show together and into stark perspective...

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Guest: Sue Wilson of Media Action Center; Also: Trump says now seeking diplomacy with NK; Many red flags should have prevented TX shooting...
By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2017 6:15pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Very troubling news from the FCC, largely being ignored by both corporate media and Democrats, as the GOP-controlled federal agency is now set to make a disastrous decision to allow local media ownership monopolies as early as next week. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today: In an encouraging about-face, some good news out of Donald Trump's trip to Asia. After publicly attacking his own Secretary of State on Twitter for seeking the same just weeks ago, Trump, in South Korea on Tuesday, says he now hopes for a peacefully negotiated diplomatic solution to his nuclear brinkmanship with North Korea.

Next: The man who used a legally purchased military-style semi-automatic assault rifle and some 450 rounds of ammunition to slaughter 26 churchgoers in Sutherland Springs, Texas on Sunday, was not only convicted by a U.S. Air Force court martial for assaulting his wife and child (whose skull he cracked), but he also spent a year in the brig, was discharged for "bad behavior", was charged for beating up a dog, had a restraining order filed in Court against him, escaped from a psychiatric hospital, threatened to kill his commanding officers, and attempted to smuggle weapons onto a military base.

But, somehow, none of those red flags --- through both the military and civilian law enforcement --- prevented him from legally purchasing four firearms, more than a dozen high-capacity magazines, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. While Republicans and media are claiming the Air Force was "in error" for not reporting his domestic assaults to the federal background check database in a way that would have kept him from purchasing firearms from a licensed deal, it was not an "error". Evidence suggests that it is actual policy for the entire U.S. military. Nonetheless, as I explain today, the GOP will use the issue to demand a change to how the military reports crimes, declare victory, even while ignoring all of the many other red flags that should have helped to prevent the bloodbath from happening at all.

Then: Ajit Pai (pictured above), the rightwing Chair of Donald Trump's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced a vote to be held next week to do away with the last of the few remaining media consolidation rules we have left in the U.S. If the 3 to 2 majority Republican Commission votes, as expected, to overturn decades-long limits on local broadcast and newspaper ownership, one company --- for example, the far rightwing (farther than Fox "News" even) Sinclair Broadcast Group, which is attempting to purchase Tribune Media --- will be able to buy up every single local television station (and their newsrooms) in the town where you live. Newspapers would also be allowed to own local television stations in the same market, for the first time ever.

Media Action Center's SUE WILSON, whose documentary Broadcast Blues covered just some of the real life dangers of media monopoly ownership (like that by Clear Channel aka I Heart Media in radio), joins us today to sound the alarm and explain the madness, which is quietly set to move forward with almost no attention or opposition whatsoever from either media, Democrats or many of the major media advocacy groups.

The Trump administration is "using their power behind the scenes, without legislation, to derail all the rules and regulations that we have in place to protect We, The People," Wilson explains. "The real threat here is, just imagine one corporate owner owns every TV station, and the newspaper, and the radio stations in your town. One owner, one newsroom, shoving whatever they want you to know down your throat, and no other viewpoints, no other facts, will be allowed. That's what we're really talking about here."

"This is something that Republicans on the Federal Communications Commission have been lobbying for for years," she says. "And they have tried this underhanded technique in the past, where they don't take any public comment, they just put this out for a vote." Unless they are stopped somehow, it looks as if they are likely to get away with it this time. (Remember when Republicans used to claim to be in favor of "competition"? Those were the days, huh?)

"What we're really talking about here is one group having complete control over everything that you are told over the public airwaves. And that will decimate the real reporting that goes on. Those are the newsrooms that hire real reporters, that go out and beat the streets and find out what happening at city hall, or the statehouse --- or the White House. They like to compete with each other, which offers We, The People a much broader spectrum of information that we can access."

Those days, however, may soon be over if this goes through. "Their goal is to take the radio model --- the model which is 98% of all the information you get on the news-talk stations is rightwing. You don't get any kind of pushback. Sound these fire alarms now because the house is burning and they don't want you to know it!" Wilson, whose op-ed on this, headlined "Fake News is only the beginning..." was published at Sacramento Bee today, also details how you can help to fight back on today's show. See this "URGENT" page at her Media Action Center for details. And please do so quickly! The vote to scrap ownership limitations and gut whatever is left of our public airwaves is scheduled for next week!

Finally: Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report, including special coverage of the newly released, and quite dire, National Climate Assessment, and Syria's announcement on Tuesday that the war-torn country now intends to join the Paris Climate Agreement, leaving the U.S. as the only nation on the planet that will NOT be a party to it, if Trump's promise to pull out goes through as scheduled...

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

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Also: Trump in Asia, wildly misled on U.S. defensive missile capabilities...
By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2017 6:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it was yet another tragic and bloody weekend in the U.S., after yet another horrific gun massacre. And, now on his Asian tour, President Trump appears to know little about how missile defense systems actually work (or don't.) [Audio link to show follows below.]

As you've heard by now, at least 26 were killed, with another 20 injured, in minutes, in yet another semi-automatic gun massacre. This time, it was another white American guy who shot up a church during Sunday services in the tiny Texas town of Sutherland Springs. Once again, Republican lawmakers fell over themselves to Tweet "thoughts and prayers" while, again, offering no other solutions, suggesting nothing more could possibly be done to help curb the obscene, ongoing gun epidemic in the country.

That, even though the shooter in this case, formerly in the U.S. Air Force, appears to have previously been charged with assaulting his wife and child and spent a year in military confinement, before receiving a "bad conduct" discharge. He was later charged with animal cruelty and reportedly had a protective order issued against him by a court. Despite all of that, he was nonetheless able to purchase semi-automatic weapons in Texas without a problem.

The state's Republican Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton (who is still facing felony securities fraud charges himself) indicated on Sunday and Monday that nothing can really be done other than hoping "the forces of God overcome this evil" since "killing is already illegal" in the state of Texas. Paxton's called for more people to carry guns, even in Church.

For his part, Donald Trump, reacting to the shootings from his two-week Asia trip, also agrees that there is no reason to change any laws, because "this isn't a guns situation...it's a mental health problem." Without citing any evidence, the President argued that only mental health issues are to blame --- in stark contrast to when he offered very specific immigration policy proposals within hours of last week's truck terror attack in New York City. Trump offered no policy or legislative prescriptions whatsoever in his comments yesterday and today in response to the Texas bloodbath. Perhaps the tens of millions of dollars he and Republican lawmakers have received from the arms lobbyists at the terrorist-enabling NRA might explain that?

We discuss all of that, the latest breaking news on the case, as well as some of the Democratic responses (Former Rep. Gabby Giffords here. Sen. Chris Murphy here.)

Then, with Trump now in Asia, he is continuing to play tough guy in Japan after reportedly expressing frustration that the "country of samurai warriors" failed to shoot down North Korean missile tests that recently flew over their northern-most main island. It seems the U.S. President has some troubling misconceptions both about what Japan's post-WWII Constitution allows them to do (and not do) and, more disturbingly, has apparently been given some very misleading information about the capabilities (and lack thereof) of U.S. defensive missile interceptor systems. As he recently told Fox "News" propagandist Sean Hannity: "We have missiles that can knock out a missile in the air 97 percent of the time, and if you send two of them, it's going to get knocked down." He's wrong.

Despite those misconceptions, it hasn't prevented Trump from announcing plans to sell millions, if not billions of dollars worth of those missile systems to Japan today. And, so, once again, the vaunted U.S. Military Industrial Complex wins again --- from Sutherland Springs, Texas all the way to Tokyo...

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

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