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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, May 27, 2017
Gianforte Wins Despite Assault Charge; Voting Rights Group to Close: 'BradCast' 5/26/17
Guest: Michael Slater of Project Vote | Also: Reason for (some) optimism regarding Trump and UN Paris Agreement...
Gianforte's Monumental Meltdown (And Ryan's Constitutional Dodge): 'BradCast' 5/25/17
Also: Trump travel ban blocked (again); UK furious at Admin; Trump praises murder...
'Green News Report' 5/25/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump budget cuts deeply into environment, toxic cleanup; Landslide buries icon CA highway; Chinese wind co. to retrain US coal miners; PLUS: Pope gift, message to Trump...
Previous GNRs: 5/23/17 - 5/18/17 - Archives...
Trump's $2 TRILLION 'Bernie Madoff-Level Budget Fraud': 'BradCast' 5/23/17
Guest: Former WH tax adviser Seth Hanlon; Also: Manchester Bombing, FBI's Team Trump probe, more...
'Green News Report' 5/23/17
Global Seed Vault flooded by melting permafrost; Antarc- tica goes green (not in good way); Swiss votes for renewables; PLUS: Trump to slash, burn environment...
The Surreal and Present Danger of Donald Trump: 'BradCast' 5/22/17
Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: Two big election-related SCOTUS decisions, & this week's US House Special Election in MT...
Sunday Toons of the 'Witch Hunt!' Moment
Looks like it's double, double toil and trouble for Trump once again this week in PDiddie's collection of the week's best political toons...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Guest: Michael Slater of Project Vote | Also: Reason for (some) optimism regarding Trump and the UN Paris climate accord...
By Brad Friedman on 5/26/2017 6:47pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Trump-toxified GOP appears to have abandoned all pretense of "values" and "personal responsibility" to elect someone to federal office even after he violently assaulted a journalist on the Eve of the Election. And a longtime voting rights group announces they are forced to shutter their doors for lack of funding. What's wrong with this picture? [Audio link to show is posted below.]

On Thursday, after being cited on assault charges for "body slamming" a reporter from The Guardian the night before, Republican Greg Gianforte was nonetheless elected as Montana's next U.S. Congressman in the Special Election to fill the seat vacated by Donald Trump's Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke. The At-Large seat for the state's only member of the House of Representatives has long been held by Republicans. And, though Trump won the state by more than 20 points last November (Zinke won his seat by 16 points), first time Democratic candidate Rob Quist was polling within single digits of Gianforte and thought to have a shot especially after the GOPer melted down on Election Eve.

Alas, it wasn't to be. We discuss what the Dem loss means going forward (they did swing the vote from GOP to Dem by some 10 points since November), why it likely happened (more than 72% of voters had already cast votes by mail before the meltdown, and many Republicans liked it anyway), Gianforte's apology (only after the election was over), how Trump's own threatening rhetoric has poisoned his party, and how House Speaker Paul Ryan could, Consitutionally, prevent the criminally-charged Gianforte from being seated in the House of Representatives, if he wanted to (and how you can help encourage that).

Next up, while partisan eyes remain on political candidates, and GOP-controlled states like New Hampshire and many others use phony "voter fraud" claims to try and make it harder for left-leaning voters to vote, non-partisan, non-profit voting rights groups are forced to fight for resources just to stay in operation. One such group, the decades-old ProjectVote.org, which has helped register millions of voters, trained voter registration groups around the country, helped to expose how a GOP scheme to promote fraudulent "voter fraud" claims led to the U.S. Attorney Purge during the George W. Bush Administration, and has otherwise filed lawsuits in more than a dozen states to ensure compliance with 1993's National Voter Registration (or "Motor Voter") Act, announced this week they are being forced to shut their doors at the end of the month due to a lack of funding.

Project Vote's President and Executive Director Michael Slater joins us today to discuss the sad and maddening news at a time that groups like his are needed more than ever.

We discuss some of Project Vote's many accomplishments, going back to their founding in the 80s, how the Right has created a "machine to develop propaganda to justify policy outcomes that are in no way in the interests of democracy", improvements (if not enough) in the media in shining a light on the GOP's "voter fraud" lies; and how "folks in the funder community" need to step up to make sure others can fill the void that will be left behind in Project Vote's absence.

"I would encourage people that make contributions to set a portion of those contributions aside for democracy work," Slater says. "There are a number of very good organizations that do democracy work that include Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Brennan Center, League of Women Voters, Common Cause --- there's a range of good organizations. The challenge, I often think, is that as an emergency comes up like what we've seen with the attacks on immigrant rights, people immediately put all of their available money into those programs or those emergencies, and they they forget about the ongoing work that we need to do on the democracy sector."

Yup. I would also argue, as I have for years, that many partisans seem to have no problem giving money to candidates and political parties, but only look to support "the democracy sector" after their candidate has lost an election and it is otherwise too late to do anything about it. Or, as in this case, after the folks doing the difficult democracy work are forced outta business.

Finally, to help get all of that our of my system, some encouraging news, believe it or not, concerning the Trump Administration's deliberations on whether to drop out of the landmark UN Paris Climate Agreement, and a musical moment guaranteed to leave you feeling groovy over the upcoming holiday weekend...sort of...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guest: Former White House economic adviser Seth Hanlon | Also: Latest on Manchester Bombing, FBI Trump investigation, more...
By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2017 6:25pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Trump Administration introduces what economists --- on both the Right and Left --- are describing as a massive 2 trillion dollar accounting error (or, less generously, 'fraudulent' numbers) in their new budget proposal introduced today. And we get caught up on the latest late updates on yesterday's Manchester Bombing and the FBI's ongoing investigation of Team Trump. [Audio link follows below.]

As Trump continues his overseas trip, the White House released his Budget Policy plan in full, including some $1 trillion in cuts to social programs, billions of dollars of increases in defense spending and what they describe as deficit reduction measures over the next 10 years. The plan, if enacted, would deeply slash programs from Medicaid to Social Security Disability Insurance to food stamps to financial student aid to agricultural subsidies relied upon by an enormous number of Trump voters.

But, aside from those cruel cuts, as our guest today, former Obama Administration tax policy adviser Seth Hanlon explains, the budget includes a huge, $2 trillion accounting error. Actually, Hanlon described it last night in a Twitter rant as '[Bernie] Madoff-level accounting fraud...designed to fleece vulnerable people'. Others today, including conservative budget experts, also describe the gimmick Team Trump uses to hide the decline in revenue as fraudulent --- or "impossible magic math" --- in that it counts the same (questionable) claims for increased revenues from massive tax cuts twice! Once to pay for the $5.5 trillion in tax cuts themselves, and then again to pay for $2 trillion in revenue in the Trump budget.

As Hanlon details, it's quite a trick! An impossible one, in fact, which he doesn't believe to be an accident, describing it as a "$7.5 trillion lie."

"In their budget," he explains, "they just pretend that this $5.5 trillion in tax cuts does not exist. And then at the same time...they say that the economy is going to grow by a full percentage point every year, so the economy is going to grow by 3% a year...And because of that extra economic growth --- and there's not much basis to think there would be that growth --- that brings in an additional $2 trillion of revenue. So they include that extra $2 trillion of revenue in their budget, while at the same time not including...the tax cuts that are supposedly producing that magic growth that results in the $2 trillion."

Hanlon, now a Senior Fellow at Center for American Progress, previously served as special assistant to President Obama for economic policy at the White House National Economic Council, coordinating the Obama administration's tax policy. He calls the Trump scheme "a deliberate decision simply to wave a wand and take the entire $5.5 trillion cost of the tax cuts out of the budget," adding that he "can't find anybody who actually defends it," including so-called conservative deficit hawks. We also discuss the cruel nature of many of the cuts, despite its unlikeliness to get very far as written, even in the Republican controlled Congress.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with details on the "slash and burn" environmental aspects of the budget plan and for some good news out of Switzerland. (We'll take it!)

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: Brendan Fischer of Campaign Legal Center...
By Brad Friedman on 5/4/2017 6:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast, House Republicans finally pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) --- a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ('ObamaCare') --- but at what cost? Also: Donald Trump signs a bill that pretends to protect religious liberties. But what does it really do? [Audio link to show follows below.]

It's difficult, if not impossible, to know the real cost of the Republicans' ACHA, since House Speaker Paul Ryan refused to allow the bill to be analyzed first by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office before forcing a vote in the House today. Instead, it was rammed through with a very narrow margin of all-Republican votes just hours after the final text was made available to members. That, as you'll recall, is exactly what Republicans used to pretend Democrats did during the 13-month process to pass ObamaCare in 2009 and 2010.

The costs, however, are likely to be enormous to the American public, if the bill gets through the Senate and is signed by the President, particularly to the poor, the elderly, the more than 25% of Americans with pre-existing conditions, and to those who found themselves filing bankruptcy due to medical expenses prior to the passage of ACA. The political cost to House Republicans, however, who left today for yet another 11-day recess, may be a whole different matter. The CBO predicted 24 million Americans would lose their health care coverage in the next decade under the GOP's failed plan six weeks ago. This version is likely to be much worse.

Also today, Donald Trump signed another one of his Executive Orders. This one pretends to counter the "religious discrimination" of the Johnson Amendment, a piece of otherwise almost 70 year old, non-controversial, bipartisan legislation originally signed by President Eisenhower, barring tax-exempt non-profit groups, like churches, from explicitly endorsing or opposing candidates for office. But what's the real point behind Trump's otherwise empty action today? And why is the religious Right so eager to see Trump "get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment," as he promised at the National Prayer Breakfast in February, just weeks after taking office?

Brendan Fischer, associate counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, joins us to explain this move that could ultimately result in allowing even more "dark money" to make its way into politics and elections. And, this time, while giving secret political funders a tax deduction for it in the bargain!

"We, as taxpayers, are subsidizing these groups, and we are not subsidizing these groups to offer wealthy donors a tax deduction for their secret political spending," Fischer explains. The Johnson Amendment, so-named for its original sponsor, then Sen. Lyndon Johnson, was enacted in response to a "dark money" attack against him during his 1954 reelection campaign by a non-profit, tax-exempt group.

While Presidential Executive Orders don't actually have the power to reverse legislation (whether this President understands that or not), Trump is pretending that his order will prevent the IRS from "targeting" religious institutions, as he and his evangelical allies claim to be the case, despite all evidence to the contrary.

"The Johnson Amendment is not targeting churches at all," says Fischer. "Because donors to these churches and charities get a tax deduction for their donations, 501(c)3's are prohibited from engaging in political activity. The reason that taxpayers are effectively subsidizing these groups is for their charitable, or religious or social welfare oriented activities, not for their political activities and partisan political engagement." But, of course, the religious Right would like to change that, and Trump appears more than willing to try and help.

The greater danger is that a provision to reverse the rarely-enforced Johnson Amendment could be slipped into upcoming legislation. Then, warns Fischer, churches and charities could potentially become what he describes as "super dark money groups" --- as if we don't already have enough problem with dark money in politics!

Finally: Fox "News" offers one more example today of the Right finding all new ways to pretend that they are victims. This time, if you believe Fox's fake news about a recent shooting, climate "skeptics" are becoming victims of those 'violent and dangerous' environmentalists...

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

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[Cross-posted from The BRAD BLOG...]




Guest: Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Hullabaloo...
By Brad Friedman on 4/28/2017 6:00pm PT  

On today's BradCast, at the 100 days milestone for his Presidency --- which Donald Trump recently dismissed as an "artificial barrier" --- Heather Digby Parton of Salon and the Hullabaloo blog, joins us to try to make sense of (wish us luck) the extraordinary chaos, few successes and many failures, to date, of his historically unpopular Administration. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We do so on a day that Trump watches his hopes for a health care bill fall apart once again in the U.S. House, addresses the NRA in Atlanta, suggests a "major, major confrontation" may be ahead with North Korea, and as he seems to threaten trade wars with everyone from South Korea to Canada to Saudi Arabia.

All of that, as North Korea fires off another ballistic missile test today and Trump tells Reuters he thought being President of the United States "would be easier" than his old job as a real estate hustler and reality TV personality.

Digby --- who also wrote recently about the 100-day mark --- offers her always-enlightening insight on all of the above, explains what has, so far, surprised her most about Trump's Presidency, and speaks to how the corporate media, Congressional Democrats and we, the people, are holding up in The Resistance.

Just another day of havoc and confusion for a stressed out nation (and world) fighting to survive the Trump Era.

Then, speaking of, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report as Florida burns and the melting Arctic now appears to be accelerating the rate of sea level rise beyond previous scientific predictions...

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: Salon's Heather Digby Parton on that and much more...
By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2017 6:24pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: So, what now? What's the next step for Donald Trump's seemingly perpetually faltering Presidency? He and Congressional Republicans suggest they'll go for Tax Reform next. But will that scheme be any more successful than the big promises that Trump has, so far, tried and failed to accomplish? [Audio link to show follows below.]

His Muslim travel ban was blocked for the foreseeable future, once again last night, by a federal judge in Hawaii. His border wall, if it ever actually gets built, won't be paid for by Mexico, apparently, but by U.S. tax-payers. Reportedly, the Administration's not even sure where to put it. His attempt at repealing and replacing ObamaCare went famously down in flames. His effort at rolling back Obama's climate legacy is already facing its first legal challenges on a number of fronts and in a number of courts.

But he and Congressional Republicans say massive reform of the tax code will be next, even though it hasn't been successfully accomplished since the 1980's. And, in hopes of getting some Democrats on board, the Administration has been floating the idea of a massive infrastructure bill, perhaps, to go with it. But is Trump's version of a "Grand Bargain" to bring enough Republicans and Democrats together to accomplish this next scheme any more viable than his previous ones? (Or more viable than when Obama tried, but failed, at something similar?) And, does it help that Trump attacked both Democrats and the far-right Congressional Freedom Caucus today?

The great Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo returns today to discuss all of the above, and a bit more, including whether Democrats can actually hold together in opposition; some little-noticed hypocrisy related to Team Trump attorneys hoping to block a sexual harassment-related lawsuit against a sitting President; an interesting explanation for Ivanka Trump's "new" role in the Administration; and whether Senate Democrats can or will successfully filibuster to keep Judge Neil Gorsuch from being confirmed to the GOP's stolen U.S. Supreme Court seat, as vacated with the death of Antonin Scalia more than one year ago...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Journalist, health care reform advocate Jacki Schechner; Also: Trump approves KeystoneXL; Senate GOP sells your privacy...
By Brad Friedman on 3/24/2017 5:39pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, GOP health care scheme to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act ('ObamaCare') went down in spectacular flames in the U.S. House. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

After both Trump and Ryan had promised a vote on the Republican bill on Friday, it was pulled from the floor, in a "humiliating" loss, just minutes before voting was to begin, as Republicans failed to muster the needed votes for passage. Trump blamed Democrats for his failure to deliver on his own long-held promise to immediately replace ObamaCare with something that is cheaper and provides better coverage for more people. (The GOP bill he had hoped to see pass would have resulted in premiums rising and some 24 million Americans losing coverage over the next 10 years, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.)

We're joined today by Jacki Schechner who served as the National Communications Director for Health Care for America Now, the nation’s largest health care reform campaign, during the Democrats' 2009 and 2010 passage of Obama's landmark health care insurance reform bill.

"I'm not gloating, because I wouldn't put it past the Republicans to come up with some alternate shady plan, but I do feel like we got a little stay of execution today, and that part feels good," Schechner tells me. We discuss, among many other things, the politics of the remarkable GOP failure, Trump's press avail afterward, why they couldn't pull it off, some of their many years-long lies about ObamaCare and some of the very real problems that still need to be fixed in the Affordable Care Act.

In response to Trump's assertion that there is nothing to be done for health care now other than wait for ObamaCare to, in his word, "explode", Schechner notes: "I think it's incredibly traitorous for the President of the United States to say 'well, all we can do now is just wait for stuff to fail'. I mean, aren't you supposed to work for the benefit of the country?" She also argues that Trump had simply no clue how health insurance actually works, or the difficult politics behind reform. "He doesn't really care how the sausage is made, he just wants to eat sausage."

But the week wasn't entirely a disaster for Republicans. Just mostly. In the Senate on Thursday, the GOP won passage of a bill set to allow Internet Service Providers to sell your online behavior and browsing habits to commercial advertisers. And, today, Trump officially gave White House approval for TransCanada's controversial KeystoneXL pipeline, set to ship dirty tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico for export --- maybe. But, as the President seems to have learned today, even that may not go as smoothly for him as he thinks.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report on Trump's ill-informed push to "bring back coal", his hopes of dashing Obama's climate policies, and how the world is moving towards reducing carbon emissions whether he likes it or not...

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Guest: James Wilt of DeSmog Canada on why KeystoneXL may never happen; Plus: House GOP fails to hold 'ObamaCare' replacement vote, Senate Dems announce plan to filibuster stolen SCOTUS nomination...
By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2017 6:02pm PT  

On today's BradCast, while the scheme to replace ObamaCare remains a disaster for Trump and Republicans in Congress, and as Dems begin to mount opposition to the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch, at least the President's hope of completing two massive oil pipelines is going well, right? Maybe not. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Chaos continued today on Capitol Hill, as Trump and GOP House leadership were unable to amend their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") as promised, in time to hold their planned vote today, the 7th anniversary of the signing of Barack Obama's landmark health care insurance bill. In a "stinging setback" Republicans were forced to delay the floor vote after failing to whip enough support from both Republican "conservatives" and "moderates" alike to ensure passage.

The vote has now been rescheduled for Friday, though that too remains uncertain at the moment, even after Trump and Ryan agreed with the far-right Freedom Caucus to do away with the 10 Essential Health Benefits --- basic services like outpatient, emergency room, hospital, mental health, prenatal care and prescription drug coverage --- required to be included with each policy sold under ObamaCare. And all of that played out today as a devastating new Quinnipiac poll revealed the GOP's deadly healthcare plan is wildly unpopular among American voters (including Republicans).

As that mess was happening in the House, the Democratic minority leader in the Senate announced his intention to vote against the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch, the President's nominee to fill the GOP's stolen seat on the U.S. Supreme Court and urged his colleagues to join him in filibustering to block Gorsuch. Some Democrats, however, are reportedly hoping to cut a deal with Republicans to support Gorsuch in exchange for not doing away with the right to filibuster SCOTUS nominees in the future. (You can call your Senator --- particularly Democratic Senators up for re-election next year in states said to have been won by Trump last year --- at 202-224-3121 if you've got an opinion about that, or just to let them know how you expect them to vote.)

In the meantime, receiving far less coverage, Trump's push for two new massive oil pipelines is moving ahead apace. The Dakota Access Pipeline is reportedly set to start sending crude from North Dakota to Illinois any day now. But the controversial KeystoneXL pipeline to send dirty tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico for export, may soon run into a number of problems. In fact, though it's expected to receive approval from Trump's State Department very soon, the $8 billion pipeline may never actually be completed at all, according to our guest today, James Wilt, freelance reporter at DeSmog Canada.

Wilt details the three main obstacles --- economics, land owners and climate/environment --- that, he reports, could end up delaying or permanently derailing the completion of the Canadian-owned pipeline which the Obama Administration had previously rejected.

Finally, we finish up today with some listener mail in response to a number of recent shows regarding the stolen SCOTUS nominee and Citizens United...

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Guest: Law professor Peter Shane on lack of 'institutional penalty' for GOP theft of SCOTUS; Also: House GOP makes healthcare bill even crueler...
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2017 5:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Donald Trump's U.S. Supreme Court nominee faced questions all day in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. But what the hell is Judge Neil Gorsuch even doing there at all? And doesn't normal coverage of the hearings do little more than normalize a decidedly abnormal situation? [Audio link to show follows below.]

Donald Trump's selection to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia more than a year ago, represents nothing less than a stolen seat on a stolen U.S. Supreme Court. If he is confirmed, Republicans are likely to be rewarded for their theft with a majority on the high court for another generation, following their unprecedented refusal to even hold hearings for Barack Obama's nominee for the seat, Judge Merrick Garland.

I've been wrestling with how to cover this week's hearings, which I consider to be illegitimate (and that is true even setting aside the disturbing matter of Trump as President!) Professor Peter M. Shane of Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law joins me to try and help make sense of the situation. His recent piece at the American Constitutional Society, cited by the New York Times today, details how neither Democrats nor corporate media, to date, seem to have figured out how to issue any kind of institutional penalty for the GOP's blatant, brazen and unheard of theft.

Shane explains that, historically, despite Republican assertions to the contrary, "there is no close precedent" in history for what the GOP has done here. "The reason that they didn't want Judge Garland to become Justice Garland was, of course, the fear that they would be losing what had been a secure 5-4 conservative majority on the court. But they also didn't want to give him a hearing because they knew, if they gave him a hearing, that Judge Garland would appear to be so thoughtful, so reasonable, so accomplished and balanced a person, that it would be politically much more difficult to vote 'no'. Nobody in the Senate is constitutionally obligated to vote in favor of Judge Garland, it would just be hard to explain why [they didn't.]"

So they stole the seat instead, by refusing to even hold a hearing, much less a vote. As to the Democrats' lack of an organized response, such as a promise to filibuster Judge Gorsuch (or any other Trump nominee other than Garland), despite the threat of the GOP doing away with the filibuster for SCOTUS nominees, Shane observes: "It seems to me that the Democrats very frequently anticipate the political defeat that lies ahead, and just keep their powder dry for a fight that never happens." He argues Dems are likely "worried about political blowback for being a fierce party of resistance," adding: "That's what the Republicans have been, increasingly, since 1980. If they've paid a penalty for it, I haven't noticed."

Also on today's program: While Congressional hearings have taken over the beginning of the week, House Republicans are making last minute changes to their scheme to replace the Affordable Care Act, by making it still crueler for millions of Americans (but with even more kickbacks for wealthy ones!) in hopes of wheeling and dealing for enough votes to squeek by with passage in the U.S. House, where they plan to ram the bill through for a full floor vote this week before tossing it to the Senate.

Finally: A majority of Americans are unable to name even a single SCOTUS Justice, and the tax-payer cost for Trump's constant weekend vacations could cover four federal programs for the arts, the elderly, the jobless and the homeless that his budget proposal hopes to slash entirely...

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Guest: Jeff Hauser of CEPR's Revolving Door Project on Team Trump's successful and ongoing 'deconstruction of the administrative state'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/13/2017 6:22pm PT  

A few weeks ago, Donald Trump's top White House strategist Steve Bannon vowed to bring about the "deconstruction of the administrative state". On today's BradCast, it sure looks like he's getting what he and Trump set out for. [Audio link to show posted below.]

First up today, after a week of devastating analyses of the bill by GOP leadership and Trump to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) and replace it with the American Health Care Plan (the Republican plan), the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) finally came out today with its estimate [PDF] of what the scheme will cost Americans in money and health care. And it isn't pretty.

Some 14 million Americans will go without health insurance in 2018 under the Republican scheme, according to the CBO's estimate, which they note is based on "the middle of the distribution of potential outcomes." Some 24 million Americans will go without by 2026, as compared to projections for the current law. Hardest hit, as a number of reports over the weekend have found: elderly and rural voters in areas where support for Donald Trump was highest in the 2016 election.

Then, as Trump prepares to announce his "historic" slashing of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of federal jobs from non-military programs, hundreds, if not thousands of key roles at Executive agencies across the federal government remain unfilled. Many agencies are currently gutted following the resignation and/or firings of Obama staffers, and top appointments remain vacant in the meantime (because Trump has failed to nominate people to fill the roles, much less see public Senate confirmation hearings for the appointees.)

In the meantime, hundreds of unknown campaign staffers with no government experience at all, and others who are longtime industry lobbyists, are still heading up his "beachhead" transition teams, effectively controlling dozens of federal agencies on behalf of the Trump Administration. Those findings come via an analysis by ProPublica, based on responses to public records requests

Jeff Hauser of the Revolving Door Project at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), joins us to explain what that means, and the havoc these folks --- some just out of high school and college who had worked on the Trump campaign, others lobbyists for industries being overseen by the very federal agencies they now oversee --- are able to wreak on government and policy while barely even being noticed by media or Congress.

"The level of separation between industry and the government has gone from a thin veneer of separation to no separation whatsoever," Hauser warns, describing the situation as "an intentional breeding ground for corruption".

"The State Department is a topic of particular concern," he tells me. "They have only nominated the Secretary of State. That is the only nominee. So you've seen the Obama people all leave. You've seen the strata of the top professional career people pushed out. You've seen no names offered. So you have a complete vacuum at the top of the State Department, beneath Sec. of State Tillerson. And the only people with any authority are the people who can claim to be acting on behalf of the President via their status on the 'beachhead.'"

"I think people seem to be underestimating what a federal government that seems to be more focused on enriching Donald Trump, his family, and his closest allies, could do to the lives of normal people," he explains, charging that the entire operation appears to be little more, at this point, than an attempt at "wrecking the country for financial gain."

Finally today, we close with one more story of a very popular (and right-leaning) town that supported Trump "bigly" last November, but now, perhaps, having second thoughts about what his immigration policies are doing to their own business interests...

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Guest: Attorney Ernest A. Canning on invoking the 25th Amendment
Also: More bad news on GOP plan to 'repeal and replace' ObamaCare; Trump out-bombs Obama (by far) in Yemen; Bad news (for the environment), some good news (for voters)...
By Brad Friedman on 3/10/2017 5:44pm PT  

On today's BradCast, trouble continues to brew for Congress, the White House, the nation, the world and, yes, for Donald Trump. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Among the stories covered on today's program:

  • The Treasury Secretary warns that the U.S. will soon hit its statutory debt ceiling and will default on loan payments unless Congress takes action. Will Republicans be more likely to do so now than they were under Obama? Or is a government shutdown and/or defaulting on our loan payments for the first time in history in store?
  • A new study finds that some 15 million Americans are likely to lose their health care coverage under the GOP plan to "repeal and replace" ObamaCare. And, while Medicaid recipients are sure to be hard hit under the Republican scheme, experts are warning that the tax cuts in the GOP's scheme will also serve to gut the Medicare Trust Fund;
  • Over the past week alone, with little media attention, the Trump Administration has dropped more bombs on Yemen than the Obama Administration had in any single full year of his presidency;
  • More new concerns arise about Trump's conflicts of interest and apparent violations of the foreign 'Emoluments Clause' of the U.S. Constitution (this time concerning China);
  • But as the specter of impeachment continues to loom over this Presidency, attorney and BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernest A. Canning, our guest today, explains how the provisions of the 25th Amendment could become a more viable path for the removal of this President from office, particularly if his disturbing and unpredictable rage and mood swings continue to spiral. We discuss the potential triggers, likelihood, downsides, history and more.
  • As a very early and deadly wildfire seasons breaks out in a number of states, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report;
  • She also has a few thoughts on the incredibly stupid (and (and absolutely incorrect) comments this week by the new EPA chief Scott Pruitt (and the stooge Joe Kernen interviewing him on CNBC) regarding the affects of CO2 on climate change;
  • And, finally, we finish up with a bit of good news on voting, for a happy change...

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Guest: Journalist Alice Ollstein from Capitol Hill; Plus: The high cost of cutting IRS funding and the benefits of single-payer national health care...
By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2017 5:10pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Congressional GOP leadership continues to ram their "ObamaCare" repeal and replacement bill through House Committees, even as the future of their American Health Care Act remains uncertain with Republican opposition in both the House and Senate, not to mention growing opposition from health care advocacy groups. But that's just one of the potential battles on the near horizon amongst Republicans in the House, Senate and White House. [Audio link to show posted below.]

Donald Trump's budget proposals include a huge increase in military spending and huge cuts across the board to domestic programs --- and just about everything else --- in order to pay for it, including taxes and cuts to the IRS itself, by itself, will cost the government billions in revenue alone. (The IRS brings in $4 for every $1 that funds it --- so why would the GOP and Trump want to cut it? We discuss.)

But the question of whether Republicans in the House and Senate can come to terms with the White House, much less each other, on spending priorities is another matter entirely. Journalist Alice Ollstein of Talking Points Memo joins us from Capitol Hill today to discuss what may be ahead for the upcoming budget battle that could include, yes, another Government Shutdown (today the Treasury Department announced we will hit the debt ceiling against next week) and even an attempt by Trump to circumvent the law entirely, "because you can't legally do what President Trump wants to do," she explains.

By way of just one example of surprises that Trump may encounter even with a friendly Republican Congress, Ollstein explains: "I am hearing a lot of opposition from Republican lawmakers, especially to cuts to the State Department, saying 'We do not support cutting the State Department's budget by a third, because diplomacy keeps us safe and would make us eventually have to spend more on war.'" Those proposed cuts to State, 37% of their current budget, have already been opposed by Trump's own Secretary of Defense James Mattis, among others.

Ollstein also cites "the ghost of Ronald Reagan" as a specter that could end up haunting Trump's plans, since he seems to be following a path for radically growing the military, cutting taxes and blowing out the deficit in the bargain, a model that even Reagan ultimately had to try and roll back. "So, we'll see if this Trump plan, that is sort of Reagan 2.0, goes forward" at all, she explains.

Finally, we close today with some listener e-mail from Costa Rica, on what a national health care system, actually looks like in a civilized country...

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Medical advocacy groups come out against the GOP leadership's scheme to 'repeal and replace' ObamaCare...
By Brad Friedman on 3/8/2017 5:55pm PT  

On today's BradCast, can Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump overcome the mountain of push-back --- from Right, Left and Center --- against their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare")? [Audio link to show is posted below.]

First up today, we check in with KPFK/Pacifica Radio's Alan Minsky from the scene of today's International Women's Day demonstrations in downtown Los Angeles, where, he reports, thousands are gathering in protest.

Then, it's on to the quickly growing opposition to Speaker Ryan and the rest of the GOP leadership's scheme to "repeal and replace" ObamaCare, as introduced on Monday, and being "rammed" through House Committees beginning today, even before the bill, the American Health Care Act, has been scored by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

So far, the conservative right is revolting against the replacement bill, dubbed the American Health Care Act, endangering its potential for passing in either the House or Senate. But the scheme is also now being opposed by major medical advocacy groups like the American Hospital Association (AHA), the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), who all charge that millions will lose health care coverage under the Republican plan.

Will the GOP and Donald Trump be able to overcome the opposition to keep their long-held promise to kill ObamaCare? Do they really event want to, as discussed on yesterday's show? We take listener calls today on that and more, including the continuing progressive push for a single-payer plan that covers all Americans.

Also today, with yesterday's document dump at WikiLeaks revealing (among other things) that the CIA has been able to hack into encrypted apps and devices, it's yet another reminder that encryption schemes cited by supporters of electronic vote casting and counting, like all non-transparent forms of tabulation, should be dismissed.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as Trump continues to break his promise to "protect our air and water" with his new EPA and Interior Department chiefs rushing to return favors to the fossil fuel industry...

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Guest: Huffington Post Washington Bureau Chief Ryan Grim | Also: Trump lied about U.S. steel for new pipelines; France cancels on-line voting...
By Brad Friedman on 3/7/2017 6:15pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the GOP health care plan to "repeal and replace" Obamacare has landed with a thud among Democrats and, only somewhat more suprisingly, among so-called conservatives. And, as our guest argues today, that may have been the plan all along. [Audio link to show posted below.]

House Republicans leadership introduced their long awaited health care plan on Capitol Hill late yesterday and we break down the details of it today. But, other than Donald Trump who described it, via Twitter, as "our wonderful new healthcare bill", the plan does not seem to be going over well in a number of key quarters. Of course, Democrats oppose the new scheme to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act (or, "ObamaCare") and Republicans have yet to have their new plan, dubbed the American Health Care Act, scored by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). So we don't know how much it will cost or how many people will actually be covered under it (or lose their coverage, thanks to it.)

But, the more important push-back against the new plan appears to be coming from Republican members of Congress and the rightwing policy groups like the Heritage Foundation and the Koch Brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity. They are calling it "ObamaCare-lite" and vowing to block it, as our guest Ryan Grim, Washington Bureau Chief for Huffington Post reports today.

Grim tells me why, based on his reporting, the roll-out --- and the plan itself --- appears to be such a disaster, and suggests that Republicans, including Speaker Ryan and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have no actual intention of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act at all. "They're pretending," he says. "Also they didn't think they were going to win the election. They didn't think they were going to catch this car that they've been chasing down the road. The problem for them is that Obamacare itself was basically designed by the Heritage Foundation years ago. So it's almost unfair for them to try to come up with an alternative to the thing that they developed themselves. But they're the ones who disavowed their original plan, so it's not that unfair."

"Paul Ryan is not an idiot. He has the phone numbers for the Koch Brothers, Club for Growth, Freedom Works, Heritage, all these different outfits that piled on it today. So how was this not worked out [in the last 8 years]? It suggests to me that it's not actually a serious attempt," Grim explains before detailing why it is not even a safe bet, at this point, to assume that Ryan and McConnell "actually want to pass something" at all.

Also on today's show: Trump lied about requiring U.S.-made steel in pipelines like KeystoneXL, and France, fearing the possibility of hacking, cancels on-line voting in advance of their upcoming elections...

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

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