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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, April 21, 2018
Senate GOP Twists Law to Gut Decades-Old Regs (Forever): 'BradCast' 4/20/18
Guest: James Goodwin of CPR: Also: DNC files Trump/Russia suit; Wells Fargo fined $1B; Memos reveal Trump wants to jail journalists...
Senate Confirms Climate Science Denier as NASA Chief: 'BradCast' 4/19/18
...and many more otherworldly reminders of the importance of elections...
'Green News Report' 4/19/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Puerto Rico power knocked out again; Studies find Gulf Stream slowing down; New climate lawsuits for oil industry, Florida; PLUS: Earth Day 2018 focused on ending plastic pollution...
Previous GNRs: 4/17/18 - 4/12/18 - Archives...
'Dark Lord of Coal Country' Rising, GOP Panicking Before WV U.S. Senate Primary: 'BradCast' 4/18/18
Guest: Bob Kincaid; Also: McConnell says no, Mattis got Trumped, Kobach in contempt...
'Corrupt Intent': 'BradCast' 4/17/18
Guest: Former Asst. US Attorney Randall Eliason on Trump, Cohen, Mueller, indicting a sitting Prez; Also: Tax cut support falls, GOPers keep heading for the exits...
'Green News Report' 4/17/18
Federal watchdogs say EPA violated law for Admin Scott Pruitt; Senate confirms coal industry lobbyist for deputy EPA chief; PLUS: Google and Apple go 100% renewable...
Trump's Unlawful, Evidence-Free 'Mission Accomplished': 'BradCast' 4/16/18
Congress acquiesces after second US attack on Syria; Hannity revealed as secret Cohen client; Callers ring in...
Sunday Toons: 'One Raid Begets Another'
It didn't take long after Donald Trump's friend, business associate and personal lawyer was raided by the FBI for Trump to unleashes the missiles, as the cartoonists observe in PDiddie's latest collection...
As Trump Goes Ugly, How Dems Can 'Fight Dirty' to Win for the Country: 'BradCast' 4/13/18
Guest: Author David Faris on radically reform-ing 'long-term barriers to progressive power'...
Mattis: U.S. Lacks 'Actual Evidence' of Syrian Chemical Attack: 'BradCast' 4/12/18
Also: Clueless Trump to rejoin TPP?; Sinclair's abuse of public airwaves; And, why local news matters...
'Green News Report' 4/12/18
Newly unearthed docs reveal Shell knew about warming since 1950s; Dems want Pruitt to resign; EPA docs under-mine his claims; PLUS: Obama EPA chief speaks out...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Guest: West Virginia's Bob Kincaid; Also: McConnell says no to protecting Mueller, Mattis got Trumped on Syria, Kobach found in contempt (again) in KS, and Cuomo expands voting rights in NY...
By Brad Friedman on 4/18/2018 6:44pm PT  

Yes, my guest argues on today's BradCast, West Virginia Republicans may very well nominate a man just out of jail on charges related to the deaths of 29 coal miners to be their nominee for the U.S. Senate this year. [Audio link to show is posted below below.]

But, before we head down to Coal County for that conversation today, a few news headlines...Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is vowing to prevent a bi-partisan proposal for protecting Special Counsel Robert Mueller from being fired by Donald Trump, from coming to the Senate floor for a full vote, even if, as now appears likely, the bill is approved by the GOP-lead Senate Judiciary Committee.

The notoriously obstructionist McConnell also appears ready to block any new Congressional military Authorization for the Use of Force --- as currently being considered in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee --- citing, along with GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan, the AUMFs from 2001 and 2002, for authorization of war against al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Iraq after 9/11, as valid enough approval for Trump to bomb Syria, however he sees fit. Speaking of which, the NYTimes is reporting that Defense Secretary James Mattis had tried to insist that Trump obtain Congressional authorization before attacking Syria last week, but was overruled by the President.

Meanwhile, in Kansas today, a federal judge found GOP Sec. of State Kris Kobach in contempt of court, amidst the long-watched ACLU cases challenging a state law he'd championed, which has kept thousands of otherwise valid voters off the rolls for failing to provide proof of citizenship documents to the state. Kobach, one of the nation's leading Republican "voter fraud" fraudsters, was slapped by the George W. Bush-appointed federal judge in her ruling [PDF] and ordered to pay the ACLU's legal fees for the contempt hearing. This is the second time that Kobach, now a candidate for the 2018 Republican nomination for Governor in Kansas, has been found in contempt.

Also today, in more good news for voters, New York's Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, facing a primary challenge from progressive actress and activist Cynthia Nixon, announced a plan to immediately restore voting rights to some 35,000 parolees by executive order.

Then, we're joined by West Virginia's own BOB KINCAID, the always-colorful, long-time radio host and President of West Virginia's Coal River Mountain Watch, to discuss the remarkable re-emergence of disgraced coal baron Don Blankenship, the former Massey Energy CEO who was released from prison last year following a one-year sentence for his involvement in safety violations at the company's Upper Big Branch Mine, where an explosion killed 29 workers in 2010.

Blankenship, to the supposed horror of establishment GOPers, is running for the party's nomination for the U.S. Senate in the state's May 8th primary, in hopes of taking on incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin. Remarkably, Blankenship's fortunes appear to be rising, just three weeks out from a contest against a number of very Trumpy primary opponents. That has now forced the national GOPers to form a "local" PAC to purchase ads that take on Blankenship by pretending to be against Massey's coal-related pollution of drinking water in the state. In return, Blankenship is now firing back at his former ally Mitch McConnell.

"It's all swamp," Kincaid says. "Don Blankenship is the ultimate swamp. If McConnell is a swamp Captain, then Don Blankenship is a swamp Field Marshal. Remember, [McConnell] got behind a Supreme Court candidate in this state some years back solely so that he could protect Massey Energy from a jury verdict that they deserved --- trying to make sure that verdict would be overturned once it got to the [state] Supreme Court. That's swampy behavior if anything is."

Kincaid details the once-wildly powerful Blankenship's deadly background and the contours of the now-bizarre race --- which is beginning to echo Roy Moore's disastrous GOP run for the U.S. Senate in Alabama last December --- in a state where Trump won by some 40 points in 2016 and the conservative Manchin is considered to be amongst the most vulnerable Democratic Senators up for re-election this year.

"They really don't know quite what to do with him because, frankly, Don Blankenship doesn't give a damn. He has that in common with Geezer Disgustus over in the White House. It seems like everything just bounces of off him. Mainly because he can just push it off to one side, he can run his own ads, he can finance his own campaign. There's a certain element of people in this state who would vote for the Devil himself --- and Blankenship is pretty close --- if he said 'I hate that Obama'," argues Kincaid, adding, "There's a whole lot of white-lash still left in West Virginia."

We also discuss what progressives --- whose own Democratic primary candidate, Paula Jean Swearengin, does not appear to be gaining traction in the state --- ought to do this November, if faced with a choice between a vote for the coal-loving corporatist Manchin and whoever becomes the GOP nominee amid our ever-deepening, Trump-induced national emergency.

"The fact of the matter is, we've been in a Constitutional crisis ever since the Electoral College failed to do that which the Framers said the Electoral College was designed to do. And if you let this Congress continue, there is no hope whatsoever of saving the Republic," he warns...

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

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Congress acquiesces after second US attack on war-torn sovereign nation; Also: Hannity revealed as secret Cohen client; Callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 4/16/2018 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Bill Maher quipped Friday night that the U.S. attack, with France and Britain, on Syria was code-named "Operation Desert Stormy", an attempt by Donald Trump to force his legal and ethical nightmares off the front pages. It didn't work. [Audio link to show follows below.]

On Sunday night, fired FBI Director James Comey described Trump as "morally unfit" for the Presidency in a prime-time ABC News interview, and on Monday, just before air today, Sean Hannity of Fox "News" was revealed in federal court to be a secret client of Trump's hush money payoff "fixer" Michael Cohen, and Cohen and Trump's motion to review documents seized in the raid on Cohen's office and residences last week was denied (for now) by the federal judge.

Nonetheless, before it's forgotten entirely in the fog of Trump Scandal, we focus mostly today on the fact that the pre-dawn bombing of Damascus by US and its allies, said to be in response to an alleged chemical attack by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against his own people a week earlier in Douma, was done without any actual hard evidence of a chemical attack or who was actually responsible for it. Trump's Secretary of Defense James Mattis admitted as much during Congressional hearings just one day before more than 100 cruise missiles were unleashed on supposedly chemical weapons-related facilities in Damascus. (No proof was offered to buttress the claim about those facilities either.)

Moreover, there is absolutely no legal authority whatsoever for Trump's attack --- either domestically or internationally --- despite various claims to the contrary. Shamefully, most of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats alike, have so far failed to demand accountability for the unconstitutional use of military force (even after threatening President Obama with impeachment when he wanted to launch a similar attack in response to an alleged Syrian chemical attack in 2013).

For his part, the hapless Trump, who mercilessly derided Obama for calling for Syrian airstrikes in 2013, took to Twitter on Saturday to echo George W. Bush's infamous appearance on a U.S. Aircraft Carrier in 2003 after the ill-fated invasion of Iraq, to declare "Mission Accomplished" in Syria.

Friday's unlawful US attack, as we also discuss today, is believed to have cost some $200 million. That could have paid for the replacement of all of Flint, MI's lead water pipes some four times over, as new studies reveal that reading proficiency levels for third-graders in Flint has plummeted in the wake of the lead drinking water contamination crisis. That continuing crisis came about after MI's Gov. Rick Snyder (R), following his election in 2010, ordered an Emergency Manager takeover of the city and a subsequent change to its water supply.

As one caller observed today, some poisoned children, like those in Syria apparently, seem to be a larger concern for the Trump Administration than others...no matter the evidence or lack thereof...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Also: Clueless Trump now to rejoin TPP?; Sinclair continues to abuse public airwaves; And, why local news matters...
By Brad Friedman on 4/12/2018 6:29pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it's like deja vu all over again. But with a Commander-in-Chief who is completely clueless about any of it and powerful adversaries who claim they are prepared to shoot back. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The President of the United States has no idea what he's doing, and is simply making up policy from minute to minute, according to a Washington Post report last night, detailing how White House aides are forced to scramble each day to either explain Donald Trump's actions "or clean them up."

"There is no proactive strategic thinking," one staffer told the paper. Another senior administration official conceded that aides are often forced to "reverse-engineer a policy process to match whatever the President said" on any given day. That may be workable, sort of, when it comes to something like Trump's announcement today that, after years of bashing the Trans-Pacific Partnership and pulling the U.S. out of it shortly after taking office, he is now considering rejoining the TPP after all.

But when it comes to sending the U.S. to war, Trump's erratic behavior poses a very serious danger. To that end --- as Trump has flip-flopped over the past week between demanding the U.S. pull its troops out of Syria within 48 hours, to publicly warning Syria's main ally Russia to "get ready" for incoming missiles, to reversing positions yet again to declare a U.S. attack on the war-torn nation "could be very soon or not soon at all" --- his Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis was busy conceding to lawmakers in the U.S. House on Thursday that the Pentagon lacks evidence of the alleged chemical attack in over the weekend, reportedly carried out by the Syrian government against its own citizens in one of the last rebel-held areas near Damascus.

While noting that he "believe[s] there was a chemical attack," Mattis told lawmakers on Capitol Hill today "we're looking for the actual evidence" and admitted that even if inspectors from the international Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) get access to the site of the alleged attack, "we will not know who did it. They can only say that they found evidence or did not."

It's not the first time that Mattis has conceded we've attacked Syria in response to purported chemical attacks for which the U.S. had "no evidence".

Nonetheless, the media continue to report the weekend attack in Syria --- said to have killed more than 40 civilians with some form of poison gas --- as having been carried out by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Even as Mattis was admitting the lack of evidence the U.S. has to support the charge, NBC News was busy reporting breathlessly and unskeptically, in an eerie echo of the run-up to the U.S. war(s) against Iraq, on claims from two unnamed "U.S. officials" citing "blood and urine samples from last Saturday's deadly attack in Syria that have tested positive for chemical weapons." It's like deja vu all over again, but with a clueless President and powerful countries like Russia and Iran already having warned that they are prepared to retaliate against any attack against the Syrian government by the U.S. or its allies.

In not-entirely-unrelated news today, as Trump continues to lie about "voter fraud" in the 2016 election (and about everything else), an alarming new study from Politico finds that voters with less access to local news voted in larger numbers for Trump in 2016 than they did for Mitt Romney in 2012. At the same time, the study reveals, those with more access to such news sources voted in higher proportion for Hillary Clinton.

The findings come as the rightwing Sinclair Broadcasting Group, the nation's largest owner of local TV news outlets, attempts to receive FCC approval to buy up enough local stations to reach some 72% of American households. While public push-back against the effort builds, the pro-Trump broadcast behemoth is revealed to be using the public airwaves at their own currently-owned stations (and websites) to lie about the mounting criticism against their practices.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on Shell's recently revealed decades long knowledge that their products cause global warming, and the mountain of scandal that continues to engulf Trump's embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Carroll Muffett of Center for International Environmental Law...
By Brad Friedman on 4/11/2018 6:38pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finally today, a renewed bi-partisan effort emerges in the U.S. Senate to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller from being fired by the President. But, with GOP leaders like Mitch McConnell in the Senate and Ryan still in the House, the legislation may not get very far, even as Trump continues to fume --- and lie --- about the ongoing probe.

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Hullabaloo...
By Brad Friedman on 4/10/2018 6:13pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)




Guest: Obama's former chief economist at DoL, Heidi Shierholz; Also: New Trump budget slashes domestic programs, calls for trillion dollar deficits, includes long-awaited, scam infrastructure plan...
By Brad Friedman on 2/12/2018 6:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast: If there's anything the Trump Administration excels at, it's their reverse Robin Hood penchant of taking from the poor to give to the rich. But their new wage theft plan for workers in the restaurant industry may bring that penchant to new heights --- or depths, as the case may be. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first up, and very much related, Trump's new $4.4 trillion budget proposal, released on Monday, calls for moving still more money from the poor to the rich --- on the heels of last year's unpaid-for $1.5 trillion tax scam --- with cuts to domestic programs, more obscene increases to our national war budget, and trillion dollar deficit spending as far as the eye can see. And all of that is separate from his Department of Labor's plan to steal tips off the tables of waiters and waitresses. Yes, literally!

We break down Trump's dead-on-arrival proposal for his 2019 budget, which doubles the deficit spending called for by his dead-on-arrival 2018 budget. The scheme, described Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) as "morally bankrupt", also includes what he and corporate media (inaccurately) have been referring to as a $1.5 trillion Infrastructure Plan to rebuild the nation's roads, bridges, airports and much more. That scheme would actually invest just $200 billion in federal money, with the rest being paid for, in theory, by cash-strapped states and wealthy private corporations --- even as the $200 billion in proposed federal spending actually comes by way of cuts to the Dept. of Transportation and EPA. In other words, as we detail today, his $1.5 trillion infrastructure program, is really a $0 infrastructure program, in which we sell off our national assets to private companies. Other than that, it sounds great!

Then, speaking of Trump scams, we're joined by President Obama's former chief economist at the Department of Labor, HEIDI SHIERHOLZ, now Senior Economist and Director of Policy at the Economic Policy Institute, to discuss the Trump Dept. of Labor's new plan to steal tips earned by service professionals and give it to restaurant owners instead. No, really.

"There is long-standing practice by the DOL that interpreted tips as belonging to the workers who earned them. That was codified in a 2011 rule, that just said very clearly, 'Employers, you can't take tips, they belong to the workers who earned them." What this proposed rule does is it just rescinds those regulations --- it says employers can do whatever they want with worker's tips, as long as they pay workers minimum wage," Shierholz tells me. "This has been a dream of the National Restaurant Association, which is the big industry group for restaurants forever. [Trump's DoL] cared so much about giving a big gift to the National Restaurant Association, that they were willing to propose a rule that would literally shift billions of dollars from workers to employers."

And, as if that's not outrageous enough, as Bloomberg Law revealed earlier this month, it turns out the DoL, when asking for Public Comment on this new rule, withheld their own agency's analysis, finding the new scheme would transfer billions of dollars from wait staff to the restaurant owners themselves, who'd get to keep anything earned above the federal hourly minimum wage of $7.35 hour! Shierholz details how the Department is hoping to scam the public by not including their own analysis of the cost of this new rule, even as her own organization's analysis estimates that the new regulation, allowing owners to keep tip money, could transfer nearly $6 billion annually await from wait staff, and potentially as much as $13 billion each year.

"But this is the key: there are rules that they have to follow as a part of the rule-making process, and it includes, very clearly, that they have to do a very comprehensive cost-benefit analysis. They have to estimate the impacts of the rule on workers. We now know that they did do that. But it looked really bad, and so they tried to bury it."

Yup. Prepare yourself to pay up once again to defend still more lawsuits filed against this lawless Administration.

We also discuss how this rule, if finalized, will adversely affect women in particular, who stand to lose $4.6 billion of the $5.8 taken from tipped workers each year. "The fact they are forging ahead with this, despite knowing how bad it is for workers, really is primarily about their far greater interest in supporting corporate interests over those of workers. The fact that it's massively, disproportionately going to affect women may be sort of a bonus," Shierholz quips.

Finally, with the unthinkable possibility of peace between North and South Korea breaking out over the weekend during the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang --- despite the Trump Administration's determined hopes for a new, potentially nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula --- deadly new military skirmishes broke out between Israel, Iran and Syria over the weekend. So, just in case you're worried that all of Trump's new U.S. military spending would go for naught, don't worry! We'll always find new wars on which to spend it...while your kids can't pay for college, you can't afford medical care and the Trump Administration is stealing tips off the table.

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GOP just extended surveillance law they now decry; Trump policies terrorizing public, infuriating judges; Also: Diebold 'jackpotting'!...
By Brad Friedman on 2/2/2018 6:29pm PT  

On today's BradCast: That mighty "thud" you heard on Friday morning? It may have been the release by Donald Trump and U.S. House Republicans of their long-awaited, much-ballyhooed, self-generated memo, which they promised would expose "worse than Watergate" crimes and wildly biased partisan "witch hunt" activities by the FBI and DoJ as part of their investigation into whether Team Trump worked with Russia to undermine the 2016 Presidential election. It did none of those things. But it does expose them as hypocrites when it comes to U.S. surveillance policies. [Audio link to show posted below.]

The three-and-half page memo was released on Friday despite the strenuous objections of Democrats and Trump appointees at the FBI and DoJ who shared "grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy" before its release. Trump didn't care. The document, made of partial, cherry-picked facts, is meant to suggest the FBI inappropriately obtained a secret warrant (and three renewals for it) from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to spy on Carter Page in late 2016. Page was a Trump campaign volunteer who had long been on the radar of the intelligence community after being cited in intercepts from Russian intelligence agents discussing him as an asset as early as 2013.

The newly declassified memo is the work of U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) and his staff, who may or may not have worked with the White House itself on the effort, but it ultimately appears to do little to bolster their argument that Republican Robert Mueller's Special Counsel probe is in some way compromised by Democratic partisans. (Even Shepard Smith of Fox "News" seems to agree.)

It does, however, underscore concerns about the manner in which Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants are obtained in the secret FISA Court, where there is no adversarial opposition to the secret case offered by the Government. All of which begs the question as to why Nunes himself voted just two weeks ago against FISA reforms advocated by civil libertarians on the Right and Left, and in favor of extending and expanding the controversial surveillance law for another 6 years. It also begs the question as to why Trump signed that FISA extension without reforms to the process that he and Nunes are now claiming to be so troubled by. Again, that was all just two weeks ago! [My conversation on that matter on this show, two weeks ago with former DoJ attorney Elizabeth Goitein --- after Nunes and the House passed the bill, and just before Trump signed it --- is right here.]

Then, as the cable news channels continue to devote nearly 24/7 to political intrigue and food fights, a reminder that a fish rots from the head down. To that end, the petty cruelty of Donald Trump is permeating its way into executive branch agencies, polices and behavior with nowhere near the media sunlight it deserves. We cover a number of the under-reported recent stories of how his cruel, hard-line immigration policies are ripping families apart and hurting real people, right now, and at least one federal judge who drew a hard line in the sand this week against at least one aspect of those policies.

Finally, as promised earlier this week, a disturbing story about Diebold, the makers of ATMs and (formerly) of computer voting, registration and tabulation systems, and a newly-issued warning that their ATMs are being hacked to spit out cash in a scheme called "jackpotting". But while the security built into their machines that contain thousands of dollars of actual cash may not be great, you needn't worry about the security of their systems used to cast and count our votes in at least one-third of the country this year in our upcoming 2018 midterm elections, right? After all, neither Trump nor Nunes nor the rest of the Congressional Republicans appear to be too concerned about it, so why should you be?...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 11/9/2017 10:51am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Syria joins Paris Climate Agreement, leaving U.S. alone in climate denial; U.S. cities, states and businesses are picking up the slack; Tuesday's election results in a big 'Blue Wall' for climate action on the U.S. West Coast; PLUS: The ozone hole is the smallest on record, thanks to a 28-year old global climate treaty... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Emissions Gap: Why the post-Paris climate challenge is even harder than we thought; CA Gov. Jerry Brown delivers a blunt climate change message in Germany; Homeland nominee questions human role in climate change; Trump environmental nominee doesn’t believe science should ‘dictate policy’; Shell Enchilada oil platform in Gulf of Mexico shut after fire; Paradise Papers: Coal-fired plant pocketed $117m from Australian taxpayers; End may be nearing for CA's Diablo Canyon nuclear plant; A new group of kids are taking Trump to court over his climate denial; Republican-controlled Congress ordered destruction of vital sea-ice monitoring satellite; WHO to farmers: stop giving your animals so many antibiotics... PLUS: Media can't let Puerto Rico become the next Flint.... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




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...

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Guest: Former Puerto Rican power commissioner Ramon Cruz...
By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2017 6:03pm PT  

The struggle for 3.5 million U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico is "getting worse by the day", my guest who recently returned from the island tells me on today's BradCast. So, I'm afraid, is everything else, it seems, as the President of the United States continues to put the nation on a war footing (potentially, a nuclear war footing) in advance of his upcoming trip to Asia. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

A disturbing new report over the weekend cites the U.S. Air Force readying a Louisiana military base to place "nuclear-armed bombers back on 24-hour ready alert" for the first time since the end of the Cold War in 1991. Why? What is the imagined threat that makes such a dangerous (and expensive) posture necessary? Particularly as nuclear armed land- and submarine-based Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles are already in place by the hundreds or thousands and would surely provoke response from adversaries real and perceived?

And, of course, all of that, even as Americans are still fighting for their lives in Puerto Rico, thanks in part, to a shortage of relief funding. Yes, power remains out for some 80% of the island, more than a month after Hurricane Maria made her devastating landfall. We're joined today by former Puerto Rico Energy Commissioner, RAMON CRUZ, who is now on the Sierra Club's National Board of Directors and serves as an advisor to the United Nations on climate policy.

Recently back from the island, Cruz, a Puerto Rican native, details the deteriorating situation on the ground, particularly away from the capital of San Juan, and warns, as he did in his recently published op-ed for The Hill, that the "vultures" are already descending "to feast on the opportunities presented by the recovery efforts."

Cruz tells me that things in the interior of the island are "getting worse by the day," despite Trump grading his own federal relief efforts with a "10" out of 10 last week during a press avail at the White House. "Ultimately, who cares about what grade he gives? There's still people that [lack] all these necessities. It's really infuriating. The fact that they lost everything, and they still are drinking contaminated water, in ways that are completely preventable. That's the real disaster. In that case, if I could give negative points, I would give that."

He notes that his own father, for instance, who lives just 40 minutes from San Juan "still has no electricity, cell or water service" and many in mountain towns "have received a visit from the authorities only once, if any, and to bring a couple of water bottles and some canned sausages." The relief effort is failing, he charges, citing, for example, a delivery of "100 pallets of solar panels, but it still will take at least a month to go through the shipping process" before they can actually be deployed.

Cruz details why PR's power grid took such a hit from the storm, why it is so difficult to restore it to the already-deficient state it was in prior to the storm, and how decentralized energy micro-grids, relying on clean, renewable energy and battery storage, are now more important than ever, even as opportunists begin to take advantage of relief funds and the desperate Puerto Rican people.

"A lot of these [power generating stations] are decades old," he notes. "So you have these monstrosities of this very centralized system. They're very inefficient, they operate with some of the dirtiest fuels, and they should have been changed, should have been retired [a] long time ago. But because of several reasons --- everything from mismanagement, corruption, lack of capital, lack of creativity, bad business models, etc., they were not changed. And now you see these kinds of effects."

"In terms of human power, you have a lot of able Puerto Ricans to help," Cruz argues. "As a policy person, I think Americans in the mainland could help a lot by putting pressure on their elected officials to send a decent relief package to Puerto Rico, or to hurricane-affected areas. And to have, for example, a climate adaptation plan. I think everywhere on the coast, everywhere that is vulnerable to climate change, to global warming, there should be a plan for how to deal with essential infrastructure." That, he says, is "extremely important" but lacking in Puerto Rico and, unfortunately, too many other locations which could find themselves, before long, in as bad or worse condition than Puerto Rico...

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Guest: Dr. Trita Parsi of the National Iranian-American Council on Trump's dangerous, and foolish, scheme to break the Iran nuclear deal...
By Brad Friedman on 10/10/2017 6:11pm PT  

Republican U.S. Senator Bob Corker, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, suggested to the New York Times over the weekend that Donald Trump's reckless comments on North Korea and Iran and other issues, could be setting the nation "on the path to World War III." Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy argues in response that we should take Corker's --- and Trump's --- words much more seriously. Well, we do...pretty much every day here on The BradCast. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Today we discuss how, even as the President continues to threaten war with nuclear-armed North Korea, his own CIA argues leader Kim Jong Un is not a "madman", and poses no direct threat to the U.S. or its allies --- unless Trump forces him into a corner. At the same time, Trump continues to back Kim into a corner while undermining his own Sec. of State Rex Tillerson's diplomatic efforts in the region.

The claims that he's concerned about NK's nuclear program are difficult to accept while Trump seems dead set on undermining the very successful anti-nuclear agreement with Iran (and Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain), despite his own top diplomatic and military officials stating repeatedly that Iran has been honoring the deal to the letter, since it was struck under President Obama in 2015. Breaking that agreement, as Trump is threatening, will only boost the political fortunes of hard-line clergy in Iran, while undermining the moderates there who have risen in the Iranian parliament and presidency in the wake of the deal. It might also result in Iran restarting it's nuclear enrichment program that was ended by the deal, putting them much closer to nuclear weapons. So, why is Trump threatening to break that agreement by decertifying it, and sending the issue to Congress to decide whether to reimpose sanctions?

We're joined today by DR. TRITA PARSI, Founder and President of the National Iranian-American Council, which worked with the Obama White House to help shepherd the nuclear pact through Congress, to discuss why Trump is vowing to try and kill the deal, and what the ramifications are likely to be in the U.S. and Iran --- and even in North Korea --- if he does.

Parsi, is an expert on Middle Eastern foreign affairs and US-Iranian relations. He says there is simply no reasonable explanation for Trump's interest in killing the Iran deal and, as he describes today in an article at the NY Review of Books, hand a "gift" to Iran's conservative hard-liners, who already distrust the U.S.

"More than anything else, to be completely frank," he says, "this seems to be in line with almost everything else Trump has done since he took office --- which is, he just simply opposes anything that has Obama's signature on it. Whether it's the Affordable Care Act, whether it is the Iran deal. And there seems to be an obsession, on his end, to undo it for that simple reason. Because in his own administration, his Secretary of State tells him 'don't decertify'. His Secretary of Defense tells him 'don't decertify'. His Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff tells him 'don't decertify'. So what is it that Trump, with his brilliant real estate mind manages to see as a flaw with this deal that no one else seems to be able to identify?"

Parsi, whose most recent book is Losing An Enemy: Obama, Iran, and the Triumph of Diplomacy, says while all parties --- including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), eight times since January 2016 --- have certified that Iran is honoring the agreement, some in Iran already see the U.S. as having broken it. He cites Trump's recent efforts at the G20 to discourage other nations from trading with Iran.

"Trump is in clear violation of Article 29 of the agreement, which says that no country shall stand in the way of what is now legitimate trade between Iran and the outside world. You can't lift sanctions as an incentive for the deal and then go and encourage countries not to trade with Iran, and that's exactly what Trump went and did at the G20 meeting," Parsi explains, adding: "Fortunately, thus far, the Iranians have refrained from further escalating this."

The larger concern is that Trump is undermining world interests in dealing with the U.S. on anything. "Why would you negotiate with Trump? What is it that gives you the confidence that he has the capacity of upholding his promises? That's the problem here. In order to get [a better deal, as Trump claims to want], you need to have the credibility of being a good and fair and trustworthy negotiator. Trump does not have that reputation anywhere."

"This is not a strategy that has any chance of success on the international stage. The only question is how much damage will it incur on the United States before Trump stops doing what he's doing right now." Parsi cautions Trump's dangerous game could result in military conflict. "It's only creating more uncertainty, which then leads to more instability, and then potentially a collapse of the deal that can bring the United States back on a path towards war with Iran."

Mission accomplished?

Finally, we're joined today by Desi Doyen for the latest Green News Report with updates on the apocalyptic wildfires in Northern California, the latest in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and the Trump EPA's hypocritical explanation for gutting the Obama 'Clean Power Plan' to reduce man-made greenhouse gas emissions that helped fuel 2017's record hurricane season and the fires still blazing out of control in California...

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Guest: R.L. Miller, climate hawk Dem, on opposition to the CA bills | Also: Big Oil faces big new lawsuits; State Dept. shutting down war crimes office; Latest GOP health care repeal takes insurance from 32 million...
By Brad Friedman on 7/19/2017 6:36pm PT  

On today's BradCast: U.S. war atrocities and California's fight against global warming. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The State Department is reportedly planning to close their office that investigates war crimes. That may come in handy for Donald Trump, as his campaign promise to "bomb the shit out of 'em", appears to be working. A startling new report from international analysts finds the U.S. has killed twice as many civilians in Iraq and Syria during Trump's first six months in office, compared to the previous three years of war against ISIS under Barack Obama. The U.S. air war is now killing, on average, 12 or more civilians per day in those two countries alone --- with 2,200 said to have been killed since Trump took office --- and neither Republicans nor Democrats are willing to even debate the issue in Congress.

At the same time, House Republicans have stripped Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)'s amendment repealing the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) from the Defense Authorization bill, despite the amendment's bi-partisan adoption in a House Committee late last month.

Meanwhile, on the heels of Trump vowing to pull the U.S. from the landmark Paris Climate Agreement, California and its Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown have stepped up to fill the leadership vacuum Trump has left behind in the battle against global warming. Two counties in the San Francisco Bay area and a city in Southern California have filed what are being regarded as landmark lawsuits against 37 of the world's largest oil and coal companies. The plaintiffs charge the companies --- including Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell and others --- have known about the climate change dangers of their products for some 50 years, but have covered it up. They are filing similar claims as those brought successfully against the tobacco industry in the 90's.

Moreover, after a bruising battle, this week the CA state assembly adopted a bipartisan package of climate bills that would, among other things, extend California's cap-and-trade legislation to curb the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses through 2030. While some are describing the legislation, which passed both houses with two-thirds majorities, as a "stunning" bipartisan victory, many environmentalists are unhappy with the bills they fought bitterly against.

R.L. MILLER, the elected chair of the CA Democratic Party's Environmental Caucus and founder of Climate Hawks Vote, is one of those who opposed the bills. She joins us to explain why. As she describes, even though the state has radically reduced emissions levels in recent years and has enacted one of the toughest targets to curb greenhouse gases, the newly adopted extension of the state's Cap-and-Trade program through 2030 was drafted to disproportionately meet the concerns of oil companies, and will result in restrictions on local regulations.

"The problem with it is that the people who live next to the refineries in California have correctly pointed out that this is not doing a darn thing to make their lives any better. And they live in California. And they vote. And they're mad," she tells me, going on to argue that the new measures "will not enable us to meet our 2030 goals."

Also today: The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office finds the ObamaCare repeal bill Senate Republicans are now promising a vote on next week, despite opposition from their own caucus, would result in 32 million Americans losing health care, including 17 million losing coverage next year alone...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guest: Will Bunch of Philadelphia Daily News...
By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2017 6:20pm PT  

Over the weekend, at least two noteworthy media-related things happened, neither of them related (at least directly) to the White House Correspondents' Dinner. We discuss both matters on today's BradCast. [Audio link to show is posted at bottom of article.]

The President of the United States and the White House Chief of Staff discussed the possibility of doing away with the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment freedom of the press. As my guest today, Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News wrote last night, that "probably should have led every paper and TV newscast in America, but for many everyday news consumers this wasn't even the biggest media-related outrage of the weekend."

The larger outrage, at least for many, seems to have come from liberal and progressive New York Times readers who called in to the paper, in reportedly huge numbers, to cancel their subscriptions following the first op-ed filed by the paper's new hire, Bret Stephens, a rightwing, former Wall Street Journal columnist and climate science denier.

I chat with Bunch --- author, journalist and longtime writer of the Philly.com's Attytood blog, which he describes as an "uber-opinionated, fair-but-dangerously unbalanced opinion blog" --- about both concerns today, and what they may mean for the future of U.S. news gathering, reporting and publishing.

On Trump's First Amendment threat, he notes how difficult it actually is to amend the Constitution and that the Trump Administration, after all, appears to be "the gang that couldn't shoot straight." On the other hand, Bunch cautions, "the fact that they would make these threats absolutely is newsworthy."

"The reason I wrote a piece that was largely about the Bret Stephens controversy, but also wrapped in this whole First Amendment thing, is I feel there's a relationship between the two," he tells me. "The press in this country is under assault in ways it hasn't been before. The media, to fight back, needs to be on its 'A' game. It can't make unforced errors, which the Bret Stephens thing arguably is." Bunch also goes on to explain how papers like the Times came to offer the fake balance that they have, for years, published on their op-ed pages, and suggests that perhaps it's time to do away with that all together. He explains why.

We also discuss another column of his from over the weekend, arguing that it will take years to undo the long-lasting damage that Trump has already brought to both the nation and the Presidency in just his first 100 days.

Also on today's program: Trump already appears to have violated federal election laws for his 2020(!) campaign; his Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross huddles with other millionaires and billionaires to make light of the recent unauthorized, illegal, deadly and expensive U.S. cruise missile attack on Syria as little more than 'after-dinner entertainment'; and a new study by the American Press Institute and the Associated Press finds that, yes, Americans (even younger ones) are willing to actually pay for their news...at least under certain conditions...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Hullabaloo...
By Brad Friedman on 4/28/2017 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...

* * *
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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