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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Judge Nixes KS 'Proof of Citizenship' Voting Law, Slaps Humiliating Sanction on Kobach: 'BradCast' 6/19/18
Guest: ACLU trial atty Sophia Lin Lakin; Also: Trump's border 'crisis' worsens for Repubs...
'Green News Report' 6/19/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Hurricanes moving slower; New EPA rules could kill thousands; China tariffs to hit US energy; McDonald's phasing out plastic straws; PLUS: Climate change eroding home values...
Previous GNRs: 6/14/18 - 6/12/18 - Archives...
Sunday 'Giving Peace a Chance' Toons
Just a glimpse of what happened over the past week via the eyes of the world's political cartoonists, as one of them lost his job this week for being too critical of Donald J. Trump...
Sessions 'Can't Do That': Immigration Atty on Admin Denial of Domestic Abuse Asylum: 'BradCast' 6/15/18
Guest: Law Prof Karen Musalo; Also: 1000s ripped from parents, warehoused by US Govt...
'Green News Report' 6/14/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOPers turning on Pruitt; Antarctica's ice melting 3x times faster; DNC bans fossil fuel donations; Flooding doubled over last 30 yrs; PLUS: Energy Dept: E-cars cheapest to drive...
Previous GNRs: 6/12/18 - 6/7/18 - Archives...
Ranked Choice Voting is a Terrible Idea; Election Results/Fails, Trump's GOP Cult: 'BradCast' 6/13/18
NV's new voting systems fail; WI seat flipped; Scheme to break CA up on 2018 ballot...
'It Doesn't Matter, We're Starting from Scratch': 'BradCast' 6/12/18
Guest: Former Dep. Asst. Sec. of State Michael Fuchs on Singapore agreement, 'denuclearization', NK atrocities...
'Green News Report' 6/12/18
Trump's G7 debacle over climate; CA electric co. faulted for deadly fires; EPA overhauls cost-benefit analyses; PLUS: Growing movement to ban single-use plastics...
Trump's Bonkers Turn Against G7 Allies Before NK Summit: 'BradCast' 6/11/18
Also: SCOTUS approves radical OH vote purge scheme; L.A. won't rule out hacking in 'print error' that left 118k off rolls; Callers ring in...
Sunday Toons Not Censored by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
'PDiddie' features several recent toons by award-winning staff cartoonist Rob Rogers which were, remarkably enough, spiked by the paper's new RW editor...
HUD Scheme Raises Rent by 26% per Year on Low Income Familes: 'BradCast' 6/8/18
Guest: Former HUD official Diane Yentel; Also: DoJ spied on NYT journo, refuses to defend 'ObamaCare' in suit...
Election Failure, Fallout in CA, AL, SD: 'BradCast' 6/7/18
Several massive Election Day failures in L.A. and noteworthy results in CA and elsewhere; Also: The jaw-dropping kleptocracy of Trump's EPA chief Scott Pruitt...
'Green News Report' 6/7/18
CA voters choose climate action; Yet another ethics scandal for Pruitt; Judge orders denial evidence from EPA; PLUS: Trump withdrawal from Paris pact to cost trillions...
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: Trial attorney Sophia Lin Lakin of ACLU's Voting Rights Project; Also: Trump's border 'crisis' worsens for Republicans...
By Brad Friedman on 6/19/2018 6:37pm PT  

On today's BradCast: GOPers in D.C. try to overcome Trump's wildly unpopular new border policy and Kansas' Secretary of State loses again in court and faces what may be his most humiliating moment to date. But that's very good news for voters! [Audio link to program is posted below.]

First up, the panic for Republicans on Capitol Hill continued to mount on Tuesday as GOP lawmakers scrambled to find a legislative way out of the family separation crisis created by Donald Trump at the southern border, where more than 2,300 children have now been separated from their parents since his "zero tolerance" policy was first implemented just two months ago. Also today, the Administration announced their intention to pull the U.S. out of the U.N. Human Rights Council the day after its outgoing head blasted the United State's new border policy as "unconscionable" for "inflicting such abuse on children". We discuss the latest on all of the above.

Then, after a quick recap of the 8-year ignominious history of Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach's inglorious tenure as the nation's top elected GOP "voter fraud" fraudster, we're joined by attorney SOPHIA LIN LAKIN of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project, to discuss Kobach's latest brutal humiliation. In a victory for the state's voters on Monday, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson (a George W. Bush appointee), struck down Kobach's extreme "Proof of Citizenship" voter registration law, finding it in violation of the National Voter Registration Act and the Constitution.

The KS Sec. of State has repeatedly defended the law in court, and has been defeated in virtually every battle over it for years, since persuading the state legislature to adopt the measure. But Robinson's ruling on Monday permanently enjoins the law, which had kept tens of thousands of legitimate state registrants in various forms of electoral limbo as Kobach continued to insist their was a massive (if, apparently invisible) epidemic of non-citizen voters jeopardizing the integrity of KS elections.

Kobach, who originally ran for office in 2010 almost solely on the false and misleading promise to "STOP VOTER FRAUD" in Kansas, has failed to find virtually any such fraud during his eight years in office. As Lakin, a member of the ACLU's trial team explains today, during the trial earlier this year, wherein Kobach chose to represented himself and his state, he was unable to show evidence of almost any non-citizen registrations or votes cast in Kansas, despite millions of legal ballots cast during the same period.

"From 1999 to 2013," she tells me, "Kobach was able to present just 39 confirmed non-citizens who were able to successfully get on the rolls, and of those 39, only 11 voted." Most of the registrations, she explains --- as did the judge in her 118-page ruling [PDF] --- were due to administrative errors.

"The judge pretty much agreed that Kris Kobach has been peddling a xenophobic lie that non-citizens are engaging in rampant election fraud. And this was his chance. This court battle that we just had was his chance to put on the record his evidence that this is what was happening. The judge saw that evidence, and she agreed that there was very little evidence of non-citizen voting in Kansas --- certainly not enough to justify the tens of thousands of individuals that have been disenfranchised by that requirement."

"The judge very much wanted Kris Kobach to have his day in court, to put his evidence of non-citizen voting to the test, to see what he was able to actually muster," Lakin tells me. "We even re-opened discovery for the very purpose of him doing that. So, the proof is in the pudding here. He utterly failed."

Of course, Kobach has vowed to appeal the ruling, as he does. But, aside from the verdict's very good news for voters, there was another extraordinary aspect to Robinson's ruling on Monday. In what amounted to a third set of judicial sanctions against him during the long course of the 2016 case and this year's full bench trial, Judge Robinson admonished Kobach in a newly humiliating way. After previously sanctioning him to pay some $50,000 in ACLU legal bills, due to his contempt in having misled the court, Robinson ordered Kobach to attend 6 hours of law school to study up on federal and state courtroom procedures!

Lakin details how, during the trial, the judge repeatedly --- and embarrassingly --- was forced to explain basic rules of evidence and other standard courtroom procedures to Kobach.

"Judge Robinson essentially ordered Kobach to go back to school" in her ruling, she says, explaining that Kobach's performance in the courtroom and repeated reprimands from the judge were likely even worse than the clownshow that the media reported them as, at the time. When I asked how unusual these type of sanctions are against a trial lawyer, she says: "To be honest, I don't think I've ever seen so many sanction rulings against an attorney at all," much less one where they were ordered to attend legal classes.

And, as if that wasn't enough, the ACLU launched yet another lawsuit today against Kris Kobach, this time over his so-called "Crosscheck" system to help (inaccurately) purge voting rolls in some 26 states.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, as Trump's tariffs against China blow back on the U.S. energy industry, his EPA's gutting of regulations threatens tens of thousands of lives, global warming is making hurricane damage far worse and housing prices fall, and as McDonald's finally plans to do away with single-use plastic straws...

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

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Guest: Slate legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern on 'having cake and eating it too'; Also: Probs for voters in CA and SD, as eight states hold primaries...
By Brad Friedman on 6/5/2018 6:05pm PT  

On today's BradCast: As voters head to the polls in eight states (CA, AL, IA, MS, MT, NJ, NM and SD) on Tuesday, we cover a few "sorta victories" elsewhere for now, including at the U.S. Supreme Court. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Reports of problems at the polls have already cropped up, however, in South Dakota, where electronic pollbooks failed in eight counties, and here in Los Angeles, where a "random issue with the print job" on paper rosters at polling places, according to the County Clerk, has led to some voters needing to cast provisional ballots.

As we await election results and likely reports of more problems elsewhere, a "sorta victory" for Twitter users who had sued the President after he blocked them on Twitter. Those seven plaintiffs were finally unblocked by Trump after a federal court found last month that he was violating their Constitutional First Amendment free speech rights. But, on the same day those seven were unblocked, the Dept. of Justice appealed the court's ruling anyway.

In Alabama, another "sorta victory" as the story of Sec. of State John Merrill blocking folks on Twitter for pointing out his errors as the state's top election official, has finally been picked up by the corporate media in the state. That, just hours before voters headed to the polls, with Merrill himself on the ballot. The coverage comes after we first reported on Merrill's behavior months ago (when he blocked me for being right about the state's computerized election tabulators), and again last week after he sent me a flurry of insane emails [PDF] in response to a simple query as to whether he planned to unblock followers now that a federal court has found his behavior to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution. The Montgomery Advertiser's weak coverage, however, largely serves to offer the Sec. of State a platform to call election experts and journalists "trolls" (for being correct and polite), while still refusing to unblock them.

In Arizona, a lawsuit against the state for keeping tens of thousands of registered voters off the rolls for failing to provide "proof of citizenship" before being allowed to vote has now been settled with a consent decree that will enfranchise many voters, even if it will still result in thousands being disallowed from voting in state and local contests. So, a "sorta victory" there as well.

And, at the U.S. Supreme Court this week, a "sorta victory" for both anti-gay bigots and civil rights advocates as the long-awaited ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. CO Civil Rights Commission, a case involving a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex couple's wedding reception is finally decided by a narrow 7 to 2 ruling in favor of the baker...sorta.

Slate legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN joins us to explain how Justice Anthony Kennedy, with his majority opinion. tries to "have his cake and eat it too," by largely kicking the can down the road for another day, while ostensibly siding with the baker against the state Commission on rather dubious religious freedom grounds.

The decision, however, also appears to strengthen the existing right of states to bar discrimination by similar businesses on the basis of sexual orientation. So much so, that, under the ruling, the two plaintiffs, according to their ACLU attorney, should be able to walk into Jack Phillip's Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, CO today and purchase a cake for their wedding anniversary, if they wished. If they are blocked, that would be in violation of the Constitution. Nonetheless, a definitive opinion from SCOTUS on the issue of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation will have to wait for another day.

"If the Supreme Court applied the same standard to the [Trump] travel ban case as they have applied to Masterpiece, the Court would have no trouble striking down the travel ban as a violation of First Amendment religious freedoms," Stern tells me, when I ask whether Kennedy's weak religious liberty argument here may apply more to some religions than others. "Unfortunately, I do not think the court is going to be consistent. I think, instead, the Court's going to wind up applying a much stricter standard when it's Christians' rights on the line, than when it's Muslims' rights on the line. And we're all going to be very disappointed in this kind of inconsistent religious liberty --- 'for me, but not for thee.'"

Stern offers smart insight on the Court's opinion(s) --- which were widely misreported elsewhere on Monday --- as well as another decision this week from the Court on the Trump Administration's failed attempt to punish the ACLU for supporting a teen immigrant who sought a lawful abortion after being detained at the border. That ruling, at least, was a complete victory, he explains, not just a "sorta" one.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with news on two deadly volcanoes in Guatemala and Hawaii, the Administration's new scheme to bail-out the coal industry, Canada's new scheme to nationalize a controversial pipeline, and more distressing fossil fuel and climate change news...

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

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Teachers walk out in AZ, CO; Cosby found guilty; GOP Senate majority threatened; Pompeo confirmed as Sec. of State; Jackson withdraws as VA nom; EPA's Pruitt ducks responsibility in House; Macron slams Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 4/26/2018 6:38pm PT  

At long last, we're beginning to see shades, shadows, clouds of accountability rolling in across D.C. and even elsewhere in the country. Many of those clouds seemed to roll in all at once today for some reason, but we cover as many as we can on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

Among the stories on today's busy program...

  • Huge explosions, a raging fire, and 10-mile evacuations at another oil refinery today, this time in Wisconsin;
  • Bill Cosby is found guilty on three felony counts of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman and now faces the rest of his life in prison;
  • Tens of thousands of teachers walked out in Arizona and Colorado on Thursday, demanding increased funding for education after years of slashed state budgets to help pay for tax cuts to the rich and corporations;
  • A spate of new polling suggest Senate Republicans may face a storm of accountability this November, with encouraging numbers for Democratic candidates in at least three different states --- Arizona, Tennessee and Nevada --- where they hope to flip "red" seats to "blue" to regain majority control of the upper chamber of Congress this fall. (And also in a fourth state, if you include Texas, where Sen. Ted Cruz' challenger Rep. Beto O'Rourke is now within "too close to call" striking distance, according to new polling, even as the Democrat is refusing corporate and super PAC funding, even from billionaire Tom Steyer);
  • No accountability to date, however, for the anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-environment, pro-war CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who was narrowly confirmed in the U.S. Senate today as Donald Trump's new Secretary of State;
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve a bi-partisan bill to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller from being fired by Trump, though obstructionism from GOP leadership in the full Senate and U.S. House will likely prevent the legislation from going any further;
  • Admiral Ronny Jackson, Trump's personal White House physician and his nominee to head the Dept. of Veterans Affairs finally withdrew his name from consideration following a host of damning allegations from current and former White House and military co-workers unearthed by Sen. Jon Tester (MT), the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee;
  • Trump's wildly corrupt and scandal-plagued EPA chief Scott Pruitt finally faced a bit of accountability, at least from Dems, as he testified before two separate House Committees on Thursday and refused to answer many direct questions, threw much of his staff under the bus, and denied responsibility for the mountain of personal corruption scandals he continues to face --- even as bi-partisan calls for his resignation continue;
  • And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with more on Pruitt's anti-climate perfidy, French President Emmanuel Macron's blistering swipes at President Trump's environmental record during a joint session of Congress, and much more.

Yes, it was another insanely busy news day, but we gotcha covered, in one fast moving hour today. Buckle up!...

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

P.S. We will be off tomorrow, but don't panic! We're back on Monday, as usual!

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Also: Mick Mulvaney's stunning admission and Mother Jones' Rebecca Leber on Scott Pruitt's new 'secret science' scam at EPA...
By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2018 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast: More encouraging signs for Democrats following special elections in both Arizona and New York on Tuesday. And more troubling news from Donald Trump's never-ending cavalcade of corporate cabinet corruption. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

All signs suggest that a potential Blue Wave continues to build for Democrats in the Trump Era, even as the party reportedly lost a U.S. House special election in the very "red" 8th Congressional District west of Phoenix on Tuesday. After Maricopa County, AZ's new, even-more computerized polling place election system broke down in several precincts --- a potentially ominous sign for the much-larger, upcoming mid-terms --- former Republican State Senator Debbie Lesko is said to have defeated first time Democratic candidate Dr. Hiral Tipirneni by just 5 points, in a district that Trump won by 21 points in 2016.

The previously deep "red" House district in a longtime "red" state, had been represented for some 15 years by GOP Rep. Trent Franks, until he stepped down amid sexual misconduct allegations last December. While the Dems narrowly lost the race on Tuesday, thanks in part to big spending by national Republicans (and none by national Dems), election analysts regard the stunning 15+ point swing from "red" to "blue" as one of the strongest signs to date that Republicans in the House and Senate may be in very big trouble this fall.

Similarly, in New York, special elections on Tuesday for several state legislative seats resulted in one Assembly seat flipping from R to D for the first time in four decades, and in Democrats winning a majority of seats in the state Senate for the first time in years. However, one Democrat who caucuses with Republicans in that chamber means that the GOP will remain in control of the Senate until at least the end of the current session.

Meanwhile, back in D.C., Donald Trump's swamp of corruption continues apace. Interim Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Mick Mulvaney reportedly told a crowd of some 1,300 banking executives and lobbyists yesterday that they need to keep donating to the GOP if they wanted still more regulations gutted and oversight trashed. He appears to have admitted --- out loud --- that as a Congressman, he would only consider meeting with lobbyists who had donated to him. (And, many in the financial sector, which the CFPB was mandated to regulate on behalf of consumers after the 2008 global banking crisis, did exactly that during Mulvaney 's time as a House Rep. from South Carolina.)

But it's scandal-plagued Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt who seemingly continues to lead the corruption cavalcade in Trump's corporatized Executive Agency lagoon. Pruitt is not letting the mountain of scandals, corruption revelations and calls for his resignation stop him from doing the bidding of his fossil fuel industry funders at the EPA.

In a ceremony for fellow climate science deniers on Tuesday night, ironically trumpeting a supposed new era of EPA "transparency" as media and scientists were locked out of the event, Pruitt signed a proposed new rule barring what he describes as the use of "secret science" in the EPA rule-making process.

We're joined today by Mother Jones' environmental reporter REBECCA LEBER to discuss what the anti-science Pruitt actually means by that, what this deceptive new rule would actually do if finalized, and why, as she argues, this scheme may be his "most destructive move yet".

"What Pruitt has done here is propose limiting the studies that the EPA can use in crafting regulations. Those studies would have to have data that is publicly available --- which sounds great on its face. Who doesn't want more transparency? But there is a lot of complications here that effectively limit the pool drastically and really could conceivably cut out our best available science showing that air pollution and water pollution is a health problem," Leber tells me. "That's because these studies typically rely on medical records that are, by law, forced to be private and also may include proprietary information that academic institutions and even industry don't want to be public."

Nonetheless, hiding behind false claims of "transparency" in science, Pruitt is now hoping to severely restrict the use of science and, in fact, rewriting decades-old rules for the use of science itself in public government. No wonder Trump prefers not to fire him, as Leber explains, no matter how wildly corrupt Pruitt is actually proven to be...

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

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...and many more otherworldly reminders of the importance of elections...
By Brad Friedman on 4/19/2018 6:30pm PT  

Several stories --- pretty much all of them --- on today's BradCast, serve as trenchant reminders of the importance of elections, particularly with majority control of the U.S. Senate now hanging in the balance in this November's mid-terms. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the stories both covered and elucidated upon today...

  • Former prosecutor and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani joins Donald Trump's legal defense team hoping to "negotiate an end" to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Team Trump;
  • After a months-long struggle on Thursday, the U.S. Senate barely managed to confirm the wholly unqualified Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK, pictured above), a long-time, wildly partisan, non-scientist climate science denier to head NASA, the $20 billion federal agency which, among other things, tracks key climate change-related data for the world;
  • Vulnerable Democratic U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota announces she will vote in favor of Trump's nominee for Secretary of State, CIA Director Mike Pompeo (also a climate denier), seemingly all but assuring Pompeo's otherwise still-troubled confirmation process;
  • GOP "voter fraud" fraudster, Kansas Sec. of State and gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach is held in contempt of federal court for a second time, receiving an humiliating drubbing from a George W. Bush-appointed federal judge for repeatedly and "disingenuously" misleading the court in a major voter suppression case in the state, affecting tens of thousands of voters;
  • The Republican-controlled state legislature in Arizona attempts a sneaky maneuver to try and prevent voters from filling a vacated U.S. Senate seat for as long as two and a half years, should one occur, as Sen. John McCain battles brain cancer. (They now appear to be backing off the scheme.);
  • And, in Texas, a new poll finds Rep. Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic challenger to Republican Senator Ted Cruz, now within the poll's margin of error to unseat Cruz in what had previously been the very "red" Lone Star State;

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report as power was knocked out again across the entire island of Puerto Rico, more climate liability suits are filed against two more oil companies and the state of Florida, and the world prepares for Earth Day this weekend, with a focus on fighting the pollution scourge of plastic...

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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By Brad Friedman on 4/5/2018 6:19pm PT  

On today's BradCast: While everything still sucks, there are, nonetheless, a growing number of encouraging signs that Americans --- even those in so-called "red" states --- have had just about enough of the rightwing Republican corporate takeover and ravaging of this country and so much that we hold dear. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Among the stories covered towards that end on today's program...

  • A record-breaking number of women are now running for Congress, and the filing deadlines haven't even passed in half of the states;
  • Sinclair Broadcasting Group's insidious misuse of our public airwaves for rightwing pro-Trump propaganda purposes finally begins to catch the attention of Democrats in Congress, as company executives mouth off with pathetic excuses, former employees speak out, some staffers resign in protest, and others, while embarrassed by being forced to read on-air nonsense from their owners, find reasonable excuses for not quitting (such as outrageously onerous contract terms) at once-respected TV news outlets now controlled by the nation's largest owner of television stations;
  • Teachers in so-called "red" states like Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona and West Virginia continue walkouts to push back against state education budgets that have been slashed in recent years to pay for huge tax cuts to wealthy corporations in failed experiments with supposedly "pro-growth" Reaganomics;
  • And while Republican officials in those states have made clear they were only pretending to give a damn about kids, their pretend love for coal miners has also been exposed as a lie in Kentucky, where lawmakers just made it much more difficult for miners to receive compensation amid an epidemic surge of deadly black lung disease cases;
  • The jaw-dropping corruption scandals of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt continue to be revealed on a daily basis. So, will Donald Trump finally find the courage to fire him?;
  • And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, in which Mobil Oil joins Exxon in being revealed as having been fully aware, decades ago, that the burning of fossil fuels is causing civilization-threatening climate change, and Americans tell Ryan Zinke and his Interior Department to take a hike over huge proposed increases to entry fees at our national parks...

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: David Bier of CATO Institute; Also: Hicks out; Special election results; Trump court win; Teacher fires a pistol in school; Sporting goods outlet to stop selling assault weapons...
By Brad Friedman on 2/28/2018 6:11pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Just days away from Donald Trump's artificial deadline to end Obama-era protections from deportation for hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought here as children, the attendees at last weekend's CPAC can't even come to terms with documented facts on the benefits of immigration, even when delivered to them by one of their own. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

But, first up today, some quick news headlines of note...

  • Another top White House official, Trump's 29-year old Communications Director Hope Hicks (his third since taking office), says she's resigning, and offered a ridiculous reason for it, just one day after admitting to the U.S. House Intelligence Committee that she has been required to lie on behalf of Trump.
  • Tuesday was another Special Election day in several states --- including New Hampshire, Connecticut, Kentucky and Arizona --- and we have the reported results after still more state legislative seats in Republican districts were flipped from 'red' to 'blue' by Democrats. (And as Republicans appear to have mostly avoided another huge embarrassment in Arizona.)
  • The federal judge who Trump attacked during the campaign for allegedly opposing his border wall, as the court case for Trump's fraudulent 'Trump University' played out, decides in favor of the Administration scheme to waive environmental laws to build that wall with Mexico.

Then, we're joined by immigration policy analyst DAVID BIER of the libertarian Cato Institute, following his recent appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) --- where his presentation of independently verifiable facts and data detailing how immigration is actually good for the country --- was met with derision and heckles from the audience and fellow panelists alike.

Setting our many political differences aside for purposes of this discussion, Bier offers some of that data on today's show, in hopes that we can, at least, agree on facts if we are ever to find a legislative solution to protect "Dreamers" and turn back the new Trump/GOP efforts to restrict even legal immigration to our country. Among those derided and heckled facts Bier presented at CPAC: "I talked about how some conservative outlets really like to focus on immigrant crime. But we know from the U.S. Census bureau that immigrants --- including illegal immigrants --- are about half as likely to be incarcerated in the United States for serious crime than U.S.-born adults. So they're really focusing on the exceptions to the rule. Something else that I cited is the National Academies of Sciences 2016 report on the fiscal costs of immigration, that found that the average recent immigrant will pay at least $92,000 more in taxes than they receive in benefits from the government over their lifetime."

He went on to debunk a number of other myths offered by right-wing outlets, such as on English-language comprehension and assimilation of new immigrants and the claim (even made by the host of the panel) that Democrats favor immigration because they want millions of new voters. He also detailed how new immigration is needed to help support Social Security and Medicare for many of the aging baby-boomers who were, no doubt, among the many attendees at CPAC.

Bier told me about the reaction to his remarks at the only immigration-related panel on the weekend's agenda at the annual far-right Republican gathering, how that response may have differed from previous years, and why it is that he believes attendees are so terrified of independently verifiable facts on immigration's many benefits for all Americans --- economically, politically and culturally.

He even managed to offer a fairly impressive response to my skepticism to his claim that "the data is the thing that’s going to win people over." Despite appearances from this President and his administration, he argues, immigration advocates are winning. "You and I and everyone who favors legal immigration and legalizing long-term residents of the United States, we're winning that argument. The public supports our position overwhelmingly. It's never been higher in terms of support for legalization, support for a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, support for not restricting legal immigration. We're winning all of those things."

"It's sort of their last stand before the end," he asserts, by way of explaining the confused and fearful anti-immigrant CPAC attendees. "If Democrats do take over, I fully expect immigration reform will happen. And that will be the moment where they realize they lost the argument."

Finally, as Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School reopened on Wednesday, two weeks after a 19-year old with a legally purchased semi-automatic rifle killed 17 and injured a dozen others in a matter of minutes, the debate over what to do about it still rages. Today, amid Donald Trump's argument for arming teachers, the "top teacher" of 2012 at a Georgia high school outside of Atlanta fired a pistol in his classroom, sending students into a justifiable panic. And, one of the nation's largest sporting goods outlets announced that it would no longer sell military-style semi-automatic rifles and planned to raise the age requirement for all gun and ammo purchases at their stores to 21...

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Guest: Howie Klein of 'Down With Tyranny!'; Also: Kushner loses his clearance and more GOP sex/hypocrisy scandals for 2018 candidates...
By Brad Friedman on 2/27/2018 6:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Democrats appear confident that they are heading toward a "Blue Wave" election in the 2018 mid-terms. Then again, they were also confident they'd soundly defeat Donald Trump for the Presidency in 2016. And the progressive/establishment rift that developed during the party's 2016 primary has, apparently, not gone away. [Audio link for show follows below.]

But first up today, the President's son-in-law and top adviser, Jared Kushner has reportedly lost his Top Secret/SCI-level security clearance, along with a bunch of other White House staffers, after failing to receive a permanent security clearance in the more-than-a-year since he's been serving.

Next, with one disturbing sex (and hypocrisy) scandal after another plaguing Republican candidates for office (as well as the President of the United States), we add several more such scandals to the list today. Among them, a GOP U.S. House candidate in Pennsylvania whose husband says she threatened to kill him in a drunken rage. That, after the woman was revealed to have had an affair with married GOP Congressman Tim Murphy in a neighboring PA district. After text messages revealed he advised her to get an abortion, he eventually resigned from the House last year.

Then there's the Republican candidate for Illinois' state Legislature who is said to have asked the party's leading state Attorney General candidate recently whether she was a "lesbo", before repeatedly using the n-word in front of the woman who happens to be a Harvard Law grad and former Miss America, as well as an African-American.

And, let's not forget the minister in Arizona running in the GOP primary today for the Special Election to take the disgraced GOP Rep. Trent Franks' vacated seat. After the far right Franks resigned from Congress last year following his own sexual misconduct allegations, former AZ State Senator and family values minister Steve Montenegro led the pack of some 18 GOPers vying for the nomination in the very right-wing Congressional district west of Phoenix --- at least until salacious text messages with a legislative staffer were surfaced just days ago.

So, yes, the Republicans have a lot of problems with their candidates of late, but Democrats are having a lot of problems with each other. The turmoil between the party's aging conservative establishment wing and its growing progressive wing have now begun to rear its ugly head again, after the intraparty rift that grew out of the 2016 Presidential primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Late last week the conservative Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) unleashed a remarkable attack against Laura Moser, one of the more progressive Democratic candidates, among eight, vying for the party's nomination in next Tuesday's U.S. House primary contest in the Texas' 7th Congressional District near Houston. And, over the weekend, the delegates at the annual California Democratic Party convention failed to endorse 4-term U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein in her reelection bid, where she is being challenged by progressive state Senate leader Kevin de León. De León received 54% of the delegate votes to Feinstein's 37%. Neither reached the 60% required for an official state party endorsement.

We're joined today to discuss all of this from the Democratic side --- as the primary season finally gets officially underway --- by progressive advocate and Congressional elections expert HOWIE KLEIN, creator of the Down With Tyranny! blog and co-founder of the BlueAmericaPAC, which supports progressive candidates with small personal donations.

Klein (whose BlueAmericaPAC supports a different progressive in the race, Dr. Jason Westin) explains the DCCC's stunning attack on Moser in Texas late last week, while warning that there are many more such attacks to come against progressive candidates this year by the conservative DCCC. "They always, 100% of the time, support conservatives from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party," he charges. "That's what they do. They always try to undercut progressives."

"They're not more likely to win. The only time they can win is in a wave election," Klein argues, while responding to the DCCC's defense that they are only favoring candidates more likely to defeat Republicans this November. "The problem with these DCCC candidates is that they can't hold the seats. They get defeated in the next midterm. And that happens over and over and over again, and the DCCC can't understand that."

Klein also speaks to what he sees as both the reason for and solution to the DCCC's right-wing bent --- (for which he blames Democratic Congressional leader Nancy Pelosi who "used to be a progressive") --- and whether bitterly divided Democratic voters will find a way to come together this year once the primaries are over, in order to retake majorities in one or both houses of Congress.

He describes the current rift as an in "important ideological fight," and claims, "It's not a split between Bernie people and Hillary people in any way. It's an ideological battle of people who believe in what Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt believed in, as opposed to people who are conservative Democrats who are frightened and afraid of innovation."

Speaking of which, Klein then offers his thoughts on why California's progressive Democrats are turning on the conservative Feinstein this year and how that may effect the 84-year old Senator's hopes of winning a 5th term in November. Related to that point, we also discuss the unpredictable "top two" primary system now used in California, where candidates from all parties run at the same time against each other, before the top two vote-getters --- from either the same or different parties --- then go on to compete head-to-head in November's general election...

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Guest: Redistricting expert Brian Amos on new PA U.S. House map; Plus; Trump's bump-stock ban gimmick; Buying a gun is easier than voting in Florida; Maine GOP's fake news site; The GNR's 9th Anniversary...
By Brad Friedman on 2/20/2018 6:24pm PT  

There is big news out of Pennsylvania again on today's BradCast, concerning the upcoming 2018 mid-term elections. And it appears to be very good news indeed for Democrats. [Audio link to show is posted at bottom of article.]

But first up, Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that he is directing the Dept. of Justice to propose new regulations that, if adopted, would ban the sale of so-called bump stock devices that turn semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic machine guns. That, nearly four months after such devices were used in the massacre that killed 58 concert-goers and wounded some 500 others on the Las Vegas Strip in a matter of minutes in October, and less than one week since a 19-year old gunman killed 17 at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, without using a bump-stock, on his legally purchased AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle. The process Trump called for will take months and likely face legal challenges, if it ever results in any such devices being banned for sale. Congress could ban them today, if they wished to. Republicans supported by the NRA however, do not.

At the same time, as we discuss today, it is easier in many states to purchase an AR-15 or similar weapon than it is to cast a vote, including in Florida. While an ID is needed to both register and then to cast a ballot at the polls on Election Day in the Sunshine State, an unlimited number of semi-automatic rifles can be purchased there without any ID or background check at all. And, unlike voter registration in FL, gun sales can be carried out online, completely anonymously, even as GOP lawmakers in the state have made it harder and harder to both register and vote in the state in recent years.

Next, following up on a story we covered in detail on Friday's show, regarding fake news sites (actual fake news sites!) set up to look like real ones by Republican officials across the country to support Republican candidates and attack Democrats. The Executive Director of the Maine Republican Party has now admitted that he is behind the anonymously-run Maine Examiner site which, last December, falsely claimed leaked emails of the Democratic candidate for mayor in Maine's second largest city called voters a "bunch of racists". Days later, after the fake news story took off, that candidate, Ben Chin, is said to have lost his election by just 145 votes to the Republican. While many are worried about Russians posing as Americans to post attacks on social media in support of Republicans and attacking Democrats --- using fake claims about "voter fraud" taken directly from GOP outlets like Fox 'News' and Breitbart --- this new scheme by GOP officials (from coast to coast) to create fake news websites in support of Republican candidates should be very troubling for Dems in advance of the 2018 mid-terms.

But, there is some better news today for Democrats in Pennsylvania where, after the Republican-controlled state legislature failed to draw "fair and equal" U.S. House maps, as ordered by the State Supreme Court, the Court itself released its own map to be used in the 2018 election. The commonwealth's primaries are set for May, with candidates beginning their signature gathering process in days.

The new map follows a finding by the state's high court in January that the map drawn by the GOP-controlled legislature in 2011 was an unlawful partisan gerrymander under the state constitution. The previous map resulted in Democrats holding just 5 of the state's 18 U.S. House seats election after election, in what is otherwise a largely 50/50 state (with nearly half a million more registered Democrats than Republicans.)

We're joined today to discuss the new map, and what it is likely to mean for Democrats, Republicans and the rest of the country where many other partisan gerrymanders will still remain in effect this year, by redistricting expert BRIAN AMOS of the University of Florida. Amos, a PH.D. candidate specializing in the intersection of geography and politics, served as an analyst for the Florida team that was the first in the nation to successfully challenge a Republican drawn district plan in state court on partisan gerrymandering grounds.

Amos details the expected effect of the new PA map, drawn up by the court and released on Monday, which is expected to result in at least 3 or 4 more Democrats in the U.S. House, even though Trump won in 10 of the new districts in 2016, while Hillary Clinton won only 8 of them.

We also discuss the geographical and political challenges (and opportunities) of drawing maps that are fair to voters of all parties, when those maps are drawn up by partisan legislatures. That's become even more of a problem, not just after the GOP's REDMAP Project to take over state legislatures before the 2010 Census so they could draw the new maps in 2011, but also because of the geological self-sorting that is taking place, as Dems tend huddle in more urban areas, while Republicans spread out in rural districts.

"Democrats tend to live in densely Democratic areas --- cities --- whereas Republicans tend to live in areas that are a bit more balanced, like 60% Republican, 40% Democrat," Amos explains. "So the arguments tends to be that, if we have to draw geographic districts, it's harder to spread out those Democrats across districts in order to make an even balance. In a lot of cases I think you'll see something like what we saw from the court's map, where it's as fair as you can get, but it's still 10-8 [in favor of Republicans.]"

The outcome could have been better for Republicans in PA, Amos explains, they could have put their own map forward that was more fair. But, he says, "they got too greedy." State Republicans are still vowing to challenge the new map in some federal court or another, but experts suggest that may be very difficult, given that this was a state court ruling.

For his part, Amos, though not an attorney, tells me that "when the state fails to pass a map, then somebody has to step in and that's always been the courts. So maybe they'll find some friendly federal court somewhere, but it seems like a stretch." Meanwhile, as recent federal court rulings finding unlawful partisan gerrymandering carried out in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Texas, Maryland and elsewhere are currently on hold at the U.S. Supreme Court, "we're all waiting on Justice Kennedy," says Amos. But that ruling --- sadly, for those of us who believe in fairer elections --- is not expected until June, likely too late to effect the 2018 mid-terms.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our 9th Anniversary Green News Report, as the Trump Administration's EPA and Dept. of Energy face new trouble from the courts and the Inspector General. And we reminisce about the vastly difficult political landscape that existed 9 years ago, when we began the GNR, and when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, but were unable to pass cap and trade legislation to put a price on the release of carbon pollution, in hopes of mitigating our current and worsening climate crisis.

Thank you, from Desi and myself, to those of you who have stopped by BradBlog.com/Donate to help us continue the GNR into our 10th year! For some reason, ExxonMobil will still not cough up any sponsorship funds for us, even though we talk about them all the time!...

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Trump's horrible week; Rubio, Grassley shame after Florida shooting; Russians used GOP 'fake news' and the party is doubling down...
By Brad Friedman on 2/16/2018 6:32pm PT  

We begin today's BradCast with a somewhat harrowing and breathtaking round-up of what has been an exceptionally bad news week, even for this particular White House. But all of that got considerably worse on Friday. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

New grand jury indictments [PDF] were filed against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities, by Robert Mueller's Special Counsel probe, for alleged interference in the 2016 Presidential election. We detail what the indictment says and doesn't say, and how Donald Trump and his White House are lying about both.

Then, before it disappears into the ether, more coverage of the shameful dodging, denial and misdirection from Senate Republicans --- of particularly shameful note were Senators Chuck Grassley (IA) and Marco Rubio (FL) on Thursday --- following Wednesday's horrific mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Despite some twisted misdirection from Grassley on "mental health" issues (he sponsored the bill passed last year to make it easier for the mentally ill to purchase weapons) and desperate remarks from Rubio on the purported futility of any and all laws regarding guns (or anything else, apparently), we detail the reason why the U.S. has so many mass shootings, according to dozens of peer-reviewed studies from around the nation and the world: the obscene number and easy availability of guns in the U.S., which is unparalleled among developed nations. Period.

Next, Friday's grand jury indictments from Mueller detail a disturbing and well-organized Russian-based scheme to try and undermine the U.S. Presidential election by using social media to spread "derogatory information about Hillary Clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump."

But the methods and material they used for doing so came directly out of the well-worn GOP and rightwing media playbook. Fake news said to have been spread by Russian social media accounts declaring, for example, "voter fraud" in Florida just days before the election, as cited in the Mueller indictments, was, quite literally, taken straight off of Fox "News" and other rightwing media outlets, where fake news of the type said to have been spread by Russian agents has been used for years to manipulate the U.S. electorate.

Worse still, it appears that Republican officials and candidates for office are now creating their own fake news sites with legitimate sounding names --- from the "Arizona Monitor" to the "Maine Examiner" to "The Free Telegraph" (that one is run by the Republican Governors Association!) --- in order to scam voters with wildly fake and/or slanted "news", meant to appear legitimate.

So, yes, foreign interference in our elections is of concern, but, as we explain today, the far greater threat to American democracy is still "coming from inside the house."

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, as U.S. intelligence agencies contradict the Trump Administration on climate risks, ExxonMobil fights back against climate lawsuits, the corporate media continue to fail on climate change coverage, and a bit of good news, happily, from the Queen of England...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Trump chickens out; WI and AL block elections; More embarrassment for KS; Help for sharks; And a perfect gift for the First Family...
By Brad Friedman on 1/26/2018 6:13pm PT  

After yet another exhausting and harrowing week in Donald Trump's America, as the Doomsday Clock inches closer to midnight, we try to lighten things up a bit, at least comparatively, on today's BradCast --- even if it's not always easy. [Audio link to show follows below.]

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

  • A few words about Donald Trump's reported attempt to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller last June before chickening out, which the President describes today as "fake news";
  • Republicans are now, literally, trying to block democracy by preventing elections from happening at all. Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin and the GOP-controlled Alabama state legislature provide just the two latest examples;
  • Kansas' failed Governor Sam Brownback has, apparently, failed up, with an appointment by the Trump Administration, confirmed this past week by the U.S. Senate, after Vice President Mike Pence was brought in to break the tie vote in Brownback's favor;
  • Speaking of failures in the state of Kansas, their Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a long-time GOP "voter fraud" fraudster and now candidate for Governor, enjoys still more shame and ignominy this week, as it was discovered that he exposed private information, including the last four digits of social security numbers for thousands of state officials and employees --- including his own! --- on an unprotected Internet page;
  • The Guggenheim Museum declines to loan a valuable Vincent van Gogh painting to Donald and Melania Trump for use in their White House residence, but offers a solid gold alternative that seems perfect for the first family;
  • And, speaking of the first family, Trump's recently reported hatred of sharks --- revealed by adult film actress Stormy Daniels in the wake of revelations of her alleged affair with Donald Trump and $130,000 hush-money payoff just before the 2016 election --- has resulted in an outpouring of donations to shark charities across the nation and the world! See? Donald Trump can do some good in this world after all!

Finally, speaking of donations, as we celebrate The BRAD BLOG's 14th Anniversary this week (thanks to those who have stopped by BradBlog.com/Donate), a plea to support ALL independent progressive media, including whatever station or outlet you may use to enjoy listening to The BradCast every day!...

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Guest: Barbara Arnwine of the new Nat'l Commission for Voter Justice...
By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2018 6:50pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we're still fighting for the right to vote and to have that vote counted, 60 years after MLK's "Give Us the Ballot" speech, 50 years after the passage of the hard-won Voting Rights Act, 4 years after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted it, and one day after what my guest today describes as a "really wicked decision" by the Court on Thursday to set aside a landmark ruling on gerrymandering that was meant to finally correct a grave injustice to voters in 2018. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

With Republicans in the U.S. House, on Thursday, having passed a short-term stopgap spending bill to keep the U.S. Government from shutting down beginning on Friday night at midnight, Republicans in the U.S. Senate are still racing to figure out how to overcome a filibuster of the same bill. The measure includes support for kids that rely on the currently-expired Children's Healthcare Insurance Program (CHIP), but leaves some 800,000 kids of immigrants who came here with their parents still facing deportation as early as March, after Trump ended Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. So, once again, rather than simply including a fix to DACA, Republicans are using children as human shields to try and force Democrats to vote with them for a short-term bill to avoid a shutdown of the federal government. It would be the first such shutdown in U.S. history while the House, Senate and White House are all controlled by the same party.

Sick of this sort of BS? If so, you can theoretically do something about it this year at the ballot box. But the GOP's stolen U.S. Supreme Court isn't making it easy. On Thursday, SCOTUS stayed a landmark ruling by a lower federal court panel that had ordered North Carolina to immediately redraw the state's U.S. House district maps, since the Republican majority legislature admitted that they, unconstitutionally, drew them to ensure a Republican advantage. Though it's largely a 50/50 state, NC Republicans hold 10 seats in the U.S. House to the Democrats' 3.

That's just one of the ways that Republicans hope to keep cheating voters this year in order to hang on to power as the mid-terms approach. Another way was through Trump's discredited and now disbanded "Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity", run by the GOP "voter fraud" fraudster and Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach. He had hoped to use the Commission to make it harder (for certain people) to vote, but he faced yet another embarrassment in court this week. When Kobach's Commission was originally shut down a week or two ago, there was a cry from voting rights advocates for a national committee to study and call out the real scourge of American democracy: voter suppression.

That call may have been answered this week with the formation of the non-partisan National Commission for Voter Justice, co-chaired by my guest today, BARBARA ARNWINE, former longtime Executive Director of the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and now President and Founder of the Transformative Justice Coalition. Arnwine explains the new Commission's mission, responds to the "wicked" SCOTUS ruling on NC maps and other recent voting rights issues, and details many of the threats to democracy that must be overcome in 2018, more than sixty years after, as she and John Nichols note at The Nation this week, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his landmark "Give Us the Ballot" address on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1957.

"We gotta remember, we are looking at the Roberts Court. This is a man who made his life ambition the evisceration and the weakening of the Voting Rights Act. In fact, if he had had his way, there wouldn't be a Voting Rights Act, as he wrote many, many years ago," Arnwine says in response to the SCOTUS stay on the NC redistricting ruling and a similar one in Texas. "They are fine with these kinds of schemes --- gerrymandering and other devices and tactics that deny people the right to vote --- because they believe in their hearts that the result is fair, it's a result that they want, and it's a result that puts people into power that they favor. And that's wrong."

"We believe that democracy should be for every single voter. That's why we created the National Commission for Voter Justice, because every voter should have the right to be able to vote and to have their vote counted," the animated Arnwine explains. "Democracy should always be about a competition of ideas, a competition of the best candidates, and then the people make their choices. Politicians should never pick who their constituents are. The constituents should pick the politicians. We are in a reverse democracy right now."

It has, sadly, been that way for a while. I recalled today, while prepping for the show, that Arnwine and I were on a National Public Radio show back in 2008, facing off against the notorious GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Hans von Spakovsky, who, I suspect, was very used to getting away with his lies before that show. I also recall Arnwine's testimony to the Baker/Carter Commission on Voting Rights which was a panel created by Republican Party vote suppressors in 2005 to push for Photo ID voting restrictions. In comparison to the Trump/Kobach Commission, however, that panel was blue ribbon! The fight for democracy is never ending, it seems.

"Democracy is never permanent. It requires vigilance. It requires engagement. It requires organizations to monitor, to advocate for it," Arnwine tells me. "But it shouldn't be as bad as it is in the United States. That's the problem. The problem is that even with the fact that you've got to constantly seek it, it shouldn't be this bad. We should not have millions upon millions of voters finding themselves blocked from the polling booth. We shouldn't have three-hour lines. We shouldn't have machinery that everybody knows is worthless."

"But that's why the National Commission for Voter Justice is going to be coming to every area where we can," she says. "We're going to have over 20 hearings around the country, so that we can hear directly from voters what they are encountering, what their experiences are and, more importantly, what some of the solutions are, helping people to advocate for those changes."

Don't miss the full conversation today! It should get you pretty fired up for 2018, if you need any help.

And, finally, speaking of what Republicans are willing to do to get and hang on to power, a disturbing comparison of the dates set for U.S. House Special Elections to fill the seats of two different Congress members who both resigned during the same week last year (there will be a special election to fill the GOP seat in May, but the Dem seat will remain vacant until November), and the four --- count 'em, four --- convicted Republican criminals who have declared their intention to run for seats in the U.S. House and Senate in 2018...

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

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Guest: Farmer John Gilbert; Also: Detente in Korea; Arpaio to run for Senate; Landmark court ruling in NC; More climate-related tragedy in CA...
By Brad Friedman on 1/9/2018 6:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Enough with the so-called "forgotten Trump voters"! What of the forgotten Democrats and progressives who far outnumber them? Where are all of those profiles in the MSM? We pick up that ball a bit today. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first, just some of the news breaking today: North and South Korea are now talking again, and have struck an agreement that will result in North Korea participating in the winter Olympic Games that begin next month in South Korea. They also appear to be planning for talks in the near future on the militarization of the North/South border and other related matters, even as the Trump Administration continues to send very mixed signals about negotiations that might include the U.S.

Meanwhile, back here at home, the far right-wing "news" site Breitbart has fired its far right-wing Executive Chairman Steve Bannon following comments he made about Trump's son Don Jr. in Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury book. Bannon was previously fired by the White House as Trump's top political strategist. And, speaking of the GOP's continuing internecine Trump Era War, the disgraced, far right-wing 85-year old Joe Arpaio, controversial former Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff found guilty of contempt of court last year before being pardoned by Trump shortly thereafter, says he will run for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate this year, in a bid to replace outgoing Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.

Then, amidst seemingly endless sympathetic corporate media profiles of supposedly "forgotten" Trump voters in rural America, what of the majority of American voters who didn't vote for Trump, even in so-called "Trump Country"? We're joined today by sustainable family farmer JOHN GILBERT [pictured above] of Gibralter Farms, who, with his wife and extended family, has been farming and ranching on land maintained by his family since the 1890s.

Gilbert was briefly mentioned in a Washingont Post profile at year's end of another nearby farmer in Hardin County, Iowa --- part of the paper's long series of stories so-called on "THE FORGOTTEN: The issues at the heart of Trump's America" --- who remains an ardent and seemingly confused Trump supporter, angry with the way she believes the Obama Administration and its Environmental Protection Agency were enforcing too many rules that made her work difficult or costly. While Trump has begun to reverse many of those Obama Era regulations, such as the controversial Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, Gilbert believes we need more, not fewer regulations to remain good stewards of the land, so that "humanity stays alive".

He says the "big lie" about WOTUS was that, in fact, "most farming activity was exempted. I think it's also clear that that was an issue that was ginned up almost entirely by the Farm Bureau as a way to scare farmers, and I think farmers were duped into opposing that."

The 68-year old Gilbert explains how many of his fellow farmers, in Iowa and elsewhere, have been misled by the American Farm Bureau --- a lobbying group which he says largely represent the interests of "Big Ag" --- about both that and the so-called "death tax", while the Republican party and its media outlets have been helping to spread the group's disinformation for many years. "Politicians and Republicans have called it the 'death tax' for a long time," he tells me, "and always say 'Oh, it's hard on farmers.' Well, there's almost never been a farmer who has ever been affected enough by it that they had to do like they claim and sell the farm. These are all just manufactured fear tactics."

He also comments on Trump's at times bewildering appearance on Monday at the Bureau's national convention in Nashville, and discusses the principals of sustainable agriculture, for which he and his wife recently won the 2017 Sustainable Agriculture Achievement Award from the Practical Farmers of Iowa.

"The whole issue of sustainability stems from a basic acceptance of the fact that there is not enough in this world for everybody to have all they want, whether it's enough water, enough food, enough energy, enough power, enough room. There's not enough. That means that we have to share, I guess, for lack of a better word," he tells me. "The one thing that has kept humanity above the animals over all these years is the ability to control our greed...And if you don't control greed, then you use up too many resources today and don't have any left for the future."

"Agriculture, in itself, is strictly the process by which humanity stays a live," he tells me. "We in agriculture do a lot of things, but basically we're trying to keep humanity alive. The question that we don't know is how long 'forever' is. And if we're going to keep humanity alive essentially forever, we have to make sure that we have the resources available to our descendants thousands of years from now --- to continue to support humanity. When you put those two things together, you end up with a system of farming that is much more aligned with natural systems. You tend to use principles of nature rather than the test tube or the chemical companies, or the big expert input suppliers who tend to be more interested in making money off of what you do than you making money."

There is much more in our conversation today than I can adequately cover here, so I'd encourage you to tune in for my full discussion with Gilbert, from the heartland of the first-in-the-nation caucus state. He's great.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report', before several late breaking news items, including a late day landmark Appeals Court ruling striking down North Carolina's Congressional maps due to partisan gerrymandering, and the tragic news out of Southern California that at least 13 have died, so far, in mud slides amid remarkable overnight rainfall in areas recently burned by the recent record Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties north of Los Angeles, the largest fire in state history...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 12/21/2017 11:46am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: A reprieve for renewable energy, but not for disaster victims, in Republicans' massive tax cut bill; GOP achieves their dream of drilling in Alaska's pristine National Wildlife Refuge; Australia finds renewable energy more reliable than coal; PLUS: California's Thomas Fire now 2nd largest in state history... 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): Trump signs executive order to expand critical minerals production; EPA delays implementing ban on toxic chemicals; Trump EPA pick for Chicago cut enforcement in WI; Plastic ocean pollution now found in seafood; France law bans all oil and gas production by 2040; Mistral declared in Bundy Ranch armed standoff; Jakarta is sinking fast; Beavers emerge as agents of Arctic destruction (besides humans, that is); Electric trucks quietly report for duty across U.S. without all the fumes; Ottawa plans to declare deadly hydrogen sulfide gas is non-toxic; Nebraska regulators deny TransCanada request on Keystone XL route... PLUS: Republicans blow their chance to pass a carbon tax... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




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