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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, August 21, 2017
Democrats. Remember Them?: 'BradCast' 8/21/2017
Guest: Author, journalist David Dayen on the Democratic Party's 'quietly radical' 'Better Deal' plan and much more; Plus: The eclipse!...
Why I Anonymously Wrote an Election Integrity Novel in 2008, and Why I'm 'Anonymous' No More
Guest blogged by the no-longer anonymous author of Cassandra, Chanting...
Sunday Toons of the 'Many Sides' Moment
This week, PDiddie's collection of political toons mark what could be a seminal point in the Trump Presidency, examining the issue 'on many sides, many sides'...
The 25th for 45?:
'BradCast' 8/18/17
Guest: Political scientist, author David Faris; Plus: BANNON IS OUT and more than 1.5M Chicago voter registration records exposed (again), by nation's largest e-voting vendor...
Fighting for Free Speech For and Against Nazis, Trump, and Israel: 'BradCast' 8/17/17
Guest: Inst. for Policy Studies' Aniqa Raihan; Also: Bannon interview's revelation on North Korea; Fox 'News' buckling under stress...
'Green News Report' 8/17/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump revokes infrastructure protection; July 2017 hottest month ever; Solar eclipse to challenge power grid; PLUS: Nat'l monuments on chopping block in unprecedented review...
Previous GNRs: 8/15/17 - 8/10/17 - Archives...
After C'Ville, Trump's Presser: Is Something Happening Here?: 'BradCast' 8/16/17
Also: Attorney Ernest Canning on IN vote suppression suits; Callers on Trump's support for White Supremacists...
Federal Lawsuits Challenge Indiana's Wildly Disparate Voting Site Laws
Legal analyst Ernie Canning on suits filed against years-long, blatant voter suppression in Mike Pence's Indiana...
Path to Peace w/ NK? Also: CBO Undercuts Trump Threat: 'BradCast' 8/15/2017
And Trump keeps digging deeper on C'Ville, despite newly revealed FBI, DHS warning of violent RW extremism...
'Green News Report' 8/15/17
Deadly Sierra Leone mudslide; Largest Gulf 'dead zone' ever; 'Super heat waves' on rise; Fossil fuel ind's $5T in subsidies/yr; PLUS: Sea rising faster in Southeast...
Making America Hate Again: From C'Ville to OK to White House: 'BradCast' 8/14/17
Guest: Former neo-Nazi Tony McAleer; Also: U.S., N. Korea remain on edge of World War...
Sunday Toons of the 'Superior Race/Arms Race' Moment
At this rate, between N. Korea, C'ville and climate crisis, it's unclear if America can survive more "greatness", as the cartoonists in PDiddie's latest weekly collection illustrate...
More Trump Admin Sabotage of ObamaCare Revealed: 'BradCast' 8/11/17
Guest: TPM's Alice Ollstein; Also: Trump continues NK threats, experts worry, diplomatic solutions remain...
'Fire and Fury': Overblown Bluster or Time for Real Alarm?: 'BradCast' 8/10/17
Guest: VOA's WH House Bureau Chief, 26-yr Asia journo Steve Herman; Also: DoJ flips in voting rights case; Trump still ignoring MN mosque attack...
'Green News Report' 8/10/17
Fed scientists leak climate report; Admin wants to stay in Paris accord?; EPA finds regs don't hurt economy; PLUS: Obama climate policies save billions...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Guest: Aniqa Raihan of the Institute for Policy Studies | Also: Bannon interview's revelation on North Korea; Fox 'News' buckling under stress...
By Brad Friedman on 8/17/2017 5:10pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Constitutional free political speech matters, especially speech we may disagree with. There's seems to be a lot of confusion about that of late. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But first today, after breaking news on Thursday's deadly terror attack in Barcelona, new evidence, via Steve Bannon of all people, that at least some inside the White House appear to understand that "there's no military solution" for North Korea, despite President Trump's dangerous militaristic posturing over the past two weeks.

Then, we move on to a number of free speech issues regarding last weekend's white supremacist rally in Charlottesville and those protesting against them, a wildly intrusive warrant from the Department of Justice demanding personal information on some 1.3 million Americans who visited an anti-Trump website, and a bill working its way through Congress that would seem to call for a wildly unconstitutional ban on the free speech of those wishing to peacefully protest the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

We're joined by ANIQA RAIHAN of the Institute for Policy Studies to discuss her article, recently published by The Nation and Foreign Policy in Focus, detailing the proposed "Israel Anti-Boycott Act" which is currently being co-sponsored by nearly 50 Republican and Democratic U.S. Senators. "Leading Republicans and Democrats in both parties," Raihan stresses, including many on the Right who pretend to advocate for both free speech and free markets.

The bill would make it a felony --- assessing harsh financial penalties and even jail time --- for Americans who boycott Israeli-owned business and companies which do business with them. "What's really scary about it is that it tells you --- no matter what your views are on Israel-Palestine, whether you support a two-state solution or a one-state solution --- as long as you don't do business with Israel, we're going to criminalize you," Raihan explains. "There are tons of people who go through their lives and, for whatever reason, don't happen to buy products made in Israel, and there's no problem with that. But the second that you say 'I'm doing this because I believe in XYZ, I believe in Palestinian human rights', that becomes a problem. Which is completely criminalizing people for their political action, and their commitment to living their values out in their lives."

The legislation, on its face, appears to be in direct contrast with a unanimous 1982 U.S. Supreme Court opinion, finding that penalties assessed against Mississippi civil rights advocates in response to a 1960's civil rights era boycott of white-owned businesses, was an unconstitutional violation of political free speech rights. Last month, the ACLU blasted the bill in a letter to lawmakers, leading one Democrat, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, to remove her co-sponsorship. We discuss all of that, as well as the origins and controversies behind the new proposal.

Finally today, yet another Fox "News" personality breaks down in tears on air in response to the controversies and related racial issues following Charlottesville and Trump's disturbing response to it. Is the original fake news channel finally being to crack under the stress of the wildly unfit and arguably racist President that they created?...

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

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Also: Attorney Ernest A. Canning on two new Indiana voter suppression suits | Callers respond to Trump's support for White Supremacists...
By Brad Friedman on 8/16/2017 5:57pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Is something happening here? Finally? [Audio link to show follows below.]

Following Donald Trump's insane press conference at Trump Tower on Tuesday, during which he vociferously equated neo-Nazis and White Supremacists with those who oppose them --- just days after the murder of a counter-protester by an apparent White nationalist in Charlottesville --- even some Republicans are finally condemning him. Sort of. But not nearly enough.

At the same time, Confederate monuments are being removed around the country and business leaders who claim to be furious have withdrawn from Trump's two different business councils, which he has now been forced to shut down. Nonetheless, despite their half-hearted protestations, Republicans continue to intentionally suppress minority voting in state after state. Another Federal Court determined as much this week in Texas, finding --- for the 11th time in recent years --- that state Republicans intentionally suppressed minority voters there.

Another such state is Vice President Mike Pence's Indiana, where a new analysis from the Indy Star finds that early voting sites were shuttered in Democratic counties and expanded in Republican counties after Obama won the state in 2008, and as Pence served as Governor. The strategy worked. Republican turnout increased in counties where voting rights were expanded and Democratic votes decreased in the state's largest and most Democratic leaning counties, where voting sites were shuttered. Now Pence heads up Trump's so-called "Election Integrity" Commission.

Long-time BRAD BLOG legal analyst ERNEST A. CANNING joins us to detail his new article on the two federal lawsuits, alleging violations of both the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution, that have now been filed in the Hoosier State.

Then, along with a clip of a GOP strategist breaking down into tears on Fox "News" in the wake of Trump's response to Charlottesville, callers --- including my own father! --- ring in on all of the above. Is Trump "a Nazi" himself? Will this moment ultimately make any difference moving forward? And, can the GOP officials rebuking Trump be taken seriously, given that they are still suppressing the votes of African-Americans and Latinos all across the nation at the very same time?...

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: VOA White House Bureau Chief and 26-year East Asia correspondent Steve Herman; Also: DoJ flips in key voting rights case; Trump continues to ignore terror attack on MN mosque...
By Brad Friedman on 8/10/2017 6:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the fire, fury, and potentially deadly bluster continues. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Donald Trump re-upped and doubled-down on his recent threats to bring "fire and fury like the world has never seen before" against North Korea, telling reporters at his golf club in New Jersey on Thursday that "maybe that statement wasn't tough enough."

His original threat earlier this week was in response to North Korea's threats against the U.S., after the United Nation's security council voted unanimously for new sanctions against the isolated nation. And, in response, North Korea's military offered an unusually detailed plan to fire a salvo of missiles at Guam, a U.S. territory and home to several U.S. military bases.

We're joined to discuss the still-increasing tensions between the two nuclear powers by VOA's White House Bureau Chief STEVE HERMAN, who returned to report stateside earlier this year after serving as a correspondent and bureau chief in east Asia for more than 25 years.

When he last joined us in April, during the last round of threats between NK and the U.S., the always-remarkably level-headed Herman offered a tip, as a veteran journalist in the region, as to how to assess whether or not NK was bluffing with their public statements. We find out whether the new round of threats from NK's military is now finally cause for legitimate concern, and whether Trump's own bellicose threats --- and the potential for a preemptive U.S. strike --- pose an even greater threat to stability in the region.

Herman also offers some criticism of the U.S. commercial broadcast coverage on this issue, details the divides over the matter within the Trump Administration itself, discusses what North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may actually be seeking here, how big the stakes are for all sides in "this ultimate poker game", and confirms that, despite the increasingly heated rhetoric from both sides, back-channel diplomacy is still ongoing and may ultimately help to avoid what otherwise appears to be a deadly collision course.

He also offers a thought or two on which has been more difficult to cover, the whole of East Asia during his time overseas, or the Trump Administration now that he's reporting from the White House.

Also today: Political appointees (not career civil rights officials) file legal documents to flip the DoJ's previous position in a crucial voting rights case scheduled to be heard this fall by the U.S. Supreme Court. And, nearly a week has gone by without Donald Trump saying or tweeting a word about last weekend's terror bombing of a mosque in Minnesota...

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: Dave Anderson of Energy and Policy Institute; Plus: No vacation from Trump lies; MN mosque bombed; USDA censoring 'climate change'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/7/2017 6:07pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Congress is in recess and the President may be on a 17-day "working vacation", but that doesn't seem to have kept Donald Trump from his usual barrage of lies to the American people. And, speaking of lies, just like the oil and coal companies, a new report finds the nation's utilities companies learned decades ago about the threat of global warming...before deciding to launch a PR campaign to cover it up. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

First up today: Trump's misleading claim that a new immigration proposal he is supporting will bar legal immigrants from obtaining various public welfare benefits for five years after entering the U.S. Which, by the way, is already federal law, even if Trump either doesn't appear know it, or is simply choosing to lie about it. Trump's new proposal, however, is even crueler, as we discuss today.

Also, not discussed by Trump (and barely noticed by much of the corporate media): the weekend bombing of an Islamic mosque in Minnesota. And, also today: Emails obtained from the USDA reveal that employees at the federal agency were instructed to avoid the use of phases such as "climate change" after Trump took office, even when dealing with farming issues that are directly affected by climate change. That on the heels of Trump's nominee for the top science position at USDA, a non-scientist and denialist rightwing talk radio host, having described progressives as "race traitors".

Then, speaking of denialism, we're joined by DAVE ANDERSON of the Energy and Policy Institute on his new report documenting how the nation's utilities companies learned of the threat of global warming decades ago --- at least as long ago as 1968 --- before purposely choosing to mislead customers and the public about it so they could continue to profit from the burning of cheap, dirty coal.

"What they wanted to do was put the science on ice, you could say," Anderson tells me. In fact, they even created an astroturf outfit calling itself the "Information Council on the Environment" (ICE) in order to mislead the public with a series of magazine and radio ads meant to dispute the science of global warming. (See the "Chicken Little" ad in the graphic above.)

The newly reported revelations echo those recently discovered about Exxon and other fossil fuel companies which confirmed the science of climate change and dangers of burning carbon decades ago, before spending millions on climate change denialism in hopes of confusing and misleading both the public and their own investors.

"Earlier reports had been commissioned by President Lyndon Johnson, and before him, John F. Kennedy, that also touched upon the possible threat posed by CO2 emissions," Anderson says. "Even way back then, government was starting to get involved in climate research, and it seems like utilities were involved in the creation of those reports, and probably knew even earlier than 1968 that this could be a problem."

"In 1971," he documents, "they saw this as a really long term potential issue for power generation. ... Once it exploded onto the front pages of the New York Times, after some pretty interesting Congressional testimony in 1988, it seems like the utilities kind of freaked out. They started looking for people who could spread the message that climate science wasn't legit, and even a hoax."

"One of the interesting documents that we found was Congressional testimony by an expert from the Electric Power Research Institute, which is the utility industry's own R&D shop," Anderson says. "He actually warned Congress that if climate change proved to be a major concern, it could actually make the burning of fossil fuels essentially unacceptable. That was a pretty bold statement in 1977."

A number of large oil and coal companies have recently been sued for their denialism, in cases which mirror those against Big Tobacco in the 90s. (Which makes sense, since Big Fossil Fuel employed many of the same "experts" and attorneys who spent decades misleading the public about the harms of smoking.) Will the utilities companies, some of which are still lying to the public about this, face similar accountability soon? We discuss that and much more today.

Finally today, another Fox 'News' star is suspended amidst new allegations that he sent unwanted genital photos to colleagues. Are we starting to see a pattern here yet?...

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: Pastor Malinda Harnish Clatterbuck of Lancaster Against Pipelines | Plus: GOP tries again on health care, and what is Team Trump hiding?...
By Brad Friedman on 7/13/2017 6:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Republicans in the U.S. Senate gets desperate, Team Trump keeps getting caught in lies, and an order of Catholic nuns in rural Pennsylvania takes action to block a pipeline from being built on their own land. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up: The Senate GOP today released the newest version of their attempted scheme to repeal and replace ObamaCare, and it's as bad as we'd warned it would be on our previous shows this week. The new version removes some of the tax cuts for the wealthy, but leaves in the massive Medicaid cuts that will remove health care for millions, and adds a new provision by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) that would allow private insurers to sell largely worthless health care plans to suckers in order to claim they have "lowered premiums!"

The newest proposal will also likely continue to have a very difficult time finding the 50 GOP votes needed for passage in the Senate, but it would be a huge mistake to count them out and let your guard down. As that is moving forward, with a vote said to be scheduled for next week, two House Democrats have now officially filed an Article of Impeachment against Donald J. Trump for Obstruction of Justice, and more evidence of Team Trump having lied about contacts with various Russians and other foreign agents continues to emerge. What, if anything, are they trying to hide? And why?

Then, an order of Catholic nuns in central Pennsylvania dedicated a new outdoor chapel last Sunday at the edge of a cornfield and smack-dab in the path of a planned $3 billion natural gas pipeline. PASTOR MALINDA HARNISH CLATTERBUCK of Lancaster Against Pipelines and the Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster joins us to explain the defiant action by the nuns of The Adorers of the Blood of Christ, in the ongoing attempt to block the huge "Atlantic Sunrise" pipeline from being built by a private, Oklahoma-based company. The Williams Partners company has received federal Eminent Domain orders from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that would allow them to steal the use of the land from the sisters and other residents along the 300-mile path of the massive pipeline path in rural Lancaster County, PA.

Clatterbuck scoffed at the "irreparable harm" argument being made in U.S. District Court by the company in their emergency motion, to be heard next week, against the sisters' open-air chapel . "It's really ironic that they would use that language when the harm that they are proposing to do, not just to Lancaster County, but to the whole extension of Central Pennsylvania with this pipeline, would be violating the waterways --- 380-some waterways --- this pipeline would be crossing. And it would be going through more than 250 wetlands. And permanently fragmenting over 44 deep forests. I feel like that's irreparable harm that we're really pushing back against," she tells me.

"The audacity of an industry to feel as though they have an entitlement to put a pipeline wherever they want to is unfathomable to me," the pastor and longtime community organizer says, while responding to Williams' statement that they have no problem with peaceful protest by the nuns, as long as they move their chapel to a different location on the land they have owned for almost 100 years. "Isn't that amazing, how arrogant they are? It's not their property. This is the nuns' property. And the nuns have a right to do on their property what they want, right? Isn't this America?"

Paging Sean Hannity! (Who used to pretend to be infuriated by eminent domain...at least when it was done by Democratic Administrations.) And, paging Republicans and Donald Trump! (Who still pretend to be infuriated by encroachments on "religious freedoms," such as when other Catholic nuns, like the Little Sisters of the Poor, challenged the contraceptives mandate of ObamaCare.)

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on the Delaware-sized iceberg that has just broken off of Antarctica, Tesla's plan to build the world's largest battery in just 100 days (or it's free!), and much more, including a Phoenix weatherman who has been lying to his viewers --- over our public airwaves --- about global warming...in the middle of yet another record heat wave...

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: Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern; Also: CBO Finds GOP Senate health bill to result in coverage lost for 22 million Americans...
By Brad Friedman on 6/26/2017 6:29pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the stolen U.S. Supreme Court begins to pay dividends for Republicans and the GOP's deadly Senate healthcare legislation continues to take much-deserved heat from all sides, including doctors, Nobel laureate economists and now the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

But, first up today, Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach, the long-time "voter fraud" fraudster who has been tapped to head up President Trump's so-called "Election Integrity Commission" (actually, a voter suppression commission), has been sanctioned by a federal court for "deceptive conduct" in the ACLU's case against his attempted proof-of-citizenship voter registration restrictions. That's almost the best news we have on tap today, though we do manage to find a few bright spots here and there.

The CBO on Monday came out with its score of the Senate Republicans' legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") and finds it will result in 22 million fewer Americans having access to health care coverage by 2026, with 15 million losing coverage in 2018 alone! Despite that, and with still more groups (now including both the American Medical Association and a group of Nobel Prize winning economists) excoriating the Republican bill, Senate leadership still vows a vote before the July 4th holiday recess this week.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court session came to a close on Monday, with the Court allowing some of Trump's Executive Order "travel ban" to be implemented in advance of a full hearing now scheduled for next October, when the Court's new session begins, in what my guest today describes as a "qualified victory" for the Administration. The Supremes also issued a ruling today requiring state officials to allow same-sex parents to be listed on birth certificates, and scheduled a hearing for next session regarding businesses who choose to discriminate against same-sex couples, in what my guest, legal journalist MARK JOSEPH STERN of Slate.com, describes as a case that could seriously imperil non-discrimination laws for the LGBTQ community and become a full-blown "constitutional catastrophe" in the bargain. Stern argues that the birth certificate opinion reveals the position of Justice Neil Gorsuch ("he of the stolen seat"), to be "a surefire vote against LGBTQ rights" and "just as bad" as the late Antonin Scalia on such matters.

Then, with a new study from AP finding extreme partisan gerrymandering accounted for some 22 Republican U.S. House victories in 2016 and untold number of GOP state legislative victories, we discuss SCOTUS announcements from last week in two free-speech cases and a related Court ruling issued on a rather massive case of unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin.

That case, as Stern describes, could have an impact on American elections as far reaching as Citizens United but, depending on how the Court rules, in a positive direction for those of us who give a damn about free and fair democratic representation and elections. On the other hand, if the stolen majority on the Court decides the wrong way, it could result in our embarrassing system of "democracy" becoming even more so.

Finally today, we close with a much needed laugh regarding some "100% unverifiable" listener email...

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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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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Plus: More bad court news for Trump on his 'travel ban' and the Emoluments Clause, but perhaps good court news for him in GA-06...
By Brad Friedman on 6/12/2017 6:46pm PT  

On today's BradCast, things are not going well in the judicial system for Donald Trump. And, an election-related whistleblower joins us to offer insight into the undoubtedly agonizing decision of another election-related whistleblower who was arrested just last week. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The week is not starting off well for Trump in the courts. A second U.S. Court of Appeals has now upheld lower court rulings blocking his second Muslim "travel ban" Executive Order. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals echoed a similar finding by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals late last month. The new court loss comes on the same day that the Attorneys General of Washington D.C. and Maryland filed a lawsuit against Trump's alleged violations of the U.S. Constitution's Emoluments Clauses, prohibiting elected officials like Trump from receiving payments from foreign and state governments.

But he may have won one in Georgia where, late last week, a state judge denied and dismissed [PDF] a complaint [PDF] and motion for a Temporary Restraining Order [PDF] seeking to demand paper ballots at the polling place for next week's much-watched (and most expensive ever) U.S. House special election. That, as voters will still be forced instead to use 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems at the polling place instead.

Then, speaking of elections and Diebold's unverifiable touch-screen systems, we're joined by "Diebold Document Whistleblower" [PDF] STEPHEN HELLER who, while working at a law firm in 2004, discovered the company and its attorneys were lying to the state of California about having illicitly installed uncertified hardware and software into its unverifiable voting systems that were, back then, allowed for use in the state. The touch-screen voting systems were decertified by the state following Heller's disclosures, but he paid a stiff price for sharing attorney-client privileged documents with the media. The same system he blew the whistle on in 2004 will be use in Georgia for next week's Special Election, and Heller offers thoughts on that issue.

But Heller joined us specifically today to share his unique perspective on another election-related leaker/whistleblower, 25-year old NSA contractor and Air Force vet Reality Leigh Winner. Her arrest comes on the heels of the release of U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, whose 35-year sentenced was commuted by President Obama before leaving office, to the seven years Manning served since her conviction.

Winner was charged [PDF] last week under the 1917 Espionage Act for leaking a "Top Secret" NSA analysis to the press, which asserted that, prior to last year's election, Russian intelligence had used spear-phishing attacks to try and gain access to the computers of election officials around the country. Those same computers are often used to program voting systems, tabulators and voter registration databases. Under the espionage charges, Winner will not be allowed to make her case to the jury as to why she leaked the classified materials, nor explain how she believed them to be in the public interest, said fellow NSA-contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden last week.

Heller offers his own insight into the difficult decision he believes Winner faced when deciding to leak the documents, and explains why whistleblowers like him are often forced to decide to do the wrong things for the right reasons. "I felt that the crime of violating attorney-client privilege in this single, isolated, discrete instance, was worthwhile --- that I had to get this information out to the public so that the people of California and the rest of the country would know that this corporation was diddling our elections," he tells me.

"I think the message in both Ms. Winner's situation and mine is essentially the same --- our elections are under attack. And we Americans can't be complacent. We must protect our elections. Keep them clean, fair, open, untainted either by corporations or foreign nations or our own politicians and elections officials."

"What is illegal is not always wrong," Heller goes on to explain, from his unique perspective on the agonizing choices that folks like him and Winner (and Manning, and Snowden, et al) face when deciding to do what they did. "There's no question that if she did indeed leak these documents, as is alleged, that was illegal. But is it wrong? Reasonable minds may disagree."

Lots of stuff in my conversation with Heller (who, by way of full disclosure, has become a friend and occasional BRAD BLOG contributor in his years since blowing the whistle on Diebold) is worth tuning in for today. Much more than I can detail here!

Finally, a major energy utility company in Virginia tries to help choose the winner of the state's Democratic gubernatorial primary on Tuesday, and an otherwise Trump-loving Fox "News" anchor charges Trump's problem isn't fake news or the media, it's Donald Trump...

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

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Guest: John Nichols of The Nation | Plus: Trump undermines own 'travel ban', blasts London Mayor after attacks, ignores Orlando mass shooting...
By Brad Friedman on 6/5/2017 6:18pm PT  

On today's BradCast: How Donald Trump continues to be his own worst enemy (and, arguably, the world's) and the case for why Democrats should declare themselves "the accountability party" and immediately begin the effort to impeach the President of the United States. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First, the fallout from Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement continues as, CNN reports today that the Acting U.S. Ambassador to China, a 27-year career foreign service officer, has resigned over the decision. But he's not the only American diplomat Trump seems to have upset of late, as the acting U.S. Ambassador to the U.K. was also forced to publicly take sides against Trump following the weekend terror attacks in London.

At the same time, Trump seems determined to make certain he loses his own Department of Justice's appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to restore his second Executive Order "travel ban" which has been put on hold, repeatedly, by federal courts from Maryland to Hawaii. In a weekend long Twitter tirade, continuing through Monday, the President offered one incriminating statement after another, blasting both the courts and his own DoJ, in a series of statements that will almostly certainly be held against him and his own Solicitor General's case to lift the current injunction on his ban.

Trump also thought it wise, for reasons few can figure out, to disparage (now, at least twice!) the Mayor of London following the attacks in Britain on Saturday. And while Trump had plenty to say about London, it should be noted he had far less to say last week after two American men were killed defending Muslim women from an anti-Muslim tirade by a self-proclaimed "patriot" on a train in Portland, Oregon.

Moreover, Trump has, so far, had absolutely nothing to say following a mass shooting rampage on Monday morning in Orlando, Florida. That attack, with a semi-automatic pistol, allegedly carried out by a white, non-Muslim American, killed five of the shooter's former co-workers, all said to have been shot in the head multiple times by the assailant who then killed himself. Some suicide attacks, it seems, are worse than others to this President and his party which continue to insist on making firearms easier to obtain, even by the mentally ill.

Then, as Trump's approval ratings continue to fall, and a plurality of Americans, according to at least one poll, support his impeachment, we're joined by progressive author and journalist John Nichols of The Nation who argues that the time to begin the effort to impeach Donald Trump is now. Nichols details his case for impeachment, from both a Constitutional and historical point of perspective, and offers just some of what he believes should be investigated during impeachment proceedings in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"Congress doesn't have to wait" for the DoJ Special Counsel to complete its own criminal investigation, Nichols tells me. "In fact, it shouldn't wait...to allow the office of the Presidency to be polluted, to be undermined, to be warped in a way that might harm the country."

"Virtually half --- and I suspect after recent events it may get higher --- of Americans now say that the President should be impeached," he argues. "I know that a lot of people would like to begin with the list of particulars of what Trump did. But the fact that there is mass popular support for impeachment, [that's] the place at which we ought to begin. A representative branch of government should respond to that. It should recognize that there are tremendous numbers, tens of millions of Americans, who believe that this guy is governing in a way so atrocious, so damaging, that action should be taken to remove him from his position."

"We ought to stop fetishizing the impeachment power and start recognizing that it is a tool of governance that was established to make government work better. Not to create a Constitutional crisis, but to address the potential of a Constitutional crisis," Nichols says.

"If Democrats are serious about politics, they have to be about accountability," he tells me. "I think when you take [impeachment] off the table, as so many Democratic leaders have suggested we should, you really disarm. You put yourself in a position where holding a President to account is left to chance, left to long term processes that lack the urgency that the American people would like to see."

So, should Dems go so far as to promise impeachment to voters if they are elected to the majority in Congress in 2018? Or does such a promise risk political blow-back making it harder for them to take majorities in the House and Senate in the first place? And, frankly, should that even matter? We discuss all of that and much more along those lines today, and also the national Democratic party's failure to adequately support their own candidates in special U.S. House elections in recent weeks, in both Kansas and Montana, and whether they've learned any lessons on that in advance of still more U.S. House special elections set for both Georgia and South Carolina later this month...

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

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White House 'sources' say Trump plans to pull out of landmark Paris Climate Agreement, but will he really? And what happens if he does?...
By Brad Friedman on 5/31/2017 5:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Trump Administration leaks the suggestion that they, are indeed, planning to drop out of the historic 2015 world pact to limit the dangerous global rise of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions in order to prevent, or at least stall, the worst effects of climate change. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The comments from unnamed White House sources today that President Donald Trump plans to withdraw from the landmark U.N. Paris Climate Agreement are ricocheting across the globe. But will he really drop out? If so, what do leaders from the rest of the world --- friend and foe --- have to say about it? What do leaders here in the U.S. think? What do senior members of his own administration think? What will Trump's own voters think?

And how can it be that Republicans have been so wrong, for so long, even now, on the issue, including over the past decade when they insisted over and again that China and India would never be willing to cut emissions? (Both countries are willing and have each reaffirmed their commitment to the pact, despite Trump's threats to get out.)

How would the decision effect both the global climate itself and the United States' standing in the world? What are the costs financially of ceding leadership on issues of energy and climate, particularly at a moment when the costs of renewable energy like wind and solar are absolutely plummeting and even many fossil fuel companies (and even some coal companies!) are both recognizing the dangers of global warming and encouraging Trump to stay in the agreement with nearly 200 other nations?

What are Trump's legal options for getting out of the pact, and what the hell explains his grievance and bizarre affection for the dying and dirty coal industry, anyway? Oh, and what do ExxonMobil shareholders think about it all?

Those are just some of the many questions asked and answered on today's show, featuring Desi Doyen of The Green News Report, at this perilous moment in world history...

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

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Guest: Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern of Slate...
By Brad Friedman on 5/30/2017 6:43pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Trump is back from his "incredible, historic" overseas trip, where everything was wildly successful, according to the White House. Longtime U.S. allies, however, do not appear to agree. Also, both he and fellow Republicans are facing a number of setbacks in court on both immigration and election-related matters. [Audio link to show posted below.]

The President returned from his 9-day overseas trip over the weekend amid still-growing investigations into Team Trump's secretive dealings with Russia and after, apparently, ticking off a number of very close U.S. allies. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in particular, appeared disturbed about several issues, including Trump's failure to commit to keeping the US in the landmark UN Paris Climate agreement. Also, both before and during the trip, Trump managed to repeatedly lie about NATO members' commitments to the alliance. We've got some much-needed fact checking on that.

In the meantime, over the past week, there have been a number of landmark court rulings, both at the Appellate Court level (regarding Trump's second attempt at an Executive Order banning travel from six Muslim-majority nations and indefinitely barring refugees from war-torn Syria) and at the U.S. Supreme Court in two separate election-related cases (one on campaign finance and one on partisan and racial gerrymandering that could have far-reaching consequences.) Both cases also reveal interesting --- and somewhat surprising --- positions from Justice Clarence Thomas and the stolen Supreme Court's newest Justice Neal Gorsuch.

Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern of Slate.com joins us to unpack all of those encouraging rulings, to explain why each is important, and to discuss what happens moving forward in all of them. He also offers a much-needed reminder of how the Trump Administration is still working below the mainstream media radar to deport thousands of undocumented immigrants --- on the thinnest of grounds, such as a traffic ticket --- despite many of them having lived in the U.S. since childhood or otherwise having children and family here. Those disturbing deportations continue, even as so many in the media (including us!) get too easily distracted by, as Stern notes, "Trump's latest tweets".

As to the election-related cases at SCOTUS, one of them, upholding campaign finance restrictions on the amount that individuals are allowed to donate to candidates and parties, may reveal what many have argued about Gorsuch --- whose seat was stolen for him by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Senate Republicans. Namely, that he is at least as far to the Right as Clarence Thomas, and perhaps even more so.

The other finding by the Supremes last week, agreeing with a lower court ruling that two North Carolina Congressional Districts were unlawfully drawn on a racial basis, is likely to have far reaching consequences as applied to a number of other recent, similar cases (in Texas, Virginia, Alabama, etc.) in which Republicans were found to have unconstitutionally drawn districts based on race. But, and here's where last week's ruling may set an important precedent, the majority opinion written by Justice Elena Kagan also finds that using race as a proxy for partisan gerrymandering is also in violation of the Constitution. In recent years, Republicans have argued that certain voting restrictions and gerrymandered districts were not done on a racial basis, but on a partisan one. The latter, they argue, is perfectly legal and Constitutional. Incredibly enough, that may be true --- at least for the moment --- but it was rejected in the NC case.

The state had argued that black voters were packed into just a couple of districts because they tend to vote Democratic, not because they were black. "The problem for the Court with that was that even though North Carolina purported to be using race as a mere proxy for partisanship,it was still using race," Stern explains. "And the five Justices in the majority said, 'Look, we get that you think this was just about partisanship. We get that you weren't trying to discriminate against black people. You were trying to discriminate against Democrats. But you still used race, you used black people, to accomplish your goals. And that, in itself, is a violation of the Equal Protection clause.'"

In other words, he says, the Court found: "You are no longer allowed to use the excuse that you weren't discriminating against blacks, you were discriminating against Democrats. It doesn't matter who you were trying to discriminate against --- what matters is that you used race as a proxy. That is the constitutional tripwire."

As to whether discriminating against Democrats on a partisan basis, that argument is now being tested in courts, says Stern. For now, though, it appears to have failed, at least in this North Carolina case and, in a seemingly shocking turn, didn't even win over Clarence Thomas, of all people. He joined the Court's liberal justices to give them the 5 to 3 majority in the case!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/25/2017 11:09am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Trump's proposed budget cuts deeply into the environment and Superfund programs; Landslide buries California's iconic Pacific Coast Highway 1; Wind farm company proposes to retrain unemployed coal miners to be wind technicians - for free; PLUS: Pope Francis offers a gift and a message to President Trump... 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): Scientists publish an entire study refuting Scott Pruitt on climate change - by name; Pruitt's regulatory rollbacks are a boon to the oil and gas industry; Trump’s budget delivers Big Oil’s wish on reducing Strategic Petroleum Reserve; State appeals court rules Exxon must turn over records to NY prosecutor; NASA faces steep cuts in Trump budget; Mystery solved - how did whales get so big?; FERC will not delay proposed pipeline through state forest; OECD: tackling climate change will boost economic growth... PLUS: How a small PA town is standing up to fracking... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




And MUCH more today...
By Brad Friedman on 5/9/2017 5:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The stunning breaking news that FBI Director James Comey has been fired by Donald Trump hits smack dab in the middle of today's show.

Other than that, we also cover a whole bunch of other noteworthy stuff today, including...

  • South Korea elects liberal candidate who wants to open relations with North Korea as new President, Donald Trump about to get very confused;
  • Trump Campaign scrubs own website amid federal court hearing on 'unconstitutional' Muslim travel ban;
  • Sally Yates makes mincemeat of both hypocritical U.S. Senators from Texas during her Monday Senate testimony;
  • Vulnerable Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA) walks out of interview in a huff after being asked perfectly reasonable question;
  • New study finds GOP Photo ID voting restriction laws suppressed huge number of voters in 2016, including some 200,000 in Wisconsin (which Trump reportedly won by 22,700 votes);
  • Illinois Senate calls Republican Governor's bluff, advances bi-partisan bill for automatic voter registration;
  • Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report as France votes for climate action and climate change-fueled extreme weather turns deadly in Midwest and South East.

Oh, and did I mention Donald Trump suddenly fired FBI Director James Comey today?!!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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Los Angeles, CA 90028

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About Brad Friedman...
Brad is an independent investigative
journalist, blogger, broadcaster,
VelvetRevolution.us co-founder,
expert on issues of election integrity,
and a Commonweal Institute Fellow.

Brad has contributed chapters to these books...


...And is featured in these documentary films...

Additional Stuff...
Brad Friedman/The BRAD BLOG Named...
Buzz Flash's 'Wings of Justice' Honoree
Project Censored 2010 Award Recipient
The 2008 Weblog Awards



Wikio - Top of the Blogs - Politics

Other Brad Related Places...

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Brad's Test Area
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