The BRAD BLOG Because it's not about Right or Left, it's about Right and Wrong! 2018-02-17T02:53:08Z Copyright 2018 WordPress Brad Friedman <![CDATA[Real Guns, Fake News, New Russia Indictments: 'BradCast' 2/16/2018]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12477 2018-02-17T02:32:24Z 2018-02-17T02:32:24Z Election Irregularities Fox 'News' Florida Arizona BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Election Fraud Mainstream Media Failure Accountability Environment U.S. Senate Republicans Chuck Grassley Maine KPFK Donald Trump Russia Climate change U.K. NRA/Gun Violence Election 2016 Marco Rubio BradCast Exxon Mobil Jeff Flake Donald McGahn Robert Mueller Rick Gates Kelli Ward 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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]]> Brad Friedman <![CDATA[NRA 'Blood Money' and Weapons 'Designed to Bring Pure Hell and Fury': 'BradCast' 2/15/2018]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12476 2018-02-16T02:10:09Z 2018-02-16T02:10:09Z Florida BRAD BLOG Media Appearance National Security Connecticut Accountability U.S. Senate Barack Obama San Diego Jeff Sessions KPFK Donald Trump Mitch McConnell Rick Scott NRA/Gun Violence Marco Rubio BradCast Chris Murphy Pam Bondi Election 2018 Mike Thompson On today's BradCast: Our coverage continues of Wednesday's bloodbath at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 were killed and 13 remain hospitalized today, following the nation's most deadly school shooting since Newton, Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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]]> Desi Doyen <![CDATA['Green News Report' - February 15, 2018]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12475 2018-02-15T19:25:07Z 2018-02-15T19:25:07Z Mainstream Corporate Media New York Great Britain Mainstream Media Failure Environment Republicans Green News Fracking Natural gas Climate change Extreme weather U.K. Exxon Mobil Dept. of Interior Scott Pruitt Eric Schneiderman Public lands

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: U.S. intelligence agencies contradict the Trump Administration on climate risks; ExxonMobil counter-sues against climate change lawsuits; Trump repeals Obama-era methane rule; Broadcast news failing to inform the public about the real-life impacts of climate change; PLUS: The Queen of England has had it with single-use plastic waste... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): U.N. climate report sees ‘very high risk’ the planet will warm beyond key limit; Shell's pivot to renewables sharpens in CA; Federal grants for 'clean coal' misspent on liquor, lobbying; Interior Secretary pushing reorganization despite objections from states; Kentucky lawmaker borrows Koch-speak to gain support for anti-solar bill; EPA doesn’t have enough money to keep investigating Pruitt’s scandals; California regulators first to allow multiple revenue streams for energy storage; Germany to fight pollution with free public transportation; DuPont knew cancer-causing solvents could vaporize into New Jersey homes... PLUS: Democrats deal Dominion a blow in debate over Virginia utility scheme... and much, MUCH more! ...

STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...

'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...

For a comprehensive roundup of daily environmental news you can trust, see the Society of Environmental Journalists' Daily Headlines page


FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page

  • NASA Video: If we don't act, here's what to expect in the next 100 years:

  • ]]>
    Brad Friedman <![CDATA['This Happens Nowhere Else Other Than the United States of America': 'BradCast' 2/14/2018]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12474 2018-02-15T02:43:17Z 2018-02-15T02:43:17Z Florida Election Reform West Virginia Arizona BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Accountability Democrats Republicans FEC Fracking KPFK Donald Trump Natural gas Coal Oil NRA/Gun Violence Election 2016 Australia BradCast Puerto Rico Tesla Chris Murphy Election 2018 Stormy Daniels/Stephanie Clifford Michael Cohen Once again on today's BradCast, we must lead with breaking details of yet another mass shooting. This time, at a high school in South Florida where, by the end of today's show, authorities report that 17 had been killed, with a 19-year old former student in custody. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...
    [See post to listen to audio]

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    ]]> Brad Friedman <![CDATA[A 'Paper Ballot' is Not Enough (But It's a Start): 'BradCast' 2/13/2018]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12473 2018-02-14T02:40:55Z 2018-02-14T02:40:55Z Election Reform North Carolina Pennsylvania BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Election Fraud Wisconsin Paper Ballots Legislation FBI U.S. Senate Immigration Democrats Republicans Michigan U.S. Supreme Court KPFK Donald Trump DHS Russia Election 2016 BradCast Election 2018 Mark Warner Election 2020 DACA Gerrymandering Tammy Baldwin On today's BradCast: Never mind Russia. Is it even possible for Democrats to overcome the systemic structural disadvantages Republicans have put in place in virtually every aspect of U.S. elections? We've got both encouraging and not-so-encouraging news in that regard on today's show. [Audio link to show posted below.]

    Now that both the U.S. intelligence community and Democrats --- and even a few Republicans --- have finally begun to figure out that Election Integrity requires, at a bare minimum, a paper ballot for every vote cast, how long will it take them to figure out that those ballots need to be hand-marked (not computer-marked) and, preferably hand-counted, so that the American public can truly begin to restore confidence in election results and know that their votes actually matter? There is some --- precious little, but some --- encouraging news out of Pennsylvania today on that front, and even from the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee.

    The Governor in PA, a state which still hates its voters so much that it forces the vast majority of them to vote on 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems, has decreed that any new voting systems purchased to replace the old ones, must have some form of "paper trail" or "paper record" or "paper backup". That's a very low bar, but better --- for the most part --- than the current 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems used across the state. Yet, the Democratic Governor, Tom Wolf, has yet to propose any new funding to purchase those new systems. So, like PA votes, they remain vapor ware for the moment.

    At the same time, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, Ranking Democrat on the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, seems to have noticed the cost of trying to secure elections (like "the Dutch elections, where they hand-counted all the ballots") versus the price of one single F-35. Hand-counts, like those carried out by the Dutch, is, in truth, a pretty inexpensive deterrent against foreign manipulation of our computer tabulation systems, if our elected officials were truly concerned about it. (It would also help to deter the much greater threat of domestic manipulation, by the way!)

    But, even if we had a hand-marked paper ballot for every vote cast and even if we counted them all by hand, publicly at the precincts, before ballots were moved anywhere (as per Democracy's Gold Standard), Democrats would still have a mountain to overcome this year in the shape of the GOP's systemic partisan gerrymandering of state legislative districts and U.S. House seats.

    To that end, we've got some similarly-qualified encouraging news out of Pennsylvania as well today, where the state Supreme Court recently ordered new U.S. House maps to be drawn in time for the upcoming May primary elections in the commonwealth, after finding the ones drawn by Republicans following the 2010 census were in violation of the state constitution's right to a fair vote. The battle over those new maps --- which have given the GOP a 13 to 5 advantage in U.S. House seats in the largely 50/50 state over the last three elections, where Dems outnumber Republicans --- is now moving forward on a very tight court-ordered deadline.

    Meanwhile, similarly partisan gerrymandering by the GOP in Wisconsin, North Carolina, and many other swing-states continues, thanks in no small part to the U.S. Supreme Court delaying lower federal rulings that determined Republicans had unconstitutionally given themselves a steep enough advantage on district maps that they were able to retain huge majorities in state legislatures and the U.S. House, despite being consistently out-voted by Democrats.

    We're joined today by FairVote gerrymandering expert DAVID DALEY, former Editor-in-Chief at Salon and author of RATF**KED: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy. We discuss the gerrymandered state of play as the 2018 primaries are now just weeks away in many states, and as the dam seems to be bursting in both state and federal courts --- finally! --- against partisan gerrymandering.

    "The courts have been consistently outraged by what the Republicans pulled off in 2010, 2011," Daley says. "The problem is, here we are in 2018, we've been using these unconstitutional maps now this entire decade. There is no sense we're going to have new maps in most of these states, with the possible exception of Pennsylvania, in time for the 2018 election. We may well have the fourth of five elections in all of these states held on unconstitutional maps."

    By way of one example, Daley notes: "In 2012, 52% of Pennsylvanian voters vote for Barack Obama, 51% of them vote for Democratic members of the U.S House. Republicans however, take 13 of the18 seats that year --- 71% of them! Democrats get 28% of the seats, even with more votes."

    We also discuss the new documents he recently uncovered, published in a new Salon exclusive, detailing the fascinating story of how the Republicans' so-called REDMAP scheme to take over state legislatures and redistrict the nation with a wildly partisan advantage, first came about prior to the 2010 election and U.S. Census.

    Among the questions we discuss: Is it even possible for Democrats to overcome that structural disadvantage in the 2018 mid-terms without the U.S. Supreme Court finding partisan gerrymandering to be unlawful? Are state court cases, like the one in PA, the answer instead? And can any of this be done in time for the 2020 elections, after which district maps will be redrawn once again by partisan majorities in state houses for another 10 years?

    "There may be a blue wave [in 2018], but there is also a red firewall that stands ready to knock it down," Daley warns. "Democrats are probably going to need two seismic, historic waves in order to have a shot at fair maps in 2021. And it they can't pull that off, and if the courts don't come in and do something in the meantime, the maps that are drawn in 2021 are the ones we are going to live with until 2031."

    Also today, in other related news: A second federal court, this time in New York, blocks Trump's attempt to reverse DACA, and one Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate must be a very bad choice...at least according to his own parents!...

    Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...
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    ]]> Desi Doyen <![CDATA['Green News Report' - February 13, 2018]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12472 2018-02-13T19:16:01Z 2018-02-13T19:16:01Z Environment Republicans Green News Donald Trump Solar Climate change Extreme weather NASA China Australia Oceans Eric Garcetti Puerto Rico Tesla Antarctica Hurricane Maria Infrastructure

    IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Trump's infrastructure proposal scam shifts costs onto states and cities, guts clean water and clean air regulations; Puerto Rico suffers a new blackout; Sea level rise is accelerating; PLUS: Tesla and South Australia team up to build the world's largest virtual power plant... 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): How broadcast TV networks covered climate change (or didn't) in 2017; Rural America's drinking water crisis; EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt loves first-class travel; “It was complete chaos" says Hanford worker who inhaled plutonium; Planning for future ‘extreme weather’ is mentioned just once in 2018 budget deal; FPL was warned people would die at a sweltering nursing home; Tens of millions exposed to unsafe drinking water in U.S.; Can EPA's Pruitt gut CA's tough auto emissions standards?; Chemours toxic chemical pollution worries spread to West Virginia; Oakland needs $38m to fix lead contamination in schools... PLUS: America's ski trails are vanishing. Olympic skier has taken up the cause of fighting global warming, saving U.S. winters... and much, MUCH more! ...

    STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...

    'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...

    For a comprehensive roundup of daily environmental news you can trust, see the Society of Environmental Journalists' Daily Headlines page


    FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page

  • NASA Video: If we don't act, here's what to expect in the next 100 years:

  • ]]>
    Brad Friedman <![CDATA[Trump Labor Dept. Hides Analysis Showing New Rule Steals Billions from Waiters, Waitresses: 'BradCast' 2/12/2018]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12471 2018-02-13T02:08:04Z 2018-02-13T02:08:04Z BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Rights And Freedoms Iran North Korea Dept. of Defense Health Care Democrats Republicans Economy Israel KPFK Donald Trump Bernie Sanders Syria IRS/Taxes BradCast South Korea Dept. of Labor Infrastructure On today's BradCast: If there's anything the Trump Administration excels at, it's their reverse Robin Hood penchant of taking from the poor to give to the rich. But their new wage theft plan for workers in the restaurant industry may bring that penchant to new heights --- or depths, as the case may be. [Audio link to show follows below.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...
    [See post to listen to audio]

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    ]]> Ernest A. Canning <![CDATA[Beyond the 'Steele Dossier']]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12461 2018-02-12T18:38:40Z 2018-02-12T18:38:40Z Fox 'News' Los Angeles Times Diane Feinstein Mainstream Media Failure Accountability U.S. House Dept. of Justice FBI U.S. Senate Democrats Chuck Grassley Donald Trump Election 2018 Devin Nunes George Papadopoulos Christopher Steele Glenn Simpson Fusion GPS Joseph McCarthy Roy Cohn The significance of the previously concealed transcripts of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson's unclassified Congressional testimony far exceeds the narrow, albeit accurate, observation that the transcripts blew a huge hole in one of numerous conspiracy theories about the so-called "Steele Dossier" floated by the President, his Republican allies in Congress and by right-wing propaganda outlets such as Fox "News".

    Contrary to earlier GOP spin, the FBI initiated its Trump/Russia investigation before the Bureau was first contacted by Christopher Steele, the former British MI-6 intelligence agent and author of the 16 field memos collectively known as the "Steele Dossier".

    Indeed, even Republicans now concede that point, as detailed by the feckless Nunes memo, which notes that the Trump/Russia probe was initially triggered by the loose lips of Trump campaign foreign policy aide, George Papadopoulos.

    That timing issue, however, is but a tip of the iceberg.

    We now know why Congressional Republicans sought for so long to keep the Simpson transcripts under wraps. They had hoped to erect a patently false narrative that depicted the 'Steele Dossier" as a groundless and politically-motivated exercise in character assassination; a "poison" that so tainted everyone at the FBI who touched it, that it called for, in the words of Jeannie Pirro at Fox "News", a "cleansing" and subsequent jailing of the individuals at the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) who have undertaken to investigate Trump/Russia.

    By detailing both the sound investigative techniques applied by Simpson and Steele, and, most importantly, by explaining the real reasons why Steele reported his disturbing, yet entirely unanticipated findings to the FBI, the now public Simpson Congressional transcripts expose the mendacity behind a vicious right-wing assault on the integrity of the Trump/Russia probe and upon our federal law enforcement institutions. In the process, the Simpson transcripts raise even more deeply unsettling questions about the man now serving as the 45th President of the United States...

    Republican/Democratic investigative divide

    One top priority for Republicans, hoping to turn the work product of Fusion GPS against Democrats and career federal law enforcement officials, was to somehow flip the script.

    A rather curious feature of the Aug. 22, 2017, 312-page Senate Judiciary Committee transcript [PDF] is that over the course of nine hours, the staff attorneys who represented Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) never asked Simpson any questions about the methods Fusion deployed with respect to its opposition research pertaining to Donald Trump. Nor did they ask about the reasons why Fusion retained Steele or what evidence pertaining to Trump/Russia emerged as a result of the Fusion/Steele intelligence investigations. Instead, those issues served as the central focus of questions posed by staff counsel representing Ranking Member Diane Feinstein (D-CA).

    The Senate Judiciary Committee's Republican counsel focused exclusively upon the litigation-support services Fusion provided to Baker Hostetler (hereinafter "B.H."), a reputable, Republican oriented law firm, which had been retained to defend Prevezon Holdings in a civil asset forfeiture/money laundering suit that had been filed against them by the Obama DOJ.

    The GOP staffers' focus on the Prevezon case was part of a classic move, all too often forced upon defense counsel faced with the unenviable task of defending a guilty client: investigate the investigators.

    Simpson is a former Wall Street Journal investigative journalist. In 2009 Simpson, together with other investigative journalists, formed Fusion, a commercial public records research firm.

    He testified that the bulk of Fusion's paid-for research and analysis entails litigation support for major law firms. On occasion, Fusion also provides political opposition research. Irrespective of whether it has been retained for litigation or for opposition research, and irrespective of whether the opposition research client is connected to the Republican or Democratic Parties, Fusion's methodology is the same. The research entails an "open-ended" pursuit of facts, Simpson explained to the Committee. They don't allow a client's goal to determine the results.

    Commencing in 2009, Fusion began providing litigation support research on multiple cases for the B.H. law firm.

    In 2014, B.H. partner Mark Cymrot, a former federal prosecutor, retained Fusion's services for the Prevezon case. At the outset, Cymrot told Simpson that he'd checked out Denis Katsyv, Prevezon's owner and believed him to be a legitimate businessman. (Cymrot described Prevezon as "a minor player in Russia, a fairly obscure real estate company", according to Simpson's testimony to the House Intelligence Committee on Nov. 14, 2017).

    Fusion's principal role in the Prevezon case was to assist in discovery pertaining to William Browder, an American-born, British financier, whom an ICE agent identified during a deposition as the principal source of the DOJ's allegations that gave rise to the Prevezon litigation.

    Simpson says he first met Browder in Brussels while investigating Russian kleptocracy as a journalist with the Wall Street Journal. In 1996, Browder founded Hermitage Capital Management, a hedge fund that maintained an office in Moscow. At the time of their earlier meeting, Browder lectured Simpson "about how Vladimir Putin was not corrupt and how he [Putin] was the best thing that ever happened to Russia." The Putin/Browder relationship, however, soured in 2005 after Browder evaded paying Russian taxes, according to Simpson.

    There was nothing sinister or unusual about Cymrot's decision to retain Simpson's firm in order to obtain accurate background information that could potentially impugn the credibility of the the principal source of the DOJ's allegations against his client. To an extent, that project bore fruit. Public records revealed that Browder "set up dozens of shell companies in Cypress and other tax havens to funnel money into Russia and to hold Russian securities." Browder's name and analogous business activities also surfaced in the infamous Panama Papers, according to Simpson.

    Over the course of the Prevezon litigation, Browder resisted having to testify at a pretrial deposition. Browder, according to Simpson, "surrendered" his U.S. citizenship in 1998 and claimed that he could not be subpoenaed to testify because he had insufficient contacts in the U.S. Simpson's public records research revealed otherwise.

    As he explained in greater detail on Nov. 17, 2017 when he testified before the House Intelligence Committee, Simpson discovered that Browder, under cover of shell companies, owned of a mansion in Aspen, CO and a home in New Jersey. On three separate occasions, Simpson supervised the service of deposition subpoenas on Browder inside the U.S. On each occasion, Browder tossed the subpoena, ran off and then contested the validity of service. On the third occasion, service was videotaped. Browder was then ordered to testify.

    One could see where the Senate Judiciary Committee Republican counsel were attempting to go by the questions they posed regarding the now infamous Russian lawyer, Natasha Veselnitskaya. In July 2017, after it was publicly revealed that she had played a central role in the notorious June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump, Jr. and others, Reuters unearthed records linking Veselnitskaya's law firm to the Russian military intelligence service, the FSB.

    Simpson had no way of knowing that back in June 2016 when he last worked on the Prevezon case. To the contrary, all he knew then was what he had been told by the B.H. attorneys who contracted him, to wit: that she was Prevezon's Russian attorney.

    As part of his litigation support duties, Simpson attended a June 8, 2016 dinner and a June 9, 2016 appellate court hearing, as did Veselnitskaya and Rinat Akmetshin, who is also said to have attended the Trump Tower meeting on that same day. But so what? A good number of individuals connected to B.H. attended the dinner and court hearing. Indeed, former Republican Attorney General Michael Mukasey represented Prevezon at the June 9 hearing. There was a language barrier, and Simpson denied speaking with Veselnitskaya on either occasion.

    Simpson says he didn't learn about the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting until the story broke a year later in The New York Times.

    During his appearance before the House Intelligence Committee, Simpson dismissed, as absurd, the suggestion made by Republican staff counsel that he had performed work in the Prevezon case on behalf of the Russian government. Fusion provided sound background information and research to a reputable and conservative American law firm for use in a U.S. District Court case.

    No sense of decency

    In their zeal to shield the President from legal accountability, Congressional Republicans have resorted to the same character assassination techniques that had been deployed by the infamous Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy during one of the darkest political chapters of our history.

    The principal technique deployed by McCarthy and his chief counsel Roy Cohn [see Footnote 1] was to falsely proclaim that they possessed secret evidence that established various government agencies were overrun by communist subversives.

    For McCarthy, June 9, 1954 proved to be a date which will live in infamy. During a nationally televised hearing, Joseph N. Welch, a Boston attorney, who had been retained to represent the U.S. Army, demanded that Cohn produce a list of the 130 defense plant employees, who McCarthy claimed were communist subversives. McCarthy interceded, suggesting that Welch could obtain that information from an associate in his law firm, who McCarthy claimed was affiliated with a communist organization.

    Welch first replied: "Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness." After McCarthy foolishly persisted, Welch uttered the words that hastened an end to the Wisconsin demagogue's Red-baiting reign of terror: "Have you no sense of decency, sir?"

    Just four days after Glenn Simpson testified before the House Intelligence Committee, America experienced another "have you no sense of decency?" moment.

    On Nov. 21, 2017, the House Intelligence Committee's Deputy General Counsel Scott L. Glabe filed a Declaration in response to Fusion's application to limit the scope of a subpoena that had been issued by the Committee's disgraced Chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA).

    Fusion argued that by seeking two years of its banking records, even if it pertained to clients and work that had nothing to do with the work it performed either with respect to Trump/Russia or the Prevezon case, the Nunes subpoena violated Fusion's first amendment rights and confidentiality obligations. Glabe countered with a McCarthy-like response: "The Committee has learned of allegations that Fusion GPS acted as an unregistered agent of the Russian government." (Emphasis added).

    Glabe failed to offer any evidence to support this serious accusation. He also failed to inform the court in his filing, that Simpson, via his Congressional testimony before both Houses of Congress, [see Footnote 2] debunked not only this utterly absurd allegation, but also the entire false narrative that Republicans had manufactured as part of their effort to discredit Simpson, Steele, the "dossier", the FBI/DOJ and the very existence of a Trump/Russia investigation.

    On January 14, 2018, the Los Angeles Times became an accomplice --- wittingly or otherwise --- to the GOP's McCarthyesque smear campaign when it published an op-ed authored by Virginia Heffernan.

    It is not entirely clear whether Heffernan, a former New York Times cultural affairs reporter and self-described evolution and climate-science denying "creationist", intentionally set out to deceive her readers or whether she simply lacks the intellectual capacity to distinguish the difference between the questions posed by counsel and the answers a witness provides. What is abundantly clear is that the article she produced was not, as falsely represented by its headline, the product of a "A close reading of Glenn Simpson's Trump-Russia Testimony".

    Simpson did not utter one word during his more than 15 1/2 hours of unclassified testimony before the Senate Judiciary and House Intelligence Committees that remotely supports Heffernan's description of him as a "mercenary for hire" who engaged in a "calumny" campaign against William Browder as a "highly paid courtesan of the Kremlin."

    Mafia-connected President?

    Between October 2015 and November 8, 2016, Fusion engaged in an intensive search of all manner of public records pertaining to Donald Trump and Trump's business organizations. Like the election cycle, the project had two phases. During the primaries, Fusion's Trump research project was funded by The Washington Free Beacon, a rightwing media outlet which Simpson described as tied to the "free market" side of the Republican Party. After the primaries, Fusion was retained to perform the same task by Perkins Coie, a reputable law firm that was representing the Hillary Clinton campaign.

    Fusion's public records research unearthed a labyrinthine web of connections between the Trump family, shady business practices and organized crime --- the Italian Mafia during the 1970s and 80s, and, subsequently, the far more sophisticated, Kremlin-connected Russian Mafia that operates under the dominion of the Russian intelligence services.

    "As we got deeper and deeper into understanding Donald Trump's business career and his history," Simpson told Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) during his Nov. 14, 2017 appearance before the House Intelligence Committee, "it gradually reached a point where it seemed like most of the people around Trump had a connection to Russian organized crime or Russia in one way or another." Those ties, he found, provided an alternative and sometimes fraudulent means to finance Trump's real estate projects in various parts of the world.

    Is Trump a compromised Russian asset?

    Public records research has its limits. Steele, who had a sterling reputation for accuracy, had access to a reliable network of human intelligence. Fusion did not. Fusion retained Steele to look into Trump's opaque Russian business relationships. What came back via Steele's June 20, 2016 memo --- the first of the 16 field memos that collectively became the "dossier" --- was completely unanticipated; an "alarming" indication of "a political conspiracy" that was discovered around the same time as media reports about the hack of DNC emails surfaced.

    In July 2016, Steele, an expert in the field of Russian intelligence agency tradecraft, informed Simpson that he had a professional responsibility to report his findings to the FBI, not only because he believed he'd uncovered a "crime in progress", but also because he felt there was a chilling likelihood that the man who would become the 45th President of the United States was and is a compromised Russian asset. [see Footnote 3].

    Simpson testified that following the receipt of each Steele memo, Fusion scoured public records seeking information relating to these startling revelations. Although Fusion could not independently verify the accuracy of all of the allegations set forth in the "Steele Dossier", Simpson considered the work product to be credible. He noted that major portions of the "dossier" have since been publicly verified as a result of the ongoing Trump/Russia investigations and that no substantive portion of the "dossier" has been disproven.

    The "dossier", according to Simpson, was strictly Steele's work product. Simpson made no effort to influence or alter the outcome of Steele's human intelligence-based investigation. During his appearance before the House Intelligence Committee, Simpson agreed with Schiff's characterization of a Republican claim --- that some of the information in the "dossier" came from Veselnitskaya --- as a reckless and baseless conspiracy theory.

    A core problem with the "dossier" as a human intelligence-sourced work product is that some of its content, like the salacious "golden shower" allegation, [see Footnote 4] cannot be publicly verified without endangering the lives of Steele's Russian sources. What we do know, however, is that, since assuming office, the President has engaged in a pattern of conduct that is consistent with Steele's compromised Russian asset concern, to wit:

    (1) Trump's continuing refusal to accept the evidence suggesting Russia attempted to interfere with the 2016 election;

    (2) his unilateral decision to hand over highly classified information to Russia's Foreign Minister and its Ambassador during an Oval Office meeting, and

    (3) the President's refusal to enforce a bi-partisan Russia sanctions bill that he had signed into law only because he knew that Congress had more than enough votes to override a veto. The measure came to the President's desk after it was passed by a 98 - 2 vote in the Senate and a 419 - 3 vote in the House.

    Mainstream media failure

    Our nation is in the midst of a rolling constitutional crisis triggered by an ethically-challenged President and facilitated by a pliant Republican-controlled Congress. This has included McCarthyesque character assassination and an ongoing effort to purge high-ranking Justice Department and FBI officials.

    This scandalous, politically-motivated assault on our federal law enforcement institutions threatens the very survival of our system of checks-and-balances and the rule of law. It is an ominous threat, however, that was preceded by an epic failure on the part of another institution that our nation's founders regarded as vital to the survival of the republic.

    The core function of a free press, as repeatedly recognized by our Supreme Court, is to ensure that the electorate can make "informed" decisions. "Knowledge will forever govern ignorance," James Madison observed; "and a people who wish to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

    Although the content of the Steele "dossier" will remain controversial until it is sorted out by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the same cannot be said about the public records information that was unearthed by Fusion --- damning, publicly available information that should have been, but did not become the topic of widespread analysis and reporting by the American media before the 2016 election.

    As noted by Prof. James T. Hamilton in Democracy's Detectives (2016), this epic media failure was preceded by decades of newsroom budgetary cuts that have all but eviscerated the capacity of most print media to adequately perform the type of investigative journalism needed for the press to fulfill its vital, democracy-sustaining function as the Fourth Estate.

    The extent to which Russian disinformation may have influenced the outcome of the 2016 election remains a topic for debate. There can be no doubt, however, that the same mainstream media, which the President now speciously condemns as "fake news" and an "enemy of the people", played a key role in facilitating his election.

    At the same time the major networks engaged in a near-total blackout of the issue-laden Bernie Sanders campaign while obsessing over paper thin claims against Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, a dissembling demagogue, benefitted from "blanket coverage" --- free airtime valued at somewhere between $1 billion and $3 billion. While there was some focus on Trump's "colorful and scandalous life", this was often drowned out by the media's "obsession" with Hillary Clinton's emails.

    It is in the vital area of much needed media reform, therefore, that we must move beyond the "Steele Dossier".

    ***

    FOOTNOTES:

    1: McCarthy died in 1957. Cohn returned to private practice in New York, where, prior to being disbarred in 1986, he represented, among others, Mafia kingpins Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno, Carmine Galante and John Gotti. During that same period, Cohn represented a young New York real estate developer by the name of Donald J. Trump. After Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation, Trump lamented: "Where's my Roy Cohn?"

    2: On 11/21/17 Glabe apparently felt safe to broadside Simpson's character via the baseless "Russian agent" accusation. He did so at a time when both Republican-controlled committees had concealed the content of Simpson's unclassified Congressional testimony. When the House belatedly voted to release its transcript, Glabe sought to conceal his own role in the 11/17/17 hearing via redaction. But Glabe overlooked a single entry on page 120 of the transcript of Simpson’s House testimony where "Mr. Glabe" still appears. It’s obvious from the context that it was Glabe, the Republican's House Intelligence Committee Deputy General Counsel who questioned Simpson regarding Fusion's Prevezon litigation-support research and analysis activities.

    3: In his overhyped memo, the inept House Intel Chair Rep. Devin Nunes portrays the "Steele dossier" as the product of partisan bias. He quotes Associate Deputy AG Bruce Ohr as stating that Steele "was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president." What Nunes conveniently leaves out is the reason why Steele, an Intelligence Community professional, was so passionate in his opposition. Steele believed Trump was a compromised Russian asset.

    If a compromised Russian asset were to serve as President, that would pose a threat to the national security of his native U.K., as well as to the national security of the United States.

    4: The controversy surrounding Trump's interlude with a porn star has significance beyond the fact that it reveals that he's the type of individual who might exploit the company of Russian prostitutes in a posh Moscow hotel room. The President may have been able to purchase Stormy Daniel's silence with a $130,000 payment, but if Russian intelligence has video that captured The Donald engaging in perverted sex acts with a group of prostitutes, no amount of money could buy the Kremlin's silence. If those videos exist, Putin owns him.

    * * *
    Ernest A. Canning is a retired attorney, author, Vietnam Veteran (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968) and a Senior Advisor to Veterans For Bernie. He has been a member of the California state bar since 1977. In addition to a juris doctor, he has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science. Follow him on twitter: @cann4ing


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    PDiddie <![CDATA[Sunday 'I Love a Parade' Toons]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12470 2018-02-11T14:55:09Z 2018-02-11T14:55:09Z Toons

    I love a parade, the tramping of feet,
    I love every beat I hear of a drum.
    I love a parade, when I hear a band
    I just want to stand and cheer as they come.
    That rat-a tat-tat, the blare of a horn.

    That rat-a tat-tat, a bright uniform;
    The sight of a drill will give me a thrill,
    I thrill at the skill of everything military.
    I love a parade, a handful of vets,
    A line of cadets or any brigade,
    For I love a parade.



    * * *

    Perry Dorrell blogs as PDiddie at Brains and Eggs, usually on topics concerning the strange brew of Texas politics. He's also on Twitter @PDiddie.


    ]]> Brad Friedman <![CDATA[Rep. Barbara Lee is 'Pushing Ahead', Wants Congress Held Accountable, Remains 'Optimistic': 'BradCast' 2/9/2018]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12469 2018-02-10T02:43:26Z 2018-02-10T02:43:26Z BRAD BLOG Media Appearance War On Terror National Security Afghanistan Accountability U.S. House Environment FBI U.S. Senate Democrats Republicans Economy KPFK Donald Trump Rand Paul Climate change Paul Ryan IRS/Taxes BradCast Barbara Lee John Kelly AUMF Rob Porter Sean Patrick Maloney On today's BradCast: We're joined by progressive Democratic REP. BARBARA LEE of California, the only member of Congress, in either house, to vote against the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) after 9/11, calling it a blank check that would lead to endless war. As we now know, 17 years later, with the War in Afghanistan and many others still raging under the third President to cite the AUMF to justify military action anywhere in the world without Congressional oversight, she was, of course, correct. Along with continuing her fight to repeal that 2001 AUMF, this week Lee introduced a new bill regarding woman and climate change, which we discuss as well today. [Audio link to show follows below.]

    But first up, on another insanely busy program, we detail what happened on Thursday night and Friday morning when Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) single-handedly held up passage of the new, bi-partisan government spending bill, which includes up to $500 billion in new military and domestic spending, as well as disaster aid. In shutting down the government for the second time this year, for about seven hours, Paul described approval of the bill and increased deficit spending by his fellow Republicans to be the "the very definition of intellectual dishonesty [and] hypocrisy". That, after the intellectually dishonest and hypocritical Paul just voted in December, along with the entire Senate Republican caucus, for massive, unpaid-for tax cuts set to blow a $1.5 trillion hole in the national debt.

    Then, late details on this week's newest scandal surrounding the resignation of White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter on Wednesday, following the public disclosure of his alleged violence against his two former wives. Among the new developments: Donald Trump's Chief of Staff John Kelly and other top White House officials reportedly knew about the charges long ago; Kelly has now said he'd be willing to resign over what happened, and several outlets are reporting that their remain "dozens" of White House staffers, some in very senior positions, still operating without full security clearance.

    That suggests that many of them, like the President's son-in-law Jared Kushner, may never receive full security clearances, despite Trump and the GOP having run their entire Presidential campaign hypocritically (and falsely) charging that Hillary Clinton carelessly allowed classified information to be seen by those without proper security clearance. According to Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), a former White House Staff Secretary himself, describes this situation as "nuts", saying that Porter would have handled the nation's most highly classified secrets in his top Oval Office role. He believes an investigation is warranted to determine what both Kelly and Trump knew about the "eminently blackmailable" Porter and who gave him the okay to remain on, even after the FBI had determined he would not qualify for a full security clearance.

    Next, we're joined by Congresswoman Lee, to detail her new "Woman and Climate Change Act of 2018" [PDF]. We discuss how women and girls around the world are "bearing the brunt in many ways", as the first and most affected victims of the dangerous effects of global warming and whether Republican members of the bi-partisan Women's Working Group may help in co-sponsoring this effort, despite "the climate deniers who are within the federal government running the show."

    "Women are especially vulnerable to these changes in the environment," Lee explains. "We know women are the ones that are finding water, collecting food, caring for family members. And so now, more than ever, we need to focus on climate change as a whole, but also ways to empower women, as they are the most vulnerable people, and will be impacted most by these health epidemics, refuge crises, forced migration --- all the issues that we know women are disproportionately impacted by."

    She also shares her opinion on the odds of Ivanka Trump, self-proclaimed women's champion, coming aboard this particular campaign. Lee, a former co-chair of the Progressive Caucus in the House, who now serves as Senior Democratic Whip, responds as to whether Democrats fought hard enough, during the recent government funding battle, to protect "Dreamers" facing imminent deportation as early as March 5, unless a legislative deal can be struck, and whether she believes House Speaker Paul Ryan will ever allow such a measure to be brought up for a vote. She urges Americans to keep contacting their members of Congress on both of these efforts.

    "Listen, you have to stay optimistic. Otherwise we get stuck with their negativity and trying to take us back. The public has to be hopeful and has to work hard to get this done," she tells me.

    Finally, Lee also shares her thoughts on the bi-partisan momentum in both the House and Senate for finally repealing (and replacing?) the 2001 AUMF. "Congress has been missing in action. We need to do our job, and we're not. But, believe you me, we are building support to do this," she insists. "Hold your elected officials accountable!"

    We close today with a bit of listener mail in response to a recent story we covered on the record number of scientists now said to be running for office in 2018, and on the dangerous new effort by the Trump Administration place lifetime limits on Medicaid for the first time in the popular social safety net program's history...

    Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...
    [See post to listen to audio]

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