The BRAD BLOG Because it's not about Right or Left, it's about Right and Wrong! 2017-04-28T01:40:54Z Copyright 2017 WordPress Brad Friedman <![CDATA[Trump/GOP's 100th Day Dash and 'No Planet B': 'BradCast' 4/27/2017]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12124 2017-04-28T01:40:54Z 2017-04-28T01:40:54Z Utah BRAD BLOG Media Appearance U.S. House Environment Bill Maher Immigration Dept. of Defense Health Care Democrats Republicans Los Angeles KPFK Donald Trump Natural gas Coal DHS Oil Climate change BradCast Michael Flynn Public lands Sean Spicer On today's BradCast, Trump and the GOP trip over themselves in their mad to his 100th day as President, while Americans plan to hit the streets yet again in protest, this time in a Saturday demonstration on behalf of Planet Earth. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Amidst the Trump Administration's panic to try and un-embarrass themselves about their historic lack of accomplishments before this weekend's "100 Day" benchmark, things only seem to be getting worse for them. Among their latest embarrassments: A new DHS program launched by the Administration to supposedly help victims of crimes purportedly committed by immigrants goes awry in several different ways; the new scramble to pass an updated health care bill in the House to replace the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") has put some Republicans in an untenable position once again, and risks undermining a separate plan to avoid another government shutdown this weekend; the Pentagon confirms that Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is under an Inspector General's investigation for allegedly failing to obtain permission for payments from foreign sources; and Sean Spicer confirms the Administration didn't even bother to run a security background check on Flynn before naming him as NSA. (So much for "extreme vetting".)

But, on Saturday, the 100th Day of his Presidency, another embarrassment awaits as thousands plan to hit the streets yet again, this time for the People's Climate March, just days after Trump signed an Executive Order attempting, for the first time in U.S. history, to reverse national monument declarations made by three former Presidents. Among the public lands Trump hopes to remove protection for, to allow oil, gas and mineral extraction: the Bears Ear National Monument in Utah, a million acres "sacred to Native Americans and home to tens of thousands of archaeological sites, including ancient cliff dwellings."

Marta Segura of the Climate Law Institute at the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute (whose modest mission is "Saving Life on Earth"), and a member of the steering committee for Los Angeles' version of this weekend's march, joins us to discuss all of that and more.

On Trump's attempt to reverse public lands declarations, Segura charges: "The agenda of the Trump Administration is to strengthen the fossil fuel industry and to give them access to lands that have not been explored for fossil fuels, and which they suspect there will be a lot of opportunity to make a lot of people, and a lot of the refineries, very rich, very fast."

"He's claiming that the government has had a 'land grab' on these lands across the nation, and has taken control without the consent of the people," she tells me. "He's misusing that term. He's basically trying to control these lands so that he can benefit the industries. The people are the ones that are benefiting from these public lands right now. That's the definition of public lands."

Speaking about this weekend's climate march and why it's separate from last weekend's March for Science, she explains why organizers in L.A. chose to hold their version of the People's Climate March near the site of a planned Tesoro Oil refinery expansion in Wilmington, near a densly populated residential area on the coast. If the expansion is allowed, she says, it would result in the "the largest refinery in the Western region. And it will be expanding at a time when we really need reductions in greenhouse gases."

"This march," Segura tells me before finishing on a hopeful note, "is for the representation and lifting voices of front-line communities who are disproportionately impacted by the greenhouse gases and pollution."

And, speaking of Planet Earth, we close today with some of Bill Maher's thoughts on hopes by some billionaires (and environmentalists) for colonizing Mars...

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

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]]> Desi Doyen <![CDATA['Green News Report' - April 27, 2017]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12122 2017-04-27T18:22:37Z 2017-04-27T18:22:37Z Florida Alaska United Nations Environment Barack Obama Green News Donald Trump Natural gas Coal Oil Climate change Rick Scott Extreme weather Oceans Electric vehicles Mining Arctic Dept. of Interior Public lands

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Trump moves to review and maybe revoke national monuments; Florida governor calls out National Guard to fight drought-fueled wildfires; Even oil companies now predict a surge in electric cars; People's Climate March on Saturday to demand climate action; PLUS: Sea level rise estimates doubled thanks to melting Arctic... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

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

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Trump White House Is At War With Itself About Climate Change; U.S. Power Demand Flatlined Years Ago, and It's Hurting Utilities; Faucets Go Dry Near South Carolina Mega-Farms; Nearly 400 Military Bases Must Be Tested For Drinking-Water Contamination; Trump's Plan To Kill Energy Star Could Benefit His Properties; Global warming is sharply raising the risk of 'unprecedented' events... PLUS: As Zika Season Nears, States Brace for an End to CDC Funding... 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[Why Trump's U.S. War Against Syria (and Now Canada?!) Matters: 'BradCast' 4/26/2017]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12121 2017-04-27T01:17:59Z 2017-04-27T01:17:59Z Iraq War Mainstream Corporate Media BRAD BLOG Media Appearance U.S. Constitution United Nations Mainstream Media Failure U.S. House U.S. Senate Barack Obama France Dept. of Defense Health Care Democrats Republicans Chuck Schumer Economy Bush Legacy KPFK Donald Trump Canada Reince Priebus Syria IRS BradCast On today's BradCast: Yes, it matters why we go to war and when we go to war and where we go to war --- even if the U.S. media (right, left and center) and U.S. Congress (Republicans and Democrats) would rather not discuss it. [Audio link to show follows below.]

    But, first today: As Donald Trump nears his 100th day as President and Congress returns from their two week Easter recess, the news fire hose is back on, with House Republicans announcing a new amendment to their previously failed scheme to try and repeal and replace Obamacare. The new plan will likely cover less and be even worse for the sick and elderly than their previous plan, but it does exempt members of Congress and their staffers from the worst of it. At the same time, Trump's Treasury Department has unveiled a hastily-released, deficit-increasing, "trickle down", tax cut for corporations and individuals. And, in more desperation to distract from his lack of success during his first 100 days, Trump also goes to war with Canada! (a trade war anyway...and via Twitter!).

    Then: On that whole war thing, where we now, apparently, bomb sovereign nations without discussion, debate, authorization, media skepticism or evidence --- Listeners ring in with calls, comments and emails in response to our interviews earlier this week with MIT Professor Emeritus Theodore Postol and with Consortium News' Robert Parry, both of whom question the evidence hastily released in a White House report on April 11 to justify Trump's April 6 cruise missile attack on Syria. That attack is said to have been in response to a deadly April 4 chemical weapons incident two days earlier in the rebel-held province of Idlib. But why have the U.S. media failed to question the evidence presented by Trump (not by the U.S. Intelligence Community), and why has Congress failed to debate, much less Constitutionally authorize, Trump's military action? And, hey, why does it all matter anyway, since everyone knows Bashar al-Assad is a bad guy and every President needs a military "doctrine" after all?! We discuss all of that and much more today...since, apparently, somebody has to.

    Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest (unusually encouraging) Green News Report and with a heads up in advance of this weekend's People's Climate March...

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

    * * *
    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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    ]]> Ernest A. Canning <![CDATA[Not Even Close, Mr. Spicer]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12120 2017-04-26T19:09:15Z 2017-04-26T19:09:15Z California U.S. Constitution Accountability San Francisco Dept. of Justice Jeff Sessions Donald Trump Sean Spicer Santa Clara I couldn't help but burst out laughing while reading White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's description of U.S. District Court Judge William H. Orrick's late Tuesday decision partially blocking a Presidential Executive Order on funding to so-called "sanctuary cities" as an "egregious overreach by a single, unelected district judge."

    (All federal judges are nominated by a President and confirmed by the Senate. None are "elected.")

    Not to be outdone by his Press Secretary, Trump via Twitter described the ruling to enjoin the enforcement provision of his January 25 Executive Order as "ridiculous."

    In that Executive Order, Trump threatened to withhold and/or recapture all federal funds and grants from any local jurisdiction that did not assist the federal government in its newly aggressive efforts to deport undocumented immigrants.

    Trump vowed to appeal all the way to the Supreme Court.

    Hilarious!

    In the forty (40) years that have passed since I was first admitted to the California State Bar, I can scarcely recall a more one-sided "contested" case --- one in which I actually felt sorry for the Justice Department attorney who had been assigned to defend this indefensible Executive Order...

    Unable to refute constitutional challenges

    As recited by Judge Orrick in his decision:

    The Counties [San Francisco and Santa Clara] challenge the enforcement provision of Order, Section 9(a) on several grounds: first, it violates the separation of powers doctrine enshrined in the Constitution because it improperly seeks to wield congressional spending power; second, it is so overbroad and coercive that even if the President had spending powers, the Order would clearly exceed them and violate the Tenth Amendment's prohibition against commandeering local jurisdictions; third, it is so vague and standardless that it violates the Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause and is void for vagueness, and, finally, because it seeks to deprive local jurisdictions of congressionally allocated funds without notice or opportunity to be heard, it violates the procedural due process requirements of the Fifth Amendment.

    The Government does not respond to the Counties' constitutional challenges...[Emphasis added].

    The court concluded that neither side disputed these constitutional limits on Presidential power:

    The Constitution vests the spending powers in Congress, not the President, so the Order cannot place new conditions on federal funds. Further, the Tenth Amendment requires that conditions on federal funds be unambiguous and timely made; that they bear some relation to the funds at issue; and that the total financial incentive not be coercive. Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the President disapproves.

    What the President says isn't quite what he means

    Placed in an untenable position of defending the indefensible, the Justice Department's attorney argued that Trump's Executive Order merely reflect an effort by President Trump to use the "bully pulpit" in order "to highlight a changed approach to immigration enforcement...Counsel disavowed any right through the Order for the Government to affect any other part of the billions of dollars in federal funds the Counties receive every year. ." [Emphasis added].

    To this, Judge Orrick replied:

    It is heartening that the Government's lawyers recognize that the Order cannot do more than constitutionally enforce existing law. But Section 9(a), by its plain language, attempts to reach all federal grants, not merely the three mentioned at the hearing. The rest of the Order is broader still, addressing all federal funding. And if there was doubt about the scope of the Order, the President and Attorney General have erased it with their public comments. The President has called it a "weapon" to use against jurisdictions that disagree with his preferred policies of immigration enforcement, and his press secretary has reiterated that the President intends to ensure that "counties and other institutions that remain sanctuary cities don't get federal government funding in compliance with the executive order." The Attorney General has warned that jurisdictions that do not comply...would suffer "withholding grants, termination of grants or ineligibility for future grants," and the "claw back" of any funds previously awarded. Section 9(a) is not reasonably susceptible to the new, narrow interpretation offered at the hearing.

    Injunction no broader than DOJ's concession

    Judge Orrick did not strike down the entirety of the executive order. Instead he issued a preliminary injunction that limits the President and Attorney General's right to withhold federal funds only to the extent already authorized by existing law. "This injunction," Judge Orrick explained, "does nothing more than implement the effect of the Government's flawed interpretation of the Order."

    So, if the order is no broader than that which the Government concedes, what, pray tell, is the legal basis for Trump's vow to appeal the case all the way to the Supreme Court?

    * * *

    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


    ]]>
    Brad Friedman <![CDATA[Fooled Again? Why Aren't U.S. Corporate Media Outlets Questioning Trump's Attack on Syria?: 'BradCast' 4/25/2017]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12119 2017-04-26T01:28:46Z 2017-04-26T01:28:46Z Arkansas CNN Iraq War BRAD BLOG Mainstream Corporate Media BRAD BLOG Media Appearance War On Terror National Security U.S. Constitution Corporate Media United Nations Mainstream Media Failure Death Penalty U.S. House U.S. Senate Barack Obama Immigration Democrats Republicans CBS Bush Legacy KPFK Donald Trump Russia Climate change Syria BradCast On today's BradCast, Donald Trump may be failing in the courts, in Congress, failing the planet itself, but when it comes to military adventurism in Syria, the U.S. media --- left, right and center --- all seem to be fully on board. That, despite the lack of independent evidence supporting the White House's justification for its unauthorized, unconstitutional, and likely illegal April 6 cruise missile attack on the sovereign, if war-torn Middle East nation. [Audio link to show follows below.]

    Today, we follow-up yesterday's interview with Theodore A. Postol, MIT Prof. Emeritus of Science, Technology and National Security Policy, by speaking with independent investigative journalist Robert Parry of Consortium News, who recently asked: "Did Al Qaeda Fool the White House Again?"

    We discuss Postol's analyses, as covered in detail on yesterday's show, charging that the evidence presented by the White House to justify its military attack on Syria --- purportedly in response to a deadly April 4 chemical weapons incident allegedly carried out by Bashar al-Assad's government against civilians in the rebel-held Idlib province --- does not support the claims being made by the Administration and echoed uncritically by the U.S. media.

    Parry, formerly an Associated Press reporter who helped break the Iran-Contra scandal in the mid-80s, responds to my questions about the remarkable lack of media coverage of Postol's analyses (if only to debunk them), as well as the seemingly complete lack of skepticism by the entirety of the U.S. corporate mainstream media on Syria and other recent U.S. military adventures. That, even after having been fooled before (Iraq, is just one example), and otherwise claiming a new found interest in fact-checking and skepticism in the Trump Era.

    "We've seen now a recurring situation," says Parry. "We had the case of the Iraq War, where you might've thought 'well, after that, the New York Times and the Washington Post and others will be more skeptical and more self-critical about the need to show skepticism'. But that hasn't happened. In fact, it's gone increasingly in the other direction."

    "For the first two months or so of his Presidency, everything he said was put under a microscope and often laughed at, often rightly so," he tells me. "So there's been this attitude that this guy is not to be trusted on anything he says. Yet, he immediately jumps to a conclusion, way before there could've been any serious intelligence analysis of it, that Assad was responsible for this incident, and the mainstream media completely flipped around and just rallied to his position and then refused to listen to any alternative points of view on this."

    As a former mainstream journalist himself, before founding Consortium News in 1995 as "the first investigative news magazine on the Internet," Parry speaks to the "tremendous downside to your career if you ask too many questions" in the corporate media, whether covering Republican or Democratic administrations.

    Parry describes some of "serious questions" raised by Postol analyses concerning "not only the logic" behind the alleged sarin attack that seems wildly counter-intuitive for Assad to have carried out, "but the evidence that's been presented in connection with the April 4 incident."

    Also today: CNN and CBS fail miserably during their coverage of last weekend's worldwide March for Science by offering platforms to fossil-fueled climate change denialists; Arkansas kills two more prisoners; Federal court blocks Trump's Executive Order concerning "sanctuary cities" and Trump, the self-declared "Great Negotiator", reportedly folds once again like a paper tiger, this time concerning budget threats for his long-promised Mexican border wall...

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

    * * *
    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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    Choose monthly amount...


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    ]]> Desi Doyen <![CDATA['Green News Report' - April 25, 2017]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12118 2017-04-25T17:50:53Z 2017-04-25T17:50:53Z NBC Mainstream Corporate Media Great Britain Mainstream Media Failure Environment ABC CBS Green News EPA Donald Trump Natural gas Coal Oil Climate change

    IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: The March for Science was a global success on 7 continents; What's next? Recruiting scientists to run for elected office; Earth hits a milestone in rising CO2; PLUS: Britain hits its own milestone --- its first full day without coal since the 1880s... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

    Link:
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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): There Is No Conflict Between Creating Jobs and Protecting the Environment; Sea Level Rise Threat Estimate Doubled Due to Extreme Arctic Melt; An Old Rock Could Lead To 'Next Generation' Solar Cells; The nation is immersed in its warmest period in recorded history; The effects of climate change will force millions to migrate; The Fingerprints of Global Warming on Extreme Weather; EPA Budget Cuts Will Severely Affect Environmental Justice Communities; The Saga of North Carolina’s Contaminated Water; How a sewer will save St. Louis... PLUS: China, India Become Climate Leaders as West Falters.... 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

    • There Is No Conflict Between Creating Jobs and Protecting the Environment (Washington Monthly):
      Conservative philosophy takes for granted that the only legitimate jobs are private sector, of course, but it would be a mistake to grant the conceit. Government doesn’t exist in order to steal from people for its own benefit. It exists in order to provide essential communal services that the free market either will not pay for, or will not provide to enough people to avert humanitarian disaster.
    • Extreme Arctic Melt Is Raising Sea Level Rise Threat; Estimate Doubled (Inside Cliamte News):
      Global sea level rise could happen at nearly twice the rate previously projected by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, even under the best scenario, according to a new report.
    • Renewables: An Old Rock Could Lead To 'Next Generation' Solar Cells (E&E News):
      After a 170-year delay, the discovery of a strange, metallic-looking rock found in the Ural Mountains in Russia in 1839 has ignited a global technology race for a cheaper, more efficient solar cell. It could seriously disrupt the world's solar market, currently dominated by China.
    • The nation is immersed in its warmest period in recorded history (Washington Post):
      The U.S. is enduring a stretch of abnormally warm weather unsurpassed in the record books, and it shows no immediate sign of ending.
    • The effects of climate change will force millions to migrate. Here’s what this means for human security. (Washington Post):
      To look at these issues in depth, the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University convened a working group on human migration and climate change. ISD’s April 2017 report, “New Challenges to Human Security: Environmental Change and Human Mobility,” brings together analysis and discussion from experts on climate change, resource management, migration, foreign policy and national security, and included government and nongovernmental organization policymakers and foreign policy practitioners.
    • China, India Become Climate Leaders as West Falters (Climate Central):
      In the Western hemisphere, where centuries of polluting fossil fuel use have created comfortable lifestyles, the fight against warming has faltered largely due to the rise of far-right political groups and nationalist movements. As numerous rich countries have foundered, India and China have emerged as global leaders in tackling global warming.
    • The Fingerprints of Global Warming on Extreme Weather (Climate Central):
      The idea behind extreme event attribution studies is to gain a better handle on how warming is changing the risk of different types of extreme weather in different areas. Because extremes have some of the biggest impacts on people, infrastructure and the economy, understanding how those risks are changing can help government officials and businesses better plan for the future.
    • EPA Budget Cuts Will Severely Affect Environmental Justice Communities (Common Dreams):
      “The EPA is important to me because I live in an industrialized community,” said Kelley, who won the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2011. “The EPA has been an authority that can really reduce air toxins that we’re exposed to. The state of Texas is very friendly to industry, and the EPA is like that big brother we can go to when there’s a major issue in our town.”
    • The Saga of North Carolina’s Contaminated Water (The Atlantic):
      The state’s GOP leadership tried to make the state more business-friendly. Now residents are saying their water isn’t safe to drink...“It’s like our state is deaf, and the only voice they can hear is Duke Energy.”
    • How a sewer will save St. Louis: (Politico Magazine):
      According to an Environmental Protection Agency report, just at the nation’s major beaches—a small portion of the country’s swimming areas—about 3,500 to 5,000 Americans a year get sick because of sewage-contaminated water.
    • Trump’s latest gift to the coal industry might be illegal (Climate Progress):
      The Department of Interior has stayed a rule that would enforce royalty payments for coal mined on public lands.
    • US EPA Confirms Continuity of Open Data Service beyond 28-Apr-2017 (Medium):
      The US Government’s largest civilian linked open data web service has been confirmed by EPA to remain operational beyond Friday 28-April 2017, pending Congress approving a C.R. or budget.
    • Some Sea Creatures May Already Be Dissolving in Our Acidifying Oceans (Pacific Standard):
      The most troubling element of this finding: The conditions to which the researchers exposed the lab-grown colonies exist already off the coast of California.
    • Texas chooses the fossil fuel CEO behind Dakota Access to guard its parks and wildlife (Climate Progress):
      Dallas billionaire and longtime pipeline exec Kelcy Warren was appointed by Gov. Abbott.
    • A beginner's guide to the debate over 100% renewable energy (Vox):
      Clean-energy enthusiasts frequently claim that we can go bigger, that it's possible for the whole world to run on renewables - we merely lack the "political will." So, is it true? Do we know how get to an all-renewables system? Not yet. Not really.
    • Analysis: Just four years left of the 1.5C carbon budget (Carbon Brief):
      Four years of current emissions would be enough to blow what's left of the carbon budget for a good chance of keeping global temperature rise to 1.5C.
    • No country on Earth is taking the 2 degree climate target seriously (Vox):
      If we mean what we say, no more new fossil fuels, anywhere.


    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[MIT Rocket Scientist Says White House Evidence of Alleged Syrian Chemical Attack is 'False': 'BradCast' 4/24/2017]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12117 2017-04-25T01:58:10Z 2017-04-25T01:58:10Z Iraq War Mainstream Corporate Media BRAD BLOG Media Appearance War On Terror National Security Corporate Media New York Times Mainstream Media Failure Barack Obama Dept. of Defense Bush Legacy KPFK Donald Trump Syria BradCast On today's BradCast: Just days after the April 4 chemical attack in Syria's rebel-held Idlib province, the U.S. launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles against the air base said to have been where Bashar al-Assad's government launched an alleged sarin attack that reportedly killed some 80 civilians, including many children. But how much of the evidence of the chemical attack has actually been independently confirmed? My guest today charges that the evidence offered by the U.S. to justify its military response is entirely false. [Audio link to complete show is posted at end of article below.]

    The horrific aftermath of the release of the nerve agent was seen in videos played around the world, and said to have been the impetus for Donald Trump reversing his position on Syria, which he had, for years (and even just days earlier), said we should stay out of. Nonetheless, without debate or Constitutional approval by the U.S. Congress, we launched a military assault on yet another sovereign nation and today the Administration announced a series of tough new sanctions against the regime. But there has yet to be any findings from an international investigation of the incident, and evidence supporting the allegations that it was Assad, not the rebels or terrorists he is fighting against, responsible for the attack, was laid out only in a brief, April 11 report issued by the White House --- notably, not issued by the U.S. Intelligence services.

    That report, charges my guest today, Theodore A. Postol, Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology and National Security Policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), cannot possibly be accurate. Furthermore, he says, the April 11 White House Report (WHR), as he details in now four separate analyses he has issued since its release, "was not properly vetted by the intelligence community."

    "The report contains absolutely no evidence that this attack was the result of a munition being dropped from an aircraft," as the White House has claimed, Postol finds in his initial analysis [PDF], based on phographic evidence of the crater said to have been caused when Syria dropped a chemical munition. "In fact, the report contains absolutely no evidence that would indicate who was the perpetrator of this atrocity."

    Postol is a physicist and rocket trajectory expert who formerly served as a science advisor to the chief of Naval operations at the Pentagon, has been vindicated a number of times over the years concerning similarly skeptical analyses of claims concerning the U.S. military's use of Patriot missile technology in the first Gulf War (see Charlie Pierce's 2005 Boston Globe profile of Postol here), as well as the Obama White House claims about Assad's alleged chemical weapons attack in 2013. He joins me today to explain his analyses and to speak to the remarkable lack of skeptical coverage by the U.S. mainstream media regarding the WHR on the April nerve agent incident.

    On the day of Trump's retaliatory attack on Syria, Peter Ford, Britain's former Ambassador to Syria expressed skepticism on BBC News about Assad being behind the chemical attack ("Assad may be cruel, brutal, but he's not mad. It defies belief that he would bring this all on his head for no military advantage," he told BBC at the time.) But in the U.S. mainstream media, no such skepticism has been explored, despite well known misleading intelligence used to justify U.S. military action in the recent past, such as during the lead-up to the Iraq War (which, in turn, opened the door to so much of the violence and war in the Middle East ever since, including in Syria.)

    "We again have a situation where the White House has issued an obviously false, misleading and amateurish intelligence report," Postol argues in his first report on the April 4 incident, issued after studying photographic evidence presented by the White House or otherwise publicly available. "What I can say for sure herein is that what the country is now being told by the White House cannot be true [emphasis in original] and the fact that this information has been provided in this format raises the most serious questions about the handling of our national security."

    Even the New York Times, which, Postol tells me today, used to cover his analyses in detail, have not bothered to contact him this time --- even to debunk his claims --- for reasons that remain unknown, despite his past track record. In fact, I've been able to find little if any coverage that attempts to debunk his assertions in response to the WHR.

    "It is very disturbing to see how uncritical the mainstream press has been of this matter," Postol tells me today. "From my point of view, this may be the most serious event --- with regard to American democracy --- from this whole incident. Because the only way American democracy can function is if the press performs the role of providing accurate information, and also raising questions if those questions deserve to be looked at. And there's no question here that the questions deserved to be looked at."

    Writing over the weekend, in his 4th report [PDF] on the matter, Postol charged: "Without an independent media providing accurate and unbiased information to the nation's citizens, the government can do what it chooses without being concerned about the reactions of citizens who elected it. The critical function of the mainstream media in the current situation should be to investigate and report the facts that clearly and unambiguously contradict the government's claims on this matter."

    Though we are hardly "mainstream media", we do our best today to fill a bit of the vacuum left by the woefully credulous U.S. reportage on this event --- particularly since it's virtually impossible to know what really went on in the absence of independent investigation --- as the U.S. enters yet another war in the Middle East...

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

    Postol's reports on the April 4 chemical incident, to date:

    * * *
    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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    ]]> PDiddie <![CDATA[Sunday Toons of the 'Trump or Chump' Moment]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12116 2017-04-23T13:03:23Z 2017-04-23T13:03:23Z Toons

    * * *

    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[GA Blocks New Voter Registrations in Advance of U.S. House Run-off Election: 'BradCast' 4/21/2017]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12115 2017-04-22T00:37:13Z 2017-04-22T00:37:13Z Election Irregularities Arkansas BRAD BLOG Election Reform Texas Georgia BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Rights And Freedoms Accountability Death Penalty U.S. House Environment Voter Registration Democrats Republicans U.S. Supreme Court Nevada KPFK Donald Trump Coal Voting Rights Act Russia Oil Solar U.K. NVRA Ted Cruz BradCast Exxon Mobil Saudi Arabia Race Election 2017 Jon Ossoff Karen Handel On today's BradCast, more Republican efforts to keep (certain) voters from voting in several states where demographics are quickly moving against them, and they're beginning to get very worried, for good reason, in advance of 2018 --- but even ahead of the important U.S. House special election run-off election set for June in Georgia! [Audio link to show is posted below.]

    Among the many stories covered on today's news-packed show...

    • The Republicans' stolen U.S. Supreme Court helped Arkansas kill a man on Thursday night;
    • Trump sold millions of dollars of access to corporate giants during his inauguration in January;
    • Nevada's Republican Sec. of State invents a "non-citizen" voting scare in the state;
    • Georgia's GOP Sec. of State is sued for blocking new voter registrations in violation of federal law, in advance of June's high-profile U.S. House special election run-off in GA-06;
    • Yet another federal court finds that Republican legislators in Texas intentionally discriminated against Hispanic voters when drawing up statehouse districts. (The 4th finding by a federal court of intentional racial discrimination by the TX GOP in the past two months, making the state more than eligible for special oversight under the Voting Rights Act!)
    • Sen. Ted Cruz (and other Republicans) may find themselves in big trouble in 2018;
    • Britain goes coal free for the first time since the industrial age;
    • Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report as Saudi Arabia invests $50 billion in renewable energy and scientists prepare to march for science;
    • U.S. Treasure Dept. rejects ExxonMobil's request to lift sanctions against Russia so that the company can drill for oil in the Arctic...

    Enjoy!...

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

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    ]]> Brad Friedman <![CDATA[Science Rising, O'Reilly Fallen and the 'False God of False Balance': 'BradCast' 4/20/2017]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=12114 2017-04-21T01:35:31Z 2017-04-21T01:35:31Z Arkansas Fox 'News' Bill O'Reilly BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Rights And Freedoms Iran EAC Mainstream Media Failure Death Penalty Environment Immigration EPA KPFK Donald Trump News Corp. Rick Perry Nuclear power Climate change BradCast Marijuana Dept. of Energy On today's BradCast, we find Fox 'News' and its twisted wingnut agenda at the center of just about all of the stories and issues we cover today, from the remarkable need for scientists to stand up for science-based facts, to a continuingly clueless President, to a disgraced Bill O'Reilly and more. [Audio link to complete show follows below.]

    The Trump administration is now seemingly both for and against the Iran Nuclear Deal, apparently. At least they seem to be taking every side of the issue this week, despite Trump's repeated campaign vows to rip up or renegotiate the deal and his 2015 charge that it "will go down as one of the dumbest and most dangerous misjudgments ever entered into in history of our country". But that's what happens when everything your President seems to know about policy comes pretty much directly from the scam artists and friends of sexual harassers known as Fox "News".

    Which brings us to my conversation today with my guest, D.R. Tucker of Washington Monthly (and too-occasional BRAD BLOG contributor). As a former rightwinger turned climate change hawk and avid media critic, he has some strong opinions and smart thoughts in advance of this weekend's March for Science and next weekend's People's Climate March.

    "For a long, long time in this country, there has been this sort of anti-intellectual, anti-science mentality. It's been monetized, as people like [Fox 'News' owner] Rupert Murdoch have proven. And it has to be resisted," he tells me. But, he adds, while "these marches are a long overdue attempt, I would argue, to resist it, marching alone is not going to accomplish it. The march has to continue right to the ballot box to throw out people who are anti-science, and elect those who are pro-science."

    He does not reserve his ire only for FNC, however. The "false gods of false balance" at other news outlets are also to blame, he charges, for the intensifying climate crisis, much of its collateral damage and the fact that Americans remain so woefully uninformed about so much of it.

    We also discuss the firing of disgraced Fox "News" star and alleged serial sexual harasser Bill O'Reilly, as he is reportedly set to receive a parting gift of as much as $25 million from his longtime enablers at FNC on the way out the door. Tucker also has some thoughts on the pretend rightwing "outrage" over the successful campaign to encourage corporations to pull their sponsorship from O'Reilly's show (a trick, he explains, learned from those "outraged" rightwingers themselves), as well as idea on where O'Reilly may find welcome employment next. (No, not in hell, but close.)

    Finally today: Another prisoner receives a stay in Arkansas' unprecedented attempted killing spree; Some ironic federal court karma that may be about to bite Donald Trump (again); And pot activists in D.C. on 4/20 come up with a clever way to spark up interest for their issue among Congressional staffers and media on Capitol Hill...

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

    * * *
    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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    ]]>