Independent investigative journalism, broadcasting, trouble-making and muckraking with Brad Friedman of BradBlog.com. Originating on Pacifica Radio's KPFK 90.7FM in Los Angeles and syndicated coast-to-coast and around the globe! NOW FIVE DAYS A WEEK!
'BradCast' 6/11/2021 (Guest: 'Jackpot' author Michael Mechanic of Mother Jones)
On today's 'BradCast': A blockbuster new report has exposed that Donald Trump's wildly corrupt Justice Department was even more corrupt than thought, and took unprecedented actions to target his perceived political enemies. The Trump DOJ secretly subpoenaed the communications data of Democratic members of Congress, their staff, and even their staff's children, at least one of whom was a minor. That's in stark contrast to the Trump White House's years-long blockade of lawful Congressional subpoenas, under the premise that such oversight would somehow violate constitutional separation of powers, even while they were literally spying on the Legislative branch. The stunning news comes after revelations that the Trump DOJ also secretly obtained journalists' phone, email and text records. Unless Congress and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland enact real legal consequences and sweeping reforms, these outrageous, unlawful acts perpetrated by the Trump Administration can and will be carried out again in the future. A ProPublica bombshell this week demolished the myth of the American tax system that everyone pays their fair share and the richest Americans pay the most -- revealing that the nation's wealthiest men have legally avoided paying nearly all federal income taxes on their vast wealth, and in some years have paid nothing at all. Mother Jones' Senior Editor MICHAEL MECHANIC, author of the book 'JACKPOT: How the Super-Rich Really Live -- and How Their Wealth Harms Us All,' explains how the super-rich legally avoid paying taxes; how their scam hurts average Americans and the nation by starving government of crucial revenue for services; and what, if anything, can or will be done by Congress. Mechanic also debunks popular myths that perpetuate the grossly unfair system that rewards wealth over actual work.
'BradCast' 6/10/2021 ('Good Trouble': A big win over Keystone XL; Biden in Europe)
On today's 'BradCast': A huge, hard-won victory for the unprecedented, diverse coalition of tribes, farmers, ranchers, environmentalists, scientists, and even a few journalists, whose fight to stop the massive, controversial Keystone XL pipeline has finally succeeded. For 13 years, the coalition mobilized to stop the KXL from transporting sticky tar sands crude from Alberta, Canada across the US to refineries in Texas for export overseas, threatening drinking water, farms, tribal lands, and the climate itself. Pipeline developer TC Energy finally pulled the plug on the polluting project after President Joe Biden cancelled its cross-border permit, thanks to the efforts of the protesters and activists. The fight to keep fossil fuels in the ground continues in Minnesota, where police used excessive force to arrest hundreds of protesters trying to stop expansion of the Line 3 tar sands pipeline, which poses the same risks to tribal lands, wetlands, water supplies, and the climate. The Southwest is facing a record 'mega-drought,' intensified by man-made climate change, with record low water levels in the Lake Mead reservoir triggering mandatory cutbacks in water deliveries and reducing electricity generation from Hoover Dam. California's reservoirs are also at 50 percent capacity due to drought as wildfire season gets underway. President Biden, on his first foreign trip, reaffirmed the U.S. 'special relationship' with the U.K., and spoke with US troops on the importance of defending democracy. A new global survey from Pew Research Center shows a stark contrast in public opinion of America in the Biden era vs. the Trump era, as Biden rehabilitates the nation's global reputation. Also today: Texas' corrupt, indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton faces yet another corruption investigation. Plus Desi Doyen has our latest 'Green News Report.'
'BradCast' 6/9/2021 (Guest: West Virginia's Robyn Kincaid on the maddening Joe Manchin)
On today's 'BradCast': The controversial Keystone XL Pipeline has been cancelled by its Canadian developer, a victory for the tribes and environmental groups that fought for more than a decade to stop it. President Biden commits the U.S. to donating 500 million doses of COVID vaccine to nations in need, as a new, highly transmissible variant is spreading in the U.K. and U.S. The Biden Administration will move to permanently close the extra-judicial, extra-constitutional detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Sen. Joe Manchin is 'disappointed' that Senate Republicans predictably filibustered his Paycheck Fairness Act, yet still opposes reforming the filibuster to counter GOP obstruction. Manchin is also against the Democrats' For the People Act -- a massive election and campaign reform bill that would strengthen voting rights, end partisan gerrymandering, and curb dark money in campaigns -- because no Republicans support it, even though it is wildly popular in West Virginia. A massive rightwing dark money campaign, led by the Koch Network, is pressuring Manchin to oppose filibuster reform and the For the People Act. West Virginia's own ROBYN KINCAID, host and creator of the progressive Head-On Radio Network and co-founder of the Appalachian Communities Health Emergency Campaign, explains the mysteries of Manchin, the history of his family's political dynasty in the state, and key factors that may be at work in Manchin's inexplicable obstruction of Biden and the Democrats' agenda, which would greatly benefit the vast majority of his constituents in West Virginia. Kincaid also discusses the Appalachian Communities Health Emergency (ACHE) Act, recently re-introduced in the U.S. House, which could end destructive mountaintop removal coal mining 'once and for all.'
'BradCast' 6/8/2021 (Guest: Windham, NH auditor Philip B. Stark of UC Berkeley)
On today's 'BradCast': Ex-president Donald Trump is still promoting his Big Lie that the 2020 election was 'stolen' from him, falsely claiming that a post-election audit in New Hampshire found 'thousands' of ballots. Again, Trump's claims are false. But something troubling was discovered during a post-election hand count in the small town of Windham, NH, revealing that the state's 20-year-old Diebold optical-scan computer tabulators mis-tallied votes -- and thanks to a real, professional (non-clown show) forensic audit, we now know why. Unlike the long-running 'audit' theater clown show still running in Maricopa County (Phoenix), Arizona, the NH audit was a fully open, completely transparent public exercise, administered by three recognized experts in voting systems, cyber-security and post-election auditing who were tapped by the state. One of those three experts joins us today -- PHILIP B. STARK, Professor of Statistics and Associate Dean of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, and the inventor of the post-election Risk-Limiting Audit (RLA) protocol, regarded as the gold standard for post-election audits. The team's fully transparent hand-recounting of ballots and physical audits of the scanners has yielded what Stark regards as the answer to the mystery of what actually happened in Windham. Stark explains the audit team's painstaking and extraordinarily well-document public experiments, how they determined that the scanners incorrectly recorded votes, and much more, including whether the problems affected other contests in the state, and the wave of threats the team has endured from some Trump supporters. Also today: listener reaction to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)'s obstruction of democracy reform legislation. Plus Desi Doyen has our latest 'Green News Report.'
'BradCast' 6/7/2021 (What do we do about Joe Manchin?)
On today's 'BradCast': Republicans have absolutely no interest in cooperating with Democrats on anything supported by Joe Biden or the Democrats, as Missouri's GOP Senator Roy Blunt accidentally revealed over the weekend. Nonetheless, President Biden is still going through the motions of negotiating with Republicans. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia is still pretending that Republicans will magically cooperate on ANYTHING in a bipartisan manner. In a new op-ed, Manchin announced he will oppose crucial election reforms included For the People Act, intended to protect voters from the tsunami of voter suppression laws being rammed through by GOP-controlled state legislatures. Manchin rightly calls the right to vote 'fundamental' and criticizes Republicans' broad efforts to make voting as difficult as possible, but says he refuses to reform or eliminate the filibuster necessary to pass democracy reform, falsely citing the framers of the Constitution who said nothing about an undemocratic filibuster allowing the minority party to obstruct the will of the majority. Does Manchin's refusal to reform the filibuster mean that saving democracy and the Biden Agenda are dead in the water, along with any hope of Democrats retaining control of Congress in 2022? What can be done about this maddening, distressing, and somewhat terrifying turn of events before the 2022 mid-term elections, when new state-level GOP voting laws will allow Republicans to overturn any election results they don't like? We open up the phone lines to listeners to hear their thoughts on how to move forward and save democracy despite the obstruction from Manchin and Senate Republicans....
'BradCast' 6/4/2021: (Climate law expert Carroll Mufffett on 'Black Wednesday' for the fossil fuel industry)
On today's 'BradCast': Donald Trump reportedly believes that he will be 'reinstated' as President in August, despite no mechanism in existence to do so. But there may be another, much more insidious reason that he may be trying to ensure that his MAGA Mob believes it. Then: Last week's 'Black Wednesday' delivered landmark developments that left the fossil fuel industry reeling and may signal a sea change in efforts to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for their role in causing man-made climate change. CAROLL MUFFET, President and CEO of the non-profit Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), delves into the blockbuster decisions in courtrooms and boardrooms that hit oil majors last week. Muffett explains how the oil industry knew in the 1950s that burning their product would cause dangerous global warming, but chose to fund the climate change denial industry, lying to shareholders and the public about the threat and the risk of stranded assets. That denial may have come to a screeching halt last week when watershed decisions were handed down to global giants Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon and Chevron that sent shockwaves across the industry – from consequential shareholder rebellions at Chevron and ExxonMobil, to a Dutch court ordering Shell to cut emissions 45 percent by 2030, all on the same day. Muffett explains the 'wakeup call' of these developments, what it means for the oil industry going forward as companies are forced to make 'significant changes' to their business models, and what it portends for addressing accelerating risks of climate impacts to the financial system, human rights, and the planet.
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