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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, January 18, 2019
WI Lame Duck GOP Election Power-Grab Blocked: 'BradCast' 1/18/19
Guest: One Wisconsin Now's Analiese Eicher; Also: New MI SoS to settle gerrymander case; Explosive BuzzFeed report says Trump told Cohen to lie about Moscow project...
'Collusion' Confusion, Shutdown Woes, Tax Truth: 'BradCast' 1/17/19
Trump paid Cohen to rig online polls; Giuliani moves Russia goal posts (again); Prez throws Pelosi tantrum; Shutdown taking toll; And why Ocasio-Cortez is freaking out the GOP...
'Green News Report' 1/17/19
  w/ Brad & Desi
Dems grill Trump EPA chief nom; Federal criminal action against polluters hit 30-year low; Historic heat grips Australia; PLUS: Biz world finally waking up to climate impacts...
Previous GNRs: 1/15/19 - 1/10/19 - Archives...
'Low Barr' for AG Nom, and a 'Symphony of Lawlessness': 'BradCast' 1/16/19
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Surprisingly good court news; SOTU cancelled?; ISIS not defeated...
Power to the People?: CA Could Buy State's Largest Private Utility at 'Fire Sale' Price: 'BradCast' 1/15/19
Guest: LATimes' Michael Hiltzik; Also: Court blocks Census question; Barr testifies...
'Green News Report' 1/15/19
Intense winter storms from coast to coast; Govt shutdown threatens public health, safety; 2018 was hottest year on record for world's oceans, putting planet in hot water...
'Unauditable' Barcoded 'Paper Ballot' Systems for GA, L.A. County: 'BradCast' 1/14/19
Guest: Marilyn Marks; Also: Crippling weather; Trump shutdown, probe news; PG&E to seek bankruptcy protection; L.A. teachers on strike...
Sunday 'Hitting the Wall' Toons
All in all it's just a...'nother episode of PDiddie's weekly toon collection. And another brick in the 2019 American wall...
Shutdown or Shakedown?: 'BradCast' 1/11/19
Guest: TX Civil Rights Project's Ricky Garza on Trump's Rio Grande land grab; Also: An impossible (but real!) 60-year old warning about 'Trump' & his 'wall'...
Shutdown Threatening Safety of Nation's Food Supply: 'BradCast' 1/10/19
Guest: Food/ag coorespondent Tom Philpott; Also: 'Nat'l emergency' coming as shutdown polls plummet for Trump and Senate Repubs?...
'Green News Report' 1/10/19
Fiat-Chrysler's big fines; Trump threatens to cut off CA FEMA funds; U.S. emissions spiked in 2018; PLUS: Dems push back, and ahead, on climate action...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Guest: Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance; Also: Crippling winter weather, Trump shutdown and probe news, CA's PG&E to file for bankruptcy protection, L.A. teachers on strike...
By Brad Friedman on 1/14/2019 6:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it's another one of those impossible Mondays catching up with a weekend full of news in the Trump Era, and the seemingly impossible fight on behalf of voters who seek actually verifiable election results (which require HAND-MARKED paper ballots, according to a new letter from two dozen computer science, security and voting system experts.) [Audio link to show posted at end of article.]

Before we get to our guest today on that crucial issue which threatens elections oversight from Georgia to Los Angeles, a bunch of news and quick headlines from across the country. Among those headlines...

Winter weather crippled much of nation over the weekend and into the beginning of this week, from heavy rains and flash floods in recently fire-ravaged California, to monster snowfall in the Midwest, to icy conditions in the East. The latter succeeded in shutting down even parts of the federal government in D.C. that weren't already closed due to Donald Trump's continuing partial federal government shutdown --- now the longest in U.S. history --- to demand $5.7 billion for his promised, pointless and ill-considered southern border wall.

Decidedly not shutdown in D.C. this week are disturbing new revelations, as reported by New York Times late Friday, that the FBI had opened a counterintelligence probe of the President of the United States in 2017, to determine whether Trump was either a witting or unwitting agent of Russia. That, as Trump's Attorney General nominee William Barr, on Monday, released his prepared opening remarks in advance of his confirmation hearings this week in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Despite his previous criticism of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe and his argument that Presidents cannot be investigated for certain things, Barr now says the Special Counsel investigation should be allowed to finish and its report should be made public.

In California, the state's largest private utility company, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), announced their intention to seek bankruptcy protection in light of tens of billions of dollars in potential legal liability for maintenance failures that helped spark a number of the historic and deadly fires that crippled the state during last year's record wildfire season. And, in Los Angeles, some 35,000 teachers at the nation's second-largest school district walked out, striking to demand higher pay and smaller class sizes.

Next, we turn to some election news, with New York state, one of the most restrictive in the nation when it comes to voting access, finally moving to update its system with a package of bills this week that include early voting, vote-by-mail, same-day voter registration and other long-overdue reforms.

In Georgia, meanwhile, two dozen of the nation's top Computer Security and Voting Systems experts issued a critical landmark letter [PDF] last week to the state's Secure, Accessible and Fair Elections (SAFE) Commission, essentially begging the panel, convened by former Republican Sec. of State and incoming Governor Brian Kemp, to not move the state's voting system from 100 percent unverifiable touchscreen Direct Record Electronic (DRE) systems to similarly unverifiable touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices (BMD), which print out a computer-marked and barcoded summary of voters' ballots. They call instead for hand-marked paper ballots, which they describe as "the best method for recording votes in public elections."

The letter notes that BMD systems are more expensive than hand-marked paper ballot systems but, more importantly, cannot be audited after an election to determine whether the results reflect the actual intent of voters. Despite the scientists crucial recommendation last week, and every comment --- other than from election officials and private voting system vendor lobbyists --- made by the public at last week's SAFE Commission hearing, Kemp's panel shamefully voted to recommend BMDs to state lawmakers.

But, while that virtually inexplicable action moves ahead in the Peach State under Republican rule, the nation's largest voting jurisdiction, Los Angeles County, under Democratic rule, has already decided to move to a pricey and similarly unverifiable touchscreen BMD system before the 2020 Presidential election!

We're joined today by MARILYN MARKS, a national leader in the fight for HAND-MARKED paper ballot systems. She heads up the non-partisan Coalition for Good Governance --- which filed several landmark lawsuits last year against Georgia's current unverifiable voting systems and in hopes of preventing their new ones.

"The point is a very, very simple point that the SAFE Commission --- and apparently L.A. --- pretends that they are missing," argues Marks. "They all talk about how they want elections that can be audited. Well, when you use these Ballot Marking Devices, the election cannot be audited, because the source document [the computer-marked, barcoded ballot] is not an original transaction. It cannot be audited. Therefore you cannot audit the results."

Making matters worse, even if every single voter manages to correctly verify the computer-printed, human-readable summary of voter selections, "what's actually cast and the actual official vote is a barcode. Now, none of us can read barcodes. I don't know what vote I'm actually casting. I am casting a barcode, but what in the world does that barcode actually say? That, to me, is a Constitutional violation."

We discuss that and the many other dangers of BMD systems being implement across the country --- with little or no pushback in places like L.A. --- as well as the differences between the proposed new systems from private vendors in GA and the publicly-owned one already coming to L.A. County. In short, despite a number of explanations offered to us by the County's Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan (shared on today's program) Marks argues there is little, if any, difference in the lack of verifiability and auditablity of such voting systems.

Finally, we take just a few listener calls on all of the above on our way out today...

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

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HUD closure threatens evictions; Pence makes false immigration claims; SCOTUS on redistricting; 2018 'blue wave' bringing good news for Americans in FL, MI, ME and elsewhere across the country...
By Brad Friedman on 1/8/2019 6:25pm PT  

The effects of the federal government's partial shutdown, now in its third week, continue to worsen, even as the effects of last year's 'blue wave' election continue to make things much better for Americans across the country. Among the stories covered on today's BradCast [audio link is posted below]...

  • The shutdown is causing "a mess" for potentially tens of thousands of American families who live in properties subsidized by the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. They may soon face rent increases or eviction due to HUD's failure to renew thousands of contracts before and during the agency's closure;
  • Vice President Mike Pence made the media rounds in advance of Trump's Tuesday night prime-time Oval Office remarks (which TV networks didn't allow for Obama), in hopes of drumming up support for the Administration's false claim there is a national security crisis on the border which may precipitate a Presidential declaration of a "national emergency". Pence offered a number of false claims in the bargain, which even some GOPers were scoffing at today;
  • With Trump having boxed himself into this protracted shutdown mess, a "national emergency" declaration may be his only face-saving way out of it. It would likely result in Republicans allowing a vote in the Senate for reopening the government, even as the declaration would face court challenges over its legality and, essentially, do little more than steal tax-payer money from national defense as U.S. troops are tasked with building Trump's southern border wall;
  • The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear two partisan gerrymandering cases this session (from Maryland and North Carolina), which may not be good news following the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy;
  • But, in better news from SCOTUS today, the Court rejected a plea from Virginia Republicans to delay a lower-court mandated remapping of districts for its House of Delegates in advance of this November's off-year legislative elections in the state. Twelve of those districts were previously found by the lower court to be unconstitutional racial gerrymanders;
  • Meanwhile, last year's midterm 'blue wave' is already yielding dividends for the nation. In Maine, the nation's dumbest now-thankfully-former Governor Paul LePage certified what he declared to be a "stolen election" for the U.S. House on his way out the door, and the state's new Democratic Governor Janet Mills signed legislation on her first day on the job that will finally give access to healthcare to some 70,000 Mainers under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) Medicaid Expansion that had been blocked for some eight years by the former Republican Governor;
  • And, in further good news following last year's midterms, Florida's Amendment 4, adopted by nearly 65 percent of voters in November, kicked in on Tuesday to allow as many as 1.4 million former felons the right to vote in a state that is notorious for its close elections. Despite claims by some Republicans that "implementing language" may need to be enacted, County Supervisors of Elections began allowing registrations under the new Amendment for most former felons who have served their time. The result could be a sea change for the state in 2020, not to mention for the rest of the nation where Florida's electoral votes are key to Presidential elections;
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the first Green News Report of 2019, where last year's 'blue wave' is also being positively felt on the environmental front at both the state and federal level, even as Trump's shutdown is trashing national parks and blocking important scientific research...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: OneWisconsinNow's Analiese Eicher; Also: Updates on the GOP absentee ballot election fraud probe in the NC-9 U.S. House race...
By Brad Friedman on 12/4/2018 6:41pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The GOP's utter contempt for democracy and voters is now on full display in several states where things did not go well for the party during the November midterms, and nowhere more so than Wisconsin. [Audio link to show follows below.]

In states where Democratic candidates did well in last month's midterms, leading to a loss of control by Republican lawmakers, there is now a desperate and brazen scramble in lame duck legislative sessions to pass laws in hopes of robbing power from incoming Democrats before they can be seated. In Michigan, for example, where Dems won statewide races for Governor and Secretary of State and voters overwhelmingly adopted ballot initiatives to expand voting rights, GOPers are jamming through last-minute legislation to prevent the Election Day registration that voters had adopted.

In North Carolina, the Republican-controlled state legislature is ramming through a Photo ID restriction law before they lose their Super-Majority to override Democratic Governor Roy Cooper's vetoes. That action is particularly hypocritical as the state is in the midst of a massive absentee ballot election fraud scandal, apparently perpetrated by a GOP contractor and former felon hired by Republican Mark Harris in his race against Democrat Dan McCready for the U.S. House seat in the state's 9th district. Republicans claim that Photo ID voting restrictions at the polling place are necessary to prevent fraud --- of which there is little or none by voters --- even while calling for Harris to be certified by the state despite clear evidence of serious absentee ballot fraud on behalf of the Republican candidate. We've got more new details on that ongoing probe today, which has prevented Harris' reported win --- by just 905 votes out of more than 280,000 tallied --- from being certified by the state Board of Elections.

But it is Wisconsin today where the GOP is attempting perhaps the most audacious power grab in the nation this year. As Republican Gov. Scott Walker was voted out in November in favor of Democrat Tony Evers, the GOP is attempting to usurp the powers of the incoming Governor, along with Democratic Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul, on a litany of issues before they can be sworn in. The new provisions, never mentioned by Republicans during the campaign, were introduced suddenly in a massive 144-page bill unveiled late last Friday night in a special legislative lame duck session called before Walker is finally out.

Despite Democrats having won every statewide contest on the ballot in Wisconsin's 2018 midterms, Republicans were able to retain control of the wildly gerrymandered State Assembly. They received just 45 percent of the vote overall, but will nonetheless control 63 of 99 seats in the Assembly. This week, they are using that ill-gotten legislative muscle to swipe the incoming Governor and AG's powers. They hope to block the Democrats' campaign promises to expand healthcare and ease suppressive voting restrictions (which arguably resulted in enough voter disenfranchisement to narrowly give the state to Donald Trump in 2016). Republicans are also attempting to restrict early voting in 2020 in hopes of avoiding losses similar to those suffered by GOPers in 2018. The unprecedented Republican power grab has led to protests at the state capital in Madison this week of the type not seen since shortly after Walker took power in 2011 and immediately worked with the Republican legislature to strip collective bargaining rights from public union members.

We're joined today by OneWisconsinNow's ANALIESE EICHER --- a plaintiff in the 2016 federal case which struck down the WI GOP's previous attempt to curtail early voting --- to detail the outrageous and unprecedented #WIGOPPowerGrab being strong-armed through the state legislature tonight.

"What we're seeing here is the obliteration of the separation of powers," Eicher tells me. "We know that when Republicans don't like the results, they seek to change the rules and to change how things operate. With Democrats sweeping six statewide elections here in Wisconsin, the only option for the Republicans to maintain what they thought was their really, really great unilateral control of the State of Wisconsin is to make changes."

"We're seeing everything from limiting local governments' abilities to do work on their roads, limiting their abilities to pay a prevailing wage, changing the makeup and composition of boards and commissions in Wisconsin, so that the legislature has equal or more power than the Governor in regards to appointments. We're seeing change's to people's abilities to get healthcare and receive benefits," she says.

"We're seeing changes to the Attorney General's office, as to whether the Attorney General can leave a lawsuit or join a lawsuit," she explains, referring to Kaul's vow to remove WI from the federal lawsuit by several GOP-controlled states challenging the Constitutionality of ObamaCare and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions. "This extraordinary session bill severely limits his ability to essentially do what he campaigned on, and what people voted for him to do."

As one Democrat noted during hearings today in Madison, the action being taken by the legislature "will invalidate the results of the will of the people and shows direct contempt for the voters". But, of course, that is the whole idea, since Republicans now clearly hate democracy. Eicher argues Republicans "want to stay in power, no matter what the cost" and suggests "voters are not responding well to what's happening in this extraordinary session." She believes they will pay a price for this in 2020.

Finally today, we're joined by Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report, with a look at the late George H.W. Bush's environmental legacy, Donald Trump's isolation of the U.S. on climate change policy at the recent G20 meeting in Argentina, and a warning for the world issued this week as the annual U.N. climate summit opened this week in Poland...

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

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Also: CA wildfire update; Key midterm races called in CA, AZ; Runoffs coming up in GA, MS; Callers ring in on all of the above...
By Brad Friedman on 11/19/2018 6:37pm PT  

On today's BradCast: More races were called and more candidates conceded over the weekend, as the counting from the midterm elections gets still closer to finally wrapping up, and as voter suppression by GOPers in two key states worked their magic. [Audio link to show follow below.]

But, first up today, the latest on the horrific California wildfires, with nearly 1,000 still said to be missing in the enormous Camp Fire in Northern California, where 77 were confirmed to have been killed as of airtime. Donald Trump toured the region over the weekend, referred to Paradise --- the town which was leveled shortly after the inferno broke out on November 8th --- as "Pleasure", and otherwise made something up, apparently out of whole cloth, about Finland raking their forest floors to prevent such disasters. Desi Doyen joins us for actual facts that apparently the President of the United States doesn't have access to, and to warn about what effect the rains predicted for this week over the Thanksgiving holiday may have on the blazes and their dangerous aftermaths.

Next, it's back to the continuing tally and fight to count votes from the November 6th midterm elections, as the last of the still-undecided races begin to get wrapped up, and several races get called by media over the weekend. In Florida, Republican Governor Rick Scott's years of disenfranchising some 1.7 million former felons (500,000 of them African American) paid off. The Sunshine State's incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson finally conceded to Scott after a partial hand-count in the state --- where more than 8 million paper ballots were tallied (either correctly or incorrectly, who knows?) by computer scanners --- resulting in a 0.12 percent edge (10,033 votes) for the termed out Republican Governor in the U.S. Senate election. Similarly, Democrat Andrew Gillum officially conceded to Republican Ron DeSantis in the Governor's race, after final computer tallies showed him losing by just 0.41 percent

The losses for Dems in Florida come on the heels of Democrat Stacey Abrams' loss to Republican Sec. of State and master vote suppressor Brian Kemp in the Georgia Governor's race late on Friday. Broad criticism of Kemp's massive voter suppression over the past eight years continued over the weekend, in what is unlikely to ever be viewed as a legitimate election.

Meanwhile, a runoff in the Secretary of State election in Georgia is now scheduled for December 4th and, in Arizona, Democrat Katie Hobbs has been named as that state's next Secretary of State, after media had inaccurately called it for the Republican candidate on election night. The Sec. of State position in both GA and AZ will play a crucial role in those two key swing-states in advance of the 2020 Presidential election.

Also over the weekend, the last of the California U.S. House races was called, with first time candidate, Democrat Gil Cisneros, defeating Republican Young Kim to turn the last of Orange County's once-impenetrably Republican House seats "blue". Dems now control every U.S. House seat in what had long been a GOP bastion, flipping four of them in just one election. They also now control every statewide elected position and enjoy a super-majority in both houses of the state legislature, all without partisan gerrymandering in the state where an independent commission draws state and federal districts.

Dems now hold a remarkable 45 to 8 advantage in California's U.S. House delegation, and have picked up at least 37 seats nationwide in the midterms. Just four more races are undecided (in NY, UT and GA) as of airtime.

And, as discussed today, a Special Election for the U.S. Senate in Mississippi in coming up on November 27th, with Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith heavily favored in her contest against Democrat Mike Espy. However, Hyde-Smith has recently been caught on video-tape making several troubling "jokes" about public hangings and voter suppression --- in a state with a long and disturbing history of both.

Finally today, we open up the phone lines to listeners on all of the above and much more, as we discuss what Democrats did right and wrong in the 2018 midterms, and what they might be wise to focus on once they officially take control of the U.S. House majority in January...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Heather Digby Parton; Also: Staggering new CA wildfire numbers; Acosta ordered back into WH; Orange County, CA turns 'Blue'; FL 'hand count' continues; Abrams says Kemp will 'win' GA, vows lawsuit...
By Brad Friedman on 11/16/2018 6:45pm PT  

It was another very busy day on today's BradCast, as news breaks out of Georgia and California --- and seemingly everywhere else --- though we finally found at least a moment to take some stock of the midterm elections and what they portend, nearly two weeks after Election Day. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Before we get to elections and politics, however, there are horrifying new numbers today out of the ongoing, climate change-fueled wildfires in California. Officials now say that more 60 are known to have been killed, but on Thursday evening they also raised the number of those still unaccounted for amid the record Camp Fire in Northern California to a staggering and gut-wrenching 631. [Update: Just before posting this here, officials in Northern California increased the death toll, announcing 71 dead with more than an unfathomable 1,000 now said to be unaccounted for!]

Then, a Trump-appointed federal judge orders the White House to immediately restore press credentials to CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta.

Next, another midterm election victory is called by AP and others for Democrats in what had long been solidly Republican Orange County in California. Katie Porter, an unapologetically progressive Elizabeth Warren protégé, is now said to have defeated incumbent Republican Rep. Mimi Walters in the heart of what was once known as "Reagan Country", in the state's 45th Congressional district. Walters had easily won reelection by a huge 17% margin just two years ago, but now becomes the third of Orange County's four U.S. House members to see their seat flipped to a Democrat. The fourth seat, in CA's 39th Congressional district, is very likely to be called for Democrat Gil Cisneros over Young Kim any day now.

As of air time, Dems have reportedly picked up a net gain of 36 seats for their new House majority, though that number may still climb to 38 or even 39 seats as votes are tallied in the last of the undecided House races.

Meanwhile, in Florida today, statewide "hand counts" --- or what suffices for them in the Sunshine State --- continued on a ridiculously abbreviated schedule through Sunday in the state's U.S. Senate race between incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and GOP Gov. Rick Scott, who is said to lead by 0.41%, or just over 12,000 votes out more than 8 million cast.

The partial "hand count" in the Senate race moves forward after full "machine recounts" in three of the state's largest and most Democratic-leaning counties were rejected by Scott's Sec. of State. In Palm Beach, the County's old computer scanners could not physically tally fast enough to meet the Thursday 3pm deadline at the end of just five days. In Hillsborough County, the second machine count differed from the original count by more than 800 ballots, so the first count will be used (whether it's right or wrong, nobody knows.) And in Broward County, state officials rejected their new count because it was uploaded to the Sec. of State's office two minutes after the 3pm deadline. Seriously.

As a source in Palm Beach told me earlier today about the impossible timelines instituted by state Republicans: "These deadlines they codified into law set up big counties to fail. How a county like ours (population 1.3 million) has the same deadline as a county like Liberty County (population 8400) is beyond me. Five days isn't enough, a week isn't enough, two weeks isn't enough. This is done by design. Why? The biggest counties are blue counties and they don't want those votes counted. It's not complicated."

And, in Georgia, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams announced that her Republican opponent Brian Kemp would be the winner of their very close and contested election, thanks in no small part to the extraordinary voter suppression he has implemented over the past eight years during his tenure as Secretary of State.

"Let's be clear: This is not a speech of concession because concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true or proper," Abrams said in a speech to supporters, while denouncing Kemp's outrageous record as the state's chief election official. "As a woman of conscience and faith, I cannot concede that."

At the same time, she also announced she is forming a new organization --- Fair Fight Georgia --- that will sue Kemp and the state for "gross mismanagement" of the election as she declared "the law currently allows no further viable remedy" to overcome what many now see as a stolen election in the Peach State.

Finally, we're joined by the great HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo, to try and help us make sense of these past two tumultuous weeks since the midterms. We discuss the Dems' extraordinary (and under-appreciated) "Blue Wave", how it has clearly served to throw Trump into a dark emotional spiral while exposing him yet again as a con-man, even to many of his supporters, and how some Democrats appear to be taking the rightwing Fox "News" bait in hoping to block Nancy Pelosi's likely return as House Speaker and leader of the Congressional Democratic caucus in January...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Also: The problem with Vote-by-Mail ballot signatures; Dems pickup ME U.S. House seat in Ranked Choice 'runoff'; GA's illegitimate Guv election...
By Brad Friedman on 11/15/2018 7:03pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Good news for Democrats out of Maine, a mixed bag (at best) out of the Florida "recounts", and more shameful news from Georgia's illegitimate Governor's race...

First up, a federal judge in Maine allowed computer vote counting to continue today under the state's new Ranked Choice Voting scheme, denying a Constitutional challenge, for now, by an incumbent Republican Congressman. With the computer tally allowed to move forward based on the RCV algorithm, two-term GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin, who won the first tally (but without receiving a majority of first choice votes), is said to have been defeated by Democrat Jared Golden after the second choices of voters who had selected other candidates for the first choice were then added to the totals until one candidate, the Dem in this case, received a majority of votes.

If you're confused by that, it's just one reason why I've long been no fan of Ranked Choice Voting (sometimes called Instant Runoff Voting). Nonetheless, Golden's reported win results in a total pick-up, so far, of 35 U.S. House seats for Democrats, with several more undecided races pending that is likely to boost their "blue wave" to as many as 39 new seats in Congress.

A federal judge in Florida on Thursday observed that the state's elections have become a "laughingstock" which state officials "choose not to fix". He's right. In fact, the Republicans who have run the state for years now have chosen to make voting and counting ballots accurately --- and in a way that the public can know they've been counted accurately --- just about as difficult as humanly possible. U.S. District Court Judge Mark Walker issued an order today finding Florida's absentee ballot "signature matching" scheme to be unconstitutional. The order allows some 4,000 voters whose Vote-by-Mail or provisional ballots had been rejected due to certain signature issues a few more days to try and cure those problems in their counties by Saturday at 5pm.

Sen. Bill Nelson's campaign, however, in his razor-thin re-election contest with Gov. Rick Scott, had wanted those ballots added to the count sight unseen. (Scott is appealing the ruling nonetheless.) With the explosion of Vote-by-Mail across the country, signature matching problems are becoming a big concern, particularly with votes cast by younger voters who use computers and don't develop personal signatures and for older voters whose signatures have changed over time. Add to that the problem of the awful computer touchscreens used to record those signatures at DMVs and polling places.

In a separate case today also brought by Nelson's campaign, Judge Walker denied an extension for statewide "machine recounts" in the U.S. Senate and Governors races across the state, despite the absurdly short statutory deadline to complete them by today. That, even after Palm Beach County --- one of the state's largest Democratic strongholds --- explained that they were physically unable to complete their "recount" even for only the U.S. Senate race due to their aging and failing computer tabulators which overheated during the process and can only tally one race at a time.

Immediately following the end of the "machine recount," Scott's Secretary of State ordered what suffices for a "manual hand-count" in Florida to begin in the U.S. Senate race, where the margin remains less than 0.25% percent. That limited hand-count of ballots for which the computer scanners reported no vote in the U.S. Senate race must be completed by Sunday --- another arbitrarily short deadline that seems designed to stymie a real hand-count of votes.

The reported 0.41% margin of Republican Ron DeSantis over Democrat Andrew Gillum in FL's Governor's race remains too large to merit an automatic hand count. But, given the "systematic machine failure during the machine recount" in Palm Beach, Democrats filed a new lawsuit today seeking a full hand count of all votes cast in the County.

In Georgia, meanwhile, more counting of absentee and provisional ballots ordered by federal courts to be included in the tallies continued, as Republican Gubernatorial candidate and vote suppressor Brian Kemp called again for counting to end. He remains just 0.22% above the mark that would trigger a December runoff with Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams. Her campaign continues to decry Kemp's horrific administration of the election while Secretary of State, and many outside the state --- including Ohio's Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown --- now see a Kemp victory, if it happens, as illegitimate. Brown went so far as to say: "If Stacey Abrams doesn’t win in Georgia, they stole it. I say that publicly, it’s clear."

The maddening story of 92-year old African-American voter Christine Jordan's fight to even cast a provisional ballot this year in Georgia (after voting in the same place for the last 50 years!), underscores that argument, as we discuss today.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with grim news on the rising death toll in California's record wildfires, some accountability for a top EPA official who was arrested today, and new Democrats in the U.S. House are already moving for bold action on climate change...

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Guest: Sara Henderson of Common Cause GA; Also: Dems flip Senate seat in AZ; First Lady calls for firing of top Admin official...
By Brad Friedman on 11/13/2018 6:33pm PT  

The Trump dumpster fire continues at the White House today, with CNN filing a lawsuit to restore White House press credentials for White House correspondent Jim Acosta, fresh rumors of top Administration officials about to be axed, and a "stunning" public call from the First Lady to fire National Security Advisor John Bolton's top deputy. But it's still the ongoing dumpster fires in Georgia and Florida that we focus in on once again on today's BradCast, as Democrats and voting rights advocates fight to ensure all legitimately cast ballots are tallied and the results are accurately recorded and reported. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

With the news out of Arizona late last night night that the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Republican Jeff Flake has most likely been won by Democrat Kyrsten Sinema over Republican Martha McSally, many have lauded the GOP Congresswoman's gracious concession video Monday night, even as Trump and the RNC were reportedly pressuring her to advance phony claims of fraud and miscounts in the race. To her credit, she did not take the bait. But that's likely only because she still hopes to be appointed by the Governor to the state's other U.S. Senate seat in the coming months.

Meanwhile, in Florida, an unprecedented three statewide "recounts" are now underway (as we discussed in detail on yesterday's BradCast), with Republicans holding diminishing leads in both the U.S. Senate and Governor's race. Those so-called "recounts" must be completed by Thursday November 15th. But, as our guest yesterday, Ion Sancho (who oversaw the state's 2000 Presidential "recount") explained, it will be physically impossible for paper ballot tabulation computers in Palm Beach County to finish the job before the state's absurdly short and largely arbitrary deadline this week.

Today, a state judge in Leon County, FL extended that deadline for Palm Beach --- one of the state's most populous and Democratic-leaning counties --- until November 20th. (Note: I incorrectly called it the most populous on today's show. I mispoke. It's the third most populous in the state.) Will similar court orders for other counties, such as Broward, be far behind? If not, the incomplete results tabulated by last Saturday, November 10th, just days after the Tuesday midterm elections, will be used in the final results, according to state law.

Will Republicans file a federal challenge to today's state court order? GOPers have been repeating their Florida 2000 playbook which successfully robbed voters of a legitimate count (and, likely, Democrats of a Presidential victory) that year. Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Donald Trump have been offering up evidence-free charges of "fraud" in the vote count and ginning up protests outside tabulation centers. So, a similar federal legal challenge may not be far behind if the numbers keep narrowing against Republican Gov. Rick Scott in his Senate race against incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, and against Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis in his gubernatorial contest against Democratic Mayor Andrew Gillum.

At the same time, in Georgia, the federal courts continue to find in favor of voting rights advocates. On Monday night, a federal judge ordered the state to hold off on certification of election results and to review the voter registrations of those forced to vote by provisional ballot. The judge in the case brought by Common Cause Georgia said the state must create a website or telephone hotline for provisional voters to learn whether their votes had been counted or rejected --- with detailed reasons for the rejection and an opportunity to cure whatever is said to be have been the cause of it --- before Friday.

In a separate case today, brought by the Coalition for Good Governance and the National Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights, a different federal judge granted an emergency ruling to stop the unlawful rejection of Vote-by-Mail absentee ballots in Gwinnett County, GA based only on missing information such as a voters birth date. The judge found the state's process to be in violation of the federal Civil Rights Act.

We're joined today by Common Cause GA Executive Director SARA HENDERSON to try and make sense of the continuing dumpster fires in the state set ablaze by Republican vote suppressor Brian Kemp who resigned his position as Secretary of State last week after declaring victory in his race for Governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams --- even as the fight continues to tally thousands of uncounted or rejected absentee and provisional ballots. Kemp is reportedly leading the race with 50.24% of the vote, less than one-quarter of one percent above the 50% mark that would trigger a December runoff between him and Abrams.

Henderson explains that, thanks to the disastrous way Kemp has run the election, as well as how the state's electoral system has been allowed to whither over the past several decades, it's virtually impossible to know how many uncounted or incorrectly tabulated ballots remain across the state. "This whole circus that we're witnessing is just a product of years and years of defunding elections," she tells me.

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen with our latest Green News Report on the horrific and record-breaking wildfires in California, and the latest federal court rejection of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline...

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Also: Trump fires Sessions, but we won't let that derail us today...
By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2018 6:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Some brakes --- some --- may now finally be applied to our ongoing Trump-induced national emergency, in the wake of his election two exhausting years ago. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Despite shameful obstacles placed in front of voters across the country during Tuesday's midterms, Democrats managed to wrestle back control of the U.S. House of Representatives by flipping at least 27 seats, as of airtime, with the results of several other races still unknown, according to unverified computer tabulation in all 50 states. Setting aside partisan issues, women and diverse candidates were the biggest winners yesterday...along with the American people.

At the same time, the GOP reportedly picked up several seats in the U.S. Senate, even while Democrats racked up some very important (and, occasionally stunning!) wins at the gubernatorial level. Those wins and losses (including Scott Walker ousted and Kris Kobach denied!) are likely to reverberate for the next decade, as the next round of redistricting occurs after the 2020 census.

Today we review as many of the noteworthy reported results from House, Senate and Governor races as we can possibly jam into one single show....and then we hit several important ballot initiative results as well.

Moreover --- and, perhaps, as importantly --- we look at several "too close to call" races where no winner has yet been declared by media and/or a number of contests with outcomes worth questioning, including in Florida, Georgia, Texas and elsewhere. (If only every candidate sounded like Georgia's Stacey Abrams at the end of a reportedly very close election night!)

Election Day may be over, but the fight for public oversight of results may just be beginning.

Oh, and as we long predicted would happen if results didn't go Trump's way on November 6, today he fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions to begin his move against Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Nonetheless, for today at least, we won't allow Trump to hijack our news cycle on The BradCast...

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Hours long lines, failed voting systems leave voters, ballots, stranded; Also, journalist Lulu Friesdat reports on tabulation mysteries, unlawful Wi-Fi computer hook-ups in Dallas County, TX counting room...
By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2018 5:37pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Who could have foreseen it? Oh, yeah, we did. For months. Years, actually. At this point, even decades. [Audio link to show follows below.]

American voters finally had their chance on Tuesday to respond to the ongoing, two-year national emergency precipitated by the 2016 election of Donald Trump and full Republican control of Congress. Control of the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House and dozens of governorships were up for grabs today. But Election Day 2018 was --- yet again --- marred by completely predictable disasters for voters, including hours-long lines and failing voting and registration computers at polling places across the country.

Today we cover just some of the worst reported messes (there are still more to come to light and many more that we simply couldn't get to)...

  • In New York City, where paper ballot computer scanners failed leading to hours-long lines across city;
  • In Georgia, where many voters in African-American precincts stood in line for hours due to failing electronic pollbook systems and too few 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting machines (amid the tight race between the vote-suppressing GOP Sec. of State and Gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp and his African-American Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams);
  • In South Carolina, where oft-failed, 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems made by ES&S were reportedly flipping votes and officials were (outrageously) said to be making calibration adjustments to them in the middle of Election Day (a very dangerous idea!);
  • In Kansas and Missouri where voters also reportedly fought with many problems, incluing long lines, voting systems that failed and poll workers unlawfully demanding Photo IDs to vote. In Kansas, Sec. of State and GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach is overseeing his own very tight race for Governor, and in Missouri, Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is fighting for her life as Democrats hope to claw back a majority in the U.S. Senate or keep Republicans from expanding their current one.

Then, we're joined by Emmy award-winning journalist and documentarian LULU FRIESDAT with a troubling exclusive report for us out of Dallas County, Texas, amid the reportedly close contest for U.S. Senate between Republican incumbent Ted Cruz and his popular upstart Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke.

Friesdat reports on two different serious concerns out of the Long Star State's second-most populous county, where numbers reported by the County's ES&S tabulators from the state's March primary are still not adding up correctly (yes, months later, questions are still emerging), and from the County's counting room, where a Texas election integrity group is reporting today that a computer in the tabulation facility appears to be hooked up to WiFi. That Friesdat tells me, is highly unlawful and potentially very troubling for a number of reasons.

"It is not okay for it to be around voting machines and tabulators, because that is one of the easiest ways for election results to be hacked," says Friesdat, who has been covering concerns about voting systems for many years now. "So there are usually very, very clear laws regarding internet connectivity or Wi-Fi in a tabulating area. And that is the case in Texas. They have laws that forbid Wi-Fi or connectivity." That, in a county where their vendor is ES&S, the nation's largest voting machine vendor, which recently lied to the New York Times about whether their systems include remote access software. (Turns out many of them do, but that's not what they initially told the Times, even as it still remains unclear which counties use ES&S systems with such capabilities, and even with cellular modems.)

Friesdat does close on a positive note, however, noting that many in the public are becoming aware of these concerns and that observations by the public are helping. "The more people get involved and keep looking, down to the nitty gritty, what's going on in your elections --- it's helping, folks! Keep it up!"

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us today for our latest Green News Report, with some bad news about plastic and the air we breathe, but some good news from the U.S. Supreme Court (believe it or not) and from the World Bank, which has now said it will no longer help finance coal-fired power plants anywhere in the world, because renewables are now cheaper than coal.

Results --- as reported...probably --- tomorrow...

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Guest: Election integrity expert Marilyn Marks on Brian Kemp's repeated 'cybercrimes' lies, as reported by media, while he oversees own gubernatorial election against Stacey Abrams...
By Brad Friedman on 11/5/2018 6:27pm PT  

It's the final day before Election Day polls open for the crucial 2018 midterms, and I hope you'll not believe a word about what you are hearing regarding who may or may not win or lose. In fact, for many reasons discussed on today's BradCast, nobody actually knows. And, given the way we tally votes in this country, it's possible nobody will ever know who won or lost, no matter whether Democrats or Republicans end up taking control of the Senate, the House or dozens of Governors' mansions across the country. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

But, over the weekend, amidst one of the nation's most hotly contested gubernatorial races, it was revealed by independent online news outlet WhoWhatWhy, that Georgia's entire voter registration database is completely vulnerable online such that "even a low-skilled hacker" could compromise all registrations in the state via its online My Voter Page portal. The stunning security hole allows any voter registration to be easily changed --- or even cancelled entirely --- as recently as this weekend, just hours before Election Day polls open on Tuesday for our crucial midterms.

The information about the vulnerability, as the outlet's Jordan Wilkie and Timothy Pratt reported first exclusively, came from an astute observer in Georgia who notified the state Democratic Party when he discovered the problem. In turn, the Dems notified U.S. intelligence officials and Georgia's Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp, who happens to be overseeing his own reportedly very close race for Governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams. By Sunday morning, incredibly enough --- and without providing any evidence whatsoever --- Kemp released a statement falsely accusing the Democratic Party of Georgia of cybercrimes, suggesting they had attempted to hack the state's online voter registration database.

Shamefully, the corporate media ran with Kemp's claims. It would be hours before the actual facts of the matter were picked up, if at all, by those same media outlets who could simply have read WhoWhatWhy's original exclusive for details on what had actually happened in the first place.

We're joined today by MARILYN MARKS, Election Integrity champion and the Republican founder of Coalition for Good Governance, a non-partisan organization which has been taking Kemp to court countless times over recent months regarding his failed oversight of the state's 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting system, his voter roll purges of legitimate voters, and his rejection of absentee ballots from disproportionately African-American voters.

Her group was among the first to learn of the stunning online registration system vulnerability and help alert WhoWhatWhy to the problem. Marks details how Kemp --- who has resoundingly lost several times in federal court over the past week alone --- has pulled the same, almost identical scam on the public in the past. She tells me that this is at least the third time that Kemp has falsely claimed whistleblowers who discreetly reported vulnerabilities they discovered in the state's electoral system are actually attempting to hack it. He did the same in 2016 before, six months later, the Dept. of Homeland Security's Inspector General finally found that Kemp's allegations were completely baseless. And he did so again in 2017, after a data researcher discovered the state's entire voter registration database, voting machine programming and administrative passwords had been left online before and after the 2016 Presidential election with no security protections.

Then, as now, Kemp falsely reported the matter to the FBI as a cyber crime. Marks also had a word or two for the media outlets which continue to credulously parrot Kemp's claims, despite the complete lack of evidence to support the allegations. Marks described the latest incident as a "total abuse of [Kemp's] position as Secretary of State".

All of that comes over the weekend, even as the Dept. of Homeland Security, according to the Boston Globe today, is said to have discovered an alarming rate of actual attempted hacks --- some which they say have had "limited success" --- of our electoral systems in the weeks leading up to Tuesday's election.

Next, a few words of advice about voting from Oprah Winfrey, before we open the phone lines to callers regarding why they will or won't be voting in Tuesday's midterms.

Oh, and here's Jennifer Cohen's article today at the New York Book Review, in which she quotes me a time or three regarding "What Could Possibly Go Wrong" both at the polls on Tuesday and on the computer tabulators which will tally ballots --- correctly or incorrectly --- in all 50 states on Tuesday night...

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Guest: Voting rights journalist Ari Berman on voter suppression and important down-ballot voting; Also: Election Day nightmares previewed in WI, TN, ND?; Third-party pull-outs in AZ, MT U.S. Senate races...
By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2018 6:32pm PT  

Nearing the final stretch, voters fight to overcome suppression; a few potential nightmare scenarios for Election Day voting preview themselves as Early Voting wraps up; and we look at a number of Secretary of State contests on Tuesday that could have big (and good!) consequences for voting rights before the 2020 Presidential election.

Among the stories covered on today's BradCast [Audio link to show posted below]...

Internet outages across Wisconsin are causing problems for voters hoping to get information on candidates and polling places from the state website. And voters in Rutherford County, Tennessee were unable to vote for an hour on the final day of Early Voting, due to the reported failure of a "primary data storage system" in the county that left polling places unable to verify registrations on electronic-pollbook systems which access voter files across the Internet. These situations, including reliance on the Internet voting at the polls, would result in havoc if they occur next Tuesday. What could possibly go wrong?

A federal judge in North Dakota denies an emergency motion filed by Native American voting rights groups to lift the state's new law requiring street addresses on IDs. Thousands of Native Americans living on reservations do not have such addresses. The George W. Bush-appointed judge claims federal precedent bars most last minute changes to election laws in order to avoid chaos, though the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the new GOP law to stand just weeks ago, despite it having been stayed during the state's primary in June (by the same judge). Chaos has reigned ever since, as tribes scramble to assign addresses and print new IDs, and the GOP Secretary of State refuses to say whether those new addresses will be accepted for voting purposes on Tuesday;

Georgia's Republican Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp loses again in court, as a judge rules he may not bar thousands of voters wrongly flagged by the state as non-citizens from voting on a normal, non-provisional ballot, when they present documents proving their citizenship at the polls.

Then, we're joined by Mother Jones' voting rights journalist ARI BERMAN to discuss his recent New York Times article on the extraordinary voter suppression playing out across the country in several GOP-controlled states, and a potentially available antidote for some of those problems before 2020: electing Secretaries of State who will expand the right to vote rather than restrict it.

Berman, author of Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, details a number of Democratic candidates who could pick up SoS offices next week in several key states, including Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia and others where Republicans currently enforce (and abuse) voting laws. Of course, voters will have to overcome voting roll purges and other suppression methods at the polls on Tuesday in order to see those important changes before 2020.

He suggests the scope of the suppression we're seeing this year is broader, because "it's happening in so many states," in no small part because there are "a lot of elections in states that normally aren't competitive." Add to that bad laws in many of those states which have "created a really toxic combination for suppression."

Much of it, Berman explains, would have been blocked from ever happening, had the U.S. Supreme Court not gutted Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in 2013. "Texas, Georgia, a bunch of these Southern states, basically they kind of feel like they can do whatever they want. You can try to stop them if you want, but they don't have to worry about the federal government or the Voting Rights Act anymore" when it comes to federal preclearance for racially discriminatory laws.

"If Democrats are able to take back Governor's seats and Secretary of State races, and all of these other important down-ballot offices in key states, they can do the reverse. They can start passing things to expand voting rights, and that sort of takes the Supreme Court out of the ballgame somewhat," he tells me, before we wade through some of the currently held GOP Secretary of State seats that may see Dem takeovers this year, and in some surprising places. "I hope all this focus on voter suppression --- because it's been getting a lot more coverage in 2018 than 2016 --- will actually lead to some changes in policy, especially if some of these key states flip."

We also discuss some of the initiatives on the ballot next week in several states that could dramatically help to expand the electorate, make registration easier, and end partisan gerrymanders entirely in some states.

Finally today, third-party candidates pull out of two different closely watched and very tight U.S. Senate races in Arizona and Montana. That's likely good news for Democrats in one state, good news for Republicans in the other. But, in both cases, those former candidates will remain on Tuesday's actual ballot, since they dropped out so late in the game...

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Guest: Oliver 'OJ' Semans of Four Directions: Also: Kemp denied again in GA; Tough re-election fight for OR's Dem Guv; KMOX, 'The Voice of St. Louis', misinforms voters in MO about 'tamper-proof' voting machines...
By Brad Friedman on 10/31/2018 6:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast: There is no small amount of irony in the fact that the first people of this country, Native Americans, are now being forced in North Dakota to go through extraordinary measures to prove their residency in order to vote in America in next Tuesday's crucial midterm elections. [Audio link is posted at bottom of article.]

But, first up today, a small measure of good news from a federal court in Georgia regarding Republican Sec. of State and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp's continuing legal battle to throw out Vote-by-Mail ballots based on dubious hand-writing analysis made by partisan election officials. Kemp insists he has the right to toss out ballots without offering Constitutional due process to voters and continues to appeal the U.S. District Court judge's ruling, meant to avoid the disproportionate rejection of votes cast by African-Americans in Kemp's deadlocked race against African-American Democrat Stacey Abrams.

But while that race, which could turn the state "blue", has received a good deal of attention this year, the "toss-up" gubernatorial contest between Oregon's Democratic incumbent Gov. Kate Brown and her GOP challenger, Knute Buehler, has received far less notice. Despite an expected increase in Democratic turnout this year, the progressive Brown is facing a surprisingly close re-election contest in what is otherwise considered to be a very "blue" state, as the GOP and its corporate supporters are pouring millions into the effort to defeat Brown.

Next, we head to North Dakota, where an astonishing effort by state Republicans to disenfranchise Native Americans was recently approved by the U.S. Supreme Court. The effort to prevent the state's tribal members from voting began almost immediately after Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp's razor-thin election by fewer than 3,000 votes back in 2012. Now that she's running for re-election against Republican Kevin Cramer, state Republicans have changed the state's Voter ID law to require physical street addresses rather than the P.O. Box addresses used by many Native American voters living on reservations. In early October, SCOTUS allowed the new requirement to stand, even though the restriction was not in place during primaries last June, giving tribal members less than a month to figure out how to assign addresses to thousands of eligible voters and help prevent chaos and confusion.

Chaos has reportedly reigned, however, even as the state's tribes have been banding together to assign street addresses and create new tribal IDs as quickly as they can, vowing to create such IDs outside polling places even on Election Day on November 6th. On Tuesday, a new lawsuit [PDF] was filed charging that election officials have been rejecting addresses on absentee ballot requests, since newly assigned addresses do not exist in some state databases, and the state's Secretary of State refuses to say whether IDs with new street addresses assigned by Native American voting rights groups will be allowed for use on Election Day.

We're joined today by longtime Native American voting rights advocate OLIVER "OJ" SEMANS, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and co-founder of the non-partisan Four Directions, which focuses on Native American voter engagement and access. He explains his group's extraordinary (and expensive) efforts being taken to help organize against the suppression of ND's shameful new law, why he believes it was enacted, and whether he feels that indigenous Americans in the state will be able to overcome it.

"The rulings by the 8th Circuit and by the [U.S.] Supreme Court was basically severe spinal damage to the backbone of democracy," he tells me. "The backbone of democracy, which is voting, can only take so many kicks in the back like that before it's broken. Native Americans, who have basically enlisted in the United States services, percentage-wise, more than any other race, and have fought for freedoms for the country, have decided that we're going to fight for our own country for awhile and stop this madness."

Semans explains how claims of "voter fraud" used to justify these restrictions by the GOP, in a very Republican state, have no evidence to support them. "More than likely there is fraud --- but it's not by the Native American Indian," he says. "How can you have one party being re-elected, ten years, sixteen years, twenty years, over and over, without some type of fraud being committed. So, yeah, there's probably fraud, but it's not in Indian Country."

He also details how this new voting restriction would never have been allowed to stand at all, had not the U.S. Supreme Court, in 2013, gutted the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 which previously had protected tribal members and other racial minorities from this sort of disenfranchisement. Semans has testified several times in D.C. on behalf of the VRA, going back more than a decade now.

I hope you'll tune in for this, at times, heart-breaking conversation.

Finally today, some listener mail and a bit of a rant against a laughably misleading report on voting systems in St. Louis County, MO, where the most powerful radio station in the state, the 50,000 clear-channel watt blowtorch, KMOX NewsRadio 1120, has misinformed voters that the County's oft-failed and easily-hackable 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting machines and optical scanners are "tamper-proof" and never connected to the Internet. Both assertions --- made by election officials and their private vendor, ES&S, and passed on this week by KMOX (the station I group up listening to) and reporter Kevin Killeen --- are patently false and wildly misleading. As I mentioned on Twitter today, it's a terrible disservice to Show Me State voters that the once-great KMOX would credulously echo such long-ago debunked misinformation to their millions of listeners and readers. I discuss both that, and the woeful response I received from Killeen on Twitter today, to his irresponsible "reporting"...

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

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Trump unwanted in Pittsburgh and former top Repub excoriates party, 'rightwing propaganda industry'; Also: News on fighting to vote (and counting it accurately) in TX and environment is on midterm ballots...
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2018 6:41pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the darkness continues, even as some rays of light appear in the electoral distance. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

On Monday, attorneys for one of three far-right militiamen convicted in a plot to bomb a Kansas apartment building that was home to over a hundred Somali Muslim refugees in late 2016, cited Donald Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric during the President campaign as reason for shortening the man's life sentence. In sentencing documents, the lawyers charge that then-candidate Trump and videos from rightwing media personalities such as Fox News' Sean Hannity helped stoke their client's hatred "to 11".

On Tuesday, despite being told by victims' families, the city's mayor, and thousands of members of Pittsburgh's Jewish community that he was not welcome, Trump came to the city's grief-stricken Squirrel Hill neighborhood to visit the Tree of Life synagogue where 11 Jewish worshipers were gunned down during services on Saturday. Trump came to the city where he was not wanted today, even as the first funerals for victims got under way, because it reportedly fits in with his campaign schedule that otherwise includes political rallies around the country every day for the rest of the week until next Tuesday's crucial midterms.

The anti-Semitic, anti-immigration rightwinger charged in the Pittsburgh massacre had espoused anti-"globalist" rhetoric akin to those from the Trump fan charged last week with mailing bombs to more than a dozen top Democrats, philanthropists, media outlets and celebrities who had been vilified in recent months by the President. Both men had referenced the so-called Central American migrant "caravan" that Trump, Republican candidates and media outlets from the Right and non-Right have been focusing on over the past several weeks. The group of slowly walking refugees still remains some 1,000 miles from the U.S. border and is unlikely to arrive here for months, posing zero threat to the U.S. Nonetheless, on Monday, Trump ordered the immediate deployment of at least 5,200 more U.S. military troops to the border in advance of next week's election.

Despite the increasing wave of Rightwing violence, the President and the White House and Rightwing news outlets continue to cite the "caravan" as an existential threat. Former top Republican strategist Steve Schmidt unloaded on what has become of the GOP under Trump and the years-long barrage of Rightwing media propaganda. He describes "this whole caravan in the last week of the election" as "a giant lie" and as "Trump's Reichstag Fire".

We share the full, must-listen segment from his remarkable appearance on last night's All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, in which the former campaign chair for John McCain's 2008 Presidential run describes the GOP as having become no more than a "cult of personality...that is authoritarian in nature" and charges the "Rightwing propaganda machine industry" has "blood on their hands" after having "radicalized" those who are now committing violence against minorities and immigrants.

Then, just to lighten things up a bit, some election news out of Texas, where legal officials with the Beto O'Rourke (D) campaign tell me about their concerns regarding reports of votes flipping to Ted Cruz (R) on Democratic straight ticket ballots cast on 100% unverifiable Hart-Intercivic eSlate voting computers used across much of the state.

We've also got a bit of slightly brighter news from the Lone Star state, where threats of legal action have resulted in the expansion of early voting opportunities on the campus of Texas State University after students were turned away last week, and a rollback to new voter registration requirements recently imposed at the historically African-American Prairie View A&M University.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with details on the serious environmental threat posed by this week's election of the hard-right Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, and a number of important climate and environment initiatives that are on the ballot in several U.S. states on November 6th...

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

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Taking the voters' pulse with open phone lines and more...
By Brad Friedman on 10/29/2018 6:06pm PT  

After another long (though important) fund drive at KPFK, our Pacifica Radio Network flagship station here in Los Angeles, we're finally able to open the phones to hear from listeners on today's BradCast. [Audio link follows below.]

It's been a harrowing and deadly week --- and weekend --- filled with Rightwing hate and hate mongering (coincidentally, one week before Election Day for the most important election most of us have ever lived through). So, today we kick open the phones to callers on all of the above to get a sense of where things stand at this point and to help answer a bunch of questions about the crucial midterms.

Listeners ring in with questions about reported voting problems and voter suppression around the country and failing voting machines. Also, we discuss what voters can do beyond voting to participate in democracy over the next week or so.

And then there's the caller who rang in to explain why he says he has never voted, and doesn't plan to this year either. As you might imagine, both I, and a whole bunch of callers, have a few thoughts for that guy on today's program. Enjoy!...

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

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Guest: David Roberts of Vox; Also: Trump fan charged in mail bombings...
By Brad Friedman on 10/26/2018 6:45pm PT  

Among the many stories covered on today's BradCast, a bit more than one week from the crucial midterm Election Day. [Audio link follows below.]...

  • A 56-year old white man from Florida, suspected of sending mail bombs to about a dozen perceived enemies of Donald Trump, is arrested and charged with federal crimes. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the alleged MAGABomber, Cesar Sayoc, Jr. turns out to be a huge fan of Donald Trump. Attorney General Jeff Sessions fails to call it terrorism;
  • In Tennessee, a state court rules in favor of voting rights advocates who sued to require Shelby County (Memphis) election officials to allow thousands of new registrants to cure any alleged omissions or errors on their voter registration applications through Election Day, and to allow those voters to vote on normal, not provisional, ballots. The Republican-majority commission in the very Democratic-leaning county, has said they would appeal the ruling. The matter could be crucial to the tight race for U.S. Senate between popular former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen and Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn in the contest to fill the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Bob Corker;
  • In Georgia, massive attempted voter suppression overseen by Republican Sec. of State and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, should qualify the entire state as a crime scene, at this point. More troubling news along those lines today, as the DeKalb County Election Commission appears to have lost nearly 5,000 vote-by-mail applications. The Democratic Party claims they turned in 4,700 requests, but the County tells the NYTimes they only received 48! The potential disenfranchisement of thousands of voters could effect the tight gubernatorial race between Kemp and African-American Democrat Stacey Abrams. Given the massive suppression attempts in the state, I don't see how a Kemp victory could possibly be seen as legitimate;
  • In Texas, amid the very tight U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and his Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke, many of the 100% unverifiable electronic voting machines used across the state are reportedly selecting Cruz during some attempts at straight ticket Democratic votes. State and county election officials confirm the problem with their voting systems made by Hart-Intercivic of Austin has existed for years. Nonetheless, they are blaming voters, rather than themselves or Hart, their private election vendor, for the failure. That, despite conceding that it is those systems, used in many TX counties, that are at the root of the problem for voters;
  • Finally, we're joined by energy and politics writer DAVID ROBERTS of Vox.com, to discuss a very important initiative on the ballot in Washington state this year. Roberts explains Initiative 1631, which, if adopted on November 6th, would create a price for carbon pollution by creating a fee for the use of fossil fuels that cause global warming. The revenue raised by the measure would be used to fund key initiatives to improve the environment and help middle and lower income Americans. Roberts describes, as he recently wrote in much more detail, how the new initiative differs from the revenue-neutral carbon tax which failed at WA polls in 2016, and how the fossil fuel industry is spending tens of millions to crush this effort (just as they did in 2016).

    All of this on a week, which we also discuss, when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has staked his 2019 re-election chances on a new national carbon tax and dividend policy. The politically courageous effort was announced this week, despite what is predicted to be a neck-and-neck contest next year with his Conservative Party opponent. The scheme would tax the use of fossil fuels and send all revenue from the measure straight back to Canadians each year in the form of a check.

    Expect to see many more such efforts both in North America and across the world, to place a price on carbon pollution, as the globe continues to warm while fossil fuel companies continue to pollute the atmosphere for free. As Roberts notes: "Civilization is on the line."

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

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