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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, March 24, 2019
Insider 'Backdoor' Found During 'Public Hack Test' of Vaunted Swiss Online Vote System: 'BradCast' 3/22/19
Guest: CyberSec journallist Kim Zetter; ALSO BREAKING: Mueller delivers report to A.G....
WI GOP Power-Grab Undone by Judge; Military 'Readiness' Undermined by Trump: 'BradCast' 3/21/19
Also: 'Historic' U.S. flooding; New Zealand bans 'weapons of war'; Trump's new arms race...
'Green News Report' 3/21/19
  w/ Brad & Desi
Staggering losses in Midwest flooding; Houston chemical fire warning; EPA chief delays climate action as 2020 Dems demand it; PLUS: 'Holy Grail' ruling in WY oil, gas drilling case...
Previous GNRs: 3/19/19 - 3/14/19 - Archives...
FL Repubs Undermining Ex-Felon Voting Rights Amend-ment: 'BradCast' 3/20/19
Guest: ACLU Florida's Micah Kubic; Also: Beto on voter suppression; Abrams says she 'won' in GA; U.S. judge blocks oil, gas drilling in WY...
Under Water, Under the Gun, Under Pressure:
'BradCast' 3/19/19
Climate catastrophe in 'Trump County'; Also: Dem 2020 candidates seek to abolish Electoral College; DST haters strike back; Much more...
'Green News Report' 3/19/19
  w/ Brad & Desi
Devastating flooding in upper Midwest; Cyclone kills as many as 1,000 in Mozambique; Two toxic refinery fires in Houston; PLUS: The kids' Climate Strike heard 'round the world...
Previous GNRs: 3/14/19 - 3/12/19 - Archives...
Court News (Good and Bad) on Gerrymanders, Voting, Guns, Abortion: 'BradCast' 3/18/19
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Record Midwest flooding; Beto, Bernie and Buttigieg; The definitive truth on Daylight Saving Time...
Sunday 'Hate Ain't Funny' Toons
And neither is ignorance. Don't miss PDiddie's latest, disturbing, weekly toon collection...
Looming Disaster?: Dems Adding Online Voting for 2020 Caucuses: 'BradCast' 3/15/19
Guest: Journo Steven Rosenfeld; Also: Kids strike for climate action around globe; Trumpers against unverifiable touchscreen voting...
Congress Takes Baby Steps to Claw Back Powers, Rebuke Trump: 'BradCast' 3/14/19
Also: Beto jumps in to 2020; Still more evidence WI's GOP Photo ID voting restrictions were meant only to prevent Dems from voting...
'Green News Report' 3/14/19
  w/ Brad & Desi
GAO: Admin climate policy rollbacks wasting billions: Air pollution and autism; Climate change and property values; PLUS: Is activism pushing a shift in the fossil fuel industry?...
Previous GNRs: 3/12/19 - 3/7/19 - Archives...
Dems Introduce Bill to 'Rebuild Main St. on Wall St.'s Dime': 'BradCast' 3/13/19
Guest: Public Citizen's Susan Harley; Also: CA Guv halts death penalty; Manafort gets 7 years, new charges in NY; Green New Deal already paying off...
Impeachment Off the Table? Again?; Also: The Venezuela Scam: 'BradCast' 3/12/19
Plus: NY AG finally probing Trump bank fraud; Feds finally probing GOP election fraud in NC; Kids plan climate strikes in 90 countries...
'Green News Report' 3/12/19
Teens plan global day of strikes for climate action; Trump's oil/gas lobbyist for Interior; WY coal gets bailout; PLUS: Bernie in 1989 was right about climate coverage in 2018...
NY Reviews Vote System After Computer 'Ballot Stuffing' Flaw: 'BradCast' 3/11/19
Guest: Georgia Tech's Richard DeMillo on similar systems in GA, OH, PA; Also: Trump to slash Medicare in new budget; Bernie's 1987 climate change warnings...
Sunday 'Spring Forward' Toons
You may have lost an hour over the weekend, but PDiddie's latest toon collection may help put a spring back in your step...
54 Yrs After 'Bloody Sunday', Repubs Vow to Block Voting Rights: 'BradCast' 3/7/19
McConnell won't allow Senate vote on HR-1 or VRA fix; Also: Hand-marked paper ballots for PA County!; Cohen sues Trump Org; GOPers re-thinking climate denial...
'Green News Report' 3/7/19
Toxic coal waste in 39 states' water; Plastic in deepest ocean; Former military officials slam Trump on climate; PLUS: Senate Dems go on climate offense...
The 'Shadow Impeachment' of Donald J. Trump: 'BradCast' 3/6/19
Guest: Philly's Will Bunch; Also: Trump blows up federal and foreign trade deficit; House Dems seek vote suppression docs from GA's GOP Guv, Sec. of State...
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: Dr. Micah Kubic of ACLU Florida; Also: Beto on voter suppression; Abrams says she 'won' in GA; U.S. judge blocks oil, gas drilling in WY...
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2019 6:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the fight to vote, particularly in Florida, never seems to end --- even after a huge bi-partisan majority of voters in the state voted to change their Constitution last November to re-enfranchise more than a million of their fellow citizens. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Following decades of post-Civil War Reconstruction/Jim Crow-era lifetime prohibitions on former felons voting in the Sunshine State, voters last fall overwhelmingly adopted Amendment 4 to their state Constitution. The statewide ballot referendum, adopted with nearly 65 percent of the vote, restores full voting rights to former felons who have completed their sentence, including probation and parole. The only exception to the long-overdue landmark measure is for those convicted of murder or felony sexual offenses.

Moreover, the measure --- placed on the ballot after 800,000 signatures were collected across the state by the non-partisan Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, as part of a years-long effort --- was to be self-executing. In other words, as of January 1, 2019, the amendment went into effect, without any supporting legislation necessary. That means as many as 1.5 million former felons, at long last, have begun registering to vote to take part in their own representative democracy, finally ending the state's shameful, decades-long prohibition. This week, however, after introducing a bill on Friday, Republicans in the state legislature have begun speeding a new measure through the GOP-controlled state House of Representatives to add new restrictions on the Constitutional Amendment, limiting which former felons it would apply to and, as critics charge, adding what amounts to an unconstitutional "poll tax" that many former felons would have to pay before being allowed back on the rolls.

The ACLU of Florida derides the new legislation, which was approved in a House sub-committee along party lines on Tuesday, as "an affront to Florida voters", raising "serious constitutional concerns" which "thwart the will of the people and extend far beyond what any reasonable person would conclude the voters intended when they passed Amendment 4".

We're joined today by DR. MICAH W. KUBIC, Executive Director of ACLU Florida, to explain how state Republicans are attempting "to create new barriers and burdens" to the "crystal clear" language of the referendum, which, he notes, the Supreme Court of the State of Florida already approved before it was placed onto the ballot last year. Lawmakers "are changing the process completely, and changing it in a way that had never been used in the state of Florida before," Kubic tells me. "They're rewriting the amendment, they're rewriting the process that has been used throughout Florida, and they're creating a special set of conditions that only apply to ex-offenders that don't apply to anyone else."

"What is important here is to remember the experiences of the 1.4 million people who have been disenfranchised for decades, for generations, in Florida. Who have been told that they are not part of our community, essentially. Because remember, that's what the right to vote is really about --- going in to the ballot box and voting for a Democrat or a Republican or a Libertarian or anyone," Kubic argues. "The right to vote is really a marker of citizenship. It's a marker of who counts and who doesn't, who matters, who doesn't, who is part of the community and who is not."

We discuss with Kubic the way GOP lawmakers are attempting to expand the definition of "sexual offenses", and adding new requirements --- above and beyond fines imposed by judges during sentencing --- that many ex-offenders will simply be unable to pay. Given the national importance of Florida in next year's crucial Presidential election, it may come as little surprise, sadly, that GOP lawmakers are now hoping to undermine even their own voters' approval of last year's landmark ballot measure.

Also on today's program, speaking of next year's elections, a bit of 2020 Democratic primary news. Beto O'Rourke rails against discriminatory Photo ID voting restrictions and other types of voter suppression during a New Hampshire campaign swing. And we discuss the veracity of possible 2020 Presidential candidate and Georgia's former Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams' recently reported assertion that she "did win" her election last November after all, against former vote-suppressing Sec. of State turned Governor Brian Kemp, but "just didn't get to have the job."

Given the widespread voter suppression under Kemp's supervision last year, some 125,000 votes said to be missing entirely (and in disproportionately black neighborhoods) from the Lieutenant Governor's race, and that the state still forces voters to use easily-manipulated, oft-failed 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems at the polling place, Abrams' assertion is far more supportable than some elections experts seem to fully appreciate.

Of course, the ongoing controversy --- and Kemp's questionable legitimacy as the state's new Governor --- underscores our many years of warnings about the use of voting systems that do not allow candidates or the public to ever know who actually won or lost any given election. It's also another teachable moment regarding the alarming fact that even more jurisdictions around the nation --- from California to Texas to Georgia to Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, Kansas, Delaware and beyond --- are now, astonishingly enough, moving to adopt similarly unverifiable computer touchscreen voting systems in advance of the 2020 election!

Finally, we end with what appears to be a bit of very good news, as a federal judge issued a ruling Tuesday night that blocks for now, oil and gas drilling on almost 500 square miles of public lands in Wyoming, after finding the U.S. government unlawfully failed to consider the cumulative effect of climate change causing greenhouse gas emissions in their environmental impact studies when approving oil, gas and coal projects on federal lands. One of the plaintiffs in the case hailed the judge's finding, which may affect other fossil fuel leases on federal lands far beyond Wyoming, as "the Holy Grail ruling we've been after"...

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: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Record flooding in Midwest; Beto, Bernie and Buttigieg; The definitive truth about Daylight Saving Time...
By Brad Friedman on 3/18/2019 6:59pm PT  

We're happy to have the long-overdue return of great legal journalist MARK JOSEPH STERN of Slate on today's BradCast! As usual, we cover a whole bunch of important topics at lightning speed [Audio link to today's show is posted at end of article.]

But first, some quick news headlines on the record flooding of the Missouri River now wreaking havoc, evacuations and several deaths in parts of Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri. Damage has also affected a number of military bases, despite Donald Trump's recent plans to form a "Blue Ribbon Commission" of climate science deniers to rebut military assessments about the serious dangers of climate change posed to national security and military facilities.

Also, some interesting background info today on 2020 Democratic Presidential primary candidate Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend, Indiana as well as his position on climate change and the Green New Deal. And, some news today that recently-declared 2020 Presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke raised a jaw-dropping $6.1 million in the first 24 hours after entering the race last week, exceeding Bernie Sanders' previous record haul of $5.9 million a few weeks earlier. Both candidates blew away all other current Democratic contenders so far with those numbers --- for what it's worth.

Then, we're joined by Stern to catch up on a boatload noteworthy legal issues moving through the federal and state court systems. Among them...

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, late last week, upheld lower court rulings ordering a State Senate district in Mississippi found to have been a racial gerrymander to be redrawn before the state's off-year 2019 elections. That, as the U.S. Supreme Court today heard a confusing oral argument regarding 11 racially gerrymandering districts in Virginia, where lower courts have already ordered new maps to be drawn in advance of 2019 state legislative elections likely to determine whether Democrats regain majorities in either or both chambers of the state legislature.

And all of that comes in advance of a SCOTUS hearing next week regarding partisan gerrymanders in several others states before the 2020 elections, when control of both Congress and many state legislatures will be up for grabs before the redistricting that will follow the 2020 Census to help determine balances of power in all 50 states and Congress for the next decade.

Stern describes all of this as the nation finding itself in the middle of an all-out "gerrymandering brawl...a kind of legal convulsion over how much our lawmakers can draw partisan district lines to swing elections in their favor." He cautions that racial gerrymanders --- long ago found to be unconstitutional --- may not be found as such anymore in the GOP's new, stolen Court. And that the question of partisan gerrymandering, which Justice Anthony Kennedy could have ended before retiring, is now a complete unknown. "The whole thing is upside-down, inside-out," he tells me, warning to "be afraid. Be very afraid" of Justice Clarence Thomas' varying and bizarre "back and forth" positions on these matters.

Stern offers slightly better news for us regarding the last-ditch appeal of a previously blocked law created by disgraced GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach, the former Sec. of State of Kansas and failed 2018 Republican Gubernatorial candidate. That law, repeatedly found by lower courts to be unconstitutional, had blocked tens of thousands of legal Kansas voters from being able to register to vote without presenting proof of citizenship first. All, as the trial court judge found in 2016, to prevent what amounted to 11 votes by non-citizens cast between 1999 and 2013 out of tens of millions of votes cast by the state's 1.76 million registered voters.

Meanwhile, in Connecticut late last week, the state's Supreme Court made what Stern describes as a "stunning" ruling in a suit brought by parents of children killed in the 2012 gun massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The case is filed against gun manufacturer Remington, makers of the Bushmaster AR-15 style weapon used to gun down 20 school kids and 6 adults. The court held, as Stern explains, that plaintiffs may move forward with their suit against the company, despite a unique federal law that otherwise grants completely immunity to gun manufacturers for the use of their deadly products. The suit is being brought under a state statute which, plaintiffs argue, allows them to sue Remington for irresponsibly dangerous advertising of the Bushmaster rifle. The state high court's ruling will now allow the case to continue and for plaintiffs' important discovery access to internal communications by the manufacturer, the gun industry and its advertising firms.

We also discuss a recent disturbing ruling from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on an Ohio state GOP law that blocks all funding to Planned Parenthood. Stern describes the ruling as a foreboding omen for what he sees as the likely full dismantling of Roe v. Wade at SCOTUS, already under way, he charges, by "a thousand cuts" at the lower court level in several states where Trump appointees are quickly filling vacancies on federal benches.

And, finally, the most important issue of all today (obviously): "The evils of Standard Time", the awesomeness of Daylight Saving Time, and those who are completely wrong in hating it, as well as the many, as Stern recently reported, who do not seem to even have an understanding of what it is! (Versus Standard Time that actually ruins everybody's lives for months on end by keeping us all in dangerous and debilitating darkness all winter long!)...

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

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McConnell won't allow Senate vote on HR-1 or restoration of Voting Rights Act; Also: Hand-marked paper ballots for PA County; Cohen sues Trump Org; Brown won't run in 2020; GOPers re-thinking climate denial...
By Brad Friedman on 3/7/2019 6:18pm PT  

54 years to the day after the Bloody Sunday march in Selma, Alabama led to the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, and nearly 6 years following the rightwing U.S. Supreme Court's gutting of the VRA's most crucial provision, Republicans in Congress are still both blocking its restoration and working to prevent the Democrats' newly introduced and much-needed effort to expand voting rights. That's just one of a number of outrages on today's BradCast, otherwise brought to you with no small measures of hope to counter-balance the outrages. [Audio link to today's complete show is posted below.]

Among the stories covered on today's program...

  • Michael Cohen is suing the Trump Organization for at least $1.9 million dollars to cover his legal expenses which they had apparently promised to pay --- at least until Cohen began cooperating with federal investigators.
  • Another worthy Democratic Senator, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, announces he will not seek the Democratic nomination in 2020. He joins Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Attorney General Eric Holder and (for the most part) Hillary Clinton who all declared this week that they will not be seeking the Presidency this year.
  • Some good news for voters out of the Republican-leaning Butler County, Pennsylvania. Officials there have decided to dump their 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems in favor of hand-marked paper ballots. The local news report of this common sense measure in at least this one corner of the important swing-state is somewhat of a hoot, as we share on today's program.
  • Meanwhile, back in Congress, House Democrats will soon be holding a vote on HR-1, the "For the People Act", a massive elections and ethics measure which, among things things, calls for automatic universal voter registration; the expansion of early voting; an end to mass voter purges; independent redistricting commissions to avoid partisan gerrymandering; allows every voter in America to cast their vote on a hand-marked paper ballot; endorses D.C. statehood; requires disclosure of funders to dark money groups; and requires Presidential candidates to release their tax returns. Naturally, Republicans oppose the measure, and Mitch McConnell vows to not allow it to see the light of day in the U.S. Senate, even if it passes in the U.S. House as expected.
  • Similarly, Democrats in the House and Senate have introduced the Voting Rights Advancement Act, a bill to restore Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, by reinstating the requirement for the federal government to pre-approve new election-related laws in jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination at the polls. Naturally, Republicans oppose the measure, and Mitch McConnell vows to not allow it to see the light of day in the U.S. Senate, even if it passes in the U.S. House as expected.
  • Next, there is some curious movement in the Republican Congressional caucus in regard to climate change. Clearly reading the writing on the wall, as the public overwhelmingly not only believes in global warming but is becoming increasingly concerned about it, longtime GOP science deniers in both the House and Senate are finally admitting that man-made greenhouse gas emissions are the cause of it. The recent introduction of the wildly popular Green New Deal by Democrats --- a sweeping effort to move the nation to 100% carbon-neutral energy sources and provide millions of jobs over the next ten years --- is another reason Republicans are now acknowledging they must do something about climate change, if only for appearances. We discuss what could be a sea-change (or not) in this long, existential battle today.
  • Finally, on related matters, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with disturbing news on toxic coal ash waste found in groundwater in 39 states, plastic pollution found in the deepest parts of the ocean, former military officials slamming the Trump Administration over their climate change denial, and Democrats vowing --- as they now are with elections and voting rights, as well --- to go on the offensive in the U.S. Senate...

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

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Guest: Will Bunch of Philly Inquirer/Daily News; Also: Trump blows up both federal deficit AND foreign trade deficit; House Dems seek vote suppression docs from GA's GOP Governor, Sec. of State...
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2019 6:39pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the heat continues to grow on the Trump Administration, as Democrats ramp up their oversight efforts after taking back a majority in the U.S. House. But, with another Presidential election around the corner, should they already be pursuing Articles of Impeachment, particularly with what we already know about Donald Trump's unprecedented crimes and corruption both before and after becoming President? [Audio link to full show follows below.]

But, first up today...A new report from Donald Trump's U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday confirms that the Trump/GOP tax cuts have blown up the federal deficit to record levels. In the first four months of the budget year (which began in October) the deficit is up an astonishing 77 percent over the same period the previous year, thanks in no small part to a vast reduction in revenue on the heels of the tax cut, including a 23 percent drop in corporate taxes paid to the Government compared to last year. So much for the Republican repeated lie that their tax cuts would "pay for themselves!"

Then, on Wednesday, the Commerce Department followed up that news with the announcement that the foreign trade deficit has exploded, even after Trump's "American First" tariffs and trade wars that were supposed to shrink the imbalance with foreign nations that Trump has long (falsely) blamed for the loss of American manufacturing jobs. As a candidate, he described the U.S. foreign trade deficit as a "politician-made disaster" that he said he could "turn around fast". But his tariffs have only made things worse.

Moreover, as recently as this past weekend at CPAC, he repeated his line about "billions of dollars...pouring into our Treasury" due to his new tariffs on imported goods, but failed, as usual, to mention that those "billions" are paid by American consumers, not foreign nations. A recent study [PDF] found Americans are footing the entire bill for Trump's tariffs and that it is costing more for those in Republican-leaning counties. A separate study [PDF] from a different set of economists found that if Trump's tariffs somehow resulted in the creation of 35,000 new manufacturing jobs (the total number of jobs lost in the steel and aluminum industry over the past decade) they would still have cost tax-payers $195,000 per job.

Those, of course, are just some of Trump's failures as President. His high crimes and misdemeanors are another matter. With Democrats back in the majority in the U.S. House, oversight of the Executive Branch is finally beginning again. Trump and the White House and their TV operation called Fox "News", describe the Constitutional mandate oversight as a "fishing expedition", a "disgrace" and "PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!" But, citing the House Judiciary Committee's request for documents from over 80 Trump associates or entities this week, our guest today, longtime Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News national columnist WILL BUNCH, describes the effort as a "shadow impeachment".

He tells me the effort now underway in the House is "exactly like" the process we would see if Articles of Impeachment had already been introduced, but without Democrats having to use "the i-word". But will that process be enough to bring accountability, much less put the brakes on this out-of-control, unprecedentedly corrupt Presidency? Especially with the next Presidential election already baring down on us? A "shadow impeachment" that could become a real one is fine, but shouldn't we have a real one already? We discuss those questions and many others with Bunch on today's program.

Finally, speaking of long-overdue and much-needed federal oversight. Democratic leadership in the House Oversight and Reform Committee today sent letters [PDF] to Georgia's new Republican Governor and former Sec. of State Brian Kemp, along with new Sec. of State Brad Raffensberger, seeking documents surrounding the massive vote suppression that tainted Kemp's reported narrow victory in the Governor's contest over Democrat Stacey Abrams last November. Among the documents sought by the House Dems in their new investigation are those related to Peach State government actions to purge voters (1.4 million were removed from the rolls during Kemp's tenure as SoS), shut down polling places (200 have been closed since 2012); keep newly-registered voters off the rolls (the registrations of 53,000 disproportionately black voters were suspended under the state's so-called "exact match" requirement); the "sequestration" of un-deployed voting machines (which resulted in long lines on Election Day in three key counties); and other related concerns over which Kemp was sued (and lost) countless times while overseeing his own election last year.

All of that as both Kemp and Raffensberger are pushing hard this week to hoax state lawmakers into voting to spend at least $150 million on new, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems. Republicans are rushing through legislation this week in the state Senate to purchase the new computer-marked "paper ballot" systems, despite being virulently opposed by computer cybersecurity and voting machine experts who describe the new systems as unverifiable [PDF], unauditable [PDF] and vulnerable to hacking [PDF]. The experts recommend hand-marked paper ballot systems instead.

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

* * *
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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MONTHLY BRAD BLOG SUBSCRIPTION
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Choose monthly amount...


(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)




Repubs have no defense against Trump felonies alleged by Cohen; Hanoi Summit collapses with no deal; Netanyahu faces indictments; NC-9 GOP election fraud arrests; Judge blocks TX 'non-citizen' voter purge...
By Brad Friedman on 2/28/2019 6:39pm PT  

It's happening way too slowly. But, if you haven't noticed --- it's unclear whether Republicans have yet --- their "strategy" of simply ignoring and denying very real problems, from a wildly failed and corrupt Presidency to Earth's climate now on the brink of disaster, is no longer working. You can only ignore and deny and delay for so long before things just fall apart. It's a theme that comes up in a number of stories on today's BradCast. [Audio link to show posted below.]

Among the stories we cover today...

  • Fallout continues from Wednesday's bombshell Michael Cohen's testimony in the U.S. House Oversight Committee. According to conservative WaPo columnist Max Boot, evidence of at least five felony crimes by the President of the United States was offered under oath by Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer. Yet, Republicans don't seem to have a clue, according to Rightwing former NJ Governor Chris Christie, how to substantively respond. Describing it as a "fake hearing", as Trump did and hoping to tar Cohen as a "liar" only gets ya so far, particularly since Cohen already pleaded guilty to lying to Congress --- on behalf of Donald Trump! --- and is soon going to prison for it. His life would only gets worse if he lied to Congress again. So why would he? On the other hand, Trump has yet to face consequences for his unprecedented lies, cover-ups and felony crimes both before and after becoming President;
  • Speaking of Trump and lies, his second Summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam abruptly collapsed on Thursday, ending early with no deal and no agreement signed as planned. Trump claims it was because the North insisted the U.S. lift all sanctions in exchange for the closure of its main nuclear site. The North claims Trump is lying. Who to believe? It should also be noted that Trump, the self-described great deal maker, continues to fail to make virtually any deals at all with anybody over the two years of his woeful if tumultuous Presidency.

    He also failed, once again, to condemn North Korea's brutal and atrocious human rights record, and even publicly sided with Kim over U.S. intelligence agencies (yet again), this time regarding the death of 22-year old American student Otto Warmbier after his imprisonment there. Trump said Kim told him he knew nothing about Warmbier's death and "take[s] him at his word" on that. But, as long as the unbalanced Trump still believes he's friends with Kim, we'll take that over the "fire and fury like the world has never seen" that 2017 Donald Trump had been promising when he threatened to wipe North Korea off the map;

  • Also today, in Israel, recommendations for felony indictments were announced by the Attorney General after a two year investigation of the dishonest, corrupt, Trump-supported, right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is currently facing a tough upcoming election. Despite the corruption allegations, Netanyahu says he won't step down as PM amidst what he describes as an "unprecedented witch hunt" by "the left". (Sound familiar?);
  • Meanwhile, on Wednesday, while Cohen was testifying to Congress, McCrae Dowless and a number of his accomplices were arrested in North Carolina on charges related to absentee ballot election fraud on behalf of Republicans in the state. The long overdue accountability comes on the heels of last week's State Board of Elections hearing and unanimous vote for a new election in NC's 9th Congressional District. That, after Republican candidate and Baptist minister Mark Harris hired Dowless to run his absentee ballot campaign last year and lied about his knowledge of Dowless' tactics. The District Attorney who indicted Dowless and friends says more charges for "others", regarding the November 2018 general election, could be coming. Harris may want to do some heavy praying. The Board of Elections meets Monday to determine a date for the new election to fill the still-vacant U.S. House seat tainted by GOP fraud last year. Democrat Dan McCready says he plans to run again. The disgraced Harris says he won't;
  • And, more good news for voters on Wednesday, this time in Texas. A federal judge has ruled the state may not purge as many as 98,000 voters from the rolls after Secretary of State David Whitley and (criminally indicted) Attorney General Ken Paxton declared them to be non-citizens fraudulently registered to vote in the state. As became apparent just hours after Paxton announced Whitley's flawed list in a "VOTER FRAUD ALERT!", tens of thousands of those listed were revealed to have been citizens after all. That didn't prevent Trump from tweeting out the fake news as "just the tip of the iceberg", in order to falsely declare that "voter fraud is rampant". But it has now earned a reprimand from a federal court and will likely block Whitley's state Senate confirmation as SoS, if Democrats in the chamber keep their vow to block Governor Greg Abbott's former aide turned nominee. The federal judge found that just 80 of the 98,000 names were actually non-citizens;
  • Finally today, with the GOP's long-held Ignore and Deny strategy also falling apart on man-made climate change, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with news on that and much more, including some good news for solar power in Arizona for a pleasant change...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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

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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...

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

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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...

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

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