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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, October 24, 2017
'Worse by the Day':
Puerto Rico's Struggle,
U.S. Nuclear War Footing: 'BradCast' 10/23/17
Guest: Former PR Power Commish Ramon Cruz on the power crisis, arriving 'vultures'...
Sunday 'What We Signed Up For' Toons
The cartoonists in PDiddie's latest weekly collection observe that many of us got much more than we signed up for...
Real News from the Land of Reality: 'BradCast' 10/20/17
And a thought or two on the toxic poison injected this week into our body politic by the President of the United States...
Trump's Reckless Disregard for Puerto Rican Lives is an Impeachable Offense
Ernest Canning makes the case for adding the President's woeful, deadly response in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria to the list...
Trump's Schizophrenia, Congress' Fresh 'Health Care Hell': 'BradCast' 10/19/17
Guest: TPM's Alice Ollstein from Capitol Hill; Also: Trump meets with P.R. Guv, gives himself a '10' on Maria response!...
'Green News Report' 10/17/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Alaska's ANWR on chopping block, again; Toxic ash from CA wildfires; US Virgin Islands w/o power, clean water; PLUS: Shell opens e-car charging network at gas stations -- in Britain...
Previous GNRs: 10/12/17 - 10/10/17 - Archives...
DHS Misled on 2016 'Russian Hacks'
(Will They Get It Right in 2018?):
'BradCast' 10/18/17
Guest: Orange Cnty, CA Registrar Neal Kelley on new DHS 'Election Infrastructure' Council...
Impeachable Offenses: Trump's 'ObamaCare' Lie: 'BradCast' 10/17/17
Also, Guest: Pastor Michael McBride on the 'Cost for Peace vs. Death' and programs that stop gun violence...
'Green News Report' 10/17/17
Hurricane slams Ireland; Deadliest fire week in CA history; Puerto Ricans drinking water from toxic Superfund sites; Coal plants closed in TX; PLUS: Oil rig explodes in LA...
Something's Happening Here (Maybe): 'BradCast' 10/16/17
Guest: Heather Digby Parton on Trump rage, GOP 'cowardice'; Also: Deadly hurricane in Ireland(?!), fires in CA, war between US-armed allies in Iraq...
Sunday 'Just Undo It' Toons
'PDiddie' rounds up another week in American politics where words fail, but the political cartoonists do not...
'Chaos': 'BradCast' 10/13/2017
In less than 24 hours, Trump aggressively unleashes fresh havoc on the American health care system and foreign policy with Iran...
'Green News Report' 10/12/17
Historic, deadly firestorms grow in CA; Water-borne diseases in Puerto Rico; PLUS: Trump EPA makes way for controversial mine in world's most valuable fishery...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
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: VOA White House Bureau Chief and 26-year East Asia correspondent Steve Herman; Also: DoJ flips in key voting rights case; Trump continues to ignore terror attack on MN mosque...
By Brad Friedman on 8/10/2017 6:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the fire, fury, and potentially deadly bluster continues. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Donald Trump re-upped and doubled-down on his recent threats to bring "fire and fury like the world has never seen before" against North Korea, telling reporters at his golf club in New Jersey on Thursday that "maybe that statement wasn't tough enough."

His original threat earlier this week was in response to North Korea's threats against the U.S., after the United Nation's security council voted unanimously for new sanctions against the isolated nation. And, in response, North Korea's military offered an unusually detailed plan to fire a salvo of missiles at Guam, a U.S. territory and home to several U.S. military bases.

We're joined to discuss the still-increasing tensions between the two nuclear powers by VOA's White House Bureau Chief STEVE HERMAN, who returned to report stateside earlier this year after serving as a correspondent and bureau chief in east Asia for more than 25 years.

When he last joined us in April, during the last round of threats between NK and the U.S., the always-remarkably level-headed Herman offered a tip, as a veteran journalist in the region, as to how to assess whether or not NK was bluffing with their public statements. We find out whether the new round of threats from NK's military is now finally cause for legitimate concern, and whether Trump's own bellicose threats --- and the potential for a preemptive U.S. strike --- pose an even greater threat to stability in the region.

Herman also offers some criticism of the U.S. commercial broadcast coverage on this issue, details the divides over the matter within the Trump Administration itself, discusses what North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may actually be seeking here, how big the stakes are for all sides in "this ultimate poker game", and confirms that, despite the increasingly heated rhetoric from both sides, back-channel diplomacy is still ongoing and may ultimately help to avoid what otherwise appears to be a deadly collision course.

He also offers a thought or two on which has been more difficult to cover, the whole of East Asia during his time overseas, or the Trump Administration now that he's reporting from the White House.

Also today: Political appointees (not career civil rights officials) file legal documents to flip the DoJ's previous position in a crucial voting rights case scheduled to be heard this fall by the U.S. Supreme Court. And, nearly a week has gone by without Donald Trump saying or tweeting a word about last weekend's terror bombing of a mosque in Minnesota...

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: Zina Merritt, Govt. Accountability Office Director on 'a systematic breakdown in the controls at every level' | Also: Keystone XL may be dead after all; EPA loses in court; Kobach's 'bizarre' appeal motion; more...
By Brad Friedman on 8/1/2017 5:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast, a stunning story of remarkably lax Department of Defense oversight of lethal weaponry given away for free to state and local law enforcement agencies, and the government office which discovered the horrifying failure. [Audio link to complete show follows below.]

But, before and after that story, a few more sordid tales of government dysfunction, including: The U.S. Senate confirmation of a new FBI Director; Keystone XL pipeline may never get built after all; EPA loses in court attempting to roll back methane regulation; Earth is in very very big trouble (or, at least those of us who live on it are); GOP "voter fraud" fraudster and federal court scofflaw Kris Kobach's latest "bizarre" court appeal to avoid an under-oath deposition; and fired White House Comms Director Anthony Scaramucci's terrible week gets even worse.

As to our main story today: The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently set up a phony law enforcement agency website and was able to use it to obtain over one million dollars worth of military-grade equipment and weaponry via the Pentagon's so-called 1033 program. The Department of Defense program offers everything from surplus mine-resistant armored vehicles, to high-powered assault weaponry and even helicopters and airplanes to state and local law enforcement agencies --- for free. The program, as of 2014, had doled out more than $5 billion in such equipment.

We're joined today by ZINA MERRITT, who, as Director of Defense Capabilities and Management at the GAO, helped create the disturbingly successful sting operation and the accompanying report on what happened, including recommendations to keep it from happening again. She also testified before Congress about all of this last week. The DoD's controversial 1033 program gained notoriety in 2014, during the protests in Ferguson, MO, when St. Louis County's police force rolled out tactical military gear and weaponry in response.

Merritt explains how the sting --- which netted "over 100 controlled items with an estimated value of $1.2 million, including night-vision goggles, simulated rifles, and simulated pipe bombs" --- was carried out, and what she describes as the "systematic breakdown in the controls at every level." The GAO had been tasked by Congress, during reforms to the program instituted under Obama, to probe the DoD unit where fake law enforcement officials were able to obtain real gear with a fake website and fake IDs (which weren't even checked at several of the warehouses when they picked up what could have been lethal equipment. Good thing they weren't attempting to vote!)

"We submitted [the application] online, and all you had to have, in order to do that, was a website as well as a point of contact, a physical location, and actual names --- points of contact --- within the agency. Also, you had to identify how many particular sworn officials that you have as a part of your agency. So we created all of that and submitted it," Merritt tells me, explaining that apparently none of it was actually verified by the DoD. "The actual physical location that we provided was an empty lot," she says.

Merritt also explains the recent reforms that have been made to the program, via Executive Order by Obama in 2016 (grenade launchers, for example, are no longer available, even though the Los Angeles Unified School District had obtained several prior to those reforms!), the several recommendations the GAO has now made to correct the startling security gaps in the program revealed by the sting operation, and whether "bad guys" may have already pulled off what the GAO has now discovered was easily done.

We also discuss how the 1033 program could be changed again by Trump, and whether the GAO --- an agency controlled by the U.S. Congress --- is facing changes under the new Administration...

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: Dr. David Jefferson of Livermore National Laboratory and Verified Voting | Also: 'The Mooch' is fired, and the health care wars continue...
By Brad Friedman on 7/31/2017 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast: How hackers in Las Vegas over the weekend confirmed what we've been yelling and screaming about for nearly 15 years. Namely, every single computer voting, tabulation and registration system used in the U.S. is absurdly vulnerable to manipulation that would likely go undetected unless hand-marked paper ballots exist and are actually counted, by hand, by human beings. [Audio link to full show posted below at end of article.]

At the annual hackers convention in Vegas known as DefCon, thirty voting system computers (both voting machines and electronic pollbooks) were made available to attendees to crack at will! And, boy howdy, did they! Every single system was reportedly compromised in some fashion by the end of the weekend --- several of them fell within just minutes of opening DefCon's so-called "Voting Machine Hacking Village".

We're joined today for some of the amazing details on what happened in Vegas (in hopes that it doesn't just stay there!) by DR. DAVID JEFFERSON, a longtime computer scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Chair of the Board of Directors at VerifiedVoting.org. Jefferson, who has a been a pioneer in the field of voting system security for some 20 years, serving as an advisor to five successive Secretaries of State in California (both Republican and Democratic) also presented at the wildly popular DefCon "Voting Village".

"It was a wild time, I have to tell ya. This hacking village was set up --- really, in just six weeks it came together --- and in that short a time, they managed to gather all these voting machines," he says. It was quite a contrast from the "cloak and dagger" days when folks like us had to obtain voting machines from secret sources to share with independent investigators in order to have any kind of independent analysis of system vulnerabilities.

"That room was just crowded from morning to night," Jefferson says, describing the room at DefCon. "And the amazing thing is that all of those successful hacks, these were by people who, most of them, had never seen a voting machine before, and certainly not the system sitting in front of them, and they had not met each other before. They didn't come with a full set of tools that were tailored toward attacking these machines. They just started with a piece of hardware in front of them and their own laptops and ingenuity, attacking the various systems. And it was amazing how quickly they did it!"

Jefferson tells me, after all of these years, he is now seeing a major difference among the public, as well as election and elected officials (a number of whom were also in attendance), regarding the decades-long concerns by experts about electronic voting, tabulation and registration systems.

"I am seeing a kind of sea change here. For the first time, I am sensing that election officials, and the Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI, and the intelligence community, and Congress, and the press, are suddenly, after the 2016 election experience, receptive to our message that these systems are extremely vulnerable and it's a serious national security issue. As you know, in a democracy, the legitimacy of government depends on free and fair and secure elections. And people are beginning to realize that we haven't had those for a long time."

He explains how hacking methods attributed by many to Russians following the 2016 elections "are the same methods that anyone on Earth could use --- insiders, criminal syndicates, nation-states other than Russia, as well, or our own political partisans. The fear, of course, is that these hacking attempts will be totally undetectable. But even if they are detectable, it's difficult often to determine who did it, whether it's an insider, or a domestic partisan, or some foreign organization."

He also confirms what I've been trying to point out since the 2016 election, that despite officials continuously claiming that no voting results were changed by anyone, be it Russia or anybody else, "they cannot know that. They simply can't know. Certainly in those states where there are no paper ballots, such as in Georgia, for example, it's impossible for them to know. And even in states where there are, if they don't go back and either recount the paper ballots, or at least recount a random sample of them, no, they can't know either."

"Election officials have fooled themselves into believing the claims of their [private voting machine] vendors that the systems are secure from all kinds of attack. And it's just never been true," Jefferson argues.

But will the weekend's short order hacks of every voting system presented at DefCon actually help the U.S. to finally move toward systems that are overseeable by the public? And what does that mean, exactly? Is replacing old computer election systems --- many of which still run on no-longer-supported software like Windows 2000 --- with new ones the answer? Are paper ballots, which voting systems experts call for, enough? Particularly given that we saw, after the 2016 election, how it's nearly impossible, even for a Presidential candidate, to see those ballots publicly hand-counted ("Democracy's Gold Standard") in order to confirm results?

"We have to change the way we think about securing elections. Instead of trying to harden the voting systems themselves against all forms of attack --- I think that is going to be a hopeless task for as far into the future as computer scientists can see. Instead of hardening those systems themselves, we need to design systems so that after the election is over we can verify that the results were correct. And then if they're not, we have to be able to change the results accordingly. So the emphasis is on detection and correction, not prevention."

I hash all of that out and much more with my friend Dr. Jefferson today, who also details DefCon's plans to make the "Voting Village" a permanent fixture of its annual convention, which just spectacularly wrapped up its 25th year.

Also on today's show: Trump fires his incoming White House Communications Director Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci before he even officially begins in his new role, and the mop-up from last week's health care repeal disaster for Republicans in the Senate continues, as the White House demands the U.S. Senate vote on nothing else until they can vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, despite a new poll finding Americans want Congress to move on, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders vowing to introduce a single-payer healthcare bill in the U.S. Senate...

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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Intra-party Republican disarray over health care repeal, Trump's trans ban, threats to replace AG, more | GUEST: Former Acting CBO Director Donald Marron on why GOP plan to gut the agency is 'a terrible idea'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/27/2017 6:51pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Trump's White House and the GOP Senate devolve into utter chaos. And a former CBO director joins us to explain why the Congressional Budget Office is so important. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Both Congress and the White House are, figuratively, exploding today, with unprecedented, intra-party, public food fights and disarray among Republicans that now seems to be breaking out in virtually every direction --- inside the U.S. Senate, inside the Trump Administration, not to mention between Congress and a number of Executive Branch agencies.

The U.S. Senate is in disarray as they try to pass a "skinny repeal" to the Affordable Care Act, a last gasp effort to pass something, anything, to call a "win" in the 7-year effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare. But a number of Senators are concerned that the effort which guts the requirement for individuals to buy health insurance, could be adopted as is in the U.S. House, sending premiums skyrocketing and the insurance market into a death spiral.

The White House is in disarray as Administration officials face down bipartisan outrage over Trump's surprise military transgender ban. Turns out, as we've since learned, he was actually trying to save funding for his border wall with Mexico (and other priorities) in exchange for spiking medical funding for trans members of the military, when he shocked lawmakers by announcing a complete ban, which is much more than those Rightwing Congressmembers had actually been lobbying for.

And, of course, there's the disarray that spans between a number of Executive agencies, the White House and Congress, as Senators hope to avert a full-blown Constitutional crisis by attempting to block Trump from firing his own Attorney General and appointing a replacement without Senate confirmation during the upcoming recess. And the Secretary of the Department of Interior threatens members of the Senate on behalf of the President, for not voting as the White House wishes on repealing health care for millions of Americans. Yes, the Secretary is actually threatening to protect the environment if the Senators don't play ball!

All of that without even delving into the wildly bizarre intra-White House disarray between Trump's new Communications Director and his own Chief of Staff!

Then we're joined by a former Acting Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) DONALD MARRON, now a Fellow with the Urban Institute, to discuss the recent attacks by Republicans on the office responsible for scoring legislation like health care reform. Such analyses by the CBO help to let both Congress and the American public know how much such schemes will cost in both tax-payer dollars and Americans losing access to health care.

Marron, who also served as Chief Economist on the President's Council of Economic Advisers under George W. Bush, says the recent attempts by the Congressional Freedom Caucus to gut the CBO and have the office's work replaced by outside private research institutions is "a terrible idea". He explains why, what the CBO actually does for Congress and the American people --- such as scoring some 600 pieces of legislation a year and privately advising members as they develop bills --- that most are not familiar with, and how the office was formed out of the budget battles during the Nixon years.

"The folks at CBO are accustomed to some background level of being beaten up on --- just as umpires and referees are used to it," Marron tells me, but "the level of enmity towards CBO by some circles today is quite extreme." He goes on to detail why outside groups --- his own Urban Institute was cited by the Freedom Caucus as one of those which could help replace the CBO --- cannot take the place of the Congressional agency. "If you're going to run an intelligent Congressional budget process, Congress really ought to have its own agency, producing its own numbers, that works directly for Congress, is part of Congress, and responds to the needs of Congress in ways that outside groups simply can't," he explains.

He also responds to critiques that CBO analyses have been inaccurate in the past and that the office, currently headed up by a conservative Republican appointed by a Republican Congress, is biased against Republican proposals. "From my point of view, the Congressional Budget Office is a real jewel in our government. It is a wonderful agency, filled with non-partisan professional staff whose job it is to give their best read to members of Congress about what the budget and economic implications will be of proposed policy."

Finally, as today's show closes, the U.S. Senate adopts a new sanctions package against Russia, Iran and North Korea, which now heads to the White House for the President's signature...or veto. And Kris Kobach, the GOP "voter fraud" fraudster heading up Trump's so-called "Election Integrity" Commission has court sanctions upheld against him, and receives another smack-down from another federal judge for having 'demonstrat[ed] a pattern' of 'deceptive conduct' and 'patently misleading representations' in the ACLU's lawsuit against his proof-of-citizenship voter registration restrictions as Kansas Sec. of State...

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: Legal analyst Ernest A. Canning...
By Brad Friedman on 7/20/2017 6:36pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We may be quickly heading towards a very troubling Constitutional crisis and what will it take for voters (and corporate media!) to appreciate the dangers posed by our absurd voting systems in the U.S.? [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

President Donald Trump offers some astounding revelations regarding his thoughts about firing the nation's top law enforcement officials (the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General, the Acting FBI Director and the Special Counsel investigating Team Trump) during a rare interview with the New York Times. He also suggests he believes he can restructure the Dept. of Justice so that the FBI Director reports directly to the President, rather than the Dept. of Justice. The breathtaking admissions in the interview leads at least one former top Justice Department official under Obama to predict that "we are headed for a massive clash....I don't see how we get past this without him firing either [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller or other people at the Justice Department and a massive, massive crisis."

As disturbing and important as Trump's revelations are, the Times' reporters, Peter Baker, Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman, utterly failed to ask any substantive questions about the President's positions on and understanding of the various ongoing Republican schemes to repeal ObamaCare. That, despite each of the GOP's proposed plans for doing so predicted by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office to result in anywhere from 22 million to 32 million Americans losing access to health care coverage.

Instead, the reporters focused only on process questions surrounding the political difficulty of enacting health care repeal, rather than the untold suffering and damage it will cause and Trump's own wildly conflicting advocacy for such proposals. They even ignored the fact that the transcript of the interview appears to suggest he does not even know the difference between health insurance and life insurance!

All of that, as former Presidential candidate and Vietnam War torture victim, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer and Senate GOP leadership is reported to be desperately promising to spend some $200 billion in hopes of buying votes for their health care repeal schemes from so-called moderate Republicans in the U.S. Senate.

Then, we're joined by BRAD BLOG legal analyst ERNIE CANNING, to discuss his analysis of the multi-partisan lawsuit recently filed in Georgia contesting the surprising and 100% unverifiable results of the June 20 U.S. House Special Election in the 6th Congressional District and his rather gob-smacking article on the massive security breaches before the election and the more-than-a-decade of disturbing revelations from computer scientists and whistleblowers alike about the Diebold touch-screen voting systems still forced on voters in the Peach State.

Moreover, he tells me about an Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter who recently dismissed his concerns about her reporting on GA Sec. of State Brian Kemp's comments that there was no evidence to suggest any election results in the state, including the recent GA-06 race, were inaccurate, or that any manipulation, hacking or programming error occurred. "Well, that's true," says Canning, "but you can't prove that the actual count is valid, either. There's no scientific way to do it. The only one that would really know if it was rigged would be somebody who actually took part in the rigging of the vote."

"You have all this coverage everyday with MSNBC about potential Russian hacks," he continues, "and yet nobody there bothers to talk about the fact that these systems are vulnerable to anybody, whether it be Russia or anybody else, and that there's no way to know whether the votes have been altered."

So, what will it take for Americans --- Republicans and Democrats alike --- to understand the on-going threat to democracy posed by both 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems and by paper ballot systems that are tallied by easily-manipulated, oft-failed computer tabulators? What will it take, for that matter, for the corporate media (including Georgia's largest newspaper!) to understand it as well?

We discuss all of that and much more today, including the Texas County that is finally returning to paper ballots after a disaster in November, and the decision by Israel to stick with hand-counted paper ballots in light of recent election hacks around the world...

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




Plus: 2016 election hack attempts even worse than previously known, Kobach voter fraud commission's suppression efforts already a success...
By Brad Friedman on 7/18/2017 6:34pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans' attempt to govern continue to fall apart. Also, the assault on our nation's elections continue as well, both from without and within. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

After new defections by two more GOP Senators late Monday night led to the stunning collapse of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's latest attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare"), his subsequent plan, to repeal ObamaCare now and replace it later, also collapsed within hours, after the number of Republican Senators needed to kill the measure almost immediately vowed to vote against it. Cue Donald Trump's blame game, avoidance of responsibility and lies about the entire matter.

So what's next on the Republican agenda? A budget resolution must be passed to avoid a Government shutdown by the end of September and a major tax cut effort has long been promised. Evidence suggests both items may run into a similar inability of Congressional Republicans to even agree amongst themselves. Such is the danger of radicalized, illegitimate political enterprises. They may work for winning elections, but not so much when it comes to actually governing.

Also today: New and startling revelations (even to me) of hundreds of thousands of attempts to hack South Carolina's general election system last November offer a dark omen and yet another much-needed reminder regarding election systems in the rest of the country, as well as the need for the public to be able to oversee results; Thousands of legitimate Colorado voters un-register in response to the massive data request for private information by Trump's "Election Integrity" Commission headed up by "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach; and new details about the hack last year of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission --- the federal agency tasked with overseeing electronic voting and tabulation systems in the U.S. --- highlight, yet again, why it's so disturbing that the GOP is attempting to shut down the agency entirely. (No matter how many times over the past decade The BRAD BLOG has found the EAC to be both corrupt and a failure.)

Finally: Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with huge wildfires in Canada, Trump giving away more tax-payer dollars to fossil fuel companies and much more...including, yes, some heroic nuns and a small, disorganized Tropical Storm named Don...

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

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The Peach State faces yet another contested election following more than a decade of election failures, vulnerabilities and repeated warnings...
UPDATE: Georgia will strip Kennesaw State Univ. of its election system programming and testing responsibilities...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/14/2017 8:38am PT  

"I worry that what we have here in Georgia is the Titanic Effect," Georgia Tech Computer Scientist Richard DeMillo observed, regarding the myriad security issues revealed during the course of last month's U.S. House Special Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District.

"Georgia officials are convinced the state's election system cannot be breached. Shades of the 'unsinkable ship'. They have neglected to give us life boats...a fail-safe system designed so that in case of a catastrophe Georgia voters can easily verify that reported vote totals match voter intent. It is the sort of common-sense approach that first-year engineering students learn. Other states have that capability. Inexplicably, Georgia does not," DeMillo said in a statement quoted in support of a legal challenge filed contesting the 100% unverifiable results of the June 20 contest.

The computer scientist's concerns are hardly the first expressed about Georgia's absurd voting system. In fact, they cap well over a decade of chilling revelations, shocking vulnerabilities and dire warnings issued from the community of experts who have examined the Peach State's voting system, including a number of those who installed it in the first place back in 2002.

For election integrity advocates, the allegations set forth in the July 3 complaint (Curling II) --- filed by the Coalition for Good Governance and a multi-partisan (Republican, Democratic and Constitution Parties) group of electors --- should be enough to make their hair stand on end. That's especially true as it relates to official intransigence and even outright hostility towards computer scientists and researchers who revealed critical vulnerabilities within the state's 100% unverifiable and Orwellian-named Diebold "AccuVote" TS touch-screen voting and tabulation system.

Curling I involved an earlier unsuccessful effort, filed just prior to the election, to secure a temporary restraining order that would have compelled Georgia to use paper ballots during what had become the most expensive U.S. House race in American history.

With the exception of a relatively small number of verifiable paper absentee ballots, Georgia 6th Congressional District electors were forced to cast their votes into electronic black holes. The result: an "election" in which Republican Karen Handel reportedly defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff 51.9% to 48.1%, despite almost all pre-election polls predicting an Ossof win, with some surveys finding the Democrat with a 7 point lead over his Republican opponent. The touch-screen "victory" for Handel, the state's former Secretary of State, is now being contested in Curling II precisely because the reported results were produced by a wildly vulnerable and 100% unverifiable e-vote tabulation system.

As Brad Friedman accurately reported in his first BradCast following Election Day, the results "may be absolutely right or completely wrong...Nobody knows for certain either way...[What we] do know, according to the state's reported results, [is] that Democrat Jon Ossoff defeated Republican Karen Handel in GA-06 by a nearly 2 to 1 margin on the only verifiable ballots used in the race, the paper absentee mail-in ballots"...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Guest: ACLU's Theresa Lee | Also: Trump Jr.'s legal probs; Senate GOP health care repeal; 'Green News Report' returns for another heat wave...
By Brad Friedman on 7/11/2017 6:07pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we're still trying to keep our eye on the ball, as Trump and the Republicans work to take away both health and voting rights even as the nation is otherwise consumed with new breaking news in the ongoing criminal investigations of Team Trump. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

First up today, a few comments on the news regarding Donald Trump, Jr.'s meeting with a Russian attorney during the campaign last year and the federal election laws he may have violated in the bargain. But, with everyone else in the world covering that story today, fewer are covering the ongoing plans by the Senate GOP to try and repeal the health care for millions of Americans in exchange for tax cuts for the wealthy, possibly as early as next week, according to a top Senate Republican. And, if not next week, shortly thereafter, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has now cancelled much of the August recess in hopes of jamming both ObamaCare repeal and a major tax cut scheme through Congress before Summer ends.

Similarly, with all of the noise regarding the incompetence and/or corruption of Team Trump, it's important to keep an eye on their ongoing efforts at voter suppression via Trump's so-called "Election Integrity" Commission which has already resulted in voters around the nation removing themselves from registration roles for fear that Commission Vice-Chair and notorious "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach will publicly release the personal information of registered voters, such as birthdate, social security number, military status, etc., as he recently promised in a letter to all 50 states seeking that data.

But, as Kobach has made a career out of pretending there is a massive voter fraud epidemic and threatening prosecution against voters for small and often inadvertent violations of the law, you'd think his Commission would follow the rule of law to the letter. That does not appear to be the case, however, as at least four different legal complaints, alleging violations of federal law, have already been filed against Kobach and the Commission over the past week, even as even more notorious GOP 'voter fraud' fraudsters are being quietly added to the Presidential panel.

THERESA LEE, staff attorney at the ACLU's Voting Rights Project, one of the groups which have filed legal complaints against the Commission, joins us to explain their lawsuit [PDF] charging multiple violations of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), how this Presidential Commission on elections is wildly different from those created in the recent past, and what it is that Kobach and friends are really up to under the sham Commission's pretext of combating 'voter fraud'.

"One of the main purposes of the Act was public accountability, the idea that if the government is getting advice, it should not be biased advice, and the public should know what's going into it," Lee tells me, describing the extraordinary imbalance of the Trump-Pence-Kobach Commission and the secrecy under which it has so far been operating.

Finally today, it's the return of the Green News Report with Desi Doyen after a week off over the holidays, and just in time for another heat wave across much of the country, embarrassment at the G-20, and both good news and bad in California...

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Guest: Republican election integrity advocate and plaintiff Marilyn Marks | Also: The world moves ahead without the U.S. following G-20 summit...
By Brad Friedman on 7/10/2017 6:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast: I'm back! With huge thanks to Angie Coiro for filling in for us over the past week! But, if you thought the June 20th U.S. House Special Election in Georgia's 6th District was over, well, it's not quite yet, as our guest today, one of the plaintiffs in the Election Contest filed last week in state court, seeking to overturn the results, makes clear. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

But first, the G-20 Summit which wrapped up over the weekend in Hamburg, Germany made very clear that it is now the U.S. (or, more accurately, the Trump Administration) against the world. Old allies like Germany, France and Great Britain are forming new alliances with nations like China, to move ahead without the U.S. in the wake of the Trump Administration's plan to pull out of the landmark Paris Climate Agreement to curb the man-made release of greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

Meanwhile, back here at home, Democrats continue to wring their hands about what they believe to be a hacked or otherwise manipulated Presidential election in 2016, even while failing to do anything about voting systems that are easily hacked, manipulated and otherwise 100% unverifiable.

With major security concerns about last month's U.S. House Special Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District --- where Democrat Jon Ossoff reportedly lost to Republican Karen Handel by 4 points after leading in virtually all of the pre-election polls --- you'd think Dems would be raising holy hell about the fact that Georgia still uses 100% unverifiable voting systems. That is particularly alarming in Georgia, since the state was recently discovered to have kept the passwords for those easily-manipulated 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems (along with the state Voter Registration databases and much more) on a completely unprotected web server for at least 7 months between August of last year and March of this year. The revelation regarding the massive security breach reported just days before the June 20 election at Kennesaw State University --- which has long been contracted to program all of the state's voting, tabulation and voter registration systems. That breach, we have since learned, only became known after the data was found and downloaded by at least two different cybersecurity researchers in those seven months.

But while the DNC seems to be "moving on" despite the unverifiable reported results of the the most expensive U.S. House race in history (in which the only verifiable votes in the race, the paper absentee ballots, reported Ossoff defeating Handel by a nearly 2 to 1 margin), a multi-partisan group of voters in the state of Georgia has now filed an election contest [PDF] in court, seeking to void the results and hold a new election on verifiable paper ballots.

I'm joined today by one of the plaintiffs in the suit, MARILYN MARKS, a former Republican candidate for office, longtime election integrity advocate, and Executive Director of the Coalition for Good Governance. We discuss the group's legal complaint, why they are filing it, what they hope to achieve, and if the GOP-majority House of Representatives will move to have her case tossed out of court on Constitutional jurisdictional grounds (as has been the case in similar Election Contests in recent history.)

The state's unverifiable equipment should lead the court to void the results of election, she argues, since it "absolutely cannot meet Georgia's statutes right now and it cannot be used going forward, not even in the municipal elections coming up in November."

Moreover, Marks explains, "we are asking that the court order Sec. of State [Brian] Kemp to re-examine the equipment, just as citizens [and more than two dozen world class computer scientists and e-voting experts] had asked back in May, before the June election...He refused."

She adds that "we want to see these paperless, unverifiable, anybody's-guess-who-won equipment gone from Georgia," and by "we" she means a coalition of Democrats, Republicans and the head of the far-right Constitution Party, who are plaintiffs in the suit. "We have members of our Coalition for Good Governance who literally also campaigned for Karen Handel, who very much support this lawsuit. So, it wasn't just about winning. They believe we're doing the right thing, even though it may very well overturn their candidate's victory. "

"Georgia is the poster child for unbelievably lax security and inviting in, with a welcome mat, any bad actors who want to walk in. Our experts have said...one after the other after the other, 'Look, the security is so lax in Georgia that you must presume the system has been compromised, you cannot rely on the votes coming out of these machines,'" Marks tells me.

But will Congress intercede to block the suit, as they have in the past after the declared winner has already been seated? (See their letter from 2006 here [PDF] that resulted in a contested U.S. House election in CA being dismissed by the court.) And why, by the way, are Democrats (and Republicans, for that matter) so resistant to stand up and demand elections and results that are overseeable by the public? I discuss all of that and much more with Marks today...

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

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Guest: Kait Sweeney of Progressive Change Campaign Committee...
By Brad Friedman on 6/30/2017 7:03pm PT  

Desi Doyen and I will be off from The BradCast next week. (Angie Coiro will be guest-hosting for us during our much-needed break.) But we sure are being sent away with a mess in this country --- and in the world --- before the July 4th holiday. Though we still manage to find a few rays of hope today nonetheless. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

Among the many stories covered on today's jam-packed BradCast...

  • After years of persistence by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), a powerful U.S. House committee finally votes to repeal the post-9/11 "Authorization for the Use of Military Force" which has been used and abused by Presidents from Bush to Obama to Trump to deploy U.S. troops and military action across the globe ever since. Can it pass in the rest of Congress? (Lee was the only member of the House or Senate to vote against the original Authorization in 2001.);
  • A new heat record for planet Earth may have just been recorded in Iran, amidst the Middle East's latest deadly heat wave, just as scientists have been warning for decades;
  • The U.S. Senate recesses for the 4th of July without Republicans coming up with a plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act that can earn 50 votes from their caucus. But a new scheme to repeal only is now being floated by a GOP Senator and it could make things very difficult for Democratic ObamaCare supporters when they return;
  • KAIT SWEENEY, Press Secretary at the grassroots Progressive Change Campaign Committee joins us to discuss their efforts and recommendations over the holiday recess to convince vulnerable GOP Senators to oppose the GOP plan to replace Obamacare by slashing Medicaid in exchange for billions in tax cuts to the rich. (And how to convince Democrats to push for a single-payer "Medicare-for-All" style system or, at least, a public insurance or Medicare buy-in option. "We are not going to go backwards," she vows.);
  • Dept. of Homeland Security admits, yet again, that they have done no forensic investigation of any electronic voting machines or tabulators anywhere in the country since the election, despite their repeated allegations that Russia attempted to manipulate the 2016 President race and despite the extraordinary vulnerability of our easily-hacked, oft-failed computerized voting and counting systems;
  • The man running Trump's so-called 'Election Integrity Commission' (really a "Voter Suppression Commission"), Kansas Sec. of State and top GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach, shoots himself in the foot with his request to all 50 states on behalf of the sham Commission, for voter registration and voting record data, including private information such as Social Security number, birthdate, military status, etc., on every voter in the nation (which he also promises to make public). Also, yet another top Republican "voter fraud" scammer, Hans Von Spakovsky, is added to the President's Commission;
  • MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski charge the White House attempted to blackmail them prior to Trump's horrible tweet about her this week, revealing again what a dangerous moment this is for the country under a twisted Presidency;
  • And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report before we hit the dusty road over the July 4th holiday...

If you can hit our tip-jar to help us fill up the Prius tank once or twice over the next week, it will, as ever, be greatly appreciated! Enjoy the show and please have a safe and peaceful holiday!...

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

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Guest: Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern; Also: CBO Finds GOP Senate health bill to result in coverage lost for 22 million Americans...
By Brad Friedman on 6/26/2017 6:29pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the stolen U.S. Supreme Court begins to pay dividends for Republicans and the GOP's deadly Senate healthcare legislation continues to take much-deserved heat from all sides, including doctors, Nobel laureate economists and now the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

But, first up today, Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach, the long-time "voter fraud" fraudster who has been tapped to head up President Trump's so-called "Election Integrity Commission" (actually, a voter suppression commission), has been sanctioned by a federal court for "deceptive conduct" in the ACLU's case against his attempted proof-of-citizenship voter registration restrictions. That's almost the best news we have on tap today, though we do manage to find a few bright spots here and there.

The CBO on Monday came out with its score of the Senate Republicans' legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") and finds it will result in 22 million fewer Americans having access to health care coverage by 2026, with 15 million losing coverage in 2018 alone! Despite that, and with still more groups (now including both the American Medical Association and a group of Nobel Prize winning economists) excoriating the Republican bill, Senate leadership still vows a vote before the July 4th holiday recess this week.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court session came to a close on Monday, with the Court allowing some of Trump's Executive Order "travel ban" to be implemented in advance of a full hearing now scheduled for next October, when the Court's new session begins, in what my guest today describes as a "qualified victory" for the Administration. The Supremes also issued a ruling today requiring state officials to allow same-sex parents to be listed on birth certificates, and scheduled a hearing for next session regarding businesses who choose to discriminate against same-sex couples, in what my guest, legal journalist MARK JOSEPH STERN of Slate.com, describes as a case that could seriously imperil non-discrimination laws for the LGBTQ community and become a full-blown "constitutional catastrophe" in the bargain. Stern argues that the birth certificate opinion reveals the position of Justice Neil Gorsuch ("he of the stolen seat"), to be "a surefire vote against LGBTQ rights" and "just as bad" as the late Antonin Scalia on such matters.

Then, with a new study from AP finding extreme partisan gerrymandering accounted for some 22 Republican U.S. House victories in 2016 and untold number of GOP state legislative victories, we discuss SCOTUS announcements from last week in two free-speech cases and a related Court ruling issued on a rather massive case of unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin.

That case, as Stern describes, could have an impact on American elections as far reaching as Citizens United but, depending on how the Court rules, in a positive direction for those of us who give a damn about free and fair democratic representation and elections. On the other hand, if the stolen majority on the Court decides the wrong way, it could result in our embarrassing system of "democracy" becoming even more so.

Finally today, we close with a much needed laugh regarding some "100% unverifiable" listener email...

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After concerns of a 'hacked' 2016 Presidential race and an unverifiable 'loss' in Georgia that again defied pre-election polling, Dems, the media and the American people are still missing the verifiable facts...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/26/2017 10:08am PT  

There are several basic election integrity truths that have escaped the attention of most Americans, even as they confront the scope of alleged Russian cyber intrusions into America's disparately run, local elections systems.

[Despite repeated assurances from U.S. officials that hackers didn't go so far as to alter vote counts, Department of Homeland Security officials concede that they failed to run an audit in order to determine whether the 2016 vote count had been manipulated by anyone, be they hackers, foreign or domestic, from Russia or anywhere else, or by election insiders whose direct access could facilitate a malicious, or even accidental, manipulation of vote totals. The mainstream U.S. media has also raised concerns that the United States, under the Donald Trump administration, is not doing enough to prevent hacking or manipulation of the 2018 and 2020 elections.]

The first basic election integrity truth is that, as The BRAD BLOG reported in 2009, following a stark presentation by a U.S. intelligence officer to the nation's only federal agency devoted to overseeing the use of electronic voting and tabulation systems, all electronically stored and/or processed data --- registration records, poll books, ballot definition scripts and, most importantly, computerized vote tabulators --- are vulnerable to malicious cyber intrusions.

"I follow the vote," CIA cybersecurity expert Steven Stigall warned members of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) in a 2009 field hearing in Florida. "And wherever the vote becomes an electron and touches a computer, that’s an opportunity for a malicious actor potentially to…make bad things happen."

The second basic truth is that election system vulnerability is not confined only to malicious hackers, who may or may not be Russian. All electronic vote tabulation systems are vulnerable to election insider manipulation.

The third is that paper registration forms, poll books and hand-marked paper ballots are not, in and of themselves, vulnerable to electronic manipulation. (Paper ballots, of course, are not entirely risk free. Even before the advent of e-voting, there had been cases of ballot box stuffing. But it was the advent of central computerized/electronic tabulation that created a vulnerability to wholesale electoral theft by a "conspiracy" as large as one person, with little possibility of detection.)

The fourth is that the only way to ensure a transparent and verifiable count, one that can be overseen and confirmed the public, is to deploy what Brad Friedman aptly describes as "Democracy's Gold Standard": hand-marked paper ballots, publicly hand-counted with the verifiable results posted at each precinct on Election Night before ballots are moved to any other location.

The fifth is that the core issue in election integrity is not whether a given result is or is not the product of election fraud. Instead, as recently observed by Austria's Supreme Court, the issue is whether election officials have complied with procedures that are designed to ensure the integrity of a transparent and verifiable result.

Unfortunately, these basic democracy-sustaining truths, which have been judicially recognized in other nations, have been largely ignored by the U.S. mainstream media, the political leadership of both major U.S. political parties, and, critically, by our courts --- a point that truly came into focus with respect to the recent U.S. House Special Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




And, ironically, Wednesday's mostly disinformative hearings in the U.S. Senate Intelligence Comm. on alleged manipulation of the 2016 election...
By Brad Friedman on 6/21/2017 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we cover the reported results from Tuesday's U.S. House Special Elections in Georgia's 6th District and South Carolina's 5th, and whether anybody in America can or should have confidence in those unverified and unverifiable results as reported. [Audio link to complete, rant-filled show follows below.]

In both cases, the Republican candidates are reported to have narrowly defeated the Democratic candidates in very Republican districts. In both cases, the computer tabulated results are based on votes cast on 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems. In both cases, the results may be absolutely right or completely wrong. In both cases, absolutely nobody knows for certain either way. And, in both cases, if anybody tells you otherwise, they are either lying or don't know what they're talking about.

We do know, according to the state's reported results, that Democrat Jon Ossoff defeated Republican Karen Handel in GA-06 by a nearly 2 to 1 margin on the only verifiable ballots used in the race, the paper absentee mail-in ballots. Or, at least we can know that, if anybody ever bothers to check them against the computer tallies. But the rest of the race, run on 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems, will remain 100% faith-based, despite the fact that, as we reported in detail on Monday, the folks who program all of Georgia's voting and voter registrations systems (Kennesaw State University's Center for Election Systems, which is paid $750,000 a year to do so) left the system passwords online, unprotected, at their website since last August and perhaps much longer and then covered it up. Moreover, the Republican candidate in GA-06, the state's former Sec. of State Handel, also personally covered up security failures at at Kennesaw's Center for Elections during her term as the state's chief election official.

Other than all of that, why worry? Last night and today, Democrats and progressives have been continuing their internecine battles, blaming one another for a candidate who wasn't progressive enough (in GA), even as they blamed each other for a candidate seen as too progressive in many areas just weeks ago, after losing Montana's U.S. House Special Election.

I'd suggest, as I do on today's show (and last night on Twitter), that Democrats might be better served if they fought like hell for actual human oversight of our voting and vote-counting system before reloading their circular firing squad. But that's just me. In both GA and SC yesterday, those unverified results, if you believe them, do show a nearly 20 point swing towards Dems since last November's election. Similarly encouraging results have been seen in all of the special elections this year. That should be a good sign for Dems, even as a "loss" is a loss, no matter how one looks at it, and whether they actually lost or not.

Ironically enough today, in the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, top intelligence officials from the FBI and DHS testified in regard to concerns about alleged Russian manipulation of the 2016 election. Neither they, nor the elections officials who also testified today, seemed to know much of anything about the actual vulnerability of U.S. voting systems. Or, if they did, they certainly offered a whole lot of demonstrably inaccurate information about whether voting systems are connected to the Internet (they are), whether our decentralized voting and tabulation systems make it impossible to hack a a Presidential election (it doesn't), and whether actual voting results were manipulated in the 2016 President race (they claimed that they weren't, even while the DHS finally admitted they never actually checked a single machine or counted a single ballot to find out!)

On the other hand, one computer scientist and voting machine expert, Dr. Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan, also testified today and he actually knows what he's talking about, because he's personally hacked just about every voting system in use in the U.S. today, including 10 years ago when he first hacked the exact same 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting machines used in the state of Georgia during Tuesday's Special Election for U.S. House, the most expensive such election in U.S. History. As he explained in his prepared remarks [PDF] today, 10 years ago, he "was part of the first academic team to conduct a comprehensive security analysis of a DRE [touch-screen] voting machine." It was a Diebold touch-screen machine, the exact same type used in GA yesterday, as obtained from a source of mine and given to his crew at Princeton University at the time.

"What we found was disturbing," he testified (even as the Senators had no clue that he was referencing the same systems used yesterday in Georgia), "we could reprogram the machine to invisibly cause any candidate to win. We also created malicious software --- vote-stealing code --- that could spread from machine-to-machine like a computer virus, and silently change the election outcome." I broke that story originally at Salon and at The BRAD BLOG in 2006, but Georgia is shamefully still forcing voters to use the exact same hackable, unverifiable machines.

In his remarks shared on today's show, Halderman also testifies to the fact that machines thought not to be attached to the Internet actually are vulnerable to malware from the Internet, and that our decentralized and disparate system of computerized voting machines and tabulators provides no real safeguards against malicious hackers, whether they are from Russia or France or Cleveland or Atlanta.

Finally today, we close with a few listener calls on all of the above and Desi Doyen with our latest, sweltering, Green News Report...

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

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State contracted e-vote and pollbook programmers at Kennesaw State Univ. told of vulnerability last year, covered it up, left files unprotected
Also: Unlawful U.S. war on Syria expands, incurs Russian wrath; Dem plan to slow GOP Senate's secret health care bill; Fatal anti-Muslim attacks in London, Virginia...
By Brad Friedman on 6/19/2017 6:47pm PT  

On today's BradCast, another blockbuster report confirms vulnerabilities in our nation's voting systems that I've been trying to warn about for more than a decade, and several other stories not receiving the dire attention merited this week. [Audio link to complete show is posted below.]

In advance of Tuesday's highly contested U.S. House Special Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District --- the most expensive House race in U.S. history --- Politico Magazine's Kim Zetter offers an absolutely chilling bombshell of a report headlined "Will the Georgia Special Election Get Hacked?" She reports that gigabytes of unsecured data --- including passwords for e-voting system central tabulators, voter registration databases and much more were kept on a wholly unsecured web server, potentially for years, at Kennesaw State University's Center for Election Systems.

The KSU Center, as they describe on their website, was "created and charged with the responsibility of ensuring the integrity of voting systems in Georgia" since the state adopted its statewide, 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting system in 2002. Those same machines are still used there today, despite their age (they run on a version of Windows 2000) and massive, well-documented vulnerabilities to hacking and insider manipulation. Nonetheless, the Center for Election Systems has long been cited as a model for election administration by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and is responsible for the security and programming of every 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting system, computerized central tabulator, and electronic pollbook used across the state of Georgia.

The unsecured data files at Kennesaw, according to Zetter, were discovered prior to last year's Presidential Election and reported to the Center, but were still available online for download without a password at the beginning of March this year, during the run-up to the April primary election in the GA-06 House race. The data may, in fact, have been available there for years, even as Kennesaw's Executive Director Merle King, who has spent years testifying in court on behalf of Diebold's systems, reportedly failed to inform GA Sec. of State Brian Kemp about the breach last year after he was informed of it. In fact, Zetter notes that he warned the outside computer security researcher who discovered it not to inform the state. GA's former Sec. of State, Karen Handel, is the Republican House candidate in the reportedly very tight GA-06 race against Democrat Jon Ossoff and is said to have repeatedly blocked a security analysis of the Center years earlier while serving as the state's chief election official.

When the results of the House contest are announced on Tuesday night --- whichever party's candidate is declared the winner --- it will be virtually impossible to know if the results are accurate or if even one vote cast on GA's 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems were recorded as per any voter's intent.

While many of the vulnerabilities in GA's terrible voting and tabulation systems have been publicly known for years, the fact that the security at Kennesaw's Center for Elections is even far worse than ever imagined is both new and absolutely chilling in regard to both Georgia elections, and all others across the country, as I explain in detail on today's program.

Beyond that nightmarish report today, we also cover two different fatal attacks on Muslims over the past 24 hours, one in London and one in Virginia (and Donald Trump's failure to comment on either of them); The new Democratic strategy to slow down progress on the Obamacare replacement bill being crafted by Senate Republicans in complete secrecy, without public hearings or amendments in advance of a possible floor vote on the controversial legislation before the July 4th recess; And, the U.S. shoots down a Syrian bomber over Syria in violation of international law and without any authorization (or complaint or debate) from Congressional Republicans or Democrats alike, even as the weekend incident has drawn the wrath and potential targeting of U.S. aircraft over Syria by its ally Russia...

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

Several other recent programs in The BradCast's series of reports leading up to the GA-06 U.S. House Special Election:

  • 4/4/2017: Computer and e-voting expert Barbara Simons on the initial reports of a "massive breach" of the state voter database files at Kennesaw State University
  • 5/8/2017: Garland Favorito of election watchdog VoterGA.org on the group's disturbing analysis of the central computer tabulator failure on the night of the April primary in GA-06.
  • 6/6/2017: Election integrity expert Marilyn Marks on her lawsuit demanding hand-counted paper ballots in the GA-06 race.
  • 6/12/2017: Diebold document whistleblower Steven Heller on Diebold caught lying in California in 2004 about the exact same machines still used in Georgia in 2017. (CA decertified them after Heller's disclosure.) And on the NSA analysis recently released by NSA contractor Reality Winner on spear-phishing attacks that may have allowed access to the voting system computers of election officials across the country prior to the 2016 Presidential election.

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Guest: Marilyn Marks of the Rocky Mountain Foundation...
By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2017 6:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the release of a leaked NSA analysis of alleged cyberattacks on voter registration systems and attempted intrusions into the computers of local elections officials just before last year's Presidential election underscore, once again, just about every warning regarding U.S. electronic voting, computer tabulation and voter registration systems that we've been yelling about for some 15 years on both The BradCast and at The BRAD BLOG. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

Today, we break down the specific details found in the leaked NSA documents published by The Intercept on Monday, how they highlight a much broader problem with the U.S. electoral system, and what the answer, at long last, must ultimately be in response to concerns about manipulated election results, no matter who the alleged or attempted culprit. (In this case, the U.S. intelligence services blame Russian military intelligence, which they deny. Either way, as detailed on today's show, it doesn't actually matter!)

On a not-at-all unrelated note, we are then joined by Marilyn Marks of the Rocky Mountain Foundation to discuss her lawsuit, filed with members of Georgians for Verified Voting, demanding hand-counted paper ballots for all voters in the upcoming, highly contested U.S. House Special Election runoff in Georgia's 6th Congressional District between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel.

Marks, a former Republican mayoral candidate turned long-time Election Integrity expert, details some of the many concerns spelled out in her suit (Complaint here [PDF], TRO Motion here [PDF]) regarding the state of GA's 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems, and the known cyberhacks, e-pollbook thefts and computer tabulator failures that have already plagued the most expensive U.S. House race in history, where early voting is already underway in advance of the bellwether June 20 contest.

"There were so many things that have happened since March 1st," Marks explains, describing many of the problems that have already undermined this election. "As you've pointed out, these systems --- when you say they are 'unverifiable', what people need to understand by that, of course, is that there is no way to assure that the voter's intent is recorded. We know what the machines want to report. But there is no way to know what the voter intended to vote. We do know that with the evidence of a paper ballot. So, that is what we are telling the court, that this system has gone through so many problems. It was unverifiable to begin with. And now we have seen the instances of several problems, just in the last 60 days, that tell us there is no way that the Sec. of State and the county election officials should assume that the system is safe to vote on. They must presume the system is unsafe."

The plaintiffs request, she says, "is a simple one. And that is: let voters vote on paper ballots."

"The only practical answer is to go to paper ballots [and] hand count them," Marks tells me. "It would be very easy to do. We've had a professional estimate how long it would take --- less than an hour per precinct. It would actually be faster, cheaper, more efficient and far more transparent to vote on paper ballots in this simple election than it is to use the machines." Indeed, with just one contest on most of the ballots in this Special Election, hand-counting would amount to little more than separating ballots into two stacks, one for each candidate, and then counting each stack. It is what we have long described as "Democracy's Gold Standard."

Marks goes on to cite the concerns illustrated, once again, by yesterday's leaked NSA documents and argues: "You talk to any computer scientist, regardless of what party they are, you talk to any voting systems expert, I don't think you'll find a single expert, a single computer scientist who would say these machines even approach the point of being safe to vote on. And it has nothing to do with their politics."

"We must have transparent elections where the public can oversee the counting of the ballots. And in Georgia, there is no oversight. No one --- not the election official, not the public, not the campaign, not the candidate --- no one can figure out whether or not the ballots are counted right."

But does her lawsuit have a chance this late in the game, with early voting already under way? Tune in for her response to that and much more, including her thoughts on how GA's Sec. of State Brian Kemp, also a Republican, has responded so far to both Marks' complaint, and an earlier request, prior to the GA-06 primary, from dozens of the world's top computer security and electronic voting systems experts.

Yes, elections still matter. But, as computer security expert Bruce Schneier told The Intercept yesterday: "To the extent the elections are vulnerable to hacking, we risk the legitimacy of the voting process, even if there is no actual hacking at the time. It's not just that it has to be fair, it has to be demonstrably fair, so that the loser says, 'Yep, I lost fair and square.' If you can't do that, you're screwed."

We're screwed.

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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