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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, June 23, 2018
Death and Taxes at SCOTUS:
'BradCast' 6/21/2018
Guest: Slate legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Abuse reported at child immigrant detention centers; Trump's trade war dangers; Much more...
'Green News Report' 6/21/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Blocked study released, reveals contamination; More CO2 reduces food nutrition; Trump rescinds BP spill protections; PLUS: 30 years since Congress warned about climate change...
Previous GNRs: 6/19/18 - 6/14/18 - Archives...
Trump's Lie Collapses, Family Separation Policy Reversed (Sort Of): 'BradCast' 6/20/18
Also: DC, AR election results; Why 'both sides are the same' argument from progressives is pathetic; Canada legalizes recreational pot...
Judge Nixes KS 'Proof of Citizenship' Voting Law, Slaps Humiliating Sanction on Kobach: 'BradCast' 6/19/18
Guest: ACLU trial atty Sophia Lin Lakin; Also: Trump's border 'crisis' worsens for Repubs...
'Green News Report' 6/19/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Hurricanes moving slower; New EPA rules could kill thousands; China tariffs to hit US energy; McDonald's phasing out plastic straws; PLUS: Climate change eroding home values...
Previous GNRs: 6/14/18 - 6/12/18 - Archives...
Sunday 'Giving Peace a Chance' Toons
Just a glimpse of what happened over the past week via the eyes of the world's political cartoonists, as one of them lost his job this week for being too critical of Donald J. Trump...
Sessions 'Can't Do That': Immigration Atty on Admin Denial of Domestic Abuse Asylum: 'BradCast' 6/15/18
Guest: Law Prof Karen Musalo; Also: 1000s ripped from parents, warehoused by US Govt...
'Green News Report' 6/14/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOPers turning on Pruitt; Antarctica's ice melting 3x times faster; DNC bans fossil fuel donations; Flooding doubled over last 30 yrs; PLUS: Energy Dept: E-cars cheapest to drive...
Previous GNRs: 6/12/18 - 6/7/18 - Archives...
Ranked Choice Voting is a Terrible Idea; Election Results/Fails, Trump's GOP Cult: 'BradCast' 6/13/18
NV's new voting systems fail; WI seat flipped; Scheme to break CA up on 2018 ballot...
'It Doesn't Matter, We're Starting from Scratch': 'BradCast' 6/12/18
Guest: Former Dep. Asst. Sec. of State Michael Fuchs on Singapore agreement, 'denuclearization', NK atrocities...
'Green News Report' 6/12/18
Trump's G7 debacle over climate; CA electric co. faulted for deadly fires; EPA overhauls cost-benefit analyses; PLUS: Growing movement to ban single-use plastics...
Trump's Bonkers Turn Against G7 Allies Before NK Summit: 'BradCast' 6/11/18
Also: SCOTUS approves radical OH vote purge scheme; L.A. won't rule out hacking in 'print error' that left 118k off rolls; Callers ring in...
Sunday Toons Not Censored by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
'PDiddie' features several recent toons by award-winning staff cartoonist Rob Rogers which were, remarkably enough, spiked by the paper's new RW editor...
HUD Scheme Raises Rent by 26% per Year on Low Income Familes: 'BradCast' 6/8/18
Guest: Former HUD official Diane Yentel; Also: DoJ spied on NYT journo, refuses to defend 'ObamaCare' in suit...
Election Failure, Fallout in CA, AL, SD: 'BradCast' 6/7/18
Several massive Election Day failures in L.A. and noteworthy results in CA and elsewhere; Also: The jaw-dropping kleptocracy of Trump's EPA chief Scott Pruitt...
'Green News Report' 6/7/18
CA voters choose climate action; Yet another ethics scandal for Pruitt; Judge orders denial evidence from EPA; PLUS: Trump withdrawal from Paris pact to cost trillions...
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: Election Integrity expert Marilyn Marks; Also: EPA scam revealed; Young voters oppose Trump bigly; 'Liberal lion' of 9th Circuit dies; Huge majorities support single-payer, 'Medicare-for-All' health insurance...
By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2018 6:17pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Great news for a change, with a big victory for voters in Georgia! [Audio link to show is posted below.]

After what seemed impossibly long odds just days ago, a bill that would have moved the state from 100% unverifiable touch-screen Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting devices to just-as-bad-if-not-worse 100% unverifiable computer-printed and barcoded "paper ballots", failed to pass in the state's General Assembly before the legislative session ended for the year on Thursday at midnight.

That, despite a powerful lobbying effort by the nation's largest private voting machine vendor, ES&S, which stood to make millions on the deceptive "paper ballot" scheme being pushed by elected officials --- including GA's Republican Sec. of State candidates State Rep. Buzz Brockway and State Sen. Josh McKoon --- in both chambers of the legislature.

In recent days, however, Election Integrity advocates on the ground in Atlanta and via social media have been rallying like crazy and mounting an extraordinarily impressive effort to inform the public in hopes of blocking this dangerous bill. The effort was focused on detailing the many dangers of unverifiable barcoded ballots as produced by the type of touch-screen Ballot Marking Device (BMD) computer voting systems that GA lawmakers were hoping to move to after 15 years of using easily-hacked, oft-failed DRE voting systems statewide.

We're joined again today, for a bit of a victory lap, by election integrity expert MARILYN MARKS who has been tirelessly fighting the bill and rallying the social media troops on Twitter, along with Jenny Cohn and others in recent days. (Cohn was on the show several weeks ago to discuss the GA bill and her must-read article documenting the many dangers of unverifiable BMD "paper ballot" voting systems.) Marks was also on the program just days ago, when overcoming the "incidious" vendors' last minute push for SB403 in the GA legislature seemed all but impossible.

"It is because of the hundreds of people that called, wrote, tweeted...just so much pushback from the citizens," that the effort to kill the bill was successful, she tells me today.

After citing the many who made Thursday's late night victory possible, Marks turns our attention to several continuing related battles. Among them, the lawsuit her organization, Coalition for Good Governance, filed months ago in hopes of ending GA's use of DREs in favor of a verifiable HAND-MARKED paper ballots. GA already uses such a system for absentee vote-by-mail balloting and, Marks argues, the same existing system could easily and inexpensively be expanded for use by all voters at the polling place before this fall's crucial mid-terms.

She also offers a warning for voters around the nation, where unverifiable computer-marked and barcoded paper ballot BMD schemes, like the ones being pushed in GA, are already being deceptively sold to the public as "paper ballot" systems by Republicans and Democrats alike. PLEASE NOTE: Paper ballots or "voter-marked" paper ballots are not enough. Demand nothing less than HAND-MARKED paper ballots as your state or county "upgrades" its system with the hundreds of millions of dollars that have just been allocated for this by Congress!

Marks tells me she's hopeful that the broad social media effort on SB430 has resulted in lessons that can be used around the country "when --- it's not an 'if', but 'when' --- the barcode balloting comes to them. And they better be watching carefully, because this money is about to start flowing from the federal government like now, literally now, and you know exactly what the vendors are going to do."

Also on today's show: A recently leaked memo reveals how Administrator Scott Pruitt's EPA is now instructing employees to use false talking points regarding the science of climate change in order to create doubt and confuse the public about the broad scientific consensus finding the human burning of fossil fuels as the main cause of global warming; A new AP survey of young voters finds huge majorities see Donald Trump as "racist", "dishonest" and "mentally unfit" for office; Judge Stephen Reinhardt, "liberal lion" on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, died suddenly on Thursday, after nearly 40 years on the court; And, finally, a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds some 75% of Americans now support a "Medicare-for-All" style, single-payer, national health care insurance program...

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: Election integrity expert Marilyn Marks; Also: Gun debate shifts dramatically as former SCOTUS Justice calls for 2nd Amendment repeal...
By Brad Friedman on 3/27/2018 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast: the Overton Window regarding gun safety reform may have just taken a dramatic lurch towards "the left". And, then, the heated battle to block a new 100% unverifiable computer voting system (disguised as a "paper ballot" system) from being implemented in Georgia reaches a climax, as this year's legislative session in the state nears its end. [Audio link to today's show is posted at end of article.]

First up today (well, after a disturbing story out of Atlanta that further underscores the madness of Georgia's proposed new voting system): Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens penned a stunning op-ed in the New York Times, lauding students for marching to demand gun safety legislation, but suggesting it's time for them to go much further by calling for a repeal of the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution itself.

The 97-year old retired Associate Justice (and lifelong Republican) explains why history and his years on the bench have led him to regard the 2nd Amendment as "a relic of the 18th century", and how the National Rifle Association (NRA) has, in recent decades --- as the conservative former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger declared in the early 90s --- perpetrated "one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime."

Then, speaking of great frauds, the city of Atlanta finds itself using pencil and paper to carry out business again today in municipal courts, jails and other city agencies five days after a "ransomware" attack has crippled the city's use of its computer networks. Nonetheless, at the very same time, state lawmakers in Georgia are, incredibly enough, in last minute negotiations to adopt a measure to replace their statewide, easily-hacked, 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen computer voting systems.

Unfortunately, as legislators race the clock to pass a bill before the current legislative session ends on Thursday night, the current bill to replace those systems, SB-403, would institute a new 100% unverifiable computer-marked "paper ballot" system, which is now being opposed by both local and national election integrity advocates and organizations.

Longtime election integrity expert MARILYN MARKS, whose nonpartisan Coalition for Good Governance is suing the Peach State to force them to do away with their unverifiable Director Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines, joins us to warn about the proposed new scheme to replace them with similarly unverifiable touch-screen Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) and why she sees that as "going from bad to worse."

"People today at least understand that their system is unverifiable, unauditable, and really a lot of guesswork," she tells me. "Unfortunately, this new system that they are so determined to find a way to put in, kind of has the look, from a distance, of a paper system. But it really is just as unverifiable."

Marks explains that the new legislation introduces computer-printed ballots with barcodes on them, which cannot be read by humans. Deceptively, the paper ballots produced by the new touch-screen systems also include a summary of the voters' votes in human-readable form. But, it is the unreadable and impossible to verify barcodes --- rather than the human-readable voter selections --- which are used by the system's computer optical-scanners to tally results. "What can be embedded in those bar codes may be very different from the human-readable list that is printed out," she says.

Even if the barcodes weren't printed on the paper ballots, Marks explains, the computer-marked ballots would still be unacceptable and unverifiable as reflecting any voter's intent after polls close on Election Night, as Jennifer Cohn recently detailed in a must-read article at The BRAD BLOG. Marks offers action items for preventing the passage of the bill, for those both in and out of the state of Georgia (as summarized here in this Twitter Moment.)

This is important for folks in every state, since similar systems are already spreading nationwide and will assuredly do so even quicker if Georgia becomes the first in the nation to adopt them statewide --- just as they were the first to go to touch-screen Diebold DREs statewide back in 2002. "We don't want this insidious disease of these things --- as we call it, 'Son of DREs' --- going on to other states," Marks cautions. "The minute that Georgia accepts this, the vendors will be out in other states trying to do the same thing. Change the definition of the ballot to include barcodes, and pointing to Georgia as 'look the whole state of Georgia just said this was okay!'"

Similar systems are already being deployed in Texas, Tennessee, Los Angeles and elsewhere (though not yet in Missouri, where a Republican state legislator has, happily, just introduced a bill calling for DREs used in St. Louis and Kansas City to be replaced by real, HAND-MARKED paper ballot systems!)

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us today with the latest Green News Report, including some surprisingly good news from the massive omnibus spending bill just signed into law, begrudgingly, by Donald Trump...

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




Guests: Jean Kaczmarek, DuPage County candidate, election integrity champ; Howie Klein, progressive 'Down With Tyranny' blogger...
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2018 6:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast: An actual Nazi won the Republican Party nomination for a U.S. House seat on Tuesday in Illinois' 2018 mid-term primaries. But, while Democratic turnout was way up, progressive candidates on the 'blue' team did less well than hoped, according to the reported results. And, once again, there was another computer vote-counting disaster in a deep 'red' Illinois county. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

After an update on what Texas law enforcement officials hope will have been the dramatic late-night conclusion to the three-week long bombing spree in Austin (carried out, as it turns out, by a white domestic rightwinger), we tackle the results, fallout and concerns about the computer tabulation systems from Tuesday's primary. We're joined first today by longtime election integrity champ and government watchdog JEAN KACZMAREK, who is now, officially, the Democratic nominee for County Clerk in DuPage County, IL, where the computer tallies of hand-marked paper ballots just happened to collapse on Tuesday night.

Kaczmarek explains what is believed to have gone wrong, leading election officials in the county to halt all tallies in the very Republican county last night, until some 256 precinct-based optical-scan computers could be collected and brought back from the precincts to the County headquarters.

The failure, apparently, is being chalked up to "ender cards" that were said to be on paper stock too thick to run through the scanners, despite being supplied by a vendor the county had relied on for many years to print up ballots for use with their Diebold optical-scan systems first purchased in 2002. "Ender cards" are run through the scanners at the close of polls, to then allow the printing of results tapes before the scanners' sensitive memory cards are removed and returned to county headquarters for final tallying. The monumental failure, coincidentally, came on the same day voters were asked in ballot referendum about combining the County Election Commission with the County Clerk's office (as most counties already do in the state), and as the county was premiering its new, fancy election night results website.

County officials claim the system was "rigorously" tested before Election Day, even though they failed on Tuesday. "My guess is the ender cards won't be a problem in November," says Kaczmarek. That might be the one thing that they do really well in November. There seems to always be some type of problem going on in DuPage on Election Night."

Then, we're joined next by HOWIE KLEIN of Down With Tyranny to discuss the tough day for progressive Democrats in the Land of Lincoln, where a number of conservative establishment (and even far-right) Democrats were able to edge out their more progressive challengers. We discuss, among other races yesterday, the gubernatorial primary contests, which have resulted in a race that will now feature two billionaires going head-to-head this fall, and the much-watched and highly contentious U.S. House race in the 3rd Congressional District where rightwing Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski is reported to have barely defeated progressive candidate Marie Newman, who had been strongly endorsed by Klein's BlueAmericaPAC.

"Well, he's not a 'full-on Republican'," Klein says about Lipinski, countering one of Newman's claims during the campaign. "But he does tend to vote with Republicans on key, crucial issues. For example, he was one of the Democrats to vote against Obamacare. He literally votes against equality for gay people. He is so anti-choice that the Republican anti-choice organization, the Susan B. Anthony List, not only supported him, they spent $150,000 supporting him. This is a very, very serious, rightwing candidate and rightwing groups know that, and they gave him a lot of support."

There were, however, some bright spots for progressives on Tuesday in IL, which we discuss as well. Along with all of that, Klein also tells me why Congressional leadership chose to put their support behind the incumbent, anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-Obamacare Lipinski, rather than Newman, and how it may be difficult to keep Donald Trump from congratulating the actual Nazi who will be running against Lipinski this fall.

As if all of that isn't enough, we even have some conversation about the Talking Heads' David Byrne, whose new solo album has debuted at #1, and who Klein represented for years while a top Hollywood record executive, before ditching that life for the glamor and big bucks of independent progressive political blogging...

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!)




Guest: Jennifer Cohn on the deceptive dangers of the move to computer-marked 'paper ballots'; Also: Callers ring on that, Kim/Trump, more...
By Brad Friedman on 3/12/2018 6:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The fight for Election Integrity is often one step forward and two steps back. Don't be fooled by what many are deceptively describing as a move to "paper ballots", when those "paper ballots" aren't really what they are being sold as. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up today: A quick preview of the U.S. House Special Election in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District on Tuesday, where voters will, shamefully, once again cast their votes in the crucial race on 100% unverifiable touch-screen Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems.

At the same time, lawmakers in the state of Georgia, which has disastrously used similarly unverifiable DREs for the past 15 years, are moving a deceptively described "paper ballot" bill forward in the legislature. However, what those lawmakers are not making clear (and some may not even understand) is that the bill would fund new computer-marked paper ballot systems, known as Ballot Marking Devices (BMD)s, across the state. Such systems also require voters to use a touch-screen device to vote and, like DREs, also cannot be verified after an election as reflecting the intent of any voter.

Worse still, rather than use the human-readable information printed out by the computers onto the "paper ballot" at the end of the process, BMDs use optical scanners which tally results read from barcodes or QR codes printed on the ballot that are NOT human readable!

And, it's not only Republican-leaning Georgia that is quickly hoping to move to such unverifiable systems. So is the largest voting jurisdiction in the nation, Los Angeles County! Also, counties in Texas and Tennessee are already using them and other states are looking to purchase them as well. Indeed, many supposedly progressive organizations and Democrats are actually recommending them, without understanding the very real dangers of BMDs!

We're joined today by attorney-turned-journalist JENNIFER COHN to discuss her well-researched and documented concerns, as detailed by voting system and computer security experts, regarding the nation's dangerous and disturbing lurch towards what she describes as expensive "electric pencils", otherwise known as BMDs. Cohn explained those concerns in simple, layman's language in a recent post at The BRAD BLOG.

As we discuss on the show: No, "paper ballots" are not enough! We need HAND-MARKED paper ballots that are known to have been verified by the voters, if we are going to even have a chance of restoring publicly verifiable democratic elections in the U.S.

Cohn details both in her article and on today's show, a number of academic studies finding that most voters do not check computer printouts and summaries at the end of the voting process, and of the minority who do, some 60% or more don't even notice when the computer has flipped their vote!

PLEASE tune in for this important conversation, because Americans must begin to understand the dangers presenting by these deceptively described "paper ballots", which are coming to a voting jurisdiction near you!

Then, we open up the phone lines today to callers on that issue, as well as some of my thoughts from last Friday's show regarding the supposed face-to-face meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and even crazier U.S. leader Donald Trump, regarding the North's nuclear weapons program...

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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MONTHLY BRAD BLOG SUBSCRIPTION
ONE-TIME DONATION


Choose monthly amount...


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




As unverifiable touchscreen DREs are phased out of our nation's voting systems, unverifiable touchscreen BMDs ('Son of DREs') are on the way...
By Jennifer Cohn on 3/12/2018 9:45am PT  

[An earlier version of this article was originally published by Jennifer Cohn at Medium. She joined me on The BradCast to discuss it. - BF]

A Ballot Marking Device ("BMD") is a touchscreen computer that generates a computer-marked paper ballot or printout, which is then tallied on a computerized optical scanner. (Those computer-marked ballots can also, in theory, be counted by hand, but generally are not, as most election officials rely on optical scanners instead.)

BMDs were initially designed for people who are unable to hand-mark paper ballots due to disability, old age, etc. But the state of Georgia and Los Angeles County, California are now at the forefront of an unfortunate new trend, which is to consider buying these expensive hackable "electronic pencils" for use by all voters at the polls, regardless of need.

The Georgia legislature is quickly working to adopt a bill to fund such new systems to replace their similarly 100% unverifiable, 15-year old Diebold touchscreen systems used across the entire state. L.A. County is in the late process of a years-long development program to deploy these systems in time for the 2020 Presidential election.

Should Georgia and Los Angeles proceed on their current course, it would introduce a second unnecessary and insecure computer system in the polling place above and beyond already insecure optical scanners, creating twice as many opportunities for electronic programming errors, paper jams, and hacking. For example, some BMD systems have already had problems with:

  • Vote flipping (when election integrity advocate and journalist Brad Friedman used such a device in Los Angeles in a 2008 election, the device flipped 4 out of 12 of his selections on the computer-marked paper ballot);
  • Inability to display all candidates on one screen (a problem reported by the state of Maryland, which had acquired such systems for all voters, but changed its mind even though the screen problem was eventually fixed); and
  • Vendor breach of certification requirements (as occurred with vendor Election Systems & Software, "ES&S", the nation's largest voting system vendor).

Meanwhile, two of the most popular BMD's --- the ES&S ExpressVote and the Dominion ImageCast --- produce bar-coded (or QR-coded) printouts, which cannot be read by human beings, in lieu of traditional, hand-marked paper ballots.

This is alarming, according to experts --- including some who describe BMDs as "Son of DREs" --- for a number reasons...

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




What we can and must do to protect the 2018 elections...
By Jennifer Cohn on 2/19/2018 3:30pm PT  

[This article, constructed as a handout for concerned voters and election officials, was originally posted to Medium by Jennifer Cohn on 2/17/2018 and is cross-posted in full here with her permission. This article is also available for easier printing and sharing as a PDF here - BF]

Our elections are under attack. Intelligence officials concur that Russia plans to target the 2018 midterm elections.[1] One hundred experts in the fields of computer science and statistics have recommended paper ballots and post-election statistical audits to protect our democracy.[2] But some election officials have undermined efforts to implement these security measures with irresponsible and false assurances that it would be difficult for hackers to alter the outcome of a national election under our current system.[3]

This handout strives to break through this disinformation with sourced facts that expose the truth about our computerized voting systems. We hope that concerned citizens will use this handout as a tool to persuade decision-makers of the urgent need for paper ballots, robust post-election audits, and other security measures...

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




GOP just extended surveillance law they now decry; Trump policies terrorizing public, infuriating judges; Also: Diebold 'jackpotting'!...
By Brad Friedman on 2/2/2018 6:29pm PT  

On today's BradCast: That mighty "thud" you heard on Friday morning? It may have been the release by Donald Trump and U.S. House Republicans of their long-awaited, much-ballyhooed, self-generated memo, which they promised would expose "worse than Watergate" crimes and wildly biased partisan "witch hunt" activities by the FBI and DoJ as part of their investigation into whether Team Trump worked with Russia to undermine the 2016 Presidential election. It did none of those things. But it does expose them as hypocrites when it comes to U.S. surveillance policies. [Audio link to show posted below.]

The three-and-half page memo was released on Friday despite the strenuous objections of Democrats and Trump appointees at the FBI and DoJ who shared "grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy" before its release. Trump didn't care. The document, made of partial, cherry-picked facts, is meant to suggest the FBI inappropriately obtained a secret warrant (and three renewals for it) from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to spy on Carter Page in late 2016. Page was a Trump campaign volunteer who had long been on the radar of the intelligence community after being cited in intercepts from Russian intelligence agents discussing him as an asset as early as 2013.

The newly declassified memo is the work of U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) and his staff, who may or may not have worked with the White House itself on the effort, but it ultimately appears to do little to bolster their argument that Republican Robert Mueller's Special Counsel probe is in some way compromised by Democratic partisans. (Even Shepard Smith of Fox "News" seems to agree.)

It does, however, underscore concerns about the manner in which Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants are obtained in the secret FISA Court, where there is no adversarial opposition to the secret case offered by the Government. All of which begs the question as to why Nunes himself voted just two weeks ago against FISA reforms advocated by civil libertarians on the Right and Left, and in favor of extending and expanding the controversial surveillance law for another 6 years. It also begs the question as to why Trump signed that FISA extension without reforms to the process that he and Nunes are now claiming to be so troubled by. Again, that was all just two weeks ago! [My conversation on that matter on this show, two weeks ago with former DoJ attorney Elizabeth Goitein --- after Nunes and the House passed the bill, and just before Trump signed it --- is right here.]

Then, as the cable news channels continue to devote nearly 24/7 to political intrigue and food fights, a reminder that a fish rots from the head down. To that end, the petty cruelty of Donald Trump is permeating its way into executive branch agencies, polices and behavior with nowhere near the media sunlight it deserves. We cover a number of the under-reported recent stories of how his cruel, hard-line immigration policies are ripping families apart and hurting real people, right now, and at least one federal judge who drew a hard line in the sand this week against at least one aspect of those policies.

Finally, as promised earlier this week, a disturbing story about Diebold, the makers of ATMs and (formerly) of computer voting, registration and tabulation systems, and a newly-issued warning that their ATMs are being hacked to spit out cash in a scheme called "jackpotting". But while the security built into their machines that contain thousands of dollars of actual cash may not be great, you needn't worry about the security of their systems used to cast and count our votes in at least one-third of the country this year in our upcoming 2018 midterm elections, right? After all, neither Trump nor Nunes nor the rest of the Congressional Republicans appear to be too concerned about it, so why should you be?...

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Guest: John Ziegler of 'A Voice for All Georgia'; Also: Keystone Pipeline oil spill in SD; Tax bill passed by U.S. House; Menendez mistrial in NJ; Moore tanking in AL...
By Brad Friedman on 11/16/2017 6:05pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we head back to Georgia on today's show, to cover the recall effort that is now under way against the state's top election official. But first... [Audio link to show follow below.]

We've got a lot of breaking news as we go to air, including a new spill of some 210,00 gallons of dirty tar sands oil in South Dakota on the Keystone Pipeline. Details were scarce as we went to air, and that number is based on pipeline owner TransCanada's own estimate, but the new spill is likely to affect Nebraska's upcoming decision on the proposed route for TransCanada's controversial KeystoneXL pipeline, which was previously rejected by President Obama, but later approved by President Trump.

The Republican tax cut plan narrowly passed today in the U.S. House on a nearly-party line vote. The scheme, according to non-partisan analysts, would add $1.5 trillion to the national deficit and cut taxes for corporations and the wealthy, while actually resulting in a tax increase for many low- and middle-income Americans. Passage of the unpopular measure is still far from certain, meanwhile, in the U.S. Senate.

Also today, a mistrial was declared in the federal bribery trial against New Jersey's Democratic US Senator Bob Menendez, after the jury was found to be hopelessly deadlocked, with 10 jurors insisting on full acquittal on all charges and two favoring conviction.

The situation for Senate Republicans has not improved following allegations of sexual assault on several teenagers by Roy Moore, Alabama's GOP nominee for next month's US Senate Special Election. An internal GOP poll, according to Politico, finds Moore's numbers tanking against Democratic challenger Doug Jones since the charges came to light. Moore had been up by 16 points in the poll last month. He is now said to be trailing Jones by 12!

And, next door in Georgia, following a massive, covered-up security breach on the state's election server last year, a US House Special Election with questionable results earlier this year in GA's 6th Congressional District, a multi-partisan lawsuit filed to challenge those results and force the state to move away from its wildly-hackable, 100% unverifiable, 15-year old Diebold touch-screen voting systems, and recent blockbuster news revealing that the election server in question was "wiped clean" in the middle of the lawsuit (which the Republican state AG's office now refuses to defend), an official recall petition effort is now underway to demand the removal from office of GA's Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp.

We're joined today by JOHN ZIEGLER, chair of A Voice for All Georgia, the organization heading up a herculean effort to gather the more than 778,000 signatures of registered GA voters that are required to trigger a recall election (which, he tells me, would be run on the very same 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems at the heart of this entire mess!)

Ziegler explains why his group has launched the effort, the obstacles created by the state for successfully obtaining what would be the first recall anywhere in the country of a sitting Sec. of State, and how folks both inside and out of Georgia can help with what HuffPo recently described as "The Biggest Story Nobody's Talking About".

"Kemp and other individuals associated with him have mislabeled our group," Ziegler tells me. "A Voice For All Georgia is a non-partisan group. We have Democrats, we have Republicans, we have Constitutionalists, we have Tea Party members, we have independents. The thing I found very refreshing is that we all share the same common goal, we want to have a secure vote, and we want to have a fair vote, and we want to make sure that all votes count.

"Whether it's gender, ethnicity, religion, values, or beliefs, we all have different opinions, but we've all united together to believe that there should be [a] secure vote, which, in our opinion is to have paper ballots and to have it hand-counted," he says.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for a very busy Green News Report, and an update on Thursday's Keystone Pipeline oil spill...

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

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Guest: Marilyn Marks, Republican election integrity advocate of Coalition for Good Governance and Georgia election lawsuit plaintiff...
By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2017 6:21pm PT  

The fallout --- and disturbing mysteries --- following a lawsuit filed in Georgia after its U.S. House Special Election last June get curiouser and curiouser, as we learned late last night that the state Attorney General's office has now quit its defense of the Secretary of State and the state's other top election official defendants in the case. We discuss all of those bombshells and still-dropping shoes with one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit on today's BradCast. [Audio link to today's must-listen show follows below.]

We've been covering this entire mess for months now (years, really), but particularly since the lawsuit [PDF] was filed in July, after the somewhat surprising results from June's U.S. House Special Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District, where GA's former Republican Sec. of State Karen Handel reportedly defeated Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff, but only on the state's 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems. (He defeated her nearly 2 to 1 on the only verifiable ballots in the race, the mail-in paper votes. Everything else regarding the results is unverifiable speculation.)

Late last week, we learned via Frank Bajak at the Associated Press, that technicians at Kennesaw State University's Center for Elections, which has been contracted to program all of Georgia's computer voting and tabulation systems systems for some 15 years, "wiped clean" the election server that was used to program the elections, ballots and tabulators, just days after the suit was filed in July. Its two backup servers were also subsequently wiped and "degaussed three times" in August, the day after the suit was moved from state to federal court.

GA's chief election official, Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp, claims he knew nothing of the server deletions until AP's report last week. Previously, a huge fan of the Center for Elections at Kennesaw, Kemp cited the "gross incompetence" and "undeniable ineptitude" of the folks at KSU for whatever happened. Nobody has yet to take credit, however, for giving the instructions to delete the servers which held critical evidence that plaintiffs had hoped to have forensically investigated as part of the lawsuit. And then yesterday, in another flip-flop, Kemp called the entire matter "#fakenews".

All of that is disturbing on its own, but even more so in light of revelations earlier this year that the election server in question --- which stored personal data for all of GA's 6.7 million voters and the electronic ballot programming and administrative passwords for the state's voting and tabulation systems --- was left completely accessible online, no password necessary, for at least 6 months. Kennesaw was notified about the vulnerability by a data security researcher in August of 2016 (months before last year's Presidential election), but they failed to secure the server until after Politico's Kim Zetter revealed the vulnerability just prior to the GA-06 U.S. House race this year. (Samantha Bee's Full Frontal covered much of the story up to this point on her show last night, posted here.)

Then, on Wednesday evening, AP's Bajak offered another bombshell in reporting that the Republican state Attorney General's office, which had been defending Kemp, Kennesaw and the state Elections Board in the matter, has now pulled out from defending them. The reasons offered by the state AG and Kemp's campaign for Governor (he's running in 2018) have conflicted with each other or with known evidence obtained during the multi-partisan lawsuit, which a Kemp campaign spokesperson describes to AP yesterday as "a tasteless nothingburger cooked up by liberal activists who know their lawsuit is nothing short of stupid."

One of those "liberal activist" plaintiffs, Republican MARILYN MARKS, a longtime Election Integrity advocate and Executive Director of the Coalition for Good Governance, joins me today to try and help us all figure out just what the hell is actually going on in this increasingly disturbing case.

Marks confirms that nobody still knows who ordered the server deletion, nor why the state AG has dropped out of the case. "It's an enormous mystery, and the mysteries continue to increase every day," she says.

"I think that Brian Kemp is --- and rightfully so --- getting a black eye here," Marks tells me. "What he has done is shameful. There's no way to explain it. So I'm sure his defenders and campaign managers are doing everything they can to go on the offensive and try to make other people look like they are to blame, and that their candidate is innocent. But I think when people step back and say, wait a minute, if they erased the servers --- and they did it twice --- they did it for some reason. And it wasn't because our lawsuit was stupid."

She goes on to explain the "number of conflicting stories that Brian Kemp's people are telling" about when and why the compromised servers were deleted and why the AG's office is no longer willing to defend the case. She also details whether any of the information plaintiffs had hoped to examine from the servers might still be available in what is believed to be a partial copy of the servers obtained by the FBI when they came in to examine the reported data breach that occurred earlier this year, when the servers were discovered to have been left vulnerable online.

Marks' appearance on today's show comes just days before Georgia voters head to the polls for municipal elections being held next Tuesday, which will also be overseen by Kemp, programmed by Kennesaw, and run on the same wildly-hackable, 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting and tabulation systems that lead to this entire mess in the first place. She recently wrote [PDF] to Kemp and other election officials to ask them to make paper ballots available to voters since, as she tells me today, if the system was contaminated during the months it had been left vulnerable on the Internet, "They wouldn't have had time, even within the last year, to have cleaned up everything. Because, as you know, that malware can travel down to the memory cards, the voting machines, the optical scanners, and the jump servers down in the counties. Things could have traveled there in the last six months, year, two years --- and there's been no effort to try to disinfect all of the various components. I mean, there are 27,000 of these touch-screen voting machines in Georgia. There's no way that they should be in use when we know that this system was subject to a high degree of risk."

There is much more today in my conversation with Marks than I can adequately summarize here. So please give today's show a listen for the full story --- or, as much as we know about it to date --- along with many other mind-blowing details.

Also on today's show, a few other items, including Trump's non-scientist nominee for the USDA's chief scientist post, rightwing talk radio host Sam Clovis, withdrawing his nomination after becoming entangled in the Special Counsel's investigation of Team Trump (as you might have been able to predict, had you listened to Tuesday's BradCast with guest Marcy Wheeler); Clovis' fellow climate science denier Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chair of the U.S. House Science Committee announcing he will not run for re-election; and, in the latest Green News Report, Desi Doyen reports on, among many other things, EPA chief Scott Pruitt removing all of the scientists from the EPA's scientific advisory panels...

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Highlights unprotected, now-deleted server, lawsuit after GA-06, calls for hand-marked paper ballots to replace state's 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems...
By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2017 11:47am PT  

We have been covering, in some detail of late, the disturbing case of the election server in the state of Georgia being "wiped clean", as AP was first to report, just days after the filing of a lawsuit [PDF] following concerns about the veracity of election results in the highly-contested June U.S. House Special Election in GA's 6th Congressional District, as well as last year's Presidential race in the state.

The deletion of the server and its two backups, remains a bit of a mystery for the moment, in that we still do not know who ordered it or why. And, last night, AP followed up with a new report that the state Attorney General who had previously served as the attorney in the case for defendant Brian Kemp, GA's Republican Secretary of State, has quit the case for some unknown reason.

All of that comes on the heels of revelations by Kim Zetter at Politico that the server itself, run by Kennesaw State University's Center for Elections, which has been contracted for some 15 years to program all of Georgia's 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting and tabulator systems, was left open and completely vulnerable on the Internet for at least six months, as of August 2016, when Kennesaw was initially warned about it by data researcher Logan Lamb. Nonetheless, Kennesaw did nothing to protect that server from outside manipulation, even after beingn warned that the personal voter registration data for 6.7 million GA voters was available to anyone, along with the ballot definition programming files for the state's easily-hacked voting machines and the administrative passwords to access all of those systems!

We'll be discussing these new details and more on today's BradCast with one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. But I was really happy to see Samantha Bee's Full Frontal last night cover the issue as well, along with the desperate need for hand-marked paper ballots in the state of Georgia! (And everywhere else!) So I want to post it in full here.

Here's Sam Bee's segment, which, I suspect, long-time BRAD BLOG readers and BradCast listeners will particularly appreciate...

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Guest: Garland Favorito of VoterGA; Also: Special Counsel Mueller unseals Team Trump indictments. One pleads guilty, two plead not guilty...
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2017 6:55pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The first indictments by Special Counsel Robert Mueller are unsealed, and we continue to stay on the disturbing case of the state of Georgia's "wiped" election server as revealed late last week. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up, two Trump Campaign officials pleaded not guilty and one plead guilty, to indictments unsealed on Monday stemming from the Special Counsel's investigation of Team Trump and charges of "collusion" between them and Russia during the 2016 Presidential election. We detail the facts as layed out by the 12-count federal indictment against former Trump Campaign chairman and CEO Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates charging that Manafort received some $75 million in income via his work for now-ousted Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych and the political party which supported him. Both are allies of Russia.

The charges do not include any "collusion" between Manafort/Gates and Russia on behalf of the Trump Campaign, but detail how Manafort, aided by Gates, hid his income from federal officials, failed to register as a Foreign Agent related to his lobbying work in the U.S., and otherwise attempted to launder some $18 million from their many offshore accounts through various schemes in the U.S.

Pleading guilty, according to indictment documents released by the Special Counsel, was George Papadopoulos, an unpaid foreign policy adviser to the Trump Campaign, who allegedly lied to federal investigators about his contacts with an unnamed "professor" said to have told him about "dirt" that Russia supposedly had regarding Hillary Clinton from "thousands of emails" that the US Intelligence Community later said were hacked by Russian agents. Papadopoulos is now cooperating with federal prosecutors.

The White House denies that any of the charges implicate the President or his Campaign. The DNC argues otherwise.

Then, picking up on the disturbing breaking news late last week that officials in Georgia "wiped clean" the Election Server used to program both last year's Presidential Election in the state and this year's U.S. House Special Election in June, we speak with GARLAND FAVORITO of VoterGA.org

The server wipe, confirmed via internal emails, came just days after a bi-partisan lawsuit [PDF] had been filed in July regarding the results of those elections, which were carried out on the state's 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems, and after the systems had been programmed via the server that we learned earlier this year had been left completely vulnerable on the Internet for at least 6 months, beginning as early as August of 2016.

The vulnerable server was used to store personal voter registration data for 6.7 million GA voters, as well as ballot programming definition files for the state's computer voting and tabulation systems, and administrative passwords to access those systems. It was first discovered as freely accessible via the Internet by a data security researcher who informed officials at the Kennesaw State University Center for Elections, which has been contracted to handle all of Georgia's elections systems for the past 15 years. The Center left the system up and completely vulnerable during last year's Presidential election and until just prior to the June special election.

Favorito explains the latest developments in that case, as well as his group's new statistical analysis, published a week before the news of the wiped server (and its two backup servers) became public. The report explains what the group sees anomalous election results in the Special U.S. House Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District in June. The longtime Election Integrity advocate and IT expert details the 72-page report's analysis, concluding that it is "statistically improbable that the reported results are correct" and that they are more likely explained by the manipulation of GA-06 results at the state level, possibly by "external or internal" hackers with free access to the unprotected and now-deleted server.

His conclusion, he explains, is based on analysis of results finding that the Democrat Jon Ossoff soundly defeated Republican Karen Handel by a nearly 2 to 1 margin in the only publicly verifiable results (the mail-in paper ballots) even with a Republican-leaning mail-in electorate. Yet, the Democrat still managed to "lose" somehow, according to the state's highly-vulnerable, easily hackable, unverifiable touch-screen voting and tabulation systems used for early in-person and election day voting.

"The nutshell, the bottom line of it," Favorito tells me, "is that we found that it is statistically improbable that these 6th District runoff results could be correct. And if they are not correct, that means there had to either be some kind of tampering or fraud involved."

We discuss all of that today, including whether GA's Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp's claims that he knew nothing about the server wipe should be trusted, and whether its still possible to piece together what may have happened in the recent U.S. House race, now that the server at Kennesaw has been mysteriously, if thoroughly, deleted.

All of this comes just days before voters in GA head back to the polls for next Tuesday's municipal elections in Atlanta and elsewhere, which are set to be run on the very same hackable, vulnerable and 100% unverifiable systems...

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Also: New details in the mystery of Georgia's 'wiped' election server...
By Brad Friedman on 10/27/2017 5:53pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Who ordered the state of Georgia's election server to be completely destroyed amidst a federal lawsuit filed in July? And working to mitigate the "clear and present danger" President Donald J. Trump poses to the nation and the world. [Audio link follows below.]

First up today, a number of follow-up details, for now, on the story we reported yesterday in depth about the state election server computer that was mysteriously "wiped clean" in Georgia, just after a lawsuit was filed questioning whether results were electronically manipulated in some fashion during last year's Presidential election and this year's U.S. House Special Election in the state's 6th Congressional District.

Both contests were run on Georgia's easily-hacked, 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen systems and computer tabulators, and programmed by Kennesaw State University's Center for Elections. As AP reported on Thursday, the Center, after 15 years handling all programming for the state's elections, has now completely deleted the server that had been used for programming, including its two back-up servers. Questions remain as to whether the FBI might have an "image" copy of that server, officials are calling for a criminal investigation, and nobody yet knows who ordered the computer hard drives to be completely wiped and "degaussed three times".

We also share a terrific related listener email, and detail some of the terrible reporting on this matter by at least one corporate outlet (which we were able to get them to, at least partially, correct last night.) But, we hope to have much more on this story on our next BradCast.

Then, among the other stories covered on today's program...

  • The American Legion is calling on Trump to protect veterans by vetoing legislation passed this week that will prevent Americans from being able to file class-action lawsuits against big banks and other corporate institutions for fraudulent and deceptive practices;
  • A Military Times poll finds Trump is very unpopular among military officers, though somewhat more popular among enlisted troops;
  • Defense Sec. James Mattis is wildly popular among everybody in the military, though he may be less so, of late, with the Commander-in-Chief. Mattis has been speaking with troops in South Korea and calling for diplomatic solutions in the very dangerous, potentially-nuclear standoff between Trump and North Korea;
  • Democrats in the U.S. Senate introduce legislation to keep Trump from launching a pre-emptive strike, "nuclear or conventional", with North Korea, in hopes of forcing him to follow the Constitution as per the founders, who specifically granted Congress the exclusive right and duty of declaring war against another nation;
  • Trump responds to the $10 million NeedToImpeach.com campaign launched by Tom Steyer, by describing the California activist billionaire as "wacky" and "totally unhinged" in response to the campaign's ad describing the President as "a clear and present danger";
  • And, speaking of "wacky" and "unhinged", Roy Moore --- the twice-disgraced, far-right Republican former Alabama Supreme Court Justice who Trump is supporting in Alabama's U.S. Senate special election coming up in December --- explains why he believes the U.S. Supreme Court's Obergefell ruling that legalized same-sex marriage is "even worse" than the Court's infamous 1857 Dredd Scott opinion which essentially legalized slavery across the U.S. and helped lead the country into the Civil War...

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Also: New details on how 'dark money' helped GOP steal SCOTUS, with guests Margaret Sessa-Hawkins & Andrew Perez of MapLight...
By Brad Friedman on 10/26/2017 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It often feels like we're fighting to save whatever little is left of representative American democracy. Today is certainly one of those days. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

First up today, Associated Press reports that the computer server at Kennesaw State University's Center for Elections in Georgia was "wiped clean" in early July, just days after the state's contentious June 20 Special Election Runoff for the U.S. House Seat in GA's 6th Congressional District, and as a federal lawsuit [PDF] was filed to challenge the results of that election.

Kennesaw's Center has been contracted by the state for some 15 years to program virtually all aspects of Georgia's elections, including their electronic pollbook voter registration databases and the highly hackable and 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems and electronic tabulators used across the entire state.

The complete deletion of information on the server in July --- and, reportedly, two backups of that server in August --- is particularly disturbing given questions about the accuracy of the reported results in the race, said to have been won by Georgia's former Republican Sec. of State Karen Handel over Democrat Jon Ossoff. Some of the concerns were detailed in the ongoing lawsuit filed by a number of plaintiffs, including Republican election integrity advocate Marilyn Marks of the Coalition of Good Governance. (We discussed that suit with Marks on The BradCast in July and concerns revealed about the results of the April Primary with VoterGA's Garland Favorito in May. We hope to speak with both of them on the show again very soon.)

The federal complaint had sought a forensic analysis of the Kennesaw server to determine whether it may have been manipulated in some way. AP reports: "Wiping the server clean 'forestalls any forensic investigation at all,' said Richard DeMillo, a Georgia Tech computer scientist who has closely followed the case. 'People who have nothing to hide don't behave this way.'" Marks is quoted in the same report noting: "I don't think you could find a voting systems expert who would think the deletion of the server data was anything less than insidious and highly suspicious."

The server was discovered by a data security researcher to have been left online and unprotected --- exposing personal voter records, voting system programming files and administrative system passwords --- in August of 2016. Yet, GA's Secretary of State, Republican Brian Kemp (who is running for Governor in 2018), claims to have not been notified, and the server was left unprotected through both the 2016 Presidential election, as well as this year's special U.S. House race. The personal information of some 6.7 million voters, ballot definition files used on voting machines and tabulators, as well as system passwords used by election officials to access those systems were reportedly left vulnerable to manipulation for at least six months, if not longer. (We reported on that aspect of this mess in June of this year.)

Today we discuss the alarming new AP report and what it means, following our own months of coverage of related concerns about the GA-06 special election, failures during tabulation, many questions from Election Integrity advocates about its reported results and, of course, our years (nearly 15 of them) warning about exactly such a situation as this.

Then, speaking of a "rigged" democracy, we're joined by Maplight's Dark Money Watch journalists MARGARET SESSA-HAWKINS and ANDREW PEREZ to discuss their new reporting on federal 'disclosure' documents revealing that millions of dollars were spent to support the Republican U.S. Senate effort to block President Obama's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, and the subsequent effort to confirm the nomination of President Trump's nominee to that same seat, Neil Gorsuch. The two reporters detail their findings including that, of the $17 million in "dark money" raised and spent on both efforts, a single donation for $17.9 million, from an unknown source to the rightwing Judicial Crisis Network, may have accounted for most, if not all of that effort.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on concerns about two dodgy contracts for $500 million to purportedly help rebuild Puerto Rico's power grid; a new report by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the $350 BILLION U.S. tax-payer dollars spent on climate-related disasters over the past decade, and much MUCH more!...

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

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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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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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