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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, September 21, 2018
Defining 'Disaster' One Year After Maria, One Week After Florence: 'BradCast' 9/20/18
Guest: Disaster historian Scott Knowles; Also: Kavanaugh's accuser is willing to testify next week under certain conditions...
'Green News Report' 9/20/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Hurricane Florence floodwaters pose toxic public health threat; NC begins long road of recovery; PLUS: Trump Interior Dept. formally rolls back still more methane regulations...
Previous GNRs: 9/18/18 - 9/13/18 - Archives...
GOP's Panic to Confirm Kavanaugh 'ASAP':
'BradCast' 9/19/18
Also: Toxic disaster begins after Florence; AL SoS sued for Twitter blocking; Bad news for 'dark money', good news for voters...
Kavanaugh Nomination Falling Apart: 'BradCast' 9/18/18
Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: Florence fallout made worst by Trump tariffs; Judge allows use of GA's 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems in November...
'Green News Report' 9/18/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Florence wreaks havoc, death in 4 states; Strongest storm of year (so far) slams Philippines, Hong Kong; PLUS: Aftermath of Boston-area natural gas pipeline explosions...
Previous GNRs: 9/13/18 - 9/11/18 - Archives...
I Believe You, Christine:
'BradCast' 9/17/18
Guest host Angie Coiro with special guest Chris Hedges on his new book. And some thoughts on the sexual assault allegation against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh...
Sunday Gale Force Toons
There are more storms and responses to them than we can possibly keep track of over this past week -- and in PDiddie's latest weekly toon collection...
Progressive Wins, Losses in NY End Primaries That Redefined Dems: 'BradCast' 9/14/18
Guest: David Dayen; Also: Florence flooding, nuke threat; Manafort guilty plea; MA NatGas explosions; 10 years after the crash...
'Disaster's at the Doorstep': 'BradCast' 9/13/18
RI primary results; Registration probs in NY; Deadly Florence rolls ashore; Olivia threatens HI dam; Trump becomes a Maria death toll denier; Fires explode in MA homes...
'Green News Report' 9/13/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Florence impacts could be felt for weeks; 10 million also threatened by Super Typhoon Mangkhut; Trump releases methane; PLUS: U.N. chief warns climate at tipping point...
Previous GNRs: 9/11/18 - 9/6/18 - Archives...
Fueling Florence (and, Now, Eight Other Major Storms): 'BradCast' 9/12/18
Guest: Weather Channel vet meteorologist Guy 'Climate Guy' Walton; Also: NH Primary results, big turnout...
Former Sen. Judiciary Attny Wants Kavanaugh Impeached: 'BradCast' 9/11/18
Guest: Leahy's former Chief Counsel, Lisa Graves; Also: 'Monster' Florence; GOPer arrested for fraud & Kobach to remain on KS ballot; CA takes lead on climate change...
'Green News Report' 9/11/18
Florence takes aim at Carolinas; Olivia heads to HI; Brand new pipeline explodes in PA; PLUS: CA blazes new path of climate change action...
Hurricanes Florence, Olivia...and Donald:
'BradCast' 9/10/18
Deadly storms -- political and otherwise -- on every front; Calls from listeners; And bona fide good news in CA!...
Sunday Anonymous Toons
The "resistance" is coming from inside the (White)house, as 'PDiddie' details in his latest weekly toon collection...
Unsettling Truths on 'Settled Law', Kava-naugh and Roe v. Wade: 'BradCast' 9/7/18
Guest: Amanda Marcotte; Also: DE results, KS election fraud, FL ordered to comply with VRA, Obama returns...
'Uncharted. Unprecedented. The Process Has Broken Down': 'BradCast' 9/6/18
Chaos continues at Kavanaugh hearings; 'Total meltdown' at WH after NYT op-ed; TX dirty tricks; VA election fraud; MI court bans straight-ticket voting; Our 900th 'GNR'!...
'Green News Report' 9/6/18
OUR 900TH EPISODE! Kavanaugh on SCOTUS spells big trouble for environment and climate action; PLUS: Extreme weather slams Japan, Gulf Coast, Wisconsin...
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...


Trump's dark week gets darker; Dems nix SCOTUS nom meetings; Majority of Repubs support 'Medicare for All'; Very bad polling news for GOP; GA county poll closure scam falls apart; Hurricane Lane threatens Hawaii...
By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2018 6:30pm PT  

Like the news cycle, we're all over the place on today's BradCast with politics, accountability and corruption news, democracy and voting news, green news and court news and much much more. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the many stories covered today...Some Democratic Senators are now refusing to meet with Donald Trump's U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, following the convictions of Trump's campaign chair Paul Manafort and the guilty pleas of his personal lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen, implicating the President himself in a conspiracy to commit serious criminal campaign finance felonies.

On related fronts today: Trump has now finally admitted (after years of lies about it by him and his staff) that he did, in fact, make hush-money payouts to women before the 2016 election; Cohen's lawyer Lanny Davis offers more details on what his client may know regarding Trump's early knowledge of hacked DNC emails before they were released in 2016; and Trump's longtime friend David Pecker [pictured above], who runs the National Enquirer and helped kill stories about Trump's mistresses, is reportedly now cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller after being granted an immunity deal.

Also, a Trump-supporting juror from the first Manafort trial says there was only one person on the jury who prevented him from being found guilty on all 18 counts of tax and bank fraud, versus the 8 on which he was found guilty. A mistrial was declared on the 10 other counts.

A new Reuters poll today finds that more than 70% of Americans now support a "Medicare for All" styled universal healthcare program, including a majority of Republicans. And a new poll from Fox "News" offers an avalanche of bad news for Trump and Republicans in advance of the 2018 midterm elections. (For example, Mueller is more popular than Trump by double-digits, and other numbers that may spell trouble in November.)

Speaking of which, following a public outcry, Randolph County, Georgia, whose two-person Board of Elections is set to vote on a proposal to close 7 of 9 polling places before the November election in the majority African-American county, now admits it has no evidence to support the claim that those precincts need to be closed due to violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Moreover, it has now fired the consultant --- hired on the recommendation of GA Sec. of State Brian Kemp (the Republican nominee for Governor this year) --- who urged the poll closures at, what he initially said, had been Kemp's recommendation.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report on the Trump EPA's deadly new proposed rule to replace Obama's landmark "Clean Power Plan", the Administration's spate of recent court failures blocking their attempts to overturn environmental protections, and the latest news on Hurricane Lane which is bearing down on Hawaii and threatening record rainfall among other potential dangers which, the Governor warns, could cripple the island for several weeks...

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

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Guest: Attorney, election integrity advocate, journalist Jennifer Cohn...
By Brad Friedman on 8/21/2018 6:20pm PT  

Well, it was one of those days again on today's BradCast, with an avalanche of huge, incoming breaking news which we do our best to cover --- even as we keep our eyes on the November prize on what may officially have been the worst day of Donald Trump's Presidency, to date. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Our first piece of breaking news: Trump's former campaign chair Paul Manafort was convicted on 8 felony counts related to bank and tax fraud in his Virginia trial. The jury couldn't agree on 10 other counts brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, so the judge declared a mistrial on those counts. Manafort now faces another federal trial on felony charges, also brought by Mueller, in Washington D.C. next month, related to his undeclared work with a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party.

Also, in arguably bigger and worse breaking news for Trump, his longtime personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to 8 federal felonies related to bank and tax fraud, as well as campaign finance law violations related to a hush-money payoff of $130,000 made to porn actress Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 Presidential election. The payment, Cohen admitted in a NY federal courtroom on Tuesday, was carried out "at the direction of" Trump "for the principal purpose of influencing the election". Now facing 4 to 5 years in federal prison, he may be inclined to cooperate with Mueller to receive a shorter sentence. With Cohen's plea deal ending that particular investigation in NY, it may also mean that Trump will now be forced to sit for an under-oath deposition in the lawsuit filed against Trump by Daniels.

All of that, after Microsoft announced last night it had discovered and shut down several fake Russian websites said to have targeted U.S. Senate offices and two conservative think tanks in advance of the November primary.

Then, as voters head to the primary polls in Alaska and Wyoming today, we're still working to make sense of two still-unexplained election night tabulation failures in both Michigan and Kansas during their August 7th primaries. We're joined today by JENNIFER COHN, attorney turned election integrity advocate and journalist, following her recent trip to Kansas to investigate the reported "computer glitch" in Johnson County, KS which crippled election night tabulation in the state's most populous county.

That "glitch" resulted in GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach, Secretary of State, reportedly defeating KS Gov. Jeff Colyer to secure the GOP nomination for Governor by just over 100 votes out of 311,00 cast on Election Day. The still-unexplained failure occurred on the county's brand new, unverifiable ES&S ExpressVote touchscreen voting and tabulation system, approved just months ago by the county's election chief who was appointed by Kobach. The same unverifiable voting system will be used by voters in some 16 states and D.C. this November. (For the record, they will be used in AZ, D.C., FL, IA, ID, ME, MI, MO, MS, NV, OH, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WI and WV.)

Her must-read article published by The BRAD BLOG in March on the dangers of such systems --- which produce barcoded "paper ballots" that can't be verified by voters after an election --- foretells many of the problems that occurred in Kansas on August 7. "All the problems that I predicted came to fruition, with the long lines, and machines failing, and then not having paper ballot backups," Cohn reports, noting that some voters were disenfranchised and others were given confusion instructions about whether or not they should try "to even verify those computer-marked, so-called paper ballot summary cards" produced by the systems.

During her short visit to Kansas, Cohn was denied an interview with the Kobach-appointed JoCo Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker and blocked from viewing the ES&S voting systems as well as the tabulation of provisional ballots. "We were just stonewalled, really, all day long, about everything," she tells me. "On the tabulating, they wouldn't even tell me if they were tabulating in the building."

She goes on to explain why we should all be very concerned about all of this, and what can possibly be done to try and oversee the validity of computer-marked paper ballots and electronically tabulated results on similar systems in use across the country this November.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on the story which was supposed to have be Trump's great triumph today, the announcement of his EPA's new plan to replace Barack Obama's 'Clean Power Plan' with a scheme that will allow coal plants to keep polluting, global warming to worsen, and, as the documentation of the plan admits, result in the avoidable deaths and illness of tens of thousands of Americans each year...

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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And other news, both good and bad, around the country and world, 78 days out from the midterm elections...
By Brad Friedman on 8/20/2018 6:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Some good news and bad for voters in New Hampshire and Georgia. Bad news for breathers. And Donald Trump has the worst. Attorney. Ever. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the many stories we cover on today show...

  • A federal court has struck down New Hampshire's law that allowed local election workers, without expertise in hand-writing analysis, to toss absentee ballots, essentially, due to bad penmanship. The law had allowed officials to disenfranchise voters --- without notice or time to cure the problem --- if they judged a signature on an absentee ballot does not match closely enough with the signature on the voter's absentee ballot application form. We discuss the story of one of the plaintiffs in the case, 94-year old, legally blind Mary Saucedo, whose 2016 Presidential election ballot was tossed, without her knowledge, until she was contacted by the ACLU months after the election. This is a problem with absentee vote-by-mail ballots in many states. The good news is, it may stop in NH, at least.
  • A two-person county election board in Randolph County, Georgia will vote this Friday on a scheme to close 7 of 9 precincts for this November's crucial midterm elections in the rural, poor, predominantly African-American county. There is no public transportation in most of the county, where many do not own cars. The closures would result in some voters needing to walk three and a half hours to cast their votes, the ACLU of Georgia argues. Voter registration at one of precincts to be shuttered is 97 percent black. That, in a year when Georgia could elect the nation's first African-American female governor, Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams.
  • The blistering summer of record heat, fire, flooding and related deadly disasters continues around the globe. Monsoon rains have, so far, killed hundreds and dislocated more than 800,000 in the southern Indian state of Kerala. That story underscores, yet again, the horrible if expected news that...
  • The Trump Administration is set to announce a plan this week which would roll back President Obama's "Clean Power Plan" which would have, in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement, greatly curbed carbon dioxide and other deadly emissions from coal-fired power plants. The Trump EPA scheme would allow states to devise their own plans for emissions reductions at coal plants. Where Trump's plan would result in the equivalent of 2 to 5 million cars being taken off the road, Obama's would have removed the equivalent of 75 million vehicles and more than 265 million metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. The reduction of carcinogens that cause diseases such as asthma and lung cancer in the Obama plan similarly dwarfs the toxins expected to be reduced by Trump's plan, which the dying (and deadly) coal industry is applauding today.
  • Finally, Rudy Giuliani may be the worst lawyer ever. And his client, the President of the United States, deserves him. We discuss Giuliani's already-infamous "truth isn't truth" statement on NBC's 'Meet the Press' on Sunday, and what the documented truth actually is, regarding the Trump Campaign's 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian government-allied attorney said to have been promising dirt on Hillary Clinton that year. Giuliani's gob-smacking admissions that Team Trump committed a crime in 2016 by meeting with the Russian attorney "for the purpose of getting information about...Clinton" --- along with his evidence-defying claim that "she didn't represent the Russian government" and that Team Trump may not have known "that she was Russian at the time" --- will certainly be of note to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into the alleged conspiracy to manipulate the 2016 Presidential election...

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: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: KS GOP Gubernatorial primary counting fight update; MO Repubs elect another Nazi; Interior Sec. Zinke says environmentalists are 'terrorists'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/14/2018 6:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Our long 'Digby' drought is finally over! [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today, an update on the ongoing counting from (and fights over) last week's incredibly close GOP gubernatorial primary in Kansas between Sec. of State Kris Kobach and Gov. Jeff Colyer, who is accusing Kobach's deputy of giving incorrect instructions to counties regarding the counting of provisional ballots. Some 9,000 provisionals are now being processed as Kobach leads the current unofficial count by just over 100 votes out of some 311,000 cast last week. The latest battle is over whether provisional ballots cast by unaffiliated voters who did not officially declare a party affiliation at the polls (because poll workers failed to instruct them to do so) should be included in the tallies. Colyer's office argues yes. Kobach's deputy --- who is overseeing the post-election canvas following Kobach's recusal --- says no. We explain both positions.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Missouri last week, Republican voters in Clay County appear to have elected a huge Hitler fan, by a very large margin, as their nominee for the state House of Representatives. Earlier this year a former member of the American Nazi party won the GOP nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives in a Congressional district outside of Chicago.

Then, as the defense rested Tuesday without bringing forward any evidence or witnesses in the first of two federal indictments against former Trump Campaign chairman Paul Manafort, we're joined by HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of both Salon and Hullabaloo, to catch up on a number of stories boiling over from within the Trump Scandal Swamp.

Most notably, she explains her recent spot-on observation that the Whitewater scandals during the Clinton Presidency, rather than Nixon's Watergate scandal, may offer "a better window into the current behavior of the Republican Party" when it comes to their denial of and outrageously partisan attacks on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged Team Trump/Russia coordination in the 2016 Presidential election.

After drawing apt comparisons to Watergate (and there are plenty), Parton moves to Ken Starr's Whitewater investigation. "What the Republicans did in that era --- it was kind of the beginning of this 'scorched earth' partisanship that we see today. They brought all hands on deck to go after Bill Clinton, starting in 1992," she says. After which, "they started to use this scandal-mongering as a political weapon. This became their weapon of choice."

Thus, she concludes, "that's how they're viewing the Russia scandal. They are portraying it to their people as a partisan weapon, that 'They're using all of this to damage Trump, there's no substance to it!' In their view, they can convince their people that this is how scandals work because that's what they do" in their own so-called investigations, which really are, more often than not, the "witch hunts" that Trump and Congressional Republicans characterize the probe by Mueller (a lifelong Republican) to be.

While we're in the swamp, we also discuss the Manafort case, Trump's Dept. of Justice firing of senior FBI counter-intelligence official Peter Strzok (who oversaw the beginning of the Trump/Russia investigation in 2016) on Monday, and the importance (or lack thereof) regarding sensational new allegations being made by fired White House staffer and former TV reality star Omarosa Manigault Newman this week, in conjunction with the release of her new tell-all book.

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report in which, among other things, we discuss more record heat and fires threatening national parks and forests, the Trump Administration's efforts to use those disasters to cripple the Endangered Species Act and help out the logging and farming industries, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's on-tape charge that "environmental terrorist groups" are to blame for massive record wildfires currently engulfing large areas of the West...

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: Michael Hiltzik of L.A. Times; Also: KS GOP gubernatorial primary fight worsens; Very good news for NC voters; Very bad news for Monsanto; And why Trump wants to 'Make Asbestos Great Again'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/10/2018 6:20pm PT  

It's yet another wild ride on today's BradCast! Climb aboard and buckle up! [Audio link to show is posted below.]

First up, the saga of Kansas' wildly close primary election for the GOP gubernatorial nomination between current Gov. Jeff Colyer and the oft-disgraced Sec. of State Kris Kobach grows more acrimonious by the hour. The fight over Kobach's refusal then agreement to recuse himself from the counting and canvassing process now includes Colyer charging Kobach is giving counties advice on counting provisional and mail-in ballots that is "inconsistent with Kansas law" and that Colyer's new "voter integrity" hotline has received hundreds of calls, including claims that voters were "turned away" from the polls on Tuesday and had trouble finding Colyer's name on the ballot. (The latter complaint, as I explain, could be a result of new ES&S ExpressVote touchscreen voting machines now used in several KS counties. Those machines, in crowded races, fail to show all candidates on a single screen, requiring the voter to hit a "More" button.) A recount and/or litigation between the two Republicans may lie ahead, in what couldn't be a better result for Democrats if they'd designed it themselves.

Then, a followup on the Trump EPA's recent announcement that they intend to bring asbestos back and about the Russian company which mines and sells most of the world's supply of the deadly mineral. The firm, according to their own Facebook page recently, is now actually stamping Donald Trump's face on their packaging!

Next, we're joined by the L.A. Times' Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist MICHAEL HILTZIK to discuss the real story behind Trump's recent tweets on California's ongoing record wildfires and the President's bizarre suggestion that the out-of-control blazes are due to "bad environmental laws" and mismanagement of the state's water system. He claims the firses are happening because California allows water to be "foolishly diverted into the Pacific Ocean". While none of those things are actually anywhere close to the truth or the reason for the global warming-fueled fires, Hiltzik explains how Trump's misinformed claims actually appear part of an effort by the Interior and Commerce Departments to exploit the ongoing catastrophes as a way to strip away the state's control of its own water system and, believe it or not, as a pretext for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's hopes of hollowing out the Endangered Species Act.

Hiltzik describes Trump as the "Drought Denier in Chief" while explaining that the state of California has said they have plenty of water to fight the fires. "The diversion of water" in the state is not to the ocean, as Trump charges, but "for growers in the Central Valley of California who live in one of the very few Republican zones in the state and are basically supported by the very few Republican office-holders we have in Congress."

"Under federal law," he explains, "water has to be kept flowing through a lot of our rivers so that fish, and fishermen, and fisheries are supported, and we don't let those species go extinct. And when I say 'going extinct', it's not only fish at risk of going extinct but, as I've reported, there are salmon fishermen on the coast whose livelihoods are at risk of going extinct because the salmon are being stressed by federal policies that don't allow enough water to flow down the rivers they use."

"So growers have been on the warpath, saying 'Oh, we're not getting water, we're drying up because of these biological opinions that say the fish need the water'. These are biological opinions that were issued in accordance with the federal Endangered Species Act. So, Trump has been out for the ESA since the get-go."

But why do Trump and the Republicans favor the farming industry over the state's billion dollar fishing industry? Hiltzik explains that and much more, as the Administration ups their efforts to avoid letting a good catastrophe go to waste.

Finally, some good news for voters in North Carolina, where a federal court has blocked the state from purging voters without notice or in the 90 days before an election; A jury verdict out of San Francisco awards $290 million to a school groundskeeper after finding Monsanto liable for his terminal cancer tied to the use of their toxic weed killer RoundUp; And we close out with Jimmy Kimmel's clever idea for trying to convince Trump to give a damn about our ever-worsening climate crisis...

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: Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance; Also: Trump, Giuliani 'obliterate' the 'collusion' goalposts as Manafort goes on trial...
By Brad Friedman on 7/31/2018 6:59pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Desi and I are back today. (Our thanks to Angie Coiro of In Deep Radio for filling in over the last couple of shows!) And we've got a lot to catch up on today --- including the fact that the crucial midterm elections are now less than 100 days away, and the paper ballots and other materials from the 2016 Presidential election may be destroyed entirely in just over one month, with nobody, to this day, actually knowing for certain who actually won it. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today, for some reason Donald Trump's lousy personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has spent the last few days seemingly making things much worse for his client. Most notably, in addition to suggesting that Trump may have known in advance about the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between his son, son-in-law, campaign chair Paul Manafort and a team of Russians promising "dirt" on Hillary Clinton, both Giuliani and Trump have now extended their ubiquitous claims of "no collusion" to become "no collusion, but even if there was collusion, that's not illegal."

They are both wrong, however, as we explain today. Collusion --- better known as "conspiracy", in this alleged case, with a foreign power working to influence the 2016 U.S. Presidential election --- would most certainly be unlawful. But why the sudden media offensive by Team Trump on this point, just before the first of two federal trials for Manafort was scheduled to begin today? We discuss.

Then, just over than three months from the crucial 2018 midterm general election, U.S. computerized voting and tabulation systems remain wildly unsecured and virtually impossible for the public to oversee (for the most part) in order to confirm that computer-reported results actually reflect the will of the voters. Today, better late than never, I guess, the Dept. of Homeland Security announced a new cybersecurity task force to help protect against attacks on critical infrastructure such as the power grid, our banking systems and, yes, the election system. But, in announcing the new effort, DHS once again misled the American people by suggesting that no votes were manipulated in the 2016 election. In truth, that point that remains unknown since, as DHS admitted last year, they never actually conducted forensic analyses of voting and tabulation systems --- nor even bothered to count existing hand-marked paper ballots --- to determine if the most startling election result in U.S. history was, in fact, manipulated or accurate.

Moreover, the ballots in question from 2016 (where such hand-marked paper actually exists) may be destroyed as early as September, after the 22-month federal requirement for retention of all election materials --- such as ballots and ballot programming code, etc. --- expires. We call today on citizens and legal organizations --- and the media --- today to file public records request to examine those ballots and/or at least ensure they are retained beyond the September expiry date, since almost none of the ballots cast in 2016 have ever been examined by human beings to determine if they were accurately tallied.

That is true in all 50 states. But nowhere in the U.S. is it more difficult to oversee the accuracy of election results than in Georgia, where Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp reportedly won his GOP primary runoff for the gubernatorial nomination last week against Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. As the Atlanta Journal Constitution describes, based on a new study, Cagle's failure to defeat Kemp in the runoff election, after easily placing first in the state's May primary, was the most dramatic runoff collapse in Georgia political history. And the paper doesn't note, though we do, that it was all done on the state's 100% unverifiable Diebold touchscreen voting systems "overseen" by Kemp himself.

Today we're joined by longtime Republican election integrity advocate MARILYN MARKS, Executive Director of the Coalition for Good Governance, to discuss all of the above and, specifically, her group's ongoing lawsuit against Georgia. The complaint demands the state dump their 15-year old, easily manipulated, unverifiable electronic vote-casting system before November, in favor of the state's existing hand-marked paper ballot system long used for absentee voting.

Marks tells me how this can easily be done in time for this year's general election (and in other states as well!), how SoS Kemp has been lying about state law in order to avoid such a switch, and whether or not we have learned any more, since last year, about the mysterious wipe of the state's long-vulnerable election server (and its backup) just days after her lawsuit was originally filed last summer.

On destroying the 2016 ballots, Marks joins our call for folks to file FOIA requests to keep the ballots from being destroyed: "I fear that many election officials in those swing states, that they are standing there over their records with a can of kerosene in one hand and a book of matches in other, just waiting for a month from now. ... People need to understand that there is no requirement that the records be destroyed after 22 months. That is up to each election official in each county. They can retain them as long as they want. They can't destroy them before 22 months, although I fear some of them have. But even if local citizens can convince their election official not to destroy them, even that is progress."

On the claim by the Trump Administration that results were not manipulated in 2016: "I have never have any confidence in that. That's not to say that I believe that voters were changed, but I don't have any belief one way or the other because there is no evidence. How do these people make this claim when no one has looked, and no one has any evidence one way or the other?"

On what citizens can do in locations where voters are forced to vote on unverifiable touch-screen systems: "Go now --- I mean NOW --- to your local election boards, local board of county commissioners, and demand paper ballots. Because they can get it!"

Much more, must-listen thoughts in our conversation today!

Finally today, the Koch Brothers' Republican political network --- which has spent hundreds of millions each election cycle over the past decade or more, supporting GOP candidates and attacking Democrats --- say they're now having second thoughts about Donald Trump and his toady Republicans in Congress. We explain why you shouldn't believe their crocodile tears of disappointment for a second...

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Guest: BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernest A. Canning; Also: Good news from the courts for voters in FL, IA; Bad news for GOP deficit hawks (if such a creature actually even exists)...
By Brad Friedman on 7/25/2018 6:42pm PT  

Donald Trump's grip on reality seems to be slipping more and more each day. Or, at least his interest in reality is slipping, if not his interest in deceiving his supporters and everyone around him about demonstrable reality. That sentiment was, perhaps, best summed up when, on Tuesday, the five-time draft dodger declared at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) annual convention in Kansas City: "What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening." Got it?

Among the things that actually are happening, as covered on today's BradCast. [Audio link to show follows below]...

The Administration now (quietly) concedes they were wrong about last year's massive tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy paying for themselves through a rise in federal revenue. In the first half of 2018, we now know, corporate tax revenue plunged to its lowest level since such data was first tracked beginning in the 1940s. Thanks to slashed corporate tax rates, federal revenues are now lower than the then-historic plunge following the 2017 economic collapse. And, with that, deficits are now set to rise above $1 trillion annually for the foreseeable future. That, of course, is the exact opposite of what Trump, his White House and Congressional Republicans told Americans last year when pushing for their new tax rates and even worse than real economists at the time had predicted.

Then, after former CIA Director John Brennan declared Trump's "performance" at his joint press conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki last week was "nothing short of treasonous," the White House announced they were seeking to remove his security clearance, along with five other former top U.S. intelligence officials (two of whom no longer have such a clearance anyway) who have been critical of the President's behavior and statements regarding the investigation into Russia's alleged cyberattacks and other interference in the 2016 Presidential election.

The rank politicization of security clearances by a White House may be unprecedented and even one of many impeachable offenses by this President, but does his behavior regarding Russia really rise to "treason", as Brennan argued? BRAD BLOG legal analyst ERNEST A. CANNING joins us today to discuss his recent article on the Constitutional definition of "treason" (the only crime defined in the founding document and one that is punishable by death) and whether the charge could possibly apply to Trump, given that we are not --- at least officially --- "at war" with Russia.

Canning, while he's here, also details two very encouraging court rulings handed down in advance of the crucial 2018 midterm elections, one from a federal court in Florida yesterday, and the other from a state court in Iowa today --- both regarding GOP attempts to restrict early voting and other related issues. In Florida, as Canning explains, the judge described the state's GOP-run state Election Division's restrictions on creating early voting sites at state colleges and universities displayed "a stark pattern of discrimination" in violation of the U.S. Constitution's 26th Amendment. And, in Iowa, the court ruled the Republican state legislature's newly enacted law and GOP Sec. of State effort to promote it "substantially and directly interfere with Iowans' constitutional rights to vote."

Finally today, speaking of reality, on Tuesday the Kremlin made clear they had no intention of accepting Trump's invitation for Putin to come to Washington D.C. this fall for a second summit. That, despite Trump and his Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders previously declaring that plans were already being made for the meeting. Today, White House officials were finally forced to admit the meeting will not, in fact, take place, though the admission was misreported by some in the media as, naturally, the White House pretended it was their choice, not Russia's...

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A compromised Russian asset, even if the President of the United States, cannot be guilty of treason unless we are 'at war' with Russia...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/23/2018 10:47am PT  

Of all of the reactions to the July 16 joint press conference in Helsinki, Finland in which Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump responded to reporters' questions, perhaps the harshest assessment came in a Tweet by former CIA Director John Brennan.

Trump's "performance", Brennan contended, "rises to & exceeds the threshold of 'high crimes & misdemeanors.' It was nothing short of treasonous."

Brennan may have been uniquely positioned to offer that assessment since he was amongst the intelligence officials, who, on Jan. 6, 2017, showed President-Elect Trump emails and texts between high-level members of Russia's military intelligence agency, the GRU, that purportedly establish that Putin had personally ordered the cyberattack on the 2016 election.

Various half-hearted walk-backs aside, Trump's continued refusal to accept that Putin personally ordered Russia's alleged cyberattacks on the 2016 election and denial that any such attacks might have even taken place, is at odds with (a) the bipartisan conclusions offered by the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee; (c) an extraordinarily detailed, 37-page speaking indictment in February, setting forth how 13 Russians and 3 Russian companies allegedly carried out an illegal foreign influence campaign, and (d) the more recent, 29-page, July 13 indictment filed against 12 members of the GRU, laying out the dates and specific manner in which named individuals are said to have carried out cyberattacks on the DNC, Hillary Clinton's campaign chair and many others.

The July 13 indictment also details the manner in which Special Counsel investigators say emails --- purloined information --- from several of those attacks were weaponized for release during the campaign and that, for the first time, the GRU had targeted Clinton's "personal office" emails on the very same day that candidate Trump publicly called for Russia to find her "missing" emails during a July 27, 2016 campaign rally.

Ironically, as observed by MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, Trump's decision to cast aside the unanimous conclusions of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement after the Helsinki summit was promptly followed by a "Perry Mason moment" when Putin was questioned by Reuters correspondent Jeff Mason at the joint press conference of the two Presidents:

Mason: "Did you want President Trump to win the election, and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?"

Putin: "Yes, I did. Yes, I did."

Early-on, as we reported last February, after accepting an assignment to conduct a human-sourced intelligence investigation into Trump's ties to Russia, Christopher Steele, a former British MI-6 intelligence officer, informed Glenn Simpson of research firm Fusion GPS that he, Steele, had a professional responsibility to report his findings to the FBI. He explained his reasoning at the time. Steele believed he'd uncovered a "crime in progress" and that there was a chilling prospect that the man who might become the 45th President of the United States was and is a compromised Russian asset.

Hillary Clinton appeared to share Steele's concern. During a debate, she not only described Trump as "Putin's puppet," but also presciently added: "You encouraged espionage against our people, sign up for his wish list: break up NATO, do whatever he wants."

The very notion that a Commander-in-Chief could be a compromised foreign asset is so unprecedented that it is difficult to comprehend. Just think how history would have turned out if it had been George Washington instead of General Benedict Arnold who had committed treason.

Yet, the factors that suggest Trump is indeed compromised include, but are not limited to, (a) the retention of Michael Flynn for 18 days after Acting AG Sally Yates warned the White House that the DOJ believed Flynn was a compromised Russia asset, firing him only after Flynn was publicly exposed by the Washington Post; (b) the disclosure of highly classified information to Russia's ambassador during an Oval Office meeting; (c) the continuing refusal to impose Congressionally enacted sanctions against Russia --- a refusal that violates the President's duty to see that the laws are faithfully executed --- and (d) Trump's performance at and after the Helsinki Summit.

If Trump is, indeed, a compromised Russian asset, it would represent a monstrous betrayal, a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States and grounds for his removal from office. But, as Brad Friedman correctly observed during a July 16 BradCast, the question as to whether that betrayal amounts to "treason" entails a difficult, unsettled and far murkier legal issue as to whether the U.S. and Russia are at war...

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Guest: TPM's Alice Ollstein; Also: ES&S misleads officials after lie about remote access of election systems; Deadly storms slams Midwest...
By Brad Friedman on 7/20/2018 6:09pm PT  

First up on today's BradCast, a follow-up to yesterday's important show on the wildly vulnerable remote access software installed with computerized election systems sold --- and lied about --- by the nation's top voting system vendor, Election Systems and Software, Inc. (ES&S), as well as by other U.S. vendors who have helped privatize our public election systems. [Audio link to show follows below.]

After Kim Zetter's report at VICE's Motherboard earlier in the week revealed the company had lied to her about their use of the dangerous software for her New York Times report earlier this year, ES&S apparently sent an extraordinarily misleading email to their "valued customers" (election officials in counties around the nation), hoping to minimize concerns over their ill-considered practices.

As they --- and the other corporate vendors who have taken over our public elections with poorly designed, oft-failed and easily-manipulated computer voting and tabulation systems --- have been doing for years, the letter misinforms their "customers" about the dangers of including remote access software on election management systems which program ballots for electronic voting machines and tabulate votes. We explain how the company --- and, sadly, most of the federal government --- continues to lie and mislead about the dangerous of such systems, all of which, despite claims to the contrary by many officials, are, in fact, vulnerable to both Internet hacking and insider manipulation.

Then, as a new federal court deadline looms in less than a week for the Trump Administration to reunite more than 2,500 children separated from their parents at the border, we're joined by Talking Points Memo reporter ALICE OLLSTEIN, who has been keeping up with a dizzying array of federal court motions, hearings and rulings in recent weeks.

The consequences of Trump's so-called "Zero Tolerance" policy at the border has somewhat fallen off the front pages over the past week of mind-bending Trump/Russia news, so Ollstein catches us up with much that we have missed, including one court loss after another for the Trump Administration and federal judges --- appointed by Democrats and Republicans alike --- quickly losing patience with them. Heartbreaking stories of thousands of separated families continue to come out, as the Administration, from all reports, appears nowhere close to meeting a July 26 deadline to reuinite thousands of children over 5 years of age with their parents.

"It's just a huge mess, and it has been for weeks," she tells me. "The administration has been saying things in court and in legal filings that are just blatantly untrue. They have made promises and not kept them. They've blown past the deadlines for the reunification. So these federal judges are losing their patience and stepping in."

Ollstein describes reports from legal groups and immigration advocates of kids still being snatched from their parents at the border and facing "deep, deep trauma" within government detention, while novel (and seemingly unlawful) new interpretations of asylum laws are challenged in court and Congressional Republicans refuse to take substantive action.

"This has been pushed off the front page by other crazy, breaking news in this crazy administration," she observes. "Obviously, people are still outraged, still upset about this and want to see a solution. But it seems Republicans are not feeling enough heat to take action."

Finally, with way too much heat in the Midwest, extreme weather turned deadly on Thursday, as 17 were killed when a sudden storm overtook an amphibious "duck boat" on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri, and as a swarm of as many as 27(!) tornadoes seem to have appeared out of nowhere to devastate several towns in Iowa...

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With Trump's own intel agencies warning of election hacks and the White House contradicting them, disturbing new revelations of voting system vulnerabilities may help explain a 2011 BRAD BLOG exclusive report...
By Brad Friedman on 7/19/2018 6:43pm PT  

As noted at the top of today's BradCast, it's worth buckling up before listening. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We begin, gently enough, with the news of California's Supreme Court temporarily nixing a billionaire's statewide initiative from this November's ballot which, if adopted, would split the state into three. We explain why the Court removed the measure, for now, thanks to a challenge by an environmental group.

Then, with Donald Trump's own Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, warning this past week that "the system is blinking red" in a way that hasn't been seen since just before the 9/11 attacks, the multiple and ever-changing positions by the President of the United States in recent days, regarding whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election and is actively doing so in advance of the 2018 midterms, is all the more head-spinning. Coats was referencing warning signs being reported by U.S. intelligence agencies regarding ongoing attacks and intrusions on America's critical infrastructure --- including our wildly vulnerable electoral systems.

Moreover, new reporting on Trump being read into explicit source details weeks before he was inaugurated in early 2017 regarding Russia's alleged 2016 election intrusion measures, make his ongoing denials, ever-changing positions, and dizzying White House spin to explain them all following Monday's summit with Putin in Helsinki, all the more bewildering. Nonetheless, his own intelligence apparatus and appointees continue to contradict the President, even as the GOP-controlled Congress fails to take any substantive action to either place a check on Trump or even to help protect this November's crucial elections.

At the same time, after the FBI informed Maryland just days ago that its entire election system was being hosted on a private commercial server said to be owned by a Russian oligarch tied to Putin (as discussed in detail on yesterday's BradCast), we learn this week that the top U.S. election system vendor, ES&S, has been lying about remote access software and modems installed, for many years, on systems still used by a majority of U.S. voters.

The new revelations may help explain an exclusive special report published by The BRAD BLOG back in 2011, with an officially-commissioned independent analysis finding that, among other concerns, Venango County, Pennsylvania's ES&S election management system had been accessed by an unknown and unauthorized computer for "several hours" from a remote location. As we reported at the time, ES&S and the County's Board of Commissioners went to considerable lengths, after those revelations, to block a further, independent forensic analysis of the system.

And now, perhaps, we may know why. Kim Zetter reports this week at Vice's Motherboard that the company lied to her and New York Times' fact-checkers earlier this year in advance of her February article at the paper on the inclusion of modems and pcAnywhere remote access software included with the election management systems sold to customers from 2000 to 2006. After previously insisting the company had no "knowledge that our voting systems have ever been sold with remote-access software", ES&S reversed itself in a letter to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, she reports. But they have refused to respond to the Senator's subsequent follow-up queries or to appear at recent Senate hearings on U.S. election system vulnerabilities.

As Zetter details, pcAnywhere was found to include multiple and serious vulnerabilities over the years, which would have allowed unauthorized intruders to change election results with little chance of detection. Moreover, she explains, many questions remain about why ES&S lied, which jurisdictions around the nation may still feature the same, easily-exploitable flaws, and about electronic voting and tabulation systems manufactured by the nation's other top vendors, believed by expert to likely have included similar remote-access vulnerabilities.

All of that (and more, including our latest Green News Report), just over three months out from this November's midterm elections. Told you to buckle up...

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Guest: The Intercept's David Dayen: Also: CA Dems endorse Feinstein's opponent de León; Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez head to KS; FBI reveals Russian ownership of MD's public election system server...
By Brad Friedman on 7/18/2018 6:41pm PT  

We start off on today's BradCast with how the FBI's startling new revelation that a Russian oligarch tied to Vladimir Putin essentially owns the state of Maryland's public election system, underscores yet again what we've been trying to explain for about 15 years here: Private corporations have no place in public elections! [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

Only oversight by the public can possibly prevent our electoral system from being manipulated (or owned) by insiders (like election officials and/or private election vendors) or outsiders (like foreign nations and/or hackers). Amazingly, Maryland says they had no clue about the Russian ownership of the private server company which hosts the state's electoral systems --- including voter registration, election management (ballot programming and tabulation), election night results reporting and more. They were notified by the Feds just last Friday. (For a sense of how long we've been yelling about the threats related to the corporatization our public elections, see our August 2008 article by Ellen Theisen, linking to Voters Unite's then-new report on how private "Vendors are Undermining the Structure of U.S. Elections".)

Next, speaking of public oversight being stripped away from the public, author and financial journalist DAVID DAYEN joins us to discuss several topics. First, the US Treasury Department announced this week, incredibly enough, that it is doing away with the requirement for non-profit "social welfare organizations", such as the National Rifle Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Koch Brothers' Americans for Prosperity, to reveal the names of their donors to the IRS.

"You can sort of squint and say, well, any organization, whether it's the Chamber of Commerce or Planned Parenthood, on the left or on the right, can benefit from this," says Dayen. "But lets' be real. The practitioners of dark money are overwhelmingly on the right. That's why politicians on the right support burying this information, whereas politicians on the left generally support disclosure."

The new regulation, experts and journalists argue, will make "dark money" in our elections even darker. The three right-wing groups cited above were the top spenders on elections in 2016 and they are celebrating the new announcement by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin today, even as Treasury used what Dayen describes as a "Zombie Lie" (which just wont die) in their official announcement --- citing the long-debunked "IRS targeting scandal" --- as one of the reasons for the new policy, which has long been lobbied for by the Right.

The announcement comes just days after the federal indictment of a Russia national who had infiltrated the NRA along with another oligarch who had helped funnel millions of foreign dollars to the group. "Foreign spending within US elections remains illegal, whether the IRS collects this information or not. And it seems like they're giving themselves less of an opportunity to connect the dots and make sure they are properly enforcing federal election law." That, I argue, is a feature, not a bug.

Then, Dayen explains the remarkable turn of events over the weekend in Oakland, where the California Democratic Party's executive committee voted --- by a huge margin --- to endorse state Senator Kevin de León over four-term, 26-year incumbent U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein in her reelection bid this November. Dayen describes what happened and why.

Finally, Dayen details why progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders and NY U.S. House candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are barnstorming the so-called "red" state of Kansas this weekend to stump for several progressive U.S. House candidates in advance of the state's August 7 primary. Early voting in the state is under way as of today.

Also, though we didn't have time to dive into the details, Dayen teases his recent "long read" over at HuffPost's Highline, which he worked on for about year, documenting the jaw-dropping story of what happened to a whistleblower who tried to sound the alarm on sexual harassment at international banking behemoth HSBC...

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Guest: Former federal prosecutor Michael J. Stern; Also: Trump tries to walk back Helsinki remarks after a day of brutal criticism...
By Brad Friedman on 7/17/2018 6:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Donald Trump tries to walk back Helsinki, and Robert Mueller has more shoes to drop, according to a former federal prosecutor's analysis of recent indictments. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The fallout from President Trump's stunning comments in Helsinki on Monday continued on Tuesday, in response to the President of the United States taking sides against his own intelligence agencies and in favor of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who stood beside him at a joint press conference following their one-on-one summit. After more than 24 hours of unrelenting backlash from media, Democrats, former intelligence officials --- and even a number of largely gentle public critiques from some Republicans --- Trump attempted to clean up his overseas comments.

Working from written remarks at the White House today, he now claims he "accepts" the U.S. Intelligence Community assessments of various alleged Russian cyber-attacks on the 2016 election, and that he simply misspoke --- just one word --- when claiming during Monday's joint presser with Putin that he saw "no reason why it would be Russia" behind the 2016 attacks. He meant to say "wouldn't", rather than "would", he now says. Trump is hoping to dig out from under his denial just days after Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed new felony charges against 11 Russian military intelligence officials said to have been working on behalf of Putin, according to the indictment, when they infiltrated DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign computers to steal emails, release them to the public before the election, plant malware on state and local election official computers and steal voter registration data in 2016.

Mueller's Friday indictment preceded yet another one announced on Monday by the Dept. of Justice, concerning the Sunday arrest of a Russian national who allegedly infiltrated the National Rifle Association along with a Putin-connected oligarch.

We're joined today by former federal prosecutor MICHAEL J. STERN who explains how Mueller's Friday indictment of Russian military operatives was filed and written in a way that suggests there are more such indictments to come, particularly of Americans. Stern describes, from a prosecutorial perspective, how and why investigators working on sprawling conspiracy cases tend to work their way up from lower-level aspects of the case, toward their main targets, while trying not to prematurely tip their hand or reveal evidence they hope to keep under wraps before the later indictments.

He details how Mueller's Friday charges of the Russian military officials (and a number of Russian social-media scam artists earlier this year), serve to buy time for the Special Counsel probe, while establishing an understanding among the public for the larger crimes being investigated --- before other "shoes" are ultimately dropped.

"He was essentially allowed to have his cake and eat it, too. He was able to set forth the indictment and charge the Russian members of the conspiracy. But, because they're not in the United States and the likelihood of them being extradited at all is slim, he's able to continue his investigation without the pressure of having to deal with those defendants making appearances in court, etc," Stern tells me. "It's my sense of things that there was a calculation, a strategy on his part in doing that."

"There's a process, I think, that Mueller is going through to get, not only members of Congress, but more importantly, the public, to understand that what has been alleged --- the Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election --- has actually occurred," he argues. "Mueller knows exactly where he is going, and that what he's doing is dropping bread crumbs until he gets to the loaf of bread, which, I believe, will include Americans."

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, as summer heat, exacerbated by global warming, continues to take its toll in several different ways that folks don't often consider. That, at the same time as many who have been longtime science deniers now seem to be coming around in several different interesting ways as well...

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By Brad Friedman on 7/16/2018 6:03pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Our 'WTF?!' coverage of the remarkable joint press conference following President Donald Trump's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland. [Audio link follows below.]

It was not 72 hours following US Special Counsel Robert Mueller's indictment on Friday of 12 top Russian Military Intelligence officers on 11 felony indictments related to hacking into and stealing DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign emails and releasing them to the world, in an alleged attempt to manipulate the 2016 Presidential election, when Trump tweeted: "Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!"

Hours later he held his one-on-one summit with Putin in Helsinki before going on to hold a remarkable press conference in which, essentially, the President of the United States took Russia's side in the matter on virtually every point. In the bargain, he also attacked the FBI, the DNC and other Americans, as he stood next to the Russian President, taking his side against his own intelligence agencies.

On one point, however, they differed. Trump asserted Putin had told him he was not involved in interference in the 2016 Presidential election and he didn't "see any reason why" he would have been. But, when asked directly by a reporter if he "direct[ed] any...officials" to help Trump, who he says he supported over Clinton, Putin admitted, "Yes, I did."

Nonetheless, Trump failed to demand an explanation for any of the exceedingly detailed allegations contained in Mueller's Friday indictments when directly asked by media, choosing instead to return to strange, and largely disproven assertions regarding Democrats, the DNC server, Hillary Clinton's emails, his claims of "no collusion" with Russia and his great electoral college victory (which he also lied about.) Neither did he condemn Russia or its President in any way. We have clips from several of those answers during today's presser and reaction to it --- much of it gobsmacked --- from media, Democrats, former top intelligence officials, and even a number of Republicans, including at least one Fox "News" host who, on air, just after the news conference, condemned Trump's behavior as "disgusting".

Then, we open up the phone lines to callers --- who have a number of diverse opinions --- on all of the above, even as most of the same U.S. electoral vulnerabilities said to have been exploited by Russia in 2016, remain equally as vulnerable just months before our crucial 2018 midterm elections...

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Guests: SC GOP activist Frank Heindel and attorney Larry Schwartzol; Also: New Senate bill finally calls for HAND-MARKED paper ballots...
By Brad Friedman on 7/13/2018 6:44pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: On the eve of Donald Trump's scheduled Monday summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dept. of Justice Special Counsel Robert Mueller brought eleven new felony charges against twelve Russian military intelligence officials on Friday. They were charged with various crimes related to cyber-interference in the 2016 Presidential election. And, a bi-partisan federal lawsuit is filed in South Carolina in hopes of finally terminating the state's easily-hacked, repeatedly-failed, 100% unverifiable voting system. [Audio link to show follows at end of article.]

The Russian military officials cited in today's indictment [PDF] relates to hacking into and stealing documents from the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign, and releasing them to the public in hopes of manipulating the election. The charges also relate to attacks against state and county election officials and a voter registration company where email spearphishing schemes are said to have implanted malware onto the computer networks in question.

The new indictment does not allege any Americans knew of the hacking scheme detailed by Mueller, though it notes that Trump's public July 2016 call for Russia to find and release "missing" personal Hillary Clinton emails was followed by attacks, "for the first time", on an Internet domain used by her personal office.

While the filing details at least one state voter registration system where some 500,000 private records were accessed, it does not allege that voting results were manipulated (although the DHS admitted last year they never examined either ballots or voting systems.) During Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's announcement of the new charges, he also excoriated partisan and media speculation regarding the probe, as well as attacks (presumably by Congressional GOPers and Trump) on the FBI itself.

Meanwhile, much media coverage was given on Thursday to the insanely chaotic ten-hour long U.S. House hearing featuring testimony by Peter Strzok, the top FBI counter-intelligence specialist who initially led the investigation into Russian interference back in 2016. At the same time, a hearing in the U.S. Senate this week on safeguarding our election infrastructure received little or not coverage. Today, we try to correct that a bit, with some of the testimony offered by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), sponsor of a new election reform bill in the Senate --- the Protecting American Votes and Elections (PAVE) Act --- which is the only one that would require a HAND-MARKED paper ballot for every voter in the U.S. His testimony calls out ES&S, the nation's largest computer voting system vendor, for failing to show up for the hearing or answer any of his basic cyber-security questions he's sent to the company over the past year.

Then, after more than a decade of failed elections on the 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting systems used across the state of South Carolina --- including the still-remarkable and still-unexplained story of Alvin Greene, the completely unknown, unemployed man who somehow managed to win the state's 2010 Democratic U.S. Senate primary without campaigning at all, against a longtime, well-known state legislator and circuit court judge --- a lawsuit was filed this week in federal court to force the state to offer a secure system to voters.

The complaint [PDF] was filed on behalf of two plaintiffs. One, a former eight-term Democratic state legislator, the other a longtime Republican Freedom of Information Act champion and election critic in the Palmetto State. The Republican plaintiff, FRANK HEINDEL, and attorney LARRY SCHWARTZTOL, of the non-partisan, non-profit ProtectDemocracy.org, join me to explain the lawsuit, Heindel's years of work attempting to oversee state elections (and their accompanying disasters), and whether the new complaint might make any difference in the state before this year's crucial 2018 midterms.

"I've just always been skeptical of the 'black box' mentality where you go in and you just trust the machine, and there's no way to verify the results," Heindel explains. "I've just never really trusted that system. I've tried to push us towards a more paper-based way to vote, and it's taken many years here, but I'm starting to get a little optimistic that the worm has turned and we're going to make some progress."

"You need a system where the winner knows that he won, the loser knows that he lost, and everybody knows that their votes were cast and counted directly. We don't have that today," he tells me. The longtime businessman has spent the last decade or more filing some 47 FOIA requests attempting to personally investigate election results and related problems in the state. (We've been following Heindel's efforts for years. You can watch part of Dan Rather's 2010 report on Heindel, right here.)

The longtime litigator Schwartztol, for his part, explains: "What we're arguing for in the lawsuit is to replace that system with one that meets basic, common-sense principles. Secure in its basic architecture against cyber-attacks. The main way to do that, most people agree, is a pretty simple one. And that's building a system around paper ballots, that can be verified, that can be audited, that can be the subject of a recount if that's necessary."

"What we describe in the lawsuit is a voting system that contains unnecessary vulnerabilities and that is not sufficiently reliable to do the work," he adds. "The work of ensuring that votes are accurately recorded and counted."

He lauds the state's election commission chair, Marci Andino (one of the suits defendants), for stating her desire to move to a new system, but is critical of the claim that it would require $50 million to do so. A paper ballot system he says, citing a recent report from NYU's Brennan Center for Justice, would cost much less. He also tells me that one of the solutions they hope to pursue in the case, potentially before November, is the use of the state's absentee paper ballot system that could be used for all voters this year.

"You saw today where Rosenstein was saying that the Russians had sent phishing emails to various state and county folks," notes Heindel. "Our county election people, they're hard-working and they mean well, but I can get tricked on a phishing email. The idea that we have state and county election people that are trying to fend off sophisticated attacks from foreign adversaries, it's crucial that we get our arms around this thing, and get to paper sooner rather than later."

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

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Also: Listeners respond to Dem plan to block Kavanaugh at SCOTUS...
By Brad Friedman on 7/12/2018 5:42pm PT  

On today's BradCast, let's join the President and pretend that he's been victorious once again! Or, let's discuss the reality of the havoc being wrought by both him and the party that supports him as they go even farther off the deep-end and hope to take everybody else with them. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Among the stories covered on today's broadcast, as we continue to counter the madness with actual, independently verifiable facts...

  • Trump wreaks absolute havoc at the NATO summit in Brussels, makes ridiculous demands that lead to an emergency meeting of our allies, and then declares he's fixed it all. He hasn't. But, let's pretend, as he claimed, that NATO is now a "fine-tuned machine". (Does that claim ring a bell?) We offer a fact-check on Trump's actual ridiculous claims and the realities behind them;
  • Back at home, Trump-fueled chaos similarly breaks out at a joint hearing of the U.S. House Oversight and Judiciary Committees during public testimony by longtime top FBI counter-intelligence official Peter Strzok, whose private text messages to his girlfriend, another FBI agent, have been cause for Trump, the GOP and rightwing media to pretend that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation was somehow part of a long "deep state" plot by the FBI to prevent Trump from being elected. Except he was elected. (Some plot!) And Mueller's probe has since resulted in dozens of indictments and guilty pleas from many top Trump campaign and White House officials. But we can keep pretending; In some remarkable audio from the insane hearing in the House today today, Strzok strikes back and helps reveal the Republican House witch-hunt against the Special Counsel for much of what it really is.
  • Speaking of reality, new data out from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and elsewhere reveals that not only have the Trump/GOP tax cuts from last December not resulted in increased pay for the "forgotten men and women" of the middle-class, as they'd promised, but workers are now actually making less than they did before the massive, deficit-blowing cuts which have resulted only in record profits for corporations and the already-wealthy;
  • And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with more on the existential threat Kavanaugh's seating poses to the environment, how a major oil company CEO is calling for a speed-up of the transition to electric vehicles, and how a world full of poo just might save itself...

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

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