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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, October 15, 2018
Sunday Toons of the Category 5 Distraction Moment
Anything and everything to keep us looking away from the stuff that actually matters, in PDiddie's latest toon collection...
Ignoring Cries of Stranded Kids: 'BradCast' 10/12/18
Guest-host Angie Coiro w/ Tina Vasquez on ICE, immigration; Bill Browder on Khashoggi; Sarah Craft on the death penalty; Eliza Griswold on a family's fight against fracking...
Where is Jamal Khashoggi?:
'BradCast' 10/11/18
Guest-host Angie Coiro on possible sanctions against Saudi Arabia, Trump protecting arms sales; Also: The power of women's rage w/ Nelini Stamp, Soraya Chemaly...
'A Scary Time':
'BradCast' 10/10/18
Climate-change fueled Hurricane Michael makes landfall in FL, breaks records; Media promotes Exxon carbon tax scam; The absurd fights to vote in ND, MO, GA...
Progressive Evangelicals Hit Road to Take on Religious Right: 'BradCast' 10/9/18
Guest: Doug Pagitt of Vote Common Good; Also: Registration surge; Haley resigns; Michael intensifies...
'Green News Report' 10/8/18
World's scientists issue alarming new warning: Impacts of global warming coming far sooner than thought; PLUS: FL, AL, GA, Carolinas brace for Hurricane Michael...
Haunted by Manchin, Other Tough Choices for Progressives: 'BradCast' 10/8/18
Guest: WV's Bob Kincaid: Also: Vote purges, FL hurricane, Stark new UN climate report...
FL Midterm Could Prove National Landmark
Long overdue re-enfranchisement of former felons and a progressive Dem Gubernatorial candidate on the 2018 ballot could result in a national sea change for 2020...
Sunday 'Relax and Enjoy the Confirmation Process' Toons
Pdiddie's latest weekly toon collection is as fantastic this week as it is disturbing...
Kav Confirm All But Certain and the SCOTUS Case Cited as a Reason for the Rush: 'BradCast' 10/5/18
Guest: Law prof Jed Shugerman; Also: More vote.org probs; Touchscreen flipping in MO...
'White House Whitewash': FBI Report Released to Senate: 'BradCast' 10/4/18
Also: Enthusiasm high for midterms in BOTH parties, TX voter registrations in limbo, young voter turnout critical...
'Green News Report' 10/4/18
Big Oil wins big in new NAFTA deal; Two simultaneous Category 5s in Pacific; Arctic sea ice hits new low; PLUS: Tesla's Big Battery a big hit in South Australia...
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...


Also: NV's primary election failures much worse than previously known; Mystery group seeking copies of MI 2016 Presidential ballots revealed...
By Brad Friedman on 8/29/2018 6:57pm PT  

On today's BradCast, results, as reported by computer tabulators, from Tuesday's primary elections in Florida and Arizona and primary runoff elections in Oklahoma. Also, more details on what went so terribly wrong in Maricopa County, AZ which kept many voters from being able to cast a vote at all. Nevada's June primary disasters were far worse than reported. And an answer to at least one mystery regarding 2016 Presidential ballots in Michigan. [Audio link to complete show is posted at end of article.]

First up, among the noteworthy results we cover from yesterday's midterm primary elections...

  • In Florida, progressive Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum came from seemingly out of nowhere for an upset win of the Democratic nomination for Governor. If the Bernie Sanders-endorsed Democrat defeats the Donald Trump-endorsed Rep. Ron DeSantis in November, he'd become the state's first African-American Governor. That, as the current two-term Governor Rick Scott won his primary to vie for incumbent U.S. Senator Bill Nelson's seat, in what will likely become the most expensive U.S. Senate race this year (and, possibly, in U.S. history).
  • In Arizona, establishment favorite Rep. Martha McSally held off two challengers from the hard right to win the GOP nomination to fill the seat being vacated by the state's retiring U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R). She'll face off against Democratic nominee Rep. Kyrsten Sinema in November for a seat that Dems believe they may be able to flip from "red" to "blue", even in a state like Arizona, in a very anti-Trump year. And Republican Gov. Greg Ducey --- who will soon name a replacement for the state's other U.S. Senate seat, vacated by the death of Sen. John McCain --- will now face off against David Garcia, a Latino and former educator who won the Democratic nomination for Governor, in a year in which teachers have walked out in protest of education funding cuts in so-called "red" states Arizona and Oklahoma. (Also of note, Republican Sec. of State Michelle Reagan lost her primary for re-election to the hard-right Steve Gaynor who is calling for English-only elections in AZ. Democratic nominee Katie Hobbs should see an opening there in the race to become the state's top election official)
  • And, speaking of teachers and Oklahoma, it was a "bloodbath" in the primary runoff elections for incumbent GOP state legislators who voted against recent tax hikes to pay for new education funding. Just 4 of the 19 Republican state legislators who voted against the tax hike to give teachers a long-overdue raise have survived to run for re-election on this November's ballot.

Then, we turn to the massive problems at polling places in Maricopa County (Phoenix), AZ on Tuesday, as at least 62 polling places were unable to open for hours in the morning. It now appears that the reason was electronic pollbooks which were not properly set up, or set up at all, or which couldn't get Internet access. That effectively prevented voters from being checked in to vote on the County's hand-marked paper ballot voting systems (which use computer optical-scanners to tally votes.)

Remarkably, the County's Republican-majority Board of Supervisors rejected the recommendations of both Sec. of State Michelle Reagan (R) and Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes (D) to seek a court order to keep polling places open for an extra two hours at precincts which failed to open on time on Tuesday.

As to the electronic pollbook disasters that kept them from opening in the first place, Fontes blames an IT contractor for not supplying as many personnel as promised for polling place installation and tech support. The contractor, Insight Enterprises, blames Fontes for being under prepared. What's clear for the moment is that voters --- potentially thousands of them --- were prevented from voting entirely because, once again, a voting jurisdiction has relied on oft-failed, mission-critical computer systems, supported by private vendors, to run our public elections without backup plans, such as paper pollbooks in this case.

We also learn this week that the failures reported during and shortly after Nevada's primary elections in June were much worse than officials and the private voting system vendor admitted to the public when the state's new, 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems failed across the state. A new report from the Reno Gazette-Journal, based on public records requests, finds that complaints about candidates missing from ballots and selections already filled in on the screen for some voters, were far more numerous than previously known. Nonetheless, election officials in the state are standing by their vendor (Dominion Voting, which took over for Sequoia Voting Systems) and, as the paper notes, parroting back talking points almost word-for-word from the voting machine manufacturer in hopes of minimizing the massive problems as little more than "human error" that did not effect reported results. (Sound familiar?) Evidence reported by the RGJ strongly suggests otherwise.

Finally, with the 22-month federal requirement for retaining all ballots and other elections materials from the 2016 Presidential election ending next week (September 8th), a voting rights group now known to be allied with the Democratic Party has requested copies of all 2016 general election ballots from the state of Michigan. The massive, and expensive, public records request should prevent the ballots, in that state at least, from being destroyed for now, after an attempt to hand-count them by Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein was ended by a Republican court challenge in 2016. That, despite Trump's stunning, if unverified, upset win in the state by just over 10,000 votes and some 75,000 ballots said to have contained no vote for President at all, according to the computer-tabulated results. No such records request has yet been filed in either Wisconsin or Pennsylvania, however, despite the fact that had just three votes at each precinct in those three states been recorded for Hillary Clinton instead of Trump, she, not he, would now be President of the United States...

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

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Also: Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY-Trump) indicted for insider trading...
By Brad Friedman on 8/8/2018 6:51pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The Election Administrator's (and Election Integrity journalist's) Prayer was decidedly not answered on Tuesday, based on reported results in at least two key races, and problems in the four states (Kansas, Missouri, Michigan and Washington) which held midterm primaries and the one (Ohio) which held the final major U.S. House Special Election of the year. [Audio link to complete show is posted below.]

But, first up today, Republican Congressman Chris Collins of New York, the first sitting member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump's candidacy, was indicted Wednesday morning, along with his son and the father of his son's fiancee, for an insider trading scheme, after he had tipped off his son to failed testing for a multiple sclerosis treatment by an Australian company in which Collins was the top shareholder and a member of its board. According to the indictment by the Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, it sure looks like they've caught Collins red-handed. Though he vows to fight the charges and remain on the ballot this November, his once-safe seat is now believed to be in danger.

Then, onto yesterday's Election Day and the very long night that followed.

In the OH-12 special election, Democrat Danny O'Connor trails Republican Troy Balderson by about 1,700 votes out of some 200,000 cast, mostly on 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems across seven Ohio counties. About 3,500 uncounted provisional and late vote-by-mail ballots could change the outcome in the days ahead, or at least lead to a state-mandated "recount" in the district that, for decades --- until Tuesday --- had been solidly "red". In 2016, Trump carried the district by 11 points and the now-resigned House GOP incumbent had carried it by 36 points. That has clearly changed with a virtual dead heat contest on Tuesday, leading to growing confidence in a "blue wave" this November by many Democrats and, yes, a "RED WAVE" in the same crucial midterms, as predicted today by Donald Trump.

In Detroit, where voters cast hand-marked paper ballots, they were able to continue voting even during power outages at more than a dozen polling places on Tuesday, following storms the night before. We have results from MICHIGAN's closely-watched Gubernatorial primaries and the somewhat bizarre, two separate Democratic primary races (one normal, one special) to fill the U.S. House seat left vacant last year by Rep. John Conyers resignation. State Dems will now host an historic, all-female slate at the top of the ticket for Governor, U.S. Senator, Attorney General and Sec. of State, and Rashida Tlaib will become the first Muslim woman in Congress.

In KANSAS, $10 million wasted on new, unverifiable touch-screen voting systems didn't help voters as some of the brand new ES&S ExpressVote ballot marking devices failed to work at all on Tuesday morning, and electronic tabulation grounded to a halt all together in Johnson County, the state's most populous, due to a problem that remains unclear at this hour. All of it resulted in another "too close to call" race today, in the GOP's gubernatorial primary between current Gov. Jeff Colyer and the controversial Trump-endorsed Sec. of State Kris Kobach. He leads, according to unverifiable touch-screen results finally reported on Wednesday morning, by just 191 votes(!) out of some 300,000 cast. A "recount" (overseen by Kobach himself) almost certainly awaits, as do future failures on the ExpressVote systems which produce unverifiable barcoded "paper trails" instead of hand-marked paper ballots. Sadly, the same systems are also being adopted by many other jurisdictions around the country as well.

In MISSOURI, a few Republicans came up with a novel new way to stop voters from voting. But that didn't deter the state which voted for Trump by double digits in 2016 from soundly rejecting a GOP anti-union (so-called "Right-to-Work") measure by a 2 to 1 margin. And, in St. Louis County, in a triumph of democracy, Bill McCulloch, the 7-term Democratic prosecutor who failed to bring charges in the 2014 police killing of Ferguson's Michael Brown, was defeated by Wesley Bell, one of the African-American leaders of the 2014 protests there. Bell had become a City Council member in Ferguson in 2015 and he will now be St. Louis County's Prosecuting Attorney.

And finally today, in WASHINGTON state, results of several U.S. House primaries suggest incumbent Republicans previously thought to be in safe "red" districts --- including Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the highest ranking female in Congress --- may not be quite as safe in this November's midterms as they had thought...

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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Important U.S. House Special Election next Tuesday in Columbus, OH; Trump, GOP Congress lying about election security; Admin announces deadly scheme to rollback mileage, air quality standards; More...
By Brad Friedman on 8/2/2018 6:36pm PT  

On today's BradCast, if you're waiting for the government to save us by protecting elections --- or anything else --- that's not going to happen. But you can save us, as I explain today. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up today, voters in Tennessee head to the polls for their midterm primaries (yes, on a Thursday! --- perhaps that's one of the reasons the state has among the lowest turnout rates in the country?), as voters elsewhere are preparing for next Tuesday's primaries in Kansas, Missouri, Michigan and Washington.

Also next Tuesday will be the final major U.S. House Special Election of the year before the midterms. The race is in Ohio's 12th Congressional District, a normally very "red" district centered in Columbus, where Republican Troy Balderson had, as recently as last month, been favored by some 10 points over Democrat Danny O'Connor. The race, however, has now become a dead heat, according to new polling from Monmouth and others. So, we have a few very specific and important thoughts for our friends and listeners in Columbus (on WGRN 94.1FM!) today regarding that contest. In short, as I explain: this long-held Republican seat --- in a district which both Romney and Trump reportedly won by some 10 points --- is now flippable, but it will require all hands on deck to do it next week (yes, including independent and Green Party voters!)

In the meantime, Donald Trump's White House paraded out a bunch of their top intelligence community officials to try and convince us all that they give a damn about election security before the November midterms. Don't believe them for a second. I explain why. Similarly, do not believe the Republicans in Congress who now pretend that they give a damn about election security, since, on Wednesday, they proved once again they do not. Every Republican Senator present, with the exception of TN's Bob Corker, voted against an appropriations amendment to give $250 million for additional election security to states. All Democrats voted in favor of the amendment, which received a majority 50-47 vote. But that wasn't enough to overcome the 60 vote filibuster threshold (which Republicans could have waived). That, on the same day the GOP-majority Senate easily approved a $717 billion defense authorization package --- in case you're wondering where their priorities really are.

As explained in an impassioned rant today, in response to all of the above, it's unclear that more money thrown at our computerized election systems would even result in more secure elections or those that Americans can have confidence in. When it comes to our elections and our democracy, and so much more, one thing is clear: "We are not going to be protected by Congress, or the White House, no matter who is in charge of either. The government is not going to save us here. We are going to save us here. We are the only chance that we have."

I offer a number of ways for folks to do exactly that on today's show, which I hope you'll share loudly and broadly. [Update: Desi has transcribed a bit of today's rant for easier sharing right here.]

Speaking of, as we warned on a recent BradCast, the Trump Administration has now formally announced their new scheme today to roll back automobile fuel-efficiency standards that had previously been worked out in an agreement between the Obama Administration, automakers and states like California who have stricter air quality standards than the federal government's. Trump's EPA, however, is hoping to block those new standards --- which experts say will save 40,000 lives per year thanks to cleaner air --- in favor of dirtier air more costly gas mileage for consumers. The Administration justifies the change with a dubious assertion that 1,000 lives per year will be saved, because it will be cheaper for Americans to purchase newer, safer cars --- never mind the higher fuel costs (approximately $170 billion over all) they'll have to pay.

The Administration which pretends to believe in "states' rights" is also moving with their newly proposed regulation to block California's legal right under the federal Clean Air Act to determine their own air quality and mileage standards. The state, and 16 others, have already filed suit against the proposed regulation. A public comment period is now open in response to the measure at this Regulations.gov docket page.

Our own Desi Doyen has a few words about all of that. And then she joins us for our latest Green News Report, with 2017 now officially found to have smashed global heat records, deadly global warming-fueled wildfires continuing to devastate Northern California, and the U.S. Supreme Court (surprisingly) giving their unanimous go-ahead for a landmark climate change lawsuit against the federal government, as filed by children, to move ahead!...

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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White Waffle House mass shooter peacefully apprehended, White GOP Judge in TX gets slap on the wrist for election fraud, and other recent tales of gentle accountability...
By Brad Friedman on 4/23/2018 6:22pm PT  

We've got a lot of news to cover from over the weekend, and breaking today on today's BradCast, even as we try to focus on the continued undermining of our electoral system, and the lack of accountability for certain lawbreakers versus others. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

Among the stories we cover today, along with some great calls from listeners...

  • As we predicted last week, Republican Senator Rand Paul (KY), who had been pretending to oppose the nomination of CIA Director Mike Pompeo as the next Secretary of State, has flipped his position (as usual), and is now voting in favor of Pompeo, virtually guaranteeing the pro-war, anti-gay, climate science denier as the nation's next top diplomat.
  • The alleged shooter who killed 4 and injured several others at a Waffle House in Nashville on Sunday morning is finally apprehended and taken in peacefully by local officials. But why was the suspect, a 29-year old white guy with a long record of mental issues and run-ins with police, even in possession of four semi-automatic weapons that were taken from him, for a short time, following his arrest by Secret Service outside the White House, where he is said to have identified himself as a "sovereign citizen" (a rightwing domestic extremist movement, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center and law enforcement officials.) The mass shooting was ended on Sunday morning, not by "a good guy with a gun" but, in fact, by a potential African-American victim without a gun. James Shaw Jr. burned his hand as he grabbed the muzzle of the shooters AR-15 and wrestled it away from him.
  • Despite going to court to successfully stop Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein's attempted post-election "recount" in the state of Michigan after the 2016 election, state Republicans have now passed a number of bills in the state legislature to make it even more difficult for candidates and the public to oversee their own elections to ensure that computer-tallied results have been accurately reported. The measures heading to Republican Gov. Rick Snyder's desk follow Stein's attempted 2016 count, in a state which hadn't gone to a Republican Presidential candidate in nearly 30 years, where Trump is said to have won by just over 10,000 votes (out of more than 5,000,000 cast), and where terrible state "recount" laws prevented some 60,000 hand-marked paper ballots from even being considered for "recounting" in Detroit alone.
  • Meanwhile, down in Fort Worth, Texas, a Tarrant County Justice of the Peace, after submitting fraudulent signatures to appear on the Republican primary ballot last March, resigned from office after pleading guilty and receiving, essentially, five years probation. It appears disgraced Judge Russ Casey won't won't spend a day in a jail, despite his guilty plea and a previous record of an "improper sexual relationship" with a former clerk. We also contrast the gentle treatment of Casey, a white elected Republican judge, with that of Crystal Mason and Rosa Maria Ortega, both of them in Tarrant County. Mason is a 43-year old African-American mother sentenced to five years in prison just last month for voting in 2016 while on supervised release from her three-year sentence on a 2011 fraud conviction for helping tax clients receive larger refunds than they deserved. She was not told by her probation officer, or anyone else, that she was not allowed to vote while on probation in Texas. Ortega, a mother of four, voted unlawfully in both 2012 and 2014, thinking she was allowed to do so as a Green Card holder from Mexico. She received an eight-year prison sentence for her crime (and likely deportation after it), despite testifying that she believed she was allowed to vote as a permanent U.S. resident. Too bad for the black woman and the immigrant. But fantastic news for the white elected Republican Judge, who had received a $125,000/year salary since his initial election in 2007, before he knowingly committed his election fraud crimes!
  • Also today, speaking of accountability --- or, perhaps, lack thereof --- for powerful white Republicans, Missouri's embattled GOP Governor Eric Greitens was charged with a second felony late Friday, though he refuses to step down, despite the two charges. One is related to tying up a woman with whom he was having an affair, photographing her naked, and threatening to blackmail her, and the second for unlawfully using a veterans charity mailing list during his 2016 run for Governor. Top GOP lawmakers and the state's Attorney General have called for Greitens' resignation. But he, just like President Donald Trump, describes the investigation of his alleged felony crimes as nothing more than a "witch hunt...by the liberal media and their allies".

We discuss all of that, and more breaking news on today's very lively and/or busy BradCast, and also take callers on all of the above in the bargain!...

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: Ernest A. Canning; Also: GOP 'Green Party' dirty tricks in MT's U.S. Senate race; And, the movement to repeal the 2nd Amendment...
By Brad Friedman on 4/6/2018 6:24pm PT  

On today's BradCast: GOP dirty tricks in Montana; why an alleged torturer should be imprisoned rather than promoted to CIA chief; and, abolishing the 2nd Amendment all together. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted this week that stealing a Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme Court was his crowning achievement after three decades in Congress. But he's not done packing the federal courts just yet for another generation, which underscores his urgency in trying to hang on to the GOP's thin majority in the U.S. Senate this November.

That may also help to explain the bizarre situation in Montana's U.S. Senate race, where the GOP appears to have ginned up a fake Green Party candidate who was previously on the state Republican Party's payroll, in hopes of siphoning votes away from Democratic Sen. Jon Tester in an otherwise very Trumpy state. (But did the Dems do something similar in supporting a Libertarian candidate for the U.S. Senate back in 2012, the last time Tester was on the ballot?)

Meanwhile, the Senate returns from their recess next week, and will soon begin confirmation hearings for a number of recent high-level Trump cabinet and executive agency nominees. Among them is Gina Haspel, the CIA's Deputy Director who has been tapped to take Mike Pompeo's spot as CIA chief (after Pompeo was nominated to become the new Sec. of State following Trump's firing of Rex Tillerson.)

Haspel, however, was the CIA's chief of a secret U.S. prison in Thailand following the 9/11 attacks, where a number of terror suspects were tortured in 2002, in violation of long-held international treaties, to which the U.S. has been a party, at least, since the days of Ronald Reagan. She also reportedly signed off on the destruction of the video-taped evidence that documented the horrific torture by the U.S. at that prison.

We're joined today by ERNEST A. CANNING, attorney and longtime BRAD BLOG legal analyst, for whom the matter of someone alleged to have overseen torture becoming the next CIA director is very personal.

Canning's father, as he detailed in a recent article, was imprisoned and waterboarded by the Japanese during WWII, before testifying against his torturers during the war crimes trials held by the Allies after the war. We discuss what happened to his father at the hands of the Japanese command of the notorious Bridge House prison, why the U.S. has long held torture to be a violation of international law, and how the Democrats' failure to demand accountability of Bush-era torturers has resulted in Haspel's nomination, rather than imprisonment.

He explains that while the Japanese general in charge of the notorious Shanghai prison "did not personally take part in my father's torture, he was sentenced to a life sentence under a principle called 'command responsibility'. He had command responsibility over the people who were carrying out torture in an agency that he was responsible for. And if you use that same principle of 'command responsibility', which remains viable under intentional law today, Gina Haspel should be in prison. She should not be coming before the Senate to be confirmed as the CIA's next director. And, I think it's a slap in the face of everybody who has ever undergone such horrific treatment that Donald Trump would nominate her."

(Also, just to lighten things up a bit, I also get Ernie's take on Trump's asinine and evidence-free reiteration in West Virginia on Thursday, that millions of fraudulent votes accounted for his 3 million vote loss to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 popular vote count.)

Finally, a federal judge in Massachusetts on Friday upheld the state's ban on military-style assault weapons. And we share some listener mail in response to retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens' op-ed last week, wherein he suggested that it's time to repeal the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution...

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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An entire new decade of government control hangs in the balance...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/26/2018 11:23am PT  

Don't get me wrong. The bold move by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in adopting a Congressional map that, according to an analysis cited by the Wall Street Journal, could see PA Democrats picking up as many as six Congressional House seats now held by Republicans, bodes well for those of us who value small "d" democracy and the rule of law.

So does the recent mind-boggling 85-point swing from "red to blue" in Kentucky, where Democrat Linda Belcher, in a Special Election, defeated her Republican opponent by 36 points in a state House district that Donald Trump carried by 49 points in 2016.

There are multiple indices of a public revulsion in response to Republican overreach that is much greater than that displayed in 2008 when Democrats rode a "Blue Wave" to victories that placed them in control of the White House, the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.

Last year, polls revealed as little as 12% support amongst the American electorate for Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. Another poll revealed that only 24% of Americans supported the GOP tax cut measure. (Though more recent polling suggests it's growing in popularity.) This year, a Quinnipiac poll, taken in the wake of the massacre at a Parkland, Florida high school, suggests that 2/3 of Americans have finally lost their patience with NRA-funded Republicans and their feckless "thoughts and prayers".

These surveys suggest a likelihood that Democrats in 2018 can recapture a majority in the U.S. House and potentially even the U.S. Senate --- a result that is critical to fending off the threat to democracy, political and economic equality and the rule of law now posed by the Trump/GOP oligarchic/kleptocratic agenda.

But a number of recent court rulings on extreme partisan gerrymandering reveal that the 2020 election will ultimately be of far greater significance than 2018, and not simply because it will be a Presidential election year…

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Guest: Karen McKim of Wisconsin Election Integrity...
By Brad Friedman on 11/28/2017 6:55pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The three stories we cover at the top of today's show --- another long-range missile launch by North Korea, GOP tax cuts for the wealthy moving forward in Congress, and a Trump-appointed federal judge who just decided in favor of Trump (and seemingly, against the rule of law) in an unprecedented battle for leadership of a federal agency --- all underscore the importance of the rest of today's disturbing program. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

An effort just before the Thanksgiving holiday by citizen volunteers at WisconsinElectionIntegrity.org (WIE) finds that inaccurate results were certified in Wisconsin's 2016 Presidential election, which Donald Trump is said to have won by just 22,000 votes over Hillary Clinton, out of some 3 million ballots cast.

Wisconsin was one of three states, along with Michigan and Pennsylvania, where Green Party candidate Jill Stein had filed for "recounts" and forensic audits of voting systems, after the Clinton Campaign declined to heed the pleas for such an audit by computer scientists and voting systems experts who begged her campaign to do so. Stein's post-election effort was largely stymied by Team Trump and various statutes in each of those states. A statewide tally was allowed to move forward in Wisconsin, however only about half of the state's ballots were hand-counted, as municipalities were allowed to carry out their choice of either manual- or machine-tallied "recounts".

After finding an alarming number of uncounted ballots in Racine County precincts during last year's machine "recount" (see documentary filmmaker Lulu Friesdat's alarming coverage of election officials refusing to hand-tally clearly valid votes there during Stein's attempted "recount") the volunteers at WIE filed, and paid for, a public records request to examine the hand-marked paper ballots in a number of those wards.

Recently, they were allowed to review those ballots and, as they feared, many perfectly valid votes had gone uncounted by the optical-scan systems both during the original Election Night tally and the so-called "recount" in counties that used the same faulty computer scanners for the second count, after they had similarly mistallied ballots on Election Night.

I'm joined on today's show by longtime election integrity advocate and WIE's statewide coordinator KAREN McKIM to discuss the group's findings, revealing that the ballot scanning computers used in some 57 municipalities across the state had failed to tally anywhere from 2% to 6% of the ballots with valid Presidential votes in each of the Racine precincts they were allowed to examine a week or so ago. In other WI cities which chose to count by hand during Stein's "recount", McKim tells me, those same scanners had originally missed anywhere from 9% to 30% of valid Presidential votes! All of that in a state which Donald Trump is said to have won last year by less than 1%.

"They were ignored by the voting system entirely," says McKim, "and that's what made the miscount - or should have made the miscount obvious to the election officials even before they certified. You could look at those election results that the voting machines spit out on their face and you could see that hundreds of votes were just missing. If you compared the total number of ballots cast to the total number of presidential votes counted, you should have known --- they should have known --- that two percent of the voters didn't go to the polls so that they could cast a blank ballot. The miscounts were obvious at the time of the canvas, and the county officials did nothing about it."

Nearly a year after the election, in late September of this year, the state Election Commission finally decertified the 20-year old Optech Eagle computer tabulators, after finding that the systems fail to tally votes at all if the "wrong" type of ink is used to make selections by the voter. The same systems are still used, according to Verified Voting, in other states, such as Indiana, Massachusetts and Virginia, and may be used again in Wisconsin next year, as the state decertification allows municipalities to wait until after the November 2018 mid-term elections to replace them.

McKim, however, tells me that those faulty machines don't necessarily explain "the really widely varying error rates from precinct to precinct. ... Why the city of Racine machines were missing more votes than the suburban machines? I don't know. You'd really have to do a forensic investigation to figure that out." But, of course, Stein was not allowed such an investigation in any of the states where she sought them.

If it weren't for Stein's attempted audit, she says, the problems may have gone completely ignored. "The poll workers noticed the missing votes when they closed the polls that night. They noted it on their inspector's reports. The municipal canvas looked at it, and I talked to the Municipal Clerk, and she said, 'I didn't know what we were supposed to do about this, so I certified it and sent it to the County Clerk.' And then the County Clerk looked at those results. She too --- and again, you could not ignore a miscount of that size --- and she just said, 'Well, it's the municipality's job to send me the accurate results. Whatever they send me, it's not my job to correct it.'"

"There is not a county in the state of Wisconsin where the county election officials check accuracy of the vote totals. They all just certify by looking at the computer tape and saying, 'Oh, look who won.'"

McKim, who is a retired quality-assurance manager, says "Every other manager that uses computers, from your grocery store to the bank to the city treasurers, they all know and accept that their computers are going to miscount from time to time. So they have routine procedures in place to check and correct before it's too late. Election administrators are the only computer-dependent managers we allow to get away with not checking the computer output for accuracy. It's insane."

"The county canvass procedures clearly allowed massive miscounts, obvious miscounts, just to go undetected and uncorrected. And that's unacceptable," she added, going on to detail what the group plans to do next, and how computer tabulation systems other than the Optech Eagle, "new or old", should never be trusted for use without citizen oversight.

We also discuss what such oversight should look like, if public Election Night hand-counts are possible in Wisconsin, how citizens elsewhere can carry out similar audits, and much more during today's show...

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Guest: Computer science and e-voting systems expert Barbara Simons...
By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2017 6:32pm PT  

On today's BradCast, a story out of Georgia serves as a jarring reminder that we'd better not wait until 2018 to be concerned about the integrity and public oversight of our electronically tabulated elections. Also, the political blame game is underway regarding the Republicans' planned use of the "nuclear option" in the U.S. Senate. [Audio link to show posted at bottom of article.]

Early last month, someone reportedly hacked into the voting records database at Kennesaw State University's Center for Election Systems, which is contracted to maintain and program all of Georgia's 100% unverifiable touch-screen Diebold voting systems and electronic poll books. The state still uses the same unverifiable 2002 voting systems that, as we reported more than a decade ago, were hacked in a minute's time by researchers at Princeton University, where they were able to implant a virus that could pass itself from machine to machine and flip the results of an election with little or no possibility of detection.

The recent hack at Georgia's KSU, which the Atlanta Journal-Constitution described at the time as possibly compromising some 7.5 million voter records, resulted in a quiet FBI investigation, and comes as special elections are about to be held in a number of states to fill U.S. House seats vacated by Republican members of Congress tapped to serve in the Trump Administration.

One of those special elections is in Georgia on April 18, where the contest to fill GOP Rep. Tom Price's seat in CD-6 (he's now Trump's Secretary of Health and Human Services) is drawing both national attention and a lot of money from both Democrats and Republicans. With a suprisingly popular 30-year old Democrat, Jon Ossoff, poised to potentially upset a splintered GOP field in the otherwise solidly Republican district, the race is being regarded as a potential bellwether for the 2018 elections.

Longtime computer scientist and voting systems expert Barbara Simons of VerifiedVoting.org joins me today to explain the ongoing concerns about the still-mysterious Georgia hack, Verified Voting's effort to get answers about it from GA's Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp; the group's request to have him to offer paper ballots to voters in the wake of the reported "massive data breach"; and this weekend's similarly cryptic news that the FBI has now concluded its investigation.

As we discuss what we know, and don't, about the GA hack, Simons, co-author of Broken Ballots: Will Your Vote Count? and a member of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission's Board of Advisers since 2008, tells me that "it's a national scandal" that the state is still using those unverifiable systems for all elections.

Simons had also joined a number of renowned voting systems experts to plea with the Hillary Clinton campaign last year to seek a public hand-count of the Presidential election in several states, given questions about the exceedingly close race and the surprising results in a number of them. When Clinton declined to file for that common sense oversight, Green Party candidate Jill Stein responded affirmatively to the same plea. Nonetheless, as we also discuss today, hand-counts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania were largely blocked, thanks to efforts by Team Trump, state Republicans and even some Democrats.

We discuss all of that, the years-long effort to institute legislative safeguards against electronic voting and computerized tabulation systems; and why even paper ballots tallied by computers leave the public uncertain about the accurate results of elections. "Paper ballots in and of themselves are not sufficient. That lesson was very clear from the 2016 election," she tells me, as I ask about what I see as the need to publicly hand-count hand-marked paper ballots on election night in order to restore public confidence and oversight of results. "The problem is we have some very bad laws," she responds, offering her thoughts on legislative changes that are needed, short of ditching the computers entirely, in order to respond to what she sees as "a national security issue" in our elections.

Also on today's show: Republican Senators lament the idea of killing the filibuster for U.S. Supreme Court nominees...as they prepare to vote to kill it anyway; The NCAA falls for North Carolina's "repeal" scam of its anti-LGBT law; and Trump repeals an Obama-era rule seeking to keep bears from being hunted and killed during hibernation in Alaska...

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Guest host Angie Coiro with guests: RJ Eskow; Attorney Jim Brosnahan; Heather 'Digby' Parton; Dave Johnson...
By Angie Coiro on 2/27/2017 5:50pm PT  

On today's BradCast, I'll be your guest host, Angie Coiro. Would you like to sit at the bar? Maybe not a bad idea.

Have you had the Trump/Russia links up to here? You have a friend in RJ Eskow, host of The Zero Hour. He's not convinced; he advises skepticism and clear thinking when it comes to sorting the proven from the unproven.

With people fleeing America over the northern border in fear, with at least one report of a man who killed himself rather than be forced back into Mexico, with an Oscar-nominated cinematographer kept out of the US, and a Holocaust scholar from France almost deported --- it's time to take a long look at sanctuary cities, emboldened local police forces, and how to stay focused on resistance. Heralded civil rights attorney/activist Jim Brosnahan of Morrison & Forster in San Francisco, and Heather "Digby" Parton of Hullabaloo take on the many facets of that disaster.

Finally, Dave Johnson of Seeing the Forest and The Campaign for America's Future deconstructs Trump's promised tax cuts, and their connection to failing infrastructure.

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Also: House GOP adopts scheme to make federal lands giveaways easier...
By Brad Friedman on 1/4/2017 5:33pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: The U.S. electoral disasters continue, GOP takeover and theft, and what non-Rightwingers can do about it all. [Audio link to show posted below.]

House Republicans snuck in something else in their new U.S. House rules yesterday, beyond their aborted attempt to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics: a provision to make it easier to give away federal lands. Desi Doyen fills us in on the scheme.

Then, a few updates --- troubling ones --- on the attempted Wisconsin Presidential 'Recount', where at least 11,000 votes were revealed to have been mistallied (in a state that Donald Trump reportedly won by just 22,000 votes), only half the ballots were allowed to be counted by hand, the cost was about half of what Green Party nominee Jill Stein had been forced to pay, and the final turnout and voter registration numbers in the state are still unknown (ensuring the results still cannot be verified as accurate, even as Congress will accept the Electoral College results on Friday.)

Those are just a few of the reasons why WI is found near the bottom of the list of states in the Electoral Integrity Project's newest report. Most of the lowest-ranked states (14 of the bottom 15) are in the South and/or have both legislatures and governorships controlled by Republicans. The survey, a project of Harvard University and the University of Sydney, also determined the U.S., once again, to be near the bottom of the list of established democracies when it comes to how world political scientists and election experts rate our elections.

Finally, we open the phone lines today to ask listeners: What now? What can progressives, Democrats, the left, the center-left, the center --- basically, the non-Right --- do as Republicans take control of Congress, the White House and a stolen U.S. Supreme Court? Lots of thoughts, with lots of perspective from a lot of great callers...though the last caller of the show may offer our favorite plan of action...

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Guests: Election integrity filmmaker Lulu Friesdat, advocate Emily Levy
Plus: Few defectors, as Electoral College majority casts their votes for Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 12/19/2016 5:50pm PT  

It's another very busy day today on The BradCast with terror attacks in Europe, the Electoral College vote in the U.S., and our continuing attempt to figure out if the votes in Election 2016 were actually tallied as per voter intent. [Audio link to show posted below.]

Despite thousands of protesters at state capitols around the nation today, there were only a few defectors (so-called "faithless electors") for both for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, as the Electoral College finally cast its votes today in 50 states and the District of Columbia. As of airtime, despite receiving a almost 3 million fewer votes than Clinton nationally, Trump had just received the requisite 270 votes, a majority of the Electoral College, needed to win the Presidency today. Presuming all state totals are certified by the U.S. Congress on January 6th (and I see no reason they wouldn't be), Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on January 20th.

In the meantime, late last week, we learned that the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) --- the federal agency responsible for certifying the accuracy and security of electronic voting and tabulation systems used across the U.S. --- was, itself, recently hacked, with about 100 user names and passwords put up for sale on the black market. The well known vulnerability exploited was one that experts say could have been easily patched (it has now been) and would have allowed access to a database of vulnerabilities in the nation's voting and tabulation systems.

The Commission might have patched its own system earlier, but its Commissioners were very busy before the election and after, ensuring the nation (in an op-ed that was incorrect and misleading on innumerable levels) that "election officials have been working to secure our voting systems for years," so concerns about any such manipulation of results "are overstated".

Then, my guests today are Lulu Friesdat, filmmaker of the award-winning election integrity documentary Holler Back: [not] Voting in American Town (which I am in, but it is excellent anyway) and longtime election integrity advocate Emily Levy of RecountNow.org. Both are just back from attempting to help oversee the statewide Presidential election "recount" in Wisconsin, as requested (and paid for) by Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Friesdat shares her short, disturbing new video released on Friday, revealing what appear to be machine mistallies noted by observers during the statewide "recount" of ballots by computer optical-scanners in Racine County, WI, and a stymied attempt by one observer there, Liz Whitlock, to get a hand-count of the paper ballots in question. Citing the 5% error rate by the machines that observers tallied in one small precinct in WI, Friesdat notes: "A similar error rate applied across all of Wisconsin’s 2,976,150 votes --- could produce an error of 140,000 votes. Trump won Wisconsin by 22,000 votes."

Levy explains a troubling report from the attempted Presidential "recount" in Nevada (yes, there was one there too!), as filed by independent candidate "Rocky" De La Fuente. There, in the state said to have been won by Hillary Clinton, Clark County Clerk Joe Gloria appears to have admitted to secretly "recounting" votes prior to the lawful, public count of votes cast on the county's absentee paper ballots and completely unverifiable touch-screen voting systems. (In the 2004 Presidential "recount" in Ohio, two election officials were convicted and sentenced to the max for doing something similar in that state.)

As both explain on today's program, the long list of failures in the "recount" cases (and they describe many more such failures) have left both Friesdat and Levy even more concerned about the accuracy, security, reliability and ability to oversee our own election system than they were even prior to Election 2016. So, what can we all do about it? How can the system be improved to allow more transparency and oversight? We discuss all of that on today's show as well --- and it starts with you...

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Guest: Physicist, author and former Asst. Energy Sec. Joe Romm on Trump, Perry, Tillerson, the DoE and 'the fate of the next thousand years'
Also: Jill Stein's 'recount' lessons and her ongoing fight for citizen oversight of elections...
By Brad Friedman on 12/13/2016 6:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Green Party candidate Jill Stein speaks to lessons learned during her wildly obstructed attempt at citizen oversight of election results in three states, and a former U.S. Dept. of Energy official joins us with warnings about Donald Trump's disturbing choices to head the State Department, the EPA and the DoE, where a chilling Transition Team memo was recently sent in apparent hopes of ferreting out climate scientists in a witch-hunt reminiscent of the McCarthy era. [Audio link to show posted at bottom of article.]

First up, Stein held a press conference call today to wrap up her attempted "recount" of Presidential election results in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Despite her willingness to pay millions of dollars, only one of those states, WI, allowed a statewide count at all. And, even there, it was done mostly by computer, so the results remain unverified by actual human beings. Still, she and her attorney on the call vowed to press on with a lawsuit in Pennsylvania and other actions meant to try and amend the horrific election practices, processes and laws exposed, once again, during the wildly obstructed and unprecedented attempt at counts and forensic analyses in all three states.

Then, my guest today is Dr. Joe Romm, physicist and former Deputy Asst. Secretary of Energy at the U.S. Dept. of Energy. He is now a Climate Progress blogger and author and he joins me to discuss, among other things, Donald Trump's nominations of former TX Gov. Rick Perry to head up the DoE (which, when he could remember its name while a Presidential candidate, he vowed to shut down entirely); Climate science denier and Oklahoma A.G. Scott Pruitt as DPA chief; and ExxonMobil's enormously interest-conflicted CEO Rex Tillerson as Sec. of State.

As Romm notes, "the Department of Energy is a very poorly understood agency" which most Americans, including Trump and Perry, likely know little about. It's a sprawling federal agency that carries out nuclear energy research as well as oversight and disaster clean-up. "So you have the weapons labs, you have all the national labs, which do energy and all sorts of work, including the nation's physics labs," he explains. "The Department of Energy has the highest ratio of PhDs per employee of any of the agencies, because it's doing all of this physics and energy research, and weapons research. So it's a good thing that Rick Perry got those glasses that make him smart."

On Trump's nomination of Tillerson to head up the State Department, Romm describes the conflicts of interest with the ExxonMobile CEO's pending $500 billion deal with Russia, observing: "If we didn't live in this topsy-turvy world where Donald Trump is President and naming people to run agencies who are anti-everything the agencies stand for, it would be ridiculous. Secretary of State is one of the most important, maybe the most important cabinet positions there is. Historically, it goes to someone who really understands diplomacy and many aspects of international policy." But Tillerson, he argues, has "literally no qualifications other than the fact that he has negotiated oil deals around the world."

As disturbing as Trump's nominations may be, however, even more chilling may be the story told by the McCarthy-esque survey recently sent by someone at the Trump Transition team to the Dept. of Energy, asking them to identify scientists and other career civil service employees who have worked on climate change and renewable energy issues at the federal agency, or even those who may have simply attended a U.N. climate conference. Romm speaks to all of the above, which he describes as "unprecedented" and details why there are newly disturbing reasons to be concerned about, "literally, the fate of the next thousand years."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with more on the above and, believe it or not, some arguably good news she was able to find from the U.S. Congress, of all places!...

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Guest: Marcy Wheeler on U.S. intel agencies' 'secret' allegations about foreign interference in the Presidential race, as 'recount' ends in WI, is denied by courts again in MI, PA...
By Brad Friedman on 12/12/2016 6:18pm PT  

On today's BradCast, what we know and don't about newly reported charges that the CIA is said to believe Russian state-actors interfered in the U.S. election on behalf of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, even as attempts to verify the actual Presidential election results, and concerns that they were hacked or otherwise in error, are blocked by Republicans in Michigan and Pennsylvania and come to an official close in Wisconsin. [Audio link to show posted below.]

Over the weekend, Washington Post and New York Times each reported on unnamed sources alleging a "secret" "consensus" of U.S. intelligence agencies charging Russia tried to interfere with the Presidential election in order to help Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton. National security journalist and author Marcy Wheeler of EmptyWheel.net offers a measure of skepticism about the explosive reports on those allegations, which she suggests could echo what proved to be blatantly misrepresented and cherry-picked intel by the George W. Bush Administration in their run-up to the Iraq War.

We discuss what we know and don't know concerning the newly reported charges, which parties have an interested in forwarding them and why they are arising in this form now, and how those concerns can possibly square with seemingly contradictory resistance --- by both Republicans and Democrats alike --- to human verification of the stunning and poll-defying 2016 Presidential election results reported in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

Speaking of which, late on Friday, a 3-2 split vote at the MI state Supreme Court denied a hearing of Green Party candidate Jill Stein's appeal of a 3-Republican judge decision that aborted the state's disastrous paper ballot hand-count last week. And today, a federal court in PA denied [PDF] Stein's lawsuit seeking a statewide hand-count of paper ballots and a forensic analysis of the 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting and computer tabulation systems used across most of the state. Also today, the state of Wisconsin completed its partial statewide hand-count and certified Donald Trump as the winner of that state's electoral vote. (Final tallies are not yet available from the Wisconsin Election Commission, but as of earlier today Reuters reported "Trump with a increase of 628 votes, Clinton with an increase of 653 votes and Stein with an increase of 68 votes". Those are net increases, without reflecting the total number of originally-mistallied votes, nor explaining that most of the state's largest counties simply ran the hand-marked paper ballots back through the optical-scan computers again to derive their "recount" totals.)

All of that amidst a repeated, coordinated, well-funded and familiar efforts by Republicans and Team Trump to block any and all verification of Presidential election results in all three states. "Cronyism, bureaucratic obstruction, and legal maneuvering have run roughshod over the democratic process," Stein said following Friday's Supreme Court decision in MI after tens of thousands of votes were deemed "unrecountable" due to the state's arcane "recount" laws while the attempted count was still underway last week. "A recount should not be this difficult or controversial. If you take out money from a bank, the teller counts it twice --- and the second time, they count it in front of your eyes. It should be well understood that something as important as a presidential election requires a basic level of quality assurance and verification."

We have all of the latest details on today's BradCast...

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Guest: Susan Pynchon of Florida Fair Elections Coalition on high 'invalid vote' rate, a hacked election vendor, case calling for hand-counts in FL
Plus: Claims of Russian election hacking and chilling Trump transition news at DOE...
By Brad Friedman on 12/9/2016 6:51pm PT  

A federal court victory for Jill Stein in Wisconsin; a federal court hearing in Pennsylvania; the fight to restart counting in Michigan; and the case for a recount in Florida. Yes, in Florida. But that's just the tip of the iceberg on today's very busy BradCast! [Audio link to complete show follows below.]

First up, some encouraging news from the New York Attorney General concerning his intentions to hold Donald Trump's nominees to head up the Environmental Protection Agency and Dept. of Labor accountable to the rule of law. Then, a bit more good news out WI today, where a federal court dismissed a Team Trump attempt to stop the ongoing Presidential "recount" in the state.

Meanwhile, a federal court in PA heard Jill Stein's case calling for a statewide count and forensic analysis of voting systems today. And, following the the hearing, in a press conference outside the courthouse, University of MI Computer Science and voting systems expert Prof. J. Alex Halderman explained again why such a study is necessary.

"Over the past ten years, we've found every one of the [voting and tabulation systems in the U.S.] susceptible to hacking. Doesn't matter whether they're plugged into the Internet directly or not," he said. "The evidence on the paper ballots, the evidence on the software in the machines --- that's what we're asking to examine. And that's the only way we're ever going to know for sure whether our votes were counted correctly or not in the 2016 Presidential election. We think that by looking at that evidence, which seems to me like just a common-sense security precaution, we can increase voter confidence, and help everyone know their that their votes really counted." Those comments come on the same day that the Obama Administration announced plans to release a report on charges that Russian hackers attempted to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election.

Then, we're joined by long time election integrity champion, Susan Pynchon, founder of Florida Fair Elections Coalition and a central character in HBO's Emmy-nominated 2006 documentary Hacking Democracy, joins us to discuss a lawsuit [PDF] filed late last week calling for a statewide hand-count of paper ballots in FL(!)

Pynchon explains the reasons why it was filed, which include not just the surprising result in the state's Presidential race, but also reports that a Florida-based corporate vendor by the name of VR Systems --- a company contracted by about a dozen states --- was reportedly hacked earlier this year. She says they provided "voter registration and other services in 64 of Florida's 67 counties. Voter databases, management and tracking of mail-in ballots, and election reporting services on election night." (And here is that Exhibit T [PDF] from the complaint that I referenced during the show, concerning troubling voter registration problems reported on Election Day in several Sunshine State counties, including Broward and Lee.)

Also, Pynchon details the high "invalid vote rate" ("votes that weren't actually counted --- undervotes, overvotes, and invalid write-in votes"), which she says is "more than double in this election than it was in 2008 and 2012. We need to take a close look at that because it's not normal. It's not typical of past elections." She goes on to describe how one county was also found to have "ordered duplicate sets of [security] seals," asking: "So how secure is that when you're sealing a ballot box with a seal that could then just be replaced with your duplicate set of seals?"

Coincidentally, part of Halderman's remarks from outside of the federal courthouse in Philadelphia this afternoon, which we play in full on the show today, referred to how easy it is to break into those voting machine security seals. He says they are "easy to remove in just a few seconds with a hairdryer or a screwdriver."

"You know, if you'd asked me this ten years ago, I would have said, well, maybe it sounds like science fiction, someone hacking into a country's national election by tampering with the voting machines," warns Halderman. "I think it's only a matter of time before this happens, if it hasn't happened already."

Finally today, an incredibly chilling missive was confirmed to have been sent to the U.S. Dept. of Energy from the Trump transition team, seeking the names and details of scientists and other employees there and at national laboratories involved in climate change and other related studies...

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Systemic obstacles to citizen oversight of election results continue to reveal 'outrageous', 'farcical' deficiencies in U.S. election processes...
By Brad Friedman on 12/8/2016 6:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast, our coverage of what suffices in the U.S. as a Presidential election "recount" continues, in no small part, because someone has to cover what is actually going on there. [Audio link to show posted below.]

A federal court ruling [PDF] issued late yesterday in Michigan has effectively stopped the counting of paper ballots in the state following an earlier 3-Republican judge state court ruling that Green Party candidate Jill Stein is not an "aggrieved candidate" and, thus, not entitled to any type of "recount". Moreover, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith finds there is no federally recognized right to a "recount" and, in any case, Stein presented no "evidence of significant fraud or mistake" while asking for one. But, of course, how could she, without being allowed to examine the evidence in question? State Republicans described the suspension of ballot counting as "a victory for the taxpayers and voters of Michigan."

That, even as scores of precincts across the state --- hundreds in Detroit alone --- were deemed "unrecountable" by election officials under MI's horrible statutes disallowing the hand-count of votes when human error or computer vote tabulator failure leaves Election Night ballot totals off by as little as a single ballot, as compared to the number of names signed in to pollbooks. Even in just three days of counting before it's suspension today, many such precincts were found to be "unrecountable", despite totally unreconciled vote tallies.

"It is an outrage that the voters of Michigan are being denied their right to have their votes properly counted," rails longtime election integrity advocate and attorney John Bonifaz, one of those who initially argued to both Hillary Clinton and Stein that a post-election count was necessary. "Because of a partisan state appeals court decision, Americans will never know the truth about what happened in this election."

Bonifaz was joined by many longtime computer science and voting systems experts, such as Douglas Jones of the University Iowa, who warns today: "In a healthy democracy, elections are run with sufficient transparency that partisans of the losing candidate can convince themselves that they lost fair and square. Recounts in close elections are a necessary part of this transparency, particularly when the margin of victory is exceeded by an unusual number of ballots that were cast without reporting any vote in the election." Jones is referring to the 75,000 ballots in MI said to have no vote for President at all, nearly twice as many undervotes as reported in 2012, despite a 10,000 vote margin between Trump and Clinton in MI, where some 5 million votes were cast. That case is headed to MI's Supreme Court, where Stein is demanding two state Justices recuse themselves after being named by Donald Trump as potentially U.S. Supreme Court nominees.

In Pennsylvania, a similar, if even worse case of lacking "evidence" of fraud has served to block forensic analyses of the otherwise 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting and tabulation systems used across most of the state. Late Wednesday, Stein filed a new court challenge in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), seeking the type of examination that computer science and voting systems experts have been desperately calling for. A similar challenge was rejected yesterday in Philadelphia for...you guessed it...lack of evidence of fraud.

And in Wisconsin, observers of the ongoing counts and retallies are calling for a federal suit --- which, I'm told, could be filed on Friday --- seeking a statewide hand-count of paper ballots, after a state court previously found a new law passed by Republicans last year allowed most of the largest (and Democratic-leaning) counties to "recount" by the same computer scanners that initially tallied votes (either correctly or incorrectly). The computer tallies, and a number of other concerns revealed to date, have led some of those observers to describe the current process as a "farce", and declare: "The most urgent issue in America right now is to be able to confirm that every vote was counted fairly, accurately, and honestly, and if not, for patriotic Americans to raise bloody hell about it."

And so, we do. Even as the corporate media continue to misreport or ignore altogether what is actually going on in all three longtime "blue" states where just 3 votes per precinct recorded for Clinton instead of Trump would have meant that she, not he, would be considered the President Elect right now. Citizen oversight of election results matter. As simple as that should be, the struggle to achieve any such post-election oversight or verification, in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, is astounding and an outrage.

Also today, speaking of outrages and science ignored by corporate media and elected officials alike: Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on Trump's shocking choice to head the EPA, on another oil pipeline rupture --- this time not far from the contested Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota --- and temperatures in the Arctic are now from 35 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit warmer today than they normally are this time of year...

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

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