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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, October 26, 2021
A 'Lay Down Case' of Conspiracy to Defraud the U.S.: 'BradCast' 10/26/21
Guest: Attorney, blogger Keith Barber on where 1/6 probe is heading; Also: Americans now very worried about climate; Manchin nixing another climate provision...
'Green News Report' 10/26/21
  w/ Brad & Desi
Historic storm slams West, 90M face extreme weather across U.S.; Record high emissions in 2020; PLUS: New reports warn climate a growing threat to national, global security...
Previous GNRs: 10/21/21 - 10/19/21 - Archives...
'They Took on the Wrong Guy': CA Mayor Who Sued Big Oil Pushes Back After Exxon Attacks: 'BradCast' 10/25/21
Guest: Imperial Beach Mayor, surfer, conserva-tionist Serge Dedina; Also: Manchin; Callers...
Sunday Spooky Toons
Be very afraid. Just in time for the holiday...It's PDiddie's latest collection of the week's scariest editorial toons...
Anita Hill Still Changing the World, 30 Years Later: 'BradCast' 10/22/21
Guest host Nicole Sandler with author, lawyer, Brandeis University professor Anita Hill...
The Good with the Bad: 'BradCast' 10/21/21
House holds Bannon in contempt; TX Lt. Gov. pays out for GOP voter fraud; CA GOP's recall boondoggle; Vets dump Sinema; Manchin could dump Dems; TX steals minority House seats; IL boosts Dems (a little)...
'Green News Report' 10/21/21
  w/ Brad & Desi
We're making too much fossil fuel; Climate change imperils millions, study finds; CA expands drought emergency; PLUS: Cutting emissions is hard, but will lower energy bills...
Previous GNRs: 10/19/21 - 10/14/21 - Archives...
'A One-Way Ratchet': Biden's SCOTUS Comm. Does GOP's Bidding: 'BradCast' 10/20/21
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: 'Contempt' for Bannon; Manchin, Sanders in talks; GOP Senate blocks voting rights again...
'Despair is Not an Option' After Manchin Tanks Biden's Central Climate Plan: 'BradCast' 10/19/21
Guest: UCSB's Dr. Leah Stokes; Also: 'Mass homicide' allegations for Brazil's Bolsonaro...
'Green News Report' 10/19/21
Manchin blows up Biden's climate agenda; EPA to crack down on PFAS; Million of polluting, abandoned U.S. wells; PLUS: McDonald's finally going beyond meat...
Listeners on Whether Ds Should Gerry-mander 'Blue' States: 'BradCast' 10/18/21
Also: How the unvaxxed helped kill Colin Powell; How Manchin is killing Biden's climate change plan...
Sunday 'Democracy's Boundaries' Toons
PDiddie draws a few lines in his latest collection of the week's best toons...
Why Dems Should Gerrymander 'Blue' States (& Why They Shouldn't): 'BradCast' 10/15
Guest: FairVote's Dave Daley; Also: Freedom to Vote in the Senate; GOP physics in VA...
'Green News Report' 10/14/21
Supply chain disruptions spike energy prices; Russia says they didn't do it!; CA bans gas-powered leaf blowers; PLUS: Biden Admin goes big on offshore wind...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Guest: Richard DeMillo of Georgia Tech's School of Cybersecurity; Also: New UN climate report warns humanity faces 'unprecedented' danger...
By Brad Friedman on 8/9/2021 6:44pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, it's both "Code Red for humanity", according to the authors of the new report released today by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, synthesizing some 14,000 climate studies from the past 8 years. And it's also "code red" for American elections, most immediately, here in California. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

New polling out last week finds that the otherwise ridiculous Republican attempt to recall Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is now supported by some 46% of those polled. In short, the effort to remove the Governor (for reasons nobody can quite explain, other than Republicans can no longer win regular statewide elections in the state) is now a dead heat. Who would replace Newsom if he's recalled? That is also unknown, as scores of Republicans are vying for the position, should voters choose "Yes" to recall the Governor on Question 1 of the ballot on September 14th. If a majority of voters do vote "Yes", then whoever wins on Question 2 on the ballot becomes the next Governor of the most populous state in the nation.

So, the stakes are pretty high. Which is just one of the reasons that it is so troubling that some of the largest counties in the state, including Los Angeles, San Diego and Riverside, all offer voters 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems when they vote in person at the polling place.

The good news is that, due to the pandemic, the Secretary of State is sending all registered voters a hand-marked paper Vote-by-Mail ballot for the Recall. The bad news is that many voters, for various reasons, will use those unverifiable touchscreen Ballot Marking Device voting systems at the polling place instead. If enough of them do, it will be strictly impossible after the election to know if any of the computer-marked ballots printed by them actually reflect the intent of any voter.

The further bad news is that an ongoing federal lawsuit in Georgia, where plaintiffs hope a federal judge will permanently ban the state's brand new touchscreen computer Ballot Marking Device (BMD) voting systems made by Dominion, has recently produced some disturbing news. One of the nation's top voting systems and cybersecurity experts, J. Alex Halderman of University of Michigan, hired by plaintiffs Coalition for Good Governance, has been given access to the Dominion ImageCastX systems used across the state, and his findings are reportedly so troubling, that the federal judge in the case has sealed his report, even from the plaintiffs themselves!

Last week, in a public declaration [PDF] in the case, Halderman warned his testing of those very systems "has shown that the BMDs used in Georgia suffer from specific, highly exploitable vulnerabilities that allow attackers to change votes," in a way that the state's mitigation techniques will not prevent. He says that his findings must be "urgently" reviewed by both the Sec. of State in Georgia as well as Dominion. But neither is allowed to see his report under the judge's seal, and neither has filed a motion to ask the Court to unseal it for them.

As my guest notes today, apparently they'd rather not learn about the vulnerabilities in their own systems. "If the report has anything approaching the level of vulnerability that Alex describes in his summary report, they would have to do something about it. So not knowing anything about it, gives them some breathing room" to try and figure out what they should do next, he tells me.

Why is this a problem for California? Because it is one of several states where some counties use the exact same system made by Dominion. Both San Diego and Riverside use the Dominon ImageCastX system at the polling place, where voters could end up removing the Governor in just over a month. Next door, in Los Angeles County, a similarly unverifiable touchscreen Ballot Marking Device is now used at the polls.

Moreover, a study that Georgia's Sec. of State carried out last November, to determine if voters actually bother to review their computer-marked ballots printed out by the touchscreen systems before casting them, found that almost none of them did. The results of that study were kept secret by GA's Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger, and only released last week, after the Atlanta Journal Constitution obtained the results via GA's Open Records Act.

So what could all of this mean for California? Should anyone be surprised by either the results of the GA Sec. of State's study or the troubling findings by Halderman? Should these unverifiable and vulnerable BMD voting systems ever be used by any voter in an American election (other than disabled voters who may choose to use an assistive device)? And, by the way, is there any evidence that these systems may have somehow stolen the very close election for Joe Biden over Donald Trump last year in Georgia?

We're joined today by longtime cybersecurity and voting systems expert RICHARD DEMILLO, founder of Georgia Tech's new School of Cybersecurity and Privacy. He offers some cold, hard, well-informed thoughts on these systems and why Halderman's report may have been sealed by the federal judge in Atlanta. He also offers advice on whether voters in California, Georgia or any other state should ever choose to vote on one of these systems when the option of using a hand-marked paper ballot is available to them.

"The more machines you use, the more likely it is that they're going to be hacked. It's just a matter of numbers. The machines are vulnerable. There are people that are adversarial that want access to the machines. The more you make it available to them, the more likely it is that they'll be used that way," states DeMillo. "You're opening yourself up to a lot of risk that seems to be unnecessary."

In the meantime, should voters and election officials in California --- including in Riverside and San Diego, where the same unverifiable and vulnerable Dominion systems are used, as well as those in Los Angeles, where a very similar touchscreen system is now forced on all voters at the polling place --- be concerned about the new, court-sealed findings in Georgia?

DeMillo offers several, unequivocal answers. But, in short, yes, we should all be alarmed.

DeMillo also offers his thoughts on the MAGA argument that Georgia was stolen last year, and says that after requested by CNN to review MyPillow Guy Mike Lindell's "absolute proof" that the election was stolen from Trump (in what turned to be a brutal takedown for Lindell) he finds the only "absolute proof" Lindell offered is that he has absolutely no idea how elections actually work. "Literally, every word that comes out of his mouth about elections and whether or not they were hacked and how they were conducted, is simply contradicted by facts," DeMillo tells me. "There are other things to think about in election security, but that's not one of them."

Finally, we close with a few words (more to come later this week!) on the climate disaster now unfolding in places like Evia, Greece, where thousands were evacuated by passenger ferry overnight this weekend, hoping to outrun massive wildfires amid record heat that has now reportedly destroyed thousands of structures. That, on the same day that the IPCC warns our man-made climate crisis is now "unprecedented" and unfolding even quicker than scientists had predicted only a few short years ago...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: GA SoS hid study finding voters don't check computer-marked ballots; CO Trump lawyers sanctioned; Abbott calls second 'suppression session' for TX legislature; Ossoff files 'Right to Vote' bill in U.S. Senate...
By Brad Friedman on 8/5/2021 7:04pm PT  

As it turns out, after so many years of warnings on The BradCast and at The BRAD BLOG, the local nightly news in Atlanta tonight sounds just like us, when it comes to concerns about the state's new touchscreen voting systems, and the same type of systems that are now used in at least 20% of the country. Of course, an urgent warning from one of the world's top experts, after examining GA's new electronic voting systems, finding they "suffer from specific, highly exploitable vulnerabilities that allow attackers to change votes" does get ones attention. [Audio link to full show is posted at the end of this summary.]

But, first up, two Donald Trump attorneys in Colorado got sanctioned on Wednesday, bigly, for what the federal judge characterized in a brutal 68-page order, as a "frivolous", "not warranted", "bad faith" filing attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 election. It was summarily tossed last year. The judge called out the two lawyers, Gary D. Fielder and Ernest John Walker, for their complaint which, though it included many "sworn affidavits" claiming the election was rigged, actually included "no firsthand knowledge" of any fraud at all. The duo also made no effort to verify an included claim from Trump himself that Dominion Voting Systems had "deleted 2.7 million Trump votes." Describing their effort as "one enormous conspiracy theory," the judge charged the evidence-free allegations amounted to "the stuff of which violent insurrections are made." He ordered the Trump attorneys to pay the legal fees of all 18 entities named as defendants in their suit. More such serious sanctions are likely coming soon for other Trump attorneys as well, including well-known ones, in other states.

Down in Texas, meanwhile, Gov. Greg Abbott has called a second emergency special session of the state legislature to begin on Saturday, as the current one ends on Friday. The session is largely meant to force through a voter suppression bill that has now been blocked twice by state Democratic lawmakers who walked out to block a quorum that would allow passage of the measure in the GOP-controlled legislature. The state Democrats remain, for now, in D.C., where they are pleading with Congress to pass federal voting rights protections, as they remain out of reach of Texas state troopers who have been ordered by the Governor to arrest them and force them to attend what one lawmaker described as Abbot's "suppression session" in the Statehouse.

As a number of Democratic members of Congress call for their August recess to be cancelled, in order to allow passage of both Biden's landmark infrastructure passage and critical voting rights measures at the federal level, Georgia's Senator John Ossoff on Wednesday filed a federal Right to Vote Act. Currently, unbeknownst to many, there is no U.S. law or Constitutional mandate for such an affirmative right to vote for every eligible citizen. Add Ossoff's new measure (and matching legislation filed by Rep. Mondaire Jones in the House) to the list of measures that urgently need passage in advance of 2022 to counter GOP suppression efforts at the state level. Unfortunately, it's also another measure --- along with the For the People Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act --- that will require reform of the filibuster first, since the Republican Party has now become little more than a Rightwing Authoritarian party that would never support an Right to Vote law in Congress.

Speaking of Georgia, there has been several remarkable developments over the past several days in the lawsuit by the Coalition for Good Governance seeking to bar the use of Dominion Voting Systems Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) for all voters at the polling place. The Coalition's suit, which previously succeeded in winning a ruling in federal court that banned the state's 20-year old Diebold touchscreen systems, hopes to replace Secretary of State's 100% unverifiable new touchscreen systems, made by Dominion, with verified hand-marked paper ballots before elections in the state this Fall.

Last week, Atlanta Journal Constitution reporter Mark Neisse uncovered a secret study carried out by Raffensperger during the 2020 election finding that the vast majority of voters (81%) forced to use the touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices, didn't bother to review the computer-marked printouts before casting them for more than five seconds. A smaller majority (51%) either looked at their ballots for less than one second or not at all (20%) before casting their vote. In all, just 19% of voters, according to the Secretary's own taxpayer-funded study of more than 4,000 voters in 39 precincts last November, reviewed their computer-printed ballots to ensure accuracy for more than 5 seconds!

Remarkably, after AJC's Neisse obtained the study's results via GA's Open Records Act, Raffensperger, in a jaw-dropped Orwellian perversion of reality, claimed: "This research shows voters do indeed review their ballots for accuracy before casting them," before falsely asserting the study was "proof the votes that were counted were for the candidates the voters intended." Of course, if the results were so wonderful, it begs the questions as to why Raffensperger kept the study, and its results, a secret from the public.

Making matters even worse, one of the Coalition's own experts --- world-class voting system authority J. Alex Halderman, Director of the Center for Security and Society at the University of Michigan --- was granted access to the Dominion BMDs used in Georgia (as well as other jurisdictions, such as San Diego County, CA) to examine them for vulnerability to hacking and manipulation as part of the court case.

The results of his findings, the Coalition's Executive Director Marilyn Marks tells me, are so damning that the federal judge has refused to unseal them, even to the plaintiffs who hired Halderman! His report is currently sealed to all but the judge and the attorneys on both sides of the case. Neither the defendant, Raffensperger, or the vendor who manufactures and sells the systems, Dominion, according to Marks, have asked the judge to allow them to review the findings. They do not want to see them, for some reason. (Likely, because both would then be legally required to take action on the damning, 25,000-word report.)

For his part, while his specific findings are sealed right now by the court, Halderman has filed an urgent declaration [PDF] about the report, explaining that his findings must be "urgently" addressed by Raffensperger.

"My testing has shown that the BMDs used in Georgia suffer from specific, highly exploitable vulnerabilities that allow attackers to change votes despite the State's purported defenses," Halderman warns in the public declaration.

"Established practice in the security field would require State Defendants to promptly subject Georgia's voting system to rigorous testing in response to my report, to assess the extent and significance of each of the vulnerabilities I described, and to identify and promptly implement specific measures (where possible) to eliminate or mitigate each of those vulnerabilities." [Emphasis in original.]

The alarming declaration was enough, apparently, to spark the attention of local television media to finally cover the story that we've been warning about for more years than we can now count. We share 11-Alive (WXIA)'s very good coverage of this breaking and disturbing news from Wednesday night.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, including news on the record heat wave accelerating in Europe and sparking scores of deadly wildfires; as a tourist town in California is now nearly out of water; and much more disturbing news from the bleeding edge of our worsening global climate emergency...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Voting rights champion Helen Butler of The People's Agenda, after her GOP removal from Morgan County, GA's Board of Elections; Also: More tragic ends for COVID vaccine refusers; More evidence that AZ's election 'auditers' are clueless...
By Brad Friedman on 7/21/2021 6:49pm PT  

We've been reporting for months on the voter suppression laws being adopted by Republican-controlled states around the nation. But, in addition to disproportionately blocking minority groups from access to the ballot, we've also warned that many of these GOP state laws allow for the removal of qualified election officials, for virtually any reason, and replacement with partisans who may now undermine election laws and overturn election results. One of those longtime election officials who has just been removed in Georgia following the passage of the state's SB202 suppression law --- a woman who also happens to be a fierce, longtime voting and civil rights champ --- joins us on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of this summary.]

First up, however, it's like the early days of the pandemic all over again in a number of very sad ways. Today, we have more sad news of misinformed, Trump-loving Republican COVID deniers and vaccine refusers who believed the pandemic was a hoax, and who are now tragically --- an unnecessarily --- being felled by the virus, despite the widespread availability of life-saving vaccines in the U.S. One doctor in Alabama wrote this week about sick patients begging for the vaccine, just before being intubated and told "it's too late."

Next, we add one important point to our detailed fact-check on yesterday's program in response to Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan's ridiculous (and uninformed) suggestions that tens, if not hundreds of thousands of fraudulent votes may have been cast last year in Maricopa County (Phoenix), Arizona. His remarks were offered to a state GOP Senate panel last week, after the three month-long (and counting) "audit" theater his company was contracted to carry out of last year's election results, despite their lack of experience in elections or knowledge of voting systems. Those comments were then misinterpreted and amplified by the former President of the United States to falsely suggest the election in Arizona was stolen from him last November.

But there was one point from last week's forum that we didn't have time for yesterday. It included testimony claiming that Maricopa's computer voting and tabulation systems were wildly unsecure because their operating systems and anti-virus software hadn't been updated since the day Dominion Voting System's software was installed on the machines. It's true that those computers had not had security updates and patches applied since their first use in 2019. It's true that that is a "tremendous vulnerability" for those systems, as claimed at the forum. And it's also true that there is a very good reason why the software has not been updated since then --- which, had the AZ GOP Senate hired people who actually knew anything about voting systems, they would already have understood. We explain.

The story underscores the value of election officials --- and election auditors --- who are actually experienced and qualified for the job. Unfortunately, since Donald Trump launched his evidence-free Big Lie that the election was stolen from him, Republicans have been adopting laws in several states making it easier to remove experienced election officials and replace them with partisan patsies.

Nowhere is that more clear than in the great state of Georgia, where the GOP-controlled state legislature recently adopted SB202 in order to prevent certain voters from easy access to the ballot. That law, and others being adopted locally around the state, have resulted, according to the New York Times last month, in "members of at least 10 county election boards [who] have been removed, had their position eliminated or are likely to be kicked off...they will most likely all be replaced by Republicans."

HELEN BUTLER was one of them. She is one of the state's most prominent advocates for voting rights and the award-winning Executive Director of The Georgia Coalition for the People's Agenda, founded by the late civil rights icon Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery (who founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Martin Luther King, Jr.) She is also a ten-year veteran of the bipartisan Morgan County, Georgia Board of Elections in the Republican-leaning rural enclave east of Atlanta. Or, at least, she used to be. After approval by the state's Republican Governor Brian Kemp, Butler and the rest of the Board Members were replaced at the end of last month. The Board Members will all now be selected by the partisan County Commission, instead of built from members selected by local political parties.

On today's show, Butler, who testified on voting rights at a U.S. Senate Rules Committee field hearing this week in the state, explains the reason the Commission voted to remove the Board, claiming that it was "dysfunctional", but never explaining what that meant. "We were never brought up for any Secretary of State's violations as long as I was a member of the Board," she explains. In short, Butler suggests, she was removed because the Board hired a diverse group of pollworkers and worked hard to make sure everyone, of all parties in the County, could vote and that their votes were counted as cast.

SB202, among other things, now makes it harder to vote by mail, bans absentee drop boxes, and blocks the distribution of food or water on long voting lines. Eight different lawsuits, including those filed by The People's Agenda and the U.S. Dept. of Justice (as well as the Coalition for Good Governance, for which, FULL DISCLOSURE, I am serving as a named plaintiff representing media) have now been filed in hopes of blocking the law for a host of reasons, including the disproportionate difficulties that will now be faced by minority voters. Butler describes SB202 as a "voter suppression takeover".

But the ability to remove and replace long-serving, qualified election officials with partisan appointees who can refuse to certify elections is certainly among the most chilling aspects of the law, Butler warns. She argues that, had these new laws been in place last year, Trump's attempt to "find" enough votes to overturn his loss to Biden in the Peach State --- as we all heard in his recorded (possibly illegal) telephone call with Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger --- would have been easy.

Our broad conversation, on a lot of these issues, also includes her thoughts on the ongoing investigation by the Fulton County (Atlanta) District Attorney into Trump's attempt to overturn the election. Butler also offers her plea for federal legislation, such as the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, to help overcome the state-based attacks on voting.

The delightfully optimistic Butler then ends our discussion with an ominous warning: "This is our darkest hour," she tells me. "This is our Selma moment, and we must act.  This is not just for black people or people of color. It's for all of us, for all Americans to have equal access to the ballot. Democracy is at stake here.  So people have to understand it's not about black people voting, this is about democracy. This is the moment. We really need to be paying attention and act to get the right people elected that will preserve democracy for America."

Please tune in for today's important show...

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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: Coalition for Good Governance's Marilyn Marks on that and separate challenge to state's 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting...
By Brad Friedman on 6/21/2021 7:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast: With virtually every new voter suppression law adopted by Republicans at the state level since last November's election (there have been about 24 such laws adopted so far, in some 14 states), Democrats and voting rights advocates have been quickly filing lawsuits in opposition. One of those suits --- filed in federal court [PDF] against Georgia's SB202, the one in which I am named as a Plaintiff --- is to have its first major hearing next week. That, as Democrats in the U.S. Senate frantically scramble to get the last Democratic holdout (Joe Manchin) to come on board for federal legislation to counter at least some of the most restrictive elements of the tidal wave of new GOP anti-voting laws at the state level. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

While the Jim Crow-style voter suppression of the new restrictions being adopted in Republican-controlled states of late have received a fair amount of attention, the provisions in those measures that would allow GOP state legislatures to take over elections --- and even overturn legitimate results --- have received less attention. Over the weekend, the New York Times highlighted, for example, how in "Georgia, members of at least 10 county election boards...At least five are people of color and most are Democrats" have been removed from their posts in recent weeks, "and they will most likely all be replaced by Republicans."

Georgia is not the only state where this is happening. Similar provisions, targeting election officials and even election results, have also been adopted or introduced in states like Kansas, Arkansas and the critical swing state of Florida. But in Georgia, they go even further to target and/or threaten the media itself for simply reporting on elections!

That's where I come in. I am the named plaintiff representing journalists in the Coalition for Good Governance (CGG) lawsuit challenging Georgia's SB202 in federal court. An emergency Motion for Preliminary Injunction [PDF] has now been filed in regard to the media-related aspects of CGG's complaint, in light of the state's impending local election runoffs scheduled for July 13th.

I'm joined once again today by longtime Election Integrity champion MARILYN MARKS, Executive Director of CGG, to discuss why the Press Freedom aspects of her group's broad challenge to the GA law --- far broader than some of the other challenges focused more on the voter suppression aspects only, as filed by the NAACP, the Democratic Party, and Stacey Abrams' Fair Fight, etc. --- have been bumped to a top priority with her filing of an expedited Motion for Preliminary Injunction.

Among the little-reported-on Press Freedoms at stake in SB202, the new law includes a Gag Rule which criminalizes the public, party-appointed monitors and the press’ reporting of absentee mail ballot processing or tabulation problems; A ban on the press Estimating (yes, estimating!) the number of absentee ballots that have been processed during an election tabulation or how many are still to be processed; SB202 even criminalizes photographing voted ballots or the 100% unverifiable touchscreen Ballot Marking Device (BMD) voting systems that voters are now forced to use at all Georgia polling places, despite the state's century-long history of routine press photography and videography of election activities inside of polling places on Election Day. (Yes, the photo used above for today's show logo, or even seeing those voters voting, can now result in felony charges in GA!)

All of these, as Marks and I discuss, are extraordinary restrictions on basic Press Freedoms, and our ability --- my ability in this case, as the named plaintiff, representing media --- to report what is going on during Georgia elections to the public. The law actually turns simply seeing one of the state's huge new touchscreen voting systems, while it's being used on Election Day, into a felony. That would apply not only to media inside a polling place, but also to poll workers, poll watchers and even voters simply waiting in line to vote.

"We are asking the court to address some of these issues before that runoff election [on July 13] happens. We are going to ask the judge to rule in favor of the press," says Marks, hoping that some other media outlets may even submit their own Amicus Briefs to the court in support of CGG's lawsuit. "Other members of the press are quite concerned about the fact that traditional photography, that they have been taking for decades, is not going to be permitted in the mail ballot processing locations," she tells me.

"It is mind-blowing," she continues. "I wouldn't be able to tell you [if I saw something wrong while serving as an observer]. All of a sudden, your reporting is going to be silenced. You would not even know that I had anything to tell you. You would just assume that, unlike in times past, that everything is going fine in Georgia."

Marks also breaks a bit of news by explaining that the Republican National Committee has now moved to intercede in this case to help defend GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger's position on the bill. Marks says Raffensperger "essentially insisted on these provisions. Although some of the media consider him to be some kind of a saint [because he declined to overturn the November 2020 election amid entreaties from Donald Trump to do so], this is his bill. His attorneys drafted it. He's the one that wants to crack down on any criticism coming from people like you and me, CNN, New York Times, or any other place."

"The RNC has asked to intervene in our case to protect the Secretary of State. However, interestingly, they have said they are not going to oppose us on the Observation Felony, the Gag Rule, the Estimating Ban, the Photography Ban --- so even the Republicans are not going to try to defend four of these five things that we're going after" in the Motion. A hearing is now set on that Motion for Thursday, July 1.

In addition to CGG's lawsuit challenging SB202, the group has another, separate, longstanding challenge to the state's use of 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems. That suit was successful in convincing the federal judge hearing it to ban GA's 20-year old Diebold touchscreen systems before last year's elections. Unfortunately, Raffensperger immediately replaced them with new touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices made by Dominion Voting Systems, which Marks describes as as bad or worse than the previous systems. That case has just now entered its discovery phase and Marks is confident that the same federal judge is quite concerned that the new systems are as insecure, unverifiable --- and, thus, as unconstitutional --- as the old ones she previously banned. A ruling in that case could affect the use of such machines in dozens of states and counties around the country, including states like Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Texas and even here in Los Angeles County, where voters are now forced to vote on unverifiable touchscreen systems at polling places.

Lastly, Marks describes the exciting forum scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday, June 22), co-sponsored by CGG and another one of our favorite non-partisan good-government watchdog groups, Free Speech for People (FSFP), on the dangers of Ballot Marking Device (BMDs) as used in Georgia and many of those other jurisdictions mentioned above. The forum, called "Today's Electronic Voting Machines: An Examination of the Use and Security of Ballot Marking Devices" is scheduled live and online from Noon to 5pm ET on Tuesday. It features a huge number of guests that have been featured over the years on 'The BradCast', including FSFP's Susan Greenhaulgh; Georgia Tech cybersecurity expert Rich DeMillo; notorious University of Michigan white-hat hacker, J. Alex Halderman; Research expert Kevin Skoglund; UC Berkley's Philip Stark, inventor of the post-election Risk Limiting Audit protocol; the legendary Finish cyberseucrity and voting systems expert Harri Hursti, and many others.

Much more info and the schedule is available here. You can RSVP to participate in the event right here.

Finally, Democrats are teeing up a test vote on Tuesday in the U.S. Senate for their sweeping election and campaign finance reform bill, the For the People Act, now that West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin has suggested he may be willing to support a compromise version with the 49 other Senate Democrats who have all already signed on to the original bill as co-sponsors. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked today about President Biden's expectations for that bill and its test vote today, and on the need to reform the filibuster even if Manchin deigns to come aboard. If he does, he would also have to be willing to make changes to the filibuster rule that mandates 60 Senators support such measures, in order to see passage, since no Republicans are expected to support it. But he is not the only Democrat who has opposed long-overdue changes to the filibuster. Arizona's Kyrsten Sinema has also vowed to protect the anti-democratic, Jim Crow-era Senate rule. And now she is being targeted with a huge ad buy for that position, to ratchet up the pressure, by a group of progressives who are running spots in her home state on cable news, as well as during local news and sports programming.

Yes, the fight to save American democracy continues on today's BradCast...because it seems kind of important...

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Guest: Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance; Also: SCOTUS takes up abortion; Gaetz in trouble; Israel bombs AP's building in Gaza...
By Brad Friedman on 5/17/2021 6:54pm PT  

As AP reports today, a new lawsuit "against [Georgia's] secretary of state and the members of the State Election Board was filed in federal court in Atlanta by county election board members, individual voters, election volunteers, nonprofit organizations and a journalist." As broken on today's BradCast, that journalist is me. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

I am one of the several named plaintiffs in the 200-page suit [PDF] filed in U.S. District Court on Monday seeking to block a number of outrageous and dangerous provisions in the state GOP's new voter-suppression bill. While the measure, SB202 [PDF], adopted by GA Republicans, does a lot of terrible stuff, some of which is well known by now (making it harder to vote by mail, banning absentee drop boxes, blocking the distribution of food or water on long voting lines), much of which will disproportionately suppress minority voters, there are a number of other provisions which are simply jaw-dropping, but have not yet been challenged in the several suits previously filed against the law by a number of civil rights and voting rights groups.

My part in the suit, filed today by the non-partisan, non-profit, indispensable Coalition for Good Governance, revolves around press freedoms which are outrageously and unconstitutionally trampled by SB202. In fact, as discussed on the show today with the Coalition's Executive Director, MARILYN MARKS, no small amount of the detailed reporting we have done here over the years focused on Georgia has now been criminalized by the new statute!

As detailed in the complaint (see the section on "Plaintiff FRIEDMAN" beginning on p. 101), it is now unlawful to report on "mail balloting discrepancies or security concerns that he or The BRAD BLOG or BradCast journalists may personally observe as members of the press"; "Plaintiff FRIEDMAN will be injured because the party appointed observers he has relied on to supply first-hand accounts...are are prohibited under penalty of misdemeanor from reporting their observations" on Georgia elections to me; As Marks explains, photographs that I or others may have taken in a polling place and used on the blog would be illegal; Observers from the media watching the tallying of absentee ballots will be committing a crime just by reporting on how many ballots they are "estimating" or "attempting to estimate" have been counted or are left to be tallied, according to the language of the hastily written SB2020 ("It's a thought crime!," Marks charges. "Literally, it says you cannot 'estimate' or 'attempt to estimate' anything about votes in the ballot processing room for mail ballots!"); Video interviews or photographs taken inside of counting rooms or in polling places in front Georgia's giant, new, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems could be evidence of a felony(!) under the new law, which poll workers, poll watchers, media observers and even voters could now be charged with under state law!

"On BRAD BLOG," Marks observes, "you frequently post a picture, many a picture of election activity, including people in the mail ballot rooms looking at hand-marked voted ballots. To take a picture of a ballot now is a misdemeanor." Yes, those posted photos would now be evidence of a crime. "You would not be permitted to take a picture of anonymous ballots. We see thousands of pictures, every election, of voted ballots being counted. But for some reason --- I guess we know what reason --- they are criminalizing it."

Yes, the photo used above, as taken from the complaint's numerous examples, of voters voting at Atlanta's State Farm Arena last year in Fulton County, could be used as evidence of a felony by the Reuters photo-journalist, Chris Aluka Berry, who took it.

As the suit notes, "Plaintiff FRIEDMAN is already injured by SB202 because the criminalization of constitutionally protected activity has a chilling effect on his exercise of First Amendment rights" and because "Plaintiff FRIEDMAN is threatened with injuries arising from SB202’s prior restraints on his First Amendment right of free speech and right of freedom of the press."

We have "reported on Georgia election integrity and election security hundreds of times over the last almost twenty years," the lawsuit accurately explains. Much of that coverage could now constitute a state crime under this horrible, unconstitutional law. "I have a feeling they will find any little tripwire they can about the two of us," Marks tells me. "If you were complimentary toward Georgia, I don't think you'd have any problems."

This BradCast, for example, from June of last year, featuring a Democratic Party post-election adjudication observer (and now co-plaintiff in this suit) Jeanne DuFort --- breaking the news of her discovery that GA's new Dominion tabulation computers were failing to count votes on tens of thousands of ballots --- would have been a crime in several ways, according to the state's new law.

There are other provisions in SB202 of concern as well --- beyond those being challenged in several of the voting rights lawsuits --- as Marks explains in the Coalition's press release today, from the law's "Takeover Provision" that permits bi-partisan County Elections Boards to be removed entirely and replaced by a single partisan, for virtually any reason (even minor infractions by a low-level worker up to four years ago!) to a few items we didn't have time cover on today's show, like the impossible new deadlines for requesting absentee ballots (in cases before a run-off election, the deadline to request such a ballot for it will now end before the original election is even certified to include a run-off!) and more.

As AP highlights in its report today, the suit argues: "Liberty requires at least three essential things — an unfettered right to vote, freedom of speech, and the meaningful separation of powers. This lawsuit is necessary to preserve individual constitutional rights, and constitutional government, against the attacks that SB202 makes on these three pillars of liberty."

Marks elucidates today on "Those three pillars of liberty: the right to vote, the right to free speech, and the right to separation of powers. What's happening here is the first one that they are violating is that separation of powers. That is a key one. Once they grab all of the powers, they close the doors. Yeah, they still have to deal with the pesky press and pesky watchers, but not anymore --- not if they criminalize your reports."

So, yeah. Even as its strange to become a part of a story I've been covering for so long, I am very proud to be a plaintiff in this lawsuit against SB202, which Georgia's Republican Governor and Sec. of State falsely claim "makes it easier to vote and harder to cheat". In truth, Marks told me off air after the show, the opposite is true. "It makes it harder to vote and easier to cheat," she said.

Also today, the GOP's packed and stolen U.S. Supreme Court announced it's taking up Mississippi's restriction on abortion rights that was blocked by a lower court. This is not good news for freedom lovers and those who oppose Big Government coming between a woman and her doctor; A former elected Florida official who is a buddy of Rep. Matt Gaetz has agreed to a federal plea deal that requires he tells federal prosecutors all that he knows about Gaetz' alleged sex trafficking of a minor; And in Gaza City over the weekend, Israel outrageously targeted and destroyed a 12-story high-rise building housing AP's office for the past 15 years. It's top floor cameras have been the eyes for the world, witnessing, as the news agency reported this weekend, "24-hour live shots as militants’ rockets arched toward Israel and Israeli airstrikes hammered the city and its surrounding area this week."

Those cameras will no longer be there to bear witness to the world. As AP's President noted in a statement describing the attack as "shocking and horrifying" on Saturday, "The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today."

And, in Georgia, if SB202 is allowed to stay in place, the world will know less about what is happening in the Peach State's elections because of it. As in Gaza, I suspect that is the point...

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Guest: Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance; Also: Team Trump attorney responds to Dominion defamation suit by claiming 'no reasonable person' could have believed her false conspiracy theories...
By Brad Friedman on 3/24/2021 6:46pm PT  

We've been doing our best on The BradCast, to keep you up to date with the various attempted assaults on voting rights that Republicans are trying to enact in dozens of state legislatures around the country, in response to Donald Trump's evidence-free Big Lie that the 2020 election was somehow stolen from him. But what is going on in Georgia right now, where lawmakers are attempting an extraordinary power grab to essentially give themselves control over entire elections and their results, is even worse and more disturbing than you have likely heard. [Audio link to full show follows summary below.]

First up today, however, speaking of fraudulent claims about fraud in the 2020 election, Team Trump attorney Sidney Powell filed her response to Dominion Voting System's $1.3 billion defamation suit [PDF] against her, and it's fairly hilarious.

Her Motion to Dismiss [PDF] includes her defense that "no reasonable person" could have interpreted her outlandish claims that Dominion's voting and tabulation systems were used to steal the election for Joe Biden via a massive international conspiracy (bastardized and reimagined, in no small part, from my decade-old accurate, exclusive reporting on several voting machine companies tied at one point to Venezuela) were actually "statements of fact". Her four failed "Kraken" lawsuits, and countless appearance on wingnut media making such claims, she now appears to be arguing, were little more than her political opinion, which nobody could have mistaken for facts. Therefore, she argues, she cannot be held accountable under the First Amendment. Good luck with that, Sidney. Clearly, voters in Stark County, OH and in the state of Louisiana --- "reasonable" or not --- bought into her lies, as a mountain of complaints about Dominion since the election has resulted in both jurisdictions ending their consideration of multi-million contracts with the Canadian-based voting equipment vendor.

Powell's repeated fraudulent fraud claims and those by Trump himself following the 2020 election have had other real world consequences, including the deadly MAGA Mob attack on the U.S. Capitol in January to try and "stop the steal", as well as now hundreds of voter suppression bills being pushed by GOP lawmakers in more than 40 states.

As Georgia's legislative sessions comes to an end next week, there has been a dizzying flurry of proposals in both the state house and senate to target voting, mostly effecting minority voters. Last week, a two-page GOP bill on absentee ballot applications was substituted at the last minute by Republicans with a 93-page omnibus bill that includes dozens of new voting restrictions and reforms. The measure was revealed to Democratic state lawmakers and voting rights advocates just one hour before a committee hearing for it in the state House of Representatives.

Stacey Abrams' Fair Fight Action group described the measure as "A desperate power grab to appease insurrectionists and losing political candidates." The bill, according to Georgia Public Broadcasting, introduced dozens of new restrictions including "including banning people from giving food and water to voters waiting in line, limiting early voting days for larger counties, and adding ID requirements to absentee ballots."

Many of those provisions have received a fair amount of public attention over the past week, including the attempt to end Sunday "souls to the polls" voting, which is popular with religious Black voters who traditionally head to the polls en masse after church services. That provision, and an attempt to scrap no-excuse absentee voting, have both now been withdrawn by Republicans after public backlash, according to our guest today. But, she is now far more concerned with a, so far, little noticed provision that would allow the partisan, legislature-appointed State Board of Elections to undermine and even reverse elections results in any county in the state by replacing any bi-partisan County Elections Board with a single person of their choosing, for virtually any reason they like.

One of our longtime go-to sources on Georgia election disasters, MARILYN MARKS of the Coalition for Good Governance, joins us for the first time in the new year to sound the alarm bell on that provision, and a few others which, she warns, are not receiving nearly enough attention from the public.

"It's hard to express the danger of what it is they are trying to do," she tells me, explaining how the State Board of Elections (currently a five-person board, with one Democrat) would "be able to take over any County where they don't like how the County is counting the votes, how the County's election processes work...really with no due process. With just a few minor violations --- which anybody can find with any County --- the State Election Board can come swooping in [and] put their partisan appointee in the place of the public Board. They wipe out the public [County] Board of Elections and put one person in charge."

If that measure had been in place during 2020, she warns, it could have been used to overturn election results in, say, Fulton County (Atlanta) at the whim of partisans on the State Board.

As were speaking today, the New York Times published an article warning about this very issue as well, quoting Abrams charging that "Republicans are brazenly trying to seize local and state election authority in an unprecedented power grab." Echoing Marks, Abrams warns its "intended to alter election outcomes and remove state and county election officials who refuse to put party above the people."

"They could literally send in their appointee, fire all of the election board, have no more public meetings, conduct all of the balloting behind closed doors, certify whoever they wanted to as the winner, and there's hardly anything that could be done about it," Marks explains. "They are trying to make that law."

She also details how the GOP attempt to change mail-in ballot authentication from using signatures --- a system that now works well in the Peach State, she says --- to using things like drivers license numbers, will actually make absentee ballot fraud easier rather than more difficult. Marks, a longtime Republican (though not any more), explains that her attempts to warn GA's GOP lawmakers about this seems to be getting dismissed because, she says, those lawmakers don't seem to actually care about fraud. They are more interesting in sayiing they did something to respond to their constituents' unsupported belief that signature verification is being easily defeated by fraudsters. (Now where would those folks have come up with that idea?)

"They shake their head and say, 'You're right. This does degrade security. But the Secretary of State [Brad Raffensperger] wants this, and everybody is marching to his tune, and we know we are going to get all sorts of hell when the voters find out what we're doing, but we feel under such pressure to do something.' ... They're going to do 'something' even if it's wrong," Marks insists.

We also discuss her long-standing federal lawsuit to try and decertify the 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems made by Dominion Voting Systems that Raffensperger deployed statewide for the first time last year. He did so after the Coalition's lawsuit resulted in a 2019 ruling by a federal judge that the state's previous, 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting system made by Diebold was both unverifiable and unsecure and, therefore, unconstitutional. Marks offers a status report on the case, as she hopes for an eventual ruling on the Dominion machines similar to the one that ended the state's use of the older, similarly vulnerable Diebold systems. And no, she explains, though she has been very tough on Dominion's systems over the years, she is not concerned about a defamation lawsuit from the company akin to the ones filed against Powell and Rudy Giuliani by the voting system vendor.

"We don't allege things that we don't have very solid proof of," she says. "We have the nation's top security experts working with us under penalty of perjury. We work in fact, not ridiculous allegations like Sidney Powell's group"...

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Guest: Ari Berman of Mother Jones; Also: TX Repubs step on the gas to blame green energy for their own fossil fueled freeze failure; Radio propagandist Rush Limbaugh is dead, but his national poison lives on...
By Brad Friedman on 2/17/2021 6:50pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Talk radio con-man Rush Limbaugh may now be dead, but his toxic legacy lives on in virtually every element of the nation's poisoned body politic. The consequences are all too apparent even today amid the deadly winter storm that has knocked out power across Texas and the avalanche of new voter suppression laws being pushed by Republicans following their loss of the White House in 2020. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

First up today, after three decades of brainwashing a generation of Americans by dominating the nation's public airwaves with far-right, racist, misogynistic, extremist propaganda and lies, Limbaugh is dead from lung cancer at the age of 70.  Using his considerable broadcasting skills to pump dishonest evil into the brains of gullible listeners, he endangered the nation and the planet itself by scamming an entire segment of the populace to the theoretical benefit of the Republican Party that he may have helped to ultimately destroy. I've got a few thoughts on that today.

Next, the influence of Limbaugh reverberates throughout the crisis facing millions of Texans  who are, right now, continuing to face freezing conditions without power (and water in some cases) for days, thanks to the 1999 deregulation of the power grid in Texas by GOP lawmakers who put corporate profit above the general welfare of their own residents. Rather than accept personal responsibility for their failures, Texas Republicans and the propagandists who support them on outlets like Fox "News", have been going full throttle over the past two days to somehow (falsely) blame the state's nascent wind energy industry for the widespread outages. That, even though wind supplies, at most, about 20 percent of the Lone Star State's energy needs, while thermal sources, like natural gas, coal and nuclear --- which all failed due to lack of winterization (thanks to lack of state regulation) --- were, by far, the biggest source of failure.

But don't tell that to Ditto-Heads like the now-former Mayor of Colorado City, TX, Tim Boyd, who railed at his own constituents seeking help without heat or water for days. "No one owes you or your [sic] family anything; nor is it the local governments [sic] responsibility to support you during trying times like this! Sink or swim, it’s your choice!,"  he raged on Facebook in response to members of the community wondering if warming shelters would be opened or how firefighters could respond with the town's water system shut down. "This is sadly a product of a socialist government where they feed people to believe that the FEW work and others will become dependent for handouts," the Mayor said in words that would have been music to Limbaugh's deaf ears. "Bottom line, quit crying and looking for a handout! Get off your ass and take care of your own family!"

Of course, even the state's Republican Governor Greg Abbott appeared to admit on Twitter on Monday that the problem was "natural gas and coal generators" that had been "frozen", before somehow going on to blame the non-existent Green New Deal for Texas' woes by the time he appeared on the show of Limbaugh's fellow propagandist Sean Hannity on Fox "News" Tuesday night.

So, how and when can these corrupt, corporate-socialists finally be voted out of office? It may not be easy given that, as NYU's Brennan Center for Justice recently reported [emphasis iin original]: "In a backlash to historic voter turnout in the 2020 general election, and grounded in a rash of baseless and racist allegations of voter fraud and election irregularities, legislators have introduced well over four times the number of bills to restrict voting access as compared to roughly this time last year. Thirty-three states have introduced, prefiled, or carried over 165 restrictive bills this year (as compared to 35 such bills in fifteen states on February 3, 2020)."

We're joined today by Mother Jones' senior reporter and voting rights journalist ARI BERMAN, author of the landmark 2016 book, Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, to discuss what he characterizes as "an avalanche of new laws" amounting to "the most concerted attempts to roll back voting rights since the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965."

Berman explains the new flood of bills by GOP lawmakers to make voting more difficult --- for certain voters --- in battleground states like Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona and many others, where measures are being pushed to end no-excuse absentee voting and automatic voter registration, among other previously established rights. In Arizona, more than 40 such schemes have been proposed by Republicans, including one that Berman says would "allow the legislature to just nullify the will of the voters and appoint their own Presidential electors anytime they want. It basically would make the Presidential election completely irrelevant, in terms of what the voters actually voted for."

These efforts all come in the wake of Donald Trump's evidence-free claims of "massive voter fraud" in the 2020 election. In many instances, says Berman, GOP state legislators are even attempting to reverse expansions to the franchise that they themselves had recently adopted and boasted about at the time. "The Republican Party is now trying to weaponize those bogus fraud claims, to lay the groundwork for getting rid of the system that they wrote, instituted and took advantage of, until it didn't benefit them anymore," he tells me.

We also discuss how a number of these new restrictions may be unstoppable at the state level and would require Democratic efforts at the federal level --- such as H.R.1 (the "For the People Act") and H.R.4 (the "John Lewis Voting Rights Act") --- in order to prevent them from suppressing the vote in both 2022 and 2024. Of course, to pass those federal laws, Democrats in the U.S. Senate will almost certainly have to do away with the undemocratic filibuster, since Berman suggests it's inconceivable that 10 Senate Republicans would join the effort to ensure equal and fair voting rights to all Americans.

So, yes, we also discuss what might be needed to overcome Democratic objections to ending the "Jim Crow relic" filibuster by Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, both of whom have vowed to keep it in place. "This is a big fight brewing," Berman argues, along with a few suggestions as to how this could play out. "But right now we're seeing an existential threat to democracy and also a very real threat to the power of the Democratic Party.  At some point, they're going to have to choose."

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Guest: Former federal prosecutor Ben Clements; Also: Capitol Police officer dead after riot; Pelosi demands Trump resign or face second impeachment; Dominion files $1.3B defamation suit against Powell...
By Brad Friedman on 1/8/2021 8:24pm PT  

The walls are closing in very quickly now --- even throughout our hour today --- on the man who President-elect Joe Biden correctly, if generously, described today as "not fit to serve" and "one of the most incompetent Presidents in the history of the United States of America." As we go to air, Donald Trump is still in office. We can't tell you for certain if that will still be the case by the time you hear today's BradCast. [Audio link is posted at bottom of article.]

On Thursday night, U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick succumbed to injuries sustained during the attempted coup at the Capitol on Wednesday, as incited by Trump. He was the fifth person to have died amid the mayhem wrought by our outgoing criminal President. Sicknick's death, which Trump didn't bother to mention today, may add yet another crime --- conspiracy to incite murder or manslaughter --- to Trump's quickly growing rap-sheet.

On Friday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued an ultimatum. Either Trump resigns now or new Articles of Impeachment will be filed on Monday. That, as the Administration rats continue to flee his sinking ship, with more resignations and the welcome news that sore loser Trump will not attend Biden's inauguration and plans to leave D.C. as of the day before. "Good riddance," we say, in echoing the two word statement issued by the American Federation of Teachers last night upon the news that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was also quitting (though only after four convicted murderers and war criminals who worked for her brother received Presidential Pardons.)

More on Trump's growing legal perils and calls for accountability with my guest today, but first a few words on the news that Dominion Voting Systems has filed a $1.3 billion lawsuit against Team Trump attorney  and his fellow perpetual liar and con-artist Sidney Powell. The private voting systems vendor charges Powell led a campaign to spread "wild" and "demonstrably false" claims about the company, including lies about their voting systems being developed with communist money in Venezuela by the late Hugo Chavez and, with the help of George Soros and China and Cuba, being used to steal the election for Biden.

(Her absurd Venezuela/Chavez claims are bastardized and re-imagined versions of my detailed, accurate, exclusive investigative reporting at The BRAD BLOG from approximately 2008 to 2010. And, while I've been wildly critical for many years of Dominion's unverifiable voting systems, as deployed by Georgia's Republican Sec. of State, there is nothing to support Powell's fantastical claims, including her evidence-free assertions that the state's SoS and Governor received kickbacks from the company to deploy their machines in the Peach State, for the first time, in 2020.)

Dominion, which previously warned they were likely to sue for slander and defamation if Powell did not retract her false claims (she refused and "doubled down" instead, according to the 124-page complaint [PDF]), also has sent similar warnings to other Team Trump liars such as Rudy Giuliani, Fox "News", Newsmax and One America News. They suggest they may even sue Trump himself. We'll hope they do, even if I'm called to testify by the private election vendor which should have no place in our public election system.

But, for now, according to our guest today, Constitutional expert and former federal prosecutor BEN CLEMENTS, Board Chair and Senior Legal Advisor of the non-partisan government accountability group, Free Speech for People (FSFP), it's accountability for the "seditious" President of the United States that is of the greatest immediate concern.

Clements, along with FSFP's  John Bonifaz and Ron Fein, filed an op-ed in the Boston Globe on Tuesday --- the day before the Trump-instigated insurrection at the Capitol on Wednesday --- calling for Trump to be immediately impeached for a second time.

"At the time we wrote the op-ed, we were only dealing with the first major set of felonies that the President committed this week, in the effort to falsify the Georgia election results in his favor," he tells me today, referring to last Saturday's phone call by the President to GA's Sec. of State, cajoling and threatening him to "find" enough votes to steal the election for him there. (Yes! That was just this past week as well!) "At this point, we obviously have a second set of felonies in connection with his incitement of a seditious mob on Congress, which creates an even greater urgency."

But the reason Clements is calling for a second impeachment this late in Trump's term is because, as he explains: "There is really, for the most part, only one sure way to ensure that Donald Trump is not permitted to again run for office in this country...And that way is through the impeachment power.   If the Senate convicts, an official can be removed, but they can also be disqualified from ever holding federal office again. Aside from removal, which is now needed more urgently than ever, there is the need to disqualify him, to prevent him from running in 2024, or from running for anything else at any time in the federal government."

With just 12 days left before Biden's Inauguration, is there even enough time for such a proceeding?  As Clements, who authored a book with Bonifaz and Fein called The Constitution Demands It: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump, details that impeachment and a Senate trial can happen even after an official is out of office. Indeed, as he (and his op-ed) recounts, there is even historical precedent for it.

We also discuss whether the Constitution allows for a Presidential self-pardon, whether Trump will try to execute one, whether lawful or not, and as FSFP called for yesterday, the need for Joe Biden's Attorney General-designate, Judge Merrick Garland, to immediately empanel an independent task force, once confirmed, to coordinate and investigate "any potential federal criminal or civil violations that may have been committed by President Trump, members of his administration, or his campaign, business, or other associates."  Clements argues that, without public pressure, Democratic Administrations have had a tendency in the past, when taking office "after a corrupt and sometimes lawless Republican administration" to make a "a quick call to 'turn the page.'"

"We are hearing those calls broadly already," he says. But "if we really want to move forward, if we really want to restore the integrity of the Department of Justice, there must be accountability for the crimes of this Administration and particularly of Donald Trump. And there must be accountability for the destruction that he created to our democracy and to the Department of Justice. The reason we're calling for this is there is a risk that there will be this temptation to say 'he's out of office and let's move on.' And I think that would be a GRAVE mistake that will invite more lawless activity, that will invite more of the kind of activity that we saw on Wednesday with the attack on the Capitol."

As we chatted, news came in that Alaska's Republican Senator, Lisa Murkowski, is now calling for Trump to resign, declaring "I want him out" and threatening to leave her party if they continue to align with him. And Twitter finally did the right thing (years belatedly) by permanently banning Trump, citing the risk of further incitement of violence.

It's going to be a very dark weekend for Trump. But, for us, we close a dark week today with a long overdue, brand new and hilarious parody tune for the seditious moment, from the great Randy Rainbow! Enjoy!...

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Guest: Lauren Windsor of 'The Undercurrent'; Also: Trump's escape to Scotland?; How GOPers plan to challenge Biden's victory Wednesday...
By Brad Friedman on 1/5/2021 7:10pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: The last vote of the '2020' election has now been cast with Georgia's two U.S. Senate runoffs now over. The voting part anyway. Now the counting, fighting and complaining begin. [Audio link to full show follows below summary.]

We received mixed reports from on the ground in Georgia today. The state's voting systems manager, Gabriel Sterling, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Election Day in the contests that will determine partisan control of the U.S. Senate went very smoothly on the state's 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems made by Dominion and forced on in-person voters in the state for the first time in 2020 by their Republican Sec. of State, Brad Raffensperger. Lines to vote, according to Sterling were short in most places, though as long as 30 minutes at some Atlanta metro area voting stations. Other sources on the ground in the Peach State told us that lines in some places that were longer than for the Presidential general election back in November. Given there were just three races on the ballot (two for U.S. Senator, one for a Public Service Commissioner), there shouldn't have been any lines at all to speak of. Nonetheless, the 'Rube Goldberg' touchscreen computer ballot marking devices and the computerized pollbooks and computerized scanners that are used with them --- instead of a much simpler, verifiable, reliable hand-marked paper ballot system --- always take longer to cast a vote. They also, as usual, created problems for voters in several counties, with misprogrammed access cards and other reported failures. Emergency hand-marked paper ballots were said to have been deployed in some cases, as needed.

We try to read some of the tea leaves from today's reports, as to what it all may mean, while we wait for results that could come tonight....or over the next several days.

We're joined today from on the ground in Georgia by LAUREN WINDSOR, journalist, Executive Director of American Family Voices, producer of the grassroots political web-show, The Undercurrent, and, apparently, "operative", according to a report by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Windsor has been in the state for the past month with her producer, bird-dogging incumbent Republican millionaires and Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, regarding their respective stock market windfalls amid the COVID epidemic. They are running against Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively.

She's been there as Trump has made a mess out of the runoffs, which he described over the weekend as "illegal", before showing up at a rally in the state, supposedly for Loeffler and Perdue on Monday night, not long after he confused matters further by calling for $2,000 COVID checks for Americans after Republicans (including the two GA incumbents) had insisted on $600 checks.

Windsor has broken a number of stories over that time, including last month when, as AJC documented, Perdue lied to her by claiming he planned to challenge Joe Biden's electoral vote count in the Senate tomorrow --- even though his term ended on January 3 and won't begin again until this year's election is decided and certified. Trump retweeted her tweet reporting Perdue's lie and his campaign then retweeted the President's tweet. There is apparently nobody left in the Republican Party who cares about telling the truth.

Both Perdue and Loeffer, she tells me, are "trying to have it both ways with regards to supporting the Electoral College challenge. Now they're trying to have it both ways with supporting the $2000 relief checks. They're saying, 'We'll tell you that's what we want, but we're actually going to work with McConnell to make sure it won't happen.'"

She shares of number of stories from her adventures over the past month covering both millionaires Perdue ("this guy owns a home within a gated community that's within a gated community.") and Loeffler ("It wasn't exactly a 'rag to riches story' for Kelly Loeffler. It was more of a 'riches to riches' story.) And Windsor also has some thoughts on the failure of Republican hoaxster James O'Keefe --- who she has also been bird-dogging for years now --- to deliver his promised "bombshells" on Democratic "voter fraud" in the 2020 cycle. Windsor also offers her careful prediction for how today's critical contests will ultimately shake out.

Also today, we enjoy a rare bit of speculation on Donald Trump's future, following a curious story out of Scotland Monday reporting that the tiny airport near Trump's failing Turnberry Golf Resort is set to "expect the arrival of a US military Boeing 757 aircraft" on January 19th, the day before Biden is to be inaugurated. Hmmm....

And, speaking of speculation, Politico has a few scoops on what House and Senate Republicans are planning for their challenges at Wednesday's joint session of Congress to the affirmation of Biden's Electoral College votes in at least three states (perhaps as many as six) during their desperate, last-ditch --- most likely futile, definitely sore-loser --- effort to overturn the 2020 Presidential election and/or make a name for themselves as 2024 Presidential contenders and/or ruin their chances all together in the bargain. We shall see. Suffice to say, Wednesday is likely to be a very long day, as we have long been warning.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our first Green News Report of 2021! With a whole bunch of stories we were unable to cover while off last week, including several new parting gifts from the Trump Administration, such as "bomb" trains and more asthma attacks for children, as well as some much better news for humanity and the planet out of Japan...

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Guest: Democracy activist, legal scholar Paul Lehto; Also: New Congress, same old problems; Former SecDefs issue warning about Trump; Unhinged President's unhinged phone call threatening GA's Sec. of State...
By Brad Friedman on 1/4/2021 7:39pm PT  

After a not-nearly-long-enough break, The BradCast is back for the new year, when everything will be entirely better than the old year, right? Well, if the last several days of insanity that we now refer to as "news" is any indication, the answer is: "Not so much!"  It will be impossible to adequately cover all we discussed on today's program in today's summary. But, we'll give you the basics here and hope you tune in for the full story. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

While we were off, both houses of Congress overrode Donald Trump's ridiculous veto of the "must-pass", $780 billion National Defense Authorization Act to fund the military for another year. But GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was nonetheless successful in preventing Americans from receiving $2,000 pandemic checks, despite best efforts of Democrats, a tiny, uninspiring handful of Republicans, and even Trump himself. That, as the nation clocked an unfathomable 350,000 COVID deaths, which is the equivalent of blowing up about 17 sold-out NBA arenas and killing every single person in every single one of them, or 115 9/11s over the past 10 months in the U.S.

With that, the new 117th Congress convened for the first time on Sunday, with a narrow majority for Republicans in the Senate (pending Tuesday's two U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia) and with a narrow majority for Democrats in the House, where they elected Nancy Pelosi as Speaker for another two years.

Despite all of that pretty big news, it all seemed to pale in comparison to Donald Trump's ongoing electoral death rattle. With concerns about how our unstable President may react as his days in office dwindle, every living former Defense Secretary (10 of them, Republican and Democratic, including the two fired by Trump and even Dick Cheney, who was apparently concerned enough that he reportedly led this effort), published a short, sharp group op-ed, making it crystal clear that any "efforts to involve the U.S. armed forces in resolving election disputes would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory," and that "civilian and military officials who direct or carry out such measures would be accountable, including potentially facing criminal penalties, for the grave consequences of their actions on our republic."

Even as that was being published on Saturday, Trump was on the phone for an unhinged hour with the Republican Secretary of State of Georgia, haranguing, threatening and cajoling him to change the state's Presidential election results to award the state's electoral college votes to Trump. We play part of that call, which may have been in violation of both state and federal laws, on today's show. We do not do it justice. The Washington Post has published the full bonkers audio and transcript, including Trump's long-ago debunked fraud claims and repeated false assertions that he won the state by about a half million votes (he lost it by about 12,000) and that he just wants "to find 11,780" votes to "win" the state.

The news of that madness came on Sunday, as Georgia will have it's last day of voting in two U.S. Senate runoffs to determine partisan control of the Senate for the next two years on Tuesday, and as the new Congress meets in a joint session on Wednesday, January 6th, to affirm (or not) the results of Biden's Electoral College victory over Trump by a seemingly comfortable 306 to 232 margin.

Over the weekend, however, more than a dozen Republican U.S. Senators led by 2024 hopefuls Josh Hawley of MO and Ted Cruz of TX, announced they intend to challenge the Electoral College results on Wednesday during what is normally a pro forma procedural affair presided over by the President of the Senate (Vice President Mike Pence, in this case).

And this bring us to crux of where we are and what could happen on Wednesday, as Republicans continue to claim --- through failed lawsuits and other protests --- that the Electoral College Act (ECA) of 1887, which has determined the procedure to be used on Wednesday for about 150 years and 33 Presidential elections without question, is somehow a violation of the Constitution's 12th Amendment.

If Republicans can figure out how to make this argument on Wednesday --- with Pence potentially holding the reins to help them --- we could find ourselves in a Constitutional quagmire leading to....lord knows what.

We're joined today to help explain all of this madness by longtime election integrity advocate, election law scholar and democracy activist, PAUL LEHTO. He argues that, despite so many claims to the contrary (by many of the same folks who said that Trump could never become President back in 2016, by the way) there is, in fact, still a "path" for Trump and his Republicans to steal the election from Biden on Wednesday.

Tune in for the details, but it has to do with how the 12th Amendment says that questions about the validity of Electoral Votes should be dealt with (via a one vote per state vote in the U.S. House), versus how the ECA handles such challenges (with a regular, up or down majority vote in both houses needed to support such a challenge.)

Why is this even a question at this point? Lehto explains in detail.

He also cites the lesson that we should learn from all of this madness: "What we should learn is that what you and election integrity activists have talked about now for decades is coming home to roost," Lehto explains. "And that is that a big, big part of this is the inherent uncertainty when votes are purely processed through computers. Nobody really knows --- until there's a hand recount --- what the result is, and partisan people can attach to that uncertainty and that doubt any theory that they wish to in order to keep hope alive."

"So we need a voting system that leaves no doubt as to that result . And in order to have that you have to have transparency," he says, adding: "Basically, this is all the chickens coming home to roost, in terms of our non-transparent voting system."

There's more. But, again, you'll need to tune in for it. Happy New Year?...

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Guest: Slate legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern on recent cases, Bill Barr, Kris Kobach and accountability for TX' attempt to overturn the election; Also: GOP now eating its own with GA's U.S. Senate runoffs underway...
By Brad Friedman on 12/15/2020 7:54pm PT  

On today's BradCast: While the GOP's packed and stolen 6 to 3 U.S. Supreme Court did the right thing last Friday in unanimously rejecting [PDF] indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's attempt to steal the 2020 election (and receive a Presidential Pardon for his thanks), there remains the question of accountability for those who signed on to the frivolous and arguably "seditious" attempt to undermine democracy. Especially from the 19 wingnut state Attorneys General who should both have known better and, according to our guest today, have a legal obligation to do so. In the meantime, SCOTUS made a couple of other rulings this week that have received far less notice, but that are also surprisingly good, given the Court's radical, far-right majority. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

But first up today, a few quick observations on the Republican Party that now seems to be eating itself alive in the wake of Trump's loss. On yesterday's BradCast we noted the weekend MAGA Mob rally in D.C., where angry brain-poisoned Trump supporters broke into chants of "Destroy the GOP!" before booing Georgia's incumbent Republican U.S. Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue who are facing tough runoffs against Democratic challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff for contests that will determine control of the U.S. Senate on January 5.

Today, sore loser Donald Trump, who has been attacking Georgia's extremely Trumpy Republican Governor Brian Kemp and Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger for weeks in order to (absurdly) blame them, instead of himself, for losing the election in the state, upped the stakes considerably. He retweeted a message from a mentally unbalanced Georgia attorney and conspiracy theorist calling for Kemp and Raffensperger to be jailed. The post also includes Photoshopped graphics of Kemp and Raffensperger --- both of whom are Trump supporters that have faced death threats since Trump turned on them --- wearing masks with Chinese flags on them.

But, hey, at least Mitch McConnell finally recognized the election of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris today, after Monday's Electoral College vote confirmed their "landslide" victory. Also, one "courageous" and very rightwing House Republican, on Monday, decided he has finally had enough of his colleagues' attacks on democracy itself and has announced he is officially becoming an "independent"...now that he'll be leaving Congress at the end of the year anyway.

Then its on to a number of not horrible things done over the past several days by the U.S. Supreme Court, as we are delighted to be joined once again by one of our very favorite legal reporters, MARK JOSEPH STERN of Slate.

On Monday, SCOTUS rejected an appeal by the state of Indiana in a years-long case brought by a number of married lesbian couples regarding marriage rights. The couples all had children using artificial insemination, but Indiana law had forced the spouses of the women who gave birth to go through onerous, expensive adoption procedures in order to become a legal parent. There is no such requirement for men in opposite-sex marriages to do so in similar situations. Happily, the Court dismissed Indiana's challenge to lower courts which found the state's law unconstitutional, in what might have been the first chance to roll back marriage equality protections since Amy Coney Barrett was rammed onto the Court.

Also on Monday, SCOTUS put a merciful end, once and for all, to the voter suppression law written by disgraced former Kansas Sec. of State and GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach requiring proof of citizenship papers when registering to vote in the state. The 2013 law would have disenfranchised tens of thousands of legal Kansas voters and was found unconstitutional by court after court. The SCOTUS decision to not hear the case finally makes Kobach's unnecessary law a dead letter, though Stern says he believes it's likely to pop up again in similar forms from other states, given the radical, anti-voter, anti-immigrant, anti-democracy fever running rampant right now in the GOP.

In addition to a eulogy, of sorts, for the pathetic "clownish" legacy of Kansas' failed former Sec. of State, failed gubernatorial candidate and failed Senatorial candidate, Kobach --- who is also now mixed up with an anti-immigrant "Build the Wall" group facing fraud charges with Steve Bannon --- Stern unloads with another eulogy for the legacy of another similarly disgraced rightwinger today, U.S. Attorney General and Trump fixer Bill Barr. Trump tweeted on Monday that Barr would be leaving DoJ just weeks before the one-term President leaves office, after Barr had the temerity to admit that there is no known evidence of mass voter fraud that stole the election for Biden.

Barr, Stern argues, is "more offensive, terrifying and obnoxious" than Trump himself, because he is "
a creature of the Republican Establishment, a creature of the conservative legal movement. Bill Barr is at the heart of it." He believes "Barr did immense damage to the rule of law" and "may have permanently hobbled the Justice Department's integrity and legitimacy." That's just part of Stern's invective for Barr, who he describes as "just an awful person, and I wish him nothing but bad luck for the rest of his life."

Finally, we dig into the mess surrounding the shameless attempt to win a Presidential Pardon by TX Attorney General Paxton, who, as he filed his suit last week, was also subpoenaed by the FBI in a bribery and abuse of power investigation by the FBI. His lawsuit [PDF] filed with SCOTUS on behalf of Texas, sought to nullify all of the votes --- some 20 million of them --- in four different states (Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia) in a fruitless attempt to steal the election for Trump. We've got lots to discuss on this today. The radical legal concept at the center of Paxton's case (and several others which similarly failed over the past month) would nullify all election laws, rules and regulations not expressly enacted by state legislatures and ONLY state legislatures. In addition to turning centuries of American democracy and voting rights on its head, this literal, radical, ill-considered, "textualist " or "originalist" reading of the Constitution's Elections Clause --- arguing that Governors, Secretaries of State and even state courts may have no say at all over election rules --- would have broad ramifications for all sorts of other laws. For example, as we discuss, if Governors may no longer veto State Legislatures regarding election laws, does that mean a President may not veto Congress on tax laws, given they are granted the power of taxation in the Constitution by a similarly literal reading?

While SCOTUS rejected Paxton's case on jurisdictional grounds Friday night, many of the failed cases brought by Team Trump hoping to overturn the election results over the past month similarly relied on that radical theory. They were tossed before that question could be answered by the courts, however. So, will Republicans continue to push for a SCOTUS opinion on this matter from the high court in the months and years ahead? Stern believes that, before Amy Coney Barrett was added to the Court, there were at least four Justices who had signaled willingness to support the radical theory.

Should Texas' election results also be thrown out under Paxton's theory, given that its Governor Greg Abbott, without legislative approval, limited mail-in dropboxes to just one per county for November? How about Alabama's results, where its Republican Sec. of State John Merrill decreed curbside voting to be unlawful in a case which was met with approval by SCOTUS earlier this year?

Also, what of the 18 state Attorneys General who signed on to Paxton's cuckoo complaint, who are members of the bar and officers of the court with a duty to not bringing frivolous, much less arguably "seditious" (as Pennsylvania's defendant AG described it) lawsuits. Should they be punished in some way? Can they be sanctioned for their actions? And, as one caller asked during yesterday's show, should all of these repeated attempts filed by Republicans in hopes of overturning a legitimate Presidential election be regarded as "treasonous"? (My answer yesterday was "no", but does Stern agree?)

All of that and much more on today's very lively --- and, hopefully, informative --- BradCast!...

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Guest: Voting system expert, federal plaintiff Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance...
By Brad Friedman on 12/10/2020 8:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast, some real facts on the real concerns about Dominion Voting Systems' unverifiable computerized voting machines in Georgia --- what we know (and don't) about what happened with them during the 2020 Presidential election in November; what concerns that voters of all parties should have about them before the two critical U.S. Senate runoffs in the Peach State in January which will determine partisan control of the U.S. Senate; and what all Americans can do about it. [Audio link to full show is posted beneath summary.]

But, first up today, a few quick --- and somewhat related --- news items today. On Wednesday, the U.S. tallied a heartbreaking record 3,124 COVID deaths, making it the fourth most deadly day in U.S. history after the Galveston Storm of 1900, and the Civil War battles of Antietam and Gettysburg. Wednesday saw more Americans die from COVID than those killed on September 11, 2001, which had previously been the nation's fourth most deadly day. The next most deadly single days in the U.S. thereafter are now, in order, last Thursday, last Wednesday, last Friday, last Tuesday and Pearl Harbor.

At the same time this week, Donald Trump has been throwing crowded, indoor, holiday parties at the White House, lying to guests, without a mask, that his election was stolen, and the Texas lawsuit filed this week would prove it to his stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court, somehow. It's as if the worst pandemic in more than a hundred years doesn't even exist because, after all, there's an election to be stolen and several centuries of American democracy to be undermined during the holidays.

As to that absurd Texas case filed by the criminally indicted Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton, (which we explained in great detail on yesterday's BradCast), 18 GOP controlled states have now joined the Lone Star State in support of tossing out the election results in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia, despite any evidence of fraud in those states that could possible overturn Joe Biden's certified win in each of them. But, much less reported today, is the fact that more than 20 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have joined those four targeted states in opposing the corrupt Paxton's transparent effort to win a pardon from the corrupt Trump, before the FBI drops new federal charges for bribery and abuse of power on the Texas AG.

Yes, the Texas case is absurd and offers an unprecedented, radical interpretation of the U.S. Constitution in hopes of stealing the election for Trump. As Pennsylvania's Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, has correctly argued, "The Court should not abide this seditious abuse of the judicial process." But we also now have an unprecedented, radical bunch of Justices sitting on the bench at SCOTUS. Anyone who tells you they know how those Justices will rule on this case is simply making things up.

In the meantime, there remain very real concerns about Georgia's voting system, just not the phony ones that Team Trump and the MAGA Mob have decided to focus on (read: lie about.)

Today, for the first time since before the November 3rd election, we're joined by voting systems expert MARILYN MARKS, Executive Director of the nonpartisan, good government watchdog group, Coalition for Good Governance. As a plaintiff in the long-running federal lawsuit seeking to bar Dominion Voting Systems' new, unverifiable touchscreen systems from use in the state, Marks has been one of the longest and loudest critics of both the private Canadian-based voting system vendor and the state's Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger who contracted them. (Her same federal suit already resulted in a federal judge, last year, banning the use of the state's 20-year old, unverifiable Diebold touchscreen systems.) Raffensperger defied both election integrity and cybersecurity experts by purchasing Dominion's unverifiable $100+ million systems instead of a hand-marked paper ballot system as recommended by the experts. And now, Team Trump is exploiting Raffensperger's ill-considered decision to make all sorts of unfounded claims about them.

That said, because these systems are unverifiable, it's next to impossible to know that they accurately recorded the intent of any of the voters who are forced to use them at polling places across the state --- something that Marks (and us) warned about long before Republicans decided to pretend they were concerned about "election integrity" and invented a ridiculous worldwide conspiracy led by Dominion to steal the election from Trump.

In addition to cribbing from and bastardizing some of The BRAD BLOG's decade-old, independently verifiable investigative reporting about Dominion to create their ridiculous conspiracy regarding Venezuela's dead President Hugo Chavez helping to steal the election from Trump, the same MAGA Mob has been stealing from and lying about Marks' long-running federal law suit to try and make their case in court.

"We have seen, in Sidney Powell's lawsuits, fabrication after fabrication," Marks tells me. "I sit there and read these documents, cringing at the lack of facts. They even take things from our documents, like experts' reports, then add craziness to them, literally change facts that were attested to by our experts and make them completely false."

In light of all of that, among the question Marks speaks to today: Is there any evidence that Dominion Voting Systems touchscreens or tabulators were, in fact, used to flip votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden in Georgia? Her answer may surprise you! If you've listened to The BradCast while we've covered this issue with Marks and others for years, it may not surprise you.

We have covered Georgia on this program and at BradBlog.com so long and in so much detail for a reason. The state, she notes "has been the poster-child for all that is wrong with US elections. It's all concentrated here. And now it's the center of the universe."

Marks also speaks to whether Americans and residents of Georgia should have confidence in the reported results from the November election, and what if anything, can be done to ensure confidence in the results of the critical January 5th U.S. Senate runoffs in the state.

For those with actual concerns about those runoff elections --- which doesn't actually seem to include many of the Republican sore losers complaining about the November results and an evidence-free "Dominion Conspiracy" --- Marks asks listeners to urgently, and politely, email both the Speaker of the GA House, David Ralston, and GA's Sec. of State Raffensperger to urge them to allow HAND-MARKED paper ballots for all voters at the polls in the upcoming runoffs. She argues that there is still time for that to happen in every county, even as Early Voting begins on Monday. "They can make a quick switch to hand-marked paper ballots. All they need are a few thousand black ballpoint pens. They just need to hear from the nation that this time we want a non-controversial election."

We also ask Marks (a now former Republican herself), whether or not there are at least a few Republicans who might end up finding legitimate interest in joining the fight for real Election Integrity after their current partisan interests in Trump's election eventually fade away. While a private company like Dominion should never have the type of control they now have over our public elections, neither should the much larger ES&S firm or the smaller Hart-Intercivic, just to mention the three largest corporations who have arguably been allowed to usurp our public elections with unsecure, poorly designed, easily manipulated, non-transparent, computerized voting and tabulation systems.

"I hope that maybe one piece of good is that the Republicans are now suddenly concerned about software, and they are concerned about transparency of other processes," she observers. "They're suddenly interested in election administration that before, they seemed to have assumed was just going to work for them. So, hopefully we will get better transparency out of this. But we're going to have to go through the crazy period first, I'm afraid."

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report, with mostly disturbing news, as usual, on the state of our climate and environment, but some really really encouraging news at the end, that we'll use to make ourselves feel much better on another insane day like today...

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Another weekend of sore-loserism, lost court battles, phony fraud claims, unlawful election interference by the President of the United States; Also: Trump Admin ignores own EPA scientists to assure more U.S. deaths...
By Brad Friedman on 12/7/2020 7:37pm PT  

If you think the monster is actually, truly dead now, it's only because you still need to watch more horror movies. You'll have to listen to today's show for most of the juiciest details, but among the stories covered today on today's very busy BradCast [Audio link to show is posted below summary.]

  • Not satisfied with helping to assure the deaths of nearly 300,000 Americans during the COVID crisis so far, the swamp-filled Trump Administration ignores their own EPA scientists to join the polluters of the fossil fuel and chemical industries to block a rule that would require a slight decrease in particulate soot that would save more than 10,000 American lives a year. Because of course they do;
  • Loyal Trump henchman and Attorney General Bill Barr reportedly considering quitting before he's fired by Trump for having the temerity to admit there is no known evidence that would turn the loser Trump into a winner in the 2020 election;
  • More than 1,500 lawyers --- some of them former former federal judges, prosecutors and law professors --- call for bar associations to investigate the "historic abuse of the legal system" by Team Trump attorneys, like the COVID-stricken Rudy Giuliani and the execrable Joe diGenova (who called for a former federal official to be "shot" because he believed the 2020 election was secure) to be held accountability for their behavior. The letter cites false claims of "massive fraud" by Trump's attorneys, even as those same attorneys concede in court case after court case --- they and their allies have lost about 50 cases at this point --- that they have no actual evidence of fraud;
  • After losing at least five different cases in five different swing-states on Friday alone, Trump continues his record as a loser on Monday, with an Obama-appointed federal judge in Michigan tossing one case, and a George W. Bush appointed-judge in Georgia tossing the other. Both rulings were brutal dismissals;
  • The President's false claims of a stolen election continue to have very serious consequences, as an armed MAGA Mob on Saturday night descended on the personal home of Michigan's Secretary of State to terrorize her and her children as they were preparing for Christmas;
  • Also down in Georgia today, the state's Trump-supporting Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger --- who, along with the state's Trump-supporting Gov. Brian Kemp, has been mercilessly attacked by Trump --- re-certified the state's Presidential election finding Biden won it by about 12,000 votes. The new certification comes after the election night machine count, a statewide hand count, and a third statewide count by machines as requested by the Trump Campaign. He lost every single time by about the same numbers in all three tallies;
  • On Saturday morning, the President of the United States violated the law in a call to the Republican Governor of Georgia to try and convince him to take action to toss out the election results and direct the state legislature to declare the loser Trump to be the winner. To Kemp's credit (a phrase I thought I'd never type), he refused to do what Trump demanded. To Trump's wrap-sheet, he has added yet another violation of law in trying to interference with an election. 45 days until legal accountability for Trump's many crimes should begin;
  • On Saturday night, Trump went down to Georgia --- where he's in a bind, cause he's way behind --- to hold a rally for the two incumbent Republican Senators facing a tough challenge in their U.S. Senate runoffs on January 5th, where controls of the U.S. Senate is at stake. Trump spent most of the nearly two-hour long rally whining about losing the election as he repeated phony, long-ago debunked claims to continue hoaxing the MAGA Mob into believing it was stolen from him and that they are all "victims". The two U.S. Senators spoke for about 30 seconds each;
  • Finally, despite Trump's unsullied record of embarrassingly losing case after case, trying to overturn the will of the voters in both state and federal courts around the country --- in cases overseen by Republican and Democratic judges alike, including several that he himself appointed --- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito took an action over the weekend that has a few Court watchers justifiably unsettled. As we reported on last Friday's BradCast, Alito agreed to consider an appeal to a case filed by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), seeking to toss out Pennsylvania's results and award the state's electors to Trump. The matter was correctly dismissed by lower courts, but Alito has agreed to consider it and, late last week, scheduled this Wednesday, Dec. 9, as the deadline for defendants to file their rebuttal. That was key, because Wednesday is the day after the so-called "Safe Harbor" date under federal law, when all state Electoral College contests are supposed to be settled, at least at the state level, on Tuesday, Dec. 8. Last week, election law experts saw Alito's late date for defendants to reply as a message that he would not be taking any actions that might change the electoral count. But on Sunday morning, Alito changed that deadline to the morning of Tuesday, "Safe Harbor" day. What does that mean? And should we be worried that the monster isn't really, truly dead just yet? We discuss...

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Guest: Former National Security Council member, William Tobey of Harvard's Belfer Center...
By Brad Friedman on 12/2/2020 7:58pm PT  

Everything and everybody seem to be on edge. It feels like we're near a breaking point. At home and abroad, as detailed throughout today's harrowing BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

"It's all gone too far," Georgia's top voting systems chief made clear during powerful unscripted remarks at an emotional press conference on Tuesday night. "All of it!" Gabe Sterling's impassioned comments came after learning of new death threats against a young elections worker in his state. He is right to be infuriated. Things have now become damned dangerous thanks to our deranged President who seems to be turning more unhinged by the hour as his days in the White House wane.

We share an extended cut of the Republican Sterling's tirade today, as he called out both the Republican President and the state's two Republican Senators for failing to condemn the increasing hostility and threats against election officials in Georgia, as well those directed to its Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger. "Stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence," Sterling implored the President. "Someone's gonna get hurt. Someone's gonna get shot. Someone's gonna get killled...All of this is wrong!"

Both of Georgia's U.S. Senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, face tough election re-election runoffs against Rafeael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively, on January 5. The contests will determine partisan control of the Senate. Both GOPers have decided to support Trump and his false claims about the state's election being stolen for Joe Biden with the aid, absurdly enough, of Kemp and Raffensperger. The President is currently scheduled to travel to the Peach State on Saturday to campaign with Loeffler and Perdue. We'll see if he makes it...and whether they both come to regret it.

It is, of course, insane that we find ourselves in support of Sterling, Raffensperger and Kemp, at least on these points. We have been vocally and justifiably critical of all three for a very long time on this program regarding the way they run elections in the state and undermine voter confidence in the bargain. But we'd never even consider the type of rhetoric that the President of the United States and his followers --- including Loeffler and Perdue --- are now using because Trump is too cowardly to concede that he lost and the two Senators are too cowardly to run without him.

None have any actual interest in cleaning up Georgia's elections. If they did, they'd have joined my weeks-old call to get the Dominion Voting Systems company out of the state entirely for the January elections by demanding hand-marked and hand-counted paper ballots for all during the runoff. None of them, of course, have done so.

Rather than take Sterling's concerns to heart, Trump doubled down on Twitter thereafter to falsely declare a "Rigged Election" and "massive voter fraud in Georgia," charging the very Trumpy Governor Kemp is "afraid" of "what we'll find". And then, as released by the White House just before airtime, Trump delivered even more dangerously incendiary and deluded remarks in a fact-free 46-minute pre-taped video rant, asserting that "our election system is now under coordinated assault and siege."

But this is what is happening. And if all of it sounds insane, you'll be shocked to learn that top Trumpers, like his recently pardoned former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, are now literally calling for sedition by encouraging the President "to immediately declare a limited form of Martial Law and temporarily suspend the Constitution and civilian control of these federal elections for the sole purpose of having the military oversee a national re-vote."

Several weeks ago, I was uncertain about covering Trump's baseless claims of "massive fraud" in the election at all, back when he first began lying about all of this. Given where we are now, I'm glad we did. We all need to be informed about what is actually going on right now in this nation, no matter how twisted, and depressing, and damned dangerous it is now becoming.

But, for some "lighter" news today...We then turn to the recent assassination of Iran's top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, and the latest fallout following both that, Trump's undermining and violation of the landmark Obama era Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement with Iran which had successfully blocked the Islamic Republican from the ability to create a nuclear weapon for at least ten years, and Trump's drone assassination earlier this year of Iran's revered General Qassam Soleimani. (Yes, that also took place in 2020!)

We're joined today for a great deal of insight on all of this --- as well as the history of targeting nuclear scientists, both in Iran in recent years and elsewhere since the dawn of the nuclear age, and whether the strategy actually works --- by someone who knows a great deal about all of it. WILLIAM TOBEY served on the White House National Security Council staff under three presidents, and as Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation at the National Nuclear Security Administration from 2006-2009, where he managed the U.S. government's largest program to prevent nuclear proliferation and terrorism. He is now a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and the Director of the U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism.

Among the many related topics discussed with Tobey today: How difficult it may be for the incoming Biden Administration to strike a new deal with Iran after Trump pulled the U.S. out of the JCPOA and the assassinations of both Soleimani and Fakhrizadeh, as Iran now vows both revenge and an increase in nuclear production; Whether the JCPOA, which Tobey was critical of, made us safer and why "we are in a more dangerous position today than we were in 2018"; And, why nations like North Korea and Iran justifiably see the development of nuclear weapons as an existential issue.

And with all of those pretty heavy topics, listeners who make it all the way to the end of today's BradCast may be richly rewarded with the concession speech that we all should have heard long ago...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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MI certifies Biden win; Conservative judge tosses Team Trump's PA suit; GSA begins transition, Trump's vows to 'prevail'; 'Dominion/Venezuela' conspiracy lawyer tossed under bus after attacking GA Repubs...
By Brad Friedman on 11/23/2020 7:41pm PT  

It's been a weekend and more of The Crazy since we last spoke. On today's BradCast we get you all up to date on the last several days of The Crazy as Donald Trump's attempted coup to steal back the Presidency continues to fall apart with each passing hour, and as the Republican Party decides to distance themselves from Trump's loony conspiracy attorney Sidney Powell while she turns the MAGA crowd against her own party before the critical January U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia to determine control of the upper chamber of Congress. [Audio link to full show follows summary.]

The biggest news today broke mid-show, as Trump finally relented in allowing the General Services Administration to officially begin the transition to a Joe Biden Administration, even as he vowed he would "prevail" in his fight to overturn the will of the American voters and says his "case STRONGLY continues."

Well, about that case. It may be continuing, but it has never been anywhere close to strong. Among the related stories covered on today's show that prove it, before we turn to the phone for listener calls on all of this...

  • First, a follow-up to Friday's show in which we debunked the insane case that Powell, Giuliani and now all of MAGA are making regarding an international conspiracy --- somehow led by the Dominion Voting System company, along with the late Hugo Chavez in Venezuela --- to steal the election for Biden. The conspiracy originates with the bastardization of an exclusive investigative report I published at The BRAD BLOG in 2010. Powell et al aren't even close in their twisted version of the story that now includes all sorts of false charges about voting machine companies and more. The bottom line, as we noted on Friday, but which warrants underscoring again today, because I've been trying to make the case for so long and now we're seeing what I warned about finally come to pass...
  1. Simply because a computerized voting and tabulation system is vulnerable to fraud and manipulation does not mean that any particular election run on it has been defrauded or manipulated, and;
  2. Even if an election is 100% secure and accurate, if it can't be known by the public to have been 100% secure and accurate, it is every bit as much of a threat to confidence in our democratic system as it would be if the election had actually been stolen on such a system.
  • Other than that...Catching us all up from Friday....Trump loses another lawsuit in Nevada as a state judge rejects an attempt to block certification of Biden's victory, by more than 33,000 votes, in the state.
  • Trump loses in Arizona as a state judge rejects a move for yet another audit of votes in Maricopa County (Phoenix), and the County's Board of Supervisors (4 Rs, 1 D) unanimously voted on Friday to certify Biden's victory in the state's largest county. Also, the final "SharpieGate" lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice in the state where Biden appears to have won by more than 10,000 votes.
  • In Wisconsin, Team Trump is said to be obstructing the ongoing recounts requested by Trump in the two counties with the largest minority vote, Milwaukee and Dane, after apparently losing the state to Biden by more than 20,000 votes.
  • Trump lost bigly in Michigan on Monday, where the state Board of Canvassers voted unanimously (with one abstention) to certify Biden's victory by nearly 160,000 votes. That, after Trump's attempt to twist the arms of the GOP leadership of the state's gerrymandered House and Senate on Friday appears to have gone nowhere. (But we'll soon find out for sure.)
  • In Pennsylvania, Trump lost his attempt to toss out nearly seven million ballots and was excoriated by a conservative federal judge on Saturday for attempting to do so in the nation's sixth largest state where Biden appears to have prevailed by more than 80,000 votes. The brutal court loss led Republican U.S. Senator Pat Toomey to become just the second GOP Senator to concede (where Trump won't) by declaring [PDF] that "Trump has exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge the result of the presidential race" in the state. Trump's team of pathetic lawyers have since filed an emergency appeal to the 3rd Circuit, but failed to deliver their motion before the Court's deadline for doing so. This is the (likely doomed) case Trump hopes may reach SCOTUS where he believes he can win after packing the stolen GOP majority on the Court in his favor. He'd have to win a verdict there that somehow allowed legislatures in at least three states to reverse the will of their voters to appoint Trump electors instead of Biden's by December 8th.
  • Down in Georgia, where Trump lost by about 13,000 votes following a statewide hand "audit" of all ballots last week, the Trumpy Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger and even Trumpier Republican Governor Brian Kemp both certified Biden's victory on Friday. Over the weekend, MAGA "Stop the Steal" rallies in the state included verbal attacks on both Kemp and Raffensperger, along with vows to destroy the GOP and promises to boycott the critical January U.S. Senate runoffs in the state. We wish them nothing but luck in their endeavor! That came as Powell was taking to far-far right wingnut Newsmax TV over the weekend to allege that Raffensperger and Kemp were paid off by Dominion to steal the election for the Democrats' Presidential candidate. She offered no evidence for her claims. After years of critically reporting on both Kemp and Raffensperger --- including his ill-advised decision to spend $100+ million on Dominion's 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems this year --- we are unaware of any such evidence to support her claims. But we wish her nothing but luck in her endeavor to prove it! For now, the thanks she received was being tossed under the bus by Trump late on Sunday night.
  • There was a whole lot more along the way today, but you'll have tune it for it all, along with some great calls we responded to near the end of the show today, as The Crazy continues to continue...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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