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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Sunday 'I Scream Cohen' Toons
THIS WEEK: Unethical Lying Sleazebags ... The Death of Satire ... Trains are Real ... And many more primal screams in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
FEC Repubs Vote to Allow Campaign Donor Anonymity: 'BradCast' 5/16/24
Guest: Public Citizen's Craig Holman; Also: Two (generally) encouraging SCOTUS rulings on CFPB funding and a second Black-majority U.S. House district in Louisiana...
'Green News Report' 5/16/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Canadian wildfires expand; Climate change exacerbated extreme heat in Asia; Broadcast media ignored Trump's billion dollar Big Oil quid pro quo; Plus: Biden v. China on EVs...
Previous GNRs: 5/14/24 - 5/9/24 - Archives...
Trump Trial Ketchup: Cohen, 'Smoking Gun', 'Cult of Trump': 'BradCast' 5/15/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: MD, NE, WV primary results; Biden, Trump agree to early debates...
LAPD Right-Wing Bias in Violent Response to UCLA Protest Was No Surprise
U.S. law enforcement has long sided with the right against peaceful anti-war, environmental, racial and economic injustice protesters...
Could Ohio Repubs REALLY Keep Biden Off the Ballot?!: 'BradCast' 5/14/24
Also: GOP dirty tricks in WA; More GOP voter suppression in GA; Brighter news from WI and on the slow painful death of 'stare decisis'...
'Green News Report' 5/14/24
Canada's fire season erupts; Record-breaking increase in global CO2 levels; PLUS: MI is newest state to sue Big Oil for climate damages...
Recount in Tied House Primary Reveals Probs in CA Law: 'BradCast' 5/13/24
Guest: Dr. John Maa; Also: Bannon denied; Giuliani fired; Menendez trial begins; Cohen takes stand in Trump's NY criminal trial...
Sunday 'Stormy Weather Continues' Toons
THIS WEEK: Cannon Fire ... Catch and Kill ... Parasites ... Protesting Too Much ... and more, in our latest collection of the week's most turbulent toons...
'Green News Report' 5/9/24
Tornadoes across U.S.; FL Repubs ban 'climate change'; House Repubs' latest salvo in 'War on Woke Appliances'; PLUS: US culture shift in portrayal of climate reality...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Also: Trump's ridiculous 'immunity' rant; Seven jurors now seated in his NY criminal trial; House Repubs deliver impeachment articles to Senate; Smartmatic, OAN settle 2020 defamation suit...
By Brad Friedman on 4/16/2024 7:07pm PT  

Even Joe Biden is now making jokes about the plummeting value of the former President's latest scam, his attempt to turn his failing social media site into a Wall Street meme stock. As discussed on today's BradCast, it ain't working. At least for now. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

The value of Trump Media & Technology Group, trading under Donald Trump's initials as DJT, has lost about two-thirds of its value since it debuted as a publicly traded stock at the beginning of the month. If it "drops any lower," Biden quipped at a rally in Pennsylvania today, Donald Trump "might do better under my tax plan than his."

When it first went public, DJT quickly shot up to nearly $80 per share. It has been nose-diving by double-digit percentages pretty much every day since. The stock closed on Tuesday at less than $23 a share. On Monday night, the Washington Post's Drew Harwell posted a piece that is nearly equal parts hilarious, for those who enjoy the schadenfreude of Trump losing billions of theoretical dollars in just a few weeks time, and heart-breaking, for those who feel for the hundreds of thousands of Trump fans who have lost, in some cases, their "whole nest egg" because they were brain-poisoned enough to buy into Trump's latest fraudulent scheme.

Harwell's report of the reaction to the plummeting value of the stock by Trump supporters themselves on Truth Social, the money-losing venture that is currently DJT's only actual business, is harrowing and amazing. (But just more evidence of the "deep state", if you believe some of the denialists who are still buying more shares every day now!) But it serves as yet another reminder that, as sick as Trump is, it is our nation itself, and its people, whose illness we must eventually figure out how to attend to.

Anyway, tune in to today's show for many more thoughts on the above, and a whole bunch of other news of the day, including...

  • Trump's recent Truth Social video rant on how Presidents simply can't do the job of Presidenting without absolute criminal immunity, the way the Founders wanted it. Then again, there is no evidence that the Founders wanting anything of the sort (quite the opposite, in fact); every President of the United States before (and since) Trump has been able to function just fine without it; and --- oh, yeah --- as Trump said in a separate rant just one day earlier, apparently "Crooked Joe Biden...can't put two-sentences together" but has been clever enough to mastermind all four of Trump's current criminal indictments in two different states and two separate federal jurisdictions, all without leaving a trace of evidence. "At what point are the actions of a sitting President...against his opponent for election interference considered illegal?," Trump asked. But, according to Trump just one day earlier, even if the President had anything to do with Trump's criminal indictments (he doesn't) it would still never be illegal!
  • The disgraced former President's criminal trial in New York, on 34 federal counts related to hush-money payments to a porn star to help him win the 2016 election, seems to be moving faster than expected. On Tuesday, seven jurors were selected on the second day of the trial. Just five more jurors and six alternates are needed before opening statements can begin, perhaps as early as the beginning of next week.
  • On Tuesday, House GOP lawmakers finally delivered their two articles of impeachment against Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the U.S. Senate, where the high-crime-and misdemeanor-free charges are expected to die either very quickly or somewhat less quickly, in an impeachment trial that, according to the rules, must begin immediately and continue until complete. Good thing there is nothing else Congress needs to be doing right now.
  • The far-right conspiracy outlet known as One American News (OAN) has reportedly struck a confidential settlement with voting system vendor Smartmatic, in the defamation lawsuit brought against the Trump-supporting TV channel for lies told about the company's voting systems following the 2020 election. Despite repeated false claims by OAN anchors and guests that Smartmatic software was used "in 30 states" to steal the election for Biden --- with zero evidence in support of those claims --- the company's voting systems are only used in one U.S. jurisdiction: here in Los Angeles County, where even brain-poisoned MAGA dupes aren't dumb enough to claim the election was stolen from Trump.

    For the role that we personally played in confusing Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and the OAN clowns regarding Smartmatic's role in U.S. elections, I can only say: "You're welcome!"

    The terms of the settlement are undisclosed, but it follows on last year's $787 million settlement between Fox "News" and Dominion Voting Systems over similarly false claims, as well as a settlement between OAN and a former Dominion executive. There are many other similar defamation suits still pending, however, by both Smartmatic and Dominion over lies told about them following 2020 by other well-known Trump conspiracists.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with several pieces of pretty cool news littered amidst a number of terrifying climate crisis omens...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Chris Geidner of Law Dork; Also: Did Trump TV network unlawfully obtain and distribute voting machine company passwords after 2020?...
By Brad Friedman on 1/31/2024 6:26pm PT  

If, by now, you don't realize that Republicans are attacking both democracy and the rule of law itself in this country, I don't know what world you live in. But on today's BradCast we've got two fresh --- and disturbing --- examples/warnings. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

FIRST UP today: Did the far-right, pro-Trump propaganda outlet called One America News (OAN) obtain passwords for employees of voting system vendor Smartmatic and then share them with Trump attorney Sidney Powell after the 2020 election? That appears to be what Smartmatic is charging in recently filed court documents, according to CNN, as part of its billion dollar defamation lawsuit against the fake Trump TV "news" outlet.

OAN was just one of many such rightwing outlets that echoed and forwarded Team Trump's false claims of election fraud in 2020. OAN was particularly aggressive in their evidence-free mission to hoax viewers into believing that systems made by Smartmatic and Dominion, another voting system vendor, flipped votes to help Joe Biden that year. The claims against Smartmatic were particularly absurd, given that the company has just one contract in the U.S. for voting systems. That is here in Los Angeles County, were Biden reportedly defeated Trump in 2020 by nearly 2 million votes.

As explained today, however, the reason that the pretend "election integrity" advocates who emerged on the right following 2020, only to offer evidence-free claims and falsely tie Smartmatic to Dominion (and Venezuela's dead former President Hugo Chavez), is likely thanks in no small part to some exclusive reporting we did on the two companies here at The BRAD BLOG, circa 2008 to 2010, which was cited and bastardized by Powell and others on the right after 2020. You're welcome!

NEXT UP: A new legal chapter in a story that deserves much more coverage than it has received to date. In one respect, it's not surprising that it hasn't received much coverage, given that it is based on an absurd legal premise --- one already rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court --- that few thought would ever advance beyond the Trump-appointed U.S. District Court judge who initially gave it credence in a redistricting lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of the NAACP against the state of Arkansas in 2022.

In short, the case was dismissed [PDF] before reaching the merits by U.S. District Judge Lee Rudofsky on the novel grounds that neither voters nor private organizations like the NAACP have the right to sue to enforce Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Only the U.S. Attorney General may do so, according to the Rudofsky. That news must have come as a great surprise to the hundreds of private plaintiffs who have successfully hundreds of such cases since adoption of the landmark Act in 1965. It also may come as a surprise to the U.S. Supreme Court which, as recently as last June, ruled in favor of private litigants in a redistricting lawsuit against the state of Alabama. Congress is likely shocked as well, given they have reviewed, rewritten and reauthorized the VRA several times since 1965, without ever noticing there was no private right of action to enforce the law.

While the initial ruling was ridiculous enough, a split decision by a three-judge panel on the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in November, incredibly, allowed the lower court ruling to stand. But it got even more absurd this week, when, on Tuesday, the full en banc 8th Circuit Court of Appeals voted 7 to 3 deny a rehearing of the matter, upholding the original lower court's radical, unprecedented ruling. The ACLU described the ruling as "appalling and unjustified," after "More than 400 Section 2 cases have been litigated in federal court in the past four decades to protect the voting rights of racial and language minorities. Private plaintiffs have brought the vast majority of them."

The 8th Circuit, comprised of 10 Republican appointees and one appointed by a Democrat, is not even considered the most radical in the nation. That would be the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals which has recently rejected the notion --- along with SCOTUS --- that there is no right to private action for voters to sue under Section 2.

We're joined today by CHRIS GEIDNER, longtime legal journalist at Law Dork, to explain this gob-smacking series of rulings and what they mean moving forward, as the matter almost certainly will head to the U.S. Supreme Court. For now, the ruling is the law of the land "only" in the seven states that comprise the 8th Circuit (Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota). That could change, however, once the notoriously anti-VRA High Court gets a crack at this case.

Geidner decries the "out-of-control" appeals courts which seem to no longer believe it is necessary to follow long-standing precedent, if it regards laws that they don't like. "And then things go up to the Supreme Court," he charges, "and it's almost a win-win for the conservatives on the Supreme Court because if they reverse one or two of every three ridiculous decisions, they are able to set themselves up as a 'moderating' force that pulls back the extremes, while they are still letting one of every three extreme rulings go through."

"One of the underlying bases for a legal system is stability," Geidner tells me today. "When you have a legal system that is in such upheaval that lower courts have been told from the Supreme Court that 'No precedent is too sacred. We will overturn any precedent if we decide it should be overturned,'" that leads appellate courts to think that "if there's a chance that their opinion can lead to a revisiting of a precedent that they think is wrong, why wouldn't they go for it?"

"The answer," he notes, "is the rule of law, and they shouldn't. That's up to the Supreme Court, and until the Supreme Court does it, they need to follow precedent. But that's not the world in which we are living."

We also get some thoughts today from Geidner on the curious, now nearly month-long delay by a three-judge panel on the U.S. District Court of Appeals in D.C. to issue their ruling in response to Donald Trump's ridiculous claim that he is immune from criminal prosecution for any actions he performed while serving as President. A ruling was expected by many to have been issued by now. The case was heard on an emergency basis, as Trump's scheduled March 4 federal trial for attempting to steal the 2020 election is currently on pause in the bargain. But, Geidner notes that "the fact that we are quickly approaching a month" since the case was heard by what appeared to be three skeptical jurists, it is now beginning to look like "a dereliction of duty" and "a failure on the D.C. Circuit's part."

Stay tuned...

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Guest: Election technology expert Kevin Skoglund on why ES&S Ballot Marking Devices printed out the OPPOSITE of some voters' votes...
By Brad Friedman on 12/4/2023 6:09pm PT  

After a number of headlines on today's BradCast --- a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke last week --- we're on to our main story today. And it's a doozy.

Last month, during off-year elections in several states, touchscreen voting systems in Northampton County, Pennsylvania made by ES&S, the nation's largest voting system vendor, were discovered to be printing out the opposite of what voters had selected on their screens in two different statewide contests.

The so-called touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) used in Northampton, a suburban swing-county just outside of Philly in the critical battleground state, are supposed to print a ballot summary card, in human-readable language, based on selection made on the touchscreens, allowing voters to confirm their choices before those cards are then tabulated by an optical-scan computer. Similar systems are (shamefully) still used by about a fifth of the nation's voters on Election Day across the county, including in every precinct in the critical battleground state of Georgia and here in the nation's most populace County in Los Angeles.

But last month, on November 7th, there were two statewide retention elections for Judges, one Democratic and one Republican. If voters selected either YES or NO for both judges, everything printed out on the ballot cards as expected. But if they selected YES in one race and NO for the other, the system would flip their votes on the summary print-out. But here's the catch. It only flipped the votes on the human-readable portion of the ballot. The barcodes also printed on the ballot summary --- which humans cannot read --- as used for tabulation, recorded the votes correctly as cast.

As you can imagine, all of this resulted in chaos on Election Day. Some voters --- once precincts even noticed the problem --- began voting on hand-marked Emergency Paper Ballots instead. In PA, however, there are only about 20 such emergency ballots available at each precinct. They ran out very quickly.

After explanations by election officials and employees at ES&S (which did the programming of the computers for the election) on Election Day, a County judge ordered voters to begin using the touchscreen systems again. Some officials tried to ease voters worries by telling them they would just FLIP the votes after polls closed! In other precincts, voters were reportedly instructed to simply vote the opposite of what they actually wanted in those two contests.

This is the same County where, back in 2019, the first time these ES&S ExpressVoteXL systems were first deployed, the systems recorded zero votes for some races in certain precincts. One of those races, believe it or not, was for the County Judge who, this year, gave the okay to start using the misprogrammed systems again. He didn't receive zero votes in those precincts in 2019. In fact, he won the race for County Judge, as a post-election investigation would reveal.

So, what actually happened on November 7th last month? Longtime election technologist KEVIN SKOGLUND of Pennsylvania's nonpartisan Citizens for Better Elections, investigated to find out. He recently published a detailed report breaking down exactly what wrong. He was able to confirm that while the printed, human-readable text appeared to flip the votes in those two races, the human-unreadable barcode version of the ballot correctly reflected the intent of voters. In short, the votes were right, but the labels next to the two contests in question had been reversed.

As he explains on today's program, this is a programming error that, frankly, should never have been able to happen. Election Officials have long told skeptics of unverifiable touchscreen BMD systems that there was nothing to worry about, because the systems printed out a paper record of voters votes that they could approve before casting, and that the computer-printed barcodes or QRCodes would always match that human-readable text. In Northampton County last month, clearly they did not.

Skoglund also discusses the terrifying danger posed by a programming error like this --- whether it actually happens or voters simply claim that it did --- to next year's Presidential election in states like Pennsylvania, Georgia and elsewhere where voters at the polls are forced to use the same or similar touchscreen systems to cast their ballots.

Describing BMDs like those used in Northampton as "a $9,000 pencil," Skoglund warns today that "events like this shake people's trust, with good reason."

"One of the core cybersecurity concerns is resilience," he tells me. "You want to have systems that can recover from problems. One of the reasons that we like hand-marked paper ballots is not just that the voter marks their ballot and verifies it all at the same time --- so there's not this extra step of checking if the machines works --- one of the other properties of them is their resilience. Because even if the power goes out, even if the machines all stop working, as long as you have a pen, you can mark the ovals on your ballot. But with these [BMD] machines, your 'pen' may just stop working. And you have to have a backup plan if that happens."

Clearly in Northampton, PA last month, there was no real backup plan. If something like this happens next year --- either real or manufactured by nefarious voters --- in even one precinct in PA or any of the other swing-states where similar systems are insanely still used by millions of voters, I shudder to think of what may happen next in this nation.

Incredibly enough, even after the failures in 2019 and 2023, Northampton plans to use the same systems again next year. We discuss that and much more related to all of this on today's show, before we receive phone calls near the end of the program from a few other election experts --- Susan Greenhalgh of FreeSpeechForPeople.org and Dr. Philip Stark, UC-Berkeley election expert and inventor of the post-election Risk Limiting Audit (RLA) protocol. Both have long warned of exactly this kind of election nightmare and have long urged all election officials to move to reliable, verifiable, hand-marked paper ballots for all voters, other than for disabled voters who may choose to vote with an assistive technology.

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Guest: Attorney Keith Barber; Also: Gob-smacking news in GA Trump probe, and on his rape and defamation trial to begin next week in NY...
By Brad Friedman on 4/19/2023 5:31pm PT  

If you ever thought Dominion Voting Systems had an interest in saving or defending democracy, rather than saving and defending their bottom line, well, you haven't been paying close enough attention to The BradCast over the years. [Audio link to full shows follows this summary.]

Many on the left are disappointed today following Tuesday's news of a gargantuan settlement in the private election system vendor's $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox "News", which, the judge in the case previously ruled, had repeatedly and knowingly broadcast baseless lies about Dominion having stolen the 2020 election from sore loser Donald Trump.

Moments before the trial was to begin on Tuesday, Dominion agreed to take $757.5 million --- equal to about 20 years of gross revenue for the company, according to our guest today --- from Fox. That, in exchange for dropping the case. No on-air apology or public admission of guilt or wrong-doing appears to have been included in the settlement of what would have been a landmark Free Speech case.

In the bargain, none of the Republican propaganda outlet's stars or executives were dragged onto the witness stand and forced to admit to their purposeful deceptions of their own viewers, as Fox barely uttered a word about any of Tuesday's news to its own long-duped viewers. (While legitimate corporate media outlets went wall-to-wall with their coverage of the huge news on Tuesday, Fox barely mentioned it on air, while devoting no more than a pathetic 78 words to it on their website, in an item which, hilariously, didn't even mention the settlement amount or who was forced to pay whom!)

If you were hanging your hopes on Dominion doing the right thing in this matter, rather than simply grabbing as much money as they could, you may not have been paying close enough attention to our 20 years of reporting on corporate election vendors like Dominion, ES&S, Hart-Intercivic, Smartmatic and, until they went out of business, Sequoia, Diebold and Premier. None should have been allowed to partake in the corporate takeover our public elections in the U.S. And, after reporting on these companies for two decades, I can confidently say that none of them were ever in it to serve the best interests of the nation or democracy. All of them were and are in it only to serve shareholders with maximized profits.

But there are other reasons Dominion could not force Fox to publicly concede their purposefully deceptive coverage of the 2020 election, and one them has to do with the even larger, $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit regarding many of the same issues, that Fox is still facing from Smartmatic, a different election vendor. On Tuesday, after news of the settlement, the company issued its own statement reading: "Dominion’s litigation exposed some of the misconduct and damage caused by Fox’s disinformation campaign. Smartmatic will expose the rest."

Maybe. But...well...see above. And the last 20 years of reporting at BradBlog.com.

We're joined today by an attorney who was, coincidentally, himself responsible for hashing out a settlement in a $1.6 billion lawsuit. KEITH BARBER, is a longtime Daily Kos contributor known there as "KeithDB". Yesterday, three of his stories were at the top of the progressive blog site's "Recommended" list. We discuss the news from all three of those stories with him today.

One story is on the Fox/Dominion settlement and why he believes Dominion had no choice but to take the offer; another is on the new, gob-smacking court filing by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, in her criminal conspiracy probe of Trump's attempt to strong-arm state officials into stealing the 2020 election for him in Georgia (I've got some news to add to that story as well. Here is your hint about that.); and the third story is on next week's scheduled trial start in the rape and defamation lawsuit filed by columnist E. Jean Carroll against Trump in New York. Will she take a settlement too?...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Author David Margolick; Also: Fox pays Dominion $787.5 million to make defamation suit go away...
By Brad Friedman on 4/18/2023 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Our former President is slimier and even more racist than you knew. And Fox "News" is at least as slimy and racist as you thought. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

FIRST UP, just before airtime, and just as attorneys in Dominion Voting Systems' $1.6 billion defamation suit were literally moments away from beginning opening arguments in a Delaware courtroom, the judge announced the case was over. Fox had agreed to settle with the private voting system vendor, essentially conceding that every claim made on their Republican propaganda outlet, claiming the 2020 Presidential election was stolen from Trump, was actually a lie.

We wade through today's news, even as it breaks this afternoon, in which Fox has apparently agreed to pay $787.5 million to make their problems --- at least in this case --- go away. Star witnesses previously expected to take the stand in the case starting this week had included Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch, and hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Maria Bartiromo. For now anyway, they're off the hook and won't have to testify about the lies they repeatedly told their listeners.

It was unclear as of airtime whether there was more to the settlement agreement. In other words, whether Fox would be forced to inform their brain-poisoned listeners about the lies they were told. But, Fox issued a statement conceding, "We acknowledge the court's rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false," and adding: "We are hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, instead of the acrimony of a divisive trial, allows the country to move forward from these issues."

Dominion's separate defamation suits against Trump's lawyers and liars Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Mike Lindell and others continue, as does the $2.7 billion defamation suit against Fox, as filed by Smartmatic, another voting system company about which Fox "News" repeatedly and knowingly lied.

Additional problems are expected for Fox in the days ahead, including a bevy of shareholder lawsuits and a campaign by the nation's largest progressive veterans group, Vote Vets, to demand U.S. military installations stop airing the Republican fake news network in common areas. "Nearly one-in-seven of those arrested in relation to the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the Capitol had military backgrounds," the group notes in their ad campaign, "showing the ill-effect of disinformation among military and veteran communities."

NEXT UP (after a quick note on the scheduled start next week of columnist E. Jean Carroll's rape and defamation suit against Trump in New York), have you noticed those weird comments that Donald Trump keeps making in regard to Special Counsel Jack Smith's name? He's been doing it since just after the prosecutor was tapped to oversee the criminal probes of Trump's January 6 insurrection and the documents he stole upon leaving the White House.

"Jack Smith (nice, soft name, isn’t it?)," Trump wrote on his social media site last November. "Speaking of LEAKS, Special 'Prosecutor' Jack Smith (What did his name used to be?) leaked massive amounts of information to The Washington ComPost," the disgraced former President lied at the same outlet the day before he was indicted on 34 criminal felony charges in New York earlier this month. That night, as he spoke to his supporters back at Mar-a-Lago, he did it again, referencing "this lunatic special prosecutor named Jack Smith," before adding: "I wonder what it was prior to a change?" He then paused for effect, as some of those present shared a knowing, sinister chuckle.

I read and saw all of that as it happened, but had no idea what the hell Trump was insinuating. Neither, apparently, did many in the mainstream media, according to our guest today, author DAVID MARGOLICK, who wrote about it last week at The Nation. He explains that it was part of a long-faded anti-Semitic trope. Notorious racist and Jew-hater Henry Ford deployed it about 100 years ago in his newspapers, and members of Sen. Joe McCarthy's infamous UnAmerican Activities Committee used it as well to tar Jewish entertainers as Communists.

"I thought that it needed to be explained," Margolick tells me today, as he explains it, "because if even someone like you didn't pick up on it, it just shows how ancient this trope is, how largely forgotten it is, and how deeply embedded it is in the psyche of Donald Trump. I think that subsequent generations need to know what was going on with him, and how hard-wired this is with him, that he can't help doing it, even if no one is going to pick up on it."

We discuss the long, grotesque history of the slur in the U.S., and how dangerous it remains, even as many Americans have no clue what it's all about. Some of his supporters certainly do. "The history of this thing should be called out. People should really know what's really going on with him," says Margolick, noting a line from his piece at The Nation, in which describes Trump as "a perfect time capsule of prejudice."

"It's really odious," argues Margolick, discussing what moved him to take a break from working on books about Sid Caesar and Jonas Salk. "It's disturbing that it's going on uncontradicted, and nobody is objecting to it."

FINALLY, Desi Doyen joins us today for our latest Green News Report, with news on the Administration's newly released list of Electric Vehicles that are now eligible for $7,500 rebates, thanks to Joe Biden and the Democrats' landmark Inflation Reduction Act. Also of note in today's report, Germany has finally shut down the last of its nuclear power plants. So, that's a good thing...right?

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Guest: Former UT Asst. A.G. Michael Teter of The 65 Project; Also: BRAD BLOG's 20th year!; NY D.A. seeking criminal charges against Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2023 6:18pm PT  

We're still fighting for accountability after all these years on The BradCast. So why should today be any different? [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We kick off today's program with a word or two on our 19th Anniversary of independent investigative journalism, blogging, broadcast, muckraking and trouble-making as we now officially enter our 20th(!) year of doing so at The BRAD BLOG! While I had some thoughts on all of that this morning at the blog, one point of particular pride remains the ongoing billion-dollar lawsuits by voting machine companies against Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell (as well as Fox "News" and a bunch of their on-air hosts.) The reason for the pride is that no small part of the false claims made against Dominion and Smartmatic after the 2020 election by Trump's huckster attorneys spring directly from inaccurate interpretations of accurately reported exclusives at The BRAD BLOG many years ago, particularly in regard to American voting systems and Hugo Chavez.

By the time those defamation suits come to an expensive end, however, it's likely that both Powell and Giuliani will have been disbarred wherever they are currently still licensed to practice law. Just last month, for example, Rudy faced a hearing before the D.C. Bar Association where he is likely to be disbarred for the phony lawsuits he (and Powell) filed on Trump's behalf, falsely claiming fraud following the 2020 election.

Donald Trump's lawyers --- there are lots of them --- have been getting sanctioned in state and federal courts left and right over the past couple of years. But none, to my knowledge, have yet to be disbarred. That could be changing soon for both Giuliani and Powell. And, finally, as of last week, for John Eastman. He's the main attorney behind Trump's failed effort to have Vice President Mike Pence steal the election for him during the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021, when Joe Biden's Electoral College victory was finally certified after the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Late last week, the State Bar of California announced that Eastman is being charged with "multiple disciplinary counts." He faces 11 charges arising from allegations that he "engaged in a course of conduct to plan, promote, and assist then-President Trump in executing a strategy, unsupported by facts or law, to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election by obstructing the count of electoral votes of certain states." The Office of the State Bar's Chief Trial Counsel says he will seek disbarment of Eastman before the State Bar Court. This is serious stuff for an attorney.

We're joined today by former Utah Asst. Attorney General and former University of Utah associate law professor, MICHAEL TETER, who now serves as Managing Director for The 65 Project. The group, named for the approximately 65 failed lawsuits Team Trump filed after the 2020 election, describes its work as "a bipartisan effort to protect democracy...by holding accountable Big Lie Lawyers who bring fraudulent and malicious lawsuits to overturn legitimate election results, and by working with bar associations to deter future abuses by establishing clear standards for conduct that punish lies about the conduct or results of elections."

The group has filed ethics complaints against loads of scammy Trump attorneys across the country and, as Teter explains today, against elected officials who are also licensed attorneys, like Sen. Ted Cruz and Attorney General Ken Paxton, both of Texas, for their fraudulent legal efforts to steal the 2020 election for Trump and rob millions of Americans of their perfectly legal votes.

"It's a solid case," Teter tells me today, regarding the CA State Bar's case against Eastman. "There are no disputes about the facts, quite frankly. Everything that John Eastman was doing and engaging in in 2020 and early 2021 has been well-documented. Those efforts clearly violate the rules of professional conduct that every lawyer swears to abide by. There are no 'slam dunks' in this world, but I think this is a very strong case and the bar wouldn't have brought it forward if it didn't think so, as well."

We discuss how rare cases like these are --- or used to be --- and how much State Bars really aren't prepared for cases like these. It's one of the reasons, Teter explains, that it has taken so long to bring many of these Trump attorneys before the Bar.

"The disciplinary processes set up in the states are not set up in a way to protect democracy or protect the abuse of the legal system" the way Team Trump has abused it. Usually, he says, they examine one page complaints, where an attorney has overcharged a client or something. "The bars need to adjust their thinking and their approaches to make sure they are protecting democracy."

Teter argues that most of the cases brought by Trump and his attorneys after the 2020 election were never meant to win. They were simply meant to allow members of Congress and others to argue that the 2020 results were in dispute. "They knew they didn't have the law or the facts. They were using the court system as a political tool, as part of their propaganda."

"So when they lost these lawsuits it didn't create any disincentive to continue. They got out of them what they wanted," Teter explains. "These bar associations are not used to lawyers using the legal system in this way and they need to get caught up. They need to start thinking about the abuse of the legal system, the abuse of law licenses in this way."

We've got a lot to discuss today with Teter, including the remarkable number of Trump attorneys now facing court sanctions, disciplinary charges and potential disbarment. That, he says, has at least made it more and more difficult for Trump --- and his acolytes like failed 2022 Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake in Arizona --- to find lawyers willing to represent them.

"MAGA has a new meaning now," Teter quips, "which is Making Attorneys Get Attorneys."

And finally today, as we're on the Trump Accountability beat again (was there ever a time when we weren't?), potentially good news out of New York today, where the Times reports that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has begun presenting evidence to a grand jury seeking criminal charges against Trump himself, related to his hush money payoffs to porn star Stormy Daniels in the run up to the 2016 Presidential election...

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GOP election conspiracists have bad lawyers; Also: Garland's moving (and telling) remarks at swearing-in ceremony for new American citizens...
By Brad Friedman on 9/22/2022 7:04pm PT  

If you're dumb enough to fall for the disgraced former President's evidence-free claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him, you probably deserve whatever nightmares are coming for you. We cover at least three of those dumb dupes on today's BradCast. [Audio link to today's full show follows below this summary.]

  • It's been a really really bad week for failed President and 2020 election conspiracist Donald Trump. His hand-picked Special Master in the Mar-a-Lago stolen documents case has been doing him no favors. And, yesterday, Trump and his kids and his company were slammed with a massive $250 million fraud lawsuit by the state of New York which may end his ability to do business in the state ever again. And, just a few hours later, a three-judge panel on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, including two Trump-appointed judges, unanimously sided with the Dept. of Justice in a no-uncertain-terms rebuke of Trump's claim's that the classified documents he stole from the White House somehow belong to him, and to the dumb and/or corrupt U.S. District Court Judge who facilitated his ridiculous legal challenge. And no, despite what The Former Guy tried to tell Sean Hannity last night, a President can't simply declassify documents with his mind. But, even if he could, as the 11th Circuit Court helpfully pointed out in their scathing ruling [PDF], the classified status of the stolen documents retrieved from Mar-a-Lago is little more than a "red herring".
  • It's also been a really really bad week for pillow salesman and 2020 election conspiracist Mike Lindell. On Monday, a federal court in Minnesota denied Lindell and his company's motions to dismiss the massive defamation suit filed against them by Smartmatic, a voting system vendor. The next day, Lindell tried to get himself a similar deal to the one that Trump got in that destined-to-fail Mar-a-Lago lawsuit by filing a lawsuit against the Dept. of Justice, seeking to get his cell phone back. FBI official seized Lindell's phone last week while he was at a fast-food restaurant drive-thru, based on a probable cause search warrant. Lindell's own destined-to-fail lawsuit filing included a copy of the FBI's search warrant, revealing that the bedding magnate is being investigated for identity theft and intentional damage to a protected computer related to the breach of Dominion voting system software in Mesa County, Colorado by its indicted County Clerk, Tina Peters. Lots to explain here. We give you the full story.
  • As to 2020 election conspiracist and far-right Republican activist Ginni Thomas, wife of far-right Republican activist Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, her bad weeks may just be beginning. Hopefully. Four months ago, it was revealed that that she actively lobbied Trump's then White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, a corrupt Trump lawyer named John Eastman, and several state lawmakers in battleground states to help steal the 2020 election for Trump. On Wednesday, Ginni's attorney announced that she has finally agreed to give testimony to the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection and Trump's multiple failed attempts to steal the election. It is unclear when Thomas' will be interviewed, though the agreement comes months after she had originally claimed to be eager to "clear up misconceptions" about her role in trying to help steal the 2020 election. In related news, the J6 Committee is currently scheduled to hold what may be their last public hearing next week, before releasing their final report at year's end.
  • In news that is far less stupid, though also related to much of the above, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland offered incredibly moving remarks (video, transcript) at Ellis Island in New York last week at the swearing in ceremony for 200 new American citizens. The A.G. had a difficult time holding himself together as he recounted his family's history of coming to America while attempting to escape the Holocaust. But it was his telling remarks on "the rule of law" and "the promise of equal justice under law" that may offer clues about what is likely to happen in the days ahead, at a moment when he is almost certainly deciding whether or not to indict a former President of the United States for the first time in history.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as Climate Week unfolds in New York during the United Nations General Assembly. She has coverage of the UN Sec. General's call for the fossil fuel industry to pay up for its unspeakable damage across the globe; the continuing toll of Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico; and some good news on the first climate change treaty in decades to actually be adopted by the U.S. Senate.

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Special coverage with Salon's Heather Digby Parton on overwhelming evidence Trump knew there was no fraud, then raised $250 million for phony 'Official Election Defense Fund'; Also: Callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 6/13/2022 6:03pm PT  

On Day 2 of public hearings in the U.S. House, Donald Trump's greatest con continues to unravel. On today's BradCast, we get you all caught up on today's public hearings by the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and the attempt by the former President to steal the 2020 election by defrauding the nation. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

The witnesses who testified live today, as our guest HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo pointed out, were all Republicans. And they all made clear that Trump not only lost the 2020 election, but he lied over and again about fraud, even though he was told...over and again, by his closest campaign advisers, top government officials and even his own family, that he lost fair and square. He knew his claims were, as his own Attorney General Bill Barr described it, "bullshit". Nonetheless, he kept barraging his supporters via email for more and more money for his "Official Election Defense Fund". But, as the Committee's Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) pointed out: There was no "Official Election Defense Fund" and the $250 million in small dollar donations Trump raked in all went to him, not to legal challenges of the 2020 election.

Once again, a mix of live and videotaped witness testimony put the lie to Trump's Big Lie fraud claims and the false notion that he believed them to be true. He didn't. He knew better. He just didn't care. Live witnesses today who underscored those points: Chris Stirewalt, the former Fox "News" political director who made the correct Election Night call that Trump had lost Arizona; BJay Pak, Trump's own U.S. Attorney in Georgia who investigated all of the many claims by Trump supporters of fraud in Atlanta, finding none of them to be true. He was forced to resign thereafter; Trump's own 2020 Campaign Manager, Bill Stepien, was scheduled to testify, but his wife suddenly went into labor on Monday morning, so the Committee relied on his video taped testimony in which he explained that he repeatedly told Trump that his claims of fraud were bogus; Philadelphia's Republican City Commissioner Al Schmidt who debunked Rudy Giuliani's false testimony to the PA legislature that more than 8,000 "dead people" voted in the state in 2020. "Not only was there not evidence of 8,000 dead voters voting in Pennsylvania," Schmidt testified, "there wasn't evidence of 8."

The most damning testimony may have come from Trump's former Attorney General Bill Barr, who said on tape that he and the DoJ tracked down every claim made by Trump and his supporters and found none of them to be true. "Boy, if he really believes this stuff," Barr testified thinking, "he's become detached from reality." No matter how "crazy" he told Trump the allegations were, it made no difference. Barr debunked the notion that the Dominion Voting systems company stole the election for Joe Biden, and even went on to dismantle the easily-debunked 2000 Mules movie which pretends to document tens of thousands of fraudulent ballots cast unlawfully by thousands of people in swing-states. Barr's debunking of that film, which he laughs out loud about, was suspiciously similar to our own debunking on this program several weeks ago.

Even longtime, top GOP election attorney Ben Ginsberg --- who successfully lead the RNC's fight to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to steal the 2000 election for George W. Bush --- testified live on Monday that there was "no credible evidence of fraud produced by the Trump campaign or his supporters." He also made clear that dozens of lawsuits rejected by the courts (including by many Trump-appointed judges) did, in fact, examine the merits of the challenges and found no basis for them.

"I think what is important, and I was really glad to see, that they decided to take one of these hearings and really attack the Big Lie itself," Parton tells us today. "Because I don't think you can really prove the case about Trump's coup plot without attacking that as well. They went from the very beginning. Trump was undermining the election 18 months before the election took place."

Parton also praised the panel's highlighting of Trump's "'willful blindness,' in which he is shown to have been told by everyone that the election was not stolen. We're talking about his own campaign team, people in his family, the Dept. of Justice, various officials around the country. They all said the same thing. Ginsberg pointed out the courts also said the same thing. [Trump] refused to see it, and in fact continuously got more and more angry, apparently, continually ignored what they said, and went toward the people who told him what he wanted to hear."

"That's actually a legal concept, where someone does have an obligation --- they have a responsibility to at least have some recognition of the facts of a case. You're not allowed to go into a court and say, 'I didn't know,' when you've had dozens of people telling you something. So that's leads to maybe a potential criminal referral."

She also explained how she was "shocked" by the Big Lie fund-raising scam. "We all sort of knew this but it hadn't really been a focus until now," she observed. "But I think this is super-important, because this could go toward a real fraud investigation, a real case of wire fraud, where they defrauded millions of devoted followers with a Big Lie. And, in fact, a lot of the people who were involved in that fundraising, they also knew it was a Big Lie because they just testified to it. This is kind of a big deal."

Finally today, we open the phones to see how listeners are responding to what the House panel has been unpacking over the first two hearings, with at least another four still to come...

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CISA issues advisory based on sealed expert report in GA voting system lawsuit; Also: We try to open the phones re: upcoming J6 hearings, get waylaid by callers with other matters on their mind...
By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2022 6:05pm PT  

Like it or not, we're back on today's BradCast! But we've got plenty of trouble-making and muckraking for you today, and even some contentious listener calls for your listening pleasure! [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

First up, some long overdue good news. Though we've been warning, in great detail, over the years (nearly 20 of them, at this point) about the risks of voting on 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems, we now have some good(ish) company. Last Friday, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) issued a public security advisory regarding nine serious vulnerabilities discovered in touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices (BMD) made by Dominion.

The alert comes after the federal agency's review of a sealed report, which a federal court in Georgia allowed CISA to access, created by the University of Michigan's J. Alex Halderman, a longtime cybersecurity and voting systems expert who is serving as an expert witness in the Coalition for Good Governance's long-running lawsuit to block the use of those systems in the state. The Coalition, founded and headed up by frequent BradCast guest Marilyn Marks, filed suit in 2017 against Georgia's use of touchscreen systems made by Diebold. After the court found those systems to be unverifiable, insecure and, therefore, unconstitutional, the state defied expert advice to move to a hand-marked paper ballot system. Instead, GA's Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger forced all counties in the state to switch to a newer touchscreen BMD system made by Dominion, which has many if not all of the same vulnerabilities as the older systems that were banned by the court.

As part of the Coalition's lawsuit, Halderman was granted access to the Dominion systems and found vulnerabilities so alarming that his report was sealed by the federal judge and even blocked from review by the plaintiffs. Only their attorneys could view the report, until CISA asked to see it in February. U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg allowed them access and, after studying the report and notifying the 16 states where Dominion BMDs are used, CISA issued their public alert last week.

"One of the most serious vulnerabilities could allow malicious code to be spread from the election management system to machines throughout a jurisdiction," according to Kate Brumback's excellent coverage at AP. "The vulnerability could be exploited by someone with physical access or by someone who is able to remotely infect other systems that are connected to the internet if election workers then use USB sticks to bring data from an infected system into the election management system."

In the wake of Donald Trump's lies about the 2020 Presidential election being stolen (when, in fact, it was he who was attempting to do so), has led to a rash of election insiders --- the County Clerk in Mesa County, CO, the Board of Elections in Coffee County, GA, to name just two cases --- making secret copies of proprietary voting system software and releasing it to members of the public in an extraordinary security risk for future elections.

The vulnerabilities, according to CISA, could allow manipulation of results in a way that would not necessarily be discovered by most security provisions employed by most jurisdictions which use these terrible types of voting systems. Halderman told AP that he believes it is not only the systems made by Dominion that are vulnerable. Similar touchscreen systems made by ES&S, the nation's largest vendor, are used in many more states across the country, or by Smartmatic, whose touchscreen BMDs are now forced on voters at the polling place here in Los Angeles County, the nation's largest single voting jurisdiction. They all have many of the same design flaws, such as the use of barcodes/QRCodes to tally ballots printed out by the systems, ignoring the human-readable selections printed on the same ballot paper that may or may not have been correctly verified by the voter.

"There are systemic problems with the way election equipment is developed, tested and certified," Halderman told AP, "and I think it’s more likely than not that serious problems would be found in equipment from other vendors if they were subjected to the same kind of testing."

We dive into the details of this long overdue story today, along with recommendations for how voters can maximize the odds are their votes being tallied as per their intent in this year's critical midterm elections. (One key suggestion: Vote on a hand-marked paper ballot if possible! Even if it means using an absentee ballot. Deliver it in person to a dropbox or polling place, if you can!)

Next up, we try to open the phones to callers regarding their hopes for the the upcoming U.S. House select Committee's public hearings, beginning this Thursday, on Donald Trump's January 6, 2021 insurrection and his attempt to steal the 2020 Presidential election. As it turns out, however, some callers want to discuss election concerns. And, among them, at least one of whom is a terribly disinformed rightwinger who actually believes the 2020 election was stolen. Much fun ensues thereafter! Enjoy!...

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Guests: Susan Greenhalgh of Free Speech for People; Ian Patton of Long Beach Reform Coalition; Also: Atrocities in Ukraine, in the U.S. and why protecting democracy remains more important than ever...
By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2022 6:59pm PT  

We all woke up to atrocities on Sunday. In Ukraine and in Sacramento, California. Russian war crimes in Europe and another mass shooting in the U.S. On today's BradCast, we detail the atrocities in both places before turning to the fight for the only thing that still has a chance of stopping them: democracy. But we can't have democracy without voting systems the public can oversee, and that remains a huge problem, even in our own home county of Los Angeles. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up, some of the newly revealed, gruesome details and evidence of war crimes allegedly committed by fleeing Russian troops against Ukrainian civilians in newly liberated towns, villages and suburbs outside of Kyiv. Despite being witnessed by independent journalists and catalogued by outside watchdogs like Human Rights Watch, which describes some of the crimes as "unspeakable, deliberate cruelty and violence against Ukrainian citizens," including "rape, murder, and other violent acts," the Russian Government contends the charges are "fake" and little more than "stage-managed anti-Russian provocation." In response on Monday, President Biden reiterated his belief that Vladimir Putin is a "war criminal."

The gruesome body count in the U.S. also continued to mount over the weekend, as another mass shooting, this time in downtown Sacramento, left six dead and more than a dozen injured after "at least fifty rounds" were "fired right into the crowd" with high-powered weaponry during bustling Saturday night revelry, according to an eyewitness. That, just one day after Georgia's legislature passed a new law allowing concealed weapons to be carried pretty much anywhere without the need for a license. They are the 23rd state to do so. Our gun violence epidemic is getting worse, not better, as Republicans refuse to allow any action that might lessen America's shamefully continuing scourge.

But tyranny is not going to defeat itself. Not in Ukraine. Not in the U.S. To that end, we remain vigilant in our efforts to help the public try and oversee this year's critical mid-term elections. Unfortunately, problems with our un-overseeable and unverifiable voting systems continue into yet another election year in so-called "red" and "blue" states alike. While the GOP is actively undermining democracy with new voter suppression laws in "red" states, vulnerable electronic voting and tabulation systems remain a huge problem across the nation.

Back in 2020, Los Angeles County deployed a new, unverifiable touchscreen voting system called "Voting Solutions for All People" (or, VSAP) across the nation's most populous voting jurisdiction. Some ten years in development by the County's Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan, the new touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) failed spectacularly in that year's Super Tuesday Presidential Primary, leading to long lines and questions about the results. The VSAP system had been conditionally certified by the Secretary of State just weeks before their first county-wide use, after state testing discovered about 30 different violations of California Voting System Standards.

The County was required to correct the violations detailed in the Conditional Certification in the months following the election, though they failed to do so in many cases --- for years. Now, the County is seeking state certification of VSAP v3.0 but, according to our guests today, has still failed to correct a number of critical security issues that failed more than two years ago.

We're joined today to discuss these concerns in advance of California's June 7th mid-term primary elections by SUSAN GREENHALGH, Senior Advisor on Election Security at the non-profit Free Speech for People and by IAN PATTON of the Long Beach Reform Coalition (he is also now running for the Long Beach City Council). Both recently wrote a letter [PDF] to California Sec. of State Dr. Shirley Weber, detailing uncorrected security issues in the VSAP system and urging her to force L.A. County to fix them before issuing certification to the newly updated voting and counting system yet again.

We invited L.A. County's Registrar Dean Logan --- the VSAP system is his brainchild --- to join us as well, after his office recently described Greenhalgh's public testimony on her concerns about certification for VSAP 3.0 as "mis- and disinformation". In declining to join us today, Logan once again accused Greenhalgh and Patton of "mis-stating facts" and took a swipe at the election integrity advocates by smearing them as if they were part of Donald Trump's mob of conspiracists offering evidence-free claims of fraud since his loss in 2020. Logan charged the documented concerns detailed in Greenhalgh and Patton's memo to the Secretary "contributes to further the false narrative about elections integrity and transparency that is pervading the country."

For her part, Greenhalgh has been an expert in elections security, integrity and transparency for decades. Patton had represented the Long Beach Reform Coalition in a lawsuit against the VSAP systems long before Trump's 2020 sore loser act, when a ballot initiative in Long Beach failed by just 16 votes. After the Coalition raised tens of thousands of dollars to pay for a recount of that initiative, they were informed by Logan that the price would, in fact, be hundreds of thousands of dollars instead-- to count just a few thousand votes. The reason, as we reported at the time, is that the new VSAP system is deployed at Voting Centers across the County, which have replaced community precincts. That means that Long Beach voters may vote at any Voting Center in the County, where more than 4 million cast ballots in 2020. Logan attempted to charge the Coalition for the hours and hours it would have taken the county to cull through some 4 million ballots (computer-marked by VSAP and hand-marked by mail voters) in order to find the ones cast by Long Beach voters at any of the hundreds of Voting Centers in the County. Of course, this is just another problem with the Voting Center model, particularly in large counties like L.A. The ballot initiative that is said to have passed by 16 votes never did receive a hand recount to make sure the results were accurate.

Greenhalgh details the security vulnerabilities that remain in the VSAP system, despite state requirements that they be corrected by last year. She was also surprised to hear that Logan claimed in his email to us that "the VSAP 3.0 upgrade is over and it has been approved by the Secretary of State."

"I'm disappointed that the Secretary is not taking further action to enforce these requirements, to really require LA County to meet them," she tells us. "Also it hasn't been updated on the website, that it's already been approved. That's not public information yet." We'll just take Logan's word for it, I guess.

For his part, Patton explains the aborted recount effort in Long Beach ("I'm not a conspiracy theorist in any way," he notes. "We have never alleged a rigged election. We were just talking about the facts. The facts are this was an extremely close election, and we were just not allowed to have a hand count."); the fact that L.A.'s $300 million voting system was promised to be the nation's first open source system (but has yet to disclose any of its source code); and whether he feels confident that his election for City Council this year will be accurately tallied under the still-unverifiable and virtually unrecountable new systems.

"We can speak very factually and say that vulnerabilities don't equate to a stolen election," Greenhalgh asserts, before describing Logan's smears as "extremely disheartening." She described the comments as "a new low to hear somebody try to smear and tar real serious questions, real serious issues that need to be addressed. We still have serious security issues in our election systems that need to be fixed. We all need to pull together to fix them. And if we are having election officials refuse to address those problems by dismissing them improperly as mis- and dis-information, there's two problems with that: We're not going to actually fix the problems, but also we have a crisis of confidence in our election system right now. And when somebody in a position of power says something that is pretty easily proven to be false....they're not going to have a lot of confidence in his ability to run an election. And we can't afford that. He needs to be honest."

Logan never did cite any specific claims from Greenhalgh and Patton's concerns that he believed to be misinformation, despite my repeated query. He has a standing invitation to join us on the show any time to do so. Hiding behind false claims by rightwingers of "stolen elections" is unbecoming of a public official, particularly when the very specific concerns in question are legitimate and publicly well-documented.

There is much more discussed about all of this on today's show, and the concerns about similarly unverifiable touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices now in use across the country, along with the similarly problematic Voting Center model replacing community precincts in other counties and states.

California's primary this year is on June 7th. Cross your fingers that things work out. Good luck even being able to figure out afterward is they did or didn't...

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Also: Situation devolves in Ukraine under Russia's 'barbaric' assault...
By Brad Friedman on 3/10/2022 7:06pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's been a very bad week for the pretend "law and order" rightwingers dumb enough to have been suckered by Donald Trump's 2020 "election fraud" hoax. But it's likely to get still worse for them in the days ahead. That's fine by us. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

After a quick update today on the latest grim, and getting grimmer, news out of Ukraine as Russia's Vladimir Putin begins his third week of unspeakable barbarism, here are some of the much less grim stories we actually enjoyed covering today...

  • Yesterday, we reported on the ongoing challenge (and emergency appeal filed after a bizarre ruling by a Trump-appointed judge) to North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn's eligibility to run for re-election this year. The challengers, including our guest, Constitutional law expert Ron Fein of Free Speech for People, contend that Cawthorn is ineligible to run for federal office, after having violated the 14th Amendment's ban on those who "have engaged in insurrection" after taking an oath to defend the Constitution. But, no sooner did we get off air when news broke that Cawthorn was charged in NC with driving with a revoked license. Apparently, this is the second time he has been charged with the same crime. Will he face any real accountability for it this time around? The max sentence for that is 20 days in jail in NC.
  • On the federal level, Attorney General Merrick Garland insisted today that his Justice Department will "not shy away from cases that are controversial or sensitive or political," telling reporters that "to do that would undermine an element of the rule of law." Glad to hear it. His comments came in response to questions about the DoJ's January 6th investigation and whether Trump and those around him would ever face accountability, as hundreds of low-level insurrectionists have faced charges for storming the Capitol on January 6th, 2021, after being being incited by the disgraced former President and his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
  • Tina Peters, a Colorado elections official arguably incited to criminal acts by Trump's lies, is now facing state charges for them. She is the very Trumpy Republican Mesa County Clerk who recently announced her intention to run for Secretary of State. Peters turned herself into custody on Wednesday night after being indicted this week on 10 counts related to elections tampering. (A perfect resume for a GOP Sec. of State contender!) We've been reporting in detail on Peters over the past year, after she allegedly snuck into a secure facility where voting systems are stored in Mesa County along with accomplices (one of them her Deputy, who was also charged this week), turned off the security cameras, and then made copies of hard-drives with critical and proprietary Dominion Voting System software on them. Dominion's Election Management System software from Mesa was subsequently released, along with passwords to the system, to the Internet a few months later during one of conspiracy theorist and pillow magnate Mike Lindell's "election fraud" symposiums, just as Peters was speaking at the forum. The serious security breach with the public release of that software led to a bit of havoc in California's Gubernatorial Recall election just weeks later, where the same Dominion systems were used in several counties. We revisit the sprawling story of how we got here, as the loony Peters finally appears set to pay a very high price for being dumb enough to buy into Trump's con.
  • And then there was more bad news this week for Fox "News" and several of the top clods and dupes who host programs on their various channels. A New York judge denied the motions to dismiss filed by Fox and a number of their top anchors, such as Maria Bartiromo and Lou Dobbs, in the $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit filed against them and conspiracy theorist/grifter attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell by voting system company Smartmatic. "At a minimum," the judge found in his 61-page ruling, "Fox News turned a blind eye to a litany of outrageous claims about plaintiffs, unprecedented in the history of American elections, so inherently improbable that it evinced a reckless disregard for the truth." That means the case against most of them will now move forward toward discovery and trial. (Several of those "inherently improbable" claims were based on The BRAD BLOG's own accurate, exclusive reporting back in 2010, which Powell, et al, bastardized to fit their pretend theories about massive election fraud.) Interestingly, the judge also cites a bit of accidentally responsible reporting from Fox star Tucker Carlson to underscore just how irresponsible the others were, in the judge's "finding that there is a substantial basis that Fox News acted with actual malice." The New York ruling follows a similar one from a judge in Delaware last December, who also rejected motions to dismiss from many of the same clowns in Dominion Voting Systems' separate $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit.
  • In Texas, which held this year's first-in-the-nation midterm primary elections last week, AP finds that an extraordinary 27,000 mail ballots --- from both Democrats and Republican voters --- were flagged for rejection under the Lone Star State's new voter suppression law passed last year in pretend response to Trump's claims about a stolen 2020 election. The initial rejection rate was approximately 17% statewide and substantially higher in a number of large, Democratic-leaning counties. That, compared with a statewide rejection rate of about 1% of absentee mail ballots back in 2020.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with more disturbing fallout (and, maybe, some theoretical upsides) regarding energy and security in the wake of Russia's horrific invasion of Ukraine...

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Guest: Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance on that and MUCH more; Also: Stone takes the 5th; Judge allows Dominion's $1.6 billion defamation case to proceed against Fox 'News' ...
By Brad Friedman on 12/17/2021 7:25pm PT  

It's been a rough close of the year for those of us fighting to preserve democracy in these United States against the rising authoritarian tide from the Right. But while it's has been a tough slog for passage of federal voting rights and election protection legislation in the U.S. Senate, there have been several critical victories for fans of democracy in federal court over this past week, as covered on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up, some quick news on the continuing probe by the U.S. House Select Committee investigating Donald Trump's attempt to steal the 2020 election by inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. GOP dirty tricksters and longtime Trump pal Roger Stone invoked his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination before the Committee today. While Stone is the first to admit to doing so publicly, he is the third Trump henchman to reportedly have done so to date. In 2019, Stone was convicted of seven criminal felonies, including lying to Congress and obstructing the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, before eventually being pardoned for all charges by Trump on his way out of office.

The House Committee appears to now be homing in on the question of, in Vice Chair Liz Cheney's words: "Did Donald Trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede Congress's official proceedings to count Electoral Votes." If so, and if charged with and found guilty of said action or inaction, the former President could face as many as 20 years in prison under federal law.

Fox "News", on the other hand, is already in federal court, facing a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit by the Dominion Voting Systems company. On Thursday, a federal judge denied the Republican propaganda outlet's Motion to Dismiss the case. That is a major hurdle for the private voting system vendor to have cleared, allowing their case to move on to the discovery and trial phase. Both Dominion and another private election vendor, Smartmatic, have filed several defamation suits against Fox and other rightwing media outlets, as well as Trump lawyers and allies such as Rudy Giuliani [PDF], Sidney Powell [PDF] and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell [PDF], for their false claims that Dominion and Smartmatic stole the election for Joe Biden. Giuliani, Powell and Lindell's Motions to Dismiss in their similar defamation suits, in which the voting companies are seeking more than a billion dollars in each, were all rejected over the summer.

Next, more good court news came in late last week in the eight different lawsuits now filed challenging the state of Georgia's voter-suppression and election subversion law known as SB202. The measure was adopted by state Republicans earlier in the year on the heels of Trump's evidence-free claim that the 2020 election he lost to Biden in the Peach State was rigged, and after the elections of the state's Democratic U.S. Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in the January runoff.

Late last week the Trump-appointed judge overseeing all eight challenges to SB202, allowed all of them to proceed in full, rejecting the Motions to Dismiss filed by the State and Republican groups that have joined the defendants. Seven of those suits, including those filed by the NAACP, ACLU, Stacey Abrams' Fair Fight organization and the U.S. Dept. of Justice, focus largely on race-based violations of the Voting Rights Act.

The eighth case, filed by the Coalition for Good Governance [PDF], in which I am a named plaintiff representing media, challenges SB202's election subversion clause and several others which, the suit contends, violate the First Amendment of the Constitution. SB202's election subversion clause allows the State Board of Elections to replace county elections officials with partisans, for virtually any reason they like, who can then overturn elections, also for virtually any reason they like. Other provisions of the law challenged by CGG prevent the public and media outlets like our own, from basic election oversight and reporting functions that have been in place for decades if not centuries, such as the right to photograph inside of polling places or during the tallying of absentee ballots.

Earlier this year, in August, U.S. District Judge J.P. Boulee granted an injunction [PDF] on SB202's photography ban in advance of Georgia's November municipal elections. But his ruling last week [PDF] was much broader in allowing all eight challenges to the law to proceed in full toward the discovery and trial phases. It was, as my guest explains today, a major victory for all of the plaintiffs.

We're joined today by MARILYN MARKS, Executive Director of the non-partisan Coalition for Good Governance, to discuss the good news in that case, new developments in her separate, longstanding case challenging the use of Georgia's new, 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting machines made by Dominion Voting Systems and much MUCH more. We haven't spoken on air with Marks, usually a frequent guest, in about six months! So we've got a LOT to catch up with today!

Among the many points in our wide-ranging conversation...

  • Marks offers her reaction to Fox "News" losing its Motion to Dismiss in Dominion's defamation case against them; the conflicting emotions in supporting Dominion in their defamation cases, given that likely nobody in the nation has been tougher on Dominion's terrible voting systems than she has been; and why it is that, as unrelenting as she's been against Dominion for so many years (The Coalition's lawsuit seeks to ban their touchscreen systems across the entire state), the company has never sued her or her organization for defamation.
  • Speaking of the Coalition's case against GA's use of the Dominion touchscreens (which is separate from their SB202 challenge), Marks updates us on a report created for the court by plaintiff's expert Dr. Alex Halderman, finding vulnerabilities in Dominion's voting systems that are so disturbing the federal judge has sealed his report as for "Attorneys Eyes Only," meaning that even Marks has not been allowed to see it But, she notes, Dominion now has access to that report. If so, as we discuss, that means that, under California law (where several counties also use these same terrible systems), the company must now share the vulnerabilities in that sealed report with California's Sec. of State. In turn, CA must then report the vulnerabilities to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. (The report by Halderman and the vulnerabilities he allegedly found became an issue here in the Golden State earlier this year, just prior to the California Gubernatorial Recall election in September, after Dominon's central Election Management System software was apparently stolen and duplicated under the auspices of a rightwing Mesa County, Colorado election official and released to the Internet during Mike Lindell's failed "Cybersecurity Symposium" in South Dakota.) It is unknown if Dominion has yet to share Halderman's report with the CA Sec. of State, as per state law. Marks notes that Halderman has said the vulnerabilities are "even more serious" than those found in the older Diebold touchscreens GA used to use, before they were banned by this same lawsuit and replaced with the vulnerable Dominion systems. "Dominion has to inform the California Sec. of State within 30 days of getting reports of defects, failures, etc.," she explains, "So yes, it should be happening soon."
  • Marks details why "it was a big victory" that Judge Boulee allowed all of the SB202 cases to proceed, including the one filed by the Coalition. She details how her group's challenge to SBS202 is very different from the other seven that the judge allowed to proceed as well, while he suggested that some of the overlapping cases may be combined in the days ahead. She notes that, despite being a Trump appointee, he appears to be doing a very thorough job of overseeing all of the cases, including points made by both plaintiffs and defendants alike.
  • She clarifies how even if SB202 is struck down in full, state law in Georgia would still allow much of the recent purging of Black Democratic elections officials from county boards of elections, as we discussed with one of those purged, longtime county election officials and voting rights leaders Helen Butler of The People's Agenda on the show earlier in the week. "Unfortunately, you and Helen are right about that," Marks confirms.
  • We discuss --- and have a minor difference of opinion --- regarding a recently dismissed lawsuit in Georgia that challenged the state's 2020 election results. That case, filed by a group named VoterGA, alleged thousands of fraudulent ballots were included in the 2020 results. It was dismissed in recent weeks for reasons of standing that both Marks and I find questionable. Our small disagreement is related to my argument that the case should have been allowed to proceed because, even if VoterGA's complaint was based on false claims of fraud, those who question election results (even those conned by a lying, disgraced former President) ought to be able to examine election results and ballots for themselves, as long as they pay the costs for the exercise and ballots are taken out of the secure custody of elections officials. (That, in contrast to the what we saw earlier this year in the Cyber Ninjas' clown show "audit" in Maricopa County, Arizona.) Marks, a longtime, huge advocate for transparency and public oversight of elections supports that idea, but notes that VoterGA failed to seek such oversight during the period when they could have done so under state law. Further, she explains, the group failed to join earlier efforts to the election to change state law in order to declare paper ballots and digital ballot images to be official public records, fully reviewable by citizens and groups like VoterGA and the Coalition for Good Governance.
  • Finally, Marks also offers her reaction to the recently discovered news that Trump attorney and longtime GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Cleta Mitchell, had been quietly named to an Advisory Board for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) earlier this year. Her appointment in April was not publicly reported until November. Mitchell participated from the White House on Trump's infamous January 2nd phone call with GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger when the desperate, outgoing President attempted to bully Raffensperger, urging him to "find" enough votes to steal the election for him in the Peach State. The EAC, meanwhile, which Mitchell is now advising, is responsible for certifying voting systems used in the U.S. and helps states and counties on regulations and best practices for federal elections.

There is a lot of important information about elections and election integrity in today's conversation with Marks. Though we better not wait another six months to do it again or we'll have to have a three hour show!...

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Also: We finally got boosted!; And, another deadly climate change fueled disaster devastates Midwest...
By Brad Friedman on 12/13/2021 6:26pm PT  

We've got a lot to catch up with on today's BradCast, after a weekend lost to recovery from our Moderna booster shots. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up, we discuss how things went following Friday boosters for both Desi and myself. For me, as after the second shot, not so good (though much better than actual COVID!) For Desi...it was pretty much business as usual beyond a bit of fatigue. Either way: Go get your shots! Also, just before air, California announced they are re-instituting a statewide mask mandate for indoor, public spaces amid another surge in COVID cases.

Next, 74 people are now confirmed dead in Kentucky alone, and more than a dozen were killed in four other Midwestern states on Friday night after a swarm of very late season tornadoes devastated an eight-state area, as unusually warm December air met with a cold front. Predictably, a climate change-fueled disaster ensued as the states, particularly Kentucky, now wrestle with mass power and water outages amid freezing temperatures for tens of thousands of residents while trying to sift through rubble and continue recovery efforts. Desi details the extreme weather's known connections to climate change and how (and if) corporate media are bothering to cite the causes for yet another deadly, intense, out-of-season extreme weather event.

Then, also breaking over the weekend, the release of a PowerPoint document called "Election Fraud, Foreign Interference & Options for JAN 6". It was obtained by the U.S. House Select Committee investigating January 6, from Donald Trump's former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. The document was turned over to the Committee as part of a tranche of email and text message documents from Meadows before he decided he would stop cooperating with them. He will now almost certainly face federal criminal contempt charges, just as Trump's former aide Steve Bannon is now facing for also failing to answer lawful subpoenas from Congress.

This latest "smoking gun" document --- a 38-page version of which was circulated after the election last year, and a very similar 36-page version dated on Jan. 5 --- further cements the details behind the broad criminal conspiracy to steal the 2020 election from Joe Biden and the American people by Donald Trump and his minions. In this case, those cronies include the bulk of his Campaign staff and attorneys, much of his White House staff, members of the Dept. of Justice and a whole bunch of elected officials both in Congress and in the states.

We walk through a number of the evidence-free assertions made in the PowerPoint presentation which, according to Meadows, was to be shared with people "on the Hill" on January 5. Among those assertions, that China and Venezuela had "systematically gained control over our election system constituting a national security emergency," after "electronic voting machines were compromised."

Of course, there is zero evidence included in the document for those extraordinary claims. And those referencing Venezuela are known to be nonsense, since they are directly based on my own exclusive reporting at The BRAD BLOG from 2008 to 2010, which Team Trump subsequently lifted, twisted, mangled and bastardized to somehow support their false, easily-disproven and evidence-free narrative.

As to the "national security emergency" cited by the document, Trump was encouraged to declare one in order to then order ballots collected by the National Guard and U.S. Marshalls in all 50 states, to be counted by them once "invalid" and "fraudulent" ballots were somehow removed. Those same National Guard members, Meadows' documents also assert, according to the House Committee, were also to be tasked to "protect pro Trump people" on January 6 during the attack on the U.S. Capitol after Pence refused to go along with the plan to declare the Electoral College votes invalid. The last effort by Team Trump to steal the election was, as we all know, to hurl thousands of his gullible supporters at the Capitol itself in hopes of preventing the Constitutional certification of Joe Biden's legitimate election victory. The subsequent deadly attack was exactly what Bannon blatantly teased on his "War Room" podcast on January 5th. They were all in on it, including a bunch of members of Congress, as the Jan 6 Committee has recently been suggesting.

We explain much more detail on what is revealed by the ridiculous claims in the PowerPoint presentation on today's program, and how the guy --- retired U.S. Army Colonel Philip Waldron --- who reportedly circulated it among the dupes on the Right, actually met with Meadows at the White House as many as 10 times in the run-up to January 6th.

But the main point is this: Donald Trump and his minions employed a coordinated attempt to steal the 2020 Presidential election. It was not haphazard and it was not just low level operatives. And it was not, as media and many Dems still mis-describe it, an attempt to overturn or reverse or question or subvert the results. It was not an attempt to ferret out "voter fraud" or "election fraud". Donald Trump tried to STEAL the 2020 election and this was the "Rosetta Stone" road map for it. It would help the nation understand how close we came to losing what is left of our democracy entirely if it was described in those simple, basic and absolutely accurate terms.

What do about it? That will, no doubt, be the subject of future programs. But, at least today, hopefully, you will understand what happened and what didn't --- along with what they tried to do, and what they failed to do --- so we can all take action to make sure, somehow, something like this can never happen again...

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Dems continue legislative struggle to protect voting rights, Repubs face new legal woes for trying to steal 2020; Also: More results from 2021 elections; Progress at U.N. climate summit in Glasgow...
By Brad Friedman on 11/4/2021 6:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast": Despite what you may hear from certain elements of the media, the differences between the two parties when it comes to democracy and voting rights could not be more stark. Democrats are currently trying (and still failing, so far) in Congress, to protect voting rights for all voters. Republicans, meanwhile, are undermining those most basic of American rights around the country, even while facing mounting legal problems for having been gullible enough to play along with Donald Trump's Big Lie effort to steal the 2020 election. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But we've got a lot more than that on today's program. Among the many stories covered...

  • More ballot initiative results from Tuesday's off-year elections, including out of Tucson, Arizona where voters, by a nearly 2 to 1 margin, approved a new minimum wage of $15/hour. The victory for some 85,000 workers in the state's Democratic stronghold comes just months after its Senior Senator, Kyrsten Sinema, infamously thumbs-downed her own parties efforts to raise the federal minimum wage nationally to $15/hour. Hoping she noticed what happened in Tucson on Tuesday, because we're betting the folks in Tucson noticed her thumbs-down.
  • In New York state, all three election and voting rights reform propositions placed on the ballot by the Democratic legislature failed by wide margins. Republicans opposed all three and mounted an aggressive campaign to defeat them. Prop 1 involved redistricting reform. Prop 3 would have allowed same-day registration. Prop 4 would have allowed for no-excuse absentee voting in the Empire State. We discussed all three with two longtime NY election integrity advocates last week. Even though there was disagreement on several of measures, it's still a bit of a surprise that all three went down. That, even as Prop 2, a very progressive proposition on the same ballot establishing "the Right to clean air, water and a healthful environment" in the state's Constitution, did pass, by a more than 2 to 1 margin. Hmmm.
  • On Wednesday, back in D.C., a Senate vote on whether to proceed to debate on the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act --- which restores much of what the U.S. Supreme Court has gutted in recent years from the Voting Rights Act of 1965 --- was blocked by Republicans. All Democrats voted in favor (including Joe Manchin) and even one Republican for a change (Lisa Murkowski). But as with the similarly Manchin-approved Freedom to Vote Act two weeks ago, a majority vote was not enough to overcome yet another GOP filibuster in the U.S. Senate, requiring 60 votes to even move to debate. So now we seem to be getting to the point where both Manchin and Sinema may need to put up or shut up on reforming the filibuster to allow for passage of these bills to help save democracy itself. In the meantime, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are vowing to "restore the Senate", whatever that may end up meaning, in order to push election and voting reform through. We'll see if that happens, because...
  • ...As New York Times reports late today, the Democrats' big money donors are getting restless. They are whining that Joe Biden isn't giving them enough attention (good!) and that they are very unhappy about the party's seeming inability to adopt critical voting rights legislation. One major donor has gone so far as to vow to withhold any more money until election reform is passed. The pressure, even from wealthy donors, is welcome and could be helpful. Though what they believe President Biden is actually able to do if two intransigent Democratic Senators refuse to change Senate rules for passage is a separate question. Hopefully these donors also give to Manchin and Sinema and are cutting them off as well while they refuse to stand up and do the right thing for the country.
  • On the other side of the political aisle, it's just nothing but ugly when it comes to democracy. Though some of our stories today may be worth popping some popcorn for. The Smartmatic voting tech company filed two new lawsuits on Wednesday against two "right-wing U.S. television networks," as Reuters properly describes them. One America News (OAN) and Newsmax are being sued for false claims made against the company, including that Smartmatic --- which doesn't have any election business in the U.S. at all other than a recent contract in Los Angeles County --- helped steal the election from Donald Trump in 2020. (And, yes, the fact that Smartmatic was brought into this at all is largely thanks to my series of exclusives from some years ago involving that company and its competitor Dominion Voting Systems, which Trump's dupes have happily misinterpreted and bastardized for their dumb corrupt purposes. You're welcome!) The two complaints are the latest billion dollar lawsuits filed by both Smartmatic and Dominion against the two right-wing networks, Fox "News", as well as Trump friends and attorneys like Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and Pillow Guy Mike Lindell. We wish them all the worst of luck.
  • Even wingnut Erick Erickson has had enough of the "Stop the Steal" falderal --- at least when he's drunk enough to say so after his party won a few elections on Tuesday night. His rant to his fellow Republicans includes stuff like this: "You idiots have spent a year peddling the fiction the 2020 election was stolen because you were so busy humping Trump's leg that you never really even tried to convince persuadable voters to vote. ... either admit the election wasn't stolen or STFU from here on out. ... And if you really have clung to the 2020 was stolen mythology that lets you sleep well at night as a professional victim, please unfriend me and unfollow me because your presence is needed in Neverland and not here in reality."
  • And, back in Arizona, the GOP-controlled Senate appears to be threatening and/or turning on the Cyber Ninjas they hired for their pretend audit of Maricopa County's 2020 election earlier this year. Or, at least, they are play-acting as much for the benefit of a judge as the Senate is facing potential sanctions for failing to turn over public documents related to the phony audit which claims to have found that Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump by an even larger margin than originally certified in the state. But, as it turns out, even those numbers appear to have been "made up out of whole cloth" by the Ninjas, according to experts who looked a bit closer. This could get ugly. At least we hope so.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen's got some seemingly good news for us coming out of the critical U.N. Climate Conference in Glasgow, Scotland in our latest Green News Report, along with results of a number of environment and climate related issues that were on the ballot across the country in Tuesday's off-year elections...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Attorney Ernest A. Canning on the critical H.R.1, 'For the People Act'; Also: GOP Rep. dies with COVID; Another GOP Senator to retire; GA SoS opens probe of Trump's attempted election theft...
By Brad Friedman on 2/8/2021 6:40pm PT  

Among the many stories on today's busy BradCast: How Lou Dobbs' once formidable Election Integrity reporting at CNN turned into his own demise 15 years later at Fox "News"; Donald Trump's second Impeachment Trial begins this week with his attorneys making legally and Constitutionally indefensible claims; And Democrats offer a massive, much-needed measure to shore up our faltering system of democracy --- but it needs an important fix. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

First up...following Smartmatic's $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit [PDF] filed against Fox "News" and three of its anchors --- Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro --- last Thursday, the rightwing propaganda network suddenly and unceremoniously cancelled Dobbs' show the very next day.

Ironically, when Dobbs' was at CNN more than a decade ago, his show was largely the only mainstream broadcast media outlet to offer real, investigative coverage of serious concerns about computerized voting and tabulation systems, and the private corporations who had taken over so much of our public elections. His show delved into legit concerns about Smartmatic's relationship to Venezuela, among other things, resulting in a Treasury Dept. investigation at the time. It ultimately helped lead to the sale of a company named Sequoia, which Smartmatic once owned.

Some of the material his CNN show intelligently covered in the mid-aughts informed some of my own exclusive investigative reporting at The BRAD BLOG from 2008 to 2010 detailing, among other things, Dominion Voting Systems purchase of Sequoia some years later. That deep-dive reporting from 2010, ten years on, was subsequently re-imagined and bastardized by Team Trump to become the basis for their irresponsible, inaccurate and evidence-free claims regarding Dominion and Smartmatic and Venezuela (and the late Hugo Chavez) having stolen the election from Trump. In turn, those false claims have now resulted in Dobbs' own demise at Fox, even though he's the one guy at the Republican misinformation outlet who should have known better. Perhaps he did, but as a dyed-in-the-wool Trump sycophant, he didn't care. We cover the irony (and stupidity).

Speaking of stupidity, Donald Trump's Impeachment Trial defense attorneys filed their final pre-trial brief [PDF] on Monday, falsely claiming, once again, that the Trial itself is in violation of the Constitution (which it isn't, even according to well known conservative Republican Constitutional law experts) and that the former President was merely exercising his First Amendment free speech when instructing his MAGA Mob supporters to "fight like hell" the day they took him up on it and attacked the U.S. Capitol, resulting in five deaths. We discuss how the Trump argument fails in advance of his second Impeachment Trial beginning on Tuesday, and the Democratic House Managers response [PDF] to it.

In not-unrelated news, Reuters is reporting that the Georgia Secretary of State's office has opened an official investigation into Trump's attempts to steal the election in the Peach State.

Then, in the wake of Trump's failed attempt to steal the Presidential election with unfounded claims of mass voter fraud, Republicans in state legislatures across the country are attempting to institute hundreds of new restrictions on voters and voting. But Democrats at the federal level have an antidote to that predictable new wave of attempted suppression by GOPers.

We're joined today by BRAD BLOG legal analyst, attorney ERNEST A. CANNING to discuss his recent, deep-dive analysis of the Democrats' H.R.1. bill, known as the "For the People Act". The massive, 800-page bill, provides a lot of long-overdue reforms for voting and fair elections; ending dominance of big money and dark money in politics; and re-enforcing disclosure and ethics reform for members of Congress. On the voting front, it improves access to the voting booth by creating automatic voter registration across the country; restores voting rights for former felons; expands early voting; simplifies voting by mail; restores the Voting Rights Act gutted by the US Supreme Court in 2013; blocks mass voter roll purges like those seen in recent years in Ohio, Georgia and elsewhere; bars partisan gerrymandering by instituting independent Redistricting Commissions to draw Congressional District maps, instead of the partisan gerrymandered State Legislatures who currently draw them; and includes a call to enfranchise some 700,000 currently unrepresented residents who live in our nation's Capitol by making Washington D.C. the 51st state.

The critical measure also mandates --- sort of --- something that we have called for for a very long time: The option for all voters to vote on verifiable hand-marked paper ballots. Unfortunately, as Canning explains, this one point where the current text of the bill fails. While it mandates that voters must have the option to vote on a hand-marked paper ballot, it does not require that option be made available to voters at the polling place! That means that Election Officials can easily follow the letter of the bill's mandate by saying: "Sure! We offer the option for voters to use a hand-marked paper ballot, instead of 100% unverifiable touchscreens. Voters who wish to do that can simply vote by mail if that's what they prefer!"

That is decidedly not good enough, as we discuss, leaving a gaping loophole to help assure we have unverifiable elections in this country for decades. But is it that a serious enough flaw for Election Integrity advocates to oppose the entire measure, in lieu of amended language to that portion of the bill? And, either way, is it even possible for a bill like this to ever be adopted in a 50/50 U.S. Senate without ending the anti-democratic legislative filibuster once and for all?

Finally, on a sad note, another Republican Congressman, Ron Wright of Texas, has died "from health complications following his COVID-19 diagnosis two weeks ago. The passing of the second-term Congressman follows the death of Rep.-elect Luke Letlow of Louisiana, who died from COVID just days before the start of the new Congress. And another long-time Republican member of the U.S. Senate, 86-year old Richard Shelby of Alabama, has announced his intention to retire when his term ends in 2022. He is the fourth incumbent Republican in the upper chamber to bow out rather than run for re-election in the next mid-terms...

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