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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Guest: The American Prospect's David Dayen; Also, Breaking: AZ's Democratic Governor vetoes bipartisan election transparency bill...
By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2023 6:29pm PT  

At some point, the President is just gonna have to do the right thing and stop playing footsie with disingenuous, bad faith Republicans who are holding the nation's economy hostage over the unconstitutional debt limit law. Also, the Democratic Governor in Arizona has some splainin' to do on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

After a bit of breaking news at the top of the show (regarding a breakthrough agreement on water sharing between Western states on the drought-stricken Colorado River, and E. Jean Carroll suing Trump yet again for defaming her yet again), it's onto the dangerous negotiations still taking place, for some reason, between the White House and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy over whether or not the U.S. will follow the law and pay its bills or go into default for the first time in the nation's history.

We're joined today by investigative financial journalist, author and Executive Editor of The American Prospect, DAVID DAYEN. He has been reporting on a lawsuit recently filed by the National Association of Government Employees (NAGE) against President Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, charging that they are already violating the law by "suspending investments into...employee retirement plans" as part of Yellen's so-called "extraordinary measures" to avoid hitting the arbitrary borrowing limit implemented by Congress. She has said that those measure will run out as early as June 1, before the U.S. won't be able to pay all of its bills without borrowing more money. "There is active and ongoing harm which will get worse if the ceiling is hit," the NAGE suit alleges.

At the same time, as listeners may know, we've been covering the text of Section 4 of the 14th Amendment which states in clear language: "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts ... shall not be questioned." While Biden has made clear he is aware of the Constitutional option, he has said (not necessarily correctly) that invoking the 14th Amendment to follow the law by ordering the Treasury Department to continue borrowing to keep paying all of our bills would have to be litigated. That, he suggests, would take too much time to be adjudicated in court in order to avoid an upcoming debt default. Thus, he has been negotiating with McCarthy to find an agreement that McCarthy, as Dayen points out today, is unlikely to be able to even get his own caucus to agree to vote for.

With all of that in mind, and NAGE having filed for an emergency injunction in their lawsuit late last week, Biden and Yellen now have until June 6 to respond to the suit. Dayen points out, in both his X-DATE newsletter today and on our program, that Biden/Yellen merely need to respond to the suit by saying they agree with the plaintiffs suing them. The federal judge will then have no choice but to find in favor of NAGE, ruling that the President cannot pick and choose which bills will or won't be paid and that the 14th Amendment likely makes the Debt Ceiling law unconstitutional.

Problem solved! At least if Biden and the White House finally take this golden opportunity that has been handed to them. Sure, there are some nuances, as we discuss with Dayen, but, in general, Biden could use this to end the standoff in short order, before a global financial catastrophe --- which will only increase the U.S. deficit that Republicans in the House are only now pretending to give a damn about --- comes crashing down as early as next week.

"Here's your chance, Joe," says Dayen. "You have to write a response in this active litigation, and what you can say is 'I agree, and I am not going to contest this lawsuit.'" Once the judge receives that, Dayen explains, he'll have to say, "'Okay, I've got two sides in this lawsuit. One side says the debt ceiling is unconstitutional, and the other says it, too.' Presumably, the outcome, the ruling, would be that the debt ceiling is unconstitutional. Who would appeal it? There are two parties in this case, and neither are House Republicans."

ALSO TODAY: Last week on the show we spoke with Arizona's former Republican Secretary of State, now state Senator Ken Bennett, about a bipartisan bill passed out of the state's legislature last week to greatly improve election oversight, transparency and security by making digital ballot images of every ballot cast available for anyone to download and count for themselves in their own home if they wish. (A ballot image is a digital photo of each ballot that is taken as the ballot is scanned by the computer tabulators. It shows exactly how the voter voted at the time the ballot was cast and counted.)

The landmark measure, HB2560 --- which would make it much more difficult for the MAGA right to falsely claim elections are stolen --- was sponsored by Bennett in the AZ legislature and supported by the state's current Democratic Sec. of State Adrian Fontes as well. Thus, last week, when we spoke with Bennett, his hope was that the state's new Democratic Governor (and former Democratic Sec. of State) Katie Hobbs would sign the landmark transparency measure this week.

Instead, just before airtime, Hobbs vetoed the bill, falsely claiming it would "threaten anonymity" of voters and "open the door to the spread of additional election mis- and dis-information."

As Bennett explained last week on the show, he strongly disagrees. So does the nonpartisan election transparency group, AUDIT USA, headed up by longtime Democrat and ballot image proponent, John Brakey. They issued a statement responding to Hobbs' veto, calling it "a blow to efforts to reduce election conspiracies."

They charge the measure would "achieve just the opposite" of spreading "mis- and dis-information." In the statement, Brakey said that "By claiming the bill would compromise the privacy and anonymity of voters and lead to the increased spread of disinformation, the Governor has ignored the experience of multiple jurisdictions around the country that have been posting ballot images without the problems she claims would be caused."

The group is now hoping to win the one more vote in the state Senate and 9 more votes in the state House that will be needed to override Hobbs' veto. They will have about 21 days after they come back into session in mid-June. Stay tuned...

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Guest: AZ GOP State Senator and former Sec. of State Ken Bennett...
UPDATED: Dem Governor Hobbs vetoes the bill...
By Brad Friedman on 5/18/2023 7:11pm PT  

It will be a landmark moment for election transparency in Arizona, argues the man who has championed the bill for years, as discussed on today's BradCast. Along the way, the longtime, dyed-in-the-wool progressive and non-partisan election transparency advocate has brought key allies on board, including the state's former Republican Secretary of State and its current Democratic Secretary of State. The big question, now that the bill has passed out of the legislature: Will the state's Democratic Governor sign the bill into law? [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

John Brakey, of the non-partisan election integrity group AUDIT USA in Tucson, has been a guest on this program many times over the years. He is, perhaps, most famous for revealing that the silly CyberNinjas carrying out a so-called audit of the 2020 Presidential election in Maricopa County (Phoenix) in 2021 were searching for bamboo fibers in ballots in hopes of proving China had somehow stolen the election from Donald Trump in the state. (They didn't. The "audit" would prove, in fact, that Joe Biden beat Trump by an even larger margin than originally reported.) After years of reaching out to lawmakers on all sides of the aisle, Brakey's bill to declare digital ballot images as public records available to all was finally adopted by both chambers of the very Republican Arizona state legislature this week.

Sadly, just three Democrats voted in favor of it in the Senate, even though the state party included a call for such a measure in their party platform years ago. But Brakey was finally able to win over enough support to see the bill sent to the Governor's desk this week, with the support of AZ's new Democratic Sec. of State Adrian Fontes and the state's former Republican Sec. of State, now a state Senator and our guest on today's show, KEN BENNETT [pictured above].

Bennett and Brakey worked closely together to oversee the 2020 audit in Maricopa as Bennett served as a liaison to the state Senate.

For those unaware, digital ballot images are created by most scanners that tabulate ballots across the country. They are, essentially, digital photos of the actual paper ballot cast by the voter when it is scanned. The tabulator then uses those images to tally the voter's selections. The newly adopted bill in AZ, HB2560, would make all of those images available to the public almost immediately after elections. If so, anyone would be able, if they wish, to download them, examine and count the ballots to their heart's content.

As Senator Bennett explains today, the bill also mandates the release of the Cast Vote Record (CVR), a spreadsheet version of every ballot cast and the votes on each ballot, allowing the public to match a digital ballot image to its corresponding row in the CVR to make sure the computer tabulators tallied it as cast by the voter.

In addition to the release of those two sets of records, HB2560 also mandates that a list of all registered voters is made available before the election (those are already public records), and a list of those who voted in the election, greatly increasing transparency and critical public oversight of elections.

"Most of the allegations of impropriety or fraud that I and John Brakey and others have had to deal with over the months and years have to do with three major categories," Bennett tells me today. "One: are there unauthorized voters being allowed to vote in the system?" He says that's what the two voter lists will be able to tell us. "Another general aspect of criticism of the elections --- when certain people lose --- is, 'There had to have been unauthorized ballots injected into the system in favor of someone else.' That's addressed by the fact that there should be one ballot image --- no more, no less --- for everyone who voted. If the ballot images can be shown to match the exact number of voters who voted, then that goes away immediately."

"The third general accusation about stolen or fraudulent elections is that there are either mistakes or intentional manipulation of the machines, or something to transfer votes from one person to another. That is addressed by the Cast Vote Record being comparable to each or every ballot image to make sure they were, in fact, added up correctly."

While hand-counting the original article (as opposed to a digital photo of it), may still, ultimately, be the Gold Standard for democracy, this scheme gets us darn close in many ways. And, arguably, it may be even better in some aspects, in that it allows each and every individual in the state to count the ballots for themself if they wish --- at no cost! Brakey hopes to see a similar regime in every state in the country.

Bennett explains why he believes most Dems in the state legislature opposed HB2560, even though Sec. Fontes spoke passionately in favor of the bill during a legislative hearing earlier this year and, as Bennett notes, "this concept was part of the Arizona State Democrat Party state platform in 2012, no less."

"This is not a Republican idea or a Democrat idea," Bennett contends. "This is an election integrity idea that is supported by Republicans, Democrats and Independents." He is disappointed more Dems did not come on board, but offers an explanation for that on today's show, suggesting it was for political reasons, "rather than the legitimacy of the bill itself."

In fact, Jenny Guzman, Program Director at Common Cause of Arizona, has been whipping against the bill in misleading op-eds and emails to members, derisively referring to it as "the Voter Privacy Violation Act" and falsely claiming it will reveal how voters voted. (We reached out to her for an explanation of her somewhat bizarre critique some time ago, but received no response. A very good rebuttal to her claims is posted here.) While Brakey, Bennett and Fontes worked in a bipartisan fashion to modify the bill to answer to any and all concerns, Guzman has continued to mislead the public about it. Bennett politely described "a couple of her critical claims" as "just not true."

"Voting is a sacred and secret process," argues Bennett. "Once we have disassociated the ballots from any particular voter, the counting of our ballots needs to be a very public process, and it needs to be verifiable by the public." He argues this system will help prevent false claims by election deniers like Kari Lake, 2022's failed GOP candidate for Governor. "When that visual proof is verifiable --- by candidates, by regular citizens, by the media, by universities, by election scrutineers like John Brakey's AUDIT USA group down in Tucson --- all of that can and will be verified."

So, will the state's Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs now sign the bill into law? That is unknown, though Bennett believes "we've got a good chance" given her familiarity with the systems and issues at hand as the state's previous Secretary of State before becoming Governor this year. We'll find out within days. Bennett urges voters, both in AZ and elsewhere, to contact the Governor and let her know your feelings about HB2560 to Engage@AZ.gov or via the Governor's website.

ALSO ON TODAY'S SHOW: While HB2560 is an excellent election bill adopted by a far-right leaning state legislature in AZ, I've got a few thoughts on a terrible election bill, Georgia's SB202 voter suppression bill, adopted by the far-right legislature in the Peach State. (I am serving as a named plaintiff representing media in a lawsuit filed against the bill by the Coalition for Good Governance). And Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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UPDATE 5/22/23: Arizona's Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs has vetoed HB2560. Details now here...

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Jordan's FBI lies called out on 'Meet the Press'; Also: Barr's weaponization of the DoJ; 'Red' state murder rates far exceed 'blue' states; More white people voter fraud in FL; Sore-loser Lake violates AZ election law...
By Brad Friedman on 1/31/2023 6:32pm PT  

We've got another grab-bag for you on today's BradCast, from the new challenges faced by corporate media during a U.S. House controlled by GOP liars, to more evidence of the former guy's weaponization of the federal government, to still more voter fraud by wealthy white people in Florida.

Among the stories covered on today's program...

  • NBC's Chuck Todd, the usually milquetoast host of Meet the Press, actually stood up to a few lies by accomplished GOP liar Rep. Jim Jordan on Sunday. That is never easy, given the flurry of lies the Ohio Congressman is capable of spewing at light speed. But Todd, who traditionally allows rightwingers to get away with all manner of BS with little if any response at all, did an impressive job this week --- at least for a few minutes --- in calling out several of Jordan's patently false assertions attempting to equate Donald Trump's theft of hundreds of classified documents and refusal, for more than a year, to return them to the federal government, with the discovery by Joe Biden's attorneys of a few dozen such documents from during his Vice Presidency found stored by aides at his former office at the Penn Center and his home in Wilmington, Delaware. We share the tale of the tape.
  • Jordan now serves as Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and its silly, newly formed select Subcommittee on "the Weaponization of the Federal Government". The new panel is meant to promote all sorts of QAnon and Fox "News" fantasies and victimization porn about the FBI and DoJ somehow having it out for Republicans. Or something. They will pretend to expose false claims such as the FBI paying millions of dollars to Twitter to censor and ban rightwingers during the Trump years. Or something. Will Democrats and our corporate media be up to the task of countering their nonsense over the next two years?
  • If you're looking for actual "weaponization of the federal government", however, look no further than what the disgraced former President did with his appointment of DoJ weaponizer-in-chief Bill Barr as Attorney General. Late last week, the New York Times published a jaw-dropping exclusive on Barr's failed attempt at revealing "deep state liberals" at the FBI and DoJ with the appointment of John Durham as Special Counsel to "investigate the investigators" of Russia's well-documented plot to interfere in the 2016 election. After four years, Barr and Durham have found none of the corruption that Trump and Barr pretended was there. But they did, apparently, find evidence of financial crimes by Donald Trump that, until the Times report just last week, remained their own little secret. Paging Jack Smith.
  • Speaking of lies propagated by rightwingers and the corporate media, you may recall that, during the runup to the 2022 midterms, allegations of rampant, out-of-control crime in big "blue" state cities was all the rage. Trouble is, that was mostly lies as well. Now, a new analysis puts some meat on those bones and dispels another longtime rightwing myth. As it turns out, murder rates in "red" states not only far exceed "blue" states, but that has been the case since at least 2000, according to evidence documented by the new report.
  • Speaking of elections, yet another wealthy white vote fraudster has been arrested for double-voting during the 2020 election in Ron DeSantis' GOP enclave known as The Villages in Florida. He is the fourth, to date. And you won't believe how easy the penalty was for this guy who, like the others, purposely voted twice. Especially as compared to the people of color who were rounded up at gun point by DeSantis' new "Election Crimes and Security" police force just before last year's elections. Those rounded up and tossed in jail by the GOP Governor and Presidential hopeful's personal police squad were former felons who had apparently been allowed by the state to vote two years earlier, despite a loophole in a new law that bars some former felons from being allowed to vote. They had no idea they were voting unlawfully, unlike the white criminals in The Villages who got off with (less than) a slap on the wrist.
  • And speaking of GOP election liars, Kari Lake, 2022's failed, Trump-endorsed gubernatorial candidate in Arizona who lost by 17,000 votes but is still pretending she won, may now be facing legal issues of her own. According to a complaint filed by the state's newly elected Sec. of State Adrian Fontes (D), in a letter sent to the state's newly elected Attorney General Kris Mayes (D), Lake violated state law by publishing the signatures of several voters on Twitter last week. Fontes is seeking a criminal investigation.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as New Zealand is swamped by stunning, record rainfall; a new study finds building solar and wind projects is now cheaper than using existing coal-fired power plants; Tax payers in Pennsylvania are now on the hook for the clean up of thousands of recently discovered abandoned oil and gas wells; and the Biden Administration reverses a Trump scheme in Minnesota in order to protect a vast wilderness from toxic mining for the next 20 years...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Progressive journalist, author, John Nichols of 'The Nation'...
By Brad Friedman on 11/15/2022 5:30pm PT  

"Election Day" coverage continues today into its second week on BradCast, as more of the closest races are being called and as a clearer picture emerges as to what actually happened and why. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Shortly after airtime on Monday night, media outlets finally called the very close Arizona Governor's race for Democratic Sec. of State Katie Hobbs over former TV news anchor and failed Trump-wannabe Kari Lake. As we detail, Lake's apparent narrow loss was likely particularly satisfying for outgoing GOP Rep. Liz Cheney.

Hobbs' lead over Lake, with almost all votes tallied, is 0.7% as we go to air. That is above the 0.5% or less required for an automatic recount in AZ, where state law (shamefully) does not allow for candidates to request and pay for a recount on their own. That, of course, will allow Lake to continue to present evidence-free claims of "fraud" in her election, particularly given unexplained Election Day failures of some optical scanner at some polling places in Maricopa County. That shouldn't have prevented anybody from voting --- thankfully, Arizona votes on hand-marked paper ballots --- but it did mean that some ballots cast at the polls on Election Day had to be tabulated back at County headquarters later.

Presuming Hobbs' victory is certified as expected, that means the AZ's Governor's office turns from "red" to "blue" for the first time in 13 years. (It'll be the third state where that happened this year.) Add to that the state's two Democratic U.S. Senators and Democrat Adrian Fontes' victory over Trump-backed election liar Mark Finchem for Sec. of State, and Democrat Kris Mayes currently leading Republican Abe Hamadeh (if barely --- and easily within recount territory for now) in the race to replace the state's outgoing Republican Attorney General. All of that looks a lot like a new "blue" state, with every major statewide seat in AZ perhaps soon to be occupied by a Democrat in advance of 2024.

Yes, it was a stunning midterm election across the nation, as that "red wave" that Republicans and corporate media imagined and promised, never arrived.

"This is the best midterm election result for a newly-elected Democratic President in their first term since Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1934," notes our guest today, progressive journalist and author JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation, describing the results as "remarkable" and "against all sorts of historical patterns," while observing that this is the "third election cycle in a row where Donald Trump has been the dominant figure in the Republican Party and the Republican Party has lost. It's kind of a pattern."

So why did the results defy history? "I think the answer is that our politics have changed. We're not in the same world that we were in before," explains Nichols, who we have turned to many times over the years following Election Days to try and make sense of them. "Local media doesn't exist the way it used to, so elections are nationalized. We have seen the two parties go more to their corners --- the Democrats at least somewhat to the left, Republicans way to the right --- so we have to adjust our filter. And if we do, we understand that this election actually tells us a lot about where potential Democratic majorities and coalitions are in the future."

We dig deep into the remarkable results and how they may have been even better for the Democrats had the party not been so taken by their own fears that the media might have been right about the "red wave" which never came. Those poor predictions (which often contradicted the media's own available evidence to the contrary) also resulted in an overconfident GOP which, like the Democrats, ended up spending money in many of the wrong races. Nichols explains how Dem victories might have been even broader had they fought more aggressively and less defensively by funding, for example, more rural races where Democrats could have also won with more support from the Party.

He breaks down the likely reasons that the excellent Democratic candidate Mandela Barnes, in Nichols home state of Wisconsin, ended up losing to the insufferable Republican insurrection enthusiast Sen. Ron Johnson, and why other excellent candidates, if arguably less progressive ones, like Tim Ryan in Ohio and Cheri Beasley in North Carolina, ended up falling short.

In addition we also dig into how critical young voters --- lots of them! --- were to what ultimately happened this year. "Young people ought to be where you're putting a lot of your resources. As a party, Democrats need to be talking to young voters, bringing young people into leadership positions in the party. If you do, the rewards are immense," he avers. "Under 30 and especially under 25, the bias is 28% in favor of the Democrats. At the very end of the 2022 cycle, in states across the country, you had a lot of young voters lining up and casting votes. They don't turn out at the same percentage, at the same level, as older voters do. But if they turn out strong, it has a huge impact."

We also discuss how an institutionalist like Joe Biden has been clever enough as President to shift his policies toward the progressive left, in tune with those voters and the American electorate overall.

"Let's be very clear," Nichols argues today, "despite what games pundits try to play, Americans had a very clear choice. In 2022, they had a choice between an extreme rightwing Republican Party straying toward authoritarianism on many issues and a Democratic Party that was edging toward progressivism, and was attacked for that. And what did the American people decide to do? In a surprise to everyone, to the politicians and the pundits, they decided to go for the party that is edging towards progressivism."

Finally today, we close with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, as Biden pledges leadership and funding at the U.N. climate conference in Egypt, and restarts climate negotiations with China...

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And why all of that and still uncalled contests, very much matter...
By Brad Friedman on 11/14/2022 6:01pm PT  

Welp, Election 2022 continues into its second week of counting on today's BradCast. But it's our first chance to open up the phones to listeners after last week's historic midterm face-plant by Republicans and its associated very very good news for Democrats and American democracy itself. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Before we go to the phones today, a bit of a monster "rant" on the accomplishments of Joe Biden and the Democrats after two years in office; a few updates on races called since we signed off last Friday; what they all mean; and some of the races still being tallied (which will also determine, among other things, which party controls the House of Representatives next year.)

The big races called since our final show last week include the U.S. Senate contests in Arizona and Nevada, both of which went to the incumbent Democrats in each state (Sen. Mark Kelly in AZ and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto in NV). Those victories ensure majority control for Democrats in the upper chamber of Congress once again in January. Dems will have at least a 50/50 majority with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie vote, even before the December 6 Senate runoff in Georgia between incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Herschel Walker (R).

But there are a ton of reasons for Democrats in GA to not let down their guard. Dante Atkins, over the weekend, detailed just some of the reasons why a 51-49 Senate is much better for Dems (and democracy) than a 50-50 Senate.

While Dems were celebrating retaining their Senate majority over the weekend, we were celebrating the fact that the last of the 2020 Election liars running for Secretary of State in battleground states were declared to have lost. In AZ, Democrat Adrian Fontes will become the new Sec. of State after defeating Trump-endorsed insurrection enthusiast and voting opponent Mark Finchem. And in NV, Democrat Cisco Aguilar was declared the winner over Trump-backed election liar Jim Marchant, founder of the "America First Secretaries of State coalition," featuring all of those Republican SoS candidates who, thankfully, were rejected by voters in last week's elections across the country in every single swing-state in which they ran. That alone will make the 2024 Presidential election indescribably safer.

Throughout the program, we also take care to call out a few of the folks from the Republican Party, the corporate media, and the even some on the lazy, knee-jerk far-left who ignored the available data and facts in order to misinform American voters that the GOP see a red wave, or even red tsunami, in last week's midterms. They didn't. They lost a seat in the Senate; will be lucky to win the narrowest of majorities in the House; lost Governorships in Maryland and Massachusetts (and, perhaps, Arizona, which is still close); took full control of both the Michigan and Minnesota state governments and may do the same in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, just to detail a few of the GOP's remarkable failures in a year that Conventional Wisdom suggests they should have owned the night.

Also, mid-hour today, we get an update in the tallies of the very right Los Angeles Mayoral race where progressive Rep. Karen Bass just got a big boost from the latest numbers in her contest against "former" Republican billionaire real estate developer Rick Caruso.

Then, we turn to the phones for the first time since last week's midterms to get some thoughts from listeners on what the lack of "red wave" means for both Democrats and Republicans and whether any of it will help break the GOP's Trump Fever that is destroying both them and our democracy along with it (though not this week, at least!)...

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Guest: Tom Bonier of TargetSmart; Also: Fox 'News' 'red wave' buffoonery; Latest results on Sen, Guv, SoS and A.G. races from AZ, NV...
By Brad Friedman on 11/11/2022 6:28pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's no surprise that Fox 'News' deluded itself for months and even years about a "red wave" or "tsunami" coming for the 2022 midterm elections. It shouldn't be a surprise that the theoretically legitimate media got it wrong as well, given that they seem to make the same errors election after election. And yet, it's both surprising and disappointing, given that the data to counter their erroneous narrative was right there in front of their face the whole time...if they simply bothered to, or had the courage to, listen to it. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

"There was nothing magical about what I did," our guest today, TOM BONIER of the Democratic data research firm, TargetSmart, explains. "It was, as you say, seeing the numbers and reporting the numbers and, in the end, trying to stay away from predictions or projections, but to say, 'Look, this is what we're seeing'."

Bonier's well-documented Twitter threads on the data over the past many months spelled out what shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone. In the face of extremism from the right and, in particular, the Supreme Court, there was a backlash against Republicans which served to boost Democrats across the board.

Prior to today, Bonier joined us twice in recent months to discuss his analysis of data and what he was seeing and tweeting about to anyone who might have wanted to listen. In late August, after voters in deep red Kansas decisively rejected a ballot initiative that would have rewritten the state constitution to allow abortion to be banned, he joined us to explain what he saw as a "jaw-dropping" spike in new voter registrations for young, Democratic women following the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision in late June, overturning Roe v. Wade. Bonier saw similar spikes in new registrations all over the map, in "red" and "blue" states alike, but particularly where reproductive rights were most threatened.

In late September he joined us again after analyzing specific voter data from that failed Kansas referendum. Hard evidence of an incredible spike in women voters that, he told us at the time, "just doesn't happen in elections." He posited that any suggestion that Democrats would be swamped in November, as the so-called Conventional Wisdom offered by pundits would have it, was simply ignoring the available data. He argued the election would be very close and almost certainly not a "wave" for the GOP.

He was right. Even though, over the past month in the run-up to Election Day, the corporate media were, largely in lock step, warning that Dems were done for, soon to be swamped by a red wave or even tsunami! How much of that erroneous punditry "blunted" the final results, Bonier laments, citing races like Mandela Barnes' in Wisconsin, where the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate fell just shy of unseating incumbent Republican Ron Johnson by a single point.

"I like to think of myself as an optimist, but it was difficult over the last few weeks and months," he tells me. "In reality, what we do at TargetSmart is we listen to the data. That's all we were doing. Along the way I was looking at the voter registration data, looking at the early vote data, looking at it in the context of the polls and trying to draw some conclusions. But mostly providing context and questioning the hard-set assumptions that were really leading everyone."

We discuss, among other things, the "flood of Republican polling" in the last few weeks of the campaign and how it warped forecasts from poll aggregation sites like FiveThirtyEight, and how his fellow traveler, Simon Rosenberg, who also had it right, was "mocked" when he highlighted how forecasts were being swamped by those bad GOP polls.

By itself, the media failure "doesn't happen. It took some level of complicit behavior from those who should be guards against it," Bonier insists. "People are mocking Fox News at this point. We know it is a very biased Republican media platform. But the bottom line is most of cable and these other outlets had a level of certainty about this outcome in a very similar way. I have to say, as I spoke with reporters in the closing weeks, I would be telling them 'Look, this is going to be a close election. I don't see a Republican wave. I don't see that in the numbers.' And I was just short of mocked by reporters."

But, why? Is it a lack of courage to stray from the pack journalism and group think? Or, as media critic Dan Froomkin argued today, a symptom of systemic "rot" in the political media? Bonier offers his frank thoughts on that and much more as we dig deep in today's discussion. I strongly urge you to tune in for it in full.

Also today, in addition to our own mocking of Fox "News", we've got plenty left over to mock folks like HBO's Bill Maher and Spotify's Joe Rogan and CNN's Fareed Zakaria and NYTimes' Maggie Haberman who all got it wrong as well --- and misled the American electorate in the bargain --- for many of the reasons discussed on today's program. And, we've also got the latest reported results out of still uncalled critical races for U.S. Senate, Governor, Sec. of State and Attorney General in Arizona and Nevada...

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Guest: Daniel Wolf of America Counts; Also: GOP's sad abuse of Herschel Walker; And, Republicans For Democrats 2022!...
By Brad Friedman on 10/12/2022 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast we've got an excellent idea for Democrats, Republicans and everyone else who has any concerns about accurately reported election results in this year's critical midterm elections. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

But, first up, a few thoughts on a Republican Party in dangerous decline and what at least some long-time GOPers are now doing to put country over party.

We start with the sad tale, frankly, of how the GOP is using and/or abusing Georgia's former football hero and clearly unstable U.S. Senate nominee Hershel Walker for grotesquely partisan political purposes, despite the costs to the man who had no business or qualifications being put up as a candidate for U.S. Senate in the first place. In a thoughtful Twitter thread this week, Illinois' Democratic Rep. Sean Casten worries that Walker is on "a trajectory that does not end well." He describes him as "just one in a long, tragic legacy of disposable black men" for the Republican Party. Even now, Casten notes, elected GOP officials who put him up for the job have no interest in his well-being if there is any hope he might defeat GA's incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and help the party win a majority in the upper chamber of Congress.

There are some Republicans, however, who are proving to be much better than that. We are happy to laud some of them today, including Rep. Liz Cheney and (gasp!) Bill Kristol. Both are among a growing group of longtime GOPers who are not just calling out their party for the threat they now pose to American democracy itself, but are putting their money where their mouth is by actively supporting and endorsing pro-democracy Democratic candidates for office in battlegrounds like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona --- and even in ruby-red states like Idaho.

"I don't know that I have ever voted for a Democrat, but if I lived in Arizona now, I absolutely would...for Governor and for Secretary of State," Cheney said last week at a McCain Institute event at Arizona State University. She supports the Democratic bids for Governor by Katie Hobbs and for Sec. of State by Adrian Fontes. "We cannot be in a position where we elect people who will not fundamentally uphold the sanctity of elections," Cheney explained, referring to GOP Gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake and SoS hopeful Mark Finchem, both of whom falsely claim the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. If elected, both would be in a position to block state certification of a legitimate Democratic Presidential victory in 2024.

Of course, despite the complete lack of evidence to suggest that the 2020 election was stolen by anybody in any state, the lack of transparency and public oversight of our brittle and vulnerable computerized voting and tabulation systems makes it easy for charlatans to dishonestly claim otherwise.

We have long advised that voters show up to their local polling place at closing time in order to take photos and videos of the cash register-style poll tapes that are printed out by voting machines and optical scanners. They are supposed to be printed and publicly posted there at the end of the night. Public documentation of those records can be very helpful when compared to results eventually reported for those precincts by towns, counties and states.

A new smart phone app called Actual Vote makes that process much easier for voters of all parties or no party at all, promises our guest today, DANIEL WOLF, CEO of AmericaCounts.us, a non-profit tech company that developed the free app.

Wolf has been observing elections since 1984, when he was sent to research election systems in Nicaragua. He explains today how he was struck after the controversial 2004 Presidential election in Ohio when poll tapes from dozens of Counties went missing well before the 22 months they are required to be preserved under federal law. Comparison of contemporaneously printed results at the precinct on those tapes with final results reported later can be helpful in ferreting out fraud (either foreign or domestic) or simple programming errors. As importantly, this sort of oversight, he argues, can also offer confidence to the public that results were tabulated and reported correctly as per voter intent.

"If people took a picture of the [poll] tape in the past, the question was, 'Who do I send it to?," he explains. But Actual Vote, in addition to assisting in the recording of poll tapes, allows the user to press a button to send those videos to a secure public server, where they are posted and where analysts can transcribe their numbers and compare them to final results in key jurisdictions.

"Anything that pops out, we then would go back to the election administrators and say, 'Look, we found a discrepancy. What about it?'," Wolf details. "Most of those discrepancies are going to be resolved. But those that aren't resolved can then be looked at more deeply. And if they cannot resolve that, then it gives the candidate or anybody else who is concerned about that particular race the ability to go into court and say 'I have documented evidence of discrepancies in the results reporting'."

Wolf notes that while "laws vary" from state to state and jurisdiction to jurisdiction regarding the use of cameras at polling places, "once public information is posted in the public" after polls close, "you have a First Amendment right to take a picture of it."

His hope is that while Actual Vote could help surface fraud or simple error, broad use of the app may ultimately add confidence in election results for Republicans and Democrats alike, among whom he hopes to "ignite a war of mutual assured accountability."

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Critical lessons (and warnings) from primary results in AZ, KS, MI, MO, WA, OH; Also: IN Rep. Walorski killed in crash; A farewell to Vin Scully...
By Brad Friedman on 8/3/2022 6:07pm PT  

Look at the faces in that photo. Those are the faces of people grappling to understand a profound truth that they simply had no idea about prior to Tuesday night. Those faces should serve as inspiration for every Democrat and/or progressive on the ballot in every race in all 50 states between today and November 8. And as a warning for every Republican.

On today's BradCast, selective, noteworthy, curated results --- or what is known about them, unofficial, incomplete or otherwise --- from Tuesday's primary elections in six states, Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Washington and Ohio. (And several problems for voters in Pinal County, AZ.) [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Of course, the biggest news from Tuesday, hands down, was the stunning landslide rejection of a state constitutional amendment in Kansas that would have allowed the state's Republicans to restrict and/or ban abortion rights. (That's what the folks in that photo were just learning about.) It was the first statewide vote on the matter anywhere in the nation since the newly extremist, far-right, radical, activist, corrupt, Republican U.S. Supreme Court majority overturned 50-years of Constitutionally protected rights and freedoms by striking down 1973's Roe v. Wade decision.

Even in the theoretically "conservative" state of KS, voters soundly rejected that proposed Amendment with their "NO" votes by a stunning 18 points over "YES" as of airtime. The "NO" vote did well in large and small, rural and urban, Democratic and Republican counties alike. Turnout, thanks to this measure --- in a midterm primary where Republicans assumed few would notice --- was enormous and at levels normally seen in Presidential primaries or even mid-term general elections in the recent past.

The question now is whether Democrats will finally have the confidence and courage to run on this issue, following the overturning of Roe in June, in every state in the country and for virtually every office on the ballot from Governor to Attorney General to District Attorney to County Sheriff to state Judge to state Supreme Court Justice. And, whether Democrats will be able to capitalize on Josh Marshall's "Roe and Reform" campaign that he's been pushing hard at Talking Points Memo, calling for a very specific promise to voters from Democrats on the federal level: Let us hold our House majority and give us two more seats in the Senate and we vow, come January 2023, to reform the Senate filibuster to codify the protections of Roe into federal law, guaranteeing privacy rights and reproductive freedom in all 50 states.

Nothing short of that very specific "You give us that, we'll give you this" promise will do, as Josh has smartly been explaining for weeks now. We have long argued ourselves that candidates must give voters something very clear and specific to vote for. When they do, as proven on Tuesday in Kansas --- where the stakes were crystal clear, and voters knew exactly what they would get from their one single vote --- they will respond in large numbers.

Of course, all of this also further underscores the argument I've been making for months that Democrats and progressives must ignore the "conventional wisdom" from so-called political professionals about the historical odds of impending doom this November. These are decidedly UNconventional times, proven once again in KS yesterday.

Beyond that very encouraging news on Tuesday, there was still more good news in both the Secretary of State and Attorney General races in KS; Somewhat disappointing news in the MO race to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Roy Blunt; Potentially concerning news out of MI's Republican gubernatorial contest, where a well funded, Trump-backed loon will run against the state's popular Democratic Governor; And wildly troubling news out of AZ on the Republican side in the contests for the Gubernatorial and Sec. of State nominations, in what could turn out to be two of the most critical races in the nation this November.

All of that and many other races covered and explained, with context, on today's busy show.

Finally, we close with some tragic news on the death this afternoon of Indiana's 58-year old Republican Congresswoman Jackie Walorski and two of her young staffers in an automobile accident. And, some pleasant thoughts following the passing on Tuesday night of Hall of Fame broadcasting legend Vin Scully at age 94. He served as the inimitable and nationally recognized voice of Dodger baseball --- in both Brooklyn and Los Angeles --- for 67 incomparable years...

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Also: Brooklyn subway shooting; NY Lt. Gov. indicted; What you don't know about inflation; Biden taps ethanol to further lower gas prices...
By Brad Friedman on 4/12/2022 7:22pm PT  

We've got a very busy and eclectic BradCast for you today. For good or ill. You'll decide. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the stories covered on today's program...

  • Another mass shooting today, this time in a crowded subway train in Brooklyn. At least 10 were shot and 17 injured. Reportedly, however, even with 5 victims said to be in critical condition, authorities say none of the injuries are life-threatening. The gunman, wearing a gasmask and releasing smoke bombs to add to the nightmarish chaos, appears to have used a semi-automatic handgun with several large magazines and was only stopped, after at least 33 shots, when one of the cartridges is believed to have jammed. The suspect was still on the run as of airtime.
  • Also in New York, recently-minted Democratic Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin was arrested and indicted on several federal felony charges related to bribery, fraud and falsification of records on Tuesday, in an alleged scheme during his time as a state Senator involving campaign payoffs from a real estate developer (who was previously arrested, but is not Donald Trump). Among the records Benjamin is said to have falsified are the vetting documents used by Gov. Kathy Hochul when selecting him for the job of Lt. Gov. after she ascended from that job in the wake of the resignation of the previous Democratic Governor, the scandal-plagued Andrew Cuomo. Benjamin resigned late today. But getting him off the June primary ballot, where he was set to run for election against two other Democrats, is a different matter.
  • You may have heard today via screaming headlines that new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on finds inflation in March was at 8.5% over the past year. It is the highest rate since December of 1981 when that failed, one-term President Ronald Reagan was in the final month of his first year in office. There's probably a bunch of other stuff you haven't heard today beyond the screaming "Inflation hits 40-year high!" headlines from our corporate media. We help you understand some of that stuff.
  • President Joe Biden's recent action to release a million barrels of oil a day, for the next six months from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve immediately helped to lower gas prices at the pump. They've been falling pretty much every day since that unprecedented move, though they remain high thanks to Russia's war in Ukraine and the oil industry's continued profiteering. Today, in a bid to further lower gas prices, Biden announced a plan to waive the ban on summer use of E15 gasoline, which contains a 15% ethanol blend. Desi Doyen helps us make sense of that news and why it is both good and bad.
  • Last week, following a months-long investigation, Arizona's very MAGA, vote-suppressing Attorney General Mark Brnovich, finally released a report [PDF] on his probe of allegations of fraud in Maricopa County (Phoenix)'s 2020 Presidential election. That probe was requested by the very MAGA state Senate after the exceedingly MAGA Cyber Ninjas failed to find any evidence of fraud in their own months-long so-called "audit" in the state's largest county, where Joe Biden won by some 45,000 votes, delivering the state to a Democrat for the first time in decades.

    As it turns out, Brnovich failed to uncover any evidence of fraud or any other crimes, though he did pretend to find "serious vulnerabilities" in the County's elections procedures. But those "serious vulnerabilities", according to the Chair of the County's Republican Board of Supervisors, the County's Republican Controller (its chief election official, who won his position during the same 2020 election), the County's former Democratic Controller (who lost that year), and the state's Democratic Sec. of State are all calling out Brnovich for a BS report that fails to find any evidence of any problems in the election at all, even while using words that help Fox "News" and the losing former President and all his MAGA friends pretend that he did. (Brnovich is in a contested primary race for the GOP U.S. Senate nomination, after all.)

    We let you know what Brnovich actually found (and didn't), even if none of it prevented the MAGA state Senate President who helped kick off all this madness from from claiming the report finds "fraud" (it doesn't) or one of the most rightwing MAGA state Senators from taking to her Twitter account in response to the report to call it "flaccid" and to insist that "WE WANT ARRESTS NOW." --- For what exactly? That part remains unclear. It may take a few more months or years and more millions of dollars of tax-payer money spent by "conservatives" in the state to get to the bottom of it.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen brings our latest Green News Report with some troubling new news on methane and climate change, as well as microplastics now being found in human blood and lungs. But she's got some better news on new mileage standards from Biden's Dept. of Transportation and on the electrification of tens of thousands of government vehicles and school buses in Los Angeles and Boston...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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