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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, April 23, 2024
'Election Fraud, Pure and Simple': 'BradCast' 4/23/24
Trump NY criminal trial update; Also: SCOTUS nixes Lake's 2022 fraud claims; WI U.S. Senate candidate 'doesn't oppose' elderly voters; Trump/RNC's 'election integrity' plan; AZ GOP Rep's apparent petition fraud...
'Green News Report' 4/23/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Europe's record rate of warming; Plastic manufacturing's effect on global warming; Biden unveils American Climate Corps, Solar For All, and a slew of new actions on conservation...
Previous GNRs: 4/18/24 - 4/16/24 - Archives...
'First Domino Falls' in UAW Effort to Unionize the South: 'BradCast' 4/22/24
Guest: Labor journo Steven Greenhouse; Also: House passes Ukraine aid; Prosecutors accuse Trump of 2016 'election fraud' in NY trial...
Sunday 'Popcorn Ready' Toons
THIS WEEK: Stormy outlook ... Abortion wrongs ... American values ... Earth Day ... And much more in our latest collection of the week's best political toons!...
Bad Climate News for Home, Car Owners; Good Labor News for Workers in the South: 'BradCast' 4/18/24
Also: Jury seated in NY; NV okays abortion initiative; OH Repubs block Biden from ballot...
'Green News Report' 4/18/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Deluge in Dubai; Climate impacts to cost trillions per year; New lightbulb efficiency standards; PLUS: Biden Admin cracks down on toxic silica dust to protect workers' lungs...
Previous GNRs: 4/16/24 - 4/11/24 - Archives...
SCOTUS Suddenly Worried About Overcriminalization ... for J6 Insurrectionists: 'BradCast' 4/17/24
Guest: LawDork's Chris Geidner; Also: GOP impeachment ends; Turnout doubles in AL...
'Trump Media' Plummeting, MAGA Buyers Losing Life Savings: 'BradCast' 4/16/24
Also: Trump's ridiculous 'immunity'; 7 jurors seated in NY criminal trial; Repubs deliver impeachment to Senate; Smartmatic, OAN settle 2020 defamation suit...
'Green News Report' 4/16/24
Record ocean heat bleaching corals worldwide; EV charging roads in Indiana; Biden raising drilling, mining royalties for first time in a century; PLUS: A marine mystery in Florida...
Trump's First Criminal Trial, for Cheating in 2016, Begins in NY: 'BradCast' 4/15/24
Special coverage of an historic day with Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos...
Sunday 'Party Like It's 1864' Toons
THIS WEEK: Bad politics, good toonery and at least one wake-up call, in our latest collection of the week's best toons!...
Biden Closes 'Gun Show Loophole'; Repubs Turn Desperate: 'BradCast' 4/11/24
RNC Chair says Ukraine our enemy; GA Lt. Guv faces probe; Fox hides AZ abortion ruling, Hannity blames Dems; WI Justice to retire...
'Green News Report' 4/11/24
10th hottest month ever in a row; Swiss climate inaction violates human rights; PLUS: EPA crack down on airborne chemical plant pollution, 'forever chemicals' in drinking water...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Guest host Nicole Sandler with Raw Story reporter Jordan Green; Also: MI Primary results; McConnell to resign from Leadership role in November...
By Desi Doyen on 2/28/2024 6:00pm PT  

Brad is still under the (non-COVID) weather today, so guest host Nicole Sandler joins us to take the captain's chair for today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

FIRST: We start with some of today's breaking news (and there was a lot of it that came after airtime today, which we'll try to get to tomorrow), beginning in Congress, with Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announcing plans to retire from Senate leadership (although not from the Senate itself) after this November's election. Also, the question of whether the House GOP majority will be able to agree on a government funding package to avoid another Republican government shutdown by Midnight on Friday.

Also today, what to make of the reported results of Tuesday's Primary elections in Michigan, where both Joe Biden and Donald Trump easily won each of their respective party's contests, but where the New York Times and other corporate outlets found a strange way to spin the results. (As Brad pointed out on Twitter last night, Biden faced "significant challenge" in winning over 81% of the vote, while Trump "coasted to victory" with just over 68% on the GOP side against Nikki Haley's 27%, according to the Times' headlines.)

Biden did face just over 13% of Democratic voters who selected "Uncommitted" on Tuesday to register a protest vote against the Administration's policies in Israel amid its brutal invasion of Gaza. We try to offer a bit of context, however, amid the corporate media's too often misleading and/or context-free coverage.

THEN: Nicole speaks with investigative reporter JORDAN GREEN of Raw Story, who has spent months investigating a group of neo-Nazi teenagers who are working to recruit and indoctrinate even younger white kids online. Green reports on the neo-Nazi hate groups who are using the Internet to draw in teenage boys, "grooming children for a race war"; how their parents are reacting; and how these extremist groups have now turned to targeting Green, attempting to menace and intimidate him into halting his reporting.

He reports on being doxxed and seeing protests outside his own home, as the groups use similar fear and intimidation tactics against him that they also use to terrorize blacks, Jews, LGBTQ+ people and others.

Green discusses his investigation of the teen neo-Nazi recruitment group, his fight to protect his family and himself, and his resolve to continue: "That's not going to deter me from reporting," he tells Nicole. "This is the bedrock principle of democracy, to report without fear or favor. So I will continue to do that....They are certainly using the same tactics against journalists that they use against other groups that they dislike."

FINALLY: We finish up today with our latest Green News Report (featuring an ailing Brad!) which happens to be our 15th Anniversary episode! As a new study reveals that extreme weather disasters displaced 2.5 million Americans from their homes in 2023; Texas home prices have plunged in areas affected by a new state flood risk disclosure law; Chicago's lawsuit against Big Oil over climate damages. All of that as we celebrate 15 years of environmental news, politics, analysis and snarky comment over your public airwaves! (Thanks to YOU!)...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Dan Froomkin of Press Watch; Also: A whole bunch of long-overdue accountability news for a whole bunch of rightwingers!...
By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2024 5:03pm PT  

No matter what happens in this year's election, the year will be like none other in the U.S. Are the mainstream media --- which arguably helped lead us to our current mess at the edge of a potential collapse of American democracy --- able to meet the challenge? To serve a nation that badly news an unapologetic press able to call out the corrupted without "both sidesing" every issue? That's where we begin on today's BradCast, before covering a whole bunch of accountability for rightwingers and rightwing organizations in recent days and weeks. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

It seems impossible to believe that the U.S. mainstream media will be able to meet this moment. And yet, there are signs, suggests our guest today, longtime journalist and media critic DAN FROOMKIN of Press Watch, formerly of Washington Post, Huff Post, The Intercept and Harvard's journalism watchdog, the Neiman Foundation.

In a column late last year, Froomkin detailed the "intense internal pressure to defend democracy" that newsrooms will be facing in 2024. The greatest pressure, he reports, is likely to come not from outside those newsrooms, but from inside, where "traditional bosses are still in control," holding fast to "both sides" journalism, but where they are finally being challenged by what he describes as a "silent journalistic majority", an often younger and/or more diverse group of reporters "whose sense of self is defined by more than just not taking sides. It’s defined by informing the public of the truth."

With the stakes now higher than ever, he observes, there are signs, at least, that some in the traditional, unhelpful mainstream are begin to change in order to meet the moment. It's a tall order --- especially after so many decades of failure --- but there are some positive signs that even the traditionalists are beginning to understand the threat posed to American democracy itself by a Republican party which has now all but fallen to the fascistic, autocratic demands of its cult leader.

"The good news --- and it is unusual for me to focus on the good news in the media --- is that I think we're seeing two steps forward, one step back, in that I do see some braver, more honest, more upfront journalism happening on occasion at the major institutions," Froomkin tells me, before adding, "And then every so often, they'll backslide terribly."

He argues that many are "getting really impatient with this 'both-side'-ism, this 'a pox on both your houses' stuff."

"If you talk to any journalist who is not personally invested in the old way of doing things, you'll find that they actually agree with this critique. It is not a radical critique anymore. It is very much a 'How do we do journalism in this day and age?' question. And I think the answer is increasingly becoming that we need to call it out the way we see it. And that we need to stand up for democracy and for a free press, and for core journalistic values. It doesn't mean telling people to go vote Democratic, it doesn't mean being easy on the Democrats. But it does mean pointing out what this danger is right now."

"If Trump takes power, he's going to go after the media. And he will criminalize journalism in a lot of ways, and the free press will be under a lot of pressure. I don't think any journalist can sit there and say, 'I'll be fine if Trump wins.' They should all be terrified," Froomkin asserts, adding: "An increasing number are. You're seeing some of that, for instance, in this story on political violence. That was one of the big issues swept under the rug until recently."

As Froomkin explains, the jury is very much still out. But what he once saw as a "generational project" now needs to happen much quicker. "The stakes feel so high right at this moment --- for obvious reasons --- that I think there’s pretty good chance of change before November," he wrote last month. We'll see if he's right about that.

In the meantime, there has been some encouraging news elsewhere, at least from the court system in recent weeks, resulting in a rush of long-overdue accountability for people and organizations of the corrupted right.

  • Last week, New York Attorney General Tish James' office filed motions seeking $370 million from Donald Trump, his company, and its top executives for years of massive bank, tax and insurance fraud. She is also seeking a lifetime ban from the NY real estate market for Trump, and a five-year ban for his eldest sons. The whole crew has already been found liable by the state judge overseeing the case. The only question now is what the penalties will ultimately be. Closing arguments are this week and Trump will not be allowed to make part of them himself, after failing to agree he would do so without attacking prosecutors, the judge or his staff, or turn the remarks into a political statement.
  • Also last week, Wayne LaPierre, the wildly corrupt 30-year leader of the terrorist-supporting National Rifle Association, finally resigned on the eve of his corruption trial --- also thanks to Tish James in New York --- which began this week. LaPierre and other top NRA officials allegedly bilked millions of dollars from the non-profit organization to fund their own lavish lifestyles. James hopes to force LaPierre and the others to pay it all back and permanently bar them from serving on the board of any NY charity. Thoughts and prayers.
  • Longtime Republican grifter James O'Keefe's sleazy, fake "journalism" organization called Project Veritas, finally seems to be all but permanently dead. That, after O'Keefe was found to have overseen years of "financial malfeasance" according to its Board and newly seated CEO, Hannah Giles, who resigned last month citing "an unsalvageable mess" at the organization, "one wrought with strong evidence of past illegality and past financial improprieties." Giles originally played the "prostitute" in heavily edited videos published years ago by Andrew Breitbart targeting the community organizing and voter registration group ACORN. O'Keefe --- as we spent quite a bit of time some years ago detailing to mainstream media outlets who had also fallen for the hoax --- pretended to have dressed up as a "pimp" in those fraudulent videos. Though scams, they still resulted in rightwing millionaire, billionaire and just plain old dupes donating tens of millions of dollars to O'Keefe's organization over the years in support of their phony, frequently unlawful, partisan schemes targeting groups and individuals on the left. The organization and O'Keefe himself are reportedly under criminal and/or civil investigation for a number of those schemes.
  • Remember Kim Davis? The sleazy, far-right Kentucky county clerk who, in 2015, refused to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples after the U.S. Supreme Court's Obergefell ruling? Last week, a federal judge found her liable for $260,000 in legal fees and expenses incurred by one of the couples who she unlawfully refused to license. In 2022, a federal jury said she had to pay the couple $100,000 in damages. The rightwing legal organization representing Davis for free, Liberty Counsel, says they will appeal the original verdict, the order for attorneys fees, and Obergefell itself at the U.S. Supreme Court.

FINALLY, as today's show ended, it looks like former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has decided to suspend his 2024 GOP Presidential campaign (much as we called for him to do --- if he was truly serious about keeping Trump out of the White House --- on yesterday's program.) The announcement comes just hours before a debate tonight between Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis in advance of Monday's Iowa Caucuses. Presumptive frontrunner Donald Trump won't be at this debate either, but we will have Special Coverage, nonetheless, for some reason, on tomorrow's BradCast...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: John Nichols of 'The Nation'; Also: Jack Smith takes Jan. 6 case to SCOTUS; Trump chickens out in NY fraud trial; Rudy's defamation trial on damages begins...
By Brad Friedman on 12/11/2023 6:21pm PT  

Today on 'The BradCast: Lots of accountability under way for Trump and henchmen. And, also...for progressive author and journalist John Nichols?! [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

FIRST UP: Donald Trump's best, if not only, chance of avoiding a verdict (and potential felony conviction) before next year's Presidential Election (after which, if he wins, he'll have the power to make most, if not all, of his legal troubles disappear) is to delay Special Counsel Jack Smith's federal Jan. 6-related trial against him from proceeding as scheduled on March 4th.

Trump has one legit chance to do that: his legal challenge regarding whether a President enjoys total immunity from criminal prosecution for crimes committed while in office. U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan has already ruled firmly against him. But he has the right to appeal the ruling all the way up the U.S. Supreme Court. The appeals --- first with a three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit, then with the full D.C. Circuit court, and then, eventually, at the U.S. Supreme Court --- could absolutely prevent the trial from beginning or ending before Election Day next year.

So, on Monday, Smith attempted to leapfrog the D.C. appeals court entirely by asking SCOTUS to hear Trump's appeal on an expedited basis. Smith's filing [PDF] to the high court asks: "Whether a former President is absolutely immune from federal prosecution for crimes committed while in office or is constitutionally protected from federal prosecution when he has been impeached but not convicted before the criminal proceedings begin."

The federal prosecutor argues that "it is of imperative public importance that respondent’s claims of immunity be resolved by this Court and that respondent’s trial proceed as promptly as possible if his claim of immunity is rejected."

Citing similar, if very rare, action by SCOTUS in, for example, U.S. v. Nixon, Smith's filing makes the case that "The public importance of the issues, the imminence of the scheduled trial date, and the need for a prompt and final resolution of respondent’s immunity claims counsel in favor of this court’s expedited review at this time."

And now we wait for at least four Justices to agree to take the case up. Everything rides on that and their ultimate ruling --- and the timeliness of same.

MEANWHILE: As far as a substantive defense in the federal Jan. 6-related case in which Trump stands accused of inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol as one of several attempts to steal the 2020 election from Joe Biden, recent filings by Trump, as Washington Post reported last week, "revealed that he has been pressing the Justice Department for information on far-right claims" that the Jan. 6 insurrection was secretly the work of "foreign actors" or "Antifa" or the U.S. Capitol Police somehow in cahoots with Nancy Pelosi, or..."John Nichols," described by WaPo as "a liberal journalist in Wisconsin".

John Nichols?! Our friend and frequent guest John Nichols?! Really?!...Apparently so!

We're joined today by longtime progressive journalist and author JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation, The Progressive and Madison Wisconsin's Capital Times to learn if he, in fact, was at the Capitol on January 6th, 2021 (if not, where was he?); participated in inciting the riot there for some reason; and if he is now, or ever has been, a member of the Deep State?!

His answers today ('In Wisconsin at his daughter's orthodontist office'; 'No.'; And 'No.') may not surprise you!

So, how did all this happen? How did he come to be named in a Trump filing? Should we believe his many alibis (like filing an article at The Nation and speaking on the phone to many locked-down members of Congress that day)? Has he received any threats from MAGA in light of these Trump allegations? And what does any of this actually mean? Well...Nichols is here to explain it all to you.

FINALLY: Trump's $250 million New York State fraud case against him, his companies and his top executives (including his two eldest sons) was to reach a zenith today in Manhattan with the long-promised testimony of Donald Trump himself. On Sunday night, however, he announced on his social media cite he was chickening out and wouldn't be testifying after all. Surprised?

Also today, the civil defamation trial against Trump's disgraced alleged criminal co-conspirator Rudy Giuliani got under way in D.C. During the pre-trial proceedings, the federal judge in the case had already found Rudy guilty of defamation against Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss. He falsely accused them of rigging the election in Atlanta against Trump in the Fulton County counting room in 2020, charging that the two black women were secretly seen on video surveillance tapes passing USB thumb drives back and forth "like they were vials of heroin or cocaine."

They weren't. Freeman was, however, handing her daughter Moss a ginger mint and their lives have been turned upside by the baseless claims repeatedly made by Giuliani, Trump and his many supporters and the vile threats which followed them. The trial is now only needed to determine the amount of damages against the former New York City Mayor. The pair are seeking between $15.5 and $43 million. Giuliani's attorney admitted in his opening statements that Rudy lied about the two women, but he argued that the amount they are seeking "would be the end of Mr. Giuliani."

We can only hope so.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Not suitable for children or adults of any age...
By Brad Friedman on 11/22/2023 12:04pm PT  

Desi and I were happy(ish) to take a break from our holiday break to join our friend Nicole Sandler on her live show on Tuesday. (She had otherwise planned to take the day off as well, until we decided to show up and ruin her plans.)

A few folks, via email, Twitter, and her live chat room during and after the program, reported hilarity. You may decide if they are correct. Either way, since it is an Internet Only show, the language may or may not be appropriate for children. Or for you. Though we do hope it goes down well either before or after Turkey and stuffing...

11-21-23 Nicole Sandler Show -
A Special Live Show with Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen

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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...

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

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Also: 'Blue Wave' in NE; OH, MO Repubs gaming ballot initiatives; DeSantis suppressing more FL voters; Proud Boys guilty; Trump's NYT suit tossed; More gob-smacking Clarence Thomas corruption...
By Brad Friedman on 5/4/2023 6:53pm PT  

There was far too much news to fit into one BradCast today. We tried to do it anyway. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among our many stories...

  • It was difficult to notice this week, but there was yet another very good election day on Tuesday for non-Rightwingers, including more bad news for MAGA World in several local contests around the country. In Lincoln, Nebraska, incumbent Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird, supported by Democrats, defeated a well-funded opponent supported by the state's billionaire Republican U.S. Senator (and former Governor) Pete Ricketts and fellow billionaire publisher Thomas Peed. Gaylor Baird won by nearly 10 points. Apparently, ads describing Lincoln, the state capital, as a dystopian hellhole did not go over well with voters...in Lincoln.
  • A MAGA election conspiracist and local elections clerk named Stephanie Scott (pictured above), was tossed out of her job in a rare recall election on Tuesday in Adams Township, Michigan in Hillsdale County, one of the state's most Republican-leaning areas. Scott is under state criminal investigation after refusing to turn over her town's computer vote tabulator in 2021, which she believed held evidence of fraud revealing Democrats had stolen the state's Presidential election in 2020. That, in a town that Trump/Pence won with 75% of the vote that year. (If the story sounds familiar, see Tina Peters, former Mesa County, Colorado Clerk, who has since been tossed out of her job and indicted on 10 counts.) This appears to be part of the multi-state MAGA conspiracy to breach voting systems, hatched at the Trump White House in December 2020, as we detailed again last week. Scott was defeated by a 2 to 1 margin on Tuesday by an independent challenger running on the slogan "Make Adams Township Boring Again".
  • But, if ya can't beat 'em, suppress their vote! That seems to be the Republican plan for "winning" elections from here on out, apparently. After losing statewide ballot initiatives that would have restricted abortion rights last year, including in so-called "red" states like Kansas and Kentucky, the GOP is now hoping to game the ballot initiative process itself in several states. The most immediate and noteworthy is Ohio, where supporters of reproductive freedom hope to place an initiative on the ballot in November to establish a state Constitutional right to abortion. But Republicans, who just four months ago adopted a statute ending costly August elections, are now moving to place an amendment on the ballot in a $20 million Special Election in August that would raise the requirement for adoption of Constitutional Amendments from a simple majority vote to a required 60% for passage. (Ironically, the GOP lawmakers own Amendment, if voted on in August, would only require 50% to be adopted.) Other gerrymandered GOP states are now attempted to do the same thing, including Missouri, where Republican lawmakers there are doing something arguably even more insidious in their own attempt to fool voters into supporting their anti-democracy measure.
  • And then there's Florida, where democracy goes to die. The state legislature has just passed a one of their final gifts to beleaguered Presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis: a 96-page law that will, among other things, severely restrict voter registration by nonpartisan third-party organizations. As recent research finds, Black and Latino voters are more than five times more likely to be registered by third-party groups than White voters. DeSantis is expected to sign the legislation soon as one of his last official acts before declaring his 2024 candidacy. It will be the third year in a row that Sunshine State Republicans have adopted new voting restrictions.
  • A D.C. jury on Thursday convicted four members of the far-right, racist militia group, Proud Boys, of seditious conspiracy, obstructing an official proceeding, conspiring to impede Congress from performing its duties, obstructing law enforcement and other federal crimes related to their participation in Donald Trump's Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The charges for conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding both carry sentences of up to 20 years in prison. Their former leader, like Donald Trump, was not even at the Capitol during the riot, but was among those found guilty. All of that good news is likely very bad news for the former President and the specific federal charges likely to soon be brought against him.
  • In still more bad news for Trump today, his lawsuit against the New York Times and several of their reporters, charging an "insidious plot" to obtain his tax records resulting in Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting by the paper, was tossed out by a New York judge on Wednesday. Moreover, the judge --- finding Trump's claims "fail as a matter of constitutional law" and that the paper's newsgathering efforts were "the very core of protected First Amendment activity" --- ordered Trump to pay all of the attorneys fees, legal expenses and other associated costs for the Times and their reporters.
  • ProPublica strikes again. First they revealed that GOP megadonor Harlan Crow showered U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for decades with hundreds of thousands of dollars in luxury vacations which he unlawfully failed to disclose. Then they reported that Crow had actually purchased Thomas' mother's house from him, made nearly $40,000 worth of improvements to it, and has allowed the corrupt Justices mom in it, rent-free, ever since. None of that was ever disclosed by Thomas either, in violation of the law. And now, on Wednesday, they did it again. Their latest bombshell scoop documents how Crow's company paid for years of tuition to private schools for Thomas' grandnephew who the nation's longest serving Justice says he raised "as a son" since taking legal custody at the age of 6. The tuition for the boy, now in his 30s, amounted to approximately $100,000. Congressional Republicans continue to applaud the unspeakably corrupt Thomas.
  • Finally, as you haven't had enough already today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report to detail the unprecedented heat wave in Spain, as Italy's rivers dry up; the EU's passage of "the biggest climate protection law of all time"; and New York's adoption of a landmark law banning natural gas hookups in new building construction...

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Guest: Jamie Corey of Documented; Also: RW culture war issues bombing at polls; Disney sues DeSantis; Nunes' suits tossed by Trump judge...
By Brad Friedman on 4/26/2023 6:33pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Their positions on actual issues are wildly unpopular. Their phony culture war issues are bombing. Is it any wonder the GOP's best chance may now simply be to prevent their opponents from being able to cast a vote at all?

On today's program...

MICKEY MOUSE GOVERNOR: The Walt Disney Co. sued Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis today in response to "a relentless campaign to weaponize government power against Disney in retaliation for expressing a political viewpoint unpopular with certain State officials." That, after the company dared oppose the official state position in favor of banning free speech in schools.

COW GOES MOO: A Donald Trump-appointed federal judge has tossed out libel lawsuits filed by doofus Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) against an Esquire journalist and its publisher for reporting that the wingnut former Congressman turned Trump social media CEO's family farm "knowingly" employed hundreds of undocumented workers. The judge found the reporting to to be "substantially, objectively true." Almost all 10 of the similarly ill-considered suits Nunes filed against perceived opponents in 2019 have now been dismissed. Only two of them, against anonymous Twitter accounts named "Devin Nunes' Mom" and "Devin Nunes' Cow" remain.

BOARD SILLY: While progressives scored big in marquee contests during the April 4 elections --- liberals won a majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court for the first time in 15 years, and former teacher and union member Brandon Johnson became Chicago's mayor --- far-right MAGA school board candidates running on phony culture war issues "flamed out", according to Politico, in both Illinois and Wisconsin. They didn't do much better last November, even in "red" states like Missouri and Oklahoma. But GOP operatives apparently plan to keep choking the same chicken in elections later this year and in 2024, even as voters appear to prefer funding schools and keeping kids safe at them, over banning books, stifling free speech, and cancelling LGBTQ kids.

WOULDA WON BUT FOR THOSE MEDDLING (VOTING) KIDS!: Last week, longtime GOP attorney and vote suppressor Cleta Mitchell was caught in an audio recording obtained by Undercurrents' Lauren Windsor at a GOP donor event in Nashville, discussing plans to "combat" young voters by preventing them from voting on campuses in Virginia, North Carolina and elsewhere. She even vowed that Republican lawmakers may be able to eliminate 45 days of early voting and same day voter registration if they played their cards right, and kept giving money to her insidiously named "Election Integrity Network". If Mitchell's name is familiar, it's because she was on that infamous January 2021 phone call with Donald Trump hoping to strong-arm the Georgia Sec. of State into "finding" 11,000 votes to steal the state's Presidential election from Joe Biden.

SEND IN THE CLOWNS: It's bad enough to push secret vote suppression schemes to GOP donors. It's reprehensible for top state Republican election officials to participate in such schemes. But that's exactly what happened at a so-called "Secretaries of State Conference" sponsored by the far-right Heritage Foundation and other anti-democracy groups in February. Documented, a nonprofit watchdog organization, obtained the agenda for the secret conference in which only Republican Secretaries of State were invited to participate.

It was led by longtime, notorious GOP "Voter Fraud" fraudsters and liars like Hans Von Spakovsky, J. Christian Adams, J. Kenneth Blackwell and perhaps most shamefully, current U.S. Election Assistance Commissioner Donald Palmer (appointed to the bipartisan federal agency by Trump). They all schemed with top election officials from 13 GOP-controlled states --- including the chief election officials from Indiana, Florida, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia --- in a secret, off-the-record two-day confab.

We're joined today to discuss this appalling revelation by JAMIE COREY, a Senior Researcher at Documented who, with The Guardian's Ed Pilkington, exposed the entire pathetic affair, which, as Von Spakovsky insisted in an email she obtained, was "not a public event. It is a private, confidential meeting of the secretaries." --- Well, the Republican ones anyway, the ones who are supposed to run both state and federal elections in a non-partisan way.

"According to the event invitation we obtained, this is actually the sixth year in a row that they've held this event," says Corey. "And they have privately bragged --- Hans has --- to donors that they are excited that it's just for conservative Secretaries of State. No Democrats allowed."

"Voters should be concerned when you have election officials participating in a private, confidential meeting with former Trump associates, top voter suppression proponents, and groups who have been actively pushing false claims around elections," she explains. "As the agenda pointed out, there was a cocktail reception and dinner after the first day of substantive sessions wrapped up. So what you have there is top election officials, who are going to be overseeing the 2024 Presidential Election in their respective states, wining and dining with all these problematic people."

WHAT'S GOING ON?: Finally, after a few breaking news headlines, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report as the Biden EPA launches a landmark effort to curb power plant carbon pollution; as Earth hits grim new records; as President Biden opens an office of environmental justice in the White House; and as the U.S. Supreme Court does something right for a rare change. Are they okay?

SHOW NOTE!: We're off tomorrow for unavoidable reasons. As Tucker Carlson once said, see ya next week!...

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Guests: Political scientists Tarah Williams and Andrew Bloeser of Allegheny College; Also: Tucker, House GOP stepping on rakes...
By Brad Friedman on 3/8/2023 7:06pm PT  

Much of our politics in the U.S. these days warrants more mockery and less outrage. Some, however, warrants more concern than Americans may yet fully appreciate. We discuss all of the above on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up, we started the year with many Democrats troubled by what Republicans might do with their Committee "investigations" upon gaining back majority control of the U.S. House. We advised at the time that the promised Committee probes of stuff like Hunter Biden and the so-called "weaponization" of the U.S. Government were more likely than not to backfire on Republicans.

If last week's impressively aggressive response by House Democrats to Chair Jim Jordan's supposed FBI "whistleblowers" is any indication, things are already going quickly South for them. The Dems' 300+ page report [PDF] details the testimony and backgrounds of the first of these "whistleblowers" to be interviewed by the new House Select Subcommittee on the "Weaponization of the U.S. Government." They turn out not to be whistleblowers at all, but paid Donald Trump shills and disgruntled conspiracists who are unable to cite any actual violations of law, according to the Democrats report.

In a similar vein, we strongly recommend mockery as the correct response to Tucker Carlson's silly, cherry-picked segments this week, supposedly based on 40,000 or so hours of U.S. Capitol security camera footage from January 6, 2021, turned over to him by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Tucker is hoping to rewrite the history and known facts of Trump's deadly insurrection as little more than "sightseeing" and "mostly peaceful chaos". As it turns out, the U.S. Capitol Police chief, top elected Republicans in the Capitol that day, and, yes, even Fox "News" itself, seem to strongly disagree with Tucker's attempted revision of history.

But, while much of the phony outrage by far-right trolls like Carlson and Jordan deserve more laughter and mockery than outrage or panic from Dems, there is still plenty to be concerned about in our post-Trump politics, according to fascinating findings from researchers based on a nationally representative survey of 1,500 Americans from strong Democrats to independents to strong Republicans.

One of the most alarming findings is that "majorities of every political stripe agree or strongly agree with" the statement that "the only way our country can solve its current problems is by supporting tough leaders who will crack down on those who undermine American values. "

That, of course, sounds somewhat like authoritarianism, though the researchers left concepts like "current problems", "crack[ing] down", and "American values" intentionally vague in their survey for reasons they explain on today's program.

We're joined today by two of the report's four authors, Allegheny College Asst. Professor of Political Science TARAH WILLIAMS and Associate Professor ANDREW BLOESER, Director of the college's Center for Political Participation. Their recent article, summarizing their study's findings, leads with the troubling news of majorities, across all partisan lines, who support "crack[ing] down on those who undermine American values."

"It was fairly remarkable," Williams explains. "We anticipate that those who are answering this as Strong Democrats vs. Strong Republicans may have quite different visions of those folks who undermine American values. But the fact that there is this visible support across the board, we thought was really quite concerning."

The researchers discuss findings on partisan positions regarding things like "bending the rules" or "using rough language" to criticize political rivals or to "get things done," as well as how Americans feel about shutting down news organizations "attempting to undermine American values". Unsurprisingly (if still disturbingly) 72% of self-identified "strong Republicans" either agree or strongly agree with shutting down news organizations. Troubling in another way, a third (33%) of Strong Democrats feel the same way!

As to why some of the terms used in the survey are left intentionally vague, Bloeser explains, "Respondents may have their own ideas about what 'American values' mean to them. The next critical question is, 'What would you do in the service of your values? You believe that you are right, therefore, are you willing to say some groups in society should be, in a very blanket way, criticized, demeaned? Do you think that we should shut down the free press, something that is clearly anti-democratic? Do you think that it's fair for a leader to bend the rules for some groups in society to the detriment of others?' So you might have a variety of different goals that you think are noble in mind, but at the point where you're willing to undermine democracy, you're trading in something pretty significant there."

"Significant proportions of people across the political spectrum, but especially on the political right - Republicans and Strong Republicans --- are willing to say that crackdowns on entire groups, shutting down the free press, and bending the rules for people like them would be acceptable in service of what they think America should be. And that really is the pattern that we want be concerned about."

"It's not a tie," Bloeser is careful to note. "We certainly see it more on the political Right among self-identified Republicans. But the fact that some of those attitudes also exist fairly widely among Democrats should also be a concern. Because when one group starts to see another group as an existential threat, these are the things that can pull apart the fabric of society, and that can really undermine democracy."

Their study, published by Cambridge University Press, is titled "Are Stealth Democrats Really Committed to Democracy?" Williams makes clear that the reference is to small "d" democrats, as opposed to the Democratic Party.

"'Stealth democracy' is a notion that there are some individuals who would prefer a government that they don't really have to see," she tells me. "They don't like high-conflict politics. They think people making compromises is weak or failing to represent values. And they think it's a slog, which, let's be honest, policy-making is. So for those reasons, people who tend to be stealth democrats tend to prefer this expedient process that in a lot of ways looks distinct from what we think about as the necessary machinations of democracy."

As I note in response, "stealth democracy" sounds a whole lot like autocracy to me. Neither Williams nor Bloeser seem to disagree...

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Guest: ACLU's Ben Wizner; Also: Results from KS abortion amendment recount; Dems quietly outsmart GOP/SCOTUS on climate; More...
By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2022 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Based on the FBI's unsealed warrant for their recent court-approved search at Mar-a-Lago, we now know that our disgraced former President is being criminally investigated by the Dept. of Justice for violation of at least three federal statutes. One of them --- the one which has arguably received the most headlines --- is the Espionage Act. But that very broad federal statute has been wildly misused by the government over the years to target free political speech and, in modern days, both whistleblowers and journalists. Today, we speak with national security whistleblower Edward Snowden's lead ACLU attorney in hopes of better understanding the controversial law, what's wrong with it, how it needs to be amended, and if it is now properly being applied against Donald Trump. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up, however, as primary elections are underway in New York, Florida and Oklahoma today (noteworthy results and problem reports for voters on our next 'BradCast'), we wanted to close a loop on a story we reported last week. Anti-abortion activists in Kansas had hoped for a statewide hand recount of the ballot measure for a state constitutional amendment that failed so thoroughly during their primary elections earlier this month. The measure, trounced by about 18 points, would have allowed state Republicans to ban abortion rights in Kansas. Activists vaguely claimed there was evidence of fraud and asked for a hand-count of 9 of the state's largest counties after failing to raise enough money to count the whole state. That hand-count was completed over the weekend and very few votes changed at all. The "Yes" campaign netted an additional 63 votes out of more than 556,000 tallied by hand in those counties.

We've got some thoughts on that hand count to share today, including a response to the Kansas Sec. of State who claims the hand-count "proves once and for all that there is no systemic election fraud in our state's election process" (it doesn't) and for Democrats who decry lawful, public hand-counts --- paid for by challengers, even if they are loony ones --- as undermining our election system. They don't. In fact, they add confidence to it. Tune in for more.

Next, on Monday night, the New York Times reported that Donald Trump stole at least 300 documents marked as classified, many of them said to be incredibly sensitive national security documents. (Contrast that with the total of 3 documents found to have been sent to Hillary Clinton via her private email address marked as classified, for which Trump and his supporters railed to "LOCK HER UP!" for so many years.) All told, it took a year and a half to get those stolen documents back, after a year of negotiation and pleading by the National Archives, a grand jury subpoena from the DoJ, a personal visit to Mar-a-Lago by its top counter-espionage official, and, ultimately, the FBI search earlier this month.

Throughout that time, the paper reports, "Trump went through the boxes himself in late 2021," before failing to turn them all in and, even now, it is unknown if all of the stolen documents have yet been returned. Whether marked as classified or not --- and whether Trump declassified them or not (he didn't) --- it was still illegal for Trump to have any of them in his possession.

The federal search warrant revealed that he is being investigated for, among other things, violation of the Espionage Act. Writing last week at Politico, the Knight First Amendment Institute's Jameel Jaffer, formerly of the ACLU, argued that the Act has been abused over the years in its application against whistleblowers and journalists, such as Chelsea Manning (who released classified documents revealing war crimes by the U.S. Military), Reality Winner (who released a classified document revealing Russia's 2016 breach of U.S. voter registration systems) and, more recently, WikiLeak's Julian Assange.

But, Jaffer writes, while the overly-broad law desperately needs to be amended or even scrapped entirely, its use against Trump appears to be perfectly appropriate.

We're joined today by BEN WIZNER of the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. Wizner serves as the principal legal advisor for Edward Snowden, the national security whistleblower who, charged with Espionage Act crimes, is currently living in Russia to avoid prosecution.

Wizner explains the many problems with the more than 100-year old law as it was originally used --- before being somewhat amended decades later --- to prosecute thousands of Americans for legitimate political speech. "In fact, the abuses of the Espionage Act at the outset really had something to do with the formation of the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920," he tells me. "It was used by Woodrow Wilson's administration to go after pacifists and anti-war activists, labor activists. Eugene Debs was prosecuted and imprisoned under the Espionage Act. So in its early years, it really is associated with all of the excesses of the first Red Scare and the crackdown on dissent, and immigrants and other radicals." (Debs ultimately ran for President from his prison cell, as Trump may now wish to take note.)

"In it's modern history, the core critique of the Espionage Act has been that it doesn't distinguish between selling the country's secrets to a foreign adversary for personal gain and sharing those same secrets with respected journalists in the public interest," Wizner explains. "In the Snowden case, you have somebody who shared information with news organizations. Those news organizations won the highest awards in journalism, a public interest Pulitzer Prize [based on documents from Snowden.]

But the most egregious part of the Espionage Act, as Wizner notes regarding Snowden's case and his exile abroad: "He's not able to argue, if he's brought to court under this law, that he was acting in the public interest, [and] that in fact the law [was] changed as a result of his actions. All of that would be irrelevant and inadmissible under an Espionage Act prosecution."

In other words, Snowden would be disallowed from even offering a defense for what he did. "The first person ever prosecuted under the Espionage Act for leaks to the press in the public interest, rather than trying to provide secrets to a foreign entity was, of course, the Pentagon Papers whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg, in 1971," Wizner reminds us. (We discussed Snowden's case with Ellsberg on the show back in 2013. Audio and transcript here.)

There is much more to discuss about this bad law and the need to amend it, as several lawmakers from both major parties have long been trying to do. Tune in for that.

As to whether Wizner agrees with his former ACLU colleague, Jaffer, regarding the Espionage Act's correct application against Trump? While he argues "there's no good justification for what Trump did here," Wizner says he is keeping powder dry" regarding Trump's alleged Espionage Act violations. "I am very open to the possibility that when we find out why they cited that statute, I will be a full-throated advocate of what they did in this case. I'm just saying I don't have the information yet to be that full-throated advocate...It matters what those documents were. The fact that they were marked classified is a key fact. I still want to know what was in them."

"I believe Jameel Jaffer is correct that the concerns that the ACLU and other have raised about the Espionage Act are not implicated here," Wizner tells me. "We've been saying you shouldn't equate two different categories --- spies and whistleblowers. What we have here is a third category."

Finally, after some breaking news on President Biden reportedly deciding to forgive up to $10,000 in student loans for some federal borrowers, and Desi Doyen's explanation of how Democrats may have quietly and ingeniously outsmarted both Republicans and their stolen U.S. Supreme Court majority by declaring carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses to be "pollutants" in their recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, she joins us for our latest Green News Report, as the summer of extreme extreme weather continues...

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More transmissible Omicron variant rising; Ukraine keeps sense of humor amid war; Russia's dark lies and celebration of Tucker Carlson; 'Censorship' on YouTube...
By Brad Friedman on 3/14/2022 6:22pm PT  

These are dark days indeed when the rise of a new Omicron variant turns out to be one of the lighter moments on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

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

  • Some real light amid the darkness. It's the one day of the year when we try to celebrate the one thing that Congress did when it was controlled by Republicans during the George W. Bush era that WASN'T terrible. It was actually good! (Though at least one caller today disagrees.) And, no, it wasn't the 25-year extension of the Voting Rights Act in 2006 (which was great! But they, obviously, didn't actually mean it as anything more than a failed election year ploy.)
  • Sorry! But don't throw those masks away yet! Yes, we're all tired of COVID. But, no, it doesn't not appear to be tired of us yet. A new variant of Omicron --- dubbed "BA.2" or "stealth Omicron" or "Deltacron" --- is potentially 30% more transmissible than the highly infectious original Omicron variant, and its rising right now, and quickly, in parts of Europe and Asia. Luckily, it could never get here, right? Oops. It already has. (HELPFUL REMINDER: Now is the perfect time to get boosted if you haven't bothered yet! Seriously.)
  • Snark amid the horror. The chief of Ukraine's anti-corruption agency writes a letter to the head of Russia's Ministry of Defense, "thanking" him for his embezzlement of the Russian military. The result, as alleged in his pretty hilarious letter (with photos): Russian tanks with armor filled with cardboard egg cartons; Bright light blue military transport vehicles that make for easy target practice for Ukrainian forces; "Bullet-proof" vests filled with cardboard.
  • Russian propaganda debunked by AP. A particularly dark episode, the bombing of a maternity hospital last week in Mariupol, was all a fake, according to Russian officials. AP journalist and photographers, who were first-hand witnesses, however, report otherwise. They also follow up to report that one of the pregnant women at the hospital, videotaped as she was carried away on a stretcher through the rubble after the attack, has now died along with her unborn child.
  • Russia media propaganda ministry makes Tucker Carlson a star! Yes, the Fox "News" anchor is repeatedly referenced in leaked memos sent to Putin's state-controlled media, urging them to play more clips of his various monologues from the Republican news channel repeating Kremlin propaganda. He's the only Western media star so cited in the several communiques obtained Mother Jones.
  • YouTube blocks Russian propaganda channels. But ends up blocking a whole bunch of stuff that isn't Russian propaganda, including a bunch of my own appearances on RT over the years, long before they became little more than a mouthpiece for Putin. Is the loss of access to those videos (many of them previously embedded at The BRAD BLOG) a price worth paying to fight autocracy during wartime? We discuss, and have a bit of time (though very little) for a few callers who ring in today...

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Guests: Kate Neiswender and Kim Andrew Elliott on a U.S. crowd-funded grassroots effort reviving Cold War tech to counter propaganda inside Putin's new Iron Curtain; And, yes, Russians love their children too...
By Brad Friedman on 3/11/2022 6:18pm PT  

In what would be a dream world for our previous President, who declared the media to be "the enemy of the people" just before his infamous 2018 meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Russia has now criminalized pretty much any and all independent media. But our guests on today's BradCast have a really cool and, yes, retro idea about how to help counter Russia's media blackout. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among other restrictions, Putin's new censorship law, adopted just after his invasion of Ukraine, mandates harsh penalties, including jail time, for the crime of reporting on the invasion as an "invasion" or "war". Independent outlets have been forced to shutter or have stopped covering the war at all. Western media outlets have pulled their reporters and Russia has closed Internet access to websites of foreign state-run media outlets such as Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, the BBC and Deutsche Welle.

Kremlin-approved propaganda is now all that many Russians have access to, where they are being told that Russia's barbaric military assault on its sovereign neighbor --- including its civilian population --- is little more than a minor, "special military operation" meant to "demilitarize and denazify" Ukraine. Civilians are not being harmed, and anyone who says otherwise is reporting "fake news," the Kremlin insists.

Of late, however, as Julia Davis reported yesterday at The Daily Beast, some cracks are beginning to appear, even on Kremlin-approved television, including one of Moscow's most popular evening news programs, whose Putin-friendly host has been sanctioned by the EU and where nightly broadcasts frequently end with clips of monologues by Fox 'News' star Tucker Carlson.

For most Russians, however, there is very little access to independent, outside reporting to counter the official state media narrative. Our guests today, attorney KATE NEISWENDER and former longtime Voice of America employee and shortwave radio enthusiast KIM ANDREW ELLIOTT are part of a small, grassroots effort aiming to revive a Cold War technology in hopes of helping counter the information desert inside of Putin's new Iron Curtain.

Dubbed #ShortwavesForFreedom on social media, the new project has begun raising money to fund re-broadcasts of Voice of America (VOA) programming into Ukraine and Russia via shortwave frequencies. While the BBC World Service announced this week they were reviving their old shortwave broadcasts into the former Soviet Union, the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty --- both managed by the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) --- have declined to do so, at least so far.

Neiswender, Elliott and a number of other VOA veterans and supporters aim to fill that gap with a crowd-funded effort. The group has already raised enough over just the past week or so to get up and running --- rebroadcasting some of VOA's programming (which is all public domain) --- into Europe via shortwave transmission from Florida station, WRMI Radio Miami International.

They both join us today to explain, among other things: How this effort came together in just over a week's time; how they hope to expand from English-language programming to broadcasts in both Ukrainian and Russian; why they believe VOA (actually, USAGM) has yet to take this step themselves; and how a very small amount of money can go a very long way in this project, as they seek additional broadcasters to help transmit shortwave programming from both the U.S. and Europe.

Does anyone in Russia still even have access to the equipment needed to listen to the broadcasts? "Well, nowadays for sure, fewer people will be listening to shortwave and fewer people have shortwave radios," Elliott explains. "But, when the Internet is cut, squeezed, blocked, and at some point maybe even with lines into the country cut off, radio will be the only way to get in to the country. And then, the people in those countries will have to try to find their old Soviet-era shortwave radios." He believes "that audience can pass the information on to the larger audience in those countries."

Will Russian audiences have any more confidence that what they are hearing from Western state-run outlets like VOA is any more reliable than what their own state-approved outlets are telling them? "VOA and RFE (Radio Free Europe) have a government-imposed, in-the-code-written-by-Congress, can't-get-around-it mandate to be fair," Neiswender argues. She's referring to USAGM's Charter, adopted during the Ford Administration, which one VOA journalist has explained to me, means that, "We're probably the only news organization in the world that is mandated to be fair, objective and unbiased."

Whether VOA and RFE's reports are perceived as such by listeners inside of Russia and Ukraine is another matter, but their broadcasts did serve as an information lifeline to many behind the old Iron Curtain for many decades of the Cold War.

For now, the effort is already working. Elliott, who spent more than 30 years as a broadcaster and audience analyst at VOA tells us that "the signal is getting through to a very large extent, and sometimes with really good reception quality. Direct feedback from the audience, that will take some days and weeks as the word gets around that these transmissions are available. Already, WRMI received a note from a diplomat in Egypt who heard the Russian transmission. It is getting through."

Neiswender says that the project's success is only a matter of raising funds to keep going and expand their reach. The effort is crowdsourced with a fund raiser at Fundrazr.com/RadioWaves. A very small amount of money goes a long way here, she insists. They are already up and broadcasting after raising just over $6,000.

All of the money, "goes directly to the stations. No one is getting a dime from this that is organizing it or running it. Every cent of the money that is coming in is going directly back out to fund these transmissions," she notes.

It's a fascinating conversation about a fascinating project that I believe is well worth your time today, even as these are very strange days indeed.

Finally, we close with one more fascinating story, and a song. The story comes, ironically enough, courtesy of Fox "News", regarding Marina Baronova, the now-former Managing Editor of Russia's state-owned media outlet Russia Today (RT). She resigned her post last week in protest of Putin's invasion of Ukraine. She now fears for her life, though not necessarily for the reasons you may assume. And her interview with Fox concludes with this message: "Russians love their children, too."

As it happens, Grammy-winner Sting, last weekend, posted an Instagram video singing his 1985 tune called "Russians" which, he says, he has rarely sung since the end of the Cold War. Now, as you'll hear, it has new relevance. Apparently even for Baronova...

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Guest: The American Prospect's David Dayen on the magazine's ambitious Special Issue: Also: Gun-maker settles with Sandy Hook families; Prince Andrew settles sex-abuse case; Palin loses (again); Putin blinks?...
By Brad Friedman on 2/15/2022 6:05pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, we tackle another small, totally easy to solve issue: Untangling the worldwide supply chain debacle. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But, before that, at least a few stories seem to be resolving themselves today...

  • Nine families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre settled their lawsuit with Remington, the manufacturer and marketer of the semi-automatic rifle used to kill their family members, for $73 million. The deal is noteworthy because federal law bans such suits against the gun industry, but Connecticut law does not. In this case, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Remington's attempt to block the suit based on the protections in federal law.
  • Prince Andrew settled a lawsuit filed against him by a woman who says she was 17-years old when she was sexually abused by Andrew, as coerced by the late financier and child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. The settlement includes an undisclosed donation to the charity of the victim, Virginia Giuffre, and an acknowledgement by Andrew that she has suffered abuse as a victim It is unknown if Giuffre will personally receive any money as part of the agreement.
  • Both a jury and a judge helped settle former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's defamation lawsuit against the New York Times by rejecting it in no uncertain terms. On Tuesday, the jury in the civil trial brought by Palin found the Times' editorial board not guilty of libeling the former GOP Vice Presidential nominee. The paper had erroneously cited a "clear link" between a map published by a Palin campaign websites featuring a gun site on certain Congressional districts --- including then Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords' --- and the 2013 mass shooting in Tuscon that killed six people and critically injured the Congresswoman. The jury's rejection of Palin's suit came the day after the judge, as the jury was still deliberating, declared that he planned to dismiss the case anyway after finding that Palin failed to prove the paper acted maliciously against her. For its part, the Times described the verdict as "reaffirmation of a fundamental tenet of American law: public figures should not be permitted to use libel suits to punish or intimidate news organizations that make, acknowledge and swiftly correct unintentional errors."
  • And, in the weeks-long Russian/Ukraine military stand-off, there was a long-awaited easing of tensions as President Putin announced that Russia was ready for talks with the U.S. and NATO on a number of issues and that some Russian forces on the border with Ukraine would be withdrawing. President Biden, however, in remarks this afternoon at the White House, said the U.S. had "not yet verified" any troop withdraws and that a Russian invasion of Ukraine remained a possibility. The White House noted, however, that the U.S. remains opens to high-level diplomacy in hopes of avoiding military conflict in Europe.

On that news, Wall Street rallied after weeks of saber-rattling had weighed down the market and helped send oil and gas prices through the roof, serving as another reminder today of just one more way that our vulnerable supply chain can wreak havoc on an otherwise booming economy.

As it turns out, The American Prospect recently devoted an entire Special Issue for February to a very related topic: "The Supply Chain Debacle: How bad policy—outsourcing, financialization, monopolization, deregulation, and just-in-time logistics—broke our supply chains, raised costs and caused shortages."

We're joined today by The Prospect's Executive Editor and author David Dayen to help us untangle the mess that has been made over the past 40 or 50 years, under both political parties in this rare case, of a supply chain that has exposed its vulnerabilities with the onset of the COVID pandemic two years ago. But since then, it has continued to reveal its ill-designed brittleness and the very serious threat it poses to America's economic security.

Dayen walks us through how his Special Issue delves into the broad failures of the supply chain, largely put in place over the years by the Wall Street "free market" to maximize corporate profit at the expense of American jobs and national security...in exchange for cheap prices on goods! As Dayen details, the problems here are not one single failure across the chain, but as he breaks down, "multiple 'single points of failure'" across industry after industry all along the broken chain.

"We designed a system over the course of decades --- both parties --- that had lean inventories, that relied on offshore production, that relied on this concept of globalization," he explains. "That allowed the production facilities to become very concentrated. That allowed the spokes within the system to become concentrated. That deregulated everything to try to lower prices on shipping and transportation. And that allowed Wall Street to take the primary role in governing these efforts --- in other words, telling corporations 'Yes, you have to move your production offshore for cheap labor', and 'We have to deregulate these industries so that costs stay low,' and 'You have to have just-in-time production so that you don't have any inventory sitting around just wasting money, and we're spending too much money on warehouses.'"

With this precarious, profit-driven system in place, Dayen steps through The Prospect's full team coverage of how a virus breaking out in a manufacturing hub in China can shut down the entire system. Any sudden increase in a demand for goods --- say, during a pandemic --- ends up tying the giant, oligopolized over-seas container shipping system into knots and stranding massive cargo ships at sea while there is no room left for off-loading at U.S. ports. Once finally off-loaded, sometimes after months waiting in line off-shore, a U.S. rail system run by just a couple of companies and a trucking system that doesn't pay workers nearly enough for their efforts further bottlenecks the process. Then there's the vast lack of warehouse space for all those goods if they can ever get to where they need to be. All the while, these disruptions and failures work to the benefit of the largest distributors --- like Amazon and Walmart --- while cutting the knees out from under independent retailers and raising prices for everyone. So much for those low prices that consumers, at least, were supposed to get out of the deal.

But, as Dayen also explains, it doesn't take a pandemic. A cross-border bridge protest in Canada, saber-rattling in Eastern Europe or the Middle East and, perhaps even more crippling to the supply chain over the past year than anything else, climate change related disasters which promise to only get much more frequent and severe in the years ahead.

"The problem is the supply chain is run on these knife-edge principles that make it impossible for it to adjust to a shift up in demand. That is the entire problem," he argues. "So people who go on and say, 'No, this isn't a problem, it's just this shift. Everything will be fine.' They're missing the point. The point is that this lack of adjustment reflects problems with how the system is engineered."

And, yes, Dayen has advice on how to re-engineer the entire system. The good news, he also explains, is that both corporations and members of Congress --- from BOTH parties --- seem to finally be getting it. They are looking at and passing bills that encourage (and spend money on) the regionalization and onshoring of manufacturing back here in the U.S., and the Biden administration is investing heavily --- when Congress allows them --- into a number of long-overdue fixes.

It may all sound dry on paper, but it's actually a fascinating and very lively conversation on today's program that I hope you'll tune in for.

Finally --- and including a few related points --- Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, on the crippling Western U.S. megadrought; the Biden Administration's roll-out of a national EV charging network; the spike in oil prices amid tensions in Russia-Ukraine; and the Super Bowl blitz by U.S. carmakers launching long overdue electric vehicle production lines...

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Guest: Ernest A. Canning; Also: Deadly record flooding in TN and from Tropical Storm Henri; Another rightwing talker dies of COVID; And we win the first court victory against GA's anti-voting, anti-press freedom law!...
By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2021 6:15pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, important, helpful advice for progressives in California's Gubernatorial recall, and we win a first court victory against Georgia's new anti-voting and anti-press freedoms law! [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But first, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest on the record-smashing deluges in both Tennessee, where at least 22 are dead following 17 inches of rain in less than 24 hours, an all-time record and triple what had been forecast --- and on the Northeastern Seaboard where Hurricane (turned Tropical Storm, Turned Tropical Depression) Henri is wreaking absolute havoc. All just the latest examples of our worsening climate change emergency, as Desi explains.

Next, we had a court victory in Georgia on Friday! The first one, in fact, to knock down a provision of the state Republicans' abhorrent anti-voting bill, SB 202. And, I'm proud to say, it happens to be one of the provisions on which I am the named plaintiff representing the media. The lawsuit, filed by the Coalition for Good Governance (CGG), is one of eight suits currently challenging various provisions of the law. CGG's suit, among other things, challenges a number of anti-First Amendment press freedoms jammed into the statute, along with the voter suppression stuff and the provisions which allow the state to take over county boards of elections and subvert election results.

The specific provision struck down by the federal court [PDF] on Friday, criminalized all photography of voter ballots by the public and/or media. Given the state's new, huge touchscreen voting systems, it's now almost impossible to not see a voter's ballot when media or the public attempt to observe voting inside of Peach State precincts. Unfortunately, in addition to striking that one down, the judge allowed several other provisions in this early challenge to stand, though CGG Director (and frequent BradCast guest) Marilyn Marks told me over the weekend there will be much more to come in this case, as they are deciding whether to pursue reconsideration and/or appeal of several parts of the judge's early ruling. While a small victory, for now, it also establishes that the Coalition has standing to sue in this case and that, too, is encouraging good news.

Next, it's on to the ongoing, idiotic --- but deadly serious --- California Gubernatorial recall, in which Republicans, unable to win regular elections, are hoping to unseat popular progressive Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is otherwise up for reelection next year anyway. Vote-by-Mail ballots have been sent to all registered state voters (at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, thanks to those "conservative" Republicans), but, curiously, while Newsom and the Democrats are calling on voters to vote NO on the ballot's first question ("Should Newsom be recall and removed from office?"), they are calling on voters to leave the second question ("Who should replace him, if he loses on Question 1?") completely empty! "Vote No and go!," Newsom and state Dems have recommended.

As our guest today, ERNEST A. CANNING, a longtime progressive Democrat, both writes at The BRAD BLOG and explains on today's show, that strategy may be extraordinarily ill-considered and could backfire on Dems. Instead, after culling through the records (or lack thereof) of every non-Republican, non-Libertarian candidate on question two of the recall ballot (there are 46 candidates in total), Canning, in his "One Progressive's Guide to the CA Recall," explains why he believes the best strategy for progressives is to vote for the Green Party's Dan Kapelovitz on question two.

Both of the leading party candidates (far-right talk radio host Larry Elder for the Republicans and 29-year old real estate mogul and YouTube sensation Kevin Paffrath for the Dems), among other things, oppose Newsom's common-sense, life-saving mask and vaccine mandates and vow to lift them if elected.

Kapelovitz, on the other hand, a criminal defense attorney, both supports the Governor's science-based mandates that have been so successful in the state, and opposes the recall of Newsom itself on question one. He says he's running to stave off a worst-case scenario, according to Canning, should the currently "dead heat" first question result in the unthinkable removal of the Governor.

We also discuss the questionable Constitutionality of CA's more than 100-year old recall process (built into the state constitution by an anti-corporate Republican-turned-Progressive Party Governor in 1911) which could allow a new Governor to be elected to the nation's most populous state with far fewer votes than the current Governor actually receives to stay in office on the very same ballot. And, there's also the troubling matter that this election could have serious national ramifications. California's 88-year old U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein may need to be replaced at some point before her current term ends in 2024. If a Republican, like Elder, becomes Governor and appoints a fellow Republican to her seat, control of the U.S. Senate would immediately revert to Mitch McConnell and the GOP.

So, yes, this CA Recall, as dumb as it is, matters. And it's important for progressive voters to pay attention, fill out a hand-marked paper ballot, and hopefully deliver it in person to a polling location or a drop-box by September 14th.

Finally, speaking of rightwing talk radio hosts, we've been reporting on a number of them who used our public airwaves to spread disinformation about COVID deniers and its vaccines, before finding themselves hospitalized or killed by the disease in recent weeks. One of them we've covered since his hospitalization in mid-July is Nashville's popular, nationally-syndicated Phil Valentine. After spending months mocking the seriousness of the virus and making fun of the life-saving vaccines, Valentine was announced dead over the weekend, after weeks on a ventilator, on what was reportedly his 62nd birthday...

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Also: Chair of Trump Inaugural Committee, Tom Barrack, arrested, charged with acting as foreign agent, lying to FBI...
By Brad Friedman on 7/20/2021 6:44pm PT  

Among the many sad legacies of the awful Donald Trump years, is how angry everyone has become in its wake. For always-angry Trumpers, ticking off "the libs" is a feature, not a bug. For progressives, however, while there is much to be justifiably angry about, we are wise to hold our outrage for points that actually matter...and happen to be true. We've got plenty of both on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of this summary.]

First up, shortly before airtime today, the Dept. of Justice arrested and charged Trump's longtime friend, advisor and top fund-riser, Tom Barrack, who chaired the disgraced former President's corrupt Inaugural Committee in 2017. Barrack was charged on seven federal counts, including using his access to Trump to lobby for the United Arab Emirates and lying about it to federal agents. As an unregistered agent for the UAE, Barack allegedly lobbied both the Trump Campaign and Administration on their behalf, joining a growing list of Trump friends, officials and associates found to have unlawfully lobbied the so-called "America First" Administration on behalf of foreign nations like Turkey, Ukraine and the UAE, before lying about it to the FBI.

In other news out of Joe Biden's Dept. of Justice, Attorney General Merrick Garland, on Monday, issued a new policy prohibiting federal prosecutors from seizing phone, text and email records from journalists, with a few reasonable exceptions. While the Obama Administration did some of that, the Trump Administration took it to new heights, secretly spying on reporters at Washington Post, New York Times and CNN --- as well as Democratic members of Congress, their aides and even their family members --- all considered (by Trump) to be his political enemies. Freedom of Press advocates applauded Garland's "historic" Monday memo [PDF], as the A.G. also called for federal legislation to buttress the new DoJ policy.

That rather important story was somewhat overshadowed on Monday, however, by outrage from the progressive Left over a misreported story about the DoJ's failure to file charges against Trump's Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross who, the agency's Inspector General found, lied twice to Congress about his roll in unsuccessfully attempting to add a question on immigration status to the 2020 U.S. Census. After the IG's investigation, which began in 2019, the office referred the matter to the DoJ for criminal prosecution.

Progressives were up in arms yesterday after it was inaccurately reported by several legit outlets, including Government Executive and AP, that Biden's DoJ, under the direction of A.G. Garland, had declined to prosecute Ross. However, as both outlets later acknowledged with corrections to their stories, it was actually the Trump DoJ which refused to prosecute Ross. He was at least the fifth Trump Cabinet member to have been referred for criminal prosecution to Trump's corrupt DoJ. (The others include his Interior Dept. chief Ryan Zinke, his HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Trump's second Secretary of Veteran's Affairs Robert Wilkie and his Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who happens to be Mitch McConnell's wife. They all skated.) Whether Biden's A.G. can or will revive those recommendations to bring charges is a separate matter --- and there is plenty of other stuff to be disappointed and/or outraged about regarding some of Garland's seemingly inscrutable decisions since taking the helm at the Department --- but the outrage on Monday from progressives over the declination to charge Ross appears to have been both premature and misdirected.

Next, speaking of fact-checking and going off half-cocked (or, in Trump's case, fully-cocked), late last week, Doug Logan, CEO of Cyber Ninjas, the rightwing, conspiracy-promoting company contracted by the Arizona state Republican Senate to carry out a post-election "forensic audit" of Maricopa County (Phoenix)'s 2.1 million ballots cast last year, offered public testimony on the progress of his three-month (and continuing) efforts to date.

Logan's remarks vividly demonstrated the dangers of hiring someone who knows absolutely nothing about elections or voting systems (or audits, for that matter) to carry out, in secret, what should have been a fully public exercise. It has been referred to as a "fraudit" and clown show by critics, including both Republican and Democratic state and county officials.

The former President offered three statements on Logan's remarks over the ensuing two days, the most detailed of which charged, falsely, that Logan's testimony "showed 168,000 fraudulent ballots printed on illegal paper (unofficial ballots), 74,000 mail in ballots received that were never mailed (magically appearing ballots), 11,000 voters were added to the voter rolls AFTER the election and still voted, all the access logs to the machines were wiped, and the election server was hacked during the election."

You'll be shocked to learn that absolutely NONE of Trump's claims are actually true.

Over the weekend, AP, CNN and others published lengthy fact-checks responding to the false claims by Logan and the wildly inaccurate nonsense from Trump. Today, we walk through some of false claims, detailing how both Trump and Logan got pretty much everything completely wrong, in the state where Joe Biden was certified by the Republican Governor to have defeated Trump by more than 10,400 votes last November. To date, there has been zero legitimate evidence to suggest otherwise in AZ or any of the other several states that flipped in 2020 from Republican to Democratic after four hellish years of the failed Trump Presidency.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with news on last week's catastrophic flooding in Germany and Central Europe, wildfires continuing to explode in the parched U.S. West, and disturbing news regarding both the Amazon rainforest and the near future of high-tide flooding...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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