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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, April 3, 2020
U.S. ECONOMY CRATERING; Judge Allows WI Election to Proceed: 'BradCast' 4/2/20
Staggering unemployment numbers; McConnell tells Pelosi to 'stand down' on new relief bill; WI set to hold deadly vote on Tuesday...
'Green News Report' 4/2/20
  w/ Brad & Desi
Critical UN climate conf. cancelled; Coal co. seeks to dump retired miner obligations; States criminalize pipeline protests; PLUS: Nat'l parks to stay open after workers test positive...
Previous GNRs: 3/31/20 - 3/26/20 - Archives...
Election Disaster Under Way in WI; Employer Health Plans Likely Worsened Pandemic: 'BradCast' 4/1/20
Guest: Former ins. exec Richard 'RJ' Eskow; Also: Depth of crisis emerging despite denial...
Media Industry Confronting 'Full Extinction Event': 'BradCast' 3/31/20
Guest: Buzzfeed News Media Editor Craig Silverman; Also: Grim virus numbers, tragically failed Presidency, faint but clear signs of hope...
'Green News Report' 3/31/20
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump kills Obama's mileage standards; EPA stops enforcement of pollution laws during coronavirus crisis; Plastics industry sees profit in pandemic; PLUS: Earth Day 2020 looms...
Previous GNRs: 3/26/20 - 3/24/20 - Archives...
OH's New Primary Scheme Shows How to NOT Handle This Crisis: 'BradCast' 3/30/20
Also: Good news and bad on COVID-19; Trump says the quiet part about voter suppression out loud; and more calls from the Coronaverse...
Sunday 'Worse Than the Problem Itself' Toons
We're open for business! Come on in and binge read PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best toons!...
Free Medicine in the Corona Zone: 'BradCast' 3/27/20
Guest host Nicole Sandler with insurance whistleblower Wendell Potter; Also: Some VERY much needed laughs!...
WI, GA Still Suppressing Votes, Even During COVID-19 Crisis: 'BradCast' 3/26/20
More states postpone primaries; WI refuses to delay April 7 vote; GA SoS up to old tricks; Historic jobless claims amid pandemic...
'Green News Report' 3/26/20
  w/ Brad & Desi
Good news and bad for energy in stimulus bill; Even COVID-19 can't stop Trump's rollbacks; PLUS: Federal court win for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe over Dakota Access Pipeline...
Previous GNRs: 3/24/20 - 3/19/20 - Archives...
$2 Trillion Coronavirus Bill Proves It's Not About Lack of Money: 'BradCast' 3/25/20
Guest: Economist Stephanie Kelton on 'The Deficit Myth' and why we can't have nice things; Also: What's in the record spending bill; Guvs dismissing our idiot President...
The President Should Not Be Worse Than the Disease: 'BradCast' 3/24/20
Guest: David Dayen on stimulus/bailout, Trump's deadly lies; Also: India's lockdown; NY screams for help; Dems stay united against WH/GOP bailout 'slush fund' scheme...
'Green News Report' 3/24/20
Coronavirus and air pollution; Locust swarms spread; Midwest to see major flooding in spring; PLUS: CA's largest utility co. guilty of involuntary manslaughter...
Calls From the Coronaverse:
'BradCast' 3/23/20
News headlines and then, most importantly, live callers -- some of them heartbreaking -- on The BradCast, your 'Stay-at-Home' Radio Companion...
Sunday 'Roll Models' Toons
Once again, PDiddie hordes the best of this week's political toons in his latest collection...
Can Trump Cancel the 2020 Election?: 'BradCast' 3/20/20
Guest: Mark Joseph Stern on that and pandemic affects on immigration, prisons, Judiciary; Also: 'Stay-at-home' mandates; Mask shortages; Socialist Trump unglued...
'Green News Report' 3/19/20
Crashing oil prices; Melting ice caps and rising sea levels; Demands for climate action in coronavirus bailout bill; PLUS: Perverse COVID-19 silver linings...
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...


The elephant in the room is not the GOP...
By Sue Wilson on 2/14/2020 11:15am PT  

On October 24, 1998, a group of activists from across the United States gathered in Washington DC to protest the Ken Starr investigation into Bill Clinton in the first rally ever organized on the Internet.

Darrell Hampton's umbrella group "We the People" was generally outraged at Starr's excesses; White House staffer Bob Weiner railed against Ken Starr for subpoenaing him for eating ice cream with a fellow Democrat; the fledgling group "Censure and MoveOn" (later to become MoveOn.org) was featured; and my "Truth in America Project" focused on the biased media promoting the investigation, media which had recently gained its dominance from the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

We all understood the long drawn out Grand Jury investigation of Bill Clinton had found no crimes, and so Starr et al manufactured a perjury trap to have an excuse to impeach the President. As I said on the Ellipse in front of the White House, "Is it okay for a big government attorney to work with a private civil lawyer to see if they can figure out a way to get a man to lie about his sex life so they can prosecute him for it?"

But what was just coming to light, and what has had a lasting damaging legacy, is the effect of the 1996 Telecommunications Act on our political landscape.

Brief history: When radio and television were first invented, broadcast pioneers and government officials recognized that radio had the potential to entertain and inform, but when used improperly, also to brainwash a population. So Congress passed the 1934 Communications Act, which limited any one owner in the United States to owning just 9 stations nationwide: 3 AM radio stations, 3 FM radio stations, 3 TV stations. The thinking was that by having multiple local owners, no one person could dominate the (publicly owned) airwaves with political rhetoric.

Ah, those were the days...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Vengeful Trump now attacking jury foreperson in Stone case, as his lawless, vindictive 'descent into Constitutional madness' continues; Also: How to find ourselves out of this darkness...
By Brad Friedman on 2/13/2020 6:32pm PT  

Although I didn't reference Adam Schiff's remarks from just two weeks ago during the impeachment trial on the "the normalization of lawlessness," about which he presciently warned "that way madness lies". But, upon reflecting on today's BradCast, it seemed an appropriate headline. It was only one week ago that corrupt and cowardly Senate Republicans had the chance to remove Trump from office, but acquitted him instead with the message to continue breaking the law and shredding the Constitution.It was just one week before that when Schiff warned: "What we have seen over the last couple days is a descent into Constitutional madness." This week has made that madness seem like child's play. [Audio link to show follows below.]

These are dark times. Growing darker by the day. But we can't turn away, as much as we might like to right now. Now is the time to step forward and help ourselves --- help each other --- back into the light. It won't be easy. But we must. And we do what we can, once again, towards that end on today's program. Among the stories covered today...

  • An vengeful, bitter, out-of-control Trump turns his ongoing Twitter attacks from federal Justice Department prosecutors working on the case against his friend and convicted felon Roger Stone onto the foreperson of the jury that convicted him;
  • A witness in the trial who was threatened by Stone (who was convicted of witness tampering and lying to Congress, among his seven counts), has pleaded for no jail time for the longtime GOP dirty-trickster, but has also now stepped forward to call out Trump's attacks on the four prosecutors who quit the case in protest as a "vile smear job" by the President;
  • Trump's former Chief-of-Staff, Marine Corps General John Kelly, calls out Trump for his wrathful firing of decorated Iraq War vet Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from his post on the National Security Counsel because Vindman dared answer a lawful subpoena to testify truthfully to Congress about Trump's unlawful bribery campaign against Ukraine. Kelly argues Vindman should be respected, not attacked, for refusing to follow "an illegal order" from the President. "We teach them," Kelly said, "‘Don’t follow an illegal order. And if you’re ever given one, you’ll raise it to whoever gives it to you that this is an illegal order, and then tell your boss.'" The legal defense by Nazi soldiers that they were just following orders, whether unlawful or not, failed at the Nuremburg Trials. But perhaps Trump disagrees with that verdict too. In response, Trump attacked Kelly, tweeting that he was "over his head" as CoS, couldn't be fired "fast enough", and that Kelly has a "military and legal obligation" to "keep his mouth shut." The Nazi's defense attorneys would be very proud of this President;
  • But how do we get out of this dark mess and reverse the madness? There is only one way left that I'm aware of, which is why I have spent so many years fighting for the right to vote and for publicly overseeable voting systems. After about 10 lonely years warning specifically about the development of the new, 100% unverifiable "VSAP" touchscreen voting system set for first-time use in Los Angeles County in the March 3rd Super Tuesday primary, I've finally received a bit of help in those warnings of late from the corporate media. Last week, it came from an investigative report by CBS-2 Los Angeles (in which I appear). This morning, it came from a new investigative report on L.A.'s dangerous new systems from Cynthia McFadden, as previewed on NBC's Today show. We share that report today, along with advice on how to overcome the dangers presented by the new, $300,000,000 boondoggle of a voting system coming to the nation's most populous jurisdiction, as well as how to do the same in other states and counties (including battlegrounds like Georgia, Philadelphia, parts of Texas and elsewhere) where voters will be forced to vote on similarly unverifiable touchscreen systems at the polls in this year's never-more-critical Presidential election;
  • Oh, and we have a few more observations on the New Hampshire primary turnout which we couldn't get to yesterday, but which are still worth taking note of today, as we all move forward to the next primaries and caucuses;
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report, with some seemingly genuinely good --- and very surprising --- news from a major fossil fuel company, that almost, if not entirely, helps us forget about the much-less-good news in the rest of today's GNR and, for that matter, today's BradCast!...

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

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Guest: Former operative Allen Raymond suggests plot to tie up Iowa Dem results hotline may involve more than just online 'Trump trolls'
Also: Sanders wins Iowa (but so does Buttigieg) as NH Primary looms; Record heat melts Antarctica; Vindictive Trump fires impeachment witnesses...
By Brad Friedman on 2/7/2020 6:26pm PT  

On today's BradCast: With media reports on Thursday that online "Trump trolls" were making hundreds of calls to tie up the Iowa Democratic Party's results hotline after Monday's Caucuses in order to hold up results and embarrass Democrats, we're joined for an exclusive interview today with stakiomeone who knows a thing or two about such plots. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

In 2002, ALLEN RAYMOND, a then decade-long Republican operative and owner of a GOP phone-bank company, was hired to lead a scheme to tie up the Democratic Get Out the Vote phone lines during that year's very tight New Hampshire U.S. Senate race between Republican John Sununu and the state's then-Governor, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen. The now-infamous scandal, which included thousands of automated phone calls to prevent Dems from carrying out their GOTV phone-banking effort, ended with a narrow win by Sununu that year. But the scheme was uncovered and four GOP operatives, were eventually convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, taking part in the RNC-funded effort. Raymond was one of them. He pleaded guilty and ended up serving 3 months in federal prison. In 2008, the contrite former operative published a book about that exploit and others during his time as a senior consultant to the Party called How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative.

Raymond joins us today to discuss the 2002 plot in NH, how it came about, and what was behind it, as well as to offer his thoughts about what we should know regarding whatever may have happened to the Democratic Party's hotline on Monday night in Iowa. He is skeptical about whether a few "trolls" on a popular rightwing Internet message board could effectively tie up enough lines to create the kind of chaos that ensued in Iowa, suggesting that its possible the scheme may be larger than currently reported.

"That takes a fairly sustained, collaborated, concerted effort," he explains. "So the question it raises in my mind is, can that happen organically?" Without making any allegations, he is calling for an immediate law enforcement investigation which he says should be able to quickly uncover the source of the phone harassment, the same felony for which he pleaded guilty to years ago in the RNC's NH scheme. "It raises enough suspicion of a coordinated effort that it's worth looking at."

It wouldn't be the first time in even recent months that an emboldened RNC has carried out a similar phone scheme against Democrats. As the New York Times reported last November, Republicans attempted to swamp Congressional Democratic phone lines with thousands of automated calls during the early stages of Donald Trump's impeachment inquiry.

Raymond also shares his thoughts on what has become of the Republican Party in recent years since he was thrown under the bus when the NH plot was uncovered (he is now a registered Democrat); how he and other political operatives justify such dirty tricks and/or illegalities when taking these kind of unsavory and/or unlawful actions in order to win elections; and what American voters should be concerned about as the 2020 election progresses under a Republican Party headed by a vengeful, recently-impeached President.

"This phone disruption effort occurring in the very first contest of the presidential nominating process leading up to November's general election, should be reason enough" to be concerned, he tells me. "If it's happening on the first one, and nothing's done, we're sending a signal that this is the new norm, it's okay, that you will not be punished or prosecuted for this kind of conduct. That's why, at minimum, an aggressive investigation should occur to determine what exactly happened, for the purposes of protecting against the same conduct in the future. Because by not prosecuting, by not investigating, the signal is being sent: 'Hey, we all agree that that stinks but that's okay, go ahead and do it because law enforcement is not going to come knocking on your door.'"

"A republic's center of gravity is its electoral process," Raymond warns. "And if our electoral process is compromised --- whether it be from domestic actors or foreign actors --- that's reason enough to do whatever you can to protect it."

Please tune in for this full, fascinating conversation with someone who has quite a bit of insight on many aspects of all of these matters.

Also on today's show: With the New Hampshire primary days away, AP announces that the chaotic results of Monday in Iowa will prevent them from calling a winner in the Democratic Caucuses, but that doesn't stop us from doing so; Antarctica hits an all-time record 65 degrees, underscoring, yet again, the need to replace a President who is a menace not only to the country's future, but to the entire planet's; Trump fires patriotic Iraq War vet and National Security Counsel Ukraine expert Lt. Col. Alex Vindman and his million-dollar donor EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland for testifying truthfully during the U.S. House Impeachment inquiry; and Steven Colbert has a few thoughts about Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT)'s courage and unprecedented vote against Trump in this past week's Senate Impeachment trial...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Also: CBS-LA runs investigative report (featuring Brad) on L.A.'s new unverifiable touchscreen voting system; And a word or two about Romney's courage and Trump's ugly everlasting shame...
By Brad Friedman on 2/6/2020 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We dispatch with the dark, ugly post-impeachment bitterness of our completely unfit and totally guilty President as quickly as possible at the top of today's show, along with a word or two about Mitt Romney's commendable, historic courage. Then it's on to looking forward to how Americans must remove this dangerous man from office, even as we all must surmount seemingly impossible odds with our nation's terrible, dangerous, nontransparent voting systems in 2020. [Audio link to show follows below.]

On that score, first up, CBS-2 in Los Angeles ran an investigative report this week, featuring yours truly, on the County's new, unverifiable, $300,000,000 touchscreen voting system. We share the report from CBS-LA's David Goldstein in full, along with some additional thoughts, including the eerie similarities between comments in the CBS report from L.A. County's Registrar Dean Logan, who developed the new VSAP ("Voting Solutions for All People") system, on his strong confidence in the first-time use of this new system before the March 3rd Super Tuesday primary, and those from an interview with the Iowa Democratic Party Chair Tom Price on the night before the Iowa Caucuses about his own confidence in the party's new, secretly-developed smartphone app that failed so disastrously the next day.

Then, speaking of Iowa, several reports on Thursday confirm that there was an apparent effort by Trump supporting trolls to jam the phone lines used as the backup for precinct officials to phone in caucus results when the IDP's smartphone app had failed. That element of the story is eerily similar to the 2002 GOP phone-jamming scandal during a U.S. Senate election in New Hampshire that year. Four Republican operatives hired by the party were convicted in a criminal scheme and the party had to pay NH Dems $125,000 in damages afterward. How does that tie to what happened in Iowa? We hope to report more on that on tomorrow's BradCast. But for now, we hope it serves as a reminder that Russia is not the only threat to the integrity of U.S. elections. Not by a long shot.

Today we've got more new, and still-partial (97%), results out of Iowa, showing Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders in a virtual tie, with Buttigieg barely leading in state delegates at the moment (3 out of several thousand divvied up between candidates) and Sanders winning in the raw vote counts in both the first and final rounds of voting on Caucus night. Controversy around the reported numbers, as chaotic and error-ridden as it has been, is actually a good thing, as we explain, given that publicly-witnessed, precinct-based counts (with hand-marked paper ballots to boot) are available from all 1,765 caucus sites. That means, when incorrect numbers have been posted to date, the public has been able to scrutinize and force corrections to those numbers, as has been the case in several instances across the state.

It should also be noted that, despite claims from supporters of some candidates, there is no evidence so far to suggest that any of the errors in reporting were meant to help or harm any particular candidate. As the NYTimes reports tonight, "Some of these inconsistencies may prove to be innocuous, and they do not indicate an intentional effort to compromise or rig the result. There is no apparent bias in favor of the leaders Pete Buttigieg or Bernie Sanders, meaning the overall effect on the winner’s margin may be small."

We go over some of those claims as well today. While some are viewing all of this as chaos and failure, we see it as a victory for PUBLIC OVERSIGHT OF ELECTION RESULTS. Public oversight is generally missing in jurisdictions where computers tally votes (which is to say, in all 50 states) leaving the public often entirely unable to verify results of their own elections. Similar errors occur in virtually every election, but due to the nature of secret counting in most locations, the public rarely learns about or notices them and erroneous results are rarely corrected. That, of course, was what we shamefully saw (or, rather, didn't) in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania after the stunning reported end to the 2016 Presidential election.

Now, ironically enough, a furious National Democratic Pary chair is demanding a recanvass of results in Iowa. But where were those same Dems after 2016 when they decided to not challenge or scrutinize any of the dubious numbers from the most surprising Presidential election results in U.S. history?

Finally, we close with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, with more debunkery of Trump's lies about energy at this week's SOTU, some bad news about January's record heat, and some very good news about the scheduled ban on gasoline-powered cars in Great Britain!...

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

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton and Tom Sullivan of Digby's Hullabaloo...
By Brad Friedman on 2/5/2020 5:53pm PT  

It's special coverage of three different historic events --- all at once, somehow --- on today's BradCast. It wasn't easy, but it was a very lively show in dark times nonetheless! [Audio link to show is posted below.]

We're joined today by old friends who, unlike the corporate media pundits and professional political operatives and academic geniuses, have been right over and over and over, for years, about pretty much everything. For some reason today, that is very comforting. HEATHER DIGBY PARTON and TOM SULLIVAN, both of whom can be found each day writing at Digby's Hullabaloo, work through all of today's nightmares with us. Parton, an award-winning opinion journalist can also be found as a regular contributor to Salon. Sullivan, a North Carolina writer and resident is also a grassroots organizer in the state, whose "For the Win" training guide for countywide Get Out the Vote operations should be required reading for every so-called "professional" Democratic party strategist in the nation.

First up on today program, it's the ugly, bitter State of the Union address, filled with demostrable lies and cheap, offensive TV game show stunts, as delivered by Donald Trump on Tuesday night, and literally shredded thereafter by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Next, it's the shameful historic acquittal by cowed Republicans in the U.S. Senate, just before airtime on Wednesday, of the proven-guilty President on both of his Articles of Impeachment, and some Senators from both side of the aisle who deserve notice for their votes.

Finally, it's the continuing fallout from the disastrous use of untested, secretly-developed, non-transparent technology --- despite warnings from experts (and, yes, us) --- in Iowa's Democratic Caucuses on Monday, where we still only have partial results reported by the Iowa Democratic Party as of today. We discuss that disaster and who may be the winners and losers from Monday's contest, along with all of the other disasters and what they should mean for the candidates, the 2020 nominating cycle and the critical, last chance general election now on America's horizon...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Now that Repubs have rigged Impeachment, the 2020 election stands as America's last defense against full-on authoritarianism...
By Brad Friedman on 2/3/2020 6:03pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Following Friday's shameful vote in the U.S. Senate, where just two Republican Senators were able to muster up the courage to vote against completely blocking all witnesses and documents in the Impeachment Trial of Donald John Trump, we now have just one firewall left against our slide into full authoritarianism: This November's election. [Audio link to show follows below.]

If a President can't be indicted, as the Dept. of Justice falsely claims, and a Republican Senate is more than happy to blatantly rig an impeachment "trial" against a Republican President, the only American firewall left against the collapse of representative democracy as we've known it in this nation is your vote --- and those of every eligible citizen you know --- cast this year and counted as intended. That, as we have warned for many years, is now more difficult than ever in many jurisdictions. Nonetheless, that fight begins tonight in Iowa. (We'll have full coverage of Iowa results on Tuesday's BradCast.)

On today's program, related to all of the above, and before we open up the phones to callers on all of it...

  • We are "flying blind" as we head into the Iowa Caucuses after the weekend cancellation of the final "gold standard" Des Moines Register poll, due to a procedural error. Though Bernie Sanders, according to other last-minute polling, is believed to be the front-runner on the Democratic side as caucusing begins. That said, the Iowa Caucuses are complicated and notoriously difficult to predict, for some of the reasons we explain on today's program;
  • Millions of Vote-by-Mail ballots are, as of today, according to a media statement from the California Sec. of State, now on their way to Golden State voters for the March 3rd Super Tuesday primary, when more than a dozen states will be voting in their 2020 primaries all at once. We, again today, endeavor to explain the complicated procedures that are (sadly) necessary in the Golden State to make sure you are able to vote in the party primary of your choosing, as well as the steps you need to take to make sure you do so on a hand-marked paper ballot in order to maximize the odds of your vote actually being counted as cast.

    To avoid having to cast a 100% unverifiable touchscreen vote if you live in Los Angeles County (where that will be forced upon you at our new "voting centers") or anywhere else where touchscreens are your only choice at the polling place, PLEASE contact your County and ask for a hand-marked paper Vote-by-Mail ballot. Then, PLEASE deliver it IN PERSON to your polling place or County headquarters on Election Day or as close to it as possible. (Check your local jurisdiction to make certain they will accept hand-delivered vote-by-mail ballots!) To check your voter status --- how and if you are registered, and whether you are signed up for Vote-by-Mail --- please see the CA Sec. of State website's Voter Status page here. To request a Vote-by-Mail ballot in L.A. or request a specific party's primary ballot, go to LAVote.net;

  • Everyone must be on board and educated about all of this, this year. With the stakes we are now facing, there is ZERO room for error. Please share good information far and wide, and help your friends and neighbors to register, to vote, and to help spread the word to others about how to do the same thing;
  • Yet another reason for voting on hand-marked paper: I am terrified, for good reason, about the possibility of a ransomware attack that could prevent voters in jurisdictions that now (foolishly and dangerously) rely on computers at the polls for voters to be able to vote at all. One of the latest such attacks/reminders is currently crippling services in Tillamook County, Oregon, where all County computer servers were shut down as of last week due to such an attack. Tillamook is just the latest of dozens of jurisdictions --- states, counties, large and small metropolitan areas --- to be hit by ransomware attacks over the past year. If one occurs on or before Election Day in a county (like L.A.) that now relies on computer pollbooks and voting systems, we will have a disaster on our hands in the upcoming elections;
  • Of course, such a disaster is exactly what Donald Trump is hoping for, given his unpopularity and his repeated attempts to rig both the 2016 and now 2020 elections in his favor through any means necessary. He is now being aided in that effort not only by Republicans in the Senate, but by the Dept. of Justice itself, which is unlawfully withholding documents that prove, yet again, that Trump directed Administration officials to freeze hundreds of millions of dollars in military assistance to Ukraine in a pressure campaign to force them to help him cheat in the 2020 election;
  • All of this, as investigative journalist Kurt Eichenwald warned in a chilling Twitter thread on Friday after the vote to block all witnesses and documents in Trump's Impeachment Trial, is why "we are in an extremely terrifying moment in American history." Eichenwald cautions that, because Presidential "emergency powers" have never been defined ("because no one ever imagined a situation like this"), Trump could even attempt to cancel this year's election if he wanted and, like Hitler, could even imprison political opponents such as Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders "if he further advances his argument that he [has] absolute unquestionable control of government."

Far fetched? Please tune in to today's show and then let us know, as callers did in the second half of today's program...

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Guest: Roosevelt University political scientist David Faris...
By Brad Friedman on 1/31/2020 6:00pm PT  

While it seemed impossible previously, Republicans in the U.S. Senate appear to have outdone their phony confirmation proceedings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in late 2018, with their sham Impeachment "trial" of Donald John Trump. As we went to air for today's BradCast, the Senate was preparing to vote on whether witnesses would be blocked from a Senate Impeachment Trial for the first time in U.S. History. By the time we got off air, the shameful, dirty deed was done. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of article.]

The day of the fateful vote began with yet another explosive piece of breaking news from the New York Times, reporting that Trump's former National Security Advisor John Bolton's forthcoming book charges that "More than two months before he asked Ukraine’s president to investigate his political opponents" Trump directed Bolton "to help with his pressure campaign to extract damaging information on Democrats from Ukrainian officials, according to an unpublished manuscript by Mr. Bolton." Moreover, the paper reports, Bolton describes an Oval Office conversation on the matter in early May of 2019 "that included the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, who is now leading the president’s impeachment defense."

Yes, that's right. The Trump attorney now leading his defense in the Senate trial, who has accused Democratic House Managers of "hiding the facts" in their arguments in favor of two Articles of Impeachment against Trump, is now allegedly a co-conspirator in the very plot that resulted in only the third impeachment of a U.S. President in history. Little wonder they'd prefer to have no witnesses testify.

Bolton has stated he would be willing to testify in the trial, as has Lev Parnas, a right-hand man to Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer at the center of the scheme to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations of Joe Biden before Trump would agree to a White House meeting or release $391 million in military assistance to war torn Ukraine. On Friday morning, Parnas' attorney submitted a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, explaining his client's willingness to testify at the trial with relevant information that alleges Trump, Mulvaney, Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General William Barr, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Senator Lindsey Graham, Congressman Devon Nunes and many others worked on Trump's plot to force Ukraine to help him undermine the 2020 Presidential election. So, yes, as Gordon Sondland said weeks ago, "everyone was in the loop. So, yeah, no witnesses please and thanks.

Despite all of that astonishing news --- and all that has come before it --- by the end of today's program, Republicans in the U.S. Senate, by a vote of 51 to 49, would vote to block subpoenas for all witnesses and documents in the Impeachment Trial, for the first time in U.S. history. Only two Republican Senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah, were willing to cross the aisle to vote with all 47 Democrats to call for witnesses. We discuss the pathetic excuses offered by supposedly "moderate" GOP Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and the retiring Lamar Alexander of Tennessee for voting against witnesses. That vote now paves the way for an acquittal vote for the President. One of the few remaining questions by show's end was when that vote may come. As of this hour, it may now happen next Wednesday, the day after the President's State of the Union Address on Tuesday night --- but we'll see.

Another major question of note is what price, if any, Republicans may ultimately pay for what Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer described after the vote as the GOP's act of "perfidy...where the Senate did not live up to its responsibilities, turned away from truth, and went along with a sham trial." With "no witnesses and no documents", he described the proceedings as "not a real trial" and "a tragedy on a grand scale."

We're joined today by DAVID FARIS, Associate Professor of Political Science at Roosevelt University, author of It's Time to Fight Dirty, to discuss today's historic events, and his two most recent columns at The Week, where he is a regular contributor. In one, he finds fault with the House Democrats' strategy of sending over the Articles to the Senate too quickly and, in the other, with McConnell's strategy of blocking witnesses. Faris describes the latter as a "rare blunder" for the Republican leader and explains why. I disagree with him on the latter, as he and I discuss what all of this may now mean for Republicans, for Democrats, for the President and for the voters who will kick off the 2020 Presidential Election in Iowa this coming Monday.

"I don't know that there's anybody who could look at the Senate this week and say that a fair trial happened here," Faris tells me. "What McConnell did was he handed Democrats a bat to beat them with for the next eleven months about the legitimacy of the trial in the Senate."

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Guest: Former FEC Chair Ann Ravel on 'insane' legal and campaign finance assertions by Dershowitz, Philbin in Senate Impeachment trial...
By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2020 5:28pm PT  

Day two --- the final day --- of the Questions phase in the Senate Impeachment Trial of Donald John Trump was perhaps best characterized by lead House Manager Adam Schiff on Thursday, when he described the new defenses offered by the White House Counsel's team as "a descent into Constitutional madness" and "the normalization of lawlessness." Those comments were echoed by the former chair of the Federal Election Commission, who joins us on today's BradCast. She called Trump's new line of defense as "insane". [Audio link to show is posted at bottom of article.]

On Wednesday, the first day of written Questions from the U.S. Senators, as read to both legal teams by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Trump's defense attorney Alan Dershowitz made an extraordinary argument: "If a President does something which he believes will help him get elected, in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment." He went on to offer an analogy. "If a hypothetical President of the United States said to a hypothetical leader of a foreign country, 'unless you build a hotel with my name on it, and unless you give me a million dollar kickback, I will withhold the funds'." That, he said, would be an "easy case" and "purely corrupt". However, he continued, a more complex case was one where a President says: "I want to be elected. I think I'm a great President. I think I'm the greatest President there ever was and if I'm not elected the national interest will suffer greatly. That cannot be an impeachable offense."

In other words, he seemed to argue, it's just fine for a President to solicit a foreign power for help in an election (which is a violation of the law), so long as he or she believed it was in the best national interest for him or her to be elected. Dershowitz has spent a lot of time since those remarks, on Twitter and elsewhere, attempting to defend himself by saying that he did not say what he said. But he absolutely did say it, and so we share audio of some of his extended argument saying as much today, so you can hear it for yourself.

It wasn't the only way in which Trump's team of defense counselors moved the goal posts to accommodate his well-documented Abuse of Power, the basis for the first Article of Impeachment against him. Deputy White House Counsel Patrick Philbin on Wednesday astonishingly charged that "mere information" about a political opponent, even from a foreign source, "is not something that would violate the campaign finance laws."

“Apparently it’s okay for the President to get information from foreign governments in an election," House Impeachment Manager Zoe Lofgren responded with alarm. The California Democrat who worked on the Judiciary Committee during the Nixon Impeachment added, "That's news to me!" The new lines of argument from the President's team is what led Schiff to charge Trump's defense has become "a descent into Constitutional madness," adding "that way madness lies," before citing a similar, then-rejected defense from Richard Nixon who claimed "when a President does it, it's not illegal," before he eventually resigned the Presidency in disgrace. "Have we learned nothing in the last half century?," asked Schiff in response to Dershowitz today.

We share all of those assertions and counter-assertions today, before we turn to someone with no small amount of authority on all of this, ANN RAVEL, who served four years on the Federal Election Commission and as its Chair for two years before leaving her post in 2017. Prior to that, she chaired a similar state commission overseeing campaign finance matters in California.

"There are so many things wrong with [Dershowitz'] argument it's hard to know where to start," she tells me, charging that the claim that a quid pro quo is "somehow justified because it's important for the nation is ridiculous. It would be like saying, for any elected public official, that because it's so important for them to be re-elected that they can commit any criminal act. That's not what the framers of the Constitution intended with regard to the Presidency, and it's exactly why they have the laws relating to impeachment procedures."

"The law does not have an exception for people who think they are so important, that their worth is necessary for the whole country and therefore they can act with illegality and with impunity," she opines, before similarly torching Philbin's argument that there is nothing unlawful about soliciting a thing of value from a foreign power --- an express violation of campaign finance law.

Ravel, who is currently running for office herself in the California State Senate, laments the fact that "there is no FEC in existence now" with only three members currently seated on the six-person panel, and at least four required for a quorum to vote on enforcement of federal law. Similarly, she warns that Trump's Attorney General Bill Barr, responsible for overseeing criminal violations of campaign finance regulations, "is not acting as an Attorney General who would act with integrity to enforce the laws fairly and evenly. Instead, he seems to be biased in favor of assuring that he supports this President, so he remains in office I presume. As a result, we do not have any enforcement whatsoever of campaign finance laws."

Ravel offers alarming insight and a grim assessment as voting in the critical 2020 Presidential election begins just days from now in Iowa. "This is like sending a flare up indicating it's open season for illegality in our electoral process," she warns, along with many other thoughts, including on what she has come to learn about elections now that she is on the other side of the issue as a candidate herself. Running for office, Ravel tells me, has led her to be believe that "more constraints" are needed on electoral campaign finance, not less. She would like to see publicly financed elections in the future.

Finally today, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report, with a few encouraging signs (though not nearly enough) on how some institutions are attempting to step up and deal with our worsening climate crisis, both in the U.S. and around the globe...

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Guest: Constitutional attorney and impeachment expert John Bonifaz...
By Brad Friedman on 1/29/2020 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It was Day One of sixteen scheduled hours of Questions and Answers in the Senate Impeachment Trial of Donald John Trump on Wednesday. And it was absolutely fascinating. [Audio link to today's show is posted at end of summary below.]

Senators from both parties submitted written questions to be read aloud by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts, who is presiding over the third such trial in U.S. history, and answered by the two teams of attorneys, the Democratic House managers prosecuting the two Articles of Impeachment against Trump, and the White House Counsel defending him. The brief answers by both sides supported their presentations made previously, and sometimes added additional claims. One example was when criminal defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, representing the President, claimed that Trump's pressure scheme to withhold $391 million in military aid to Ukraine in exchange for announcements of investigations into his political rivals was perfectly allowable because if the President felt his reelection was in the nation's best interest, then he can't be impeached for the scheme. All of it, Republicans continued to argue, is nothing more than a "partisan policy difference" between Democrats and the White House.

On the Democratic side, House Managers detailed how the White House counsel had repeatedly claimed the impeachment is invalid because the House failed to seek subpoenas in court for some witnesses before bringing the Articles to the Senate, even while the White House is in Court right now in related cases arguing the exact opposite, that House subpoenas of Executive Branch officials are illegitimate because the House has no right to oversee the Executive Branch. As Lead House Manager Adam Schiff explained: "Yes, we're to try to divine the intent of the Framers, but we are not to leave our common sense at the door."

But the most crucial dispute at the moment, perhaps, is whether witnesses such as Trump's former National Security Advisor John Bolton should be subpoenaed to testify in the trial after the New York Times reported this weekend that his forthcoming book offers first-hand corroboration of the Ukraine scheme that the President's attorneys have denied. All of this, as reported on Wednesday morning, the White House sent a letter to Bolton's attorneys on January 23 attempting to block the March 17 publication of the book on "national security" grounds; as Trump unleashed a tirade against Bolton on Twitter on Wednesday; and as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly conceded on Tuesday night that he does not yet have enough Republican votes to block witnesses at the trial.

We're joined for expert insight and analysis on all of this today by Constitutional attorney JOHN BONIFAZ, Co-Founder of FreeSpeechForPeople.org and author of several books on impeachment, including The Constitution Demands It: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump. Bonifaz' organization has been referenced at various times during the Impeachment proceedings, as they had called for Trump's impeachment on the day he was sworn in, charging that he was in violation of the Constitution's Emoluments Clauses as of that moment.

Bonifaz, argues today that "If this President is not removed from office, the House should proceed to advance new Articles of Impeachment. There is no reason why this President should not be held accountable for his cruel and unconstitutional imprisonment of children and their families at the border, for his obstruction of justice, for his abuse of the pardon power, for his racist abuses of power, for his violations of the Emoluments Clause --- the list goes on, and the President ought to be held accountable for those high crimes, as well."

He also responds to several of the defense arguments offered by the White House's attorneys; offers his thoughts on whether Bolton and others (including the Bidens) should be called as witnesses; gives his impressions of the case brought to date by Democrats; calls out both Dershowitz and White House attorney Ken Starr (who led the impeachment investigation against Bill Clinton) for hypocrisy; and explains his own consistency in supporting Impeachment of George W. Bush, Donald Trump and, yes, Bill Clinton at the time, for Abuse of Power by each of those Presidents...

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Also: Tragic death of an L.A. icon and listener calls on all of the above...
By Brad Friedman on 1/27/2020 6:09pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The President's defense team picked up on Monday where they left off on Saturday in their Opening (and potentially Closing) Argument in the Senate Impeachment Trial of Donald John Trump. But that defense was hit with a major bombshell by the New York Times on Sunday which could (emphasis on "could") turn out to be a game-changer for the previously expected course of this trial. [Audio link to program is posted at the end of this summary.]

But first, and before we eventually open the phones today, a few updates on the tragic Sunday death of Los Angeles Lakers' legend and NBC icon Kobe Bryant, who was killed along with his 13-year old daughter and seven others during a helicopter ride on a very foggy day just outside of L.A. While the shocking death of the 41-year old Bryant has reverberated around the globe, the pain of his loss was particularly acute here in Los Angeles yesterday.

In other Los Angeles news with national implications, we've got a bit more information on Friday's "conditional certification" [PDF] by CA Sec. of State Alex Padilla of L.A. County's new, 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting system set for first-time use in the upcoming March 3rd Super Tuesday Presidential primaries. Among the updates, we've got a bit more information on the so-called "hand-marked paper ballot" that Padiila has ordered be made available at Voting Centers "for any voter that requests to cast" one. It will, according to the Secretary's mandate, be a "write-in absentee ballot," modeled on the Federal Voting Assistance Program's federal write-in absentee ballot [PDF] --- meant as a ballot of last resort for overseas voters who do not receive a normal absentee ballot in time to cast a vote --- that requires voters to write in all of the names of the offices and candidates for which they would like to vote. As much confusion and chaos as L.A. County's new, $300,000,000 "Voting Solutions for All People" or VSAP voting system is likely to cause at the polls this year, the provision for a second-rate, hand-marked "write-in ballot" as the only means for casting a hand-marked ballot at the polling place, is likely to make things even more chaotic. We detail that, and a few other points related to the certification of the new system on Friday, despite a newly filed lawsuit and warnings from cybersecurity and voting systems experts after its failure to meet more than 40 California Voting System Standards, according to the independent testers hired to analyze the system during Padilla's certification process.

Next it's on to the President's lawyers' case being presented once again as we went to air today, in the U.S. Senate, where Ken Starr (yes, that Ken Starr, the Special Prosecutor who recommended impeachment against Bill Clinton for lying about an affair) argued hypocritically that Trump could not Constitutionally be impeached for Abuse of Power (Article 1 of the two Impeachment Articles against him), even though Starr's own recent book on impeachment explains that Abuse of Power was the capstone of Clinton's impeachment case in 1998. That, and his argument that impeachment was just too divisive to put the country through without a bi-partisan political consensus was a bit hard to stomach for those of us old enough to remember the Clinton impeachment.

But the most noteworthy Impeachment-related news today is John Bolton, Trump's former National Security Advisor, reportedly charging in a manuscript of his new book, according to the New York Times, that Trump was directly involved in the unlawful freeze of $391 million allocated to Ukrainian for military assistance, unless the Ukrainians agreed to turn over documents related to an investigation of Joe Biden meant to help Trump's 2020 reelection changes. That alleged Abuse of Power is at the heart of Trump's impeachment, and the manuscript of Bolton's forthcoming book reportedly charges that Attorney General Bill Barr, Sec. of State Mike Pompeo and Trump's Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney were all directly aware of the scheme, according to the Times blockbuster report.

That explosive news on Sunday has, according to several different news outlets, led a number of key GOP Senators to rethink their previous votes against calling for new witnesses and documents in the Senate Trial. Will four or more Republican Senators now agree to vote in favor of subpoenaing Bolton and other related (and/or unrelated) witnesses? That appears to be the question of the moment in this matter as we go to air today, and one we open up to discuss with callers near the end of today's program...

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Guest: Heather Digby Parton; Schiff's powerful plea; CA Sec. of State 'conditionally certifies' VSAP touchscreens, adds curious 'hand-marked paper ballot' provision, Beverly Hills sues over system's critical flaw...
By Brad Friedman on 1/24/2020 6:17pm PT  

Our special coverage of Donald John's Trump Senate Impeachment trial continues on today's BradCast, but we interrupt that coverage briefly at the top of today's show with some breaking news out of California, on a story we've been covering closely. [Audio link to show follows summary below.]

After we revealed last week that Los Angeles County's new, 100% unverifiable touchscreen computer Ballot Marking Device (BMD) voting systems were found by the Secretary of State's independent testers to have failed to meet more than 40 requirements of the California Voting System Standards, we called on Sec. of State Alex Padilla to deny certification of these horrific systems and to require a verifiable HAND-MARKED paper ballot system instead for all voters in the nation's largest voting jurisdiction. We called on listeners to send Public Comment to the SoS before the Public Comment period for certification ended this past Monday for L.A.'s new $300,00,000 touchscreen "Voting Solutions for All People" or VSAP system.

I sent my own comment and, in doing so, cited a comment from the brainchild behind L.A. County's new voting system, Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan. As we noted in that comment, Logan promised me a year ago, in January of 2019 via email, that "The equipment/system components [for VSAP] are/will be … in compliance with California's voting systems standards that exceed the federal voluntary system standards."

That vow from the County's top election official now turns out to have been untrue. Today, incredibly, Sec. Padilla "conditionally" certified [PDF] the VSAP system for first-time countywide use in the March 3rd Super Tuesday primaries, despite all of its many flaws.

He did, however, include a very curious --- and, for now, confusing --- condition, stating that "Los Angeles County shall make available in each vote center a sufficient number of blank write-in paper ballots for any voter that requests to cast a hand-marked paper ballot"...

What that means exactly, and whether this now means that every voter will be able to vote in any party's primary with a verifiable hand-marked paper ballot simply by requesting one at one of the 1,000 new Voting Centers (which replace the 5,000 community precincts we've always used in L.A. in previous years) remains to be seen. I have queries out to both the Secretary and Registrar and will report back whatever I can learn when I do.

In related news, the City of Beverly Hills announced Thursday they will sue the County, due to the fact that the VSAP system, as we explained last week, only shows four candidates in each race, before a voter is required to hit a "MORE" button if they wish to see additional candidates in the same contest. That "MORE" button, however, is very close to the "NEXT" button on the touchscreen, and takes voters to the next race without ever showing them all candidates in the previous one.

Padilla's conditional certification calls for mitigation to this enormous design flaw, but not until five months from now when "a plan" must be presented to the SoS regarding redesigned "functionality and usability". That means this flaw --- and the others --will be there for the critical March 3rd primaries and potentially changed before the crucial Presidential election in November. Whether that design change will actually be independently tested to ensure it has not introduced other problems also remains to be seen. But Beverly Hills, which has an upcoming election for City Council with five candidates on the ballot (one who will be hidden on Page 2 of the touchscreen for this race) has now filed a legal complaint, announcing they "are deeply troubled that voters will be disenfranchised by the new VSAP system."

Then, it's back to the ongoing mess on the East Coast in Trump's Impeachment Trial. We share the powerful and impassioned closing remarks from Thursday night's session from Rep. Adam Schiff. The lead Democratic House Manager spoke directly to Republican Senators about the internal dilemma that many are almost certainly facing in realizing the necessity of removing Trump before he cheats again on the 2020 election as he did in 2016 and, as Democrats have proven beyond a shadow of doubt, that he attempted to do in his unlawful pressure scheme with Ukraine to force them to announce an investigation seeking dirt on Joe Biden and an evidence-free claim about the 2016 election. Sadly, despite the power of those remarks, nobody who watches Fox "News" saw them because, as Media Matters found, the pretend "news" outlet showed live coverage of the actual, historic Senate trial "during its evening programming (between 7 p.m and 11 p.m. EST) for a total of just 22 seconds."

We're joined today by the great HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo to help us make sense of the past week of the trial as Democrats wrap up their opening (and perhaps closing) argument; what we can expect from the President's attorneys who begin their own presentation in response on Saturday; our best analysis of what comes next; and why Parton predicts "jury nullification" and believes "shamelessness is their superpower"...

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Repubs called out for blocking subpoenas for key documents, witnesses; Dershowitz, Graham cited for flipping 1998 positions on impeachment; Fox 'News' bags out of coverage; 'Doomsday Clock' nears 'midnight'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2020 5:57pm PT  

Our special BradCast coverage of the Impeachment Trial of Donald John Trump continues on Day 2 of the Democratic House Managers' opening argument --- which could well be their closing argument as well, if Republicans continue to block subpoenas for contemporaneous documentation and first-hand eye-witnesses like Trump's former National Security Advisor John Bolton and Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. [Audio link to show follows summary below.]

Before we get to our impeachment coverage today, however, some less-than-fantastic news from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, who have, for the first time in the more than 70 year history of their infamous "Doomsday Clock", moved its minute hand inside the two-minute mark (where it was set in 2018 and at the height of the Cold War) before "midnight." We are now, according to the Bulletin's board of advisers, just 100 symbolic seconds from "midnight", thanks to growing threats of nuclear weapons following the dissolution of landmark arms control pacts and the ever-increasing acceleration of our climate crisis. "We are now expressing how close the world is to catastrophe in seconds --- not hours, or even minutes," according to Rachel Bronson, the Bulletin's president and CEO. "We now face a true emergency --- an absolutely unacceptable state of world affairs that has eliminated any margin for error or further delay." The Bulletin also cited the increasing threat of cyberattacks in their explanation as one of "multiple existential threats."

Meanwhile, one of world's greatest threats, Donald Trump, stands trial for removal from office in the U.S. Senate. Not that many who watch Fox "News" would understand exactly why, given that the pretend "news" outlet has, unlike CNN and MSNBC, been cutting away from their exceedingly truncated live coverage of the proceedings to carry their regular programming, on which they are lying about what is happening in the actual trial. What their viewers have not heard was the detailed, granular evidence revealing how Trump abused the power of his office to withhold nearly $400 million in military assistance from Ukraine in hopes of extorting the war-torn nation to agree to announce an investigation of Joe Biden and an evidence-free, Russia-generated claim that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election on behalf of Hillary Clinton. It was done in hopes of cheating in the 2020 election.

The chronology of those events was expertly detailed by lead House Manager Adam Schiff on Wednesday, along with the other House Managers. At key moments in their presentations, each pointed out how existing documentation and eye-witness testimony is currently unavailable to the trial, being withheld at the orders of the President, and how that information should and could be made available now, if Republican Senators agree to do so. If not, Schiff warned, "the truth will come out" eventually anyway.

But GOP Senators have clearly calculated that, for most of them, it will be better to have that damning information come out later, after they have voted to acquit, rather than before they cast such a vote. All of this, ironically (or hypocritically) enough, as a number of Republican Senators have been complaining to Fox "News" (where viewers have no clue what's actually going on) and elsewhere, that they have not learned anything new from the Democrats' presentation.

On Thursday, Democrats detailed the legal and Constitutional underpinnings of the first Article of Impeachment against Trump for Abuse of Power, with House Manager Jerrold Nadler describing the allegations as "overwhelmingly supported by the evidenced amassed by the House" and "among the most serious charges ever brought against a President." The Chair of the Judiciary Committee went on to detail how the President's conduct in attempting to pressure a foreign nation to help him cheat in an American election is without precedent since the nation's founding and is "wrong, dangerous and captures the worst fears of our founders and the Constitution." Nadler characterized Trump's extortion scheme as one that "puts even President Nixon to shame," as the President and his defenders offer the "terrifying" argument that they see "no limits on his power or on his ability to use his public office for private gain."

He also played clips of Trump's own impeachment attorney, Alan Dershowitz, from before the Bill Clinton impeachment in 1998, when he argued that a violation of a statutory crime is not necessary before bringing charges of High Crimes and Misdemeanors and then-Representative, now-Senator Lindsey Graham making a similar case during his own presentation against Clinton while serving as a House Manager during that 1999 Impeachment Trial.

That's just some of our special coverage --- and debunkery --- in today's packed program, which ends with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report as Big Oil tries to rebrand itself as an opponent of climate change (hold your laughter); Trump beclowns himself again at Davos; a new study finds far worse drinking water contamination in the U.S. than previously estimated; and teen climate action superstar Greta Thunberg dresses down the elites at the World Economic Conference in Davos by telling them to end their investments in fossil fuels and start behaving as if they actually love their own children...

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Guest: Martin Longman of Washington Monthly and Progress Pond...
By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2020 6:31pm PT  

Our special coverage of the ongoing U.S. Senate Impeachment Trial of Donald John Trump continues on today's BradCast following Tuesday's marathon session that ended at nearly 2am in the nation's capital, before beginning again with opening arguments on Wednesday. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

On Tuesday, Republicans voted repeatedly along party lines to block 11 different amendments proposed by Democrats to allow for various first-hand witnesses to Trump's alleged High Crimes and Misdemeanors and documents being withheld by the White House that underscore other evidence in the two Articles of Impeachment.

Republican Senators blocked amendments proposed by Democrats to subpoena documents from White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney; Documents from the State Department detailing the President's call with Ukrainian President Vlodymyr Zelinsky, as Trump withheld military assistance and a White House meeting in hopes of strong-arming Ukraine's new anti-corruption President to announce (not to carry out, just to announce) investigations into Trump's potential 2020 political rival Joe Biden; Documents from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which the President illegally ordered to withhold nearly $400 million in Congressionally-appropriated military assistance; Documents from the Pentagon where officials were reportedly troubled about potential violations of law in withholding the funds; a subpoena for Mulvaney himself to give testimony in the trial; A subpoena to two OMB staffers who carried out the hold on military assistance to the war-torn country; A subpoena for Trump's own former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who regarded Trump's Ukraine scheme as a "drug deal" and who has said he'd be willing to testify if subpoenaed by the Senate because, as he claims, he knows more about all of this than is currently publicly known.

In vote after vote, Republicans voted as a block, with 53 votes, to deny every Amendment offered by Democrats, even against ensuring votes for subpoenas at a later date or to have the Chief Justice authorize subpoenas if the Republican-appointed John Roberts, who presides over the trial, felt any particular witness or document would have probative value by being relevant to the case. "One side is not afraid of a fair trial," lead House Manager Adam Schiff argued, "one is terrified" that the truth might come out.

Meanwhile, Trump offered false comments to reporters overseas at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he echoed his previous lies that he would "love" to have Bolton and Mulvaney and his Sec. of State Mike Pompeo and former Energy Secretary Rick Perry testify at the Senate trial, but he just can't allow it due to "national security" and "executive privilege" concerns.

Back home, the White House team's public defense at the first day of the trial was not well received, even by Republicans, including Chris Wallace of Fox "News" (which is now, unlike actual news outlets like CNN and MSNBC, breaking away during trial coverage for commercials and regular programming, while leaving the impeachment proceedings in a little silent box in the corner of the screen), the House Republicans' own Constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley, and George Conway, the longtime Republican attorney and activist husband of Trump's Senior White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway.

In a blistering interview with CNN on Wednesday, George Conway charged that Senate Republicans "don't want to hear the evidence because they know the truth, they know he's guilty"; that the charges against Trump are "much, much more serious" than those against Bill Clinton during his impeachment (on which Conway worked); that Trump is a "pathological liar" who "needs to be removed now" from office, because he is "thoroughly unfit for office". Kellyanne's husband also said that he is "deeply saddened" by what has happened to his Republican Party, but sees this historic event as a "moment of reckoning" for the nation and his party.

We're joined today by MARTIN LONGMAN (long known as "BooMan" to many old time progressive blog readers) from Washington Monthly and Progress Pond, for commentary as the Democratic House Managers begin their first day of opening arguments (which could also be their closing arguments if Republicans vote again next week to block witness subpoenas following the White House attorneys' opening argument). We also discuss the rules for McConnell's "scam trial" and why it is that Republicans seem to "lose every round and still win on the scorecard" --- not just in this matter, but going back as far as the Florida 2000 election.

Finally, we close with a few audio clips from Tuesday, when Democratic House Manager Rep. Jerrold Nadler accurately charged that Trump's lawyers "lie and lie and lie and lie", and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said in response --- with a straight face --- that "President Trump is a man of his word." The heated late-night exchange resulted in a reprimand for both sides as Tuesday's marathon 13-hour session drew toward its close.

But we close today with a clip from Rep. Schiff's opening argument, citing a chillingly apt warning from founder Alexander Hamilton about "a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents...despotic in his ordinary demeanour [and] known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty [who] is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity—to join in the cry of danger to liberty --- to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion --- to flatter and fall in with all the nonsense of the zealots of the day --- It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ‘ride the storm and direct the whirlwind."

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Republican Senate votes to block document, witness subpoenas as White House offers remarkably hypocritical defense...
By Brad Friedman on 1/21/2020 6:10pm PT  

"Can I get a witness?" That appears to be the big question, at the moment, for Democrats in the historic U.S. Senate Impeachment Trial of President Donald John Trump. On today's BradCast, we offer special coverage of the beginning of the trial, which, at least for today, is turning out to be a trial about whether there will be a real trial or not, with evidence, documents and witnesses, as Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his caucus seem prepared to do everything in their power to ensure there will not be such an actual trial. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Before we get to today's action in the Senate, we bring you up to date on the holiday weekend's pre-trial briefs presented by the Democratic U.S. House Managers, who are serving as prosecutors for Trump's two Articles of Impeachment on Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress, and the brief responses filed by the White House defense team.

Newly added to to Trump's legal team is hypocritical TV attorney Alan Dershowitz, who spent his weekend arguing on the Sunday news shows that the Articles were invalid because they did not include a specific crime. "You need proof of an actual crime," he argued. That, by way of contrast with Alan Dershowitz in 1998 during the Bill Clinton impeachment when he argued, literally, "it certainly doesn't have to be a crime" that qualifies a President for impeachment.

Trump's 6-page response to the Impeachment Managers 111-page brief describes the Impeachment as a "brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election" (which is what he is actually accused of doing in the Articles for which he is being impeached), and as "nothing more than a dangerous attack on the American people themselves and their fundamental right to vote." That's right. Donald Trump is now pretending to be concerned with the "fundamental right to vote." That, in the middle of an impeachment trial where he is accused of attempting to cheat in his 2020 reelection contest by withholding hundreds of millions of dollars in Congressionally-allocated military aid for war-torn Ukraine in hopes of forcing them to create dirt he can use against Joe Biden and other Democrats.

Tuesday's opening agenda was on the adoption of McConnell's proposed rules for the trial that would postpone votes on whether to include witnesses and documents previously blocked by the White House during the House's initial impeachment inquiry (the basis of Article 2's Obstruction of Congress charges) and even evidence gathered during the House Inquiry itself. Under McConnell's resolution, both sides would spend days in opening statements, and then take as many as 16 hours of written questions from Senators before they even vote on whether to allow witnesses or not. Legal observers have noted that is the opposite of how actual trials are carried out.

We share audio from today's terse opening statement by White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, followed by an extended excerpt from lead House Manager Adam Schiff on the unprecedented attempt to exclude all witnesses and documents from a Senate impeachment. No trial in the upper chamber of Congress has lacked witnesses since the founding of our nation.

As we went to air for today's BradCast (and as we write tonight), all Democratic amendments to McConnell's resolution, attempting to subpoena documents from the White House, the State Dept. and elsewhere, and for witness testimony, have been rejected along strict party line votes with all 53 Republicans voting to table the amendments, and all 47 Democrats voting to move forward with the subpoenas.

Also today, a few quick points of news elsewhere regarding the public fight to stop the controversial certification of new, 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems in Los Angeles County and the massive gun rights demonstration (over nothing) held on the Martin Luther King Day holiday in Virginia.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with exceedingly disturbing news about ocean warming, slightly more encouraging news about Wall Street beginning to wake up to worries about our climate crisis, and a big loss (for now) in the federal climate change lawsuit filed by a group of kids in California...

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

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Guest: Historian, author Richard Hayes Phillips, Ph.D; Also: Security experts worried about L.A.'s new, uncertified, unverifiable vote system...
By Brad Friedman on 1/17/2020 6:45pm PT  

Is Bernie "unelectable" as many well-paid pundits and columnists have argued? We take an evidence based approach to that question on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

But first, with the end of the Public Comment period for certification of Los Angeles County's $300,000,000 boondoggle of a new, 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting system coming to a close next Monday, Jan 20th (Martin Luther King Day holiday!) at 5pm PT, it's great to see Libby Denkmann's comprehensive piece at LAist, on the potential nightmares for L.A. voters in the making. Her piece is headlined "LA's New Voting System Is Still Uncertified. Why Election Security Experts Are Worried". She picks up on many of the points we highlighted when we broke the story earlier in the week of more than 40 violations of California Voting System Standards discovered by the independent testing team hired by the CA Sec. of State during the certification process.

We also follow up on Denkmann's scoop from earlier in the week, regarding the Beverly Hills City Council's recent vote to explore a lawsuit against Los Angeles County because the new, unverifiable touchscreen voting system forces voters to notice a "MORE" button if they wish to see more than the first four candidates listed on the ballot in any particular race. That button is right next to the "NEXT" button that would take voters to the next race without seeing all of the candidates in the current race. A listener writes in with a couple of solutions to that huge design flaw on these incredibly expensive "electric pens" that L.A. is investing in, instead of a much cheaper, much more secure and reliable, overseeable HAND-MARKED paper ballot system.

Then, with many in the pundit class helpfully informing us that candidates like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are just too progressive to be elected in the 2020 general election (many of these same pundits also told us Donald Trump could never be elected, by the way), we take an evidence-based look at those claims.

The question, however, begins with dismantling the notion that pack journalism and "conventional wisdom" on such matters should be trusted. For example, conventional wisdom tells us that members of the active-duty military will be big supporters of Trump's again this year. Actual evidence, such as the annual opinion poll of active-duty subscribers to Military Times, reveals a very different set of data than that presented by much of the media. That poll, taken at the end of last year, finds that half of respondents view Trump unfavorably, with 45% viewing him "VERY unfavorably". His overall ratings have dropped dramatically since the military publication's first annual poll in 2016. Moreover a plurality back impeachment for their Commander-in-Chief! (And today's Washington Post story on Trump railing at his Generals as "a bunch of dopes and babies" probably won't help him much either.)

In fact, as we discuss with our guest, historian, author and election fraud investigator RICHARD HAYES PHILLIPS, nobody really knows anything. At least when it comes to the paid pundits substituting their opinions for actual facts. Phillips published a fact-based analysis of the questions regarding Sanders electability at The BRAD BLOG on Friday, based on known raw numbers from the 2016 primary (with a particular eye on the "Blue Wall" states of WI, MN, PA, MI, IA and OH) and what can be gleaned from opinion polls today.

While avoiding punditry and predictions, Phillips' findings --- at least based on what we know at this time --- suggest that Sanders is, indeed, electable. Whether he would still be by the time Republicans got finished with him, or whether he is more electable than someone like Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren, remains unknown no matter what the TV talking heads tell you. "Take your pick," he tells me when I ask whether his analysis today will hold up even after Trump and the GOP media turn their fire on Sanders if we wins the Democratic nomination. "Which three words do you want to hear Donald Trump say over and over again in the same sentence 10,000 times? Do you want to hear 'Biden Ukraine corrupt'? Do you want to hear 'Bernie crazy socialist'? Do you want to hear 'Pocahontas crazy socialist'? I don't even want to think about what he would say about Pete Buttigieg. I'm not going to go there."

Noting that his work "is based upon numbers and not opinions," he suggests voters should vote for who they like in the primary and forget about "electability", before adding his key takeaway: "The lesson to this is that the most important thing that Democrats can do is to unite behind the winner and not split the opposition. Trump's best scenario is a 3rd party candidate on the Left siphoning enough votes from whoever wins the Democratic nomination to throw the election to Trump."

Phillips argues: "My advice is that Democrats should not be afraid of a spirited primary contest between two or more viable candidates. What they need to do, as recent polling data also reveal, is united behind the ultimate winner. You can't just take your ball and go home and mope because your candidate didn't get the nomination. That's what Trump wants you to do."

It is certainly true that Republicans will say anything, do anything, to win the general election against whichever Democratic candidate ends up winning the nomination. We close with one amazingly audacious recent clip from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Fox "News" that underscores precisely that point...

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

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