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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, January 18, 2020
On Bernie's 'Electability': 'BradCast' 1/17/20
Guest: Historian, author Richard Hayes Phillips; Also: Security experts worried about L.A.'s new, uncertified, unverifiable vote system...
A Statistical Response to the Charge That Bernie Sanders is 'Unelectable'
Analysis of 2016 primary election numbers in three key states, finds Richard Hayes Phillips, appears to counter the allegation...
Parnas Sings, Senate Trial Begins, L.A. Facing Suit Over New Vote System Flaw: 'BradCast' 1/16/20
D.C. bombshells; Huge fail in L.A.'s $300M vote system, County Clerk finally responds...
'Green News Report' 1/16/20
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR SPECIAL COVERAGE: Climate change pervades the final Democratic presidential primary debate before 2020 voting begins...
Previous GNRs: 1/14/20 - 1/9/20 - Archives...
Courts Step in to Protect 'Inactive' Voters in WI, NY: 'BradCast' 1/14/20
Also: Fall out from yesterday's exclusive news on major security failures discovered in Los Angeles' new voting system, and much more...
'Green News Report' 1/14/20
2020 race loses climate justice warrior; Billion dollar disasters on the rise; 2019 second hottest year ever; PLUS: 150 arrested with Jane Fonda at climate protest...
L.A.'s New Touchscreen Vote System Fails State Testing: 'BradCast' 1/13/20
CA Sec. of State could approve for 2020 anyway, despite security failures. Public comment period ends soon! Hand-marked ballots needed in nation's largest jurisdiction!
Sunday 'Close Call' Toons
We're all living on the edge in PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best political toons...
One Thing Voters Can Do to Ensure Trump is Dumped This Year: 'BradCast' 1/10/20
Guest: Public Policy Polling's Jim Williams; Also: GOP Photo ID restriction blocked in NC; DoJ's probe of Hillary Clinton and Clinton Foundation quietly finds...nothing...
Hate to Say 'We Told Ya So', But...:
'BradCast' 1/9/20
Admin has no evidence of 'imminent threat'; Ukrainian plane downed by Iran missile; Study confirms new computer BMD vote systems should not be used in 2020...
'Green News Report' 1/9/20
Trump guts another landmark enviro law; EPA, FEMA not disaster ready; Coal plant shutdowns saved 26K American lives; PLUS: Murdoch, troll disinfo on Aussie fires...
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: 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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Bombshells from Giuliani's right-hand man; GAO says Trump Ukraine scheme unlawful; Senators sworn to 'impartial justice' by SCOTUS Chief; Major design fail found in L.A.'s $300M vote system; L.A. County Clerk finally responds to our coverage...
By Brad Friedman on 1/16/2020 6:23pm PT  

Really just blockbusters and bombshells from top to bottom on today's BradCast. From historic impeachment proceedings to game-changing disclosures to potentially big legal trouble for L.A.'s imperiled new touchscreen voting system. [Link to complete show is posted below summary.]

First up, the historic Impeach Trial of Donald John Trump got officially under way in the U.S. Senate today, with a solemn oath-taking ceremony administered by Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court John Roberts who will preside over the trial that could determine whether Trump remains President of the United States.

But before we even got there on Thursday, the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) came out with its finding that the Trump Administration did, indeed, violate federal law last year when it withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Ukraine as appropriated by a bipartisan vote of Congress. "Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law," the decision says, finding that the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) "withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act." That matter is at the heart of Trump's impeachment.

But before the GAO findings were released on Thursday morning, or Senators could take their oath to do "impartial justice" as jurors on Thursday afternoon as the impeachment trial began, Rachel Maddow's Wednesday night blockbuster interview on MSNBC with Lev Parnas, the Soviet-born right-hand man to Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, shook up just about everything and everybody. Parnas, facing charges of campaign finance violations, sung --- and sung like crazy. On everybody. "Everybody was in the loop," he said.

He claimed Donald Trump knew from the jump about the scheme to strong-arm Ukraine to announce an investigation of Joe Biden to help his 2020 reelection bid. So did Vice President Mike Pence, former National Security Advisor John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Congressman Devin Nunes and even Attorney General William Barr. We share a few clips from Maddow's jaw-dropping scoop of an interview --- with a recommendation that you go check out the whole thing (which is set to have a Part 2 on Thursday night), before we move on to a few blockbusters and bombshells closer to home out here on the west coast.

Earlier in the week, we broke exclusive details on the pending certification of a brand-new, $300,000,000 unverifiable touchscreen voting system set for first time use in Los Angeles County --- the nation's largest --- in this year's March 3rd Super Tuesday primary elections. As we reported, independent testers hired by the Sec. of State's office to carry out certification testing of the new systems discovered more than 40 violations of California Voting System Standards as the Public Comment period for certification of the County's "Voting Solutions for All People" or VSAP system ends this coming Monday. Given the enormous problems with the system set for use in the critical 2020 Presidential election, we have been urging voters to send public comments seeking a HAND-MARK paper ballot system instead of the failed, unverifiable new touchscreen systems, to the Sec. of State at VotingSystems@sos.ca.gov.

All the while, L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan has refused, for months, to respond to our serious questions about the systems or appear on the show. Well, we've got some new news today on all of that, including a potential lawsuit by the City of Beverly Hills, whose City Council, according to LAist's Libby Denkmann, has voted to approve a suit after discovering the effects of a serious design flaw in the system. The new VSAP tablets only display four candidates per race, before a voter must select a "MORE" button to be taken to a second page. That "MORE" button is right next to the "NEXT" button on the tablet voting system. And that "NEXT" button, takes voters to the next race on the ballot without voters ever even seeing the additional candidates in the race. This is a very serious flaw that is likely to cause havoc for candidates whose random positions on the ballot come as Number 5 or higher in any given race, including in the upcoming Presidential primaries. (If I'm Dean Logan today, I am praying that Bernie Sanders doesn't draw the fifth or later position on the March 3rd Democratic ballot!)

That matter is just one of several that Logan has either refused to speak to or has mislead on when I questioned him, or tried to, as I detail on today's program. But, given the noise we've caused over the past several days with this on The BradCast, Logan finally deigned to offer a Twittered response, excoriating our coverage of the certification testing failures. We share his misleading response in full on today's program, along with a number of the serious points that he either failed to respond to at all, or is attempting to mislead the public about in his tweeted answers. (For example, the fact that after a computer-marked ballot has been supposedly "verified" by the voter, it is sent back through the same printer path where it could be changed by the system with no way for the voter to ever know.)

Finally today, as if that's not enough blockbusters for you, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with our special coverage of Tuesday night's 2020 Democratic Presidential Debate in Des Moines, the last one before voting begins next month, and one in which our climate crisis, at long last, was front and center throughout much of the forum, happily enough...

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

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon; 'Driftglass' of 'Pro Left Podcast'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/15/2020 5:27pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Once again, our plans for Special Coverage of the latest Democratic Presidential Debate is somewhat truncated today to make room for our Special Coverage of impeachment and the new, wildly disturbing evidence released on Tuesday night to go with it. [Audio link to show follows summary below.]

We're joined today by guests HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo and fellow longtime progressive blogger "DRIFTGLASS" (otherwise known as @Mr_Electrico on Twitter, or "Bill" to a few friends), co-host of the Professional Left Podcast, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this week.

We start with coverage of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision to finally transmit the two Articles of Impeachment against Donald John Trump, as approved by the House last year, over to the Senate for just the third Presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history. With the articles, on Wednesday, she also announced the selection of seven House members who will serve as prosecutors (known as House Managers) for the trial. They include House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler, and Reps. Hakeem Jeffries of NY, Sylvia Garcia of TX, Val Demings of FL, Jason Crow of CO and Zoe Lofgren of CA.

Moreover, we discuss the troubling new documentary evidence released late on Tuesday by the House Judiciary Committee from the phone of Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. That material, among other things, reveals a bizarre and creepy 2019 text message thread between Parnas and Republican Connecticut Congressional candidate and Trump superfan, Robert H. Hyde, detailing what appears to be Hyde's surveillance of movements of then U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

The texts suggest the now-ousted Yovanovitch, who was eventually recalled for her own safety on the next available flight out of the country, may have been targeted, given the content of the conversation, including remarks such as "They are willing to help if we/you would like a price." Ambassador Yovanovitch, an anti-corruption warrior, was described by Trump in his phone conversation with Ukraine's President as "bad news", claiming "she's going to go through some things."

As if all of that is not enough for one show, we then move on to coverage and analysis of Tuesday night's debate in Des Moines, Iowa, the final Democratic Presidential debate before voting begins in earnest for the 2020 nominating cycle with the Iowa Caucuses on February 3rd. Digby and Driftglass offer insight on all of the candidates who qualified for the debate --- Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer --- and a number of topics discussed on Tuesday night, including the bubbling feud between Sanders and Warren, the many and shifting Democratic positions on the Military/Industrial Complex and our forever wars in the Middle East.

We also discuss the failures of the debate moderators from CNN and the Des Moines Register, the problem with culling down the field to just 6 candidates before a single vote has even been cast, and whether Tuesday's debate has shifted the fortunes of any of the front-runners before voting finally gets under way next month....

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

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Also: Fall out from yesterday's exclusive news on major security failures discovered in Los Angeles' new $300M voting system, and much more...
By Brad Friedman on 1/14/2020 5:58pm PT  

On today's BradCast, as we wait for the House to send Donald Trump's Articles of Impeachment to the Senate, and we wait for the Senate to begin his impeachment trial, and we wait for Tuesday's night final Democratic Presidential debate before the Iowa Caucuses, and we wait for primary voting to begin in earnest next month, the fight for voting rights and for the way voters will cast their votes has been long underway, and it cannot wait any longer. [Audio link to complete show is posted below summary.]

We've got several major court victories today in the fight for voting rights, and a follow-up to yesterday's exclusive revelations of the massive failures discovered in the new, 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems set for first-time use in the critical 2020 Presidential election cycle in Los Angeles County, the nation's largest voting jurisdiction.

First up today, a Wisconsin state courts of appeals panel has stepped in to put a freeze on the massive voter purge of some 200,000 voters, as demanded by a rightwing legal outfit and a state court judge who was apparently willing to do their bidding. A three-judge panel on Wisconsin's District 4 Court of Appeals put the brakes on Ozaukee County Circuit Court Judge Paul Malloy's order to immediately remove the voters and on his $250/day fine against each of the three Democratic appointees to the state's Elections Commission who oppose the purge.

The voters who failed to respond to a verification postcard sent by the Commission were disproportionately found to be located in the state's most Democratic-leaning jurisdictions. They had been initially set for removal from the rolls in 2021, until Wisconsin's so-called Institute for Law and Liberty filed suit and found a very friendly judge in Malloy. He recently ordered the immediate removal of the voters, despite opposition from both the Democratic Commissioners and the state's Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul. The ruling by the appellate court to protect as many as 200,000 voters is key in a battleground state said to have been won by Trump by just 23,000 voters in 2016.

Today's decision in WI somewhat echoes a ruling by a federal judge in New York State late last week, who ordered that voters determined to be "inactive" due to a failure to respond to mailings or bad information from the U.S. Postal Service, must be listed in poll books on Election Day. A failure of so-called "inactive" voters to appear in poll books at state precincts led to chaos and disenfranchised voters during the 2016 election in New York.

During the course of last year's trial in this matter, it was revealed that both members of the State Board of Elections and New York City Board of Elections found that many voters on the "inactive" list should not have even been on the list in the first place. Federal District Court Judge Alison J. Nathan ruled that State Board of Elections' procedures were in violation of both the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause and the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.

Then, we turn to some of the fall-out from the hornets nest we helped kick over on Monday's BradCast, when we detailed major security defects discovered by state certification testers in Los Angeles' new "Voting Solutions for All People" (or VSAP) voting system. The brand-new $300 million system, as we discussed in details on yesterday's program, is yet to be certified for use in California by Sec. of State Alex Padilla, but he is expected to sign off of it despite the massive failures discovered by the analysts that could put the 2020 elections in jeopardy in the nation's largest voting jurisdiction, thanks to the completely unverifiable and highly flawed new touchscreen voting systems.

Today, we share some of the responses we've received following yesterday's blockbuster show and some of the public comments sent by listeners to the Sec. of State seeking rejection of the new system in favor of hand-marked paper ballots for all voters. Letters must be sent to VotingSystems@sos.ca.gov before the Public Comment period for certification ends this Monday, January 20, at 5pm Pacific Time!

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen for the latest Green News Report, with some news on a family feud and potential climate change shake-up at Rupert Murdoch's Newscorp in the wake of the devastating Australian bushfires that have ravaged the country for weeks; new details on the extraordinary costs of our climate crisis; and the weekly arrests of climate action champion Jane Fonda...

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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Guest: National security law expert Karen J. Greenberg; Also: McConnell says has votes to begin fixed impeachment trial; 'GNR' returns for 2020!...
By Brad Friedman on 1/7/2020 5:50pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the world remains on edge in the wake of Donald Trump's targeted assassination of Iran's top military general Qassem Soleimani. [Audio link to show is posted at bottom of summary.]

At least 56 mourners reportedly died during a stampede at funeral processions for the revered figured in Iran, were millions turned out to show their respects and to vow revenge against the U.S. Meanwhile, U.S. customs and border officials were reportedly detaining Iranian-American citizens for extended questioning as they re-entered the country; Trump's Secretaries of Defense and State each tried to walk back Trump's twice-threatened war crimes against Iran, should they dare to retaliate; And both Secretaries along with the White House continued to claim, without evidence, that an "imminent attack" that would have killed "hundreds" of Americans was prevented by the killing and served to justify the targeted drone strike against Soleimani and several Iraqi officials; Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell claimed to have the votes necessary to move Donald Trump's impeachment trial forward in the U.S. Senate (which Trump had clearly hoped to distract from with his attack on Iran) without allowing for either first-hand witnesses or subpoenaed White House documents to be presented as evidence; and the Foreign Minister of Iran described the assassination of Soleimani as "state terrorism" and President Trump as "lawless".

On that last point, and many related, we are joined today by KAREN J. GREENBERG, Director of the Center on National Security at Fordham University School of Law and the author of Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State. Professor Greenberg, an expert on national security, terrorism, and civil liberties, detailed in a New York Times op-ed today headlined "Killing Qassim Suleimani Was Illegal. And Predictable.," how American Presidents have been expanding their own executive authority for "targeted killings" and assassination since the post-Watergate Church Committee in the Senate called for reforms to ban such activity by the Executive Branch in 1975. President Gerald Ford, in 1976, issued an Executive Order to ban all political assassinations by the U.S.

Over the years since, however, as Greenberg documents, Presidents from Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton to George W. Bush to Barack Obama have each stretched the definitions of what amounts to an allowable "targeted killing" under certain restricted circumstances in order to prevent an "imminent attack". And while such killings eventually numbered in the hundreds under Obama (and included at least one U.S. citizen, albeit in a different country), Greenberg explains that no President, until Donald Trump, has broadened the definitions to include an out-and-out assassination of a state official, much less one as highly revered as Soleimani in Iran.

"President Obama attempted to expand the authority for targeted killing, excepting it from the category 'assassination', and giving many reasons --- including international law reasons --- for why this would be lawful. And tying it, however, to the War on Terror, which in a way, puts it in a different scenario than what we're now seeing. Because what we've seen this week is a successful attempt to attack a leading member of a sovereign state," Greenberg tells me. "It distinguishes in many ways from what the Obama Administration had done. But what the Obama Administration did was to open the window for that. They did it because they wanted to expand the targeted killing program of George [W.] Bush. Obama said it would cause less trouble, less reprisal on the ground, and therefore less violence against American troops. And they thought it would work in cases where they couldn't capture somebody who they thought was being tremendously detrimental to the United States."

The authority he and other Presidents granted to themselves, however, "essentially bypasses the idea of laws that restrain" and "comes down to 'trust me' government", in that the public must rely on classified evidence by the Intelligence Community --- and, hopefully, its review by members of Congress --- as legal justification for the actions. But Trump, she explains, while previously dismissing the assessments of the intelligence community as dishonest "Deep State" actors, is now citing what he claims to be their evidence and asking us to trust it.

The result of all of this is what Greenberg describes as "a lack of foresight to put in place policies, by any President or any administration that, should it get into the wrong hands, can prove truly dangerous. We've now crossed that threshold." She goes on to note that "The basic bottom line is this is not something that the United States has supported or allowed since the Church Committee" in 1975.

We discuss how Ford's Executive Order, the War Powers Act of 1973 (meant to constrain Presidents from acts of war without approval by Congress), and the Authorizations for Use of Military Force adopted by Congress after 9/11 and again before our invasion of Iraq, have all now been stretched to the point of near meaningless. At the same time, the U.S. has also pushed the boundaries of Geneva Convention restrictions against war crimes to fit its defensive/aggressive needs of the moment, with as little enforcement by international agencies as Congress has brought against U.S. Presidents from both major parties at home for violations of domestic laws and Constitutional mandates.

There is quite a bit in this conversation that can't adequately be summarized here, so I hope you'll tune in for much more.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our first Green News Report of the new year, which, sadly, picks up with the continuing, record, devastating Australian wildfires which also led our last GNR of the year in 2019, some two and a half weeks ago...

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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Trump chooses deadly confrontation with Iran to distract from his impeachment, callers ring in on it; Also: Bolton willing to testify in Senate 'if subpoenaed'; A voter registration heads-up for California!...
By Brad Friedman on 1/6/2020 5:56pm PT  

We're back on today's BradCast after a much needed holiday break! (Thanks to the great Nicole Sandler for helping us to sneak in some down time!) Sadly, things are much worse --- and more dangerous --- now than they were before the end of the new year, thanks to Donald Trump's targeted assassination of Iran's Major General Qassem Soleimani, placing the U.S. --- and the world --- on the brink of yet another potential war. [Audio link to complete show is posted below.]

The Germans were right last year. Donald Trump is the greatest threat to world peace. Far greater than Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin, or Iran's Ayatollah. By far.

The bulk of today's program is devoted to developments and fall-out since Trump's ill-considered attack on Soleimani late last week --- including the tens of millions of Iranians who Trump helped unify to turn out for Soleimani's funeral processions; Trump's threat of war crimes against Iran should they dare to retaliate against what is likely already a war crime; Iran's declaration that the 2015 anti-nuclear agreement which Trump pulled the U.S. out of is now all but dead; Iraq's Parliamentary resolution to throw all U.S. forces out of the country, and Trump threat of sanctions against them if they do; Trump's 2011 (and 2012 and 2013) false predictions that Obama would start a war on Iran to win reelection "because of his inability to negotiate properly"; and calls from listeners on all of the above.

Of course, the real reason Trump decided to kill Soleimani is almost certainly to distract from his end of year impeachment and upcoming trial in the U.S. Senate. On that front, we covered former National Security Advisor John Bolton's announcement today that he would testify as a witness in the trial, if subpoenaed by the Senate (which Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are still blocking, along with all first-hand eye witnesses requested by Democrats).

And also, a few heads-ups regarding voter registration in California (and elsewhere) in advance of March 3rd's Super Tuesday Presidential primaries. If you live in California, and are registered as a "No Party Preference" voter, you will either have to request a Democratic, Libertarian or American Independent Presidential ballot, or register yourself as a Republican, Green Party or Peace and Freedom Party member if you wish to vote in one of their primaries. Otherwise, in California, if you are a permanent Vote-by-Mail voter, you will receive a ballot in the mail without any Presidential options. Tune in to today's show for more details on that and what you need to do about it....very soon! (At least if you wish to avoid voting on 100% unverifiable touchscreens here in Los Angeles County and elsewhere on Primary Election Day!)

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Trump and his supporters hope to make this complicated. It isn't...
By Richard Hayes Phillips, Ph.D. on 12/27/2019 11:35am PT  

President Trump has been impeached on two articles --- Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress --- not because of disagreement with his policy, as he and his supporters are attempting to argue, but because his actions were viewed as both illegal and unconstitutional.

The grounds for those charges are straightforward. Please allow me to explain in very clear and simple terms...

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




Guests: Author, political scientist David Faris; Columnist, opinion journalist Heather Digby Parton...
By Brad Friedman on 12/20/2019 5:21pm PT  

The final 2020 Democratic Presidential debate of 2019 was held Thursday night in Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University, just one day after the U.S. House approved two Articles of Impeachment against President Donald Trump. On today's BradCast, we have lively, smart (and, yes, occasionally snarky) special coverage of both, with returning champion guests DAVID FARIS, Associate Professor of political science at Chicago's Roosevelt University, The Week contributor, and author of It's Time to Fight Dirty; and HEATHER DIGBY PARTON, Salon columnist and award-winning opinion and analysis journalist from Digby's Hullabaloo.

As per DNC requirements for participation at the Thursday night's debate, co-sponsored by PBS Newshour and Politico, the included candidates were former Vice President Joe Biden; South Bend, IN, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; MN Sen. Amy Klobuchar; VT Sen. Bernie Sanders; Billionaire businessman Tom Steyer; MA Sen. Elizabeth Warren and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

With ballots for early primary states going out to voters any day now, we should also note that NOT featured on Thursday's debate stage, though very likely featured along with the above candidates on 2020 Democratic primary ballots very soon, are: CO Sen. Michael Bennet; Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg; NJ Sen. Cory Booker; former HUD Secretary Julián Castro; former MD Rep. John Delaney; HI Rep. Tulsi Gabbard; former MA Gov. Deval Patrick; and author Marianne Williamson.

We cover a lot of ground on today's special coverage program, beginning with the latest in the post-impeachment showdown between House Democrats and Senate Republicans and how the ongoing fight over sending the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate before a trial is likely to play out; what to make of Gabbard's "present" vote on those Articles; how the PBS/Politico debate format worked out on Thursday night; who should have been included but wasn't; why Warren has recently lost some of her momentum despite her many proposals and popular plan to tax millionaires (while also landing the line of the night!); why Buttigieg has picked up so much steam in Iowa; why Biden remains the national front runner, according to polling, over all of these months and despite his flaws; how Sanders hit on some key points Thursday night that nobody else did; how our Climate Crisis finally played a prominent role in the Thursday night forum; why Yang and Steyer are there at all (and whether that's a good thing or bad); and whether Klobuchar can somehow emerge as the Democratic centrists' option to take on Donald Trump.

Of course, those are just a few of the topics covered, along with a host of clips from the debate and no shortage of both snarky and insightful commentary along the way!

Also, please note: Desi and I will be taking a bit of a break to recharge batteries and spend some long-overdue family time over the upcoming holidays. Nicole Sandler will be filling in for us, along with a mix of a few days of various encore BradCasts until we're back in 2020. My thanks to all of you who helped us get through this very difficult year in one way or another. From your notes of support and well wishes, to your news tips, to your generous support via BradBlog.com/Donate to help us keep doing what we try to do five days a week over your public airwaves without corporate or political support, helping us to remain 100% listener-supporter radio! Thank you for all of that, and we'll see you --- for better or worse --- in the new election year!...

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Speaker holds back Trump impeachment articles to force McConnell to allow witness testimony; Also: Goods news for NJ, GA voters; Update on VerifiedVoting.org controversy; Two important new e-voting exposés...
By Brad Friedman on 12/19/2019 5:43pm PT  

On today's BradCast: As messy as the process of passing two Articles of Impeachment against rogue President Donald J. Trump was, the post-impeachment phase got messier still on Thursday, as Democrats stood strong --- at least so far --- in their fight for a fair impeachment trial in the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate. We've also got some important election integrity and voting rights news, along with our final Green News Report of the year. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Before we get to today's impeachment standoff, we finish out a few points from shortly after we left air on Wednesday night, including a review of the late vote on those historic Impeachment Articles in the House --- and some thoughts on Tulsi Gabbard's less than courageous vote of "present" --- as well as the surprising emergence of the backbone being displayed at the moment by House Democrats.

In a blistering response to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's repeated admissions in recent days that he is working hand-in-glove with the White House and has no intention of serving as an impartial juror in the Senate trial to decide whether the President should be removed from office, despite his Constitutional mandate to do so, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Thursday: "Our Founders, when they wrote the Constitution, suspected that there could be a rogue President. I don't think they suspected that we could have a rogue President and a rogue Leader in the Senate at the same time."

We do our best today to bring you up to date on the ugly and quickly moving story of what has come today from McConnell's --- and, shamefully, fellow juror, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)'s --- attempt to make a mockery of the Senate trial by rigging it in favor of the White House in refusing to allow first-hand testimony from witnesses of Trump's alleged high crimes and misdemeanors. That, despite Graham's own insistence from 1998, when he served as a House Manager for Bill Clinton's impeachment, that "in every trial that there has ever been in the Senate regarding impeachment, witnesses were called. When you have a witness telling you about what they were doing and why, it's the difference between getting the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."

Those archival video-taped remarks came courtesy of an ad released on Wednesday from Republicans for the Rule of Law to call out Graham. It is in response to McConnell and Graham's refusal to allow testimony from a number of top Administration officials who were first-hand witnesses, but who failed to answer lawful subpoenas for testimony and documents in the U.S. House. The witnesses sought by Democrats and by a huge majority of Americans of all parties (including 64% of Republicans and 72% of independents) include Trump's acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Sec. of State Mike Pompeo, and former National Security Advisor John Bolton.

Then, we move to some quick election integrity and voting rights news as the first votes in the 2020 elections are now just weeks away. In New Jersey this week, the Democratic Governor signed a bill to restore voting rights to 73,000 people across the state who are currently on parole or probation.

In Georgia, after Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensberger was allowed to purge more than 300,000 voters earlier this week amid an ongoing lawsuit to prevent the removal of at least 120,000 of them, his office was forced to admit today that at least 22,000 had been wrongly removed due to what Raffensberger's office describes as an error in the state's screening process. The Admission came just hours before another hearing in federal court, leading plaintiff Fair Fight Action to demand that "every voter purged this week" should be "reinstated immediately."

We also have a quick update on the recent internecine battle at e-voting watchdog VerifiedVoting.org after the courageous resignations of now two well-respected members of their Boards of Directors and Advisors. (We interviewed the first of those to quit, Prof. Philip Stark of UC-Berkeley on a BradCast last week, after which the resignation of the second, Prof. Rich DeMillo of Georgia Tech --- who we have also interviewed a number of times --- was made public as well.)

The public resignations were in response to Verified Voting's disturbing years of support for 100% unverifiable touchscreen Ballot Marking Device (BMD) voting systems now proliferating the country in advance of the critical 2020 elections, and their frequently misleading information about how post-election audits could be used to verify results on such unverifiable systems. This week, the group finally responded to the embarrassing and costly pushback they have been receiving from Election Integrity advocates.

There were also two very important stories published this week on the very serious concerns about e-voting systems in advance of 2020. The first, "How New Voting Machines Could Hack Our Democracy," by attorney and Twitter activist Jenny Cohn at New York Review of Books, is a disturbing and encyclopedic exposé on the dangers and failings of BMDs, the Election Integrity groups such as Verified Voting who have failed to adequately warn against their use in American elections, and the private vendor/election official revolving doors and payoffs that have brought us to this perilous moment.

The second investigative article, out today from NBC News, reviews the shady ownership and shadowy manufacturing processes that runs through China and the Philippines at the nation's largest electronic voting company, Elections Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S) of Omaha, Nebraska.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report (our last one of the year!), with more disturbing news out of Australia, more bad news for our oceans, troubling news about the disturbing high costs of fracking and, shockingly, some kind words about global financial services behemoth Goldman Sachs!...

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Special Coverage with Heather Digby Parton of the U.S. House floor debate over 'Abuse of Power' and 'Obstruction of Congress', as the 45th President of the United States becomes 3rd in history to be impeached...
By Brad Friedman on 12/18/2019 5:06pm PT  

The President of the United States has now been impeached for only the third time in our nation's history. After 11 hours of debate on the U.S. House floor on Wednesday, a furious Donald John Trump was impeached on Articles of 'Abuse of Power' and 'Obstruction of Congress'. He also makes history as the first President to be impeached in his first term.

On today's special BradCast coverage, we share remarks from the House floor debate, both in favor and against the Articles of Impeachment, from Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representatives James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Justin Amash (I-MI), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Kathy Castor (D-FL), and Clay Higgins (R-LA).

We are joined, once again, for analysis on this historic day by our good friend and award-winning journalist HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo. We discuss the arguments (or lack thereof) offered on the House floor on Wednesday from Democrats and Republicans. We debunk a number of the false arguments offered by Republicans in lieu of any actual defense of what the President has been accused of. And we look toward what happens next when (and if!) the Articles are conveyed to the U.S. Senate for a trial on the removal from office of Donald J. Trump...

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Climate crisis; Impeachment madness; 2020 debates; GOP voter purges...
By Brad Friedman on 12/17/2019 6:45pm PT  

The gods must be angry. But they have very good cause. Among the stories covered on today's BradCast [Audio link to show is posted below]...

  • At least four were killed and dozens injured as some 27 tornadoes reportedly ripped across the Deep South causing "total chaos" on Monday and Tuesday. In December. Is that normal?;
  • DNC Chair and former Labor Secretary Tom Perez steps in to help resolve a labor union dispute at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles that had threatened to derail Thursday's 2020 Presidential Debate. Now, it won't. And the union workers got a great deal out of it;
  • Nine Democratic Presidential candidates, led by Sen. Cory Booker (who did not qualify for Thursday's debate), petition the DNC to relax qualification thresholds for upcoming Presidential debates. The Party says it won't;
  • Another former Trump campaign officials is heading to jail. Rick Gates, Trump's former Deputy Campaign Chair and a top Transition official, receives 45 days in jail, three years of probation and a $20,000 fine for fraud and lying to federal investigators --- to which he pleaded guilty last year. His sentence comes despite prosecutors seeking no jail time after Gates had cooperated with federal officials in Robert Mueller's Special Counsel probe, by helping to to secure guilty verdicts against Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort and longtime Trump associate Roger Stone;
  • Donald Trump unleashed a bizarre, blistering, six-page, single-spaced, Donald Trumpian rant, disguised as a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi [PDF] on Tuesday, decrying his looming impeachment as a "perversion of justice" by Democrats. The jokes seem to write themselves here, but for how pathetically sad, dangerous and threatening to our Constitutional order the behavior of this President of the United States now actually is;
  • That threat continues to spread to Congress, where the House Rules Committee on Tuesday set terms for Wednesday's House Floor debate on the two Articles of Impeachment against the President, as Rep. Jim McGovern, Chair of the Committee said he looks at Trump's attempt to use Ukraine to help him win the 2020 election as "a crime in progress", with Democrats "trying to prevent the President from rigging the next election";
  • While over in the Senate, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused a request from Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to subpoena the testimony of four top Trump officials who were first-hand witnesses to Trump's Ukraine extortion plot. The officials, whose testimony is sought for the almost certain upcoming impeachment trial in the Senate --- in which Senators are supposed to serve as impartial jurors to determine whether Trump should be removed from office --- include Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former National Security Advisor;
  • As McConnell continues to rig the Senate trial on behalf of Trump, Plan B for the removal of this President involves the ballot box. There too, Republicans are attempting to rig next year's election results. In Wisconsin, which Trump reportedly won by just 23,000 votes in 2016, a Republican-appointed Circuit Court Judge ordered the removal of more than 200,000 voters from the voting rolls before the 2020 election. The voters were previously set for removal in 2021 as the Wisconsin Elections Commission had planned, and as the League of Women Voters had argued in favor of. A rightwing group sued to have them removed before 2020 instead, and the GOP-appointed judge agreed. Dems vowed today to re-register them;
  • In Georgia, a federal judge allowed the purge of more than 300,000 voters identified by the Republican Sec. of State for moving or failing to vote in recent elections. But voting rights advocates argue that approximately 120,000 of them should not be on the list at all. The judge allowed the mass removal to move forward on assurances from the state those voters can be quickly restored after further hearings on the matter;
  • But, it's not just rightwing controlled states where voter registration concerns are rearing their ugly (if expected) head before 2020. Due to what is being described as a "computer glitch" related to the state's new, automatic registration system, as many as 100,000 voters in California may have had their party preference incorrectly changed on their registration files in advance of next year's upcoming March 3rd Presidential primary. The state's rules for who can vote in which party primary are particularly confusing. So, its a very good idea for residents who believe they are registered to check their registration at VoterStatus.SOS.CA.GOV to make sure they are still registered, and for the party they think they are. Those who are registered as permanent "No Party Preference" vote-by-mail voters but who wish to vote for a Presidential candidate in a party primary on March 3rd, will need to make that request with their County Registrar very soon or will receive a vote-by-mail ballot with no Presidential candidate options!;
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, as the U.N. climate talks in Madrid end without an agreement, but with much disappointment and rancor, thanks in no small part to sabotage by the U.S., and a new report finds the Greenland ice melt is on track for scientists worst case-scenario predictions of catastrophic sea level rise by the end of the century.

The gods have very good reason indeed to be angry again today...

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Guest: NC Sen. Erica D. Smith; Also: Dems call for former Repub Amash to be named a House Manager, and other late impeachment updates...
By Brad Friedman on 12/16/2019 6:45pm PT  

On today's BradCast: I've seen a lot of scams pulled off by the nation's largest (and, arguably, most failed) private voting system vendor over my more than decade and a half of covering Election Integrity in the U.S. But what ES&S is now trying to pull off in North Carolina may take the cake. It has also outraged a State Senator who is running for U.S. Senate in 2020 who joins us on today's show to discuss it. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up today, however, a quick Impeachment update. Freshman Democrats --- both progressives and Blue Dogs --- have begun a campaign to have former Tea Party Republican-turned-independent Rep. Justin Amash serve as one of the House impeachment managers in the (most likely) upcoming impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate of Donald J. Trump. It's an excellent idea....which is why we originally suggested same as far back as May of this year.

Meanwhile, very late on Sunday night --- actually, very early Monday morning --- the House Judiciary Committee submitted its 169-page impeachment report [PDF] to the House Rules Committee, charging that Trump committed "multiple federal crimes" including bribery and wire fraud. The Rules Committee will pass that report on to the House Floor where a vote on two Articles of Impeachment on Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress is set to occur as soon as Wednesday. If all goes as generally planned, the Articles will be conveyed to the U.S. Senate for a trial to remove the President after the first of the year.

Over the weekend, Democrats, including House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, pushed back against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's recent admission on Fox "News" that he is coordinating "everything I do...with White House counsel" regarding impeachment. Nadler described McConnell's statements --- since Senators serve as supposedly impartial jurors in Senate impeachment trials --- as a "subversion of Constitutional order", noting that the Constitution requires Senators take an oath to do impartial justice before serving as jurors in such trials.

For his part, Schumer over the weekend sent a letter to McConnell requesting subpoenas for four Trump officials, including Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former National Security Advisor John Bolton, to serve as fact witnesses during the trial. If Republicans will not allow witnesses in the trial, some have called for Dems to hold off the trial until the courts determine whether subpoenaed witnesses must testify to Congress, or until after next year's election, should Trump be reelected.

But speaking of the possibility of Trump's reelection, we have been covering in detail the insane deployment of 100% unverifiable touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) in jurisdictions around the country in advance of 2020. Most notably, battleground states Georgia and Pennsylvania tried them out for the first time in last month's off-year election and the systems failed miserably, even during sparsely attended municipal elections, with some voters being forced to wait for an hour to cast their ballot. In Northampton County, PA machines the new ES&S ExpressVoteXL systems recorded zero votes for a candidate who, as it turned out, actually received tens of thousands. Last week ES&S issued an apology for the disaster, taking at least some responsibility for having misprogrammed and/or misconfigured the systems that were used for the first time last month in Northampton and Philadelphia.

At the same time last week, it was revealed in an excellent investigative exposé by Jordan Wilkie at Carolina Public Press, that ES&S, who is submitted one version of their ExpressVote BMD systems for state testing and certification in North Carolina in early 2017, only recently notified the state that they don't have enough of those machines to supply the needs of the state next year. Coming after a two year testing process which ended with certification in August, ES&S is now seeking "Administrative Approval" to skip the state certification and testing process on an updated version of the system. That, even as they had told many other states long ago, according to Wilkie, that the system being tested in NC would not be available for 2020.

Incredibly enough, last Friday, the NC State Board of Elections voted to allow the "Administrative Approval" sought by the company of the new system which many are describing as a "bait and switch" by ES&S. More incredibly, it was passed by the SBE on a 3 to 2 vote, with the Democratic-appointed Board Chair joining with the Board's two Republican members to greenlight the new, untested systems, now set for use in Mecklenburg County next year. Mecklenburg is the closely divided swing-state's largest and most Democratic-leaning county.

We're joined today by STATE SEN. ERICA D. SMITH who has been outspoken and outraged by ES&S's latest scam, along with the SBE's willingness to go along with it. She tells me that the "Administrative Approval" is in violation of state law that she helped pass, and that she intends to take action to try and reverse last week's vote by the Board.

"Unfortunately, they [the Board of Elections] once again supported a machine that has not been tried and tested," she says today. "We passed a law that de-certified all of the older voting machines and required re-certification of the new models. So, in my opinion, they have broken the law or circumvented the law, and have further created disintegration of the public trust in our free and fair and secure elections in North Carolina." Smith calls for hand-marked paper ballot systems to be used instead, and describes falling for ES&S' bait-and-switch scheme and subsequent use of BMDs at this point as "unfathomable".

Smith, a three-term Senator and an engineer by training, also explains that verifiable and more secure hand-marked paper ballot systems are far more inexpensive than the system ES&S is pushing and that both the state Board and Mecklenburg County appear to be falling for. "We should not be substituting convenience for election security," she warns. ES&S "waited until the absolute last opportunity to tell us in North Carolina that they were not going to be able to meet the demand. But they knew that at the time when they accepted the bid." Smith rails. "Once again, it shows that ES&S is indeed a bad actor in this. They have compromised the integrity of this process and we should not let them get away with it."

Smith, a progressive Democrat, is also running for the U.S. Senate nomination in NC next year, vowing to forego all corporate PAC donations and hoping to take on Republican U.S. Senator Thom Tillis in November. She currently leads her closest competitor, Cal Cunningham, for the nomination by 5 points, according to polling last month, and bested Tillis in a head-to-head match-up by 7 points, according to a poll taken earlier this year. And yet, both state and national Democrats have endorsed her opponent, Cunningham. We discuss ALL of these various outrages during a very lively interview with Smith on today's BradCast!...

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Guest: Prof. Philip B. Stark, inventor of post-election Risk-Limiting Audits on his resignation from e-vote 'watchdog' VerifiedVoting.org; Also: A tale of two KY Governors and one corrupt U.S. Senator...
By Brad Friedman on 12/13/2019 6:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we continue down the long and often-too-winding road toward democracy and justice. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

After some 14 hours of debate on Thursday, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee made history on Friday morning by voting along party lines to approve two Articles of Impeachment --- for Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress --- against Donald John Trump. It is only the fourth time in America's 243-year history for such a "solemn and sad" event. But Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell couldn't even wait for this morning's vote before declaring out-loud on Fox "News" Thursday night that he intends to rig the U.S. Senate's impeachment trial. The Kentucky Senator (who is up for re-election next year) and leader of the Senators who will serve as jurors in the impeachment trial to consider removal of the President early next year --- presuming the full House votes to adopt the Articles next week --- boasted that he has been colluding with the accused in order to assure the Senate trial will be anything but fair.

Speaking of Kentucky and the importance of uncorrupted democracy, on his way out the door, now thankfully-former Republican Tea Party Governor Matt Bevin, who narrowly lost reelection last month in the otherwise "red" state to Democrat Andy Beshear, pardoned and/or gave commutations to 428 convicted criminals. Among those granted clemency are a convicted child rapist, a man who hired a hit man to kill his business partner, and a third who killed his parents. Perhaps most appalling, however, was the pardon for a home-invasion murderer in the second year of his 19-year sentence, after the man's family threw a fund-raiser for Bevin's campaign just last year. (His two accomplices, whose families did not donate to the Governor, remain in jail.)

By way of contrast, the new Democratic Governor, on his second day in office this week, restored voting rights and the right to run for public office to some 140,000 non-violent former felons, leaving Iowa as the only state in the union which still bans all former felons from voting for life. Yes, voting and elections still matter.

But the right to vote and have that vote counted accurately, in a way that we can know it has been counted accurately, continues to be an ongoing fight for Election Integrity advocates across the country as we are weeks away from the start of voting in the 2020 Presidential race. On Friday, several such groups filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania to block the use of brand new, 100% unverifiable touchscreen Computer Ballot Marking devices made by ES&S, and set for use in the key battleground state next year, after the systems failed to correctly record tens of thousands of votes during last month's municipal elections. The suit seeks to block the new touchscreen systems from use and to require hand-marked paper ballots instead in at least 17 percent of the state, including Philadelphia. Failure in that much of the state next year would be more than enough to throw the results of the 2020 Presidential election one way or another in the critical swing-state.

After those new systems failed so catastrophically during their first use last month (as new, similarly unverifiable touchscreen systems did in Georgia on the same day), long-time, previously well-respected e-voting watchdog group VerifiedVoting.org seemed to help both elections officials and private vendors off the hook by endorsing so-called Risk-Limiting Audits of some of the computer-marked paper ballot summaries produced by the systems in both states.

That appears to have been the last straw for Verified Voting's Board of Directors member Prof. PHILIP B. STARK of UC-Berkeley. Stark, a math and statistics professor, as well as a Board of Advisors member on the US. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is the inventor of the post-election Risk-Limiting Audit (RLA) protocol. He has been trying, in recent months, to make clear to elections officials and vendors that RLA's of computer-marked (versus hand-marked) paper ballots are "meaningless" [PDF], because its impossible to verify that they reflect voter intent. With Verified Voting jumping in to publicly praise GA and PA's use of such tests to proclaim that reported results accurately reflected voter intent, Stark submitted a blistering resignation letter [PDF] to the group.

The missive, which he shared with me on the night he recently sent it, decries VV's "whitewashing [of] inherently untrustworthy elections by overclaiming what applying RLA procedures to an untrustworthy paper trail can accomplish." He accused the non-profit, non-partisan organization of "providing cover for inherently untrustworthy voting systems --- and the officials who bought them, the companies that make them, and any officials who might contemplate buying them in the future --- by conducting 'risk-limiting audits' of untrustworthy paper records, creating the false and misleading impression that relying on untrustworthy paper for a RLA can confirm election outcomes." His resignation letter charged that the result of VV's action was "security theater, not election integrity."

Stark joins us on today's program to discuss the response to his resignation from leadership at Verified Voting and the other well-respected, world-class cybersecurity and voting systems experts who serve on its Board (many of whom have appeared as guests on The BradCast and sources for BradBlog.com over the years). "Verified Voting retracted a tweet that had claimed that Risk-Limiting Audits, or audits to be conducted in Pennsylvania, would confirm outcomes when they suffered from the same flaw that the audits in Georgia did," he says. "I think in general, the board and I are sorry to part ways. I would gladly go back, if they revised their public position with regard to what audits of an untrustworthy paper trail can possibly accomplish."

[Update: No sooner did we get off air tonight, than the resignation of yet another, very well-respected VV Board Member, Prof. Rich DeMillo of Georgia Tech and former Chief Technology Officer at Hewlett-Packard, became public as well. DeMillo's most recent appearance on The BradCast is here. His resignation letter and a story about it is now posted here.]

Stark also explains --- as I've been very skeptical of the efficacy of post-election audits for many years, for reasons described on the program --- how RLAs work and/or don't. He tells me what type of voting systems he believes to be best for the secure and overseeable casting and counting of votes in American elections (hint: no computers necessary), and much more, including a conversation about just some of the many dangers of computer Ballot Marking Devices (BMD) proliferating the country for 2020, and the ability for voters to cause chaos with them by reporting --- either accurately or not --- that the systems have misprinted their votes on Election Day.

"They're completely vulnerable to crying wolf. Even if an election official trusts public complaints that their votes were altered or contests were missing, then their only recourse is to run a new election, and that opens the possibility for people colluding to cry wolf and have an election invalidated. In the other direction, the incentives are stacked in favor of election officials saying, 'well, it was probably just voter error, we're going to let it stand.'" That, argues Stark, is exactly what we saw last month in Northampton, PA, when elections officials and ES&S claimed that "just by re-tabulating the paper that was printed by technology that malfunctioned big time, they can figure out who really won. It's farce."

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

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Impeachment debate continues in House Judiciary, Newspapers are in support; First 2020 ballots go out in two weeks; St. Louis County, MO's easy move from touchscreen to hand-marked paper ballots...
By Brad Friedman on 12/12/2019 6:05pm PT  

Desi and I are back for today's BradCast --- (thanks for saving us over the past three day, Nicole Sandler!) --- as the House Judiciary Committee's debate over two Articles of Impeachment against Donald J. Trump continues and with the first ballots for the 2020 elections set to be mailed out in just over two weeks. That, even as many jurisdictions around the nation are still choosing between gambling on faulty new electronic voting systems or moving to safe, verifiable hand-marked paper ballot systems. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

Among the stories covered today...

  • Dems continue to make Trump's reelection easier for him with fresh compromises in Congress, including approval of his new Space Force military branch and expanded paid parental leave for millions of federal workers (as also supported by Trump);
  • The (so far) two-day markup of the Democrats' two Articles of Impeachment against Trump continued into Thursday after opening statements on Wednesday night. We share some notable and pointed clips from Democratic Reps. Steve Cohen (TN), on the President's attempts to undermine American democracy itself; Pramila Jayapal (WA), who accurately describes Trump as "the smoking gun"; and Veronica Escobar (TX) who offers a great analogy to explain how Trump's attempt to force Ukraine to help him in the 2020 election would have landed any other public official in jail;
  • In an attempt at fairness, we searched for hours (and hours) to find remarks from the Republican minority that were not comprised of blatantly false claims, wholly misleading information and/or out and out lies. We failed. We did find Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), however, apparently characterizing 2016 Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein as a "Democrat" and falsely claiming that she filed "a frivolous lawsuit...claiming voting machines were rigged in three states" in 2016. She did no such thing. Nor did anybody else to our knowledge. But that's the sort of knowingly fake news Republicans are now using to try and defend their President from impeachment. They are also claiming that "Abuse of Power" and "Obstruction of Congress" are not actually high crimes and misdemeanors (which would likely come as a delightful surprise to Richard Nixon);
  • Three years into his Presidency, major newspapers are now finally jumping in to support Trump's impeachment --- now that he is already being impeached. That, after many of those same courageous outlets called for Bill Clinton to resign from office within just days of a sex scandal that resulted in his own impeachment. But we do offer some well-deserved kudos to the American Conservative magazine, for their non-hypocritical support of Trump's impeachment, find the case to be "Overwhelming";
  • As to what We, The People, can do about all of this, the first ballots of the 2020 Presidential Primaries will be sent out as early as December 28, just two weeks from now, for military and overseas voters participating in New Hampshire's February 11 primary. And voters from more than a dozen states which are holding Super Tuesday primaries on March 3rd --- including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia --- will begin receiving Vote-by-Mail ballots in just over a month, as of January 18. That's before the Iowa Caucuses on Feb. 3 or the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11;
  • Nonetheless, there are still many jurisdictions around the country fighting to determine exactly which voting systems they will be using at the polls in the 2020 elections. Recent failures of brand-new touchscreen voting systems in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Texas should spook officials and voters alike, even as officials in the battleground state of North Carolina are facing big problems with their plans to use similarly unverifiable systems.
  • Meanwhile, in Missouri, the most populous jurisdiction in the state, St. Louis County, was able to move seamlessly from unverifiable touchscreen systems to a brand new, completely verifiable, "Print-on-Demand" hand-marked paper ballot system last month with no complications, and at a saving of some $3 million for tax payers!;
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for both good news and bad in our latest Green News Report, as Exxon is exonerated in a big climate fraud case, while 16-year old climate activist Greta Thunberg is named TIME Magazine's 2019 "Person of the Year"!...

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

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Guest Hosted by Nicole Sandler with a day of Dem whiplash on impeachment and a new trade deal; Also author Ramesh Srinivasan…
By Nicole Sandler on 12/10/2019 4:10pm PT  

It’s NICOLE SANDLER, guest hosting the BradCast again today.

December 10, 2019 is the day that the Democratic-led House of Representatives introduced two Articles of Impeachment for Donald Trump on Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress. They're linked there for you to read for yourself, or just click the play button and listen to the show, as I read them for you.

The Democrats played a game of whiplash today as, an hour after introducing the Articles of Impeachment, Pelosi led a press conference to announce that they’ve reached a deal with the Trump administration to pass the NAFTA replacement known as the USMCA. From impeaching the President to giving him one of the biggest legislative victories of his term. Go figure.

We also cover the disconnect between the DOJ’s Inspector General’s report released yesterday and Attorney General Bill Barr’s gaslighting the nation over what it says. And lots more…

We changed the subject for today's interview with RAMESH SRINIVASAN, author of a new book, Beyond the Valley: How Innovators around the World Are Overcoming Inequality and Creating the Technologies of Tomorrow, which is basically an in-depth look into the internet and how it’s fundamentally changed our lives during its short existence.

We finish up with a new episode of Desi and Brad's Green News Report.

Whew. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings. On second thought…

Download MP3 or listen 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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