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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, April 12, 2024
Biden Closes 'Gun Show Loophole'; Repubs Turn Desperate: 'BradCast' 4/11/24
RNC Chair says Ukraine our enemy; GA Lt. Guv faces probe; Fox hides AZ abortion ruling, Hannity blames Dems; WI Justice to retire...
'Green News Report' 4/11/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
10th hottest month ever in a row; Swiss climate inaction violates human rights; PLUS: EPA crack down on airborne chemical plant pollution, 'forever chemicals' in drinking water...
Previous GNRs: 4/9/24 - 4/4/24 - Archives...
'Pink Slime': Fake 'Local News' Sites Proliferating in Advance of Election: 'BradCast' 4/10/24
Guest: Alex Mahadevan of MediaWise; Also: Trump CFO goes back to jail; GOP chaos, panic in AZ after 1864 abortion ban restored...
Dirty Tricks and the Dirtiest Candidate Of All Time: 'BradCast' 4/9/24
A CA three-way!; Polls shift toward Biden; RW scam artists pay the price; Trump rejected again in NY criminal case, facing trouble for phony $175M bond in NY civil case...
'Green News Report' 4/9/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Big hurricane season coming; Colorado River water used mostly for cattle; Good news for CA mountain snowpack, for now; PLUS: Disney's Tomorrowland says goodbye to Yesterdayville...
Previous GNRs: 4/4/24 - 4/2/24 - Archives...
'Titanic Law' Reform Just Tip of Iceberg in Quest for Key Bridge Accountability: 'BradCast' 4/8/24
Guest: Helen Santoro; Also: Media echo Trump abortion lies; Biden's new debt relief for 30M...
Sunday 'Dark Days Indeed' Toons
FEATURING: The Eclipse! Disinformation! 'Victimless' Crimes! And much more in our latest collection of the week's darkest toons...
Trump's Very Bad Day in Court(s) & Other Good (& Less Good) News: 'BradCast' 4/4/24
No Labels out; Soft sentence for GOP vote fraudster; WI reconsiders drop-boxes; NE nixes Electoral College change; Biden v. Israel; Sanders and Biden tout drug price success...
WI Supremes May Restore Drop-Box Voting
High Court approves expedited hearing in advance of 2024 election...
'Green News Report' 4/4/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Hunger crisis amid drought in Africa; Biden invests billions to decarbonize manufacturing; Melting ice is bending time; America's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm...
Previous GNRs: 4/2/24 - 3/21/24 - Archives...
WI Voters Approve Ballot Measures That Could Cripple Its Elections: 'BradCast' 4/3/24
Guest: Alex Burness; Also: OK voters remove neo-Nazi from office; Prez Primary results from RI, CT, NY, WI...
Politico's Josh Gerstein Owes a Retraction
Misleading tweet suggests Hillary Clinton was invited to 'join' the Federalist Society in 1997. Archival documents show no such thing...
More GOP Election Fraud; Overdue Justice for Crystal Mason: 'BradCast' 4/2/24
Also: AZ Repubs move to end early, mail-in voting; Trump files $175M bond in NY, gag order expanded; FL approves abortion ban and abortion rights ballot measure...
'Green News Report' 4/2/24
Biden vows Key Bridge money, Repubs: 'Maybe'; Storms collapse part of CA's iconic Highway 1; PLUS: Admin clamps down on methane leaks, truck pollution, more...
Last Week Today with OG Bloggers:
'BradCast' 4/1/24
Guests: 'Driftglass' and Frances Langum of 'The Pro Left' podcast on (almost) everything we missed last week, and why it still matters this week...
Sunday 'He Is Ris' Toons
FEATURING: Jesus Christ! State Border Brownshirts! SCOTUS To-Do List! More! Check out our holy roller collection of the week's best Holy Week toons!...
BRAD BLOG Spring Breaking
And not a moment too soon...
Sunday 'Roll Out the Barrel' Toons
FEATURING: Rich Con, Poor Con!...Sex-Havers!...March Madness!...More! Have a barrel of fun with our latest collection of the week's best toons!...
It's Up to You, New York:
'BradCast' 3/21/24
Trump facing civil, criminal reckoning in NY; Also: Biden forgives $6B more in student loans; U.S. seeks 'ceasefire' in Gaza; Scientists baffled by global heat spike...
'Green News Report' 3/21/24
Biden EPA issues biggest climate regs in U.S. history; Rio hits 144°F heat index!; Exxon CEO blames YOU for climate change; PLUS: U.N. issues 'red alert'!...
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...


Guests: 'Driftglass' and Frances Langum of 'The Pro Left' podcast on (almost) everything we missed last week, and why it matters this week...
By Brad Friedman on 4/1/2024 5:40pm PT  

It may be April Fools Day, but its no joke that we are back on today's BradCast after a half-planned, half-doctor-advised Spring Break week off! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Before we left, it seemed like last week might prove to be a slow news week, with Congress on vacation, no primary elections last Tuesday and Trump's New York felony hush-money trial postponed a few weeks until this month.

Boy were we wrong about that. Last week was anything but a slow news week, and we've got the headlines today to prove it! To add some actual context, depth and insight to those headlines --- and to hold my hand after I'd been trying to look away for the past week --- we're joined by two old friends, though only one who you may have heard on this program before.

Our friend known mostly as 'DRIFTGLASS' is back with us again today. He is co-host, along with his wife, of The Professional Left podcast recorded each week from "Flyover Country, Illinois." He is also, today, celebrating his 19th blogiversary at the Driftglass blog, so we're honored he agreed to spend it with us!

And, as if that's not swell enough, his Pro Left Pod co-hosting wife, FRANCES LANGUM, who is also a longtime Associate Editor over at the Crooks & Liars blog, joins us as well today for a romping, rollicking, breathless review of much that we missed last week and why most of it still matters this week!

Among the huge number of topics from last week covered on today's program...

  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA)'s vow to call for removing House Speaker Mike Johnson for his daring to work with Democrats to keep the government from shutting down by passing a long-delayed 2024 spending bill just over a week ago.
  • The failed attempted conspiracy theories forwarded by Russia and its supporters following the horrific massacre by ISIS-K at a concert venue in Moscow a week ago Sunday.
  • Donald Trump's failure to cough up a $454 million bond during the appeal of his New York civil fraud case and the various lifelines thrown to him (for now) by the Appeals Court in NY.
  • Trump's scammy, just-in-time merger of his failing social media site with a public company that could result in billions of dollars --- including "straight-up bribery" as Driftglass describes it --- for the disgraced former President.
  • Trump's New York criminal trial on 34 felony charges related to hush-money payments to porn-star Stormy Daniels to help him win the 2016 Presidential election is now set to begin on April 15. And, as Fran believes, Trump "will do anything to make the evidence that's going to appear in this case not come to trial." Including, she argues, even if he must "spend two or three nights in jail, violating the gag orders, in order to make this case not happen."
  • What the Biden Administration's decision last week to abstain from a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding a ceasefire in Gaza may mean for Israel and for some on the Left in the U.S. And why, if you don't like what Israel is doing, Fran advises: "Don't elect Bibi Netanyahu President of the United States --- which is what Trump is."
  • Why NBC News' ill-considered hiring and then firing of former RNC Chair and attempted election thief Ronna Romney McDaniel matters.
  • What Arizona's failed 2022 Republican Gubernatorial candidate and election liar turned 2024 Senate candidate Kari Lake's decision not to contest the claims in an election fraud defamation lawsuit filed against her by Maricopa County's Republican County Recorder (and chief election official) Stephen Richer means and how Lake is hoping to be saved --- somehow --- by a victorious Trump this year. (We wish her the best of luck with that.)
  • The remarkable, 25-point Special Election victory last week by Democrat Marilyn Lands in Alabama who focused her campaign on reproductive rights and subsequently flipped a state legislative seat from "red" to "blue" after losing her race for that same seat by 7 points in the 2022 general election. What will a post-Dobbs, post-IVF general election look like in supposedly "deep red" AL and elsewhere this November?
  • The desperate-for-quick-cash former President and huckster-in-chief is now selling bibles for $59.99 a piece. Though, to be fair, this version also includes the U.S. Constitution. Has Donald Trump ever read either of them? Says Driftglass today: "Good thing he did this to raise money to pay for the court costs of paying off a [porn star] that he was sleeping with while his wife was nursing their child. So the circle of absolute blasphemy is now complete."
  • Joe Lieberman died last week.
  • Independent 2024 Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., currently on the ballot in 8 states, thrilled dozens with his announcement of his running mate last week, the former wife of one of Google's founders, Nicole Shanahan. Or, as Driftglass describes her, "a big bag of money who is as crazy as he is".

That's just some of the firehose of news from both last week and this that we cover in today's very lively BradCast...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Next election may end GOP entrenchment in WI Assembly, though GOP entrenchment in Senate unlikely to be fully eradicated before 2026...
UPDATE 1/15/24: Court denies GOP motion to reconsider. UPDATE 2/19/29: Gov. Evers approves new map, likely ending litigation...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/27/2023 11:09am PT  

2024 begins with long-overdue good news for the voters of Wisconsin.

Three days before Christmas, by way of a 4-3 decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned the most recent of two GOP drawn state legislative maps. The two maps were the product of partisan gerrymandering that was so extreme that it permitted the Republican Party to maintain supermajority (2/3) or near supermajority control of both chambers of the Badger State Legislature over the past 12 years --- even when Democrats received as much as 53% of the statewide vote.

The detailed procedures for drawing up new maps in time for the state's 2024 primary elections are set forth in the Court's Post Decision Order, maximizing, at long last, the prospect of a state Legislature whose members will be politically accountable to the will of a majority of the Wisconsin electorate.

If timely developed and approved, the new 2024 maps will permit a majority of WI voters to put an end to a decade-long GOP gerrymandered entrenchment in the state Assembly, though a majority of voters will not be empowered to fully eradicate GOP entrenchment in the WI Senate until 2026. Because it would have been tantamount to overturning the results of the 2022 election, the Court denied the petitioners' request that it compel those Senators, whose terms would not otherwise expire until 2027, to run for reelection in 2024...

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




U.N. climate conference wraps in Dubai; Bad news for Trump in three courts; Heartbreaking testimony as Giuliani heads for world of hurt...
By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2023 6:54pm PT  

This week in Dubai, the U.N.'s Climate Secretary declared "the beginning of the end" of the fossil fuel era. Also this week, in a D.C. federal courtroom, Rudy Giuliani's attorney warned a jury that awarding a penalty of tens of millions of dollars against his client "would be the end of Mr. Giuliani". Both sound good to us on today's BradCast.

Among our many stories covered today...

  • The last minute, final agreement between 200 world nations at the COP28 U.N. climate conference hosted by the United Arab Emirates this week, calls for a "transition" away from fossil fuels. It wasn't the call for either a "phase out" or even "phase down" that many had sought. But it was a first. Including the first time in 28 years of such annual conferences that the words "fossil fuels" even appeared in the final unanimous joint statement issued by the parties. What does it all mean? It's both good and bad. We delve into some of the details with Desi Doyen today.
  • As the world was working toward moving beyond deadly fossil fuels, the disgraced, twice-impeached Donald Trump was campaigning in Iowa by lying to his supporters that gas now costs as much as $8/gallon, only cost $1.87 when he was President (during the pandemic in which nobody traveled and he helped nearly a million Americans die --- though he didn't mention any of that) and vowing to renege on the U.S. pledge at COP28 to give $3 billion to the joint "Green Climate Fund" to help poorer countries leapfrog fossil fuels and transition straight to clean, renewable energy. He even vowed that he would claw it back if he was elected next year.
  • As to Donald Trump's legal woes, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is now moving at "lightning speed" [PDF] to hear (and almost certainly reject) the twice-impeached former President's appeal on "absolute immunity" from the rule of law, in which he claims that he had the right to break any law he wanted while serving as President of the United States. On Wednesday, in a separate case related to defamation claims by writer E. Jean Carrol (who a court previously found Trump liable for sexually abusing), the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals rejected [PDF] a similar immunity claim. In yet another courtroom in Manhattan this week, testimony ended in Trump's New York State fraud trial, in which he and his companies and his two eldest sons have already been found guilty. The only question is on the penalties they will face. They are likely to be substantial, to say the least. The judge's ruling will likely come early in the new year.
  • In a different D.C. courtroom, Georgia election worker Ruby Freeman testified on Wednesday in the defamation damages trial against one of Trump's sleazebag attorneys, Rudy Giuliani who, along with Trump, repeatedly lied about her and her daughter Shay Moss committing fraud while serving as election workers in Fulton County, Georgia in 2000 in the middle of a pandemic. Both Freeman and Moss were viciously targeted by Trump's supporters after the lies were told about them, and Freeman offered heartbreaking and harrowing testimony on Wednesday about the horrific threats she received from Trump's supporters and how their lives were turned upside-down in the bargain. Giuliani's attorney, Joseph Sibley, didn't even try to cross-examine Freeman. And, in his closing statement, reportedly agreed that the disgraced former NYC Mayor's behavior was appalling. His appeal to the jury was that Rudy is old, and they should try to remember that, decades ago following the 9/11 attacks, Giuliani wasn't as appalling. The jury may be more likely to remember last Monday, after the first day of trial this week, when Rudy repeated his pathetic false claims about the two women in front of cameras on the courthouse steps.

    Just like Trump on Monday in his NY fraud trial, after vowing to take the stand, Rudy didn't. Both cowards and liars.

    The U.S. District Court Judge overseeing the federal case has already determined Giuliani defamed the two women. The only question is how much Freeman and Moss will be awarded by a jury for their pain and suffering (they are seeking as much as $43 million) and for additional punitive damages. If it will "be the end of Mr. Giuliani," as his attorney warned, it won't come soon enough. But it's unlikely to be the end. He still faces criminal charges [PDF] in GA for attempting to steal the 2020 election there; billion dollar defamation lawsuits from Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems; and a grotesque sexual assault suit by his longtime personal assistant, among other legal woes.

  • A listener in Amsterdam writes in this week to correct us on a small, but important, error we offered this week regarding last month's shocking electoral victory in The Netherlands' parliament for the far-right political party of anti-immigrant extremist Geert Wilders.
  • And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us again for our latest Green News Report with a wrap-up of COP28 in Dubai, and some very troubling news in the Arctic...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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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, Pandora, TuneIn, Google, Amazon or our native RSS feed!

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COP28 in 'overtime'; Democracy rises in Poland; New U.S. House maps for NY; More good economic news; Trump at SCOTUS; Rudy defames amid defamation trial; Johnson lies about WI's fake electors...
By Brad Friedman on 12/12/2023 6:36pm PT  

If, like me, you're old enough to get the joke in today's headline, congratulations on still being alive! (If you don't remember it, here's a reminder.) But, no, we didn't forget Poland on today's chocked-with-a-surprising-amount-of-not-awful-news BradCast!

Among our stories covered today....

  • Who knew that holding a U.N. conference (COP28) on our climate catastrophe in a petrostate like the United Arab Emirates might end without an agreement --- or with a bad one --- from all 200 participating nations for the first time in the annual summit's 28 year history? Well, it ain't over until it's over, with nations now officially in "overtime" at the Conference, which was otherwise set to end last night. Will they dare mention the phrase "fossil fuels" in whatever final statement they finally unanimously agree to make? Stay tuned!
  • In what is being described as a "political earthquake", after eight years under the heavy hand of a far-right anti-immigrant, anti-media, anti-woman authoritarian party's Prime Minister and President, Poland --- with a front-row seat over the past two years to Russia's autocratic invasion of Ukraine --- elected a centrist, pro-EU Prime Minister on Monday! That is good news on a whole bunch of fronts. It became official today when Donald Tusk received a vote of confidence from parliament after a brief delay when a right-wing lawmaker used a fire-extinguisher to douse candles in a Hanukkah menorah in parliament. "This is a wonderful day," said Tusk to the Polish people on Monday night. "Not for me, but for all those who have deeply believed over these years that things will get even better, that we will chase away the darkness, that we will chase away evil. From tomorrow, we will be able to right the wrongs so that everyone, without exception, can feel at home." The news is a welcome counter-point to the recent rise of right-wing authoritarianism in nations from Argentina to The Netherlands. And, hopefully, its a good omen for 2024 in the U.S.
  • On the other hand, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had to fly all the way to the U.S. on Tuesday to, essentially, beg far-right Congressional Republicans --- who have apparently lost the plot of democracy --- to continue supporting Ukraine's efforts to hold off the imperialist invasion of his country by fascist Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
  • Speaking of Congress and democracy, very good news out of New York's high court today, which ordered a new U.S. House map for next year's 2024 Congressional elections, after the map used in 2022 resulted in a bunch of seats flipping from D to R in newly drawn districts after state Dems kinda screwed up the whole process. We explain.
  • And in more potentially good news for 2024, inflation continues to fall faster than expected, as the U.S. economy continues to show surprising resilience and little sign of the recession that many had feared when Donald Trump's Federal Reserve Chairman, Jerome Powell, began raising interest rates last year to combat inflation. Inflation is almost back to normal at 3.1% over last year; gasoline is down 11% over the past two months; employers are still hiring and unemployment remains at a near record-low rate of 3.7%. But, some prices are still high at grocery stores, as is rent and the cost of a home mortgage. Economists are watching Powell closely for a read as to when the Fed may deign to finally lower interest rates next year.
  • No sooner had we gotten off air yesterday, than the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would consider an expedited petition filed on Monday by Special Counsel Jack Smith to hear Donald Trump's appeal on Presidential Immunity in his January 6 federal indictment. It doesn't necessarily mean SCOTUS will hear the full case. But it means they will consider doing so. Smith had filed the petition for cert just hours earlier, leapfrogging the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in hopes of keeping next year's scheduled March 4th trial date for Trump on track. All of which, at least for now, is encouraging news to suggest that SCOTUS may both do the right thing and do so with the alacrity that would allow the American people a verdict in the case against Trump in advance of next year's Presidential election.
  • The defamation damages trial against dirtbag former NYC Mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani --- in which he's already been found guilty of defamation --- continued into its second day on Tuesday. But not before his attorney admitted in Court on Monday (as the federal judge has already found), that Rudy's horrendous claims about two Georgia election workers in 2020 committing fraud for Joe Biden were false. And not before Giuliani then stepped out of the courtroom on Monday and repeated the same baseless claims yet again on the courthouse stairs. Today, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell scolded both Rudy and his attorney, noting that Giuliani's remarks on Monday night "could support another defamation claim" by mother and daughter plaintiffs Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss. The pair are currently seeking damages in the amount of $15.5 to $43 million in their civil lawsuit. And they will deserve every penny they receive.
  • Speaking of dirtbags, following the news last week that Wisconsin's 10 fake Trump electors had settled a civil lawsuit against them, the state's U.S. Senator Ron Johnson --- already on record as having encouraged state lawmakers to steal the Badger State's 2020 election for Trump --- described the settlement as a "travesty of justice." He insisted that Democrats had done the very same thing "repeatedly" and "in multiple states" in the past. Nonetheless, he couldn't name any state where Democrats had secretly created false slates of electors in hopes of stealing an election when pressed by CNN's Kaitlan Collins. (If Johnson was referring to what happened in Hawaii in 1960, he is wrong about that as well.)
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with both the good and bad, so far, out of the COP28 Climate Conference in Dubai, and some very good news indeed from President Biden regarding the nation's largest ever investment in high speed rail and U.S. passenger rail service.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Warning from a top conservative federal judge; Far-right electoral victories in Argentina, Netherlands; Trump threatens use of Insurrection Act; Biden invokes DPA to save climate...
By Brad Friedman on 11/28/2023 6:20pm PT  

The warning signs continue to blink bright red after the holiday on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among those warnings...

  • Well-respected, very conservative former federal Judge Michael Luttig warns: "If American democracy was on a knife's edge on January 6, 2021, today it is teetering on that knife's edge [and] in greater peril today than it's ever been in American history." He argues that a second term for the former President would be "catastrophic".
  • TPM's David Kurtz: "The Rule Of Law Is The Only Thing That Matters In 2024"
  • The warning signs are coming from abroad as well, with the "impossible" electoral victory a week ago Sunday of far-right "libertarian" Javier Milei as Argentina's new President and the "massive shock win" and "stunning lurch to the far right" for The Netherlands with last Wednesday's victory for Geert Wilders' extreme right party in Dutch parliamentary elections. Both are wild-haired versions of our own former President, who gleefully celebrated their electoral victories. Both are extreme anti-immigrant, anti-government populists --- to put it very nicely.
  • Here at home, Donald Trump remains the GOP front-runner for the 2024 nomination (though Nikki Haley received a major boost today from the billionaires of the Koch Network), and continues to ratchet up his own far-right authoritarian threats, including with his promised domestic deployment of the U.S. Military under the Insurrection Act should voters of this nation prove foolish and self-defeating enough to allow him a second term next year.
  • Meanwhile, our current President, continues to use his powers for good instead of evil, including a new Biden Administration invocation of the Defense Production Act to boost domestic manufacturing of clean, efficient residential and business heat pump technology to replace dirty fossil fuel-burning furnaces and low-efficiency AC systems. The $169 million program, according to the Department of Energy, "will help families and businesses save money with efficient heating and cooling technology...create thousands of high-quality, good-paying manufacturing jobs and strengthen America's energy supply chain, while creating healthier indoor spaces through home-grown clean energy technologies." It is all part of a program to encourage more efficient appliances that "will save Americans $570 billion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2.4 billion metric tons over the next 30 years." So, little wonder Fox "News" is furious about it.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report as world leaders descend upon Dubai for the latest annual United Nations climate conference (COP28) on the heels of a number of startling new reports warning that the globe will soon blow past targets set at previous conferences. This one is being hosted by the petro-state of the United Arab Emirates. What could possibly go wrong?

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 11/14/2023 10:45am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Australia signs historic climate refuge treaty with Pacific Island nation Tuvalu; GOP's third 2024 primary debate --- in Miami --- ignores climate change; Last 12 months were the hottest in recorded human history; Some big policy changes after the 2023 elections; PLUS: Manchin to exit the Senate... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): What to know about today’s three big climate reports; Over 60 countries back deal to triple renewable energy this decade; How much trees fight climate change? Massively, but not alone; Microplastics problem just got worse; Oil firms attending climate talks have minimal green energy transition plans; 20 farming families use more water from the Colorado River than some Western states; Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon falls to lowest since 2018... PLUS: Desperate for water, desert city hopes to build pipeline to CA Aqueduct... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Results from OH, KY, MS, PA, VA, elsewhere; Guest: 'Handbook for a Post-Roe America' author Robin Marty of the West Alabama Women's Center...
By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2023 5:52pm PT  

It was a very good night for democracy and reproductive freedom in these United States on Tuesday, as Democrats, in almost every state holding off-year elections yesterday, continued their post-2016, Trump-era winning streak at the polls. We cover both the reported results from Tuesday and what they mean moving forward on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

  • First, the results, including major wins for abortion rights and the legalization of marijuana in the "red" state of Ohio, where Donald Trump won by 8 points in the 2020 election, and where the GOP pulled out all the stops to block the right to reproductive freedoms from being written into the Buckeye State constitution. Unverified results today show both ballot measure were adopted by voters on Tuesday by nearly 14 point margins.
  • In Virginia, Dems held onto their majority in the state Senate and won back a majority in the House of Delegates. Thus, crushing the hopes --- and, perhaps political future --- of Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin while also blocking his hopes of instituting restrictions on abortion in the southern state.
  • There was also a blue moon over the "deep red" state of Kentucky on Tuesday, where Trump won in 2020 by 26 points, and where the state's Democratic Governor Andy Beshear out-performed polling to defeat KY's Trump-endorsed A.G. to win a second term. Beshear vowed during the campaign to continue his fight against the state's total ban on abortion and he won on Tuesday by about five points. Statewide Democrats on the ballot below him, who did not run on abortion rights, all lost. Nonetheless, Beshear's victory may be a good omen for Democrats for another reason. The winning party in KY's off-year Gubernatorial elections has gone on to win the White House in every election this century. That's the past six in a row.
  • The news was not as good for Dems in Mississippi, where long-shot challenger Brendan Presley actually under-performed polling in his challenge to the incumbent, scandal-plagued Republican Governor Tate Reeves. Presley and Reeves both opposed abortion rights. (Paying attention, Democrats?) Of course, the disastrously run election in the state's 83% Black capital city of Jackson --- ballots ran out in many locations, lines were hours long, the state's online polling locator had incorrect instructions for more than 90 polling places --- didn't help.
  • But, in Pennsylvania, voters elected a new, pro-abortion Justice to their Supreme Court, and Philadelphia elected its first female Mayor (who also happens to be black).
  • Voters in Rhode Island, in the only U.S. House Special Election of the night, elected Gabe Amo as their first elected Black Representative for Congress, as Dems continue their streak of out-performing in Special Elections.
  • And voters up in Harlem elected Yusef Salaam, a member of the exonerated "Central Park Five", to the New York City Council. Salaam had been one of five young Black and Hispanic boys arrested and forced to confess to the brutal 1989 rape and beating of a white jogger in Central Park. He was jailed at age 15 and imprisoned for almost seven years before DNA evidence exonerated all five of the young men. A then little known real estate developer named Donald Trump took out full page newspaper ads at the time, calling for the reinstatement of New York's death penalty in hopes of killing the boys. He has never retracted or apologized for his demands. He still insists the innocent boys should be executed, as he remains the Republican Party's front-runner for next year's Presidential election.

But the biggest story of the night were the huge wins for abortion rights pretty much everywhere, and the Democrats who support them. We're joined today to discuss what all of it means moving forward into 2024 by ROBIN MARTY, author of 2019's prescient New Handbook for a Post-Roe America and The End of Roe v. Wade: Inside the Right’s Plan to Destroy Legal Abortion.

Marty is also the Executive Director of the West Alabama Women's Center. She offers a lot of insight --- sometimes harrowing, sometimes witty --- into the political fight for reproductive freedoms in both the Deep South and the nation as a whole, as efforts are now reportedly moving forward to place abortion right on the ballot --- both for and against them --- in about a dozen states.

She's got a lot to share today, including her call for Democrats to run on a federal referendum to restore abortion rights nationwide. For today, however, she is enjoying yesterday's wins across the country.

"The most important thing to take away is the fact that voters are still pissed," she tells me. "This is exactly their way of showing just how angry they are. It is going to take all of us, as voters who believe in reproductive rights, to go out, vote and change government on every level. And that's what people did yesterday. They changed it in governors races, flipped statehouses, changed abortion language on the ballot. They went and took out school boards that had gone totally MAGA and had started trying to take away the ability for kids to be able to read age-appropriate sex ed books. So we, literally, are going at every level of the government, and that is going to change things back."

As to her sharp response to the every-few-months retreaded claims from political pundits that the fight for abortion rights may be losing its potency since Roe v. Wade was overturned by our corrupted Supreme Court last year, well...you'll want to tune in for Marty's sharp reply to that question...and much more...

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Huge ES&S touchscreen fail in PA county; Missing VBM ballots at OSU; Also: WI GOP advances impeachment against state Election Director; Meadows sued by own book publisher for lying about 2020 election...
By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2023 5:55pm PT  

Today was Election Day in a bunch of states across the U.S. Important contests and ballot measures were before voters in this off-year election, including in Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Mississippi, parts of California and elsewhere. And, as covered on today's BradCast, things did not go well for voters in parts of at least two of those states on Tuesday. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

  • As we reported at The BRAD BLOG earlier today in some detail, new, unverifiable touchscreen voting machines made by ES&S were reportedly flipping votes in Northampton County, Pennsylvania. This wasn't the type of "flipping" that we've seen many times in the past, where the screens on the voting system are not calibrated correctly and when one tries to select a candidate, a different one gets highlighted instead. This was quite different.

    At a number of precincts across Northampton, a largely suburban enclave outside of Philly, when voters selected either "Yes" or "No" in a statewide retention election for each of two judges (one D and one R), everything presumably worked as expected. But if voters chose "Yes" for one of the judges and "No" for the other, their votes would get reversed to the opposite selections. Making matters worse, the computer printout of those votes would be reversed, while the screen itself would show the voters' actual selections.

    Back in 2019, as we reported at the time, just after the ES&S ExpressVote XL systems --- wildly expensive computerized electronic pencils --- were first purchased for use in Northampton, there were a number of candidates who learned after the election they had received ZERO votes on them. That, of course, was not true, and the paper printouts from the systems were eventually used to discern what were believed to be the correct results of the elections. But, of course, there is no way of knowing if the printed paper records were actually accurate, whether voters bothered to verify them, or if they did so correctly even if they tried to. That's just a few of the problems with every touchscreen Ballot Marking Device (BMD) used across the country. (For example, every voter at every polling place in the entire state of Georgia is still forced to use similarly unverifiable BMD systems made by Dominion Voting Systems.)

    Shamefully, after the 2019 disaster, PA's Northampton County didn't dump the machines then and there and move to verifiable hand-marked paper ballots instead. Today, those same systems melted down for voters again. And, perhaps even more shamefully, the County officials who approved them for use in the first place were blaming everybody but themselves for it, including election officials and ES&S. Perhaps most shameful of all, one of the candidates who, in 2019, was reported to have received "zero" votes in his election at the time for Northampton County Judge, but later found that he had actually won the election, presided over what to do about today's mess. After the problems came to light, he was the Northampton County Judge who, rather than ordering a move to hand-marked provisional paper ballots, instructed election officials to continue using the machines despite the fact that they were reversing votes.

    One local outlet reporting on the mess described today's "solution" to the problem this way: "In cases where the error would pop up for the retention question, the county would flip the results during the post-election canvass." (!!!)

    As noted, this is just a mess. Much more on all of this on today's show. And, I suspect, we'll be covering it more in the days ahead. Let's hope there are no close elections either statewide or in Northampton when PA results are tabulated tonight.

  • Also today, it is being reported that, according to several nonpartisan voting rights groups, "an extraordinarily high number" of voters in the zip code of Ohio State University never received their requested absentee ballots by mail. The state held a critical election for a Constitutional measure today to protect abortion rights, as Republicans in the state, including its Sec. of State Frank LaRose, have pulled out all the stops to block the Amendment from passage (including recently purging 26,000 voters quietly from the rolls after the election had already begun.) There is also a proposal to approve recreational marijuana on Tuesday's ballot. Once again, the results, whatever they may be, better not be close, or there will be some hell to pay in the Buckeye State, I suspect.
  • In Wisconsin, Republicans appear to be working hard to ensure chaos for next year's critical Presidential election in the Badger State. State Assembly speaker Robin Vos, last week, advanced 15 articles of impeachment against the state's top election official, as part of their years long effort to blame someone --- anyone! --- for Donald Trump's 2020 loss in the battleground state.
  • And, speaking of 2020, Mark Meadows, Trump's former Chief of Staff and current co-defendant in the conspiracy case against them and 17 others for attempting to steal the Presidential election in Georgia, is being sued by his own book publisher. The publisher, All Seasons Press, claims that Meadows' reported cooperation in Special Counsel Jack Smith's federal indictment against Trump for his attempt to steal the 2020 election, contradicts Meadows claims in his book that the election was "rigged" and "stolen". ASP is now suing Meadows for millions. And it's hilarious.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as Australia braces for another record bushfire season amid an El Nino; October 2023 is officially declared the hottest October ever recorded on the planet; Michigan enacts sweeping climate and environmental legislation; and President Biden unveils the nation's largest investment in rail travel in 50 years...

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In 2019, same machines recorded ZERO votes for some candidates
NOW UPDATED WITH MORE DETAILS...
By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2023 11:46am PT  

Unfortunately, this "programming error" being reported during today's off-year elections in Pennsylvania is hardly the first time that these terrible touchscreen voting systems made by ES&S and shamefully still used in Northampton County --- just outside of Philly --- have failed during a critical election day.

As reported this morning by the Lehigh Valley News...

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - A flaw in Northampton County's voting machines forced multiple polling places to turn to provisional ballots Tuesday morning.

A programming error with the county's ES&S ExpressVote XL machines is causing votes to flip when voters split their votes on [statewide] retention questions for Superior Court judges Jack Panella and Victor P. Stabile. Panella, of Palmer Township, is a Democrat while Stabile is a former chair of the Cumberland County Republican Committee.

If a voter cast a "Yes" vote for one of the incumbents, but a "No" vote for the other, the votes come out flipped, Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure said.

McClure characterized the error as relatively minor and stressed all votes will be counted. But he expressed his frustration that the mistake wasn't caught during pre-election testing.

"I'm livid at the election folks and ES&S," McClure said.

This is only "relatively minor" for those who continue to support using unverifiable, computerized touchscreen voting systems rather than simple, verifiable, hand-marked paper ballots, which appear to have saved the day here (hopefully), in any case...

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Reproductive freedoms and vote purges in VA, OH; Upset Gubernatorial races on deck in KY, MS?; Election denialism threatens vote counting in northern CA county; Also: Listener calls and other news of the day...
By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2023 6:26pm PT  

Tomorrow is a so-called "off-year" election in a number of states. But several of those elections may tell us quite a bit about the 2024 elections, and not necessarily in the way you may think, as reported on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among today's stories...

  • First up, some quickish news updates. Donald Trump took the stand on Monday in court in Manhattan for three and a half hours of contentious testimony in his losing battle to save his fraudulent company and his children's inheritance in New York State's $250 million fraud lawsuit against them for falsely inflating Trump Organization assets to the tune of $2.2 billion dollars each year from 2011 through 2021. He's already lost the case. Now the question is how much it will cost him (and his children.)
  • Next, a few quick updates on Israel's relentless war against the people of Gaza following the Hamas attack against Israel on October 7, which killed at least 1,300. Now, more than 10,000 have reportedly been killed in response in Gaza, including more than 4,000 children. Calls for a ceasefire are getting louder in the U.S. and around the world. The Biden Administration's calls and Sec. of State Antony Blinken's shuttle diplomacy in the region for a "humanitarian pause" to speed additional humanitarian aid into Gaza and allow the release of some 240 hostages, have yet to gain much traction from Israel's hard-right government.
  • Then, it's on to Tuesday's elections, first with a focus on two Gubernatorial contests in the Deep South, with one popular incumbent Democrat (Kentucky's Andy Beshear) seeking a second term, and another Democrat (Mississippi's Brandon Presley) vying for a long-shot victory now that his state, where 40% of the population is black, has finally done away with a Jim Crow law that has dampened African-American turnout for generations.
  • We discussed the critical fight for control of the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates last week with former VA Delegate Mark Levine. But it was worth revisiting today for a reminder of how much is stake in the Commonwealth on Tuesday, including the right to abortion, which its Republican Governor, Glenn Youngkin, is vowing to restrict if he can hold the House and flip just two seats in the Senate on Tuesday. Every seat in the General Assembly is up for grabs this year, in what is likely to be seen as a bellwether ahead of the 2024 Presidential contest.

    But the biggest battle of the day is likely to be Ohio's Constitutional amendment to protect reproductive freedoms. Republicans are pulling out all the stops to lie, cheat and, yes, even steal it if they must, to block the popular ballot initiative in hopes of instituting a six-week ban on abortions in the Buckeye State with no exceptions for rape or incest. To that end, Republican Sec. of State and U.S. Senate nominee-wannabe Frank LaRose recently purged some 26,000 voters from the rolls. He did so after overseas and military voting had already begun (which would have been unlawful during a federal election) and without giving a heads up to voting rights groups as he has in the past. Those nonpartisan groups have frequently discovered and prevented thousands of errors in such purges. Last week's shocker, as discussed on Thursday's show, wherein I learned from an obituary on the Internet that I had died (even though, I assure you, I haven't) is a reminder of how easy it can be to wrongly remove "dead" voters from the roles who are, in fact, quite alive. At least when you do it as LaRose has done. But, of course, that's why he did it.

    And, in what may be a bit of a sleeper "bellwether" for next year's elections, one county in Northern California may be bracing for potential political violence, as rightwingers in Shasta County are insisting on hand-counting ballots after prematurely ending their contract with Dominion Voting Systems. But the elected registrar --- the only county-wide elected Dem in the County --- believes it wise to follow state law and tally with new Hart-Intercivic tabulators instead. Tune in for details. And keep your eyes on Shasta over the next few days, as we will.

  • Then we close by taking a few calls from listeners on some of the above today. Buckle up! Not as much for today's show or our callers, but for tomorrow's otherwise low-key, but critical elections around the country...

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Guest: Former Delegate Mark Levine on VA Assembly, Youngkin's future up for grabs; Also: OH GOP lying about abortion rights ballot initiative...
By Brad Friedman on 10/31/2023 6:17pm PT  

With everything else going on both here in the U.S. and around the world you can be forgiven for losing track of the fact that next Tuesday is an important off-year Election Day in a number of states, including Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia and elsewhere. On today's BradCast, we try to get you caught up on a number of key contests and the stakes for what will be seen next week --- correctly or not --- as bellwether elections in advance of next year's critical 2024 Presidential contest. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

There are some interesting Gubernatorial races next week. In "deep red" Kentucky, the state's popular Democratic Governor Andy Beshear will be running for a second term. And in even "deeper red" Mississippi, dysfunctional infighting among state Republicans could translate into what would be a surprise, long-shot victory for Democratic candidate Brandon Presley. But, as our guest suggests today, elections tend to be won by the voters who show up.

In Ohio, as you may recall, back in August, Republicans attempted to use a last minute, single-issue Special Election to adopt a ballot initiative that would mandate all future amendments to the state Constitution require a 60% majority for passage, instead of a simple majority, as has been the case for over a hundred years in the Buckeye State. That measure, Issue 1, failed. It wasn't even close. Voters understood that it was clearly a scheme meant to derail a popular state Constitutional initiative to protect abortion rights scheduled for the November 7 ballot in response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme court last year and state GOP lawmakers adoption of a 6-week abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest.

Ohio's popular Republican Governor, Mike DeWine, has been lying to voters about next week's ballot initiative to protect reproductive freedoms by calling Issue 1 (yes, confusingly, it has the same name as the GOP's failed measure in August!) "too extreme" for Ohio. Of course, there is nothing extreme about it. Which is why state Republicans are lying to voters and even succeeded in convincing the state's GOP-leaning Supreme Court to allow them to use a "summary" of the measure on the ballot, rather than the actual text of the initiative (which was shorter!), to replace the word "fetus" with "unborn child". Hopefully Buckeye Staters don't fall for that scam either.

In Virginia, every seat in the General Assembly is up for grabs this year, as Democrats need to flip just a handful of seats to retake the majority in the state's House of Delegates and Republicans need to flip just two seats to take back the state Senate. At the same time, all new legislative maps this year have completely shaken up the Commonwealth, with the political future of Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin apparently hanging in the balance. Whatever happens next week could well decide whether the termed-out Governor jumps into the 2024 GOP Presidential contest and/or adopts a 15-week abortion ban, which has been prevented to date by Democrats in the Assembly.

Those stakes may also help explain why Youngkin has worked so hard during his two years in office to prevent new voters from registering and to suppress the votes of certain types of voters.

We're joined today by VA's longtime progressive radio host and three-term Democratic former state Delegate MARK LEVINE to discuss what next week's elections mean for VA, for the nation, and for Youngkin's political future.

"I've long argued that Virginia is an 'indigo' state, which means it's mostly purple with a tinge of blue. I think, on average, we're going to very very closely vote Democratic," he tells me today regarding next week's contests. "Unfortunately --- or fortunately, depending on the year --- Virginia really is a very good bellwether for the United States. The same year we lost our House [of Delegates] in 2021, barely, the Republicans gained the [U.S.] House of Representatives, barely. Virginia really is an excellent bellwether. I would argue the nation is an indigo nation --- purple but ever-so-slightly blue --- and that's where we are. It really could go either way."

Levine explains that VA voter turnout in Presidential years is usually about 75% in the Commonwealth. In mid-term elections and off-year elections with a Governor's race, it's about 45%. Next week's race, he says, "is called the 'off-off elections'" when usually "only about 23% of Virginians show up. So what that means is whoever is angrier, that's who shows up. Are the MAGA Republicans angrier? Or are progressive Democrats angrier? I don't know. I would think abortion is very motivating. It will be a real test, because that's mostly what Democrats are running on."

"We had an election in 2017 that was a tie vote. They flipped a coin, and that's why we didn't control the legislature in 2017," he says. "The point is, one vote really can make a difference, particularly in these local races that decide the legislature. So I just want to urge anyone in Virginia, or anyone who knows someone who you think may still live in Virginia, please call them, remind them to vote. We've made it really easy. We have early voting now. You can go vote today, tomorrow, next day. The polls are open. They're close to your house. Get out and vote!"

Will the Democrats' focus on protecting reproductive freedoms in an ostensibly "blue" state, currently headed up by a Republican, work as well as it has over the past year in so many "red" states? Will the re-shuffling of legislative maps hurt or help Democrats? And will the results next week really help determine whether Youngkin decides to jump into the 2024 GOP Presidential contest? Levine has a lot of thoughts on all of those topics and many others, in our VERY lively discussion today!

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with a suspiciously larger-than-usual amount of not-terrible-news, including even some good environmental news out of the, yes, so-called "deep red" state of Kentucky...

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Also: One step forward, two steps back in Gaza; No steps forward in GOP House Speaker debacle...
By Brad Friedman on 10/17/2023 6:43pm PT  

Global chaos continues today on The BradCast, in Gaza, in elections around the world, in the U.S. House and, of course, for our worsening climate crisis. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Our coverage today includes...

  • ISRAEL V. HAMAS: Some encouraging news last night, after an apparent diplomatic breakthrough on opening up the Gaza Strip to humanitarian aid seemed possible following days of shuttle diplomacy by U.S. Sec. of State Antony Blinken and some nine hours of marathon negotiations with Israel's P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu. The effort, reportedly at the direction of President Biden, resulted in the announcement that he would be visiting Tel Aviv on Wednesday --- a first for a U.S. President during war time --- for a meeting with Netanyahu, followed by meetings with the leaders of Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority in Jordan. The last part of that encouraging news may have begun to disintegrate with the late Tuesday bombing of a hospital in Gaza, said to have killed hundreds of civilians, including women and children. Hamas blames Israel. Israel blames Hamas. The innocent people of Gaza pay the price.
  • DEMOCRACY V. AUTOCRACY: There were elections both in the U.S. and several nations around the world over the weekend. In three of the four cases --- Louisiana, Ecuador and New Zealand --- the news was not good for small "d" democrats (or capital "D" democrats in Louisiana), as voters chose rightwingers to displace progressives (or conservative Democrats in Louisiana). But don't forget about Poland! There the news was far better in a nation which has had a front-row seat to the existential battle against fascism, as it borders both democratic Ukraine and Vladimir Putin's authoritarian Russia. Polish voters, in record numbers, voted out the ruling far-right party in favor of opposition centrist and progressive parties led by former EU President Donald Tusk. Good news indeed in perhaps the weekend's most important election.
  • U.S. HOUSE CHAOS: After winning his party's nomination to become House Speaker last week, election denialist and far-right Ohio Republican Jim Jordan was unable to win the 217 vote majority from his own caucus in the first round of voting on the House floor on Tuesday after GOP hard-liners deposed former Speaker Kevin McCarthy two weeks ago, and then refused to support the winner of the private caucus election that nominated Steve Scalise last week. Republicans no longer recognize elections as valid, unless they win them. As TPM's Josh Marshall recently wrote, regarding the election denialism Republicans invented to try and steal elections from Democrats in 2020, "It’s like the virus had escaped the lab. It wasn’t just Freedom Caucus weirdos anymore. It's now treated as a given that caucus elections are purely advisory or essentially meaningless." Or, as TAP's David Dayen quipped last week, while asserting that the internecine House GOP chaos "could really go on indefinitely" and that the lack of a House Speaker actually matters to millions of Americans (including you this Thanksgiving), "In the Future, Everyone Will Be Speaker for 15 Minutes."
  • CLIMATE REALITY AND LIES: Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as the Mississippi River hits records lows amid drought, along with rivers in the Brazilian Amazon Basin; Exxon Mobil makes a huge investment to expand its deadly fossil fuel production, even as climate change ravages bees, beer, coffee and chocolate; and years-long GOP lies about China taking no action on climate change are exposed as lies yet again...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Newly liberal state Supreme Court majority decides to hear challenge to the Badger State's wildly gerrymandered legislative maps in time for 2024 elections, even as unprecedented impeachment threat looms...
UPDATE, 10/12/23: Governor Evers files motion to intervene...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/10/2023 12:32pm PT  

It's game on, Wisconsin!

Last Friday, eight days after it declined to hear an emergency request to block the Wisconsin Assembly from initiating impeachment proceedings against recently seated Justice Janet Protasiewicz, the state's Supreme Court partially granted a request to determine whether The Badger State's existing legislative maps violate the state Constitution.

The Court's 4-3 Decision [PDF] to review the constitutionality of arguably the most politically gerrymandered maps in the nation comes on the heels of liberals recently assuming a majority on the bench for the first time in more than 15 years.

In their initial filing [PDF] seeking new, fairer maps, the petitioners in Clarke vs. Wisconsin Elections Commission argued (1) the Wisconsin Supreme Court should grant the petition because it is the only entity that can resolve the issue; (2) that extreme partisan gerrymanders violate the Wisconsin Constitution; (3) that the current legislative districts, both in the state Senate and Assembly, are unconstitutionally noncontiguous, and (4) that the current maps violate separation of powers.

The High Court's narrow majority determined that it will only hear issues (3) and (4). It directed the parties to file briefs by Oct. 16 that will address four specified questions, including the standards the Court should apply in adopting a remedy if it finds the existing maps to be unconstitutional and "the legislature and governor fail to adopt maps that comply with the Wisconsin constitution."

That wasn't the only critical decision issued on Friday regarding what is likely to be a landmark ruling by the High Court...

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




Guest: Dan Froomkin of Press Watch; Also: Dems win, outperform in PA, NH special elections; PA Guv begins automatic voter registration...
By Brad Friedman on 9/20/2023 6:43pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Given the disastrous chaos of The Former Guy's previous term in office and the 91 criminal felony charges he is now facing in four different jurisdictions, it seems impossible to fathom that he'd be, essentially, tied in 2024 polling against one of the most effective President's in U.S. history. There's a number of reasons for that. Few of them are the ones the disinformed MAGA knuckleheads have been hoaxed into buying into. But one of the big reasons, according to our guest today, is years of unrelenting failure by the U.S. media. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up today, however, some encouraging news out of special elections held on Tuesday for state legislatures in two critical swing-states, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. In both cases the Democratic candidate won. In NH, Hal Rafter flipped a seat in the state House previously held by a Republican, putting Dems just one seat shy of evenly splitting control with the GOP in a state where Republicans have held a governing trifecta for several years.

In PA, Democrat Lindsay Powell easily won a safely "blue" seat in Pittsburgh. But, in both cases, Democrats continued to massively outperformed their 2020 numbers in the very same districts, continuing the party's winning streak during special elections since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.

The outlook may be brighter still for democracy fans in Pennsylvania next year, as newly elected Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro announced, on Tuesday, a program to begin automatic voter registration at the Dept of Transportation offices this week whenever residents show up for a new or renewed drivers license or ID. The battleground state has an estimated 1.6 million eligible but unregistered voters and Shapiro's pro-democracy program, supported by his own, hand-picked Republican Sec. of State, is long overdue in the Keystone State. Anti-democracy, pro-authoritarian Republicans in the state legislature, of course, are furious about it. They believe the more they can restrict access to the polls, the better they will perform.

Increased participation is always a healthy thing for democracy. But, ironically enough, American journalists are likely to be very careful about reporting that fact for fear of being tagged as appearing "partisan". That, even though automatic voter registration is equally applied to potential voters of any (or no) political party. But, as increased turnout is perceived as good for Democrats, many journalists are cowed into pulling punches when covering such issues.

Of course, it's that sort of failure by U.S. corporate media that results in absurdly "tied" pre-election polling for the 2024 Presidential election, and in other polls like the one we covered on yesterday's program finding Americans split 50/50 on whether the evidence-free Republican impeachment inquiry of Joe Biden is based on legitimate evidence or is politically motivated.

We're joined today by longtime journalist and media critic DAN FROOMKIN, who wrote the popular online "White House Watch" column for years at Washington Post before moving to Huff Post and then The Intercept before establishing his nonprofit Press Watch newsletter.

Last last month, Froomkin penned an important piece headlined "A desperate appeal to newsroom leaders on the eve of a chaos election". He explained that he was hoping to reach newsroom execs in advance of "another potentially cataclysmic election in 2024 --- arguably the most perilous in American history." Despite the previously unimaginable events of the last nearly ten years, wrote Froomkin, corporate media outlets "continue to engage in the same business-as-usual that got us here in the first place."

In hopes of reaching some of those newsroom leaders before it's too late, Froomkin spoke with several dozen journalists, media critics, academics and historians on what America's newsrooms can and should change in their approach to political coverage in advance of next year's critical elections.

We discuss a number of those expert responses today on everything from the necessity of picking "the right frame" in reporting on democracy rather than the "horse-race"; on "not the odds but the stakes" in next year's race; the need for journalists, not politicians, to "set the agenda" during interviews; the "importance of context" in reporting on the contest in a way that informs the public beyond a simple "left versus right" lens; "what not to do" and how the press needs to stand up for itself, and for journalism as a whole, against attacks from the increasingly authoritarian right.

None of this, in fact, is a partisan matter. Though the Republican Party, over the years --- even before the rise of Donald Trump --- has successfully cowed American news outlets into behaving as if it is, and subsequently pulling punches to the ultimate benefit of the GOP, even as democracy itself has become increasingly endangered by media dysfunction and disinformation.

Today, Froomkin cites Trump's victory in 2016 as the moment when the corporate media should have realized how dangerous their failures had become. But, he argues, "they didn't really change. Fundamentally, they're still adopting rightwing frames, they're still not rebutting misinformation with the enthusiasm that they should. They're still doing the horse-race journalism which allows them to be gamed by politicians, especially on the right."

"The press has a blind eye towards Biden's successes and is focused instead on whatever the Republicans are talking about, which is impeachment and Hunter Biden these days," he tells me, even as the GOP can't even agree amongst itself on a spending package to keep the entire federal government open and operating past next week. "There's massive dysfunction on the right, and unfortunately the media feels like when it reports that, it's being biased, it's being liberal. And if, God forbid, it should write anything nice about Biden, then it would definitely be accused of being liberal."

Please tune in for our conversation today and --- as importantly --- I hope some in the media (especially in the executive suites) do as well. By the way, Froomkin has a great idea for the misbegotten CNN and how they could, if they were smart under their new CEO, "become the anti-Fox/pro-truth network".

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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