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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, March 28, 2020
Free Medicine in the Corona Zone: 'BradCast' 3/27/20
Guest host Nicole Sandler with insurance whistleblower Wendell Potter; Also: Some VERY much needed laughs!...
WI, GA Still Suppressing Votes, Even During COVID-19 Crisis: 'BradCast' 3/26/20
More states postpone primaries; WI refuses to delay April 7 vote; GA SoS up to old tricks; Historic jobless claims amid pandemic...
'Green News Report' 3/24/20
  w/ Brad & Desi
Good news and bad for energy in stimulus bill; Even COVID-19 can't stop Trump's rollbacks; PLUS: Federal court win for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe over Dakota Access Pipeline...
Previous GNRs: 3/24/20 - 3/19/20 - Archives...
$2 Trillion Coronavirus Bill Proves It's Not About Lack of Money: 'BradCast' 3/25/20
Guest: Economist Stephanie Kelton on 'The Deficit Myth' and why we can't have nice things; Also: What's in the record spending bill; Guvs dismissing our idiot President...
The President Should Not Be Worse Than the Disease: 'BradCast' 3/24/20
Guest: David Dayen on stimulus/bailout, Trump's deadly lies; Also: India's lockdown; NY screams for help; Dems stay united against WH/GOP bailout 'slush fund' scheme...
'Green News Report' 3/24/20
Coronavirus and air pollution; Locust swarms spread; Midwest to see major flooding in spring; PLUS: CA's largest utility co. guilty of involuntary manslaughter...
Calls From the Coronaverse:
'BradCast' 3/23/20
News headlines and then, most importantly, live callers -- some of them heartbreaking -- on The BradCast, your 'Stay-at-Home' Radio Companion...
Sunday 'Roll Models' Toons
Once again, PDiddie hordes the best of this week's political toons in his latest collection...
Can Trump Cancel the 2020 Election?: 'BradCast' 3/20/20
Guest: Mark Joseph Stern on that and pandemic affects on immigration, prisons, Judiciary; Also: 'Stay-at-home' mandates; Mask shortages; Socialist Trump unglued...
'Green News Report' 3/19/20
Crashing oil prices; Melting ice caps and rising sea levels; Demands for climate action in coronavirus bailout bill; PLUS: Perverse COVID-19 silver linings...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


More states postpone primaries; WI refuses to delay April 7 vote; GA SoS up to old tricks; Jobless claims skyrocket amid coronavirus pandemic...
By Brad Friedman on 3/26/2020 6:44pm PT  

On today's BradCast: With the frantic, if justifiable, move towards Vote-by-Mail in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, one shouldn't underestimate the GOP scheming going on right now to figure out how to make sure that their efforts at vote suppression can continue none the less. [Audio link to show follows below.]

That's especially true since broad Vote-by-Mail programs are likely to increase Democratic "turnout" in many, if not most jurisdictions. (That, even as many Democrats, for their part, are underestimating the amount of fraud that can happen with broad Vote-by-Mail programs if safeguards are not carefully instituted. Such precautions are easy, given the rushed deadlines and lack of needed funding and manpower in most jurisdictions right now.)

Our elections this year are most definitely in peril. Even as many states have now rescheduled primaries, optimistically, until June 2nd. Georgia has rescheduled its primaries for May 19 (the date which was originally scheduled to hold Kentucky's primary as well, though they have smartly pushed theirs further down the road).

Perhaps most troubling of all at the moment, Wisconsin will hold primaries and a state Supreme Court election on April 7! That just over a week and a half from today, despite the Governor having shut down all non-essential businesses and ordering residents to stay-at-home through at least April 24! Election officials in several Badger State jurisdictions are complaining they will be unable to find enough pollworkers (resulting in much longer --- and dangerous --- lines); at least one major city is suing, declaring it "functionally impossible" to carry out the election while allowing voters and pollworkers to maintain necessary social distancing; and the County Clerk in for the state's capital (in one of the most Dem-leaning counties in the state) is seeing voters threatened with legal challenges if they follow his advice to declare themselves "indefinitely confined" in order to request an absentee ballot online without uploading a Photo ID, which many seniors are finding difficulty to do.

Nonetheless, the state's Democratic Governor is allowing the April 7 elections to move forward, and the Republicans in the state legislator --- who would be needed to take action in order to postpone it or change it to an all-VBM election --- are applauding the Governor. Now why would they do that?

In Georgia, meanwhile, don't be fooled by the Republican Sec. of State's lofty, high-minded explanation for mailing an absentee application to every "active" voter in the state. While that might otherwise be a very good thing, what about all of those voters who are still registered and eligible to vote this year, even if they have been marked "inactive" by the same Secretary of State?

None of this is particularly encouraging. Though neither is the fact that a record 3.28 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits this past week, shattering the decades-old record of 695,000, with likely many more who were not able to file this past week because state websites and phone systems were overwhelmed, crashing and freezing up.

But, don't worry. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the quintupling of the all-time weekly unemployment record is "not relevant", thanks to the emergency stimulus bill passed by the Senate 96 to 0 on Wednesday night and now waiting for passage in the House, most likely on Friday. Of course, it's not only Mnuchin misleading Americans on behalf of the Trump Administration, the New York Times did a pretty good job of it as well recently.

All of which should serve as a reminder of the importance of supporting independent local journalism, with alt-weeklies dropping like flies (with no ad revenue to support them since restaurants, theaters, concerts, and other social gatherings are mostly shut down), even as their online readership is way up during the crisis, and local, non-commercial, listener-supported radio stations also having a similarly difficult time keeping their transmitters humming during this pandemic.

We discuss all of that and more today, before closing with Desi Doyen's latest Green News Report, which, along with some good and bad news on the stimulus bill and some bad news about the Trump Administration's continuing rollback of public safety regulations even during the crisis, actually includes some bona fide good news from a federal court regarding the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's ongoing battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline...

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

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Guest: Legendary FL Election Supervisor Ion Sancho; Also: More states postpone primaries, consider moving to Vote-by-Mail; GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter sentenced to 11 months...
By Brad Friedman on 3/17/2020 6:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast: America continues to adjust to the pandemic, as the most critical election in our nation's history is now threatened by a virus, even as voters in three major states hit the polls on Tuesday. At least some of them did. [Audio link to show is posted at end of summary.]

We begin another bizarre day in the Coronavirus Era with just a spot of good news. California's wildly corrupt GOP Congressman Duncan Hunter, Jr., who, with his wife, was charged with more than 60 felonies, but pleaded guilty to just one in a deal last December after it became clear his wife would testify against him, was sentenced to 11 months in prison today. The couple had stolen as much as a quarter of a million dollars in campaign funds for personal luxuries during Hunter's six elected terms before he finally resigned in disgrace in January. He, along with New York's GOP Congressman Chris Collins (who was recently sentenced to 26 months for insider trading), were the first two members of the U.S. House to endorse Donald Trump's run for the Presidency.

And with that somewhat good news out of the way, it's on to the more disturbing news we must try and make sense of today. Even as Florida, Illinois and Arizona all decided to hold their Presidential primary elections on Tuesday amid quarantines, closures, lock-downs and social distancing directives, other states continued to take more responsible measures.

Ohio, which was also scheduled to vote on Tuesday, postponed their primary election today amid no small amount of chaos, with the state's Governor taking extraordinary measures to do so late Monday night after initially being blocked by a state court.

Maryland's Governor today announced that his state would join others, such as Louisiana, Georgia and Kentucky in postponing their primary until June. It was previously scheduled for April 28. They will, however, still hold the April 28 Special Election to fill the U.S. House seat left vacant by the late Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings in Baltimore. That election, however, will now be an all Vote-by-Mail (VBM) election. That as other states consider either postponing or changing to all-VBM elections for the foreseeable future during the virus outbreak.

The affects of the pandemic were seen in all three states which voted today, including poll closures, low turnout, and shortages of poll workers, many of whom are elderly and the most susceptible to the worst affects of the virus. Hundreds of them in South Florida, for example, decided to cancel at the last minute rather than be exposed to hundreds of people all day in crowded polling locations left open despite the CDC's recommendation to avoid all crowds larger than 10 at this time.

We're joined today by a guest well-accustomed to both chaos and elections. ION SANCHO is Leon County (Tallahassee), Florida's former longtime Supervisor of Elections as well as a champion voting rights advocate and opponent of private voting system vendors. During his nearly 30 years as one of the state's (and nation's) most respected election officials, he has held elections amid hurricane catastrophes and political ones. He was tapped by his fellow state officials in 2000 to oversee the eventually-aborted Presidential election recount between Al Gore and George W. Bush. Sancho has plenty of thoughts and insight to offer today amid the current chaos and challenges now faced by elections officials and voters alike. We discuss the likely necessity of all states moving to VBM elections for the duration of the crisis, and the steps that need to be taken to ensure such elections are carried out with integrity.

"The entire primary and elections process is going to have to be re-examined, given this crisis," he tell me. "This pandemic provides a challenge like no other in my lifetime. Mail ballots may be the way out of this, but mail ballots require machinery. Mail ballots require high-speed counting devices. It can be done, and it can be done excellently, but it can't be done cheaply. So if that's something we're going to need to go to, we're need to prepare for that." He warns that voters, many of whom do not bother to change their address on their registration when they move within a county, should check their registration record to assure it's up to date immediately, or else they risk not receiving a ballot at all, when and if states begin moving to VBM.

And while money will need to be spent to transition to high-speed optical-scanners to tally hand-marked mail-in paper ballots in many locations, the cost and benefits would still be far greater for voters than in jurisdictions such as Georgia which recently spent more than $100 million dollars for new equipment that will force all voters at the polls to vote on new, germy, unverifiable, touchscreen voting systems which violate voters' privacy by revealing secret ballots to everyone in the polling place. "The COVID-19 virus may be a blessing in disguise for the citizens of Georgia," Sancho explains. "Using a hand-marked paper ballot system is not only more secure, it's three to ten times more inexpensive to operate and maintain."

But in addition to money, guidance will be needed on the federal level to ensure a move to mail-in voting is done in a way that doesn't disenfranchise voters, since, he explains, it is so much easier for VBM ballots to be rejected by officials for dubious reasons and without notifying voters so that they have sufficient time to cure any perceived deficiencies on their ballots. VBM would be a "fair solution [during this crisis] if you have fair elections administration. Jurisdictions like Oregon, for example, which has pioneered mail voting in the United States, provide 14 days for an individual to present themselves to cure a problem, a deficiency, in the mail ballot. States like Arizona, Washington and California provide 2-3 weeks of days to allow the voter to cure a problem. Then you run into states like Florida, that had to be sued to allow voters to cure their ballot after the election. The deadline for Florida to cure all deficiencies --- so how could you know about it? --- is the day before the election."

While some elections officials, he believes, would be careful to institute best practices, others, he warns, would not. "They don't concern themselves with how actual machinery is working in other places. They just depend upon their voting vendor to tell them what to do. We don't really have any kind of mechanism nationally to provide the best practices, to give guidance. Our national elections administration is a debacle," he says, along with much more that you'll want to hear.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, as the coronavirus epidemic has now cleared the air in both China and Italy, at least as far as toxic greenhouse gas emissions go, and has given Donald Trump yet another excuse to try and shore up the oil industry amid crashing prices. And, though much of it has now been lost to time and the global pandemic, we also examine the substantive debate on Sunday night between Democratic Presidential candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders regarding our climate crisis...

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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50,000 touchscreens up in flames in Venezuela; E-Pollbooks fail in MO; Coronavirus causing probs for voters; GA must notify voters about rejected ballots; Dallas, TX to 'recount' missing Super Tuesday ballots...
By Brad Friedman on 3/10/2020 6:24pm PT  

Six more states are voting today (Michigan, Washington, Missouri, Mississippi, Idaho, North Dakota). We'll have results tomorrow, as we're still trying to figure out who actually won and lost, in some cases, last week on Super Tuesday, particularly in Texas and California. Nonetheless, today, like last week, has already revealed more problems with electronic pollbooks that resulted in voters leaving without voting, and there is more likely trouble on the horizon in several states set to vote in the next several weeks. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

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

  • A fire at Venezuela's National Electoral Council warehouse over the weekend has resulted in the destruction of 50,000 touchscreen voting machines and 582 computers. We swear we didn't do it! The unverifiable voting machines in question have been used during questionable past elections and are made by Venezuelan-based Smartmatic...the same company with a dodgy background of failed elections who also made the new touchscreen voting systems which failed so disastrously in Los Angeles County on Super Tuesday last week. But, again, we didn't do it!;
  • Closer to home, voters today in St. Louis County --- Missouri's most populous --- were turned away from the polls for an hour or so this morning from at least 50 of the county's 400 polling places. Though St. Louis has finally moved to hand-marked paper ballots, they are using a print-on-demand system that uses electronic pollbooks (yes, more computers) to instruct the printers which ballot should be printed. Those e-pollbooks, apparently, were failing this morning until the company that makes them issued an update. In the meantime, there is also a manual print mode that pollworkers could have used to print ballots for voters when the e-pollbooks weren't working, but many appear to have not known that or just panicked and forgot. Also, in MO, Kansas City's African-American Mayor was turned away from the polls after his name was not found on the voting rolls. Later in the day, they figured out why;
  • Both Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden cancelled campaign rallies set for Ohio today (where early voting has already begun for next week's primaries in the Buckeye State), due to coronavirus concerns, in what may foreshadow still more trouble for this year's elections, including how to include enough hand-sanitizer for polling places, especially those which use touchscreens. (People can usually bring their own pens to polling places that use hand-marked paper ballots.) We may end up seeing Vote-by-Mail elections for the entire country this November if the virus continues to spread, despite the steady leadership of stable genius Donald Trump;
  • Some good news for voters (finally!) out of Georgia today, as the state has reached a settlement with the Democratic party in federal court that requires voters be immediately notified about absentee ballots that are rejected by county officials due to perceived signature mismatch or some other infirmity, allowing them time to come in and cure the problem so their votes may still be counted;
  • But there is also less good news out of Georgia, where last week's "good news story out of Georgia" was the fact that Athens-Clarke County's Board of Elections had voted to ditch the new, state-mandated unverifiable touchscreen voting systems for hand-marked paper ballots instead. The Board found that the touchscreens on the new Dominion ImageCast ballot marking devices (BMDs) were so large and bright that they violate voters constitutionally-mandated right to a secret ballot, as others could see how they were voting from 30 feet across the room, according to a related lawsuit filed in a separate GA county. But now, GA's Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has called an emergency hearing in Athens, charging that the County's Board is violating state law by not using the new, unverifiable voting systems. Now why would he want do that?;
  • Meanwhile, in Texas, ballot scans stored on 44 thumb-drives from the new Ballot Marking Device systems used for the first time during last week's Super Tuesday primaries in Dallas County apparently were not included in previously reported results. As many as 7,000 ballots could be missing from the current results. The County's Election Director was required to get permission from a court to "recount" the computer-marked ballots scanned in the county to include those previously left out of the count. A Dallas court, on Tuesday, gave permission to do so, but the order is limited to a computer-scan of the computer-marked paper ballots that were previously not included in last week's results;
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with news on the coronavirus and an oil price war, both affecting the stock market (and banks and fossil fuel-reliant communities) this week, a new troubling report on air pollution caused by fossil fuels, and some good news as New York state's disposable plastic bag ban finally kicks in...

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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Guests: L.A. County poll workers Larry Dilg and 'Doug'; Also: Biden's stunning wins over Sanders; Bloomberg quits; Warren reassesses...
By Brad Friedman on 3/4/2020 6:51pm PT  

Voting ground to a near halt on Super Tuesday in a number of states, most notably in major jurisdictions in Texas and California relying on electronic pollbooks and unverifiable computer touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs). Who could have predicted it? Oh, yeah. We did. Over and over again on The BradCast. Not that many in the corporate media heeded our warnings. We know elections officials certainly didn't. [Audio link to show follows below.]

In Texas, the main problems seem to revolve around a lack of poll workers due to coronavirus fears and, most notably, a lack of voting machines for Democratic voters in many areas, since the Republican Party was unwilling to share their state-mandated even number of voting machines with voters from the other party. Obscene wait times as long as 6 or 7 hours to vote were reported in some locations in the Lone Star State.

In California, many counties did away with precinct based voting for the first time this year in favor of a Voting Center model. That meant that voters could cast their ballot at any of a smaller number of voting centers which took the place of community-based precincts. In Los Angeles County, for example, there were about 1,000 voting centers, compared with 5,000 precinct polling places in previous years. In order to accomplish this new paradigm, and allow voters same-day registration and party switching, computerized electronic pollbooks were used to check in voters. The systems check records against the state voter registration database in order to sign in voters before they can vote. But those computers had trouble in more than a dozen counties syncing up with the state database for some (still-unexplained) reason. That resulted in hours-long lines and voters forced to cast provisional ballots in many locations.

But the worst situation was undoubtedly in L.A. County, where a brand-new, 100% unverifiable, $300,000,000 touchscreen voting system was also deployed countywide for the first time. It did not go well. Voters across the nation's largest voting jurisdiction were stuck in two to four hour lines in many cases at voting centers where the e-pollbooks slowed down to a crawl and/or where BMDs failed to work, reportedly flipped votes, or had their paper ballot summaries become jammed in the new computer systems. A County spokesperson estimated on Tuesday that 20% of the new "Voting Solutions for All People" (VSAP) BMDs had failed. (By the way, that link to the main VSAP website at vsap.LAVote.net, singing its praises and listing its many partners who signed on to it, now appears to be down, even as the regular LAVote.net site seems to be working fine. A telling omen?)

As one Twitter listener quipped on Tuesday night: "#ShouldaListenedToBrad". (Anyone feel like making t-shirts for a fund raiser?)

We're joined today by two longtime L.A. County election workers, LARRY DILG and "DOUG", after their impossibly long days of service over this past week. We discuss what went wrong (and right) at their respective voting centers using L.A. County's new voting system --- ten years in development by Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan, and warned against for most of those years by yours truly, for many of the reasons which revealed themselves to all on Tuesday.

"I think we faced into the problems pretty well," Dilg tells me. "We had 25 machines in our room. The machines would sometimes stop working, or get quirky --- paper jams and stuff like that. I thought it went pretty well, actually, considering. The big thing I experienced was there were many more voters than we've ever seen in our center before."

"I think we had one or two machines that just were down for the count," he continued. "Other than that, it was almost like they got overloaded for awhile and needed a rest. We'd give them a rest, then reboot them, and they were back up and running." He pegged the failure rate at closer to 10% for the BMDs at his voting center.

"Doug" reports: "I had eight BMDs, and two of them broke, ultimately with paper jams, and I had to take them out of action. Smartmatic people came and fixed those two." For the record, while the VSAP systems were designed and supposedly owned by the County, they were manufactured by Smartmatic, a voting machine company with a dubious history. I was surprised to hear that their employees were here and allowed to directly service the machines mid-election, much less at all.

As to the e-pollbooks, "Doug" reports: "They seemed to get worse and worse, over time. The problem with them is that they have to re-sync periodically with headquarters in Norwalk, to update themselves so that they know who has voted and who hasn't voted. According to my worker, the machine was updating about every 15 minutes, so every 15 minutes, it was down for two or three minutes ... So the problem was this updating was taking quite a bit of a long time and it seemed to get worse and worse as more people voted. We only had two pollbooks at my location, and sometimes they were both updating at the same time, which meant that anybody you tried to process during that period had to vote with a provisional ballot."

While Doug is "concerned about the tally of the votes", Dilg, a self-identified "idealist" believes "it's a really good system", even with all of the problems revealed on Super Tuesday. "I have to say yesterday was a very positive experience because there were people doing good things, all around the room, and feeling good about being citizens in a democracy. That kind of civic experience is very different from a rally, and it's a beautiful experience." Both say they will work again as pollworkers, and urge others to do the same.

And, oh, yeah. We also discuss the reported results across the country from Super Tuesday, where Joe Biden stunned the pundits with many unexpected victories in 10 states, including in Texas and Elizabeth Warren's home state of Massachusetts (where she placed third according to computer-tallied results!) and where Bernie Sanders won four states, including the day's richest prize of California (presuming the many weeks of counting ahead in the Golden State don't result in a change to the current standings in its partial tallies).

Also, NYC's billionaire former Republican mayor Mike Bloomberg dropped out of the Democratic Presidential race and endorsed Joe Biden, after dumping half a billion dollars to win zero states. And Elizabeth Warren, the only other remaining candidate in the race to have won delegates, is reportedly assessing the outlook on how and if she will move forward in what now appears to be a two-man race for the Democratic nomination...

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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MONTHLY BRAD BLOG SUBSCRIPTION
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Choose monthly amount...


(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)




Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Coronavirus tanking markets, wingnuts lie about it; Buttigieg 'wins' Iowa!...
By Brad Friedman on 2/28/2020 6:34pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on world markets, we finally have a definitive "winner" of the Iowa Caucuses, and a raft of good news voting rights court rulings in several key battleground states! [Audio link to show follows below.]

We start with some "breaking news" today: Pete Buttigieg has won the Iowa Caucuses! Barely. And only as long as you consider the winner of the most delegates to be the "winner". Following both partial recanvassing and recounts requested by both the Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg campaigns in a number of precincts on the heels of the flawed reporting of Iowa Caucus results three weeks ago, the Iowa Democratic Party has finally concluded that Buttigieg won a literal fraction more of the State Delegate Equivalents (SDEs). Buttigieg took 562.954 to Sanders' 562.021.

While both candidates actually lost a small number of SDEs during the partial recounts, Buttigieg's margin of victory (0.003%) was increased to "a commanding 0.04% win" after the recounts. That translates into 14 national delegates for the former South Bend, Indiana Mayor to Sanders' 12 out of the Hawkeye State, where the Vermont Senator nonetheless won the never-really-in-question overall popular vote by several thousand more votes in both the initial and realignment rounds of voting at the state's February 3rd caucuses.

With that finally out of the way, we offer a quick update on the havoc the coronavirus --- and the Trump Administration's bungled response to it --- is causing for world markets, with the Dow plummeting for a 7th straight day on Friday, resulting in a 3,500 point drop over the past week. It was the worst week for Wall Street since the 2008 global financial crisis and the fastest loss of four months of gains for the S&P 500 since 1928. That, as the deadly virus continues to spread and fears mount that it will result in a global recession and full blown pandemic.

In the U.S. however, rightwingers like Rush Limbaugh are using our public airwaves to "inform" Americans that the virus "is the common cold" in one breath, and seemingly contradicting that by falsely describing it as "a ChiCom laboratory experiment...being weaponized" in the next. But, despite the fact that it could result in hundreds of thousands of deaths in the U.S. (the virus is currently 20 times more fatal than the flu, which killed approximately 34,000 Americans last season), Limbaugh is using our public airwaves to propagandize listeners that Bernie Sanders and the "Democrat Party...pose a much greater threat to this country than the coronavirus does."

So, yes, we continue to keep our eyes on the most important election in the nation's history in hopes of curbing at least some of this madness. To that end, as South Carolina prepares to vote on new, !00% unverifiable, germy touchscreen voting systems across the state in their Democratic primary on Saturday, and voters in many of the 14 state primaries ending on Super Tuesday three days later do the same, we focus on a number of recent encouraging court rulings that will help protect their right to cast a vote at all.

For that, we are blessed on today's BradCast with the long-overdue return of the great Slate legal reporter MARK JOSEPH STERN! And we've got a lot to catch up with him on, from just over the past few weeks, when it comes to both state and federal courts stepping in to do the right thing in protecting voter's rights --- at least for now.

  • Recently, both a federal district court and a state Court of Appeals in North Carolina blocked the Tar Heel State GOP's new Photo ID voting restriction, finding it (once again) was designed to disproportionately target minorities for suppression.
  • In Florida, a federal Court of Appeals has blocked the Republican state legislature and Governor's attempt to gut 2018's landmark state constitutional Amendment 4, granting the right to vote to former felons who have completed their sentences.
  • In Missouri, the state's Supreme Court not only blocked a "Catch-22" Photo ID voting restriction that required those without very specific types of Photo IDs to actually commit a felony by lying on an affidavit form in order to legally cast a vote, the Court also carved out a right to vote for many trans and non-binary voters who, in MO, thanks to more bad laws, are literally barred from obtaining the requisite ID that would be needed for them to vote legally under the statute that the court has now struck down. (That, after more than a decade of GOP attempts in the Show-Me State to try and institute Photo ID voting restrictions, no matter who it would prevent from casting a legal vote.)
  • In Arizona, with its own long history of racial discrimination, a federal Court of Appeals struck down two measures adopted by state Republicans, finding both of them to have been racially motivated attempts to suppress nonwhite voters. One had mandated that provisional ballots be discarded if they were cast in a different precinct from where the voters was supposed to be voting, the other outlawed the third-party collection of absentee ballots (which Fox "News" and, therefore, all Republicans falsely denigrated as "ballot harvesting" by "illegal immigrants".)

Many of these very good news court rulings, however, could still be reversed during additional appeals, thanks to the Republican court-packing in recent years, particularly if the stolen Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme Court decides to pick and choose which decisions they will and won't apply their so-called "Purcell Principle" to, with elections imminent in all of those states.

And, we also discuss a Trump judge's recent move to prevent voters from being able to sue for their rights at all under the Voting Rights Act. So, yes, MUCH to catch up on today with Stern, who explains all of these cases and where they go from here, in his usual, clear, informative and even amusing way!

Finally, a quick program announcement after a listener comment on voter registration concerns: We will be LIVE and taking your calls both Monday and Tuesday next week, opening up the phone lines to hear from voters and early voters about any problems they may have encountered, and to answer any questions listeners may have about voting and voting systems before the Super Tuesday election polls close next week! If you don't get The BradCast LIVE where you are, please remember to tune in to the live stream at KPFK.org on Monday and Tuesday next week at 3pm PT/6p ET and give us a shout!...

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Guest: David Dayen of American Prospect; Also: Good voting rights news in FL and NC; Warren joins Sanders in being erased by corporate media...
By Brad Friedman on 2/19/2020 5:50pm PT  

In the hours just before former Republican and current billionaire Michael Bloomberg makes his bought-and-paid-for debut on the Democratic debate stage in Las Vegas, our guest on today's BradCast has a bit of a disturbing scoop about Bloomberg's past comparisons between the AARP and the NRA! [Audio link to full show follows below.]

But, first up first up today, some good news from the courts on voting rights in two different key Presidential battleground states! In Florida, a federal appeals on Wednesday sided with ex-felons suing the state to block a law that prevented many of them from having their voting rights restored after the landslide passage of state constitutional Amendment 4 in 2018. After the landmark measure passed with big bi-partisan support to restore voting rights to some 1.5 million former felons (including 1 of 4 African-American men in the state) upon completion of their sentences, the state's new Republican Governor and GOP legislature muscled through legislation to block those former felons from voting until all court fees and fines have been paid off.

Today's federal appeals court ruling blocks that voter suppression measure, finding that "denying access to the franchise to those genuinely unable to pay solely on a account of wealth" is a violation of the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection clause.

There is similarly good news today from the state Court of Appeals in North Carolina, which ruled the Photo ID voting restrictions enacted by Republicans (a measure vetoed by the state's Democratic Governor last year, but overridden by the gerrymandered GOP majorities in both statehouse chambers) disproportionately disenfranchises poor and minority voters.

Despite little or no evidence of polling place impersonation --- the only type of voter fraud such laws could possibly prevent --- the NC GOP has been trying since at least 2013 to impose such discriminatory voting restrictions in the Tar Heel state. Their most notorious attempt, in 2013, was eventually nixed by a federal court which found the law was specifically designed to "target African-Americans with almost surgical precision" and to "impose cures for problems that did not exist." Another similar ruling recently against the state's new measure by a federal court, blocked the law from taking effect before NC's March 3rd Primaries. The new state appeals court decision is likely to also bar the measure until after the 2020 general election in one of the nation's most closely divided battleground states.

Then, it's on to electoral politics, with still more new national polling today showing Bernie Sanders vaulting into double-digit leads over all of his Democratic Presidential rivals. And while Sanders is frequently dismissed by corporate media, even as the front-runner (as we demonstrate again today), an even more curious case of the erasure of Elizabeth Warren by corporate media has made itself maddeningly clear in a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll out this week.

We explain how Warren was disappeared, in part, from a key question in that poll, despite placing third in the national delegate race to date and largely tying for second or third place in most of the recent national surveys. That, while candidates like Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg continue to receive a great deal of media attention while still polling only in single digits nationally.

Meanwhile, having no trouble at all receiving national coverage of late, is former Republican, recently-declared Democrat, and longtime billionaire Michael Bloomberg. While Sanders has skyrocketed in polling, Joe Biden has taken a dive, and Bloomberg appears to be surging at his expense. That is thanks, in no small part, to the former NYC Mayor's unprecedented blanketing of the national airwaves with his political propaganda ads. With his late polling surges, Bloomberg will appear, for the first time, on the Democratic debate stage tonight in Las Vegas before this Saturday's Nevada Caucuses (where he isn't even on the ballot.)

We are joined today by investigative financial journalist, author and Executive Editor of The American Prospect, DAVID DAYEN, who has been covering Bloomberg's long and disturbing record quite closely. Earlier this week, Dayen detailed how Bloomberg's life and career mirrors Donald Trump's in a number of disturbing ways, while cautioning about the dangers to both democracy and the Democratic Party itself of the "plutocrat-on-plutocrat election" that would be in store if Bloomberg wins the nomination.

"This is a hostile take-over of the Democratic Party. Much like Trump was a hostile take-over of the Republican Party," Dayen argues today. "I'm worried about the shell-shocked nature of the Democratic electorate that has given up on democracy and thinks the only way to beat their plutocrat is with our plutocrat. That concerns me for more reasons than just the Bloomberg nomination. It concerns me that people are so despondent that they think democracy doesn't work anymore. That leads us down a very dark road."

Dayen also has a scoop today, as published with Alexander Sammon at The Prospect, on Bloomberg's recent history of comparing the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) to the National Rifle Association (NRA), as part of his "decade-long history of promoting cuts to the social safety net" in his advocacy to slash Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as deficit reduction measures.

All of which raises serious questions about what the Democratic electorate must be thinking in their current, apparently growing support for Bloomberg to become the Party's standard-bearer in 2020. Dayen has many thoughts on that, as do I on today's program...

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Prez issues crony pardons; Calls for Barr resignation grow, DoJ crisis worsens; Bloomberg, Sanders rising; NV Caucus meltdown worries...
By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2020 6:34pm PT  

We've got a lot to catch up on on today's BradCast after a long holiday weekend, as the crisis of rot and corruption inside the once-revered U.S. Dept. of Justice continues to metastasize under Donald Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr; as billionaire Michael Bloomberg buys his way into shaking up the 2020 Democratic Presidential race; as the Nevada Caucuses may be heading toward another embarrassing meltdown this weekend; and as our ongoing, literal planetary meltdown continues. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

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

  • Amid an already deepening crisis at the Justice Dept., Trump went on a "clemency spree" on Tuesday, issuing pardons to a long list of crooks, cronies and n'er do wells --- many of them personal friends of the Prez, natch --- from former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (who attempted to sell a U.S. Senate seat), to Rudy Giuliani pal and former NYPD Commission Bernie Kerik (who lied to the Dept. of Homeland Security), to the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers (who bribed a Louisiana Governor for a riverboat casino gambling license.) Those are just some of the liars, tax frauds and scam artists like Trump who received get-out-of-jail free cards today, in hopes, we surmise, that someone may do the same for Trump some day, once the law finally catches up with him. And it will;
  • With the American system of justice now in full and active breach at the DoJ under Barr's corrupt leadership, the calls for his resignation have grown impossible to ignore in the wake of his unprecedented overruling of career line prosecutors' recommendations for criminal sentencing of longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (among other wildly corrupt actions he's taken of late and since taking office last year.)

    Former Deputy Attorney General Donald Ayer, appointed by George H.W. Bush, describes "Bill Barr's America" as "a banana republic where all are subject to the whims of a dictatorial president and his henchmen," in a new Atlantic op-ed while calling for a "public uprising demanding that Bill Barr resign immediately, or failing that, be impeached."

    More than 2,000(!) former DoJ officials, both Democratic and Republican, have now signed on to a Sunday public letter declaring Trump and Barr "have openly and repeatedly flouted" the concept of equal justice in the U.S., and demanding Barr step down, citing "damage" that Barr's actions "have done to the Department of Justice's reputation for integrity and the rule of law."

    And, in the wake of all of this --- and the President's continuing Twitter attacks on the U.S. District Court Judge overseeing Roger Stone's case and upcoming sentencing --- the Federal Judges Association, a group of more than 1,000 jurists, has now called an "emergency meeting" for Wednesday to discuss related issues that, according to its President, George W. Bush-appointed U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe, "could not wait" until the group's spring conference scheduled for April;

  • Meanwhile, the Democratic and democratic efforts to replace Trump in November's election continue apace, as Nevada Democrats address security concerns about their upcoming Saturday caucuses by switching to electronic voters! (Okay, that one's from The Onion, but still, it shouldn't be long);
  • The Dominican Republic sets an example that Americans might want to pay attention to, by suspending their weekend election just a few hours after polls opened due to failed electronic voting systems. (Who could have seen that coming?);
  • Billionaire Michael Bloomberg turned Presidential candidate turned self-declared reformed racist and misogynist, buys his way onto Wednesday's Democratic Presidential Debate stage in Las Vegas, even though he will not be on the ballot at Saturday's caucus there. Bloomberg, it was announced on Tuesday, will appear at the forum, after qualifying in several national polls, including a second place finish in a new NPR/PBS/Marist national poll and a virtual tie for second with Joe Biden in a new NBC News/WSJ survey. In both of those national polls, Biden has plummeted and current front-runner Bernie Sanders has taken double-digit leads over his nearest competitor;
  • But, according to news reports from Washington Post, Politico and others over the weekend, the Nevada Caucuses could be a "complete disaster" mirroring Iowa's just two weeks ago. Under-trained caucus leaders, a lack of communication between the state party and the candidates' campaigns about the complicated process, and the use of an iPad "Caucus Calculator" could lead to a meltdown, many fear. If the hours-long lines at last weekend's Early Voting sites are any indication, state Dems may, once again, be in way over the heads. But we'll see;
  • In slightly brighter primary news, late last week California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a last-minute bill into law that will allow Golden State voters to change party registration up to and on Election Day itself. That seemingly very smart move may help the state avoid some, if not all, of the expected confusion and potential meltdowns at their own March 3rd Super Tuesday primary in the state with the most Democratic delegates at stake (415 of them) in this year's nominating contest;
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as Antarctica breaks another stunning heat record, Mississippi gets swamped, Trump's EPA allows the return of toxic mercury even though the Obama-era regulation was a tremendous success and the utility industry doesn't even want him to, and some very big news from CNBC's Wall Street guru Jim Cramer declaring fossil fuels "over!"...

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Now that Repubs have rigged Impeachment, the 2020 election stands as America's last defense against full-on authoritarianism...
By Brad Friedman on 2/3/2020 6:03pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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...

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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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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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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: Election and criminal justice expert Daniel Nichanian; Also: House schedules new impeachment hearing as Trump appeals federal ruling finding 'Presidents are not kings'...
By Brad Friedman on 11/26/2019 6:44pm PT  

At the BRAD BLOG and on today's BradCast, we'll even fight for Donald Trump's right to vote --- even from prison, should he find himself there at any time in the near-ish future. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today, a bit of impeachment-related news, even as Congress is on recess for the Thanksgiving holiday. The House Judiciary Committee (as opposed to the House Intelligence Committee) has announced a new impeachment hearing for next Wednesday. Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler sent a letter to the President on Tuesday, inviting him and his counsel to attend and potentially question witnesses in the hearing titled Titled "The Impeachment Inquiry into President Donald J. Trump: Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment." Along with his invitation, Nadler also offered a warning about the White House's continued refusal to make witnesses and documents available to the Constitutional proceedings in the U.S. House.

In related news, Trump's Dept. of Justice on Tuesday filed for a stay to a blistering federal court ruling ordering that former White House Counsel Don McGahn appear for scheduled testimony in response to a lawful Congressional subpoena regarding the House's examination of the Robert Mueller investigation. McGahn played a key role in the probe, helping to detail Trump's multiple attempts to obstruct the Special Counsel's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and Team Trump's cooperation with the effort.

The DoJ is now seeking a pause pending an appeal to U.S. District Judge Ketanji Jackson Brown's scathing 121-page ruling [PDF] issued on Monday, in which she eviscerated the DoJ argument that Presidents and their current and former White House officials enjoy "absolute immunity" from Constitutionally-mandated Congressional oversight. "Stated simply," the Judge wrote, "the primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history is that Presidents are not kings."

Trump, however, appears to feel otherwise. In addition to appealing the order, Trump tweeted today that "The D.C. Wolves and Fake News Media are reading far too much into people being forced by Courts to testify before Congress," adding that while he "would love" to have top Executive Branch officials like Sec. of State Mike Pompeo, acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former National Security Advisor John Bolton testify in impeachment hearings in the Ukraine bribery affair, he is only "fighting for future Presidents and the Office of the President. Other than that, I would actually like people to testify."

But whether Trump wins his "absolute immunity" defense while President, it is unlikely to help him once he is out of office. To that end, yes, we'd hate to see him lose his right to vote if he ever should find himself imprisoned for any of his countless crimes. In the meantime, however, there are millions in prison who have already lost that right --- a right, not a privilege, even if many treat it that way --- while behind bars. There has been some noteworthy successful (and even bi-partisan in some cases) efforts of late in a number of states to help enfranchise former felons or those out of jail on probation or parole though state constitutional amendments, legislation or executive actions. But when it comes to the right to vote for those still in prison, the debate has been slower and more contentious. Currently, only Maine and Vermont allow prisoners to vote, a policy which Vermont's U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders strongly defended during a CNN Presidential Candidate Town Hall earlier this year.

At the same time, as our guest today, DANIEL NICHANIAN, Editor of The Appeal Political Report (better known as @Taniel on Twitter) points out, lawmakers in eight states and D.C. have filed legislation this year to allow people behind bars to exercise the right to vote. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) has done the same at the federal level.

After a Republican New York state Assemblyman recently described a state Senate bill there that would enfranchise convicts as "insulting [to] members of law enforcement and the criminal justice system who worked diligently to get these dangerous predators off the street," Nichanian reached out to prosecutors, correctional facility officers and elected officials in Maine and Vermont to see if they agreed. You'll be surprised to learn that not one of them did, with almost all either finding it to be no problem or, more frequently, lauding the connection to "the real world" that voting allows imprisoned citizens as they pay their debt to society.

Nichanian, a Senior Fellow at the Justice Collaborative and expert on criminal justice reform and mass incarceration, shares insight from the officials he spoke with, and explains why reform on this issue (which disproportionately affects minorities) --- and a number of related topics --- is long overdue.

"We are not treating the right to vote as an inalienable, fundamental right of U.S. democracy, as a right that every citizen should have, and have protected," he tells me, explaining why "ending felony disenfranchisement would also mean that law enforcement professionals are no longer the arbiters of who gets to exercise democratic rights."

Nichanian notes that "the way in which we talk about people who are incarcerated, it would seem like we forget that these people have families, they have kids who go to school, and the school board elections matter to them. They have families who also need to care about their elected officials."

"There's all sorts of arguments of whether people are worthy of voting or not, whether people have shown enough civic capacity to vote or not," he argues. "And I find all of that universe of questions to be questionable, because we are claiming for ourselves the power and authority to decide whether our fellow citizens should have the same rights as us. I find that to be a problematic question. And I think that's just the bottom line: whether we want the right to vote to be a protected right for all U.S. citizens."

He says that "we are definitely seeing the criminal justice reform conversation encompass these issues of rights restoration, as a tool of re-entry, as a tool of thinking about how people remain human, as a way of thinking about economic justice and racial justice throughout the process." But whether that, theoretically bipartisan effort will ultimately become a fight for re-enfranchising felons remains to be seen.

We also discuss how the imprisoned population is used in the fight over apportionment, with the incarcerated counted in the census and for redistricting purposes, even while that huge chunk of the population is disallowed from exercising any real political power through the vote. "The time to address it is literally now, because the next round of redistricting and map-drawing is coming up. If this is going to be reformed, it has to be in the next couple of years, or else we'll have ten more years of problems on this."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us today for our latest Green News Report as "climate emergency" is named "Word of the Year" by the Oxford Dictionary and, unfortunately, for very good reason...

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Election Day 2019 voting system failures; Donald Trump failures; 2020 polling failures; And what YOU must now do about all of it...
By Brad Friedman on 11/5/2019 6:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's Election Day today, and not going well in several states. But it's also Election Day one year from today, for President, and we've got some very timely advice. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Voter are voting, or trying to, in dozens of states around the country today. And, like clockwork, voting systems --- particularly newly installed touchscreen and electronic pollbook systems --- are failing and causing long voting times in a number of states (like New York, Virginia, and Indiana --- where "about 30% of the 93 precincts in St. Joseph County" had touchscreen problems, according to its County Clerk), even in sparsely attended off-year elections. We'll have more such problems as they come to light, undoubtedly, along with noteworthy results of Tuesday's elections across the nation, on tomorrow's BradCast.

But, while we're waiting, as we are now exactly one year out from next year's critical Presidential election, there is every reason to imagine (foolishly, we'll add here) that Donald Trump will be wiped out in a landslide next year. All things being equal, on a level playing field and sane world, he would be. But we live in neither these days. Even setting aside his ongoing impeachment, his last week has been an embarrassment of failures.

  • His withdrawal from the landmark Iran nuclear agreement has now resulted in Iran installing at least 60 new, modern, high-speed centrifuges to enrich uranium, which had been previously banned under the pact --- until Trump broke it.
  • An analysis of U.S. troops now both coming and going in Syria following Trump's sudden declaration that the U.S. was pulling out of the warn torn nation and his subsequent announcement that he was sending troops in to defend oil field left abandoned by our fleeing Kurdish allies, means that when all is said and done, the U.S. will have 900 troops in the country. That, versus the 1,000 that were there previously. And with all of that, "the United States has deserted its pivotal Kurdish ally; ceded territory the Kurds had controlled to Syria, Turkey and Russia; and opened the door for a possible Islamic State resurgence" as hundreds of ISIS prisoners were able to escape in the Trump-created confusion.
  • At the same time, back home, we've learned that Trump's "impenetrable" border wall, built with $10 billion in tax-payer dollars (not Mexican pesos), is anything but impenetrable, as smugglers are said to be breaching it with a simple power tool available for under $100 at Home Depot.
  • And while he hasn't cancelled Native American Heritage Month, as some on the Internet were reporting on Monday, he has declared November, awkwardly, for the first time, to also be National American History and Founders Month, a pet White Powery swamp project of one of his top campaign funders.

With all of that failure and ineptitude and embarrassment and corruption --- from just the past several days alone --- you'd think this guy would be heading toward a blow-out landslide loss next year to whichever candidate or ham sandwich Democratic voters nominate to run against him in 2020. Indeed, Washington Post and ABC News today published new polling showing that, among currently registered voters, all five leading Democratic candidates (Biden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg and Harris) crush Trump in head-to-head national match-ups next year by anywhere from 17 to 9 points. While that could ultimately turn out to be true, that polling --- and a lot of similar surveys you will hear over the next year --- are of NATIONAL polling. We do not run national elections in this country. We run state-by-state electoral college elections for President.

And, on that score, the New York Times has a much more sobering --- and even chilling --- preview of where they find that things currently stand in the six battleground states (MI, PA, WI, FL, AZ and NC) that were said to have decided the election in Trump's favor in 2016. In those states, Trump is currently believed to be even with or defeating the top Democrats, according to the new polling, which may be either right or wrong.

There are many caveats on that poll as well. Either way, it should serve as a very loud, screaming, red flag, siren alarm bell for those who believe Trump couldn't possibly win re-election next year. Given the more-art-than-science nature of such polling and our incredible fragile and vulnerable electoral systems, he absolutely could win the election again next year (just as we warned, to little avail or notice, in 2016.) Thus, NOW is a great time to take action: What are YOU going to do next year to help voters vote? We discuss and offer a few ideas. It's time to take action.

Finally, speaking of still more Trump failures, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with news on the President's ridiculous withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, yet another new oil spill on the Keystone Pipeline, and much more as we approach our 1000th episode of the GNR! (For which we humbly thank you for supporting through your donations at BradBlog.com/Donate! If you haven't done so lately, now would be a really great time to stop by with a one-time or recurring donation of any amount you like. Thank you!)

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Guest: Media reformer Sue Wilson; Also: Preemptive blackouts threaten CA elections; GOP tries denial as impeachment defense; Trump Campaign has bought 69,000 Facebook ads since May...
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2019 6:24pm PT  

Right in the middle of today's BradCast, as we were discussing the very topic, Twitter announced that they would be blocking all political ads before 2020 from their massive social media site. As our guest today explains, however, Facebook, still refuses to even fact-check political ads purchased on their site, no matter how demonstrably false and misleading they are. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

But first today, as fires rage up and down the great state of California due to climate change-fueled winds, heat, tinderbox dry conditions and preemptive power blackouts by private, for-profit utility companies who failed to heed early warnings, it's become clear that elections in the Golden State are now also endangered. Exactly one year out from next year's critical Presidential election, a number of large counties in the state, most notably here in Los Angeles (the nation's most populous voting jurisdiction) are moving to 100% unverifiable electronic touchscreen voting systems, rather than verifiable hand-marked paper ballots, and to e-pollbook systems at Voting Centers which rely on the Internet to establish voter eligibility before voting, rather than old school paper pollbooks.

Both new systems also require electricity for voters to be able to cast their votes at all. But what if power companies are forced, at this very same time next year, to once again preemptively shut down power to avoid the threat of utility line sparked wildfires? We have queried L.A.'s County Clerk and Registrar Recorder's office seeking information on what their backup plans are for such a situation, should it occur, next year. We'll let you know what, if anything, we hear back from Registrar Dean Logan or his office on an upcoming show.

Then, today's impeachment update includes a look at another one of the Republicans' latest attempts to find a way --- some way, any way! --- to defend Donald Trump's well-documented quid pro quo pressure campaign against Ukraine, as he withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in Congressionally-allocated military assistance in hopes of forcing Ukraine's President to commit to a probe of Trump's 2020 political rival Joe Biden. After eviscerating, on yesterday's program, the disingenuous cries from GOPers in recent days that the inquiry was unfair to the President for lack of "due process," today we highlight several of the attempts by a number of Republicans to simply deny the entire matter even exists. From Presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner's recent claim that the impeachment is little more than a "silly game" because the President "hasn't done anything wrong", to Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV)'s refusal to answer even the simplest questions about Trump's documented behavior, to Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL)'s admission that he hadn't even attended a single impeachment inquiry hearing session, despite being a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, one of three that has been taking depositions behind closed doors from witnesses in the Ukraine affair over the past several weeks.

Then, with the Trump Campaign having purchased some 69,000(!) micro-targeted Facebook ads since May alone, many of them either entirely false or horrifically misleading (and amounting to more ads in total than all 18 current Democratic 2020 Presidential candidates combined!) we're joined by SUE WILSON, former Emmy and AP-award winning broadcast journalist turned media reform activist and founder of the Media Action Center, to discuss the controversial refusal by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to fact-check political ads purchased on his enormous social media site.

Wilson recently wrote at The BRAD BLOG about the controversy, sparked by Zuckerberg's refusal to block a clearly false Trump ad which CNN refused to air, and a subsequent false ad by Elizabeth Warren that she purposely ran at Facebook (and admitted was false) in order to press the point. That column, critiquing Zuckerberg's claim to be following local broadcaster ad standards (despite not being a broadcaster) as an important issue of "free speech", was published prior to some 200 employees of the social media giant signing a public letter this week calling for a number of the same reforms cited by Wilson in her recent op-ed.

"Personally, I'm offended by the idea that lying ads are the same as free speech," she tells me. "That is not free speech. It is paid speech, paid-to-misinform-people speech."

Wilson describes the breaking news about Twitter as "wonderful", adding: "It's kind of ironic that it's taking Facebook for us to start looking at these political ads that are allowed to lie to us. Not only should Facebook ban all political ads, but we should rewrite the laws so that broadcasters ban all political ads. This is a giant industry which promotes misinformation, and this is one very good way to start telling the truth to America."

Wilson debunks a number of Zuckerberg's claims about his ill-considered policy decision to allow all paid political propaganda ads by campaigns to run, no matter how many lies are included in them, and explains the arcane, nearly century-old federal requirements regarding which political ads broadcasters (versus cable channels and television networks) are allowed to prevent from running and which ones they may not censor, no matter how demonstrably false they may be.

Today's conversation with Wilson makes clear that Facebook needs to, as its own employees advise, rethink its current policy, at a minimum, before the platform is further "weaponized" by political campaigns with "destructive misinformation" that threatens our very democracy, even as concerns about political censorship by huge media outlets remains a concern. Hope you'll tune in for this important discussion in advance of next year's critical Presidential election!...

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