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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, February 24, 2024
Our Russian Nesting Doll: 'BradCast' 2/22/2024
How the U.S. has fallen prey to a decade-long Russian intel op; Also: Lindell owes $5M for lost 2020 contest; Media ignore good Biden polling amid ill-considered bids to replace him...
'Green News Report' 2/22/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
EPA's 'Good Neighbor' pollution rule at SCOTUS; Bizarre heat in Japan; Near-universal global public support for climate action; PLUS: Biden Admin cleans up nation's drinking water...
Previous GNRs: 2/20/24 - 2/15/24 - Archives...
DeSantis' Anti-Labor Law Now Nixing Unions for 1000s of FL Workers: 'BradCast' 2/21/24
Guest: Rich Templin of FL's AFL-CIO; Also: NY A.G. may seize Trump building to cover fines; Biden forgives another $1.2B in student loans...
Wisconsin's Decade-Long Un-Democracy Finally Undone. (Almost.): 'BradCast' 2/20/24
Guest: WI's John Nichols of 'The Nation'; Also: 2020 Team Trump attorneys lose again at SCOTUS; And a word on the 'victims' of Trump's decades-long NY real estate fraud...
'Green News Report' 2/20/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record ocean heat decimating FL's coral reefs; Plastics industry's 50-year recycling scam; PLUS: Nearly half of world's migratory species in decline, U.N. study finds...
Previous GNRs: 2/15/24 - 2/13/24 - Archives...
After Navalny:
'BradCast' 2/19/24
Also: Massive election fraud alleged in Pakistan; Final death blow for GOP fraudsters' phony election fraud film, '2000 Mules'...
Sunday 'Partying With Putin' Toons
Can someone let Tucker know that Vlad got another one? It's our latest collection of the week's best toons...
In Memoriam: Alexei Navalny (1976-2024)
So, remind me again how wonderful Vladimir Putin is...
Guns Again, Trump as Ever, Media Failure and the Way Forward: 'BradCast' 2/15/24
Also: Special Counsel probing Hunter Biden indicts informant who lied about 'bribes' to the Bidens from a Ukrainian energy company...
'Green News Report' 2/15/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Mysterious oil spill in Trinidad and Tobago; Big changes as Greenland gets greener; Wildfires reversing hard-won gains against air pollution; PLUS: Climate change comes for chocolate...
Previous GNRs: 2/13/24 - 2/8/24 - Archives...
New Chesebro Docs Detail Trump's Failed 2020 'Legal Coup': 'BradCast' 2/14/24
Guest: TPM's Josh Kovensky; Also: Another huge night for Dems in NY, PA; WI gets closer to fair maps; MI 'fake elector' says GOP lied...
Stewart Return to 'Daily Show' Not a Moment Too Soon!: 'BradCast' 2/13/24
Also: GOP takes mulligan on Mayorkas impeachment; Sen. passes Ukraine bill; Media's epic fail on Hur's obnoxious vindication of Biden in classified docs probe...
'Green News Report' 2/13/24
Culture shift from fossil fuels in Super Bowl EV ads; Big Oil/Gas spending big on Trump; PLUS: Climate scientist wins $1 million defamation suit against rightwing deniers...
Russia, If You're Listening, Trump Says 'Do Whatever the Hell You Want' to NATO Allies: 'BradCast' 2/12/24
Also: Last week's GOP Caucuses in NV, V.I.; Special Election in NY-3; Callers ring in...
Super Sunday 'Borderline Insanity' Toons
Just a few too many tokes over the line in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
Biden Should Federalize TX National Guard Amid State's Defiance of SCOTUS Order
POTUS must address, expose 'moral crisis' of GOP hypocrisy, cruelty, dehumanizing anti-immigrant propaganda...
'Green News Report' 2/8/24
EPA cracks down on deadly soot pollution; January was hottest ever recorded on Planet Earth; PLUS: Hurricanes are getting so intense, scientists propose a 'Category 6'...
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...


GOP chaos, faceplants and dysfunction in House, Senate, everywhere else; Also: Haley loses to 'none' in NV; O'Keefe forced to admit to fake 2020 'fraud' story; Listener mail on hand-marked ballots and Taylor Swift...
By Brad Friedman on 2/7/2024 6:31pm PT  

I'd say Tuesday was a high (or low?) watermark for GOP failure, but on The BradCast, we think it wise to never under (or over?) estimate them. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among our many stories covered today...

  • Nikki Haley lost the one-person Republican Presidential Primary in Nevada by more than 30 points. (To be fair, it's not entirely her fault. Donald Trump rigged it. And he's setting up Republicans in the state for failure this November regarding the state's voting systems.) Joe Biden reportedly won his mostly one-person Democratic Primary in the state on Tuesday with nearly 90% of the vote.
  • With three different swing-state GOP state Chairs (in Florida, Arizona and Michigan) ousted in recent weeks in scandals related to allegations of rape, bribery, or financial impropriety (and Nevada's GOP Chair heading to criminal trial in a few weeks for forgery as a fake 2020 elector), Trump's once-favored Chair of the RNC, Ronna Romney McDaniel, is being pushed out in the middle of a Presidential election year. Why? Trump's MAGA faithful are trying to find someone, anyone ... anyone but him ... to blame for their repeated, post-2016 election humiliations. Why not Ronna?
  • But the humiliation continued on Tuesday, as newly tapped and freshly failed GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson engineered what Wall Street Journal described as "an embarrassment for the party", Punchbowl called "one of the most embarrassing days in recent House GOP history" (which is saying quite a lot!), and WaPo raved: "a stunning rebuke" for a months-long impeachment probe by Republicans hoping to identify "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" by Dept. of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. Turns out, they couldn't even convince their full caucus that he'd committed any, and one heroic Dem showed up from his hospital bed amidst chaos on the House Floor to deliver Johnson and Marjorie Taylor Green's phony impeachment scheme an embarrassing final blow. At least for Tuesday night, in the first impeachment vote ever against a sitting member of the Executive Branch.
  • Actually, it wasn't the final blow on Tuesday night for House Republicans. Johnson held a subsequent vote for aid to Israel. It also went down in humiliating flames.
  • All of that comes on the heels of Congressional GOP insistence that they would block any aid package for Ukraine --- now facing a very real existential crisis and invasion from a hostile neighbor --- unless the bill included a massive amount of money for the U.S. southern border, where Trump and Republicans pretend there is an ongoing "existential crisis" and "invasion". So, Dems gave in and agreed with Senate Republicans to add a very hard-right border deal to the aid package --- only to see Trump throw a fit at a possible real solution for the only real(ish) election year issue he seems to have left. So now House Republicans are vowing they will only consider an aid bill for Ukraine (and Israel and Taiwan) if it doesn't include money for the U.S. southern border. Seriously. It's as insane and stupid and dysfunctional and embarrassing as it sounds. And, it might even be hilarious, but for the fact that democracy remains on the brink in Europe, as the near-entirety of the Republican Party now cowers to the personal whims of their four-time indicted cult leader.
  • Popular Republican criminal, pretend fake "pimp", and definitely fake "journalist" James O'Keefe quietly issued a tweet on Monday night, admitting that his reporting on 2020 election fraud in Pennsylvania was "wrong" and that he is "aware of no evidence or other allegation that election fraud occurred in the Erie [Pennsylvania] Post Office during the 2020 Presidential Election.” It took him four years and a begrudging lawsuit settlement to "correct" his false story about supposed massive mail ballot fraud by the USPS. Trump continues to fraudulently pimp that nonsense to this day. All of this on the heels of O'Keefe being pushed out of his own fake news organization, called Project Veritas, last year amid allegations of financial malfeasance and abuse of employees. Or, as his partner in the 2010 fake ACORN "pimp" hoax videos described it when quitting the group herself in December: "an unsalvageable mess --- one wrought with strong evidence of past illegality and financial improprieties."
  • Finally today, some listener mail with an important coda to our mind-blowing interview on Tuesday with Susan Greenhalgh, election integrity advocate and consultant on the just-completed civil suit trial by Marilyn Marks and the Coalition of Good Governance against the State of Georgia and its Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger. The suit seeks to move the state from easily-hackable, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems to verifiable hand-marked paper ballots; And, some email on Taylor Swift and the Superbowl, which I thought we decided we wouldn't be discussing this week on The BradCast?!!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Plaintiff advisor Susan Greenhalgh of Free Speech for People; Also: Trump case delays; U.S. retaliation in Middle East; Deluge in SoCal...
By Brad Friedman on 2/5/2024 6:28pm PT  

The long-awaited trial over Georgia's vulnerable voting systems has finally come to a close. As reported on today's BradCast: Last month, one of the plaintiffs' experts demonstrated in court that the state's vulnerable touchscreen voting systems can be hacked in about 5 seconds by one person, with nothing more than a ballpoint pen. And the state, for its part, defended itself by demonstrating that apparently nobody --- nobody! --- is in charge of cybersecurity for the statewide computerized voting systems used by every voter at every polling place in the critical battleground state. [Audio link to full story follows below this summary.]

After a few quick news updates at the top of the show --- including on the climate change-fueled atmospheric river raining down on us out here in Southern California today --- we're joined LIVE in studio by Free Speech for People's Senior Advisor on Election Security, SUSAN GREENHALGH, on the heels of the three-week civil trial in federal court that finally wrapped up late last month.

The case, originally filed way back in 2017, is called Curling v. Raffensperger. Plaintiffs are election integrity experts (real ones, not pretend Trump ones) challenging the use of Georgia's touchscreen voting systems, hoping to force the state to move from vulnerable, unverifiable touchscreens to verifiable hand-marked paper ballots before the 2024 Presidential election. Greenhalgh has been advising plaintiffs in the case for a number of years. She was in the courtroom in Atlanta last month for much of the trial which began on January 9 and ended just over a week ago. (Daily court transcripts for each day of the trial are now posted here.)

The suit is led by the Coalition for Good Governance, a non-partisan election watchdog group headed up by frequent BradCast guest Marilyn Marks. It was during the course of pre-trial discovery that Marks discovered that Trump-lawyer Sidney Powell, and others on Team Trump, actually organized a scheme to breach the statewide voting systems in the Coffee County, GA elections office beginning on January 7th, 2021. The were given access to the systems by the local elections supervisor at the time and proceeded to copy its sensitive software before distributing it to parts unknown across the Internet. The unprecedented breach of GA's touchscreen voting systems and the central Election Management System (EMS), was never actually investigated by Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger's office. It did, however, result in criminal charges against five co-conspirators among the 18 others charged along with Donald Trump in Fulton County, GA's broad felony indictment for his failed attempt to steal the state's 2020 Presidential election.

This civil case, however --- filed in federal court long before Trump pretended to have won the 2020 election --- seeks only to end the use of the state's vulnerable Dominion touchscreen systems. During the course of the trial, the plaintiff's expert, Dr. Alex Halderman, long time cybersecurity and voting system expert from the University of Michigan, demonstrated how he could take over control of one of the voting machines with little more than a ballpoint pen, without violating any of Georgia's security protocols or so-called "tamper evident security seals." In just seconds, Halderman revealed to the court how he could achieve "Super User Access" on the machines, allowing a bad guy to insert malware or take over any other number of system functions in that administrative mode. (Halderman has made clear he has found no evidence of fraud in GA's 2020 election.)

During the course of the trial, as Greenhalgh reports today, the state's Election Director conceded he didn't even know such a hack was possible, despite a detailed report Halderman submitted in the case several years ago. The State Election Director, apparently, never bothered to read it.

The State, however, for its part, maintains their systems are completely secure, despite a mountain of expert evidence to the contrary. Sec. of State Raffensperger is responsible for mandating the use of these machines for every voter at every polling place in the state. That, after the same judge in the same case, back in 2019, banned the use of the state's 20-year old touchscreens made by Diebold. Rather than move to hand-marked paper ballots, Raffensperger ignored the advise of cybersecurity and voting system experts and replaced the old Diebold touchscreens with new ones made by Dominion, with many of the same (and additional!) security flaws as the old systems.

During the course of the trial, as Greenhalgh breaks down today, nobody from the Office of Sec. of State was willing to identify who was in charge of cybersecurity for the 35,000 voting machines used across Georgia. "There was a bit of a 'Who's On First' routine" during the trial, she explains. The State Election Director, for example, testified that cybersecurity was the job of the State's Chief Information Officer (CIO). The CIO, however, testified that wasn't part of his portfolio, pointing back at the State Election Director. Raffensperger's office finally seemed to have settled on Dominion as the ones who were in charge of cybersecurity for Dominion voting systems in GA, the same company who created the vulnerable systems in the first place. "The Fox guarding the hen-house," quipped Greenhalgh.

Nobody from Dominion testified during the trial, she explained. And Raffensperger was similarly allowed to avoid testimony after appealing the District Court's mandate to do so up to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which allowed him off the hook just days before the trial finally got underway. That, as his offices refuses to apply security patches urgently recommended by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) based on the information in Halderman's report on GA's voting systems.

During the course of the trial, the judge, says Greenhalgh, cited "inconsistent candor" of state officials. As to the Coffee County Breach, she notes, the Sec. of State's "investigator got up on the stand and, under oath, said, 'I was told to hold off and not investigate.' He was asked specifically: 'So, did you perform any investigation activities?' 'No.' 'Did anyone else?' 'No, not to my knowledge...No, there was no investigation.'"

As you can tell, there is much to discuss with Greenhalgh on today's sorta mind-blowing edition of The BradCast, after the State's Defense rested and we now await a verdict from U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg. That ruling could finally come...well, whenever. No rush. The Presidential Primary in Georgia is on Super Tuesday, March 5, exactly one month from today. Is it possible a ruling could come in time to save the 2024 general election this November?

We discuss all of that and much more with Greenhalgh on today's program. Buckle up...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Voting system expert Susan Greenhalgh of Free Speech for People; Also: Our COVID chronicles continue; Biden charges Trump an 'insurrectionist', tried to 'steal' 2020 election...
By Brad Friedman on 1/8/2024 6:05pm PT  

We're still fighting COVID, but we think we're almost over the hump on today's BradCast, just as a long awaited voting system trial in a critical swing-state is finally set to begin. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

On Friday, just as Desi had days earlier, I too tested positive for COVID. After avoiding it for four years, we both finally got hit. But, thanks to keeping up with our boosters, free rapid home tests and the miracle anti-viral drug Paxlovid, both she and I are almost back to normal this week. She is now testing negative and I am, very faintly, still positive, but suspect I'll be fully clear by tomorrow. Most of our symptoms are gone and, most importantly --- because we were both positive --- we're able to be in the same room again! So, I think we're finally back to our usual schedule after an unexpectedly long holiday break and a bumpy start to what is likely to be a very bumpy new year.

As it turns out, we're not the only ones swept up among the largest spate of cases in the U.S. since the initial Omicron wave back in late 2021. Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are still on the rise. If you haven't already, please get your COVID and flu shots this year, as that is also seeing a big bump right now. And, if you want to get over COVID quickly, ask your doctor for Paxlovid as soon as you test positive, because it must be taken right away. It has certainly worked wonders, so far, for us.

With that medical sidebar out of the way, for now, we're back to the grind of the 2024 elections and the former President's threat to American democracy itself on today's program. Last week, Donald Trump failed to sign a pledge against advocating for the overthrow of the government in his Illinois candidacy paperwork, despite signing the optional pledge when he ran in both 2016 and 2020.

And, on Friday, President Biden, in his campaign launch in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, called out Trump, by name (44 times), including as an "insurrectionist". During his remarks, marking the third anniversary of Trump's deadly January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol attack, Biden also finally took our advice in calling out Trump in plain language for what he tried to do in 2020: "In trying to rewrite the facts of January 6th, Trump is trying to steal history the same way he tried to steal the election."

Thank you, Mr. President.

As to helping to prevent another attempted election theft in 2024, the long-awaited federal trial finally begins in Georgia this week in Curling v. Raffensperger, the 2017 lawsuit led by our friend Marilyn Marks of the Coalition for Good Governance. The suit seeks to the block the use of Georgia's insecure, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems made by Dominion and see them replaced with verifiable hand-marked paper ballots in the battleground state.

In 2019, the federal judge overseeing the case, U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg, blocked the further use of the state's old touchscreen voting systems made by Diebold, finding them to have unconstitutional security infirmities. Unfortunately, against the advice of cybersecurity and voting system experts, GA's Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger then moved the entire state to touchscreens made by a different manufacturer with many of the same problems featured in the old systems.

This is also the case which uncovered, during the discovery phase in 2022, the now-notorious Coffee County, GA voting system software breach by Team Trump. That unprecedented theft and distribution of sensitive voting system software resulted in the indictment [PDF] of Trump attorney and breach organizer Sidney Powell as part of Fulton County, GA District Attorney Fani Willis' criminal conspiracy charges against the disgraced former President and 18 co-conspirators.

As Washington Post detailed in its own lengthy preview on Sunday, the trial, set to begin this week, has already resulted in MAGA election deniers and conspiracists like MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell pretending to be vindicated by one of the judge's earlier rulings finding that the Curling plaintiffs, unlike Lindell, are not "conspiracy theorists of any variety" and that, as Judge Totenberg found, they have the support of "some of the nation's leading cybersecurity experts and computer scientists."

Those scientists and experts have documented how the touchscreen systems used across the entirety of Georgia (and in jurisdictions in more than a dozen states) are wildly "vulnerable" to hacking and system failure, even as no evidence has been found that the 2020 or 2022 elections were actually hacked. As Judge Totenberg noted in a 2020 ruling, the plaintiffs "convincingly present evidence that this is not a question of 'might this actually ever happen?' - but 'when it will happen,' especially if further protective measures are not taken."

We're joined today by SUSAN GREENHALGH, Senior Advisor on Election Security at Free Speech for People. She has worked very closely on this case with the plaintiffs from Coalition for Good Governance and has joined us on the program many times to discuss it since it was initially filed seven years ago.

Among the details discussed in today's "curtain raiser" before trial: How Democrats have become frightened of challenging unverifiable voting systems in the wake of the MAGA election denial movement. The gob-smacking ruling on Friday from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that Raffensperger does not have to testify as a witness, despite the lower court judge ordering him to do so, and Raffensberger's insistence [PDF] in his own recent book, amusingly titled Integrity Counts, that "the ultimate fact-check in the United States...occurs in courts of law, where witnesses swear to tell the truth or risk imprisonment and where lawyers must also tell the truth or risk disbarment. If you want to know the truth, watch what happens in court."

Sadly, we won't be able to watch Raffensperger in court. He fought tooth and nail up to the appellate level to avoid 75 minutes of testimony as a witness in the Curling case.

Also, as Greenhalgh explains today, Raffensperger has now ordered the election security reviewer at the Sec. of State Office's "not to provide any reports in writing any longer, to only give them orally." She describes the order as "really strange," begging the question, yet again, as to why the rightwing 11th Circuit would allow Raffensperger to avoid testifying.

"There are a lot of questions that Raffensperger should be answering," she argues, while noting that despite the absence of the guy who, in defiance of experts, ordered the use of these machines in the first place --- and then failed to investigate the 2021 MAGA breach and distribution of statewide voting system software in Coffee County for more than a year --- there is still plenty of evidence for plaintiffs to make their case against these godforsaken, unreliable, unnecessary voting computers in advance of the 2024 general election.

"There are a lot of questions that really should have been answered by Raffensperger," Greenhalgh laments, before adding : "But they still have overwhelming evidence."

The trial is scheduled to begin in federal court in Atlanta on Tuesday...

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, 'Driftglass' of 'ProLeft Podcast'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/7/2023 5:27pm PT  

It was debate number four for all of the eligible GOP 2024 primary candidates who decided to show up. And, for reasons best left to one of our guests to explain on today's BradCast, we once again offer Special Coverage of yet another LOL bat-crap insane evening! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

This one was broadcast from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It was sponsored by new media outlet NewsNation and moderated (for the first time?) by three women. The GOP's Race for Second Place on Wednesday night featured just four candidate who qualified: former UN Ambassador and former SC Gov. Nikki Haley; FL Gov. Ron DeSantis; former NJ Gov. Chris Christie and scammy business dude and unspeakably annoying conspiracy theory bro Vivek Ramaswamy. Presumed front-runner Donald Trump didn't bother to show up again. Though, after winning the three previous debates by not being there, he may have actually lost a few points this time around, for reasons discussed on today's program.

We're joined once again today by our tireless 2024 post-debate panelists and long-time OG bloggers HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo and 'DRIFTGLASS' of the weekly Professional Left Podcast and its companion show, No Fair Remembering Stuff.

It was a lively, if insane affair, as expected from today's broken Republican Party, with the candidates viciously attacking each other throughout the night as "obnoxious blowhard", "corrupt", "toxic", "fascist" and "liar". But who are we to disagree with the GOP's own carefully curated collection of 2024 candidates for President of the United States?

Aside from the smaller group of participants, the biggest change was that Christie decided to finally weigh in both as the adult in the room with actual old-school Republican "conservative" values, and to finally take on Trump head on as he'd long promised. As we discuss, the room did not boo him as vigorously this time out, and may (may!) have actually listened to a word or two he had to say about Trump. While Christie scored a number of direct hits on the four-time criminally indicted former President, his best moments --- other than beating the hell out of DeSantis and Ramaswamy --- came in calling out Trump as "unfit for office", before noting in closing that Trump is likely to be disqualified from even voting for himself next year.

"I want you all to kinda picture in your mind its Election Day. You all will be heading to the polls to vote, and that's something that Donald Trump will not be able to do. Because he will be convicted of felonies before then and his right to vote will be taken away," explained Christie, followed by a bit of half-hearted booing from the assembled crowd at the University of Alabama. "You can boo about it all you like and continue to deny reality," he continued. "But if we deny reality as a party, we're gonna have four more years of Joe Biden." He went on to add for his fellow candidates: "If you're too timid to take on Trump, believe me, others will see that timidity: Xi, Putin and the Ayatollah, the border-crossers on the southern border and the criminals on our streets."

The full frontal --- and accurate --- attack may or may not work. But it was the message that the crowd eventually seemed to be listening to and that Christie had long promised to deliver, but hadn't until last night. It was also the argument that every other major candidate in the party has, so far, been too "timid" to make. In fact, the lawless, autocratic threat posed by Donald Trump to his own party, our nation, and this world is really the only issue that matters in 2024.

We discuss all of that and much more today, including...

  • Why we're devoting an hour to this madness at all.
  • The reasons for the lack of a single question about abortion.
  • Why the sponsors of this debate thought it appropriate to feature two video questions for the candidates from the far-right Judicial Watch's Tom Fitton, identified as one of Trump's many unindicted co-conspirators in his Georgia election theft indictment and likely in his federal indictment for same.
  • Why the party that used to pretend to oppose Big Government clearly doesn't anymore (and never actually did.)
  • How Haley and DeSantis claim to support "freedom", while each opposing freedom of speech on the Internet (and elsewhere.)
  • Who would actually be the best GOP candidate to defeat Joe Biden and who would actually be the easiest for Joe Biden to defeat.

Please enjoy our...for some reason...BradCast Special Coverage!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Guest: Marilyn Marks of plaintiff Coalition for Good Governance; Also in GA: Who leaked the Fulton County tapes?; Jail time for a Trump co-defendant?; Defamed Atlanta election workers seek millions from Rudy...
By Brad Friedman on 11/16/2023 6:57pm PT  

You may have noticed the nation is a bit of a tinder box right now. If the currently presumptive 2024 GOP nominee loses in Georgia again next year and just one precinct, out of thousands in the state, experiences something akin to what happened last week during elections in Northampton County, Pennsylvania... well, I don't even wanna think about the likely ramifications. Though we do discuss that today as part of our BradCast, which focuses almost exclusively on election-related lawsuits and criminal cases in the Peach State. Our guest is one of the plaintiffs in one of the most important cases you probably haven't heard about on your favorite cable news station. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

The long-awaited Curling v. Raffensperger voting system trial is finally set to begin in Atlanta in January, just after the start of the new Presidential election year in the critical battleground state Originally filed in 2017, the long-running federal lawsuit has already been extraordinarily consequential.

Among other things, it resulted in the 2019 banning of Georgia's then nearly 20-year old, unverifiable, insecure touchscreen voting systems made by Diebold after the judge still overseeing the case, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg, found the systems so deficient that their use was determined to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

In response, and ignoring the advice of voting system and cybersecurity experts, GA's Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger replaced the Diebold systems with newer, similarly unverifiable and insecure touchscreen voting systems made by Dominion. The plaintiffs challenged the use of those systems on similar Constitutional grounds, hoping to see the state move to verifiable hand-marked paper ballots at all polling places, where voters are now forced to vote on the unverifiable touchscreen systems. Raffensperger has refused.

As AP noted last weekend, the case also "spawned a landmark expert report that identified vulnerabilities in the election system used in Georgia that led [the US Dept. of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (or CISA)] to issue an advisory" to all jurisdictions around the nation that use the same equipment, recommending they immediately apply security patches produced by Dominion to mitigate at least some of the systems' known insecurities. Raffensperger stunned the federal court in Atlanta earlier this year when his office announced they do not plan to apply the recommended security patches until after the 2024 Presidential election in the highly contested swing-state.

Perhaps most famously (or infamously?) the Curling case also resulted in the revelation of the January 7, 2021 statewide voting system software breach in Coffee County, GA. That led to the criminal indictment of Sidney Powell and four others, with Donald Trump, in Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis' sprawling racketeering conspiracy case against the former President and 18 alleged co-conspirators. The revelation of the unprecedented Coffee County breach, copying and Internet distribution of Dominion's sensitive software occurred when Atlanta bail bondsman, Scott Hall (who, along with Powell, has since pleaded guilty in the indictment), called and essentially confessed the entire plot to one of the plaintiffs in the 'Curling' case, who was smart enough to record the phone call. That call was originally aired by The BradCast in May of 2022.

That plaintiff, MARILYN MARKS, longtime, indefatigable election integrity champion and Executive Director of the non-profit good government group, Coalition for Good Governance, is once again our guest on today's program, as she and her team prepare for trial against Raffensperger and GA, now set by Judge Totenberg to begin on January 9th.

Late last week, Totenberg released a 135-page Opinion and Order [PDF], denying the State's attempt to dismiss the case and setting a trial date. For clarity, she took pains to note: "the record evidence does not suggest that the Plaintiffs are conspiracy theorists of any variety. Indeed, some of the nation's leading cybersecurity experts and computer scientists have provided testimony and affidavits on behalf of Plaintiffs' case in the long course of this litigation."

In the Order's conclusion, the federal judge emphasized: "The importance of the security, reliability, and functionality of state election systems, classified by the U.S. Homeland Security Department as critical national infrastructure, cannot be overstated in a world where cybersecurity challenges have exponentially increased in the last decade. The dynamics of how a breach in one part of a cyber system may potentially carry cybersecurity reverberations for the entire system for years to come exemplifies the important concerns raised in this case."

But, Totenberg also writes in her ruling that she is unable to order the use of a new voting system for the State, asserting that only the Legislature may do that. Thus, she urges the parties to find a compromise resolution. Nonetheless, as Marks explains today, this same judge, who will oversee a bench trial without a jury, found the old Diebold systems so dangerously deficient nearly five years ago, that she not only found them unconstitutional, she barred their use in any further Georgia elections.

"We've never asked for her to order hand-marked paper ballots," Marks clarifies today. "That ultimately just becomes the default, because state law already says that if the electronic system is not working, hand-marked paper ballots is what you go to. That's what the law says." She notes that Judge Totenberg "has the power to enjoin unconstitutional behavior, and that's what we are asking her to do."

"No amount of software patching is going to fix this Constitutional problem. No amount of so-called auditing. You can't do a real audit with those machine-printed ballots," argues Marks. After an election, only hand-marked paper ballots can be known to have been verified by the voter. Studies have found that voters didn't notice more than 93% of the time when a touchscreen voting system flipped their vote on a computer-printed paper ballot summary.

Last week, in Northampton, PA's elections, similar touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices to those used all across GA were showing voter selections one way on the screen in two different contests, in some cases, but printing the opposite on the paper that gets tallied. Imagine if that occurred in even one precinct next year in GA with Trump on the ballot. That is among the nightmare scenarios Marks is hoping to side-step by forcing the state to finally dump their insane --- and insanely expensive --- statewide system.

She says the solution is simple and inexpensive and can be done immediately. Emergency hand-markable paper ballots are already required at every precinct in the state. Just print more of them, and use the existing scanners in each polling location to tally them. "70% of Americans vote this way. This is not hard," Marks asserts. "Of course, the State pretends that it would take rocket science to make this happen."

There is, to say the least, much at stake in this upcoming trial, even as it is not receiving nearly the amount of attention of the other election-related case underway in GA right now, the Fulton County criminal case against Trump and his co-defendants. On that, we have some news as well on today's program, including...

  • An attorney for defendant Misty Hampton, the former Coffee County Elections Director, claims he is the one who leaked video proffers of Powell, Hall, and Trump attorneys Ken Chesebro and Jenna Ellis to the media. But is he really?
  • Willis is seeking the jailing of co-defendant Harrison Floyd for attempted witness intimidation. He is among those indicted in the conspiracy for threatening Atlanta election workers Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss over false claims that they carried out ballot fraud in 2020.
  • And Freeman and Moss are now seeking between $15 and $43 million from former NYC Mayor and Fulton County co-defendant Rudy Giuliani in their civil defamation trial against him in federal court. The Judge in that case has already found Giuliani liable. The D.C. trial set to begin in December against him will now determine how much he'll have to pay to the two women.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our last Green News Report before our Thanksgiving break! We will be off --- from both The BradCast and GNR next week. So we send our best and thanks to everyone! We will return after the holiday...

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Public interest would be served if Sec. of State Raffensperger agreed to move to hand-marked paper ballots before 2024's Presidential elections...
By Marilyn Marks on 11/13/2023 10:15am PT  

(Additional reporting by Brad Friedman.)

All parties to the litigation received U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg's 135-page order [PDF] on Friday, in response to Georgia's Motion for Summary Judgement in the Coalition for Good Governance (CGG)'s years-long Constitutional challenge to the state's insecure, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems.

CGG will be going to trial as she denied the State's motion to dismiss our core claims regarding the critical battleground state's Ballot Marking Device (BMD) touchscreens. Trial is set to begin on January 9.

The Court described the inherent security flaws in Georgia's touchscreen voting system as well as the State's lack of response to the statewide system breaches emanating from the Coffee County breach activities we unearthed last year. That matter has now become infamous through Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' racketeering indictment against Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants, four of whom she charged for their involvement in the unprecedented copying and distribution of the state's voting system software after breaching the machines at the elections office in the rural, southeastern Georgia county. Two of the alleged co-conspirators specifically involved in the Coffee County plot, Trump attorney Sidney Powell and Atlanta bail bondsman Scott Hall, have pleaded guilty in the matter.

The Court noted the misleading and conflicting claims by the defendant in our case, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, regarding the Coffee breaches (see p. 66 of the ruling) and his delayed and ineffective response. The Order notes how the breaches have grave implications for the security of future elections. Nonetheless, the Secretary and State Election Board have continued to bury their heads in the sand, not wanting to second guess the Secretary's 2019 purchase of the highly flawed system that experts have concluded is less secure than the old paperless Diebold touchscreen system Judge Totenberg ordered to be replaced in 2019....

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Among today's stories...

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

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

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

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

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

It's game on, Wisconsin!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Petitioners argue GOP plan to remove recently seated Justice violates state Constitutional limitation to 'crimes' or 'corrupt conduct in office'...
UPDATE 10/3/23: Wisconsin Supremes declined to hear the case...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/18/2023 9:35am PT  

Last week at the Wisconsin Supreme Court, a pair of voters filed an Emergency Petition [PDF] seeking to block a GOP scheme to impeach a newly seated Justice on the High Court.

The filing includes an ex parte request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to prevent Republicans in Wisconsin's gerrymandered state Assembly from carrying out their recent threats to impeach Justice Janet Protasiewicz. Petitioners charge that an impeachment brought by the state legislature at this point would be in violation of The Badger State Constitution.

Shortly after Protasiewicz was sworn-in last month --- giving liberals a majority on the WI Supreme Court for the first time in more than 15-years --- voters and a group of mathematicians and computer scientists filed two petitions, Clarke v. Wisconsin Elections Commission and Wright v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, in the state's High Court. The petitions allege Wisconsin's wildly gerrymandered legislative maps violate multiple provisions of the state Constitution. The Clarke and Wright petitioners seek the creation of a fair map prior to the 2024 election.

The new emergency petition, Hanson-Hysel v. Wisconsin State Assembly, was filed last week on behalf of the 1,021,370 Badger State electors whose votes handed Protasiewicz an 11-point victory over her right-wing opponent, Dan Kelly, last April.

The Hanson-Hysel petition advances several core contentions. Most notably: Article 7, Section 1 of the state's Constitution mandates the WI Assembly may initiate impeachment against a judge or justice only in response to "corrupt conduct in office, or for crimes and misdemeanors."

In the 175 years since Wisconsin adopted its founding document, just one member of the Badger State judiciary, Circuit Judge Levi Hubbel, was impeached, in 1853 in relation to bribery accusations. He was acquitted of the charges.

Protasiewicz, on the other hand, has not been accused of either a crime or corrupt conduct in office. She has yet to even hear a case. But her presence on the Badger State's high court has arguably become an existential threat to the survival of the Republicans' more than a decade of unfairly gerrymandered majorities in both chambers of the state legislature...

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




Also: Hurricane Hillary eyes Southern CA and/or AZ...
By Brad Friedman on 8/17/2023 7:11pm PT  

If you had "Hurricane in Southern California" on your Climate Crisis 2023 Bingo card, please come on up to accept your prize. Details on that on today's BradCast, along with a whole bunch of other stuff we've had to set aside of late, thanks to the now 91 criminal felony charges being faced by our corrupt and disgraced former President. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the stories covered today that (largely) have nothing to do with felony indictments...

  • Hurricane Hilary spins up suddenly off the coast of Mexico and is now gaining strength amid an El Nino. The storm is said to be heading north to make what could be an "exceedingly rare" landfall over the next few days somewhere here in Southern California or along the Baja Peninsula before moving up and into Arizona --- if you believe scientists who are experts in this sort of thing.
  • The gerrymandered Republican state legislature in North Carolina on Wednesday overrode vetoes by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to enact new laws that are unspeakable cruel to, among others, transgender children. If you are unaware, we explain exactly why these types of laws --- now adopted by 22 GOP-controlled states (though being challenged in court in most of them) --- are so awful and cruel. That is, unless you are a Republican, like those who stole control of the NC legislature, who believe Big Government should intercede between doctors and patients and that so-called "parental rights" should also be overruled by Big Government autocratic fiat.
  • Speaking of autocracy, gerrymanders and Big Government Republicans now dictating to small, local government and voters...the morally and ethically broken GOP-controlled state legislature in Texas has recently passed a law to oust the chief election official in Harris County (Houston) --- and only in Harris County --- just months before upcoming municipal elections in the state's largest and most Democratic-leaning County. A state judge this week found the new law in violation of the Lone Star State's constitution. But, just hours later, the state put that ruling on hold by appealing it to the TX Supreme Court (all Republican). The November elections are now just weeks away and, unless something changes quickly, will apparently be run by the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector who has zero experience running elections and had nothing to do with the months-long planning for the one where early voting is set to begin next month.
  • In far more encouraging news about autocracy, gerrymandering and, in this case, democracy, we head to the great state of Wisconsin. On August 1, Justice Janet Protasiewicz became the state Supreme Court's newest member after being elected earlier this year. Her landslide (for Wisconsin) 11-point victory in April means that liberals now hold a majority on the state's High Court for the first time in about 15 years. On August 2, a group of petitioners filed with the state Supremes to not only force new, fair legislative maps for the state's House and Senate for the first time in more than a decade, but also for emergency elections next year for all members of the state Senate, many of whom will not otherwise face reelection until 2026 despite occupying seats that petitioners argue are held only thanks to the GOP's unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernie Canning wrote about this challenge to the state's illicit, entrenched legislative majorities this week and the potentially very good news it represents for Badger State voters. Just after airtime today, however, he updated his article with...well, some more good news but also...some troubling news about the gerrymandered GOP's new scheme to undermine democracy, the rule of law, the state constitution and state voters with impeachment proceedings against Protasiewicz in hopes of stealing back the Court to hold onto their entrenched, corrupt state legislative majorities. (See Ernie's UPDATE today on that story for more details.)
  • Then, a bit of listener mail in response to my apparently controversial suggestions of late that Donald Trump may very well not be on the general election ballot by November of next year.
  • And, finally, Desi Doyen has our latest Green News Report with updates on the horrific fires on Maui and in Canada, but some very encouraging news about President Biden and the Democrats' landmark climate law, signed one year ago this week, which is already resulting in a clean energy manufacturing, construction and jobs boom in the U.S. --- and even overseas!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Robin Marty of the West Alabama Women's Center, author of 'The End of Roe v. Wade'; Also: Deadly, climate fueled wildfires in Maui, HI...
By Brad Friedman on 8/9/2023 6:33pm PT  

It was a great day for democracy in Ohio on Tuesday. And how often do we get to say that on The BradCast? [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

But first, it's not a great day for our friends in Maui, Hawaii, where windswept wildfires have leveled homes and businesses and a historic town; killed at least six and injured dozens so far; and sent some residents fleeing into the ocean to avoid the flames. That, as wind gusts above 60 mph --- part of Hurricane Dora passing about 500 miles safely to the south --- kept firefighting helicopters out of the sky, while climate change-fueled dry conditions and non-native, non-drought tolerant plant species (brought there by humans) went up like torches. Sending our best wishes to our listeners at our affiliate station, KAKU 88.5FM, "The Voice of Maui"! Please drop us a line when you can to let us know how you're doing!

Moving on from that terrible news, to much better news out of Ohio last night, where democracy was literally on the ballot. The Buckeye State GOP's anti-democracy constitutional amendment, known as Issue 1 on Tuesday's special election ballot, went down to huge defeat by some 13 points --- 57% to 43% --- according to the latest unconfirmed tallies. The measure, which could have passed with a simple majority, would have changed the state constitution to require 60% voter approval for all future constitutional amendments. As it turns out, voters don't like voting their own democracy away.

As Ohio's Sec. of State Frank LaRose was eventually caught on tape admitting to supporters --- after claiming for months it had nothing to do with abortion --- the measure was "100% about abortion". It was meant to preempt a citizen-led ballot initiative set for this November that will codify reproductive freedoms into the constitution of the otherwise right-leaning and wildly gerrymandered state.

We spend some time today explaining what happened, why it happened, and just how extraordinarily corrupt and hypocritical the measure's lead proponent, LaRose, actually is, as he hopes to become the state's GOP nominee to square off with Ohio's Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown next year. Good luck after Tuesday's $20 million, anti-democracy boondoggle, Frank!

But what happened in Ohio on Tuesday is reverberating throughout the nation today and will, almost certainly, continue to reverberate into next year's 2024 general election. It is also giving hope to a lot of otherwise "deep red" states, proving again that their citizenry can also successfully push back against GOP forces of hypocrisy, anti-democracy and pro-autocracy. Even in states like "deep red" Alabama.

We're joined today by ROBIN MARTY, Operations Director at the West Alabama Women's Center, and the prescient author of 2019's The New Handbook for a Post-Roe America and The End of Roe v. Wade: Inside the Right's Plan to Destroy Legal Abortion.

Marty, as you might guess, is elated about the great news out of Ohio. "Of course, I am very excited about it," she says, before adding: "I'm not surprised, though. This is yet another in a series of wins for abortion rights when it is put up to a statewide vote." Indeed, every time a measure even tangentially related to reproductive rights has appeared on a statewide ballot since the corrupt U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, reproductive freedoms have ultimately won. That is true in both "red" and "blue" states alike.

But Marty also shares just some of the authoritarian horror still playing out in her own home state where abortion has now been banned entirely by state Republicans, and where her West Alabama Women's Center still offers much-needed healthcare for woman...but may no longer provide them with abortion services.

Most incredibly, as Marty tells details today, the medical professionals at her clinic are not even allowed, by law, to tell patients where they might go --- which states or clinics --- to receive lawful abortion care elsewhere. That, she says, could result in felony charges and up to 99 years in prison. In fact, she wasn't even certain she could tell me about that on air!

"The moment it became illegal in our state, not only did we have to stop every bit of abortion care that we were doing in the clinic," she explains, "our Attorney General made statements saying that, in his opinion, he believed that providing a person with information about how they could access abortion care somewhere else would, in fact, constitute a criminal conspiracy. And people could be arrested over that."

The center has just filed suit against the state A.G., hoping to win back their free speech rights. As the ACLU describes the case, the lawsuit was last month "in federal court to prevent Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and district attorneys throughout the state from prosecuting those who assist Alabamians seeking to travel across state lines to access abortion care where abortion is legal. Attorney General Marshall has explicitly threatened that health care providers could face felony charges for assisting Alabamians seeking to travel out of state to obtain abortion where it is legal."

The health care providers are fighting the law adopted by the very same hypocritical GOP lawmakers who pretended to be "outraged" about "Big Government coming between a patient and their doctor" during the passage of ObamaCare in 2010. And the very same ones who, today, are pretending to be "outraged" about Trump being prosecuted for "nothing more than exercising his Free Speech rights!" (that's not why he is being prosecuted) and pretending to be concerned that social media sites are "censoring" rightwing opinions.

Marty has a lot to say on all of these topics, so I hope you'll tune in for today's very lively conversation with her!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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