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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, January 26, 2023
'Green News Report' 1/26/23
  w/ Brad & Desi
Spate of new studies find climate impacts escalating; Logging banned (again) in Alaskan rainforest; PLUS: 'Doomsday Clock' moved closer than ever to 'midnight'...
Recent GNRs: 1/24/23 - 1/19/23 - Archives...
Republican Dark Money Group's Multi-Million Dollar 'Grassroots' Vote Suppression Scheme: 'BradCast' 1/25/23
Guest: Brendan Fischer of Documented; Also: My ridiculous, couldn't-be-true Santos theory...
'Decisions are Imminent' in Trump Probe, Says Willis in GA: 'BradCast' 1/24/23
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  w/ Brad & Desi
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Listeners Ring in on Just About Everything. (Everywhere. All at Once.): 'BradCast' 1/23/23
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Million Dollar Sanctions Ruling Underscores Trump's Seemingly Never-Ending Litigation Grift
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Keeping priorities straight in PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best toons...
GOP Targets Ballot Initiatives After 2022 Progressive Wins: 'BradCast' 1/20/23
Guest: Chris Melody Fields Figueredo of Ballot Initiative Strategy Center; Also: Judge orders Trump to pay Hillary, others nearly $1M...
OH's Completely Moderate, Not-Corrupt-At-All Republican Governor: 'BradCast' 1/19/23
Dark money fossil fuel bribery and disen-franchising military voters in the Buckeye State; Also: GOP's dangerous limit debt game...
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  w/ Brad & Desi
EU's plan to compete with U.S. on renewables; Banks spend billions on fossil fuel despite net zero pledges; PLUS: Dark money led Ohio Repubs to redefine NatGas as 'green energy'...
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GOP's 'One-Two Punch to Shut Down' House Ethics Watchdog: 'BradCast' 1/18/23
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Republican Federal Courts Take Aim at VRA Section 2: 'BradCast' 1/14/23
Guest: ACLU attorney Jonathan Topaz; Also: IA, NY GOPers charged with mass vote fraud; OH Guv signs bill restricting voting rights...
Transparency and Public Oversight to the Rescue: 'BradCast' 1/12/23
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'Green News Report' 1/12/23
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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
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Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Guest: Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance; Also: Record heat wave pounds West; New Bannon woes; Primary results from MA...
By Brad Friedman on 9/7/2022 5:32pm PT  

We were on this story very early. Happily, more and more of the corporate media are finally covering it. But they still do not seem to be fully grasping --- or, at least, reporting on --- what now appears to be Georgia's Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger clearly covering up election related crimes carried out by Team Trump and the MAGA crowd. We've got new evidence to support that charge on today's BradCast, as Raffensperger runs against Democrat Bee Nguyen for re-election this fall, hoping to win the MAGA vote after previously refusing to help them steal the 2020 Presidential election. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But first today, an update on the record heat wave still lashing much of the U.S. West for a second week. On Tuesday, amid record temps (the state's capital city topped out at 116 degrees!) electricity demand surged along with the possibility of blackouts in California. But, following a cell phone warning from public officials, state residents answered the call to reduce usage. Demand reportedly plunged in response. Blackouts averted. For now.

It may take a hurricane to end this seemingly endless heat wave (it's also of record duration) by week's end, even as "extremely critical" warnings of wildfire risks are issued in almost a dozen states from the U.S. Northwest to the upper Great Plains. Record temps and wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour could slam several states this week amid tinder-dry conditions that could spark uncontrollable new fires. Some 54 million people are currently under heat warnings and advisories as our climate emergency worsens in late summer.

Meanwhile...on the other side of the nation, Massachusetts' Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey will face Trump-backed, election denying, abortion opponent Geoff Diehl in this November's race for Governor, as moderate Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has opted against seeking a third term in the otherwise very liberal state. That's one of several general election contests determined by voters during Tuesday's primaries in the commonwealth. Tune in for more noteworthy results ahead of next week's final primaries of the season in Delaware, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

Then, yup, we're going back to Georgia...

Back in May, we broke the story of what appeared to be a very serious breach of voting system security in Georgia's rural, Republican-leaning Coffee County. The news was based on a recorded phone call from one of the participants in the breach, seemingly confessing to the crime or bragging about funding the scheme to make unlawful copies of Dominion Voting System's sensitive Election Management Software following the 2020 election. The call, from Atlanta businessman Scott Hall, was recorded by the plaintiff in a long-running lawsuit against GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger, seeking to force the state to move from 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems to verifiable hand-marked paper ballots.

That plaintiff was MARILYN MARKS, our guest once again today. She is a longtime election integrity champion and founder of the nonpartisan, nonprofit Coalition for Good Governance. After sharing that recorded phone call in May, she also joined us in June, after claims by Raffensperger that his office had been investigating the security breach at the Coffee County Board of Elections. In fact, as Marks noted at the time, she had been able to find no evidence whatsoever of an official probe by the Secretary's office into what we have now learned was part of a multi-state coordinated effort shepherded by Trump attorney Sidney Powell to make copies of voting systems software in Georgia, Michigan, Colorado and Nevada.

In at least the first three of those states, we now have evidence of MAGA sympathizers unlawfully creating hard drive images of voting systems, which were later released in various, dangerous ways to the public. As Marks points out today, law enforcement officials and Democratic Secretaries of State in Michigan and Colorado are carrying out serious criminal probes into the matter. Tina Peters, a Republican County Clerk in Mesa, Colorado, for example, has already been indicted on 10 criminal counts related to illegal hard drive copies. In Georgia, however, Raffensperger's office has either lied about their investigation or otherwise covered-up the entire matter.

That cover-up has now become considerably more difficult for Raffensperger, thanks to security camera surveillance footage subpoenaed by Marks in her federal lawsuit. On Wednesday, Washington Post, CNN and AP all ran detailed investigative stories on the Team Trump characters seen on video tape entering the Coffee County Board of Elections office on January 7, 2021 (the day after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol), to scan and image hard drives and ballots. That, after several of those folks --- including the Chairs of both the Board of Elections and the County Republican Party --- appear to have lied about their involvement in the scheme during depositions in Marks' lawsuit.

Also discovered from that footage: Doug Logan, the CEO of the now-defunct Cyber Ninjas --- the outfit that ran the phony "audit" in Maricopa County, Arizona after the 2020 election, ultimately confirming that Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in the state --- is seen entering the Coffee County Board of Elections over several different days, for hours at a time, for reasons still unknown.

Raffensperger's office, of course, could have obtained that security camera footage themselves at any time over the past year and a half, if they were really investigating this very serious breach. (Marks explains on today's show why it's so serious in advance of both 2022 and 2024!) And, while AP recently reported that Ryan Germany, the general counsel for the Secretary of State's office, claimed the office had opened an investigation into the matter in March this year, Raffensperger's top deputy, Gabe Sterling, appeared on a "Restoring Confidence in American Elections" panel at the Carter Center in Atlanta in April and denied anything happened in Coffee at all!

"We have claims, even recently, there was people saying 'We went to Coffee County and we imaged everything,'" Sterling said. "There's no evidence of that. It didn't happen."

Well, thanks to the newly obtained surveillance footage, we know Sterling was wrong. It did happen. And, surely Sterling would have known that by April, given that his office claimed to have begun their investigation a month earlier. Was he lying? Or did Raffensperger's top lieutenant just not know? "We do know he was not telling the truth," Marks politely notes today.

As to whether Raffensperger is carrying out a cover-up, she tells us, "It certainly doesn't look like a sincere effort to have a diligent investigation." She compares the situation to what's going on in Michigan and Colorado. "The Attorneys General and the state election officials went after the perpetrators who did that," Marks explains. "There's a special prosecutor with nine targets [in Michigan,] five of them are involved in Georgia. But none of them have been interviewed in Georgia." She charges that in Georgia, Raffensperger "does not seem to want to know --- the Secretary and the State Election Board --- neither seem to be terribly interested."

Oh, and at least one more critical point today: Raffensperger's office has finally opened some sort of investigation. How do we know? Because they have issued at least one subpoena in the matter...to Marilyn Marks!

She explains that and much more in our conversation today as the Coffee County Cover-Up continues to be uncovered, thanks to her.

Finally today, a step or two closer to at least some real accountability for Team Trump. Last week, former Trump aide Steve Bannon's motion for a new trial, after being convicted of two counts of Contempt of Congress, for failing to respond to a lawful subpoena from the House J6 Committee, was rejected by the judge. His sentencing is now scheduled for October 21.

And, more bad news for Bannon. On Wednesday, several media outlets are reporting that he has been indicted on fraud charges in New York, related to stealing at least a million dollars from the "We Build the Wall" scheme, which raised $25 million to build a bit of barrier on the U.S./Mexico border. He was charged federally for the same crime before being pardoned for it by Trump. He will reportedly turned himself over to authorities in Manhattan on Thursday, as the indictment is unsealed...

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Also: Important late results from last week's AZ and WA primaries; MI's GOP A.G. nominee facing criminal probe; Federal appeals court approves release of Trump tax returns to Congress...
By Brad Friedman on 8/9/2022 7:06pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Given the unprecedented breadth of the late-breaking news on Monday, we know remarkably little so far about what actually happened at Donald Trump's Florida estate and why it happened. Not that that has prevented anyone in these United States from speculating about it since then. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

The news of the FBI's Monday search of Mar-a-Lago literally broke about one second after we signed off from Monday's show and, like the rest of the nation, we've been trying to make sense of it ever since. But, before we get there today, a few other news items of note that are being buried under all of the rest of the news items of note.

Today was primary election day in Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin. Happily, so far, we've heard few reports of problems for voters at the polls. As usual, we'll have noteworthy results on tomorrow's show.

There are, however, several important results from last week's primaries in several states that were "called" by the media over the weekend, and some that are still too close to call. Most noteworthy is the weekend call for the GOP Gubernatorial nomination in Arizona, where far-right, Trump-endorsed 2020 election denialist and former TV news anchor Kari Lake was declared the winner. She'll now face off with Democratic nominee, Sec. of State Katie Hobbs in November. Like AZ's Republican nominee for Sec. of State, Mark Finchem --- and despite all counts and recounts confirming Joe Biden's victory there in 2020 --- Lake has said she wouldn't have certified the state's electors in 2020 for the guy who voters actually chose. That makes both her race for Governor and Finchem's for SoS among the most critical contests in the nation this November, in advance of the 2024 Presidential election. (Finchem will face the Democratic nominee, former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes in the SoS contest in the fall.)

The entire top of the ticket in Michigan is similarly perilous this year, with Republicans having nominated Trump-endorsed 2020 election deniers and conspiracy loons to take on all three Democratic incumbents for Governor, Attorney General and Secretary of State. Reuters, however, broke the exclusive news this week that the state's GOP Attorney General nominee, Matthew DePerno, "led a team that gained unauthorized access to voting equipment while hunting for evidence to support former President Donald Trump’s false election-fraud claims." That now places DePerno --- seeking to become the state's chief law enforcement officer --- squarely at the center of Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel's criminal probe of several such incidents in MI following the 2020 election, as based on criminal referrals by Sec. of State Jocelyn Benson. It also means Nessel will now likely need to recuse herself and her office from probing her own November challenger. Over the weekend, at a CPAC rally in Dallas, Trump praised DePerno, ironically vowing that "he's going to make sure that you are going to have law and order and fair elections."

The reported unlawful breach of sensitive voting system software by DePerno is now added to a growing list of similar incidents across the country, such as Mesa County, Colorado Clerk, Tina Peters (who has been charged with 7 felonies and 3 misdemeanors related to her own election fraud related breach of her county's voting system software) and the GOP Board of Elections in Coffee County, Georgia (who allegedly allowed a similar breach of the voting system there, followed by an apparent cover-up of the incident by Georgia's Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger.)

Then, we get to Trump's no good, very very bad week, as news broke this afternoon that a three-judge federal appeals court panel in D.C. decided unanimously that, yes, the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee may indeed have access to Trump's tax returns. This is part of a years-long legal battle, where Trump now has just two appeals options left.

But that problem likely pales in comparison for the disgraced former President to what happened at Trump's South Florida home on Monday, while he was in New York to give a sworn deposition to the state Attorney General, Letitia James, who is investigating him, his kids and his Trump Organization for tax, bank and insurance fraud.

As you've heard by now, the FBI, headed by Trump-appointee Christopher Wray, executed a warrant from a federal judge to search Mar-a-Lago. For what? We do not actually know, though there has been much reporting that it is related to Trump taking at least 15 boxes of Presidential Records, much of them reportedly highly classified, with him to Florida after leaving office.

Most of what we know about what happened Monday comes from either Trump himself or "sources" most likely very close to him, likely describing the matter in the best possible light for him. Trump himself was among the first to confirm the news of the search, misleadingly describing it as a "raid" and declaring Mar-a-Lago "under siege", thanks to "prosecutorial misconduct" and "the weaponization of the Justice System."

"Such an assault," he wrote in his lengthy statement, "could only take place in broken, Third-World Countries. Sadly, America has now become one of those Countries, corrupt at a level not seen before." Naturally, the entirety of the rightwing media and elected Republicans simply took his word for it, vowing to exact revenge on Attorney General Merrick Garland, Joe Biden and Democrats in general. Fox "News" headlined some of its fair and balanced coverage this way: "Raid on Trump's Mar-a-Lago home by Biden's politicized FBI means US now a third world country".

Today, we try to break down what is actually known and mostly still unknown about what happened; what kind of trouble Trump could potentially be in, based on the few known facts; and how he could easily prove his (clearly false) claims about it all by simply releasing the search warrant that he would now have, showing why law enforcement was able to obtain the warrant, what they were looking for, and what criminal laws there is "probable cause" to believe he has committed.

What we absolutely do know: This is either a blunder of historic proportions or, far more likely, a matter of monumental criminal importance. Investigators would have had to demonstrate serious probable cause evidence of a very serious crime under way or about to happen --- otherwise Wray, Garland and a federal judge would not all have signed off on the unprecedented action of issuing a warrant to execute a search of the home of a former President of the United States.

What we also now know (as we've been trying to tell you for some time): Garland appears to be doing his job and the walls are continuing to close in on our indescribably corrupt and criminal former President.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us today for our latest Green News Report, with special coverage of the other biggest story of the week (now largely big-footed by the "siege" at Mar-a-Lago), Senate Democrats' long-overdue, unified passage of historic climate change legislation...

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Critical lessons (and warnings) from primary results in AZ, KS, MI, MO, WA, OH; Also: IN Rep. Walorski killed in crash; A farewell to Vin Scully...
By Brad Friedman on 8/3/2022 6:07pm PT  

Look at the faces in that photo. Those are the faces of people grappling to understand a profound truth that they simply had no idea about prior to Tuesday night. Those faces should serve as inspiration for every Democrat and/or progressive on the ballot in every race in all 50 states between today and November 8. And as a warning for every Republican.

On today's BradCast, selective, noteworthy, curated results --- or what is known about them, unofficial, incomplete or otherwise --- from Tuesday's primary elections in six states, Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Washington and Ohio. (And several problems for voters in Pinal County, AZ.) [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Of course, the biggest news from Tuesday, hands down, was the stunning landslide rejection of a state constitutional amendment in Kansas that would have allowed the state's Republicans to restrict and/or ban abortion rights. (That's what the folks in that photo were just learning about.) It was the first statewide vote on the matter anywhere in the nation since the newly extremist, far-right, radical, activist, corrupt, Republican U.S. Supreme Court majority overturned 50-years of Constitutionally protected rights and freedoms by striking down 1973's Roe v. Wade decision.

Even in the theoretically "conservative" state of KS, voters soundly rejected that proposed Amendment with their "NO" votes by a stunning 18 points over "YES" as of airtime. The "NO" vote did well in large and small, rural and urban, Democratic and Republican counties alike. Turnout, thanks to this measure --- in a midterm primary where Republicans assumed few would notice --- was enormous and at levels normally seen in Presidential primaries or even mid-term general elections in the recent past.

The question now is whether Democrats will finally have the confidence and courage to run on this issue, following the overturning of Roe in June, in every state in the country and for virtually every office on the ballot from Governor to Attorney General to District Attorney to County Sheriff to state Judge to state Supreme Court Justice. And, whether Democrats will be able to capitalize on Josh Marshall's "Roe and Reform" campaign that he's been pushing hard at Talking Points Memo, calling for a very specific promise to voters from Democrats on the federal level: Let us hold our House majority and give us two more seats in the Senate and we vow, come January 2023, to reform the Senate filibuster to codify the protections of Roe into federal law, guaranteeing privacy rights and reproductive freedom in all 50 states.

Nothing short of that very specific "You give us that, we'll give you this" promise will do, as Josh has smartly been explaining for weeks now. We have long argued ourselves that candidates must give voters something very clear and specific to vote for. When they do, as proven on Tuesday in Kansas --- where the stakes were crystal clear, and voters knew exactly what they would get from their one single vote --- they will respond in large numbers.

Of course, all of this also further underscores the argument I've been making for months that Democrats and progressives must ignore the "conventional wisdom" from so-called political professionals about the historical odds of impending doom this November. These are decidedly UNconventional times, proven once again in KS yesterday.

Beyond that very encouraging news on Tuesday, there was still more good news in both the Secretary of State and Attorney General races in KS; Somewhat disappointing news in the MO race to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Roy Blunt; Potentially concerning news out of MI's Republican gubernatorial contest, where a well funded, Trump-backed loon will run against the state's popular Democratic Governor; And wildly troubling news out of AZ on the Republican side in the contests for the Gubernatorial and Sec. of State nominations, in what could turn out to be two of the most critical races in the nation this November.

All of that and many other races covered and explained, with context, on today's busy show.

Finally, we close with some tragic news on the death this afternoon of Indiana's 58-year old Republican Congresswoman Jackie Walorski and two of her young staffers in an automobile accident. And, some pleasant thoughts following the passing on Tuesday night of Hall of Fame broadcasting legend Vin Scully at age 94. He served as the inimitable and nationally recognized voice of Dodger baseball --- in both Brooklyn and Los Angeles --- for 67 incomparable years...

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Can Dems finally pass the critical Schumer/Manchin compromise bill to save the climate (and maybe themselves)?; Also: Biden's 'rebound'; KY's death toll; Tuesday's primaries; And callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 8/1/2022 6:16pm PT  

In our opinion, on today's BradCast, the scaled back, surprise "Build Back Better" spending bill compromise (now renamed the "Inflation Reduction Act" to help win over West Virginia's rightwing Democratic Senator) comes not a moment too soon. And, even "scaled back", it's still chocked full of so much stuff that if each of its provisions were passed in separate bills over the past 18 months, we'd likely be discussing Joe Biden as having one of the most successful first two years of any President in history. That said, the bill has not yet been passed, and it could still be a very bumpy ride in the coming days to see it through to the President's signature. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Before we get to that today --- and some callers on same --- a few other headlines covered on today's show...

  • Minutes before airtime, news broke that the U.S. killed Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan over the weekend in a successful drone strike, in which no civilians are said to have been killed. President Biden was to give remarks about what happened on Monday evening.
  • Speaking of Biden, he tested positive for COVID again over the weekend, in what White House officials are describing as a "rare rebound" case after finishing his 5-day course of the anti-viral drug called Paxlovid. Well, it can't be ALL that rare, because last week, when the White House announced Biden had tested negative and was cleared to leave isolation, we warned about the possibility of such a rebound, as many Paxlovid users have experienced same. The Pfizer drug has very good results at preventing serious cases and hospitalization, but many patients have experienced a second --- non-fatal --- COVID infection shortly after using it. That is, apparently, the case with Biden. His White House doctor says he has few if any symptoms and will likely be fine, despite needing to isolate again.
  • Deadly flash flooding continues in parts of Kentucky today, and warnings for more of the same have been issued for the next several days from Tennessee to Kentucky to West Virginia to Virginia and North Carolina. 37 have so far been confirmed to have died from the horrific flooding in Eastern Kentucky. Governor Andy Beshear believes that toll will continue to rise, as hundreds are still unaccounted for in a number of Appalachian mountain towns after recent, and ongoing, deluges. That, as our climate emergency continues with record heat predicted again this week from the Dakotas to the East Coast.
  • On Tuesday, voters will head to the polls in six states: Ohio, Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington state for primary elections. And there are a lot of 2020 election deniers (and worse) on the GOP ballots. We quickly preview just a few of those insane races today and will have noteworthy reported results, of course, on Wednesday's program.

Then, it's on to the so-called Inflation Reduction Act --- a scaled down version of the Build Back Better Act that Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema killed last year. If successfully adopted this time, it would increase federal revenue by some $750 billion over the next ten years, allowing for some $450 billion in spending on a bunch of several long-overdue programs. Most of them have been progressive priorities for years.

Only Democrats in the U.S. Senate will be needed to pass it under Senate reconciliation rules, but all 50 will have to be there (not out with COVID) and vote yes. Sinema has yet to comment on the measure, even as Manchin has been taking to media over the weekend to try and sell her on it.

If passed, the 725-page measure [PDF] will: Allow Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices; Cap out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs for seniors at $2,000 per year; Expand federal subsidies for premiums for individuals who purchase health insurance on the federal Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) exchanges; Set a minimum 15% tax for corporations who make more than $1 billion in profits per year; Increase policing of tax cheats; and, perhaps most critically, invest some $369 billion in climate and energy projects to cut deadly greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 through investments that hasten the nation's move from dirty fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy.

What the bill won't do is raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 a year, as Biden has long promised. That, despite blatant lies from Republicans such as Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) who, when announcing he tested positive for COVID today, lied about the bill, declaring on Twitter that he will "continue to fight Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin's massive tax increase on working families." That is a lie. There is no "massive tax increase on working families" in the bill. Republicans hope you are dumb enough to be duped to the contrary.

In order to win over Manchin, whose family and campaign have long been propped up by fossil fuel interests, the bill does mandate oil and gas lease sales on federal lands be auctioned off in exchange for the approval of on- and off-shore wind and solar projects. Even there, however, oil and gas companies will be required to pay higher royalties on whatever they extract, and will be fined for failing to prevent methane leaks that exacerbate global warming. So, yeah. Art of the compromise. But, according to most climate experts we've read, heard from or spoken with, it's a compromise well worth taking..and comes not a moment too soon, as our climate emergency worsens by the day.

We've got much more on all of the above on today's show, and we open up the phone lines to callers to get some of their thoughts on the "Inflation Reduction Act" as the world melts down, and the 2022 primary general election is now less than 100 days away...

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Guest: Nancy Wang of Voters Not Politicians; Also: MI GOP Guv candidate arrested for Jan. 6 crimes; NY GOP Councilwoman pleads guilty to voter fraud in 'widespread' federal probe...
By Brad Friedman on 6/9/2022 4:02pm PT  

As we were forced to ask several times on today's BradCast: What the hell is up with Republicans and election fraud in Michigan?! But it's not only in Michigan today, as it turns out. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

In upstate New York, in a Rensselaer County city named Troy on Wednesday, a Republican city councilwoman named Kim Ashe-McPherson pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the submission of three fraudulent absentee ballots in both her primary and general election last year. It's a somewhat remarkable and expansive story of apparently a whole bunch of Republican criming going on in Troy and Rensselaer County, with the Albany Times Union describing Ashe-McPherson as "the first person snared in a federal grand jury investigation examining widespread ballot-fraud allegations in Rensselaer County."

Another separate probe by State Police appears to be examining fraud in Troy's Mayoral race, while the GOP Mayor and a whole bunch of GOP County officials have been subpoenaed and/or had their phones seized by law enforcement in recent months. Ashe-McPherson's absentee ballot fraud was apparently carried out with the help of an unnamed insider official at the Rensselaer County Board of Elections. "Earlier this year," the paper notes, "Jason Schofield, the Republican commissioner for the county's Board of Elections, was subpoenaed in connection with the federal investigation." But there's a whole lot of other GOPers who also seem tied into this, and may end up in handcuffs in the days ahead.

Is it any wonder that Republicans accuse Democrats of voter fraud all the time, given that Republicans seem to be constantly committing it themselves?

But things are even more insane in the great state of Michigan. You'll recall that recently, 5 of 10 Republican Gubernatorial candidates vying for the GOP nod to take on Michigan's Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this November were disqualified from the ballot, after the state Bureau of Elections discovered they had submitted some 68,000 fraudulent petition signatures between them in an attempt to qualify for the ballot. Well, the trouble continues for at least one of the remaining candidates who did manage to qualify without cheating.

All of the GOP gubernatorial hopefuls in MI are 2020 election deniers (despite Joe Biden having defeated Donald Trump in the state by about 150,000 votes, as confirmed by a months long investigation by the GOP-controlled state Senate). But one of the most ardent of the deniers --- and a leading candidate now that the others have been disqualified --- 40-year old Ryan Kelley, was arrested and charged by federal officials on Thursday for his role in the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Kelley stands accused, according to the criminal complaint, of disruptive conduct, injuring public property and entering restricted space without permission. Documents filed in court allege he is seen on video that day waving crowds into the Capitol after police lines were defeated. He faces up to a year in prison and a fine as high as $100,000. Perhaps this will actually help his bid for the GOP nomination on August 2nd!

But that's not all we have to report out of MI today, particularly when it comes to GIO election fraud.

Last week, the organizer of a GOP petition effort to qualify a ballot initiative known as "Secure MI Vote", announced they missed the deadline to submit the number of signatures needed. Why did the effort behind this scheme to supposedly curb election fraud with severe new restrictions on voting fail? Election fraud, of course! The organizers discovered some 20,000 signatures they had gathered were fraudulent! (Hey, at least they checked them before turning them in, unlike those 5 GOP Gubernatorial candidates!)

The scheme, however, is even slimier than it sounds. Most of the provisions in the so-far-failed initiative had already been passed by the GOP state legislature, but vetoed by Democratic Gov. Whitmer. But, thanks to a loophole in MI state law, once a ballot initiative qualifies for the ballot, the Legislature is then welcome to pass it into law on a simple, veto-proof majority vote. That was the plan that seems to have failed here.

We're joined today to discuss the entire fine mess by NANCY WANG, Executive Director of the non-partisan, pro-democracy group Voters Not Politicians which, in 2018, enlisted volunteers (rather than corrupt paid contractors) to collect more than 400,000 signatures to place an initiative on MI's ballot for an Independent Redistricting Commission. The measure was successfully adopted by state voters.

"There are so many things wrong right now with the GOP and what they're trying to do with voting rights in Michigan," Wang explains. "What's really caught them is this mixture of incompetence and hypocrisy. They're selling themselves to the voters as the party that's going to 'protect' us from fraud. The only fraud they can demonstrate in our election is what they have inside their own camp. It's ironic, at the very least, that they have been the victim of their own fraud, when they've tried to victimize voters with all of these shenanigans."

Wang walks us through those "shenanigans" and various "loopholes" in state law that allow, for example, petition gathers to be paid by the signature and to lie to voters about the initiative they are asking them to sign on to. In this case, while the GOP group was clear that this measure would never actually be on the ballot, signature gatherers reportedly told prospective signers that the plan was simply to put these issues --- like instituting extreme Photo ID restrictions and restricting absentee voting --- before voters.

"This group is headed by the GOP, funded by the GOP, and they're using the citizens' petition process, lying to voters to sign this thing so that they can do an end-run around the voters," charges Wang. "They're never going to put these provisions on the ballot, they were very clear about that. They were just going to ride this loophole to the legislature to get these voter suppression measures passed." Not that that's what their signature gatherers told people on the ground, however.

"It's about dishonesty. It's about misleading voters. It's about trying to game the system of citizens' petitions. I don't think you could put anything in place that would stop people who don't have any limits whatsoever, any standards that they'll abide by, to further their agenda," Wang tells me.

Next, a story we ran out of time for on our previous BradCast, covering results and other fallout from Tuesday's midterm primaries in seven states. You may recall our coverage of a voting system disaster in Clackamas County, Oregon a couple of weeks ago, where a problem with smeared barcodes printed on vote-by-mail ballots resulted in them being rejected by the computer tabulators. The local County Clerk, in that case, ordered tens of thousands of those otherwise perfectly valid ballots to be duplicated by hand, one-by-one, so they could be run through the tabulators, rather than simply counting them in public by hand.

Well, guess what? It appears the very same thing happened in San Joaquin County, California this week, with 25 to 30% of the County's mail ballots being rejected by the computer scanners. And, once again, rather than hand-counting them, the County is duplicating each and every one of them by hand, this time with the help of about 13 employees from the printing company who screwed up in the first place.

I don't know about you, but I don't want my ballot "remade" behind closed doors by either a County election official OR some schmoe from a commercial printing outfit. But maybe that's just me. In any event, San Joaquin voters may have to wait a bit longer than usual this year for final results in their critical midterm primaries.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with great news for war profiteering Big Oil companies (if terrible news for the rest of us); lousy news about snow disappearing from the previously snow-covered Alps; but some better news regarding the Biden Administration's move to create a new marine sanctuary and end the use of single-use plastic in our national parks...

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Just another day on Democracy Watch...cuz someone's gotta...
By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2022 6:13pm PT  

It's 'Super Duper Tuesday' Midterm Election Day today in Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota and California. The good news on today's BradCast? So far, no noteworthy reports, as of airtime, of voting system disasters that we've heard about or been able to find. But the night is young. Results from today's elections, such that we have them, on tomorrow's show. But, don't worry, we've got tons of elections and democracy related news for you nonetheless. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among our many stories covered today...

  • As Philadelphia Inquirer's Will Bunch described it in his email newsletter today, "the multi-millionaire celebrity doctor from New Jersey officially defeated the multi-millionaire hedge fund CEO from Connecticut to become the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania." He's mostly correct. The Connecticut hedge fund millionaire, Dave McCormick, did concede late last week to the New Jersey millionaire TV doctor, Mehment Oz amid Pennsylvania's recount in the very close May 17 race to become the GOP nominee for the Keystone State's U.S. Senate contest to replace retiring Republican Senator Pat Toomey. But a concession doesn't actually mean anything. Oz will not become the "official" nominee until the recount is finalized over the next day or so. Then, the Trump-endorsed celebrity TV doctor, who is not a resident of Pennsylvania, but is a Turkish citizen, will become the GOP's "America First" nominee to run against PA's Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman this November. Presuming Fetterman's health holds out. Dems see the seat as among the most flippable this fall...assuming Fetterman's health etc...
  • In other very close primary news, two Democratic recounts in U.S. House primaries now await in Texas. In the state's 28th Congressional District, rightwing, pro-gun, anti-choice Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar ended the canvass period up by just 281 votes (out of about 45,000 cast) over progressive favorite Jessica Cisneros after their May 24 runoff election. Today, Cisneros officially requested a recount --- and must pay for it, unless she ends up winning it --- despite some obnoxious comments from Cuellar who, himself, ended up winning a 2004 primary recount against his Democratic opponent when he first went to Congress. Back then, he had lost by 145 votes after the canvass, but ended up winning the race by 58 votes after a recount. So, you'd think he'd be a bit less obnoxious in this case...but you'd be wrong. Whoever wins the recount will probably take the House seat in the "blue"-leaning district.
  • In another Democratic primary race for U.S. House in Texas, there was an even closer race, with progressive Michelle Vallejo topping the more conservative Ruben Ramirez by just 30 votes (out of about 12,000 cast) in the state's 15th Congressional District. Ramirez says he too will seek a recount. Whether either of these races will be recounted by hand in the state is unclear. But if the candidates want to know who really won or lost, they will fight for a count by hand, rather than by the same computers that tallied the results in the first place. The winner of the race will face off with Republican Monica De La Cruz in November, in what is expected to be one of the most competitive House races in the state after this year's round of gerrymandering.
  • And speaking of gerrymandering...last month, a state court in Florida found Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' new U.S. House map to be in violation of the state Constitution after voters, in 2010, added an Amendment that outlaws partisan maps and specifically those that diminish the ability of minority voters to elect their chosen candidate. The DeSantis map was enacted after he vetoed the GOP legislature's already-gerrymandered map and made it even worse by removing a district currently represented by Democratic African-American Rep. Al Lawson. Last month, the state court ordered a new, fairer map, but a state appeals court blocked that order. The appellate decision was quickly appealed by voting rights groups. But late last week the state's GOP state Supreme Court allowed the appeals court's stay to remain in place. That means that DeSantis' extremely gerrymander U.S. House map --- found to have been in violation of the state Constitution --- will almost certainly be used anyway this year. The unconstitutional map allows a GOP advantage in 20 of the state's 28 districts, despite DeSantis having barely won his own election in 2018 in the closely divided state by less than one-half of a percentage point.
  • In somewhat brighter gerrymandering news (at least until the ruling is overturned by the very rightwing 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals), a federal judge in Louisiana on Monday found the state GOP's U.S. House map in violation of the Voting Rights Act. The map --- originally vetoed by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, but overridden by the GOP state legislature --- includes just one black majority Congressional District, out of six, even though the state's population is almost one-third black. LA's Republican Sec. of State has vowed to appeal the court ruling which bars the use of the gerrymandered map. But, given the corrupt 5th Circuit Appeals Court and the GOP's corrupt, stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court above them, it's a safe bet the state's unconstitutional map will be allowed for the critical 2022 midterms anyway. It'd be nice if we're wrong about that. But don't bet on it.
  • Next, we've been covering, in great detail in recent months, the many schemes by Republican election insiders across the country, in the wake of the 2020 election, to breach proprietary computerized voting systems, make copies of the sensitive software, and even release it to the public in some cases. (See the Mesa County, Colorado County Clerk Tina Peters, who is now facing criminal charges for what she did, or the GOP Board of Elections in Coffee County, Georgia, for just two examples.) While Reuters reports that there have been at least 17 such incidents nationwide, their new exclusive finds that 11 of them took place in Michigan. Based on public records requests, the new outlet found discovered that there has been "a flurry of efforts by state authorities to secure voting machines, poll books, data-storage devices and phone records as evidence in a probe launched in mid-February." Luckily, the state has a Democratic Governor, Attorney General and Secretary of State, the latter of whom tells Reuters that law enforcement officials are now probing whether the broad election system breaches by GOP "fraud" dead-enders are coordinated. This in a state where even the GOP state legislature issued a report finding no evidence of widespread fraud and called for the prosecution of those who fraudulently claimed that there was. "If there is coordination," Sec. of State Jocelyn Benson told Reuters, "whether it's among those in our state or reaching up to a national level, we can determine that and then we can seek accountability for all involved." I expect we'll be hearing more about this effort in the days, weeks and months ahead.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as she gets us caught up on a whole bunch of stuff that happened while we were out last week. Happily, not all of it --- just some of it --- is terrible news...

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Guest: Howie Klein of 'Down With Tyranny'; Also: Several important (and mostly good) updates on some stories we've recently covered closely...
By Brad Friedman on 5/27/2022 7:07pm PT  

It's another three-hour show packed into about 57 minutes on today's BradCast, as we catch up with a lot of primary election coverage that we previously postponed due to all the mass shootings, and a bunch of late updates on several critical stories we've been closely following of late. [Audio link to full show follows after this summary.]

First, before our always-lively guest today, those updates...

  • SB 1480, the Internet and Fax voting bill shamefully supported by Democrats in the California state legislature has now passed in the state Senate and heads to the Assembly. We recently discussed with longtime Internet voting expert Dr. David Jefferson why the bill is such an outrageously terrible idea. And we urge you once again to stop by Scrutineers.org/California to learn how (and why) you can help stop it before it becomes law and makes its way into the other 49 states!
  • In a more encouraging update to a story we've recently been covering in detail, a three-judge federal appeals court panel (including judges nominated by Biden, Obama and Trump) have overturned the ridiculous ruling by a Trump-appointed lower court judge who found that a federal Amnesty Act for many Confederates in 1872 somehow gave amnesty to January 6th insurrectionists running for office 150 years later. This was part of a challenge led by Free Speech for People (FSFP) to the ballot eligibility of North Carolina's first-term Rep. Madison Cawthorn, under the U.S. Constitution's "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause" (14th Amendment, Section 3). Though Cawthorn lost his recent primary race for reelection, the appeals court found the case was not moot, because Cawthorn's contest has not yet been officially certified. This is the second federal court to find that the clause may still be used to challenge insurrectionist running for office. FSFP called the ruling a "major victory", warning that other candidates, including Donald Trump, if he runs in 2024, will not be shielded "from the consequences of their actions" when seeking eligibility for the ballot during Constitutional challenges at the state level.
  • And, in another story of ballot disqualification at the state level that we covered in detail earlier this week, the Michigan Board of State Canvassers on Thursday officially disqualified 5 of 10 Republican candidates seeking the GOP Gubernatorial nomination there --- including the two leading candidates --- after finding that they collectively turned in some 68,000 fraudulent petition signatures in hopes of qualifying for this year's August 2nd primary ballot. All of the GOP candidates falsely claim that Donald Trump only lost the state of MI through massive election fraud by Democrats, before their campaigns apparently went out and committed actual massive election fraud in hopes of qualifying to run. Several of the rejected candidates vow to appeal the decisions and blame the state for their own failure to vet signatures and those they hired to collect them.
  • On Thursday, we detailed the story of the "Hiroshima of botched elections," as described by longtime Election Integrity advocate Sherry Healy, that has been playing out since the May 17 primary election for U.S. House in Clackamas County, Oregon. A disastrous ballot printing snafu --- and the way the disastrous Clackamas County Clerk handled it --- has prevented the finalization of several races, including one that was closely watched in Oregon's 5th Congressional district, pitting progressive Democratic challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner against very conservative Democratic incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader. On Friday, AP finally called the race for McLeod-Skinner as counting continues in that race. But, if it holds, it's seen a huge victory for grassroots progressives in unseating a sitting, rightwing House Dem (who had been supported by House leadership).
  • And finally, before getting to our guest today, on Thursday, a New York appeals court panel rejected a plea by Donald Trump, as well as Ivanka and Don Jr., to avoid sitting for a deposition in state Attorney General Letitia James' bank, insurance and tax fraud investigation of the former President and his company. On Friday, the news got even better. A federal appears court rejected the Trumps' attempt to nix the investigation entirely.

NEXT, we're joined by our old friend HOWIE KLEIN, the great progressive House candidate expert, longtime proprietor of the Down With Tyranny blog, and co-founder of BlueAmericaPAC, to discuss primary victories (and losses)for progressive Democrats in the 10 states that have held their primaries so far this year. Also, for a preview of Super Duper Tuesday midterm primaries coming up in seven states on June 7th, including here in California (where Howie has some tips for voters in both state and key Los Angeles races.)

Among the races and candidates Howie offers insight on today...

  • Pennsylvania's Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, now running as the state's Democratic U.S. Senate nominee;
  • The huge win for progressive Summer Lee in PA's 12th Congressional District;
  • Progressive Jamie McLeod-Skinner's apparent victory over incumbent Blue Dog Dem Rep. Kurt Schrader in Oregon's 5th Congressional District;
  • The victory of state Rep. Andrea Salinas over a candidate supported by a rightwing crypto-billionaire and Democratic House leadership in OR-6;
  • Rep. Madison Cawthorn's loss in North Carolina's Republican 11th CD and what that means for Democrat Jasmine Beach-Ferrara hoping to win that seat in November;
  • The ongoing, incredibly close battle between rightwing, pro-NRA, anti-choice Dem Henry Cuellar against progressive challenger Jessica Sisneros in Texas' 28th CD;
  • Rep. Lucy McBath's victory over Blue Dog Dem Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux in a rare member-versus-member contest in Georgia's 7th CD;
  • And whether GA's far-right insurrectionist Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, victorious in her 14th District primary this past week, can possibly be unseated by Dem challenger Marcus Flowers.

That's just a taste. Tune in for much more from Howie on all of this, including his several tips for progressive Los Angeles voters on June 7th. (Here's one of them: Anyone but Rick Caruso, "L.A.'s Donald Trump," for Mayor.)

We're off next week, as Desi gets to go see her family for the first time since before the pandemic! Nicole Sandler fills in for us for a few days. And if all goes well, we'll be back before Super Duper Tuesday! See ya then!...

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State's latest GOP fraud includes 68,000 forged petition signatures from 5 of 10 Guv candidates; Also: GA website change blocked thousands of voter registrations last year; Another horrific school shooting in TX...
By Brad Friedman on 5/24/2022 6:36pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's hardly the first time this has happened in Michigan. But now it may take down a whole bunch of the GOP's top nominees for Governor in 2022 all at once. If you're wondering where the "massive election fraud" is, look no further than the Republican Party in Michigan. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But, first up today, it's midterm primary day in Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia, with a couple of midterm primary runoffs of note in Texas. We'll have full results (or, at least, noteworthy and available ones) on tomorrow's show.

The good news today is that we've found few reports, so far, of voting or voting system problems in the states holding elections on Tuesday, though there were a few reported failures, naturally, of GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger's 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems in the Peach State, preventing some from voting when polls opened in several different (Democratic-leaning) counties.

In other GA-related election news today, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that a change made in January last year to the website at the state's Department of Driver Services resulted in a huge drop-off of new voter registrations. State law requires automatic registration on the Department's website whenever someone applies for a new license or changes their address. The program had been a tremendous success when first implemented in 2016. Last year, however, the Department changed the format from an automatic registration, unless the user chooses to "opt-out", to a form where users are asked to chose "yes" or "no" to register. This March, after reports of registrations at the site falling over a cliff in 2021, the old "opt-out" format was restored and registrations immediately sky-rocketed in April. Nonetheless, Raffensperger, as he runs for reelection this year, has called for doing away with automatic voter registration entirely.

Shamefully, that would make it both more difficult to register and more difficult to keep voter rolls up to date with accurate addresses as voters move around the state. Keeping registrations in sync with voters' latest address is a good thing for those of us who believe in accurate rolls. Apparently, if Raffensperger's recent comments on this are any indication, Republicans only pretend to care about such things.

They also only pretend to care about election fraud, it seems, if the enormous election fraud scandal breaking wide open this week in Michigan is any indication.

Ten years ago we reported on a signature petition forgery scandal by a sitting U.S. Congressman in Michigan. Four of his top staff members were found to have falsified most of the 1,000 signatures needed for his reelection bid (which he eventually abandoned after not receiving enough valid signatures). The staffers of then-U.S. Congressman Thaddeus McCotter were charged at the time with a total of 12 felonies and 21 misdemeanor election fraud charges.

Now, a decade later, complaints were filed last month against three top GOP Gubernatorial candidates charging that their petition signatures were riddled with forgeries, including people who had died. On Monday, the state's Bureau of Elections, after investigating the complaints, issued a shocking report finding that that 68,000 fraudulent signatures had been submitted by ten GOP Gubernatorial campaigns! At least five of them appear not to have submitted enough legitimate signatures to qualify for the ballot.

The Bureau's investigation [PDF] found the two front runners for the Republican nomination each appear to have failed to submit the 15,000 legitimate signatures needed to qualify for this year's ballot. The campaign of James Craig, formerly Detroit's Police Chief, submitted more than 11,100 fraudulent signatures, and businessman Perry Johnson's campaign allegedly submitted more than 9,000 forgeries. Though both submitted more signatures than needed to qualify, neither were able to turn in 15,000 valid ones.

The Bureau also found that Gubernatorial hopefuls Michael Brown, Michael Markey and Donna Brandenburg also fell short of the required 15,000 valid signatures, with each submitting more than 10,000 fraudulent ones on their petitions.

This Thursday, Michigan's four-person Board of State Canvassers meets to determine which candidates will be allowed on the state's August 2nd midterm primary ballot. The Board is made up of two Republicans and two Democrats. Candidates will need at least three votes of the Board to qualify. As one of the original Democratic complainants said, "All indications are, it's going to be a long meeting Thursday."

(All of this comes, ironically enough, after a "crazy" state GOP convention last month where party officials selected two Trump-backed 2020 election deniers to be the party's nominees for Sec. of State and Attorney General. Each maintain that the election was stolen in Michigan from the disgraced former President, who was defeated by Joe Biden there by more than 150,000 votes.)

Next time you are told that Democrats are committing "massive election fraud" (despite the lack of evidence to support the claim) feel free to point them toward this matter, after 5 of the 10 Republicans running for Governor in Michigan in 2022 were all found to have submitted thousands of fraudulent signatures in hopes of qualifying for the ballot. Or, you can point them to the story we wrote ten years ago about the same problem in Michigan back then. That report also included evidence of election fraud crimes by a whole bunch of other top Republicans at the time, from then-former MI Governor, now Utah's U.S. Senator Mitt Romney, to former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, to Indiana's former Sec. of State Charlie White, to former GOP superstar Ann Coulter (and many others).

We had hoped to wrap up today's show with our latest Green News Report, which includes some very good news indeed about a huge increase in the sale of electric vehicles and even better news about climate and last weekend's Australian elections. Unfortunately, news of the latest horrific school shooting in Texas broke while we were on air, and we close today with some of that tragic, breaking news...

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Convicted election fraudster D'Souza makes a pretend documentary on 2020 election fraud; Also: Actual white GOP voter fraud criminal gets no jail time for voting twice; Plus callers!...
By Brad Friedman on 5/9/2022 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The lengths Donald Trump's supporters will go to to justify his sore loser attempt to steal the 2020 Presidential election is amazing. Now they've got a pretend documentary in hundreds of actual movie theaters which turns out to prove nothing. All of it, naturally, is nonsense. We explain why today. [Audio link to full show follows this summary below.]

Folks on the right were celebrating on social media over the weekend in the wake of the release of a film named (somewhat offensively) 2000 Mules. It was somehow released into more than 250 theaters across the nation last week. The film was made by Rightwing activist Dinesh D'Souza, who pleaded guilty to federal election fraud crimes back in 2014 --- before being pardoned for them by Trump in 2018. That's the guy who has now made a "documentary" claiming millions of votes were stuffed into absentee ballot drop-boxes in swing states to steal the election for Joe Biden in2020. Sounds legit.

The claim is made along with fellow GOP "voter fraud" fraudsters from a long-discredited Texas group named True the Vote. Apparently, the group paid millions to obtain publicly available, anonymized cell phone geolocation data that purportedly shows where cell phones were from October 1 through Election Day in 2020. Using that data, TTV claims in the film that thousands of so-called ballot "mules" were being paid by unnamed non-profit organizations (why didn't they name them?) to collect illegal ballots for Joe Biden and deliver them into ballot drop boxes in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

If all of this sounds absurd, it's because it is. The data can't actually be tied to any voter --- and is only accurate to about 100 feet, according to experts --- meaning that anytime someone drove past a drop box, or walked passed it (the drop-boxes are often placed in high traffic areas) on their way to and from work or something, they are a "mule" for stuffing ballot boxes for Joe Biden! Sorry about that delivery guys and mail men and election workers and students who just happen to walk or drive by each day on their way to classes! You're all now "mules" for Biden!

Who paid all of these "mules"? And how did this conspiracy involving tens of thousands of people stay so quiet without any participants blowing the whistle? And what actual, ya know, evidence do D'Souza and True the Vote have that crimes were actually committed here? Well, that's where it gets a bit dicier. And, by dicier, I mean made up out of whole cloth with no actual proof of anything whatsoever. But they have video of people dropping ballots into those drop-boxes! (Which, of course, is perfectly legal. In most states, folks can delivery ballots of family members and disabled voters, etc. Perhaps that's why the filmmakers thought it wise to blur out the faces of those voters?) There seems to be no actual proof of crimes here, including who supposedly paid these people (or even that anybody was paid at all!)

Still, it was enough to cause easily-duped Rightwingers to become very excited about over the weekend, as the #2000Mules hashtag trended on social media. So today, we debunk the nonsense in some detail with an assist from AP, who finds "gaping holes" in the film's claims, and from Greg Palast, who explains the "belly laughs" provided by the film's "proof" of fraud.

"D’Souza’s charge is mind-blowing. He claims that there are as many 54,000 mules that were organized and paid in at least five big cities. In Fulton County (Atlanta), he tells us 92,670 ballots were stuffed illegally into drop boxes," Palast reports. "That’s astonishing --- because there were only 79,000 ballots cast in drop boxes in Fulton County!"

"And in Detroit, it was worse," he adds. "'Mules' stuffed 226,590 ballots into Detroit area drop boxes --- way more than the total number of all mail-in ballots --- about three times the number of ballots in drop boxes."

Of course, none of these facts kept Trump from holding a fancy premiere screening at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida and declaring the pretend documentary exposed "great election fraud"! It's all so ridiculously silly, that we'd rather ignore it. But since it's in 270 theaters, brought in a million bucks on its first day, and has a bunch of duped wingnuts declaring they finally have "evidence" that the election was stolen in 2020...it seemed a good idea to help you understand this latest con so you can explain it to your duped friends, families, neighbors and co-workers in turn when they shout "2000 Mules!" at you in the days ahead.

As to actual election fraud (not unlike the type that the filmmaker D'Souza admitted to committing), last week a women in Arizona was sentenced on voter fraud charges after being convicted by the state's Republican Attorney General. She cast two ballots in 2020, one for herself and another for her dead mother. They were both Republicans. And when interviewed by investigators she claimed she didn't do it, but was certain that massive voter fraud was definitely going on and that the criminals who do it should be locked up!

Well, the nice white Republican voter fraudster woman was found guilty and, despite the prosecutors asking for at least 30 days in jail, the judge let the woman, 64-year old, Tracey Kay McKee --- who knew she was violating the law and then lied to officials about it --- off the hook with probation, some fines and community service.

Compare her case to Crystal Mason's --- a black mother of three in Texas --- who had the book thrown at her last year. She was on federally supervised release from jail and was never told she couldn't vote while on release. When she went to her precinct to vote, she was told she was no longer on the rolls. A helpful poll worker directed her to fill out a provisional ballot, which she did. The ballot was never tallied, but Mason was subsequently sentenced to five years in prison last year for attempting to vote while on supervised release when she believed she could do so legally. That'll teach her to be black and to try to vote in this country!

We've got some time for a few quick calls at the end of today's show too. Enjoy!...

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Guest: Activist, author Kenny Bruno on 'DEFCON for Democracy'; Also: Fourth student dies after MI high school gun massacre...
By Brad Friedman on 12/1/2021 5:51pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's a grim day in America. But it's one that every American should be paying very close attention to nonetheless. [Audio link to full show posted at the end of this summary.]

First up today, a fourth student, a 17-year old, has died following Tuesday's mass shooting by a 15-year old at Oxford High School in Michigan. The other three victims who were killed, as well as seven other students who remained in the hospital overnight after being shot, were all aged 14 to 17. The shooter used his father's new semi-automatic pistol purchased just last Friday to carry out the massacre. There were still seven more bullets in the weapon when he surrendered to authorities. But, that's "freedom" for ya in 2021 America, apparently.

On Wednesday morning, the Republicans' stolen and packed 6 to 3 U.S. Supreme Court majority met to consider removing the previously long-settled freedom for a woman to determine her own reproductive rights in all 50 states. The case heard at SCOTUS was Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the last remaining abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi, where legislators have adopted a law that would ban all abortions in the state after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The measure was overturned in lower courts after being found a clear violation of the nearly 50-year old Roe v. Wade precedent set in 1973 and reaffirmed as settled law in 1992's Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

When MS filed their initial appeal at the Supreme Court they sought approval for their then-radical 15-week ban. It was only after last year's death of abortion rights champion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and her subsequent replacement on the Court by the far-right Amy Coney Barret just eight days before the 2020 Presidential election, that the state decided to also ask the court to strike down Roe in its entirety.

Little, if anything, has changed legally since 1992 regarding the reproductive rights Constitutionally guaranteed by Roe and reaffirmed by Casey. But the make-up of the High Court itself has changed radically. Its majority has been stolen by Republicans who cancelled the filibuster in the Senate in order to pack three, hard-right Donald Trump appointees onto it. That fact, made clear by MS legislators themselves, led Justice Sonia Sotomayor to aptly ask the state's Republican Attorney General today: "Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts?"

Good question. Of course, the answer is that those on the political Right don't actually care. As the twice federally indicted Steve Bannon recently noted on his War Room radio show/podcast, Republicans are only interested in "taking over" --- from school boards to the White House --- and whether or not their hardball methods result in "a Constitutional crisis," they really don't care. "We're a big and tough country and we can handle that," he preached to his followers.

To that end, Republican officials across the country are, right now, hoping to break American democracy itself, by installing loyalist Trump party apparatchik in key election administration positions, from precinct judges to county clerks to canvassing boards to Secretaries of State, as Washington Post reported in great detail on Monday. The Plot to Steal the 2024 Election is underway RIGHT NOW. Ignore these warnings at all of our peril.

We're joined today by longtime progressive activist and author KENNY BRUNO who offered a similarly chilling --- and even more direct --- warning at Truthout over the weekend, spelling out how Trump and the GOP have already "laid the groundwork for assuming the U.S. presidency regardless of the result of the 2024 election." He details today how "most of the conditions they would need to execute [their plan] is already in place."

"Often you see it covered, or you see various aspects covered, as if they were disparate things," Bruno explains, "like the treatment of Liz Cheney, the sham audit in Arizona, the repetition of the Big Lie, the new voter suppression laws in 19 states --- covered as if they are disparate things. But the simplest explanation is that they are all part of a plan," he charges, before spelling out exactly how that plan is meant to work between now and the certification of state electors on January 6, 2025.

To "undermine faith in elections" in order to steal a Presidential election, Bruno argues, "you would want radical state legislatures, especially in swing states. You would want a majority of states with a majority of loyal members of Congress. You would want to purge moderate representatives and election officials who might not go along with ending democracy, who might not play ball. You'd want a compliant Supreme Court. You'd want to intimidate the election officials who are left. I could go on...These are things that you need in place. If you look now at Trump and the GOP, most of those boxes are already checked. And they're part of a comprehensive plan."

What --- if anything --- can be done about it? Well, the options in response, as also spelled out by Bruno in his op-ed and on today's program, are not great. But knowing and understanding what is going on is a critical first step. While we have been warning and reporting on this stuff seemingly forever (for example, while the actual attempt to steal the 2020 election was underway in advance of the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol), it seems the warnings are not being adequately amplified by either corporate media or Democrats, as Bruno sees it.

He goes on to note that his originally suggested title for his Truthout piece was "DEFCON for Democracy," before the headline was somewhat softened by editors. "I think if you understand the threat to be that severe, then you have to take drastic action. Unless you're talking about it, and preparing people for drastic action, they're not going to understand why it's justified," cautions Bruno. "This is a real threat, it's a real plan. The evidence is that it's being carried out. And if you want to stop it, you might have to take some drastic action."

"I would love to be wrong about the whole thing, to be honest," he concedes. "I think the most important thing at the moment is to talk about it, to call it out. Because if you don't socialize people to the idea that this steal, subversion, gaming of the Electoral College is underway, they won't be ready to accept your actions to defend it."

As noted, it's a grim day and a grim show today, but one that we hope will be well worth your time to listen in full...

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Guest: Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Hullabaloo; Also: Here we go again! Another QAnon GOP election clerk steals another voting system!...
By Brad Friedman on 10/29/2021 6:16pm PT  

Rogue Republicans and rogue Democrats on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up, the rogue --- and really dumb --- Republican in Michigan's Adams Township. The Township Clerk there, Stephanie Scott, was elected last November and is certain that the election must have been fraudulent, even though she won and Trump was certified as defeating Joe Biden in the County by 48 points. (That's more than Trump won by in 2016!) Scott was a QAnon loon before the 2020 election and even more so since then. This week, she was removed by the State Elections Bureau from her job and replaced, for now, by the Republican County Clerk in Hillsdale County (home of Adams Township), who discovered on Tuesday that the Township's tabulation computer, the "brains" of the whole system, is now missing in advance of next week's local elections.

Michigan State Police are said to have launched a criminal investigation, and Scott seems to admit to a Michigan news outlet that she stole it, claiming that the vendor, Hart Intercivic, was coming in to perform routine maintenance that was actually a secret scheme to delete all of the evidence of fraud on behalf Joe Biden in the 2020 election. Or something. The Township votes on hand-marked paper ballots. So if the new Clerk had any actual concerns about whether the computer accurately tabulated results last year, she might have tried hand-counting those paper ballots to find out. The population of the entire Township is only about 2,500 people. But apparently Scott is not particularly bright, despite all of her QAnon "research".

We unpack the entire insane incident, which echoes one from a few months back, where the Republican County Clerk in Mesa County, Colorado also had to be replaced by the Sec. of State after she brought two people with her into the secure area where voting systems are stored in the middle of the night, turned off the security cameras, made full, unlawful copies of the hard drives of the Dominion Voting System's Election Management software and then released it to the Internet during MyPillow CEO and failed conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell's so-called "cyber symposium" in South Dakota. The unlawful release wreaked havoc and a call for "emergency action" before California 's Gubernatorial Recall election just weeks later. The Mesa County Clerk is also facing a criminal investigation because, ya know, they're all "law and order conservatives" who think it's just fine to steal voting systems and software when they feel like it.

Of course, there are very real concerns about vulnerabilities in such voting systems, though zero known evidence to date that any of them were used to steal any election last year. But these lamebrains don't seem to have a clue what the vulnerabilities actually are or what to legally do about them, even though many of us real Election Integrity advocates have been showing them how to do exactly that for nearly 20 years.

As to the Democratic rogues in our stories today, we're joined again by the great HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hulaballoo to talk about Senators Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) and if their real game is actually to undermine the entire Biden agenda by weakening, stalling and then ultimately just killing the Build Back Better bill.

The pair have already succeeded in gutting a number of the most popular key provisions of the bill favored by progressive and centrist Dems alike, and even by Republican voters (if not members of Congress). Though there are a boatload of critical, long-overdue and progressive programs still left in what the White House described as the bill's new "framework" [PDF] on Thursday. But do Manchin and Sinema intend to let even that much go through to full passage? Or are they playing a different game entirely? We discuss it all with Digby today.

We also discuss the painfully disinformed, so-called "progressives" out in the Twittersphere and beyond who are actually either gullible enough or disinformed enough to believe that Biden and Pelosi and Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal --- not to mentioned Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(!) --- have all been coopted by "corporatists" (or something) to undermine Biden's own agenda and the bill that the entire Democratic caucus, save for Manchin and Sinema, would have approved months ago when it was twice the size in dollars.

The corporate media also come in for criticism again today, for their failure to accurately inform the American people of the wildly popular provisions that were and still are in the still-transformative Biden agenda (even as Democrats themselves share some of that blame). Instead, the media have turned the negotiations over Build Back Better into a misleading game of (paid for) spending numbers and a "showdown" between "progressives" and "centrists". In fact, it's always been a no-choice effort by Congressional and White House Dems to win the must-have votes of Manchin and Sinema --- ("The Diva Twins" as Parton calls them) --- who have opposed many of the bill's most popular programs in a 50/50 Senate.

Lots to discuss here with Parton today, as usual. Please tune in!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 9/23/2021 11:15am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: President Biden pushes for unified climate action at U.N.; China vows to end international financing of coal plants; 2021 wildfires set new record for carbon dioxide emissions; OSHA will protect workers from extreme heat; PLUS: Illinois passes landmark clean energy and climate justice law... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

GNR's now celebrating 12 YEARS of independent green news, politics, analysis, snarky comment and connecting climate change dots over your public airwaves!
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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): EPA to cut HFCs, thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide; Entergy Resisted Upgrading New Orleans' Power Grid. Residents Suffered; WHO Slashes Guideline Limits on Air Pollution From Fossil Fuels; California's Reliance on Dams Puts Fish in Hot Water; Will Taxpayers Bear Cost Of Cleaning Up America's Abandoned Oil Wells?... PLUS: Nitrogen: The Environmental Crisis You Haven't Heard Of Yet... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Trump lawyers sanctioned, will face disbarment probes; Capitol officers sue Trump; Terror suspect sentenced in MI Guv kidnap plot; House files massive 1/6 records requests; TX AG Paxton clears TX AG Paxton; More...
By Brad Friedman on 8/26/2021 6:57pm PT  

Donald Trump tried to steal the 2020 election. We really must stop describing his efforts and those by his supporters as "questioning the results" or "claiming fraud" or "trying to overturn the election." The fact is, Trump tried to steal it. He used every means at his disposal to try and do so. Thankfully, he is largely a failure at pretty much everything, so it didn't work, though we now know it came exceedingly close. So, let's start calling it for what it is: An unprecedented attempted by a President of the United States to try and steal a Presidential election. To that end, accountability is now happening. Slowly but quite assuredly, along with a number of other related accountability stories on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

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

  • Some of the breaking news on today's terror attack at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan, which killed at least 13 U.S. service members and 60 Afghans and seriously injured many more. ISIS-K, an off-shoot of the Islamic State and an enemy of the Taliban, has claimed responsibility for the attack by two suicide bombers. If anything, Thursday's tragedy amidst the largest airlift in U.S. history --- following the swift takeover of the country by the Taliban --- simply serves to underscore even further why the U.S. pullout must continue, and why we certainly shouldn't have been there for 20 years (if at all);
  • In much less horrific news, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) released its 2020 post-election survey [PDF] of various voting and election-related data from all 50 states last year. While The Guardian's Sam Levine characterizes the report as proving the election was "a remarkable success", we explain why that may be a bit of an overstatement. That said, the data does reveal yet again that, while there were far too many rejections of absentee and mail-in ballots (as is always the case, but especially amid pandemic voting last year), there is still no evidence at all to even suggest that the Presidential election was stolen in any way, shape or form by Joe Biden, the Democrats or anyone else. Not that Donald Trump didn't try (and fail) to do exactly that, of course;
  • In much brighter related news, a federal judge in Michigan on Wednesday brought some serious accountability down on nine of the Trump attorneys, including Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, who both helped Trump try to steal the 2020 election by filing fraudulent lawsuits, in this case in Michigan, fraudulently claiming that the election was stolen, using fraudulent claims about fraud. All nine lawyers were excoriated by U.S. District Court Judge Linda V. Parker's scathing 110-page order [PDF], which should (hopefully) end each of the attorneys' careers as officers of the court. Parker mandated the Trump lawyers pay attorneys fees accrued by the city of Detroit and state of Michigan in defending against the "frivolous" so-called "Kraken" lawsuit; take 12 hours of legal classes each (including 6 on Election Law); and, most importantly, face investigations for possible suspension and/or disbarment by legal authorities in each of their home states;
  • More accountability for Trump's attempt to steal the 2020 election, specifically for the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol that he incited as part of that effort. Seven Capitol Police officers on Thursday filed a lawsuit [PDF] against Trump, several far-right extremist groups charged with aiding the deadly plot, and even against Trump associates like Roger Stone. It is, as the New York Times describes it, "the most expansive civil effort to date seeking to hold Mr. Trump and his allies legally accountable." Trump is already facing two other similar lawsuits filed by the NAACP and by Rep. Eric Swalwell. But, no doubt, the disgraced former President and his supporters will see this new complaint differently, because it is filed by police officers and, as you know, Republicans always "back the blue", right?;
  • That lawsuit follows just one day after the bi-partisan U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6th attack issued a massive series of records requests to at least 8 different federal agencies for documents related to Trump's movements, actions and meetings on January 6th, and in the weeks and months both before and after. The requests were sent to, among others, the FBI, Dept. of Homeland Security and National Archives, where Presidential White House records are stored. Trump is apparently livid about the effort, describing it as a "partisan exercise" being carried out by a "Leftist" House Committee. (That may come as a surprise to "Leftist" Committee members Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger);
  • In still more accountability news today, tangentially related to Trump's attempt to steal last year's election in Michigan: The sentence for the first domestic terrorist, among some 13 charged in the plot to kidnap Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last year, was handed down on Wednesday. A 25-year old man who, according to Justice Department prosecutors, cooperated with the investigation after initially pleading not guilty, changed his plea and was sentenced to more than 6 years in prison on charges of providing material support for terrorist acts and felony firearms charges. The failed conspiracy, according to the FBI and Whitmer, sprang from Trump's attempt to vilify the Governor for her science-based handling of the COVID pandemic, in a year in which Trump was willing to say and do anything to win the important battleground state. (He lost it by 150,000 votes instead);
  • In accountability news only spiritually related to Trump, a federal appeals court declined to overturn the sentence of the man who killed nine Black parishioners at the Emanuel Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015. The now-27-year old avowed white supremacist is the first person charged with a death sentence for committing a federal hate crime. While accountability is great, a life sentence would have been sufficient. Killing people is bad, as some of us learned even before Kindergarten. Apparently, the U.S. Government has yet to do so;
  • Only politically related to Trump, the Republican state Attorney General in South Dakota, Jason Ravnsborg, who fatally struck a pedestrian last year and left him to die, decided to take a plea deal rather than begin his trial today. Nonetheless, as of airtime, despite the hit and run fatality, Ravnsborg was still in office as the state's top law enforcement official;
  • And, in related corrupt Republican state Attorney General news, definitely politically related to Trump, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is also still in office. That, despite being charged with multiple felonies for securities fraud some time ago (and, so far, evading trial on those years-old, but still-pending indictments); facing potential disbarment by the State Bar of Texas for his attempt to help Trump steal the election with a bogus, fraudulent, rejected lawsuit filed with the U.S. Supreme Court to try and overturn results in four non-Texas states; and under investigation by the FBI after 7 top staffers in his office quit and filed a legal complaint detailing how AG Paxton was involved in a serious bribery and abuse of power scheme involving protection for one of his top donors and a scheme that involved having the man give a job to his mistress. Well, on that federal investigation, AG Paxton had some good news this week! In an unsigned 374-page report [PDF] published by AG Paxton's office on AG Paxton's letterhead, AG Paxton's own internal investigation found that "AG Paxton’s actions were lawful" and that "AG Paxton committed no crime". Phew! That was close! I'm sure the FBI is calling off their probe, even as we speak.
  • Finally, as a late brewing potential major hurricane (Ida) spins toward the Gulf Coast for possible landfall over the weekend, Desi Doyen joins us today for our latest Green News Report, with a suspiciously inordinate amount of encouraging news. But don't worry, there are a few items of the usual catastrophic nature GNR is known for as well. We'd hate to leave anyone disappointed...

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Condo collapse in FL; Dems hopeful, cautious on bipartisan infrastructure 'deal'; Pelosi's announces 1/6 committee; Giuliani's NY law license suspended; MI Repubs eviscerate 2020 'fraud' claims...
By Brad Friedman on 6/24/2021 5:42pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It was one of those days. Again. Everything all at once. Again. We do our best to help you make sense of it all. Again. [Audio link to today's full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the stories, many of them still breaking as we went to air, covered on today's program...

  • High-rise condominium building collapses in South Florida near Miami Beach. As of air-time, 1 person was announced as dead and 99 others currently unaccounted for, as rescuers continue to comb through the deadly rubble searching for survivors.
  • President Biden declared "we have a deal" on an infrastructure package. It's a $1.2 trillion bipartisan "compromise" deal in the U.S. Senate on his proposed $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan. That proposal is one part of his infrastructure plan for things like roads, bridges, the electrical grid, and broadband Internet. The other part of his two-part proposal is the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, which includes the "human infrastructure" part of the package, focused on childcare, education and healthcare. While Biden lauded the "compromise" struck among Republicans and conservative Democrats in the Senate, House Speaker Pelosi promised she would not bring up the compromise proposal for a vote in the House until the other part of the package --- the American Families Plan and, presumably, whatever is being left out of the "compromise" bill --- is passed with a simple majority vote in the Senate under Budget Reconciliation rules which allow lawmakers to avoid the anti-democratic Senate filibuster rule. "Make sure you understand this," the Speaker vowed during her presser today, "there ain't gonna be no bipartisan bill unless we are going to have the Reconciliation bill."
  • Pelosi, who has seen her fair share of Republicans reneging on deals at the last minute, also announced that she intends to create a House Committee to investigate the deadly, Trump-incited attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. That, after House Dems had struck a deal with Republicans earlier this year for a bi-partisan, evenly divided, independent Commission, only to see Republican leadership, after the deal was already struck, go on to vote against the bill in the House and kill it entirely with the filibuster in the Senate.
  • Speaking of the filibuster, which would need to be reformed if Democrats hope to pass their sweeping elections, voting rights and campaign finance reform bill known as the For the People Act through the Senate, three moderate Senate Democrats (Mark Kelley of Arizona, Michael Bennett of Colorado, and Catherine Cortez-Masto of NV) spoke to the need to do exactly that during a private conference call this week. The audio, obtained by the Colorado Newsline, reveals each moderate Dem discussing the need to reform the filibuster and suggesting that intra-caucus negotiations are well underway to try and figure out how to do exactly that.
  • In New York, an appeals court has accepted the recommendation of a state committee of attorneys to immediately suspend Rudy Giuliani's license to practice law, citing "uncontroverted evidence” that he “communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump’s failed effort at reelection in 2020." That conduct, the court agreed, "immediately threatens the public interest and warrants interim suspension from the practice of law." While the disgraced former U.S. Attorney and NYC Mayor will be allowed to argue against the suspension in an upcoming hearing, experts believe the action today, however, is likely to lead to permanent disbarment. "The seriousness of respondent's uncontroverted misconduct cannot be overstated," the court wrote [PDF]. "This country is being torn apart by continued attacks on the legitimacy of the 2020 election and of our current president, Joseph R. Biden." That, after Giuliani spent months on behalf of Trump, following the November election offering one false claim after another to one state legislative committee after another, pretending to cite evidence that the election was stolen from the disgraced former President.
  • Those unsubstantiated and false claims, at least in Michigan, were devastatingly rebutted and debunked on Wednesday, by a Republican state Senate committee on Wednesday. In their unsparing 35-page point-by-point report [PDF], the lawmakers absolutely eviscerate Giuliani's, Trump's, Sidney Powell's, Jovan Pulitizer's and all of the other GOP grifters and con-artist's evidence-free claims about "voter fraud" and theft by computer voting and tabulation systems. Every Republican on the state's Senate Oversight Committee signed on to the brutal report, compiled over the past eight months, and responding to each and every phony claim suggesting systematic fraud in the state. The Committee found no basis for any of the wild accusations and even calls for a legal investigation and potential prosecution by the state's Attorney General for "those who have been utilizing misleading and false information...to raise money or publicity for their own ends." Ouch.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with, well, not much good news today. The worsening drought in the West is now threatening drinking water; The Siberian Arctic(!) is facing a record heatwave, with temperatures topping out above 110 (in the Arctic!); A new report finds climate change is making heat waves hotter; And a whole bunch of other news that I don't have the heart to share with you here...

Enjoy!

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Also: OH's million dollar COVID vaccine lottery is working; Millions of parents will soon get monthly checks from Dems' American Rescue Plan...
By Brad Friedman on 5/18/2021 7:08pm PT  

There is nothing wrong with citizens --- no matter how partisan or misinformed --- demanding to know for themselves that election results have been accurately recorded and reported. That's true even in cases where they have been blatantly lied to by, say, a disgraced, failed President of the United States. But post-election audits must be done in full public view from top to bottom, with all processes and evidence from the election kept within a transparent, well-documented, secure chain-of-custody at every step. Two ongoing post-election audits from the 2020 election are currently underway. One offers an example of exactly how not to do such a probe, the other one is shaping up to be a model for the nation.

Among the stories covered on today's BradCast [Audio link to show follows this summary]...

  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine's scheme to hold a $1 million lottery each week for the next five weeks for any Buckeye Stater 18 and over who has received at least one COVID vaccine shot, appears to be working. While we've got a few suggestions on how it could have been done more effectively, at least it appears to have slowed and even reversed (for some ages) the state's recent drop-off in the number of folks getting their shots. As it turns out, Ohioans seem to like DeWine's plan to offer federal government-sponsored cash prizes (yes, socialism!) courtesy of the America Rescue Plan in exchange for receiving life-saving inoculation from a deadly disease. More states should consider the same and the federal government oughta just pay people to get their shots! We suspect a crisp $100 bill in exchange for a shot in the arm would do the trick. (By the way, Ohioans need to opt-in for the lottery, at OhioVaxAMillion.com, to be eligible for the prizes!)
  • Another direct benefit for Americans from the American Rescue Plan (Biden's emergency pandemic relief and stimulus bill adopted by Democrats while being VOTED DOWN BY EVERY SINGLE REPUBLICAN IN CONGRESS), is the expanded child tax credits which will, beginning in July, send monthly checks of $300 per child under 6, and $250 for kids between 6 and 17, to parents making less than $150,000 over the next year. If Americans liked the Democrats' $1,400 individual payments from the ARP, they may love its expanded child tax credits which start this summer. Experts say the payments are likely to help cut child poverty in half this year. Hopefully, Dems will remember to loudly remind Americans of all parties which party it was that made those payments possible, and which party attempted to prevent them. Democrats are not usually very good at that. And hopefully they'll be able to extend those payments through at least 2025 as Biden has proposed in his American Families Plan --- which Republicans also oppose.
  • Then it's back to the clown show "audit" theater in Maricopa County, Arizona, where the county's 2.1 million public ballots from the 2020 Presidential and Senatorial elections last year are being inspected, in secret, by a private company with no experience in elections, voting systems or audits named Cyber Ninjas. Now, it seems, the Ninjas and a number of their allegedly false claims made about the materials turned over to them by the County (as ordered by a state court in response to the Republican-controlled state Senate's mandate) were the final straw for the majority GOP Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and its new Republican County Recorder.

    On Monday, the 5-person Board (4 Rs, 1 D), denounced the audit as a "sham" and a "con," lamenting the "spectacle" that they say "is harming all of us" and turning Arizona into "a laughingstock". The new Republican County Recorder, Steven Richer, now in charge of elections in one of the nation's largest counties, blasted the Ninjas for what he describes as blatantly false claims that election databases were unlawfully deleted and for ensuring attacks on his new staff. The Board also sent a blistering 13-page letter [PDF] to the state Senate's President detailing their anger, frustration and embarrassment, calling for the audit to be ended, while responding to charges they claim to be lies coming out of process. The Maricopa "audit" is now in it's third week in Phoenix, but reportedly nowhere near complete.

  • Meanwhile, by way of a critical contrast, another post-election forensic audit is underway in Windham, New Hampshire, led by actual experts in post-election audits and voting systems. Unlike the evidence-free claims of fraud in AZ, there is reason to be alarmed by the results of a state House of Representatives race in the town of 14,000 people. There, on election night last November, in an 8-person race (4 Ds and 4 Rs) for 4 seats in the state House, all four Republican candidates won. According to the computer tabulations, they were the four top vote-getters for those seats, with the Democratic candidate, Kristi St. Laurent, coming in 5th by just 24 votes.

    Last November, after she requested a hand-count of the town's hand-marked paper ballots --- previously tallied only by 20-year old, easily manipulated, oft-failed Diebold optical scanners --- it was discovered that the 4 Republicans actually received about 300 more votes each than the tabulators had reported on Election Night. And St. Laurent, the hand-tally found, actually received 99 fewer votes than initially credited with. So what explains the discrepancy between the computer count and the hand count? That's what the auditors began to investigate last week in one of the most open, professional, well-documented and transparent such processes I've ever seen in my nearly twenty years on this beat.

    This week, the auditors explained --- via the live streaming audio and video coming out of the audit room, their own Twitter feed, as well as in interviews with local media --- their leading working theory that could explain the numbers seen one way (incorrectly) by the computer scanners and another way (correctly) by the hand-counters last November. Their working theory, if it bears out, would explain the disparity between the two separate tallies last November. We explain that theory today. And, no, unlike our disgraced former President's recent false claims about both Arizona and New Hampshire, the reasonable hypothesis does not involve "massive election fraud" with "thousands and thousands" of newly "found" ballots. It involves the scanners misreading folds on mail-in ballots as votes.

    But, of course, most critically, the side-by-side comparison of the clown show "audit" theater in Maricopa, which the public (and even local officials) are not allowed to fully oversee, versus the methodical, transparent, public process being carried out in Windham, should be an illustrative model for all future such probes. In the case of Windham, we are likely to have an answer to the mystery that everyone can agree with when all is said and done in the next few weeks. In Maricopa, I think its safe to say, little is expected to be settled one way or another after this ill-considered exercise is finally finished...if it ever is.

  • Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as calls grow for increased cybersecurity for the nation's energy infrastructure in the wake of last week's Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack; another pipeline company defies a shutdown order from a state Governor; and the EPA finally shuts down --- at least for now --- a disastrous, toxic mess of an oil refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands...among other American disaster tales hastening our worsening climate crisis...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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