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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, October 1, 2023
Sunday 'Crisis Averted' Toons
Everything is just fine in PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best toons...
A Shutdown Driven by GOP 'Lunatic Fringe', Warns Congressional Historian: 'BradCast' 9/27/23
Guest: Norm Ornstein; Also: Gobsmacking details NY fraud ruling against Trump family...
NY JUDGE RULES TRUMP EMPIRE BUILT ON FRAUD: 'BradCast' 9/26/23
Also: Biden joins UAW picket line; SCOTUS rejects AL gerrymander (again); Cassidy Hutchinson's warning; More...
'Green News Report' 9/26/23
NOLA water emergency; Fracking operations "devouring America's groundwater" amid drought; PLUS: GOP govt shutdown will suspend FEMA disaster recovery...
Workers Rising: TV, Film Writers Win 'Exceptional' Contract From Producers: 'BradCast' 9/25/23
Also: Biden to join picket line; Trump to meet non-union workers; Callers ring in on unions...
Sunday 'Shutting Down Again' Toons
PDiddie's latest collection of the week's most ill-considered decisions as illustrated by the week's best political toons...
Trump Terrified, Biden Building Back Better: 'BradCast' 9/21/23
Former Prez fears prison, faces ballot DQ in MN; Current Prez, echoing FDR, establishes American Climate Corp; Also: Solar soaring with concerns of climate catastrophe...
'Green News Report' 9/21/23
U.N. grapples with climate change; DeSantis to unleash fossil fuels; U.K. PM weakens climate policies; PLUS: Biden launches American Climate Corps...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Guest: Prof. Richard DeMillo of Georgia Tech's College of Cybersecurity; Also: MI's failed SoS candidate, now state GOP chair, sanctioned for bogus 2022 election lawsuit in Detroit...
By Brad Friedman on 6/14/2023 6:15pm PT  

We have been reporting for at least two years now on the analysis by the plaintiffs' expert in a Georgia voting system lawsuit said to reveal vulnerabilities so alarming that the U.S. District Court judge overseeing the federal case actually sealed the report, even from the plaintiffs themselves! On today's BradCast, that report is finally unsealed. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

But, first up, just a quick reminder of what some folks on the right seem willing to do to try and game elections anyway they can possibly think of, even if it involves the Republican candidate for Secretary of State in Michigan using nonsense claims to sue to prevent voters in the state's largest city (Detroit) from being allowed to vote by mail. That's what Trump-endorsed SoS candidate Kristina Karamo did last year, before losing to the incumbent Sec. of State Jocelyn Benson by nearly 15 points. After losing, the conspiracy theorist Karamo "failed up" to be elected as GOP state chair. And, this week, she and several top state Republican lawyers and candidates were sanctioned for more than $58,000 for their wildly frivolous attempt to use the state courts to steal the 2022 election.

Meanwhile, some of us actual election integrity advocates continue to fight for actual election integrity that doesn't prevent any legal voter from casting a vote, and that attempts to make sure that all of those votes are known to have been counted as per every voter's intent.

Which brings us back to Georgia once again today, and the lawsuit that we have been covering for years now. In 2019 it resulted in a federal judge banning the state's 20-year old Diebold touchscreens after finding them to be (as we'd long argued), insecure and unverifiable. Shamefully, the state's Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger defied the no-uncertain-terms advice from the nation's top voting system and cybersecurity experts and replaced them with new unverifiable touchscreen systems in 2020, rather than a simple, inexpensive, verifiable hand-marked paper ballot systems. Instead, Raffensperger purchased a $150 million touchscreen system made by Dominion with many of the very same vulnerabilities as the state's old Diebold touchscreens.

Frequent BradCast guest, Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance, a plaintiff in the case that succeeded in banning the old Diebold systems, expanded the suit to challenge Raffensperger's new Dominion systems, seeking to ban them as well (other than for disabled voters who wish to use them) in favor of hand-marked paper ballots. The expert for plaintiffs in the so-called Curling case, Dr. J. Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan, was then allowed to examine the new Dominion touchscreen Ballot Marking Device (BMD) systems. His report, however, finding multiple vulnerabilities was said to be so damning that it was sealed by U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg and kept from both plaintiffs and the public for the past two years.

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) --- which oversees the nation's critical infrastructure, including computerized voting and tabulation systems --- was allowed to review Halderman's sealed report last year. They were so alarmed they issued an advisory citing “vulnerabilities...that should be mitigated as soon as possible.” And yet, as we reported exclusively on The BradCast last month, even though Dominion has now completed and certified the necessary upgrades, Raffensperger's office has told Judge Totenberg that they plan to wait until 2025 --- after the critical 2024 Presidential election in the battleground state --- to install the security enhancements on the state's 35,000 voting machines and more than 35,000 printers, scanners, and election management computers that support them.

All of that is made even more alarming by the fact that the day after the January 6th 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol --- as we have also been reporting on in detail over the past year --- a group of MAGA folks, organized by Trump attorney Sidney Powell, were allowed by members of Georgia's Republican Party and the Coffee County Board of Elections to breach the Dominion voting systems in the small rural county to make unlawful copies of the system software before distributing it over the Internet. It was part of a multi-state scheme that we now know to have been hatched in Trump's Oval Office in December of 2020. The matter is believed to be under investigation as part of the broad conspiracy probe by Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis into Trump's efforts to steal the state's election in 2020. But, in the meantime, the Coffee County breach has allowed these lawless rightwingers to find and potentially plan to exploit all of the vulnerabilities that Halderman discovered and lawfully documented two years ago.

These same flawed Dominion systems are also now used in more than a dozen states, though only Georgia mandates that every county use the same system and requires that every voter at every polling place cast their vote on one of these terrible, unverifiable touchscreens.

Which brings us to today's very big news. The U.S. District Judge overseeing the Curling case has finally allowed Halderman's report to be unsealed! It is now posted here along with a simplified, summarized analysis of his own report that he has now published here. The Coalition for Good Governance's press release and additional context on the unsealing is here. (They all take care to note that Halderman's report neither alleges nor supports any claims of election fraud in the 2020 election.)

Among just some of the report's disturbing findings, according to Halderman today: "We discovered vulnerabilities in nearly every part of the system ... The most critical problem we found is [a] vulnerability that can be exploited to spread malware from a county's central election management system to every BMD [touchscreen Ballot Marking Device] in the jurisdiction. This makes it possible to attack the BMDs at scale, over a wide area, without needing physical access to any of them."

He adds, "Our report explains how attackers could exploit the flaws we found to change votes or potentially even affect election outcomes in Georgia."

One vulnerability allows an attacker to simply place a USB drive into a slot to install malicious code that could modify the election definition file to change election results. Another allows voters to print as many ballots as they like. Another allows malware to change both QRCodes printed on the ballots, which are used by the system to tally votes, and to even change the text of the printed ballots themselves.

We're joined today to discuss all of this by longtime cybersecurity and voting system expert RICHARD DEMILLO, professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he recently founded Georgia Tech's new School of Cybersecurity and Privacy. He formerly served as Chief Technology Officer at Hewlett-Packard, in a leadership position at the National Science Foundation, and on the board of the Verified Voting Foundation. He has also advised plaintiffs in the Curling case.

"What we learned," from Halderman's report, he tells me today, "is that these voting machines are approximately like every other computer that we have in our daily lives. They don't work all the time, they're subject to being hacked, they get misconfigured easily, they get lost, they get stolen, sometimes people use them for illegal activities. And all the assurances that we have from voting machine companies and Secretaries of State --- about how well these machines are curated, vetted and tested --- is what experts have known all along as just a bunch of crap."

"The level of naivete, I think, involved in managing this technology is mind-boggling," DeMillo argues, citing Raffensperger's resistance to hardening the systems --- or, better yet, moving to hand-marked paper ballots --- "as a personal affront to his abilities."

"The headline here is that the things that you worry about --- and, kind of embarrassingly, the things that the election deniers are setting their hair on fire about --- is pretty close to what the vulnerability is. With modest capabilities, someone who had resources could attack, in the case of Georgia on a statewide basis, and install malware that could change votes."

"The Sec. of State's office in Georgia is tied emotionally to this idea of Ballot Marking Devices," says DeMillo. "You would think that saner minds would prevail and they would step back and say 'Why don't we move to a technology that is safer? We know how to manage the risk that is hand-marked paper ballots.' Which, by the way, 70% of Americans use to cast their votes anyway."

So, will unsealing Halderman's report make the system more vulnerable or less so? That, and much more, is part of today's must-listen conversation with DeMillo...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Alex Burness of Bolts Magazine; Also: More on need for media to call out pro-murder, anti-democracy Republicans; KY Repubs ban health care for trans kids; AR's GOP Guv further restricts absentee voting...
By Brad Friedman on 3/29/2023 5:30pm PT  

We'll just have to keep saying it on The BradCast: Republicans are pro-murder and anti-democracy. It's just that simple. And we've got too much more evidence of that today. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up, the fallout continues following Monday's school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, where three 9-year olds and three adults were killed by an AR-15 wielding shooter at a private Christian elementary school. The U.S. Congressman representing the district where The Covenant School is located is Republican Congressman Andy Ogles.

Last year, Ogles sent out Christmas cards featuring himself, his wife and his children in front of a Christmas tree, proudly posing with their AR-15 style assault rifles. Since the shooting in his district, he has apparently taken down his social media posting of the festive card. A reporter from Sky News confronted him this week to try and learn why he hadn't taken it down previously, after other similar massacres, and why he seems to favor guns and murder over the lives of children and their right to be safe at school.

Jon Stewart, earlier this month, also had a related conversation with a Republican state lawmaker in Oklahoma by the name of Nathan Dahm. The GOP state Senator has authored bills to loosen restrictions on firearms and apparently believes that drag shows that may be seen by children must be banned, because "the government does have a responsibility to protect" them. But, as Stewart points out, Dahm appears to have no similar concerns about protecting kids from being murdered with guns, which is now the leading cause of death for U.S. children and teens.

In a similar vein, Big Government Republicans in Kentucky's legislature today voted to override the veto of Democratic Governor Andy Beshear, to enact a law that will ban health care for trans kids and mandate that doctors begin "detransitioning" children currently on puberty blockers and hormones, despite the alarming rate of suicide by such kids. The bill also bars all discussion of sexual orientation and gender identify in schools for students of any age, as the Nanny State Republican party continues to pretend they favor free speech.

Meanwhile, this is an election year in Virginia, where the entire state legislature comes up for reelection in odd-numbered years and where the commonwealth's 1902 constitutional provision created to prevent black people from voting remains in place. The measure in question allows VA's Governor to decide, on any criteria they may like, whether or not to re-enfranchise former felons.

Under processes enacted first by former Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell and then broadly expanded and automated by subsequent Democratic Governors Terry McCauliffe and Ralph Northam, the voting rights for hundreds of thousands of Virginians were restored. But, since taking office last year, VA's new, so-called "moderate" Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin has re-enfranchised almost nobody. Moreover, his office has finally informed state lawmakers that he will be using a secret process to personally decide, on a case-by-case basis, who will and won't be allowed to vote.

We're joined today by voting rights, criminalization and justice reporter ALEX BURNESS, staff writer at the progressive Bolts Magazine. He has been reporting on Youngkin's appalling, anti-democracy policy, and how it is harming those who are simply hoping to return to civil society after imprisonment in Virginia.

"We still don't know what the criteria is going to be, but it is clarifying in the sense that the policy is 'I'm going to do whatever I want and, at least for the moment, I'm not going to tell you what that means,'" Burness tells me, adding that the commonwealth's constitution mandates the Governor "literally has the power to make up criteria, based on whether you own a dog or a cat, or anything."

Burness explains why Democrats in the state have yet to pass a constitutional amendment to change this absurd, Jim Crow relic, despite the heartbreaking stories from so many who have served their time and simply want to have their rights as citizens fully restored. "This is one of a million reasons why Virginia's upcoming elections matter. Particularly with what Youngkin has done now, there is some renewed passion by folks to settle this once and for all and not leave it up to the whims of the Governor," says Burness.

The pathetic vote suppression by Youngkin comes on the heels of Minnesota's Democratic Governor signing a law this month to re-enfranchise some 55,000 citizens of voting age who are no longer incarcerated, whether they are on parole or probation or not; New Mexico's Democratic Governor signing a similar law that will restore voting rights to about 11,000 New Mexicans; and a recently advanced measure by Democratic lawmakers in Oregon to allow voting even for those still in prison, akin to the rights afforded to the incarcerated in Maine, Vermont and Washington D.C.

Finally today, more voter suppression is enacted by Arkansas' new Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Yesterday, we detailed her newly signed law adopted by Republican state lawmakers that will make it much much harder for Democrats to place citizen initiatives on the statewide ballot. (Even though the statute appears to be a violation of the state constitution.) Today, the American Democracy Minute's Brian Beihl details three other new bills recently signed by Huckabee Sanders to make absentee voting much more difficult in the state...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: DeSantis proven a liar, moves to expand 'Don't Say Gay' to ALL public school grades; NE legislature advances cruel anti-trans measure...
By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2023 5:35pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Is being a terrible human being now a requirement for all elected (and unelected) Republican lawmakers? It's sure starting to look like it these days. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the stories covered today making that point and related others...

  • Donald Trump's "Indictment Week" in New York gets pushed back (at least) another week, though The Joker may or may not have something to say about it this weekend at the Manhattan Courthouse.
  • Former news anchor, Trumpist election denier and GOP grifter Kari Lake in Arizona is still busy hoaxing what's left of her supporters into believing she won last year's Gubernatorial election against Democrat Katie Hobbs. (No, Hobbs is not a "twice-convicted racist", no matter how many times Lake repeats that sleazy, false claim.) On Wednesday, Lake saw her 2022 election fraud claims rejected [PDF] by yet another court. This time, it was Arizona's Supreme Court. While rejecting most of her claims yet again, they did kick one of her seven claims back to a lower court for re-examination. That claim has to do with the signature verification process for ballots cast during early voting. Both the lower trial court and Maricopa County Court of Appeals misinterpreted the claim, according to the Supremes. We explain the claim in question, why it needs to be reheard, and why it will almost certainly not result in the 2022 election results being overturned.

    None of that stopped Lake from misrepresenting yesterday's ruling at the high court to her supporters on social media, to whom she tweeted: "HUGE: AZ Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Kari Lake." She didn't bother to share a link to either a news story or the Court's actual order with that tweet.

    But that may be a step up from when she lost every single claim, for a second time, at the Appeals court in Maricopa last month and declared: "BREAKING: I told you we would take this case all the way to the Arizona Supreme Court...Buckle up, America!"

  • Speaking of obnoxious Republican liars, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis who reportedly did win his election last year, was furious at critics of his "Don't Say Gay" law enacted earlier in the year. Opponents of the measure, such as legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern pointed out at the time that the language of the bill allowed for a ban on "Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity" in all public school grades, not just kindergarten through third grade, as DeSantis falsely claimed at the time.

    When critics pointed out that DeSantis was wrong, he sanctimoniously charged they were being dishonest about what the bill actually said, claiming it only applied to grades K through 3. "It's why people don't trust people like you," he chastised journalists at the time, "because you peddle false narratives!"

    Well, funny thing about that. As AP reported Wednesday, the DeSantis Administration is now "moving to forbid classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in all grades." They hope to expand the ban to grades 4 to 12 based on the original legislation in the state where the Governor and GOP Presidential hopefully unironically claims "Freedom Lives Here". DeSantis appointees heading up the state Board of Education and state Education Department will be voting to make the change next month. No legislative changes will be needed to be made to the existing law. Imagine that.

  • Coincidentally, the Republican state lawmaker who authored FL's "Don't Say Gay" law, pleaded guilty this week to numerous federal felonies, including wire fraud, money laundering and making false statements, after fraudulently obtaining more than $150,000 in federal COVID relief funding for two businesses of his that were defunct during the COVID pandemic. The (now former) lawmaker, Joseph Harding, now faces years in prison. He will be sentenced in July.
  • The Sunshine State is hardly the only one where elected Republicans are punishing state residents with hateful and cruel legislation. Nebraska's state legislature advanced a bill today that would ban gender-affirming care for minors. The anti-LGBTQ measure has been strenuously opposed by progressive state Senators, including one, Senator Megan Hunt, who has a transgender teenage son. We share some of her remarks today. Opponents vow to filibuster every single other bill on the state Legislature's calendar, effectively shutting it down for the rest of the session, in order to block the bill. It must survive two more debates before passage and signature by Republican Gov. Jim Pillen who vowed to sign it if it reaches his desk.
  • Finally, after a bit of musical-ish listener email today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with bad news for the world's oceans; bad news for the West Coast salmon population; bad news for fresh water drinkers; but some good news for newly protected public lands and waters in several national monuments designated this week by President Biden...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Former Leon County election chief, Ion Sancho; Also: FL revokes Orlando Philharmonic venue liquor license for 'Drag Queen Xmas' show...
By Brad Friedman on 2/7/2023 5:24pm PT  

We're old enough at The BradCast to remember when Republicans used to at least pretend to believe in things like "personal freedoms." But, now that Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis is preparing a run for President in 2024, things are getting mighty early 20th-century German-y these days down in the Sunshine State. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

The recently re-elected Governor is on a roll. Most notably, over the past year or so, he has adopted a "Don't Say Gay" law, threatening school teachers with dismissal for referencing LGBTQ issues in public schools, and, more recently, his "Stop W.O.K.E. Act" to prevent discussion of race issues and other things that the all-mighty State decides may make the parents of a white, straight child uncomfortable. Also known (ironically enough) as the "Individual Freedom Act," a federal judge recently cited George Orwell's 1984 in describing the law as "positively dystopian" as it has resulted in the state-ordered banning of library books.

But DeSantis isn't cowed by courts of law or even public opprobrium. Last Friday, his State Department of Business and Professional Regulation (apparently, Republicans now love state regulations too?) filed a 27-page complaint against The Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation, seeking to revoke their liquor license. Why? Well, last December, for the eighth year in a row, they featured a performance of the popular Drag Queen Christmas national tour and "violated Florida statutes" by allowing parents to bring their children, according to the state's complaint. (So much for "parental choice," which GOPers also used to pretend to believe in.)

Perhaps all of that wouldn't be so bad, if Floridians knew they could hold elected officials accountable at the ballot box. Sadly --- and predictably --- the Governor and his henchmen in the state legislator in Tallahassee are working to make that more difficult as well. Last year, DeSantis signed Senate Bill 524. In addition to giving him a personal special "elections crimes" police force (which he immediately abused by ordering the round-up of former felons at gunpoint and on camera for "voter fraud" even though most had been told by the state they were allowed to vote in 2020), the measure also mimics a law recently adopted by Texas that resulted in a huge percentage of vote-by-mail ballots being rejected in 2022.

The new provision mandates that vote-by-mail voters include a drivers license or social security number on their absentee envelope when casting their vote. However, there's no easy way for voters to know which one of those two numbers will match the number on their registration record and ballots will be rejected without a perfect match. The Texas version of the same law --- being pushed as "model legislation" by the far-right Heritage Foundation in several GOP-controlled states --- resulted in preliminary ballot rejection rates as high as 38% in several counties during last year's primaries.

Now, the bipartisan Florida Supervisors of Elections Association, comprised of elected county elections chiefs, are pushing back against the new law. They argue unanimously in a new report [PDF] that it will result in disenfranchised voters, as well as increased costs to counties and security issues for elections.

We're joined today by ION SANCHO, Florida's legendary, former Leon County Supervisor of Elections who served in the elected position for nearly 30 years before resigning in 2016. He explains the many concerns about the new measure and why it is that election officials around the state are so unanimously troubled by it.

"Even though a majority of the Supervisors of Elections are Republicans, they cannot stomach what they see the Florida legislature doing, because it's real simple --- it's not fair," Sancho tells me. "Every Supervisor of Elections in the state can see that this is simply a partisan attack on voters that the Governor is trying to suppress. That offends them."

The new law, he fears, will be "a logistical nightmare" for election officials. "This whole process --- that we carefully spent a decade building to ensure that legal voters could cast and have that ballot counted --- is under direct threat, and by individuals who haven't a clue about how Florida elections work. Because these recommendations came from Heritage Action, the political arm for the Heritage Foundation."

Sancho is hopeful that some of the Republicans in Tallahassee will listen to the elections officials. "Because where this will blow up, the first election under these new rules," will be the state's March 2024 Presidential Preference Primary, "where you've got to two apex Republicans, possibly, on the ballot. And you don't want that election to melt down. These rules could destroy the Presidential primary in Florida. And wouldn't that put some egg on DeSantis' face."

So well respected by his peers that he was selected by them to oversee the ultimately-aborted 2000 Presidential recount in the state, Sancho charges that "Governor DeSantis has really declared war on any human being that has a different political ideology than himself. It's shocking."

Nonetheless, DeSantis, after winning in 2018 by less than half a percentage point, was re-elected to a second term by a landslide last November, even as Republicans elsewhere in the nation had a very difficult election. Why did he do so well last year? Sancho offers his thoughts on that as well today. And, yes, it has to do with the "tremendous impact" of the Governor's new special election crimes police force and a resulting "complete collapse of African-American voting" last year in the state. But that, Sancho seems confident, is likely to turn around in 2024...at least if their votes are allowed to be tallied.

Please tune in for another very clarifying and compelling conversation/warning with the great Ion Sancho today!

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with news on a disturbing chemical train derailment in Ohio; catastrophic heat and wildfires in Chile; EU's successful move away from Russian fossil fuels; and some good news about this year's global investments in clean energy sources versus those in dirty, deadly fossil fuels...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Pandora, TuneIn, Google, Amazon or our native RSS feed!

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Dark money fossil fuel bribery and disenfranchising military voters in the Buckeye State; Also: GOP House continues dangerous debt limit game...
By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2023 6:13pm PT  

Is there any amount of blatant corruption that would result in Ohio voters finally turning against Republicans? As we discuss in detail on today's BradCast, state GOP lawmakers seem to really be testing that question at this point. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But, first up, speaking of testing voters, the Treasury Department made it official today. The U.S. Government has now hit its current, statutory borrowing limit. We are now officially using "extraordinary measures" to continue paying our bills to avoid defaulting on our debts. But that can only go on for so long. At this point, according to Treasury's best guess, the U.S. will see its first-ever default "before early June" unless House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his Republicans in Congress cast a simple vote to raise the amount we are allowed to borrow so that we can pay for all the stuff that Congress and Presidents of both parties long ago agreed to pay for.

It's not hard. It's been done about 80 times since the 1960s, mostly without a problem. But now, with a Democrat in the White House and radicalized Republicans in control of the U.S. House, GOP hard-liners seem determined to play a dangerous game that could result in a national or even world-wide recession or depression. They are pretending to care about the national debt, after years of voting to increase spending while reducing revenue with huge tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. Their performative actions now --- as they hold the nation hostage, demanding cuts to Social Security and Medicare --- will only make the national debt worse. Will voters remember, the next time they go to the voting booth, the damage the GOP seems hell-bent on causing?

We can only hope there will be some not totally insane, "moderate" Republicans left in Congress to join with Democrats to end this madness before its too late, because nobody knows how bad the damage will soon be if they don't. They are likely to run this up to the wire. Again. So, buckle up.

Meanwhile, there's Republican-controlled Ohio, with its totally not insane, supposedly "moderate" Republican Governor, Mike DeWine. He just signed legislation, passed by the GOP state legislature, redefining natural gas --- one of the worst causes of global warming --- as "green energy" under state law. Not insane or corrupt at all, right?

As it turns out, DeWine and state Republicans, once again, seem to be participants in another dark money corruption scandal courtesy of the fossil fuel industry. That, as the state's Republican former House Speaker, Larry Householder, begins his $60 million federal bribery trial next week. That, after Householder, former Ohio Republican Party chair Matt Borges, three others and a dark money political group controlled by Householder participated in "an elaborate scheme, secretly funded by FirstEnergy, to secure Householder's power, elect his allies, pass legislation containing a $1 billion bailout for two aging nuclear power plants, and then vex a ballot effort to overturn the bill with a dirty tricks campaign," according to prosecutors.

Householder shepherded the 2019 passage of the bill to bailout the nuke plants (and a coal-fired power plant) owned by FirstEnergy, a huge energy and fossil fuel conglomerate based in Akron. The bailout was to have been paid for with an additional fee on the utility bills of Buckeye State rate payers, according to the legislation that was signed be DeWine just hours after passage.

And now, it seems, DeWine has done it again. This time on behalf of the natural gas industry. But, why not? Last November, Ohio voters said they didn't mind all the corruption. DeWine easily won a second term in office and state GOP lawmakers increased their super-majorities in both chambers of the legislature.

But, just in case the voters get wise, DeWine recently signed a major overhaul of state election laws, implementing a series of new restrictions on voters. One of those restrictions, however, will make it more difficult for active-duty military members overseas to cast their votes without being disenfranchised. Oops. Military families are said to be furious. But do Republicans actually care about that either? Why would they?

Finally, Desi Doyen joins for our latest Green News Report with more details on DeWine's friendly payback to the natural gas industry; the European Union's new plan to try and compete with renewable energy incentives in the U.S. adopted last year by Democrats; and Germany's recent crack down on anti-coal protesters...

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Guest: ACLU attorney Jonathan Topaz; Also: IA, NY GOPers charged with mass vote fraud; OH Guv signs bill restricting voting rights...
By Brad Friedman on 1/13/2023 6:17pm PT  

What a way to "celebrate" Martin Luther King Day this year on The BradCast. Fifty-eight years since the passage of the Voting Rights Act and 10 years since the rightwingers on the U.S. Supreme Court gutted one of its central provisions, our even farther rightwing courts now appear to be gunning for much of the rest of the landmark civil rights voting law. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up today, while GOP-appointed federal judges are finding new ways to allow racial discrimination at the voting booth, Republicans --- including a top election official in upstate New York, and the wife of a U.S. House candidate in Iowa --- are nabbed by the Justice Department for committing mass vote fraud with absentee ballots.

The DoJ announcements in those cases come after a year in which Republicans filed a record number of anti-voting lawsuits --- in hopes of preventing (certain) voters from voting and/or having their votes counted as cast --- under the pretend guise of fighting fraud. They also come just days after Ohio's supposedly "moderate" GOP Governor signed new legislation to make it more difficult for (certain) voters to vote at all in upcoming elections.

Voting rights advocates in the Buckeye State charge the new measure will create barriers to the ballot for the elderly, rural voters and members of the military. But if it makes it more difficult for minority voters to vote, it may soon be impossible for groups like the League of Women Voters or the NAACP or the ACLU to file lawsuits charging violations of anti-discrimination laws under the Voting Rights Act.

When SCOTUS gutted Section 5 of the VRA in 2013 --- the part that required new election laws in jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination at the polling place to be precleared by federal authorities before they could go into effect --- the rightwing majority on the High Court claimed the provision was antiquated and no longer necessary. Besides, even though thousands of discriminatory laws had been blocked by Section 5 since 1965, there was always Section 2, which blocks racially discriminatory voting laws in all 50 states.

After all, as an ACLU attorney was forced to point out during a federal appeals court hearing this week: “For over 40 years, dozens of federal courts have heard hundreds of Section 2 claims brought by federal plaintiffs.”

Unfortunately, that lawyer was defending the use of Section 2 before a three-judge panel, where she had to add that, “In that time, not one court denied the plaintiffs their day in court because of a lack of private action.”

The hearing in question came this week after a lower, federal district Court judge in Arkansas tossed out a challenge to a new state House district map implemented by state Republicans. The map includes 11 black majority districts, when the population of the state suggests there should be 16 such districts.

But Judge Lee Rudofsky, a Donald Trump appointee, dismissed the challenge to the new map, declaring that Section 2 of the VRA does not allow private individuals and groups, like the ACLU or NAACP, to file suit against such laws. Only the U.S. Attorney General may do so, he held.

As our guest explains today, Rudofsky's court "the first court in the history of the country to find that there is no private right of action" in Section 2. For a host of reasons, it's an absurd argument. And yet, this week at the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, according to CNN, two of the three judges on the appeals panel (all of them are Republican appointees) appeared open to the idea that there is no right to private action under Section 2, because the federal statute doesn't specifically say as much. Never mind that private parties have been suing for decades under Section 2, including at the U.S. Supreme Court, where the Justices never said a word against it.

We're joined to explain this newly-attempted GOP voter suppression nightmare by JONATHAN TOPAZ, the ACLU Voting Rights Project staff attorney who served as the trial attorney on the initial case that was tossed by Judge Rudofsky last year.

"I think it's hard for most people to fathom that this is a question that needs to be litigated in 2023," Topaz tells me. "There have been hundreds of cases over the course of Section 2's history litigated by private plaintiffs, and many of those cases --- at least 10 at the Supreme Court, and at least 18 in the 8th Circuit where we were arguing earlier this week --- were brought by private plaintiffs."

"Congress had opportunities --- in 1982 when they amended the Voting Rights Act, as recently as 2006 when they reauthorized the Voting Rights Act --- to correct any mistakes it saw out there as private plaintiffs brought cases across the country, which would have been purportedly in open defiance of what Congress had intended, and Congress never saw fit to correct anyone," he explains.

Topaz goes on to cite a case as recently as 1996 when "five justices of the Supreme Court --- so, a majority --- held that there was a private right of action under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act." Of course, our newly corrupted, stolen, and extremist rightwing majority on the High Court has had no trouble of late reversing its own precedents whenever they feel like it. So this case, which will almost certainly end up at SCOTUS no matter what happens at the 8th Circuit, could tee up a potentially near-fatal blow to the already teetering VRA.

"Section 2 is one of the crown jewels of American legislative history," Topaz argues today. "It's one of the finest statutes ever passed. Section 2 is absolutely essential in terms of ensuring equal voting access around the country. And we will do everything we can do defend it."

In the meantime, as he observes, this particular fight has prevented the courts from deciding on the merits of the original case, which means that --- even if it's ultimately settled at SCOTUS in favor of the ACLU --- "there will have been several elections taking place with discriminatory maps in Arkansas."

In 1957, in his "Give us the Ballot" speech eight years before passage of the VRA, MLK reportedly said: "So long as I do not firmly and irrevocably possess the right to vote I do not possess myself. I cannot make up my mind --- it is made up for me. I cannot live as a democratic citizen, observing the laws I have helped to enact --- I can only submit to the edict of others."

Happy Martin Luther King Day. It's on Monday.

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Guest: NatSec journalist Marcy Wheeler; Also: Out of work loser, Dr. Oz; Hilarious sentence for GOP vote suppression scammers; Breaking: 11th Circuit nixes Special Master in Trump stolen documents case...
By Brad Friedman on 12/1/2022 5:49pm PT  

We've been telling you since Thanksgiving on The BradCast that Accountability Season is finally beginning to get underway as Election Season almost wraps up. Today's show is pretty much nothin' but accountability. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summer.]

Earlier this week, in the first of several conspiracy trials scheduled for far-right, white nationalist militia groups, the Dept. of Justice notched guilty verdicts for Seditious Conspiracy charges in relation to the Trump-incited January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Oath Keepers founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes III (a one-time guest on this program!) and its Florida chapter head, Kelley Meggs, were both found guilty by a jury on Tuesday. They and three co-defendants were also convicted of Obstructing an Official Government Proceeding and other charges related to the effort to block the peaceful transfer of Presidential power in a failed attempt to help Trump steal the 2020 Presidential election.

Each of the five defendants found guilty on several charges each this week are facing maximum sentences of anywhere from 40 to 86 years in prison for their crimes. So, what does this mean going forward for the other upcoming sedition trials and for those yet to be charged for the same felony crimes, such as Roger Stone, Alex Jones and...yup...Trump himself?

We're joined today by national security journalist MARCY WHEELER of Emptywheel to discuss all of that and much more! Among the related topics discussed...

  • Why the convictions this week were important, and how the several trials of Oath Keepers and Proud Boys are being approached by DoJ as "interlocking conspiracies". In turn, they may result in similar indictments eventually against Trump insiders like Stone and Jones for seditious conspiracy and/or conspiracy to obstruct the government's peaceful transfer of power.
  • Whether Trump will eventually face same charges and how much it matters whether he is indicted for Sedition versus Obstruction, both of which carry the same 20-year max sentences attached to them.
  • Whether Merrick Garland's recent appointment of Jack Smith as Special Counsel overseeing both the federal January 6 probe and their criminal investigation of the classified and other documents stolen by Trump and obtained by the FBI at Mar-a-Lago is a good or bad idea. On that, she points out that Smith's mandate may eventually require a decision on whether to bring charges against Republican member of Congress like Reps. Scott Perry (PA) and Jim Jordan (OH). As she reported at Emptywheel recently, with a razor thin majority for the GOP in the House next year, such decisions could end up flipping control of the House from Republican to Democratic. Therefore, it may prove critical to have someone overseeing these investigations who is not a political appointee of President Biden.
  • In the event that Trump is charged for any of these crimes, will it even be possible to find a jury that doesn't include a MAGA Republican willing to block any and all charges against the former President? On that, she notes, she is less concerned about such jurists than about Trump's skills as "a mob boss".

"Let me put it this way," Wheeler tells me on that point, "I'm far more worried about obstruction than I am about a jury. He's a mob boss. I think virtually all people really, really underestimate the degree to which he obstructed [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller in 2020 after Bill Barr came in. Barr got away with so much that people just can't conceive how effectively he killed the Mueller investigation and any other investigation that tied to him. So, he's not President, but he's still a mob boss." And that, she says, worries her more "than that a jury won't do their sworn duty."

And, in more Accountability Season news on today's program...

  • Trump-backed U.S. Senate loser and former celebrity TV Doctor Mehmet Oz is apparently not welcome back on TV and can't find a job. Sad!
  • Two longtime GOP operatives/yutzes, Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl, who sent out tends of thousands of robocalls to black voters in five states before the 2020 election, trying to hoax them about phony dangers of voting by mail (and turning over their information to "The Man" in the process), were sentenced in Ohio this week. Their sentence, somewhat hilariously, includes 500 hours of voter registration work in low-income D.C. neighborhoods.
  • And BREAKING just as were finishing up today: In a stinging loss for Trump, a three-judge panel (including two judges he appointed) on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, nixed the Special Master named by Judge Aileen Cannon (also a Trump appointee) to review the stolen government documents retrieved by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago. The court ruled Cannon had no jurisdiction to make any such appointment which served only to help the Mob Boss slow down the DoJ's investigation of Trump's theft of records, and apparent violations of the Espionage Act, the Presidential Records Act, and obstructions of justice...

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Guest: Redistricting expert, author David Daley; Also: How Fox 'News' dupes followers via smartphone; Latest key Senate, House, Guv results...
By Brad Friedman on 11/10/2022 6:25pm PT  

On today's BradCast: If the Republican Party wins a narrow majority in the U.S. House following this week's nowhere-near-a-red-wave midterm elections, will it have been because of gerrymandering? Our guest today explains why the answer to that question is unequivocal. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

First up, however, a few observations on how Fox "News" uses its smartphone app to insidiously further brain-poison followers with rightwing propaganda and disinformation. Today's example: How very encouraging news from the federal government on the economy, with signs that inflation may be easing, sent the stock market soaring. But for duped users of the Fox "News" app, it became just more terrible news about the economy injected straight into their brains.

Next, we get caught up on the latest reported results from the ongoing tabulation of very tight Senate (and Gubernatorial) races in Arizona and Nevada, which, along with the critical December 6th U.S. Senate runoff election in Georgia will determine control of the upper chamber of Congress for the next two years.

Also, an update on the vote counting in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District where far-right Rep. Lauren Boebert --- listed in the New York Times' "Republicans expected to win easily" column this year --- has regained a razor-thin 0.38% lead over Democratic challenger Adam Frisch. That, after she was losing by just 64 votes overnight out of more than 300,000 counted.

In all of those states --- Arizona, Nevada and Colorado --- Democratic advocates are suggesting confidence that remaining untallied votes will secure victories for their candidates in most of those races, including those in which tallies show them trailing at the moment or just barely ahead. I'm dubious about some of those claims, but we'll see if they're right and which of the races end up in recounts as the grueling battles for narrow control of both chambers of Congress continues.

When it comes to the House, however, given the limp performance by Republicans on Tuesday, it's become clear that if they regain a majority there, it will only be due to gaming the electorate through both extreme partisan and racial gerrymandering...with the help of corrupt courts at both the state and federal level.

We're joined once again today by redistricting expert and author DAVID DALEY, a Senior Fellow at FairVote. In an article on this today at The Nation he describes how aggressive --- and frequently unlawful and unconstitutional --- gerrymandering by GOP legislatures in several "red" states following the 2020 Census, in concert with corrupt rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court and several state high courts, is to be credited for what most currently see as a likely, if very narrow, GOP takeover of the U.S. House. He calls it a "rigged House majority.'

"Republicans really won the redistricting wars," Daley tells me today. "Their partisan and racial gerrymanders won them more than enough seats to make up the difference between the two parties in what was essentially a jump ball election. By having gerrymandered maps in Florida, Ohio, Texas, Georgia; by having courts put a thumb on the scales for them in Alabama, Wisconsin, Louisiana and elsewhere; and by having blue state courts not allow Democrats to engage in the same kind of anti-democratic behavior, Republicans were able to take enough seats to take the House."

He explains: "Once you start adding up all of the states that Republicans claimed either through extreme partisan gerrymandering, and what the federal courts and the state courts gifted them; when you take the four seats in Florida, a couple seats in Ohio, a couple in Texas, in Tennessee, and Wisconsin; when you take the seats that Republicans bulldozed or hijacked from independent commissions in Arizona and Iowa, you're looking at somewhere between 12 and 14 seats --- which, I think, will probably end up being something close to twice what the ultimate majority in the House ends up being."

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with news on the rare, late-season Hurricane Nicole, which slammed into Florida's eastern seaboard overnight and a round-up of climate related victories and losses in Tuesday's midterm elections...

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GOP seeks to toss thousands of legal ballots in PA, WI, MI; Still fighting for the right to vote in GA; Callers turn 'pundit' with their 2022 predictions...
By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2022 5:40pm PT  

We try (though don't always necessarily succeed) to lighten things up a bit on today's BradCast, on the final day before our critical midterm Election Day on Tuesday and the rare Blood Moon eclipse that heralds its arrival after midnight tonight. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

After a weekend full of "experts" and TV pundits telling us that Democrats are going to face a bloodbath in both the House and Senate on Tuesday --- they might, though the TV pundits have no actual idea one way or another --- we open the phones to second opinions from listeners.

First, however, some quick items of note...

  • In case you're wondering which candidates those might be, Washington Post offers a few hints today, as they round up some of the key lawsuits filed by Republicans hoping to disenfranchise voters in the critical battlegrounds states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The suits seek to toss out thousands of perfectly legitimate absentee ballots lawfully cast by legal voters.
  • A screw-up admitted by election officials in Cobb County (Atlanta), Georgia resulted in more than 1,000 absentee ballots failing to go out to voters who requested them. A consent decree via a last minute lawsuit may help make up for some of those votes, with the judge allowing those voters to receive ballots by overnight mail and count them as long as they're cast by Election Day and arrive by November 14, as overseas and military voters are already allowed. A similar problem, however, appears to have occurred for some voters in DeKalb County for reasons still unknown. Though its still unclear how many are affected, they may end up being disenfranchised in the critical swing state.
  • We cover a few other items of note today as we go, but as we're hoping to lighten things up for a change today and bring some "joy" before Election Day, we turn to callers to see if they agree with the overwhelming consensus of corporate media of late regarding which party will win majorities in the House and Senate on Tuesday. The professional media have been reporting all weekend long (and, really, for the last two or three weeks or so), that Dems will take a drubbing on Tuesday. They might, of course. But there does seem to be some mitigating evidence to that conclusion, including unusually robust early and absentee voting numbers in critical states. Numbers that outpace 2018, when Dems saw a "blue tsunami". Of course, who knows who those early voters are actually voting for. Callers ring in with their own thoughts in response to the pundits and who they think will end up capturing majorities in the two chambers of Congress on Tuesday. As with professional, highly paid corporate media pundits, there will be absolutely zero consequences for our "caller pundits" if they turn out to be wrong...

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Formalizing 2020's ad-hoc strategy, Republicans have organized nationally to create and unleash phony fraud claims, as needed, amid the havoc of next Tuesday's critical elections...
By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2022 6:49pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, we continue our focus on next Tuesday's critical midterm elections by picking things up, somewhat, from our conversation on yesterday's program. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

We were joined yesterday by longtime election and voting system expert Eddie Perez to discuss, among other things, what he has been writing about as the "manufactured chaos" that Republicans are creating to wreak havoc in the 2022 elections.

Today, we dive into broader details of that organized, manufactured chaos program that is emerging as a national strategy by the GOP to create enough havoc around the country to allow them a patina of "evidence" with which to challenge results of election outcomes they don't like.

A number of seemingly disparate efforts are actually now emerging as of a piece with a national strategy that you (and the Democrats and the media) need to know about before it all comes crashing down at once amid chaotic smoke and mirrors on Election Day and thereafter.

This is clearly an effort that echoes the less coordinated post-election chaos of 2020. Many of the same players are involved, including corrupt Trump attorneys John Eastman and Cleta Mitchell, as well as his convicted former aide Steve Bannon, the laughable billionaire pillow guy Mike Lindell, not to mention those in the far-right political media set to help execute the strategy as if it is legitimate, from Tucker Carlson on down.

The hope, as Josh Kovensky outlines at TPM today, is to sow the seeds of enough chaos to be able to create court cases and "thousands of sworn affidavits" (sound familiar?) to "credibly" point to (false) claims of "fraud" in virtually any election around the country next week, if and when they don't win it. "The chaos is the point," he writes.

We pull many of these threads together on today's program. One example is the seemingly isolated case of the campaign manager for Maryland's white nationalist Republican candidate for Attorney General who directed supporters at a rally last weekend to vote next Tuesday "as late in the day as possible," explaining that, "If everyone could stand in long, long lines at 6 o’clock, that would actually help us."

Then there are the door-to-door canvassers --- organized in part by folks like Eastman, Bannon, Lindell, Mitchell and others --- who, according to a Reuters report today, have been active in at least 23 states. They are dressing as if they are government officials --- sometimes armed and with badges --- intimidating voters with questions about who lives in their house, what their voting record is, etc. They appear to be collecting information to use to challenge voters on Election Day at the polls and/or in the post-election period, as required to create enough chaos to offer the appearance of fraud and/or uncertainty in the legitimacy of election results. And, yes, Fox "News" and the rest will be standing by to report all of these false accusations as if they are real.

Forewarned is forearmed, as they say. It's important that you --- not to mention the Democratic Party and everyone at legitimate media outlets --- understand what is going on before the fog of chaotic election war overwhelms all of us beginning next Tuesday.

In a not unrelated story today, we noted yesterday that AP has found more than 100 election lawsuits have already been brought this year related to the 2022 elections. Most have been filed by Republicans in efforts to make voting more difficult. We detailed several of those cases yesterday (in Pennsylvania, Arizona and Nevada). Today we discuss one filed in Illinois that seeks to invalidate lawful absentee ballots that are cast on or before Election Day but do not arrive until afterward, in the two week period allowed by state law. A Republican Congressman is suing to block the counting of those votes, even though they are lawfully cast ballots that could include tens of thousands cast by members of the U.S. military stationed overseas. The complaint was originally filed in May of this year. But the Trump-appointed federal judge overseeing the case has yet to rule on it, for some reason, with Election Day less than a week away. Chaos in waiting.

Also, since we quickly waved at these Trump accountability stories at the top of today's show, some links for more deets for ya:

  • A judge has appointed an independent monitor to oversee Trump Organization finances in the civil fraud suit filed by NY A.G. Letitia James against Trump, his company and his three oldest kids.
  • The NY criminal tax fraud case against the Trump Organization is now under way.
  • Top Trump aide Kash Patel has been granted immunity to testify against him before a federal grand jury probing the documents Trump stole upon leaving the White House.
  • Trump settled the lawsuit against him for ordering his security goons to beat up protesters in front of Trump Tower in 2015, as jury selection was underway in the case.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with a whole bunch of climate related stories both good and bad as winter is coming...

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Guest: Longtime election expert Eddie Perez of OSET Institute; Also: PA Supremes cause absentee ballot chaos; Judge blocks armed AZ voter intimidation; Rightwing NV hand-counters halted after exposing results...
By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2022 6:39pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we continue to focus on the critical November 8 midterms as we will most likely be doing between now and then and --- given how important and close many key races are expected to be --- probably well beyond Election Day. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We're joined today by EDDIE PEREZ, who has spent more than 20 years focused on elections in various capacities. He spent some 15 years at the Austin, Texas-based Hart-Intercivic, one of the big three private voting system vendors in the U.S. He moved on to become Global Director of Technology and Standards at the nonpartisan, nonprofit Open Source Election Technology (OSET) Institute before, last year, becoming Twitter's Director of Product Management for Societal Health, where he played a role in fighting against mis- and disinformation at the beleaguered social media site. He left the company recently (before Elon Musk's takeover) and remains a Board Member at OSET.

Perez has been writing, blogging and tweeting of late on what he sees as "manufactured chaos" by Republicans in advance of the 2022 midterms, calling the threat they pose a "a knife at democracy's throat" and charging that the chaos is now "on a collision course" with next week's elections.

He worries and warns, both in his writing and on today's program, of "coordinated attempts to interfere with or potentially overwhelm what can broadly be regarded as normal election administration processes."

As usual, when Perez is kind enough to join us, he (a former voting system vendor) and I (a long time Election Integrity journalist and critic of vulnerable, difficult-to-oversee voting systems) both tussle and find common ground on many of these topics. We also discuss concerns about "manufactured chaos" on Twitter as well, now that Musk has reportedly withdrawn access to content moderation tools previously used by staffers to help curb toxic disinformation.

"It's genuinely not really clear whether Elon Musk fully appreciates the harm that can come from a social media platform, particularly in the realm of elections," Perez frets, adding that "we have seen this spin off in to political violence." He notes "the concerns are very real," but believes the "wheels haven't fallen off Twitter", at least not yet, assuring that there are "still good people there."

He warns, however, "it's a fragile time" and says it's good to have "conversations like this so that we can talk to your listeners about what they should be paying attention to and what they can maybe do to cut through some of the noise."

We discuss examples of chaos that most worry him and how no small part of the lack of confidence Americans now have in our election system may actually be due to the way voting system vendors and election officials have spent years preventing oversight by the public. Of course, much of it is due to Donald Trump's lies about the 2020 election. But Perez concedes that insiders, in fact, now pose a unique threat to democracy, as demonstrated by GOP officials facilitating the breach of voting system hardware and software in several different states and releasing its proprietary software to potentially nefarious individuals. Can that previously secret code now be used to undermine those systems next week? If so, how so?

"It has certainly not helped public trust in the machinery of democracy that voting technology is limited to as few companies as it is," Perez concedes, citing the proprietary software now used to run elections and tally votes in almost every jurisdiction in the country. "There is no doubt that having that whole ecosystem --- that can fairly be called a 'black box' --- is not helping. It is a kind of tinder box and has turned into a vacuum of information that a lot of conspiracy theorists have been happy to fill."

"On something as essential as the legitimacy of the outcomes in our public elections --- which, again, involves process and involves voting technology --- we can never ever discount the importance of transparency and accountability," he tells me, citing some of my own advocacy and criticism of voting systems and vendors over the years. "In that sense, I don't think it's unreasonable for some people to say that was a collective failure and, yes, that has contributed to us having a lot of the challenges that we're in today."

Of course, we also discuss what Americans can do now --- from voters to election officials to journalists --- to gird for the chaos that is almost certain to come and how best to defend against it.

Also today, several recent legal rulings in response to an explosion of election law challenges manufacturing more chaos around the 2022 elections...

  • Our corrupt U.S. Supreme Court, along with the unexpected death of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's Chief Justice, allows Republicans to obtain a ruling that may allow them to reject thousands of completely legitimate absentee ballots across the Keystone State, due to missing or incorrect dates written on their outer envelopes.
  • A Trump-appointed federal judge in Arizona issues a ruling [PDF] to block voter intimidation near absentee ballot drop boxes, where masked rightwingers, toting guns and clad in tactical gear, have been menacing and photographing voters dropping of their ballots.
  • Nevada's Sec. of State shuts down a slapdash, nascent rightwing effort in Nye County to hand-count early and absentee ballots after the hand-counters were said to be revealing results to the public during their tally in defiance of a state Supreme Court order. Thankfully, given the very few ballots they were able to count before being shut down (just 50 on their first day, in a County with some 30,000 voters), the damage was contained. But expect more such "manufactured chaos" between now and next Tuesday and, almost certainly, well beyond...

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Good news on green energy, even from fascists; Disturbing news on Election Integrity and hand-counting, especially from fascists...
By Brad Friedman on 10/25/2022 6:45pm PT  

Some good news, some bad news, and the most difficult news of all for talk radio: nuanced news on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

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

  • Texas has finally figured out that home solar panels and battery storage can help save the state's brittle, failing electric grid this winter. That's good news for Texas, Tesla and homeowners who can make money selling excess energy back to the grid.
  • There is actually quite a bit of good news for renewable energy according to a new report this week from the International Renewable Energy Agency, as per the New York Times' Ivan Penn today. Top line: As solar and wind production are now cheaper sources for electricity than fossil fuels, renewables now dominate all new electric energy capacity (81% last year) and, if the current trajectory continues, are likely to very soon generate more electricity globally than fossil fuels.
  • Even the Brothers of Italy --- the actually fascist right-wing party which recently won a Parliamentary majority in Italy --- and its far-right leader Giorgia Meloni (soon to become Prime Minister) appear to be more progressive on climate change concerns than the Republican Party in the U.S. It's kind of remarkable really and, yes, a bit nuanced.
  • Speaking of fascists, with early voting now under way in many states for the critical 2022 midterms, so is the voter intimidation and suppression by disinformed rightwingers. MAGA Republicans in Arizona appear to be taking the early lead nationwide when it comes to reported intimidation, as armed and masked vigilantes in tactical gear are now camping out in parking lots near absentee ballot drop boxes because they've been duped into believing they are used for massive voter fraud. While some of the few remaining GOP officials in the state who haven't become brain poisoned are trying to lower the temperature, others, including MAGA Republican Gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake and MAGA State Sen. Kelly Townsend continue to fan the flames with lies about the 2020 election.
  • Meanwhile, however, in defending against Donald Trump's lies about election and voter fraud, Democrats may have backed themselves into a corner when it comes to their own ability to challenge election results themselves. In their ill-considered efforts to force Republicans into answering gotcha questions about whether or not they will accept election results for elections that haven't even happened yet --- which could include outcome determinative problems like voter suppression or problems with voting and tabulation computers --- Dems may have short-circuited their own ability to challenge results that legitimately need challenging. We discuss.
  • At the same time, MAGA rightwingers in several rural (heavily GOP-leaning) Nevada counties are certain that Dominion Voting Systems done them wrong in 2020. So now they're demanding hand-counted paper ballots. While hand-counting is, in fact, the only way to know for certain if computers actually tallied ballots as per voter intent, the NV GOPers who bought into Trump's evidence-free fraud conspiracies are doing it all wrong. One county has even been given permission by the state Supreme Court to begin hand-counting early ballots beginning this week. That is a recipe for all sorts of disaster, including unlawful leaks about early results.

    And here comes more nuance: While we have spent nearly two decades decrying computer-tabulated ballots, we have called not for hand-counting, but for hand-count pilot projects to determine its feasibility in each jurisdiction and to develop simple, efficient and publicly-overseeable protocols to do it safely and transparently at the precinct on Election Night, in front of everyone, before ballots are moved anywhere. (Similar to how it has been successfully been done for many years now by about 40% of the towns in New Hampshire.)

    Ad hoc hand-counting (for example, like the kind that took NV's Esmerelda County more than seven hours to tally 317 ballots after their June primary!) is a disaster in the making and one that is likely to end up discrediting real hand-counting for years to come. I hope I'm wrong.

    In the meantime, there are critical contests in the state this year, including a very tight race between incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto and Republican Adam Laxalt. If she is reported to have lost and there are any questions about the results, good luck to the Dems after shortsightedly decrying any and all concerns about elections when they may need to challenge an election themselves.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen has our latest Green News Report, including news on the Biden Admin EPA opening a civil rights probe into Jackson, Mississippi's water crisis; Big Insurance moving away from Big Oil; and Republicans taking credit for renewable energy projects built with incentives that they voted against...

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Guest: Angela Peoples of Election Defenders; Also: Bannon sentenced; Trump subpoenaed; Graham appeals to SCOTUS; And, still more evidence of looming Trump accountability...
By Brad Friedman on 10/21/2022 5:48pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: There is a great deal to be concerned about between now and November 8, when American holds its first nationwide elections since Donald Trump tried to steal the last one. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Since then, his unrelenting lies that the 2020 election was stolen from him (ironically enough) have resulted in, among other things, newly restrictive voting laws adopted by GOP-controlled states, a shortage of poll workers following death threats from disinformed rightwingers, and concerns of both intimidation and the potential of violence at polling places (and ballot drop-boxes.)

But the Election Defenders vow to be out in force, as they were in 2020, attempting to make sure everyone can vote freely and fairly.

"One of my biggest concerns is the impact the attempts at intimidation may play on the electorate," my guest today, the group's Campaign Director, ANGELA PEOPLES, tells me. "In some places, these threats of violence are very real, and we're preparing folks to be responsive to those." But, she adds, "a lot of this is just talk, and attempts to create an atmosphere of fear. So we are planning to counter that fear with joy, with enthusiasm, to make sure that people can cast their ballot with safety and dignity."

Election Defenders is a coalition formed in 2020 by The Frontline, a joint campaign of the Working Families Party, the Movement for Black Lives Electoral Justice Project, United We Dream and Rising Majority. They deployed some 2,000 volunteers trained in de-escalation techniques to polling places in all 50 states in 2020. This year, they hope to station about 1,250 in key battleground states including Wisconsin, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona.

"We are trained not only in de-escalation, but also in what we call Voter Care --- to support folks at the polls, making sure folks have information about what those new laws may be and how to make sure that, if they feel like they are denied their ability to vote, they have a chance to address that and to not be denied their ability to cast their ballot, whether it's provisional or otherwise, on Election Day," Peoples explains.

"We'll be making sure that things stay calm, stay joyful, stay energetic and are the type of experience that can keep people engaged all the way through to casting their ballot," she says. The group hopes to counter so many who have been lied into rage on the Right over the past two years. "A lot of their playbook is about intimidation [and] fear tactics. So we have really focused on the joy that we can bring to people and reminding folks that, as much as some may try to make voting seem like something that is privileged, or something only a few should be able to do, that everyone that has the right to vote in this country should be able to exercise that."

Critically, she adds, "we are reminding our volunteers that this Election Defense opportunity is something that we need to do from voting, to counting, all the way to certification."

And, yes, the group is still welcoming volunteers and helping to train them all over the country. If you'd like to join the effort, you can get more details and sign up for trainings here or text FRONTLINE to 20403.

Also today, the outer bands of the coming Trump Accountability Hurricane continue to blow in...

  • Steve Bannon was sentenced to 4 months in prison for Contempt of Congress after refusing to answer subpoenas for testimony and documents from the House January 6 Committee. He remains free for now pending appeal.
  • Donald Trump was sent his own subpoena by the same House Committee today, seeking documents from the disgraced former President by November 4 and under oath deposition testimony beginning on or about November 14. If he refuses, he could face similar charges to those Bannon has now been found guilty of and sentenced to prison for.
  • On Thursday, Sen. Lindsey Graham was ordered by a three-judge panel (two of whom are Trump appointees) at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to testify to the Special Grand Jury in Atlanta set up by Fulton County, Georgia Prosecutor Fani Willis. She is investigating an alleged criminal conspiracy led by Donald Trump to force state officials to falsify the 2020 election results. Today, Graham, who has lost every court battle to avoid testimony so far, asked SCOTUS to intervene. Even though the denies any wrongdoing, it appears he really really doesn't want to testify to that end under oath for some reason.
  • Also this week, Trump was forced to testify under oath in the defamation case against him by author E. Jean Carroll, who alleges he raped her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s and then lied about both her and it while serving as President. But, because he can't help himself, Trump really screwed himself over regarding the only quasi-legit defense he had left to try and duck Carroll's defamation complaint. SAD!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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DeSantis' shameful 'voter fraud' round-up; Blistering progressive midterm ads; Disastrous 'conservative' fiscal leadership in U.K., U.S.; Good CO2 emissions news (mostly); Rubio bombs in FL debate with Demings...
By Brad Friedman on 10/20/2022 6:56pm PT  

It's a grab bag on today's BradCast, as we cover a ton of stuff from around the world and here at home, just over two weeks before another critical Election Day. [Audio link to today's show follows below.]

Among our many stories covered today...

  • With one disgraced, failed Conservative Party Prime Minister after another in Britain since they fell for that whole rightwing BREXIT scam, perhaps the good citizens of the UK might want to consider leadership from amongst the liberal Labour Party instead? Just a thought, but surely they couldn't perform any worse than the Torries, could they Lizz Truss, the third Tory PM to resign amid financial chaos and disgrace in as many years (she lasted just 44 days!) exited stage right today as the financial markets look to downgrade the the UK's credit rating amid continuing fiscal havoc and political uncertainty.

    It's all "self-immolation" and it echoes financial and political chaos repeatedly sown by our own "conservative" party here in the U.S. And yet, for some reason, a majority of the American public reportedly remain disinformed enough to believe, somehow, that Republicans are better on economic issues than Democrats. It's yet another sign of a failed corporate U.S. media, frankly. More thoughts and details in today's actual show, of course.

  • There was better than expected news on global CO2 emissions this week! Despite a temporary return to coal, oil and gas by some in the EU in response to Russia's horrific war on Ukraine, the growth in fossil fuel emissions this year is far lower than previously predicted. This year, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), growth in emissions from fossil fuels was just 300 million metric tons, compared to nearly 2 billion tons last year. New renewable energy coming on line from wind and solar and other sources of clean energy, along with the world's move to Electric Vehicles, is helping to counter a temporary return to fossil fuels in some parts of the world. Much of this is attributed to the acceleration of major clean energy policy plans around the world, some in response to Russia's war, but also to nations' effort to meet goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. That would include efforts here at home by Democrats and President Biden who enacted the world's largest single investment in climate --- nearly $400 billion --- in the Inflation Reduction Act, adopted without one Republican vote.
  • With just over two weeks until the critical midterm elections with so much on the ballot, from democracy itself to all manner of Constitutional rights and freedoms, Democrats, progressives and other anti-authoritarians are pushing hard to win over voters. VoteVets, the nation's largest progressive veterans support group, released a blistering ad this week targeting Wisconsin's Republican Senator and insurrection enthusiast Ron Johnson, as a "traitor". And California's Rep. Eric Swalwell released a bone-chilling ad illustrating a dystopian future where police are knocking on doors to round women who've had an illegal abortion.
  • Swalwell's fictional ad is hauntingly echoed by actual video footage obtained and published this week by the Tampa Bay Times in Florida, revealing law enforcement officials rounding up and arresting residents for what even the confused officers describe as "some sort of voter fraud thing". In August, GOP Governor and Presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis --- who is on this year's ballot against Democrat and former Gov. Charlie Crist --- held a dramatic news conference announcing 20 arrests by his new "Office of Election Crimes and Security". As we have since learned, those arrested were former felons who believed their voting rights had been restored after the landslide 65 to 35% passage of a statewide ballot initiative in 2018. But, the initiative had a few exceptions that the former felons weren't told about when they registered and when those registrations were approved by DeSantis' own State Department.

    “Voter fraud?," said one perplexed man as he was told he was being hauled off to jail for voting illegally years earlier. "Y’all said anybody with a felony could vote, man." Other arrestees, nabbed out of the blue at their homes just hours before DeSantis' news conference, were similarly stunned. Local law enforcement officials participating in the arrests also seemed unable to explain exactly why any of this was happening. The majority of the arrestees, according to the paper, were black and/or Democrats, "a throwback to the worst images of the Jim Crow South and a preview of a dystopian future under GOP authoritarianism," writes the Philly Inquirer's Will Bunch today.

    Yes, the authoritarian dystopian future envisioned by Swalwell's fictional video of cops rounding up a woman who had an abortion is shockingly similar to the videos published this week by Tampa Bay Times.

  • Speaking of Florida and dystopia, GOP Sen. Marco Rubio and his Democratic challenger for reelection, Rep. Val Demings, squared off in a debate this week. Among the embarrassing moments for the two-term Republican Senator: his claim that absentee ballot drop-boxes shouldn't be used because someone could "put some explosives in it and blow it up and burn all of those ballots' and his explanation for why he previously claimed, after the 2018 Parkland high school massacre that killed 17, to support a ban on the sale of semi-automatic assault weapons to those under the age of 21 --- but he no longer does. "You've done nothing, nothing to help address gun violence," charged Demings, the former Police Chief of Orland in response. "How long will you watch people being gunned down in first grade, fourth grade, high school, college, church, synagogue, a grocery store, a movie theater, a mall and a night club and do nothing?!”
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as the President releases more oil from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve; New Jersey sues Big Oil for decades of climate lies; and as the November 8 midterm elections are set to determine the course of climate action for decades to come...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Dem Senate candidates smack down GOP opponents in OH, WI debates; Also: SCOTUS undermines key election provision of Civil Rights Act; Is FBI underplaying threats to election security?...
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2022 6:38pm PT  

As noted on today's BradCast, we generally cover the track conditions of our elections more than the actual horse races. We do so again today. But, as it turns out, Dems have put up some pretty good horses this year. We cover a couple of them today as well. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First, track conditions...

The corrupt, stolen and packed rightwing U.S. Supreme Court majority on Tuesday overturned an appeals court ruling which had found that both the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Pennsylvania law mandates that legitimately voted ballots may not be invalidated due to minor errors that are "immaterial" to determining voter qualification. In this case, the question was about absentee ballots where voters had forgotten to fill in the date on the ballot's outer envelope. The activists on SCOTUS, however, held today that such ballots may not be counted this November, despite the Civil Rights Act provision that previously ended the Jim Crow era's use of immaterial errors to invalidate perfectly legitimate votes.

Also, FBI officials say they have identified no credible threats to U.S. election systems this year, despite efforts by some foreign adversaries, including Russia, to sow doubt about fraud. But do these officials understand the actual threats now posed to our non-transparent, easily manipulated and error-prone computerized voting and tabulation systems? Do they appreciate the increased threat level thanks to recent breaches of election management systems by MAGA conspiracy theorists in several states following the former President's false claims of fraud?

While the Trump-appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray seems to falsely suggest there are similar domestic threats of violence from "both sides" following the 2020 election and the SCOTUS ruling on Roe v. Wade, the federal Elections Threat Task Force, launched last year by the Dept. of Justice, seems to finally be taking at least some action in response to the thousands of violent threats made by rightwingers against election officials and poll workers following the last Presidential election.

Next, horse races...

During a U.S. Senate debate in Ohio on Monday night, Democratic candidate Rep. Tim Ryan called out his Republican opponent, author J.D. Vance, for running a fake non-profit charity to support opioid addicts; defending January 6 insurrectionists; and for giving up his "dignity" to Trump who said about Vance at a recent rally in Youngstown: "All you do is kiss my ass to get my support," before Vance went on to pose for pictures with the disgraced former President. "Ohio needs an ass-kicker, not an ass-kisser," said Ryan in response.

In Wisconsin's U.S.. Senate race, Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes was similarly ass-kicking in his debate against incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson. Barnes called out the Badger State GOPer for supporting the January 6 insurrection while claiming to support police, despite the serious injuries to more than 140 law enforcement officials that day. Barnes also made clear he would vote to codify the rights of Roe v. Wade into federal law, and made a very impressive showing against Johnson.

Both races are currently neck and neck, and are among at least five Senate races this year (along with Pennsylvania, North Carolina and even Florida) where Dems have real shots at flipping currently GOP-held seats from "red" to "blue". That, by way of contrast with Republicans who are looking at just two states (Nevada and Georgia), where they stand any real chance, generally speaking, of flipping a Senate seat from "blue" to "red" this year --- at least if you have any confidence in this year's pre-election polling.

Finally...

Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, underscoring, yet again, the stakes of this year's critical midterms following the devastation of Hurricane Ian in Florida; consequences of our worsening climate crisis around the world; and the Governor of California's new effort to hold Big Oil accountable for price gouging...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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