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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, June 16, 2024
Sunday 'Show' Toons
THIS WEEK: Two-Tiered Justice ... False Flags ... The Retribution Machine ... and much more in our latest collection of the week's best political toons!...
The Corrupt Anti-Abortion TX-to-SCOTUS Legal Mill Pipeline: 'BradCast' 6/13/24
Guest: Salon's Amanda Marcotte; Also: Dems outperform in OH Special Election; Brad gets COVID again goddammit...
'Green News Report' 6/13/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Heat wave coming to much of U.S., cooling systems can't keep up; Record rain from Sarasota to Spain to China; NY passes law to charge Big Oil for climate damage...
Previous GNRs: 6/11/24 - 6/6/24 - Archives...
Life With COVID
What goes around comes around. Again...
Hunter Biden's Conviction; Donald Trump's Weaponized Ignorance: 'BradCast' 6/11/24
Also: Biden rising; Fall of Alex Jones' corrupt empire; Phony '2000 Mules' doc pulled; More GOP voter fraud...
'Green News Report' 6/11/24
Big win for far-right in EU, climate action in crosshairs; NY Guv halts NYC congestion pricing; PLUS: Biden mileage rules save consumers money, combat climate change...
After Trump Verdict, GOPers Suddenly Warm to Voting for Felons: 'BradCast' 6/10/24
Listeners call in with explanations; Also: U.N. Security Council approves Biden's Israel/Hamas ceasefire plan; Europe moves toward far-right in EU elections...
Sunday 'Antifa' Toons
THIS WEEK: 80 Years Later ... Fascism Returns ... How Laws Work ... Summer Forecast ... And much more to be proud terrified of in our latest weekly collection...
'Green News Report' 6/6/24
Hottest 12 months ever; US Heat deaths hit new record in 2023; World's largest solar farm now online -- in China; PLUS: U.N. Sec.-Gen's warning to the world...
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: WI's John Nichols of 'The Nation'; Also: 2020 Team Trump attorneys lose again at SCOTUS; And a word on the 'victims' of Trump's decades-long NY real estate fraud...
By Brad Friedman on 2/20/2024 6:03pm PT  

Yesterday was a very good day for democracy in Wisconsin. On today's BradCast, we take a few minutes to celebrate. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We have been covering the GOP's autocratic takeover of the state following the 2010 elections for some 13 years at this point. After the 2010 Census, state Republicans implemented one of the most extreme gerrymanders in the nation at both the legislative (state Senate and Assembly) level as well as for their U.S. House districts.

The gerrymanders were so extreme that, despite Democrats winning 14 of the past 17 statewide elections in the Badger State, Republicans have maintained super-majority or near super-majority control of both chambers of the Legislature for more than a decade. Meanwhile, WI's 8-seat U.S. House delegation includes just 2 Democrats in the very closely divided Presidential battleground state.

With no fear of losing their legislative majorities, Republicans ran wild. They stripped labor unions of their right to collective bargaining, loosened gun safety laws, suppressed voters, etc. over the past decade. But, as of last year, everything finally began to change when voters finally won back a progressive majority on the state Supreme Court. The day after the liberals 4 to 3 majority was seated, voters filed a challenge to the Constitutionality of the state's legislative gerrymanders and they won. The Court ordered that new maps must be drawn up in time for the 2024 elections.

On Monday, after declaring, "Folks, it's a new day in Wisconsin, and today is a beautiful day for democracy," the state's Democratic Governor Tony Evers signed legislation adopted by the gerrymandered Assembly and House last week, approving new fairer legislative maps that Evers' office itself had drawn up for the state. Those maps will now take effect for this year's elections and democracy may, at long last, be at least partially restored to the Badger State.

We're joined today by our old friend, longtime Wisconsin native and progressive journalist and author, JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation, to discuss all of this very good news --- not for Democrats, per se, but for voters and democracy itself.

"The Republicans tried everything" to prevent this from happening, he tells me. "They threatened to impeach one of the Supreme Court justices. They tried all sorts of stunts." But, on the verge of the high court handing down its own maps, which would arguably have been worse for Republicans, "the very wily Speaker of the State Assembly, Robin Vos, decided he had no options, so he passed the Governor's maps."

Those maps, notes Nichols, are "not a particularly good set of maps for Democrats. In fact, Democrats have a little hill to climb in order to win." He explains, however, that "if it's a good year for the Republicans, it's very likely the Republicans are going to control the legislature. If it's a good year for the Democrats, there's a decent chance that Democrats will control the legislature." That, of course, is how representative democracy is supposed to work, after all.

As Evers declared before signing the measure on Monday: "When I promised I wanted fair maps --- not maps that are better for one party or another, including my own --- I damn well meant it." He added, "Wisconsin is not a red state or a blue state --- we’re a purple state, and I believe our maps should reflect that basic fact."

Interestingly enough, Democrats in the Legislature voted against the Democratic Governor's maps...before celebrating their adoption. We discuss why. But, Nichols also notes this bottom line: "If the Democrats take both chambers of the legislature" this year with the Democratic Evers in the Governor's mansion, "they will be able to, in a matter of weeks, reverse" more than a decade of GOP power grabs and union stripping, not to mention the state's 1849 anti-abortion law and much more. "Every disappointment that Democrats have had over the last twelve, thirteen years could be undone," Nichols argues, and almost as quickly as Republicans implemented their regressive policies (even while they had to bulldoze the rule of law to do so.)

"Look to Michigan," advises Nichols. "Because Wisconsin is still in process. Wisconsin is still struggling to get there. Michigan got there. They got independent redistricting which drew fair maps after the 2018 election. In 2022 they had fair maps, finally, after a long process. They elected a Democratic state assembly [and] a Democratic state senate. On Tuesday, the laws officially went on the books eliminating their anti-labor 'right-to-work' law, expanding collective bargaining rights for teachers and graduate students, restoring all sorts of wage protections for construction workers. Michigan has now gone --- just a couple of years ago --- from being one of the more anti-labor states in the northern part of the country to having probably the best, or very close to the best, labor laws in the country. That's what you get when you don't give up. You get to actually transform it."

We also discuss who gets credit for this long-fought win in WI, from the state's indefatigable Democratic Party Chair Ben Wikler who declared on Monday that "the long, dark night of ultra-partisan gerrymandering is over, and a new day for democracy now dawns in the Badger State," to the progressive grassroots activists who, says Nichols, deserve "the most credit."

And the lesson for other states to take from Wisconsin, as litigation continues in more than a dozen of them over both legislative and the U.S. House districts (including in WI, where that gerrymander could also soon be ended by the state Supreme Court): "Don't give up," urges Nichols, echoing the words, by the way, of the late Russian dissident Alexei Navalny.

ALSO TODAY:

  • The U.S. Supreme Court rejects an appeal from Trump attorneys Sidney Powell and six others, of the $150,000 in legal sanctions they were forced by a judge to pay for abusing the court system in Detroit via Powell's sham, post-2020 "Kraken" lawsuit, challenging the results of MI's election that year.
  • A bedtime story to help you understand the propaganda now coming from Trump supporters claiming there were "no victims" in the New York civil lawsuit against Trump and his company and two eldest sons for inflating the value of their assets to the tune of more than $2 billion each year over the past 11, to receive better rates on bank loans and lower taxes. Last Friday, NY Superior Court Judge Arthur Engoron ruled [PDF] Trump and his eldest sons must pay nearly $400 million in penalties for their decades-long fraud.
  • And finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, to bunk our high over all of today's good news (as usual!) with some chilling reports on Florida's disappearing coral reefs; the plastics industry's 50-year recycling scam, and nearly half of the world's migratory species now in decline thanks to climate change, according to a new U.N. report...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Success would offer a fair shot at flipping state legislative seats, but leave Republicans' gerrymandered U.S. House delegation in place...
UPDATED: Court orders responsive brief; Gerrymandered legislature threatens impeachment...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/14/2023 9:35am PT  

Elections have consequences.

Recently, in "The Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn", we described how the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court's corrupt, right-wing "radicals in robes" last year to overturn the Constitutional right to an abortion led directly to the election of pro-choice Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz "by 11 percentage points, a huge margin in a narrowly divided state," as The New York Times described it.

On Aug. 1, the new Justice was seated, thereby flipping the WI's Supreme Court from a 4-3 right-wing majority to a 4-3 liberal majority for the first time in more than 15 years.

The very next day, on Aug. 2, state voters filed a Petition [PDF] directly with the WI Supreme Court. In Clarke v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, petitioners seek to break the chains of the GOP's 12-year entrenched control in both Houses of the Badger State legislature --- control that was and is the product of what petitioners allege to be unlawful, extreme partisan gerrymandering.

Two days after that, a second Petition [PDF] (Wright v. Wisconsin Elections Commission) was also filed in the WI Supreme Court by a group of mathematicians and computer scientists. In addition to presenting essentially the same legal challenge, the Wright petitioners bolstered both cases with objective scientific evidence establishing that the 2011 and 2021 Wisconsin legislative maps are the product of unlawful gerrymandering.

Both petitions are based upon a scathing judicial dissent issued last year in Johnson v. Wisconsin Elections Commission. In their dissenting opinion, the Court's three liberal Justices --- then in the minority --- opined that the WI Supreme Court's right-wing majority usurped the constitutional functions of the Badger State's other branches. In Johnson, the Court's then-majority overrode Democratic Governor Tony Evers' veto of the 2021 gerrymander after Badger State Republicans in the Legislature failed to muster sufficient votes to override the Governor's veto on their own. Both petitions and the dissent identify multiple provisions within the WI Constitution that were violated by extreme partisan gerrymandering.

The Clarke Petition not only seeks to replace the partisan gerrymandered map with a fair map in time for next year's legislative elections but also seeks an emergency writ that would schedule a 2024 special election for all Badger State senators, including those whose terms would not otherwise expire until 2027. This is based upon the argument that all state Senators "lack legal entitlement to their office" because their respective offices are the product of unconstitutionally configured districts.

The Petitions, however, do not seek to redress Wisconsin's partisan gerrymandered Congressional map which helped hand Republicans six of the Badger State's eight seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, in a state where almost all statewide seats are now held by Democrats and where Joe Biden won in 2020...

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Guest: Author and 'REDMAP' gerrymandering expert David Daley; Also: Lawyers hate Trump; Dems to boycott Barrett vote?; Federal court allows TX to reject mail-in ballots without contacting voters...
By Brad Friedman on 10/21/2020 6:56pm PT  

There's a lot to digest on today's BradCast, so I'll try to keep this teaser brief so you can just listen. [Audio link to show is posted below summary.]

First up, it turns out lawyers really don't like Donald Trump, even the ones he actually pays millions to work for him. In Congress, Dems vow "no more business as usual" on Amy Coney Barrett's nomination, but how much are they actually able to do about it? We may be about to find out.

And, as if it wasn't difficult enough to vote safely --- or at all --- in Texas amid the pandemic (or even before the pandemic!), still more vote suppression has just been ordered there by the radical rightwing judges on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal.

A ruling like the one they've just issued to allow mail-in ballots to be rejected based on perceived signature mismatches (as adjudicated by non-handwriting experts) without contacting voters first to allow them to cure any perceived problems, is the type of voter suppression that might have been blocked in advance by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act before it was gutted by the GOP-majority U.S. Supreme Court in 2013, in the infamous Shelby County case.

That ruling of a piece of with Karl Rove and the GOP's "Plot for Permanent Minority Rule", as expertly detailed by our guest today, author and FairVote.org Senior Fellow DAVID DALEY in his new must-read cover story for The New Republic this month. Daley unspools the full story of how the unlikely Republican voting rights hero, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), partnered with Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and voting rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) in 2006 to ensure the re-authorization of the VRA in full for 25 more years. Sensenbrenner held a dozen hearings with nearly 50 witnesses as Chair of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, in order to compile some 12,000 pages of recent, compelling evidence of racially-based voter suppression that supported the need to extend the then 40-year old landmark civil rights law.

But that was before Karl Rove's successful scheme to gain GOP control of state legislatures in 2010 after that year's Census, in order to gerrymander "democracy" within an inch of its life for the entire next decade. And it was before the Republican SCOTUS majority ignored Sensenbrenner's work on the VRA entirely --- and a bipartisan 98-0 vote in the U.S. Senate to extend the Act --- in order to gut it.

The nation has been paying a very steep price ever since. Republicans in gerrymandered districts in Congress and state legislatures no longer worry about working and compromising with Democrats. Their only concern became primary challenges from the Right. So the party moved ever farther in that direction until arriving where we are today, when the idea of fixing the now-gutted VRA has become unthinkable --- just a few short years after it was re-authorized by a Republican House, Senate and President. The scheme also allowed opportunists like Donald Trump to take advantage of the lost protections for voting rights in gerrymandered state after gerrymandered state, which continues to haunt America's hobbled democracy today.

Daley discusses how all of this came about, how --- and if --- it can be corrected, and how he was able to get so many Republicans who now regret building the "Frankenstein monster that has devoured our politics" to speak on the record about those regrets --- as regular Americans pay an unspeakable price for it all.

"This was not caused by Donald Trump. It did not start with him," Daley tells me. "The fight over the vote has been deeply entwined in this nation ever since the founding of this nation. But these battles did not start in 2016. They will not end on Election Day 2020. And there is a real, deeply embedded, [GOP] minority rule that has been built atop a system that already advantaged Republicans geographically in the U.S. Senate and the Electoral College."

"This has been baked in to our politics for a long time. It's going to take a lot of time for us to get it out. This is a Census year. This is a redistricting year. So state legislatures and the next decade of maps are on the line again," he cautions. So, please VOTE and remember to vote ALL THE WAY DOWN THE BALLOT THIS YEAR! "There are more of us than there are of them," Daley notes, "but there are more of them on the Supreme Court than us, and that's a big, big problem."

And if that sounds like a heavy show, don't worry! Mel Brooks is here at the end to help calm your anxiety --- and mine --- just a little bit...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Former insurance exec Richard 'RJ' Eskow; Also: More Early Voting probs for L.A. County's new, unverifiable e-voting systems...
By Brad Friedman on 2/25/2020 5:54pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A former insurance exec says Medicare for All is better than even the best union healthcare plans, more problems with L.A. County's new, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems ahead of next Tuesday's Super Tuesday, and Desi Doyen "celebrates" another birthday...

First up, financial markets continued to plummet on Tuesday after a senior official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) --- which Donald Trump has been gutting and/or attempting to gut since taking office --- announced Americans should prepare for the spread of the Coronavirus, declaring "It's not so much a question of if this will happen any more, but ... when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness."

At the same time, with that cheery news, the Democratic Presidential primary campaign moves forward after Bernie Sanders' landslide win at the Nevada Caucuses on Saturday, with many members of the Party establishment concerned about the likelihood of his nomination. One of their concerns is Sanders' decades-long campaign to establish healthcare as a right, not a privilege, in the U.S., as illustrated by his Medicare for All (M4A) proposal. That plan, and its end to private health insurance in the U.S., was the source of concern by leadership of NV's powerful Culinary Union before the caucuses last week. Its members, however, according to Entrance Polling, were strong supporters of Sanders, a longtime champion for the labor movement, on caucus day nonetheless.

At issue with Sanders' (and Elizabeth Warren's) M4A proposal is the fear of the loss of top-flight, hard-earned health care benefits for the Culinary Union workers. The union has negotiated one of the nation's best health care programs, with leadership worried about losing those benefits under M4A. It's a fear shared by many Americans who are nervous about the prospect of losing their existing private health care coverage, while being misinformed about how the program would actually work.

RICHARD "RJ" ESKOW, however, a former insurance executive turned political columnist, policy analyst and host of The Zero Hour, argues this week in an detailed analysis at The Intercept that, while the Culinary Union's plan is top notch, Medicare For All would actually be even better for them in many ways. He joins us today to explain why he finds that not only those union members would be better off under Sanders' plan if passed as currently proposed, but so would all Americans.

Eskow details his analysis of that union's very good health plan --- which, he tells me, "makes it a perfect test case, in a sense, for comparing Medicare For All to the best plans --- and how M4A would still be better. "My hat's off to the Culinary Union and to the workers, who went on strike and fought for years to get this plan, in the current environment we have now. It's just about as good a plan as you're going to see," Eskow says. "It's well ahead of most other plans, private insurance plans, private employer plans, whether they are union or otherwise. It's really one of the best." Nonetheless, he argues, after detailing all of the excellent benefits for those workers, "Medicare For All gives better benefits."

He also goes on to answer many questions that skeptics and/or critics of universal single-payer coverage --- from both the Left and the Right --- likely have.

Also today, we look forward, again, toward the crucial South Carolina Democratic Presidential Primary on Saturday and concerns about the state's new, 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems that all voters will be forced to use at the polls (despite myriad failed elections on similar equipment made by the same vendor, ES&S, the nation's largest.) And I've got a correction about a point I made on this topic on yesterday's show.

Then, we look again at more failures already revealing themselves here in L.A. County in advance of the March 3rd Super Tuesday Primary --- just three days after South Carolina --- in California and more than a dozen other states. Problems with L.A.'s brand-new, 100% unverifiable, $300,000,000 touchscreen voting systems surfaced over the weekend on the first day of Early Voting last Saturday, when several Voting Centers in the County were unable to open for hours, as equipment problems left workers unable to set up the new, complicated, Internet-connected computer pollbooks and voting systems.

Those problems continued on Monday, as reported by CBS2-LA's David Goldstein last night. He followed up his earlier investigative report on the new systems several weeks ago (in which I was featured) with another report on Monday night, finding Voting Centers still down in some areas, with one poll worker seen examining the system's user manual for clues and another bemoaning the idle voting systems: "They're not working because the router....we're waiting for AT&T to come," she says.

Oh, brother. 1,000 of these new Voting Centers with all new equipment, replacing 5,000 community precincts used for decades in L.A., are all supposed to be up and running by next Tuesday. Though, even if the new VSAP ("Voting Solutions for All People") systems work as designed, the results of next Tuesday's election will still be 100% unverifiable after the polls close.

Finally, Birthday Girl Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with her usual mix of bad news, very bad news, and some actually good news! It's also her birthday! So, to make up for the fact that she has to work today, all donations to BradBlog.com/Donate are going to her this week! Please consider cheering her up by pitching in!...

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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With Trump's own intel agencies warning of election hacks and the White House contradicting them, disturbing new revelations of voting system vulnerabilities may help explain a 2011 BRAD BLOG exclusive report...
By Brad Friedman on 7/19/2018 6:43pm PT  

As noted at the top of today's BradCast, it's worth buckling up before listening. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We begin, gently enough, with the news of California's Supreme Court temporarily nixing a billionaire's statewide initiative from this November's ballot which, if adopted, would split the state into three. We explain why the Court removed the measure, for now, thanks to a challenge by an environmental group.

Then, with Donald Trump's own Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, warning this past week that "the system is blinking red" in a way that hasn't been seen since just before the 9/11 attacks, the multiple and ever-changing positions by the President of the United States in recent days, regarding whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election and is actively doing so in advance of the 2018 midterms, is all the more head-spinning. Coats was referencing warning signs being reported by U.S. intelligence agencies regarding ongoing attacks and intrusions on America's critical infrastructure --- including our wildly vulnerable electoral systems.

Moreover, new reporting on Trump being read into explicit source details weeks before he was inaugurated in early 2017 regarding Russia's alleged 2016 election intrusion measures, make his ongoing denials, ever-changing positions, and dizzying White House spin to explain them all following Monday's summit with Putin in Helsinki, all the more bewildering. Nonetheless, his own intelligence apparatus and appointees continue to contradict the President, even as the GOP-controlled Congress fails to take any substantive action to either place a check on Trump or even to help protect this November's crucial elections.

At the same time, after the FBI informed Maryland just days ago that its entire election system was being hosted on a private commercial server said to be owned by a Russian oligarch tied to Putin (as discussed in detail on yesterday's BradCast), we learn this week that the top U.S. election system vendor, ES&S, has been lying about remote access software and modems installed, for many years, on systems still used by a majority of U.S. voters.

The new revelations may help explain an exclusive special report published by The BRAD BLOG back in 2011, with an officially-commissioned independent analysis finding that, among other concerns, Venango County, Pennsylvania's ES&S election management system had been accessed by an unknown and unauthorized computer for "several hours" from a remote location. As we reported at the time, ES&S and the County's Board of Commissioners went to considerable lengths, after those revelations, to block a further, independent forensic analysis of the system.

And now, perhaps, we may know why. Kim Zetter reports this week at Vice's Motherboard that the company lied to her and New York Times' fact-checkers earlier this year in advance of her February article at the paper on the inclusion of modems and pcAnywhere remote access software included with the election management systems sold to customers from 2000 to 2006. After previously insisting the company had no "knowledge that our voting systems have ever been sold with remote-access software", ES&S reversed itself in a letter to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, she reports. But they have refused to respond to the Senator's subsequent follow-up queries or to appear at recent Senate hearings on U.S. election system vulnerabilities.

As Zetter details, pcAnywhere was found to include multiple and serious vulnerabilities over the years, which would have allowed unauthorized intruders to change election results with little chance of detection. Moreover, she explains, many questions remain about why ES&S lied, which jurisdictions around the nation may still feature the same, easily-exploitable flaws, and about electronic voting and tabulation systems manufactured by the nation's other top vendors, believed by expert to likely have included similar remote-access vulnerabilities.

All of that (and more, including our latest Green News Report), just over three months out from this November's midterm elections. Told you to buckle up...

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Guests: SC GOP activist Frank Heindel and attorney Larry Schwartzol; Also: New Senate bill finally calls for HAND-MARKED paper ballots...
By Brad Friedman on 7/13/2018 6:44pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: On the eve of Donald Trump's scheduled Monday summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dept. of Justice Special Counsel Robert Mueller brought eleven new felony charges against twelve Russian military intelligence officials on Friday. They were charged with various crimes related to cyber-interference in the 2016 Presidential election. And, a bi-partisan federal lawsuit is filed in South Carolina in hopes of finally terminating the state's easily-hacked, repeatedly-failed, 100% unverifiable voting system. [Audio link to show follows at end of article.]

The Russian military officials cited in today's indictment [PDF] relates to hacking into and stealing documents from the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign, and releasing them to the public in hopes of manipulating the election. The charges also relate to attacks against state and county election officials and a voter registration company where email spearphishing schemes are said to have implanted malware onto the computer networks in question.

The new indictment does not allege any Americans knew of the hacking scheme detailed by Mueller, though it notes that Trump's public July 2016 call for Russia to find and release "missing" personal Hillary Clinton emails was followed by attacks, "for the first time", on an Internet domain used by her personal office.

While the filing details at least one state voter registration system where some 500,000 private records were accessed, it does not allege that voting results were manipulated (although the DHS admitted last year they never examined either ballots or voting systems.) During Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's announcement of the new charges, he also excoriated partisan and media speculation regarding the probe, as well as attacks (presumably by Congressional GOPers and Trump) on the FBI itself.

Meanwhile, much media coverage was given on Thursday to the insanely chaotic ten-hour long U.S. House hearing featuring testimony by Peter Strzok, the top FBI counter-intelligence specialist who initially led the investigation into Russian interference back in 2016. At the same time, a hearing in the U.S. Senate this week on safeguarding our election infrastructure received little or not coverage. Today, we try to correct that a bit, with some of the testimony offered by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), sponsor of a new election reform bill in the Senate --- the Protecting American Votes and Elections (PAVE) Act --- which is the only one that would require a HAND-MARKED paper ballot for every voter in the U.S. His testimony calls out ES&S, the nation's largest computer voting system vendor, for failing to show up for the hearing or answer any of his basic cyber-security questions he's sent to the company over the past year.

Then, after more than a decade of failed elections on the 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting systems used across the state of South Carolina --- including the still-remarkable and still-unexplained story of Alvin Greene, the completely unknown, unemployed man who somehow managed to win the state's 2010 Democratic U.S. Senate primary without campaigning at all, against a longtime, well-known state legislator and circuit court judge --- a lawsuit was filed this week in federal court to force the state to offer a secure system to voters.

The complaint [PDF] was filed on behalf of two plaintiffs. One, a former eight-term Democratic state legislator, the other a longtime Republican Freedom of Information Act champion and election critic in the Palmetto State. The Republican plaintiff, FRANK HEINDEL, and attorney LARRY SCHWARTZTOL, of the non-partisan, non-profit ProtectDemocracy.org, join me to explain the lawsuit, Heindel's years of work attempting to oversee state elections (and their accompanying disasters), and whether the new complaint might make any difference in the state before this year's crucial 2018 midterms.

"I've just always been skeptical of the 'black box' mentality where you go in and you just trust the machine, and there's no way to verify the results," Heindel explains. "I've just never really trusted that system. I've tried to push us towards a more paper-based way to vote, and it's taken many years here, but I'm starting to get a little optimistic that the worm has turned and we're going to make some progress."

"You need a system where the winner knows that he won, the loser knows that he lost, and everybody knows that their votes were cast and counted directly. We don't have that today," he tells me. The longtime businessman has spent the last decade or more filing some 47 FOIA requests attempting to personally investigate election results and related problems in the state. (We've been following Heindel's efforts for years. You can watch part of Dan Rather's 2010 report on Heindel, right here.)

The longtime litigator Schwartztol, for his part, explains: "What we're arguing for in the lawsuit is to replace that system with one that meets basic, common-sense principles. Secure in its basic architecture against cyber-attacks. The main way to do that, most people agree, is a pretty simple one. And that's building a system around paper ballots, that can be verified, that can be audited, that can be the subject of a recount if that's necessary."

"What we describe in the lawsuit is a voting system that contains unnecessary vulnerabilities and that is not sufficiently reliable to do the work," he adds. "The work of ensuring that votes are accurately recorded and counted."

He lauds the state's election commission chair, Marci Andino (one of the suits defendants), for stating her desire to move to a new system, but is critical of the claim that it would require $50 million to do so. A paper ballot system he says, citing a recent report from NYU's Brennan Center for Justice, would cost much less. He also tells me that one of the solutions they hope to pursue in the case, potentially before November, is the use of the state's absentee paper ballot system that could be used for all voters this year.

"You saw today where Rosenstein was saying that the Russians had sent phishing emails to various state and county folks," notes Heindel. "Our county election people, they're hard-working and they mean well, but I can get tricked on a phishing email. The idea that we have state and county election people that are trying to fend off sophisticated attacks from foreign adversaries, it's crucial that we get our arms around this thing, and get to paper sooner rather than later."

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Guest: David Daley of FairVote.org on 'Gill v. Whitford'; Plus: Updates on the disaster in Puerto Rico, gun massacre in Las Vegas...
By Brad Friedman on 10/4/2017 6:28pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the future of American democracy itself is once again in the hands of a now-stolen U.S. Supreme Court, in what democracy advocates describe as a case that is likely to help determine the partisan balance of Congress and state legislatures for decades.

But, first up today: Updates on Donald Trump's embarrassing Tuesday jaunt to hurricane-torn Puerto Rico, where the official death toll has now doubled from 16 to 34 and is expected to go much higher as 3.4 million U.S. citizens on the island still face desperate circumstances with food and water shortages and 95% of the island remains without power two weeks after Hurricane Maria (despite Trump's bizarre claims to the contrary.) Also, a few updates on what little more we now know about the massacre in Las Vegas on Sunday, the lack of a known motive for the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, and the shamefully transparent attempts by both the White House and Congressional Republicans to avoid any legislative policy action in its wake.

Then we move on to what democracy advocates describe as one of the most important cases to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in years. Oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford were heard on Tuesday. That is the case where a three-judge federal court determined the state of Wisconsin had used severe (and secret) partisan gerrymandering to redraw district maps after the 2010 census. In so doing, despite receiving a minority of votes (48.6%) after the new maps were drawn, Republicans gained an extraordinary 60-to-39 majority in the State Assembly.

The GOP is now appealing that federal court ruling to SCOTUS, which has held racial gerrymandering to be unconstitutional in the past, but has never ruled on whether purely partisan gerrymandering, as in this case, violates the Constitutional rights of voters.

We're joined by the man who wrote the book on modern-day gerrymandering, DAVID DALEY, author of Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy. Daley, formerly Editor-in-Chief at Salon, now Senior Fellow at at FairVote.org, spent the night on the sidewalk outside the Court on Monday, to get one of 50 seats at Tuesday's hearing.

He explains how high the stakes are in this case (which could result in court challenges to electoral maps in virtually every state in the union), the arguments presented by both sides in the matter, and how everyone --- attorneys and Justices alike, were focused on making their case to Justice Anthony Kennedy, who will most likely determine the course of U.S. democracy for decades to come, thanks to the Republicans' stolen 5 to 4 majority on the Supreme Court itself.

"This case is everything," Daley tells me. "If this case is not decided on the side of democracy, on the side of competitive elections, there will be nothing to stop Republicans, who are likely to be holding the pens in all of these states in 2021 from doing the same thing, only with more sophisticated technology that's developed over the last decade, with better data analytic skills than they had in 2011, with stronger predictive algorithms to try to figure out where people are going to live and how they are going to vote for the next decade. It will be 2031 before Democrats get another shot at the maps if this case is decided the other way."

Daley sees the case now before the Supremes as "potentially bigger" than either 2010's Citizens United, which gutted campaign finance laws, or 2013's Shelby County, which gutted the Voting Rights Act. "This is the future of our democracy right here."

"Republicans reinvented the gerrymander in 2010 and 2011. This is not the same kind of gerrymander that you had 'back in the day.' This is different," he insists, as I press him on whether Democrats are carrying out the same type of partisan maps in states that they control. "This is space-age extreme gerrymandering on steroids. It has given Republicans huge advantages in all of these states that they control. Ohio, a very swing state, is represented by 12 Republicans and 4 Democrats. Michigan is 9-5, even though Democrats in 2012 got a quarter of a million more votes. These are 50-50 states and it has made our politics deeply uncompetitive. There's no swing in these swing districts. You have not had a single seat go from red to blue in any of those swing states. On these maps, no seats have gone from red to blue this entire decade."

Incredibly, the Republican Justices other than Kennedy seem to believe the matter should not be decided by the courts, but should be left to the same rigged legislatures which created this mess in the first place. "In Michigan, this last decade," he notes, "Democrats have gotten more total votes every time. Republicans have kept control. This is the case in state after state. They have enshrined this problem. We need the Court here to come in and fix democracy"...

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Guest: Jim Dean of Democracy for America; Also: Trump popularity keeps falling and BP springs another uncontrolled oil well leak...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2017 5:56pm PT  

On today's BradCast, with the world on pins-and-needles over the weekend, thermo-nuclear war has been averted on the Korean Peninsula --- at least for the moment. And voters in Georgia head to the polls again on Tuesday for a U.S. House special election, in which they have the opportunity, again, to express their opinions about our current President. [Audio link to full show is at end of article.]

No nuclear weapons, either by North Korea or the U.S., were fired off over a weekend of high tensions amid U.S. Navy battleships sent to the Korean Peninsula as North Korea prepared for their biggest holiday of the year over the weekend. In past years, NK has 'celebrated' by testing firing new missiles or nuclear weapons. This year, Kim Jong-Un did attempt to fire a missile, but it reportedly blew during the launch.

The failure was the latest in an unusual string of similarly failed tests in the isolated nation recently. So, are we now seeing the results of U.S. cyber-warfare, as reportedly launched against North Korea three years ago by President Obama? Administration sources have been dodgy over the weekend, but say they'd prefer something "short of a military option" if possible. That moderation in tone is a bit different than Trump's chest-thumping last week. And, in the meantime, today, he bashed his Democratic predecessors, Bill Clinton and Obama, for their policies in NK, though he failed to mention George W. Bush (on whose watch NK developed their nuclear weapons program in the first place!)

Trump's poll numbers continue to fall, particularly on whether Americans believe him to be someone who "keeps his promises". And, all of that may well be on the mind of voters as they head to the polls for another U.S. House special election on Tuesday in Georgia's 6th Congressional District. This one, to fill the seat vacated by Trump's Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

So, will Democrats have any better luck in picking off the seat from Republicans in Georgia than they did last week in Kansas? Both districts are heavily Republican, but unlike KS-4, which voted for Trump by nearly 30 points last November, he won GA-6 by just over a single percentage point. And, in GA, a popular young Democratic candidate, Jon Ossoff, has racked up a record amount of money for this House race, largely from grassroots activists. He is currently far ahead of a split field of Republicans in the unusual all-party primary, in which a candidate who wins more than 50% of the vote takes the House seat outright. Otherwise, he would go on to face the second place finisher in a June run-off.

Jim Dean, Chair of Democracy for America (the grassroots, progressive organization founded following his brother Howard Dean's Presidential run in 2004), joins us to explain DFA's endorsement of Ossoff and his chances on Tuesday, as well as to discuss his strong critique of the national Democratic Party for failing to adequately support the Dem candidate last week in Kansas.

"It's time we stood up for what we are," Dean tells me, referring to Democratic candidate James Thompson's run in Kansas last week, and Ossoff's in Georgia, as well as national party Democrats' fear of running as progressives. "When we do, we win. Especially at a time like this, when even Trump voters realize they're being marginalized."

"Real progressive candidates are the key to Democrats winning. 'Republican Lite' doesn't work. Real progressive candidates usually reflect the majority of values of America, particularly when it comes to issues that surround economic inequality. We think if you're a real progressive running anywhere, you've got a better shot at winning, even in West Virginia," he argues.

Dean also rings in with a thought or two on the 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems that Georgia is once again forcing on voters, even after the organization that programs all of them was said to have been hacked just last month. We also discuss next month's upcoming Special Election for the U.S. House in Montana, where Dems have put forward a popular and populist candidate, Rob Quist, and whether the DNC, in 2018, will finally return to its "50-state strategy" initially championed by his brother Howard when he ran the DNC --- and seemingly abandoned thereafter. On that front, Jim has both encouraging and not-so-encouraging news for progressives.

Finally, we close today with the latest on the BP oil well that sprung two leaks and has been spewing both crude oil and natural gas onto Alaska's North Slope near Prudhoe Bay since last Friday...

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Guest: VotePA's Marybeth Kuznik on insane 'recount' laws and 100% unverifiable voting systems in Pennsylvania
Also: What good are paper ballots if nobody can afford to actually count them?...
By Brad Friedman on 11/29/2016 5:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The newly insane cost for a "recount" in Wisconsin and the even more jaw-droppingly insane voting system and "recount" laws in Pennsylvania. [Audio link to today's show is posted below.]

Barriers against citizen oversight of 2016 Presidential election results continue, even as the campaign of the Green Party's Jill Stein works with tens of thousands of citizens to try and overcome them in three different states where she is seeking "recounts". (For the record, if you're wondering, The BRAD BLOG generally uses quotes around the word "recount" to denote post-election hand-counts of ballots which have never actually been counted by human beings, but rather, only tabulated by computers during the official tally. It's impossible to know whether those computers actually tallied votes accurately unless paper ballots are examined by hand.)

The WI Election Commission informed the Stein campaign (and independent candidate Rocky De La Fuente, who has also filed for a "recount" there) yesterday that she will have to pay $3.5 million to even begin counting paper ballots in the state. I've confirmed with her campaign that she intends to do so, even after state election officials had originally estimated the fees to be $1 million for a statewide recount. That, even as state law has recently changed to allow counties to use computers to "recount" ballots, rather than public hand-counts. As we've long reported, similar barriers are often erected to block citizen oversight of elections, begging the question again: What good are hand-marked paper ballots if nobody is actually allowed to count them?

But the situation is far worse in Pennsylvania, where voters in most of the state are forced to vote on 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems and the state's arcane "recount" statutes require tens of thousands of voters to file affidavits (3 in each precinct) asking for such counts.

Longtime election integrity champion and VotePA.us founder Marybeth Kuznik joins us with details on what is now going on in the Keystone state towards that end, and to help explain the insanity of the state's unverifiable voting systems and the near-incomprehensibility of its "recount" laws.

"Pennsylvania election law is so convoluted," she tells me, while explaining the requirements for three voters in each of the state's 9,163 precincts (that's 27,489 voters!) to file a complaint in order to have a statewide voter-initiated count. She also explains the second route towards such a count, which requires 100 voters to file in the Commonwealth Court.

In either case, since much of the state uses unverifiable touch-screens, there is often nothing at all to count, even if a count is allowed! "They'll print out the Election Night tapes. They'll bring out some sort of a printout from the central tabulator. Usually they just bring out results. They look at the precinct tape, they look at the precinct printout, they go 'Hmm, that looks the same to me!', and everything's good. That's the recount!," Kuznik explains. "The thing is, of course it's going to be 'good'. The same software that counted on Election Night and printed out that tape is what's counting and printing out this result paper that they compare. It's nuts. It's just crazy."

As you'll hear, it's even worse than I've described it here. But, that's how it still works (or doesn't) in PA, after all of these years, and even in light of a forensic analysis by computer scientists of just one PA county voting system in 2011, after vote-flips were reported and candidates received zero votes in several elections in heavily-Republican Venango County. (See our exclusive special report and documents here.) That landmark study found, among other disturbing things, as we reported at the time: "unexplained, out-of-sequence activity log entries in the computer tabulation system, indications that the system was mounted several times with a 'USB flash drive' device, and, perhaps most troubling, evidence that the system was repeatedly accessed by an unidentified remote computer, for lengthy periods of time, on 'multiple occasions.'"

Those same systems --- and even worse ones --- are still used today across the state in 2016, as the fate of the world relies on them. Yes, as we've been warning you for more than a decade: "It's just crazy."

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Guest: Palm Beach County, FL Election Supervisor Susan Bucher...
By Brad Friedman on 10/13/2016 6:22pm PT  

On today's BradCast, "this is not normal, this is not politics as usual", Michelle Obama declared. But, at least in Palm Beach County, FL, after last week's hurricane, the top election official says she's ready for whatever storm may be coming. [Audio to the complete show is linked below.]

I'm joined today by Susan Bucher, Palm Beach County, FL Supervisor of Elections, to discuss preparations for late voter registrations following Hurricane Matthew and what she suspects may be record turnout in Early and Election Day voting. She describes yesterday's court order to extend the registration period until October 18th as "a victory for all Floridians," and says that, despite the tight deadlines now before early voting begins on October 24th, her county is ready.

"We're a tough state, we're a tough county --- and we've been working overtime for a month to make sure we're ready for the big push. We opened our doors on the holiday on Monday. We were just slammed with lots of people all day. We opened early, we stayed late. All of our employees have been working overtime. We will get it done before early voting starts," she vows.

"Millennials now outnumber senior citizens and nearly half the voters under 30 are Latino or African-American," Bucher explains. "And, especially after the last debate, we saw a very large push of citizens out there. There are young people registering voters and bringing us stacks [of registrations] that are a foot deep. People are very anxious about this election. We have 880,000 voters and, let me tell you, I have never seen it so supercharged as I see it now. The last Presidential turnout was 70 percent. We're setting up for about 80-85 and maybe more."

Her county was, before she arrived eight years ago, made infamous for its Butterfly Ballot disaster during Florida's 2000 Presidential election debacle, one of the "original sins" leading us directly to the poisonous politics of the 2016 Presidential Election, as I detail once again on today's show. But Bucher says she ready, as we revisit more recent disasters in her county and state, such as Republican Governor Rick Scott's failed attempt to unlawfully purge thousands of legitimate voters from the rolls in 2012; the 6-hour long lines to vote that same year, after Scott cut the number of Early Voting days in half; and the paper ballot computer tabulators which incorrectly reported the results of three races in Palm Beach, declaring losing candidates to be "winners" back in 2010.

(Bucher tells me the software failures in those Sequoia tabulators have now been corrected in her county, but says she has many checks and balances in place, and is ready to go to court to get approval once again for hand-counting, if necessary, as she did in 2010 when she happened to notice the strange results. The state does not allow a hand-count of paper ballots without a court order. "It's unfortunate that it always takes court action with this Governor and this Secretary [of State] but if that's what works, then that's what we need to do," she tells me, going on to describe the recent conference call with the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security regarding concerns of hacks to voting and registration systems in the Sunshine State and elsewhere around the country.)

Meanwhile, in Georgia, as in Florida, voting rights groups filed suit to extend the voter registration deadline there as well, following mandatory evacuations over the final weekend of voter registration.

Also today, hear them roar: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) excoriates Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf for a lack of accountability, despite the announcement of his resignation after admitting fraudulent practices at the nation's largest bank. Then, Michelle Obama delivers a blistering speech condemning sexual harassment in the wake of Hurricane Trump, as an avalanche of women come forward to detail disturbing allegations against the Republican Presidential nominee. We offer an extended excerpt from her remarks at a New Hampshire rally today.

Finally: Desi Doyen, who also has a thought or two on Michelle's remarks and the allegations against Trump, brings us the latest, very busy, Green News Report...

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Guest: David Daley on his new book 'RatF**ked', on how the GOP 'stole' the U.S. House majority for a decade as Dems 'fell asleep at the wheel'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2016 4:35pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Where the Presidential race stands as we head into the debates and how an ingenious GOP scheme in 2010 may have served to undermine (small-d) democracy in the U.S. for a decade or more. [Audio link posted below.]

As Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump prepare to face off in their first Presidential debate, national polls are now, largely --- and amazingly --- a dead heat, with Trump beginning to take the lead in several key states that would give him the Presidency.

Meanwhile, as Dems struggle to hold on to the White House and fight long and longer odds to regain control of the U.S. Senate, a majority in the U.S. House, once again, remains seemingly out of grasp entirely for Democrats despite their candidates and policies being far more popular amongst the national electorate.

David Daley, until recently the Editor in Chief at Salon, now a Fellow at the University of Georgia's Grady School of Journalism, joins me on today's BradCast to discuss his new book, Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy. In it, Daley documents "Operation REDMAP", the insidious (and brilliant) Republican scheme carried out with a few million dollars and a handful of GOP operatives back in 2010 that succeeded in putting the U.S. House out of reach for Democrats for a decade --- while they were still celebrating their 2008 victory and barely paying attention to what Republicans were up to.

"It is nothing short of the most audacious political heist of our time," Daley tells me. "The Republican State Leadership Committee, they realize that 2008 might have been a wipe-out for the Republicans, but that did not matter if they could win in 2010. Because the census requires that you redraw every district line in every state legislature and in the Congress every ten years they came up with a brand new idea."

That successful idea in 2010 resulted in Democrats receiving 1.4 million more votes than Republicans for their U.S. House candidates in 2012, while still losing control of the chamber to Republicans by 33 seats. "The party completely fell asleep at the wheel," he says, allowing "an overwhelming avalanche of dark money and negative ads, into these small little towns" that would determine control of state legislatures, followed by an unprecedented computer-aided gerrymander of every GOP controlled state in the nation. That, in turn, led to the seemingly uncrackable Republican majority in the House that has served to bastardize so much of our national politics through today.

"The Democrats didn't have the imagination to come up with this idea," Daley argues. "It is entirely legal. However, it is also entirely and deeply undemocratic." The GOP came up with "a partisan hammer to take control and hold it," in what Daley describes as nothing short of a "political moneyball" plan that would "lock in partisan control of a chamber [of Congress] for a decade or more."

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GUEST: Current Affairs' Nathan J. Robinson...
By Brad Friedman on 2/29/2016 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast [audio link below], we examine the reported results of Hillary Clinton's huge victory over Bernie Sanders in South Carolina over the weekend: What do they mean? Can the results be "trusted"? Are corporate media such as NY Times and Washington Post misleading Americans about what the current numbers, including the Democratic Party delegate count, actually suggest?

Then, I'm joined by Current Affairs magazine editor Nathan J. Robinson to discuss his recent feature article which makes the case that "unless the Democrats run Sanders, a Trump nomination means a Trump Presidency".

Robinson, an attorney, Harvard PhD student and children's book author, offers one of the most persuasive arguments I've heard to date regarding the "electability" of Sanders versus Clinton --- at least under the presumption that Trump is to be the Republicans' standard-bearer.

"The problem with polls is that they are unable to foresee events that will occur in the future that will change the way people think," Robinson explains about perceived advantages that some see in Clinton's favor right now. "Things that happen in the campaign change people's opinions, make them more favorable to one candidate, less favorable to another."

The "key point" in Robinson's calculation: Donald Trump as the GOP nominee. "That is something that the Democrats need to start thinking when they ask all these questions about electability. 'What's going to happen? Who is going to be attacked and how?' They need to be thinking in terms that Donald Trump is likely to be the nominee."

While it's true the Right has been attacking Hillary for years --- something that Sanders has yet to face --- she has never come under the full withering force of Trump's particularly aggressive and personal campaign style, argues Robinson, who says he's not personally a fan of either Clinton or Sanders (or Trump, for that matter.) He details why he believes Clinton stands to be pulled under by Trump's onslaught, whereas Sanders stands a far greater chance of surviving the type of campaign that Trump has shown himself willing to wage against his Republican opponents.

We discuss what is likely to happen in both a Trump v. Sanders and Trump v. Clinton race, how Democrats who are focused on the inevitable attacks from the Right against Sanders as a "Socialist!" may be missing a much larger concern, and how all of this calculus completely changes if someone other than Trump somehow manages to win the GOP nomination.

Finally, the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has already had a profound effect on the Court. On Friday, Dow Chemical dropped their planned SCOTUS appeal of a $1 billion judgment against them, citing the "increased...likelihood for unfavorable outcomes for business involved in class action suits." And, today, Justice Clarence Thomas spoke up to ask questions during oral arguments at the Court for the first time in 10 years!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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GUEST: Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center
PLUS: More reminders of impossible e-voting results in advance of SC and NV; Happy anniversary, Justice Kennedy!; Happy anniversary, 'Green News Report'!...
By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2016 5:09pm PT  

On today's BradCast, hate is on the rise in the U.S., for some reason; More reminders of impossible e-voting results in advance of SC and NV; And, we mark two important anniversaries. [Audio link for the program follows below.]

First up, on this day in 1988, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was sworn in after the Republican nominee was unanimously approved by a Democratic-majority U.S. Senate...during an Election Year, and with the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor calls on Republicans to "get on with it".

Then, another reminder --- before this weekend's Democratic Nevada Caucuses and 100% unverifiable Republican South Carolina Primary --- of electronic election results that remain impossible to explain, including the conservative Texas Supreme Court Justice who reportedly received ZERO votes in one county back in 2006, after winning that same county by huge margins in both 2002 and 2004. (See our 2006 coverage of Steve Smith's eventually aborted election challenge back here. And see how this group of Bernie Sanders supporters is hoping to help oversee the results by filming the caucuses in Nevada.) Oh, and there was also that time in 2000 when Al Gore was credited with receiving NEGATIVE 16,022 votes on a paper ballot optical-scan system in Volusia County, FL.

Next up, we are joined by Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to discuss the disturbing rise in domestic hate groups in the U.S., after several years of decline. We talk about both the numbers and reasons --- and what Donald Trump and the Internet have to do with it all --- from Potok's new report on "The Year in Hate and Extremism".

It's a fascinating discussion in which Potok explains how the SPLC defines "hate groups" --- including rightwing extremists as well as black separatists --- which saw an overall 14% spike in their 2015 numbers. Also on the rise were so-called "Patriot" movement groups, though they are not (necessarily) included among the "haters".

"Probably the unique thing that happened in the last year," Potok tells me, "was the just astounding extent to which people like Donald Trump were willing to directly inject really Rightwing extremist poison into the political mainstream. Some of the things Trump has said, we really haven't seen the likes of in many, many decades."

Potok notes that with the GOP frontrunner's outrageous claims about immigrants and Muslims, similar rhetoric from extremist groups now "seems more normal to people. They don't seem quite as far out. After all, if Donald Trump thinks Muslims shouldn't be allowed in this country, what's wrong with joining a group that says Muslims are involved in a conspiracy to destroy the rest of us?"

We also discuss the difference in media coverage and political rhetoric concerning Islamic terrorism versus Rightwing domestic terrorism in the U.S., as well as how the Black Lives Matter movement and legalization of same-sex marriage over the past year has seemingly terrified many on the Right who feel that "their white privilege is being taken away from them...stok[ing] rage on the part of whites who feel that this is somehow part of their birthright."

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our 7th Anniversary Green News Report (our 690th GNR episode!) with both disturbing and encouraging news for the planet. And, if you can help us to continue connecting the climate change dots for yet another seven years, like almost nobody else in the media, we'd greatly appreciate it! Please consider making a DONATION RIGHT HERE and it'll be an even happier anniversary, indeed!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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GUEST: Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Corynne McSherry...
By Brad Friedman on 2/17/2016 5:57pm PT  

On today's BradCast, a whole bunch of stuff that's been happening that isn't related to the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia --- and an item or two that are. [As usual, the audio link for the complete show is at the bottom of this article.]

First up, we catch up with the upcoming primaries and caucuses in Nevada and South Carolina with a look at the current polls on both the Republican and Democratic sides (some of which, if accurate, is quite surprising!) All of which offers another swell excuse to remind you about the oft-failed, easily-hackable, 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems that will, incredibly enough, once again be in use across South Carolina this year.

That, despite the infamous 2010 election in SC which resulted in a guy who nobody had ever heard of (Alvin Greene) --- a 32-year old man who did not campaign, had no campaign website, had no job, didn't even own a cell phone --- somehow being named the winner of the state's Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate! Somehow, as we covered in great detail at the time, he managed to "defeat" a popular former Circuit Court Judge named Vic Rawl (who did campaign across the entire state!) in the bargain.

Those same failed machines will once again be in use, not only in SC for this Presidential Election year, but also in many other states as well, including Ohio where some are reportedly failing already. In Lee County, FL, in the meantime, a candidate for Supervisor of Elections and a cybersecurity expert are now being investigated by state officials after the pair released a YouTube video showing how easy it was to hack into the main County Elections website server.

And, speaking of hacking, we are joined today by Corynne McSherry, Legal Director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), to explain the debate over Apple's challenge to a federal court order requiring the company to break their own secure encryption technology in order, supposedly, to help the U.S. Government in their investigation of last December's horrific San Bernardino massacre.

McSherry explains why EFF supports Apple's position here and opposes the "quite extraordinary" pressure by the Federal magistrate to force private companies to give the U.S. Government special, backdoor access to otherwise secure software systems. In this case, it is one of the shooter's iPhone's that law enforcement officials are still unable to unlock.

"I don't know about you, but I don't have a tremendous amount of trust in the government's ability to make sure that that backdoor that Apple builds for them is kept secure. We know that government databases are hacked all the time," she tells me. "There's sort of this notion that you can just have a golden key and only good guys will use it. That's not how it works in practice. Ask any security expert and they will tell you. Once you build it, it will be used for nefarious purposes as well as laudable purposes."

McSherry believes it is no accident that federal officials are using the very high-profile San Bernardino case to try and set their precedent. "I don't think they chose this particular phone accidentally. I think that they chose this to be the case because they're hoping that people will be distracted from the very real thing that's happening here, which is that this is the first time that a company will be required --- required --- to build code in order to assist law enforcement to build a back door. That's really the precedent that the government is after here."

Listen below to the entire fascinating conversation and, yes, a bit more on Scalia and why he was down at that wealthy businessman's ranch for a free vacation over the weekend in the first place...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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