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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Media Industry Confronting 'Full Extinction Event': 'BradCast' 3/31/20
Guest: Buzzfeed News Media Editor Craig Silverman; Also: Grim virus numbers, tragically failed Presidency, faint but clear signs of hope...
'Green News Report' 3/31/20
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump kills Obama's mileage standards; EPA stops enforcement of pollution laws during coronavirus crisis; Plastics industry sees profit in pandemic; PLUS: Earth Day 2020 looms...
Previous GNRs: 3/26/20 - 3/24/20 - Archives...
OH's New Primary Scheme Shows How to NOT Handle This Crisis: 'BradCast' 3/30/20
Also: Good news and bad on COVID-19; Trump says the quiet part about voter suppression out loud; and more calls from the Coronaverse...
Sunday 'Worse Than the Problem Itself' Toons
We're open for business! Come on in and binge read PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best toons!...
Free Medicine in the Corona Zone: 'BradCast' 3/27/20
Guest host Nicole Sandler with insurance whistleblower Wendell Potter; Also: Some VERY much needed laughs!...
WI, GA Still Suppressing Votes, Even During COVID-19 Crisis: 'BradCast' 3/26/20
More states postpone primaries; WI refuses to delay April 7 vote; GA SoS up to old tricks; Historic jobless claims amid pandemic...
'Green News Report' 3/26/20
  w/ Brad & Desi
Good news and bad for energy in stimulus bill; Even COVID-19 can't stop Trump's rollbacks; PLUS: Federal court win for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe over Dakota Access Pipeline...
Previous GNRs: 3/24/20 - 3/19/20 - Archives...
$2 Trillion Coronavirus Bill Proves It's Not About Lack of Money: 'BradCast' 3/25/20
Guest: Economist Stephanie Kelton on 'The Deficit Myth' and why we can't have nice things; Also: What's in the record spending bill; Guvs dismissing our idiot President...
The President Should Not Be Worse Than the Disease: 'BradCast' 3/24/20
Guest: David Dayen on stimulus/bailout, Trump's deadly lies; Also: India's lockdown; NY screams for help; Dems stay united against WH/GOP bailout 'slush fund' scheme...
'Green News Report' 3/24/20
Coronavirus and air pollution; Locust swarms spread; Midwest to see major flooding in spring; PLUS: CA's largest utility co. guilty of involuntary manslaughter...
Calls From the Coronaverse:
'BradCast' 3/23/20
News headlines and then, most importantly, live callers -- some of them heartbreaking -- on The BradCast, your 'Stay-at-Home' Radio Companion...
Sunday 'Roll Models' Toons
Once again, PDiddie hordes the best of this week's political toons in his latest collection...
Can Trump Cancel the 2020 Election?: 'BradCast' 3/20/20
Guest: Mark Joseph Stern on that and pandemic affects on immigration, prisons, Judiciary; Also: 'Stay-at-home' mandates; Mask shortages; Socialist Trump unglued...
'Green News Report' 3/19/20
Crashing oil prices; Melting ice caps and rising sea levels; Demands for climate action in coronavirus bailout bill; PLUS: Perverse COVID-19 silver linings...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Guest: Economist Stephanie Kelton on 'The Deficit Myth' and why we can't have nice things; Also: What's in the bill? Who's now holding it up? And how Governors are dismissing our idiot President...
By Brad Friedman on 3/25/2020 6:45pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Avery important lesson from the coronavirus crisis for progressives and for all Americans that I hope we are all able to remember once this crisis has finally ended. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of article. Please click it!]

Britain's 71-year old Prince Charles, 71-year old Rock-and-Roll Hall of Famer Jackson Browne and 81-year old playwright Terrence McNally all tested positive. The prolific playwright succumbed on Tuesday in Florida. They were all able to get tested for coronavirus. Tens, if not hundreds of thousands of Americans still cannot. Add it to the list of national disgraces we are collectively enduring as we stay-at-home as much as possible in hopes of slowing the spread to keep our medical system from becoming overwhelmed.

That said, Senate Democratic and Republican leaders have come to an agreement on another emergency spending bill to address a bit more of the growing fallout from the global coronavirus pandemic. The bill, if allowed to pass in the Senate by four Republicans now blocking it, and if House Democrats can pass a similarly acceptable bill, will cost a record $2 trillion. That's half the size of the nation's annual $4 trillion annual federal budget, and many experts agree, there will need to be much more spending hereafter.

And yet, nobody --- not Republicans or Democrats in the Senate, House of Representatives or White House --- seems to be complaining that we don't have the money to pay for it, or that we must cut somewhere else or raise taxes to be able to afford it. It is as if, as our guest today, Stony Brook University Professor of Economics and leading authority on Modern Monetary Theory STEPHANIE KELTON notes, we are able to just "conjure into existence, in a matter of days, a couple of trillion dollars," enough money for the largest spending bill in the history of the country. And, as it turns out, she is right!

As Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) noted recently in response to the sudden disappearance of so-called "Deficit Hawks" on Capitol Hill: "It's actually a fascinating progressive moment, because what it's shown is that all of these issues have never been about 'how are you going to pay for it?' It's never been about whether we have the capacity to do these things. All of these excuses that we have been given as to why we can't treat people humanely have suddenly gone up in smoke. And what has been revealed is that all of these issues were really about a lack of political will and who you deemed worthy to be in an emergency or not."

Kelton, the former Chief Economist for the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, has been trying to make these points of late in Twitter threads, New York Times op-eds, and her upcoming book The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People's Economy. As she tells me today, "Congress will always find the funds to accomplish the things that it considers a priority. If that's tax cuts, then that's the priority, and the money will be there. If it's wars, that's the priority. If it's dealing with a global pandemic, then that suddenly becomes a priority."

She laments that Democrats, over months on the Presidential campaign trail, have not been able to educate the American public about these facts and how difficult it has now become --- after years of phony claims from politicians (of both parties) that the U.S. was going broke or that government should be run by the same fiscal rules that govern households and businesses --- "to disabuse people of these myths that we have heard from our politicians, pundits and reporters."

She argues "There is a time and a place for offsets. It's not a free lunch", but Bernie Sanders' call for "canceling $81 billion of medical debt is nothing. It's everything to the people who have medical debt. But from the perspective of the federal budget, it's practically a rounding error, it's so trivial. We could have done that and not offset it," she says. "The federal government's finances don't work like ours. They're not subject to the same constraints as a household or a private company. Once you get your head around that, a lot of other things follow."

"A year ago, could we have just done free college or Medicare For All or whatever? The answer is yes. Congress can write and pass any bill it chooses, period. The risk, though, is that if you don't include offsets, and you're simply authorizing these huge spending bills left and right, at some point you're going to eat up all of the fiscal space left in the economy. In other words, it's going to become inflationary. So there is a time and a place for offsets." That time, apparently, is not now, however. And she hopes that after this emergency finally passes, enough Americans will remember what happened here, how easy it was to "find" all the money when it was needed, to finally do away with the notion that endless wars and corporate subsidies and tax cuts for the wealthy are the only things we can afford to spend money on to "promote the general welfare" of the American people.

We discuss all of that and much more today, including details on what the proposed Phase III emergency coronavirus spending bill will and won't pay for, and the good news that America's Governors --- both Democratic and Republican --- seem to be rejecting our corrupt, man-child President when it comes to his dangerous coronavirus idiocy.

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

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Coronavirus infects Congress; Sen. Burr knew; National chaos over lack of testing for non-celebrities; Unemployment claims skyrocket; Socialist Repubs propose trillion dollar bailout (that won't be nearly enough)...
By Brad Friedman on 3/19/2020 6:30pm PT  

To be frank, after getting off air from today's BradCast, I'm still almost too furious and/or exhausted to write about it. Tune in to find out why. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

But, in short, among the stories we covered...

  • Tulsi Gabbard ends her Presidential run, endorses Joe Biden;
  • Two members of Congress (one D, one R) test positive for coronavirus as leadership defies calls to allow for remote voting for members;
  • Despite weeks of repeated BS claims to the contrary by Trump and his White House, coronavirus testing (or lack thereof) is causing chaos across the U.S., with those who need tests still, obscenely, unable to get one;
  • Secretly recorded audio reveals that GOP Senator Richard Burr, speaking to wealthy political funders, knew well about the likely catastrophic dangers of the coming pandemic long before he (or Trump or anyone in the Administration) was willing to warn as much to the public, much less take what would have been live-saving action weeks ago. (But, as Trump said during a WH presser yesterday in response to why celebrities, and apparently members of Congress, seem to have no trouble getting tested quickly: "Perhaps that's the story of life. I've heard that happens on occasion.");
  • There is a ray of hope from China, where the city of Wuhan, where the virus was first identified, reported zero new homegrown infections on Wednesday and only eight additional deaths there. Those are remarkably encouraging numbers, but come at a very steep price of mandatory isolation and a central government able to act quickly to shore up its medical system to rise appropriately to meet the moment;
  • The good news from China is offset by the bad news from Italy, where 475 people died in a single day on Wednesday. The death toll there has now officially surpassed China's, even though the Asian nation has 1.4 billion citizens compared to Italy's 60 million. The numbers in the U.S. look more and more like Italy's every day, with the response from our own federal government being far worse;
  • The pandemic has, virtually overnight, begun to show up in the U.S. economy with an enormous spike in unemployment claims in states across the nation and a federal government so gutted through huge, reckless, unending tax cuts for the wealthy and interest rate cuts during boom times that there are very few economic tools left in the federal arsenal to mitigate the cataclysmic shock to the economy that is almost certainly now in place;
  • So, of course, yet again, every Republican in government who pretends to not be a socialist --- who couldn't wait for Sanders to win the Democratic nomination so they could pretend as much even louder --- is now, once again, relying on the federal government for enormous bailouts. (Funny how this happens every time Republicans are allowed to take control of the federal government, no?) Socialist GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is now leading his party in calling for teeny-tiny checks to be sent to individual Americans and for more huge tax cuts --- as if there is anything left to cut --- for giant corporations. Yes, those would be same huge corporations which already received a trillion dollar tax cut from Trump and the same GOP just about a year ago, and the same ones who give huge money to Republicans year after year to call those seeking to end these economic nightmares "socialists" for wanting to do so. Nice work if you can get it. But "perhaps that's the story of life. I've heard that happens on occasion.";
  • And with all of that cheery news --- and a few choice Brad Rants to go with it all --- we close with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, as she finds amidst more disasters than we have the heart to describe here, at least one or two silver linings inside of it all...

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

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Guest: Montgomery County, MD Dep. Election Dir. Alysoun McLaughlin; Also: Progressive U.S. House candidate wins in IL; With all market gains since inauguration gone, Trump declares self a 'wartime president'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/18/2020 7:03pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Former Vice President Joe Biden trounced Bernie Sanders in three more states on Tuesday. The coronavirus pandemic continued to spread as all of the stock market gains since Donald Trump's inauguration were finally wiped out. And the nation's elections officials --- at least some of them --- began eyeing the need to move to Vote-by-Mail elections as a temporary mitigation for the foreseeable future. But is that a good idea? Are we ready for it? [Audio link to show is posted below below.]

First up, however, some good news, believe it or not! Marie Newman, a progressive challenger to far-right anti-abortion Democratic U.S. House Rep. Dan Lipinski, appears to have won her primary race against the conservative eight-term Congressman in Illinois 3rd Congressional district. The victory in the very "blue" suburbs of Chicago virtually guarantees Newman's election to the House in November, mirroring Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez' 2018 defeat of longtime (if less execrable) Democratic incumbent Joe Crowley in New York.

Beyond that, Biden appears to have delivered a thumping to Sanders in Florida, Illinois and Arizona, increasing his lead in the nominating contest to a seemingly insurmountable 300 delegates. All three states held low-turnout primaries on Tuesday amid warnings from health officials to avoid large gatherings, polling places that were closed or moved at the last minute, and a shortage of pollworkers due to cancellations in the wake of coronavirus concerns. Ohio, which was also supposed to vote on Tuesday, postponed its Presidential primary until June at the very last minute.

Both Biden and Sanders addressed supporters on Tuesday night via live Internet streams due to the cancellation of live rallies. They both focused mostly on actions needed to address the pandemic. Despite rumors throughout the day on Wednesday, and the cancellation of online digital ads, the Sanders campaign maintains that they are not suspending, but reassessing their campaign with three more weeks until the next scheduled primary, given all of the various states which have now postponed elections amid the COVID-19 crisis.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate finally passed an emergency relief measure adopted by the U.S. House last week to guarantee paid sick leave and expanded unemployment benefits to certain workers, while extending some food security programs, even as a FAR larger stimulus package will be required in response to the ongoing crisis, as markets fell again on Wednesday, reversing all of the gains since Trump took office. For his part, the President vowed to invoke the Defense Production Act to allow the federal government to commandeer private U.S. facilities to manufacturer various needed medical supplies such as masks and ventilators. With the economy in tatters and after weeks of bungled responses, Trump has now declared himself a "wartime president", even as he continues to attack his perceived political enemies and employ racist terms to describe the coronavirus pandemic.

Amid all of this, the nation's elections officials are turning their efforts toward quickly devising ways to safely hold upcoming primary elections as well as the general election in November. On Tuesday, the Governor of Maryland postponed the state's April 28 primary elections until June 2, but allowed the scheduled U.S. House Special Election to fill the Baltimore seat of the late Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings to proceed as an all-mail contest. Joining us today to discuss the efforts now underway to quickly move to Vote-by-Mail elections in Maryland (and elsewhere) is ALYSOUN MCLAUGHLIN, longtime Deputy Election Director for Montgomery County, MD. She also serves as Secretary on the Board of Advisors to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and as Vice Chair of the National Association of Counties.

Following her Governor's executive order postponing the statewide primary while calling for an all-mail U.S. House Special Election next month, McLaughlin explains some of the many challenges officials face in turning to VBM elections in the state. "The way we see it, we don't have a choice. The way we see it, there's a whole lot of really challenging problems in conducting an election under these circumstances right now, and the best way for us to serve everyone --- and to serve everyone avoiding the kinds of stresses and strains that we saw on polling places on Tuesday --- is for us to mail everyone a ballot. And immediately that takes the pressure off of the polls. That allows us to deal with the fact that our workforce is so significantly diminished in staffing a polling place election."

She tells me that officials in all 24 counties in the state feel the move to mail every registered voter a ballot is necessary for the newly-reschedule primary, though the state Board of Elections will still need to approve the plan. At the same time, there are many challenges and concerns in turning to such a system, particularly in such short order. We discussed a number of them on yesterday's program and Washington Post's Cybesecurity 202 column detailed several more. I've laid out even more such concerns over many years counseling caution, as I have long opposed VBM elections except where voters were unable to vote at the polls on Election Day or where a jurisdiction forces voters to vote by unverifiable, unsecure --- and, yes, germy --- touchscreen voting systems at the polls. (Thankfully, Maryland, which, with Georgia, was first in the nation to adopt statewide touchscreen voting in 2002, no longer does so, having moved recently, and sensibly, to hand-marked paper ballots for all.)

My conversation with McLaughlin today highlights some of those concerns, including questions about signature verification which, she says, her state does not use at all in determining if absentee ballots are to be included in the tally or rejected from the count. It's an eye-opening and important discussion that we will, necessarily, continue to have, in hopes that states adopt new temporary election practices in line with recommendations from health experts, even while observing best practices required to make sure VBM elections are secure, inclusive and publicly overseeable...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 3/17/2020 11:09am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Trump administration moves to shore up oil industry amid crashing oil prices; Coronavirus shutdown clears Italy's air; China's shutdown cuts emissions by a quarter; PLUS: Last men standing --- remaining Democratic Presidential candidates duke it out over climate action... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO HELP US WITH A (MUCH-NEEDED) DONATION to celebrate 1000+ episodes of independent, listener-supported climate, energy and environmental news! Thank you!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Scientists warn we may need to live with social distancing for a year or more; Oil Nations Could See Income Crash By Up To 85 Percent In 2020; Greenland, Antarctica Melting Six Times Faster Than in the 1990s; Medical waste companies preparing for potentially elevated volumes as coronavirus concerns accelerate; Military Sees Surge In Sites With 'Forever Chemical' Contamination... PLUS: There's an unlikely beneficiary of coronavirus: The planet... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




Guest-host Nicole Sandler's one-on-one with MSNBC's prime-time host; Also: Trump finally declares coronavirus a 'national emergency' but takes no responsibility...
By Nicole Sandler on 3/13/2020 4:55pm PT  

It's NICOLE SANDLER, back again to guest host today's BradCast.

With everything around us consumed with coronavirus, I thought we could use a short break from it. So, after an update on the latest from the Covid-19 front, we'll completely change the subject to speak with MSNBC's LAWRENCE O'DONNELL.

A couple of weeks ago, as I was increasingly frustrated with MSNBC's adversarial attitude toward Bernie Sanders' campaign, I remembered that Lawrence O'Donnell had proclaimed himself a socialist and commented about it on Twitter. He engaged with me. After a while I invited him to continue the discussion on the air, and he accepted.

I'm happy to be able to share it with you. I came away with a slightly better understanding of how things work over there and a much greater appreciation for Mr. O'Donnell. And it's nice to focus on something other than a killer pandemic for a few minutes....

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Prime-time Oval Office speech goes disastrously, markets plunge, almost all gains under Trump wiped out, major league seasons called off, Biden and Sanders step up, even as critical elections threatened by virus...
By Brad Friedman on 3/12/2020 6:43pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Donald Trump's error-laden prime-time speech to the nation from the Oval Office on Wednesday night did little to ease the nation's anxieties over the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, it appears to have made things much worse in a number of ways.

The Dow Futures market plummeted as his remarks began, with the DJI closing down more than 2,300 points on Thursday. In all, after hitting a record high just weeks ago, the markets have lost nearly 90% of the gains they've seen since Trump took office in January of 2017. One more day like this and all of those gains will be lost. So much for "rocket fuel to the economy".

Fortunes on Wall Street, however, may be the least of the country's problems right now. Trump's announcement on Wednesday night called for a travel ban from all European countries other than the United Kingdom (for reasons that no one seems able to explain) and for the payroll tax cut he's been seeking for months (long before the virus), which few experts believe will be much help amidst this worsening epidemic. Moreover, no sooner did Trump finish his teleprompter remarks than the White House had to begin issuing corrections to them. No, trade and cargo would not actually be banned from Europe, as Trump claimed, and the health insurance industry didn't actually agree to offer free coronavirus treatments to all as the Liar-in-Chief claimed Wednesday night.

Europe was blindsided by the announcement, and it was left to Democratic Presidential candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders to try and calm an anxious nation today with their own speeches addressing the crisis as Trump continues to refuse to declare a national emergency because it would reveal he had lied about the epidemic for weeks. (And apparently he needs to get Jared's permission first.)

The NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball all announced they are suspending their seasons, the NCAA cancelled their March Madness tournaments, Disneyland will be closing their doors, and Tom Hanks announced that he and his wife Rita Wilson have both contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

But what about the upcoming primary and general elections? Are we really going to continue asking voters to stand in long lines with hundreds of people to vote on potentially virus-infected touchscreen voting systems? As it turns out, hand-marked paper ballots still moist from hand-sanitizer also caused problems this week in New Hampshire's municipal elections, jamming optical-scan tabulators at precincts.

The U.S. Vote Foundation, led by former GOP Chair Michael Steele, is now calling on Congress to immediately pass legislation requiring every state in the union to allow no-excuse absentee/Vote-by-Mail ballots for all voters. And while I am no fan of Vote-by-Mail usually (other than in jurisdiction where voters are forced to vote on touchscreen voting systems at the polls), it's looking more and more like we are all going to be voting via VBM this year if the virus continues on its current trajectory.

We cover all of that and much more on today's show, before ending on a "lighter note"...with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report (which, believe it or not, actually has a quite a bit of welcome good news today...at least once we get past the coronavirus part of it anyway.)

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Guest: The Nation's John Nichols on the race after MI, WA, MO, MS, ND, ID; Also: Coronavirus threatening everything, including the 2020 election...
By Brad Friedman on 3/11/2020 6:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It was another big night for Joe Biden, as he appears to have been the clear winner in 4 of the 6 states (Michigan, Washington, Missouri, Mississippi, Idaho and North Dakota) which held Democratic Presidential primaries on Tuesday. But Bernie Sanders said on Wednesday that he is not out of the running just yet. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

In the meantime, the fallout from the coronavirus --- now officially a global pandemic according to the World Health Organization with more than 1,000 cases in the U.S. --- continues to have a growing affect on nearly every aspect of life in the U.S. and around the globe. Aside from school closures, town lock-downs, industries directing employees to work at home, cancellations of large festivals, conventions and now sporting events, including the NCAA's March Madness tournaments set to be played without spectators in the arena, the Dow took another tumble today, falling more than 1,400 points and ending the 11-year bull market begun under Obama in 2009.

We discuss all of that today, and the bumbling Trump Administration's egregious failures in managing the worsening epidemic, before breaking down the reported results from Tuesday's 6 primary states, where voters appear to have chosen Biden in MI, MO, MS and ID, while preferring Sanders in ND and maybe WA, where the Vermont Senator currently leads by a hair as Vote-by-Mail ballots continue to be tallied.

Once again, voters on Tuesday were forced to shamefully wait in hours-long lines to cast their ballots in locations in both Michigan and North Dakota, even as many voters on social media persist in forwarding unsupported charges that the DNC is somehow behind the numerous failures of local and state officials to run efficient, reliable, and publicly overseeable elections.

We share extended excerpts from Biden's remarks following his victories on Tuesday night, offered to a nearly empty hall in Philadelphia were coronavirus concerns resulted in only media and campaign staffers in attendance. And we also share Sanders' remarks from Vermont today, vowing to stay in the race at least through Sunday night's scheduled debate, the first head-to-head forum between the last two Democratic candidates still standing.

We are then joined by the great progressive journalist JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation to try and make some sense of this remarkable moment in history and the surprising state of play in the increasingly bizarre 2020 election. He argues that Sunday's one-on-one between the two candidates is likely to be "the most consequential debate of 2020," adding that he "suspect[s] it will matter more than the fall debates between Trump and whoever is nominated at this point, presumably Biden."

Citing Sanders' remarks on Wednesday, Nichols believes Sanders "left himself an exit ramp, and left Biden an entry ramp. Because he essentially told Biden what Biden's got to do" in order to win support from Sanders' movement. "I genuinely think that Sanders is proposing a debate where, if Joe Biden really steps up, he's going to narrow the lane for Bernie Sanders --- which is already narrow. If Joe Biden steps up, he's got a lot of opportunities here as an entry lane into the fall campaign [to]bring the movement on board and this will sort out."

Whether Biden seizes that moment, however, remains to be seen. His subdued and even Presidential remarks from Philadelphia on Tuesday certainly suggest he is capable of it. But we'll see. "Is he the right candidate?," Nichols asks rhetorically. "If you can't build your movement, your coalition, and you can only do it by kind of forcing people to make choices rather than inspiring or exciting people, then that's a problematic situation."

Among the other oddities and ironies of this moment, Nichols observes in his column today that while voters in MI, MO and MS voted for Biden on Tuesday, exit polls reveal that they actually support Sanders' central campaign proposal for single-payer Medicare for All by huge numbers in all three states. What explains that irony? Nichols offers his thoughts on that and much more on the state of the race in very dark times during our conversation today...

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

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

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

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

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Trump's woeful coronavirus response as markets crater; Bullock to run for U.S. Senate in MT; Mop-up and blame game continues after L.A. County's Super Tuesday fail; Callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2020 6:24pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Staying laser focused on the things that actually matter if we ever want to restore this nation and the world with it! [Audio link to show is posted below.]

The stock market cratered (again) on Monday, over fears about the quickly spreading coronavirus and plummeting oil prices. That, as the President of the United States tried to tweet away the problem while spending the weekend playing golf and throwing parties for his son's girlfriend at his Palm Beach resort before finding time on Monday to attend two fundraisers in Orlando as the Dow dropped more than 2,000 points, its largest one-day point drop ever and the worst crash seen on the markets since the 2008 global financial meltdown.

With the abysmal failure of this Administration to competently handle either ongoing crisis (and, in fact, make them both worse), we continue to focus on the only foreseeable way out of this disastrous mess: The November 2020 election. On that front, we've got both good news and bad, as usual, with 6 more states --- Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington --- set to vote tomorrow, even as mop-up from voting system failures and counting of votes continues from last week's Super Tuesday in 14 states.

Among the many stories covered on today's program before opening lines to callers with still more tales of horror from voting out here in Los Angeles County last week on our failed new touchscreen voting systems and electronic pollbooks...

  • Bernie Sanders supporter Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said she would vote for Joe Biden if he becomes the nominee, and she recommends that you do too;
  • Montana's popular Democratic Governor Steve Bullock announces that he will jump into the race for U.S. Senate to unseat Republican Sen. Steve Daines after all, giving the Democrats a fifth potential takeover to win back a Democratic majority this November;
  • We share some listener email including a woeful story of failure at the polls here in Los Angeles last week, and from a regular listener in Oregon who can't understand why Los Angeles, which saw hours-long lines to vote at the County's new "Voting Centers" on Super Tuesday, doesn't go to an all Vote-by-Mail system (as used in the Beaver State now for two decades.);
  • California's Sec. of State Alex Padilla, who has been a big proponent of L.A.'s County's new $300,000,000 unverifiable touchscreen voting system over the past ten years, pretends to be outraged about what happened last week and directs L.A. to move to an all VBM system for the critical November election. However, Dean Logan, L.A. County's Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, the man who spent the last ten years developing the new failed voting system, says he's not sure he thinks VBM for all would be a good idea;
  • And the Washington Post's Margaret Sullivan penned a landmark column on Sunday, charging "the media is blowing its chance to head off an Election Day debacle" by obsessing over "the horse-race" while ignoring "the very core of Election Day: voting itself". She excoriates the corporate media for failing to cover the many predictable disasters we saw last week in California and Texas until "after-the-fact" while ignoring "deeper issues such as the pressures and inducements for governments to invest in untried new voting machines" when "old-fashioned hand-marked paper ballots" are "the least hackable and the most audit-able". In short, her column sounds alot like just about every rant we've ever offered at either The BRAD BLOG or on The BradCast and spurs us to keep going...whether you like it or not. Thank you, Ms. Sullivan!;

While we've got a bunch of related stories about voting failures, dirty tricks and concerns out of Georgia, Texas, Florida and elsewhere, they'll have to wait until tomorrow's BradCast, as we wanted to open the lines to still more callers with woeful stories of their voting experiences at the Super Tuesday polls here in Los Angeles last week...

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Guest: FOIA plaintiff Jason Leopold of BuzzFeed News; Also: Good elections news regarding both the White House and Senate...
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2020 6:19pm PT  

We enjoy a brief pause from our wall-to-wall election coverage of late on today's BradCast (if not entirely) to revisit the ongoing unraveling of the rule of law as we know it at the U.S. Dept. of Justice under Donald Trump's fixer Attorney General Bill Barr. [Audio link to show is posted at end of summary.]

Late on Thursday, a long-time U.S. District Court judge appointed by George W. Bush issued a blistering --- and perhaps unprecedented --- opinion, essentially describing the U.S. Attorney General as a liar. Judge Reggie Walton described Barr's characterization of the Robert Mueller Special Counsel's Report on the investigation into Russia's influence on the 2016 election, as "distorted" and "misleading".

He cited "inconsistencies" between Barr's description of the findings in Mueller's 381-page report before it was released in redacted form last year, versus the often-damning evidence actually revealed by the Special Counsel's probe. Walton declared that Barr's "lack of candor" called into question his "credibility and, in turn, the department's" reasons for redacting portions of the report in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the full, unredacted text of the document.

"The inconsistencies between Attorney General Barr’s statements, made at a time when the public did not have access to the redacted version of the Mueller Report to assess the veracity of his statements, and portions of the redacted version of the Mueller Report that conflict with those statements cause the Court to seriously question whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller Report in favor of President Trump despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller Report to the contrary," Walton said.

The unusually blistering opinion by a federal judge of a sitting U.S. Attorney General, challenging the credibility of DoJ prosecutors who, he felt, might be lying about the reasons for redactions in order to protect Barr's earlier false claims (that Mueller found no evidence of collusion and was unable "to establish that the President committed an obstruction of justice offense" --- all lies) is being cited by former prosecutors as "indicative of the fabric of the justice system deteriorating".

Judge Walton has now ordered the DoJ to privately reveal to him what is under the redactions that the government is claiming are related to national security and other lawful exemptions from FOIA requests.

We're joined today by BuzzFeed News investigative journalist JASON LEOPOLD, who filed the FOIA request in question and has now been forced to sue with the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) to challenge the validity of the DoJ's redactions. Leopold tells us he's filed "well over 3,500" such requests, having sued the government "70 times" to force them to follow the law, but says he has never seen anything like the response unleashed by Walton (who has presided over other suits brought by Leopold as well.)

In other similar litigation, Leopold explains, judges tend to simply defer to claims by prosecutors. If they say there is good reason to keep the material redacted, judges do not tend to question them. "It's rare, it's very rare that a judge will actually say 'let me take a look at this and make a decision'." But, Leopold tells me, he has noticed Walton increasingly losing patience with the Department in recent months. "He's become very, very frustrated and sees this as politicization...and therefore, he just can't take their word that these redactions are justified and followed the law."

When I ask if Walton's charge that Barr was "lacking in candor" is a polite way for the judge to say he may be lying, Leopold says "not 'may be' lying --- is lying!," according to his reading of the federal jurist's opinion.

"This is a very important opinion," he argues, "because you're going to see this opinion cited in other Freedom of Information Act cases, when they go to court to say that the withholding of records, that there's questions about whether there's politicization behind that, and that Barr is the person who presides over this department and simply doesn't have credibility." Leopold continues: "This doesn't just disappear. It doesn't just go away. This is in the record. This is a case that people can cite. Barr has really damaged the reputation of the Justice Department."

All of which serves as a helpful reminder of the importance of removing this dangerous Administration from office this November, no matter who ends up becoming the Democratic Presidential nominee. On that important point, and on the likelihood of Democrats winning back the Senate this year, we've got some encouraging news today --- presuming voters who oppose Trump can come together.

And, after that, some less encouraging news as we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report...

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Guest: Jodi Jacobson; Also: Bullock for Senate in MT?; GA county dumps touchscreens; Unknown Dem candidate forces TX House run-off election...
By Brad Friedman on 3/5/2020 6:36pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Sad news for many regarding the end of Elizabeth Warren's run for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination. But we start with what suffices for good-ish news today regarding both voting and electoral politics, and one very mysterious Super Tuesday election result out of Texas. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

  • First up, the Board of Elections of Georgia's Athens-Clarke County, where early voting has already begun for the state's March 24 Primaries, has voted to ditch their new touchscreen voting systems to move to a hand-marked paper ballot system. The move is in defiance of the state's Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger, who has ordered the use of new, 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting machines across the entire state, after the County's Board determined that the huge screens on the new Dominion ImageCast systems, said to be visible from 30 or 40 feet away, violate voter's right to a secret ballot under state law. (We interviewed Marilyn Marks of the Coalition for Good Governance, the plaintiff in an emergency lawsuit to move to hand-marked paper ballots in another Georgia county for the exact same reasons, last week.);
  • More good-ish news out of Montana, where the state's popular Democratic Governor Steve Bullock is reportedly considering reversing his earlier vows that he would not run for U.S. Senate this November against Republican incumbent Sen. Steve Daines. The Governor, a former 2020 Democratic President candidate, won his statewide re-election in 2016 on the same ballot on which Donald Trump is said to have won the state of Montana by 20 points. If Bullock decides to enter the race by Monday's filing deadline, it might offer Democrats a shot at winning the fifth seat they would need to flip in order to retake a clear majority in the U.S. Senate next year. Dems have targeted four other U.S. Senate seats --- in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and North Carolina --- which they believe to be winnable in November, but would need a fifth seat if Alabama's Democratic Sen. Doug Jones is unable to hold on to his this year;
  • The totally predictable fallout from Los Angeles County's disastrous Super Tuesday election continues today, after the County's new $300,000,000 unverifiable touchscreen voting systems and electronic pollbooks failed so spectacularly during their first countywide use in the March 3rd elections. Washington Post's coverage last night confirms that election workers in L.A. were, indeed, ordered not to speak to media (as I originally reported on Sunday, only to be called a liar on Twitter by the brainchild of the new, failed voting system, L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan).

    But the biggest breaking news in the embarrassing meltdown that resulted in hours-long lines and disenfranchised voters on Tuesday is that CA's Democratic Sec. of State Alex Padilla --- who certified the new systems for use in January despite warnings from cybsersecurity and voting systems experts, and despite the system's more than 40 violations of California Voting Systems Standards --- has now directed L.A. to send hand-marked Vote-by-Mail ballots to every voter in the County for this November's critical Presidential election;

  • And, in Houston --- which also saw hours long lines for voters during its primaries on Super Tuesday --- a mysterious, completely unknown candidate on the Democratic ballot has has helped force a run-off for one of the longest serving members of the Texas state House. Despite Natasha Ruiz receiving more than 20% of the vote on Harris County's 100% unverifiable voting systems, the other three candidates in the race say they have never seen Ruiz or found any evidence that she actually had a campaign. She placed third in the four person race, resulting in just 45% of the vote (less than the 50% required to avoid a run-off) for long-serving State Rep. Harold Dutton, who is now investigating whether Ruiz even exists;
  • Finally, we're joined by the former Editor in Chief of Rewire.news, JODI JACOBSON, a devoted Elizabeth Warren supporter, who is mourning today's announced end of the crusading progressive Massachusetts Senator's once-very promising Presidential bid. We discuss what Warren did right and where her candidacy appears to have gone wrong, why Americans appear to have been afraid to vote for her, and whether Warren might be tapped with a Vice-Presidential nod on either a Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders ticket...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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By Desi Doyen on 3/3/2020 10:35am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer gets out of 2020 Presidential race; Coronavirus concern slams energy markets and cancels global conferences; China's air pollution dramatically decreases amid coronavirus measures; PLUS: Climate change cancels this year's "Firefall" in Yosemite National Park... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Interior Dept. inks deal with water district tied to Interior Sec. Bernhardt; Tornadoes devastate Tennessee, killing at least 19; Green New Deal backers vs. Koch money in Texas; No, Trump, wind turbines are not 'rotting'; Coal miners are being "cheated"; Climate models are running red hot, and scientists don't know why yet; Trump White House rewrote EPA scientists' assessment on toxic chemical, and not in a good way... PLUS: How to prepare for the Coronavirus in the U.S., and why it is your civic duty to get ready... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Also: L.A. County's $300M vote system failing; And the weekend's year's worth of news...
By Brad Friedman on 3/2/2020 6:44pm PT  

Before we can even get to the central story line on today's BradCast --- Biden's weekend win in South Carolina and voting system problems leading in to Super Tuesday, particularly in Los Angeles --- or crack open the phone lines to a bunch of calls with questions about voting on Super Tuesday, we quickly round up just some of the weekend news stories which, in a normal world, would each have merited their own entire program! [Audio link to show is posted below.]

The news began breaking left and right after we got off air Friday and hasn't stopped through airtime today. Among the stories quickly covered at the top of today's show...

  • A three-judge panel on a federal court of appeals tossed out the House of Representatives' lawsuit to force Donald Trump's former White House Counsel Don McGahn to testify under the House's lawful Congressional subpoena as a witness to Trump's attempt to kill the Robert Mueller Special Counsel probe. If the panel's 2 to 1 ruling led by two George W. Bush judges holds, it'll be the end of all Congressional oversight of the Executive Branch as we know it;
  • A federal appeals court blocked Trump's "Remain in Mexico" policy for immigrants seeking asylum in the U.S., and then unblocked it moments later;
  • Trump loyalist Rep. John Ratcliff (R-TX) was nominated for a second time to become Director of National Intelligence despite no intelligence experience to lead the nation's 17 intelligence agencies and after having been rejected by Senate Republicans when he was nominated the first time last year for the same role;
  • The U.S. signed a peace deal with the Taliban to remove all U.S. troops from Afghanistan in America's longest war, but Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) the only member of Congress to have voted against the 2001 Authorization of Military Force, says Trump's "so-called 'peace deal' is anything but" and will leave thousands of troops in place. As of Monday, the Friday deal is already falling apart;
  • 6 deaths from the coronavirus in the U.S. have now been reported over the weekend and into Monday, with a cluster of cases in the Seattle area, and new infections announced in New York, Chicago, Florida, Arizona and elsewhere;
  • And, on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the GOP/Trump Administration challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) which, if successful, would completely strike down the landmark health care insurance law, leaving millions without coverage and insurance companies free to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions again.

All of that before we are able to even get to Joe Biden's huge reported victory at the South Carolina primary on Saturday, besting his nearest competitor (Bernie Sanders) in the Palmetto State with more than twice as many votes. In the wake of Biden's revival after his dismal performance in the first three states (Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada), several candidates dropped out of the race, including billionaire Tom Steyer, former South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg and MN Senator Amy Klobuchar. The last of those two announced their endorsements of Biden on Monday as centrist Democrats band together to challenge Sanders.

But what of those voters in California, Texas and a dozen other Super Tuesday states who made the mistake of voting early (despite our weeks and months of warning folks otherwise) for a candidate no longer in the race as of tomorrow's primaries in all of those states? And what of those voting centers where Los Angeles County's new, $300,000,000 unverifiable touchscreen voting systems have been failing to work at all? And why have pollworkers in L.A. been told not to talk to media, as I learned this weekend.

We open the phones to callers today (as we will again tomorrow) to hear about their early voting experiences, problems and concerns, and for questions about the new, frequently unverifiable voting systems now in use across the country (in places like South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania and elsewhere in addition to L.A. County, the largest voting jurisdiction in the nation)? A number of callers were alarmed to learn about the flaws and failures of touchscreen computer Ballot Marking Device, including one caller who noted that, no, she didn't bother to verify her computer-marked paper ballot before casting it, believing that her work was done after verifying her choices on the touchscreen! So, a very busy hopefully interesting and informative (and, sorry, maddening) show today on 'The BradCast'!...

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

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