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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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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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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 3/3/2020 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!

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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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! ...

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




With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 2/27/2020 11:19am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: CBS News ignores the climate crisis in South Carolina Democratic debate, but candidates don't; JPMorgan economists warn climate change threatens human survival; Colorado River facing 'severe water shortages'; PLUS: Yet another refinery explodes, this time in Southern California... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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): Tribal nation condemns 'desecration' to build border wall; Trump downplays Coronavirus risk; Dismantling Fred Hiatt's pro-oil, anti-Sanders climate op-ed; Climate change is pushing ocean currents poleward; New Interior rule would limit which scientific studies agency can consider; After Trump mocks proposed sea wall in New York, plan is abruptly shelved; Climate change, soaring flood insurance could trigger a mortgage crisis; Uber and Lyft are convenient and highly carbon-intensive ... PLUS: Brazil is cracking down on climate migrants while worsening the climate crisis... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




Special coverage with Heather Digby Parton and David Faris...
By Brad Friedman on 2/26/2020 5:19pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Seven Democratic Presidential candidates turned up the volume --- and on each other (especially against current front-runner Bernie Sanders) --- at Tuesday night's Presidential debate in Charleston, South Carolina. We have special coverage today. [Audio link to show follows below.]

It was the final debate before the crucial South Carolina Primary on Saturday and the critical Super Tuesday primaries just three days later in 14 states across the country. So, tensions were very high and the attacks on Sanders were cranked up to 11 at times, with the elections over the next week likely to be do or die for a number of the "contestants" (as billionaire contestant Michael Bloomberg described them).

We are joined today for insight, analysis and, yes, a few snarky comments from two BradCast post-election special coverage vets. Award-winning opinion journalist HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo is with us, along with Roosevelt University political scientist DAVID FARIS, columnist at The Week and author of It's Time to Fight Dirty.

Both offer very smart thoughts, as usual, on the Party's very long debate process to date (Tuesday's was the 10th this cycle), whether the forums as structured have helped the Democratic electorate in making their choices, and how it all might be done better in the future. We cover the reasons behind the, at times high-decibel attacks from several of the candidates amid what seems universally agreed to have been a very poorly-moderated debate, and why so much time has been spent on weedy, wonky health care math, and so little time spent on issues of most interest to the American people, including the greatest threat posed right now to both the nation and the world: Donald Trump.

But the horse race, at this point in the contest, is unavoidable. Will Sanders continue to break away from the pack after Super Tuesday? Will Elizabeth Warren finally break through as a unity candidate? Will Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer survive? Does anybody actually like Bloomberg? Will SC Rep. James Clyburn's coveted endorsement for Biden this morning keep the former Vice President alive beyond the Palmetto State? Is it just us, or is Pete Buttigieg beginning to seem desperate? And who, among all of them, is best prepared to take on the elephant in the country, the still-sitting President of the United States?

All of those questions asked and answered on today's program, based on telling comments, strategy and behavior from each of the remaining candidates Tuesday night, a number of whom, sadly or otherwise, may no longer be in the 2020 Presidential nominating race just one week from today...

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

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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!...

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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Also: Super Tuesday Early Voting began this weekend on L.A. County's new, unverifiable touchscreen vote systems. How do you think it went?...
By Brad Friedman on 2/24/2020 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A look at what happened over the weekend in Nevada, and a look ahead at wait awaits in South Carolina on Saturday, Super Tuesday three days later, and yes, even beyond. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

So, the Caucuses in Nevada over the weekend went only slightly better when it came to reporting results than the Iowa Caucuses two weeks ago. But, because Bernie Sanders appears to have won in a rout there, the corporate media declared as much and didn't seem to be bothered, or even much notice, that it took another three days before all results were actually in. (Proving once again that corporate media is interested in headlines, not about making sure that voters see their votes counted accurately.)

We cover the reported results out of NV today, beginning with Sanders' landslide victory there, and the fight for runners-up, with Joe Biden coming in second over Pete Buttigieg, followed by Elizabeth Warren in fourth place. She was followed in turn by Tom Steyer and then Amy Klobuchar.

But the night belonged to Bernie. He received well over twice the number of votes than his nearest competitor (Biden) in NV. Buttigieg challenged the reported results from the Saturday caucuses and attacked Sanders during his post-caucus remarks to supporters in a way that Republicans should be very happy about (and in a way that Sanders would have been justifiably excoriated for, had he done anything similar in either 2016 or in this year's cycle.) We explain all of that on today's show.

We also look forward to this Saturday's important Primary in South Carolina and to Super Tuesday in 14 states just three days later on March 3rd. In SC, Biden's once seemingly-insurmountable lead in pre-election polling appears to be slipping, even as he retains a small edge over Sanders there, according to NBC/Marist, as of today.

At the same time, the national polls are seeing some movement as well, with Warren surging into second place behind Sanders and ahead of Biden in a new CBS/YouGov poll out today, reflecting what many regard as her strong debate performance last Wednesday. Their performance, however, was not reflected in the NV Caucuses given, that most caucus-goers had already voted before the debate in Early Voting (which was used for the first time there this year.)

So, with Sanders the front-runner at the moment, having won the popular vote in each of the first three primary/caucus states, members of the "Democratic Establishment" and their media supporters appear to be, well, freaking out a little bit. We play some of that freak out and discuss.

For the moment, however, all eyes are now on South Carolina, where voters across the entire state will be forced to vote on brand-new, 100% unverifiable touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs). The new systems, made by Election Systems and Software, Inc., replace the state's old 100% unverifiable touchscreen Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) systems, also made by ES&S. Their systems have failed in election after election over the past decade in the Palmetto State and elsewhere. But, of course, even if they work as designed this Saturday in the SC Primary, it will still be 100% impossible to know after polls close if any ballot cast on the expensive devices actually reflect the intent of any voter.

That's just one of the problems --- though, one of the biggest --- with BMD voting systems. In Los Angeles County --- which has more registered voters in it than the entire state of South Carolina has people --- the Early Voting period for the March 3rd Super Tuesday primary (which will be held in 14 states) began on Saturday. We've been covering L.A. County's brand-new, $300,000,000 touchscreen BMD voting system for some time (about a decade in fact), warning about many of its failures and potential failures.

So, how do you think the first day of Early Voting went in L.A.? According to this report, and some of our own reporting as well, it did not go well, with officials unable to start up the new e-voting systems at all for several hours in a number of locations, some locations where the equipment didn't even arrive in time for Saturday's Early Voting, and an absense of the paper write-in ballots that were supposed to be available at every polling site as the first "condition" in the CA Sec. of State's recent "conditional certification" [PDF] of L.A.'s new "Voting Solutions for All People" (VSAP) touchscreen system.

And now it's your last chance, if you live in L.A. County, to get a real, hand-marked paper ballot instead, by visiting LAVote.net to request a Vote-by-Mail ballot for the March 3rd election before Tuesday night, February 25th at midnight! (And please do the same if you live in ANY jurisdiction in the country where you will be forced to vote on a touchscreen voting systems at the polls!)

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Guests: UCSB's Leah Stokes and Public Citizen's David Arkush...
By Brad Friedman on 2/21/2020 6:16pm PT  

On today's BradCast: With all the knives out between all of the 2020 Democratic Presidential candidates at Wednesday night's debate in Las Vegas, you may not have noticed that there was actually a rather substantive policy debate within it over how to deal with our intensifying climate emergency. But we noticed. [Audio link to show follows below.]

It's rare enough that climate and environmental issues are raised at all by Presidential Debate moderators, much less to allow for substantive discussion of differences between the candidates. And, in the few instances that it happens, the conversation is often buried at the end of the forum, and/or otherwise completely ignored in post-debate coverage which tends to be overwhelmed by electorate politics and horse-race discussion. That is an extraordinary disservice to the electorate, especially given that, as a number of recent polls both nationally and in early primary states reveal, climate change is now among the top issue for voters, often this cycle coming in second only to health care and ahead of both economic and foreign policy issues.

So, before Wednesday's debate gives way entirely to Saturday's Nevada Caucuses and next week's South Carolina Primary and then Super Tuesday in 14 states just three days later on March 3rd, we thought many still-undecided voters might be well-served by some expert help in unpacking some of the key differences between the leading candidates on climate action policies. Unlike Donald Trump and the Republicans, who treat the matter as a joke, all of the Democrats claim to understand the existential threat posed by global warming. But the differences in their responses to questions on the matter --- which are sometimes much larger than you may have noticed --- is both telling and informative.

To that end, we are joined today for a sharp review of the climate crisis portion of Wednesday's debate by LEAH STOKES of UC-Santa Barbara and DAVID ARKUSH of Public Citizen to break down the candidates differing positions for and against fracking bans; on taking on the fossil fuel industry and its executives politically, economically and, yes, criminally; on killing the filibuster; on carbon taxes; on a Green New Deal; on which of the candidates are climate champions (and which are not); and much more!

Both Stokes and Arkush are excellent and unabashed climate policy communicators with long and impressive track records of advocacy on these matters, including with elected officials. Neither of them pull any punches (unlike a number of the candidates on Wednesday night on this issue) and one of them even notes that fossil fuel industry executives could be, perhaps should be, not only prosecuted for fraud, but even "for homicide"...depending on who becomes the nominee and if they can take back the White House (and the Senate!) this November...

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Special coverage with guests David Bender and Jodi Jacobson...
By Brad Friedman on 2/20/2020 5:43pm PT  

Washington Post called it a "fiery...two-hour free-for-all that sizzled with animosity." New York Times reported "candidates turned on one another in scorching and personal terms". Associated Press declared it a "debate night brawl" that "threatened to further muddy the party's urgent quest to defeat Presidential Donald Trump".

On today's BradCast [audio link posted below], we dive in to those murky and troubled waters to make sense --- where there is room to make it --- of the raucous Democratic Debate in Las Vegas on Wednesday night in advance of Saturday's Nevada Caucuses, next Saturday's South Carolina Primary and March 3rd's Super Tuesday Primaries in more than a dozen states just three days later.

The melee at the Paris Hotel and Casino featured VT Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Veep Joe Biden, MA Sen. Elizabeth Warren, MN Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg and, in his first-ever appearance in a 2020 Presidential debate (despite not even being on any ballot until March 3rd), former Republican NYC Mayor turned Democratic billionaire candidate Michael Bloomberg --- who did not, I think its fair to say, receive a very warm welcome from his fellow contenders.

We're joined today for special coverage of as much of the wild evening as we can fit in, by former Editor-in-Chief of Rewire.news, JODI JACOBSON and longtime activist, reporter, author and documentarian DAVID BENDER, Political Director of the Progressive Voices Network. While slightly more collegial, suffice to say our coverage of Wednesday night's forum was no less challenging at times than the debate itself on several different levels.

Jacobson: "I'm a little shocked at everybody having vapors over this. I think it's past time. For crying out loud, we're facing existential crises of so many kinds. We're facing a true threat to our democracy, which is being dismantled daily...We've got climate crises bearing down on us...And I am not clear why people don't think we should be angry and we should be fighting hard."

Bender: "What I saw last night in this debate is a very, very happy Donald Trump...As Jodi said, we're facing an existential threat to the country, and what we've got to deal with it is a circular firing squad. I've been to every convention since 1968, and let me say, this is absolutely par for the course when Democrats get to a place when they're trying to take one another out and forget that there is something much larger."

That's just the tip of our special coverage iceberg today. Hopefully, it is at least as interesting and perhaps even more enlightening than the Dems' 9th 2020 Presidential Debate last night in Vegas. We'll let you decide. Please tune in for some fascinating insight, occasionally frustrating confrontation, and a whole lot of well-informed opinion...

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Guest: David Dayen of American Prospect; Also: Good voting rights news in FL and NC; Warren joins Sanders in being erased by corporate media...
By Brad Friedman on 2/19/2020 5:50pm PT  

In the hours just before former Republican and current billionaire Michael Bloomberg makes his bought-and-paid-for debut on the Democratic debate stage in Las Vegas, our guest on today's BradCast has a bit of a disturbing scoop about Bloomberg's past comparisons between the AARP and the NRA! [Audio link to full show follows below.]

But, first up first up today, some good news from the courts on voting rights in two different key Presidential battleground states! In Florida, a federal appeals on Wednesday sided with ex-felons suing the state to block a law that prevented many of them from having their voting rights restored after the landslide passage of state constitutional Amendment 4 in 2018. After the landmark measure passed with big bi-partisan support to restore voting rights to some 1.5 million former felons (including 1 of 4 African-American men in the state) upon completion of their sentences, the state's new Republican Governor and GOP legislature muscled through legislation to block those former felons from voting until all court fees and fines have been paid off.

Today's federal appeals court ruling blocks that voter suppression measure, finding that "denying access to the franchise to those genuinely unable to pay solely on a account of wealth" is a violation of the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection clause.

There is similarly good news today from the state Court of Appeals in North Carolina, which ruled the Photo ID voting restrictions enacted by Republicans (a measure vetoed by the state's Democratic Governor last year, but overridden by the gerrymandered GOP majorities in both statehouse chambers) disproportionately disenfranchises poor and minority voters.

Despite little or no evidence of polling place impersonation --- the only type of voter fraud such laws could possibly prevent --- the NC GOP has been trying since at least 2013 to impose such discriminatory voting restrictions in the Tar Heel state. Their most notorious attempt, in 2013, was eventually nixed by a federal court which found the law was specifically designed to "target African-Americans with almost surgical precision" and to "impose cures for problems that did not exist." Another similar ruling recently against the state's new measure by a federal court, blocked the law from taking effect before NC's March 3rd Primaries. The new state appeals court decision is likely to also bar the measure until after the 2020 general election in one of the nation's most closely divided battleground states.

Then, it's on to electoral politics, with still more new national polling today showing Bernie Sanders vaulting into double-digit leads over all of his Democratic Presidential rivals. And while Sanders is frequently dismissed by corporate media, even as the front-runner (as we demonstrate again today), an even more curious case of the erasure of Elizabeth Warren by corporate media has made itself maddeningly clear in a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll out this week.

We explain how Warren was disappeared, in part, from a key question in that poll, despite placing third in the national delegate race to date and largely tying for second or third place in most of the recent national surveys. That, while candidates like Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg continue to receive a great deal of media attention while still polling only in single digits nationally.

Meanwhile, having no trouble at all receiving national coverage of late, is former Republican, recently-declared Democrat, and longtime billionaire Michael Bloomberg. While Sanders has skyrocketed in polling, Joe Biden has taken a dive, and Bloomberg appears to be surging at his expense. That is thanks, in no small part, to the former NYC Mayor's unprecedented blanketing of the national airwaves with his political propaganda ads. With his late polling surges, Bloomberg will appear, for the first time, on the Democratic debate stage tonight in Las Vegas before this Saturday's Nevada Caucuses (where he isn't even on the ballot.)

We are joined today by investigative financial journalist, author and Executive Editor of The American Prospect, DAVID DAYEN, who has been covering Bloomberg's long and disturbing record quite closely. Earlier this week, Dayen detailed how Bloomberg's life and career mirrors Donald Trump's in a number of disturbing ways, while cautioning about the dangers to both democracy and the Democratic Party itself of the "plutocrat-on-plutocrat election" that would be in store if Bloomberg wins the nomination.

"This is a hostile take-over of the Democratic Party. Much like Trump was a hostile take-over of the Republican Party," Dayen argues today. "I'm worried about the shell-shocked nature of the Democratic electorate that has given up on democracy and thinks the only way to beat their plutocrat is with our plutocrat. That concerns me for more reasons than just the Bloomberg nomination. It concerns me that people are so despondent that they think democracy doesn't work anymore. That leads us down a very dark road."

Dayen also has a scoop today, as published with Alexander Sammon at The Prospect, on Bloomberg's recent history of comparing the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) to the National Rifle Association (NRA), as part of his "decade-long history of promoting cuts to the social safety net" in his advocacy to slash Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as deficit reduction measures.

All of which raises serious questions about what the Democratic electorate must be thinking in their current, apparently growing support for Bloomberg to become the Party's standard-bearer in 2020. Dayen has many thoughts on that, as do I on today's program...

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Guest: Former Deputy Asst. Attorney General Lisa Graves warns there is now 'a cancer on the Justice Department'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/12/2020 6:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Once again, Donald Trump managed to step on a big night for Democrats, with what is turning out to be an unprecedented "break-the-glass-in-case-of-fire" crisis at the U.S. Department of Justice. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

The unspeakably important fight to replace the most dangerous, unfit, authoritarian President this nation has ever seen continued on Tuesday night in New Hampshire, where a pleasantly smooth primary election resulted in a narrow win for Bernie Sanders, with Pete Buttigieg close on his heels yet again, followed by a surprise third place win for Amy Klobuchar. After double-digit percentages for those three, Elizabeth Warren came in a distant fourth, followed by an undoubtedly disappointing fifth place finish for Joe Biden.

The contest also resulted in three candidates dropping out of the race. Colorado Senator Michael Bennet hung it up, as did former MA Governor Deval Patrick (leaving no more African-Americans in the race) and previously unknown entrepreneur Andrew Yang (leaving Tulsi Gabbard, who finished a distance 7th, as the only person of color remaining in the Democratic nominating contest.) Sanders second popular vote victory in two weeks leaves him as the front-runner ahead of Nevada next week, South Carolina the week after, and Super Tuesday in more than a dozen states three days later, where voters will decide how long this contest will run, as several candidates remain more than viable after the two early outings.

We discuss, along with a reminder that all of New Hampshire voted, without apparent problem Tuesday, on hand-marked paper ballots, with citizen volunteers in some 40% of Granite State towns counting those hand-marked ballots by hand, publicly, with everybody watching, no apparent problems or delays, and results announced at each counting location upon completion. We call that Democracy's Gold Standard and thank the volunteers in those NH towns.

Unfortunately, that joyous exercise in public democracy and civic duty was marred by the quickly expanding crisis in Washington D.C. where four prosecutors running the case against Trump confidante Roger Stone, who was recently found guilty of lying to Congress and witness tampering, abruptly quit the case on Tuesday. One of them resigned from the Dept. of Justice entirely.

That stunning news on Tuesday came after a tweet from Trump, describing the sentencing recommendation as a "miscarriage of justice!", before an announcement by a senior official at DoJ that the line prosecutors' recommendation, based on federal sentencing guidelines, was "extreme and excessive and disproportionate to Stone’s offenses."

Further reporting throughout the day --- as Trump continued his Twitter tirade, even attacking the federal judge overseeing Stone's case --- revealed that it was not the only time in recent days that Trump's Attorney General Bill Barr appears to have interceded to soften sentencing recommendations for close friends of Trump found guilty of lying to federal officials during the Robert Mueller Special Counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. NBC News reports that a recently installed Barr apparatchik also changed the DoJ prosecutors' sentencing recommendation for Trump's former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn last month. It was originally for 0 to 6 months in prison, but modified last month to nothing more than probation.

And, as all of that was unspooling, Trump pulled his nomination for a top post at the Treasury Dept. for the former U.S. Attorney for D.C., Jessie Liu. As USA, she had overseen Stone's case and a number of others related to the Mueller probe, until she was relieved of that post on the same day that the DoJ changed their sentencing recommendation for Flynn. Liu had been scheduled to answer questions in her Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday for the Treasury post, but that has been conveniently nixed with Trump's withdrawal of her nomination on Tuesday.

We're joined today to discuss these stunning --- and somewhat terrifying --- turns of event by LISA GRAVES, who previously served as Deputy Asst. U.S. Attorney General at the DoJ under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. She is also the former Chief Counsel for Nominations in the U.S. Senate and former Deputy Chief for the U.S. Court system. So, she has quite a bit of insight into many aspects of this. She, like us, is exceedingly disturbed by what one former, longtime DoJ senior official characterized as "a shocking, cram-down political intervention in the criminal justice process," declaring that "We are now truly at a break-glass-in-case-of-fire moment for the Justice Dept."

Graves, who recently founded the new watchdog group TrueNorthResearch.org, echoes that alarm today. "This is really a crisis," she warns. "And it's hard to say that, given that we are in the midst of an ongoing crisis based on what the Republicans in the Senate did this past month and what the President is up to. This is a crisis that is really unparalleled in the modern history of the Justice Department. It's a Constitutional crisis and really an existential crisis, because this is an active assault on the rule of law in this country."

She explains that "this is an absolute, confirmed and repeated breach of the independence of the Justice Department...I'm not sure how it can be fixed, given the fact that the Justice Department has been so corrupted by this President and by his willing hand-maiden, Bill Barr." Graves cites the upcoming election as our only way out, at this point, from "this sort of behavior turning America into a banana republic", before she borrows from the Nixon impeachment proceedings to describe the ongoing events as "a cancer on the Justice Department."

She also shares her thoughts on whether she believes the DoJ itself --- with the words "The place of Justice is a hallowed place" (ironically now?) etched above its door on Pennsylvania Avenue --- can ever be fully repaired after this breach, even after Trump is no longer despoiling the White House...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 2/11/2020 11:13am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Good news and bad news in Australia, as destructive storms extinguish catastrophic wildfires; Bumblebees are disappearing, because of climate change; Antarctica hits record 65 degrees; PLUS: Climate change through the lens of trade, at the latest 2020 Democratic debate... 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!
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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Climate is on the ballot in New Hampshire; Trump is blowing up a national monument in AZ to make way for his border wall; Trump proposes deep energy, environmental cuts; So-called ‘negative emissions’ might actually work, at least in California; Police arrest 33 indigenous protesters opposing Canada gas pipeline; CNBC's Jim Cramer: Fossil Fuels aren’t a very good investment; Tropical forests losing ability to absorb CO2, study says; Get used to record-breaking heat because it’s here to stay... PLUS: Aridification is Australia's new normal... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Caucus errors lead to unsupported charges of 'rigging'; Sanders seeks 'partial recanvass'; Unattended L.A. Vote-by-Mail drop-box removed thanks to public oversight; More Trump disasters and lies...
By Brad Friedman on 2/10/2020 6:25pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We get you all caught up after Friday night's lively Democratic debate in New Hampshire --- which included many calls for unity by most of the candidates --- and as voters in the Granite State prepare to vote on Tuesday in the first-in-the-nation primary. But the reported results from first-in-the-nation caucuses, held last week in Iowa, are still roiling some Democratic partisans. Others, meanwhile, are taking important actions to make our elections more secure, as we report on a citizen action that led to small, if positive change in Los Angeles in advance of the critical March 3rd Super Tuesday primary. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

The only thing that appears reasonably certain regarding last week's Iowa mess at this hour is that Bernie Sanders received more votes than any other candidates and that Pete Buttigieg appears to have come in second, while perhaps winning an infinitesimally larger portion of "State Delegate Equivalents", thanks to the absurdly complex Iowa Caucus math and a number of seemingly random errors in that math on enough precinct worksheets that Associated Press is still refusing to call the race one way or another.

As discussed on today's program, those math worksheets were signed off on as accurate, not only by every Precinct Leader and Secretary at each caucus cite, but also by the campaign captains of each candidate at every caucus site. Nonetheless, with math errors discovered on those sheets at a small number of precincts (thankfully due to the transparency of the otherwise complex caucus processes in Iowa as demanded by Sanders after the 2016 caucuses) and the state Democratic Party attorney's claim that correcting the math worksheets would amount to election tampering under state law, the Sanders campaign is requesting a "partial recanvass" of results from about 20 or 30 of the state's more than 1,700 caucuses.

While the ultimate delegate count out of Iowa is unlikely to change very much --- Sanders and Buttigieg are largely tied on that score --- a number of his supporters are charging the contest was rigged or stolen from him by the DNC and/or Iowa Democratic Party (and/or, apparently, the Buttigieg Campaign. Based on the currently available evidence, I disagree with that charge and explain why on today's program.

Despite the increasing animosity between some supporters of the candidates, pretty much all of the Democrats still in the hunt for the nomination spent portions of Friday's debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, and subsequent media appearances and rallies thereafter, calling for unity among the party faithful, in order to defeat Donald Trump this November. Whether their supporters heard those pleas or not is another matter, but we make an effort to help them hear that message just a bit better on today's program.

We also take some time to share a few news headlines from the past couple of days underscoring again what a dangerous and unprecedentedly dishonest menace this American President represents to both the nation and the world. Among those news headlines today...

  • The African-American fourth-grader who Trump awarded with a scholarship at his State of the Union Address last week, as it turns out, already attends one of Philadelphia's most prestigious charter schools and needs no scholarship. The privately-run public school is already paid for with tax dollars. Yes, Trump's stunt was another scam;
  • The deadly and injurious fallout from Trump's unlawful assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani at the beginning of the year, on the heels of his impeachment, continues today. More than 100 U.S. service members, according to a new report from CNN today, have now been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries following the missile attack response by Iran on a military base in Iraq housing U.S. troops. After the Iranian response, Trump claimed all was well, and that no service members were killed or injured. That turns out to have been another lie. Last month, after the first reports of traumatic brain injury to troops was reported, Trump dismissed them as "headaches". The head of the influential Veterans of Foreign Wars is now demanding an apology from the President;
  • And, in one more reminder today about what a dangerous menace this President is and his reelection would be to the nation and its people, Trump released his $4.8 trillion budget proposal on Monday. It includes calls for deep cuts to student loan assistance, affordable housing, food stamps, health care (Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act), education and the environment. With those calls for slashing the federal public safety net, Trump is also proposing increased spending on the military, his border wall, his "Space Force" program, and an extension to his tax cuts which mostly benefited corporations and wealthy Americans.

Finally today, we have an interesting story about a Sanders supporter out here in Los Angeles who discovered a dangerously light and apparently totally unguarded table-top drop-off for Vote-by-Mail ballots at a UCLA facility over the weekend. According to the campaign volunteer, It was "light as a feather...not bolted down...right by the door [and] weighs about 5 pounds and could easily be taken."

After we contacted the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan with the report over the weekend, including a photograph of the unattended drop-box [as seen in the graphic above], Logan told us this morning that the vulnerable table-top container at the facility has now been replaced with a permanent, 1,000 pound collection box. We share the telling (and just a bit snarky) email exchange between he and me that led to the upgrade in advance of California's March 3rd Super Tuesday primary. That good news comes thanks to PUBLIC OVERSIGHT of our public election processes by a concerned voter! We could use a helluva lot more of that!...

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And who could have warned about such things in ADVANCE?! Also, The Nation's John Nichols joins us, just back from the IA Caucus meltdown...
By Brad Friedman on 2/4/2020 5:44pm PT  

On Monday night, the Democratic Iowa Caucuses melted down. Actually, they didn't melt down. They worked as well as expected. It was the reporting of the results from the caucuses that melted down, almost entirely due to a smartphone app that either didn't work as planned --- or because untrained precinct captains had trouble using it for its intended purpose: to send local, transparent, fully publicly overseen caucus site results to the the Iowa Democratic Party headquarters for release to the media. Of course, as we have warned for more than 15 years, it is always a terrible idea to use new, untested, secretly-developed, nontransparent, unnecessary computer technology for mission critical, cannot-fail elections.

On today's BradCast [Audio link posted below], we explain both the Iowa caucus process (which, itself, is actually among the most transparent --- if most complex --- of all the Presidential nominating contests); the known history of this app that failed so spectacularly after warnings by cybersecurity professionals (and by us on this program previously) against its use were ignored; how the app was supposed to work; and the problems from the 2016 caucuses (and even 2012 Republican Caucus in Iowa) that it was meant to solve.

(Relatedly, we also share a :30 second preview clip, featuring me, from CBS-2 Los Angeles, for an investigative report on Los Angeles County's new, untested, 100% unverifiable, $300,000,000 touchscreen voting systems that are being deployed for the March 3rd Super Tuesday primary election here for the first time in the nation's most populous county, despite warnings from cybersecurity and, yes, us. That story, and the warnings I offer in the preview --- and, hopefully, in the full story set to air on CBS-LA this evening --- have suddenly become even more wildly relevant over the past 12 hours or so than they were previously.)

If you take nothing else from all of this, please let it be that even if tech like this works perfectly (it never does), if the public cannot know that it did, confidence in democracy itself is deeply endangered. Though we've been issuing that warning for years, it is more true today than ever, especially after years of tossing additional computer "solutions" at our elections, no matter how dangerous it will be once again in 2020. As one longtime Election Integrity advocate emailed me today, somewhat sarcastically: "Who would have ever thought that using computers for election administration could cause problems? Aren't they supposed to make processes go more easily, more smoothly, faster, more accurate? What a stunner that everything descended into chaos when Iowa Democrats changed from their manual counting/reporting methods to move into the 21st century with computers!"

Before we get to our guest today then, with whom we also discuss all of this, perhaps I can summarize the lessons learned for the moment from Iowa as...A) the madness of using untested, secretly-developed, nontransparent new tech in mission critical elections; B) the importance of publicly overseen results tabulated by humans at the polling place (which Iowa has, despite the app meltdown, so the correct results will EVENTUALLY be known!) and; C) the absurdly complex procedures of the Iowa Caucus itself (on the Dem side --- the GOP side is far simpler) is a nice example of the complications and dangers in store for those who persist in calling for a Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) system. Given the complicated way the Iowa Democratic caucuses work (realignment of votes through several rounds of voting/counting after some candidates do not meet the viability threshold, etc.), it is very similar to RCV or Instant Runnoff Voting (IRV).

If you think the raw numbers, once they fully come out from Iowa, are impossible to understand and add up, just wait until RCV takes hold. As I almost always note on this topic: If you think we have enough trouble as is, transparently adding 1 + 1 + 1 in our elections in a way that can be publicly overseen and understood, just wait until we add the complicated, computer- and central-tabulation required algebra of Ranked Choice Voting to the matter!

Halfway through today's show, the Iowa Democratic Party finally released results from Monday night....well, just 62% of them, incredibly enough. They show Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders in a virtual tie, followed by Elizabeth Warren and then Joe Biden, with Amy Klobuchar not too far behind. But, again, those are only partial numbers, so we don't need to spend too much time on them for now.

We're joined today by the great JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation, just back from Iowa, for an explanation --- and a rant or two --- about all of the above and whether Democratic supporters of several different candidates should be furious...or just breathe...as all of this is ultimately sorted out. There is a lot to discuss with John, who explains why he believes "caucuses suck" and the "scorching, huge damage" this all will have done to the Democratic Party and democracy itself. We agree on some points and disagree on others. But there is just far too much to detail here. So I suggest you just buckle up and tune in today!

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us to let it go, with our latest Green News Report...

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

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Countering the deadly media-supported, health insurance industry spin...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/29/2020 9:35am PT  

As Americans are being hoodwinked by a slick health insurance industry PR campaign, the time has come to carefully examine Medicare For All by separating myth from reality.

While morally repugnant, the privately-owned health insurance industry's deceptions are economically understandable. By the time Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2019 in the U.S. Senate --- two months after Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, introduced H.R. 1384 - Medicare for All Act of 2019 in the House --- the industry realized that it faced an existential threat.

Medicare for All would create an entirely new single-payer healthcare system that, with limited exceptions (cosmetic surgery, home care nursing), would eliminate the need for anyone to purchase health insurance.

While the parasitic health insurance industry has faced-off against them in the past, single-payer advocates are better positioned to prevail in 2020 than at any time in the past 75 years. Sanders' single-payer healthcare legislation, S. 1129, was co-sponsored by 14 Senate Democrats. Those co-sponsors included several Presidential candidates --- Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamela Harris (D-CA). More than one-half of all Democrats in the House (112), co-sponsored Jayapal's version of the bill. Medicare for All is also supported by 63 national organizations. More importantly, a poll taken in 2018 --- prior to a barrage of pro-insurance industry propaganda --- found that Medicare for All was immensely popular. It was supported by a whopping 70% of all Americans, including 84% of Democrats and a mind-boggling 52% of Republicans.

With their very survival at stake, the health insurance profiteers, along with large hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry, created a new PR front-group, Partnership for America's Healthcare Future (PAHF), to wage their defensive. According to Wendell Potter, a former CIGNA executive and author of Deadly Spin: How PR is Killing Healthcare and Deceiving Americans (2011), PAHF is the industry's newest propaganda arm.

In addition to carefully-timed commercial advertising, PAHF acts in concert with industry-funded politicians and mainstream media pundits. Their goal is to erect an industry-friendly frame that serves to mask the blatant deficiencies of our inordinately expensive, yet woefully inefficient, subsidized "free market" healthcare system. This, as Julie Hollar of the media watchdog FAIR observed, has succeeded in turning some of the recent Democratic Presidential Debates into "over the top, industry-friendly spectacle[s]."

Potter, the recovering healthcare industry veteran, told Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzek: "Health insurers have been successful at two things: making money and getting the American public to believe they're essential." But, "the truth", argues Hiltzik, "is that private health insurers have contributed nothing to the American healthcare system."

Most Americans, he charges, "blindly tolerate" our inordinately expensive, yet dysfunctional private insurance system "because the vast majority...don't have a complex interaction with the healthcare system within a given year...[One percent] of patients account for more than one-fifth of all medical spending, and 10% account for two-thirds." Far too many Americans fail to appreciate the "inadequacies of our private insurance system" until those inadequacies are thrust upon them by an unexpected serious illness or injury, according to the Pulitzer Prize winning business columnist.

Hence, the need to separate healthcare insurance myth from fact-based reality...

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




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