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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, January 26, 2020
Dems Wrap at Senate Trial; CA Approves Unverifiable Voting in L.A.: 'BradCast' 1/24/20
Guest: Heather Digby Parton; Schiff's powerful plea; CA SoS certifies new touchscreens, adds curious 'hand-marked paper ballot' provision...
'Even Puts Nixon to Shame': Damning Evidence at Senate Trial: 'BradCast' 1/23/20
Repubs called out for blocking key docs, witnesses; Dershowitz, Graham cited for flipping 1998 positions; Fox 'News' bags out; 'Doomsday Clock' nears 'midnight'...
'Green News Report' 1/23/20
  w/ Brad & Desi
Big Oil rebrands for climate change; Trump DOJ and Big Oil in cahoots; U.S. drinking water more toxic than previously known; PLUS: Greta's dose of climate reality for Davos...
Previous GNRs: 1/21/20 - 1/16/20 - Archives...
Impeachment Trial Begins With a Trial About Holding a Trial: 'BradCast' 1/21/20
Repub Senate blocks document, witness subpoenas as White House offers remarkably hypocritical defense...
'Green News Report' 1/21/20
World's oceans hottest ever recorded; Climate change worries Wall Street; PLUS: Federal court dismisses climate kids' lawsuit...
My Letter to CA's SoS on L.A. County's New, Unverifiable Touchscreen Voting Systems
Dangerous VSAP system must not be certified! HAND-MARKED paper ballots needed for 2020 elections!...
Sunday 'Ding Dong the Witch is...' Toons
PDiddie documents yet another week over the rainbow in his latest toon collection!...
On Bernie's 'Electability':
'BradCast' 1/17/20
Guest: Historian, author Richard Hayes Phillips; Also: Security experts worried about L.A.'s new, uncertified, unverifiable vote system...
A Statistical Response to the Charge That Bernie Sanders is 'Unelectable'
Analysis of 2016 primary election numbers in three key states appears to counter the allegation...
Parnas Sings, Sen. Trial Begins, Suit Against L.A.'s New Vote System: 'BradCast' 1/16/20
D.C. bombshells; Huge fail in L.A.'s $300M vote system, County Clerk finally responds...
'Green News Report' 1/16/20
GNR SPECIAL COVERAGE: Climate change pervades the final Democratic presidential primary debate before 2020 voting begins...
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...


Speaker holds back Trump impeachment articles to force McConnell to allow witness testimony; Also: Goods news for NJ, GA voters; Update on VerifiedVoting.org controversy; Two important new e-voting exposés...
By Brad Friedman on 12/19/2019 5:43pm PT  

On today's BradCast: As messy as the process of passing two Articles of Impeachment against rogue President Donald J. Trump was, the post-impeachment phase got messier still on Thursday, as Democrats stood strong --- at least so far --- in their fight for a fair impeachment trial in the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate. We've also got some important election integrity and voting rights news, along with our final Green News Report of the year. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Before we get to today's impeachment standoff, we finish out a few points from shortly after we left air on Wednesday night, including a review of the late vote on those historic Impeachment Articles in the House --- and some thoughts on Tulsi Gabbard's less than courageous vote of "present" --- as well as the surprising emergence of the backbone being displayed at the moment by House Democrats.

In a blistering response to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's repeated admissions in recent days that he is working hand-in-glove with the White House and has no intention of serving as an impartial juror in the Senate trial to decide whether the President should be removed from office, despite his Constitutional mandate to do so, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Thursday: "Our Founders, when they wrote the Constitution, suspected that there could be a rogue President. I don't think they suspected that we could have a rogue President and a rogue Leader in the Senate at the same time."

We do our best today to bring you up to date on the ugly and quickly moving story of what has come today from McConnell's --- and, shamefully, fellow juror, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)'s --- attempt to make a mockery of the Senate trial by rigging it in favor of the White House in refusing to allow first-hand testimony from witnesses of Trump's alleged high crimes and misdemeanors. That, despite Graham's own insistence from 1998, when he served as a House Manager for Bill Clinton's impeachment, that "in every trial that there has ever been in the Senate regarding impeachment, witnesses were called. When you have a witness telling you about what they were doing and why, it's the difference between getting the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."

Those archival video-taped remarks came courtesy of an ad released on Wednesday from Republicans for the Rule of Law to call out Graham. It is in response to McConnell and Graham's refusal to allow testimony from a number of top Administration officials who were first-hand witnesses, but who failed to answer lawful subpoenas for testimony and documents in the U.S. House. The witnesses sought by Democrats and by a huge majority of Americans of all parties (including 64% of Republicans and 72% of independents) include Trump's acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Sec. of State Mike Pompeo, and former National Security Advisor John Bolton.

Then, we move to some quick election integrity and voting rights news as the first votes in the 2020 elections are now just weeks away. In New Jersey this week, the Democratic Governor signed a bill to restore voting rights to 73,000 people across the state who are currently on parole or probation.

In Georgia, after Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensberger was allowed to purge more than 300,000 voters earlier this week amid an ongoing lawsuit to prevent the removal of at least 120,000 of them, his office was forced to admit today that at least 22,000 had been wrongly removed due to what Raffensberger's office describes as an error in the state's screening process. The Admission came just hours before another hearing in federal court, leading plaintiff Fair Fight Action to demand that "every voter purged this week" should be "reinstated immediately."

We also have a quick update on the recent internecine battle at e-voting watchdog VerifiedVoting.org after the courageous resignations of now two well-respected members of their Boards of Directors and Advisors. (We interviewed the first of those to quit, Prof. Philip Stark of UC-Berkeley on a BradCast last week, after which the resignation of the second, Prof. Rich DeMillo of Georgia Tech --- who we have also interviewed a number of times --- was made public as well.)

The public resignations were in response to Verified Voting's disturbing years of support for 100% unverifiable touchscreen Ballot Marking Device (BMD) voting systems now proliferating the country in advance of the critical 2020 elections, and their frequently misleading information about how post-election audits could be used to verify results on such unverifiable systems. This week, the group finally responded to the embarrassing and costly pushback they have been receiving from Election Integrity advocates.

There were also two very important stories published this week on the very serious concerns about e-voting systems in advance of 2020. The first, "How New Voting Machines Could Hack Our Democracy," by attorney and Twitter activist Jenny Cohn at New York Review of Books, is a disturbing and encyclopedic exposé on the dangers and failings of BMDs, the Election Integrity groups such as Verified Voting who have failed to adequately warn against their use in American elections, and the private vendor/election official revolving doors and payoffs that have brought us to this perilous moment.

The second investigative article, out today from NBC News, reviews the shady ownership and shadowy manufacturing processes that runs through China and the Philippines at the nation's largest electronic voting company, Elections Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S) of Omaha, Nebraska.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report (our last one of the year!), with more disturbing news out of Australia, more bad news for our oceans, troubling news about the disturbing high costs of fracking and, shockingly, some kind words about global financial services behemoth Goldman Sachs!...

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

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Guest: Election and criminal justice expert Daniel Nichanian; Also: House schedules new impeachment hearing as Trump appeals federal ruling finding 'Presidents are not kings'...
By Brad Friedman on 11/26/2019 6:44pm PT  

At the BRAD BLOG and on today's BradCast, we'll even fight for Donald Trump's right to vote --- even from prison, should he find himself there at any time in the near-ish future. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today, a bit of impeachment-related news, even as Congress is on recess for the Thanksgiving holiday. The House Judiciary Committee (as opposed to the House Intelligence Committee) has announced a new impeachment hearing for next Wednesday. Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler sent a letter to the President on Tuesday, inviting him and his counsel to attend and potentially question witnesses in the hearing titled Titled "The Impeachment Inquiry into President Donald J. Trump: Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment." Along with his invitation, Nadler also offered a warning about the White House's continued refusal to make witnesses and documents available to the Constitutional proceedings in the U.S. House.

In related news, Trump's Dept. of Justice on Tuesday filed for a stay to a blistering federal court ruling ordering that former White House Counsel Don McGahn appear for scheduled testimony in response to a lawful Congressional subpoena regarding the House's examination of the Robert Mueller investigation. McGahn played a key role in the probe, helping to detail Trump's multiple attempts to obstruct the Special Counsel's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and Team Trump's cooperation with the effort.

The DoJ is now seeking a pause pending an appeal to U.S. District Judge Ketanji Jackson Brown's scathing 121-page ruling [PDF] issued on Monday, in which she eviscerated the DoJ argument that Presidents and their current and former White House officials enjoy "absolute immunity" from Constitutionally-mandated Congressional oversight. "Stated simply," the Judge wrote, "the primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history is that Presidents are not kings."

Trump, however, appears to feel otherwise. In addition to appealing the order, Trump tweeted today that "The D.C. Wolves and Fake News Media are reading far too much into people being forced by Courts to testify before Congress," adding that while he "would love" to have top Executive Branch officials like Sec. of State Mike Pompeo, acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former National Security Advisor John Bolton testify in impeachment hearings in the Ukraine bribery affair, he is only "fighting for future Presidents and the Office of the President. Other than that, I would actually like people to testify."

But whether Trump wins his "absolute immunity" defense while President, it is unlikely to help him once he is out of office. To that end, yes, we'd hate to see him lose his right to vote if he ever should find himself imprisoned for any of his countless crimes. In the meantime, however, there are millions in prison who have already lost that right --- a right, not a privilege, even if many treat it that way --- while behind bars. There has been some noteworthy successful (and even bi-partisan in some cases) efforts of late in a number of states to help enfranchise former felons or those out of jail on probation or parole though state constitutional amendments, legislation or executive actions. But when it comes to the right to vote for those still in prison, the debate has been slower and more contentious. Currently, only Maine and Vermont allow prisoners to vote, a policy which Vermont's U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders strongly defended during a CNN Presidential Candidate Town Hall earlier this year.

At the same time, as our guest today, DANIEL NICHANIAN, Editor of The Appeal Political Report (better known as @Taniel on Twitter) points out, lawmakers in eight states and D.C. have filed legislation this year to allow people behind bars to exercise the right to vote. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) has done the same at the federal level.

After a Republican New York state Assemblyman recently described a state Senate bill there that would enfranchise convicts as "insulting [to] members of law enforcement and the criminal justice system who worked diligently to get these dangerous predators off the street," Nichanian reached out to prosecutors, correctional facility officers and elected officials in Maine and Vermont to see if they agreed. You'll be surprised to learn that not one of them did, with almost all either finding it to be no problem or, more frequently, lauding the connection to "the real world" that voting allows imprisoned citizens as they pay their debt to society.

Nichanian, a Senior Fellow at the Justice Collaborative and expert on criminal justice reform and mass incarceration, shares insight from the officials he spoke with, and explains why reform on this issue (which disproportionately affects minorities) --- and a number of related topics --- is long overdue.

"We are not treating the right to vote as an inalienable, fundamental right of U.S. democracy, as a right that every citizen should have, and have protected," he tells me, explaining why "ending felony disenfranchisement would also mean that law enforcement professionals are no longer the arbiters of who gets to exercise democratic rights."

Nichanian notes that "the way in which we talk about people who are incarcerated, it would seem like we forget that these people have families, they have kids who go to school, and the school board elections matter to them. They have families who also need to care about their elected officials."

"There's all sorts of arguments of whether people are worthy of voting or not, whether people have shown enough civic capacity to vote or not," he argues. "And I find all of that universe of questions to be questionable, because we are claiming for ourselves the power and authority to decide whether our fellow citizens should have the same rights as us. I find that to be a problematic question. And I think that's just the bottom line: whether we want the right to vote to be a protected right for all U.S. citizens."

He says that "we are definitely seeing the criminal justice reform conversation encompass these issues of rights restoration, as a tool of re-entry, as a tool of thinking about how people remain human, as a way of thinking about economic justice and racial justice throughout the process." But whether that, theoretically bipartisan effort will ultimately become a fight for re-enfranchising felons remains to be seen.

We also discuss how the imprisoned population is used in the fight over apportionment, with the incarcerated counted in the census and for redistricting purposes, even while that huge chunk of the population is disallowed from exercising any real political power through the vote. "The time to address it is literally now, because the next round of redistricting and map-drawing is coming up. If this is going to be reformed, it has to be in the next couple of years, or else we'll have ten more years of problems on this."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us today for our latest Green News Report as "climate emergency" is named "Word of the Year" by the Oxford Dictionary and, unfortunately, for very good reason...

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

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Also: Federal Judge says McGahn must testify; GA SoS attempts to intimidate election experts; High profile resignation at Verified Voting; Callers ring in after blockbuster impeachment week...
By Brad Friedman on 11/25/2019 6:10pm PT  

Hmmm....That's interesting. With all of those pro-Trump callers we had last week after Week 1 of impeachment hearings, there were none willing to call in to today's BradCast to defend the President after the bombshells of Week 2. I wonder why. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Before we get to those calls today, a few other news headlines of note that we've been trying to get to for several days (and hope to cover more in coming days), but for our impeachment coverage over the past week. Among those stories...

  • Georgia's new Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger is attempting to intimidate election integrity and computer science experts by announcing official state investigations of their activities. The recently announced probes are of prominent experts, several of whom have appeared on The BradCast as guests multiple times. They have been critical of Raffensperger for installing new, hackable, unreliably and 100% unverifiable touchcreen Ballot Marking Device (BMD) voting systems across the state before 2020, despite the new systems' disastrous performance failures in the counties which pilot tested them in the recent 2019 off-year elections;
  • The inventor of the Risk-Limiting Audit (RLA) protocol, used by some jurisdictions to (supposedly) assure that computer tabulators correctly tallied voter intent when reporting election results, has resigned from the previously well-respected voting system watchdog group Verified Voting. Prof. Philip Stark of UC Berkeley has been critical of the group on which he served on their Board of Directors, for helping to validate what he describes as "meaningless" [PDF] post-election audits in jurisdictions --- such as Georgia and Philadelphia --- where unverifiable BMD systems are used to mark paper ballot summaries. He argues that only hand-marked paper ballots can be known to reflect voter intent, and that RLA's of computerized ballots is likely to offer a false sense of security in results produced on such systems. Stark sent a dramatic resignation letter over the weekend, blasting VV for "providing cover for inherently untrustworthy voting systems --- and the officials who bought them, the companies that make them, and any officials who might contemplate buying them in the future --- by conducting 'risk-limiting audits' of untrustworthy paper records, creating the false and misleading impression that relying on untrustworthy paper for a RLA can confirm election outcomes (and debasing the meaning of "RLA" in the process)";
  • In related-ish news, but far more hopeful news, the New Jersey Assembly voted to restore voting rights to some 83,000 people on parole & probation. The measure would overturn a law adopted in 1844, but must still be approved in the state Senate and sighned by the Governor;
  • And, in breaking news just as today's show began, a federal court judge has ruled that Donald Trump's former White House Counsel Don McGahn must respond to a lawful U.S. House subpoena for documents and testimony related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe, during which McGahn testified that Trump attempted to obstruct justice at least 10 different times. While the ruling is likely to be appealed by Trump's Dept. of Justice, the order to testify would also likely apply to a host of top Trump officials who have refused to answer Congressional subpoenas in the Trump/Ukraine affair for which he is currently facing an impeachment inquiry, after the Administration has claimed "absolute immunity" from Congressional oversight.

Speaking of which, we summarize last week's explosive impeachment hearings today, and cover a number of new, related stories which broke over the weekend before opening the phones to callers. Last week, when we did same after Week 1 of public testimony in the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, we heard from a number of callers who remained strongly opposed to Trump's impeachment and removal. Today, however, when we opened the phones to listeners to take their temperature after the several blockbuster revelations of Week 2, those callers were nowhere to be found...Go figure!

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

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Also: Trump reverses, cow-tows to NRA on gun reform; Luntz offers advice to Dems on how to discuss climate...
By Brad Friedman on 8/20/2019 6:20pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Our cowardly President couldn't even make it to the end of his summer vacation before flip-flopping on promised (if tepid) gun safety reforms following the two mass shooting massacres that killed 32 in El Paso and Dayton just two weeks ago. During that vacation Donald Trump reportedly met with NRA boss Wayne LaPierre who straightened him out, and Republicans in Congress decided to blame "mental illness" and "the left" are actually to blame for mass shootings, not the rightwing white supremacists, domestic terrorists or the military assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines they use to kill --which are nearly as easy to buy in much of the country as milk and eggs at the grocery store. [Audio link to show follows below.]

In just the past week, at least five different potential mass shootings by white American male rightwingers appear to have been prevented, thanks to tips to law enforcement from the public. Among those arrested over the past week and found with huge caches of military hardware, thousands of rounds of ammo, and threats against immigrants, jews, African-Americans, trans people and Planned Parenthood among others (ya know, folks often targeted by "the left"):

Again, all of those stories broke within the past week alone. But, other than that, sure, "the left" is to blame for America's domestic terrorism crisis.

To his credit, Rep. Pete King of New York, on Monday, became the first and, so far only, GOPer in the House to join 200 Democrats in co-sponsoring a bill that would ban assault weapons once and for all. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, of course, has vowed to make sure the measure never sees the light of day in the Senate and Trump...well, of course, he is opposed, because it would mean actual reform that flies in the face of their benefactors at the terrorist-enabling NRA.

In other news of Republicans showing the smallest signs of willingness to do the right thing for the nation --- but we'll take it where we can find it --- longtime Republican pollster and operative Frank Luntz recently testified in the U.S. Senate that he is now willing to help Democrats fight against the climate crisis, after his home almost burned down in a California wildfire. Luntz is responsible for an infamous 2001 memo to Republicans explaining what language they should use to avoid action on the global warming climate crisis. Now, he says, he has changed and is offering advice to Democrats on language that he says will help convince the American people that urgent action is needed. We discuss his advice and his suggested language.

Finally today, Desi Doyen brings us the latest Green News Report with bad news on Newark's lead contamination water crisis; bad news on a global methane emissions spike due to U.S. fracking and Trump rollbacks to Obama restrictions; bad news on air pollution; and an aggressive --- if potentially perilous --- proposal from a Democratic 2020 Presidential candidate on action to solve the 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 8/20/2019 11:15am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Another major city suffers a lead contamination crisis; U.S. fracking boom causing a spike in global methane emissions; Long-term exposure to air pollution like smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, says new report; PLUS: 2020 Democratic candidate warns Senate filibuster must end to solve the climate crisis... 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): Earth’s future is being written in fast-melting Greenland; Why do American cities fail to protect our water?; Standing Rock Sioux Tribe sues to shut Dakota Pipeline as company plans to double capacity; Iceland holds funeral for first glacier lost to climate change; Trump's rollback of auto pollution rules shows signs of disarray; Coal reclamation funds dwindle while Congress dawdles; 4 last wolves in Washington pack killed by state hunters... PLUS: Climate Refugia: Scientists search for safe havens for vulnerable species... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




Guest: Election tech and cybersecurity expert Kevin Skoglund; Also: Deadly heat wave continues; Who to believe in the US/Iran showdown?...
By Brad Friedman on 7/19/2019 6:24pm PT  

On today's BradCast, some potentially good news for Philadelphia voters (and, thus, voters across the entire country), after a citizen led effort has resulted in the state of Pennsylvania re-examining its certification of a shockingly vulnerable --- and wholly unverifiable --- new touchscreen voting system selected by the city earlier this year (under questionable circumstances) for use in upcoming elections. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

But first up, before we get to our guest today and the astonishing election integrity nightmare against which he is working with a coaltion on the ground in Philly to try and save democracy there, a few quick news items to start the show. Those include the now-deadly, climate change-fueled heat wave bearing down on dozens of states and millions of Americans and the latest on the dangerously intensifying disputes in the Persian Gulf --- thanks to Trump pulling out of the landmark 2015 anti-nuclear deal.

Then, last May, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate that would mandate HAND-MARKED paper ballots for every voter in the country, to help hedge against the possibility --- some may say likelihood --- of manipulated or erroneous elections results, and to help assure that results are publicly verifiable after elections. His bill, the Protect America's Voting and Elections (or PAVE) Act of 2019 now languishes in the Senate, despite passage of a bill in the House that also mandates HAND-MARKED paper ballots for all, thanks to Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's vow to disallow a vote on any election-related bills that might make our democracy more secure and overseeable in advance of the 2020 Presidential elections.

The White House has been similarly disinterested in improving election security and oversight, though Trump-appointed Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, the nation's "top spy" announced a new initiative today said to help the Intelligence Community coordinate their response to potential election manipulation, at least from foreign threats. Domestic threats, including from election insiders --- such as contractors from the private vendors who run much of America's elections, as well as simple programming errors or other manipulation by elections officials --- remain both as serious and much more difficult to guard against. Election protection ultimately comes down to public oversight, at the local level, of verified election results.

To that end, an Election Integrity coalition in Philadelphia this week has successfully petitioned the state of Pennsylvania to reexamine the Commonwealth's previous certification of a wildly dangerous and vulnerable new computer Ballot Marking Device (BMD) made by the nation's largest (and, arguably, most failed) private vendor, Election Systems and Software, Inc. (ES&S). The company's new ExpressVote XL is a 100% unverifiable touchscreen BMD system recently contracted for use by the Philadelphia Elections Board for use in upcoming elections, beginning with municipal elections this November and the Presidential contest next year.

We're joined today by KEVIN SKOGLUND, election integrity expert and Chief Technologist for the non-partisan Citizens for Better Elections, which, along with others in the Protect Our Vote Philly coalition petitioned the state for a re-examination of the ExpressVote XL. The costly voting and tabulation system --- one must be purchased for each voter voting at the same time in every precinct --- is described as a "universal" or "all-in-one" system, because one computer in the system is used to mark and print a voters ballot, and a second computer in the same system is then used to optically-scan and tabulate that ballot.

The system, chosen under a mysteriously truncated process by the Philadelphia Commissioners earlier this year --- "without any public or expert input" and with "no criteria for things like security, and resilience, and accessibility" as Skoglund tells me --- also violates state election code in numerous ways, as detailed in the citizen groups' petition to the state filed on Tuesday. Most alarmingly, however --- especially given the importance of Philly's one million votes to be cast in the crucial Keystone State during next year's Presidential election --- is a remarkable security design flaw in the ES&S ExpressVote XL.

In short (Skoglund offers more details on the show), the system allows the Ballot Marking Device's printer to change votes on the computer-printed ballot summary card before it is tallied but after the voter has already been given the opportunity to approve what was initially printed on the ballot summary card by the computer! In other words, of all of the terrible, 100% unverifiable BMD voting systems that Pennsylvania's Democratic stronghold of Philadelphia could have chosen, its City Commission chose the absolute most dangerous and unverifiable one.

"After this machine was certified in Pennsylvania, security researchers determined that there was a big flaw in these machines. That flaw is that they have a single paper path. It takes the blank piece of paper, it sends it to a printer, you make your selections on the screen, it prints those on the piece of paper, puts them back in front of the voter so that the voter can look at them and say whether or not they're happy with those selections. And once the voter says 'Yes, this is the ballot that I intend to cast, I am happy with these selections' and they press the button on the machine, it sends that card back through the same printer again before it goes to to the tabulator," Skoglund explains. "That means the machine has the opportunity to mark on that ballot --- potentially changing votes on it, invalidating votes on it, adding votes to it, basically changing what the voter cast." And, of course, the voter would never know.

While recent studies have found that most voters do not even bother to verify computer-marked paper ballots, and that of those who do, many do not notice if the computer has changed their selections, "The voter can do everything that's asked of them, do everything right, they can verify that ballot, and it still might not end up being the vote that gets cast. This is a violation of a fundamental principle of being able to audit these paper ballots. It's the whole reason we're going to paper ballots, to have good evidence of what the voter intended."

Skoglund explains, however, that it's not just Philadelphia preparing to use these systems in 2020. Other counties in PA are considering them as well, even though they are at least twice the price of a paper ballot system. Similarly states such as New Jersey and Delaware are moving to these same, horrible, unsecure systems. Elsewhere, jurisdictions from Georgia to Ohio to Kansas to Texas to Los Angeles are all preparing to move to only slightly less vulnerable (if equally unverifiable) BMD systems for 2020. That, instead of simpler, cheaper and actually verifiable HAND-MARKED paper ballot systems.

All of that is just part of what we discuss with Skoglund today that will likely leave your jaw hanging open as you wonder what the hell these people are thinking, and why it is that McConnell has disallowed Wyden's PAVE Act --- requiring HAND-MARKED paper ballots for all --- from becoming the law of the land long ago...

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Repubs have no defense against Trump felonies alleged by Cohen; Hanoi Summit collapses with no deal; Netanyahu faces indictments; NC-9 GOP election fraud arrests; Judge blocks TX 'non-citizen' voter purge...
By Brad Friedman on 2/28/2019 6:39pm PT  

It's happening way too slowly. But, if you haven't noticed --- it's unclear whether Republicans have yet --- their "strategy" of simply ignoring and denying very real problems, from a wildly failed and corrupt Presidency to Earth's climate now on the brink of disaster, is no longer working. You can only ignore and deny and delay for so long before things just fall apart. It's a theme that comes up in a number of stories on today's BradCast. [Audio link to show posted below.]

Among the stories we cover today...

  • Fallout continues from Wednesday's bombshell Michael Cohen's testimony in the U.S. House Oversight Committee. According to conservative WaPo columnist Max Boot, evidence of at least five felony crimes by the President of the United States was offered under oath by Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer. Yet, Republicans don't seem to have a clue, according to Rightwing former NJ Governor Chris Christie, how to substantively respond. Describing it as a "fake hearing", as Trump did and hoping to tar Cohen as a "liar" only gets ya so far, particularly since Cohen already pleaded guilty to lying to Congress --- on behalf of Donald Trump! --- and is soon going to prison for it. His life would only gets worse if he lied to Congress again. So why would he? On the other hand, Trump has yet to face consequences for his unprecedented lies, cover-ups and felony crimes both before and after becoming President;
  • Speaking of Trump and lies, his second Summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam abruptly collapsed on Thursday, ending early with no deal and no agreement signed as planned. Trump claims it was because the North insisted the U.S. lift all sanctions in exchange for the closure of its main nuclear site. The North claims Trump is lying. Who to believe? It should also be noted that Trump, the self-described great deal maker, continues to fail to make virtually any deals at all with anybody over the two years of his woeful if tumultuous Presidency.

    He also failed, once again, to condemn North Korea's brutal and atrocious human rights record, and even publicly sided with Kim over U.S. intelligence agencies (yet again), this time regarding the death of 22-year old American student Otto Warmbier after his imprisonment there. Trump said Kim told him he knew nothing about Warmbier's death and "take[s] him at his word" on that. But, as long as the unbalanced Trump still believes he's friends with Kim, we'll take that over the "fire and fury like the world has never seen" that 2017 Donald Trump had been promising when he threatened to wipe North Korea off the map;

  • Also today, in Israel, recommendations for felony indictments were announced by the Attorney General after a two year investigation of the dishonest, corrupt, Trump-supported, right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is currently facing a tough upcoming election. Despite the corruption allegations, Netanyahu says he won't step down as PM amidst what he describes as an "unprecedented witch hunt" by "the left". (Sound familiar?);
  • Meanwhile, on Wednesday, while Cohen was testifying to Congress, McCrae Dowless and a number of his accomplices were arrested in North Carolina on charges related to absentee ballot election fraud on behalf of Republicans in the state. The long overdue accountability comes on the heels of last week's State Board of Elections hearing and unanimous vote for a new election in NC's 9th Congressional District. That, after Republican candidate and Baptist minister Mark Harris hired Dowless to run his absentee ballot campaign last year and lied about his knowledge of Dowless' tactics. The District Attorney who indicted Dowless and friends says more charges for "others", regarding the November 2018 general election, could be coming. Harris may want to do some heavy praying. The Board of Elections meets Monday to determine a date for the new election to fill the still-vacant U.S. House seat tainted by GOP fraud last year. Democrat Dan McCready says he plans to run again. The disgraced Harris says he won't;
  • And, more good news for voters on Wednesday, this time in Texas. A federal judge has ruled the state may not purge as many as 98,000 voters from the rolls after Secretary of State David Whitley and (criminally indicted) Attorney General Ken Paxton declared them to be non-citizens fraudulently registered to vote in the state. As became apparent just hours after Paxton announced Whitley's flawed list in a "VOTER FRAUD ALERT!", tens of thousands of those listed were revealed to have been citizens after all. That didn't prevent Trump from tweeting out the fake news as "just the tip of the iceberg", in order to falsely declare that "voter fraud is rampant". But it has now earned a reprimand from a federal court and will likely block Whitley's state Senate confirmation as SoS, if Democrats in the chamber keep their vow to block Governor Greg Abbott's former aide turned nominee. The federal judge found that just 80 of the 98,000 names were actually non-citizens;
  • Finally today, with the GOP's long-held Ignore and Deny strategy also falling apart on man-made climate change, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with news on that and much more, including some good news for solar power in Arizona for a pleasant change...

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Guests: AUDIT-USA's Emily Levy and attorney Chris Sautter; Also: Reports of FBI ignoring dozens of Kavanaugh witnesses persist, Trump mocks accuser, Americans can't wait to vote...
By Brad Friedman on 10/3/2018 6:56pm PT  

We work hard on today's BradCast to stay focused on the crucial upcoming elections, even as Brett Kavanaugh's cavalcade of shame continues in D.C. [Audio link to full show posted below.]

Senate Republicans intensified their push for a floor vote as soon as possible, even as reports persist that the FBI is either refusing or failing to interview dozens of witnesses in their supplemental background probe of Kavanaugh following sexual assault against the U.S. Supreme Court nominee. At the same time, former classmates and clerks of Kavanaugh are retracting previous support for him, and three key Republican Senators (Flake, Collins and Murkowski) gently rebuked Donald Trump on Wednesday for mocking Kavanaugh's first accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, at a campaign rally in Mississippi on Tuesday night.

Amidst that circus, it's no easy feat to stay focused on the crucial upcoming midterm elections. But we try. And so are an extraordinary number of Americans. Today we learn that last week, on National Voter Registration Day, more than 800,000 signed up to vote, stunning organizers and smashing the previous record of 771,000 who registered on National Voter Registration Day in 2016, before the Presidential election.

But, even with all of the apparent enthusiasm, will all of those new and previous voters be allowed to vote this year? If so, will their votes be counted, tallied accurately, and in a way that the public can know they have been tallied accurately? In recent days, corporate media --- right on schedule --- has suddenly begun to churn out articles questioning the accuracy and security of our wildly insecure and frequently inaccurate electronic voting and tabulation systems...once its largely too late to do much about any of it, just weeks before an election. (That, of course, is why we have been trying to do so year 'round over the past 15 years!)

The corporate election vendors who have been allowed to privatize our public elections with systems that have long ago (over a decade ago) been found to be easily hacked --- and which have failed in election after election --- continue to sell their flawed systems to officials and offer false claims about security to the public.

One of those companies, Election Systems & Software, LLC (ES&S), the nation's largest voting system vendor, has now threatened a lawsuit against a small, non-profit election transparency organization which has been fighting to encourage election officials to take advantage of a security setting available on newer models of paper ballot scanners made by ES&S and others. The group, AUDIT-USA, has been sent a cease and desist letter [PDF] by ES&S corporate attorneys objecting to the organization posting user manuals for their scanners that capture digital images of ballots when they are scanned. The group has been working to encourage states and counties to make sure those which use the newer systems have them set to retain all such ballot images so they can potentially be reviewed by the public after an election. That, in lieu of the public being allowed to examine paper ballots themselves in order to assure unverified computer-tabulated results are accurate.

We're joined today by long-time election integrity champion EMILY LEVY of AUDIT-USA and their long-time election attorney CHRIS SAUTTER of American University, to discuss the ES&S threat letter sent to the group last week, charging copyright infringement for making their instruction manuals available to the public. The letter, as we discuss, fails to even cite security concerns. Levy notes the irony in this case, given that AUDIT-USA is actually supporting the newer ES&S systems for their security feature that many election officials appear unaware of.

"What we've found from talking to election officials around the country is that a lot of them don't really understand the systems that they're using in their own counties," Levy tells me. "They don't understand why they need ballot images when they have the paper ballots. And they don't understand that, in order to preserve the ballot images, all they need to do is not change the settings that the machines come with. The default settings on the machines are to preserve the ballot images, and it's only by having someone --- whether a vendor working for them or elections officials themselves --- changing those settings that the ballot images get destroyed.

"So we want people to understand both the importance of the ballot images and preserving them --- that it's legally required to preserve them, just as it is to preserve all election materials. And that's it's not a difficult thing to do."

Sautter argues the information in question, as posted to their website, is in the public interest and, therefore, falls under the Fair Use Doctrine. "Cease and desist letters like the one that ES&S sent AUDIT-USA are a common form of intimidation," he says. "These companies have a lot of money, and sometimes they figure, well, we can overpower them, we'll file this lawsuit and we'll try to break this little non-profit in attorneys fees and we'll set an example."

As we also discuss, threats of lawsuits by voting system vendors against voting system experts and computer scientists have been going on for years (here's The BRAD BLOG exclusive from 2008 that I cite on the show), even as tax payers continue dolling out billions of dollars to these shameless and irresponsible private companies...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/17/2018 11:08am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: EPA chief Scott Pruitt --- who still has a job --- gets grilled by Democratic Senators; Extreme storms kill 5 in Northeastern U.S.; King County, Washington files climate liability lawsuit against major oil companies; PLUS: New study finds air pollution dangers extend even into the womb... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): NASA scientists map human changes in world’s water; Someone, somewhere, is making a banned chemical that destroys the ozone layer, scientists suspect; GOP lawmaker says tumbling rocks are causing seas to rise; ‘Impossible to Ignore’: Why Alaska is crafting a plan to fight climate change; Sulfur dioxide damages lungs, and Scott Pruitt is letting more of it in our air; Trump mulls new global institution to promote fossil fuels; Ancient Rome’s collapse is written into Arctic ice; Why there’s no future for the coal industry; Judge blocks Oakland port's ban on coal shipments; Great Climate Hoax is putting fish in the wrong places... PLUS: We made plastic. We depend on it. Now we’re drowning in it.... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Guest: Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser on why Justice Alito's ruling on sports gambling is bad news for Trump's 'sanctuary city' crackdown...
By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2018 6:18pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we've got a bunch of mostly encouraging news today for a happy change --- particularly for progressives, women, and women progressives! [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up, the least encouraging part of today's program, as some voters in Pennsylvania were once again prevented from voting when 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems at a York County precinct failed for the first hour of polling during Tuesday's statewide mid-term primaries. With just 10 --- that's right, just 10 --- emergency paper ballots on hand for each party, voters were turned away because the electronic voting systems failed. That completely predictable problem (which we've been warning about for well over a decade now), may well get even worse around the country, as states adopt new voting systems with the same problems, under the deceptive premise that they produce "paper ballots".

Other than that, the news was largely good for progressives (and bad for Congressional Republicans) following Tuesday's primaries in Oregon, Idaho, Nebraska and, of course, Pennsylvania, where Democrats hope to pick up as many as 6 seats from Republicans in their bid to retake the U.S. House this November. The news was particularly good for female candidates in PA and elsewhere, and for progressives who won in a number of places against candidates preferred by the national Democratic party.

We detail the key races and upsets in question, some of which will be pose an interesting test for progressives this fall, who have long argued that bolder progressive candidates --- calling for universal health care for all, higher wages and other progressive priorities --- will perform better in general elections than so-called "Republican lite" candidates. We'll see if they're right in just under six months.

Then, we're joined by Constitutional law expert and author IAN MILLHISER, to discuss the stolen U.S. Supreme Court's ruling this week striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), a 1992 federal ban on sports betting in, largely, all states other than Nevada. But, the reason why the finding in the case (Murphy v. NCAA) is of note to progressives is not due to the specific issue of sports gambling, as he argues, but what it likely means for other federalism issues, such as the Trump Administration's attempted immigration crackdown on so-called "sanctuary cities".

Millhiser explains why progressives should be very happy about the Court's ruling this week --- even with the majority opinion written by far-right Justice Samuel Alito --- and why the Court unanimously found the law to be an unconstitutional "commandeering" of state's rights.

While the holding in that case may be bad news for Trump, so is another decision from a lower federal court this week. Millhiser also details a federal judge's ruling on Tuesday knocking down an attempt by Paul Manafort, Trump's indicted former campaign chair, to toss one of the two criminal cases filed against him by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Finally today, a bit more on Tuesday's primaries in Idaho, where a progressive female Democrat became the first native America woman to win the party's nomination for Governor, defeating the national Democrats' preferred candidate in a race seen as a long-shot for this fall. But, in a nation where thousands of teachers in yet another so-called "red" state (North Carolina) on Wednesday shut down schools to march in support of higher pay and more money for schools, anything may now be possible...if voters get out to the polls, are allowed to vote, and are able to make sure their votes are counted as cast this November...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 4/3/2018 11:17am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Bad news for consumers: Trump's EPA rolls back fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks; Department of Justice sues California for blocking sale of federally-owned lands in California; Exxon's lawsuit to prevent states from investigating its climate change denial is thrown out of court; PLUS: Environmental groups launch campaign to 'Boot Pruitt'... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): CA mountain snowpack will be 64% smaller by the end of this century. We need to prepare now; Americans tell Interior to take a hike over proposed national park fee increase; DOE - sort of - kills 'SunShot Initiative'; Human role in climate change removed from federal science report; 'Extreme' changes underway in major Antarctic glaciers; Trump's pick to head Superfund spent decades fighting cleanups for polluters; Foe Of Endangered Species Act lands gig overseeing wildlife; Fact Check: Science contradicts EPA global warming memo; Renewable energy battle brewing in Arizona, with confusion as a weapon... PLUS: Trump endorses states' rights - but only when he agrees with the state... and much, MUCH more! ...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 3/29/2018 11:13am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Plastic within the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is 'increasing exponentially'; Cutting greenhouse gas emissions could save 150 million lives around the world; Americans have grown increasingly polarized in their views on global warming; PLUS: Pipeline protesters found not guilty in landmark new ruling... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 'Boot Pruitt': There’s Now a National Campaign to Oust EPA Head Scott Pruitt; High-tide flooding could happen 'every other day' by late this century; Ice cores show Greenland’s melting is unprecedented in at least 400 years; ‘Extreme’ Fossil-Fuel Lending Fell in 2017 --- Except in Canada; EPA plan to bar studies without public data could disrupt clean air regulations; Efficiency, DERs saving California $2.6B in avoided transmission costs; After 3 Decades, Washington State Bans Atlantic Salmon Farms; Half of All U.S. Coal Plants Would Lose Money Without Regulation... PLUS: Empty half the Earth of its humans. It's the only way to save the planet... and much, MUCH more! ...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 2/1/2018 11:41am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: In his first State of the Union address, Trump proposes massive infrastructure spending --- but there's a catch; FEMA is not ending emergency food and water aid in Puerto Rico after all; Maine's governor bans all new wind energy projects; PLUS: New Jersey's new governor goes all in on offshore wind and cutting carbon emissions... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Defenders of science, this is the messaging strategy you've been waiting for; EPA blocks Obama-era Clean Water rule, the 'Waters of the United States'; Low snowfall in Rockies concerning for Western water managers; Trump seeks to screw over energy workers with massive cut to renewable energy programs; Ending North Korea oil supplies would be seen as act of war, says Russia; Future technology 'cannot rescue' mankind from climate change; Federal judge pauses Mountain Valley Pipeline; Modern land run? Trump move opens Utah to new mining claims under 1872 law; Toxic coal ash pits leaching into Indiana river; Hong Kong drowning in waste as China's rubbish ban takes effect... PLUS: The State of the Climate, one year into the Trump era... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Guest: Mike Liszewski of Drug Policy Alliance; Also: Goodbye, Chris Christie and other encouraging news from the states...
By Brad Friedman on 1/16/2018 5:39pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the consequences of elections, from D.C. on immigration, to VA and NJ on gun safety legislation, and across both D.C. and dozens of states when it comes to marijuana policy under Trump's Attorney General. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

The White House, lawmakers and corporate media continue to squabble today over Donald Trump's racist and reportedly vulgar slur of black majority nations as either "shitholes" or "shithouses" during a bipartisan meeting on immigration last week, even as his Departments of Justice and Homeland Security issued a new and misleading report on terrorism that downplays the far greater threat of domestic attacks by homegrown white Americans, in favor of a focus on foreign-born terrorists.

In the meantime, as the White House and Congress attempt to strike a government spending deal that includes protections for DACA recipients in time to avoid a government shutdown at the end of this week, a changing of the guards in both New Jersey and Virginia following last November's elections is taking place and already reshuffling public policy.

NJ's wildly unpopular Republican Gov. Chris Christie was finally replaced on Tuesday by the new Democratic Governor Phil Murphy, one day after Christie finally signed a law that will ban deadly bumpstock devices, like those used to kill 58 people and wound hundreds of others in minutes in Las Vegas last year, in the Garden State. (To his discredit, he had little choice, as the legislation passed both state chambers with zero votes opposing it.)

At the same time, in VA, where Republicans managed to barely hang on to majorities in the state legislature, thanks to some gaming of several House races and of legislative district maps across the state (allowing them to retain control despite losing statewide by a 55% to 45% margin), the GOP's majority control in the state Senate resulted in the gutting of most of the gun safety agenda on which that state's new Democratic Governor Ralph Northam ran and won by a landslide.

Then, we head back to D.C., where Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced after the turn of the new year that the DoJ was reversing Obama-era enforcement guidance on federal law, in order to crack down on states where marijuana has been made legal for medicinal and/or recreational use after decades of prohibition.

As Drug Policy Alliance advisor and marijuana legislation lobbyist MIKE LISZEWSKI joins us to explain, the new DoJ guidance, rolling back the so-called "Cole Memo" from the Obama years, has not gone over well, even with a number of Republican lawmakers, particularly those from cannabis-friendly states where they have seen a dramatic rise in tax revenue thanks to new policies adopted by voters and state lawmakers.

"The Cole Memo was just guidance, it was never binding. But by removing it, Sessions has really given the green light to US Attorneys throughout the country to say, if you want to prosecute against state marijuana conduct you have our backing," Liszewski tells me, before arguing that there is no need for such policy, given that state laws, where pot has been legalized, are already very tough. "If someone was using a state marijuana law to shield some sort of bad activity, they're clearly in violation of state law. There's so much oversight, you're likely going to get caught rather quickly. So there's really no need for additional federal prosecution. It's really addressing a concern that doesn't actually exist --- unless you have some hysterical views about marijuana."

Sessions, of course, famously has views. Last year, for example, he famously stated that marijuana was "only slightly less awful" than heroin. Liszewski breaks down the DoJ's announced change in prosecutorial guidance and the effect it is likely to have (if any) in pro-cannabis states where, he says, it has "turned out to be wonderful for generating state tax revenue...in terms of the money it's pulling in, but also the law enforcement resources, the jail resources, the court resources, that don't have to go into prosecuting low-level marijuana cases."

We also discuss how Congress may still be able to move forward on drug policy under an Attorney General who is an avowed enemy of pot users and a President who claims to favor states' rights on the matter. Congress, Liszewski argues, is close to having the votes to end prohibition at the federal level all together, if it doesn't have those votes already. But, he says, thanks to a few "old guard" Committee Chairs in Congress, it may take a full reshuffling of the deck in the 2018 mid-term elections to see it actually happen.

"The 2018 elections are going to be so crucial to the future of marijuana reform," he says. "Because whether it's a shift in which party controls each chamber, or if it's just voting out the old guard and getting some new Republicans in, either way would be helpful towards ending federal marijuana prohibition."

"It would be very, very difficult to get the genie back in the bottle at this point," Liszewski adds, "especially seeing a good number of Republicans as well as states continuing to move forward right after the Sessions announcement. It really shows that Sessions is alone on an island with this and has very few supporters. I think the writing is on the wall."

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Guest: John Ziegler of 'A Voice for All Georgia'; Also: Keystone Pipeline oil spill in SD; Tax bill passed by U.S. House; Menendez mistrial in NJ; Moore tanking in AL...
By Brad Friedman on 11/16/2017 6:05pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we head back to Georgia on today's show, to cover the recall effort that is now under way against the state's top election official. But first... [Audio link to show follow below.]

We've got a lot of breaking news as we go to air, including a new spill of some 210,00 gallons of dirty tar sands oil in South Dakota on the Keystone Pipeline. Details were scarce as we went to air, and that number is based on pipeline owner TransCanada's own estimate, but the new spill is likely to affect Nebraska's upcoming decision on the proposed route for TransCanada's controversial KeystoneXL pipeline, which was previously rejected by President Obama, but later approved by President Trump.

The Republican tax cut plan narrowly passed today in the U.S. House on a nearly-party line vote. The scheme, according to non-partisan analysts, would add $1.5 trillion to the national deficit and cut taxes for corporations and the wealthy, while actually resulting in a tax increase for many low- and middle-income Americans. Passage of the unpopular measure is still far from certain, meanwhile, in the U.S. Senate.

Also today, a mistrial was declared in the federal bribery trial against New Jersey's Democratic US Senator Bob Menendez, after the jury was found to be hopelessly deadlocked, with 10 jurors insisting on full acquittal on all charges and two favoring conviction.

The situation for Senate Republicans has not improved following allegations of sexual assault on several teenagers by Roy Moore, Alabama's GOP nominee for next month's US Senate Special Election. An internal GOP poll, according to Politico, finds Moore's numbers tanking against Democratic challenger Doug Jones since the charges came to light. Moore had been up by 16 points in the poll last month. He is now said to be trailing Jones by 12!

And, next door in Georgia, following a massive, covered-up security breach on the state's election server last year, a US House Special Election with questionable results earlier this year in GA's 6th Congressional District, a multi-partisan lawsuit filed to challenge those results and force the state to move away from its wildly-hackable, 100% unverifiable, 15-year old Diebold touch-screen voting systems, and recent blockbuster news revealing that the election server in question was "wiped clean" in the middle of the lawsuit (which the Republican state AG's office now refuses to defend), an official recall petition effort is now underway to demand the removal from office of GA's Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp.

We're joined today by JOHN ZIEGLER, chair of A Voice for All Georgia, the organization heading up a herculean effort to gather the more than 778,000 signatures of registered GA voters that are required to trigger a recall election (which, he tells me, would be run on the very same 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems at the heart of this entire mess!)

Ziegler explains why his group has launched the effort, the obstacles created by the state for successfully obtaining what would be the first recall anywhere in the country of a sitting Sec. of State, and how folks both inside and out of Georgia can help with what HuffPo recently described as "The Biggest Story Nobody's Talking About".

"Kemp and other individuals associated with him have mislabeled our group," Ziegler tells me. "A Voice For All Georgia is a non-partisan group. We have Democrats, we have Republicans, we have Constitutionalists, we have Tea Party members, we have independents. The thing I found very refreshing is that we all share the same common goal, we want to have a secure vote, and we want to have a fair vote, and we want to make sure that all votes count.

"Whether it's gender, ethnicity, religion, values, or beliefs, we all have different opinions, but we've all united together to believe that there should be [a] secure vote, which, in our opinion is to have paper ballots and to have it hand-counted," he says.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for a very busy Green News Report, and an update on Thursday's Keystone Pipeline oil spill...

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

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