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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, May 19, 2024
Sunday 'I Scream Cohen' Toons
THIS WEEK: Unethical Lying Sleazebags ... The Death of Satire ... Trains are Real ... And many more primal screams in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
FEC Repubs Vote to Allow Campaign Donor Anonymity: 'BradCast' 5/16/24
Guest: Public Citizen's Craig Holman; Also: Two (generally) encouraging SCOTUS rulings on CFPB funding and a second Black-majority U.S. House district in Louisiana...
'Green News Report' 5/16/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Canadian wildfires expand; Climate change exacerbated extreme heat in Asia; Broadcast media ignored Trump's billion dollar Big Oil quid pro quo; Plus: Biden v. China on EVs...
Previous GNRs: 5/14/24 - 5/9/24 - Archives...
Trump Trial Ketchup: Cohen, 'Smoking Gun', 'Cult of Trump': 'BradCast' 5/15/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: MD, NE, WV primary results; Biden, Trump agree to early debates...
LAPD Right-Wing Bias in Violent Response to UCLA Protest Was No Surprise
U.S. law enforcement has long sided with the right against peaceful anti-war, environmental, racial and economic injustice protesters...
Could Ohio Repubs REALLY Keep Biden Off the Ballot?!: 'BradCast' 5/14/24
Also: GOP dirty tricks in WA; More GOP voter suppression in GA; Brighter news from WI and on the slow painful death of 'stare decisis'...
'Green News Report' 5/14/24
Canada's fire season erupts; Record-breaking increase in global CO2 levels; PLUS: MI is newest state to sue Big Oil for climate damages...
Recount in Tied House Primary Reveals Probs in CA Law: 'BradCast' 5/13/24
Guest: Dr. John Maa; Also: Bannon denied; Giuliani fired; Menendez trial begins; Cohen takes stand in Trump's NY criminal trial...
Sunday 'Stormy Weather Continues' Toons
THIS WEEK: Cannon Fire ... Catch and Kill ... Parasites ... Protesting Too Much ... and more, in our latest collection of the week's most turbulent toons...
'Green News Report' 5/9/24
Tornadoes across U.S.; FL Repubs ban 'climate change'; House Repubs' latest salvo in 'War on Woke Appliances'; PLUS: US culture shift in portrayal of climate reality...
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...

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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: Election expert Dr. Philip Stark of UC-Berkeley; Also: More Alito corruption; More on the 'single most important constitutional case for American Democracy since the Nation's Founding'...
By Brad Friedman on 6/28/2023 6:40pm PT  

Yup. We're heading back to the critical battleground state of Georgia again on today's BradCast, as their ridiculous Sec. of State gets ridiculouser in his indefensible defenses of his ridiculously vulnerable, brand-new touchscreen voting systems which he is still refusing to upgrade, despite warnings from the federal government and increasing urging from voting system and cybersecurity experts. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

BUT FIRST, a few more quick words on yesterday's landmark U.S. Supreme Court opinion [PDF] in Moore v. Harper, in which Chief Justice John Roberts and two Trump-appointed Justices joined with the Court's three liberals to put the kibosh, hopefully once and for all, on the bonkers, so-called Independent State Legislature theory pushed by far-rightwingers. Had SCOTUS given a majority blessing to the fringe Constitutional theory giving complete, unreviewable say over all federal election laws to State Legislatures, it would have wreaked indescribable havoc on some 250 years of election laws across all 50 states. It would also have given authority to those State Legislatures to overturn Presidential elections by selecting slates of electors not chosen by state voters!

As one of the nation's most conservative and respected former federal judges, Michael Luttig, tweeted today: "It would be impossible to overstate the [enormousness] of yesterday's seminal decision in Moore v. Harper. Not only is it now the single most important constitutional case for American Democracy since the Nation's Founding almost 250 years ago. ... It is also now one of the most important constitutional cases for representative government in America. ... Today, it takes its deserved place in the pantheon of great Supreme Court cases that give meaning to the Constitution's genius of a separation of powers --- among the national Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary, and also between the national government and the governments of the respective 50 states of the United States."

But there were three Justices who voted in the minority in that case. As it turns out, all three of them were recently highlighted by investigate journalists for their, shall we say, dubious ethics practices. Clarence Thomas (see here, here, here and here), Neil Gorsuch (see here), and Sam Alito (see here).

In addition to Alito's undisclosed, luxury fishing trip to Alaska on the private jet (and dime) of GOP megadonor and vulture capitalist billionaire Paul Singer, as revealed by ProPublica last week, this week The Intercept offers a new story shedding some fresh light on Alito's years of climate change-denialism and his Court decisions on behalf of the oil and gas industry.

NEXT UP, it's back to Georgia, where Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger is reportedly giving testimony in Atlanta today to prosecutors working on Special Counsel Jack Smith's probe of the January 6, 2021 insurrection and the other myriad ways in which Team Trump attempted to steal the 2020 Presidential Election. (One of those ways included Donald Trump's now-infamous phone call to Raffensperger, attempting to strongarm him to "find" the 11,780 votes he would have needed to flip the state's results from the winner, Joe Biden.)

But where Raffy has been seen as a hero by some for refusing to roll over to Trump after the 2020 election, we have explained for years that he is anything but. Now, he's under fire for the massive vulnerabilities discovered by cybersecurity and voting system experts in his new, $150 million Dominion touchscreen voting systems, and for his refusal, as first reported by The BRAD BLOG in mid-May, to install Dominion's security patches to them before the 2024 Presidential election. That, despite urgent warnings from the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and many longtime election experts and computer scientists.

Now, Raffensperger's office is going on the offensive, attacking those experts as "paranoiacs and conspiracists", attempting to conflate them with the rightwing, Sidney Powell-organized MAGA loons who tried to steal the election in 2020 and breached the state's voting systems in Coffee County, GA on January 7th, 2021, the day after the Trump-insighted insurrection in D.C.

"The paranoiacs and conspiracists of the world have their beliefs reinforced when they read reports of theoretical 'vulnerabilities' that fail to mention the real-world security measures already in place," sniped Mike Hassinger, a spokesperson for the Secretary of State's office, to Politico last week. "If the PhDs don’t like being put in the same category as the Pillow salesman, tough noogies," he actually said. "They should stop saying similar things."

We're joined today by one of those paranoiac conspiracist PhD's on today's program. Our guest is DR. PHILIP STARK, Professor at University of California, Berkeley; inventor of the post-election Risk-Limiting Audit protocol; Advisory Board member at the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) and advisor to plaintiffs in the long-running Curling v. Raffensperger lawsuit in Georgia seeking to replace the state's new vulnerable and unverifiable touchscreen voting systems with verifiable hand-marked paper ballots. (The same plaintiffs in the same federal lawsuit were able to win an order from the judge in 2019 that banned the state's previous touchscreen systems made by Diebold after they were found to be so vulnerable and unverifiable as to be unconstitutional.)

Stark has a few choice words of his own in response to both the obnoxious and un-scientific remarks from the Sec. of State's office as well as Dominion, both of whom have been blasting the damning Halderman Report, as created on behalf of plaintiffs in Curling and finding at least nine alarming vulnerabilities confirmed by CISA in the Dominion systems. Both the State and private voting system vendor claim that the Univ. of MI's Dr. Alex Halderman failed to take into account, in his report, the physical protections of the state's 70,000 vote system devices. They believe that will adequately protect next year's Presidential election in the battleground state. In doing so, they seem to be pretending that the Coffee County breach by Team Trump in 2021 didn't already run roughshod over the state's voting systems, including by copying and distributing its sensitive, proprietary software over the Internet.

"If [Raffensperger's] spokesperson can't tell the difference between what we're saying and what the [MAGA] group is saying, then they are not competent to do their job," charges Stark.

"There is a world of difference between 'This system is Swiss cheese from a perspective of security, it's really vulnerable and you need to harden it,' and 'The election was rigged and the wrong person was announced to have won.' That's just not the same claim at all. Secondly, the idea that we should stop pointing out vulnerabilities and trying to improve the trustworthiness of voting systems because someone might twist our words --- the argument seems to be 'You should lie to people in order to increase their trust in you' --- that seems to be perverse. What we want is justified public trust in the outcome of elections."

He summarizes some of the most noteworthy concerns from the Halderman Report --- detailing the ease by which malware can be implanted into the system by a single voter via any one of the state's 35,000 touchscreen voting machines or by one person at the County level who can infect every machine in the jurisdiction --- before explaining how inadequate and naive the Secretary's responses have been.

Both Raff's office and Dominion cite a competing study to Halderman's commissioned by Dominion from a group named MITRE. Their unsigned report was created without access to the Dominion machines, unlike Halderman's report, and offers the misleading claim that physical security of the voting systems is likely adequate to prevent exploitation of the vulnerabilities meticulously documented by Halderman. Stark is among nearly 30 election experts now calling on MITRE to retract their report on that basis and others.

"First of all, they're just wrong," Stark charges, wondering what their instructions may have been from Dominion. "I conjecture that they were told to assume that those [physical] protections were in place. I doubt that they did any independent research to determine whether in fact there were effective protections in place."

"I liken this to saying it's completely fine to drive a car on bald tires, as long as you have a policy of only driving straight on dry pavement and never turning sharply, or applying the brakes. Except that's not how it actually works in practice. And here, it's very, very clear that the assumption that there is rigorous physical security around these devices is just not true."

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Cracks emerge in wall of secrecy surrounding mysterious County meeting in small town conspiracy with national implications...
*** An exclusive BRAD BLOG investigation
By Douglas Lucas on 6/21/2023 9:35am PT  

At first glance, a closed-door executive session of the Board of Elections at the Coffee County Courthouse in the battleground state of Georgia appeared to involve nothing more than discussion of that day's resignation letters from then-Election Supervisor Misty Hampton and her assistant over their purported cheating on timesheets.

But the previously undisclosed, simultaneous presence of an unacknowledged quorum of County Commissioners at that executive session --- a secret meeting during a secret meeting, a game-changer confirmed by The BRAD BLOG --- combined with curious doth protest too much efforts the County is still using to defend its secrets about the supposedly humdrum assembly, indicate the February 25, 2021 meetings (now known as meetings plural) and surrounding events were the nexus of a much broader statewide, perhaps even nationwide, cover-up.

That night, the very same reputedly run-of-the-mill Thursday in February when the elections board gathered at the Courthouse, MyPillow founder and close Trump associate Mike Lindell --- a chief Stop the Steal bankroller --- landed his private jet in the county's tiny seat of Douglas, population 11,685. A few hours earlier, flight records show, he landed in D.C. A few hours before that, his plane took off from a runway not 15 miles from the private Mar-a-Lago club belonging to a certain twice-impeached Florida Man named Donald J. Trump. Why did Lindell fly so circuitously from the Palm Beach area to the nation's capital and then back down south to rural Coffee County, of all places?

And why did he want to speak with Misty Hampton, Coffee's resigning Election Supervisor? Evidence yielded from a years-long lawsuit by actual election experts challenging Georgia's Dominion voting system has revealed that the far-right bedding baron's lawyer, Kurt Olsen, tried to get ahold of Hampton the previous evening to talk, as word spread that she'd be dismissed the next day. Why would he want to do that?

Over the January prior to the unexplained meeting(s) --- in fact, beginning just the day after armed and violent Trump supporters assailed the U.S. Capitol in hopes of preventing Joe Biden's 2020 election victory --- a motley mix of mostly MAGA operatives illicitly entered the Coffee County elections building on multiple occasions. The breach was funded and organized by Trump attorney Sidney Powell, that prolific and since-sanctioned filer of failed lawsuits seeking to steal Biden's 2020 win.

One client of the breach-funding Powell, it turns out, was "fake elector" Cathy Latham, the former Coffee County GOP chair. Latham was found to have helped facilitate --- and to have lied about her presence during --- the breach at the elections office, where the invited intruders copied Dominion's proprietary software that is still to be used in the 2024 Presidential election in Georgia and numerous jurisdictions beyond.

Hampton, as director of elections for the Republican-leaning county, welcomed the Powell-paid team into the local elections office to have at the voting equipment, tabulators and sensitive election management systems.

With statewide voting systems gravely compromised by the ensuing breach --- Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger forces every county to use the same touchscreens, also employed in more than a dozen states nationwide --- and with traces of top Trumpers everywhere, the scandal is, as the county seat's Mayor Pro Tem recently put it, "only getting bigger."

Indeed, Atlanta-based District Attorney Fani Willis is reportedly investigating the Coffee County breach, along with Team Trump's multistate plot to gain access to and copy data from voting systems in other states as well. The scheme, as we have since learned, was hatched during a notorious December 2020 meeting in the Oval Office with Trump present. That fact came to light in testimony to the U.S. House subcommittee that investigated January 6th.

Frustrated, fighting back tears, Douglas Mayor Pro Tem Olivia Pearson, a lifelong Coffee resident and voting rights activist in the majority black seat of the majority white county, said at a recent gathering as the reality of the breach finally began galvanizing local residents, "We have got to make it right. We can't keep covering it up!"

Starting in earnest last month, local residents have increasingly attended the Board of Elections' open meetings, only to be told, more than once, by its unapologetic Chairman Wendell Stone --- who some locals are said to describe as "Chairman Stone(wall)" --- to stop asking questions.

Of course, that makes us want to ask many more questions about what really happened among the cows and cornstalks in the rural Peach State county. Such as: Why did Hampton and her assistant who helped facilitate the unlawful Trump/Powell/MAGA breach to illicitly copy and distribute Coffee County's sensitive voting system software actually tender their resignations on February 25, 2021?; Did local and state officials know about the breach and attempt to cover it up with secret meetings? What on Earth was Mike Lindell doing there for several hours that night?; And why has the office of Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, heralded by some as a 'moderate Republican' hero for not helping Trump steal the state's election in 2020, denied the severity of the breach and lied by both omission and commission to aid in covering it all up?

And, yes, all of this matters at the national level --- not only to the Coffee residents, who have lately found themselves in a fight they never asked for over their beloved county's soul...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance on that and new fake electors news; Also: Santos charged with 13 federal felonies...
By Brad Friedman on 5/10/2023 6:27pm PT  

It's been quite the GOP crime wave this week on The BradCast. But today, in addition to that we've got some disturbing --- if not entirely unrelated --- kinda mind-blowing exclusive news out of a federal courtroom in the great state of Georgia. [Audio link to full show follows at the bottom of this summary.]

After quickly covering today's news on the 13-count federal indictment [PDF] filed in New York against Rep. George Santos (R-NY) for charges including wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making false statements to Congress, it's back to Georgia.

We have, for years now, been covering the long-running federal lawsuit challenging the use of the state's expensive, unverifiable, and --- according to one of the nation's top experts --- wildly vulnerable and insecure touchscreen voting systems.

The touchscreen Ballot Marking Device (BMD) systems made by Dominion Voting, currently in use in Georgia, were selected for use in 2020 by Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger. He did so against the strong recommendations of cybersecurity and voting system experts following a ruling by a federal judge, in 2019, barring the further use of the state's previous touchscreen voting systems made by Diebold. U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg found the previous systems to be unverifiable, insecure and, thus, unconstitutional. Unfortunately, instead of moving to a hand-marked paper ballot system at the time, as strongly recommended by experts, Raffensperger chose new touchscreen systems that had many of the same problems as the old ones.

The plaintiffs in the original federal case, Curling v. Raffensperger, quickly moved to bar the Dominion systems from being forced on every voter at every polling place in the state, as Raffensperger demanded. That suit continues. As part of it, Dr. Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan, an expert for the plaintiffs, was allowed to examine the Dominion touchscreen systems and found vulnerabilities so serious that Judge Totenberg sealed his complete findings, even from the plaintiffs! The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), however, was allowed to review Halderman's sealed report and made a list of critical software and physical security recommendations for the continued use of those systems in the battleground state.

Now, according to the transcript [PDF] from a hearing in Judge Totenberg's court last week in the Curling case, an attorney for the Sec. of State's office explained that while Dominion has completed CISA's recommended upgrades to the software and has had them certified for use by the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) in late March, the state will not be installing those software upgrades until after the 2024 Presidential election.

As explained to the judge by the State's attorney Bryan Tyson, after spending hours "with the technical staff in the Secretary's office" and "hearing from folks with Dominion", it was determined that upgrades to the state's 35,000 touchscreen voting machines would be delayed until 2025.

"No jurisdiction has yet installed that upgrade...It has not been used in any election yet," Tyson told Judge Totenberg. "The upgrade process is a very intensive multistep process that involves multiple pieces of media, multiple components, and it involves touching every piece of the election system."

He explained that "every ballot-marking device has to have three different pieces of media installed on it to complete the upgrade. Every precinct scanner has to be upgraded. Every central count scanner has to be upgraded. And every election management server also has to either be replaced or upgraded. So, the implementation process for doing that is very involved."

According to our guest today, MARILYN MARKS of the Coalition for Good Governance, one of the plaintiffs in the Curling case, plaintiffs were stunned by the news. "You could hear gasps in the courtroom," she tells us today. "2025?! Immediately everyone thought, 'Presidential election, Georgia swing state.' We will have no way of knowing who won. And let's don't forget how much of a tinderbox Georgia was after the 2020 election. I believe it was a key part of the tinderbox that led to the insurrection. We're asking for it again."

There is, obviously, a lot to discuss on this matter with Marks today, including the most obvious point that, had Raffensperger listened to the experts and gone with hand-marked paper ballots, upgrading just one scanner per precinct for security reasons would have been a hell of a lot easier, faster, and cheaper, than upgrading every single voting machine --- 35,000 of them --- across the state.

"And we're not even beginning to talk about all of the warranty costs, maintenance costs, and printer costs and all that this system involves, when we're talking about just being a substitute for a ball-point pen," laments Marks. In addition to the time the State claims it will now take, she estimates the cost for upgrading the otherwise brand-new, $150 million system just purchased for first-time use in 2020 is likely to be in the tens of millions of dollars. "I don't think that $50 million and upwards is going to surprise anyone."

So, there is much more to discuss about all of this with Marks. Please tune in for the full conversation. But there was one more stunning bit of related breaking news from Marks today...

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Guest: Election system expert Susan Greenhalgh; Also: Biden on bank failures; Admin approves new AK oil project, blocks millions of acres from drilling; Pence calls out Trump, but refuses to testify about Jan. 6...
By Brad Friedman on 3/13/2023 5:42pm PT  

Why isn't the FBI or DoJ investigating the broad, multi-state conspiracy, carried out by Trump supporters after the 2020 election, to breach sensitive voting and tabulation systems? Especially with the 2024 elections now coming into view? Disturbing new evidence of the DoJ and FBI's LACK of action on today's BradCast!

But, first up, a few quick words on the federal takeover of several failed banks late last week and into the weekend (after the Trump Administration rolled back regulations enacted after the 2008 banking crisis to help prevent such failures), and then on Biden's decision to allow a controversial new oil project on federal lands in Alaska, while otherwise ordering the federal protection millions of acres in Alaska and the Arctic from similar future drilling projects.

Next, a few quick words on former Vice President Mike Pence's weekend comments at the Gridiron Dinner in D.C., characterized by many in the corporate media as his "toughest words yet" against Trump's incitement of insurrection on January 6, 2021.

While Pence was, in fact, heroic that day in refusing to leave the Capitol while it was under siege by Trump supporters, until the Electoral College vote was officially certified, the former Veep's recent legal challenge to a Subpoena to testify before the Grand Jury in Special Counsel Jack Smith's probe of the deadly 1/6 probe is unconscionable.

Among Pence's reported comments at the no-cameras-allowed Gridiron Dinner on Saturday: "History will hold Donald Trump accountable." (No, sir. It's not history's job, it's law enforcement's! And, as a witness to a crime, it's your responsibility to help them!) Also, he repeatedly praised media and said, "I expect members of the fourth estate to continue to do their job" in covering the tragic, shameful events of that day. But, guess what? While it's the media's job to report on what happened, if witnesses don't tell law enforcement what they know, then those who should be held accountable will not be.

Then, speaking of people not being held accountable, why hasn't the FBI begun a probe of the multi-state effort, headed up by Trump's then-attorney Sidney Powell, to unlawfully and surreptitiously make copies of voting and tabulation system software in at least four states after the 2020 election? We now know that this happened in Coffee County, Georgia, Mesa County, Colorado, several townships in Michigan, and at least one county in Pennsylvania. We also have evidence that the conspirators planned to breach the election system in Nevada as well.

America's computerized election systems were officially designated as "critical federal infrastructure" during the Obama Administration. Shouldn't evidence of a multi-state conspiracy to unlawfully make copies and release that proprietary software publicly be a crime worth probing by the FBI? Especially before 2024?

SUSAN GREENHALGH, a longtime election integrity and transparency expert and Senior Advisor on Election Security at Free Speech For People thinks so. She and 14 other cybersecurity and voting system experts wrote a letter [PDF] last December to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Special Counsel Jack Smith, FBI Director Chris Wray and Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Jen Easterly, seeking a federal probe, given the overwhelming evidence of this MAGA conspiracy and the recent evidence that they are using the stolen software and knowledge gained from it for potentially nefarious means.

"The people that got the software seem to be interested in further disrupting elections," Greenhalgh tells me today. "They already tried once to disrupt an election and impact the results in 2020 and we see that this is continuing. The software that was taken unlawfully in Coffee County, Georgia, showed up at CPAC [the Conservative Political Action Conference] CPAC last week, in a presentation by a bunch of conspiracy theorists making a lot of unfounded and really disturbing false claims about elections in it."

"We can see the software already being used for disinformation campaigns," she continues, "but it could actually be used for much worse, like to reverse engineer it and create malware to impact and potentially corrupt an election."

As the Los Angeles Times reported last week, Greenhalgh has now heard back from the head of the FBI's Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section, in a polite, if terse, four-paragraph letter [PDF] that seems to not only suggest that the FBI is not investigating the matter, but to do so they would have to receive a request from local or state officials.

That doesn't make much sense. This is a federal issue, if only because it appears to be conspiracy stretching across multiple states. Moreover, as Greenhalgh explains, such requests have been made, for example, by the State Board of Elections in Georgia.

So, what is going on here? Is the matter being probed by the feds, but the FBI is suggesting otherwise (since they may not wish to comment on ongoing investigations)? Is it not being probed at all, for some reason? If so, why not? And, why does all of this matter? Greenhalgh answers those questions and many others on today's BradCast!

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Guest: FSFP's Susan Greenhalgh on new letter to Special Counsel Jack Smith; Also: Trump's new, digital trading card scam!...
By Brad Friedman on 12/15/2022 6:29pm PT  

While Special Counsel Jack Smith is said to be investigating the Trump-incited January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and the his fake electors plot to try and steal the 2020 election, among other things, there is a still-ongoing, post-2020, multi-state plot, coordinated by Trump's top MAGA lieutenants that the Feds don't yet seem to be probing. Our guest on today's BradCast is trying to change that. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

For the better part of this past year, we've have been closely reporting on the bizarre plot uncovered by frequent guest and longtime election integrity expert Marilyn Marks during the lawsuit filed by her group, Coalition for Good Governance, seeking to replace Georgia's 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems with hand-marked paper ballots.

Marks recorded a phone call she received last year from an Atlanta businessman who, essentially, confessed to a scheme that has since been revealed to have been overseen and paid for by disgraced Trump attorney Sidney Powell. It involved the Board of Elections and local Republican Party officials in right-leaning Coffee County, Georgia allowing a team of computer wonks to make copies of the County's proprietary voting and tabulation software, including the sensitive Election Management System, manufactured by Dominion.

Thanks to GA's Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger, every county in the state is forced to use the same vulnerable, unverifiable voting systems. Making copies of those systems in one County essentially offers a blueprint for how to disrupt elections in various ways in every County in the state. Moreover, those systems are also used in jurisdictions in at least a dozen other states. Cybersecurity experts have described the Coffee County breach as extremely worrisome.

Nonetheless, until the scheme was exposed by Marks, Raffensperger's office appears to have been covering the entire thing up. And, even after it was exposed, his office --- including one of Raff's top lieutenants, Gabe Sterling --- continued to deny any of it had happened.

"Even recently, there was people saying, 'We went to Coffee County and we imaged everything,'" Sterling declared at an election forum at the Carter Center in Atlanta last April, before falsely adding: "There's no evidence of that. It didn't happen." But it absolutely did happen, as security camera video from the Coffee County Board of Elections offices, also obtained via Marks' lawsuit, subsequently made abundantly clear. The plot even involved a number of well-known MAGA Mobsters, such as Doug Logan, CEO of the Cyber Ninjas outfit that later carried out the phony post-2020 "audit" in Arizona last year.

Voting system software breaches similar to the one in Coffee County were also carried out and reportedly overseen by Powell, in several others states, including Nevada, Michigan and Colorado. As the Washington Post confirmed again this week, the stolen software "was then uploaded to a website, from where it was downloaded by election deniers across the country."

Despite all of this disturbing evidence, federal authorities do not appear to have even begun to probe these coordinated plots which, as our guest today confirms, can really be considered a crime still in progress, since the copied software can be used to undermine upcoming elections, for example, in 2024.

We're joined today by SUSAN GREENHALGH, Senior Advisor on Election Security at the non-profit good government group, Free Speech for People, to discuss the 14-page letter [PDF] that she and more than a dozen of the nation's top cybersecurity and voting system experts sent this week to Special Counsel Smith, Attorney General Merrick Garland, as well as the Directors of both the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), seeking a federal probe of the coordinated, ongoing plot.

"Now that they have the software," Greenhalgh explains today, "they have all the elements of the voting system, from the poll pads to the election management system which aggregates and reports totals, and everything in between. They can create their own election system and probe it to find out how it's vulnerable, and also develop ways that they can exploit those vulnerabilities. They can decompile the software to study the source code and understand how they might create malware that could get in and wreak havoc with the way the votes are counted."

Remember, these software breaches happened in most cases with the cooperation of insiders, local election officials who have direct access to these systems. Greenhalgh notes that "malware can be designed to be undetectable in many ways. So if you wanted, you could use it to disrupt an election so that people can't vote, or you could do it in ways to disrupt and manipulate or tamper with an election that is not visible to outsiders. Or you could just use the software to create disinformation campaigns and say 'I can show you how this election system was compromised and why it counts incorrectly'," even when it hasn't.

"We don't even have to imagine that because that's already been done," she continues. "That was by Matt DiPerno, the guy who ran against [Democrat] Dana Nessel for the Attorney General position in Michigan. He's also quite a famous election denier. He had a copy of voting system software that was obtained extra-legally in Michigan and put it on machines and put up videos that said, 'This is how we can manipulate these systems.'"

Greenhalgh details other ways in which these breaches are so troubling to the experts signed on to FSFP's letter; explains whether there is any evidence that the breaches were used to exploit systems in 2022; responds to remarks from the GA Sec. of State's office attempted to conflate real, longtime election security and voting systems experts with the MAGA conspiracy theorists and election liars; discusses how the Coffee County breach appears to have been covered-up by Raffensperger and other Georgia officials; and details why the lack of a federal investigation continues to threaten future elections, including the Presidential contest in 2024.

"The chance of manipulating elections going forward is very real," she warns.

Also today...since we could use some dumb news to offset that very disturbing story, 2024 Presidential candidate Donald Trump is now in the business of ripping off his supporters with hilarious, $99 digital trading cards in which he is illustrated as a super hero! Get yours today! Before they run out!

And finally...we close with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, including troubling news from NOAA on the worsening effects of climate change in the Arctic; the existential threat to the world's forests of rapidly expanding oil and gas exploitation; and the EU's decision this week to institute the world's first carbon import tariff...

It's another busy day on The BradCast! Enjoy!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

(P.S. We're off tomorrow for more dental adventures, but will be back next week to cover the House January 6 Committee's finale and more before our holiday break!)

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 12/6/2022 10:43am PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: FBI investigating coordinated attacks on electric grid that caused massive blackout in North Carolina; Russian missile attacks on civilian targets deepen Ukraine's energy crisis; PLUS: Electric vehicle sales are surging in the U.S. and around the world... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Progressives Ready To Block Defense Bill Over Permitting; Chinese Solar Manufacturers Cheated to Avoid Duties, Government Investigation Finds; Texas GOP Group Waging a National Crusade Against Climate Action; What Is The '30 By 30' Goal - And Can It Save Global Biodiversity?; Sale jumpstarts floating, offshore wind power in US waters; Why it’s time for Utah to buy out alfalfa farmers and let the water flow; EU aims to use Russian assets to generate cash for Ukraine... PLUS: 1,200 possibilities for the planet’s future. These are our best hope.... and much, MUCH more! ...

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Guest: Congressional historian, political scientist Norm Ornstein; Also: Leahy's Iraq War spy story...
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2022 5:41pm PT  

We've spent quite a bit of time of late on The BradCast discussing what could happen if Democrats are able to hold their majority in the U.S. House this year and pick up two more seats in the Senate. Codifying privacy rights and reproductive freedoms into federal law; passage of the much-needed Freedom to Vote Act; expansion of the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court to un-corrupt it. That all become possible in such an event, just to cite a few of the most pressing issues. But what happens if they don't? [Audio link to today's full show follows this summary.]

We've noted that it remains an uphill battle for Democrats to hold their majorities in either chamber of Congress this year, much less expand one of them. So, what happens if Republicans win a majority in one or both?

In short, it would be very very bad for a host of reasons, including for democracy itself. But TPM's Kate Riga detailed just some of the political nightmares that are likely to occur, as Republicans have revealed in their own words. From endless Congressional investigations of nonsense (think "Benghazi on steroids") to pointless culture war legislation that would be vetoed by President Biden even if it somehow overcame a Senate filibuster, to impotent efforts to impeach the President and various members of his Cabinet...for something or other.

But, even without majorities in both chambers, Republicans can wreak extraordinary damage to both the U.S. and global economies simply by re-upping their 2011 "Tea Party" scheme to hold the nation (and world) hostage to any number of demands in exchange for raising the dumb debt ceiling next year. ("Dumb", because it's absurd that the U.S. even has such a statute requiring Congressional permission to borrow money to pay for stuff that has already been purchased with Congressional and Presidential authority. Also "dumb" because Republicans only use it as a dangerous bargaining chip when a Democrat is in the White House. Despite blowing up the deficit by trillions during the Trump Administration, the debt limit was raised three times by Congress with nary a peep.)

As Riga and others have reported this week, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the GOP's presumptive House Speaker if they take back a majority, has signaled that his party intends to hold cuts to Medicare and Social Security among hostages in exchange for agreeing to lift the debt ceiling. That, in the words of our guest today, would be "catastrophic" on several levels.

We're joined today by Congressional historian, political scientist and author NORM ORNSTEIN, who has been covering Congress for nearly 50 years via the conservative American Enterprise Institute, where he is a Senior Fellow Emeritus and now as contributing editor and columnist for The Atlantic.

Last week at The Atlantic, Ornstein warned that it's not just "democracy at stake this fall", as he asked "how far would a Republican majority go?" in undermining the U.S. economy in advance of the 2024 Presidential election. He recounts the first real use of the debt ceiling as a blunt political instrument to wreak havoc on U.S. policy and the economy along with it by the "Tea Party" back in 2011. While a last minute compromise at the time avoided a first-ever default of the U.S. government and the inability to pay its debts, the brinkmanship and hostage-taking cost the economy billions. Our credit rating was downgraded for the first time ever and the Dow plunged some 2,000 points.

But Ornstein is now more worried about what may happen next year if the GOP wins a House majority. As he explains today, "back in 2011, there were grownups in the room who kept it from getting out of control." Today, however "we're in a different world."

"In the past," he tells me, citing Donald Trump as an "accelerant" for GOP "dysfunction," "we still had what we could think of as a political party, even as it began to go downhill. But now it's a full-blown cult. The willingness of new members coming in, joining with a lot of radical members who will be returning to blow the whole thing up, the lack of interest in fundamental institutions or in the need to be responsible at governance is astonishing."

"I have never, in fifty-plus years of being immersed in the institution, seen a weaker or more pathetic leader than Kevin McCarthy," he says. "The idea that he would stop them from mayhem is, at this point, not believable."

"Other than that the fact that these are radicals dominating the party, they can't pass legislation on their own. They can't impeach and convict and remove from office the officials they would want to, including the President and the Attorney General and Sec. of Homeland Security, among many others."

But, as Ornstein adds, they will have "the power for the purse" with which they can cause extraordinary damage both here and around the world. He details both the chaos and what Democrats can do to try and preempt it during the Lame Duck period after the November midterms in the event that Republicans win back a majority in one or both chambers.

"The best thing to do is to do as every other country does and eliminate this ridiculous device [the debt ceiling]," but, since Dems can't do that on their own via reconciliation, they could invoke "the ironically named McConnell Rule" through reconciliation to stave off the threat of GOP debt ceiling brinkmanship that could result in a first-ever financial default by the nation. Tune in for an explanation of that ironically named rule and much more on all of this today.

Or, of course, Americans could simply reelect Democrats to majorities in both chambers and avoid the guaranteed nightmares that lie ahead with GOP control of either, now that they have wasted away into little more than a radical, extremist, "full-blown cult."

Finally, we close today with a fascinating spy story, of sorts, regarding retiring, eight-term Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and the U.S. intel agencies during the lead-up to the Iraq War (which he voted against), based on false evidence of WMDs hyped by the Bush/Cheney Administration...

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Special Coverage of final(?) public hearing with Heather Digby Parton of Salon and 'Driftglass' of 'Pro Left Podcast'; Also: SCOTUS rejects Trump's emergency motion on stolen classified docs retrieved from Mar-a-Lago...
By Brad Friedman on 10/13/2022 6:17pm PT  

It was a very bad day for our disgraced former President. So, it was a good day for the nation and for today's special BradCast coverage of what is likely to be the final public hearing of the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the Trump-incited insurrection of January 6, 2021 and his many failed attempts to steal the 2020 Presidential election. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

The Committee on Thursday presented both new video footage and documents obtained since their last public hearing back in July. Among the new video: Chilling footage of Democratic and Republican lawmakers attempting to fill the leadership gap left by the President during the three hours the Capitol was under siege while Donald Trump sat in the White House dining room watching Fox "News" coverage of the violence he sparked unfolding.

Among the new documents: email and chat messages from the Secret Service revealing they knew damned well about the threat of violence on Jan. 6, long prior to the insurrection. Also: more evidence from well before Election Day revealing Trump planned to falsely claim the election was stolen from him, and that he knew damned well that he lost and there was no evidence of election-changing fraud.

But, of course, the biggest news from Thursday's hearing was the panel's unanimous, 9 to 0 vote taken at the end to subpoena documents and under-oath testimony from the ringleader of the riot.

"Our duty today is to our country and our children and our Constitution. We are obligated to seek answers from the man who set this all in motion, and every American is entitled to those answers so we can act now to protect our republic," explained Republican Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney, introducing the motion. "So, this afternoon I am offering this resolution that the Committee direct the Chairman to issue a subpoena for relevant documents and testimony under oath from Donald John Trump in connection with the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol."

That wasn't the only bad news for the disgraced former President today. As the hearing was playing out, his corrupt, stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court majority rejected his emergency motion regarding the classified documents he stole from the White House and retrieved by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago in early August. The High Court nixed, without comment, his appeal of a lower court ruling that blocked the documents marked as classified from a privilege review by a Special Master.

All of that came the day after Washington Post and New York Times each published stories last night reporting that a Trump employee was captured on security camera video from inside Mar-a-Lago moving boxes of documents both in and out of a storage room both before and after Trump had been subpoenaed by the Dept. of Justice earlier this year for the return of all documents that he had stolen from the White House upon leaving office. The reports allege that the employee is said to be cooperating with DoJ, at least to some extent, and was ordered to move the documents by Trump himself.

Like I said, a bad day for Trump...but a great day for everyone else!

Joining us for a very lively conversation attempting to make sense of all of this madness and much more today in our Special Coverage, are HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo and 'DRIFTGLASS' of the Professional Left Podcast. And while both of them have been right about pretty much everything over the last 20 years, they disagree today on whether Trump will actually answer that Congressional subpoena to testify. Tune in to find out why.

As usual, they offer smart insight today on the new video footage and many other fresh revelations from this afternoon's J6 hearing, and we discuss whether Trump will now finally be indicted; on which of the several different criminal investigations he's now facing; and when such charges will --- or won't --- finally come...

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Newsom makes good on vow to manufacture generic drugs, highlighting Big Pharma's long manipulation of Intellectual Property laws for profit...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/29/2022 11:05am PT  

The state of California is embarking on a ground-breaking effort to manufacture and distribute a life-saving drug. The plan also deals a first major blow to private pharmaceutical companies that have long abused the nation's legal system for profit at the expense of the health of the citizenry.

"On my first day in office I signed an Executive Order to put California on a path towards creating our own prescription drugs," Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom declared in a July 7 video posted to Twitter, referencing his inauguration promise in January of 2019. "And now it's happening".

Newsom's statement came in the wake of his approval of a Golden State Budget Proposal that will invest $50 million into development and $50 million more into a State-owned facility that will manufacture and distribute generic (aka biosimilar) insulin to Californians at slightly above cost.

If it succeeds, California, which has the world's 5th largest economy, will not only become the first State, but also the only government, other than Cuba, to embrace the socialized production of generic medications. (Although Cuba develops and manufactures its own generic medications and provides free "preventative medical care, diagnostic tests and medications for hospitalized patients", Pharmacy Times reported, "Cubans pay out-of-pocket for outpatient medications.")

California's progressive Democratic Governor pointed to the extraordinarily high cost of insulin as a form of "market failure" that justifies his embrace of socialized medications. His decision to allow the Golden State to produce its own generic insulin also highlights the immoral manipulation of the nation's patent laws by for-profit drug companies...

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Guest: Stephanie Foggett of The Soufan Center...
By Brad Friedman on 8/16/2022 6:53pm PT  

We really do have (at least) two Americas at this point. One America, led by President Joe Biden and his Democratic party in Congress, who have now triumphantly signed into law the largest climate bill in U.S. history, which also includes landmark measures to make healthcare cheaper for tens of millions of Americans. And another America, which is calling for violence, mayhem and murder of American law enforcement officials, and they are led there by the disgraced former President of the United States. We discuss both Americas on today's BradCast. Apologies in advance for the whiplash. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

On Tuesday, Joe Biden signed the historic, if somewhat misleadingly named, Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a trimmed down version of his Build Back Better Act which was blocked by all 50 Senate Republicans and two Democrat last year. The IRA, however, includes some $400 billion to finally begin tackling climate change and moving the nation from dirty fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy; institutes a $2,000 annual cap on prescription drug costs for seniors; allows Medicare to negotiate for cheaper prices with drug companies for the first time ever; and increases taxes on hugely profitable corporations that currently pay no taxes at all. It also helps pays down the deficit and a bunch of other things.

It was passed in both chambers of Congress, where Democrats hold the thinnest of majorities in each, without one single Republican vote, as the President took pains to note during his White House signing ceremony today.

"Let’s be clear," Biden said, "In this historic moment, Democrats sided with the American people, and every single Republican in the Congress sided with the special interests in this vote — every single one. In fact, big drug companies spent nearly $100 million to defeat this bill. A hundred million dollars. And remember: Every single Republican in Congress voted against this bill."

"We’re delivering results for the American people," the President boasted. "We didn’t tear down; we built up. We didn’t look back; we looked forward. And today offers further proof that the soul of America is vibrant, the future of America is bright, and the promise of America is real and just beginning."

"I know there are those here today who hold a dark and despairing view of this country," Biden said. "I’m not one of them. I believe in the promise of America. I believe in the future of this country. I believe in the very soul of this nation. And most of all, I believe in you, the American people."

As to those who do "hold a dark and despairing view of this country," many of them have been showing their true, dark colors over the past week since the FBI obtained a lawful warrant to search Donald Trump's Florida compound for highly classified and sensitive national security documents that he stole from the White House upon leaving office last year.

After Trump revealed the search publicly last week, using rhetoric seemingly chosen to incite violence --- falsely citing "prosecutorial misconduct," "weaponization of the Justice System," describing the U.S. as a "broken, Third-World Country" --- there has been what the DHS and FBI described in a bulletin last week as an "unprecedented" number of "violent threats" against federal law enforcement, courts and government personnel and facilities.

"These threats are occurring primarily online and across multiple platforms, including social media sites, web forums, video sharing platforms, and image boards," the bulletin warns. It was published the day after a Donald Trump supporter was killed following his attempt to attack an FBI field office in Ohio with a nail gun and an AR-15, and as another Trump supporter was taken into custody and charged for issuing graphic calls to "slaughter" federal officers on several different social media cites.

And while threats on far-right, neo-Nazi Internet sites reportedly spiked following Trump's announcement of the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago, it has also spiked on "mainstream" Rightwing media outlets like Fox "News", where the rhetoric --- from many of its prime time hosts and elected Republican officials alike --- has become hauntingly similar to that found on the darkest, far-right cesspools of the Internet.

We're joined today by STEPHANIE FOGGETT, a Research Fellow at The Soufan Center and Director of Global Communications at The Soufan Group, where her areas of expertise include terrorism, online extremism and the rise of white supremacy. She has a great deal of perspective to offer on this issue.

"This rhetoric is alarming, but it is not surprising, especially given the online spaces and activity that I watch every day," she tells me. "I monitor the darkest and most violent corners of this information ecosystem, and I really think, above all, it's important to know that these threats and attacks on law enforcement, they're not coming out of a vacuum."

Indeed, as Matt Gertz at Media Matters observed last week "Fox and other right-wing outlets describe the search as 'the worst attack on this republic in modern history,' part of a 'preemptive coup' to prevent Trump’s reelection, and a sign the country is now a 'tyranny.' They say the FBI is acting like 'the East German Stasi in the Cold War' and the Nazi 'Gestapo,' and call its agents part of a 'lawless criminal organization' that 'planted evidence,' bugged Trump’s bedroom, and may be planning his 'assassination.'"

"And they are quick to tell their viewers that they should fear their own persecution in the wake of the search," Gertz writes. "According to right-wing outlets, 'the real target of this investigation is you'." Just last night, Tucker Carlson, the most popular host on the nation's most popular cable "news" outlet, told viewers that President Biden is now "declar[ing] war on his own population."

"It's rinsing and repeating narratives and concerns that we saw with the Stop the Steal campaign and things like that," Foggett explains. "It's really tapping into this narrative on the far-right that if they can go after a President they will be able to come after you one day."

She worries even more "about what comes next," while offering both historical context for this current moment --- in which "every agency in America, from intelligence agencies to law enforcement agencies [have] come to the assessment that the far-right and domestic extremism is the greatest threat that America is facing today" --- and ways in which responsible Americans can respond in hopes of decreasing the threat.

"It is tricky, and there is no silver bullet. There's no one single thing that can be done to address this," Foggett asserts, before describing how individuals can be mindful of what they share online --- stuff that is meant to go viral with misleading messages --- and how "it's really about individuals in positions of power to be much more careful about the things that they say, and how they interact with the violence that this movement promises."

In short, solving this problem won't be easy, and things may get much worse before they get better. But there are ways to educate Americans about these now main-streamed extremists and ways to "isolate them by rejecting them, by ignoring them, and by denouncing them."

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with more on the Democrats' historic climate bill and several alarming new reports underscoring how the measure has finally become law not a moment too soon...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Fallout from FBI retrieval of stolen, classified docs at Mar-a-Lago; Also: FBI, DHS warn of 'unprecedented' threats; Giuliani now a 'target', Graham must testify in GA election theft probe; Report: Trump Org CFO to plead 'guilty' in NY; Callers speculate on Trump's theft of NatSec docs...
By Brad Friedman on 8/15/2022 6:06pm PT  

At this point on The BradCast we can barely keep up with it all, as the years-long (and continuing) Trump Crime Spree continues to collapse and implode onto itself. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

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

  • Author Salman Rushdie off ventilator, able to talk, and still in critical condition, but "on road to recovery", according to his agent, following his stabbing on Friday in western New York state.
  • Federal court rejects Sen. Lindsey Graham's attempt to avoid grand jury subpoena for testimony in Fulton County, Georgia's probe of Trump's 2020 election theft conspiracy in the Peach State. Unless he can wriggle out of it somehow, he is scheduled to be deposed next Tuesday.
  • FBI and DHS issue joint bulletin over the weekend citing "unprecedented" threats to law enforcement and other government officials from the far-right Trump World following last week's warranted FBI search at Mar-a-Lago and retrieval of stolen, highly classified national security documents stolen from the White House by Trump.
  • Congressional Republicans, now unable to defend Trump's theft of documents, demand instead that DoJ release the sealed affidavit from last week's federal court-approved warrant finding "probable cause" that Trump may have violated at least three federal laws (retaining or destroying federal documents; obstructing government proceedings; violating the Espionage Act).
  • In Monday court filing, DoJ argues against release of the Mar-a-Lago affidavit, arguing "Disclosure of the warrant affidavit would irreparably harm the government's ongoing criminal investigation" and would "likely chill future cooperation by witnesses whose assistance may be sought as this investigation progresses, as well as in other high-profile investigations." [Emphasis mine.]
  • Over the weekend, NYTimes reported that a Trump lawyer signed a certification in June that all classified materials taken by Trump had been returned. That was not true, as the 11 sets of classified documents retrieved last Monday revealed. The false assertion by a Trump attorney came after nearly a year and a half of discrete efforts by the National Archives and DoJ to retrieve the documents. The paper also reported security camera footage from inside Mar-a-Lago revealed that, just after Team Trump was contacted by the DoJ, boxes were moved into and out of the storage area where Trump unlawfully kept the classified records in a basement storage area at the hotel.
  • Mid-show, NBC reported that the Trump Organization's longtime Chief Financial Officer, Allen Weisselberg, was preparing to plead guilty in the Manhattan District Attorney's criminal fraud charges filed against both him and Trump's family business last year. NYTimes is now reporting that, under the plea agreement, Weisselberg will face just 5 months in prison and will not be cooperating with the prosecution against Trump or his family.
  • Finally, callers ring in with their own speculation on why they believe Donald Trump was hording those national security documents and refusing for a year and half to give them back. Also, on whether he will finally be held accountable for that and the rest of his endless criming...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Climate chaos everywhere; Hand-marked paper ballots save the day in IL; PA's GOP Guv nominee at center of 2020 'fake' Electors plot; Biden slams disgraced, pro-insurrection, anti-cop Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 7/26/2022 6:04pm PT  

Sending our love and best wishes to get better soon today to our regular BradCast guest host, Nicole Sandler, who cracked a couple of ribs over the weekend, so wasn't able to fill in for us on yesterday's show as previously planned. But, we're back today with --- you'll be shocked to learn --- lots of news to cover! [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among today's many stories of note...

  • Our global climate emergency continues to worsen, as it's been hitting the U.S. --- in addition to Europe and Asia --- hard over the past week or two. In addition to record high temps in the Midwest, South and Northeast in recent days (some of which may be seeing some relief), after two weeks of record heat, more than 9 inches of rain fell on my old hometown of St. Louis, Missouri today, smashing a century-old record. Flash-flooding is predicted to occur in various places from Kansas to West Virginia, Virginia to Tennessee this week, and triple-digit temps will once again slam the usually-cool Pacific Northwest. It's a climate in chaos that will only get worse until (or IF) we do something to slow the burning of climate warming fossil fuels.
  • Just one state, North Carolina, is holding elections today, runoffs in a number of municipal contests. Next Tuesday will be very busy, however, with primary voting in Ohio, Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington state. Over the weekend, AP called last week's 10-way Democratic gubernatorial primary in Maryland for Oprah-endorsed Wes Moore, the former CEO of an anti-poverty nonprofit. He would become the state's first black Governor if he defeats Trump-endorsed, insurrection-promoting, 2020 election-denying, right-winger Dan Cox. Last week, Cox defeated the centrist Republican candidate endorsed by the state's current, popular, two-term Republican Governor, Larry Hogan, to win the party's Gubernatorial nomination. This, like the Governor's race in Pennsylvania (more on that below), now becomes another very critical state for Democrats to win in 2022 in order to help stave off the threat of election theft in 2024 by a Republican who has said he would not have certified Joe Biden's victory in 2020, had he been Governor at the time, even though Biden won MD by more than 33 points.
  • Longtime listeners and readers know we always warn after Election Days that problems with voting and tabulation systems sometimes do not appear until days or weeks (or longer) after Election Day. We've got a doozy of an example of that today, on the heels of the June 28 primaries in Illinois where, in Winnebago County, all the referendums on the ballot that day falsely appeared to have been adopted by more than 90% of the vote. Luckily, in this case, hand-marked paper ballots used in the County and cast by some 20,000 voters, ended up saving the day, allowing votes to ultimately be counted correctly as cast, even after the computer tabulators didn't. We explain.
  • BREAKING THIS AFTERNOON: New York Times has obtained previously undisclosed emails between top Trump allies organizing what even they described as a "fake" electors plot in seven states after the 2020 election, in hopes of stealing it for their man. Members on the email chain acknowledged that the phony electoral votes "aren't legal under federal law", but they hoped to spring them on Dems and media anyway "so that members of Congress can fight about whether they should be counted on January 6th." The plotters included a bunch of GOP attorneys, state GOP party officials, Trump campaign staffers and activists and included Rudy Giuliani and Trump's Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. They all knew about it, and they all knew that it was unlawful. The plot also included Doug Mastriano, who, the Times reports, served as the point person for the fake elector scheme in Pennsylvania. Mastriano is now the pre-disgraced, far-right, Christian Nationalist Republican nominee for Governor in the Keystone State.
  • All of that, as both the criminal probe and the House Jan. 6 Committee's investigation of the deletion of Secret Service text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021 heats up and as President Biden, said to be quickly improving from his bout with COVID, offered remarks on video tape to a black law enforcement group in Florida on Monday, about Trump's refusal to stop the insurrection or even condemn the rioters he incited (as the J6 Committee went further in revealing over the weekend.) As Biden correctly told the cops in FL: "You can't be pro-insurrection and pro-cop. You can't be pro-insurrection and pro-democracy. You can't be pro-insurrection and pro-American."
  • Finally, Desi Doyen has our latest Green News Report, with news on a huge new wildfire which has exploded near Yosemite; a new study finding concurrent heat waves are now six times more frequent thanks to climate change; and new details on a 2020 pipeline spill in Charlotte, North Carolina which now turns out to have been 30 times larger than previously known --- making it the largest inland spill in U.S. history...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Special Coverage with Heather Digby Parton of Salon, Richard 'RJ' Eskow of 'The Zero Hour'; ALSO: BANNON FOUND GUILTY OF CONTEMPT...
By Brad Friedman on 7/22/2022 5:59pm PT  

On January 6, 2021, then President Donald Trump wound up his supporters, who he knew to be armed, with lies about a stolen election, which he knew to be false, at a rally near the White House. He then pointed them toward the U.S. Capitol with the instruction to "fight like hell". They did. People died. And during the more than three hours of violent attack, as five people would lay dead, hundreds of law enforcement officials injured, and Trump's MAGA mob coming within feet of fleeing lawmakers --- including the Vice President --- the Commander-in-Chief holed up in the dining room near the Oval Office in White House, ordered that no photographs be taken, watched the carnage on TV, and did nothing to stop any of it.

In fact, as the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the insurrection and Trump's many other failed attempts to steal the 2020 Presidential election made clear on Thursday night's Day 8 --- and as we discuss on today's BradCast Special Coverage --- he wasn't bothered in the least by the carnage. It was all part of the plan. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

The then-President was informed that the riot was under way at the Capitol just minutes after returning to the White House after his speech to rile up the insurrectionists. He spent the next several hours ignoring his sworn duty and oath of office to defend the nation and Constitution, while rejecting scores of entreaties from advisers, friends, top staffers and legal aides, refusing to take any action to quell his angry, dangerous, armed and disinformed mob. But he did, as the Committee laid out in minute-by-minute detail, call friendly U.S. Senators (some of them, such as MO's Josh Hawley, who were fleeing for their lives after firing up the mob themselves) in hopes of encouraging them to further his plan to steal the election from its rightful victor, Joe Biden, during the joint session of Congress to confirm the Electoral College vote.

"Trump didn't fail to act," Republican Committee member and Iraq and Afghanistan combat vet Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) charged, "he chose not to act." That, after turning his supporters "love of country into a weapon," as Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) asserted, adding: "Donald Trump made a purposeful choice to violate his oath of office."

It was, according to the evidence presented, the greatest "dereliction of duty" ever committed by a sitting U.S. President. By far.

The hearing was incredibly information-dense. With compelling evidence and testimony --- both live and on video tape --- from dozens of former aides, military and national security officials, White House attorneys, staffers and family members, all detailing Trump's hours-long lack of action. No calls to the military or national security or law enforcement agencies. The violence was the plan all along. He did not want to stop it.

Even the next day, as seen in raw footage from the White House, the loser Trump could not declare that the election was over during a brief, scripted, video-taped address to the nation, in which his emotional instability and seething anger was, at times, laid bare for all to see. (Everyone but Fox "News" viewers anyway. Fox didn't show it to them, choosing to run Sean Hannity's show instead, making fun of Joe Biden for having COVID, even as the Committee was revealing Hannity's own texts to Trump's Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, begging him to get the President to take action to stop the attack on the Capitol.)

Perhaps the most chilling moment of the night was the video-taped testimony from an unidentified national security official, his or her voice disguised, detailing how members of VP Mike Pence's Secret Service detail were calling family members, as the mob attacked, to say goodbye, as the officials believed they may not live through the day.

We're joined today by two excellent guest panelists, both old friends and old school bloggers. One, HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo, has been with us for every one of the Committee's summer series of hearings. (They now promise more in September.) And the other is RICHARD "RJ" ESKOW, longtime columnist and host of The Zero Hour on radio and TV.

The conversation, as always with these two, was spirited and insightful. Eskow has some complaints about the Committee, Parton thinks they are doing a superb job. Both have smart thoughts about what we've learned from the hearings so far, including last night, what we still need to learn much more about in the weeks ahead, and what it all may mean going forward.

And, oh yeah, on Friday, just before airtime, a federal jury found Trump's former aide and campaign chair, Steve Bannon, guilty on both criminal counts of Contempt of Congress, for having ignored lawful subpoenas from the J6 Committee for testimony and documents regarding what he knew about Trump's insurrection. He now faces anywhere from 60 days to 2 years in prison, presuming he isn't able to squirm out on appeal between now and his sentencing in October. Parton explains why she thinks today's verdict may actually become a win for Bannon, who she describes as "MAGA Mandela." We'll see if she's right about that.

Lots to cover on today's lively Special Coverage. Please tune in!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Corrupt WV Dem still undermining Dems, nation, planet; Secret Service deleted Jan. 6 texts; Arrest warrant issued for indicted CO GOP election official; NY's GOP Guv nom submitted 13,000 fraudulent signatures...
By Brad Friedman on 7/15/2022 6:29pm PT  

I don't relish saying "I told ya so" on The BradCast. But, in today's lead story, unfortunately, I have to yet again. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

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

  • We've been telling you for months that West Virginia's corrupt Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Manchin --- whose family makes millions from the coal industry and campaign rakes in millions from the fossil fuel industry --- never had any intention of allowing any environmental measures to pass that might actually help reduce the deadly emissions that are causing our climate crisis. Nonetheless, his fellow Democrats and corporate media, like Charlie Brown, seem to keep buying his BS claims that he really really wants to adopt environmental provisions and raise taxes on the wealthy to help pay for them. After months of more pretend negotiations, Lucy pulled the football away from Charlie Brown yet again on Thursday night.
  • Gas prices are finally falling. Will Joe Biden get credit for that, since he was inappropriately blamed for Big Oil's record profits from war profiteering and price gouging? (Which all Republicans in Congress refused to outlaw recently?)
  • Texas' privatized, unregulated electric grid is on the brink of collapse yet again, thanks to record heat (which is thanks to a fossil fuel industry-sponsored climate crisis that all Republicans and Democrat Joe Manchin refuse to do anything about.) Will Lone Star State voters this November finally figure out who is to blame for the outages --- and hundreds of deaths that continue to come with them --- during both extreme heat and cold in the state?
  • Oh, look! The Secret Service seem to have accidentally erased all of their text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021, even after the Dept. of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General asked to see them. Luckily, not much happened over those days that the American people would very much like to know about.
  • Oh, look! A D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer has reportedly testified to the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection and Donald Trump's other attempts to steal the election that there was a physical altercation with Secret Service officials inside Trump's limo when he wanted to go to the Capitol instead of back to the White House that day. The alleged under-oath corroboration has so far received much less corporate media notice than the anonymous, still-unnamed person at the Service who claimed that Cassidy Hutchinson was lying during her explosive public testimony late last month about what she'd been told about the incident just after it happened. And the Secret Service officials who were supposed to come forward to dispute her story to the Committee have still failed to do so. (Sure would have been helpful if the Service hadn't erased their text messages from that day.)
  • Mesa County, Colorado's disgraced County Clerk (and recently failed GOP candidate for Secretary of State), Tina Peters, is in yet more legal trouble. The easily-duped MAGA election fraud conspiracy theorist --- now charged with 7 felonies and 3 misdemeanors related to her orchestrating an illicit scheme to unlawfully copy and publicly distribute very sensitive voting system software last year --- had a warrant issued for her arrest by a Judge on Thursday after she left the state without court permission to speak at another evidence-free MAGA election fraud conspiracy conference in Vegas.
  • But the actual election fraud perpetrated by GOP officials running for office continues. Just a few short weeks after 5 of the 10 Republicans running for the Gubernatorial nomination in Michigan were struck from the ballot for turning in tens of thousands of fraudulent petition signatures, it's happened again. This time in New York. The GOP nominee for Governor, U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin --- who voted against confirming Joe Biden's 2020 Electoral College victory and whose website features a "Team Zeldin Election Integrity Task Force" page, vowing to work "around the clock now and into November to ensure we have fair elections" --- apparently turned in nearly 13,000 fraudulent petition signatures, including 900 pages of photocopies of signatures, in hopes of appearing on the Independent Party ballot line this fall. The Libertarian Party challenged the fraudulent signatures and the state Board of Elections confirmed the fraud, denying Zeldin a third line on the November ballot.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen has our latest Green News Report, with a passel of climate related stories that are so grim, we can't even bring ourselves to tease them here. On the other hand, she does have one pretty good piece of news out of California...so there's that!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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