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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, June 16, 2024
Sunday 'Show' Toons
THIS WEEK: Two-Tiered Justice ... False Flags ... The Retribution Machine ... and much more in our latest collection of the week's best political toons!...
The Corrupt Anti-Abortion TX-to-SCOTUS Legal Mill Pipeline: 'BradCast' 6/13/24
Guest: Salon's Amanda Marcotte; Also: Dems outperform in OH Special Election; Brad gets COVID again goddammit...
'Green News Report' 6/13/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Heat wave coming to much of U.S., cooling systems can't keep up; Record rain from Sarasota to Spain to China; NY passes law to charge Big Oil for climate damage...
Previous GNRs: 6/11/24 - 6/6/24 - Archives...
Life With COVID
What goes around comes around. Again...
Hunter Biden's Conviction; Donald Trump's Weaponized Ignorance: 'BradCast' 6/11/24
Also: Biden rising; Fall of Alex Jones' corrupt empire; Phony '2000 Mules' doc pulled; More GOP voter fraud...
'Green News Report' 6/11/24
Big win for far-right in EU, climate action in crosshairs; NY Guv halts NYC congestion pricing; PLUS: Biden mileage rules save consumers money, combat climate change...
After Trump Verdict, GOPers Suddenly Warm to Voting for Felons: 'BradCast' 6/10/24
Listeners call in with explanations; Also: U.N. Security Council approves Biden's Israel/Hamas ceasefire plan; Europe moves toward far-right in EU elections...
Sunday 'Antifa' Toons
THIS WEEK: 80 Years Later ... Fascism Returns ... How Laws Work ... Summer Forecast ... And much more to be proud terrified of in our latest weekly collection...
'Green News Report' 6/6/24
Hottest 12 months ever; US Heat deaths hit new record in 2023; World's largest solar farm now online -- in China; PLUS: U.N. Sec.-Gen's warning to the world...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Guest: ACLU's Theresa Lee | Also: Trump Jr.'s legal probs; Senate GOP health care repeal; 'Green News Report' returns for another heat wave...
By Brad Friedman on 7/11/2017 6:07pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we're still trying to keep our eye on the ball, as Trump and the Republicans work to take away both health and voting rights even as the nation is otherwise consumed with new breaking news in the ongoing criminal investigations of Team Trump. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

First up today, a few comments on the news regarding Donald Trump, Jr.'s meeting with a Russian attorney during the campaign last year and the federal election laws he may have violated in the bargain. But, with everyone else in the world covering that story today, fewer are covering the ongoing plans by the Senate GOP to try and repeal the health care for millions of Americans in exchange for tax cuts for the wealthy, possibly as early as next week, according to a top Senate Republican. And, if not next week, shortly thereafter, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has now cancelled much of the August recess in hopes of jamming both ObamaCare repeal and a major tax cut scheme through Congress before Summer ends.

Similarly, with all of the noise regarding the incompetence and/or corruption of Team Trump, it's important to keep an eye on their ongoing efforts at voter suppression via Trump's so-called "Election Integrity" Commission which has already resulted in voters around the nation removing themselves from registration roles for fear that Commission Vice-Chair and notorious "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach will publicly release the personal information of registered voters, such as birthdate, social security number, military status, etc., as he recently promised in a letter to all 50 states seeking that data.

But, as Kobach has made a career out of pretending there is a massive voter fraud epidemic and threatening prosecution against voters for small and often inadvertent violations of the law, you'd think his Commission would follow the rule of law to the letter. That does not appear to be the case, however, as at least four different legal complaints, alleging violations of federal law, have already been filed against Kobach and the Commission over the past week, even as even more notorious GOP 'voter fraud' fraudsters are being quietly added to the Presidential panel.

THERESA LEE, staff attorney at the ACLU's Voting Rights Project, one of the groups which have filed legal complaints against the Commission, joins us to explain their lawsuit [PDF] charging multiple violations of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), how this Presidential Commission on elections is wildly different from those created in the recent past, and what it is that Kobach and friends are really up to under the sham Commission's pretext of combating 'voter fraud'.

"One of the main purposes of the Act was public accountability, the idea that if the government is getting advice, it should not be biased advice, and the public should know what's going into it," Lee tells me, describing the extraordinary imbalance of the Trump-Pence-Kobach Commission and the secrecy under which it has so far been operating.

Finally today, it's the return of the Green News Report with Desi Doyen after a week off over the holidays, and just in time for another heat wave across much of the country, embarrassment at the G-20, and both good news and bad in California...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Republican election integrity advocate and plaintiff Marilyn Marks | Also: The world moves ahead without the U.S. following G-20 summit...
By Brad Friedman on 7/10/2017 6:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast: I'm back! With huge thanks to Angie Coiro for filling in for us over the past week! But, if you thought the June 20th U.S. House Special Election in Georgia's 6th District was over, well, it's not quite yet, as our guest today, one of the plaintiffs in the Election Contest filed last week in state court, seeking to overturn the results, makes clear. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

But first, the G-20 Summit which wrapped up over the weekend in Hamburg, Germany made very clear that it is now the U.S. (or, more accurately, the Trump Administration) against the world. Old allies like Germany, France and Great Britain are forming new alliances with nations like China, to move ahead without the U.S. in the wake of the Trump Administration's plan to pull out of the landmark Paris Climate Agreement to curb the man-made release of greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

Meanwhile, back here at home, Democrats continue to wring their hands about what they believe to be a hacked or otherwise manipulated Presidential election in 2016, even while failing to do anything about voting systems that are easily hacked, manipulated and otherwise 100% unverifiable.

With major security concerns about last month's U.S. House Special Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District --- where Democrat Jon Ossoff reportedly lost to Republican Karen Handel by 4 points after leading in virtually all of the pre-election polls --- you'd think Dems would be raising holy hell about the fact that Georgia still uses 100% unverifiable voting systems. That is particularly alarming in Georgia, since the state was recently discovered to have kept the passwords for those easily-manipulated 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems (along with the state Voter Registration databases and much more) on a completely unprotected web server for at least 7 months between August of last year and March of this year. The revelation regarding the massive security breach reported just days before the June 20 election at Kennesaw State University --- which has long been contracted to program all of the state's voting, tabulation and voter registration systems. That breach, we have since learned, only became known after the data was found and downloaded by at least two different cybersecurity researchers in those seven months.

But while the DNC seems to be "moving on" despite the unverifiable reported results of the the most expensive U.S. House race in history (in which the only verifiable votes in the race, the paper absentee ballots, reported Ossoff defeating Handel by a nearly 2 to 1 margin), a multi-partisan group of voters in the state of Georgia has now filed an election contest [PDF] in court, seeking to void the results and hold a new election on verifiable paper ballots.

I'm joined today by one of the plaintiffs in the suit, MARILYN MARKS, a former Republican candidate for office, longtime election integrity advocate, and Executive Director of the Coalition for Good Governance. We discuss the group's legal complaint, why they are filing it, what they hope to achieve, and if the GOP-majority House of Representatives will move to have her case tossed out of court on Constitutional jurisdictional grounds (as has been the case in similar Election Contests in recent history.)

The state's unverifiable equipment should lead the court to void the results of election, she argues, since it "absolutely cannot meet Georgia's statutes right now and it cannot be used going forward, not even in the municipal elections coming up in November."

Moreover, Marks explains, "we are asking that the court order Sec. of State [Brian] Kemp to re-examine the equipment, just as citizens [and more than two dozen world class computer scientists and e-voting experts] had asked back in May, before the June election...He refused."

She adds that "we want to see these paperless, unverifiable, anybody's-guess-who-won equipment gone from Georgia," and by "we" she means a coalition of Democrats, Republicans and the head of the far-right Constitution Party, who are plaintiffs in the suit. "We have members of our Coalition for Good Governance who literally also campaigned for Karen Handel, who very much support this lawsuit. So, it wasn't just about winning. They believe we're doing the right thing, even though it may very well overturn their candidate's victory. "

"Georgia is the poster child for unbelievably lax security and inviting in, with a welcome mat, any bad actors who want to walk in. Our experts have said...one after the other after the other, 'Look, the security is so lax in Georgia that you must presume the system has been compromised, you cannot rely on the votes coming out of these machines,'" Marks tells me.

But will Congress intercede to block the suit, as they have in the past after the declared winner has already been seated? (See their letter from 2006 here [PDF] that resulted in a contested U.S. House election in CA being dismissed by the court.) And why, by the way, are Democrats (and Republicans, for that matter) so resistant to stand up and demand elections and results that are overseeable by the public? I discuss all of that and much more with Marks today...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: RJ Eskow, Tom Nichols, Kelly Macias
GUEST HOST: ANGIE COIRO of IN DEEP Radio
By Angie Coiro on 7/7/2017 7:00pm PT  

On today's BradCast, guest hosted one last time by yours truly, Angie Coiro of In Deep with Angie Coiro.

Putin, Trump, and Tillerson climbed into the clubhouse today and pulled up the ladder, so no icky observers could get in. Angie reviews the already conflicting reports that emerged, when Donald Trump broke with tradition, bringing only the former CEO of Exxon-Mobile into his G20 convo with Vladimir Putin. Even their accounts of "confrontation" over election tampering conflict.

My guest Richard "RJ" Eskow, host of The Zero Hour, thinks Democrats are putting too many eggs in that latter basket, anyway. And he has very emphatic opinions about that New York Times opinion piece urging the Democratic Party to abandon progressives.

When it comes to Russia - or anything else, for that matter - you might find yourself confused by all those experts out there. That's probably because we've learned to conflate opinionators with actual experts. In an excerpt from In Deep, Tom Nichols, author of The Death of Expertise explains the decay of faith in people who actually know their stuff.

Finally, Kelly Macias, reporter with Daily Kos, parses some stories getting less attention this week: tenant marches on HUD, Texas as a scary barometer for the direction of the country, and how the noose has reemerged as a tool to terrorize African Americans...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Guest: Kait Sweeney of Progressive Change Campaign Committee...
By Brad Friedman on 6/30/2017 7:03pm PT  

Desi Doyen and I will be off from The BradCast next week. (Angie Coiro will be guest-hosting for us during our much-needed break.) But we sure are being sent away with a mess in this country --- and in the world --- before the July 4th holiday. Though we still manage to find a few rays of hope today nonetheless. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

Among the many stories covered on today's jam-packed BradCast...

  • After years of persistence by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), a powerful U.S. House committee finally votes to repeal the post-9/11 "Authorization for the Use of Military Force" which has been used and abused by Presidents from Bush to Obama to Trump to deploy U.S. troops and military action across the globe ever since. Can it pass in the rest of Congress? (Lee was the only member of the House or Senate to vote against the original Authorization in 2001.);
  • A new heat record for planet Earth may have just been recorded in Iran, amidst the Middle East's latest deadly heat wave, just as scientists have been warning for decades;
  • The U.S. Senate recesses for the 4th of July without Republicans coming up with a plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act that can earn 50 votes from their caucus. But a new scheme to repeal only is now being floated by a GOP Senator and it could make things very difficult for Democratic ObamaCare supporters when they return;
  • KAIT SWEENEY, Press Secretary at the grassroots Progressive Change Campaign Committee joins us to discuss their efforts and recommendations over the holiday recess to convince vulnerable GOP Senators to oppose the GOP plan to replace Obamacare by slashing Medicaid in exchange for billions in tax cuts to the rich. (And how to convince Democrats to push for a single-payer "Medicare-for-All" style system or, at least, a public insurance or Medicare buy-in option. "We are not going to go backwards," she vows.);
  • Dept. of Homeland Security admits, yet again, that they have done no forensic investigation of any electronic voting machines or tabulators anywhere in the country since the election, despite their repeated allegations that Russia attempted to manipulate the 2016 President race and despite the extraordinary vulnerability of our easily-hacked, oft-failed computerized voting and counting systems;
  • The man running Trump's so-called 'Election Integrity Commission' (really a "Voter Suppression Commission"), Kansas Sec. of State and top GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach, shoots himself in the foot with his request to all 50 states on behalf of the sham Commission, for voter registration and voting record data, including private information such as Social Security number, birthdate, military status, etc., on every voter in the nation (which he also promises to make public). Also, yet another top Republican "voter fraud" scammer, Hans Von Spakovsky, is added to the President's Commission;
  • MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski charge the White House attempted to blackmail them prior to Trump's horrible tweet about her this week, revealing again what a dangerous moment this is for the country under a twisted Presidency;
  • And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report before we hit the dusty road over the July 4th holiday...

If you can hit our tip-jar to help us fill up the Prius tank once or twice over the next week, it will, as ever, be greatly appreciated! Enjoy the show and please have a safe and peaceful holiday!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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And, ironically, Wednesday's mostly disinformative hearings in the U.S. Senate Intelligence Comm. on alleged manipulation of the 2016 election...
By Brad Friedman on 6/21/2017 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we cover the reported results from Tuesday's U.S. House Special Elections in Georgia's 6th District and South Carolina's 5th, and whether anybody in America can or should have confidence in those unverified and unverifiable results as reported. [Audio link to complete, rant-filled show follows below.]

In both cases, the Republican candidates are reported to have narrowly defeated the Democratic candidates in very Republican districts. In both cases, the computer tabulated results are based on votes cast on 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems. In both cases, the results may be absolutely right or completely wrong. In both cases, absolutely nobody knows for certain either way. And, in both cases, if anybody tells you otherwise, they are either lying or don't know what they're talking about.

We do know, according to the state's reported results, that Democrat Jon Ossoff defeated Republican Karen Handel in GA-06 by a nearly 2 to 1 margin on the only verifiable ballots used in the race, the paper absentee mail-in ballots. Or, at least we can know that, if anybody ever bothers to check them against the computer tallies. But the rest of the race, run on 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems, will remain 100% faith-based, despite the fact that, as we reported in detail on Monday, the folks who program all of Georgia's voting and voter registrations systems (Kennesaw State University's Center for Election Systems, which is paid $750,000 a year to do so) left the system passwords online, unprotected, at their website since last August and perhaps much longer and then covered it up. Moreover, the Republican candidate in GA-06, the state's former Sec. of State Handel, also personally covered up security failures at at Kennesaw's Center for Elections during her term as the state's chief election official.

Other than all of that, why worry? Last night and today, Democrats and progressives have been continuing their internecine battles, blaming one another for a candidate who wasn't progressive enough (in GA), even as they blamed each other for a candidate seen as too progressive in many areas just weeks ago, after losing Montana's U.S. House Special Election.

I'd suggest, as I do on today's show (and last night on Twitter), that Democrats might be better served if they fought like hell for actual human oversight of our voting and vote-counting system before reloading their circular firing squad. But that's just me. In both GA and SC yesterday, those unverified results, if you believe them, do show a nearly 20 point swing towards Dems since last November's election. Similarly encouraging results have been seen in all of the special elections this year. That should be a good sign for Dems, even as a "loss" is a loss, no matter how one looks at it, and whether they actually lost or not.

Ironically enough today, in the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, top intelligence officials from the FBI and DHS testified in regard to concerns about alleged Russian manipulation of the 2016 election. Neither they, nor the elections officials who also testified today, seemed to know much of anything about the actual vulnerability of U.S. voting systems. Or, if they did, they certainly offered a whole lot of demonstrably inaccurate information about whether voting systems are connected to the Internet (they are), whether our decentralized voting and tabulation systems make it impossible to hack a a Presidential election (it doesn't), and whether actual voting results were manipulated in the 2016 President race (they claimed that they weren't, even while the DHS finally admitted they never actually checked a single machine or counted a single ballot to find out!)

On the other hand, one computer scientist and voting machine expert, Dr. Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan, also testified today and he actually knows what he's talking about, because he's personally hacked just about every voting system in use in the U.S. today, including 10 years ago when he first hacked the exact same 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting machines used in the state of Georgia during Tuesday's Special Election for U.S. House, the most expensive such election in U.S. History. As he explained in his prepared remarks [PDF] today, 10 years ago, he "was part of the first academic team to conduct a comprehensive security analysis of a DRE [touch-screen] voting machine." It was a Diebold touch-screen machine, the exact same type used in GA yesterday, as obtained from a source of mine and given to his crew at Princeton University at the time.

"What we found was disturbing," he testified (even as the Senators had no clue that he was referencing the same systems used yesterday in Georgia), "we could reprogram the machine to invisibly cause any candidate to win. We also created malicious software --- vote-stealing code --- that could spread from machine-to-machine like a computer virus, and silently change the election outcome." I broke that story originally at Salon and at The BRAD BLOG in 2006, but Georgia is shamefully still forcing voters to use the exact same hackable, unverifiable machines.

In his remarks shared on today's show, Halderman also testifies to the fact that machines thought not to be attached to the Internet actually are vulnerable to malware from the Internet, and that our decentralized and disparate system of computerized voting machines and tabulators provides no real safeguards against malicious hackers, whether they are from Russia or France or Cleveland or Atlanta.

Finally today, we close with a few listener calls on all of the above and Desi Doyen with our latest, sweltering, Green News Report...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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State contracted e-vote and pollbook programmers at Kennesaw State Univ. told of vulnerability last year, covered it up, left files unprotected
Also: Unlawful U.S. war on Syria expands, incurs Russian wrath; Dem plan to slow GOP Senate's secret health care bill; Fatal anti-Muslim attacks in London, Virginia...
By Brad Friedman on 6/19/2017 6:47pm PT  

On today's BradCast, another blockbuster report confirms vulnerabilities in our nation's voting systems that I've been trying to warn about for more than a decade, and several other stories not receiving the dire attention merited this week. [Audio link to complete show is posted below.]

In advance of Tuesday's highly contested U.S. House Special Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District --- the most expensive House race in U.S. history --- Politico Magazine's Kim Zetter offers an absolutely chilling bombshell of a report headlined "Will the Georgia Special Election Get Hacked?" She reports that gigabytes of unsecured data --- including passwords for e-voting system central tabulators, voter registration databases and much more were kept on a wholly unsecured web server, potentially for years, at Kennesaw State University's Center for Election Systems.

The KSU Center, as they describe on their website, was "created and charged with the responsibility of ensuring the integrity of voting systems in Georgia" since the state adopted its statewide, 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting system in 2002. Those same machines are still used there today, despite their age (they run on a version of Windows 2000) and massive, well-documented vulnerabilities to hacking and insider manipulation. Nonetheless, the Center for Election Systems has long been cited as a model for election administration by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and is responsible for the security and programming of every 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting system, computerized central tabulator, and electronic pollbook used across the state of Georgia.

The unsecured data files at Kennesaw, according to Zetter, were discovered prior to last year's Presidential Election and reported to the Center, but were still available online for download without a password at the beginning of March this year, during the run-up to the April primary election in the GA-06 House race. The data may, in fact, have been available there for years, even as Kennesaw's Executive Director Merle King, who has spent years testifying in court on behalf of Diebold's systems, reportedly failed to inform GA Sec. of State Brian Kemp about the breach last year after he was informed of it. In fact, Zetter notes that he warned the outside computer security researcher who discovered it not to inform the state. GA's former Sec. of State, Karen Handel, is the Republican House candidate in the reportedly very tight GA-06 race against Democrat Jon Ossoff and is said to have repeatedly blocked a security analysis of the Center years earlier while serving as the state's chief election official.

When the results of the House contest are announced on Tuesday night --- whichever party's candidate is declared the winner --- it will be virtually impossible to know if the results are accurate or if even one vote cast on GA's 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems were recorded as per any voter's intent.

While many of the vulnerabilities in GA's terrible voting and tabulation systems have been publicly known for years, the fact that the security at Kennesaw's Center for Elections is even far worse than ever imagined is both new and absolutely chilling in regard to both Georgia elections, and all others across the country, as I explain in detail on today's program.

Beyond that nightmarish report today, we also cover two different fatal attacks on Muslims over the past 24 hours, one in London and one in Virginia (and Donald Trump's failure to comment on either of them); The new Democratic strategy to slow down progress on the Obamacare replacement bill being crafted by Senate Republicans in complete secrecy, without public hearings or amendments in advance of a possible floor vote on the controversial legislation before the July 4th recess; And, the U.S. shoots down a Syrian bomber over Syria in violation of international law and without any authorization (or complaint or debate) from Congressional Republicans or Democrats alike, even as the weekend incident has drawn the wrath and potential targeting of U.S. aircraft over Syria by its ally Russia...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

Several other recent programs in The BradCast's series of reports leading up to the GA-06 U.S. House Special Election:

  • 4/4/2017: Computer and e-voting expert Barbara Simons on the initial reports of a "massive breach" of the state voter database files at Kennesaw State University
  • 5/8/2017: Garland Favorito of election watchdog VoterGA.org on the group's disturbing analysis of the central computer tabulator failure on the night of the April primary in GA-06.
  • 6/6/2017: Election integrity expert Marilyn Marks on her lawsuit demanding hand-counted paper ballots in the GA-06 race.
  • 6/12/2017: Diebold document whistleblower Steven Heller on Diebold caught lying in California in 2004 about the exact same machines still used in Georgia in 2017. (CA decertified them after Heller's disclosure.) And on the NSA analysis recently released by NSA contractor Reality Winner on spear-phishing attacks that may have allowed access to the voting system computers of election officials across the country prior to the 2016 Presidential election.

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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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Guest: Journalist David Dayen | Also: How to win young voters and the House Democratic caucus rift over impeachment...
By Brad Friedman on 6/13/2017 6:37pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the latest testimony you probably already know about, and the Republican/Trump schemes on banking regulations, infrastructure and healthcare that aren't receiving nearly as much media attention. [Audio link to show is posted at end of article.]

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in case you hadn't heard, testified before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee in open session on Tuesday, and pushed back strongly against what he described as the "secret innuendo" to smear him with the "appalling and detestable lie" that he colluded with Russia on behalf of Team Trump in any way. He said he did not violate his official recusal from the FBI's Trump/Russia investigation when he recommended that the President fire FBI Director James Comey, but then went on to refuse to answer a number of questions concerning his conversations with Trump, despite the fact that Trump has not invoked Executive Privilege for the conversations in question.

There were a number of heated exchanges with Democratic Senators on the Committee, including with one who accused Sessions of "obstructing" the Congressional investigation with his refusal to answer questions or provide a valid legal reason as to why. He also says that he is not aware whether there is a White House taping system that may have recorded Trump's one-on-one conversations with Comey, and that he has received no briefings as Attorney General on the allegations that Russian intelligence used cyberattacks to try and interfere in the 2016 elections.

We cover those hearings today, just completed before air time, before turning to a number of matters that have received far less attention by the media, with our guest DAVID DAYEN, author and prolific financial journalist for The Nation, New Republic, the Fiscal Times, The Intercept and elsewhere.

Among the topics we discuss: The stunning results of last week's UK elections and what it means for the UK, the US, and a what it may portend for a more progressive future for young voters in both countries ("The lesson is that you run on things that people can tangibly experience," says Dayen); The CHOICE Act ("A big ball of deregulation") passed by Republicans in the House last week to gut the modest banking regulations enacted in response to the 2007 global economic collapse (can it possibly pass in the Senate? And does the White House even want it to, given that they are already rolling back those same regulations on their own?); Trump's new scheme to invest in infrastructure, and how it's actually a very thinly veiled plan to privatize public assets, like the federal Air Traffic Control system ("Trump's plans for infrastructure are indistinguishable with privatization").

And finally today, more infighting among Democrats in Congress, as some members are the caucus move forward with a plan to impeach Donald Trump, as Dem leadership pushes back to kill, or at least slow down the process...

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Plus: More bad court news for Trump on his 'travel ban' and the Emoluments Clause, but perhaps good court news for him in GA-06...
By Brad Friedman on 6/12/2017 6:46pm PT  

On today's BradCast, things are not going well in the judicial system for Donald Trump. And, an election-related whistleblower joins us to offer insight into the undoubtedly agonizing decision of another election-related whistleblower who was arrested just last week. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The week is not starting off well for Trump in the courts. A second U.S. Court of Appeals has now upheld lower court rulings blocking his second Muslim "travel ban" Executive Order. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals echoed a similar finding by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals late last month. The new court loss comes on the same day that the Attorneys General of Washington D.C. and Maryland filed a lawsuit against Trump's alleged violations of the U.S. Constitution's Emoluments Clauses, prohibiting elected officials like Trump from receiving payments from foreign and state governments.

But he may have won one in Georgia where, late last week, a state judge denied and dismissed [PDF] a complaint [PDF] and motion for a Temporary Restraining Order [PDF] seeking to demand paper ballots at the polling place for next week's much-watched (and most expensive ever) U.S. House special election. That, as voters will still be forced instead to use 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems at the polling place instead.

Then, speaking of elections and Diebold's unverifiable touch-screen systems, we're joined by "Diebold Document Whistleblower" [PDF] STEPHEN HELLER who, while working at a law firm in 2004, discovered the company and its attorneys were lying to the state of California about having illicitly installed uncertified hardware and software into its unverifiable voting systems that were, back then, allowed for use in the state. The touch-screen voting systems were decertified by the state following Heller's disclosures, but he paid a stiff price for sharing attorney-client privileged documents with the media. The same system he blew the whistle on in 2004 will be use in Georgia for next week's Special Election, and Heller offers thoughts on that issue.

But Heller joined us specifically today to share his unique perspective on another election-related leaker/whistleblower, 25-year old NSA contractor and Air Force vet Reality Leigh Winner. Her arrest comes on the heels of the release of U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, whose 35-year sentenced was commuted by President Obama before leaving office, to the seven years Manning served since her conviction.

Winner was charged [PDF] last week under the 1917 Espionage Act for leaking a "Top Secret" NSA analysis to the press, which asserted that, prior to last year's election, Russian intelligence had used spear-phishing attacks to try and gain access to the computers of election officials around the country. Those same computers are often used to program voting systems, tabulators and voter registration databases. Under the espionage charges, Winner will not be allowed to make her case to the jury as to why she leaked the classified materials, nor explain how she believed them to be in the public interest, said fellow NSA-contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden last week.

Heller offers his own insight into the difficult decision he believes Winner faced when deciding to leak the documents, and explains why whistleblowers like him are often forced to decide to do the wrong things for the right reasons. "I felt that the crime of violating attorney-client privilege in this single, isolated, discrete instance, was worthwhile --- that I had to get this information out to the public so that the people of California and the rest of the country would know that this corporation was diddling our elections," he tells me.

"I think the message in both Ms. Winner's situation and mine is essentially the same --- our elections are under attack. And we Americans can't be complacent. We must protect our elections. Keep them clean, fair, open, untainted either by corporations or foreign nations or our own politicians and elections officials."

"What is illegal is not always wrong," Heller goes on to explain, from his unique perspective on the agonizing choices that folks like him and Winner (and Manning, and Snowden, et al) face when deciding to do what they did. "There's no question that if she did indeed leak these documents, as is alleged, that was illegal. But is it wrong? Reasonable minds may disagree."

Lots of stuff in my conversation with Heller (who, by way of full disclosure, has become a friend and occasional BRAD BLOG contributor in his years since blowing the whistle on Diebold) is worth tuning in for today. Much more than I can detail here!

Finally, a major energy utility company in Virginia tries to help choose the winner of the state's Democratic gubernatorial primary on Tuesday, and an otherwise Trump-loving Fox "News" anchor charges Trump's problem isn't fake news or the media, it's Donald Trump...

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Guest: Author, journalist Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel.net...
By Brad Friedman on 6/8/2017 6:18pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it was a day many have been anticipating for some time. Fired FBI Director James Comey testified in open session before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday about his one-on-one meetings with President Trump, during which, he claims, Trump asked for "loyalty" during one meeting and asked Comey to help end the FBI's investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in the other. Comey was fired by Trump shortly thereafter. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

During his written and opening statements, and subsequent Q&A with members of the Committee, Comey charged the Trump Administration with having "defamed" both him and the FBI, and lying about the reason for his firing, which he characterizes as an attempt to scuttle the Bureau's counter-intelligence probe into alleged Team Trump coordination with Russia both before and after last year's election.

Following today's testimony, Trump's personal attorney Marc Kasowitz claimed, once again, that Comey's testimony "completely vindicated" his client, and he otherwise vehemently rejected the assertion that Trump either demanded Comey's "loyalty" or sought to shut down the Flynn investigation.

Joining us for full analysis today is journalist and author Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel.net. She offers a comparison to the breadth of this widening scandal and others she's covered in the past, such as the deliberate outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame during the George W. Bush Administration. "Dick Cheney was just so much more effective at coverup and abuse of power than Trump is," Wheeler quips.

Among many other points in our discussion today, Wheeler responds to Kasowitz' charge that Comey made "unauthorized disclosures of privileged communications" (he didn't, she explains); details the new revelations from Comey's testimony regarding his various meetings with the President and his contemporaneous documentation of those meetings; potential legal exposure for Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Vice President Mike Pence in this matter; whether we should have confidence in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's oversight of the still-widening probe; whether Trump himself is now being investigated for obstruction of justice (she says it's "clear" that he now is); whether any of it amounts to impeachable offenses; and the possibility --- raised several times during today's hearing --- that White House audio tapes of the Trump/Comey meetings may exist. "Lordy, I hope there are tapes," Comey declared today.

She also breaks down the bizarre testimony before the same U.S. Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, when the heads of the NSA and DNI, without any apparent legal basis or precedent, refused to answer questions about whether Trump had asked them to intercede into the FBI probe. "Just because Donald Trump is President," Wheeler tells me, "it has not changed the rule that you have Congressional overseers and you answer their questions."

Finally, near the end of today's show, news breaks out of the UK regarding Exit Poll results from Britain's parliamentary election, suggesting a stunning surprise loss of majority power for Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May and what is likely to be regarded as a huge victory for the Labour Party's Jeremy Corbyn, sometimes regarded as "Britain's Bernie Sanders"...

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By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2017 5:58pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it's great to be back live at our flagship Los Angeles affiliate station, KPFK on the Pacifica Radio Network in Los Angeles after their recent fund drive. So we throw open the phones to listeners in celebration after several insanely busy news weeks! [Audio link to show is posted below.]

But, first, former FBI Director James Comey released his prepared statement [PDF] in advance of his much-anticipated testimony on Thursday before the U.S. Senate Intelligence committee. In the remarks, Comey details a number of his one-on-one meetings with and phone calls from Donald Trump, including the infamous "loyalty dinner" at the White House in late January and the similarly-infamous early-February meeting in the Oval Office, the day after National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was forced to resign, where Comey charges that he was asked by the President to end the FBI's investigation of Flynn.

We review the details of that prepared testimony, including Comey's confirmation that he did, in fact, indicate to Trump on three different occasions that he was not personally being investigated by the Bureau at the time. Trump's personal attorney cites that testimony to claim the President is "completely and totally vindicated" by it. Others, however, regard the testimony as "explosive" and as confirmation that Trump attempted to obstruct justice.

Also today, more on the leaked NSA analysis charging that Russian intelligence attempted to access the computers of election officials around the country after successfully sending spear-phishing emails to employees at a private voter registration firm. That rather rudimentary hacking effort just before last year's election, no matter who did it (as explained in much more detail on yesterday's show), may have allowed access for the intruders to the computers that program voting machines, results tabulators and voter registration systems around the country. Also, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's offers a response to the arrest of the alleged leaker, Reality Leigh Winner, and the charges filed against her under the 1917 Espionage Act.

Then, as just-retired Dir. of National Intelligence James Clapper charges "Watergate pales...compared to what we're confronting now," we take calls on all of the above and whether listeners believe Democrats should begin impeachment proceedings against Trump (as The Nation's John Nichols argued earlier this week on the show) or at least promise such proceedings if they are elected to the majority in Congress in 2018. We received some rather surprising answers to that question from callers, as well as in regard to the charges filed against Winner!

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report on the swift and global fallout following Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the historic Paris Climate Agreement...

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Guest: Marilyn Marks of the Rocky Mountain Foundation...
By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2017 6:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the release of a leaked NSA analysis of alleged cyberattacks on voter registration systems and attempted intrusions into the computers of local elections officials just before last year's Presidential election underscore, once again, just about every warning regarding U.S. electronic voting, computer tabulation and voter registration systems that we've been yelling about for some 15 years on both The BradCast and at The BRAD BLOG. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

Today, we break down the specific details found in the leaked NSA documents published by The Intercept on Monday, how they highlight a much broader problem with the U.S. electoral system, and what the answer, at long last, must ultimately be in response to concerns about manipulated election results, no matter who the alleged or attempted culprit. (In this case, the U.S. intelligence services blame Russian military intelligence, which they deny. Either way, as detailed on today's show, it doesn't actually matter!)

On a not-at-all unrelated note, we are then joined by Marilyn Marks of the Rocky Mountain Foundation to discuss her lawsuit, filed with members of Georgians for Verified Voting, demanding hand-counted paper ballots for all voters in the upcoming, highly contested U.S. House Special Election runoff in Georgia's 6th Congressional District between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel.

Marks, a former Republican mayoral candidate turned long-time Election Integrity expert, details some of the many concerns spelled out in her suit (Complaint here [PDF], TRO Motion here [PDF]) regarding the state of GA's 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems, and the known cyberhacks, e-pollbook thefts and computer tabulator failures that have already plagued the most expensive U.S. House race in history, where early voting is already underway in advance of the bellwether June 20 contest.

"There were so many things that have happened since March 1st," Marks explains, describing many of the problems that have already undermined this election. "As you've pointed out, these systems --- when you say they are 'unverifiable', what people need to understand by that, of course, is that there is no way to assure that the voter's intent is recorded. We know what the machines want to report. But there is no way to know what the voter intended to vote. We do know that with the evidence of a paper ballot. So, that is what we are telling the court, that this system has gone through so many problems. It was unverifiable to begin with. And now we have seen the instances of several problems, just in the last 60 days, that tell us there is no way that the Sec. of State and the county election officials should assume that the system is safe to vote on. They must presume the system is unsafe."

The plaintiffs request, she says, "is a simple one. And that is: let voters vote on paper ballots."

"The only practical answer is to go to paper ballots [and] hand count them," Marks tells me. "It would be very easy to do. We've had a professional estimate how long it would take --- less than an hour per precinct. It would actually be faster, cheaper, more efficient and far more transparent to vote on paper ballots in this simple election than it is to use the machines." Indeed, with just one contest on most of the ballots in this Special Election, hand-counting would amount to little more than separating ballots into two stacks, one for each candidate, and then counting each stack. It is what we have long described as "Democracy's Gold Standard."

Marks goes on to cite the concerns illustrated, once again, by yesterday's leaked NSA documents and argues: "You talk to any computer scientist, regardless of what party they are, you talk to any voting systems expert, I don't think you'll find a single expert, a single computer scientist who would say these machines even approach the point of being safe to vote on. And it has nothing to do with their politics."

"We must have transparent elections where the public can oversee the counting of the ballots. And in Georgia, there is no oversight. No one --- not the election official, not the public, not the campaign, not the candidate --- no one can figure out whether or not the ballots are counted right."

But does her lawsuit have a chance this late in the game, with early voting already under way? Tune in for her response to that and much more, including her thoughts on how GA's Sec. of State Brian Kemp, also a Republican, has responded so far to both Marks' complaint, and an earlier request, prior to the GA-06 primary, from dozens of the world's top computer security and electronic voting systems experts.

Yes, elections still matter. But, as computer security expert Bruce Schneier told The Intercept yesterday: "To the extent the elections are vulnerable to hacking, we risk the legitimacy of the voting process, even if there is no actual hacking at the time. It's not just that it has to be fair, it has to be demonstrably fair, so that the loser says, 'Yep, I lost fair and square.' If you can't do that, you're screwed."

We're screwed.

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Guest: Princeton political historian Prof. Julian Zelizer...
By Brad Friedman on 6/1/2017 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Making history and breaking history. From historic worldwide climate pacts to nuclear arms treaties, from Trump and Russia to Nixon and the Soviet Union and back again. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First, in an historic Rose Garden speech on Thursday, President Donald Trump --- against the advice of world leaders, major American companies, and even many in his own Administration --- announced his intention of pulling the U.S. out of the historic Paris Climate Agreement. The landmark 2015 pact is signed by nearly 200 nations and was crafted as part of a 20-year U.N. effort to decrease greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, in hopes of avoiding the worst effects of man-made climate change.

Trump's announcement has largely been met with worldwide derision from China to India to Russia to the EU and back here at home. And his announced intention of "renegotiating" a different deal was quickly nixed today by France, Germany and Italy. We offer extended experts from Trump's remarks announcing his intention to withdraw, some much-needed fact-checking, and a look at where the tortured decision --- which will take four years and another Presidential election --- leaves the U.S.

But, as that unfortunate history was being made today, we also take a look back at historic parallels for the recently reported, and seemingly bizarre, attempt by Trump's son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner to create a secret back-channel line of communications with Russia during last year's Presidential transition.

Princeton University political history professor and author Julian E. Zelizer, joins us to describe two different similar back-channels created with two different countries (including one to Russia --- actually, then, the Soviet Union) by Richard Nixon, both during his campaign and his transition.

One such line of secret diplomacy, Zelizer explains, turned out to be hugely successful for both the U.S. and USSR alike. The other...well, it didn't turn out so well, even as we've only learned details about both in recent years. Zelizer also describes the recent history of diplomatic back-channel diplomacy by Presidents other than Nixon and Trump, offers a few other uncomfortable parallels for the current President, and explains why Kushner's purported scheme to use Russian facilities to speak with the Kremlin is so bizarre, even, apparently, to the Russians themselves.

"Part of the idea that both Richard Nixon believed in, and his top National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, was that there needed to be a new approach to handling U.S. relations with the Soviet Union," Zelizer tells me. "The key to doing this was simply opening up the lines of dialogue. [Kissinger] sets up a back-channel, as it was called, to the Soviet ambassador, which is top secret. He believed this had to be done around the existing government bureaucracy. They were worried about leaks, they were worried about political push-back."

"Nixon was totally paranoid and frightened about the existing bureaucracy in the State Department, and to some extent in the Defense Department, and was really determined to try to do things --- which would ultimately lead to his downfall --- on his own. And to have these kinds of communications without the official government knowing what he was doing, and subverting him."

Sound familiar? In that case, as Zelizer writes at CNN, it was actually a huge success that eventually resulted in the SALT I Agreement to limit nuclear weapons in both nations. The other Nixon back-channel was far more nefarious, dealing with his campaign's attempt to scuttle peace talks by Lyndon Johnson in Vietnam before his election.

In both Nixon cases, it took years before we even learned about any of it. In the more recent case of Kushner and Russia, Zelizer notes, "There's a lot of uncertainty, both about context and the substance of this effort, which is why it is something that's raised a lot of suspicion and is the focus of an investigation. It's not the back-channel, it's what this back-channel was meant to do and why it was being put into place --- if it's true."

Finally, Desi Doyen re-joins us for special, breaking Green News Report coverage of, well...see if you can guess...

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Also: Trump travel ban blocked by full Appeals Court; UK furious at Admin over intel leaks; Trump praises Philippines extrajudicial murders; More...
By Brad Friedman on 5/25/2017 5:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast, one of the most amazing candidate meltdowns ever seen (or, in this case, heard) and how the Speaker of the House hopes to look the other way in the event that he wins anyway. But that's just the tip of today's news iceberg(s). [Audio link to show posted below.]

In one of the most remarkable Election Eve unravelings ever by a U.S. candidate for...pretty much anything, Republican U.S. House candidate Greg Gianforte melted down on the eve of what should have been an easy victory in his statewide Special Election for Montana's only U.S. House seat against Democratic candidate Rob Quist. Instead, in an incident caught on stunning audio tape and witnessed by Fox "News" reporters, Gianforte "body slammed" a Guardian reporter, has been charged with assault, and saw his newspaper endorsements rescinded on the night before voters went to the polls on Thursday.

But many voters already cast their vote by absentee ballot by time of the Wednesday incident, and House Speaker Paul Ryan suggests he'll accept whatever results are reported from the election. That, as I explain today, conveniently ignores Congress's Article 1, Section 5 Constitutional right (and duty) to determine who is actually seated in the House of Representatives. It's a right they have exercised on a number of other controversial elections in the past, so surely Ryan is familiar with that. But, of course, we'll soon see (hopefully) who voters in Montana have decided they want for their only Representative in the U.S. House.

At the same time, it was another enormous news day in which Donald Trump's second attempted travel ban Executive Order was blocked, yet again, this time by the full U.S. 4th Circuit of Appeals. His Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced he will appeal the case to the GOP's stolen U.S. Supreme Court.

Also today, yet another embarrassment for the Trump Administration, which was publicly taken to task by British Prime Minister Theresa May for leaking British intelligence to media regarding the UK's Manchester Bombing investigation. The leaks not only invoked the wrath of (and temporarily stopped intelligence sharing from) the United States' closest ally, but it was hardly the only highly sensitive information recently and inappropriately disclosed to friend and foe alike by Trump and/or his Administration in recent days.

And, in a (related) news item we didn't get to yesterday, after disclosing the whereabouts of two U.S. nuclear submarines, it appears Trump actually praised Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte during a recent phone call for the "unbelievable...great job" he has done on that nation's drug epidemic --- in which thousands of people have been murdered in a brutal extrajudicial campaign carried out by Duterte's police force.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us with a jam-packed Green News Report, before still more news breaks at the buzzer, reportedly finding Trump's top adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner 'under FBI scrutiny' in the Bureau's ongoing Trump/Russia probe...

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Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: Two important election-related SCOTUS decisions and this week's U.S. House Special Election in MT...
By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2017 6:35pm PT  

The new Twin Peaks (which is excellent, by the way!) may be less surreal than the latest goings on inside our current White House. On today's BradCast, the latest news on the ever unfolding investigations into Team Trump and on his overseas trip (stories Trump already managed to conflate today), along with big election-related news from the U.S. Supreme Court and a quick preview of this week's upcoming U.S. House special election in the state of Montana. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Today, before we get to the latest in the David Lynchian tales of President Trump, two new and important election-related rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court. One, being described by UC Irvine Election professor Rick Hasen as a very "big deal" and "a major victory for voting rights plaintiffs" deals with racial and partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina, with ramifications for a number of other similar Republican gerrymanders in several states. The other is a victory for campaign finance restrictions. Both cases feature surprising alliances between Republican and Democratic-appointed Justices following last month's confirmation of Neal Gorsich to fill the vacant seat stolen by Republicans after the death of Justice Anton Scalia.

And, speaking of elections, we also preview the U.S. House Special Election set to take place in Montana this Thursday, as populist first-time candidate and popular folk singer Rob Quist barnstormed the state over the weekend with Bernie Sanders. Republican establishment candidate Greg Gianforte is said to have a small lead in pre-election polls, despite being recently caught on tape supporting the GOP health care bill while seeking money from wealthy lobbyists, even while telling voters on the stump he hadn't made up his mind about it yet. In addition to providing a bellwether for the 2018 elections, it may also serve to shake up the current, very serious divide within the Democratic Party itself, depending on how the results shake out this week. That divide has been somewhat obscured by the madness of the Trump White House, but the bitter split between Bernie and Hillary partisans is still very much creating a rift among progressives and Democrats.

Then, we're joined by the great Heather Digby Parton of Salon.com and the Hullabaloo blog to try and make sense of ALL of the latest in the increasingly surreal Trump Administration investigations, and the ongoing troubles Trump ("the clear and present danger"), his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn ("something wrong with him"), his Vice President Mike Pence ("Involved up to his eyeballs"), and many others. In addition to all of that and whether or not it may be heading towards impeachment, Parton also shares thoughts on Trump's overlooked recently reported threat to lock up journalists (reminding us that AG Jeff Sessions is "by far the most dangerous, malevolent person in the Administration") and offers insight on a number of late-breaking stories related to all of the above, including: Flynn, reportedly, now taking the 5th to avoid self-incrimination in response to Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenas; Trump digging himself deeper in Tel Aviv during his 9-day jaunt overseas; and now he may have even have lost a few of his own supporters following his speech on Islam in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

If you watched the new Twin Peaks over the weekend, as I did (the first two hours all year that I haven't thought about Trump, frankly!), what's going on in this Administration is even more difficult to make sense of right now, believe it or not. So, enjoy!...

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Guest: Former Asst. DA Ames Grawert of Brennan Center...
By Brad Friedman on 5/19/2017 6:38pm PT  

So who is the "nut job" here? On today's BradCast, Trump appears to have dug himself even deeper into the Obstruction of Justice mire and, speaking of "justice", Attorney General Jeff Sessions rolls back bi-partisan gains on criminal justice reform made during the Obama Era. [Audio link for show follows below.]

A new report today from the New York Times alleges that, during his Oval Office meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador last week, the day after he'd fired James Comey, President Trump described the former FBI Director as "crazy" and a "real nut job". He reportedly explained that he'd been under "great pressure because of Russia," but that pressure had been lifted due to his firing. If accurate, the new report, said to have been based on documentation of the meeting from the White House itself, could serve as more evidence of Obstruction of Justice by the President, who has now departed for a nine day overseas trip.

Foreign diplomats are reportedly making special preparations to deal with Trump in the Middle East and Europe, including plans to compliment him on his Electoral College win, and by keeping presentations short enough for his, um, limited attention span.

But lost among the sturm und drang over the Comey firing and related dramas over the past week or more is the fact that Trump's executive agencies, such as the EPA, the Department of Interior and Department of Justice, are all moving ahead with some pretty troubling policies. Among them, Attorney General Jeff Sessions' harsh new guidelines requiring federal prosecutors to charge defendants with the "most serious" crimes possible in order to, among other things, force judges to impose mandatory minimum sentencing. This comes even while the U.S. has less than 5% of the world's population, but nearly one quarter of its prisoners.

The new Trump Administration policies, rolling back progressive Obama Era reforms, are being enacted despite decades of plummeting crime rates and broad bi-partisan efforts for criminal justice reform, both at the state and federal levels, according to my guest today, former New York Asst. District Attorney Ames Grawert, now counsel at the Justice Program for NYU's Brennan Center.

Grawert, co-author of the new report, A Federal Agenda to Reduce Mass Incarceration, speaks to the Trump/Sessions claims that crime is rampant and ravaging the nation, despite all evidence to the contrary. "Fear sells," he tells me. "He [Trump] and Sessions need something to convince people that there's a need to embrace these draconian blast-from-the-past policies on mandatory minimums."

About those policies, Grawert laments, "Whether you come to it as a conservative from a moral angle, a religious angle, or simply a budgetary common sense angle, there's a lot of Republicans who are willing to say that criminal justice reform is an imperative for the country. It's shocking that Sessions [when he served as U.S. Senator, blocking a bi-partisan reform bill] was not one of them."

Obama's Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates (yes, that Sally Yates), had issued a memorandum last year instructing federal prisons to end contracts with private prison corporations for a number of reasons supported by both Republicans and Democrats. "Sessions rescinded that very early in his tenure," Grawert notes, "with an ominous declaration that it was needed to meet the quote 'future needs of the federal correctional system.'"

"The problem is that when you have mandatory minimums like these, and when you have an order like the one Sessions just put out last week preventing prosecutors from deciding how they are going to charge a case, it takes a lot of the discretion out of the hands of prosecutors. So, rather than making sure that they, who know the case best of all, are able to help the judge fit the punishment to the crime, you have prosecutors with their hands tied, required to seek a draconian sentence that they, themselves, and that judges also may not feel is actually called for."

"The one thing we learned from the last thirty years or so, is that the federal government's power of the purse, and the tone set in Washington, they carry a lot of weight at the state level," he tells me. "So if you have an attorney general saying, look, we need to send more people to jail for longer, you shouldn't think for a minute that people in states, people running for D.A., people running for governor's house, won't listen to that and take their cues from that."

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