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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Wisconsin's Decade-Long Un-Democracy Finally Undone. (Almost.): 'BradCast' 2/20/24
Guest: WI's John Nichols of 'The Nation'; Also: 2020 Team Trump attorneys lose again at SCOTUS; And a word on the 'victims' of Trump's decades-long NY real estate fraud...
'Green News Report' 2/20/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record ocean heat decimating FL's coral reefs; Plastics industry's 50-year recycling scam; PLUS: Nearly half of world's migratory species in decline, U.N. study finds...
Previous GNRs: 2/15/24 - 2/13/24 - Archives...
After Navalny:
'BradCast' 2/19/24
Also: Massive election fraud alleged in Pakistan; Final death blow for GOP fraudsters' phony election fraud film, '2000 Mules'...
Sunday 'Partying With Putin' Toons
Can someone let Tucker know that Vlad got another one? It's our latest collection of the week's best toons...
In Memoriam: Alexei Navalny (1976-2024)
So, remind me again how wonderful Vladimir Putin is...
Guns Again, Trump as Ever, Media Failure and the Way Forward: 'BradCast' 2/15/24
Also: Special Counsel probing Hunter Biden indicts informant who lied about 'bribes' to the Bidens from a Ukrainian energy company...
'Green News Report' 2/15/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Mysterious oil spill in Trinidad and Tobago; Big changes as Greenland gets greener; Wildfires reversing hard-won gains against air pollution; PLUS: Climate change comes for chocolate...
Previous GNRs: 2/13/24 - 2/8/24 - Archives...
New Chesebro Docs Detail Trump's Failed 2020 'Legal Coup': 'BradCast' 2/14/24
Guest: TPM's Josh Kovensky; Also: Another huge night for Dems in NY, PA; WI gets closer to fair maps; MI 'fake elector' says GOP lied...
Stewart Return to 'Daily Show' Not a Moment Too Soon!: 'BradCast' 2/13/24
Also: GOP takes mulligan on Mayorkas impeachment; Sen. passes Ukraine bill; Media's epic fail on Hur's obnoxious vindication of Biden in classified docs probe...
'Green News Report' 2/13/24
Culture shift from fossil fuels in Super Bowl EV ads; Big Oil/Gas spending big on Trump; PLUS: Climate scientist wins $1 million defamation suit against rightwing deniers...
Russia, If You're Listening, Trump Says 'Do Whatever the Hell You Want' to NATO Allies: 'BradCast' 2/12/24
Also: Last week's GOP Caucuses in NV, V.I.; Special Election in NY-3; Callers ring in...
Super Sunday 'Borderline Insanity' Toons
Just a few too many tokes over the line in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
Biden Should Federalize TX National Guard Amid State's Defiance of SCOTUS Order
POTUS must address, expose 'moral crisis' of GOP hypocrisy, cruelty, dehumanizing anti-immigrant propaganda...
'Green News Report' 2/8/24
EPA cracks down on deadly soot pollution; January was hottest ever recorded on Planet Earth; PLUS: Hurricanes are getting so intense, scientists propose a 'Category 6'...
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...


GOP-majority House adjourns after failing to elect Speaker; Also: AZ's A.G. recount ends, Dems take statewide office in previously 'red' state...
By Brad Friedman on 1/3/2023 5:46pm PT  

Well, we're back on today's BradCast --- like it or not --- after our holiday break, with a head cold (but not COVID) and a doozy of a day in Washington D.C.! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

For the first time in 100 years, the party in charge of the U.S. House --- which would theoretically now be the Republicans --- adjourned on the first day of the new, 118th Congress without electing a House Speaker.

After three ballots in which he failed to win the 218 votes needed, Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California actually lost one of his votes on the third ballot to Republican Jim Jordan. The Ohio right-winger received 20 votes in the third round of voting, even after he had actually been the one to nominate McCarthy on the second round. And even after McCarthy had desperately attempted to broker deals for votes up until this afternoon.

On all three ballots, Democrats remained unified behind their new leader, Hakeem Jeffries of New York. He received 212 votes to McCarthy's 203 in the first and second round. McCarthy won only 202 on the last ballot before Republicans decided to adjourn for the day and regroup before trying again tomorrow. While Jeffries won more votes than anyone else on all three ballots, a majority of members present and voting is required to win the Speakership. That number today --- and presumably tomorrow --- is 218.

Without a Speaker, no business in the House can proceed. Given the silly business planned by the GOP majority in the House, that's no great loss. Back in December of 1855 it took until February of 1856 for a speaker to be chosen. But since the Civil War, there has only been one time until today --- way back in 1923 --- that the majority party was unable to elect a Speaker without multiple ballots. It remains to be seen how long it will now take Republicans to select a Speaker this time, as at least 20 GOP "rebels", led by Florida's Rep. Matt Gaetz, appear to be "Never Kevins" for the time being, with no particular Plan B in sight.

House Dems, of course, are eating it all up, as they should. We'll see how it goes tomorrow.

Also today, we catch up with a few items we missed while away over the holidays. Specifically, some of the remaining statewide contests in Arizona, one of which was still somewhat up-in-the-air before we left in the formerly "red" state.

Over the holidays, the GOP's gubernatorial candidate and Donald Trump "Mini-me", Kari Lake, saw her election challenge dismissed by a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge after she was certified to have lost by some 12,000 votes out of more than 2.5 million cast. Her victorious opponent, Democrat Katie Hobbs, was sworn in as the state's new Governor on New Years Day after receiving a generous hand-written note of welcome from her not-insane Republican predecessor, Gov. Doug Ducey.

But the incredibly tight Attorney General's race in the Grand Canyon State was still facing an automatic recount through the holidays after Democrat Kristin Mayes was certified as having defeated 2020 election denier Abe Hamadeh by just 511 votes.

At year's end, the state's mostly machine-recount wrapped up, with Mayes remaining victorious over the Republican by 280 votes. That's actually a fairly sizeable vote shift for a machine-recount, with most of the changes being attributed to "human error" in the original count in Republican-heavy Pinal County.

Hamadeh, like Lake, vows to continue to challenge the results. Nonetheless, Democrats in the state were sworn in to office for Governor, Sec. of State and Attorney General on January 1. Arizona's Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Kelly was sworn in for his first full six-year term today in D.C. after also winning election in the state in November, as the fall-out and disarray from the Trump Era for Republicans continues from D.C. to Phoenix and beyond.

Happy New Year!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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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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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, Pandora, TuneIn, Google, Amazon or our native RSS feed!

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Also: AZ's former Dem Sinema pretends partisanship is the problem...
By Brad Friedman on 12/12/2022 6:05pm PT  

All election lawsuits are not created equal. Even in the same state, in the same elections, by members of the same political party, as detailed on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Late on Friday, a bunch of Republican candidates who were certified last week by the state of Arizona to have lost their 2022 midterms races filed election contests in various courts of law in the state. For now, at least, it's a step up from violence, death threats and insurrections. So, there's that.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, Sec. of State hopeful Mark Finchem (along with failed U.S. House candidate Jeffrey Zink), and Attorney General nominee Abe Hamadeh, all filed suits last week asking the courts to simply name them the winner of the elections they were certified to have lost. In lieu of that, they'll each take a new election instead. (Which almost never happens.)

Of those lawsuits, only one, Hamadeh's, doesn't allege "fraud, manipulation or other intentional wrongdoing" by Democrats or election officials. And, its the only one which stands any sort of legitimate chance of not being laughed out of court. Hamadeh lost his race to AZ's Democratic A.G. candidate Kristin Mayes by a mere 511 votes out of more than 2.5 million votes cast. An automatic state recount will now begin in that race, as it should. In the meantime, the losing candidate has at least filed a generally plausible case for contesting results.

That is by contrast with and decidedly not the case in the spurious election contests filed by losers Lake, Finchem and Zink, as we explain in great detail on today's program. Yes, there were problems with the print-on-demand ballot printing and scanning (the cause of which is still being investigated) at a number of polling locations in Maricopa County (Phoenix) on Election Day last month. But, no, there is zero evidence of "mass disenfranchisement" or that Republicans were targeted by the voting system problems in any way, as Lake and the others are dishonestly trying to argue.

Moreover, it's somewhat amusing --- not to mention unspeakably ironic --- to hear Republicans now complaining about "long lines" at the polls, voters being wrongly turned away (they weren't) and other such concerns they haven't given a damn about for years when they have helped to disenfranchise Democratic voters. In this case, however, there is no evidence that Republicans were targeted by the Republican election officials who run the elections in Maricopa County or anywhere else.

Tune in for full details on all the madness.

Also on Friday, Arizona's U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema declared she is no longer a Democrat (was she ever?), but that she'll continue to caucus with them in the Senate majority, even though she has now registered as an independent...for reasons that only she seems to sort of understand. Her self-serving move is unlikely to change the new 51-49 majority in the U.S. Senate for those that caucus with the Democrats. But it could change the electoral outlook in 2024 when the wildly unpopular Sinema, if she runs again, will be up for reelection and will not have to face a Democratic primary challenger.

Finally today, a few callers ring in, including one is absolutely certain that --- despite my spending a half hour or so today defending one of the aforementioned GOP lawsuits in Arizona --- I must absolutely be a wildly partisan Democrat...or something...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: FairVote's David Daley on 'bonkers' Independent State Legislature theory's 'seismic consequences' as weighed by our corrupt High Court...
By Brad Friedman on 12/7/2022 6:19pm PT  

Democracy had a good night in Georgia on Tuesday night, before facing a brand-new nightmare by Wednesday morning at the far-right U.S. Supreme Court. We cover both on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

The final votes of the 2022 midterms have at last been cast --- though some counting and recounting remains --- and Georgia's Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock has been re-elected to his first full 6-year term in the U.S. Senate. His apparent defeat of Herschel Walker, loser Donald Trump's personally selected candidate in Tuesday's runoff election in the Peach State, caps a string of contests that the GOP arguably could have or should have won across the country in a midterm year like this one. But they chose to go with the far-right, loony-tunes candidates preferred by the disgraced former President instead.

After picking up a Senate seat this year, Democrats are set to hold an outright 51 to 49 majority in the upper chamber beginning in January, even as they narrowly lost their majority in the U.S. House. We discuss what all of that is likely to mean and review several remarkable historic milestones for Democrats in this year's anything-but-red-wave midterms.

After a late night of celebration, it was an early morning of worry, as the U.S. Supreme Court heard Moore v. Harper. We have long warned of the dangers of this case for American elections as we know them. The dispute comes from a challenge filed by North Carolina Republicans after the state's Supreme Court nixed partisan U.S. House maps gerrymandered by the state's GOP legislature. The state court ordered new, fair maps to be drawn instead for 2022, when Republicans and Democrats would evenly split the state's 14 House Districts, winning seven seats each in the closely divided state.

But state Republicans sued, arguing a novel, never-before-approved-by-SCOTUS legal theory they've recently discovered in the U.S. Constitution's Elections Clause called the "Independent State Legislature" theory. They argue that the Constitution mandates that state laws regarding federal elections may be created only by state Legislatures and that no judicial review by state courts is allowable.

That means, as argued in Moore, that partisan-gerrymandered Legislatures may create election laws that cannot be vetoed by Governors or overruled by state courts or constitutions. The theory holds that even voter-approved ballot initiatives could suddenly be found unlawful and those same state legislative bodies could also select whoever they wish to be Presidential Electors no matter who state voters actually selected. It is just that insane. But it's actually in front of a corrupted, stolen and packed right-wing SCOTUS on which a radical majority may offer its blessing.

"The blast radius from their theory would sow elections chaos," warned former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, one of the three attorneys who argued on behalf of respondents to NC's Republican petitioners, "forcing a confusing two track system with one set of rules for federal elections and another for state ones" with "case after case" being brought before SCOTUS challenging long-established election laws in all 50 states as adopted over the past 233 years.

Gerrymandering expert and author DAVID DALEY of FairVote was in the Courtroom to witness the proceedings at SCOTUS Wednesday morning and joined us this afternoon from the U.S. Capitol to help unpack it all.

"The consequences for this case are seismic," Daley warns. "This is yet another case that could shake the very foundation of our democracy if the court were to find that state legislatures face no constraints, either from a Governor's veto or from a state constitution, or the state Supreme Court, in how they create election law, how they certify elections, how they draw redistricting maps. It would give these state Legislatures complete, unfettered power to effectively do as they will. And that is a terrifying prospect."

We discuss what he describes as the "bonkers" ISL theory and whether, as AP argued today in its coverage, Daley agrees that there were "at least six Supreme Court justices" who "sound skeptical of making a broad ruling that would leave state legislatures virtually unchecked when making rules for elections for Congress and the presidency."

Says Daley, based on what he witnessed at the High Court this morning: "I would say that there were three Justices who were opposed --- the three liberals, Jackson, Sotomayor and Kagan. There were three who seemed very much on board in Thomas, Gorsuch and Alito. And there were three that I would define not as 'skeptical' but as 'Independent State Legislature-curious'. And I don't think they were looking for a way to knock a bonkers theory down."

Tune in for much more on today's program...

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Guest: NatSec journalist Marcy Wheeler; Also: Out of work loser, Dr. Oz; Hilarious sentence for GOP vote suppression scammers; Breaking: 11th Circuit nixes Special Master in Trump stolen documents case...
By Brad Friedman on 12/1/2022 5:49pm PT  

We've been telling you since Thanksgiving on The BradCast that Accountability Season is finally beginning to get underway as Election Season almost wraps up. Today's show is pretty much nothin' but accountability. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summer.]

Earlier this week, in the first of several conspiracy trials scheduled for far-right, white nationalist militia groups, the Dept. of Justice notched guilty verdicts for Seditious Conspiracy charges in relation to the Trump-incited January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Oath Keepers founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes III (a one-time guest on this program!) and its Florida chapter head, Kelley Meggs, were both found guilty by a jury on Tuesday. They and three co-defendants were also convicted of Obstructing an Official Government Proceeding and other charges related to the effort to block the peaceful transfer of Presidential power in a failed attempt to help Trump steal the 2020 Presidential election.

Each of the five defendants found guilty on several charges each this week are facing maximum sentences of anywhere from 40 to 86 years in prison for their crimes. So, what does this mean going forward for the other upcoming sedition trials and for those yet to be charged for the same felony crimes, such as Roger Stone, Alex Jones and...yup...Trump himself?

We're joined today by national security journalist MARCY WHEELER of Emptywheel to discuss all of that and much more! Among the related topics discussed...

  • Why the convictions this week were important, and how the several trials of Oath Keepers and Proud Boys are being approached by DoJ as "interlocking conspiracies". In turn, they may result in similar indictments eventually against Trump insiders like Stone and Jones for seditious conspiracy and/or conspiracy to obstruct the government's peaceful transfer of power.
  • Whether Trump will eventually face same charges and how much it matters whether he is indicted for Sedition versus Obstruction, both of which carry the same 20-year max sentences attached to them.
  • Whether Merrick Garland's recent appointment of Jack Smith as Special Counsel overseeing both the federal January 6 probe and their criminal investigation of the classified and other documents stolen by Trump and obtained by the FBI at Mar-a-Lago is a good or bad idea. On that, she points out that Smith's mandate may eventually require a decision on whether to bring charges against Republican member of Congress like Reps. Scott Perry (PA) and Jim Jordan (OH). As she reported at Emptywheel recently, with a razor thin majority for the GOP in the House next year, such decisions could end up flipping control of the House from Republican to Democratic. Therefore, it may prove critical to have someone overseeing these investigations who is not a political appointee of President Biden.
  • In the event that Trump is charged for any of these crimes, will it even be possible to find a jury that doesn't include a MAGA Republican willing to block any and all charges against the former President? On that, she notes, she is less concerned about such jurists than about Trump's skills as "a mob boss".

"Let me put it this way," Wheeler tells me on that point, "I'm far more worried about obstruction than I am about a jury. He's a mob boss. I think virtually all people really, really underestimate the degree to which he obstructed [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller in 2020 after Bill Barr came in. Barr got away with so much that people just can't conceive how effectively he killed the Mueller investigation and any other investigation that tied to him. So, he's not President, but he's still a mob boss." And that, she says, worries her more "than that a jury won't do their sworn duty."

And, in more Accountability Season news on today's program...

  • Trump-backed U.S. Senate loser and former celebrity TV Doctor Mehmet Oz is apparently not welcome back on TV and can't find a job. Sad!
  • Two longtime GOP operatives/yutzes, Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl, who sent out tends of thousands of robocalls to black voters in five states before the 2020 election, trying to hoax them about phony dangers of voting by mail (and turning over their information to "The Man" in the process), were sentenced in Ohio this week. Their sentence, somewhat hilariously, includes 500 hours of voter registration work in low-income D.C. neighborhoods.
  • And BREAKING just as were finishing up today: In a stinging loss for Trump, a three-judge panel (including two judges he appointed) on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, nixed the Special Master named by Judge Aileen Cannon (also a Trump appointee) to review the stolen government documents retrieved by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago. The court ruled Cannon had no jurisdiction to make any such appointment which served only to help the Mob Boss slow down the DoJ's investigation of Trump's theft of records, and apparent violations of the Espionage Act, the Presidential Records Act, and obstructions of justice...

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Guest: GA election integrity expert, observer Jeanne Dufort; Also: Dems unite behind new House leadership; Bills passed to help avert rail strike; Meadows ordered to testify in GA...
By Brad Friedman on 11/30/2022 6:24pm PT  

As early voting records are smashed and lines are obscenely long once again in advance of Tuesday's U.S. Senate Runoff Election Day, today's BradCast offers a maddening reminder of why we've been covering Georgia elections, in such detail, for so many years. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Thanks to state Republicans who cut the time for runoff elections by more than half after the 2020 elections, voters across the GA are now forced to wait in hours-long lines to vote early this week in the contest between incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Trump-backed former football player and unapologetic liar Herschel Walker. While early voting records are being broken, as we detailed yesterday, much of that is thanks to the GOP's SB202 voter suppression bill [PDF], adopted last year by the state legislature, supported by its Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger and signed by its Republican Governor Brian Kemp.

Where Peach State voters had as many as 17 early voting days in the November 8 elections, they now have no more than 7. And with the compressed time between the general and the runoff, few are able to request, receive and return absentee mail ballots in time. Instead, voters are now being forced to stand in line to vote at polling places on the state's 100% unverifiable touchscreen computer voting systems.

We're joined today to discuss that and much more by longtime election integrity champion JEANNE DUFORT of the Coalition for Good Governance. Dufort has served as Georgia election observer for many years, representing both the Democratic and Libertarian Parties at various times in the Peach State's rural, Republican-leaning Morgan County. She is also a named plaintiff (Full Disclosure: Along with me!) in the Coalition's lawsuit challenging several of the many disturbing provisions of SB202.

Dufort offers insight today from on the ground on how things went for voters on November 8, with most of SB202's voting restrictions in place; why it's now so difficult to vote there once again in the runoff; and why voters should be concerned about the ability to know if results reported next week by Raffensperger's insecure and unverifiable touchscreen systems --- forced on voters at every polling place, instead of verifiable hand-marked paper ballots! --- will actually reflect the intent of state voters.

"You can break all the daily [early voting] records that you want and still not have enough capacity for everybody who wants to vote," she explains. "All of the bottlenecks are at check-in. They haven't been able to figure out how to get enough check-in stations to get 17 days-worth of early voting, plus people who would prefer to vote by mail but don't think they can" into the short early voting period now allotted by SB202. "Compressing all that into these seven days is ten pounds in a five pound sack."

In addition to check-in bottlenecks, the computerized voting systems don't make any of it easier or faster, particularly in an election with one single race on most ballots across the state. "It would be faster if they handed them a ballot and just marked it. That would be faster than putting the card into the machine, bringing it up, tabbing through the things, do the check and waiting for the printer. It's just stupid. When you think about marking a ballot by a pen and then watch the process on a machine, it seems amazing that somebody would spend $3,000 on a machine to do what a $1 pen would do. But here we are."

As usual, there is much much more to discuss with Dufort about all of this today!

Also on today's program...

  • "Dems in array!" In a rare display of unity on the left, House Democrats voted unanimously on Wednesday for their new leadership beginning in January. New York's Rep. Hakeem Jeffries will be the first black American to head up a major political party in Congress, taking the reigns following Nancy Pelosi's historic tenure as she and the rest of the party's longtime leadership team step aside to allow a new, younger generation to take over. All of that by way of contrast with the chaos on the GOP side and whether Rep. Kevin McCarthy will be able to muster enough votes from his own caucus to become the new Republican House Speaker next year.
  • With Pelosi still serving as Speaker in the lame duck session of Congress, the House passed two bills today to try and help avert a rail strike that would cripple the nation's economy. With 4 of 12 rail unions opposing a new contract negotiated with the help of the White House in September --- granting a 24% pay raise to workers, but failing to allow for paid sick days --- a bipartisan bill would force the agreement to be adopted. A second bill passed by all Democrats and only three Republicans in the House on Wednesday would mandate seven paid sick days per year. Whether either measure can now be passed in the Senate, where approval by 10 Republicans would be needed to overcome a filibuster, remains to be seen.
  • And, in a unanimous three-paragraph ruling late Tuesday, the South Carolina Supreme Court ordered Trump's last Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, to testify before the Special Grand Jury in Atlanta convened by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to probe the Trump-lead conspiracy to strong-arm GA election officials into changing the 2020 results in his favor. Meadows argued he didn't have to testify due to executive privilege. SC's Supreme Court tersely responded in their order: "We have reviewed the arguments raised by [Meadows] and find them to be manifestly without merit." Ouch...

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Oath Keepers chief 'guilty'; GOP money launderer 'guilty'; AZ's Dem SoS/Guv-elect fights to keep Repubs from disenfranchising themselves...
By Brad Friedman on 11/29/2022 6:36pm PT  

It's another crazy day in MAGA Land on today's BradCast, as Accountability Season gets a very good start even before the 2022's Election Season fully wraps up. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among our stories today from Accountability Season...

  • BREAKING at the top of today's program: Stewart Rhodes, founder of the far-right Oath Keepers clan (and former BradCast guest!) is found guilty of seditious conspiracy for his involvement in the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Fellow Oath Keeper Kelly Meggs was found guilty as well. Both now face as much as 20 years in prison on the sedition charges alone. They, and others, were also charged with Obstruction of an Official Proceeding and more. Perhaps our former President who inspired them should begin to be concerned.
  • Speaking of the former guy... Earlier this month, Kremlin-linked Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, known as "Putin's Chef", boasted on social media that "we have interfered, are interfering and will interfere" with U.S. elections. "Carefully, precisely, surgically and in our own way, as we know how to do." A week or two later, longtime GOP operative Jesse Benton --- who worked for Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump, among others --- was found guilty on six counts related to money laundering some $100,000 for another Russian businessman before the 2016 election. He was charged with helping to funnel money to both the Trump campaign and RNC that year. As it happens, both Benton and seditious conspirator Rhodes both got their start in politics working as aides for Rep. Ron Paul. Benton is now married to Paul's granddaughter. He was charged last year (along with yet another BradCast guest --- who died shortly after being charged) just months after Trump had pardoned Benton for separate charges against him regarding campaign finance violations and bribery during the 2012 election. We 'splain the full sordid story and Russian collusion along with wistful memories of Tibetan monks and nuns and Al Gore from back in the day when Republicans used to pretend to care about unlawful campaign donations from foreign sources.

And from Election Season...

  • Welp, the days are getting crazier and crazier in Arizona. On Monday, the deadline for counties there to certify election results before the state certifies all results next Monday, the Board of Supervisors in Cochise County voted against doing so. They claim they will reconsider the matter on Friday. That, despite any evidence of fraud or voting system failure in the Republican-leaning county. Katie Hobbs, the state's Democratic Sec. of State and apparent Governor-elect, quickly went to court yesterday in an attempt to force Cochise to certify their result as, she argues, they are required by law. If they don't, all of the county's voters may be disenfranchised and the results of at least one U.S. House race would flip from Republican to Democratic, along with the statewide contest for Superintendent of Public Instruction. Moreover, any remaining chance for Abe Hamadeh, the GOP candidate running for Attorney General, to overcome his current 510-vote deficit against Democrat Kris Mayes, would almost certainly be gone. As the Arizona Republic's EJ Montini snarks today, if Hobbs was gaming the system to somehow help state Dems this year, as MAGA Republicans baselessly claim, "she really, really stinks at cheating"!
  • Meanwhile, Georgia voters are proving to be really, really good at early voting. They shattered all-time records for doing so on Sunday and again on Monday of this week, outpacing both Presidential and other general elections alike in the state's current runoff election between Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Herschel Walker (R) for \ U.S. Senate. The big turnout could be a good sign for Democrats, though that's not certain. The long wait times it is causing for many voters around the Peach State, however, is a certain disgrace. (More on all of that, I hope, on tomorrow's show.)

And in other matters...

  • A bipartisan "Respect for Marriage" bill has been passed by the lame duck U.S. Senate to protect same-sex marriages following corrupt U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' recent opinion with the overturning of Roe v. Wade arguing that marriage equality should be one of the next rights stolen by the Court from the American people.

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Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Trump's running again; House, Senate GOP leadership chaos; MS moves to hand-marked paper ballots...
By Brad Friedman on 11/16/2022 5:40pm PT  

It may be a somewhat disconcerting deja vu on today's BradCast for longtime listeners. Apologies in advance. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Seven and a half years ago, on the day Donald Trump came down his golden escalator at Trump Tower to declare that Mexicans were rapists and he was running for President, our guest was HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo. Since then, she's joined us to try and make sense of virtually every landmark event during his disastrous candidacy, Presidency and post-Presidency.

Back in June of 2015, when posting that day's show at The BRAD BLOG, I headlined it "The GOP's New 'Frankenstein's Monster'". Most in the media considered Trump's candidacy a joke at the time. We felt otherwise. I believe history has proven us right on that one.

After multiple failed attempts at trying to steal the 2020 election, including inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in hopes of stealing it by force, and with multiple criminal investigations against him now underway at both the state and federal level, Trump announced (to the nation's chagrin) his third run for President on Tuesday night. He did so at a really long and boring super-spreader event at Mar-a-Lago, the scene of at least one of the many crimes for which he's being investigated. Parton joins us once again today to discuss whether we should be as worried this time about Trump's candidacy (she describes it at Salon today as "the America First Vengeance Tour 2024") and whether he or Ron DeSantis would be more difficult for Democrats to defeat in 2024.

We spend more time, however, discussing the three-ring circus, circular firing squad, or whatever metaphor you wish to use, for the Republican House and Senate leadership battles now under way following last week's midterm elections in which the GOP appears to have won the narrowest of majorities in the U.S. House --- but not much more than that anywhere else. Will the splintered, increasingly loony GOP caucus in the House even be able to get 218 votes for anybody as House Speaker come January? ("They have created an absolutely insane caucus filled with lunatics, and now they're having to pay the piper on this," says Parton. "This is what happens when you embolden people like Marjorie Taylor-Greene. She'll be operating as a shadow Speaker.")

Also today...A note of caution at the top of the show: Do not be fooled by Trump's deceptive call at his announcement speech on Tuesday night for "paper ballots" to help fight fraud in elections. He has no clue what he's talking about. Else he would have called for "hand-marked paper ballots," since all of the states he lost (but pretends to have won) already use paper ballots! He's also demanding new voter suppression measures. We explain all of the above today.

In related news, two counties in the state of Mississippi used hand-marked paper ballots in the 2022 midterms for the first time. After some 20 years of forcing voters to vote on 100% unverifiable touchscreen systems --- while we've been begging them to move to hand-counted paper ballots for all of those years --- the clerks of both counties report that voters and pollworkers loved the new system and it worked great! In fact, the clerks also found that it was both faster and more cost-efficient than their 20-year old unverifiable touchscreens. Who could have predicted it?

Following a new state law adopted in April, all counties in MS must upgrade their systems before the 2024 Presidential elections. As noted on today's show, I've long argued that it would likely take a high-profile Republican getting screwed by touchscreen voting systems before GOPers finally demanded a move to verifiable voting systems. I was close. What I should have said was that it would take a high-profile Republican pretending to be screwed by touchscreen voting systems before they'd finally demand such changes.

Finally, we close with some listener email. Enjoy!...

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Media lends GOP a hand; Tabulator failures in NJ and AZ, very different responses; Touchscreen vote disenfranchisement in TX; Much more...
By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2022 5:02pm PT  

On today's Midterm Elections Day 2022 BradCast: Unspooling the media's midterm mess and the high price of failed computerized voting and tabulation systems in several states.

Among the many stories covered today as voters across the nation headed to the polls...

  • What is the possible connection between today's otherwise much-needed downpours in both Northern and Southern California and potential partisan control of the U.S. House? We 'splain!
  • Major corporate media outlets have done another irresponsible job in their coverage of this year's midterms, particularly in their bizarre Doomsday-for-Dems coverage in recent weeks. While Tuesday's elections certainly could prove to be a "red" wave for Republicans --- after all, conventional wisdom (which we've been advising you to ignore all year) would certainly predict as much --- a fair reading of both pre-election polling and other available early voting data, suggests Dem strength could be greater than most outlets have been reporting. Some are even ignoring their own polling numbers to report a coming apocalypse for Dems. (Also: Compare and contrast NYT's front pages from day before the midterms in 2018, when Dems picked up 41 seats in the House, with the day before this week's midterms.) Of course, the polls are tight enough that a minor polling error in either direction could lead to either a "red" or "blue" wave, or simply a maddeningly close contest all around. But the problem is, the doom and gloom reporting can either become a self-fulfilling prophecy by depressing Dem turnout or, more dangerously, yet another misleading basis for Republicans to falsely declare "FRAUD!" in the event that Dems do better than expected on Tuesday night. Either scenario suggests another mainstream corporate media failure in 2022. We 'splain that too.
  • Donald Trump big footed Ohio's Republican U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance at his rally on Monday night by announcing that he's got a big announcement coming next week. Reportedly, Republican officials had to beg Trump to not declare his candidacy to run again for President before today's midterms. He wanted to do it last night. Of course, facing as many legal perils all at once as he now is, I'd want to try and change the subject as quickly as possible too. It won't work.
  • A tale of two voting system failures. In Mercer County, New Jersey today, hand-marked paper ballot optical scanners used across the county and made by Dominion failed to work. Luckily, they are one of only two counties in the state that offer voters hand-marked paper ballots. So, voters were instructed instead to place their ballots into the scanning system's locked box to be tabulated later at County headquarters. Voters did so. Voting continued. Life went on. Everything was fine. Meanwhile, at a bunch of polling sites in Maricopa County (Phoenix), Arizona, the scanners, also made by Dominion, were failing as well. Instead of following the same procedure to vote and place their ballot in the box to be scanned later, the wingnuts went crazy. Howls of "FRAUD!" followed, with demands to recall the County's Republican election officials and for paper ballots to be used from now on! (Someone please let GA's lunkhead Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene know that Maricopa already uses paper ballots.) Sigh. This in a county where Reuters reported over the weekend that elections officials faced more than 100 threats in the lead up to today's elections, including calls to "kill them all" and worse. (The reason eventually discovered for the scanner failures in Maricopa was pretty mundane).
  • Meanwhile, actual voter disenfranchisement took place for hours in Harris County (Houston), Texas, on Tuesday morning, thanks to the fact that, like much of the Lone Star state, they don't allow voters to use verifiable hand-mark paper ballots at the polls. Instead, after a poll worker quit before today's Election Day, touchscreen voting systems made by Hart Intercivic were not properly set up until four hours after polls opened in a heavily-Hispanic part of the heavily-Democratic County. An unknown number of voters were turned away, unable to vote. Marjorie Taylor Greene has yet to say a word about it.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as the U.N.'s big COP27 climate conference kicks of in Egypt; a new report finds major glaciers will soon disappear entirely; and a late-season hurricane spins up and takes aims at Florida's east coast...

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GOP seeks to toss thousands of legal ballots in PA, WI, MI; Still fighting for the right to vote in GA; Callers turn 'pundit' with their 2022 predictions...
By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2022 5:40pm PT  

We try (though don't always necessarily succeed) to lighten things up a bit on today's BradCast, on the final day before our critical midterm Election Day on Tuesday and the rare Blood Moon eclipse that heralds its arrival after midnight tonight. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

After a weekend full of "experts" and TV pundits telling us that Democrats are going to face a bloodbath in both the House and Senate on Tuesday --- they might, though the TV pundits have no actual idea one way or another --- we open the phones to second opinions from listeners.

First, however, some quick items of note...

  • In case you're wondering which candidates those might be, Washington Post offers a few hints today, as they round up some of the key lawsuits filed by Republicans hoping to disenfranchise voters in the critical battlegrounds states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The suits seek to toss out thousands of perfectly legitimate absentee ballots lawfully cast by legal voters.
  • A screw-up admitted by election officials in Cobb County (Atlanta), Georgia resulted in more than 1,000 absentee ballots failing to go out to voters who requested them. A consent decree via a last minute lawsuit may help make up for some of those votes, with the judge allowing those voters to receive ballots by overnight mail and count them as long as they're cast by Election Day and arrive by November 14, as overseas and military voters are already allowed. A similar problem, however, appears to have occurred for some voters in DeKalb County for reasons still unknown. Though its still unclear how many are affected, they may end up being disenfranchised in the critical swing state.
  • We cover a few other items of note today as we go, but as we're hoping to lighten things up for a change today and bring some "joy" before Election Day, we turn to callers to see if they agree with the overwhelming consensus of corporate media of late regarding which party will win majorities in the House and Senate on Tuesday. The professional media have been reporting all weekend long (and, really, for the last two or three weeks or so), that Dems will take a drubbing on Tuesday. They might, of course. But there does seem to be some mitigating evidence to that conclusion, including unusually robust early and absentee voting numbers in critical states. Numbers that outpace 2018, when Dems saw a "blue tsunami". Of course, who knows who those early voters are actually voting for. Callers ring in with their own thoughts in response to the pundits and who they think will end up capturing majorities in the two chambers of Congress on Tuesday. As with professional, highly paid corporate media pundits, there will be absolutely zero consequences for our "caller pundits" if they turn out to be wrong...

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Guest: Alan Minsky of Progressive Democrats of America; Also: Final federal jobs report before midterms beats expectations again...
By Brad Friedman on 11/4/2022 6:29pm PT  

After a few quick words about the "Goldilocks" final jobs report to be released by the federal government before Tuesday's critical midterms on today's BradCast, we get right to what might be regarded as a closing argument for progressives. Of course, we're unlikely to change the minds of many brain-poisoned MAGA rightwingers at this late date, but there may still be some on the left who are reachable and could use some encouragement. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Last week, The BRAD BLOG's legal contributor, Ernie Canning, who served as a Senior Advisor to Vets for Bernie during his 2016 campaign, published his latest article. It's titled "To Save American Democracy: A long time Bernie Sanders supporter on why we must vote 'blue' in '22". Please give it a read if you haven't.

Ernie updated his post the next day to note that former Green Party Presidential candidate Ralph Nader had also endorsed voting for Democrats this year on Democracy Now!, describing the GOP as a "dictatorship party" and "the most dangerous political movement since the Civil War."

As readers and listeners know, I too have broken from my nearly 20 years of remaining non-partisan when covering major elections, to specifically call on folks to vote this year for Democrats. As I have explained, that is not because I believe the Democratic Party is wonderful, but because I am really really concerned right now about the survival of American democracy itself. For reasons that I've detailed on both The BRAD BLOG and The BradCast for months (if not longer), the issue of its survival is quite literally on the line in the 2022 elections ahead of the 2024 Presidential election.

All of that, even as I've heard from too many folks on the so-called progressive left who still don't seem to fully appreciate what is at stake and believe that we still enjoy the luxury this year of voting for a third party or sitting out entirely. We don't.

Over the weekend, my guest today, ALAN MINSKY, a lifelong activist and Bernie Sanders supporter himself who now serves as the Executive Director of Progressive Democrats of America, published an article headlined "No Person of Conscience Can Sit Out this Midterm Election", wherein he makes the progressive case for voting for the Democratic Party this year. "Democracy and the very principle of a Society of Equals are on the ballot," the sub-title of his piece reads, adding, "and, yes, it's about the Economy too."

From the need to codify the rights and freedoms of Roe v. Wade, stolen by our corrupt Supreme Court, into federal law, to passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act and much more, Minsky makes the case that "The 2022 midterm election represents a unique and historic opportunity to protect our democracy and our right to equality before the law against an unrelenting offensive being waged by the reactionary right." That, amid a rising authoritarian movement here and around the world and "widespread Republican support for Trump's Big Lie and the embrace of Authoritarian despots like Hungary's Victor Orban by Republican elites."

Though we haven't spoken on air (or at all actually!) for a number of years, Alan is an old friend after his years of formerly serving as Program Director at Pacifica Radio's KPFK, our flagship station here in Los Angeles. Alan has always been passionately progressive and likely even farther to the left than me, so I took careful notice when I came across his new piece at the liberal Common Dreams website.

We discuss all of the above and the concerns we both share about those on the progressive left who have either been misled or simply have yet to grasp the historic nature of this moment and the need to push back against rising authoritarianism, even if it means voting for a decidedly imperfect Democratic Party right now.

"If American democracy is toppled, this whole era we've lived through, understanding that we are citizens of a democratic society, the notion of a society of equals will be in such peril," he tells me today. "The reactionary right, coming off of January 6, coming off of Donald Trump's refusal to accept the election, they are emboldened to take down American democracy in their efforts to create a permanent ruling party."

"Bernie Sanders himself is barnstorming around the country to lift up Democratic candidates," Minsky observes, "to make the economic justice components of American society real for the average person." He urges that "we can't just cede this territory. Not just to a very dangerous rightwing, but even to the neo-liberal centrist Democrats."

"What I would encourage people to do is to recognize by voting and preserving the democratic process and improving it, you are maintaining capacity for a real progressive movement to be vibrant in the United States," Minsky argues. "This midterm election opens a space --- that I really want to encourage everyone listening who is a progressive --- we can win this in the Democratic Party."

"We can change this country for the better. But we have to preserve our democracy to leave that opportunity open. And that's why this election cycle is so important."

"If young people get out and vote at the level they did in 2018, let alone 2020, Democrats will win this election," he notes. "But that doesn't look to be where it is. I think that does have a lot to do with the perception that the Democratic Party is not a welcoming institution. But again, for those folks, you have allies on the inside of the party. We will fight this fight together, we will win this together. But right now it is essential that people DO vote in this election to preserve the democratic process that will be the instrument to allow us to win those victories in the near future. So, if we can preserve democracy, there's a bright future ahead."

"We have to preserve democracy now and strengthen it," Minsky concludes near the end of our broad conversation on a whole bunch of related topics. "We can do that with a victory in this election. So I encourage everybody, yes, to vote Democratic on Tuesday, or before Tuesday if you're in a state you can do that, and let's win this thing."

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Formalizing 2020's ad-hoc strategy, Republicans have organized nationally to create and unleash phony fraud claims, as needed, amid the havoc of next Tuesday's critical elections...
By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2022 6:49pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, we continue our focus on next Tuesday's critical midterm elections by picking things up, somewhat, from our conversation on yesterday's program. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

We were joined yesterday by longtime election and voting system expert Eddie Perez to discuss, among other things, what he has been writing about as the "manufactured chaos" that Republicans are creating to wreak havoc in the 2022 elections.

Today, we dive into broader details of that organized, manufactured chaos program that is emerging as a national strategy by the GOP to create enough havoc around the country to allow them a patina of "evidence" with which to challenge results of election outcomes they don't like.

A number of seemingly disparate efforts are actually now emerging as of a piece with a national strategy that you (and the Democrats and the media) need to know about before it all comes crashing down at once amid chaotic smoke and mirrors on Election Day and thereafter.

This is clearly an effort that echoes the less coordinated post-election chaos of 2020. Many of the same players are involved, including corrupt Trump attorneys John Eastman and Cleta Mitchell, as well as his convicted former aide Steve Bannon, the laughable billionaire pillow guy Mike Lindell, not to mention those in the far-right political media set to help execute the strategy as if it is legitimate, from Tucker Carlson on down.

The hope, as Josh Kovensky outlines at TPM today, is to sow the seeds of enough chaos to be able to create court cases and "thousands of sworn affidavits" (sound familiar?) to "credibly" point to (false) claims of "fraud" in virtually any election around the country next week, if and when they don't win it. "The chaos is the point," he writes.

We pull many of these threads together on today's program. One example is the seemingly isolated case of the campaign manager for Maryland's white nationalist Republican candidate for Attorney General who directed supporters at a rally last weekend to vote next Tuesday "as late in the day as possible," explaining that, "If everyone could stand in long, long lines at 6 o’clock, that would actually help us."

Then there are the door-to-door canvassers --- organized in part by folks like Eastman, Bannon, Lindell, Mitchell and others --- who, according to a Reuters report today, have been active in at least 23 states. They are dressing as if they are government officials --- sometimes armed and with badges --- intimidating voters with questions about who lives in their house, what their voting record is, etc. They appear to be collecting information to use to challenge voters on Election Day at the polls and/or in the post-election period, as required to create enough chaos to offer the appearance of fraud and/or uncertainty in the legitimacy of election results. And, yes, Fox "News" and the rest will be standing by to report all of these false accusations as if they are real.

Forewarned is forearmed, as they say. It's important that you --- not to mention the Democratic Party and everyone at legitimate media outlets --- understand what is going on before the fog of chaotic election war overwhelms all of us beginning next Tuesday.

In a not unrelated story today, we noted yesterday that AP has found more than 100 election lawsuits have already been brought this year related to the 2022 elections. Most have been filed by Republicans in efforts to make voting more difficult. We detailed several of those cases yesterday (in Pennsylvania, Arizona and Nevada). Today we discuss one filed in Illinois that seeks to invalidate lawful absentee ballots that are cast on or before Election Day but do not arrive until afterward, in the two week period allowed by state law. A Republican Congressman is suing to block the counting of those votes, even though they are lawfully cast ballots that could include tens of thousands cast by members of the U.S. military stationed overseas. The complaint was originally filed in May of this year. But the Trump-appointed federal judge overseeing the case has yet to rule on it, for some reason, with Election Day less than a week away. Chaos in waiting.

Also, since we quickly waved at these Trump accountability stories at the top of today's show, some links for more deets for ya:

  • A judge has appointed an independent monitor to oversee Trump Organization finances in the civil fraud suit filed by NY A.G. Letitia James against Trump, his company and his three oldest kids.
  • The NY criminal tax fraud case against the Trump Organization is now under way.
  • Top Trump aide Kash Patel has been granted immunity to testify against him before a federal grand jury probing the documents Trump stole upon leaving the White House.
  • Trump settled the lawsuit against him for ordering his security goons to beat up protesters in front of Trump Tower in 2015, as jury selection was underway in the case.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with a whole bunch of climate related stories both good and bad as winter is coming...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Longtime election expert Eddie Perez of OSET Institute; Also: PA Supremes cause absentee ballot chaos; Judge blocks armed AZ voter intimidation; Rightwing NV hand-counters halted after exposing results...
By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2022 6:39pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we continue to focus on the critical November 8 midterms as we will most likely be doing between now and then and --- given how important and close many key races are expected to be --- probably well beyond Election Day. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We're joined today by EDDIE PEREZ, who has spent more than 20 years focused on elections in various capacities. He spent some 15 years at the Austin, Texas-based Hart-Intercivic, one of the big three private voting system vendors in the U.S. He moved on to become Global Director of Technology and Standards at the nonpartisan, nonprofit Open Source Election Technology (OSET) Institute before, last year, becoming Twitter's Director of Product Management for Societal Health, where he played a role in fighting against mis- and disinformation at the beleaguered social media site. He left the company recently (before Elon Musk's takeover) and remains a Board Member at OSET.

Perez has been writing, blogging and tweeting of late on what he sees as "manufactured chaos" by Republicans in advance of the 2022 midterms, calling the threat they pose a "a knife at democracy's throat" and charging that the chaos is now "on a collision course" with next week's elections.

He worries and warns, both in his writing and on today's program, of "coordinated attempts to interfere with or potentially overwhelm what can broadly be regarded as normal election administration processes."

As usual, when Perez is kind enough to join us, he (a former voting system vendor) and I (a long time Election Integrity journalist and critic of vulnerable, difficult-to-oversee voting systems) both tussle and find common ground on many of these topics. We also discuss concerns about "manufactured chaos" on Twitter as well, now that Musk has reportedly withdrawn access to content moderation tools previously used by staffers to help curb toxic disinformation.

"It's genuinely not really clear whether Elon Musk fully appreciates the harm that can come from a social media platform, particularly in the realm of elections," Perez frets, adding that "we have seen this spin off in to political violence." He notes "the concerns are very real," but believes the "wheels haven't fallen off Twitter", at least not yet, assuring that there are "still good people there."

He warns, however, "it's a fragile time" and says it's good to have "conversations like this so that we can talk to your listeners about what they should be paying attention to and what they can maybe do to cut through some of the noise."

We discuss examples of chaos that most worry him and how no small part of the lack of confidence Americans now have in our election system may actually be due to the way voting system vendors and election officials have spent years preventing oversight by the public. Of course, much of it is due to Donald Trump's lies about the 2020 election. But Perez concedes that insiders, in fact, now pose a unique threat to democracy, as demonstrated by GOP officials facilitating the breach of voting system hardware and software in several different states and releasing its proprietary software to potentially nefarious individuals. Can that previously secret code now be used to undermine those systems next week? If so, how so?

"It has certainly not helped public trust in the machinery of democracy that voting technology is limited to as few companies as it is," Perez concedes, citing the proprietary software now used to run elections and tally votes in almost every jurisdiction in the country. "There is no doubt that having that whole ecosystem --- that can fairly be called a 'black box' --- is not helping. It is a kind of tinder box and has turned into a vacuum of information that a lot of conspiracy theorists have been happy to fill."

"On something as essential as the legitimacy of the outcomes in our public elections --- which, again, involves process and involves voting technology --- we can never ever discount the importance of transparency and accountability," he tells me, citing some of my own advocacy and criticism of voting systems and vendors over the years. "In that sense, I don't think it's unreasonable for some people to say that was a collective failure and, yes, that has contributed to us having a lot of the challenges that we're in today."

Of course, we also discuss what Americans can do now --- from voters to election officials to journalists --- to gird for the chaos that is almost certain to come and how best to defend against it.

Also today, several recent legal rulings in response to an explosion of election law challenges manufacturing more chaos around the 2022 elections...

  • Our corrupt U.S. Supreme Court, along with the unexpected death of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's Chief Justice, allows Republicans to obtain a ruling that may allow them to reject thousands of completely legitimate absentee ballots across the Keystone State, due to missing or incorrect dates written on their outer envelopes.
  • A Trump-appointed federal judge in Arizona issues a ruling [PDF] to block voter intimidation near absentee ballot drop boxes, where masked rightwingers, toting guns and clad in tactical gear, have been menacing and photographing voters dropping of their ballots.
  • Nevada's Sec. of State shuts down a slapdash, nascent rightwing effort in Nye County to hand-count early and absentee ballots after the hand-counters were said to be revealing results to the public during their tally in defiance of a state Supreme Court order. Thankfully, given the very few ballots they were able to count before being shut down (just 50 on their first day, in a County with some 30,000 voters), the damage was contained. But expect more such "manufactured chaos" between now and next Tuesday and, almost certainly, well beyond...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Good news on green energy, even from fascists; Disturbing news on Election Integrity and hand-counting, especially from fascists...
By Brad Friedman on 10/25/2022 6:45pm PT  

Some good news, some bad news, and the most difficult news of all for talk radio: nuanced news on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

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

  • Texas has finally figured out that home solar panels and battery storage can help save the state's brittle, failing electric grid this winter. That's good news for Texas, Tesla and homeowners who can make money selling excess energy back to the grid.
  • There is actually quite a bit of good news for renewable energy according to a new report this week from the International Renewable Energy Agency, as per the New York Times' Ivan Penn today. Top line: As solar and wind production are now cheaper sources for electricity than fossil fuels, renewables now dominate all new electric energy capacity (81% last year) and, if the current trajectory continues, are likely to very soon generate more electricity globally than fossil fuels.
  • Even the Brothers of Italy --- the actually fascist right-wing party which recently won a Parliamentary majority in Italy --- and its far-right leader Giorgia Meloni (soon to become Prime Minister) appear to be more progressive on climate change concerns than the Republican Party in the U.S. It's kind of remarkable really and, yes, a bit nuanced.
  • Speaking of fascists, with early voting now under way in many states for the critical 2022 midterms, so is the voter intimidation and suppression by disinformed rightwingers. MAGA Republicans in Arizona appear to be taking the early lead nationwide when it comes to reported intimidation, as armed and masked vigilantes in tactical gear are now camping out in parking lots near absentee ballot drop boxes because they've been duped into believing they are used for massive voter fraud. While some of the few remaining GOP officials in the state who haven't become brain poisoned are trying to lower the temperature, others, including MAGA Republican Gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake and MAGA State Sen. Kelly Townsend continue to fan the flames with lies about the 2020 election.
  • Meanwhile, however, in defending against Donald Trump's lies about election and voter fraud, Democrats may have backed themselves into a corner when it comes to their own ability to challenge election results themselves. In their ill-considered efforts to force Republicans into answering gotcha questions about whether or not they will accept election results for elections that haven't even happened yet --- which could include outcome determinative problems like voter suppression or problems with voting and tabulation computers --- Dems may have short-circuited their own ability to challenge results that legitimately need challenging. We discuss.
  • At the same time, MAGA rightwingers in several rural (heavily GOP-leaning) Nevada counties are certain that Dominion Voting Systems done them wrong in 2020. So now they're demanding hand-counted paper ballots. While hand-counting is, in fact, the only way to know for certain if computers actually tallied ballots as per voter intent, the NV GOPers who bought into Trump's evidence-free fraud conspiracies are doing it all wrong. One county has even been given permission by the state Supreme Court to begin hand-counting early ballots beginning this week. That is a recipe for all sorts of disaster, including unlawful leaks about early results.

    And here comes more nuance: While we have spent nearly two decades decrying computer-tabulated ballots, we have called not for hand-counting, but for hand-count pilot projects to determine its feasibility in each jurisdiction and to develop simple, efficient and publicly-overseeable protocols to do it safely and transparently at the precinct on Election Night, in front of everyone, before ballots are moved anywhere. (Similar to how it has been successfully been done for many years now by about 40% of the towns in New Hampshire.)

    Ad hoc hand-counting (for example, like the kind that took NV's Esmerelda County more than seven hours to tally 317 ballots after their June primary!) is a disaster in the making and one that is likely to end up discrediting real hand-counting for years to come. I hope I'm wrong.

    In the meantime, there are critical contests in the state this year, including a very tight race between incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto and Republican Adam Laxalt. If she is reported to have lost and there are any questions about the results, good luck to the Dems after shortsightedly decrying any and all concerns about elections when they may need to challenge an election themselves.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen has our latest Green News Report, including news on the Biden Admin EPA opening a civil rights probe into Jackson, Mississippi's water crisis; Big Insurance moving away from Big Oil; and Republicans taking credit for renewable energy projects built with incentives that they voted against...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Angela Peoples of Election Defenders; Also: Bannon sentenced; Trump subpoenaed; Graham appeals to SCOTUS; And, still more evidence of looming Trump accountability...
By Brad Friedman on 10/21/2022 5:48pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: There is a great deal to be concerned about between now and November 8, when American holds its first nationwide elections since Donald Trump tried to steal the last one. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Since then, his unrelenting lies that the 2020 election was stolen from him (ironically enough) have resulted in, among other things, newly restrictive voting laws adopted by GOP-controlled states, a shortage of poll workers following death threats from disinformed rightwingers, and concerns of both intimidation and the potential of violence at polling places (and ballot drop-boxes.)

But the Election Defenders vow to be out in force, as they were in 2020, attempting to make sure everyone can vote freely and fairly.

"One of my biggest concerns is the impact the attempts at intimidation may play on the electorate," my guest today, the group's Campaign Director, ANGELA PEOPLES, tells me. "In some places, these threats of violence are very real, and we're preparing folks to be responsive to those." But, she adds, "a lot of this is just talk, and attempts to create an atmosphere of fear. So we are planning to counter that fear with joy, with enthusiasm, to make sure that people can cast their ballot with safety and dignity."

Election Defenders is a coalition formed in 2020 by The Frontline, a joint campaign of the Working Families Party, the Movement for Black Lives Electoral Justice Project, United We Dream and Rising Majority. They deployed some 2,000 volunteers trained in de-escalation techniques to polling places in all 50 states in 2020. This year, they hope to station about 1,250 in key battleground states including Wisconsin, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona.

"We are trained not only in de-escalation, but also in what we call Voter Care --- to support folks at the polls, making sure folks have information about what those new laws may be and how to make sure that, if they feel like they are denied their ability to vote, they have a chance to address that and to not be denied their ability to cast their ballot, whether it's provisional or otherwise, on Election Day," Peoples explains.

"We'll be making sure that things stay calm, stay joyful, stay energetic and are the type of experience that can keep people engaged all the way through to casting their ballot," she says. The group hopes to counter so many who have been lied into rage on the Right over the past two years. "A lot of their playbook is about intimidation [and] fear tactics. So we have really focused on the joy that we can bring to people and reminding folks that, as much as some may try to make voting seem like something that is privileged, or something only a few should be able to do, that everyone that has the right to vote in this country should be able to exercise that."

Critically, she adds, "we are reminding our volunteers that this Election Defense opportunity is something that we need to do from voting, to counting, all the way to certification."

And, yes, the group is still welcoming volunteers and helping to train them all over the country. If you'd like to join the effort, you can get more details and sign up for trainings here or text FRONTLINE to 20403.

Also today, the outer bands of the coming Trump Accountability Hurricane continue to blow in...

  • Steve Bannon was sentenced to 4 months in prison for Contempt of Congress after refusing to answer subpoenas for testimony and documents from the House January 6 Committee. He remains free for now pending appeal.
  • Donald Trump was sent his own subpoena by the same House Committee today, seeking documents from the disgraced former President by November 4 and under oath deposition testimony beginning on or about November 14. If he refuses, he could face similar charges to those Bannon has now been found guilty of and sentenced to prison for.
  • On Thursday, Sen. Lindsey Graham was ordered by a three-judge panel (two of whom are Trump appointees) at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to testify to the Special Grand Jury in Atlanta set up by Fulton County, Georgia Prosecutor Fani Willis. She is investigating an alleged criminal conspiracy led by Donald Trump to force state officials to falsify the 2020 election results. Today, Graham, who has lost every court battle to avoid testimony so far, asked SCOTUS to intervene. Even though the denies any wrongdoing, it appears he really really doesn't want to testify to that end under oath for some reason.
  • Also this week, Trump was forced to testify under oath in the defamation case against him by author E. Jean Carroll, who alleges he raped her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s and then lied about both her and it while serving as President. But, because he can't help himself, Trump really screwed himself over regarding the only quasi-legit defense he had left to try and duck Carroll's defamation complaint. SAD!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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