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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, May 18, 2024
FEC Repubs Vote to Allow Campaign Donor Anonymity: 'BradCast' 5/16/24
Guest: Public Citizen's Craig Holman; Also: Two (generally) encouraging SCOTUS rulings on CFPB funding and a second Black-majority U.S. House district in Louisiana...
'Green News Report' 5/16/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Canadian wildfires expand; Climate change exacerbated extreme heat in Asia; Broadcast media ignored Trump's billion dollar Big Oil quid pro quo; Plus: Biden v. China on EVs...
Previous GNRs: 5/14/24 - 5/9/24 - Archives...
Trump Trial Ketchup: Cohen, a 'Smoking Gun', and 'The Cult of Trump': 'BradCast' 5/15/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: MD, NE, WV primary results; Biden, Trump agree to early debates...
LAPD Right-Wing Bias in Violent Response to UCLA Protest Was No Surprise
U.S. law enforcement has long sided with the right against peaceful anti-war, environmental, racial and economic injustice protesters...
Could Ohio Repubs REALLY Keep Biden Off the Ballot?!: 'BradCast' 5/14/24
Also: GOP dirty tricks in WA; More GOP voter suppression in GA; Brighter news from WI and on the slow painful death of 'stare decisis'...
'Green News Report' 5/14/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Canada's fire season erupts, as smoke chokes U.S. Upper Midwest; Record-breaking increase in global CO2 levels; PLUS: MI is newest state to sue Big Oil for climate damages...
Previous GNRs: 5/9/24 - 5/7/24 - Archives...
Recount in Tied U.S. House Primary Highlights Probs in CA Law: 'BradCast' 5/13/24
Guest: Dr. John Maa; Also: Bannon denied; Giuliani fired; Menendez trial begins; Cohen takes stand in Trump's NY criminal trial...
Sunday 'Stormy Weather Continues' Toons
THIS WEEK: Cannon Fire ... Catch and Kill ... Parasites ... Protesting Too Much ... and more, in our latest collection of the week's most turbulent toons...
Facing Down the Threat to American Democracy: 'BradCast' 5/9/24
A veteran reporter speaks out; DHS marshals defenses; Lara lies about ballots; Johnson lies about 'illegals' voting; Also: MTG's spectacular fail; Stormy wins the day; Biden cuts off Israel...
'Green News Report' 5/9/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Tornado outbreaks across U.S.; FL Repubs ban 'climate change'; House Repubs' latest salvo in 'War on Woke Appliances'; PLUS: US culture shift in portrayal of climate reality...
Previous GNRs: 5/7/24 - 5/2/24 - Archives...
Trump Trial Ketchup:
Stormy Takes the Stand: 'BradCast' 5/8/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: 'Warning signs' from IN primary results; Blankenship's run in WV...
New Cybersecurity Breach in Coffee County, GA: 'BradCast' 5/7/24
Guest: Election integrity expert Marilyn Marks; Also: Stormy takes the stand in NY; GA's Republican former Lt. Gov. endorses Biden...
'Green News Report' 5/7/24
Relentless rain, flooding in Houston and Brazil; April 2024 was hottest on record; PLUS: Biden unveils billions for rural clean energy, replacing toxic lead water pipes...
2024 Electoral -- and Climate -- Omens: 'BradCast' 5/6/24
From Britain to Panama to Brazil to Houston; Also: Latest in Israel's war on Gaza and in Trump's NY criminal trial...
Sunday 'Self Reflecting' Toons
THIS WEEK: Champions of 'free speech' ... 'Captain Fascism' ... Kristi 'Dog Gone' Noem... and more, in our latest collection of the week's best political toons...
'Green News Report' 5/2/24
Extreme heat, storms grip Asia; Big brands and Big Plastic; Plastic pollution treaty talks end; PLUS: Congress finds Big Oil still trying to deceive the public...
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: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: OH GOP lawmakers adopt ballot measure to undermine democracy in August special election...
By Brad Friedman on 5/11/2023 6:12pm PT  

Democracy is not having an easy time of it of late, as both of our main stories on the always pro-democracy BradCast seem to underscore today. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

FIRST UP, after months of wrangling, Ohio's gerrymandered Republican state House on Wednesday decided to put majority rule up for a vote this summer. Specifically, they voted to hold a special election for a state constitutional amendment asking voters if all future amendments placed on the ballot must reach 60% for passage. The GOP amendment in August will require only 50% to be adopted, as has been the case for all such measures in the Buckeye State since 1912.

The August special election will come just in time to preempt a the state's November general election, which is likely to feature a citizen-led ballot amendment to protect abortion in Ohio as a constitutional right. That, of course, is why Republicans are hoping to undermine that measure with their own small turnout election in late Summer. They hypocritically characterized the controversial initiative as a "constitutional protection act", meant to keep "out-of-state special interests" away from Ohio's foundational documents. But the measure's top backer was a PAC named "Save Our Constitution", funded with $1.1 million from one single out-of-state billionaire GOP megadonor.

Every single former state Governor opposed the measure, along with five former Republican and Democratic state Attorneys General and the Ohio Libertarian Party. But it was supported by the state's hypocritical Republican Gov. Mike DeWine and Sec. of State Frank LaRose, both of whom eagerly supported an election reform package adopted just four months ago in January, which did away with August Special Elections after finding them to be low-turnout and expensive. Then these "conservatives" supported this new special election anyway, at a price tag of $20 million to state taxpayers, in exchange for which they will get to vote on taking away their own democratic power.

Similar efforts to undermine abortion rights, however, since the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the corrupt U.S. Supreme Court last year, have failed miserably in both right- and left-leaning states. But those measures won with anywhere from 50 to 60% of the vote. Recent AP polling finds support for reproductive freedoms in Ohio to be at 59%. Thus, the GOP's attempt to undermine majority rule this Summer by requiring 60% for passage of future ballot measures...other than their own.

NEXT: CNN called it a "town hall". In truth, it was a 70-minute Donald Trump infomercial filled with a non-stop litany of his twisted lies from beginning to end. The number of lies he told is entirely too long to detail here, on everything from the 2020 election, to January 6, to his stolen classified documents, to this week's federal court verdict finding him liable for sexual abuse and defamation, to pretty much anything else that you or CNN moderator Kaitlin Collins or the Trump-supporting crowd in attendance at St. Anselm's College in Manchester, New Hampshire could come up with.

He also made clear that he would pardon the January 6th insurrectionists and seditionists, and that he supports the imperialist invasion of authoritarian Vladimir Putin's Russia over defending democracy and humanity in Ukraine.

But, while Wednesday night's shameful spectacle clearly embarrassed even the many CNN commentators serving as post-game analysts, did the live town hall ultimately help or hurt Trump overall?

We're joined today by our old friend HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo to discuss exactly that and much more related to what is arguably one of the lowest moments in CNN history.

(I'd love your thoughts on that question as well, and may share them on air in the days ahead. Please leave any such thoughts below in comments or email me, if you prefer.)

"It was a clown show," says Parton who did not realize it would include an audience stacked with GOPers, as it was presented as a Republican town hall before next year's New Hampshire primary. "That gave him the ability to go on national TV and essentially hold a rally. A rally in which he had a foil there in Kaitlan Collins, who, I think she did about as good as you could do. I don't have a lot of complaints with her, she was thrown into a situation that was unwinnable."

She discusses why CNN is taking this attempted turn to the right, in order to curry favor with Trump voters at the behest of their new, rightwing owner who sees Fox "News" as fair and balanced. "CNN is in a ratings spiral, doing a lot of retooling. It seems obvious to me that CNN thought they could maybe cop some of those people if they put on the right show. That's what they did. It was horrifying."

While I discuss several points in which Trump did himself no favor with prosecutors preparing indictments against him, Parton cites some of the actually "dangerous" fallout likely to come from Wednesday night. "[Trump] said some things that were literally dangerous. For example, his stuff about Ukraine. I'm sure Vladimir Putin heard him clearly when he said, 'Within 24 hours [after taking office], I will do it'. We know exactly what he meant. Immediately upon becoming President, he would withdraw support and force Ukraine to surrender. That means the war that he was going on and on about, 'People are dying, they're dying'. They're going to be dying at least until November 2024 now, for sure, because he said that. There's no way that Russia will do anything until they know whether or not he's going to be President again. And that is disgusting."

FINALLY, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report with news on Houston's latest toxic oil refinery fire; new, money-saving efficiency standards for dishwashers; troubling news from Greenland's ice sheet; and some hopeful news for PFAS "forever" chemicals out of tragedy in Minnesota...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Democracy, accountability, corruption and hypocrisy news from Sudan to Russia to SCOTUS and beyond...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2023 6:12pm PT  

Just to be clear, while we're debating whether California's senior Democratic Senator should step down on today's BradCast, the longest-serving U.S. Supreme Court Justice should not only have stepped down long ago, he should have been removed by the force of impeachment long ago as well. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

It was a very busy and lively show today, covering a bunch of interesting and occasionally related news. Among today's story's...

  • Democracy seems to be out of reach yet again in the Middle Eastern/Sub-Saharan nation of Sudan, as deadly fighting broke out between two military factions in the country's capital and elsewhere over the weekend.
  • A well-known Kremlin opposition figure and critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin's horrific invasion of Ukraine was sentenced to 25-years of hard labor today for daring to speak out against the war last year. 41-year old Vladimir Kara-Murza is just the latest facing a long prison sentence for public opposition to Putin's barbaric, criminal assault on his sovereign neighbor.
  • Last week we explained why Fox "News", if they were smart, would do everything in their power to reach a settlement with Dominion Voting Systems before the trial in the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed by the voting machine vendor against the Republican propaganda outlet began in earnest this week. Jury selection in the trial, in which Dominion has Fox dead to rights for repeatedly, falsely and knowingly lying to viewers that Dominion somehow rigged the 2020 election for Joe Biden, was supposed to begin today. But Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis, without explanation, announced the trial would begin tomorrow instead, leading some to believe Fox may be trying to strike a last minute settlement.
  • On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a brief, administrative stay on the rulings by far-right, activist U.S. District Judge Mathew Kacsmaryk and the far-right U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that ban the FDA-approved use of mifepristone, the nation's top abortion medication, in all 50 states. The temporary stay will only remain in place until Wednesday, at which time the full SCOTUS will either keep it in place throughout the appeal to Kacsmaryk's unprecedented, activist ruling --- in which he is attempting to legislate from the bench and overrule the FDA's 23-year old approval of the safe and effective drug --- or they will allow a first-of-its-kind ban to go into effect while the appeal moves forward. Today, we cite a few of the 5th Circuit's huge errors in their recent ruling, as detailed by The BRAD BLOG's Ernie Canning.
  • And, speaking of our corrupted, rightwing federal judiciary, there was yet more jaw-dropping news over the weekend of the unspeakable corruption and seemingly endless lawlessness of Justice Clarence Thomas, the longest-serving current member of the U.S. Supreme Court. We quickly review the full story again today, from Clarence's unlawful failure to disclose his activist wife Ginni's salary from the Heritage Foundation for some 20 years, until called out for it in 2011; to Ginni's apparent "Judicial Insider Trading" on the infamous 2010 Citizens United ruling; to ProPublica's blockbuster exclusive two weeks ago detailing decades of Clarence's unlawfully undisclosed luxury travel courtesy of GOP megadonor Harlan Crow; to last week's second ProPublica jaw-dropper revealing that Crow purchased properties from Thomas, including his mother's house (which she still lives in, rent free!) and which also went unlawfully undisclosed in in his annual disclosure forms; and then this weekend's latest scoop from WaPo finding Clarence hasn't bothered for years to report income from a real estate firm owned by Ginni and her family.
  • Finally, speaking of both the rightwing federal judiciary and people who should arguably resign immediately, California's 89-year old senior Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein has missed about 60 of 80 floor votes in the U.S. Senate this year, as she is sidelined in San Francisco with shingles. There is currently no date for her return to the 51-49 upper chamber. But, even more importantly, her extended absence from the Senate Judiciary Committee has stalled the confirmation process for more than a dozen federal court judges nominated by President Biden. As calls for her resignation began last week, the fading trailblazer has asked to be removed, temporarily, from the powerful Judiciary Committee. Unfortunately, it's not quite as easy as that, as we explain today.

    In the bargain, a debate has surfaced among Congressional Democrats, some of whom are calling for her resignation after decades of service, others describing the push as misogynistic, others defending her during her convalescence, while still others appear to be supporting her at the moment, though their patience is clearly wearing thin.

    We cover all of that today before opening our phones to listeners --- her constituents in Southern California --- for their opinions on whether DiFi should stay or go. We had a lot of really smart and interesting callers today...even if their opinions were ultimately in sync. They believe its time for her to fly...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: 20th anniv. of U.S. invasion of Iraq (still no accountability); DeSantis was instrumental in torture at Gitmo; Callers ring in on all of the above...
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2023 5:06pm PT  

I have no idea what this week is going to bring. As noted on today's BradCast, nobody, save for (maybe) the Manhattan District Attorney does. And I suspect even he is largely flying blind about what happens once (and if) Trump is ultimately indicted in New York State. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Before we get to discussion about that --- and callers on the same topic --- today is the 20th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. As we said at the time, and have been saying for the 20 years since, we were lied into war under false premises by the George W. Bush/Dick Cheney regime. In the bargain, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed and about 5,000 Americans. No weapons of mass destruction were ever found. More disturbingly, no one was ever held accountable for that pointless war and the lies that were told to get us there.

Back in 2003, 66% of Americans supported the invasion, in no small part because opposition voices in the U.S. were largely shut out of the mainstream media conversation. Now, 61% of Americans, according to new polling, think that war was a mistake.

And, because there was never any accountability for the war criminals, guys like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are considered to be front-runners to become the next Republican nominee for President of the United States. That, despite the fact that, as Washington Post detailed over the weekend, DeSantis played a key role in torturing detainees with forced-feeding at Guantanamo Bay while he served as a 27-year old Navy lawyer there.

Meanwhile, now playing the part of imperialistic invader and war criminal is Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin, who the International Criminal Court on Friday issued an arrest warrant for, accusing him of abductions of thousands of Ukrainian children since his unlawful invasion just over one year ago.

If you're wondering just how terrible Putin actually is, please do yourself a favor soon and watch last week's Academy Award winning Best Documentary, Navalny (currently available via HBO Max and Amazon Prime). As discussed today, it is jaw-dropping. For a whole bunch of reasons. And, don't worry, it's also uplifting and hilarious at times...even as we see, live and as it happens, the attempted assassination of Russia's incredibly likable opposition leader, Alexei Novalny, and the remarkable moment when he actually tricks one of his own would be assassins into confessing to his attempted murder. All caught live on camera!

Then, we get to the story that I have a feeling we'll be covering for some time on this program: the first criminal indictment of a U.S. President in our nation's history. It may finally happen this week in New York (emphasis on "may"), thanks to Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg. He is believed likely to bring charges against Donald Trump related to the hush-money payments the disgraced former President made to porn star Stormy Daniels to cover up a sexual affair. That payoff, carried out at his direction by his then-attorney Michael Cohen, helped Trump win the 2016 Presidential election. Cohen went to jail for it. Trump never did. At least not yet.

Trump is almost certainly not going to be "BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY", as he claimed in a panicked, weekend, ALL-CAPS statement on his social media site. Tuesday is seen as the earliest time he could possibly be indicted by a Grand Jury in New York. But, even if so, he will not be "ARRESTED" by New York law enforcement officials in Florida, where he now lives.

If Trump finally is indicted on criminal state charges, whether it's this week or next, will he actually go back to New York to turn himself in? Seems unlikely. But, if not, then what? Would NY ask Ron DeSantis' Florida law enforcement to arrest and extradite Fugitive Trump from Mar-a-Lago? Also seems unlikely, even with DeSantis believed almost certain to run for the GOP's 2024 Presidential nomination against Trump. Will Trump's supporters actually "PROTEST, PROTEST, PROTEST!!!" as the cowardly ex-President is begging them?

And why are House Republicans, led by House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan --- who pretends to support law and order --- now actually weaponizing the federal government to try and undermine Bragg's case?

In fact, nobody knows what is coming next. There is no playbook for what is about to happen --- whether it happens this week, or next, or even in a different state, like Georgia. But it does seem to be a good day to open our phones to listeners on the topic, to talk about it all and get their best guess about what where things go from here.

Tune in for all of that and much more on today's program!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Russia's missile assault on Ukraine; Trump's 'peace plan' censored by Hannity; Dominion will win Summary Judgement against Fox, attorney explains; 1/6 rioters trashed Senator's office; Finchem sanctioned in AZ; La Nina finally over; NY on verge of indicting Trump?...
By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2023 6:49pm PT  

It's another news-packed BradCast today, including some details and context you likely have not heard elsewhere.

Among our many stories today...

  • More war crimes by Russia, as the imperialistic aggressor nation launched a brutal, nationwide missile assault against Ukraine on Thursday. They claimed the bombardment was a "retaliation strike" for "terrorist actions" said to involve an attack by Ukrainian nationals who crossed the border into Russia's Bryansk region. There was no apparent evidence of such an attack as of this morning, but golly it must be bad when someone crosses your border to attack you.
  • Donald Trump has been claiming he has a plan to end the war in Ukraine "immediately". He revealed his ingenious plan on Sean Hannity's radio show this week. Apparently, the secret is to allow Russia to "take over" parts of Ukraine. When Hannity aired parts of that radio interview on his Fox "News" show later that night, they conspicuously, and clumsily, removed that part of Trump's comments. We share the evidence today.
  • It was efforts like that --- seemingly to protect the disgraced former President --- that helped Fox "News" find itself as defendant in a $1.6 billion defamation suit by Dominion Voting Systems which charges the Republican propaganda mill knowingly, and with "actual malice" lied about the company's voting systems after the 2020 election. The voluminous, well-documented allegations demonstrating that Fox knew it was lying about false fraud claims have been well covered elsewhere. But today we take a few minutes to share some specific thoughts from an attorney who predicts that Dominion will win their motion for Summary Judgement on liability in the case, leaving only the need for a jury trial on damages. It's actually less a prediction than a matter of law, according to the argument. We explain that argument today, as we haven't heard it offered broadly elsewhere.
  • This week, Fox' Tucker Carlson has been busy attempting to rewrite the history of Trump's deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection as little more than a peaceful "sightseeing" tour by those who "revered" the Capitol. His laughable segments have been roundly criticized from all quarters and are based on what is purportedly previously unseen security camera footage from the Capitol given to him exclusively by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. But, in addition to the evidence of the deadly riot that you have already seen with your own eyes, NBC News offered some previously unseen video today of the 1/6 trashing of a Republican Senator's office, by a guy who drove a stun gun into a police officer's neck that same day. Apparently, Tucker has yet to reveal that video to his viewers.
  • Arizona's failed 2022 Republican Sec. of State candidate and 2020 election denier Mark Finchem was sanctioned by a state judge this week for "groundless" claims that he lost his 2022 election due to fraud. The judge ordered him to pay attorney fees for the winning Democratic Secretary of State and Gubernatorial candidates after noting that "none of Contestant Finchem’s allegations, even if true, would have changed the vote count enough to overcome the 120,000 votes he needed to affect the result of this election." Nonetheless, Finchem still refuses to concede and says he will appeal the court's decision.
  • The three-year La Nina --- which increases Atlantic hurricane activity and worsens western drought, among other things --- is now officially over, according to NOAA. We explain what that means...and doesn't.
  • Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with even more bad news than usual, most of which comes courtesy of the corrupt Big Oil industry.
  • And, finally, just before our hour is up, breaking news out of New York suggesting the Manhattan District Attorney is on the precipice of filing criminal charges against Donald J. Trump...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Univ. of KY election law prof Joshua A. Douglas; Also: Listeners respond after yesterday's call-in show on Russia's war on Ukraine...
By Brad Friedman on 2/28/2023 6:48pm PT  

It's always darling when Republicans pretend to oppose "activist judges" who "legislate from the bench." As discussed on today's BradCast, the new Republican majority on North Carolina's Supreme Court is now showing how it's done! [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

We have been warning for some months about the Moore v. Harper case recently heard at the U.S. Supreme Court. The corrupt, stolen and packed far-right Court majority's opinion could finally establish the legitimacy a once-fringe, still-ridiculous Constitutional concept called the Independent State Legislature theory. According to the theory suddenly being pushed hard by Republicans, State Legislatures --- and only State Legislatures (not Governors, Secretaries of State, State Courts, State Constitutions nor even ballot initiatives adopted by voters) --- may create election rules and laws in each state. If a SCOTUS majority agrees with this radical, previously-obscure reading of the Constitution, decades, even centuries, of American election law could be tossed out the window. The theory even holds, according to critics, that state legislatures would simply be able to choose whichever slate of Presidential electors they like, no matter who the state's voters may have chosen.

Moore v. Harper is actually a partisan gerrymandering case out of North Carolina, where its State Supreme Court last year found the new Congressional and legislative maps drawn by the NC Republican legislature to be in violation of the state's Constitution which, they determined, prohibits partisan gerrymandering. In last November's elections, however, two Republicans won their elections for the state's high court, flipping it from a 4 to 3 Dem-leaning majority to a 5 to 2 Republican court.

After the new, rightwing majority was seated last month, they decided to rehear the Moore v. Harper case despite, as the two dissenting Democratic Justices decried, the fact that doing so would be a "radical break with 205 years of history" and that "Nothing has changed since we rendered our opinion in this case" last year.

"The only thing that has changed is the political composition of the Court," wrote Justice Anita Earls. "Now, approximately one month since this shift, the Court has taken an extraordinary action: It is allowing rehearing without justification." Earls called the decision "an affront to the jurisprudence of this State and to the citizens it has sworn an oath to serve ‘impartially,’ ‘without favoritism to anyone or to the State.’"

In addition, the new rightwing state Justices in NC also decided to rehear the challenge to the GOP legislature's Photo ID voting restrictions which the 4 to 3 Democratic majority, just two months ago, struck down, after finding it to have been adopted with a discriminatory purpose to make it harder for minorities to vote, a violation of the state Constitution.

"This is essentially a brazen power grab by the new majority," our guest today, JOSHUA A. DOUGLAS, author and election law professor at the University of Kentucky explains. "To put this power grab in context," he recently wrote at Washington Monthly, "in the past 30 years, the North Carolina Supreme Court had agreed to rehear only two cases out of the 214 requests it had received. ... The court has now doubled the number of rehearing grants in just one reckless day."

"It's unusual for any court to act this quickly and this brazenly," Douglas tells me. "This really is unprecedented for the North Carolina court, but, as far as I'm aware of, courts in general." He goes on to describe the court's behavior as "dangerous", "blatantly partisan", and "politics all the way down."

"This is why it's dangerous to have elected judges with a party label," he argues. "Everyone knows what's going on here. Everyone knows that the court was 4-3 in favor of Democrats, its 5-2 in favor of Republicans now, because Republicans won two of those seats."

"This idea of precedent, that the law builds upon, is being thrown out when we just think of judges as politicians in robes, explicitly. Even if people had thought this was going on before, I think judges themselves felt a little bit cabined by this idea that they're not just politicians in robes and political activists. But that idea is now thrown out the window."

So, what does this now mean for the version of Moore v. Harper currently at the Supreme Court, where it has already been heard? Will it be mooted out by a new decision in NC or will an opinion be issued on the Independent State Legislature theory anyway? If not, Republicans will almost certainly find another case to place the wacko ISL theory before the court. But a new case, Douglas warns, would likely result in a SCOTUS opinion issued smack dab in the middle of the 2024 election cycle, potentially unleashing complete chaos in the bargain.

NEXT UP TODAY, we heard from a lot of listeners following yesterday's call-in program in which I opened up the phone lines primarily to those who disagreed with my position that the U.S. should continue to support sovereign Ukraine's self-defense against Russia, its imperialist aggressor neighbor whose brutal, unlawful invasion began just over one year ago. Democracy v. autocracy is at stake, as I argued yesterday, despite Vladimir Putin's repeated threats to unleash nuclear weapons. We had a number of callers --- sadly, presumably from the Left --- who have been wildly misinformed and disinformed by a number of media outlets that have, for years, been pushing Kremlin propaganda (sometimes knowingly, sometimes not.)

That said, after yesterday's show, I received a ton of comments --- probably 8, 9, or 10 to 1 --- in favor of my position against the bulk of our callers. To be fair, I had invited and prioritized those who disagreed with my position, in hopes of an enlightening discussion/debate on the issues. But, so as to not give the entirely wrong impression of our overall listeners, I thought it helpful to share some of the comments in response to yesterday's show --- the majority of which were supportive of my position on Ukraine --- on air today.

FINALLY, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report, as "bizarro" weather continues across much of the nation now that we've broken the climate; and as Republicans amusingly begin to discover --- in light of the toxic chemical train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio which Fox "News" has instructed them to be furious about --- that hey, regulations actually protect the public against this sort of thing! Who knew?...

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It's not just folks on the Right who are being disinformed about the battle of democracy v. autocracy in Ukraine...
By Brad Friedman on 2/27/2023 6:11pm PT  

Sadly, it's not only folks on the Right who are all too easily played by disinformation, particularly after years of Russian propaganda that has been all too credulously repeated by some media outlets on the far-Left. That may become clear on today's lively, largely caller-based BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Last week marked the one-year anniversary of Russia's horrific, imperialistic invasion of its sovereign neighbor, Ukraine. Some on the Right have begun to call for an end to U.S. financial and military support for Ukraine's self-defense, despite the ominous, all-too-familiar echoes of a new battle for democracy v. autocracy in Europe. At the same time, many in what used to be known as the anti-war movement on the Left have similarly fallen for Kremlin propaganda, thanks to a years-long effort by Moscow to sow disinformation through state-funded media programming and other methods.

One of the most effective arguments fostered by Putin and friends is that if the U.S. and Europe continue to support Ukraine amid Russia's invasion, it could devolve into a nuclear World War III. We discussed that matter specifically last week on The BradCast, with longtime nuclear weapons policy analyst, Stephen Schwartz, former Executive Editor and Publisher of The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (proprietors of the notorious "Doomsday Clock" and opponents of nuclear weapons.) Schwartz noted --- as we share in a brief clip today from last week's program --- that, even amid the dangers of the Cold War, there was never a time when the U.S. turned a blind eye to an adversary, simply because they were armed with nukes.

As he told me last week...

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ: We have this bizarre and completely novel situation now in the nuclear age where you have one state fighting an illegal war --- and a very destructive war --- against another state, and then threatening other states implicitly and explicitly with its nuclear arsenal, if they intervene beyond a certain level.

So, the way I see it --- and I'm no big fan of war, at all --- is that if we listen to Putin and say, 'Okay, you're right. We can't risk nuclear war, so we're gonna stand back and let you carve up Ukraine however you want. And, hey, if you want to take Belarus and Moldova, who are we to stop you?' I think that would be a terrible terrible precedent for the rest of the world. Not only with regard to what Russia might do in the future, but other countries that have nuclear weapons or might want them and have leaders that have authoritarian ambitions for power and territorial gain who might say, 'Hey there's something to this nuclear threat-making! We should do that.'
...
Even during the Cold War, when we and the Soviet Union back then had many thousands more nuclear weapons than they do now --- certainly there were problems like the Cuban Missile Crisis, the closest we ever came to nuclear war, and other incidents --- but we did not sit back and say, 'Okay, you've got nuclear weapons, we are not going to get involved with you in any way, shape or form.' We didn't say, "Okay, we can't do anything because you might annihilate us.'

We need to show that nuclear weapons are fundamentally useless, not just for prosecuting war, but also for blackmail. Because otherwise the future world that we're gonna live in, brought to you by nuclear coercion, is gonna be far worse than anything we dealt with during the Cold War.

Schwartz' argument is a compelling one, of course, from someone who has watched the U.S. and Russia closely for decades now. But it is one that, apparently, fails to convince many of our listeners who have been steeped, for too many years, in anti-American (versus anti-war) Russian propaganda.

That becomes clear once again as we open the phones up to callers here at KPFK in our live Southern California listening area, particularly to those who may disagree with my belief that we need to continue supporting the battle for democracy in Europe, before the rise of Russian autocracy moves even farther beyond it's own borders. (Just last week, as discussed today as well, documents purportedly from the Kremlin were leaked, detailing Moscow's plan to take full control over neighboring Belarus within this decade.)

My opposition to war has not changed for decades. I stand in stark opposition to wars of aggression by imperialistic countries against sovereign nations. I opposed the U.S. war on Iraq for that reason, and I oppose Russia's war on Ukraine for the same reason.

But, in opening up the phone lines today, specifically, to folks who disagree with me...well, you'll decide who has this argument right, me or them. It leads to a number of very lively conversations/debates. As usual, I welcome your thoughts in response to today's show in the comments below or via email...

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Guest: Nuclear weapons policy analyst Stephen Schwartz; Also: Dems outperform in NH, VA, KY special elections, set table to retake Supreme Court majority in WI...
By Brad Friedman on 2/22/2023 6:54pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: It was a good day for democracy in the U.S. yesterday, in our continuing battle against the rise of autocracy here at home. The news overseas on that same score, however, thanks to Russia's criminal, autocratic leader, remains significantly dicier. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

FIRST UP TODAY: It was the first big Special Election night of 2023 in the U.S. on Tuesday. As we saw in advance of last year's 2022 midterms --- when Republicans ignored the evidence before their eyes to hoax themselves into believing a "red wave" was coming (which never did) --- Democrats are once again outperforming expectations in Special Elections around the nation.

We've got results, some of them quite stunning, out of marquee races yesterday in New Hampshire for state House, Virginia for the U.S. House, and in Kentucky for State Senate. In each, Democrats radically outperformed both expectations and history, often by 10 or more points.

But, the most critical race of the night may have been the primary election in Wisconsin, where a vacant swing-seat on the state Supreme Court may finally flip the majority to progressives in the upcoming April 4 general election after years of control by rightwingers. Tuesday's open primary featured two progressives and two so-called conservatives, with the top two vote-getters advancing to the general. Progressive Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz easily bested the competition with some 46% of the vote. The two rightwingers, former Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly and Waukesha County Judge Jennifer Dorow, came in a tight second and third place, with 24% and 22% each, respectively, followed by progressive Dane County Judge Everett Mitchell with 7%.

That means Protasiewicz and Kelly, state Democrats' preferred competition, will square off on April 4. Kelly is a radical, rightwing extremist, election denier, marriage equality opponent, and paid RNC consultant who helped organize Donald Trump's fake 2020 electors scheme in the state. He also lost a previous Supreme Court race in the closely divided swing-state by a whopping 10 points in 2020. In a state where Dems now hold almost every statewide executive position, Republicans are forced to cling to majorities in the state legislature thanks to wildly gerrymandered districts. A progressive majority on the bench, therefore, is expected to be critical over the next few years regarding abortion rights, gun safety, gerrymandering and much more, including voting rights in advance of the 2024 Presidential election.

If voters turnout and vote in April as they did last night, Protasiewicz would defeat Kelly by about 7 points. Of course, its Wisconsin, so I'd be careful about counting chickens before counting ballots just over one month from now.

NEXT UP: Russian President Vladimir Putin's nuclear saber rattling continued on Tuesday during his state of the nation speech. The autocrat announced a unilateral suspension of participation in New START, the last remaining arms control treaty between the U.S. and Russia.

There is a great deal to unpack in all of this, including what Obama-era New START was supposed to do; how the U.S., under Donald Trump, also pulled out unilaterally from a different pact (the Reagan/Gorbachev-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces or INF Treaty); what "suspension" of New START actually means; and how the announcement appears to be yet another desperate attempt by Putin to coerce his way into somehow winning a war of aggression that he appears to be losing in Ukraine, as Russia's unlawful invasion sees its one-year anniversary this week.

To help with all of that today, we're joined by longtime nuclear weapons policy analyst STEPHEN SCHWARTZ who formerly served as Executive Director and Publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. They are the groups who control the notorious "Doomsday Clock". Schwartz, who tweets as @AtomicAnalyst, is also the author of Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940.

"There is no provision in the [New START] treaty for 'suspending' the treaty. You're either in it or not," explains Schwartz. "The suspension is, I guess, a wily way for Putin to get what he wants. Which is, I think, frankly, just an extension of what he's been doing over the last year. This is a nuclear threat by another name."

"It's an effort to frighten the public in the United States, NATO, and Ukraine, into letting let him basically blackmail those countries into letting him do whatever he wants with Ukraine. So he's got this bludgeon --- and it's really the only tool that he has right now --- and he's waving it around until his demands are satisfied."

It doesn't appear to be working. President Joe Biden spoke in Poland yesterday, following a surprise appearance with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Monday. "We’re seeing again today what the people of Poland and the people all across Europe saw for decades: Appetites of the autocrat cannot be appeased," declared Biden to cheers in Warsaw. "They must be opposed."

While taking Putin seriously, Schwartz also sees a larger principle at stake. "The way I see it, and I'm no big fan of war at all, is if we just listen to Putin and say 'You're right, we can't risk nuclear war so we're going to stand back and let you carve up Ukraine however you want. And, hey, if you want to take Belarus and Moldova, who are we to stop you?,' I think that would be a terrible precedent for the rest of the world. Not only with regard to what Russia might do in the future, but other countries that have nuclear weapons or might want them."

"The Biden Administration and NATO have been very careful. If you look at every time Putin has done one of these things, the United States doesn't dismiss it and doesn't panic. They walk down the middle and I think that is the right approach here. We need to show that nuclear weapons are fundamentally useless, not just for prosecuting a war, but also for blackmail."

"We need to isolate Putin in this regard," argues Schwartz. "Otherwise, the future world that we're going to live in, brought to you by nuclear coercion, is going to be far worse than anything we dealt with during the Cold War."

Among the many related matters Schwartz speaks to today: Russia's violation of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, in which Ukraine was guaranteed security and sovereignty after the fall of the Soviet Union in exchange for turning over all nuclear weapons to Russia; The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' recent move of the Doomsday Clock to "90 Seconds to Midnight," the closest it has ever been to proverbial "Midnight". Is the world really closer to "Doomsday" now than it was at the height of the Cold War? We discuss all of that and much more on today's very informative program...

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Also: 'Doomsday Clock' ticked forward; Opposing war and supporting Ukraine; And, 'Russia, please!'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/26/2023 6:44pm PT  

There's a reason I always warn, when reporting election results on The BradCast, that they have only been tallied by computers to date, and that errors in results often do not come to light until days, weeks or even months after elections...if ever. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

BUT FIRST UP TODAY... Some thoughts on the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists' 'Doomsday Clock' which was, this week, ticked forward from '100 Seconds until Midnight' to just '90 Seconds until Midnight.' The main reason for the move, the first since 2020, as explained by The Bulletin, whose esteemed scientists, diplomats and Nobel Laureates take such decisions quite seriously, is thanks to "Russia's war on Ukraine," its "thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons," and for "violating international protocols and risking widespread release of radioactive materials" in bringing "its war to the Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactor sites."

In response to the metaphorical clock --- first unveiled at the dawn of the Cold War in 1947 --- being moved closer than ever to a proverbial 'midnight', when humanity destroys itself, a Kremlin spokesperson said Wednesday that the move was "really alarming." (Really? You were "alarmed" by this, Russia? Really?!)

That, on the same day that the U.S. and nearly a dozen European countries finally agreed to send modern battle tanks to Ukraine so the sovereign former Soviet nation can better defend itself from the grotesque, ongoing, hostile invasion by it's empirical neighbor.

We take the opportunity today to explain why --- amid our years of (continuing) anti-war advocacy --- we, nonetheless, support Ukraine's right to defend itself against Russia's war crimes; agree with critical support being supplied by fellow democratic nations against an autocratic invader; and how we see many of those on the supposed Left in the U.S. that are echoing Kremlin propaganda by, among other things, demanding Ukraine declare a ceasefire and negotiate with their invaders, have been unhelpfully (and wildly) misled.

THEN... Yes, we likely drive regular listeners crazy when reporting results after elections and offering the caveat, over and over again, that reported results in the immediate aftermath are wholly unverified and only tallied by computers --- either correctly or incorrectly --- and that there is no way to know for certain either way unless and until results of hand-marked paper ballots are examined by actual human beings.

Last week, more than two months since the November midterm elections, we finally learned that a computer tabulator mistallied some of the results in Monmouth County, New Jersey. The error appears to have resulted in at least one loser being named as the winner in a School Board race in Ocean Township. After a probe into "an unrelated issue" caused the County's Board of Elections to notice potential problems in the tallies, an investigation reportedly found errors in six voting districts across four municipalities.

One candidate named as a loser after November 8 last year appears to have won his race by a single vote after results were correctly re-tallied. But a bunch of races had been mistallied originally thanks to results from at least one precinct being uploaded more than once to the Election Management System's central tabulator from a USB memory stick.

While there is no evidence of nefariousness in the matter, a spokesperson from the County's private election vendor, ES&S (the nation's largest), attempted to downplay what happened as "a human procedural error". But the fact that it is even possible to upload the same results more than once without a system warning is disturbing. Longtime election and voting system experts have expressed horror at the problem, if not surprise, given the woeful state of NJ's post-election audit protocols and the nature of proprietary computerized voting system software.

Since the problem has come to light, one state lawmaker has called for passage of a measure that would mandate Open Source software on all voting and tabulation systems in the Garden State, along with the use of paper ballots at polling places. I explain today why Open Source systems (while a fine idea if we must tally ballots with computers) is no panacea, and why the state Senator's call for "paper ballots" --- as opposed to HAND-MARKED paper ballots --- will likely ensure that 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems, still shamefully used across most of the state at the polls on Election Day, will continue to undermine confidence in NJ elections.

FINALLY... Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with a spate of troubling new studies on the deteriorating state of our climate, but also with a number of stories detailing some good news, of late, in response to it!

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On climate, natural gas, 'junk fees' and other substantive issues worth knowing about ahead of our critical midterm elections...
By Brad Friedman on 10/27/2022 6:18pm PT  

The element of surprise plays a central role in several of the stories covered on today's BradCast.

Among them...

  • SURPRISE! Natural gas prices actually went negative (companies paying to give it away) in parts of Europe this week, as the EU now has a glut of natural gas with Winter approaching and storage facilities reaching capacity. That's particularly surprising after earlier concerns earlier this year that folks could freeze to death after Russia's Vladimir Putin cut off much of its supply in retaliation for sanctions against his brutal invasion of Ukraine. So, why the glut? Several reasons: EU nations scrambled to make up for the gas cut off by Putin with sources from elsewhere while also working toward a quicker transition to renewable sources of energy. Also, mild, climate changed weather in the region has eased demand so far this Autumn.
  • SURPRISE! The price of natural gas in parts of west Texas also plummeted to nearly zero recently, thanks to over-production and a lack of storage there as well. All of which is "surprising", if only because Republicans have been telling (lying to) Americans that Joe Biden had crippled fossil fuel energy production in the U.S. (he hasn't), which has lead to increased prices...which is actually largely due to price gouging that every Republican in Congress recently voted against prohibiting.
  • SURPRISE! Russia's war in Ukraine is hastening, not slowing, a global shift away from fossil fuels and towards cleaner, renewable energy sources like wind, solar and EV's, according to a new International Energy Agency (IAE) report on Thursday. Global investment in renewable sources is quickly rising, as nations seek energy security in response to Putin's war and in hopes of improving their economies by grabbing a chunk of the trillions of dollars being spent on development and manufacturing in the burgeoning clean energy industry. Nonetheless, while the shift will reportedly result in peak fossil fuel usage by 2025, the current pace of the transition is still nowhere near what climate scientists say is necessary to avoid the worst impacts of global warming.
  • SURPRISE (FEES)! The Biden Administration's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced on Wednesday that it is cracking down on unlawful corporate junk fees --- for checks you deposit at your bank from someone which ends up bouncing; for changing plane tickets after an airline cancelled your flight, etc. --- amounting to billions of dollars in savings for American consumers. The President's announcement at the White House on Wednesday comes just days after three Trump-appointees on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with part of a lawsuit from the sleazy Payday Lending Industry lobby charging that the funding mechanism for the CFPB --- created during the Obama Administration in response to the Great Recession as the only federal agency created to protect consumers rather than corporations --- was somehow unconstitutional. And after Biden's announcement to end junk fees, Republicans in both the House and Senate released statements vowing to end the new consumer protections...which will be much easier for them to do if they win majorities in either chamber in the November midterms.
  • SURPRISE (NOT)! After Amazon indignantly pretended to cut off political donations to Republicans who voted against certifying Joe Biden's Electoral College victory after the January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection, the monopolistic retailer apparently restarted them...just as soon as the nation's next major election got under way.
  • Finally, it's no surprise that Desi Doyen has both good news and bad in our latest Green News Report, as drought deepens across the U.S.., the U.N. warns about catastrophic consequences of climate change; Australia builds a really really big battery; and as the Biden Administration rolls out a national fleet electric school buses...

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Guest: 30-year Leon County, FL elections chief Ion Sancho; Also: 'Fun' with COVID shots; Enraged Putin unleashes new war crimes on Ukraine civilians; GOP election deniers on 2022 ballot from coast to coast...
By Brad Friedman on 10/10/2022 6:24pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It has been nearly two weeks since Hurricane Ian slammed the great state of Florida, leaving behind a swath of destruction across much of the state. Midterm elections, meanwhile, are now just 4 weeks away, but FL's chief elections official --- its Governor, Ron DeSantis --- has yet to approve a plan for how to carry them out amid the rubble. [Audio file to full program follows this summary.]

Last week, Tommy Doyle, Supervisor of Elections in Lee County, home to Fort Myers, the hardest hit part of the state, released a proposal to extend early voting at 12 sites, turning them into Voting Centers where anyone in the County can vote from October 24 through Election Day on November 8. That, in place of the County's normal 97 community precincts, many of which were blown entirely away by Hurricane Ian.

But, according to our guest today, DeSantis has yet to respond to Doyle's proposal, despite the fact that much of the country is already voting in the critical midterms, while many Florida residents do not even have a mailbox left to send vote-by-mail ballots to. Furthermore, as our guest today --- a legendary former Election Supervisor in FL's Leon County (which includes the state capital of Tallahassee) --- notes, allowing the expansion of early voting and use of Voting Centers is now illegal in the state, despite a similar plan to hold elections carried out just after Hurricane Michael in 2018.

The great ION SANCHO, who retired in 2016 after nearly 30 years as Leon County's elections chief, joins us today to detail the very serious --- I would say, critical --- mess the state is currently in when it comes to carrying out the upcoming midterms. DeSantis, a Republican, happens to be running for re-election this year against the Democratic nominee, former Governor Charlie Crist. There is also a very tight race between incumbent GOP Senator Marco Rubio and his Democratic challenger Rep. Val Demings.

Sancho notes that Hurricane Michael, which made landfall in a rural area of the state's panhandle, ended up decreasing turnout there by about 8% in 2018. But Ian hit one of the state's most densely populated areas. "It's a terrible situation," Sancho tells us, describing how "most of the precinct sites have been destroyed." Supervisor Doyle, he explains, has plans to run Voting Centers in Lee County "all the way through Election Day with expanded hours, which is illegal in Florida. You may not have early voting, for example, or a Vote Center open on Monday, or on Election Day."

Many of these problems come thanks to the state GOP's newly discovered hatred for absentee voting and other restrictions on voting passed after 2020 to make it more difficult to do so. Many of the suggestions for how to carry out the elections after Ian are the same as those carried out after an order signed by Gov. Rick Scott following Michael. But now, says Sancho, "we are all on pins and needles. Governor Scott issued his executive order giving the Supervisor of Elections expanded authority to deal with his voters eight days after the hurricane hit. We are now on Day 12 and Governor DeSantis has not told any Supervisor anything."

There are also political considerations likely in play for DeSantis. "He's in a pickle. He needs to provide expanded voting access, and that is made more critical by the fact that the areas that were hit were 2-to-1 Republican over Democrat," Sancho says. "The best that we can hope for is he gives the Supervisor of Elections the same kind of flexibility as Governor Scott gave the Supervisors in the Panhandle to deal with Michael. But [DeSantis] may be loathe to do that because it means he has to recant some of the things that he did this past legislative session."

It's not only Lee County where election plans have been rocked, Sancho explains. "I would count at least 9 counties. It caused a swath of destruction across the state. This is a huge number of voters." Nonetheless, early voting is supposedto begin in the Sunshine State in just two weeks. Whether that can happen remains anyone's guess at this hour. Tune in today for much more on this.

Also on today's show...

  • We got our latest COVID boosters on Friday (and Flu shots along with them, just to up the ante.) How did they go? Tune in to find out. Suffice to say, my experience was, once again, very different from Desi's. But, if you haven't gotten a COVID shot lately, now is not a moment too soon to protect yourself and everyone else from the likely autumn/winter surge.
  • An explosion on the only bridge between Russian-annexed Crimea and the Russian mainland collapsed a portion of it over the weekend, and Russia's main military supply line to its war of aggression against sovereign Ukraine in the south along with it. In response today, Russia's Vladimir Putin doubled down on his many war crimes to date by launching another massive missile strike against nearly a dozen densely populated civilian areas, include Kyiv, Ukraine's capital.
  • Finally, from the war between autocracy and democracy oversees, to the same (if, so far, less bloody) conflict here at home. If they are Republican and on the 2022 ballot, chances are they are a denier of Joe Biden's 2020 Presidential election victory and/or will vote against certification of the next Presidential election if a Democrat is established once again to be the legitimate winner. Many GOP candidates across the country have been shifting their public positions on Trump's evidence-free claims of a stolen 2020 election following the primaries, in hopes of trying to fool more mainstream general election voters. But, don't be fooled. Some, like Mark Finchem, Arizona's GOP nominee for Secretary of State nominee, even claims to be an opponent now of vote-by-mail. ("I don't care for mail-in voting. That's why I go to the polls," he lied at a recent debate, before a public records search revealed last week that he has voted by mail in every election since 2004, and only voted in person this year for the first time since then.)

    A Washington Post analysis last week found "A majority of Republican nominees on the ballot this November for the House, Senate and key statewide offices" are, in fact, election deniers and "running in every region of the country and in nearly every state. Republican voters in three states nominated election deniers in all federal and statewide races The Post examined." That includes critical roles --- such as Governors and Secretaries of State --- responsible for certifying the 2024 Presidential election. We share some of the evidence of those lying, dishonest candidates and their deceptively shifting position presented a threat to American democracy, on today's program...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Callers ring in on whatever the hell may or may not be going on...
By Brad Friedman on 9/12/2022 6:01pm PT  

We haven't been able to open the phones to listeners for a few weeks on The BradCast, so today we do. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

First up, however, the latest news on the stunning turn of events over the weekend in Ukraine, where its forces retook scores of cities that Russia had previously captured in the Kharkiv region in the northeast. Russian troops were apparently sent scrambling to avoid being cut off from their supply lines. They left behind weaponry and ammo as they beat a hasty retreat back to the Donbas region in the south in the wake of the surprise counteroffensive.

Moscow continues to pretend nothing happened at all. But even pro-war Russians appear to be furious about it all and could reportedly be turning on Russian President Vladimir Putin. He spent the weekend presiding over the opening of a new Ferris wheel and sports arena, as Ukrainian troops recaptured about 1,160 square miles of territory and are now said to be within about 30 miles from the Russian border.

At the same time, power from the nation's electric grid has --- at least for now --- been restored at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, one of the largest in Europe. It was taken over by Russia earlier in the war and power was recently cut off due to nearby shelling (both sides blame the other for it.) With grid power now returned, risk of catastrophic meltdown has been averted for the moment, though shelling in the region could once again put the plant at risk.

Back here in the U.S., there was a strange occurrence on Sunday when a small plane carrying Donald Trump --- dressed in golf attire, including golf shoes --- showed up at Dulles Airport near D.C. It was only Trump's second visit to the nation's capitol since he left office, and he gave no clue or statement on social media that he was going, nor why he was there, in what appears to be a hastily planned visit.

We share some irresponsible (if amusing) speculation from some top Trump Watchers about what the hell might be going on, before opening the phones today to listeners on all of the above and/or anything else they care to talk about.

So, yeah, that led to another lively --- and occasionally bizarre --- show today. Enjoy!...

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Guest: George Beebe of the Quincy Inst. for Responsible Statecraft...
By Brad Friedman on 8/2/2022 5:58pm PT  

While voters were at the polls for primary elections in six states (Arizona, Kansas, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri and Washington) on Tuesday, we take the moment to turn to foreign affairs for a hot minute on today's BradCast.

Happily, few problems were reported for voters at the polls in those six states --- at least that we could find so far today --- beyond another predictable failure of electronic poll books, this time across Mohave County, AZ, for about six hours when polls opened. More issues may reveal themselves before tomorrow, or thereafter, of course. Meanwhile, there are a whole bunch of far-right, Trump-backed, 2020 election deniers on the ballot today, with several running for critical offices such as Governor, Sec. of State and the U.S. Senate. All of which, if those candidates win on Tuesday and again this November, could cause very serious problems for democracy itself in 2024. We'll pick all of that up on tomorrow's show, with whatever noteworthy reported results may be available by then.

But today, we had the opportunity circle back to Russia's ongoing war with it's sovereign neighbor Ukraine, now entering it's sixth horrific month following Russia's invasion on February 24. If you follow most Western media, Ukraine's military is making valiant if deadly headway in pushing back at over-extended and exhausted Russian troops in the South, while Russia presses its offensive in the East.

If you follow Kremlin-controlled media, this is a war special military operation that can never be won by Ukraine, and continues to threaten expansion into a global conflict, including the use of nuclear weapons, as Russia takes great pains to note --- on an alarmingly regular basis.

But, it's not only Russian-controlled media suggesting the war is ultimately unwinnable for Ukraine. A number of foreign policy-centered Western media outlets and think-tanks have long argued similarly in a push for peace talks and a ceasefire in the now war-torn nation of Ukraine.

There was some good news this week, in that an agreement brokered by Turkey and the U.N. between the two warring nations last month has resulted in ships carrying Ukrainian grain finally able to leave port to deliver food around the world. Russian ships will also be allowed to do so through safe corridors established amid mined waters in the Black Sea. If the agreement holds, millions of tons of grain and other agricultural products will finally be able to flow from "the breadbasket of Europe" to help ease rising global food prices and the threat of hunger and political instability in developing nations.

The first ship to leave port on Monday was "loaded with two commodities in short supply: corn and hope," as U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described it. Beyond that, there is not much to be hopeful about in the protracted conflict.

Writing at The National Interest over the weekend, veteran foreign policy experts and former U.S. National Security officials Steven Simon and Jonathon Stevenson made the case for diplomacy. They called on the U.S. to help encourage a negotiated settlement by making clear to Ukraine that "Neither side can fulfill its maximal war aims" and they must find opportunities for peace talks and, if possible, a cessation of hostilities, despite Vladimir Putin's apparent disinclination to negotiate.

"It is well and good for the United States and its NATO allies to keep arming Ukraine. But it is also time to encourage both sides to start exploring possibilities for a political solution before escalation puts diplomacy even farther from reach," the pair conclude. "And unless the United States and NATO condition military assistance on Ukraine’s constructive political engagement, they will lack the leverage to work effectively towards a stable objective."

But is such a demand appropriate or even possible under the current conditions in the war torn nation? Isn't it up to Ukraine --- which has lost so much in blood, treasure and sovereign territory --- not the U.S. or NATO, to decide when and if Ukraine is ready to negotiate an end to the war?

Those are just some of the difficult and nuanced questions we discuss with our guest today, GEORGE BEEBE, Director of Grand Strategy (yes, I know, an ominous sounding title!) at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, one of our go-to think-tanks for smart, no-nonsense foreign policy solutions.

Beebe's is the author of 2019's The Russia Trap: How Our Shadow War with Russia Could Spiral into Nuclear Catastrophe. He served over two decades in the U.S. government as an intelligence analyst, diplomat, and policy advisor, including as director of the CIA’s Russia analysis and as an advisor on Russia to Vice President Dick Cheney. (Yes, we discuss both of those ominous matters --- his work with the CIA and for Cheney --- as well!)

Among the questions and issues Beebe speaks to today: His concern that there is no real exit plan for our current strategy, not unlike the lack of a U.S. plan when we launched the Iraq War in 2003; Is it true that there is no way for Ukraine to "win" this war? That the only way is via diplomacy?; Should it be up to the U.S. and NATO, who are supplying much-needed armaments to help Ukraine defend itself, to decide when Ukraine should negotiate towards a settlement? Or should that remain Ukraine's sole decision?; Does Russia even have an interest in negotiations?; What should we learn from their repeated reminders that a continuation of the war could lead to a potentially nuclear expansion?; And, since it's actually a somewhat related matter, what does Beebe make of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's controversial visit on Tuesday to Taiwan, and what effect is that likely to have on the Russia/Ukraine conflict?

"This is a very complex issue," Beebe tells me on the matter of the United States' own culpability in the matter. "Most foreign policy issues don't have single factor origins. They're usually the result of a confluence of different forces. What's happened in Russia's invasion of Ukraine is that it is the culmination of a series of developments, missteps on the part of a lot of different players over time, that all contributed to the situation that we're facing today."

"That doesn't excuse the Russians and it doesn't excuse Putin from making the choice to invade Ukraine. I think he is fully responsible for that choice, regardless of what preceded it. It didn't have to happen," he argues. But "Russia certainly has what I regard as understandable security concerns...That doesn't mean that the invasion was justified [or] that the manner in which this operation was carried out was at all justifiable."

"But I also would not say that Putin simply woke up in February and said, 'Hey, I would like to invade Ukraine.' There was a lot that went into shaping that decision, and I think a lot of blame on both the Russian and the Western sides."

As you can tell, there is much to discuss and try to make sense of with the Director of Grand Strategy at the Quincy Institute today. I hope you'll tune in for it!

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us today for our latest Green News Report, with more on the potentially "game changing" compromise bill hashed out by Senator Joe Manchin with Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer last week, to invest an historic $370 billion in incentives to help us move from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy in hopes of mitigating our worsening climate emergency; And, on the latest deadly costs of that ongoing emergency across the U.S., as Big Oil --- whose product, and decades of lies about it, are at the heart of the crisis --- declare their most profitable quarter in history...

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Callers respond on Kremlin talking points echoed by some on the Left, and on why Americans support Biden's Ukraine policies while disapproving of his policy on Ukraine. (You read that right.)
By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2022 5:51pm PT  

We had a very lively call-in show today on The BradCast, as we stacked the deck with folks who disagree with me, in response to my calling out those, particularly on the (supposed) Left, for forwarding Kremlin propaganda (including at on our own flagship station, KPFK, here in Los Angeles), over our public airwaves, amid Russia's deadly and grotesque war and war crimes against Ukraine. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Before we get to that and to a bunch of callers on that topic...The midterm primary season gets under way in earnest this week --- with Ohio and Indiana voters holding Election Day tomorrow. So, we've got a few quick words on that, and on the gerrymandered U.S. House District map that Republicans have managed to keep in play this year, even though it was found --- four times to date! --- to be in violation of the Ohio state Constitution by its state Supreme Court. But, as we discussed in detail last week, the GOP's packed federal courts allowed the even more gerrymandered map drawn after 2010 to be used once again in this year's election, as Ohio's GOP-majority Redistricting Commission purposely ran out the clock on drawing new legal maps following the 2020 Census.

Then, it's on to our main topic: Namely, Russia's ongoing military invasion of its sovereign neighbor and the propaganda help Vladimir Putin is getting from some on the far-Left in this country who are lying and/or misinformed about it all. Hopefully, via at least some of the calls from listeners today, we straighten out at least some of what happens to be Kremlin propaganda and what is not.

It remains unclear some on the Left --- who claim to be anti-war (like us), who were critical of the U.S. when we were the empire invading a sovereign nation (as we were) --- are now having such a difficult time condemning Russia for doing the very same thing. Our anti-war position has been both accurate and consistent. As you'll hear on today's program, at least a few of our listeners seem to have a problem with that sort of consistency, choosing to blame the U.S. for Russia's war.

Today's lively conversation also comes as new polling from WaPo/ABC finds huge, bipartisan majorities of Americans support Joe Biden's actions in Ukraine, including his vow to keep American troops out of the conflict, sanctions against Russia; and sending defensive weaponry, humanitarian and economic aid to Ukraine. Despite that, in the very same poll, only a minority of Americans say they support Joe Biden's actions in Ukraine! Ya know, the same ones they previously said in the very same poll that they supported. Seriously. So, what's going on here? We open the phones to callers to try and help us understand that puzzle as well today.

Among the lively calls, several who try to forward more Russia propaganda on Ukraine (it didn't go well), and one who seemed disappointed, oddly enough, that the U.S. was trying to stay out of the direct conflict in hopes of avoiding a nuclear World War III.

As noted...a lively, but also kinda crazy program today with a lot of callers both fun and "fun". So we expect you may enjoy it!...Or you won't...

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Guest: Political scientist, international relations Prof. Nicholas Grossman of Univ. of IL; Also: EU to embargo Russian oil; USPS sued to block new gas-guzzling truck contract; More bad news for Trump in NY...
By Brad Friedman on 4/29/2022 5:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Putin's war in Ukraine continues, as do fears that it could expand into a nuclear World War III. That has led some on the anti-war Left to demand the U.S. and EU spend more energy pushing for a diplomatic solution rather than sending more deadly arms to Ukraine to help it defend itself. But that, according to our guest today, is a false choice. [Audio link to full show is posted after this summary below.]

First up, after recently cutting off the purchase of coal from Russia, the European Union is reportedly now prepared to embargo oil purchases as well. That's good news for Ukraine, very bad news for Russia, but also potentially bad news for American consumers as the global price of oil is likely to further spike as Big Oil CEOs in the U.S. continue to rake in record profits rather than increase production or lower gas prices at the pump. We discuss.

In not entirely unrelated news, as EarthJustice senior attorney Adrian Martinez vowed on this program back in February, his organization along with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the United Auto Workers (UAW), 16 states and the District of Columbia are now now suing the U.S. Postal Service to block its purchase of nearly 150,000 new gas-guzzling mail delivery trucks. The $11.3 billion contract, carried out by corrupt Donald Trump's corrupt Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, is unlawful on several bases, they argue. Most notably, the USPS failed to do an environmental impact study, in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act, until after inking their deal with Wisconsin defense contractor, Oshkosh Defense, to build the trucks.

The new gas-powered vehicles are designed to get just 8.6 mpg, barely more than the 30-year old trucks they're replacing and, to make matters worse, will be built in a new non-union facility in South Carolina, rather than the company's union shop in Wisconsin. “Once this purchase goes through, we’ll be stuck with more than 100,000 new gas-guzzling vehicles on neighborhood streets for the next 30 years," California's Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement.

The states and the environmental groups --- with the support of the EPA and White House --- are hoping to move the USPS to deploy an all-electric fleet instead. Transportation is the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., and the postal fleet's 217,000 trucks is the largest share of the government's nonmilitary vehicles. Federal regulators estimate the new trucks will emit roughly the same amount of Earth-warming carbon dioxide each year as 4.3 million passenger vehicles.

Next, as Russia regroups in the east and south of Ukraine to prepare their next offensive, we're joined today by NICHOLAS GROSSMAN, international relations professor and political scientist at the University of Illinois. He's also Senior Editor at Arc Digital and author of Drones and Terrorism: Asymmetric Warfare and the Threat to Global Security.

This week, Grossman wrote a piece at The Daily Beast, responding to recent commentary from liberal academic icon and anti-war advocate Noam Chomsky, who is critical of the U.S. and NATO for continuing to supply Ukraine with weapons of war, rather than demand negotiations toward peace. As Chomsky argued, while sympathetic with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's position, increased arming of the beseiged nation fails to "pay attention to the reality of the world," which, without conceding to Russian demands via negotiations, will result in "the destruction of Ukraine and nuclear war."

But Grossman argues that's a false choice and that arming Ukraine is, in fact, at least right now, the best path to peace. "Even just framing it as diplomacy or war is a mistake," Grossman responds today, "in that war and diplomacy are not alternatives that go together. Just about every war ends with some sort of negotiated solution. Ukraine was willing to meet with Russia and did offer some concessions and those weren't enough. But, also, the actions on the ground are in effect a negotiation."

"The way that a lot of political science treats war is to think of it as a bargaining process. You have these two sides, Russia and Ukraine. Russia wants something and Ukraine really doesn't want to give it. And Russia's willing to kill to try to get it, and Ukraine is willing to kill to try to not give it. As long as that's the case, then the two of them don't actually know what they can force the other to accept. And so the war itself, the actual fighting, is to some extent a negotiating process. It is the fighting on the ground that is pushing both sides to figure out what exactly they can force the other one to accept."

"There will be peace," Grossman insists, "but the peace is going to look like many possible different things. One option is a peace where Ukraine is independent. Another option is where Ukraine is subjugated by Russia. Both of those are technically peace. But the Chomsky argument seems to be pushing more for the peace with Ukraine bowing down before Russia. And the problem with that is the Ukrainians don't want to, and there's nothing American can do to make them do it. So the action of 'Hey, we could have this option of getting them to sit down and then work it out and there would be peace, but instead we're not doing that, we're just causing war', just misunderstands that."

"As long as Russia and Ukraine want to fight, they're going to fight, and the United States can't stop that. So our choice is leave the Ukrainians on their own, or help them as they try to fight for independence."

There is, of course, much more to discuss with Grossman, including Chomsky's concerns (and many others'!) that this all leads to the use of nuclear weapons by Russia, as well as his thoughts on those who claim to be anti-war while blaming the U.S. for Russia's aggression. Please tune in for our very insightful and informative discussion today.

Finally, we close with some brighter news. A judge in New York has refused to end the $10,000/day fines levied against Donald Trump earlier this week, after the disgraced former President was found in contempt for failing to adequately respond to document subpoenas from New York state Attorney General Letitia James. Her civil probe into alleged "fraudulent" financial statements by Trump --- inflating or deflating his net worth as part of an alleged years-long bank, tax and insurance fraud scheme by Trump, his company and perhaps his children Ivanka, Don Jr. and Eric --- is continuing toward a potential lawsuit. The Manhattan District Attorney is supposedly reviewing similar matters in consideration of criminal charges. Today, Judge Arthur Engoron denied Trump's motion to purge the contempt ruling (and the daily fines that go with it) after Trump submitted a one-page affidavit claiming he did not have any of the documents sought by James. He failed to explain who did or what he did to search for them.

"Mr. Trump's two-paragraph affidavit adds no useful information to the mix," said James before Engoron's decision today. "Mr. Trump merely states off the top of his head, with no hint that he conducted any type of search, that he has no documents in response to the December 2021 subpoena in his 'personal possession.'"

"It is simply not plausible that Mr. Trump authored only three documents dealing with the value of his assets and his wealth," the state AG wrote. The fines will continue to mount for now, as James' office makes their final determination as to whether or not to formally charge the former President in the coming weeks...

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Guests: Susan Greenhalgh of Free Speech for People; Ian Patton of Long Beach Reform Coalition; Also: Atrocities in Ukraine, in the U.S. and why protecting democracy remains more important than ever...
By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2022 6:59pm PT  

We all woke up to atrocities on Sunday. In Ukraine and in Sacramento, California. Russian war crimes in Europe and another mass shooting in the U.S. On today's BradCast, we detail the atrocities in both places before turning to the fight for the only thing that still has a chance of stopping them: democracy. But we can't have democracy without voting systems the public can oversee, and that remains a huge problem, even in our own home county of Los Angeles. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up, some of the newly revealed, gruesome details and evidence of war crimes allegedly committed by fleeing Russian troops against Ukrainian civilians in newly liberated towns, villages and suburbs outside of Kyiv. Despite being witnessed by independent journalists and catalogued by outside watchdogs like Human Rights Watch, which describes some of the crimes as "unspeakable, deliberate cruelty and violence against Ukrainian citizens," including "rape, murder, and other violent acts," the Russian Government contends the charges are "fake" and little more than "stage-managed anti-Russian provocation." In response on Monday, President Biden reiterated his belief that Vladimir Putin is a "war criminal."

The gruesome body count in the U.S. also continued to mount over the weekend, as another mass shooting, this time in downtown Sacramento, left six dead and more than a dozen injured after "at least fifty rounds" were "fired right into the crowd" with high-powered weaponry during bustling Saturday night revelry, according to an eyewitness. That, just one day after Georgia's legislature passed a new law allowing concealed weapons to be carried pretty much anywhere without the need for a license. They are the 23rd state to do so. Our gun violence epidemic is getting worse, not better, as Republicans refuse to allow any action that might lessen America's shamefully continuing scourge.

But tyranny is not going to defeat itself. Not in Ukraine. Not in the U.S. To that end, we remain vigilant in our efforts to help the public try and oversee this year's critical mid-term elections. Unfortunately, problems with our un-overseeable and unverifiable voting systems continue into yet another election year in so-called "red" and "blue" states alike. While the GOP is actively undermining democracy with new voter suppression laws in "red" states, vulnerable electronic voting and tabulation systems remain a huge problem across the nation.

Back in 2020, Los Angeles County deployed a new, unverifiable touchscreen voting system called "Voting Solutions for All People" (or, VSAP) across the nation's most populous voting jurisdiction. Some ten years in development by the County's Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan, the new touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) failed spectacularly in that year's Super Tuesday Presidential Primary, leading to long lines and questions about the results. The VSAP system had been conditionally certified by the Secretary of State just weeks before their first county-wide use, after state testing discovered about 30 different violations of California Voting System Standards.

The County was required to correct the violations detailed in the Conditional Certification in the months following the election, though they failed to do so in many cases --- for years. Now, the County is seeking state certification of VSAP v3.0 but, according to our guests today, has still failed to correct a number of critical security issues that failed more than two years ago.

We're joined today to discuss these concerns in advance of California's June 7th mid-term primary elections by SUSAN GREENHALGH, Senior Advisor on Election Security at the non-profit Free Speech for People and by IAN PATTON of the Long Beach Reform Coalition (he is also now running for the Long Beach City Council). Both recently wrote a letter [PDF] to California Sec. of State Dr. Shirley Weber, detailing uncorrected security issues in the VSAP system and urging her to force L.A. County to fix them before issuing certification to the newly updated voting and counting system yet again.

We invited L.A. County's Registrar Dean Logan --- the VSAP system is his brainchild --- to join us as well, after his office recently described Greenhalgh's public testimony on her concerns about certification for VSAP 3.0 as "mis- and disinformation". In declining to join us today, Logan once again accused Greenhalgh and Patton of "mis-stating facts" and took a swipe at the election integrity advocates by smearing them as if they were part of Donald Trump's mob of conspiracists offering evidence-free claims of fraud since his loss in 2020. Logan charged the documented concerns detailed in Greenhalgh and Patton's memo to the Secretary "contributes to further the false narrative about elections integrity and transparency that is pervading the country."

For her part, Greenhalgh has been an expert in elections security, integrity and transparency for decades. Patton had represented the Long Beach Reform Coalition in a lawsuit against the VSAP systems long before Trump's 2020 sore loser act, when a ballot initiative in Long Beach failed by just 16 votes. After the Coalition raised tens of thousands of dollars to pay for a recount of that initiative, they were informed by Logan that the price would, in fact, be hundreds of thousands of dollars instead-- to count just a few thousand votes. The reason, as we reported at the time, is that the new VSAP system is deployed at Voting Centers across the County, which have replaced community precincts. That means that Long Beach voters may vote at any Voting Center in the County, where more than 4 million cast ballots in 2020. Logan attempted to charge the Coalition for the hours and hours it would have taken the county to cull through some 4 million ballots (computer-marked by VSAP and hand-marked by mail voters) in order to find the ones cast by Long Beach voters at any of the hundreds of Voting Centers in the County. Of course, this is just another problem with the Voting Center model, particularly in large counties like L.A. The ballot initiative that is said to have passed by 16 votes never did receive a hand recount to make sure the results were accurate.

Greenhalgh details the security vulnerabilities that remain in the VSAP system, despite state requirements that they be corrected by last year. She was also surprised to hear that Logan claimed in his email to us that "the VSAP 3.0 upgrade is over and it has been approved by the Secretary of State."

"I'm disappointed that the Secretary is not taking further action to enforce these requirements, to really require LA County to meet them," she tells us. "Also it hasn't been updated on the website, that it's already been approved. That's not public information yet." We'll just take Logan's word for it, I guess.

For his part, Patton explains the aborted recount effort in Long Beach ("I'm not a conspiracy theorist in any way," he notes. "We have never alleged a rigged election. We were just talking about the facts. The facts are this was an extremely close election, and we were just not allowed to have a hand count."); the fact that L.A.'s $300 million voting system was promised to be the nation's first open source system (but has yet to disclose any of its source code); and whether he feels confident that his election for City Council this year will be accurately tallied under the still-unverifiable and virtually unrecountable new systems.

"We can speak very factually and say that vulnerabilities don't equate to a stolen election," Greenhalgh asserts, before describing Logan's smears as "extremely disheartening." She described the comments as "a new low to hear somebody try to smear and tar real serious questions, real serious issues that need to be addressed. We still have serious security issues in our election systems that need to be fixed. We all need to pull together to fix them. And if we are having election officials refuse to address those problems by dismissing them improperly as mis- and dis-information, there's two problems with that: We're not going to actually fix the problems, but also we have a crisis of confidence in our election system right now. And when somebody in a position of power says something that is pretty easily proven to be false....they're not going to have a lot of confidence in his ability to run an election. And we can't afford that. He needs to be honest."

Logan never did cite any specific claims from Greenhalgh and Patton's concerns that he believed to be misinformation, despite my repeated query. He has a standing invitation to join us on the show any time to do so. Hiding behind false claims by rightwingers of "stolen elections" is unbecoming of a public official, particularly when the very specific concerns in question are legitimate and publicly well-documented.

There is much more discussed about all of this on today's show, and the concerns about similarly unverifiable touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices now in use across the country, along with the similarly problematic Voting Center model replacing community precincts in other counties and states.

California's primary this year is on June 7th. Cross your fingers that things work out. Good luck even being able to figure out afterward is they did or didn't...

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