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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, May 6, 2021
Fraud and Death Throes at the NRA: 'BradCast' 5/5/21
Guest: NRA expert, author Igor Volsky of Guns Down America; Also: Minors held at border down 90%, media downplays; Trump still grifting tax-payer money via Secret Service detail for kids...
FL's New Anti-Voting Bill Also Threatens Officials with $25K Fines: 'BradCast' 5/4/21
Guest: Former FL voting chief Ion Sancho; Also: L.A. County has zero COVID deaths two days in row as CA numbers plummet...
'Green News Report' 5/4/21
  w/ Brad & Desi
Biden makes history with climate-focused Congressional address; New report finds reduction of methane crucial for climate; PLUS: WA State adopts landmark cap and trade law...
Previous GNRs: 4/27/21 - 4/22/21 - Archives...
How Cyber Ninjas' Own Docs Reveal Their Steal in AZ: 'BradCast' 5/3/21
And some truth about 2nd COVID shots; Also: Special election goes poorly for Ds in TX; Musical Marsh family brightens our pandemic; Callers ring in on 2nd shots...
Sunday 'Whopper, Side of Lies' Toons
There's plenty to choose from on the menu, in PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best political toons...
Strong Women Rule!: 'BradCast' 4/30/21
Guest host Nicole Sandler with Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Ruth Bader Ginsberg's co-author Amanda L. Tyler...
With Reaganesque Optimism, Biden's Address Signals End of Reagan Era: 'BradCast' 4/29/21
Special coverage with Salon's Heather Digby Parton, Pro Left Podcast's 'Driftglass'...
Inside the GOP/Cyber Ninja's Maricopa, AZ Audit/Recount: 'BradCast' 4/28/21
Guests: John Brakey of AUDIT USA, Ray Lutz of COPs from inside the 'secret' RW tally and forensic probe of 2.1M 2020 ballots, why so little transparency, and why it all matters...
Dems Must Use Progressive Policies to Shift Political Power: 'BradCast' 4/27/21
Guest: CUNY's Deepak Bhargava; Also: Biden ups fed contractor min. wage to $15/hr; Fox's new 'red meat' lies...
'Green News Report' 4/27/21
New climate targets not enough; GOP's tiny infra-structure proposal; EPA revokes Trump attack on CA emissions rules; PLUS: Fox admits no Biden burger ban...
Grading Joe at 100 Days:
'BradCast' 4/27/21
Also: Biden declares Armenian 'genocide'; SCOTUS takes up guns; DoJ probes KY police; Admin's hunger program; AZ's non-transparent 'recount'; Callers assess Biden...
Sunday 'A Stone of Hope' Toons
PDiddie's latest -- and almost, partially, kind of optimistic (a little) -- collection of the week's best toons...
'Barbaric' SCOTUS Decision Blows Away Precedent on Juvenile Justice, Offers Dark Warning: 'BradCast' 4/23/21
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Biden polling; Young voters hopeful again on future...
'Green News Report' 4/22/21
Biden doubles US emissions targets; EU and Britain accelerate emissions cuts under the Paris Agreement; PLUS: Rep. AOC, Sen. Markey re-introduce the GND...
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: Slate legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Biden soaring in polls, young voters hopeful again about the future...
By Brad Friedman on 4/23/2021 6:27pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, a very ominous sign from the U.S. Supreme Court. Very. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

On Thursday, the Court issued a 6 to 3 opinion in Jones v. Mississippi, which shatters years of established Court precedent that had prevented minors from being charged with life in prison without the possibility of parole in all but the most extraordinary circumstances, and where a judge has specifically made a rare finding that the juvenile's "crimes reflect permanent incorrigibility."

But the ruling by the Court this week --- in a case where a boy, Brett Jones, who had turned 15 days earlier, grew up as "the victim of violence and neglect that he was too young to escape," before snapping and killing one of his abusers just after he had abruptly lost access to the medication he took for mental health issues --- is appalling for a host of reasons.

Not only because, at 31 years old, Jones has since become a reformed, model prisoner in every regard (even the widow of his victim has urged the court for his release); Not only for the 6 to 3 majority decision by all 6 Republicans appointed to the stolen and packed Court; Not only for the opinion itself which will consign more than 1,500 others who committed crimes as children to dying in prison; Not only for the fact that this particular opinion was written for the majority by Justice Brett "What I did when I was young doesn't matter" Kavanaugh (of all people!); Not only for the fact that the decision overturns long-standing, painstaking Court precedents developed over several cases throughout the years; Not only for the fact that the majority simply pretend they did not overturn established legal precedent at all; And not only for the fact that Justice Sotomayor was forced to call the majority out for all of that in the starkest, most savage terms on behalf of the minority (charging the majority "is fooling no one" and "distorts [the precedential cases] beyond recognition", even as she specifically quotes Kavanaugh's very own prior statements on the importance of respecting established legal precedent); But, most troublingly, also for what it may portend in the weeks ahead, much less the years ahead, unless Democrats can quickly, at this point, figure out that they better come to their senses and figure out how to reform the U.S. Supreme Court before we see a boatload of similarly long-held precedents in even more disturbing cases, being completely trashed and overturned by this newly emboldened rightwing Court.

We're joined today by the great MARK JOSEPH STERN, our go-to Supreme Court correspondent from Slate, to discuss not only the Jones v. MS case itself, but what we should glean --- and none of it is good --- from how it has just played out before our eyes, now that the stolen majority on the Court has a full three Donald Trump appointees packed onto it.

As the newly emboldened rightwing activist Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court this week merely pretended precedent didn't exist, by essentially adopting dissenting views from the several cases that created the precedents, a newly emboldened rightwing state Supreme Court majority in Florida did something very similar. Stern also reports on that case, concerning a people's ballot initiative on recreational marijuana in the Sunshine State, which also underscores the long GOP Big Lies that they oppose judicial activism or Big Government tyranny.

With those outrages --- and what they portend for an era of rightwing judicial activism this week --- we also discuss the new proposal by Democrats in the House and Senate to expand SCOTUS from 9 Justices to 13, and the "kick-the-can-down-the-road" bipartisan Presidential Commission empaneled by Joe Biden to "study" the idea of reform for both SCOTUS and the federal judiciary as a whole.

Stern closes with a heads up --- a stark warning, in truth --- as to the big decisions still to come from the Court before the session ends in June, on the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare"); foster care by same-sex couples; and a clearly unconstitutional new abortion law (also out of Mississippi) in light of Thursday's appalling decision in Jones v. MS, which Stern categorizes as both "barbaric" and "one of the most dishonest and cynical decisions in recent memory."

Finally, in hopes of leaving you with some slightly brighter news after such a foreboding, grim report from SCOTUS and Stern, we've got some encouraging new polling numbers for Joe Biden. But, much more importantly, from young people who, for the first time in many years, and in rather substantial (even record) numbers across all races, are beginning to feel hopeful about the future again, as they see government as an ally on issues of poverty, combating climate change and on health care.

Hopefully none of them tune in for the earlier part of today's program...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: SCOTUS expert, author Ian Millhiser; Also: Amazon unionization vote goes down in AL, union cries foul; Biden creates commission to study SCOTUS reform; Everyone loves hating on Cruz and Graham...
By Brad Friedman on 4/9/2021 6:02pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Maybe we've been too quick to say that Republicans no longer have any governing philosophy or legislative agenda. They do. And it's being carried out. Just not be elected officials. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

But first up today, following 'good' news for Alabamians on yesterday's BradCast, as the state's corrupt, lying, homophobic, vote suppressing Republican Sec. of State John Merrill was publicly revealed as the sleazy, cheating, liar that he is (joining a very long line of corrupt, lying, cheating top Republicans in the state, as we break down today), some less good news today for workers in the state.

The unionization vote at Amazon's warehouse in Bessemer, near Birmingham, apparently lost by a nearly two to one margin, after millions were spent in a campaign by the company to scare and misinform its workers. The union is crying foul, charging that the nation's second largest private employer violated labor laws in its campaign to propagandize workers at the facility. They vow to challenge the company's "lies, deception and illegal activities" with the National Labor Relations Board.

"We won’t rest until workers' voices are heard fairly under the law," the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) President railed in a statement on Friday after results were announced, claiming the company illegally interfered with the vote. "When they are, we believe they will be victorious in this historic and critical fight to unionize the first Amazon warehouse in the United States."

For their part, Amazon disputes all of the union's charges, asserting that their "employees heard far more anti-Amazon messages from the union, policymakers, and media outlets than they heard from us." That, even after Amazon posted anti-union messages, literally, inside of bathroom stalls at their Bessemer fulfillment facility and forced workers to sit through hours of seminars on the evils of unionization.

Meanwhile, at the White House today, Joe Biden announced his new Executive Order to form a bi-partisan Presidential Commission to examine potential reform of the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as the federal judiciary overall. The declaration makes good on a 2020 campaign promise in response to calls for expansion of the GOP's stolen and packed Court. A report is expected in six months, following a series of public hearings by the Commission. Of course, any actual reforms to SCOTUS would likely require ending or modifying the Senate filibuster, which Lord Joe Manchin has expressly prohibited at this time.

As our guest notes today, that all works out great for the Republican Party who, at first glance, appear to no longer have any actual party principles, governing philosophy or legislative agenda, beyond suppressing voting rights in order to keep themselves in power.

But that's not actually true, argues our guest, Supreme Court expert IAN MILLHISER, Senior correspondent at Vox.com and author of the new book, The Agenda: How a Republican Supreme Court Is Reshaping America. He details in both the book and his recent New York Times op-ed that the GOP does, in fact, have a legislative agenda. But it's not being carried out by either of the elected branches. "Its agenda lives in the judiciary," he explains, "and especially in the Supreme Court."

Millhiser runs down the extraordinary agenda that activist jurists at SCOTUS have accomplished on behalf of Republicans from 2011 to 2020, and warns there is much more to come as "the Supreme Court is now the locus of policy-making" while GOP lawmakers in Congress have halted the passage of pretty much any actual legislation.

"We are basically at the end of a lost decade in Congress," he tells me. "From 2011 when Republicans took over the House, until 2020 when the pandemic happened and doing nothing really wasn't an option, Congress did a lot of nothing.  They passed the Trump tax bill, but there was very little major legislation enacted." During that same period, however, the Republican-dominated activist SCOTUS was exceedingly busy.

"They severely weakened the Voting Rights Act. They basically dismantled much of our campaign finance law. They permitted states to opt-out of the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court created this new religious liberty doctrine that allows people with religious objections to the law to diminish the rights of other people. They weakened sexual and racial harassment laws. They expanded something called forced arbitration, which allows your boss, or really any company you deal with, to force you to sign away your right to sue them. They undercut public sector unions. They effectively eliminated the President's recess appointments power. They halted Obama's Clean Power Plan," Millhiser summarizes.

He goes on to preview more of what the Court has in store, particularly when it comes to voting rights, noting that this Court has been "attacking democracy in two ways --- by preventing the people in office from governing, and then also by harming the process that we use to pick who our leaders are."

So, how can this mess be turned around? Millhiser warns it's unlikely to be correctly quickly. But, until it can be, Americans must continue to vote in large enough numbers to ensure there are lawmakers in office who actually want to protect democracy rather than destroy it and, ultimately, reform our broken judiciary.

Finally, we leave on a slightly more upbeat note, with more from former Republican House Speaker John Boehner's new book in which describes his own party as "unrecognizable" now; says he was wrong to go along with the impeachment of Bill Clinton; calls out the rightwing media echo chamber for poisoning our politics; blames Donald Trump for sowing "chaos" and inciting the "bloody insurrection on January 6th" by "claim[ing] voter fraud without any evidence", while reserving his greatest contempt for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Why is that a "more upbeat note"? Because it gives us the chance to close today with a new song from national treasure Randy Rainbow about how much America loves to hate on both Senators Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham. Enjoy!...

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Guest: Susan Greenhalgh, Senior Election Security Advisor at Free Speech for People; Also: Officer killed in new U.S. Capitol attack; MLB pulls All-Star game out of GA; Boehner's message for Cruz...
By Brad Friedman on 4/2/2021 7:37pm PT  

We've got another sorry tale on today's BradCast of yet another federal "watchdog" agency clearly captured by the industry corporations that it is supposed to be overseeing and/or regulating. This time, democracy itself is at stake. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But first up today, we had quite a bit of breaking news just before airtime. For a start, the U.S. Capitol was locked down on Friday after two Capitol Police officers were rammed in a violent attack with a vehicle. One of the officers, an 18-year veteran, was killed. The other was said to be "fighting for his life" as of airtime. After ramming the officer, the assailant is said to have "lunged" at officers with a knife and was subsequently shot and killed. The assault was the most serious threat on the Capitol since the Donald Trump-incited insurrection on January 6th, which killed five, including one U.S. Capitol Police officer. Two more officers took their lives in the ensuing days after that attack by Trump supporters attempting to stop Congressional ratification of Joe Biden's 2020 Electoral College victory.

That attack --- and Trump's evidence-free Big Lie about his loss being the result of "fraud" --- continues to reverberate almost three months since the MAGA Mob's assault on U.S. democracy. Last week, Georgia's Republican-dominated state legislature adopted a massive voter suppression bill that will make it more difficult to vote by, among other things, requiring additional forms of ID for mail voting, limiting absentee ballot drop-boxes and early voting hours, and banning the distribution of food or beverages to voters forced to wait hours on line. It would also allow partisan GOP officials to undermine County Boards of Election and even overturn results. The state's Governor, Brian Kemp (R), signed the sweeping bill almost immediately after it passed both chambers of the state legislature in a matter of hours.

This week, after some 70 Black corporate executives spoke out against the transparent attempt to making voting more difficult for minorities in the state, a cascade of other corporate entities --- including Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola, both based in Atlanta --- finally decided to speak out in favor of democracy and against voter suppression. And then, on Friday, shortly before today's show, Major League Baseball announced they will be moving the All-Star Game and MLB Draft, previously set for July in Atlanta, to another state in response to the GOP attack on voting.

And, as Georgia Republicans pushed back on Delta Airlines this week for belatedly standing up for the right to vote, Gov. Kemp took his shot at the company by accusing its CEO of "false attacks" by claiming misleadingly in a statement: "The last time I flew Delta I had to show my ID."

But Kemp, the state's former Sec. of State, certainly knows that flying is a privilege, where voting is a right. He also likely knows that, no, an ID is not required to fly on Delta or any other airline. As clearly explained on the TSA.gov website...

In the event you arrive at the airport without valid identification...you may still be allowed to fly. The TSA officer may ask you to complete an identity verification process which includes collecting information such as your name, current address, and other personal information to confirm your identity. If your identity is confirmed, you will be allowed [to fly].

In the meantime, as to real --- versus imagined or opportunistic and partisan --- threats of fraud in our elections, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), the federal agency tasked with overseeing voting system security standards, is continuing the woeful job it has done since its creation by the Help America Vote Act of 2002. Since its inception, as we have documented at The BRAD BLOG for almost 20 years, the EAC has largely been captured by the private voting system vendors whose systems they are supposed to be testing, overseeing, regulating and certifying as meeting minimal standards.

For years, the EAC has consistently helped mislead the public regarding the dangers of modems inside of computer voting and tabulation systems. The EAC's original Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG), created about 15 years ago, allowed for use of the devices which cybersecurity experts have long warned can be used to introduce malware into systems that could disrupt elections or change results.

In August of 2019, as we detailed on the program at the time with cybsersecurity journalist Kim Zetter, a group of security and voting systems experts discovered "nearly three dozen backend election systems in 10 states connected to the internet over the last year, including some in critical swing states" such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Florida. In January of 2020, almost six months after Zetter's exclusive and disturbing report, Cynthia McFadden followed up with her own report at NBC News, in which, despite federal officials repeatedly and falsely declaring that "U.S. voting systems are never connected to the Internet," the President of the nation's largest vendor, Elections Systems and Software, Inc. (ES&S), conceded that at least 14,000 of the company's modems were being used in vulnerable voting and tabulation systems across the country, even as the 2020 election cycle was getting under way.

Nonetheless, over the last five years, the EAC has been working with stakeholders --- from elections officials to cybersecurity experts to vendors --- to develop new minimum security standards for the nation's voting systems, which they call VVSG 2.0. The good news is that the draft of those final standards for the VVSG 2.0, made available for public comment last Summer, included a ban on modems and other wireless communications devices in computerized voting and tabulation systems.

The bad news: After the public comment period and before the new standards were officially adopted by the EAC Commissioners, they apparently met in secret with several vendors and quietly changed the new standards to once again allow for modems and other wireless communications devices in new voting systems.

After the standards changed and weakened without public notice, the non-partisan government watchdog, Free Speech for People (FSFP), filed public records requests for documentation of the non-public meetings between EAC officials and the voting machine companies. Despite acknowledging hundreds of pages of existing documents responsive to the request, according to our guest today, the EAC failed to turn over any of it to the group. Now, FSFP is suing the EAC for those documents.

We're joined today by longtime election integrity advocate SUSAN GREENHALGH, Senior Advisor on Election Security at FSFP, to explain the organization's lawsuit [PDF], and the latest, extraordinary failure to protect our elections by the corporate-captured EAC.

"We have a real lack of leadership from the federal agency that's supposed to be helping assist election officials run election more efficiently, securely, accessibly and transparently at the EAC," Greenhalgh explains, charging "they're letting the vendors help weaken the standards directly."

"The EAC is way, way too deferential to the vendors," she says. "They need to either do the right thing and do their job, or they need get out of the lane and come up with some other way. Because there's an expectation by members of Congress that this is being taken care of, that the EAC is doing their job, they're developing the standards, they're testing voting systems. Unless you scratch the surface and find out what's really going on, you might think on the outside that they're doing their job, and they're not. They're taking up that space, and that makes us all less safe and secure in our elections."

There is, as you might guess, much more that Greenhalgh has to explain about this ongoing mess and FSFP's legal efforts to crack open the EAC blockade.

Finally, we close today with a rather hilarious audio message from former, George W. Bush-era Republican House Speaker John Boehner, to Texas' Trumpy, conspiracy-loving U.S. Senator Ted Cruz...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Margot Paez, formerly of 'BradCast' and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Also: TX crisis spikes oil, gas prices; Sparks int'l ire...
By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2021 6:33pm PT  

Well, now things are just getting ridiculous. But at least we have a nice reminder on today's BradCast that, despite all of the idiocy of the past four years or so, the U.S. can still do great and wondrous things. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

First up, with that other guy finally out of our White House, Fox "News" is quickly returning to form as the GOP's go-to corporate propaganda mouthpiece.  It took no time at all for them this week to turn on the fossil fuel industry after-burners to pretend that "windmills" --- not the predictably disastrous Texas deregulation and privatization of the state's fossil fuel industry --- were the cause for widespread blackouts and water outages across the state amid a nearly week-long winter cold snap. The Lone Star State's deadly failure to ensure reliable power to millions of its residents amid a deep freeze as oil and gas wells, pipelines, power plants and refineries froze up for lack of winterization, led its Republican Governor Greg Abbott on Wednesday try and block contracted gas shipments out of state. That has angered Mexico, among others, as they're now also facing power outages thanks to Texas. But the shortage has spiked prices for the oil and gas industry after recent record lows. So..."free market" accomplished! Sorry about all the death and destruction.

In related news, after helping to incite the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and embarrassing himself with a tweet that attacked California last summer for rolling blackouts to keep the power on during a heat wave, Texas' buffoonish junior Senator Ted Cruz is now reaping a whirlwind after trying escape the crisis in his own home state with a trip to sunny Cancun!  But after he got caught on the way out, things didn't go well for him today. That, just days after an interview with a San Antonio-based radio host in which he advised people to stay home through this week's series of dangerous storms. "Don’t risk it,” Cruz hypocritically advised. “Keep your family safe, and just stay home and hug your kids.” Or...take them to Cancun, suckers!

With idiocy like this at home (and there was much more we didn't have time for), is it any wonder that we welcomed a chance today to check out what was happening elsewhere in the universe?

As luck would have it, there is quite a bit going on elsewhere, especially on Mars today, where NASA's latest rover, Perseverance, stuck its landing on the Red Planet after years of development, more than six months of travel over 300,000 miles and "7 minutes of terror" during its complicated landing sequence. It was no easy feat for NASA's largest and heaviest rover to date, weighing in about a ton and the size of an SUV. But it brought a well-deserved sigh of relief and huge cheers to Mission Control and the folks at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) just before airtime today, for those who made it happen.

One of them joins us on today's show, and she may be familiar to long time listeners. Our former Super-Duper Associate Producer MARGOT PAEZ left us some years ago (shamefully!) to work at JPL in Pasadena, where she spent several years on the team who developed the SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals) instrument, one of several key tools central to "Percy's" mission of hunting for microbial life that may once have inhabited Mars. Its the first such mission to do so, and will help, among other things, to both send back rock core samples from the planet (though it may take about 10 years to get those samples back to Earth once they find what they're looking for) and to run a number of important tests to help determine if humans can safely survive the radiation in the planet's thin atmosphere.

"So, yeah, I was crying when I saw it made it safely," our old friend Paez explains on today's show, "because it meant that all this hard work paid off and now we can start doing the really fun stuff, which is the science." She describes that science, the decades long process it takes to make it all happen, and speaks to the other two missions --- one from China and another from the United Arab Emirates --- which have also now arrived at about the same time.

As a PhD candidate at George Tech, where she researches climate modeling and water resources with respect to climate change adaptation and mitigation, Paez also speaks today to the criticism from climate activists like Greta Thunberg, who would prefer we spend our limited resources on saving this planet from ruin before worrying about travel to others. As a years-long political activist, JPL worker and now climate change expert, Paez has some clarifying thoughts on all of the above in response to Thunberg and other critics of both private and public space travel.

For what it's worth, it's kinda nice to step off of this messed up planet for a short time today!

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for a special coverage edition of our Green News Report on the deadly power crisis in Texas, and the GOP wingnuttery that both helped to cause it and is now being employed to avoid all accountability for it...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Biden's victory is affirmed by Congress following Trump's attempted MAGA Mob insurrection; Fallout continues, including White House resignations, calls for impeachment, 25th Amendment...
By Brad Friedman on 1/7/2021 8:28pm PT  

Today's BradCast picks up where yesterday's left off, amid the Trump-instigated attempted insurrection by his MAGA Mob at the nation's Capitol amid the formal affirmation of Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. We continue then with all of the mind-boggling fallout thereafter. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the stories covered today on today's show...

  • Morning Joe speaks for us, in his response to Wednesday's shameful attempted coup and pathetic response to it by the Capitol Police;
  • So does Joe Biden, who, like Joe Scarborough, notes how differently a white rightwing MAGA Mob was dealt with, versus how things would have played out had those violent rioters who invaded the Capitol building been BLM protesters;
  • Once the Capitol building was cleared of Trump's lawless marauders on Wednesday night --- and four insurrectionists had died in the bargain --- the Electoral College affirmation by Congress that they'd attempted to prevent, picked up once again, with a (very slightly) chastened GOP. We share several outstanding speeches from the Senate floor in the middle of the night/early morning, as delivered by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Mitt Romney (R-UT). That, before seven Republican U.S. Senators and 138 GOP House Members (68% of the caucus!) voted, unsuccessfully, to nullify millions of votes cast by the voters of Arizona and Pennsylvania;
  • For the record, the seven Republican Senators who voted to nullify the voters in those two states --- even after the attempted coup at their own place of work --- are: Cruz (TX), Hawley (MO), Lummis (WY), Marshall (KS), Scott (FL), Tuberville (AL) and Hyde-Smith (MS). May their names live in eternal infamy and shame;
  • Trump and his Republican Party's shameful, evidence-free attempt to use the Electoral Count Act of 1887 or 12th Amendment to the Constitution in order to steal the 2020 Presidential election has officially failed, as Biden's Electoral College "landslide" was affirmed by Congress at 3:45am on Thursday morning, January 7th. The MAGA Mob riots served no purpose other than to kill several Trump supporters and injure more than a dozen Capitol police. The results of the election were exactly as they were certified by all 50 states weeks ago;
  • Amid the insurrection and while being locked out of his account at both Twitter and Facebook overnight (he has since been allowed to return to Twitter, though Facebook says he will be banned until at least after Inauguration Day), Trump's mood was said to have grown increasingly erratic. His rage reportedly resulted in Mike Pence's Chief of Staff (and Trump's own former Legislative Director) being banned from the White House, and staffers were reportedly instructed by the White House Counsel to stay away from him, lest they find themselves as an accessory to treason under the Sedition Act;
  • About eight staffers have resigned following Wednesday's events, including Trump's former Press Secretary (Stephanie Grisham), his former Acting Chief of Staff (Mick Mulvaney) and his Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, the only cabinet member, so far, to jump off the sinking ship. Chao also happens to be married to the soon-to-be-former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who will presumably be the Republican Minority Leader following the apparent victories by Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock on Tuesday in Georgia's U.S. Senate runoffs. None of those who waited until now to resign should be hailed as heroes;
  • By Thursday morning, both incoming presumptive Senate Majority Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had issued statements calling for the 25th Amendment to be invoked by Vice President Pence and Trump's remaining cabinet members to remove him from office immediately. Pelosi correctly describes Trump as having incited "an unpseakable assault on our nation and our people." Short of impeachment, both Democratic leaders say, another impeachment for "willfully inciting violence against the government of the United States"; "gravely endanger[ing] the security of the United States"; and "demonstrat[ing] that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office" remain a possibility, as detailed in Articles now being circulated for consideration by House Democrats;
  • If you're not familiar with how the 25th Amendment would work, should it be invoked (there is also at least one Republican lawmaker calling for it today, describing Trump as "unfit" and "unwell"), here's a quick primer;
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for some much brighter news, believe it or not, in our latest Green News Report, where the overlooked news about Democrats clawing back a legislative majority in the Senate may be very very good news indeed...as long as WV's coal-loving Democratic Senator, Joe Manchin, decides to help save the planet by playing along...

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Guest: Democracy activist, legal scholar Paul Lehto; Also: New Congress, same old problems; Former SecDefs issue warning about Trump; Unhinged President's unhinged phone call threatening GA's Sec. of State...
By Brad Friedman on 1/4/2021 7:39pm PT  

After a not-nearly-long-enough break, The BradCast is back for the new year, when everything will be entirely better than the old year, right? Well, if the last several days of insanity that we now refer to as "news" is any indication, the answer is: "Not so much!"  It will be impossible to adequately cover all we discussed on today's program in today's summary. But, we'll give you the basics here and hope you tune in for the full story. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

While we were off, both houses of Congress overrode Donald Trump's ridiculous veto of the "must-pass", $780 billion National Defense Authorization Act to fund the military for another year. But GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was nonetheless successful in preventing Americans from receiving $2,000 pandemic checks, despite best efforts of Democrats, a tiny, uninspiring handful of Republicans, and even Trump himself. That, as the nation clocked an unfathomable 350,000 COVID deaths, which is the equivalent of blowing up about 17 sold-out NBA arenas and killing every single person in every single one of them, or 115 9/11s over the past 10 months in the U.S.

With that, the new 117th Congress convened for the first time on Sunday, with a narrow majority for Republicans in the Senate (pending Tuesday's two U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia) and with a narrow majority for Democrats in the House, where they elected Nancy Pelosi as Speaker for another two years.

Despite all of that pretty big news, it all seemed to pale in comparison to Donald Trump's ongoing electoral death rattle. With concerns about how our unstable President may react as his days in office dwindle, every living former Defense Secretary (10 of them, Republican and Democratic, including the two fired by Trump and even Dick Cheney, who was apparently concerned enough that he reportedly led this effort), published a short, sharp group op-ed, making it crystal clear that any "efforts to involve the U.S. armed forces in resolving election disputes would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory," and that "civilian and military officials who direct or carry out such measures would be accountable, including potentially facing criminal penalties, for the grave consequences of their actions on our republic."

Even as that was being published on Saturday, Trump was on the phone for an unhinged hour with the Republican Secretary of State of Georgia, haranguing, threatening and cajoling him to change the state's Presidential election results to award the state's electoral college votes to Trump. We play part of that call, which may have been in violation of both state and federal laws, on today's show. We do not do it justice. The Washington Post has published the full bonkers audio and transcript, including Trump's long-ago debunked fraud claims and repeated false assertions that he won the state by about a half million votes (he lost it by about 12,000) and that he just wants "to find 11,780" votes to "win" the state.

The news of that madness came on Sunday, as Georgia will have it's last day of voting in two U.S. Senate runoffs to determine partisan control of the Senate for the next two years on Tuesday, and as the new Congress meets in a joint session on Wednesday, January 6th, to affirm (or not) the results of Biden's Electoral College victory over Trump by a seemingly comfortable 306 to 232 margin.

Over the weekend, however, more than a dozen Republican U.S. Senators led by 2024 hopefuls Josh Hawley of MO and Ted Cruz of TX, announced they intend to challenge the Electoral College results on Wednesday during what is normally a pro forma procedural affair presided over by the President of the Senate (Vice President Mike Pence, in this case).

And this bring us to crux of where we are and what could happen on Wednesday, as Republicans continue to claim --- through failed lawsuits and other protests --- that the Electoral College Act (ECA) of 1887, which has determined the procedure to be used on Wednesday for about 150 years and 33 Presidential elections without question, is somehow a violation of the Constitution's 12th Amendment.

If Republicans can figure out how to make this argument on Wednesday --- with Pence potentially holding the reins to help them --- we could find ourselves in a Constitutional quagmire leading to....lord knows what.

We're joined today to help explain all of this madness by longtime election integrity advocate, election law scholar and democracy activist, PAUL LEHTO. He argues that, despite so many claims to the contrary (by many of the same folks who said that Trump could never become President back in 2016, by the way) there is, in fact, still a "path" for Trump and his Republicans to steal the election from Biden on Wednesday.

Tune in for the details, but it has to do with how the 12th Amendment says that questions about the validity of Electoral Votes should be dealt with (via a one vote per state vote in the U.S. House), versus how the ECA handles such challenges (with a regular, up or down majority vote in both houses needed to support such a challenge.)

Why is this even a question at this point? Lehto explains in detail.

He also cites the lesson that we should learn from all of this madness: "What we should learn is that what you and election integrity activists have talked about now for decades is coming home to roost," Lehto explains. "And that is that a big, big part of this is the inherent uncertainty when votes are purely processed through computers. Nobody really knows --- until there's a hand recount --- what the result is, and partisan people can attach to that uncertainty and that doubt any theory that they wish to in order to keep hope alive."

"So we need a voting system that leaves no doubt as to that result . And in order to have that you have to have transparency," he says, adding: "Basically, this is all the chickens coming home to roost, in terms of our non-transparent voting system."

There's more. But, again, you'll need to tune in for it. Happy New Year?...

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Also: U.S. COVID infection, hospitalization, death numbers surge to heartbreaking records, wasn't a 'hoax' after all...
By Brad Friedman on 12/3/2020 7:49pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The Donald Trump Crazy Train keeps chugging along. And its getting crazier, and seemingly farther off the tracks with each passing hour as the outgoing President's days in the White House continue to diminish and his likelihood of facing criminal accountability grows nearer and nearer. One of the biggest remaining questions is how many of his supporters are still to get run over by that train.

Among the many stories we cover today...

  • Before we dive deep into The Crazy, some very grim milestones in the COVID crisis which, turns out, wasn't a hoax at all, as both Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz "guaranteed" us before the election. On Wednesday, there were more than 200,000 new cases, more than 100,000 hospitalizations and more than 2,777 deaths confirmed from COVID. All of them single day records, as the pandemic will continue to get far worse in coming months before it begins to get better. All thanks, in no small part, to idiots like Trump, Cruz and whole bunch of other Republicans who sadistically sacrificed their constituents' lives in dashed hopes of seeing Trump re-elected;
  • Following Attorney General Bill Barr's comments to AP earlier this week that, "to date," the Dept. of Justice has "not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election," Trump, as expected, reportedly blew a gasket. It resulted in a two and half hour meeting for Barr at the White House and Trump said to be considering whether he will now fire his second AG, despite his years of covering up and lying for the President and his unprecedented directive to dozens of Asst. U.S. Attorneys to investigate bogus claims of "massive fraud" before and after the election;
  • On Thursday, the rightwing Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected the Trump Campaign's latest attempt to toss out hundreds of thousands of votes in a state that Trump lost. Of note, as has been the case in every suit they've filed (by way of contrast to what they say publicly to the chumps and suckers who believe in them), Team Trump offered zero evidence of fraud in their complaint. Rather, they complained about absentee ballot procedures that have been in place since before the 2016 election, when Trump is said to have won the state, as well as during this year's primaries. Apparently they forgot to claim that WI's absentee voting laws were illegal in those past elections. The suit was rejected today, however, because the court ruled it needs to be filed in a lower state court first before it can be heard by the state Supremes. The Campaign also filed another federal case in the state on Wednesday. It does not argue their was fraud in this year's election either;
  • It's become so embarrassing that even top Trump sycophant Sen. Lindsey Graham is taking to Fox "News" to tell the Trump legal team that they need to provide proof of their fraud claims in court. "Doing a video is not proof," he said, shortly after Trump released a 46-minute video on Wednesday, falsely claiming (without evidence, naturally) that he actually won virtually every state in the union this year;
  • Lack of evidence of fraud, however, has not stopped the Rudy Giuliani Traveling Dog 'n' Pony Show. After making presentations to GOP state legislators in "hearings" held in rented hotel banquet rooms in Pennsylvania and Arizona this week, the Republicans of the gerrymandered Michigan state legislature opened an actual hearing room in the state capital to the Rudy Show. It did not go well. We share the testimony from Melissa Carone, of one of the "witnesses" that Rudy hauled up to the stand. It's something to behold;
  • Meanwhile, down in Georgia on Wednesday, a huge "Stop the Steal" rally at the Peach State capital, headed up by self-disgracing attorneys and Trump Crazy Train Conductors Sidney Powell and Lin Wood (who may actually be mentally ill), likely drove the what's left of the actual GOP crazy. Wood attacked the very Trumpy Republican Governor Brian Kemp, resulting in "Lock him up!" chants from the QAnon brain-poisoned crowd, before instructing the misinformed throngs that they should absolutely not vote for incumbent Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler or David Perdue in the upcoming January 5th runoff elections that will determine partisan control of the U.S. Senate;
  • Finally, we close with some helpful words, believe it or not, from far-right, not insane Trump supporter Erick Erickson. In a Twitter thread this week, the former Editor-in-Chief of the rightwing RedState blog, finally seems to have had enough of the madness of GOP conspiracy theorists who now believe that Trump's own DOJ, FBI, CIA, Attorney General, and the Republican Governors of states like Georgia and Arizona, not to mention others, have all teamed up to steal the election for Joe Biden. "Maybe…and I know this might just blow your mind…but maybe what if you've been lied to the whole time. There is no conspiracy. There is no theft of the election," Erickson unloads, suggesting that "maybe, just maybe" the problem is Trump and supporters who can't understand that "ultimately it is really you who are the problem because you so willingly got played and even now want to be played because now you're emotionally invested in a cause and a candidate and to admit you were played and he lost and there was no deep state conspiracy or theft of the election would actually make you look bad. So it's better to double down on the lies and bullshit and blame everyone else."

Sounds about right. Thanks, Erick. You can stop blocking me on Twitter now.

Buckle up and/or pop a bucket of popcorn or two for today's BradCast...

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Warnings and heartbreaking pandemic milestone before Thanksgiving; States with denialist leaders now hardest hit by virus; Desperate GOPers work to block Presidential vote certification in swing-states...
By Brad Friedman on 11/19/2020 7:42pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Even though creepy liars like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz "guaranteed" we'd no longer be talking about "COVID! COVID! COVID!" after Election Day, it turns out they were wrong. Who could have predicted it? And what else are we still talking about after the election? The election! Because Trump is continuing his desperate efforts to try and steal it from the voters and Joe Biden, the candidate they elected. But it would be a mistake to ignore what Trump is trying to do. We think. [Audio link to show is posted below summary.]

Among the many stories covered on today's show, we begin with the pandemic...

  • U.S. hits a grim official milestone, with quarter of a million now dead from COVID-19, most of them unnecessarily so, thanks to our deranged President, experts now predict we may see 400,000 fatalities by February. The President of the United States remains in his bunker and has offered no comment;
  • As the pandemic surges out of control in all 50 states, those with denialist leaders who failed to implement serious restrictions are now the ones with the highest per-capita infection, hospitalization and death rates. So, yeah, the highest rates are, by far, in "red" states by and large, while "blue" states, like California and New York have among the lowest rates. (Note to Republicans: Election Day is over. You don't have to lie about COVID anymore to try and help Trump get re-elected. You can now start protecting the lives of your fucking constituents like you should have done months ago.)

Then it's on to the, yes, still-uncertified election...

  • While the bulk of the GOP remains in as much denial about the Presidential election as they are about the coronavirus, and the pathetic Trump Administration continues to delay important transition work to a Biden Administration, a few cracks in the wall are beginning to form, even visible from the wingnut couch on Fox & Friends crew and even by Mitch McConnell;
  • But the two Wayne County, Michigan wingnuts --- who held out for three hours with phony claims about "voter fraud" in Detroit before agreeing to certify the County's results --- are also having trouble letting go. They want yet another do-over vote to rescind the certification following a call from Trump. The state says that won't happen. But state certification is still to come next Monday and the state Board of Canvassers is constructed the same way the Wayne County Board is: a four-person Board with two Ds and two Rs. So anything could happen by the time they are set to vote to certify results in the state next week, where, by all available evidence, Biden trounced Trump by nearly 160,000 votes;
  • Michigan is not the only state where some GOP dead-enders are hoping to somehow block certification of the November 3rd election. Similar (if likely similarly futile) efforts are afoot in Arizona, Pennsylvania and Nevada;
  • Failure, however is not a roadblock for Trump, a man for whom the idea of simply doing the right thing has never occurred. On Thursday, he invited the Republican legislative leaders of the gerrymandered Michigan state House and Senate to the White House for a meeting on Friday, where it's expected he will try to convince them to convene a vote of the state legislature to override the popular democratic will of the voters and award the state's elector to The Loser instead;
  • And for those who say The Loser's scheme could never EVER actually happen, I tend to agree with you (Desi may not). But I would also urge you, by all means, to NOT read this article today by Democratic strategist Chris Marshall headlined: "Are you sure Trump's plan to steal the election has failed? You shouldn't be".

Finally, for some less terrifying news, ironically enough...

  • Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as the UK accelerates its phase out of gas cars to 2030; Major U.S. automakers are revealed to have known about the dangers of global warming 50 years ago and lied about it; Trump's Interior Dept. reverses a conservation project that Trump bragged about on the campaign trail; and a major city moves to phase out all fossil fuels in all new buildings...

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Also: Trump fires Sessions, but we won't let that derail us today...
By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2018 6:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Some brakes --- some --- may now finally be applied to our ongoing Trump-induced national emergency, in the wake of his election two exhausting years ago. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Despite shameful obstacles placed in front of voters across the country during Tuesday's midterms, Democrats managed to wrestle back control of the U.S. House of Representatives by flipping at least 27 seats, as of airtime, with the results of several other races still unknown, according to unverified computer tabulation in all 50 states. Setting aside partisan issues, women and diverse candidates were the biggest winners yesterday...along with the American people.

At the same time, the GOP reportedly picked up several seats in the U.S. Senate, even while Democrats racked up some very important (and, occasionally stunning!) wins at the gubernatorial level. Those wins and losses (including Scott Walker ousted and Kris Kobach denied!) are likely to reverberate for the next decade, as the next round of redistricting occurs after the 2020 census.

Today we review as many of the noteworthy reported results from House, Senate and Governor races as we can possibly jam into one single show....and then we hit several important ballot initiative results as well.

Moreover --- and, perhaps, as importantly --- we look at several "too close to call" races where no winner has yet been declared by media and/or a number of contests with outcomes worth questioning, including in Florida, Georgia, Texas and elsewhere. (If only every candidate sounded like Georgia's Stacey Abrams at the end of a reportedly very close election night!)

Election Day may be over, but the fight for public oversight of results may just be beginning.

Oh, and as we long predicted would happen if results didn't go Trump's way on November 6, today he fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions to begin his move against Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Nonetheless, for today at least, we won't allow Trump to hijack our news cycle on The BradCast...

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Hours long lines, failed voting systems leave voters, ballots, stranded; Also, journalist Lulu Friesdat reports on tabulation mysteries, unlawful Wi-Fi computer hook-ups in Dallas County, TX counting room...
By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2018 5:37pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Who could have foreseen it? Oh, yeah, we did. For months. Years, actually. At this point, even decades. [Audio link to show follows below.]

American voters finally had their chance on Tuesday to respond to the ongoing, two-year national emergency precipitated by the 2016 election of Donald Trump and full Republican control of Congress. Control of the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House and dozens of governorships were up for grabs today. But Election Day 2018 was --- yet again --- marred by completely predictable disasters for voters, including hours-long lines and failing voting and registration computers at polling places across the country.

Today we cover just some of the worst reported messes (there are still more to come to light and many more that we simply couldn't get to)...

  • In New York City, where paper ballot computer scanners failed leading to hours-long lines across city;
  • In Georgia, where many voters in African-American precincts stood in line for hours due to failing electronic pollbook systems and too few 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting machines (amid the tight race between the vote-suppressing GOP Sec. of State and Gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp and his African-American Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams);
  • In South Carolina, where oft-failed, 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems made by ES&S were reportedly flipping votes and officials were (outrageously) said to be making calibration adjustments to them in the middle of Election Day (a very dangerous idea!);
  • In Kansas and Missouri where voters also reportedly fought with many problems, incluing long lines, voting systems that failed and poll workers unlawfully demanding Photo IDs to vote. In Kansas, Sec. of State and GOP "voter fraud" fraudster Kris Kobach is overseeing his own very tight race for Governor, and in Missouri, Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is fighting for her life as Democrats hope to claw back a majority in the U.S. Senate or keep Republicans from expanding their current one.

Then, we're joined by Emmy award-winning journalist and documentarian LULU FRIESDAT with a troubling exclusive report for us out of Dallas County, Texas, amid the reportedly close contest for U.S. Senate between Republican incumbent Ted Cruz and his popular upstart Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke.

Friesdat reports on two different serious concerns out of the Long Star State's second-most populous county, where numbers reported by the County's ES&S tabulators from the state's March primary are still not adding up correctly (yes, months later, questions are still emerging), and from the County's counting room, where a Texas election integrity group is reporting today that a computer in the tabulation facility appears to be hooked up to WiFi. That Friesdat tells me, is highly unlawful and potentially very troubling for a number of reasons.

"It is not okay for it to be around voting machines and tabulators, because that is one of the easiest ways for election results to be hacked," says Friesdat, who has been covering concerns about voting systems for many years now. "So there are usually very, very clear laws regarding internet connectivity or Wi-Fi in a tabulating area. And that is the case in Texas. They have laws that forbid Wi-Fi or connectivity." That, in a county where their vendor is ES&S, the nation's largest voting machine vendor, which recently lied to the New York Times about whether their systems include remote access software. (Turns out many of them do, but that's not what they initially told the Times, even as it still remains unclear which counties use ES&S systems with such capabilities, and even with cellular modems.)

Friesdat does close on a positive note, however, noting that many in the public are becoming aware of these concerns and that observations by the public are helping. "The more people get involved and keep looking, down to the nitty gritty, what's going on in your elections --- it's helping, folks! Keep it up!"

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us today for our latest Green News Report, with some bad news about plastic and the air we breathe, but some good news from the U.S. Supreme Court (believe it or not) and from the World Bank, which has now said it will no longer help finance coal-fired power plants anywhere in the world, because renewables are now cheaper than coal.

Results --- as reported...probably --- tomorrow...

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Trump unwanted in Pittsburgh and former top Repub excoriates party, 'rightwing propaganda industry'; Also: News on fighting to vote (and counting it accurately) in TX and environment is on midterm ballots...
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2018 6:41pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the darkness continues, even as some rays of light appear in the electoral distance. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

On Monday, attorneys for one of three far-right militiamen convicted in a plot to bomb a Kansas apartment building that was home to over a hundred Somali Muslim refugees in late 2016, cited Donald Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric during the President campaign as reason for shortening the man's life sentence. In sentencing documents, the lawyers charge that then-candidate Trump and videos from rightwing media personalities such as Fox News' Sean Hannity helped stoke their client's hatred "to 11".

On Tuesday, despite being told by victims' families, the city's mayor, and thousands of members of Pittsburgh's Jewish community that he was not welcome, Trump came to the city's grief-stricken Squirrel Hill neighborhood to visit the Tree of Life synagogue where 11 Jewish worshipers were gunned down during services on Saturday. Trump came to the city where he was not wanted today, even as the first funerals for victims got under way, because it reportedly fits in with his campaign schedule that otherwise includes political rallies around the country every day for the rest of the week until next Tuesday's crucial midterms.

The anti-Semitic, anti-immigration rightwinger charged in the Pittsburgh massacre had espoused anti-"globalist" rhetoric akin to those from the Trump fan charged last week with mailing bombs to more than a dozen top Democrats, philanthropists, media outlets and celebrities who had been vilified in recent months by the President. Both men had referenced the so-called Central American migrant "caravan" that Trump, Republican candidates and media outlets from the Right and non-Right have been focusing on over the past several weeks. The group of slowly walking refugees still remains some 1,000 miles from the U.S. border and is unlikely to arrive here for months, posing zero threat to the U.S. Nonetheless, on Monday, Trump ordered the immediate deployment of at least 5,200 more U.S. military troops to the border in advance of next week's election.

Despite the increasing wave of Rightwing violence, the President and the White House and Rightwing news outlets continue to cite the "caravan" as an existential threat. Former top Republican strategist Steve Schmidt unloaded on what has become of the GOP under Trump and the years-long barrage of Rightwing media propaganda. He describes "this whole caravan in the last week of the election" as "a giant lie" and as "Trump's Reichstag Fire".

We share the full, must-listen segment from his remarkable appearance on last night's All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, in which the former campaign chair for John McCain's 2008 Presidential run describes the GOP as having become no more than a "cult of personality...that is authoritarian in nature" and charges the "Rightwing propaganda machine industry" has "blood on their hands" after having "radicalized" those who are now committing violence against minorities and immigrants.

Then, just to lighten things up a bit, some election news out of Texas, where legal officials with the Beto O'Rourke (D) campaign tell me about their concerns regarding reports of votes flipping to Ted Cruz (R) on Democratic straight ticket ballots cast on 100% unverifiable Hart-Intercivic eSlate voting computers used across much of the state.

We've also got a bit of slightly brighter news from the Lone Star state, where threats of legal action have resulted in the expansion of early voting opportunities on the campus of Texas State University after students were turned away last week, and a rollback to new voter registration requirements recently imposed at the historically African-American Prairie View A&M University.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with details on the serious environmental threat posed by this week's election of the hard-right Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, and a number of important climate and environment initiatives that are on the ballot in several U.S. states on November 6th...

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Guest: David Roberts of Vox; Also: Trump fan charged in mail bombings...
By Brad Friedman on 10/26/2018 6:45pm PT  

Among the many stories covered on today's BradCast, a bit more than one week from the crucial midterm Election Day. [Audio link follows below.]...

  • A 56-year old white man from Florida, suspected of sending mail bombs to about a dozen perceived enemies of Donald Trump, is arrested and charged with federal crimes. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the alleged MAGABomber, Cesar Sayoc, Jr. turns out to be a huge fan of Donald Trump. Attorney General Jeff Sessions fails to call it terrorism;
  • In Tennessee, a state court rules in favor of voting rights advocates who sued to require Shelby County (Memphis) election officials to allow thousands of new registrants to cure any alleged omissions or errors on their voter registration applications through Election Day, and to allow those voters to vote on normal, not provisional, ballots. The Republican-majority commission in the very Democratic-leaning county, has said they would appeal the ruling. The matter could be crucial to the tight race for U.S. Senate between popular former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen and Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn in the contest to fill the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Bob Corker;
  • In Georgia, massive attempted voter suppression overseen by Republican Sec. of State and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, should qualify the entire state as a crime scene, at this point. More troubling news along those lines today, as the DeKalb County Election Commission appears to have lost nearly 5,000 vote-by-mail applications. The Democratic Party claims they turned in 4,700 requests, but the County tells the NYTimes they only received 48! The potential disenfranchisement of thousands of voters could effect the tight gubernatorial race between Kemp and African-American Democrat Stacey Abrams. Given the massive suppression attempts in the state, I don't see how a Kemp victory could possibly be seen as legitimate;
  • In Texas, amid the very tight U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and his Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke, many of the 100% unverifiable electronic voting machines used across the state are reportedly selecting Cruz during some attempts at straight ticket Democratic votes. State and county election officials confirm the problem with their voting systems made by Hart-Intercivic of Austin has existed for years. Nonetheless, they are blaming voters, rather than themselves or Hart, their private election vendor, for the failure. That, despite conceding that it is those systems, used in many TX counties, that are at the root of the problem for voters;
  • Finally, we're joined by energy and politics writer DAVID ROBERTS of Vox.com, to discuss a very important initiative on the ballot in Washington state this year. Roberts explains Initiative 1631, which, if adopted on November 6th, would create a price for carbon pollution by creating a fee for the use of fossil fuels that cause global warming. The revenue raised by the measure would be used to fund key initiatives to improve the environment and help middle and lower income Americans. Roberts describes, as he recently wrote in much more detail, how the new initiative differs from the revenue-neutral carbon tax which failed at WA polls in 2016, and how the fossil fuel industry is spending tens of millions to crush this effort (just as they did in 2016).

    All of this on a week, which we also discuss, when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has staked his 2019 re-election chances on a new national carbon tax and dividend policy. The politically courageous effort was announced this week, despite what is predicted to be a neck-and-neck contest next year with his Conservative Party opponent. The scheme would tax the use of fossil fuels and send all revenue from the measure straight back to Canadians each year in the form of a check.

    Expect to see many more such efforts both in North America and across the world, to place a price on carbon pollution, as the globe continues to warm while fossil fuel companies continue to pollute the atmosphere for free. As Roberts notes: "Civilization is on the line."

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Guest: Shelby County, TN Democratic Chair Corey Strong; Also: Good news for GA voters; Bad news for ExxonMobil; Pipe bombs sent to Obama, Clinton, CNN, other Dem targets of Trump's 'right-wing ire'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/24/2018 6:29pm PT  

It was a dark day on Wednesday, but there were a few rays of light that managed to shine through anyway on today's BradCast. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We'll start here with the grim news. Pipe bombs were discovered to have been sent to perceived political enemies targeted by Donald Trump, including former President Obama, Hillary Clinton, former CIA Director John Brennan, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and CNN. The explosive devices each appear to have been sent by the same person and follow on a similar one sent to Democratic Party funder George Soros earlier this week. All the intended targets have been widely derided for months, if not years, by Trump, Fox "News" and their many Republican followers.

Thankfully, nobody was hurt. But, as discussed today, the biggest surprise may be how long it has taken for something like this to happen, given the President of the United States --- and his fellow Republicans --- targeting their opponents and the corporate media as the "enemy of the people" with increasingly vitriolic attacks as the midterms approach.

Next up: Tens of thousands of voter registrations were recently rejected by Shelby County (Memphis), Tennessee election officials, with thousands more not yet even processed, even as Early Voting began in the state last week, and the November 6th midterms are now less than two weeks away. Moreover, many of those rejected voters haven't been notified and given a chance to cure the problem, in the very Democratic-leaning, majority-minority county.

The non-partisan Tennessee Black Voter Project, which submitted some 36,000 registration applications in recent months, has threatened the County with legal action. In turn, the County's Republican-led Board of Elections has blamed the Project for turning in a "staggering" number of registrations, many allegedly with what they claim to be errors or missing information. (The group is required to turn in ALL registration forms collected, whether or not they contain either major or minor errors when filled in by prospective voters.)

We're joined today by Shelby County Democratic Party Chair COREY STRONG to explain the hurdles that voting rights advocates there are now actively attempting to overcome, and the history of voter suppression that, he explains, African-American voters in Memphis continue to face this year.

He charges that local officials are disenfranchising minority voters. "We have a history of our Election Commission in Shelby County not necessarily taking it upon themselves to really uphold the values of fair and just elections," he tells me. "If all of the issues end up affecting one side --- the Democratic, urban, poor, minority voters --- then you have to start asking questions, and somebody's got to be held accountable."

The battle on behalf of Shelby County voters comes amidst a reportedly very tight U.S. Senate race between popular Democratic former Governor Phil Bredesen and Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn, in the contest to fill the U.S. Senate of retiring GOP Sen. Bob Corker. The strongly "blue" county (which went to Clinton by 30 points in 2016 in a state that went to Trump by 25 points) is "very pivotal to statewide elections," Strong explains. In this case, it's central to the state's Senate race as well as Democratic hopes of gaining control of the upper chamber and Republican efforts to hold on to their thin majority.

Strong also discusses concerns about problems during Early Voting, the failure and dangers of electronic pollbooks used across state, and the 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems that voters in Memphis are still forced to use to cast their votes at the polling place

But, as noted, we do have a few rays of encouraging news on today's show as well!

On Wednesday, a federal judge ordered an injunction on Georgia's rejection of absentee ballots from disproportionately African-American voters. The rejections are said to be based on ballot signatures that allegedly do not match ones voters' signatures on file. The court found [PDF] voters were being disenfranchised by the scheme that allowed partisan, non-handwriting expert election officials to discard ballots without allowing voters an opportunity to cure any suspected problems on their mail-in ballot envelopes. According to several voting rights groups who sued Republican Sec. of State and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, today's ruling is a big victory amid Kemp's tight race for Governor against African-American Democrat Stacey Abrams.

And, in a bit more good news today, the New York Attorney General, following a three-year investigation, has filed suit against ExxonMobil for an alleged "longstanding fraudulent scheme" to defraud shareholders by publicly downplaying --- and spending millions to deny and confuse the public about --- the serious risks that climate change poses to the company's bottom line. The suit could cost the company hundreds of millions, if not more, and expose Exxon to additional litigation elsewhere. According to the complaint, while publicly claiming concern about global warming as caused by their products in recent years, the company “employed internal practices that were inconsistent with its representations, were undisclosed to investors, and exposed the company to greater risk from climate change regulation than investors were led to believe"...

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Also: Trump's Saudi wrist slap; Bomber targets Soros; DeSantis ducks in FL; Record Early Voting in TX, GA, NV elsewhere may be misleading...
By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2018 6:03pm PT  

It's another very busy show on today's BradCast (for a change), exactly two weeks out from this year's crucial midterm elections. Among the stories covered [audio link to show is posted below]...

  • After Trump describes the Saudi lies about their assassination of WaPo journalist Jamal Khashoggi as "the worst" coverup "in the history of coverups" (who would know coverups better?!), the Administration announces they will revoke visas for some of those involved. Good thing those guys only chopped up a journalist instead of showing up at our border to legally claim asylum or they'd have been thrown in jail without their children for months!;
  • We finally found the "angry left wing mob"! Apparently one of them put a bomb in the mailbox of Democratic funder George Soros. That seems an odd thing for "the left" to do, doesn't it? (Happily, nobody has attempted to bomb either the Koch Brothers or the many other Republican funders like Sheldon Adelson who give far more money to GOPers than Soros has ever given to Dems.);
  • Florida's Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis really doesn't want to answer any actual questions. On Sunday, he dodged just about everything asked of him during his debate with Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum on CNN and on Monday he cancelled an hour-long interview with the Editorial Board of the USA TODAY NETWORK - Florida;
  • Rolling Stone releases audio of Georgia's Republican Sec. of State and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, from a private campaign fundraising event last Friday, in which Kemp, the state's chief election official, is heard lamenting that his Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams is spending millions on GOTV efforts which, he says, "continues to concern us, especially if everybody uses and exercises their right to vote."

    Little wonder Kemp has spent years trying to keep Georgians from voting, supports the state's easily-hacked, 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems, and is being sued by at least five different voting rights organizations for the myriad ways the state has been working hard to prevent voters --- particularly African-American ones, like Abrams --- from voting;

  • In Texas (as in Georgia, Nevada, and elsewhere around the country), early voting turnout is breaking records over previous midterm elections and even nearing Presidential election numbers in some cases. But Democrats would be wise not to make too much of those numbers for a host of reasons that we discuss in detail today. Among them: evidence suggests GOP enthusiasm is up as well and lines shouldn't be as long as they are, with hours-long waits in some places, suggesting unprepared election officials and failing voting equipment which could make for a nightmarish Election Day;
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with more global warming-fueled hurricanes coming (including Hurricane Willa now crashing into Mexico and gunning for Texas and maybe later this week, the East Coast, as well as Typhoon Yutu barrelling towards the Marianas and Guam), more new global heat records, and some reasonably encouraging news about debates taking place around the country in advance of the November 6 midterms, where candidates are finally being asked by journalist moderators about their positions on climate change!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 10/18/2018 11:37am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Extreme rainfall events trigger deadly flash flooding in Texas and France; Death toll still rising after Hurricane Michael; Yep, global warming is coming for your beer; PLUS: In Texas debate for U.S. Senate, Beto O'Rourke and Ted Cruz are asked about climate change --- yes, climate change!... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

Link:
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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): In North Carolina, hurricanes did what scientists could not: Convince Republicans that climate change is real; By 2035, the ‘great fuel switch’ will mark the end of the age of oil and gas, analysts expect; U.S. Greenhouse emissions fell In 2017 as coal plants shut; U.S. tornado hot spots are shifting from the Plains to the Midwest and Southeast; Plastic waste piling up in Japan after Chinese import ban; Mercury, PCBs still threaten Arctic and its wildlife, study shows; Utility spending on major Republican groups outpaces Democrats over 2:1; High-Stakes Fight Over Rooftop Solar Spreads to Michigan; Electric Vehicles: The Swiss army knife of the grid... PLUS: The next data minefield is your car: GM’s data mining is just the beginning of the in-car advertising blitz... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




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