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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, November 27, 2020
Talking Turnout, Treason & Turkeys: 'BradCast' 11/25/20
Guest Host Nicole Sandler with author/journalist Ari Berman and Law Professor/author Carlton F.W. Larson...
Why Biden Must Look Both Forward AND Back:
'BradCast' 11/24/20
Guest: Const'l attorney John Bonifaz on Trump's failed coup, need for accountability; Also: PA, NV certify Biden victories; Overdue corrections; What we're thankful for...
'Green News Report' 11/24/20
  w/ Brad & Desi
Biden taps Kerry for climate, elevates role to Nat. Sec. Council; GM dumps Trump for EVs; Trump rolls back more enviro safety rules, denies disaster aid to PA...
Previous GNRs: 11/19/20 - 11/17/20 - Archives...
The Crazy Continues from the 'Coup Klutz Clan': 'BradCast' 11/23/20
MI certifies Biden win; Judge tosses Team Trump PA suit; GSA begins transition; 'Dominion / Venezuela' conspiracy lawyer tossed under bus...
Federal Court Slams Door On Trump Effort to Block PA Certification of Biden Win
Conservative Judge shreds plea 'to disenfranchise almost 7 million voters' with no evidence 'speculative accusations'...
Sunday Turkey Week Toons
PDiddie's latest delicious feast (sour grapes included!) of the week's best political toons...
Team Trump Bastardizes 2010 BRAD BLOG Exclu to Declare a 'Dominion CONSPIRACY!': 'BradCast' 11/20/20
What they get right and wrong | Also: Randall D. Eliason on pressuring Trump's legal firms...
COVID Surging Most in GOP-Led States; Trump Still Scheming to Steal Election: 'BradCast' 11/19/20
Warnings, heartbreaking milestone before holiday; GOPers try to block certification...
'Green News Report' 11/19/20
UK accelerates gas car phase-out; U.S. carmakers knew 50 years ago about global warming, lied about it; PLUS: San Francisco phasing out fossil fuels in new buildings...
GA SoS Admits 'Audit' Can't Legally Change Results: 'BradCast' 11/18/20
Guest: GA count observer Jeanne Dufort; Also: Trump targets minority votes as 'fraud'; Rudy claims PA Bush v. Gore violation, then violates it in WI...
'Green News Report' 11/17/20
Hurricane Iota slams Nicaragua; Trump Admin rushes oil leases for ANWR; PLUS: Biden meets with business and labor on climate and economy...
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...


Foreign and domestic election interference continues. So does our effort to help you make sense of what's actually going on...
By Brad Friedman on 9/1/2020 6:52pm PT  

We've got a lot to get to on today's BradCast, as voters in Massachusetts go to the polls today with a couple of very interesting primary races (results tomorrow!), and as the rest of us are now counting the days (63 of them), until general Election Day, with both hope and trepidation. [Audio link to show is posted below summary.]

Among the mountains o' stuff covered on today's program...

  • After years of our reporting on the very successful, perhaps irreversible, decades-long effort by the Right to brainwash its followers, we open today with a few thoughts about a similar, if not quite as successful (though it's getting closer), effort to brainwash those on the Left. That effort to brainwash the Left, like the scheme on the Right, is also carried out by folks on the Right or those who support them. (And yes, that means we have a few words today about the still-misreported facts regarding the Hillary/Bernie race from 2016);
  • We have more evidence of attempts to manipulate the Left in today's announcement from Facebook that, based on a tip from the FBI, the social media outlet has shut down several fake accounts created to support a Russia-related propaganda scheme targeting the Left in hopes of undermining Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. The operation reportedly included a phony media outlet calling itself "Peace Data", in hopes of appealing to progressives in advance of this year's election;
  • Information of that sort, as we discuss, is --- or should be --- useful to voters. Nonetheless, with just over two months until Election Day, with Donald Trump's top intelligence officers having recently warned that Russia is taking active measures, once again, to undermine the Presidential election in support of Trump, his recently-appointed Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe notified Congress over the weekend that he will no longer offer in-person briefings to lawmakers regarding foreign attempts to interfere in the election. The claim, offered by Trump himself without facts to back it up, is that members of Congress were illegally leaking certain information from the intelligence community, and that the information leaked was also "wrong". No evidence was given to support that charge, and while Trump claimed the decision to end intelligence briefings to Congress was made by him and Ratcliffe, evidence suggests that it was, instead, a directive from Trump himself. For some reason;
  • Speaking of the November 3rd election, the dirty tricks are now underway, as revealed by a new robocall to some Democratic-leaning Michigan voters falsely warning that signing up to vote by mail will result in voters contact information being added to a database for tracking down arrest warrants, credit card debt collection and "mandatory vaccines". None of that is true. Though you should expect much more of it in the weeks ahead;
  • Also in Michigan, the state's Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, recently won a court case filed by rightwingers attempting to prevent her from sending absentee ballot applications to all of the state's 7.7 million voters. The ruling --- in a state which Trump is said to have won by just over 11,000 votes in 2016 --- comes in the wake of his misfired threat to withhold federal funding from Michigan in a tweet in which he falsely claimed the "rogue Secretary of State" was planning to send out actual ballots (as opposed to applications) to all voters;
  • And while Trump and his minions have been suing in state after state in (usually failed) efforts to make voting more difficult during the global pandemic that he failed to control --- even attempting to block the use of secure absentee ballot drop-boxes in key battleground states like Pennsylvania --- another newly elected Democratic Sec. of State, Jena Griswold in Colorado, announced today that her state will offer "at least 368 mail ballot drop boxes for the General Election, an increase of 49% since I was elected in 2018!";
  • Also today, a somewhat bizarre comment from a reader/listener in response to our coverage yesterday of L.A. County's disastrous, unverifiable new touchscreen voting system, in which the commenters offers several odd allegations amid of my nearly 20 years of critical coverage of e-voting and asks "whose side are you on?";
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report in the wake of catastrophic week for the climate and the Republican National Convention...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Guests: Lulu Friesdat and Robin Gibson on activist efforts to urge CA Sec. of State to mitigate most dangerous elements of $300M computer voting machines before certification and critical 2020 general election...
By Brad Friedman on 8/31/2020 6:32pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We make short work (for now) of several breaking news stories from over the weekend and into today. Then its straight on to our main story today, which you will hear nowhere else in the media. [Audio link to today's full show is posted below summary.]

In January, we broke the news here on The BRAD BLOG and The BradCast that Los Angeles County's brand-new, unverifiable, $300 million, 10-years-in-development touchscreen polling place voting system had failed to meet more than 40 different California Voting System Standards, according to independent certification testers hired by CA's Secretary of State Alex Padilla. Despite critical security issues that alarmed voting system and cybersecurity experts, the machines were nonetheless "conditionally certified" by Padilla just prior to the March 3rd Super Tuesday primary in the state. The new machines (known as Ballot Marking Devices or BMDs) and the electronic pollbooks that are required to work with them, both failed spectacularly. Voters were disenfranchised by the "Voting Solutions for All People" or VSAP system, as many across the nation's most populous voting jurisdiction were either turned away or forced to wait for hours in line to vote.

It was well after midnight before all of those still in line finally cast their votes on Super Tuesday. It was, of course, impossible to know if any of those votes were tallied as per any voter's intent, because BMD systems print out a computer-marked paper ballot which may or may not reflect the actual intent of any voter. It's impossible to know if results are accurate in any election that uses BMDs for the majority of voters. Recent studies [PDF] find that more than 90% of voters do not notice when a BMD has misprinted one or more of their votes on the paper printout.

After the March 3rd disaster in L.A. (which we had warned about long in advance, to little interest from media or public officials, even from the L.A. County Supervisors, much less Sec. Padilla) the system's brainchild, Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan, was allowed a mulligan. He promised to fix what didn't work before the November election and told us all to simply trust him. Next time would be better. Many in the media then lost whatever interest they had as it was just weeks after Super Tuesday that COVID pandemic struck hard.

Well, now Padilla has recently posted the new certification testing results from Logan's mulligan, VSAP 2.1. The results do not inspire confidence, as many of the same problems with the system originally --- such as paper jams and misprinted QR Codes {PDF] --- still exist, according to testers. Now Padilla must decide in the next two weeks whether or not to certify them again. In truth, he has little choice as Early Voting is now just weeks away. While the state's decision to send every active voter a Vote-by-Mail ballot may help to ease many of the potential log jams at the county's new Voting Centers, ballots cast on the new systems --- as opposed to verifiable hand-marked paper absentee ballots --- are still vulnerable to manipulation and can never been known to reflect voter intent after the polls close.

However, there are some things that Padilla could require to be done to mitigate some of the worst dangers of the system if it is to be used for this year's critical November election. Several dozen election integrity and activist groups, along with a number of esteemed cybersecurity and voting systems experts, recently signed on to an excellent public letter led by the California Clean Money Campaign, demanding Padilla implement a number of the mitigations before certifying the updated voting systems.

We're joined today by LULU FRIESDAT, co-founder of SmartElections.us and ROBIN GIBSON, longtime Los Angeles Election Integrity advocate, to discuss those potential mitigations and the one-and-only public comments hearing held today online before Padilla's pending decision to certify. They report that Padilla did not bother to attend, though Logan, apparently, came by near the end of the session to claim that everything is now working fine. "Our registrar got on the call and dismissed two hours of worried voters, and said he had tests that said it was fine," Gibson explained. "It was like 'I win, nah, nah, nah.'"

As Friesdat and Gibson explain, the citizen advocates and experts are asking in their letter for the ballot boxes attached to each touchscreen tablet system to be removed, so that the computer-printed ballots don't have to pass back through the same printer heads after they've been (theoretically) verified by each voter. Experts warn [PDF] that sending the ballot back through the same printer path after verification is a major security risk, allowing the system to change voters votes, without their knowledge, after they have supposedly already approved their printed ballot. Instead, the group is urging that the attached ballot boxes be removed, and that ballots be deposited manually by voters into a separate ballot box at the polling place, for tabulation later.

The group is also asking Padilla to do away with the unverifiable QR Codes that are printed on each ballot. It is that code --- which can't be verified as accurate by any voter --- that is actually read by the optical-scan computer tabulators to tallly each ballot, rather than the human-readable text print out that voters may or may not have verified! "It is not secure to have the vote encoded in a QR code," Friesdat joins cybsersecurity experts in warning.

Moreover, the groups are calling for real, hand-marked paper ballots to be made available to any and all voters at Voting Centers for voters smart enough to want to cast a verifiable vote. "This is basic," Friesdat insists. "Hand-marked paper ballots are the gold standard that security experts recommend. It's not hard to provide them, and voters should be encouraged to use hand-marked paper ballots if they're able to mark by hand."

They also uge Padilla and Logan to finally release the source code to this supposedly County-owned and developed system. The money appropriated by tax-payers was done on the basis, advanced by both Padilla and Logan, that it would be a fully "open source" system, 100% publicly owned. All of that is also important because elections officials in other states and counties across the country have expressed interest in adopting this exact system if it ever actually works in L.A.

Friesdat and Gibson detail many of their own concerns, as well as others who offered public comment today before we open up the phone lines to listener questions about this terrible new system, just 64 days before Election Day and mere weeks before early voting is set to begin in Los Angeles County...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Our 2020 RNC wrap up with Heather Digby Parton and Richard 'RJ' Eskow on the Republicans' viral effort to scare up a second term...
By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2020 5:21pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Never mind the lawlessness of it all. Personally, I'm still having trouble today getting over the creepy, grotesque scene of thousands jammed shoulder to shoulder together on the White House lawn for Donald Trump's viral super-spreader event in celebration of his acceptance speech to run for a second failed term as President. But maybe that's just me. [Audio link to today's upbeat show after a very grim night follows below.]

We're joined today for our Republican National Convention Week-in-Review by HEATHER DIGBY PARTON, award-winning opinion journalist at Salon and Hullabaloo, and RICHARD "RJ" ESKOW, longtime progressive columnist and host of The Zero Hour show on radio, TV and podcast.

It was a bizarre and stunningly dishonest week from the GOP, to say the least, capped off by the mother of all Lie Fests from the President of the United States himself. His droning, 70-minute long attempt to gaslight the American people by lying about his record and trying to scare the hell out of them about Joe Biden, did not disappoint, at least on the dishonesty scale. We make short work of a few much-needed, monster fact-checks at the top of the show before we get to the central question of the day.

Setting aside the lies and the hypocrisy of breaking countless laws while use the White House ("the People's House") to declare himself the "Law and Order President", did Trump's false, fear-mongering speech, and all the same that came before it this week from every other RNC speaker, accomplish what Republicans and Trump needed them to?

Parton and Eskow (and Desi Doyen and me) all have plenty of thoughts on that question and many others in today's lively round-table at the end of another long convention week and as we prepare for the nightmares to come in the general election season, debate season, and, undoubtedly, the boatload of October Surprises and dirty tricks that lie ahead...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Col. Moe Davis, former Chief Military Prosecutor at Gitmo, now Dem candidate for NC-11; Also: Hurricane Laura lands hard and Faking America Great Again (again) at RNC Day 3...
By Brad Friedman on 8/27/2020 6:42pm PT  

On Wednesday night at the Republican National Convention, the GOP's candidate for the vacant seat in North Carolina's 11th Congressional District offered some strange remarks. Today, on The BradCast, his Democratic opponent joins us to offer his response. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel MOE DAVIS has a distinguished, 25-year career in the military that includes a boatload of awards and honors. As Chief Military Prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay, he pushed back against the George W. Bush Administration, refusing to use evidence obtained through torture against accused terrorists. When forced to do so anyway, he resigned. Later, while serving as a national security expert for Congress, he penned an op-ed critical of Obama's use of prosecutions at Gitmo. He was fired.

Now he's running for Congress as a Democrat in a NC District where Donald Trump reportedly won by 57 points in 2016, for the vacant seat previously occupied by Trump's latest Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows. But there are new court-ordered Congressional maps this year in North Carolina, after the previous Districts were found to have been unlawfully gerrymandered by state Republicans. The old maps allowed Republicans to hold 10 of 13 U.S. House seats over the past decade in one of the most closely divided states in the nation. Davis (and other experts) contend that while his District may still lean Republican, it is now much less so.

Moreoever, Davis will be running in November against a dashing 25-year old Republican kid --- and apparent Nazi-enthusiast --- by the name of Madison Cawthorn. You may have seen him speak from his wheelchair during Wednesday night's RNC. Col Davis joins us today to respond to some of Cawthorn's somewhat bizarre remarks (in which he incorrectly claimed that James Madison signed the Declaration of Independence when he was 25 --- though Madison did not sign the Declaration at all) and other elements of Cawthorn's apparently made-up resume.

Davis notes that his opponent was recently thanked "for his service to the country" on television by a Fox "News" anchor who apparently associated his wheelchair with military service. In fact, he was paralyzed in a car accident during a Spring Break trip to Florida when he was 18. "He didn't correct her," says Davis. But facts and telling the truth are no longer required in the Republican Party. In fact, both are apparently frowned upon. So Cawthorn could be the party's next superstar! "He plays fast and loose with the truth," charges Davis. "And I guess if you're on the side that 'alternative facts' are acceptable, then he's got a whole bag full." But, Davis concedes, Cawthorn "always gives you a good show. He's a handsome young man, very charismatic and articulate," before adding: "There's a lot of sizzle there but not much beneath the surface."

He says Cawthorn had promised to finally offer proposals for things like climate change and health care during his RNC speech, but instead argued simply that "conservatives" must "win the argument on both health care and the environment." He didn't bother to offer any actual argument, however. That on a night that a monster hurricane was speeding toward the Texas/Louisiana border --- the second one in a week --- while huge wildfires burned out west, after 3 nights of the RNC in which not one speaker seems to have uttered the words "climate change" even once.

"Mr. Cawthorn's plan for addressing health care is that we need more insurance companies," says Davis, who describes that as "laughable...If you're out of work, having more insurance companies isn't going to help you. That's his fresh new plan for the Republican Party.

For his part, Davis explains his own positions on several of these issues and others affecting some of the more rural (Republican-leaning) parts of his District. After the recent court-ordered redistricting in the swingiest of swing-states, the 11th District is now believed to be more Democratic, as it includes much more of Asheville. Davis notes that many describe the progressive city as "the Berkeley of the Blue Ridge....A big blue dot in the middle of a sea of red." He offers confidence that he'll be able to flip this previously "deep red" district to "blue" this year. He also shares his thoughts, as a law enforcement official himself, on calls from the Left for police reform amid continuing protests against systemic racism and a rightwing vigilante who murdered two peaceful protesters in Kenosha, WI on Tuesday night. And we discuss what he thinks about Donald Trump's pretend opposition to the Iraq War and threats to fill up Guantanamo Bay again, after it was nearly emptied during the Obama Administration.

Also on today's show: Desi Doyen joins us for details on the devastating damage wrought overnight by the monster Hurricane Laura in Louisiana and the bizarre, dangerous Night 3 of the RNC where Vice President Mike Pence gave his Presidential-sounding keynote address. He warned that violence in the streets under the Trump Administration is actually what we can expect, ironically enough, from "Joe Biden's America" --- to a maskless crowd filled with vulnerable elderly war veterans. Hopefully the event does not turn out to have been a COVID-19 super-spreader event, or Pence's closing promise to "Make America Great Again...Again" may never come to pass...again.

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Aklima Khondoker of All Voting is Local; Also: Hurricane Laura to slam Gulf Coast; White vigilante arrested for killing Kenosha protesters; Trump's violations of law at RNC Day 2 reveal 'The Audacity of the Grift'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/26/2020 7:16pm PT  

On today's BradCast we head back to Georgia --- yes, again! --- for yet more new evidence highlighting the state as offering arguably the worst --- and most racist --- voting system in the nation. But we begin with breaking news today. Too much of it. [Audio link to full show is posted at bottom of summary.]

First up, Hurricane Laura is now a monster storm, currently a Category 4, and headed for landfall near the Texas/Louisiana border. The National Hurricane Center warns it will be "unsurvivable" and could submerge entire towns near the coast, with a storm surge as high as 20 feet and a menace to cities as far as 200 miles inland. A massive evacuation is now under way in both states, though avoiding the COVID pandemic in evacuation shelters may be very tricky, even as some areas in the storm's target zone have recently seen high positive test rates.

In Kenosha, Wisconsin, where protests continued for a third straight night following the outrageous police shooting, caught on tape, of African-American father Jacob Blake, two protesters were killed by a gunman on Tuesday. The alleged shooter, according to police, is a white 17-year old police fan boy from across the border in Illinois. Tuesday's shootings were also caught by cell phone video, not long after the suspected gunman was seen on video with a group of armed vigilantes being thanked by local police for their presence. After he had shot at least three protesters and was identified to police by others, the cops reportedly allowed him to walk right past them, assault rifle in hand, as they focused on the victims instead. The man was arrested today in Illinois.

Then --- after still more breaking news that the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks were boycotting their playoff game today to protest the shooting of Blake, leading the NBA to cancel all of tonight's playoff games --- we get to what necessarily became our truncated coverage of Day 2 of the Republican National Convention.

It was a stunning evening, in which one law after another was proudly broken or flaunted as the White House, U.S. Marines, the Acting Sec. of Homeland Security, a tax-payer funded trip by the Sec. of State to Israel, and the Presidential Seal were all used for political purposes, during the convention itself, so that Donald Trump could ironically be declared "the Law and Order President" by one hypocritical speaker after another.

Among the speakers were Trump's daughter Tiffany, his wife Melania and his son Eric who followed former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi making the case --- with a straight face --- that Joe Biden's family members were involved in some sort of criminal nepotism. Trump's son Eric, who serves as Executive Vice President for his father's company, was sued this week by the New York State Attorney General for failing to respond with documents and testimony to a lawful subpoena amid an investigation into bank and tax fraud by his father and the Trump Organization where Eric works. All of that as Trump's senior economic adviser Larry Kudlow pretended that the COVID pandemic --- which has so far killed at least 178,000 Americans, including more than 1,100 on Tuesday alone --- was over, thanks to Donald Trump's quick response.

As usual, all of these nightmares underscore the need to prevent Trump from winning a second term. But it won't be easy, as we learn again today with yet another story of targeted voter suppression out of Georgia. We have spent a disproportionate amount of time in recent years on this program reporting on the disastrous state of voting in Georgia. It is thought possible that the battleground state could finally flip to "blue" for this year's Presidential election and its TWO U.S. Senate races, but it continues to feature arguably offer the worst voting system in the nation.

By way of very quick summary of just a few data points to back up that allegation:

  • In 2016, after a huge purge of voters from the roles, we would learn after the Presidential election that Georgia's then Republican Sec. of State, now Governor, Brian Kemp, left the entire voter database and passwords to its voting systems unprotected online for download by anyone. When caught, he lied about it and wiped the entire server despite an ongoing lawsuit.
  • In 2018, a federal judge found the state's nearly 20-year old, unverifiable, easily-hacked touchscreen voting systems, mandated for use at the polling place in every county, to be outdated, insecure and unverifiable.
  • In that year's election, overseen by Kemp himself, he was narrowly found (by those same failed systems) to have "won" the Governor's race in a contest that his Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams, regards as illegitimate due to, among other things, the purges and disproportionate rejection of absentee ballots cast by African-Americans.
  • Also in 2018, some 250,000 votes in the Lt. Governor's race inexplicably disappeared in black precincts.
  • In 2019, the federal judge ruled the state's voting system so insecure and unverifiable that they were, in fact, unconstitutional. She banned them from further use and ordered the system to be replaced by a new one.
  • In 2019, the new Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger ordered new, similarly unverifiable, easily-hacked touchscreen voting systems to replace the old systems found to be unconstitutional, rather than move to a cheaper, VERIFIABLE, hand-marked paper ballot system recommended by voting and computer experts. The new $130 million systems failed in their first outing late last year and again during primaries this year, leading to hours-long voting lines in the Peach State, once again, largely in minority areas.
  • And we would also later learn that the new digital optical-scan computers used to tally hand-marked absentee ballots in the Peach State had skipped counting unknown thousands of votes during the June primaries, due to a software setting that allows election officials or the private voting system vendor or even hackers to dial up or down the sensitivity setting to determine which votes are counted or not.

All of which brings us to this week, as the Georgia chapter of All Voting Is Local unveiled a new analysis of rejected vote-by-mail ballots from the June primary elections in the state. You'll be shocked to learn that in the three counties they examined, the mail-in ballots from black voters were rejected at disproportionately higher rates than others. For example, in the Atlanta suburb of Cobb County, Black voters submitted 24 percent of the absentee ballots requested but accounted for 38 percent of mail-in ballots rejected by the County.

We're joined today by AKLIMA KHONDOKER, former ACLU attorney, now Georgia State Director for All Voting is Local, to explain her group's analysis and why the rates of absentee ballot rejection are so high for black voters in Georgia and, to a lesser extent, Hispanic and Asian voters as well. Khondoker warns that while the group only looked at three counties in Georgia --- finding similarly alarming statistics in each --- the problem likely extends not only to the rest of the state, but likely to many others around the nation.

"I don't think this is unique to Georgia. This is likely something we would see nationwide," she argues, citing the "institutional and structural racism that has led to the wealth of problems that we see in our elections. There is no way to cleave the two. Because we have a clear system that has always worked for one and not the other." She goes on to explain how this new analysis is just one more data point underscoring evidence that institutional racism "undercuts everything in our election systems."

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Also: Courts continue to save nation on COVID dangers, voting, more...
By Brad Friedman on 8/25/2020 6:28pm PT  

I'll be brief in today's BradCast summary, because I've got to head back into Day 2 of the bizarre dystopian nightmare known as Donald Trump's Republican National Convention. We're watching it so you don't have to. You're welcome. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

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

  • Two nightmare storms slamming the Gulf Coast in the same week as the biggest and more dangerous of the two, Hurricane Laura, is gunning for the Louisiana/Texas border, likely as a Category 3;
  • A Florida judge puts the brakes on Gov. Ron DeSantis' demand that all public schools open five days a week for in-person classes by the end of this month. He says the state's plan "disregards safety" amid a still roiling --- if slightly easing (for now) --- pandemic in the Sunshine State;
  • Highlights (low lights?) from Day 1 of the RNC, in which every speaker sounded as if their remarks were either written by the same person, or simply ripped straight off of Fox "News". As ridiculous as the evening was --- featuring enough dangerous lies about Trump's mishandling of the COVID crisis that MSNBC had to break in with a doctor for some serious fact-checking; a couple of accused felons warned Democrats will "“abolish the suburbs altogether"; a seemingly stoned Don Jr. and his seemingly insane former Fox "News" host girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle --- we determined that ridicule was the best was to cover it. So we called in Stephen Colbert for some assistance.
  • Good news, for now, for voters in Pennsylvania. A Trump-appointed federal judge forced the Trump Campaign to make fools of themselves by demanding they present evidence of voter fraud via secure absentee ballot drop-boxes in Pennsylvania, where they are suing to prevent the use of the convenient devices during this year's general election. The plaintiffs were unable to to present any such evidence.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with more on the twin storms pummeling the Gulf Coast and the raging fires in California (both amid a global pandemic making evacuating shelters very tricky for social distancing), the Trump Administration puts a pause on it's approval for the controversial Pebble Mine in Alaska after Don Jr. and Fox "News" decide maybe they're against it after all, and a quick review of last week's virtual Democratic National Convention where Joe Biden and many others promised action on climate change...

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Two storms in the Gulf as RNC begins; Trump's sister calls him a liar; Former GOP lawmakers endorse Biden; Former Republican NatSec officials endorse Biden; Repubs fail to create a platform at national convention, party now officially a cult of personality...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2020 5:39pm PT  

Everything is now happening all at once. So, we couldn't get through half of what we would have liked to have covered while still having enough time left to open phones on today's BradCast to thoughts from listeners on last week's Democratic National Convention and this week's GOP version. [Audio link to show follows below.]

So, before we opened the phones to a bunch of great calls, we covered, among other things...

  • Last week, Donald Trump claimed Joe Biden will "hurt God" if he's elected. But it seems that God may have already chosen sides in this year's Presidential election. As if the COVID crisis derailing Trump's plans for rallies and a national convention in two different cities wasn't enough, this year's record Atlantic Hurricane season continues with not one but two storms in the Gulf (Marco and Laura) at the same time, both gunning for Louisiana and/or Texas this week as the Republican National Convention finally gets under way. Desi Doyen joins us for the latest on that;
  • Even Donald Trump's own family doesn't trust Donald Trump. We already know his niece, Mary Trump --- who recently released a best-seller about him --- thinks he's a lying, fraudulent, menace. But so too, apparently, does Donald's own sister, former federal Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, who is heard during secretly recorded conversations with Mary describing her brother, the President, as stupid, cruel, phony and a liar, among other nice things from a family member who knows him best. We share some of those audio recordings released over the weekend today;
  • Also parting ways with Donald Trump today, more than two dozen former Republican Senators and Congressmen, including Arizona's former Sen. Jeff Flake, who announced their endorsement of Joe Biden just hours before the Republican National Convention was to get under way on Monday;
  • That follows a group of more than 70 longtime national security officials who served under Trump and other Republican Administrations who issued an open letter on Friday endorsing Joe Biden and describing Trump as "dangerously unfit to serve another term";
  • But, of course, all of this is just part of the GOP's long spiral into a party that believes in absolutely nothing at all other than clinging to power any way that they can and, of course, cult-worshiping Trump, as Politico Magazine's Tim Alberta details in a new piece today headlined "The Grand Old Meltdown: What happens when a party gives up on ideas?" As one longtime Congressional GOP stalwart laments in Alberta's piece, "Owning the libs and pissing off the media. That's what we believe in now. There's really not much more to it.";
  • One thing that happens when a party gives up on ideas is they are unable to even craft a policy platform for their party. That is --- other than officially selecting a nominee for President --- the whole point of holding a national convention in the first place. But with a complete dearth of legitimate policy proposals, the RNC on Sunday essentially admitted as much by announcing they would not be producing a platform at all this year for the first time in....ever?;
  • Then, after a few words about the ongoing fight against the attempt by Trump and his Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to steal the election by slowing down the mail during the largest Vote-by-Mail election of all time, we open the phones to listeners with their thoughts on all of the above and much more...

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Guests: Progressive journalists Heather Digby Parton and Eric Boehlert on Biden, Harris, the Obamas and the surprising overall success of the nation's first 'virtual' political convention...
By Brad Friedman on 8/21/2020 5:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A bunch of longtime, cynical, dyed-in-the-wool progressive political journalists all seem to be largely in agreement today. The 2020 Democratic National Convention --- which, one week ago, nobody had any clue what it would look like --- was a stunning success on several surprising levels, starting, but not ending with, both Presidential and Vice Presidential acceptance speeches that each exceeded expectations. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

It was an often stark and somber week of uncut, commercial-free, two-hour-a-night politicking which, due to the pandemic, had to be invented from scratch by some remarkably creative minds. The result --- according to our guests HEATHER DIGBY PARTON, opinion journalist at Salon and Hullabaloo, and longtime progressive media critic ERIC BOEHLERT of PressRun --- was a remarkably cohesive and often moving narrative. The Democrats appear to have successfully framed an epic --- and even easy to understand --- election match-up featuring The Nicest Guy in the Nation versus its Meanest.

  • But will that be enough to defeat Trump, voter suppression, and ongoing chaos amid a crippling pandemic and knee-capped economy?
  • Will a platform featuring "the most progressive" programs "any Democratic presidential nominee has embraced in half a century" help counter the convention week's appeal to independents and disaffected Republican voters that seemed to overshadow, at times, the Party's more tepid embrace of it's surging progressive wing?
  • Will the bright lights of Joe Biden's trademark smile and the sunshine-bathed star-power of Kamala Harris be enough to, as the former Vice President promised in his acceptance speech, unify a nation to "overcome this season of darkness in America"?
  • And how, pray-tell, will the Republicans match or even answer the Democrats' carefully crafted and presented story-telling, featuring stars and regular Americans alike, with their own presentation next week?

We answer some of those questions and discuss all of them and much more today on today's special week-in-review coverage of the 2020 DNC...

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Obama's DNC Day 3 speech for the ages; Also: All the President's Accountability - Bannon arrested for fraud, Trump loses again on taxes...
By Brad Friedman on 8/20/2020 6:10pm PT  

Today's BradCast, I suspect, largely speaks for itself. [Audio link to full show is below.]

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

  • Steve Bannon, Donald Trump's third 2016 campaign chief and former CEO of the rightwing propaganda outlet Brietbart, becomes the third to be arrested and charged with crimes. He now faces federal felony fraud charges for stealing $1 million from a supposedly non-profit donor-driven wingnut effort that raised $25 million to build fencing on the U.S. southern border. We're happy to see yet another Trump-enabled con-man and grifter held accountable, but it comes with a warning about what this likely means for other federal indictments that could drop in the coming days ahead of the November 3rd election;
  • After receiving a very generous mulligan from the Republicans' stolen U.S. Supreme Court last month --- allowing his attorneys another bite at the apple in making their ridiculous case that the President of the United States is above the law in every way --- Trump's lawyers lose yet again, as a lower federal court judge rules for a second time that Trump's accounting firm, Mazars USA, must turn over his tax returns and other financial documents to the Manhattan District Attorney investigating the President on state fraud charges;
  • Our quick review of the masterfully crafted and performed Day 3 of the DNC's virtual Democratic National Convention, including the historic nomination and perfectly delivered acceptance speech by official Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris, and...;
  • An extended excerpt of former President Barack Obama's speech for the ages, unlike any he's ever delivered, with a stern and clarion call to all Americans to rise up now by casting our votes to save democracy and the republic itself...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Guests: FL-3's presumptive Democratic nominee Adam Christensen and Progressive blogger Howie Klein; Also: Some highlights from DNC Day 2...
By Brad Friedman on 8/19/2020 6:57pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A new effort by grassroots progressive activists to make sure all 27 U.S. House races and all 141 state House and Senate races on the ballot are competitive this year in the state of Florida is already yielding encouraging results. [Audio link to full show is posted at bottom of summary.]

But, first up today, a few thoughts and a quick review of some highlights from the second night of the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention, including some mainstream media abetted confusion about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez' role in the very cool 50-state-plus-several-territories Roll Call vote on Tuesday and more. Bottom line: to the surprise of nobody, Joe Biden is now officially the Party's Presidential nominee this year. At the same time, voters in Wyoming, Alaska and Florida took to the polls on Tuesday for statewide primary elections, which received much less coverage than they might otherwise have.

The good news, for a start: there have been few, if any, problem reports for voters at the polls in all three states as of today. That's particularly surprising for Florida, where there always seems to be one disaster or another. But, whether it's because so many ballots were already cast by mail in the Sunshine State in advance of Election Day or some other reason, it's always good news when voters aren't (to my knowledge) being disenfranchised due to chaos and failures at the polling place. As to the results, we focus today on several interesting races in Florida, the mother of all swing-states, which will once again play an out-sized role in the critical November elections.

One race was the Democratic primary contest won by former Republican software designer turned whistleblower Clint Curtis. Longtime BRAD BLOG readers will remember him well, as we broke his story in 2004 when he filed a sworn affidavit alleging that he was asked by a man named Tom Feeney --- Florida's then powerful state House Speaker (later U.S. House Rep and always close friend of the Bush Family) --- to create prototype software to flip an election on touchscreen voting systems without detection. With much less funding than his Democratic opponent, Curtis reportedly won the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House in Florida's very Republican 6th Congressional District. He'll likely face an uphill climb this year to oust first-term incumbent Michael Waltz. But, if Curtis could defeat his Democratic opponent who outspent him by about 5 to 1, anything could happen this November.

To discuss some of the other races in the rest of the state, we're joined once again today by progressive "Down With Tyranny" blogger and co-founder of the progressive BlueAmericaPAC, HOWIE KLEIN who brought along a SPECIAL GUEST today!

Last week on this show, Klein discussed an effort by activists in Florida to make sure there would be no Republicans running for office at the state or federal level without Democratic competition on the ballot. As Klein emphasizes at his blog today, in response to ABC News which finally noticed the effort as of Election Day morning, it was not the state or national party which undertook this effort, but outside activists who watched some 21 state House and Senate races go uncontested all together by Democrats in 2016. That, Klein and his special guest argue today, means that in huge swaths of the state, Democrats (who, theoretically, outnumber Republicans in Florida) don't bother to turn out at all for elections at the state level. In a state which Donald Trump is said to have won in 2016 by just 130,000 votes out of millions of registered voters, the ill-considered strategy by the Florida State Democratic Party to sit out all together in many places, has arguably been a costly one. The GOP has dominated both the state legislature and Governor's mansion for years now.

On Tuesday, thanks to the activists, Democrats were on the Florida ballot from top to bottom, including 140 out of 141 state House and Senate contests. (One candidate, who his now suing, was disqualified due to a technicality in her filing paperwork.) Klein details just some of the several actually progressive candidates who will now be competitive on this November's ballot --- even in so-called "red" districts --- and perhaps provide additional reason for Democrats to show up and vote in some cases where they may not have.

One of those candidates who won an astonishingly tight three-way primary race for the Democratic U.S. House nomination in FL's 3rd Congressional District was Howie's special guest on today's program, 26-year old businessman and very impressive progressive candidate, ADAM CHRISTENSEN. The first time candidate, who'd be perhaps the youngest ever sworn in to the U.S. House if he's successful in November, is running to fill the seat being vacated by far-Right GOP Trumper, Rep. Ted Yoho (perhaps most famous for recently verbally assaulting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building.)

I must say I was exceedingly impressed with Christensen --- one of BlueAmericaPAC's endorsed progressive candidates in FL --- and his unflinching run for the seat in what has traditionally been a very "red" district. "If it was ever going to happen," he tells me today, "if this seat was ever going to flip, it was this year. So I jumped in, and a bunch of people realized we have a shot at this."

He has also taken a leadership role in the effort to run competitive candidates at the state level. "We were able to get House district candidates for every single district in the state of Florida to be able to run, so that we could actually go on a broad-based attack to be able to try to flip the Florida House. We partnered with four out of the five House candidates in our Congressional District to number one, try to turn out the vote, and number two, to try to make sure that we ran viable candidacies and we were able to cut the margins in some of the rural counties and actually win the rural counties." He cites that as one of the reasons he was "able to pull off an upset last night", with all three candidates in his race winning between 32.3 and 34.5% of the vote. Christensen came out on top by about 800 votes out of some 61,000 cast.

"There is a way that these districts can never be won, and that's if you don't run candidates in them," Klein argues. "If you don't run candidates, you don't win. And, also, if you don't run candidates the party starts to die. People don't even know what the Democratic Party means in some of these places. If you're running candidates, they're going to enthuse voters who will vote down ballot. These voters who come in are going to vote for Biden [and Biden voters will] vote for someone like Adam. That's why it pays, always, to have these candidates."

Christensen echoes Klein's thinking. "If you go on a full, broad-based attack and make them spend time, resources and energy in places that they don't want to, you are going to win. Politics is a game of attrition, and if you don't treat it that way, you will lose. If you do not run candidates everywhere, you will lose," he says.

I'd encourage you to click below to tune in for the full conversation with the candidate, as he explains how he is unflinchingly prepared to take his case --- for progressive platforms like the Green News Deal and Medicare for All --- to those who have, for years, called themselves Republicans because they (falsely) believe the party is "conservative". For example, as he explains, he supports "middle class tax cuts" because, as he details today and on his website's platform page, Americans are burdened with PRIVATE taxes such as insurance for health care and costs for universal childcare. Providing those services by public means would ultimately lower costs ("private taxes") on the middle class.

"What we do is speak in the language of Republicans, of independents. We use the terms 'middle class tax cuts', 'small business tax cuts'. What I mean by that is we are going to reduce the amount of taxes --- private taxes --- that everyone has to pay," says Christensen. "We are going to get rid of the insurance companies from the health industry --- which is a small business tax cut, because small businesses pay eight grand per employee, and 30% of that goes to an insurance company. That is a tax cut. Get rid of those, that is a tax cut. Use those terms."

Both Klein and Christensen argue that there are a lot of independent voters in the District who, along with Democrats, may go with Christensen and pull off an upset against Kat Cammack --- Yoho's Chief of Staff and the apparent winner of the 10-candidate free-for-all on Tuesday to win the GOP nomination for the 3rd District seat.

Christensen, who was raised as a Republican, also understands --- as I have long discussed --- the need to take the fight straight to them on the Right, to not flinch from the Fox "News" phony attack squad, but meet them where they live and explain, as he does in very astute detail today in response to my questions, how progressive policies are, yes, even good for Republicans!

So, can a true progressive win in a very so-called "conservative" Congressional district on his first try, without moderating his views --- but expound on them clearly to explain how they would help even so-called "conservatives --- during a general election contest? We may found out in just over 70 days. Klein points out that Rep. Katie Porter, in what had long been deep "red" Orange County, California, already proved it can be done. But I think Christensen's story, and his run --- staffed by volunteers who are all 23-years old or younger! --- should be an inspiring one for a lot of folks around the country considering the possibility of doing the exact same thing in the future, even in what are seen as so-called "red" areas of the country...

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Winning the Right to Vote; DeJoy to DeCongress; Repub Led Senate Report on Team Trump Lies About 2016 Russia Interference; Former DHS Official Calls Trump 'Terrifying', Lawless; Highlights from DNC Day 1...
By Brad Friedman on 8/18/2020 6:25pm PT  

Yes, on today's BradCast, it is what it is. But we're here to cover it. And so we do. In the most information-packed broadcast you're likely to find anywhere. At least for the price. [Audio link to today's show follows below.]

Among the MANY stories covered today...

  • It's been 100 years since women won the right to vote, as the 19th Amendment was ratified on August 18th, 1920. They were not granted the right. They fought like hell for generations and won it for themselves. Sadly, thanks to Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans, too many are still fighting like hell to keep it;
  • Over the weekend, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi summoned lawmakers back to D.C. to pass a law this Saturday to roll back efforts by Donald Trump's donor and newly appointed Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, to slow down mail delivery in advance of the November election. On Monday, he and U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors Chair --- and former RNC Chair --- Robert Duncan, agreed to testify before the House Oversight Committee next week. Today, DeJoy also agreed to testify before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Friday and, clearly under pressure and facing lawsuits by 20 different state Attorneys General, DeJoy agreed to pause his new directives at the USPS...if you believe him;
  • The Republican-led U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee released a damning, nearly 1000-page report today on Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the Trump Campaign's cooperation with the effort. The bipartisan report, described as more expansive than the one by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, highlights, among many other things: Trump's criminal lies to Mueller about conversations he "did, in fact" have with convicted felon Roger Stone (and multiple other campaign staffers) concerning the publication of stolen emails by WikiLeaks before the 2016 election; convicted Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort's collusion with a Russian intelligence agent described as a "grave counterintelligence threat"; the Russian "influence operation" after the election to claim that it was Ukraine, not Russia, which interfered in 2016 on behalf of Hillary Clinton, not Trump --- a claim for which the Senate Committee found "no reliable evidence" despite more than 200 interviews over three years of fact-finding, including with Trump family members and top campaign officials;
  • Just hours before the Democratic National Committee's Convention was to convene on Monday night, the group Republican Voters Against Trump released a damning video featuring Miles Taylor, the former Chief of Staff at Trump's Dept. of Homeland Security, who describes Trump's incompetence as "terrifying", detailing frequently "illegal" orders from the President who, he says, often attempted to exploit the DHS for his own political purposes and personal benefit. Taylor said today we should expect more insiders coming forward with similarly disturbing revelations in coming days;
  • Then, we move to the first night of the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention with a few thoughts about the format (a "convention" without the actual convening part) and the high-profile Republicans --- including Ohio's former Governor and Republican Presidential Candidate John Kasich --- who spoke in support of Joe Biden on the Dems' opening night. We also share the segment featuring Kristin Urquiza, whose Trump-supporting father believed the coronavirus to be a hoax, until we was killed by it. We then play extended excerpts from former Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders' full-throated endorsement of Biden, making the progressive case for his Presidency, and finally an extended portion of the killer keynote remarks by former First Lady Michelle Obama, detailing Trump's irreparable failures as President and why the nation needs to replace him with Biden. Both Sanders and Obama made excellent arguments for why neither progressives nor Democrats nor the country nor the planet could endure four more years under the most inept, corrupt, dishonest, failed President in the history of the nation;
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest, incredibly jam-packed Green News Report, as extreme weather broils the U.S., Greenland's ice sheet faces its final days, and the Trump Administration opens up the previously pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to commercial oil drilling...even though Donald Trump apparently does not even know what it is.

But, of course, it is what it is...

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Guest: Transition Integrity Project co-founder Nils Gilman on recent election 'war games' predicting potential disaster in almost every scenario --- and how we must work to mitigate it...
By Brad Friedman on 8/17/2020 6:40pm PT  

Today's BradCast is a really meaty show and --- at times --- a quite terrifying one. Apologies in advance! [Audio link to show is posted at bottom of summary.]

We're joined today by NILS GILMAN, Vice President of Programs at the Berggruen Institute and co-founder of the Transition Integrity Project (TIP). The bi-partisan group was founded in late 2019 to examine concerns, as Gilman explains today, about whether a Joe Biden victory would result in a reasonably smooth transition with the Trump Administration or whether, as the group's chilling new report [PDF] "Preventing a Disrupted Presidential Election and Transition" describes, they needed to be concerned "that the Trump Administration may seek to manipulate, ignore, undermine or disrupt the 2020 presidential election and transition process." As TIP would discover, however, those nightmares could be far worse than the group initially expected. An actual transition process of any kind, at this point, might be a welcome response to some of the group's worse fears.

"Already it's certain that if Biden manages to win, he's going to be handed an inbox from hell," Gilman tells me. "There's going to be probably 15% unemployment. There's going to be an ongoing pandemic. There's going to be a lot of social contestation in the country. We'd like for him to at least be handed a functional bureaucracy. But we weren't convinced that was actually going to take place. ... What we learned in that process was it wasn't just the administrative process that could potentially be disrupted, it would be potentially the electoral transition itself that was subject to disruption."

TIP, a group of more than 100 current and former senior government officials, campaign leaders and other experts from media to the military convened to examine these issues and "war gamed" several different potential scenarios for how things might play out from November 3rd (Election Day) through January 20, 2021 (Inauguration Day). Over four different sessions, examining four different potential electoral scenarios, the highly-esteemed panel of former Governors, DoJ officials, campaign chiefs and advisers of both parties role-played as both Team Trump and Team Biden. As their recently published report details, the tabletop "war game" exercises included a scenario that "posited that the winner of the election was not known as of the morning after the election and the outcome of the race was too close to predict with certainty; in another, the exercise began with the premise that Democratic party candidate Joe Biden won the popular vote and the Electoral College by a healthy margin; and in a third, the exercise assumed that President Trump won the Electoral College vote but again lost the popular vote by a healthy margin. The fourth exercise began with the premise that Biden won both the popular vote and the Electoral College by a narrow margin."

Following the exercises, TIP's other co-founder and Georgetown Law Professor Rosa Brooks told Fox "News" (which happens to play a key role on behalf of Trump and the Republican effort in every case), all of the scenarios "ended in both street-level violence and political impasse." Brooks observed that "the law is essentially...almost helpless against a President who's willing to ignore it."

As Gilman warns in his own recent article "Getting from November to January," explaining how the exercises helped to reveal that institutions from government to political organizations to the courts to citizen activists and media could help mitigate the worst possible scenarios: "Wargaming shows that, short of a landslide victory for Joe Biden in the upcoming elections, we may be headed for a severe constitutional crisis." He adds: "in each scenario other than a Biden landslide, we ended up with a constitutional crisis that lasted until the inauguration, featuring violence in the streets and a severely disrupted administrative transition."

Sounds cheery, no? Gilman, who is also an historian, joins us today to discuss the genesis of the project; the comparable historical parallel to our upcoming election (the 1876 election between Democrat Samuel Tilden and Republican Rutherford B. Hayes, where two different sets of competing electors were sent by states to D.C. before the Constitutional Crisis was finally averted with a comprise that resulted in the end of the Civil War Reconstruction period, launching more than a 100 years of Jim Crow that we are still dealing with today); the specifics findings of the Project (eg. the potential dispute created by Trump's authoritarian use of Presidential powers to, for example, employ the Dept. of Justice to seize ballots and stop the counting) must be met "as a political battle, not just a legal battle"; and that during the exercises, "Team Trump was consistently more ruthless than Team Biden – more willing to ignore existing democratic norms, to make use of disinformation, to deploy federal agencies to promote Trump's personal and electoral interests, and to engage in intimidation campaigns."

As former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum, one of the participants in the exercises noted, "The worst news is that, faced with presidential lawlessness, few of the participants at the Transition Integrity Project found effective responses. ... Many of the games turned on who made the first bold move. Time after time, that first mover was Trump."

While Gilman argues that nothing is inevitable, he notes, "the media will have a huge role in this" and the time to talk about it is NOW. "The plea I would make would be to patriots --- particularly people in the government who have taken an oath to the defend Constitution --- that there are some basic principles, which are not partisan at all. Every American citizen that wants to vote should be enabled to do so as easily and safely as possible, and every one of those votes should be counted properly."

His TIP report goes further to note that it is "just as important that the public has confidence in the count." That, as I discuss with Gilman, may require a level of transparency in our voting system that --- despite my best efforts over the past nearly-two decades --- we have long ago been obscured with computer tabulation and voting systems which make it impossible, after an election, to know if many ballots --- at least those that are not hand-marked paper ballots --- actually reflect the intent of each voter.

As mentioned, it's a very meaty show, with a LOT to talk about. Gilman joins us for the full hour, and even that wasn't enough to cover so much of what the group found; what we can all do about it; and whether our mainstream media, the Biden Campaign and the Democratic Party itself are prepared to handle what is very likely to be hurled at them --- and all of us --- as of November 3rd...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Guest host Nicole Sandler with author, journalist Thomas Frank...
By Nicole Sandler on 8/14/2020 4:59pm PT  

It’s NICOLE SANDLER back behind the guest host’s microphone today for a special edition of the BradCast. [Audio link is posted below.]

It's special because I'm joined by one of my favorite guests of all time. THOMAS FRANK is the author of many books, essential reads for anyone who cares about the future of our country and certainly for those with a progressive point of view. What’s the Matter with Kansas?, Pity the Billionaire, Listen, Liberal and The Wrecking Crew are just a few.

Frank's new book is The People, No: A Brief History of Anti-Populism. He gives us the fascinating story behind the populist movement and how the two sides flipped. And he bemoans our lost opportunities to harness the populist power when it was so close so recently...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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President of the United States holds trillions of dollars in emergency relief hostage to prevent Democrats from safely casting ballots in November...
By Brad Friedman on 8/13/2020 6:37pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Well, at least he's saying it out loud now. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The President of the United States is rejecting the plea --- from his own personally-appointed, Republican-majority, Postal Board of Governors for $25 billion to save the U.S Postal Service from collapse and a $3.5 billion request from the nation's bi-partisan elections officials to help harden election infrastructure for security purposes and to accommodate a huge Presidential election in the middle of a deadly global pandemic --- because he is trying to steal the election. While he doesn't use the words "steal the election", he and his administration are now making very clear they are trying to do just that. And, of course, ham-fistedly lying about it at the same time by claiming that Democrats, somehow, are hoping to "rig" the election.

The Trump/GOP megadonor, Louis DeJoy, just appointed as Trump's Postmaster General in June, has been busy issuing directives to slow down mail delivery, despite the explosion in Vote-by-Mail expected during this November's election, as necessitated by Trump's own failed coronavirus response. This week we have also learned that DeJoy has removed or reassigned some 23 top USPS officials who manage mail delivery and that 19 huge postal sorting machines, which process some 35,000 pieces of mail an hour, have now been removed or are scheduled to be removed from at least 19 different mail distribution sites across the country. That was confirmed by Motherboard today after initially being reported on NPR by the President of the Iowa Postal Worker's Union.

It is happening in plain sight. On Wednesday at his White House presser, and again on Thursday, Trump conceded that if he doesn't agree to a new COVID-19 emergency relief bill to help the nearly 30 million now-unemployed Americans; cash-strapped states and cities; hospitals; schools; and, yes, elections officials and the U.S. Post Office itself, he believes he will stop voters from successfully casting a ballot through the mail this November.

That works great for him, because he's hoaxed his own GOP supporters into believing absentee voting is fraudulent (except in Florida, where he, himself, does it ILLEGALLY) or unnecessary, because the virus is "disappearing, like a miracle." Many duped Republicans will now needlessly risk infection and death to vote for him at the polling place on Election Day, while huge numbers of NOT-disinformed Democrats are expected to use Vote-by-Mail to avoid potential death from voting in-person. Trump will then declare himself the winner on Election Night, with more Republican votes quickly counted from in-person voting, before declaring the slower-to-tally absentee ballots (which need to be manually authenticated one-by-one before they can be run through computer tabulators --- if they even arrive on time to be counted after the USPS slowdowns) as "fraudulent". Attempts to count all lawfully cast ballots after Election Day will then be characterized as an attempt by Democrats to steal the election. That's the plan. It's simple, evil, anti-American, and its happening right before your eyes.

Even one of Trump's top White House economic advisers admitted on CNBC today that "we don't want to have voting rights." That, said Larry Kudlow, out loud, about the effort by Democrats to include election and USPS funding in their emergency relief proposal is "not our game and the President can't accept that kind of deal."

Voting rights advocates, supporters of democracy, and Democrats in Congress are hopping mad, as they should be. So is one of the nation's largest veterans groups. But, of course, Trump knows that, as a failed President, if he doesn't rig the election to steal it he is very likely to lose it. So, yes, he is attempting to steal a Presidential election right before our eyes.

We break down ALL of that down --- in much more detail --- on today's show, along with at least one bit of good news on elections today coming from the U.S. Supreme Court, of all places, if you can believe it.

Finally, we close with Desi Doyen (whose name keeps popping up in the strangest places these days) and our latest Green News Report with a review of presumptive Democratic Veep candidate Kamala Harris' record on environmental justice; the Trump EPA's rollback of Obama-era methane pollution rules at the request of the oil and gas industry; some very good news for the nation's migratory birds; and yet another fossil fuel disaster, this time in Pennsylvania...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Guest: Howie Klein on Tuesday's primary results in MN, GA, elsewhere; Also: Kamala's first appearance as Biden's running mate...
By Brad Friedman on 8/12/2020 6:57pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we look at noteworthy results after Tuesday's state primary elections in Minnesota, Georgia, Wisconsin, Vermont and Connecticut. But we begin with problems voting on Tuesday in (where else?) Georgia, and the quickly expanding efforts by Republican Secretaries of State in key battlegrounds to make mail-in voting as difficult as possible this November, as per Donald Trump's bidding.

In Georgia, as we noted on yesterday's show, despite a successful program to help keep voters safe amid the coronavirus pandemic by sending absentee ballot applications to all active registered voters during the June primary, their Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger has decided not to do so again before the November general elections, despite the spike in COVID infections and deaths in the state since then. A record 5 million Georgians are expected to vote (or try to) this year, when the battleground state is hoped by Democrats to finally flip from "red" to "blue for the first time in decades in the Presidential race and when there are not one, but two vulnerable GOP U.S. Senate Seats on the ballot as well.

In Kentucky, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is facing a challenge from Democratic former fighter pilot Amy McGrath, we're seeing an echo of Raffensperger's attempt to suppress the vote in November. Despite a largely successful June primary, when there were no restrictions on which voters were allowed to request an absentee ballot, the state's Republican Sec. of State Michael Adams on Tuesday submitted a plan to the Governor to restore restrictions, limiting absentees largely to the elderly and those with preexisting health conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19. That, despite the widely praised procedures used in June in the Bluegrass State, where the rate of infections and deaths has also spiked since the mid-summer primary. Adams' absurd excuses for the proposed restrictions on Vote-by-Mail reveal that this is much more about suppression than safety or efficiency. For example, while claiming that election officials and the U.S. Postal Service will be overwhelmed in processing the number of absentee ballots if Kentucky again allows no-excuse absentee voting, Adams is also proposing that only ballots that arrive by Election Day may be counted. Previously, officials had a week after Election Day to process ballots post-marked by then, but which arrived in the days following. Luckily, Kentucky now has a Democratic Governor who may need to approve (or veto) Adams' plan before it can be enacted.

In the neighboring perennial swing-state of Ohio, where Joe Biden and Donald Trump are believed to be neck-and-neck this year, Republican Sec. of State Frank LaRose announced on Wednesday that he is barring county Boards of Election from offering more than one single secure drop-box per county for depositing Vote-by-Mail ballots. After waiting for three weeks for an opinion from the Republican Attorney General as to whether the state's 88 counties could legally deploy extra drop-boxes, LaRose announced today that he could wait no longer. He says he believes it is now too late to make any changes to how the election will be administered. So there must only be one drop-box outside of each County's elections office. He also claimed that adding extra drop-boxes would result in lawsuits like the one filed by the Trump Campaign in late June in Pennsylvania, which argues that the use of drop-boxes in that key battleground state --- where they were successfully deployed without problem during the state's June primary --- is actually unconstitutional.

These are voter suppression attempts, period. Trump and his cronies are attempting to steal the election in plain sight. Don't. Let. Them. Inform yourself and make plans for safely voting this year NOW.

Then, we're joined once again by HOWIE KLEIN of the "Down With Tyranny!" blog and the progressive BlueAmerica PAC. He has been offering analysis on the show of late, from a progressive perspective, on the late season state primary results. Today, after sharing his thoughts on Joe Biden's new running-mate Kamala Harris (he is "not a fan") and who he might like to see appointed to fill her U.S. Senate seat if Democrats win, we cover freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar's win in the Democratic Primary in Minnesota 5th Congressional District on Tuesday against an AIPAC-supported challenger.

Then we discuss the win by Marjorie Taylor Greene --- a QAnon conspiracy theorist who has proudly made racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic statements --- in the Republican primary run-off in Georgia's 14th Congressional District. For some reason, AIPAC did not fund her challenger, despite her unapologetic anti-Semitic remarks, and the fact that she is most likely headed to Congress after easily winning her runoff in a very Republican district.

Nor did AIPAC manage to fund a challenger to 25-year old Republican Madison Cawthorn, an apparent Nazi sympathizer in North Carolina who Klein writes about today, and who appears likely to win the seat vacated by Trump's latest Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows this November. "They love him on the right," says Klein. "They're already seeing him as a future US Senator."

Klein also offers a preview of next Tuesday's state primaries in Florida where a progressive group outside of the state Democratic Party has worked, for the first time, to recruit Democratic candidates to run in each of the Sunshine State's 27 Congressional districts. "I always say the Florida Democratic Party is lucky that there's an Ohio Democratic Party, because otherwise the Florida Democratic Party would be the worst, instead of the second worst in the country," he says. "So the environmental caucus recruited all of these great candidates. The Democratic Party flipped out. ... But there's a really, really good roster of state legislative candidates and, on top of that, there are several excellent Democrats running for the U.S. Congress," he tells me, specifically citing Adam Christensen in Florida's 3rd Congressional District.

Finally, we close with a bit of Kamala Harris' remarks today from Delaware, where she and Biden appeared together for the first time since he named her as his running mate for the 2020 Democratic Presidential ticket...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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