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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, October 22, 2021
The Good with the Bad: 'BradCast' 10/21/21
House holds Bannon in contempt; TX Lt. Gov. pays out for GOP voter fraud; CA GOP's recall boondoggle; Vets dump Sinema; Manchin could dump Dems; TX steals minority House seats; IL boosts Dems (a little)...
'Green News Report' 10/21/21
  w/ Brad & Desi
We're making too much fossil fuel; Climate change imperils millions, study finds; CA expands drought emergency; PLUS: Cutting emissions is hard, but will lower energy bills...
Previous GNRs: 10/19/21 - 10/14/21 - Archives...
'A One-Way Ratchet': Biden's SCOTUS Comm. Does GOP's Bidding: 'BradCast' 10/20/21
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: 'Contempt' for Bannon; Manchin, Sanders in talks; GOP Senate blocks voting rights again...
'Despair is Not an Option' After Manchin Tanks Biden's Central Climate Plan: 'BradCast' 10/19/21
Guest: UCSB's Dr. Leah Stokes; Also: 'Mass homicide' allegations for Brazil's Bolsonaro...
'Green News Report' 10/19/21
  w/ Brad & Desi
Manchin tosses hand grenade into Biden's climate agenda; EPA to crack down on PFAS; Million of polluting, abandoned U.S. wells; PLUS: McDonald's finally going beyond meat...
Previous GNRs: 10/14/21 - 10/12/21 - Archives...
Listeners Ring in on Whether Ds Should Gerrymander 'Blue' States: 'BradCast' 10/18/21
Also: How the unvaxxed helped kill fully-vaxxed Colin Powell; How Manchin is killing Biden's landmark climate change plan...
Sunday 'Democracy's Boundaries' Toons
PDiddie draws a few lines in his latest collection of the week's best toons...
Why Dems Should Now Gerrymander 'Blue' States (and Why They Shouldn't): 'BradCast' 10/15/21
Guest: FairVote's Dave Daley; Also: Freedom to Vote in the Senate; GOP physics in VA...
Why the Last Remaining 2020 Election Contest in GA Should Not Have Been Dismissed: 'BradCast' 10/14/21
Also: Why Bannon's in big trouble (probably); And why Trump may not be running in 2024...
'Green News Report' 10/14/21
  w/ Brad & Desi
Supply chain disruptions spike global energy prices; Russia says they didn't do it!; CA bans gas-powered leaf blowers; PLUS: Biden Administration goes big on offshore wind...
Previous GNRs: 10/12/21 - 10/7/21 - Archives...
'Red' State Profs Fight for Masking at Universities: 'BradCast' 10/13/21
Guest: Dr. Matthew Boedy of UNG; Also: Shatner in space; Workers have had enough; Biden's big new off-shore wind plan...
'Green News Report' 10/12/21
'No climate, no deal!' on Build Back Better; Critical infrastructure facing flood, failure; 2021 extreme weather costs; PLUS: Biden restores national monuments...
'Change the Whole Process': CA Rep on Ending Big Oil After State's Latest Offshore Spill: 'BradCast' 10/11/21
Guest: Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA); Also: Trump's plan to steal 2024; Callers...
Sunday 'Privilege' Toons
You know you deserve PDiddie's collection of this week's best political toons...
Media Downplaying Trump, GOP's Threat to U.S. Democracy: 'BradCast' 10/8/21
Guest: Eric Boehlert; Also: Biden restores nat'l monuments; Trump hid losses at D.C. hotel...
Trump Didn't Try to 'Subvert Results', He Tried to Steal 2020!: 'BradCast' 10/7/21
Also: Pipeline co.'s leak tech failed in SoCal spill; Freedom of choice restored to TX women (for now); Media misreport GOP debt threat...
'Green News Report' 10/7/21
Ship anchor may be cause of SoCal oil spill; Fossil fuel industry subsized $11 million every minute; PLUS: PA A.G. criminally charges notorious pipeline developer...
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...


House holds Bannon in contempt; TX Lt. Gov. pays out for GOP voter fraud; CA GOP's recall boondoggle; Vets dump Sinema; Manchin could dump Dems; TX steals minority House seats; IL boosts Dems (a little)...
By Brad Friedman on 10/21/2021 6:06pm PT  

We covered a whole bunch of stories on today's BradCast. You'll have to tune in to find out what I have to say about most of them. Suffice to say there was a lot of both good news and bad. Often at the same time. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of this summary.]

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

  • The full U.S. House voted to recommend criminal contempt charges to the DoJ for Steve Bannon's refusal to answer his subpoena for documents and testimony from the House Select Committee investigating Trump's January 6th insurrection.
  • California certifies the results from last month's GOP Gubernatorial recall election, with the state's Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom winning by the exact same percentages --- to the decimal --- that he won his first term back in 2018. Money well spent, Repubs! And thanks for wasting $300 million taxpayer dollars.
  • Five veteran advisors to Arizona's Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema have had enough. They quit her advisory board for service members with a blistering letter citing her obstruction of democracy and the Biden agenda. The progressive veterans group Common Defense has now turned the letter into a TV ad with a seven figure buy to condemn the obstructionist Dem.
  • MoJo's David Corn reports that West Virginia's obstructionist Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has a plan to quit the Democratic Party altogether. Manchin disputes the report. Corn stands by it. Either way, it should serve as a reminder of how fraught things are in the Senate right now, how narrow the Democratic majority is, and how the Senate could see Mitch McConnell and the GOP back in control, literally, at any moment. That, of course, would immediately end any hope of passing any part of the Biden, Democratic and/or progressive agenda. Perhaps there's good reason that President Biden isn't calling out Manchin by name for failing to reform the filibuster as many progressive voting rights activists have been demanding?
  • The GOP's ongoing assault on American democracy continues apace, as they plan to gerrymander their way into the House majority in 2022, and then use that control --- along with new election subversion laws in states they control --- to try and steal the 2024 Presidential election in a way they weren't prepared to do in 2020. All of which should serve as a reminder to every democracy loving American that it's time to step up --- even if it means reconsidering long-held, rock-solid beliefs. For example, that extreme partisan gerrymandering is wrong. It is. But is it wrong if it's needed to actually save American democracy? In Texas, new Republican-adopted Congressional (and state legislative) maps steal seats from minorities, despite the fact that the state's population growth --- and two new U.S. House seats to go with it --- is due almost entirely to minorities. Happily, states like Illinois are not taking the matter (entirely, anyway) lying down.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 10/21/2021 11:05am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Fossil fuel production 'dangerously out of sync' with global climate targets, U.N. warns; Failure to act on climate change imperils millions of lives, new report finds; California expands emergency drought declaration; PLUS: New study finds cutting U.S. emissions is difficult, but doable, and will lower consumers' energy bills... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

GNR's now celebrating 12 YEARS of independent green news, politics, analysis, snarky comment and connecting climate change dots over your public airwaves!
PLEASE CLICK HERE TO HELP US CELEBRATE WITH A DONATION!

Click here to listen or download MP3 (6 mins)...

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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): What if Build Back Better builds back worse?; Summer 2021 sets new high for average land temperature; If the U.S. spends big on climate, the rest of the world might follow; COP26: Document leak reveals nations lobbying to change key climate report; Is the UK's green plan enough to halt climate change?; Wildland firefighters struggle with homelessness; Wildfire smoke harms more people in the Eastern U.S. than in the West; How big chemical companies avoid paying for pollution... PLUS: Dammit, coal is back... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




Guest: Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA-47); Also: More on media failure to take the rise of Trump/GOP autocracy with the gravity deserved; Callers...
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2021 6:46pm PT  

The good news is that one of the Southern California beaches hit hardest by last week's toxic oil spill reopened today. The bad news comprises the rest of today's BradCast.

The beach at the SoCal town known as Huntington Beach --- in the heart of "Surf City USA" --- was reopened on Monday, after last week's oil spill of anywhere from 25,000 to 144,000 gallons of crude. It leaked from a fractured, 17.5 mile pipeline terminating in Long Beach from a complex of platforms about 5 miles offshore in federal waters. It took anywhere from 10 hours to several days --- we still don't know --- to shut the pipeline down after it cracked, perhaps due to being dragged by a ship anchor along the ocean floor.

But, by the weekend, earlier than expected, there were no longer toxins associated with petroleum at detectable levels in the water off of Huntington Beach, according to officials, even as crews continued to remove tarballs from the sand onshore. That beach, at least for now, has been reopened. Neighboring beaches remain closed to the south, including those at Newport Beach and Laguna Beach. The Orange County Oil Spill was just the latest in a long series of disastrous oil spills that have fowled the CA coastline going back decades, and it has renewed calls to ban offshore drilling in the state.

We're joined today by REP. ALAN LOWENTHAL (D-CA), a member of the House Progressive Caucus whose 47th Congressional District includes Long Beach in Orange County and parts of western L.A. County. Last week, appearing at a news conference with Gov. Gavin Newsom in Huntington Beach just after the spill, Lowenthal called for "a plan to not only stop new drilling, but to figure out how do we stop all drilling that's going on in California." The Congressman joins us today to discuss just that. Long story short, but none of it is easy and for many reasons.

"In California, there have not been any new offshore pipelines in forty years, so there is no new technology. It's all old technology, it's all corroding, it's all waiting for the next disaster to occur," he tells me, before we dive into the murky waters of what would be required to end both leasing and drilling permits at the federal level --- in federal waters, 3 or more miles offshore --- as well as in California waters. Here, the Governor argued last week, it's easy to block new leases (the state hasn't issued any in decades), but shutting down existing platforms and pipelines, and replacing those jobs, is far more difficult.

Lowenthal, who has served in the House since 2013, after many years as a CA Assemblyman and then Senator, is calling for a Congressional probe into the OC Spill and fighting to keep language banning new offshore federal drilling leases in the Democrats' Build Back Better Act. But those provisions could be targeted by West Virginia's fossil fuel friendly Senator Joe Manchin, as Democrats battle with Manchin and Arizona's Kyrsten Sinema to pass Biden's agenda into law. In a best case scenario, the BBB Act would only ban new drilling leases off shore, while permitting existing leases to be developed. Back in the state, on the other hand, a bit more can and should be done, he argues. As we discuss, even the progressive Newsom Administration's oil and gas regulators have approved thousands of new drilling permits on existing leases since the Governor took office in 2019.

"There are two things that California can do," says Lowenthal. "One is to stop the pipelines that come from the federal waters. And the second is not to provide permitting. It's one thing when you say 'no new leases,' but once you already have an existing lease that's developing, there are permits to change the flow, to change the direction and California doesn't have to issue those permits. They can stop it."

There was much more from the Congressman, both enlightening and frustrating at various times. I'll urge you to tune in for the full discussion.

Then, we've been discussing on several recent shows how the media are failing to adequately sound the alarm bells about the terrifying and dangerous rise of rightwing authoritarianism in the U.S., as Trump threatens to run again in 2024 after blatantly trying, but failing, to steal the 2020 election. This time, according to a lengthy and very disturbing monologue from Bill Maher this weekend, he is laying the groundwork to avoid the mistakes he made last time. "He's like a shark that's not gone. Just gone out to sea," Maher warns of the "slow moving coup", before explaining why "we're gonna need a bigger boat," as the GOP is now playing along with his long con. That, as the media begin to repeat many of the very same mistakes they made before his 2016 election.

How can we, in the media, avoid those mistakes and do a better job of informing the nation about the unprecedented assault on democracy itself that we all now face? I really don't know. But we discuss that and open up the phone lines to listeners at the end of today's show to at least begin that critical, much-needed conversation...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Laura Deehan of Environment California on SoCal pipeline rupture that spilled at least 126,000 gallons of crude; Also: GOP economic terrorism on 'debt ceiling'; Callers on all of the above...
By Brad Friedman on 10/4/2021 6:25pm PT  

With a long history of fossil fuel disasters up and down the California coastline, another one erupted over the weekend here in Southern California, as we discuss at the top of today's BradCast, along with the latest on the Congressional GOP Caucus threat to tank the U.S. economy by defaulting on trillions of dollars in debt they long ago agreed to incur.

First up, at least 126,000 gallons (approximately 3,000 barrels) of crude spilled into the ocean waters near Huntington Beach, California over the weekend, about 30 minutes south of Los Angeles. The full extent and cause of the damage is currently unknown as we went to air, but it includes a 13-square mile oil slick, dead birds and fish washing ashore, and sensitive ecological preserves along the coastline having been sullied by thick oil and tarballs.

The oil appears to have leaked from some part of a 17.5 mile pipeline which has extended, since the 1980s, from oil drilling and production platforms more than 3 miles offshore, in federal waters overseen by the U.S. Dept. of Interior. The pipeline is one of hundreds running up and down the oil rich CA coastline, where the state has banned new fossil fuel infrastructure, but where, as our guest notes today, the Trump Administration attempted to open up still more dangerous oil production over the past four years. The U.S. Coast Guard is now investigating whether a ship anchor dragging on the ocean floor may have caused the rupture.

We're joined on the program by LAURA DEEHAN, State Director of the non-profit Environment California, for the latest on the state's most recent fossil fuel disaster and what can and should be done about it moving forward.

"We need to get to the bottom of what's happened here," she tells us, adding: "I think our immediate concern is let's protect the wildlife, let's minimize the damage to our beaches and coastline as much as we can right now. But ultimately, of course, we're calling for a permanent end to this activity. Because clearly enough is enough."

Similar disasters have been killing wildlife and covering Southern California beaches in sticky, toxic tarballs for decades. The current spill has now shut down the tourism rich beaches of Huntington Beach, resulted in the cancellation of the third day of an air show on Sunday featuring the Blue Angeles and some 1.5 million spectators, and may similarly affect other beaches in the area from Long Beach to Newport Beach in Orange County in the coming days.

Deehan confirmed that the sensitive, 25-acre Talbert Marsh ecological reserve near Huntington Beach has now been sullied, threatening the lives of dozens of rare and endangered birds and other species. "We clearly need to end our dependence on oil to power our lives as fast as possible. So, we're calling for an end to drilling of the California coast," she explains. "Our coastline is too precious, it's too vulnerable, and we need to prevent anything like this from happening ever again."

So, who is to blame here? The private companies who run the platforms and pipelines (the Elly platform near where the leak occurred is run by a company named Beta Offshore, which is owned by another named Amplify Energy Corp.) Or is the state and/or federal government to blame? It took nearly 24 hours after residents smelled petroleum fumes and reported boats coming into docks with oiled hulls before a response was mounted and the pipeline, eventually, shut down. Dolphins and whales have reportedly been seen swimming through the oil slick ever since.

We discuss all of that and how the Biden Build Back Better agenda, supported by almost the entirety of the Congressional Democratic Caucus, might help to begin making all of these recurring disasters a thing of the past. Eventually. If Dems can overcome a handful of party obstructionists, which largely amount to two Senators, Joe Manchin from West Virginia coal country and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

"When you think about the consequences of NOT ending our dependence on oil, I really think the costs to our society are so much greater," Deehan argues. "We can no longer afford to have these significant negative events, like a massive oil spill off our coast. There are economic impacts from that, too. The coastal communities, the people who want to be able to go surfing, the people who want to visit our Southern California beaches, the tourism industry, the fishing industry. All of these industries are going to lose a lot from this event."

As you might imagine, we'll be keeping our eye on that mess. But, next today, we head back to D.C. for the latest in the GOP's threat to tank the entire U.S. economy --- and the world's with it --- by obstructing Democratic efforts to lift the debt ceiling in order to continue paying off our already existing debt (including $8 trillion in deficit spending approved by Congress during the Trump Administration). The stakes are nothing less than the avoidance of a global fiscal calamity if the U.S. defaults on its debt for the first time in history, as of October 18. President Biden called out Republicans at the White House today for their brinkmanship, asking them to "get out of the way" if they won't help, and arguing that a "meteor is headed to crash into our economy" while the GOP plays "Russian Roulette" with it. Over the weekend, Democratic Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois called out Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for "playing games with a loaded weapon".

We open up the phones to discuss all of the above and more with listeners today...

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Guest: Dr. Christy Brigham, chief science officer at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks; Also: Late breaking COVID news, democracy news, and callers...
By Brad Friedman on 9/20/2021 6:30pm PT  

Today's BradCast is a bit of a grab bag of late updates on stories we've been covering, new breaking news of the day, a fantastic guest from on the ground amid massive wildfires in and near Sequoia National Park and listeners calling in with thoughts about all of the above. [Audio link to the full show follows this summary.]

First up today, just before we get to our guest, a bit of a rant about the not-in-the-least-"conservative" Republicans and rightwingers who forced taxpayers to spend millions to defend the U.S. Capitol from domestic terrorists during Trump's dumb, failed "Justice for J6" rally over the weekend. That's the same not-conservative Republican Party who just forced California tax-payers to cough up nearly $300 million for a sore loser do-over Gubernatorial recall election, where the Governor appears to have received a higher percentage of the vote than he did the first time he ran in 2018, and almost the exact same percentage of the vote by which Joe Biden trounced Donald Trump in the state in 2020. (Little wonder, with California now having the lowest COVID infection rate in the nation, and creating jobs at three times the national rate! Thank you, Governor Newsom! After months of being told by rightwing media --- and non-rightwing media alike --- that the popular governor was unpopular, we hope you'll keep that in mind as the media churns out a similar narrative right now about President Biden.)

Next, we pick up on a breaking story we covered first on Friday's show, as massive wildfires were then encroaching about a mile from the world's oldest and largest tree, known as "General Sherman", one of many majestic, awe-inspiring giants in Sequoia National Park that are as old as 3,000 years, stand as tall as 250 feet, and as wide as 100 feet around at their base.

That tree and thousands of others are being defended right now in the park from fires that have already scorched hundreds of square miles in the national forest, with many of the trees being wrapped, one-by-one in fire-resistant blanketing at their base. We're joined for the latest on this active, potentially unspeakable tragedy by DR. CHRISTY BRIGHAM, Chief of resources management and science at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, which are located about 3 and a half hours north of Los Angeles on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Despite the threats of at least three different, major, converging fires, Brigham reports today that "the news so far is quite good." She explains that "the fire has burned into Giant Forest, but because of five decades of prescribed burning in that forest, the fire really laid down and is not progressing rapidly in the grove." She describes seeing "great fire behavior in that grove, the kind of fire that sequoias like." That new is "quite good," indeed!

In fact, the reason Sequoia's trees are so old and enormous is due to natural, fire-resistant tannins in the bark, which can be as thick as 12 inches. But after decades (centuries!) of fires, holes in the base of the bark can allow fire into the tree, which can kill it. Brigham also explains how climate change is now "at the root of this problem," resulting in fires and dryness the likes of which we've "never seen before in recorded history, or even deep history looking at fire scars."

This, she says, "has changed everything in terms of how we fight wildfire and keep it out of these sequoia groves if we can." Citing more than 10% of the world's giant sequoias that were lost in one single fire in the area last year, Brigham notes four groves of giants have burned in recent days, but that they've yet to be able to get to in order to survey the damage. "Fingers crossed that we won't see terrible outcomes, but we've got a long way to go with this fire still burning, and still threatening a number of groves."

Next up, a number of stories breaking today, including the U.S. easing pandemic travel restrictions on foreign visitors by mandating that they must prove they are fully vaccinated and have been tested within three days of traveling to the U.S., and another related-ish story on Pfizer finding that the use of its COVID vaccine is effective for children between the ages of 4 and 11. The FDA will review their application for emergency authorization in the next few weeks.

We're certain that even COVID vaccine opponents don't want unvaccinated foreign travelers flying into the U.S., right? So, surely they support the Biden Administration's new travel guidelines, right? And, like all of the other vaccines mandated for public school children, the same folks almost certainly support kids being vaccinated amid a deadly pandemic, now featuring a huge Delta variant spike in pediatric infections and deaths, right?

We open the phones today to listeners on all of those topics and more. Please tune in, won't you?...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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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: The American Prospect's Harold Meyerson; Also: Senate's 'Freedom to Vote Act' will mandate hand-marked paper ballots for all!...
By Brad Friedman on 9/15/2021 6:19pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: It takes a lot of chutzpah --- and plenty of confidence that corporate media is too cowed to call you out for it --- to continue calling your party a "conservative" one, after forcing state taxpayers to waste almost $300 million to run a special Recall Election that ends with almost the exact same results as the last time Republicans tried to defeat the popular Democratic Governor in an election. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But, yeah, that's what happened on Tuesday. With about three quarters of the vote now tabulated in California, Governor Gavin Newsom has clearly crushed the GOP's attempted Recall Election in California --- by a mile. As of now, the vote to keep the Governor in office is ahead by about 28 points, or 64% to 36%. That's almost the same margin by which President Biden annihilated Donald Trump in the state in 2020, and slightly smaller than Newsom first term victory in 2018. (Though the results may still widen for Newsom before all is said and done with the processing of late Vote-by-Mail ballots and Provisionals over the next few weeks.)

The Governor, who will face a normal reelection contest in just over a year, offered brief remarks after media called the race on Tuesday night. "'No' is not the only thing that was expressed tonight," Newsom told supporters. "I want to focus on what we said ‘yes’ to as a state: We said yes to science, we said yes to vaccines, we said yes to ending this pandemic."

Along with a laundry list of rights and freedoms that progressive California voters "said yes" to, in contrast to the rightwingers hoping to end public health mandates and more, Newsom also noted the state "said yes to people's right to vote without fake fraud or voter suppression."

On Monday, the day before the Recall --- before any results were known at all --- the GOP's top candidate, far-right radio talk show host Larry Elder, unveiled a "Stop CA Fraud" website demanding a special session of the state legislature be convened to "investigate and ameliorate the twisted results of this 2021 Recall Election." That would have been unknown results, at the time, which he disingenuously charged included "improperly formed ballots"; "instances of undocumented ballots"; and "statistical analyses [that] have detected fraud in California resulting in Governor Gavin Newsom being reinstated as governor." Without such a special session --- presumably at an even higher "conservative" cost to taxpayers --- Elder's campaign threatened use of the "ammo-box."

Hours after most media outlets had called the race for Newsom on Tuesday night --- after Fox "News" had quickly pulled down all of their Election Night incoming results numbers in order to pretend there had been no election at all that day --- Elder finally conceded and encouraged supporters to be "gracious in defeat". But, after lying about "fraud" in the election and threatening use of the "ammo-box", he should receive zero credit for those remarks. He then pledged that, though he "may have lost the battle, we are going to win the war."

We're joined today by longtime Editor of The American Prospect, former Editor of L.A. Weekly and frequent Los Angeles Times contributor HAROLD MEYERSON. We discuss whatever lessons may be learned from the Recall for both Democrats and Republicans in the state, as well as across the nation, as we head into next year's mid-term elections and, as Meyerson writes at The Prospect today, "the California GOP has gone down the same rathole as the rest of the Trumpified horde."

"They're saying Larry Elder is now the dominant figure in the California Republican Party," Meyerson observes, regarding GOP hopes for a rematch against Newsom next year. "If you want your party leader, your standard bearer, your best electoral prospect to come into the next race trailing by four to five million votes --- okay! Take it away!"

We also discuss why and how California's 100-year old, once well-intentioned progressive Recall and Ballot Initiative process needs to be overhauled in the state, where it should have been done by Democrats years ago.

Finally, in a BradCast with way more good news than we are accustomed to these days, more good news on the Senate Democrats' newly unveiled election reform compromise bill known as the "Freedom to Vote Act". We summarized the wildly encouraging key points of the new bill, crafted by eight Senate Dems including Joe Manchin, on yesterday's program. But, we didn't have the legislative text at the time to report on whether the summary's promise of "Voter-Verified Paper Ballots," would truly offer the long-overdue right to a hand-marked paper ballot for all voters across the country, or whether the legislation would offer gaping holes on that point, as the Dems' otherwise excellent For the People Act --- on which the Freedom to Vote Act is based --- currently does.

On that point, now that we've seen the actual text of the proposed 592-page bill [PDF], we can happily report the good news that the new legislation does, on page 318, appear to promise long-overdue HMPBs for all "at every in-person voting location" in the country! Passage of this bill --- if Dems can figure out how to get Manchin's permission to reform the filibuster to do it --- would be the most transformative legislation for American democracy since the Voting Rights Act of 1965...and could, arguably, even out do it!

Let's get the "Freedom to Vote Act" passed, ASAP!!!

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Elder pretends to care about 'election integrity', lies about fraud before Election Day; Senate Dems reach fantastic election reform 'compromise'; More anti-vax RWers 'bite the dust' while inflaming the pandemic for all...
By Brad Friedman on 9/14/2021 6:57pm PT  

Get ready for another roller-coaster ride on today's BradCast, which also happens to be Recall Election Day in California. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

As of airtime on Tuesday, we heard of no major reports of voting problems at the polls across the Golden State, though that may be thanks to so many already having voted by mail or during early voting. But, while pretending to support "election integrity" during an interview on MSNBC, Larry Elder, rightwing talk show host and GOP front-runner to become Governor if popular Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom loses on the ballot's first question, was busy lying about "fraud" and the "twisted results of this 2021 Recall Election" on his "Stop CA Fraud" website, before any results are known whatsoever. Oh, and he's also threatening the use of the "ammo box" if the results don't go his way.

(And, in related comment, we discuss why these "Will you accept the results of the election tomorrow?" questions are really unfair and unhelpful gotcha questions, that it would be really nice if media stopped asking.)

In far brighter news, a group of eight U.S. Senators --- representing the broad political spectrum across the Democratic caucus in the upper chamber and including Joe Manchin --- announced a "compromise" election reform package with a ton of really really good stuff in it. Among the huge number of long overdue reforms in what they have dubbed the "Freedom to Vote Act": Automatic and same-day voter registration for all; restoration of voting rights for former felons; federal minimum standards for absentee voting, drop boxes and early voting; an end to partisan gerrymandering; curbs on dark money in elections; the prevention of the ability of partisan state legislatures to overturn results derived by non-partisan election officials; new cybersecurity standards for computerized voting systems; and much much more.

The devil is often in the details, and I've yet to review the actual legislative text as of airtime, but from the summary description made available by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, chair of the Senate committee that oversees federal elections and campaign law, almost any one of the items included in this proposed bill would be hugely good news. I'll need to review the specific language on the measure's requirements for hand-marked paper ballots to sign off on that part of the bill, but even the proposed requirements for Voter ID are very good ones. They will serve to force states with purposely restrictive Photo ID voting restrictions (enacted to suppress the vote, not to protect against fraud) to be much less onerous, while avoiding new restrictive mandates in the majority of states which already have reasonable ID rules or few at all.

The legislation is based on Manchin's personal "compromise" version of the For the People Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, both of which have already been passed by the House. Manchin is one of the eight Senators who worked out this proposal, and is said to be reaching out to bring Republicans on board. Of course, even if all 50 Senators who caucus with the Dems vote in favor, as appears likely (Schumer says he is scheduling a vote for next week), it seems unimaginable that any Republicans will join them, much less the 10 that would be required to overcome a Senate filibuster. But with Manchin as a co-sponsor, it will now be on him to get the GOP votes needed for passage or face the prospect of no long-overdue election protection at all...UNLESS he is willing to support a "democracy reconciliation" carve-out to the Senate filibuster. It should be a very interesting, maddening and/or fantastic week or two. We'll be following it all very closely, of course.

And, as Dems are trying to improve representative Democracy in the U.S., Republicans are still, apparently, in the business of simply trying to kill as many Americans as they can to make some sort of twisted political point.

Yet another fervent, anti-vaxxer rightwing radio and TV host died from COVID over the weekend, the fifth in the past month and a half. And while we've had a modicum of sympathy for some of the others who have recently passed, as we explain, this one, 62-year old Bob Enyart, is very difficult to feel anything but contempt for.

We have slightly more sympathy, however, for the wildly misinformed and brainwashed 64-year old anti-vax QAnon supporter and highway overpass activist and YouTuber, Veronica Wolski who bragged last month on her final video about never having worn a mask in her life, and about the need to "NEVER COMPLY" with any COVID public health measures in order to "never give up your freedoms" so "you never have to fight to get them back."

She won't be fighting for anything anymore. Wolski died over the weekend from COVID-related illness in the ICU, but not before the QAnon dupes, led by disgraced Georgia attorney Lin Wood, sicced supporters on the hospital trying to save her life and threatened its workers with "murder" charges unless they agreed to treat her with Ivermectin, the horse deworming medicine not approved for treatment of COVID. That, before Wood declared on his Telegram channel to his more than 800,000 followers: "Now, we go to war."

Unfortunately, deadly climate change (not to mention COVID) is what wingnuts should be going to war against. As Desi Doyen explains in our latest Green News Report today, yet another massive tropical storm, Hurricane Nicholas, is now knocking out power (again) and drenching the U.S. Gulf Coast with some 20 inches of rain in parts of Texas flooded out in 2017 by Hurricane Harvey and sections of Louisiana that were already still under water following last week's Hurricane Ida. President Biden, meanwhile, is pushing for action on climate in his $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill, and his EPA is taking several long-overdue actions on behalf of clean, non-toxic drinking water across the U.S., and an age-old salmon fishery in Alaska...

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Also: No, we weren't 'united' after 9/11. My 'Presidential Speech', written 20 years ago this week. Plus: Callers...
By Brad Friedman on 9/13/2021 6:44pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Election Day for the California Gubernatorial Recall is tomorrow, though many have already voted across the nation's most populous state with Vote-by-Mail ballots. And we also share some thoughts on 9/11 that may be very different from the coverage of its 20th anniversary over the weekend.

Today would have been the last chance for CA Sec. of State Dr. Shirley Weber to mandate a statewide post-election Risk-Limiting Audit (RLA), as the nation's top cybersecurity and voting system experts have urgently asked her [PDF] to do on an "emergency" basis. That, following a recent voting system security breach that effects election management systems and tabulators made by Dominion, as used in 60% of the state's counties. Despite their pleading, Weber declined to call for such an audit.

Instead, she sent a letter [PDF] in reply to the security experts who contacted her with "urgent" concerns, after she held a meeting with them last week (which we reported on in detail on Friday). She sung the praises of California's election security process in the letter, and dismissed their concerns, as AP's coverage highlighted, as "inaccurate," noting that, in any event, there was no time to mandate such an audit because it would require "significant preparation, training and testing."

"Further," she wrote the group of top voting and cybersecurity scientists in the nation (and perhaps the world), "the implication that California’s elections cannot be conducted safely and securely without [a more rigorous audit] is inaccurate, as California has the strictest voting system testing, procedures for use and security requirements in the nation."

Suffice to say, as we've been reporting in detail over the past month (as succinctly summarized by longtime listener/reader Sheila Bernard in an L.A. Times Letter to the Editor today) --- ever since a Republican County Clerk in CO made illicit copies of the Dominion Election Management System (EMS) software in her county before it was later released to the Internet for wide download, to the shock and horror of the voting system scientists whose warnings Weber has now ignored --- what happens next is anyone's guess. In its latest coverage, AP cites local election officials in the state, such as Santa Barbara County Clerk Joe Holland claiming it would be "near impossible" for anyone to manipulate results. "It's not even a concern," he said.

That disregard for the scientists warning of the need for "emergency actions" brings to mind a comment from one of those scientists, University of South Carolina's Duncan Buell, who told us on The BradCast last week: "I have seen well meaning election officials with too little skepticism and too much hubris. And I think that's a problem." It certainly might be. We'll find out, perhaps, in a day or two.

At the same time, we report on a few other problems that polling place voters have reportedly had trying to cast their ballot in Los Angeles County over the weekend, thanks to yet another failure of the County's new electronic pollbook system. The same system failed repeatedly during its maiden use in the 2020 election cycle and, over the weekend, the new computer systems incorrectly informed both Democratic and Republican voters that they had voted already...when they had not, in at least two different voting locations. Those voters were given provisional ballots and the e-pollbooks in question were said to have eventually been removed from operation, according to a statement from the L.A. County Registrar's office.

Both California and the nation are now on pins and needles. There are disturbing implications if Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is removed from office in California and replaced in the Recall by rightwing talk show host Larry Elder, particularly with the state's 88-year old U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein in office with the barest of majorities for Democrats in the Senate.

Next, there were 20th anniversary commemorations over the weekend to mark the horrific terror attacks of September 11, 2001. Along with it, there was more repetition of the false claim that "America came together, united as one after the attacks". That has always been a myth, as we discuss today.

To underscore that myth, I share a part of my 20-year old, never before shared publicly (I think), "My Speech to the Nation After 9/11 (Were I President, Which I am Not.)" which I wrote and shared with family members on September 14th, 2001, just days after the attacks. The speech, as written (but, obviously, never delivered) was, to say the least, a very different one --- with a very different call to action --- than the one delivered at that same time by George W. Bush. And, had I been President at the time (which I wasn't), it likely would have resulted in a very different America and world today. Whether it would be a better one? Well, you can decide and let me know.

Finally, we open up the phone lines today to callers on all of the above, many of whom are focused on questions and concerns about the CA Recall...

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Guests: Emily Levy of Scrutineers, Jim Soper of NVRTF; Also: GOP freaks out over Biden's vaccine mandate; Cat 5 super typhoon targets Taiwan...
By Brad Friedman on 9/10/2021 6:58pm PT  

On today's BradCast: There's an old idiom about the importance of "knowing the room" you're talking to. It seems the California Sec. of State and/or her office may be unfamiliar with that old idiom. At least based on the bizarre request they made during a meeting on Thursday with some of the nation's top cybersecurity and voting systems experts, asking them to be "cheerleaders" for the state's voting system security procedures. That, following the recent theft and release of key voting system software by rightwingers that has set the hair of those computer scientists on fire, leaving them to urge the SoS to take "urgent" and immediate "emergency actions" to protect Tuesday's Gubernatorial Recall in the Golden State. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But before the inside details on that meeting, Republicans are now predictably freaking out after President Biden announced reasonable, science-based mandates on Thursday, requiring millions of federal employees and contractors to be vaccinated against COVID-19 without an option to test out. There was nothing particular unusual about the executive directive. There are thousands of such vaccines mandates across the country, and have been for decades. They have long been approved by both state and federal courts.

But the GOP, having abandoned any and all actual policy agenda, has become little more than a party of grievance and evidence-free conspiracy theories. Following Biden's new mandates, their heads are exploding as they vow to sue and are equating reasonable new efforts to try and help keep Americans alive (while the Delta variant is surging and infecting and killing more school children) with "tyranny" and "Hitler". Some, including a top U.S. Senate candidate in Ohio, are even encouarging violence against Government officials he is now equating with the "Gestapo".

But that's what Republicans now do. Back here in the Not Crazy World, in places like San Francisco, the city's Health Department announced this week that there have been zero outbreaks of COVID since the school year began in mid-August. That's thanks to universal masking and other common sense requirements for staff and students alike. Contrast that with Florida and Texas and other GOP run states, where schools are shutting down yet again as hospitals are being overwhelmed with cases.

When they're not drama queening about the "FREEDOM!" to infect and kill their friends, family, neighbors and co-workers, they're busy pretending that elections are being stolen from them, despite any hint of evidence to support such serious charges. Lack of evidence this week has not prevented either the former President or rightwing radio host Larry Elder from claiming the ongoing CA Recall election is "rigged" if the popular Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is not removed from office...in a state where registered Ds outnumber Rs by about 2 to 1.

But even if there is no evidence to date of the "voter fraud" Trump and Elder are certain is going to rob Republicans of a victory, there is reason to be concerned about the results of the September 14th Recall. As we've been reporting over the past month --- too often exclusively --- the theft by a Republican County Clerk in Mesa County, Colorado of the Election Management System (EMS) software made by Dominion Voting Systems, and its wide release for download by anyone via the Internet, has placed Tuesday's election in peril, according to cybersecurity and voting systems experts.

Last week, eight of them penned an "urgent" letter [PDF] to CA Sec. of State Dr. Shirley Weber, warning her about the serious security breach caused by the release of the key software used to run and tabulate elections in nearly 60% of California counties. Those top experts --- including UC Berkley's Philip Stark, Georgia Tech's Rich DeMillo, the legendary cybersecurity and voting system white hat hacker Harri Hursti, Livermore National Laboratory cyber expert and longtime CA Sec. of State voting system Advisor David Jefferson, Univ. of South Carolina's Duncan Buell and others --- urged Weber, in their letter, to immediately mandate statewide, public, post-election Risk-Limiting Audits in order to ensure both the accuracy of the computer-tallied results and confidence in them by the public.

"It is critical to recognize that the release of the Dominion software into the wild has increased the risk to the security of California elections to the point that emergency action is warranted," the scientists wrote to Weber, citing the "critical new risk to the recall election" and how to mitigate those risks.

As we've reported, along with a number of the scientists who sent that letter who have appeared on this program, the Secretary's office, while claiming the state's existing security procedures will protect against any problems (even though the scientists explained otherwise in their letter), seemed to be in denial about the concerns. As we've reported, her office had not even offered a direct reply to the scientists until they and a number of state election integrity advocates were invited to a last-minute video conference meeting with Weber and her staff yesterday.

It was at that meeting where the participants --- again, some of the world's top experts in computer and voting system security --- were asked to be "cheerleaders" for California's current security procedures. Of course, anyone who knows folks like the legendary Hursti would be likely to laugh at that particular request.

We're joined today by two participants in Thursday's video meeting with Weber, longtime election transparency advocate EMILY LEVY of Scrutineers.org and JIM SOPER, co-chair of the CA-based National Voting Rights Task Force, which had also sent a letter to Weber urging improved post-election processes following last month's leak of the Dominion EMS software.

Levy confirmed that participants were asked, to be "cheerleaders" during the meeting. "Absolutely, that did happen," she tells us today, confirming my own reporting with a number of other participants. "And I have to say it was quite surprising, especially when coupled with the turning down of our requests about doing the Risk Limiting Audit. So, 'No, we won't do what you're asking, but we do want you to be cheerleaders for the security of the election.'"

"You know, I will applaud any increase in security procedures that I am aware that they are doing," she added. "But I'm certainly not in any position, and I don't think anyone there is, to put our reputations on the line saying  we'll swear by the security of this election. Especially if they're not going to be increasing auditing procedures."

Both Levy and Soper suggested the office seems to understand that the Dominion Election Management System software has now been released, but didn't seem to fully appreciate the threat it poses to the election, as the scientists --- who were also on the video call --- made clear in their letter. "I didn't hear the level of alarm that I think is warranted," Levy notes.

"I think she understands the threat," Soper argued, before explaining that "a big part of the problem is the shortage of time" between now and Tuesday's Recall Election Day. He says, however --- as did UC-Berkeley's Stark, a signatory on the letter, participant in Thursday's meeting and the inventor of the Risk-Limiting Audit protocol --- that there are simplified versions of the RLA format that could be implemented quickly enough and announced for before Tuesday to avoid the appearance of partisanship.

"There is something called a 'Ballot-Polling Risk-Limiting Audit' that they could do," says Soper. "It's not as effective [as a regular, full RLA], but it would be better than doing nothing." He also notes that Weber asked the meeting participants to "send in a little letter with some notes on what we think should be done [and] that they're going to consider 'what can we do?' out of all of these suggestions."

Weber, a Democrat, may not be as concerned as she could be about all of this, as recent polling shows opposition growing to the removal of Newsom. Still, holding ones breath and crossing ones fingers is hardly a recipe for either success or for the protection of election results that voters of all political leanings can have confidence in.

On the other hand, Levy offers several actions that the public can take in the meantime, both from inside and outside of California, to help oversee and secure the election and try to ensure its integrity, via her Scrutineers site.

Finally today, we close with yet another warning of yet another monster hurricane. This time, it's the Category 5 Super Typhoon Chathu that recently spun up in record time. It's now set on a deadly collision course with Taiwan. Just more fallout from our ever-worsening climate emergency in yet another record storm season fueled by non-stop man-made global warming...

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Guest: Vote system expert Dr. Duncan Buell; Also: GA's criminal Trump probe 'inches forward'; Pillow Guy says something really REALLY stupid...
By Brad Friedman on 9/8/2021 6:20pm PT  

It's an old cliche by now that every bad disaster movie begins with a scientist's warnings being ignored. We'll continue to hope, on today's BradCast, that California's Gubernatorial Recall election, with voting under way right now and Election Day next Tuesday, doesn't turn into a bad disaster movie...now that CA's Democratic Secretary of State seems to be ignoring the urgent warnings from a whole bunch of the nation's top computer scientists. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Several weeks ago, polling of likely voters in the GOP's sleazy attempt to oust Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom from office in a special recall election, suggested a dead heat on the question of removal for the otherwise popular progressive Golden State Guv. Today, more recent polling suggest Newsom is up by more than 10 points among those considered to be likely voters, according to 538's average of recent surveys, and by about 8.5 points in RealClearPolitics' round-up. That, after the very Trumpy, far-right Republican radio host, Larry Elder, has emerged as Newsom's likely replacement if the Governor loses on the ballot's first question as to whether he should be recalled.

In the meantime, as we have been highlighting over the past month, California's state election officials should be very concerned about a new security threat to the election itself following the theft of Election Management System (EMS) software made by Dominion Voting Systems. The vendor's systems are used to run elections in nearly 60% of California jurisdictions. Copies of its EMS software were apparently purloined in the middle of the night by a far-right County Clerk in Mesa County, Colorado last May before being released to the wilds of the Internet during MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell's phony "cyber symposium" last month. That release now poses "critical new risks to the recall election," according to eight of the nation's top cyber security and voting system experts. They sent a chilling, 3-page warning letter [PDF] to CA Sec. of State Dr. Shirley Weber late last week, advising her to mandate a statewide Risk-Limiting Audit (RLA) as the "one critical action" she can and should take immediately to try and mitigate against this "serious threat" which, the experts argue, warrants "emergency action" on the part of state officials.

One of the authors of that letter, DR. DUNCAN BUELL, Chair Emeritus in Computer Science and Engineering at University of South Carolina, joins us on today's show to explain the letter, the threat and the need for the SoS to take action now, rather than waiting until after Election Day.

"If the results are known first and then somebody says 'let's audit', there will always be some skepticism and some conspiracy theory that the reason for the audit is because the result came out different from somebody in power who wanted it to be a different result," Buell tells me. "You've got to mandate the audit before you have the result so the voters know that this is being done specifically for the right reasons."

He goes on to explain how the EMS software, which can now be downloaded and explored for vulnerabilities by anyone with an Internet connection, is "absolutely central to everything" when it comes to running elections on computer systems. "The EMS is almost certainly going to be configuring ballot styles --- even for hand-marked [paper] ballots, where the bubble is to be filled in, in terms of position on the page --- and it's going to be the system at the end of the day that does the tabulations. So anything that is that central is really critical."

When I ask if it's an overstatement to refer access to the EMS software as "the keys to the kingdom" when it comes to computerized voting and tabulation systems, Buell confirms: "I don't think that's an overstatement at all. That's very much the case."

Even with the recent shift in polling, suggesting a possible lead for Newsom in the Recall, Buell notes, "I don't necessarily think either side should be breathing a 'sigh of relief' because the problem really is that the election system needs to be secure, and the election process has to be done in a transparent way that voters can trust and understand. With the release of the [EMS] software, it's hard for anyone to really feel that what's going to happen is what ought to happen unless there is a statistically sound Risk-Limiting Audit conducted after the fact, just to make sure things got done right. This is a question of confidence, transparency, and the fact that we don't get to do elections over."

He offers much more insight on all of this during our conversation today, as based on his many years of experience with voting systems as both a Professor and expert witness in voting system related cases and challenges across the country. We discuss the lack of response the eight top experts have so far received from Sec. Weber in CA, and a dismissive --- and arguably naive --- statement given by her office to AP last week following the release of the letter.

"I have seen well-meaning election officials with too little skepticism and too much hubris," Buell warns. "I think that's a problem. We don't know what the results are going to be, so we don't know ground truth for what's going to come out of this recall election in California. We can't do it over. This means that, yes, all of the processes have to be rock solid. But it also argues that there needs to be a way, after the fact, to make sure that the outcome that you think you got is the outcome that you should have gotten. That's what one of these RLAs, Risk Limiting Audits, will do."

He also observers that California is lucky, in that the inventor of the RLA protocol, Philip Stark of U.C. Berkeley, is right here to help. Stark is also a signatory of the letter to Weber. He joined us on the show several weeks ago, just after the stolen Dominion EMS software was released, to explain the serious concerns at that time --- well before the national media had noticed any of this, and before CA's SoS got around to seemingly ignoring the warning and advice of the nation's top experts in the field.

Given that Donald Trump is already falsely and predictably claiming that the CA Recall is "a rigged election", as is Fox "News", it's even more imperative that Weber mandate a professional, publicly witnessed, statewide post-election audit now (as opposed to the type of scammy, secret, "audit" theater recently carried out by inexperienced, partisan, conspiracy buffoons in Maricopa County, Arizona, for instance) before the computer-tallied results of next week's critical Recall Election are known.

Speaking of fraud and conspiracy buffoons, we have a bit of fresh news this week about the slow, but still "ongoing" criminal investigation by Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fanni Willis into the conspiracy led by Donald Trump to try and strong-arm Peach State officials into stealing the election on his behalf last year. That probe could also end up targeting fellow conspirators Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Rudy Giuliani.

And then we close with the really really dumb comments from MyPillow conspiracy buffoon Mike Lindell, in which he recently seems to have thrown himself under the bus on his own streaming video channel, in regards to the $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit he is currently facing from Dominion Voting Systems...

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Guest: Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Cybersecurity and voting system experts alert CA SoS to stolen election software threat to Recall...
By Brad Friedman on 9/7/2021 6:07pm PT  

We're back! Luckily it was a slow news week while we we're off last week, right? Okay, maybe not. So, on today's BradCast we begin to pick up on just some of that "slow" news. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

After nearly month or so of trying to ring alarm bells for the national media and election officials in California, hoping they would connect the dots between the ongoing CA Gubernatorial Recall election and the threat of Dominion Voting Systems election software stolen from a Mesa County, Colorado's County Clerk's office (apparently BY the Mesa County Clerk herself!) and released into the wilds of the Internet, we had some progress late last week!

Eight of the nation's top cybersecurity and voting systems experts sent an urgent 3-page letter [PDF] to CA Sec. of State Shirley Weber, warning her about the threat that the stolen software now poses to the CA Recall (Election Day is next Tuesday, Sept. 14th) and the need for her to immediately mandate a statewide post-election Risk Limiting Audit to both ensure the computer-tallied results are accurate and to offer confidence in those results to those who may think they are not. That, no matter who wins or loses. As we reported late last week at The BRAD BLOG, the scientists, in their letter to Weber, warn the Secretary that "it is critical to recognize that the release of the Dominion software into the wild has increased the risk to the security of California elections to the point that emergency action is warranted."

Associated Press reported on the letter as it was released last Thursday, as did we. But the response from the SoS' office for now is, shall we say, somewhat lackluster. We hope to have more on this as the week progresses and Election Day nears. But at least it's not only us with our hair on fire about these serious concerns.

Next, there were three disturbing rulings issued --- largely in the middle of the night --- by the stolen and packed GOP majority on the U.S. Supreme Court while we were gone or just before we left. All three cases have major consequences. And, in all cases, the rulings were issued without hearings, oral argument, public debate or oversight, or even full explanation from the rightwing Justices.

One "stunning" ruling prevents President Biden from setting U.S. immigration policy, by forcing him to continue the so-called "Remain in Mexico" policy instituted by his predecessor for asylum seekers coming up from Central America; Another blocked the President's moratorium on evictions amid the pandemic; and, perhaps the most disturbing one, as you may have heard, effectively overturns the long-standing precedent of Roe v. Wade's constitutional protections of the right of a woman to have an abortion in the state of Texas. All three decisions were issued with no hearings or public debate and virtually no comment from the Justice's as part of the Court's "Shadow Docket" while they are on Summer break between terms.

Longtime legal journalist MARK JOSEPH STERN has been warning for a while about the increasing use (and abuse) of the "Shadow Docket" by the increasingly activist authoritarian Court, now that it's been packed with three Donald Trump appointees, rammed onto the Court after Senate Republicans did away with the filibuster to do so. Now, as we discuss with Stern on today's program, it should be clear to just about everyone what it is that he's been warning about.

"With the Shadow Dockets, it means that basically we all have to be on high alert 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, because at any time the Supreme Court could issue a monumental decision overturning decades of precedent," says Stern, with little or no warning or explanation.

On the "Remain in Mexico" ruling, Stern observes: "You might have thought that the Supreme Court does not let lower court judges issue sweeping injunctions blocking the President's immigration policies. As you recall, under Trump, the Supreme Court's conservatives leapt in, time and time again, to swat down judges who had tried to halt the former President's immigration rules. But all of that is out the window now that Joe Biden is in the White House. Instead, we have a new principle here that, apparently, the President no longer runs foreign policy." In fact, in this case, that lower Trump-appointed judge actually ordered Biden to enter foreign policy negotiations with Mexico and, astonishingly, the high court let the order stand without comment!

"The hypocrisy here is stunning," Stern argues. "The Supreme Court said that the President gets to make immigration law over and over again under Trump. Remember the travel ban case? Remember the wealth-test case? Remember all of these awful cases where the Supreme Court said Trump can do whatever he wants? And then Biden comes in, and the Supreme Court says Biden can't do anything he wants."

On the eviction moratorium, also overruled by the rightwing Justices, "we're being deprived of any kind of clear debate" via the Court's Shadow Docket, where "the conservatives are awarding themselves more and more power to pretend that debatable decisions in the lower courts are so obviously wrong that they can intervene and resolve them whenever they want."

But, of course, the most egregious item decided without explanation or public debate --- or even a hearing in the lower appellate courts! --- over the last two weeks, is the SCOTUS decision that allows Texas Republicans' new abortion ban law to take effect. The state statute bans all abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy and deputizes citizens to file lawsuits against anyone --- from family members to friends to clergy members to Uber drivers --- who helps a woman in any fashion to obtain an abortion. Such citizen "bounty hunters" will each be awarded at least $10,000 for doing so, under Texas law. All of this, of course, blatantly undercuts the precedent set by SCOTUS in 1973's Roe v. Wade, establishing a Constitutional right to an abortion. And, it's all now being done under the cover of the Shadow Docket, which even Chief Justice Roberts, in this one instance, was forced dissent against.

Whether the Lone Star State's convoluted scheme of deputizing citizens to enforce the law, rather than the state doing so directly, gets around the mandates of Roe is "a huge question, and it's one that I think deserves a full airing, especially after 50 years of Americans enjoying a constitutional right to reproductive autonomy," Stern explains. "It's the kind of thing that would be debated in public if this were a regular case. And also, traditionally in the law, there's a really strong bias toward the status quo, to keeping things as they have been until the Court can have a full and fair hearing on the merits. We didn't get that hearing here, and yet the Court refused to step in and maintain the status quo of abortion access. So we are left with the nation's second largest state shuttering its abortion providers and forcing women to flee out of state if they want to terminate a pregnancy."

So, what, if anything, can be done about the emboldened far-right's abuse of the Shadow Docket at SCOTUS? We discuss that as well, including measures that could --- and, arguably should --- be taken immediately by Congress to reign in an out-of-control Court. Those measures, however, would likely require Democrats to reform the Senate filibuster in order to enact them --- ya know, just as Senate Republicans did to jam these far-right activist jurists onto the Court in the first place, where they are now using the Shadow Docket to, cowardly, run wild. And, all of that, before SCOTUS even begins its term on the first Monday in October, when, Stern predicts, there is even more bad news regarding freedom and civil rights in these United States...

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Open letter to CA's Sec. of State calls for 'urgent mitigating action' with an immediate mandate for statewide post-election Risk-Limiting Audits...
By Brad Friedman on 9/2/2021 11:35pm PT  

Eight of the nation's top cybersecurity and voting systems experts warned in a letter sent to California's Secretary of State on Thursday night that "emergency action is warranted" in response to a recent leak of key voting system software used in nearly 60% of state jurisdictions amid CA's ongoing Gubernatorial recall election.

The bluntly --- and urgently --- worded, 3-page letter [PDF] from the longtime experts in this field to CA Sec. of State Dr. Shirley Weber calls for a specific type of public, post-election audit as the "one critical action" that should be announced immediately, in response to software recently stolen from Mesa County, Colorado and Antrim County, Michigan. The software in question, Dominion Voting's Election Management System (EMS), was released over the Internet for broad download during a so-called "Cyber Symposium" run by Trump supporter, conspiracy theorist and pillow impresario, Mike Lindell three weeks ago. The EMS software, used in both CO and MI and many other states, including CA, is used to manage virtually every aspect of elections, from ballot creation to tabulation. Forty of California's 58 counties, according to AP's coverage of this matter tonight, use a version of the Dominion EMS that, according to the experts' letter, while "not identical" is virtually the same with only "relatively minor" differences.

"The release materially elevates threats to the trustworthiness of the ongoing California recall election and to public trust in the election," the experts inform Weber, as they urge her to, in advance of the election, mandate a robust statewide post-election audit in each county in the state.

The computer scientists explain that "a statewide risk-limiting audit (RLA) of trustworthy paper ballots...can substantially mitigate these threats," as posed by the recent breach. They define "trustworthy" as hand-marked paper ballots with a secure chain of custody, and advise that Weber mandate RLA's to both to ensure accuracy of computer-tallied results of those ballots and to offer confidence to the public in the results, no matter the outcome of the September 14th GOP recall targeting Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom.

One of the letter's signatories, Prof. Philip B. Stark of UC-Berkeley, is the inventor of the well-regarded RLA protocol. It consists of a manual, public tally of a certain percentage of ballots as devised by the protocol to gain scientific certainty in the computer-tallied results. Stark recently discussed the alarming new security breach on The BradCast, comparing this release of proprietary election software into the wild as akin to having a life-sized, identical version of a bank and its vault with which to practice breaking into it...

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




Guest: Heather Digby Parton on that, Afghanistan, phony 'conservatism', Trump accountability and more: Also: Good news in FL; Bad news in TX; Very disturbing news in Russia and New Orleans...
By Brad Friedman on 8/27/2021 6:40pm PT  

It's been a while since one of our favorite BradCast guests has joined us, and so we've got a lot to catch up with her on today, starting with the GOP's latest attempt to use "legal means to subvert democracy," as she describes it, out here in California. [Audio link to today's full show is posted below this summary.]

But, first some very quick news items today, including good news in Florida, where a state judge has struck down Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' deadly ban on local and school district mask mandates as "illegal and unsupported"; Bad news in Texas, where three weak-kneed Democrats who returned to the state legislature after blocking a quorum for the last month, just allowed Republicans to adopt a sweeping new voter suppression law; Disturbing news in Russia, where massive wildfires are now said to be threatening a top-secret facility where nuclear war heads are made; Very disturbing news for New Orleans, where evacuations are underway with potentially killer Hurricane Ida quickly approaching; And some puzzling news out of Southern California, where a man was found by police with 300 stolen Vote-by-Mail ballots from California's Gubernatorial Recall election, which is now under way.

That's where we kick things off with award-winning Salon columnist, Hullabaloo blogger and fellow Californian HEATHER DIGBY PARTON today. For those who don't know, state Republicans received three extra months, due to the pandemic, to gather signatures for their attempted recall of the Golden State's popular Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, in a state where it is virtually impossible for the unpopular GOP to win normal statewide elections anymore. Vote-by-Mail ballots have been sent to all registered voters with two questions: 1) Should Newsom be removed from office? And 2) If so, who should replace him? There are 46 candidates listed under the second question.

As Parton recently wrote at Salon and details today, Newsom could lose on question 1 with 49.9% of the vote, while current GOP front-runner and far-right, Trump-loving radio talk show host Larry Elder, could then "win" on the second question to become the Governor of the nation's most populous state with just 15 percent of the vote.

Why Democrats didn't reform the state's "archaic" recall system after a similar scam was carried out by the GOP in 2003 to oust then Democratic Gov. Gray Davis and replace him with Arnold Schwarzenegger is a mystery. Though it speaks to the fact that Democrats, in general, as Parton argues, "have failed to understand the political culture that we're dealing with now, and fail to grasp just how important it is that they look ahead and take steps to protect democracy."

"I would say wake up, because this is happening nationally. It's happening in blue states,  red states, and everywhere else --- which is an absolute assault on democracy that's coming from the right," she explains, citing the national consequences as well for the outcome of the Recall on September 14th. "We have an 88-year-old Senator" who may need to be replaced by the Governor at some point. If that Governor is Republican Larry Elder, he'd flip the majority in the U.S. Senate with his appointment and "Mitch McConnell would be laughing and laughing and laughing at the idea that Biden's agenda was completely derailed by the lazy people in California who didn't come out to vote."

In addition to the Recall, we also catch up with Parton on the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan, and the ridiculous way the media has been covering the largest and, so far, most successful U.S. airlift in history, even as they otherwise haven't paid attention to what has been going on for most of the last 20 years of America's longest war.

We discuss how the GOP's long con of claiming to be "small government conservatives" has been exposed by the big government authoritarian edicts of Governors like DeSantis in Florida and Greg Abbott in Texas.

And, as if that's not enough, she also offers thoughts on the growing attempts to bring accountability for Donald Trump's attempt to steal the 2020 election, particularly by the U.S. House Select Committee examining the Trump-incited January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. "What they seem to be putting together is the case that Trump was planning to steal the election, and he was using the power of the Presidency to do it."

So, yeah, there's a lot to catch up on today, in yet another very lively conversation with our friend "Digby"!...

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Guest: Ernest A. Canning; Also: Deadly record flooding in TN and from Tropical Storm Henri; Another rightwing talker dies of COVID; And we win the first court victory against GA's anti-voting, anti-press freedom law!...
By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2021 6:15pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, important, helpful advice for progressives in California's Gubernatorial recall, and we win a first court victory against Georgia's new anti-voting and anti-press freedoms law! [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But first, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest on the record-smashing deluges in both Tennessee, where at least 22 are dead following 17 inches of rain in less than 24 hours, an all-time record and triple what had been forecast --- and on the Northeastern Seaboard where Hurricane (turned Tropical Storm, Turned Tropical Depression) Henri is wreaking absolute havoc. All just the latest examples of our worsening climate change emergency, as Desi explains.

Next, we had a court victory in Georgia on Friday! The first one, in fact, to knock down a provision of the state Republicans' abhorrent anti-voting bill, SB 202. And, I'm proud to say, it happens to be one of the provisions on which I am the named plaintiff representing the media. The lawsuit, filed by the Coalition for Good Governance (CGG), is one of eight suits currently challenging various provisions of the law. CGG's suit, among other things, challenges a number of anti-First Amendment press freedoms jammed into the statute, along with the voter suppression stuff and the provisions which allow the state to take over county boards of elections and subvert election results.

The specific provision struck down by the federal court [PDF] on Friday, criminalized all photography of voter ballots by the public and/or media. Given the state's new, huge touchscreen voting systems, it's now almost impossible to not see a voter's ballot when media or the public attempt to observe voting inside of Peach State precincts. Unfortunately, in addition to striking that one down, the judge allowed several other provisions in this early challenge to stand, though CGG Director (and frequent BradCast guest) Marilyn Marks told me over the weekend there will be much more to come in this case, as they are deciding whether to pursue reconsideration and/or appeal of several parts of the judge's early ruling. While a small victory, for now, it also establishes that the Coalition has standing to sue in this case and that, too, is encouraging good news.

Next, it's on to the ongoing, idiotic --- but deadly serious --- California Gubernatorial recall, in which Republicans, unable to win regular elections, are hoping to unseat popular progressive Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is otherwise up for reelection next year anyway. Vote-by-Mail ballots have been sent to all registered state voters (at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, thanks to those "conservative" Republicans), but, curiously, while Newsom and the Democrats are calling on voters to vote NO on the ballot's first question ("Should Newsom be recall and removed from office?"), they are calling on voters to leave the second question ("Who should replace him, if he loses on Question 1?") completely empty! "Vote No and go!," Newsom and state Dems have recommended.

As our guest today, ERNEST A. CANNING, a longtime progressive Democrat, both writes at The BRAD BLOG and explains on today's show, that strategy may be extraordinarily ill-considered and could backfire on Dems. Instead, after culling through the records (or lack thereof) of every non-Republican, non-Libertarian candidate on question two of the recall ballot (there are 46 candidates in total), Canning, in his "One Progressive's Guide to the CA Recall," explains why he believes the best strategy for progressives is to vote for the Green Party's Dan Kapelovitz on question two.

Both of the leading party candidates (far-right talk radio host Larry Elder for the Republicans and 29-year old real estate mogul and YouTube sensation Kevin Paffrath for the Dems), among other things, oppose Newsom's common-sense, life-saving mask and vaccine mandates and vow to lift them if elected.

Kapelovitz, on the other hand, a criminal defense attorney, both supports the Governor's science-based mandates that have been so successful in the state, and opposes the recall of Newsom itself on question one. He says he's running to stave off a worst-case scenario, according to Canning, should the currently "dead heat" first question result in the unthinkable removal of the Governor.

We also discuss the questionable Constitutionality of CA's more than 100-year old recall process (built into the state constitution by an anti-corporate Republican-turned-Progressive Party Governor in 1911) which could allow a new Governor to be elected to the nation's most populous state with far fewer votes than the current Governor actually receives to stay in office on the very same ballot. And, there's also the troubling matter that this election could have serious national ramifications. California's 88-year old U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein may need to be replaced at some point before her current term ends in 2024. If a Republican, like Elder, becomes Governor and appoints a fellow Republican to her seat, control of the U.S. Senate would immediately revert to Mitch McConnell and the GOP.

So, yes, this CA Recall, as dumb as it is, matters. And it's important for progressive voters to pay attention, fill out a hand-marked paper ballot, and hopefully deliver it in person to a polling location or a drop-box by September 14th.

Finally, speaking of rightwing talk radio hosts, we've been reporting on a number of them who used our public airwaves to spread disinformation about COVID deniers and its vaccines, before finding themselves hospitalized or killed by the disease in recent weeks. One of them we've covered since his hospitalization in mid-July is Nashville's popular, nationally-syndicated Phil Valentine. After spending months mocking the seriousness of the virus and making fun of the life-saving vaccines, Valentine was announced dead over the weekend, after weeks on a ventilator, on what was reportedly his 62nd birthday...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: UC-Berkeley's Philip Stark; Also: Deadly edicts by FL, TX Guvs and Recall candidate circus in CA underscore importance of defeating GOP attempt to unseat Newsom amid pandemic, climate crisis...
By Brad Friedman on 8/18/2021 6:56pm PT  

California Republicans know they can't win normal statewide elections. Hence, the attempted Recall election of progressive Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom amid several crises that the GOP candidates hoping to replace him will make considerably worse. But now, voting system and cybersecurity experts tell The BradCast there is reason to be very concerned about the voting and tabulation systems used in some 60 percent of the state, following the recent theft and release on the Internet of Election Management System software, allegedly by a far-right County Clerk in Colorado during the MyPillow CEO's so-called "Cyber Symposium" last week in South Dakota. One of those experts joins us to explain the concerns, and what can be done about it, today. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of this summary.]

But, first up, the circus of some 46 candidates on the ballot hoping to become Governor of the nation's most populous state, if Newsom is removed by the first question on the Recall ballot, serves as a reminder that this special election, while seemingly ridiculous, is also potentially deadly for residents of the Golden State. Nonetheless, recent polling suggests that it is currently a dead heat as to whether Newsom will be removed and then replaced by someone likely to get little more than 20% of the vote on the ballot's second question about who should take his place.

In the middle of a debate between several GOP "front-runners" on Tuesday in Sacramento, one of the candidates, multi-millionaire John Cox (the guy who actually campaigns with a grizzly bear), got served in a Court process as he was introducing himself, as "ordered" by a San Diego Superior Court Judge finding that he owes about $100,000 to a contractor the Republican businessman failed to pay during his failed run against Newsom in 2018.

While neither of the top Republican or Democratic candidates on question two of the ballot were at the debate (Trump-loving, climate change denying, woman-hating Rightwing radio talk-show host Larry Elder and Democratic real-estate millionaire Kevin Paffrath), both of them oppose Newsom's mask and vaccination mandates. The BRAD BLOG's Ernie Canning, in a "Progressive's Guide to the California Recall" published today, explains why CA voters must vote "NO" on the Recall's first question, before he goes on to explain who he believes progressives should support on question two.

Sky-rocketing rates of infections, hospitalizations and deaths under GOP Governors like Florida's Ron DeSantis and Texas' Greg Abbott (who tested positive himself on Tuesday), should serve as another reminder of the importance of both elections and having Governors who do not place political ambition over science. Despite pleas to the contrary from health officials, both DeSantis and Abbott have issued edicts blocking local governments and school districts from instituting mask mandates, even as hospitals in both states are reaching or exceeding capacity, and children under 12 (unlike Abbott and DeSantis) are ineligible to become vaccinated. (Fortunately, President Biden reiterated today that the federal government will cover the salaries of school officials who chose to protect children, even if their paychecks are cut by the TX and FL Governors. And one school district in TX has come up with a very clever way of trying to get around Abbott's ban on mask mandates.)

Meanwhile, thanks to Newsom's various statewide mask and vaccine mandates here in California, infection, and death rates are all now coming back down once again.

Of course, facts such as these mean little to those pushing for the removal of Newsom, and many on the right have demonstrated of late that there is little they won't do in order to "win" an election. Thus, the theft and release of important voting system software by a far-right County Clerk in Mesa County, Colorado last week during Mike Lindell's "cyber symposium" (at which he didn't release the promised "absolute proof" that China stole the 2020 election from Trump), has a number of actual cybersecurity and voting system experts very concerned today.

We've been covering this story in detail over the past week, as both the national media and California media haven't covered it at all. But they should. Colorado media finally jumped in, a bit, this week after their Sec. of State on Monday announced that Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters --- who appeared on stage several times at Lindell's forum last week --- was behind the theft and copying of two hard drives at the Mesa County Election Division containing Dominion Voting's Election Management System (EMS) software.

Democratic CO Sec. of State Jenna Griswold's office, in a news release Monday night, explained how Peters pulled off the heist with two accomplices in the middle of the night back in May, before the software was released into the wild during last week's symposium. Since then, we have reported on this show about the concerns expressed by voting system and cybersecurity experts like Harri Hursti, who warns that the release of the critical software "lowers the barrier for attack planning and therefore increases the likelihood of future attacks." That, just after another top expert in the field, University of Michigan's J. Alex Halderman, filed a 50,000 word report in a long-running federal lawsuit in Georgia, which seeks to ban Dominion's unverifiable touchscreen voting systems. The report, which he says [PDF] details disturbing, newly discovered vulnerabilities in those systems, which reportedly could allow votes to be changed without detection, has now been sealed by the federal judge due to its sensitivity --- even from the plaintiffs and defendants in the case!

Dominion's vulnerable touchscreens are used in several large jurisdictions in California, even as the recall is now ongoing, including San Diego County, San Francisco and Riverside County. Their EMS software --- released to the Internet and downloaded by thousands just last week --- is used to tabulate votes, both hand-marked paper ballots and touchscreen votes, in every county where Dominion's systems are used. The software is used broadly in enough counties here that it could easily effect the computer-tallied results of the Recall election.

Another top expert who is worried about all of this joins us on today's program to explain why, and what can now be done about this serious security breach. University of California-Berkeley Professor PHILIP STARK is an expert witness in the Georgia case, the inventor of the post-election Risk-Limiting Audit protocol, and currently serves on the Board of Advisors of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

He joined Hursti this week in telling me that they were both dubious about vague claims from the CO Sec. of State's office that the U.S. Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) was not particularly concerned about the leak of the Dominion software.

"It is a serious risk," Stark makes clear today. "The best metaphor I've been able to come up with is, if I were trying to break into a bank, how helpful would it be to have blueprints of the bank and the bank vault? How helpful would it be for me to have an actual exact copy of the bank, completely at my disposal, to try different ways of breaking in and so forth? Not even a scale model, but literally the exact same thing, just in a different place. That's what having a copy of these disks amounts to."

"To the extent that these systems were not that secure in the first place, this doesn't make the systems more vulnerable. But it gives a would-be evil-doer lots of help and information to plan an attack, figure out what's going to work, which then can be conducted later by someone with less technical skill," Stark warns.

He explains that "these Election Management Systems are used, among other things, to configure the ballot marking devices" as well as "results from the precinct-based scanners" and the high-speed centralized scanners used to tabulate Vote-by-Mail ballots. "The release of the EMS code gives someone a blueprint for how to write malware to infect the ballot marking devices, etc., when they're configured using these systems."

We go on to discuss what can and should now be done by California in regards the ongoing Recall election (as well as other jurisdictions, with elections coming up in November, where Dominion systems are used in more than a dozen states) to ensure that results are accurately tabulated and reported, and can be known by the public, after the election, as such. His recommendations include the use of both hand-marked paper ballots and a far more robust post-election audit process than is currently mandated by CA state law.

Moreover, he cites a critical lesson that should be learned from Tina Peters, the Republican County Clerk in Mesa, CO who is alleged to have brought accomplices into the Elections Division in the middle of the night on May 23rd, and turned off the security cameras in order to steal the software and copy it for release into the wild. (She is now under criminal investigation and has been relieved of her duties by CO's Secretary Griswold.) "This is a very clear reminder that insider threats are real," observes Stark. "This is a wake-up call. It is very difficult to mitigate insider threats."

We are still waiting for a response from the CO Sec. of State's office, as to who they spoke with at CISA and what exactly that person said, given that the cybersecurity folks I've spoken with are quite dubious that the nation's top cybersecurity watchdog actually downplayed this voting system breach. Or, if they did, that they fully understood it. Meanwhile, CA's Sec. of State, to my knowledge, has said nothing about any of this publicly. But that may be because neither state nor national media --- other than us --- have bothered to connect the dots between California and these very serious concerns...

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