On today's BradCast, we cover an enormous amount of news, breaking and otherwise, on both the Presidential "recount" story in three different states, as well as the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. And we speak to Green Party candidate Jill Stein's campaign manager, David Cobb, about the ongoing and "escalating" legal battles and fights for citizen oversight of election results in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. [Audio link to show posted at bottom of article.]
First today, the latest on the breaking news over the weekend in the story of the denial of a permit for the controversial pipeline in ND, where thousands of native Americans have been protesting for months against its construction near tribal lands. On Sunday, in a huge victory, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied an easement to Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners that would have allowed them to complete the pipeline by building on disputed land near and beneath Lake Oahe, the Standing Rock Sioux's source of drinking water. The victory, while monumental --- even as the protests and violent attempts by law enforcement to stop them have been almost entirely ignored by mainstream corporate media --- may be short-lived, depending on legal actions and decisions made by the next President. Desi Doyen joins us for the latest.
At the same time, over the weekend, the corporate media was busy misreporting and misleading the legal maneuvers of Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein, who has dropped just one of the statewide voter-initiated suits demanding a PA "recount", in favor of a federal filing [PDF] today, on Constitutional grounds, seeking federal intervention for a statewide count and forensic analysis of 100% unverifiable voting systems used there. Stein and her attorneys held a press conference and rally today outside of Trump Tower in Manhattan, to explain the efforts.
Also, a federal judge this morning ordered [PDF] the state of Michigan to being counting ballots today, after successful maneuvers by Team Trump delayed the start of that effort late last week and had hoped to further delay or deny citizen oversight of results entirely. MI's Attorney General (a Trump supporter) falsely argued in his filing and during an unusual emergency hearing in federal court on Sunday, that the count might endanger the state's Electoral College votes. U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith ordered the counting to begin at noon today, however, finding that any further delay "would likely violate [plaintiffs'] right to vote under the First and Fourteenth Amendments" and that "there is a credible threat to the voters' right to have a determination made that Michigan's vote for president was properly tabulated." The MI GOP has vowed to appeal both the federal and state cases against counting ballots.
My guest today, Stein's campaign manager David Cobb, the Party's 2004 Presidential nominee --- who, himself, called for the partial statewide count that happened after that year's Presidential contest in Ohio --- joins us to discuss the latest developments in the ongoing counts and court cases in all three states, and to explain why Stein and the Green Party "are demanding integrity in the election system."
In PA, he explains (as we long have as well), that "there is no way to properly verify the DRE --- direct recording electronic --- equipment, otherwise correctly known as 'black box voting'. It's terrible to begin with and they should never be used. ... The real gain here is forensic experts getting an opportunity to get their hands on these machines --- and that is exactly what we are seeking in all three states --- but, in Pennsylvania, in federal court specifically, because of the completely outrageous system of recount provisions in the state." (To get an idea how horrific they are, check out my interview with VotePA's Marybeth Kuznik from last week, or read today's filing [PDF] in federal court.)
"I really want to underscore," he tells me, "we are escalating the fight into federal court in Pennsylvania precisely because the Pennsylvania laws are so horrible."
"These black box voting machines are hackable," he continues. "If any nefarious individual can get their hands on them, there are ways to manipulate them. That's the reason it's so important to have these forensic studies done. So that we can literally verify the vote. What is Donald Trump afraid of?"
We also discuss the efforts of the Green Party going back to Cobb's own attempted "recount" in Ohio, when two top election officials in the state's largest county, Cuyahoga (Cleveland), were found guilty and sentenced to the maximum sentence in prison for having rigged the 2004 Presidential "recount".
"We are demanding that every vote counts, so count every vote! It's just that simple. At the end of the day, if we do not have confidence in the election system, we cannot have confidence in our government itself," he argues.
Finally, speaking of counting votes (or not), North Carolina's abhorrent Republican Gov. Pat McCory has announced he is giving up his own battle for a statewide recount (which we supported) and has conceded the race to the state's Democratic candidate Attorney General Roy Cooper, becoming the first Governor to lose a re-election bid in state history...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)