On today's BradCast: We dispatch with the dark, ugly post-impeachment bitterness of our completely unfit and totally guilty President as quickly as possible at the top of today's show, along with a word or two about Mitt Romney's commendable, historic courage. Then it's on to looking forward to how Americans must remove this dangerous man from office, even as we all must surmount seemingly impossible odds with our nation's terrible, dangerous, nontransparent voting systems in 2020. [Audio link to show follows below.]
On that score, first up, CBS-2 in Los Angeles ran an investigative report this week, featuring yours truly, on the County's new, unverifiable, $300,000,000 touchscreen voting system. We share the report from CBS-LA's David Goldstein in full, along with some additional thoughts, including the eerie similarities between comments in the CBS report from L.A. County's Registrar Dean Logan, who developed the new VSAP ("Voting Solutions for All People") system, on his strong confidence in the first-time use of this new system before the March 3rd Super Tuesday primary, and those from an interview with the Iowa Democratic Party Chair Tom Price on the night before the Iowa Caucuses about his own confidence in the party's new, secretly-developed smartphone app that failed so disastrously the next day.
Then, speaking of Iowa, several reports on Thursday confirm that there was an apparent effort by Trump supporting trolls to jam the phone lines used as the backup for precinct officials to phone in caucus results when the IDP's smartphone app had failed. That element of the story is eerily similar to the 2002 GOP phone-jamming scandal during a U.S. Senate election in New Hampshire that year. Four Republican operatives hired by the party were convicted in a criminal scheme and the party had to pay NH Dems $125,000 in damages afterward. How does that tie to what happened in Iowa? We hope to report more on that on tomorrow's BradCast. But for now, we hope it serves as a reminder that Russia is not the only threat to the integrity of U.S. elections. Not by a long shot.
Today we've got more new, and still-partial (97%), results out of Iowa, showing Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders in a virtual tie, with Buttigieg barely leading in state delegates at the moment (3 out of several thousand divvied up between candidates) and Sanders winning in the raw vote counts in both the first and final rounds of voting on Caucus night. Controversy around the reported numbers, as chaotic and error-ridden as it has been, is actually a good thing, as we explain, given that publicly-witnessed, precinct-based counts (with hand-marked paper ballots to boot) are available from all 1,765 caucus sites. That means, when incorrect numbers have been posted to date, the public has been able to scrutinize and force corrections to those numbers, as has been the case in several instances across the state.
It should also be noted that, despite claims from supporters of some candidates, there is no evidence so far to suggest that any of the errors in reporting were meant to help or harm any particular candidate. As the NYTimes reports tonight, "Some of these inconsistencies may prove to be innocuous, and they do not indicate an intentional effort to compromise or rig the result. There is no apparent bias in favor of the leaders Pete Buttigieg or Bernie Sanders, meaning the overall effect on the winner’s margin may be small."
We go over some of those claims as well today. While some are viewing all of this as chaos and failure, we see it as a victory for PUBLIC OVERSIGHT OF ELECTION RESULTS. Public oversight is generally missing in jurisdictions where computers tally votes (which is to say, in all 50 states) leaving the public often entirely unable to verify results of their own elections. Similar errors occur in virtually every election, but due to the nature of secret counting in most locations, the public rarely learns about or notices them and erroneous results are rarely corrected. That, of course, was what we shamefully saw (or, rather, didn't) in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania after the stunning reported end to the 2016 Presidential election.
Now, ironically enough, a furious National Democratic Pary chair is demanding a recanvass of results in Iowa. But where were those same Dems after 2016 when they decided to not challenge or scrutinize any of the dubious numbers from the most surprising Presidential election results in U.S. history?
Finally, we close with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, with more debunkery of Trump's lies about energy at this week's SOTU, some bad news about January's record heat, and some very good news about the scheduled ban on gasoline-powered cars in Great Britain!...
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(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)