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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, November 29, 2015
'Green News Report' 11/24/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Carbon tax coming to Alberta tar sands; Obama: Paris conf must proceed; Senate Repubs to monkeywrench int'l agreement; PLUS: FDA okays GMO salmon for humans...
Previous GNRs: 11/19/15 - 11/17/15 - Archives...
Sunday 'This Means War' Toons
PDiddie's must-see collection of the past shameful week's best -- and most dead-on and occassionally horrifying -- toons...
ISIS Wins in US House; Plus: TPP, NAFTA and the Return of KXL?: 'BradCast' 11/19/15
With guest David Dayen of Salon, Fiscal Times, The Intercept, et al...
'Green News Report' 11/19/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
House GOP's war against climate scientists; October 2015 was hottest on record; Fossil fuel subsidies at $500B/year; UK phases out coal; PLUS: Canada kills another tar sands pipeline...
Previous GNRs: 11/17/15 - 11/12/15 - Archives...
Home of the Brave:
'BradCast' 11/18/15
GOP Governors and Presidential candidates help ISIS dreams come true by turning against refugees from war-torn Syria, as some Americans follow their lead by turning against fellow citizens after the Paris attacks...
How NOT to Respond to the Paris Terror Attacks: 'BradCast' 11/17/15
Anti-war author David Swanson on how we got here, how the media and politicians continue to make it worse, and what we must do instead...
'Green News Report' 11/17/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Climate gets short shrift in 2nd Dem Debate; Yes, climate change is a NatSec threat; Intn'l climate talks in Paris after attacks; PLUS: NY's Cuomo vetoes major NatGas project...
Previous GNRs: 11/12/15 - 11/10/15 - Archives...
A Word About Paris; Coverage of CBS' Dem Debate in Iowa: 'BradCast' 11/16/15
Salon's Heather Digby Parton and longtime GOPer Fred Karger on the debate the DNC didn't want you to watch...
Sunday Somewhat Horrible Toons
PDiddie's round-up of a number of smart toons in the wake of the horrific terror attacks in Paris...
'Very Similar, If Not Identical': DoJ's Big Tobacco Prosecutor on Case Against ExxonMobil: 'BradCast' 11/12/15
Attorney Sharon Eubanks on RICO, conspiracy and the big lies of Big Tobacco and Big Oil...
'Green News Report' 11/12/15
2016 Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates talk climate, energy, and the path forward in GOP Debate and Dem Forum...
Decoding and Debunking Fox Biz Channel's GOP Debate: 'BradCast' 11/11/15
Smartest post-debate analysis anywhere! With journalists Heather Digby Parton and David Dayen...
Impossible Results for OH Pot Measure?: 'BradCast' 11/10/15
Screenshots suggest disappearing 'Yes' votes; OH SoS offers us explanation. PLUS: Calls for KY hand-count...
'Green News Report' 11/10/15
Obama rejects KXL; Big Coal caught lying about climate change; ExxonMobil facing probe; PLUS: 2nd cyclone for Yemen & Sea World responds to critics...
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
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...
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...

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...

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...

The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

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...

The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

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...

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...

State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

GUEST: Scott Greytak of Justice at Stake...
ALSO: E-Pollbooks failing on Election Day; Keystone XL finally dead (for now)...
By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2015 6:02pm PT  

It's Election Day on The BradCast, so, naturally, that means voter disenfranchisement throughout the country. Early reports today find e-pollbook systems failing at polling places in a number of states, which means voters are being turned away. (And, for some reason in Ohio(!) folks who were registered are finding they no longer are...for some reason.)

But, with more Election Day problems sure to come to light soon, we turn for the moment to the obscenity that has become judicial elections in the U.S. --- on a day that finds a record $15.8 million has been spent on today's Supreme Court election alone in Pennsylvania.

Scott Greytak of joins us to discuss his new report --- Bankrolling the Bench: The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2013-2014 (with Brennan Center for Justice and the National Institute on Money in State Politics) --- on the record amount of cash now being spent, "legally", to buy judges and state Supreme Court Justices via elections around the country. Millions of dollars now flow in to these contests from outside interests and political parties as well as lawyers and lobbyists.

"This is something that's, unfortunately, unique to America," Greytak explains. "It's really the United States and one other country in the world that decides to elect their judges." What began as "a populist impulse" about 100 years ago, "when folks were trying to break up big machine politics, trying to attack corruption," has now become a nightmare in the post-Citizens United age.

Judicial elections "which typically used to be pretty low-key affairs" are now being "targeted by politicians, legislators, or special interest groups that are hoping to shape the bench [or] targeted as sort of a referenda on big decisions that the court has heard or, more often, just opportunities for partisan groups to try and make political plays with these courts."

"It's deeply concerning," Greytak tells me. "Our data from this cycle found that about a third of all contributions to state Supreme Court judicial candidates came from lawyers and lobbyists. Another third came from business interests which, of course, are going to have cases that come in front of these courts, or have interests that come in front of these courts."

"When judges have to run for office, the folks who are closest to the courts, who know what's at stake, are often the lawyers and lobbyists who operate in them," he says. "So they turn and rely on the lawyers and lobbyists as a funding system. It becomes a reproducing cycle of conflicts of interests and this is what judicial elections has left us with."

With mostly Republican, but also Democratic groups spending millions in these races and using them as political bludgeons, jurists become vulnerable to offering rulings based on partisan interests rather than the rule of law. As discussed on today's program, what is happening in the state of Wisconsin right now has become a fantastic example of how judicial elections have become disastrous for those of us who believe in good government.

Finally today, big news in our latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen, as a hurricane heads to Yemen (of all places) and the Keystone XL pipeline is finally dead...for now anyway...thanks in no small part to unrelenting citizen activists and organizers who stood up to the most powerful corporate interests in the history of civilization!...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2015 2:54pm PT  

As we've noted many times over the years, problems with voting systems on Election Day don't necessarily come to light until after Election Day --- sometimes months (or even years) after --- and they are frequently marginalized as little more than "hiccups, glitches, snags and snafus," by election officials and media alike when they do occur, rather than the outright failures that they actually are.

Today, however, in a number of states where elections are being held around the country, problems with electronic pollbooks, rather than voting machines themselves, seem to be popping up early and are resulting in voters walking away without having been able to cast a vote.

Here are a few examples today out of Virginia, Texas and Ohio, so far (emphasis ours)...

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

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Guest: Matthew Menendez of Brennan Center for Justice
Plus: Rain in L.A.; Rightwing Aussie PM ousted; GOPers for climate action; Liberty U. students respond to Sanders...
By Brad Friedman on 9/15/2015 5:16pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The most incredible, embarrassing nonsense you may not have even heard about is going on in the otherwise great state of Kansas, thanks to their extremist rightwing Republican legislature and Governor Sam Brownback.

But, first, it rained in Los Angeles today! Yes, amidst a record 500-year drought, rain actually counts as news these days. I explain, along with Desi Doyen who was also there to witness it. (Oh, and here's that harrowing fire footage we described in today's show.)

As if that's not crazy enough, a group of House Republicans are introducing a resolution that calls for climate action in advance of Pope Francis' visit next week and historic address to Congress, in which he is expected to make the case for taking action to curb global warming (and, also, in favor of the Iran peace deal.)

And that's not the only good news today. Australia's crazy rightwing Prime Minister Tony Abbott was ousted last night in a late night coup by his own party, paving the way for a new Prime Minister who actually believes in stuff like climate change and marriage equality!

But then, of course, our main topic today: More on what the hell is the matter with Kansas. Brennan Center for Justice's Democracy Program attorney Matthew Menendez joins us for an update on the cases he (and a number of other groups) have filed against Brownback on the heels of legislation the Governor signed that would defund the entire state Judiciary system if the courts have the temerity to strike down Brownback's legislation concerning education funding and restructuring (rigging) the judiciary.

"What they passed says if the outcome in a particular lawsuit came out a particular way, then the entire judicial appropriations was no longer valid," Menendez explains. Well, guess what? The court has just found against the state! So, now what?

"This is very troubling," Menendez tells me, detailing how the plaintiffs have been forced to seek a stay on the court's ruling (in their favor!) in order to keep the GOP law from kicking in and defunding the entire court! "In America, where we firmly believe --- or profess to --- in separation of powers, it's essential that judicial salaries not be threatened if legislators disagree with one of their rulings."

So much for the "conservative" belief in the Constitution's co-equal branches of government. Menendez tells me what has just happened in KS, where the cases are now, and what is expected to happen next in what he says could turn into "just a complete constitutional crisis."

Finally, on yesterday's program we played some of 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' remarks at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University as he attempted to reach out and find common ground with some of the 12,000 "conservative" students in attendance. Today, we hear from some of those students as they react to Sanders' speech. Suffice to say, reaching out to those who think they don't agree with you may be a very wise thing to do in today's divided and divisive media world.

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

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Guest: Author and Harvard Health Policy Professor Dr. David Hemenway...
By Brad Friedman on 9/8/2015 5:28pm PT  

As noted at the top of today's BradCast, our show changed about five different times right up until air, as we attempted to keep up with busy news events on the ground following the Labor Day weekend.

First up, Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk who was jailed before the weekend after defying court orders to issue marriage licenses was released [PDF] by the Federal Judge who had found her in contempt last week. Waiting for her with a hero's welcome was a crowd of hundreds fomented by former Arkansas Governor turned GOP Presidential candidate turned Fox 'News' host turned GOP Presidential candidate again turned desperately disingenuous opportunist Mike Huckabee.

But what Huckabee failed to note in his defense of Davis --- as do most of the media covering what's going on down there --- is that Davis was sent to jail not for refusing to defy her own conscience as her supporters claim, but for refusing to allow others who disagreed with her in her own office from acting and following their own conscience...not to mention the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution.

Next up today: As the carnage of gun violence continues from coat to coast following the recent, live on-air shootings in Roanoke, Virginia (include another mass shooting at a school here in California and the critical injury of one of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's top legal staffers), we speak to author David Hemenway about solutions, as detailed in his book Private Guns, Public Health.

"People from around the world come and they just cannot understand why the United States allows this to happen --- compared to all the other first world countries and high income countries --- that we are allowing so many Americans to be killed," Hemenway tells me while explaining how our epidemic of gun violence must be regarded as an issue of public health. "First we have to admit we have a problem, and the numbers are just overwhelming."

While he concedes that, no matter what we do, "we are going to have lots and lots of guns in the Unites States," they can and should be made safer. "One of the analogies we make in public health is in the motor vehicle area," Hemenway explains. "Fatalities per mile driven in the United States have fallen over 85% because the cars are so much better, and the roads are so much better. Yes, we ought to look at the individuals [perpetrating the violence] but we can do so much more, so much more cost-effectively, if we also look at the system. Let's make a system where it's hard to make errors, hard to behave inappropriately, and then when still some people do, let's make it that nobody dies."

"For example, we'd like manufacturers to do a better job about making child-proof guns --- which they made 100 years ago --- to make it harder for kids to unintentionally kill themselves. We can say 'You know, it's the kid's fault, it's the parent's fault, it's somebody's fault fault fault,' or we can solve the problem, which is make it so that when you take out the magazine the gun won't fire. It's not rocket science."

Hemenway, Professor of Health Policy and Director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, offers other common sense solutions, including the need for better data collection, currently made scarce by both legislation and intimidation by gun proponents. "Whenever there's a motor vehicle death, we get 150 pieces of information collected consistently and comparably. We want to get good data on the number of guns in households in each state, but the Center for Disease Control is afraid to ask questions about that because they'll get beaten up by Congress."

He also discusses a number of myths from opponents of gun safety laws, including the claim that women need guns to protect themselves from predators and the notion that households are safer with a gun to protect the occupants. "Only about a third of households have guns," Hemenway tells me. "And the two-thirds that don't have guns, turns out they are much, much safer than the one third that does."

Also on today's busy broadcast: Breaking news from the Freddie Gray killing in Baltimore; Breaking news on the Iran Deal from U.S. Senate Democrats; and more...

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

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Standing up to the NRA after Roanoke & a horrifying U.S. gun death toll
PLUS: Denying global warming on Katrina's 10th anniversary; Trump's ugly nativism gets uglier; Good news for Dems in new poll; Marriage dead-enders in KY...
By Brad Friedman on 8/27/2015 5:53pm PT  

On the heels of yesterday's horrific on-air murders in Virginia, and as guns claim one life every 16 minutes in the U.S., the father of one of the Roanoke victims vows to stand up to the NRA and "cowards" elected to office who fail to take action to help prevent gun violence. On today's BradCast we look at the numbers, the jaw-dropping death toll in this nation, and what, if anything might ever be done about it.

For the record, as WaPo details, we've now had 247 mass shootings in the 238 days of 2015.

Also on today's busy program...

• Louisiana's Republican Governor and also-ran 2016 GOP candidate Bobby Jindal pretends [PDF] global warming had nothing do with Hurricane Katrina as Obama comes to New Orleans to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the devastating storm.

• New national poll finds Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and, yes, Bernie Sanders would all trounce Trump and the other GOP front-runners if the election was held today...and if we had a national election...and if all voters who wanted to vote were allowed to vote...and if those votes were actually counted and counted accurately.

• Donald Trump's ugly nativism gets even uglier as the Republican establishment gets desperate.

• Kentucky dead-ender County Clerk defies still more federal court orders and denies same-sex marriage licenses --- and all marriage licenses --- in her county, under the ridiculous premise of "religious freedom".

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 8/26/2015 5:12pm PT  

On today's live BradCast from the KPFK/Pacifica Radio Network studios in sweltering Los Angeles...

• Breaking news from today's on-air shooting in Roanoke, VA.

• Some fallout and followup from a few recent BradCasts. (The one we referenced with AT&T/NSA whistleblower Mark Klein is here. The one we referenced about the Malaysian Airlines flight shot down over Ukraine, with 27-year CIA analyst Ray McGovern, is here. The story about the illegal Texas voting restriction that is still disenfranchising voters even after being found illegal by three different federal courts is here. My interview about it with attorney Ernest A. Canning is here.)

• Why Donald Trump actually matters (and not just to Republicans) and why Democrats might think twice about being quite as gleeful about his potential (likely?) nomination.

• And then, a whole bunch of listener callers discussing all of the above and much more on today's live show.

• Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on the heels of Planet Earth's hottest month in recorded history...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Guests: Blogger/journalists Heather Digby Parton and Paul Rosenberg...
By Brad Friedman on 8/7/2015 3:32pm PT  

Buckle up! On today's BradCast, we jump on board the crazy train to dissect last night's GOP/Fox 'News' Presidential Debate(s)!

My guests today are award-winning blogger/journalists Heather Digby Parton of Digby's Hullabaloo and Paul Rosenberg of Random Lengths News --- both also contributors for Salon.

Can Trump ever be derailed? Fox 'News' and Roger Ailes sure seems to be trying. And does any of it actually matter a year and a half out from the general election and more than six months before any votes are ever cast? We discuss all of the above (after "Digby" and I take short victory lap concerning Donald Trump!) and much more in today's post-debate roundtable!

"[Trump] has absorbed all of the rightwing tropes of the past 30 years and made them his own. He's ingested them, digested them, regurgitated them, played with them, shaped them into figurines, and just endlessly fascinated himself with them, and invited people to play along with him," Rosenberg tells me. "And people are happy to do so, because he is their ideal --- he is a super-wealthy person who is 'just one of us'."

For her part, Parton says the debate actually does matter, for one reason, "because what we're seeing are the contours and outlines of the Republican argument. I think it's pretty clear they're going to be running as war-mongering, tax-cutting, slash-and-burn politicians who are going to roll back everything that's happened in the last eight years. And they're going to do it all in the first day, so that's good."

A fascinating and fun discussion! Plus: Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report' on another new candidate in the GOP race and the pushback against the President's new rules for emissions cuts...

What a week. An incredibly busy one, but we've got some really good shows to show for it, I think. Enjoy today's!

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 8/6/2015 11:41am PT  


IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Polluters and their allies line up to attack Obama's new landmark emissions rule; Majority of Americans support cutting emissions and fighting global warming; U.S. finally getting its first offshore wind farm; PLUS: Republicans get a new 2016 contender --- try to guess his position on climate change. Go ahead, guess... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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


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

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): The Point of no return: climate change nightmares already here; G20 countries pay over $1,000 per citizen in fossil fuel subsidies, says IMF; US Forest Service running out of money to fight wildfires; US Raises Concerns About Pipeline Through Forests; Strawberries Are in Big Trouble. Scientists Race To Find Solution; Big-Ag-Fueled Algae Bloom Won't Leave Toledo's Water Supply Alone... PLUS: VIDEO: The Secrets of "The Climate Paradox"... and much, MUCH more! ...

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GUEST: Computer security expert Jeremy Epstein of Verified Voting...
By Brad Friedman on 5/8/2015 4:59pm PT  

Today we covered two stories I've been trying to get to for a while on The BradCast, and they're both related.

The first is the story of the state lottery insider who hacked the system to "win" a $14 million jackpot --- begging the question: if a state run lottery with a multi-million dollar security system can't protect against insider manipulation, how can a local election official do it, particularly with Internet Voting systems that partisans and profiteers continue to push for?

The second also relates to the first. Computer science and security expert Jeremy Epstein of Virginia Verified Voting joins me to discuss the immediate decertification of 1/5 of Virginia's voting systems after a state analysis found what many of us had been warning about for years: the AVS WINVote system is so simple to hack that, Epstein says, if it hadn't already been hacked in the decade its been in use there, "it was only because no one tried."

A must-listen version of The BradCast, if I say so myself. Or you can wait until Halloween if you're looking for something really scary.

We also covered some encouraging economic news out today, and who to "blame" for it; Missouri Republicans overriding the Democratic Governor's veto to cut off public assistance to children and families; and what the NRA wants you to get mom for Mother's Day...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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The abcde's of how NOT to hardcode passwords for 'secure' elections...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2015 6:05am PT  

Virginia has decided to learn what much of the country already knows. The 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems they have long been using in their public elections are also 100% hackable.

After ignoring the warnings and using them anyway for more than a decade --- and three Presidential elections --- a recent incident on Election Day in 2014 led the Commonwealth to finally do what they should have and could have done long ago: test the machines to find out how vulnerable they actually are.

Well, they finally did so and --- boy howdy! --- did they discover what the rest of us have been warning about for years.

There is a reason, after all, that Virginia was the last state in the union to continue using the WINVote system made by the ironically named Advanced Voting Solutions (AVS). And there is a reason why, after finally bothering to test them, Virginia has now immediately decertified one-fifth of the voting systems used across the state, even though it will leave some jurisdictions scrambling for new ways to hold their primary elections scheduled for early June.

We've been noting problems with the WINVote system almost as long as The BRAD BLOG has been in existence. One example is our short report from 2007, when we discussed problems with the AVS systems before the company eventually went out of business entirely and after the WINVote system had been decertified by Pennsylvania when the company refused to pay the federal testing lab examining a newer version of the system for federal certification. Before those tests were discontinued at the time, we reported, the lab had "found 1,946 source code anomalies, 25 serious documentation problems, and an unauthorized change of motherboards."

As we wrote in 2007, "Elections officials want to ignore those problems." The elections officials in Virginia were precisely among those we were talking about.

But, no more. Once VA officials finally decided to do their own long-overdue security analysis of the systems, "Security deficiencies were identified in multiple areas, including physical controls, network access, operating system controls, data protection, and the voting tally process," according to the 6-page report [PDF] released by the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) this week.

"The combination of critical vulnerabilities in these areas, along with the ability to remotely modify votes discretely, is considered to present a significant risk. This heightened level of risk has led VITA security staff to conclude that [a] malicious third party could be able to alter votes on these devices," they wrote, adding tersely: "These machines should not remain in service."

The details of the Commonwealth's findings (now that they've looked for them) are so mind-blowingly startling that some Virginia localities who are losing their voting systems are now perfectly happy with the idea that they may have to --- gasp! --- hand count paper ballots in their upcoming elections...

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

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Media outlets successful in lifting order issued in trial against former Massey Energy CEO following nation's worst mine disaster in 40 years...
By Brad Friedman on 3/5/2015 10:23am PT  

A federal appeals court has lifted the gag order that had been imposed by a lower court in the criminal trial of West Virginia coal baron Don Blankenship.

The appellate court's unsigned order [PDF] on Thursday was issued in response to a suit filed by a number of media outlets, including AP, the Wall Street Journal and the Charleston Gazette, challenging the gag order by U.S. District Court Judge Irene C. Berger. That order, issued last November, had also sealed all documents in the indictment of the former Massey Energy CEO, who faces four criminal counts related to the massive April 2010 explosion at the company's Upper Big Branch (UBB) mine in West Virginia, resulting in the deaths of 29 miners.

Finding that the U.S. District Court had been "sincere and forthright" in its "proactive effort to ensure to the maximum extent possible that Blankenship’s right to a fair trial before an impartial jury will be protected", the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals nonetheless determined that "The public enjoys a qualified right of access to criminal trials"...

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By Brad Friedman on 11/12/2014 6:35pm PT  

On this week's KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast I was joined by investigate journalist and author Greg Palast to discuss his disturbing report on the GOP's secret "Interstate Crosscheck" database and the hundreds of thousands of voters it may have knocked off the rolls this year.

PLUS: A flashback to my interview with then 25-year old paralyzed Iraq War veteran turned anti-war activist Tomas Young at "Camp Casey" in Crawford, TX in August of 2005. It was Young's first national interview proceeding his story being told on CBS 60 Minutes in 2006 and in Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro's documentary Body of War in 2007. During the interview, Young (who had driven 13 hours from Kansas City on his honeymoon, despite unceasing pain) describes the tragic story of how he was wounded during a rescue mission in an unarmored truck in Sadr City; how and when he turned against Bush's war; we joke about BBQ in Missouri and more; and then hatch a (successful) plot to bring his story to national attention.

After years of demanding accountability for the Bush/Cheney Administration war criminals, Young died earlier this week just before Veterans' Day and just weeks shy of his 35th birthday.

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2014 6:02am PT  

It's been happening for years now. On the day after elections like last Tuesday's, media figures begin navel gazing to figure out how pre-election polls, created by dozens of independent pollsters using dozens of different methodologies, could all find the same thing but turn out to be so wrong once the election results are in.

The presumption is that the results are always right, and if they don't match the pre-election polling, its the polling that must be wrong, as opposed to the election results.

On Wednesday morning, after Tuesday's mid-term election surprise in which Republicans reportedly won handily in race after race despite pre-election polls almost unanimously predicting much closer races or outright Democratic victories, FiveThirtyEight statistics guru Nate Silver declared "The Polls Were Skewed Toward Democrats".

His analysis of aggregated averages from dozens of different pollsters and polls this year found that the performance of Democrats was overestimated by approximately 4 percentage points in Senate races and 3.4 points in gubernatorial contests. Silver's assessment relies on a "simple average of all polls released in the final three weeks of the campaign," as compared to the (unofficial and almost entirely unverified) election results reported on Tuesday night. He doesn't suggest there was anything nefarious in the polling bias towards Dems this year, simply that the pollsters got it wrong for a number of speculative reasons.

Citing the fact that nearly all of the polls suggested Democrats would do much better than they ultimately did, when compared to the reported election results, Silver asserts it wasn't that the polls were more wrong that usual, per se, but that almost all of them were wrong in a way that appears to have overestimated Democratic performance on Election Day.

"This year's polls were not especially inaccurate," he explains. "Between gubernatorial and Senate races, the average poll missed the final result by an average of about 5 percentage points --- well in line with the recent average. The problem is that almost all of the misses were in the same direction."

Silver is much smarter than I when it comes to numbers; I'm happy to presume he has the basic math right. But he seems to have a blind spot in his presumption that the pre-election polls were wrong and the election results were right. That, despite the lack of verification of virtually any of the results from Tuesday night, despite myriad and widespread if almost completely ignored problems and failures at polls across the country that day, and despite systematic voter suppression and dirty tricks that almost certainly resulted in election results (verified or otherwise) that were skewed toward Republicans...

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By Brad Friedman on 11/5/2014 1:39pm PT  

It was a very long night here last night (just scroll down the marquee at right to get an idea), and now I'm scrambling to try and make enough sense of things to coherently put together today's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio. Wish me luck.

So, for the moment, I just want to re-re-re-remind that, historically, many problems from Election Day and, more specifically, in the tabulation of results, don't come to light until the days (or even longer) after Election Day. I'm already getting buried with various tips about various problems that folks had voting yesterday and, perhaps more disturbingly, issues and failures at the polls themselves. Trying to look through as much as I can, confirm what I can, debunk what I can and/or and make sense of it for you as best as possible.

For now then, I'll just drop this fun paragraph from a poster at Slashdot, as it points to a few issues we've covered over the past 24 hours, as well as a few that we have not...

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RWers finally become 'believers' concerning 'liberal conspiracy theories' about vote flips on 100% unverifiable touch-screens...
By Brad Friedman on 11/4/2014 2:17pm PT  

By our count, Virginia is now the 7th state to report touch-screen voting flipping in the 2014 election (though we may have missed a few in Pennsylvania and elsewhere).

During Early Voting, prior to today's mid-term, we've covered 100% unverifiable touch-screen votes reportedly flipping on screen in Texas (D to R), in Illinois (R to D), in Tennessee (NO to YES on anti-choice initiative), in Maryland (R to D) and in Arkansas (unclear which direction the votes were flipping in several different counties), and in North Carolina, where votes were said to be flipping from D to R in the crucial, neck-and-neck U.S. Senate race there.

Now, "Republicans and Democrats alike" are reporting votes flipping in a U.S. House race in Virginia Beach and Newport News, and one of the Republican candidates involved has supplied a video tape of the flipping votes cast on the town's Diebold AccuVote touch-screen systems...

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