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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, May 29, 2016
A Minimum Income and Maximum Infrastructure?: 'BradCast' 5/26/16
Guest host Angie Coiro with Dave Johnson of Campaign for America's Future; Plus: Historians on the Trump/Hitler comparison...
L.A. County Clerk Explains 'Uncharted Territory' of CA Primary: 'BradCast' 5/25/16
Guest: L.A. Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan; Plus: Orange County, CA pollworker-in-training w/ viral video calls in...
Why Dems Should be BEGGING Sanders to Stay in Through CA: 'BradCast' 5/24/16
Guest: Washington Monthly's David Atkins; Plus: Sanders files for 'recanvass' in KY and very good news for OH voters!...
'Green News Report' 5/19/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Canada insurers call for climate strategy; Pakistan and India heat wave; Renewables record in Portugal; Exxon killed the electric car; PLUS: Trump preps for rising seas (really!)...
Previous GNRs: 5/19/16 - 5/17/16 - Archives...
Think Twice About 'Bernie or Bust': 'BradCast' 5/23/16
Columnist and Sanders supporter Harold Meyerson offers some historic warnings for other Sanders supporters; Also: More bad polls for Clinton; More bad 'track conditions' for Dems; Planet's climate crisis worsens...
Sunday Toons of the Slowly-Realized Moment
A number of toons in PDiddie's collection of this week's best should be prize winners, frankly. Check them all out...
Jill Stein: 'We're Seeing the Dean Scream of 2016': 'BradCast' 5/19/16
The Green Party's 2012 Presidential nominee and 2016 candidate offers thoughts on Dems, Sanders, the 'two-party system', the 'spoiler effect' and more in our exclusive interview...
'Green News Report' 5/19/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump will toss UN climate pact; Coal export terminal halted in WA; Nestle water plant halted in OR; Duke ordered to close coal ash pits in NC; PLUS: Another climate win for kids in MA...
Previous GNRs: 5/17/16 - 5/12/16 - Archives...
OR, KY Results, And 'Fraud' Concerns Examined (Where Possible): 'BradCast' 5/18/16
Also: Climate disaster in Sri Lanka; CT adds automatic voter registration; KS ordered to restore voting rights to 18,000...
Trump Gains on Clinton; Big Win Against Coal in WA State: 'BradCast' 5/17/16
Sierra Club's Mary Anne Hitt on another huge win for grassroots activism; And corporate media fails us again...
'Green News Report' 5/17/16
Global climate protests ignored by MSM; New evacuations for Ft. McMurray fire; New EPA methane rules; Shell spills in Gulf; A win for whales; PLUS: April 2016 hottest ever...
MO Repubs Seek To State Amendment To Impose Photo ID Voting Restrictions
Some state Dems back 'compromise' that will leave 200k legally registered voters at risk of disenfranchisement...
SCOTUS Punts ObamaCare Case; NV Dems Descends Into Chaos: 'BradCast' 5/16/16
Ian Millhiser on Court's latest unprecedented (post-Scalia) move; Chaos at NV state Dem convention...
Sunday Toons of the Moment
Big Government bathroom inspections in NC, Trump and Sanders shaking up the establishment, and more in PDiddie's collection of the week's best political toons...
Strange Days Indeed: 'BradCast' 5/13/16
Oil Spills; Pathological Trump lies; GOP transgender freak outs; EXCLUSIVE details on MD's decertification of Baltimore's 4/26 Primary Election results...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
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...
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...


GUEST: KPFK News Director Ernesto Arce...
By Brad Friedman on 12/15/2015 3:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we cover the 'credible threat' of terror said to have been received by Los Angeles school officials out here, leading to today's unprecedented, complete shutdown of the second largest school district in the nation.

I'm joined by Ernesto Arce, News Director at our flagship radio station here in Los Angeles, Pacifica Radio's KPFK, for the latest, including the growing belief that the entire matter was little more than a hoax; that there have been more than 150 reports of hate crimes against Muslims here in Southern California since the San Bernardino shootings two weeks ago; and that today's panic suggests, once again, that you don't have to fire a shot or set off a bomb to terrorize Americans.

Also today, the sentencing of the latest Republican Sec. of State --- New Mexico's Dianna Duran --- to be found guilty of election fraud crimes, even as the GOP still pretends that Democrats are committing massive "voter fraud"; I finally figure out a way that Donald Trump could be knocked off his throne and maybe not win the GOP 2016 nomination after all (maybe); And Desi Doyen joins us for special Green News Report coverage of the historic UN climate agreement that was finalized unanimously by almost 200 nations over the weekend in Paris...

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

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Screenshots suggests disappearing 'Yes' votes on Election Night; OH Sec. of State's office offers us an explanation, downplays concerns
PLUS: Citizen calls for hand-count grows in Kentucky; And Fossil Fuel's very bad week...
By Brad Friedman on 11/10/2015 5:15pm PT  

Did someone or something flip election results last week in Ohio's statewide ballot initiative Issue 3 to legalize marijuana? We try to get to the bottom of that question --- and many others --- on today's BradCast. (Audio is linked below.)

As initially reported by Ohio's Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, and later by Steve Rosenfeld, screenshots captured from several different media outlets on Election Night last week show what appear to be impossible results on both Issue 3 and on Issue 1, a ballot measure for redistricting reform in the Buckeye State.

For example, according to screenshots from Dayton's WHIO-TV website, as published in the Fitrakis, Wasserman and Rosenfeld articles, Issue 3 reportedly had 969,662 "Yes" votes with 39% of precincts reporting. But later in the night, with 45% of precincts, there were only 614,866 "Yes" votes on Issue 3. That's a seemingly impossible drop of more than 300,000 votes in the initiative that is said to have ultimately failed, according to the unverified election night results reported by the OH Sec. of State.

Similarly, screenshots of results on Issue 1, which ended up reportedly passing, saw "No" votes drop impossibly from 990,555 to 486,596 later in the evening.

What explains these numbers? I spoke to Matt McClellan, Communications Director for Ohio Sec. of State John Husted (R) earlier today. He says that WHIO and the other media outlets whose screenshots were cited by Fitrakis, Wasserman and Rosenfeld, were all Cox Media outlets and "the problem was on their end."

"Someone was manually entering data," McClellan told me. "When they noticed the mistake, they made a correction." He went on to say that the Secretary of State's website had no such discrepancies or irregularities throughout the evening. His office does not take their own screenshots throughout the night, so we can't confirm that either way, at the moment, though McClellan says the office "went back and double-checked to make sure" after the issue was initially reported.

In response to the Sec. of State office's assertions (we offer more detail on them during the show), Fitrakis shared pre-election tracking poll results with me, that suggest the marijuana initiative should have passed, rather than lost, by a 2 to 1 margin. "Tracking polls suggest more that [results] were flipped than not flipped," he told me today. Fitrakis was is skeptical of the explanation from Husted's office, while adding that if Cox is manually entering results on the fly on Election Night, "then they need to stop, because it's absurd."

For the record, our calls to try and confirm the OH SoS' claims with WHIO and/or Cox Media have not yet been returned. But, again, much more detail during the program.

As if all of that isn't enough of a mess, the citizen movement to demand a hand count of the questionable results of last week's Kentucky Governor's race continues to grow. A petition has been posted to Change.org asking KY SoS Allison Lundergan Grimes to carry out a hand count of paper ballots statewide. So far, more than 10,000 have signed on to the effort, as we discuss today as well.

Finally on today's show, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report on the fossil fuel industry's no good, very very bad week...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2015 4:05pm PT  

On today's BradCast, breaking news on President Obama's final Keystone XL pipeline decision and more fallout following the completely unverified results of Tuesday's Gubernatorial election in Kentucky. (Audio link to complete show is below.)

On Keystone: Obama finally rejects TransCanada's application to build the controversial tar sands pipeline from Alberta down to the Gulf of Mexico. Our producer and green news expert Desi Doyen joins us to help separate fact from fiction on the long-awaited decision, and to offer long-overdue kudos to those citizens who organized, activated, advocated and otherwise successfully took on the most powerful interests in the history of civilization to block the project in the name of the environment.

On Kentucky: Several new developments following the completely unverified results of Tuesday's Gubernatorial election in Kentucky, where pre-election polls all predicted the opposite of the 'landslide' reported by the state's computer tabulators. Among those developments: A KY newspaper fires their well-respected pollster rather than bothering to find out if the polls were right and the results were wrong; Another reminder of why hand-marked paper ballots like those in KY are swell, but only if you bother to actually count them; We weather a few attacks from progressives who charge us with forwarding conspiracy theories and don't think we should bother to count ballots; And, new information out of Pima County (Tucson), AZ to remind us why citizen vigilance and oversight is needed to assure the survival of democracy.

Also today: The Koch Brothers tell MSNBC they are champions of the environment and MSNBC doesn't bother to correct them --- so, we do. Plus, a few other pieces of important news at week's end...

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

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GUEST: Karoli Kuns of CrooksAndLiars.com...
By Brad Friedman on 11/4/2015 5:21pm PT  

It is a primal scream of a BradCast today, following what happened --- once again --- on Election Day yesterday. We see, again, the nightmare scenario I've warned about for so many years: a U.S. election where all of the pre-election polls suggest Candidate X is set to win, but Candidate Y ends up winning by a huge margin instead and nobody even bothers to verify that the computer tabulated results accurately reflect the intent of the voters. (Audio link to today's full show is below.)

That's exactly what happened in Kentucky on Tuesday, where Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway was leading by a fair margin (about 3 to 5 points) in almost every pre-election poll in his race for Governor, but then ended up being announced as the loser to 'Tea Party' Republican candidate Matt Bevin by a landslide (almost 9 points) --- according to the state's 100% unverified computer tabulation systems.

As detailed on today's program with my guest Karoli Kuns of Crooks And Liars, there are a number of reasons to question the reported results. Among them, as Kuns points out today at C&L, the Democrats running in the down ballot races --- for Secretary of State, Attorney General (Conway's current job) and even state Auditor --- each reportedly received tens of thousands more votes than Conway did at the top of the ticket!

Bev Harris, of BlackBoxVoting.org, who I spoke with earlier today, described the higher vote totals in the down ballot races as a "significant anomaly". She tells me that, at least until more records are requested and examined, the KY-Gov's race "has to be looked at as a questionable outcome, particularly because of the discrepancies in the down ballot races. More votes in those races and not at the top...that just doesn't happen."

(Here is a link to a helpful Public Records Request toolkit [PDF] from Black Box Voting for those of you who may be interested in helping to try and obtain some transparency in this race, as we also discussed on today's program.)

There are many other reasons for supporters to question the reported results in the KY-Gov's race, as I detail during the show. Of course, the reported results could also be completely accurate. But, without public, human examination of the hand-marked paper ballots (which, thankfully, now actually exist across most of the state!) and other related records, we have yet another unverified, 100% faith-based election to leave supporters wondering if they really won or lost.

We've seen this before, of course. Too many times. We've seen malfunctioning paper ballot op-scan systems report losers as "winners" until a hand-count corrects the record. We've seen how easy it is for hackers to game election equipment. We've seen election insiders, even as recently as last week, breaking in to computerized central tabulators. And we've even seen high-ranking election officials in Kentucky (including County Clerks, Circuit Court Judges and School Superintendents!) convicted for decades of insider election fraud, including the manipulation of electronic voting systems.

We've seen both Democrats and Republicans alike fall victim to similarly anomalous and unverified results. And, while none of it bodes well for 2016 and beyond, neither does it bode well for those immediately and directly impacted by Tuesday's elections --- such as the 400,000 Kentuckyians who stand to lose health care under a new Republican Governor who has vowed to shut down the state's expansion of coverage under ObamaCare by the very popular if term-limited and outgoing Democratic Governor.

Also today: More election results from races around the country, from the attempt to legalize marijuana in Ohio, to campaign finance reform in Maine, to the recall of Koch Brothers-funded school board officials in Colorado...

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

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GUEST: Pima County (Tucson), AZ election integrity champ John Brakey...
By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2015 6:09pm PT  

Election Day is tomorrow in several states and many more local jurisdictions, but on today's BradCast, we've already got our first "irregularity".

My guest today is John Brakey, a longtime Election Integrity advocate from Pima County (Tucson), AZ. Last week, he caught an election official --- on video tape --- breaking the security seal on the county's new, central vote tabulator after party observers had left county election headquarters following pre-election "Logic & Accuracy" testing of the system.

"I looked at my screen,and I go: 'What is that guy doing? What's he doing over there? He's just opened the box up. Where's the Democratic observer?! Where's the Republican observer?!'," Brakey tells me about the incident on today's program.

He goes on to explain what happened, how he caught the guy, what the county did about it, and how you may wish to be concerned about the possibility for similar corruption with similar electronic systems in your home town.

Thanks to Brakey, the incident led to new L&A tests the next day, though the explanation for the entire affair from Pima County Election Director Brad Nelson (the original "Election Official Gone Wild", as seen in this 2006 video tape), remains questionable --- particularly since Nelson was in the room at the same time his subordinate was seen breaking into the system. We sought comment from Nelson, but he has yet to respond to our request.

For the record, Brakey is one of the stars of J.T. Waldron's riveting 2009 documentary film, Fatally Flawed: The Pursuit of Justice in a Suspicious Election which tells the remarkable --- and, at times, uplifting --- story of the years-long fight by Brakey and a transpartisan coalition of others in Tucson to obtain a recount of ballots from a questionable $2 billion 2006 bond initiative election in Pima County.

Also today: Obama "Bans the Box" that had required job applicants to reveal a criminal record before they've even had an interview on federal employment applications; The GOP's 2016 Presidential candidate/cry babies meet over the weekend to make new demands for networks holding GOP Presidential debates; Another candidate drops out of the 2016 Presidential contest; And, some quick tips (here are some more) on how to try and help protect your vote, and everybody else's, during tomorrow's elections around the country!...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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GUEST: Brendan Fischer of the Center for Media and Democracy...
By Brad Friedman on 10/26/2015 5:28pm PT  

Last week at the Center for Media and Democracy, their general counsel Brendan Fischer warned "Darkness descends upon Wisconsin." Today, on The BradCast, Fischer joins me to explain the three new pieces of legislation being quickly rammed through the Republican-dominated state legislature in the Badger State, which, taken together, are set to serve an unprecedented blow to transparency, elections, and democracy. (Audio link to complete show follows below.)

Formerly, one of the most transparent states for election oversight and the ability to either prevent corruption or, at least, discover it and hold those accountable for it after it is found, WI is now set to become the very opposite unless something happens to prevent this full package of election reform bills from being enacted. Yes. Darkness descends upon Wisconsin and, frankly, the rest of the nation if these laws are all passed and signed by Gov. Scott Walker (R-Koch) expected.

One of the bills has already been adopted by the legislature and was hastily signed over the weekend by Walker. That one bars state prosecutors from investigating political corruption under the state's "John Doe" provisions. A WI John Doe investigation is akin to a grand jury process, but allows prosecutors to carry out criminal probes under the auspices of a state court. Such investigations in the past, for example, resulted in the conviction of six top aides and allies to Walker. A more recent John Doe probe into illegal campaign coordination between the Governor and his Koch Brothers-funded allies during the 2012 recall elections in WI, was shut down earlier this year by the same state Supreme Court justices elected and funded by those very same Koch Brothers-funded groups who stand to benefit from this entire package of "reform".

The other two bills were passed in the Assembly last week and are now pending in the state Senate. One replaces the state's non-partisan Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.) --- the commission of retired judges convened to oversees state elections following a massive campaign finance scandal by both Dems and Republicans (uncovered by a John Doe probe!) back in 2007 --- with a new commission of partisan appointees modeled after (incredibly enough!) the entirely broken Federal Elections Commission!

Finally, saving the worst for last: The last of these three bills would allow unlimited undisclosed financing of political groups and campaigns in Wisconsin, as well as allow the millionaire and billionaire funders of those campaigns to remain completely secret to everyone but the candidate whose campaigns the funders would be supporting with unlimited cash payments!

"This is not something that voters in Wisconsin are calling for, neither Republicans nor Democrats," Fischer explains. "The only groups lobbying in favor of these three bills are the Koch Brothers' Americans for Prosperity and other organizations with deep ties to Americans for Prosperity and Koch-tied groups. It's almost like a wish list of the Koch Brothers or other wealthy billionaires who want even more influence in elections."

"It's going to allow unlimited money from billionaires and corporations to political parties and legislative leaders. It's going to allow unlimited coordination between candidates and dark money groups," he tells me. "The implication of that is a candidate could form a non-profit group --- even have it operated out of its campaign headquarters --- and politicians can say to donors: 'Give to this dark money group I am working with. You can give as much as you want.' It can come from anywhere. It can come from Koch Industries corporate treasury. The money could even come from foreigners and the politician is going to know where the money is coming but the public will not."

And, of course, the existing non-partisan commission meant to oversee elections won't be able to block it (because they likely will not exist) and if there is anything left that is still illegal in such campaigns, state prosecutors will have much of their ability taken from them to be able to investigate it. It's a breathtaking set of reforms that, arguably, makes Walker's gutting of collective bargaining back in 2010 look like child's play. And all of this legislation and its provisions are being watched very closely by the GOP nationally, as this gutting of democracy is exactly what the party now hopes to see in every state, as well as at the federal level. Citizens United was not even the beginning of their scheming to undermine fairness and transparency in elections and campaigns.

Fischer goes on to note that, "with rightwing Republicans in control of a lot of state legislatures," similar "reform" is likely to be pushed forward elsewhere after it takes effect in WI, "even though it's not voters who are calling for it."

Please listen to today's program and pass it along to others! This matter needs a lot more national attention than it is currently receiving!

Also on today's program: Death and destruction over the weekend from Oklahoma to British Columbia to Pakistan and Afghanistan, even as Mexico and the U.S. may have dodged a bullet, of sorts, after the most powerful hurricane on record barreled ashore as a Category 5 storm.

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2015 5:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast we catch up with a bunch of news, breaking and otherwise, at week's end.

Among the stories covered --- with much gusto and an occasional bit of snark --- on today's program...

• The stuff that actually mattered from Hillary Clinton's testimony at Thursday's disastrous Benghazi Hearing in the U.S. House;
Record-breaking Hurricane Patricia barreling towards Mexico;
• New Mexico's Sec. of State Dianna Duran --- a longtime Republican "voter fraud" fraudster --- resigns after pleading guilty to multiple counts of election fraud and embezzlement;
• Ben Carson overtakes Donald Trump in two Iowa polls;
• Jeb Bush's campaign death rattle continues;
• Paul Ryan's attempt to become House Speaker could still be thwarted by "conservatives" ready to primary other "conservatives";
• And some listener mail on our Richard Viguerie interview...

There's a few more important news items littered throughout today's very lively and busy program, but you'll have to listen to learn about 'em...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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GUESTS: Fracking expert and Mahoning County, OH voter Dr. Ray Beiersdorfer; Columbia County, NY Election Commish Virginia Martin...
PLUS: A few words on the continuing GOP 'Benghazi Investigation' circus...
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2015 5:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast, first a rant about the nonsense that is the Benghazi "investigation", and then on to a real investigation concerning an anti-fracking initiative on the ballot in Mahoning County, OH, questions about the results reported by the county's electronic tabulators, and an election official or two who are caught on tape going kinda nuts when asked about it.

To talk about our latest example of "Election Officials Behaving Badly", I'm joined on today's show by Dr. Ray Beiersdorfer, the voter who asked a simple question at a recent Mahoning County, Ohio Board of Elections meeting, before the officials accused him of accusing them of a crime in response!

And, since the Mahoning County election officials --- the ones caught on tape responding so outrageously to Beiersdorfer's reasonable request for a hand-count --- failed to reply to our multiple requests to join us on the show, we are joined instead by Virginia Martin of the Columbia County, NY Board of Elections to comment on all of this. (Our invitation remains open to Mahoning County election officials David Betras (D) and Mark Munroe (R) if they'd like to respond to today's program.)

Beiersdorfer is a geology professor, fracking expert and supporter of the ProtectYoungstown.org anti-fracking initiative. As you'll here, at the meeting of the Elections Board, he politely asked for a hand-count of paper ballots regarding the ballot initiative, after a post-election poll appeared to offer contradictory results to those reported by the unverified computer optical-scan tabulation systems used in the county. (An electronic tabulation system, I'll note, which has failed in election after election elsewhere.) In response, Betras freaks out and charges that Beiersdorfer has accused him of "rigging an election".

"You just basically accused this board of elections of election fraud!," Betras, a Democratic, snaps in outraged response, as caught on tape. "I find it highly offensive you’d accuse me of a crime!" His fellow election commissioner, Munroe, a Republican, takes similar offense.

All of that, simply because a voter wished to oversee the results of an election to confirm that computer-reported results were accurate --- in a town with a history of election problems and where some of the same election officials reportedly spent some $30,000 of tax-payer money in a failed effort to keep the initiative off the ballot in the first place (before being overruled by the state Supreme Court.)

"I certainly wasn't accusing anyone of a crime," Beiersdorfer tells me today (and as the tape confirms). "I just pointed out the discrepancy and I asked for a public, open, transparent hand-count of the ballots. I was a little bit surprised at how he reacted to that --- and basically attacked me."

Unfortunately, it's not an isolated case. We've seen similar responses from election officials elsewhere. Martin, the Democratic co-chair of the Columbia County, NY Board of Elections --- one of the few counties in the nation to publicly hand-count every paper ballot before certifying any election (my recent interview with Martin and her Republican co-chair on that specific topic is here) --- explains on today's show: "We election officials often find ourselves in the crosshairs. There's always somebody in the public who's not happy about something that's transpired at the Board of Elections. There's a winner and there's a loser, so we often are in a position of having to defend ourselves. I can understand why they would be very sensitive."

But, she adds, that type of concern simply doesn't come up in her county, given that the public is invited to oversee the hand-count of paper ballots for every election. As an election official, she insists on hand-counts, she says, because: "I wasn't comfortable with trusting what the computer said, because I know computers can make mistakes. I know that computers can be programmed incorrectly --- inadvertently. I also know they can be manipulated, they can be tampered with. I personally can't know how a computer counts anything, because I don't get to see that. So how am I going to know that the result is correct?"

I think it's a fascinating show today --- as this is a problem that occurs more and more, as election officials and electronic voting and tabulation systems make it far more difficult for the citizenry to oversee their own elections --- but you'll be the judge. Give it a listen below!...

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

[You can watch the complete, exclusive Mahoning County, OH video from which we played audio clips today, here. And the full video of Pima County, AZ Election Supervisor Brad Nelson caught on tape similarly freaking out back 2007, which we played a bit of as well today, can be seen here.]

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GUEST: ACLU voting rights attorney Julie Ebenstein
PLUS: All of today's grim breaking news to remind us why voting matters...
By Brad Friedman on 10/1/2015 5:52pm PT  

We start today's BradCast with the grim news of yet another mass shooting, this time in Oregon, and a massive storm bearing down on the U.S. East Coast.

As too-occasional BRAD BLOG contributor D.R. Tucker noted: "We have a superstorm on the East Coast brought to us by a problem right-wingers refuse to acknowledge, followed by another massive school shooting caused by a problem right-wingers refuse to do anything about."

But we can do something about it. We can vote those folks out of office. But, of course, only if we're allowed to vote.

Today we discuss two states, specifically (and a few more, generally) controlled by Republicans where they are making it much more difficult for many of their voters to vote. First, the state of Alabama has announced it will shut down 31 DMV offices, after the state's new Photo ID voting restriction just went into effect last year. You'll be shocked to learn that the closures disproportionately affect voters in the state's "Black Belt", including the closure of offices in "Every single county in which blacks make up more than 75 percent of registered voters."

Then, in Iowa, we look at the ongoing legal challenge to the more than 100,000 former felons who have fully completed their sentences, but are being kept from voting for life by one man: the state's Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, who, by executive order, has rolled back Iowa's previous policy that had automatically restored voting rights to former, non-violent felons.

ACLU Voting Rights attorney Julie Ebenstein, who spent years fighting similar voter suppression tactics by Republicans in Florida, joins us on today's program to discuss the latest legal battle(s) for the right to vote in the Hawkeye State (and elsewhere).

"It's shameful the way that we treat our fellow citizens because of a prior conviction, sometimes decades ago," Ebenstein tells me. "The confluence of over-criminalization, mass incarceration, and the ongoing collateral consequences of that --- which is disenfranchisement, sometimes for life --- is something that really rips at our democracy."

It is shameful. As Think Progress noted earlier this year, "in the 2008 election, 5.3 million Americans, or one in 40 adults, were unable to vote due to a felony conviction, according to the Sentencing Project." But, as bad as that is, it's even worse for African Americans. "Nationally, 2.2 million --- or one in every 13 --- black adults is disenfranchised."

And as bad as that is, Ebenstein explains, it's even worse in Florida which, she notes, "like Iowa, has a lifetime ban on voting for people who have committed a felony. And, as a result of that, there's over 1.5 million citizens in Florida who are disenfranchised. So that's about 10 per cent of the voting population --- 1 in 5 African-American men in Florida --- who remain disenfranchised."

Also today: Oklahoma halts all scheduled executions indefinitely following the state's latest death penalty disaster. And a quick look at Bernie Sanders' rather extraordinary fund-raising operation, built on small donations from the Internet, as the independent Vermont Senator almost outraised Hillary Clinton in the third quarter of 2015.

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

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GUESTS: Virginia S. Martin (D) and Jason J. Nastke (R), Columbia County Election Commissioners...
By Brad Friedman on 9/29/2015 6:01pm PT  

First on today's BradCast: Why Rush Limbaugh believes NASA has faked their discovery of flowing liquid water on Mars. Then, why MSNBC completely ignored Bernie Sanders on last night's Rachel Maddow Show.

Then, onto our interview with Virginia Martin and Jason Nastke, the Democratic and Republican Election Commissioners (respectively) of Columbia County, NY, where they refuse to certify results until every hand-marked paper ballot is publicly counted by hand after each election.

The two Commissioners joined me to respond to a recent Brennan Center study [PDF] warning that the nation's voting computers and tabulators are aging and failing and should be replaced as soon as possible with new computer systems. I agree with the first part of their findings, not so much with the second part, both of which we discussed in a recent BradCast with Lawrence Norden, co-author of that well-reported study.

Martin and Nastke don't seem to agree either, finding that hand-marked paper ballots, publicly hand-counted by human beings, remain the best way to assure that every voter's intent is accurately and transparently tallied.

"In reality, computing is maybe 50 years old," the Republican Nastke tells me on today's program. "We use paper ballots and paper is hundreds, if not thousands of years old. Historical documents continue to exist to this day. So, what we know is that when a voter votes on a paper ballot that there is an absolute way for the voter's intent to be determined, and properly counted."

"When New York State and the federal government mandated that we use optical scans instead, I started looking at those systems, and my question was, how do I know that that result is the right result?," says the Democrat Martin. "I'm not going to be able to see how the voting machines added up the votes. So I'm not going to know and I'm going to have to certify these results and I feel very uncomfortable doing that. So how can I know that the machine results are correct? Well, we have the paper ballots, let's count them."

"It's not a Republican or a Democrat issue," Nastke insists. "The issue is one of what's right. And what is right is that every vote is counted." Martin adds: "The fact is that I and Jason are both very, very confident in the results that we certify. And I must say that I think the voters in our county are similarly confident. The candidates whose votes --- for or against --- we are counting, are similarly confident. If we've got a candidate that lost by a few votes, and they've been here and they've watched the process, they are very confident that they did truly lose."

"It works very well because it's so bipartisan. For every Democrat who is doing something, a Republican is watching like a hawk," she says. "And it's very, very accurate. People are thrilled to see how the process works, to understand how it works, and to actually be a part of it and see what the result is."

Martin recently responded in comments here at The BRAD BLOG following my interview with Norden. She expands on some of those thoughts today, as both Commissioners explain why they --- and their respective political parties in the county --- have been able to buck national trends to agree on hand-counting ballots, rather than using unverifiable computer systems.

I ask them, among many other questions, why other counties in New York state have yet to adopt their system?; Whether they have found errors from the optical-scan computers which initially tally ballots at each precinct (as required by the state) before the hand-count takes place?; Whether they believe humans or computers are able to count ballots more accurately? (Norden had asserted that computers were more accurate during our conversation last week); Why they don't hand-count at the precinct, rather than back at County headquarters?; Could their system work in a much larger county or is hand-counting only for small jurisdictions?; And what happens in those instances when party observers don't agree on voter intent or a voter has left their intent unclear?

We first reported on Columbia County turning to 100% hand-counts back in 2012, but this is the first time either Martin or Nastke has joined me on the show! So it's great to have them! Here's a recent article on Columbia "becoming known for hand-counting votes" from one of their local papers. Look close and you'll see some films and books I've contributed to sitting in front of Martin in the paper's photo! :-)

Please listen to the full interview on today's show...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/23/2015 4:54pm PT  

On today's BradCast, live from Pacifica Radio's KPFK, as Pope Francis makes his historic visit to the U.S., speaks at the White House on climate change, canonizes a controversial figure and makes Republicans heads explode, we discuss it all and take listener calls --- some of them fairly strange (though entertaining) --- on all of the above.

Also today, more on that new warning about old voting machines and how the Volkswagen computer software emissions scandal underscores worries about computerized voting and counting systems in 2016.

All of that and more today, including Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report. A very short description for a very busy show. Enjoy!

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

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Guest: Lawrence Norden, co-author of Brennan Center's disturbing study
PLUS: Walker drops out, Fiorina moves up...
By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2015 5:39pm PT  

We've got a lot to cover on today's BradCast (in addition to welcoming about our newest affiliate partner, WLRI 93FM in Lancaster, PA!)

First, some Presidential politics, including the late breaking news of Republican superstar and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker plummeting to the bottom of the 2016 GOP race for President and then promptly dropping out. At the same time, failed businesswoman and successful fantasist Carly Fiorina has surged in to 2nd place nationallly, even as Fox "News", of all outlets, challenges her on her pretend memories of a deceptively edited Planned Parenthood smear video.

Then, Volkswagen admits that their cars were built to hoax emissions testing by only kicking in pollution controls when the cars' computers sensed that they were undergoing emissions tests!

That, sadly enough, is meant to take us to our main story today, the new report from Brennan Center for Justice warning that "America's Voting Systems are at Risk" [PDF]. My guest is Lawrence Norden, co-author of the new report with Christopher Famighetti, explaining how the electronic voting systems in at least 43 states are more than a decade old and could fail entirely at any moment.

"The biggest finding is that, in the vast majority of the country, machines are at or rapidly approaching the ends of their life spans, and that, right now anyway, in most places, there aren't plans or budgets to replace them," Norden explains. "With older machines also comes just a difficulty in finding replacement parts. They're often running on very old software which creates security vulnerabilities --- so there are a lot of reasons that we need to start taking this more seriously."

Those failing machines, he goes on to tell me, resulted in some 500-700,000 votes being lost in last year's election alone, thanks to long lines that occur when these machines fail to work at all on Election Day. There is also a racial disparity to go along with those numbers, as Norden details, because "wealthier counties are in a position to replace their equipment that is aging, and those that don't have those resources are not."

While the report is expansive, well-researched and, justifiably, received a decent amount of attention from mainstream media sources upon its release last week, I share my concern with Norden that, while the study covers so much of what we've known for years (and have reported, virtually non-stop, for more than a decade both here at The BRAD BLOG and on The BradCast), the study's recommendations to replace old electronic systems with new electronic systems that will have many of the same problems is quite troubling. Nowhere in the report are overseeable, fully transparent hand-marked, hand-counted paper ballot systems discussed, despite such systems being regarded by many as Democracy's Gold Standard.

I also share my concerns with Norden about the report's timing, coming out right now when it is largely too late to replace voting systems --- at least with new electronic systems --- before voting begins in the 2016 cycle.

Norden, who I've had lively debates with in the past on related issues, says the Center's report is "not favoring any kind of technology," even if it is clear that they are calling for computer technology over more transparent and overseeable hand-counted systems. "I'm not crazy about the idea of having people just vote on paper without some kind of notification of potential errors," he argues, "notification that their vote won't be read."

He also argues, in making his case that computers are "more accurate" than hand-counts, that "a lot of vote-by-mail is not counted", mostly due to voter error.

Beyond that, I'll let you give the conversation a listen and you can decide for yourself what to make of the new report and its recommendations. I'll be delighted to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!...

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

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Attorney Jonathan Brater on the newly passed legislation that could become the nation's single largest voter registration initiative in decades...
By Brad Friedman on 9/16/2015 5:16pm PT  

On today's BradCast...

California has just passed a bill that would automatically register all eligible citizens whenever they use the DMV or other state agencies. If Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signs "The California New Motor Voter Act" (which mirrors an initiative adopted by Oregon earlier this year), voter registration in the Golden State will become opt-out, rather than opt-in.

With nearly 7 million eligible --- but currently unregistered --- voters in the state, the legislation could be the single largest voter registration initiative in this country in decades! Jonathan Brater, counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice's Democracy Program, joins us to discuss the landmark legislation, whether it'll be signed by the Governor, and whether there are legitimate concerns about fraud via automatic universal voter registration.

Also today: As global warming takes a more and more deadly toll each day, Carly Fiorina, the 'moderate, reasonable' 2016 GOP candidate, continues to deny climate change science; listeners call in to ring in on all of the above and much more; and Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report!

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/11/2015 5:52pm PT  

Seriously. To hell with false balance.

On today's BradCast: a ton of news on Election 2016 --- from the horse race (as ridiculous as it's become) to the horrible track conditions on which the horses will be running, as Americans try to vote and have their vote counted, counted accurately and in a way that they can know it's been counted accurately.

Meanwhile, the media, particularly the New York Times continue to confuse repeating with reporting on both voter suppression and climate change --- and they actually appear to be getting worse, not better. So, Desi Doyen joins us to debunk the latest global warming denial nonsense from GOPers Trump, Fiorina and, yes, Palin with none of the Times' 'he said, she said' false balance.

And finally, we finish with some thoughts very much worth pondering from Tom Engelhardt of TomDispatch and The Nation on this 14th anniversary of 9/11.

That's a very short description for a very busy, news-packed show today. Enjoy!...

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

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Guest: Legal analyst Ernest A. Canning; Plus: Listener calls and more!...
By Brad Friedman on 9/2/2015 5:17pm PT  

Over the weekend at the DNC Summer Meeting in Minneapolis, 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate Martin O'Malley excoriated his party for their 'rigged process' of Presidential debates. Bernie Sanders agreed and BRAD BLOG's legal analyst Ernest A. Canning apparently does too.

He wrote about it this week, including his concerns that the process could result in a 1968-like rift within the party. He joins us to discuss it on today's BradCast.

Also today, in a victory for President Obama (and for peace and diplomacy) it looks like the Iran Deal now appears to be sealed in the U.S. Senate --- despite wild disinformation about it (and a Republican base which appears clueless about that and much more).

We also take listener calls on all of the above, including some on our programs earlier this week on the KS statistician being blocked by the state from examining evidence she believes suggest "voting machine manipulation" and the attorney representing the couples suing the KY County Clerk who refuses to issue marriage licenses in defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Plus: Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report as we get ready to take a few days off for the holidays. (But, don't worry, your BradCast will be ably guest hosted once again by the excellent Nicole Sandler of RadioOrNot.com for a couple of days until we're back after the holidays!)

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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