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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Fallout from the 'Trumpwreck' Debate: 'BradCast' 9/28/16
The public reaction to the first Trump/Clinton Presidential debate --- from polls, betting markets, newspapers and listener callers (lots of them!)...
Trumpwreck: The First Presidential Debate: 'BradCast' 9/27/16
Smart and, at times, hilarious coverage of the Trump/Clinton Hofstra debate, with journalists Heather Digby Parton and David Dayen...
'The Most Audacious Political Heist of Our Time':
'BradCast' 9/26/2016
David Daley on 'RatF**ked' and how the GOP 'stole' the U.S. House for a decade as Dems 'fell asleep at the wheel'...
Sunday Toons of the First Debate Moment
The final stretch for the general election begins and so do the Presidential Debates, as documented in PDiddie's collection of the best political toons of the week...
Eyewitness to Shooting at Protest Questions Official Account: 'BradCast' 9/22/16
Guest: Linda Flynn of Charlotte Spirituality Center was 'feet away', believes police activity sparked violence at peaceful demonstration...
'Green News Report' 9/22/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
U.N. climate pact reaches crucial threshold; White House orders NatSec planning for climate change; Good/bad news in the Arctic; PLUS: Obama to world: Time to step up...
Previous GNRs: 9/20/16 - 9/15/16 - Archives...
Caller Debate Questions
for Trump and Clinton:
'BradCast' 9/21/16
Plus: Police shootings and protests in NC, OK; Earth smashes more heat records; Trump leads Clinton in new national poll...
Trump Charity Scam; Warren v. Wells CEO; TX Defies Court: 'BradCast' 9/20/16
A whole lotta liars, cheats and scam artists on today's show! (So what else is new?)...
'Green News Report' 9/20/16
AL pipeline spill; Court reprieve for Dakota Access; U.N. trying to 'Trump proof' climate pact; PLUS: Leonardo DiCaprio wants you to watch over the oceans...
Terror Attacks in NY, NJ, MN; Massive Pipeline Spill in AL: 'BradCast' 9/19/16
What we know (and don't) in both cases. Guest: Alabama Media Group's natural resources reporter Dennis Pillion...
Sunday Toons of the Slightly Queasy Moment
'Slightly'?! ... 'PDiddie' may need a moment to see if it passes...
Trump's (Latest) Trap; Voting Rights Rulings in KS and OH: 'BradCast' 9/16/16
Also: Nat'l polls tied; Trump leads in OH; Sanders warns against 3rd-party voting; Colbert cheers us up...
'Green News Report' 9/15/16
Dakota Access pipeline fails climate test; House Comm probes state AGs on Exxon; Lead paint maker bought WI immunity; PLUS: LA floods U.S. 3rd costliest disaster...
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...


Also: National polls tied; Bernie Sanders cautions against third-party voting; Stephen Colbert and Desi Doyen try to cheer us up...
By Brad Friedman on 9/16/2016 5:45pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the corporate media fall for yet another Trump Trap, while we focus on crucial court rulings on voting rights in both Kansas and Ohio that could determine who ultimately wins the White House. [Audio link to the show posted below.]

First, the MSM beclowned itself yet again today, This time, giving free live coverage to the opening of Donald Trump's new hotel and endorsements from some military members, as the Republican nominee eventually offered lies about his 'birther' claims, in which he has spent years attempting to de-legitimize President Obama as an American and all other African-Americans along with him.

That same de-legitimization effort is at work from Republicans around the country attempting to make it harder and often impossible for certain voters (Democratic-leaning ones, disproportionately African-American) to cast a vote in the upcoming election.

This week we saw court rulings, both good and bad, on that front in both Kansas and the crucial battleground state of Ohio under their voter-restricting Republican Secretaries of State Kris Kobach and Jon Husted, respectively. On today's program we review those court decisions and their effect on the electorate as national polling now reflects a virtual tie between Trump and Hillary Clinton nationally, with the Republican nominee having taken a narrow lead in the Buckeye State, and 538.com giving Hillary Clinton just a 57% chance of winning if the election were held today.

Also today: Bernie Sanders urges potential third-party voters to vote for Hillary Clinton instead; Stephen Colbert offers a "polite reminder"; the Commission on Presidential Debates announced that Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein will not be invited to join the first debate; And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us to try and cheer everybody up with the latest Green News Report. (We wish her luck!)

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

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Guest: Campaign Legal Center's Brendan Fischer on smoking gun emails leaked from quashed state criminal probe of Wisconsin's Governor...
By Brad Friedman on 9/15/2016 6:46pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, startling revelations from the massive document dump of emails and other materials from the currently-quashed state criminal investigation into Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's 2012 recall election fundraising. [Audio link to show posted below.]

The Guardian's remarkable 1,300 page leak of documents from the so-called "John Doe investigation" of Walker's illegal collusion with "independent" third-party non-profit groups is, in many ways, jaw-dropping. As we discuss on today's show, in addition to that collusion, the leaked emails also reveal state GOP operatives preparing to declare massive Democratic voter fraud, without a shred of evidence in support, in order to try and win a very close 2011 election for state Supreme Court Justice David Prosser. The rightwing Justice would ultimately ensure a Walker-friendly majority on the court to support the Governor's controversial union-busting law.

"Do we need to start messaging 'widespread reports of election fraud' so we are positively set up for the recount regardless of the final number? I obviously think we should," writes one of the GOP operatives in one of the emails as results from the tight race came in. "Talk radio needs to scream the Dems are trying to steal the race...We need to declare victory first so it appears that the results are being overturned if they go the wrong way." Sound familiar?

[You can see what came of that recount, which we covered extensively back in 2011, including exclusives revealing, among other irregularities, ballot bags ripped and discovered "wide open" with mismatched or missing serial numbers as well as ballots found completely unsecured and other similar messes and mistallies across the state. My 2011 interview with Prosser's challenger, then Asst. Attorney General Joanne Kloppenburg, after she was ultimately forced to concede, thanks in no small part to the dishonest scheming applied by the operatives cited above, is right here.]

Attorney Brendan Fischer, Associate Counsel at the Campaign Legal Center in D.C., joins us to help unpack the breathtaking smoking guns revealed by these newly-disclosed documents, after the state's probe of Walker was shut down by the very same elected Justices on the state Supreme Court whose elections were funded by the exact same corporate millionaire and billionaire donors and illegal mechanisms revealed by the quashed documents. Yes, it makes my head spin too.

"These documents show the breadth of the coordination scheme that Walker was engaged in," Fischer tells me. "It shows that what the Republican and Democratic prosecutors in Wisconsin were looking into with this investigation was really significant. It was a broad scheme to evade the state's corporate contribution limits and disclosure requirements. And that was very explicit. The purpose of Walker coordinating was to evade disclosure laws, to allow corporations and controversial donors to support Walkers' re-election without any sort of public disclosure or public accountability. That was not a bug in this coordination scheme, that was the purpose from the beginning. And the emails show that very clearly."

You really need to listen to today's show to get the full picture of what happened, and how this scheme has served as a template for GOP elections all over the country now (including the very same donors behind Donald Trump's campaign and, indeed, as we learn, including Trump himself who gave money to the "independent" Wisconsin Club for Growth on the very same day he met with Walker in NYC.) Fischer also describes, for example, the lead paint manufacturer who secretly donated $750,000 to the tax-exempt, non-profit "social welfare" group before state Republicans slipped in a provision to a budget bill that granted immunity to his company in the face of lawsuits from hundreds of children poisoned by the paint. "The public was unable to connect the dots between the secret three-quarters of a million dollar contributions to Wisconsin Club for Growth and the later policy decisions that Walker took" on behalf of the donor, explains Fischer.

"Bigger picture, this is one of those rare snapshots into how 'dark money' works," he says. "When you look at these documents, the two [Walker and WCfG] are interchangeable. This was not an instance where Walker's campaign had a few conversations here and there with Wisconsin Club for Growth Officials...Wisconsin Club for Growth was an arm of the Walker campaign."

Fischer also goes on to explain what we might expect as the U.S. Supreme Court considers a motion that could re-open the state's criminal probe later this month. Even if I say so myself, it's a must-listen BradCast today...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 9/15/2016 10:51am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: New analysis finds Dakota Access pipeline fails Obama's climate test; U.S. House Science Committee chair investigating states who are investigating Exxon Mobil; Lead paint manufacturers got legal immunity in Wisconsin after big campaign donations; PLUS: Louisiana floods now the third costliest disaster in U.S. history... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

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

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Wind, solar and electric cars are booming. Too bad that’s not enough to stop climate change; Wind, solar and electric cars are booming. Too bad that’s not enough to stop climate change; Bayer and Monsanto to merge in mega-deal that could reshape world's food supply; Reducing runoff pollution by making spray droplets less bouncy; What the sixth extinction will look like in the oceans; Obama designates the first-ever marine monument off the East Coast, in New England; New Research Documents That Sugar Industry’s Playbook Goes Way Back... PLUS: Reducing runoff pollution by making spray droplets less bouncy... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




Guest: Attorney Ernest A. Canning; Plus: Farewell to Gene Wilder...
By Brad Friedman on 8/29/2016 5:28pm PT  

On today's BradCast: As several polls tighten in advance of the Presidential election, the FBI issues a new warning to states about voting system intrusion and last minute battles continue in federal courts over voting rights access to the polls.

First up, a new report today from investigative journalist Michael Isikoff warns of recent intrusions, believe to be by foreign entities, into voter registration systems in both Illinois and Arizona. The report cites an "FBI Flash" warning [PDF] from its Cyber Division, recently issued to state election officials in hopes of warding off similar intrusions to electronic registration and voting systems in advance of the November election.

The latest news on the completely foreseeable vulnerabilities in our voting and registration systems underscores (yet again) what we've been warning about for so many years at both The BRAD BLOG and The BradCast. Unfortunately, as usual, reporting on this issue from mainstream corporate media comes too late to make much of a difference before the next election, after which the warnings are likely to be all but forgotten...until just before the next election.

Then, BradBlog.com's long-time legal analyst, attorney Ernest A. Canning joins us for an update on the roller coaster-like voting rights battles still waging in federal courts across the country, including the latest disturbing news on Photo ID voting restrictions in Wisconsin and why something known as "The Purcell Principle" will, once again, play a key role in all of those legal fights this year.

Canning, who also wrote about the just the latest example of GOP "voter fraud" hypocrisy over the weekend, summarizes the latest dispositions in a number of key court fights against racially discriminatory Photo ID voting restrictions in Wisconsin, Texas and North Carolina, and related legal battles over access to the polls in states such as Kansas, Arizona and the swing-state of Ohio. All of those cases are likely to have an impact on results up and down the ballot this year.

Finally, we say goodbye to the hilarious Gene Wilder today, a regular presence --- in both voice and spirit --- on The BradCast...

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

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Court cites State promise to make free IDs available without restriction, opponents remain dubious, concerned about disenfranchisement...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/29/2016 10:35am PT  

Despite being found a violation of the federal Voting Rights Act by multiple federal courts reviewing several challenges to Wisconsin's Republican-enacted Photo ID voting restriction, the law will stay in place this November, as per a new federal court ruling issued Friday. The court's reasoning is based on an assurance by the state that free Photo IDs will be made more readily available and easier to obtain than they have been in the past.

Late last week, by way of a unanimous decision [PDF], the full U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal denied competing appeals and cross appeals filed in the two cases challenging Wisconsin's restrictive voting law.

Earlier this month, the plaintiffs in these two cases, Frank v. Walker and One Wisconsin Institute v.Thompsen, sought emergency relief from the full 7th Circuit because it appeared, based on a decision by a conservative three-judge 7th Circuit panel, that nearly ten percent of Wisconsin's electorate was at risk of disenfranchisement via the Republican-enacted statute.

However, as the full court noted in its Friday decision, subsequent to the filing of those emergency petitions, the state of Wisconsin assured the court that it "has enacted a rule that requires the Division of Motor Vehicles ('DMV') to mail automatically a free photo ID to anyone who comes to DMV one time and initiates the free ID process." The court added:

Given the State's representation that "initiation" of the IDPP [Wisconsin's process for obtaining a free photo ID] means only that the voter must show up at a DMV with as much as he or she has, and that the State will not refuse to recognize the "initiation" of the process because a birth certificate, proof of citizenship, Social Security card, or other particular document is missing, we conclude that the urgency needed to justify an initial en banc hearing has not been shown. Our conclusion depends also on the State’s compliance with the district court’s second criterion, namely, that the State adequately inform the general public that those who enter the IDPP will promptly receive a credential for voting, unless it is plain that they are not qualified.

The ruling did not sit well with ACLU senior staff attorney Sean Young, who, pointing to Wisconsin's failed record over the past five years to "get IDs into the hands of voters who need them," said "there's no reason to believe that the state's latest eleventh-hour 'emergency' procedures will work any better than its past failed policies"...

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




By Brad Friedman on 8/15/2016 5:59pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: While the corporate media continues to amplify Trump's BS, we do our best to counter it with actual, independently verifiable facts. Yes, it is possible. [Audio to full show linked below.]

Fact-checks on today's program include long-disproven and yet still-repeated nonsense from Trump's 'major speech on national security and terrorism' in Ohio on Monday --- (You knew it wasn't going to go well when it started with former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani claiming that in the "eight years before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attacks in the United States".) --- and on Trump's wildly misleading claims about 'voter fraud' in Pennsylvania on Friday.

Trump's latest lie concerning voters voting multiple times "in certain areas" in Pennsylvania (they don't) and about the 59 precincts in Philadelphia where Romney received zero votes in 2012 (he did, as we reported at the time, finding it to be neither surprising nor "fraudulent") have all been debunked long ago. But, as he and other desperate Republicans repeat the same bullshit, as he keeps sinking in the polls, we're happy to revisit the facts once again so you can check 'em for yourself.

As to the GOP Presidential nominee's new scheme to combat that 'voter fraud' in PA with police officers and citizens observers, he may be calling for something that is a violation of a long-standing, federal court-approved, 1983 consent decree, signed by the Republican National Committee after a similar voter intimidation scheme was carried out by the GOP in minority areas of New Jersey. We explain.

Also on today's program: Very important news from over the weekend that has not received the coverage it deserves. From the two Muslim clerics gunned-down execution style in broad daylight in Trump's hometown of Queens, NY on Saturday, to the devastating and growing cost of climate change as 20,000 residents of Louisiana were rescued amid record rain and flooding ("close to two feet over a 48-hour period") and 4,000 were evacuated as hundreds of homes were destroyed (for the second year in a row) amid wildfires in just one small, rural county in bone-dry California.

Finally on today's BradCast: the Rightwing talk radio host who may have finally realized what he and his fellow propagandists have done. "There's got to be a reckoning on all this," he said this weekend. "We've created this monster."

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

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Action sought as partisan court panel rolls back remedy meant to restore voting rights to nearly 10% of WI electorate...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/12/2016 1:51pm PT  

The plaintiffs in One Wisconsin Institute v. Thomsen, one of several long-running court challenges to Wisconsin Republicans' strict Photo ID voting restriction, have filed an emergency petition with the full en banc U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeal, asking that it overturn its previous photo ID decision in Frank v. Walker.

The still pending Frank case as well as the One Wisconsin challenge have, to say the least, undergone a circuitous recent history in a number of federal courts that oversee Badger State election law.

In April 2014, after a lengthy trial, U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman struck down and permanently enjoined Wisconsin's photo ID law after finding it in violation of both the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as well as the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

Republicans in control of the state naturally appealed that detailed and blistering ruling. The federal appeal was assigned to an all-Republican three-judge 7th Circuit panel, headed by Judge Frank H. Easterbrook. Easterbrook is a member of the radical right wing Robert Bork-founded, Koch Brothers-funded "Federalist Society". The ensuing decision to reinstate Wisconsin's photo ID law, despite Adelman's meticulous ruling in the lower court, was so extraordinarily partisan, factually deficient, riddled with errors and legally flawed that it prompted the ordinarily staid U.C. Irvine election law Prof. Rick Hasen to tweet: "I rarely just rant in my blog posts. But Judge Easterbrook caused me to blow a gasket."

Other members of the 7th Circuit were so troubled by Easterbrook's flawed opinion that they took the unusual move of granting a rehearing en banc on their own motion. Because of prior refusals by Congressional Republicans to fill a vacancy on the 7th Circuit with an Obama nominee, at that time of the court's motion there were only ten (10) jurists serving on the full 7th Circuit --- as opposed to the allotted eleven (11) judges. The ensuing 5-5 en banc ruling --- now referred to as Frank I --- left Easterbrook's horribly flawed ruling in place, effectively disenfranchising nearly 10% of Wisconsin's electorate who did not possess or have easy access to the very specific types of Photo ID now required by state Republicans to cast a vote. .

Last April, however, after a disastrous Presidential primary in Wisconsin, where, most visibly, student voters were forced into hours long lines on Election Day in hopes of obtaining a state approved photo ID that would allow them to vote under the GOP law, the Easterbrook panel handed down a decision that appeared designed to ameliorate the widespread disenfranchisement. The ruling --- now referred to as Frank II --- suggested that disenfranchised voters who lack the ability "to obtain a qualifying photo ID with reasonable effort" should be permitted to cast a regular ballot nonetheless.

On July 19, 2016, in what was thought to be compliant with the Frank II directive, the District Court issued a remedial injunction that mandated Wisconsin afford the right to cast a regular ballot to "those who cannot with reasonable effort obtain a qualifying ID", so long as they signed an affidavit to that effect at the polling place. Many, like The Nation's Ari Berman, celebrated, believing that the voting rights of Wisconsin's disenfranchised electorate had finally been restored.

That celebration, it now appears, proved both premature and an underestimate of the level partisan duplicity on the part of the three "radicals in robes" on the Easterbrook 7th Circuit panel...

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




Donald Trump, 'stochastic terrorism', (hopefully temporary) bad voting news in WI, 'robosquitoes', and listener calls on all of the above...
By Brad Friedman on 8/10/2016 6:21pm PT  

"If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is."

On today's BradCast, a few words on why Donald Trump's remarks about 'Second Amendment people' is more disturbing than he or the RNC or the NRA or Fox 'News' or actual voter fraud criminal Ann Coulter would like you to think.

Also today, three Republican appointed federal judges restore Wisconsin's unlawful Photo ID voting restriction (for now), a federal court in Texas officially restores the right to vote this November to 600k legal, already-registered voters, and I take a whole bunch of listener calls on all of the above.

Plus, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with several stories that sound more like science fiction horror films than reality. Sadly, however, all of those stories --- including a plan to release genetically-modified mosquitoes to fight Zika in Florida --- are all too real...

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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Politico feature on Princeton computer scientists who cracked U.S. e-voting and tabulation systems offers what could be very good news
Also: TX agrees to restore reasonable ID requirements; Wingnut climate dead-enders...
By Brad Friedman on 8/5/2016 6:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast, amidst a fresh flurry of mainstream media coverage of how simple it is to manipulate election results via electronic voting and tabulation systems, Politico Magazine offers a blockbuster cover story describing it as "child's play" and, as it turns out, also serving as a virtual "Best Of" from the past 15 years of The BRAD BLOG's coverage of e-voting failure and concerns. [Audio link to full show posted below.]

Ben Wofford's 8,500+ word feature today on how a group of computer scientists and cybersecurity experts coming out of Princeton University have, in recent years, been able to hack virtually every such system still in use across all 50 states in the U.S., details one story after another that we've either broken or covered in detail, and highlights the brilliant work of a bunch of the scientists and experts who I've interviewed on the blog or radio show or who have otherwise served as sources for much of my reporting over the years both at The BRAD BLOG and other publications.

(Just a very few of those greatest hit hacks from over the years: the Diebold Touch-Screen Virus Hack, the Sequoia Pac-Man Hack, the $26 Radio Shack Hack, the D.C. Internet Voting Hack.)

More importantly (as I detailed earlier today), Wofford's lengthy and well-researched report offers hints that even the computer scientists are finally beginning to concede that the most secure voting and counting system of all may be plain old, hand-marked paper ballots, publicly counted by hand at each precinct on election night before ballots are moved anywhere. (What I've long described as "Democracy's Gold Standard".)

As Shane Harris reports at The Daily Beast this week in his piece "How Hackers Could Destroy Election Day", there are many ways that electronic voting and tabulation threatens American democracy, including by someone merely claiming that the vote has been hacked, whether it really has been or not. "If you have a system that's been shown to have vulnerabilities, even if someone doesn't attack them, but creates the impression that they might have, in a closely contested elections you've got a problem," explains Johns Hopkins' computer scientist Avi Rubin, one of the first to detail the enormous vulnerabilities in computer tabulator source code (in systems made by Diebold, in that case.)

Also today: After the nation's most conservative federal appeals court recently found Texas Republicans violated the Voting Rights Act with their racially discriminatory Photo ID voting law, the state agrees to a court-ordered remedy that broadly expands ID types that may be used for voting, re-enfranchising at least 600,000 legally registered, disproportionately Dem-leaning Texas voters in the bargain.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with some accountability in Michigan, and to bat down several persistent wingnut climate changes myths (from Donald Trump and WI's Republican Sen. Ron Johnson among others) that just won't die, no matter how much independently verifiable science gets thrown at them...

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: Indiana University cybersecurity law expert Scott Shackelford | Also: Why your right to vote matters, 52 years after 'Freedom Summer'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/4/2016 6:11pm PT  

On today's BradCast, after great news on voting rights from a bunch of state and federal courts over the past week, and sudden concerns from the the Right, the Left and the corporate media about the possibility of stolen elections, the Dept. of Homeland Security is finally looking into taking action. [Audio link to today's program posted below.]

"We should carefully consider whether our election system, our election process is critical infrastructure, like the financial sector, like the power grid," DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said this week. "There’s a vital national interest in our electoral process."

Years ago, I began reporting on the serious vulnerability of our election system to manipulation (and error) from both foreign and domestic sources. In 2006, for example, after helping supply computer security analysts at Princeton University with a Diebold touch-screen voting system for the first independent tests of such a machine, I reported both at The BRAD BLOG and at Salon that the analysts were able to hack into it, in about 60 seconds time, with a virus that would flip election results and pass itself from machine to machine with virtually no possibility of detection. That followed on an Exclusive series of 2005 reports from a Diebold insider who I called "DIEB-THROAT" at the time, describing how the company's lead programmers admitted that the security on their systems was terrible and that a branch of DHS had already warned, in 2004, about an "undocumented back door" in the systems.

In 2009, by way of just one more example, we reported here on remarks delivered to the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) by CIA cybersecurity analyst Steven Stigall, describing how "wherever the vote becomes an electron and touches a computer, that's an opportunity for a malicious actor potentially to make bad things happen," before going on to note that the CIA became interested in electronic voting systems years earlier "after concluding that foreigners might try to hack U.S. election systems."

So, it is with some skepticism that I regard Johnson's remarks this week about finally taking action to identify our existing, vulnerable electoral system as "critical infrastructure". Is it too little, too late on the eve of another Presidential election? And is it even possible to protect the type of electronic vote casting and counting systems we currently use in our elections? And what does the designation as "critical infrastructure" actually mean any way?

I'm joined on today's program for some answers by Scott Shackelford, cybersecurity law and business expert from Indiana University and the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfter Center, to explain some of this, and to describe some of the ways in which the U.S. might expand existing international agreements to keep domestic elections from being tampered with by foreign powers. Shackelford, writes about the issue this week at the Christian Science Monitor in an op-ed titled "How to make democracy harder to hack."

"It definitely is too late at this point to wake up and get all 9,000 jurisdictions on board for November," he tells me today. "Maybe instead of focusing quite so much on driver's licenses [to prevent fraud] and making sure we have different IDs in some of these states, it would've been great to have put that focus a little bit more on cybersecurity. But that didn't happen."

For what it's worth, my answer, after more than a decade on this beat: No, it's not possible to protect the type of electronic systems we currently use without moving to what I describe as "Democracy's Gold Standard". But Shackelford offers several ways we can, at least, try to improve the situation and mitigate the current dangers, as well as some thoughts on why action has been so long in coming. "Elections do quite a bit to focus minds. It is unfortunate that we lose some of that focus in the aftermath of these elections," he says.

Also today, why the right to vote is so important, whether you like it or use it or not, and why, for me, at least, it's still about rights, not politics, some 52 years to the day after the bodies of civil rights activists Andrew Goodman, James Earl Chaney and Michael Henry Schwerner were found after being murdered in Mississippi for trying to help register African-Americans to vote in 1964.

And, finally, speaking of vulnerable, as deadly, climate-fueled extreme weather continues across the planet, Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, up for re-election this year against former Democratic U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, offers up some of the dumbest, most embarrassing, scientifically disproven and just out-and-out inaccurate arguments against taking action on climate change that he could possibly muster. All of that and more on today's BradCast...

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

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Guest: ACLU Voting Rights Project attorney Julie Ebenstein
Plus: Hillary's DNC bounce, Trump 'unfit', and very bad monkeys...
By Brad Friedman on 8/2/2016 6:19pm PT  

On today's BradCast I'm joined by litigator Julie Ebenstein, staff attorney with the ACLU Voting Rights Project, to discuss the remarkable string of encouraging voting rights victories in courts in some six different states over just the past few days.

The long-fought and long-sought wins in both federal and state courtrooms in North Carolina and Wisconsin (as Ernie Canning reported earlier today), as well as in Texas, Kansas, Michigan and North Dakota (as summarized by The Nation's Ari Berman) in the past two weeks, have severely undercut Republican voter suppression laws imposing Photo ID voting restrictions, cuts to early voting, restrictions on voter registration and much more. As Berman writes: "The Republican war on voting rights is backfiring."

Ebenstein, who has helped lead the legal battle against these discriminatory laws for years, shares my delight over the recent rulings, but is surprised only that they have come so quickly in succession of late. "Given how extreme and egregious some of the laws are," she tells me, "I'm not surprised the courts have found they violate the Constitution. I think a lot of these laws really have gone very far to put barriers in the way of voters and, in many instances, particularly in the way of black voters."

On the courts finally striking down or weakening GOP Photo ID voting restrictions in NC, TX, WI and ND under the Voting Rights Act and/or the Constitution, she explains: "There's a broader recognition that this is really disenfranchising people in a very practical, day-to-day sense. I think the other thing the laws have highlighted, is that they're just not justified. As the North Carolina [ruling] put it, the laws constitute a solution in search of a problem. There's no evidence of any sort of voter impersonation, which is what these laws purport to protect against. So you have laws that will disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of potential voters. It's just shocking when you look at the harm these laws cause and the lack of justification that they were passed [with] in the first place."

But, she stresses, there remain a number of barriers and concerns about the November election and the various primaries leading up to it. "Even though we have a good decision, there's still going to be ongoing challenges. Things do stay in flux for quite some time," Ebenstein tells me, citing ongoing suppression tactics in a number of states, and adding, "I would encourage everybody to check right now whether you're registered, whether your registration is up to date, whether it has the accurate address on file, and [to] know what the rules are."

There's much more important information in our conversation that I can adequately even summarize here, so please give it a listen!

Also today: Hillary Clinton receives a bounce in both national and state polling (including in a number of very "red" states) following last week's Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and Donald Trump's subsequent attacks on the parents of a Muslim-American U.S. Army Captain who is said to have given his life protecting fellow troops in Iraq in 2004. President Obama has declared Trump "unfit" for office in the bargain, and a number of high-ranking, elected GOPers have denounced Trump for it in recent days, but almost none have unendorsed the Republican nominee, much less announced an intention to keep him out of office by voting for Clinton. All of that and election-hating monkeys gone wild on today's BradCast!

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

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Major wins for voting rights advocates in NC, WI, elsewhere could be reversed by the next appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court
UPDATES: U.S. District Court blocks implementation of ND Photo ID Law; NC Republicans Seeks Stay pending petition to Supreme Court
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/2/2016 11:11am PT  

The good news is that over the past week two federal courts struck down multiple provisions of GOP-enacted voter suppression laws in Wisconsin and North Carolina. The cautionary news is that the rejection of 21st century Jim Crow-style disenfranchisement at the polls, and, indeed, the fate of democracy itself, may well now hinge on the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.

The prospect of a Donald Trump presidency does not merely, as suggested on a recent BradCast by The Nation's John Nichols, portend a descent into fascism and "madness." A Trump victory would permit Republican-appointed Supreme Court "radicals in robes" and their anti-democracy agenda to recapture the majority status they lost last February with the passing of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Consider the long term impact of a Trump-selected Supreme Court Justice. A quarter century has passed since the late Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy (D-MA), during the 1991 Clarence Thomas Senate Judiciary Committee Confirmation Hearings, observed:

If we confirm a nominee who has not demonstrated a commitment to core constitutional values, we jeopardize our rights as individuals and the future of our nation. We cannot undo such a mistake at the next election or even in the next generation.

In the first voting rights case to see a ruling come down last Friday, North Carolina NAACP v. McCrory, the good news is that a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeal struck down as unconstitutional a comprehensive GOP voter suppression scheme that the court determined had been deliberately designed to have a retrogressive impact on the right of African-Americans to participate in electoral democracy. The state Republican legislature's scheme, the court held, was specifically designed to "target African-Americans with almost surgical precision."

The bad news, however, is that over the past three years --- a period that included the 2014 midterm election and this year's primary elections --- this unconstitutional scheme was the law of the land in North Carolina only because a cabal of five Republican-appointed Supreme Court Justices gutted a key provision (Section 5) of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). That section required pre-clearance from either the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) or a three-judge U.S. District Court panel before election restrictions of the type enacted by NC could have implemented. In arriving at their decision, the 4th Circuit judges rejected as "clearly erroneous" the factual findings of a George W. Bush-appointed U.S. District Court Judge who had previously upheld this racially motivated scheme's constitutionality.

In the second case last week, One Wisconsin Institute v. Thomsen, the good news is that U.S. District Court Judge James D. Peterson, after a full trial on the merits, struck down as unconstitutional eight (8) specific aspects of eight (8) election laws that were enacted after the election of Wisconsin's Republican Governor Scott Walker and Republican majorities in both houses of its state legislature. The bad news is that a previous decision handed down by Republican appointed "radicals in robes" on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeal --- a decision that became final after the Supreme Court declined to hear the case --- prevented Judge Peterson from reevaluating the constitutionality of a strict polling place photo ID law in WI even though his honor acknowledged that, in seeking to remedy the phantom menace of in-person voter fraud, Republicans had created "a cure worse than the disease."

The importance of the next Supreme Court Justice was underscored by Judge Peterson's suggestion that both the 7th Circuit and the Supreme Court should revisit the issue given that "the evidence in this case casts doubt on the notion that [photo] ID laws foster integrity and confidence" in the electoral process...

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




Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton...
By Brad Friedman on 7/29/2016 5:02pm PT  

On today's BradCast, our lead story almost certainly would have been the historic acceptance speech of Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Presidential nomination, but for the landmark ruling out today from a federal appeals court in North Carolina. [Audio link to show is below.]

As reported in more detail at The BRAD BLOG earlier today, the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down North Carolina's massive voting restriction law --- the nation's worst since the Jim Crow era --- finding that it was enacted by state Republicans with "racially discriminatory intent" that "target[ed] African-Americans with almost surgical precision." We cover the court's landmark ruling --- which has far-reaching consequences beyond North Carolina and beyond the 2016 election --- at the top of today's show. As I explain, according to legal experts, it seems almost certain now that today's ruling, following on similarly encouraging blows to GOP Photo ID restrictions in federal courts in both Texas and Wisconsin just last week, will succeed in permanently striking down NC's purposefully disenfranchising poling place Photo ID restriction, reduction to the early voting period, removal of same-day registration, and other disingenuous and unnecessary restrictions on the franchise.

In short, while there are still a very few narrow corridors for appeal or delay for the vote suppressors here, as explained on the show, this is a long coming and very good day for voting rights in America!

Then, we move on to Clinton's historic nomination as the first female nominee to be put forward by one of the two major American political parties. For perspective on that, both historical and political, we are joined once again by Salon's very wise Heather Digby Parton. She and our own Desi Doyen share the personal meaning of Clinton's nomination and acceptance speech and, yes, even the historical significance of Clinton's white pant suit. (Yes, there apparently is one!)

We also go on to discuss how and if the speech --- and the entire week in Philadelphia, for that matter --- met the DNC's goal for reaching out to the bulk of progressive Sanders supporters as well as disaffected Republicans. Parton seems bullish on both matters, and suggests that Clinton's speech, embracing "the most progressive Democratic platform in history" (as hashed out recently by both Clinton and Sanders proponents), represents a potential realignment for American politics.

"By embracing the platform in the way that she did," Parton argues, "having put the Democratic Party at the center of American politics, she has now said, 'That's the center. That progressive platform is where the center of America is. Going forward, that's the mainstream philosophy of America.' It could end up being important because this election may just finish off a realignment that's been in the making for a long time."

Please listen to the show for much more on all of that, as well as our conversation on where the Presidential race and both major political parties are heading from here...with just 100 days left until the 2016 election...on today's exciting thrill ride otherwise known as The BradCast!...

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

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Huge victory for voting rights comes on heels of similarly encouraging decisions against GOP Photo ID voting restriction in TX, WI...
By Brad Friedman on 7/29/2016 11:30am PT  

The 4th U.S. Circuit of Appeals has struck down all of the very worst provisions of North Carolina's voter suppression law, which we originally described, after it was enacted in 2013, as "the nation most restrictive voter suppression law" and "the worst since the Jim Crow era". Others have described it as "the mother of all voter suppression laws."

In its 83-pages of decisions [PDF], the three-judge panel on the 4th Circuit finds that North Carolina acted with a racially discriminatory intent when enacting the law which included Photo ID voting restrictions, the reduction of early voting days, cancellation of the state's successful same-day registration option, the counting of provisional ballots cast out-of-precinct, and pre-registration of young voters who would be 18 years old by Election Day.

Those provisions, the 4th Circuit holds, "target African-Americans with almost surgical precision."

This is a huge and long-fought victory for voting rights, and it comes on the heels of similar wins within the past week as the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the state of Texas' similarly draconian Photo ID restriction had a racially discriminatory effect, and as a federal court in Wisconsin ordered that state to allow voting provisions for those who do not own the few, narrow types of Photo ID now required to vote at the polling place under the new voting restriction adopted there.

All three laws --- in NC, TX, WI --- were enacted by Republican legislatures and put in place after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the federal Voting Rights Act in 2013...

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




Guest: The Nation's John Nichols from the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia, on Sanders, his supporters, their movement and future...
By Brad Friedman on 7/26/2016 5:32pm PT  

Not to give away the ending, but by the close of today's BradCast, Hillary Clinton became the Democrats' nominee for President of the United States.

Before we got there, however, we were joined from the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia by longtime progressive journalist and author John Nichols of The Nation and Madison, Wisconsin's Capital Times to discuss yesterday's early tumult with the resignation of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and what we should expect from her interim replacement Donna Brazile between now and Election Day.

The bulk of our conversation, however, centers on how some of the most die-hard Bernie Sanders supporters and convention delegates are feeling today, what it may take for Clinton to win their votes between now and November, and where Sanders' progressive movement may go thereafter. "Bottom line is," he cautions, "it's not what you hear at the convention, necessarily. It's about what comes after."

On an optimistic note, Nichols describes how he has been seeing many progressive Sanders supporters step up to run for office in recent days "all over this country. You won't know all their names, and neither will I, because a lot of them will be running for Drainage Commissioner. But that's how the Christian Coalition got its power, because they figured out there was a Religious Right way to be a Drainage Commissioner. And I can tell you something: there is absolutely a democratic socialist way to be a Drainage Commissioner."

As to the likelihood of a Trump Presidency, Nichols is very concerned. "He's talking to people who have had the hell beaten out of them by globalization, de-industrialization, automation. So it is not shocking at all that there are people feeling so pressured that they might consider an option that, by any reasonable measure, seems madness. We must accept that. The reality of politics. If we don't, we end up with a surprise like Reagan in '80. We tell ourselves something couldn't happen, and then it goes and happens."

But does the Democratic Party understand that? And is Nichols' own home state of Wisconsin really in play this year, as Republicans seem to suggest every year? His answers to all of those questions and many others on today's BradCast!

Also on today's program: Extended excerpts from the moving and inspiring Day 1 speeches of Michelle Obama, Bernie Sanders and others, and a brilliant new way that one group concerned about climate change is hoping to entice new young voters to register...

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

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