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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, December 17, 2017
'T'was the Week Before' Toons
'PDiddie' gallops us all towards the holidays -- and some of us towards political sunset -- in his latest festive holiday toon collection...
GOP Tax Scam's Final Mile; Tillerson's NK Flip; Packing the Courts; Trump Family Fail: 'BradCast' 12/15/17
A spoonful or two of sugar along with some of today's bitter medicine...
Trump FCC Kills 'Net Neutrality', Endangering Internet Free Speech: 'BradCast' 12/14/2017
Guest: Media reformer Sue Wilson; Also: More mega-mergers, Trump noms withdrawn, more...
'Green News Report' 12/14/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Toxic smoke warnings from SoCal fires; New bad news for the Arctic; New good news for Tesla; World fights climate change without U.S.; PLUS: French prez makes good on promise...
Previous GNRs: 12/12/17 - 12/7/17 - Archives...
Veteran Recount Attorney Sees Little Chance for Moore in AL: 'BradCast' 12/13/17
Guest: Recount expert Chris Sautter on Jones' win, Moore's odds, AL Supremes' 'ballot images' ruling...
Internet Freedom of Speech Now at Stake
With Trump's Repub-majority FCC set to kill Net Neutrality, a media reformer on why the result will be another political horror show for Dems and the nation...
AL Supremes Allow 'Ballot Images' to Be Destroyed: 'BradCast' 12/12/17
Guest: David Rothschild's new study on whether real or fake news was the bigger prob in the 2016 election...
'Green News Report' 12/12/17
SoCal fire now CA's 5th largest ever; Trump Admin attacks private co. in nat'l monument fight, opens E. Coast to drilling, slows EPA actions against polluters...
Moore, Moore, Moore... and Other Vital News: 'BradCast' 12/11/2017
Terror attacks in NY, KS, NM; Pentagon to allow trans-gender enlistment; SoCal fires; Election integrity court win and deep dive before AL's insane U.S. Senate election...
GOP/NRA's 'Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act' Likely Unconstitutional
New bill rammed through House blocks states' rights on gun safety laws and may violate the U.S. Constitution...
Sunday Toons of the Soulless Moment
A lot of souls have been sold in recent days. For what in return? 'PDiddie' rounds up the consequences in his latest weekly toon collection...
Former CO GOP Chair Found Guilty of Voter Fraud: 'BradCast' 12/8/17
And other ironies and outrages: SoCal fires spread; Trump dumps science; Election Integrity suit in AL; House GOP ignores states' rights on guns; Listener e-mail...
'Green News Report' 12/7/17
Trump rolls back protections for two national monuments; Tribes, conservationists sue; GOP tax bill slashes renewables; PLUS: Credit firm warns cities on climate...
Two SCOTUS Cases This Week 'Take the Cake' for Absurdity: 'BradCast' 12/6/17
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Fires worsen in, near L.A.; Franken pressured by Dem Senators to resign...
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: Author, attorney Seth Abramson | Plus: Senate GOP plans to pass 'secret' health care bill; Energy Sec. Rick Perry is still dumb; much more...
By Brad Friedman on 6/20/2017 5:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast, given the reports that Donald Trump is now personally being investigated for obstruction of justice, we unpack the chaos that may soon come about if the Deputy Attorney General is forced to recuse himself (or is fired) from overseeing the Special Counsel's probe of Team Trump. [Audio link to complete show follows below.]

But, while all the madness of the DoJ's Trump investigations are going on, Senate Republicans indicated today that they will call for a vote on their secret Obamacare replacement bill before the July 4th recess next week. They also announced they will have the votes needed for passage. If they are right, the results are likely be devastating for millions of Americans, and not only the poor. One of out three elderly Americans in nursing homes, for example, rely on Medicaid to cover the costs, and the GOP is about to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from the program in exchange for massive tax cuts for the wealthy.

We discuss that and, as record heat blasts the Western US, the unbelievably stupid explanation for climate change just offered by Energy Secretary Rick Perry (it's not CO2, he says, it's "the ocean waters and this environment that we live in"!) We also offer a very quick preview of the U.S. House Special Elections being held today on 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting machines in BOTH Georgia and South Carolina. (We'll have full results, whatever they are reported to be, on tomorrow's show).

Then we're joined by attorney, author, columnist and UNH asst. professor SETH ABRAMSON to step through his recent 50 tweet(!) tweetstorm detailing the 'bedlam' that is likely to ensue when and if (he insists "when") Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein is forced to recuse himself from overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Team Trump and, reportedly, obstruction of justice by the President himself in his firing of FBI Director James Comey.

The chain of events that could come about as the result of Rosenstein's recusal, as Abramson details on the show today, are amazing and could lead to a very real Constitutional Crisis and even completely separate obstruction of justice charges against Trump based on an entirely different investigation related to his February mass firing of all of the US Attorneys.

Lots of somewhat jaw-dropping 'bedlam' unpacked and explained and to be absorbed in detail on this front on today's show, including whether or not Rosenstein himself could come under investigation; who the next officials in line are to take his place (first, a friend of Ted Cruz' named Rachel Brand, then a man named Dana Boente) and what their conflicts are; how Trump could personally come to appoint the person overseeing the Special Counsel's investigation after we go through Brand and Boente; and why, if sitting Presidents cannot be indicted, as many argue, Mueller would be carrying out a criminal obstruction of justice investigation of Trump in the first place.

"Honestly, If I were to lay out the full complexity of the situation right now at the DoJ, which goes well beyond the question of Rachel Brand possibly becoming the Acting AG in the very near term, it would take --- and I am not exaggerating --- probably about 500 tweets," Abramson tells me. "We are in so many unprecedented situations and sub-situations at the DoJ, it is bewildering even for attorneys," he says, adding later: "This is the most complex and public litigation of probably the last 100 years in American political history."

Finally today, another heartbreaking story of yet another immigrant victim of Trump's, now facing deportation and separation from his family despite spending months in the clean-up efforts at Ground Zero after 9/11...

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

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State contracted e-vote and pollbook programmers at Kennesaw State Univ. told of vulnerability last year, covered it up, left files unprotected
Also: Unlawful U.S. war on Syria expands, incurs Russian wrath; Dem plan to slow GOP Senate's secret health care bill; Fatal anti-Muslim attacks in London, Virginia...
By Brad Friedman on 6/19/2017 6:47pm PT  

On today's BradCast, another blockbuster report confirms vulnerabilities in our nation's voting systems that I've been trying to warn about for more than a decade, and several other stories not receiving the dire attention merited this week. [Audio link to complete show is posted below.]

In advance of Tuesday's highly contested U.S. House Special Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District --- the most expensive House race in U.S. history --- Politico Magazine's Kim Zetter offers an absolutely chilling bombshell of a report headlined "Will the Georgia Special Election Get Hacked?" She reports that gigabytes of unsecured data --- including passwords for e-voting system central tabulators, voter registration databases and much more were kept on a wholly unsecured web server, potentially for years, at Kennesaw State University's Center for Election Systems.

The KSU Center, as they describe on their website, was "created and charged with the responsibility of ensuring the integrity of voting systems in Georgia" since the state adopted its statewide, 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting system in 2002. Those same machines are still used there today, despite their age (they run on a version of Windows 2000) and massive, well-documented vulnerabilities to hacking and insider manipulation. Nonetheless, the Center for Election Systems has long been cited as a model for election administration by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and is responsible for the security and programming of every 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting system, computerized central tabulator, and electronic pollbook used across the state of Georgia.

The unsecured data files at Kennesaw, according to Zetter, were discovered prior to last year's Presidential Election and reported to the Center, but were still available online for download without a password at the beginning of March this year, during the run-up to the April primary election in the GA-06 House race. The data may, in fact, have been available there for years, even as Kennesaw's Executive Director Merle King, who has spent years testifying in court on behalf of Diebold's systems, reportedly failed to inform GA Sec. of State Brian Kemp about the breach last year after he was informed of it. In fact, Zetter notes that he warned the outside computer security researcher who discovered it not to inform the state. GA's former Sec. of State, Karen Handel, is the Republican House candidate in the reportedly very tight GA-06 race against Democrat Jon Ossoff and is said to have repeatedly blocked a security analysis of the Center years earlier while serving as the state's chief election official.

When the results of the House contest are announced on Tuesday night --- whichever party's candidate is declared the winner --- it will be virtually impossible to know if the results are accurate or if even one vote cast on GA's 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems were recorded as per any voter's intent.

While many of the vulnerabilities in GA's terrible voting and tabulation systems have been publicly known for years, the fact that the security at Kennesaw's Center for Elections is even far worse than ever imagined is both new and absolutely chilling in regard to both Georgia elections, and all others across the country, as I explain in detail on today's program.

Beyond that nightmarish report today, we also cover two different fatal attacks on Muslims over the past 24 hours, one in London and one in Virginia (and Donald Trump's failure to comment on either of them); The new Democratic strategy to slow down progress on the Obamacare replacement bill being crafted by Senate Republicans in complete secrecy, without public hearings or amendments in advance of a possible floor vote on the controversial legislation before the July 4th recess; And, the U.S. shoots down a Syrian bomber over Syria in violation of international law and without any authorization (or complaint or debate) from Congressional Republicans or Democrats alike, even as the weekend incident has drawn the wrath and potential targeting of U.S. aircraft over Syria by its ally Russia...

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

Several other recent programs in The BradCast's series of reports leading up to the GA-06 U.S. House Special Election:

  • 4/4/2017: Computer and e-voting expert Barbara Simons on the initial reports of a "massive breach" of the state voter database files at Kennesaw State University
  • 5/8/2017: Garland Favorito of election watchdog VoterGA.org on the group's disturbing analysis of the central computer tabulator failure on the night of the April primary in GA-06.
  • 6/6/2017: Election integrity expert Marilyn Marks on her lawsuit demanding hand-counted paper ballots in the GA-06 race.
  • 6/12/2017: Diebold document whistleblower Steven Heller on Diebold caught lying in California in 2004 about the exact same machines still used in Georgia in 2017. (CA decertified them after Heller's disclosure.) And on the NSA analysis recently released by NSA contractor Reality Winner on spear-phishing attacks that may have allowed access to the voting system computers of election officials across the country prior to the 2016 Presidential election.

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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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Plus: More bad court news for Trump on his 'travel ban' and the Emoluments Clause, but perhaps good court news for him in GA-06...
By Brad Friedman on 6/12/2017 6:46pm PT  

On today's BradCast, things are not going well in the judicial system for Donald Trump. And, an election-related whistleblower joins us to offer insight into the undoubtedly agonizing decision of another election-related whistleblower who was arrested just last week. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The week is not starting off well for Trump in the courts. A second U.S. Court of Appeals has now upheld lower court rulings blocking his second Muslim "travel ban" Executive Order. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals echoed a similar finding by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals late last month. The new court loss comes on the same day that the Attorneys General of Washington D.C. and Maryland filed a lawsuit against Trump's alleged violations of the U.S. Constitution's Emoluments Clauses, prohibiting elected officials like Trump from receiving payments from foreign and state governments.

But he may have won one in Georgia where, late last week, a state judge denied and dismissed [PDF] a complaint [PDF] and motion for a Temporary Restraining Order [PDF] seeking to demand paper ballots at the polling place for next week's much-watched (and most expensive ever) U.S. House special election. That, as voters will still be forced instead to use 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems at the polling place instead.

Then, speaking of elections and Diebold's unverifiable touch-screen systems, we're joined by "Diebold Document Whistleblower" [PDF] STEPHEN HELLER who, while working at a law firm in 2004, discovered the company and its attorneys were lying to the state of California about having illicitly installed uncertified hardware and software into its unverifiable voting systems that were, back then, allowed for use in the state. The touch-screen voting systems were decertified by the state following Heller's disclosures, but he paid a stiff price for sharing attorney-client privileged documents with the media. The same system he blew the whistle on in 2004 will be use in Georgia for next week's Special Election, and Heller offers thoughts on that issue.

But Heller joined us specifically today to share his unique perspective on another election-related leaker/whistleblower, 25-year old NSA contractor and Air Force vet Reality Leigh Winner. Her arrest comes on the heels of the release of U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, whose 35-year sentenced was commuted by President Obama before leaving office, to the seven years Manning served since her conviction.

Winner was charged [PDF] last week under the 1917 Espionage Act for leaking a "Top Secret" NSA analysis to the press, which asserted that, prior to last year's election, Russian intelligence had used spear-phishing attacks to try and gain access to the computers of election officials around the country. Those same computers are often used to program voting systems, tabulators and voter registration databases. Under the espionage charges, Winner will not be allowed to make her case to the jury as to why she leaked the classified materials, nor explain how she believed them to be in the public interest, said fellow NSA-contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden last week.

Heller offers his own insight into the difficult decision he believes Winner faced when deciding to leak the documents, and explains why whistleblowers like him are often forced to decide to do the wrong things for the right reasons. "I felt that the crime of violating attorney-client privilege in this single, isolated, discrete instance, was worthwhile --- that I had to get this information out to the public so that the people of California and the rest of the country would know that this corporation was diddling our elections," he tells me.

"I think the message in both Ms. Winner's situation and mine is essentially the same --- our elections are under attack. And we Americans can't be complacent. We must protect our elections. Keep them clean, fair, open, untainted either by corporations or foreign nations or our own politicians and elections officials."

"What is illegal is not always wrong," Heller goes on to explain, from his unique perspective on the agonizing choices that folks like him and Winner (and Manning, and Snowden, et al) face when deciding to do what they did. "There's no question that if she did indeed leak these documents, as is alleged, that was illegal. But is it wrong? Reasonable minds may disagree."

Lots of stuff in my conversation with Heller (who, by way of full disclosure, has become a friend and occasional BRAD BLOG contributor in his years since blowing the whistle on Diebold) is worth tuning in for today. Much more than I can detail here!

Finally, a major energy utility company in Virginia tries to help choose the winner of the state's Democratic gubernatorial primary on Tuesday, and an otherwise Trump-loving Fox "News" anchor charges Trump's problem isn't fake news or the media, it's Donald Trump...

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 6/7/2017 5:58pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it's great to be back live at our flagship Los Angeles affiliate station, KPFK on the Pacifica Radio Network in Los Angeles after their recent fund drive. So we throw open the phones to listeners in celebration after several insanely busy news weeks! [Audio link to show is posted below.]

But, first, former FBI Director James Comey released his prepared statement [PDF] in advance of his much-anticipated testimony on Thursday before the U.S. Senate Intelligence committee. In the remarks, Comey details a number of his one-on-one meetings with and phone calls from Donald Trump, including the infamous "loyalty dinner" at the White House in late January and the similarly-infamous early-February meeting in the Oval Office, the day after National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was forced to resign, where Comey charges that he was asked by the President to end the FBI's investigation of Flynn.

We review the details of that prepared testimony, including Comey's confirmation that he did, in fact, indicate to Trump on three different occasions that he was not personally being investigated by the Bureau at the time. Trump's personal attorney cites that testimony to claim the President is "completely and totally vindicated" by it. Others, however, regard the testimony as "explosive" and as confirmation that Trump attempted to obstruct justice.

Also today, more on the leaked NSA analysis charging that Russian intelligence attempted to access the computers of election officials around the country after successfully sending spear-phishing emails to employees at a private voter registration firm. That rather rudimentary hacking effort just before last year's election, no matter who did it (as explained in much more detail on yesterday's show), may have allowed access for the intruders to the computers that program voting machines, results tabulators and voter registration systems around the country. Also, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's offers a response to the arrest of the alleged leaker, Reality Leigh Winner, and the charges filed against her under the 1917 Espionage Act.

Then, as just-retired Dir. of National Intelligence James Clapper charges "Watergate pales...compared to what we're confronting now," we take calls on all of the above and whether listeners believe Democrats should begin impeachment proceedings against Trump (as The Nation's John Nichols argued earlier this week on the show) or at least promise such proceedings if they are elected to the majority in Congress in 2018. We received some rather surprising answers to that question from callers, as well as in regard to the charges filed against Winner!

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report on the swift and global fallout following Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the historic Paris Climate Agreement...

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: Marilyn Marks of the Rocky Mountain Foundation...
By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2017 6:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the release of a leaked NSA analysis of alleged cyberattacks on voter registration systems and attempted intrusions into the computers of local elections officials just before last year's Presidential election underscore, once again, just about every warning regarding U.S. electronic voting, computer tabulation and voter registration systems that we've been yelling about for some 15 years on both The BradCast and at The BRAD BLOG. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

Today, we break down the specific details found in the leaked NSA documents published by The Intercept on Monday, how they highlight a much broader problem with the U.S. electoral system, and what the answer, at long last, must ultimately be in response to concerns about manipulated election results, no matter who the alleged or attempted culprit. (In this case, the U.S. intelligence services blame Russian military intelligence, which they deny. Either way, as detailed on today's show, it doesn't actually matter!)

On a not-at-all unrelated note, we are then joined by Marilyn Marks of the Rocky Mountain Foundation to discuss her lawsuit, filed with members of Georgians for Verified Voting, demanding hand-counted paper ballots for all voters in the upcoming, highly contested U.S. House Special Election runoff in Georgia's 6th Congressional District between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel.

Marks, a former Republican mayoral candidate turned long-time Election Integrity expert, details some of the many concerns spelled out in her suit (Complaint here [PDF], TRO Motion here [PDF]) regarding the state of GA's 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems, and the known cyberhacks, e-pollbook thefts and computer tabulator failures that have already plagued the most expensive U.S. House race in history, where early voting is already underway in advance of the bellwether June 20 contest.

"There were so many things that have happened since March 1st," Marks explains, describing many of the problems that have already undermined this election. "As you've pointed out, these systems --- when you say they are 'unverifiable', what people need to understand by that, of course, is that there is no way to assure that the voter's intent is recorded. We know what the machines want to report. But there is no way to know what the voter intended to vote. We do know that with the evidence of a paper ballot. So, that is what we are telling the court, that this system has gone through so many problems. It was unverifiable to begin with. And now we have seen the instances of several problems, just in the last 60 days, that tell us there is no way that the Sec. of State and the county election officials should assume that the system is safe to vote on. They must presume the system is unsafe."

The plaintiffs request, she says, "is a simple one. And that is: let voters vote on paper ballots."

"The only practical answer is to go to paper ballots [and] hand count them," Marks tells me. "It would be very easy to do. We've had a professional estimate how long it would take --- less than an hour per precinct. It would actually be faster, cheaper, more efficient and far more transparent to vote on paper ballots in this simple election than it is to use the machines." Indeed, with just one contest on most of the ballots in this Special Election, hand-counting would amount to little more than separating ballots into two stacks, one for each candidate, and then counting each stack. It is what we have long described as "Democracy's Gold Standard."

Marks goes on to cite the concerns illustrated, once again, by yesterday's leaked NSA documents and argues: "You talk to any computer scientist, regardless of what party they are, you talk to any voting systems expert, I don't think you'll find a single expert, a single computer scientist who would say these machines even approach the point of being safe to vote on. And it has nothing to do with their politics."

"We must have transparent elections where the public can oversee the counting of the ballots. And in Georgia, there is no oversight. No one --- not the election official, not the public, not the campaign, not the candidate --- no one can figure out whether or not the ballots are counted right."

But does her lawsuit have a chance this late in the game, with early voting already under way? Tune in for her response to that and much more, including her thoughts on how GA's Sec. of State Brian Kemp, also a Republican, has responded so far to both Marks' complaint, and an earlier request, prior to the GA-06 primary, from dozens of the world's top computer security and electronic voting systems experts.

Yes, elections still matter. But, as computer security expert Bruce Schneier told The Intercept yesterday: "To the extent the elections are vulnerable to hacking, we risk the legitimacy of the voting process, even if there is no actual hacking at the time. It's not just that it has to be fair, it has to be demonstrably fair, so that the loser says, 'Yep, I lost fair and square.' If you can't do that, you're screwed."

We're screwed.

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: Journalist, health care reform advocate Jacki Schechner...
By Brad Friedman on 5/24/2017 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast, big wins for Democrats in very Republican districts, more trouble for the GOP as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) finally scores the House healthcare bill, and trouble likely ahead for still-divided Democrats. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

As Republicans struggle to pass any major legislation in the wake of Donald Trump's continuing political and legal troubles, Democrats saw two different huge state-level electoral victories in "deeply red districts" in New York and New Hampshire during special elections on Tuesday. Both seats had been previously held by Republicans for years and, in NY, the former Bernie Sanders delegate who won the set, helped flip the district "an astounding 39 points" since the November election!

All of that comes in advance of a statewide special election for the U.S. House in Montana on Thursday, believed to be "closer than it should be" in a state that went for Trump last November by more than 20 points, and a U.S. House special election runoff next month in Georgia's 6th Congressional District which also went to Trump last year, but where the Democrat is now said to be leading his Republican opponent by 7 points.

The first-time Democratic candidates in both the MT and GA races are raising record-shattering money from small donors, though in Georgia, non-partisan election watchdogs are urging voters to cast absentee paper ballots by mail or, preferably, dropped off at County HQ, rather than via the 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems the state will once again, shamefully, force voters to use at the precincts on June 20th.

Then, just before airtime, the non-partisan CBO finally released its score of the Republicans' American Health Care Act (ACHA), which was narrowly adopted in the U.S. House three weeks ago. Like previous GOP versions of the bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), the CBO finds the latest version will result in more than 20 million Americans (23 million, in this case) losing their health care coverage over the next ten years, including 14 million next year alone.

Journalist and health care reform advocate Jackie Schechner joins us with details from the CBO's just-released report, and what it is likely to mean for the future of the GOP legislation in the House and in the U.S. Senate. (She believes the GOP will ultimately fail to pass a bill that both houses can agree upon, so Obamacare will stay in place for the foreseeable future.)

Schechner details how the GOP's House bill will imperil health care for those with preexisting conditions (the CBO found such people "would ultimately be unable to purchase...health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law, if they could purchase it at all"); the Senate GOP leadership's strange plan to create a competing bill in the upper chamber with a "group of 13 white men" and no Democrats or even industry experts taking part; how she believes Republicans and President Trump have purposely undermined Obamacare; and how Democrats and Republicans together could actually fix the problems in the Affordable Care Act --- if they actually wanted to.

"I think it's important that we take a step back and take the politics out of this, and start to focus on the policy of what we're trying to do," she tells me. "What we're trying to do is get people in this country access to health care, and to make it affordable. That's where the policy specifics need to come into play, and that's not going to happen if you got 13 white men who are crafting this behind closed doors who have no experience in health care policy."

We then close with a very lively discussion of a Democratic single-payer "Medicare for All" health care bill introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) in the House. The legislation, HR-626, for the first time ever, now has support from more than half of the Democratic caucus. Does that bill present a way forward for health care reform in the U.S. --- and for Democrats at the ballot box?

We discuss, debate and, hopefully, inform on that and much more on today's BradCast!...

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Guest: Election integrity and IT expert Garland Favorito of VoterGA.org...
By Brad Friedman on 5/8/2017 6:42pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A new technical analysis of the root causes of the Election Night tabulation disaster that halted counting during the U.S. House primary special election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District last month finds several "critical security flaws" in the computerized tabulation system that, the reports authors find, could affect both the highly contested upcoming June run-off, as well as other elections across Georgia and the rest of the nation. [Audio link to complete show posted at bottom of article.]

But, first today: Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates finally testified in the U.S. Senate on Monday about the concerns she relayed to White House legal counsel shortly after the January inauguration, that then National Security Advisor Michael Flynn had lied about his conversations with a Russian diplomat and had, therefore, opened himself up to compromise and blackmail. We cover some of her Congressional testimony today, which was still ongoing at airtime.

In the meantime, voters who might wish to respond at the voting booth to the many concerns about the Trump Administration continue to face new obstacles placed in their way by new Republican enacted restrictions on voting. Another example comes out of Iowa, where, on Friday, the Governor signed a bill to require one of a small number of government-issued Photo IDs at the polling place, despite any evidence that such a restriction would have prevented any voter fraud in the Hawkeye State.

But even voters who are able to cast a vote continue to have legitimate concerns as to whether their votes are counted as cast. That's certainly the case in states like Georgia, which still forces voters to vote on 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems. On today's BradCast, Garland Favorito, co-founder of the non-partisan election integrity organization VoterGA, joins us to discuss his group's disturbing new preliminary Root Cause Analysis [PDF], published late last week, finding "critical security flaws" at the heart of the computer tabulation disaster that occurred on Election Night in Fulton County during last month's U.S. House Special Election primary in Georgia's 6th Congressional District.

Favorito, a long time career IT professional, explains the group's finding of a number of serious flaws, and his response to the state's Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp who dismissed the problem, which halted vote counting for several hours on April 18th, as little more than "human error". Favorito also notes that, despite Kemp's promise of an investigation into the matter, public records requests have revealed that nobody has been assigned to carry out the probe as of last week when VoterGA issued their report.

Favorito explains that a memory card --- with results from a completely different election --- were allowed to be uploaded to the GA-06 contest on Election Night, and that the GEMS computer tabulation system (used across the state, but also used in hundreds of counties in other states as well, even on paper ballot optical-scan systems) failed to prevent the invalid data from being sent to the central tabulator.

"The system should have caught that," he tells me. "We found that to be almost amazing and we would consider those to be absolutely critical software flaws, that there was no validation" either at the remote location where results were uploaded, or at the main database server when they were received at county headquarters. "So, basically, that scenario could play itself out again almost any time." The real concern, he adds: "a bad guy could in fact legitimately change the results of an election through fraud" via these newly discovered security flaws.

When I asked Favorito whether I am right to characterize the state's Diebold touch-screen systems as "100% unverifiable," Favorito says: "You're 100% plus accurate. They are unverifiable. There is no way to detect whether or not fraud really occurred. We do not have verifiable elections in Georgia."

In hopes of avoiding another disaster, VoterGA is calling on voters to request absentee paper ballots for the much anticipated and hotly contested June 20th runoff election between Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff and his Republican opponent Karen Handel, the state's former Sec. of State, in what has already "smashed" the all-time record for the most money ever spent to win a single U.S. House election.

"You could actually conduct this race on Election Night and report the results, by paper, by hand [counting], faster than you could lugging all those expensive unverifiable machines to all the different precincts, and then going through the same upload process again just for this one race. It would be faster and cheaper. That's the irony of the whole situation," he says.

Favorito also explains what, if any, evidence of fraud was uncovered by the VoterGA analysis; SoS Kemp's failure to even respond to computer scientists and e-voting experts at Verified Voting who called for paper ballots in GA following a "massive data breach" in March at Kennesaw State University's Center for Elections, which is contracted to program all of the state's voting systems and electronic poll books; and some of the past election disasters in Georgia, such as a 2005 local tax referendum, with billions of dollars of taxes at stake in Cobb County, when hundreds of "blank" touch-screen ballots were reported in the results, despite the measure being the only item on the ballot during that special election. ("Why would voters take the time to drive to the polls, stand in line --- because it was a pretty hot issue --- sign in, go up into the voting booth, put their card in, and then decide not to cast their ballot after they got in there? That's just hard to believe. In fact, It's just unbelievable," Favorito insists.)

There's much more in today's, frankly, alarming conversation which should be of concern not just to voters of all political stripes in GA, but all across the country, given these latest findings revealing, yet again, that electronically tabulated results can be corrupted or manipulated in a way that would be virtually impossible for election officials, much less the public, to ever detect. Little wonder the latest Electoral Integrity Project report out today from Harvard and the University of Sydney, rate U.S. elections, once again, as the "worst among western democracies"...

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Critical vulnerabilities remain on state's 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/5/2017 12:54pm PT  

Two things occurred last Thursday that should bolster the chances of Democrat Jon Ossoff in the June 20, 2017 runoff special election for the U.S. House in Georgia's 6th Congressional District. One thing --- one big thing --- remains in place that could help to derail those prospects.

The first helpful item entails the removal of an obstacle to casting a vote at all in the upcoming election, thanks to a ruling by a federal judge yesterday. The court has effectively blocked an effort by Georgia election officials to prevent any otherwise eligible voter in the 6th District who had not been registered prior to March 20, 2017 from casting a vote in the run-off election between Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel.

A Georgia statute treats a run-off election as a "continuation" of a primary election. Thus, Georgia election officials had asserted that, under state law, only those timely registered before the April 18 primary election could vote in the run-off. The GA State Conference of the NAACP and other voting rights advocates filed a lawsuit alleging that the state's restriction on new voter registrations is in violation of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) which mandates that any qualified voter who submits a valid registration form more than 30 days prior to a federal election must be allowed to vote.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy C. Batten, Sr., a George W. Bush appointee, agreed with the NAACP plaintiffs. On Thursday he issued a Temporary Restraining Order mandating the state "extend the voter-registration deadline for the June 20, 2017 special runoff election to no earlier than May 21." Any "eligible resident" who has "registered to vote" on or before that date is entitled to cast a ballot "that will count in the June 20 special runoff election."

Prior to the ruling, Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp had contended that only voters registered by March 20th would be eligible to vote in the run-off election, three months later(!), on June 20.

The second issue that could enhance the Democrat's chances for filling the U.S. House vacancy in an otherwise Republican-leaning district --- a vacancy created when Rep. Tom Price became Donald Trump's Sec. of Health and Human Services --- is related to yesterday's narrow passage in the U.S. House of the so-called "American Health Care Act" (AHCA, or what many have referred to as #wealthcare, since the legislation includes, among other things, a massive tax cut for the top 2% at the expense of healthcare coverage and other benefits for the poor and middle class).

A Congressional Budge Office scoring predicted that the original version of the ACHA would result in the loss of health care coverage for 24 million Americans over the next 10 years. Not surprisingly, the Ryan/Trump wealthcare initiative has proved immensely unpopular according to a Quinnipiac poll in March, finding just 17% of Americans support the measure. The Center for American Progress described the amended version of the bill, that was rammed through the House yesterday without an updated CBO score, as far worse than the original bill. It is expected not only to "explode premiums," they find, but also allow states to negate ObamaCare's most popular feature --- the prohibition on health insurance companies discriminating against those with pre-existing conditions.

While both of these factors could serve to aid Ossoff's chances in June, there's no escaping the fact that the runoff will be conducted using the same 100% unverifiable, easily-manipulated, oft-failed Diebold touch-screen voting system that may have cost him an outright win on April 18...

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




Plus: Disgraced Bill O'Reilly finally fired by Fox 'News'!...
By Brad Friedman on 4/19/2017 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast, not that we enjoy saying "we told ya so," but, yeah, another election result goes south on 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen systems in a key election for Democrats, as we've been warning for weeks (years, really). And, yes, the disgraced Bill O'Reilly has finally been fired by Fox 'News'. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

In Tuesday's U.S. House special election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District, Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff appears to have soundly defeated a split Republican field in a very Republican district, in the "jungle primary" race for a House seat held by the GOP since 1978 and recently vacated by Trump's appointment of Rep. Tom Price as Director of Health and Human Services.

However, the final results of Tuesday's contest, as taken from the state's 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems, report that Ossoff just failed to go over the 50% threshold by which he would have won the seat outright. Instead, he'll compete in a run-off in June against the second place finisher on Tuesday, Republican Karen Handel, former GA Sec. of State.

So, are the reported results accurate? It is impossible, in fact, to know, as I've long been warning. That fact is made even more maddening by the fact that a reported central tabulator "error", said to have been caused by a faulty memory card from one of the voting machines, stopped all results from being reported for hours in Fulton County, as Ossoff results were stuck at 50.3%.

At the time, all counties in the district but Fulton (Handel's home county) had reported 100% percent of their results. Hours later, after the computer tabulator problem was said to have been corrected, and results started coming in again from Fulton, Ossoff's numbers dropped to 48.6%, below the threshold that would have prevented a run-off.

So, was the election stolen? Or was the all-too familiar problem during the tally just a routine error on the state's unverifiable, easily-manipulated, oft-failed voting system? The state's Diebold voting systems and tabulators were first installed in 2002. They are, shamefully, still used today, despite multiple massive vulnerabilities, including one that allows results to be flipped without detection, as first reported by The BRAD BLOG as early as 2006. At the very least, as I noted last night on Twitter during the hours long freak-out over the reported faulty memory card(s): "If I'm Ossoff, I get to court and have ALL of those memory cards in Fulton locked down and sequestered for forensic inspection."

Adding to the concerns in that GA-06 election: The reported "massive data breach" last month at the facility which programs both the voting machines and the state's electronic pollbook systems and, over the weekend, the theft of a number of those e-pollbooks from a poll workers car. (Widely mis-reported as a theft of "voting machines".)

I discuss all of the above, in much more detail (including the political fallout from the race, which is still very bad for Trump and the GOP), on today's show --- and take a number of calls about it all of it as well.

Also today: Bill O'Reilly, the biggest star on Fox "News" since it's inception, has finally been fired, following the latest round of multiple sexual harassment allegations against him, millions of dollars in settlements paid by both him and Fox to his accusers, and dozens of advertisers who pulled out of the show following the latest round of allegations. (Here's the recent BradCast where I discussed the latest allegations with Media Matters' Eric Boehlert late last week, and where he pretty much predicted what has finally happened today.)

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report', with toxic oil and chemical spills, new heat records, and some otherwise encouraging news about London's iconic black cabs...

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

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Guest: Attorney Robert Dunham of the Death Penalty Information Center on Arkansas' extraordinary planned killing spree
Also: More electoral concerns for GA's U.S. House special election; Britain's PM announces snap elections; and Turkey's President declares victory as international observers protest...
By Brad Friedman on 4/18/2017 6:18pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Voting and killing. Voting and killing. The world sure seems to be doing a lot of each these days, especially the U.S. (particularly when it comes to the killing part, anyway.) [Audio link to complete show follows below.]

First up today, an obnoxiously arrogant (and hypocritical) comment about the U.S. and North Korea by Vice President Mike Pence. Then, voters head to the polls today in Georgia's 6th Congressional District for a U.S. House special election in which the Democratic candidate has been polling far ahead of a split Republican field. But Jon Ossoff will have to win more than 50% of the reported vote to avoid a one-on-one run-off election with the top Republican vote-getter, in a very Republican district, as still more concerns arise about the reliability of reported results from the state's 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems. Among the concerns (in addition to the unverifiable results): a "massive data breach" last month at the facility which programs both the voting machines and the state's electronic pollbook systems and, over the weekend, the theft of a number of those e-pollbooks from a poll workers car. (Widely mis-reported as a theft of "voting machines", but still concerning nonetheless. We discuss why.)

Also today, Britain's Prime Minister makes a surprise announcement calling for snap elections to be held in June, in advance of final Brexit negotiations and, also over the weekend, a Turkish referendum to grant sweeping powers to the nation's President appears to have narrowly passed. But the opposition and international election observers (if not Donald Trump) are crying foul. That apparent "victory" has resulted in the Turkish President calling for restoration of the death penalty, which, the European Union warns, would prevent Turkey from finally joining the beleaguered EU.

None of that, however, has prevented the state of Arkansas from attempting to move ahead with an unprecedented eight executions over the next 10 days, as the state's supply of one of the controversial drugs --- of dubious effectiveness and purchased under false pretenses by the state --- used for lethal injections there, is set to expire on May 1.

Longtime capital punishment litigator Robert Dunham, Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center, joins us to explain Governor Asa Hutchinson's extraordinary planned killing spree and the blizzard of protests, legal measures and court rulings at both the state and federal level, which have already resulted in a last minute U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Monday night, and stays on the state's killing of the first two men set to die in the first of four nights of scheduled double-executions over this week and next.

"This is completely unprecedented. No state in the modern history of the U.S. death penalty has ever attempted to carry out this many executions in a short period of time," Dunham explains, describing the "artificial 'Kill By' date" set by the Governor. "This is something we have never seen before. And [Arkansas is] trying to use a very, very controversial and inappropriate drug in circumstances in which the execution schedule only makes things worse."

We discuss the "psychological trauma for the prison personnel" tasked with carrying out the killings, the pharmaceutical companies trying to keep their medicines from being used to kill prisoners "against their corporate mission, which is to save lives, and not take lives"; questions about the innocence, guilt, legal representation and mental acuity of some of those set to be killed; and the multiple state and federal cases furiously moving through the courts over all of this, including the "irony" of the state of Arkansas' "states rights" Governor and Attorney General challenging a ruling on state law by their own state Supreme Court at the U.S. Supreme court.

Finally today, in hopes of cheering us all up a bit, it appears that folks in Texas have finally gotten something right about politics --- and Donald Trump will not like it one bit...

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Guest: Jim Dean of Democracy for America; Also: Trump popularity keeps falling and BP springs another uncontrolled oil well leak...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2017 5:56pm PT  

On today's BradCast, with the world on pins-and-needles over the weekend, thermo-nuclear war has been averted on the Korean Peninsula --- at least for the moment. And voters in Georgia head to the polls again on Tuesday for a U.S. House special election, in which they have the opportunity, again, to express their opinions about our current President. [Audio link to full show is at end of article.]

No nuclear weapons, either by North Korea or the U.S., were fired off over a weekend of high tensions amid U.S. Navy battleships sent to the Korean Peninsula as North Korea prepared for their biggest holiday of the year over the weekend. In past years, NK has 'celebrated' by testing firing new missiles or nuclear weapons. This year, Kim Jong-Un did attempt to fire a missile, but it reportedly blew during the launch.

The failure was the latest in an unusual string of similarly failed tests in the isolated nation recently. So, are we now seeing the results of U.S. cyber-warfare, as reportedly launched against North Korea three years ago by President Obama? Administration sources have been dodgy over the weekend, but say they'd prefer something "short of a military option" if possible. That moderation in tone is a bit different than Trump's chest-thumping last week. And, in the meantime, today, he bashed his Democratic predecessors, Bill Clinton and Obama, for their policies in NK, though he failed to mention George W. Bush (on whose watch NK developed their nuclear weapons program in the first place!)

Trump's poll numbers continue to fall, particularly on whether Americans believe him to be someone who "keeps his promises". And, all of that may well be on the mind of voters as they head to the polls for another U.S. House special election on Tuesday in Georgia's 6th Congressional District. This one, to fill the seat vacated by Trump's Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

So, will Democrats have any better luck in picking off the seat from Republicans in Georgia than they did last week in Kansas? Both districts are heavily Republican, but unlike KS-4, which voted for Trump by nearly 30 points last November, he won GA-6 by just over a single percentage point. And, in GA, a popular young Democratic candidate, Jon Ossoff, has racked up a record amount of money for this House race, largely from grassroots activists. He is currently far ahead of a split field of Republicans in the unusual all-party primary, in which a candidate who wins more than 50% of the vote takes the House seat outright. Otherwise, he would go on to face the second place finisher in a June run-off.

Jim Dean, Chair of Democracy for America (the grassroots, progressive organization founded following his brother Howard Dean's Presidential run in 2004), joins us to explain DFA's endorsement of Ossoff and his chances on Tuesday, as well as to discuss his strong critique of the national Democratic Party for failing to adequately support the Dem candidate last week in Kansas.

"It's time we stood up for what we are," Dean tells me, referring to Democratic candidate James Thompson's run in Kansas last week, and Ossoff's in Georgia, as well as national party Democrats' fear of running as progressives. "When we do, we win. Especially at a time like this, when even Trump voters realize they're being marginalized."

"Real progressive candidates are the key to Democrats winning. 'Republican Lite' doesn't work. Real progressive candidates usually reflect the majority of values of America, particularly when it comes to issues that surround economic inequality. We think if you're a real progressive running anywhere, you've got a better shot at winning, even in West Virginia," he argues.

Dean also rings in with a thought or two on the 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems that Georgia is once again forcing on voters, even after the organization that programs all of them was said to have been hacked just last month. We also discuss next month's upcoming Special Election for the U.S. House in Montana, where Dems have put forward a popular and populist candidate, Rob Quist, and whether the DNC, in 2018, will finally return to its "50-state strategy" initially championed by his brother Howard when he ran the DNC --- and seemingly abandoned thereafter. On that front, Jim has both encouraging and not-so-encouraging news for progressives.

Finally, we close today with the latest on the BP oil well that sprung two leaks and has been spewing both crude oil and natural gas onto Alaska's North Slope near Prudhoe Bay since last Friday...

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Guest: Howie Klein of 'Down With Tyranny' on surprisingly good odds for progressives in KS, GA, MT, CA; Also: Tons of breaking news today...
By Brad Friedman on 4/10/2017 6:11pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A ton of breaking (and largely distressing) news, before largely encouraging review of four upcoming U.S. House special elections that may offer a bit of an antidote to some of that distressing news, at least for Democrats and progressives. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Today's show both opens and closes with a ton of breaking news, including, for a start: Another school shooting, which appears to be a murder-suicide, in San Bernardino, CA (the same town where 14 were killed in a mass shooting in late 2015); The white supremacist Charleston church shooter is sentenced to 9 consecutive life sentences in state court after being sentenced earlier this year to execution in federal court; Stolen U.S. Supreme Court "Justice" Neil Gorsuch is sworn in, as President Trump thanks Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell for the theft; War planes take off from the very same air base said to have been bombed by Trump last Friday, and U.S. war ships head toward the Korean Peninsula for a possible confrontation with nuclear-armed North Korea; and Trump huddles with the Koch Brothers at Mar-a-lago as special elections to fill Republican U.S. House vacancies left by Administration appointees get underway in Kansas, Georgia and Montana (and in Los Angeles, where there is a Democratic vacancy).

We're joined today by the great Howie Klein, progressive champion and founder of DownWithTyranny.com for an overview of all four upcoming U.S. House races and the surprising (if still long-shot) possibilities of Democratic pickups in the three otherwise very Republican districts. Klein breaks down the likelihood for Dem victories in each district, describes the candidates who are running, and why it is that both the Republican and Democratic parties seem to have been underestimating the possibility of several of those seats "going blue" in the first federal elections of the Trump Era.

Among the upcoming U.S. House races, Klein notes that in CA-34, leading candidate Jimmy Gomez is a very progressive Dem running against another Dem who, he charges, is actually a Republican who changed his party affiliation for this race; in KS-4 (which votes on Tuesday, 4/11), Klein tells me that a week ago he'd have said the Dem candidate, James Thompson, had no chance in the deeply "red" district. But now that national GOPers are suddenly pouring panic money and other resources into the race, he thinks it's still long odds, but possible that Republican Ron Estes could face an upset in the home district of Koch Industries. In GA-6, he details, progressives have very high hopes for 30-year old Jon Ossoff who is running way ahead of a split GOP field in a "Jungle Primary" compromised of some 18 candidates in the first round of voting set for 4/18, where any candidate who gets 50%+1 could win the whole thing outright; And, finally, we review Montana's at-large U.S. Congressional race which, he says, could also be vulnerable to the populist Democratic candidate now running in a Republican state that has shown itself able elect Democrats to statewide seats in the very recent past.

Klein spares no criticism, however, for a number of Democratic organizations, like the Kansas Democratic Party which, he says, "should be ashamed of themselves" for failing to spend money on the House race. "They haven't had a candidate this strong running for that seat ever, and they haven't had an opportunity like this as long I can remember. They should be all over this, and they're not."

"These are dark, deep 'red' districts, and normally there would be no Democrats having any chance. But because of Trump's policies, because of that crackpot healthcare bill --- TrumpCare or whatever it was --- because of that, Republicans are discouraged and thinking, 'I'm not even going to go vote'. Or other Republicans are thinking, 'You know what? I'll vote for the Democrat!,'" Klein tells me. We'll soon see if he's right. But, of course, we'll also have to presume that Georgia's 15-year old, 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems weren't manipulated by (or since) a recent "massive" hack of its voter database.

And finally, as we head off air today, breaking news about the resignation and criminal booking of Alabama's Republican Governor Robert Bentley in the face of impeachment charges and...as if that's all not enough...a U.S. District Judge in Texas once again finds that state Republicans deliberately discriminated against racial minorities with their controversial Photo ID voting law...

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

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Guest: Computer science and e-voting systems expert Barbara Simons...
By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2017 6:32pm PT  

On today's BradCast, a story out of Georgia serves as a jarring reminder that we'd better not wait until 2018 to be concerned about the integrity and public oversight of our electronically tabulated elections. Also, the political blame game is underway regarding the Republicans' planned use of the "nuclear option" in the U.S. Senate. [Audio link to show posted at bottom of article.]

Early last month, someone reportedly hacked into the voting records database at Kennesaw State University's Center for Election Systems, which is contracted to maintain and program all of Georgia's 100% unverifiable touch-screen Diebold voting systems and electronic poll books. The state still uses the same unverifiable 2002 voting systems that, as we reported more than a decade ago, were hacked in a minute's time by researchers at Princeton University, where they were able to implant a virus that could pass itself from machine to machine and flip the results of an election with little or no possibility of detection.

The recent hack at Georgia's KSU, which the Atlanta Journal-Constitution described at the time as possibly compromising some 7.5 million voter records, resulted in a quiet FBI investigation, and comes as special elections are about to be held in a number of states to fill U.S. House seats vacated by Republican members of Congress tapped to serve in the Trump Administration.

One of those special elections is in Georgia on April 18, where the contest to fill GOP Rep. Tom Price's seat in CD-6 (he's now Trump's Secretary of Health and Human Services) is drawing both national attention and a lot of money from both Democrats and Republicans. With a suprisingly popular 30-year old Democrat, Jon Ossoff, poised to potentially upset a splintered GOP field in the otherwise solidly Republican district, the race is being regarded as a potential bellwether for the 2018 elections.

Longtime computer scientist and voting systems expert Barbara Simons of VerifiedVoting.org joins me today to explain the ongoing concerns about the still-mysterious Georgia hack, Verified Voting's effort to get answers about it from GA's Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp; the group's request to have him to offer paper ballots to voters in the wake of the reported "massive data breach"; and this weekend's similarly cryptic news that the FBI has now concluded its investigation.

As we discuss what we know, and don't, about the GA hack, Simons, co-author of Broken Ballots: Will Your Vote Count? and a member of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission's Board of Advisers since 2008, tells me that "it's a national scandal" that the state is still using those unverifiable systems for all elections.

Simons had also joined a number of renowned voting systems experts to plea with the Hillary Clinton campaign last year to seek a public hand-count of the Presidential election in several states, given questions about the exceedingly close race and the surprising results in a number of them. When Clinton declined to file for that common sense oversight, Green Party candidate Jill Stein responded affirmatively to the same plea. Nonetheless, as we also discuss today, hand-counts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania were largely blocked, thanks to efforts by Team Trump, state Republicans and even some Democrats.

We discuss all of that, the years-long effort to institute legislative safeguards against electronic voting and computerized tabulation systems; and why even paper ballots tallied by computers leave the public uncertain about the accurate results of elections. "Paper ballots in and of themselves are not sufficient. That lesson was very clear from the 2016 election," she tells me, as I ask about what I see as the need to publicly hand-count hand-marked paper ballots on election night in order to restore public confidence and oversight of results. "The problem is we have some very bad laws," she responds, offering her thoughts on legislative changes that are needed, short of ditching the computers entirely, in order to respond to what she sees as "a national security issue" in our elections.

Also on today's show: Republican Senators lament the idea of killing the filibuster for U.S. Supreme Court nominees...as they prepare to vote to kill it anyway; The NCAA falls for North Carolina's "repeal" scam of its anti-LGBT law; and Trump repeals an Obama-era rule seeking to keep bears from being hunted and killed during hibernation in Alaska...

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Guest: Lambda Legal's Tara Borelli; Plus: Trump's $25 million fraud settlement, and a former CIA Chief notices dangers of e-voting...sort of...
By Brad Friedman on 3/31/2017 6:08pm PT  

Today, the President of the United States was ordered to pay $25 million in a fraud settlement to some 4,000 Americans. But, incredibly enough, that news has been barely noticed.

On today's BradCast [audio link to show posted at end of article], as the frenzied pitch of investigation into Team Trump and Russia ticks up a notch from 10 to at least 11, a former CIA Director bothers to notice the vulnerability of our nation's electronic voting systems...but fails to appreciate, or even understand, the actual threat. And North Carolina picked a very strange way this week to "celebrate" the 7th International Transgender Day of Visibility. And, this time, both Republicans and Democratic elected officials share the shame.

First up, a quick thought on today's federal court approval of a settlement requiring President Donald Trump to pay $25 million to those defrauded by his Trump University scam.

Then, James Woolsey, Bill Clinton's former CIA Director and short-term member of Trump's transition team, tells CNN that the media is focused on "the wrong issue" in the Trump/Russia investigations. Never mind his "government by tweet" or questions about the Republican Chair of the House Intel Committee caught colluding with the White House amidst their investigation. The real concern, he argues, should be that "25 percent, approximately, of our voting machines in the United States do not have paper backups, so if the electronics have been tampered with, you will never know, and you can’t do a recount. ... The rest is very minor by comparison."

He has more to say on the matter, some of which he is right about, some of which he is either wildly naive, misinformed, or hoping to misinform the public. So I have a few things to say myself in response to it all, as you might imagine.

Next, facing the loss of billions to their economy, North Carolina Republicans on Thursday finally "repealed" their discriminatory anti-LGBTQ "bathroom bill" (HB2) by replacing it with another (HB142) which LGBTQ advocates charge is nearly as odious and, in some measures, even worse than the original. This time, however, the new legislation was signed into law by a Democratic governor.

Attorney Tara Borelli of Lambda Legal, which has sued to block the state's law, joins us to explain the beguiling "fake repeal" and shameful reasons it was jammed through the state assembly in just hours yesterday.

"If you're struggling to figure out how HB142 fixes things in any real way for LGBT people, join the club," she tells me. "We, and a host of others, are incredibly disappointed, outraged, and frustrated with this so-called 'compromise' repeal deal. HB142 simply took a bunch of the bad old provisions of HB2 and perpetuated them, and further enshrined them into North Carolina law." Borelli details how and why state lawmakers "have tried to put, just to be blunt, a lot of lipstick on the pig" and why they were in such a hurry to do it.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on the beginning of push-back from Dems and environmentalists in the wake of Trump's executive order on Tuesday, attempting to gut Obama's climate and environmental policies and legacy...

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

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Guest: Marcy Wheeler on the public testimony from FBI, NSA chiefs in the U.S. House Intel Committee, and the many still-unanswered questions...
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2017 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast, FBI Director James Comey and NSA chief Mike Rogers testified for more than five hours today before the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, confirming the existence of an FBI counterintelligence probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, and batting down charges by President Trump that then-President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower before leaving office. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We're joined by national security journalist Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel.com for analysis of today's long-awaited public hearing, with a focus on the many still-unanswered questions surrounding the charges of collusion between Trump and Russia and of the leaked classified information documenting a phone conversation between Trump's National Security Advisor Mike Flynn and the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Why was Flynn's part of the conversation captured and transcribed by the Intel Community in the first place, before the content of that discussion, concerning sanctions against the former Soviet Union, was leaked to media? Why wasn't Flynn's side of the discussion "masked" or "minimized", as many Americans believe is the case when it comes to the capture of information from U.S. persons during foreign counterintelligence investigations?

"Since 2008," she explains, "it's been permissible for the FBI, in whatever intercepts they get directly, to be able to go back in and look up stuff without distinction of whether the somebody is a US person or a foreigner. This is why the Republicans are so buggy about this."

"What many people are discovering, for the first time, is that the FBI can do backdoor searches. It means they do not need a warrant...where some analyst in the FBI or the NSA has decided someone is of foreign intelligence interest. The FBI doesn't need a warrant for that at all. They access that stuff without any criminal evidence against Americans. If they get a tip on you, they can look you up by your name, just on that tip alone."

Wheeler goes on to detail the legal statutes on that, the lack of public evidence concerning the alleged "cutout" between stolen DNC emails and WikiLeaks, why it took so long for Comey to inform Congress about his investigation at all (he said it's been under way since last July), questions about whether Trump and others in his Administration are susceptible to compromise by foreign agents, and whether or not she has confidence in the Congressional and FBI investigations into all of these matters.

Also today: Trump's approval rating hits a new low, and a federal appellate court protects a Constitutional right in Mississippi by blocking another GOP attempt to close the state's last remaining abortion clinic...

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

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