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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, December 10, 2016
'Reality Just as Hackable as the Lab': 'BradCast' 12/9/16
'Recount' news in four (yes, four) states and FL elections expert Susan Pynchon on a hacked election vendor and the case filed for a FL 'recount'. Plus: Chilling Trump transition news...
Evidence? What Evidence?: MI 'Recount' Stops; Appeals in MI, PA, WI: 'BradCast' 12/8/16
Systemic obstacles to citizen oversight of results continue to reveal 'outrageous', 'farcical' deficiencies in U.S. election processes...
'Green News Report' 12/8/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump taps science denier, fossil fuel tool for EPA Chief; Record low global sea ice, record high temps; Weather Channel smacks back; PLUS: ND pipeline spills near Dakota Access...
Previous GNRs: 12/6/16 - 12/1/16 - Archives...
'Unrecountable':
'BradCast' 12/7/16
Ballots to remain uncounted in MI and Stein blocked in Philly. Guest: Election integrity, law expert Paul Lehto says this proves 'only option is to get it right on Election Night'. Also: Trump taps climate denier, fossil-fuel tool for EPA...
Failed Paper Ballot Scanners in Detroit Put MI 'Recount' at Risk: 'BradCast' 12/6/16
Also: Team Trump ups efforts to kill 'recounts'; New VT law undermines democracy; Paper v. Computer counts...
'Green News Report' 12/6/16
Victory (for now) against ND pipeline; Trump eyes Native lands; Exxon CEO for Sec. of State?; Extreme rainfall to increase; PLUS: Fukushima clean up costs double...
'Corporate Media Lied. We are Escalating Fight in PA': 'BradCast' 12/5/16
Exclusive intvw w/ Stein campaign chief, Green 2004 nominee David Cobb. Also: MI ordered to begin count, ND pipeline blocked (for now)!...
Sunday Toons, of Trolls and Recounts
A fantastic collection of the week's best toons -- on all matter of stuff -- from 'PDiddie'!...
'Recount' 2016 or 2000? Team Trump Files to Stop Counts: 'BradCast' 12/2/16
As PA margin plummets, Stein asks: 'Why is Trump afraid of these recounts?'...
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: Steve Horn of DeSmogBlog...
By Brad Friedman on 9/12/2016 6:04pm PT  

On today's BradCast, yes, Donald Trump even lied about 9/11. And, speaking of lies, Big Oil has been using a loophole in U.S. federal law to to skirt environmental concerns and receive quick approval for dirty, dangerous new pipelines.

First, as the media continue to ignore one of the worst and most expensive environmental disasters in U.S. history last month, Trump was busy lying about 9/11, even on the 15th anniversary of the attacks. He lied about why he received taxpayer money after the tragedy and suggested he personally removed rubble. Imagine, just imagine, what the media would have done to Hillary Clinton (appropriately) had she falsely suggested anything even close.

The corporate media's false equivalency between the two candidates continues, as facts concerning stuff like Colin Powell's very specific directions to Clinton on how to use a private email address as Secretary of State are overlooked, and as both national and state polling continues to tighten in the bargain.

Then, speaking of issues ignored by the corporate media, investigative environmental journalist Steve Horn of DeSmogBlog joins us to discuss the little-known federal permitting policy called "Nationwide Permit 12" --- a loophole in federal law increasingly used by the oil industry to fast-track federal approval for major pipeline infrastructure projects like the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota, and as a way to skirt more stringent federal environmental review in the process.

"Nationwide Permit 12, before the past three or four years, was generally and exclusively used for small projects, usually 1/2 an acre in size and smaller," Horn tells me. "It wasn't really until the Keystone XL debate, and in particular the southern leg of it, where the industry saw Nationwide Permit 12 as a convenient way to split up its pipelines into many, many, many pieces. Sometimes, in the case of Keystone XL, it was some 2000 segments that they called 'single and complete projects'."

"You can call it a loophole, you can call it a fast-track trick, a maneuver. For all intents and purposes, it's like the pipeline industry's equivalent of a tax loophole. And, looking at what billionaires do, it serves the equivalent for the pipeline industry," he explains. Given those in the fossil industry who are now publicly supporting the scam --- including the industry billionaire who Trump has said he may tap as his Secretary of the Dept. of Energy --- Horn's analogy is disturbingly on point. The good news, however (and we could use some today!): the scam is now under federal review after its use to approve construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. That controversial project, which, as of Friday, was at least temporarily halted by the Obama Administration, may finally "have been a tipping point for use of Nationwide Permit 12," Horn notes.

Finally, some listener mail on a recent program seems to blame voters for the failure of politicians. We discuss.

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Guest: Jeremy Nichols of WildEarth Guardians | Plus: Breaking news on NC voting rights from SCOTUS and AZ, FL state primary results...
By Brad Friedman on 8/31/2016 5:26pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Primary season is still going (believe it or not), and we've got several important results from Arizona and Florida's contests on Tuesday. Also, important breaking news for the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Obama Administration gets sued to stop new leases to oil and gas companies on federal lands. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

First today, Donald Trump goes to Mexico for a brief visit with the Mexican President. Our coverage is mercifully even briefer.

Then, the Scalia-free U.S. Supreme Court splits 4 to 4 in response to North Carolina's emergency attempt to stay a blistering ruling from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal in late July, where the state Republicans' massive voter suppression law was struck down after being found to have been enacted with "racially discriminatory intent" that "target[ed] African-American with almost surgical precision". The tie at SCOTUS means the lower court's ruling, nixing the law, will stand, even though four Justices (guess which ones) on the highest court in the land would have preferred to keep a law broadly seen as the nation's worst voter suppression law since the Jim Crow era in place for this November's Presidential election!

Speaking of elections, we review the results of several key races from Tuesday's state primaries in Arizona and Florida, where the reelection battles of Sens. John McCain and Marco Rubio may determine the balance of the U.S. Senate this November. Also, the controversial Democratic FL Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz survives, as does controversial Republican Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, AZ. But the news for Helen Purcell, Maricopa's Republican County Recorder in Phoenix, who many blame for the disastrous Presidential Primary in the state earlier this year, may have reached the end of her 30-year career, with just a few hundred votes (out of more than 25,000 cast) now hanging in the balance.

Then, why is the Obama Administration, which has placed a moratorium on new federal land leases to coal companies, still selling millions of acres of leases to oil and gas companies? Jeremy Nichols, Director of the Climate and Energy Program at WildEarth Guardians, who, with Physicians for Social Responsibility, filed a suit last week seeking a moratorium from the Administration's Bureau of Land Management on such auctions, joins me to discuss the landmark federal lawsuit.

"What we're seeing here is a pattern and practice of the Administration continuing to hand over rights to our public lands to the oil and gas industry," Nichols explains. "By leasing these lands, they basically convert them to the ownership of the industry, and industry can hang on to these lands for as long as they want. It really is what we call an irreversible commitment of public resources here."

He goes on to tell me that while, in many respects, the Obama Administration has been a champion for the climate and the environment, on this issue, it seems, they appear to have "a very serious blind spot."

"We feel that it's high time for this administration to apply the same scrutiny to the oil and gas program that is has applied to coal-fired power plants, its coal mining program, and other aspects of our fossil fuel consumption," says Nichols. "We are in essence condoning the release of a lot more carbon into our atmosphere and, at this moment in time, pumping more carbon into the atmosphere is the last thing that this administration --- and we as the American public --- should be condoning."

At the same time, he says, the fossil fuel industry is actually suing the Obama Administration for not making more land available to them. "It's really a shocking filing on their end," Nichols argues. "They're basically saying that even though they've gotten everything they want on our public lands --- 10 million acres of our public lands since President Obama has taken office --- that it's not enough for them."

Finally today, a few follow-ups on a number of stories we've been covering over the past week, from Maine Gov. Paul LePage's mental and political breakdown to the reports of an official law enforcement investigation into more high-level GOP voter registration fraud in Florida, this time by Trump's top campaign chief. Oh, and Vladimir Putin has been arrested at a supermarket in Florida! No, really!

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

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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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By Brad Friedman on 8/26/2016 6:00pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, it seems the Republican Party's Presidential nominee can't keep alleged criminals from running his own campaign --- but he wants the American people to trust his plan to keep them out of the country?! [Audio link to today's show posted below.]

Donald Trump may want to carry out some of that "extreme vetting" he has planned for immigrant refugees hoping to come to the U.S., on his own campaign staff. Credible new reports today reveal that Trump's newest campaign chief, Stephen Bannon --- hired after two previous ones were fired --- was charged with domestic violence in the 90s and allegedly threatened retribution against the victim, one of his former wives, for testifying against him.

Separately, it appears that Bannon, previously the chief executive for the far-rightwing Breitbart "News" site, also may have committed voter registration fraud and possibly tax evasion, by registering to vote in a state where he doesn't appear to have ever lived. (Since finishing today's show, the Guardian has now posted a second story to report that, since their first exclusive, Bannon has now moved his Florida voter registration to a different residence.)

If the new evidence reported today holds up, Bannon's case, as I detail on today's program, would be just the latest example of another very high profile Republican who appears to have committed the type of election-related fraud that Republicans disingenuously claim Dems are carrying out, and for which the GOP continues to enact voting restrictions that disproportionately block minority voters at the polls.

As discussed on today's program, we have covered, at The BRAD BLOG, on The BradCast, and in many other publications, in great detail and documentation over the past decade or more, the many cases of actual, well-documented voter and voter registration fraud carried out by the likes of GOP superstars like Ann Coulter, Mitt Romney, the former Sec. of State of Indiana, and a host of many other high-profile Republicans. That long list includes many who have, themselves, long called for "anti-fraud" measures meant only to make it harder for certain perfectly legal voters (Democratic-leaning ones) to participate in U.S. elections.

And, as if Trump's "extreme vetting" for his own campaign staff hasn't yet failed spectacularly enough by now, we end today's show with still one more brand new example! Yes, it's an epic romp through recent historical GOP hypocrisy on today's BradCast. Buckle up, and please enjoy responsibly!...

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

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Guest: Historian, columnist Matthew Rozsa | Plus: Unfolding deadly disasters in Italy, India and Louisiana...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2016 5:55pm PT  

On today's BradCast, deadly natural disasters across the world and the potential for a man-made one here in the U.S., depending on the outcome of the November election.

First up today, the latest breaking news on the disastrous, deadly earthquake in Italy where, as of air-time, at least 159 have been killed; the horrific and even deadlier flooding in India, where more than 300 have died; and President Obama's visit to the site of historic flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Then: Is voting for a so-called third party candidate in the November Presidential election tantamount to 'throwing your vote away'? That's a question confronting many U.S. voters who are dissatisfied with the two major party candidates. But does such a vote open the door to a deadly dangerous President Trump? And does it even matter if it does?

Historian and Salon columnist Matthew Rozsa, a Bernie Sanders supporter during the primary, joins me to discuss how American voters can take on the two-party duopoly, without taking the country and the world down with it, as discussed in his recent piece "Tired of Democrats vs. Republicans? Here's how to fix it".

Rozsa details what he sees as a moral case against Trump, that requires a vote for Clinton, even if his policy preferences are more closely aligned with someone like Green Party nominee Dr. Jill Stein. "When you juxtapose the possibility of a Clinton presidency with that of a Trump presidency," he argues, "you can see how policies they would implement on issues ranging from immigration, to taxes, to business regulations, would affect people directly. So when you say 'I don't see much of a difference between Clinton and Trump, and therefore I'm willing to risk the election of someone like Trump,' you are minimizing or ignoring how his policies would impact real people in this country."

But, he goes on to explain, there is a way to support third-parties in such a way that they can serve to crack the stranglehold of the two-party system and potentially even become viable at the Presidential level. "If you're going to try to empower third-party candidates, you shouldn't be indifferent for most of the four-year period, and then a few months before the general election say, 'oh, I don't like either of these alternatives, I'm going to vote third party to make that stance clear'. That doesn't accomplish anything. The way to really achieve this change is to be invested in the process constantly...even when it's not an election year," he says.

It's an interesting, detailed and history rich conversation, in which Rozsa and I disagree on a few key points, while agreeing on others. Please give it a listen and share your thoughts in comments.

Finally, don't count your chickens yet, Democrats. Trump regains the lead over Clinton in swing-state Florida, according to a new poll [PDF] out today from the Sunshine State...

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Guests: Dave Johnson, Campaign for America's Future; David Atkins, Washington Monthly; David Dayen, 'Chain of Title'
Guest hosted by Angie Coiro...
By Angie Coiro on 8/19/2016 5:46pm PT  

On today's BradCast, guest hosted by Angie Coiro, we discuss how multinational corporations avoid taxes (and what to do about it). Then David Dayen brings us his award-winning book on the mortgage swindle, Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street's Great Foreclosure Fraud.

First up, David Atkins from The Washington Monthly and Dave Johnson of The Campaign for America’s Future dive into the murky waters of how to finally tax offshore corporate profits.

Finally, David Dayen discusses three unsung heroes of the mortgage meltdown – ordinary people who wouldn’t let their homes be foreclosed without fighting back. They sparked a movement that turned foreclosures back on the banks and led to real legislative change...

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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!




Guest: Carl Takei of ACLU's National Prison Project...
By Brad Friedman on 8/18/2016 6:01pm PT  

Shockingly good news on today's BradCast, following today's remarkable announcement by the U.S. Dept. of Justice that they are working to end the federal government's "use of privately operated prisons".

After that, you may want to pop up some popcorn to best enjoy the rest of today's program. [Audio link to complete program is posted below.]

First up today, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates issued a memo, as Washington Post reported, instructing federal officials "to either decline to renew the contracts for private prison operators when they expire or 'substantially reduce' the contracts’ scope. The goal, Yates wrote, is 'reducing --- and ultimately ending --- our use of privately operated prisons.'

Wow. Her memo goes on to cite a recent DoJ Inspector General's report finding that privately run prisons do not provide same level of service, "do not save substantially on costs" and "do not maintain the same level of safety and security" as those run by the federal government's Bureau of Prisons.

I am joined by Carl Takei, staff attorney for the ACLU's National Prison Project, for both an explanation and a bit of a victory lap after his organization and others have spent decades taking on the private, for-profit prison industry. Takei details what the announcement means, why it has finally come about now, and how the ACLU and others --- including investigative reporters, the Bernie Sanders campaign, and eventually the Hillary Clinton campaign --- have long argued precisely what the DoJ has admitted today.

"Handing control of prisons over to for-profit companies is a recipe for abuse, neglect, and misconduct because their primary duty is to their shareholders. They have to deliver value to their shareholders by skimming a profit off of whatever payments the government gives them to run the system," Takei tells me.

"In the 1990s, when the Bureau of Prisons first started this experiment with private prisons, the argument was they could provide incarceration more cheaply and that the innovations of the free market would somehow make things better. In fact, it turned out to be far worse. Because the major way that you can make money off incarceration is by cutting expenses," he says. "Some of the biggest expenses are security staff, medical staff, and providing medical services. Anywhere that the company starts cutting back its expenditures, it ends up harming the people inside."

He goes on to offer some startling examples of both that and of some of the easily-disproven responses and claims of the for-profit, private prison industry lobby.

Next, we look at how the coming and/or current GOP Civil War is shaping up not as a battle of ideas for the party's future, but as a wingnut street-fight over whose false version of 'reality' will win out. It's getting quite ugly. But also, at least for those of us on the outside, kinda hilarious in several regards.

Then, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with "some news that blows" and, finally, we close with the NYC Parks Department hilariously short response to the growing erection of naked Donald Trump statues around the city. You're welcome.

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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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!... ---




Guest: Ernest A. Canning of 'Vets for Bernie' on tough November choices for hard-core Sanders supporters...
By Brad Friedman on 8/9/2016 5:23pm PT  

The primaries are over, the nominees are set, so what are the best options remaining for dyed-in-the-wool Bernie Sanders fans this November 8th?

On today's BradCast, attorney, veteran and longtime legal analyst at The BRAD BLOG, Ernest A. Canning, who serves as a senior advisor to VetsForBernie.org, joins us to discuss his new article, "Revolution at a Crossroad". [Audio link to show posted below.]

Canning walks through the pros and cons of the various possibilities (staying home, voting for the Libertarian or Green Party candidate, voting for Hillary Clinton, as Sanders suggests, or even, gasp, voting for Donald Trump) as now faced by hard-core Sanders supporters, before offering his recommendation for how best to vote in order to continue the Sanders-led "political revolution". (Ernie also responds to a number of reader comments from the lively debate in response to his article.)

"I think the critical issue, and I think the question that every thinking progressive has to ask themselves is: 'What is the most effective means for moving the goals of the democratic revolution forward?'," he explains while we work through the potential options and outcomes.

Also today, the fight to restore the Voting Rights Act continues. Voting rights advocates on the ground in North Carolina and elsewhere are working hard to assure access to the polls for all this year, on the heels of a number of recent, very encouraging state and federal court victories. And national leaders are, once again, pressing Republicans in Congress to simply allow hearings to discuss ways to try and fix the landmark 1965 legislation after it was gutted by a rightwing majority on the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013.

Finally, we wrap up today's show with a few thoughts from liberal author and intellectual Noam Chomsky, on the threat posed by Donald Trump to the globe and, indeed, life on earth...

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

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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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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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MSM, Repubs and Dems finally decide e-voting and tabulation a concern...
By Brad Friedman on 8/3/2016 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we examine charges made by Donald Trump of a rigged November election, the case made by Bernie Sanders supporters that Hillary Clinton may have won the primary due to election fraud, and the mainstream corporate media finally deciding that, yes, hacked voting and tabulation systems really are a threat to American elections. [Link to audio of today's program follows below.]

It's fun (not really) to see corporate media outlets --- once again on the eve a major election --- suddenly very worried about so much of what we have been reporting (see, literally, thousands of stories at The BRAD BLOG and on The BradCast) about the vulnerability of the U.S. electoral system. We've been warning of exactly that for more than a decade.

The recent concerns follow the hack of DNC emails, said by Dems to have been carried out by Russian intelligence agencies, months of charges of "election fraud!" from Sanders supporters, and now new charges from Trump and friends that the Presidential Election will be stolen by Dems this November by electronic voting machines or voter fraud (or whatever the hell he and his supporters are now sputtering.)

It might all have been more fun had all of the above noticed these concerns years ago, rather than right after what some believe is a stolen election and right before one that some believe could be stolen. Ya know, back when there would have been time to move to transparent voting and counting systems instead.

Nonetheless, with those real concerns --- from all sides --- of hacked, stolen, manipulated or just plain erroneously reported election results, I note that "concerns" are not proof of fraud. So, today, we examine the various arguments, including some detailed thoughts --- both critical and complimentary --- on a new 100-page draft report [PDF] by Election Justice USA, titled "Democracy Lost: A Report on the Fatally Flawed 2016 Democratic Primaries".

Their report (and others making similar charges in recent months) details what EJUSA believes to be proof and/or evidence of fraud that benefited Hillary Clinton during the primary. In stark summary (much more detail offered on today's show itself!), the group's evidence of voter registration fraud in some locations is disturbing, if not completely unlike what we've seen in previous elections. But, I am somewhat less moved by their evidence of electronic voting and tabulation manipulation, as based largely on analysis of disparities between Exit Polling and reported election results. I try and explain why I am not particularly persuaded by studies of Exit Polls in regard to U.S. elections, and why, frankly, my response to their report would be similar whether they found proof of fraud or proof of zero fraud in the election. In both cases I would say what I have been saying for years: We need publicly hand-counted, hand-marked, paper-ballots in this country in order to have real confidence in results. (That is what I've long described as Democracy's Gold Standard.)

Short of that, with computerized voting and counting systems that are difficult, if not impossible for the public to oversee, confidence in U.S. elections will continue to erode whether fraud or error actually exists in the results or not. That, in and of itself, as I have shouted for years, continues to present a grave threat to America's system of representative democracy.

All of that and the latest Green News Report, on today's BradCast...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 8/2/2016 12:01pm PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Democrats make the case for action on climate change and clean energy jobs at the Democratic National Convention, while smacking Republicans and Donald Trump for denying science; PLUS: Another deadly extreme rainfall event, this time in Maryland... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

Link:
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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): New York adopts renewable energy standard, subsidizing nuclear energy; California adds weedkiller atrazine to toxics list, avoids outright ban; Toxicologist: State's claim that NC water was safe 'scientifically untrue'; Federal coal ash case could impact cleanups beyond VA; Chernobyl's toxic wasteland may be converted to solar farm... PLUS: We were promised the greenest Olympics ever. We got an ecological disaster... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




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!... ---




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