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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Kochs' Chris Christie; Wingnut Marriage Meltdown; 'Most Important Climate Ruling':
'BradCast' 6/30/15
Guest: Michael B. Gerrard of Columbia's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law...
'Green News Report' 6/30/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
SCOTUS nixes mercury pollution rules; Christie jumps in, we tell you his position on climate; Coal plant cleaned up in Navajo Nation; PLUS: Solar plane's dangerous Pacific crossing...
Previous GNRs: 6/25/15 - 6/23/15 - Archives...
The Good, Bad and SCOTUS Ruling on AZ Redistricting: 'BradCast' 6/29/15
Former AZ state legislator Ted Downing; Plus: much more on latest SCOTUS rulings...
Sunday Toons: Flags & Fits
Both supremacy and Supremes are at issue in PDiddie's collection of the week's best (and most iconic) political toons...
'A More Perfect Union': 'BradCast' 6/26/15
An extraordinary end to an extraordinary week. Mike Rogers of Raw Story joins us to discuss the landmark SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality and how we got here...
MARRIAGE EQUALITY FOR ALL
The U.S. Supreme Court finally recognizes what The BRAD BLOG has for more than a decade. Because rights ultimately win and haters ultimately lose...
Scalia Lies (Again); And 2014's Last Election Contest: 'BradCast' 6/25/15
Dr. Laura Pressley, Austin City Council candidate, explains why she's challenging her 100% unverifiable 2014 election...
'Green News Report' 6/25/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Jindal's in! Here's his weird climate position; Deadly heat in Pakistan; New studies see climate change as 'catastrophic' for health; PLUS: Landmark ruling in Netherlands...
Previous GNRs: 6/23/15 - 6/18/15 - Archives...
Vexillology! Why Flags Matter:
'BradCast' 6/24/15
Annie Platoff, flag expert from North American Vexillological Association explains it all for you! (Even flags on the moon!); Plus: Callers, Trump surge & more!...
TRUMP-MENTUM!
Republican's newest Frankenstein Monster and billionaire real estate developer surges into 2nd place in NH GOP Primary poll! Not to say 'we told ya so' or anything...
Sanders Destroyed Fed Chair Greenspan in 2003
Years before the economy would collapse, then-Rep. Bernie Sanders unloaded on the Fed Chair during a Congressional hearing. Years later, Alan Greenspan admitted he was wrong...
Fox 'News', Bill O'Reilly and
All Their Racist Viewers: 'BradCast' 6/23/15
Sean McElwee of Demos on his new study; More (positive) fallout from Charleston; (Some) Senate Dems help move TPP forward...
'Green News Report' 6/23/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Repubs in bind after Papal encyclical on climate; Massive algae bloom shuts down West Coast fisheries; May 2015 hottest on record; PLUS: Goodbye, American Eastern Cougar...
Previous GNRs: 6/18/15 - 6/16/15 - Archives...
Race, Guns, Flags, Terrorism and the Right's Quickly Changing Politics of Denial: 'BradCast' 6/22/15
Historic GOP flip-flops and Fox's 'pathological denial' w/ Eric Boehlert of Media Matters...
Sunday Toons:
Identity Crises Edition
This is now getting really strange. And 'PDiddie' has the week's collection of toons to prove it...
RW Domestic Terror in SC & Beyond; Big Govt GOP in TX; 'BradCast' 6/19/15
The 2009 DHS report Repubs hope you've forgotten; Plus: Adam Briggle of Frack Free Denton on GOP banning fracking bans and democracy in TX...
Sanders on 'Democratic Socialism'
'Bernie-mentum' begins to show itself in the polls as Sanders' message is heard on 'Late Night', beginning a challenge to nation's woeful 'democracy deficit'...
Evangelical Response to the Pope's Climate Encyclical: 'BradCast' 6/18/15
Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox, Repub CEO of Evangelical Environmental Network; PLUS: Latest on SC church massacre; Limbaugh's lie about the Pope...
'Green News Report' 6/18/15
The Pope's unprecedented call for climate action; The Right predictably freaks out about it; India goes solar in a big way; PLUS: Trump's running, thinks global warming is a hoax...
GOP's World of Trump: 'BradCast' 6/17/15
Has Trump blown up the GOP primary? Is he more than just a joke? Is he the Frankenstein Monster created by 40 years of Reaganism and Fox 'News'? Callers weigh in on that, Bernie Sanders and more!...
RW Radio Rescues Limbaugh in Boston
More wingnut welfare and Heart-less abuse of our public airwaves for corporate profit as Premiere radio uses it's corporate-owned station to save the failing Rush...
The GOP's New 'Frankenstein's Monster': 'BradCast' 6/16/15
Heather Digby Parton on Trump as 'culmination of 30 years of American Dream propaganda' by the Right; Plus: 'Dickensian' Kansas; Politifact fail...
TRUMP: THE CANDIDATE
Sure, he's a clown and the latest to get into the 2016 GOP clown car. But 'misunderstimate' his candidacy at your own peril...
'Green News Report' 6/16/15
Jeb Bush finally jumps in; Hillary Clinton pushes for renewable energy; Shell's Arctic drilling rig escapes Seattle; PLUS: The Pope's summer blockbuster, coming soon to a planet near you...
'Pope Francis: The Encyclical' (The Movie)
The Pope kicks climate ass, takes climate names...
'Citizens United' Ain't the Half of It: 'BradCast' 6/15/15
Rove, Republicans & the lawsuit against the utterly broken FEC with guest Craig Holman of Public Citizen. Plus: Jeb jumps in (don't think about Dubya!) and Hillary launches...
Sunday Toons: Help Wanted Edition
Where the jobs are (and aren't); TPP; Climate change; McKinney, TX; and the Jurassic World of GOP politics...
THIS is What's the Matter With Kansas: 'BradCast' 6/12/15
Guest Matthew Menendez says he's 'never seen anything like' Gov. Sam Brownback's amazing, new decree; Plus: Progressives block TPP 'Fast-Track' (for now)...
TX GOP's War on Voting While Female
After Hillary Clinton called out former TX Gov. and 2016 GOP hopeful Rick Perry for his support of discriminatory voting restrictions, a NH voter makes another good point...
Oversight, Transparency, Journalism & FOIA on Trial in U.S. House: 'BradCast' 6/11/15
VICE News reporter Jason Leopold on his U.S. House testimony and more; Also Tamir Rice news, call to stop TPP & poor Rick Santorum...
'Green News Report' 6/11/15
MSM challenges Santorum on science denial; G7's expiration date for fossil fuels; NASA's new tool to view future climate effect; PLUS: Denier group's secret donors...
Rep. Sherman Slams TPP: 'BradCast' 6/10/15
California Dem tells Brad why the proposed agreement 'continues worst trade policies in history of mammalian life' and why he believes Obama is living 'in a cloister'...
Limbaugh's Wingnut Reprieve in Boston?
After being dumped from his decades long radio home, wingnut welfare may ride to the rescue to return the controversial extremist to a market which rejected him...
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...


By Brad Friedman on 2/22/2013 6:05am PT  

With another papal election coming up, one might wonder how the papal elections, since 1059 or so, have managed to remain secure and unchallenged?

As security technologist Bruce Schneier details at CNN, the trick is what we have long referred to here as "Democracy's Gold Standard": publicly hand-counted paper ballots.

Here at The BRAD BLOG we've been calling for the same thing for U.S. elections for some time. Granted, it hasn't been 1000 years, it's just beginning to feel like it. We were even recently immortalized for that effort.

Schneier's breakdown of the voting process at papal enclaves is absolutely fascinating, particularly as the process they've developed over centuries mirrors much of what the process would look like if our nation ditched its secret, oft-failed, easily-manipulated, unoverseeable vote-tallying computers and modeled our tabulation process on the open, public, and very rarely challenged process used by the citizens in some 40% of New Hampshire's towns. It's almost identical, in many ways, to the one used to select new popes.

As Schneier notes, when a new pope is elected, "Every step of the election process is observed by everyone."

"The ballot is entirely paper-based," he explains, "and all ballot counting is done by hand. Votes are secret, but everything else is open"

Talk about your "Holy See"?! It's hand-counted PAPAL ballots!...

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

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...and that the new 'Presidential Commission on Election Administration' does not currently plan to even consider it...
By Brad Friedman on 2/20/2013 11:26am PT  

The good folks at Right About Now have decided to immortalize a quote from this September, 2009 op-ed of mine detailing my call for pilot projects around the country to develop much-needed data and benchmarks for what we describe around here as "Democracy's Gold Standard": Hand-marked paper ballots, publicly counted by hand at the precinct on Election Night, with the public, all political parties and even video cameras rolling, and results posted at the precinct before ballots are moved anywhere...

You can click on the cool graphic to enlarge it if you have any trouble reading it. And, about that quote, I totally agree! :-)

Unfortunately, the supposedly "non-partisan" commission being convened [PDF] at the behest of the President --- and being co-chaired by an incredibly partisan former "Swift Boat" GOP operative --- in order to "fix" some of the problems which reared their ugly heads again during the 2012 election, such as long lines, difficulty in registration or casting overseas absentees ballots, is not currently set to review the extraordinary problems (here's just one recent example) that our nation has with vote tabulation in this country, much less explore the need for fully public, fully transparent, fully citizen-overseeable election result tabulation in a nation that supposedly prides itself on government of the people, by the people and for the people.

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation --- now in our TENTH YEAR! --- with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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By Brad Friedman on 2/19/2013 10:41am PT  

I was on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture last night to discuss the latest proposed GOP scheme, this one out of Pennsylvania, to rig the Electoral College to their advantage...

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation --- now in our TENTH YEAR! --- with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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Another reminder of the dangers of Vote-by-Mail...
By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2013 2:35pm PT  

We've long argued that Vote-by-Mail elections are a terrible idea for democracy. You can see our quick list of our reasons right here. Nonetheless, in states like Oregon, which use Vote-by-Mail elections across the entire state, the citizens who don't appreciate the dangers of them, love them.

But once again last week, we were reminded of just one of the reasons they shouldn't love them, when a Bend, OR man was convicted of fraud after taking out a Craigslist ad claiming to offer $20 for blank ballots last November. With all registered voters in the state sent such a ballot, there is a lot of money to potentially be made from these types of crimes.

"All you need to do is bring your UNFILLED clean voting ballot and let us fill it out then you sign, then we hand it to the volunteer in the voting booth," the typo-filled ad promised. "Its that simple! Then you get $20. We'll be there all weekend through tuesday."

The perp, Aaron Hirschman, was convicted of a misdemeanor after offering a "full confession", according to the OR Attorney General's spokesperson, Jeff Manning who said that Hirschman "stated in his interview and at trial that he is an Internet 'troll' and that he posted the ad to 'agitate' and cause a stir."

The incident follows on another exploit of VBM ballots last November, when Deanna Swenson, an election official in Clackamas County, was indicted on 6 felony and 2 misdemeanor counts after being found to have allegedly filled in unvoted races in favor of Republican candidates while processing incoming mailed ballots.

Both Hirschman and Swenson got caught. That's good. The bigger question is how many don't get caught in such cases where the incentive for that kind of fraud --- the ability to change a lot of ballots to affect the results of an election, either by insider fraud or vote buying and selling --- is so high.

But, again, those cases highlight just two of the many reasons why VBM remains a terrible idea for democracy in any state.

Republicans like to pretend that there is a massive epidemic of "voter fraud" being carried out at polling places, despite the complete absence of evidence to demonstrate any such epidemic. They do so in order to push for polling place Photo ID restrictions in hopes of disenfranchising Democratic-leaning voters. Period.

On the other hand, election fraud does exist and "voter fraud" does occur. But, in almost all cases where it's found, it's via some form of mail-in voting, or at the hands of election insiders. Neither of those crimes are deterred by the polling place Photo ID restrictions Republicans continue to push for in state after state in hopes of disenfranchising legal voters for electoral gain.

[Hat-tip BRAD BLOG commenter David Werth.]

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation --- now in our TENTH YEAR! --- with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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By Brad Friedman on 2/14/2013 4:51pm PT  

A few seemingly remarkable items coming in via our Twitter feed today, all fueled by folks on the Right who are hoaxed into giving their hard-earned dollars to con-men...

• The crew at the pretend "news" site, Breitbart.com (specifically, Editor-at-Large Ben Shapiro) have successfully pushed a story about "Friends of Hamas" supporting SecDef-nominee, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) somehow into the mainstream Rightwing media. The problem with the story --- which is meant to help target the first Presidential cabinet nominee in history to ever be filibustered (much less by his own party!) --- is that "Friends of Hamas", the "scary-sounding pro-Hagel group", doesn't actually seem to exist, according to Slate's Dave Weigel.

George Zimmerman, the Florida "hero" who claimed that he was just "standing his ground" after having stalked and shot unarmed African-American teen Trayvon Martin last year has a) Reportedly burned through $300,000 in donated legal defense funds and is now considering asking the court to declare him "indigent", so the state would have to pay for his defense and b) Gained some 105 pounds since his arrest last year, according to ThinkProgress today. (Yes, that is what Zimmerman looks like now, at the top of this article.)

• But the most bizarre story of the day must surely be David Corn's at Mother Jones, where his latest investigative report into the profiteering "non-profit" racket called FreedomWorks (one of the nation's largest and most powerful so-called "Tea Party" groups) documents a video said to have been created by the group, but never shown publicly, which "included a scene in which a female intern wearing a panda suit simulates performing oral sex on Hillary Clinton." As Corn himself felt necessary to mention in an Author's note: "The previous sentence contains no typos."

Keep sending in those bucks to the Rightwing scam-artists, wingnuts! No, you're not being played for suckers in the least!

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By Brad Friedman on 2/13/2013 9:56pm PT  

On today's KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast we covered the State of the Union Address last night, with extended focus on the President's call for election form and his new "Presidential Commission on Election Administration" [PDF], to be questionably co-chaired by Swift Boat GOP attorney Ben Ginsberg. As we noted yesterday, color us dubious about all of that.

My guest in the first half-hour was Marcia Johnson-Blanco, Co-Director of the Voting Rights Project at the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and we also discussed their recent report on "Our Broken Voting Systems And How to Repair It", as well as the upcoming February 27th U.S. Supreme Court hearing in Shelby County v. Holder, challenging the Constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act's Section 5 protection of jurisdictions with a history of discrimination at the voting booth.

Suffice to say, she was more optimistic about all of the above than I was.

In most of the second half of the show, we focused on the many environmental issues raised in Obama's State of the Union with the Green News Report's Desi Doyen. I'm not sure who was more (or less) optimistic in that half of the show.

Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation --- now in our TENTH YEAR! --- with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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UPDATE: Swift voting or Swift Boating?! Disgraced Bush/Cheney/Swift Boat GOP operative, Ben Ginsberg tapped to co-chair panel...
By Brad Friedman on 2/12/2013 5:41pm PT  

[UPDATED THRICE following the State of the Union address.]

Ryan J. Reilly had the scoop at HuffPo tonight. We're about to get another bipartisan commission on voting reforms...

President Barack Obama will announce a bipartisan presidential voting commission to focus on improving the Election Day experience, The Huffington Post has learned from two sources outside the White House with knowledge of the plans.

The commission is one of a number of efforts the Obama administration is making to address the problems that plagued voting on Election Day 2012. The commission, which will focus specifically on Election Day issues and not broader voting reform, will likely be co-chaired by one Republican and one Democratic lawyer, according to one of the sources.

After the 2000 Presidential election fiasco, a bipartisan blue-ribbon commission headed by former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford was created by Congress. The commission offered reforms that ultimately helped lead to the disastrous Help America Vote Act of 2002. That bill, among other things, offered some $4 billion in federal money to states in order to "upgrade" to computerized voting systems. Those same systems, using proprietary hardware and software from private vendors, tally votes in secret and continue to fail in election after election even today.

After the 2004 Presidential election fiasco, a private bipartisan commission was created, as The BRAD BLOG was the first to reveal, by high-level Republican operatives and former Bush/Cheney officials calling themselves the American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR). The private commission, formed in secret, was headed by Carter and longtime Bush family friend James A. Baker III, the man who took Bush's 2000 fight to keep ballots from being counted in the state of Florida all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The inclusion of Baker on the commission led to an uproar from Election Integrity advocates, a furious response at The BRAD BLOG from the commission's Executive Director for our revelation of the scam, a letter from then Chair of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) stating his "strong opposition" to Baker's presence on the commission, and then a guest-blog from Conyers himself, here at The BRAD BLOG.

As Conyers noted at the time, and as the sham Baker/Carter commission's report ultimately showed, the private commission was created in order to lay the groundwork for polling place Photo ID restrictions down the road. "Make no mistake about it," Conyers wrote here at the time, detailing his belief that the commission's push for Photo ID restrictions was "more of the same old Ken Blackwell-style Republican electoral dirty tricks, where Democratic voters are deliberately disenfranchised so that Republicans can win elections."

While the privately created Baker/Carter commission was meant to appear similar to the official Ford/Carter blue-ribbon commission (Ford was ailing at the time of the second commission, so was replaced with Baker), we can only hope that whatever new commission President Obama has in mind won't end up with the same "dead-on-arrival" recommendations as the ones from Baker and Carter. Though those recommendations were roundly criticized at the time, they are still cited today --- as if they were official recommendations --- by Republicans hoping to disenfranchise legal American voters through new restrictions on voting.

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UPDATE: Reilly at HuffPo had it right. The President announced his call for a new commission during his State of the Union address tonight...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 2/7/2013 6:35am PT  

Yesterday on KPFK/Pacifica Radio's BradCast I was joined by Tom Courbat, longtime Election Integrity advocate and 25-year former CA county fiscal manager, and Dr. John Maa, who initiated and paid for the first "recount" of a statewide initiative in California (Prop 29).

Courbat helped lead the coalition who recently attempted a "recount" of Prop 37, which would have required Genetically Engineered Foods to be labeled as such. Maa unofficially advised the group, until the entire process was blocked by the outrageous, and seemingly illegal, pricing set for hand-counting paper ballots in Fresno County by their Registrar of Voters Brandi Orth, as we detailed in our exclusive Special Report on Monday.

One election official, Orth, effectively stopped the attempted confirmation of the computer-tabulated results of the election dead in its tracks, and once again put the lie to the notion that secretly-tallied paper ballots are just fine because "we can always count them after an election if there are any questions about the results."

Unfortunately, both Orth and CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen declined to join us on the show today to discuss the disturbing facts we uncovered in our special report, which UC Irvine election law professor and nationally-recognized elections expert Rick Hasen linked to Tuesday night, along with his assessment that the seemingly "arbitrary" pricing of attempts to oversee our own elections "calls for a legislative response."

Plus, in the second part of the show, a few quick news items and, as usual, a visit from Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report.

Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...

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By Brad Friedman on 2/6/2013 11:51am PT  

THIS) UC Irvine election law professor and nationally recognized expert Rick Hasen links today to our exclusive special report from Monday which called out the Fresno County, CA Registrar of Voters for illegally overcharging for the citizen-attempted oversight "recount" of last November's Prop 37 initiative (which would have required Genetically Modified Foods to be labeled as such.) As we reported in that investigative report, her actions effectively stopped the attempted "recount" dead in its tracks, highlighted the possibilities for abuse by a single election official and the county-by-county disparities in "recount" pricing.

Our report also puts the lie to the notion that paper ballots, secretly-tabulated by computers, are just fine because if there are any concerns about the results of elections, we can always just count them by hand later. As our report detailed: no, we can't.

When linking to our report today, Hasen added: "This calls for a legislative response." Of course, we concur and thank the professor for noticing.

THAT) We'll be discussing that report today on my KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast at 3pm PT, when I'll be joined by Tom Courbat, who helped lead the attempted Prop 37 "recount", and Dr. John Maa who helped advise the effort after he, himself, requested and paid for the first statewide initiative "recount" ever after last June's failed Prop 29 initiative (which would have added a $1-per-pack cigarette tax to fund cancer research). Unfortunately, Fresno's Registrar Brandi Orth declined my invitation to join us on the show today to explain her position, while CA Sec. of State Debra Bowen's office has so far failed to respond at all to several invitations to do so. I'll hope that changes between now and showtime. You can listen LIVE from 3p to 4p PT right here.

THE OTHER THING) I'd been so busy over the past week or three working on that report that I haven't really had much opportunity to enjoy the fact that The BRAD BLOG is now, officially, in our tenth year of trouble-making and muckraking. I was, however, able to take some time to discuss it, and reminisce a bit, with our friend Angie Coiro of In Deep Radio up in San Francisco. You can listen to that interview right here. Long-time BRAD BLOGGERS may particularly enjoy it.

Relatedly, though I made a fairly impassioned pitch for support of The BRAD BLOG in my 9th Anniversary posting, and offered a very cool premium for those who may wish to purchase it, I've had astoundingly few folks willing to contribute or purchase the premium. :-( Given the thousands who read this site every day, it's disappointing to be able to count those who have answered my plea on two hands.

If you've gotten anything of value from this site over the years, please consider supporting us with a donation, so we can try to make it through year number 10. We are truly reader supporter (that means you), and do not rely on foundational or corporate support. You are the only thing that gives us a chance to keep going. Please consider donating a little something, if you can.

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And why secretly tallied paper ballots undermine U.S. democracy
A Special Report by The BRAD BLOG...
By Brad Friedman on 2/4/2013 6:35am PT  

What happened last November in California's Prop 37? Is it really possible that progressive California doesn't want Genetically Engineered Foods to be labeled as such? According to the reported results of that election, that would seem to be the case. But did Californians really vote against such labeling?

Unfortunately, thanks to a lack of overseeable public hand-counts on Election Night, and a gaping weakness in the state's otherwise liberal "recount" law, we're unlikely to ever know for certain.

A weeks-long investigation by The BRAD BLOG into the months-long attempted effort to confirm the results of the Prop 37 ballot initiative last November, serves to highlight not just the weakness in California "recount" law, but also the notion that paper ballots, secretly tallied by optical-scan computers, are just fine, since, as the knee-jerk saying goes, "we can always count the paper ballots by hand afterwards if there are any questions about the results."

The fact is: no we can't. As our investigation reveals, election officials have the ability to stop an attempted "recount" dead in its tracks, by simply charging contestants anything they like for the effort. They are able to price such oversight beyond the means of most citizens, and are even doing so in apparent violation of state election code and regulations, as we found in Fresno County, CA last month during an attempted citizen oversight campaign of Prop 37 results.

But that election was not the only one where an attempt to examine paper ballots to assure accuracy of the secret computer tallies has been stymied by officials in the Golden State. The matter is rife for abuse and continues to frustrate Election Integrity advocates, even as both the CA legislature and the CA Secretary of State have done little to correct the situation...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 2/1/2013 1:36pm PT  

Speaking to Jon Stewart on The Daily Show this week, former Vice-President Al Gore said:

Our democracy has been hacked. It's been taken over. It no longer operates the way our founders intended it to, because of anonymous donors, big money, corporations as people, might makes right. The lobbyists and special interests are now in control. They can't do anything without begging permission from the powerful special interests and it is time that we take our democracy back and it can be done.

Gore also offered a few interesting words about capitalism in the 1/30/2013 clip from The Daily Show which is posted below. In a lengthier conversation on MSNBC's Morning Joe this week, posted below as well, Gore also discusses the deadly costs of the uncontrolled dumping of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and the ravaging effects its having on our planet, criticism of his sale of Current TV to the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera, and he goes on to say that "both capitalism and democracy have been hacked"...

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By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2013 7:05am PT  

Yesterday, a Virginia State Senate committee killed a GOP plan to completely revamp the state's "winner-take-all" electoral vote system despite a last minute change to the bill by its sponsor in hopes of making it more palatable. The original scheme would have awarded electoral votes by Congressional district instead of "winner-take-all". Had that plan been in place in 2012, Mitt Romney would have been awarded 9 electoral votes to Obama's 4, despite the President winning the popular vote in the state by some 150,000 votes and being awarded all 13 of the VA's electoral votes.

The bill's author, Republican Sen. Charles W. "Bill" Carrico, tweaked the bill at the last minute, so that electoral votes would be awarded proportionally, based on the popular vote, rather than by Congressional district. It didn't help. The scheme was defeated in committee by a bi-partisan vote of 11 to 4.

Before that scheme was killed in the VA Senate on Tuesday, I appeared on The David Pakman Show, via Skype, to discuss that and related issues, including the impending U.S. Supreme Court threat to the very important Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act...

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Following-up on the Year of GOP Election Fraud...
By Brad Friedman on 1/29/2013 3:41pm PT  

Last year we spent quite a bit of time detailing what we described, with much justification, as The Year of GOP Election Fraud.

From the three felony voter fraud convictions of Indiana Sec. of State Charlie White (R), to the admitted ballot petition fraud of the campaign of Newt Gingrich (R) and of the staff of U.S. House Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R) to the attempted voter fraud by Rightwing propagandist James O'Keefe's co-conspirators, to the registration fraud allegedly committed by employees of the firm hired by the RNC to carry out voter registration in seven key swing states, to the actual apparent voter fraud of the GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney, and beyond, it was another year in which the Republican Party pretended there was a massive Democratic voter fraud epidemic in order to institute new polling place voter suppression laws, even while carrying out their own crime spree which largely went ignored by the very same media covering the GOP attempts to enact polling place Photo ID restrictions.

But it wasn't only the GOP superstars named above who attempted to game the system. Some of their gullible followers, who were distracted and conned into buying into the pretend "Democratic voter fraud" panic, decided to take matters into the their own hands by attempting to double-vote, claiming they were simply "testing the system".

Two different such cases in two different states led to voter fraud felony arrests last November. One of the cases, in Nevada, has now been settled with a guilty plea. The other appears to still be pending in New Mexico against a man who claims he thought his job as a Republican precinct challenger was to challenge the system itself...

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By Brad Friedman on 1/25/2013 11:30am PT  

As it is said when it comes to voting technology: As California goes, so goes the nation. To that end, there is some disturbing news on the horizon from BlackBoxVoting.org as the Internet Voting virus threatens to spread to the Golden State.

If you're not familiar with the many insane dangers of this idea, and if the Academy Awards' recent nightmare wasn't enough, here's an article or two or three or four from the past year or two here which should do well to appropriately scare the hell out of you.

In the meantime, here's how BBV cuts to the chase --- and the core --- of the real concerns of Internet Voting, as the anti-democratic profiteering vultures descend into the state...

California Assemblyman Phil Ting has proposed AB 19, a bill to require the California Secretary of State to implement an Internet voting pilot project.

They tell us Internet voting is secure. It's not. It's not secure, and can't be made secure, but that's not even the point.

The point is it's not transparent. The whole premise in our Constitution is that we self-govern. To do that, the public must be able to see and authenticate essential processes, like who actually voted and the vote count, and that is not possible with Internet voting.

Internet voting transfers all control to whoever runs the server. (The server is just a computer that sits in a room --- and one Internet voting company, Scytl, has its server physically sitting in Spain.)

Internet voting gives the administrator complete control over the front end (who put the votes into the system) and the back end (the counting of the votes).

Internet voting is trying to come on with a vengeance, and not just in California. It is now imminent. Unless we are vigilant, many of us will be forced to vote online in 2014 and 2016. Lobbyists are at work to persuade your legislators to install Internet voting.

Political support has been secured from officials in several states. The governor of Hawaii has announced he wants Internet voting. Secretaries of State from Connecticut, West Virginia, Washington, and Oregon are already pushing online voting, and soon you'll hear about it near you. Federal bills promise cash to states that "expedite" their voting systems, with vague language as to what that means.

Because Americans are skeptical about Internet voting, politicians and reporters describe it as "smart phone voting" and "iPad voting." They also call it "convenience voting" but what they don't tell us is that, in exchange for convenience, we will lose the ability to self-govern.

To put this into blunt terms: It's not whether Internet Voting is or isn't secure. (It's not, but that's actually beside the point.) It's whether you, or anybody else, can ever know that it's secure. And the hard, cold, scientific fact is that you cannot.

More on "Ting's Thing" from BBV here...

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Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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By Brad Friedman on 1/24/2013 4:35pm PT  

After Harry Reid decided to fail to reform the filibuster today, despite his pretend outrage last year at the undemocratic U.S. Senate process being "abused, abused, abused" by the Republican minority in the Senate, the Washington Post's Ezra Klein tweeted what seems a pretty silly question: "Interesting Q on all this is whether Reid's restraint now will lead to R restraint when they're in charge and D's are filibustering".

No clue why Klein would even imagine that Republicans would show similar restraint when it comes to anything these days. For evidence of that, one needs look no further than what the VA state State Senate did just across the river on Monday, Martin Luther King Day, as President Obama was being sworn in for his second term.

Normally balanced with 20 Democratic and 20 Republican state Senators, Republicans took advantage of one of those state Senators, Democratic civil rights icon Henry Marsh, taking the day off to be at the second Inauguration of the nation's first black President, to carry out a complete state redistricting coup.

Stephen Colbert covered the coup in his Alpha Dog of the Week segment last night, quoting Martin Luther King thusly: "I have been to the mountain top, and while I was there, they heavily redistricted the promise land."

The coup described above is separate, though related to, a parallel effort also moving forward in the VA legislature, to rig the next Presidential Election by dividing up electoral votes based on the winner of each Congressional district, rather than the current "winner take all" system. Had the Republican plan for this, currently moving through the state Senate, been in place during the 2012 election, Romney would have won 9 of the commonwealth's electoral votes to Obama's 4, despite the President having won the popular vote there by some 150,000 votes (4 percentage points).

For a less amusing, if similarly maddening, explanation of the Virginia Republicans' shameless redistricting coup on Monday (we hope to have more on their subsequent electoral vote gimmick in the near future) and where it is likely to go from here, see Rachel Maddow's explanation from Tuesday posted below...

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