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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, May 25, 2017
'Green News Report' 5/25/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump budget cuts deeply into environment, toxic cleanup; Landslide buries icon CA highway; Chinese wind co. to retrain US coal miners; PLUS: Pope gift, message to Trump...
Previous GNRs: 5/23/17 - 5/18/17 - Archives...
Big Dem Wins in Special Elections; CBO Finds GOP 'Healthcare' Still Deadly: 'BradCast' 5/24/17
Guest: Journalist, health care reform advocate Jacki Schechner...
Trump's $2 TRILLION 'Bernie Madoff-Level Budget Fraud': 'BradCast' 5/23/17
Guest: Former White House tax adviser Seth Hanlon; Also: Latest on Manchester Bombing, FBI's Team Trump probe, more...
'Green News Report' 5/23/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Global Seed Vault flooded by melting perma-frost; Antarctica going green (not in good way); Swiss vote to accelerate renewables; PLUS: Trump's budget slashes, burns environment...
Previous GNRs: 5/18/17 - 5/16/17 - Archives...
The Surreal and Present Danger of Donald Trump: 'BradCast' 5/22/17
Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: Two big election-related SCOTUS decisions, & this week's US House Special Election in MT...
Mike Pence and the 'Sergeant Schultz Defense'
The VP claims he was kept in the dark by Team Trump on key issues regarding disgraced former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn. But is his alibi even plausible?...
Sunday Toons of the 'Witch Hunt!' Moment
Looks like it's double, double toil and trouble for Trump once again this week in PDiddie's collection of the week's best political toons...
Sessions Rolls Back Justice Reform, Trump Digs Himself Deeper: 'BradCast' 5/19/17
Guest: Former Asst. DA Ames Grawert on DoJ's 'draconian' news guidelines; Also: Trump called Comey a 'nut job' in Oval Office with Russians, now heads overseas for nine days...
'Single Greatest Witch Hunt of a Politician in American History!': 'BradCast' 5/18/17
'Chaotic darkness' at Trump White House; Cold Turkey for Flynn, Pence; Eye on McGahn; More unauthorized US war in Syria; MUCH more from today's news tsunami...
'Green News Report' 5/18/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
VA creates carbon cap-and-trade system; Bears Ears Nat'l Monument targeted for gas, oil; Public to EPA: 'Keep regs!'; PLUS: Glacier National Park's glaciers are going, going...
Previous GNRs: 5/16/17 - 5/11/17 - Archives...
What is 'Obstruction of Justice'?:
'BradCast' 5/17/17
Guest: Former Asst. US Attorney Randall D. Eliason of GWU Law School; Also... BREAKING: Special Counsel named to take over Trump/Russia probe...
'Espionage Act': The Oval Office is Leaking (Bigly): 'BradCast' 5/16/17
Guest: Brennan Center's Elizabeth Goitein says Trump may have violated law in Russia meeting; Then... BREAKING: Trump asked Comey to end Flynn probe...
'Green News Report' 5/16/17
NC hurricane disaster relief denied; April 2017 second hottest on record; Tillerson signs climate change pact; PLUS: DoD warns again of climate's NatSec impacts...
Making Sense of (& Surviving) President 'Goldfish': 'BradCast' 5/15/17
Guest: David Roberts of Vox; Also: Good voting news for NC, thousands turned away from WI polls in 2016...
Sunday Toons of the Moment:
'Comey on Both Sides'...
Everybody hates Comey! Except when they don't, as 'PDiddie' details, among other things, in his latest collections of the week's best political toons...
'Green News Report' 5/11/17
Trump postpones decision on UN climate pact; Emergency at WA nuke site; Superfund sites mostly in low-income areas; PLUS: Repubs fail to repeal methane flaring rule...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Jim Dean of Democracy for America; Also: Trump popularity keeps falling and BP springs another uncontrolled oil well leak...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2017 5:56pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Howie Klein of 'Down With Tyranny' on surprisingly good odds for progressives in KS, GA, MT, CA; Also: Tons of breaking news today...
By Brad Friedman on 4/10/2017 6:11pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Computer science and e-voting systems expert Barbara Simons...
By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2017 6:32pm PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guest: David Cobb, Green Presidential campaign manager, 2004 nominee
Also: U.S. Army halts construction of Dakota Access Pipeline (for now)...
By Brad Friedman on 12/5/2016 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we cover an enormous amount of news, breaking and otherwise, on both the Presidential "recount" story in three different states, as well as the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. And we speak to Green Party candidate Jill Stein's campaign manager, David Cobb, about the ongoing and "escalating" legal battles and fights for citizen oversight of election results in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. [Audio link to show posted at bottom of article.]

First today, the latest on the breaking news over the weekend in the story of the denial of a permit for the controversial pipeline in ND, where thousands of native Americans have been protesting for months against its construction near tribal lands. On Sunday, in a huge victory, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied an easement to Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners that would have allowed them to complete the pipeline by building on disputed land near and beneath Lake Oahe, the Standing Rock Sioux's source of drinking water. The victory, while monumental --- even as the protests and violent attempts by law enforcement to stop them have been almost entirely ignored by mainstream corporate media --- may be short-lived, depending on legal actions and decisions made by the next President. Desi Doyen joins us for the latest.

At the same time, over the weekend, the corporate media was busy misreporting and misleading the legal maneuvers of Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein, who has dropped just one of the statewide voter-initiated suits demanding a PA "recount", in favor of a federal filing [PDF] today, on Constitutional grounds, seeking federal intervention for a statewide count and forensic analysis of 100% unverifiable voting systems used there. Stein and her attorneys held a press conference and rally today outside of Trump Tower in Manhattan, to explain the efforts.

Also, a federal judge this morning ordered [PDF] the state of Michigan to being counting ballots today, after successful maneuvers by Team Trump delayed the start of that effort late last week and had hoped to further delay or deny citizen oversight of results entirely. MI's Attorney General (a Trump supporter) falsely argued in his filing and during an unusual emergency hearing in federal court on Sunday, that the count might endanger the state's Electoral College votes. U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith ordered the counting to begin at noon today, however, finding that any further delay "would likely violate [plaintiffs'] right to vote under the First and Fourteenth Amendments" and that "there is a credible threat to the voters' right to have a determination made that Michigan's vote for president was properly tabulated." The MI GOP has vowed to appeal both the federal and state cases against counting ballots.

My guest today, Stein's campaign manager David Cobb, the Party's 2004 Presidential nominee --- who, himself, called for the partial statewide count that happened after that year's Presidential contest in Ohio --- joins us to discuss the latest developments in the ongoing counts and court cases in all three states, and to explain why Stein and the Green Party "are demanding integrity in the election system."

In PA, he explains (as we long have as well), that "there is no way to properly verify the DRE --- direct recording electronic --- equipment, otherwise correctly known as 'black box voting'. It's terrible to begin with and they should never be used. ... The real gain here is forensic experts getting an opportunity to get their hands on these machines --- and that is exactly what we are seeking in all three states --- but, in Pennsylvania, in federal court specifically, because of the completely outrageous system of recount provisions in the state." (To get an idea how horrific they are, check out my interview with VotePA's Marybeth Kuznik from last week, or read today's filing [PDF] in federal court.)

"I really want to underscore," he tells me, "we are escalating the fight into federal court in Pennsylvania precisely because the Pennsylvania laws are so horrible."

"These black box voting machines are hackable," he continues. "If any nefarious individual can get their hands on them, there are ways to manipulate them. That's the reason it's so important to have these forensic studies done. So that we can literally verify the vote. What is Donald Trump afraid of?"

We also discuss the efforts of the Green Party going back to Cobb's own attempted "recount" in Ohio, when two top election officials in the state's largest county, Cuyahoga (Cleveland), were found guilty and sentenced to the maximum sentence in prison for having rigged the 2004 Presidential "recount".

"We are demanding that every vote counts, so count every vote! It's just that simple. At the end of the day, if we do not have confidence in the election system, we cannot have confidence in our government itself," he argues.

Finally, speaking of counting votes (or not), North Carolina's abhorrent Republican Gov. Pat McCory has announced he is giving up his own battle for a statewide recount (which we supported) and has conceded the race to the state's Democratic candidate Attorney General Roy Cooper, becoming the first Governor to lose a re-election bid in state history...

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An exclusive interview with the Green Party Presidential candidate...
By Brad Friedman on 11/23/2016 5:56pm PT  

On today's BradCast, my exclusive interview with Dr. Jill Stein, the 2016 Green Party Presidential candidate, on her announcement earlier today that her campaign plans to file for hand-counted paper ballot "recounts" and forensic audits of the Presidential election results in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. [Audio link to show and full interview posted below.]

"We have to move really fast in order to basically verify the vote and be confident our votes were actually counted," she tells me, citing the many concerns brought to her by computer scientists and voting systems and election integrity experts, all questioning whether paper ballots were counted accurately by error-prone and easily-hacked computer tabulators in WI and MI, and whether touch-screen systems were manipulated in some fashion in PA.

Across those three states alone, as we have been reporting, just 50,000 votes flipped from Trump to Clinton --- out of more than 13 million ballots cast in those states, where a number of anomalous results have been found --- could change who becomes the next President of the United States.

There is plenty of reason to question whether the results as reported are accurate. And not only because of the surprising results. As I note again on today's show, University of Michigan computer science and voting systems expert J. Alex Halderman, one of those urging the candidates to call for a hand-count, has cracked many electronic voting systems in recent years. He offered still more reasons to examine both the reported results and the systems used in WI, MI and PA earlier today.

Stein, explaining that some $2 million must be raised to meet the deadline to file in WI by Friday (and another $4 million or so for the other two states next week), tells me that it's an "outrage we have to go to extraordinary lengths to verify the vote," adding she is doing so, due to her "interests as a citizen, as a person in America, that the vote be valid." (The campaign has set up a fund raising page for the effort right here.)

"Why would anyone in their right mind not want to have a secured and verified vote?," she asks. "It’s long been demonstrated that our system of voting, relying on these machines, has virtually no security. They’re hack-friendly [and] tamper-friendly."

"People have felt such anguish during this election," Stein notes. "This is a joint effort, and there are many election advocates who are involved. A lot of the grassroots election integrity experts. If ever there was a time to stand up and demand an accountable and secure vote, this is the time to do it. If we don't do it now, when exactly, what would be the cause to do it?" She also details the attempt by the scientists and advocates to encourage the Clinton campaign to take up the effort as well. (I can confirm that effort happened and that the campaign was still considering doing so as of earlier today.) She says she welcomes other campaigns, such as the Libertarian Party and independent candidates with standing, to join the effort as well.

"It feels really good to be standing up right now," she tells me. "It’s time for us to take control of our democracy to start with. To give ourselves a gift on this Thanksgiving." We discuss all of that and the many concerns about the reported results, take a few calls afterward, and actually find a bit more to be thankful for on today's harrowing program --- including, believe it or not, today's Green News Report with Desi Doyen!...

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Guest: Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org...
By Brad Friedman on 11/4/2016 6:08pm PT  

As we note on more than one occasion on today's BradCast, buckle up! [Audio link to show is at bottom of article.]

Just days before the Presidential election, Democrats are in court in 6 different states attempting to preemptively block alleged "voter intimidation" schemes by Trump and the GOP, and today a federal judge slapped a restraining order on the Trump campaign and his operatives, to try and prevent it. (The order is now posted here [PDF].)

Meanwhile, the GOP nominee is just a narrow polling error away from defeating Hillary Clinton, according to the experts at FiveThirtyEight, who now find Trump's chance of winning the Presidency to be about 1 in 3. So every vote will count --- at least if it's counted correctly.

Longtime non-partisan election integrity expert Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org joins us to explain her startling new discovery of functionality built into computer vote tabulators --- both touch-screen and paper-ballot systems in use in 99% of the nation's jurisdictions --- that, she says, would allow some votes to be weighted more than others in a way that would be nearly impossible to detect.

Harris details what she describes as "Fraction Magic" (see a real-time video demonstration here) and how that functionality, and its use by election insiders (or even outside hackers --- as the U.S. Government continues to warn about), could determine the results of elections on Tuesday, from the Presidential level on down to local races and ballot initiatives.

This ability to fractionalize votes (for example, the functionality allows certain types of voters to have their votes weighted as 1.2 votes, while other votes are counted as just .8 of a vote, so the final results will still tally up to the correct number of votes cast), was originally discovered in the GEMS tabulation system, used with Diebold/Premier voting systems and, Harris explains, systems made by almost all of the other private vendors used across the country. "It's now been confirmed in Hart Intercivic, in 2006. In Dominion. They've admitted it. And ES&S, according to the Illinois Board of Elections, has also got it in there. ES&S counts about 60 percent of the votes in the U.S. So it is actually pretty pervasive."

"We are putting our whole system at risk," warns Harris, about both "Fraction Magic" and the use of voting and tabulation systems that are difficult, if not impossible, for the public to oversee. "Sooner or later, if we keep running these mystery elections, there's going to be something that is actually destabilizing, kind of a perfect storm. This is predictable. Sooner or later, when you keep running elections that are not accountable to the public, that are not something we can verify with actual evidence --- i.e. ballots and ballot images --- there's going to be a meltdown that's destabilizing. This is actually rather dangerous."

Like you didn't think you had enough to worry about between now and Election Day?

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the last Green News Report before Election Day, and we round up a few other last minute voting concerns in swing-states North Carolina and Ohio...

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From Smartmatic to Diebold: Responding (yet again) to partisan worries of vote flips and voting machine ownership...
By Brad Friedman on 10/25/2016 6:40pm PT  

It's that time of the election cycle again. Happens every four years. (Every two, actually.) On today's BradCast: That moment when partisans on the Right declare Democrats are stealing the election with voting machines owned by George Soros and Democrats worry that Republicans are doing the same via private companies actually owned by big GOP supporters. [Audio link posted below.]

Both sides see votes flipping on touch-screen systems to their opponents. Both sides declare it only happens to their chosen party. Both sides have reason to worry about private ownership of our electoral systems. Both sides tend to be very selective about their concerns. And both sides do nothing about it until it's time to start freaking out again just before the next election.

The old, previously debunked charge that the progressive billionaire Soros is somehow controlling voting machines across the U.S. re-appeared yet again in the Rightwingosphere over the weekend, only slightly modified from its 2012 version. This time it has resulted in a petition to WhiteHouse.gov --- so far, signed by more than 70,000 since it was posted late last week --- demanding "congress meet in emergency session about removing George Soros owned voting machines from 16 states."

But, of course, as we noted back in 2012, when Democrats were concerned about the actual ownership of voting machine company Hart Intercivic by associates of Mitt Romney, Soros does not own any companies with voting machines in the U.S. He doesn't own any companies with voting machines used elsewhere either, to my knowledge. But the original seed for the persistently false rumor seems to have been planted, in no small part, by The BRAD BLOG's exclusive coverage way back in 2008 of a Venezuelan voting machine company named Smartmatic --- once believed linked to Hugo Chavez --- and their secret ownership of the Intellectual Property (IP) used in voting machines made by Sequoia Voting Systems. Many of those machines are still used in about 15 states across the country.

Sequoia has since been purchased by a Canadian firm named Dominion Voting, which, like Sequoia before it, lied about Smartmatic's ownership of IP used in Sequoia's machines. But, as I explain on today's program, it could hardly be further removed from Soros who, as it turns out, has absolutely no stake in Smartmatic or any of the other vote counting companies deployed in the U.S..

But, like Democrats, Republicans have every right and reason to be concerned about the obscene private corporate ownership of our nation's public voting and tabulation machinery. (Please petition Whitehouse.gov about that!) As I noted to a reporter seeking comment about the concerns about Romney's ties to Hart Intercivic around this same exact time before the 2012 Presidential Election...

Once again, we're reminded of the dangers of the privatization of our once-public electoral system. The company's ties to Romney aren't the only disturbing ones we've seen with similar companies over the years. The fact is, that nobody other than the public should have any sort of control of our elections. The proprietary voting systems now in use in all 50 states, whether owned by Romney associates, a George W. Bush associate (as with Diebold in 2004) or even a company tied to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez (as with Sequoia Voting Systems which blatantly lied about that tie to public officials, and the Canadian firm Dominion which purchased Sequoia and also immediately lied about the fact that Intellectual Property of their voting systems used all across the U.S. is still owned by the Venezuelan firm), continue to be a grave threat to American democracy and confidence in U.S. Elections.

And, like similar clockwork, once again this year we are now hearing the shouts about touch-screen voting machines flipping Democratic to Republican and Republican to Democratic --- and the claims from partisans on both sides that "this only ever happens to Republicans/Democrats!" --- as early voting gets underway in a number of states. Is there legitimate reason to worry about such votes flipping? The answer is both yes and no, with reason for all of us to be ashamed, as I explain on the show today.

Also, not unrelated on today's program: Volkswagen's record billion dollar settlement for programming their cars' software to cheat on emissions tests; GOP Senator in close election warms up to climate change; Desi Doyen joins us for the Green News Report as pipeline protests rage, China closes coal-fired power plants, Sen. Marco Rubio looks the other way as Florida faces rising seas, and the corporate media ignore all of it during each of this year's Presidential debates...

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By Brad Friedman on 10/21/2016 6:06pm PT  

On today's BradCast, as a major, mysterious automated Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack took huge Internet sites like Twitter, Netflix and Amazon offline for hours today, Democrats and Republicans, including the President, continue to mislead the public about the vulnerability of our voting, tabulation and voter registration systems. [Audio link to show posted below.]

Just weeks ago, as you'll recall, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security were warning of the vulnerability of U.S. election systems to intrusion, manipulation and attack from outsiders (and all but ignoring the more direct threat from election insiders). Now, as Donald Trump has ramped up his claims that the election is being "rigged", Democratic and Republican officials alike are claiming the opposite is true, that "there's no way to rig an election in a country this big". They are either misinformed or lying. Take your pick. Either way, they are misinforming the American people. I explain in detail on today's show.

Speaking of disrupting the election...

• "Unnamed intelligence officials" float yet another warning of how bad actors could cause havoc during the elections in November. (And recent evidence suggests that route would be quite easy.)
• A federal court ordered Ohio this week to allow millions of unlawfully purged voters to be allowed to cast a provisional ballot this November, after the state's Republican Sec. of State Jon Husted (who also claimed this week that the election can't be rigged) fought an earlier court order to restore those voters to the rolls;
• Republicans in Tarrant County, Texas may have violated a federal court order by targeting Democratic polling places with an "EMERGENCY VOTER FRAUD ALERT";
• The state of Utah (Utah!) has been moved into the toss-up category in the Presidential contest;
• Early voting numbers look promising for Democrats;
Evidence that Donald Trump loved both Bill and Hillary Clinton very recently...at least until he ran for President, started losing "big league" and decided she was a "nasty woman";
• And, finally, the GOP Presidential nominee offered a little noticed admission during the final debate that Democrats have been right all along the necessity of regulations on businesses.

All of that and much more on today's BradCast, as our Shocktober Spooktacular continues...

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, David Dayen of Fiscal Times...
By Brad Friedman on 10/20/2016 5:27pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Bad hombres! Nasty women! And SUSPENSE! Real coverage of the final Presidential Debate of 2016, some of which is almost guaranteed to piss off just about everybody in one way or another. You're welcome! [Audio link to show posted below.]

For our analysis of the final --- and, by our count, 25th! --- debate of the 2016 cycle, I'm joined once again by award-winning journalist Heather Digby Parton of Salon and the Hullabaloo blog, and by David Dayen, of Fiscal Times and author of Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street's Great Foreclosure Fraud.

As you probably expect, we spend some time focusing on Trump's dishonest claims that the election is being "rigged" and his refusal to promise a peaceful transfer of power. But we also discuss the, at times, disingenuous outrage about it all from the media as well as both Republicans and Democrats, each of whom seem to have developed more than a bit of convenient amnesia about recent elections, about the mechanics of our electoral system, and even very recent assertions about all of the above.

Yes, election fraud and election integrity are topics about which we have some familiarity around here. And, while nuance and complexity and facts may not play well in the corporate media or among angry partisans near the end of an insane election cycle, no small amount of each are called for today. We do our best.

"Digby" and Dayen also bring insight on a number of the other surprisingly substantive issues raised at the debate (as well as important issues that, once again, were not), many of which have been largely overlooked in the wake of Trump's latest embarrassing tantrum(s)...

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Guest: Former New Hampshire GOP Chair Fergus Cullen
Also: Good news for FL voters, more disturbing Rightwing terrorism, and some thoughts on the attack of a NC GOP election office...
By Brad Friedman on 10/17/2016 6:06pm PT  

On today's BradCast, a self-identified "establishment Republican" pushes back against Donald Trump's claims that the election will be "rigged", but goes on to deny that his own party has promoted the very "voter fraud" conspiracies that the Republican nominee is now exploiting. [Audio link to complete show is posted below.]

Trump has been increasingly strident of late in his rhetoric charging that the election is being "rigged" by "large scale voter fraud" and more. As he does so, his supporters are using more and more violent rhetoric to describe "bloodshed" and even assassination should their candidate fail to win on November 8th. As a disturbing Boston Globe report noted over the weekend, it has now fallen to establishment GOPers to try and calm the increasingly dangerous waters.

Former New Hampshire GOP chairman Fergus Cullen, a self-described 'Never Trumper' who characterizes the increasingly violent rhetoric from Trump supporters as 'very scary', joins us today to rebut Trump's charges about fraud and decry threats of violence by his followers. "He's doing terrible damage to the Republican brand," Cullen says. "Even after he's defeated, he's going to be causing trouble for our party for quite awhile, probably, in terms of how it's identified in the eyes of millions of Americans."

"On election night when Donald Trump is defeated, he's going to have a really important choice. Does he say responsible things that are aimed at accepting the outcome and telling his supporters that they should accept the outcome as well. Or, does he in fact pour gasoline on a fire, and continue the rhetoric that he's been using in the last ten days?"

But later, in the course of our conversation, it took a very bizarre turn. Cullen went on to reject the very premise of the idea that the Republican Party bears some responsibility for the effectiveness of Trump's claims, given the party has loudly forwarded false claims of massive Democratic 'voter fraud', for political gain, for more than a decade. He doesn't think that has happened.

"I don't think there's any argument that, certainly, some Republicans do believe that voter fraud takes place on significant scale enough to affect elections. I don't think the party has been pushing that line," Cullen tells me. As you'll hear, and as you might expect, that notion took me by complete surprise during the conversation. He compares "various conspiracy theories out there" with those from "the black helicopter crowd" and UFO spotters, but says "please don't blame the party for institutionalizing this nonsense."

I remain as gobsmacked here as anyone who has ever spent more than 15 minutes reading The BRAD BLOG or has even watched Fox "News" for about the same amount of time. While I expected to disagree on a few points (including computer tabulators vs. hand-counts in NH, which we discussed as well) and while Cullen was very nice and very generous with his time in joining us today, I'm still stunned that he is actually denying the very existence of the years-long, very well-funded effort by the very top echelon of the national GOP meant to deceive the public about "voter fraud". (See this Special Coverage page and this one for just a tiny taste of their efforts and our decade plus coverage of it. Listen to the conversation and its follow-up segment on today's show for much more.)

Also today: A bit of good news for voters, as a federal court has once again smacked down the state of Florida, this time for a GOP-enacted scheme that would have unnecessarily rejected thousands of absentee ballots; Ohio's Republican Sec. of State continues to fight a federal court order to restore more than a million illegally purged voters to the rolls; And we cover a fresh spate of violent and political terror attacks and plots by Trump-supporting Rightwing extremists against Muslims and others.

And, finally, a few thoughts on the curious case of the weekend firebombing of a Republican Party campaign office in NC...

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Guest: Princeton computer scientist, vote system 'hacker' Andrew Appel...
By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2016 5:58pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, exceedingly powerful hacking tools from the NSA make their way to the black market as concerns about hackable U.S. election systems continue to raise concerns just weeks before our next Presidential Election. [Audio link to the show posted at end of article below.]

A shadowy hacking organization, thought to be a foreign entity, has made a set of hacking tools --- thought to have been purloined in some fashion from another shadowy hacking organization, thought to be the NSA --- available to the highest bidder. The vulnerabilities exposed by the malware tools suggests that the NSA is aware of serious, heretofore unknown vulnerabilities in worldwide computer networks, about which they have failed to notify the commercial vendors who produce the hardware and software found to be at risk.

The issue has raised disturbing questions and no small amount of outrage about the NSA's practice of keeping such vulnerabilities a secret, for their own cyber-offensive purposes, despite the risk it poses to our critical, commercial cyber-infrastructure.

In a somewhat related issue --- as we've been yelling and screaming about for more than a decade --- vulnerabilities to U.S. voting and tabulation computers have long been a threat to the nation, but are only now being taken (somewhat) seriously by corporate media, the U.S. government, and, as I report on today's program, at least one of the major political parties.

A man who knows all about the above --- if only because he was, as we reported back in 2007, one of the first to hack an electronic voting system in the U.S. after he purchased five Sequoia AVC Advantage voting systems for about $82 on the Internet (the same "closely guarded" systems, still used in states like NJ, PA, VA and LA, were originally sold for about $10,000 a piece) --- is Andrew Appel, Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University. (That's him in the photo above with one of his voting machines.)

Appel, who Politico recently noticed in Ben Wofford's excellent recent article, "How to Hack an Election in 7 Minutes", has been writing about both of these issues of late.

On the NSA matter, Appel tells me today: "They should not hoard the vulnerabilities in the hope the NSA can use them to spy on everybody else. The assumption the NSA is implicitly making is that nobody else will be able to find these bugs and vulnerabilities and use them to spy on us, and do banking transactions in our name, and read our emails." That, he explains, is a huge mistake and a grave disservice.

On the continuing concerns about U.S. voting systems and the Dept. of Homeland Security's very recent attempt at helping local election officials before November 8, he cautions: "Security is not something you can just patch on by some sort of 'critical infrastructure security squad' that descends and surrounds your house with the National Guard. It's got to be built in to all the software we buy." He adds ominously, in describing the type of voting systems used across the country: "Whoever got to install the software most recently is the one who gets to decide what kind of results are reported."

Appel, tends to concur with my general assessment that it's largely too close to the election to make real changes to protect our voting systems. He also shares the warning I've tried to give so many years about the real vulnerabilities to our electronic voting and tabulation systems."In this country, most election fraud has been conducted by insiders, who have access to how the votes get added up." But, he also goes on to offer a few proactive measures --- including "witnesses in each polling place just at the close of polls" to independently track numbers as originally reported by the voting systems --- that, he says, can still be taken to try and safeguard results.

Also today: Obama visits flood disaster sites in Louisiana; Trump continues his (potentially illegal) voter suppression dog whistles; and Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with, among other things, a heart-wrenching tale of an Alaskan native American tribe forced to move their entire village as the Arctic continues to melt away...

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...

* * *
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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