This week, KPFK/Pacfica Radio here in L.A. was kind enough to allow me to expand my usual weekly show a bit for a 'War on Democracy' special over two days, as we head into 2012 with the very first votes in the Presidential Election cycle to finally be cast in just under two weeks in Iowa.
We covered both the fight for election integrity, including some of the very recent and disturbing e-voting news that we've been covering here at The BRAD BLOG of late, as well as the outrageous new GOP voter suppression laws and the push-back against it. I also had time to take some calls in the hour-long Part 1, and was joined today, in Part 2, by our own crack legal analyst Ernest Canning...
PART 1, 12/20/11 MP3 download or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...
PART 2, 12/21/11 MP3 download or listen online below [appx 28 mins]...
Frustrating. I spent much of the day prepping for my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show today, only to get to the station this afternoon to find out we were on a last minute, emergency fund drive this week, so my show was preempted, but I didn't get the message (literally).
Had planned to do a long overdue War on Voting update, as I haven't gotten to cover elections much on the show for months. Had prepared to discuss everything from AG Eric Holder's speech on voting rights issues at the LBJ Library in Austin (who knew we even had an AG?!); to Ohio voters putting the kibosh on GOP voter suppression laws going into effect next year to 96-year old Dorothy Cooper now unable to vote in TN under the GOP's new voter suppression laws there; to 84-year old Ruthelle Frank told she may have to pay $200 to vote in WI under the GOP's new voter suppression laws there; to the ACLU's new federal lawsuit against Gov. Scott Walker and the GOP's voter-suppression laws in WI; to the League of Women Voters state suit against same; to the jackass Jeffery Karnitz in WI recently arrested after defacing 'Recall Walker' petitions; to our Special Report this week on the battle for election integrity in Venango County, PA and the unexplained "remote access" on "multiple occasions" found, via a forensic investigation, to have taken place on their ES&S e-voting systems during recent elections (and the attempt by ES&S and the County Commissioners to spike that investigation by the county Board of Elections.)
What a show that coulda been!
The bad news: I couldn't do it today at KPFK for the aforementioned reason. The good news: Mike Malloy has asked me, at the last-ish minute, to guest host his show this Friday night! So today's show prep for KPFK will be delivered to Malloy listeners on Friday instead!
Relatedly, I'll also be in for Mike next Friday (before XMas weekend) and the Thursday and Friday thereafter (before New Years weekend). As usual, we'll have LIVE listening streams and chat rooms here during the show each night that I'm guest hosting, 6p-9p PT / 9p-Mid ET, so I hope you'll join us! Especially since it'll be our last few nights on our Clear Channel affiliate, Green960 in San Francisco, before the only progressive AM talk station on the air in one of the nation's most liberal cities disappears from our public airwaves!
For now, anyway, these things are all First World Problems. Though only as long as we remain a First World Nation. Given the way things are going, that is no longer a safe bet for much longer...
I was also delighted to join my Green News Report co-host Desi Doyen this morning on former Air America host Betsy Rosenberg's On The Green Front radio show. Rosenberg is a feisty and smart --- and very funny --- voice in green media, and we were delighted to make our first-ever live appearance on her show today! We talked about the RW Denialism Industry, the genesis of the Green News Report, the impending shutdown of Green960 in San Francisco (the only progressive AM station on the public airwaves!) and the over-all failure of the corporate media to cover perhaps the most important story of our lifetime.
Oh, and it starts off with a swell special message from the D.C. King of the Deniers, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)! Really!...
I was honored to have both the infamous "OccupyFreedomLA" (aka Freedom) and the notorious "OakFoSho" (aka Spencer Mills), citizen journalists both, join me live in-studio today on my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show after they spent the entire night live video-streaming the LAPD's de-occupation of OccupyLA at City Hall for the entire world.
So it was awesome to meet them in person to discuss the art of live-stream citizen journalism, get the scoop on how they do it, how you too can also be the media as a live-streamer with little more than a smartphone, and to get some inside skinny on what happened last night as they tried to help counter the spin by corporate media and the 1,400 strong LAPD contingent, to ensure that "the whole world was watching."
It was a fun and, hopefully, informative interview/discussion. Give it a listen!
P.S. Naturally, both of 'em live streamed the interview from the studio as it happened! So, while the sound quality isn't nearly as good, and you won't get to hear the sound clips or music from their inside-the-studio cameras, the archived video versions of each of their live streams follow below, if you prefer...
More on Occupation Nation tonight, as I continue to guest host the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show. Tune in tonight at 6p PT / 9p ET. We'll have live listening links and an occupied chat room right here at The BRAD BLOG! (Audio archives of last night's show are here.)
This afternoon on my Pacifica Radio show on KPFK here in Los Angeles (and up and down the West Coast) I interviewed Dr. Roger Johnston of Argonne National Lab's Vulnerability Assessment Team on their $26 "Man-in-the-Middle" attack on a Diebold touch-screen voting system as I reported yesterday in my exclusive at Salon (and here at The BRAD BLOG.)
While yesterday's reports included information on the team's previous, similar-ish hack of a Sequoia touch-screen system, and the fact they feel they could do the same with most other e-voting systems, among the interesting new points raised during our discussion on KPFK today is that Johnston believes they could use a similar method to manipulate the vote count on a paper-ballot based optical-scan system as well!
So, in other words, the low-rent attack Argonne has demonstrated --- requiring no knowledge of the voting system software, $10 to $26 in off-the-shelf computer parts, and little more than an 8th grade computer lab education --- could also be implemented not just on touch-screen e-voting systems, with or without a so-called "paper trail," but also on the paper ballot op-scanners used to count the majority of votes that will be cast in the U.S. in next year's Presidential election.
Note: Of the media outlets listed above, only CNET got the ownership of Diebold voting equipment correct in their reports. Both The Register and ComputerWorld incorrectly report that ES&S now has ownership of what had been Diebold Election Systems, Inc. In fact, while ES&S, the world's largest e-voting company, did purchase the company (that some refer to as DESI, but I do not, for personal reasons) in late 2009, the DoJ ordered them to sell it off due to anti-trust concerns. It was then purchased by Canadian firm Dominion Voting, though ES&S was allowed to retain a fair number of the contracts from Diebold jurisdictions that preferred to stay with ES&S. So while Dominion officially owns what was Diebold's election division, ES&S still maintains and services many Diebold machines as well. Dominion also took over Sequoia --- and lied about it --- shortly thereafter.
"Whether he discussed it or not, he's doing their bidding," insists Jeff Tittel, the director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. "The Governor has a problem about completely telling the truth. If the Governor was Pinocchio, you'd be getting hit with his nose about now."
Those were among Tittel's remarks today during my interview with him this afternoon on my Pacifica Radio show here on KPFK in Los Angeles. (Full audio posted below.) Needless to say, he doesn't have much confidence in NJ Gov. Chris Christie's latest denials about his relationship with the billionaire oil magnate Koch brothers.
As we've reported over the past 24 hours, last night, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) scammed a local radio host concerning his meetings with the Rightwing billionaires. Earlier today, finally, local media forced a direct answer from him on whether he ever discussed the landmark Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) with the Kochs. The co-owners of Koch Industries, the second largest private company in the nation, which they inherited from their father, hate the RGGI cap-and-trade plan to curb pollutants, as created by 10 Northeastern states. Christie's unilateral withdraw from the agreement last May was a shocker, though one celebrated by the Kochs and their well-funded Climate Change Denial Machine who had long been lobbying against it.
Today, Christie denied the topic ever came up in either of two now-known private meetings with Kochs, both revealed by Part 2 of our exclusive report last week at Mother Jones on the secret speech Christie gave for the Kochs at their ultra-exclusive Summer Seminar near Vail, CO last June, and David Koch's introduction to it. (Audio we obtained and transcribed, from that speech, is posted right here.)
After we'd broken the story last week, Tittel, told AP the secret Koch Tapes provide "the smoking gun that shows [Christie's] been working with the Koch brothers from the beginning."
But now, even after Christie insists that discussion of RGGI "never came up" during discussions at either the Colorado appearance, or during his secret two-hour meeting with David Koch in New York City earlier this year, Tittle is not inclined to believe him. He explained his reasons why on today's KPFK show, where you'll also get to hear some of the audio from the Koch seminar (such as when Koch describes Christie as "my kind of guy"), and Christie's bamboozling of the NJ radio host who had asked him about the topic last night...
One of the firestorms has even led the Democratic Speaker of the NJ Assembly to call Gov. Chris Christie "disgraceful," charge that his comments about her were "outright lies," that he is "not fit to lead the state," and that she is "beginning to wonder if Gov. Christie is mentally deranged." All statements given to local media late today in response to our release of the tapes. Though some local Dems are still wondering if it may be the Speaker, rather than Christie, who is hiding the truth.
As I described in my BRAD BLOG piece linking to Part 2 at MoJo on Wednesday morning, the good citizens of the Garden State (and the whole of the mainstream media along with them) learned only yesterday that their Republican Governor had snuck out of state on June 26th, right after appearing on Meet the Press, jetted across the country to deliver the keynote address at the super-secret, ultra-exclusive gathering of rightwing corporate barons and billionaires --- otherwise known as the Koch Brothers 2011 Summer Seminar --- at a resort near Vail, Colorado, before he then flew back home to NJ that night, and went on to appear on three cable news shows, in studio in Manhattan, the next morning. Nobody ever knew he was gone --- at least until my story broke at MoJo yesterday morning.
More on the Part 2 fallout, including new details, confirmations from officials, ignited firestorms and opened hornets' nests below. But first, I wanted to front page these nice comments from an NPR report by Frank James, which helps to put this entire flurry of Koch muckraking in perspective:
The reports are well worth taking time to read not just for the secret thrill you'll get from glimpsing something never intended for the public eye.
It's a look behind the curtain of how big money is raised in conservative circles that's a worthwhile addition to our sum of knowledge about how American politics is practiced in the early 21st Century.
Indeed. And with that, on to the summary of yesterday's noteworthy fallout and, at points, rather mucky, developments...
This was an important discussion about an important article about one of the most important issues to directly effect the outcome of virtually every election in the nation in 2012. None of that, apparently, given what the rest of the MSM decided to cover today, is any where near as important as whether John Boehner will allow the President to speak to a joint session of Congress on Sept 7th or or whether it'll have to be on Sept 8th, and whether Christine O'Donnell or Sarah Palin will appear at a "Tea Party" event this weekend in Iowa.
And you wonder why we're in the mess we're in.
My conversation on "The GOP War on Voting" with Ari Berman today follows...
On today's BradCast on Pacifica Radio's KPFK here in Los Angeles, I picked up on all that's transpired over the last several days in the Wisconsin recall mess, as reported at The BRAD BLOG of late, including yesterday's late-night concerns about our old friend Kathy Nickolaus, the GOP activist and County Clerk of Waukesha County which played a key role in last night's drama and reported results.
On my Pacifica Radio show on KPFK in Los Angeles today, I interviewed Karen Bernal, chair of the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party (CDP) on their new resolution in support of a primary challenge to President Obama. [Audio posted below.]
I was struck during my conversation this afternoon with Bernal when she mentioned the CDP had actually considered "punishment" for the caucus for, apparently, even daring to suggest such a challenge to Obama, much less for overwhelmingly passing a resolution in favor it by some 75 of their members. While attacking the party's nominee might be in violation of the party's rules, the fact is, to my knowledge, the DNC has yet to nominate a candidate for the 2012 Presidential election.
It seems the CDP might do well to remember what the "D" stands for in their name.
Since today's interview, the San Francisco Chronicle's Joe Garofoli has posted a column on the matter, including some comments from Bernal and, of more note here, some, uh, colorful comments about the Progressive Caucus resolution and the idea of a primary against the President, by California Democratic Party chair John Burton. It's worth noting, as Garofoli did, that Burton supported the primary challenge against President Jimmy Carter by Sen. Ted Kennedy back in 1980. He's singing a different tune now. Of course, Kennedy didn't win that primary challenge, Carter won the re-nomination and he ended up losing in a landslide to Reagan --- for whatever that comparison may be worth. (Not too much, in my humble opinion.)
Also, progressive author and journalist David Swanson sent me a link to this new website, StopHoping.org, at which you can vote on whether Obama should be primaried and, if so, by whom.
On my Pacifica Radio show today on KPFK in Los Angeles, I discussed yesterday's report at The BRAD BLOG concerning the woman who was forced to jump ridiculous hoops while trying to help her son get Photo ID at the Wisconsin DMV in the wake of the new GOP voter suppression law there which institutes polling place Photo ID restrictions before legal voters are allowed to cast their legal vote.
By the way, I spoke to the woman today --- who'd like to be identified only as Nicole --- and she made clear that her video was not secretly taped (as, for example, James O'Keefe's ACORN hoax tapes were). Her video camera was on the table and in plain sight the whole time, she told me.
As seen (and heard) in her video tape, during the process of trying to get the Photo ID for free at the DMV, as allowed by the new statute, the son's bank statements were rifled through, and questioned as to whether they showed enough "activity" on them. Also, they were almost charged $28 for the "free" ID, which brought up questions as to why the WI DMV policy is to charge applicants, unless they know to "request" the ID for no charge.
I also took the opportunity during the show to offer a bit more background context, including a 1980 sound clip from Paul Weyrich, one of the "conservative" movement godfathers, during which he calls for fewer people to be allowed to vote. "Quite candidly," he said to the convention of Baptist ministers where Ronald Reagan and Jerry Falwell also spoke, "our leverage in elections goes up when the voting populace goes down."
That's what all of this is about. He says it quite plainly in the video tape.
Weyrich went on to found the non-profit American Legislative Exchange Counsel (ALEC), the group of Rightwingers said to be responsible for writing the polling place Photo ID restriction laws being passed by Republicans now in state after state. I also share some hard stats on who will actually be affected by these laws (and who will not.) And, for good measure, I tossed in some Stephen Colbert speaking about Photo ID and "voter fraud" as well.
As I'm on the road this week and next (and thus, posting may also be a bit lighter here than usual, but we'll see), I took the opportunity this week to re-purpose a recent interview for my show today on Pacifica Radio's KPFK in Los Angeles.
The interview is with Ken Morris and Jeanne "AK Muckraker" Devon of the great Alaska blog, The Mudflats. The two progressives are co-authors with Frank Bailey, a long time Sarah Palin aide, of Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin: A Memoir of Our Tumultuous Years, as based on tens of thousands of previously undisclosed emails between Bailey and the now-infamous former governor of Alaska.
Morris and Devon discuss their experience and secret process in coming together with the conservative Bailey to write the book, how the inside information from Palin's private emails colored their perspective on her, and whether they think she is still inclined to jump into the 2012 Presidential race. I think it's a fascinating and fun conversation, so I hope you'll enjoy it here if you missed it when it originally ran live while I was recently guest-hosting the Mike Malloy Show a week or two ago.
Today on my show on Pacifica Radio's KPFK in Los Angeles, I spent the first part on a "Republican War on Democracy" update.
The update kicked off this week with the latest details in the story of Indiana's new Republican Sec. of State Charlie White who is facing seven felony charges, three of them for voter fraud, as yesterday, the Indiana Recount Commission found (incredibly enough) that though White was registered at his ex-wife's house to vote (rather than his own) and had re-married and purchased a condominium, he actually hoped to someday move back into the ex-wife's house. Therefore, he wasn't illegally registered to vote, so he was not illegally on the ballot, so he gets to remain as Indiana's Secretary of State. So sayeth the Indiana Recount Commission.
The Democrats who filed the complaint with the commission may still decide to take the case to court where, in the meantime, White is still facing those seven felony violations. (Did I mention that three of them are related to voter fraud?)
As well, I offered a quick review of all of the other recent high-profile GOP vote fraudsters, such as Ann Coulter, Gov. Mitt Romney, Ambassador Jon Huntsman and Rep. Todd Akin, and the latest news on which states' GOP-fueled voter-suppressing polling-place Photo ID restrictions have been passed into law, and which ones have been thankfully stopped by gubernatorial vetoes.
Also, there was a remarkable statement by Ohio's new Republican Sec. of State John Husted against Photo ID disenfranchisement recently! He deserves big props for that!
In the second part of the show, I was joined by Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen's energy program. He's an expert on the dangers and pitfalls of nuclear power and other fossil fuels. We discussed the unprecedented floods threatening the Fort Calhoun and Cooper nuclear plants in Nebraska; the wildfire threats to New Mexico's Los Alamos nuclear site; the woeful state of nuke plants across the country (as detailed of late in Jeff Donn of AP's remarkable investigative reports here, here, here & here); and the fact that there seems to be absolutely nobody at the federal level of our government able or willing to do a damn thing to protect the citizens from the looming and growing dangers.
My interview with Slocum (and a shot at climate change denying Rep. Steve King (R-IA)) is here:
"Over the past several decades, Republican methods for winning national power have come to resemble CIA techniques for destabilizing an enemy country --- through the use of black propaganda, political skullduggery and economic disruptions," Parry argues rather convincingly in his article which is also cross-posted at Alternet under the title, "The GOP's CIA Playbook: Destabilize Country to Sweep Back into Power".
So with the GOP doing what they've done now for years, placing party far ahead of country --- and, as Parry explains, mirroring strategies used in the past to take down foreign nations like Chile --- who is really to blame for the destruction they continue to wreak? Them? The media for enabling them? The Democrats for having no apparent strategy to counter them? Or the American public, for being gullible enough to fall for it time and time again?
My conversation with Parry today on all of the above (and a few words about Obama's "draw down" from Afghanistan), follows below.