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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, August 24, 2016
NSA Hacking Tools in the Wild, Hackable Elections in the US: 'BradCast' 8/23/16
Guest: Princeton computer scientist, e-vote 'hacker' Andrew Appel; Also: Obama in LA and Trump's latest vote suppression dog-whistle...
'Green News Report' 8/23/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
. Media failure on LA flooding; Floods accelerate Zika virus; PLUS: A tale of two warming Arctics -- Native American tribe forced to move, luxury cruises just getting started...
Previous GNRs: 8/18/16 - 8/16/16 - Archives...
'What Do You Have to Lose?': 'BradCast' 8/22/16
Trump 'pivots', reaches out to African-American voters, forgets to tell the rest of his party...
Sunday Toons of the Makeover Moment
PDiddie's round up of his favorite toons from last week focuses on campaign shake-ups, shuffles, makeovers and other political reality avoidance techniques...
Three Daves:
'BradCast' 8/19/16
Guest host Angie Coiro with guests Dave Johnson of Campaign for America's Future, David Atkins of Washington Monthly, and Chain of Title author David Dayen...
6th Circuit Panel Upholds 'Straight-Party' Voting In MI
Republican AG vows appeal despite availability of optional voting method in the state for 125 straight years, and its disproportionate use at the polls by African-American voters...
DoJ to 'End' Private For-Profit Federal Prison System: 'BradCast' 8/18/16
Guest: Carl Takei of ACLU's National Prison Project; Plus: GOP 'Civil War' vs. Reality and The Donald comes up short in NYC...
'Green News Report' 8/18/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
. Explosive new CA fire forces evacs for 80,000; New rules for heavy duty trucks; Report: Ending oil subsidies won't raise gas prices; PLUS: First-ever U.S. offshore wind farm...
Previous GNRs: 8/16/16 - 8/11/16 - Archives...
Send in the Clowns:
'BradCast' 8/17/16
Eric Boehlert on Trump's bizarre staff shake-up; Plus: NC GOP's desperate voter suppression Hail Mary, California burning, and 'Bye-Bye' to John McLaughlin...
NC Files with SCOTUS for Emergency Stay of Unlawful Vote Suppression Law
State Republicans display remarkable chutzpah in their last gasp argument to keep a 'racially discriminatory' statute in place for November...
'Rogue' DEA Punts Pot: 'BradCast' 8/16/16
Guest: Michael Collins of Drug Policy Alliance on 'rotten to core' DEA's marijuana announcement; Plus: 'Third-party' Presidential woes, disturbing climate news, more...
'Green News Report' 8/16/16
. Another historic, deadly rain event in LA; Another massive fire in CA; July 2016 Earth's hottest month ever recorded; PLUS: Green Party nom Jill Stein on climate...
Facts Behind Fraud: 'BradCast' 8/15/16
Debunking Trump on terror, 'voter fraud' in PA and climate change; Plus: Even Rightwing propagandists beginning to realize 'We've created this monster'...
Sunday Toons of Performance Art Moment
Trump fails to win the gold in this week's Presidential olympics. Plus, other pratfalls in PDiddie's latest collection of his favorite toons of the past week...
An Excess of Trump: 'BradCast' 8/12/2016
Isn't he gone yet? Angie Coiro guest hosts, with guests RJ Eskow of 'The Zero Hour' and Gotta Laff of 'The Nicole Sandler Show'...
Emergency Filing to Avoid WI Vote Suppression
Action sought in response to partisan 7th Circuit panel rollback of recent remedy that would have restored voting rights to thousands under GOP Photo ID law...
Big Oil and Big Tobacco: Old Docs, New Revelations: 'BradCast' 8/11/16
Guest: Carroll Muffett of CIEL on oil and tobacco in bed on denial since 1940s; Plus: The Trump coverage dilemma...
'Green News Report' 8/11/16
Trump's 'new' energy plan; Clinton coal country plan; Industrial chemicals in drinking water of 6M Americans; PLUS: Court ruling sets major climate precedent...
'2nd Amndmnt People': 'BradCast' 8/10/16
Donald Trump's 'stochastic terrorism'; (temporary?) bad news for voters in WI; good voting news in TX; Listener calls on all of the above...
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: 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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Trump 'pivots', reaches out to African-American voters, forgets to tell the rest of his party...
By Brad Friedman on 8/22/2016 5:40pm PT  

Donald Trump's newly celebrated 'pivot' to becoming a 'maturity' as a Presidential candidate, as declared by some Republicans and some in the corporate media, may be far less of a 'pivot' than he and his surrogates are pretending, especially in his new attempts to woo African-American voters.

On today's BradCast [audio link posted below.], we take a look at some of the claims of Trump's surrogates, and how they stack up against reality. (Hint: Taking out a newspaper ad calling for the death penalty for five African-American kids found completely innocent of a horrible crime doesn't seem a particularly smart way to woo the African-American vote.)

Similarly, if the GOP wants to reach out to minority voters, they have a very peculiar way of showing it, as Republican Party officials, operatives and Governors --- from CA to NC, from NJ to MI --- re-double their efforts to keep 'certain' voters from being able to cast a vote at all this November.

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: Eric Boehlert of Media Matters on the latest 'rightwing media coup'; Plus: California burning and 'Bye-Bye' to John McLaughlin...
By Brad Friedman on 8/17/2016 5:24pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Trump turns to a Rightwing 'news' blogger with no experience in national elections to help him save his campaign, and North Carolina Republicans further reveal their desperation to keep Democrats away from the voting booth this November. [Audio link posted at bottom of article.]

But first, California continues to pay the huge, early costs of climate change as brand new wildfires explode in bone-dry Southern California, leading to evacuations of more than 80,000 residents today and the destruction of an untold number of structures, including at least one Route 66 landmark.

Then, Donald Trump responds to plummeting poll numbers with a staff shake-up that taps a Rightwing media huckster with no political experience, from far-right propaganda/conspiracy website Breitbart 'News', to head up his campaign. Eric Boehlert from Media Matters joins us to explain how the GOP establishment's demand that the Republican nominee begin running a more traditional campaign has been answered by Trump's decision to do the complete opposite, as illustrated by the new hires.

"This is someone who has no campaign experience," Boehlert, a longtime Breitbart watcher explains, describing Trump's new campaign chief Stephen Bannon. "The Trump campaign, which has been hit hard for being amateurish, for having no ground game, for having no advance teams, poor fund-raising, no surrogate operation --- they decided what they really need is someone at the top of the campaign who's never been on a campaign, let alone a presidential campaign."

"There's already this raging civil war within the conservative media. We've never seen anything like it," he says. "In terms of that civil war, people were already pointing to Breitbart as the problem. So, for Trump to now go to Breitbart to get a new campaign chief, for the rest of the conservative movement, it's just proof positive that everyone in the Trump campaign is just completely off the rails and have no idea what they're doing."

"There's going to be so many reckonings after November," Boehlert predicts. We'll see if he's right about that.

In the meantime, desperate North Carolina Republicans have now filed an emergency petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to help them keep the state's "racially discriminatory" voter suppression law in place through November, even as GOP officials around the state work to adopt new restrictions on voting in lieu of the sweeping election law recently struck down by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals for having "target[ed] African-Americans with nearly surgical precision".

At this point, for unpopular Republicans in NC --- and, similarly, around much of the rest of the country --- voter suppression may be one of just a very few ways they have left to save their bacon this November.

Finally today, we say "Bye-Bye!" to legendary broadcaster John McLaughlin, who changed the political media landscape (for both better and worse), following news of his death this week at age 89...

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

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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By Brad Friedman on 8/15/2016 5:59pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: While the corporate media continues to amplify Trump's BS, we do our best to counter it with actual, independently verifiable facts. Yes, it is possible. [Audio to full show linked below.]

Fact-checks on today's program include long-disproven and yet still-repeated nonsense from Trump's 'major speech on national security and terrorism' in Ohio on Monday --- (You knew it wasn't going to go well when it started with former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani claiming that in the "eight years before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attacks in the United States".) --- and on Trump's wildly misleading claims about 'voter fraud' in Pennsylvania on Friday.

Trump's latest lie concerning voters voting multiple times "in certain areas" in Pennsylvania (they don't) and about the 59 precincts in Philadelphia where Romney received zero votes in 2012 (he did, as we reported at the time, finding it to be neither surprising nor "fraudulent") have all been debunked long ago. But, as he and other desperate Republicans repeat the same bullshit, as he keeps sinking in the polls, we're happy to revisit the facts once again so you can check 'em for yourself.

As to the GOP Presidential nominee's new scheme to combat that 'voter fraud' in PA with police officers and citizens observers, he may be calling for something that is a violation of a long-standing, federal court-approved, 1983 consent decree, signed by the Republican National Committee after a similar voter intimidation scheme was carried out by the GOP in minority areas of New Jersey. We explain.

Also on today's program: Very important news from over the weekend that has not received the coverage it deserves. From the two Muslim clerics gunned-down execution style in broad daylight in Trump's hometown of Queens, NY on Saturday, to the devastating and growing cost of climate change as 20,000 residents of Louisiana were rescued amid record rain and flooding ("close to two feet over a 48-hour period") and 4,000 were evacuated as hundreds of homes were destroyed (for the second year in a row) amid wildfires in just one small, rural county in bone-dry California.

Finally on today's BradCast: the Rightwing talk radio host who may have finally realized what he and his fellow propagandists have done. "There's got to be a reckoning on all this," he said this weekend. "We've created this monster."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Politico feature on Princeton computer scientists who cracked U.S. e-voting and tabulation systems offers what could be very good news
Also: TX agrees to restore reasonable ID requirements; Wingnut climate dead-enders...
By Brad Friedman on 8/5/2016 6:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast, amidst a fresh flurry of mainstream media coverage of how simple it is to manipulate election results via electronic voting and tabulation systems, Politico Magazine offers a blockbuster cover story describing it as "child's play" and, as it turns out, also serving as a virtual "Best Of" from the past 15 years of The BRAD BLOG's coverage of e-voting failure and concerns. [Audio link to full show posted below.]

Ben Wofford's 8,500+ word feature today on how a group of computer scientists and cybersecurity experts coming out of Princeton University have, in recent years, been able to hack virtually every such system still in use across all 50 states in the U.S., details one story after another that we've either broken or covered in detail, and highlights the brilliant work of a bunch of the scientists and experts who I've interviewed on the blog or radio show or who have otherwise served as sources for much of my reporting over the years both at The BRAD BLOG and other publications.

(Just a very few of those greatest hit hacks from over the years: the Diebold Touch-Screen Virus Hack, the Sequoia Pac-Man Hack, the $26 Radio Shack Hack, the D.C. Internet Voting Hack.)

More importantly (as I detailed earlier today), Wofford's lengthy and well-researched report offers hints that even the computer scientists are finally beginning to concede that the most secure voting and counting system of all may be plain old, hand-marked paper ballots, publicly counted by hand at each precinct on election night before ballots are moved anywhere. (What I've long described as "Democracy's Gold Standard".)

As Shane Harris reports at The Daily Beast this week in his piece "How Hackers Could Destroy Election Day", there are many ways that electronic voting and tabulation threatens American democracy, including by someone merely claiming that the vote has been hacked, whether it really has been or not. "If you have a system that's been shown to have vulnerabilities, even if someone doesn't attack them, but creates the impression that they might have, in a closely contested elections you've got a problem," explains Johns Hopkins' computer scientist Avi Rubin, one of the first to detail the enormous vulnerabilities in computer tabulator source code (in systems made by Diebold, in that case.)

Also today: After the nation's most conservative federal appeals court recently found Texas Republicans violated the Voting Rights Act with their racially discriminatory Photo ID voting law, the state agrees to a court-ordered remedy that broadly expands ID types that may be used for voting, re-enfranchising at least 600,000 legally registered, disproportionately Dem-leaning Texas voters in the bargain.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with some accountability in Michigan, and to bat down several persistent wingnut climate changes myths (from Donald Trump and WI's Republican Sen. Ron Johnson among others) that just won't die, no matter how much independently verifiable science gets thrown at them...

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

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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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Or, how Politico summarizes much of BRAD BLOG's 15 years of e-voting coverage in 8,500 smart words....
By Brad Friedman on 8/5/2016 1:15pm PT  

Please read the cover story of Politico Magazine today headlined "How to Hack an Election in 7 Minutes". Ben Wofford's excellent, comprehensive feature summarizes a great deal of almost 15 years of our work here at The BRAD BLOG. He focuses his piece on the core of computer science and cybersecurity experts initially working out of Princeton University back in 2005 or so, who have, since that time, gone on to publicly hack virtually every electronic voting system and tabulator still in use around the country (and even, looking forward, hacking at least one planned Internet Voting scheme.)

We've covered and/or broke the news about many of those landmark exploits, both here and on the radio, going back through 2005 or so. I don't have time to collect all the links here at the moment, but it's very nice to see so many of them rounded up so thoroughly in Wofford's piece.

The 8,500+ word article is far too detailed to adequately summarize, or even quote from in detail here. So please go pour a tall drink or cup of coffee (you may need several, there's a lot there) and go read about the "parabola of havoc and mismanagement that has been the fifteen-year nightmare of state and local officials", as he accurately describes it, following the horrifically misguided and ill-advised move to computerized voting and tabulation systems following the 2000 election. I suspect we've filed almost as many articles on this topic as Wofford has words in today's piece!

But there's one element of his piece I want to ring in on specifically, as I think it represents something a bit more encouraging from the computer scientists who are discussed in the report than I have seen over the years...

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




Guest: Indiana University cybersecurity law expert Scott Shackelford | Also: Why your right to vote matters, 52 years after 'Freedom Summer'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/4/2016 6:11pm PT  

On today's BradCast, after great news on voting rights from a bunch of state and federal courts over the past week, and sudden concerns from the the Right, the Left and the corporate media about the possibility of stolen elections, the Dept. of Homeland Security is finally looking into taking action. [Audio link to today's program posted below.]

"We should carefully consider whether our election system, our election process is critical infrastructure, like the financial sector, like the power grid," DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said this week. "There’s a vital national interest in our electoral process."

Years ago, I began reporting on the serious vulnerability of our election system to manipulation (and error) from both foreign and domestic sources. In 2006, for example, after helping supply computer security analysts at Princeton University with a Diebold touch-screen voting system for the first independent tests of such a machine, I reported both at The BRAD BLOG and at Salon that the analysts were able to hack into it, in about 60 seconds time, with a virus that would flip election results and pass itself from machine to machine with virtually no possibility of detection. That followed on an Exclusive series of 2005 reports from a Diebold insider who I called "DIEB-THROAT" at the time, describing how the company's lead programmers admitted that the security on their systems was terrible and that a branch of DHS had already warned, in 2004, about an "undocumented back door" in the systems.

In 2009, by way of just one more example, we reported here on remarks delivered to the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) by CIA cybersecurity analyst Steven Stigall, describing how "wherever the vote becomes an electron and touches a computer, that's an opportunity for a malicious actor potentially to make bad things happen," before going on to note that the CIA became interested in electronic voting systems years earlier "after concluding that foreigners might try to hack U.S. election systems."

So, it is with some skepticism that I regard Johnson's remarks this week about finally taking action to identify our existing, vulnerable electoral system as "critical infrastructure". Is it too little, too late on the eve of another Presidential election? And is it even possible to protect the type of electronic vote casting and counting systems we currently use in our elections? And what does the designation as "critical infrastructure" actually mean any way?

I'm joined on today's program for some answers by Scott Shackelford, cybersecurity law and business expert from Indiana University and the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfter Center, to explain some of this, and to describe some of the ways in which the U.S. might expand existing international agreements to keep domestic elections from being tampered with by foreign powers. Shackelford, writes about the issue this week at the Christian Science Monitor in an op-ed titled "How to make democracy harder to hack."

"It definitely is too late at this point to wake up and get all 9,000 jurisdictions on board for November," he tells me today. "Maybe instead of focusing quite so much on driver's licenses [to prevent fraud] and making sure we have different IDs in some of these states, it would've been great to have put that focus a little bit more on cybersecurity. But that didn't happen."

For what it's worth, my answer, after more than a decade on this beat: No, it's not possible to protect the type of electronic systems we currently use without moving to what I describe as "Democracy's Gold Standard". But Shackelford offers several ways we can, at least, try to improve the situation and mitigate the current dangers, as well as some thoughts on why action has been so long in coming. "Elections do quite a bit to focus minds. It is unfortunate that we lose some of that focus in the aftermath of these elections," he says.

Also today, why the right to vote is so important, whether you like it or use it or not, and why, for me, at least, it's still about rights, not politics, some 52 years to the day after the bodies of civil rights activists Andrew Goodman, James Earl Chaney and Michael Henry Schwerner were found after being murdered in Mississippi for trying to help register African-Americans to vote in 1964.

And, finally, speaking of vulnerable, as deadly, climate-fueled extreme weather continues across the planet, Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, up for re-election this year against former Democratic U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, offers up some of the dumbest, most embarrassing, scientifically disproven and just out-and-out inaccurate arguments against taking action on climate change that he could possibly muster. All of that and more on today's BradCast...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guest: ACLU Voting Rights Project attorney Julie Ebenstein
Plus: Hillary's DNC bounce, Trump 'unfit', and very bad monkeys...
By Brad Friedman on 8/2/2016 6:19pm PT  

On today's BradCast I'm joined by litigator Julie Ebenstein, staff attorney with the ACLU Voting Rights Project, to discuss the remarkable string of encouraging voting rights victories in courts in some six different states over just the past few days.

The long-fought and long-sought wins in both federal and state courtrooms in North Carolina and Wisconsin (as Ernie Canning reported earlier today), as well as in Texas, Kansas, Michigan and North Dakota (as summarized by The Nation's Ari Berman) in the past two weeks, have severely undercut Republican voter suppression laws imposing Photo ID voting restrictions, cuts to early voting, restrictions on voter registration and much more. As Berman writes: "The Republican war on voting rights is backfiring."

Ebenstein, who has helped lead the legal battle against these discriminatory laws for years, shares my delight over the recent rulings, but is surprised only that they have come so quickly in succession of late. "Given how extreme and egregious some of the laws are," she tells me, "I'm not surprised the courts have found they violate the Constitution. I think a lot of these laws really have gone very far to put barriers in the way of voters and, in many instances, particularly in the way of black voters."

On the courts finally striking down or weakening GOP Photo ID voting restrictions in NC, TX, WI and ND under the Voting Rights Act and/or the Constitution, she explains: "There's a broader recognition that this is really disenfranchising people in a very practical, day-to-day sense. I think the other thing the laws have highlighted, is that they're just not justified. As the North Carolina [ruling] put it, the laws constitute a solution in search of a problem. There's no evidence of any sort of voter impersonation, which is what these laws purport to protect against. So you have laws that will disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of potential voters. It's just shocking when you look at the harm these laws cause and the lack of justification that they were passed [with] in the first place."

But, she stresses, there remain a number of barriers and concerns about the November election and the various primaries leading up to it. "Even though we have a good decision, there's still going to be ongoing challenges. Things do stay in flux for quite some time," Ebenstein tells me, citing ongoing suppression tactics in a number of states, and adding, "I would encourage everybody to check right now whether you're registered, whether your registration is up to date, whether it has the accurate address on file, and [to] know what the rules are."

There's much more important information in our conversation that I can adequately even summarize here, so please give it a listen!

Also today: Hillary Clinton receives a bounce in both national and state polling (including in a number of very "red" states) following last week's Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and Donald Trump's subsequent attacks on the parents of a Muslim-American U.S. Army Captain who is said to have given his life protecting fellow troops in Iraq in 2004. President Obama has declared Trump "unfit" for office in the bargain, and a number of high-ranking, elected GOPers have denounced Trump for it in recent days, but almost none have unendorsed the Republican nominee, much less announced an intention to keep him out of office by voting for Clinton. All of that and election-hating monkeys gone wild on today's BradCast!

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Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton...
By Brad Friedman on 7/29/2016 5:02pm PT  

On today's BradCast, our lead story almost certainly would have been the historic acceptance speech of Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Presidential nomination, but for the landmark ruling out today from a federal appeals court in North Carolina. [Audio link to show is below.]

As reported in more detail at The BRAD BLOG earlier today, the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down North Carolina's massive voting restriction law --- the nation's worst since the Jim Crow era --- finding that it was enacted by state Republicans with "racially discriminatory intent" that "target[ed] African-Americans with almost surgical precision." We cover the court's landmark ruling --- which has far-reaching consequences beyond North Carolina and beyond the 2016 election --- at the top of today's show. As I explain, according to legal experts, it seems almost certain now that today's ruling, following on similarly encouraging blows to GOP Photo ID restrictions in federal courts in both Texas and Wisconsin just last week, will succeed in permanently striking down NC's purposefully disenfranchising poling place Photo ID restriction, reduction to the early voting period, removal of same-day registration, and other disingenuous and unnecessary restrictions on the franchise.

In short, while there are still a very few narrow corridors for appeal or delay for the vote suppressors here, as explained on the show, this is a long coming and very good day for voting rights in America!

Then, we move on to Clinton's historic nomination as the first female nominee to be put forward by one of the two major American political parties. For perspective on that, both historical and political, we are joined once again by Salon's very wise Heather Digby Parton. She and our own Desi Doyen share the personal meaning of Clinton's nomination and acceptance speech and, yes, even the historical significance of Clinton's white pant suit. (Yes, there apparently is one!)

We also go on to discuss how and if the speech --- and the entire week in Philadelphia, for that matter --- met the DNC's goal for reaching out to the bulk of progressive Sanders supporters as well as disaffected Republicans. Parton seems bullish on both matters, and suggests that Clinton's speech, embracing "the most progressive Democratic platform in history" (as hashed out recently by both Clinton and Sanders proponents), represents a potential realignment for American politics.

"By embracing the platform in the way that she did," Parton argues, "having put the Democratic Party at the center of American politics, she has now said, 'That's the center. That progressive platform is where the center of America is. Going forward, that's the mainstream philosophy of America.' It could end up being important because this election may just finish off a realignment that's been in the making for a long time."

Please listen to the show for much more on all of that, as well as our conversation on where the Presidential race and both major political parties are heading from here...with just 100 days left until the 2016 election...on today's exciting thrill ride otherwise known as The BradCast!...

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Huge victory for voting rights comes on heels of similarly encouraging decisions against GOP Photo ID voting restriction in TX, WI...
By Brad Friedman on 7/29/2016 11:30am PT  

The 4th U.S. Circuit of Appeals has struck down all of the very worst provisions of North Carolina's voter suppression law, which we originally described, after it was enacted in 2013, as "the nation most restrictive voter suppression law" and "the worst since the Jim Crow era". Others have described it as "the mother of all voter suppression laws."

In its 83-pages of decisions [PDF], the three-judge panel on the 4th Circuit finds that North Carolina acted with a racially discriminatory intent when enacting the law which included Photo ID voting restrictions, the reduction of early voting days, cancellation of the state's successful same-day registration option, the counting of provisional ballots cast out-of-precinct, and pre-registration of young voters who would be 18 years old by Election Day.

Those provisions, the 4th Circuit holds, "target African-Americans with almost surgical precision."

This is a huge and long-fought victory for voting rights, and it comes on the heels of similar wins within the past week as the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the state of Texas' similarly draconian Photo ID restriction had a racially discriminatory effect, and as a federal court in Wisconsin ordered that state to allow voting provisions for those who do not own the few, narrow types of Photo ID now required to vote at the polling place under the new voting restriction adopted there.

All three laws --- in NC, TX, WI --- were enacted by Republican legislatures and put in place after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the federal Voting Rights Act in 2013...

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




Guest: NY Daily News' Shaun King on the difficult choice to stop Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 7/28/2016 5:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast [audio link posted below], our coverage of the Democratic National Convention continues; a fascinating conversation with a longtime Sanders supporter who explains his gut-wrenching decision to vote for Clinton this November; and pundits on the Right continue to melt down as the two major party conventions illustrate stark differences in world views between Democrats and Republicans.

First up, Donald Trump does not want you to watch the proceedings in Philadelphia, as he told supporters in a fund raising email today. Wednesday night's blockbuster DNC speeches from President Obama and Vice President Biden to the one from Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine to a particularly stinging Trump critique from self-made billionaire and former Republican-turned-Independent NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, make the case for why Trump would be delighted if you didn't notice what was going on in Philly.

But it's not all unity and flowers at the DNC, as some Sanders supporters and anti-war advocates continue to protest, and as polls between Clinton and Trump remain very tight for now.

Then, we're joined by Black Lives Matter advocate and fierce Bernie Sanders supporter Shaun King --- former Daily Kos blogger turned NY Daily News journalist --- to discuss his column this week describing the difficult choice he's made to support Bernie Sanders by supporting Hillary Clinton.

He explains, in detail, that while he's "disgusted that the Democratic establishment clearly did everything in its power to make sure Bernie didn't win," he has determined that Trump represents a "dangerous threat" to the nation that must be stopped with "a necessary vote" for Clinton this fall.

"Donald Trump has out-maneuvered and out-thought seventeen other candidates in the Republican primaries, and I think he's doing it now in this presidential race," King warns. "I think it's going to be a dog-fight to the very end. There's a distinct likelihood he could win. And anybody who says otherwise doesn't really have their finger on what people are thinking right now."

I think it's important that you, particularly Sanders supporters, listen to the conversation, hear out the reasons for his decision --- which he has clearly struggled with --- and then decide for yourself what to make of it. So, I don't want to quote too much from our conversation today. I will note, however, that he tells me: "I trust Bernie as a person and as a politician. He's maybe the only politician I would say that about. I felt like if he could swallow not only a sense of pride but compromise on some of the things that matter most to him --- be it disagreements he's had with the Clinton campaign --- then if he could do that then I could do it."

I also get King's thoughts on why he has long supported (and still supports) Sanders; on the belief of Bernie partisans that the primary was "stolen" by fraud; about the option for voting "third party"; on the idea that only after a Trump win, as some suggest, will the Democratic Party finally learn its lesson; and why it is that some folks at his former journalistic home Daily Kos (one of the places where The BradCast is posted every day) seem to absolutely freak out whenever I report on polling that suggests Clinton may have a difficult time defeating Trump. (Or, frankly, when I report on anything that they perceive as being critical, somehow, of the Democratic nominee. That, even as Sanders supporters elsewhere have been accusing me for months of being a "HillBot". Sigh. As much as I love democracy, sometimes I really hate elections.)

Finally, Bill O'Reilly seems to be melting down, again, as he plays the victim card on behalf of himself and Fox 'News', again, following his recent comments about slavery. All of that and more on today's show...

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Plus: Callers ring in on all of it. Buckle up...
By Brad Friedman on 7/27/2016 5:37pm PT  

On today's BradCast [audio link posted below], the historic nomination of Hillary Clinton for President of the United States on Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, as Dems continue to seek unity in a still-fractured party, Republican nominee Donald Trump calls for Russia to hack and publicly release emails from Clinton's time as Sec. of State, and the latest data-based prediction from FiveThirtyEight.com finds Trump with a 55% likelihood of winning the Presidency, compared to Clinton's 45%, if the election were held today.

With all of that history and madness in mind, we turn to calls from listeners on all of the above. Many (though not all) say they still refuse to vote Clinton, despite Bernie Sanders' plea for them to do so. Others argue why Clinton (and even Trump) should be elected. Our friend and historian Jon Wiener, of The Nation and Pacifica Radio's KPFK also calls in to (somewhat) refute FiveThirtyEight's prediction, and I do my best to challenge everyone to support their positions.

Suffice to say, it was a very lively caller segment today.

We then finish up with Desi Doyen and the Green News Report's wrap up of last week's Republican convention in Cleveland (including a fact-check on Trump's promise to burn much more coal), and new data on more record heat across the globe...

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ALSO: 'Liars and Lucifer and Jail', Oh My! - RNC Day 2 coverage w/ Jimmy Dore in Cleveland, and why he believes Trump is no worse than Clinton...
By Brad Friedman on 7/20/2016 6:22pm PT  

BIG BREAKING NEWS just before going to air for today's BradCast! [Link to complete audio below.] The full, very conservative U.S. 5th Circuit Court of appeals has just issued a very surprising and very encouraging ruling finding that the Texas GOP's long-contested Photo ID voting restrictions are, in fact, a violation of the federal Voting Rights Act!

Moreover, a federal court in Wisconsin issues an order allowing those without GOP-approved Photo IDs to be allowed to vote anyway. And, Day 2 of this year's insane Republican National Convention results in the official nomination of Donald J. Trump for President of the United States.

First up, the very encouraging breaking news out of Texas, where the most conservative appellate court in America has just undercut one of the nation's most draconian Republican Photo ID voting restrictions. Conservatives had been hoping --- despite the lack of voter fraud that could possibly even be deterred by the law --- that the full 5th Circuit would overturn the rulings of court after court after court all finding the GOP law has both a racially discriminatory intent and effect. But it looks like it was not to be. The 5h Circuit's 203-page ruling [PDF] today finds the law in violation of the Voting Rights Act and remands the case back down to the lower court (where it had already been found both unconstitutional and in violation of the VRA), in order to find a remedy that may allow for something like an affidavit to be signed by voters who do not have the strict type of ID now required by Republicans to cast a vote at poling places under the controversial law.

Some 600,000 already legally registered Texans had faced potential disenfranchisement during this fall's Presidential election. That is now looking much less likely, even as the remedy still needs to be fashioned and the case could still go to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, even a tie there would revert the case back to today's very positive ruling by the 5th Circuit. In related news, a federal court struck a "critical blow" to the Wisconsin GOP's version of the same law. The court there has ordered that state to implement a program to allow voters without the newly-requisite Photo ID to vote anyway, by signing an affidavit.

A lot of legal votes may have just been saved today in those two states, as well as in others where similar laws are being challenged by voting rights advocates and/or considered for passage by other Republican-controlled legislatures.

Then, it's on to our somewhat-truncated (due to the above) coverage of Day 2 of the RNC in Cleveland, where the GOP officially nominated Trump as their standard bearer on Tuesday. Comedian Jimmy Dore of Pacifica Radio's Jimmy Dore Show and The Young Turks joins us from Cleveland with a report on his bizarre (if not totally surprising) conversations with Republican delegates at the convention. He then goes on to offer his own impassioned case as to why he, a longtime Bernie Sanders supporter, will not support Hillary Clinton this year, and believes that a Trump Presidency would ultimately be no worse, and perhaps even better for the country, than a Clinton Presidency.

Suffice to say, I disagree with my friend Jimmy on a number of points, despite his well-argued case, in our very lively and spirited conversation today. All of that and much much more in another fast-paced edition of The BradCast! Enjoy!

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

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