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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, April 29, 2016
AZ Primary Lawsuit Dismissed; 'Disappearing' Votes in DE?: 'BradCast' 4/28/16
Emily Levy on court ruling against Phoenix election complaint; DE State Election Commissioner on 4,000 'lost' Sanders votes...
'Green News Report' 4/28/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump goes nuclear over climate; CNN fossil fuel ads beat climate stories; VW docs reveal test fraud; Mitsubishi cheated fuel tests; PLUS: US city mandates solar for new buildings...
Previous GNRs: 4/21/16 - 4/26/16 - Archives...
Primary Landslides for Trump and Clinton and What's Next: 'BradCast' 4/27/16
Also: 'Serial child molester' Hastert sentenced; Encouraging green news; And listener calls...
Blowback in NC, Calls for Hand-Counts in NY:
'BradCast' 4/26/16
GOP operative turned gay rights activist Fred Karger on GOP anti-LGBT lawss; Why voters should support hand-count of NY Primary...
'Green News Report' 4/26/16
30 years after Chernobyl, efforts to contain it; Record signing of Paris Agreement; World Bank calls for global carbon price; PLUS: Solar plane halfway round world...
Cruz, Kasich Join Forces and Some News That Actually Matters: 'BradCast' 4/25/16
Amanda Marcotte on new GOP 'conspiracy'; Plus: Paris Agreement; Mass shooting weekend; Thinking big...
Sunday Toons of the Moment
An 'unplanned' Pulitzer winner and a whole bunch of other worthy toons from the past week, as collected by 'PDiddie'...
'Gyrocopter Guy' Loses Voting Rights Protesting Elections: 'BradCast' 4/22/16
Guest Doug Hughes will go to jail, has 'no regrets'; Also: Former felons re-enfranchised in VA; NY election official suspended for purge...
Time to Open Our Nomination System to All Voters?: 'BradCast' 4/21/16
John Opdycke on 'Open Primaries'; Also: Prince dead at 57; 'Outrage' over Tubman; Paper ballots return to MD...
'Green News Report' 4/21/16
Criminal charges in Flint; BP victims protest new leases; Mexican oil facility explosion kills 3; U.S. air pollution; PLUS: World leaders to sign Paris Agreement...
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...


(And how did Jim Gilmore 'win' an entire Massachusetts town?!)
By Brad Friedman on 3/2/2016 6:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast we examine what the big Super Tuesday wins mean, and don't, for both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, as well what the media is both misreporting and failing to report at all. [Audio linked below.]

First, the GOP is now in full panic mode following Trump's seven-state victory yesterday, as the DNC and corporate media use misleading numbers to describe Clinton's own seven-state victory. In addition to the general horse-race numbers, and the Republican drama, we examine how the MSM continues to ill-serve the public in their coverage of the Democratic race to date, specifically when it comes to the unpledged so-called "SuperDelegates".

We also look at a few more of the more than 2,000 reports of voting problems that came into the non-partisan Election Protection coalition yesterday; More touch-screen trouble, this time in TN; And what the hell happened in Chelsea, MA, where former VA Gov. Jim Gilmore(!?!), who dropped out of the race weeks ago, crushed the Republican Primary competition, at least according to the paper-ballot optical-scan computers that tallied the results last night?...

The paper ballots in Chelsea were initially tabulated by the same type of op-scan systems used in states all over the country and shown to be capable of flipping elections without notice in the jaw-dropping finale of HBO's Emmy-nominated 2006 documentary Hacking Democracy. Today, the numbers have now been "corrected" [PDF] by the clerk's office [Update: The link to the document at the Chelsea government site is now broken, so here's a copy of the PDF that had been linked there] and, apparently, chalked up to "the computer system that reported the results". Ya don't say. Was it anything like this similar failure from Stoughton, WI in 2014?

Also today: Listener email in response to my interview earlier this week with Current Affairs magazine editor Nathan J. Robinson, who had offered his persuasive case, based on his recent feature article, for why Trump is likely to win the Presidency if Democrats fail to nominate Bernie Sanders. We look at the arguments from a number of you who disagreed with Robinson.

Finally: A short, but refreshing break from politics as Scott Kelly, the American astronaut who has been in space for the past year, returns safely to Earth with his Russian counterpart in furtherance of NASA's planned manned missions to Mars...

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

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GUEST: Journalist and media activist Sue Wilson...
By Brad Friedman on 3/1/2016 4:42pm PT  

As voters head to the polls in a dozen Super Tuesday states, we cover a number of the problems voters are already reportedly facing on today's BradCast, as well as how Donald Trump or Ted Cruz could actually help save democracy --- and our public airwaves --- by filing some lawsuits! [Link to audio for full show is posted below.]

First up today: The 866-OUR-VOTE Election Protection hotline is reporting a number of problems at polling places around the country so far today, particularly in states that were once covered by Section 5 of the (now-gutted) Voting Rights Act. Problem reports as of this afternoon include long lines at some precincts caused by failing electronic poll book systems, state voter registration and polling location databases being offline and confusion over new Photo ID voting restrictions.

Moreover, as expected, there is trouble once again with touch-screen voting systems in a number of states. Democrats in at least one Georgia precinct were given Republican ballots when they went to vote on their 100% unverifiable voting machines and, in Williamson County, TX, north of Austin, voters are reporting unverifiable touch-screen votes flipping from one candidate to another --- from Trump to Rubio (or someone else) in the cases reported so far.

As usual, here is our friendly reminder that many problems with voting systems, and the results they produce, do not come to light until well after Election Day. So, we will continue to keep our eyes on these issues, as ever. (And here are a few tips from 2014 on what to do about such probs should they happen to you today or in the upcoming primaries!)

Then, we're joined by award-winning journalist and media activist Sue Wilson of the Media Action Center to discuss her new article on how Ted Cruz or Donald Trump could actually help save democracy --- and the fight for facts over our public airwaves --- by filing lawsuits against broadcast outlets that air false propaganda ads purchased by third-party SuperPACs.

"In terms of the rules that television and radio stations have to follow, a candidate is, in essence, free to lie to the public as much as they can get away with, as long as it's one of their own ads, as opposed to the ads that are paid for by these murky third parties," Wilson explains. "But, if you're one of these third parties that's running an ad for a candidate, the TV stations are not required to take those ads at all. And if those ads are found to be false, yes, the candidate has standing to sue, and say, 'I'm going to hold you liable for these false ads that you're making a fortune running and you're not fact-checking.'"

She also goes on to explain how the public can take action as well here, since "we, the voters, are the people who really suffer the most from these ads that flatly lie about candidates and their issues," while, ironically, "you, and I, and everyone else, own the publicly-owned airwaves, but somehow don't have standing to sue radio stations and TV stations if they lie to us."

Finally, hooray for Hollywood and boo for coal-loving West Virginia's elected con-artists in our latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen!...

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: Current Affairs' Nathan J. Robinson...
By Brad Friedman on 2/29/2016 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast [audio link below], we examine the reported results of Hillary Clinton's huge victory over Bernie Sanders in South Carolina over the weekend: What do they mean? Can the results be "trusted"? Are corporate media such as NY Times and Washington Post misleading Americans about what the current numbers, including the Democratic Party delegate count, actually suggest?

Then, I'm joined by Current Affairs magazine editor Nathan J. Robinson to discuss his recent feature article which makes the case that "unless the Democrats run Sanders, a Trump nomination means a Trump Presidency".

Robinson, an attorney, Harvard PhD student and children's book author, offers one of the most persuasive arguments I've heard to date regarding the "electability" of Sanders versus Clinton --- at least under the presumption that Trump is to be the Republicans' standard-bearer.

"The problem with polls is that they are unable to foresee events that will occur in the future that will change the way people think," Robinson explains about perceived advantages that some see in Clinton's favor right now. "Things that happen in the campaign change people's opinions, make them more favorable to one candidate, less favorable to another."

The "key point" in Robinson's calculation: Donald Trump as the GOP nominee. "That is something that the Democrats need to start thinking when they ask all these questions about electability. 'What's going to happen? Who is going to be attacked and how?' They need to be thinking in terms that Donald Trump is likely to be the nominee."

While it's true the Right has been attacking Hillary for years --- something that Sanders has yet to face --- she has never come under the full withering force of Trump's particularly aggressive and personal campaign style, argues Robinson, who says he's not personally a fan of either Clinton or Sanders (or Trump, for that matter.) He details why he believes Clinton stands to be pulled under by Trump's onslaught, whereas Sanders stands a far greater chance of surviving the type of campaign that Trump has shown himself willing to wage against his Republican opponents.

We discuss what is likely to happen in both a Trump v. Sanders and Trump v. Clinton race, how Democrats who are focused on the inevitable attacks from the Right against Sanders as a "Socialist!" may be missing a much larger concern, and how all of this calculus completely changes if someone other than Trump somehow manages to win the GOP nomination.

Finally, the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has already had a profound effect on the Court. On Friday, Dow Chemical dropped their planned SCOTUS appeal of a $1 billion judgment against them, citing the "increased...likelihood for unfavorable outcomes for business involved in class action suits." And, today, Justice Clarence Thomas spoke up to ask questions during oral arguments at the Court for the first time in 10 years!...

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: Wichita University's Beth Clarkson on her case and continuing concerns about 'manipulation' of 2014 touch-screen election results
ALSO: Trump wins again in NV, are Dems getting worried yet?...
By Brad Friedman on 2/24/2016 6:11pm PT  

It's another very busy show on today's BradCast! [Audio link to the complete show is at bottom of this article.]

First up, Trump crushes his competition in the Nevada Caucuses in every single demographic. Are Dems getting concerned yet? If not, they should be, as I explain today.

Speaking of those caucuses: I detail why they are far more transparent than a primary system would be in the state of NV, which still uses the same 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems that were certified in violation of state and federal law in 2004 by NV's then Sec. of State, now U.S. Senator Dean Heller. (See my exclusive with Michael Richardson in the 2008 book Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008, in which we detail how, based on public records obtained during our six-month investigation, Heller blatantly lied to the media and the public about the failed status of the machine's federal testing results, yet certified them for use in the 2004 election anyway.)

As we saw last night, the Nevada GOP, wisely, used hand-marked paper ballots, publicly counted at each caucus precinct. And now, Wichita University mathematician Beth Clarkson, PhD, head of the school's National Institute for Aviation Research, is calling for the same thing for Kansas elections, in light of a state court ruling last week barring her from accessing so-called "paper trails" from the state's touch-screen voting systems as used in their 2014 elections.

"I am becoming more and more convinced that we need to go with an entirely paper ballot system --- and hand-counted," she tells me, while noting that optical-scan computers may "provide fast results, but you have to verify them --- which we're not doing. I think to have full transparency for all citizens, you need to have a hand-count of paper ballots."

Clarkson notes that while post-election audits or "sampling" of optically-scanned paper ballots could be done, it would not solve the growing problem of the electorate questioning results. "As a statistician, I love sampling. It's faster and it'll get you excellent results, but it can also be manipulated just like any other system. And you can't really manipulate hand-counted paper ballots. It's the transparency issue that's convinced me."

She details the basis for her lawsuit which attempts a recount of a ballot measure from the 2014 election following a statistical analysis of the results which, says she, confirms a theory initially reported by two other statisticians in 2012 [PDF]. According to their study, computer-reported results from larger precincts, with more than 500 voters, reveal a "consistent" statistical increase in votes for the Republican candidates in general elections. That increase in votes runs counter to expectations for more densly populated jurisdictions. (Clarkson explains the theory in more detail during my previous BradCast interview with her from August 2015.)

Last week a state Judge allowed her recount case to move forward, but denied the motion by her new lawyer, former US Attorney Randy Rathbun, to allow her to review the "Real Time Audit Logs" (RTALs, also known as "Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails" or VVPATs in other states) from the voting machines used in the 2014 election, thus defeating the entire point of her challenge.

"[My] analysis only shows that there's something there we don't understand. It does not show cause. I think that manipulation of voting machines is the most probable cause, but I could be wrong on that. But the only way to know is to look. And not being allowed to look is, in many ways, a more serious issue." Clarkson has now been blocked from viewing the RTAL's now in both her public records request and recount lawsuit. "It seems to me that either I should be able to look at them under the Open Records Act or I should be able to examine them as part of a recount. You can't have it both ways, but apparently they can."

She goes on to offer her thoughts on why the state, including GOP "voter fraud" fraudster turned Sec. of State Kris Kobach, would be working so hard to block her attempt at oversight of election results; the unprecedented support she has received from the public for her case; and whether last week's state court ruling will now be appealed.

By the way, the very same, oft-failed, unverifiable touch-screens in question --- the ES&S iVotronics --- will be used once again across the state of South Carolina during this weekend's Democratic Presidential Primary. You can follow Clarkson's progress on her case at her ShowMeTheVotes.org website.

Finally, good news for former TX Gov. Rick Perry who is now, apparently, off the hook for both of the felony indictments filed against him last year...

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: Salon's Heather Digby Parton...
By Brad Friedman on 2/22/2016 4:58pm PT  

On today's BradCast, big news on both the Republican and Democratic sides of the American divide over the weekend, as Trump took South Carolina, Jeb took the hint, and Hillary took Nevada. [Link to full audio is below.]

Yes, there was a lot more good news for Donald Trump on Saturday, as he routed the competition in South Carolina's Republican Primary, Jeb Bush finally decided to call it quits, and the corporate media finally began to realize what we've been telling you for months about Trump and his likelihood of winning the GOP nomination.

Meanwhile, in Nevada's Democratic caucus on the same day, Hillary Clinton declared victory over Bernie Sanders after a day of very messy caucusing (as usual) around the state.

The great Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Digby's Hullabaloo joins once again to explain what it all means, if the Bush era is really, finally, blessedly over --- even among Republican "dead-enders" --- and on whether reality is finally settling in for Republicans (and Democrats) concerning the GOP front-runner.

On Jeb's exit from the race and the bitter end of the long propped-up Bush Era, she observes: "My belief has been from the beginning of this Jeb campaign that the Bush Era was over on Jan. 20, 2009, and basically this was some kind of a zombie campaign to try and reanimate it. It never struck me as realistic to think that the country was ready for George Bush again --- or any Bush family member again --- or, at least, not this soon."

On Trump, Parton agrees with me that, despite the establishment GOP panic about him, he may well be their very best bet for the general election and, even now, remains 'misunderestimated' by the party, the media and, yes, even Democrats. "I think [Trump] is [the GOP's] best chance," she says. "At this point, Trump is riding a tiger and it's a pretty powerful thing. And it scares me to death, to be honest. Because what I'm starting to see is [the GOP establishment] coming around to Trump, beginning to see that Trump is probably going to get the nomination and it is increasingly difficult to stop him."

As to Clinton's victory over Sanders in the Nevada Caucuses, and what that may mean going forward: "It was a good victory for her, because she was able to prove that her coalition --- of older people, women, African-Americans and Latinos, and union members --- that group of demographics that she is supposed to be stronger in, she proved she was able to turn them out."

Parton correctly notes that "turnout is lower for Democrats than it was in 2008 and it's huge for Republicans." Nonetheless, she remains bullish on the chances for a Democratic win in November. Tune in to find out why! (And if I share that outlook!)

Also, while my friend and colleague Jimmy Dore from The Young Turks and KPFK's The Jimmy Dore Show was unable to join us at the last minute today as scheduled, we have his report from inside one of the chaotic caucus sites in Las Vegas over the weekend. "I know they do it every four years, but it looks like they do it every forty years!," he notes. Hey, at least, unlike the South Carolina results, you could see that much! Whoever said democracy wasn't messy, Jimmy?

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: Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center
PLUS: More reminders of impossible e-voting results in advance of SC and NV; Happy anniversary, Justice Kennedy!; Happy anniversary, 'Green News Report'!...
By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2016 5:09pm PT  

On today's BradCast, hate is on the rise in the U.S., for some reason; More reminders of impossible e-voting results in advance of SC and NV; And, we mark two important anniversaries. [Audio link for the program follows below.]

First up, on this day in 1988, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was sworn in after the Republican nominee was unanimously approved by a Democratic-majority U.S. Senate...during an Election Year, and with the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor calls on Republicans to "get on with it".

Then, another reminder --- before this weekend's Democratic Nevada Caucuses and 100% unverifiable Republican South Carolina Primary --- of electronic election results that remain impossible to explain, including the conservative Texas Supreme Court Justice who reportedly received ZERO votes in one county back in 2006, after winning that same county by huge margins in both 2002 and 2004. (See our 2006 coverage of Steve Smith's eventually aborted election challenge back here. And see how this group of Bernie Sanders supporters is hoping to help oversee the results by filming the caucuses in Nevada.) Oh, and there was also that time in 2000 when Al Gore was credited with receiving NEGATIVE 16,022 votes on a paper ballot optical-scan system in Volusia County, FL.

Next up, we are joined by Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to discuss the disturbing rise in domestic hate groups in the U.S., after several years of decline. We talk about both the numbers and reasons --- and what Donald Trump and the Internet have to do with it all --- from Potok's new report on "The Year in Hate and Extremism".

It's a fascinating discussion in which Potok explains how the SPLC defines "hate groups" --- including rightwing extremists as well as black separatists --- which saw an overall 14% spike in their 2015 numbers. Also on the rise were so-called "Patriot" movement groups, though they are not (necessarily) included among the "haters".

"Probably the unique thing that happened in the last year," Potok tells me, "was the just astounding extent to which people like Donald Trump were willing to directly inject really Rightwing extremist poison into the political mainstream. Some of the things Trump has said, we really haven't seen the likes of in many, many decades."

Potok notes that with the GOP frontrunner's outrageous claims about immigrants and Muslims, similar rhetoric from extremist groups now "seems more normal to people. They don't seem quite as far out. After all, if Donald Trump thinks Muslims shouldn't be allowed in this country, what's wrong with joining a group that says Muslims are involved in a conspiracy to destroy the rest of us?"

We also discuss the difference in media coverage and political rhetoric concerning Islamic terrorism versus Rightwing domestic terrorism in the U.S., as well as how the Black Lives Matter movement and legalization of same-sex marriage over the past year has seemingly terrified many on the Right who feel that "their white privilege is being taken away from them...stok[ing] rage on the part of whites who feel that this is somehow part of their birthright."

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our 7th Anniversary Green News Report (our 690th GNR episode!) with both disturbing and encouraging news for the planet. And, if you can help us to continue connecting the climate change dots for yet another seven years, like almost nobody else in the media, we'd greatly appreciate it! Please consider making a DONATION RIGHT HERE and it'll be an even happier anniversary, indeed!...

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: Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Corynne McSherry...
By Brad Friedman on 2/17/2016 5:57pm PT  

On today's BradCast, a whole bunch of stuff that's been happening that isn't related to the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia --- and an item or two that are. [As usual, the audio link for the complete show is at the bottom of this article.]

First up, we catch up with the upcoming primaries and caucuses in Nevada and South Carolina with a look at the current polls on both the Republican and Democratic sides (some of which, if accurate, is quite surprising!) All of which offers another swell excuse to remind you about the oft-failed, easily-hackable, 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems that will, incredibly enough, once again be in use across South Carolina this year.

That, despite the infamous 2010 election in SC which resulted in a guy who nobody had ever heard of (Alvin Greene) --- a 32-year old man who did not campaign, had no campaign website, had no job, didn't even own a cell phone --- somehow being named the winner of the state's Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate! Somehow, as we covered in great detail at the time, he managed to "defeat" a popular former Circuit Court Judge named Vic Rawl (who did campaign across the entire state!) in the bargain.

Those same failed machines will once again be in use, not only in SC for this Presidential Election year, but also in many other states as well, including Ohio where some are reportedly failing already. In Lee County, FL, in the meantime, a candidate for Supervisor of Elections and a cybersecurity expert are now being investigated by state officials after the pair released a YouTube video showing how easy it was to hack into the main County Elections website server.

And, speaking of hacking, we are joined today by Corynne McSherry, Legal Director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), to explain the debate over Apple's challenge to a federal court order requiring the company to break their own secure encryption technology in order, supposedly, to help the U.S. Government in their investigation of last December's horrific San Bernardino massacre.

McSherry explains why EFF supports Apple's position here and opposes the "quite extraordinary" pressure by the Federal magistrate to force private companies to give the U.S. Government special, backdoor access to otherwise secure software systems. In this case, it is one of the shooter's iPhone's that law enforcement officials are still unable to unlock.

"I don't know about you, but I don't have a tremendous amount of trust in the government's ability to make sure that that backdoor that Apple builds for them is kept secure. We know that government databases are hacked all the time," she tells me. "There's sort of this notion that you can just have a golden key and only good guys will use it. That's not how it works in practice. Ask any security expert and they will tell you. Once you build it, it will be used for nefarious purposes as well as laudable purposes."

McSherry believes it is no accident that federal officials are using the very high-profile San Bernardino case to try and set their precedent. "I don't think they chose this particular phone accidentally. I think that they chose this to be the case because they're hoping that people will be distracted from the very real thing that's happening here, which is that this is the first time that a company will be required --- required --- to build code in order to assist law enforcement to build a back door. That's really the precedent that the government is after here."

Listen below to the entire fascinating conversation and, yes, a bit more on Scalia and why he was down at that wealthy businessman's ranch for a free vacation over the weekend in the first place...

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: Political science researcher Sean McElwee of Demos
ALSO: Disturbing Photo ID voter suppression in NH and elsewhere; OR militia standoff finally over; Massive Porter Ranch, CA natural gas leak finally stopped...
By Brad Friedman on 2/11/2016 4:56pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Breaking news out of Oregon and California, more disturbing voter suppression news out of New Hampshire and elsewhere and a new study finds hard evidence that "racial resentment" is central to the so-called "Tea Party" movement.

First up, the latest breaking news on the bizarre and bitter end of the Rightwing militia standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon and the concurrent arrest of Nevada's scofflaw rancher Cliven Bundy.

Next, more disturbing Photo ID voter suppression news out of New Hampshire and elsewhere, including a new paper out of UC-San Diego finding that strict Photo ID restrictions result in an alarming rate of suppressed Latino and African-American votes. In general elections, for example, based on examinations of some 50 elections in states both before and after implementation of polling place restrictions by GOP lawmakers, "states with strict photo ID laws show a Latino turnout 10.3 points lower than in states without them."

Then, after a brief throwback to the early days of the so-called "Tea Party" (our complete short documentary from 2009, Rise of the Tea Bags, can be enjoyed here), I'm joined by political science researcher Sean McElwee of Demos to discuss his new study, with Jason McDaniel, offering empirical evidence that it is not opposition to "Big Government" or concerns about the economy or spending or taxes that mainly drives those who identify as being sympathetic to the Tea Party --- it's racial resentment.

McElwee explains how his study controlled "for race, ethnicity, partisanship, ideology, income, education, gender, religiosity" and that "once you compare the various strengths of these variables, the one that ends up becoming really the overwhelming predictor of Tea Party identification is racial resentment."

"From the beginning," of the movement, he tells me, "what you're seeing is this sort of racially-coded rhetoric. So, right from the beginning, you have a very great explanation of conservative politics of the last 30 years --- which is plutocratic policies being wrapped up in racist rhetoric in order to benefit a plutocratic agenda. And you have a lot of white middle class and working class people who have bought into that agenda."

"What Fox [News] has done is taken that model and actually weaponized it, politicized it, and used it to attack policies that benefit the vast majority of Americans," McElwee argues, even as the Rightwing network's viewers have little clue how they are being played. "What we have in a lot of cases are people who are very frustrated about what is going on, but lack the political knowledge to actually understand the causal mechanism for how this bad thing is happening. And if you don't have that --- if you don't connect government policy to your lived experiences --- what you end up doing is saying 'I'm upset, I don't know why my life is bad'. And if someone tells you your life is bad because 'immigrants are taking your jobs', or 'the government is helping black people with your tax dollars', people are susceptible to that message."

McElwee goes on to explain how his research finds that many who previously identified with the Tea Party have now folded into the Trump campaign, even though the Republican 2016 front-runner has called for massive government programs and increased spending --- things that Tea Partiers previously decried. We also discuss much more, including whether hatred for Obama from the Right can be attributed to the fact that he is black or, simply, that he is a Democrat.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report and the breaking news out of Porter Ranch, CA that the month's long, massive methane gas leak there has finally been stopped...for now...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 2/9/2016 4:45pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we catch up with a number of breaking items, as well as items from the last several days (while we were otherwise covering the GOP and Democratic debates), even as voters in New Hampshire finally head to the polls for the First-in-the-Nation primary today.

Among the stories we hit today, as we await the completely unverified results from NH tonight...

  • Democratic party officials "unilaterally" changed Iowa Caucus results;
  • Why nobody should simply 'trust' unverified computer-tallied results that will be reported in NH (or anywhere else);
  • How NH's new Photo ID voting restriction law could affect turnout;
  • Rubio-bot does it again;
  • Another mysterious Republican dirty trick in NH;
  • Jeb now wants to "eliminate" the Citizens United ruling;
  • Voting Rights restored to 40,000 in MD;
  • MD forced to ditch new touch-screen systems for paper ballots;

Plus much more --- including our latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen!...

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

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ALSO: 'Hero of Democracy' Tom Courbat, In Memoriam...
By Brad Friedman on 2/4/2016 5:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Des Moines Register joins the fray to declare "something smells" in Iowa's Democratic caucus results and procedures. Bev Harris of Black Box Voting joins us to examine the concerns about "caucus integrity" on both the Democratic and Republican sides --- what we know, what we don't, and what we should. [Link to the complete audio of the program is at the bottom of this article.]

With partisans on the Right and Left now charging, appropriately or not, that the caucuses were "stolen", and both the Register and Sanders' camp calling for state Democrats to release raw vote totals, Harris notes: "Really, the bottom line is, if they won't disclose stuff, then it smells. If they disclose it, everybody can see for themselves."

"People say, well, there's problems in every election," she continues. "My mantra is: That may be true, but let's see the problems. All I'm saying is let us see them, and let us address them. Most people I talk to --- even if they're very partisan --- they say, 'If I can see it and we lost fair and square, I will accept that.' It really ticks people off when you say, 'we won, and we aren't going to show you how.'"

I ask her about the (now infamous, for some reason) coin tosses, videos revealing chaos and/or miscounts at certain locations, charges that the election was "stolen" for Hillary Clinton and much more, including Donald Trump's charge that Ted Cruz "stole" the election from him and that it amounted to "voter fraud".

"They call everything voter fraud!," Harris tells me. "It's so odd! Even Trump is claiming that when one of the candidates spreads some gossip that wasn't true about another candidate, that that was voter fraud! How is this voter fraud? Can we just call it was it is, which is a problem with election integrity, or in some cases election tampering. But it's not about the voters. Why are we pointing fingers at the most idealistic level, the voters?"

We go on to discuss worries about the even less transparent New Hampshire Primary, where most of the state still uses the same Diebold paper ballot optical-scan computer systems to tally votes that were seen flipping a mock election in HBO's Emmy-nominated 2006 documentary Hacking Democracy. (Watch how it was done right here, and feel free to be concerned when the 100% unverified results are reported next Tuesday night.)

Among the recommendations Harris offers for those concerned about Election Integrity next week (and for the rest of the year, frankly): "One thing I think is really important --- is for people to get out their mobile phones, take a picture of the results at the polling place [at the end of the night] and they can text it to themselves, to a friend, put 'em on Facebook, Tweet it." She says that puts a timestamp on the graphic image of results as they were produced by computers at the precinct, which can later be compared to the results reported by the state on the web. "I think that's one thing that's pretty important this time. Just photograph the paperwork. It's not hard. Ship it off electronically somewhere, which will automatically timestamp it."

That's particularly important in places like New Hampshire where, she explains, the state "very quietly, and actually wrongfully, passed a law in 2003 so that we cannot go back and look at [paper ballots after the election] ... In New Hampshire, they put an amendment on an unrelated bill, the dark of night, and quietly said 'ballots are not a public record anymore'. So while they may say, 'we have ballots and anyone can look', that's not true. I tried."

Finally, we discuss another heartbreaking loss this week to the Election Integrity community. Last night, we lost Riverside County, California's longtime EI champion, Tom Courbat. A Vietnam-era vet stationed in South Korea, Tom heroically battled multiple myeloma related to Agent Orange exposure for years. As I note on today's show, I spoke with Tom on the phone several times throughout those years about EI issues, even when he was literally in the hospital receiving chemo therapy.

Tom appeared on air with me on a number of occasions over the years, and was often an important source for many blockbuster stories here at The BRAD BLOG. (For example, the 2006 discovery of the infamous "Yellow Button" on the back of Sequoia touch-screen systems that allow voters to cast as many votes as they like until physically restrained from doing so; the 2007 "hack" challenge to the cowardly Riverside County Board of Supervisors who fought in favor of 100% unverifiable voting systems; the blocked recount of CA's anti-GMO initiative, Prop 37, in 2013; And the 2013 law he successfully shepherded through the CA legislature to require that counties release election results in downloadable formats; Those are just some of the reasons why, in 2007, we called Tom a "Hero of Democracy" who is "one of many such quiet, and usually unrecognized, heroes around the country, to whom our nation owes a debt of gratitude which can never be adequately repaid.")

Rest in peace, my friend. You deserve it. I miss you already, but will always remain inspired by you...

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

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GUEST: Mayor Cindy Lerner of Pinecrest, FL...
By Brad Friedman on 2/3/2016 5:39pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the latest news in the Presidential contest, including two GOP candidates dropping out today, newly scheduled Democratic debates, new polling since Iowa, and new charges from Donald Trump that Ted Cruz "stole" the GOP's Iowa caucuses!

I also speak with Mayor Cindy Lerner of Pinecrest, FL today, about the open letter [PDF] she recently sent, with 14 other Mayors from across the Sunshine State, to Marco Rubio, seeking a meeting with the Florida U.S. Senator, now a leading candidate for the 2016 GOP Presidential nomination, decrying his flip-flops on climate action.

Rubio, as Lerner explains, was once in favor of action to stave off the worst effects of global warming --- such as the sea level rise already encroaching on south Florida towns like Lerner's --- before he decided to run for President and become a climate change denier.

"Marco Rubio and all the Republican candidates who are in denial, it's really part of a campaign strategy, an ideology, that ignores the reality of the consequences we're facing," she tells me.

Lerner notes that where Republicans in Florida had once actual lead on Climate Change, since Republican Gov. Rick Scott took office in 2011, state GOPers have almost completely reversed course. That, even as the "very porous geology that the peninsula of Florida was built on" is already taking on more salt water than can be handled as sea levels rise and "100-year storms" are now "coming several times a year."

"Our infrastructure was never built to contemplate addressing the capacity needs that we now find ourselves in," she explains. "We are literally drowning here in South Florida and have no leadership, clearly, at the state level, and have to rely on our next President understanding the risk that we, and the other coastal communities all over this country, are facing."

She describes Rubio's new position of denial as "beyond disappointing," adding: "It's really disgusting to listen to somebody that we well know he knows better. He's just reading from a script that he thinks is going to help him get into higher office."

"We are ground zero," she says about her Village of Pinecrest and the other towns and cities whose Mayors signed on to the letter seeking a meeting with Rubio. "We are the canary in the coal mine, so to speak, of what's going to be happening throughout the United States, and he needs to stand up and lead on these initiatives."

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

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GUEST: Iowa caucus expert Prof. David P. Redlawsk of Rutgers' Eagleton Institute explains it all for you...and me...
By Brad Friedman on 2/2/2016 4:47pm PT  

It was like 2012 all over again. But the apparent mess was on the D side instead of the R side. So, as you might have guessed, we've got a very big show today on The BradCast.

We are joined today by Iowa Caucus expert (yes, there is such a thing!) Professor David P. Redlawsk of Rutger's Eagleton Institute of Politics to help us unpack what the hell happened last night (and this morning) now that the first votes have been cast in the 2016 race in the Hawkeye State.

We cover the reported winners and losers, along with explanations for some of the bizarre math, "missing" precinct results, coin tosses, concerns about fraud and much more, as the Democratic candidates battled to a virtual tie with Clinton finally declared the "winner" and Sanders' supporters asking lots of (good) questions in the bargain.

Redlawsk, an Iowa native and experienced Caucus Chair himself, as well as author of Why Iowa? How Caucuses and Sequential Elections Improve the Presidential Nominating Process, explains the history and sometimes impossibly arcane procedures used by the parties at their caucuses in Iowa, which resulted in a big win for Ted Cruz and, at least as AP and the state Democratic Party are now reporting, a razor-thin margin of victory for Clinton.

He also speaks to many of the concerns about those results which emerged last night and still today.

"The fact is that because the Democrats do this is in the form of 'stand up and be counted publicly', it's always more chaotic than if they were casting a secret ballot, for example," says Redlawsk, in response to queries about some of the videos revealing questionable behavior by some party officials and Clinton precinct captains. Though he also cites the Republican caucus where he observed the hand-counting as "a little chaotic" itself.

So, are Sanders supporters right to be concerned about the legitimacy of the process and the counting? We try to make sense of it all today, even as new information (and concerns) are expected to come to light in the days ahead as we barrel towards the New Hampshire primary next week. Redlawsk is exceedingly helpful and clarifying on all of the above. I'd call it a "must-listen" episode if I weren't so extraordinarily modest.

Then, as if today's show is not already big enough, we're joined by Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report as the cherry on top of today's BradCast...

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

P.S. If you can help out with a donation below, to help us keep going throughout this election year, it would be greatly appreciated!!!

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GUEST: Independent investigative journalist Arun Gupta...
By Brad Friedman on 1/28/2016 4:29pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We explain that new Microsoft app set to be used at the Iowa Caucuses and get the latest from Oregon following the arrest of the militant leaders (and the shooting death of one of them) at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. [Audio link to complete show is posted below...]

First up, independent investigative journalist Arun Gupta, who has been in Burns, Oregon over the past week covering the "Patriot Movement" standoff for Raw Story, joins us with the latest. He is dubious about the FBI's explanation for the killing of one of the leaders of the occupation; explains how the Rightwing protesters are "essentially wanting to overthrow the U.S. Government"; and how the treatment of the armed demonstrators differed from the treatment of Occupy Wall Street protesters, which he had also covered.

"There's a lot of anger out there around this," Gupta tells me. "There's a lot of anger about land management issues, about a lack of economic development, and there's a lot of extreme Rightwing groups --- many of them pretty racist, white supremacists --- that can take advantage of this. So I don't think we have seen the end of this."

Then, late news on the "debate debates" on both the Republican and Democratic sides of the aisle --- with veterans groups hitting Donald Trump for hiding behind them while pulling out of Thursday's Fox "News" debate and Bernie Sanders playing hardball over the addition of new debates on the Dem side.

Next, while we've been working on this story for a while, it seems that everyone today has noticed that Microsoft has created a free app --- two of them, actually --- for the Democratic and Republican parties to use to help tally votes in the first-in-the-nation caucuses in Iowa next Monday.

Now that the Sanders camp has become "suspicious of Microsoft's influence in the Iowa Caucus," as MSNBC reports it, a lot of folks have begun freaking out about the matter. "You’d have to ask yourself why they’d want to give something like that away for free," a Sanders spokesman is quoted as saying, even as both the Sanders and Clinton campaigns have created their own apps for tracking local results at caucus sites next week.

I explain what the Microsoft apps do and don't do --- for each of the parties --- and if they, or you, should be concerned about it...no matter which candidate that you may or may not support in either of the parties holding caucuses next week in the Hawkeye State.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on Florida mayors calling out Marco Rubio for his climate change denial, an update on Flint and America's poor bearing the brunt of toxic pollution in the U.S., a win for coal miners in the fight against black lung disease, and much more in another busy BradCast today!...

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

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GUEST: Myrna Peréz of the Brennan Center for Justice
ALSO: Climate crisis v. Islamic extremism; A new Dem debate?; And the Election Integrity community loses a champion and key voice...
By Brad Friedman on 1/26/2016 5:34pm PT  

On today's BradCast, with the first Presidential caucuses and primaries of 2016 now just days away and the first mass voter suppression trial of the year now underway (in North Carolina), we look at a number of recommendations to improve our voting system. But is it too late to make much of a difference for 2016?

First up, some breaking news on the possibility of an added Democratic debate after the Iowa caucuses and before the New Hampshire primary, and some thoughts on the human cost of Climate Change-fueled extreme weather (over just the past month) versus Islamic terror attacks in the U.S. in the 15 years since 9/11.

Then, on to our conversation with Myrna Peréz of the Brennan Center for Justice's Democracy Program to discuss her new report: Election Integrity: A Pro-Voter Agenda. The paper offers six important areas --- from voter registration to polling access to vote casting and counting --- where the U.S. system can and must improve its integrity without sacrificing security or access to the voting booth.

"It is possible to protect election integrity without disenfranchising eligible voters," Peréz writes in her report about the solutions she and the Brennan Center offer. "All target fraud risks as they actually exist. None will unduly disenfranchise those who have the right to vote."

As she explains to me today: "We are having is a very contested moment in time where the right to vote is being challenged in a way that we haven't seen in decades. We are seeing politicians trying to manipulate the rules of the game such that some people can participate and some people can't. And we have that butting up against states that have very restrictive budgets, and may not actually have the money or resources to make reforms that would even save money long-term, because they require an initial investment. That, coupled with infrastructure problems --- like we have been registering voters in a really out-of-date way for too long, and we haven't updated our voting machines --- are all colliding to produce a period of worry, where when voters step into the polls on Election Day in November, they're not going to be getting the best customer service for their tax dollars. And that they're not going to be voting in a way that's consistent with what the greatest democracy in the world should be doing."

"We tried to look at where there were opportunities to improve what we're doing, and actually study and address some of the concerns that folks are having," Peréz says. "And do it in a way that is sensible and thoughtful and common sense, in terms of making sure that the cure isn't worse than the disease. And make sure that we're not disenfranchising more people than we're trying to prevent from perpetuating fraud."

We discuss, among many things in our detailed conversation, the real threats to election integrity --- not "voter fraud" by individuals at the polling place, as vote suppressors on the Right would like you to believe, but far more often, and in a much larger way, by political and election insiders. "We need to make sure that our politicians, who are using our resources and our taxpayer dollars, are fixing a problem that is real and addressing it in the most cost-effective and efficient way."

Finally on today's show, a few words and memories in regard to the recent tragic loss of Wisconsin's John Washburn, an integral member of the U.S. Election Integrity community and a reliable and important source over the past decade to me here at BradBlog.com and on the radio, on e-voting in general and, in particular, on some of the nightmarish elections disasters in the Badger State over recent years. John was a great proponent of transparency, open government, proper testing of electronic voting systems and, frankly, one helluva guy. As noted in my more detailed In Memoriam on today's program, John's loss, at the age of 53, is a particularly tragic and costly one for the cause of democracy and free and fair elections in Wisconsin as well as the rest of the nation. We send our thoughts and best wishes to his family, including his wife and three children. His institutional knowledge, good humor and wit will be greatly missed in 2016 and beyond, but his good fight will continue.

(John's guest blog contributions to The BRAD BLOG are here. You can sort through some of his other contributions to our stories and radio programs over the years here. And much more documentation of his work on EI matters and more is still available at his personal website right here. UPDATE: John's family has requested remembrances be posted on this tribute page.)

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

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GUEST: Election integrity expert Jim Soper
PLUS: Obama's Final SOTU, listener calls and more!...
By Brad Friedman on 1/13/2016 5:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we expose a dangerous, deceptive new scheme to hoax California voters into allowing Internet Voting across the entire state. Plus, we discuss Obama's final State of the Union and take calls on all of the above.

First (after an official welcome to our newest affiliate --- the great am950 KTNF in Minnesota!), I explain the newly proposed California ballot initiative describing itself as the "Election Data Security & Military Ballot Access Act". The initiative is nothing of the sort. It is little more than a very well-financed and completely deceptive scam to force Internet Voting into the Golden State by describing it as something other than it is.

Rather than use the words "Internet Voting" or even "Internet" in any way, the 46-page initiative describes the proposed, dishonest new scheme as "electronically delivered vote-by-mail"!

Who's behind it? We still don't know. But it was submitted recently to the state Attorney General by the high-priced Sacramento law firm of Olson Hagel & Fishburn LLP and needs to be, at the very least, retitled before it ends up on the state ballot.

This is important even if you don't live in California! When it comes to voting systems, what happens here (where we have the most electoral votes in the nation) is often adopted by states across the country!

Election Integrity expert and advocate Jim Soper of CountedAsCast.org and the CA Voting Rights Task Force, joins us from the state capitol building in Sacramento to discuss the deceptive initiative and a similar (if somewhat less deceptive) legislative initiative sponsored by Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting (San Francisco). The latter, happily, was killed in committee today, Soper reports.

He explains why the ballot initiative is so misleading, why Internet Voting is a horrific idea --- as virtually every computer scientist and security expert has demonstrated over and again --- and asks listeners to contact the CA Attorney General by Thursday, when the comment period on the initiative is supposed to end.

Please ask AG Kamala Harris to change the title of this scammy initiative before allowing it to be circulated for signatures! Comments on the "Election Data Security & Military Ballot Access Act --- Version 2", Initiative No. 15-0118, may be left here. Alternately, you may email your comment to the AG's office here or snail mail to: CA Attorney General, ATTN: Initiative Coordinator, 1300 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.

In the second part of today's show, we go on to cover last night's State of the Union Address, President Obama's last, including his call, once again, to correct our woeful electoral system.

Finally, we turn to listener calls --- and a lot of folks who want to talk about e-voting concerns --- before being joined by Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report, including disturbing news on the new regulatory scheme that has now forced solar companies out of sunny Nevada.

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

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