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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, June 21, 2018
Trump's Lie Collapses, Family Separation Policy Reversed (Sort Of): 'BradCast' 6/20/18
Also: DC, AR election results; Why 'both sides are the same' argument from progressives is pathetic; Canada legalizes recreational pot...
Judge Nixes KS 'Proof of Citizenship' Voting Law, Slaps Humiliating Sanction on Kobach: 'BradCast' 6/19/18
Guest: ACLU trial atty Sophia Lin Lakin; Also: Trump's border 'crisis' worsens for Repubs...
'Green News Report' 6/19/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
Hurricanes moving slower; New EPA rules could kill thousands; China tariffs to hit US energy; McDonald's phasing out plastic straws; PLUS: Climate change eroding home values...
Previous GNRs: 6/14/18 - 6/12/18 - Archives...
Sunday 'Giving Peace a Chance' Toons
Just a glimpse of what happened over the past week via the eyes of the world's political cartoonists, as one of them lost his job this week for being too critical of Donald J. Trump...
Sessions 'Can't Do That': Immigration Atty on Admin Denial of Domestic Abuse Asylum: 'BradCast' 6/15/18
Guest: Law Prof Karen Musalo; Also: 1000s ripped from parents, warehoused by US Govt...
'Green News Report' 6/14/18
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOPers turning on Pruitt; Antarctica's ice melting 3x times faster; DNC bans fossil fuel donations; Flooding doubled over last 30 yrs; PLUS: Energy Dept: E-cars cheapest to drive...
Previous GNRs: 6/12/18 - 6/7/18 - Archives...
Ranked Choice Voting is a Terrible Idea; Election Results/Fails, Trump's GOP Cult: 'BradCast' 6/13/18
NV's new voting systems fail; WI seat flipped; Scheme to break CA up on 2018 ballot...
'It Doesn't Matter, We're Starting from Scratch': 'BradCast' 6/12/18
Guest: Former Dep. Asst. Sec. of State Michael Fuchs on Singapore agreement, 'denuclearization', NK atrocities...
'Green News Report' 6/12/18
Trump's G7 debacle over climate; CA electric co. faulted for deadly fires; EPA overhauls cost-benefit analyses; PLUS: Growing movement to ban single-use plastics...
Trump's Bonkers Turn Against G7 Allies Before NK Summit: 'BradCast' 6/11/18
Also: SCOTUS approves radical OH vote purge scheme; L.A. won't rule out hacking in 'print error' that left 118k off rolls; Callers ring in...
Sunday Toons Not Censored by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
'PDiddie' features several recent toons by award-winning staff cartoonist Rob Rogers which were, remarkably enough, spiked by the paper's new RW editor...
HUD Scheme Raises Rent by 26% per Year on Low Income Familes: 'BradCast' 6/8/18
Guest: Former HUD official Diane Yentel; Also: DoJ spied on NYT journo, refuses to defend 'ObamaCare' in suit...
Election Failure, Fallout in CA, AL, SD: 'BradCast' 6/7/18
Several massive Election Day failures in L.A. and noteworthy results in CA and elsewhere; Also: The jaw-dropping kleptocracy of Trump's EPA chief Scott Pruitt...
'Green News Report' 6/7/18
CA voters choose climate action; Yet another ethics scandal for Pruitt; Judge orders denial evidence from EPA; PLUS: Trump withdrawal from Paris pact to cost trillions...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
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: Garland Favorito of VoterGA; Also: Special Counsel Mueller unseals Team Trump indictments. One pleads guilty, two plead not guilty...
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2017 6:55pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The first indictments by Special Counsel Robert Mueller are unsealed, and we continue to stay on the disturbing case of the state of Georgia's "wiped" election server as revealed late last week. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up, two Trump Campaign officials pleaded not guilty and one plead guilty, to indictments unsealed on Monday stemming from the Special Counsel's investigation of Team Trump and charges of "collusion" between them and Russia during the 2016 Presidential election. We detail the facts as layed out by the 12-count federal indictment against former Trump Campaign chairman and CEO Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates charging that Manafort received some $75 million in income via his work for now-ousted Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych and the political party which supported him. Both are allies of Russia.

The charges do not include any "collusion" between Manafort/Gates and Russia on behalf of the Trump Campaign, but detail how Manafort, aided by Gates, hid his income from federal officials, failed to register as a Foreign Agent related to his lobbying work in the U.S., and otherwise attempted to launder some $18 million from their many offshore accounts through various schemes in the U.S.

Pleading guilty, according to indictment documents released by the Special Counsel, was George Papadopoulos, an unpaid foreign policy adviser to the Trump Campaign, who allegedly lied to federal investigators about his contacts with an unnamed "professor" said to have told him about "dirt" that Russia supposedly had regarding Hillary Clinton from "thousands of emails" that the US Intelligence Community later said were hacked by Russian agents. Papadopoulos is now cooperating with federal prosecutors.

The White House denies that any of the charges implicate the President or his Campaign. The DNC argues otherwise.

Then, picking up on the disturbing breaking news late last week that officials in Georgia "wiped clean" the Election Server used to program both last year's Presidential Election in the state and this year's U.S. House Special Election in June, we speak with GARLAND FAVORITO of VoterGA.org

The server wipe, confirmed via internal emails, came just days after a bi-partisan lawsuit [PDF] had been filed in July regarding the results of those elections, which were carried out on the state's 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems, and after the systems had been programmed via the server that we learned earlier this year had been left completely vulnerable on the Internet for at least 6 months, beginning as early as August of 2016.

The vulnerable server was used to store personal voter registration data for 6.7 million GA voters, as well as ballot programming definition files for the state's computer voting and tabulation systems, and administrative passwords to access those systems. It was first discovered as freely accessible via the Internet by a data security researcher who informed officials at the Kennesaw State University Center for Elections, which has been contracted to handle all of Georgia's elections systems for the past 15 years. The Center left the system up and completely vulnerable during last year's Presidential election and until just prior to the June special election.

Favorito explains the latest developments in that case, as well as his group's new statistical analysis, published a week before the news of the wiped server (and its two backup servers) became public. The report explains what the group sees anomalous election results in the Special U.S. House Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District in June. The longtime Election Integrity advocate and IT expert details the 72-page report's analysis, concluding that it is "statistically improbable that the reported results are correct" and that they are more likely explained by the manipulation of GA-06 results at the state level, possibly by "external or internal" hackers with free access to the unprotected and now-deleted server.

His conclusion, he explains, is based on analysis of results finding that the Democrat Jon Ossoff soundly defeated Republican Karen Handel by a nearly 2 to 1 margin in the only publicly verifiable results (the mail-in paper ballots) even with a Republican-leaning mail-in electorate. Yet, the Democrat still managed to "lose" somehow, according to the state's highly-vulnerable, easily hackable, unverifiable touch-screen voting and tabulation systems used for early in-person and election day voting.

"The nutshell, the bottom line of it," Favorito tells me, "is that we found that it is statistically improbable that these 6th District runoff results could be correct. And if they are not correct, that means there had to either be some kind of tampering or fraud involved."

We discuss all of that today, including whether GA's Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp's claims that he knew nothing about the server wipe should be trusted, and whether its still possible to piece together what may have happened in the recent U.S. House race, now that the server at Kennesaw has been mysteriously, if thoroughly, deleted.

All of this comes just days before voters in GA head back to the polls for next Tuesday's municipal elections in Atlanta and elsewhere, which are set to be run on the very same hackable, vulnerable and 100% unverifiable systems...

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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Also: New details in the mystery of Georgia's 'wiped' election server...
By Brad Friedman on 10/27/2017 5:53pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Who ordered the state of Georgia's election server to be completely destroyed amidst a federal lawsuit filed in July? And working to mitigate the "clear and present danger" President Donald J. Trump poses to the nation and the world. [Audio link follows below.]

First up today, a number of follow-up details, for now, on the story we reported yesterday in depth about the state election server computer that was mysteriously "wiped clean" in Georgia, just after a lawsuit was filed questioning whether results were electronically manipulated in some fashion during last year's Presidential election and this year's U.S. House Special Election in the state's 6th Congressional District.

Both contests were run on Georgia's easily-hacked, 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen systems and computer tabulators, and programmed by Kennesaw State University's Center for Elections. As AP reported on Thursday, the Center, after 15 years handling all programming for the state's elections, has now completely deleted the server that had been used for programming, including its two back-up servers. Questions remain as to whether the FBI might have an "image" copy of that server, officials are calling for a criminal investigation, and nobody yet knows who ordered the computer hard drives to be completely wiped and "degaussed three times".

We also share a terrific related listener email, and detail some of the terrible reporting on this matter by at least one corporate outlet (which we were able to get them to, at least partially, correct last night.) But, we hope to have much more on this story on our next BradCast.

Then, among the other stories covered on today's program...

  • The American Legion is calling on Trump to protect veterans by vetoing legislation passed this week that will prevent Americans from being able to file class-action lawsuits against big banks and other corporate institutions for fraudulent and deceptive practices;
  • A Military Times poll finds Trump is very unpopular among military officers, though somewhat more popular among enlisted troops;
  • Defense Sec. James Mattis is wildly popular among everybody in the military, though he may be less so, of late, with the Commander-in-Chief. Mattis has been speaking with troops in South Korea and calling for diplomatic solutions in the very dangerous, potentially-nuclear standoff between Trump and North Korea;
  • Democrats in the U.S. Senate introduce legislation to keep Trump from launching a pre-emptive strike, "nuclear or conventional", with North Korea, in hopes of forcing him to follow the Constitution as per the founders, who specifically granted Congress the exclusive right and duty of declaring war against another nation;
  • Trump responds to the $10 million NeedToImpeach.com campaign launched by Tom Steyer, by describing the California activist billionaire as "wacky" and "totally unhinged" in response to the campaign's ad describing the President as "a clear and present danger";
  • And, speaking of "wacky" and "unhinged", Roy Moore --- the twice-disgraced, far-right Republican former Alabama Supreme Court Justice who Trump is supporting in Alabama's U.S. Senate special election coming up in December --- explains why he believes the U.S. Supreme Court's Obergefell ruling that legalized same-sex marriage is "even worse" than the Court's infamous 1857 Dredd Scott opinion which essentially legalized slavery across the U.S. and helped lead the country into the Civil War...

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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Also: New details on how 'dark money' helped GOP steal SCOTUS, with guests Margaret Sessa-Hawkins & Andrew Perez of MapLight...
By Brad Friedman on 10/26/2017 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It often feels like we're fighting to save whatever little is left of representative American democracy. Today is certainly one of those days. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

First up today, Associated Press reports that the computer server at Kennesaw State University's Center for Elections in Georgia was "wiped clean" in early July, just days after the state's contentious June 20 Special Election Runoff for the U.S. House Seat in GA's 6th Congressional District, and as a federal lawsuit [PDF] was filed to challenge the results of that election.

Kennesaw's Center has been contracted by the state for some 15 years to program virtually all aspects of Georgia's elections, including their electronic pollbook voter registration databases and the highly hackable and 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems and electronic tabulators used across the entire state.

The complete deletion of information on the server in July --- and, reportedly, two backups of that server in August --- is particularly disturbing given questions about the accuracy of the reported results in the race, said to have been won by Georgia's former Republican Sec. of State Karen Handel over Democrat Jon Ossoff. Some of the concerns were detailed in the ongoing lawsuit filed by a number of plaintiffs, including Republican election integrity advocate Marilyn Marks of the Coalition of Good Governance. (We discussed that suit with Marks on The BradCast in July and concerns revealed about the results of the April Primary with VoterGA's Garland Favorito in May. We hope to speak with both of them on the show again very soon.)

The federal complaint had sought a forensic analysis of the Kennesaw server to determine whether it may have been manipulated in some way. AP reports: "Wiping the server clean 'forestalls any forensic investigation at all,' said Richard DeMillo, a Georgia Tech computer scientist who has closely followed the case. 'People who have nothing to hide don't behave this way.'" Marks is quoted in the same report noting: "I don't think you could find a voting systems expert who would think the deletion of the server data was anything less than insidious and highly suspicious."

The server was discovered by a data security researcher to have been left online and unprotected --- exposing personal voter records, voting system programming files and administrative system passwords --- in August of 2016. Yet, GA's Secretary of State, Republican Brian Kemp (who is running for Governor in 2018), claims to have not been notified, and the server was left unprotected through both the 2016 Presidential election, as well as this year's special U.S. House race. The personal information of some 6.7 million voters, ballot definition files used on voting machines and tabulators, as well as system passwords used by election officials to access those systems were reportedly left vulnerable to manipulation for at least six months, if not longer. (We reported on that aspect of this mess in June of this year.)

Today we discuss the alarming new AP report and what it means, following our own months of coverage of related concerns about the GA-06 special election, failures during tabulation, many questions from Election Integrity advocates about its reported results and, of course, our years (nearly 15 of them) warning about exactly such a situation as this.

Then, speaking of a "rigged" democracy, we're joined by Maplight's Dark Money Watch journalists MARGARET SESSA-HAWKINS and ANDREW PEREZ to discuss their new reporting on federal 'disclosure' documents revealing that millions of dollars were spent to support the Republican U.S. Senate effort to block President Obama's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, and the subsequent effort to confirm the nomination of President Trump's nominee to that same seat, Neil Gorsuch. The two reporters detail their findings including that, of the $17 million in "dark money" raised and spent on both efforts, a single donation for $17.9 million, from an unknown source to the rightwing Judicial Crisis Network, may have accounted for most, if not all of that effort.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on concerns about two dodgy contracts for $500 million to purportedly help rebuild Puerto Rico's power grid; a new report by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the $350 BILLION U.S. tax-payer dollars spent on climate-related disasters over the past decade, and much MUCH more!...

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: Orange County, CA Registrar of Voters, Neal Kelley, member of new DHS Election Infrastructure Coordinating Council...
By Brad Friedman on 10/18/2017 6:26pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Accurate reporting matters. So do accurately tabulated elections. So does accurately reporting about elections and their results and allegations made about attempts to "hack" American elections. [Audio link to show follow below.]

While the U.S. corporate media have ever-so-slightly improved since they fell hook, line and sinker for the George W. Bush Administration's government propaganda following 9/11 --- resulting in the Iraq War and all that has come, and is still coming ever since --- they're not doing much better when it comes to Trump's saber rattling over Iran's non-existent "nuclear weapons program", or their coverage of the government's claims concerning Russia's alleged "hacking" of election systems in 2016. (Or, as MSNBC's Rachel Maddow unhelpfully describes it over and over, "Russia's attack on our election!")

We try, today, to help clarify what the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security and the corporate media did not, when it came to DHS' erroneous allegation in late September that the "Russian government" attempted to hack voter registration systems in 21 states and that "no votes were manipulated or changed" in the 2016 election. (For example, as we noted at the time, days later, DHS admitted they were wrong about Wisconsin, and California's Democratic Sec. of State said further investigation revealed that claims "turned out to be bad information from DHS." As to whther any votes were changed in 2016, the DHS admitted over the Summer that they don't know, because they never actually checked!)

But, hey, if it takes concerns, accurate or otherwise, about "Russia hacking" our elections to wake up the nation and its government to the very real threats posed by electronic voting, tabulation and registration systems we'll take it! We've worked for nearly 15 years here at The BRAD BLOG and on The BradCast to warn about that threat --- whether it comes from Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, ISIS, France, Germany, some guy in Little Rock, Arkansas or any election official or insider anywhere in the nation!

So, on related matters, and what we will all look forward to as the 2018 election cycle begins, we're joined by longtime Orange County, CA Registrar of Voters NEAL KELLEY, following the first meeting of the new DHS Election Infrastructure Coordinating Council, created after President Obama's Directive in January declaring the nation's election systems, in all 50 states, to be recognized as "Critical Infrastructure" by the U.S. Government.

Kelley, a member of the new 27-member council which convened in D.C. over the weekend for the first time, joins us to explain what this panel actually is; what the designation as "critical infrastructure" actually means in practical terms for the nation's voting, tabulation and registration systems; how this commission was set up, who appointed its members, and how it differs from Trump's phony "Election Integrity" Commission; whether the "critical infrastructure" designation intrudes on states' Constitutional independence in running their own elections; whether the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (or EAC, on which Kelley is also an Advisory Board member) should be defunded, as Republicans in Congress have long sought; how DHS dropped the ball on 2016 and its aftermath; and, while we have him here, whether or not Orange County will ever replace its 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems with a verifiable paper ballot system. (See my own disastrous experience with the OC's voting system back in 2011 here.)

We also get Kelley's reaction to a newly-signed CA law (AB-840), supported by Democrats and virulently opposed by many Election Integrity advocates, that allows County Registrars to completely ignore millions of provisional and Vote-by-Mail ballots when conducting their state-mandated 1% post-election manual "audits".

Finally, speaking of Trump's phony voter fraud commission (which is decidedly distinct from the DHS panel that Kelley now sits on!), we've got several pieces of troubling news today, including the recently reported child pornography arrest of one of its researchers, and the sudden death on Monday of one of the Commission's very few Democratic appointees...

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

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Guest: David Daley of FairVote.org on 'Gill v. Whitford'; Plus: Updates on the disaster in Puerto Rico, gun massacre in Las Vegas...
By Brad Friedman on 10/4/2017 6:28pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the future of American democracy itself is once again in the hands of a now-stolen U.S. Supreme Court, in what democracy advocates describe as a case that is likely to help determine the partisan balance of Congress and state legislatures for decades.

But, first up today: Updates on Donald Trump's embarrassing Tuesday jaunt to hurricane-torn Puerto Rico, where the official death toll has now doubled from 16 to 34 and is expected to go much higher as 3.4 million U.S. citizens on the island still face desperate circumstances with food and water shortages and 95% of the island remains without power two weeks after Hurricane Maria (despite Trump's bizarre claims to the contrary.) Also, a few updates on what little more we now know about the massacre in Las Vegas on Sunday, the lack of a known motive for the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, and the shamefully transparent attempts by both the White House and Congressional Republicans to avoid any legislative policy action in its wake.

Then we move on to what democracy advocates describe as one of the most important cases to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in years. Oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford were heard on Tuesday. That is the case where a three-judge federal court determined the state of Wisconsin had used severe (and secret) partisan gerrymandering to redraw district maps after the 2010 census. In so doing, despite receiving a minority of votes (48.6%) after the new maps were drawn, Republicans gained an extraordinary 60-to-39 majority in the State Assembly.

The GOP is now appealing that federal court ruling to SCOTUS, which has held racial gerrymandering to be unconstitutional in the past, but has never ruled on whether purely partisan gerrymandering, as in this case, violates the Constitutional rights of voters.

We're joined by the man who wrote the book on modern-day gerrymandering, DAVID DALEY, author of Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy. Daley, formerly Editor-in-Chief at Salon, now Senior Fellow at at FairVote.org, spent the night on the sidewalk outside the Court on Monday, to get one of 50 seats at Tuesday's hearing.

He explains how high the stakes are in this case (which could result in court challenges to electoral maps in virtually every state in the union), the arguments presented by both sides in the matter, and how everyone --- attorneys and Justices alike, were focused on making their case to Justice Anthony Kennedy, who will most likely determine the course of U.S. democracy for decades to come, thanks to the Republicans' stolen 5 to 4 majority on the Supreme Court itself.

"This case is everything," Daley tells me. "If this case is not decided on the side of democracy, on the side of competitive elections, there will be nothing to stop Republicans, who are likely to be holding the pens in all of these states in 2021 from doing the same thing, only with more sophisticated technology that's developed over the last decade, with better data analytic skills than they had in 2011, with stronger predictive algorithms to try to figure out where people are going to live and how they are going to vote for the next decade. It will be 2031 before Democrats get another shot at the maps if this case is decided the other way."

Daley sees the case now before the Supremes as "potentially bigger" than either 2010's Citizens United, which gutted campaign finance laws, or 2013's Shelby County, which gutted the Voting Rights Act. "This is the future of our democracy right here."

"Republicans reinvented the gerrymander in 2010 and 2011. This is not the same kind of gerrymander that you had 'back in the day.' This is different," he insists, as I press him on whether Democrats are carrying out the same type of partisan maps in states that they control. "This is space-age extreme gerrymandering on steroids. It has given Republicans huge advantages in all of these states that they control. Ohio, a very swing state, is represented by 12 Republicans and 4 Democrats. Michigan is 9-5, even though Democrats in 2012 got a quarter of a million more votes. These are 50-50 states and it has made our politics deeply uncompetitive. There's no swing in these swing districts. You have not had a single seat go from red to blue in any of those swing states. On these maps, no seats have gone from red to blue this entire decade."

Incredibly, the Republican Justices other than Kennedy seem to believe the matter should not be decided by the courts, but should be left to the same rigged legislatures which created this mess in the first place. "In Michigan, this last decade," he notes, "Democrats have gotten more total votes every time. Republicans have kept control. This is the case in state after state. They have enshrined this problem. We need the Court here to come in and fix democracy"...

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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Plus: Trump deflects on Puerto Rico disaster; DHS wrong on 'Russia hacking'; Callers ring in on all of that and more...
By Brad Friedman on 9/28/2017 5:59pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we open the phone to callers to discuss another very busy news week, though most want to talk about election integrity. That's good. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the stories we cover before we get to listener calls: The Trump Administration is blocking members of Congress --- both Democratic and Republican --- from taking military flights down to Puerto Rico, for some reason, where the disaster for 3.5 million U.S. citizens following Hurricane Maria is said to be quickly deteriorating. Meanwhile, Trump continues to sing his own praises for his handling of the disaster, while using his Twitter account to tweet about the NFL instead of offering help or support for the storm victims.

Then, the state of Wisconsin finally decertifies its terrible, two-decade old Optech Eagle paper ballot tabulators which will only read marks in pencil (not pen). That, despite many WI municipalities which used those same machines to both tally and then 'recount' the 2016 Presidential election, rather than ever count ballots by hand. Those machines may well be replaced by 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems. Also, though the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security informed the state late last week that Russia attempted to hack their voting system last year, it turns out DHS now admits has no such evidence.

Here in California, where DHS told the state the same thing last week (and apparently got it wrong there as well), Democrats in the state assembly recently passed a bill, AB-840, that will make stealing elections easier, by removing nearly half of the ballots cast from the state's 1% post-election hand 'audit'. Governor Jerry Brown (D) is now deciding whether to sign the bill, which election integrity advocates and voting system experts are begging him to veto instead, describing AB-840 as a "roadmap to fraud". You can contact the Governor with your opinion on whether he should sign or veto right here.

Callers ring in on all of that today, and challenge me on a point or two regarding voting and election fraud, before Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, on the rapidly devolving humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, and even some good news about coal for the Pacific Northwest (and for all of us, in truth)...

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Also: Trump dismisses Puerto Rico's humanitarian crisis after Maria, pushes U.S. closer to (nuclear?) war with North Korea, and more...
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2017 5:49pm PT  

On today's very busy, very newsy BradCast, we try, once again, to focus on the issues that actually matter. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the many stories covered on today's show:

  • It's National Voter Registration Day! Are you registered to vote? Are you sure about that? Are you really sure?;
  • Republicans in the U.S. Senate finally throw in the towel (again) on their latest scheme for killing the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), which would have taken away health care from "millions" of Americans. But is this really the end? (Might we suggest Bernie Sanders' "Medicare-for-All" instead, Mr. President?);
  • The humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria worsens. Rather than take action, Donald Trump tweets insults appearing to blame the 3.5 million American citizens who live there for their woes after the devastating Category 4 storm;
  • Trump continues to issue threats to North Korea, with one expert now putting the odds of a conventional war with the isolated Asian nation at 50% --- and of nuclear war at better than 1 out of 10!;
  • A new and very careful academic study finds thousands of eligible voters were prevented and/or deterred from voting in just two of Wisconsin's largest counties in the 2016 Presidential election, thanks to discriminatory Republican Photo ID voting restrictions in the state;
  • Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with updates on Puerto Rico after Maria, toxic exposure and cleanup in Texas after Harvey, and how global warming has made all of those dangers much worse;

And, finally, The Daily Show's Trevor Noah perfectly sums up Trump's ginned-up "controversy" over NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem in solemn, respectful protest of racial injustice, in just 22 seconds...and it even rhymes!...

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From North Korea to London to Charlottesville to Florida to Texas to Ohio to California and beyond...
By Brad Friedman on 9/15/2017 5:44pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we finally catch up on a whole bunch of stories previously postponed "due to weather", and a bunch of new stories today, on North Korea, London terror attacks and our President's disturbing response to both. [Audio link to show posted below.]

Among the many stories covered on today program:

  • First, some good news (before everything else goes to hell), a federal court blocks Attorney General Jeff Sessions' attempt to withhold DoJ funding from so-called "sanctuary cities";
  • North Korea's latest missile test bodes ominously, but there is a potential way to avoid war, if officials are smart enough to use it;
  • Another terror attack in London today and, as Scotland Yard and Prime Minister Theresa May described it, Trump's very "unhelpful" response to it;
  • Speaking of terror, Donald Trump is very quick to comment on alleged Muslim terror attacks, but both he (and the corporate media) are very good at ignoring and/or downplaying domestic acts of terror by white people with guns, including a deadly high school shooting this week in suburban Washington and one of the worst mass murders in a decade this week in suburban Texas.
  • The growing cost to the U.S. economy of Harvey, Irma and other increasingly intense storms (another may hit the U.S. in the coming week) --- and the ever-increasing costs of ignoring climate change altogether;
  • More on the massive Equifax hack;
  • Hundreds of thousands of voter files left unprotected online (again), this time in Alaska;
  • The election office in Ohio largest county, with voted ballots inside, was discovered completely unlocked and vacant, just days before a municipal election;
  • Both bad and good news out of the California state legislature, including the success of a Dem-supported bill (AB 840) that will make election fraud easier to carry out by keeping nearly 40% of the state's ballots from being subject to any post-election hand "audits" (if you're in the state, feel free to contact Gov. Jerry Brown to ask him to veto it!) and the passage of a different bill that Donald Trump won't like at all;

And, finally today, a few pieces of listener mail, also both good and bad, at the end of another insane week in these United States...

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Guest: Penn State's award-winning climate scientist, author; Also: Dems rack up more special election wins, GOP 'fraud' fraudster face-plants...
By Brad Friedman on 9/13/2017 6:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Big wins for Democrats, a public face-plant for a renowned GOP "voter fraud" fraudster, more on Irma's historic devastation, and the scientific facts behind what helped to make it so devastating, from someone who actually knows. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

Before we get to the increasingly disturbing situation on the ground following Hurricane Irma in Florida and elsewhere --- and why that storm and Harvey before it were so terrible in the first place --- a few news items of note today. First up: Democrats took over two different state legislative seats in special elections wins on Tuesday, one in Oklahoma and one in New Hampshire. Both races were in districts that Trump won by very large margins last November. The victories for Dems --- including huge reported vote swings from R to D --- are of a piece with a series of other special elections held so far this year, including four in Oklahoma alone.

In, yes, related news, former President Jimmy Carter offered some noteworthy statements on North Korea that President Donald Trump may wish to notice, and also some words about worldwide democracy and the need for public oversight of ballot counting.

In the meantime, following some wildly misleading claims about stolen elections and "voter fraud" in New Hampshire from Kris Kobach, the vice-chair of Trump's so-called "Election Integrity" Commission and Sec. of State of Kansas, panelists and members of his own commission, including NH's own Sec. of State, blasted the GOP "voter fraud" fraudster, to his face, during the Commission's second public meeting, held on Tuesday in...NH!

While Republicans are very quick to use even the most sketchy threads of "evidence" they can possibly discover to claim that our democracy has fallen victim to a massive Democratic "voter fraud" conspiracy --- and that we must take radical steps to prevent it, even if it means millions of our fellow citizens lose their RIGHT to vote --- there is, apparently, a very different standard for "evidence" when it comes to climate change. On that, decades of peer-reviewed evidence and tens of thousands of studies don't seem to do the trick, for some reason. That evidence, is simply dismissed by the GOP's fossil fuel-funded cronies. Now it's costing the U.S. --- and the planet --- bigly.

After an update on the death toll and deteriorating conditions in some parts of Florida following Hurricane Irma, we're joined by Penn State University climate scientist and author DR. MICHAEL E. MANN, to discuss what made Hurricanes Harvey and Irma so historically extraordinary (and deadly) and why now is absolutely the right time, despite claims to the contrary by top officials in the Trump Administration and their fellow wingnut denialist community, to discuss the growing impact of our climate crisis and the relationship between that and hurricanes, flooding, wild fires, drought and more across the globe.

"In a word, warmth," Mann tells me when I ask him why Harvey and Irma, from a meteorological perspective, were so uniquely devastating. "Warm oceans mean more moisture in the atmosphere, moisture that's available for record rainfall like we saw in Harvey. It also means greater intensification of these storms --- and indeed, we saw the most intense hurricane ever in the open Atlantic, Irma, at a 185 miles per hour."

He notes that "over the last three years, when global ocean temperatures have been at their warmest, we've seen the strongest hurricane ever, globally, which was Patricia in the Pacific a couple of years ago, we have seen, obviously, the strongest storm in the Northern Hemisphere [Irma]. We've also seen the strongest storm in the Southern Hemisphere [Winston]."

"We've warmed the global oceans more than one degree Fahrenheit. That amounts to about a 7% increase in wind speeds. That 7% increase in wind speed means roughly 20% increase in destructive potential. It's not coincidental that we're noticing that. That is not a subtle climate signal. That is a very tangible impact that warming is having on the destructive potential of these storms."

Mann goes on to explain how the U.S. is "falling behind" Europe when it comes to investment, and accurate results, in climate and weather forecasts; responds to critics who use "straw men" and denial to "muddy the waters" and "poison the well"; draws an interesting parallel between Superstorm Sandy and the Sandy Hook mass murder, in response to those who say "now is not the time to discuss climate"; explains why he believes, as a professor of meteorology, there are still so many broadcast meteorologists in the dwindling denier community (and casts some of the blame for that on his own Penn State); and why he feels that recent comments about climate change from Sen. John McCain may offer reason for optimism.

"Ironically, the era of Trump, as adverse as it might feel when it comes to climate action, may ironically be creating a divide within the Republican Party that could end up leading to a governing coalition for action on climate," says the ever optimistic Mann near the end of today's conversation...

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Corporate media falls for 'Trump pivot' again. Callers ring on on that, VA finally decertifying touch-screen voting systems, and much more...
By Brad Friedman on 9/12/2017 5:26pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the corporate media fall for it again. They always do. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

Over the past several days, following Donald Trump's agreement last week with the Democratic Congressional leadership to extend the nation's debt ceiling (to pay our bills!) and continuing funding the government for another three months, the corporate media have been falling over themselves to declare "Trump the Independent" (AP)! A President who is "upending 150 years of two-party rule" (NYTimes) and out-Bull Moosing even Theodore Roosevelt as a "populist dealmaker able to cut through the mores of Washington to get things done" (WaPo), as he finally carves out a "bi-partisan path" forward!

We open the phone lines today to tons of callers to see if they're buying that ridiculous narrative from an easily-played corporate media any more than I am.

Also today, as we try to begin catching up with some important news that has otherwise gotten washed away in recent days by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, the Virginia Board of Elections has finally decertified the easily-manipulated, oft-failed, 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems used in some 22 voting jurisdictions in the state. The race is now on, in advance of their gubernatorial election this November, to replace them with verifiable paper ballots systems.

Then, after more calls on that as well, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with the continuing aftermath of the devastating and deadly Irma disaster, and a few folks who are pushing back against climate change denialism from several different surprising places...

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Guest: Radio host Nicole Sandler in South Florida...
By Brad Friedman on 9/8/2017 6:15pm PT  

On today's BradCast: How government subsidized lies and liars are killing the nation, the planet, and U.S. democracy. [Audio link to show follows below.]

With more than a thousand dead from monsoons in South Asia, two monster hurricanes in the Atlantic, one of them about to engulf Florida, a third one in the Gulf striking Mexico and Houston struggling to rebuild from unprecedented flooding after Harvey, a magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck off the coast of Mexico late Thursday night, killing more than 60 and leading one wise Twitterer to observe: "All that's missing is the locusts."

On today's show (after once again marveling at Ronald Reagan's greatest, and most damaging, cons --- particularly pungent on a day like today), we check in with our friend NICOLE SANDLER, host of The Nicole Sandler Show, just north of Miami, as she and her family, unable to evacuate, are preparing to hunker down before Hurricane Irma rolls ashore and then up the entire length of the state.

Other radio hosts in the South Florida area, like con-man Rush Limbaugh, are apparently lucky and wealthy enough to be able to evacuate at the last moment before the record hurricane strikes, even after spending the week downplaying the threat of the Category 5 monster and the last several decades downplaying the threat of climate change by disinforming tens of millions of Americans about it over our tax-payer owned public airwaves.

Then, speaking of tax-payer funded disinformation, the head of Trump's so-called "Election Integrity" Commission, Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach, has built his career on lying to gullible Americans about voter fraud in hopes of disenfranchising as many of them (at least of a certain party) as he can get away with.

A new report finds his state has been discarding ballots at an alarming rate. But, at the same time, just days before the sham Commission he co-chairs is set to hold its second public meeting in New Hampshire, Kobach unleashes a whopper of a scam column at the wingnut "news" site Breitbart, citing new "evidence" proving that "voter fraud" by "illegal" out-of-state voters was responsible for the Republicans' narrowly lost U.S. Senate seat in NH last year, as well as Donald Trump's 2016 loss in the Granite State to Hillary Clinton.

As we detail on today's show, Kobach's deceptive "new" NH claims are easily dispelled nonsense. Getting the actual facts about it, however, to the dupes, pawns, suckers and chumps who actually trust the fake news they suck up from accomplished liars like Limbaugh and Kobach at places like Brietbart and Fox "News", is a different matter all together.

Finally, still on the topic of a thoroughly propagandized nation, we close with some listener response to a caller on a recent show about Trump overturning DACA...

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Guest: Author, journalist Zachary Roth of The Daily Democracy | Also: Juan Cole responds to listeners on Afghanistan; Trump Admin reviews on Nat'l Monuments and the power grid; Hurricane Harvey aims at Texas...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2017 6:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we pick up with the news that broke at the end of yesterday's show, as a federal court in Texas had --- yet again (for at least the 6th or 8th time, nobody can even keep it straight anymore!) --- found the state's Photo ID voting restriction to be discriminatory, and intentionally so, against racial minorities. [Audio link to show follow below.]

We're joined by journalist and author ZACHARY ROTH, formerly of MSNBC, now of The Daily Democracy, to discuss what he describes as "the Rasputin of voting laws. It just refuses to die."

But, while it may or may not finally be dead forever, U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzalez Ramos has "permanently" struck down both the strict Photo ID law passed by Texas Republicans in 2011 (SB 14) and the amendment to it (SB 5) passed just this year in response to her previous rulings finding that the GOP law was written to intentionally and disproportionately disenfranchise racial minorities.

Roth finds that both of Gonzalez Ramos' rulings, on SB 14 previously and on SB 5 now, are "incredibly careful, well-reasoned and cogent. What she found in Wednesday's ruling is that the new, modified voter ID law that Texas passed this year does not do nearly enough to fix the problems of the original law that led to it being blocked." He says that she found, in fact, some elements of the new amendment make it "even more racially discriminatory" and include harsh new penalties that "appear to be efforts at voter intimidation" which, he describes as a "remarkably strong statement from a judge about a state's intentions."

The biggest questions now are: a) Will the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the most conservative in the land, overturn the lower court (they didn't last time)?; b) Will the stolen Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme Court do so?; c) Will SCOTUS finally block all such discriminatory Photo ID laws nationally?, and; d) Perhaps the biggest question: Will Texas finally be bailed back in to the Voting Rights Act's provision requiring federal pre-clearance for all new voting laws in jurisdictions with a long history of racial discrimination? (Texas was covered under that requirement until SCOTUS struck down the VRA's list of such jurisdictions in 2013. Meanwhile, courts have now blocked three different discriminatory voting laws there in just the last eight days!)

We discuss all of that and more with Roth today, including why the GOP has been working so hard, for so many years, to enact this law; the lack of any evidence that it is actually meant to prevent fraud; the Trump DoJ's reversed position on this case; several other recent cases regarding redistricting in TX in which state Republicans were also found to have intentionally discriminated against minorities; and Roth's 2016 book, The Great Suppression: Voting Rights, Corporate Cash, and the Conservative Assault on Democracy.

Then, we received a number of interesting responses this week to my recent discussion with Middle East expert Juan Cole regarding Trump's flip-flop decision to remain in Afghanistan. We share some of those responses --- regarding oil pipelines and opium production --- along with Cole's e-mailed responses to them.

And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report' and a number green-related stories that have broken since, including on Ryan Zinke's Interior Department review of whether or not to shut down a number of National Monuments, Rick Perry's Energy Department review of whether renewable energy threatens the nation's power grid, and Hurricane Harvey which is now set to barrel into the Texas Gulf coast and linger for days, with a huge amount of rainfall along with it...

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Also: Attorney Ernest A. Canning on two new Indiana voter suppression suits | Callers respond to Trump's support for White Supremacists...
By Brad Friedman on 8/16/2017 5:57pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Is something happening here? Finally? [Audio link to show follows below.]

Following Donald Trump's insane press conference at Trump Tower on Tuesday, during which he vociferously equated neo-Nazis and White Supremacists with those who oppose them --- just days after the murder of a counter-protester by an apparent White nationalist in Charlottesville --- even some Republicans are finally condemning him. Sort of. But not nearly enough.

At the same time, Confederate monuments are being removed around the country and business leaders who claim to be furious have withdrawn from Trump's two different business councils, which he has now been forced to shut down. Nonetheless, despite their half-hearted protestations, Republicans continue to intentionally suppress minority voting in state after state. Another Federal Court determined as much this week in Texas, finding --- for the 11th time in recent years --- that state Republicans intentionally suppressed minority voters there.

Another such state is Vice President Mike Pence's Indiana, where a new analysis from the Indy Star finds that early voting sites were shuttered in Democratic counties and expanded in Republican counties after Obama won the state in 2008, and as Pence served as Governor. The strategy worked. Republican turnout increased in counties where voting rights were expanded and Democratic votes decreased in the state's largest and most Democratic leaning counties, where voting sites were shuttered. Now Pence heads up Trump's so-called "Election Integrity" Commission.

Long-time BRAD BLOG legal analyst ERNEST A. CANNING joins us to detail his new article on the two federal lawsuits, alleging violations of both the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution, that have now been filed in the Hoosier State.

Then, along with a clip of a GOP strategist breaking down into tears on Fox "News" in the wake of Trump's response to Charlottesville, callers --- including my own father! --- ring in on all of the above. Is Trump "a Nazi" himself? Will this moment ultimately make any difference moving forward? And, can the GOP officials rebuking Trump be taken seriously, given that they are still suppressing the votes of African-Americans and Latinos all across the nation at the very same time?...

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Plus: Open lines for callers in the angry heat of mid-Summer...
By Brad Friedman on 8/2/2017 5:56pm PT  

On today's BradCast: a hodge-podge of mid-Summer news and D.C. dysfunction with listener calls to help make it all better somehow. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Among the stories covered on today's very busy show:

  • Trump reluctantly signs a new bipartisan bill sanctioning Russia, North Korea and Iran (and why Bernie Sanders didn't support the bill either);
  • A recently discovered Department of Justice announcement signals political appointees at Trump's DoJ civil rights unit plans to target affirmative action measures at colleges and universities on behalf of white Americans;
  • A federal judge rules Alabama does not have to notify thousands of former felons that their right to vote has been restored;
  • In addition to every single voting machine being hacked at last weekend's DefCon hackers conference in Las Vegas, electronic pollbook systems were also hacked there, and one contained the personal records of some 650,000 Tennessee voters.
  • A long-serving, top EPA official resigns citing Trump Administration rollbacks to environmental protection in a blistering exit letter [PDF].

Then we open up the phone lines to callers on any and all of the above (and more), before Desi Doyen joins us finally for the latest similarly-busy Green News Report on South Carolina canceling plans for new nuclear plants, new studies predicting big trouble for humanity (especially those who live near the coast) and much much more...

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Guest: Dr. David Jefferson of Livermore National Laboratory and Verified Voting | Also: 'The Mooch' is fired, and the health care wars continue...
By Brad Friedman on 7/31/2017 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast: How hackers in Las Vegas over the weekend confirmed what we've been yelling and screaming about for nearly 15 years. Namely, every single computer voting, tabulation and registration system used in the U.S. is absurdly vulnerable to manipulation that would likely go undetected unless hand-marked paper ballots exist and are actually counted, by hand, by human beings. [Audio link to full show posted below at end of article.]

At the annual hackers convention in Vegas known as DefCon, thirty voting system computers (both voting machines and electronic pollbooks) were made available to attendees to crack at will! And, boy howdy, did they! Every single system was reportedly compromised in some fashion by the end of the weekend --- several of them fell within just minutes of opening DefCon's so-called "Voting Machine Hacking Village".

We're joined today for some of the amazing details on what happened in Vegas (in hopes that it doesn't just stay there!) by DR. DAVID JEFFERSON, a longtime computer scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Chair of the Board of Directors at VerifiedVoting.org. Jefferson, who has a been a pioneer in the field of voting system security for some 20 years, serving as an advisor to five successive Secretaries of State in California (both Republican and Democratic) also presented at the wildly popular DefCon "Voting Village".

"It was a wild time, I have to tell ya. This hacking village was set up --- really, in just six weeks it came together --- and in that short a time, they managed to gather all these voting machines," he says. It was quite a contrast from the "cloak and dagger" days when folks like us had to obtain voting machines from secret sources to share with independent investigators in order to have any kind of independent analysis of system vulnerabilities.

"That room was just crowded from morning to night," Jefferson says, describing the room at DefCon. "And the amazing thing is that all of those successful hacks, these were by people who, most of them, had never seen a voting machine before, and certainly not the system sitting in front of them, and they had not met each other before. They didn't come with a full set of tools that were tailored toward attacking these machines. They just started with a piece of hardware in front of them and their own laptops and ingenuity, attacking the various systems. And it was amazing how quickly they did it!"

Jefferson tells me, after all of these years, he is now seeing a major difference among the public, as well as election and elected officials (a number of whom were also in attendance), regarding the decades-long concerns by experts about electronic voting, tabulation and registration systems.

"I am seeing a kind of sea change here. For the first time, I am sensing that election officials, and the Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI, and the intelligence community, and Congress, and the press, are suddenly, after the 2016 election experience, receptive to our message that these systems are extremely vulnerable and it's a serious national security issue. As you know, in a democracy, the legitimacy of government depends on free and fair and secure elections. And people are beginning to realize that we haven't had those for a long time."

He explains how hacking methods attributed by many to Russians following the 2016 elections "are the same methods that anyone on Earth could use --- insiders, criminal syndicates, nation-states other than Russia, as well, or our own political partisans. The fear, of course, is that these hacking attempts will be totally undetectable. But even if they are detectable, it's difficult often to determine who did it, whether it's an insider, or a domestic partisan, or some foreign organization."

He also confirms what I've been trying to point out since the 2016 election, that despite officials continuously claiming that no voting results were changed by anyone, be it Russia or anybody else, "they cannot know that. They simply can't know. Certainly in those states where there are no paper ballots, such as in Georgia, for example, it's impossible for them to know. And even in states where there are, if they don't go back and either recount the paper ballots, or at least recount a random sample of them, no, they can't know either."

"Election officials have fooled themselves into believing the claims of their [private voting machine] vendors that the systems are secure from all kinds of attack. And it's just never been true," Jefferson argues.

But will the weekend's short order hacks of every voting system presented at DefCon actually help the U.S. to finally move toward systems that are overseeable by the public? And what does that mean, exactly? Is replacing old computer election systems --- many of which still run on no-longer-supported software like Windows 2000 --- with new ones the answer? Are paper ballots, which voting systems experts call for, enough? Particularly given that we saw, after the 2016 election, how it's nearly impossible, even for a Presidential candidate, to see those ballots publicly hand-counted ("Democracy's Gold Standard") in order to confirm results?

"We have to change the way we think about securing elections. Instead of trying to harden the voting systems themselves against all forms of attack --- I think that is going to be a hopeless task for as far into the future as computer scientists can see. Instead of hardening those systems themselves, we need to design systems so that after the election is over we can verify that the results were correct. And then if they're not, we have to be able to change the results accordingly. So the emphasis is on detection and correction, not prevention."

I hash all of that out and much more with my friend Dr. Jefferson today, who also details DefCon's plans to make the "Voting Village" a permanent fixture of its annual convention, which just spectacularly wrapped up its 25th year.

Also on today's show: Trump fires his incoming White House Communications Director Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci before he even officially begins in his new role, and the mop-up from last week's health care repeal disaster for Republicans in the Senate continues, as the White House demands the U.S. Senate vote on nothing else until they can vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, despite a new poll finding Americans want Congress to move on, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders vowing to introduce a single-payer healthcare bill in the U.S. Senate...

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