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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, September 21, 2017
'Green News Report' 9/21/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Hurricane Maria devastates Puerto Rico; Earthquake devastates Mexico City; CA cities sue fossil fuel industry; PLUS: French President takes lead to rally U.N. on climate action...
Previous GNRs: 9/19/17 - 9/14/17 - Archives...
Political and Corporate Hypocrisy on Parade: 'BradCast' 9/20/17
Guest: CPI journalist Rachel Leven; Also: Kimmel slams Cassidy; Catastrophic Maria in Puerto Rico, 7.1 M earthquake in Mexico...
Trump Blusters UN; GOP 'Repealing' Again; Dems 'Look Forward' w/ 'Medicare-for-All': 'BradCast' 9/19/17
Guest: John Judis of TPM; Also: Irma slams Caribbean, Quake devastates Mexico...
'Green News Report' 9/19/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Maria slams Caribbean in Irma footsteps, more storms in wings; Trump denies climate link; Zinke to shrink 10 Nat'l Monuments; PLUS: UN gathers 30th yrs after 1st global climate treaty...
Previous GNRs: 9/14/17 - 9/12/17 - Archives...
Lack of 'Convictions': Repubs on Trump, Dem Senator on Trial: 'BradCast' 9/18/17
Guest: Former Asst. U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eliason; Also: Hurricane Maria on Irma's path of destruction (and she's not alone)...
Sunday Toons of the Cognitively Dissonant Moment
Pity the poor 'PDiddie' who had to make sense of the past week of politics, much less the political cartoons about all of it...
Nothin' But News
(Good, Bad and Otherwise):
'BradCast' 9/15/17
From North Korea to London to Charlottesville to Florida to Texas to Ohio to California to Alaska and beyond...
Trump Plays Both Sides on DACA and Wall; Also: Equifax and You, Dems and 'Medicare-for-All': 'BradCast' 9/14/17
Guest: Gaius Publius of 'Down With Tyranny'; And another hurricane, another NK missile...
'Green News Report' 9/14/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Desperate conditions in the wake of Irma; Eight dead in FL nursing home as power out for millions; Toxic spills and lawsuits follow Harvey; PLUS: Impact of climate in a warming world...
Previous GNRs: 9/12/17 - 9/7/17 - Archives...
'A Threat to the Forces of Denial': Dr. Michael Mann on Science Facts After Irma: 'BradCast' 9/13/17
Guest: Renowned climate scientist; Also: More Dem election wins, GOP fraudster face-plant...
'Trump the Independent'?! Seriously, MSM?!:
'BradCast' 9/12/17
Corporate media falls for 'Trump pivot' again. Callers ring on that, VA finally decertifying touch-screen voting, more...
'Green News Report' 9/12/17
Recovery begins after Irma, sewage systems overflow, EPA waives pollution rules; GOP seeing light on climate?; PLUS: Pope Francis and Miss America slam Trump climate policy...
Sunday 'Double Trouble' Toons
Harvey, Irma and much more trouble in PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best toons...
Irma Ravages Caribbean on Way to FL; Lawsuits Challenge Trump DACA Reversal: 'BradCast' 9/7/17
Guest: Mayra Joachin of the Nat'l Immigration Law Center; Much, MUCH more...
'Green News Report' 9/7/17
After devastating Caribbean, Irma takes aim at US; Harvey's man-made ecological disaster; PLUS: Record heat, fires across West, and FEMA out of money...
CA Dems Undermining Election Oversight; Callers on DACA: 'BradCast' 9/6/17
Guest: Election Integrity expert Jim Soper on AB 840; Plus: Three hurricanes in the Atlantic...
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...


With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 9/12/2017 11:12am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Recovery efforts continue after Irma grinds a trail of destruction across Florida and into Georgia; Adding pollution to misery, FL sewage systems overflow and EPA waives pollution rules; Hurricanes Irma and Harvey may open a rift in the Republican Party's denial of climate change; PLUS: Miss North Dakota slams Trump's withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement, wins Miss America pageant... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

Link:
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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Damage from Irma, Harvey add to growing costs of climate change; VW to build all models all-electric by 2030; Trump Admin halts pollution controls at FL power plants; Houston's floodwaters tainted with toxins; FL representative aims to let companies hide climate risk; State says new Enbridge pipeline not needed; EPA Toxics nominee helped Koch Brothers in Chicago pet-coke battle; Record wildfire season causing significant air pollution in Pacific Northwest; Senate panel votes to fund UN climate agency... PLUS: Electric cars are about to get their biggest boost ever.... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




Guest: Disaster historian Dr. Scott Knowles of Drexel University...
By Brad Friedman on 9/11/2017 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The latest on our nation's quickly piling up megadisasters, what we need to do about them, what we should have done long ago, and why we haven't. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

First up today: A quick overview of Irma's disastrous weekend course as a massive and deadly hurricane which lashed the entire state of Florida. Now, disaster recovery is under way as power remains out for millions, and the storm continues wreaking havoc in that state, as well as Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and elsewhere as a dangerous tropical storm.

This latest storm has been playing out on the heels of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana along with a number of other contemporaneous and ongoing natural disasters. So, naturally, Donald Trump over the weekend called for "speeding up" massive tax cuts that he and Republicans have long been promising. But, if taxes are slashed, who, and what, is going to pay for the likely-record disaster relief funding that will now be needed, not to mention the infrastructure upgrades that are long overdue in the storm areas, as well as across the U.S. --- particularly as we face a quickly changing climate?

We're joined today for a fascinating interview with DR. SCOTT KNOWLES, disaster historian (who knew there was such a thing?), at Drexel University's Center for Science, Technology and Science, to help put the costs of the one-two punch of Harvey and Irma into historical perspective, to discuss what lessons must be learned from those two record storms, what lessons we should have learned long ago and, frankly, why it is that we haven't learned those lessons by now, given what once was a robust U.S. government effort at disaster research and infrastructure management.

There is a lot of ground covered in my conversation with Knowles, author of The Disaster Experts: Mastering Risk in Modern America, today. Please give it a listen in full below. But, I'll quickly share just one or two of his thoughts to hopefully whet your appetite. Following massive deadly floods and fires in the 18th and 19th century, he explains, there was a largely successful effort to avoid those catastrophic and deadly events by local, state and federal officials in the world's wealthiest nation. That post-WWII effort, however, began to change in recent decades. And, with the worsening of our climate crisis, the "deferred maintenance" of our infrastructure and reduced environmental regulations, the still-prevalent notion that government needs to be scaled back in every way, couldn't have come at a worse time for the nation and the planet.

"We're able now more accurately to trace back the causes of these disasters to historical decisions that have been made since World War 2," Knowles explains. "Where we live, how we live, how we write our building codes, what we choose to spend our money on and not spend money on. Those are traceable historical pathways.

"One would have thought we could've had national standards for safety by now," he tells me. "I think this is the core of what we're really arguing about now. Can we make a national commitment to safety from disaster? If we can't, then I think we've really let down what Americans expect out of science, and government, and infrastructure and engineering, and all other things that we rely on every day."

As to climate change itself, and the need to act on the "settled science" that Republicans continue to ignore at our peril --- Trump's EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt recently said, that now is not the time to discuss such things --- Knowles argues: "These are the moments when people are attuned. This is when you have their attention. I don't think it's disrespectful to people who are suffering to raise the cause of their suffering into political light at these moments. In fact, I think it does them a service. And that's why so many of my colleagues who do this work do that"...

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

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Guest: Mayra Joachin of the Nat'l Immigration Law Center; MUCH more...
By Brad Friedman on 9/7/2017 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Climate mayhem unleashed in the Atlantic; Legal push-back against Trump's latest anti-immigrant policy; and much more. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

On the heels of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, one of the most ferocious Category 5 storms ever tracked in the Atlantic, is wreaking catastrophic devastation to Caribbean island nations as it remains on target to slam south Florida (including Trump's Mar-a-Lago) over the weekend, before creating a "buzz saw" up Florida's East Coast and into Georgia and the Carolinas. All signs suggest this is going to be exceedingly bad for the continental U.S. as well, particularly where developers successfully lobbied to ensure new construction along coastal Florida only needed to be able to withstand Category 3 hurricanes. Desi Doyen joins us for details on the reported damage and what officials and experts fear is still to come.

Then, we're joined by MAYRA JOACHIN, staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, to discuss the lawsuits filed by her organization and 15 state Attorneys General against Donald Trump's reversal of Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Joachin details the lawsuits' allegations that the Trump Administration is in violation of federal law for overturning, without a compelling governmental reason, the previous Administration's program that protected nearly one million children of undocumented immigrants from deportation.

"The Administrative Procedure Act prohibits any reversals of longstanding policies on which individuals have relied. DACA is a program that almost 800,000 individuals have benefited from. This program has enabled them to secure a job, to advance their educational goals, to obtain access to items such as a home, or to purchase a car, that they wouldn't have been able to attain without the DACA program," she explains. "This program has been in existence for now five years, and it was in place for about seven months since the Trump Administration took office. And throughout this time frame, individuals have constantly relied on a promise that they would be able to obtain temporary deferred action because of the DACA program. And the reversal of this policy without any adequate reason for doing so is a violation of federal law."

An immigrant herself from Central America, Joachin also speaks to how the new Trump policy has shaken the immigrant community. "There's fear. Fear in the fact that these individuals who will start phasing out of the DACA program can be picked up by immigration agencies and placed into removal procedures," she tells me. "These are individuals --- many of them for decades in the United States and who call the United States their home --- there's a fear as to what can happen to their relatives. Fear as to what will happen to their employment opportunities --- will they be able to secure a job? --- even though many of these individuals have worked hard for years, they've pursued advanced educational degrees, and are now facing the reality that, as of March 6th, many of them will no longer be able to be employed under federal regulations."

Joachin, whose work at NILC focuses on health insurance coverage for immigrants, also discusses how, even though federal law has not (yet) changed regarding the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), many in immigrant community are now afraid to exercise their rights when it comes to health care coverage, given the Trump Administration's anti-immigrant rhetoric. But, she also says she sees "a small glimmer of hope". You'll have to tune in to find out why.

Among the other stories also covered on today's very busy show: Right behind Irma is Hurricane Jose, now a Category 3 storm, and taking a similar same path toward some of the same Caribbean islands just ravaged by Irma; The U.S. West is being ravaged by heat and wildfires; Post-Harvey Houston is being ravaged by massive benzene releases by fossil fuel companies; A lawsuit has been filed against Texas by first responders after the state withheld information on dangerous chemicals stored at a facility that blew up during Harvey's worst flooding; And, as if all of that is not enough, breaking news at the end of today's show on the social security numbers and other personal information of some 143 million Americans (about half the country!) reportedly breached and stolen from the credit monitoring firm Equifax....

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: Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) | Plus: 'The end of the beginning' of Harvey, and top Trump officials distance themselves from the President...
By Brad Friedman on 8/30/2017 6:25pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the Harvey disaster continues, even as skies clear over Houston. And a Democratic Congressman joins us to blast several of Trump's new policies, issued as the record storm was rolling in. [Audio link to show follow below.]

Floodwaters have begun to recede a bit in Houston, as some sunshine finally returns and the airport begins to re-open after five hellish days. But its only "the end of the beginning" in the Bayou City, cautions one meteorologist as Harvey moves back onshore near the Texas/Louisiana border, continuing to threaten lives there and in states to the north, even as officials expect the death toll in and near Houston to surge in the days ahead. Moreover, a nearby chemical plant in Crosby is likely to explode soon, due to the flooding, according to the company's CEO.

All of this as Congress prepares to return from their long Summer recess after Labor Day, and members respond to some of the startling Executive Actions taken by Donald Trump as the record-shattering hurricane slammed ashore last Friday night.

We're joined by CONGRESSMAN HANK JOHNSON today to discuss some of those actions, including the President's pardon of former Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was found guilty of criminal contempt of court for violating federal court orders against detaining Latinos on nothing more than suspicious of being undocumented and Trump's less-noticed Executive Order reversing President Obama's restrictions on the Pentagon's infamous "1033 Program".

On the Arpaio pardon, Johnson tells me: "President Trump has proclaimed loudly, by that action, that he will use the power of the presidency to benefit himself, and to benefit his supporters, his friends, and his family. And so it does not augur well for a future for this country under Donald Trump."

"To follow up the notorious pardon of Joe Arpaio with a rescinding of President Obama's executive order which placed limits on the Pentagon's 1033 program --- it does send a clear message to law enforcement that it's open season on the civil rights of anyone who you choose to violate the civil rights of. It's not a good thing for America."

The DoD's "1033 Program" supplies surplus military weapons and equipment --- such as automatic rifles, mine-resistant vehicles, armored drones and even grenade launchers --- for free, to local law enforcement agencies around the country. Johnson has been introducing and re-introducing his bi-partisan "Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act" (H.R. 1556) for three successive years now and explains today --- as Republican Sen. Rand Paul appears to agree in the Senate --- why curbs must be placed on the program.

In an op-ed by Johnson, to be published by the Guardian on Friday, he explains one of the things that "makes it dangerous is the fact that 1033 requires that the equipment be 'placed into use' within 12 months of being acquired." He tells me today that means that "if they don't use them, then they have to turn them back in. And so it's a recipe for misuse. It's a recipe for abuse of civil rights of the citizens who law enforcement is sworn to protect and serve. It's frightening that this onslaught of weaponry, straight from the battlegrounds of Afghanistan and Iraq, will find its way back to the streets of America's cities and towns."

The controversial program originally came to the nation's attention after military vehicles and gear were deployed by local law enforcement in Ferguson, MO in response to protests after the police killing of African-American teenager Michael Brown in 2014. After the nation was horrified by the militarization of local military and it was discovered that some weaponry had been disappearing, or was being sold by local agencies, Obama placed restrictions on the program that Trump, last Friday night, lifted with a stroke of his pen.

I also ask Johnson about whether he believes Congressional Republicans from Texas will support Harvey disaster relief upon their return next week (unlike after SuperStorm Sandy slammed the East coast in 2013), about his Election Integrity bill, and whether he intends to join fellow Democrats in the House who have filed Articles of Impeachment against President Trump.

Finally, Defense Secretary James Mattis appears to be separating himself somewhat from Trump --- though not nearly as much as some on the Left are suggesting --- following the order to ban transgender members of the U.S. Military and saber-rattling with North Korea. And, as more longtime State Dept. officials announce they are leaving, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's job may be on the line following a clear separation from the President's "values" following Trump's statements about neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville...

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: 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...

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: Legal analyst Ernest A. Canning...
By Brad Friedman on 7/20/2017 6:36pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We may be quickly heading towards a very troubling Constitutional crisis and what will it take for voters (and corporate media!) to appreciate the dangers posed by our absurd voting systems in the U.S.? [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

President Donald Trump offers some astounding revelations regarding his thoughts about firing the nation's top law enforcement officials (the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General, the Acting FBI Director and the Special Counsel investigating Team Trump) during a rare interview with the New York Times. He also suggests he believes he can restructure the Dept. of Justice so that the FBI Director reports directly to the President, rather than the Dept. of Justice. The breathtaking admissions in the interview leads at least one former top Justice Department official under Obama to predict that "we are headed for a massive clash....I don't see how we get past this without him firing either [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller or other people at the Justice Department and a massive, massive crisis."

As disturbing and important as Trump's revelations are, the Times' reporters, Peter Baker, Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman, utterly failed to ask any substantive questions about the President's positions on and understanding of the various ongoing Republican schemes to repeal ObamaCare. That, despite each of the GOP's proposed plans for doing so predicted by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office to result in anywhere from 22 million to 32 million Americans losing access to health care coverage.

Instead, the reporters focused only on process questions surrounding the political difficulty of enacting health care repeal, rather than the untold suffering and damage it will cause and Trump's own wildly conflicting advocacy for such proposals. They even ignored the fact that the transcript of the interview appears to suggest he does not even know the difference between health insurance and life insurance!

All of that, as former Presidential candidate and Vietnam War torture victim, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer and Senate GOP leadership is reported to be desperately promising to spend some $200 billion in hopes of buying votes for their health care repeal schemes from so-called moderate Republicans in the U.S. Senate.

Then, we're joined by BRAD BLOG legal analyst ERNIE CANNING, to discuss his analysis of the multi-partisan lawsuit recently filed in Georgia contesting the surprising and 100% unverifiable results of the June 20 U.S. House Special Election in the 6th Congressional District and his rather gob-smacking article on the massive security breaches before the election and the more-than-a-decade of disturbing revelations from computer scientists and whistleblowers alike about the Diebold touch-screen voting systems still forced on voters in the Peach State.

Moreover, he tells me about an Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter who recently dismissed his concerns about her reporting on GA Sec. of State Brian Kemp's comments that there was no evidence to suggest any election results in the state, including the recent GA-06 race, were inaccurate, or that any manipulation, hacking or programming error occurred. "Well, that's true," says Canning, "but you can't prove that the actual count is valid, either. There's no scientific way to do it. The only one that would really know if it was rigged would be somebody who actually took part in the rigging of the vote."

"You have all this coverage everyday with MSNBC about potential Russian hacks," he continues, "and yet nobody there bothers to talk about the fact that these systems are vulnerable to anybody, whether it be Russia or anybody else, and that there's no way to know whether the votes have been altered."

So, what will it take for Americans --- Republicans and Democrats alike --- to understand the on-going threat to democracy posed by both 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems and by paper ballot systems that are tallied by easily-manipulated, oft-failed computer tabulators? What will it take, for that matter, for the corporate media (including Georgia's largest newspaper!) to understand it as well?

We discuss all of that and much more today, including the Texas County that is finally returning to paper ballots after a disaster in November, and the decision by Israel to stick with hand-counted paper ballots in light of recent election hacks around the world...

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

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Plus: On the Espionage Act's 100th Anniversary, it's now being used against whistleblowers and journalists rather than spies...
By Brad Friedman on 7/14/2017 6:15pm PT  

On today's BradCast, take your pick. Either the Trump Administration (and its cronies in Congress) are liars or completely incompetent. There is plenty of evidence for both. [Audio link for show follows below.]

For a start today, the number of people now reported to have been at that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian attorney said to have dirt on Hillary Clinton has now risen to eight. And, not single day has gone by since the revelation of that meeting one week ago, without the Team Trump explanations for it --- including from the President himself --- changing. Why?

But those aren't the stories today to suggest they are either liars or buffoons (and can't do math either.). Among the many additional stories placed into appropriate context today:

  • Trump's own Sec. of State takes a withering shot at Trump's government;
  • A congressional GOPer laments Republicans "simply don't know how to govern";
  • The non-partisan CBO finds Trump's budget doesn't actually balance (it's only off by $3.4 trillion);
  • Senate Republicans newest health care repeal plan doesn't either;
  • Some GOPers are willing to shut down the government if Trump's wall isn't funded (by tax-payers, not by Mexico, as promised);
  • Trump's border "wall" is beginning to sound exactly like Dubya and Obama's border fence (And his plans for immigration reform are beginning to sound a lot like Obama's as well.)

Given a new Pew survey finding a huge majority of Republican voters now believe higher education at universities and colleges has a "negative effect" on the country, perhaps none of today's stories should come as much of a surprise.

Finally, on the 100th Anniversary of the Espionage Act, the Committee to Protect Journalists offers a report on how, since Nixon first did so in the 70's, the Act has been misused to prosecute whistleblowers rather than spies, particularly under Obama, and how Trump may well begin using it against journalists in the bargain...

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

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The Peach State faces yet another contested election following more than a decade of election failures, vulnerabilities and repeated warnings...
UPDATE: Georgia will strip Kennesaw State Univ. of its election system programming and testing responsibilities...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/14/2017 8:38am PT  

"I worry that what we have here in Georgia is the Titanic Effect," Georgia Tech Computer Scientist Richard DeMillo observed, regarding the myriad security issues revealed during the course of last month's U.S. House Special Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District.

"Georgia officials are convinced the state's election system cannot be breached. Shades of the 'unsinkable ship'. They have neglected to give us life boats...a fail-safe system designed so that in case of a catastrophe Georgia voters can easily verify that reported vote totals match voter intent. It is the sort of common-sense approach that first-year engineering students learn. Other states have that capability. Inexplicably, Georgia does not," DeMillo said in a statement quoted in support of a legal challenge filed contesting the 100% unverifiable results of the June 20 contest.

The computer scientist's concerns are hardly the first expressed about Georgia's absurd voting system. In fact, they cap well over a decade of chilling revelations, shocking vulnerabilities and dire warnings issued from the community of experts who have examined the Peach State's voting system, including a number of those who installed it in the first place back in 2002.

For election integrity advocates, the allegations set forth in the July 3 complaint (Curling II) --- filed by the Coalition for Good Governance and a multi-partisan (Republican, Democratic and Constitution Parties) group of electors --- should be enough to make their hair stand on end. That's especially true as it relates to official intransigence and even outright hostility towards computer scientists and researchers who revealed critical vulnerabilities within the state's 100% unverifiable and Orwellian-named Diebold "AccuVote" TS touch-screen voting and tabulation system.

Curling I involved an earlier unsuccessful effort, filed just prior to the election, to secure a temporary restraining order that would have compelled Georgia to use paper ballots during what had become the most expensive U.S. House race in American history.

With the exception of a relatively small number of verifiable paper absentee ballots, Georgia 6th Congressional District electors were forced to cast their votes into electronic black holes. The result: an "election" in which Republican Karen Handel reportedly defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff 51.9% to 48.1%, despite almost all pre-election polls predicting an Ossof win, with some surveys finding the Democrat with a 7 point lead over his Republican opponent. The touch-screen "victory" for Handel, the state's former Secretary of State, is now being contested in Curling II precisely because the reported results were produced by a wildly vulnerable and 100% unverifiable e-vote tabulation system.

As Brad Friedman accurately reported in his first BradCast following Election Day, the results "may be absolutely right or completely wrong...Nobody knows for certain either way...[What we] do know, according to the state's reported results, [is] that Democrat Jon Ossoff defeated Republican Karen Handel in GA-06 by a nearly 2 to 1 margin on the only verifiable ballots used in the race, the paper absentee mail-in ballots"...

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




Guest: Republican election integrity advocate and plaintiff Marilyn Marks | Also: The world moves ahead without the U.S. following G-20 summit...
By Brad Friedman on 7/10/2017 6:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast: I'm back! With huge thanks to Angie Coiro for filling in for us over the past week! But, if you thought the June 20th U.S. House Special Election in Georgia's 6th District was over, well, it's not quite yet, as our guest today, one of the plaintiffs in the Election Contest filed last week in state court, seeking to overturn the results, makes clear. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

But first, the G-20 Summit which wrapped up over the weekend in Hamburg, Germany made very clear that it is now the U.S. (or, more accurately, the Trump Administration) against the world. Old allies like Germany, France and Great Britain are forming new alliances with nations like China, to move ahead without the U.S. in the wake of the Trump Administration's plan to pull out of the landmark Paris Climate Agreement to curb the man-made release of greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

Meanwhile, back here at home, Democrats continue to wring their hands about what they believe to be a hacked or otherwise manipulated Presidential election in 2016, even while failing to do anything about voting systems that are easily hacked, manipulated and otherwise 100% unverifiable.

With major security concerns about last month's U.S. House Special Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District --- where Democrat Jon Ossoff reportedly lost to Republican Karen Handel by 4 points after leading in virtually all of the pre-election polls --- you'd think Dems would be raising holy hell about the fact that Georgia still uses 100% unverifiable voting systems. That is particularly alarming in Georgia, since the state was recently discovered to have kept the passwords for those easily-manipulated 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems (along with the state Voter Registration databases and much more) on a completely unprotected web server for at least 7 months between August of last year and March of this year. The revelation regarding the massive security breach reported just days before the June 20 election at Kennesaw State University --- which has long been contracted to program all of the state's voting, tabulation and voter registration systems. That breach, we have since learned, only became known after the data was found and downloaded by at least two different cybersecurity researchers in those seven months.

But while the DNC seems to be "moving on" despite the unverifiable reported results of the the most expensive U.S. House race in history (in which the only verifiable votes in the race, the paper absentee ballots, reported Ossoff defeating Handel by a nearly 2 to 1 margin), a multi-partisan group of voters in the state of Georgia has now filed an election contest [PDF] in court, seeking to void the results and hold a new election on verifiable paper ballots.

I'm joined today by one of the plaintiffs in the suit, MARILYN MARKS, a former Republican candidate for office, longtime election integrity advocate, and Executive Director of the Coalition for Good Governance. We discuss the group's legal complaint, why they are filing it, what they hope to achieve, and if the GOP-majority House of Representatives will move to have her case tossed out of court on Constitutional jurisdictional grounds (as has been the case in similar Election Contests in recent history.)

The state's unverifiable equipment should lead the court to void the results of election, she argues, since it "absolutely cannot meet Georgia's statutes right now and it cannot be used going forward, not even in the municipal elections coming up in November."

Moreover, Marks explains, "we are asking that the court order Sec. of State [Brian] Kemp to re-examine the equipment, just as citizens [and more than two dozen world class computer scientists and e-voting experts] had asked back in May, before the June election...He refused."

She adds that "we want to see these paperless, unverifiable, anybody's-guess-who-won equipment gone from Georgia," and by "we" she means a coalition of Democrats, Republicans and the head of the far-right Constitution Party, who are plaintiffs in the suit. "We have members of our Coalition for Good Governance who literally also campaigned for Karen Handel, who very much support this lawsuit. So, it wasn't just about winning. They believe we're doing the right thing, even though it may very well overturn their candidate's victory. "

"Georgia is the poster child for unbelievably lax security and inviting in, with a welcome mat, any bad actors who want to walk in. Our experts have said...one after the other after the other, 'Look, the security is so lax in Georgia that you must presume the system has been compromised, you cannot rely on the votes coming out of these machines,'" Marks tells me.

But will Congress intercede to block the suit, as they have in the past after the declared winner has already been seated? (See their letter from 2006 here [PDF] that resulted in a contested U.S. House election in CA being dismissed by the court.) And why, by the way, are Democrats (and Republicans, for that matter) so resistant to stand up and demand elections and results that are overseeable by the public? I discuss all of that and much more with Marks today...

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

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After concerns of a 'hacked' 2016 Presidential race and an unverifiable 'loss' in Georgia that again defied pre-election polling, Dems, the media and the American people are still missing the verifiable facts...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/26/2017 10:08am PT  

There are several basic election integrity truths that have escaped the attention of most Americans, even as they confront the scope of alleged Russian cyber intrusions into America's disparately run, local elections systems.

[Despite repeated assurances from U.S. officials that hackers didn't go so far as to alter vote counts, Department of Homeland Security officials concede that they failed to run an audit in order to determine whether the 2016 vote count had been manipulated by anyone, be they hackers, foreign or domestic, from Russia or anywhere else, or by election insiders whose direct access could facilitate a malicious, or even accidental, manipulation of vote totals. The mainstream U.S. media has also raised concerns that the United States, under the Donald Trump administration, is not doing enough to prevent hacking or manipulation of the 2018 and 2020 elections.]

The first basic election integrity truth is that, as The BRAD BLOG reported in 2009, following a stark presentation by a U.S. intelligence officer to the nation's only federal agency devoted to overseeing the use of electronic voting and tabulation systems, all electronically stored and/or processed data --- registration records, poll books, ballot definition scripts and, most importantly, computerized vote tabulators --- are vulnerable to malicious cyber intrusions.

"I follow the vote," CIA cybersecurity expert Steven Stigall warned members of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) in a 2009 field hearing in Florida. "And wherever the vote becomes an electron and touches a computer, that’s an opportunity for a malicious actor potentially to…make bad things happen."

The second basic truth is that election system vulnerability is not confined only to malicious hackers, who may or may not be Russian. All electronic vote tabulation systems are vulnerable to election insider manipulation.

The third is that paper registration forms, poll books and hand-marked paper ballots are not, in and of themselves, vulnerable to electronic manipulation. (Paper ballots, of course, are not entirely risk free. Even before the advent of e-voting, there had been cases of ballot box stuffing. But it was the advent of central computerized/electronic tabulation that created a vulnerability to wholesale electoral theft by a "conspiracy" as large as one person, with little possibility of detection.)

The fourth is that the only way to ensure a transparent and verifiable count, one that can be overseen and confirmed the public, is to deploy what Brad Friedman aptly describes as "Democracy's Gold Standard": hand-marked paper ballots, publicly hand-counted with the verifiable results posted at each precinct on Election Night before ballots are moved to any other location.

The fifth is that the core issue in election integrity is not whether a given result is or is not the product of election fraud. Instead, as recently observed by Austria's Supreme Court, the issue is whether election officials have complied with procedures that are designed to ensure the integrity of a transparent and verifiable result.

Unfortunately, these basic democracy-sustaining truths, which have been judicially recognized in other nations, have been largely ignored by the U.S. mainstream media, the political leadership of both major U.S. political parties, and, critically, by our courts --- a point that truly came into focus with respect to the recent U.S. House Special Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District...

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




And, ironically, Wednesday's mostly disinformative hearings in the U.S. Senate Intelligence Comm. on alleged manipulation of the 2016 election...
By Brad Friedman on 6/21/2017 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we cover the reported results from Tuesday's U.S. House Special Elections in Georgia's 6th District and South Carolina's 5th, and whether anybody in America can or should have confidence in those unverified and unverifiable results as reported. [Audio link to complete, rant-filled show follows below.]

In both cases, the Republican candidates are reported to have narrowly defeated the Democratic candidates in very Republican districts. In both cases, the computer tabulated results are based on votes cast on 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems. In both cases, the results may be absolutely right or completely wrong. In both cases, absolutely nobody knows for certain either way. And, in both cases, if anybody tells you otherwise, they are either lying or don't know what they're talking about.

We do know, according to the state's reported results, that Democrat Jon Ossoff defeated Republican Karen Handel in GA-06 by a nearly 2 to 1 margin on the only verifiable ballots used in the race, the paper absentee mail-in ballots. Or, at least we can know that, if anybody ever bothers to check them against the computer tallies. But the rest of the race, run on 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems, will remain 100% faith-based, despite the fact that, as we reported in detail on Monday, the folks who program all of Georgia's voting and voter registrations systems (Kennesaw State University's Center for Election Systems, which is paid $750,000 a year to do so) left the system passwords online, unprotected, at their website since last August and perhaps much longer and then covered it up. Moreover, the Republican candidate in GA-06, the state's former Sec. of State Handel, also personally covered up security failures at at Kennesaw's Center for Elections during her term as the state's chief election official.

Other than all of that, why worry? Last night and today, Democrats and progressives have been continuing their internecine battles, blaming one another for a candidate who wasn't progressive enough (in GA), even as they blamed each other for a candidate seen as too progressive in many areas just weeks ago, after losing Montana's U.S. House Special Election.

I'd suggest, as I do on today's show (and last night on Twitter), that Democrats might be better served if they fought like hell for actual human oversight of our voting and vote-counting system before reloading their circular firing squad. But that's just me. In both GA and SC yesterday, those unverified results, if you believe them, do show a nearly 20 point swing towards Dems since last November's election. Similarly encouraging results have been seen in all of the special elections this year. That should be a good sign for Dems, even as a "loss" is a loss, no matter how one looks at it, and whether they actually lost or not.

Ironically enough today, in the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, top intelligence officials from the FBI and DHS testified in regard to concerns about alleged Russian manipulation of the 2016 election. Neither they, nor the elections officials who also testified today, seemed to know much of anything about the actual vulnerability of U.S. voting systems. Or, if they did, they certainly offered a whole lot of demonstrably inaccurate information about whether voting systems are connected to the Internet (they are), whether our decentralized voting and tabulation systems make it impossible to hack a a Presidential election (it doesn't), and whether actual voting results were manipulated in the 2016 President race (they claimed that they weren't, even while the DHS finally admitted they never actually checked a single machine or counted a single ballot to find out!)

On the other hand, one computer scientist and voting machine expert, Dr. Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan, also testified today and he actually knows what he's talking about, because he's personally hacked just about every voting system in use in the U.S. today, including 10 years ago when he first hacked the exact same 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting machines used in the state of Georgia during Tuesday's Special Election for U.S. House, the most expensive such election in U.S. History. As he explained in his prepared remarks [PDF] today, 10 years ago, he "was part of the first academic team to conduct a comprehensive security analysis of a DRE [touch-screen] voting machine." It was a Diebold touch-screen machine, the exact same type used in GA yesterday, as obtained from a source of mine and given to his crew at Princeton University at the time.

"What we found was disturbing," he testified (even as the Senators had no clue that he was referencing the same systems used yesterday in Georgia), "we could reprogram the machine to invisibly cause any candidate to win. We also created malicious software --- vote-stealing code --- that could spread from machine-to-machine like a computer virus, and silently change the election outcome." I broke that story originally at Salon and at The BRAD BLOG in 2006, but Georgia is shamefully still forcing voters to use the exact same hackable, unverifiable machines.

In his remarks shared on today's show, Halderman also testifies to the fact that machines thought not to be attached to the Internet actually are vulnerable to malware from the Internet, and that our decentralized and disparate system of computerized voting machines and tabulators provides no real safeguards against malicious hackers, whether they are from Russia or France or Cleveland or Atlanta.

Finally today, we close with a few listener calls on all of the above and Desi Doyen with our latest, sweltering, Green News Report...

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

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Guest: Author, attorney Seth Abramson | Plus: Senate GOP plans to pass 'secret' health care bill; Energy Sec. Rick Perry is still dumb; much more...
By Brad Friedman on 6/20/2017 5:48pm PT  

On today's BradCast, given the reports that Donald Trump is now personally being investigated for obstruction of justice, we unpack the chaos that may soon come about if the Deputy Attorney General is forced to recuse himself (or is fired) from overseeing the Special Counsel's probe of Team Trump. [Audio link to complete show follows below.]

But, while all the madness of the DoJ's Trump investigations are going on, Senate Republicans indicated today that they will call for a vote on their secret Obamacare replacement bill before the July 4th recess next week. They also announced they will have the votes needed for passage. If they are right, the results are likely be devastating for millions of Americans, and not only the poor. One of out three elderly Americans in nursing homes, for example, rely on Medicaid to cover the costs, and the GOP is about to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from the program in exchange for massive tax cuts for the wealthy.

We discuss that and, as record heat blasts the Western US, the unbelievably stupid explanation for climate change just offered by Energy Secretary Rick Perry (it's not CO2, he says, it's "the ocean waters and this environment that we live in"!) We also offer a very quick preview of the U.S. House Special Elections being held today on 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting machines in BOTH Georgia and South Carolina. (We'll have full results, whatever they are reported to be, on tomorrow's show).

Then we're joined by attorney, author, columnist and UNH asst. professor SETH ABRAMSON to step through his recent 50 tweet(!) tweetstorm detailing the 'bedlam' that is likely to ensue when and if (he insists "when") Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein is forced to recuse himself from overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Team Trump and, reportedly, obstruction of justice by the President himself in his firing of FBI Director James Comey.

The chain of events that could come about as the result of Rosenstein's recusal, as Abramson details on the show today, are amazing and could lead to a very real Constitutional Crisis and even completely separate obstruction of justice charges against Trump based on an entirely different investigation related to his February mass firing of all of the US Attorneys.

Lots of somewhat jaw-dropping 'bedlam' unpacked and explained and to be absorbed in detail on this front on today's show, including whether or not Rosenstein himself could come under investigation; who the next officials in line are to take his place (first, a friend of Ted Cruz' named Rachel Brand, then a man named Dana Boente) and what their conflicts are; how Trump could personally come to appoint the person overseeing the Special Counsel's investigation after we go through Brand and Boente; and why, if sitting Presidents cannot be indicted, as many argue, Mueller would be carrying out a criminal obstruction of justice investigation of Trump in the first place.

"Honestly, If I were to lay out the full complexity of the situation right now at the DoJ, which goes well beyond the question of Rachel Brand possibly becoming the Acting AG in the very near term, it would take --- and I am not exaggerating --- probably about 500 tweets," Abramson tells me. "We are in so many unprecedented situations and sub-situations at the DoJ, it is bewildering even for attorneys," he says, adding later: "This is the most complex and public litigation of probably the last 100 years in American political history."

Finally today, another heartbreaking story of yet another immigrant victim of Trump's, now facing deportation and separation from his family despite spending months in the clean-up efforts at Ground Zero after 9/11...

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

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State contracted e-vote and pollbook programmers at Kennesaw State Univ. told of vulnerability last year, covered it up, left files unprotected
Also: Unlawful U.S. war on Syria expands, incurs Russian wrath; Dem plan to slow GOP Senate's secret health care bill; Fatal anti-Muslim attacks in London, Virginia...
By Brad Friedman on 6/19/2017 6:47pm PT  

On today's BradCast, another blockbuster report confirms vulnerabilities in our nation's voting systems that I've been trying to warn about for more than a decade, and several other stories not receiving the dire attention merited this week. [Audio link to complete show is posted below.]

In advance of Tuesday's highly contested U.S. House Special Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District --- the most expensive House race in U.S. history --- Politico Magazine's Kim Zetter offers an absolutely chilling bombshell of a report headlined "Will the Georgia Special Election Get Hacked?" She reports that gigabytes of unsecured data --- including passwords for e-voting system central tabulators, voter registration databases and much more were kept on a wholly unsecured web server, potentially for years, at Kennesaw State University's Center for Election Systems.

The KSU Center, as they describe on their website, was "created and charged with the responsibility of ensuring the integrity of voting systems in Georgia" since the state adopted its statewide, 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting system in 2002. Those same machines are still used there today, despite their age (they run on a version of Windows 2000) and massive, well-documented vulnerabilities to hacking and insider manipulation. Nonetheless, the Center for Election Systems has long been cited as a model for election administration by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and is responsible for the security and programming of every 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting system, computerized central tabulator, and electronic pollbook used across the state of Georgia.

The unsecured data files at Kennesaw, according to Zetter, were discovered prior to last year's Presidential Election and reported to the Center, but were still available online for download without a password at the beginning of March this year, during the run-up to the April primary election in the GA-06 House race. The data may, in fact, have been available there for years, even as Kennesaw's Executive Director Merle King, who has spent years testifying in court on behalf of Diebold's systems, reportedly failed to inform GA Sec. of State Brian Kemp about the breach last year after he was informed of it. In fact, Zetter notes that he warned the outside computer security researcher who discovered it not to inform the state. GA's former Sec. of State, Karen Handel, is the Republican House candidate in the reportedly very tight GA-06 race against Democrat Jon Ossoff and is said to have repeatedly blocked a security analysis of the Center years earlier while serving as the state's chief election official.

When the results of the House contest are announced on Tuesday night --- whichever party's candidate is declared the winner --- it will be virtually impossible to know if the results are accurate or if even one vote cast on GA's 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems were recorded as per any voter's intent.

While many of the vulnerabilities in GA's terrible voting and tabulation systems have been publicly known for years, the fact that the security at Kennesaw's Center for Elections is even far worse than ever imagined is both new and absolutely chilling in regard to both Georgia elections, and all others across the country, as I explain in detail on today's program.

Beyond that nightmarish report today, we also cover two different fatal attacks on Muslims over the past 24 hours, one in London and one in Virginia (and Donald Trump's failure to comment on either of them); The new Democratic strategy to slow down progress on the Obamacare replacement bill being crafted by Senate Republicans in complete secrecy, without public hearings or amendments in advance of a possible floor vote on the controversial legislation before the July 4th recess; And, the U.S. shoots down a Syrian bomber over Syria in violation of international law and without any authorization (or complaint or debate) from Congressional Republicans or Democrats alike, even as the weekend incident has drawn the wrath and potential targeting of U.S. aircraft over Syria by its ally Russia...

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

Several other recent programs in The BradCast's series of reports leading up to the GA-06 U.S. House Special Election:

  • 4/4/2017: Computer and e-voting expert Barbara Simons on the initial reports of a "massive breach" of the state voter database files at Kennesaw State University
  • 5/8/2017: Garland Favorito of election watchdog VoterGA.org on the group's disturbing analysis of the central computer tabulator failure on the night of the April primary in GA-06.
  • 6/6/2017: Election integrity expert Marilyn Marks on her lawsuit demanding hand-counted paper ballots in the GA-06 race.
  • 6/12/2017: Diebold document whistleblower Steven Heller on Diebold caught lying in California in 2004 about the exact same machines still used in Georgia in 2017. (CA decertified them after Heller's disclosure.) And on the NSA analysis recently released by NSA contractor Reality Winner on spear-phishing attacks that may have allowed access to the voting system computers of election officials across the country prior to the 2016 Presidential election.

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Plus: More bad court news for Trump on his 'travel ban' and the Emoluments Clause, but perhaps good court news for him in GA-06...
By Brad Friedman on 6/12/2017 6:46pm PT  

On today's BradCast, things are not going well in the judicial system for Donald Trump. And, an election-related whistleblower joins us to offer insight into the undoubtedly agonizing decision of another election-related whistleblower who was arrested just last week. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The week is not starting off well for Trump in the courts. A second U.S. Court of Appeals has now upheld lower court rulings blocking his second Muslim "travel ban" Executive Order. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals echoed a similar finding by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals late last month. The new court loss comes on the same day that the Attorneys General of Washington D.C. and Maryland filed a lawsuit against Trump's alleged violations of the U.S. Constitution's Emoluments Clauses, prohibiting elected officials like Trump from receiving payments from foreign and state governments.

But he may have won one in Georgia where, late last week, a state judge denied and dismissed [PDF] a complaint [PDF] and motion for a Temporary Restraining Order [PDF] seeking to demand paper ballots at the polling place for next week's much-watched (and most expensive ever) U.S. House special election. That, as voters will still be forced instead to use 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems at the polling place instead.

Then, speaking of elections and Diebold's unverifiable touch-screen systems, we're joined by "Diebold Document Whistleblower" [PDF] STEPHEN HELLER who, while working at a law firm in 2004, discovered the company and its attorneys were lying to the state of California about having illicitly installed uncertified hardware and software into its unverifiable voting systems that were, back then, allowed for use in the state. The touch-screen voting systems were decertified by the state following Heller's disclosures, but he paid a stiff price for sharing attorney-client privileged documents with the media. The same system he blew the whistle on in 2004 will be use in Georgia for next week's Special Election, and Heller offers thoughts on that issue.

But Heller joined us specifically today to share his unique perspective on another election-related leaker/whistleblower, 25-year old NSA contractor and Air Force vet Reality Leigh Winner. Her arrest comes on the heels of the release of U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, whose 35-year sentenced was commuted by President Obama before leaving office, to the seven years Manning served since her conviction.

Winner was charged [PDF] last week under the 1917 Espionage Act for leaking a "Top Secret" NSA analysis to the press, which asserted that, prior to last year's election, Russian intelligence had used spear-phishing attacks to try and gain access to the computers of election officials around the country. Those same computers are often used to program voting systems, tabulators and voter registration databases. Under the espionage charges, Winner will not be allowed to make her case to the jury as to why she leaked the classified materials, nor explain how she believed them to be in the public interest, said fellow NSA-contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden last week.

Heller offers his own insight into the difficult decision he believes Winner faced when deciding to leak the documents, and explains why whistleblowers like him are often forced to decide to do the wrong things for the right reasons. "I felt that the crime of violating attorney-client privilege in this single, isolated, discrete instance, was worthwhile --- that I had to get this information out to the public so that the people of California and the rest of the country would know that this corporation was diddling our elections," he tells me.

"I think the message in both Ms. Winner's situation and mine is essentially the same --- our elections are under attack. And we Americans can't be complacent. We must protect our elections. Keep them clean, fair, open, untainted either by corporations or foreign nations or our own politicians and elections officials."

"What is illegal is not always wrong," Heller goes on to explain, from his unique perspective on the agonizing choices that folks like him and Winner (and Manning, and Snowden, et al) face when deciding to do what they did. "There's no question that if she did indeed leak these documents, as is alleged, that was illegal. But is it wrong? Reasonable minds may disagree."

Lots of stuff in my conversation with Heller (who, by way of full disclosure, has become a friend and occasional BRAD BLOG contributor in his years since blowing the whistle on Diebold) is worth tuning in for today. Much more than I can detail here!

Finally, a major energy utility company in Virginia tries to help choose the winner of the state's Democratic gubernatorial primary on Tuesday, and an otherwise Trump-loving Fox "News" anchor charges Trump's problem isn't fake news or the media, it's Donald Trump...

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

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And other things you've been distracted from by the Trump Circus...
By Brad Friedman on 6/9/2017 6:39pm PT  

We'll not be distracted by the Trump Circus (well, mostly), despite what he said in the Rose Garden and on Twitter today! On today's BradCast, just a little bit of Trump, but a whole lot of failed 'conservatism' from the American Heartland to Great Britain. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Thursday's elections in the UK resulted in disaster for Prime Minister Theresa May. Her Conservative Party took an absolute drubbing as young voters turned out to reject the conservative austerity agenda by casting a for change with the Labour Party's Jeremy Corbyn.

Back here in the U.S., hard evidence of the utter failure of "conservative" policies is very much on display if you bother (or know where) to look. Republican-run states like Kansas and Oklahoma are facing desperate budget shortfalls following years of tax cuts that neither boosted the economy nor increased government revenues, as promised. Cuts to essential services like health care and public education have been implemented in hopes of making up for failed GOP economics. Yes, the young, the sick, the poor and the elderly pay the price in the bargain, as usual.

But voters last November and legislators this week in Kansas, at least, are striking back at Gov. Sam Brownback by reversing his failed GOP austerity policies. Given what school kids in Oklahoma are now facing after years of budget shortfalls due to tax cuts and subsidies for the fossil fuel industry by the state's GOP legislature and aptly-named Governor Mary Fallin, voters in the Sooner State will --- hopefully sooner rather than later --- reject similarly failed hard-right policies and elected officials just as Kansas has finally begun to do.

Later this month, at least in one part of Georgia, voters may also send a similar message in the upcoming U.S. House Special Election in a very "red" district, where the young, first-time Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff is now said to be leading by 7 points, at least in one new poll, over Karen Handel, his "conservative" GOP establishment opponent. (She made the case against "conservatism" very nicely this week, when she said, during a debate, that she does "not believe in a livable wage", citing that as "the fundamental difference between a liberal and a conservative".)

Meanwhile, millionaire Greg Gianforte, the Trump "conservative" who managed to eke out a win in the U.S. House special election in Montana last week after body slamming a reporter the night before the election, will now plead guilty to misdemeanor assault in the matter after buying his way out of a civil suit.

Back at the D.C. White House Circus today, the day after his fired FBI Director James Comey's sworn testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Donald Trump accused him of lying and suggested again that the White House may have tapes to prove it. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees have finally asked for copies of those tapes...if they exist. And, as you were distracted, Republicans in the House were quietly passing a bill to roll back the Dodd-Frank big banking reforms enacted after the 2007 global economic collapse and, in the Senate, quietly paving the way to repeal Obamacare, no matter how many millions of Americans will lose their healthcare in the bargain.

Finally, with more news of failed "conservative" policies in both practice and at the polling place, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report, before we close with yet another U.S. Supreme Court rejection this past week of a massive racial gerrymandering scam in yet another "red" state...

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

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