The BRAD BLOG http://bradblog.com Because it's not about Right or Left, it's about Right and Wrong! Wed, 28 Jun 2017 01:48:35 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.0.2 en GOP Health Care Vote Delayed as Repub Senators Balk at Medicaid Cuts, Harm to Hospitals: 'BradCast' 6/27/2017 http://bradblog.com/?p=12200 http://bradblog.com/?p=12200#comments Wed, 28 Jun 2017 01:48:35 +0000 Brad Friedman BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Rights And Freedoms U.S. House U.S. Senate Health Care Republicans KPFK Donald Trump Rand Paul Mitch McConnell Paul Ryan BradCast Susan Collins Ron Johnson http://bradblog.com/?p=12200 On today's BradCast: Things fell apart quickly for Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over the past 24 hours after the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office announced that the Senate GOP health care scheme would result in 22 million Americans losing health care coverage by 2026, 15 million next year alone. [Audio link to complete show follows below.]

As fellow Republicans balked at McConnell's "Better Care Reconciliation Act" bill, as written, he was forced to back away from his vow to hold a vote on the plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) this week. That vote, if it ever comes, will now wait until sometime after the July 4th recess and after more Senators have the chance to hear from constituents about the unpopular legislation.

So, the deal making process begins to win 50 votes for passage, somehow, in the U.S. Senate, as moderate Republicans like Sen. Susan Collins cited the legislation's massive cuts to Medicaid (which other Republicans spent the weekend pretending did not exist) as harmful to her constituents and, specifically, to already struggling rural hospitals in her home state of Maine.

Joining us today to explain the nexus between Medicaid and the health of hospitals are health care reform analysts ALLEN DOBSON and RANDY HAUGHT of Dobson and DaVanzo & Associates. Their new study, published by the Commonwealth Fund, details huge disparities in the effects that the GOP health care plans to slash Medicaid and cut taxes for the wealthy will have on hospitals in Medicaid expansion v. non-expansion states and in urban and rural areas. They also explain how the GOP's attempted cuts to Medicaid will effect all Americans, not only those who directly receive benefits under the program.

"Medicaid is absolutely critical to the survival of the hospital," Dobson explains, particularly in rural areas, as well as places where services were upgraded thanks to the expansion of Medicaid under ObamaCare. If Medicaid is now cut under the GOP plans, "what you've done is you've weakened a hospital. A hospital that is sick financially is a hospital that is sick for everybody in the community. You're not just hurting Medicaid --- you're not just hurting the Medicaid folks, the so-called 'poverty population', you're hurting everybody in the community, because when a hospital can't provide the quality care it would like to to one guy, it can't provide it to the next guy, either."

Dobson, a health economist (he explains what that means) and Haught, a thirty-year data analyst of health care reform legislation and regulations, also offer their thoughts on whether the proposed GOP plans in the House and Senate actually speak to any of the problems Republicans have long cited in regard to ObamaCare, such as claims that it kills jobs and harms the economy. Dobson explains why the ACA arguably helped the economy, and charges the GOP effort in the Senate "is hardly a healthcare bill" and "primarily about taxes, getting set up for a broader tax cut." Haught adds: "For actual health care, we don't see anything in [the GOP plans] that's going to improve the quality of care, nor the access to healthcare coverage."

We also discuss whether a single payer "Medicare-for-All" style health care system is as feasible in the U.S. as it is in other major developed countries, and why the U.S. has yet to adopt such a system.

All of this as Trump tried to rally Republican Senators at the White House today, and McConnell attempts to regroup his caucus in hopes of jamming through the GOP's long-promised repeal of the Affordable Care Act come hell, highwater, or tens of millions of Americans who will no longer have health care coverage in the U.S....

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...
[See post to listen to audio]

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]]> http://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=12200 'Green News Report' - June 27, 2017 http://bradblog.com/?p=12199 http://bradblog.com/?p=12199#comments Tue, 27 Jun 2017 17:05:36 +0000 Desi Doyen Pakistan Environment Coal Oil Wind Solar Climate change Extreme weather Oceans http://bradblog.com/?p=12199

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Nearly 160 killed in fuel truck explosion in Pakistan; Wildfire evacuations in Spain; Sea level rise accelerating faster than predicted; Trump Admin approves deadly seismic testing in Atlantic; PLUS: Hundreds of American mayors pledge to move their cities to 100% renewable electricity in 20 years... 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): Carbon in atmosphere rising, despite emissions remaining flat; Coal baron sues HBO comedy show host John Oliver; Trump and Modi meeting silent on climate; EPA official pressured EPA scientist to change testimony; CA to list glyphosate as cancer-causing, Monsanto threatens to sue; FirstEnergy's Ohio nukes not necessary to maintain grid reliability; Coal not necessary to maintain grid reliability; Invasive Asian carp found in waterway beyond Great Lakes barrier; EPA under investigation for low-balling methane emissions estimates from oil and gas; First-of-it's-kind 'clean coal' plant probably won't burn coal at all; Four die in SW heat wave... PLUS: Campaign to eliminate plastic straws sucking in thousands of converts... and much, MUCH more! ...

STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...

  • SPEAK UP for your national monuments through July 10, 2017: Review of Certain National Monuments Established Since 1996; Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment (U.S. Government)
  • Widlfire threatens national park in Spain:
  • More than 150 killed by exploding oil tanker truck in Pakistan:
  • Underwater sound cannons kill large swaths of plankton:
    • Air guns used in offshore oil exploration can kill tiny marine life (Nature):
      Powerful sound waves created during offshore surveys for oil and gas can kill microscopic animals at the base of the ocean food chain, according to a new study. And these lethal effects travel much farther than ecologists had previously assumed. Researchers fear that damage to these animals, collectively known as zooplankton, could harm top predators and commercially important species of fish that depend on such species for food.
    • Atlantic Oil Surveys Could Kill Food Used By Fisheries (Climate Central):
      The proposed Atlantic surveys would see arrays of airguns trawled by surveying companies up to 350 miles from the coast, fired every 10 seconds or so around the clock for up to a year. The new research suggests the proposal threatens to reduce the amount of food in the sea, as well as directly harm dolphins and other creatures.
    • SC's GOP Gov Sides With Coastal Communities Against Seismic Testing (Climate Progress)

  • The rate of sea level rise is accelerating sooner than predicted:
    • Sea level rise isn’t just happening, it’s getting faster (Washington Post) [emphasis added]:
      In at least the third such study published in the past year, scientists have confirmed seas are rising, and the rate of sea level rise is increasing as time passes — a sobering punchline for coastal communities that are only now beginning to prepare for a troubling future...For coastal communities, Harig said, the significance of the paper is that there’s no way to avoid the reality that sea level rise acceleration, which was already expected to occur based on scientific projections, is now here. “It’s no longer a projection, it’s now an observation,” he said. “It’s not something that they can continue to put off into the future.”
    • Sea level rise is accelerating, with Greenland in leading role (Mashable):
      A new study, published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, is one of a few recent works to confirm an acceleration in sea level rise during the past few decades. There had been greater uncertainty about this before, with climate deniers latching onto that and arguing that such an acceleration has not, in fact, been occurring...The findings also made clear how major contributors to sea level rise have been changing over time. And it doesn't paint a pretty picture.
    • Global sea level rise accelerates since 1990, study shows (Reuters)

  • Coal production is up in 2017:
    • Coal on the rise in China, US, India after major 2016 drop (AP):
      The world’s biggest coal users — China, the United States and India — have boosted coal mining in 2017, in an abrupt departure from last year’s record global decline for the heavily polluting fuel and a setback to efforts to rein in climate change emissions. Mining data reviewed by The Associated Press show that production through May is up by at least 121 million tons, or 6 percent, for the three countries compared to the same period last year. The change is most dramatic in the U.S., where coal mining rose 19 percent in the first five months of the year, according to U.S. Department of Energy data.
    • Global renewables rise from the ashes of coal's collapse (Climate Progress):
      China surpassed the U.S. to become world's largest renewable power producer last year, BP reports.

  • Hundreds of mayors sign 100% renewable energy resolution:
    • U.S. Mayors Back 100% Renewable Energy, Vow to Fill Climate Leadership Void (Inside Climate News):
      The U.S. Conference of Mayors also voted to support quick electrification of vehicles and urged Congress to back the Clean Power Plan and Paris climate agreement.
    • Mayors, Sidestepping Trump, Vow to Fill Void on Climate Change (NY Times):
      “If the federal government doesn’t act, it doesn’t mean we don’t have a national policy; the federal government doesn’t occupy the only place on this,” Mitch Landrieu, the mayor of New Orleans and the new president of the conference, said before the vote on the nonbinding resolutions.
    • US mayors pass resolution to target 100% renewable energy by 2035 (Utility Dive):
      The group of more than 250 U.S. mayors also passed resolutions to support vehicle electrification, energy efficiency grants and city-driven plans to reverse climate change. The resolutions are symbolic and represent statements of intent for city planning and work with federal and state governments.

'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...

For a comprehensive roundup of daily environmental news you can trust, see the Society of Environmental Journalists' Daily Headlines page


FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page

  • NASA Video: If we don't act, here's what to expect in the next 100 years:

  • ]]>
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    SCOTUS Rulings on Trump 'Travel Ban', WI Partisan Gerrymandering, More: 'BradCast' 6/26/2017 http://bradblog.com/?p=12198 http://bradblog.com/?p=12198#comments Tue, 27 Jun 2017 01:29:35 +0000 Brad Friedman Arkansas Election Reform BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Election Fraud Rights And Freedoms U.S. Constitution Wisconsin Kansas U.S. Senate Health Care Marriage Equality U.S. Supreme Court LGBTQ KPFK Donald Trump Mitch McConnell Kris Kobach BradCast Religion Election 2018 Neil Gorsuch CBO http://bradblog.com/?p=12198 On today's BradCast, the stolen U.S. Supreme Court begins to pay dividends for Republicans and the GOP's deadly Senate healthcare legislation continues to take much-deserved heat from all sides, including doctors, Nobel laureate economists and now the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

    But, first up today, Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach, the long-time "voter fraud" fraudster who has been tapped to head up President Trump's so-called "Election Integrity Commission" (actually, a voter suppression commission), has been sanctioned by a federal court for "deceptive conduct" in the ACLU's case against his attempted proof-of-citizenship voter registration restrictions. That's almost the best news we have on tap today, though we do manage to find a few bright spots here and there.

    The CBO on Monday came out with its score of the Senate Republicans' legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") and finds it will result in 22 million fewer Americans having access to health care coverage by 2026, with 15 million losing coverage in 2018 alone! Despite that, and with still more groups (now including both the American Medical Association and a group of Nobel Prize winning economists) excoriating the Republican bill, Senate leadership still vows a vote before the July 4th holiday recess this week.

    Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court session came to a close on Monday, with the Court allowing some of Trump's Executive Order "travel ban" to be implemented in advance of a full hearing now scheduled for next October, when the Court's new session begins, in what my guest today describes as a "qualified victory" for the Administration. The Supremes also issued a ruling today requiring state officials to allow same-sex parents to be listed on birth certificates, and scheduled a hearing for next session regarding businesses who choose to discriminate against same-sex couples, in what my guest, legal journalist MARK JOSEPH STERN of Slate.com, describes as a case that could seriously imperil non-discrimination laws for the LGBTQ community and become a full-blown "constitutional catastrophe" in the bargain. Stern argues that the birth certificate opinion reveals the position of Justice Neil Gorsuch ("he of the stolen seat"), to be "a surefire vote against LGBTQ rights" and "just as bad" as the late Antonin Scalia on such matters.

    Then, with a new study from AP finding extreme partisan gerrymandering accounted for some 22 Republican U.S. House victories in 2016 and untold number of GOP state legislative victories, we discuss SCOTUS announcements from last week in two free-speech cases and a related Court ruling issued on a rather massive case of unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin.

    That case, as Stern describes, could have an impact on American elections as far reaching as Citizens United but, depending on how the Court rules, in a positive direction for those of us who give a damn about free and fair democratic representation and elections. On the other hand, if the stolen majority on the Court decides the wrong way, it could result in our embarrassing system of "democracy" becoming even more so.

    Finally today, we close with a much needed laugh regarding some "100% unverifiable" listener email...

    Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...
    [See post to listen to audio]

    * * *
    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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    ]]> http://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=12198 What Will It Take for Americans to Understand the Basics of Election Integrity? http://bradblog.com/?p=12196 http://bradblog.com/?p=12196#comments Mon, 26 Jun 2017 17:08:41 +0000 Ernest A. Canning Election Irregularities Debra Bowen California Election Reform Georgia Voting System Certification Election Fraud EAC Touch-Screen Vote Flipping Mainstream Media Failure Accountability Donald Trump DHS Election 2016 Election 2018 Election 2017 Jon Ossoff Karen Handel Election 2020 http://bradblog.com/?p=12196 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...

    Verifiable democracy

    In 2009, Germany's highest court recognized that which the U.S. mainstream media, the leadership of both U.S. political parties and the U.S. courts have, for the most part, ignored. All forms of computerized vote counting --- via the Internet, Direct Recording Electronic (DRE's, usually touch-screens), and paper ballot optical-scan tabulators --- are vulnerable to malicious hacking and/or insider manipulation.

    It is possible to verify the electronic optical-scan tally by hand-counting paper ballots (presuming, of course, that the chain of custody of the ballots has been secure and the ballots themselves known to be human-verified by hand-marked selections on the paper.) DRE touch-screen systems, however, are 100% unverifiable. Even with a post-election forensic examination that includes complete access to usually trade-secret protected source codes and ballot definition programming, there is no way to know whether the electronically recorded tally from a DRE device has any relationship to what any voter actually intended when they deposited their vote into the bowels of these electronic black holes.

    There's only one way to ensure a verifiable count that complies with Germany's constitutional mandate for "transparency": hand-marked paper ballots, publicly hand-counted with the observable tallies posted at each precinct on Election Night. The German court therefore banned all forms of e-vote tabulation in that nation's elections.

    Skewed U.S. judicial reasoning

    Unlike the German and Austrian judiciaries, our own courts have failed to grasp the necessity for transparency and public oversight of our election infrastructure.

    Election integrity is a question that is best addressed before an election is underway. Otherwise, a candidate and an elector, who may have been victimized by an erroneous tally brought on by either machine error or malfeasance, can face the nearly impossible task of proving error on the part of a 100% unverifiable voting and tabulation system. (The task of post-election verification of an optical-scan computer tally can be hampered by inadequate chain-of-custody procedures and state statutes meant to prevent public post-election hand tallies of optically-scanned paper ballots. But, at least in theory, it can be done.)

    Since 2002, with the exception of a relatively small number of verifiable mail-in paper ballots, citizens of Georgia have voted exclusively on 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems. The Georgia touch-screen system is older and less secure than the similar systems that, in 2007, were decertified by California's then Democratic Secretary of State Debra Bowen. Her decertification was based upon the documented Diebold touch-screen vulnerabilities to hacking and insider manipulation which, she found, could result in an election result being flipped in less than a minute, with little possibility of the manipulation ever being detected.

    Bowen was by no means the first to discover the Diebold DRE's critical vulnerabilities. As Brad Friedman recently reported, "the vulnerabilities in GA's terrible voting and tabulation systems have been publicly known for years."

    On May 25, 2017, two electors from Georgia's 6th Congressional District, along with a Colorado-based election integrity organization, the Rocky Mountain Foundation, filed a complaint along with a motion for a temporary restraining order in the Fulton County, Georgia Superior Court (Curling v. Kemp).

    The Curling plaintiffs produced affidavits from multiple experts and peer-reviewed articles that documented the many critical vulnerabilities of Georgia's 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting system. Their filings also included a March 15, 2017 letter sent by 21 prominent computer scientists and e-voting experts to Georgia's Republican Secretary of State, Brian P. Kemp. That letter raised concerns about an ongoing FBI investigation into a cyberattack on the Kennesaw State University's Center for Election Systems (KSU Center) website. The KSU Center is the entity responsible for testing and programming the entirety of Georgia's electronic voting, voter registration and vote tabulation system.

    As later revealed by Politico's Kim Zetter in "Will the Georgia Special Election Get Hacked?", the KSU Center itself has been found to be remarkably vulnerable to cyber intrusions.

    In August of 2016, Logan Lamb, a 29-year old former cybersecurity researcher at the U.S. Oakridge National Laboratory, logged onto the KSU Center website. His concerns about cybersecurity in that instance had been triggered by an FBI report about hacker intrusions into local election databases.

    Hoping to retrieve a few documents that would facilitate an understanding of the KSU Center's security procedures, "Lamb wrote an automated script to scrape the site" and left for lunch. "When he returned," Zetter reports, Lamb "discovered that the script had downloaded 15 gigabytes of data" – a "mother lode" that included "registration records for the state’s 6.7 million voters; multiple PDFs with instructions and passwords for election workers to sign in to a central server on Election Day," and access to the database of the GEMS, the computer system, which, among other tasks, is used to "tabulate votes and produce summaries of vote totals."

    The State of Georgia pays $750,000 per year to the KSU Center to test and program all of its voting systems. Affidavits from the KSU Center were relied upon when attorneys representing former Secretary of State Karen Handel moved for summary judgment [PDF] in Favorito v. Handel, a case which challenged Handel's prior certification of the vulnerable and 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen system. Those affidavits ultimately led to the factually erroneous 2009 Georgia Supreme Court decision in which the Court ruled that the Diebold touch-screens, when "properly operated, record correctly and accurately every vote cast."

    The truth is there is simply no way to verify that votes are counted, let alone counted accurately, within the bowels of these electronic black holes --- a point that appeared to have been conceded by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Adams when, on June 9 of this year, she denied the Curling plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order and dismissed their complaint in advance of the U.S. House Special Election in the 6th District (the most expensive U.S. House race in history, with some $55 million spent by both sides in hopes of securing the seat.)

    "Plaintiffs' concern that the DRE voting system lacks a verification feature," Judge Adams wrote, "is legitimate." Yet, she refused to order Georgia election officials to conduct a verifiable election using hand-marked, hand-counted paper ballots for a multitude of reasons, including the Georgia Supreme Court's 2009 decision in Favorito and what she said was an "absence of evidence (e.g., voter testimony, malfunction, unexplained deviations, skewed results, historical data, national research, etc.)" that would support a judicial "conclusion that Georgia's DRE voting equipment and its related voting system are unsafe, inaccurate and impracticable."

    The use of the words "voter testimony" and "malfunction" underscore the court's confusion. This was not a post-election contest in which plaintiffs might present, as sometimes occurs, testimony from voters who watched their votes being flipped on-screen. It was a case in which plaintiffs forcefully argued against "faith-based" elections in which the accuracy of an unverifiable count produced by a system that is vulnerable to hacking, insider manipulation and unknowable programming error, must blindly be accepted as true.

    While there may have been other legitimate grounds for Judge Adams's refusal to grant extraordinary relief --- principally the failure of the Curling plaintiffs to seek judicial relief sooner, so that a TRO could have issued before the start of early voting --- this particular aspect of Judge Adams's decision underscores the failure of the American judiciary to understand the core principles of election integrity.

    There can be little doubt that if this same issue came before either the German or Austrian courts, it would have produced the opposite result. If a purported count cannot be verified, it should not be accepted as valid or lawful.

    Erroneous conclusions?

    One day after the GA-06 election, The New York Times, citing the count announced by the state of Georgia, reported that the Republican former Sec. of State Handel defeated the Democrat Ossoff 51.9% to 48.1%.

    While pro-Democratic Party members of the media, like MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, opted for positive spin, describing the closeness of the race as an "ominous sign for the GOP," other reporters suggested that Handel's "win in Georgia...could strengthen the political will of Republicans in Congress."

    Progressives, like The Nation's Robert Borsage, blamed the Ossoff "loss" on his embrace of lackluster, centrist "pabulum." Rather than draw a sharp contrast to the GOP's mean-spirited anti-egalitarian agenda, Borsage opined, Ossoff sounded "like a Republican." The well-funded, establishment-supported Democratic candidate "explicitly opposed Medicare for All and tax hikes on the rich." If Democrats are to win back the House in 2018, Borsage concluded, they must field "better candidates" who will "push to crystallize a bold agenda for change."

    There was one common theme in these diverse analyses. All accepted, at face value, the official tally. All assumed that Handel did, in fact, defeat Ossoff by nearly 4%. None so much as hinted at an awareness of the "unverifiable" nature of the touch-screen "victory" or that, as Friedman reported, "according to the state's reported results...Democrat Jon Ossoff defeated Republican Karen Handel...by a nearly 2 to 1 [margin] on the only verifiable ballots used in the race, the paper absentee mail-in ballots."

    This discrepancy between the verifiable and unverifiable tallies suggests, but does not establish, an invalid count. But therein lies the central problem with relying upon unverifiable e-vote tabulation. The electorate can never really "know" who really won.

    * * *
    Ernest A. Canning is a retired attorney, author, Vietnam Veteran (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968) and a Senior Advisor to Veterans For Bernie. He has been a member of the California state bar since 1977. In addition to a juris doctor, he has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science. Follow him on twitter: @cann4ing


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    Sunday Toons of the 'Trumpcare Revealed' Moment http://bradblog.com/?p=12197 http://bradblog.com/?p=12197#comments Sun, 25 Jun 2017 13:00:36 +0000 PDiddie Toons http://bradblog.com/?p=12197

    * * *

    Perry Dorrell blogs as PDiddie at Brains and Eggs, usually on topics concerning the strange brew of Texas politics. He's also on Twitter @PDiddie.


    ]]> http://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=12197 'American Carnage' (Or, the Senate Republican 'Health Care' Plan): 'BradCast' 6/23/2017 http://bradblog.com/?p=12195 http://bradblog.com/?p=12195#comments Sat, 24 Jun 2017 01:37:39 +0000 Brad Friedman BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Rights And Freedoms Environment U.S. Senate Health Care Economy KPFK Donald Trump Dean Heller Rick Perry Mitch McConnell Climate change U.K. IRS BradCast Electric vehicles Dept. of Energy http://bradblog.com/?p=12195 On today's BradCast: Donald Trump repeatedly promised not to cut Medicaid during his Presidential Campaign. During his Inauguration, he vowed to "end the American carnage". Now he's prepared to slash Medicaid under the GOP health care legislation, which is certain to create untold "American carnage" in its wake. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

    Hospitals, doctors and other health care providers have been blasting the Senate Republicans' health care bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare", since the legislation, crafted in secret, was finally unveiled on Thursday. It has not aged well in the past 24 hours. That's for very good reason, as my guest today, IGOR VOLSKY, health care reform advocate, a Vice President at the Center for American Progress, and co-host of the Thinking CAP podcast explains in detail.

    Volsky, who we last spoke with during the Democrats' fight to enact Obamacare back in 2009 and 2010, explains how the GOP plan's cuts and restructuring of both the ACA's Medicaid expansion and the traditional, 52-year old Medicaid program will stifle or end medical care for massive numbers of children and elderly, not to mention the poor.

    "Medicaid is a program that covers 74 million Americans," says Volsky. "It's not just lower income Americans --- who we usually, I think, think of when we talk about Medicaid --- 49% of all births are covered by Medicaid. 64% of all nursing home residents have Medicaid coverage. 76% of poor children, 39% of all children. So you're really talking 20% of Americans rely on Medicaid. The House bill cuts it by about $834 billion. The Senate bill is even worse. Because not only do they go after [Obamacare's] Medicaid expansion, but they also cap the [traditional Medicaid] program and change the way its funded by the federal government."

    "It's really going after lower-income and middle-income Americans in a way that we've never seen before," he tells me. "They want to push those folks into private insurance. That's really the end goal --- to drown the program over time in the bathtub entirely."

    But the GOP's scheme will also adversely affect those who receive health insurance via the Obamacare exchanges as well as via employers, while giving massive tax cuts to a tiny handful of very wealthy families in exchange.

    "My favorite statistic is that for the 400 richest tax filers, they get a tax cut totaling --- are you ready for this? --- 2.8 billion dollars," Volsky explains. "You look at this bill, and it looks like Republicans don't think they'll ever have to face a fair election ever again." Hmmm...

    We also discuss what you can do to help derail this deadly plan (among those things, call your Senators and otherwise check out the Center's TrumpCareToolkit.org for more info), and which Republican Senators may be in a position to block the scheme together.

    Finally then, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with a bunch of news related to Trump's super-genius Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry and much more....

    Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...
    [See post to listen to audio]

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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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    ]]> http://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=12195 Secrets Revealed: DoD Damage Assessment of Manning Leaks, GOP Senate Healthcare Bill: 'BradCast' 6/22/2017 http://bradblog.com/?p=12194 http://bradblog.com/?p=12194#comments Fri, 23 Jun 2017 01:09:47 +0000 Brad Friedman CNN Iraq War BRAD BLOG Media Appearance National Security Rights And Freedoms Afghanistan Journalist Intimidation Accountability U.S. Senate Dept. of Defense Health Care Democrats Republicans WikiLeaks Bradley/Chelsea Manning KPFK Donald Trump Bernie Sanders Elizabeth Warren Mitch McConnell Edward Snowden James Comey BradCast http://bradblog.com/?p=12194 On today's BradCast, Republicans in the U.S. Senate finally released a draft of their secret plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or 'ObamaCare', and the Dept. of Defense finally releases a redacted version of a damage assessment from 2011, examining the fallout to national security from the Bradley/Chelsea Manning leaks of 2010. [Audio link to show follows below.]

    First up: The secret working group of white, male Republicans in the Senate finally revealed their new scheme, dubbed the "Better Care Reconciliation Act", to rewrite 1/5th of the U.S. economy by replacing ObamaCare with what Donald Trump has promised would be a healthcare plan "with heart" that was less "mean" than the version he celebrated after its narrow passage by Republicans in the U.S. House several weeks ago.

    The release of the new Senate plan did not go well. Democrats, independents, and healthcare advocates alike --- not to mention elderly protesters in wheelchairs dragged away from outside the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell --- slammed the legislation for its massive tax cuts to the wealthy in exchange for deeply cruel cuts to federal Medicaid funding, and the promise of stingier premium subsidies for less generous health care policies.

    A number of Republicans in the Senate also currently oppose the plan as written, because it doesn't repeal ObamaCare enough, but we'll see if they change their tune before the bill comes up for a vote next week, as promised by McConnell, before Congress leaves for the July 4th recess. The GOP can only afford to lose the support of two Republicans among their 52-seat caucus.

    Then, we're joined by BuzzFeed News journalist and "FOIA terrorist" JASON LEOPOLD, to discuss the newly unearthed Dept. of Defense damage assessment of the hundreds of thousands of documents on the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, as well as diplomatic cables, leaked by U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in 2010.

    During her trial, Government officials charged that the disclosures caused massive damage to national security and endangered counts lives of both U.S. personnel and our allies, but is that what the DoD's own secret 2011 assessment --- finally released this week in heavily redacted form in response to Leopold's Freedom of Information Act request --- actually found? We discuss that and the "passionate responses" he has received since publishing the assessment.

    We also discuss the new White House ban on cameras during press briefings and how the Trump Administration compares to previous administrations on matters of government secrecy and document classification.

    "In the overall picture, you have an administration that operates under intense secrecy that wants to limit access --- 'access' being the key word there --- that journalists depend upon. Access is really important, and it's really important to be able to confront government officials," Leopold tells me, while placing the news about the ban in context with the Trump Administration's secrecy and on-going battle with journalists elsewhere. "This type of behavior trickles down to various levels within the federal government and, I've seen, it also goes into local and state governments, as well. This intense secrecy, where elected officials who are accountable to the people are simply not interested in speaking --- and then try and set up some new rules that basically bars the press from confronting them."

    Leopold goes on to cite the increased difficulty he is beginning to have prying documents loose via FOIA requests under the Administration, while noting that "some of these agencies are having trouble trying to figure out how to respond to requests, largely because you have a President now who is tweeting, who is arguably declassifying --- instantly declassifying --- information that would otherwise remain secret."

    Speaking of which, finally today, Trump tweeted that, despite his previous suggestions, he has no audio tapes of his one-on-one conversations with now-fired FBI Director James Comey. But is he telling the truth, or bluffing yet again?...

    Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...
    [See post to listen to audio]

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    ]]> http://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=12194 'Green News Report' - June 22, 2017 http://bradblog.com/?p=12193 http://bradblog.com/?p=12193#comments Thu, 22 Jun 2017 18:23:09 +0000 Desi Doyen California Great Britain Environment Nevada Green News CNBC Donald Trump Rick Perry Coal Nuclear power Wind Solar Climate change China Germany Oceans Electric vehicles Dept. of Energy Joe Kernen Denmark Antarctica http://bradblog.com/?p=12193

    IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Trump suggests solar panels on his border wall with Mexico; Energy Secretary Rick Perry goes full science denial; Trump Administration seeks to reactivate Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository; Plastic pollution has reached Antarctica; Renewable energy actually helps electric grid stability; PLUS: British government to invest a billion dollars in shift to electric cars... 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): Tropical Storm Cindy drenches Gulf Coast; Worldwide coal bleaching event may finally be ending; Methane leaks spike in natural gas production in NM; Publishers defend Greenpeace in dispute with logging company; Zinke screws up 3 denier talking points in Senate hearing; Volcanoes 'triggered dawn of dinosaurs'; Miami-Dade signs on to Paris Agreement... PLUS: Solar paint makes hydrogen fuel from solar energy and water vapor... and much, MUCH more! ...

    STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...

    'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...

    For a comprehensive roundup of daily environmental news you can trust, see the Society of Environmental Journalists' Daily Headlines page


    FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page

  • NASA Video: If we don't act, here's what to expect in the next 100 years:

  • ]]>
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    Tuesday's 100% Unverifiable U.S. House Special Election Results in GA, SC: 'BradCast' 6/21/2017 http://bradblog.com/?p=12192 http://bradblog.com/?p=12192#comments Thu, 22 Jun 2017 01:35:09 +0000 Brad Friedman Diebold/Premier ES&S Election Reform Georgia BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Princeton University Paper Ballots Legislation Touch-Screen Vote Flipping U.S. House U.S. Senate South Carolina Democrats Republicans KPFK DHS Russia Election 2016 BradCast Election 2017 Jon Ossoff Karen Handel http://bradblog.com/?p=12192 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 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...
    [See post to listen to audio]

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    ]]> http://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=12192 'Bedlam' Ahead: Obstruction, Recusals, Chain of Succession, Impeachment and Indictments: 'BradCast' 6/20/2017 http://bradblog.com/?p=12191 http://bradblog.com/?p=12191#comments Wed, 21 Jun 2017 00:48:05 +0000 Brad Friedman Arizona Georgia BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Touch-Screen Vote Flipping Impeachment Accountability Environment Dept. of Justice U.S. Senate South Carolina Health Care Republicans John Cornyn KPFK Donald Trump Rick Perry Mitch McConnell Climate change James Comey BradCast Dept. of Interior Election 2017 Rod Rosenstein Robert Mueller Dana Boente Rachel Brand http://bradblog.com/?p=12191 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...
    [See post to listen to audio]

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