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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Trump Empties Gotham Prison: 'BradCast' 2/18/20
Prez issues crony pardons; Calls for Barr resignation grow, DoJ crisis worsens; Bloomberg, Sanders rising; NV Caucus meltdown worries...
'Green News Report' 2/18/20
  w/ Brad & Desi
MS under water; Another record high for Antarctica; Trump EPA reintroduces mercury poisoning; Bezos coughs up millions; PLUS: CNBC's Cramer says fossil fuels are 'done'...
Previous GNRs: 2/13/20 - 2/11/20 - Archives...
Sunday 'Faithfully Executing the Law' Toons
PDiddie's latest faithfully executed collection of the week's best political toons...
Swamp Creatures:
'BradCast' 2/14/20
Guest Host Nicole Sandler with author Asawin Suebsaeng...
Impeachment by Radio
Sue Wilson explains why the elephant in the room is not the GOP...
'That Way Madness Lies':
'BradCast' 2/13/20
Vengeful Trump attacks jury foreperson in Stone case, as lawless, vindictive 'descent into Constitutional madness' continues; Also: How to find ourselves out of this darkness...
WATCH: NBC Today's Investigative Report/Warning About L.A. County's New, Unverifiable Vote System
NBC's Cynthia McFadden on the dangers of the new $300,000,000 touchscreen system...
'Green News Report' 2/13/20
  w/ Brad & Desi
BP announces major climate change policy shift; Sea level rise accelerating in U.S.; Get used to the record heat; PLUS: House Republicans unveil climate legislation(?!)...
Previous GNRs: 2/11/20 - 2/6/20 - Archives...
Sander's Tuesday Win in NH; Trump's 'Tuesday Massacre' in DC: 'BradCast' 2/12/20
Guest: Former Deputy Asst. Attorney General Lisa Graves warns there is now 'a cancer on the Justice Department'...
The 'Socialist' Smear: Smart Politics or GOP Bluff?: 'BradCast' 2/11/20
Guest: Bill 'DocDawg' Busa on mysterious rightwing PAC in NC spending millions on a progressive & pretend GOP love for Sanders...
'Green News Report' 2/11/20
Good news and bad Down Under; Climate change killing bumblebees; Antarctica's record 65 degrees; PLUS: Climate change and trade at latest 2020 Dem debate...
Dem Battle Rages After IA Despite Candidate Calls for Unity: 'BradCast' 2/10/20
Caucus errors lead to unsupported claims of 'rigging'; Sanders seeks 'partial recanvass'; Unattended L.A. VBM drop-box removed...
Sunday 'The Baaas Have It' Toons
And they all fall in line in PDiddie's latest weekly toon collection...
GOP 2002 NH Phone-Jammer on 2020 IA Phone-Jam Plot: 'BradCast' 2/7/20
Guest: Former operative Allen Raymond warns Dem Caucus hotline scheme may be larger than just online 'Trump trolls'...
Why IA's 'Chaos' Should be Good News for Voters: 'BradCast' 2/6/20
Also: Trump troll IA phone-jam scheme; CBS-LA runs investigative report on L.A.'s new unverifiable vote system; About Romney's courage, Trump's ugly shame...
WATCH CBS-LA's REPORT: 'How Much Confidence Should Voters Have in L.A.'s New Voting System?' 'None'
Featuring Brad and (some of) his concerns about L.A.'s new unverifiable $300M system...
'Green News Report' 2/6/20
Trump's SOTU energy lies; Dems focus on rebuilding U.S.; You just lived through the hottest Jan. on record; PLUS: Britain accelerates its ban on gasoline cars...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Prez issues crony pardons; Calls for Barr resignation grow, DoJ crisis worsens; Bloomberg, Sanders rising; NV Caucus meltdown worries...
By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2020 6:34pm PT  

We've got a lot to catch up on on today's BradCast after a long holiday weekend, as the crisis of rot and corruption inside the once-revered U.S. Dept. of Justice continues to metastasize under Donald Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr; as billionaire Michael Bloomberg buys his way into shaking up the 2020 Democratic Presidential race; as the Nevada Caucuses may be heading toward another embarrassing meltdown this weekend; and as our ongoing, literal planetary meltdown continues. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

Among the stories covered on today's packed program...

  • Amid an already deepening crisis at the Justice Dept., Trump went on a "clemency spree" on Tuesday, issuing pardons to a long list of crooks, cronies and n'er do wells --- many of them personal friends of the Prez, natch --- from former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (who attempted to sell a U.S. Senate seat), to Rudy Giuliani pal and former NYPD Commission Bernie Kerik (who lied to the Dept. of Homeland Security), to the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers (who bribed a Louisiana Governor for a riverboat casino gambling license.) Those are just some of the liars, tax frauds and scam artists like Trump who received get-out-of-jail free cards today, in hopes, we surmise, that someone may do the same for Trump some day, once the law finally catches up with him. And it will;
  • With the American system of justice now in full and active breach at the DoJ under Barr's corrupt leadership, the calls for his resignation have grown impossible to ignore in the wake of his unprecedented overruling of career line prosecutors' recommendations for criminal sentencing of longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (among other wildly corrupt actions he's taken of late and since taking office last year.)

    Former Deputy Attorney General Donald Ayer, appointed by George H.W. Bush, describes "Bill Barr's America" as "a banana republic where all are subject to the whims of a dictatorial president and his henchmen," in a new Atlantic op-ed while calling for a "public uprising demanding that Bill Barr resign immediately, or failing that, be impeached."

    More than 2,000(!) former DoJ officials, both Democratic and Republican, have now signed on to a Sunday public letter declaring Trump and Barr "have openly and repeatedly flouted" the concept of equal justice in the U.S., and demanding Barr step down, citing "damage" that Barr's actions "have done to the Department of Justice's reputation for integrity and the rule of law."

    And, in the wake of all of this --- and the President's continuing Twitter attacks on the U.S. District Court Judge overseeing Roger Stone's case and upcoming sentencing --- the Federal Judges Association, a group of more than 1,000 jurists, has now called an "emergency meeting" for Wednesday to discuss related issues that, according to its President, George W. Bush-appointed U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe, "could not wait" until the group's spring conference scheduled for April;

  • Meanwhile, the Democratic and democratic efforts to replace Trump in November's election continue apace, as Nevada Democrats address security concerns about their upcoming Saturday caucuses by switching to electronic voters! (Okay, that one's from The Onion, but still, it shouldn't be long);
  • The Dominican Republic sets an example that Americans might want to pay attention to, by suspending their weekend election just a few hours after polls opened due to failed electronic voting systems. (Who could have seen that coming?);
  • Billionaire Michael Bloomberg turned Presidential candidate turned self-declared reformed racist and misogynist, buys his way onto Wednesday's Democratic Presidential Debate stage in Las Vegas, even though he will not be on the ballot at Saturday's caucus there. Bloomberg, it was announced on Tuesday, will appear at the forum, after qualifying in several national polls, including a second place finish in a new NPR/PBS/Marist national poll and a virtual tie for second with Joe Biden in a new NBC News/WSJ survey. In both of those national polls, Biden has plummeted and current front-runner Bernie Sanders has taken double-digit leads over his nearest competitor;
  • But, according to news reports from Washington Post, Politico and others over the weekend, the Nevada Caucuses could be a "complete disaster" mirroring Iowa's just two weeks ago. Under-trained caucus leaders, a lack of communication between the state party and the candidates' campaigns about the complicated process, and the use of an iPad "Caucus Calculator" could lead to a meltdown, many fear. If the hours-long lines at last weekend's Early Voting sites are any indication, state Dems may, once again, be in way over the heads. But we'll see;
  • In slightly brighter primary news, late last week California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a last-minute bill into law that will allow Golden State voters to change party registration up to and on Election Day itself. That seemingly very smart move may help the state avoid some, if not all, of the expected confusion and potential meltdowns at their own March 3rd Super Tuesday primary in the state with the most Democratic delegates at stake (415 of them) in this year's nominating contest;
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as Antarctica breaks another stunning heat record, Mississippi gets swamped, Trump's EPA allows the return of toxic mercury even though the Obama-era regulation was a tremendous success and the utility industry doesn't even want him to, and some very big news from CNBC's Wall Street guru Jim Cramer declaring fossil fuels "over!"...

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

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Guest Host Nicole Sandler with author Asawin Suebsaeng...
By Nicole Sandler on 2/14/2020 5:56pm PT  

It's NICOLE SANDLER, back in to guest host today's BradCast. We begin with an update of the latest news.

My guest is journalist ASAWIN SUEBSAENG of the Daily Beast, whose first book, Sinking in the Swamp: How Trump's Minions and Misfits Poisoned Washington is newly released and full of the kind of stories you'd expect from Donald Trump's White House.

Today is February 14. Yes, it's Valentines Day, but it's a sad day where I live. Two years ago today, a former student entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida --- about 10 minutes from my home --- with an AK47, killing 17 people and seriously injuring another 17. And nothing has changed since.

And thirty years ago today, as the Voyager-1 was passing Neptune heading out of the solar system, it took the first picture of Earth from outer space. Carl Sagan wrote about it famous "Pale Blue Dot." Neil deGrasse Tyson read it, so we share it today to try to end the week on a positive note...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

And because laughter is good for the soul and especially needed these days, I shared a wonderful parody sent to me by a listener. The song played on the show today was good enough, but the video is even better. So enjoy!

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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!




Vengeful Trump now attacking jury foreperson in Stone case, as his lawless, vindictive 'descent into Constitutional madness' continues; Also: How to find ourselves out of this darkness...
By Brad Friedman on 2/13/2020 6:32pm PT  

Although I didn't reference Adam Schiff's remarks from just two weeks ago during the impeachment trial on the "the normalization of lawlessness," about which he presciently warned "that way madness lies". But, upon reflecting on today's BradCast, it seemed an appropriate headline. It was only one week ago that corrupt and cowardly Senate Republicans had the chance to remove Trump from office, but acquitted him instead with the message to continue breaking the law and shredding the Constitution.It was just one week before that when Schiff warned: "What we have seen over the last couple days is a descent into Constitutional madness." This week has made that madness seem like child's play. [Audio link to show follows below.]

These are dark times. Growing darker by the day. But we can't turn away, as much as we might like to right now. Now is the time to step forward and help ourselves --- help each other --- back into the light. It won't be easy. But we must. And we do what we can, once again, towards that end on today's program. Among the stories covered today...

  • An vengeful, bitter, out-of-control Trump turns his ongoing Twitter attacks from federal Justice Department prosecutors working on the case against his friend and convicted felon Roger Stone onto the foreperson of the jury that convicted him;
  • A witness in the trial who was threatened by Stone (who was convicted of witness tampering and lying to Congress, among his seven counts), has pleaded for no jail time for the longtime GOP dirty-trickster, but has also now stepped forward to call out Trump's attacks on the four prosecutors who quit the case in protest as a "vile smear job" by the President;
  • Trump's former Chief-of-Staff, Marine Corps General John Kelly, calls out Trump for his wrathful firing of decorated Iraq War vet Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from his post on the National Security Counsel because Vindman dared answer a lawful subpoena to testify truthfully to Congress about Trump's unlawful bribery campaign against Ukraine. Kelly argues Vindman should be respected, not attacked, for refusing to follow "an illegal order" from the President. "We teach them," Kelly said, "‘Don’t follow an illegal order. And if you’re ever given one, you’ll raise it to whoever gives it to you that this is an illegal order, and then tell your boss.'" The legal defense by Nazi soldiers that they were just following orders, whether unlawful or not, failed at the Nuremburg Trials. But perhaps Trump disagrees with that verdict too. In response, Trump attacked Kelly, tweeting that he was "over his head" as CoS, couldn't be fired "fast enough", and that Kelly has a "military and legal obligation" to "keep his mouth shut." The Nazi's defense attorneys would be very proud of this President;
  • But how do we get out of this dark mess and reverse the madness? There is only one way left that I'm aware of, which is why I have spent so many years fighting for the right to vote and for publicly overseeable voting systems. After about 10 lonely years warning specifically about the development of the new, 100% unverifiable "VSAP" touchscreen voting system set for first-time use in Los Angeles County in the March 3rd Super Tuesday primary, I've finally received a bit of help in those warnings of late from the corporate media. Last week, it came from an investigative report by CBS-2 Los Angeles (in which I appear). This morning, it came from a new investigative report on L.A.'s dangerous new systems from Cynthia McFadden, as previewed on NBC's Today show. We share that report today, along with advice on how to overcome the dangers presented by the new, $300,000,000 boondoggle of a voting system coming to the nation's most populous jurisdiction, as well as how to do the same in other states and counties (including battlegrounds like Georgia, Philadelphia, parts of Texas and elsewhere) where voters will be forced to vote on similarly unverifiable touchscreen systems at the polls in this year's never-more-critical Presidential election;
  • Oh, and we have a few more observations on the New Hampshire primary turnout which we couldn't get to yesterday, but which are still worth taking note of today, as we all move forward to the next primaries and caucuses;
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report, with some seemingly genuinely good --- and very surprising --- news from a major fossil fuel company, that almost, if not entirely, helps us forget about the much-less-good news in the rest of today's GNR and, for that matter, today's BradCast!...

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: Former Deputy Asst. Attorney General Lisa Graves warns there is now 'a cancer on the Justice Department'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/12/2020 6:30pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Once again, Donald Trump managed to step on a big night for Democrats, with what is turning out to be an unprecedented "break-the-glass-in-case-of-fire" crisis at the U.S. Department of Justice. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

The unspeakably important fight to replace the most dangerous, unfit, authoritarian President this nation has ever seen continued on Tuesday night in New Hampshire, where a pleasantly smooth primary election resulted in a narrow win for Bernie Sanders, with Pete Buttigieg close on his heels yet again, followed by a surprise third place win for Amy Klobuchar. After double-digit percentages for those three, Elizabeth Warren came in a distant fourth, followed by an undoubtedly disappointing fifth place finish for Joe Biden.

The contest also resulted in three candidates dropping out of the race. Colorado Senator Michael Bennet hung it up, as did former MA Governor Deval Patrick (leaving no more African-Americans in the race) and previously unknown entrepreneur Andrew Yang (leaving Tulsi Gabbard, who finished a distance 7th, as the only person of color remaining in the Democratic nominating contest.) Sanders second popular vote victory in two weeks leaves him as the front-runner ahead of Nevada next week, South Carolina the week after, and Super Tuesday in more than a dozen states three days later, where voters will decide how long this contest will run, as several candidates remain more than viable after the two early outings.

We discuss, along with a reminder that all of New Hampshire voted, without apparent problem Tuesday, on hand-marked paper ballots, with citizen volunteers in some 40% of Granite State towns counting those hand-marked ballots by hand, publicly, with everybody watching, no apparent problems or delays, and results announced at each counting location upon completion. We call that Democracy's Gold Standard and thank the volunteers in those NH towns.

Unfortunately, that joyous exercise in public democracy and civic duty was marred by the quickly expanding crisis in Washington D.C. where four prosecutors running the case against Trump confidante Roger Stone, who was recently found guilty of lying to Congress and witness tampering, abruptly quit the case on Tuesday. One of them resigned from the Dept. of Justice entirely.

That stunning news on Tuesday came after a tweet from Trump, describing the sentencing recommendation as a "miscarriage of justice!", before an announcement by a senior official at DoJ that the line prosecutors' recommendation, based on federal sentencing guidelines, was "extreme and excessive and disproportionate to Stone’s offenses."

Further reporting throughout the day --- as Trump continued his Twitter tirade, even attacking the federal judge overseeing Stone's case --- revealed that it was not the only time in recent days that Trump's Attorney General Bill Barr appears to have interceded to soften sentencing recommendations for close friends of Trump found guilty of lying to federal officials during the Robert Mueller Special Counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. NBC News reports that a recently installed Barr apparatchik also changed the DoJ prosecutors' sentencing recommendation for Trump's former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn last month. It was originally for 0 to 6 months in prison, but modified last month to nothing more than probation.

And, as all of that was unspooling, Trump pulled his nomination for a top post at the Treasury Dept. for the former U.S. Attorney for D.C., Jessie Liu. As USA, she had overseen Stone's case and a number of others related to the Mueller probe, until she was relieved of that post on the same day that the DoJ changed their sentencing recommendation for Flynn. Liu had been scheduled to answer questions in her Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday for the Treasury post, but that has been conveniently nixed with Trump's withdrawal of her nomination on Tuesday.

We're joined today to discuss these stunning --- and somewhat terrifying --- turns of event by LISA GRAVES, who previously served as Deputy Asst. U.S. Attorney General at the DoJ under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. She is also the former Chief Counsel for Nominations in the U.S. Senate and former Deputy Chief for the U.S. Court system. So, she has quite a bit of insight into many aspects of this. She, like us, is exceedingly disturbed by what one former, longtime DoJ senior official characterized as "a shocking, cram-down political intervention in the criminal justice process," declaring that "We are now truly at a break-glass-in-case-of-fire moment for the Justice Dept."

Graves, who recently founded the new watchdog group TrueNorthResearch.org, echoes that alarm today. "This is really a crisis," she warns. "And it's hard to say that, given that we are in the midst of an ongoing crisis based on what the Republicans in the Senate did this past month and what the President is up to. This is a crisis that is really unparalleled in the modern history of the Justice Department. It's a Constitutional crisis and really an existential crisis, because this is an active assault on the rule of law in this country."

She explains that "this is an absolute, confirmed and repeated breach of the independence of the Justice Department...I'm not sure how it can be fixed, given the fact that the Justice Department has been so corrupted by this President and by his willing hand-maiden, Bill Barr." Graves cites the upcoming election as our only way out, at this point, from "this sort of behavior turning America into a banana republic", before she borrows from the Nixon impeachment proceedings to describe the ongoing events as "a cancer on the Justice Department."

She also shares her thoughts on whether she believes the DoJ itself --- with the words "The place of Justice is a hallowed place" (ironically now?) etched above its door on Pennsylvania Avenue --- can ever be fully repaired after this breach, even after Trump is no longer despoiling the White House...

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. William 'DocDawg' Busa on a mysterious rightwing PAC spending millions to support a progressive in NC and GOP's pretend love for Sanders; Also: Bernie surges nationally, Trump lies in NH...
By Brad Friedman on 2/11/2020 6:00pm PT  

As usual, we cover far too much on today's BradCast, as New Hampshire voters head to the polls for their first-in-the-nation primary today. Full reported results from NH tomorrow, of course. [Audio link for today's show is posted below.]

Among those too many things covered today...

  • We start with some common sense news out of Nevada, where state Democrats, after the Iowa Caucus disaster, have decided to use hand-marked paper ballots for early voting in the state's upcoming February 22nd caucuses. However, they will still be relying on a vulnerable, online iPad tool to record sign-ins (albeit with paper backup, so there's that);
  • On Monday night, the eve of the New Hampshire primary, Donald Trump rallied in the Granite State by lying to supporters about voter fraud there, and by taking a small page from the disgraced Chris Christie's New Jersey "BridgeGate" scandal. Trump's Secret Service detail, according to campaign officials, made it difficult for Democratic candidates and their supporters to get around the state's largest city. Given that Republican Senators recently gave a thumbs up for Trump to cheat in the 2020 election with their "not guilty" votes at the end of last week's Impeachment Trial, nobody should be surprised he is now doing so;
  • But there was some very good news for Bernie Sanders from a national Quinnipiac poll on Monday night, revealing the Vermont Senator vaulting into first place ahead of Joe Biden for the first time. We also review a number of other interesting findings for the survey suggesting good news for Sanders, along with a warning that those are national numbers, in a nation that runs state-by-state elections instead. Just ask Hillary Clinton;
  • As he gains momentum, Sanders is also being forced to defend his identity as a "democratic socialist" and his support for programs such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. Republicans (and even some Democrats) are hoping to disparage Sanders with those charges, from which he does not shy away;
  • At the same time, Trump and friends and family are attempting to sow discord among Democrats by claiming that the DNC is rigging the election against Sanders, hoping they'll convince Sanders' supporters to sit out 2020 if he is not the nominee;
  • At the same time, Republicans in South Carolina are reportedly urging their own supporters to vote for Sanders in the state's upcoming February 29 primary, since the state GOP cancelled their own primary there as a gift to Donald Trump. The theory, also floated publicly by Trump himself, is that they'd love to run against Sanders this November because, they'd like you to believe he will be easy to beat;
  • And, just to the north, a mysterious group calling themselves the "Faith and Power PAC" is playing a similar game, by spending nearly $2.5 million to support a progressive state Senator for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination in North Carolina's March 3rd Super Tuesday primary. The new group appears to be tied to Republicans and the candidate they are running ads for, state Senator Erica D. Smith [pictured above right], is currently running behind the centrist D.C. Dem-supported Cal Cunningham in the contest to win the Dem Senate nomination to run against vulnerable Republican incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis this fall. The TV spot purporting to be on behalf of Smith, highlights her support for Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and other progressive policies making her "one of us", as the ad claims. (We interviewed Smith on The BradCast late last year, as she was demanding hand-marked paper ballots for North Carolina);
  • We're joined today by North Carolina's DR. WILLIAM BUSA of the progressive political data consulting firm EQV Analytics to discuss all of the dirty tricks in the Carolinas. Busa, who previously worked for state Senator Smith and writes as "DocDawg" at DailyKos, suggests this mysterious group of Republicans may have made a miscalculation in their attempt to monkey-wrench the Democratic Senate primary race in his state. He also explains how they may have committed fraud in their FEC filing. He shares his insight on the curious NC ad buy and the question of whether Republicans are really interested in running against progressives like Sanders and Smith because they believe they will be easy to beat this November, or because they want Democratic voters to BELIEVE progressives will be easy to beat. "Is this eleventy-dimensional chess or is this Tic-Tac-Toe that they're playing?," Busa asks. "I'm not entirely sure which it is, but I don't think it's eleventy-dimensional chess." We've got a lot to unpack in that conversation today!
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with good news and bad Down Under, unquestionably bad news for bumblebees and Antarctica (and, by extension, for all of us) and the interesting way that Democrats raised the issue of climate change during last Friday's Presidential Debate in New Hampshire...

See? Told you we covered too much! Enjoy!...

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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(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)




Caucus errors lead to unsupported charges of 'rigging'; Sanders seeks 'partial recanvass'; Unattended L.A. Vote-by-Mail drop-box removed thanks to public oversight; More Trump disasters and lies...
By Brad Friedman on 2/10/2020 6:25pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We get you all caught up after Friday night's lively Democratic debate in New Hampshire --- which included many calls for unity by most of the candidates --- and as voters in the Granite State prepare to vote on Tuesday in the first-in-the-nation primary. But the reported results from first-in-the-nation caucuses, held last week in Iowa, are still roiling some Democratic partisans. Others, meanwhile, are taking important actions to make our elections more secure, as we report on a citizen action that led to small, if positive change in Los Angeles in advance of the critical March 3rd Super Tuesday primary. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

The only thing that appears reasonably certain regarding last week's Iowa mess at this hour is that Bernie Sanders received more votes than any other candidates and that Pete Buttigieg appears to have come in second, while perhaps winning an infinitesimally larger portion of "State Delegate Equivalents", thanks to the absurdly complex Iowa Caucus math and a number of seemingly random errors in that math on enough precinct worksheets that Associated Press is still refusing to call the race one way or another.

As discussed on today's program, those math worksheets were signed off on as accurate, not only by every Precinct Leader and Secretary at each caucus cite, but also by the campaign captains of each candidate at every caucus site. Nonetheless, with math errors discovered on those sheets at a small number of precincts (thankfully due to the transparency of the otherwise complex caucus processes in Iowa as demanded by Sanders after the 2016 caucuses) and the state Democratic Party attorney's claim that correcting the math worksheets would amount to election tampering under state law, the Sanders campaign is requesting a "partial recanvass" of results from about 20 or 30 of the state's more than 1,700 caucuses.

While the ultimate delegate count out of Iowa is unlikely to change very much --- Sanders and Buttigieg are largely tied on that score --- a number of his supporters are charging the contest was rigged or stolen from him by the DNC and/or Iowa Democratic Party (and/or, apparently, the Buttigieg Campaign. Based on the currently available evidence, I disagree with that charge and explain why on today's program.

Despite the increasing animosity between some supporters of the candidates, pretty much all of the Democrats still in the hunt for the nomination spent portions of Friday's debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, and subsequent media appearances and rallies thereafter, calling for unity among the party faithful, in order to defeat Donald Trump this November. Whether their supporters heard those pleas or not is another matter, but we make an effort to help them hear that message just a bit better on today's program.

We also take some time to share a few news headlines from the past couple of days underscoring again what a dangerous and unprecedentedly dishonest menace this American President represents to both the nation and the world. Among those news headlines today...

  • The African-American fourth-grader who Trump awarded with a scholarship at his State of the Union Address last week, as it turns out, already attends one of Philadelphia's most prestigious charter schools and needs no scholarship. The privately-run public school is already paid for with tax dollars. Yes, Trump's stunt was another scam;
  • The deadly and injurious fallout from Trump's unlawful assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani at the beginning of the year, on the heels of his impeachment, continues today. More than 100 U.S. service members, according to a new report from CNN today, have now been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries following the missile attack response by Iran on a military base in Iraq housing U.S. troops. After the Iranian response, Trump claimed all was well, and that no service members were killed or injured. That turns out to have been another lie. Last month, after the first reports of traumatic brain injury to troops was reported, Trump dismissed them as "headaches". The head of the influential Veterans of Foreign Wars is now demanding an apology from the President;
  • And, in one more reminder today about what a dangerous menace this President is and his reelection would be to the nation and its people, Trump released his $4.8 trillion budget proposal on Monday. It includes calls for deep cuts to student loan assistance, affordable housing, food stamps, health care (Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act), education and the environment. With those calls for slashing the federal public safety net, Trump is also proposing increased spending on the military, his border wall, his "Space Force" program, and an extension to his tax cuts which mostly benefited corporations and wealthy Americans.

Finally today, we have an interesting story about a Sanders supporter out here in Los Angeles who discovered a dangerously light and apparently totally unguarded table-top drop-off for Vote-by-Mail ballots at a UCLA facility over the weekend. According to the campaign volunteer, It was "light as a feather...not bolted down...right by the door [and] weighs about 5 pounds and could easily be taken."

After we contacted the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan with the report over the weekend, including a photograph of the unattended drop-box [as seen in the graphic above], Logan told us this morning that the vulnerable table-top container at the facility has now been replaced with a permanent, 1,000 pound collection box. We share the telling (and just a bit snarky) email exchange between he and me that led to the upgrade in advance of California's March 3rd Super Tuesday primary. That good news comes thanks to PUBLIC OVERSIGHT of our public election processes by a concerned voter! We could use a helluva lot more of that!...

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Guest: Former operative Allen Raymond suggests plot to tie up Iowa Dem results hotline may involve more than just online 'Trump trolls'
Also: Sanders wins Iowa (but so does Buttigieg) as NH Primary looms; Record heat melts Antarctica; Vindictive Trump fires impeachment witnesses...
By Brad Friedman on 2/7/2020 6:26pm PT  

On today's BradCast: With media reports on Thursday that online "Trump trolls" were making hundreds of calls to tie up the Iowa Democratic Party's results hotline after Monday's Caucuses in order to hold up results and embarrass Democrats, we're joined for an exclusive interview today with stakiomeone who knows a thing or two about such plots. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

In 2002, ALLEN RAYMOND, a then decade-long Republican operative and owner of a GOP phone-bank company, was hired to lead a scheme to tie up the Democratic Get Out the Vote phone lines during that year's very tight New Hampshire U.S. Senate race between Republican John Sununu and the state's then-Governor, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen. The now-infamous scandal, which included thousands of automated phone calls to prevent Dems from carrying out their GOTV phone-banking effort, ended with a narrow win by Sununu that year. But the scheme was uncovered and four GOP operatives, were eventually convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, taking part in the RNC-funded effort. Raymond was one of them. He pleaded guilty and ended up serving 3 months in federal prison. In 2008, the contrite former operative published a book about that exploit and others during his time as a senior consultant to the Party called How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative.

Raymond joins us today to discuss the 2002 plot in NH, how it came about, and what was behind it, as well as to offer his thoughts about what we should know regarding whatever may have happened to the Democratic Party's hotline on Monday night in Iowa. He is skeptical about whether a few "trolls" on a popular rightwing Internet message board could effectively tie up enough lines to create the kind of chaos that ensued in Iowa, suggesting that its possible the scheme may be larger than currently reported.

"That takes a fairly sustained, collaborated, concerted effort," he explains. "So the question it raises in my mind is, can that happen organically?" Without making any allegations, he is calling for an immediate law enforcement investigation which he says should be able to quickly uncover the source of the phone harassment, the same felony for which he pleaded guilty to years ago in the RNC's NH scheme. "It raises enough suspicion of a coordinated effort that it's worth looking at."

It wouldn't be the first time in even recent months that an emboldened RNC has carried out a similar phone scheme against Democrats. As the New York Times reported last November, Republicans attempted to swamp Congressional Democratic phone lines with thousands of automated calls during the early stages of Donald Trump's impeachment inquiry.

Raymond also shares his thoughts on what has become of the Republican Party in recent years since he was thrown under the bus when the NH plot was uncovered (he is now a registered Democrat); how he and other political operatives justify such dirty tricks and/or illegalities when taking these kind of unsavory and/or unlawful actions in order to win elections; and what American voters should be concerned about as the 2020 election progresses under a Republican Party headed by a vengeful, recently-impeached President.

"This phone disruption effort occurring in the very first contest of the presidential nominating process leading up to November's general election, should be reason enough" to be concerned, he tells me. "If it's happening on the first one, and nothing's done, we're sending a signal that this is the new norm, it's okay, that you will not be punished or prosecuted for this kind of conduct. That's why, at minimum, an aggressive investigation should occur to determine what exactly happened, for the purposes of protecting against the same conduct in the future. Because by not prosecuting, by not investigating, the signal is being sent: 'Hey, we all agree that that stinks but that's okay, go ahead and do it because law enforcement is not going to come knocking on your door.'"

"A republic's center of gravity is its electoral process," Raymond warns. "And if our electoral process is compromised --- whether it be from domestic actors or foreign actors --- that's reason enough to do whatever you can to protect it."

Please tune in for this full, fascinating conversation with someone who has quite a bit of insight on many aspects of all of these matters.

Also on today's show: With the New Hampshire primary days away, AP announces that the chaotic results of Monday in Iowa will prevent them from calling a winner in the Democratic Caucuses, but that doesn't stop us from doing so; Antarctica hits an all-time record 65 degrees, underscoring, yet again, the need to replace a President who is a menace not only to the country's future, but to the entire planet's; Trump fires patriotic Iraq War vet and National Security Counsel Ukraine expert Lt. Col. Alex Vindman and his million-dollar donor EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland for testifying truthfully during the U.S. House Impeachment inquiry; and Steven Colbert has a few thoughts about Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT)'s courage and unprecedented vote against Trump in this past week's Senate Impeachment trial...

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Also: CBS-LA runs investigative report (featuring Brad) on L.A.'s new unverifiable touchscreen voting system; And a word or two about Romney's courage and Trump's ugly everlasting shame...
By Brad Friedman on 2/6/2020 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We dispatch with the dark, ugly post-impeachment bitterness of our completely unfit and totally guilty President as quickly as possible at the top of today's show, along with a word or two about Mitt Romney's commendable, historic courage. Then it's on to looking forward to how Americans must remove this dangerous man from office, even as we all must surmount seemingly impossible odds with our nation's terrible, dangerous, nontransparent voting systems in 2020. [Audio link to show follows below.]

On that score, first up, CBS-2 in Los Angeles ran an investigative report this week, featuring yours truly, on the County's new, unverifiable, $300,000,000 touchscreen voting system. We share the report from CBS-LA's David Goldstein in full, along with some additional thoughts, including the eerie similarities between comments in the CBS report from L.A. County's Registrar Dean Logan, who developed the new VSAP ("Voting Solutions for All People") system, on his strong confidence in the first-time use of this new system before the March 3rd Super Tuesday primary, and those from an interview with the Iowa Democratic Party Chair Tom Price on the night before the Iowa Caucuses about his own confidence in the party's new, secretly-developed smartphone app that failed so disastrously the next day.

Then, speaking of Iowa, several reports on Thursday confirm that there was an apparent effort by Trump supporting trolls to jam the phone lines used as the backup for precinct officials to phone in caucus results when the IDP's smartphone app had failed. That element of the story is eerily similar to the 2002 GOP phone-jamming scandal during a U.S. Senate election in New Hampshire that year. Four Republican operatives hired by the party were convicted in a criminal scheme and the party had to pay NH Dems $125,000 in damages afterward. How does that tie to what happened in Iowa? We hope to report more on that on tomorrow's BradCast. But for now, we hope it serves as a reminder that Russia is not the only threat to the integrity of U.S. elections. Not by a long shot.

Today we've got more new, and still-partial (97%), results out of Iowa, showing Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders in a virtual tie, with Buttigieg barely leading in state delegates at the moment (3 out of several thousand divvied up between candidates) and Sanders winning in the raw vote counts in both the first and final rounds of voting on Caucus night. Controversy around the reported numbers, as chaotic and error-ridden as it has been, is actually a good thing, as we explain, given that publicly-witnessed, precinct-based counts (with hand-marked paper ballots to boot) are available from all 1,765 caucus sites. That means, when incorrect numbers have been posted to date, the public has been able to scrutinize and force corrections to those numbers, as has been the case in several instances across the state.

It should also be noted that, despite claims from supporters of some candidates, there is no evidence so far to suggest that any of the errors in reporting were meant to help or harm any particular candidate. As the NYTimes reports tonight, "Some of these inconsistencies may prove to be innocuous, and they do not indicate an intentional effort to compromise or rig the result. There is no apparent bias in favor of the leaders Pete Buttigieg or Bernie Sanders, meaning the overall effect on the winner’s margin may be small."

We go over some of those claims as well today. While some are viewing all of this as chaos and failure, we see it as a victory for PUBLIC OVERSIGHT OF ELECTION RESULTS. Public oversight is generally missing in jurisdictions where computers tally votes (which is to say, in all 50 states) leaving the public often entirely unable to verify results of their own elections. Similar errors occur in virtually every election, but due to the nature of secret counting in most locations, the public rarely learns about or notices them and erroneous results are rarely corrected. That, of course, was what we shamefully saw (or, rather, didn't) in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania after the stunning reported end to the 2016 Presidential election.

Now, ironically enough, a furious National Democratic Pary chair is demanding a recanvass of results in Iowa. But where were those same Dems after 2016 when they decided to not challenge or scrutinize any of the dubious numbers from the most surprising Presidential election results in U.S. history?

Finally, we close with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, with more debunkery of Trump's lies about energy at this week's SOTU, some bad news about January's record heat, and some very good news about the scheduled ban on gasoline-powered cars in Great Britain!...

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton and Tom Sullivan of Digby's Hullabaloo...
By Brad Friedman on 2/5/2020 5:53pm PT  

It's special coverage of three different historic events --- all at once, somehow --- on today's BradCast. It wasn't easy, but it was a very lively show in dark times nonetheless! [Audio link to show is posted below.]

We're joined today by old friends who, unlike the corporate media pundits and professional political operatives and academic geniuses, have been right over and over and over, for years, about pretty much everything. For some reason today, that is very comforting. HEATHER DIGBY PARTON and TOM SULLIVAN, both of whom can be found each day writing at Digby's Hullabaloo, work through all of today's nightmares with us. Parton, an award-winning opinion journalist can also be found as a regular contributor to Salon. Sullivan, a North Carolina writer and resident is also a grassroots organizer in the state, whose "For the Win" training guide for countywide Get Out the Vote operations should be required reading for every so-called "professional" Democratic party strategist in the nation.

First up on today program, it's the ugly, bitter State of the Union address, filled with demostrable lies and cheap, offensive TV game show stunts, as delivered by Donald Trump on Tuesday night, and literally shredded thereafter by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Next, it's the shameful historic acquittal by cowed Republicans in the U.S. Senate, just before airtime on Wednesday, of the proven-guilty President on both of his Articles of Impeachment, and some Senators from both side of the aisle who deserve notice for their votes.

Finally, it's the continuing fallout from the disastrous use of untested, secretly-developed, non-transparent technology --- despite warnings from experts (and, yes, us) --- in Iowa's Democratic Caucuses on Monday, where we still only have partial results reported by the Iowa Democratic Party as of today. We discuss that disaster and who may be the winners and losers from Monday's contest, along with all of the other disasters and what they should mean for the candidates, the 2020 nominating cycle and the critical, last chance general election now on America's horizon...

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And who could have warned about such things in ADVANCE?! Also, The Nation's John Nichols joins us, just back from the IA Caucus meltdown...
By Brad Friedman on 2/4/2020 5:44pm PT  

On Monday night, the Democratic Iowa Caucuses melted down. Actually, they didn't melt down. They worked as well as expected. It was the reporting of the results from the caucuses that melted down, almost entirely due to a smartphone app that either didn't work as planned --- or because untrained precinct captains had trouble using it for its intended purpose: to send local, transparent, fully publicly overseen caucus site results to the the Iowa Democratic Party headquarters for release to the media. Of course, as we have warned for more than 15 years, it is always a terrible idea to use new, untested, secretly-developed, nontransparent, unnecessary computer technology for mission critical, cannot-fail elections.

On today's BradCast [Audio link posted below], we explain both the Iowa caucus process (which, itself, is actually among the most transparent --- if most complex --- of all the Presidential nominating contests); the known history of this app that failed so spectacularly after warnings by cybersecurity professionals (and by us on this program previously) against its use were ignored; how the app was supposed to work; and the problems from the 2016 caucuses (and even 2012 Republican Caucus in Iowa) that it was meant to solve.

(Relatedly, we also share a :30 second preview clip, featuring me, from CBS-2 Los Angeles, for an investigative report on Los Angeles County's new, untested, 100% unverifiable, $300,000,000 touchscreen voting systems that are being deployed for the March 3rd Super Tuesday primary election here for the first time in the nation's most populous county, despite warnings from cybersecurity and, yes, us. That story, and the warnings I offer in the preview --- and, hopefully, in the full story set to air on CBS-LA this evening --- have suddenly become even more wildly relevant over the past 12 hours or so than they were previously.)

If you take nothing else from all of this, please let it be that even if tech like this works perfectly (it never does), if the public cannot know that it did, confidence in democracy itself is deeply endangered. Though we've been issuing that warning for years, it is more true today than ever, especially after years of tossing additional computer "solutions" at our elections, no matter how dangerous it will be once again in 2020. As one longtime Election Integrity advocate emailed me today, somewhat sarcastically: "Who would have ever thought that using computers for election administration could cause problems? Aren't they supposed to make processes go more easily, more smoothly, faster, more accurate? What a stunner that everything descended into chaos when Iowa Democrats changed from their manual counting/reporting methods to move into the 21st century with computers!"

Before we get to our guest today then, with whom we also discuss all of this, perhaps I can summarize the lessons learned for the moment from Iowa as...A) the madness of using untested, secretly-developed, nontransparent new tech in mission critical elections; B) the importance of publicly overseen results tabulated by humans at the polling place (which Iowa has, despite the app meltdown, so the correct results will EVENTUALLY be known!) and; C) the absurdly complex procedures of the Iowa Caucus itself (on the Dem side --- the GOP side is far simpler) is a nice example of the complications and dangers in store for those who persist in calling for a Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) system. Given the complicated way the Iowa Democratic caucuses work (realignment of votes through several rounds of voting/counting after some candidates do not meet the viability threshold, etc.), it is very similar to RCV or Instant Runnoff Voting (IRV).

If you think the raw numbers, once they fully come out from Iowa, are impossible to understand and add up, just wait until RCV takes hold. As I almost always note on this topic: If you think we have enough trouble as is, transparently adding 1 + 1 + 1 in our elections in a way that can be publicly overseen and understood, just wait until we add the complicated, computer- and central-tabulation required algebra of Ranked Choice Voting to the matter!

Halfway through today's show, the Iowa Democratic Party finally released results from Monday night....well, just 62% of them, incredibly enough. They show Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders in a virtual tie, followed by Elizabeth Warren and then Joe Biden, with Amy Klobuchar not too far behind. But, again, those are only partial numbers, so we don't need to spend too much time on them for now.

We're joined today by the great JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation, just back from Iowa, for an explanation --- and a rant or two --- about all of the above and whether Democratic supporters of several different candidates should be furious...or just breathe...as all of this is ultimately sorted out. There is a lot to discuss with John, who explains why he believes "caucuses suck" and the "scorching, huge damage" this all will have done to the Democratic Party and democracy itself. We agree on some points and disagree on others. But there is just far too much to detail here. So I suggest you just buckle up and tune in today!

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us to let it go, with our latest Green News Report...

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Now that Repubs have rigged Impeachment, the 2020 election stands as America's last defense against full-on authoritarianism...
By Brad Friedman on 2/3/2020 6:03pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Following Friday's shameful vote in the U.S. Senate, where just two Republican Senators were able to muster up the courage to vote against completely blocking all witnesses and documents in the Impeachment Trial of Donald John Trump, we now have just one firewall left against our slide into full authoritarianism: This November's election. [Audio link to show follows below.]

If a President can't be indicted, as the Dept. of Justice falsely claims, and a Republican Senate is more than happy to blatantly rig an impeachment "trial" against a Republican President, the only American firewall left against the collapse of representative democracy as we've known it in this nation is your vote --- and those of every eligible citizen you know --- cast this year and counted as intended. That, as we have warned for many years, is now more difficult than ever in many jurisdictions. Nonetheless, that fight begins tonight in Iowa. (We'll have full coverage of Iowa results on Tuesday's BradCast.)

On today's program, related to all of the above, and before we open up the phones to callers on all of it...

  • We are "flying blind" as we head into the Iowa Caucuses after the weekend cancellation of the final "gold standard" Des Moines Register poll, due to a procedural error. Though Bernie Sanders, according to other last-minute polling, is believed to be the front-runner on the Democratic side as caucusing begins. That said, the Iowa Caucuses are complicated and notoriously difficult to predict, for some of the reasons we explain on today's program;
  • Millions of Vote-by-Mail ballots are, as of today, according to a media statement from the California Sec. of State, now on their way to Golden State voters for the March 3rd Super Tuesday primary, when more than a dozen states will be voting in their 2020 primaries all at once. We, again today, endeavor to explain the complicated procedures that are (sadly) necessary in the Golden State to make sure you are able to vote in the party primary of your choosing, as well as the steps you need to take to make sure you do so on a hand-marked paper ballot in order to maximize the odds of your vote actually being counted as cast.

    To avoid having to cast a 100% unverifiable touchscreen vote if you live in Los Angeles County (where that will be forced upon you at our new "voting centers") or anywhere else where touchscreens are your only choice at the polling place, PLEASE contact your County and ask for a hand-marked paper Vote-by-Mail ballot. Then, PLEASE deliver it IN PERSON to your polling place or County headquarters on Election Day or as close to it as possible. (Check your local jurisdiction to make certain they will accept hand-delivered vote-by-mail ballots!) To check your voter status --- how and if you are registered, and whether you are signed up for Vote-by-Mail --- please see the CA Sec. of State website's Voter Status page here. To request a Vote-by-Mail ballot in L.A. or request a specific party's primary ballot, go to LAVote.net;

  • Everyone must be on board and educated about all of this, this year. With the stakes we are now facing, there is ZERO room for error. Please share good information far and wide, and help your friends and neighbors to register, to vote, and to help spread the word to others about how to do the same thing;
  • Yet another reason for voting on hand-marked paper: I am terrified, for good reason, about the possibility of a ransomware attack that could prevent voters in jurisdictions that now (foolishly and dangerously) rely on computers at the polls for voters to be able to vote at all. One of the latest such attacks/reminders is currently crippling services in Tillamook County, Oregon, where all County computer servers were shut down as of last week due to such an attack. Tillamook is just the latest of dozens of jurisdictions --- states, counties, large and small metropolitan areas --- to be hit by ransomware attacks over the past year. If one occurs on or before Election Day in a county (like L.A.) that now relies on computer pollbooks and voting systems, we will have a disaster on our hands in the upcoming elections;
  • Of course, such a disaster is exactly what Donald Trump is hoping for, given his unpopularity and his repeated attempts to rig both the 2016 and now 2020 elections in his favor through any means necessary. He is now being aided in that effort not only by Republicans in the Senate, but by the Dept. of Justice itself, which is unlawfully withholding documents that prove, yet again, that Trump directed Administration officials to freeze hundreds of millions of dollars in military assistance to Ukraine in a pressure campaign to force them to help him cheat in the 2020 election;
  • All of this, as investigative journalist Kurt Eichenwald warned in a chilling Twitter thread on Friday after the vote to block all witnesses and documents in Trump's Impeachment Trial, is why "we are in an extremely terrifying moment in American history." Eichenwald cautions that, because Presidential "emergency powers" have never been defined ("because no one ever imagined a situation like this"), Trump could even attempt to cancel this year's election if he wanted and, like Hitler, could even imprison political opponents such as Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders "if he further advances his argument that he [has] absolute unquestionable control of government."

Far fetched? Please tune in to today's show and then let us know, as callers did in the second half of today's program...

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Guest: Roosevelt University political scientist David Faris...
By Brad Friedman on 1/31/2020 6:00pm PT  

While it seemed impossible previously, Republicans in the U.S. Senate appear to have outdone their phony confirmation proceedings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in late 2018, with their sham Impeachment "trial" of Donald John Trump. As we went to air for today's BradCast, the Senate was preparing to vote on whether witnesses would be blocked from a Senate Impeachment Trial for the first time in U.S. History. By the time we got off air, the shameful, dirty deed was done. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of article.]

The day of the fateful vote began with yet another explosive piece of breaking news from the New York Times, reporting that Trump's former National Security Advisor John Bolton's forthcoming book charges that "More than two months before he asked Ukraine’s president to investigate his political opponents" Trump directed Bolton "to help with his pressure campaign to extract damaging information on Democrats from Ukrainian officials, according to an unpublished manuscript by Mr. Bolton." Moreover, the paper reports, Bolton describes an Oval Office conversation on the matter in early May of 2019 "that included the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, who is now leading the president’s impeachment defense."

Yes, that's right. The Trump attorney now leading his defense in the Senate trial, who has accused Democratic House Managers of "hiding the facts" in their arguments in favor of two Articles of Impeachment against Trump, is now allegedly a co-conspirator in the very plot that resulted in only the third impeachment of a U.S. President in history. Little wonder they'd prefer to have no witnesses testify.

Bolton has stated he would be willing to testify in the trial, as has Lev Parnas, a right-hand man to Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer at the center of the scheme to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations of Joe Biden before Trump would agree to a White House meeting or release $391 million in military assistance to war torn Ukraine. On Friday morning, Parnas' attorney submitted a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, explaining his client's willingness to testify at the trial with relevant information that alleges Trump, Mulvaney, Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General William Barr, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Senator Lindsey Graham, Congressman Devon Nunes and many others worked on Trump's plot to force Ukraine to help him undermine the 2020 Presidential election. So, yes, as Gordon Sondland said weeks ago, "everyone was in the loop. So, yeah, no witnesses please and thanks.

Despite all of that astonishing news --- and all that has come before it --- by the end of today's program, Republicans in the U.S. Senate, by a vote of 51 to 49, would vote to block subpoenas for all witnesses and documents in the Impeachment Trial, for the first time in U.S. history. Only two Republican Senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah, were willing to cross the aisle to vote with all 47 Democrats to call for witnesses. We discuss the pathetic excuses offered by supposedly "moderate" GOP Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and the retiring Lamar Alexander of Tennessee for voting against witnesses. That vote now paves the way for an acquittal vote for the President. One of the few remaining questions by show's end was when that vote may come. As of this hour, it may now happen next Wednesday, the day after the President's State of the Union Address on Tuesday night --- but we'll see.

Another major question of note is what price, if any, Republicans may ultimately pay for what Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer described after the vote as the GOP's act of "perfidy...where the Senate did not live up to its responsibilities, turned away from truth, and went along with a sham trial." With "no witnesses and no documents", he described the proceedings as "not a real trial" and "a tragedy on a grand scale."

We're joined today by DAVID FARIS, Associate Professor of Political Science at Roosevelt University, author of It's Time to Fight Dirty, to discuss today's historic events, and his two most recent columns at The Week, where he is a regular contributor. In one, he finds fault with the House Democrats' strategy of sending over the Articles to the Senate too quickly and, in the other, with McConnell's strategy of blocking witnesses. Faris describes the latter as a "rare blunder" for the Republican leader and explains why. I disagree with him on the latter, as he and I discuss what all of this may now mean for Republicans, for Democrats, for the President and for the voters who will kick off the 2020 Presidential Election in Iowa this coming Monday.

"I don't know that there's anybody who could look at the Senate this week and say that a fair trial happened here," Faris tells me. "What McConnell did was he handed Democrats a bat to beat them with for the next eleven months about the legitimacy of the trial in the Senate."

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Guest: Former FEC Chair Ann Ravel on 'insane' legal and campaign finance assertions by Dershowitz, Philbin in Senate Impeachment trial...
By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2020 5:28pm PT  

Day two --- the final day --- of the Questions phase in the Senate Impeachment Trial of Donald John Trump was perhaps best characterized by lead House Manager Adam Schiff on Thursday, when he described the new defenses offered by the White House Counsel's team as "a descent into Constitutional madness" and "the normalization of lawlessness." Those comments were echoed by the former chair of the Federal Election Commission, who joins us on today's BradCast. She called Trump's new line of defense as "insane". [Audio link to show is posted at bottom of article.]

On Wednesday, the first day of written Questions from the U.S. Senators, as read to both legal teams by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Trump's defense attorney Alan Dershowitz made an extraordinary argument: "If a President does something which he believes will help him get elected, in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment." He went on to offer an analogy. "If a hypothetical President of the United States said to a hypothetical leader of a foreign country, 'unless you build a hotel with my name on it, and unless you give me a million dollar kickback, I will withhold the funds'." That, he said, would be an "easy case" and "purely corrupt". However, he continued, a more complex case was one where a President says: "I want to be elected. I think I'm a great President. I think I'm the greatest President there ever was and if I'm not elected the national interest will suffer greatly. That cannot be an impeachable offense."

In other words, he seemed to argue, it's just fine for a President to solicit a foreign power for help in an election (which is a violation of the law), so long as he or she believed it was in the best national interest for him or her to be elected. Dershowitz has spent a lot of time since those remarks, on Twitter and elsewhere, attempting to defend himself by saying that he did not say what he said. But he absolutely did say it, and so we share audio of some of his extended argument saying as much today, so you can hear it for yourself.

It wasn't the only way in which Trump's team of defense counselors moved the goal posts to accommodate his well-documented Abuse of Power, the basis for the first Article of Impeachment against him. Deputy White House Counsel Patrick Philbin on Wednesday astonishingly charged that "mere information" about a political opponent, even from a foreign source, "is not something that would violate the campaign finance laws."

“Apparently it’s okay for the President to get information from foreign governments in an election," House Impeachment Manager Zoe Lofgren responded with alarm. The California Democrat who worked on the Judiciary Committee during the Nixon Impeachment added, "That's news to me!" The new lines of argument from the President's team is what led Schiff to charge Trump's defense has become "a descent into Constitutional madness," adding "that way madness lies," before citing a similar, then-rejected defense from Richard Nixon who claimed "when a President does it, it's not illegal," before he eventually resigned the Presidency in disgrace. "Have we learned nothing in the last half century?," asked Schiff in response to Dershowitz today.

We share all of those assertions and counter-assertions today, before we turn to someone with no small amount of authority on all of this, ANN RAVEL, who served four years on the Federal Election Commission and as its Chair for two years before leaving her post in 2017. Prior to that, she chaired a similar state commission overseeing campaign finance matters in California.

"There are so many things wrong with [Dershowitz'] argument it's hard to know where to start," she tells me, charging that the claim that a quid pro quo is "somehow justified because it's important for the nation is ridiculous. It would be like saying, for any elected public official, that because it's so important for them to be re-elected that they can commit any criminal act. That's not what the framers of the Constitution intended with regard to the Presidency, and it's exactly why they have the laws relating to impeachment procedures."

"The law does not have an exception for people who think they are so important, that their worth is necessary for the whole country and therefore they can act with illegality and with impunity," she opines, before similarly torching Philbin's argument that there is nothing unlawful about soliciting a thing of value from a foreign power --- an express violation of campaign finance law.

Ravel, who is currently running for office herself in the California State Senate, laments the fact that "there is no FEC in existence now" with only three members currently seated on the six-person panel, and at least four required for a quorum to vote on enforcement of federal law. Similarly, she warns that Trump's Attorney General Bill Barr, responsible for overseeing criminal violations of campaign finance regulations, "is not acting as an Attorney General who would act with integrity to enforce the laws fairly and evenly. Instead, he seems to be biased in favor of assuring that he supports this President, so he remains in office I presume. As a result, we do not have any enforcement whatsoever of campaign finance laws."

Ravel offers alarming insight and a grim assessment as voting in the critical 2020 Presidential election begins just days from now in Iowa. "This is like sending a flare up indicating it's open season for illegality in our electoral process," she warns, along with many other thoughts, including on what she has come to learn about elections now that she is on the other side of the issue as a candidate herself. Running for office, Ravel tells me, has led her to be believe that "more constraints" are needed on electoral campaign finance, not less. She would like to see publicly financed elections in the future.

Finally today, we're joined by Desi Doyen for our latest Green News Report, with a few encouraging signs (though not nearly enough) on how some institutions are attempting to step up and deal with our worsening climate crisis, both in the U.S. and around the globe...

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

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Guest: Constitutional attorney and impeachment expert John Bonifaz...
By Brad Friedman on 1/29/2020 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It was Day One of sixteen scheduled hours of Questions and Answers in the Senate Impeachment Trial of Donald John Trump on Wednesday. And it was absolutely fascinating. [Audio link to today's show is posted at end of summary below.]

Senators from both parties submitted written questions to be read aloud by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts, who is presiding over the third such trial in U.S. history, and answered by the two teams of attorneys, the Democratic House managers prosecuting the two Articles of Impeachment against Trump, and the White House Counsel defending him. The brief answers by both sides supported their presentations made previously, and sometimes added additional claims. One example was when criminal defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, representing the President, claimed that Trump's pressure scheme to withhold $391 million in military aid to Ukraine in exchange for announcements of investigations into his political rivals was perfectly allowable because if the President felt his reelection was in the nation's best interest, then he can't be impeached for the scheme. All of it, Republicans continued to argue, is nothing more than a "partisan policy difference" between Democrats and the White House.

On the Democratic side, House Managers detailed how the White House counsel had repeatedly claimed the impeachment is invalid because the House failed to seek subpoenas in court for some witnesses before bringing the Articles to the Senate, even while the White House is in Court right now in related cases arguing the exact opposite, that House subpoenas of Executive Branch officials are illegitimate because the House has no right to oversee the Executive Branch. As Lead House Manager Adam Schiff explained: "Yes, we're to try to divine the intent of the Framers, but we are not to leave our common sense at the door."

But the most crucial dispute at the moment, perhaps, is whether witnesses such as Trump's former National Security Advisor John Bolton should be subpoenaed to testify in the trial after the New York Times reported this weekend that his forthcoming book offers first-hand corroboration of the Ukraine scheme that the President's attorneys have denied. All of this, as reported on Wednesday morning, the White House sent a letter to Bolton's attorneys on January 23 attempting to block the March 17 publication of the book on "national security" grounds; as Trump unleashed a tirade against Bolton on Twitter on Wednesday; and as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly conceded on Tuesday night that he does not yet have enough Republican votes to block witnesses at the trial.

We're joined for expert insight and analysis on all of this today by Constitutional attorney JOHN BONIFAZ, Co-Founder of FreeSpeechForPeople.org and author of several books on impeachment, including The Constitution Demands It: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump. Bonifaz' organization has been referenced at various times during the Impeachment proceedings, as they had called for Trump's impeachment on the day he was sworn in, charging that he was in violation of the Constitution's Emoluments Clauses as of that moment.

Bonifaz, argues today that "If this President is not removed from office, the House should proceed to advance new Articles of Impeachment. There is no reason why this President should not be held accountable for his cruel and unconstitutional imprisonment of children and their families at the border, for his obstruction of justice, for his abuse of the pardon power, for his racist abuses of power, for his violations of the Emoluments Clause --- the list goes on, and the President ought to be held accountable for those high crimes, as well."

He also responds to several of the defense arguments offered by the White House's attorneys; offers his thoughts on whether Bolton and others (including the Bidens) should be called as witnesses; gives his impressions of the case brought to date by Democrats; calls out both Dershowitz and White House attorney Ken Starr (who led the impeachment investigation against Bill Clinton) for hypocrisy; and explains his own consistency in supporting Impeachment of George W. Bush, Donald Trump and, yes, Bill Clinton at the time, for Abuse of Power by each of those Presidents...

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

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Trump team wraps up, Bolton reverberates, GOP lacks votes to block him; Smartphone app at Iowa Caucus; Internet election underway in Seattle...
By Brad Friedman on 1/28/2020 6:54pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The President's defense team wrapped up their Opening (and, they hope, Closing) Argument in the Senate Impeachment Trial of Donald J. Trump on Tuesday, even as we are now less than one week away from the official start of the 2020 Election season with worries about the integrity of the Iowa Caucuses, set for Monday night, February 3rd, now looming. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We break away momentarily, for the first half of today's program, from our ongoing coverage of the Impeachment Trial to cover some issues of concern for some, regarding the Iowa Caucuses and an arguably more troubling development regarding an election that is now underway in Washington state. First to Iowa, where Bernie Sanders is now said to have taken a slight lead, according to most of the recent polling in the Hawkeye State, over his nearest competitors, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren. At the same time, a number of listeners have written to express concerns about a smartphone app developed by the state Democratic Party to help report results quickly to Party headquarters on Caucus night.

We discuss the way Democrats caucus in Iowa, what this app --- developed by the state Party in secret --- is supposedly designed to do to assist in the otherwise-open Democratic caucus process, and the worries that some have about the possibility of this new app being hacked to report inaccurate caucus results on Monday night. (Misreporting of Caucus night results has caused problems in the past, at least for Republicans.)

Of far greater concern, however, is an election underway right now in the Seattle area where more than a million voters are eligible to cast their vote via the Internet for the first time on either a computer or smart phone. The first-of-its-kind online election will fill a vacancy on the board of the obscure King Conservation District, responsible for managing natural resources in King County, Washington. The online voting is being carried out in partnership between the County's Board of Elections and a nonprofit named Tusk Philanthropies, headed up by a venture capitalist and Democratic political strategist by the name of Bradley Tusk.

The landmark pilot election comes despite a years-long, nearly-unanimous consensus from cybsersecurity experts (we've interviewed tons of them over the years on The BradCast) that the Internet is nowhere near secure enough for public elections. It also comes in the wake of last Summer's bipartisan U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee's report finding all 50 states were targeted by Russia during the 2016 election, and the panel's recommendation that "States should resist pushes for online voting".

While she has no oversight of this particular election, Washington's top election official, Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a Republican, opposes the King County effort and hopes to roll back the use of electronic ballots in the state, charging (correctly!) that the Internet is "too risky for voting". Nonetheless, Tusk, King County Elections Director Julie Wise, and a Seattle company named Democracy Live are barreling ahead with this disturbing experiment that is set to further poison the all-too-quickly disappearing idea of publicly overseeable elections in the U.S.

You have been warned. Again.

Then, its back to impeachment today, at the end of Tuesday's brief, two-hour wrap up of the President's case in the Senate. Trump's attorneys argued largely that the President did nothing wrong, and even if he did, it's not impeachable, because the dispute boils down to little more than a "policy disagreement" between Democrats and the White House. Impeachment over such matters, Trump's bombastic TV/radio lawyer Jay Sekulow and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone argued, sets a dangerous precedent by lowering the bar on future Presidential impeachments.

But the biggest looming question over the U.S. Senate at the moment is whether four or more Republican Senators will agree to call for witnesses when they vote again on the matter later in the week, following two days of written questions for the attorneys on both side. The issue that has turned the Republicans' previous plans for a quick acquittal on its head is the reported bombshell claims by Trump's former National Security Advisor John Bolton, in the manuscript of his still-unpublished new book, that Trump did exactly what he is being accused of in the first of the two Articles of Impeachment. That Article charges Abuse of Power by Trump for withholding nearly $400 million in military assistance to Ukraine in order to force them to help Trump in his reelection bid by announcing an investigation of Joe Biden and other Democrats.

Bolton's explosive disclosure, first reported on Sunday night by the New York Times, has reverberated ever since, with Trump's former Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, asserting on Monday night that he believes Bolton and agrees he should be called in as a witness for the trial against his old boss. The shake-up also comes as a new national poll out on Tuesday afternoon from Quinnipiac finds that registered voters by an astounding margin of 75 to 20 percent, agree that witnesses should be allowed to testify. The tally includes nearly half of Republicans and an astonishing 75 percent of Independent voters. According to the new survey, more than half of those polled believe Trump "is not telling the truth about his actions involving Ukraine"; should "provide more details" about it; has "abused his power" in the matter; has "obstructed Congress" in the bargain; and that the "withholding of U.S. aid to Ukraine was not justified". All of which has left Republicans reeling in a panic to find the votes needed to block witnesses in the trial. But they're still trying, and will likely have until Friday to pull it off.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, filled with several ongoing plagues, catastrophes and warnings of nearly biblical proportion...

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

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