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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, March 1, 2015
Inhofe's Argument Puts Climate Science on Ice
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 12/29/2009 5:19pm PT  

Add this to our post yesterday calling for a 'War on Lightning', since the chances of being a victim of same in any given year (1:500,000) are so much higher than being a victim of terrorism on an airplane in the last ten years (1:10,408,947).

And yet it's those nasty terrorists the cowardly wingnuts are afraid of. Lack of health insurance? Salmonella? Firearms? Not so much.

Blue Texan at firedoglake has more...

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By Brad Friedman on 12/28/2009 2:45pm PT  

Odds of being on an airplane attacked by a terrorist over the past decade, according to Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com: 1 in 10,408,947.

Odds of being hit by lightning in any single year: appx. 1 in 500,000.

Odds the U.S. will wage a War on Lightning: 0 in a Gazillion.

Odds we'll talk about all of the above tonight when I guest host The Mike Malloy Show: appx. 1 in 3 (if that high).

UPDATE: And furthermore, why no 'War on Salmonella'?

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By Ernest A. Canning on 12/28/2009 10:09am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"There is a basic weakness in governments, however massive their armies, however vast their wealth, however they control images and information, because their power depends on the obedience of citizens....When the citizens begin to suspect they have been deceived and withdraw their support, government loses its legitimacy and its power." - Howard Zinn, A Power Governments Cannot Suppress

With all that talk of "Peace on Earth," often spelled out in festive shopping mall lights over the Christmas weekend, it seems few actually mean it. But on the presumption that readers of The BRAD BLOG actually do, allow me to note that in my recent editorial, "Beyond Afghanistan", I argued that there is no legitimate basis for our continued presence in Afghanistan and that the currently planned escalation serves to perpetuate, in the words of Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), a "criminal enterprise."


While not yet approaching the level of critical mass resistance that will be required to bring our presence in the Afghan quagmire to an end, the "Rethink Afghanistan" petition (video in support thereof at right) calls upon Congress to vote against any bill to fund troop escalation in Afghanistan. It provides an initial step in what I had argued was the right direction. The petition is sponsored by Brave New Foundation, Credo Mobile and True Majority. It was read into the Congressional Record recently by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL).

The petition bears the names of more than 100,000 citizens. Perhaps if that number swells to 100 million, members of Congress will take seriously the fundamental truth it bears, though those who support the petition would do well to address the difficult questions as to "how" we could safely withdraw our forces in an expeditious fashion through such means as a negotiated ceasefire with the Taliban pending an orderly withdrawal.

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By Brad Friedman on 12/26/2009 7:30pm PT  

To help discourage terrorism, let's give as much attention as possible to the Detroit plane bomber. Wall-to-wall coverage on Fox should teach those terrorists a thing or two. Let's put his face on the cover of TIME and Newsweek while we're at it. I'm sure it's the last thing he'd want.

UPDATE 6:12pm PT: Was trying to enjoy the rare luxury of few down hours to watch Sherlock Holmes with family here in Dallas (where I'll be guest hosting the Mike Malloy Show this week from Mike's local affiliate AM 1360 Rational Radio) when my iPhone alerts start buzzing. It's another TERRORIST ATTACK! SAME FLIGHT FROM AMSTERDAMN TO DETROIT! ANOTHER NIGERIAN! LOCKS HIMSELF IN BATHROOM!!! ... Of course, as you likely know by now, it was a Nigerian businessman whose "strange behavior" was walking back and forth to the bathroom.

Here is what I was forced to re-tweet from the movie theater...

TheBradBlog | Explosive diarrhea! Run! RT @msnbc BREAKING: Disruptive passenger on board today's flight may have had stomach problems http://bit.ly/3ieuwr

Seriously, people. Can we get a grip? For more "explosive" news like the above (such as this re-tweet of Dave Roberts from Grist on the same topic, or this from Josh Marshall and this from Glenn Greenwald, both re-tweeted prior to the later afternoon Fox Fear Fest) which I may have neither the time nor inclination to bring you here on The BRAD BLOG, be sure to follow our Twitter feed. It's elementary, dear reader.

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Constitutional Attorney: Obama 'effectively gutting major part of Nuremberg' on behalf of Bush torture attorney, John Yoo...
By Brad Friedman on 12/10/2009 1:14pm PT  

Via RAW STORY...

The Obama administration has asked the Department of Justice to dismiss a lawsuit brought by convicted terrorist Jose Padilla against torture memo author John Yoo, asserting that Yoo cannot be sued for legal opinions he offered in the course of advising then-President Bush on national security matters.

Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley finds ths decision inexplicable. "The president literally has gotten onto a plane this evening to go to Norway," he told MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Wednesday, "to accept the Nobel Prize, while his Justice Department is effectively gutting a major part of Nuremberg."

"The Obama administration is arguing not only that they shouldn't be prosecuted," Turley emphasized, "but it's now saying that you shouldn't even be able to sue them civilly. ... It's an international disgrace."

Turley pointed out that several legal advisors to Germany's Ministry of Justice were convicted during the Nuremberg trials held after World War II for providing the legal advice that justified Nazi war crimes. Now the Obama administration, in its desire to uphold executive privilege at any cost, is willing to toss that principle aside.
...
"The Justice Department's prosecuted lawyers who give advice to mobsters," Turley concluded, "but apparently if you give advice to advance a war crime, that's just 'full and frank advice.'"

RAW STORY has the video of the complete interview with Turley from last night's Countdown.

Velvet Revolution's DisbarTortureLawyers.com campaign is right here. Please sign on to join the call for accountability and disbarment of the many attorneys who violated the Rule of Law and the U.S. Constitution by justifying illegal torture through twisted and factually unsound "legal findings," and the conspiracy to carry out that torture during the Bush Administration. [The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder of VelvetRevolution.us]

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Applying the Lessons of 'Beyond Vietnam'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/7/2009 1:34pm PT  

Guest essay by Ernest A. Canning

"Somehow this madness must cease."
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "Beyond Vietnam" April 4, 1967.

On Jan. 18, 2010 our nation will observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, commemorating the extraordinary life of an intellectual and moral giant. The corporate media will fill the airwaves with excerpts of his uplifting August 28, 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech in which Dr. King called upon us to judge one another by the content of our character and not by the color of our skin. And, during that same holiday, the corporate media can be counted upon to ignore his April 4, 1967 "Beyond Vietnam" speech just as they have every year since the first Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 1986.

Why? Because the egalitarian principles enunciated in "I Have a Dream" challenged only the now (largely) defunct Jim Crow regime.

While de facto, race-based economic inequality stubbornly remains as a vestige of slavery and Jim Crow, the elimination of de jure segregation posed no threat to the stark economic inequality created by an increasingly brutal form of U.S. capitalism and imperialism. It was the brutal reality of corporate Empire which led Dr. King, in "Beyond Vietnam," to describe his own government as "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today" --- a point which exposes the hypocrisy in that same government's celebration of the life of a man singularly devoted to non-violence.

If you have not read "Beyond Vietnam" in its entirety, you should. If you have, you should read it again, for Dr. King's message is as applicable today as it was then.

Particularly, as we deconstruct the empty words used by our Harvard-educated President to justify an escalation of what Robert Scheer aptly describes as a "War of Absurdity," and as we look "Beyond Afghanistan"...

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

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(In his own mind, email and that of the Muslim-fearing cowards and dupes sharing his story as if it actually happened)
By Brad Friedman on 12/5/2009 12:20pm PT  

[12/7/09: Updated again at bottom of article. Petruna standing by story. Sort of... & Now again on 12/8/09 as other passengers on flight say Petruna "living in a fantasy world".]

More evidence --- rather hilarious, or sad, depending on how you choose to look at it --- that rightwing Muslim-fearing Fox "News"-addled cowards live in an alternate-reality fantasy world entirely of their own making. In this case, quite literally.

First read the email frantically circulating around wingnut sites, according to Josh Marshall at TPM, including Glenn Beck's 9/12 Project site, as if it were fully based on reality.

Then read the airline's detailed account of what really happened, wholly debunking the email of Tedd Petruna, the "heroic" passenger from Texas, and his account of single-handedly saving a plane full of good Americans from 11 Muslim terrorists on an Airtran flight in Atlanta as it prepared for takeoff to the Houston-Hobby airport.

Your appetizer: Mr. Petruna, the courageous Texan who authored the email describing his own heroics, wasn't even on the plane that he claims to have personally saved from the evil Muslim terrorist hijackers, and the plane was never canceled at all, having continued to the Houston-Hobby airport as scheduled.

As we've been highlighting for some time now here at The BRAD BLOG --- our Rise of the Tea Bags video paints such a picture, and Frank Schaeffer has done a fine job illustrating it as well, most recently here and here) --- we really do now, officially, live in two different Americas. One actual America, with all its flaws, failures, and frustrations, and another world completely existing only in the minds and self-produced group hallucinations of wingnut media-addled fantasists, fear-mongers, and phonies. How that changes at any time in the near future is a question to be answered by someone well above our pay grade.

UPDATE: A bit more info for ya...

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

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By Frank Schaeffer on 11/29/2009 12:07pm PT  

Guest blogged by Frank Schaeffer

Op-Ed Columnist Thomas Friedman's editorial in today's New York Times , "America vs. The Narrative", sparked this thought:

If the Islamic world has a fantasy "narrative" about America and our intentions, don't we ourselves --- those within the American religious right --- have a similarly misinformed "narrative"?

Here's my thought experiment: Read Friedman's original, posted below for your convenience, then read my Americanized version which follows. All I've done is change a few names and issues and you'll get the point.

We have our own religious/political myths and they are no less dangerous...

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

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The questions still NOT being asked by the media...
By David Swanson on 11/18/2009 7:35am PT  

Guest blogged by David Swanson

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and the corporate "mainstream" media make quite a pair. We're hearing a very "balanced" debate over whether KSM should be tried in New York City, and whether the most insane objections to that proposal are really insane or not. But what are we not hearing?

We're not hearing that trying criminals for the crime of 9/11 ought to have been what we did years ago, rather than waging wars in response to a crime. We're not discussing the possibility that had alleged 9/11 criminals been tried years ago rather than being imprisoned and tortured together with hundreds of innocents depicted as subhuman monsters, the "war on terror" might have been replaced with simply the wars on Iraqis and Afghans and Pakistanis. What effect might that have had on Americans' willingness to surrender their Bill of Rights? We aren't hearing about that.

And that's only the tip of the iceberg about what we're not hearing...

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

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Rep. Nadler on Fox, Sen. Whitehouse on MSNBC agree, no legal choice but to investigate torture allegations, wherever they may lead...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/4/2009 1:40pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Former U.S. Attorney and Rhode Island Attorney General Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) recently wrote in National Law Journal:

The judicial branch...has determined that waterboarding is torture...The Bush administration has admitted to waterboarding captives. The corpus delicti of that crime exists. For there to be investigation now is unexceptional.

The only exceptional thing is the parties involved: the former vice president of the United States, his counsel David Addington, Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) lawyer John Yoo and their private contractors Bruce Jessen and Jim Mitchell, psychologists who designed the torture program.

During a Sept. 2, 2009 segment of MSNBC's Countdown, Keith Olbermann interviewed Whitehouse about his National Law Journal piece (video below) and quoted former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who praised Attorney General Eric Holder's appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate CIA employees who exceeded the guidelines contained in the infamous Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) torture memos.

Olbermann's interview included a Fox "News" segment in which Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) was cut-off by a Fox anchor while making the following crucial point...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/27/2009 9:43am PT  

Collect and trade 'em all!

[Hat-tip Jeremy Scahill]

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By Brad Friedman on 8/26/2009 1:43pm PT  

In an update to his story detailing some of the most disturbing revelations about illegal and unconstitutional methods of torture used by our own government, in our own name, as revealed in the less-redacted 2004 CIA Inspector General's report [PDF] released on Monday, Glenn Greenwald replies to those who'd written in support of such illegal behavior as follows [emphasis his]...

To those blithely dismissing all of this as things that don't seem particularly bothersome, I'd say two things:

(1) The fact that we are not really bothered any more by taking helpless detainees in our custody and (a) threatening to blow their brains out, torture them with drills, rape their mothers, and murder their children; (b) choking them until they pass out; (c) pouring water down their throats to drown them; (d) hanging them by their arms until their shoulders are dislocated; (e) blowing smoke in their face until they vomit; (f) putting them in diapers, dousing them with cold water, and leaving them on a concrete floor to induce hypothermia; and (g) beating them with the butt of a rifle --- all things that we have always condemend as "torture" and which our laws explicitly criminalize as felonies ("torture means. . . the threat of imminent death; or the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering . . .") --- reveals better than all the words in the world could how degraded, barbaric and depraved a society becomes when it lifts the taboo on torturing captives.

(2) As I wrote rather clearly, numerous detainees died in U.S. custody, often as a direct result of our "interrogation methods."  Those who doubt that can read the details here and here.  Those claiming there was no physical harm are simply lying --- death qualifies as "physical harm" --- and those who oppose prosecutions are advocating that the people responsible literally be allowed to get away with murder.

Moreover, yesterday Greenwald took on Rep. Peter King (R-NY)'s outrageous and ignorant defense of torture and of breaking the law and disregarding the U.S. Constitution, along with the other pretend Thomas Paines out there (such as Glenn Beck), who appear to have absolutely no understanding or interest in the either the Rule of Law, the Constitution, or just how far afield they are from the actual words of Paine himself.

It's a must-read, though mostly for folks like Beck and King who likely won't be bothered by information that specifically undermines their own warped, twisted, sick, anti-American worldview.

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Call for 'broad mandate to investigate abuses...policymakers and lawyers...without predetermination of where it may lead'
Update: Holder announcement said little more than a 'review' based on the shameful 'Abu Ghraib' model...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2009 2:07pm PT  

[8/26/09: Updated at bottom of article.]

After many weeks of speculation, and embarrasingly bad media coverage, Attorney General Eric Holder has finally named a Special Prosecutor to probe the use of torture by the Bush/Cheney Administration. The announcement comes on the same day that a redacted version of a 2004 Inspector General's report [PDF] on the CIA's use of torture was also released. RAW STORY has a good backgrounder on the announcement.

The prosecutor, John Durham, a career DoJ attorney from Connecticut, has already been investigating the CIA's destruction of torture video tapes, and has been described by AP as "one of the nation’s most relentless prosecutors."

The IG's 122-page report details the beating and death of detainees, threats of violence, death and sexual assault to their family members, and other techniques used by U.S. government interrogators that were "inconsistent with the public policy positions that the U.S. has taken regarding human rights."

Shortly after the announcement today, U.S. House Judiciary chair John Conyers (D-MI) and subcommittee chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) released a statement applauding the appointment of the Special Prosecutor and calling for a 'broad mandate' to prosecute not just 'frontline personnel,' but also the 'policymakers and lawyers' who created the "conditions where such absues were all but inevitable to occur."

"Seeking out only the low-level actors in a conspiracy to torture detainees will bring neither justice nor restored standing to our nation," says Nadler in the statement (posted in full below)...

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

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The extent to which 21st Century American culture is imbued by anti-Arab racism
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/21/2009 4:02am PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Shortly after my original piece, “Hate Speech and the Process of Dehumanization,” I received a form of constructive criticism. A friend suggested that while I provided a coherent explanation of Prof. Zimbardo’s basic concepts regarding the process of dehumanization as it relates Nazi atrocities and the Jim Crow South, my application of Zimbardo to the more contemporary question of Muslims and Arabs failed to do justice to Prof. Shaheen’s academic study of American films.

While the criticism is valid, that certainly had not been my intent.

The problem entails issues of length in the blog format --- the risk that length will reduce the size of the audience one hopes to educate.

For those who feel they’ve read enough, please stop here.

For everyone else, there is Prof. Shaheen’s Oct. 19, 2007 appearance on Democracy Now, and the following….

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

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Still fail to discuss Scahill bombshell
Official source idiocy reigns...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/20/2009 11:23am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

On Aug. 20, 2009 The New York Times published a front-page article:

[Emphasis added]The Central Intelligence Agency in 2004 hired outside contractors from the private security contractor Blackwater USA as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate top operatives of Al Qaeda, according to current and former government officials.

A substantially similar article appeared in the Washington Post and in the Los Angeles Times.

The New York Times article provided limited background information on Blackwater aka Xe, referencing what amounted to a massacre of 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians gunned down by Blackwater mercenaries in Nisoor Square as simply an instance in which Blackwater had been "accused of using excessive force."

In "Blackwater = Murder, Inc." I covered the explosive allegations made in sworn statements by two former Blackwater employees --- murder, weapons smuggling, corruption, and the use of child prostitutes. I argued:

The failure of the bulk of the corporate press to responsibly cover this explosive story is manifestly irresponsible. The ramifications of permitting a President to create a private, unaccountable army of mercenaries --- one which was permitted to have a heavily armed presence inside a U.S. city, a presence that took precedence over saving the lives of Katrina victims --- are truly frightening.

Now, that same corporate press learned from "official sources" that Blackwater is linked to former Vice President Richard B Cheney's "assassination wing." It repeats, without challenge, the official source contention that the only ones targeted by the "assassination wing" were senior al Qaeda officials --- this despite Jeremy Scahill's and Keith Olbermann's revelation that John Doe 2, reportedly a former member of Blackwater's management, alleged:

Mr. Prince views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe.

These articles reveal as much about the sorry state of mainstream media journalism as they do about Blackwater...

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

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