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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, October 2, 2014
4th Circuit Restores Some GOP Anti-Voting Restrictions
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Frank Schaeffer on 12/3/2009 1:56pm PT  

Guest blogged by Frank Schaeffer

Nothing illustrates the danger we face from our own Taliban better than the way American "Christians" are now tangled up with the homophobic --- now potentially gay murdering --- Ugandan Christian/political leadership.

The Ugandan Parliament is considering a bill that would impose the death penalty on gays. One American must be cheering from the grave. Here’s what the late R.J. Rushdoony, Reconstructionist theologian and founder of the modern movement of that name, wrote in a letter to gay rights activist Mel White: “God in His law requires the death penalty for homosexuals.”

Disclosure: Both Mel White and Rushdoony were friends of mine, back in the day I was a Religious Right leader and sidekick to my father – the late Francis Schaeffer – who is “credited” by many, including by Karen Armstrong and Max Blumenthal – with being a key father of the Religious Right...along with R.J. Rushdoony. I quit the movement over its hate for the “other” and got out by the late 80s and started writing novels like Portofino, aimed at the heart of the movement through humor at fundamentalist’s expense.

Back in the day before Mel came out he was working with me on one of my father’s movie/book projects. We both left our far right “faith.” Mel acknowledged that he was gay and I said I’d had it with hate. These days I propose an anti-right progressive Christianity in my book Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism)

That said... The problem of American exceptionalism combined with a theocracy in which the “we” of evangelical faith finally destroy the “they” (everyone else) is growing. Who do you think Fox News' rabid followers are? Who do you think calls Obama "Hitler" while using the tactics of fascism themselves?...

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

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They're ready to see her as President, though they're not sure why...
By Brad Friedman on 11/28/2009 9:25am PT  

Sarah Palin's tea baggers are ready to give the Presidency to her, even as they don't seem to have a clue what her policies actually are. Go figure. Kudos to Chase Whiteside and Erick Stoll of New Left Media for telling the story of these folks --- as we strongly encouraged others to do in our own not-dissimilar film, Rise of the Tea Bags --- at a Going Rogue book signing event recently in Columbus, OH, even if they're a bit less "confrontational" than we were...


And, again, if you missed it previously, here's our own Rise of the Tea Bags...

Part 1...
Part 2...

Keep telling the stories, folks!

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By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2009 2:45pm PT  

Remember when the wingnuts were so concerned (and therefore, naturally, the media were as well) about Barack Obama becoming "overexposed"? Why no such concern about that happening to Sarah Palin? I guess they just care about Obama more than her.

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Republican propaganda outlet uses Palin footage from 2008 campaign to illustrate 'huge crowds' for 2009 book tour...
By Brad Friedman on 11/19/2009 10:22am PT  


Just last week Sean Hannity of Fox "News" was forced to offer an apology of sorts for "inadvertently" using falsified footage to make a recent tea bagger protest look larger than it was. The admission came only after Comedy Central's The Daily Show called Fox out for the scam. Though Hannity suggested he was sorry for the "mistake" where two-month-old footage apparently edited itself into a report on a D.C. rally held earlier that day, nobody has been held accountable for what appears to have been a not-"inadvertent"-at-all attempt at deceiving viewers.

As we noted at the time, had Keith Olbermann done the same thing, we can only imagine the organized wingnut campaign that would still be howling for his firing, boycotts of MSNBC and GE, CBS/Dan Rather-styled witch-hunt "internal investigations," and more. But, since Hannity's a "conservative" Republican, it's okay, and no sense of accountability or personal responsibility is necessary for such folks.

Well, that's good, because yesterday Fox did it again when "news" reporter Gregg Jarrett noted that Sarah Palin is "continuing to draw huge crowds while she’s promoting her brand new book."

"Take a look at --- these are some of the pictures just coming in to us," Jarrett told viewers as they rolled footage of Palin speaking at campaign rallies from last year's 2008 Presidential race. (See video above right.)

Fox has since issued a statement calling it all "a production error" and promising "an on-air explanation" during Thursday's broadcast of Jarrett's ironically named Happening Now "news" program on which the footage aired yesterday. Chicago Tribune's "The Swamp" blog reports that "serious disciplinary action will be taken for those responsible."

Sure it will. And how about for that whole Hannity thing? "Serious disciplinary action" there as well? How about for these "errors"? Don't hold your breath.

(Related Note: On Monday, the UK Guardian ran my opinion piece on the propaganda outlet that is Fox "News" and the Obama Administration's correct and long-overdue decision to call them out as such. The article certainly brought out the tea baggers on both sides of the pond, bringing in some 261 comments in reply.)

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Frank Schaeffer on 'the new face of Lipstick Fascism'...
By Frank Schaeffer on 11/17/2009 3:11pm PT  

Guest blogged by Frank Schaeffer

Sarah Palin's memoir is a perfect metaphor for what ails America and the Republican Party. Her book is published by the Zondervan publishing house, formerly an evangelical family-run religious publishing powerhouse now owned by Rupert Murdoch. (Back in the day my family's and many evangelical leader friend's books helped put Zondervan on the map, this was when I was a young religious nut activist in the 70s). Palin's book was ghostwritten by the editor of the far, far loony right fundamentalist World magazine founded by Marvin Olasky (of which more in a moment). The book will get a big boost from ratings-seeking Oprah. Murdoch... Oprah... far right politics... The advance was paid out of the huge profits Murdoch made off Rick-stop-gays-prop-8-Warren's Purpose Driven Life.

The chief characteristic of Palin's book is her trashing of the old cautious and respectable William F. Buckley-style Republican Party in general and John McCain and his campaign in particular, an act of backstabbing right up there with the "Et tu Brute" assassination of Caesar. I should say it is actually the second characteristic, that comes a distant second to the building of a Sarah Palin cult of personality, wherein Jesus and Sarah will "take America back for God."

As a former Republican, religious right activist who saw the light, re-registered as an independent voter and then, in the last election cycle, worked hard to get then Senator Obama elected, and having been one of the instigators of what is now becoming the bomb-throwing wing of the former Republican Party --- now a far right fundamentalist cult --- I understand better than most that Palin's book is her bid to take over the Republican Party, something like Oprah's positioning herself as the doyen of publishing.

It's personality cult time, personality cult with an agenda. The agenda isn't about politics at all. This is about naked power. Welcome to the world of our home grown very own Evita Perón. Welcome to Act II of the American "Reconstructionist" movement to establish a theocracy. The theocrats now have their Joan of Arc...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/16/2009 10:56pm PT  

I wish more people had more things to say about Sarah Palin.

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By Frank Schaeffer on 11/4/2009 11:39am PT  

Guest Blogged by Frank Schaeffer

I grew up in a fundamentalist missionary family that in the 1970s and 80s morphed into my father's activity as one of the founders of the Religious Right. We would hobnob with Republican leaders from Ronald Reagan to Gerald Ford and the Bush family, Jack Kemp and many others. One day it dawned on me that the far right of the Republican Party --- in other words its base --- actually hates America.

The Religious Right reveled in rising crime statistics, "family breakdown" statistics, failing public schools and so forth. As I explain in my book Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism), if crime started going down, or public school test results started going up --- without the country "turning back to Jesus" --- then that would prove that somehow "we" were wrong.

We wanted our country to fail because it had "turned away" from what we believed to be true.

Combined with the fact that we began to lose parts of the culture war, when it came to other Americans beginning to recognize gay rights, expanding women's rights, abortion rights and such, the Religious Right and the Republican Party infected gun-toting America with a chip on its shoulder about a mile wide. This led to the myth that "they" (fill in the blank, gays, Jews, blacks, liberals --- whatever) are "taking away our country from 'us'"...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/20/2009 10:22am PT  

Who could have predicted the one man on the ballot with a weekly show on the Republican News Channel (RNC, nee: Fox "News" Channel) would win the 2012 Presidential straw poll at the 2009 (anti-American) Values Voter Summit this weekend?

(By the way, be sure to catch's Mike's latest not-ironic-at-all column at the Republican News Channel (RNC)'s website on the "The Death of Journalism"!)

No doubt the Republican News Channel (RNC), recently seen on video-tape "stage managing" the Teabagger protests they sponsored last week in D.C., is very proud. Though perhaps they missed an opportunity by not putting Glenn Beck into the poll? With a show five days a week on the RNC, and on your public radio airwaves --- unlike Huckabee, who's only seen on weekends (though he does do a short syndicated daily essay on your public airwaves in 500 radio markets) --- it's likely he would have been a shoo-in! Why waste all that valuable air time, Fox, when you could be using it to put your superstar in office?!

This weekend's summit in D.C., as in previous years, celebrated far-rightwing liberal interpretations of the Constitution and extremist judicial activism, such as the promotion of big government intrusion into the lives of American citizens, the "right" of that government to come between patients and their doctors, and other anti-American values such as ignoring the Rule of Law, and the Constitutional right to equal protection under the law for same sex couples who wish to be recognized by the government as married, just like their heterosexual counterparts.

The winners and losers, out of 597 votes cast in the straw poll, were reported to have been Huckabee with 28%, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney a distant second at 12%, followed by Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, with the celebrity community organizer and former Alaskan Governor who aborted her term earlier this year, Sarah Palin tying with Indiana's U.S. Rep. Mike Pence for fourth/fifth.

Congratulations to them all! You're all both winners and losers in our eyes!

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By Brad Friedman on 7/27/2009 1:14pm PT  

I was taking a few (merciful) hours off yesterday, so missed Ms. Palin's farewell, as she completed her first term gubernatorial abortion to become America's premiere celebrity community organizer. But if you, as I, missed her speech, AKMuckraker kindly provides the transcript (Immoral Minority offers the video, if you prefer it) reinforcing the old saw about the 'difference between George W. Bush and Sarah Palin: Lipstick'. Oh, and speech writers.

Much of her theme throughout the weekend's "word salad" speeches, was the old "support our troops" strawman. She repeated over and over, that our military protects our freedoms. It is, perhaps, futile to point out, yet again, that our Military does not protect our freedoms. Our Constitution does. Our Military is supposed to defend it. So are folks like Palin, Bush, Cheney, Obama etc. who swear an oath to do so, but too often end up doing just the opposite.

Suffice to say, Washington's Farewell Address --- which, as EarlyAmerica.com describes, extolled the benefits of the federal government; noted the necessity of taxation; warned against the party system, permanent foreign alliances and "overgrown military establishments, which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty" --- Palin's long "goodbye" was not.

Of the passages which jumped out at me for various, sometimes inexplicable, reasons:

  • "Together we stand."
  • "It is as throughout all Alaska that big wild good life teeming along the road that is north to the future."
  • "I remember on that December day, we took the oath to uphold our state constitution, and it was written right here in Fairbanks by very wise pioneers. We shared the vision for government that they ground in that document."
  • "[W]e have done our best to fulfill promises that I made on Alaska Day, 2005, when I first asked for the honor of serving you."
  • "Don’t forget Alaskans you are the resource owners per our constitution and that’s why for instance last year when oil prices soared and state coffers swelled, but you were smacked with high energy prices, we sent you the energy rebate. See, it’s your money and I’ve always believed that you know how to better spend it than government can spend it." (Ed Note: Why do Sarah Palin and the wingnuts applaud such socialism in Alaska, but nowhere else? Why does nobody in the media seem to point that out?)

So with another thanks to Mudflats (and sincerest apologies to our own Jeannie Dean), here are a few priceless photos for the scrapbook from Saturday's Governor's Picnic in Anchorage, one of the last stops on her Farewell-for-Now Tour...

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

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PLUS: Did Palin attorney defame an ethics complainant in recent statement?
By Brad Friedman on 7/22/2009 2:12pm PT  

[Update 7/24/09: I chatted about the issues in this article with noted Mudlflats blogger & Huffington Post contributor AK Muckraker --- an expert on all things Palin --- while Guest Hosting Thursday's Mike Malloy Show. Listen to the interview right here. Select Hour 3 audio archive. Interview begins about 10 minutes into the archive.]

A brief, two paragraph statement [PDF] by the private attorney of Alaska's very-soon-to-be-former Gov. Sarah Palin was posted on the governor's official public state website on Monday.

Attributed to "THOMAS VAN FLEIN --- Personal Attorney for Governor Palin," the statement posted to the Governor's officially run state website at www.gov.state.ak.us decries the latest ethics complaint filed against Palin --- alleging the improper disclosure of gifts and the receipt of free services --- as an abuse of the state Ethics Act.

That the official state website would be used to publicize the private response of Palin on Monday to another ethics charge is somewhat ironical, given Tuesday's leak of a preliminary independent report [PDF] from a state ethics commission investigator finding "probable cause" that Palin's "official" legal defense fund violated the Ethics Act in that it made use of her "official position for personal gain."

Citing Alaska Statute 39.52.120(a) which states that a "public officer may not use, or attempt to use, an official position for personal gain," the state's independent investigator, Thomas M. Daniel notes that "personal gain" is defined by law as "a benefit to a person's or immediate family member's personal interest or financial interest."

Does the use of the state's website to publicize Palin's personal attorney's response to an official ethics complaint constitute the use of "an official position for personal gain"? Was the complainant allowed to post her attorney's response to the complaint, or to Palin's personal response to it, on the official Alaska state website? Of course not.

Perhaps one more ethics complaint needs to be filed in Alaska before Palin quits her job as Governor this weekend.

We came across Monday's publicly posted private response via a Monday night tweet on Palin's personal Twitter page which linked to it:

Re more frivolous ethics allegations today; shame good law is being abused for politicking. See http://tinyurl.com/mrtwcv

7:23 PM Jul 20th from web

But, as still more irony would have it, Palin and/or her attorney may have also committed a legally actionable act of defamation in their response to the leak of yesterday's confidential "probable cause" finding....

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

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'Fair or unfair...You gotta plow through that. You have to know what you're gettin' into'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/10/2009 10:23am PT  


We hate to pile on, but we've been on the roll much of this week, and haven't had time to post this until today. But it's worth noting it here, if only for the historical record.

The soon-to-be Community Organizer, then Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, in March 2008, was critical of then Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's complaints about perceived unfair media bias against her. Here's what she had to say about it back then (video above right):

PALIN: Fair or unfair, I think she does herself a disservice to even mention it, really. I mean you gotta plow through that. You have to know what you're gettin' into, which --- I say this with all due respect to Hillary Clinton, and to her experience and to her passion for changing the status quo also --- but when I hear a statement like that, coming from a woman candidate, with any kind of perceived whine about that excess criticism, or maybe a sharper microscope put on her, I think 'Man, that doesn't do us any good'. Women in politics, women in general, wanting to progress this country, I don't think it bodes well for her, a statement like that.

Because, again, fair or unfair, it is there. I think that's reality. And I think it's a given. I think people can just accept that she is going to be under that sharper microscope. So be it. I mean, work harder. Prove yourself to an even greater degree that you're capable, that you're going to be the best candidate and that, of course, is what she wants us to believe at this point.

So, it bothers me a little bit hearing her bring that attention to herself on that level.

Palin seems to have had a change of heart since her video-taped apperance early last year criticizing Clinton for not sucking it up in the face of "fair or unfair" media scrutiny, since she is now "bring[ing] that attention to herself on that level" by "whin[ing] about that excess criticism, or maybe a sharper microscope put on her" by media, and even local bloggers, who she has now threatened with defamation lawsuits in a statement issued by her private attorney on the Fourth of July.

We don't think it bodes well for her, a statement like that, or for her passion for changing the status quo also.

[Hat-tip Paul Rosenberg at Open Left via BRAD BLOG commenter "Another Joe"]

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By Brad Friedman on 7/8/2009 8:51pm PT  

[Hat-tip, BRAD BLOG toon sherpa Pokey Anderson]

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Misleading 'FBI denial' also cited, as if friend's disbelief wasn't enough to dismiss any and all such speculation...
By Brad Friedman on 7/7/2009 5:03pm PT  

The once-great ABC News' Nightline decided on Monday night's show that they would take a look at the possible reasons for Sarah Palin's decision to cut and run from her first term as Alaska Governor. They promised to take a look at the leading theories, so as to help "separate fact from fiction."

How did they do it? First, they asked two of Palin's friends who both generally agreed she decided to abort the job largely because she was tired of it. Then, they presented five possible theories that have been floated.

"Those explanations from people who know Palin haven't been enough for Internet bloggers and conspiracy theorists," Nightline's Vicky Mabrey reads over screenshots of The BRAD BLOG, The Daily Beast, and others sites that reported on the possibility of a criminal investigation. "They've had a field day over the holiday weekend, speculating on a host of other theories why Palin would leave office"...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/7/2009 2:45pm PT  

Wayne Barret, the Village Voice reporter who wrote the original investigative report on questions surrounding the contracting of Sarah Palin's house on Lake Lucille and the concurrently contracted Wasilla Sports Complex, responds to the weekend legal threats issued by Palin's attorney Thomas Van Flein...

Sarah Palin attorney Thomas Van Flein spent his July 4 in Fairbanks, Alaska, issuing a four-page statement warning news organizations not to investigate allegations printed by the Voice last October.

Talk about waving a red flag in front of a bull.

Van Flein's famous client had announced her upcoming resignation as Alaska's governor the day before, and the attorney wanted everyone to know that Palin's sudden and unexpected withdrawal had nothing to do with our story, 'The Book of Sarah' [October 7, 2008] which, of course, made many wonder just the opposite.

Barret goes on to offer point-by-point rebuttal to Van Flein's legal jujitsu, which the Voice reporter says, "does not challenge a single fact actually presented in our story"...

Recently related at The BRAD BLOG...
7/3/09: Is Palin's Resignation Due to a Federal Investigation?
7/4/09: Palin Responds, Takes Offensive, Issues Legal Threats
7/5/09: AK Bloggers Push Back, Scoff at Outgoing Gov's Threats
7/6/09: Fox Discusses 'HouseGate'; Will Palin Sue Them?

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By Brad Friedman on 7/6/2009 4:11pm PT  

Will Palin now have to threaten a lawsuit against Fox "News" too?! Oh, the tangled webs...


By way of reminder, Palin's private attorney, Thomas Van Flein, had issued a legal threat on the 4th of July to those in the media (seemingly only the perceived left-leaning media) who discussed questions about the Palin's contracting of their house in Wasilla, and the Wasilla Sports Complex, both built while the state's soon-to-be-former Governor was mayor of the small Alaskan town.

"This is to provide notice to [Alaska blogger and radio host Shannyn] Moore, and those who re-publish the defamation, such as Huffington Post, MSNBC, the New York Times and The Washington Post, that the Palins will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law," Van Flein wrote for Palin over the weekend.

Of the outlets named above, only MSNBC had actually discussed the controversy (video here), during a telephone interview with Moore following her Huffington Post blog item referencing a potential "iceberg scandal," and the further details we followed up with on that here.

When asked why the other outlets, which hadn't reported on the matter, had been targetted as well in the statement,"Van Flein said he believed they were asking questions," according to the Anchorage Daily News. "What I've been informed is that they've been interviewing people in Wasilla about this, and have tried to interview the governor's parents about it," Palin's attorney told the paper.

For her part, Moore quickly shot back in her own defense, against the Van Flein/Palin legal threats, assailing the outgoing Governor as "a coward and a bully."

So does Fox "News" now need to lawyer up too?

[Via HuffPo, hat-tip BRAD BLOG commenter "IDontGetIt"]

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