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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 4/14/2010 2:38pm PT  

House Judiciary Chair Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has just issued a statement [posted in full below] calling on the FBI to fire those who broke the law by issuing improper letters from the FBI in order to receive access to thousands of Americans' phone records from 2003 through 2006 under the guise of "national security."

"I call upon FBI Director Mueller to take immediate action to punish those who violated the rules," Conyers says in the statement, "including firing them from the agency."

"Today's hearing showed that the FBI broke the law on telephone records privacy and the General Counsel's Office, headed by Valerie Caproni, sanctioned it and must face consequences," said Conyers. "In some cases agents sent letters with information known to be false."

His statement even quotes the former Republican chair of the Committee, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), sharing the sentiment:

'I'm extremely disappointed that every time Congress has tried to plug potential civil rights and civil liberties violations in our counterterrorism activities, the FBI seems to have figured out a way to get around it.

In a related matter, late last month a federal judge found the Bush Administration's warrantless domestic wiretapping program to be illegal. So this would be the second time in several weeks where the former administration was found to have violated the law and the U.S. Constitution in order to spy inappropriately and illegally on American citizens.

Will those Tea Baggers who claim to believe in the Constitution and the Rule of Law join the call for accountability yet? (Careful: It's a trick question, Tea Baggers, since the accountability would include members of the Bush Administration, and we realize your calls for "accountability" only go so far. On the other hand, if it's okay for Bush to have done it, we'll presume you don't mind if Obama spies on you either.)

Conyers' complete statement, issued late this afternoon, follows below...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/14/2010 11:08am PT  

Our old friend, the disgraced and disgraceful ACORN "Pimp" Hoax con-man Andrew Breitbart, is up to the same old tricks, according to AP. But this time they don't seem to be going as well for him.

In a deceptive effort to prove that Tea Baggers did not yell racial epithets at Democratic lawmakers during demonstrations against health insurance reform last month, Breitbart posted "VIDEO PROOF" from a different moment during those protests, the news service has found.

We're shocked he'd try to pull off such a scam. Even more shocked CNN hasn't hired him as a contract player yet.

Could the media finally be catching on to Breitbart's scams now that he's been caught lying time and again?

Now, as to the use of the phrase, "ACORN workers counseling actors posing as a pimp and prostitute," in the article by AP's Jesse Washington...um, really? Still? Even the New York Times has backed off of that one. Hasn't the AP bothered to read the CA Attorney General's report, much less any of our own coverage, on that point?

Glad to see AP holding Breitbart accountable for his bullshit, finally, but it's time for them to knock off their own lazy coverage, and start issuing corrections and apologies for their own months of misreporting on the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax.

AP's email address for corrections is: Info@AP.org. We've already sent such a request ourselves, but haven't heard back. Perhaps it will help, as it did at the New York Times, if they hear from a lot of readers.

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UPDATED with the audio of my interview with co-founder Evans from Friday night's 'Mike Malloy Show'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/9/2010 2:33pm PT  

I just spoke with CODE PINK co-founder Jodie Evans who tried again --- as she did last month in Los Angeles --- to file a citizen's arrest against Karl Rove. This time Rove, whom she accuses of war crimes, was at a Barnes & Noble book signing event in Las Vegas. Last time, Rove was forced to cancel his plans to sign books after his speech in L.A.

Evans writes to say that she and several others from CODE PINK, including an army vet who is a member of Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), attempted to hand-cuff Rove at the table where he was signing copies of his new book, while unfurling a "Rove is a War Criminal" banner.

"We get to the table, he looks up to take my book and jumps back against the book shelves," Evans says. He then points to three security guards and says "it's her," before the guards "pile in," according to her account.

One member of the team then takes out the banner --- which had been hidden in her skirt, since purses were confiscated before citizens were allowed in line --- "while I pull out the handcuffs and try to reach for him and then pull the arrest complaint out of the book, trying to argue that he needs to be arrested and I have a right to be there. They argue private property and lead us out."

She went to add that he was "standing freaked against the books" before he was then handed the next book to sign "as we are ushered out. We were physically pushed out the door with our unsigned book."

"The women behind us tell us we are 'rude,' to which I answer not as rude as Rove who has killed over 4,000 of our US Soldiers and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi," writes Evans.

She indicates there may be video available of the event later. We'll try to update this item with it, if so. [Update: A bit of video from the encounter is now posted at the bottom of this item.]

Evans and the "Pink Tank" crew will be protesting Rove again tonight at the Performing Arts Center at UNLV where he is scheduled to speak.

She'll also be joining me on the Mike Malloy Show, which I am guest hosting again tonight from 6p-9p PT (9p-Mid ET), just before the event begins. So please tune in! We'll have live listening links posted here before show time, or see Malloy's site above.

CNN's video report of Evans' attempt to arrest Rove last month --- during which Rove ironically (in more ways than we have the time to point out right now) declared "with all due respect, this goes to show the totalitarianism of the Left. They don't believe in dialogue. They don't believe in courtesy. They don't believe in First Amendment rights for anybody but themselves" --- is reposted below...

* * *

UPDATE 4/10/10: Here's my interview with Evans from last night's Mike Malloy Show [appx 17 mins]...
Download MP3 or listen online here...

The CNN video from Evans' previous arrest attempt follows below...

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

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The corporate threat to both our health and our liberties...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/4/2010 10:05am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"You've got a small number of multinational corporations that control the entire food system from seed to the supermarket. This isn't just about what we're allowed to eat. This is about what we're allowed to say; what we're allowed to know. It's not just our health at risk...They have managed to make it against the law to criticize their products. There is an effort to make it illegal to publish a photo of any industrial food operation." - Food, Inc. narration.

We hear it constantly from Republicans; an ideological mantra to the effect that government, especially government programs that would place the interests of public health, safety, and equality above the profits and power of those who already have too much of both, threatens our liberties.

Perhaps in a manner even more successful than Michael Moore's very powerful presentations in Sicko! and in Capitalism: A Love Story, Robert Kenner and Eric Schlosser, in their Academy Award nominated documentary feature Food, Inc. (trailer posted at end of article), expose the lie behind the myth that so-called "free markets" make us free....

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

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Rejects DoJ attempt to invoke so-called 'State Secrets Privilege'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/31/2010 7:34pm PT  

What a shock...

WASHINGTON — A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the National Security Agency’s program of surveillance without warrants was illegal, rejecting the Obama administration’s effort to keep shrouded in secrecy one of the most disputed counterterrorism policies of former President George W. Bush.
...
The ruling delivered a blow to the Bush administration’s claims that its surveillance program, which Mr. Bush secretly authorized shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was lawful. Under the program, the National Security Agency monitored Americans’ international e-mail messages and phone calls without court approval, even though the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, required warrants.
...
[Plaintiff's attorney] Jon Eisenberg, said Judge Walker’s ruling was an “implicit repudiation of the Bush-Cheney theory of executive power.”

“Judge Walker is saying that FISA and federal statutes like it are not optional,” Mr. Eisenberg said. “The president, just like any other citizen of the United States, is bound by the law. Obeying Congressional legislation shouldn’t be optional with the president of the U.S.”
...
The ruling is the second time a federal judge has declared the program of wiretapping without warrants to be illegal.
...
But Judge [Vaughn R.] Walker limited liability in the case to the government as an institution, rejecting the lawsuit’s effort to hold Robert S. Mueller III, the F.B.I. director, personally liable.

So, it was illegal, as long argued. Yet nobody will go to jail for it, naturally, because Presidents, particularly George W. Bush, and their men, though theoretically "bound by the law," as Eisenberg says, are still above the law, apparently.

For you Tea Baggers: The comment section below is open so that you can let us hear your arguments as to why you believe that Barack Obama should be allowed to violate the law and the Constitution in order to read your emails and listen to your phone calls, at any time, and for whatever reason he chooses, without ever receiving court approval, the way you used to argue that Bush was allowed to do.

For you non-Tea Baggers in the reality-based world: We'll note here that the Judge in this case also, thankfully, rejected the DoJ's attempt to invoke the so-called "State Secrets Privilege" as "first asserted by the Bush administration and continued under President Obama."

The SSP is what the Bush Administration had twice used to gag FBI whistelblower Sibel Edmonds for so many years, successfully ensuring that her case would never see the light of day in a court of law, despite her appealing the Administration's use of the draconian and (previously) rarely-invoked "privilege" all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Can we assume then that the "State Secrets" the Bush Administration was hoping to keep from seeing the light of day in the Edmonds case were even more of a national security threat than exposing the fact that the Government was spying, illegally, on anybody in this country that they wanted to?

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Mixing it up with, and calling out the mainstream media...
By Brad Friedman on 3/26/2010 2:10pm PT  

I had the pleasure to appear on San Francisco public radio's "Friday Media Roundtable" on their Your Call program today (heard on KALW in San Francisco and KUSP in Santa Cruz).

Along with the NYT's massive ACORN "Pimp" Hoax fail, we also discussed and critiqued media coverage of healthcare insurance reform, the latest in the U.S./Israel diplomacy theatrics, and even a bit on the guilty verdict for Kentucky election officials yesterday. Joining me on today's panel, along with host Sandip Roy, were Alex Wayne of Congressional Quarterly and Sherine Tadros of Al Jazeera English.

The audio is posted below, and I believe it's well-worth giving a listen to --- particularly in regard the direct disagreement that Wayne and I got into over the media's failure (as I see it, though he didn't), to have covered the substance of healthcare insurance legislation, while devoting an inordinate amount of coverage to the politics of that debate instead.

(Continue reading below for more on that, more on how the NYT's Public Editor Clark Hoyt illustrated the very crux of the media's failure on so many stories of importance to the public, and for the audio of the show itself)...

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

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Post-health care reform will the Right's gloves really come off? And has the GOP made a horrible political miscalculation?...
By Frank Schaeffer on 3/25/2010 3:20pm PT  

Guest Editorial by Frank Schaeffer

With the Senate having now passed the final reconciliation changes to the health care reform bill, the Republicans from their "Tea Party" wing to their high priest of hallucinatory fantasy; Glenn Beck, are about to pay a historic price for the biggest miscalculation in American political history since Charles Lindbergh sided with the Germans. The pundits all have it wrong. Obama's victory on health care reform will result in the Democratic Party retaining the majority in both houses of Congress as well as Obama winning a second term.

Disclosure: As a former Republican and Religious Right leader who quit the movement in the mid 80s (for reasons I explain in my book Crazy For God) let me tell my progressive friends and all reality-based people why and how the Republican Party just consigned themselves to defeat by (amongst other things) opposing health care reform...

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

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Assassination threat issued; Windows smashed at Democratic Congressional offices in five states, so far
Since report, direct threat apparently acted upon against VA Rep...
By Brad Friedman on 3/24/2010 2:32pm PT  

This is an exceedingly disturbing report from last night's Rachel Maddow Show on the rising wave of terrorism by Rightwing extremists --- now known as the Republican Party --- in the wake of the passage of healthcare insurance reform.

I've long warned, and stand by the disturbing prediction again today, that someone will end up dead before this is all over. Where, oh, where, are the responsible GOP leaders who ought to be denouncing what's going on here loudly and clearly?

It's somewhat remarkable that Maddow never uses the word "terrorism" in this report, despite this meeting the very definition of the word. (Ed note: Please see correction on this point below.)


Since Maddow's report last night, things have only gotten reportedly worse. In VA, according to Politico, a tea bagger has posted what he thought was the home address of Democratic Rep. Thomas Perriello, inviting others to "drop by" and lend a "personal touch" to their opinions on the freshman Congressman's vote on health insurance reform. The address, however, turned out to be that of his brother who has a wife and four children under the age of eight.

Officials are now investigating a severed gas line at his brother's home.

Watch Maddow's report. This story ought to be the lead of every broadcast media outlet right now (and it certainly would have seen wall-to-wall coverage on Fox "News" had these been Republican offices vandalized by domestic Democratic-leaning terrorists.)

Also, please consider signing on to Velvet Revolution's StopDomesticTerror.com campaign before it's too late again. [Disclosure: The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder of VR. Hat-tip: BRAD BLOG reader "PS".]

* * *

CORRECTION 3/26/10: Not sure how I missed it --- must have been jotting down a note at the moment she mentioned it --- but in fact, Maddow did note that some of these acts sound very much as if they are "close to the legal definition of terrorism in this country." She did so at appx. the 8:30min mark in the video above. My apologies for the oversight, and my thanks to BRAD BLOG commenter Lora for pointing it out.

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UPDATE: Rightwing thinktank fires Frum following column...
By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2010 12:31pm PT  

And the far-too-rarely bestowed BRAD BLOG "Intellectually Honest Conservative Award" goes today to David Frum, former speech writer for George W. Bush, for his article last night on "Waterloo". Here are a few money quotes:

Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.
...
This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none.
...
We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.
...
So today’s defeat for free-market economics and Republican values is a huge win for the conservative entertainment industry. Their listeners and viewers will now be even more enraged, even more frustrated, even more disappointed in everybody except the responsibility-free talkers on television and radio. For them, it’s mission accomplished. For the cause they purport to represent, it’s Waterloo all right: ours.

UPDATE 3/26/10: Frum is fired by rightwing American Enterprise Institute, where he's been employed since 2003, after having the temerity to pen the above. Guess the Right isn't into that whole "liberty" and "free speech" thing as much as they pretend to be. Who knew? Details...

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The fight for a real public option continues...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/17/2010 5:44pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Substantively, not much has changed since we analyzed the Senate version of the health care bill in "'Reform' or Legislative Obscenity?"

We noted then:

The Baucus bill is a "legislative obscenity that Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) and a former vice president of WellPoint spent months preparing --- an insurance carrier wish-list that contains no public option, no means for controlling costs or abuse; a measure that does not merely protect but expands the already obscene wealth of the few by mandating that every citizen purchase insurance, with massive subsidies flowing into carrier coffers."

Yet Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), an original co-sponsor of H.R. 676 "Medicare for All," and a consistent critic of the pending obscenity masquerading as "reform" because it would serve to institutionalize the privatization of our health care, has now publicly declared that he will vote for the bill as presently drafted while continuing the fight for a rational, public health care system.

Meanwhile, Alan Grayson (D-FL), with 50 co-sponsors, has introduced "The Public Option Act," a bill which would provide all citizens with the option to buy into Medicare, though he, too, will vote for the Senate version of the health care bill...

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

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Judgment Grants ACORN Declaratory, Permanent Injunctive Relief
Slams Congress for acting without administrative process or trial...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/10/2010 9:30pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"The government has offered no...unique reason to treat ACORN differently from other contractors accused of serious misconduct or to bar ACORN from federal funding without either a judicial trial or an administrative process applicable to all government contractors."

That was the finding in the judgment [PDF] issued late today by U.S. District Court Judge Nina Gershon, granting both declaratory relief and a permanent injunction to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

The court declared that the provisions of the "FY 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act," an amalgam of six separate bills which President Barack Obama signed into law on Dec. 16, 2009, which sought to strip ACORN of their right to enter future contracts with the U.S. government and to deprive them of all federal funding, save what had already been earned on existing contracts, amounted to an unconstitutional Bill of Attainder in violation of Article I, Section 9 of the United States Constitution.

Gershon's decision comes on the heels of a recent string of legal and public relations exhonerations for the community group which has long been targeted by the GOP, in large part, for their successful work in legally registering hundreds of thousands of low- and middle-income voters who tend to favor Democratic candidates...

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

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Spate of Anti-Choice Laws Put Pregnant Women in Legal Jeopardy...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/8/2010 1:16pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

The March 3, 2010 segment of Democracy Now is so shocking that it is best seen. In Utah, lawmakers have approved a measure that could potentially expose a pregnant woman to murder charges if she is stuck in an abusive relationship, is beaten and miscarries. When one of two twins is a still birth, the mother is charged with murder because she refused a C-section. In Iowa, a woman is arrested when she miscarries after a fall down the stairs.

All this amongst efforts by the health insurance cartel to treat spousal abuse as a pre-existing condition.

Perhaps we should post signs: Warning: Pregnancy will place you in legal jeopardy.

UPDATE, 3/10/10: Democracy Now reported that Utah's Republican Governor Gary Herbert signed the anti-choice measure into law. "The...bill would allow women to be charged with murder if they commit 'an intentional or knowing act' that causes a miscarriage. The bill initially included language that would have also punished women for 'reckless' acts. But despite the revision, critics still say the measure could target women for all kinds of actions, including staying with an abusive partner."

* * *

The 01/04/10 Democracy Now! segment, Utah Abortion Bill Could Punish Women for Miscarriages, Domestic Violence follows below...

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Also, Maxim's feature on Death of Mike Connell also online...
By Brad Friedman on 2/27/2010 1:02pm PT  

[Ed note: This blog item was originally published on 2/6/2010. I'm re-dating it to today, to let you know that my full Hustler article, sans graphics, has now been posted online at the LarryFlynt.com site.. Edmonds has now named names, but the media won't investigate. Why would that be? I look at the possibilities in my article. --- As well, the Mike Connell feature story in February's Maxim, mentioned below, is also now posted online. -BF]

You're welcome. My 2000+ word article on former FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds is now featured in the March 2010 edition of Hustler. Sorry, she's wearing all her clothes. Go buy it anyway.

The article brings the story of Edmonds, who was twice-gagged by the Bush Administration's outrageous use/abuse of the "States Secrets Privilege," fully up to date following her naming of names, finally, under oath, in remarkable testimony last summer. (Some of those names: Hastert, Burton, Blunt, Lantos, Schakowsky, Wolfowitz, Perle, Grossman, etc.)

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

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By Brad Friedman on 2/22/2010 12:08pm PT  

My promise to "Tea Partiers" (the phony ones, not the real Ron Paul ones who were legitimately Tea Partying long before you Tea Baggers even began to completely misunderstand what the Boston Tea Party was about):

When you start calling for accountability for those in the Bush/Cheney Torture Operation who directly and indirectly violated both the U.S. Constitution and the Rule of Law, I'll start taking you and your claims about defending the Constitution seriously.

Until then, you are phony patriots and easily-played partisan stooges, who don't give a damn about our Constitution and the values that this country actually stands for.

* * *

A few reminders --- among many more --- about the real Tea Parties, and the man who inspired them, while being utterly marginalized by the GOP --- and who, ironically enough, was the runaway winner of this weekend's CPAC straw poll for the GOP's 2012 Presidential nomination --- are below for those clueless Tea Bagging pretenders referenced above...

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

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Opening 'Tea Party Nation' speaker, former U.S. House Rep & GOP Presidential candidate, misses the good old days...
By Brad Friedman on 2/5/2010 5:53pm PT  

From John Byrne at RAW STORY...

The opening night speaker at the Tea Party convention suggested a return to a "literacy test" to protect America from presidents like Obama --- a segregation-era method employed by southern US states to keep blacks from voting.

In his speech Thursday to attendees, former Republican congressman Tom Tancredo invoked the loaded pre-civil rights era buzzword, saying that President Barack Obama was elected because "we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country."

Southern states used literacy tests as part of an effort to deny suffrage to African American voters prior to Johnson-era civil rights laws.

"Prior to passage of the federal Voting Rights Act in 1965, Southern (and some Western) states maintained elaborate voter registration procedures whose primary purpose was to deny the vote to those who were not white," a website for civil rights veterans explains. "In the South, this process was often called the 'literacy test.' In fact, it was much more than a simple test, it was an entire complex system devoted to denying African-Americans (and in some regions, Latinos) the right to vote."

Gosh, and sure is unfair to paint any of these Tea Baggers as racist, isn't it?

Among the questions on one of those old Alabama literacy tests [PDF], as highlighted in Byrne coverage, are these questions which we wonder if Tancredo himself would be able to answer (not that it would matter, because he's white):

"If a person charged with treason denies his guilt, how many persons must testify against him before he can be convicted?"

"If a president does not wish to sign a bill, how many days is he allowed in which to return it to Congress for consideration?"

"If the United States wishes to purchase land for an arsenal and have exclusive legislative authority over it, consent is required from [fill in the blank]."

After it was revealed that the sponsor of the "National Tea Party Convention" in Nashville, TN, was a for-profit corporation charging some $500 for admission, previously confirmed Tea Bag speakers Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) dropped out.

None of that was a problem for Tancredo, apparently. Nor for Sarah Palin (R-FOX), who is still scheduled to be the weekend's keynoter for a reported speaking fee of $100,000. Perhaps she'll up Tancredo's racist ante and call for a repeal of that pesky 13th Amendment.

And speaking of literacy, below the fold is a photo of TeaParty.org founder Dale Robertson, taken at a Tea Bagger event in February of 2009. Plenty of literacy, no racism there...

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