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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Must-see video of Ralph Nader's spot-on analysis...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/17/2009 1:05pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In the final analysis, the ideological differences between Republicans and the corporate/controlling sector of the Democratic party are relatively narrow and insignificant as compared to the bi-partisan link to corporate wealth and power --- a link both share with the corporate-owned, mainstream media.

In 2008 it was the insanity that was the Bush/Cheney flirtation with fascism. Today, it's imaginary "death panels" and the undereducated, easily manipulated wing-nut mobs sent to shut down one of the oldest forms of American democracy --- the town hall meeting.

These provide the perfect cover. They permit the more gifted corporate Democrats, for example Barack Obama, to seduce the great masses of working stiffs who make up the American electorate with soaring, but ultimately deceptive, rhetoric; producing brief euphoria on the eve of the last election, followed by no real substantive change.

As the corporate media misdirects focus on brown shirt-like disruptions at the town halls, the real "death panels" --- the corporate profiteers and their bought-and-paid-for politicians --- hammered out a pseudo-reform package that will perpetuate a corrupt, dysfunctional and deadly health care system which kills more than 18,000 Americans each year simply because they can't afford coverage and countless more when carriers refuse to authorize vital, life-saving procedures...

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

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PLUS: UK's nationalized health care system keeps them healthier than ours, and the Constitutionality of providing for the general welfare...
By Brad Friedman on 8/16/2009 11:15am PT  

Some fine bloggery from RAW STORY today. First, Diane Sweet highlights Dana Gould's must-watch "WTF" moment on health care reform from last night's Real Times with Bill Maher on HBO:


Gould's package includes a visit to a recent health fair at Staples Center in L.A. where folks lined up around the block for free dental care, glasses, blood pressure checks, mammograms, vital immunizations for children, and other medical procedures not usually available to them, because they don't have health coverage.

Stephen C. Webster notes coverage of that event by another outlet which additionally notes some stark statistics comparing the UK's national health system to the system in the U.S. where health spending is twice that of the UK's (as a percentage of the GDP), more than twice-over per person, and yet, the U.S. life-expectancy is shorter, infant mortality higher, and there are more physicians per capita in the UK.

Finally, Webster also features a video of a town hall forum featuring Congressman Rick Larsen (D-WA) who is forced to inform a wingnut: "I've got facts on my side, you've got Glenn Beck on your side."

(Of course, Beck wasn't always an opponent of health care reform. In fact, he was in favor of it before he was against it --- after arriving at Fox "News" --- as Jon Stewart reminded us earlier this week.)

That, and one other excellent point is made about the "Constitutionality" of Congress providing for the general welfare. Just like it says in the, um, Constitution. Go watch it...

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By Brad Friedman on 8/14/2009 10:09am PT  

"The nightmare that is our health care system." - Jan. '08 for CNN
"The best health care system in the world." - Aug. '09 for Fox "News"

Why The Daily Show must be the one to reveal this stuff on broadcast television remains far beyond our pay grade. We're just glad that someone does....

But what's becoming more and more clear is that Beck seems to be taking a page from the Ann Coulter playbook: Say something outrageous, no matter how factually deficient, whether you believe it or not, in order to help rile the easily riled Republicanist/Fox "News" base, piss off everyone else, garner media attention to yourself, make millions of dollars in the bargain, largely off the losers you're exploiting and lying to in the first place.

Worked well for Coulter, still is, seems to be working very well for Beck now too. (Also for Sarah Palin, though there's some question whether she's smart enough to realize that's what she's doing. Beck, however, knows damn well what he's doing, and knows damn well that he's an unapologetic liar and opportunist, playing the Fox "News" base for the gullible suckers and chumps that they are. Doesn't care.)

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By Brad Friedman on 8/11/2009 11:43pm PT  

From the sub-title used with the LATimes story over the weekend about AG Eric Holder's long-rumored, now reportedly "all but certain" plan to appoint a special prosecutor to examine torture during the Bush Adminstration:

Insiders say Atty. Gen. Eric Holder is close to naming a prosecutor to look into reports of excessive waterboarding and other unauthorized methods.

So non-"excessive waterboarding" is now legal?

From the article itself...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/9/2009 1:00pm PT  

Thanks to VelvetRevolution.us [Disclosure: The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder], here are some of the greatly condensed highlights from outside the National Whistleblowers Center on Saturday in D.C., as FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds gave her long-awaited under-oath deposition.

Long gagged under the "state secrets" privilege by the Bush Administration, the Obama Administration's DoJ chose not to re-invoke privilege, paving the way for this information to finally make its way on to the unclassified public record.

Selected public commentary from the attorneys, candidate David Krikorian, and Edmonds, taken before, during breaks, and after the testimony follows. For many many more details, quotes and information about the information disclosed at the deposition, see our Live-Blog coverage from Saturday here...


(The video of the deposition itself is still forthcoming. Monday earliest, so we're told, but no way of knowing anything for sure until it's actually made available. There's some 5 or 6 hours of tape, as we understand it. We hope the text transcript of the entire deposition will also be made available to the public soon as well. Edmonds has stated that she too shares both of those hopes. Until then, however, please do review our coverage from yesterday, for the complete, stunning details of what went on yesterday.)

UPDATE 8/10/09, 3:45am PT: Erik Larson, who was also among the independent media outside the NWC on Saturday, has additional coverage and lengthier video clips here...

UPDATE 8/10/09, 2:11pm PT: Quick update on current release status of deposition video/transcript now here...

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Long-gagged FBI whistleblower re-iterates request for citizen media in D.C. to show up at Saturday morning deposition...
By Brad Friedman on 8/7/2009 8:06pm PT  

The DoJ is now jumping into action, at least on behalf of covering the FBI's rear, if not yet to issue any "states secrets" claims to stop the scheduled testimony of FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds in D.C. tomorrow morning in the Ohio Election Commission (OEC) case of Schmidt v. Krikorian.

For background, first see Wednesday night's report:
FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds Subpoenaed, Set to 'Break' Gag Order Unless DoJ Intercedes
Former agency translator called to testify in Ohio election case this Saturday on Turkish infiltration of U.S. government...

...and then today's update:
EXCLUSIVE: FBI Attempts to Block Edmonds Testimony in OH Election Case; Attorneys Say Effort Insufficient to Stop Her
Whistleblower org says FBI/DoJ attempting 'censorship,' trying to 'silence whistleblower' answering 'lawful subpoena'

Tonight Arthur Goldberg of the DoJ's civil division sent a letter to the OEC's Executive Director Philip C. Richter, and Richter has replied. Both letters are downloadable below, and the text is posted there as well.

In short, the DoJ has informed the OEC that Edmonds has "not complied with the procedures for obtaining authorization from the FBI, her former employer, prior to making any disclosure relating to information that she acquired in the course of her work for the FBI. Therefore, she is not authorized to testify at the deposition."

Edmonds and her attorneys argued earlier today in their letter to the FBI (see today's earlier story and documents) that her employment agreements do not preclude her from answering a lawful subpoena, which they consider this to be, nor further do those agreements require approval from the FBI for oral, versus written, testimony. She was subpoenaed earlier this week on behalf of candidate David Krikorian, who is defending himself in an OEC "false statements" claim by U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH-2nd).

The DoJ further claims in its letter that the OEC's subpoena is not enforceable, because the deposition is to take place outside of Ohio.

In response, the OEC has said it will not enforce the subpoena, but it has not withdrawn it, either. Thus, it seems, Krikorian is still within his rights to carry out the deposition at this time, and Edmonds tells The BRAD BLOG she plans on being there in the morning to answer it.

As we reported earlier today, the National Whistleblowers Legal Defense & Education Fund, representing Edmonds, issued a statement [PDF] today blasting the FBI and DoJ's attempts to block Edmonds' testimony as "censorship" and trying to "silence [a] whistleblower."
The Bush Administration's DoJ had twice invoked the "state secrets" privilege in order to gag Edmonds, to keep her from testifying on matters they argued were of national security. So far, however, the Obama Administration's DoJ has failed to re-invoke that privilege, though it's possible it still could do so prior to tomorrow's testimony.

In a brief conversation with Edmonds moments ago, she re-iterated her belief that the "MSM will be a no-show tomorrow," and therefore says "citizen journalists are needed" to cover what may happen at the deposition. Both she and Krikorian, as well as attorneys from all sides, will be available to answer questions from media --- both corporate and citizen --- before and after the scheduled deposition tomorrow. It is slated to begin at 10:30am Saturday morning (8/8/09) at the National Whistleblowers Center, 3238 P St. NW, in Washington D.C..

* * *

Tonight's letter from the DoJ's Arthur Goldberg to the OEC's Philip C. Richter may be downloaded here [PDF]. Richter's reply to Goldberg may be downloaded here [PDF].

The text of both letters now follow below in full...

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

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Whistleblower org says FBI/DoJ attempting 'censorship,' trying to 'silence whistleblower' answering 'lawful subpoena'
Letters from FBI, Edmonds attorney posted...
By Brad Friedman on 8/7/2009 2:26pm PT  

[Update 8:08pm PT: The DoJ has now attempted to intercede, on behalf of the FBI, with the Ohio Election Commission. Details, and letters between DoJ and OEC now posted here...]

The BRAD BLOG has obtained both the FBI's response to FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds' notice of her intention to give a deposition this Saturday in response to a subpoena she received in a case before the Ohio Elections Commission (OEC). We've also been given exclusive access to her attorneys' response in turn, which is to be officially released later this afternoon.

The FBI stated its objection to Edmonds' plans to testify in a two-page letter [PDF] on Thursday, sent to Edmonds' attorney Stephen Kohn, at the National Whistleblowers Legal Defense & Education Fund. Edmonds and her attorneys, however, in their own two-page letter [PDF], say the objections raised so far by the agency are not sufficient to block Edmonds from "truthfully answer[ing] questions while under oath pursuant to a lawful subpoena" on Saturday morning in D.C. as scheduled.

Their press release [PDF], to be issued publicly later today, accuses the FBI and DoJ of attempting "censorship" and trying to "silence [a] whistleblower."

As we reported in detail on Wednesday, Edmonds' attorneys had notified the Department of Justice earlier this week, in a hand-delivered letter of declaration [PDF], that she intended to testify in the pending Schmidt v. Krikorian case about the information she has concerning infiltration of the U.S. Government by agents of Turkey. She informed the DoJ of her intentions to move forward, unless the DoJ re-invoked the "state secrets" claim that the Bush Administration had twice used to gag any public testimony, her own whistleblower suit, and all other disclosures in regard to information she was privy to during her employ as a linguistics specialist with the FBI following 9/11. So far, the DoJ has not done so.

As of this afternoon, Edmonds tells The BRAD BLOG she still "absolutely" plans to testify...

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

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Says same 'protest' mechanisms, tactics he and his father developed, used on abortion providers like the now-murdered Dr. Tiller...
By Brad Friedman on 8/7/2009 11:48am PT  

Devastating. From someone who knows these tactics well. And, if the corporate media wasn't under an almost complete stranglehold, such an op-ed from someone like Frank Schaeffer, author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back, might actually make a difference.

He says the Republican/industry-run health care "protest" mobs have become "a full blown American version of the Nazi Brown Shirts", the Republican party has now become "profoundly anti-American", and that "They can't compute that their white man-led conservative revolution is dead."

Here's just a few of the money quotes from his must-read at Alternet today which suggests, most disturbingly --- as I have long worried since this corporatist/Republicanist-inflamed thuggery began --- that it may not stop until someone actually ends up dead...

The Republican Old Guard are in the fix an atheist would be in if Jesus showed up and raised his mother from the dead: Their world view has just been shattered. Obama's election has driven them over the edge.
...
Having failed at the ballot box, having watched their Fox News-organized "tea parties" fizzle the intimidation tactics which the Republicans have embraced are being used in a well-financed, top-down orchestrated fake grass roots campaign by corporate interests to try and protect the profits of the insurance business.
...
Democratic members of Congress are being harassed by angry, sign-carrying mobs and disruptive behavior at local town halls. It's the tactic we used to follow abortion providers around their neighborhoods. "Protesters" surrounded Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) and forced police officers to have to escort him to his car for safety. We used to do the same to Dr. Tiller... until someone killed him.

Please read his entire piece, or at least the rest of what I've quoted from it below...

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

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ALSO: Glenn Beck-fueled 'near riot' at Tampa forum tonight...
By Brad Friedman on 8/6/2009 6:59pm PT  

How phony are the phony town hall mobs? Rachel Maddow explains it all for you. If only the rest of the corporate MSM did the same. Her investigation of the so-called public interest groups running this thing concludes: "This is professional, corporate-funded, Republican-staffed PR, and it should be reported as such"...

And tonight, these corporate/Republican/Republicanist-media sponsored and enflamed mobs are, as expected, beginning to turn violent. RAW STORY has details on a Glenn Beck-inspired "near riot" tonight at a forum in Tampa.

Anyone surprised? I'm afraid this is gonna get much worse before it gets better...

UPDATE 8/7/09: Repentant right-wing anti-abortionist movement creator Frank Schaeffer worries about the same thing...

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But is it a fair fight? Why hasn't House Leadership asked CBO for a real cost comparison to public-option plans?...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/4/2009 10:01pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In an update to Small Victory for a Long-Term Single-Payer Strategy, I reported that “Rep. Anthony Weiner, (D-NY) will...make a motion before the House Energy & Commerce Committee to...replace H.R. 3200 [the hybrid, "public option plan] with H.R. 676 --- single payer Medicare for All."

In exchange for Weiner's agreement to withdraw his amendment during the House Energy and Commerce Committee health care markup session, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) promised to permit Weiner to bring H.R. 676 to a vote on the House floor.

But will the House leadership direct the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to provide a comparative cost analysis between single-payer and alternative plans so that Congress and the American people can make an informed choice? And why have they refused to do so so far?...

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

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Corporate media stand ready to help as usual...
By Brad Friedman on 8/3/2009 12:42pm PT  

[Updated: Right on cue, the Teabaggers turn out to disrupt town hall meetings over the weekend. Video and details at end of article. ... UPDATED AGAIN: Lots more video now, the zombies come out all over the country.]

Are there simply no democratic (small "d") processes left that the Right isn't willing to corrupt to their own corporatized, nefarious purposes? It would seem not.

This from ThinkProgress, concerning the rightwing, corporate-sponsored (read: astroturf) "grassroots" FreedomWatch coalition, and their conveniently leaked talking points instruction memo [PDF] on how to create an appearance of dissension --- "Yell...Stand up and shout out...Rattle Him...Be Disruptive Early and Often" --- at upcoming town hall meetings back in Congressional districts over the August recess...

Rocking the Town Halls - Best Practices

A Political Action Memo

We here in Fairfield County Connecticut conducted an action at Congressman Jim Hime's Town Hall meeting in May 2009. We believe there are some best practices which emberged from the event and our experience, which could be useful to activists in just about any district where their Congressperson has supported the socialist agenda of the Democrat leadership in Washington.
...
-- Artificially Inflate Your Numbers: “Spread out in the hall and try to be in the front half. The objective is to put the Rep on the defensive with your questions and follow-up. The Rep should be made to feel that a majority, and if not, a significant portion of at least the audience, opposes the socialist agenda of Washington.”

-- Be Disruptive Early And Often: “You need to rock-the-boat early in the Rep's presentation, Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the Rep's statements early.”

-- Try To “Rattle Him,” Not Have An Intelligent Debate: “The goal is to rattle him, get him off his prepared script and agenda. If he says something outrageous, stand up and shout out and sit right back down. Look for these opportunities before he even takes questions.”

As detailed in the full memo, the strategy "worked," and media took the bait in the Himes' Town Hall event mentioned.

Over the weekend, far-right kook Michelle Malkin, for some reason, was allowed a seat at the roundtable on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos as if she was a legitimate voice.

She predicted (video here) that where Democrats and the White House have "vastly underestimated just how grassroots this movement is," they would soon face "townhalls-gone-wild" in the weeks ahead...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/2/2009 6:04pm PT  

What kind of unspoken, tortured, internal conflict will this story cause for the far rightwing, gay-bashing, gun-loving, unquestioning supporters of Israel out there? Tangled webs amidst more tragedy.

Reuters lede...

Israel's gay community was rocked on Sunday by the killing of two people in a homosexual and lesbian youth center and the possibility they fell victim to a hate crime in the Jewish state's most freewheeling city.

"The biggest shock is to think that it happened in Tel Aviv, which is the most tolerant city in the country," said Avi Sofer, a gay rights activist.

Witnesses said a masked gunman clad in black opened fire on Saturday night in a basement club belonging to the Tel Aviv Gay and Lesbian Association, which was hosting a weekly event for teenage gays.

The attacker killed a 26-year-old man and a 16-year-old girl and wounded 13 people before fleeing, hospital officials said.

Pam Spaulding at Houseblend has much more, including a late update detailing the death now of a third shooting victim. Here's some quick video...


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AUDIO: Peter B. Collins speaks to the whistleblowers and experts still sounding the alarm as Bush-era big government intrusion continues unabated...
By Peter B. Collins on 7/29/2009 12:48pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Peter B. Collins

Since I signed off the syndicated Peter B. Collins radio show in March, I've been able to zoom out from the close-up view of day-to-day political combat.

On a daily basis, I reflect on the "change we can believe in" that candidate Obama promised us just a year ago. Certainly, the new administration is better than the Bush/Cheney gang on many fronts; and Bush left Obama an economic meltdown and other serious problems that need attention.

But consider:

  • we still have 135,000 troops and even more contractors in Iraq, with no clear plan or timeline for our exit, just vague promises and the hope that the Iraqis will kick us out next year. Most of the US troops that have left Iraq went to Afghanistan;
  • the escalation of our presence in Afghanistan is very dangerous, and contradicts some of Obama's own statements about the prospects for "success" there. He had the chance to reverse direction after the election, but chose to double down on the "good war";
  • the massive interception of domestic electronic communications continues, and the Obama Justice Department has reinforced and expanded on the bad legal precedents set under Bush/Cheney. Most Democrats are silent on this issue, and I see no effort to restore our privacy rights.

Remember how they dubbed Ronnie Reagan the "Teflon president"? Obama seems to have a new and improved coating, I call it "Leftlon," protecting him from challenges from the progressives who helped him beat Hillary for the nomination.

He keeps reaching out to GOP nuts who want to scuttle his tepid health care "reform," refuses to allow investigations while Cheney spits at him regularly, and expects us to trust the Goldman Sachs Alumni Association to fix the economy that they continue to plunder.

When will Obama deliver for the progressives who got him elected?

That's the central question I'm exploring in my new podcast series. Drop in to www.peterbcollins.com or you can subscribe (free, FREE!) at iTunes.

Here are two fresh programs I'd like you to check out. You can download each and/or listen online below. One is co-hosted with me by FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, featuring NSA expert James Bamford as guest. The other is my exclusive interview with Mark Klein, former AT&T technician turned NSA surveillance program whistleblower...

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

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Tells Jon Stewart troops deserve 'first class health care,' rest of us don't...
By Brad Friedman on 7/28/2009 1:39pm PT  

In case you missed this, it's an amazing admission, and should be a part of every debate about government-run healthcare --- tossed in the face of every wingnut who says government can't run anything, much less healthcare. And yet, we allow the government to run the healthcare system for our troops, who, Bill Kristol admits in this interview, deserve "first class health care," while "the rest of us can go out and buy insurance."

The uncomfortable inference, for Kristol, is that government-run healthcare is as good, if not better than, that available to private citizens. To make it worse, Kristol is booed when he argues that's the way it should be. Whoops...

Thank you again, Jon Stewart. No wonder the country finds you (in TIME's online poll anyway), "America's Most Trusted Newscaster."

The video above, featuring just a part of their healthcare discussion, is courtesy of RAW STORY. Stewart's complete interview with Kristol, which was trimmed down for length before airing last night, follows in full below...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/25/2009 2:54pm PT  

Salon's Glenn Greenwald (whom I interviewed last night on the Malloy Show on somewhat related topics, audio archive now here), covers this morning's latest "entirely unsurprising" news that Cheney tried to deploy the U.S. military on U.S. soil against U.S. citizens following 9/11. And unaccountable-DoJ-attorney-for-all-illegal-unConstitutional-seasons John Yoo was happy to supply a "legal" memo for him, describing how the U.S. Constitution could be entirely ignored by any President at any whim.

Greenwald begins this way [emphasis in original]...

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