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Latest developments in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce scheme to illicitly target me and my family, as well as other progressive citizens, journalists and organizations...
By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2011 8:04pm PT  

It's strange, difficult and a bit uncomfortable reporting on the $12 million U.S. Chamber disinfo plot and smear campaign after finding myself (and my family), much less VelvetRevolution.us (VR), the non-profit organization co-founded by The BRAD BLOG, as direct targets of it. As you might have assumed, there is much going on behind the scenes that I can't report on at this time, but I've been happy to see some fairly decent coverage --- even by some in the print MSM, if not much in the broadcast media yet --- of this important, disturbing and still developing story.

It's easier to talk and opine on what I've learned about the plot, as I've been doing in a lot of media interviews over the past week (a few of those radio appearances are linked below), than it is to actually report on it, per se. Yet, there have been several noteworthy points and advancements in the story over the past week since I originally covered it in depth here on Monday.

New information being dug up over the last several days, since I initially reported on this story in depth at the beginning of the week, now indicates that the Chamber Plotters had likely intended to use cyber attacks and hacks against us as well.

Those key updates, and the very quickest of backgrounders for those unfamiliar with the sordid tale up until now, follow below...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
SPECIAL: The U.S. Chamber's Secret Smear Campaign...
By Desi Doyen on 2/15/2011 1:44pm PT  


TWITTER: @GreenNewsReport
VIA SMART PHONE: Stitcher Radio!

IN TODAY'S SPECIAL RADIO REPORT: All-out Info War: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation's largest & most powerful corporate lobbying firm, caught plotting a $12 million disinformation campaign against progressive U.S. organizations, journalists and citizens, including yours truly...

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

Link:
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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): EXTENDED (non-Chamber-related) EXTRA!:... Obama budget, GOP's draconian cuts; Judge fines Chevron $8 Billion for Ecuador pollution; Strip-mining to begin on sea floor; Actor Costner sued over Gulf oil invention; World approaching "peak phosphorous"?; Alaska warming at 3x rate of Lower 48; Natural gas surge in BP spill; KY protestors sit-in at gov's office against mountaintop removal mining; GE pays handsomely for stake in oil business; EU Carbon trading system plagued by fraud; Smog continues to plague Joshua Tree NP; Insurers warn premiums set to rise for natural disasters; Solar panels can help your home sell faster; Generation HOT: Calling out "climate cranks"; Pesticide co. hires federal agency to challenge pesticide-Parkinson's link ... PLUS: The worst eco-disasters of all time! ...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 2/14/2011 11:53pm PT  

A few quick followups tonight to my lengthy story from this morning on the proposed $2 million per month plot created for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to use tools and techniques from the so-called "War on Terror" against U.S. citizens, journalists and groups who opposed their strong-arm lobbying tactics.

As noted, one of those they'd planned to target in hopes of discrediting in their nefarious scheme was yours truly, as well as my family, and VelvetRevolution.us, the non-profit, non-partisan organization co-founded by The BRAD BLOG. I was specifically targeted personally as the Chamber's first, "Tier 1" opponent in a Power Point presentation prepared for the nation's largest corporate lobby's law firm Hunton & Williams (H&W) by the three cyber-security/intelligence firms, HBGary Federal, Berico Technologies & Palantir Technologies. The triumvirate called themselves "Team Themis" in the plots developed for the U.S. Chamber to fraudulently discredit opponents and for a very similar scheme made for Bank of America to try and disrupt WikiLeaks.

So here are a few items following up on our previous report...

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

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And why they are likely to get away with it...
By Brad Friedman on 2/14/2011 6:05am PT  

"[W]ho better to develop a corporate information reconnaissance capability than companies that have been market leaders within the DoD and Intelligence Community."
- 'Team Themis', from their 11/3/10 "Corporate Information Reconnaissance Cell" proposal delivered to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's law firm Hunton & Williams.


As I learned late last Thursday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the most powerful Rightwing lobbying group in the country, was revealed to have been working with their law firm and a number of private cyber security and intelligence firms to target progressive organizations, journalists and citizens who they felt were in opposition to their political activism, tactics and points of view.

As I went on the air Thursday night --- my fifth in a six-day guest hosting stint on the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show --- revelations about the planned multi-million dollar political hit job by the security/intelligence firms working to develop a scheme for the U.S. Chamber (and another one, almost identical to it, on behalf of Bank of America) were just beginning to come to light. Both plots were being developed by the Chamber and BofA by the very same law firm, Hunton & Williams and with the cyber intelligence firms HBGary Federal, Berico Technologies & Palantir Technologies.

As the show began, I was able to report the news, based on an exclusive report from Lee Fang at ThinkProgress, that internal emails from one of the firms, confirmed that VelvetRevolution.us (VR), a progressive non-partisan, non-profit organization co-founded by The BRAD BLOG, and its StopTheChamber.com campaign were specifically highlighted as targets of the Chamber's plot which was proposed to include the planting of a "false document", in hopes they'd be publicly released by VR or other progressive groups, so the U.S. Chamber could then claim the groups involved had created a forgery.

The plan also involved creating "two fake insider personas", one at VR and another at the unrelated Change To Win organization, which had employed a coalition of union groups to create a non-profit campaign, some months after VR's, called U.S. Chamber Watch. The plan presented by Team Themis, as the three security firms called themselves, would then use one of the "fake personas" as "leverage to discredit the other while confirming the legitimacy of the second" in hopes of publicizing the fraudulent appearance of some sort of "conspiracy" between the various progressive organizations in order to somehow discredit them.

As Thursday's show continued, I received confirmation that I, personally, along with members of my family, had been highlighted in Themis' proposed hit job, as ThinkProgress followed up with a second story, based on several other emails from HBGary's CEO Aaron Barr. The email focused on me included names, personal information, home addresses, etc. of myself, family members and a number of other members of VR. Naturally, I reported on the then-confirmed news in the second hour of that night's Malloy Show.

An hour or so after the show went off the air Thursday night, The BRAD BLOG was no longer reachable, as our server had been knocked off line hard, so I was unable to follow up with much more information. The server we use, which is also the home for many other progressive websites, was out of commission for nearly 24 hours, though I am told by our server admin that the very unusual outage was related to a serious hardware failure which occurred at what was clearly a very inopportune --- and, naturally, suspiciously timed --- moment. Moments before Friday's show, The BRAD BLOG was finally back up and online.

Over the weekend then, I've finally been able to catch up with a lot of what I had otherwise been unable to on Friday due to the server outage and the need to prep for Friday's show while all of this was happening (and as the Egypt regime was collapsing at the same moment).

As I, and other journalists, have been plowing through some of the tens of thousands of emails from HBGary's CEO --- as stolen and released by the "hacktivist" organization calling themselves Anonymous, following Barr's public threat to expose their names --- I've been able to learn a lot more about the U.S. Chamber plan.

Part of the plan included highlighting me as a "Tier 1" player in a sophisticated disinformation/discrediting scheme that relied on high-tech tools developed for the U.S. Government's "War on Terror".

Team Themis' U.S. Chamber of Commerce plan was to deploy the very same techniques and technology used to track terrorists, terror organizations, and nations such as Iran, against private non-profit political advocates and citizens in the U.S.

As disturbing (and there is a lot that every American citizen and every member of the American media ought to be very disturbed by in this story) Hunton & Williams (H&W), the law firm working on behalf of the U.S. Chamber and the Bank of America, had been recommended to BofA, the nation's largest bank, for the parallel hit scheme to target and discredit WikiLeaks, by our own U.S. Department of Justice.

In addition to Barr's email offering personal information on me and my family, the H&W scheme by Team Themis, created for the U.S. Chamber, also included a Power Point presentation in which I am personally highlighted, with photograph, along with my wife "Martha" and "2 boys, James and John Friedman" at our "home at 1055 Raywood Ln, Silver Springs, MD".

Of course, I'm not married and have no children and don't live in MD, but these are the huge private firms receiving millions, if not billions, in U.S. tax-payer dollars to target terrorists, after all, so why let such details like accuracy, or targeting innocent people, or citizens and journalists exercising their right to free speech get in the way of a potential $2 million dollar per month contract from the U.S. Chamber get in the way? The Chamber, of course, is also funded by the world's largest corporations who receive billions in tax-payer bailout dollars and subsidies from the U.S. Government. Can you feel the synergy? Team Themis certainly did...

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

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UPDATE: 'Brad Friedman' and family personally targeted as well...
By Brad Friedman on 2/10/2011 4:00pm PT  

UPDATE 2/14/11: A big update, and a lot of new details on this entire story (including the Chamber plot targeting me) now here...

* * *

UPDATE 9:03pm PT: Yes, they do target and name ME and my family, including personal details about us specifically, as part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's disinformation attack, as ThinkProgress notes in an update tonight:

Another target was Brad Friedman, co-founder of The Brad Blog. Barr’s profile of Friedman included information about his life partner and his home address.

See TP's most recent article for some of the emails, etc. These are horrible people.

* * *

[Preparing to guest host tonight's Mike Malloy Show, so forgive the terser than usual coverage here as I'm just now learning about this, but wanted to get something out quickly. I expect there will be more to come on this, as you can probably imagine.]

It looks like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce --- the Rightwing lobbying firm now allowed to accept hundreds of thousands, if not millions, in secret funding from corporations likely subsidized with your tax dollars --- has been caught in the act of creating a $2 million disinformation campaign to attack progressive organizations such as VelvetRevolution.us and its StopTheChamber.com initiative. [Since we believe in disclosure, unlike the Chamber: VR was co-founded by The BRAD BLOG.]

After the disinfo campaign targeted "Anonymous," the online "hacktivist" organization which had been working to disrupt those who companies who had attacked WikiLeaks (see our December '10 report: "'ALL-OUT CYBER WAR' OVER WIKILEAKS"), "Anonymous" struck back by hacking one of the "intelligence security firms" retained by the Chamber and posting thousands of their emails online.

Coverage from ThinkProgress' Lee Fang just an hour or two ago includes a snippet from one of the proposals given to the Chamber on November 29, 2010 mentioning Velvet Revolution and a plan to "create a false document," "fake insider personas," and do whatever they needed to do to "discredit" the organization by planting misinformation....

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/15/2010 6:06pm PT  

I'm loath to even spend time on this jerk, particularly as I'm busy working on a couple of deadlines about things and people that actually matter. But I've got to take just a moment to flag the details on the latest victim of convicted federal criminal and Rightwing creep James O'Keefe and his employer/pimp/propagandist Andrew Breitbart. See Bob Braun's column at yesterday's Star-Ledger for the full details, but in short, the latest victim of the continuing O'Keefe/Breitbart assault on decency in this nation was a New Jersey special education teacher named Alissa Ploshnick.

In 1997 Ploshnick was lauded by President Clinton after risking her life to save those of a dozen school kids in Passaic where "She threw herself in front of a careening van to protect her students and landed in the hospital with broken ribs, a fractured wrist, a badly bruised pelvis and glass cuts in her eyes."

As Braun notes, "She could have died." This year, however, she was lured into another deceptively edited, hidden video "exposé" created by the criminal and serial liar O'Keefe...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2010 1:07pm PT  

This is amusing. At least it would be, had not their entire phony, shameless, anti-democracy campaign been built on hopes of suppressing the legal votes of American minority voters.

But I guess that "epidemic" of "MASSIVE DEMOCRATIC VOTER FRAUD!!!" that Fox "News" and their easily duped viewers had been warning us all about for weeks/months/years (here's one recent example, and another, and another, and another) didn't exactly materialize yesterday. Who could have guessed it?

Via Media Matters...

Fox News cancels Thursday segment on NV "Voter fraud" after Angle’s poor showing

Las Vegas Sun political columnist Jon Ralston posted the following to his Twitter profile this afternoon:

At least we know what Fox News was planning had the Senate race between Majority Leader Harry Reid and tea party darling Sharon Angle been tighter.

Media Matters' headline avers the segment was spiked due to "Angle's poor showing". There's another possible explanation for cancellation of the segment: No actual evidence of any such "voter fraud". Of course, that's never stopped Fox "News" from making a whole bunch of it up in the past. So perhaps Media Matters is more right than wrong there.

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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Plus: A note on our non-partisan electoral system coverage...
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2010 2:29pm PT  

Speaking of GOP voter suppression efforts, there's this sleazy little dirty trick today, as now running on Hispanic television in Nevada, where a group calling itself "Latinos for Reform" is deceptively instructing the community "Don't Vote!" this November --- particularly in the razor-thin race between incumbent Democratic Sen. Harry Reid and his Republican challenger Sharron Angle.

You'll be shocked to learn that, of course, as TPM reports, the ads are the work of Republican political consultant, Robert Desposada. Whodda guessed it?

Here's the attention-grabbing spot, as translated into English...


And here's the version in Spanish actually airing in NV...


[UPDATE: ThinkProgress reports Univision, a subsidiary of NBC/Universal, is accepting $80k to air the GOP group's ads in Nevada. | LATER UPDATE: Univision decides to not run the ads after all, telling Think Progress late today, "Univision will not be running any spots from Latinos for Reform related to voting."]

* * *

And, perhaps this is a good time for a note for those who may not be aware as Election Day nears, particularly if you read our report yesterday on the "Republican War on Voting 2010" and little else here at The BRAD BLOG over the years: Our coverage of election issues is non-partisan...

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

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GOP groups warn fellow suckers to stop the ACORN bogeyman from stealing 2010 elections!!! (AND PLEASE DONATE!!!)...
By Brad Friedman on 10/18/2010 4:46pm PT  

We've seen a lot of insane, hyperbolic Rightwing scare emails in our time. But the one posted at the end of this article, signed by the appropriately named Gary G. Kreep, Esq., Executive Director of a group calling themselves the United States Justice Foundation (USJF), warning that ACORN is "Still alive and ready to steal the November 2 elections"(!!!) just may take the cake.

As expected, as they now do every election year, the Rightwing is ginning up this year's Republican War on Voting right on schedule. They've been at it so long, and have disinformed so many of their own gullible voters and politicians, that it's likely most of them have come to actually believe their own cynical propaganda about "massive voter fraud" by Democrats and their evil evil election-stealing allies at ACORN!

If you read TPM Muckraker, you know the RNLA ("Republican National Lawyers Association," though "Republican National Liars Association" would be at least as accurate) has been running a series of a bunch of disinfo seminars over the last few days, featuring all of the "voter fraud" fraudster all-stars and the usual suspects like grand-daddy of the GOP vote-fraud-myth set, John Fund in what they disingenuously describe as their "unprecedented" "election education efforts".

On the ground, of course, the years of disinfo has translated into Rightwing voter suppression efforts meant to do absolutely nothing more than challenge and/or intimidate Democratic-leaning voters on Election Day in order to squeeze out an advantage for Republicans as needed. We covered the shameful efforts of the "True The Vote/King Street Patriots" bunch a few weeks back. Since then, new organized efforts at playing out the GOP's great anti-democracy tradition have popped up around the nation, as expected.

The email from the "USJF" today, encapsulates the growing madness brilliantly...

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

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Though year-old misreport still stands
ALSO: 'Yahoo! News' issues correction as well...
By Brad Friedman on 10/5/2010 2:18pm PT  

It took nearly a week of The BRAD BLOG bitching, moaning, emailing, complaining, and tweeting to the Washington Post, its ombudsman, and, of course, the author of the story, Alexandra Petri, who had blatantly misreported, twice in the same article at Dana Milbank's "Rough Sketch" blog, the long-ago debunked myth that Rightwing con-man and dirty trickster James O'Keefe had "dressed up as a pimp to interview members of ACORN" in his scam video tapes that shamefully took down the four-decade old anti-poverty, pro-democracy organization based on his hateful hoax.

As we detailed in our original report on Petri's inaccuracy last week, O'Keefe never dressed as a pimp and never even represented himself as a pimp in the offices of ACORN. The truth about all of that had been publicly available to know for almost a year before Petri misreported on it in the pages of the Washington Post last week.

Given that the Washington Post published another related story over a year ago with a number of similarly misleading inaccuracies in it, which they have yet to correct even after all this time, perhaps we should be happy it took less than a week this time around for the right thing to be done at the paper.

Petri has finally, nearly a week later, corrected her article, as she notes in the following email sent to us this morning...

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

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Convicted rightwing criminal may also have violated terms of his federal probation...
By Brad Friedman on 9/29/2010 2:19pm PT  

Convicted federal criminal and Rightwing dirty-trickster James O'Keefe appears to have flagrantly run afoul of the rule of law yet again. This time, he appears to have violated and/or conspired to violate Maryland's Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act. It would not be the first instance of him having done so.

The apparent violation(s) of state felony laws, revealed today as part of what is being reported as O'Keefe's "botched" attempt to "punk CNN", comes on the heels of O'Keefe's previous apparent violations of the very same laws in MD, though law enforcement officials have yet to hold him accountable, to date, for those previous offenses.

Documents and other material produced by CNN today suggest that O'Keefe secretly, and illegally, taped phone calls he had with CNN's investigative journalist Abbie Boudreau, and conspired to secretly video tape her in a compromising situation, also in violation of MD law.

O'Keefe, who is currently on probation after pleading guilty to a federal misdemeanor following another botched scheme in Louisiana earlier this year, seems to have broken similar laws last year in a number of states, including Maryland, where he secretly video taped employees at the offices of the community organization ACORN in Baltimore. Despite requests to MD law enforcement by a non-profit watchdog organization for a criminal investigation into the previous apparent violations of the state's felony wiretap laws --- and despite recognition of the "possible" violation of those laws in a number of law enforcement investigations elsewhere --- no action has been taken to date by state officials...

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

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Billionaire-funded propaganda, magnified by corporate media failure, threaten democracy's survival...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/17/2010 12:07pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."-Mark Twain

One of the basic axioms of law is that fraud vitiates consent. One of the foundational principles of democratic governance is that legitimacy rests on the informed consent of the governed. Come November, those principles will be tested in California.

Billionaire Meg Whitman, a former EBay CEO who surpassed the $100 million mark in campaign spending nearly a month prior to the traditional Labor Day kickoff of the Fall campaign, who, by Sept. 16, had donated a record-smashing $119 million of her own funds to her campaign, who refused to meet with former California Democratic Governor Jerry Brown and Republican State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poisner in a pre-primary debate, has knowingly sought to fill the gaping knowledge deficit created by the corporate media's gross neglect of its fourth estate responsibilities with disinformation about Brown, her Democratic opponent.

When confronted by an analysis which exposed a powerful but deliberately deceptive ad (video below) which shows former President Bill Clinton accusing Brown of lying about his tax record based on a CNN report which is now known to be erroneous, Whitman's spokesperson, Darrell Ng dismissed the idea of pulling the deceptive ad as "ridiculous"...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/7/2010 6:35pm PT  

When it comes to elections, it seems there are no rules, laws, morals, or ethical boundaries which Republicans aren't willing to happily violate in order to be "victorious."

Our latest two examples:

  • Over at Daily Kos today, a commenter has been outed as a "concern troll" hoping to deflate progressive support for KY's Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jack Conway, while serving on the payroll of Republican candidate Rand Paul.

So what wouldn't these guys do to ensure a "victory"? Stay classy, GOP. The founders would be very proud!

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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By Brad Friedman on 8/30/2010 7:35am PT  

On Saturday, Arthur S. Brisbane, the New York Times' new Public Editor, filed his debut column. He takes his difficult post following the reign of the former Public Editor Clark Hoyt, the disastrous 'weasel' (cartoonist Tom Tomorrow's infamous depiction, not ours, though we have no quibble) whose contract ended last June.

In the first column of his new thankless role, Brisbane mentions among others, as part of his description of the Times' "substantial infrastructure for responding to public complaints," Senior Editor/Standards Greg Brock. Readers of The BRAD BLOG will remember Brock for helping to kick off what became a 70-some part series here on the "paper of record's" horrendously damaging and inaccurate coverage of Andrew Breitbart, James O'Keefe, and Hannah Giles' ACORN "Pimp" Hoax.

Brock, as some of you will recall, had responded to a reader's request for correction on a number of stories in which the Times had misreported that O'Keefe had dressed as, and represented himself as a "pimp" in the offices of ACORN, even though, as we reported repeatedly beginning early this year, he never had, as first based on the information in the independent report that had come out several months earlier from former Massachusetts Attorney General, Scott Harshbarger. Though the paper had reported on the "pimp" scam in a number of articles, they had never so much as even mentioned the Harshbarger report [PDF] which accurately stated that O'Keefe never dressed in the "outlandish" outfit the Times (and other media outlets) had reported him as wearing while interviewing ACORN workers.

Worse, the paper continued to misreport that point long after Harshbarger had disabused the world of that notion, by noting clearly that "at each and every" ACORN office visited by O'Keefe with his partner Hannah Giles (who was dressed as a "prostitute") he was "dressed like a college student - in slacks and a button down shirt" and even though ACORN had stated on the record, based on interviews with their employees who were there, that "O'Keefe was not wearting that absurd costume when he visited our offices."

The Times' inaccurate reporting directly preceded the passage of federal legislation which was passed overwhelmingly by the Democratic-majority Congress and signed by the President to defund the four-decade old, anti-poverty, pro-democracy community organization, even though it was all a hoax. O'Keefe had never dressed as a pimp --- or even represented himself as one --- but merely edited his videos to appear that way, as acknowledged in at least three subsequent official reports. Nonetheless, lazy coverage in the NYT had bought it all, and reported it all, hook, line, and unverified sinker...

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By Brad Friedman on 8/10/2010 5:29pm PT  

[As noted, I'm on the road this month, so blogging has been catch as catch can for me while on the roll. Have had terrible net access from the road of late. So apologies for the lateness of this one --- and others I've been trying, but failing, to log over last day or three, but haven't been able to. But better posting this here late, rather than never. For the record.]

The host of Late Night with David Letterman, during his interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow last week, used uncharacteristically harsh language to describe the discredited Rightwing hitman, race-baiter and pathological liar Andrew Breitbart. Yes, he called him an asshole...


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