Standing up to the NRA after Roanoke, horrifying U.S. gun death toll; PLUS: Denying global warming on Katrina's 10th anniversary; Trump's ugly nativism; Good news for Dems; Marriage dead-enders in KY...
Earlier this week, Washington Post investigative reporters Bob Woodward and Jeff Leen hosted an online chat at washingtonpost.com. One of the participants asked Woodward and Leen how pervasive the voter suppression tactic known as "caging" is. The investigative reporters had no idea what it was:
Washington, D.C.: Don't you have a duty to report criminal activity to the appropriate authorities?
How pervasive is "caging"?
Bob Woodward and Jeff Leen: We publish what we can find and document. Many times over the years government authorities have pursued the information we have dug up and launched their own investigations. But we're trying to serve the readers, and we do not act as police or prosecutors. And please send us an e-mail explaing [sic] what "caging" is.
Woodward and Leen aren't the only Washington Post reporters who are clueless about caging. In a washingtonpost.com online chat with congressional reporter Jonathan Weisman in May, a questioner asked "why Congress didn't jump on Monica Goodling's testimony about caging." Weisman's response: "So what is this caging thing?"
So for all those Washington Post reporters out there, let's go over the facts again...
Check out TP for those facts (as if you need them), and how you can contact Woodward, and the rest of the clueless WaPo gang to give the poor folks some help on this very very (apparently) obscure topic.
BRAD BLOG's own dozens and dozens of articles --- apparently most of them just too "exclusive" --- on the topic, are posted right here in reverse chronological order.
Apparently Texas oil tycoon, T. Boone Pickens, who funded the so-called "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" propaganda campaign against John Kerry in 2004 to the tune of $3 million, seems, like the group themselves, to have trouble with the definition of the word "truth".
Earlier this month, at a DC dinner celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Rightwing publication American Spectator, Pickens made a very public challenge (not a bet), offering, as the Republicanist blog, American Thinker reported, "a million dollars to anyone who could prove wrong anything the Swiftboat Veterans charged about Kerry."
The similarly Rightwing blog RedState echoed that the challenge was made to anybody who "can prove anything the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth said in 2004 was false."
But it looks like Pickens was lying, as he is now trying to renege on the challenge since Kerry himself decided to take him up on it late last week, writing in a letter to Pickens (posted in full at the end of this article): "While I am prepared to show they lied on allegation after allegation, you have generously offered to pay one million dollars for just one thing that can be proven false. I am prepared to prove the lie beyond any reasonable doubt."
Kerry said that the $1 million should then be given to the Paralyzed Veterans of America, concluding his letter with: "I trust that you are a man of your word, having made a very public challenge at a major Washington dinner, and look forward to taking you up on this challenge."
Pickens, however --- wait for it --- has proven to be less than a man of his word. Who'd have thunk it? Rather than accept Kerry's offer to meet the challenge, he's moved the goal posts and Fox "News" Network stooge, Sean Hannity --- no man of honor either --- is entirely scummy enough to aide and abet Pickens in welching out of the challenge...
If you've followed our recent blockbusters about FBI translator-turned-whistleblower, Sibel Edmonds (the latest, in which legendary 1970's whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg describes her case as "far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers," is here), but remain unclear on the heart of what she has to expose --- if she's ever able to expose it --- our friend Lukery at Let Sibel Edmonds Speak, offers a good summation today, as culled from his near-encyclopedic knowledge of the case. If you're unclear on things, and it's easy to be, given the scope of her allegations, please read his piece today.
Lukery points us to Philip Giraldi's column on Edmonds from the American Conservative (yes, the American Conservative), which Edmonds has described as "the most accurate summary of my case". According to Giraldi...
Sibel Edmonds, the Turkish FBI translator turned whistleblower who has been subjected to a gag order could provide a major insight into how neoconservatives distort US foreign policy and enrich themselves at the same time. On one level, her story appears straightforward: several Turkish lobbying groups allegedly bribed congressmen to support policies favourable to Ankara. But beyond that, the Edmonds revelations become more serpentine and appear to involve AIPAC, Israel and a number of leading neoconservatives who have profited from the Turkish connection.
The Giraldi piece is short and to the point, and described by Edmonds as "100% right", so we recommend you give it a quick read.
Sibel's case involves illegal weapons sales, money laundering, drug trafficking, nuclear black market, terrorism and the corruption of the US Govt.
Sibel has already named names (though not all) - Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, William Cohen, Marc Grossman, Eric Edelman, Dennis Hastert, Bob Livingston and others - and she has also named the countries involved: Turkey, Israel, Pakistan, the other 'Stans - and of course the US.
He also offers a few contacts for some of the media outlets we mentioned in our exclusive yesterday, as having so far failed to take up Edmonds' couragous offer to hand them one helluva blockbuster interview. We're happy to repost those contacts here for you, as without noise from the public (that would be you!), the American corporate media will continue to avoid the issue like the plague, and the bad guys will simply keep smiling from the shadows...
In light of our story this morning on the Mainstream Corporate Media's failure to air the charges of an extraordinarily credible FBI whistleblower, whose charges are described by the legendary Vietnam-era whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg as "far more explosive than the Pentagaon Papers", the following, we suppose, should come as little surprise. Yet, in reviewing the points below, the mind still reels...
Through 17 debates this year, roughly 1,500 questions have been asked of the two parties' presidential candidates. But only a small handful of questions have touched on the candidates' views on executive power, the Constitution, torture, wiretapping, or other civil liberties concerns. (A description of those questions appears at the end of this
Only one question about wiretapping. Not a single question about FISA.
There has, however, been a question about whether the Constitution should be changed to allow Arnold Schwarzenegger to be president.
Not one question about renditions. The words "habeas corpus" have not once been spoken by a debate moderator. Candidates have not been asked about telecom liability.
But there was this illuminating question, asked of a group of Republicans running for president: "Seriously, would it be good for America to have Bill Clinton back living in the White House?"
Though Republicans often claim that the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping of Americans is necessary to
prevent "another 9-11," debate moderators have not once asked candidates about recent revelations that suggest the administration began its surveillance efforts long before the September 11, 2001, attacks, not in response to them.
But NBC's Brian Williams did ask the Democratic candidates what they would "go as" for Halloween.
No moderator has asked a single question of a single candidate about whether the president should be able to order the
indefinite detention of an American citizen, without charging the prisoner with any crime.
But Tim Russert did ask Congressman Dennis Kucinich --- in what he felt compelled to insist was "a serious question" --- whether he has seen a UFO.
No moderator has asked a single question about whether the candidates agree with the Bush administration's
rather skeptical view of congressional oversight.
But Hillary Clinton was asked, "Do you prefer diamonds or pearls?"
"I'd say what she has is far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers," Daniel Ellsberg told us in regard to former FBI translator turned whistleblower Sibel Edmonds.
"From what I understand, from what she has to tell, it has a major difference from the Pentagon Papers in that it deals directly with criminal activity and may involve impeachable offenses," Ellsberg explained. "And I don't necessarily mean the President or the Vice-President, though I wouldn't be surprised if the information reached up that high. But other members of the Executive Branch may be impeached as well. And she says similar about Congress."
The BRAD BLOG spoke recently with the legendary 1970's-era whistleblower in the wake of our recent exclusive, detailing Edmonds' announcement that she was prepared to risk prosecution to expose the entirety of the still-classified information that the Bush Administration has "gagged" her from revealing for the past five years under claims of the arcane "State Secrets Privilege."
Ellsberg, the former defense analyst and one-time State Department official, knows well the plight of whistleblowers. He himself was prepared to spend his life in prison for the exposure of some 7,000 pages of classified Department of Defense documents concerning Executive Branch manipulation of facts and outright lies leading the country into an extended war in Vietnam.
Ellsberg seemed hardly surprised that today's American mainstream broadcast media has so far failed to take Edmonds up on her offer, despite the blockbuster nature of her allegations.
As Edmonds has also noted, Ellsberg pointed to the New York Times, who "sat on the NSA spying story for over a year" when they "could have put it out before the 2004 election, which might have changed the outcome."
"There will be phone calls going out to the media saying 'don't even think of touching it, you will be prosecuted for violating national security,'" he told us.
"I have been receiving calls from the mainstream media all day," Edmonds recounted the day after we ran the story announcing that she was prepared to violate her gag-order to disclose all of the national security-related criminal allegations she has been kept from disclosing for the past five years.
"The media called from Japan and France and Belgium and Germany and Canada and from all over the world," she told The BRAD BLOG.
"But not from here?" we asked incredulously.
"I'm getting contact from all over the world, but not from here. Isn't that disgusting?" she shot back.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton prepared for a battle with her Democratic rivals at the CNN-sponsored debate on Thursday night. She did not have much to fear from the postdebate round table.
Among the experts trotted out by CNN to comment was James Carville, a Democratic strategist and CNN commentator who is also a close friend of Mrs. Clinton and a contributor to her campaign.
Mr. Carville’s presence aroused the fury of rivals and bloggers. They called it a conflict of interest and criticized CNN.
“Would it kill CNN to disclose that James Carville is a partisan Clinton supporter when talking about the presidential race?” Markos Moulitsas wrote on his liberal blog, Daily Kos. Mr. Moulitsas drew hundreds of comments.
If you're one of those dutiful souls who felt that the responsible exercise of citizenship required you to watch Thursday's debate among the Democratic candidates on CNN, you probably came away feeling as if you'd spent a couple of hours locked in the embrace of a time share salesman.
We're not talking about the candidates here, but about the shamelessly high-pressure pitch machine that has replaced the Cable News Network's once smart and reliable campaign coverage. Was there ever a better backdrop than Las Vegas for the traveling wreck of a journalistic carnival that CNN's political journalism has become? And can there now be any doubt that, in his last life, Wolf Blitzer had a booth on the midway, barking for the bearded lady and the dog-faced boy?
Tim Dickinson at Rolling Stone wonders if Wolf Blitzer is a douche or just a dislikeable fellow for running interference on behalf of Hillary.
Eric Altermann thought Joe Biden won the debate while, "The loser was Wolf Blitzer."
And the Gateway Pundit has an excellent rundown on the entire CNN hearts Hillary debacle.
After all the work on the film, last night was “a real shot in the arm for all of us,” the director says—with one small exception. “There was a long, long line to get in,” Earnhardt says, chuckling. “The irony wasn’t lost on us.”
And from an emailer who just sent us the following, after having received and watched his signed DVD version of the film, that we sent to him via our recent premium offer (sorry, we've got no more, it sold out very quickly!)...
Received and watched Uncounted yesterday. I'm gonna start by ordering 10 more copies, giving them to friends, asking them to watch it, and then have them pass it on to another friend who cares. You don't think that'll count as a chain letter do you? What a great movie!!!!! FINALLY, SOMETHING THAT LAYS IT ALL OUT CLEARLY AND BEAUTIFULLY FOR THE WORLD TO SEE!!!!!!!If I was rich I'd buy thousands of copies but I'll have to be content to start with ten. My holiday presents to the country and the hope of restoring democracy here.
If you've yet to get your own copy of the DVD, we strongly recommend it! You can do that, as well as watch the film's trailer, right here.
DISCLOSURE: Though we show up in this film a number of times, and the filmmaker, David Earnhardt, has purchased a banner ad here at The BRAD BLOG for the film, we make no money from sales of the film, or even click-throughs on the ad. We just think it's damned good and ought to be seen by everyone in America, so we're happy to point it out.
Congrats to David on the great reaction at the premiere! He reported to us after Monday's screening in Nashville that "The enthusiasm people had was over the top positive - people cheered several times during the film - like when Steve Heller printed the documents (a rousing cheer!)" What? No cheers for my appearances, David? Never mind. Don't buy this film!
Asociated Press and ABC both cover the Judiciary Hearings with John Tanner today, leading with his tepid apology: "I want to apologize for the comments I made at the recent meeting of the National Latino Congress about the impact of voter identification laws on elderly and minority voters … My explanation of the data came across in a hurtful way, which I deeply regret."
His data were fine (they weren't), just that his explanation was hurtful.
The head of the DoJ's Civil Rights Division Voting Section's apologia comes in response to comments made on a video tape that, according to both AP and ABC, apparently created itself, reported itself, and then posted itself on YouTube.
In the statement they released yesterday from Howard Dean and Donna Brazile, calling for Tanner to be fired, they attributed the comments to FoxNews.com. Very thoughtful.
Luckily, we are so well off here at The BRAD BLOG, so flush with overflowing resources, as based on the world-wide MSM recognition of the credibility of our work, we don't need the DNC to recognize us for having handed them Tanner's head on a silver platter via our elbow grease at our own expense.
Rupert Murdoch, on the other hand, can use all the help he can get. If we're able to raise enough for this month's rent on our latest premium offer, we'll be sure to send whatever is left over to him. Happy DNC?
(Can you tell I'm rolling on little more than 3 hours' sleep today? Okay, done with my whining for tonight. Maybe.)
UPDATE:The Hill reports "CBC (Congressional Black Caucus) members pummel Department of Justice official" and NPR covers as well. They credit no one for the original reporting. Which is preferred to crediting "a Youtube video."
Here's NPR's coverage, with audio of some of the best Tanner spankings today (appx 4 mins)...
UPDATE: 10/31/07: PBS News Hour covered last night as well. And includes an appropriate attribution. In case it's not clear, the attribution is not because we need ego strokes or pats on the back. It's so that bad guys, in the future, are less able to say "Oh, that explosive report exposing us came from a blog, and we all know that blogs aren't credible." When said blog has been credited as credible by folks such as AP, ABC, and yes, even the DNC, it makes it much more difficult for those bad guys to duck accountability using the "just an Internet blog" defense.
Here's the PBS News Hour's coverage (thanks to Alan Breslauer!) from last night:
A "Game of Chicken" is how Washington Post describes the current standoff in the Senate concerning the FEC nomination of GOP "voter fraud" zealot/operative Hans von Spakovsky. The nomination is currently at a standstill, along with three other FEC nominations that Senate Republicans insist be voted on along with him, in the wake of a hold registered by Obama and Feingold.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's D-NV) incredible "deal" to slide HvS's nomination through has, for now, thankfully come to a standstill. But the resultant standoff could mean no operational FEC in 2008 as only two commissioners are currently left, and a minimum of four are needed to vote on anything.
WaPo's piece includes supportive quotes, in favor of von Spakovsky, from hard right partisan and former FEC Chair Brad Smith. Yet it fails to point out how much of a rightwing bomb-thrower Smith --- who charged in his own Redstate blog item last week that HvS is "currently under attack for being a Republican" --- actually is. Would WaPo have given such prominence to someone on the other side of the political spectrum?
You'll note, in Smith's piece, written prior to WaPo's, that he refers to Democratic "nutroots" as being responsible for the hold, along with "the campaign finance zealotry of Senator Feingold." Smith, apparently, forgot to mention that Feingold's co-sponsor on that bill was John McCain, who --- last we checked --- is a Republican.
In short, Smith argues in his Redstate diatribe, that though HvS may have participated in GOP-backed voter supression efforts when he served at the DoJ, nobody has complained about actions during his tenure over the last many months as an absentee appointee at the FEC. To which we say, yes, after the Fox has overseen the mutilation of the chickens in the Henhouse, by all means, let's elect him as chief meat inspector for the USDA.
Beyond that, and in teeing things up for this Tuesday's heaings in the House Judiciary Committee, set to star John "Minorities Die First" Tanner, the outrageously still-employed chief of the Bush DoJ Civil Rights Division Voting Section, Christy Hardin Smith suggests the GOP may be "throwing Tanner under the bus" in favor of von Spakovsky. She catches us up with the latest today in "Hans Down".
In the meantime, AM 1360 KLSD in San Diego hangs on by a thread. And, aside from Mike Gravel, not a single Democratic Presidential candidate, that we're aware of, has said or done anything about the next likely casualty of media deregulation (Bill Clinton) and the abolishment of the Fairness Doctrine (Ronald Reagan), which will leave America's sixth largest city without a progressive talk radio station during a Presidential Election year.
I've been meaning to mention all week how appalling it was to see Tim Russert waste the entire sixty minutes of network airtime last week on NBC's Meet the Press, covering the 2008 Presidential Speculation. What, Ann Coulter was available for an "exclusive" full hour interview?
The vacuous hour followed a week on the heels of an extraordinary NY Times exposé on the con game played out by the Bush Administration concerning their torture policies; while America still has more than 160,000 troops committed to two hot wars; and with a criminal cabal still running full throttle out of the current White House.
Thankfully, Colbert mentioned it for me last night...
...And on that note, while Russert fiddles and Rome burns, the exchange with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, also fiddling, as conducted by the tenacious Christiane Brown of Reno's progressive station talk station, KJFK, is both disturbing and illuminating.
In the short interview (courtesy of AfterDowningStreet.org), Reid just can't seem to understand the Constitutional responsibility of Congress to hold the Executive branch accountable, when warranted (as it clearly is now as much as any time in this nation's history), through Impeachment proceedings.
The quick audio (less than two minutes), with Reid grasping at straws to answer Brown's questions, while he declares Impeachment as "such a waste of time" and a "foolish idea" is here:
AfterDowningStreet also reports that Nancy Pelosi's appearance on Ed Schultz's show yesterday, in regard to the same topic, was similarly limp. Though we haven't gotten to hear that one yet, as Big Ed's archives are behind a subscription wall.
...All of which also gives us the opportunity to post the following graphic --- run by the Wall Street Journal, way back in 2006, based on data from even farther back in 2005 --- showing support for Impeachment of Bush as compared to Bill Clinton.
In a letter sent to station management, as The BRAD BLOG reported in August, former Democratic Senator from Alaska, Mike Gravel, correctly wrote: "The increasing monopolization of the mainstream media today demands that we stand up for independent-minded, progressive voices out there like KLSD AM 1360 in San Diego."
He was the only Presidential Candidate, to our knowledge, to utter a word about it.
As reports emerge that progressive radio talker Ed Schultz' audience now matches Bill O'Reilly's, one has to wonder what the hell the Democrats --- specifically the rest of the Democratic Presidential candidates --- are thinking, as Clear Channel prepares to flip the only progressive talk station in the nation's sixth largest city over to an all-sports format any day now.
The busy Internet rumors suggest it could happen as early as this week. Station insiders have told The BRAD BLOG it's more likely to happen on November 1st "at the earliest", as the corporate bosses at Clear Channel get ducks in a row for what is currently seen as an "inevitable" flip.
It'll be one less major market for Big Ed, one of the Democratic party's biggest and most effective supporters. Though O'Reilly will, no doubt, remain on the air in San Diego, despite the damage and shame his irresponsible "reporting" brings to our Republic.
At the time, we suggested to both organizers of the protests and station personnel that they join with Air America (who has several shows airing on the station) to invite the Democratic Presidential candidates out to San Diego for an Emergency Debate focusing on one of the very reasons our country is in the mess that it is: Corporate Consolidation of the Public Airwaves.
It seems quite clear that such consolidation has not been in the best interest of the people who own the airwaves. And further, it seems clear that the corporate interests who lease access to that spectrum, from the people, don't give a damn about such interests.
And yet, to our knowledge, in the nearly two months since Clear Channel indicated they were preparing to flip the station format, only one Democratic Presidential candidate, Gravel, has understood the importance about speaking out against this outrage.
Guest Blogged by BRAD BLOG's D.C. Correspondent, Margie Burns
It was a big day on Thursday in the national capital, with several flaming surges hitting the news at once – the Washington Post hooking up with the MSM campaign to put “Hillary” over the top before the magic deadline of October 15 (more on that later, elsewhere); Rep. Henry Waxman and the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee holding a powerful hearing on Iraqi corruption; the blocking of Hans von Spakovsky's nomination to the FEC; and discussion of a proposed federal shield law for journalists (full text of bill here), which was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee today to the full Senate.
While I was able to sit in for hearings on two of the items above, space and time regrettably being constraints, I'll cover only the proposed shield law for the moment. Right up top, I have to say that I have qualms about it. A real leak, by a whistleblower exposing a crime or some danger to the public, is one thing. But protecting journalists from exposing a politically motivated ‘source’ trying to plant misinformation is another. This bill, as it was debated in committee and written about in papers yesterday, might equally protect both, if it protects either...