I'm getting ready for today's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica, so, in the meantime, if you're wondering what you may have missed today, among other things, it seems the Boston Marathon Bomber has taken down another victim: CNN.
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Ernie Moniz, Obama's nominee for Energy Secretary, heads to easy confirmation in Senate; Former NRC chair says US nukes should be replaced; Fukushima is drowning in a sea of radioactive water; Exxon gets a medal for safety?!? PLUS: Conservative icon Margaret Thatcher believed in SCIENCE, and ACTION on climate change... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Frackers Losing $1.5b Yearly to Leaks; Australia's Coal Industry Headed For Failure; Judge denies BP's attempt to reduce oil spill payouts; Worst wildlife disease in N. America just got worse; Toxic chemicals in Great Lakes plastic pollution; Cost of air pollution scourge underestimated; Billionaire Koch Brother's bizarre self-delusion on climate science; When You Account For The Oceans, Global Warming Continues Apace... PLUS: How Far Can Climate Change Go? ... and much, MUCH more! ...
It's a beautiful and maddening film, featuring many voices --- such as Julian Assange, John Nichols, Dan Rather, Amy Goodman, Robert Parry, Robert McChesney, Dan Ellsberg, Sibel Edmonds and many more, including even yours truly --- who will be familiar to readers of The BRAD BLOG. While aspects of a number of the stories told in the film may be familiar, there were elements that even I hadn't heard about it, in just about every one of them.
I had planned to ask Tremblay about his struggles finding commercial theatrical distribution for the film in the U.S. I'd presumed that, at least, would be next to impossible, given the subject matter of the film (the corporate takeover/merger of the near-entirety of our mainstream media in collusion with the highest levels of the U.S. government.) What I hadn't counted on --- what caught me completely off-guard --- was that Tremblay said that, while the film has been featured at prestigious film festivals around the world, the bulk of the major festivals in the U.S. had turned the film down. Yes, those supposedly "independent" film festivals are, apparently, not quite as independent as they used to be, it seems.
Our conversation, today, was the first, as I understand it, that Tremblay has been able to have in the U.S. media about this important film which has been several years in the making. (I was interviewed for the film about three years ago as I recall.)
The good news: We were able to talk about all of that today, unencumbered by any corporate filter and over our public airwaves on Pacifica Radio in L.A. (and over 110,000 blazing FM watts across much of Southern and Central California!)
The even better news: You can watch the film, in its entirety, streaming on the Internet as of tomorrow, Thursday, April 4 at Shadows.KCETlink.org. (You can watch a number of clips from the film there already.)
And, the even better news still: Shadows of Liberty will air on actual television, beginning Friday, April 5th at 8pm ET and PT on independent KCET in Los Angeles and nationwide on Link TV (DISH Channel 9410, DIRECTTV Channel 375).
Until then, you can listen to my conversation with Tremblay from today's BradCast, which includes a number of clips from the film --- along with a few more items of note in the news week (such as concerns about the 100% unverifiable voting systems set for use in the race of Stephen Colbert's sister, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, in her run for the U.S. House in S. Carolina against former Gov. Mark Sanford; the Virginia GOP voter registration worker who was caught tossing registration forms into a dumpster just before the Presidential Election last year, but who seems to now be getting off the hook, and, of course, a visit from our own Desi Doyen, as usual, with the latest Green News Report) --- all right now here.
P.S. Please be the media and spread the word. Thanks. P.P.S. If I haven't "sold" you enough on the film here and in the radio show above, see the official trailer embedded below. Those of you who know my voice will recognize it a few times...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: On the one hand, Obama moves the environmental ball forward --- on the other hand... not so much; Oil leak in CO; Fish populations rebound (thanks, Big Government!); BP trial update; Abu Dhabi opens world's largest solar plant; Power failure at stricken Fukushima nuke plant; PLUS: Wind turbine sickness caused by anti-wind propaganda ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): High-resolution charts show carbon impacts skyrocketing; Democratic senators intro legislation to end oil industry tax breaks; March's extreme weather swings; Emergency cleanup at abandoned gold mine; Canada scientists muzzled by Harper Administration; Debunking the Daily Mail -again; Days of promise fade for ethanol ... PLUS: "De-extinction": Why we shouldn't bring back extinct species from the dead ... and much, MUCH more! ...
Today on my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show --- after breaking the news about the newly elected Pope --- I interviewed Eugene Iredale, attorney of the former San Diego ACORN worker Juan Carlos Vera who received a $100,000 settlement from Rightwing con-artist James O'Keefe last week. (Vera also received $50,000 from O'Keefe's former partner Hannah Giles in a separate settlement last summer.)
Vera's California Invasion of Privacy Act lawsuit, filed in 2010, stemmed from O'Keefe and Giles' surreptitious wiretapping of a "confidential" conversation with Vera. The conversation (during which Vera played along to learn about the duo's pretend plot to smuggle underage prostitutes into the country, so he could turn them in to law enforcement) was then deceptively edited for misleading use in the infamous ACORN "pimp" hoax tapes published by Andrew Breitbart and blatantly misreported by New York Times, et al.
Iredale discussed O'Keefe's illegalities at the center of the suit; why other ACORN workers hadn't similarly sued the three con-artists; why Breitbart was not included in Vera's suit; why he didn't also sue for defamation; whether these settlements can be seen as a "victory"; and much more.
P.S. I invited O'Keefe to join today's show to offer his side of the story (live and not deceptively edited), but last night he seems to have decided he didn't "have the guts" to show up.
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We will not be joined as well by O'Keefe himself, unfortunately, despite my invitations to him after his 'I'm the victim here!' tweets last week when news of the settlement broke. He had described media coverage of the settlement agreement as "lies and lies and more lies from journafascists" and attempted to taunt the media to "have the guts" to allow him to tell his side of the story. We took him up on that offer and invited him to appear on The BradCast today, live! Which is impossible to deceptively edit! (You're welcome, Jimmy!) But until late last night he didn't "have the guts" to even respond to my generous invitation.
After a second invite last night, however, I finally heard back from him...
Former San Diego ACORN worker, Juan Carlos Vera will receive $100,000 in a settlement from federal criminal and professional liar James O'Keefe, after being secretly video-taped in violation of California law by the Rightwing propagandist. The tape was just one in a series of similar videos, all deceptively edited as part of his 2009 ACORN "pimp" hoax series.
After Breitbart's publication, the edited tapes were widely covered, without fact-checking, in both the Rightwing media such as Fox "News" and non-Rightwing media such as the New York Times. The Times was eventually forced to issue partial-corrections for their inaccurate reporting after a six month effort by The BRAD BLOG to point out how they'd been duped by O'Keefe, who had lied about appearing as a 70s era blaxploitation "pimp" in the offices of ACORN.
A 2010 investigation by the CA Attorney General determined there was "no criminality" by ACORN workers seen in any of the raw video tapes. O'Keefe and his partner Hannah Giles agreed to turn over the unedited tapes in exchange for immunity from criminal prosecution in the state. "The evidence illustrates that things are not always as partisan zealots portray them through highly selective editing of reality," California's then AG Jerry Brown said in a statement accompanying the release of his office's investigation which "involved attorneys from all three legal divisions – Criminal Law, Public Rights, and Civil Law – as well as Special Agents from the Department’s Bureau of Investigation and Intelligence."
"Sometimes a fuller truth is found on the cutting room floor," he added.
While the deal left the AG's office unable to prosecute the duo, the criminal investigation found that O'Keefe and Giles likely violated the civil provisions of CA's Privacy Act and could be sued under those provisions "for recording a confidential conversation without consent." Vera, who, after his odd meeting with O'Keefe and Giles had the wherewithal to contact the police, sued both of them in July of 2010 for violations of the act...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Obama's Interior nominee promises "balanced" use of public lands; Extreme weather forces Republicans to cancel climate science denial hearing; Colorado city defies Governor, bans fracking; Conflict of interest in State Dept's glowing Keystone XL pipeline report; PLUS: Hottest summer ever on record in Australia ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Why are sinkholes swallowing Florida?; 'Carbon capture and storage will never pay off'; Jump In atmospheric CO2 brings climate catastrophe closer; U.S. clean energy trade surplus with China; Climate change will open up surprising new Arctic shipping routes; Ice Age study bolsters CO2 and warming link; CA town requires all new homes to have solar power; GOP legislator seeks a new carbon tax on bicycle riders; Infections with 'Nightmare Bacteria' on the rise in U.S. hospitals ... PLUS: Don't Worry: Keystone XL pipeline would be safe from the climate impacts it would cause ... and much, MUCH more! ...
Wow. You likely won't see this covered on the actual Fox "News" Channel --- at least not in these words --- but somehow it made it onto their website yesterday [emphasis added]...
New technological advances may make it possible in the near future to engineer a coal-powered car so clean that it produces nearly no polluting emissions, including carbon dioxide, experts tell FoxNews.com.
As Peter Sinclair has mocked the denialists, while debunking their silly notion that CO2, even too much of it, is merely "plant food": "Plants use CO2. Therefore, more CO2 is good. It’s one of the hardy perennials of climate denialism."
The rest of the Fox article goes on to describe the developing technology for "clean coal-powered cars." We can't speak to the feasibility of the technology, but, if it's accurately described by Fox (how could it not be?!) it sounds quite interesting. Reportedly, it combines pulverized coal with iron-oxide pellets to create an "oxidation" process that produces heat "in a small chamber from which pollutants cannot escape."
"The only waste product would be water and solid coal ash --- no greenhouse gases," the article by Gene J. Koprowski claims, adding that the same technology could possibly be used "as a replacement for old-fashioned coal power plants, which spew greenhouse gases."
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Climate change already hitting Rocky Mtn ski resorts; House Dems slam Republicans for obstruction of climate action; Shell Oil calls it quits in the Arctic --- for now; Fox 'News' makes a stunning admission; Drought in the West, Flooding in Europe PLUS: Finally, some good news for kids in Detroit ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Sequestration would be bad news for clean energy and a clean environment; You may be eating toxic chemicals, even if you eat organic, avoid plastic; High court throws out $1B fraud verdict in Exxon leak case; US nuclear dump is leaking toxic waste; USDA warns farmers of accelerating climate change; Loss of wild bees serious threat to crop yields; Weather extremes provoked by trapping of giant waves in atmosphere ... PLUS: The New Abolitionists: Global Warming Is The Great Moral Crisis Of Our Time ... and much, MUCH more! ...
Yes, Washington D.C. and the corporate media which cover it, are spending a whole lot of time and resources playing into what amounts to a massive presentation of kabuki theater, and its not one that actually helps us with the addition of new jobs or economic growth in any real way whatsoever. Arguably, as Spross explains, it may well accomplish just the opposite.
It's difficult to select just the key passages from the piece, as mentioned, since it's chock full of smart analysis throughout. But, for those without the patience to read the whole thing, here are a few of the central thoughts that you should educate yourself about...
"First I want to say thank you, if you tuned in this past Monday to watch the new MSNBC documentary about how the last administration tricked the U.S. into the Iraq War," she said. The film garnered the highest ratings of any documentary in the history of the channel.
"The success is really exciting. It means there will be more of where that came from in coming months and years," Maddow explained before announcing that the film will re-air on Friday, March 15th at 9pm ET. (You can watch the entire documentary online before that right here, if you like.)
Congratulations are certainly due. While there were several new revelations in the film, much of the story of the string of blatant lies and scams culled together to hoax the country into war had already been known to those of us news geeks who follow this stuff too closely. Nonetheless, it was very helpful, and an excellent reminder, to see the entire case laid out in a single, simple, watchable presentation. We're delighted to hear it was a ratings success.
Revisiting that disaster also helped encourage The BRAD BLOG to examine several still-existing loose ends --- beyond the fact that, shamefully, nobody in the Bush Administration has ever been brought to account in any way for what happened, including what are clearly a series of very serious war crimes. Among the points we've been looking into, in the wake of the Hubris documentary, is the questions of whether or not Colin Powell "knowingly lied" in his presentation of what turned out to be blatantly false evidence for the case against Saddam Hussein and Iraq, when the then-Secretary of State spoke to the U.N. Security Council on February 5, 2003 and helped turn the tide of public opinion in favor of an invasion.
Powell's Chief of Staff at the time, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, admits during the film that he and Powell "did participate in a hoax." But, in a statement in response to our request for comment, Wilkerson vigorously denied that either he or his boss knowingly did so. He sent his statement after we'd published anti-war author and activist David Swanson's critique of the Hubris film, on the day after it initially aired. In the critique, Swanson cites his own 2011 essay which offers evidence to argue that Powell "knowingly lied" during his presentation to the U.N. (Both Swanson and 27-year Sr. CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who was cited in Wilkerson's response, each replied to him in turn. You can read all of their responses here.)
While Swanson "applauded" the MSNBC documentary for helping to "prolong Americans' awareness of the lies that destroyed Iraq," he also offered a number of pointed critiques for the cable news channel itself. His observations are on-point in both regards, and help to raise a suggestion for an important and necessary follow-up documentary that, we suspect, would likely garner ratings at least as high as those earned for Hubris.
After all, though Hubris:Selling the Iraq War focused on the lies told by the Bush Administration in the run-up to war, unfortunately, they were not the only ones "selling the Iraq War"...
We'll have a related-ish story on all of this Monday. But, for the moment --- in the comment thread of our recent story about Colin Powell's former Chief of Staff Col. Lawrence Wilkerson's vehement denial that his old boss "knowingly lied" during his infamous 2/5/03 U.N. Security Council presentation of what turned out to be false evidence of an Saddam Hussein's WMD program, there was a fair bit of vitriol directed at both Powell and Wilkerson.
A number of commenters feel that neither of the two men have yet to come fully clean, and argued as much in pretty harsh terms in their remarks.
I'm uncomfortable with a lot of the Wilkerson bashing in this comment thread.
I would agree that there are gaps in Wilkerson and Powell's narratives. I share the anger and frustration of the continuing themes in this country of no accountability for those in power, whether the issues are war and death, financial collapse and suffering, or the constant lying and gross misrepresentation of history and reality that we're subjected to every day by most politicians and the bulk of the corporate media.
On Monday night, NBC News aired its new documentary, Hubris: Selling the Iraq War, based on the book of a similar name by David Corn and Michael Isikoff. The film offered a number of new and disturbing insights since the original 2007 book was published.
While it may be maddening --- particularly for those of us who followed the massive scam as it was ongoing --- the documentary should be mandatory viewing for those who have lost sight of just how each and every single one of the key reasons used to sell the U.S. on war with Iraq was built on known lies. Each and every point --- from Saddam's alleged ties to al-Qaeda, to his alleged mobile chemical labs, to his alleged nuke program, to those aluminum tubes said to have been for use in uranium enrichment, to the "fissile material" (yellowcake) he was said to have been trying to obtain from Niger --- was a lie. And each an every lie was known to be a lie by the scoundrels and war criminals who sold it to the American public and a compliant American media.
Even with its failures, and several of them are identified here, Hubris reminds us of how each and every one of those points was a scam. Period. And, while it's not expressly highlighted (but should be in a follow up!), we are reminded how none of the liars have ever faced any accountability whatsoever, despite nearly 4,500 U.S. troops killed, more than 30,000 of them wounded, well over 100,000 Iraqi citizens murdered and some $3 trillion looted from our nation's coffers. You should take the time to watch it.
The entire documentary, broken into 6 parts, narrated by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, and originally aired on 2/18/2013, follows in full below...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: All hands on deck (if not the corporate media!) for the largest climate rally in U.S. history... but is President Obama all talk and no action?; Secret memo reveals tar sands are poisoning Alberta, Canada; PLUS: Mayor Bloomberg's big plans to greenify NYC ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Secret funding helped build vast network of climate denial thinktanks; BP challenges ‘excessive’ spill claims; GAO: Climate change poses big financial risk to US government; NASA: ‘Alarming’ water loss in Middle East; Study: Global warming will bring more blizzards, less overall snow; Air pollution causes heart attacks; Canadian enviro-activists 'threat to national security'; Tesla v. NYT, round 3; OH accused of dumping fracking wastewater; Did PA lie about fracking water contamination? ... PLUS: GMOs: Nearly half of all US farms now have superweeds ... and much, MUCH more! ...