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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, August 29, 2014
Erick Erickson's Global Warming Denialist Tantrum
Latest barometer of denialist desperation: The rightwing 'thought leader', as usual, is wrong on the facts and science, so he's just taking his ball and going home...
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'Green News Report' 8/28/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
BP refinery explodes. Again.; UN report warns of 'irreversible' warming; Fines for oil, chem spills; 22% of world elec. is now green; PLUS: People's Climate March coming to NYC...
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Faking the Ferguson Docs:
KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad interviews open records advocate Charlie Grapski on his evidence that Ferguson and St. Louis County police are illegally withholding evidence in the killing of Michael Brown; Plus MUCH more...
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How else to explain the missing details and required documentation of Officer Darren Wilson's killing of Michael Brown?...
'Green News Report' 8/26/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
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Previous GNRs: 8/21/14 - 8/19/14 - Archives...
Our Story So Far: The WI GOP Photo ID Voting Restrictions
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The Democratic U.S. Congressman from Georgia's 4th district joins Bradto discuss his new bill...
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Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


LAURA BUSH FLASHBACK: 'Dr. Rice Not Interested in Presidency Because She's Single, No Parents Living, is Only Child'
PLUS: Nora Ephron's 'Condi Diaries'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/15/2007 3:51pm PT  


Finally! A media outlet which appropriately covered the news from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing last week in which Rice claimed the White House made no estimates for the potential change in casualty rates that may come from their plan to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq.

Over the weekend The McClaughlin Group focused on --- and showed the video of --- the actual newsworthy exchange between Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rice, if you can imagine such a thing.

If you can't, that video is here for you on the right. (Hat-tip Alan Breslauer)

Yes, the Washington Times' Tony Blankley tried mightily to turn the topic to the phony, non-existent "attack" that the White House, and their sycophants in the media from the wingnut blogs all the way over to the NYTimes fell for, but he was fairly well shut down by both Eleanor Clift and Pat Buchanan. But given Wash Times' extraordinarily and purposely twisted "reporting" we saw over the weekend ("Democrats" suggested "the secretary's childlessness, race and sex are to blame for mistakes in Iraq," distorted the White House Organ and Tony Snow's old stomping ground), we're not surprised at Blankley's attempts to do the WH's bidding.

It's only a shame that Lawrence O'Donnell wasn't sitting in with 'The Group' this week.

Yes, O'Reilly keeps up the disingenuous (or uninformed, take your pick) attacks as he was on all morning about Boxer's non-existent "attack" on Rice, as if any such attack actually occurred, on his Radio Factor. Hey, Bill: You can read the transcript of the exchange here, or you can look at the actual video above. Or you can continue to misinform your listeners and viewers. Either way, I continue to make myself available to you if you wish to interview me on the matter, as I'm the guy who originally wrote the question that Boxer asked.

Beyond that, perhaps the tide is turning as folks are beginning to see this whole shameless phony Rightwing twist/smear for what it really is. Nora Ephron over at HuffPo, after pointing out apparently-not-"outrageous"-at-all comments made Laura Bush about Condi before year's end --- "Dr. Rice, who I think would be a really good candidate, is not interested. Probably because she is single, her parents are no longer living, she's an only child. You need a very supportive family and supportive friends to have this job." --- goes on to give us a peek at "Condi's Diary."

By way of necessary reminder, here's the way Boxer actually prefaced her question about WH casualty estimates (or the apparent lack thereof):

BOXER: Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families. And I just want to bring us back to that fact.

As you see, she said nothing about Rice not having the moral authority to make such choices, didn't attack her childlessness or her singleness or her sex or her race or anything at all, as has been wildly, widely, and wholly inaccurately "reported" by Wash Times, O'Reilly, Snow and friends...

A sample from "Condi's Diary" by Nephron follows below. The full, informative piece of satire is here...

I felt so dumb, Dear Diary. It turned out she had really insulted me, but I was so busy wrinkling my forehead I hadn't really clocked it. She'd been asking me about the war, and she'd said to me: "The issue is who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families."

Karl and Tony said: "How does that make you feel? Doesn't it make you feel terrible?"

"Not as terrible as Chuck Hagel made me feel," I said. "Chuck Hagel actually insulted our policy! He insulted The P.!"

"Never mind that," Karl Rove said. "Barbara Boxer insulted you."

PREVIOUS RELATED BRAD BLOG ARTICLES:

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The White House Organ Faced Stiff Competition, But Managed to Produce the Most Disingenuous, Inaccurate, U.S. Troop-Hating 'News Report' of the Week
Tony Snow to Present 'Award Statuette' in Appreciation During Secret Rose Garden Ceremony...
By Brad Friedman on 1/14/2007 12:56pm PT  

Since it should have always been front and center --- but even the New York Times succeeded in fellating the White House by ignoring the news this week --- here is that news once again:

* * * The White House failed to make any casualty estimates before committing another 20,000+ U.S. troops to War in Iraq, according to the Secretary of State. * * * (transcript)

The news, which The BRAD BLOG covered almost exclusively, came in reply to a direct question from Sen. Barbara Boxer during last Thursday's oversight hearings on Iraq Policy when Condoleezza Rice came to Capitol Hill to argue in favor of the White House's new escalation plan.

But as Boxer's critical direct question evoked Condi's stunning answer --- which, if true, reveals a remarkable delinquency and breathtaking lack of support for U.S. troops by this White House --- was subsequently all but ignored by the media both on the Right and the supposedly not-on-the-Right. After White House spokeshole/MVP Tony Snow gave his cue to attack the messenger to avoid the message, all of his media tools lined up behind him and performed admirably in the service of disserving America.

But among fierce competition this week, the Biggest Tool of the Week Award must be given to one of the White House's very own publications, The Washington Times.

In "reporting" on this statement made by Boxer during the exchange with Rice on Thursday...

BOXER: Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families. And I just want to bring us back to that fact.

...The Washington Times' and their "reporter" Charles Hurt topped the rest of the wingnut and non-wingnut media by turning it into the following remarkable opening graf from their front page propaganda piece on the phony, White House created "outrage" by Saturday...

The White House and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday accused Democrats of suggesting that the secretary's childlessness, race and sex are to blame for mistakes in Iraq.

Wow! Now that's some impressive work! Give that Tony Snow a raise!

All the other men and women in America who helped him --- for free --- give them a one-way ticket to Gitmo, since clearly they hate both America and the troops attempting to defend her.

Remind us again why Impeachment is "off the table"? Is it because Tony Snow says so? If so, we understand completely. We hope he'll let us know when it's okay to proceed.

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The Once-Great Paper Misrepresents the Facts, Quotes Only Rightwingers and Misrepresents Some of them to Suggest They are 'Liberal'
PLUS: An Invitation to Bill O'Reilly...
By Brad Friedman on 1/13/2007 3:21pm PT  

The New York Times today joins the White House, the disingenuous Rightwing media and blogs, and even several unnamed supposed non-Rightwingers in purposely misconstruing Sen. Barbara Boxer's question to Condi Rice at last Thursday's Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Bush's new policy to escalate troop commitment in Iraq.

I reported on the controversy over the phony Boxer/Rice brouhaha yesterday here, after originally calling on a Congress member to ask the very question that Boxer asked (and which the Times ignored) last Sunday and again after Bush's speech on Wednesday night in the face of his supporting, yet callous, comments on the new policy that "we must expect more Iraqi and American casualties."

If the way in which the Times twisted the facts of the event was unintentional, the only alternative then is that the reporters who covered it, Helene Cooper and Thom Shanker, and the editors who allowed the article to go through, are utterly incapable of even the simplest intelligent analysis of a critical and relevant news event and, frankly, shouldn't be working for a paper as still-important to this country as the New York Times.

Picking up on the phony controversy over the prelude to Boxer's question of whether the White House had "an estimate of the number of casualties we expect from this surge?" --- the stunning answer from the Secretary of State, if she's to be believed, is that no, they did not --- the Times joined Fox "News" and NYPost and the other wingnut outlets in both twisting Boxer's comments and forwarding the unsupported notion that there was some sort of personal slur built into them.

The Times quotes Boxer's "offending" phrase --- one that even Rice admits not being offended at, until after the White House Press Secretary, Tony Snow, suggested the comments were "outrageous" later on --- as follows:

During the Thursday hearing, Ms. Boxer told Ms. Rice: "You’re not going to pay any particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family."

Wow! The height of personal rudeness! Boxer really smacked down Rice for not being married and having no children! A comment which several suddenly-"feminist" Rightwing outlets characterized as "One Great Leap (Backwards) for Womankind!" just after Snow coincidentally called it a "great leap backward for feminism" in his official response.

Problem is, the way the Times characterized the "controversy" in the graf reposted above leaves out the rest of Boxer's comment and thus takes it completely out of context. Here's what she actually said in the lead-up to her important all-but-ignored question and response from Rice:

BOXER: Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families. And I just want to bring us back to that fact.

Even Rice admitted in her comments to the Times that "It didn't actually dawn on me that she was saying, 'you don’t have children who can go to war'."

Of course it didn't actually "dawn on" you, Ms. Rice. Because it didn't actually happen that way.

At least until Tony Snow took the opportunity to brilliantly turn the focus away from both Rice's answer revealing that the White House hadn't bothered to measure the cost in increased deaths to U.S. troops before announcing their new policy ("Senator, I don't think that any of us, uh, have a number. That, of expected casualties.") and from the fact that both Republicans and Democrats alike on the Senate committee were highly critical of the White House escalation plan for the Iraq War.

Snow's comments, of course, were the marching orders to the various Rightwing outlets who were all too happy to twist Boxer's comments in the very same way. They all "reported" the exchange in the same phony context the following day (as I previously described here.)

While attacking the messenger to completely distract from the message is a time-honored and well-expected tactic from this White House and their sycophantic supporters, it continues to be distressing to see the once-great "Paper of Record" irresponsibly pick up that ball and run in the same disingenuous direction. Who needs Judith Miller?

To make matters worse, not only did the Times manage to only quote the mangled "analysis" of "Conservative" blogs and commentators in their coverage of the exchange, they even misrepresented a group which, at the first blush of the Times description of them, would seem indicate that they would have been an ally of Boxer's.

Appearing to defect from support of the Democratic Senator is a group called Project 21. The Times characterized the statement of a member of the group this way...

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

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Rightwing Outlets Smear Senator Who Asked Question, Ignore Stunning Newsworthiness of Answer
Iraq Vet Source Dubious About Secretary of State's Admission that Military Lacks Body County Estimates...
By Brad Friedman on 1/12/2007 1:57pm PT  

Well, it looks like we've got our answer. The White House didn't bother to even come up with a casualty estimate for their new escalation plan in Iraq. So much for "supporting the troops." At least if Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice is to be believed.

We've been asking since last Sunday --- and then again just after Bush's Wednesday night speech when he said, "We must expect more Iraqi and American casualties" --- what the White House's estimates are for the increased (or decreased) body count that we can expect vis-a-vis his new plan for a troop "augmentation" (nee "surge") in Iraq.

Surely due diligence when creating such a plan requires such estimates be made by the military for the cost expected in blood for our U.S. troops before such a plan is actually implemented.

Well, finally, the question has been asked of the White House, or at least of Rice, during yesterday's Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the planned escalation.

If Rice is to be believed, the White House has made no such estimate.

When asked directly by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), "Do you have an estimate of the number of casualties we expect from this surge?", Rice's answer came back as: "No, uh, Senator...I don't think there's any way to give you such an estimate."

Boxer's question came after a morning of tough questions and statements for Rice --- from both Republicans and Democrats --- and after the Senator's own statement in which she discussed the fact that "we are alone in this escalation of troops." She was referring to the point that no other countries among our allies in Iraq would be increasing their own troop strength. In fact, the British have announced they will be decreasing troops in the region over the next few months.

(The entire hearing can be seen via Real Video from C-SPAN here. Boxer's questioning of Rice comes at appx. the 1:47:00 mark.)

And while one would think the admission that the White House has announced a plan to send more than 20,000 U.S. troops into harm's way without first measuring the cost in blood expected by such an increase to be rather newsworthy, rightwing pundits from outlets such as Fox "News" and the New York Post have taken the opportunity to criticize Boxer for the way in which she framed the question instead. In the bargain, they've virtually ignored both the question itself, Rice's answer, and the apparent stunning delinquency of the White House if Rice is to be believed.

Jon Soltz, an Iraq War vet who is co-founder and chairman of VoteVets.org, tells The BRAD BLOG he's dubious of Rice's statement.

"The Pentagon knows how many casualties they estimate for any of the actions the additional troops will be taking part of. It’s basic war planning," Solz told us this morning. "Depending on what happens, that number could go up or go down, but they know what they expect."

Soltz joins our call for the public release of such an estimate from the Pentagon or White House --- if it in fact exists --- given the new policy comes in the wake of previous policy errors and underestimates.

"Normally, the military shouldn’t have to release those estimates, but given that the administration is asking more troops to pay for its mistakes, they should be up front about how many they believe are going to make the ultimate sacrifice," he explained.

Solz has been critical of Bush's planned escalation, and was the only Iraq War veteran invited to speak at a recent Senate Leadership press conference in response to the new plan.

...ATTACKING THE MESSENGER...

As reported by RAW STORY this morning --- the New York Post, while ignoring Rice's news and choosing instead to focus on Boxer having pointed out that neither she nor Rice had children who would directly pay the price for the planned increase in troops sent to Iraq, characterized the question as a "slur" to Rice.

"IT'S WAR: Dem Childless Condi Slur," screamed their front page this morning. Their friends and corporate partners over at Fox "News" were all too happy to pick up that ball and run with it as usual. Their front page screamer: "Boxer's Sucker Punch: Calif. senator lashes out at Rice's personal life."

Over at Fox "News" however, not only did their website manage to avoid discussion of Rice's stunning admission, their FOX & Friends morning crew spent much of the day not just attacking Boxer for the way she framed the question, but they unquestioningly parroted Rice's answer --- "I don't think that any of us, uh, have a number. That, of expected casualties." --- to the Senator...

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

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Begins Iraq Escalation Before Speech, Approval From Congress, in Wake of Opposition from Dems and Republicans Alike...
POST-SPEECH UPDATE: No Estimate Given for Change in Casualties in New Plan. Surprised?
By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2007 4:18pm PT  

Does this guy despise democracy or what?

ABC News has learned that the "surge" Bush is expected to announce in a prime time speech tonight has already begun. Ninety advance troops from the 82nd Airborne Division arrived in Baghdad today.

An additional battalion of roughly 800 troops from the same division are expected to arrive in Baghdad Thursday.

Unbelievable.

(Feel free to use this item as an Open Thread for tonight's speech, as I may not be able to blog it...but we'll see. RAW STORY has the complete text of the speech. Will leave this on top for now.)

POST-SPEECH UPDATE:

BUSH: "[W]e must expect more Iraqi and American casualties."

And so we ask again, as we did on Sunday: How many more casualties are expected due to Bush's escalation of the War?

The White House/Pentagon undoubtedly have made estimates in the course of their planning, right? If so, what are the numbers? How much of our blood (Barb's and Jenna's not included) is Bush willing to spend on the gamble which nobody but he, McCain, Lieberman, and possibly Barney (though I doubt it) are in favor of? The People and the Congress have the right to know. They need to demand it.

If no such estimate of a surge or fall in the body count has been made while considering this plan, the White House has been impeachably delinquent. So, is any Congress member or media type out there, other than me, going to ask that question?

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More Than 1200 Turn Out for a Day at the Beach...
By Brad Friedman on 1/9/2007 4:21pm PT  

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Fantastic Quotes Abound At Today's Ethics Reform News Conference
By Alan Breslauer on 1/8/2007 12:45pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer




This is a beautiful thing! Democratic Senators hit Republicans hard for their six year ethical lapse during today's ethics reform news conference. While it's too early to get excited about anything yet, especially with Iraq looming large, even the prospect of a government for the people is exciting. Plus, my smile made an appearance for the first time in recent memory.

The video (8:44) starts with Harry Reid (D-Nevada) laying out some of the key points of the proposed legislation followed by Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin), Barack Obama (D-Illinois), Claire McCaskill (D- Missouri), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) who kills, Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Benjamin Cardin (D-Maryland) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). Magical.

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Congress Must Demand to Know the White House's Estimated Body Count for Bush's Double-Down Scheme in Iraq...
By Brad Friedman on 1/7/2007 11:54pm PT  

All of the Sunday news shows today were abuzz with talk of Bush's reported troop "surge" plan for Iraq.

The general theme was that, as Commander-in-Chief, Bush could do whatever he wanted in regard to troop levels and the only thing Congress could do about it was to use their control of the purse strings by voting to stop funding the war. In other words, they could take what increasingly appears to be the White House dare.

Never mind that briar patch --- and the fact that Congress could instead gracefully vote to end funding for the war as of a date fixed long into the future. For example, no more funding as of next year. In that way, there would be plenty of time to begin a withdrawal, and the Dems wouldn't end up falling into the Bush dead-enders' disingenuous trap, set to show the Democrats as hoping to see our poor troops stranded in a foreign country with no food, water, bullets, or way to get home.

But aside from cutting off funding for the war, now or in the future, there is another option for the moment in answer to Bush's predicted call for a "surge"; demand that the White House release their estimates of the number of casualties we will incur during such a "surge."

Now, I'm no military expert (and I'd be delighted to hear, via comments or email, from anyone who is and can speak to this issue), but it seems to me that any plan to increase troop strength would come with some sort of general estimate from the Pentagon as to the cost in increased, or decreased, causalities for our troops.

Congress must call on the White House to go on record with that estimate!

If there is estimated to be an increase in casualties, okay, let's hear it. The country needs to know exactly how much blood of other people's children that Bush is willing to throw down in his Hail-Mary gamble for "victory."

If there is estimated to be a decrease, fine, let's hear it. At least there will now be a paper trail metric of what the official predictions for such things were. If Bush ends up moving ahead with his double-down plan, we'll be able to clearly judge his Administration's "success" against that metric in the future if the "surge" happens despite all other efforts --- and reason --- to keep it from happening.

Finally, if no such estimate has been made by the White House (or, more aptly, the Pentagon, presumably) in planning for such a radical change in policy, then the Administration would simply be seen as wholly delinquent in their duties. That alone should be enough for Congress to be able to roundly vote in favor of a resolution condemning the plan. In the bargain, it will help make the case to the American people, loudly and clearly --- as if it has not been made already --- that this Administration has no damned business running the foreign policy of this country while using the men and women of our armed forces as chess pieces in their desperate attempt to save their own disastrous political and historical legacy.

Your thoughts?

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Madame Speaker and...That Other Guy...
By Brad Friedman on 1/4/2007 11:13am PT  

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'Peace Mom' Cindy Sheehan, Code Pink, and Others Drown Out Democrats Press Op on Ethics Reform
UPDATE: Dems Gave Up, Sheehan Took Over Microphone, Vowed to be Around All Week...
By Brad Friedman on 1/3/2007 6:27pm PT  

Poor Rahm and the Democrats. They've not even been sworn into the Majority yet, and they're already having their feet held to the fire.

We suspect this won't be the last time. Particularly if the Dems decide to play it safe instead of taking seriously the clear mandate for accountability they received at the polls last November.

Gold Star mom Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son Casey in Iraq, joined other protesters on Capitol Hill today to lobby Congress Members for a swift end to the War in Iraq. They interrupted a Democratic press conference today, held to announce ethics reform packages, with chants of "De-escalate! Investigate! Troops Home Now!" Rahm never stood a chance.

Of course, he might have seen it coming. This was on the Gold Star Families for Peace website today:

Walk the halls of Congress with Gold Star Families for Peace. Lets let the 110th congress know what is expected of them from Day 1. We will be insisting that an immediate exit strategy from Iraq be implemented. We will insist that all funding for the War stop and the money spent on rebuilding Iraq. We will be insisting that hearings begin immediately into Bushco's crimes against humanity and the lies told to the American people. We will demand IMPEACHMENT.

Fox "News" deemed to tell the story. David Edwards, over at RAW STORY, covers it along with the video.

UPDATE: New York Times blogged the incident tonight, and if you care to put any stock in those dreaded "bloggers," they described the pathetic reaction of Emanuel and the other Dems this way...

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

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Committee Issues Short Statement, Slap on Wrist for One of Congress's 'Most Corrupt' Members on Last Day Before Democrats Take Over
But Troubles May Just Be Beginning for Florida Congressman...
By Brad Friedman on 1/3/2007 2:03pm PT  

Republican U.S. Congressman Tom Feeney of Florida's 24th District has been ordered today by the House Ethics Committee to pay $5,643 for the cost of a "recreational" golf trip to St. Andrews, Scotland, which he had taken with the now-disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff in 2003. The bill had been previously paid for by Abramoff, the committee has found.

The slap on the wrist issued today by the U.S. House Ethics Committee on the last day before the change-over to the new Congress was announced in a terse, one paragraph, bare-bones statement posted to the committee's website. AP reported the matter here. Outgoing defeated Congressman Curt Weldon (R-PA) was also found in violation of House rules and has agree to pay back more than $23,000 in inappropriate gifts.

The findings from the Ethics Committee, however, may be just the tip of the iceberg for Feeney as there continues to be a number of other allegations and claims of misconduct, both new and old, which still hang precariously over the Congressman's head.

The claimed cost of Feeney's Scotland trip, $5,643, was apparently supplied to the committee by the Congressman himself in March of 2005 after the many tentacles of the Abramoff corruption scandal were beginning to reveal themselves. Only after the trip had been reported by the media did Feeney take the matter to the Ethics Commission.

Feeney, who has been named for the second year running as one of the "Most Corrupt Members of Congress" by the non-partisan ethics watchdog group the Committee for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), had previously claimed that the trip, and several others, were pre-approved by the House Ethics Committee. As well, he had also originally claimed on his disclosure forms for the Scotland trip that it had been paid for by the National Center for Public Policy. The center has denied paying for the trip and Feeney has supplied no evidence that we're aware of that the Ethics Committee had pre-approved his vacation with Abramoff or any of the others.

In a statement released this afternoon, the National Center for Public Policy Research reiterated their denial of having had anything to do with Feeney's travels, despite continue statements from Feeney's office suggesting that they did. "The National Center for Public Policy Research played no role in this trip," the statement reads, "and only learned of its existence from media inquiries two years after it was taken."

No action has yet been taken on the other questionable vacations, one to Korea which was sponsored by he Korea-U.S. Exchange Council (KORUSEC), a registered foreign agent, and another to West Palm Beach, Florida, which Feeney had listed as having been paid for by a lobbying firm, which would also be a violation of House rules.

According to the Orlando Sentinel today, Feeney’s Chief of Staff Jason Roe --- who has had his own conduct questioned --- said of Feeney: "He’s personally and professionally embarrassed and considering it an expensive lesson."

The "lesson" however, was not all that "expensive" by Congressional standards, and certainly not if the $1.3 million that Feeney raised, mostly from corporate PACs, to spend on his recent campaign might be any indication of the funds that the once-exceedingly powerful Florida Republican has quick and easy access to.

"It's like he robbed a bank and was just asked to give back the money," said Naomi Seligman Steiner of CREW in deriding the light treatment given to Feeney by the commission.

The other two congressmen who had gone on junkets to St. Andrews with Abramoff, Tom Delay (R-TX) and Bob Ney (R-OH), have since resigned in the wake of criminal charges and guilty pleas. The cost for former Republican Majority Leader Delay's trip to Scotland with Abramoff was estimated to have been between $70,000 and $100,000. Feeney is the only Congress member of the three still serving in the U.S. House.

He was recently declared the winner by the state of Florida in the U.S. House race for 24th congressional district where Feeney ran one of the dirtiest --- and most expensive --- U.S. House campaigns in the nation against Clint Curtis, a computer programmer turned whistleblower. In early December of 2004, The BRAD BLOG broke the news of Curtis's affidavit alleging that Feeney was involved in a conspiracy to create electronic vote-rigging software when both men worked for the same Oviedo, Florida, software firm, Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI), in 2000. At the time, Feeney was employed as YEI's general counsel and registered lobbyist, even while he served as the powerful speaker of Florida's House of Representatives.

Curtis also charged at the time that Feeney had helped cover up a number of other legal violations by the company, including the employment of illegal aliens at YEI who he claimed had had been spying for Communist China. Curtis also alleged YEI was over-billing on state contracts and had been inserting illegal wiretapping modules into software the firm had been contracted to write for NASA and the Florida Dept. of Transportation (FDOT). In the ensuing years, one of YEI's employees, Hai Lin "Henry" Nee, the man Curtis accused of writing the wiretapping modules, pled guilty after being arrested by Federal Authorities in a four year sting in which he admitted sending computer chips used in Hellfire anti-tank missile guidance systems to Communist China. As well, a report issued by the State of Florida's Inspector General's office found that YEI had, in fact, over-billed the state of Florida on contracts and that Nee had indeed been an illegal alien.

Feeney, a good friend of Dr. and Mrs. Yang, the owners of YEI --- who have given thousands of dollars in campaign support to the disgraced congressman over the years --- still keeps his main campaign headquarters in the YEI office building in Oviedo, Florida, to this day. Feeney had previously been caught lying about his association with the Yangs.

Feeney's troubles, however, are likely far from over. As a member of the Republican Leadership in the 109th Congress --- he was a deputy whip --- Feeney has yet to detail what he knew about his Florida colleague Rep. Mark Foley's sexual transgressions with minors. After reports had surfaced that the Leadership had been made aware of the concerns about Foley many years ago, Curtis issued a press release during the campaign calling on Feeney to come clean on what he knew about Foley, when he knew it, and what he did about it. Feeney has stayed mum to this day, refusing to give details about his knowledge in the matter.

Feeney, who has claimed Curtis is both "crazy" and "a liar" has refused to take a polygraph test despite having been challenged publicly by Curtis, and others, to do so. For his part, Curtis successfully passed a lie detector test concerning his charges against Feeney and YEI back in early 2005.

Additionally, Curtis has since filed a challenge in Congress to the election of Feeney, claiming a number of irregularities found in the Diebold electronic voting systems used across several counties in Florida's 24th district. Yesterday, the National Election Data Archive issued an analysis [PDF] of precinct data for the election detailing a number of inexplicable discrepancies in the results as reported by the state of Florida. The non-partisan Election Integrity organization has announced that the discrepancies in the numbers are "consistent with a pattern that would be caused by voter disenfranchisement, vote fraud, or innocent miscount."

When the Congressional challenge was filed in the race between Christine Jennings (D) and Vern Buchanan (R) in the FL-13 race --- where the votes of some 18,000 Florida voters failed to register on ES&S touch-screen voting machines in Sarasota, with a reported margin of just 369 votes between the two candidates --- Feeney declared the Constitutional challenge to be "total political dictatorship." His statement was made to the media, however, before it was publicly known that Feeney's election would as well be challenged in the same Congress under the same Federal Contested Elections Act.

Curtis's challenge, and several others originating in the state of Florida, will reportedly be championed in the House by Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ), who has long been an advocate for election reform in the U.S. House. We hope to have more details here at The BRAD BLOG on the Curtis challenge, and other related matters, shortly. Stay tuned...

For more info on The BRAD BLOG's continuing investigative series on
The Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney/Yang Enterprises Vote-Rigging Scandal series, please see:
- A Quick Summary of the story so far.
- An Index of all the Key Articles & Evidence in the series so far.
- Curtis ran for U.S. Congress against Feeney in 2006.
For more info, see: www.ClintCurtis.com
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By Brad Friedman on 1/2/2007 10:31pm PT  

In June of 2004, in light of a host of thuggish Republican tactics in the U.S. House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sent a proposal for a "Minority Bill of Rights" to Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) calling for a more equitable balance of power in the chamber. Her proposal called for keeping any such adjustment to the rules in place no matter which party was in the Majority. Hastert, refused even the courtesy of a reply.

Now, Republican members are circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter to gain support for such a bill. Now that they are in the minority, of course. Cry babies.

Justin Rood has the story, and the letter - "House GOP: Don't Hurt Us --- Please".

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By Brad Friedman on 12/31/2006 4:46pm PT  

It was only June of this year when Tony Snow blithely commented on behalf of the White House, upon the news that the 2500th American troop had been killed in Iraq, "It’s a number."

There is a certain warped and tragic sense of unavoidable poesy in the announced death of the 3000th fallen U.S. troop coming, as it does, today --the last day of 2006. Yet I can't help but be reminded that as awful as that "number" is, it comes nowhere near expressing the full pain, suffering, horror, mutilation, and unbearably high cost to humanity that this administration --- and their supporters --- have wrought on this world via their tragic arrogance and folly.

The 3000 "number" includes only American troops killed in Iraq. It doesn't include the number of those, thousands over, who have been injured for lifetime. It doesn't include American contractors who have also been killed. It doesn't include Americans killed in Afghanistan. Neither does it include the troops and citizens from other countries who --- for reasons good or bad --- were deployed to the region after having bought into the mercilessly cruel confidence game that these Administration cretins --- and their supporters --- have perpetrated on the people of this planet. Most disturbingly, however, the "number" 3000 doesn't even begin to include the uncountable --- and mostly uncounted --- hundreds of thousands of citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan who were born with the unfortunate trait of having being born where they were born, only to end up in the deadly literal crossfire ordered by people who neither know them nor give a damn about them.

"River" at Baghdad Burning, one of the citizens born with that unfortunate trait, has been chronicling the misery of such citizens from Iraq for the past three years when the power is on, and she is able to access an Internet computer and she has the stomach to share her pain with the rest of the world. She now shares the same sense, expressed by the White House via Snow, that these landmark statistics "simply represent numbers." The irony would likely be lost on this White House.

A few days ago, "River" reminded us once again of the real cost of this sham war. And as cold-hearted as her thoughts may seem, they are yet another wake up call. Yet another one most likely to be ignored by the desperate fanatics whose simple-minded sense of self-importance has left the rest of the world --- likely for generations --- with the burden of cleaning up behind their crushing cruelty, unforgivable arrogance, and indescribable incompetence.

I believe "River" offers a glimpse of what we all will be forced to come to cold, hard grips with in the year --- and years --- ahead...


Here we come to the end of 2006 and I am sad. Not simply sad for the state of the country, but for the state of our humanity, as Iraqis. We've all lost some of the compassion and civility that I felt made us special four years ago. I take myself as an example. Nearly four years ago, I cringed every time I heard about the death of an American soldier. They were occupiers, but they were humans also and the knowledge that they were being killed in my country gave me sleepless nights. Never mind they crossed oceans to attack the country, I actually felt for them.

Had I not chronicled those feelings of agitation in this very blog, I wouldn't believe them now. Today, they simply represent numbers. 3000 Americans dead over nearly four years? Really? That's the number of dead Iraqis in less than a month. The Americans had families? Too bad. So do we. So do the corpses in the streets and the ones waiting for identification in the morgue.

Is the American soldier that died today in Anbar more important than a cousin I have who was shot last month on the night of his engagement to a woman he's wanted to marry for the last six years? I don't think so.

Just because Americans die in smaller numbers, it doesn't make them more significant, does it?

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With Wise Words from Josh Marshall and Joseph Cannon...
As Bush Sleeps Through His Legacy...
By Brad Friedman on 12/30/2006 2:51pm PT  

We had a few thoughts late last night on Saddam's execution. Today we have a few more, as Josh Marshall reminds us why he's likely both the best blogger and best writer in the business...

This whole endeavor, from the very start, has been about taking tawdry, cheap acts and dressing them up in a papier-mache grandeur --- phony victory celebrations, ersatz democratization, reconstruction headed up by toadies, con artists and grifters. And this is no different. Hanging Saddam is easy. It's a job, for once, that these folks can actually see through to completion. So this execution, ironically and pathetically, becomes a stand-in for the failures, incompetence and general betrayal of country on every other front that President Bush has brought us.
...
The Iraq War has been many things, but for its prime promoters and cheerleaders and now-dwindling body of defenders, the war and all its ideological and literary trappings have always been an exercise in moral-historical dress-up for a crew of folks whose times aren't grand enough to live up to their own self-regard and whose imaginations are great enough to make up the difference. This is just more play-acting.

These jokers are being dragged kicking and screaming to the realization that the whole thing's a mess and that they're going to be remembered for it --- defined by it --- for decades and centuries. But before we go, we can hang Saddam. Quite a bit of this was about the president's issues with his dad and the hang-ups he had about finishing Saddam off --- so before we go, we can hang the guy as some big cosmic 'So There!'
...
This is what we're reduced to, what the president has reduced us to. This is the best we can do. Hang Saddam Hussein because there's nothing else this president can get right.

What do you figure this farce will look like 10, 30, or 50 years down the road? A signal of American power or weakness?

Hat-tip for the pointer to the above to Joseph Cannon, who aptly adds:

The war had many motives, all of them bad. Among them was the determination of a churchmouse to play Churchill.

And while we're hat-tipping to the much beloved Cannon, we'll point to his brief, yet enlightening summary today of how the United States handcrafted its own, ultimately self-defeating, legacy named Saddam Hussein.

Of course, most of those who have spent the last 6 years mindlessly salivating to the sound of their master's voice will be unlikely to take the time to read it. Lest they take notice of anything to upset their creepy and cultish devotion to the notion of an infallible America. But the rest of us, with intellectual curiosity and honesty intact, can at least learn a thing or two about this whole nightmare having been the work of the self-same criminal crew who --- as the last of their "papier-mache grandeur" flakes away, for now --- cling pathetically to today's barbaric murder of Saddam as some sort of "victory."

Sadly --- and shamefully --- it is anything but.

I don't know whether it's apocryphal or not, but it's been said that criminals, after their arrest, tend to fall asleep in their holding cell, while the innocent stay awake, yelling and screaming in protest.

This from RAW STORY's coverage of today's hanging of Saddam Hussein...

Spokesman Scott Stanzel said the president was told of the impending hanging Friday afternoon and went to bed shortly before it took place, with instructions not to be woken up.
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'Revenge Accomplished' as Osama Still Runs Free, Uncountable Thousands Lie Dead in Bush's Path of Mass Destruction
Little to Change for American Troops in Harm's Way, According to Vet Group...
By Brad Friedman on 12/29/2006 5:21pm PT  

"The Americans want him to be hanged respectfully," one of Hussein's attorneys points out, according to AP, apparently without even a hint of irony.

The oxymoron aside, for our part we don't have much to say about all of this, other than how brutally disgusting it is, how Osama still runs free, how well more than the number of Americans killed on 9/11 have now been killed in Bush's appalling revenge plot on behalf of his father, and how neither Americans in general, nor certainly the troops on the ground, are any safer due to Bush's appalling failure as a U.S. "President."

Iraq War veteran Jon Soltz, co-founder of VoteVets.org, an advocacy group representing vets of both the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, issued this statement earlier today:

"There can be no doubt that the execution of Saddam Hussein is justice for the Iraqis who died at his hands. For Americans, and our troops in Iraq, though, his execution means very little, ultimately. There is still a fierce insurgency in Iraq. Our men and women will continue to die every day in a war that has no direction or plan. For our troops in Iraq, when the sun rises tomorrow on a world without Saddam, it will look and feel no different than the day before."

For George W. Bush, however, who lives in the safe confines of his well protected mobile bunker, his presiding over this barbaric ending to the life of a barbaric man is ultimately just another shameful chapter in an already tragic-beyond-description tale.

Congratulations and Happy New Year, Mr. Bush. You got your man.

UPDATE 7:50pm PT: The deed is done. Good luck washing all of that blood off your hands, Mr. Bush. Only you could turn a despicable man like Hussein into a martyr. By year's end, in a few hours, the 3000 mark may be passed for dead U.S. troops in your war. Though, as Baghdad Burning points out so movingly today, 3000 Iraqis are lost in an average month. So I guess it's no biggie. You've had quite the reign, sir.

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