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By Brad Friedman on 7/23/2010 5:30pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman, from "Netroots Nation" in Las Vegas...

They keep pulling me back in. Had planned some travel and time off beginning this week, but the good Jeanne Devon (aka "AKMuckraker" of The Mudflats) tricked me into talked me into stopping by Netroots Nation, being held in Vegas this week, on my way outta Dodge. As Sin City was largely on our route outta town, and as I don't get many any opportunities to see the Alaska folks like her, Shannyn Moore, and dozens of others from around the country who I've known for years, but have never met in person, I figured why not stop in and both cover it a bit, and say hello to 'em all.

Have been doing so, and reporting some of it in various spurts via Twitter over the last 24. As I can get caught up over the next few days (the conference is ongoing through the weekend), I'll try to bring what I can here as well, as merited and/or newsworthy and/or amusing and/or interesting.

But after a late late night at Rio's Pai Gow tables with Jeanne, Shannyn, Mike Rogers of RAW STORY and BlogActive (he the "outer" of Larry Craig, and arguably my "blog father" as one of the earliest blogger supporters of this site) as well as various and sundry other progressive trouble makers, muckrakers and decidedly not professional gamblers, I'll have to start slow.

For the moment then, a quick recap of impressions, photos --- and even some news of sorts --- from yesterday, which included an unscheduled, somewhat hard-hitting radio interview with Daily Kos' Markos Moulitsas on Nicole Sandler's Show (audio below) and some 30 minutes of my attempting to get answers --- on anything --- from the less-than-respectable rightwing "voter fraud" deceptionist John Fund of Wall Street Journal, Fox "News," and all places wingnut...

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




By Brad Friedman on 7/21/2010 2:41pm PT  

Vilsack and the White House have issued apologies to Shirley Sherrod and asked her to take a new "unique" job at the USDA.

I must hit the road (heading towards Vegas, where, yes, I plan to stop into Netroots Nation for the first time), so can't offer more details on all of this for now.

But just one point: The WH seems to have done the right thing in apologizing to Sherrod, and seem to be making good on the one job they cost in inappropriately firing her based on a deceptively edited hoax video tape posted by pathological liar and con-artist Andrew Breitbart. Now how about those thousands of jobs lost at ACORN, the four-decade old anti-poverty, pro-democracy organization, after the President signed a bill defunding them based on an almost identical, deceptively-edited video tape hoax as perpetrated by the same Andrew Breitbart? Do they plan to make that one right as well now? If not, why not?

See ya from Vegas...

* * *

UPDATE: Looks like Joe Conason at Salon has the same thought: "Now reopen Breitbart's ACORN fraud --- and get the story right"




By Brad Friedman on 7/21/2010 1:08pm PT  

It's a neat trick. Andrew Breitbart, the pathological liar, race-baiter, propagandist, and rabidly partisan dirty-trickster, posts a deceptively edited video (again), to which media and Democratic officials cowardly knee-jerk in reaction (again), before the video is ultimately discovered to have been a deceptively edited hoax. Then, rather than copping to having been a pathological liar, race-baiter, propagandist, and rabidly partisan dirty-trickster, Breitbart criticizes the media and those others who bought into the hoax that he himself perpetrated.

You see, it was all the media's fault for being irresponsible enough to buy into his own bullshit. Well played, Mr. Breitbart - you pathological liar, race-baiter, propagandist, and rabidly partisan ratfucker.

Breitbart, as usual, is partially correct, which is why his ratfucking continues to have any effect at all. The media did, at first, buy into his Shirley Sherrod scam. And not just Fox "News," who more than simply "bought into it," actually played their usual vital role in the rightwing disinfo food chain by offering a news-like presentation to the false story, as if it's a real one which deserves coverage by others. But others in the non-wingnut, theoretically-legitimate media also treated this story, initially, as legitimate. For that matter, even after the hoax was revealed for what it was, Washington Post, late last night, granted the phony story more legitimacy by "privileging the lie" and burying the by-then known truth in the 15th paragraph of its coverage.

Today, however, as the dust settles, Breitbart's lie has been uncharacteristically exposed in a record 24-hours or so, and he finds himself backed into a corner threatening whatever legitimacy he had foolishly been granted by adults who ought to have known better long ago. So now, the very professional snake-oil salesman and con-artist is attempting to riggle out of that corner with an all new lie that moves the goal posts from his original, now-discredited smear, to an entirely new, made-up-out-of-whole cloth claim. To wit: Since he was discovered to have lied in the first place, Breitbart is now claiming, to anyone stupid enough to listen, that his original blog post where he published the deceptively-edited video, was "not about Shirley Sherrod. It's not about Shirley Sherrod. I can say it 20 times. It's about the NAACP."

Oh, and also, he now adds in desperation upon having taken on a foe who was willing to fight back: "I feel bad that they made this about her, and I feel sorry that they made this about her...Watching how they've misconstrued, how the media has misconstrued the intention behind this, I do feel a sympathy for her plight."

They made this about her? The media misconstrued the intention behind this?

Of course, those claims are complete lies as well. As usual. And they're betrayed by his very own words. As usual...

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




By Brad Friedman on 7/20/2010 7:43pm PT  

For those who have asked, no, I'm not particularly interested in Andrew Breitbart's latest, deceptively-edited video scam campaign which, shamefully, the Obama Administration and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack fell for before bothering to view the whole video.

We did what we did earlier this year --- exposing Breitbart's ACORN scam in extraordinary detail and for months on end --- in hopes that the rest of the media would not fall for such scams again in the future.

Clearly, the entirety of the corporate MSM has yet to fully learn the lesson. (e.g., see this piece on Washington Post's ombudsman falling for Fox/Breitbart's ridiculous "New Black Panther Party" non-scandal, non-story over the weekend and WaPo's embarrassing coverage of the Sherrod incident tonight --- even after the hoax has been exposed --- where they waited until the 15th graf(!) to note the video was deceptively edited!) Obviously, the Obama Administration hasn't learned its lesson at all, as witnessed by the firing of Shirley Sherrod without any due diligence.

But it's nice to see that, this time, it took many in the media just 24 hours or so before catching on to Breitbart's hoax...

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




By Brad Friedman on 7/19/2010 12:23pm PT  

If you didn't already know that the latest Fox "News" fake "outrage" about the jackass from the New Black Panther Party who was caught on video standing outside a Philadelphia polling place with a nightstick in 2008 was another predictably trumped-up Rightwing scam story, Jamison Foser will help you understand why that is.

But as with the phony ACORN "Pimp" Hoax, the most unsettling part of this latest scam is not just that Fox is promoting a phony story, round-the-clock, to rile up and scare their gullible viewers. That's what they do. We all know that by now. Or should. What's disturbing is that so-called Ombudsmen at major, theoretically non-wingnut "liberal media" outlets have yet to figure any of that out.

This time around, it's Washington Post's Ombudsman Andrew Alexander who takes the bait --- hook, line, nightstick, and phony whistleblower --- in support of his paper's coverage of what they shamefully headlined as a "political bombshell." Hoax Accomplished. Again.

Media Matters' Simon Maloy predicted this story would play out in exactly this way back on July 2nd [emphasis ours]:

1. Right-wingers shout loudly about bogus story.
2. Fox News picks up bogus story, reports on it incessantly.
3. Right-wingers and Fox News start complaining that "liberal media" are ignoring bogus story.
4. Other outlets are shamed into covering bogus story, mini-frenzy ensues.
5. Pundits credit Fox News for "being ahead of the curve."
6. Responsible media outlets determine bogus story is bogus long after damage is done.
7. Repeat.

See Foser for details, so we can go back to (hopefully) ignoring this ridiculous non-story.




Bonus Flashback Video: Tea Party Express & 'Rise of the Tea Bags'!
By Brad Friedman on 7/19/2010 7:05am PT  

The Tea Party Express has been expelled from the National Tea Party Federation, an umbrella group of Tea Parties, in a disturbing incident of Tea Party on Tea Party non-violence.

The weekend expulsion came in response to a so-called satirical letter written to Abraham Lincoln by Tea Party Express spokesman and Rightwing talk show host, Mark Williams.

The letter in question begins: "Dear Mr. Lincoln, We Coloreds have taken a vote and decided that we don't cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!"

The National Tea Party Federation had called on the Tea Party Express to remove Williams as spokesperson. They didn't. So they're out. Whatever "out" means to these folks. Tea Party poopers!

Williams is also the Rightwing clown who recently called on citizens to defraud the government's $20 billion BP Fund, as The BRAD BLOG reported earlier this month. Some "conservative," eh?

Williams' high-larious "parody letter" (as he later called it when he took it off his site) was, itself, in response to the NAACP's recent resolution, condemning "racist elements" within the Tea Party. Geez, what racist elements?!...

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




Many more corporate-funded attacks to come, however...
By Brad Friedman on 7/16/2010 11:06am PT  

Good for Sinclair Broadcasting, in this case, pulling an inaccurate commercial off the air that was being run by the despicable corporate money-launderers of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, attacking Democratic U.S. Senatorial candidate Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania.

Of course, the ad was run on television before it was pulled. The fact-checking was not done in advance, so lies such as health insurance reform being "a government takeover of healthcare" were allowed to be aired as if they were legitimate claims.

Naturally, the campaign of Sestak's Republican opponent, Pat Toomey, backed up the Chamber's ads, even as they are not supposed to be coordinating with such groups, according to the law. But what do quaint old notions like "the rule of law" really mean anymore in these United States anyway?

What is underscored again here, is that corporate lobbyists and criminals like those at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are now free to wield millions --- even billions --- of dollars for or against candidates they don't like, or who may not meet with their corporate approval for any reason.

That's what the U.S. Supreme Court has recently deemed "free speech". And you, dear private citizen of the United States of America, can do nothing about it --- unless you happen to have a few hundred million extra dollars sitting around the house and want to exercise your "free speech" in producing and airing TV commercials in opposition. Good luck with that.

[Please see, and support, VelvetRevolution.us' StopTheChamber.com campaign to help push back against the anti-American, anti-citizen Goliath that is the U.S. Chamber. Disclosure: The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder of VR.]

* * *

UPDATE 4:04pm: Looks like the Rightwing corporate bosses at Sinclair may have come down on the local stations. AP is now reporting the Chamber says the ads are being restored:

Two Pittsburgh-area TV stations are reversing a decision to pull a commercial attacking Democratic policies and the voting record of U.S. Senate candidate Joe Sestak.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said Friday that the stations are restoring the ad that the business advocacy group sponsored.

An official for sister stations WPGH and WPMY declined to comment.

[Hat-tip BRAD BLOG commenter Philip Shropshire.]




By Brad Friedman on 7/15/2010 10:45am PT  




By Brad Friedman on 7/13/2010 5:02pm PT  

Yesterday The BRAD BLOG covered the invasion of privacy lawsuit filed by former San Diego ACORN worker Juan Carlos Vera against Rightwing activists and dirty tricksters James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles after they'd video-taped him secretly, in violation of California law.

Last night, Rachel Maddow on MSNBC covered it, rather amusingly (and accurately), this way...





Prior injunction, pending appeal may be moot; Status of court's apparent conflicts-of-interest remain an open question...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/13/2010 2:50pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

As noted in today's Green News Report, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has ordered a new moratorium on exploratory deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere off the continental shelf of the U.S.. The new suspension may make prior court battles over the previous moratorium moot, even as questions linger concerning apparent conflicts-of-interest by the judge who originally heard the case.

Stating that he was basing his decision on "an extensive record of existing and new information indicating that allowing new deepwater drilling to commence would pose a threat of serious, irreparable, or immediate harm or damage to the marine, coastal, and human environment," Salazar sent a memo yesterday to Michael R. Bromwich, the Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEM), directing him to issue new suspensions of deepwater drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The new suspensions, presuming they withstand another inevitable court challenge from the oil industry, will run through November 30 and apply to both the Pacific and Gulf Coast regions.

In revealing the new suspensions, Salazar announced...

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




Says 'evidence overwhelming' they 'participated in criminal conspiracies to violate federal law and guaranteed civil liberties of hundreds, maybe thousands of human beings'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/12/2010 4:17pm PT  

Wow. Seriously. Just...really...Wow.

Fox "News" analyst and former NJ Superior Court Judge Andrew Napolitano was featured on a segment of C-Span's BookTV over the weekend, to discuss his book, Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History.

While being interviewed by Ralph Nader, Napolitano says what Bush and Cheney did while in office was "blatantly unconstitutional, and in some cases criminal."

When asked by Nader what the consequences should be, the judge says, in no uncertain terms: "They should have been indicted! They absolutely should have been indicted! For torturing, for spying, for arresting without warrant."

Wow. Guess his contract on Fox must be up. If it wasn't, we suspect it is now. The text transcript and video --- with Napolitano explaining that the "evidence...is overwhelming" that Bush and Cheney "participated in criminal conspiracies to violate the federal law and the guaranteed civil liberties of hundreds, maybe thousands of human beings --- follows below. Take a look...

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




Complaint leaves room for their employer/pimp, Andrew Breitbart to be added as defendant in the future...
By Brad Friedman on 7/12/2010 12:42am PT  

Rightwing dirty-trickster and convicted federal criminal James O'Keefe and his accomplice Hannah Giles are being sued for invasion of privacy by a San Diego ACORN worker.

Juan Carlos Vera was fired by the 4-decade old anti-poverty, pro-democracy community organization after deceptively edited and secretly recorded video tapes of a meeting Vera had with O'Keefe and Giles were released by the pair and published on Republican propagandist Andrew Breitbart's websites. The tapes were then widely aired on Fox "News", as well as non-Rightwing media outlets.

Vera is suing for at least $75,000 in accordance with California's Invasion of Privacy Act which, according to the short, four-page complaint [PDF] filed at week's end in U.S. District Court, "prohibits the recording of confidential communications without the consent of all participants where there is an objectively reasonable expectation that the conversation is not being overheard or recorded."

In April of this year, CA Attorney General Jerry Brown completed a five-month probe into O'Keefe/Giles/Breitbart's secretly-taped ACORN videos and found "no criminality" by any of the ACORN workers seen on what he described as "severely edited" tapes.

He did, however, find that O'Keefe and Giles themselves were likely to have violated California law, and could see private litigation brought against them...

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




TONIGHT: CA-4 Candidate Clint Curtis, PLUS: Guy Who Hates Brad!
LIVE! 9p-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), Call-in#: 877-520-1150
By Brad Friedman on 7/9/2010 4:32pm PT  

[Now UPDATED with audio archives at the bottom. Enjoy!]

It's my final night this week guest hosting the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show. Mike will be back Monday, but until then, we'll be BradCasting our last show for a while again LIVE from L.A.'s KTLK am1150 9pm-Midnight ET (6p-9p PT). It's your last chance for a while to join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in!

The LIVE (and very lively!) chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG during the show, so come on by while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)

So far scheduled for tonight's show...

  • GORDON PETERSON, a long-time Democratic Party activist from Dallas and a now-former Malloy Show podcast subscriber who cancelled his subscription, in no small part, because he hates it when I guest host, believes I'm "election-wise clueless", a "Ludditte", doesn't like my "kneejerk halfassed crap" about getting rid of e-voting, and believes we need "MORE computers, rather than less" in our public election systems. He'll explain all of the above tonight! Should be a lively conversation!
  • CLINT CURTIS, former Florida computer programmer/whistleblower who has long-alleged (via sworn affidavit, video-taped testimony to a U.S. House Judiciary panel, and a polygraph test ) that he was asked by former Republican Congressman Tom Feeney to create a vote-rigging software prototype, as originally reported by The BRAD BLOG in 2004, and continuously ever since, and now as told in the documentary: Murder, Spies & Voting Lies: The Clint Curtis Story, on his candidacy in California's 4th U.S. Congressional district to unseat incumbent Republican Tom McClintock.
  • PLUS: Everything else we didn't get to this week, including YOUR calls on anything you'd like at 877-520-1150, and your tweets to @TheBradBlog and whatever else comes up along the way...

The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates around the country and also on Sirius Ch. 146 & XM Ch. 167. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate GREEN 960 in San Francisco or via MikeMalloy.com.

* * *

Click here to jump into our LIVE Chat Room during the show. Or just see below!...

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: We had a terrific week sitting in for Mike and Kathy, and hope you enjoyed it even a fraction as much as we did. It was a great week of shows, and tonight (I don't think) was no exception. Audio archives all posted down below, and the archive of the chat room, as usual, below it (wherein Gordon showed up to take still more punishment after coming on air, for some reason)...

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




Government 'irreparable harm' argument fails to gain traction before majority Republican-appointed appellate court...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/9/2010 3:19pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

A three judge panel of the heavily-Republican 5th Circuit Court of Appeal in New Orleans rejected the Department of Interior's request for an emergency stay of Judge Martin Feldman's June 22, 2010 preliminary injunction [PDF], which prevents enforcement of the Department of Interior's six month moratorium on exploratory drilling on only 33 "of the approximately 3,600 structures in the Gulf dedicated to offshore oil exploration and production."

The panel's two Reagan appointees, Judge Jerry E. Smith, joined by Judge W.Eugene Davis, ruled that the government had failed to demonstrate that it would be irreparably harmed if a decision on whether to vacate Judge Feldman's injunction was deferred until after the appeal was heard sometime around the end of August or early September. Judge James L. Dennis, a Clinton appointee, dissented, noting that he did not believe Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar had abused his discretion in ordering a moratorium, which, per the government's motion is limited to those drilling operations that apply "the same technologies employed by Transocean's Deepwater Horizon...only to waters over 500 feet deep..." Since, under the Administrative Procedures Act, a court cannot overturn an agency decision absent an abuse of discretion, Judge Dennis appears to have concluded that Judge Feldman erred in issuing the preliminary injunction.

Judge Dennis did have a question, however, about the six month length of the moratorium.

While yesterday's ruling does not mean that the panel will ultimately rule against the moratorium, the Justice Department and the attorneys representing a number of environmental organizations in the appeal face a daunting climb given Judge Smith's expression of the usual appellate court deference to the findings of the district court judge --- a climb up an oil slicked slope given the ties between the oil industry and the judges who will decide the moratorium's fate...

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




Avoiding conflicts-of-interest charges, feds argue irreparable harm in Judge Martin Feldman's injunction
Hearing before three-judge panel set for July 8...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/7/2010 1:53pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

[Ed Note: Ernie Canning appeared as my guest on last night's Mike Malloy Show to discuss Feldman's conflicts-of-interest and the government's appeal described below. The audio archive of that interview can be heard here. - BF]

In a powerful and carefully-crafted 5th Circuit Court of Appeal motion [PDF] filed in Hornbeck Offshore Services vs. Salazar --- a motion which did not touch upon the question of whether U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman's substantial investments in the oil industry mandated a recusal --- the government argued that, in enjoining the Department of Interior's six month suspension of offshore drilling on just 33 "of the approximately 3,600 structures in the Gulf dedicated to offshore oil exploration and production," following the BP/Transocean Deepwater Horizon disaster, Judge Feldman abused his discretion by substituting his own personal judgment over matters that, by statute and federal regulations, are the province of federal officials.

The Department of Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement ("BOEMRE") have the legally mandated duty and authority to regulate such matters, the government is arguing.

"While Plaintiffs’ concerns appear limited to the next financial quarter," the motion explains, "[the Department of] Interior must ensure not only that OCS [Outer Continental Shelf] drilling operations are safe and secure but also that the Nation’s fisheries, coastal ecosystems, and other public lands continue to provide jobs, recreation opportunities, habitat for wildlife, healthy ecosystems, and economic resources for all of the public."

The appellate motion by federal officials calling for a stay of Judge Feldman's recent preliminary injunction on the exploratory drilling moratorium will be argued before a three-judge panel on Thursday...

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




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