John M. Broder and Tom Zeller Jr. of The New York Times are kind enough today to offer a front page "News Analysis" which works very hard to offer "balance" on the Gulf oil rig gusher by downplaying concerns of an unprecedented ecological disaster noting "the Deepwater Horizon blowout is not unprecedented, nor is it yet among the worst oil accidents in history."
They even offer a scientific "expert" to help support that thesis:
“The sky is not falling,” said Quenton R. Dokken, a marine biologist and the executive director of the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, a conservation group in Corpus Christi, Tex. “We’ve certainly stepped in a hole and we’re going to have to work ourselves out of it, but it isn’t the end of the Gulf of Mexico.”
What they don't do, however, is let readers know that Dokken's "conservation group," the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, is actually sponsored in large part by the offshore oil drilling industry!
Moreover, when asked for comment about the failure to disclose that rather important piece of information, the Times' Zeller is offering what has now become an all-too-familiar-for-the-"Paper-of-Record" rationalization to explain it all away...
“We now have the entitlement generation as CEOs. They just plain feel entitled to being wealthy as Croesus with no responsibility, no accountability. They have become literal sociopaths.” - William K. Black on Bill Moyers’ Journal
Californians have been drawn within the cross-hairs of a propaganda blitz bought and paid for by Meg Whitman, the billionaire former CEO of eBay, who, since declaring her intent to run for governor in February, 2009, has already contributed $59 million of her own money to her "campaign" --- a one-sided political phenomenon which has seen a stealth candidate, with disturbing connections to Goldman Sachs, soar to the top of the polls because the electoral process has been emasculated by the absence of mandatory debates and meaningful investigative journalism...
I'm still largely off the grid for the rest of the week, though I'll be re-appearing briefly to guest host the Mike Malloy Show again this Thursday night from 6p-9p PT (9p-Mid ET). This time we'll be BradCasting from San Francisco's Green960, so I hope you'll join us for that. (We'll have a LIVE chat room here during the show, as always.)
Until then --- and until I'm finally back on the grid full time again --- here's a little musical "tribute" to that loser James O'Keefe III. You remember him, right? The guy who pulled off a scam, and then dressed up in a pimp outfit to lie about it in order to help take down an organization (ACORN) which helped hundreds of thousands of his fellow citizens who could most use the very helping hand that O'Keefe has now helped to ensure may no longer be available to anybody. So much for Bush Sr.'s "thousands points of light," eh?
In short, while James O'Keefe won life's lottery by being born an affluent white kid, he remains a loser who apparently never learned the difference between right and wrong, and what it means to stand by your fellow citizens and countrymen.
Wonder if our good friend, the alleged vote-rigging conspirator and high-flying Abramoff golf buddy, former Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL), will finally get the starring role he deserves in this new documentary. We're very much looking forward to it...
By the way, this is just one of the upcoming films on GOP uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Another one, a theatrical re-telling of his story, is currently in production with Kevin Spacey starring as "Casino Jack," and me not starring, despite my best efforts, as the diminutive yet dangerous Tom Feeney.
Russian Television's English language satellite broadcast channel, RT, tracked me down on the road to comment on George W. Bush's speech yesterday at a conference on "Internet Freedom" at his George W. Bush Freedom Institute in Dallas.
A speech by Bush on "Internet Freedom"?! Irony much? Um, yes.
As it turns out, the Internet connection in the little town I was in was not stable enough to handle a Skype video interview, so my contribution had to be via telephone. Here's their story...
Andrew Breitbart's big big big "Big Government" website, which made its name last year by publishing the phony ACORN "Pimp" Hoax videos hasn't found time to even mention last week's criminal indictments of top Blackwater officials, despite the company receiving BILLIONS in federal tax-payer dollars --- versus the millions ($3.5m/year on average) that ACORN received over the last 15 years.
It's as if Breitbart and his Tea Bag Boyz don't actually care about corruption of federal tax-payer dollars. Hell, they don't even seem to care about actual prostitution --- even CHILD prostitution --- rings being run on the Government dime, since Blackwater is also fighting two different court cases in which former employees allege the company did exactly that, in both Iraq and Afghanistan, with their BILLIONS in federal tax dollars. Yet still not a peep about that either on any of Andy's websites. Go figure.
Amidst exploding bombs, smoke billowing from sinking battleships and dead bodies floating atop the oil slicked waters of Pearl Harbor, it was not all that difficult to appreciate the damage wrought by a surprise attack launched by the Empire of Japan. The same was true when we watched in horror as the smoldering twin towers of the World Trade Center precipitously collapsed on September 11, 2001.
Like these two earlier pivotal events, January 21, 2010 is, "a date which will live in infamy." Yet, unlike Pearl Harbor and 9/11, most Americans do not recognize it as such. This attack came not by way of planes or bombs delivered by some foreign menace. It came from within courtesy of what Professor Cass Sunstein aptly described as "radicals in robes" --- four directly connected to the Robert-Bork founded, billionaire-funded Federalist Society; all five as appointees of the Reagan and two Bush administrations. Men bent on unraveling the very constitution they had all solemnly sworn to uphold.
Their assault, though subtle, wrought far greater devastation than either Pearl Harbor or 9/11. They did not merely attack planes, ships and buildings. They assaulted the very foundations of our constitutional democracy...
House Judiciary Chair Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has just issued a statement [posted in full below] calling on the FBI to fire those who broke the law by issuing improper letters from the FBI in order to receive access to thousands of Americans' phone records from 2003 through 2006 under the guise of "national security."
"I call upon FBI Director Mueller to take immediate action to punish those who violated the rules," Conyers says in the statement, "including firing them from the agency."
"Today's hearing showed that the FBI broke the law on telephone records privacy and the General Counsel's Office, headed by Valerie Caproni, sanctioned it and must face consequences," said Conyers. "In some cases agents sent letters with information known to be false."
His statement even quotes the former Republican chair of the Committee, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), sharing the sentiment:
'I'm extremely disappointed that every time Congress has tried to plug potential civil rights and civil liberties violations in our counterterrorism activities, the FBI seems to have figured out a way to get around it.
In a related matter, late last month a federal judge found the Bush Administration's warrantless domestic wiretapping program to be illegal. So this would be the second time in several weeks where the former administration was found to have violated the law and the U.S. Constitution in order to spy inappropriately and illegally on American citizens.
Will those Tea Baggers who claim to believe in the Constitution and the Rule of Law join the call for accountability yet? (Careful: It's a trick question, Tea Baggers, since the accountability would include members of the Bush Administration, and we realize your calls for "accountability" only go so far. On the other hand, if it's okay for Bush to have done it, we'll presume you don't mind if Obama spies on you either.)
Conyers' complete statement, issued late this afternoon, follows below...
Our old friend, the disgraced and disgraceful ACORN "Pimp" Hoax con-man Andrew Breitbart, is up to the same old tricks, according to AP. But this time they don't seem to be going as well for him.
In a deceptive effort to prove that Tea Baggers did not yell racial epithets at Democratic lawmakers during demonstrations against health insurance reform last month, Breitbart posted "VIDEO PROOF" from a different moment during those protests, the news service has found.
We're shocked he'd try to pull off such a scam. Even more shocked CNN hasn't hired him as a contract player yet.
Could the media finally be catching on to Breitbart's scams now that he's been caught lying time and again?
Glad to see AP holding Breitbart accountable for his bullshit, finally, but it's time for them to knock off their own lazy coverage, and start issuing corrections and apologies for their own months of misreporting on the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax.
AP's email address for corrections is: Info@AP.org. We've already sent such a request ourselves, but haven't heard back. Perhaps it will help, as it did at the New York Times, if they hear from a lot of readers.
And in other accountability news, VR's StopTheChamber.com campaign called yesterday for the arrest of Massey Energy CEO and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Director Don Blankenship for being "criminally culpable as any mass murderer," following the deaths of 29 miners at Massey's Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia last week. RAW's Daniel Tencer covers that story here...
The heat is just beginning to build for Blankenship, and hopefully it will continue, as it should have long ago but for the millions he has spent to date to avoid virtually any and all such accountability. His ability to do so, using the abusive power of the U.S. Chamber to help in that effort, needs to end...
This must drive the Neo-Cons even crazier than they are already. From the Southern Republican Leadership Conference (SRLC)'s straw poll over the weekend:
NEW ORLEANS --- In the presidential-preference straw poll here at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, Mitt Romney won by ONE vote over Ron Paul --- out of 1,806 cast.
Romney received 24% of the vote (439 votes) to Paul's 24% (438 votes).
Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin received 18% --- followed by Mike Huckabee at 4%, Tim Pawlenty at 3%, Mike Pence at 3%, Rick Santorum at 2%, and Gary Johnson at 1%.
Yes, Ron Paul lost to Mitt Romney, the man who signed legislation into law mandating health insurance policies for all Massachusetts citizens, by just one vote. That, after Paul easily won the straw poll at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) in D.C. in February.
Paul's positions, however, are actually conservative, and thus run antithetical to most of the Neo-Con, Big Government, Bush/Cheney-era Republicanists who now call themselves Tea Baggers, as RAW STORY notes today here. How many more "Democrats in Disarray" articles will we have to read before the "Republicans in Disarray" articles finally begin in the corporate media?
One other related thought: When Palin came in a distant fourth at CPAC's straw poll, the Republican and Republican-enabling and TeaBag-promoting Chattering Class instructed us via the corporate media that she would have done better had she actually showed up and spoken at the event. Well, she showed up and spoke at the SRLC, received a larger percentage of the vote, but still managed to do no better than third place among the dyed-in-the-wool, hard Right Southern Republicanists at the conference. Go figure.
I just spoke with CODE PINK co-founder Jodie Evans who tried again --- as she did last month in Los Angeles --- to file a citizen's arrest against Karl Rove. This time Rove, whom she accuses of war crimes, was at a Barnes & Noble book signing event in Las Vegas. Last time, Rove was forced to cancel his plans to sign books after his speech in L.A.
Evans writes to say that she and several others from CODE PINK, including an army vet who is a member of Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), attempted to hand-cuff Rove at the table where he was signing copies of his new book, while unfurling a "Rove is a War Criminal" banner.
"We get to the table, he looks up to take my book and jumps back against the book shelves," Evans says. He then points to three security guards and says "it's her," before the guards "pile in," according to her account.
One member of the team then takes out the banner --- which had been hidden in her skirt, since purses were confiscated before citizens were allowed in line --- "while I pull out the handcuffs and try to reach for him and then pull the arrest complaint out of the book, trying to argue that he needs to be arrested and I have a right to be there. They argue private property and lead us out."
She went to add that he was "standing freaked against the books" before he was then handed the next book to sign "as we are ushered out. We were physically pushed out the door with our unsigned book."
"The women behind us tell us we are 'rude,' to which I answer not as rude as Rove who has killed over 4,000 of our US Soldiers and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi," writes Evans.
She indicates there may be video available of the event later. We'll try to update this item with it, if so. [Update: A bit of video from the encounter is now posted at the bottom of this item.]
Evans and the "Pink Tank" crew will be protesting Rove again tonight at the Performing Arts Center at UNLV where he is scheduled to speak.
She'll also be joining me on the Mike Malloy Show, which I am guest hosting again tonight from 6p-9p PT (9p-Mid ET), just before the event begins. So please tune in! We'll have live listening links posted here before show time, or see Malloy's site above.
CNN's video report of Evans' attempt to arrest Rove last month --- during which Rove ironically (in more ways than we have the time to point out right now) declared "with all due respect, this goes to show the totalitarianism of the Left. They don't believe in dialogue. They don't believe in courtesy. They don't believe in First Amendment rights for anybody but themselves" --- is reposted below...
A reader alerted me this morning to these misleading, inaccurate, propaganda anti-ACORN "editorials", duplicates of which have been appearing, unbylined, in a bunch of papers under different headlines. Before I was able to get to them, it looks like Muriel Kane at RAW STORY was able to jump on it. (Thankfully! Since I've been busy with both today's Green News Report today, and putting together tonight's Mike Malloy Show!) . Here's the lede from Kane's coverage today...
When you read an editorial in your local newspaper, your natural assumption is that it expresses the views of that paper's staff and reflects local concerns. This, however, does not appear to be the case with the many small-town papers owned by Ogden Newspapers, Inc.
On March 31, an editorial headed "ACORN can't distract public from the truth" appeared in the Fairmont Sentinel, published in Fairmont, MN. It was bylined by Gary Andersen and Lee Smith, the paper's publisher and editor, and it slammed ACORN as a "front for liberal politicians" that has been involved in "illegal actions."
That original publication seems legitimate enough. But over the next few days, the same editorial started popping up elsewhere, with no byline and under a variety of headings. On April 3, for example, it appeared in the Minot Daily News of Minot, ND under the heading, "Good riddance to ACORN."
On April 5, it was in the Williamsport Sun-Gazette of Williamsport, PA, headed "ACORN victim of its own transgressions."
These papers have one thing in common. They are all owned by Ogden Newspapers of Wheeling, WV.
Like the GOP's years-long hit-campaign against ACORN, the GOP's ACORN "voter fraud" fraud, and their ACORN "Pimp" Hoax, these "editorials" are similarly faked propaganda, meant as a part of that same, blatant, shamefully partisan, anti-Democratic and anti-democracy scheme. See RAW's full story here.
* * *
And in related-ish news, the audio archives from last night's Malloy Show, in which we covered (as I was guest hosting) the anti-ACORN "Pimp" Hoax scam in some detail --- including a pretty tough live interview with ACORN's CEO Bertha Lewis --- are now posted here for download and/or online listening.
(ED NOTE 4/9/10: ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis was my guest on Wednesday night while I was guest hosting the Mike Malloy Show. My interview with her can now be heard here. - Brad)
Finally, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow covers the actual phony ACORN tapes themselves by airing the newly release unedited versions, since CA AG Jerry Brown forced hoaxsters O'Keefe and Giles to turn them over in exchange for immunity from criminal prosecution, as we noted in our coverage last Friday. (That coverage also includes links to the full, unedited versions of the tapes, clips of which Maddow aired last night, as seen below.)
Maddow slams the entire hoax as pulled off by O'Keefe, Giles and their employer/publisher/con-man Andrew Breitbart, and aptly describes it as "a dishonest political stunt that bears no resemblance to journalism"...
For the record, yes, as Maddow notes, Fox "News" endlessly pimped the phony ACORN tapes and got the story completely --- and likely purposely --- wrong. But it should also be noted that so did New York Times, AP, Baltimore Sun, CNN, New York Post, Washington City Paper, Philadelphia Daily News, NPR, Dallas Morning News and many many more, some of which are listed here. Haven't checked, but I'm guessing somewhere along the line on MSNBC they got it wrong as well. All should correct the record and issue apologies the many folks who were damaged by the utterly irresponsible coverage, or, as O'Keefe and Breitbart might describe it (but only when it adversely affects their partisan political agenda), "journalistic malpractice".
And, no, since several have brought this up to us via email and in comments, Maddow didn't mention The BRAD BLOG in the report above or in her blog item/text transcript, or her similarly excellent report filed on the show last Friday. Should she have? I'll leave that to others to decide. We don't cover this stuff for either credit or attribution, though it's true that appropriate attribution can make it easier for folks like us to continue the type of independent, progressive, investigative reporting that we suspect Maddow appreciates.
(On that note, our thanks to John Tomasic of the Colorado Independent who has been particularly generous towards our coverage in his recently related articles, both last night in his story on Maddow's coverage, and several days ago on the CA AG's ACORN findings. We also appreciate the far-too-kind closing thoughts in this post from Jill at "Brilliant at Breakfast".)
(ED NOTE 4/9/10: ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis was my guest on Wednesday night while I was guest hosting the Mike Malloy Show. My interview with her can now be heard here. - Brad)
Yesterday, Peter Hart, of the media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), flagged the New York Times'latest ACORN-related report for us and notes "how far the Times is from where it started on this story."
Yes, after a full six months of out-and-out misleading the public on the now-infamous ACORN "Pimp" Hoax by repeatedly misreporting that disgraced rightwing prankster and activist James O'Keefe had dressed as a 70's-era blaxploitation pimp while scamming low-level workers in ACORN offices --- and even as the Times finally conceded it was wrong on at least that point just two weeks ago --- the paper has still been standing by the misleading assertion that O'Keefe "clearly presented himself as" a pimp in those offices.
But the NYTimes' latest story is decidedly "pimp"-less and seems to tacitly serve as an admission that even that false narrative was previously misreported. Of course, they've yet to issue a public acknowledgment --- much less a correction, retraction, apology, or explanation --- for having gotten that point so wrong, for so long.
Last week's finding by the CA Attorney General, that ACORN committed "no violations of criminal law" in any of the illicitly and likely-illegally taped videos that O'Keefe and his partner Hannah Giles created in CA offices, may finally have convinced the people running the paper they had it wrong. At least if one notices the glaring absence of what wasn't reported this time around by the Times in its most recent story...