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'Green News Report' 4/15/14
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GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
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'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
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Sunday News Shows Fail to Mention U.S. Senate CIA Torture & Detention Report
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NSA Knew About, Exploited Internet Open Source Bug for Years
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RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
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Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
After slashing anti-smoking programs, 'conservative' Christie admin offers absurd reason for massive new tax, but NJ Star-Ledger ain't buyin' it. And neither are we...
Federal Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide documentation related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove the discriminatory intent of the new GOP law...
'A New Kind of Liberty' for the Kochs and Anyone Else Who Can Afford to Buy It
Have the rightwing judicial activists on the Supreme Court made you feel freer yet?...
'McCutcheon' Mints Millions for Mass Media
Veteran journalist and media activist Sue Wilson explains how the new U.S. Supreme Court ruling is a windfall for the MSM. She also has an idea what to do about it...
'Green News Report' 4/3/14
Startling U.N. climate change report; Kochs enviro champs, say Kochs; TX wind power record; PLUS: ExxonMobil says 'F#@K you! We're ExxonMobil!'...
Reproductive Rights & Campaign Finance Law: KFPK 'BradCast'
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SCOTUS 'MCCUTCHEON' RULING TRASHES EVEN MORE CAMPAIGN FINANCE LIMITS
'Free speech' for the super rich wins again at the Roberts Supreme Court...
'Green News Report' 4/1/14
It's our special 'April Fox Day' edition of the GNR! Celebrating the anti-scientists and fossil-fueled fools at Fox 'News'!...
FCC Rolls Back Corporate TV Consolidation
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NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
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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?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Paper ignores calls for criminal investigations of Supreme Court Justice, growing record of judicial lawlessness...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/4/2011 3:05pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

However historically inaccurate the phrase may have been, the idea that Emperor Nero fiddled while Rome burned seems apropos the appearance of a David G. Savage fawning Clarence Thomas puff piece on the front page of the Sunday, July 3 edition of Los Angeles Times.

On March 7, as part of our coverage of a Daily Beast article, in which Univ. of Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos called for Thomas to be thrown off the bench, we noted:

The BRAD BLOG was among the first to specifically detail Thomas' years of "knowing and willful" violations of the U.S. criminal code, even as the mainstream corporate media largely ignored or downplayed those violations of the Rule of Law in their limited coverage...

In a March 6 Los Angeles Times op-ed, George Washington Law School Prof. Jonathan Turley found allegations that Virginia Thomas received monies from the groups that had a direct interest in the outcome of Citizens United to be "particularly alarming." He went on to compare Thomas' cynical effort to equate criticism of his ethical lapses with an attack on the integrity of the Court to Louis XIV's infamous view that there was no distinction between himself and the state.

Yet, on July 3, Los Angeles Times gave page-one coverage to Savage's uncritical piece that begins with a self-serving description in which Thomas seeks to portray his radical and, at times, outright bizarre legal positions, such as his stand-alone position that prisoners have no constitutional right to be protected from beatings by their guards, as simply a reflection of a rugged individualist who is not afraid to be a minority of one when he thinks he is right.

During Thomas' contentious Senate Judiciary Committee Confirmation Hearings in 1991, the late Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy (D-MA) took a very different view as he likened the Thomas nomination to a game of "Russian roulette":

If we confirm a nominee who has not demonstrated a commitment to core constitutional values, we jeopardize our rights as individuals and the future of our nation. We cannot undo such a mistake at the next election or even in the next generation.

The firestorm of controversy surrounding questions about Thomas' conflicts of interest, severe ethical lapses, and possible crimes has momentarily slowed a bit over the past month of Congressional (almost) recess and the usual D.C. media "summer vacation." But the list of reputable individuals and organizations calling for the embattled Associate Supreme Court Justice to be investigated by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, removed from office, and possibly prosecuted is likely to grow again once politics as usual resumes following the Labor Day holiday, according to The BRAD BLOG's discussions with a number of those individuals and organizations.

In the meantime, the question remains as to why Los Angeles Times saw fit not only to publish a ridiculous puff piece on Thomas as the firestorm was still cresting in July, failing to so much as reference these serious issues, but why they even found it necessary to elevate such a softball article to their front page.

Before reaching that, however, let's again examine the real issues...

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State AG vows to litigate 'up to U.S. Supreme Court'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/2/2011 8:35am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In an Aug. 29, 2011 letter, T. Christian Herren, Jr., Chief of the Obama DOJ's Civil Rights Division, not only demanded that South Carolina, within 60 days, provide additional information about its recently enacted polling place photo ID restriction law, but stated that if SC failed to provide a timely "response...the [U.S.] Attorney General may object to the proposed changes consistent with the burden of proof placed upon the submitting authority."

Herren noted that SC has the "burden of demonstrating" that the new polling place photo ID law was neither enacted "for a discriminatory purpose nor will have a retrogressive effect."

SC's Republican Attorney General, Alan Wilson, in an apparent recognition that pre-clearance is likely to be denied, told those in attendance at a GOP fundraiser that he had "no faith" that the DOJ "will do the right thing." He vowed to litigate the matter "up to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary."

As The BRAD BLOG previously reported, on Aug. 5 the ACLU submitted a 15-page letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) seeking a denial of pre-clearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of South Carolina’s polling place photo ID restriction law. The letter argues that proponents’ unsubstantiated claims of "voter fraud" were but a pretext for unlawful discrimination and that statistics suggest that the new law would operate as an illegal poll tax, especially for the disproportionate number of African Americans who live below the federal poverty level in the state.

Last Friday, SC's Senate Democrats weighed in as well, asking the DOJ to deny pre-clearance for what they contend is the nation's harshest polling place ID restrictions, which could potentially disenfranchise, for example, someone whose driver's license has been suspended.

While denial of pre-clearance due to the retrogressive effect of photo ID restrictions in SC would be a positive step, it will not serve to protect democracy and the sanctity of the vote in other jurisdictions not subject to pre-clearance under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

As described by John Nichols in The Nation (see video below), and again by Ari Berman in Rolling Stone --- as we detailed yesterday --- state-after-state across the nation has come under a well-coordinated assault by the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and GOP legislators bent on rigging electoral outcome as part of their war on the middle class...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/7/2011 7:44pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Last Friday, Aug. 5, in a 15-page letter [PDF], the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asked the U.S. Department of Justice to deny pre-clearance of South Carolina's photo ID law, as signed into law by Gov. Nikki Haley (R), pursuant to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Pre-clearance must be denied if the law was enacted for a discriminatory purpose or if it has "the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color."

As the Voting Rights Act of 1965 addressed specific barriers to voting that had been enacted by the Jim Crow South, the ACLU letter, of necessity, focuses upon the disproportionate impact upon South Carolina's African-American electorate who are amongst the 178,175 registered South Carolina voters who do not possess the forms of photo identification required by the state's new polling place Photo ID restriction law. However, the ACLU's discussion of pretextual justifications for the Palmetto State's new law exposes a GOP intent to suppress the vote on the basis of class as well as race not only in South Carolina but in the spate of similar photo ID laws that are being pushed in state after state by the GOP, and supported by their paid partisan shills in the right-wing media...

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DoJ deploying election monitors in 11 counties today...
By Brad Friedman on 8/2/2011 4:42pm PT  

It's Primary Election Day in Mississippi and so, in a preview of next year's nightmare to come, a quick look at the early reports of voting machine problems coming out of the Jackson metro-area as reported by the Clarion Ledger who, as is required by law for MSM reporting on such things, refers to the reported voting machine failures as little more than "technical glitches." That, even in one case where 3 out of the 4 voting machines in use at a single precinct had failed. Good thing they had paper ballots on hand --- and that this wasn't a Presidential election!

So here's a quick roundup, from the Clarion-Ledger's running blog earlier this morning, of some of the technical "glitches", "hiccups", "snags" and "snafus" reported before noon near Jackson where, unless they break down, fail, won't start up, have the wrong names on the "ballots" or feature other problems that keep voters from being able to cast their vote on anything but a verifiable paper ballot, they use 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting machines.

Oh, and the Dept. of Justice is deploying monitors to 11 counties in the state today for some reason...

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

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Why same MSM that hounded Weiner from office stays mum on Senate's serial hooker chaser and ethically bankrupt Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/22/2011 2:06pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

On Tuesday, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) submitted a complaint to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics [PDF] alleging that Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) violated a federal bribery statute when he submitted a May 23, 2011 letter to Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar threatening to block legislation that would provide Salazar "a nearly $20,000 salary increase" until the Interior Secretary began to issue permits for deepwater exploratory wells in the Gulf at the same pace that permits were being issued before Salazar's moratorium issued in the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster last year.

The statute, 18 U.S.C. § 201 (b) "Bribery of Public Officials and Witnesses" makes it a crime to offer or promise "anything of value to any public official" in order "to influence any official act" and CREW alleges that "Vitter's conduct is exactly the type of quid pro quo the bribery statute was intended to prevent."

While a scant reference to the bribery allegation can be found in the Wall Street Journal, and more extended coverage was provided by The Hill and by Politico, the same corporate-owned media outfits which hounded Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) from office for sexually inappropriate Twitter messages that did not amount to a crime, have remained largely mum about Vitter, the Senate's serial hooker chaser's alleged criminal activities, and his role in a taxpayer-funded "Con-Air."

Want to know why?...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 6/17/2011 1:44pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

On his Tuesday radio show, syndicated over the public airwaves on some 200 stations, Rightwing talk show host Neal Boortz said:

This town [Atlanta] is starting to look like a garbage heap. And we got too damn many urban thugs, yo, ruining the quality of life for everybody. And I'll tell you what it's gonna take. You people, you are - you need to have a gun. You need to have training. You need to know how to use that gun. You need to get a permit to carry that gun. And you do in fact need to carry that gun and we need to see some dead thugs littering the landscape in Atlanta. We need to see the next guy that tries to carjack you shot dead right where he stands. We need more dead thugs in this city.

His entire rant, appearing to encourage the vigilante murder of unnamed "thugs" across the major Atlanta metropolitan area, can be heard below.

The question now is: Did Boortz incite murder over our public airwaves and should he be prosecuted for it? Moreover, will complaints be filed by the public at the FCC's website (hit the "Take Action" button there, if you'd like to file your own complaint), demanding an investigation and prosecution for the potential crime and/or sanctions against the affiliate stations who broadcast it to the public?...

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Vetoed in MN while significant legal challenges likely elsewhere...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/30/2011 2:21pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Republicans in state after state across the country today, Memorial Day 2011, are remembering those who fought and died to protect our democracy by celebrating recent victories in their renewed effort to remove the right to vote for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of legal American voters.

It's been just days since we filed "GOP Voter Suppression Shifts Into High Gear in State After State as 'Tea Party' Shell Game Exposed" on May 23, detailing new GOP-passed polling place Photo ID restrictions in states like SC and FL, but since then we can report that Gov. Rick Perry (R) signed a bill legalizing polling place photo ID restrictions in TX and Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed a photo ID restriction bill in WI.

Both of them, as opponents have documented over and over again, will serve to do little more than to disenfranchise far more legal (largely Democratic-leaning) voters than those who will be kept from fraudulently impersonating other voters at the polling place, which, as even most proponents admit when forced, happens almost never --- if it all.

Thankfully in at least one instance since our last report, Gov. Mark Dayton (D) of MN vetoed a photo ID measure passed by Republicans in his state. So there is one case, at least, where the memories of our fallen soldiers might be appropriately honored this weekend, as one governor has remembered to protect the very thing that so many of them died for.

Despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the enactment of Indiana's photo ID law in Crawford vs. Marion County Election Bd. (2008), both the new WI photo ID law, which may cost WI taxpayers $7 million to implement, and both the SC and TX photo ID laws, which do not even recognize student photo IDs, may be subject to significant legal challenges...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 5/23/2011 6:43pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"I don’t want everybody to vote," Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the billionaire-funded Heritage Foundation and the Moral Majority, said while addressing a right-wing Christian audience in 1980. "[O]ur leverage in the elections goes up as the voting populace goes down," he added after he denigrated those who seek "good government" through maximum, informed voter participation as people who suffer from the "goo goo syndrome."

Voter suppression has long been a staple of American politics, but the tsunami of new restrictions on the polling place now being rammed through by newly-elected Republican majorities in state after state is unprecedented, certainly since the era of Jim Crow was supposed to have been ended by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

While most Americans may think of the poll tax and literacy tests as forms of voter suppression associated the Jim Crow South, the confirmation hearings of the late U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Renquist included sworn testimony from former U.S. Attorney James Brosnahan and others reflecting that, as an early 60's GOP activist, Renquist intimidated African-American and Hispanic voters in AZ by challenging their ability to read.

1965's Voting Rights Act outlawed both the poll tax and literacy tests. In more recent times, pursuant to a 1987 federal court consent decree, and a subsequent provision of the National Voting Rights Act of 1993, another GOP suppression tactic, "caging lists," was banned, though as documented by the BBC's Greg Palast, the Bush administration-led Plutocrats didn't let a little matter like illegality get in the way of their use.

21st Century voter suppression operates under cover. Or it had, until the new wave of legislation being passed by GOP legislatures across the country began hitting its stride. Until FL's then-governor Charlie Crist overturned it, for example, the state banned convicted felons from voting even years after they'd been released from prison. In Armed Madhouse, Palast asserts that prior to the 2000 Presidential election, FL's then Sec. of State Katherine Harris, appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush, the brother of candidate George W. Bush, purged 94,000 "felons" from the state's computerized voter rolls, though the only "crime" at least 91,000 were guilty of was "being Black, Democrat or both."

Over much of the past decade, voter suppression efforts have been bolstered by bogus "voter fraud" claims leveled at groups like ACORN, who aided in the registration of those who might be likely to vote against the GOP (minorities and the working class); "non-partisan" GOP astroturf groups like the phony American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) created after the 2004 election solely to create and spread false propaganda about a Democratic "voter fraud" epidemic; laws meant to increase the legal risk to real non-partisan organizations for assisting in registration; draconian polling place "photo ID" restriction laws, and in a reduction of opportunities for early voting.

With the tide of GOP victories at the ballot box last November, those efforts have now been ramped up and are now front and center in some 30 state legislatures across the country...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
Chernobyl 25th Anniversary edition
By Desi Doyen on 4/26/2011 1:39pm PT  


TWITTER: @GreenNewsReport
VIA SMART PHONE: Stitcher Radio!

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: April 26, 1986: the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster, 25 years later; Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster, six weeks later; Fracking blowout in Pennsylvania; Praying for rain in Texas ... PLUS: Speaker Boehner opens the door to eliminating taxpayer oil subsidies ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Confessions of a climate change denier; An open letter to that conservative climate change convert; Sales of 'green' household products resilient in recession; Playing Politics With Climate Change; For a Few, Focus on Green Products Pays Off; Puzzle Persists for 'Degradeable' Plastics; Stunning Findings in Greenland's Ice Cores; A 21st-century water forecast; Resistance to Fracking, Gas Drilling Rises in TX; BP's criminal negligence exposed; Preliminary Deepwater Horizon Report Rips Transocean; Washington is lying to you about the cause of high gas prices ... PLUS: The Chernobyl Zone: World's Largest Wildlife Refuge? ...

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ALSO: HBGary's CEO finally resigns, VR files D.C. Bar complaint...
[Now UPDATED with full text of letter]
By Brad Friedman on 3/1/2011 1:05am PT  

Washington Post's Dan Eggen reports tonight for Tuesday's paper that "more than a dozen" Democrats in the U.S. House are now calling on "Republican leaders" to open an investigation into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce plot which had been set to target the Rightwing lobbying firms' perceived political enemies (which turned out to include me and my family at the top of their list, as reported in detail previously) with a proposed $12 million smear, forgery, fraud, and disinformation campaign.

While the Democrats letter calling for a Congressional probe will not be released until Tuesday [Update: The full text of the letter is now posted at the end of this article below], Eggen's reportage makes it clear that their concerns focus on the same disturbing point which we highlighted in one of our first detailed reports on this matter. Namely, that the Chamber's law firm Hunton & Williams was organizing the plot with three government-contracted cyber-security/intelligence firms that had planned to turn tools developed for the "War on Terror" against U.S. citizens, journalists, and progressive organizations [emphasis added]...

A group of House Democrats is calling on Republican leaders to investigate a prominent Washington law firm and three federal technology contractors, who have been shown in hacked e-mails discussing a "disinformation campaign" against foes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In a letter to be released Tuesday, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and more than a dozen other lawmakers wrote that the e-mails appear "to reveal a conspiracy to use subversive techniques to target Chamber critics," including "possible illegal actions against citizens engaged in free speech."

The lawmakers say it is "deeply troubling" that "tactics developed for use against terrorists may have been unleashed against American citizens."

As we also noted some weeks ago, Eggen reports, "The companies proposed forming a 'corporate information reconnaissance cell' and discussed tactics such as creating online personas to infiltrate activist Web sites; planting false information to embarrass U.S. Chamber Watch and other groups; and trolling for personal information using powerful computer software."

Those "other groups" would include the non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization VelvetRevolution.us, as co-founded by The BRAD BLOG, in response to VR's StopTheChamber.com campaign launched in late 2009 to help expose the U.S. Chamber's perfidy and mafia-like tactics in their extremist Rightwing corporate "advocacy". The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the nation's largest corporate lobbying firm and has spent millions in disinformation campaigns fighting against clean energy legislation and health care insurance reform, just to name two of their recent projects.

While a Congressional investigation would normally be a no-brainer in a plot as pernicious as the one exposed here --- revealed by the release of tens of thousands of emails detailing highly dubious, and most likely illegal, schemes of this sort --- the fact that the U.S. Chamber and its member corporations also spent millions as the top funders of Republican Congressional campaigns in 2010 makes the likelihood of such hearings questionable in the now-GOP-controlled House.

A letter to Attorney General Eric Holder at the Department of Justice, demanding a special prosecutor be assigned to this case would be equally, if not more appropriate. Unfortunately, the DoJ is also compromised in this affair, having been the ones, incredibly enough, to refer the Chamber's law firm Hunton & Williams to the Bank of America for a parallel plot with the same three private security firms, in order to target WikiLeaks with a focus on discrediting their perceived supporters such as Salon journalist Glenn Greenwald. Given the DoJ's dubious involvement here, it seems similarly unlikely that they would take up such an investigation themselves either, but a letter calling for same from Congressional members might help.

In more new developments in this story tonight...

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By Brad Friedman on 2/28/2011 10:41am PT  

On Thursday night, Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert waded into the HBGary muck with an explanation of the scam that the cyber-security intelligence firm, along with two other firms (government contractors all) were putting together for law firm Hunton & Williams on behalf of Bank of America, in hopes of discrediting journalists and organizations that supported WikiLeaks.

As readers of The BRAD BLOG likely know by now, a parallel $12 million scheme was being hatched by the same law firm and same three cyber-security firms on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, targeting me and my family, as well as other citizens and progressive organizations the U.S. Chamber had regarded as their enemies.

(I was likely targeted due to my roll in The BRAD BLOG's co-founding of the non-profit, non-partisan VelvetRevolution.us which has, since late 2009, been running a StopTheChamber.com campaign to expose the insidious, mafia-like tactics of what has become the largest, most extreme corporate lobbying outfit in the nation. Relatedly, late last week, VR filed a complaint with the D.C. Bar Association against the three H&W attorneys heading up these schemes. I hope to have more on that at a later date, but you can now read the complaint yourself right here [PDF]. Legal Times coverage is here, Washington Post's coverage today is here.)

Though the U.S. Chamber side of the plot is not discussed here, here's Colbert summing up the scheme as proposed for Bank of America...


...And here is the short interview that followed with Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald who, the same as I in the U.S. Chamber plot, was placed front and center in the Bank of America plot...

By the way, though I didn't notice it while watching a Tivo'd verison of the interview above on Thursday night --- so don't know if it was in the actual broadcast, or just added online, by someone --- PC Magazine noticed a curious anomaly at the 3:22 mark of the above video. For no more than a moment, the infamous Guy Fawkes mask from V for Vendetta, often used as a sort of trademark by the "hacktivist" collective Anonymous (the group which inadvertently exposed both of the above described plots when they broke into HBGary's corporate servers and stole the emails describing all of this) is briefly superimposed over Colbert's face, for reasons unknown --- but amusing.

* * *

For much more on the U.S. Chamber Plot, please see the links below for The BRAD BLOG's previous coverage of this disturbing story...

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

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Latest developments in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce scheme to illicitly target me and my family, as well as other progressive citizens, journalists and organizations...
By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2011 8:04pm PT  

It's strange, difficult and a bit uncomfortable reporting on the $12 million U.S. Chamber disinfo plot and smear campaign after finding myself (and my family), much less VelvetRevolution.us (VR), the non-profit organization co-founded by The BRAD BLOG, as direct targets of it. As you might have assumed, there is much going on behind the scenes that I can't report on at this time, but I've been happy to see some fairly decent coverage --- even by some in the print MSM, if not much in the broadcast media yet --- of this important, disturbing and still developing story.

It's easier to talk and opine on what I've learned about the plot, as I've been doing in a lot of media interviews over the past week (a few of those radio appearances are linked below), than it is to actually report on it, per se. Yet, there have been several noteworthy points and advancements in the story over the past week since I originally covered it in depth here on Monday.

New information being dug up over the last several days, since I initially reported on this story in depth at the beginning of the week, now indicates that the Chamber Plotters had likely intended to use cyber attacks and hacks against us as well.

Those key updates, and the very quickest of backgrounders for those unfamiliar with the sordid tale up until now, follow below...

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And why they are likely to get away with it...
By Brad Friedman on 2/14/2011 6:05am PT  

"[W]ho better to develop a corporate information reconnaissance capability than companies that have been market leaders within the DoD and Intelligence Community."
- 'Team Themis', from their 11/3/10 "Corporate Information Reconnaissance Cell" proposal delivered to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's law firm Hunton & Williams.


As I learned late last Thursday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the most powerful Rightwing lobbying group in the country, was revealed to have been working with their law firm and a number of private cyber security and intelligence firms to target progressive organizations, journalists and citizens who they felt were in opposition to their political activism, tactics and points of view.

As I went on the air Thursday night --- my fifth in a six-day guest hosting stint on the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show --- revelations about the planned multi-million dollar political hit job by the security/intelligence firms working to develop a scheme for the U.S. Chamber (and another one, almost identical to it, on behalf of Bank of America) were just beginning to come to light. Both plots were being developed by the Chamber and BofA by the very same law firm, Hunton & Williams and with the cyber intelligence firms HBGary Federal, Berico Technologies & Palantir Technologies.

As the show began, I was able to report the news, based on an exclusive report from Lee Fang at ThinkProgress, that internal emails from one of the firms, confirmed that VelvetRevolution.us (VR), a progressive non-partisan, non-profit organization co-founded by The BRAD BLOG, and its StopTheChamber.com campaign were specifically highlighted as targets of the Chamber's plot which was proposed to include the planting of a "false document", in hopes they'd be publicly released by VR or other progressive groups, so the U.S. Chamber could then claim the groups involved had created a forgery.

The plan also involved creating "two fake insider personas", one at VR and another at the unrelated Change To Win organization, which had employed a coalition of union groups to create a non-profit campaign, some months after VR's, called U.S. Chamber Watch. The plan presented by Team Themis, as the three security firms called themselves, would then use one of the "fake personas" as "leverage to discredit the other while confirming the legitimacy of the second" in hopes of publicizing the fraudulent appearance of some sort of "conspiracy" between the various progressive organizations in order to somehow discredit them.

As Thursday's show continued, I received confirmation that I, personally, along with members of my family, had been highlighted in Themis' proposed hit job, as ThinkProgress followed up with a second story, based on several other emails from HBGary's CEO Aaron Barr. The email focused on me included names, personal information, home addresses, etc. of myself, family members and a number of other members of VR. Naturally, I reported on the then-confirmed news in the second hour of that night's Malloy Show.

An hour or so after the show went off the air Thursday night, The BRAD BLOG was no longer reachable, as our server had been knocked off line hard, so I was unable to follow up with much more information. The server we use, which is also the home for many other progressive websites, was out of commission for nearly 24 hours, though I am told by our server admin that the very unusual outage was related to a serious hardware failure which occurred at what was clearly a very inopportune --- and, naturally, suspiciously timed --- moment. Moments before Friday's show, The BRAD BLOG was finally back up and online.

Over the weekend then, I've finally been able to catch up with a lot of what I had otherwise been unable to on Friday due to the server outage and the need to prep for Friday's show while all of this was happening (and as the Egypt regime was collapsing at the same moment).

As I, and other journalists, have been plowing through some of the tens of thousands of emails from HBGary's CEO --- as stolen and released by the "hacktivist" organization calling themselves Anonymous, following Barr's public threat to expose their names --- I've been able to learn a lot more about the U.S. Chamber plan.

Part of the plan included highlighting me as a "Tier 1" player in a sophisticated disinformation/discrediting scheme that relied on high-tech tools developed for the U.S. Government's "War on Terror".

Team Themis' U.S. Chamber of Commerce plan was to deploy the very same techniques and technology used to track terrorists, terror organizations, and nations such as Iran, against private non-profit political advocates and citizens in the U.S.

As disturbing (and there is a lot that every American citizen and every member of the American media ought to be very disturbed by in this story) Hunton & Williams (H&W), the law firm working on behalf of the U.S. Chamber and the Bank of America, had been recommended to BofA, the nation's largest bank, for the parallel hit scheme to target and discredit WikiLeaks, by our own U.S. Department of Justice.

In addition to Barr's email offering personal information on me and my family, the H&W scheme by Team Themis, created for the U.S. Chamber, also included a Power Point presentation in which I am personally highlighted, with photograph, along with my wife "Martha" and "2 boys, James and John Friedman" at our "home at 1055 Raywood Ln, Silver Springs, MD".

Of course, I'm not married and have no children and don't live in MD, but these are the huge private firms receiving millions, if not billions, in U.S. tax-payer dollars to target terrorists, after all, so why let such details like accuracy, or targeting innocent people, or citizens and journalists exercising their right to free speech get in the way of a potential $2 million dollar per month contract from the U.S. Chamber get in the way? The Chamber, of course, is also funded by the world's largest corporations who receive billions in tax-payer bailout dollars and subsidies from the U.S. Government. Can you feel the synergy? Team Themis certainly did...

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Tonight: Bob Edgar on Clarence Thomas' Crimes; Ernie Canning on 'Corp. Personhood' & US/Egypt 'Foreign Aid', Much More...
LIVE! 9p-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), Call-in#: 877-520-1150
By Brad Friedman on 2/8/2011 3:00pm PT  

[Now UPDATED below with audio from tonight's show. And it was a good one!]

We'll have another big show tonight as my week guest hosting the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show continues (while the Malloys Progressively Cruise the Caribbean).

We're BradCasting LIVE again tonight, 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the globe from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE and lively chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG during the show, so please come on by and say hey 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.)

Tonight:

The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates across 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.

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: I really really enjoyed tonight's show --- from first hour to last (perhaps, especially last, thanks to one great caller from TN). All the audio is now below, commercial-free! I suspect you may enjoy it nearly as much as I did! (The lively chat room archives are also below as well.)...

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Surprise announcement comes at end of Friday broadcast on same week as Comcast take-over of NBC receives DoJ approval
Progressive news host was half-way through 8-year, $30 million contract...
By Brad Friedman on 1/21/2011 9:35pm PT  

No real clues what this is about, but Keith Olbermann announced, at the end of tonight's show, that it would be the last edition of Countdown with Keith Olbermann, MSNBC's top-rated program.

MSNBC, the nation's #2 rated cable news channel in primetime (behind Fox "News" and ahead of CNN), quickly released this terse announcement after the show:

MSNBC and Keith Olbermann have ended their contract. The last broadcast of "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" will be this evening. MSNBC thanks Keith for his integral role in MSNBC's success and we wish him well in his future endeavors.

The announcement comes at the end of the same week that the FCC & Dept. of Justice approved Comcast's takeover of NBC. Writing at Daily Beast, media critic Howard Kurtz reports, however, that "A knowledgeable official said the move had nothing to do with Comcast taking control of NBC next week, although the cable giant was informed when it received final federal approval for the purchase that Olbermann would be leaving the cable channel. This official described the dramatic divorce-Olbermann was about halfway through a four-year, $30 million contract-as mutual."

New York Times' Bill Carter similarly reports that "NBC executives said the move had nothing to do with the impending takeover of NBC Universal by Comcast."

However, TMZ reports tonight, that Olbermann "was fired" according to "MSNBC sources" and that "it had everything to do with Comcast's acquisition of NBC." Their sources said that "Comcast honchos did not like Keith's defiance and the way he played in the sandbox," whatever that means.

[Update: Comcast issues statement denying they had anything to do with any of this. More details in full UPDATE now posted at bottom of story after the video.]

At the beginning of his announcement, posted below, Olbermann suggests that he had been "told that this is going to be the last edition of your show." Few other clues are offered for the sudden departure in his closing statement.

Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall, who had been a guest at the top of tonight's show, says that he was "stunned" and "didn't sense anything different in Keith's manner or affect" during tonight's broadcast or inside the studio itself.

"There were a few more people than I'm used to seeing in the studio --- maybe two or three, seated, who seemed to be there to watch. (Something I don't remember seeing before)," he writes in an item tonight titled "What the hell was that about?" but says he saw "nothing that made me think twice that anything odd was going on."

The Times' Carter says that Lawrence O'Donnell, host of MSNBC's recently-added 10pm show The Last Word would take over the 8pm slot, Rachel Maddow would continue at 9pm, and progressive radio talker and host of MSNBC's 3pm The Ed Show, Ed Schultz, would take over O'Donnell's 10pm slot to fill out the new prime-time line-up.

Olbermann's announcement and final sign-off follows below...


* * *

UPDATE: Mediate reports that office politics had more to do with the departure than anything, and Comcast issues a statement to say they had nothing to do with it. See below...

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

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