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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 3/12/2010 9:55am PT  

From BRAD BLOG commenter "Billy" as posted in response to our breaking coverage Wednesday night of the Congressional legislation to defund ACORN in the wake of the "pimp" hoax videos, having been declared in federal court to have been an unconstitutional bill of attainder...

COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
... Billy said on 3/11/2010 @ 7:18 am PT...

Boy, if this keeps up, people will start thinking ACORN was targeted because Republicans simply hate black people.

But we know that's not true. They also hate women with jobs, happy gay people, miserable poor people, all people in need of medical attention, intelligent people who happen to speak one of them foreign languages, intelligent people in general, all people who live near high-yield oilfields, all people who oppose wars of aggression, people with unfavorable views of torturing non-Caucasians, people who wonder who's been listening in on our phone conversations and browsing our library lists, people who still believe in habeas corpus, people who don't use the U.S. flag as bling, and people who don't even exist --- like Murphy Brown.

But let us not jump to conclusions. There's always a good explanation.

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Judgment Grants ACORN Declaratory, Permanent Injunctive Relief
Slams Congress for acting without administrative process or trial...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/10/2010 9:30pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"The government has offered no...unique reason to treat ACORN differently from other contractors accused of serious misconduct or to bar ACORN from federal funding without either a judicial trial or an administrative process applicable to all government contractors."

That was the finding in the judgment [PDF] issued late today by U.S. District Court Judge Nina Gershon, granting both declaratory relief and a permanent injunction to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

The court declared that the provisions of the "FY 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act," an amalgam of six separate bills which President Barack Obama signed into law on Dec. 16, 2009, which sought to strip ACORN of their right to enter future contracts with the U.S. government and to deprive them of all federal funding, save what had already been earned on existing contracts, amounted to an unconstitutional Bill of Attainder in violation of Article I, Section 9 of the United States Constitution.

Gershon's decision comes on the heels of a recent string of legal and public relations exhonerations for the community group which has long been targeted by the GOP, in large part, for their successful work in legally registering hundreds of thousands of low- and middle-income voters who tend to favor Democratic candidates...

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

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The latest chapter of a 40-year assault on Constitutional Democracy
And the long overdue effort by the People to reclaim their democratic heritage...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/19/2010 6:05am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"The American people already believe that corporate special interests and their lobbyists run the show around here. I mean, the halls are crawling with them. But that’s not enough. Now the Court says to the big banks, to the drug companies, to the insurance companies, ‘Hey, all bets are off, and it’s open season. Our elections are for sale.’ A law won’t fix this; we have to fix it in the Constitution. So today I’ll introduce a constitutional amendment so that we, the people, can take back our elections and our democracy."
-- Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1/28/10

In "Activist U.S. Supreme Court Makes It Official, We're Now 'The Corporate States of America'", Brad Friedman, along with so many others, expressed alarm over the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission [PDF], as well he should have.

Notwithstanding the sophistries offered by Jan Witold Baran, who neglected to mention in his Jan. 26, 2010 New York Times editorial that he is a former general counsel for the Republican National Committee, it is clear from the broad language applied by the five-member majority of the Supreme Court that Citizens United calls into question the validity of all laws which seek to prohibit or even limit the ability of corporate bought-and-paid-for candidates to flood the airwaves with the corporate message, either directly or through corporate-purchased propaganda time slots; an ability that can drown out the right of citizens to see and hear those who do not tow the corporate line.

As I will explain in this first of a series of articles, this ruling perverts the very reason why the framers included "freedom of the press" in the First Amendment to the Constitutional amendments.

Unfortunately, as I will also explain in this series, the ruling in Citizens United was not unexpected. To the contrary, it is but the latest salvo in a 40 year, billionaire-funded assault on the very foundations of our constitutional republic and the rule of law.

A belated effort to reclaim our basic heritage has emerged via a move to amend the Constitution to overcome the devastating impact of Citizens United. Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig argues that a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United will not be enough; that we have to overcome what he describes as "the economy of influence" which now controls Congress. Lessig has called for a new Constitutional Convention. Another activist group, The Peace Team, has denounced the decision in Citizens United as an "act of treason." The Peace Team features an on-line petition calling for the impeachment of the five members of the Supreme Court who signed onto the majority opinion.

Regardless of where one stands on these efforts, a full appreciation of the big picture may be required before an effective movement can counter the well-funded and well organized assault on liberty...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 2/3/2010 6:16am PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

While I've always had the utmost respect for Australian journalist and documentary filmmaker John Pilger, I must admit that the first time I watched his video, "Obama is a corporate marketing creation," I thought that, in implying that the President was some type of CIA-connected Manchurian Candidate, Pilger was a bit over the top.

In 1983 Obama went to work for "Business International Corporation," which, according to Pilger, had "a long history of providing cover for the CIA and infiltrating unions on the left." Though Pilger conceded that there "might be nothing sinister" in that, he cited Obama's failure to identify Business International by name or what he did there in Dreams of My Father. The President simply said he worked at “a consulting house to multinational corporations.” Coupling this with a litany of examples which place Obama on the wrong side of Empire and the corporate divide, Pilger implied the connection was not coincidental, then concluded his remarks by quoting Chris Hedges:

President Obama does one thing and brand Obama gets you to believe another. This is the essence of successful advertising. You buy or do what the advertiser wants because of how they make you feel.

Perhaps it's an accumulation of all that has transpired this past year; perhaps it's the striking revelations that emerged during an extraordinary Feb. 2, 2010, broadcast of Democracy Now, especially as it pertains to torture (video below), but I now can't help feeling like Claire Kubik, the sharp attorney played by Ashley Judd in High Crimes who starts out vigorously defending her husband Tom (Jim Cazviel) against charges he murdered innocent civilians in a covert military operation. She's convinced the man she married has been wrongfully accused; convinced of his innocence until, almost when it's too late, she learns the man she thought she knew so well was a murderous sociopath.

Who is this guy whose election so many so happily celebrated on a brisk November evening that now seems so long ago?...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 2/2/2010 3:52pm PT  

It's up to the wingnuts. If they want to keep lying about Obama, then we'll do our best to set the record straight. If they want to bring up legitimate criticism, and there's plenty of it, then we'd likely join them, and we could all have an Obama bashing party together. But they're not that smart.

So as long as the wingnut media --- and thus, virtually the entire corporate media --- insist on using the people's airwaves to lie to the people (eg., Rush Limbaugh continues to repeat every day what a "complete failure" the economic stimulus package has been), I guess we'll just have to keep countering that phony message by posting the truth in order to try to offer some balance to the unending stream of lies from the GOP and their extremely effective mouthpieces across the near-entirety of the corporate media.

Rachel Maddow did the same last week in her lead-up piece to Obama's first State of the Union address, in which she brutally attacked the Administration's call for a partial spending freeze, even as the economy, thanks in no small part to Government investment, struggles to come out of its tailspin.

Before her critique however (which I hope you'll watch in full --- it's embedded below), she also pointed out the salient, indisputable facts of how responsible actions taken by the Obama Administration, whether you liked them or not --- and as opposed by virtually every single Republican in Congress --- have, in fact, with all of their many failings, helped shore up, and even reverse for now, what had been a near-death spiral by the time Obama finally took office.

Here are two charts from her report which highlight that point quite simply, and help to counter the loud, GOP-spun political/partisan nonsense echoed, naturally, by the gullible tea baggers...

[NOTE: Since Maddow's report last week, the GDP figures for the 4th quarter of last year have now been announced and the up trend continues. As her original chart included data only through the 3rd quarter of last year, we've augmented that original chart below to reflect the recently announced 5.7% growth in GDP for the 4th quarter of '09]:

Love him or hate him, or anything in between, recognition of the overall effect of the broad points of Obama's emergency economic policies --- quickly passed at an historic moment of looming disaster --- is due. At least along with any honest appraisal of those policies.

* * *

Maddow's entire report, both praising and critiquing Obama and those policies --- something known as "fairness and balance" --- can be watched below...

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

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MSNBC to air special tonight on remarkable 'President's Question Time' with Republican House Members this afternoon...
By Brad Friedman on 1/29/2010 2:49pm PT  

[UPDATE: Complete video of Obama Q&A with House GOP members now embedded at end of article.]

Via Olbermann this afternoon at dKos:

...[F]rom 8 to 10 PM Eastern tonight, Rachel, Chris Matthews and I will be presenting a two-hour special report on the President's remarks (and answers) to the Republican Retreat (and wow did it live up to that name).

We will be aiming for analysis and perspective for sure, but not to the point of carving this up into little soundbites. We will be running, as they say, "large chunks" and then cutting back to the studio to see which one of our jaws can drop the closest to the floor.

Parenthetically, I always said the actual "Prime Minister's Question Time" on C-SPAN was one of my favorite tv shows but the thought of doing an American version gave me the mental image of all of our politicians running screaming into the streets after the first five minutes of questioning.

Apparently that would all but one of our politicians.

The event this afternoon, where Obama spent an hour and a half taking any and all questions from GOP House Members was, indeed, remarkable. As I tweeted at the time, "Can u imagine Bush ever doing anything like that? Ever?!"

If you missed it, we'll try to get video, or links to it, posted here shortly. Apparently, tweets emptywheel, "so many people want to see Obama's GOP talk that they've crashed CSPAN's servers. Has that ever happened before?"

It was sober, reasonable, helpful and historic and Obama came across as extraordinarily reasonable and Presidential. It was little surprise then that Fox "News," I read, cut away from the historic moment to...do something else.

[Update: Video of all 85 minutes of Obama's "Question Time" is now posted here with transcript, and embedded in full at the end of this article.]

A few clips follow below, courtesy of TPM's excellent coverage, along with an extended segment from their report. In one of the clips, for example, Obama tells the Republicans to portraying the "pretty centrist" health care bill as "some sort of Bolshevik plot"...

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

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UPDATE: 'Mandation Nation'. Video of Palin, Mathews & Alito's lowlights....
By Brad Friedman on 1/27/2010 5:50pm PT  

I sure hope Cindy's there tonight to help make things lively! Ah, memories. Otherwise, here's your annual SOTU open thread. We'll be watching along with you...

Prepared text of speech now here...

UPDATE 1/28/10, 1:10pm PT: "Mandation Nation". Just flagging, for posterity, the three most noteworthy sideshow moments, as I had noted eacj in comments last night as they happened, since we now have the video of each, courtesy of Shannyn Moore's compilation (and AKMuckraker's "Mandation Nation"). Palin on Obama's "mandation for health care"; Matthews' racial forgetfullness; and Republican Justice Alito as the new Joe Wilson. All three videos now follow below...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 1/27/2010 8:16am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

As the community group ACORN, which is accused of no federal felonies, awaits a decision on the release of federal funds that they were unconstitutionally barred from receiving, according to a federal judge, the man who apparently videotaped some of their employees illegally and then released highly edited and misleading versions of those illegally obtained tapes now faces federal felony charges related to wiretapping a U.S. Senator....

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

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Even those who supported Scott Brown overwhelmingly support 'public option'
Evidence counters GOP/media 'conventional wisdom' that Dems must pull even more punches...
By Brad Friedman on 1/20/2010 3:08pm PT  

By way of offering a rather convincing counterpoint to Frank Schaeffer's editorial posted here earlier today, in which he asserted his opinion that Republican Scott Brown's reported win in MA last night for the U.S. Senate seat was the fault of "the ideological purist Left" who undermined Obama and the Democrats, a Research 2000 poll conducted last night after the election, surveying 500 Obama backers who voted in the Senate election and 500 backers who sat it out, would seem to suggest the exact opposite. (Much as almost all of you did in comments)...

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

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I blame the ideological purist Left who have worked so hard to undermine the Obama presidency for the MA debacle.
Lefty purists set the stage...
By Frank Schaeffer on 1/20/2010 6:09am PT  

Guest Editorial by Frank Schaeffer

[Readers: Please see the added "Ed Note" at the end of this editorial. Thanks. It has also now been updated with some new information. - BF]

Congratulations to the Left of the progressive movement and the Democratic Party: You just shot us all in the foot. You contributed to the Democratic loss in Massachusetts.

I’m a former Republican who ran from that hate-filled movement years ago. I am a heartfelt Obama supporter. And I am also an Independent Massachusetts voter.

I blame the ideological purist Left who have worked so hard to undermine the Obama presidency for the MA debacle. You set the stage...

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

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Justice slowly returns after the reign of John 'Minorities Die First' Tanner, and under a new Administration
The BRAD BLOG is happy to have played an important role...
By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2010 11:29am PT  

While criticism of Obama and Democrats is as easy as it is appropriate (as well as frequently engaged in here), their failures on the marquee items --- Afghanistan, health care, torture accountability, etc., ya know, the items Fox "News" and the other wingnuts like to talk about --- tend to obscure the very real differences between the current administration and the former one across a broader, and much less sexy (by cable news standards), level. That's just one of the reasons I reject the far too lazy "Democrats are just the same as Republicans" knee-jerkisms.

While on the big ticket items, as noted above, there is far less difference in real world results than all of us would like, but below the radar, in executive departments and policies, the difference has been, at times, and in some areas, like night and day.

Desi Doyen and I have made this point on a number of occasions in our Green News Reports --- most recently in last Thursday's edition, highlighting new, important and aggressive policy changes and initiatives at the EPA, federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Dept. of Interior.

Now, some important changes at the DoJ's Civil Rights Division, and of particular note to long time readers of The BRAD BLOG, its Voting Rights Division, are beginning to show real change and significantly for the better, whether you hear about it on Fox and CNN and MSNBC or not.

Adam Serwer of The American Prospect highlighted some of that positive change late last week on the heels of an upheaval at the DoJ's Voting Rights Division over which The BRAD BLOG played a very direct and significant role in 2007....

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

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Escalation in the 'War on Terror' continues...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/3/2010 8:03am PT  

Guest essay by Ernest A. Canning

In "Beyond Afghanistan," I responded to President Obama's Dec. 1 Afghan escalation speech by quoting from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Beyond Vietnam" speech: "Somehow this madness must cease."

I directed readers’ attention to King’s assessment that our obsession with war and occupation was but a symptom of “a far deeper malady within the American spirit;" that our presence in Afghanistan and so many other conflicts over the past 60 years was not the product of a desire to insure our safety; that it was the product of a military-industrial complex and a U.S.-led, corporate Empire whose core purpose is to feed the insatiable greed of the privileged few.

In the short time since I wrote “Beyond Afghanistan,” we have witnessed an expansion of the absurd...

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

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By David Swanson on 12/23/2009 10:21am PT  

[Ed Note: On Monday, The BRAD BLOG published Frank Schaeffer's guest editorial, "Obama Will Win: Why and How His Critics from the Left and Right Will be Proven Wrong". Today, we're pleased to offer a counterpoint in reply by author David Swanson.]

Guest editorial by David Swanson

I've appreciated much of Frank Schaeffer's commentary at The BRAD BLOG but his column here this week on Obama winning was an exception. Schaeffer labels himself an "Obama supporter" and explains that Obama supporters are "sticking with our President." The language Schaeffer uses, after identifying himself as a "former religious Rightwing agitator", is helpful in illuminating a troubling pattern of thought that is widespread in our society:

"We faithful Obama supporters still trust our initial impression of him as a great, good and uniquely qualified man to lead us."

Here is faith, or at least faithfulness, explicitly entering politics through the advocacy of a recovering religious advocate. As everyone knows who has tried to recover from a pattern of thought, it is far easier to reject or reverse the specifics than it is to step outside the framework. But it is the framework that I find disturbing. I disagree with the point of view above just as much as I disagree with rightwing religious agitation, and for the same reasons. I don't want to be a faithful, trusting supporter of a uniquely great and good being...

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

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By Frank Schaeffer on 12/21/2009 10:30am PT  

[Ed Note 12/23/09: Author David Swanson has now published a counterpoint in reply to the following editorial. His guest editorial is now published here: "Will WE Win?: A Reply to Frank Schaeffer's 'Obama Will Win'".]

Guest editorial by Frank Schaeffer

Before he'd served even one year President Obama lost the support of the easily distracted Left and engendered the white hot rage of the hate-filled Right. But some of us, from all walks of life and ideological backgrounds --- including this white, straight, 57-year-old, former religious Rightwing agitator, now progressive writer and (given my background as the son of a famous evangelical leader) this unlikely Obama supporter --- are sticking with our President. Why? Because he is succeeding.

We faithful Obama supporters still trust our initial impression of him as a great, good and uniquely qualified man to lead us.

Obama's steady supporters will be proven right. Obama's critics will be remembered as easily panicked and prematurely discouraged at best and shriveled hate mongers at worst...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 12/21/2009 8:40am PT  

$636 billion for annual military spending was approved by the U.S. Senate over the weekend, with little more than a hiccup of debate from Republican "conservatives," not a peep from the Democrats, and even less coverage from the corporate mainstream media.

But $850 billion for 10 years of what is ostensibly meant to be health care reform for the health and welfare of American citizens --- all while reducing the budget deficit by $132 billion over that period, according to the CBO? "A budget buster!," shout the phony "conservatives" in the same Senate.

Anyway, there's your "American Values," in a two-part nutshell, from today's Republicans and the Democrats and corporate media who enable their madness as if it weren't so.

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