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Congresswoman Sets Impeachment Deadline for Federal Judge Mark Fuller
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


PLUS: The lone Republican vote in favor...
By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2009 2:11pm PT  

With the U.S. House having passed its version of a health care insurance bill (H.R. 3962 [PDF]) last night by a vote of 220 to 215, it may be instructive to take a very quick look at a couple of the outlier votes from each party.

The bill passed with just two votes to spare, leading one to wonder if Republicans are having any regrets about having hosed their own party's candidate in the NY-23 special election last Tuesday when the two Congressional seats up for election --- the one in NY and another in CA --- both went to Democrats, but that's another issue entirely.

Let's take a look at the reasons offered by two candidates who bucked their own party's in the historic House vote last night, as each seem quite instructive on a number of levels...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2009 11:21am PT  

Former, now-repentant rightwing fundamentalist leader, author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back and recent BRAD BLOG contributor Frank Schaeffer appeared on Laura Flanders' GRITtv on Friday to discuss his new book, Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism), the "lies" and "incipient fascism" of the "lunatic fringe" Right, and his belief that atheists such as Richard Dawkins and others are "proselytizing" their own non-belief.

I'm sure he'll appreciate your thoughts, good, bad, or otherwise, in comments below. Here's the interview [appx. 18 mins]...

Recently from Frank Schaeffer at The BRAD BLOG:

• 11/4/09: "I'm Now a 'Liberal' Because I'm a Conservative"
• 11/2/09: "The Loony Right Eats Its Own"
• 10/23/09: Brad Interviews Schaeffer on Green960
• 10/22/09: "A Letter to Rupert Murdoch"

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By Frank Schaeffer on 11/4/2009 11:39am PT  

Guest Blogged by Frank Schaeffer

I grew up in a fundamentalist missionary family that in the 1970s and 80s morphed into my father's activity as one of the founders of the Religious Right. We would hobnob with Republican leaders from Ronald Reagan to Gerald Ford and the Bush family, Jack Kemp and many others. One day it dawned on me that the far right of the Republican Party --- in other words its base --- actually hates America.

The Religious Right reveled in rising crime statistics, "family breakdown" statistics, failing public schools and so forth. As I explain in my book Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism), if crime started going down, or public school test results started going up --- without the country "turning back to Jesus" --- then that would prove that somehow "we" were wrong.

We wanted our country to fail because it had "turned away" from what we believed to be true.

Combined with the fact that we began to lose parts of the culture war, when it came to other Americans beginning to recognize gay rights, expanding women's rights, abortion rights and such, the Religious Right and the Republican Party infected gun-toting America with a chip on its shoulder about a mile wide. This led to the myth that "they" (fill in the blank, gays, Jews, blacks, liberals --- whatever) are "taking away our country from 'us'"...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/31/2009 2:03pm PT  

YouTube views of Rise of the Tea Bags, as of right now, since we posted it on Wednesday: 3,936 4,711 5,691 6,843 7,851 8,072 10,639 (Be the 4,000th 5,000th 6,000th 7,000th 8,000th 9,000th 11,000th!)

Followers of The BRAD BLOG on Twitter, as of right now: 497 539
(Be the 500th! Thanks to #500, @silver02suby. Be the 600th!)

Cost of national defense authorization bill for 2010 only, as signed by Obama on Wednesday without objection from tea baggers: $680 billion

Approximate cost of proposed U.S. House health insurance bill per year (though not reported this way by media): $90 billion

Cost of U.S. House health insurance bill over next ten years, as always reported by the media and vigorously objected to by tea baggers, despite CBO finding that it will actually reduce the deficit: Just under $900 billion

Approximate cost of defense authorization over next ten years (though never reported this way by media): $7 trillion

Approximate savings to tax-payers from U.S. House health insurance bill over next ten years: $100 billion

People killed by U.S. defense operations each year: n/a

Americans who die for lack of health insurance each year: 45,000

Cost of misplaced tea bagger/media priorities: priceless

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A short film in two parts by Brad Friedman...
By Brad Friedman on 10/28/2009 5:10am PT  

So we went out to Griffith Park out here in L.A. on Sunday to check out the kick-off day for the new "Tea Party Express II" national tour. Thought we might meet some interesting people and file a quick video report. Met a lot of interesting people, and so ended up making a short film of sorts. Enjoy. Spread the word. Go tell the story ("both sides")...


Part 1...


Part 2...

UPDATE 10/29/09: Boy, it's tough to compete with the Tea Baggers in the satire department, even when they're not actually trying to be satirical. As God is my witness, coming to you with a straight face this Thanksgiving --- Tea Party: The Documentary Film!...

UPDATE 11/9/09: As of today, we've had more than 11,000 views of Rise of the Tea Bags at YouTube. By Tea Bagger math, that's more than 3 million views! And yet, the media refuses to report it!!! Also, here's my interview on Air America Radio's Ring of Fire discussing the video...

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Progressive group pledges withholding contributions to Dems until healthcare initiative with 'robust public option' signed into law...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/24/2009 11:30am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Coinciding with an internal Senate Democratic Caucus debate over health care reform that Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) described as only “slightly less raucous than the town hall meetings,” the non-affiliated progressive activist group Democrats.com has launched a petition campaign aimed at curtailing donations to official Democratic fundraising organizations [emphasis in original] until "the Democratic Congress passes --- and President Obama signs --- healthcare reform with a robust public option."

That "robust public option" is defined in the petition as being "based on Medicare rates, not negotiated rates," available "nation-wide, with no state opt-outs," "administered by Medicare, not a for-profit insurance company." and "available immediately."

The idea that the public option would be managed by a private insurance company has recently emerged in reports of Congressional negotiations aimed at merging various versions of the legislation passed by separate committees in the House and Senate, as noted by RAW STORY's John Byrne today.

The progressive activists campaign calls for signatories to respond to requests for donations from the three major Democratic campaign/fundraising organizations --- the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) --- with a http://www.democrats.com...rike-for-public-option\">link to the petition, instead of funds, until such legislation has been passed and signed by the President.

"Until then," the petition states, "I will only support individual Democrats who support single-payer Medicare for All (the 88 sponsors of HR 676)."

"We elected solid Democratic majorities in Congress and a Democratic President to fulfill Democratic promises of progressive change," the statement continues, "We did not elect Republican Senator Olympia Snowe to break those promises."

The complete short petition follows in full below...

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

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The repentant former right wing fundamentalist leader applauds the White House for holding Fox 'News' accountable, charges they 'seem to be trawling for assassins'...
By Frank Schaeffer on 10/22/2009 2:28pm PT  

[Ed Note: My audio interview with Frank Schaeffer on Green960's "Live from the Left Coast" in San Francisco, following the publishing of this article, can now be heard here... - Brad]

Guest Blogged by Frank Schaeffer

President Obama is getting criticism for going after Fox News. I fault the White House too: for not going far enough. The real issue is not Fox's right wing "bias." The real issue is that Fox News seems to be trawling for assassins. Here's the letter White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs should write. Or maybe it should come from the head of the United States Secret Service...

Dear Rupert Murdoch, since you are responsible for what is on Fox News I have a question for you: Do you ever wonder how you'll be remembered by Americans and the world (not to mention your children) if someone takes a shot at President Obama, and when asked why they did it, quotes the misinformation spouted by Fox News as their "reason?"...

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

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The Baucus Bill 'milestone' obscures the only real solution to the ills of our current health care system...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/16/2009 10:34am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

As recounted in a front-page article in The New York Times, on the strength of a single "yes" from a member of the Party of No, President Barack Obama described the 14 to 9 Senate Finance Committee vote in favor of the Baucus health care bill as "a critical milestone," adding, "We are now closer than ever to passing health care reform."

With all due respect, Mr. President, it is nothing of the sort. To the contrary, the Senate Finance Committee has produced nothing less than a legislative obscenity.

After nearly a year of back room deals and unending propaganda, which has included extensive corporate media coverage of insurance industry sponsored, wing-nut assaults on town halls, fabricated issues about "death panels," the exclusion of single-payer advocates from the White House and the Senate Finance Committee, and a deafening corporate media silence about the widespread public support* for a single-payer (Medicare for All) system, the time has come to pierce through the confusion by asking and answering a few simple questions...

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

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Obama still promising change, but keeping equality on the back-burner...or is he?...
By Brad Friedman on 10/12/2009 9:39pm PT  

Given that Obama ran on ending "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and repealing the "Defense of Marriage Act," those who believe in equal justice under the law --- as per the Constitution --- are justifiably none too happy about the fact that he hasn't gotten around to doing either yet.

He did give a rousing speech to the Human Rights Campaign over the weekend, however, re-promising to do all of the above, even if he failed to give a timetable for either of them.

Both DADT and DOMA are federal law, so he can't just change them unitarily over night....

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/9/2009 11:33am PT  

Eric Kleefeld has rounded up highlights so far today of the wingers going "nuts" over Obama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize today, versus reasonable criticism about the award. Have a feeling folks here may want to ring in with their own thoughts on this today...

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2009

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population.

For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama's appeal that "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges."

Oslo, October 9, 2009

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New study finds 45,000 Americans die each year for lack of health care...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/18/2009 7:31pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi

In "ObamaCare: Right Diagnosis, Wrong Prescription" I noted that it was virtually impossible to mount an honest defense of the current U.S. health care system. Doing so would amount to suggesting that the obscene wealth of a few health care insurance company CEOs and their Wall Street investors has a greater social value than the lives of 18,000 of our fellow citizens whom the current system annually sentences to death simply because they are too poor to purchase insurance coverage.

Today, as I mulled over the legislative obscenity that Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) and a former vice president of WellPoint spent months preparing --- an insurance carrier wish-list that contains no public option, no means for controlling costs or abuse; a measure that does not merely protect but expands the already obscene wealth of the few by mandating that every citizen purchase insurance, with massive subsidies flowing into carrier coffers --- I learned that I was wrong...

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

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Republicans amass an army to retain corporate control of the public airwaves...
By Sue Wilson on 9/15/2009 2:53pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Sue Wilson

I was strolling through my local county fair this summer, a small fair, a friendly fair, where cows, sheep, and pigs outnumber food vendors.

The Republican booth caught my eye, but not because of the red, white, and blue decorations. What caught my eye was the sign they'd posted, the sign that summed up the one key issue of importance to local Republicans.

What would it be, in this raucous political summer of 2009? Anger over bailouts, fear over death panels? No. The number one issue for Amador County Republicans: "Save Talk Radio."

I hadn't realized that the industry that just signed a $400 million contract with Rush Limbaugh needed saving, but they thought so; they even had a petition to save it...

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

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$900 billion insurance carrier gift leaves 36 million uninsured...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/14/2009 1:07pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

Last week, in his address to a joint session of Congress, President Obama correctly noted:

Our collective failure to meet this challenge --- year after year, decade after decade --- has led us to a breaking point. Everyone understands the extraordinary hardships that are placed on the uninsured, who live every day just one accident or illness away from bankruptcy...

We are the only advanced democracy on Earth...that allows such hardships for millions of its people….In just a two year period, one in every three Americans goes without health care coverage at some point. And every day, 14,000 Americans lose their coverage...

But the problem that plagues the health care system is not just a problem of the uninsured. Those who do have insurance have never had less security and stability than they do today…More and more Americans pay their premiums, only to discover that their insurance company has dropped their coverage when they get sick, or won’t pay the full cost of care. It happens every day.

That was the easy part. Anyone who has paid attention understands that the core problem lies in the profit motives of the private insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

Thus, the President's diagnosis of the U.S. health care system was accurate, but did he prescribe "change we can believe in?"...

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

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[Updated/Corrected. See end of article for details.]
By Brad Friedman on 9/12/2009 5:42pm PT  

This Fox "News" sponsored protest
happened today in the nation's capitol...

This grassroots protest in the nation's capital
on September 24, 2005 never happened...

At least according to the New York Times...
[See Update/Correction posted at end of story.]

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

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Alluding to the assassination of JFK, long-time high-level CIA analyst says Panetta and the President 'afraid of these guys because these guys have a whole lot to lose if justice takes its course'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/11/2009 3:00pm PT  

During my interview last night with 27-year CIA analyst Ray McGovern on the Mike Malloy Show (which I've been guest hosting all this week), the man who used to personally deliver the CIA's Presidential Daily Briefings to George Bush Sr. and Ronald Reagan, among other Presidents, offered an extraordinarily chilling thought --- particularly coming from someone with his background.

In a conversation at the end of the hour (audio and transcript below), as I was trying to pin him down for an opinion on whether or not he felt it was appropriate for CIA Director Leon Panetta to have reportedly attempted to block a lawful investigation into torture and other war crimes committed by the CIA, McGovern alluded to a book about the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and noted he felt it likely that both Panetta and President Obama may have reason to fear certain elements of the CIA.

"Let me just leave you with this thought," he said, "and that is that I think Panetta, and to a degree President Obama, are afraid --- I never thought I'd hear myself saying this --- I think they're afraid of the CIA."...

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

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