If you haven't been able to follow Reagan-appointed federal appellate court judge Richard Posner's stunning disavowal of his landmark 2007 polling place Photo ID law ruling - from admitting he got it wrong a few weeks ago...to unconvincingly unadmitting it this week --- I'd hardly blame ya.
On this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio, I tried to help make sense of the Photo ID Posner Coaster, as much as possible, and explain where it leaves the continuing fight against the ramped up GOP voter suppression in this country.
We also covered the criminal charges recently filed against repeat offender Diebold (for what the U.S. Attorney described as "a worldwide pattern of criminal conduct"); the new way that KS and AZ have come up with to keep legal voters from voting; and, with NJ Gov. Chris Christie up for re-election next week and taking a bow for his post-"Superstorm Sandy" performance one year ago this week, it seemed a good time to revisit the secret Koch Brothers audio tapes we revealed in 2011, when Christie was lauded at a secret Koch Brothers meeting in Colorado, where brother David introduced him proudly as "my kind of guy", among other praises sung.
Oh, and Desi Doyen joined us, as usual, for the latest Green News Report and lessons --- learned or otherwise --- one year after "Sandy"...
"I'll tell you the solution, get rid of 90% of the editors that now exist and start promoting editors that you can't control," he says. I saw it in the New York Times, I see people who get promoted are the ones on the desk who are more amenable to the publisher and what the senior editors want and the trouble makers don't get promoted. Start promoting better people who look you in the eye and say 'I don't care what you say'.
"I would close down the news bureaus of the networks and let's start all over, tabula rasa. The majors, NBCs, ABCs, they won't like this - just do something different, do something that gets people mad at you, that's what we're supposed to be doing," he says.
In short, when it comes to our work as independent journalists here, I take that as: "If you're not pissing someone off, you're doing it wrong."
Please help The BRAD BLOG continue to piss people off, because "trouble makers don't get promoted." Nor do they receive support from corporations or partisan foundations. We do, however, hopefully have folks like you to generously help us continue what we have done, tirelessly, for almost a decade now. And I thank you again for that help in advance...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)
Oh, noes! I've been blocked on the Twitters by Eric Bolling, the pretend journalist, pundit, propagandist or whatever he calls himself, of The Five on Fox "News"!
Never mind that I've never followed him there, so I'll probably survive having been "blocked" by him, but it seems thin-skinned li'l Eric doesn't like it too much when folks point out the wildly inaccurate "facts" he presents to viewers on his afternoon Fox "News" show.
The Twitter exchange between the very handsome Bolling and me is posted below. In full. It's brief. I correct his long-ago debunked falsehood about Arctic ice, he calls me a name and links to a long-ago debunked article in a British tabloid to support his long-ago debunked nonsense, I call him a name and link him to actual facts, he calls me a "d-bag", announces he'll be blocking me, and then offers me and my "miserable life" a warm farewell. It's fun.
For the record, the exchange started after he misinformed his viewers on his The Five show Monday, in an effort to pretend climate change isn't happening, that "Arctic sea ice is approaching a record high level this year!" But it isn't. Not by a long shot. In fact, the Arctic sea ice minimum extent is at its 6th lowest level ever recorded this year, as those know-nothing, d-bag, loser "scientists" at NASA noted last week, based on satellite imagery.
We (and a whole bunch of actual scientists) completely debunked demolished Bolling's canard about this year's Arctic sea ice minimum a few weeks ago, after a British tabloid first put it forward, falsely declaring that the increase in sea ice this year over last year's all-time low, meant that the globe is now "COOLING!"
Picking up on The BRAD BLOG's exclusive statement from the imprisoned former Governor Don Siegelman (D-AL) in regard to the alleged $20 million money laundering conspiracy by the currently-acquitted Tom DeLay, former convict Jack Abramoff, fugitive from justice Karl Rove and others to take down Alabama's popular former Governor, I was joined by Siegelman's son Joseph on this week's KPFK/Pacifica RadioBradCast.
Not familiar with the outrageous prosecution and conviction of Siegelman? Or of what appears to be his blatantly stolen 2002 election (on a Diebold paper ballot electronic tabulator?) This is great episode to listen to, as it also includes a lot of background and a few clips from my interview with the former Governor just days before he was ordered back to federal prison last year.
But before you get outraged all over again, we started off the show with a rarely heard good news segment to help soften everything else a bit. Yes, there have been a number of things to be happy and/or encouraged by, of late...though admittedly it's been very hard to notice.
On this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio we spoke first with Jim Naureckas of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) about whether the MSM --- despite recent hand-wringing over failures in the run-up to Iraq 10 years ago --- repeated the same behavior in the run-up to the almost-war in Syria.
I'm heading off the grid, and deep into the mountains this week. Don't panic.
If the bears agree, I'll be back soon. There will be no important news over the next week or so anyway. I insist. What could possibly go wrong with that plan?
If you hear from my wife, call the police. I'm not married. She's a fraud.
P.S. Don't know if there's cell coverage where I'm going --- I hope not --- but feel free to keep an eye on my twitter feed (@TheBradBlog) just in case!
* * *
UPDATE 8/19/2013: Just off the mountain. Safely. Some of you may be disappointed to know we did not get eaten by bears. For my part, I am disappointed that the world failed to heed my pronouncement that there would be "no important news over the next week or so". So, looks like I've got some catching up to do this week. Your patience, as ever, is appreciated...
Oh, that's right. I forgot. When you call in to the Thom Hartmann Program on radio-- as I happened to last week, after Republican "Swiftboat Vets" disinformationist Jerome Corsi was on the show, claiming not to know that in his very own book, he claimed Obama's 2012 election was stolen by a secret army of illegal voters (or something) --- you end up "on TV" --- because Thom's radio show is also simulcast on FreeSpeechTV.
Next thing you know, Thom posts that video of your call-in on YouTube, and then our own not-frequent-enough guest blogger D.R. Tucker, who notices everything, happens to notice it, and then he tweets it.
My fundraising pleas have not been very successful of late. Not sure what to do about that frankly, nor how we're gonna make it around here at this rate. This has been a problem for some time, actually, but perhaps that's more my problem than yours.
While I take some time to try and figure it out, I'll just mention today's my birthday, in case anyone feels like helping us out with a birthday gift, as has occasionally been the case this time of year. It is much needed. So thanks in advance to those who can help... - Brad
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)
"There's no question in my mind", he said, that the surveillance programs revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden include both illegalities and unconstitutionalities. They "violate the First and Fourth Amendment of the Constitution" and even "the plain terms of FISA [the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act], the law on which the authority is purportedly based, and...other federal statutes."
Rumold was my guest this week on the KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast where my hope was to strip away all of the nonsense "controversy" about Snowden and Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald in order to focus on the actual disclosures, what we know about them, what we don't, and what we know about the lies told by the Administration about them (especially those by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.)
Also, Rumold discussed the status of his EFF lawsuit attempting to force the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to release their 2011 finding on the illegalities/unconstitutionalities of one of the very few programs that they actually rejected.
If you are confused about any or all of that, today's show is a great primer on those key points and several more. The BRAD BLOG's legal analyst Ernie Canning described today's BradCast as "fascinating stuff." And though he may be somewhat biased, I --- who am completely objective on these things --- would tend to agree with him.
We also covered the breaking news out of Egypt, as President Mohammed Morsi was forced out of office in a military coup and Al Jazeera English was pulled off the air...live. We quickly discussed the outrageous secrecy of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), I had a few (more) very choice words for national embarrassment and professional hypocrite Justice Antonin Scalia, and Desi Doyen joined us, as usual, for the latest Green News Report and details on the next billion dollar natural disaster on its way...
After being largely off-grid over the weekend, I returned home late last night just as a problem with our server (not just our website, but many of them served by the same system) was coming to light. It's still unclear what happened, that's being investigated, but the result is the site had to be restored from an older backup.
In the bargain, some article comments (including some of my own) were lost, though I'm going to try to restore some of them manually today as I can, where I have the material available to do so. Where I don't, I'll see if I can get the rest from the NSA. My apologies for any comments that I cannot restore. The upside is that at least we hadn't posted a lot of new articles over the weekend while I was on the road, so not too much new material was lost.
I was planning for it to be an unavoidably busy day today anyway, as I scrambled to get caught up from several days off-line after an otherwise interesting and largely fruitful visit to Netroots Nation 2013 and related missions. Given the fast moving news events of the last few days, it was clearly going to be a race to catch-up. Now it'll just be that much busier, and that much longer before we're fully back up to speed here. So, my apologies for that as well...and thanks in advance for your patience...
EXCLUSIVE: Legendary 'Pentagon Papers' whistleblower offers frank comment on the NSA whistleblower; the dangers of our privatized surveillance state; the failure of Congressional oversight; and journalists 'discrediting their professions'...
"I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America," Church said, "and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return."
On Wednesday, during a fascinating interview on The BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio, Ellsberg said directly, in the wake of Snowden's disclosures: "We're in the abyss. What he feared has come to pass."
The Guardian has asserted that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden "will go down in history as one of America's most consequential whistleblowers alongside Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning," do it seemed the perfect time to chat with Ellsberg about all of this.
He offered a number of thoughts about Snowden himself, from one of the few people in the world who may have real insight into what the 29-year old leaker must be thinking and dealing with right about now, and why he may have chosen to both leave the country and then come out publicly. He describes Snowden as "a patriotic American, and to call him a traitor reveals a real misunderstanding of our founding documents."
"What he has revealed, of course, is documentary evidence of a broadly, blatantly unconstitutional program here which negates the Fourth Amendment," Ellsberg said. "And if it continues in this way, I think it makes democracy essentially impossible or meaningless."
As usual, Ellsberg pulled no punches in his comments on the dangers of our privatized surveillance state; the failure of our Congressional intelligence oversight committees (which he describes as "fraudulent" and "totally broken"); and on those who have been critical of Snowden and of Glenn Greenwald, the journalist from The Guardian who has broken most of the scoops on Snowden's leaked documents.
He said that folks like attorney Jeffrey Toobin at the New Yorker and author Thomas Friedman at New York Times and Senator Dianne Feinstein "are being very strongly discredited," by their attacks on Snowden. "The criticisms they're making, I think, are very discreditable to them in their profession," he says.
And, while answering to my request for a response to Josh Marshall's recent piece at TPM, in which Marshall weights his own conscience on this matter and frankly revealing his natural tendency to support the government over whistleblowers in cases like this, Ellsberg was particularly pointed. "Marshall has a lot to be said for him as a blogger," he said, before adding: "I think what he said there is stupid and mistaken and does not do him credit." He went on to describe some of Marshall's comments as "slander" against Snowden.
One other point that merits highlight here for now, before I let ya listen below. The difference between Ellsberg's circumstances and those in play today.
Ellsberg noted that after leaking top secret Defense Department documents to the New York Times in 1971, detailing how the Johnson Administration had lied the nation into the Vietnam War, President Nixon, at the time, ordered a break-in of his psychiatrist's office and discussed having Ellsberg "eliminated".
"All the things that were done to me then," he noted chillingly, "including a CIA profile on me, a burglary of my former psychiatrist's office in order to get information to blackmail me with, all of those things were illegal, as one might think that they ought to be."
"They're legal now, since 9/11, with the PATRIOT Act, which on that very basis alone should be repealed. In other words, this is a case right now with Snowden that shows very dramatically the dangers of that PATRIOT Act, used as it is. So the fact is, that all these things are legal. And even the one of possibly eliminating him"...
I was on Abby Martin's Breaking the Set program on RT America this evening. The video is posted below.
We discussed the NSA leaks and everything related to it, including, briefly, my own disturbing experience --- which I have in common with Glenn Greenwald --- when we were both targeted by a cyber-scheme devised by government defense contractors set to turn tools developed for the "War on Terror" against us, at the behest of major corporate interests.
While The BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio usually airs live on Wednesday's, we did a special Monday version this week, as I was filling in for my friend Harrison who was on the road today and unavailable to do his normal show.