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Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
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ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 7/23/2010 12:56pm PT  

(Ed Note: Hope to have various and sundry coverage from Netroots Nation here in Vegas later today and beyond --- augmenting my seat-of-the-pants Twitter coverage --- but, for now, this...)


If you like the above, much more Tea Party Dummies here...

[Hat-tip @OTOOLEFAN & @LadyLibertyBlog]

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The madness in AZ provides ample warning, but is anyone paying attention?...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/22/2010 3:05pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

The radical-right agenda, hidden from so many of the uninformed, working class useful idiots (aka post-2008 "Tea Party" followers) was aptly described by Chalmers Johnson on the cover of Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine as "a conspiracy to privatize war and disaster and grab public property for the rich few...[as part of] our headlong flight back to feudalism..."

In Meg Whitman, Wall Street, 'Billionaire Sociopaths' and the Media 'Substance Deficit', we cited a Pew Research Center study on how the campaign by America's political elites to ravage the middle class has, for "wide layers of the population," destroyed "faith in the US government to secure their most basic social needs." As we observed at the time:

What has become painfully obvious is that many within these "wide layers of the population" simply do not realize that the source of the middle class demise lies not in government per se but in the carefully thought out, decades-long effort of the hard-right to "starve the beast" by massive tax cuts for those who already have too much in order to, in the words of Grover Norquist, reduce government to the point it could be "drown in a bathtub" and in order to privatize the commons so that the privileged few can be enriched beyond the wildest imagination of ordinary citizens.

An American Political Science Association study, cited by Bill Moyers in Moyers on America (2004) referred to a "radical political elite who have...inequality as its mission and has organized 'a fanatical drive to dismantle the political institutions, the legal and statutory cannons, and the intellectual and cultural framework that have shaped public responsibility from social harms arising from the excesses of private powers.'"

Into this mix comes "Tea Party in Sonora": Ken Silverstein of Harper’s Says Arizona is Laboratory for Radical GOP Policies, a powerful, must-see segment of Democracy Now (video below) which exposes the bleak future, indeed the madness, in store for all of us if we permit the radical right to assert the same control at the national level that they have already secured in Arizona.

An eerily prescient 1944 New York Times op-ed written by Franklin D. Roosevelt's then-Vice President may have best described the ultimate goal of the hard-right agenda of those who now drive the so-called "Tea Party" in 2010...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/21/2010 1:08pm PT  

It's a neat trick. Andrew Breitbart, the pathological liar, race-baiter, propagandist, and rabidly partisan dirty-trickster, posts a deceptively edited video (again), to which media and Democratic officials cowardly knee-jerk in reaction (again), before the video is ultimately discovered to have been a deceptively edited hoax. Then, rather than copping to having been a pathological liar, race-baiter, propagandist, and rabidly partisan dirty-trickster, Breitbart criticizes the media and those others who bought into the hoax that he himself perpetrated.

You see, it was all the media's fault for being irresponsible enough to buy into his own bullshit. Well played, Mr. Breitbart - you pathological liar, race-baiter, propagandist, and rabidly partisan ratfucker.

Breitbart, as usual, is partially correct, which is why his ratfucking continues to have any effect at all. The media did, at first, buy into his Shirley Sherrod scam. And not just Fox "News," who more than simply "bought into it," actually played their usual vital role in the rightwing disinfo food chain by offering a news-like presentation to the false story, as if it's a real one which deserves coverage by others. But others in the non-wingnut, theoretically-legitimate media also treated this story, initially, as legitimate. For that matter, even after the hoax was revealed for what it was, Washington Post, late last night, granted the phony story more legitimacy by "privileging the lie" and burying the by-then known truth in the 15th paragraph of its coverage.

Today, however, as the dust settles, Breitbart's lie has been uncharacteristically exposed in a record 24-hours or so, and he finds himself backed into a corner threatening whatever legitimacy he had foolishly been granted by adults who ought to have known better long ago. So now, the very professional snake-oil salesman and con-artist is attempting to riggle out of that corner with an all new lie that moves the goal posts from his original, now-discredited smear, to an entirely new, made-up-out-of-whole cloth claim. To wit: Since he was discovered to have lied in the first place, Breitbart is now claiming, to anyone stupid enough to listen, that his original blog post where he published the deceptively-edited video, was "not about Shirley Sherrod. It's not about Shirley Sherrod. I can say it 20 times. It's about the NAACP."

Oh, and also, he now adds in desperation upon having taken on a foe who was willing to fight back: "I feel bad that they made this about her, and I feel sorry that they made this about her...Watching how they've misconstrued, how the media has misconstrued the intention behind this, I do feel a sympathy for her plight."

They made this about her? The media misconstrued the intention behind this?

Of course, those claims are complete lies as well. As usual. And they're betrayed by his very own words. As usual...

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

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Bonus Flashback Video: Tea Party Express & 'Rise of the Tea Bags'!
By Brad Friedman on 7/19/2010 7:05am PT  

The Tea Party Express has been expelled from the National Tea Party Federation, an umbrella group of Tea Parties, in a disturbing incident of Tea Party on Tea Party non-violence.

The weekend expulsion came in response to a so-called satirical letter written to Abraham Lincoln by Tea Party Express spokesman and Rightwing talk show host, Mark Williams.

The letter in question begins: "Dear Mr. Lincoln, We Coloreds have taken a vote and decided that we don't cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!"

The National Tea Party Federation had called on the Tea Party Express to remove Williams as spokesperson. They didn't. So they're out. Whatever "out" means to these folks. Tea Party poopers!

Williams is also the Rightwing clown who recently called on citizens to defraud the government's $20 billion BP Fund, as The BRAD BLOG reported earlier this month. Some "conservative," eh?

Williams' high-larious "parody letter" (as he later called it when he took it off his site) was, itself, in response to the NAACP's recent resolution, condemning "racist elements" within the Tea Party. Geez, what racist elements?!...

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

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Government 'irreparable harm' argument fails to gain traction before majority Republican-appointed appellate court...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/9/2010 3:19pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

A three judge panel of the heavily-Republican 5th Circuit Court of Appeal in New Orleans rejected the Department of Interior's request for an emergency stay of Judge Martin Feldman's June 22, 2010 preliminary injunction [PDF], which prevents enforcement of the Department of Interior's six month moratorium on exploratory drilling on only 33 "of the approximately 3,600 structures in the Gulf dedicated to offshore oil exploration and production."

The panel's two Reagan appointees, Judge Jerry E. Smith, joined by Judge W.Eugene Davis, ruled that the government had failed to demonstrate that it would be irreparably harmed if a decision on whether to vacate Judge Feldman's injunction was deferred until after the appeal was heard sometime around the end of August or early September. Judge James L. Dennis, a Clinton appointee, dissented, noting that he did not believe Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar had abused his discretion in ordering a moratorium, which, per the government's motion is limited to those drilling operations that apply "the same technologies employed by Transocean's Deepwater Horizon...only to waters over 500 feet deep..." Since, under the Administrative Procedures Act, a court cannot overturn an agency decision absent an abuse of discretion, Judge Dennis appears to have concluded that Judge Feldman erred in issuing the preliminary injunction.

Judge Dennis did have a question, however, about the six month length of the moratorium.

While yesterday's ruling does not mean that the panel will ultimately rule against the moratorium, the Justice Department and the attorneys representing a number of environmental organizations in the appeal face a daunting climb given Judge Smith's expression of the usual appellate court deference to the findings of the district court judge --- a climb up an oil slicked slope given the ties between the oil industry and the judges who will decide the moratorium's fate...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/27/2010 4:05pm PT  

Remember the disingenuous snit fits that Rightwing con-man Andrew Breitbart and his Tea Bag Boyz were on about when the original reports broke of "a plot to wiretap Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's office in the Hale Boggs Federal Building in downtown New Orleans" by Republican dirty trickster James O'Keefe and his band of co-conspirators?

They were outraged --- outraged --- that the "liberal media" had included the word "wiretap" in their reports about the felony arrests of the operatives, since the FBI's arrest affidavit didn't specifically mention an attempt to wiretap or bug the phones in her office. In a desperate attempt to distract from the actual story and find some way to support their friends' charged with serious federal felonies, the Tea Bag Boyz demanded that a number of media outlets issue immediate retractions for the claim, and, of course, the "liberal media" outlets complied --- as instructed --- as usual.

The notion of calling the federal criminals "TeaBuggers" just drove Andy's boys --- particularly the shamelessly pseudonymous wingnut blogger & L.A. County Dep. District Attorney, Patrick "Patterico" Frey --- to embarrassingly self-righteous (and inaccurate) distraction!

The fact was, of course, that, at the time, we had no idea what O'Keefe and friends were actually trying to do in that office, and O'Keefe --- who already had a well-established, if entirely unreported, record of lying to the media and the public about his phony, highly-doctored and illegally-recorded ACORN videos --- then went on to offer a preposterous public statement to explain his New Orleans scheme.

But now that O'Keefe's superstar GOP attorney was successful in pleading his client's felony charges down to a misdemeanor --- to which he and his conspirators pled guilty yesterday before a federal magistrate --- lo and behold, the FBI has released its own account of the arrest and plea deal.

And whaddaya know? According to the FBI, O'Keefe did plan to secretly wiretap the proceedings by secretly recording the conversations of employees in a U.S. Senator's office...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/26/2010 11:46am PT  

As Republican dirty trickster, and now convicted federal criminal, James O'Keefe is neither Middle-Eastern nor a member of the Democratic Party, he was allowed to plead guilty to just a misdemeanor today for leading a conspiracy of criminals --- one of whom happened to be the son of the acting U.S. Attorney in Louisiana --- in an attempt to tamper with the telephone system of a sitting U.S. Senator in her federal office in New Orleans, before being sentenced accordingly this morning by a federal magistrate:

Conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe and three compatriots today pleaded guilty to entering real property belonging to the United States under false pretenses for the January incident in which they entered Sen. Mary Landrieu's New Orleans office and claimed to be from the telephone company, the Times-Picayune reports.

O'Keefe was sentenced to three years of probation, a fine of $1,500 and 100 hours of community service. The others --- Stan Dai, Joseph Basel, and Robert Flanagan --- got the same fine, two years of probation, and 75 hours of community service.

Previous coverage by The BRAD BLOG of this hopefully-now-completed story included:

Of course, as a corollary to O'Keefe's arrest in New Orleans in late January, The BRAD BLOG was compelled to run a long series of investigative reports on how the media (perhaps mostly notably, the New York Times) had irresponsibly misreported on the hoax that had made O'Keefe famous in the first place --- his phony ACORN 'pimp' videos.

* * *

UPDATE: Matt Osborne of OsbornInk.com reminds us today of a video that he put together in response to the early weeks of our exposé of the O'Keefe/Breitbart ACORN Pimp Hoax...

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

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Public/private distinction for civil rights enforcement ignores the omnipotent power of private corporations
Anti-government 'Tea Party' rhetoric misses real threat to liberty posed by unchecked corporate wealth and power...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/25/2010 2:57pm PT  

Guest essay by Ernest A. Canning

It is vital that the American people come to appreciate the danger to liberty as well as community posed by doctrinaire libertarianism.

Despite widespread coverage of Rand Paul's absurd criticism of the provisions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act as applied to private businesses, there has been a dearth of analysis as to how this absurdity was brought about by the serious intellectual deficiencies in doctrinaire libertarian philosophy; a philosophy which led to a second astounding Rand Paul remark.

In the face of horrendous safety records on the part of both Massey Energy, which had been found to have violated federal safety regulations thousands of times over the past several years, and BP, which had steadfastly fought off safety measures for deep water oil rigs, Rand summarily dismissed the significance of both the deadly West Virginia mine disaster and the deadly explosion at BP's deep water facility that has produced the worst oil spill in U.S. history with the cavalier, "accidents happen."

What Rand Paul has done is open a window into "libertarianism," which, contrary to the current Wikipedia definition, does not merge into "anarchism." The principle distinction arises because, as explained by Noam Chomsky, anarchism challenges not only authoritarian government but all authoritarian societal structures, including the work place.

Libertarians like Ron and Rand Paul focus exclusively on individual liberty vis-a-vis the government. They fail to appreciate that, especially in the 21st Century, the removal of government as a check against unfettered corporate wealth and power leads to "the tyranny of a corporate controlled economy"...

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

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Constitutional attorney, voting rights advocate targeted by Right for support of Bush impeachment...even though he also supported impeachment of Clinton...
By Brad Friedman on 5/20/2010 5:47pm PT  

Taking a page from the successful hit campaign the Republican right ran against former White House Green Jobs Advisor Van Jones, one of rightwing activist Andrew Breitbart's website's "Andrew Breitbart Presents...Big Journalism," is now attempting to use a McCarthy-like guilt-by-association smear against Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.

But my own 2005 interview with their latest target kinda blows the very basis for their entire attempted High-Tech Lynching/Conspiracy Theory....

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

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Democratic turnout far outpaces Republican...
By Brad Friedman on 5/19/2010 3:11pm PT  

Setting aside the unverified (and, in many cases, unverifiable) results of yesterday's elections for the moment, what caught my eye throughout the night were the turnout numbers, Democratic compared to Republican.

While the reported results of the races ran largely counter (surprise!) to the "GOP/TeaParty-fueled Massacre Slated for November!" meme that the corporate beltway media and related villagers have been endlessly re-enforcing with zombie-like precision over the last several weeks and months, the turnout of actual voters in the marquee state-wide primaries (races that we detailed, along with the e-voting systems in use, in our Super-ish Tuesday Backgrounder on Monday) seem to be of note when considering what November might actually look like when all is said and done.

I'd caution not to take too much from these numbers as there are various mitigating factors that could be used to explain them --- or even explain them away --- as noted below, but I think the numbers themselves are very much worth noting here, as I haven't seen much coverage of this over the last 12 hours or so...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/18/2010 2:07pm PT  

It's been an ugly day at the polls in Kentucky, at least between supporters of the two highest profile candidates on the ballot today, in what's become a highly contentious race. Allegations of vote buying and intimidation have been coming out all morning in county after county.

[See our backgrounder right here on today's race for the GOP U.S. Senatorial nomination between Sec. of State Trey Grayson and Dr. Rand Paul, along with details on the voting systems in use, and the recent history of election fraud by top election officials in the Bluegrass State.]

Nate Hodsen, the campaign manager for Grayson (who is responsible for overseeing his own election as the state's chief election official) released a statement to say: "This despicable behavior should not be tolerated. Bullying and intimidation should have no place in our elections. Rand Paul needs to rein in his goon squad and follow the law."

David Adams, the campaign manager for Paul (the son of TX U.S. House Rep. Ron Paul) responded in kind to call the allegations "ridiculous" and "much ado about nothing," before going on to blame them on Democrats somehow. "We had a tip over the weekend that some of our volunteer activities have been infiltrated by (national) Democratic operatives planning to cause problems," he told reporters.

See Janet Patton's detailed coverage at the Lexington Herald-Leader for much more on the problems being reported --- for now, mostly complaints about Paul volunteers, being publicized by Grayson's people (both his campaign staff and SoS staff.)

* * *

The BRAD BLOG covers your electoral system fiercely and independently, like no other media outlet in the nation. Please support our work with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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By Brad Friedman on 5/17/2010 12:30pm PT  

Among the many delights in this eminently-watchable video response by the indefatigable voice-over actor D.C. Douglas, aka "Lance Baxter," aka "D.C. Douglas L. Baxterstein, Jr.," who was recently fired by Geico in the wake of an Andrew Breitbart-fueled, FreedomWorks complaint campaign after he "drunk dialed a cyncial GOP-funded astroturf organization funded by a man with Dick in his name," is this tag near the video's end...

This public service announcement brought to you by:
The Andrew Breitbart Is To The Internet
What Gonorrhea Is To Your Genitals Fund

Enjoy...


[Hat-tip Gryhpen at Immoral Minority]

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Competing ads, a rare instance of investigative journalism and a hard-right embrace of AZ's Apartheid 'Pass Law,' helps close Poizner's gap against front-runner Whitman...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/16/2010 10:31pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In "Meg Whitman, Wall Street, 'Billionaire Sociopaths' and the Media 'Substance Deficit,'" we noted:

Californians have been drawn within the cross-hairs of a propaganda blitz bought and paid for by Meg Whitman, the billionaire former CEO of eBay, who, since declaring her intent to run for governor in February, 2009, has already contributed $59 million of her own money to her "campaign" --- a one-sided political phenomenon which has seen a stealth candidate, with disturbing connections to Goldman Sachs, soar to the top of the polls because the electoral process has been emasculated by the absence of mandatory debates and meaningful investigative journalism.

Now comes a SurveyUSA poll, conducted May 6-9, revealing that Whitman's once commanding lead over CA Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has all but evaporated. Where she led Poizner by 22% on April 22, Whitman is now said to hold a meager 2% lead. One suspects that, in the wake of a hard-hitting, front page May 12 Los Angeles Times article, "Whitman's words put spotlight on deeds," Whitman's once-commanding lead may soon become a deficit.

The Los Angeles Times followed up on May 13 with a separate piece, "Companies challenged Poizner business claims," which revealed that a major portion of Poizner's wealth was acquired when SnapTrack Inc., the company Poizner founded, was sold to Qualcomm. Poizner claims SnapTrack invented mobile-phone GPS technology. In pending lawsuits, other companies accused SnapTrack of infringing intellectual property rights, and, the Times reports, "as SnapTrack developed its GPS technology, Poizner faced another test of his entrepreneurial skills, as a special interest trying to bend the Washington regulatory process his way."

The drastic change in the recent public opinion polls is tied not only to the fact that her fellow billionaire Poizner unleashed his own paid-for propaganda (ad) blitz, deconstructing Whitman's one-sided narrative. Nor is the change tied only to hard-hitting, if overdue, front page newspaper exposés on the facts behind how these two rapacious "business people" amassed their fortunes.

Disturbingly, Poizner's late gain in the polls may be attributed to his open embrace of Arizona's version of apartheid South Africa's infamous "pass laws." Poizner's is a cynically calculated effort to scapegoat immigrants while deflecting attention from the true source of California's fiscal woes: the very same billionaire sociopath economics in which both he and Whitman amassed their fortunes...

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

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Flashback Video: Brad plays AT&T CEO in pro Net Neutrality animation...
By Brad Friedman on 5/12/2010 12:55pm PT  

It seems the corporate lobbyist/GOP strategy for opposing everything is now officially to charge: "It's a Government takeover of [fill in the blank]!!!"

No matter what it is. And no matter whether it's actually a "government takeover" of anything or not.

As the rightwing corporatists seem to feel the strategy found some purchase in the healthcare insurance reform debate, it looks like they'll be recycling this line for just about everything. (See our recent coverage of the CA power company's "power play" to use a "government takeover of electricity" scare to trick voters into supporting the outrageous Prop 16.)

The latest corporate scheme/campaign to employ the strategy is the AT&T-funded telecom industry's latest assault on Net Neutrality. Assuring the Internet stays open to all would be a "government takeover" of it, according to the newly launched propaganda campaign (their first deceptive video is posted at the bottom of this article) which kicked off yesterday with the help of, naturally, Grover Norquist.

The new, cynical assault on the public also offers us a good excuse to re-post a pro Net Neutrality campaign video in which your humble host played a small but enjoyable role...

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

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Corporate greed masquerading as the 'Taxpayer's Right to Vote,' and another example of the corporate perversion of the 'citizens initiative' process in California...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/9/2010 7:19pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

On California's June ballot this year, a measure paid for and deceptively represented by one major corporate sponsor, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), purports to be a "Taxpayers Right to Vote Act." In truth, the initiative represents one corporation's attempt to pervert the "citizen's initiative" process by spending millions to deceive voters into believing they can push back against the vaguely socialist-sounding notion of "government-run electric service."

The measure is anything but a "Taxpayers Right to Vote Act," and that name itself has even been out-and-out rejected for use on the ballot by the state's Attorney General --- not that it has stopped PG&E from misleadingly selling it that way to the public in a multi-million dollar television ad buy and direct-mail propaganda campaign...

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

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