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UPDATE: Rightwing thinktank fires Frum following column...
By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2010 12:31pm PT  

And the far-too-rarely bestowed BRAD BLOG "Intellectually Honest Conservative Award" goes today to David Frum, former speech writer for George W. Bush, for his article last night on "Waterloo". Here are a few money quotes:

Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.
...
This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none.
...
We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.
...
So today’s defeat for free-market economics and Republican values is a huge win for the conservative entertainment industry. Their listeners and viewers will now be even more enraged, even more frustrated, even more disappointed in everybody except the responsibility-free talkers on television and radio. For them, it’s mission accomplished. For the cause they purport to represent, it’s Waterloo all right: ours.

UPDATE 3/26/10: Frum is fired by rightwing American Enterprise Institute, where he's been employed since 2003, after having the temerity to pen the above. Guess the Right isn't into that whole "liberty" and "free speech" thing as much as they pretend to be. Who knew? Details...

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Clark Hoyt says in Sunday column 'editors considering correction'
Also concedes paper 'should have' covered former MA AG's early-December report finding no criminality in 'heavily edited' sting videos
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2010 11:20pm PT  

"The Times was wrong…and I have been wrong in defending the paper's phrasing."

Even as the New York Times once again misreported the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax on its pages in a report on the community organization's possible declaration of bankruptcy in Saturday's paper, their Public Editor (ombudsman) Clark Hoyt finally admits in his column tonight, for tomorrow's paper, that both he and the paper were "wrong" in their reports about rightwing dirty trickster James O'Keefe's "pimp" costume, adding that "editors say they are considering a correction."

Considering?! What exactly would be the hold up?

The paper and Hoyt, as The BRAD BLOG has been detailing for nearly two months now, were out and out wrong in their reports about O'Keefe, and what his highly-edited, heavily-overdubbed, secretly-taped videos misleadingly suggested to show, and in their failure to report exculpatory information, such as the refusal to release the unedited raw videos made by the rightwing propagandists, as well as the results of an investigation by MA's former Attorney General [PDF] finding no "pattern of illegal conduct" by ACORN employees as seen in the videos as published by the rightwing media mogul and fabulist Andrew Breitbart.

More than a month and a half after the paper's Senior Editor for Standards, Greg Brock, first attempted to defend the "paper of record's" reporting by pointing to Fox "News" and the accused felon O'Keefe himself in support of their inaccurate reports, as we exclusively detailed here, and more than a month and a half after Hoyt himself offered similar excuses and was shown that he was absolutely wrong, as we exclusively detailed here, the Public Editor offers his extremely reluctant mea culpa tonight in "The Acorn Sting Revisited" [emphasis added]:

Here is what I found: O'Keefe almost certainly did not go into the Acorn offices in the outlandish costume - fur coat, goggle-like sunglasses, walking stick and broad-brimmed hat - in which he appeared at the beginning and end of most of his videos. It is easy to see why The Times and other news organizations got a different impression. At one point, as the videos were being released, O'Keefe wore the get-up on Fox News, and a host said he was "dressed exactly in the same outfit he wore to these Acorn offices." He did not argue.

The Times was wrong on this point, and I have been wrong in defending the paper's phrasing. Editors say they are considering a correction.

Hoyt also conceded in his long-overdue admission that the paper erred in failing to ever mention (until a story in today's paper finally!) the independent findings of former MA Attorney General Scott Harshbarger which were released on December 7th of last year....

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

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If elected, plans 'investigation' of Obama birth certificate
Says GOP primary opponent ineligible, committed voter fraud...
By Desi Doyen on 3/18/2010 4:36pm PT  

Guest blogged by DES

In case it seemed as if California Republican primary politics weren't quite weird enough, "Queen of the Birthers" Orly Taitz has lurched into the breach. From The Orange County Register:

‘Birther’ Lawyer Taitz Running for Secretary of State

Laguna Niguel lawyer Orly Taitz, who’s gained a national following for efforts to prove Barack Obama’s presidency is illegitimate, has qualified to run for California secretary of state, said Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley.

In launching her campaign to be the state’s top elections official, Taitz is alleging that fellow Republican candidate Damon Dunn, a former NFL player living in Irvine, is ineligible to seek the GOP nomination. She says he’s committed voter and election fraud.

RAW STORY reports that if elected, Taitz plans to "use her office to pursue an investigation of Obama's citizenship." Insert your own punchline here.

If the Israeli-born Taitz receives the nomination in the state's June primary, she would face presumptive Democratic opponent Sec. of State Debra Bowen in November. Bowen is running for her second term as California's chief election official.

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The fight for a real public option continues...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/17/2010 5:44pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Substantively, not much has changed since we analyzed the Senate version of the health care bill in "'Reform' or Legislative Obscenity?"

We noted then:

The Baucus bill is a "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."

Yet Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), an original co-sponsor of H.R. 676 "Medicare for All," and a consistent critic of the pending obscenity masquerading as "reform" because it would serve to institutionalize the privatization of our health care, has now publicly declared that he will vote for the bill as presently drafted while continuing the fight for a rational, public health care system.

Meanwhile, Alan Grayson (D-FL), with 50 co-sponsors, has introduced "The Public Option Act," a bill which would provide all citizens with the option to buy into Medicare, though he, too, will vote for the Senate version of the health care bill...

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

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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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The GOP war against democracy continues to continue apace...
By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2010 10:17am PT  

[UPDATED TWICE: Good news! Morrissey quickly corrected his report after we notified him of the incorrect coverage. Bad news! His correction was also incorrect. SECOND UPDATE: Morrissey has copped to his second error as well, and has finally corrected appropriately. Details on all, at bottom of this article. -BF]

Once again, the accurate reporting of facts, truth, and reality doesn't seem to be required when it comes to the Rightwing's continuing, years-long attempt to villainize the community organization ACORN for having the temerity to help legally register millions of low- and middle-income voters (who tend to vote Democratic) to legally vote so that they may legally participate in their own democracy.

Latest example: Yesterday, Ed Morrissey of Hot Air --- a blog created by Rightwinger Michelle Malkin and recently purchased for an undisclosed sum by the far Rightwing Salem Communication outfit --- misreported [emphasis added]:

Today, [Wisconsin’s Attorney General J. B.] Van Hollen announced indictments in five cases — including two felony indictments against ACORN for scheming to have registrants vote multiple times in November 2008.

Unfortunately, Morrissey and Hot Air are patently --- and apparently knowingly --- incorrect.

The "two felony indictments," which Morrissey even links to [PDF] and quotes from in his inaccurate hit piece, are not "against ACORN," but against two workers who defrauded ACORN, even as the pair defrauded the voter registration process...

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

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Spate of Anti-Choice Laws Put Pregnant Women in Legal Jeopardy...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/8/2010 1:16pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

The March 3, 2010 segment of Democracy Now is so shocking that it is best seen. In Utah, lawmakers have approved a measure that could potentially expose a pregnant woman to murder charges if she is stuck in an abusive relationship, is beaten and miscarries. When one of two twins is a still birth, the mother is charged with murder because she refused a C-section. In Iowa, a woman is arrested when she miscarries after a fall down the stairs.

All this amongst efforts by the health insurance cartel to treat spousal abuse as a pre-existing condition.

Perhaps we should post signs: Warning: Pregnancy will place you in legal jeopardy.

UPDATE, 3/10/10: Democracy Now reported that Utah's Republican Governor Gary Herbert signed the anti-choice measure into law. "The...bill would allow women to be charged with murder if they commit 'an intentional or knowing act' that causes a miscarriage. The bill initially included language that would have also punished women for 'reckless' acts. But despite the revision, critics still say the measure could target women for all kinds of actions, including staying with an abusive partner."

* * *

The 01/04/10 Democracy Now! segment, Utah Abortion Bill Could Punish Women for Miscarriages, Domestic Violence follows below...

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NYDailyNews law enforcement source: 'They edited the tape to meet their agenda'
[UPDATED] Rupert Murdoch's NYPost: DA source says tapes 'heavily edited'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/1/2010 1:27pm PT  

Via Ben Smith at Politico:

ACORN cleared in Brooklyn: 'No criminality'

Kings County, New York District Attorney Joe Hynes put out a statement just now:

On Sept. 15, 2009, my office began an investigation into possible criminality on the part of three ACORN employees. The three had been secretly videotaped by two people posing as a pimp and prostitute, who came to ACORN’S Brooklyn office, seeking advice about how to purchase a house with money generated by their ‘business.’ The ‘couple’ later made the recording public. That investigation is now concluded and no criminality has been found.

The New York Daily News adds:

This comes as local ACORNs around the country - including here in New York - have been shuttered and relaunched. The operation in the city is now known as New York Communities for Change.

Well, what a stunner. Still no retraction from you, New York Times? Will you even bother to report this news this time, after failing to report thatformer MA Attorney General Scott Harshbarger found the same [PDF] months ago, as did the Congressional Research Service, even as you continued mis-reporting the ACORN "pimp" hoax ever since?

UPDATE: This new post from the NY Daily News seems to indicate the D.A. was able to look at the complete unedited video which Breitbart and O'Keefe have otherwise refused to release publicly (see our Exclusive Video of Breitbart discussing this from earlier today) and found, according to "a law enforcement source", as we've long argued: "They edited the tape to meet their agenda"!...

Brooklyn prosecutors on Monday cleared ACORN of criminal wrongdoing after a four-month probe that began when undercover conservative activists filmed workers giving what appeared to be illegal advice on how to hide money.

While the video by James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles seemed to show three ACORN workers advising a prostitute how to hide ill-gotten gains, the unedited version was not as clear, according to a law enforcement source.

"They edited the tape to meet their agenda," said the source.

UPDATE 3:24PM ACORN issues a statement following the announcement from the King County, D.A. noting what The BRAD BLOG has been reporting for years:

O'Keefe and the Fox attack machine targeted ACORN because of our successful work to empower hundreds of thousands of low and moderate families as voters and active citizens.

Observers who looked closely at the filmmakers' own transcripts have already noted that O'Keefe presented low level employees with a bogus scenario in which he presented himself as a boyfriend trying to rescue a prostitute from a violent pimp. Although no employees took any actual action to file papers for loans or taxes, ACORN already conducted its own review in order to move forward serving our communities.

Hopefully today's announcement, and similar results from independent reviews, will make politicians and media examine the facts more carefully the next time a valuable community organization is attacked.

Their full statement follows below...

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

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On-the-record answers at CPAC, that the corporate media couldn't be bothered to get themselves before misreporting the story
'It's like Borat ... Why would it be misleading?'...
By Mike Stark on 3/1/2010 7:00am PT  

- Guest Blogged by Mike Stark of StarkReports.com


I recently attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in D.C., with video camera in hand, to report on the attendees. I was particularly interested in interviewing James O'Keefe, the miscreant (and accused felon) responsible for the ACORN video media hoax that The BRAD BLOG has been meticulously detailing for several weeks, including the important focus on how the mainstream corporate media (the old-media) have been had by the scam.

O'Keefe's phony "pimp" story has been debunked, but, as Brad Friedman has shown, the old-media remain remarkably reticent to admit their errors, and the publisher of the videos, O'Keefe's employer and promoter Andrew Breitbart, has been unwilling to help them off the hook. Witness the outrageous email responses from the NYTimes' Senior Editor for Standards Greg Brock and then from their Public Editor Clark Hoyt, when it was shown to them that "the paper of record" had been had --- that O'Keefe had never "visited Acorn offices...dressed so outlandishly" in the now-infamous "pimp" costume as the paper had reported, as O'Keefe had represented, and as Breitbart himself had claimed in his own column, to the public.

While I didn't get the chance to speak with O'Keefe, I did catch up with his partner in fraud, Hannah Giles. Alas, she was surrounded by a protective coterie and fled without answering any questions when one of her entourage recognized me.

But then my luck turned. I trekked to the basement to cover the "XPAC" party and found myself standing shoulder to shoulder with Breitbart, O'Keefe's promoter, publisher, and employer, and owner of the website which launched the infamously damaging, misleading, deceptive, and highly doctored video tapes. I had previously questioned Breitbart at a press conference at the National Press Club press last October. He's had a pretty easy ride of it since then, facing questioning only from a largely adulatory press.

Though old-media, as Brad has shown, have been remarkably reluctant to demand answers to hard questions from Breitbart --- or any of the players involved in the ACORN secret video scheme --- I felt it important to do so for a number of reasons. The results were revealing, both in Breitbart's insanely manic demeanor, and in the substantive content of his answers to my questions.

Ultimately, as I believe you'll find in the video, he reveals a lot about his own editorial judgment, professionalism, and reliability --- none of it is good...

* * *

The Breitbart/O'Keefe media fraud has been wildly successful for the pair, helping to launch Breitbart's BigGovernment.com site late last year. But, unfortunately, it's hurt a great number of innocents.

Lost in the outrage against the New York Times for having fallen for the scam without bothering to fact-check, as The BRAD BLOG has been detailing for the past several weeks, is the fact that Breitbart and his ward O'Keefe have accomplished a despicable goal: They've all but destroyed an organization committed to helping those Americans most in need. Real people --- thousands of children amongst them --- will suffer hardship as a direct consequence of Breitbart's and O'Keefe's mendacious and malicious hoax, and singularly partisan political agenda. When will the media get around to telling that story?

And what of the damage that disreputable propagandists like Breitbart and O'Keefe bring to the real citizen journalists in the new media --- those of us striving not to sell a political agenda under false pretenses, but, rather, hoping to document facts, truth, and on-the-record positions of those who would corrupt our system through disingenuousness, self-enrichment, and lies?...

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

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Despite repeated confirmation that the 'paper of record' was wrong, Clark Hoyt declines to recommend retractions
Describes O'Keefe as 'journalistically unethical,' but recommends only that editors avoid 'dressed as pimp' language in future coverage...
By Brad Friedman on 2/23/2010 5:35am PT  

The New York Times' independent Public Editor, Clark Hoyt, after sending me an email originally standing by the paper's misreporting of the James O'Keefe ACORN 'pimp' story, now describes the rightwing activist's misrepresentation of his highly-edited and heavily-overdubbed hit videos as "journalistically unethical."

O'Keefe's deceptive editing of those infamous tapes implied that he had presented himself in ACORN offices as a 70's-era blaxploitation "pimp." It was the eye-popping, media-friendly, marquee headline that news outlets, including the Times, latched onto and ate up. Except that it never happened. The tapes were purposely manipulated in order to give the appearance that ACORN workers were so dumb they didn't even recognize that skinny little white kid as a phony pimp. And that's exactly how O'Keefe, and his employer Andrew Breitbart who published the misleading tapes on his websites, wanted them to be perceived.

We've spent the last several weeks here reporting and demonstrating how the O'Keefe/Breitbart ACORN video hoax was exactly that --- a political partisan scam that was publicized uncritically by the New York Times, and dozens of otherwise reputable outlets.

Despite the Times' repeatedly misreporting that O'Keefe was dressed or posed as a "pimp" while meeting with ACORN employees in those videos, and even after being shown in no uncertain terms that he did not, the Times' Public Editor has declined to recommend the paper retract its reporting on this story. The coverage at the "paper of record" undoubtedly helped lead to Congressional passage of federal legislation attempting to defund the community organization, and helped to bring on a subsequently crippling decline in other funding sources for the non-profit group which serves to provide support for low- and middle-income American families.

At the end of the remarkable email exchange between Hoyt and myself (published in full at the end of this article), he says he recommended only that "Times editors ...avoid language that says or suggests that O'Keefe was dressed as a pimp when he captured the ACORN employees on camera."

That, even though...

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

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Confuses 'minstrel show' with 'menstrual cycle'
Plus Digby, and others, on why all of this matters...
By Brad Friedman on 2/22/2010 3:06pm PT  

Hannah Giles played the "prostitute" in the highly-edited, heavily-overdubbed, secretly-taped ACORN sting videos, while James O'Keefe played her college student, aspiring politician boyfriend trying to save her from abuse at the hands of a dangerous pimp. She seems very nice

Unfortunately, she's also the same person who joined --- likely horribly disinformed --- in to the GOP's anti-ACORN junta (attacking, for purely partisan political reasons, those who help the least fortunate in our society), and then explained afterwards that "one day I was jogging after work and I saw an ACORN, um, I was like, hmm, you know, I’ve never seen them before, I don’t like them."

So when, in this Max Blumenthal video compilation of his weekend with the loons at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), she seems to confuse "minstrel show" with "menstrual cycle," I guess it shouldn't be much of a surprise. As she did with Washington Independent's David Weigel last week, she also, again, confirms that O'Keefe never wore his "pimp" costume into ACORN offices, despite the lies from propagandist Andrew Breitbart (employer of both Giles and O'Keefe, and publisher of the videos) about that point and others when he sold his original blockbuster, but fake, story to the public and one media outlet after another who bought it all hook, line and uncritical sinker...


As the "paper of record" the New York Times has still refused to correct their multiple, blatant misreports of this story, which helped lead to Congress passing unconstitutional legislation to defund ACORN, and with the reported news today that the national community group has been structurally broken by the loss of funds in the wake of the disreputable partisan hit job, the points that Digby made yesterday, as to why she believes the O'Keefe/Breitbart lie is an important one, are worth noting...

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

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Tells confused listeners: 'I have to apologize to the nation'
Goes on to spend weekend lashing out at Vast Leftwing Conspiracy in various paranoid rants, as NYTimes still supports his hoax...
By Brad Friedman on 2/21/2010 4:13pm PT  

Just a quick reminder that none of The BRAD BLOG's recent series of detailed reporting on the MSM's failure to properly report on the ACORN "pimp" video hoaxes is actually about Andrew Breitbart, in truth. He'd love it to be. But it's not. He's just one overly-influential cancer cell in the quickly metastasizing illness over-taking the mainstream media. That illness is best illustrated, of late, by the willingness of the once-credible New York Times (and many others) to treat Andy --- as well as his band of GOP propaganda mongers and dirty tricksters --- as a respectable source, rather than the confirmed liar, desperate flip-flopper, self-defining hypocrite, and Republican con-man that he is.

But since the "Liberal MSM" are not yet ready to cop to their egregious and repeated errors on that front, and since we're feeling generous today for some reason, we'll just take Andy at his tweeted word from last week when he sputtered: "@TheBradBlog U do understand that if I were least bit worried about your line of questioning Id ignore U, right? Do U not get that?"

Yeah, we get that. Which must be why, during his series of insane, paranoid, meltdown rants (see videos below) at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in D.C. all weekend long, where he fingered an imaginary Vast Leftwing Conspiracy at the heart of his epic fail, he forgot to mention The BRAD BLOG for some reason!

It's as if he were entirely "ignoring" our "line of questioning" for some reason.

That, even as he was forced to admit at the very top of his Saturday morning speech at CPAC --- undoubtedly due to having finally been sold out by his own fake "prostitute," Hannah Giles, the day before --- that he did, "apparently," lie about his phony ACORN "pimp" story...

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Woman who posed as prostitute confirms repeated misreporting by NYTimes, many others
Why does 'paper of record' still refuse to retract, apologize?...
By Brad Friedman on 2/19/2010 1:14pm PT  

Speaking to Washington Independent reporter David Weigel today at CPAC, Hannah Giles, who posed as a prostitute in James O'Keefe and Andrew Breitbart's infamous, highly-doctored, heavily-overdubbed, secretly-taped, ACORN hit videos, confirms what we've been reporting for several weeks here: O'Keefe never dressed as a pimp in the offices of ACORN.

Reports Weigel today [emphasis added]:

I asked Giles about a criticism that’s often been leveled against them — that they hyped up the video by wearing outrageous clothes in promotional materials and the videos’ introductions that they didn’t wear in the actual stings.

“We never claimed that he went in with a pimp costume,” said Giles. “That was b-roll. It was purely b-roll. He was a pimp, I was a prostitute, and we were walking in front of government buildings to show how the government was whoring out the American people.”

"B-roll" refers to footage shot separately and later inserted during editing, as frequently seen in movies and television. E.g., an overhead helicopter shot of Las Vegas, used to establish where the scene takes place, before cutting to the interior of a casino where the main character is seen playing cards at a table.

Giles' admission is in stark contrast to:


Greg Brock, the New York Times Senior Editor for Standards, as we documented exclusively some weeks ago, is even on email record as citing that Fox "News" appearance by O'Keefe (embedded again at right) as his only evidence to "stand by our reporting" in which the "paper of record" has, time and again, misreprested O'Keefe as having "visited Acorn offices ... dressed so outlandishly that he might have been playing in a risque high school play."

Just two days after the Times described the "outlandish" dress of O'Keefe, the Congress of the United States passed legislation to remove federal funding for ACORN. (A federal judge later found the legislation to be "unconstitutional".)...

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Dogged by The BRAD BLOG since 2005, former 'non-partisan' Bush/Cheney attorney now downplays Republican 'voter fraud' 'conspiracy theories'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/16/2010 2:59pm PT  

Is it possible that Thor Hearne, the rightwing operative attorney The BRAD BLOG has been following for years after we discovered him at the heart of a phony "non-partisan" GOP astroturf operation set up just after the 2004 election, calling itself the American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR), has finally seen the light?

Seems highly unlikely for the national general counsel of Bush/Cheney '04 Inc., who knowingly misled Congress on that point and many others. But perhaps after our years dogging him and detailing his lies and phony agenda working to keep legal (Democratic-leaning) citizens from being able to exercise their legal right to vote, he's gotten tired of being the poster boy for the Republican's anti-democracy campaign.

As detailed yesterday by Fired Up! Missouri, who appear to be as confused as we are...

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By Brad Friedman on 2/11/2010 8:50pm PT  

Can't believe Andrew Breitbart and the heroic citizen watchdogs fighting against bloated government corruption at BigGovernment.com haven't said a word about this yet! Perhaps James O'Keefe is not donning his pimp costume even now, for some "undercover journalism" to shut these corrupt, tax-payer robbing bastards down once and for all! And prostitution foe "Patterico" is sharpening his poison pen of the people even as we speak!

I can't deny it any longer. These are, after all, the most outrageous examples of ACORN corruption yet! And apparently it wasn't just a few low level employees this time, but system corruption said to go to the very top of the organization, resulting in the defrauding of millions, if not billions of tax-payer dollars! It's now clearer than ever that all of their federal funding must be denied once and for all! Get this...

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

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