After an amazingly encouraging week or two, we head into the July 4th weekend with a whole bunch of stuff we've been trying to clear off our desk. Plus: Lots of breaking news and an encouraging ending for the weekend...
This is an exceedingly disturbing report from last night's Rachel Maddow Show on the rising wave of terrorism by Rightwing extremists --- now known as the Republican Party --- in the wake of the passage of healthcare insurance reform.
I've long warned, and stand by the disturbing prediction again today, that someone will end up dead before this is all over. Where, oh, where, are the responsible GOP leaders who ought to be denouncing what's going on here loudly and clearly?
It's somewhat remarkable that Maddow never uses the word "terrorism" in this report, despite this meeting the very definition of the word. (Ed note: Please see correction on this point below.)
Since Maddow's report last night, things have only gotten reportedly worse. In VA, according to Politico, a tea bagger has posted what he thought was the home address of Democratic Rep. Thomas Perriello, inviting others to "drop by" and lend a "personal touch" to their opinions on the freshman Congressman's vote on health insurance reform. The address, however, turned out to be that of his brother who has a wife and four children under the age of eight.
Watch Maddow's report. This story ought to be the lead of every broadcast media outlet right now (and it certainly would have seen wall-to-wall coverage on Fox "News" had these been Republican offices vandalized by domestic Democratic-leaning terrorists.)
Also, please consider signing on to Velvet Revolution's StopDomesticTerror.com campaign before it's too late again. [Disclosure: The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder of VR. Hat-tip: BRAD BLOG reader "PS".]
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CORRECTION 3/26/10: Not sure how I missed it --- must have been jotting down a note at the moment she mentioned it --- but in fact, Maddow did note that some of these acts sound very much as if they are "close to the legal definition of terrorism in this country." She did so at appx. the 8:30min mark in the video above. My apologies for the oversight, and my thanks to BRAD BLOG commenter Lora for pointing it out.
In case you were wondering if ACORN's announcement today that they will soon be closing their doors will have any effect on my campaign to demand accountability from the people and institutions (e.g., the NYTimes, but many others as well) culpable in their demise, rest assured it will not --- other than to serve as yet another reminder of why such accountability remains an imperative here at The BRAD BLOG.
As I have long tried to impart, it's not about ACORN or even the liars, cretins, partisan scam artists, and democracy haters who schemed to take down the group. It's about those whose responsibility it was (and still is) to keep the cretins from being able to do so. About those whose responsibility it is to protect our democracy from all enemies, foreign and domestic. On those particular points, after I cool down a bit, I will have much more to say tomorrow --- and the day after, and the day after, and the day after...
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This seems like a good moment to remind those who haven't seen this, or have forgotten about it, to once again run the short video (just 40 seconds) of Paul Weyrich, the still-revered founding father of the modern day "Conservative" Movement and the godfather of the GOP's modern-day voter-suppression movement. This is from his 1980 speech to 15,000 preachers at a Dallas convention where he shared the podium with both Jerry Falwell and Ronald Reagan.
This is what the GOP's campaign against ACORN --- and democracy --- was always about...
"Now many of our Christians have what I call the goo-goo syndrome - good government. They want everybody to vote. I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."
Weyrich passed away in December of 2008. His dream lives on.
Just one day after the New York Time's Public Editor Clark Hoyt finally admitted that both he and his paper were "wrong" in the way, for the last six months, they unskeptically and inaccurately covered the Rightwing hoaxsters who released doctored-up, heavily-overdubbed, secretly-taped hit videos targeting the national community organization ACORN, largely for their work in legally registering hundreds of thousands of low-income voters so they could have their voice heard in their own democracy, the group is announcing that it will be "bringing its operations to a close".
We should take the time to note here, since the corporate mainstream media likely will not, that there is no evidence that any vote has ever been cast illegally in any election vis a vis an improper registration by an ACORN worker. Of the very few ACORN workers found to have submitted illegal registrations, almost every one of them was turned in to officials by ACORN themselves. Again: no voter ever registered improperly by an ACORN worker has ever cast a single vote in any election.
The following statement has just been sent to The BRAD BLOG by ACORN spokesperson Kevin Whelan concerning the group's plan to shut down:
In a organizational statement released today, ACORN said:
The ACORN Association Board met on Sunday March 21 and approved a set of steps to responsibly manage the process of bringing its operations to a close over the coming months. These include:
Closing ACORN's remaining state affiliates and field offices by April 1st; and
Developing a plan to resolve all outstanding debts, obligations and other issues.
ACORN's members have a great deal to be proud of--from promoting to homeownership to helping rebuild New Orleans, from raising wages to winning safer streets, from training community leaders to promoting voter participation --- ACORN members have worked hard to create stronger communities, a more inclusive democracy, and a more just nation.
Neither Andrew Breitbart nor James O'Keefe, the partisan propagandists who created and published the scam videos which ultimately helped to destroy the valuable community group, could be reached for comment to learn whether or not they planned to target widows' and orphans' groups next.
ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis, however, issued the following statement over the weekend as a reminder of the group's successes, in light of the now-successful years-long Rightwing hit job intended to cripple the organization for having the temerity to be one of those thousand points of light you've heard about, helping the neglected and the poor in our society --- more than 400,000 low-income families in 75 cities --- the folks who need such help the most...
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...
"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....
‘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.
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...
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.
[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...
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 Nowreported 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."
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The 01/04/10 Democracy Now! segment, Utah Abortion Bill Could Punish Women for Miscarriages, Domestic Violence follows below...
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.
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.
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...
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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?...
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."
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...
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.
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...