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...
Wonder if our good friend, the alleged vote-rigging conspirator and high-flying Abramoff golf buddy, former Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL), will finally get the starring role he deserves in this new documentary. We're very much looking forward to it...
By the way, this is just one of the upcoming films on GOP uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Another one, a theatrical re-telling of his story, is currently in production with Kevin Spacey starring as "Casino Jack," and me not starring, despite my best efforts, as the diminutive yet dangerous Tom Feeney.
Amidst exploding bombs, smoke billowing from sinking battleships and dead bodies floating atop the oil slicked waters of Pearl Harbor, it was not all that difficult to appreciate the damage wrought by a surprise attack launched by the Empire of Japan. The same was true when we watched in horror as the smoldering twin towers of the World Trade Center precipitously collapsed on September 11, 2001.
Like these two earlier pivotal events, January 21, 2010 is, "a date which will live in infamy." Yet, unlike Pearl Harbor and 9/11, most Americans do not recognize it as such. This attack came not by way of planes or bombs delivered by some foreign menace. It came from within courtesy of what Professor Cass Sunstein aptly described as "radicals in robes" --- four directly connected to the Robert-Bork founded, billionaire-funded Federalist Society; all five as appointees of the Reagan and two Bush administrations. Men bent on unraveling the very constitution they had all solemnly sworn to uphold.
Their assault, though subtle, wrought far greater devastation than either Pearl Harbor or 9/11. They did not merely attack planes, ships and buildings. They assaulted the very foundations of our constitutional democracy...
Any remaining doubts about just how deeply detatched wingnuts are from Reality should pretty much be obliterated by this piece by Christian Toto at the far Rightwing website "Human Events."
I'm on the road today, so no time to offer details and/or direct rebuttal, but I suspect that, by now, BRAD BLOG readers should be able to both debunk and create your own punchline for just about each and every graf!
I'm also pretty sure that Toto wrote that article with a straight face (it's not April 1 still, right?), as incredible as that might sound. I don't believe I've read any story of late, in regard to the utterly debunked and disgraceful ACORN "Pimp" Hoax --- even from the pseudonymous rightwing blogger, O'Keefe/Breitbart dead-ender and (shockingly) L.A. County Dep. DA Patrick "Patterico" Frey --- which is so singularly disconnected from Reality.
A "Pulitzer Prize" for the fully disgraced and accused federal criminal James O'Keefe for fake reporting? That'd be roughly the equivalent of awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Timothy McVeigh or a Grammy Award to Richard Nixon for "Best Spoken Word" for his superb work on the Watergate Tapes!
Our old friend, the disgraced and disgraceful ACORN "Pimp" Hoax con-man Andrew Breitbart, is up to the same old tricks, according to AP. But this time they don't seem to be going as well for him.
In a deceptive effort to prove that Tea Baggers did not yell racial epithets at Democratic lawmakers during demonstrations against health insurance reform last month, Breitbart posted "VIDEO PROOF" from a different moment during those protests, the news service has found.
We're shocked he'd try to pull off such a scam. Even more shocked CNN hasn't hired him as a contract player yet.
Could the media finally be catching on to Breitbart's scams now that he's been caught lying time and again?
Glad to see AP holding Breitbart accountable for his bullshit, finally, but it's time for them to knock off their own lazy coverage, and start issuing corrections and apologies for their own months of misreporting on the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax.
AP's email address for corrections is: Info@AP.org. We've already sent such a request ourselves, but haven't heard back. Perhaps it will help, as it did at the New York Times, if they hear from a lot of readers.
This must drive the Neo-Cons even crazier than they are already. From the Southern Republican Leadership Conference (SRLC)'s straw poll over the weekend:
NEW ORLEANS --- In the presidential-preference straw poll here at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, Mitt Romney won by ONE vote over Ron Paul --- out of 1,806 cast.
Romney received 24% of the vote (439 votes) to Paul's 24% (438 votes).
Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin received 18% --- followed by Mike Huckabee at 4%, Tim Pawlenty at 3%, Mike Pence at 3%, Rick Santorum at 2%, and Gary Johnson at 1%.
Yes, Ron Paul lost to Mitt Romney, the man who signed legislation into law mandating health insurance policies for all Massachusetts citizens, by just one vote. That, after Paul easily won the straw poll at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) in D.C. in February.
Paul's positions, however, are actually conservative, and thus run antithetical to most of the Neo-Con, Big Government, Bush/Cheney-era Republicanists who now call themselves Tea Baggers, as RAW STORY notes today here. How many more "Democrats in Disarray" articles will we have to read before the "Republicans in Disarray" articles finally begin in the corporate media?
One other related thought: When Palin came in a distant fourth at CPAC's straw poll, the Republican and Republican-enabling and TeaBag-promoting Chattering Class instructed us via the corporate media that she would have done better had she actually showed up and spoken at the event. Well, she showed up and spoke at the SRLC, received a larger percentage of the vote, but still managed to do no better than third place among the dyed-in-the-wool, hard Right Southern Republicanists at the conference. Go figure.
A reader alerted me this morning to these misleading, inaccurate, propaganda anti-ACORN "editorials", duplicates of which have been appearing, unbylined, in a bunch of papers under different headlines. Before I was able to get to them, it looks like Muriel Kane at RAW STORY was able to jump on it. (Thankfully! Since I've been busy with both today's Green News Report today, and putting together tonight's Mike Malloy Show!) . Here's the lede from Kane's coverage today...
When you read an editorial in your local newspaper, your natural assumption is that it expresses the views of that paper's staff and reflects local concerns. This, however, does not appear to be the case with the many small-town papers owned by Ogden Newspapers, Inc.
On March 31, an editorial headed "ACORN can't distract public from the truth" appeared in the Fairmont Sentinel, published in Fairmont, MN. It was bylined by Gary Andersen and Lee Smith, the paper's publisher and editor, and it slammed ACORN as a "front for liberal politicians" that has been involved in "illegal actions."
That original publication seems legitimate enough. But over the next few days, the same editorial started popping up elsewhere, with no byline and under a variety of headings. On April 3, for example, it appeared in the Minot Daily News of Minot, ND under the heading, "Good riddance to ACORN."
On April 5, it was in the Williamsport Sun-Gazette of Williamsport, PA, headed "ACORN victim of its own transgressions."
These papers have one thing in common. They are all owned by Ogden Newspapers of Wheeling, WV.
Like the GOP's years-long hit-campaign against ACORN, the GOP's ACORN "voter fraud" fraud, and their ACORN "Pimp" Hoax, these "editorials" are similarly faked propaganda, meant as a part of that same, blatant, shamefully partisan, anti-Democratic and anti-democracy scheme. See RAW's full story here.
* * *
And in related-ish news, the audio archives from last night's Malloy Show, in which we covered (as I was guest hosting) the anti-ACORN "Pimp" Hoax scam in some detail --- including a pretty tough live interview with ACORN's CEO Bertha Lewis --- are now posted here for download and/or online listening.
(ED NOTE 4/9/10: ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis was my guest on Wednesday night while I was guest hosting the Mike Malloy Show. My interview with her can now be heard here. - Brad)
Yesterday, Peter Hart, of the media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), flagged the New York Times'latest ACORN-related report for us and notes "how far the Times is from where it started on this story."
Yes, after a full six months of out-and-out misleading the public on the now-infamous ACORN "Pimp" Hoax by repeatedly misreporting that disgraced rightwing prankster and activist James O'Keefe had dressed as a 70's-era blaxploitation pimp while scamming low-level workers in ACORN offices --- and even as the Times finally conceded it was wrong on at least that point just two weeks ago --- the paper has still been standing by the misleading assertion that O'Keefe "clearly presented himself as" a pimp in those offices.
But the NYTimes' latest story is decidedly "pimp"-less and seems to tacitly serve as an admission that even that false narrative was previously misreported. Of course, they've yet to issue a public acknowledgment --- much less a correction, retraction, apology, or explanation --- for having gotten that point so wrong, for so long.
Last week's finding by the CA Attorney General, that ACORN committed "no violations of criminal law" in any of the illicitly and likely-illegally taped videos that O'Keefe and his partner Hannah Giles created in CA offices, may finally have convinced the people running the paper they had it wrong. At least if one notices the glaring absence of what wasn't reported this time around by the Times in its most recent story...
On Friday night, responding to the CA AG's finding that the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax videos --- as created and published by righwing con-artists James O'Keefe, Hannah Giles, and Andrew Breitbart --- were precisely the hoax we'd long described them as, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow hit it out of the park, detailing precisely the reason we've been focused on this point for so long: "The triumph of fake politics...The unmooring of politics from facts," and the unforgivable truth that you've heard far more about the partisan-driven hoax/politics agenda in the media, than about the fact that that these things were all hoaxes.
Maddow takes the opportunity to highlight not only the "triumph" of the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax, but of other successful GOP-played/MSM-enabled scams such as "ClimateGate" (also near and dear to our hearts as we've covered that scam in great depth in our Green News Reports for months, most recently on Thursday), faked GOP outrage about recess appointments, health insurance reform, Miranda rights and civilian trials for accused terrorists, the stimulus bill, "death panels," Obama's birth certificate, supposed threats to the Second Amendment, armed IRS agents coming to get you, abuse of the census, Obama's "plans" to ban sport fishing, et al.
These things are, as she declares in no uncertain terms, "all bull." Yet, she adds, "there’s more bang for the political buck to make stuff up like this than to try to debate real problems in the real world. So just go with the bull"...
Our only complaint is that her indictment comes a month or two (at least) too late for victims of the GOP's ACORN scam, and that, other than Fox "News," she fails to call out the still-respected-but-shouldn't-be enablers of the scams in the first place --- in this case, for example, the still-misreporting New York Times.
If you can't watch the video above, or would just like to savor it and/or quote any of the exceedingly-quotable text to your erstwhile inexorably-brainwashed, fully-hoaxed, teabagging wingnut friends and family members, the text transcript is posted here...
"You've got a small number of multinational corporations that control the entire food system from seed to the supermarket. This isn't just about what we're allowed to eat. This is about what we're allowed to say; what we're allowed to know. It's not just our health at risk...They have managed to make it against the law to criticize their products. There is an effort to make it illegal to publish a photo of any industrial food operation." - Food, Inc. narration.
We hear it constantly from Republicans; an ideological mantra to the effect that government, especially government programs that would place the interests of public health, safety, and equality above the profits and power of those who already have too much of both, threatens our liberties.
Perhaps in a manner even more successful than Michael Moore's very powerful presentations in Sicko! and in Capitalism: A Love Story, Robert Kenner and Eric Schlosser, in their Academy Award nominated documentary feature Food, Inc. (trailer posted at end of article), expose the lie behind the myth that so-called "free markets" make us free....
Sorry this took a few days to get posted. Have been busy. As noted last week, on Saturday I made my third appearance in as many years at the annual "L.A. Media Reform Summit" sponsored by CA Common Cause. It was again held at Occidental College, and I was honored to serve as their keynote speaker for the first time this year.
Below is the video of my full speech, in which I discussed the serious crisis we now face as our corporate mainstream media hit full fail mode. That point, as I argued, is exemplified by 1) the massive failures of the old "dead tree" media to meet their constitutional responsibilities to help protect the public from bad guys (as illustrated by the NYTime's months of damaging and flagrant misreporting on the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax, as we've been covering at The BRAD BLOG for months), and 2) the full, rightwing take-over of nearly every inch of the public's broadcast spectrum by a handful of corporations that do not meet their FCC license obligations to manage those airwaves in the public's interest (as we've been covering at The BRAD BLOG and elsewhere for years).
I also discussed your responsibility in doing something about both of those serious problems!
The video is posted below the fold, since it's about 40 minutes in all, and might otherwise get interupted by the main page's auto-refresh routines. Enjoy. And get to work!...
If you've not heard, over the weekend it was announced that the felony charges against James O'Keefe --- who famously, never actually posed as a pimp in ACORN offices --- and his three co-conspirators in the matter of attempting to illegally access the phone system of U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) in New Orleans, have been reduced to misdemeanor charges.
It's believed likely that the agreement was part of a plea deal. The reduced charges would carry a maximum prison sentence of 6 months and a fine of $5,000, versus the maximum sentence of 20 years for the felony charges.
MORAL 1: If you're going to attempt to feloniously enter federal property under false pretenses in order to manipulate the phone system of a sitting U.S. Senator, make sure a) you're an operative for the Republican, not Democratic, Party (remember: IOKIYAR!), b) you do not have an Arabic sounding name and, most importantly, c) you have as one of your co-conspirators the son of the acting U.S. Attorney in the same state where you are attempting to commit your crime.
MORAL 2: If you get caught and arrested while doing any of the above, even if, as your attorney says, you're just "kid," be sure to be a "kid" who has the ample funding and high-powered connections to employ, for your defense, a superstar GOP attorney such as one who was powerful enough to have represented the U.S. Senate Republicans during the Watergate Hearings nearly 40 years ago and during the witch-hunt investigation of the Clinton administration in the 90's.
Rand Paul, son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) is running for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senator to replace the retiring Sen. Jim Bunning in the state of Kentucky. Paul, who has been endorsed by the likes of Sarah Palin, is running against Republican Party insider, KY Sec. of State Trey Grayson, who has been endorsed by the likes of Dick Cheney. Primary Election Day is set for May 18th.
Grayson's disturbing history of misrepresenting the truth in regard to certification of the state's electronic voting systems should be of great concern to Paul and his supporters, particularly given the state's rich history of confirmed election fraud by election insiders --- which includes tampering with e-voting systems to change voters votes --- and the fact that much of the state still uses electronic voting systems which are 100% unverifiable in any way, shape or form.
Of equal concern are the hand-marked paper ballot systems used in other parts of the state. Those electronic systems are also at risk to both simple, nearly undetectable manipulation by insiders as well as tallying errors, and have been found to feature serious security flaws highlighted in the past by the state's own former Republican AG. Even admissions by one of the voting machine companies, Diebold, that systems in use in the state did not meet certification requirements, were largely dismissed, and all but ignored for years by Grayson, the state's chief election official who will be overseeing his own election against Paul in May...
All eight defendants in Clay County, Kentucky's election fraud trial have been found guilty today by a federal jury. Six of those eight were high-ranking election officials, including the county clerk, a circuit judge and the school superintendent. The conspirators were charged with having manipulated federal elections in 2002, 2004 and 2006 by buying and selling votes and manipulating electronic voting machines.
According to AP, each of the now-convicted felons could face up to 20 years in prison for what prosecutors had described as a conspiracy to manipulate elections for decades in the rural, heavily Republican county.
In additional to federal racketeering, several of the defendants were also convicted of charges that included mail fraud, extortion and laundering money used to buy votes.
The BRAD BLOG has been following this story since the conspirators were originally arrested in March of last year, and as details of the election officials' manipulation of ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting machines has emerged...
With the Senate having now passed the final reconciliation changes to the health care reform bill, the Republicans from their "Tea Party" wing to their high priest of hallucinatory fantasy; Glenn Beck, are about to pay a historic price for the biggest miscalculation in American political history since Charles Lindbergh sided with the Germans. The pundits all have it wrong. Obama's victory on health care reform will result in the Democratic Party retaining the majority in both houses of Congress as well as Obama winning a second term.
Disclosure: As a former Republican and Religious Right leader who quit the movement in the mid 80s (for reasons I explain in my book Crazy For God) let me tell my progressive friends and all reality-based people why and how the Republican Party just consigned themselves to defeat by (amongst other things) opposing health care reform...