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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Sue Wilson on 10/21/2010 10:31pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Sue Wilson

In the October issue of O magazine, Democratic consultant and commentator Donna Brazile did the unthinkable: she used the "F" word --- in Oprah Winfrey's publication, no less! Eyebrows are being raised across the political spectrum.

Okay, not that "F" word, a different one which is, apparently, far more controversial these days: Brazile says that if she "were in charge" her first priority would be to bring back the Fairness Doctrine." She says that that would require "holders of broadcast licenses to present controversial issues of public importance in an honest, equitable, and balanced fashion."

To the uninitiated, bringing Fairness to the public airwaves --- broadcast radio and TV --- is a no-brainer. But to Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and an army of 550,000 amassed to keep the nation's radio airwaves under "conservative" control, Brazile's declaration of priorities could be a call to arms. Is it possible that the Democratic establishment is finally ready for a fight to take control of their message? While no longer with the DNC, Brazile is still closely aligned with the Democratic power establishment after all.

Okay, time for a bit of history.

Our elders will remember a time when radio was America's number one source of news and information. And they remember being horrified at how Tokyo Rose and our enemies used the radio airwaves to promote hate and propaganda against the U.S.

So they watched as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and radio station owners worked together to prevent propaganda from ever being broadcast over the public airwaves in these United States of America. This coalition of government and business put the "Fairness Doctrine" in place to ensure a healthy, reasoned discourse so critical to our democracy.

The thing is --- and a point important for those who believe much more information is now available on cable and the Internet --- radio is still America's number one source of news and information. More people listen to radio than watch television, read newspapers, or go online. Nearly fifty million people in the U.S. listen to talk radio.

But Fairness? Equal Time? Reasoned discourse? Those went out the window in 1987 with - drumroll, please - President Ronald Reagan...

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

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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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By Brad Friedman on 2/5/2010 11:06am PT  


Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), in the video at right, describes on the floor of the U.S. House this week what anyone paying attention already knows: how the "Rightwing Echo Chamber" works. He describes a completely false charge by Wall Street Journal's professional liar and GOP operative, John Fund, last November alleging --- with no basis whatsoever --- that Rep. Barney Frank (D-VT) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) would soon be introducing legislation for "universal voter registration."

Frank says, "It's a lie, it's a myth." But, he says, the "totally fictional allegation by John Fund with no basis whatsoever" was then picked up and reported as fact by the Washington Times, and naturally then repeated over the public's airwaves by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and on and on throughout the wingnut echosphere, as hoped. When Frank called Fund on it, he says, in a letter [PDF] and then by phone, Fund admitted he was in error, said he "told a few people" that he was wrong, but hadn't published any actual retraction.

"He's not only a liar, he's a coward," Frank accurately noted in his comments this week on the House floor. And here we had recently thought Fund was out of fresh lies.

But what Frank doesn't note in his comments above, is that the tactic described, as oft used by Fund and so many others on the Right, actually works very, very well...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 2/2/2010 3:52pm PT  

It's up to the wingnuts. If they want to keep lying about Obama, then we'll do our best to set the record straight. If they want to bring up legitimate criticism, and there's plenty of it, then we'd likely join them, and we could all have an Obama bashing party together. But they're not that smart.

So as long as the wingnut media --- and thus, virtually the entire corporate media --- insist on using the people's airwaves to lie to the people (eg., Rush Limbaugh continues to repeat every day what a "complete failure" the economic stimulus package has been), I guess we'll just have to keep countering that phony message by posting the truth in order to try to offer some balance to the unending stream of lies from the GOP and their extremely effective mouthpieces across the near-entirety of the corporate media.

Rachel Maddow did the same last week in her lead-up piece to Obama's first State of the Union address, in which she brutally attacked the Administration's call for a partial spending freeze, even as the economy, thanks in no small part to Government investment, struggles to come out of its tailspin.

Before her critique however (which I hope you'll watch in full --- it's embedded below), she also pointed out the salient, indisputable facts of how responsible actions taken by the Obama Administration, whether you liked them or not --- and as opposed by virtually every single Republican in Congress --- have, in fact, with all of their many failings, helped shore up, and even reverse for now, what had been a near-death spiral by the time Obama finally took office.

Here are two charts from her report which highlight that point quite simply, and help to counter the loud, GOP-spun political/partisan nonsense echoed, naturally, by the gullible tea baggers...

[NOTE: Since Maddow's report last week, the GDP figures for the 4th quarter of last year have now been announced and the up trend continues. As her original chart included data only through the 3rd quarter of last year, we've augmented that original chart below to reflect the recently announced 5.7% growth in GDP for the 4th quarter of '09]:

Love him or hate him, or anything in between, recognition of the overall effect of the broad points of Obama's emergency economic policies --- quickly passed at an historic moment of looming disaster --- is due. At least along with any honest appraisal of those policies.

* * *

Maddow's entire report, both praising and critiquing Obama and those policies --- something known as "fairness and balance" --- can be watched below...

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

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UPDATE: NYTimes buries Story, gives last word to wingnuts...
By Brad Friedman on 12/22/2009 4:15pm PT  

Earlier this month, a two-month independent investigation of ACORN, by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, found incidents of mismanagement, but no criminal wrongdoing by ACORN, the favorite whipping boy of Republican scammers such as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Fox "News" and the GOP itself. That investigation (full report here [PDF]) also found that the "sting videos" used recently against ACORN were highly doctored and manipulated.

Of course, readers of The BRAD BLOG know the Republicans' entire, long, sad, anti-democratic (small "d" and large "d" both) campaign is based on little more than the fact that ACORN registers millions of legal low and middle income voters who tend to vote overwhelmingly Democratic (large "d") rather than Republican, and the GOP and their democracy-hating proxies will go to any lengths to keep those legal voters from exercising their legal franchise.

And today, once again, ACORN is cleared of wrongdoing vis a vis yet another independent investigation, this one by the Congressional Research Service [PDF], as noted in a press release from U.S. House Judiciary Chair John Conyers this afternoon (posted in full below).

Of most note to our readers, Conyers' statement points out what we've been pointing out - over and over and over again for years: "There were no instances of individuals who were allegedly registered to vote improperly by ACORN or its employees and who were reported 'attempting to vote at the polls.'" Who knew?! What a surprise! (At least to Fox "News" viewers, who probably won't hear about this report either.)

Also: "No instances were identified in which ACORN 'violated the terms of federal funding in the last five years.'"

And: "Recently enacted federal legislation to prohibit funding to ACORN raises significant constitutional concerns. The courts 'may have a sufficient basis' to conclude that the legislation 'violates the prohibition against bills of attainder.'" That finding is one that a federal judge also recently concurred with, when she issued an injunction earlier this month to keep the law from taking affect since ACORN had "been singled out by Congress for punishment that directly and immediately affects their ability to continue to obtain federal funding, in the absence of any judicial, or even administrative, process of adjudicating guilt."

Finally, according to today's report, Andrew "Drudge's Poodle" Breitbart's phony video-taped "sting operation" against ACORN may, itself, have violated the law in both California and Maryland, about which we might ironically recommend to prosecutors: "Capital punishment" for Andrew Breitbart!

The short press release from Conyers, announcing the new report's bullet points, follows below...

UPDATE: And coverage of the NYTimes burial of this report, now follows below it...

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

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Plus: The imaginary case that 'conservatives have no voice in the media'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/15/2009 1:35pm PT  

Sue, Bill, sue! Enough is enough! Go get 'em!...


(Hat-tip @Frank_Schaeffer)

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By Brad Friedman on 12/12/2009 2:22am PT  

From AP today:

E-mails stolen from climate scientists show they stonewalled skeptics and discussed hiding data — but the messages don't support claims that the science of global warming was faked, according to an exhaustive review by The Associated Press.

The 1,073 e-mails examined by the AP ... don't undercut the vast body of evidence showing the world is warming because of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
...
The e-mails were stolen from the computer network server of the climate research unit at the University of East Anglia in southeast England, an influential source of climate science, and were posted online last month. The university shut down the server and contacted the police.

The AP studied all the e-mails for context, with five reporters reading and rereading them — about 1 million words in total.
...
As part of the AP review, summaries of the e-mails that raised issues from the potential manipulation of data to intensely personal attacks were sent to seven experts in research ethics, climate science and science policy.
...
In the past three weeks since the e-mails were posted, longtime opponents of mainstream climate science have repeatedly ... cited a "culture of corruption" that the e-mails appeared to show.

That is not what the AP found.

Multitudes of climate science denialists have inundated The BRAD BLOG over the past several weeks with comments alleging that the stolen e-mails, offer "proof" that global warming is a "hoax" or the decades of science behind it is a "sham."

Despite repeated and open-minded requests for links to any actual email --- out of more than 1,000 stolen and posted --- demonstrating evidence of such a "hoax" or that the science behind global warming has now been revealed as incorrect, as many claimed, so far none of those denialists have been able to produce a single such a link.

Presumably they found what AP did: that despite cynical disinformation to the contrary from manipulative corporate operatives and stooges in the wingnut media hoping to play the disaffected rightwing rank and file as suckers (yet again), no such email or evidence actually exists. In short --- as with the ACORN nonsense, as with the WMD scam, as with the CIA leak case, etc. --- the tea baggers have been had, and played as useful fools and tools for rightwing corporatists who couldn't give less of a damn about them, other than where they can trick them into serving as their own unpaid PR disinformation squad.

* * *

ADDENDUM 12/13/09: And, in a related toon...

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By Brad Friedman on 12/4/2009 2:55pm PT  

"Biased thermometers" are to blame for scientific data documenting a precipitous rise in global temperatures, according to Marc Morano.

Morano was Rush Limbaugh's former producer and a columnist at the rightwing "news" site, Cybercast News Service, before becoming denialist-extraordinaire Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)'s top aide on the U.S. Senate Committee on Environmental and Public Works. In 2003, Inhofe described global warming as "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people," a statement which he stills stands by today.

Morano now runs the climate denialist website ClimateDepot.com and is, essentially, the very heart of the entire climate change denialist echosphere.

On CNN on Thursday, he debated with James Balog, photographer and former "climate change skeptic" with a degree in geomorphology....

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2009 12:46pm PT  

Michael Moore tweeted within the past hour, in response to yesterday's shooting spree at Fort Hood:

After a shooting like this it's very important that no one jump to conclusions and take out any revenge against doctors or psychiatrists.

The wingnuts, of course, are out for blood following the shooting. Predictably, they're going after Muslims, under the presumption that the suspect, Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was acting out of incitement from Islam.

If that turns out to be true --- and there's no actual evidence to support that at this time, as far as I know --- I'd agree that any person or persons who would incite such violence should be held accountable. Just as those who'd incite similar violence --- for example, in the cases of the murder of Kansas obstetrician Dr. George Tiller or the hanging of Clay County, KY census worker Bill Sparkman --- should be held similarly accountable.

Yet, I heard few such calls from the Right after those incidents. In the case of Tiller, his accused murderer Scott Roeder was regarded by the Right as either a hero or a lone, crazy guy (depending on how far to the Right they happened to be). I've heard no condemnation from the Right, or calls for accountability for the constant, repeated, almost daily characterization of Tiller, to millions and millions of Americans over the air waves by folks like Bill O'Reilly (the most watched man on cable news), as a "baby killer", "executing babies", "death merchant", etc., even though Tiller was a medical doctor performing lawful services.

I heard no wingnut condemnation of Bernie Goldberg --- and certainly not of Christianity as a whole --- even after it was revealed that his book, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (And All Franken Is #37), was a major inspiration for Jim David Adkisson's shooting spree at a Knoxville, TN Unitarian Church in July of 2008 which killed two and injured seven others...

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

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By Frank Schaeffer on 11/4/2009 11:39am PT  

Guest Blogged by Frank Schaeffer

I grew up in a fundamentalist missionary family that in the 1970s and 80s morphed into my father's activity as one of the founders of the Religious Right. We would hobnob with Republican leaders from Ronald Reagan to Gerald Ford and the Bush family, Jack Kemp and many others. One day it dawned on me that the far right of the Republican Party --- in other words its base --- actually hates America.

The Religious Right reveled in rising crime statistics, "family breakdown" statistics, failing public schools and so forth. As I explain in my book Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism), if crime started going down, or public school test results started going up --- without the country "turning back to Jesus" --- then that would prove that somehow "we" were wrong.

We wanted our country to fail because it had "turned away" from what we believed to be true.

Combined with the fact that we began to lose parts of the culture war, when it came to other Americans beginning to recognize gay rights, expanding women's rights, abortion rights and such, the Religious Right and the Republican Party infected gun-toting America with a chip on its shoulder about a mile wide. This led to the myth that "they" (fill in the blank, gays, Jews, blacks, liberals --- whatever) are "taking away our country from 'us'"...

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

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The former evangelical rightwing leader explains how the GOP became a 'paranoid cult' aiming to 'burn down our national home'
And how they still are in NY's 23rd Congressional District election...
By Frank Schaeffer on 11/2/2009 10:38am PT  

Guest Blogged by Frank Schaeffer

What a weird life! In the 1970s and 80s I helped my late Evangelical-leader, Religious Right founder father as his nepotistic sidekick. We helped establish the Religious Right and send it on its merry way to doom. Now I --- a backslider former Evangelical, former Republican --- watch in amazed fascination as once again the Right I helped launch like a nasty little torpedo into the guts of the Republican Party once again explodes.

Frank Rich explains...

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

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By Sue Wilson on 8/18/2009 2:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Sue Wilson

On August 11, 2009, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, in a unanimous vote, became the first elected body in the United States to stand up to Hate Radio. Their resolution urges "the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct a comprehensive investigation on hate speech in the media, allowing public participation via public hearings, and asks the NTIA [National Telecommunications and Information Administration] to update its 1993 report on the Role of Telecommunications in Hate Crimes."

For two years, San Francisco's Hispanic/Latino Anti-Defamation Coalition (HLADC) has been trying to get some traction on this issue. They've staged rallies against Michael Savage, worked with the Media Alliance, Common Cause and Broadcast Blues to protest hate radio, and supported the National Hispanic Media Coalition's campaign to convince the FCC and NTIA to act. But HLADC leader Aurora Grajedas saw she could better effect national change by working with her own city's board of supervisors. Acting locally is a good lesson for all activists.

Still, there is resistance to any such study, as opponents charge these groups are trying to shut down the first amendment. But let us be clear, Radio Speech is not Free Speech. I will stand by Glenn Beck's right to stand on the street corner and say illegal immigrants should be made into a new fuel called "Mexinol." I may not like it, but I stand by his right to say it. But there is a difference between shouting on the street corner and broadcasting all over the country.

Broadcasting pioneers witnessed the power of propaganda with radio Tokyo Rose, so they worked with government on two key broadcast regulations. First, to qualify for a license to broadcast on the public airwaves, stations had to serve the public interest, which became defined as local news, political debates, equal time, and a rule that said no personal attacks. Second, one person could own just 6 radio stations, nationwide. There were a lot of "street corners" in radio.

Today there are almost none...

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

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Paul Bishop, one of six Clay County Election Board officials arrested in March, may now be cooperating with federal prosecutors
NEW DETAILS: Rush Limbaugh's 'Hillbilly Heroin' said used as part of vote-buying scheme | LATE UPDATE: Many new details following today's guilty plea...
By Brad Friedman on 5/29/2009 11:35am PT  

[Now updated with a load of new details on the election conspiracy, how it worked, and who the candidates were that allegedly benefited from it, following today's guilty plea entered in court. See bottom of article for that new information.]

A Republican election official, one of six allegedly bi-partisan [ed note: see update below for more on that] Clay County, KY, Board of Elections officials arrested last March and charged with a long-term conspiracy to rig elections, buy votes, and manipulate vote-selections on electronic voting machines without the knowledge of voters, has asked to change his plea from not guilty to guilty, according to local news reports...

The attorney for Paul E. Bishop filed a motion Thursday seeking a hearing for him to plead guilty to one count of racketeering.

That charge alleges that members of the conspiracy used the county Board of Elections as a vehicle to corrupt voting between 2002 and 2007 so they could hold on to power and enrich themselves and others.

According to the indictment [PDF], Bishop was a Republican election judge at precincts in 2002 and 2004, and hosted meetings at his house where candidates pooled money to be used for buying votes. The latest report also notes that Bishop, and some of the other conspirators, even employed Rush Limbaugh's illicit drug of choice, OxyContin, as part of their scheme...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2009 2:11pm PT  

These are said to be among the photos of prisoner abuse/torture whose release Obama has determined to block. Some of them were obtained, and posted several years ago, by The Sydney Morning Herald (who have more here).

Remember, these prisoners were captured in the war on Iraq, so even the disingenuous claims of Geneva Conventions not applying cannot be used here.

As Drudge and Rush have (predictably) taken to ridiculing these latest noticed photos of abuse/torture of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. captors, I thought it worth running some of them here, so you could similarly see how "ridiculous" it is to be concerned about this sort of treatment of prisoners on our watch. I'm certain that no U.S. military family would ever object, in the slightest way, were their son or daughter treated this way after being captured by an enemy country.

'Security via obscurity' didn't work as a concept during the Bush Administration. It's difficult to fathom how the Obama Administration would believe it'll work any better for them.

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Republican Army, Marine vet slams Limbaugh for support of torture, blames him for McCain loss
They're eating their own...
By Brad Friedman on 4/7/2009 4:25pm PT  


Republican Army and Marine vet caller to Rush: "You're one reason to blame for the Republicans losing...You're a brain-washed, Nazi...Anybody who could believe in torture, has got to have something wrong with them...What's the matter with you?! You never even served in the Army!"

Rush replies:
"You're stupid and ignorant...you don't know diddly-squat..."

Seriously, give it a listen above right. Media Matters has the transcript, Scholars and Rogues has more details. It's getting ugly out there in Limbaugh Land.

Must-Listen Musical Addendum: And as long as we're on the topic...We'll opportunistically take this opportunity to share Rush 'admitting' he's 'a Nazi'. If you haven't heard this brilliantly hilarious satirical tune, featuring Rush in his own words (as created by Atlanta's WNNX-FM), well, get your goose-stepping boots on, turn it up loud, and hit play below...

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