Remember the disingenuous snit fits that Rightwing con-man Andrew Breitbart and his Tea Bag Boyz were on about when the original reports broke of "a plot to wiretap Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's office in the Hale Boggs Federal Building in downtown New Orleans" by Republican dirty trickster James O'Keefe and his band of co-conspirators?
They were outraged --- outraged --- that the "liberal media" had included the word "wiretap" in their reports about the felony arrests of the operatives, since the FBI's arrest affidavit didn't specifically mention an attempt to wiretap or bug the phones in her office. In a desperate attempt to distract from the actual story and find some way to support their friends' charged with serious federal felonies, the Tea Bag Boyz demanded that a number of media outlets issue immediate retractions for the claim, and, of course, the "liberal media" outlets complied --- as instructed --- as usual.
As Republican dirty trickster, and now convicted federal criminal, James O'Keefe is neither Middle-Eastern nor a member of the Democratic Party, he was allowed to plead guilty to just a misdemeanor today for leading a conspiracy of criminals --- one of whom happened to be the son of the acting U.S. Attorney in Louisiana --- in an attempt to tamper with the telephone system of a sitting U.S. Senator in her federal office in New Orleans, before being sentenced accordingly this morning by a federal magistrate:
Conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe and three compatriots today pleaded guilty to entering real property belonging to the United States under false pretenses for the January incident in which they entered Sen. Mary Landrieu's New Orleans office and claimed to be from the telephone company, the Times-Picayunereports.
O'Keefe was sentenced to three years of probation, a fine of $1,500 and 100 hours of community service. The others --- Stan Dai, Joseph Basel, and Robert Flanagan --- got the same fine, two years of probation, and 75 hours of community service.
Previous coverage by The BRAD BLOG of this hopefully-now-completed story included:
Those who follow me on Twitter may already know that I've been referring there to the New York Times' shameful coverage of the Richard Blumenthal situation as the paper's "ACORN Pimp Hoax REDUX."
Their front page exposé last week suggested that Connecticut's Attorney General --- the leading Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate --- was, perhaps, a serial liar because, the "paper of record" informed readers, he'd exaggerated his service in the military. But then we learned that the Times had failed to share the complete video taped comments from a recent speech. Instead, they chose to quote and share just one selective portion out of context to help make their case.
Not only did the complete video --- which Times Executive Editor Bill Keller now admits the paper had seen prior to publication of their story --- offer additional comments from Blumenthal in the same speech, which may have mitigated the comments the Times selectively shared with readers, the paper also failed to share with readers that the story had been fed to them originally by the campaign team of one Blumenthal's Republican rivals for the U.S. Senate seat.
Now that the NYTimes' Public Editor, Clark Hoyt --- supposedly the paper's "readers' representative" or ombudsman --- has rung in with his "verdict" on the whole mess over the weekend, we can officially announce that the comparison to the Times' shameful response to the ACORN Pimp Hoax scandal, which we spent the better part of three months detailing earlier this year, is complete...
Last night, the far Righties over at FreeRepublic linked to my story yesterday on ACORN 'Pimp' Hoaxster James O'Keefe being dressed down by a federal judge, before being given a free ride to avoid trial and personal accountability for attempting to tamper with the phones of Louisiana's Democratic U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu.
As usual, all of the comments there, in reply, are fun to read --- if you have enough antibodies to ward off the toxins --- but here are just a few of my personal faves ...
A federal judge gave a stern talking to this morning to the Rightwing dirty trickster James O'Keefe III and his three fellow conspirators --- one of whom is the son of the Acting U.S. Attorney in Louisiana --- for their attempt to access the telephone system of Democratic U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu in her New Orleans office, by impersonating phone company employees.
While describing the Republican activists' actions as "unconscionable" and "extremely serious," Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. stopped short of ordering a trial, according to AP today:
A federal judge had strong words for four conservative activists who initially were accused of trying to tamper with the phones in Sen. Mary Landrieu's New Orleans office, but ruled the misdemeanor charges against them can be resolved before a magistrate instead of a judge.
U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. said Wednesday he isn't exercising his right to hear the case even though the four defendants are charged with an "extremely serious" crime involving a security breach at a federal building.
"Deception is alleged to have been used by the defendants to achieve their purposes which in and of itself is unconscionable," Duval wrote.
John M. Broder and Tom Zeller Jr. of The New York Times are kind enough today to offer a front page "News Analysis" which works very hard to offer "balance" on the Gulf oil rig gusher by downplaying concerns of an unprecedented ecological disaster noting "the Deepwater Horizon blowout is not unprecedented, nor is it yet among the worst oil accidents in history."
They even offer a scientific "expert" to help support that thesis:
“The sky is not falling,” said Quenton R. Dokken, a marine biologist and the executive director of the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, a conservation group in Corpus Christi, Tex. “We’ve certainly stepped in a hole and we’re going to have to work ourselves out of it, but it isn’t the end of the Gulf of Mexico.”
What they don't do, however, is let readers know that Dokken's "conservation group," the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, is actually sponsored in large part by the offshore oil drilling industry!
Moreover, when asked for comment about the failure to disclose that rather important piece of information, the Times' Zeller is offering what has now become an all-too-familiar-for-the-"Paper-of-Record" rationalization to explain it all away...
I'm still largely off the grid for the rest of the week, though I'll be re-appearing briefly to guest host the Mike Malloy Show again this Thursday night from 6p-9p PT (9p-Mid ET). This time we'll be BradCasting from San Francisco's Green960, so I hope you'll join us for that. (We'll have a LIVE chat room here during the show, as always.)
Until then --- and until I'm finally back on the grid full time again --- here's a little musical "tribute" to that loser James O'Keefe III. You remember him, right? The guy who pulled off a scam, and then dressed up in a pimp outfit to lie about it in order to help take down an organization (ACORN) which helped hundreds of thousands of his fellow citizens who could most use the very helping hand that O'Keefe has now helped to ensure may no longer be available to anybody. So much for Bush Sr.'s "thousands points of light," eh?
In short, while James O'Keefe won life's lottery by being born an affluent white kid, he remains a loser who apparently never learned the difference between right and wrong, and what it means to stand by your fellow citizens and countrymen.
Andrew Breitbart's big big big "Big Government" website, which made its name last year by publishing the phony ACORN "Pimp" Hoax videos hasn't found time to even mention last week's criminal indictments of top Blackwater officials, despite the company receiving BILLIONS in federal tax-payer dollars --- versus the millions ($3.5m/year on average) that ACORN received over the last 15 years.
It's as if Breitbart and his Tea Bag Boyz don't actually care about corruption of federal tax-payer dollars. Hell, they don't even seem to care about actual prostitution --- even CHILD prostitution --- rings being run on the Government dime, since Blackwater is also fighting two different court cases in which former employees allege the company did exactly that, in both Iraq and Afghanistan, with their BILLIONS in federal tax dollars. Yet still not a peep about that either on any of Andy's websites. Go figure.
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.
As we have long tried to get across to anyone who would listen, the greatest threat to "secure" computerized systems --- such as the electronic voting systems, incredibly, still in use in all 50 states for this year's crucial election cycle --- comes from insiders.
IDG News Service - A Bank of America computer specialist is set to plead guilty to charges that he hacked the bank's automated tellers to dispense cash without recording the activity.
Rodney Reed Caverly, of Charlotte, North Carolina, is scheduled to plead guilty to a computer fraud charge next Tuesday in federal court in Charlotte, according to his lawyer Christopher Fialko, who declined to comment further on the case.
Caverly was charged last week with one count of computer fraud for allegedly writing a malicious program that ran on Bank of America's computers and ATMs, according to court filings.
He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Caverly had worked in Bank of America's IT department where he designed and maintained computer systems, including those used by the ATMs. The alleged scam ran between March 2009 and October 2009.
The gullible are welcome to buy into the Rightwing propaganda that ACORN is somehow stealing elections, despite the complete dearth of any actual evidence that any vote has ever been illegally cast in any election vis a vis an improper registration by an ACORN worker.
But the facts, demonstrated yet again by the BofA story, are much as non-ideological computer scientists and security experts have been trying to warn for years in regard to electronic voting systems: the greatest threat to such systems comes from insiders, such as election officials who can manipulate results simply and directly and in such a way that they are unlikely to ever get caught doing it.
Even the sham 2005 Rightwing-created Baker/Carter National Election Reform Commission --- created almost entirely to put an "official"-appearing imprimatur on the call for disenfranchising Photo ID restrictions at polling places --- was forced to admit as much in their final report...
A gentle reminder here that The BRAD BLOG runs almost solely on the support of donations from readers like you.
The BRAD BLOG receives no corporate or foundational support, has no deep-pocket "angel" contributors (though we'd welcome one or three!), and the ads running on this site cover very very little (extremely little!) of the actual costs we have to cover each month just to stay up and running.
It's been an exhausting last several months here as we've directly taken on, with some success, some absolute Goliaths. And while I think we've been instrumental in helping to substantially turn back the tsunami of corporate media distributed disinformation which has helped to undermine democracy in one of the greatest Rightwing Hoaxes of the modern era, I have failed to find time during it all to post a direct plea to help underwrite all of the work done here.
If you support that work, please consider donating as a vote for it to continue --- particularly in this crucial election year. While donations of any amount are always appreciated, monthly sustaining contributions --- also in any amount you chose --- are even more so. You can make such a contribution, security and quickly, via the light-blue "Please Help Support The BRAD BLOG" box you'll see if you scroll down our right sidebar.
Snail mail contributions are also welcome, made out to: Brad Friedman / 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 / Los Angeles, CA 90028.
I hate asking, try to do so as little as I can, and wouldn't do so at all unless it was necessary. So I thank you mightily in advance for your consideration... --- Brad
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)
Finally, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow covers the actual phony ACORN tapes themselves by airing the newly release unedited versions, since CA AG Jerry Brown forced hoaxsters O'Keefe and Giles to turn them over in exchange for immunity from criminal prosecution, as we noted in our coverage last Friday. (That coverage also includes links to the full, unedited versions of the tapes, clips of which Maddow aired last night, as seen below.)
Maddow slams the entire hoax as pulled off by O'Keefe, Giles and their employer/publisher/con-man Andrew Breitbart, and aptly describes it as "a dishonest political stunt that bears no resemblance to journalism"...
For the record, yes, as Maddow notes, Fox "News" endlessly pimped the phony ACORN tapes and got the story completely --- and likely purposely --- wrong. But it should also be noted that so did New York Times, AP, Baltimore Sun, CNN, New York Post, Washington City Paper, Philadelphia Daily News, NPR, Dallas Morning News and many many more, some of which are listed here. Haven't checked, but I'm guessing somewhere along the line on MSNBC they got it wrong as well. All should correct the record and issue apologies the many folks who were damaged by the utterly irresponsible coverage, or, as O'Keefe and Breitbart might describe it (but only when it adversely affects their partisan political agenda), "journalistic malpractice".
And, no, since several have brought this up to us via email and in comments, Maddow didn't mention The BRAD BLOG in the report above or in her blog item/text transcript, or her similarly excellent report filed on the show last Friday. Should she have? I'll leave that to others to decide. We don't cover this stuff for either credit or attribution, though it's true that appropriate attribution can make it easier for folks like us to continue the type of independent, progressive, investigative reporting that we suspect Maddow appreciates.
(On that note, our thanks to John Tomasic of the Colorado Independent who has been particularly generous towards our coverage in his recently related articles, both last night in his story on Maddow's coverage, and several days ago on the CA AG's ACORN findings. We also appreciate the far-too-kind closing thoughts in this post from Jill at "Brilliant at Breakfast".)