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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, August 21, 2014
Rep. Hank Johnson on Ferguson and His Bill to Stop Police Militarization:
KPFK 'BradCast'
The Democratic U.S. Congressman from Georgia's 4th district joins Brad...
Republicans Call Ferguson Voter Registration 'Disgusting'
Rightwingers decry effort 'to register Democratic voters' following the killing of Michael Brown. But who said anything about 'Democratic voters'?...
Seriously, Ferguson Police?
The front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reminds again how ridiculous the era of post-9/11 Wars has become, as does yet another comparison to the Bundy Bunch...
'Green News Report' 8/19/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Oregon nixes coal export facility; July 2014 4th hottest; Fracking industry illegally using diesel fuel, threatening water; PLUS GOP officials secretly accept climate science...
Previous GNRs: 8/14/14 - 8/12/14 - Archives...
Yes, Elections Still Matter: Brad on 'David Pakman Show'
With so many corrupt, corporatist politicians, even on the Democratic side, does voting and fighting voter suppression still even matter?...
Tale of Two Protests
The armed Bundy Bunch and the unarmed peaceful protesters of Ferguson -- one group was courageous enough to have possibly brought substantive, positive change to the nation...
97-Year Old Loses Right to Vote in KS for Lack of Photo ID
Kansas Sec. of State and long-time Republican 'voter fraud' fraudster Kris Kobach wins another one, as senior citizens turned away without voting on Primary Election Day...
'Green News Report' 8/14/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Historic storms, floods from NE to MI to NY, as CA breaks more heat records; China dumping coal, breaking solar records; PLUS: Jimmy Carter slams climate-denying 'nutcases'...
Previous GNRs: 8/12/14 - 8/5/14 - Archives...
News Summer from Hell Continues:
KPFK 'BradCast'
Peace activist and author David Swanson joins Brad to explain why using military force in Iraq, even to stop a genocide, is a terrible idea. PLUS: Much more...
Journalists Now Being Arrested in Ferguson
Reporters pulled out of a McDonald's by militarized police while covering protests of police killing of Michael Brown. Freedom-fighting 'Tea Party' 'patriots' still AWOL...
'Green News Report' 8/12/14
Is weather now more extreme?; ExxonMobil begins drilling with Russia in the Arctic; Methane rising; PLUS: U.S. underestimated Keystone XL emissions...
CA Supremes Nix Corporate Personhood 'Advisory Measure' from 2014 Ballot
Prop 49, a CA ballot initiative calling on Congress to amend the Constitution, will not be allowed on this year's ballot after all...
SIEGELMAN JUDGE ARRESTED FOR BATTERY
Controversial Republican federal judge Mark Fuller charged with beating wife; Daughter of AL's former, now-jailed Governor calls news 'shocking', 'karma'...
Keystone XL Emissions Vastly Underestimated by State Dept.: New Report
Independent study finds carbon pollution may increase four times the amount previously predicted by U.S....
1 BILLION Votes, 31 POSSIBLE Cases of Fraud
Law professor and voting rights expert reveals startling new numbers underscoring the massive, years long GOP polling place Photo ID restriction scam...
GOP Rep Decries 'Disgusting, Despicable Smear Campaign' After Primary Election
In his victory speech, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) lashed out at his U.S. Chamber-backed Republican opponents...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Ohio's Former U.S. Congressman, Author of Help America Vote Act, Loses Voting Privileges as Felon, Keeps $29,000 Annual Congressional Pension...
By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2007 9:55am PT  

It's now just over a year to the day since we first described the now-disgraced and now-former Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH) as the "Soon-to-be-Indicted Bob Ney" in our exposé connecting the dots between him, his former Chief of Staff turned Diebold's top lobbyist on Capitol Hill, David DiStefano, Jack Abramoff's Greenburg Traurig firm and the whole Help America Vote Act (HAVA) sham which Ney pushed through Congress via his crooked chairmanship of the U.S. House Administration Committee.

Back then, few had heard of him. But today, Ney was convicted and sentenced to 30 months in the federal pen after pleading guilty to "illegally accepting trips, meals, drinks, tickets to concerts and sporting events and other items worth tens of thousands of dollars in return for official acts performed for lobbyist Abramoff and his clients."

Ney's long-overdue trip up the river comes despite defense pleas for mercy and sentencing to rehab in light of their claims that it was the evil bottle that dunnit. As ever, Ney continues to avoid taking responsibility. Happily, the judge didn't buy it. Oh, well. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

As a felon, Ney will no longer be able to vote in the state of Ohio, even as America will be stuck with his disastrous and cynical HAVA legislation for years. And despite House Democrats' plans to remove pensions for convicted members, apparently the action will not be retroactive. So Ney will get to retain his $29,000 annual pension from the House. Forever. Nice work if you can get it.

Anyway, another one bites the dust. Now, about the soon-to-be-indicted George W. Bush...

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Take-No-Prisoners Email by New Presidential Campaign Chief Highly Critical of Bush, Congressional Democrats
Ad to be Placed in 'Roll Call', Supporters Asked to Sign Petition Demanding Congress Cut Off Funding for New War Plan
By Brad Friedman on 1/17/2007 5:11pm PT  

In a harshly worded fund raising letter sent to members of John Edwards's 2008 presidential campaign e-mail list late this afternoon, his new Campaign Manager, former Congressman David Bonior (D-MI), holds little back in his sharp criticism of both George W. Bush and Democratic members of Congress for their Iraq War policies and politics. (Email posted in full at end of this article.)

The email --- with the eye-popping, if impolitic, subject line "Total Bull" --- first takes aim at Bush's recent pronouncements, as reported by U.S. News and World Report and elsewhere after Bush's appearance on CBS' 60 Minutes last Sunday, "that Congress does not have the power to stop his proposed escalation of the war in Iraq."

"That's bull," Bonior writes before going on in the email to criticize his former Democratic colleagues in Congress, taking them to task for their failure to "step up to the plate and use their power to stop the president from escalating the war."

"I can assure you that Congress does have the power to stop this escalation," says the 26-year former Congressman.

"Some [in Congress] are calling for symbolic statements that do nothing to stop the escalation," he writes. "If you hear a member of Congress say 'non-binding resolution,' then you're really hearing them say 'pass the buck.'"

"And some members of Congress are waiting for --- well, we don't know what they're waiting for."

Citing Edwards's position "calling on Congress to stand up and take responsibility by using its power to prevent this war from getting any worse," Bonior goes on to announce the campaign's plan to run a full page ad in Roll Call, with a petition against the escalation and the "tens of thousands" of signatures from supporters who've signed it. The e-mail asks supporters to contribute money as well towards purchase of the ad.

Edwards's short petition, which can be signed here, calls on Congress to block funding for Bush's escalation plan. It reads in full:

I am opposed to President Bush's plan to send additional troops to Iraq. Congress must act now to block funding of Bush's escalation of the war — and demand that the President provide a plan to leave Iraq.

LATE RELATED-ISH UPDATE: First Zogby poll out of Iowa shows Edwards leading the Dem pack with 27%. Far ahead of "second tier dog-fight" between Obama, Hillary, and home state Gov. Vilsack. No big surprises on the Republican side with McCain and Giuliani duking it out, though Newt coming in an eyebrow-raisingly close third place. (Thanks reader TC for the tip.)

The e-mail sent to supporters via the JohnEdwards.com mailing list follows in full below...

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

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LAURA BUSH FLASHBACK: 'Dr. Rice Not Interested in Presidency Because She's Single, No Parents Living, is Only Child'
PLUS: Nora Ephron's 'Condi Diaries'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/15/2007 3:51pm PT  


Finally! A media outlet which appropriately covered the news from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing last week in which Rice claimed the White House made no estimates for the potential change in casualty rates that may come from their plan to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq.

Over the weekend The McClaughlin Group focused on --- and showed the video of --- the actual newsworthy exchange between Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rice, if you can imagine such a thing.

If you can't, that video is here for you on the right. (Hat-tip Alan Breslauer)

Yes, the Washington Times' Tony Blankley tried mightily to turn the topic to the phony, non-existent "attack" that the White House, and their sycophants in the media from the wingnut blogs all the way over to the NYTimes fell for, but he was fairly well shut down by both Eleanor Clift and Pat Buchanan. But given Wash Times' extraordinarily and purposely twisted "reporting" we saw over the weekend ("Democrats" suggested "the secretary's childlessness, race and sex are to blame for mistakes in Iraq," distorted the White House Organ and Tony Snow's old stomping ground), we're not surprised at Blankley's attempts to do the WH's bidding.

It's only a shame that Lawrence O'Donnell wasn't sitting in with 'The Group' this week.

Yes, O'Reilly keeps up the disingenuous (or uninformed, take your pick) attacks as he was on all morning about Boxer's non-existent "attack" on Rice, as if any such attack actually occurred, on his Radio Factor. Hey, Bill: You can read the transcript of the exchange here, or you can look at the actual video above. Or you can continue to misinform your listeners and viewers. Either way, I continue to make myself available to you if you wish to interview me on the matter, as I'm the guy who originally wrote the question that Boxer asked.

Beyond that, perhaps the tide is turning as folks are beginning to see this whole shameless phony Rightwing twist/smear for what it really is. Nora Ephron over at HuffPo, after pointing out apparently-not-"outrageous"-at-all comments made Laura Bush about Condi before year's end --- "Dr. Rice, who I think would be a really good candidate, is not interested. Probably because she is single, her parents are no longer living, she's an only child. You need a very supportive family and supportive friends to have this job." --- goes on to give us a peek at "Condi's Diary."

By way of necessary reminder, here's the way Boxer actually prefaced her question about WH casualty estimates (or the apparent lack thereof):

BOXER: Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families. And I just want to bring us back to that fact.

As you see, she said nothing about Rice not having the moral authority to make such choices, didn't attack her childlessness or her singleness or her sex or her race or anything at all, as has been wildly, widely, and wholly inaccurately "reported" by Wash Times, O'Reilly, Snow and friends...

A sample from "Condi's Diary" by Nephron follows below. The full, informative piece of satire is here...

I felt so dumb, Dear Diary. It turned out she had really insulted me, but I was so busy wrinkling my forehead I hadn't really clocked it. She'd been asking me about the war, and she'd said to me: "The issue is who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families."

Karl and Tony said: "How does that make you feel? Doesn't it make you feel terrible?"

"Not as terrible as Chuck Hagel made me feel," I said. "Chuck Hagel actually insulted our policy! He insulted The P.!"

"Never mind that," Karl Rove said. "Barbara Boxer insulted you."

PREVIOUS RELATED BRAD BLOG ARTICLES:

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The White House Organ Faced Stiff Competition, But Managed to Produce the Most Disingenuous, Inaccurate, U.S. Troop-Hating 'News Report' of the Week
Tony Snow to Present 'Award Statuette' in Appreciation During Secret Rose Garden Ceremony...
By Brad Friedman on 1/14/2007 12:56pm PT  

Since it should have always been front and center --- but even the New York Times succeeded in fellating the White House by ignoring the news this week --- here is that news once again:

* * * The White House failed to make any casualty estimates before committing another 20,000+ U.S. troops to War in Iraq, according to the Secretary of State. * * * (transcript)

The news, which The BRAD BLOG covered almost exclusively, came in reply to a direct question from Sen. Barbara Boxer during last Thursday's oversight hearings on Iraq Policy when Condoleezza Rice came to Capitol Hill to argue in favor of the White House's new escalation plan.

But as Boxer's critical direct question evoked Condi's stunning answer --- which, if true, reveals a remarkable delinquency and breathtaking lack of support for U.S. troops by this White House --- was subsequently all but ignored by the media both on the Right and the supposedly not-on-the-Right. After White House spokeshole/MVP Tony Snow gave his cue to attack the messenger to avoid the message, all of his media tools lined up behind him and performed admirably in the service of disserving America.

But among fierce competition this week, the Biggest Tool of the Week Award must be given to one of the White House's very own publications, The Washington Times.

In "reporting" on this statement made by Boxer during the exchange with Rice on Thursday...

BOXER: Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families. And I just want to bring us back to that fact.

...The Washington Times' and their "reporter" Charles Hurt topped the rest of the wingnut and non-wingnut media by turning it into the following remarkable opening graf from their front page propaganda piece on the phony, White House created "outrage" by Saturday...

The White House and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday accused Democrats of suggesting that the secretary's childlessness, race and sex are to blame for mistakes in Iraq.

Wow! Now that's some impressive work! Give that Tony Snow a raise!

All the other men and women in America who helped him --- for free --- give them a one-way ticket to Gitmo, since clearly they hate both America and the troops attempting to defend her.

Remind us again why Impeachment is "off the table"? Is it because Tony Snow says so? If so, we understand completely. We hope he'll let us know when it's okay to proceed.

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The Once-Great Paper Misrepresents the Facts, Quotes Only Rightwingers and Misrepresents Some of them to Suggest They are 'Liberal'
PLUS: An Invitation to Bill O'Reilly...
By Brad Friedman on 1/13/2007 3:21pm PT  

The New York Times today joins the White House, the disingenuous Rightwing media and blogs, and even several unnamed supposed non-Rightwingers in purposely misconstruing Sen. Barbara Boxer's question to Condi Rice at last Thursday's Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Bush's new policy to escalate troop commitment in Iraq.

I reported on the controversy over the phony Boxer/Rice brouhaha yesterday here, after originally calling on a Congress member to ask the very question that Boxer asked (and which the Times ignored) last Sunday and again after Bush's speech on Wednesday night in the face of his supporting, yet callous, comments on the new policy that "we must expect more Iraqi and American casualties."

If the way in which the Times twisted the facts of the event was unintentional, the only alternative then is that the reporters who covered it, Helene Cooper and Thom Shanker, and the editors who allowed the article to go through, are utterly incapable of even the simplest intelligent analysis of a critical and relevant news event and, frankly, shouldn't be working for a paper as still-important to this country as the New York Times.

Picking up on the phony controversy over the prelude to Boxer's question of whether the White House had "an estimate of the number of casualties we expect from this surge?" --- the stunning answer from the Secretary of State, if she's to be believed, is that no, they did not --- the Times joined Fox "News" and NYPost and the other wingnut outlets in both twisting Boxer's comments and forwarding the unsupported notion that there was some sort of personal slur built into them.

The Times quotes Boxer's "offending" phrase --- one that even Rice admits not being offended at, until after the White House Press Secretary, Tony Snow, suggested the comments were "outrageous" later on --- as follows:

During the Thursday hearing, Ms. Boxer told Ms. Rice: "You’re not going to pay any particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family."

Wow! The height of personal rudeness! Boxer really smacked down Rice for not being married and having no children! A comment which several suddenly-"feminist" Rightwing outlets characterized as "One Great Leap (Backwards) for Womankind!" just after Snow coincidentally called it a "great leap backward for feminism" in his official response.

Problem is, the way the Times characterized the "controversy" in the graf reposted above leaves out the rest of Boxer's comment and thus takes it completely out of context. Here's what she actually said in the lead-up to her important all-but-ignored question and response from Rice:

BOXER: Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families. And I just want to bring us back to that fact.

Even Rice admitted in her comments to the Times that "It didn't actually dawn on me that she was saying, 'you don’t have children who can go to war'."

Of course it didn't actually "dawn on" you, Ms. Rice. Because it didn't actually happen that way.

At least until Tony Snow took the opportunity to brilliantly turn the focus away from both Rice's answer revealing that the White House hadn't bothered to measure the cost in increased deaths to U.S. troops before announcing their new policy ("Senator, I don't think that any of us, uh, have a number. That, of expected casualties.") and from the fact that both Republicans and Democrats alike on the Senate committee were highly critical of the White House escalation plan for the Iraq War.

Snow's comments, of course, were the marching orders to the various Rightwing outlets who were all too happy to twist Boxer's comments in the very same way. They all "reported" the exchange in the same phony context the following day (as I previously described here.)

While attacking the messenger to completely distract from the message is a time-honored and well-expected tactic from this White House and their sycophantic supporters, it continues to be distressing to see the once-great "Paper of Record" irresponsibly pick up that ball and run in the same disingenuous direction. Who needs Judith Miller?

To make matters worse, not only did the Times manage to only quote the mangled "analysis" of "Conservative" blogs and commentators in their coverage of the exchange, they even misrepresented a group which, at the first blush of the Times description of them, would seem indicate that they would have been an ally of Boxer's.

Appearing to defect from support of the Democratic Senator is a group called Project 21. The Times characterized the statement of a member of the group this way...

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

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Rightwing Outlets Smear Senator Who Asked Question, Ignore Stunning Newsworthiness of Answer
Iraq Vet Source Dubious About Secretary of State's Admission that Military Lacks Body County Estimates...
By Brad Friedman on 1/12/2007 1:57pm PT  

Well, it looks like we've got our answer. The White House didn't bother to even come up with a casualty estimate for their new escalation plan in Iraq. So much for "supporting the troops." At least if Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice is to be believed.

We've been asking since last Sunday --- and then again just after Bush's Wednesday night speech when he said, "We must expect more Iraqi and American casualties" --- what the White House's estimates are for the increased (or decreased) body count that we can expect vis-a-vis his new plan for a troop "augmentation" (nee "surge") in Iraq.

Surely due diligence when creating such a plan requires such estimates be made by the military for the cost expected in blood for our U.S. troops before such a plan is actually implemented.

Well, finally, the question has been asked of the White House, or at least of Rice, during yesterday's Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the planned escalation.

If Rice is to be believed, the White House has made no such estimate.

When asked directly by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), "Do you have an estimate of the number of casualties we expect from this surge?", Rice's answer came back as: "No, uh, Senator...I don't think there's any way to give you such an estimate."

Boxer's question came after a morning of tough questions and statements for Rice --- from both Republicans and Democrats --- and after the Senator's own statement in which she discussed the fact that "we are alone in this escalation of troops." She was referring to the point that no other countries among our allies in Iraq would be increasing their own troop strength. In fact, the British have announced they will be decreasing troops in the region over the next few months.

(The entire hearing can be seen via Real Video from C-SPAN here. Boxer's questioning of Rice comes at appx. the 1:47:00 mark.)

And while one would think the admission that the White House has announced a plan to send more than 20,000 U.S. troops into harm's way without first measuring the cost in blood expected by such an increase to be rather newsworthy, rightwing pundits from outlets such as Fox "News" and the New York Post have taken the opportunity to criticize Boxer for the way in which she framed the question instead. In the bargain, they've virtually ignored both the question itself, Rice's answer, and the apparent stunning delinquency of the White House if Rice is to be believed.

Jon Soltz, an Iraq War vet who is co-founder and chairman of VoteVets.org, tells The BRAD BLOG he's dubious of Rice's statement.

"The Pentagon knows how many casualties they estimate for any of the actions the additional troops will be taking part of. It’s basic war planning," Solz told us this morning. "Depending on what happens, that number could go up or go down, but they know what they expect."

Soltz joins our call for the public release of such an estimate from the Pentagon or White House --- if it in fact exists --- given the new policy comes in the wake of previous policy errors and underestimates.

"Normally, the military shouldn’t have to release those estimates, but given that the administration is asking more troops to pay for its mistakes, they should be up front about how many they believe are going to make the ultimate sacrifice," he explained.

Solz has been critical of Bush's planned escalation, and was the only Iraq War veteran invited to speak at a recent Senate Leadership press conference in response to the new plan.

...ATTACKING THE MESSENGER...

As reported by RAW STORY this morning --- the New York Post, while ignoring Rice's news and choosing instead to focus on Boxer having pointed out that neither she nor Rice had children who would directly pay the price for the planned increase in troops sent to Iraq, characterized the question as a "slur" to Rice.

"IT'S WAR: Dem Childless Condi Slur," screamed their front page this morning. Their friends and corporate partners over at Fox "News" were all too happy to pick up that ball and run with it as usual. Their front page screamer: "Boxer's Sucker Punch: Calif. senator lashes out at Rice's personal life."

Over at Fox "News" however, not only did their website manage to avoid discussion of Rice's stunning admission, their FOX & Friends morning crew spent much of the day not just attacking Boxer for the way she framed the question, but they unquestioningly parroted Rice's answer --- "I don't think that any of us, uh, have a number. That, of expected casualties." --- to the Senator...

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

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Begins Iraq Escalation Before Speech, Approval From Congress, in Wake of Opposition from Dems and Republicans Alike...
POST-SPEECH UPDATE: No Estimate Given for Change in Casualties in New Plan. Surprised?
By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2007 4:18pm PT  

Does this guy despise democracy or what?

ABC News has learned that the "surge" Bush is expected to announce in a prime time speech tonight has already begun. Ninety advance troops from the 82nd Airborne Division arrived in Baghdad today.

An additional battalion of roughly 800 troops from the same division are expected to arrive in Baghdad Thursday.

Unbelievable.

(Feel free to use this item as an Open Thread for tonight's speech, as I may not be able to blog it...but we'll see. RAW STORY has the complete text of the speech. Will leave this on top for now.)

POST-SPEECH UPDATE:

BUSH: "[W]e must expect more Iraqi and American casualties."

And so we ask again, as we did on Sunday: How many more casualties are expected due to Bush's escalation of the War?

The White House/Pentagon undoubtedly have made estimates in the course of their planning, right? If so, what are the numbers? How much of our blood (Barb's and Jenna's not included) is Bush willing to spend on the gamble which nobody but he, McCain, Lieberman, and possibly Barney (though I doubt it) are in favor of? The People and the Congress have the right to know. They need to demand it.

If no such estimate of a surge or fall in the body count has been made while considering this plan, the White House has been impeachably delinquent. So, is any Congress member or media type out there, other than me, going to ask that question?

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Fantastic Quotes Abound At Today's Ethics Reform News Conference
By Alan Breslauer on 1/8/2007 12:45pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer




This is a beautiful thing! Democratic Senators hit Republicans hard for their six year ethical lapse during today's ethics reform news conference. While it's too early to get excited about anything yet, especially with Iraq looming large, even the prospect of a government for the people is exciting. Plus, my smile made an appearance for the first time in recent memory.

The video (8:44) starts with Harry Reid (D-Nevada) laying out some of the key points of the proposed legislation followed by Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin), Barack Obama (D-Illinois), Claire McCaskill (D- Missouri), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) who kills, Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Benjamin Cardin (D-Maryland) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). Magical.

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Congress Must Demand to Know the White House's Estimated Body Count for Bush's Double-Down Scheme in Iraq...
By Brad Friedman on 1/7/2007 11:54pm PT  

All of the Sunday news shows today were abuzz with talk of Bush's reported troop "surge" plan for Iraq.

The general theme was that, as Commander-in-Chief, Bush could do whatever he wanted in regard to troop levels and the only thing Congress could do about it was to use their control of the purse strings by voting to stop funding the war. In other words, they could take what increasingly appears to be the White House dare.

Never mind that briar patch --- and the fact that Congress could instead gracefully vote to end funding for the war as of a date fixed long into the future. For example, no more funding as of next year. In that way, there would be plenty of time to begin a withdrawal, and the Dems wouldn't end up falling into the Bush dead-enders' disingenuous trap, set to show the Democrats as hoping to see our poor troops stranded in a foreign country with no food, water, bullets, or way to get home.

But aside from cutting off funding for the war, now or in the future, there is another option for the moment in answer to Bush's predicted call for a "surge"; demand that the White House release their estimates of the number of casualties we will incur during such a "surge."

Now, I'm no military expert (and I'd be delighted to hear, via comments or email, from anyone who is and can speak to this issue), but it seems to me that any plan to increase troop strength would come with some sort of general estimate from the Pentagon as to the cost in increased, or decreased, causalities for our troops.

Congress must call on the White House to go on record with that estimate!

If there is estimated to be an increase in casualties, okay, let's hear it. The country needs to know exactly how much blood of other people's children that Bush is willing to throw down in his Hail-Mary gamble for "victory."

If there is estimated to be a decrease, fine, let's hear it. At least there will now be a paper trail metric of what the official predictions for such things were. If Bush ends up moving ahead with his double-down plan, we'll be able to clearly judge his Administration's "success" against that metric in the future if the "surge" happens despite all other efforts --- and reason --- to keep it from happening.

Finally, if no such estimate has been made by the White House (or, more aptly, the Pentagon, presumably) in planning for such a radical change in policy, then the Administration would simply be seen as wholly delinquent in their duties. That alone should be enough for Congress to be able to roundly vote in favor of a resolution condemning the plan. In the bargain, it will help make the case to the American people, loudly and clearly --- as if it has not been made already --- that this Administration has no damned business running the foreign policy of this country while using the men and women of our armed forces as chess pieces in their desperate attempt to save their own disastrous political and historical legacy.

Your thoughts?

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'Peace Mom' Cindy Sheehan, Code Pink, and Others Drown Out Democrats Press Op on Ethics Reform
UPDATE: Dems Gave Up, Sheehan Took Over Microphone, Vowed to be Around All Week...
By Brad Friedman on 1/3/2007 6:27pm PT  

Poor Rahm and the Democrats. They've not even been sworn into the Majority yet, and they're already having their feet held to the fire.

We suspect this won't be the last time. Particularly if the Dems decide to play it safe instead of taking seriously the clear mandate for accountability they received at the polls last November.

Gold Star mom Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son Casey in Iraq, joined other protesters on Capitol Hill today to lobby Congress Members for a swift end to the War in Iraq. They interrupted a Democratic press conference today, held to announce ethics reform packages, with chants of "De-escalate! Investigate! Troops Home Now!" Rahm never stood a chance.

Of course, he might have seen it coming. This was on the Gold Star Families for Peace website today:

Walk the halls of Congress with Gold Star Families for Peace. Lets let the 110th congress know what is expected of them from Day 1. We will be insisting that an immediate exit strategy from Iraq be implemented. We will insist that all funding for the War stop and the money spent on rebuilding Iraq. We will be insisting that hearings begin immediately into Bushco's crimes against humanity and the lies told to the American people. We will demand IMPEACHMENT.

Fox "News" deemed to tell the story. David Edwards, over at RAW STORY, covers it along with the video.

UPDATE: New York Times blogged the incident tonight, and if you care to put any stock in those dreaded "bloggers," they described the pathetic reaction of Emanuel and the other Dems this way...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 12/31/2006 4:46pm PT  

It was only June of this year when Tony Snow blithely commented on behalf of the White House, upon the news that the 2500th American troop had been killed in Iraq, "It’s a number."

There is a certain warped and tragic sense of unavoidable poesy in the announced death of the 3000th fallen U.S. troop coming, as it does, today --the last day of 2006. Yet I can't help but be reminded that as awful as that "number" is, it comes nowhere near expressing the full pain, suffering, horror, mutilation, and unbearably high cost to humanity that this administration --- and their supporters --- have wrought on this world via their tragic arrogance and folly.

The 3000 "number" includes only American troops killed in Iraq. It doesn't include the number of those, thousands over, who have been injured for lifetime. It doesn't include American contractors who have also been killed. It doesn't include Americans killed in Afghanistan. Neither does it include the troops and citizens from other countries who --- for reasons good or bad --- were deployed to the region after having bought into the mercilessly cruel confidence game that these Administration cretins --- and their supporters --- have perpetrated on the people of this planet. Most disturbingly, however, the "number" 3000 doesn't even begin to include the uncountable --- and mostly uncounted --- hundreds of thousands of citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan who were born with the unfortunate trait of having being born where they were born, only to end up in the deadly literal crossfire ordered by people who neither know them nor give a damn about them.

"River" at Baghdad Burning, one of the citizens born with that unfortunate trait, has been chronicling the misery of such citizens from Iraq for the past three years when the power is on, and she is able to access an Internet computer and she has the stomach to share her pain with the rest of the world. She now shares the same sense, expressed by the White House via Snow, that these landmark statistics "simply represent numbers." The irony would likely be lost on this White House.

A few days ago, "River" reminded us once again of the real cost of this sham war. And as cold-hearted as her thoughts may seem, they are yet another wake up call. Yet another one most likely to be ignored by the desperate fanatics whose simple-minded sense of self-importance has left the rest of the world --- likely for generations --- with the burden of cleaning up behind their crushing cruelty, unforgivable arrogance, and indescribable incompetence.

I believe "River" offers a glimpse of what we all will be forced to come to cold, hard grips with in the year --- and years --- ahead...


Here we come to the end of 2006 and I am sad. Not simply sad for the state of the country, but for the state of our humanity, as Iraqis. We've all lost some of the compassion and civility that I felt made us special four years ago. I take myself as an example. Nearly four years ago, I cringed every time I heard about the death of an American soldier. They were occupiers, but they were humans also and the knowledge that they were being killed in my country gave me sleepless nights. Never mind they crossed oceans to attack the country, I actually felt for them.

Had I not chronicled those feelings of agitation in this very blog, I wouldn't believe them now. Today, they simply represent numbers. 3000 Americans dead over nearly four years? Really? That's the number of dead Iraqis in less than a month. The Americans had families? Too bad. So do we. So do the corpses in the streets and the ones waiting for identification in the morgue.

Is the American soldier that died today in Anbar more important than a cousin I have who was shot last month on the night of his engagement to a woman he's wanted to marry for the last six years? I don't think so.

Just because Americans die in smaller numbers, it doesn't make them more significant, does it?

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With Wise Words from Josh Marshall and Joseph Cannon...
As Bush Sleeps Through His Legacy...
By Brad Friedman on 12/30/2006 2:51pm PT  

We had a few thoughts late last night on Saddam's execution. Today we have a few more, as Josh Marshall reminds us why he's likely both the best blogger and best writer in the business...

This whole endeavor, from the very start, has been about taking tawdry, cheap acts and dressing them up in a papier-mache grandeur --- phony victory celebrations, ersatz democratization, reconstruction headed up by toadies, con artists and grifters. And this is no different. Hanging Saddam is easy. It's a job, for once, that these folks can actually see through to completion. So this execution, ironically and pathetically, becomes a stand-in for the failures, incompetence and general betrayal of country on every other front that President Bush has brought us.
...
The Iraq War has been many things, but for its prime promoters and cheerleaders and now-dwindling body of defenders, the war and all its ideological and literary trappings have always been an exercise in moral-historical dress-up for a crew of folks whose times aren't grand enough to live up to their own self-regard and whose imaginations are great enough to make up the difference. This is just more play-acting.

These jokers are being dragged kicking and screaming to the realization that the whole thing's a mess and that they're going to be remembered for it --- defined by it --- for decades and centuries. But before we go, we can hang Saddam. Quite a bit of this was about the president's issues with his dad and the hang-ups he had about finishing Saddam off --- so before we go, we can hang the guy as some big cosmic 'So There!'
...
This is what we're reduced to, what the president has reduced us to. This is the best we can do. Hang Saddam Hussein because there's nothing else this president can get right.

What do you figure this farce will look like 10, 30, or 50 years down the road? A signal of American power or weakness?

Hat-tip for the pointer to the above to Joseph Cannon, who aptly adds:

The war had many motives, all of them bad. Among them was the determination of a churchmouse to play Churchill.

And while we're hat-tipping to the much beloved Cannon, we'll point to his brief, yet enlightening summary today of how the United States handcrafted its own, ultimately self-defeating, legacy named Saddam Hussein.

Of course, most of those who have spent the last 6 years mindlessly salivating to the sound of their master's voice will be unlikely to take the time to read it. Lest they take notice of anything to upset their creepy and cultish devotion to the notion of an infallible America. But the rest of us, with intellectual curiosity and honesty intact, can at least learn a thing or two about this whole nightmare having been the work of the self-same criminal crew who --- as the last of their "papier-mache grandeur" flakes away, for now --- cling pathetically to today's barbaric murder of Saddam as some sort of "victory."

Sadly --- and shamefully --- it is anything but.

I don't know whether it's apocryphal or not, but it's been said that criminals, after their arrest, tend to fall asleep in their holding cell, while the innocent stay awake, yelling and screaming in protest.

This from RAW STORY's coverage of today's hanging of Saddam Hussein...

Spokesman Scott Stanzel said the president was told of the impending hanging Friday afternoon and went to bed shortly before it took place, with instructions not to be woken up.
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'Revenge Accomplished' as Osama Still Runs Free, Uncountable Thousands Lie Dead in Bush's Path of Mass Destruction
Little to Change for American Troops in Harm's Way, According to Vet Group...
By Brad Friedman on 12/29/2006 5:21pm PT  

"The Americans want him to be hanged respectfully," one of Hussein's attorneys points out, according to AP, apparently without even a hint of irony.

The oxymoron aside, for our part we don't have much to say about all of this, other than how brutally disgusting it is, how Osama still runs free, how well more than the number of Americans killed on 9/11 have now been killed in Bush's appalling revenge plot on behalf of his father, and how neither Americans in general, nor certainly the troops on the ground, are any safer due to Bush's appalling failure as a U.S. "President."

Iraq War veteran Jon Soltz, co-founder of VoteVets.org, an advocacy group representing vets of both the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, issued this statement earlier today:

"There can be no doubt that the execution of Saddam Hussein is justice for the Iraqis who died at his hands. For Americans, and our troops in Iraq, though, his execution means very little, ultimately. There is still a fierce insurgency in Iraq. Our men and women will continue to die every day in a war that has no direction or plan. For our troops in Iraq, when the sun rises tomorrow on a world without Saddam, it will look and feel no different than the day before."

For George W. Bush, however, who lives in the safe confines of his well protected mobile bunker, his presiding over this barbaric ending to the life of a barbaric man is ultimately just another shameful chapter in an already tragic-beyond-description tale.

Congratulations and Happy New Year, Mr. Bush. You got your man.

UPDATE 7:50pm PT: The deed is done. Good luck washing all of that blood off your hands, Mr. Bush. Only you could turn a despicable man like Hussein into a martyr. By year's end, in a few hours, the 3000 mark may be passed for dead U.S. troops in your war. Though, as Baghdad Burning points out so movingly today, 3000 Iraqis are lost in an average month. So I guess it's no biggie. You've had quite the reign, sir.

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(Heckuva Job, Dubya)
By Brad Friedman on 12/25/2006 11:29pm PT  

Merry frickin' Christmas.

From AP. December 25, 11:51pm ET.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - The U.S. military death toll in Iraq has reached 2,974, one more than the number of deaths in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, according to an Associated Press count on Tuesday.

The U.S. military announced the deaths of two soldiers in a bomb explosion southwest of Baghdad on Monday. The deaths raised the number of troops killed to 2,974 since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003.

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By Brad Friedman on 12/20/2006 11:50pm PT  

BRAD BLOG readers know that we take no particular joy in even appearing to defend the corporate mainstream media. Nonetheless, the hateful rightwing loons that have taken over the majority of the discourse in this country have been so intolerably wrong on so many issues for so very long, it's nice to see one of them admit --- even tacitly --- that "conservatives" (as they call themselves) have been wrong in their idiotic attacks on MSM reporting. Particularly in regard to the War in Iraq.

So now, the Bush Administration, and the last of its dead-enders, have even lost National Review's Richard Lowry...

Most of the pessimistic warnings from the mainstream media have turned out to be right — that the initial invasion would be the easy part, that seeming turning points (the capture of Saddam, the elections, the killing of Zarqawi) were illusory, that the country was dissolving into a civil war.
...
The “good news” that conservatives have accused the media of not reporting has generally been pretty weak. The Iraqi elections were indeed major accomplishments. But the opening of schools and hospitals is not particularly newsworthy, at least not compared with American casualties and with sectarian attacks meant to bring Iraq down around everyone’s heads in a full-scale civil war.
...
In their distrust of the mainstream media, their defensiveness over President Bush and the war, and their understandable urge to buck up the nation’s will, many conservatives lost touch with reality on Iraq. They thought that they were contributing to our success, but they were only helping to forestall a cold look at conditions there and the change in strategy and tactics that would be dictated by it.

There's more, but you get the drift. A moment of intellectual honesty from Lowry. Though not nearly enough. Note his use of "they," not "we" or "I." And he can't help but take several idiotic, unsupported shots in the piece, lest he completely lose his readership base all together.

So it's not enough to earn himself a coveted, yet rarely bestowed, BRAD BLOG "Intellectually Honest Conservative Award." Either way, we hope for his sake that the waters are warm these days for the rats as they dive off the sinking ship.

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