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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, May 4, 2016
MO GOP State Sen. on His Bill to End Touch-Screen Voting: 'BradCast' 5/3/16
State Sen. Bob Onder (R) explains legislation to end 100% unverifiable elections in the Show-Me State and the opposition he faces...
'Green News Report' 5/3/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Ad wars: Clean energy v. fossil fuel indstry; CO kills local fracking bans; Big climate win for kids win WA court; Victories for lions, elephants; PLUS: Kenya's bonfire of the ivories...
Previous GNRs: 4/28/16 - 4/26/16 - Archives...
Lawyers, Guns, and Voting: 'BradCast' 5/2/16
Mass shootings continue; 2016 Presidential election cycle continues; Fight for and against voting rights continue; Obama's final mic drop WH Correspondents Dinner speech...
Sunday Toons of the Hellish Moment
Even Satan is unhappy with the 2016 Presidential Election cycle, as 'PDiddie' demonstrates in his latest collection of the week's best toons...
Sneaky SCOTUS, Sad Establishment, & What The World Says About Trump!: 'BradCast' 4/29/16
Guest hosts Danielle and Shane-o are joined by John Nichols of The Nation!...
AZ Primary Lawsuit Dismissed; 'Disappearing' Votes in DE?: 'BradCast' 4/28/16
Emily Levy on court ruling against Phoenix election complaint; DE State Election Commissioner on 4,000 'lost' Sanders votes...
'Green News Report' 4/28/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump goes nuclear over climate; CNN fossil fuel ads beat climate stories; VW docs reveal test fraud; Mitsubishi cheated fuel tests; PLUS: US city mandates solar for new buildings...
Previous GNRs: 4/26/16 - 4/21/16 - Archives...
Primary Landslides for Trump and Clinton and What's Next: 'BradCast' 4/27/16
Also: 'Serial child molester' Hastert sentenced; Encouraging green news; And listener calls...
Blowback in NC, Calls for Hand-Counts in NY:
'BradCast' 4/26/16
GOP operative turned gay rights activist Fred Karger on GOP anti-LGBT lawss; Why voters should support hand-count of NY Primary...
'Green News Report' 4/26/16
30 years after Chernobyl, efforts to contain it; Record signing of Paris Agreement; World Bank calls for global carbon price; PLUS: Solar plane halfway round world...
Cruz, Kasich Join Forces and Some News That Actually Matters: 'BradCast' 4/25/16
Amanda Marcotte on new GOP 'conspiracy'; Plus: Paris Agreement; Mass shooting weekend; Thinking big...
Sunday Toons of the Moment
An 'unplanned' Pulitzer winner and a whole bunch of other worthy toons from the past week, as collected by 'PDiddie'...
'Gyrocopter Guy' Loses Voting Rights Protesting Elections: 'BradCast' 4/22/16
Guest Doug Hughes will go to jail, has 'no regrets'; Also: Former felons re-enfranchised in VA; NY election official suspended for purge...
Time to Open Our Nomination System to All Voters?: 'BradCast' 4/21/16
John Opdycke on 'Open Primaries'; Also: Prince dead at 57; 'Outrage' over Tubman; Paper ballots return to MD...
'Green News Report' 4/21/16
Criminal charges in Flint; BP victims protest new leases; Mexican oil facility explosion kills 3; U.S. air pollution; PLUS: World leaders to sign Paris Agreement...
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...


GUEST: Author, journalist David Dayen of Salon, Fiscal Times
PLUS: Polls open, lines begin in WI; Polls open, ballots gone in St. Louis, MO; And MSNBC tells us why Sanders was slighted on air on eve of crucial primary...
By Brad Friedman on 4/5/2016 5:44pm PT  

On today's BradCast: All too predictable voting problems in the state of Wisconsin and in St. Louis, MO today; MSNBC responds to our request for comment on why Bernie Sanders received short shrift on Rachel Maddow's show last night, on the eve of the crucial Badger State primary; And we debunk wingnut nonsense concerning the minimum wage as $15/hour victories come to California, New York and elsewhere. [Link to audio for complete show below.]

First, while voters wait on line to try and obtain new Photo IDs so they can vote at all today under the GOP's new voting restrictions in WI, many St. Louis County voters showed up for local elections in MO, only to find no ballots at all to vote on. Then, we explain what happened last night on Maddow's show to suggest that Hillary Clinton was polling ahead of Sanders in WI by 6 points, when the vast majority of pre-election polls in the state suggest the exact opposite. MSNBC responds to our query late today, to tell us that the issue was due to a technical error later corrected for the Midnight re-run and online versions of her show. Full details on that in today's program.

Then, in the wake of bills signed into law this week by the Governors of both NY and CA to raise the minimum wage to $15, we speak to financial journalist David Dayen about the Right's feigned concern about job loss (but only when it comes to raising the Minimum Wage), as well as the real concerns about the increase, and activists have had an extraordinary impact on the entire conversation about the decades long wealth gap between the rich and everyone else in the U.S.

Dayen explains why the new law, in CA alone, as he also reported at Salon last week, is a very big deal: "1 in every 8 workers in America is a Californian. Under this proposal, over 33% of them are going to get a raise at some point along the way between now and 2022. And thereafter, because after 2022, the minimum wage gets tied to inflation, so it keeps going up."

"It's really a testament to the power of activism. Before the 'Fight For 15' inaugurated in 2012, nobody would have believed that you could get a $15 an hour living wage, minimum, in a state as big as California. So, really, hats off to the #FightFor15 workers, who really pushed this," he says, offering kudos at the same time to both the Occupy movement and the Sanders campaign. "All of this is rumbling forward and moving Democrats who control states like California and New York into places that they were uncomfortable to go previously. And that is a testament to how this issue of inequality has become the functional, primary issue in American politics today."

Dayen, author of the upcoming book, Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street's Great Foreclosure Fraud, also responds to the "hand-wringing on the part of economists and business leaders," when it comes to potential job loss in the wake of raised wages.

"We see all kinds of experiments" with the economy, he argues. "We see workers used as guinea pigs all the time by businesses" in all matter of schemes that may benefit those businesses, but not their workers. "These same economists are so worried about the fate of workers with this experiment with the minimum wage have never said a darn thing about all of these experiments that hurt workers --- that we knew were going to hurt workers at the time --- because it was literally about cutting their wages and getting rid of their benefits and putting them in hazardous workplaces. Spare me this rhetoric that you care about workers when you've sat by idly over 40 years as work has become more and more and more devalued."

But will raising the minimum wage, in fact, cost jobs? And, if so, does it even matter? Tune in for his answers to that and much more in a fascinating conversation on today's show --- one which you won't hear, for some reason, on Fox "News" or CNN...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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GUEST: VOA correspondent Steven L. Herman from Bangkok...
By Brad Friedman on 3/8/2016 5:49pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, while voters head to the polls again in several states, and as the media continue to misreport the race, at least on the Democratic side, we mark this week's 5-year anniversary since Japan's triple disasters of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown struck in March of 2011. [Link to the complete show's audio is below.]

I'm joined once again on today's show by Voice of America's Steven L. Herman from Bangkok. We spoke to Herman originally on the program five years ago, just after the initial disaster(s), when he was one of the first journalists to visit the Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant and the 50-mile "exclusion zone" around it, following the meltdown or near-meltdown of 4 of its 6 reactors and the mass evacuation of hundreds of thousands of nearby residents --- back when, as Japan's former Prime Minister now admits, the nation was just a "paper-thin margin" away from a total catastrophe.

"We were on the ground just 24 hours after the quake struck in Fukushima," Herman recalls today. "We got the last flight into Fukushima Prefecture and when we were boarding that flight, they were contemplating canceling [it] because of concerns about a possible meltdown of the nuclear power plant."

Herman, who was then VOA News' Northeast Asia bureau chief and is now in charge of its Bangkok bureau, recently visited Fukushima again and reports today on the continuing battle to control unstable nuclear material at the plant, the lack of a long term plan to dispose of toxic water and soil that continues to pile up (at as many as 115,000 makeshift locations around the Fukushima Prefecture!), as well as on the plight of many residents who lived near the plant and are still unable to return to their homes all of these years later, due to radiation levels.

"You have this cleanup effort that is going to last decades and cost hundreds of billions of dollars," Herman tells me. "Forty years is the official estimate, costs around $250 billion. But you talk to a lot of people who are experts in the field and they say that is a very optimistic figure, that it is going to take much longer and cost much more --- and the burden of this is being borne by the Japanese taxpayers."

"Nine million cubic meters of radioactive soil are being stored in these black bags throughout the prefecture. But there is a continuing buildup of more stored water. And one consultant I talked to, an American and former US diplomat, said Tokyo Electric Power [TEPCO] can't decide what to do with all of it, and they refuse to let any foreign experienced program management companies come and help them out with this."

There's far more important information in my detailed interview with Herman than I can possibly give justice to by sharing here in a short description, concerning the "paralysis" that both Japan and TEPCO seem to be facing in dealing with the crisis, the strained if co-dependent relationship between the two entities, the recent indictments of several top officials in charge of the plant at the time, the human toll of the cleanup both now and in the hours after the initial disaster, the restart of several other nuclear plants in the country, and the continuing concerns for the stability of the precariously crippled plant "if there were to be another huge earthquake, or a tsunami were to strike the facility again --- then you're talking about a situation of total chaos."

I think it's a must-listen interview, frankly. And it was a pleasure, if a chilling and disturbing one, to catch up with Herman, who is just a tremendous reporter, all of these years later. Please check it out in full below.

Also on today's program: More on the media misreporting of the race between Sanders and Clinton and the Democratic party's unpledged, so-called "SuperDelegates" (in this case, by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow) and, finally, some very good non-Bernie related news for voters in the great state of Vermont...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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GUESTS: Virginia S. Martin (D) and Jason J. Nastke (R), Columbia County Election Commissioners...
By Brad Friedman on 9/29/2015 6:01pm PT  

First on today's BradCast: Why Rush Limbaugh believes NASA has faked their discovery of flowing liquid water on Mars. Then, why MSNBC completely ignored Bernie Sanders on last night's Rachel Maddow Show.

Then, onto our interview with Virginia Martin and Jason Nastke, the Democratic and Republican Election Commissioners (respectively) of Columbia County, NY, where they refuse to certify results until every hand-marked paper ballot is publicly counted by hand after each election.

The two Commissioners joined me to respond to a recent Brennan Center study [PDF] warning that the nation's voting computers and tabulators are aging and failing and should be replaced as soon as possible with new computer systems. I agree with the first part of their findings, not so much with the second part, both of which we discussed in a recent BradCast with Lawrence Norden, co-author of that well-reported study.

Martin and Nastke don't seem to agree either, finding that hand-marked paper ballots, publicly hand-counted by human beings, remain the best way to assure that every voter's intent is accurately and transparently tallied.

"In reality, computing is maybe 50 years old," the Republican Nastke tells me on today's program. "We use paper ballots and paper is hundreds, if not thousands of years old. Historical documents continue to exist to this day. So, what we know is that when a voter votes on a paper ballot that there is an absolute way for the voter's intent to be determined, and properly counted."

"When New York State and the federal government mandated that we use optical scans instead, I started looking at those systems, and my question was, how do I know that that result is the right result?," says the Democrat Martin. "I'm not going to be able to see how the voting machines added up the votes. So I'm not going to know and I'm going to have to certify these results and I feel very uncomfortable doing that. So how can I know that the machine results are correct? Well, we have the paper ballots, let's count them."

"It's not a Republican or a Democrat issue," Nastke insists. "The issue is one of what's right. And what is right is that every vote is counted." Martin adds: "The fact is that I and Jason are both very, very confident in the results that we certify. And I must say that I think the voters in our county are similarly confident. The candidates whose votes --- for or against --- we are counting, are similarly confident. If we've got a candidate that lost by a few votes, and they've been here and they've watched the process, they are very confident that they did truly lose."

"It works very well because it's so bipartisan. For every Democrat who is doing something, a Republican is watching like a hawk," she says. "And it's very, very accurate. People are thrilled to see how the process works, to understand how it works, and to actually be a part of it and see what the result is."

Martin recently responded in comments here at The BRAD BLOG following my interview with Norden. She expands on some of those thoughts today, as both Commissioners explain why they --- and their respective political parties in the county --- have been able to buck national trends to agree on hand-counting ballots, rather than using unverifiable computer systems.

I ask them, among many other questions, why other counties in New York state have yet to adopt their system?; Whether they have found errors from the optical-scan computers which initially tally ballots at each precinct (as required by the state) before the hand-count takes place?; Whether they believe humans or computers are able to count ballots more accurately? (Norden had asserted that computers were more accurate during our conversation last week); Why they don't hand-count at the precinct, rather than back at County headquarters?; Could their system work in a much larger county or is hand-counting only for small jurisdictions?; And what happens in those instances when party observers don't agree on voter intent or a voter has left their intent unclear?

We first reported on Columbia County turning to 100% hand-counts back in 2012, but this is the first time either Martin or Nastke has joined me on the show! So it's great to have them! Here's a recent article on Columbia "becoming known for hand-counting votes" from one of their local papers. Look close and you'll see some films and books I've contributed to sitting in front of Martin in the paper's photo! :-)

Please listen to the full interview on today's show...

Download MP3 or listen to the complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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By Brad Friedman on 2/10/2015 1:01pm PT  

I'm on the road this week, but was able to carve out a minute or two upon learning that some in our trusted news media seem to have lied about the Iraq War! Can you believe it?!

As Jon Stewart declared on The Daily Show last night: "The media is on it! Now this may seem like overkill. But for me, no, it's not overkill. Because I am happy. Finally, someone is being held to account for misleading America about the Iraq War!"...

By the way, when MSNBC's Rachel Maddow produced her excellent Hubris: Selling the Iraq War documentary in 2013, to mark the tenth anniversary of our invasion, she cited the blatant and knowing lies that resulted in the war. While congratulating her on the fine work, we also took the time to document just some of the many lies told and/or facilitated by NBC and MSNBC themselves which helped lead us into that disaster in the first place...

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




By Brad Friedman on 1/29/2014 1:20pm PT  

It's become a bit of a cliche in the Obama era. Every year, when the President delivers his State of the Union address, someone in the Republican Congressional caucus makes an absolute jackass of him/herself. Let's call it the Rep. Joe Wilson "YOU LIE!" syndrome.

They just can't seem to help themselves in those grand moments in the bright lights during which they are finally forced to be in the same room with the actual reality of the person they've spent the bulk of the year deluding themselves --- with no small amount of help from Fox "News" and even the so-called legitimate news networks --- into believing to be an incompetent, dictatorial, fascistic, imperial-socialist evil genius. (I'll leave it to you to figure out how he can be all those things at once.)

We thought we had last night's winner of the Republican SOTU Jackass of the Year Award when Texas Rep. Randy Weber tweeted, before the speech even began...

Setting aside the impressive typos and incoherence, Rep. Weber's idiocy was clear enough. But, as it turns out, he was an amateur last night. There were at least two other elected officials in the GOP caucus vying for last night's (dis)honor, with one even willing to threaten a violent offense against a reporter on camera. But, in truth, it was the third who really represents the gravest threat to our democracy...

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




Was the state Democratic Senate Majority leader the real target of the political closure of the George Washington Bridge lanes?
And why doesn't the NJ Governor seem to want to know what really happened?...
By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2014 5:05am PT  

[This article now cross-published by Salon...]

Some very good investigative broadcast journalism from MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Thursday night.

On Thursday morning, New Jersey Governor and, until now, Republican Presidential favorite, Chris Christie gave a two-hour press conference (full transcript here) in which he expressed being "stunned" and "blindsided" Wednesday morning by the blockbuster revelations published that day by Shawn Boburg of the Bergen Record.

The paper's report included email and text messages [PDF] between Christie's Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly and a number of other top appointees conspiring to shut down lanes of the George Washington Bridge leading out of Fort Lee, NJ on the first day of school last September. The messages reveal the staffers appearing to enjoying the pain the shut down was causing the town, joking about the inconvenience to the local children of voters of Christie's gubernatorial opponent in last November's election, and otherwise agreeing not to respond to queries from town officials about the closures.

During the presser, Christie announced he had fired Kelly before it began. He said he had done so because she had previously assured him she knew nothing about the traffic closure that went on for four days in Fort Lee, turning the town into a parking lot and delaying emergency first-responders, among other problems it caused. "I've terminated her employment because she lied to me," he explained on Thursday.

What struck me as odd about his answer to questions about his staff's response to the firing was that he said he hadn't spoken with Kelly since the revelations came out in the paper on Wednesday morning, before she was then fired on Thursday.

"I'm wondering what your staff said to you about why they lied to you. Why would they do that? What was their explanation?," the reporter asked.

"I have --- I have not had any conversation with Bridget Kelly since the email came out," he answered. "And so she was not given the opportunity to explain to me why she lied because it was so obvious that she had. And I'm, quite frankly, not interested in the explanation at the moment."

Not interested in the explanation?...

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




By Brad Friedman on 8/7/2013 1:45pm PT  

I was watching a segment last night on Rachel Maddow's show with Desi Doyen, concerning the recent warnings issued to Americans and the evacuations at dozens of U.S. embassies and consulates in the Middle East and Northern Africa. The actions were taken due, we are told, to "chatter" detected by intelligence services of the possibility of attacks by al-Qaeda (and/or "associated forces") to American interests in the region.

Maddow framed the actions being taken by the U.S. government in the context of the infamous August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing memo --- "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US" --- ignored by George W. Bush just one month before the 9/11 attacks. Yesterday was the 12th anniversary of that memo.

In her conversation with NBC foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell, Maddow discussed the memory of that infamously ignored warning, and what effect it may have on the way the U.S. government now reacts to such detected threats. "In a post-9/11 world", the argument goes, President Obama and all future Presidents are likely to be very conscious of not underestimating such memos and "chatter," in the event that an attack does come about, for which they could later be held accountable for having ignored the "clear signs." (Not that George W. Bush or his administration was ever held accountable for such things, but that's a different matter.)

While watching the conversation about the dozens of closed diplomatic posts, I said to Desi, "I bet they're wildly over-reacting. It's not about post-9/11. It's about post-Benghazi."

In either an abundance or over-abundance of caution, U.S. embassies and consulates are being warned and shuttered and Americans are being air-lifted out of countries. It's not the memory of 9/11, at this point, that the government seems to be reacting to. It's as much the Republican reaction and/or over-reaction and/or political bludgeon made of the deaths of four U.S. personnel at our diplomatic outpost in Libya last year that seems to be leading to this reaction and/or over-reaction by the government.

Indeed, moments after I had uttered that thought to Desi, Mitchell said to Maddow: "I think, Rachel, that this is not just post-9/11, this is post-Benghazi."

The way our government now reacts to such events is not necessarily based on common sense, it seems to be as much based on fear. Not necessarily fear of being attacked, but fear of missing some important warning or another and then being held politically accountable for it later.

Since so much of this is kept secret --- except for stuff classified as "secret" and "top secret" that is routinely leaked by government officials who, unlike whistleblowers, are almost never held accountable for such leaks of classified information --- we are largely left to simply "trust" that the government is accurately portraying the threat, whether they are or not, and whether they are simply over-reacting out of caution and/or political ass-covering.

All of this, then, adds an interesting light to a curious story reported this week by Al-Jazeera English's Jason Leopold (formerly of Truthout) highlighting the government's seemingly bizarre claims that they have concerns that al-Qaeda may "attack the detention facilities at Guantanamo" or otherwise, somehow, "undermine security at the facility" if too much is known about what goes on there.

But that's not the most interesting aspect of the story...

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




With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 7/25/2013 4:03pm PT  


 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Another offshore drilling blowout in the Gulf; More tar sands oil spills in Alberta; Obama talks climate, clean energy and infrastructure; GOP just makes stuff up; Louisiana agency sues Big Oil over wetlands destruction; Young voters won't vote for climate change deniers; PLUS: Is the melting Arctic an "economic time bomb"? ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

Link:
Embed:

Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Winter is the new summer in Australia; The new climate activists; Palo Alto switches 100% renewable energy; Frackfinder mapping tool needs your help; Obama admin caves to industry on fracking rules; Feds halt mining in designated solar zones; Buffet says coal in permanent decline; WA approves oil train export terminal; Reports on the death of Peak Oil are greatly exaggerated ... PLUS: NASA Video: This is your country in 2100 ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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




Nomination of James Comey, described as a 'big, hairy deal' by Rachel Maddow in May, seemingly forgotten by her and colleagues
Controversial Bush-appointee otherwise set to head FBI for next decade...
By Brad Friedman on 7/12/2013 1:50pm PT  

I have been unable to find any evidence that even one single primetime program at cable news channel MSNBC --- which bills itself as "The Place for Politics" --- spent even one minute of coverage on this week's 3-hour oversight hearing in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee for President Barack Obama's nominee to be the next Director of the FBI.

The current Director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, was appointed by George W. Bush, and has served in that position since the week prior to 9/11/2001. During his tenure, there has been a vast, radical expansion of the use of torture, indefinite detention, and massive foreign and domestic surveillance by the U.S. Government. While the term for an FBI Director is ten years, Mueller has served almost twelve, following a two-year extension requested by Obama and authorized by the Senate --- which is responsible for advice, consent and confirmation of FBI Director nominees --- in 2011.

James Comey, Jr., who served as U.S. Deputy Attorney General during the George W. Bush administration, after having served as one of Bush's U.S. Attorneys, has been nominated by Obama to become the next Director of the FBI. He will, in theory, serve ten years if confirmed by the U.S. Senate and will be the first FBI Director appointed after 9/11.

According to the FBI's website, the Director oversees "56 field offices located in major cities throughout the U.S., approximately 380 smaller...resident agencies in cities and towns across the nation, and more than 60 international offices called 'legal attachés' in U.S. embassies worldwide." The Bureau employees almost 36,000 people and has an annual budget of just over $8 billion.

Even without the ongoing national (and international) debates about the U.S. use of torture, indefinite detention and its massive worldwide and domestic surveillance policies in the wake of disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, it seems the oversight hearings for any new FBI Director, which, in this case, would be only the 7th in its history, would be newsworthy.

Given the importance of the role and the enormity of the appointment, especially at this moment in history, the fact that the entirety of MSNBC's primetime line-up seems to have completely ignored those hearings entirely, seems newsworthy as well.

All of that even more so, given the man who was nominated for the job and the extraordinary content of the hearings...

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




By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2013 5:51pm PT  

In the wake of the latest revelations of our massive, secret, invasive national security surveillance state, I've been trying to remind folks how we got here, and how it was that many on both the Right and Left --- though far more robustly on the Right --- not only allowed for these outrageous intrusions into the private lives of Americans, but actually supported them, a great deal, for well over a decade.

The hypocrisy of some, particularly those on the Right, to be "outraged" about it all now, is laughable.

Nonetheless, for some of the very important context and backstory about how we got to this place --- and how, in fact, some Democrats tried (and failed) to reign in at least the most unlawful excesses of it (even while some also supported it --- talking to you, Sen. Feinstein & Sen./President Obama) --- Rachel Maddow's piece from last night's show is extremely helpful and educational...





Rachel Maddow details how world's most profitable company pays almost nothing for continuing violations of federal law...
By Brad Friedman on 4/8/2013 2:48pm PT  

It's just the cost of doing business for the world's most profitable corporation. And that "cost" is barely a blip (that may be an overstatement) on their daily profit sheet.

As Rachel Maddow noted on Friday in the short report below, ExxonMobil is the nation's largest and most profitable corporation. It is larger than Walmart, Google, McDonald's, American Express and Goldman Sachs...combined.

And yet, the penalties they pay for violating federal safety laws leading to oil spills is almost nothing at all. For example, when Exxon was caught failing to inspect a portion of the Pegasus Pipeline --- the one fill with sticky, gooey, tar sands crude that we don't know how to clean up...the pipeline that ruptured last week in a suburban neighborhood in Mayflower, AR --- they were fined a grand total of $26,000.

That's a $26,000 fine out of the $122 million dollars in profit that Exxon makes in per day.

"There is nothing that Exxon fears from the federal government," Maddow notes. "They have so captured the parts of the government that are supposed to punish them when this sort of thing happens, that the pain that that sort of punishment could cause them, redounds to them, essentially, not at all."

Yes, it pays for companies like Exxon to violate the law with impunity, so it will be left to the people of Arkansas, as Maddow explains, to make the company pay any kind of real price for their crime...if they can...


More photos of the Pegasus tar sands pipeline rupture in Mayflower, AR, taken by the EPA, are now posted here. Give 'em a look. If President Obama approves the Keystone XL pipeline, this is the type of spill that could be coming to a neighborhood near you very soon.




Why NBC News' next documentary must examine the network's own failures in the run-up and aftermath of the Iraq invasion...
By Brad Friedman on 2/25/2013 6:05am PT  

Last Friday night on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow proudly, and justifiably, crowed about the ratings success of last Monday new NBC News documentary, Hubris: Selling the Iraq War, as narrated by her and based on the 2007 book by David Corn and Michael Isikoff.

"First I want to say thank you, if you tuned in this past Monday to watch the new MSNBC documentary about how the last administration tricked the U.S. into the Iraq War," she said. The film garnered the highest ratings of any documentary in the history of the channel.

"The success is really exciting. It means there will be more of where that came from in coming months and years," Maddow explained before announcing that the film will re-air on Friday, March 15th at 9pm ET. (You can watch the entire documentary online before that right here, if you like.)

Congratulations are certainly due. While there were several new revelations in the film, much of the story of the string of blatant lies and scams culled together to hoax the country into war had already been known to those of us news geeks who follow this stuff too closely. Nonetheless, it was very helpful, and an excellent reminder, to see the entire case laid out in a single, simple, watchable presentation. We're delighted to hear it was a ratings success.

Revisiting that disaster also helped encourage The BRAD BLOG to examine several still-existing loose ends --- beyond the fact that, shamefully, nobody in the Bush Administration has ever been brought to account in any way for what happened, including what are clearly a series of very serious war crimes. Among the points we've been looking into, in the wake of the Hubris documentary, is the questions of whether or not Colin Powell "knowingly lied" in his presentation of what turned out to be blatantly false evidence for the case against Saddam Hussein and Iraq, when the then-Secretary of State spoke to the U.N. Security Council on February 5, 2003 and helped turn the tide of public opinion in favor of an invasion.

Powell's Chief of Staff at the time, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, admits during the film that he and Powell "did participate in a hoax." But, in a statement in response to our request for comment, Wilkerson vigorously denied that either he or his boss knowingly did so. He sent his statement after we'd published anti-war author and activist David Swanson's critique of the Hubris film, on the day after it initially aired. In the critique, Swanson cites his own 2011 essay which offers evidence to argue that Powell "knowingly lied" during his presentation to the U.N. (Both Swanson and 27-year Sr. CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who was cited in Wilkerson's response, each replied to him in turn. You can read all of their responses here.)

While Swanson "applauded" the MSNBC documentary for helping to "prolong Americans' awareness of the lies that destroyed Iraq," he also offered a number of pointed critiques for the cable news channel itself. His observations are on-point in both regards, and help to raise a suggestion for an important and necessary follow-up documentary that, we suspect, would likely garner ratings at least as high as those earned for Hubris.

After all, though Hubris:Selling the Iraq War focused on the lies told by the Bush Administration in the run-up to war, unfortunately, they were not the only ones "selling the Iraq War"...

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




NBC News documentary on the lies used to sell the Iraq War, while worthy, conveniently avoids several key points...
By David Swanson on 2/19/2013 12:52pm PT  

As our government was making a fraudulent case to attack Iraq in 2002-2003, the MSNBC television network was doing everything it could to help, including booting Phil Donahue and Jeff Cohen off the air.

The Donahue Show was deemed likely to be insufficiently war-boosting and was thus removed 10 years ago next week --- and 10 days after the largest antiwar (or anything else) demonstrations in the history of the world --- as a preemptive strike against the voices of honest peaceful people.

From there, MSNBC proceeded to support the war with mild critiques around the edges, and to white-out the idea of impeachment or accountability.

But now MSNBC has seen its way clear to airing a documentary about the fraudulent case it assisted in, a documentary titled Hubris. This short film (which aired between 9 and 10 p.m. ET Monday night, but with roughly half of those minutes occupied by commercials --- watch the entire documentary now online here) pointed out the role of the New York Times in defrauding the public, but not MSNBC's role.

Yet, my primary response to that is joy rather than disgust. It is now cool to acknowledge war lies. Truth-tellers, including truth-tellers rarely presented with a corporate microphone, made that happen...

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




By Brad Friedman on 2/17/2013 12:18pm PT  

[UPDATE: Watch the entire documentary now online here.]

David Corn at Mother Jones offers a preview of some of the new information coming Monday, in Hubris: Selling the Iraq War, an MSNBC documentary based on the book of a similar name by Corn and Michael Isikoff.

The film, to be narrated by Rachel Maddow, is said, like the book, to detail the inside story of how America and the world were knowingly scammed by the Bush Administration into invading Iraq ten years ago next month, leading to, as Corn describes it, "a nine-year war resulting in 4,486 dead American troops, 32,226 service members wounded, and over 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians."

"The tab for the war topped $3 trillion," he adds, even though "it turned out there were no weapons of mass destruction and no significant operational ties between Saddam's regime and Al Qaeda. That is, the two main assertions used by Bush and his crew to justify the war were not true."

The facts of how the nation was conned into going to war, Maddow has argued over the past week while promoting and previewing the new film, are important to understand in order to avoid the same thing happening again. "If what we went through 10 years ago did not change us as a nation --- if we do not understand what happened and adapt to resist it --- then history says we are doomed to repeat it," she says.

Maddow says the documentary will likely ruffle many political feathers, and Corn offers a few of the new nuggets of new information on the scam that have been revealed since the publication of his and Isikoff's 2007 book that will be presented in the MSNBC film on Monday, Presidents Day. Among them...

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




By Brad Friedman on 2/6/2013 5:35pm PT  

How far to the Right has the Republican Party gone over the past few years? So far that they now seem to even consider Karl Rove a traitor to their cause.

As evidence, take a look at these headlines from Rightwing sites taking Rove to the woodshed this week in response to his recently announced plan to form the "Conservative Victory Project" Super PAC to keep "Tea Party" candidates who Rove feels can't win general elections, from winning Republican U.S. Senate primaries in the first place...

That's some serious blow-back from Rove's own base --- or what used to be his base. Yes, the hard right Brain of Bush is now far "to the Left" of his own party. Oh, well. Win by the sword, etc...

Rachel Maddow's full segment from Tuesday night, on the GOP's attempt to rebrand themselves and the civil war that seems to be ensuing --- particularly as two of the House's most extreme Rightwing loons, Rep. Paul Broun (GA) and Rep. Steven King (IA), each plan to seek their party's nomination for U.S. Senate in their respective states (Broun is really a piece of work, as Maddow details) --- follows below. Get your popcorn...

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




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