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By Brad Friedman on 8/20/2014 11:09pm PT  

I was joined on this week's KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), to discuss his "Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act" [PDF] which he plans to introduce when the U.S. House returns from their endless recess in September.

He's been at work on the bill long before the local "RoboCops" hit the streets when Ferguson, Missouri blew up recently after the police killing of Michael Brown. As Johnson described the legislation in his March 2014 USA Today op-ed, presciently headlined "Small town American shouldn't resemble a war zone", the bill would "ban MRAPs, other armored personnel carriers, drones, assault weapons and aircraft" from being transferred to local police departments under the Pentagon's "1033 Program" and "ensure that the Department of Defense undertakes an annual accounting of what's been transferred, by whom and to whom to prevent military items from being auctioned on eBay or sold to friends."

"My main hope is to stop the flow of this military grade equipment to local law enforcement agencies throughout America," Johnson told me during our interview today. "We've been flooding the streets with this surplus military weaponry, and I think the situation in Ferguson exemplifies what happens when you have too much powerful equipment in the hands of folks who don't have the judgment or the training to utilize it properly."

But has the horse already left the barn on this issue? And does the Congressman stand a chance of getting his bill through our broken U.S. Congress, even with some apparent bi-partisan support for curbing police militarization from folks like Republican 2016 Presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul, who recently called for the same in a Time magazine op-ed? You'll have to listen below to hear Johnson's thoughts on those questions.

After the Congressman left, I discussed a few other related items, such as the voter registration drive now taking place in Ferguson, and took a bunch of calls on all of the above, including at least one amazing one, in which the caller named "Al" insisted that "minorities are in worse shape than they've ever been" in this country. He says that "since 1965 we have been going down hill as a nation." Hmm... I wonder what might have happened during that year to make him feel that way?

I hope you'll enjoy this week's program...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 4/13/2011 9:54pm PT  

My show on KPFK/Pacifica today follows below. We featured a quick word on Obama's fiscal speech today at George Washington University; quick updates on both the Fukushima nuclear crisis (with the lovely Desi Doyen) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce plot to use tools developed for the "War on Terror" against progressives (including me and my family!)

The main segment is detailed coverage of the Wisconsin Supreme Court election debacle, including some fresh news with my guest John Washburn of Fair Elections Wisconsin, himself a Justice David Prosser voter, a self-described "Ron Paul Republican" and someone who has even spoken on behalf of the hapless Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus in the past.

Even Washburn, as you'll hear, is unable to explain the holes in Nickolaus' explanation for the reason she failed to report 14,000+ votes from the city of Brookfield on Election Night, and for a number of newly discovered anomalies from previous elections in her county. (Though, since air time, we've finally been contacted by Nickolaus, and may soon have an explanation for some of those new anomalies as discussed during today's show.)

Download MP3, or listen online below [appx. 28 mins]...

P.S. We're still trying to decide on a name for my weekly, half-hour KPFK show (Wednesday's at 3:30pm PT). "The BradCast" has been suggested by a number of folks, and it's not bad. Whaddaya think? Got any other ideas? Still open, pondering...

P.P.S. Here's the podcast RSS feed for the KPFK show each week, in case you'd like to subscribe (for free) and get notifications or downloads of new archives often sooner than I'm sometimes able to post them here!

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By Brad Friedman on 4/9/2011 8:30pm PT  

I was so busy this week, I failed to post my Wednesday show on KPFK/Pacifica Radio here in Los Angeles. This week, I covered the latest news in the revelations about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce plot to use tools developed for the "War on Terror" to target progressive organizations, citizens and journalists (including yours truly and my family) here in the U.S., with an attempted smear campaign to discredit by planting fraudulent documents, infiltrating with "fake personas" via social media, and employing cyber-snooping tactics against the Chamber's perceived political enemies.

The show includes parts of my interview from Monday's Mike Malloy Show with Congressman Hank Johnson (D, GA-4) who is leading an effort in Congress to try and bring some accountability to the conspirators in the proposed $12 million plot hatched for the U.S. Chamber, the world's most powerful Rightwing lobbying group, their law firm Hunton & Williams, one of the nation's largest and most powerful, and three U.S. government contracted cyber-security, intelligence and data firms, HBGary Federal, Palantir Technologies and Berico Technologies.

MP3 Download, or listen online below [appx 28 mins...]

P.S. Still looking for a name for this weekly Wednesday, half-hour, usually-live show heard at 3:30pm PT each week on air in Southern California and around the world via KPFK.org. Got any suggestions?

P.P.S. Here's the podcast RSS feed for the Wednesday KPFK show, in case you wish to subscribe (for free) and get notified about new archives sooner than I'm sometimes able to do here!

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TONIGHT: U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) on the U.S. Chamber Plot; Prof. Stephan Lewandowsky on Internet sock-puppetry, MORE!...
LIVE! 9p-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), Call-in#: 877-520-1150
By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2011 3:05pm PT  

[Now UPDATED with audio archives below...]

With last Friday's special April Fools edition out of the way, we're eager to get back to business and kick off a full week of guest hosting the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show as Mike and Kathy enjoy a well-deserved Spring Break!

We're BradCasting LIVE each night this week from 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the globe from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE and lively chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)

Scheduled tonight (so far):

The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates across the country and also on Sirius Ch. 146 & XM Ch. 167. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate GREEN 960 in San Francisco or via MikeMalloy.com.

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: Good to be back! Especially when the three hours go by really quickly. Audio archives now follow below (along with chat room archives) Enjoy!...

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

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PLUS: Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) my guest on tonight's 'Malloy'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2011 2:11pm PT  

While prepping for tonight's Mike Malloy Show (which I will be busy guest hosting all week), here are just a few of the items which caught my eye so far today...in no particular order...

  • Record amounts of cash being spent by labor unions and the (supposedly grass-roots) "Tea Party" on tomorrow's Supreme Court election in Wisconsin, as the race between the unabashedly pro-Walker Justice David Prosser and Asst. Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg has turned into a proxy battle between the two clashing ideologies right now in WI. A defeat of Prosser would tilt the court's 4-3 majority from Right-leaning to not Right-leaning. The race is also seen as a bellwether for upcoming recall elections of GOP state Senators likely to occur there in the near future, as Ernie Canning reported on earlier today at The BRAD BLOG.
  • Nuclear triage. Workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan are dumping 11.5 tons of "low-level" radioactive water into the ocean to make room in filled storage containers for the more radioactive water leaking from reactor Unit 2. They say they have "no choice," but to dump that water (with radiation levels 100 times over the legal limit) as they must continue injecting new water to cool the plant's four crippled reactors, even as the radiated water floods out. Over the weekend, workers were unsuccessful in their attempt to use polymer, sawdust and newspaper (BP "JunkShot" anyone?!) to plug an 8 inch crack in a flooded tunnel at Unit 2 said to be gushing highly radioactive water, at 100,000 times legal levels, into the ocean.
  • A sweeping new election law in Florida is working its way through the GOP-controlled state legislature along predictably partisan lines, just in time for the 2012 Presidential election there. Some of the proposed changes will make it much more difficult for non-partisan voter registration groups, such as the League of Women Voters, to do their work, and will likely lead to a huge increase in "provisional" (and, therefore, frequently uncounted) ballots. Leon County's highly-respected Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho has called the bill "a travesty".
  • Former U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley --- recently forced to step down for referring to the treatment of alleged WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning as "stupid" --- compares WikiLeaks to the New York Times. The paper's Editor-in-Chief, who has been bashing Julian Assange and WikiLeaks themselves of late, even though the "paper of record" has written hundreds of stories based on WikiLeaks documents, will not be happy. Good. (Coverage at RAW STORY courtesy of BRAD BLOG alum David Edwards.)
  • Even Republican state Senators in Maine are beginning to become uncomfortable with the radical statements and extremist behavior of the state's new GOP Governor Paul LePage and are asking him to "tone it down". Beginning to see the writing on the wall, boys?

So what's on your radar?

In addition to some of the above possibly coming up for discussion tonight, we will definitely be discussing the U.S. Chamber Plot (which was to have targeted, among others, myself and my family) with my guest U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) who is trying to see some accountability in that horrific affair after House Republicans refused his request for investigative hearings into the matter.

Please tune in at 6p PT (9p ET) tonight --- and all week! We'll have live listening links and a lively chat room right here at The BRAD BLOG during those hours as usual!

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ALSO: HBGary's CEO finally resigns, VR files D.C. Bar complaint...
[Now UPDATED with full text of letter]
By Brad Friedman on 3/1/2011 1:05am PT  

Washington Post's Dan Eggen reports tonight for Tuesday's paper that "more than a dozen" Democrats in the U.S. House are now calling on "Republican leaders" to open an investigation into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce plot which had been set to target the Rightwing lobbying firms' perceived political enemies (which turned out to include me and my family at the top of their list, as reported in detail previously) with a proposed $12 million smear, forgery, fraud, and disinformation campaign.

While the Democrats letter calling for a Congressional probe will not be released until Tuesday [Update: The full text of the letter is now posted at the end of this article below], Eggen's reportage makes it clear that their concerns focus on the same disturbing point which we highlighted in one of our first detailed reports on this matter. Namely, that the Chamber's law firm Hunton & Williams was organizing the plot with three government-contracted cyber-security/intelligence firms that had planned to turn tools developed for the "War on Terror" against U.S. citizens, journalists, and progressive organizations [emphasis added]...

A group of House Democrats is calling on Republican leaders to investigate a prominent Washington law firm and three federal technology contractors, who have been shown in hacked e-mails discussing a "disinformation campaign" against foes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In a letter to be released Tuesday, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and more than a dozen other lawmakers wrote that the e-mails appear "to reveal a conspiracy to use subversive techniques to target Chamber critics," including "possible illegal actions against citizens engaged in free speech."

The lawmakers say it is "deeply troubling" that "tactics developed for use against terrorists may have been unleashed against American citizens."

As we also noted some weeks ago, Eggen reports, "The companies proposed forming a 'corporate information reconnaissance cell' and discussed tactics such as creating online personas to infiltrate activist Web sites; planting false information to embarrass U.S. Chamber Watch and other groups; and trolling for personal information using powerful computer software."

Those "other groups" would include the non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization VelvetRevolution.us, as co-founded by The BRAD BLOG, in response to VR's StopTheChamber.com campaign launched in late 2009 to help expose the U.S. Chamber's perfidy and mafia-like tactics in their extremist Rightwing corporate "advocacy". The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the nation's largest corporate lobbying firm and has spent millions in disinformation campaigns fighting against clean energy legislation and health care insurance reform, just to name two of their recent projects.

While a Congressional investigation would normally be a no-brainer in a plot as pernicious as the one exposed here --- revealed by the release of tens of thousands of emails detailing highly dubious, and most likely illegal, schemes of this sort --- the fact that the U.S. Chamber and its member corporations also spent millions as the top funders of Republican Congressional campaigns in 2010 makes the likelihood of such hearings questionable in the now-GOP-controlled House.

A letter to Attorney General Eric Holder at the Department of Justice, demanding a special prosecutor be assigned to this case would be equally, if not more appropriate. Unfortunately, the DoJ is also compromised in this affair, having been the ones, incredibly enough, to refer the Chamber's law firm Hunton & Williams to the Bank of America for a parallel plot with the same three private security firms, in order to target WikiLeaks with a focus on discrediting their perceived supporters such as Salon journalist Glenn Greenwald. Given the DoJ's dubious involvement here, it seems similarly unlikely that they would take up such an investigation themselves either, but a letter calling for same from Congressional members might help.

In more new developments in this story tonight...

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

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