The media and the U.S. Government have decided to give the latest barbaric idiots to rise up in the Middle East all the publicity they crave, despite the 'exaggerated' threat posed to the U.S., or even in the region. We're not interested in playing along...
If you're anything like me (and I hope you're not), your inbox is now deluged by little more than candidates and political parties repeatedly begging you --- over and over again --- to give them money so they can add your drop in the bucket to their huge pile of corporate "donations".
We, on the other hand, receive no corporate donations or support from major (or even minor) political parties. We survive only thanks to the generous support of readers. And we really do work hard to spend our time clearing away the noise and clutter of today's "LOOK AT ME!" corporate media debacle in our now 10+ year quest to let you know about stuff that actually matters.
If you'd like your giving, whatever you may have to spare for a good cause, to go someplace where it really makes a difference, please consider a contribution to The BRAD BLOG. Unlike the politicos who pretend to give a damn about you and pretend to need your $5, $20, $50 or $100 donations, we really do need your help --- really --- in order to survive through the 2014 mid-terms and beyond.
If you can, I hope you'll help. The form below allows you to send support in about 60 seconds time.
[P.S. I am on jury duty this week. Don't know whether or not I'll be called in each day. But in the worst case scenario, it could be quiet here this week because of it.]
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(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)
Just over one year ago, the great climate blogger David Roberts of Grist (we fondly call him "Dr. Grist" around here, as based on his Twitter name: @DRGrist) announced he was unplugging entirely from the Internet for a year.
"I am burnt the fuck out," he lamented at the time. "I spend each day responding to an incoming torrent of tweets and emails. I file, I bookmark, I link, I forward, I snark and snark and snark. All day long. Then, at night, after my family's gone to bed and the torrent has finally slowed to a trickle and I can think for more than 30 seconds at a stretch, I try to write longer, more considered pieces."
"It's doing things to my brain," he explained. "I've gotten to the point where I'm irritated and impatient with pretty much everything everybody says about anything. And I feel bad about that."
I know the feeling --- including the part about "tweeting in the bathroom".
And with that, a few other related thoughts and explanations of what he'd hoped --- or guessed --- he might do over the next year in his "Goodbye for Now" explanation piece, he promised he'd return a year later, after Labor Day 2014, with a hopefully healed brain and a re-invigorated sense of purpose.
"I'll let you know in a year how it went," he promised at the time. And then he was gone and on his well-deserved, if virtually unheard of, year-long unpaid sabbatical that I've been quietly envious of, on a very regular basis, ever since. If I could figure out how to afford the same, I'd do it. If I could figure out how to afford it for even a month --- hell, I'd take seven uninterrupted days in a row --- I'd do it. I need it.
The very technological innovations that were supposed to have made all of our lives better --- and, still, arguably do --- may also be slowly killing us all and rotting our souls at the same time.
Yes, I've been working hard this summer to encourage you to support our work here at The BRAD BLOG, so we can focus as much as possible on stuff that actually matters this fall (and hopefully beyond).
I have long been losing money each month and tapping into whatever meager savings I have, in order to keep producing, for as long as possible, the truly independent journalism, blogging, broadcasting, trouble-making and muckraking --- wholly free from corporate or partisan strings --- that I believe is so important...and that I hope that you do as well.
But we really need your help, before I'm entirely tapped out.
To that end, I'm willing to pull out (most of) whatever stops I have at my disposal. (Hey, at least I'm not as horrible as the DCCC!) So, with that in mind, my birthday is this weekend!
Care to make it an extra special swell birthday, by dropping a birthday gift --- large or small --- into the tip jar? Monthly sustaining contributions are especially appreciated, but any gift is tremendously needed and very much appreciated!
Thanks in advance for whatever you can afford. --- Brad
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)
The pioneering blogger and indefatigable, uncompromising and unapologetic critic of all things Rightwing, Terry Coppage, better known to the world as "BartCop", has passed away.
He will be sorely missed --- at least by many of us. "BartCop" has been raising hell, taking names and using the Internet to call out the bad guys longer than the word "blog" even existed, much less became known to the world. He also helped established the concept of political "snark" --- of the most viciously biting kind --- before that word existed either.
Fellow pseudonymous blogger "Digby" of Hullabaloo emails today to say: "Many of us early bloggers 'met' at Bartcop, including Atrios, Avedon and me. He's one of the creators of the liberal blogosphere."
As I was digging into the archives, I was reminded again that while many folks know us for our coverage of election integrity issues, voting machine problems, whistleblowers, etc., it was our scoop about a story concerning the George W. Bush White House in the lead-up to the 2004 President Election that was our first to "go national" and have a direct effect on the national political discourse.
It was before we had even begun digging as deep as we eventually would on the e-voting beat, and the fallout from the story itself resulted in national pick-up by the MSM, pressure on officials and questions at White House press conferences, an academic study (years later) and, the most fun part, the Bush White House eventually being forced to spend what must have been an enormous amount of man hours restoring date to the White House website in the week before the actual election that year...
I was joined on this week's KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast by Dan Froomkin, formerly of the Washington Post, where he worked for more than a decade before becoming Washington Bureau Chief for the Huffington Post before becoming the founder of the soon-to-be-launched Center for Accountability Journalism at FearlessMedia.org.
His response to that question and others on the recent shameful history and hopeful future of journalism were much more optimistic than mine --- but, as I note during the show, I really need a break (which I hope to get somewhere in the mountains next week), so I may be a even more cynical this week than usual.
The cover for the final print edition of Newsweek was released earlier today via Newsweek's Twitter feed, noting "Newsweek's last print issue before we go all-digital features a hashtag on the cover: #LastPrintIssue!"
Chris Sacca observes in response (also via Twitter, naturally): "Newsweek's last print issue has just a hashtag on the cover. Like using your final breath to ID the killer."
Hilarious. For some odd reason, the latest super-secret Koch Brothers Winter Seminar for millionaires, billionaires and elected Republicans and judges, once again near Palm Springs this year, decided to up its already tight security big time. They were forced to buy out an entire resort (using an alias) for several days in Indian Wells, closing down its restaurants and golf courses to the public and sending home many of its workers for the duration. Not that any of that kept ace reporter Lee Fang from finding out about it and heading out there, as detailed in his new exclusive today:
The summit, organized by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, was cloaked in secrecy. Helicopters, private security, and police officers from neighboring cities patrolled the area constantly.
... The Renaissance Esmerelda, the conference venue this year, was guarded carefully with every entrance blocked and the entire 560-room resort rented out. I arrived at the hotel the night before the event, but was followed closely by security and asked to leave the next morning before the Koch meeting guests arrived.
Though the donors will funnel tens of millions of dollars into the election this year, they will not have to disclose a single cent. Using an elaborate array of foundations, nonprofits, and other legal entities, the Koch network sponsored bus tours, attack ads, think tanks, and hired Tea Party organizers to shape the midterm elections two years ago. Now it appears they appear to be expanding their effort.
The most that the public knows about these meetings has been culled from leaked audio tapes, reporting from journalists like Ken Vogel, and from an invitation I exclusively reported back in October of 2010.
At the Palm Springs Airport last weekend, I eventually ran into Phil Kerpen, the vice president of Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party group founded by David Koch. Kerpen, who was in a rush to make it to the event, didn’t say much about the agenda. Kerpen’s group recently purchased $6 million in undisclosed attack ads against President Obama, the largest such buy of the entire campaign cycle so far.
Kerpen asked how I knew about the conference. “I thought they had stopped all leaks,” he muttered, as I walked with him through the baggage claim.
... “Ask your leaker to post my speech, because it’s very good,” he added, before getting in a car with two associates.
The added secrecy was apparent even to local reporters, who were confused about why the multi-golf course Esmerelda Renaissance was locked down and why the hotel staff couldn’t talk to anyone about what was going on.
Heheh...Sounds like that must have cost a lot of additional money! Sorry if we caused you any problems, Mr. and Mr. Koch!
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By the way, the exclusive by Fang --- formerly of ThinkProgress --- kicks off the new Republic Report blog ("Investigating how money corrupts democracy") with a bang today. The new muckraking project of the similarly new United Republic ("Democracy is not for sale") organization, includes the work of Fang, a number of other great and (mostly) progressive muckrakers and trouble makers, but also includes...wait for it...Jack Abramoff!
Yes, that Jack Abramoff --- the former, now-disgraced, previously-imprisoned, but now-finally-free and supposedly-reformed GOP uber-lobbyist! Steve Clemons at The Atlantic explains in his profile of the noteworthy new project today.
Fang's contributions (follow him on Twitter at @LHFang) alone would be reason enough to keep an eye on Republic Report. Everything else is more than enough icing on a tantalizing new cake to demand the site be bookmarked immediately...in our always humble opinion, of course.
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UPDATE 3:50pm PT:Amanda Terkel and Ryan Grim at Huffington Post report a source inside the Koch's democracy-hating meeting near Palm Springs this year says the group "pledged approximately $100 million to defeat President Obama in the 2012 elections" during the course of the retreat, and offered another interesting thought as well...
I'm still largely off the grid for another day or so (as I have been for the last 24 hours+), but delighted to check in to see so much great conversation on D.C. Douglas' #OccupyWallStreet video we posted in the previous item. Also delighted to check in to see that the worldwide #OWS movement is today's top story across all the major corporate media outlets!
Incredibly, I'm here in Las Vegas (for a conference) and find huge signs advertising CNN's next GOP debate here on Tuesday being held at The Venetian. The embarrassing perfection and irony of the next Presidential debate being held at a CASINO is something I don't have time enough or perhaps even skills enough, to adequately elucidate upon at the moment.
All as some 20 #OccupyWallStreet protesters were reported arrested just minutes ago attempting to close their accounts at Citibank near Washington Sq. Park in Manhattan! More irony there than you can shake a GOP debate in a casino at.
In the meantime, cursorily related --- on both the irony scale and several others --- I was interviewed by Bob Jimenez on LA Business Today, about two weeks ago on our local LA Cityview 35 channel as the uprising was just begin to force its way onto the national corporate mediascape.
The segment, seen below, aired earlier this week. We discussed blogging, journalism, capitalism, the "occupation," e-voting and more in the very quick 12-minute segment...
[Now UPDATED with audio archives from tonight's show.]
The Malloys are heading out for a week of Progressive Cruising next week (no, that's not some sort of sexual metaphor, it's an actual cruise in the Caribbean with a bunch of progressives, including a bunch of our pals!), so we'll be sitting in for the next week as guest host for the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show beginning tonight!
As usual, we'll be BradCasting LIVE 9pm-Midnight ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the globe from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150. 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 during the show, so please come on by and say hey 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.)
The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates acros 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.
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POST-SHOW UPDATE: Great show tonight (at least in my opinion). Audio archives are now posted below, along with the archives of tonight's chat room! Happy listening and tune in all next week too!...
I'll be on a panel discussing "The Death & Life of American Journalism," along with fellow journalists Jason Leopold, Marc Cooper, Bill Carter, and Kathleen Sharp. I'm told I'll be able to sign DVDs of Murder, Spies & Voting Lies: The Clint Curtis Story afterward.
A recently published book by media scholar Robert McChesney and The Nation's Washington correspondent, John Nichols, says "American Journalism is collapsing." Investigative reporter Jason Leopold will discuss this explosive claim with a panel of seasoned journalists. The conversation will center on media coverage of hot-button issues including the demise of ACORN, the Bush administration's torture policies, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
Our panel is 2:00pm - 3:00pm at the fair's "Current Events & Hot Topics Pavilion" in West Hollywood Park, 647 N. San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, CA. The event is FREE, there's lots of other stuff going on there as well, and you can get more info here...
New York's WBAI Evening News tracked me down while I was on the road in the sweltering wilds of SE Texas yesterday to discuss the story of the Rightwing cabal which had been revealed as having secretly and systematically worked to kill/bury/down-vote links to stories from The BRAD BLOG and other non-wingnut news sites before they could reach the front pages of major social aggregator networks like DIGG. See our coverage of this from Thursday.
One point I was able to make during the WBAI interview, which I didn't in the quick Thursday article, is that this episode illustrates, yet again, that even these Rightwingers recognize their own ideas are so weak they can't stand up to legitimate scrutiny on their own. The system must be gamed in hopes of giving them an edge in the public arena.
Moreover, if the Right is willing to sabotage social networking sites and willing to publish faked videos (see their ACORN "Pimp" Hoax videos, Shirley Sherrod video, etc.) in dishonest hopes of scoring political points, then why wouldn't they be similarly willing to steal elections whenever/however possible? That is, after all, the greatest prize and it's all for a greater purpose, right?
My interview on WBAI Evening News follows below. (My thanks to WBAI political reporter Rebecca Myles for sending me the audio while I was otherwise on the road and largely off the grid all day yesterday.)
P.S. In a related note, Dave Johnson at "Seeing the Forest" reminds me that he pointed out last year how the same concerted Rightwing effort seems to go into gaming material at Wikipedia. I can also attest to that first-hand, as I've seen the "Brad Friedman" article over there defanged, tagged and even targeted for deletion by the same Right-leaning Wiki-administrator over and again throughout the years.
P.P.S. Billy Dennis, the "Peoria Pundit," picked up on our Thursday article, and offers some additional thoughts, along with this one at the end which I think is meant as a compliment :
Hat tip: Brad Blog (his site is sorta like Breitbart’s would be if Breitbart was progressive, honest, willing to criticize BOTH parties and well-researched).
As usual, when Rightwingers can't win outright, they cheat. Such is the case on the very popular social aggregator website DIGG, as documented today at Alternet.
We've suspected for quite some time that links to The BRAD BLOG's articles as posted on DIGG have been quickly "buried" by Rightwingers hoping to keep our stories from reaching the front page --- or even the "upcoming" page, where others might see the story rising in DIGG "votes," so that it might then be propelled to the front page, where millions more would then see the link to the article.
The AlterNet piece details a "massive" Rightwing cabal which has been doing exactly that, and we weren't particularly surprised when we found The BRAD BLOG named in the piece as one of several non-wingnut websites that have been targeted for "burial" by a Rightwing group of Internet hacks calling themselves "Digg Patriots"...
I recently attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in D.C., with video camera in hand, to report on the attendees. I was particularly interested in interviewing James O'Keefe, the miscreant (and accused felon) responsible for the ACORN video media hoax that The BRAD BLOG has been meticulously detailing for several weeks, including the important focus on how the mainstream corporate media (the old-media) have been had by the scam.
O'Keefe's phony "pimp" story has been debunked, but, as Brad Friedman has shown, the old-media remain remarkably reticent to admit their errors, and the publisher of the videos, O'Keefe's employer and promoter Andrew Breitbart, has been unwilling to help them off the hook. Witness the outrageous email responses from the NYTimes' Senior Editor for Standards Greg Brock and then from their Public Editor Clark Hoyt, when it was shown to them that "the paper of record" had been had --- that O'Keefe had never "visited Acorn offices...dressed so outlandishly" in the now-infamous "pimp" costume as the paper had reported, as O'Keefe had represented, and as Breitbart himself had claimed in his own column, to the public.
While I didn't get the chance to speak with O'Keefe, I did catch up with his partner in fraud, Hannah Giles. Alas, she was surrounded by a protective coterie and fled without answering any questions when one of her entourage recognized me.
But then my luck turned. I trekked to the basement to cover the "XPAC" party and found myself standing shoulder to shoulder with Breitbart, O'Keefe's promoter, publisher, and employer, and owner of the website which launched the infamously damaging, misleading, deceptive, and highly doctored video tapes. I had previously questioned Breitbart at a press conference at the National Press Club press last October. He's had a pretty easy ride of it since then, facing questioning only from a largely adulatory press.
Though old-media, as Brad has shown, have been remarkably reluctant to demand answers to hard questions from Breitbart --- or any of the players involved in the ACORN secret video scheme --- I felt it important to do so for a number of reasons. The results were revealing, both in Breitbart's insanely manic demeanor, and in the substantive content of his answers to my questions.
Ultimately, as I believe you'll find in the video, he reveals a lot about his own editorial judgment, professionalism, and reliability --- none of it is good...
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The Breitbart/O'Keefe media fraud has been wildly successful for the pair, helping to launch Breitbart's BigGovernment.com site late last year. But, unfortunately, it's hurt a great number of innocents.
Lost in the outrage against the New York Times for having fallen for the scam without bothering to fact-check, as The BRAD BLOG has been detailing for the past several weeks, is the fact that Breitbart and his ward O'Keefe have accomplished a despicable goal: They've all but destroyed an organization committed to helping those Americans most in need. Real people --- thousands of children amongst them --- will suffer hardship as a direct consequence of Breitbart's and O'Keefe's mendacious and malicious hoax, and singularly partisan political agenda. When will the media get around to telling that story?
And what of the damage that disreputable propagandists like Breitbart and O'Keefe bring to the real citizen journalists in the new media --- those of us striving not to sell a political agenda under false pretenses, but, rather, hoping to document facts, truth, and on-the-record positions of those who would corrupt our system through disingenuousness, self-enrichment, and lies?...