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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Scott Walker's Latest Scam: 'BradCast' 7/7/15
Brendan Fischer of Center for Media & Democracy on what the WI Guv and 2016 GOP hopeful tried to pull off over the holiday, when he thought nobody would notice...
BP Settles in Gulf Oil Spill Disaster: 'BradCast' 7/6/15
Journalist Antonia Juhasz explains to guest host Nicole Sander of RadioOrNot.com how BP 'got off cheaply'; Plus, Jason Leopold on Hillary's emails & an exclusive chat w/ Brad...
July 4th, 2015 Toons
Between marriage equality, the Confederate flag, the GOP's decline, Greece and TPP, the political cartoonists have plenty to cover this week. 'PDiddie' rounds 'em up...
Into the Holiday With a Bang: 'BradCast' 7/2/15
After an amazingly encouraging week or two, we head into the July 4th weekend with a whole bunch of stuff we've been trying to clear off our desk. Plus: Lots of breaking news and an encouraging ending for the weekend...
'Green News Report' 7/2/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Alaska, Northwest on fire; Warming oceans linked to NC shark attacks; China, Brazil commit to emissions cuts; PLUS: Fracking companies can now be sued for earthquakes...
Previous GNRs: 6/30/15 - 6/25/15 - Archives...
Ann Who?
The long-overdue irrelevance of Ann Coulter. The former GOP Superstar (and voter fraud queen) just doesn't matter anymore...
Kochs' Chris Christie; Wingnut Marriage Meltdown; 'Most Important Climate Ruling':
'BradCast' 6/30/15
Guest: Michael B. Gerrard of Columbia's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law...
'Green News Report' 6/30/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
SCOTUS nixes mercury pollution rules; Christie jumps in, we tell you his position on climate; Coal plant cleaned up in Navajo Nation; PLUS: Solar plane's dangerous Pacific crossing...
Previous GNRs: 6/25/15 - 6/23/15 - Archives...
The Good, Bad and SCOTUS Ruling on AZ Redistricting: 'BradCast' 6/29/15
Former AZ state legislator Ted Downing; Plus: much more on latest SCOTUS rulings...
Sunday Toons: Flags & Fits
Both supremacy and Supremes are at issue in PDiddie's collection of the week's best (and most iconic) political toons...
'A More Perfect Union': 'BradCast' 6/26/15
An extraordinary end to an extraordinary week. Mike Rogers of Raw Story joins us to discuss the landmark SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality and how we got here...
MARRIAGE EQUALITY FOR ALL
The U.S. Supreme Court finally recognizes what The BRAD BLOG has for more than a decade. Because rights ultimately win and haters ultimately lose...
Scalia Lies (Again); And 2014's Last Election Contest: 'BradCast' 6/25/15
Dr. Laura Pressley, Austin City Council candidate, explains why she's challenging her 100% unverifiable 2014 election...
'Green News Report' 6/25/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Jindal's in! Here's his weird climate position; Deadly heat in Pakistan; New studies see climate change as 'catastrophic' for health; PLUS: Landmark ruling in Netherlands...
Previous GNRs: 6/23/15 - 6/18/15 - Archives...
Vexillology! Why Flags Matter:
'BradCast' 6/24/15
Annie Platoff, flag expert from North American Vexillological Association explains it all for you! (Even flags on the moon!); Plus: Callers, Trump surge & more!...
TRUMP-MENTUM!
Republican's newest Frankenstein Monster and billionaire real estate developer surges into 2nd place in NH GOP Primary poll! Not to say 'we told ya so' or anything...
Sanders Destroyed Fed Chair in 2003
Years before the economy would collapse, then-Rep. Bernie Sanders unloaded on Alan Greenspan during a Congressional hearing. Years later, the Fed Chair admitted he was wrong...
Fox 'News', Bill O'Reilly and All Their Racist Viewers: 'BradCast' 6/23/15
Sean McElwee of Demos on his new study; More (positive) fallout from Charleston; (Some) Senate Dems help move TPP forward...
'Green News Report' 6/23/15
Repubs in bind after Papal encyclical on climate; Massive algae bloom shuts down West Coast fisheries; May 2015 hottest on record; PLUS: Goodbye, Eastern Cougar...
Race, Guns, Flags, Terrorism and the Right's Quickly Changing Politics of Denial: 'BradCast' 6/22/15
Historic GOP flip-flops and Fox's 'pathological denial' w/ Eric Boehlert of Media Matters...
Sunday Toons: Identity Crises Edition
This is now getting really strange. And 'PDiddie' has the week's collection of toons to prove it...
RW Domestic Terror in SC & Beyond; Big Govt GOP in TX; 'BradCast' 6/19/15
The 2009 DHS report Repubs hope you've forgotten; Plus: Adam Briggle of Frack Free Denton on GOP banning fracking bans and democracy in TX...
Sanders on 'Democratic Socialism'
'Bernie-mentum' begins to show itself in the polls as Sanders' message is heard on 'Late Night', beginning a challenge to nation's woeful 'democracy deficit'...
Evangelical Response to the Pope's Climate Encyclical: 'BradCast' 6/18/15
Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox, Repub CEO of Evangelical Environmental Network; PLUS: Latest on SC church massacre; Limbaugh's lie about the Pope...
'Green News Report' 6/18/15
The Pope's unprecedented call for climate action; RWers freak out about it; India goes solar in big way; PLUS: Trump's running, thinks global warming is a hoax...
GOP's World of Trump: 'BradCast' 6/17/15
Has Trump blown up the GOP primary? Is he more than just a joke? Is he the Frankenstein Monster created by 40 years of Reaganism and Fox 'News'? Callers weigh in on that, Bernie Sanders and more!...
RW Radio Rescues Limbaugh in Boston
More wingnut welfare and Heart-less abuse of our public airwaves for corporate profit as Premiere radio uses it's corporate-owned station to save the failing Rush...
The GOP's New 'Frankenstein's Monster': 'BradCast' 6/16/15
Heather Digby Parton on Trump as 'culmination of 30 years of American Dream propaganda' by the Right; Plus: 'Dickensian' Kansas; Politifact fail...
TRUMP: THE CANDIDATE
Sure, he's a clown and the latest into the 2016 GOP clown car. But 'misunderstimate' his candidacy at your peril...
'Pope Francis: The Encyclical' (The Movie)
The Pope kicks climate ass, takes climate names...
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: Joseph Siegelman...
By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2015 3:18pm PT  

We've reported for years about the ease with which foreign entities could hack a computerized US election with little possibility of being discovered. Well, guess what classic book was reportedly found on 'Bin Laden's Bookshelf'? We discuss on today's BradCast!

Then, my guest is the imprisoned Gov. Don Siegelman (D-AL)'s son Joseph Siegelman (pictured above with his father and sister Dana just before his father was sent back to federal prison in 2012 to serve out his 6.5 year sentence on "bribery" charges), on the latest disturbing ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals concerning his father's appeal for a new trial and/or reduced sentence in his outrageously politicized prosecution by the Bush Administration.

Joseph, now an attorney, explains what the court's decision this week means; where the case goes from here; whether he thinks the Obama Administration will ever right the wrong; and how you can help to restore justice in this matter.

"This is something that shouldn't happen in America," he told me. "If a sitting governor can be unseated and prosecuted and imprisoned for something that he did not do --- and for something that had not even been considered a crime in this country until he was convicted of it --- what chance do anyone one of us have?"

That and a bit more, including listener mail and some breaking voting news out of MD, on today's BradCast...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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'Black Box Voting' author Bev Harris tells BRAD BLOG: 'He must have been looking at how fucked up the western world really is'...
By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2015 6:35am PT  

We've long warned about the dangers that electronic voting and tabulation systems pose to our democracy, not just from simple insider attacks and domestic hacking, but also from foreign governments and other, even shadier entities.

In 2009, just by way of one of scores (if not hundreds) of examples, we covered the chilling presentation given by the CIA's cybersecurity expert Steven Stigall to a panel convened by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) during a field hearing in Orlando, FL. Stigalll warned at the time: "You heard the old adage 'follow the money. I follow the vote. And wherever the vote becomes an electron and touches a computer, that's an opportunity for a malicious actor potentially to...make bad things happen."

"For several years," Stigall said, according to the transcript [WORD], "I've worked with others in my organization to try and identify foreign threats, emphasis on 'foreign threats,' to important U.S. computer systems. A few years ago it occurred to us that that should include potential foreign threats to the computers upon which our elections in this country are increasingly dependent."

Well, funny thing. Remember that Osama Bin Laden guy? On Thursday, The Hill and others published a list [PDF] of about forty English-language books said to have been found at Bin Laden's compound when he was killed. Among them, amusingly enough, were "9/11 conspiracy theory" books. Another was the New York Times best-seller The Best Democracy Money Can Buy by our friend, investigative reporter Greg Palast.

Interesting. But look at what else showed is said to have been found on Osama's bookshelf...

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

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GUEST: VICE News investigative journalist Jason Leopold...
By Brad Friedman on 5/13/2015 4:01pm PT  

I'm joined today on The BradCast by VICE News' investigative journalist Jason Leopold to discuss the exclusive documents he obtained concerning the drugging of detainees during interrogations after 9/11. Also, Leopold, who has spent quite a bit of time lately as a reporter at Guantanamo Bay, discusses why President Obama may suddenly be in a hurry to keep his promise to shut down the controversial facility.

Also, after defending Jeb Bush on his Iraq comments on yesterday's show, I'm forced to offer a retraction today in light of Jeb's second attempt to answer the same question. It is clear that he's at least as dumb as his brother, and certainly too dumb to be President of these United States.

Finally, millions of dollars in campaign contributions are flowing to elected officials from fossil fuel interests in exchange for billions in tax-payer funded subsides, reports The Guardian --- Plus, the story of the Iowa farmer who claims an oil executive offered him a 'teenage prostitute' in exchange for giving up his land to a new Bakken Shale oil pipeline...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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While we post The BradCast here everyday, 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: Estee Chandler; Ernest Canning...
By Brad Friedman on 3/25/2015 2:35pm PT  

Was Netanyahu/Likud's win last week in Israel the best possible outcome for Palestinians? While it seems counter-intuitive at first blush, some who follow Israeli/Palestinian politics very closely say it was.

My guest on this week's Pacifica Radio BradCast, Estee Chandler of JewishVoiceForPeace.org and the producer/co-host of KPFK's Middle East in Focus program believes that is the case and tells me why. She offers a different (and very welcome) perspective than the Right/Left (and now, sadly, Republican/Democratic) narrative we've heard so much of from most of the media since last week's election.

Also, BRAD BLOG's legal analyst Ernie Canning joins me to discuss the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to hear the WI Photo ID voting case and what that means for voting across the country in 2016, as well as the error the CA Supreme Court seems to have made when they removed Prop 49 (the "Overturn Citizens United" initiative) from the 2014 ballot last year.

Plus, Ted Cruz' astoundingly ingenious if extraordinary cynical remark the day after he declared his intention to seek the 2016 GOP nomination for President; OH tries a new voter suppression tactic; another predictable Internet Voting failure in Australia; Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report and MUCH MORE!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 12/9/2014 7:02pm PT  

It's difficult to know where Rightwingers are now when it comes to the release of today's remarkable, horrifying, redacted 528-page executive summary [PDF] of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee's 6,000-page report on Bush-era CIA torture.

"Torture never happened!," they used to say. Then, "Okay, it happened, but it wasn't torture!" Then, "Okay, torture happened, but it was necessary!" Now, "This report is just meant as a distraction from America's real problem: ObamaCare!"

You get the idea. So did legendary syndicated cartoonist and blogger Tom Tomorrow (aka Dan Perkins), and he's been covering it with brilliant, dead-on satire for years. With the release of the Senate report, almost a decade in the making, we're posting a few very-much-related Tom Tomorrow toons from over the years below, as self-selected by Perkins on Twitter today.

"It's not as if we've learned nothing in ten years," he tweeted. "In a 2004 cartoon, I still had to explain what 'waterboarding' was."

And, as he also made clear, none of what we are learning today is ultimately a surprise. "Presumably if the cartoonists knew about it, the White House did as well."

They did indeed, as a glance at these toons from over the years makes clear yet again...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/19/2014 11:36am PT  

The "streets" did not "flare up". The cops in Ferguson flared it up, perhaps, according to pretty much all of the live coverage we followed for hours last night on TV, on the web and, most crucially, on Twitter.

No clue what "problem" Fire Boy above thought he was trying to solve with his 9/11 Wars souvenir, but you can bet it hasn't been solved.

We recently wrote a "Tale of Two Protests" comparing the mostly peaceful protesters of Ferguson, MO following the police shooting of unarmed African-American teen Michael Brown, to the threatening armed protests by supporters of scofflaw rancher Cliven Bundy in Bunkerville, NV earlier this year.

Where the amped-up, Hollywoodized, militarization of the police in Ferguson has resulted, largely, in making the cops look like clowns and idiots for their over-aggressive tactics and firepower (see the front page of today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch above for just the latest example of that buffoonery, here's more), the amped-up, Hollywoodized, militarization of the so-called "Tea Party" "patriot" protesters in Bunkerville and their semi-automatic rifles trained on the heads of law enforcement officials, succeeded in little more than making those protesters look like clowns and idiots. It also offered an apparently compelling reason as to why law enforcement "needs" to arm up in response to such deadly, direct threats.

Meanwhile, over at his own blog today, Patrick Blanchfield offers a related observation of the shameful differences between the nation's treatment of a rancher who stole more than a million dollars from the federal government in Bunkerville, versus the kid in Ferguson who was shot at least six times by a police officer after having, allegedly, taking a handful of cigars from a convenience store. And its additionally embarrassing.

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By Brad Friedman on 8/12/2014 5:42pm PT  

[Hat-tip @GGreenwald...]

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By Brad Friedman on 6/23/2014 4:03pm PT  

Just getting back on the grid today after a few days off of it, so getting caught up with much, including today's release of the legal memo [PDF] detailing the Obama Administration's claim of legal authority for the 2011 targeted drone killing of U.S. citizen and alleged terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.

(Three other U.S. citizens were also killed in drone strikes abroad, including al-Awlaki's 16-year old son one month after his father, though the Administration contends those killings were incidental deaths during strikes targeting others...as if that makes them less awful somehow? In any event...)

As the Washington Post notes, portions of the document are redacted, including "paragraphs that presumably explained why the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel determined that killing Awlaki in a drone strike would not violate the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees due process to U.S. citizens accused of crimes."

The paper adds, however, that "the memo provides previously unknown details about the reasoning behind one of the most controversial counterterrorism operations carried out by the U.S. government since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks."

But what caught my eye in particular today, was the Congressional Progressive Caucus' somewhat snarky, if very clever, promotion of their press release in response to the released (and redacted) memo, which Roll Call's Steven Dennis describes as "Progressive Caucus Trolls Obama on Drone Memo"...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 6/13/2014 5:26pm PT  

Via John Amato at C&L on Friday...

Smith: Are we about to be drawn back into a conflict in Iraq? The same people who 12 years ago told us this will be quick, this will be easy, this will be inexpensive, they will see us as liberators, it's the right thing to do, are now telling us, 'It's the right thing to do.'

And there's more. Watch...

And for still more truth (which probably won't see much light of day on Fox "News") about the disastrous War on Iraq , please see our previous post...

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Oliver Willis helps set the record straight...again...
By Brad Friedman on 6/13/2014 3:06pm PT  

As Iraq seems to finally (and predictably) be imploding this week, longtime Republican apologists in this country are returning from their wingnut ghettos to mainstream spotlights once again to pretend this isn't the result of their unprecedented disaster of a criminal foreign policy.

Naturally, even eleven years later, they are still lying to themselves and everyone else about the Bush Administration and the Iraq War, including: The reasons we attacked the country, who did and didn't support the war of choice and why, and what role the entire clusterfuck of a disastrous pointless mess has played in our continuing American history.

Among the best and briefest responses to the newly invigorated round of Bush-era apologia disguised as (naturally, misleading and/or fact-free) Obama-era 'told-ya-so-isms', comes from Kurt Eichenwald on Twitter...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2014 6:05am PT  

Given that every Sunday network news show decided to completely ignore it, I thought it my duty to read the entirety of the leaked findings from the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA Torture and Detention on the air during this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio.

You're welcome, war criminals!

Also on this week's show, the continually growing evidence of the success of "Obamacare" (and a caller who self-identifies as "full on Left. I'm not even liberal, I'm further Left than that", who takes me to task for citing the facts) --- and why it's time for Dems to grow a pair and start running to not just retain the Senate but also take the U.S. House.

A word or two on home-grown Rightwing extremist terrorism and the fecklessness of the Dept. of Homeland Security which, thanks to bullying from Republicanists and Fox "News", cowered from and retracted their report on same back in 2009 despite the mounting death toll ever since.

Also, a bunch of good callers and more that you'll just have to tune in to hear about, including a visit by Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report and some other stuff. Enjoy!

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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GUEST: Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel, The Intercept...
By Brad Friedman on 3/13/2014 6:05am PT  

If you didn't happen to see what happened Tuesday on the U.S. Senate floor [full video/transcript here] when Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) unleashed a stunning 38-minute speech excoriating the CIA for spying on U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence staffers' work on a 6,300-page report detailing torture by the Bush-era CIA, you'll want to listen to this week's BradCast.

Even if you did see what happened on Tuesday, you should tune in to this week's show, as I suspect you'll get details on the various plots, cover-ups and related schemes that you haven't yet heard. I was joined to discuss the mess with our old friend Marcy Wheeler, the encyclopedic national security expert from Emptywheel.net and now Senior Policy Adviser at The Intercept.

She's been tracking this since at least 2009, and we went through the remarkable timeline beginning with Bush's "Enhanced Interrogation" torture program just after 9/11, through the CIA's attempted cover-up, shredding of videotapes and removal of documents from the Senate staffer's computers, on up to yesterday's explosive comments from DiFi and the implausible denials from CIA Chief John Brennan (and the calls for criminal charges by both parties) which Wheeler and others are now describing as a bona fide "Constitutional Crisis".

This is an extraordinary story. It's Spy v. Overseer; CIA v. U.S. Senate; Executive Branch v. Legislative Branch; DiFi v. Brennan; Hypocrisy v. Reality; Torture & Cover-ups v. Rule of Law & Constitution. And it all could, as Mother Jones' David Corn argues, very well "undermine the basis for secret government" itself.

In the second part of the show, we covered several much more encouraging news items from the past several days, as well as the latest Green News Report. Buckle up and enjoy!

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 9/11/2013 12:45pm PT  

Pretty incredible 12-year long animated GIF of the WTC site, on today's 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It's rather amazing and well worth checking out. [Click the sample frames below to be taken to the actual animation.]

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By Brad Friedman on 9/9/2013 3:06pm PT  

We have been working on a number of articles in hopes of highlighting concerns about the Obama Administration's so-far, evidence-free case for war against Syria in light of the August 21, 2013 chemical weapons attack said to have been carried out in a Damascus suburb.

But the matter is a quickly moving target, so to speak. While we hope to get one or more pieces out on those matters in the near future, Talking Points Memo has obtained and just released a document which they say was created by the Syrian government, is being circulated to "most offices" in Congress, according to TPM's sources, and offers the Syrian's case to the U.S. that diplomacy, rather than military attacks, is how they recommend proceeding.

The arguments presented in the 5-page document (posted in full below) on letterhead from the Syrian People's Assembly and signed by the assembly's speaker, Mohammad Jihad al-Lahham, urges the U.S. to "not rush into any irresponsible reckless action."

"You have the power and the responsibility today to convert the United States of America from the war track to the diplomatic path," September 5 letter reads. "We hope to meet there, and to talk, as civilised peoples should. We adopt a diplomatic solution, as we realize that war would be a bloody destructive catastrophic track, which does not have any benefit for all nations."

The letter attempts to play on the sympathies of the U.S. government and public's enmity for al-Qaeda and other "hatred Wahhabi Jihadist Ideology". It also makes a familiar case against military strikes by citing the follies of the Iraq War disaster. But it is the letter's direct response to "Alleged Chemical Attacks" that is most interesting for the moment...

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

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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!... ---

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