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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, July 1, 2015
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

Um...Sort of.
By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2005 5:43pm PT  

Today we attempted to get some more information about the "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR), a group who suddenly appeared on the Internet last Thursday. On Monday, they gave testimony to U.S. Congressman Bob Ney's (R-OH) House Administrative Committee during hearings held in Columbus, OH on the 2004 Election mess in the state.

(Please see this previous BRAD BLOG article for the emerging background on this supposedly "non-partisan" tax-exempt organization which was the only such "Voting Rights" group invited to give testimony at the hearings. And, oh yes, every single name attached to this group so far seems to also be attached to Bush/Cheney '04 Inc. and/or the Republican National Committee and/or the Ohio Republican party.)

Mark F. (Thor) Hearne, II --- the National General Counsel for Bush/Cheney '04 Inc. --- gave testimony for the group and is listed on the U.S. House Administrative Committee website as simply "National Counsel, American Center for Voting Rights". No mention of his current high-level connections to Bush/Cheney and his long history of working with other powerful Republican officials all the way back to his time working for the Reagan Administration.

We called him this morning to see if we could ask him a few questions about the ACVR, his involvement as their apparent-organizer and his role as lead contributor for the 31-Page report [PDF] on the Ohio Election produced by the ACVR in time for Monday's hearings.

Hearne's response, "Not right now...Send me some information about who you're involved with and I'll give you a call back."

We persisted nonetheless, and asked if he could describe any of the "voter education and outreach" programs which the "About Us" page at the ACVR website describes as one of their activities. Or if he could tell us about any of the "symposiums and conferences" the group claims to be sponsoring as also mentioned on the site.

His response, "We certainly anticipate those. You keep an eye on our website."

We pressed on...

BRAD BLOG: How is it that you guys were invited to testify for a U.S. House Committee hearing after just forming so recently?

MARK F. (THOR) HEARNE, II: You'd have to ask the [House] committee...

BB: But to be invited as the only such organization so quickly after being formed? How did that happen?

HEARNE: I couldn't tell you. We're out here doing what we're doing and we accepted the offer.

He was, indeed, rather terse in the answers to our attempted questions, and so we wondered why he didn't wish to be more forthcoming about his "non-partisan" group.

"Sounds to me like your coming from the Left," he told us.

We informed him that --- though we think didn't think any of our questions were particularly partisan or Left-like --- he might well say that we are indeed coming from the Left. Nonetheless, we consider free and fair elections to be a non-partisan issue. As his website claims to be a non-partisan organization, we figured he wouldn't mind answering some questions about it.

Mr. Hearne told us to "Email me some information on who you are and I'll get back to you."

We have done so and look forward to his call and a report here on his answers to some of our many concerns.

Next we tried a call to Jim Dyke who is listed as the "contact" in a press release issued Monday by AVCR.

Dyke, we have subsequently learned, also happened to have been the Communications Director for the Republican National Committee during the 2004 Election.

Perhaps he would be more open with us about this nascient group and their seemingly newfound concern for "Voting Rights" in America. Indeed, Dyke was much more willing than was Hearne to speak at length with us...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2005 3:33pm PT  

If you had any questions about what sort of fellow Ohio Secretary of State (and Co-Chair for Ohio's Bush/Cheney '04 campaign) J. Kenneth Blackwell is give a quick listen to this 4-minute audio report on yesterday's hearings from Ohio Public Radio featuring some of the heated exchanges between His Arrogance Mr. Blackwell, and some the questioners.

(See our previous report explaining this rare appearance by Blackwell who has, until now, snubbed all such hearings at which he was called to testify and refused to answer a single question about the 2004 Election which he was designated to oversee as "fair and impartial" arbiter.)

Additionally, we received this report from a congressional staffer who was inside the hearing room in Columbus on Monday:

In a complete abrogation of protocol, he refused to shake the hands of a fellow witness, Ohio Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones.

When Miss Tubbs Jones called him out on it, Blackwell explained that he wanted to see "how she acted" before he was willing to shake her hands. As if she was the one responsible for the voting rip-off and long lines in Ohio.

Because of his stonewalling during the question period, Tubbs Jones was forced to declare that Blackwell would have to "haul butt" if he wouldn't respond to his questions.

When called to task concerning the absurd paper weight requirements, he left the explanation for a staffer, and than left and made an obnoxious salute gesture toward the Democrats on the panel Ranking Member Millender McDonald and Tubbs Jones.

(Hat tip to BRAD BLOG commenter, "MelissaB", for the link to the audio report!)

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DeLay and Ethically Challenged Cronies Feel the Heat...
By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2005 10:19am PT  

We remember an episode of COPS some year ago when a perp was hiding beneath an overturned kiddie pool. When the police lifted the pool, the perp didn't move. We remember having the feeling he must have been thinking, "I'm invisible, I'm invisible. Please God make me be invisible."

It looks like Republican House Majority Whip, Tom Delay, and his co-conspirators at the National Republican Congressional Committee are trying a similar tactic.

(BTW, it didn't work for the perp on COPS either.)

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6-Day Old Tax-Exempt Group Run by High Level GOP Operatives!
(GOPUSA/Talon News, Anyone?)
By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2005 7:01pm PT  

Republicans seem to have a new found interest in the Electoral Reform movement. An article today from the extremist rightwing web publication WorldNetDaily attacks Sen. Hillary Clinton's election reform bill with quotes from several critics, but none from either Clinton or other supporters of the bill.

In Ohio, state Republican legislators are attempting to raise the cost for candidates seeking a recount after an election. While in Georgia, Republican legislators are trying to pass laws requiring voters to produce Photo ID at the polls.

And yesterday, Ohio Republican Congressman, Bob Ney, chairman of the U.S. House Administrative Committee held hearings in Columbus on the massive reported problems during the 2004 Presidential Election in the Buckeye state.

Perhaps something is suddenly causing Republicans to try and get on the offensive when it comes to the drumbeat of Election Reform now surging across America.

But it's a brand-spanking new, outta-nowhere, just-in-time-for-yesterday's-hearings, Talon News-like "Voting Rights" organization that has caught our eye for the moment.

As reported here earlier today, the U.S. House Administrative Committee hearings yesterday in Columbus featured testimony from St. Louis attorney, Mark F. (Thor) Hearne, II of the "non-partisan" American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR).

According to Internic records, the ACVR was established on the web just last Thursday and early investigation into this group would seem to indicate that it is little more than a front group for Republican operatives with little or no interest in actual "Voting Rights" at all.

While Hearne is listed as a witness for yesterday's hearings on the U.S. Committee for House Administration website as "National Counsel, American Center for Voting Rights", there is no mention of his affiliation or extensive work for Bush/Cheney '00, '04 and other Republicans.

Hearne, a former Reagan Administration official, is the National Election Counsel to Bush-Cheney '04 Inc. and was Missouri counsel to Bush-Cheney ?00 Inc. As well, he was General Counsel to Republican Missouri Governor Blunt.

He is pictured, at a March 5, 2005 Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) reception in Ohio, at the bottom of this article. The RNLA is an off-shoot of the national Republican Party.

But Hearne is not the only high-level Republican operative working for the tax-exempt "non-partisan" 501(c)3 organization...

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

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Director of 4-Day Old Group Called as Expert Witness along with Blackwell in U.S. House Hearings Yesterday.
By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2005 12:50pm PT  

Yesterday, in Columbus, OH, the U.S. House Committee on House Administration held a hearing on the mess otherwise known as the 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio.

Unlike the previous hearings last December in Columbus run by Democratic members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, this committeee, led by Ohio Republican Congressman Bob Ney was given a hearing room in Ohio's State Capitol building. (The Judiciary Committee member's hearings last year had been originally scheduled to take place in the statehouse, until "someone" decided they were not welcome there. But we digress.)

Ney has been a big supporter of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), and has shown an interest on the CHA website in doing everything possible to leave the flawed Help America Vote Act (HAVA), hastily passed in the wake of the 2000 election debacle, in place and unchanged so that things like mandatory paper ballots with every vote cast cannot be amended to the law. HAVA sets asides millions of federal dollars for the purchase of new electronic voting machines from a few select private companies.

Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, tasked with running a free and fair election in the Buckeye state last November --even while he was tasked with being the OH Co-Chair for the Bush/Cheney Re-Elect Committee --- finally decided to show up and take some questions yesterday.

As well, a Republican operative by the name of Mark F. (Thor) Hearne was also called as a "Witness" to discuss Election Reform issues despite fronting an organization, the so-called "American Center for Voting Rights" which suddenly appeared out of nowhere on the web just last Thursday.

Last month, Blackwell had succeeding in displeasing even his theoretical Ohio Republican ally, Ney, by refusing to attend the committee's first such hearings in D.C. Even though Blackwell was already in town.

Yesterday, however, he finally showed up...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2005 7:01pm PT  

From today's Doonesbury, in which Roland Hedley has replaced Jeff Gannon in the White House press corps...

...And also from today's paper...

Zeitgeist, anyone?

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While ABC Pulls the Plug
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2005 11:10am PT  

While listening to CBS News Radio last night, a spokesman from the Schiavo camp was quoted as saying something along the lines "We're so pleased that the broad majority of the American people have really pulled together to get behind the case for Terry Schiavo to save her life."

There was no alternate view presented in the story. Which is odd, given how we've been repeatedly told by the wingnuts what a bunch of leftie, pinko, commie, Bush-haters CBS News is.

And now this from Reuters:

Poll: Most Think Congress Wrong on Schiavo Case

Americans broadly and strongly disapprove of the intervention by Congress in the case of Terri Schiavo and most believe lawmakers are using her case for political gain, according to an ABC News poll published on Monday.

Seventy percent deemed the congressional intervention inappropriate, while 67 percent said they believe lawmakers became involved in the Schiavo case for political advantage rather than the principles involved.

Wow. Who knew? It's almost as if CBS News isn't quite the bunch of leftie, pinko, commie, Bush-haters that the Wingnuts would have us believe. We're starting to feel the Right just may not be telling the whole truth to the American people. We are beside ourselves with disillusionment. What next? A new poll telling us that Steroids in Professional Baseball is not the most pressing and divisive issue facing our country today?!

UPDATE: Washington Post is reporting that all of this hullaballoo about Schiavo may just be a trumped up political issue or something! What?! Apparently a memo was distributed to all Senate Republicans on this matter according to the leftie, commie, pinko Bush-haters of ABC news [emphasis added]:

This is an important moral issue, and the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate is debating this important issue...This is a great political issue, because Senator Nelson of Florida has already refused to become a co-sponsor and this is a tough issue for Democrats.

Oh, boy. Now we're really confused! We're just waiting for the Blame America First crowd over at ABC to tell us that, in reality, Saddam Hussein didn't topple the World Trade Center! Geez...

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Members convey 'moral and patriotic duty' to implement standards or face loss of Government Funding!
State that HAVA funding should only go to 'firms that abide by these principles'!
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2005 6:00pm PT  

Congressional support for VR's "Divestiture for Democracy" campaign continues to build strength as TWENTY-THREE U.S. House Members signed on to a letter sent late Friday to the nine major American Voting Machine companies!

The letter, authored by Rep. Maxine Waters and Rep. John Conyers (reported here late last week), demands transparency and accountability from the private companies which now run the public function of America's electoral system. The Congressional members outline --- in no uncertain terms --- their position that all government funding should be withheld from companies that do not comply with the standards originally set forth in VR's February 21 letter to the companies.

From the recent Congressional letter:

For the sake of our democracy, we believe you have a moral and patriotic duty to help eligible voters participate in and trust our electoral process. That is why we are urging you to adopt these common sense principles as expeditiously as possible.

It is our very strong position and belief that only firms that abide by these principles deserve funding under the Help America Vote Act. We will do everything in our power to see that non-complying firms do not receive such funding.

The letter was signed by the following U.S. House members: John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Sam Farr (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rick Boucher (D-VA), Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH), William D. Delahunt (D-MA), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Corrine Brown (D-FL), Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Robert Wexler (D-FL), James Oberstar (D-MN), Ral Grijalva (D-AZ), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Donald M. Payne (D-NJ), Barney Frank (D-MA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), George Miller (D-CA), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) and Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ).

The members have asked for a reply from the companies no later than April 15, 2005. A copy of the complete signed letter is posted here.

As well, Conyers, sent another letter to me (as co-founder of Velvet Revolution) to inform us of this latest Congressional effort and his continuing commitment to the fight which VR began with our DV4D campaign. That letter is also posted at VR.

Twenty-three signers, we are told, is rather impressive for such a letter. As one congressional aide mentioned on that point via email, twenty-three signatures is "really good for a letter that kicks around a few weeks, let alone one that has circulated in just the last several days. Congrats! Wow!"

We suppose that must be attributed to the notion that supporting democracy in America really shouldn't be all that controversial an issue!

VR's "Divestiture for Democracy" Campaign, allows 60 days for the companies to announce their intentions of adopting the standards or face a massive divestiture effort to be launched against those companies (and their affiliates and clients) who choose to ignore the steps which so many Americans find necessary to restore confidence in America's electoral process. If you have not already done so, please click here to send an email to the companies yourself! It'll take you less than a minute yet means a lot!

Conyers had previously endorsed VR's "DV4D" campaign on March 2nd. And last week, Green Party Presidential Candidate, David Cobb, sent his own letter to America's Voting Machine Company strongly endorsing VR's campaign.

For more information on Velvet Revolution's "Divestiture for Democracy" campaign, please write to DV4D@VelvetRevolution.us.

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By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2005 3:22pm PT  

{ed note: We love Tom Tomorrow, but --- though he mentioned them --- none of the above could have been possible without the cooperation of Democrats like Sen. Joe Biden. Any Dem who would sell out the best interests of their constituents, as the Bankrupty Bill does, for a few thousand dollars from the Credit Card industry, deserves to be tied to the railroad tracks as well!}

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This Time About North Korea...
(Apparently truth-telling is not one of those 'Moral Values' we've heard so much about.)
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2005 10:58am PT  

The beat goes on. We are hated by the world not because of our "freedom", but because of a hypocritical foreign policy that has gone on for decades and --- even in the wake of 9/11 --- continues to this day.

The latest hypocrisy, blaming North Korea for nuclear exports to Libya, when it fact it was our (theoretical) "ally" Pakistan who did the deal.

From today's Washington Post...

In an effort to increase pressure on North Korea, the Bush administration told its Asian allies in briefings earlier this year that Pyongyang had exported nuclear material to Libya. That was a significant new charge, the first allegation that North Korea was helping to create a new nuclear weapons state.

But that is not what U.S. intelligence reported, according to two officials with detailed knowledge of the transaction. North Korea, according to the intelligence, had supplied uranium hexafluoride --- which can be enriched to weapons-grade uranium --- to Pakistan. It was Pakistan, a key U.S. ally with its own nuclear arsenal, that sold the material to Libya. The U.S. government had no evidence, the officials said, that North Korea knew of the second transaction.
...
The Bush administration's approach, intended to isolate North Korea, instead left allies increasingly doubtful as they began to learn that the briefings omitted essential details about the transaction, U.S. officials and foreign diplomats said in interviews. North Korea responded to public reports last month about the briefings by withdrawing from talks with its neighbors and the United States.
...
"The administration is giving Pakistan a free ride when they don't deserve it and hurting U.S. interests at the same time," said Charles L. Pritchard, who was the Bush administration's special envoy for the North Korea talks until August 2003.

"As our allies get the full picture, it doesn't help our credibility with them," he said.

Look the other way Bush supporters. Heads back in the sand! And when another 9/11 happens, be sure to tell yourself it's because "they hate our freedom". Not because we look the other way when our "friends" --- the chosen despots and U.S. approved villians --- destabilize the world (see friends and business partners Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein at right) even while we trump up phoney-baloney charges against those regimes which won't play ball and/or don't serve our current economic interests.

It's nothing new. It's just more brazen than ever with this bunch and, in the wake of 9/11, more shamefully obvious and more clearly self-defeating than ever. A very good lesson apparently not learned.

"Freedom" American Style continues on the march...

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(The one you didn't get on Fox "News")
By Brad Friedman on 3/19/2005 11:48pm PT  


(Click here for a worldwide celebration of "freedom on the march")

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As the Empire Crumbles in the Bargain...
By Brad Friedman on 3/19/2005 11:15am PT  

God Bless Media Matters.

In a single day yesterday, they tracked what appears to be an epidemic growing number of lies and disinformation now streaming out of the Rightwing Media and, most specifically Fox "News", in an alarming and every increasing tsunami of governmental propoganda.

With the White House now defending the millions of dollars spent to create their very own fake "news" reports and Arnold doing the same out here in California, is it any wonder that the wingnut media seems to feel no compunction about saying whatever they want, whenever they want, all the facts be damned. After all, who is going to stop them?

And, in the meantime, where is the "real" media? Where are the freedom fighters for reality and truth? Where are the mainstream reporters who ought to be exposing this organized and invidious scheme which has quietly --- yet in plan sight and without repercussion --- layered out-and-out lies, disinformation and propoganda directly into the news "mainstream" where Americans by-and-large haven't a clue that they are being played for fools? The corporate mainstream media has completely abandoned their post and their duties as truth tellers for the American people.

Take a look at a list of a few reports --- just yesterday alone --- from the dedicated heroes at Media Matters...

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

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By Jaime on 3/18/2005 11:40pm PT  

Guest blogged by Jaime

Hey. Jaime Here. Friend of Freedom Fighter Friedman and occaisional guest blogger and contributor. As you all know, tomorrow, March 19th is the 2nd anniversary of George W. Bush's illegal invasion of Iraq. I just wanted to put out a call for you folks to network and clear up some time to join one of the many protests worldwide this weekend. Here are some of links with vital information of the whats, whens, and wheres.

ANSWER LA
UNITED FOR PEACE
STOP THE WAR
INDYBAY.ORG
NOT IN OUR NAME

Get out there and get active!

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Media Tour Continues, More Americans are Dead in Iraq, but more importantly, Steroid Use in Baseball Must be Stopped Immediately!
By Brad Friedman on 3/18/2005 1:52pm PT  

The magical mystical media tour continues, but I am otherwise alive and well. Spent the bulk of yesterday being interviewed on camera by some documentary filmmakers. More on that at a later date, but that's just one of the matters that has kept me largely out of Bradville here for the last day or so.

We seem to be doing a decent job of getting the word out about the stories being reported here on The BRAD BLOG and the work on Velvet Revolution. (We hope to have more exciting info soon, btw, concerning VR's DV4D Campaign...and yes, more actual reporting here on BRAD BLOG!)

In the meanwhile, before we can get back up and rolling here at fullspeed, here's a link to Doug Basham's website where he's featuring the radio interview we did this morning during drive-time on his Las Vegas radio show. (Scroll down the page a bit until you see my picture and/or name). The interview is about an hour, but the killer opening that Doug put together at the top of the show rocks! We believe he may be the first person in the broadcast media to actually play clips of Clint Curtis' sworn testimony before members of the U.S. Judiciary Committee on the air! (The full video of that testimony has, of course, been available here at BRAD BLOG for months.)

We'll be back soon. In the meantime, feel free to use this as an open thread and/or chat about the most important issue of our day! No, not the thousands of dead Americans and Iraqi Civilians in Iraq. Not the White House's fake news media operation. Not the daily presence of a hooker within knife throwing distance of an American President. Not the Bankruptcy bill or the gutting of ANWR for six months of oil, or the fake crisis in Social Security, or an electoral system going down the drain...No, it's Congressional hearings on the use of steroids in baseball! Glad to know the Republicans controlling Congress are looking out for the American people...Unbelievable...Have at it.

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By Brad Friedman on 3/16/2005 10:01pm PT  

About an hour or so with Mark Levine of Inside Scoop, D.C. Making noise inside the beltway (Hi Tom!) Some great calls and good discussion of the usual suspects (FeeneyGate, Velvet Revolution, Blogging and the Conservative bias in the Corporate Media, etc).

Mr. Levine is a swell host, and a hell of a nice guy (doesn't hurt that he's a big BRAD BLOG fan either!) Also, we were able to break the news about the David Cobb VR Endorsement live on his show since we received notification via email while we were rolling...

Best of all, he's popping for the bandwidth for today's archived show! Thanks, Mark!

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