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(Joyce was on jury duty this morning)
By Brad Friedman on 3/10/2005 2:16pm PT  

Rockin' and rollin' in the name of democracy at 6am(!!!) this morning on The Power Hour with Joyce & Dave. A very lively hour and a half interview with lots of really smart callers and a really smart host. Sadly, no wingnuts called in today. But we had fun anyway. Mostly discussed Velvet Revolution's "Divestiture for Democracy" and other missions for America, with a bit of Clint Curtis thrown in for flavor. Oh, and great election machine related bumper music to boot!

About an hour and a half: Streaming RealPlayer or Windows Media Player

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 3/10/2005 12:22pm PT  

Had a blast doing Harrell Carter's show out of WNWS in the Tennessee/Mississippi area. Was booked to do 30 minutes with him, and ended up doing an hour and a half. Discussed everything from VR to Clint Curtis to the state of the Media in America today. Lots of good calls, including quite a few wingnuts who are always fun to chat with :-)

Sadly, I had a problem recording, but will try to get an aircheck from the station. In particular, I think you guys will enjoy the last two calls taken. I know I did. If I can get at it, I'll post 'em.

Much rolling since posting of the Ray Lemme element of the Clint Curtis story yesterday, as you may have noticed.

As well, Feeney seems to keep digging. But the good news is, the House Ethics Committee has told him he has nothing to worry about. Well, that's a relief!

More on that, and a good deal of follow up to the many good comments and questions posted in the Lemme thread soon. Have been having many interesting phone calls and emails over the last 24 hours which I hope to speak about soon and/or when the time is right. Again, I beg your forgiveness for those to whom I am not able to reply. It's getting much harder to do so --- but I try --- and I do read them all.

For the moment, I've got a 6am(!!!) PST interview on The Power Hour with Joyce & Dave for which I need to go prepare by sleeping for an hour or two. I believe I'll be on for an hour and half and we'll be taking calls! So don't be a stranger...but leave a few lines open for the wingnuts! We'll be insulted if we don't hear from them!

Also looking forward to chatting with Thom Hartmann a bit later. And then a few more (see the list at the top of the main page). The word is getting out.

P.S. Great interview with Conyers in RAW STORY. There's still one or two of the good guys left in the Halls of Congress.

P.P.S. For those many of you who have sent in contact info for Det. Shannon Floyd. Got it. Thank you! I hope she will be willing to discuss some of these concerns and perhaps help clear some of them up.

P.P.P.S Should the troops come home? Send in your vote to Congress!

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2005 2:48pm PT  

Just finished an interview with Don Grady of Louisiana Live. Lots of fun. Discussed Clint Curtis, VR's DV4D Campaign and took some calls. Even from an angry Republican who it's always nice to hear from. He has (Don Grady, not he angry Republican) invited me back to "do this on a regular basis" and we're looking forward to it.

Here's today's interview. Just under 30 minutes in your usual choice of three delicious audio flavors: Streaming RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, or MP3 Download.

For reasons still unexplained, our interview scheduled for today with Louie B. Free on WWOW in Ohio did not occur. Hopefully that one will be rescheduled. Keep an eye on the list at the top of the main page for other upcoming live appearances when I'm able to keep 'em updated!

ReddIt this story!



Accused of Illegally Taking Luxury Golf Trips on Lobbyist Tab!
What? Unethical Behavior by Comrade Feeney? Say it ain't so!
By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2005 1:04pm PT  

Looks like our friend, Comrade Feeney (R-FL), has now been linked to the ethics scandal that's been plagueing Senate Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX).

Credit when it's (too rarely) due. In this case, to an investigative report from today's LA Times by Chuck Neubauer and Walter F. Roche Jr.

Feeney, who represented Yang Enteprises, Inc. (YEI) --- a Florida software firm which harbored at least one illegal alien indicted and convicted recently on espionage charges related to illegally sending missile chips to China --- is, ironically enough, throwing a "C'est la vie, Comrade Rather" fundraising party this evening. Feeney was YEI's corporate attorney and registered lobbyist for years while he was also Florida Speaker of the house before heading to the U.S. Congress in 2002. He was also Jeb Bush's former running mate in his first failed bid for Florida governor. He has also been implicated by programmer Clint Curtis for conspiring to build a "vote-rigging" program in 2000.

But according to the LA Times --- surprise, surprise! --- Feeney is being identified as having taken expensive luxury golf trips to St. Andrews, Scotland on the tab of a Republican lobbying firm now under criminal investigation.

From this morning's Times...

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

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[Updated]
By Brad Friedman on 3/8/2005 9:23pm PT  

We think it went very well!...Today's Blogcall press conference call is playing "LIVE" right now at RadioLeft.com. It may repeat throughout the evening.

[UPDATED] The Blogcall is now posted for posterity in the archives at WhiteRoseSociety.org for your listening pleasure anytime in the future.

The guests were myself and Clint Curtis, and we took questions for the hour. I also took the opportunity to break the news about this morning's Raymond Lemme story on the call...

UPDATE 3/14/05: The New York Times publishes an article on Blogcall after attending the above mentioned conference call. Our comments on their article is here.

For those just learning about the Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney/Yang Enterprises Vote-Rigging Scandal, please see:
- A Quick Summary of the story so far. -
- The Index of Key Articles & Evidence in the BRAD BLOG investigative series. -
ReddIt this story!



Even in Texas a few folks still care about transparent democracy! Who knew?!
By Brad Friedman on 3/8/2005 8:37pm PT  

George W. Bush's "hometown" Crawford paper, The Lone Star Iconoclast, covers Velvet Revolution's "Divestiture for Democracy" campaign! And they even got that good looking fellow we saw on ABC News yesterday to talk about it!

By the way, have you told America's E-Voting Companies what you think of them yet? It takes about 30 seconds!

ReddIt this story!



Raymond Lemme Crime Scene Photos Said Not to Exist are Published on Net!
Photos, Evidence and FDOT Involvement with Valdosta, GA Police Raise New Questions in Mysterious Death!
By Brad Friedman on 3/8/2005 2:23am PT  

The case of the mysterious suicide of Raymond Lemme of the Florida Inspector General's office was reopened by Valdosta, Georgia police last December shortly after we broke the story of computer programmer Clint Curtis' sworn affidavit charging that he had built a "vote-rigging software prototype" at the request of Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL)!

Furthermore, graphic and disturbing photos from the crime scene --- said in the original police report to have not existed due to a failure in the camera's "flash memory cards" --- have recently been published on the web!

Those crime scene photos, which clearly do exist, can be viewed via this link.
WARNING: THE PAGE LINKED ABOVE INCLUDES GRAPHIC MATERIAL!

A spokesman from the Valdosta Police Department has confirmed the legitimacy of the photos but has so far failed to explain several inconsistencies that the photos and materials from the supplementary detective reports reveal when compared to the original police report.

Supplementary evidence from the reports would seem to indicate that Lemme was not even in Valdosta, Georgia at the time that the motel receipts show that he had checked-in to the room where he was eventually found dead.

Furthermore, involvement from the Florida Dept. of Transportation (FDOT) may have lead to the quick re-closing of the case shortly after it was recently re-opened!

Lemme was the first official from the FL Inspector General's office to investigate the charges originally made by Curtis' 2001 whistleblower complaint at the FDOT, where he had gone to work after leaving Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI) in the wake several disturbing meetings at the software firm with Feeney and YEI's CEO, Mrs. Li-Woan Yang.

In Curtis' 2001 complaint to the IG's office, filed along with another FDOT whistleblower, he charged that an illegal Chinese alien was working at and committing espionage out of YEI and that YEI was illegally over-billing FDOT in a multi-million dollar contract. That contract, Curtis charges, was received with assistance from Feeney, who was, at the time of Curtis' original complaint, the Florida Speaker of the House as well as legal counsel and a registered lobbyist for YEI. Feeney had previously been Jeb Bush's running-mate in his original failed bid for Florida governor in 1994. Feeney now sits on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee representing Florida's 24th Congressional district.

The Chinese spy reported by Curtis was eventually indicted and pled guilty to espionage charges (see this previous BRAD BLOG report for more details). For their part, YEI was recently found --- in the IG's final report begun by Lemme in 2001 and finally released in February 2005 --- to have billed FDOT for more than $300,000 in "questionable charges" (see this recent BRAD BLOG report for more info on that).

THE 'BIG' CASE...

In his 2004 affidavit, Curtis describes a mid-June 2003 meeting with Lemme in which he claims that Lemme told him he "had tracked the corruption 'all the way to the top' and that the story would break in the next few weeks and I would be satisfied with the results."

On July 1, 2003 --- just two weeks later --- Raymond Camillo Lemme was found dead in a bathtub, with his arm slashed twice with a razor blade near the left elbow in Room #132 of the Knights Inn motel in Valdosta, Georgia; a border-town some 80 miles from Tallahassee, Florida where Lemme lived and worked.

A handwritten note, unsigned, was found by police on the desk in the room in a black leather day planner. Here is a photocopy of that note...

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

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(On Monday)
By Brad Friedman on 3/7/2005 5:35pm PT  

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And Other Brad-related Media Notes for the day...
By Brad Friedman on 3/7/2005 11:27am PT  

...Yes, almost literally NOW! Airtime is 12:30pm PT (3:30pm ET).

Discussing the Apple lawsuit (referenced in the previous article about the NY Times story on same) live on TV air. See previous item. No time to give details since they need me at the studio in an hour! To watch ABC News Now live on the net, I'm told you can go to ABCNews.com and click on "ABC News Now".

They also air, I believe in some cable markets, but no time to help with that.

Also...a quick teaser...more news coming either later today or in the morning on new developments in the Clint Curtis story!

UPDATE: 1:54pm Well, we believe that went well. Was nice to sit in ABC's LA Bureau anchor chair...and talk about how the mainstream media isn't doing their job :-)

More quick media points (and boy, we would love to get back to blogging instead of talking, but I guess this is necessary to help get all of these stories out there)...Just finished up a live UCLARadio.com on VR's "Divestiture for Democracy", which came in just as I walked in the door, so no time to let you know.

And about to do another one on VR's DV4D at 2:15pm PT for Pacifica network's national "Peacewatch" radio program with Verna Avery-Brown. (Just told it doesn't air live...so more info on airtime later).

As we've always told you...go make some noise. I guess we seem to be making a bit ourselves. That's gotta be good, right? Don't worry, we'll get to the promised Clint Curtis story developement soon!

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2005 9:05pm PT  

All BRAD BLOG readers know that we've never had anything but the kindest of things to say here about The NY Times! Especially about their very fine pre-Iraq War coverage and their unparalleled post-election coverage! So don't even bother to go searching these pages for anything but uncategorical praise for the old "Grey Lady".

That said, in a far more serious item here yesterday headlined "The Empire Strikes Back: Bloggers Under Fire", we mentioned being interviewed for a Times article which hits the stands tomorrow morning. The article has just been posted online tonight.

The Times' Jonathon Glater covers the recent test case in California which may determine, in California at least, whether bloggers are entitled to the same legal protections as print and broadcast journalists when it comes to things like protecting the identity of sources.

The superb coverage in that fine paper by the brilliant Glater, both opens and closes with ingenious quotes from yours truly:

If the court, in Santa Clara County, rules that bloggers are journalists, the privilege of keeping news sources confidential will be applied to a large new group of people, perhaps to the point that it may be hard for courts in the future to countenance its extension to anyone.

"It's very serious stuff," said Brad Friedman, who describes himself as an investigative blogger (his site is bradblog.com). "Are they bloggers because they only publish online? I think you have to look at what folks are doing. And if they're reporting, then they're reporters."
...
[blah, blah, blah...stuff in which Brad is not quoted...blah, blah, blah...]
...
Mr. Friedman, the blogger, said that ultimately, bloggers' role as purveyors of important information that traditional news organizations might ignore made online journalists more important than before, and so more deserving of protection.

"As the mainstream media has become more and more corporate and more and more like the governmental and corporate bodies that mainstream journalists used to report on," he said, "a lot of this stuff has fallen now to the bloggers - to do what mainstream folks used to do. It's still serving the exact same purpose: keeping the bad guys honest."

In all seriousness, it's an interesting discussion which, frankly, effects all of us much more than we wish it did. If only because of the nail hit squarely on its the head in that last quote by the devastatingly handsome Mr. Friedman.

By way of demonstration of the above point (the corporate thing, not the handsome thing), notice the following smart quote in the article made by law professor Susan Crawford:

"Under what circumstances should an online forum be forced to disclose a source behind information that they're posting?" Ms. Crawford said. "There is no principled distinction between a New York Times reporter and a blogger for these purposes. Both operate as news sources for wide swaths of the general public."

She makes an excellent point, but perhaps even more notable, click on that URL which The Times chose to use when linking to themselves.

Nuff said. For now. Other than to note that this article on legal issues and journalistic ethics was placed decidedly in The Times' "Technology" section. We have a feeling the MSM may still not be getting it. We'll give them another week or two.

UPDATE: The Times' Jonathon Glater, who wrote the above mentioned article, points out to us that, in the print edition, this story ran on the front page of the Business section (as opposed to "Technology" where it was in the online version).

ReddIt this story!



It Takes all Kinds...
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2005 8:19pm PT  

To be clear, most of the email we receive is extraordinarily kind. (And, while we're at it, apologies to those to whom we are, too frequently these days, unable to reply!) And then on occasion, we get something like this...

FROM: Fred [fmbuschhoff@removed for privacy]
SUBJECT: Closet Rushie?

Call me a wimpy liberal, but you sure sound like you're on Bill O'Reilly's payroll. There's nothing the right would like more than for people to think that people like you respresent the ideas of liberal Democrats. Your articles make Ann Coulter sound like she is both female and intelligent. Of course she does make a lot of money in her role of foul-mouthed cross dresser. Maybe it's just all about money for you too?

Ah, yes...the money...The big bucks we bloggers rake in more than makes up for all the long hours, Fred! We suppose the secret must now be out! That donations button is a big fat cash cow, baby!!! And thanks for giving us another excuse to link to it since O'Reilly was late sending his check again this month! That bastard... (Just kiddin', Bill! Who loves ya, baby?! See ya at the big Loofah Convention next month in Akron!)

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By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2005 1:02pm PT  

From Reuters:

"We want democracy in Lebanon to succeed. And we know it cannot succeed so long as she is occupied by a foreign power," Bush added.

Yes, he actually said it. And yes, our head may soon explode...

(Via the eagle-eyed Mixter at WatchingTheWatchers.org!)

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Throws 'C'est La Vie Comrade Rather' Political Fundraising Event!...
While continuing to protect actual Communist spies with whom he worked in Florida.
By Brad Friedman on 3/5/2005 6:16pm PT  

As reported in yesterday's The Hill:

Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.) is hosting a fundraiser Wednesday at the Capitol Hill Club to celebrate the last broadcast of veteran "CBS Evening News" anchor Dan Rather, who has long vexed conservatives with what they see as a liberal bias.

The "C'est La Vie Comrade Rather" event - for the benefit of Tom Feeney for Congress - will be held from 5-7 p.m., during which attendees will watch Rather's final newscast at 6:30.

Feeney told The Hill that the open bar will remain open only if guests drink from their left hands.

We find the irony of Tom Feeney hosting a "C'est La Vie Comrade Rather" fundraiser to be full of more hubris than can possibly be described in a single blog item.

So we'll just leave it to the reader to draw their own conclusions on that matter while reminding them that Feeney himself was, for years, the corporate counsel and registered lobbyist for a Florida software company run by Chinese nationals. A firm which has been confirmed by Federal officials to have employeed an illegal Chinese alien who has recently been convicted of committing espionage against the United States of America for illegally shipping Hellfire anti-tank missile chips to Communist China during the time in which they were represented by Feeney.

Feeney continues to have direct and sympathetic ties to apparent Communist harborer, Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI), an Oviedo, FL company which he represented until being elected to the U.S. House in 2002. The owners of YEI, and their attorneys, Feeney's former law partner, Michael O'Quinn, continue to be large contributors to the Congressman. As well, Feeney's 2004 campaign headquarters is still located in the YEI building, and YEI threw a private party/fundraiser for their longime friend Feeney in May of 2003.

Feeney continues to dodge all public comment about his years-long relationship and continuing close friendship with the Chinese owners of the firm where a convicted Communist spy was allowed to work openly during Feeney's tenure. He has also been accused of conspiring to create a "vote-rigging software prototype" at the firm during the same period.

Perhaps Comrade Feeney should be more careful what he crows about.

On the other hand, time in jail seems to have done wonders for Martha Stewart. So perhaps Comrade Feeney will soon find plenty of enlightening time in a gulag in the "red state" of Florida to reflect upon the difference between actual treason against this country by actual Communist operatives and friends of his who harbor them versus the made-up stuff he seems to enjoy using for his own political self-aggrandizement and financial opportunism at the expense of the livelihood of others.

(Hat tip BRAD BLOG commenter and patriot, "American Woman" for calling our attention to this story.)

For those just learning about the Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney/Yang Enterprises Vote-Rigging Scandal, please see:
- A Quick Summary of the story so far. -
- The Index of Key Articles & Evidence in the BRAD BLOG investigative series. -
ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 3/5/2005 5:05pm PT  

We were contacted this morning by a reporter from The NY Times seeking comment on the recent preliminary ruling by California judge which says that "bloggers should not have the same protection afforded to journalists under US law." The case, as reported by the BBC, has been brought by Apple computers against three different blogs who leaked info about products in development.

While we hadn't yet read up on that particular case, we were obviously able to speak from experience about our concerns of bloggers being forced to disclose sources. We have been given information from several sources on the condition that their identities would be protected since they consider that their lives could be in potential danger if they were to be exposed.

We believe our work here clearly demonstrates the need to protect the identity of such sources. Though, in truth, as discussed here recently when we "joked" that "our earlier shameless plea for donations" might soon turn into "a necessary collection for the official BRAD BLOG Legal Defense Fund" it may not be such a "joke" after all! "Real" "journalists" --- even those from The NY Times --- may not have the protection against revealing their sources that most people believe. And a few of them may soon be heading to jail in order to fight for that potentially-disappearing right.

And as if that is not troubling enough, take a look at this troubling interview on CNET with Federal Election Commissioner, Bradley Smith entitled "The coming crackdown on blogging".

It's a chilling interview really, so please give it a quick read. But what it seems to say is that unless legislation is passed quickly by Congress to rework the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Law, the FEC may soon be forced to regulate blogs such as ours and regard even links to campaign websites as "campaign contributions"!

If we read the article correctly, it would seem to be Democrats on the FEC whose votes may keep the FEC from fighting a recent court decision that removes the exemption from such regulation for Internet websites and blogs (we're attempting to get clarification on that point).

In the meantime, who else but Congressman John Conyers is the first brave legislator out of the box to state his unambiguous objection to this potential coming nightmare. In a draft letter to the FEC Chairman and Commissioners he responded quickly yesterday by writing:

...we urge you to remove any ambiguity and make explicit in this rule that a blog would not be subject to disclosure requirements, campaign finance limitations or other regulations simply because it contains political commentary or includes links to a candidate or political party's website, provided that the candidate or political party did not compensate the blog for such linking.
...
The past decade has witnessed exponential growth of the Internet, as well as in the number of Americans accessing the World Wide Web. Along with this growth has been the emergence of Web reporters more commonly known as "bloggers" who play a critical role in commentating on American political affairs and who seek to inform the debate in an environment that is generally accessible by all.

In our view, this "democratization" of the media is a welcome development in this era of media consolidation and a corresponding lack of diversity of views in traditional media outlets. Given the emergence of this new method of reporting and Americans' increasing reliance on it for their political information, it is critical that BCRA's press exemption should be clarified to apply to those who are solely reporting on the Internet.

Conyers to the rescue again!

Until recently, we had felt that any attempts to regulate blogging or "The Internets" would be quickly found unconstitutional even if mandated by legislative action. We didn't really take such a potential threat to our freedoms particularly seriously. However, the increasing number of news items on this matter pointing towards legislation and court-decisions leaning towards regulation has made us think twice about our previous position on it, and about what may lie ahead...

ReddIt this story!



Support Operation Truth!
By Brad Friedman on 3/4/2005 10:27pm PT  

Great American hero, Paul Rieckhoff (we wrote about him and his courageous statements against the way the troops were being treated back in May of last year after he returned from Iraq) has asked me to lend a link to his fundraising efforts for Operation Truth. Happy to. Please check out his site and support the great work he's doing by buying a few dog tags in support of our troops!

Also, keep an eye out for the documentary Gunner Palace, filmed by the troops in Iraq, which (we believe) he exec produced. Hopefully it's coming to a theater near you. We recently saw the trailer (you can see it online at the link above) and can't wait to see this film!

ReddIt this story!



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