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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, November 29, 2014
'KPFK' BradCast: Maine Mystery, Ferguson Fury and Thanks for Something
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

(or, Fool us twice, shame on us.)
(or, How Powell & I stopped worrying and learned to love the NeoCons.)
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2004 11:24am PT  

As the debate continues about the right thing to do in Iraq at this point, it seems a good chance to revisit some of the more memorable lines we were adamently sold by the Conservative Echo Chamber (dutifully selling the NeoCon Party Line of that Moment) in the not-too-distant past. Ah...the memories...

"Iraq is a grave and growing danger to the United States because they posess WMD's!"

"Don't worry! We'll receive the support of the Arab World once they see we're serious this time. They only respect and understand military might! Not political rhetoric, which they perceive as weakness!"

"Don't worry! Once it's clear we're really going to go in, all of our Allies in the UN will line up to join us! They know otherwise they'll be completely shut out from the spoils of war!"

"Don't worry! We'll be greed as Liberators! They'll be dancing in the streets welcoming us! You'll see!"

[After the "liberation" of Baghdad] "Don't worry, we'll find the WMD's! Iraq is a country the size of California! These things require patience!"

"Don't worry! After Sadaam is caught, the violence will end and people will start talking about where those WMD's are. They're just too frightened to do so until they know for sure that Sadaam isn't coming back!"

"Don't worry! We've got plenty of troops in Iraq!"

"Don't worry! It's just pockets of resistance, this is most definitely not guerrila warfare!"

Ah...those were the days....

And now we're supposed to rely on the same folks who sold us the above bill of goods to determine where we should go from here? Surely you're kidding...right?

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By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2004 2:39am PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2004 2:27am PT  

Kevin Drum on the blog job over at Washington Monthly:

It's funny that conservatives only started complaining about partisanship when the 9/11 commission started producing testimony damaging to George Bush, isn't it? But where were they when he resisted setting up any kind of commission in the first place? Or when he then tried to make a joke out of it by appointing Henry Kissinger as its head? Or on the repeated occasions when he stonewalled the commission when it requested needed documentation and testimony?

Histrionics are not the only sign of partisanship. On the contrary: although preventing an investigation because it might damage you politically is more subtle, it's every bit as partisan. What's more, it's probably more dangerous in the long run, especially when it comes from a commander-in-chief whose party controls every branch of government.

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By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2004 1:18am PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 4/16/2004 7:12pm PT  

Interesting cross examination of Rep. Patrick Toomey on today's Hardball. Toomey is running in the Republican primary against Sen. Arlen Specter, who Toomey describes as a "Liberal" --- just to give you an idea how far outta touch these Right Wingnutz are.

Anyway, Chris Matthews pressed him hard on his Anti-Abortion position, asking what he would do - after making abortions illegal in the US and in Pennsylvania as he supports - to enforce such a law.

Toomey started to discuss what would happen to the doctor, when Matthews cornered him to ask what would be done to the woman who - by Toomey's own terms - would be a murderer in such a case. Toomey hemmed and hawed and had no answer, but refused to suggest jailtime or anything like it for the woman.

Well done, Chris. Don't know why it all never occured to me in such stark terms before, but if the Anti-Abortionists believe that abortion is murder, one would assume they would back throwing a woman who "commits" one into jail. Or perhaps even sentencing them to the Death Penalty since it would be, by their own definition, a capital crime.

To date, I've yet to see a "pro-life" politician who called for anything but punishment of the doctor who performs the operation in such a supposed crime.

Is the Anti-Abortionists very own premise ("Abortion is murder") simply that weak? Or are they just too cowardly to actually stand behind their own purported convictions?

(I now look forward to DittoHead replies speaking to the Liberal position against the Death Penalty in lieu of an actual explanation for the hypocrisy of the Conservative position on Abortion. When you can't defend yourself, of course, attack the other guy. See any recent Bush attack ad on Kerry for further instructions.)

P.S. Catholic Priest and Novelist Andrew M. Greeley followed that segment on Hardball to toss in an interesting statistic. He once did a survey to find out who was both Anti-Abortion and Anti-War, both tenets of Catholic faith. The answer: just 6% of those surveyed were against both. Telling.

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By Brad Friedman on 4/16/2004 4:30pm PT  

So Jaime Gorelick should resign from the 9/11 Commission even though she already recused herself long ago from questioning any witness with whom she may have had a perceived conflict of interest while sitting on an exploratory commission who will produce a non-binding report of recommendations.

But Antonin Scalia should not recuse himself because there is no "appearance of impropriety" in flying on Airforce Two with the Vice President or going Duck Hunting with him while he is a Defendant in a major case pending before the Supreme Court of the United States.

It's Bizarro World out there I tell ya. More soon...

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By Brad Friedman on 4/15/2004 7:17pm PT  

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Attention 'Freedom Lovers'!
By Brad Friedman on 4/15/2004 6:37pm PT  

Überblogger Josh Marshall asked last night:

A quick question. In the last six weeks, how many documents has the Bush administration declassified for the exclusive and explicit purpose of attacking a political enemy?

Good question, Josh.

But he was on a late-night roll last night, posting this brilliant piece on the latest US/Israel/Palestinian muck that George W. has now signed us on for.

If you're not up to speed on the seachange that has just occured before our very eyes, and nearly behind our backs and certainly without our permission in regards to the US/Israel/Palestine thang and the profound effect it will likely have for years to come, I can't recommend that link enough. It's as if Dubya's now officially hellbent on taking us all down with him before his time is up in a few months.

But will we all make it that long?...And beyond?...If you really wanna be terrified, check this item that he posted just prior to the others.

That one, frankly, just scared the hell outta me when I made the mistake of reading it last night around 2am just before turning in for the night. I can't recommend it enough either. It's longer than the other, but worth the read. Just be careful if it's the last thing you intend on reading before going to bed tonight.

It's the sort of sobering reality that has actually forced me to consider supporting John Kerry. At this point, what Howard Dean said may be true, we simply can't afford George W. Bush in the Whitehouse, and if that means holding our noses and pulling the lever for Kerry, that may just be the responsible thing to do at this point.

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By Brad Friedman on 4/15/2004 6:11pm PT  

Somehow overlooked by Drudge, but reported by AP:

Some Iraqi nuclear facilities appear to be unguarded, and radioactive materials are being taken out of the country, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency reported after reviewing satellite images and equipment that has turned up in European scrapyards.

Now, the United States is responsible (legally - you know, Geneva Convention and all) for the security of a soveriegn nation that we are currently occupying. And, as I recall, one of the reasons (that later wasn't really the reason at all, but never mind...) it was so important for us to go into Iraq was to ensure they didn't share their WMD technology or materials with others who wanted to harm us.

But now we're not even guarding these facilities? And radioactive materials are getting out of the country?

The report goes on:

According to [International Atomic Energy Association Chief, Mohammad] ElBaradei's letter, satellite imagery shows "extensive removal of equipment and in some instances, removal of entire buildings," in Iraq.

In addition, "large quanitities of scrap, some of it contaminated, have been transfered out of Iraq from sites" previously monitored by the IAEA.

Good lord. No doubt it's all Bill Clinton's - or Jamie Gorelick's - fault.

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Flame Out? Or Set Up?
By Brad Friedman on 4/15/2004 5:46pm PT  

When DRUDGE talks, people listen. Despite Rush's claim to the contrary, it is Drudge that is "America's Assignment Desk".

Every newsroom, talk radio, newspaper, television station in America - and yes, even Rush himself - gets their daily assignments via Drudge's handpicked headlines. If you hear an interesting report on the radio, chances are Drudge had it first and that's where those guys found it.

So when Drudge declared the day before yesterday that "Liberal Radio Crashes and Burns!" - or whatever the sexy screaming headline was - without actually presenting both sides of the story,, leave it to every Conservative outlet, talking head, DittoHead in the country to run with it.

When you're starved for good news, you'll take anything you can get. "Conservatives" these days are, to say the least, hungry for anything to avoid the real shitstorm they're in the middle of.

For the record, Air America posted it's initial response yesterday on their website, explaining that the owner of the two stations in question that yanked AA from the air without warning did so "in violation of their contractual obligation". Whether that's true, I don't know. Though apparently the New York Supreme court agrees, at least enough to issue a restraining order forcing the station's owner to restore AA back to the Chicago station (over which, apparently, that court has jurisdiction). The Los Angeles case is still pending.

The AA press release to that effect is here. And also states in part:

The Sludge Report

After just two weeks on the air, Air America Radio, the fledgling liberal talk-radio network featuring Al Franken, Janeane Garofalo, and that really loud woman from Florida, appears to have encountered serious cash-flow problems.

Stop the presses!!! There's nothing more exciting than half a story from a third hand source!!!!

Insiders tell SLUDGE, that the reason the network was pulled off the air this morning in Chicago and Los Angeles, the network's second- and third-largest markets, was because, the owner of both stations, Arthur Liu of Multicultural Broadcasting, said, the network bounced a check and owes him more than $1 million! The run-on sentence, tortured grammar and the exclamation point clearly means it's true!!

Only it isn't.

Normally we'd let this go because “habitual liars” like Drudge are laughable, and ridicule is our business.

But  Arthur Liu --- not funny. He lied to us, he ripped us off and now we're chasing him down with a pipe wrench. It's a metaphor.

Here's what really happened:

This Liu-ser was ripping off our boss Evan Cohen big time (he can't do that, that's our job). Evan found out about it and he stopped payment on a check to keep Liu-cifer from ripping him off even more. You can touch Evan for the occasional meal or drinks but a million bucks is crossing the line. And if we ever get low on cash, we can always call Barbra Streisand. Or any of the
Baldwins. Except Stephen.

So we got screwed, Liu'd, and tattooed. How Liu can you get? In Liu of payment. Liu'd and lascivious behavior. These write themselves. What we're getting at is that we hate him.

So now everyone's saying we're going down the dumper in Chicago and Los Angeles, but what they don't tell you is that we're still on in Portland. And we OWN Portland. And let's not forget Riverside and Plattsburgh. And New
York.  And streaming on the internet. And XM. And Sirius. Actually we're fine.

So cool your jets. Air America Radio isn't dead, we're in court and we're going to slam Liu's head in a car door. Another metaphor. We hope to be back on the air tomorrow or the next day in those markets.

In the meantime, why don't you give Arthur a call at (212)966-1059, or check out his website www.mrbi.net

Arthur Liu, I wouldn't show your face around here.

Or Riverside. Or Plattsburgh.

DEVELOPING……

So, what do you think? Were they right to have removed it? Should it have been posted in the first place? Or was it simply - for those who actually know and listen to Air America precisely what you've come to expect and appreciate from the insightful start-up with a sharp satirical edge?

The BRAD BLOG thinks it was pretty funny, and a taste of - at least Drudge's - own medicine. But by any standards, I'd think it's "gracefulness" and "professionalism" is certainly in question.

By way of full disclosure: I look eagerly towards AA's return to the LA market. It was, even with all it's various problems --- to be expected in it's nascent stages --- a heaven sent first step towards balancing the remarkable imbalance that is currently on our - theoretically public owned - airwaves. In the meantime, you may listen online any time at www.AirAmericaRadio.com and I recommend you do.

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'Bush has everything he needs at his ranch!' claim the DittoHeads.
Tenet's testimony indicates otherwise.
By Brad Friedman on 4/14/2004 3:53pm PT  

The mantra from the Right is that, though Bush has spent 40% of his term away from the Whitehouse on his ranch in Crawford and other family retreats, he doesn't need to be at the Whitehouse in order to fullfill his duties. That he has access to everything he needs wherever he may be.

They have also gone out of their way to point out how --- contrary to reports from Richard Clarke and others --- he was fully engaged on Terrorism because he met every day with his CIA Chief, George Tenet, on precisely this topic.

Today's testimony by Tenet to the 9/11 Commission would suggest otherwise, however.

It seems that after Zacarias "The 20th Hijacker" Moussaoui was detained in August 2001 after suspicous behavior at a Minnesota flight school --- in the midst of the summer of unprecedented "threat spikes", when "lights were blinking red" and Bush had already received his now-infamous PDB warning of Al Qaeda's plans --- it was revealed that Tenet didn't speak to the President at all during the month while Bush was on vacation in Crawford, TX.

From the MSNBC report on Tenet's testimony today:


“He's in Texas and I'm either here or on leave for some of that time,” [Tenet] said. “In this time period, I'm not talking to him, no.”

A spokesman for the CIA later clarified that Tenet had flown to Texas to brief Bush on Aug. 17 and resumed regular briefings on Aug. 31 after the president returned to the White House.

After Moussaoui was arrested, Tenet and other top CIA officials received a briefing headed “Islamic Extremist Learns to Fly.” Tenet said that was Aug. 23 or 24.

Another self-deluding DittoHead myth falls by the wayside.

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Rush keeps Spinning the Unspinnable
By Brad Friedman on 4/14/2004 2:40pm PT  

Last night's prime-time press conference, which I spoke of previously, was just 40 minutes long after the opening statement, including just 15 questions of which few were actually answered, allowed 0 follow-up questions and featured 1 of the longest known pauses in Presidential Press Conference History as Bush was forced to admit "I wish you'd have given me this written question ahead of time so I could plan for it."

Yet Rush panted onto the air this morning to instruct the DittoHeads that last night was "A SLAMDUNK GRANDSLAM HOMERUN!"

Mixed sports metaphors aside --- one might wonder what the basis is for his claim, as the bulk of media reports have been contrary to that notion (though, as he also informed us, the Media is obviously now working for the Kerry Campaign).

Perhaps it was the overnight polls that told him so. But as of this hour, there have been no overnight polls yet released that I know of. There is, however, a "Live Vote" at MSNBC, an unscientific Internet Poll which shows that of 115,209 responses to the question "How would you grade President Bush's performance in the prime-time news conference?" The results were %34 Excellent/Very Good, %11 Average and a whopping %55 Poor/Disaster. Of course, that poll is unscientific, and therefore indicative of nothing. I report it only to be as irresponsible and misleading as Rush.

So could Rush's bluster have been little more than a desperate effort to try and rally Bush's rapidly evaporating base by suggesting something he'd like them to believe without any actual evidence to back it up? Who, Rush?

A few minutes later Rush referred to the Consumer Confidence Index as being at "an all-time high!" He didn't mention precisely which Index he was referring to, but such a claim should be easily verifiable somehow, right?

I checked the PollingReport.com's Consumer Confidence page which lists all of the latest polls on this topic. It was updated with polls released as recently as today (4/14). A check of the numbers on that page, however, would show anything but Consumer Confidence at "an all-time high".

Consumer Confidence, however, is based on little more than Confidence in the economy by the Consumer. A number that may be influenced by many things, including someone with a huge national listenership telling Consumers that Consumer Confidence is at "an all-time high".

Hmmm...I'm starting to suspect that Rush may have some sort of an agenda. That he may not be giving his DittoHeads the full story each day. It's almost as if he says untrue things in order to convince his millions of listeners that they are actually true despite all evidence to the contrary. Who would possibly be dumb enough to fall for that? Certainly not the DittoHeads, who as Rush likes to tell them, are "the smartest, most well-informed listeners in the country bar none."

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By Brad Friedman on 4/14/2004 1:05pm PT  

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Dubya goes primetime, for the third time since taking office.
By Brad Friedman on 4/13/2004 9:05pm PT  

From Bush's third primetime press conference. He took 15 questions. This is one of them:

QUESTION: Mr. President, why are you and the vice president insisting on appearing together before the 9/11 commission?

BUSH: Because the 9/11 commission wants to ask us questions, that's why we're meeting. And I look forward to meeting with them and answering their questions.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) I was asking why you're appearing together, rather than separately, which was their request.

BUSH: Because it's a good chance for both of us to answer questions that the 9/11 commission is looking forward to asking us. And I'm looking forward to answering them.

Well, that clarifies that. Next question!

And this, on how difficult it all is...

One of my hardest parts of my job is to console the family members, who've lost their life. It's a chance to hug and weep and to console, and to remind the loved ones that the sacrifice of their loved one was done in the name of security for America and freedom for the world.

Dubya-ism aside --- how difficult, much less creepy it would be to actually "console family members who've lost their life" --- the question is again begged as to why Bush has not attended a single funeral or memorial service for a US Serviceman killed in Iraq. Seems it would be a fine chance to actually hug and weep and console and remind. Clinton, Bush H.W., and Reagan all did so, but not Dubya. As of today he would have had 681 chances.

He did, however, as I pointed out yesterday remind us twice tonight that he visited injured troops finally on Sunday. Perhaps I'm too tough on the man, but that's "one of my hardest parts of my job".

And finally, as Bush/Cheney prepares to jointly "visit" with the 9/11 Commission, we leave you with one last quote from this evening...

BUSH: A country that hides something is a country that is afraid of getting caught.

There ya have it. The right man, at the right time.

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By Brad Friedman on 4/13/2004 4:34pm PT  

The disastrous pre-9/11 work of the Bush Administraton continues to come to light via the work of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission.

A number of understandable blunders came to light today as Attorneys General John Ashcroft and Janet Reno testified as well as several FBI Directors from both Clinton and Bush Administrations.

In addition to what's being covered today, there are a couple of notes from a Reuters report that seem to be flying a bit beneath the media radar:

· [A] commission staff statement focused on a Justice Department document that set out priorities for 2001 issued May 10 of that year. The top priorities were reducing gun violence and combating drug trafficking. It made no mention of counterterrorism.

· Then-acting FBI Director Thomas Pickard said he appealed to Ashcroft for more money for counterterrorism but on Sept 10, 2001, one day before the attacks on New York and Washington that killed nearly 3,000 people, Ashcroft rejected the appeal.

As I've stressed previously, both of the above issues, and others like them - by both Bush and Clinton administrations - are understandable in a pre-9/11 world.

The inexplicable fact remains, however, that the Bush Administration's adament allergy towards taking any accountability or even admit any shortcomings in that world is what's making the entire matter the media focus it's become. As usual, these guys are doing themselves in.

We'll see if Bush's rare Press Conference, in about an hour, will signal a new approach and include any humility or a whiff of accountability. I'd be surprised if it did, but it would go an incredibly long way towards restoring this collapsing Administration in the eyes of the American electorate who seem to be abandoning them in droves.

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