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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

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), Ra˙l 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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Letter Asks Companies to Implement VR's "Divestiture for Democracy" Recommendations!...
States 'Strong Position' that HAVA Funds should be withheld from companies that don't meet standards!
By Brad Friedman on 3/16/2005 2:59pm PT  

Last week, in his endorsement of Velvet Revolution's "Divestiture for Democracy" Campaign, Congressman John Conyers, the ranking minority member of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, said: "I applaud Velvet Revolution's actions and recommendations with regard to election machinery firms. I believe it is critical that we take every action we can to encourage these companies to help us restore our people's trust in our elections. I look forward to working with Velvet Revolution on this effort."

Today, Mr. Conyers kept his promise by joining with Congresswoman Maxine Waters in sending a letter to their congressional colleagues asking them to sign onto a letter to all nine of America's Voting Machine companies urging them to immediately implement the recommendations made by VR in the February 21, 2005 letter to the companies.

The letter to the companies, which they are asking colleagues to sign, restates the position that no government funding should be given to companies which do not voluntarily implement these standards!

From the Waters/Conyers letter to colleagues:

March 16, 2005

Dear Colleague:

As a result of HAVA, many states replaced their paper ballots with electronic voting machines. However, during the November 2004 Presidential election, there were a number of incidents that raised concerns about the performance, reliability and security of the voting machines.

The voting machine problems have spurred many members of Congress to take action and introduce legislation to enhance integrity of our electoral process. However, we believe the voting machine companies also have an independent moral obligation to take action to insure the existence of (1) verifiable paper ballots to enhance trust in vote tallies, (2) auditability of machines to enhance trust in voting technology, (3) non-partisan operation of election firms, (4) open and accessible software code.
Please join us in sending the attached letter to voting machine companies requesting that they implement these principles.

In their letter to the voting machine companies they state their position concerning the withholding of HAVA (Help America Vote Act) funding in no uncertain terms:

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.

For the complete text of both the "Dear Colleague" letter and the letter to the Voting Machine Companies, please click here....

Earlier today, Green Party Presidential Candidate, David Cobb endorsed VR's DV4D Campaign with a letter sent to all nine companies, as well as a letter of support to VR.

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Green Party Presidential Candidate Sends Letters to Vote Companies!
Urges adoption of VR Recommendations to restore 'Confidence in Electoral System', 'Respect for Voters' and 'Democratic Ideals'!
By Brad Friedman on 3/16/2005 2:14pm PT  

Green Party Presidential Candidate David Cobb has today sent a letter the voting machine companies of America, urging them to stand with Velvet Revolution's campaign to restore integrity to our country's Electoral Process!

Cobb, along with the Libertarian Party's Presidential Candidate Michael Badnarik, was responsible for the demanding a recount of Ohio's Presidential Election after thousands of documented irregularities began to emerge out of the state after the election.

A letter of support was also sent to yours truly as Co-Founder of VR.

Here is the text from Cobb's letter sent today to the leaders of all nine of America's major voting machine companies:

March 16, 2005

Dear {Voting Machine Company Head}:

As an American citizen and a recent presidential candidate, I want to have faith in the vote counting process. Unfortunately, with more than 50,000 documented instances of irregularities in the past election, I am unable to trust either the vote counting process or its results without an open, accountable and independent method of public verification.

Public involvement and oversight in the voting process is essential. The integrity of our democracy demands that steps must be taken immediately to restore faith in our elections and the winners that they produce. These steps must include: having a paper ballot for each vote cast, independent analysis of voting machine software and hardware, open software source code, no contributions from voting companies to candidates for public office, no networking of machines and the public dissemination of all relevant voting data and documents. These steps are supported by millions of Americans and scores of voting rights organizations including VelvetRevolution who has already contacted you in this regard.

Your company is, in essence, performing a governmental function by counting the votes cast for political candidates and ballot measures and therefore must be accountable to the voters. Unlike the past, where voting machines produced a paper ballot that was counted by elections officials, many voting machines now receive, store, and tally votes, all without a single elections official knowing for sure if the votes were properly cast and accurately counted. This has greatly undermined public confidence in our electoral system.

I am writing to you now to specifically request that your company demonstrate its respect for the voters of this country and its democratic ideals and take the steps outlined above to restore integrity, accountability and transparency to our elections.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

David Cobb
2004 Green Party presidential candidate

Please see this page for the letter sent to Brad Friedman.

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By Brad Friedman on 3/15/2005 11:47pm PT  

We were on last week, and invited back for regular visits on Don Grady's Louisiana Live. We like Don.

About 18 minutes on the latest DeLay ethics chicanery, Velvet Revolution, and Conservative bias in the media: Streaming RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, or MP3 Download.

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Tomorrow's Statement Tonight from the Second-Longest Serving Member of the U.S. House
By Brad Friedman on 3/15/2005 10:39pm PT  

Tomorrow morning at 10am ET, the honorable John Conyers will issue a Resolution of Inquiry in the U.S. House Judiciary Committee forcing both Republicans and Democrats to go on the record with a vote as to whether they believe the White House should come clean concerning the credentialing of hooker cum fake White House journalist James Guckert (a/k/a Jeff Gannon).

RAW STORY has some inside skinny on the maneuver. AMERICAblog has the details on where you can watch online.

BRAD BLOG has Conyers' statement...

Statement of John Conyers, Jr.
Gannon Resolution of Inquiry
March 16, 2005

We are here today because we have an Administration that is all too willing to flaunt the law, and a Congress that refuses to investigate even the most serious ethical transgressions. Whether it is torture at Abu Ghraib, sole source contracts with Haliburton, or the outing of a CIA operative, this Congress has been unwilling and unable to ask the hard questions or issue the difficult subpoenas.

We are here today because it simply defies credibility that a phony reporter, operating under an alias, who couldn't get privileges in the House or Senate press gallery, could receives scores of consecutive White House "day passes," without the intervention of someone very high up at the White House. Can anyone believe that while Pulitzer Prize winning journalists are being turned down for White House press passes, a fake journalist working for a Republican-controlled media front operation could receive virtually open-ended access to the White House press room in the absence of preferential treatment?

We are here today because the Administration has either rejected or ignored every bona fide request for information concerning Jeff Gannon. On February 9, Rep. Slaughter asked the White House how Gannon was able to obtain his special access - her request has been ignored. On February 10, Rep. Slaughter and I asked the same question of the Secret Service - we received a non-responsive response. On February 15, Rep. Slaughter and I filed a FOIA request with the Department of Homeland Security - again, no response. In the light of this stonewalling, we have no choice but to ask this Committee and this Congress to do its job and request these materials from the Administration.

We are here today because we are simply unwilling to tolerate the continued manufacture of news by our government. Taxpayers don't want their money used to pay reporters to recycle Administration propaganda. Citizens can no longer tolerate paying reporters for their opinions while we can't fund our jobs and poverty programs. Americans don't want the White House press room to churn out releases that reporters like Jeff Gannon plagiarize and report as their own.

What we have today is a government by fiat, not a system of checks and balances. If we won't investigate this scandal, where will we draw the line? If we don't act now, when will we say enough is enough?

On the money, and out of the ballpark as usual, Congressman.

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More GOP Congressmen Footprints in the Quid Pro Quo Money Trail...
Dirty Money, Dirty Politics and the Ethically Challenged Members of the 'Pro-Values' Party.
By Brad Friedman on 3/15/2005 9:09am PT  

So much for that quaint old "Rule of Law" thing that Republicans used to care about (when they were out of power). Dirty, dirty, dirty boys. RAW STORY once again has the scoop on the rope pulling down Tom DeLay and now more and more of his friends with him.

We get the feeling this thing is just beginning...

That said, DeLay and friends are attempting to defend the fortress by cooking the rules in the House Ethics Committee. They've gone so far as to attempt to change the rule requiring that a congressman must "...conduct himself at all times in a manner which shall reflect creditably on the House of Representatives." Of course they have.

Dems on the Ethics Committee are, so far, standing tough. But support from the people is paramount! Send an email to demand that legislators don't gut the House Ethics Rules!

UPDATE: Jesse Lee, the blogger of The Stakeholder is helping to up the ante on DeLay's plans for decapitating the ethics rules in order to keep himself out of trouble! See his post at DailyKos right away for more info!

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