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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, July 31, 2014
FEC Commissioners at War Over Rove's Campaign Finance Violations
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The Bush-Supporting Journalist goes on Record in 'Vanity Fair'
And Congressional Republicans Begin to Question Blackwell!
By Brad Friedman on 2/9/2005 1:05pm PT  

The Nashua Advocate --- which has been doing some excellent reporting on Election Irregularity stories for some months --- breaks the news of Christopher Hitchens' story in the March 2005 Vanity Fair finally joining the chorus of folks questioning the Ohio results.

The subscription-only magazine lists the article in their contents as such:

OHIO'S ODD NUMBERS Are the stories of voter suppression and rigged machines in Ohio to be believed? Christopher Hitchens presents "non-wacko" evidence that something went seriously awry on Election Day.

The Advocate offers some quotes from the VF piece, as well as a few quotes from Hitchens in the past regarding George W. Bush.

Since we are otherwise busy working on some other stories, we associate ourselves with their reporting on this matter for the moment.

A quick quote from the Hitchens story via The Advocate:

Whichever way you shake it, or hold it up to the light, there is something wrong about the Ohio election that refuses to add up. The sheer number of irregularities compelled a formal recount, which was completed in late December and which came out much the same as the original one, with 176 fewer votes for George Bush. But this was a meaningless exercise in reassurance, since there is simply no means of checking, for example, how many "vote hops" the computerized machines might have performed unnoticed....there is one soothing explanation that I don't trust anymore.

Hitchens was one of the many nay-sayers about Election Irregularities in the past. Here he is in a previous post-election story in Slate:

Many are the cheap and easy laughs in which one could indulge at the extraordinary, pitiful hysteria of the defeated Democrats.

...And finally then, here's Hitch on John Kerry:

"I did not think that John Kerry should have been President of any country at any time."

The Advocate piece offers more and includes some of the Republicans in Congress who are now beginning to question Ohio's Sec. of State and Bush/Cheney Re-Elect Co-Chair, J. Kenneth Blackwelll, on his motives and behavior. Please check it, and the rest of their fine reporting, out.

UPDATE 2/21/05: The entire Hitchens article has just been posted online here.

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...And other details from Brad's Meeting with Clint Curtis in UT.
PLUS: Clint Curtis Answers Questions from BRAD BLOG Readers!
By Brad Friedman on 2/8/2005 8:35pm PT  

Regular BRAD BLOG readers know that we took the opportunity of an invitation to interview Clint Curtis live at the Freedom Cinema Festival in Park City, UT, recently to grab a few days of vacation via roadtrip on the way there and back.

Persistent (but finally waning) headcold, exhaustion, and a welcome lack of net access kept us from documenting the event in any more than scant details until now.

Some of the most notable results from the event are now still in-progress. So we're somewhat reluctant for the moment to show our hand on several of those in-progress connections made until more tangible fruit is borne from the various leads.

Holding back information from devoted readers is not something I'm entirely comfortable with. But we've learned along the way --- especially when dealing with issues of the potential magnitude of the Clint Curtis story --- that it's smarter, when in doubt, to keep cards close to the vest in such cases, even at the risk of off-putting readers.

We don't like to do it. But it is, apparently, a necessary evil if we are both to make headway and retain our fairly well-earned reputation here for getting it right, respecting our sources, and not giving away the ship until we are damned good and ready to let the chips fall where they may.

So, with all of that said, we hope to offer more details on the nefarious plans hatched and fruitful connections made via the FCF event when the time is right. Be that a few days, weeks or months from now as things shape up. We'll see.

What we can report on for the moment is how things went in general, our impressions of Clint Curtis after having spent a fair amount of face-to-face time, and his answers to some of the questions sent in by BRAD BLOG commenters prior to the interview...

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

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Article to hit stands and net tomorrow!
By Brad Friedman on 2/8/2005 3:05pm PT  

You thought the Clint Curtis story had run its course just because we've been otherwise distracted here over the past month by historic Congressional Electoral College challenges, Velvet Revolutions, out-of-town seminars and headcolds? Well, think again.

There are several media outfits currently looking at and/or working on stories that either report on "our story so far" or advance things a bit. Yours truly, whenever we can catch up with all of the above, to be included in that list.

Things are moving. And perhaps quickly. So we hope to catch up over the next couple of days where possible.

In the meantime, the next oufit out of the gate to touch on the Clint Curtis story will be yet another of Feeney's "hometown papers" (get those legal threat letters ready, Tom), The New Times Broward-Palm Beach, tomorrow morning in a piece by staff writer Trevor Aaronson.

The first article on the matter from The New Times B-PB --- which we have not seen but which has been described to us by a source at the paper --- reports on the several aspects of Curtis' charges against both Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) and Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI) which have already been borne out as accurate via reporting by The BRAD BLOG, The Daytona Beach News-Journal, other sources and their own original investigation of several related matters.

The bad news for Feeney is that much of the meat and potatoes of Curtis' allegations are about to receive even wider coverage in South Florida (Flashback to Curtis' affidavit [PDF] quoting YEI CEO Mrs. Yang: "You don't understand, in order to get the contract we have to hide the manipulation in the source code. This program is needed to control the vote in South Florida.")

The latest thorn in Tom Feeney's side is scheduled to hit the stands on Wednesday. We will, of course, offer a link to the online version of the article just as soon as it is made available to us. We're told it should be up by tomorrow P.M.

UPDATE 2/9/05: Aaronson's story at New Times Broward-Palm Beach is now online headlined "Pulp Nonfiction". And it's very well done. He's taken the basics of a rather complicated story, and made very readable sense of it.

We have only the smallest of quibbles with a few details, but believe they are worth mentioning here just to keep the record straight.

Aaronson writes:

On December 6, 2004, Curtis submitted to Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee a four-page affidavit detailing the meeting with Feeney.

That's true. Though they had already received it from us as the Affidavit was first submitted to us and released by The BRAD BLOG on the morning of the 6th. We, in turn, gave it to our sources on the House JC and infact set up the meeting in D.C. between Curtis and those sources in the first place.

Incidentally, we are given no credit by Aaronson for any of reporting beyond the generic mention of "Bloggers have reported on the story with idealistic conviction."

In truth, it's not really the credit that we want for ourselves in general, but in an age where bloggers like us and other Internet-only news sites (like RAW STORY, for example) are breaking stories that the corporate media is missing, and getting those stories right in the bargain, it's important that alternative newsweeklies like New Times give credit where it's due.

We believe they'd have likely given credit to a NY Times reporter had they first broken the story and continued for two months reporting new details on it regularly. And if outlets such as ours are going to receive the credibility they deserve (when they deserve it), alternative news outlets such as New Times ought to be giving us our due.

The other small, but notable quibble...Aaronson mentions in his reporting on Feeney's relationship with Yang (YEI):

"He ended the professional relationship, which had extended through all 12 years of his time in the state House, only after he was elected to the U.S. Congress in 2002...His 2002 congressional campaign even rented office space from Yang."

In truth, the relationship continues! Feeney's 2004 campaign continues to have its office and mailing address in the Yang Building as evidenced even today on Feeney's official website. (See the screenshots taken today below.) And both the Yang's, their company and their attorney O'Quinn (Feeney's longtime friend and former law partner at Fowler, Barice, Feeney and O'Quinn P.A.) were both substantial contributors to Feeney's 2004 campaign...in which Feeney ran unopposed.

None the less, it was a very well done article and we recommend you give it a read. We're sure Feeney's and YEI's attorneys will be doing so. We look forward to more investigation and reporting from Aaronson and The New Times P-BP.

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Okay --- so the moment was a week or two ago.
Sue me, I was busy.
By Brad Friedman on 2/8/2005 12:22pm PT  

A terrific (and very funny) Inauguration Day video mash-up from John Wellington Ennis' new blog Toolz of the New School.

John is just one of the many emerging patriots who have taken it upon themselves to be the media. Or, as his one-line bio describes him, he's "a director and producer who, after the election, couldn't take it anymore."

Good to have you in the growing club, John. Sorry it had to come to this. But, keep up the good work!

Now go watch his very fine video vandalism. Then do your part and help spread the word (as usual, the "Email it to someone!" link below makes that very easy!)

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Not Compassionate. Not Conservative. Not surprising.
Is there anything honest about this guy??
By Brad Friedman on 2/7/2005 8:06pm PT  

As mentioned...we're starting slow with more of the actual fun stuff still on our "desk" for the coming days.

For now though, a number of you have sent links re: Bush's latest anything-but-compassionate and anything-but-conservative budget presented today to Congress.

We're no experts, but from what we've read, it looks to be the usual masterpiece of bait-and-switch that we've come to expect from the current slicker-than-Willie occupants of 1600 Penn. Ave.

Below is a quick rundown from what just a few critics are saying. (In other words, analysis from people who have actually read the budget and crunched the numbers...rather than taking Fox "News" Channel's word for it.)

From Business Week's piece titled "Wanted: An Honest Budget"...

It gets worse. The President is sure to ask Congress to make permanent his previous tax cuts. At the same time he is proposing a five-year budget instead of the usual 10-year plan. That means most of the fiscal impact of his tax cuts won't be felt until he leaves office. And then it will be severe. [emphasis added] If all the 2001 and 2002 tax cuts are made permanent, the deficit will rise by an additional $45 billion in 2009. In 2012, the hit to the deficit will grow to $300 billion. President Bush may succeed in his goal of cutting the deficit in half by the end of his Administration, but he could easily leave behind a fiscal disaster that will drive interest rates higher and the dollar much lower.

From Alan Fram of AP:

President Bush proposed a $2.57 trillion budget Monday that would erase scores of programs and slice Medicaid, disabled housing and many more but still worsen federal deficits by $42 billion over the next five years.
...
Forty-eight education programs would be eliminated, including one for ridding drugs from schools...and grants to communities hiring police officers.
...
"It's a budget that focuses on results," Bush told reporters after meeting with his Cabinet. "The taxpayers of America don't want us spending our money into something that's not achieving results."

Yet largely because of Bush's plans for a defense buildup, this year's Iraq and Afghanistan war costs, and a handful of new tax cuts, the budget shows that deficits over the five years ending in 2010 would total nearly $1.4 trillion.

That is $42 billion worse than they would be if the government continued current spending levels and made no tax-law changes other than making permanent his already enacted tax cuts, his budget tables showed.

If these are the results he's looking for, one must wonder what his goals really are. Or do we have to wonder anymore?

Finally, BRAD BLOG's 2004 Man-of-the-Year, John Conyers, issued a statement today that gets to the heart of the matter (or the lack of heart, as the case may be). He criticizes Bush "for Snubbing Veterans, Slashing Law Enforcement, and for Turning his Back on Vicitms, Civil Rights, and Election reform".

It's the slap in the face against veterans --- during a time of War and $40 Million Inauguration parties --- that most sticks in our craw, and apparently in those of several callers even to Rush Limbaugh's show this morning.

As Conyers' statement puts it:

The President has turned the American economy from bad to worse. After four years of offering tax cuts for his richest friends and turning our surplus into deficits, the President has continued his trend of slashing important government programs. He is particularly cold-hearted in his treatment of veterans, those soldiers who fought bravely in wars he started. The President actually is going to charge veterans who lost limbs or suffered other trauma to pay $250 per year for prescription medications; their monthly copay would more than double to $15. The President's proposal is a slap in the face to soldiers making unimaginable sacrifices to serve our country.

But Conyers, as expected, notices what so many others --- Democrats and Republicans --- are already overlooking in their rich criticism of this should-be-dead-on-arrival budget:

Unfortunately, the President's plan does not stop there. This budget goes one step further to completely phase out election reform in the states. Despite the fact that this country has seen two presidential elections in a row plagued with voting irregularities and machine errors, the President wants to eliminate grants to states for election reform.

You bet he does.

Anyone surprised yet?

If you haven't already, please join the Revolution.

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By Brad Friedman on 2/6/2005 2:25pm PT  

The text below the above picture in the LA Times says:

First Day on the Job
U.S. Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales, the first Latino to become the nation's top law enforcement officer, greets Justice Department workers. He said combating terrorism remained the department's priority. "But we will do so in a way that's consistent with our values," he said.

That's precisely what we're worried about, Mr. Gonzales.

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By Brad Friedman on 2/6/2005 2:18pm PT  

It was rough going as we started sneezing about an hour out of the gate on Interstate 15 on our way up to interview senor Curtis at the Freedom Cinema Festival, and we've been under the weather ever since.

I suppose travelling across the country and up and down mountains isn't necessarily the best thing for a sloggy headcold and everytime we think we've shaken it (to quote Michael Corleone) "they keep pullin' me back in."

So with our health way below what it ought to have been after a couple of weeks away from "the job", and mountains of unanswered Email to climb and Velvet Revolutions to wage, we'll be starting slowly I guess. But a path is built one stone at a time. And so we begin again. Year number two.

A quick word of thanks to both our friends Fin and Winter Patriot for keeping the joint in such tip-top shape over the last coupla weeks. As much as I was draggin' ass throughout my travels, at least I was able to rest easy knowing the two of them were fighting the good fight and keeping things in good order here while I was otherwise occupied.

Please be sure to visit both of their excellent blogs regularly. Winter Patriot's is right here. Fin's What We Know is right here.

Aside from lending me a hand, I'm hoping they each had enough fun that they'll consider doing it again in the future if/when I'm pulled away by other projects and/or distractions. Several of which --- if some touchstones made at the FCF bear fruit --- just may be on the horizon.

But more on all of that, news from Clint Curtis in UT and beyond, and much more to come as we crank up again. Slowly.

NOTE TO MR. FEENEY: Yup, I'm back. Didja miss me?

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By Fin on 2/6/2005 10:15am PT  

Guest blogged by Fin

For those who wondered why Senator Feinstein didn't join Senator Boxer in opposition to Condoleezza Rice, we have this from The Byrne Report:

ON JAN. 18, California senator Dianne Feinstein introduced Dr. Condoleezza Rice at a Senate nomination hearing for Secretary of State in terms so saccharine that molasses seemed to ooze out of her mouth....That very same day, Feinstein's husband, Richard Blum, took advantage of a spike in the price of his URS Corporation stock. He sold a third of his holdings in the defense contractor for $57 million, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. With Rice confirmed, the business of death and occupation looks rosy as hell for Feinstein, who--let's get real--benefits tremendously from sharing community property with Blum....Hubby holds a controlling interest in another engineering firm, Perini Corporation of Framingham, Mass....After the Senate, Feinstein included, approved Bush's war plans in 2002, Perini's defense contract awards soared from negligible to $2.52 billion. But, as with many of the sole-source, open-ended contracts awarded to politically connected firms, there are problems with accountability. Last summer, Department of Defense auditors determined that Perini could not adequately justify its costs in Iraq as fair and reasonable.

Some would say it's just business as usual, but with 1,500 dead and tens of thousands wounded (both physically and psychologically), it all seems criminal.

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"a premeditated plan to reap unjust profits"
Courtesy of Russ Kick and The Memory Hole
By Winter Patriot on 2/5/2005 10:22am PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

In a few recent posts, I have mentioned Russ Kick and his twin websites, The Memory Hole and The Memory Blog. The most recent [February 4] item on The Memory Blog looks very interesting...

Snohomish County Public Utility District (PUD) today publicly released a new set of evidence showing Enron energy traders fabricated repair needs in order to take a Nevada power plant offline during the height of power blackouts in California in early 2001. The evidence also highlights illegal gaming schemes that crossed into Canada and involved senior Enron officials. PUD evidence reveals that Enron's market manipulation started at least two years prior to the western energy crisis as part of a premeditated plan to reap unjust profits from western consumers.

This would be bad enough, of course, even if Enron and Bush were not like this [holding two fingers very close together].

Click here for more details on the so-called president's close friends, and their high moral values...

UPDATE: Brad here, jumping in with a quick update to Winter Patriot's post. It's a quote from comments on this thread posted by Nana, but it deserves to be front and center. The fake California Energy Crisis of 2001 being a pet bugaboo of mine...Thanks, Nana.

"The California crunch really is the result of not enough power-generating plants and then not enough power to power the power of generating plants ..."

George W Bush
NY York Times, Jan 14 2001

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And this one comes with a question
No penalties for incorrect answers :-)
By Winter Patriot on 2/5/2005 9:49am PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

USA's new Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, has begun a week-long tour of Europe, during which she has been assuring foreign leaders that an attack on Iran is "not on our agenda".

Do you believe her?

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Story Critical of Defense Department Vanishes!
Expect More 'Information Warfare'!
By Winter Patriot on 2/4/2005 6:28pm PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

Early this afternoon, the lead story on CNN's main page was headlined "Critics question Pentagon news sites".

It began:

The U.S. Department of Defense plans to add more sites on the Internet to provide information to a global audience --- but critics question whether the Pentagon is violating President Bush's pledge not to pay journalists to promote his policies. The sites are run by U.S. military troops trained in "information warfare", a specialty than can include battlefield deception.

That story is now gone, and not a trace of it can be found. The CNN search engine can't find it. Google knows nothing. Interesting, no?

Why do you suppose CNN pulled it? You don't suppose they got any heat for it, do you?

And what do you make of the shift-of-tense? The first sentence says "[DoD] plans to add more sites", but the second sentence says "the sites are run". Is this story about sites that are already up and running? Or about sites that don't yet exist? Or both? I can't tell. Can you? We may as well assume the worst.

Further, what do you suppose it means by "journalists"? What do you suppose that word means in the context of the phrase "President Bush's pledge not to pay journalists to promote his policies"? How about "partisan hacks pretending to be journalists"? Do you think his pledge extends that far? Do you suppose Jeff Gannon qualifies as a "journalist"?

I still say we may as well assume the worst. We may as well expect more "information warfare". We may as well expect more "battlefield deception". We should never forget that "the home front" is considered "a battlefield", where those who can see through the propaganda, and who dare call it by its proper name, are considered "the enemy".

I wish I had saved more of that story. I wish I had read more of it.

Oh well. We'll find out soon enough. But not from CNN.

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He Said It In San Diego!
And NBC4 Has The Video!
By Winter Patriot on 2/2/2005 11:02pm PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

According to from this item from Southern California's NBC4, Lt. Gen. James Mattis, the Marine Corps' top general, believes that it is

"fun to shoot some people."

What? Yeah! Not only did he say it; he said it in public! Here's the video!

According to the NBC4 story,

Many military members laughed at the comments

but Retired Vice Adm. Edward H. Martin

"was a little surprised"

What surprised the Retired Vice Admiral? The attitude? Or the statement?

"I don't think any of us who have ever fought in wars liked to kill anybody."

Aha! It was the attitude!

You tell me. Who's kidding whom? The "surprised" Retired Vice Admiral? Or the "many military members" who "laughed at the comments"?

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The Writings of Robert Parry
'Favorite Writers' Series Continues
By Winter Patriot on 2/2/2005 11:24am PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

In a previous post, I highlighted Manuel Valenzuela, one of my favorite writers who did not make John Kaminski's Top 25. Valenzuela writes long essays composed of long sentences; his pieces require substantial time and effort --- to read! Imagine what it takes to write them...

Let's go a different direction this time: Robert Parry writes fairly short pieces using short and simple sentences. But that's not why I like him so much. I like him because he never seems to get distracted from the major issues. He just keeps pounding away, hoping that eventually some of it might start to sink in. And maybe it will. Someday.

Most of what Parry writes, most of what we read and see and think every day, every little bit of what we think of as 'political reality', can be better understood against the backdrop of Bush's 'Perception Management' Plan. If you haven't read this important essay yet, please do so.

You can find Robert Parry at Consortium News. Or you can click on the links here to read his most recent columns:

Your comments, as always, are invited, and welcomed...

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This one is Completely Open!
No question, no nothing!
By Winter Patriot on 2/2/2005 10:10am PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

You have the floor...

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Major Political Crisis! Troops In The Streets!
Unconstitutional? So What??
By Winter Patriot on 2/1/2005 3:41pm PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

Yes, It has really happened. Not here, but in Nepal. It's been in the cards for a long time, but nobody could do anything to stop it. Sound familiar?

Pay attention, folks. This is what it looks like when a fragile democracy goes down the drain.

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