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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

(Good riddance!)
By Brad Friedman on 5/24/2004 1:51pm PT  

No...this story isn't from The Onion! And I checked the calendar, it's not April 1.

This is actually the lead story from the front page of WorldNetDaily! The far right "news" site that, I guess, expects us to take their views seriously. Or expects their regular readers to do so. Or expects "Christians" to do so. Or something...

Christians look to form 'new nation' within U.S.
Same-sex marriage called last straw prompting plan for 1 state to secede

By Joe Kovacs
© 2004 WorldNetDaily.com

Calling the approval of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts "the straw that broke the camel's back," a group of Christian activists is in the beginning stages of an effort to have one state secede from the United States to become its own sovereign nation.

"Our Christian republic has declined into a pagan democracy," says Cory Burnell, president of ChristianExodus.org, a non-profit corporation based in Tyler, Texas. "There are some issues people just can't take anymore, and [same-sex marriage] might finally wake up the complacent Christians."

Burnell is leading the charge for a peaceful secession of one state from the union, and after originally considering Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina due to their relatively small populations, coastal access, and the Christian nature of the electorate, Burnell says South Carolina has been selected as the target location.

What a surprise this group would come out of Texas?! And Texans had such an unblemished reputation up till now!

There's more to the story than what I quoted...Go read it. It's short, and doesn't have too many big words.

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2004 12:39pm PT  

Last Thursday THE BRAD BLOG came within a hair of 1,000 UNIQUE Visitors on that one day alone! Not bad for our short, yet storied, history.

UPDATE: And, oh, I forgot... and on that same Thursday a visit with comment, albeit to hawk one of his books --- which looks good by the way --- from one of the journalists that I had quoted from that day. The honor was mine.

Thanks to all the BRAD BLOG readers (who either like it or hate it) for your growing support!

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2004 11:28pm PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2004 1:12am PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 5/20/2004 11:14pm PT  

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...The Republicans Fall Apart
By Brad Friedman on 5/20/2004 2:25pm PT  

You know things are turning ugly for Republicans when they drop their usually unshakable lock-step support and start turning on each other --- and in the middle of an Election Year none the less! That seems to be happening with ever increasing momentum in Conservative/Republican circles now as Bush's re-elect support plummets to near Jimmy Carter-like numbers.

Last week I blogged about the ultra-con New Republic turning hard against Bush in "With Friends Like These...Who needs Democrats?" Two days later more evidence emerged as stalwart Conservatives George Will and then Richard Rahn in The Washington Times were also turning against Bush as blogged in "The Bottom Continues to Drop".

Now the dominos are tumbling as the outlook from Iraq to the Re-Elect effort is looking bleeker and bleeker.

Today, Conservative Prince of Darkness, Bob Novak reports on the "nearly one out of five Republicans [who] cannot flatly say they support Bush, [which] could spell defeat in a closely contested election.":

During George W. Bush's keynote address to the 40th anniversary black-tie banquet of the American Conservative Union (ACU) last week...one man kept his seat through the 40-minute oration. It was no liberal interloper but conservative stalwart Donald Devine.
As ACU vice chairman, Devine was privileged to be part of a pre-dinner head-table reception with President Bush. However, Devine chose not to shake hands with the president. Furthermore, he is one of about 20 percent of Republicans that polls classify as not committed to voting for Bush's re-election.
...
Why would Devine stay seated at the ACU dinner when everybody else was standing and clapping? To begin with, he shares concern with many Republicans about what the U.S. is doing in Iraq and where it is going. Businessmen I have talked to recently exercise limited patience in how long they will tolerate the bloodshed and confusion.

What most bothers Devine and other conservatives is steady growth of government under this Republican president....he feels betrayed that Bush has outstripped his liberal predecessors in domestic spending.

But it's not just the commentators and would-be Bush "supporters" now turning on him. Republican Legislators are also getting into the act.

House Republicans are turning on Senate Republicans as seen in this dust-up between House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senator John McCain reported today by AP:

McCain, who spent five years in a North Vietnamese prison, excoriated fellow Republicans on Tuesday for pushing more tax cuts while U.S. troops are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Throughout our history, wartime has been a time of sacrifice. ... What have we sacrificed?" McCain said. "As mind-boggling as expanding Medicare has been, nothing tops my confusion for cutting taxes during wartime. I don't remember ever in the history of warfare when we cut taxes."

Asked Wednesday about McCain's remarks, Hastert, who was rejected for military service because of a bad shoulder...said "If you want to see sacrifice, John McCain ought to visit our young men and women at Walter Reed and Bethesda (two Washington area military hospitals). There's the sacrifice in this country."...

McCain stood fast in his reply to Hastert.

"The speaker is correct in that nothing we are called upon to do comes close to matching the heroism of our troops," he said. "All we're called upon to do is not spend our nation into bankruptcy while our soldiers risk their lives. I fondly remember a time when real Republicans stood for fiscal responsibility."

For his part, Bush himself is turning inward to find someone else to blame for the mess he's in. As reported by AFP, he may be finally realizing how they've been played from Day One by Ahmad Chalabi (the one man they hung their WMD case against Saddam, who assured our gullible Commander-in-Chief that we'd be greeted as liberators with candy and flowers and who they expected would be the next Iraqi President).

Two days ago, they finally wised-up and cut off Chalabi's $340,000 monthly stipend, and last night, apparently, they even invaded his house in an overnight raid in Baghdad:

"My relationship with the CPA now is non-existent...I am America's best friend in Iraq; if the CPA finds it necessary to direct an armed attack against my home you can see the state of relations between the CPA and the Iraqi people."

The former Pentagon favourite also called on US President George W. Bush to hand over sovereignty to the Iraqi people without delay.

"My message to the CPA is let my people go, let my people be free. We are grateful to President Bush for liberating Iraq but it is time for the Iraqi people to run their affairs," he told a press conference.

Intra-Partisan wrangling is not all that uncommon when a President is in full command of his power. During Clinton it was the Liberals versus the Moderates in the Democratic Party for example. But this is an Election Year, when Republicans traditionally close ranks behind their man. They seem now to be doing the very opposite, begging the question; Does George W. Bush have any real friends left?

The mounting evidence would indicate otherwise, as his "friends" are looking more and more every day like rats from a sinking ship of state.

ReddIt this story!



Or is it Bush's 'Flip-Flop' File?
By Brad Friedman on 5/20/2004 12:30pm PT  

Remember when Dubya promised a $20 Billion aid package to NYC after 9/11? Well, it never got there.

Neither did the promised $90 Million to NYC Firefighters to monitor the long-term health impact of breathing all that shit for months while they cleaned up for us. Dubya was just kiddin', I guess.

The smoke and mirror deceptions from the man hoping he can fool you into believing he's "tough on terror" so that you'll re-up him for four more years continues.

Yesterday NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg testified for 15 minutes to the 9/11 Commission. AP reports...

Mayor Michael Bloomberg later testified that New York was recently advised by Congress that its homeland security funding for the 2004 budget year would be cut by nearly 50 percent. Thinly populated states such as Nebraska, North Dakota and Wyoming receive several times more funding per capita than New York, he said.

"This is pork-barrel politics at its worst," the mayor said. "It also, unfortunately, has the effect of aiding and abetting those who hate us and plot against us."

1010 Wins went into a bit more detail...

"New York City has already been targeted by terrorists six times since 1993," said Bloomberg. "Yet inexplicably, today New York state ranks 49th among the 50 states in per capita Homeland Security funding."

He told the panel that while New York received $5.47 per capita in Homeland Security grants allocated by Congress in fiscal year 2004, Nebraska got $14.33 per capita and American Samoa $101.43.
...
After the mayor had departed, commissioner John Lehman, former Navy secretary under President Reagan, called the funding "a terrible misallocation," and added, "it has been a complete turnover almost of this essential national defense funding to pork barrel."

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge agreed.

Ridge agreed?!!

I guess Bush musta voted for the NYC Homeland Security spending before he voted against it?

While the supposed "Liberal Media" continues to carry the water for the Bush Campaign's "Kerry is a Flip-Flopper" scam, occasionally, if you look really closely, you'll find a reporter, like Jack Newfeld in The Nation who offers the real story. But you gotta look damn hard to find it.

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By Brad Friedman on 5/19/2004 9:47pm PT  

From Harper's Index...

Number of articles in major U.S. newspapers that have called any White House statement on Iraq a lie : 0

Number of the five tax-cut questions asked the president on Meet the Press last winter that concerned the cuts' inequity : 0

Average amount a Bush Cabinet member will save this year due to cuts in capital-gains and dividend taxes : $42,000

Median U.S. household income in 2002 : $42,409

ReddIt this story!



...the Israeli way.
By Brad Friedman on 5/19/2004 1:20pm PT  

From AP:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A U.S. helicopter fired on a wedding party in the remote desert near the border with Syria, killing more than 40 people, most of them women and children, Iraqi officials said. The U.S. military said it was investigating. [ed note: see following item and the final graf of this item for good news on that!]
...
Dr. Salah al-Ani, who works at a hospital in Ramadi, put the death toll at 45.

Associated Press Television News obtained videotape showing a truck containing bodies of those allegedly killed.

About a dozen bodies, one without a head, could be clearly seen. but it appeared that bodies were piled on top of each other and a clear count was not possible. [emphasis added for Sean Hannity]

And they thought Gay Weddings were bad for the institution of marriage? The story concludes...

In July 2002, Afghan officials said 48 civilians at a wedding party were killed and 117 wounded by a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan's Uruzgan province. An investigative report released by the U.S. Central Command said the airstrike was justified because American planes had come under fire.
ReddIt this story!



Army clears Army of Wide-Spread Army Wrongdoing.
By Brad Friedman on 5/19/2004 12:44pm PT  

Turns out that the U.S. Army Brigadier General overseeing all U.S. Army operations in Iraq and Afghanistan tells us that the U.S. Army's Inspector General who is investigating U.S. Army abuse of prisoners at U.S. Army prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan says that there is no wide-spread pattern of abuse by the U.S. Army!

I'm glad that's all cleared up! Looks like the charges of a cover-up by the U.S. Army and a Pentagon Report on the deaths of prisoners in custody at four different U.S. Army prisons in Iraq and charges of U.S. Army abuse of journalists at a different prison in Iraq and U.S. Army abuse of prisoners in Afghanistan are wholly unfounded. For a while I was worried!

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 5/19/2004 11:43am PT  

When I set out to look into what was going on at the "Andy Kaufman - Dead or Alive?" 20th Anniversary event after midnight last Sunday, little did I know I'd be sucked into it's vortex. I'd wished I'd brought a camera or a tape-recorder, but hadn't. Fortunately, I found this picture of me behind "Tony Clifton" over on Wally Wingert's website. He's the guy who setup the Andy Kaufman memorabilia in Andy's old apartment which was opened for viewing in "Act 4" of this bizarre and wonderful "event" around 2am or so that night / Monday morning.

Full details on my experience and how I ended up at this "event" here. Pointers to all the BRAD BLOG "Andy Kaufman Dead or Alive?" investigative articles here. Original photo on the web from which the above is taken here (for all those Photoshop cynics!)

UPDATE (4/25/04): The photo above (sans the red circle) is now also on the Official Tony Clifton website in the "Sightings" section. And hence, Brad ignominiously ends up, if only in the most insignificant way possible, as part of the annals of Andy Kaufman / Tony Clifton historical folklore. Sigh.

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 5/18/2004 8:24pm PT  

Having for a couple of weeks inhabited his spirit, if not his body, for an Odd Couple spoof of sorts a few years back (Brad in OddFellas), the news of his passing was all the more sad to me. Good god was he funny. And a genius.

One of his last jokes, caught by Paul B., from the AP obituary:

Randall joked in September about how he envisioned his funeral: President Bush and Vice President Cheney would show up to pay their respects, but they'd be turned away because his family knows he didn't like them. During a speech to the National Funeral Directors Association, he said funerals should be planned as a celebration of life and "a touch of humor doesn't hurt a bit."
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By Brad Friedman on 5/18/2004 6:44pm PT  

I'm pretty sure --- not certain --- but I think I spotted Annette Bening in Tony's dream sequence on this week's Sopranos.

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The best show on television!
By Brad Friedman on 5/18/2004 6:37pm PT  

The finale episodes begin tonight on BRAVO (9/8p with repeats later) and end tomorrow. If you haven't watched up till now, they are still worth checking into even this late in the game. That is, if you feel you can enjoy witnessing four completely twisted families in the midst of undoubtedly screwing up their children's lives for years to come.

Of the five sets of parent(s)/child(ren) on the show, only one pairing comes close to not being worthy of a call to Child Protective Services.

I'd have to turn away completely, if they hadn't gone ahead and put it on television for me to watch.

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 5/18/2004 6:23pm PT  

I hate piling on. Really, I do. It's one of the reasons I haven't had much to say in the last coupla days about Bush, Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Rumsfeld, and all the other collective --- yet seemingly now very obvious --- disasters in this Whitehouse and besetting America.

Then comes a fresh perspective on something I (and probably you) have been pondering for years, yet that has been set aside lately in favor of more pressing and in-your-face catastrophes.

Thanks to Atrios for the tip-off to Rick Perstein's Village Voice article entitled "Bush White House checked with rapture Christians before latest Israel move - The Jesus Landing Pad". It's worth the read.

It reveals one of the (undoubtedly) many direct influences in this Whitehouse from the Fundamentalist Evangelical Right. This one, with Email evidence to boot, is from the nutbags at the Apostolic Congress, "the Christian voice in our Nation's Capital" as their website informs us.

I've long tried to convince my otherwise very intelligent Jewish relatives that this Whitehouse, and in particular those on the Far Right who suggest the Defense of a Israel as the Jewish Homeland at the top of their priorities --- and who have used it to justify just about everything these days --- are in fact, no friends of the Jews. In fact, the only thing they hate more than Jews is Arabs.

Therefore, under the convenient cover of the same "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" justification that the Right often uses to justify any number of outrages, even in comments on this blog ("So what that we gave chemical weapons to Saddam to use against Iran! They were our enemy at the time!")...too many in the Jewish community have fallen for the temptation to assume that those on the Evangelical Right and in the Whitehouse are actually their friends. They are not.:

It was an e-mail we weren't meant to see. Not for our eyes were the notes that showed White House staffers taking two-hour meetings with Christian fundamentalists, where they passed off bogus social science on gay marriage as if it were holy writ and issued fiery warnings that "the Presidents [sic] Administration and current Government is engaged in cultural, economical, and social struggle on every level"—this to a group whose representative in Israel believed herself to have been attacked by witchcraft unleashed by proximity to a volume of Harry Potter. Most of all, apparently, we're not supposed to know the National Security Council's top Middle East aide consults with apocalyptic Christians eager to ensure American policy on Israel conforms with their sectarian doomsday scenarios.

But now we know.

"Everything that you're discussing is information you're not supposed to have," barked Pentecostal minister Robert G. Upton when asked about the off-the-record briefing his delegation received on March 25. Details of that meeting appear in a confidential memo signed by Upton and obtained by the Voice.

You can, and should, read the rest of the piece over there.

It also outlines how this Apostolic Congress has "Christian Zionist" missionaries in Israel, in strict defiance of Israeli law, by the way, actively actively working towards converting Jews to Christianity.

Setting that appalling --- though too frequent even in this country --- practice aside, frankly, I don't have any real problem with anybody sharing their views with any Whitehouse --- nutcases or not --- in support of or in opposition to any matters of policy.

I am troubled, however, over the secrecy that surrounds it all, and more importantly the selectivity of it all. Does the Sierra Club get to have private Presidential audiences to discuss the Administration's Energy Policy? (Evidentally we have no legal right to know) Does the NEA get to put their personal two-cents in on "No Child Left Behind"? (It wouldn't seem so, since Education Secretary has described them as "terrorists") Does Colin Powell get to tell the President what he really thinks about Bush's Iraq Policy? (okay, bad example.)

Perhaps it's just the key constituents with the votes and bucks who get the access. Nothing really new there. But it's worth paying attention to who those folks with the influence actually are. The Jews who believe, by supporting Bush, they are supporting a Pro-Israel President should perhaps take a closer look.

Perlstein finishes with this:

Don Wagner, an evangelical, worries that in the Republican Party, people who believe this "are dominating the discourse now, in an election year." He calls the attempt to yoke Scripture to current events "a modern heresy, with cultish proportions.

"I mean, it's appalling," he rails on. "And it also shows how marginalized mainstream Christian thinking, and the majority of evangelical thought, have become."

It demonstrates, he says, "the absolute convergence of the neoconservatives with the Christian Zionists and the pro-Israel lobby, driving U.S. Mideast policy."

The problem is not that George W. Bush is discussing policy with people who press right-wing solutions to achieve peace in the Middle East, or with devout Christians. It is that he is discussing policy with Christians who might not care about peace at all—at least until the rapture.

The Jewish pro-Israel lobby, in the interests of peace for those living in the present, might want to consider a disengagement.

I agree. I wonder if anybody in my family will figure that out prior to November.

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