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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By David Edwards on 4/15/2006 10:37am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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Tavis Smiley interviews former White House Council for the Nixon Administration John Dean. Dean focuses on the moral and legal failings of the current Administration.

Dean recalls his experiences as an insider during a Watergate and is amazed that Bush Administration has ignored those lessons. Dean expands on his March 31, 2006 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee censure hearing where he said,

No president that I can find in the history of our country has really ever adopted a policy of expanding presidential powers for the sake of expanding presidential powers. And I think that's what we have going on here in this presidency.

Dean says that the Bush inner-circle has had a policy of expanding presidential powers from "the day they took office." Secrecy was one of the symptoms of a now obvious campaign to create a presidency unchecked by government or the people. Dean says the actions of the Bush Administration have gone far beyond Nixon's "Imperial Presidency".

Dean goes on to give an ominous warning about slipping into a dictatorship:

The Congress... has lost its' institutional pride. For some reason it doesn't try to check this president.

I've seen the system how it's supposed to work and it's not working that way. When you get it lopsided and one branch is so dominating, it's something other than our founders really designed.

And, of course, the worse case is that if you go on to something that we really don't want to get to and that's a dictatorship. That can happen much more easily than one thinks.

This clip plays for about 10 minutes and was originally broadcast on Wednesday, April 10, 2006.




By David Edwards on 2/27/2006 7:51am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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Thanks to a heads-up from Larisa at The Raw Story, we were able to captured this broadcast of CNBC's Tim Russert show. Russert interviewed James Risen and Robert O'Harrow, Jr. The video contains about 24 minutes of clips from CNBC's Saturday broadcast.

James Risen broke the NSA warrantless domestic spying story for the New York Times. He also has a new book out, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA And The Bush Administration. Risen is known to have sources within various intelligence agencies and has recieved information from several NSA whistleblowers. One of those whistleblowers, Russell Tice, recently testified before congress that NSA domestic surveillance programs may be much more widespread than the "limited" program that the Bush Administration has admitted. Tice has said that some programs could be monitoring "millions of Americans".

Robert O'Harrow, Jr. is an award-winning reporter for the Washingon Post with an expertise data mining and privacy issues. His recent book, No Place to Hide: Behind the Scenes of Our Emerging Surveillance Society, describes "a surveillance society that's less centralized and more a joint public/private venture".

Together, Risen and O'Harrow paint a picture of an enormous partnership between U.S. intelligence agencies and private data collection firms. Spying agencies like the NSA can leverage its' massive computing power to mine data collected by these private firms. The result is a mind-boggling domestic surveillance capability with access to nearly any information imaginable. Phone calls, email, video as well as financial, criminal and other personal records can all be searched at the same time. The NSA's powerful computers can mine the data to find otherwise imperceptible links for profiling groups and individuals.

Russert calls it a "sobering" discussion. The interview only scratches the surface of how extensive the scope of Big Brother's monitoring of Americans may be. The surveillance programs are a dramatic departure from what the public has come to believe. It's easy to see why the Bush Administration has avoided legislation and oversight.

It's quite possible that the American people would not stand for Bush's spying policies if they had a sense of the true nature of the government's surveillance.

UPDATE 5/8/06: Luke has now posted a text transcript of this Russert/Risen/O'Harrow interview.




Eavesdropping Programs Monitoring 'Millions of Americans'
By David Edwards on 2/16/2006 10:49am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards


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On Tuesday, a former NSA employee, Russell Tice, testified before the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations. Tice told the committee that he was concerned that undisclosed domestic spying programs were far more widespread than the recently exposed Bush/NSA warrantless wiretap program.

One or more still classified "Special Access" surveillance program may be monitoring the communications of "millions of Americans". While Tice could not share classified details of the program(s), he believes that the Constitution and FISA laws are being violated.

An article published by UPI has more information about the widespread domestic surveillance programs.

The hearings focused on protection for whistleblowers and a pattern of retaliations by the Bush Administration. This article from the Christian Science Monitor provides an excellent summary of testimony from whistleblowers appearing before the committee.




By David Edwards on 1/16/2006 9:42am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards

Washington, D.C.
August 28, 1963






DoJ Attempts to 'Gag Order' Him as They Have Sibel Edmonds
By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2006 6:41pm PT  

As you may know by now, on last night's Nightline, whistleblower Russel Tice admitted to being one of the sources for the New York Times story on the NSA's warrantless wire-tapping of U.S. citizens, as admittedly approved time and again by George W. Bush. He was one of a dozen, apparently.

Tice clarified that the program in question was not simply one of the government "listening in on a few calls made to al-Qaeda," as many have tried to minimize it, but an enormous effort that resulted in "millions" of Americans having their conversations listened to in violation of the law and the Constitution. At least in Tice's opinion.

He added that "millions" of Americans have most likely been spied upon, as anyone that placed a call from the U.S. to another country has a good chance of having had the call monitored. This is not a "limited" program as Bush has been attempting to color it.

Tice has written a letter asking Congress to allow him to testify on the laws that he feels have been broken by the NSA, where, until recently, the rules were always made very clear at the agency that you don't spy on American citizens inside the country without a court order to do so first.

And now, the Justice Department is attempting to "gag order" Tice under the same "state secrets" act that they've used to gag FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. Edmonds, in turn, has helped found the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition to support patriotic Americans like Tice, herself, and about 50 others in similar situations --- from both political parties.

ABC covered the Tice story at their website (with a link to Tice's letter) here.

The video of Nightline's complete report and interview with Tice is available in full here:


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NOTE: Folks like Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, and the other Administration apologists have been hard at work trying to conflate the cases of disclosure of classified information (Tice said he hasn't done any such thing, by the way) with that in the Valerie Plame case. Regular BRAD BLOG readers likely don't need this explained to them, but apparently O'Reilly and Rush and their trolling millions don't understand the difference in the two cases.

So to be clear --- Tice is reporting a crime being committed by a national security agency. Scooter Libby and Karl Rove, on the other hand, revealed classified material not to uncover a crime, but as a political weapon against someone they perceived as an opponent. Their crime was their revelation of the material itself. Period.

As James Risen, the author of the original Times piece pointed out recently to Jon Stewart (video available here from Crooks & Liars), the NSA matter is as "pure a case of whistleblowing" as one is likely to find, and the two different cases couldn't be more polar opposite to each other. No matter how much the wingnuts are trying to conflate the two.

Got it? Good! We'd rather not have to explain it again in the future. Though we have a feeling we'll have to anyway.




By David Edwards on 11/5/2005 12:34pm PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards

A year after the legalization of gay marriage in Massachusetts, Ed Helms investigates to find out if the critics' worst fears have come true. Has gay marriage ruined Massachusetts?

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4th Country to Legalize Gay Unions...
By Brad Friedman on 7/20/2005 9:05pm PT  

Oh, Canada! Way to go!

Thank you for setting the standards for how elections should be counted (by hand), wars should be fought (only when necessary) and how human beings who wish to wed should be treated by the state.

As reported by AP, the bill which became law today "gives homosexual couples the same rights as those in traditional unions between a man and a woman."

Imagine that.




By Brad Friedman on 11/5/2004 11:40am PT  


STEPHEN COLBERT: Eleven states approved anti-Gay Marriage ballot initiatives yesterday. Clearly our deep national fear of hot man on man monogamy...drove turnout among the nation's so called "value voters". And here's what's interesting...these voters see the connection between terrorism and what I'll call...homo-ism.
...
JON STEWART: If those are the two major issues concerning voters --- and again, uh --- why would New York City --- which really has the most significant gay population in the country...and has already had the most significant terror attack in the country...vote overwhelmingly for Kerry?

STEPHEN COLBERT: Well, here's the thing, John. We in New York are too close to the terrorism and the gay people. Only the red states, with the advantage of a safe distance, can take in the whole picture...and clearly see what we should do about those issues...And so, on behalf of everyone living in the blue states, I'd like to thank the red states...for saving us...from ourselves. John?




Bush Camp Continues to Arrest Those Who Support Kerry
By Brad Friedman on 11/1/2004 12:05pm PT  

ABC producers tested the T-shirt experiment of wearing Kerry shirts to a Bush event, and Bush shirts to a Kerry event. At the Bush events they were either not allowed in or tossed out. The worst treatment received at the Kerry event was folks who danced around them with big signs in order to obstruct the view of the Bush shirts by TV cameras. (emphasis mine)

A second team of ABC News producers waited until entering Space Coast stadium before showing its Kerry-Edwards T-shirts, but was still quickly spotted and ordered out by Borman, who identified himself as working for the Republican National Committee.

He said the rally of some 18,000 people was a "private event," and it made no difference that producers Christine Romo and Jessica Wang had tickets and remained silent and respectful.

"But you wore the shirts; you wore the shirts," Borman said. "And honestly, if you would have come without the shirts and sat quietly, you would have had a fun time and enjoyed it, but I mean it's not that kind of event." He then instructed the sheriff's deputies to escort the ABC News team out to the parking lot.

This was hardly the first time those wearing dissenting T-shirts have been forced to leave a Bush campaign event.

Jeff Rank and his wife, Nicole, were arrested July 4 at a Bush rally in Charleston, W.Va., for wearing shirts that read "Love America, Hate Bush" and refusing to relocate to an area for protesters. Earlier this month, at a Bush event in Cedar Point, Ore., Janet Voorhies and two friends were ejected for wearing T-shirts with "Protect Our Civil Liberties" printed on them.

"I think this represents a low point in public discourse in this country, where the mere sign of disagreement is intolerable to candidates," Post said. "That can't be right. That can't be American."

A Kerry staffer at an Oct. 24 Kerry rally in Boca Raton, Fla., told Bush-Cheney T-shirt wearers that the campaign held a permit to rent the site and could remove anyone who made a disturbance.

"We hold the right to remove you, but other than that, enjoy and hopefully at the end of the event you'll want to wear a Kerry T-shirt," he said.




West Virginia voters put on notice!
Apparently, just another page from the RNC's 'Anything to Win' file...
By Brad Friedman on 9/18/2004 12:52pm PT  

Would Republicans actually do this?

Campaign mail with a return address of the Republican National Committee warns West Virginia voters that the Bible will be prohibited and men will marry men if liberals win in November.

The literature shows a Bible with the word "BANNED" across it and a photo of a man, on his knees, placing a ring on the hand of another man with the word "ALLOWED." The mailing tells West Virginians to "vote Republican to protect our families" and defeat the "liberal agenda."

Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie said Friday that he wasn't aware of the mailing, but said it could be the work of the RNC. "It wouldn't surprise me if we were mailing voters on the issue of same-sex marriage," Gillespie said.

So does that sound like the Republicans? The same group who called South Carolina voters during the 2000 primary to ask what they thought of John McCain fathering a black out-of-wedlock baby? Oh, yes. It sounds a lot like them. Gillespie's inability to deny it, of course, seals the deal. Your Republican Party: Anything to Win.

(If anyone finds a scanned graphic of that mail, please let me know!)




I mean, More on Keyes...
By Brad Friedman on 9/1/2004 9:32pm PT  

Wow...that Alan Keyes interview where he called lesbian Veep daughter Mary Cheney a "selfish hedonist" for her lifestyle, along, presumably with any other heterosexual couple who can't, or chose not to mate, is even more astounding than just the quotes I gave you earlier.

He had more to say about loving couples that God has made incapable of having children together: "They cannot mate. They are not made to do so. Therefore the idea of marriage for two such individuals is an absurdity."

He then objected "to the notion" that we refer to two partners who cannot mate as having "sexual relations because it is nothing of the kind". Rather, he said, "It is the mutual pursuit of pleasure through the stimulation of the organs intended for procreation, but it has nothing to do with sexuality."

Here's the full transcript, and a copy of the audio, courtesy of AMERICABlog.

Wow. Finally, someone who's willing to stand up and publicly support the GOP Platform!

With that, I might have finally voted Republican, except for my fear that they might "mutually pursue pleasure through the stimulation of the organs intended for procreation" me!




Does the GOP have anyone else left to slur?
By Brad Friedman on 9/1/2004 6:37pm PT  

The Republican Party had the entire United States of America from whom to chose their nominee for the US Senate seat in Illinois. Demonstrating quite clearly the kind of party they are, they chose Alan Keyes. From Maryland.

On Tuesday, Keyes called the "Vice-President's" lesbian daughter Mary Cheney, a "selfish hedonist" apparently solely because of her sexual identity.

He did both that, and took a swipe at married couples who either can't, or choose not to have children all in one fell Republican swoop.

Said Mr. Keyes in a satellite radio interview this week:

"The essence of ... family life remains procreation. If we embrace homosexuality as a proper basis for marriage, we are saying that it's possible to have a marriage state that in principle excludes procreation and is based simply on the premise of selfish hedonism."

Asked whether that meant Mary Cheney was "a selfish hedonist," Keyes said: "That goes by definition. Of course she is."

So there ya go. You folks in the "married state" out there who have no children, are apparently "selfish hedonists" along with lesbian Mary Cheney. You, like those homosexuals who'd like to simply be recognized as a legitimate American family seem to have an "improper basis" for your marriage according to your party's national pick for the U.S. Senate.

Bush/Cheney '04: What's not to be proud of?




By Brad Friedman on 6/25/2004 5:57pm PT  

Arnold Schwarzenegger is asking for input on the issue of "Same-Sex Marriage".

Call the Governator's Hotline at (916) 445-2841, then hit -5- for "Hot Issues", -1- to choose "Same-Sex Marriage", and then --- hopefully --- -1- to express SUPPORT for equal civil rights in America!




So sayeth the Supremes...
By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2004 1:13am PT  

I don't have much to add here, but with everything else going on, somehow this AP story seems to have gotten overlooked today. And yet it's quite notable, so here it is...

BOSTON --- The U.S. Supreme Court refused Friday to block the nation's first state-sanctioned gay marriages from taking place here starting next week.

The justices declined without comment to intervene and block clerks from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples in Massachusetts. The state's highest court had ruled in November that the state constitution allows gay couples to marry and declared that the process would begin Monday.

At least something is still going right in this country and even the Supremes didn't screw this one up! Yet.




By Brad Friedman on 4/2/2004 6:47pm PT  




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