My guest today is Jack Rice, an old colleague of mine from Air America radio. In addition to being a great radio host, he's a criminal defense attorney, and a former CIA agent. Contrary to Ray McGovern who was on with Brad last week, Jack does believe the hack was the work of Putin and Russia.
Jack also weighed in on Trump's tweeting about nukes, his cabinet and more.
And in my What's News? segment today, we remember some people who left us in 2016...
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Back in 2004, I listened to Al Franken on Air America. For all of ten minutes.
Nine years ago, I was a Republican having second thoughts about giving George W. Bush a second term. Between the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the over-the-top demagoguery of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's marriage-equality ruling, I found the idea of voting for Bush again distasteful.
So I decided to give Franken, the franchise player of the then recently launched Air America radio network, a chance; maybe he could convince me to vote for John Kerry. However, after ten minutes of listening to Franken and co-host Katherine Lanpher, I decided that I wasn't really the target audience. I went back to listening to Rush Limbaugh, and --- God help me --- I ended up voting for Bush again.
Looking back, I realize that I was taught to hate Franken --- and anything that wasn't right-wing radio. It's a lesson I never should have learned...
"Earth Week" has culminated in today's Earth Day, that brief period once a year when you might actually see an in-depth green story, series, or panel discussion about an environmental topic on TV, or hear a few on the radio. Newspapers and magazines can be counted on to do an eco-themed article in late April, but that’s about it.
Sadly, that’s about all the consistent coverage we’ve gotten from mainstream commercial media over the past 15 years. That’s how long I’ve been focused on this odd programming void. While that reality remains unchanged, ecologically and meteorologically speaking, there’s been a groundswell of dramatic events.
This year I caught NBC’s Today Show --- as part of their “Green Is Universal” week (if it were truly “universal” shouldn’t we see coverage more than once a year?) – doing the obligatory eco-friendly products display, featuring bamboo plates, doormats woven from used lobster twine and purses made from aluminum can tabs and candy wrappers. Nice and feel-good, but is this the most useful and deepest offering on a once-a-year occasion? We’ve come a long way since recycling was our biggest environmental concern, no?
Earth Day Lite, as I call it, is almost a Hallmark holiday – expressed on recycled content cards of course. It’s as predictable as the climate has become UNpredictable. With glaciers melting, sea levels rising and freak storms taking lives and livelihoods at a record rate, why have we not progressed in our coverage of the environment, our life support system, and the tenor of these topics, for the most part, remains unchanged?
Is it because Americans have short attention spans, low tolerance for disturbing news, are just too busy to bother, and programmers fear such content will be a turn-off? I suspect it’s a little of all the above.
The environmental threats facing our country and planet have deepened, grown exponentially in number and complexity --- which is what usually happens when problems are ignored --- and yet, media coverage has, as anemic as it was, actually decreased.
According to Media Matters of America, the major networks --- ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox --- significantly decreased their coverage of climate change between 2009 and 2011 while spending twice as much time discussing Donald Trump as they did our worsening climate. If they compared how often Kim Kardashian “made news” vs. climate change, she would also likely come out on top. Perhaps if we called it "Kim Kardashian’s Climate Change" more Americans would tune in?...
[UPDATE 12/16/11: Clear Channel may now be re-thinking their plans to dump Green960! Details now here...]
The only progressive AM radio talk station, Green960-KKGN, in one of the nation's most liberal cities, San Francisco, is being taken off the AM dial by radio behemoth Clear Channel Communications, Inc. --- a media conglomerate now owned by Mitt Romney's Bain Capital, LLC --- at the beginning of the 2012 Presidential election year.
Adding insult to injury for progressives in the Bay Area, the 960 slot on the dial is being replaced by Clear Channel with the likes of Glenn Beck, Fox News Radio's John Gibson and other radical Rightwing talkers, according to a press release [PDF] issued by the media giant last week, touting, in somewhat Orwellian terms, their "goal of expanding talk radio in San Francisco."
"We saw the opportunity to expand our footprint in this crucial arena as we head into an election year and a population increasingly engaged in local, state, and national events and activism," says Clear Channel's San Francisco Director of Operations Don Parker in the release.
The expansion will amount to moving Green960's current schedule of progressive talk shows off the AM band, and on to FM's HD2 radio ghetto where it will become a largely automated "robo-station," according to several radio insiders familiar with the station and Clear Channel's plans for it. The station which was formerly Green960 will have the catchy new name "FM Progressive Talk 103.7-2" at its new home, if listeners can find it.
The new Rightwing format taking its place on 960 will be known as KNEW, which is currently at 910 on the AM dial featuring a number of Fox News Radio programs. The 910 position will then be filled with a new talk format being developed by Clear Channel called "San Francisco's Talk 910 KKSF," which will also include some Fox News Radio veterans.
One bright side for progressives in San Francisco, the popular Randi Rhodes, who is syndicated nationally by Premiere (Clear Channel's syndication arm) will continue in her current live Noon to 3p PT slot on the new KNEW-960. She'll also remain in the same live slot in the progressive line up on the HD2 band, though few are likely to hear her there, as very few Americans actually own an HD radio receiver.
Rhodes tells The BRAD BLOG there could be a potential upside to the format change which will leave her progressive voice, as well as Bill Press' in the pre-dawn hours, sprinkled in among the far Rightwingers.
"I never want to see Progressive voices lose ground, but hopefully we can build on the new HD channel," Rhodes told us via email on Friday. "It does look like the beginning of the end of 'conservative format purity' has started. That's a change in the industry that I've been fighting for for a long time and I'm happy to be part of it."...
[Ed Note: And now for something completely different. As a welcome distraction from the last week plus of covering the Fukushima nuclear crisis around the clock (most recently here and here and here, for example), I was delighted to catch my friend Lizz Winstead, co-creator of The Daily Show (originally hosted by Craig Kilbourne and now by Jon Stewart) and Minnesota native, distracting her own self yesterday on Twitter by answering 100 questions (more or less) from her "Tweeps". As the questions to and answers from Lizz were alternately amusing, provocative, hilarious and occasionally just inane, I asked her if she'd mind if we ran them in full here at The BRAD BLOG, typos, occasional misnumbering and all, as a guest blog today, just in case you needed the temporary distraction as much as I did. In those hopes, here's at least 99 more things to know about Lizz than you ever thought you wanted to...Oh, and for the Twitter challenged, "RT" means "Re-tweet". So you'll see the user's question re-tweeted (quoted briefly), followed by her answer to it in each tweet. If you need any more explanation than that, you're shit outta luck. I'm busy! - Brad]
At some point over the weekend, our short documentary film, Rise of the Tea Bags, went over the 11,000 views mark at YouTube. Of course, by Tea Bag math, that's well over 3 million views and the media refuses to report it!!!
I was interviewed about the film, and the folks I interviewed in it, by Mike Papantonio for last Saturday's Ring Of Fire on Air America Radio. You can download [MP3] the interview, or listen to it right here [appx. 16 mins]...
And, just in case you didn't see it yet, a) what's wrong with you? and b) here's what we're talking about, as recently taped in Los Angeles on the very first day of the new "Tea Party Express II" national tour...
Though they give me the credit, it was Rady Ananda's story here last week which expertly covered Diebold's wholly unverifiable touch-screen voting machines receiving the thumbs up for use across the entire state of Georgia, where they've been using them since 2002. That, even though there is no way to determine that any vote ever cast on any of them has ever been recorded accurately as per any voter's intent.
"Bad as Diebold was, it's now gonna be ES&S, their largest competitor ... ES&S may be the single voting machine company --- this one Goliath that will be unaccountable, unauditable to anybody --- and that's really where we're headed," Bender accurately warns. He advises folks to call Congress at 202-224-3121 in support of Sen. Chuck Schumer's demand for a DoJ antitrust investigation on this matter. We'll also point you to BlackBoxVoting.org who instructs how you can send your own antitrust complaint to the DoJ.
Finally, after Pap details ES&S' legendarily monumental "screw-ups" over the years (his firm was one of those who took on the state of Florida and ES&S after their voting machines simply lost 18,000 votes cast in the 2006 FL-13 U.S. House race, decided for the Republican candidate by just 369 votes), they go on to say some extraordinarily kind things about our work here at The BRAD BLOG.
My thanks to both Pap and David along with the swell Ring Of Fire producers for tipping us off with the exclusive heads-up in advance of this weekend's show --- both for their coverage of this issue, and for those exceptionally kind accolades.
TheUptake continues their important role of sharing with the citizenry every step of the long U.S. Senate contest in Minnesota, with some "backstage" video of Sen. Al Franken, thanking supporters at a luncheon in his honor, following his swearing-in yesterday...
And now we'll find out --- over time I'd think --- which Al Franken we'll get in the U.S. Senate. Will it be the feisty, funny, dogged, hypocrite-busting, pre-Air America best-selling author Franken? The too-careful, not-so-funny, conservative Air America stalwart party-Democrat Franken? Or will it be the independent, heroic, and courageous Paul Wellstone progressive Franken, whose seat Franken now fills, and whom he so often nods to, as he does with a few tears at the top of the video above, and again at the end when he notes, through more tears, what Wellstone "said politics is about...It's not about power, it's not about elections, it's about improving people's lives."
One of the more closely watched Senate contests is still undecided as of 11:30 PM Pacific time--Al Franken vs. Norm Coleman in Minnesota. Right now CNN.com is showing them in a statistical dead heat with 42% of the vote each with 94% of precincts reporting. However, at this moment Franken is behind by... 72 votes. That's right--72. Just minutes ago with 93% reporting, Franken was down by 6,500 votes.
As Brad notes during his broadcast on NovaM Radio tonight, Franken was the only Air America Radio host who never wanted Brad on his show, as he was apparently completely disinterested in election integrity issues. So it should be interesting to see if Franken changes his tune if the numbers remain this close. If Franken loses by two votes, perhaps he'll realize the importance of counting every vote. Of course, we hope Franken pulls it out. But right now it's a squeaker! Stand by...
UPDATE 11:40pm PT Franken now trails by 1,200 votes but the race is still statistically tied.
UPDATE 11:55pm PT Franken down by 1,400 with 95% reporting. But: a caller just reported that the New York Times website was reporting that exit polls had Franken ahead by 12%--that data has now been scrubbed. Election integrity experts, have at it. Even if Franken wouldn't stick up for election integrity, we shall stand up for him--and the voters in Minnesota. More on this to come, I'm sure.
UPDATE FROM DES, 11/5/08, 9:40am PT:The Associated Pressannounced this morning they are 'un-calling' the race they had previously rushed to call in favor of Coleman:
Republican Sen. Norm Coleman finished ahead of Democrat Al Franken early Wednesday in the final vote count, but his 571-vote margin falls within the state's mandatory recount law. That law requires a recount any time the margin between the top two candidates is less than one-half of one percent.
The AP called the race prematurely.
Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said the recount won't begin until mid-November at the earliest and will probably stretch into December.
Franken has, wisely, not conceded. More from Brad on all of this, no doubt, when he's able to get caught back up from out of the prevailing whirlwinds...
UPDATE 11/5/08 9:02pm PT: More details on the race, and the flawed op-scanners used to 'count' it now here...
As long promised, The BRAD BLOG has covered your electoral system 2008, fiercely and independently, like no other media outlet in the nation. Please support our work with a donation to help us keep going. If you like, we'll send you some great election integrity documentary films in return. Details on that right here...
During a segment on his radio show this morning, Bill O'Reilly reported from the alternate universe he lives in that the non-conservative radio network, Air America Radio, had "folded." (The audio clip is at the end of this article.)
The news, undoubtedly, came as a bit of a surprise to Thom Hartmann, whose successful live weekday radio program is syndicated by Air America Radio and runs in the same time slot as O'Reilly in many markets.
Contrary to O'Reilly's misinformation, The Thom Hartman Program likely even outpaces the Fox entertainer in listenership, as he told us this afternoon.
In response to our query, Hartmann told The BRAD BLOG that, while he didn't currently have access to O'Reilly's ratings for comparison, in a number of markets his show regularly beats Rush Limbaugh, who also broadcasts during the same hours. Limbaugh, in turn, regularly beats O'Reilly in listener numbers, Hartmann explained via email.
"I beat Limbaugh in Portland in the last [ratings] book," wrote Hartmann, who broadcasts out of Portland's KPOJ, "and in Seattle in the Fall '06 book...Limbaugh almost always beats O'Reilly, and I've beaten Limbaugh in multiple markets (2) over multiple years (3)."
Yesterday, as we reported, O'Reilly featured a segment on his Fox "News" television show declaring that Progressive activists calling for reform of the corporate stranglehold on mainstream media and the public airwaves were "fascists," "loons," "unstable people" and a "threat to the country." One of his guests, rightwing Republicanist Mary Katherine Hamm, charged that proponents of media reform, and those who oppose her and O'Reilly's minority fringe viewpoints, are "a group of people living in an alternative universe."
This morning, while arguing on The Radio Factor that it's a "bad strategy" for the GOP to attack Barack Obama's wife Michelle because it would "turn off independent voters" as needed by John McCain to win the Presidency, O'Reilly responded to a caller who disagreed with him by pointing to Air America as "the best example I can give you." He then proceeded to use wholly inaccurate information, describing Air America in the past tense, as if it no longer existed, in his "best example"...
Air America has lost one of their most popular personalities to one of their progressive radio competitors. The BRAD BLOG can confirm that Air America radio host, Randi Rhodes, who had quit the troubled network officially earlier today, will now join Nova M Radio beginning next Monday in the same afternoon drive-time slot she occupied formerly.
Nova M Radio founder Sheldon Drobny, one of the original founders of the beleaguered Air America, has confirmed that Rhodes will join his network, founded after Mike Malloy was released from his AAR contract several years ago. Malloy who is heard on Nova M weekdays from 6p-9p ET, will follow Rhodes beginning next week.
An announcement now posted on the front page of the Nova M website, quotes Nova M CEO John Manzo as thrilled about their new acquisition. "I just can't stop smiling," he says.
Rhodes, a former colleague of Manzo's at Air America says she equally delighted. "I’m home, I’m home, I’m home!," declares one of the nation's most popular Progressive talkers.
Rhodes was recently suspended by Air America after describing Hillary Clinton as a "fucking whore," during an off-air stand-up routine, in an appearance in San Francisco sponsored by local Progressive radio station Green960. "The Randi Rhodes" show will air live on Nova M weekdays beginning Monday, from 3p-6p ET. She will also be a guest tonight on Larry King Live on CNN.
Just for the record, it's absolutely insane that Air America has suspended Randi Rhodes for calling Hillary Clinton "a fucking whore" when she wasn't even on the air. Clearly, the folks who run that continuously sinking ship these days have no clue how either radio, or the U.S. Constitution, work. And while the network has always been mismanaged from Day One by the veritable raft of geniuses who have run it --- and more have come and gone now than we can keep track of --- this latest crew may take the cake.
Our friend Mike Malloy, formerly of AAR and now of NovaM, says the current crop of owners are "right wing thugs." And how were those "right wing thugs able to get inside AAR with their bags of money?" Malloy asked rhetorically last night...because the wealthy, millionaire, "Leftwing liberal sons-of-bitches refused to put any up."
Randi: The folks at NovaM are great, as you already know. We suspect you'll eventually be much happier there anyway. Just saying. Especially when AAR goes down for good. Which would be a terrible shame, if hardly a surprise, but could happen any day now in our opinion. Thanks for nothin', Lefties.
Sitting in this week for Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, David Bender joins Ring of Fire co-host/attorney Mike Papantonio to discuss, in the first five minutes of the show, the finally-unsealed qui tam fraud suit brought by Pap and RFK Jr's law firms against voting machine company Hart InterCivic, on behalf of former employee/computer technician turned whistleblower William Singer.
We had originally broken Singer's remarkable story back in 2006. Our conversations shortly thereafter with Kennedy, and then with Papantonio's lawfirm, led to the filing of the suit, alleging a host of improprieties and criminally fraudulent behavior by the voting machine company as they dummied up voting machines during sales presentations, and concealed known failures, such as the possibilities of lost and miscounted votes, in their systems.
Pap also notes, during discussion of the case, that the nearly-two years it had to stay sealed by law --- while the DoJ ate up time in deciding whether or not to join the case --- is unusual in and of itself. Normally, in such qui tam cases, the DoJ is given just 60 days to decide whether or not to join with the whistleblower on behalf of the United States. Pap also goes on to note what may, or may not, be a coincidence: the US Attorney in CO, where the suit was filed, was removed shortly after this case was brought in his district, but before the decision was ultimately made by the DoJ not to join the suit...For now...
UPDATE: Here is an audio version of the first five minutes of the show, for those who had problems using the video player above...
In the meantime, AM 1360 KLSD in San Diego hangs on by a thread. And, aside from Mike Gravel, not a single Democratic Presidential candidate, that we're aware of, has said or done anything about the next likely casualty of media deregulation (Bill Clinton) and the abolishment of the Fairness Doctrine (Ronald Reagan), which will leave America's sixth largest city without a progressive talk radio station during a Presidential Election year.
In a letter sent to station management, as The BRAD BLOG reported in August, former Democratic Senator from Alaska, Mike Gravel, correctly wrote: "The increasing monopolization of the mainstream media today demands that we stand up for independent-minded, progressive voices out there like KLSD AM 1360 in San Diego."
He was the only Presidential Candidate, to our knowledge, to utter a word about it.
As reports emerge that progressive radio talker Ed Schultz' audience now matches Bill O'Reilly's, one has to wonder what the hell the Democrats --- specifically the rest of the Democratic Presidential candidates --- are thinking, as Clear Channel prepares to flip the only progressive talk station in the nation's sixth largest city over to an all-sports format any day now.
The busy Internet rumors suggest it could happen as early as this week. Station insiders have told The BRAD BLOG it's more likely to happen on November 1st "at the earliest", as the corporate bosses at Clear Channel get ducks in a row for what is currently seen as an "inevitable" flip.
It'll be one less major market for Big Ed, one of the Democratic party's biggest and most effective supporters. Though O'Reilly will, no doubt, remain on the air in San Diego, despite the damage and shame his irresponsible "reporting" brings to our Republic.
At the time, we suggested to both organizers of the protests and station personnel that they join with Air America (who has several shows airing on the station) to invite the Democratic Presidential candidates out to San Diego for an Emergency Debate focusing on one of the very reasons our country is in the mess that it is: Corporate Consolidation of the Public Airwaves.
It seems quite clear that such consolidation has not been in the best interest of the people who own the airwaves. And further, it seems clear that the corporate interests who lease access to that spectrum, from the people, don't give a damn about such interests.
And yet, to our knowledge, in the nearly two months since Clear Channel indicated they were preparing to flip the station format, only one Democratic Presidential candidate, Gravel, has understood the importance about speaking out against this outrage.