You may have been fooled for a second --- nah, you're too smart --- but casual observers might mistake Jeff Sessions' announcement of a new DOJ "Religious Liberty Task Force" as an effort to address genuine hate crimes, including attacks on Muslim Americans, Jewish Americans, and Sikh Americans. But of course not. He made it clear it’s about bakers afraid of serving LGBTQ customers, or taxpayers having to support icky women – that sort of thing. ANNIE LAURIE GAYLOR is co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. She puts this latest news in the wider context of Trump’s pro-Christian pandering. While we're at it, we look at how bad for basic civil rights Brett Kavanaugh would be on the Supreme Court.
More news headlines, then DAVE JOHNSON of Seeing The Forest ponders how the concepts of markets, capitalism, and socialism get contorted by propaganda. Even respectable journalists fall victim...
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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: 'Better living through chemistry'? Obama's EPA approves Agent Orange herbicide, his FDA refuses to ban antibiotics in animal feed; Debunking the GOP: Gas prices were higher under Bush; Total Oil totally can't stop massive off-shore leak; PLUS: Even Lloyd's of London warns against Arctic drilling... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): GOP’s worst nightmare: Green Muslims; Ocean acidification from CO2 causing oyster die-offs; Worst. Farm bill. Ever.; NYT magical thinking on natural gas boom; Bringing back the American Chestnut; Activists succeed in cancelling proposed GA coal plant; TN passes anti-science, anti-evolution, anti-climate education law ... PLUS: Actually, not that many fish in the sea ... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Iran war talk jacks up US gas prices... while Republicans cheer; VA Supreme Court smacks down climate change denier witch hunt; Meet the 'new normal' for tornado season; PLUS: 2 years after disaster: BP settles with Gulf coast plaintiffs...and gets off pretty easy, so far... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Conservative economist slams deniers: Conservative economist Nordhaus slams skeptics: 'Cost of delay is $4 trillion'; MIT: making solar power competitive with coal; This Week gets it wrong on gas prices; Limbaugh attacks help put Chevy Volt workers out of a job; CO uranium mine poisons creek; A big fracking bubble: the scam behind the gas boom; Arctic ice melt changing climate system; Japan leaders feared "devil's chain reaction" ... PLUS: Science: Ocean acidifying so fast it threatens humanity’s food supply ... and much, MUCH more! ...
-- Brad Friedman, from "Netroots Nation" in Las Vegas...
They keep pulling me back in. Had planned some travel and time off beginning this week, but the good Jeanne Devon (aka "AKMuckraker" of The Mudflats) tricked me into talked me into stopping by Netroots Nation, being held in Vegas this week, on my way outta Dodge. As Sin City was largely on our route outta town, and as I don't get many any opportunities to see the Alaska folks like her, Shannyn Moore, and dozens of others from around the country who I've known for years, but have never met in person, I figured why not stop in and both cover it a bit, and say hello to 'em all.
Have been doing so, and reporting some of it in various spurts via Twitter over the last 24. As I can get caught up over the next few days (the conference is ongoing through the weekend), I'll try to bring what I can here as well, as merited and/or newsworthy and/or amusing and/or interesting.
But after a late late night at Rio's Pai Gow tables with Jeanne, Shannyn, Mike Rogers of RAW STORY and BlogActive (he the "outer" of Larry Craig, and arguably my "blog father" as one of the earliest blogger supporters of this site) as well as various and sundry other progressive trouble makers, muckrakers and decidedly not professional gamblers, I'll have to start slow.
For the moment then, a quick recap of impressions, photos --- and even some news of sorts --- from yesterday, which included an unscheduled, somewhat hard-hitting radio interview with Daily Kos' Markos Moulitsas on Nicole Sandler's Show (audio below) and some 30 minutes of my attempting to get answers --- on anything --- from the less-than-respectable rightwing "voter fraud" deceptionist John Fund of Wall Street Journal, Fox "News," and all places wingnut...
Some fine bloggery from RAW STORY today. First, Diane Sweet highlights Dana Gould's must-watch "WTF" moment on health care reform from last night's Real Times with Bill Maher on HBO:
Gould's package includes a visit to a recent health fair at Staples Center in L.A. where folks lined up around the block for free dental care, glasses, blood pressure checks, mammograms, vital immunizations for children, and other medical procedures not usually available to them, because they don't have health coverage.
Stephen C. Webster notes coverage of that event by another outlet which additionally notes some stark statistics comparing the UK's national health system to the system in the U.S. where health spending is twice that of the UK's (as a percentage of the GDP), more than twice-over per person, and yet, the U.S. life-expectancy is shorter, infant mortality higher, and there are more physicians per capita in the UK.
Finally, Webster also features a video of a town hall forum featuring Congressman Rick Larsen (D-WA) who is forced to inform a wingnut: "I've got facts on my side, you've got Glenn Beck on your side."
(Of course, Beck wasn't always an opponent of health care reform. In fact, he was in favor of it before he was against it --- after arriving at Fox "News" --- as Jon Stewart reminded us earlier this week.)
That, and one other excellent point is made about the "Constitutionality" of Congress providing for the general welfare. Just like it says in the, um, Constitution. Go watch it...
Cindy Sheehan, whose Army son was killed in the early days of the Iraq War, and who became well known during her controversial stand in protest outside of George W. Bush's property in Crawford, TX, in the summer of 2005, is taking her protests to Bush's new tony suburban enclave in Dallas.
RAW STORY covered Sheehan's plan to lead a "march on former President Bush's new home in the well-to-do Dallas suburb of Preston Hollow" on Monday, June 8th, in protest of what Dallas' NBC affiliate quotes her as describing as "crimes against humanity."
"We can't allow George Bush's crimes to be forgotten just because he is not in office anymore," she told the NBC affiliate via e-mail, as reported in their story, which also quotes Bush's new neighbors chiding protesters to "Go away...Go back! Leave us alone!" (See their video coverage above right, courtesy of RAW STORY's David Edwards.)
In an apparent attempt to offer additional "balance" to his coverage of Sheehan's new protests, RAW STORY's Stephen C. Webster reports that Sheehan "was hit by the right for criticising [sic] the invasion of Iraq and, eventually, by the left for being a perpetual spotlight-seeker."
Webster notes that he "would link to sources" backing up his claims of criticism from the left, "but that bit comes first-hand." He recounts that he'd "spen[t] months covering Cindy's activity for The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford," and writes that he "understand[s] many of the various opinions expressed about this woman's activism." He then goes on to associate with his former Iconoclast colleague Nathan Diebenow who, he writes, "quite accurately summarized, her constant angling for the spotlight and failure to significantly modify her tactics," which, Webster goes on to charge, "made Cindy into a 'media bore' (as opposed to the oft referenced 'media whore' insult so many on the right would hurl at her)."
To all of that, Sheehan replied in comments --- confirmed as her own to The BRAD BLOG today --- in a scathing rebuttal which begins: "Eff whoever wrote this article and Nathan Dibenow [sic] from the Lonestar Icnonoclast. [sic]"...
Be sure to let them know about Coulter's several felony acts down in Palm Beach County, Florida, (well-documented at the link above) by writing to them at their super-special tipster address: VoterFraud@FoxNews.com.
GoLeft's coverage of the story follows (1:45 mins), with a kind nod to The BRAD BLOG, as they join our call to action...
From their coverage:
The new claim being made by Fox is that illegal immigrants are going to be casting votes in November, playing on right-wing anti-immigrant sentiments. Fox News has now set out to find the evidence of fraud that the Bush Department of Justice could not, whipping up their audience with the threat of non-citizens "getting a fake ID, a driver's license, or a social security card and voting in this year's election." The network has even gone as far as creating a special email address for evidence - Voterfraud@foxnews.com. Brad Friedman of the Brad Blog has encouraged people to submit the case of Ann Coulter, who as Brad says, "knowingly lied about her address on her voter registration form in Palm Beach County, Florida; proceeded to break the law again by knowingly voting at the wrong precinct; then lied about it repeatedly; hired a former Bush attorney to protect her; and even called her FBI ex-boyfriend to save her, when it looked like the Palm Beach County Sheriff might actually bring charges.
Congrats to our friends, at RAW STORY. They've made it onto the radar screen of Rightwing Extremist, borderline psychotic John Gibson of Fox "News." They must be doing something right. Fantasy World Dwellers like the Bush dead-ender Gibson must be seeing the writing on the wall. If Gibson's silly, desperate, and unsupportable shots at RAW are any indication, it seems that the previous strategy of the 28-percenters may be quickly disintegrating. Pretending the real world doesn't exist --- by ignoring actual journalism and critics of administration policies (such as breaking the law, ignoring the constitution, etc.) --- may be a dog whose time on the hunt is soon coming to an end.
"The far Lefties are mad at [Cheney] for a host of imagined and concocted offenses. Having mostly to do with the fact that Cheney doggedly pursues our nation's enemies and he doesn't much care what other people think of what he's doing," opines Gibson from the undisclosed location of his own mind. That, after using the words "far far," "extreme," and "lefties" more times in his opening several sentences than we were able to count this morning.
Gibson, not watched by all that many people on Fox "News," describes RAW as being read by "not all that many people." In the past week, RAW STORY has had over 3.5 million page views. Anyone have time to check any numbers for Gibson's "Big Show"? We wonder how it compares number-wise.
By the way, the "Leftist blog" RAW STORY, as Gibson attempts to marginalize it, is not a blog. It's a news site. But, given his employer, we'll forgive Gibson for being unfamiliar with what news actually looks like.
And speaking of credit where it's due, the New York Times and several other outlets today confirm the story of secret US prisons in Poland and Romania which our friend and courageous investigative journalist, Larisa Alexandrovna, reported exclusively long ago with former Polish intelligence officer David Dastych over at the news site RAW STORY.
As usual, the Times, Washington Post, AP, and the Guardian all failed to acknowledge or recognize RAW in any way, despite that the fact that RAW "provided each of the four news organizations with the" report that they are today reporting on.
It's a continuing pattern, for which those outlets always have some form of excuse ("we verified it independently, we didn't know about the 'Internet reporting' on it previously, we don't credit 'blogs'," etc.) Meanwhile, RAW, ourselves, and virtually every other Internet reporting outlet routinely credit such MSM sources when we follow up on their reporting.
Anyway, none of them credited RAW, so we won't bother linking to any of them. Here's RAW STORY's coverage --- the ones who had the story and had it right in the first place --- instead.
As several folks have asked me about this, perhaps I should let everyone know that I spoke to RAW STORY's Editor-in-Chief, John Byrne this morning about the site having gone down today not long after the Goss announcement. Apparently, due to circumstances out of his hands, their server got moved today, and it may take from 24 to 48 hours to propigate the new IP address.
Needless to say, he ain't happy about it. But just thought I should help folks know what happened, and that it wasn't the NSA that finally got to them.
In case you missed it, AP recently lifted an article as researched and written by RAW STORY and published a version of it as their own. Along the way, they seem to have forgotten to give RAW the attribution they deserved for the many hours of research and work they put into the story in order to file the piece in the first place.
RAW's Larisa Alexandrovna originally discovered the gem after plowing through a bunch of Bush Administration policy statements on National Security Clearance policies and comparing the most recent version to previous versions of that same policy side-by-side. One of the RAW researchers confirmed her work and the subtle, but important changes she found, and then Larisa, along with RAW's Executive Editor John Byrne finally filed the piece at RawStory.com.
After all of that hard work, a human rights group shared RAW's story with AP who eventually filed their own very familiar story using the work as originally unearthed by RAW. They've since admitted to being given RAW's article and using it as the starting point for their own work, which walks a dangerously close line towards plagarism.
But even as they now admit that their story originated with RAW's reporting, they still refuse to give credit where credit's due. They've now given several lame and still-changing reasons for failing to acknowledge the "oversight" including "we do not credit blogs" and later, "we only credit blogs we know."
Larisa writes about the matter at Huff Po here and here, and John Byrne wrote an article covering AP's comments and comparing both articles directly for RAW here.
Setting aside the fact that RAW STORY is NOT EVEN A BLOG --- apparently any independent news source which originates on the Internet is now considered a "blog" by some in the MSM...all the easier to dismiss them by, we suppose --- The BRAD BLOGis a blog and yet we find the practice of failing to give us due credit equally objectionable for the many stories we have broken which were later picked up by the MSM as well.
Though most "blogs" do not do the sort of original reporting that we do here, it's certainly harder to argue that we're not one --- what with the word "BLOG" in our name and all. And yet, I'm forced to ask: What the hell does the word "blog" have to do with anything anyway?
Journalism is journalism is journalism. The quality of the reporting and the journalism therein is what matters no matter the name given to the media originating the work.
The reason that all of this matters is not so that Larisa or RAW or even myself or The BRAD BLOG receives some form of personal adulation or ego stroke for our hard work.
So if not for the good of our own personal self-esteem, why does proper credit to such sources really matter?...
At the end of a fun read over at Watching the Watchers on "horrible fiendish cackling harpy" Ann Coulter's latest pile of self-serving venomous horsehit slash apology vis a vis the Gannon/Guckert Scandal, the good (though hard to type) ~A! picks up on a subtle shot that Fox "News" seemed to toss at the Right's favorite new whipping boy, Raw Story.
As ~A! noticed...
Oh, and as an aside, FOX News, is a bunch of assholes again. They wrote a piece about the whole CIA affair, in which they cite RawStory for all their hard work and diligent reporting. They also mentioned Talon ?News', and linked to their site. They did not, however, link to RawStory. Why not, I wonder? Why link to Talon, whose site is actually down while they're on ?hiatus?, and not RawStory, which gave them something to write about in the first place?
Why, ~A!? Because Raw is in the business of reporting news and, of late, they are doing it like no other site on or off the net. You'll note that Fox also took the time to link to faux "news" organization GOPUSA in their article as well. We suppose they'd hate for any of their reader/zombies to start noticing the difference between real news and Fox "News".
While you're watching the Watcher Watchers, you may also want to check out what they've uncovered from Republican pollster, Frank Luntz, whose great offering to history will have been his instructions to his GOP clients to use such words as "Death Tax" instead of "Inheritance/Estate Tax" when hypnotizing their zombies. Well, it worked. And the "Death Tax", along with many other clever turns of lexicographical trickery has made its way into the daily GOP parlance. Yes, language does matter. Especially to zombies.
And as our own aside, by way of reminder, we'll be panelling tomorrow (Sunday) at the Election Reform Teach-in in Santa Monica, with an esteemed group including Congresswoman Maxine Waters and a bunch of other Election Reform All-Stars. If you're local to So-Cal, and the rain has still stopped, come on out and say hey!
We'll be talking, amongst other things, about VR's "Divestiture for Democracy" campaign the creation of which is just one of the too-many reasons we've had less time than usual to blog of late. We've quietly launched the VR DV4D campaign this morning and plan to plan to make quite a bit of noise about it this coming week.
But you, dear BRAD BLOGGERS, have heard about it before just about anybody else! So check it out, and send the bad guys a letter while you're there! You'll be glad you did!
As I was trying to get to sleep this morning, I wondered about the wild differences between the Exit Polling numbers, which strongly favored Kerry, versus the Final Results which narrowly favored Bush.
Given the statement in August of 2003 by Walden O'dell, the CEO of Deibold Inc., the Ohio-based company and the nation's #1 maker of Electronic Voting Machines there is reason to be suspicious.
He wrote in a fund-raising letter to Ohio Republicans last year that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."
As I lay in bed, trying to make sense of what still makes little sense, I had hoped to look today into how much the Exit Poll results varied from the Final Results in states and districts where there was Electronic Voting versus the difference in states where paper ballots etc. were in use.
Their early investigation shows that in states where E-voting with no paper trails were used, there was an enormous difference --- always in favor of Bush --- between the Exit Polls and the Final Results. Whereas in the states with paper ballots or E-voting machines that provided a printed paper trail, the Exit Polling was within .01% of the Final Results. Look at those numbers yourself.
Perhaps the mainstream media will discover a sense of civic duty and look further into that. For some reason, I'm not holding my breath, and it'll probably fall to folks like us to do their heavy lifting for them.
Look also at the bizarre numbers that Oliver Willis discovered amongst the vote tabulations as they were coming out of Ohio's website last night. He supplies pictures, so it should be simple for you wingnuts to understand.
And on Nov. 1, the day before the election, BlackBoxVoting.org --- a site which has been warning for some time of such concerns - issued an urgent release which began:
MONDAY Nov 1 2004: New information indicates that hackers may be targeting the central computers counting our votes tomorrow. All county elections officials who use modems to transfer votes from polling places to the central vote-counting server should disconnect the modems now.
There is no down side to removing the modems. Simply drive the vote cartridges from each polling place in to the central vote-counting location by car, instead of transmitting by modem. �Turning off� the modems may not be sufficient. Disconnect the central vote counting server from all modems, INCLUDING PHONE LINES, not just Internet.
I am pleased to see that that group has now filed "Freedom of Information Act" petitions for the audit logs of Electronic Voting machines in many states, given that they found some three hours of missing data from such audit logs six weeks ago on a central computer in Washington during their primary elections there.
Finally, I wonder if anyone will follow up with Karl Rove's statement to Sean Hannity on Sept. 29th when he said "We've got a couple of surprises that we intend to spring."
Now that the election is over and won, perhaps Mr. Rove could elucidate on what those "surprises" actually were.
Anyone in the media willing to take your job seriously enough to ask him?