By Brad Friedman on 7/23/2010, 5:30pm PT  

-- 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...

Fraud, Ironies & Markos Moulitsas

We have attempted here, over the years, to hold Daily Kos, and its founder Markos Moulitsas, accountable for derailing election fraud investigations and questions by self-defeatingly marginalizing such efforts as "conspiracy theory" and banning users --- actually purging diaries --- from his site when they dare to discuss such important concerns.

Recently, Markos was forced to denounce a year and a half of public polling by the firm Research 2000, which his site had commissioned and published, after it was discovered that they may have been entirely fraudulent, as I discussed at some length a few weeks ago.

In that piece, I had focused on the comment he made, while denouncing his own surveys, asserting that "[W]ithout full transparency of results, this fraud would not have been uncovered."

I find no small amount of irony in that statement, given his site's own assaults on those who seek such "full transparency" in election results, in hopes of uncovering fraud (or even innocent tabulation error) where it might exist. That effort has seen this site targeted by a number of Kos' front page authors --- including the formerly-pseudonymous Dana "DHinMI" Houle --- as a conpsiracy theorist's "nutter site."

While working with Radio Or Not's Nicole Sandler (a colleague who frequently fills in for Randi Rhodes) during her broadcast from the conference yesterday, we were able to pull over Markos to ask him a few "tough questions," among them those mentioned above.

In regard to that irony, questions about which I had previously emailed him for comment, but received no reply, he told us that he only sees the comparison "If you stretch and pull and tug, then maybe you can make the analogy."

He explained that dKos does "not allow conspiracy theories," due to "the lack of proof." So I asked him if he understood that it's been impossible to get at the "actual evidence" because of the insane election system we've allowed ourselves to have in this country.

Unlike with his surveys, I noted, "we still don't have the raw data" from the various questionable elections we've seen over the last several years, because citizens are simply not allowed to review those raw data.

"We can't get at the raw data that were used to determine your surveys were fraudulent," I noted, before asking him if he would have banned users at Daily Kos six months ago, had they charged that his Research 2000 surveys were fraudulent, before "raw data" evidence was made available.

That's the general content. You guys can analyze the rest, for now. The audio of the interview --- courtesy of Nicole's Radio or Not --- can be heard below, with much, but not all, of the discussion about the fraud issues occurring in the first 13 minutes. There are other such confrontational issues --- among them, what seemed to me to be Markos' somewhat naive attitude about the media and the public airwaves --- in the interview as well.

Download MP3 [appx. 39 mins]...

John Fund, Lies & Video Tape

As noted, we're scheduled for both a bit of travel and downtime after leaving Las Vegas, so how quickly --- if ever --- we'll be able to get to this in detail, remains an unknown for the moment. But as it turns out, professional Wall Street Journal, Fox "News" liar, and "voter fraud" deceptionist and author John Fund, is attending the conference for some reason.

We were alerted to his presence in the audio at a panel discussion on climate change issues and legislation, and took the opportunity to say and hello and try to ask him a few questions as the panel let out.

After introducing myself by name and blog, and asking him if I could ask him to answer a few questions, he proceeded to spend the next 30 minutes or so trying to get away from me, refusing to answer any questions, appealing to the media coordinators at the conference to have them get me to leave him alone (they didn't), and trying to escape any accountability at all for his years of undermining democracy in the disingenuous name of trying to save it from imaginary Democraic "voter fraud."

I've appeared on both Fox "News" with Fund, as well as on the radio with him (where he hung up during the first commercial break --- even as he claimed over and over again yesterday, that he didn't hang up, his cell phone simply lost reception, conveniently, during the first break, after a very confrontational first segment). You can watch and listen to both of those appearances here.

This was the first time I'd ever gotten the opportunity to say hello in person, and try to get him on record answering a few important questions. He refused, repeatedly told me I needed to email him a request for an interview --- despite the fact that he had hung up on me during the last one in 2008, and despite that fact that there he was, a public figure, at a public forum, with, apparently, quite a bit of time to answer such questions as video cameras were rolling around us.

The O'Reilly-style "ambush interview", as one could call it, since it was unscheduled, and there he was, and there I was, proceeded to go from the conference's panel room, to the convention center lobby, out to the parking lot, back into the lobby, and then into the press room where he sought escape. He didn't get any. Though he didn't answer any of my questions either.

Among the questions he would not answer:

You get the idea. All of those questions he simply refused to answer, no matter how many times and ways I asked them, even with a simple "yes" or "no".

For the record, he also refused to answer questions from Mike Rogers of BlogActive (the reporter who is seen in the documentary film Outrage and who, as mentioned above, was responsible for the outing of Larry Craig and many other closeted, anti-gay homosexuals), which included the simply, yes or no question: "Are you a heterosexual?"

If/when I can get around to getting a copy of the video tape of the confrontation so that I can edit it down to a watchable length --- and avoid the type of deceptive editing favored by Fund and his friends like Breitbart and Fox --- I will do so. Until now, my description of the amusing and unseemly affair will have to suffice, along with the photo above.

Impressions, Observations, Odds & Ends

As this is my first time at Netroots Nation, I should note how impressed I've been with both the organization and the attendance of the entire affair. From the well thought out panels and workshops (though not a one on Election Integrity! Guess that's not an issue of concern this year?), to the various plenary sessions, to even the meals and entertainment.

Last night's evening plenary in the main ballroom was attended by several thousand and included, among others, Daily Show creator Lizz Winstead (among her best lines, as tweeted last night: "Hannity asking 'where is racist element in Tea Party?' like asking where is racist element in Mel Gibson?'") and progressive radio talker and MSNBC host Ed Schultz. As detailed via Twitter (here, here, here, here and here for example), Schultz offered a fiery, no-holds-barred stemwinder, fiercely critical of, naturally, Fox "News", but most notably Obama and the Democrats, with most of his condemnation targeted at "conservative" Democratic Senators Baucus, Lincoln and Stabenow. His general takeaway beyond all of that: "We progressives have our work cut out for us at this conference!"

Talking Points Memo has a very short clip of Schultz' appearance here, along with the suggestion that they may be able to post the full speech later. If so, it'll be worth watching.

Schultz' sentiments are likely held by many at the conference, as his remarks were met with quite a few cheers and some pretty rousing standing ovations at the close.

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And now, just for good measure, here are a few photos snapped throughout the day and night yesterday...

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