w/ Brad & Desi
w/ Brad & Desi
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
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Last night, on a beautiful summer's eve, we took the 40 minute drive or so to one of the few remaining Drive-In Movie's remaining in Southern California. We tend to seek out such places no matter where on the road we might be. Nothing makes a marginal movie better, than seeing it on the cheap and under the stars.
To that end, a few weeks ago near Solvang, we caught both Shrek 2 and Mean Girls. The first was a whole lotta fun, highly recommended, and the second was much better than expected --- and not only because it included some great and smart and actually funny "anti-Liberal" satire. Some thing that is not easy to find these days.
Last night, we saw two more nearer to home. The first was Around the World in 80 Days, which to my great delight and surprise I am herewith proclaiming "an Instant Disney Classic!", and The Stepford Wives which I am herewith proclaiming "uh...not so much".
Actually, Stepford was about as stupid and knee-jerky as they come. Disappointingly unfunny, unscary, and unsmart. All in all, an enormously good idea/opportunity squandered for reasons that likely have to do with "business as usual" amongst the Hollywood Studio Food Chains. Save your time and money. But don't be afraid to catch Around the World... as it was genuinely well done, and actually quite amusing.
Though I'd still recommend you try to catch Control Room first --- as reviewed here previously --- since it'll be harder to find at a later date and it's truly an important film for Americans to see.
At one point in the remarkable new documentary Control Room (view the trailer), one of the women working in production at Al Jazeera (one of the many suprisingly westernized production folks who run the most popular satellite news channel in the Arab World) speaks directly to the point of the "objectivity" of the media.
"Are any U.S. journalists objective about this war?...This word 'objectivity' is almost a mirage."
And so the "mirage" is here seen from a point of view as yet unseen by most Americans in this eye-opening look at the fall of Baghdad as projected through the prism of an Egyptian-American documentarian with insider access to much of the goings on at Al-Jazeera during that period.
The revelations are, to say the very least, quite surprising. The tortured consciences and difficult dilemmas of the gate-keepers in charge of presenting daily events of America's "War on Terror" to the Arab world are shown --- at least in this film --- to be a great deal more thoughtful than the "vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable...mouthpiece of Osama bin Laden" that Donald Rumsfeld, and other US officials have painted them to be.
I'll admit that, prior to this film, I too was convinced that Al Jazeera was essentially an Anti-US propoganda machine for the Arab World. I had heard nothing to the contrary via any of the Media in this country, mainstream or otherwise, "liberal" or otherwise. The "fact" that Al Jazeera was an anti-American agenda driven organization was simply a given. I had no reason to believe otherwise.
And that's coming from me, an anti-Iraq War, anti-Bush Administration, "Liberal" (in the eyes of most folks).
Imagine what the bulk of America must think of Al Jazeera!
All of which is, frankly, what makes this film such an important one. If nothing else, as "fair balance" to counter the decidely pro-American bias of the US Media (including CBS, CNN, MSNBC and all the other supposedly "left leaning" outlets in addition to the clearly Rightwing Fox News Channel).
Just one of the several extremely compelling characters who's journey we follow during this period of the Iraq War is Marine Lt. Josh Rushing who --- as a representative for Central Command in Qatar, just a few miles from Al Jazeera's headquarters --- finds himself wresting in the most extraordinary, heartfelt terms with the conflicts of interest he finds himself smack dab in the middle of.
Rushing's job, of course, is to help the US Military paint as positive a picture of their efforts in the Arab World via the Arab Media. But in dealing with actual human beings on the firing end of the blunt super powers of the US, he is seen as clearly challenged to question his own heartfelt beliefs and his own role in the ever-necessary war time struggle to win the hearts and minds of the people being conquered, liberated or occupied (depended on ones point of view) via the media.
"It benefits Al Jazeera to play to Arab nationalism because that's their audience, just like Fox plays to American patriotism for the exact same reason.", Rushing seems to understand.
It's a fascinating story to watch.
That same questioning of ideals and motivations is present in the several other main characters shown here, most of whom work for Al Jazeera - a phenomon since it's inception in 1996 and which could be fairly seen as the "Fox News" of the Arab World, in both popularity, content and "nationalistic" point of view.
The staffers shared sense of self-searching, in the midst of this terror and horror is compellingly captured by filmmaker Jehane Noujaim (co-director of 2001's Startup.com which entertainingly documented the boom and bust of one of the Internet's early startup companies).
Hassan Ibrahim, a Sudanese journalist with Al Jazeera, and just one of the film's players who clearly admires the character of the United States and it's people --- if not the current Administration and policies thereof --- says early on the film that he has "absolute confidence in the United States Constitution and absolute confidence in the American people to stop this." A viewpoint which is decidely uncharacteristic of the general anti-American coloring given by the American media to the bulk of the Arabic world.
And yet, Ibrahim says, "Democracy or I'll shoot you!" won't work.
In defending his network's decision to show footage of US soldiers killed and in captivity and pictures of some of the thousands of Iraqi casualities, he tells Rushing, "I'm sorry, you can't have your cake and eat it too. You are the most powerful nation on earth, I agree. You can defeat everybody, I agree. But don't ask us to love it as well."
There is another remarkable scene where Al Jazeera producer, Samir Khader, berates a staff member for arranging an interview with an American who is completely one-sided against what the American characterizes as a drive for "empiric rule" of an Arab state. Khader is furious that such an unfair, unbalanced viewpoint is being offered up to their viewers. He seems to be rather sincere, as do our journalists, in the hopes at least of offering a broad and balanced picture instead of a one-sided screed.
Whether they are able to do so, and whether American journalists are able to do so is at the heart of this film. It's a question that every American should be forced to ponder and to look at, when watching the media, with a critical eye.
Unfortunately, that seems unlikely to happen --- particularly as Michael Moore's film will likely suck most of the oxygen out of the rest of the Documentary World by next week.
As well, Americans may now well be too well hardened in their partisan positions to be willing to give a fair and balanced look to any other point of view than the one they already subscribe to.
As the credits began to roll, and some of us in the theater found ourselves moved to applaud yesterday, the elderly gentleman in front of us accompanying his wife, turned around and muttered more than quietly "fucking traitors...all a bunch of fucking traitors".
To his credit, at least, he took the time to come out, and bothered to watch the entire film. (More than can be said for Bill O'Reilly in regards to Moore's film). But it's a start.
Go see this movie if it comes to your town. It's a unique, usually unseen perspective in this country, which is direly needed at this time. And in the bargain, as it relates to the choices we make in this necessary "War on Terror", it provides a point of view which is critical for Americans to begin coming to terms with. Sooner, I would urge, rather than later.
Along with too many other things that are currently keeping me from blogging as much as I'd like of late, the pace of lies, distortions and expository evidence of same is now coming out of Bushville at such an alarming pace, it'd be nearly impossible to keep up. Even if I wasn't otherwise distracted by several pressing items.
So here, without much editorial comment, are just a few of those items that I hope you are all taking note of:
Got an item/link of your own you think BRAD BLOG readers should know about? Add it to the Comments...
Republicans are doing anything to get Ronald Reagan's name anywhere they can. As if displaying the name or face of a Republican who wasn't hated by everybody might make them feel better about themselves. Or something. Who can explain a jackass like Grover Norquist, head of The Reagan
Lunacy Legacy Foundation and his life quest to build a monument to Reagan in every county in America?
Unfortunately for the self-esteem of Mr. Norquist, the idea of a new Reagan Memorial in DC is out for now, since Ronald Reagan himself signed the law that requires a person be dead for 25 years before such a non-military commemorative work can be built. Then there's the other law signed by George W. Bush recently that declared the Mall "complete", and thus, no more memorials there period. Darn the luck.
Then there's the idea of, ironically, putting Reagan's mug on money!
Perhaps a new $3 bill to commemorate all of Reagan's fine work in battling AIDS?
No, Norquist, with an assist from Senator Mitch McConnell, is working to replace Alexandar Hamilton on the $10 bill. That lame Revolutionary War hero, Founding Father, signer of the US Constitution, author of the Federalist Papers, founder of the US Marines, the US Navy and the US Naval Academy and --- still more irony --- the first Secretary of the Treasury (among many other contributions).
On Norquist's very own website to promote this "most honorable cause", you'll find this in the archives:
Oh, yes, they will look petty, Mr. Norquist.
Though not nearly as petty and stupid as you looked last night when The Daily Show showed a clip of him of you on CNN informing us that "Hamilton was a nice guy and all, but he's the only non-President featured on US currency."
To which The Daily's Lewis Black set the record straight:
This too shall pass.
Message to John Kerry: Please, please, pleeeeeease don't pick the lame, pathetic, useless Richard Gephardt as your running mate! If you even want a chance of getting the vote of folks like myself, you will disabuse yourself of the idea that Gephardt would get you anything but nothing, and very quickly.
I still scratch my head as to why Dubya isn't currently down in the polls with numbers more like 75%-25% quite frankly. The only reason I can come up with, is the public's uncertainly, unfamiliarity with you. But that's a hurdle you can climb. Add Gephardt to your ticket, and your mountain will only get still higher, and again you will certify the beliefs of folks like myself that the Democratic Party is bound and determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of what should be the easiest victory in decades!
On a more positive note, I see that someone out there is floating perhaps the only good idea I've heard since McCain made clear that he's not gonna play along and you foolishly dropped the idea of holding off on accepting the nomination so you could still recieve donations while Bush was busy buying a second term. That would be the idea of Joe Biden, the firebrand, and incredibly smart (nice change of pace) and well spoken Senator from Delaware. GET HIM! He's your VEEP!
Thank you. Here endeth the message.
"Ninety-two percent of the Iraqis said they considered coalition troops occupiers, while just 2 percent called them liberators."
So much for the candy and flowers. And so much for Bush's claims that the Iraqi people, contrary to the claims of the "Liberal" Media, are glad we're there.
The survey, obtained by The Associated Press, also found radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is surging in popularity as he leads an insurrection against U.S.-led forces...
The numbers, frankly, are remarkable. Astoundingly one sided against the US and the CPA. (Perhaps Iraqi's really did vote 99.9% in favor Saddam in that last election!) Anway, read the whole thing to get a better idea.
George W. Bush: Misleading America. 24 Hours a day. Is there nothing he can get right?
Rude awakenings. This morning, as my 8am alarm went off with the radio tuned to 790am KABC, I hear "Our first contestant this morning is Brad Friedman..."
Apparently, my 3-minute submission to the KABC "Talk Radio Idol" contest made the cut to be played on the air this morning, to compete with two other submissions for consideration towards the next round (which would lead to a one-hour talk show this Saturday, after which, one of those three finalists will be given their own Talk Radio show contract on KABC, one of LA's oldest and biggest News/Talk Radio outlets. Local home to my friends O'Reilly and Sean and Larry Elder, etc.)
The submission process for this contest had included the information that I'd be notified beforehand if my piece was selected to be played on air. Well, so much for truth in advertising. In anycase, I was lucky enough to have been listening anyway.
My piece was the first of three competing this morning, and I got good marks all around from the two call-in judges and the one "talk radio professional judge" (had I known in advance - AS THEY PROMISED! - I could have recorded the whole thing and made it available here...Oh, well.)
After a commercial break, they then returned to play the other two contestants of the morning. The second entry was a woman who sounded, shall we say, a bit too Public Affairs --- and then finally, the third guy who went on about hitting people over the head with hammers when they say they don't like the war on terror, or something like that. Angry, hostile, far rightwing. You get it.
He was funny, the third guy, to a certain extent. In the brutal and violent way that the harshest rightwing talk radio folks are these days (see Michael Savage), but as he clearly sounded like he was reading his piece, and seemed to have only one "gimmick", I'm not sure how he'd be able to fill an hour with that schtick, much less a three hour weekly show.
Nonetheless, in a split decision, the vote went to him, not me, sadly enough. The host of the show however, LA Talk Radio Legend Ken Minyard of "Ken & Company", who's unable to vote in this round, clearly seemed to indicate that I would have been his favorite, going so far as to mention he "might like to include Brad Friedman as a wildcard".
What that means, and if he can actually do that, I'm not sure. So we'll see. (Feel free to let Ken know you'd like Brad Friedman added as a Wildcard to the finalists in the Talk Radio Idol Contest via email to KenAndCompany@kabc.com if you are so inclined!)
In any case, waking up to "Brad Friedman" this morning is undoubtedly as frightening as clicking on your link to this blog each day, so you have my sympathies.
Here, for the record, is my full 3-minute submission to the "Talk Radio Idol" contest, based on an earlier blog piece here from some weeks ago, and most of which aired this morning on 790am KABC in Los Angeles.
Sadly, I was on appointments during the afternoon and evening of Reagan's funeral (the final one) back at the Library, and only caught pieces of it later in various recaps.
The clips I saw from Ron Reagan Jr's moving eulogy to his father, however, certainly jumped out at me, and I had intended to try and review the transcript in full before posting to make certain that what I thought I'd heard, I actually did hear.
And it seems I heard correctly. Ronny took a not-in-anyway veiled shot at the current "President" in this passage:
As the story on the controversy stirred by his remarks in today's NY Times points out, young Reagan has been much more pointed in the past, as he was when he referred to the boy Bush after a Reagan Tribute at the 2000 Republican Convention when he said: "What's his accomplishment? That he's no longer an obnoxious drunk?"
Ouch. And then again in a Salon.com interview a few years ago:
Reagan's daughter Patti was equally unequivocal about the mis-comparisons between Reagan and Bush Jr. when she opined to Newsweek:
None the less, it won't stop the Right from doing whatever they can to gain personal political benefit from the dead man they claim to admire, as Newt Gingrich made clear in the Times piece:
There has been no explanation so far for Newt's ability to receive Divine Messages from his dead hero. None the less, let the piranhic scavenging press on...
In the unlikely event that my earlier stories here and here didn't convince you of the fact that Ashcroft is not just a bad attorney general, but a disgraceful and failed one particularly in this time of "war", take a look at Fake Conservative's scourge, Paul Krugman's take on Ashcroft in todays NY Times.
It begins with: "No question: John Ashcroft is the worst attorney general in history." And goes on to make a compelling case from there. It's well worth reviewing!
After replacing their main page entirely for the last week with an All-Reagan Tribute Page instead, the Bush-Cheney campaign website has finally restored their site.
Amusingly enough, however, there is still not a single picture of George W. Bush on the main page. There are, however, 4 pictures of John Kerry.
Any clues there on what they may be running on this year?
Meanwhile, John Kerry's official campaign website also features 4 pictures of John Kerry and not a single George W. Bush picture.
"Interrogation abuses were 'approved at highest levels'" according to this story in the Telegraph.
Really? Whoda thunkit?! Never could have seen this one coming!
"It's now clear to everyone that there was a debate in the administration about how far interrogators could go," said a legal adviser to the Pentagon. "And the answer they came up with was 'pretty far'. Now that it's in the open, the administration is having to change that answer somewhat."
Due to various deadlines I've been working on, I've been a bit slow getting to this (and too many others). But now that it's made it's way to Drudge, I guess it's "official" enough.
In case you haven't heard, eight Artists in New York are now being subpoenaed towards the indictment of the artist who's exhibit / performance art at a gallery in Buffalo has been confiscated by the FBI via claims of "BioTerrorism" as allowed in the dangerous and mis-enacted "USA Patriot Act".
I realize that the Rightwing Attack Monkeys have time and again instructed us how "Liberals" decry the "Patriot Act" as being dangerous, but that --- in reality --- it hasn't proven to be dangerous at all. Think again, Attack Monkeys. It's your Federal Government that is now encroaching on citizens First Amendment rights with virtually no standards of proof whatsoever.
Such an outrage, of course, if carried out by a Democrat President (see: Waco) would be a crime worthy of Impeachment Petitions circulated by the Attack Monkeys, links to which would proudly be featured on Hannity's website, and splashed across days and weeks of coverage on Fox News.
As it's enacted by a Republican "President" on the other hand, the story has gone almost without notice. Isn't the "Liberal" media strange that way?
Or sit around and do nothing because 9/11 is just so scary that you are willing to let your Federal Government, in the person of John Ashcroft, toss your US Constitution out the proverbial window and apply it to artists who's material challenges the political interests of the Bush Administration's bio-tech cronies and contributors.
(Thanks to Brenda V. for having brought this to my attention several days ago!)
A Few Great Blogs
· Baghdad Burning
· Brilliant at Breakfast
· Crooks and Liars
· Dan Froomkin
· Fired Up! Missouri
· Freedom's Phoenix
· Freeway Blogger
· Glenn Greenwald
· Huffington Post
· Jesus' General
· Juan Cole
· Washington Monthly
· Media Matters
· Nashua Advocate
· Oliver Willis
· RAW STORY
· Sanoma State's
Project Censored Sites:
· Daily Censored
· Media Freedom
· Project Censored
· Scholars & Rogues
· Skippy the Bush Kangaroo
· Talking Points Memo
· Think Progress
· Tom Tomorrow
· TV Newser
· Ben Sargent
· Bill Deore
· Bob Gorrell
· Cagle's Index
· Chan Lowe
· Don Wright
· Doug Marlette
· Glenn McCoy
· Jeff Danziger
· Joel Pett
· Mike Luckovich
· Non Sequitur
· Not Banned Yet
· Pat Oliphant
· Paul Conrad
· Ted Rall
· This Modern World
· Thomas Burns
· Tom Toles
· Tony Auth
· Stuart Carlson
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