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by James Boyce and Dave Johnson.

We told you so.

Well before the 2008 election we were writing about the need to take down the right's $mear and Fear machine.   It is the defining and most important issue in progressive politics. It took the public option --option! -- out of our healthcare bill. It destroyed any chance for progress on climate change legislation, as the planet falls apart before our eyes.  And yet, collectively, there has not been a Democratic and Progressive focus on destroying this machine, and until we have it we will keep losing our leaders, and our country.

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Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 12:00 PM PST

Double Bubble. Double Trouble.

by DaveJ and JamesB

Last August, we wrote about the double bubble in the housing market: a more traditional bubble, then over-inflated by a massive asset bubble that drove prices up and up and up. The bigger the bubble, the bigger the pop.

In that post we wrote,

In every modern recession, the fall in housing prices follows the economy slowing down. What we have yet to see is the falling economy's effect on housing prices. So if you think prices have already dropped, and might even be reaching a bottom, we think it's the other way around: prices are about to start dropping.

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Look what the Republicans have done to our economy by following their core "trickle down" economic ideology, which really means borrow and spend.  They have run up a massive debt which combined with no oversight, a near total removal of regulations on corporate conduct, and watched and let Neil Bush run a savings and loan (oh, sorry, that was that other Bush presidency -- when S&L owners and Republican campaign contributors robbed us blind and bribed Senators like John McCain and then got a massive government bailout.)

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In a democracy, every person has a single vote. Unfortunately, what is becoming increasingly true is that someone with millions of dollars and the willingness to fund front groups has the ability to influence millions of votes.

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We'd like to introduce the Vets for Freedom NewsLadder. Like all the NewsLadders that are up and running, this is a great place to find out all about an issue on one site with articles, blog posts, and videos linked up and voted up or down by readers like you.

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Earlier this week, we wrote about the Republican group, Vets For Freedom, and their ability to run $1.5 million dollars in TV advertising with seemingly no support.

In our blog post, we noted that the founder of the group was claiming thousands of donors.   And the group claims to have 25,000 members.  A number which if true might give a hint of credibility to their claims. However, when it is becoming increasingly clear that more and more real veterans are coming out in support of Barack Obama, is it possible that VFF actually has 25,000 members?

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In a recent story about Vets for Freedom's new campaign in support of Republican Presidential candidate John McCain, the Virginia-Pilot quoted VFFs Chairman Pete Hegseth on donor disclosure.

Vets for Freedom's efforts are being fueled by donations from thousands of people nationwide, Hegseth said. He said the group will not release donors' names nor the size of their donations. The group is registered under a section of federal tax law that allows it to advertise and organize on behalf of particular policies while maintaining the confidentiality of its donors.

Donations to political campaigns or political action committees, by contrast, generally must be reported and are limited by law.

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What is a Front Group?

As a team that has spent a tremendous amount of time, especially over the last four years investigating and exposing these groups, here is a little history about where front froups came from.

The modern political front group actually got its start about 50 years ago in the tobacco industry. As the Surgeon General targeted cigarettes and scientific studies were being publicized about the dangers of cigarettes, the tobacco industry, quite simply, created their own front groups in order to counter the real groups.

They said, "Doubt is our product," and they used well-funded front groups to fool the public into believing there were "two sides" to the story that tobacco use cased cancer and other diseases.

What are the characteristics of those groups that help define a front group today?

Well, for one, the proponents are paid mercenaries, not concerned citizens.

Just as John O'Neill received $50,000 in August 2004 from the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth and Admiral Roy Hoffman's foundation received $100,000 in early 2005, the people working for Freedom's Watch are not tireless grassroots advocates, they are paid professionals.

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Since 2004, we have been very involved in investigating, exposing, and uncovering the roots and exposing the tactics and lies of the right-wing smear machine. James was involved not only in John Kerry's campaign, but also in the Truth and Trust Team, a group of Kerry friends and family who attempted to fight back against the Swift Boat Veterans.

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Thu Nov 08, 2007 at 12:48 PM PST

The Boy Who Cried Terror

by DaveJ and JamesB

Message to Congress: No one believes Bush and this is dangerous to the country!

There is an urgent warning today from the FBI, that Al-Qaeda might attack shopping malls over the holiday season.  See Exclusive: FBI: Al Qaeda May Strike U.S. Shopping Malls in LA, Chicago,

The FBI is warning that al Qaeda may be preparing a series of holiday attacks on U.S. shopping malls in Los Angeles and Chicago, according to an intelligence bulletin distributed to law enforcement authorities across the country this morning.

Is there a single person in this country who doesn't wonder if this is another Bush trick?  Be honest, it crossed your mind, didn't it?

But what if it's true?

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Thu Oct 11, 2007 at 10:24 AM PDT

Al Gore WILL Be Smeared

by DaveJ and JamesB

By Dave Johnson and James Boyce

If Al Gore Is awarded the Nobel Prize he WILL be smeared.  There is no question about it.

On May 15, 2007, we wrote a post titled, We Guarantee Al Gore Will Be Attacked Next Week, We Absolutely Guarantee It.  We wrote,

On Monday, Al Gore has a new book coming out next week, titled, The Assault On Reason.

Because he is standing up, telling the truth and because he simply is a Democrat and progressive leader, Al Gore will be smeared mercilessly by the right-wing smear machine. He will be ridiculed, made fun of and mocked. They will tease and make fun of him.

They will rush to say that he is bitter about 2000, crazy, insane, pontificating and out of touch.

They will bring up his utility bills and the boards he is a member of.

They will talk about his kiss with Tipper, her crusade against vulgar rap lyrics.

They will bring up his weight and the beard. And say it's all about 2008.

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By Dave Johnson and James Boyce

If it kind of worked once, keep trying it again and again. So once again, the Right is reviving the tired 90s Asian-donations smear on the Clintons.

Headlined at the Drudge Report, the Wall Street Journal has Big Source of Clinton's Cash Is an Unlikely Address,

It isn't obvious how the Paw family is able to afford such political largess. ...

Did you ask them?  Is it your business?  Actually they did ask them:

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