I say it all the time. Some of the shit that’s going on is so utterly unbelievable that it couldn’t be fiction, because we’d never buy it. But Mitt Romney is surrounding himself with the same war-loving Neo Cons who enabled the madness of President George Bush II.
As I welcomed The Nation’s Ari Berman to the show this morning, I warned that his new cover story, “Mitt Romney’s Neocon War Cabinet” is more frightening than any horror movie you’ll see at the local multiplex. In fact, you might not want to read this near bedtime, as the nightmares of invading countless countries and further depleting our already thin monetary reserves will have you screaming for relief Freddy Krueger during your sleepless night.
Today is election day in a few states, with some real issues at stake. In Indiana, moderate (especially for today’s GOP) Republican Richard Lugar is in danger of losing his US Senate seat in a primary challenge to a teabagger, all because he dared to try to work with the Democratic President to prevent nuclear terrorism. In Wisconsin, it’s primary day in the recall of Gov. Scott Walker! And in North Carolina, the hating, homophobic bigots might win their fearful fight against happy families.
Yes, North Carolina will today decide the fate of the heinous Amendment 1 which will not outlaw same sex marriage. That law is already on the book in NC. What this piece of shit disguised as legislation would do is hurt in-tact families. It would undue the laws that allow for domestic partnerships, take away essential services and rights already enjoyed by thousands of families in that state.
This morning, I welcomed Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferarra to the show. Jasmine is the executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, who tomorrow officially kicks of the We Can campaign. Watch:
There were some other less-than-believable news items I shared on the show today, including Ted Nugent’s latest meltdown…
Nice guy, huh? Or not.
And then there was this… Rick Santorum endorsed Mitt Romney, in an email to his supporters, in the 13th paragraph of a 16-paragraph letter. Nice… or not.
Conservative Christian politician “obsessed with, not going to stop” donating sperm to mostly lesbian couples.
VIDEO: “Would you support closing corporate tax loopholes to” prevent hike in student loan interest rates? Paul Ryan: “Nope.”
VIDEO: Mitt Romney refuses to challenge supporter’s “[President Obama] should be tried for treason” remark.
Tomorrow on the show, She’s History‘s Amy Simon and Green Party Presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein!
I love Joe Biden for saying this (and putting the ear worm in my head):
I love France for kicking Sarkozy and his austerity agenda to the curb, and for electing their first Socialist president in almost two decades. Some of the things I love about President-elect Hollande:
* Hollande opposes an economic policy based only on austerity and has promised to renegotiate the European fiscal compact to include provisions on jobs and growth;
* Although he has pledged to balance public finances by the end of 2017, Hollande has also said he will adapt that target if growth is weak and will not sacrifice France’s interests to meet it. His deficit-reduction measures include reversing tax breaks and introducing new taxes which he says will bring in an extra 29 billion euros of revenue;
* Hollande plans 100 billion euros in savings by 2017. Half is to come from new revenues, of which 20 billion have already been voted in, and half is to come from reducing spending by limiting growth in public expenditure to 1.1 percent per year;
* At the same time, Hollande has outlined 20 billion euros of new spending over five years, including restoring the right to retire at 60 for those who began work at 18. He plans to hire 60,000 more educators over his term and 1,000 police a year, and create 150,000 state-aided jobs to tackle youth unemployment;
* Hollande would target the rich with a 75 percent tax rate on income above 1 million euros a year and a 45 percent upper tax rate for those earning over 150,000 euros. He would limit executive pay at state-owned companies to 20 times the lowest wage, cut the presidential salary by 30 percent and index the country’s minimum wage to economic growth;
* Hollande aims to fight discrimination with sanctions for companies failing to offer equal pay, a Ministry of Women’s Rights and the attribution of half the ministerial posts in his cabinet to women. He would also remove the word “race” from the French constitution and open a parliamentary debate on immigration quotas. He backs gay marriage and adoption;
* Like Sarkozy, he is promising to curb financial excess by separating retail and investment banking and imposing a financial transaction tax. He wants to ban toxic financial products and stock options, curb bonuses, create a European ratings agency and stop banks working in offshore tax havens;
* To promote industry and jobs, Hollande will create a public investment bank to support small enterprises and industries of the future. Companies investing in France and keeping production local will receive public aid and financing. He also plans to help major corporations shift production back to France and will cut tax rates for small and medium companies;
* To boost youth employment he proposes a “generation contract” that reduces social charges for companies who hire young people on open-ended long-term contracts and at the same time keep a senior worker employed till retirement.
* He wants to reduce the share of nuclear energy in the power supply to 50 percent from 75 percent by 2025, and has promised to close the ageing Fessenheim nuclear plant but complete work on the advanced Flamanville EPR power station.
I love Japan, who pulled the license from its final nuclear power plant this weekend. No more nukes in Japan, Germany (and perhaps France, with her new president, will soon follow suit). I love Harvey Wasserman - today’s first guest - who has been at the forefront of the No Nukes movement for decades. He edits the site NukeFree.org, where this morning he posted ”The Nuclear Power Industry Has Melted in Japan and France“….
I love Howie Klein, Digby and John Amato who, together, operate the Blue America PAC and find the best, truly progressive candidates to go up against those who don’t deserve to be in office… And I love the candidate they introduced me to this morning — Wayne Powell (my second guest this morning). A retired 30-year Army Colonel, attorney and small business owner, he’s running for Congress from Virginia’s 7th district to unseat Eric Cantor!
And I love Nicole Belle who watches those Sunday talking head shows every week so we don’t have to, and fills us in each Monday morning in a segment we call “Fools on the Hill.” And I love her even more today for picking up on my incessant ramblings about the right wing living in opposite world:
Have you ever wondered what the color of the sky is in Republican World? Because I become ever more convinced that live in a completely separate universe than we do.
A universe in which Michele Bachmann can say with a completely straight face that she ran a very careful, ‘almost mistake-free’ campaign. No, really.
A universe in which would be Veep Marco Rubio can claim that the contraception debate is entirely a construct of the Democratic Party and Republicans are far more tolerant about women’s right to choose. No, really.
A universe where college loans are an entitlement to George Will and in the interest of fiscal responsibility, should not be offered. Still not kidding.
A universe in which Republican talking points become accepted truths by the “balanced” anchors, such as when David Gregory told VP Joe Biden that he couldn’t say the stimulus worked because unemployment didn’t drop below 8 percent. Still unconvinced?
How about a universe where a member of the .1% (you read that right: one-tenth of one percent) goes on Fareed Zakaria to defend income inequality. Why should he get so much money while one in five children are going to bed hungry or malnourished? Because in his world, the economy is driven by risk and innovation.
And if we have time, Joe Biden gave one of the best defense of marriage equality I’ve heard from any politician of either party.
Some of my favorite people in the world were born on this day. My mom, who died a week shy of my 20th birthday, is right up there along with my daughter who turns the big 1-3 today.
My two closest friends also share in this special day – as Eva’s daughter Molly is 11 today, and my other close friend from childhood, Jaime, was also born on May 3. So there’s got to be something pretty awesome about the third day in May, huh?
A quickie on today’s show, as I have a birthday party to put together….
We continued the coverage that the corporate media didn’t provide on the May Day actions around the world… I hope to get Allison Kilkenny on the show again one of these days- but in her absence today, I shared her wonderful article for The Nation, “Tens of Thousands March in Oakland, New York for May Day.” And, though I haven’t heard the episode yet, I hear that today’s Citizen Radio is pretty awesome too…
Freedom House yesterday released its annual Press Freedom Survey, and you’ll be delighted to hear (or not) that the US ranks 22nd, tied with Jamaica and Estonia. Seriously.
The country that proudly touts the first amendment to the Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Perhaps Congress made no such law, but the chilling effect on the media by its corporate overlords is quite clear.
I launched my own, unscientific “free press” survey yesterday. I watched more hours of MSNBC “news” than any person should be subject to, looking for one mention of yesterday’s world-wide, massive MayDay actions, marches, protests. Between 6 and 10pm, the effort was for naught.
At 10, as I’m unable to watch the bullying Lawrence O’Donnell, I flipped over to Current for the Young Turks rebroadcast, to hear Cenk do the story justice.
But I was really missing Keith Olbermann’s presence on my TV last night, as he was the guy who regularly gave the occupy movement the coverage it deserved.
Since the corporate media was derelict in its duties, I spent much of the first hour today reaching out to some who participated yesterday. I spoke with Linda Busch Somach in NY and Rob Rousseau in DC, and lamented the loss of an open free press in the US.
In the second hour, I was joined on the subject by the adorable and very funny Maysoon Zayid (who’s appearing tomorrow night in San Francisco!)
I smell revolution in the air. It comes with the American Spring and the rebirth of the newly awakened Occupy movement. How apropos that people will protest around the world on May Day! Not only is it International Workers Day, but mayday is the internationally recognized signal of distress.
We’ll just scratch the surface of the May 1st General Strike (#M1GS) actions happening around the US today with a few activists. Robert, aka @rousseau_ist of the Occupied News Network will get us started from McPherson Square in Washington DC. We’ll head up to NYC to talk with Linda Busch Somach (@lippylulumama) who runs the OccupyEarth livestream channel, and then head west to San Francisco to speak with @PunkBoyinSF (punkboyinsf.org).
VIDEO- John Boehner: Mitt Romney’s wealth, privilege are a plus, because “the American people don’t want to vote for a loser.”
Groups file FEC complaint against Aaron Schock for soliciting Eric Cantor to make large contribution to super PAC
Also, Paul Ryan is full of shit...
Although it seemed as I was alone in the chat room this morning, I thought both President Obama and Jimmy Kimmel were funny at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner Saturday night. Of course, I watched from my living room, having gotten no invitation to the soiree (unlike Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan)…
I’ve said this many times before; if we don’t laugh, we’ll cry. When things are this fucked up, we need an escape, or three. And laughter is, indeed, the best medicine.
I appreciate that President Obama can laugh at himself, and take the barbs that Kimmel slung with a gigantic smile.
Some of my favorite lines from Kimmel:
“I want to thank the Washington Hilton for hosting us tonight. You know, President Obama wanted to move the dinner to the Kennedy Center, and the Republicans wanted to keep it here at the Hilton. So they compromised, and here we are at the Hilton.: and
“Mr. President, remember when the country rallied around you in hopes of a better tomorrow? That was hilarious!” and
“Mr. President, I hope you don’t think I’m out of line here but marijuana is something that real people care about and the fact that you believe Speaker Boehner when he tells you he still has control of his party leads me to believe that you’re smoking some crazy great weed yourself.”
Oh there was more, including the line about how when Obama called Kanye West a jackass, he was really talking about Allen… Watch it here:
But the president was pretty funny himself! I especially liked this line: “What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? A pit bull is delicious!
It was funny, and it’s ok to laugh!
And, as we do every Monday, I spent most of the second hour with Crooks and Liars’ Nicole Belle, recapping the most heinous moments of the Sunday talking head shows in a segment aptly named “Fools on the Hill.” Today, she brought us these gems:
It’s inevitable that with the anniversary of the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden, the Republicans are scrambling to downplay President Obama’s successes. In fact, the whole Sunday show circuit was nothing but Bizarro World projections on reality.
So it shouldn’t surprise you that former RNC chair and current Romney adviser Ed Gillespie accused Barack Obama of being ‘one of the most divisive presidents in American history’ by turning the killing of Obama into a ‘partisan political attack.’ Because no Republican has ever politicized bin Laden for their personal gain.
Nor should it be unexpected that Ed Gillespie counted on the pea-sized brains and complete short term memory loss of the average Republican voter when he bald-faced lied about the economic recovery and distort Bush’s record on job creation. Of course, host David Gregory let him.
And John Boehner—the Speaker for the least productive House of Representatives in modern history—reassures Candy Crowley that while he and Obama have a ‘very good relationship’, he’s concerned that the president is ‘diminishing the presidency’ by advocating causes like the Buffett Rule. He’s just being helpful, doncha know?
I think Robert Gibbs had it right when he told David Gregory that the sum total of the Republican message this election season is “You didn’t clean up our mess fast enough.”
Finally, the one segment that had me more angry than any other was the Meet the Press panel discussing women’s rights and the assault by Republican-led legislatures both at the state and federal level. It’s a rare treat to get Rachel Maddow on the Sunday shows: smart as a whip, able to access facts quickly and accurately and an unapologetic liberal. There’s a decent chance that some points that you don’t normally hear from the corporate media. But not if Republican strategist Alex Castellanos is simultaneously booked. He drips with patronizing misogyny as he derails any hope of an intelligent discussion by arguing with Rachel the completely inarguable fact that women make less than men.
First of all, Elvis Costello was great last night.. I’ll talk a bit about it on the show this morning, along with the thing that pisses me off every time I go to a concert!
And second, big apologies to Shane-O and Danielle for leaving my ustream encoder on yesterday, forcing them off the air until I could reach my daughter and have her shut down my computer last night. That WON’T happen again!
Now on to the first of two shows today:
At least two of my pals, Aaron Krager and Dave Johnson, were in Detroit yesterday for the annual GE Shareholders Meeting (the same way I attended the Carnival meeting a couple of weeks ago)…. Read their respective coverage of it at the above links, and listen for Aaron’s account at the beginning of the show.
Then, if you haven’t already realized it, the BP spew in the Gulf two years ago is still an ongoing unmitigated disaster, you’re wearing blinders. Just read this sickening report from Antonia Juhasz for The Nation… and listen, as she joins me this morning (and hopefully on Randi’s show this afternoon too.)And finally, it’s Thursday – the end of the broadcast week for The Nicole Sandler Show.
I usually try to end the week with some laughs. Today, they”ll be provided by the always funny Maysoon Zayid!
***Last minute change **** Maysoon had a family emergency so she had to cancel (we’ll get her back on one morning next week). In her place, I called on Tim Karr of FreePress.net and SaveTheInternet.com to talk about CISPA – the ”Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act” (HR 3523). Find out more and sign the petition against it here!
Talk to you this afternoon on the Randi Rhodes Show, with these guests:
I don’t have much time to write this today, as I have to take my kid to a doctors appointment shortly… But I did want to give links from today’s show, and write a few words about fairness, which was the overarching theme of today’s show.
My friend Cliff Schecter summed up some of it beautifully for Politico:
Only in America.
We have a system where each candidate for high office only has to befriend there very own pet oligarch – be it Adelson, Foster Freiss, etc. – and they can run for office forever, as their friendly billionaire gives money to their Super Pac in an entirely “uncoordinated” manner.
We have top government officials who have admitted to allowing torture, but they are free. Wall Street hot shots who lied to their clients and then bet against them. But not one prosecution. And on and on.
But we are really wasting our time and effort on John Edwards? I’m sorry, but I really can’t get worked up about violations of our campaign finance laws, when they are a complete joke. And when people who did far worse don’t even need to hide it.
It is fun for everyone to hate John Edwards right now, because that allows us to project all of that’s wrong onto one man. What he did was terrible, but there are likely thousands, if not tens of thousands of people who who have done things much worse, that have legitimately hurt scores of people, and they will never see the inside of a courtroom. And that is what is shameful.
Of course, I’m talking bigger picture here… with the Supremes today hearing arguments on Arizona’s SB1070 “Papers Please” racial profiling law. I discussed that with Henry Fernandez, spokesman for Reform America’s Immigration Laws in the last half-hour of the show.
I began with my second conversation this week with the awesome Greg Palast, this time because the first arrest was made yesterday in conjunction with the BP disaster… unfortunately, it was a scapegoat instead of someone truly responsible for the humongous mess they created.
Then I spoke with Andrew Gumbel, author of the new book Oklahoma City: What the investigation missed – and why it still matters…
And President Obama joined Jimmy Kimmel on TV last night to talk about student loan rates doubling in July… in a creative way….
Oh, the things that we find funny, and the things that would be hysterical if only they weren’t so terribly, horribly sad.
First up is the notion that allowing everyone the same joys and sorrows of marriage will threaten your own happy or sad union. Seriously. The state of North Carolina, currently in early voting mode, is voting on Amendment 1 which reads
“Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”
Unfortunately, the latest Public Policy Polling data released today shows 10 percent of voters still erroneously think voting down Amendment 1 would legalize gay marriage and another 27 percent are unsure what it would do. That falls under the really sad category.
Big money forces are at work, pushing this piece-of-shit legislation with ads like this peppering the airwaves:
Sad, yet again.
Fortunately, there are some ads to counter that particular brand of bullshit, like these:
But they need money to keep running them on the air throughout North Carolina. Pam told us you can donate at tinyurl.com/amendment1 . Early voting is already in progress, and election day is May 8.
Also not funny is the hatred used to instill fear and loathing into otherwise more normal people. Arizona’s racist SB 1070 (or the “Papers Please” law) went into effect two years ago yesterday. Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on its constitutionality. How sad is that — that it’s even gotten this far?
We’ll get more in-depth on that topic on tomorrow’s show.
This morning, I also continued yesterday’s conversation on the lack of real, independent investigative journalism – today with someone else who actually does it! Russ Baker of WhoWhatWhy.com was on with me today, and will speak tonight in NYC at 6:30pm, Mid-Manhattan Library, 455 Fifth Avenue at 40th St, 6thfloor.
And we wrapped things up as we do every Tuesday morning with The Political Carnival’s GottaLaff- we talked about these stories before descending into the depths of scatological humor…