No, I didn’t have an “exclusive” interview with Dick Cheney as every TV news show claimed to.
Instead, I spoke with Adam Christing, the ironically named producer/writer of the new film, A Mormon President: Joseph Smith and the Mormon Quest for the White House.
I also checked in with Bill McKibben, who’s still outside the White House protesting the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Unfortunately, the State Department just released its Final Environmental Impact Statement on the project, which concludes that “the State Department “does not regard the No Action Alternative to be preferable to the proposed Project.” (h/t Think Progress)
According to wikipedia, ”Dog Days” (Latin: di?s canicul?r?s) are the hottest, most sultry days of summer in late August. Dog Days can also define a time period or event that is very hot or stagnant, or marked by dull lack of progress. The name comes from the ancient belief thatSirius, also called the Dog Star, in close proximity to the sun was responsible for the hot weather.
Well, the heat that plagued most of the country earlier this summer has, for the most part, subsided. And there seems to be no such thing as a slow news day any more. Though, today might be the closest we’ve come to one i a long time.
No earthquakes or hurricanes of which to speak at the moment. And Congress is still on recess. Of course, that doesn’t stop them from saying and doing really stupid things. We talked about some of them on the show this morning.
In the first hour, I was joined by The Nation’s Ben Adler, a contributing writer/reporter who covers the right wingers. His latest piece, “Tea Party Senate Campaigns to Watch” details two races in which the incumbent rwnj isn’t right wing or crazy enough (Utah and Indiana), one where the incumbent is retiring (TX) and one where they hope to take a seat currently held by a Dem (FL) – and in both cases have two possible candidates battling it out for the GOP nomination – each trying to out-crazy the other.
I just believe it’s fun to think about tea baggers eating their own.
So far, no locusts.
On behalf of Californians everywhere (I lived in LA for 14 years), I apologize to the east coast for all of those 5.8 earthquake jokes.
And on behalf of hurricane veterans, I apologize for pooh-poohing a category 1/tropical storm.
Seriously. You’re all natural disaster veterans now too…
I’m truly sorry for those who live in Eric Cantor’s district, which was home to the epicenter of the quake and certainly got hit by some of Irene’s ire. Your congressman doesn’t want any disaster relief aid for you, unless he can take it from your Medicare or Social Security benefits. Or maybe just your kid’s education.
Of course, Glenn Beck thinks it’s a blessing
And they’re not the only batshit crazy one out there. I must call your attention to “The 25 Idiots That Blamed Hurricane Irene on Gay Marriage”. Click on the link for the full dose of idiotic. Here are a few gems to whet your whistle:
“No offense” ?!?! Hey you dumb ass… I’m offended you’re on the same planet. Not only are these truly disturbed, they could also use an education. What’s up with the spelling?
But life goes on… The most astounding things keep happening at the behest of some of our GOP members of Congress. Last Wednesday, Howie Klein appeared on the show. He told us of a Ohio state legislator -Connie Pillich - who’s running for Congress against the sorry excuse for a Congressman known as Steve Chabot.
In the first story, Chabot got booed for opposing Planned Parenthood, saying it is “largest abortion provider in the United States”. But it gets better. He had the police at a town hall meeting held in a school gymnasium remove constituents cell phones if they dared to video the meeting!
And I thought not being allowed to ask a question was bad. This is NOT America!
We’re lucky to have any Sunday shows to discuss, because the Hurricane Irene all but canceled programming on CNN and threatened to do the same on ABC and Fox as well. Likewise, the shows were quick to book Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey and someone determined not to see a repeat of Katrina being placed on his doorstep, and FEMA administrator Craig Fugate, both of whom were on three shows.
However, I am less interested in the direct response to Irene as I am the larger question of the role of government for natural disasters and how the Republicans’ desire for “smaller” government works when the reality of a large scale disaster like Irene happens.
For people like Ron Paul, it should be up to the people to pull themselves up by the bootstraps to take care of themselves. He has no need for FEMA or government assistance at all. In fact, while millions of people on the East Coast face no electricity for a week and flooding, Ron Paul says we need more spending cuts. Tone-deafness, thy name is Ron Paul.
Meanwhile George Will thinks that the media coverage of the hurricane is overblown because, you know, he’d already figured out his vacation home in South Carolina might be in jeopardy. Now while it might be tempting to say Will has a point, I do think this extra precaution that we saw was due in no small way to the failures on the local, state AND federal level to Katrina. There’s no telling how many lives were saved by those precautions. So George’s inconvenience of having his airtime cut for weather coverage may have been a necessary price to pay.
However, I did have a stunning worlds-colliding moment where I actually agreed with George Will. Discussing the information leaking out about Dick Cheney’s forthcoming memoir, Will thought it was bad form that not once in the 500+ pages did Cheney apologize for lying us into war. However, I wonder where our apology from Will is, since the left questioned the invasion and occupation of Iraq from the beginning and Will was continually disdainful and insulting of our patriotism, our intelligence and our sense for not supporting the invasion.
Speaking of Cheney’s memoir, the Meet the Press panel discussing it demonstrates all that is wrong with media today. Listen how they talk about Cheney blithely without mentioning the horrifying illegality and deception that marked his tenure.
And finally, David Brooks embodies the Villager fan girl crush on flavor of the month Rick Perry perfectly when he tells David Gregory that Rick Perry is the candidate the Republicans have been waiting for. And this is the same guy who has been whining in his weekly column that the Republican Party has been taken over by the extremist tea party types. But he likes Rick Perry. Cognitive dissonance much?
Natural disasters all.. or I guess we could consider Rick Perry an unnatural disaster! The latest Gallup poll has Rick Perry jumping ahead of the GOP pack after one week of declared candidacy… He’s 12 points ahead of Romney in 2nd place. The invisible-to-the-media Ron Paul is in third, with Michelle Bachmann a distant fourth.
Strange times in which we’re living, huh?
As bad as the current crop of candidates offered by the Republicans might be, it’s still a rough road ahead for President Obama’s re-election. He has some problems… We’ve talked about them at length, including on Monday’s Randi Rhodes Show with AlterNet’s Joshua Holland and his piece “The Obama Wars.”
Yes, the left is fighting with the left… not a good thing to do.
Another take on the infighting comes from Richard Eskow - senior fellow at the Campaign for America’s Future who’s also read widely on Huffington Post and seen often on The Young Turks. His latest piece, “Helpless President Lit: The Latest Trend in Political Tragedy” answers a recent missive from WaPo’s Ezra Klein, “What could Obama have done?”
Richard will join me in the first hour of today’s show to answer that question…
It’s Thursday and therefore the end of the Nicole Sandler Show week… John Fugelsang will join in to help usher the weekend in with a laugh or two..
Yesterday, during the lull between my show here at Radio or Not, and my fill-in stint for Randi Rhodes, an earthquake hit, centered in Virginia and felt in 22 states – quite strongly in Washington DC and New York City!
Having lived in Los Angeles for 14 years, I’m an earthquake veteran. Having lived through the big ’94 Northridge quake, I can talk earthquakes with the best of them!
I’m also a hurricane survivor. Although I was living in LA at the time, I was visiting my father in August of 1992. My dad had just gotten home from the hospital after an accident that left him quadriplegic. At that time, I was visiting for a weekend just about every month.
When I got to Miami, we saw that a hurricane was approaching. It turned out to be Andrew – a category five, truly devastating storm. We couldn’t move my dad, so we hunkered down and rode it out. Luckily, Andrew veered south just before making landfall so we didn’t get hit with the worst of it . But it was an experience I hope never to repeat.
Lucky for us in South Florida, we’ll be spared by Irene. But the people whose nerves were frazzled yesterday by a rare east coast earthquake may be further freaked out later this week by an unusual northeastern hurricane too.
Oh yeah, the rebels took Khadaffy’s compound in Tripoli yesterday. Almost a footnote in the news, after the strange natural disasters…
This morning on the show, I spoke with Rebecca Miranda, a woman who describes herself as “an original 99er.” She emailed me yesterday:
In April of this year(almost 3 years to theday I was laid-off), I was hired back into the field I love. I am an employment recruiter once more. One of my life’s many missions now, is to help put our people back to work.
If possible, I would like to speak with you [to help] get the word out that I am seeking currently unemployed workers (as well as diverse candidates) to interview and possibly place into the
working force once more. Please help me help those who need it the most.
So I invited her on today’s show to get the word out. If you’d like to apply for any of the jobs, you can email Miranda here, or just visit the website. You can also check out the website for the parent recruitment firm, as they recruit for many other companies.
In the second hour, Howie Klein joined in to talk about progressive candidates running for Congress. Howie, who blogs at DownWithTyranny and runs the Blue America PAC along with Digby and C&L‘s John Amato, is a frequent guest on the program – and always brings information and clarity about the need for true progressives in government.
Today’s the last day of the week that I’ll be pulling double duty. On the Randi Rhodes Show this afternoon I’ll speak with David Cobb, the 2004 Green Party presidential candidate who’s touring the country speaking on behalf of Move To Amend – a coalition of groups working to change the constitution in the area of campaign financing, and specifically overturning the Citizens United ruling.
Jeff Sharlet - who we know from his explosive books The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power and C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy – has a brand new book out, Sweet Heaven When I Die: Faith, Faithlessness, and the Country In Between. Less about the religious crazies infiltrating our government, and more about interesting people, most of whom have some religious aspect to them that adds to their appeal (or non-appeal).
Jeff was on my show last week, the day the book came out. He’s always such a fascinating interview, I invited him to join me on Randi’s show today.
And did you know that Friday is Women’s Equality Day? As we still don’t have an Equal Rights Amendment to our constitution, I don’t quite get what the day is about… But Amy Simon will fill us in. Amy is a mother, actress, playwright, improviser, published writer, producer, and self-proclaimed Cultural Herstorian; She’s the founder, visionary and president of She’s History! The Most Dangerous Women In America, Then and Now…
Religious zealots will be the death of society. I truly believe that, even more so after my conversation this morning with Rachel Tabachnick. Rachel has long been researching and writing about the impact of the Religious Right on politics and, of late, has turned much of her attention toward the New Apostolic Reformation. Much of her past work is found at Talk2Action.org, and she has recently begun amassing info about NAR at NARwatch.org.
As she often writes about religious extremists and their impact on politics, I was happy to see that she has a piece in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz about him – basically warning Israelis about him “With Friends Like Glenn Beck…”
Video Quote of the Day : “Rick Perry’s an idiot, and I don’t think anyone would disagree with that.”
And finally :
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will talk about his demand that federal regulators obey the law and limit oil speculation!
Juan Cole is professor of modern Middle Eastern and South Asian history at the University of Michigan and the author of “Engaging the Muslim World,” and writes the “Informed Comment” blog at www.juancole.com
His must-read column– The Top Ten Myths About The Libya War -answers all the questions that were raised about Qadaffi and Libya during yesterday’s show!
The weekend brought news from Libya… it looks as though Gadaffy will be going soon. Although we don’t know what will take his place, I can’t imagine anything as bad as the mad man Mohammar.
I didn’t deal much with that story on my show this morning, as I couldn’t offer anything new. But we’ll get the latest this afternoon when I guest host the Randi Rhodes Show…
This morning, my daughter Alison started her first day of 7th grade. I don’t know how it happened. It seemed like it was just yesterday we had moved back here to South Florida, just in time for her to start kindergarten. Unfortunately, these very important learning years are being hampered by huge cuts to Florida’s education budget – and a concerted effort on the part of the GOP to undercut and destroy public education in America.
This morning, I was joined by Cynthia Liu, Founder and CEO of the K-12 News Network . We talked about the attacks on public education, the rise of charter schools, and the influence of Michelle Rhee…
I don’t do it often, but this weekend I had the misfortune of listening to one of the three very conservative radio stations. After listening to the weekend host not only rationalize, but agree with Allen West’s “plantation” comments, I came to some conclusions: in order to be a conservative you either need to be completely heartless, or completely unable to think things through.
I’m not sure if it’s heartlessness or stupidity that gets Bill Kristol on Fox News Sunday every week. But he proves that once again, he is *NEVER* correct when he and Stephen Hayes agreed that it would be good for GOP presidential candidates to run on “entitlement reform”.
Ironically, the man dubbed “Bush’s Brain” has demonstrated time and again that he does suffer from that failure to cogitate that I think is indicative of the conservative mind. He insisted that Sarah Palin would run – and likely win – the GOP nomination. But he also tried to spin rather lamely the notion of ideological rigidity in the GOP into ideological rigidity in the Democratic Party. But former WH spokesman Bill Burton rightly told Rove that considering the Bush administration’s record, he was in no position to opine on good governance.
Speaking of Sarah Palin’s mythological presidential run, ever-present Sunday news show guest John McCain warned Norah O’Donnell (in for Bob Schieffer) that his former rogue running mate would make a “formidable” candidate. Uh huh. That is, until such time as she had to actually answer to her fellow GOP candidates in a debate. Then we’ll see her fold like a deck of cards.
But Democrats don’t get off too easily in this heart/mind lacking, especially if they are tacking as hard to the right as Harold Ford, who tells the Meet the Press panel that Wall Street *is* Main Street. For corporatists like Ford, that’s certainly true.
And finally, David Axelrod has nothing to do but deflect, deny and disparage when This Week guest host Jake Tapper asks him about Michael Moore’s question to the Obama administration about liberal disappointment.
As I said before, I’ll be on for Randi Rhodes this afternoon (tomorrow & Wednesday too!)
Here’s what’s on tap for today:
Heather Hurlburt – executive director of the National Security Network with the latest on Libya
Harry Shearer - actor, comedian, writer, voice artist, musician, author, radio host & director… best known for his work on The Simpsons, SNL, Spinal Tap & The Folksmen, and Le Show… But his latest work is his documentary The Big Uneasy (just in time for Hurricane Irene to be the first of the 2011 hurricane season to hit the US).
Joshua Holland – editor and senior writer at Alternet.org (and author of The 15 Biggest Lies about the Economy: And Everything else the Right Doesn’t Want You to Know about Taxes, Jobs and Corporate America about “The Obama Wars: Why Do We Tear Each Other Apart Over Whether the President Is A Failure or Success”
“Oh God” is a multi-use term, much like the word “fuck” serves multiple purposes. And although I’m an atheist, I use the “Oh God” expression fairly frequently.
“Oh God” was my reaction when I first heard this clip from Michele Bachmann explaining how God told her to marry Marcus Bachmann (even though they weren’t in love or anything), and then went to law school and for her post-doctorate in tax law (even though she hates taxes) because her husband told her to, and the Bible says women must be submissive to their men!
Of course, that’s how she really feels.
Frank Schaeffer (author of Sex, Mom & God) has a new piece up at Alternet, “Are Michele Bachmann’s Views About ‘Christian Submission’ Even More Extreme Than She’s Letting On?” that shows just how batshit crazy she is, proving that she lied during last week’s Republican presidential debate when she said that being submissive means “mutual respect.”
Schaeffer joined me on the show this morning to talk about the dangerous religious zealotry of Bachmann as well as Rick Perry, and how they’ve doubled down on the insanity of George W. Bush.
Speaking of Rick Perry, I’m not sure what type of “Christian” calls for violence directed toward anyone (in this case, specifically Ben Bernanke), that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional, or for a moratorium on all regulations (you know, those pesky rules that are in place to protect we the little people)….
If Rick Perry is so gung-ho on doing away with regulations, let me suggest a vacation to check out how awesome it would be…
Speaking of “non-Christian” behavior by people who claim to follow the teachings of Christ, we learned a bit today about the Willow Creek Community Church, which hosts the Global Leadership Summit, an event that many influential (and even progressive) figures have attended in the past. However, the Willow Creek Community Church is known for their anti-gay position.
So, when gay rights activist Asher Huey heard that the CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz would be speaking there, he launched a Change.org petition asking Schultz to issue a statement, making it clear that Starbucks does not support the anti-gay views of Willow Creek Community Church. Schultz took it a step further and withdrew from the Summit. So, Asher took down the petition (that had amassed 799 signatures).
The story continues when Asher Huey, in an interview about the Starbucks story with the Huffington Post, questioned Michelle Rhee’s appearance at that same Summit at Willow Creek, became the target of smears and attacks by Hari Sevugan – former DNC Spokesman, now Michelle Rhee’s PR flack at the Students First organization.
Asher joined me on the show this morning and told us the whole story, including the fact that the Willow Creek pastor addressed the situation during the conference and claimed that his church is not anti-gay (they simply oppose marriage equality, civil unions, domestic partnerships, adoption rights, etc. They believe that gay people simply should remain celibate and not act on their feelings).
The pastor also said he’d reach out to Asher Huey to invite him to get together to discuss their differences. Asher says he’d love to, though he hasn’t heard from the pastor yet. However, a petition urging Huey to meet with the pastor has been launched at change.org.
And my final “Oh God” for the day goes to my congressman. Yep, Allen West is at it again.
Not only did he call himself “the modern day Harriet Tubman” (I kid you not!), this racist, Islamophobic sorry excuse for a public servant responded to a letter from the executive director of the Florida chapter of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) with one word – “NUTS”.
According to Broward New Times,
“(The letter to West urged) him to cut ties with “anti-Islamic extremists.. CAIR singled out Bridgette Gabriel, Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, and Rev. Neil Dozier as Muslim-haters with whom West has shared stages.
“Muslims protect and serve our great country and are afforded equal protection under law,” the letter read. “We shouldn’t have to defend our rights to worship freely or participate in the governing of our society.”
And this was his response to the 679-word letter that included those lines:
Oh God, he is nuts!
Once again, I have to point out the hypocrisy of the right. Many of your elected (Republican) representatives now want to charge you for the right to ask them questions. From the idiotic freshman nut job Ben Quayle to the wacky’s wunderkind Paul Ryan, these people who were elected to represent all of their constituents are foregoing town hall meetings in favor of pay-for-access events.
Of course some – like my congressman (Allen West) are still holding events that they call “town hall meetings”. But, as I know from personal experience, they’re actually lectures where, if you dare to try to ask a question or say something in opposition to his position, you will be thrown out and risk arrest.
That’s the flavor of democracy, GOP-style, in August 2011.
But if you go back to August 2009, you’ll find reams of evidence that the Koch Brothers and Freedomworks-funded teabagger lemmings were being recruited to go to Democratic representative’s townhall meetings with the expressed goal of disrupting them.
In fact, Think Progress got hold of a leaked memo from Bob MacGuffie, a volunteer with the FreedomWorks website Tea Party Patriots, with details how members should be infiltrating town halls and harassing Democratic members of Congress:
– Artificially Inflate Your Numbers: “Spread out in the hall and try to be in the front half. The objective is to put the Rep on the defensive with your questions and follow-up. The Rep should be made to feel that a majority, and if not, a significant portion of at least the audience, opposes the socialist agenda of Washington.”
– Be Disruptive Early And Often: “You need to rock-the-boat early in the Rep’s presentation, Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the Rep’s statements early.”
– Try To “Rattle Him,” Not Have An Intelligent Debate: “The goal is to rattle him, get him off his prepared script and agenda. If he says something outrageous,stand up and shout out and sit right back down. Look for these opportunities before he even takes questions.”
The Think Progress story continued:
The memo above also resembles the talking points being distributed by FreedomWorks for pushing an anti-health reform assault all summer. Patients United, a front group maintained by Americans for Prosperity, is currently busing people all over the country for more protests against Democratic members. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), chairman of the NRCC, has endorsed the strategy, telling the Politico the days of civil town halls are now “over.”
News accounts of the actions of the town hall disrupters dominated the news (and comedy news)
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
But this year, when constituents go to town halls to try to ask actual questions of their representatives, they’re either thrown out and arrested or denied entrance if they don’t “PAY to say”! What ever happened to our first amendment rights? Somehow, I think the idea of members of Congress charging their constituents for the right to ask a question has got to be against the law.
Sometimes, you don’t even have to speak to be denied access to an official event with your representative. This morning, I spoke with Teresa Crawford, who wrote to me of her experience being denied entry to a publicly advertised forum to which she had RSVP’d! She wrote to me of her experience:
I tried to enter a forum on energy featuring my congressman Joe Heck. I was turned away, although my RSVP was accepted the day before by the local PR firm that organized the event on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute at a casino resort in Henderson, a few miles from my home.
Based on some quick research, I found that new state-based front groups sprang up this year–Nevada Energy Forum– in the wake of API’s decision to leverage Citizens United to add direct electoral cash to their robust lobbying program. At the door, the head PR flack maintained the event was never intended to be public, although it was advertised in a local paper and one of her staffers put posted a friendly invitation on my friend, blogger Andrew Davey’s wall.
Rep. Heck spoke at the event in his status as a House Member, on the taxpayers’ dime. I took it as an RSVP-only event, with limited or no Q&A, not a true Town Hall, but really wanted to hear his defense of supporting every vote to protect the interests of Big Oil, while opposing help for renewable energy at a fraction of the cost. Solar, wind and geothermal projects mean jobs for Nevada in construction, maintenance and most important manufacturing. We have one of the most skilled work forces in the nation and too many of them are idle in the wake of the construction bust.
By definition, private events are invitation only, not posted on Facebook and in the newspaper.
A small group, including myself, stood quietly outside the meeting room for a few minutes before the event started. I held a handmade sign that said Green Energy/Green Jobs and was wearing a yellow Sierra Club “Beyond Coal” T-shirt, admittedly in contrast to the business attire of attendees entering the room. My friends held a banner that read “Stop the oil Subsidies.” There were no personal attacks on the congressman, in stark contrast to the disruptive Tea Party behavior directed at former Congresswoman Dina Titus in the summers of 2009 and 2010. Because of holding the sign, although I did not attempt to carry it into the room, I was denied entry for being a protester on private property.
Here’s an odd twist: This woman who turned me away knows me by sight and name because I’ve volunteered for campaigns she’s managed, in other words, helped her earn her substantial living. Although she is a Republican, two local Democratic politicians hire her for their campaigns, hoping for the Republican contacts and donations they need to win.
I know no one ever said life was fair, but this is ridiculous!
Today’s show also included a conversation with Christopher Glenn Fichtner, M.D., author of the new book Cannabinomics: the Marijuana Policy Tipping Point, and my friend – author/pundit/strategist Cliff Schecter about Rick Perry, the Tea Party, the hypocrisy & cowardice that defines the Republican party and more…
I was talking about his politics in the headline – but, as they say, one picture a worth a thousand words! It sure looks like Rick has a bit of experience in this type of sucking (and quite a technique too).
But his politics are truly frightening. Think Progress offers a couple of clips from his appearances in Iowa that should make you realize what he’s all about.
In this clip, it certainly sounds as if Gov. Perry is suggesting a violent response to Ben Bernanke’s policies:
And in this one, he’s asking for anarchy by saying we should impose a moratorium on ALL regulations!
So, Rick Perry is the media story of the moment, but last week it was Mitt Romney… when he had the gall to say “corporations are people, my friend” (ugh – the “my friend” reminds me of the smug insincerity of John McCain)…
Because of Mitt’s stupid statement, I invited David Cobb back on the show to talk about Move To Amend to discuss their efforts to amend the constitution:
“We the corporations”
On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government. Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions.
We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to:
* Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
* Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our vote and participation count.
* Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate “preemption” actions by global, national, and state governments.
The Supreme Court is misguided in principle, and wrong on the law. In a democracy, the people rule. We Move to Amend.