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Feb 062012
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I’ve been busy getting our new chatroom up and running…  If you registered today here on the website, you might have to re-register tomorrow using the chat registration.  But after that, we’re done!

In the first hour of the show, I was joined by Howie Klein of Down With Tyranny and the Blue America PAC, talking about the need to elect real progressives to office, and a few of them who are worthy of your votes and donations!

In hour two – as we do every Monday – I was joined by Nicole Belle of Crooks and Liars for our Fools on the Hill segment.  This week, she brought us the following…

The Susan G Komen/Planned Parenthood sucked the air out of the room for Mitt Romney’s victory in Nevada. It also didn’t help that Romney refused to go on any of the Sunday shows and all Newt wanted to do is whine about Romney.

So of course, instead we’re going to get conservative males—because that’s mostly the only type that’s ever booked—opining on the Komen controversy.

Proving his firm grasp on pseudo-science, Rick Santorum justified Komen’s defunding of Planned Parenthood because abortion increases the chance of breast cancer, donchaknow? Of course, this is the same guy who inserted himself in the Terry Schiavo debacle, so medical science is clearly not his forte.

Meanwhile, Matthew Dowd, chief strategist for Bush-Cheney, bemoans the messy kind of democracy evidence by the Komen pushback, where the little people rose up and said that the 1% cannot just push their agenda on us.

Tired of men talking about Planned Parenthood? You’re in luck, because Dana Loesch (and someone please tell me why she deserves a place on a national television show) opts to pimp a completely debunked “sting” by Lila Rose of Live Action as proof that Planned Parenthood should have started offering mammograms if they wanted to keep Komen funding. Except that PP never offered mammograms, just offered patients access to one.

Along the same lines, women’s reproductive health was definitely in discussion and on Meet the Press they segued from Komen to the new HHS regulation demanding that institutions—including religious ones that offer insurance to other non-church-going employees—offer contraception as part as their comprehensive care. Of course, David Brooks and Alex Castellanos use this to further the Gingrich meme that Obama has declared a war on religion. Thankfully, Rachel Maddow is there to remind these conservative white men that refusing contraceptive care in the 21st century is just not going to fly.

Contrast those examples, if you will, with the thoughtful discussion had on Up with Chris Hayes with *gasp* four women of the Komen controversy.  Is it any wonder that Desmond Tutu at the World Economic Forum last week called for women to have a greater voice in government?

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Feb 052012

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Feb 012012
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I’ve long believed that the so-called War on Drugs does much more harm than good.

The good folks at Drug Policy Central have come up with a War on Drugs Clock. The amounts reset on January 1 of each year.  The numbers below are are cumulative from the first of the year only!

 

Arrests for drug law violations this year are expected to exceed the 1,663,582 arrests of 2009. Law enforcement made more arrests for drug abuse violations (an estimated 1.6 million arrests, or 13.0 percent of the total number of arrests) than for any other offense in 2009.

Someone is arrested for violating a drug law every 19 seconds.

Source: Uniform Crime Reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Police arrested an estimated 858,408 persons for cannabis violations in 2009. Of those charged with cannabis violations, approximately 89 percent were charged with possession only. An American is arrested for violating cannabis laws every 30 seconds.

Source: Uniform Crime Reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Since December 31, 1995, the U.S. prison population has grown an average of 43,266 inmates per year. About 25 per cent are sentenced for drug law violations.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics

 

Our jails are getting fuller (a good thing for the for-profit private prison industry being pushed through in state after state) , the costs of the so-called War on Drugs is out of control, and many guilty of nothing more than smoking a joint see their lives destroyed.

I believe the legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana could help turn a number of states’ troubled economies around, including Florida, where I live.  But that’s just one of the many reasons to end the war on drugs.

I’ve interviewed a few people from LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) a number of times on my show because they hit the nail right on the proverbial head.  I invited them on again today, as they were in the news…

You may recall that the White House and YouTube held a “Your Interview With the President” event on Monday.   People submitted video questions, and the public voted on them. Unfortunately, the topic that received the most votes, and the actual question that had the second highest number number of votes, was completely ignored.

The question was submitted by former LAPD  Deputy Chief, Stephen Downing -

It’s time that this very important issue be debated and discussed, not ignored or laughed off as the President did the last couple of times it came up at similar events.  So, this morning, I had a lengthy discussion about it with LEAP co-founder Peter Christ.

In the wake of yesterday’s discussions about Occupy Wall Street, I invited my friend Jesse LaGreca back on the show to discuss where the movement is headed. I suggest you listen to the whole thing, but he agrees with me that we need to occupy the ballot box, big time!

 

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Jan 312012
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Today, Republicans are voting here in Florida. I couldn’t vote as I’m most certainly not a Republican!
But I did talk with two occupy protesters today – one in DC and one in Oakland – both of whom seemed to understand the need to occupy the ballot box.

First up, I spoke with Eric Loetke, a PTA dad and Occupy DC protester.  Although the DC Parks Police issued a deadline of noon yesterday for both encampments at McPherson Sqaure and Freedom Plaza to be cleared, the police have yet to take any action.  Eric joined with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee to ask people to sign a petition urging  the National Park Service that First Amendment rights trump camping rules.

Then I spoke with Kevin Seal of Occupy Oakland, who gave his account of the events that happened there on Saturday night.

During the show, my buddy Brad Friedman of BradBlog tweeted about a story he had just broken.  I got him on the phone before he went back to bed to talk about the fact that Virginia is now officially investigating the Gingrich campaign for election fraud!

In the second hour of the show, as she does every Tuesday, I was joined by The Political Carnival’s GottaLaff to talk about these stories and more:

VIDEO- BLUNT: Newt Gingrich, in a word (about 3 mins)

Why Newt Gingrich will lose the primary

VIDEO: RNC chair Reince Priebus compares President Obama to cruise ship captain accused of manslaughter

Video- Allen West To Liberals: Get the Hell Out Of The U.S.

A Gingrich presidency “would touch off crises — one constitutional, the other diplomatic”… on Day One.

Three-fer:

NBC News Asks Romney Campaign to Remove Ad

Note to Gingrich from The Heavy: Cease and desist. How you like them now, Newt?

And from June: Oops! Tom Petty sends Michele Bachmann a cease-and-desist letter.

VIDEO- Real Time with Bill Maher: “Who the f*** is Saul Alinsky?”

North Carolina lawmaker: “Abortionists” should be hanged

The Romneys converted Mitt’s dead atheist father-in-law to Mormonism

Former Ron Paul secretary/supporter: Newsletters were “under his name…always got to see final product… He would proof it.”

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Jan 302012
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The hate-spewing war criminal from South Florida was at it again this weekend, claiming exclusive rights to this country for his right-wing intolerant, selfish, racist, violent bretheren.

I hadn’t yet seen it when some mentally challenged friend of a right-wing email buddy of David’s hit “reply all” and sent the email to him, complete with this brilliant subject line:

Allen West, Congrassman from Fla blasts the commi’s

If that doesn’t tell you enough about West’s constituency, here’s how the body of the message read:

Rep. Allen West – “Obama, Reid, Pelosi, get the hell out of the USA” – 28 January 2012. You guys have to watch this video. 2 minutes. I getting goose bumps. And this on the eve of Obama being denied running in Georgia due to citizenship status. Holy moly.

He’s getting goose bumps. I’m getting nauseous.

Allen West says Bring it on?  OK, we will.  First of all, West isn’t going to win re-election in Florida’s 22nd district.  Not because he has such great competition (he doesn’t).  But with the 2010 Census came two more congressional districts for Florida, and the district he’s in right now will most likely become an even more democratic one (that’s democratic Allen, with an IC on the end).

Second, West is attracting lots of attention from people like me who want him out of office because of the things he says and does…  Cue Credo’s SuperPAC who today launched Take Down the Tea Party Ten! This morning, I spoke with Matthew Arnold, campaign manager of the Credo SuperPAC, who explained what it’s all about.

There are still four slots open, so if you think your Tea Party nut can hang with West and the other five, get on over there now!

West and his fellow thugs on the GOP side of the aisle have been railing against the Occupy movement.  Darrell Issa held hearings last week to pressure the DC Parks Police into enforcing no camping rules.  Today at noon was the deadline to remove all camping equipment from both Occupy encampments at McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza.  I called Kevin Zeese on the show this morning, one of the organizers of the Freedom Plaza camp, to get his take on what was happening today.

This weekend brought more violent clashes between police and protesters in NY and Oakland.  Joshua Holland wrote about the Oakland march that brought out riot police and 400 arrests for AlterNet. And videographer Tim Poole explained what went on last night in NYC as OWS held a solidarity march for Occupy Oakland:

Video streaming by Ustream

Another disheartening development of the police actions against the Occupy protesters is that they’re arresting journalists!  The group Reporters Without Borders keeps tabs on the freedom of the press in nations around the world.  The 2011-2012 Press Freedom Index was  just released, and the US fell 27 places – from number 20 to 47.

The United States (47th) also owed its fall of 27 places to the many arrests of journalist covering Occupy Wall Street protests.

And as we do every Monday morning in the second hour of the show, I was joined by Nicole Belle of Crooks & Liars for a review of the Sunday talking head shows in a segment we call Fools on the Hill.

If it’s Sunday, it’s time for Republicans on the Sunday news shows. And they are determined to show us that they are playing in an entirely different reality, a entirely different set of rules and an entirely different idea of how government works.

For example, Newt Gingrich thinks the reason that he did so badly in the Florida debates didn’t have to do with his own grandiose ideas of his debating abilities flying in the face of reality but because how could he expect to deal with such massive lies from Mitt Romney?

The Newster isn’t done complaining yet. The man who has Sheldon Adelson financing his own attack ads complains that Mitt Romney has a “policy of carpet bombing’ opponents. Poor widdle Newtie doesn’t like the rough and tumble of presidential politics? He should try having to convince a third of this congenitally stupid country that he wasn’t born in Kenya.

But I tire of Newt and his complaining (there are more clips on the site), so let’s move to another complainer: Ron Paul. Ron Paul says that the TSA searches violate our Fourth Amendment rights. He may have a point, but I think I’d find it more compelling if his answer wasn’t to allow airport security be privatized. Because a private company patting you down is less of a violation?

Ayn Rand’s pin up boy, Paul Ryan, is bothered by the attacks of capitalism by the GOP candidates. It has to be Barack Obama’s fault. No, really. And it’s up to the GOP to defend the morality of the free enterprise system.

And RNC Chair Reince Preibus adds his own bit of Barack Obama is to blame for everything to the national dialogue by likening the President of the United States to Captain Schettino, the cruise line captain who ran the ship aground and abandoned it, leaving passengers to die. Can you imagine the pearl clutching if some Democrat has spoken of Bush like that?

And because I want to end with a good guffaw, the irrelevant Michele Bachman told Bob Schieffer that the tea party ‘has only been a force for good.’ Riiiiigggghhhhttt.

And I brought this clip from the wonderful Up with Chris Hayes!  NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was on, talking about the new bank fraud task force he’ll be co-chairing

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Jan 262012
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I know that Dylan Ratigan can be a bit polarizing. But today was the second time I’ve interviewed him, and I find him refreshingly honest and one of the few people who’s not afraid to speak the truth.

He joined me this morning to talk about his new book, Greedy Bastards, the need for real campaign finance reform and getting money out of politics entirely, and his Get Money Out organization merging with United Republic to effect real change.

In case you need a reminder of the fire in Ratigan, remember back to August of last year:

As if that conversation wasn’t enough the last me until Monday, we wrapped up the week with a visit from John Fugelsang.

In addition to Jan Brewer’s wagging her finger at President Obama, we talked a lot of music, including the forthcoming Bruce Springsteen tour. Have you heard the first release from his soon-to-be-released album Wrecking Ball yet?

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Jan 252012
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Last night, President Obama delivered his third State of the Union address.  I dissected a lot of it on the show today.  Feel free to listen to my commentary, or watch the enhanced version of the speech, courtesy of WhiteHouse.gov.

I spent the rest of the show talking with two wonderful women. First up was comedian/actress Maysoon Zayid, who most of us know from her appearances with Keith Olbermann on Countdown.

The 40 minutes or so we spent chatting (or rather, that I spent listening to her) flew by, so she’ll definitely return.  In the meantime, please visit Maysoon’s website, and read the article that we discussed that she wrote about herself for AMEU.

In the second hour, I spoke with my friend Sara Robinson about the future. Why? She is actually a trained futurist and, beginning Monday, will be the new editor of AlterNet‘s Vision section.

Tomorrow – we’ll wrap our week with visits from Dylan Ratigan and John Fugelsang!

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Jan 182012
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PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

There was no show today, but a loop playing the video above. That should explain pretty much all you need to know.

If SOPA/PIPA were to become law, this should would be an early casualty.

Want to do more?

Click here…

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Jan 172012
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The always funny Ralphie May joined me on the show this morning.  I’d been a fan since I first saw him on Last Comic Standing, and learned he was on my side of the political aisle after seeing him down here at the Improv last year (and watched all the right wingers squirm while he told them the truth!).

This morning, he was on a roll, going off on each of the GOP presidential hopefuls.  When I asked him what he thought of President Obama’s performance, he admitted to being a big fan.  He praised the president’s prowess for going after terrorists, though he did admit that our “war on terrorism” is a bit like Global Whack-a-Mole.

I don’t think he was praising that aspect, and I am most certainly not … but I thought the name for our offensive military actions is quite an apt description … unfortunately.

I began the show by recapping last night’s GOP South Carolina debate.  Yes, I watched it so you didn’t have to.

And I played the latest ad from Americans for a Better Tomorrow Tomorrow (The Definitely Not Coordinating with Stephen Colbert Super PAC) – something that works better on video than radio. So watch it for yourself:

Wow. I wish I lived in South Caroline – but only to be able to vote for Herman Cain on Saturday!

As we do every Tuesday morning, I spent most of the second hour of the show talking with GottaLaff of The Political Carnival… We touched on some of these stories, and more:

VIDEO- Jon Huntsman’s history of attacks on Romney: “Gov. Romney enjoys firing people,” “detached,” can’t win.

Gasp! Rick Santorum’s hard-core, anti-choice wife dated, lived with an abortion provider

Video- Mitt Romney to dying wheelchair-bound medical marijuana patient: “I don’t support medical marijuana. Bye.”(2007)

Two more reasons to vote for President Obama

Michele Bachmann accuses Santorum staffer of sexism; he questioned whether a woman could be president

Michele Bachmann: Hey Newt, I haven’t endorsed you, so pull the ad!

Mitt Romney to financially struggling woman- Here’s a couple bucks

Banks flood Mitt Romney’s campaign with donations, 3 times more than to Pres. Obama, most skewed to one party in decades

Oops! James O’Keefe’s “voter fraud” sting glitch: Confusing a 23-year-old for a dead 84-year-old.

 

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Jan 162012
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Today is Martin Luther King Day, and I get to celebrate on two shows!  Randi has the day off, so I’ll be guest hosting for her this afternoon.

We’ll talk Martin Luther King and the many events and activities happening today for the holiday with Van Jones of Rebuild the Dream.

In the second hour, we’ll talk about the second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Citizens United v. the FEC, which comes on Friday. I’ll speak with Jeffrey D. Clements, a co-founder of Free Speech for People and  author of the Definitive Guide to Overturning Citizens United: Corporations Are Not People: Why They Have More Rights Than You Do and What You Can Do About It.

I’ll also speak with comedian Lee Camp who used comedy and some serious people in a video to explain the need to overturn Citizens United:

This Morning on the Show

This morning, we began with a listen back to Stephen Colbert’s brilliant explanation of what Citizens United is all about from his show on Thursday evening, when he handed over the Americans for A Better Tomorrow Tomorrow PAC to Jon Stewart so that he can run for President of the United States of South Carolina…

 

True brilliance!  Colbert then went on This Week with George Stephanopolous to explain more…

I spoke with my friend – author and activist David Swanson about a new book that he edited and is available today, The Military Industrial Complex at 50.

And Nicole Belle of Crooks and Liars joined in, as she does every Monday morning, with a segment we call Fools on the Hill…

Hubris, thy name is Newt Gingrich. Because the Newtster—despite running fourth in the polls a full 25 points behind front runner Mitt Romney—thinks he’s going to win the SC primary.

Ugly American, thy name is Brit Hume. Because Brit Hume doesn’t understand the widespread condemnation of the Marines involved in the video showing them urinating on dead Taliban. He doesn’t think it’s despicable at all.

Panicked partisan, thy name is Lindsey Graham. He’s looking at all the potshots being taken at front runner Mitt Romney from within his own party (and really, who would have ever thought that Newt Gingrich would ever have ads attacking Mitt for being too much of a capitalist?) and Graham is very, very nervous. He warns the GOP that the election is theirs to lose if the attacks go too far.

Voice of reason, thy name is Paul Krugman. Krugman tells the This Week panel that CEO experience—like the kind of which Mitt Romney boasts—is “not relevant to being President”.

Voice of brilliance, thy name is Stephen Colbert. Colbert told George Stephanopoulos that the “more money you have, the more you can speak.” His entire Super PAC, attack ad and now presidential run are absolutely spot on demonstrations of how our electoral process is broken.

 

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