“What I believe Is irrelevant” is a direct quote from Christine “I’m Not A Witch” O’Donnell when asked last night in the first Coons-O’Donnell debate whether or not she still believes that “evolution is a myth,” something she proudly proclaimed on Bill Maher’s “Politically Incorrect” a dozen or so years ago.
On that one statement Christine, you are correct. I’ll take it a step further… YOU are irrelevant.
I know, you’re asking “so why all the media attention?” The woman is in the neighborhood of 20 points behind Chris Coons, the man who showed last night that he will be a great, progressive voice in the US Senate. I guess it’s like the proverbial train wreck, we just can’t look away.
On today’s show, we’ll play some of the best moments of last night’s debate which, yes, I did watch.
But we’ll start the show today with a candidate who actually does have a chance to win and, in the process, unseat one of the more despicable members of the House of Representatives. Tarryl Clark is a Minnesota State Senator, and is waging a tough campaign against the self-proclaimed chief tea bagger, Michele Bachmann.
The truly scary thing is how much money the insane Bachman has raised this quarter. Most of the $5 million she’s accumulated this quarter seems to have come from out of state.
In light of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling that opened the floodgates for corporate campaign contributions, questions are being asked about the US Chamber of Commerce and foreign funds.
In fact, watchdog groups Public Citizen and Protect our Elections have joined forces to file an FEC complaint against Karl Rove’s Crossroads Grassroots Political Strategies (in case you were wondering what “GPS” stood for… Grassroots my ass!)
Kevin Zeese, attorney and spokesperson for Protect our Elections, will join me this morning to talk about the ramifications of what Rove & Co. are up to, and what this FEC complaint can accomplish. Here’s the press release they issued:
For Immediate Release: Contact: Barbara Holzer, Public Citizen
Oct. 13, 2010 Kevin Zeese, Protect Our Elections
FEC Should Investigate Crossroads GPS for Campaign Finance Law Violations, Watchdogs Say in Complaint to FEC
Rove Group Appears to Operate As a Political Committee But Is Not Registered As One, Says Public Citizen and Protect Our Elections
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Crossroads Grassroots Political Strategies, an organization created by Republican strategists Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie to influence the midterm elections with huge expenditures of money, appears to be violating federal campaign law, Public Citizen and Protect Our Elections told the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in a complaint filed today.The complaint explains that there is ample reason to believe that Crossroads GPS, which is registered as a nonprofit 501c(4) organization, is in fact a political committee and should be subject to the restrictions and disclosure rules for political committees, the groups say.Crossroads GPS was formed in July 2010 by Rove and Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chairman. It shares offices with American Crossroads, a registered political committee created this year that also is the brainchild of Rove and Gillespie, according to published reports.Rove has boasted on Fox News that American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS were avenues for donors who have “maxed out” contributions to federal Republican political committees to funnel money into the 2010 elections. So far, both groups have spent about $18 million to influence key Senate races. American Crossroads’ board chairman told one newspaper that both groups planned to spend nearly $50 million on the U.S. Senate races. Crossroads GPS, by its own admission, has made several million dollars in expenditures for express campaign advocacy. The threshold for registration as a political committee is only $1,000. A group that meets that threshold must register if its major purpose is to influence elections, which by all accounts seems to be Crossroads GPS’ raison d’etre.Crossroads GPS appears to be violating numerous provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act by failing to register as a political committee, failing to file political committee financial disclosure reports and failing to comply with the political committee organizational requirements, the complaint says.
“American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS are this year’s poster children for everything wrong with our campaign finance system in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “The decision paved the way for unlimited corporate spending on elections, and more generally signaled that Wild West rules now prevail for elections. Yet Crossroads GPS manages to transgress the modest rules still in place, failing to register with the Federal Election Commission as a political committee. We need the FEC to act to redress this apparently wrongful activity. More than that, we need Congress to pass the DISCLOSE Act, so we know which corporations and billionaires are behind the attack ads now polluting our airwaves. We need Congress to pass the Fair Elections Now Act, to replace the private election financing system now poisoning our democracy. And we need a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision and get corporate money out of elections.”
Added Kevin Zeese, attorney and spokesperson for Protect Our Elections, “This is the first election since Citizens United allowed unlimited spending by corporations on elections. They have abused this already too broad power by misusing the tax laws and avoiding campaign finance laws. It is a violation of federal election laws to launder anonymous donations for electioneering activity through nonprofit groups that are allowed to receive anonymous contributions only if their primary purpose is non-electoral activity.”A copy of the complaint is available at http://www.citizen.org/documents/FEC-Complaint-AmericanxroadsGPS101310.pdf or http://www.velvetrevolution.us/images/FEC_Complaint_AmericanxroadsGPS101310.pdf.
Virginia Foxx is one of the more heinous Republicans in the House of Representatives. I don’t know if there’s something in the water in the Carolinas, but that part of the country has more crazy than a cuckoo’s nest.
That’s the latest ad from the Blue America PAC, the group run by DownWithTyranny‘s Howie Klein, Digby (Hullabaloo) and Crooks & Liars‘ John Amato, who find the best progressive candidates and help them raise the necessary funds to beat the worst Republicans and Blue Dogs.
Both Howie and Digby have blogs up today about the Congressional race from North Carolina’s 5th District. It’s one of the things Howie and I will discuss today when he joins us for our regular Wednesday morning get togethers.
In the second hour, we’ll take a look at the most un-appetizing of meals… school lunches. Avis Richards is the producer/director of Lunch The Film, a short documentary exploring the effects of the National School Lunch Program on America’s children today in schools and seeks to shed light on the current situation through candid interviews with doctors, teachers, farmers and various specialists.
I’ll be seeing the film and meeting Avis Richards this weekend, as she’ll will be at Acufest at the Biltmore Health & Wellness Festival, this Sunday Oct 17 from 10am to 5pm at the Biltmore in Coral Gables.
There will be continuous screenings of “Lunch: the Film” and Avis will be on hand to discuss how to improve what we feed our children in our nation’s school lunch programs.
For more information and to purchase tickets to Acufest go to acufest.com or call 1-877-471-8499. Tickets to Acufest are $30 in advance, $35 at the door. The day-long Festival is dedicated to providing solutions for healthy living, and features 150 exhibits, lectures, and interactive experiences with internationally renowned experts in the medical sciences and healing arts.
Of course, we’ll get a news update from TRNS, and lots more… Come back after the show for the podcast!
How do you do a radio show when you’re feeling flu-ish? Invite the Awesome Bob Cesca and Gotta Laff to be your guests! OK, Laffy was already scheduled (she’s on with me every Tuesday morning), but Bob Cesca is certainly coming to the rescue.
For readers not in the know, Bob Cesca’s Awesome Blog! Go! is here, and you also read him on Huffington Post. He’s no stranger to radio either; he and Elvis Dingeldein host a weekly podcast too. We’ll talk about whatever comes up, though I’m sure we’ll hit on the fact that Richard Shelby is blocking the nomination of Peter Diamond to sit on the Fed’s Board of Governors because he’s not qualified! The fact that Diamond was Ben Bernanke’s teacher and he won the Nobel Prize for Economics this week doesn’t change that!
Laffy sent along these topics to discuss today:
And, in response to Christine O’Donnell’s claim that the witchy woman is “you”, Gotta Laff brings us the latest “Blunt”:
And just because we can, here’s Lawrence O’Donnell’s interview with SC’s Democratic nominee for the US Senate, Alvin Greene…
We’re just three weeks and a day away from election day. I know, midterms don’t excite the masses, and the Dems aren’t exciting the base. But the old adage of voting for the lesser of two evils should be on everyone’s lips today.
I’m in the process of moving in with my boyfriend who lives in Florida’s 22nd Congressional District. This place drives home the meaning of that statement. I’m no fan of Ron Klein‘s… but not for the reasons the Republicans are telling me not to vote for him. Klein is just too damned conservative for me. However, one look at his opponent Alan West, and I’m ready to do all I can do to get Klein re-elected.
In case you’d like to learn a bit more about the candidates who are in the national spotlight today because both President Obama and Speaker-Wannabe Boehner will be in town campaigning for Klein and West, respectively, take a few minutes to watch the televised “debate” they did yesterday, and figure out which is the lesser of two evils. By the way, you get the extra added bonus of seeing a “debate” between the candidates from Florida’s 25th Congressional district too: the wonderful Joe Garcia and the truly heinous David Rivera.
On today’s show, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling which basically says corporations are people and, as such, are entitled to First Amendment protection under the Constitution. Of course, if corporations are people, they should be able to run for office, right? So says Murray Hill Inc, who has launched a campaign. This morning, I spoke with their “designated human” Eric Hensel, about their candidacy.
I also reached out to Eric Boehlert of Media Matters, after receiving this lovely email this morning:
Media Matters releases explosive interview showing Glenn Beck’s influence on man who planned to kill people at Tides Foundation
Washington, DC – Today, nearly three months after Byron Williams was arrested on his way to kill “people of importance at the Tides Foundation and ACLU,” Media Matters for America released “Progressive Hunter,” a report from journalist John Hamilton, who spoke with Williams at the California jail where he currently awaits trial. In his interviews with Hamilton, Williams described Beck as “a schoolteacher” and said “it was the things [Beck] exposed that blew my mind.”
Excerpts from the interviews reveal the story of a man driven over the edge by conspiracy theories and extremist views promoted by media personalities like Beck, Michael Savage, David Horowitz, and Alex Jones.
There are legitimate news stories and then there are media narratives. News stories generally require journalism and investigation and can be costly. News editors don’t like those news stories. It’s far more cost-efficient to create media narratives that can be endlessly spun and reworked by a variety of bobbleheads on the 24 hour cable stations. They don’t have to necessarily be true, but they make it much easier to fill 24 hours of content.
Crooks and Liars have been looking at these media narratives for six years now. We try to shine light on them, debunk them or put them into context. And we have a whole lot of false narratives we’re focusing on this Sunday.
First up is Chris Matthews. Matthews has always had a hard time sublimating his love of pure politics with reality, but his question to his panel was just bizarre:
According to Tweety, the resultant national nostalgia brought upon by the release of George W. Bush’s new memoirs, Decision Points, will build a wave that will ride Jeb Bush into the White House. Seriously, I don’t know what Tweety is smoking, but in what parallel dimension is a book full of lies and spins for what is arguably the worst presidency in the history of the country going to make the American people wistful for another Bush in office?
And one of the biggest reasons that no one should wish another Bush presidency was on Fox News Sunday. Karl Rove was feeling quite tetchy over the fact that Obama called him out for his political group (with Ed Gillespie) that is funneling millions of dollars from undisclosed donors into Republican campaigns and was completely disingenuous in his defense. In true neo-con Freudian fashion, Rove accuses President Obama of something that he himself is no doubt guilty of: having an enemies list.
This Week invited Connecticut Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon on to discuss her candidacy and her past as an executive with the WWF. One of the things that Christiane Amanpour brought up is the sexism within the WWF, asking her if she would do anything to curtail such sexist acts as asking a woman to get on all fours and bark like a dog.
All I can say is that we have fallen afar from the traditional campaign questions when BDSM questions are considered acceptable.
There’s a funny meta moment to the Mark Kirk/Alexi Giannoulias debate on Meet the Press. The Kirk campaign and the NRSC were so confident that Kirk would dominate the discussion that they put out a press release crowing about Kirk’s performance and that Giannoulias’ performance highlighted how not ready he was for office. Only problem? They put it out before the show was filmed.
They clearly didn’t count on David Gregory to actually do his job and confront Kirk about his 180 degree turn on deficit spending. I gotta say, it doesn’t sound to me that this is one of Kirk’s greatest moments, despite the press release.
Finally, we get to Joe Klein. On assignment for Time Magazine, Klein ventured out of the Beltway confines to talk to voters. Guess what he found? People in this country don’t really care about what the media finds fascinating. This is a profound “come to Jesus” moment for Klein, tampered somewhat by the pursed lips and condescension of Peggy Noonan.
As I wrote:
While Noonan is eager to keep her self-appointed title of grand doyenne of the fashionable Republican set, the truth lies right there in Klein’s reporting, as much as he could grasp that differed from his own media bias. What they report on is not of concern to most Americans. We aren’t focusing on socialism, Marxism, deficit spending, tea parties and the like. They don’t impact most Americans for as much as they media love to discuss them. We’re not thinking about who will be the Vice Presidential running mate for Obama in 2012 or which of the myriad of politicos will be the Republican challenger. We don’t care, no matter how many times the media tries to make us care.
We ARE angry. We are feeling unstable, on dangerous ground and nervous about the future. But much of that anger also comes from feeling that the media isn’t listening to us or caring about our concerns. How many of those 99ers stressing about falling off the unemployment rolls would like to see a little socialism in this country to help them as they struggle with years of being unable to find a job? How many are wondering how much longer we’re going to send jobs to China only to have products returned to us filled with poisons or heavy metals that could kill us? How many parents are wondering how many deployments their child will have to go through (one of the service members in this week’s In Memoriam post has been on TWELVE deployments) before they can go home and attempt a semblance of a normal life again?
But these aren’t the stories that we see on Sundays, or any other day of the Washington news cycle. And Joe Klein just got a taste of it…what will it take to wake up more of them?
This morning, I spoke with Jeff Reichert, the writer/producer/director of the film Gerrymandering, that opens nationwide October 15 and will screen October 12 at the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival.
If you’re in South Florida and would like tickets to the screening, be one of the first 10 people to email me to ask for them, and I’ll send you a pair of passes to a screening at the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival.
In addition to visiting the sites linked above, you can also check out EndGerrymanding.com to learn more.
I was supposed to speak with Ellen Freidin of Fair Districts Florida this morning too, but I sent her the wrong time. We will reschedule for next week, so Floridians will get to know and understand this very important issue that’s on the ballot Nov. 2.
When I couldn’t get Ellen on the phone, I read the hottest story of the day – The Nation‘s “Lou Dobbs: American Hypocrite” which details the fact that at least five “illegal” immigrants have worked with Dobbs horses over the past few years. I only got to read part of the story. It’s certainly worth your time to read the rest of it.
Enjoy the weekend. I’ll be back with another live show Monday morning, Radio… or not!
Marvin Gaye was on to something. He wrote Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) way back in 1971. And here we are today, fighting to save the planet. The White House announced yesterday that they’ll be installing a solar water heater and replacing the solar panels on the roof that Jimmy Carter installed in 1979, but Ronald Reagan took down. Bill McKibben and his gang at 350.org have another huge worldwide event planned this Sunday – 10-10-10.
We’ll also delve into another issue of urgency today — Net Neutrality. It’s quite possibly the most important first amendment issue of our time. Tim Karr of FreePress.net and SaveTheInternet.com will be my guest.
Listen live 10-noon ET, and come back later for the podcast. Radio…or Not!
We will be doing just that on today’s show. Political cartoonist, columnist and war correspondent Ted Rall is my first guest this morning. His new book, The Anti-American Manifesto explicitly calls for a violent revolution. Seriously!
Rall also recently returned from a trip to Afghanistan. We’ll delve into that mess, as well as the mess here at home that prompted his writing of the Manifesto. It should be a fascinating conversation.
In hour two, it’s our weekly get together with The Political Carnival‘s Gotta Laff. There’s much to talk about, including the controversy over Saturday’s One Nation march & rally crowd size. It seems that the trolls on the right just like screwing with the facts.
Seriously, next to having my own show again, nothing could be better.
Thom is in the middle of a move to Washington DC, but late last night they realized that the new studio wouldn’t be ready for today’s show. So, I awoke this morning to an email asking if I was available. Duh!
So, after my show (and after pulling out an old interview with Ralph Nader to run during the second hour so I could prep and get the technical issues sorted out), I segued into Thom’s show.
My first guest was Thom Hartmann himself. He told us about the reasons for his move from Portand to DC, and his experience Saturday at the One Nation Working Together rally.
My favorite activist, David Swanson, gave us his impression of Saturday’s event as well. Later on in the show, we got a call from Rev. Jesse Jackson who, apparently, had been listening and wanted to thank us for taking about the event.
Crooks and Liars’ Nicole Belle joined me — a little later than we usually do it on Mondays — for our “Fools on the Hill” segment, deconstructing the Sunday talking head shows. Here are her comments and links to the segments we talked about:
First, we’ll go to Rand Paul and Jack Conway debating on Fox News Sunday. Paul’s campaign people have been very careful to limit his air time after several disastrous appearances that showed just how extreme his views are.
He was fairly careful on the show. He did claim that he supported raising the age of Social Security eligibility if he’s elected.
To be sure, that is one way to address Social Security. Of course, it’s not the smartest way, which is to remove the cap entirely or to prevent Congress from raiding SSI to pay for spending elsewhere, either of which would ensure SSI’s solvency forever. But is anyone surprised by the least effective solution being proposed by a Republican?
Sticking with Fox, we had some lovely pearl clutching by the Fox News Watch Panel (their alleged media watchdog show) over Obama’s interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, in which he labeled Fox “opinion media”, much like the Hearst propaganda of the ‘20s and ‘30s.
The golden age of an objective press was a pretty narrow span of time in our history. Before that, you had folks like Hearst who used their newspapers very intentionally to promote their viewpoints. I think Fox is part of that tradition… it is part of the tradition that has a very clear point of view. It’s a point of view that I disagree with… It’s a point of view that is ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country that has a vibrant middle class and is competitive in the world.
Listen how Jim Pinkerton conflates the channel with its viewers and claims that the President said that Fox viewers are destructive to the country. And then because the fallback position is to say, “well, liberals do it too!” he brings up Daniel Schorr, because Schorr wrote a factually accurate report that Goldwater was planning a trip to Germany to see some right wing German fans at a former Hitler retreat.
Rich Lowry boils it down to a ridiculous syllogism of “liberals hate Fox. Obama is a liberal, ergo he hates Fox”. It’s not a propaganda channel, we just have an irrational hatred of it.
And as long as we’re on media navel-gazing, Chris Matthews and his panel looked at the advent of the new media in politics. Not surprisingly, they missed the picture altogether. Matthews traces the rise of the new media with Drudge during the Clinton years. They acknowledge that traditional media knew about the Lewinsky story but held on to it because the story had not been vetted. But once Drudge broke that dam, the traditional media didn’t get taken over by the new media, they abdicated their roles to basically emulate new media. Vetting went out the window to be able to scoop the competition. The directive to be fair was given up for opinion media. In short, the traditional media became bloggers. It’s hard to hear on the audio, but Dan Rather gives a tentative warning about how the new media can also send out lynch mobs to destroy the credibility of reporters or shape the narrative of the story and get away with it, something that Tweety and John Harris of Politico completely don’t pick up on.
And now to someone who actually does get it: Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Bernie told Bob Schieffer that Republicans are more interested in gaining power than helping the country. Now while that rates a big “duh” from us, Bob Schieffer just can’t quite believe that Sanders would be that blunt.
And then finally, we come to This Week. As in past weeks, Christiane Amanpour decided to go against the headline of the week and do a more in-depth look at an issue. Unfortunately, her framing of the issue of choice this week could have been a little more reasonably done. The chyron for the debate was “Should Americans Fear Islam?” Given the amount of violence being done in this country and the irrational outrage by the likes of Pamela Geller for the Park51 Community Center, I’d say that Muslims have a hell of a lot more to fear here than Americans do of Islam in general.
Billy Graham’s son Franklin appears on the panel to be on the “yes, fear the Muslims” side. And the surviving parents of 9/11 victims appeared on both sides of the issue. For a segment titled in such an inflammatory way, it was actually a very good segment and one that everyone should see in its entirety.
And I got to talk with a bunch of Thom’s listeners. Today was not only fun, but truly an honor.
I’ve been under the weather all weekend. I did something to my lower back that’s had me in agonizing pain since Friday afternoon.
Yes, I still did the yard sale on Saturday – made it through thanks to the leftover percosets from my broken foot, but probably worse for the wear.
But when I awakened this morning and turned on the computer, I was treated to a message that made me feel a whole lot better — an invitation to guest host the Thom Hartmann show today. That post will follow, but first… here’s what we did on today’s show.
Following a shaky start due to some technical problems, I spoke with Jacques Gaillot of GSM Consulting about Marco Rubio’s lobbying problem. Her name is Amber Stoner.
Jaques was one of GottaLaff’s sources at the Political Carnival for a couple of pieces she wrote…. The first one, “Just What is Going on Here Between Marco Rubio and Healthcare Lobbyist Amber Stoner” also gives us screen shots of some of Rubio’s credit card records which show clearly a LOT of travel expenses for Stoner.
The story continues in”The Mystery of Marco Rubio & healthcare lobbyist Amber Stoner pt 2” in which the plot thickens, and the cost of goodies to Ms. Stoner get more expensive (can you say HOUSE?). There are questions here that need to be asked, but it seems as if none of Florida’s investigative reporters are doing the asking. I may have to reach out to one that I know…. (I think I will…)
And, since I had to prepare to guest host the Thom Hartmann show, I played an interview I did with Ralph Nader on Air America last November… certainly worth a repeat listen!
The next post will have the info on today’s show #2…
RIP Tony Curtis. Yes, there’s a story to go along with the photo. From 1990-1994, I produced the Mark & Brian Show at KLOS in Los Angeles. Each year, we’d put on a ridiculously extravagent Christmas show. Tony Curtis had appeared on the show to promote his book and, if memory serves, he returned to read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” at the Christmas show.
Tony took a liking to me. His publicist must have given him my phone number, as Tony was relentless in his pursuit. I finally had to tell him that I simply wasn’t interested. He took it like a gentleman and, a few months later, married a young, dark haired attorney who looked somewhat like me. I still have this picture, and the memories….
On today’s show, Truthout‘s Jason Leopold guested to tell us about his latest bombshell story, “DOJ Refuses to Revoke BP’s Probation Over Safety Violations at Texas City Refinery.”
If you happen to be in South Florida, I’ll be yard sale-ing this Saturday at Coral Springs’ annual Trash to Treasure community sale. It’s at Mullins Park (right near the Coral Springs Center for the Arts on 29th Street) starts at around 8am and goes until 11ish. For those of you not attending the sale, I’m sure you’ll be in Washington DC at the One Nation march and rally!
I’ll talk to you Monday, when my guests will be Jayne King of the Green Party of Florida, and Crooks & Liars’ Nicole Belle- who watches the Sunday talking head shows and tell us what happened in our weekly Fools on the Hill segment.