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Mar 102011

The Wisconsin State Senate breaks laws to break the unions

and the US House of Representatives goes on an Islamic witch hunt.

It’s a mad world.

A few tweets that underscore my point:

“The Republican Party has come for my job, my union, my wife’s uterus, my art and my radio station.”

FL is in trouble. We’ll be a Mariana Island dotted with sweatshops & tent revivals b4 Rick Scott & Company are done.

Per union leader Ed Sadlowski “Cops just dragged out a 15 year old girl from Assembly Chamber. She is totally distraught.”

Gov. Walker reminds you that Teachers’ Collective Bargaining hurts a budget deficit but Tax Cuts for Millionaires don’t.

Minnesota bill makes stem cell research a felony

And you get the idea. It’s a mad world.

There is some sanity. You can watch a live stream of the scene outside the Wisconsin capital in Madison, courtesy of The Uptake.

This morning, I invited a couple of friends to discuss the madness.  Howie Klein of Down With Tyranny and comedian John Fugelsang.

One huge issue that’s been virtually absent from all discussion and debate about the budgetary crises we’re suffering around the country are the wars we’re waging around the world. Despite what we’re told by the administration, we’re still actively engaged in Iraq, and the war in Afghanistan continues to rage.  The costs are enormous, both in treasure and lives.  If we stopped the wars and brought our soldiers and dollars back home, and made the wealthy and the corporations pay their fair share of taxes, we could likely solve all of our fiscal issues.

This morning, Derrick Crowe of Rethink Afghanistan joined in to tell us about Rethink the Cost, a worldwide Meetup day happening this Saturday.

Let’s end the wars – in Iraq & Afghanistan, on the poor and working class, and on women’s rights. Let’s end the madness!

Mar 092011

We are women, hear us roar. But not in the history books that have likely been written by men.

March is Women’s History Month!  We have a month, but we still don’t have an equal rights amendment. All the great things that women have done to move our nation forward is rarely reported or taught. Until now, that is.

My friend Amy Simon calls herself a “cultural HERstorian.”  She’s been obsessed with the lack of attention paid to the role women have played throughout our nation’s history, and decided to do something about it.  The result is now a one woman show and a school program entitled She’s History: The Most Dangerous Women in America… Then and Now!

Amy joined me this morning for the second hour of the show talking about the fabulous females who came before us!

In the first hour, I told you about the Breitbarting of NPR.  Seriously. Two phony Muslims from a phony organization set up a meeting with NPR fundraising executive Ron Schiller, then videotaped their conversation in which Schiller told the truth about the hijacking of the Republican party by extreme, rightwing evangelical xenophobes.  This morning, the NPR board fired CEO Vivian Schiller (no relation to Ron Schiller).  If you haven’t yet seen it, here’s the original video put together by the  James O’Keefe school of fraud:

Yesterday was the first day of action for Florida’s Awake the State movement!  The turnout was amazing, with an estimated 12-15,000 Floridians showing up at 32 rallies across the state.  Here in Ft. Lauderdale, the crowd was around 2000 strong, and in Sarasota, novelist Stephen King showed up and spoke to the crowd:

Ray Seaman, online director for Progress Florida and the guy who came up with the Awake the State idea, joined me this morning to recap yesterday’s stellar turnout.  Visit the facebook page for more pictures and recaps!

I also called on Karen Aronowitz, president of United Teachers of Dade – the union representing teachers in the fourth largest school district in the country.  She told us how the proposed Florida budget cuts would affect classrooms, teachers and students, and talked about the role of unions in this “right to work” state.   UTD has designated March 31 for a “Walk In” (as opposed to a walk out) – a day for parents and other concerned citizens to show up and surround the schools from 4-6pm in a show of solidarity and support for public education in the state!

To be continued tomorrow… radio or not!

Mar 082011

Florida is in serious trouble. The people here voted a criminal into the governor’s office, and he’s doing his best to destroy the state.  So today, all over the state, there are rallies planned to Awake the State.  Click on the link and find a rally near you today.

This morning, I spoke with Ray Seaman, online director of Progress Florida, and the guy who came up with the idea for Awake the State about the background and the many reasons we need it!

Here’s some info:

Today is a big day for Florida. The 2011 Florida legislative session begins, and Gov. Scott will give his State of The State address. And this time, Floridians from all walks of life in cities and towns throughout the state will join together to Awake The State and say “no” to budget cuts we as a state simply can’t afford.

We can’t afford a massive $3 billion dollar cut to our neighborhood public schools, and the tens of thousands of teachers and support personnel we would lose as a result.

We can’t afford privatizing Florida’s Medicaid program: Forcing our state’s children, elderly, and disabled into the waiting arms of greedy HMOs.

We can’t afford not funding the Florida Forever land conservation program, dismantling Florida’s growth management agency, and gutting protections for clean water.

We can’t afford balancing Florida’s budget on the backs of public servants like our teachers, police officers, firefighters, and nurses by singling them out for huge tax increases.

We can’t afford what Gov. Scott and his allies in the leadership of Florida’s legislature are proposing, and we’ve had enough of the assault on Florida’s working families.

Let’s stand together and fight back. Click here to find an Awake The State rally near you.

Together, we will send a loud and clear message to Tallahassee and begin to re-focus the debate on how we balance Florida’s budget responsibly. By closing down unnecessary and unproductive sales tax exemptions and corporate loopholes that litter our tax code and cost Floridians billions of dollars a year1, we can save our state from devastating budget cuts no one can afford.

Of course, Rachel Maddow put it all into perspective last night:

As we do every Tuesday morning, I was joined by Gotta Laff of The Political Carnival to dish on the news and talk about some of the stories we might otherwise have missed.  Some of those stories are:

US report: Private contractors at record in Afghan war

A letter to Scott Walker from Sen. Dem Leader Mark Miller

GOP letter to WI Sen. Democratic Leader: “I hope you are enjoying your vacation, and your vacation from reality.”

Dem WI Senator: “Never, never has there been a suggestion that Tim Cullen and I would somehow abandon the other 12 for the sake of cutting a deal”

Sarah Palin’s dad: “We sleep with the guns” +
Video- Sarah Palin slams Kathy Griffin for “Glee” impersonation

Supreme Court waves bye-bye to another lawsuit questioning
Obama citizenship

Energized: “This is not a Wisconsin thing, it’s a national thing.”

New Hampshire GOP House Speaker wants to disenfranchise “liberal” college voters

Have a Koch and a smile

Mar 072011

Michael Moore told the huge crowd in Madison Wisconsin that 400 obscenely wealthy Americans have more money than the combined assets of 155 million Americans!

I haven’t been to the dentist in over two years because I lost my dental insurance along with my last regular job.  After struggling with a toothache for the past week (a tooth that already was the recipient of a root canal and an obscenely expensive crown), I’ve come to the sad realization that it’s likely an abscess…. One that will likely cost me a small fortune to deal with.

But I bit the proverbial bullet, and made an appointment to see the dentist this afternoon.

To one of those afore-mentioned 400 Americans, my tooth issue would not be an issue at all. To me, it’s great cause for concern. But I’ll deal with it.

I wanted to sleep in yesterday, but I awoke early as usual, and turned on the TV. I came across an HBO documentary about the homeless kids in Orange County, CA who are living in motels around “the happiest place on earth” Disneyland.  If I couldn’t sleep before, that completely did the job on any rest I was hoping to get.

Then last night, 60 Minutes did a story on the homeless kids in Orange County, FL who are living in motels around the other “happiest place on earth” Disney World. That’s right… Who was it who said there are no coincidences?

I hope the world is paying attention. We’re at a breaking point.


On today’s show, I spoke with Scott Bonn – Assistant Professor of Sociology at Drew University in Madison NJ, and author of the new book “Mass Deception: Moral Panic and the US War on Iraq“. Before heading to academia, he working in media – as a VP at NBC television, and exec VP at SonicNet.

Nicole Belle was here for our weekly Fools on the Hill© segment, recapping the Sunday talking head shows.

George Santayana once wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  I can’t be absolutely sure, but it doesn’t appear to me that we have a lot of Republicans with any awareness of history, because they seem determined to ignore history and do things that we’ve seen historically have never worked out well for them.

Case in point, John McCain made what had to have been his 7,348th appearance on a Sunday show.  As a man who spent years as a prisoner of war and still suffers from permanent injuries as a result, one would think that he’d be hesitant to suggest more American intervention in the Middle East.  But no, that would be learning from past mistakes.

Cranky McSame instead advocates that the US establish a No-Fly Zone in Libya.  Obama’s new Chief of Staff Bill Daley said flat out that anyone advocating a US-established No-Fly Zone doesn’t know what he’s talking about (video in same post).  This apparently includes John Kerry too.  Exactly how many boondoggles must we have in the Middle East?  And have we not yet learned that American intervention makes us less safe?

Republicans even seem immune to recent history.  Sarah  Palin, for example, has dropped from being the rock star of the GOP/tea party and presumptive presidential candidate to the person who falls at the bottom of the polls for Republican candidate choice.  So it would be odd to take your interview cues and word salad tendency from Sarah Palin, especially if you’re looking to increase your own influence in the GOP/tea party circles.  And yet that’s exactly what Michele Bachmann does.  Choosing to answer questions she wants to answer instead of the ones posed to her, Bachmann obsesses about the $105 billion dollars she claims the Obama administration “hid” in the “Obamacare” bill.

Details are troublesome things though.  1) The Obama administration neither writes nor funds legislation; 2) Is Bachmann saying that legislation shouldn’t be clearly funded?  Has she talked about this with her party, because that was part of their “Pledge to America”;  3) How was the funding hidden if the Republicans in office have been vowing to defund the legislation since before they regained the majority?

The entire interview is annoyingly partisan and hyperbolic.  We could spend the entire segment talking about her pulling facts and figures out of her rear (gas prices quotes alone is ridiculous), her obliviousness about government shutdown ramifications and her dangerous (and borderline racist) rhetoric, calling the Obama administration a “gangster government”.

By the way, does it surprise you to know that the Wisconsin protests were virtually ignored on the Sunday shows again?  I say ‘virtually’ because while the media opted not to directly address the protests, even as they spread this week to Ohio and Indiana and beyond, but to let the American people know that they need to get used to getting less. And that the fact they don’t have a job has NOTHING to do with the government not taking care of workers over the uber-wealthy.  Of course, the last time they tried this, we had Hoovervilles all over the country.  How’d that turn out for them, the politicians and wealthy alike?

And finally, I played a little bit of Michael Moore’s address to the protesters in Madison Wisconsin over the weekend.  It is must-see video… and here it is!

Feb 282011

Feb 242011

Finally the tables are starting to turn” — Tracey Chapman

Revolution: a drastic and far-reaching change in ways of thinking and behaving…

That’s the revolution I’m talking about.  Real people – the hard working, wage earners, parents struggling to feed, clothe and house their children, young people trying to get a foothold in the world, the oppressed, the poor, the newly homeless, the chronically unemployed, the middle class — are sick and tired of making the sacrifices to pay for the mistakes of the wealthy who keep failing upwards and getting richer.

It’s time for those with the bulk of the money to pay their fair share of taxes.

The Republican party claims they’re trying to erase the deficit by cutting much-needed services to US taxpayer/citizens while at the same time giving massive tax cuts and benefits to the wealthiest individuals and corporations who already use every sneaky trick and loophole to avoid paying taxes.

While they’re standing in the welfare lines
Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation
Wasting time in unemployment lines
Sitting around waiting for a promotion

The people in the UK got fed up, and a movement to bring attention to the fact that the biggest corporations are also the biggest tax dodgers.  They call it UK Uncut, and it spread like wildfire throughout the nation.

If you haven’t already, read Johann Hari’s brilliant piece in The Nation that tells the history of UKuncut that inspired Carl Gibson, a young man in Mississippi to kickstart USUncut!

US Uncut

(Click here to listen to my interview with Johann Hari from Tuesday morning.)

Don’t you know you’re talking about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper
And finally the tables are starting to turn
Talking about a revolution

I’ve never organized an action before… but it’s time.  I’ll be participating in the first day of action with US Uncut on Saturday afternoon.  Since I’m new at this, I’m bringing along my favorite activist, David Swanson.

If anyone knows how to do an action, it’s him!  The author of War is a Lie was already scheduled to be in Boca Raton for a book signing event (along with Nicholas “Sandy” Davies, author of Blood on our Hands).   After his event, from 3-5 pm, we’ll all head about 1/2 mile down the road to a Bank of America branch to stage a protest.

Bank of America is the first target of US Uncut:

Despite ruining the economy with their reckless greed, Bank of America has consistently avoided any form of accountability to the American taxpayer. In fact, in 2009, Bank of America actually received a net tax benefit. Yes, last year, the federal government gave Bank of America $2.3 billion. That money alone could almost completely cover the proposed $2.5 billion cuts to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps low-income families pay their heating and cooling bills and affects 34 million households. Bank of America is the largest bank and 5th largest corporation in the country, holding over $2.2 trillion in assets, and yet it pays less in taxes than the average American household, which made between $35,400 and $52,100 and had an effective tax rate of 14.2%.

We pay our taxes, why don’t they?

On February 26th, citizens across the country will be targeting Bank of America branches and peaceably but forcefully showing them that they can’t get away with such egregious tax-cheating.

Both Carl Gibson of USUncut and David Swanson will join me during the first hour of today’s show.  In hour two, after a news update from TRNS, John Fugelsang joins me to end our week with some laughs and discussion about what’s going on in the world…  It’s an important day in a very important time in our history.

Poor people are gonna rise up
And get their share
Poor people are gonna rise up
And take what’s theirs

Don’t you know you’re talking about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper

Let’s turn this whisper into a tidal wave!

And a postscript.  Jasiri X said he’d write a song for the 99ers… well, he rolled it all into one brilliant video:

Feb 232011

Remember that star-studded song that raised millions of dollars to fight hunger world wide in the 80s?  The man who brought it all together, music manager Ken Kragen, has signed on to help create Home Aid – a virtual fundraising benefit event to help America’s homeless families, children, and veterans, to be held November 18-19 in Nasville and New Orleans during National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

This morning, I’ll be joined by Ken Kragen and David Mathison of Be The Media, executive director of the event, to tell us all about it, and how we can all get involved.

As you know, I’ve been very vocal in my support of the 99ers – a group that’s expanding exponentially daily, many of whom are among the homeless, or are soon to be.  We are truly the world, and we must help our fellow human beings through this very difficult time.

So much is going on in our world today — the world’s hot spot is Libya, where Muammar Kadaffi (I guess any way you want to spell is is correct) rambled for over 90 minutes yesterday, basically telling the people of Libya “Fuck you. I’m in charge. Come and get me, if I don’t get you first.. hahahaha” (Obviously, not a direct quote, but a #shorter version of his 90 minute diatribe.)  We’ll get a quick Libya update from Larisa Alexandrova at who’s been doing a great job of keeping up with everything going on there.

Kadaffi isn’t the only one who gave a rambling speech yesterday. Dictator Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin had the gall to call his speech a “fireside chat” as he tries to undo the policies put in place by the guy who actually coined the phrase!  In case you’re curious, here’s the video…

But basically he said to the pro-union protestors and the Wisconsin 14 (state senators who left the state to avoid a quorum necessary for a vote on this heinous piece of legislation), “Fuck you. I’m in charge. And if you don’t do what I want you to do, I’ll fire all the union workers one at a time:  (again, obviously, not a direct quote, but a #shorter version of his diatribe.)

BTW, this  just crossed my twitter stream… I don’t know if it’s real or not… but it’s great stuff–a prank call to Scott Walker from “David Koch”!

The website has crashed under all the traffic, but here are the two YouTube videos with the audio from the call:

And here at home, many of us are still reeling over what our government does in our name!  Jason Leopold has a new explosive piece up at Truthout.orgMy Tortured Journey with Former Guantanamo Detainee David Hicks. It is MUST reading!

Feb 172011

Never in my life have I had such a strong desire to be in Madison, Wisconsin as I do today!

Honestly, I was happy to watch the events in Egypt unfold live on television, and talk about what was happening with my new friend Marwa Rakha - whose child will be born in a country populated by people who’ve taken part in a peaceful revolution and are heading toward freedom.

As we were watching those brave Egyptians take to the streets, I was wondering what it would take to get Americans off of our lazy asses to stand up for our freedoms.  For the people of Wisconsin, apparently it was the hubris of their newly elected dictator governor Scott Walker, who wants to bust the unions.

Yesterday, I was joined briefly by John Nichols of The Nation, who happens to live in Madison.  Obviously, he’s right in the middle of it all, but he filed this piece- “What’s Disgusting? Union Busting!” Chant Wisconsin Crowds that Swell to 30,000 last night.

I happened to watch The Ed Show on MSNBC last night,and I’m glad I did.  Ed Schultz devoted practically his whole show to the ground zero of the American fight for democracy, and is headed to Madison today to broadcast his show tonight.  Good for him!  I’ll be watching. Here’s the video, which everyone should watch. And a note to Democrats: Pay attention to the Teddy Kennedy clip and learn something!

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Today on the show, we’ll talk about how we can keep the momentum going.  I’ll read some excerpts of another article from The Nation. This one, titled “How to build a progressive tea party“  and the follow-up, ” A Ten-Step guide to Launching US Uncut” written by Johann Hari, tells about the UKuncut protests in Great Britain.  The similarities between what the Brits were going through (and the Egyptians, to some extent), and what we’re facing here with corporation not paying their fair share of taxes are as plain as the nose on my face.

Apparently, Carl Gibson sees it too, and has taken it upon himself to kickstart USuncut: Targeting Corporate Tax Dodgers.  Carl will join us in the first hour today to talk about the USuncut first day of action, scheduled for next Saturday, February 26. So be prepared to learn how to walk like a Wisconsinite/Brit/Egyptian this morning!

In hour two, I’ll be joined by Crooks and Liars founder/publisher John Amato, who is one of the forces behind the BlueAmerica PAC to talk about their campaign against GOP hypocrites regarding taking government health care.

Feb 152011

Obviously, there are more important things going on in the world today, but this one jumped out at me like a maniacal asshole on a Fake News channel claiming the sky is falling. (Oh right, that’s what it is…)

As she does every Tuesday morning, Gotta Laff of The Political Carnival joins me to talk about some of the stories we might have otherwise missed in the week gone by.  So, this morning, we were listening to Glenn Beck’s inane ranting about Egypt, and his sexist dissing of Mike Brzezinksi.  (I’ve been know to diss Mika too, but it’s the way he did it that was infuriating.)

Anyway, while we were listening, I heard what certainly sounded like Glenn Beck saying “Fuck you Mika” while the tape was playing. I can only guess he thought his mic was off.  Now I can’t say for certain it was Beck, as the camera was not on him at that moment. It could have been one of his studio cronies.  But it did get me to ponder the magnificence of the word fuck…

See/hear it for yourself in this video. It comes in at about the 4:11 mark:

Of course we talked about some other things too, including some of these stories.

Andrew Breitbart gets served– at CPAC– with lawsuit– by Shirley Sherrod

Arizona may require hospitals to check citizenship

VIDEO- Glenn Beck gleeful over Mika Brzezinski getting “spanked”: “Somebody has a warm tushie.”

Source: “No one hated his guts more than [MSNBC president] Phil [Griffin]”

House Proposal Would Ban All Abortions In Iowa

Report: Gabby Giffords mouths along to songs, says, “Hi, I’m good.”

“It will have been five years since Justice Clarence Thomas has spoken during a court argument.”

VIDEO- John Boehner’s easy way out: “It’s not my job to tell the American people what to think.”

Sunday Talkers (R-MediaBias)

Former Fox News employee: “Stuff is just made up”

I got to Laffy a few minutes late this morning because President Obama held a press conference, ostensibly to defend his budget.  It was somewhat cathartic to listen and publicly “talk back” to him. And judging from the crew in the chat room, you agreed with what I said. (You’ll have to listen to the podcast to get the full effect!)

In the first hour, I spoke with Jason Tabrys, who’s organizing tonight’s 99erAID chat on twitter.  Beginning at 8pm ET, use the hashtage #99erAID and join in the conversation.  I believe Jason also started a new topic at here.

And I picked the brain of WaPo’s Aaron Blake about the budget too.

For those who want to see the Think Progress video of Ben Armbruster confronting Bill O’Reilly’s ambush henchman about Fox Noise… here you go:

Feb 142011

While watching the people of Egypt win their peaceful revolution Thursday, one song was playing on a loop in my mind.

Freedom! While the people of Egypt have a long road ahead of them, they did it! They won freedom from a dictator who has ruled their world for over thirty years. But the real lesson here is that they did it through peaceful protests – no “second amendment remedies” necessary.

To those who suggest we might be able to follow their lead here to get what we want, I wish it were that simple. We have a deeply divided citizenry here. And so much hate is directed at one another that we’d never get to the consensus that the Egyptians enjoyed – united against the regime who kept them from freedom.

Unfortunately, too, guns are embedded in our society. And the nuts on the right who, for the most part, are hoarding the weapons and ammunition, truly believe that they’re necessary to “protect them” from the government.

We are truly a nation in the terrible twos. Still in our second century, perhaps we need to go through adolescence before we can act like adults.

Meanwhile, I’m sure the oddsmakers in Vegas have come up with a line on what nation is next. When asked on Thursday, I said
“Iran” – without equivocation. The population is similar demographically to Egypt – young, educated and secular, and they’ve been simmering since their last uprising following their stolen presidential elections in 2009. Already reports are coming today about the people in the streets, and the regime’s efforts to quell the crowds.

The big question is whether the people will prevail this time, or not.

Here at home, President Obama continues moving further and further to the right. Congressman Kucinich said that Obama should be challenged from the left, and I agree. Kucinich is fighting to retain a seat in Congress (and we do need him there), so who should it be? Russ Feingold? Perhaps, though some worry that a Jew could never win… but they said that about a black man too.

But today, Obama’s budget is released, and Paul Krugman put it best in today’s blog:

The New Obama Budget


There was an old Washingtoon, probably from the mid-1980s, in which Democrats meet to plan their new centrist strategy — which consists of tax cuts for the rich, reduced spending on the needy, and big defense budgets. “But how is this different from the Republicans?” asks one member of the group. “Compassion,” replies the leader. “We care about the victims of our policies.”

That’s pretty much my initial reaction to what we know so far about the Obama budget. It’s much less awful than the Republican proposal, but it moves in the same direction: listening to the administration, you’d think that discretionary spending, not health care, is at the heart of our long-run deficit problems — and you’d also think that the job of rescuing the economy was done, with unemployment still at 9 percent.

It could be worse — the GOP proposal is — but it’s hardly something to cheer about.

Perhaps I should just get back in bed and pull the covers over my head.  Or not.  The world keeps turning, whether we like it or not.

You see, the alternative is even worse, as evidenced by this weekend’s CPAC convention.  The thought of those people taking over the country is enough to make any disgusted liberal get off his ass in a bid for the lesser of two evils.  I hope that the teabaggers continue fighting the mainstream Republicans and splinter off with their own third party candidate… and that the progressives do the same.  Let’s get some real differences between the parties and get back to doing what’s right for the country instead of having two sides of the same coin just playing politics!

Dave Weigel did yeoman’s duty once again at CPAC, and he’ll join us today to fill us in on some of the highlights.

And in hour two, Nicole Belle joins us from her perch at Crooks and Liars for our weekly Fools on the Hill segment, recapping the Sunday talking head shows.  Unfortunately, Nicole suffered a slight mishap on a romantic pre-Valentines Day weekend with her husband… so, she’ll go along for the ride with me today, discussing these segments:

Chris Matthews Asks if Jeb Bush Could be Pushed into Running in 2012

Egypt Proved Change Is Possible, Sexy and Cool!

Paul Ryan Defends Republicans’ Hypocrisy on Budget Cuts

Fox Panel Discuss Olbermann’s Move to Current TV — No Mention of Lack of Corporate Interference

John Boehner Still Pandering to the Birthers: It’s Not My Job to Tell People What to Think

And, time permitting, I may just have to call my new friend Marwa Rakha in Egypt to see how things are going in the early post-Mubarak days.

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