That’s the answer. The question is “What the fuck do we do now?”
We have no recourse when it comes to the top of the ticket. The choice is bad or worse. So our best recourse is to stack Congress in our favor. We can elect more progressives, and we must.
Good news came on Monday when Alan Grayson made it official and announce he’s running for Congress again. Now we just need to clone him 50 times…
Congressman Grayson joined me on the show today. I was really planning to make it just a friendly, happy, help get Grayson re-elected interview, but the chatters intervened. I keep two chat rooms open during my show (the ustream chat and the Thom Hartmann chat), and the regulars -who are very anti-AIPAC, kept requesting that I ask about Grayson’s opinion on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. So I did. And his answer made me like him even more.
If you have a few dollars to spare, please remember how Congressman Grayson stood up for us, when virtually no one else in Congress did – at least certainly not to the extent he did. His website is www.congressmanwithguts.com for good reason. He has balls, and he knows how to use them!
I also spent some time on the show today with my former Air America Radio colleague Jack Rice, who also spent time as a CIA officer. I asked him what was up with Leon Panetta. our newly anointed Secretary of Defense actually told soldiers still in Iraq that they are there because we were attacked on 9/11! Interestingly enough, this video is nearly impossible to find! It’s nowhere on YouTube, except in this excerpt of last night’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Hmm…
Jack and I discussed some other disconcerting things until he had to go be a lawyer…
I get a lot of email from listeners. Some cut through and grab my attention more than others.
I received this note from Rebecca yesterday, and it got me thinking. I shared it with some friends who replied with optimistic thoughts, ranging from “you put one foot in front of the other and keep on walking” to “I get involved with local causes because that’s where I can have a greater impact” to “Stay focused on the little things because they matter too”…
I’d love your responses too… Here’s the letter:
How do you keep going? I am so discouraged, distressed, depressed, and just plain downhearted. I watch the “mainstream” media and listen to much of the progressive talk and I am ready to just pull my head into my shell and give up! Obama betrays us with every turn, the right is totally controlled by BIG COMPANIES through the tea-party and I truly despair for our country.
On Friday when the LAST shuttle lifted off I cried for hours. I hear only one commentator call it “bittersweet” and that was on BBC World!
What has this country come to that we are going to use RUSSIANS to ferry our few astronauts into space! A space program that in large part gave us transistors and then computer chips, much of the engineering done in the aviation metallurgy industries, and gave a whole generation dreams of being not just astronauts but many kinds of scientists. That dream is dead.
Now I am watching the pols in Washington squander any hope of a real economic recovery — and play chicken with the WORLDS economy. Can they really want to defeat Obama so much that they would do ANYTHING to makes things so bad that he is defeated?
And the wars that just go on and on and on? Where is the generation who stopped the Vietnam War? Sitting on their complacent boomer asses too invested in their jobs/retirement to step forward and demand that it stop.
I begin to hear all kinds of talk: a third party candidate, someone to primary Obama, but could an outsider really get enough coverage to actually make a difference? Heck, the Republicans can’t find a decent candidate!
America is clearly becoming a 2nd rate nation with a dysfunctional and corrupt government. How do you keep going?
Please, comment away!
From George Carlin…
to Keith Olbermann…
When will we ever learn?
And there’s this, from my friend Sally Kohn‘s Movement Vision Lab, “Obama’s Ultimatum: What the President Should Say to America, and Republicans”.
Of course, as usual, I did my fair share of talking on today’s show too. I was joined by John Atlas, author of Seeds of Change: The Story of ACORN, America’s Most Controversial Antipoverty Community Organizing Group, who gave us the whole back story about ACORN and its downfall.
The right took down ACORN, and did huge damage to Van Jones, Shirley Sherrod, Planned Parenthood and NPR/PBS with a huge assist from the Fox “News” Channel. Karma’s a bitch now that Rupert’s empire is coming crumbling down. I’ll shed no tears when his evil and diabolical non-journalistic tactics are exposed on this side of the pond and his entire right wing world implodes around him.
Oh yeah, Jill Sobule wrote a song for Rupert too…
In hour two, as we do every Tuesday morning, I was joined by The Political Carnival‘s GottaLaff. We played the new Blunt webisode, this one produced with an assist from the truly brilliant Cynthia Boaz (and yes, that is me in a very quick “saturated” came0).
And we discussed some of these stories too:
That’s the title of a great song by Philadelphia based Phil Roy. I keep searching for Hope in a Hopeless World, but find little these days.
I have started and abandoned this blog post at least four times already this morning, and realize that on some days I do much better just talking than writing. Originally, I was going to point out the hypocrisy in the Opposite World the GOP inhabits. Today, it seemed as if President Obama is visiting too…
You know Opposite World, right? Where the wealthiest are immune from paying their fair share of taxes because they’re the “job creators”; where a recession is made better by cutting spending; where government is inherently bad, and greed is good; where privatization is the goal for every social program in place.
In Reality World, we know that when the wealthy get tax cuts, they just sock away the money in foreign banks or tax shelters so that it never sees the light of the US economy again; where the way out of a recession or depression is spending to get people back to work; where the government helps and philanthropy is good; where the way to fix the problems with health care and energy would be to take it out of the private, for-profit sector.
Unfortunately, in President Obama’s press conference today (click here to watch), he seemed to drive head-on into the Opposite World territory by embracing the austerity measures that the right is calling for and is currently driving stakes into the coffins of the EU.
I think we’ve lost the idea of a progressive – or even Democratic – president for now. What we must do to salvage whatever decency and concern for the general welfare of the other 98% in this country is to elect as many true progressives to Congress as possible.
This morning, I spoke with congressional candidate Ilya Sheyman, who’s running from Illinois’ 10th district. Already endorsed by Democracy for America and Blue America, he’s the kind of guy we need to get behind.
As she does every Monday morning, Crooks and Liars‘ Nicole Belle joined me for “Fools on the Hill” – as we take on the Sunday talking head shows. Although much of our segment was consumed with listening to President Obama triangulating during today’s press conference, this is what Nicole brought to us today:
I wish I could say that there was some unifying theme to Sunday’s clips, but I’m really struggling to find one. Mostly it’s more of the same kind of disingenuous coverage and right wing framing we see over and over.
It’s a measure of the concern over the debt ceiling debate that the White House got representative of the administration booked to discuss the debt ceiling. Unfortunately, it appears that the White House has accepted the Republican talking points.
They’re not the only ones. The media has most definitely accepted the GOP framing too. Like this clip from This Week. See if you can count how many times Christiane Amanpour repeat right wing talking points. (It’s a 10.5 minute clip, but kind of hard to figure where to cut. ) It’s all about how the Democrats are unwilling to see that there has to be “entitlement” reform and that it is them—not the GOP—standing in the way of the “grand bargain”.
And if that’s not enough Democrat-punching, Jim DeMint –one of the leaders of the Tea Party Caucus, so clearly an authority on economic issues—placed the blame for the debt ceiling crisis squarely with the White House on Fox News Sunday. DeMint claimed that Geithner—who appeared on the show earlier (why are we giving the Tea Party guy the last word again?)—was playing “Chicken Little” on the debt ceiling. It’s a shame that Chris Wallace didn’t ask him where this concern was the eight previous times that DeMint voted to raise the debt ceiling under George W Bush.
Luckily, Fox News Sunday also had on Rep Xavier Becerra and he did a fairly decent job of acquitting the Democrats, telling Bret Baier that Social Security should never have been even offered up as part of the negotiations. It’s a 5 minute clip, but Becerra does such a good job of shooting down Bret Baier’s Fox News talking point that Social Security is merely a trust fund filled with worthless IOUs.
Besides the debt ceiling talk, Tim Pawlenty also made a game attempt to promote his floundering presidential candidacy. Interestingly, Pawlenty pulled punches against front runner Mitt Romney, but opted instead to going tough on rising star (and fellow Minnesotan) Michele Bachmann. Pawlenty distinguished his candidacy from hers by comparing the achievements of his governorship to Bachmann’s “non-existent” congressional accomplishments. Oddly, Pawlenty’s list of accomplishments includes shutting down the government.
And finally, because all of this drama over the debt ceiling could be entirely avoided if the GOP wanted to do what was in the best interest of the country instead of wringing every crisis for partisan advantage (or personal profit, if you’re Eric Cantor), let me remind you once again what Mitch McConnell’s avowed primary goal is: to make President Obama a single term president.
Dear President Obama,
We get that the Republican Party wants to end Medicare and Social Security. We understand that theirs is the party of every man, woman and child for him/herself. But we thought you were a Democrat and, as such, believed in our country’s social safety net, at the very least. According to a NY Times story that greeted us this morning, that’s now in question:
Mr. Obama, who is to meet at the White House with the bipartisan leadership of Congress in an effort to work out an agreement to raise thefederal debt limit, wants to move well beyond the $2 trillion in savings sought in earlier negotiations and seek perhaps twice as much over the next decade, Democratic officials briefed on the negotiations said Wednesday.
The president’s renewed efforts follow what knowledgeable officials said was an overture from Mr. Boehner, who met secretly with Mr. Obama last weekend, to consider as much as $1 trillion in unspecified new revenues as part of an overhaul of tax laws in exchange for an agreement that made substantial spending cuts, including in such social programs as Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security — programs that had been off the table.
Seriously Mr. President? It was bad enough that you didn’t fight for real health care reform by way of a single payer system (aka Medicare for All!), let alone a simple public option (like allowing us to buy in to Medicare if we want to), and that instead of ending the insanity in Afghanistan you doubled down on a senseless war.
We know that you promised to let the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans expire, but then extended them for another two years. We know you’ve done some good, but you’ve also made way too many mistakes.
We know you’re a lousy negotiator… but to offer up cuts that will decimate our social safety net is just plain wrong and goes against everything we, as true patriots who care about our fellow citizens, stand for.
If you go through with any deal that imposes cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and/or Social Security, you will have completely lost me – my support, my encouragement, and my vote.
I host a radio program. On today’s show (which you can hear by clicking the play button atop this post), I spoke of this issue with David Dayen (who does pretty great news coverage for FireDogLake.com), The Nation‘s Katrina vanden Heuvel, and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee‘s T. Neil Sroka.
I continued the discussion -and attempted to get a bit of inspiration – in the second hour with the wonderful Van Jones who is now spearheading a new movement – Rebuilding The American Dream, and comedian John Fugelsang.
Needless to say, I’m still mad as hell.
You just gave a quick statement during Jay Carney’s press briefing. When I say quick, I mean quick.
Unfortunately, you didn’t say anything new, or reassure us that you’re not about sell out the future of our country and the party you claim to be a part of.
Please Mr. President, do the right thing. No cuts to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security.
In hour one, I’ll be joined by one of my favorite wise men. Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, syndicated columnist, public speaker, and author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow and 6 other books. His radio commentaries are heard every morning on my show. We’ll pick his brain on the debt ceiling debate, and I’ll also ask him about the topic his commentaries are covering this week — Afghanistan!
In hour two, we’ll talk with former NY Times columnist, new NY Magazine Writer at Large Frank Rich! His first piece for NY Magazine is “Obama’s Original Sin” — a must-read for anyone who wonders why our president isn’t living up to our expectations (and everyone else too!)
And in the third hour, Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead will join in to tell us about the tour she’s embarking on in support of Planned Parenthood! It gets underway this Saturday night in Pontiac, MI. But be careful, she might make you laugh too!
Plus, I’ll monitor the Twitter Town Hall starting at 2pm and bring you any worthwhile clips….
Of course, your calls are welcome too at 866-87-RANDI (866-877-2634)
I’ll be back live on my show tomorrow morning, with Van Jones and more!
The news just broke that Casey Anthony was acquitted of killing her two year old daughter. I guess you can get away with murder in this country. Aside from a brief rant on the insanity of the coverage of this circus, we’ll stick with much more important issues today.
ACORN is one of those. I’ll speak with John Atlas, author of Seeds of Change: The Story of ACORN, America’s Most Controversial Antipoverty Community Organizing Group about this very American group who was brought down by some unscrupulous miscreants.
And I’ll shed a light on how my congressman, Allen West, is the antithesis of patriotic!
In hour three, we’ll share a few laughs with Elon James White - comedian, writer and host of the web series “This Week In Blackness“. He was recently tapped by the ACLU to talk about the ridiculous war on drugs and this is what he came up with:
A busy day today, as I’ll have my regular show this morning, then fill in for Randi Rhodes again today (and tomorrow)!
So, let’s get right to it…
In the first hour this morning, I’ll replay Friday’s interviews from Randi’s show with Politico’s Ken Vogel about Stephen Colbert’s SuperPAC (and those entities in general), and with the wonderful singer-songwriter Jill Sobule.
BLUNT: American Dream or American Fantasy
Details on what’s happening on Randi Rhodes Show this afternoon coming soon….
No show today… I’ll be back tomorrow – with two of them! Listen to the Nicole Sandler Show 10-noon and as I guest host again on the Randi Rhodes Show 3-6 ET.
So much to talk about today, including the seeming collapse of the rape case of Dominique Strauss- Kahn, Minnesota shutting down today and the continuing circus that is Michele Bachmann, her husband Marcus and their “clinic”…
Of course, the conversation continues about Mark Halperin’s dick comment. I knew he was a dick a few years ago when I interviewed him during the 2008 primary season. I’ll probably play an excerpt of that interview today on the show. I’ll also call on Greg Sargent, who writes the Plum Line blog for the Washington Post. I thought his take on the Halperin suspension yesterday was spot on, so he’ll join in this afternoon to explain his view.
I consider myself an intelligent person. But I can’t wrap my brain around the whole Super PAC concept. I guess Stephen Colbert can, as he launched the Colbert Super PAC — making a better tomorrow, tomorrow!
Just yesterday, the FEC ruled against Colbert’s PAC in one way, and for it in another… or something like that. Politico’s Ken Vogel has written a lot about this story, and he’ll come on the show today to explain it all to me, and to you too…
***Update*** As I was sitting in Randi’s studio in West Palm Beach, and had gotten this far in writing this blog and awaiting final confirmation on our last guest, lightning struck – obviously very close us. The power went off for a moment and, when it came back on, the computer monitors and the internet were dead. Apparently the strike fried some of the connectors, so we were technologically challenged for the show… but we had a great show anyway!
The final guest I was waiting on was singer-songwriter Jill Sobule, who wowed the crowd at Netroots Nation with a song she wrote for the occasion: