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Aug 022011
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As detailed in my last post, the House voted yesterday to pass the Satan Sandwich (aka the debt ceiling bill).  We already knew the Tea Partiers were ignorant fools.  Now they’re also proven hypocrites, as 59 GOP freshmen voted for the bill (2/3 of the rookie class) with only 28 voting against.

Based on Michele Bachmann’s official list of members of her Tea Party Caucus, 32 of them declared their hypocrisy and voted for the deal!  (Should you care to see the list, scroll down to the bottom of the post.)

I must point out that my sorry excuse for a representative – the alleged Tea Party darling – Allen West voted FOR it. I hope his minions ride him out of town on a rail.

Today, the Senate votes.  But all accounts say this ransom will be easily paid by at least 60 members.  Manufactured crisis averted, but at what cost?

Arthur Delaney of Huffington Post points out that the unemployed were ignored in this deal. The cynic in me asks “what else is new?”  But the compassionate human being that I am is truly disgusted. Perhaps if all of the long-term unemployed in this country decided to pitch tents and start an Obamaville in Washington DC they might take notice that these people are not invisible!

While I have Arthur on the line talking about that, we’ll also discuss another story he’s been covering: that of the Pre-Existing Insurance Plan, in which he asks if you’d go without insurance for six months to qualify for affordable coverage?  Talk about a big gamble – on your life!

I’m trying to find the good in this Satan Sandwich debt ceiling bill. I listened to my dear friend Randi Rhodes who thinks President Obama won this fight, but she still didn’t convince me. The best I could come up with were some journalists whom I respect pointing out that it’s not as bad as it could have been.

Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly did a bit of a round-up of the not-so-bad points in “The Contrarian Defense“.  He’ll join me this morning as well to go over the good, the bad and the ugly in this bill.

It’s Tuesday! That means GottaLaff of The Political Carnival will be with me in hour two of the show to talk about these stories and more..

VIDEO ADDED: Rep. Emanuel Cleaver: I’d vote for debt deal, “punch myself in stomach, then throw up.”

VIDEO- GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn: “I don’t even want to have to be associated with [Obama], it’s like touching a tar baby…”

Most of Newt Gingrich’s Twitter Followers Are Fake

Business group cancels Rep. Allen West appearance after pressure from gay activists

Americans for Prosperity is sending absentee ballots to WI Democrats with late return date

If you hate taxes, here are 102 things NOT to do

Quick ones: PhotOh! Your “librul media” at work

PhotOh! BREAKING NEWS! Fox has a special on TV tonight! Zomg!

VIDEO- GW Bush on slow reaction to 9/11 attacks: “I immediately focused on… the contrast between the attack and the innocence of children”

Tea Party Cancels “Lame” Rally After Getting Only Three Positive Responses

There are a couple of other things I have to mention — Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords return to the floor of the House to cast her vote was truly a wonderful moment!

And if you only watch one video today, you should make it Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment from last night:

**Now for that list of Teabaggers who voted FOR the debt ceiling bill:

Sandy Adams (FL-24)
Robert Aderholt (AL-04)
Rodney Alexander (LA-05)
Roscoe Bartlett (MD-06)
Joe Barton (TX-06)
Gus Bilirakis (FL-09)
Diane Black (TN-06)
Michael Burgess (TX-26)
John Carter (TX-31)
Bill Cassidy (LA-06)
Howard Coble (NC-06)
Mike Coffman (CO-06)
Ander Crenshaw (FL-04)
John Culberson (TX-07)
Blake Farenthold (TX-27)
Stephen Lee Fincher (TN-08)
Wally Herger (CA-02)
Lynn Jenkins (KS-02)
Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-09)
Kenny Marchant (TX-24)
David McKinley (WV-01)
Gary Miller (CA-42)
Rich Nugent (FL-05)
Steven Palazzo (MS-04)
Mike Pence (IN-06)
Tom Price (GA-06)
David Roe (TN-01)
Edward Royce (CA-40)
Pete Sessions (TX-32)
Lamar Smith (TX-21)
Tim Walberg (MI-07)
Allen West (FL-22)

Go get ‘em!

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Aug 012011
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The House passed the Debt Ceiling deal 269-161.

In the end, Republicans voted 174 for – 66 against.  The Democratic Party was split down the middle, with 95 votes for the bill, 95 against.

Democrats voting NO:

Ackerman
Baldwin
Becerra
Blumenauer
Boswell
Braley (IA)
Brown (FL)
Butterfield
Capuano
Cardoza
Carson (IN)
Chu
Clarke (MI)
Clarke (NY)
Cleaver
Cohen
Conyers
Crowley
Cummings
DeFazio
DeGette
DeLauro
Doyle
Edwards
Ellison
Engel
Farr
Filner
Frank (MA)
Fudge
Gonzalez
Green, Al
Grijalva
Hahn
Hastings (FL)
Holt
Honda
Jackson (IL)
Kaptur
Kissell
Kucinich
Larson (CT)
Lee (CA)
Lewis (GA)
Loebsack
Lofgren, Zoe
Luján
Maloney
Markey
Matsui
McCollum
McDermott
McGovern
McIntyre
McNerney
Miller (NC)
Miller, George
Moran
Murphy (CT)
Nadler
Napolitano
Neal
Olver
Pallone
Pastor (AZ)
Payne
Peters
Pingree (ME)
Price (NC)
Rangel
Reyes
Richardson
Roybal-Allard
Ryan (OH)
Sánchez, Linda T.
Sarbanes
Schakowsky
Scott (VA)
Serrano
Slaughter
Smith (WA)
Stark
Sutton
Thompson (MS)
Tierney
Tonko
Towns
Velázquez
Visclosky
Waters
Watt
Waxman
Welch
Woolsey
Yarmuth

Republicans voting NO:

Akin
Amash
Bachmann
Bishop (UT)
Brooks
Broun (GA)
Buerkle
Burton (IN)

Chaffetz
Cravaack
Davis (KY)

DesJarlais
Duncan (SC)

Flake
Fleischmann
Fleming

Forbes

Franks (AZ)
Garrett

Gingrey (GA)
Gohmert
Gowdy

Graves (GA) 

Griffith (VA)
Hall
Harris
Hartzler
Huelskamp
Hultgren
Hunter
Johnson (IL)
Jones
Jordan

King (IA)
Kingston

Labrador
Landry
Latham
Mack

McClintock
Mulvaney

Neugebauer
Nunes
Paul

Lamborn 

Pearce
Poe (TX)
Posey
Quayle

Rehberg
Roby
Rokita
Ross (FL)
Scalise
Scott (SC)
Scott, Austin
Southerland
Stearns
Stutzman

Schweikert
Tipton

Turner
Walsh (IL)
Westmoreland
Wilson (SC)
Yoder

 

And both groups of NO votes did so for entirely different reasons.

Now for the YES votes.  We’ll do this one differently.  All of the yes votes appear in this chart. The Democrats are bolded and italicized for your perusing ease.

Adams
Aderholt
Alexander
Altmire
Andrews
Austria
Bachus
Barletta
Barrow
Bartlett
Barton (TX)
Bass (CA)
Bass (NH)
Benishek
Berg
Berkley
Berman
Biggert
Bilbray
Bilirakis
Bishop (GA)
Bishop (NY)
Black
Blackburn
Boehner
Bonner
Bono Mack
Boren
Boustany
Brady (PA)
Brady (TX)
Buchanan
Bucshon
Burgess
Calvert
Camp
Campbell
Canseco
Cantor
Capito
Capps
Carnahan
Carney
Carter
Cassidy
Castor (FL)
Chabot
Chandler
Cicilline
Clay
Clyburn
Coble
Coffman (CO)
Cole
Conaway
Connolly (VA)
Cooper
Costa
Costello
Courtney
Crawford
Crenshaw
Critz
Cuellar
Culberson
Davis (CA)
Davis (IL)
Denham
Dent
Deutch
Diaz-Balart
Dicks
Dingell
Doggett
Dold
Donnelly (IN)
Dreier
Duffy
Duncan (TN)
Ellmers
Emerson
Eshoo
Farenthold
Fattah
Fincher
Fitzpatrick
Flores
Fortenberry
Foxx
Frelinghuysen
Gallegly
Garamendi
Gardner
Gerlach
Gibbs
Gibson
Giffords
Goodlatte
Gosar
Granger
Graves (MO)
Green, Gene
Griffin (AR)
Grimm
Guinta
Guthrie
Gutierrez
Hanabusa
Hanna
Harper
Hastings (WA)
Hayworth
Heck
Heinrich
Hensarling
Herger
Herrera Beutler
Higgins
Himes
Hinojosa
Hirono
Hochul
Holden
Hoyer
Huizenga (MI)
Hurt
Inslee
Israel
Issa
Jackson Lee (TX)
Jenkins
Johnson (GA)
Johnson (OH)
Johnson, E. B.
Johnson, Sam
Keating
Kelly
Kildee
Kind
King (NY)
Kinzinger (IL)
Kline
Lance
Langevin
Lankford
Larsen (WA)
LaTourette
Latta
Levin
Lewis (CA)
Lipinski
LoBiondo
Long
Lowey
Lucas
Luetkemeyer
Lummis
Lungren, Daniel E.
Lynch
Manzullo
Marchant
Marino
Matheson
McCarthy (CA)
McCarthy (NY)
McCaul
McCotter
McHenry
McKeon
McKinley
McMorris Rodgers
Meehan
Meeks
Mica
Michaud
Miller (FL)
Miller (MI)
Miller, Gary
Murphy (PA)
Myrick
Noem
Nugent
Nunnelee
Olson
Owens
Palazzo
Pascrell
Paulsen
Pelosi
Pence
Perlmutter
Peterson
Petri
Pitts
Platts
Polis
Pompeo
Price (GA)
Quigley
Rahall
Reed
Reichert
Renacci
Ribble
Richmond
Rigell
Rivera
Roe (TN)
Rogers (AL)
Rogers (KY)
Rogers (MI)
Rohrabacher
Rooney
Ros-Lehtinen
Roskam
Ross (AR)
Rothman (NJ)
Royce
Runyan
Ruppersberger
Rush
Ryan (WI)
Sanchez, Loretta
Schiff
Schilling
Schmidt
Schock
Schrader
Schwartz
Scott, David
Sensenbrenner
Sessions
Sewell
Sherman
Shimkus
Shuler
Shuster
Simpson
Sires
Smith (NE)
Smith (NJ)
Smith (TX)
Speier
Stivers
Sullivan
Terry
Thompson (CA)
Thompson (PA)
Thornberry
Tiberi
Tsongas
Upton
Van Hollen
Walberg
Walden
Walz (MN)
Wasserman Schultz
Webster
West
Whitfield
Wilson (FL)
Wittman
Wolf
Womack
Woodall
Wu
Young (AK)
Young (FL)
Young (IN)

 

 

Tomorrow, the Senate….

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Aug 012011
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Paul Simon’s American Tune aptly sums up my feelings this morning…

And I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
I don’t have a friend who feels at ease
I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered
or driven to its knees
But it’s all right, it’s all right
We’ve lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the road
we’re traveling on
I wonder what went wrong
I can’t help it, I wonder what went wrong

We’ve been seriously misused.  We elected a president who we thought would at least stand up for the bedrock of Democratic values,  our social safety net.  Instead we got someone who is, at best, a corporatist and lousy negotiator and, at worst, a Republican in disguise.

It’s now up to the the Congressional Democratic Caucus to stand up for those of us who cannot afford lobbyists — or just about anything else these days.

Congressman Raul Grijalva, co-chair of said CPC, posted this petition last night, ready for your signature:

I will not support the debt deal
Stand with Raúl and America’s working families and show your opposition to the debt deal by signing the petition below. 

I oppose any debt deal that trades Americans’ livelihoods to appease the most radical wing of the GOP.

I stand firmly behind successful government programs that guarantee the health and economic well being of the American people.

We must ensure that Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are off the chopping block as we work to balance our budget.

I will not stand by idly as millions of working Americans lose out as the GOP gives yet another handout to the wealthy and big corporations.

Nancy Pelosi said last night that she could not commit to this deal; she’d first have to meet with her caucus.  Meetings are going on this morning.  Now is the time to reach out and tell your representatives to do the right thing by the American people.

We’ll obviously deal with this issue on the show this morning. I’ll be joined by Congressman Raul Grijalva, pundit/author/consultant Cliff Schecter, and The Nation’s Ari Berman on his latest piece, “The Rise of the Austerity Hawk Democrats” and how it fits in with this whole mess.

Today’s essential reading courtesy of Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman at the NY Times: The President Surrenders.

***Update***  Links for The White House Fact Sheet on the “Bipartisan Debt Deal” and from Time‘s Swampland blog, “Five Things for Liberals to Like in the Debt Ceiling Deal“.

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Jul 282011
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My good friend Jason Leopold continues to astound with his latest piece for Truthout .  Just when I thought I’d heard it all regarding the insanity and barbarity of waging war, here comes “Air Force Cites New Testament, Ex-Nazi, to Train Officers on Ethics of Launching Nuclear Weapons.”  Seriously?!?!

Before I spoke with Jason this morning, I checked in with David Dayen who gives great news coverage at FireDogLake for the latest on the debt ceiling insanity.

I don’t do a new show on Fridays, so I try to end each Thursday morning with some laughs courtesy of John Fugelsang.

Back with more insanity, I’m sure, Monday morning…. radio or not!

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Jul 272011
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Of course, they’ve already gotten a workout, as you’ve no doubt been calling your House member and two senators, plus the White House, Speaker’s office and Harry Reid’s office too…  But tonight’s call should be a bit more fun.

You might remember the story about my congressman.  I’m supposedly represented by Allen West – the Iraqi police officer abuser,  misogynistic teabagger who stood by approvingly as I was removed from an event billed as a “town hall meeting” and arrested for daring to challenge him with a QUESTION about his stance on privatizing medicare.

Well, Congressman West – stuck in DC due to the default crisis manufactured by his party – will tonight hold his second “Tele-TownHall”.  The good news is that they can’t arrest you over the phone, and you actually get to ask your question! But be forewarned: as I learned during the first such event, say everything you want to say while you have the chance because, if you challenge him, they’ll mute your call as soon as you pause for his answer.

But you can get through.  Just call early, and have an “acceptable” question ready to tell the screener.

I’m not the only one encouraging you to call this sorry excuse for a representative.  Americans United for Change sent out this email last night:

Rep. Allen West has some explaining to do … about, for one thing, the vote to destroy Medicare and Medicaid while refusing to raise taxes on millionaires or have hedge fund managers’ taxes rates at least equal to the rates of those who clean their offices!

You can make him do it. Rep. West is holding a “Teletown Hall” over the phone on Wednesday, July 27th at 7:00 pm. You can participate by calling 877-229-8493 and dialing in the passcode 17808#.

Are you interested in helping us stand up to Allen West?

It’s so important that we all pitch in and participate. When they vote for policies that throw us under the bus, we need to stand up. We need to hold them accountable.

We have the information for the event now all we need is for you to call in.

Here’s a few questions you deserve to have answered:

Why did you vote to destroy Medicare and replace it with a voucher to buy private insurance that will raise the cost of health care for seniors by more than $6,000 in the first year alone?

Why did you vote to gut elementary schools, Head Start, Pell Grants and health care for seniors instead of saving billions by ending taxpayer-funded subsidies for oil and gas companies?

Will you support sneak attacks on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security by supporting arbitrary, mandatory cuts in all federal spending instead of bringing the deficit down by a combination of both cuts where they make sense and revenue raisers like a tax on millionaires?

Will you support President Obama’s plan to rein in Medicare spending in part by lifting the Republican ban that bars the government from using its purchasing power to negotiate with drug companies on the prices of prescriptions?

And so on. There is so much Rep. Allen West has to answer for so we encourage you to participate. Don’t let the Tea Partiers dominate the call. Make sure you get real answers.

WHAT: Hold Rep. Allen West accountable at his town hall meeting
WHEN: Wednesday, July 27 at 7:00 pm
HOW: Call in at 877-229-8493 and dial in the passcode 17808#

Of course, you can ask him why he carried out a mock execution on an Iraqi civilian police officer; why he’s afraid of strong women; why he associates with the South Florida Outlaws motorcycle gang; and even about his response to Kevin McCarthy’s screening of this scene from Ben Affleck’s film The Town:

The Washington Post reports on the incident:

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the party’s vote counter, began his talk by showing a clip from the movie, “The Town”, trying to forge a sense of unity among the independent-minded caucus.One character asks his friend: “I need your help. I can’t tell you what it is. You can never ask me about it later.”

“Whose car are we gonna take,” the character says.

After showing the clip, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), one of the most outspoken critics of leadership among the 87 freshmen, stood up to speak, according to GOP aides.

“I’m ready to drive the car,” West replied, surprising many Republicans by giving his full -throated support for the plan.

Well, that’s my Congressman! So call tonight, and ask the questions that need to be asked.

This morning on the show, I’ll speak with Franco Ripple of Florida Young Democrats and American’s United for Change about West.  Plus, I’ll have him weigh in on the murder of 67 young political activists in Norway (a group whose closest equivalent here is the Young Democrats) by a right wing extremist, and Glenn Beck’s contention that it sounds like the “Hitler youth”…

In the second hour of today’s show, I’ll have a meeting of the minds with Dave Johnson.  I’m not really sure what he does for a living, but he certainly collects a lot of fees and you can find his writings at the Campaign for America’s Future….

 

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Jul 262011
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Last night we watched as President Obama tried to explain to the American people (who mostly don’t pay attention) what’s going on with the “debt crisis” – which you and I know is a fake crisis as the real crisis is the lack of jobs.  While Obama was busy playing middle of the road politics and making nice with Speaker Boehner (and echoing the right wing talking points about our “out of control spending”  as the cause for this “crisis” and the “both parties are to blame” line), Boehner went on the attack blaming it all on President Obama and the Democrats “spending binge”.

Over at Washington Monthly, Steve Benen detailed the Top 10 most egregious lies from Boehner’s response to the president’s address to the nation last night.

The only good thing about this whole mess is that it’ll be over soon and we can get back to dealing with the real problem in this country of unemployment.

Today on the show

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Jul 202011
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Scary Halloween 2008 - Nicole Sandler as Sarah Palin, Allen West as himself

Allen West is not only a coward and a war criminal. He’s also a misogynist.  The newest evidence that all of those allegations are true comes from the pen of the congressman himself.

Yesterday, DNC Chair and member of Congress Debbie Wasserman-Schultz gave a fairly typical, albeit tough, floor speech on the topic of HR 2560 – the “Cut, Cap and Balance” bill that, as she said, is like the Ryan plan on steroids.  Here is the entirety of her speech:

Did you catch where she “directed [her] floor speech comments directly towards [Allen West]“?  No. Neither did I.  So I went through and transcribed the speech, and I’m guessing this was the 14 seconds of the speech to which West was referring (in his letter, that follows):

“Incredulously, the gentleman from Florida who represents thousands of Medicare beneficiaries, as do I, is supportive of this plan that would increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries .  Unbelievable for a  member from South Florida.”

That was it. Go back and watch the video again. Wasserman-Schultz never mentioned Mr. West by name, nor did she “direct her comments directly” toward him. Not that I would have faulted her if she had.  But apparently Mr. West has some very thin skin, as he responded with this letter (h/t Politico)

From: Z112 West, Allen
Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 04:48 PM
To: Wasserman Schultz, Debbie
Cc: McCarthy, Kevin; Blyth, Jonathan; Pelosi, Nancy; Cantor, Eric
Subject: Unprofessional and Inappropriate Sophomoric Behavior from Wasserman-Schultz

Look, Debbie, I understand that after I departed the House floor you directed your floor speech comments directly towards me. Let me make myself perfectly clear, you want a personal fight, I am happy to oblige. You are the most vile, unprofessional ,and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up. Focus on your own congressional district!

I am bringing your actions today to our Majority Leader and Majority Whip and from this time forward, understand that I shall defend myself forthright against your heinous characterless behavior……which dates back to the disgusting protest you ordered at my campaign hqs, October 2010 in Deerfield Beach.

You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!

Steadfast and Loyal

Congressman Allen B West (R-FL)

I’d say that letter constitutes “Unprofessional and Inappropriate Sophomoric Behavior from” Congressman Allen West and deserves censure from the House.

But that’s only one of many despicable statements from this man, who should be in military prison instead of congress.  Writes Joy-Ann Reid at The Grio:

In August 2003, while commanding the 20th Field Regiment, West ordered his soldiers to pick up an Iraqi policeman, Kadoori Hamoodi, who West’s unit suspected of helping the insurgency. According to Hamoodi’s testimony, he was beaten and threatened, and at some point during the interrogation, West fired his pistol near Hamoodi’s head in a mock execution. Hamoodi was never charged with plotting against U.S. troops, and West later admitted he might have been wrong about the Iraqi.

After a hearing, West was fined $5,000 and allowed to retire with full benefits at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Despite the moment of introspection in the New York Times, remains unapologetic about the incident, often saying on the campaign trail that he would “go through hell with a gasoline can” for his fellow soldiers. The incident in Iraq made West a hero to conservatives who believed the media was focusing too much on incidents like Abu Ghraib.

We’ve long known West is a misogynist.  Just days before my ill-fated attempt to ask him a question at a “town hall meeting”, West spoke before the group Women Impacting Nation (WIN) – yes, a women’s group – during which he explained that those “women on the other side – those Code Pink women and the Planned Parenthood women” were “neutering” our men.  And that if these women didn’t stop our men from becoming subservient to women “the debt will continue to rise”.  I kid you not.  See for yourself  (h/t Think Progress):

Cue the twilight zone music, please.

And why am I so intent on exposing this sorry excuse for a human being as the fraud he is?  First, because – like it or not- he’s my congressman.  In a “tele-town hall meeting” Thursday night, he said- at least twice – that he represents all of his constituents. Not just those in his party.  But just yesterday, he wrote a column for a very-right-leaning blog in which he called the president a liar (a trend among the teabaggers), and rambled on incoherently before ending his diatribe with this sentence:

“I must confess, when I see anyone with an Obama 2012 bumper sticker, I recognize them as a threat to the gene pool.”

Yeah, he represents me… right into the poor house.

But on April 26, I went to an event that was advertised as a Town Hall Meeting with my congressman. I figured that since he’s supposed to representing all of us, he should at least hear what his constituents who DO NOT agree with him are thinking.  Unfortunately, when I arrived I was told that we’d have to write our questions on cards, and they’d be asked by one of the staffers.  So much for the idea of members of Congress listening to their constituents.

You can get all the details of what transpired after I attempted to follow up his non-answer to a question on his vote for the Ryan plan which would effectively kill Medicare.  (Short version: I was thrown out, manhandled by a cop, arrested after I protested the manhandling, and maced in jail for speaking up for my rights and those of the other women being held at the Broward County Jail).  West’s reaction to my arrest for attempting to ask him a pertinent question? (h/t The Political Carnival)

Unfortunately, that video was shot by a teabagger himself. I’d love to have been able to see what West said immediately after his curt and very rude comment about my accommodations the night before, but I was otherwise detained.

Allen West is the best example we have of creeping fascism in this county. I’ll keep you posted on more details of the insanity of this war criminal who belongs in the brig rather than the halls of Congress. He’s an embarrassment to the institution and to our country.

On today’s show

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Jul 182011
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Same shit, different week.  As summer drones on, the elected elite continue arguing about the wrong issue.  The problem is not the debt ceiling. The problem is massive unemployment.  And those elected to represent us in Washington DC aren’t doing a damn thing to fix it.

I love speaking with Howie Klein because he’s informed and engaged on all of it.  Howie, who blogs at Down With Tyranny and runs the Blue America PAC (along with Digby and C&L’s John Amato), was out of the country on vacation for a while.  So today, we were able to catch up on the debt ceiling situation, Obama’s move further to the right, the 2012 Congressional races, Rupert Murdoch’s legal problems, and the closeted homosexuality of Marcus Bachmann and Rick Perry – among other things.

As we do each Monday morning, I was joined by Crooks and LiarsNicole Belle in the second hour of the show to recap the Sunday talk shows.  Here’s what she brought us today:

Obviously, the debt ceiling continues to be the major topic of conversation. Not jobs—which would be actual Americans’ concern—but the debt ceiling. Now White House Budget office head Jack Lew scored the most appearances on the Sunday shows with three, but he had to appear followed or in conjunction with the Republicans who have completely held the country hostage for partisan gain.One of those Republicans is Lindsey Graham, who has gone on the record that he will not vote to raise the debt ceiling—a vote that he has made more or less procedurally 10 times in the last 10 years—unless there is a balanced budget amendment. The “Cut, Cap and Balance” talking point that all the Republicans have started to adopt is – surprise, surprise! — basically the Ryan Plan 2.0. Graham—who knows the Republicans are losing the messaging war –adopts a new scare tactic: warning that the US is in danger of being just like Greece. Which, if might be a decent analogy if there was any similarity whatsoever. However, maybe we can look to how austerity measures in Greece have exacerbated the problems of the economy immeasurably.

Part of the problem of the entire debt ceiling debate is that the average American doesn’t really understand what the debt ceiling is or how it does or does not relate to the deficit, the budget and all of the shenanigans in Washington. For this, I think you can squarely place the blame on the media. The media never gives us the real information, never provides context. Take, for example, the Meet the Press roundtable, where they try desperately to turn this into a “both sides do it” argument instead of acknowledging that the same vote the Republicans have not had a hard time voting for 10 times in the last 10 years are suddenly clutching their pearls over raising the debt ceiling. This is not a case of intransigent ideologues on both sides of the aisle. This is one side taking the country hostage in a completely disingenuous way.

No one watching Fox News should actually expect to get informed—studies have shown that Fox News viewers are consistently among the least informed in the country. But I found Liz Cheney to be particularly intellectually dishonest in blaming “Obamacare” for all the country’s economic woes. Luckily, John Podesta was there to set her straight that the Bush Tax Cuts, Medicare Part D and two unfunded wars might have had something to do with it.

Beyond the debt ceiling debate (which I still think is complete kabuki theatre, because I cannot believe that Wall Street will allow the GOP to cause the country’s full faith and credit to be in default), the most schadenfreude-licious story out there has to be the implications of the Murdoch empire as more and more revelations come out about hacking and bribing law enforcement. Jim DeMint, one of the tea party leaders, predictably defended Murdoch, saying Congress shouldn’t investigate. So it’s okay for a foreign entity to hack into Americans’ voicemails (as they are alleged to do with 9/11 victims) according to this self-described “defender of the Constitution”? Of course, Fox News couldn’t actually ignore the story any more, especially on their media spotlight show. But Jim Pinkerton blamed this on those damn liberals in the White House and their agenda.

And finally, because I’m still shocked that he hasn’t been laughed off the national stage yet, Herman Cain appeared on Fox News today. Possibly to push his presidential campaign, but possibly to promote his newly released gospel album, I’m not really sure what the justification for booking him is. But Cain is never going to give up a chance to show just how hateful and anti-American he can be. Ironically for an African American man living in the South, he thinks that redlining communities to exclude Muslims and mosques is absolutely an acceptable freedom.

We also premiered a new weekly feature today, courtesy of Main Street Insider.  It’s the 90 Second Summary, which today tells us about the “Cut, Cap and Balance” Act…

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Jul 122011
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From George Carlin…

to Keith Olbermann…

When will we ever learn?

***Updated***

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:

Police reports show different side of Michele Bachmann

Slavery language dropped from “Marriage Vow” pledge, because it was “misconstrued”

Clinics Owned by Michele Bachmann’s Husband Practice Ex-Gay Therapy

President Obama praises John Boehner

Sarah Palin resorts to stale 2010 “stuff” (and worse) in Facebook entry

Democrats trying to catch Republicans with their pants down… so to speak

Wealthy insurance cheaters call their Porsches and Cadillac Sevilles “farm vehicles”

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Jul 112011
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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.

Sure, there’s hope in the words I read from Paul Krugman, Frank Rich and others, but unfortunately our president doesn’t seem to spend much time absorbing their very necessary advice.

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 LiarsNicole 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.

 

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