The Iowa caucuses are history. We could call it much ado about nothing, as it really doesn’t mean anything at all. Except to Michelle Bachmann to called it quits today after her last place finish yesterday.
It is truly a loss for comedians everywhere. But honestly, I’m just thrilled I don’t have to hear her call it the Unined States any more. We did however learn that President Obama is a socialist and, left to his devices, America would become a Socialist country, and “obamacare” will destroy American society and life as we know it. We also learned to pronouce the ‘g’ in poignant. Thanks Michelle!
Columnist, strategist, personality Karl Frish joined me on the show this morning to talk about what happened last night and what will happen going forward.
Welcome to the first election day of 2012. Except it’s not really an election, it’s a caucus – held in Iowa – and it doesn’t mean a damned thing.
The Caucus: My friend Kenneth Quinnell of the Florida Progressive Coalition wrote a great piece for Crooks & Liars - Iowa Caucus Preview - and he joined me to talk about it. We also discussed some Florida issues – including next Tuesday’s of the legislative session and the Awake the State rallies planned statewide that day. Find the one closest to you and attend. (I’ll be speaking at the one in West Palm Beach!)
The Guns: In mid-December, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office released the results of an investigation into online gun sales. The report, entitled Click Point Fire, found a “found a vast and largely unregulated market for illegal guns, with 62 percent of private sellers willing to commit a felony by selling firearms to people who likely could not pass a background check.”
This morning, I spoke with Bloomberg’s Chief Policy Advisor John Feinblatt about the report – and also threw in a few questions about the police behavior relating to the OWS protesters and Feinblatt’s wedding performed by Mayor Bloomberg on the first day same-sex marriages were legally allowed in New York.
The News: As we do every Tuesday morning in the second hour of the show, I chatted with The Political Carnival‘s GottaLaff about some of the news we might not have otherwise gotten today. Today, she brought us these stories:
During the discussion about Santorum’s position on abortion, listener Susan sent a link to this story claiming the Santorums had aborted the baby whose fetus they then brought home (to show the other kids? Eew!)
One line in that piece
In his 2004 interview with Terry Gross, Santorum characterizes the fetus, who must be treated as an autonomous person, as a practically a gunslinging threat, whom the mother must murder in self-defense. Karen has had to justify her decision to save her own life by explaining that if she died her other children would have lost a mother.
made me go in search of that 2004 interview. I couldn’t find the audio, but did locate the transcript here, which includes this exchange:
TERRY GROSS: Let’s look at what the Republican platform has to say about abortion, and I quote: “We say that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the 14th Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.” This would mean, I think, that an embryo would have the same constitutional rights as the pregnant woman carrying it. Is that right?
Senator RICK SANTORUM (Republican, Pennsylvania): That’s correct. It-I think it’s a fundamental belief that life begins when it’s-at conception because at that point, that egg and sperm that have combined are genetically human. They’ve all the chromosomes present of any other human being, and it’s living, it’s a human life and, as a result, should be protected by our Constitution and the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which protects all life. And that’s the kind of inclusive society that the president talks about in his-when he refers to the culture of life and has been the position of the party now for at least, I think, 24 years.
GROSS: So, Senator, what are the legal implications of this if the fetus-if a fertilized egg basically has equal constitutional rights as the woman carrying it. If, for instance, a woman’s health is…
Sen. SANTORUM: Well, the fertilized…
GROSS: …threatened by the pregnancy, what are the legal implications?
Sen. SANTORUM: Well, first off, the fertilized egg is a little girl or little boy. It’s not a fertilized egg anymore. It’s genetically not going to change at all. It is exactly as you or I or any other person in America or in the world was at that point in time in our lives and should be treated with respect as a result of it. What the implications are is that we have to honor and respect that, and we have to take responsibility for that child and protect that child until it is capable of providing for itself. And whether that means adoption or whether it means, you know, the mother…
GROSS: My question was if the health of the woman is threatened by the pregnancy and if the embryo has equal rights to the woman who’s carrying it, what are the legal implications about the woman’s health and her ability to abort?
Sen. SANTORUM: Yeah, if the case is a situation-and I think we’ve always made this clear. If the case was a situation between the life of the mother and the life of the child, then obviously that’s a decision where-we run into all the time in the law, which is if it’s two people’s lives then obviously you aren’t prosecuted for, in a sense, self-defense. If you’re defending your own life, then you can take the life of another to defend your own life. That is clear in the law. But as you know, 99-plus percent of abortions…
GROSS: So it would be the equivalent of, like, shooting somebody in self-defense?
Sen. SANTORUM: It’s exact-if that child is a threat to your life, then you have a right to defend yourself, in a sense, against this child. But as you know, over 99 percent of abortions in this country have nothing to do with the health or life of the mother. They have to do with the convenience or desire at that point in time in the woman’s life not to have a child and the child is killed because of…
GROSS: But we’re talking specifically about the provision in the Republican platform to give equal constitutional rights to the fetus, which is slightly different than just whether abortion is legal or not, so that’s why I’m asking specifically about that.
Sen. SANTORUM: But-well, I understand that, but we have to look at the vast number of cases in which we’re dealing with the issue of abortion, and in the vast number of cases-you know, over 99 percent-we’re talking about abortion which is done simply because the mother no longer wants the child, not because there’s any health consequences or life consequences to the mother. And that’s why this is, you know-I can understand how people would obviously have exceptions for the life of the mother or maybe even some other rare circumstances like rape or incest or something like that, but the idea that this is an extreme idea that children and that all human life at all points in time in life should be protected and given constitutional protection and be treated in a dignified and respectable manner, I think, is something that every advanced society should have as its credo.
GROSS: But if a woman’s life isn’t threatened, but her health is likely to be compromised, should that be taken into account, or is that-does the…
Sen. SANTORUM: Again, the law speaks to that, and that is that you can use lethal force if lethal force is, in a sense, being used against you. In other words, if your life is threatened, then you can respond in kind. If something less than that, then you can respond in less than that. The interesting thing is, with modern medicine today, you know, there are all sorts of procedures available in which, you know, we can attempt to save the child. But there are times, as I think you’ve pointed to, where pregnancies, you know, may need to be terminated to protect the life of the mother. But with respect to health, there’s usually situations, again, with modern medicine, that we can deal with those to minimize any kind of health effects to the mother.
GROSS: Let’s get back to the Republican platform when it comes to abortion in addition to giving equal legal and constitutional protections to the fetus. The platform says, ‘We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.’ Does that mean that in the Republican platform it basically says there should be a litmus test to appoint only judges who oppose abortion?
Sen. SANTORUM: I think what we’ve seen in practice is that the president wants judges, and Republicans usually put forward judges, who see their role as not creating new law but in fact the role of interpreting the laws of this nation within the realm of what the Congress intended. And that’s really what this point is about, which is, what happened in Roe vs. Wade and what’s happened in some of the other subsequent cases after Roe was the judges took on the responsibility of the Legislature and created law where it did not exist. There was no right to an abortion in the law and there was no right to an abortion in the Constitution. And it’s not the role of judges to create new rights when they believe they want it. That’s what the constitutional amendment process is about, and that’s what the Legislature and the Congress and the president and governors in the states are about. It’s about the people making these decisions as to what rights people should have as opposed to a few unelected judges sitting on high, dictating to us how we’re going to live our lives and run our country.
And so it is really that dichotomy between an activist judge who sees their role as to be sort of the warrior putting forth their agenda and imposing on the public, and, by the way, having no check or balance, because once the judge says this is the law, it’s very, very hard for a Congress or a president to overturn it, short of this rather cumbersome procedure called a constitutional amendment, which takes two-thirds of the House and Senate and three-quarters of the states. Yet to create a new constitutional right, the way we’ve seen it now in practice over the last 40 years, takes the stroke of a pen and four signatures assigned to it. Five justices of the Supreme Court can do what it takes three-quarters of the states and two-thirds of the Congress to accomplish. That’s not the balance that our Founding Fathers intended, and it’s this corruption of judicial power that this is aimed at.
GROSS: You say that you oppose judges who are activist with their own agenda, but could you argue that the judges the Republican platform calls for appointing are activist judges with an agenda? Their agenda is to overturn abortion and make it illegal.
Sen. SANTORUM: No, their agenda is to return to the traditional role of what judges are supposed to do in the checks and balance of powers that was established in the Constitution, which is the judges are there to interpret the law within the realm of congressional intent, not to be able to on their own create new constitutional rights without the process that the founders put forth, which is a constitutional amendment process. I understand it’s easier; I understand it’s quicker. I understand it’s less mess and trouble. But it’s not the way we should be changing our Constitution. So, no. We’re not saying that judges should come forward and say that all abortions are banned. What we should say is that this is a decision left up to the people of the United States to make in their state capitals and in the nation’s capital. That’s what the Republican platform calls for, that’s what Republicans generally have been calling for ever since 1972 and ’73, and that is to let the people speak on these very important moral issues instead of a select group of judges proclaiming from on high how Americans shall live.
GROSS: Now we’ve been talking about the Republican Party platform planks on abortion. There hasn’t been a lot of public discussion about abortion during this election period. Why is that? How important do you think the Republican platform on abortion is, and how much do you think we should be discussing it?
Sen. SANTORUM: Well, I think it’s probably as important as the Democratic plank on abortion, which is, you know, abortion on demand, which is-if you look at where the public is on the issue of abortion, more of the public, you know, hold the position that the Republican platform has than hold the position the Democratic platform has. The Democratic platform has abortion on demand at any time during pregnancy. That is a position held by less than 20 percent of the people in America, whereas the Republican position is held by, you know, upwards of close to 30 percent of the people in America, and if you take the cases of rape and incest, which are, you know, 10ths of a percent of the abortions that we have to deal with in America, you know, the number gets, you know, up into the 40 percent. So, you know, the idea that somehow or another the Republican platform position is out of the mainstream I think is simply not the case and, in fact, I think is a very important part of the base of the Republican Party, just as a very important part of the pro-choice element is of the Democratic Party.
Actually, I was planning to use that headline to wrap up my broadcast week… but I guess it also applies to the latest dictator to die. I’m not sure at whose hands he died, but Gadaffy (or however it is spelled) is dead.
It’s quite interesting that there’s video of the fallen madman after he was captured, bloodied but still obviously very much alive. Will we ever know exactly what happened? Probably not. Should we care? Not really.
After all… we’ve got troubles right here in River City my friend. … with a capital T that rhymes with P that stands for POVERTY. And that’s what Occupy Wall Street is about… well, and its polar opposite, aka the 1%.
Speaking of Harold Hill (and sorry if you didn’t get those Music Man references… just click here) … it’s World Series time.
Aside from the fact that my significant other is an agent for pro baseball players, I care because I just found out that Major League Baseball is in bed with Glenn Beck. Well, in business, but in Beck’s case it’s the same thing.
You can find that video and the petition to sign to tell the people behind “America’s pastime” to stop working with one of the most hateful men in the country at StrikeOutBeck.com. Seriously.
My friend Asher Huey is one of the people who helped launch that program, and he joined me on the show today to talk about it.
I was also joined by another friend, comedian John Fugelsang, to shoot the shit about George Harrison, the GOP
debacle debate on Tuesday night, the death of Muhammar Khaddaffi (or however you spell it), and the Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour which hits Los Angeles this weekend.
And one last thing… ustream truly sucked today. While it was fucking with me, I was playing the video from Allen West’s recent ridiculous interview for NewsMax TV… the questioner sounded like he was auditioning for the announcer role on the Geico commercials, and West sounded like he was trying to show how truly insane he really is… If you absolutely have to hear it, and don’t just want to take my word for it… click here.
I’m finallygetting around to posting Thursday’s show on Friday morning. It was a busy week, as I was honored to guest host the Randi Rhodes Show for the past three days, in addition to doing my own regular show here at Radio or Not.
The one good thing about waiting until this mornings is that I get to include President Obama’s Jobs speech in the “Showdown” wrap-up.
As you’ll hear by clicking on the link above (or downloading the podcast via iTunes,
Stitcher or any of the various other ways of listening to the show), I did a pretty thorough job of dissecting Wednesday night’s debate. The Republicans vying for the GOP nomination to run against President Obama provided the best impetus for his re-election. I cannot imagine any one of those clowns on the stage rising to the challenges of that office.
For the life of me, after hearing Rick Perry brag about putting 234 people to death and not concerned in the slightest that any of them might have been wrongly executed (especially since at least one of them was!), claiming that “we would not have that many people uninsured in Texas if we didn’t have the federal government” (yes, that was a direct quote), boasting about lowering nitrous oxide emissions by 57% (what about carbon dioxide?) and other such stupid statements, I can’t understand why he’s still being embraced as the front runner.
I guess I just can’t understand the inner workings of the typical Republican mind. That’s probably a good thing, as I certainly can’t grasp the reaction – the biggest outburst of applause heard during the entire spectacle – to the statement about how many people Texas has executed. Insane.
One last postscript to Wednesday’s debate… the entire debate whittled down to 45 seconds. This fabulous video is already going viral.
In addition to deconstructing the GOP debate on yesterday’s show, I spoke with Crooks and Liars’ Kenneth Quinnell on Congress’ manufactured USPS crisis (read here and here), and author/columnist/pundit and all around smart guy Cliff Schecter about the debate and his reflections on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 that he verbalized beautifully in his column for Al Jazeera English.
Since I don’t do a show on Fridays, and I’m not in for Randi today… I was going to wait until Monday morning to weigh in on President Obama’s address last night to the joint session of Congress and the American People in which he laid out his proposal for the American Jobs Act. But I won’t…. I’ll give you my brief, initial reaction, and go more in-depth Monday morning.
I thought it was a great speech! I liked almost every idea he suggested. I wish it was bigger and more ambitious, but I think he suggested some things that could jump start the economy and help get people back to work.
But one paragraph stood out like a sore thumb (and I wish it had been deleted):
Now, I realize there are some in my party who don’t think we should make any changes at all to Medicare and Medicaid, and I understand their concerns. But here’s the truth. Millions of Americans rely on Medicare in their retirement. And millions more will do so in the future. They pay for this benefit during their working years. They earn it. But with an aging population and rising health care costs, we are spending too fast to sustain the program. And if we don’t gradually reform the system while protecting current beneficiaries, it won’t be there when future retirees need it. We have to reform Medicare to strengthen it.
I’d love to give him the benefit of the doubt here and think by strengthening Medicare, he’s talking about negotiating with pharmaceuticals for better drug prices, fixing Part D, lowering the eligibility age and opening up the program to allow everyone to buy into it (on a sliding scale based on age and income). Unfortunately, I can’t help but think this is another hit toward his already stated desire to raise the eligibility age to 67.
More about that on Monday… radio or not.
Religious zealots will be the death of society. I truly believe that, even more so after my conversation this morning with Rachel Tabachnick. Rachel has long been researching and writing about the impact of the Religious Right on politics and, of late, has turned much of her attention toward the New Apostolic Reformation. Much of her past work is found at Talk2Action.org, and she has recently begun amassing info about NAR at NARwatch.org.
As she often writes about religious extremists and their impact on politics, I was happy to see that she has a piece in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz about him – basically warning Israelis about him “With Friends Like Glenn Beck…”
Video Quote of the Day : “Rick Perry’s an idiot, and I don’t think anyone would disagree with that.”
And finally :
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will talk about his demand that federal regulators obey the law and limit oil speculation!
Juan Cole is professor of modern Middle Eastern and South Asian history at the University of Michigan and the author of “Engaging the Muslim World,” and writes the “Informed Comment” blog at www.juancole.com
His must-read column– The Top Ten Myths About The Libya War -answers all the questions that were raised about Qadaffi and Libya during yesterday’s show!
“Oh God” is a multi-use term, much like the word “fuck” serves multiple purposes. And although I’m an atheist, I use the “Oh God” expression fairly frequently.
“Oh God” was my reaction when I first heard this clip from Michele Bachmann explaining how God told her to marry Marcus Bachmann (even though they weren’t in love or anything), and then went to law school and for her post-doctorate in tax law (even though she hates taxes) because her husband told her to, and the Bible says women must be submissive to their men!
Of course, that’s how she really feels.
Frank Schaeffer (author of Sex, Mom & God) has a new piece up at Alternet, “Are Michele Bachmann’s Views About ‘Christian Submission’ Even More Extreme Than She’s Letting On?” that shows just how batshit crazy she is, proving that she lied during last week’s Republican presidential debate when she said that being submissive means “mutual respect.”
Schaeffer joined me on the show this morning to talk about the dangerous religious zealotry of Bachmann as well as Rick Perry, and how they’ve doubled down on the insanity of George W. Bush.
Speaking of Rick Perry, I’m not sure what type of “Christian” calls for violence directed toward anyone (in this case, specifically Ben Bernanke), that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional, or for a moratorium on all regulations (you know, those pesky rules that are in place to protect we the little people)….
If Rick Perry is so gung-ho on doing away with regulations, let me suggest a vacation to check out how awesome it would be…
Speaking of “non-Christian” behavior by people who claim to follow the teachings of Christ, we learned a bit today about the Willow Creek Community Church, which hosts the Global Leadership Summit, an event that many influential (and even progressive) figures have attended in the past. However, the Willow Creek Community Church is known for their anti-gay position.
So, when gay rights activist Asher Huey heard that the CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz would be speaking there, he launched a Change.org petition asking Schultz to issue a statement, making it clear that Starbucks does not support the anti-gay views of Willow Creek Community Church. Schultz took it a step further and withdrew from the Summit. So, Asher took down the petition (that had amassed 799 signatures).
The story continues when Asher Huey, in an interview about the Starbucks story with the Huffington Post, questioned Michelle Rhee’s appearance at that same Summit at Willow Creek, became the target of smears and attacks by Hari Sevugan – former DNC Spokesman, now Michelle Rhee’s PR flack at the Students First organization.
Asher joined me on the show this morning and told us the whole story, including the fact that the Willow Creek pastor addressed the situation during the conference and claimed that his church is not anti-gay (they simply oppose marriage equality, civil unions, domestic partnerships, adoption rights, etc. They believe that gay people simply should remain celibate and not act on their feelings).
The pastor also said he’d reach out to Asher Huey to invite him to get together to discuss their differences. Asher says he’d love to, though he hasn’t heard from the pastor yet. However, a petition urging Huey to meet with the pastor has been launched at change.org.
And my final “Oh God” for the day goes to my congressman. Yep, Allen West is at it again.
Not only did he call himself “the modern day Harriet Tubman” (I kid you not!), this racist, Islamophobic sorry excuse for a public servant responded to a letter from the executive director of the Florida chapter of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) with one word – “NUTS”.
According to Broward New Times,
“(The letter to West urged) him to cut ties with “anti-Islamic extremists.. CAIR singled out Bridgette Gabriel, Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, and Rev. Neil Dozier as Muslim-haters with whom West has shared stages.
“Muslims protect and serve our great country and are afforded equal protection under law,” the letter read. “We shouldn’t have to defend our rights to worship freely or participate in the governing of our society.”
And this was his response to the 679-word letter that included those lines:
Oh God, he is nuts!