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Jul 202011

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

Sep 272010

It’s Monday, so that means we get to re-live some of the high and low points from yesterday’s Talking Head shows with Crooks & Liars’ Nicole Belle.  It’s a weekly segment we call “Fools on the Hill.”  Here’s what we’ll hit on today, with links to all the clips, and Nicole’s descriptions of them:

We’re six weeks away from the midterm elections and the media is in full swing determining the narratives that are going to take us through the elections.  It appears that the media wants us to be wildly dissatisfied with Obama and associate his policies with that dissatisfaction.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that Obama isn’t doing enough on his own to engender dissatisfaction, but the media throws out all these ridiculous, irrelevant (and sometimes, completely contradictory) memes to keep reinforcing in the public’s head that they should dislike Obama: he’s too intellectual, he’s not angry enough, he’s got an extremist left agenda, or he’s being too centrist and bipartisan, he’s too ambitious taking on health care, he’s not ambitious enough to take down DADT.  Any way you slice it, they find something wrong with what he’s doing.

Case in point: Chris Matthews wonders why Obama isn’t more like Bill Clinton and really feel our pain.

There’s a lot of disingenuousness to this clip.  First and foremost, it’s an entirely revisionist for Matthews to talk about Clinton this way.   The whole moniker of the “Villagers” originated from the way the Beltway cocktail circuit disdained the Clintons when they came to town, and felt that the Clintons were outsiders not paying proper homage to the society doyennes.  They MOCKED his empathy at the time, calling his “feel your pain” moment smarmy and dishonest.

And the truth is, it’s the Beltway media that doesn’t feel Americans pain.  That’s why they don’t ever question or contextualize Republicans continual spin doctoring to benefit the wealthiest 2% of the population.  And if Barack Obama had bitten his lip and told Velma Hart he did feel her pain, they would have mocked him for that too.

In fact, Chris Matthews is so eager to push out these media narratives that he actually framed a topic on his show that no one—but no one—thinks is a realistic possibility:  could the economy stay so bad and his popularity continued to drop that Obama decided to not run in 2012.

Now, no one thought it was a realistic possibility, but Chris Matthews actually got visibly excited when Michael Gerson of WaPo (and also GWB’s former speech writer and member of the WH Iraq Group, so no conflict of interest there) suggested that maybe Hillary could leave the State Department and get herself ready to slip into that 2012 campaign.  Again, it’s the subtext: Obama shouldn’t expect a second term .

Chris Van Hollen went on Meet the Press and actually did a good job saying something that I think the Democrats need to say constantly:  the Republicans’ answer of tax cuts as the be all and end all for all economic woes is just utter nonsense.

That’s the thing that just drives me nuts: if tax cuts were that great a stimuli in creating jobs and improving the economy, we wouldn’t be in the shape we’re in.   The Republicans have done a good job of creating these bumper sticker sayings in lieu of sound economic theories.  They sound good superficially, but a simple look at the economic history of this country shows that the opposite of what they say is true.   If you look at it historically, if you RAISE taxes on the wealthy, they actually do a better job of stimulating the economy and creating jobs, because they redirect income back into their companies rather than pay it in taxes.

Pence also made a big show about worrying about the deficit and talking about fiscal responsibility, but even after David Gregory hilarious used Jon Stewart to make the point that the Republicans’ laughable Pledge to America is just a rehash of the same old Republican policies that the American people have rejected.

The other ‘inside baseball’ thing about Pence to keep an eye on is his own political ambitions.  It’s not a secret in Washington that he would like to be the Speaker of the House should the Republicans retake the majority, but that would mean taking out John Boehner as the presumptive Speaker.  Now I can’t prove this and I would not stake anything on this, but my understanding is that the discussion of an affair between John Boehner and a lobbyist (that blogger Mike Stark asked him about and got a strange non-denial) was initially leaked by a fellow Republican and several Washington aides I know suspect Pence.

Then there’s Mitch O’Donnell, who appeared on This Week and said some truly bizarre and fact-free assertions that host Christiane Amanpour didn’t even pause at. (It’s a 9 ½ minute clip.  The pertinent part is at around 1:45 and goes to 3:15 or so. )

He calls Social Security and Medicare “unfunded liabilities” which is just crazy talk.  That FICA deduction from your paycheck?  That FUNDS Social Security.

And then finally, CBS Sunday Morning gave a television producer a chance to respond to Ben Stein, who whined this week that it’s just unfair to raise taxes on the wealthy.  Because, you know, other than the money he inherited from his parents, he’s worked for his money.

I love it when grown-ups take charge of the conversation.

Nicole Belle will be with us in the second hour- at around 11:30 ET – following a news update from the Talk Radio News Service.

I’ll start the show with a look at some of the news stories that caught my eye this morning, followed by a visit from Beth Becker and Neal Rauhauser of Progressive PST, who helps candidates via social media and blogs.  They have a great story to tell about fending off a smear campaign on AZ Congressman Raul Grijalva.

Plus, Jim Hightower’s commentary, The Green News Report and the Media Matters Minute.

Check back this afternoon for the podcast!


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