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May 162011
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We’re at the beginning of a new week… The space shuttle just launched with Gaby Giffords’ husband aboard, and the Sunday talk shows had an 8:1 ratio of Republicans to Democrats yesterday.

Of course, we’ll talk with Nicole Belle about those Sunday shows in hour two… more on that in a bit.

Thursday was May 12, and the On May 12 coalition had their big day of action, but you’d never know it if you looked for coverage of the huge numbers of people who marched on Wall Street.  Thank goodness for Allison Kilkenny -journalist and co-host of Citizen Radio, who covered the march for The Nation.

Comedian Matthew Filipowicz will join in the fun.

And Nicole Belle brings us these stories for our Fools on the Hill segment this morning:

Each week, I try generally to come up with over-arching themes to the Sunday shows if only to make sense of them in my own mind.  This week, I’ve decided that the theme all boils down to “privilege”.  If you look at the Sunday show line up, you would think that we live in an overwhelmingly conservative country because the ratio of Republicans to Democrats was 8 to 1, a slight improvement over the 9 to 0 line up we got last week.

And there’s no one who exemplifies privilege better than Newt Gingrich.  Here’s a man who resigned as the Speaker of the House in disgrace, who, by all rights, has no place on the national stage after a lifetime of hypocrisy and baggage that have felled lesser politicians.  But Newt has a grand strategy for dealing with this: “Sure I was a bad boy then, but look at me now!”

Newt also doubled down on his earlier statement that Obama is a “food stamp president” by clutching pearls and declaring that it wasn’t racist at all to be concerned that Obama was turning the country into “Detroit”. I will only say that privileged white men don’t get to decide what is or is not racist.

Paul Krugman is tired of the right wing taking the country hostage and said that maybe what we need to do is let them not extend the debt ceiling if it means agreeing to draconian cuts to the social safety network to get it passed.  While I think this is too high a price to pay to make a point, I do think that it’s important that the Democrats get on the horn and make sure Americans know which party could care less about the welfare of the country.

Speaking of which, Candy Crowley gave the Randian It Boy of the moment, Paul Ryan, some nice uninterrupted time to offer up a fact-free defense of the GOP’s hostage taking of the debt ceiling.

And Ron Paul echoes his son Rand and compares Social Security and Medicare to slavery.  Again, the privileged white male resents having to think about anyone other than himself.

And then, mostly because it’s so laughable, Huckabee—who God told not to run this time around—told Fox News that Trump would be better for America than Obama.  With that kind of logic, I hope God tells him NEVER to run.

 

 

 

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Mar 282011
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I don’t usually do a show on Fridays.  I was planning to spend Friday doing what I did for the rest of the weekend — packing everything that was left in my soon-to-be former house.  But I awoke to an email asking if I could start my week-long fill-in stint for Randi Rhodes as day earlier, as her dog Simon had taken a turn for the worse.

So, fill-in I did, gladly.  It turned out to be a pretty great show.  And I was happy to be working doing something I love rather than working packing and moving, if you know what I mean.

I replayed the show this morning, so I could prepare for this afternoon’s Randi Rhodes Show.

So, if you click on the player above… you’ll hear Friday’s show.  I was joined by Carl Gibson, founder of US Uncut, who had a big action on Saturday, Brad Friedman of Brad Blog brought us up to date on the latest from Chernobyl 2011 Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant of mass destruction, Workers United president Bruce Raynor on the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire,  and South Florida Sun Sentinel columnist Stephen Goldstein on Florida’s new dictator governor Rick Scott.

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Feb 282011
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Yes, I’m still quoting Tracy Chapman.  It’s only been 23 years since she wrote “Talkin Bout a Revolution,” and finally, the tables are starting to turn. “Poor people gonna rise up and get their share”.. I hope that happens. But the first steps have been taken.

This weekend, people in every state in the nation took to the streets to say Enough!  Unfortunately, if you watched national or cable news, you didn’t see much about it.

Scroll down to the next blog post for my video from the USUncut protest at a Bank of America branch in Boca Raton, FL.  This morning, I once again spoke with Carl Gibson, the guy who took it upon himself to start the uncut ball rolling here in the US.

If it’s Monday, it’s Fools on the Hill time with Crooks and Liars Nicole Belle.  Here’s what she brought us today:

This weekend was an amazing weekend for the labor movement.  There were solidarity events in all 50 states and thousands of people peacefully and non-violently protesting at the Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin.   Even the police stood in solidarity with the protesters, refusing to evict them from the building despite Governor Walker’s orders.  It was amazing to see people rising up and demanding a voice.

Unfortunately, I don’t know if the corporate entities that control the traditional media wanted their viewers to see the protests as a triumph of American workers.  Because if you look at the line up, there was only one person on all the Sunday shows representing labor—AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka—and he was a late addition to the Meet the Press roundtable panel, having to share airtime with four others, whereas Gov. Scott Walker got uninterrupted airtime with no challenges or demands that he answer the actual question asked.  All the other shows?  Not a single voice representing the American worker.  Gosh, do you think they might not want people to feel empowered or realize that they do have the power to fight against these draconian measures?  In fact, rather than show any live feed of the protesters in the Capitol, CNN actually used this weekend to celebrate the two year anniversary of the astro-turfed tea party.

CNN also wanted to assure us that there’s nothing wrong with the income inequality that is causing so much of the turmoil.  That’s just the way it goes.  No, seriously.  They actually said that.

For what it’s worth, Scott Walker claims that he’s in this for the long haul. It’s amazing that he’s still holding on to the budget as being his reasoning behind his stance, given that we all know from that prank call last week that it’s all about busting the unions.  And it’s not because the unions are bankrupting the state, it’s because the unions support Democrats.

Other conservative governors were booked this week to back up Scott Walker.  On This Week Jan Brewer and Nikki Haley said that they didn’t support a government shut down (unlike Tim Pawlenty, who thnks it would be good to teach us a lesson) because government is a “necessary evil”  I’d say that the woman who is effectively become a one person death panel for transplant candidates knows from evil.

And who exactly do they think are the tax payers?  Are they under the impression that these public sector employees that they demonize aren’t paying taxes?  If they really wanted to protect the tax payers, they’d make corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share.

Speaking of the government shutdown, on The Chris Matthews Show, Chris asked his panel if Obama or the Republicans would most likely “win” from a shutdown.  Because when you’re a Villager, you can think of this strictly as a propaganda/public relations move.  They don’t think about the real effect of a shutdown, with people dependent on government services—Social Security, Medicaid/Medicare, Veterans Administration—not getting the money they need.  They don’t think about the global economic  impact.  By the way, the panel thought that Obama would fare better—not difficult to guess given the precedent in the 90s under Newt Gingrich—but the one abstainer who thought it would be better for the GOP?  Peggy Noonan.

Another GOPer who inexplicably thought Obama would not fare well under examination was Mike Huckabee, who told Fox News that Obama’s decision to support gay marriage (an incorrect characterization) would alienate him from African American voters.

I’m not sure when and where Mike Huckabee got this inside track on the mind of the black community (as if they’re a hive mind to begin with), but his framing is completely wrong.   The Obama administration simply said that they would no longer defend the law in appellate court, a far cry from supporting or ignoring the law altogether.  And for all the Republicans outraged that Obama is choosing not to defend this law on appeal, where was their outrage for all the Bush signing statements?

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Feb 242011
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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:

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Feb 222011
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People all over the world are finally awakening from their slumber. They’re saying no more to tyrannical rule, oppression, and inequality.

Beginning with a fed-up produce vendor in Tunisia who set himself on fire, people are standing up for their rights as part of the human race.  From Tunisia to Egypt, and on to Libya, Bahrain, Iran, Yemen, Iraq… people are empowered, and saying enough is enough.

But the protests have been brewing throughout the European Union for a while now. We’ve watched the masses take to the streets in national strikes in France. And those who’ve been paying attention have seen the people fighting back in Great Britain too.

Last Thursday, I told you about the UK Uncut movement.  What began as a small group of friends discussing the corporate tax dodgers, and their complicity in the nation’s financial woes turned into a country-wide ongoing protest against the companies who won’t pay their fair share.

The movement was brought to light here in the US by journalist Johann Hari, who wrote “How to build a progressive tea party“  and the follow-up, ” A Ten-Step guide to Launching US Uncut” for The Nation. Johann will be my first guest this morning, right at the start of the show, to tell us about the impact UK Uncut has had, and where we might be headed over here.

A young man in Mississippi, Carl Gibson, read those articles and decided to step up and -with the help of the organizers in the UK – launch US Uncut!  In one short week, US Uncut already has 30 actions scheduled around the country for Saturday 2/26 – the first official US Uncut Day of Action, and quite a few more set up for other days.

I even scheduled one in Boca Raton for the afternoon of the 26th (immediately following David Swanson’s event for his book “War is a Lie” (he’ll join me Thursday morning to talk about it).

Of course, democracy is struggling to stay alive here at home… most visibly in Wisconsin, where tens of thousands have taken to the streets in Madison to protest the attempt by the new dictator governor to bust the public employees unions.

It’s very disheartening to scan the television dial and not see any coverage anywhere.  I was able to watch the revolution unfold in Egypt, almost in real-time thanks to Al Jazeera, Free Speech TV and LinkTV, but can’t get similar coverage of these protests happening here in the USA!

Thankfully, we have some intrepid journalists on the ground covering what’s happening in Madison. Mike Elk is a third-generation union organizer and labor journalist based in Washington, D.C. He writes for Harper’s Magazine, the American Prospect, the Huffington Post and Campaign for America’s Future and has appeared as a commentator on CNN, Fox News, and NPR, and he’ll bring us up to date on the latest from ground zero of the labor movement in the US this morning.

After a news update from TRNS, we’ll check in with The Political Carnival‘s Gotta Laff to talk about some of the stories you might otherwise have missed.  Here’s some of what Laffy brings to us today:

Tea Party plan to impersonate union protesters: “Even if it becomes known that we are plants the quotes & pictures will linger as defacto truth.”

Wisconsin Troopers Association regrets endorsing Walker for governor (I believe it is just the one guy who is speaking for himself, not Assoc, per a reader)

“Even if you’ve never been a member of a Union, YOU BENEFIT everyday from what Unions have done.”

TPC reader: “My conversation today with a tea party member” about Wisconsin protesters

PhotOh! Sarah Palin accepted money from Alaska labor unions

Amateur Hour: Sarah Palin preps for speeches by asking Bristol to Google info for her

VIDEO- POE: Justice Thomas failed to disclose that Citizens United spent more than $100,000 on ads, supported his nomination
Democrat Announces Bill To End Supreme Court Immunity To Judicial Ethics Law

Do something

And Laffy’s readers have contributed to a new “Blunt” webisode, this one entitled “Union(s) Busting out All Over”

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Feb 172011
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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 msnbc.com 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.

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