Friday, May 27, 2011

Thom Hartmann: It just goes to show how quickly our freedoms can be eroded - and how quickly we can all get used to it...

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The highly sophisticated and complex Big Brother security apparatus known as the PATRIOT Act was extended for another 4 years - signed into law minutes before midnight last night by...a machine. At the authorization of the President who is currently in France - an autopen machine was used that holds a pen and signs the President's exact signature. Hysterics in Congress said it was crucial to have the bill signed into law before midnight or else the PATRIOT Act would have expired - halting all the ongoing unconstitutional actions of our various police and spy agencies into your and my life.

Rand Paul - the one man standing in the way of an extension all week - gave up his fight after two of his amendments to reign in the power of the federal government were defeated on the Senate floor. At some point in the last 10 years since 9/11 - the PATRIOT Act has become a staple in America - with politicians on both sides of the aisle supporting it - as well as a plurality of Americans.

It just goes to show how quickly our freedoms can be eroded - and how quickly we can all get used to it. Somewhere - James Madison - the father of our constitution - must be horrified with the direction our nation is headed.


(What do you think? Tell us here.)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Randi Rhodes: Medicare Killers on the Record

After the painful vote results for them on Tuesday in New York’s 26th District, Republicans had to take a painful vote of their own on Wednesday. Harry Reid forced Senate Republicans to take a stand on Paul Ryan’s plan to destroy Medicare. And the stand he forced them to take was pretty much on quicksand. Or think of it as like one of those enhanced interrogation techniques—Harry Reid has forced Senate Republicans to stand in a stress position… until the 2012 elections. It’s one thing to hand your enemies a weapon to use against you. Harry Reid just handed the Republicans a weapon they were forced to use against themselves.

Republicans are doubling down on their support for Paul Ryan’s plan to kill Medicare. Go for it, guys. It’s like if the Captain of the Titanic decided to back up and re-ram the iceberg. Paul Ryan himself claims that Democrats are trying to scare seniors. Well yes, by showing them what you intend to do to Medicare. Paul, maybe you shouldn’t be accusing others of “scare tactics” when you always look like you’re going out to a Halloween party as a well-groomed vampire.

Well, Oprah’s show is off the air. And I have no “plan B” when it comes to getting a new car. Richard Sher, a Baltimore TV reporter who co-hosted a show with Oprah in the 1970’s was there for the last show. Boy, talk about being left behind when the train left the station. Where did he sit during the final show? Between Pete Best and Peter Scolari?

Oprah is out, and Scott McCreery is in, all in the same day. It would be like if, on the same day that Walter Cronkite said goodbye, Glenn Beck launched his career. Scott McCreery beat fellow country singer Lauren Alaina. If you listened carefully, you could hear the sound of Patsy Cline turning over in her grave. 122 million votes were cast, and these are the worst election results since the year 2000. Let’s hope the repercussions aren’t quite as bad this time.

And Ed Schultz has been suspended for a week from MSNBC for calling Laura Ingraham a slut. Really, Ed? There are so many more accurate things you could call Laura Ingraham. Ed apologized for the comments. He said calling Laura Ingraham a slut was “vile and inappropriate.” It would have been better (and probably more accurate) if he had just called Laura Ingraham “vile and inappropriate” in the first place.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

MUST SEE: A family dog makes it home on two broken legs after the Alabama tornados…

Thom Hartmann: Vouchers vs. Public Schools - Is Education a Right or a Privilege?

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The New Jersey state Supreme Court told Governor Chris Christie he is in violation of the state's constitution with his massive cuts to education. That state constitution requires the state to, "provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of free public schools for the instruction of all the children in the State..."

But thanks to Christie's budget cuts - a lot of New Jersey schools - mostly in poor districts - are not meeting that obligation - thus the court is forcing Christie to replenish the $500 million he cut out of education. But Christie isn't the first Governor slapped down by his state's Supreme Court. 19 other high courts have told their mostly Republican governors that their education cuts are unconstitutional.

Of course - when it comes to turning public education over to profit-making private schools for their millionaire buddies - Republicans tend to ignore what any constitution says and don't think twice about screwing over poor students.


(What do you think? Tell us here.)

Kansas Lawmaker Says Women Should Plan Ahead For Rape: ‘I Have A Spare Tire’

The anti-choice tidal wave stemming from the 2010 elections has produced nearly 1,000 anti-choice bills this year alone. When Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) took office last year, he called on the state legislature to create “a culture of life” and, in the last 15 minutes of their annual session, they delivered. The Republican majority passed a law to ban insurance companies from offering abortion coverage in their general health plans, except when a woman’s life is at risk.

However, one pro-choice Republican, state Rep. Barbara Bollier, feared that Republicans were cutting off “a way for women to cover the cost of terminating pregnancies” — particularly when they’re unintended. During the House debate, she “questioned whether women would buy abortion-only policies long before they have crisis or unwanted pregnancies or are rape victims.” But state Rep. Pete DeGraaf (R) was ready with a shocking retort. DeGraaf said women should plan ahead for situations such as rape because, after all, “I have a spare tire on my car“:

During the House’s debate, Rep. Pete DeGraaf, a Mulvane Republican who supports the bill, told [Bollier]: “We do need to plan ahead, don’t we, in life?”

Bollier asked him, “And so women need to plan ahead for issues that they have no control over with a pregnancy?”

DeGraaf drew groans of protest from some House members when he responded, “I have spare tire on my car.”

“I also have life insurance,” he added. “I have a lot of things that I plan ahead for.”

DeGraaf’s belief that women should plan and prepare for their own rape is more than groan-worthy, it’s woefully out-of-touch. As Jezebel’s Margaret Hartmann notes, DeGraaf is basically telling sexual assault victims that “the state isn’t AAA” so a Kansas woman is responsible for the consequences of her attacker. And by comparing it to life insurance, DeGraaf goes further to insinuate that rape is as inevitable as death.

Unfortunately, this Boy Scout dismissal of rape and incest victims is as galling as it is common among the GOP. More and more Republican lawmakers are adopting the Sharron Angle “make lemonade” attitude towards pregnancies resulting from rape. This year, one Indiana lawmaker even suggested that women would fake their own rapes to secure an abortion procedure.

“There’s clearly a message here that women are dispensable,” said Kansas state Rep. Annie Kuether (D).”I’m sick and tired of being treated like a second-class citizen.”

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Randi Rhodes: NY Spanks Paul Ryan

Democrats scored a huge victory in last night’s special election… I guess that makes it a very special election. A Democrat won a race to fill a House seat in the heavily Republican 26th District in upstate New York. This district was so red that it actually radiated heat like a really bad sunburn. The seat was vacant because Republican Congressman Christopher Lee resigned after he e-mailed a shirtless photo of himself to a woman he met on the internet. Now a lot more than Christopher Lee’s chest has been exposed.

Last night Democrat Kathy Hochul beat Republican Jane Corwin. But more importantly, Hochul really beat Paul Ryan. If this can happen in New York’s 26th, it can happen anywhere. District 26 has been Republican for four decades… or since about the time that the people who would lose their Medicare first under Paul Ryan’s plan were born. Eric Cantor said “I know this town loves to take signals from individual races. I think the best signal you can take is the 63 seats that we picked up in November.” Nice try, Eric. I don’t know the exact amount of time, but November was approximately 1,000 years ago. That’s 1,000 years BP… Before Paul Ryan.

Harry Reid has scheduled a Senate vote on the Paul Ryan budget plan for later this week. Harry Reid is essentially laying an extension of the “third rail” of politics right into the Senate chamber and daring Republican Senators to touch it. Right now four Senators are on record saying they’ll vote against the Ryan plan. It’s too crazy for Scott Brown, Susan Collins, and Olympia Snowe. And it’s not crazy enough for Rand Paul.

And the guy who led the “prayer” in the Minnesota legislature that said President Obama is not a Christian (video below) is trying to profit from his wrongdoing. Anti-gay heavy metal preacher Bradlee Dean is trying to fundraise so he can hire a publicist. A publicist? Bradlee, if you want someone with no moral scruples who will get you noticed, don’t you already have Michele Bachmann? Oh, and Bradlee, I’m willing to give you a free piece of advise that I bet any publicist would approve—get rid of the tracksuit. You’re welcome!

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Sporting his holy ‘Sons of Liberty’ track suit, anti-gay preacher Bradley Dean opens the GOP-controlled Minnesota House with an ‘Obama’s not a Christian’ prayer (jump to 2:45)…

Thom Hartmann: Will Paul Ryan shut down the 2012 election for Republicans?

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Democrats scored a huge political victory last night - taking New York's 26th district - adding another Democratic seat to the House of Representatives. The seat was previously held by Republican Chris Lee until he was busted taking topless photos of himself to solicit women on craigslist. Despite the fact that only three Democrats have ever held the seat since 1857 - and Republicans led by Karl Rove and the Chamber of Commerce dumped millions into the race, outspending the Democrat by somewhere between 2:1 and 4:1 - Democrat Kathy Hochul STILL prevailed - taking 48% of the vote to Republican Jane Corwin's 42% of the vote.

There was a third-party candidate - Jack Davis - but he only took 8% of the vote. The Democrats successfully turned this election into a referendum on the Republicans' plans to end Medicare - and as we see today - the American people aren't putting up with that right-wing radical agenda. As Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee - Steve Israel said - "Today, the Republican plan to end Medicare cost Republicans $3.4 million and a seat in Congress. And this is only the first seat."

He's right - if the Democrats can stay on message.


(How many seats will the Democrats win? Tell us here.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Randi Rhodes: Rapture Rescheduled

Harold Camping, the nut who predicted the end of the world for last weekend has come up with a new date after tweaking the numbers. If you ask me, Harold Camping is more tweaked than his numbers. The announcement of the new date came during what the New York Times described as a “rambling 90-minute speech.” OK, if you’re looking for someone who knows God’s plans, the first thing you want to avoid is anybody who is “rambling.” I don’t pretend to know the Word of God, but I’m reasonably sure that he doesn’t ramble. Moses did not come down from Mount Sinai and say “The Lord sayeth… well, he went on at length. Never really did get to the point.”

For those of you who want to keep track, the new date for the end of the world is October 21st. Write it on your calendar, but not in pen. Harold claims that God did in fact “bring judgment on the world” back on May 21st. God just didn’t do anything about it right away. I guess God’s judgment on the world is a sealed verdict. We have to wait until October 21st, which I guess is sentencing day. In the meantime, I guess we’re all free to go about our business. God has released us on our own recognizance!

GOP freak of the week Herman Cain has admitted that he didn’t know what “right of return” meant. He flat out told Sean Hannity “I didn’t understand the right of return.” Then Herman Cain said “The thing that you’re going to learn about Herman Cain, if he doesn’t know something, he’s not going to try and fake it…” which ignores the fact that during the original interview he DID try to fake it. Herman Cain, tell Herman Cain that here’s what I’ve learned about Herman Cain—if he doesn’t know something, he’s going to try and fake it, until it’s obvious that isn’t working. Then he’s finally going to tell you that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about… while talking in the third person.

Now Donald Trump says he might still run for president if he doesn’t like the Republican field. Well, that’s hardly an “if.” Nobody likes the Republican field—not even those Republicans in the field. Bad news, Donald—you’re too late. Your position as a joke candidate has been more than adequately filled. Herman Cain has done to you what Ashton Kucher did to Charlie Sheen.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

The rightwing noise machine always loves having an African-American to call their own. Here’s Bryan Fischer trashing Obama and celebrating Herman Cain’s ‘authentic blackness’…

Thom Hartmann: American can no longer label tuna products as "dolphin safe"

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If you thought our government was in charge of making laws - think again. It turns out the World Trade Organization is telling us what to do. Yesterday - the WTO took a bite out of US sovereignty - ruling that American can no longer label tuna products as "dolphin safe." Why? Because such labeling could restrict the purchase of certain foreign tuna products - thus limiting "free trade" in America.

So now with no incentive to catch dolphin-safe tuna - expect transnational corporate seafood companies around the world to go gangbusters scooping up tuna out of the ocean with no regard to what else might get trapped in their nets. The US has lost 9 out of every 10 cases in front of the WTO since joining the organization in 1995 - so where are the Tea Party protests on this important issue of sovereignty?

Oh right - their corporate founders love free trade - even though it screws America.


(Should the US stay in the WTO? Tell us here.)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Randi Rhodes: T-Yawn

Well, the world didn’t end this weekend. I guess I should mail off the cable bill. I wonder what all the true believers did when the world didn’t end. I imagine they’re WAY behind on a lot of things. They’re going to be busy over the next few days buying groceries, doing laundry, putting gas in the car, and cleaning house. Hey, if I’m going to meet Jesus in the sky, the last thing I’m going to spend time doing is keeping up on doing the dishes. All I know is, I bet that next year not too many people pay a lot of attention to Harold Camping’s Oscar predictions.

Newt Gingrich was back on the Sunday talk shows this weekend. Newt was still trying to walk back his “right wing social engineering” comments. At this point, he’s not so much walking the comments back as he is walking them in circles.

Tim Pawlenty announced his candidacy
. And he managed not to yawn. I don’t know if I can say that for everybody. Tim Pawlenty may be the best chance the Republicans have. That’s good news for Tim Pawlenty, and bad news for Republicans.

Meanwhile, Mitch Daniels has decided he doesn’t want to be the one to lose the 2012 presidential election. Mitch may have bowed out because his wife was facing some very intense scrutiny. Mitch, just do what Newt Gingrich would have done in such a situation… dump her! Mitch and his wife Cherie were married, divorced, and then remarried. That could be tricky for a candidate—Mitch Daniels actually flip-flopped on his own spouse.

And Herman Cain has to be the worst presidential candidate since Charles Foster Kane. In an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News, Herman Cain clearly had no idea what the phrase “right of return” means when discussing the Israeli/Palestinian issue. It was what pundits call a “Sarah Palin moment.” Now, I don’t blame you if you don’t know what it means. But I won’t support you for president either. A few hours after his disastrous performance on Fox News, Herman Cain issued a “clarification” on his views about the “right to return.” In other words, he said how he feels about it now that he’s had the chance to look up the phrase on Wikipedia.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Just how phony was last week’s rightwing outrage over Obama’s Israel/Palestine remarks? Ask George Bush…

Thom Hartmann: Can expect more of these "limited" - and unapproved - wars in the future?

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The 60-day deadline in the War Powers Act has come and gone - meaning President Obama is required to seek Congressional approval for ongoing military action in Libya. Although on Friday - the President wrote a letter to Congressional leaders saying he has no intention of doing that. Arguing that the US military's role in Libya is "limited" to just supporting NATO - President Obama said approval from Congress is unnecessary.

Of course - Obama is the 5th straight President to begin a war with no formal authorization from Congress; the last president not to have an unconstitutional war during his administration was Jimmy Carter. And given that the House is one the verge of passing a Defense Authorization Act with a provision that gives the President war powers until every single terrorist on Earth is dead - we can expect more of these "limited" - and unapproved - wars in the future.


(Should Obama seek approval? Tell us here.)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thom Hartmann: So here we are in the midst of perpetual war...

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Today marks 60 days since America's war in Libya began. That means that the war powers granted to the President in the War Powers Act are about to expire. The War Powers Act allows the president to commit the nation to war for only 60 days before he MUST seek approval from Congress for further military intervention. A group of Republican Senators have sent a letter to the president reminding him of today's deadline - and requesting that he goes to Congress to seek a constitutional war resolution.

Of course - not a single President since FDR has sought out a legitimate declaration of war from Congress. And every President since Reagan has hurled our military into a different unapproved war. So here we are in the midst of perpetual war - and the one branch of government that's SUPPOSED to declare war is sitting on its hands. Dwight Eisenhower's worst nightmare is coming true - we've been captured by the military industrial complex.

And James Madison - the father of our Constitution and fourth President of the United States - who warned us all against perpetual war - must be rolling in his grave.


(What do you think will happen now? Tell us here.)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Randi Rhodes: My Last Newsletter

It's (your last) Friday, ya bastids!

Tomorrow is the end of the world. Of course, I don’t really believe that. On the other hand, I’m having a little trouble working really hard on today’s blog. But I can’t seem to get totally into the “end of the world” mindset. Yesterday I bought milk, and yes, I looked at the expiration date. Theoretically, things like that don’t even matter any more. Earth itself has less time than any container of milk on the shelves.

The guy who started this whole “the world is ending” thing, Harold Camping, is 89 years old. Of course. That way even if he’s wrong, he won’t have to live it down for very long. Camping’s ministry has a $72 million in assets, and his headquarters is a cheap little building in Oakland, California. My first question would be, what is this guy saving his money for? Harold Camping previously prophesied the end of the world for September 1994. For those of you who don’t remember, the world did not end in September of 1994. Now Harold says his calculations for the 1994 apocalypse were flawed. He reviewed his numbers and came up with tomorrow’s date. Call me a stickler, but I think you should only get one shot at predicting the end of the world. Why would anybody listen to an end-of-times prophet who already got the time wrong once? That’s as stupid as buying hair restorer from a bald barber.

Meanwhile, some of the employees of the doomsday church say they’re planning to come into work on Monday. Wow. These employees definitely do not read the inter-office emails. At least check out the bulletin board in the break room, guys. Really, how are you supposed to deal with the situation at work on Friday when the world is ending on Saturday? Do you tell people to clear their uneaten food out the fridge? If Jesus is coming back, I don’t want him to be grossed out by moldy kung pao chicken.

If the end doesn’t come, one of the people working for Camping’s ministry said “We’re going to continue doing what we’re doing.” Uh, haven’t you been telling everyone that the world is going to end on May 21, 2011? That message is going to sound a lot less urgent on May 22, 2011. It’s hard enough to convince people that the world is going to end tomorrow. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to convince people that the world is going to end yesterday.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Big Daddy Rapture himself, Harold Camping, calmly explains how he knows that Jesus is coming to kill you…

Norman Goldman: Justice is Served on Newt, Middle East, Heath Insurance, Huckabee, George Bush & More

Norman Goldman May 19th 2011 Full Show
Click Text Link Above to Hear Full Radio Show

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Today, justice is served on the Middle East and North Africa! The President made a major policy address and he covered a lot of bases. I'll get you caught up! Elizabeth Warren, de facto chief of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has made her first move. What is...

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Today, justice is served on the brown shirts that ARE the Republicon Party! Newt Gingrinch speaks out of turn and is STOMPED! The inmates are running the asylum! ANOTHER loony, Tom Coburn R-Oklahoma) quit the "Gang of Six" talks. What does THAT mean? ANOTHER loony, Clarence Thomas, calls US...

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Today, justice is served on health insurance companies; Republicons holding America hostage; George W. Bush and Dick W. Cheney; Arnold Schwarzenegger; the student loan crisis; Newt Gingrinch and the 'Cons; plus public employee unions and pensions. Health insurers are making record profits. Why? I'll explain! The debt ceiling hostage negotiations...

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Today, justice is served on Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, Paul Ryan, the Republicons generally, plus the U.S. Supreme Court; the Indiana Supreme Court and the public union pension debate! This weekend saw two 'Con members decide not to run for President - where does that leave the field? The U.S. Supreme Court...

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Randi Rhodes: Cash Cages

Republicans in charge of state governments all over America are trying to privatize prison systems. I think it’s part of their plan to lock up all of the money under the guise of saving money. I’m no economist, but it seems to me that if there are corporations out there who make money when people are thrown in jail, they’re going to arrange it so that more and more people are thrown in jail.

Today President Obama gave a major speech about the volatile situation in the Middle East. And it will be added to 4,000 years of major speeches about the volatile situation in the Middle East. In 2250 BC, I’m sure that Sargon the Great made a major speech about the troubles in Mesopotamia. And I bet he assured everyone that he would make sure that tensions in the Middle East would not be a problem going forward.

Well, the first of the posthumous Osama bin Laden tapes has been released. Just like with Jimi Hendrix or 2Pac, you can’t really expect sparkling quality on these recordings. There will be a lot of demos, experiments, jam sessions, and just plain goofing around in the studio. I just hope they don’t try to make the product more commercial with overdubs. I don’t want to hear Osama threatening death to everyone with a string section in the background.

Sarah Palin has crawled out of her hole. If she sees her shadow, that means we’ll have six more weeks of her pretending she’s going to run. If Sarah Palin is back, that means we’ve scraped away enough potential GOP presidential candidates that now we can see the bottom of the barrel.

Newt Gingrich claims he wasn’t ready for Meet the Press, saying “it didn’t occur to me going in that you’d have a series of setups.” Gee Newt, if by “setups,” you’re referring to the questions, you would think the name “Meet the Press” would have been a clue. Newt had been on Meet the Press 34 times previously. I guess he’s admitting that he’s a VERY slow learner. Newt, if you didn’t know that you were going to face questions on Meet the Press, then you’re really going to get blindsided when you appear on “Dancing with the Stars.” “I have to tango? What kind of setup is this? This is a hypothetical baloney dance!”

And it turns out that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s love child was born only days apart from the birth of his son with Maria Shriver. Is “love child” the correct term? I just know it sounds better than a “Hey there’s the maid and I’m horny” child.

Today's Homework | Discuss

Thom Hartmann: The New Republican War on Art!

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Who's screwed? Artists! Besides the Republican war on women - and the Republican war on the working class - there's a new war that's receiving some attention around the nation - the Republican war on art! As ThinkProgress noted - Republican lawmakers in Kansas - South Carolina - Arizona - Florida - New Hampshire - Virginia - Maine - and New Jersey - are pushing legislation that cuts deep into school art budgets - and public radio and television outlets. Governors Bob McDonnell in Virginia - Chris Christie in New Jersey - and Paul LePage in Maine - are cutting off funding and privatizing their states' public broadcasting networks - torching TV of for and by the people and replacing it with corporate infotainment.

These Republicans claim it's necessary to cut funding for the arts because of huge budget deficits - but in reality these cuts are nickels and dimes compared to the amount of revenue that's wasted on tax cuts for transnational corporations and the uber-rich. I guess we're supposed to expect billionaire Oligarchs like the Murdoch and the Koch brothers to fund our nation's art projects now.

Expect "post-modern, anti-global warming" to be the newest emerging art theme.


(What do you think will be the result of the war on art? Tell us here.)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Randi Rhodes: Newt's Flameout

According to his wife’s financial disclosure forms, Newt Gingrich had a revolving charge account of between $250,000 and $5000,000 at Tiffany’s. How did Newt spend over $250,000 at Tiffany’s? I’m guessing it wasn’t on breakfast. A 6-figure jewelry charge account—at Tiffany’s. That doesn’t look good when you’re running for office. Newt, you want to connect with the common man—you should have had your half million dollar jewelry charge account at Zales. The numbers were included in the financial disclosure forms of Newt’s wife, Callista. I’m assuming the jewelry was for his wife too, unless Newt Gingrich has some very exotic piercings that we can’t see. OK, now I’ve made myself sick to my stomach.

Now pundits are saying that Newt Gingrich might be too undisciplined to run for president. Right. Here’s another news flash—Newt Gingrich might be too out of shape to qualify for the US Olympic track and field team. Everybody knew that Newt Gingrich was going to screw up eventually. But not too many people had him giving himself a first round knockout. Really, if this was a pay-per-view prize fight, people would be asking for their money back. Newt did a mea culpa on Fox News. That makes sense. Anyone who is watching Newt’s troubles on anything other than Fox News is simply doing it to enjoy watching Newt squirm. On Fox, Newt said “The budget vote is one that I am happy to say I would have voted for.” Newt, if you had done that, you’d be just as screwed in any election as you are now anyway. That’s why they’re so touchy about it.

Here’s a classic from Newt: “Any ad which quotes what I said on Sunday is a falsehood, because I have said publicly those words were inaccurate and unfortunate.” Translation: if I shouldn’t have said something, then as far as I’m concerned, I never did say it. Evidently if you quote Newt Gingrich, you are, by definition, misquoting him. Or by Newt’s definition, at least. I think Newt wants to float everything he ever says out as a trial balloon first. If it doesn’t end up being stupid and hurting him, then he’ll tell us “OK, that one is a keeper.” Here is what it’s come down to—in order to salvage his campaign, Newt Gingrich will have to refuse to comment on anything involving Newt Gingrich.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

An Iowa Republican gives Newt an extended handshake coupled with an on-camera scolding…

Thom Hartmann: Is perpetual war about to become law of the land?

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Is perpetual war about to become law of the land? The House Armed Services Committee recently passed the National Defense Authorization Act - a bill that authorized funding to the Department of Defense. And deep within the bill - in Section 1034 - there's a provision that affirms we are at war with Al-Qaeda and hands over war powers to the President until "the termination of hostilities." In other words - it lets the President commit our nation to endless war until every single terrorist is dead.

The ACLU calls the provision the, "single biggest hand-over of unchecked war authority from Congress to the executive branch in modern American history." The provision was slipped in by Republican Congressman Buck McKeon - and only one member of the Armed Services Committee voted against the bill - Democrat John Garamendi. Garamendi offer an amendment to strike Section 1034 - but it was shot down - paving the way for endless war - and endless profits for defense contractors - who throw around huge campaign contributions. In Orwell's book 1984 - Big Brother famously said, "War is Peace." And George W. Bush took this to heart when he started the War on Terror. But the truth is - there's nothing worse for a nation than endless war.

As James Madison - one of the founders of our nation wrote, "No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of perpetual war."


(Is America in a perpetual state of war? Tell us here.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Randi Rhodes: Eating Their Own

Hour One Guest: Former Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) on the game of debt ceiling Russian-roulette being played by the GOP and it what it means for your job and personal finances.

Newt Gingrich announced his candidacy last week. He’ll be lucky if it survives this week. In the past couple days, both Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump issued public statements saying they would not be in the running to be our next president. Newt Gingrich also said the exact same thing. He just wasn’t aware of it at the time. Newt managed to announce that he will not be our next president while in the act of running for president. Newt set off a hornet’s nest with statements that attacked Paul Ryan’s budget plan and that supported the idea of an individual mandate for health insurance. Newt really stepped in it, and by “it” I mean his own big mouth, where his foot is now firmly lodged. Now he’s begun the process of walking back those statements. And that is going to be one long, hard walk.

Newt called Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan “rightwing social engineering.” But all except four of the House Republicans voted for it. Newt, you can throw people under the bus… but you can’t throw the bus under the bus. Paul Ryan and the House Republicans worked very hard on that plan. I’d like to see Newt Gingrich come up with a better plan to destroy Medicare without doing anything for the budget deficit!

Now the GOP Empire is striking Newt back. Dick Armey said this fits Gingrich’s track record of being “confused and conflicted” on health care policy. Give most of the rest of the Republicans credit—they’re consistent on healthcare policy. Consistently wrong, but consistent nonetheless. But then not all Republicans feel that Newt is “confused and conflicted.” Charles Krauthammer said that Newt is “contradictory and incoherent.” So there’s a variety of opinions out there. Krauthammer also said point blank that Newt Gingrich “is done.” Hey Newt, you just got “Krauthammered!” Everything Newt Gingrich has said and done over the years is coming back to haunt him. Well, some of the things he’s said and done. If it were everything, he would be in prison for life.

Also, it came out that former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a child ten years ago with a long-time household staffer. OK, let’s do the math, and check the irony meter on Arnold’s fathering of this child. It looks like it was well after he made the movie “Junior.” That’s good. But uh-oh—it was right around the time he made “Collateral Damage.”

Today’s Homework | Discuss

In spite of being for a healthcare individual mandate since at least the 1990’s and as recently as two days ago, Newt rushed out this bizarre hostage tape-like repudiation of the individual mandate yesterday to try to appease the tea freaks that now control the GOP…

Thom Hartmann: It seems like the only way banksters go to jail nowadays is if they try to rape a hotel maid

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More evidence that banksters should go to jail. The Department of Housing and Urban Development just wrapped up an investigation into the nation's five largest mortgage companies - Bank of America - JP Morgan Chase - Wells Fargo - Citigroup - and Ally Financial. What the agency found is that these banks routinely lied about the how much foreclosed homes were worth when they were getting reimbursed for those loans by the government - a practice that generated huge profits for the bank by swindling taxpayers. This is just the latest report to uncover crimes by banksters.

It was also discovered earlier this year that banks made as much as $30 billion thanks to illegal foreclosure practices - like kicking people out of their homes who didn't deserve to be. All of these reports have been handed over to the Department of Justice - yet nothing has been done to hold the banksters accountable.

It seems like the only way banksters go to jail nowadays is if they also try to rape a hotel maid. When will we once again start throwing banksters in jail for fraud and fraud alone - like Reagan did with the S & Ls?


(Do you think any banks or banksters will be punished? Tell us here.)

‘Boo-yah!’: Stewart takes on O’Reilly over Fox News ‘selective outrage machine’

by Joe Pompeo

In the last installment of the Fox News-fueled controversy involving the rapper Common's appearance last week at a White House poetry reading, Bill O'Reilly had challenged Comedy Central's Jon Stewart to debate the issue on his 8 p.m. Fox show, "The O'Reilly Factor."

At issue is Common's sympathy for two convicted cop killers, Mumia Abu Jamal and Assata Shakur, who have both long had the support of left-wing activists who believe neither received a fair trial. O'Reilly argued last week that it was unacceptable for the White House to have hosted Common. Stewart argued that O'Reilly and his Fox News colleagues were simply manufacturing the controversy to pump up ratings and viewer outrage.

O'Reilly and Stewart have a curious love-hate relationship. Each host's past appearances on the other's show have made for great TV, and Monday night was no exception. Fox News pre-taped the interview and broke it into two parts. The first aired last night in two clips (see Part One above, and Part Two after the jump, below). The second half of the exchange will air on "The O'Reilly Factor" tonight. Here's a recap of round one:

Monday's segment began with Stewart clarifying why he believes Common has advocated for Shakur.

"What I think he's doing is not celebrating, but honoring someone he believes was wrongly convicted of cop killing," said the "Daily Show" host. "I think he believes she was convicted unjustly."

Maybe so--but O'Reilly fired back by arguing that the White House unfairly validated and elevated Common as a poet. "Do you know how many poets would have liked to have been there?" he said. "Why did he get that honor in your opinion?"

"Because I think he's not defined as an artist by this Assata Shakur case," said Stewart.

To illustrate his point, Stewart brought up Leonard Peltier, the Native American activist convicted of killing two FBI agents: "Guess who wrote a song about Leonard Peltier? [U2's] Bono. Guess where he was? The White House."

"Boo-yah!" Stewart exclaimed in mock triumph. (In a mock-pedagogic aside to O'Reilly he explained: "That's a rap word.")

Stewart then cited Bob Dylan as another White House-honored artist who had composed a song about a convicted killer--the former boxer Ruben "Hurricane" Carter.

Which brought him to the crux of his argument: "There is a selective outrage machine here at Fox that pettifogs only when it suits the narrative that suits them," he said. "This guy is in the cross hairs in a way that he shouldn't be, whether you agree with him or not."

The interview generated strong reactions online. The Nation's Ari Melber called it "a virtuoso duel where comedy eviscerated farce." Business Insider's Glynnis MacNicol applauded both hosts for producing a feature "that shows ... opposite sides of the political spectrum partaking in intelligent discussion. Emphasis on intelligent."

As for how many people were watching, if Stewart's last appearance on "The O'Reilly Factor" is any indication, you can expect higher than usual ratings for Monday's and tonight's editions of the show.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Randi Rhodes:Newt Gets Trump's Dog Whistle

Well, Donald Trump will not be our next president. But then everybody has known that for a long time… with the possible exception of Donald Trump. Today Trump released a statement saying “After considerable deliberation and reflection, I have decided not to pursue the office of the Presidency.” Don, you could have skipped all the deliberation and reflection. All you had to do was look at the latest polls. Trump’s statement said “I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election.” Yes, yes, Donald. Nobody was afraid that this meant you were no longer delusional. You know what Trump’s departure means—Newt Gingrich has to step up and become the chief purveyor of subliminal racism in this campaign.

So far, so good on that front! This weekend Newt Gingrich called President Obama a “food stamp president.” The only truly shocking thing about that is that he hadn’t already done it. Really, you’d think that the phrase “food stamp president” would have been higher on Newt’s list of racist dog-whistle phrases. Or maybe he was just saving one of his favorites for right after he announced his candidacy. “Food stamp president” is clearly coded racism. And it’s not a very difficult code to break. You can decode that one with the secret decoder ring from a box of Cracker Jacks. Yeah, Newt really spells it out for you. And the first letter of the secret word is “N.” Newt first floated the phrase this last Friday at the Georgia state Republican convention, and then he tried it Sunday on Meet the Press. From a GOP gathering to a mainstream news program—it’s like Newt is trying to make a country and western song into a cross-over hit.

Newt also suggested the U.S. bring back a “voting standard” that requires voters to prove they know American history. What is he trying to do—disenfranchise Michele Bachmann? Unless of course, Newt is referring to the conservative version of American history. In that case, you can only vote if you know that the battle of Concord was fought in New Hampshire, the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery, and the battle of “Iwo Jemma” was a battle against all odds.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Thom Hartmann: Don't the millionaire oil executives realize they can't escape climate change either?

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Thanks to record-breaking rainfall last month - the Mississippi River is overflowing, pouring enormous floodwaters across - Louisiana - Mississippi - Missouri - and Tennessee. Several billions of dollars of damage has been reported. The Army Corps of Engineers is now relieving pressure on New Orleans levees by flooding thousands of acres in Louisiana, in a desperate bid to save the city from drowning in a disaster worse than Katrina. Record breaking twisters a few weeks ago - record breaking floods now - yet Republicans are pressing ahead denying climate change.

In fact - of the 43 Members of Congress representing the afflicted states - 38 have voted to block the EPA from enforcing greenhouse gas regulation. How many more homes destroyed - and people killed - will it take for Republicans to accept we are living in dangerous times with an increasingly volatile climate as a result of our destructive energy policy? Don't the millionaire oil executives realize they can't escape climate change either?

Oh, wait - that's right - they can afford million-dollar waterproof bunkers, one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States specifically designed for rich people to avoid everything from floods to wildfires.


(Where would you put their bunker? Tell us here.)

Teen who challenged Bachmann to Constitution showdown is running for class president

When 16-year-old Amy Myers launched her campaign to be class president at Cherry Hill East High School in New Jersey, the boys in her sophomore class began teasing her. And that crash course in how aspiring female leaders get judged on the basis of gender led, in a roundabout way, to Myers' challenge to debate Minnesota GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann on the Constitution.

"Your slogan for president should be that you're not a witch," Myers' male detractors said, referencing the much-mocked campaign stance of ex-Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell, who decided to confront her years-old statements about Wicca head-on in her first TV ad. The boys told Myers she just wanted to be "another girl politician" like O'Donnell and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, whom the boys (and pretty much every late-night comedian) often made fun of.

"And I just said, 'oh great,'" recalls Myers.

Myers was angry that many of the most visible female politicians were seen as fodder for jokes and ridicule, which made her peers think it was ok to mock her political aspirations, too. She singled out Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) after her father noticed the congresswoman had incorrectly stated the Revolutionary War Battles of Lexington and Concord happened in New Hampshire. (She told a group of conservatives in Manchester in March: "You're the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord.") In January, Myers watched agasp as Bachmann said America's founding fathers "worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States."

"We covered the presidents, and we're currently at Jackson," Myers says. She says that though John Adams (and his son John Quincy Adams, who was not a founding father) objected to slavery, the other founding fathers did own slaves. They were all dead before slavery was officially abolished in 1865, during the Civil War.

She decided that Bachmann's inaccurate historical statements were irresponsible, since they reflected badly on women everywhere, and particularly on Myers herself. (We at The Lookout would like to point out that politicians of both genders frequently say stupid things; you can consult our sister blog The Ticket for proof.) The forceful letter Myers ended up writing to Bachmann, challenging her to a showdown over the Constitution and civics generally, quickly went viral on political blogs. Many Yahoo! commenters suggested that all politicians be forced to take the challenge before being allowed to take office.

As the letter picked up national attention, Myers' campaign to be class president also started to gather steam. And she finally feels she is getting respect from the boys who teased her.

"The big joke in school is: Want to hear a funny joke? Haha, women's rights," says Myers. "Also the boys will tell you, 'Oh go make me a sandwich,' when you leave the table. That's what they're all like--it's awful!

But ever since this happened everyone's been cheering me on, and now everyone's so supportive. And I was surprised at how quickly everyone came to the realization that I am serious about politics," she says.

When asked about female politicians she admires, Myers lists Abigail Adams, Sandra Day O'Connor, Margaret Thatcher, and Eleanor Roosevelt. But when we asked her about current officer-holders, she paused. "I'm trying to think," she says. "Generally the people I admire, most of them are deceased or they are retired from office," she concluded.

She says that even though some people online have accused her of being a "Communist" for her criticism of Bachmann, she characterizes her own politics as independent and thinks of herself as a "split-ticket" kind of voter--once she's old enough to vote, that is.

Myers still hasn't received a response from Bachmann, but says she's ready to make good on the debate challenge at a time and venue of the congresswoman's choosing. A request for comment from Bachmann's spokesman has gone unanswered.

By Liz Goodwin

(Myers: Alexandra Elisabetta)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Jasse James is Big Ugly Un-Remorseful, Un-Grateful, Cheating Schmuck!

Dorothy Lucey Meets Jesse James' Dark Side:

Thom Hartmann: Do we now have three co-equal branches of government - each owned by big oil?

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People who care about the environment are screwed. Republicans are handing our Gulf of Mexico over to oil corporations. A new bill entitled the "Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act" passed out of the House of Representatives on Wednesday ending the moratorium on drilling in the Gulf and giving his oil corporations free reign to explore for new wells as if the BP oil spill last year never happened. But a sneaky little provision in the bill makes sure oil corporations will have a favorable audience in the courtroom if they should screw up again.

The bill says that any lawsuits against oil corporations in the Gulf MUST be brought in front of the Fifth Circuit court. Why the fifth circuit court? Because it's bought off by big oil! Ten of the sixteen judges on the court have stakes in oil - including the Chief Judge who owns over $300,000 in oil investments. Other judges on that court have attended legal junkets sponsored by big oil companies.

Looks like we now have in America - three co-equal branches of government - each owned by big oil.


(Do you think there should be any drilling in the Gulf? Tell us here.)

Randi Rhodes: Texas Tea & Nevada’s Shame

It's Friday, ya bastids!

Ron Paul announced today that he is running for president. We need people like Ron Paul saying the things that he says. But face it, nobody should really listen to him. Ron Paul interesting. But then so is Charlie Sheen. And I don’t want to be riding in any vehicle that Charlie Sheen is driving. How would the United States end up if you put Ron Paul in charge of it? Well, he raised Rand Paul. ‘Nuff said.

The Senate Ethics Committee has released an explosive report on John Ensign’s lack of ethics. After reading the report from the Ethics Committee, you know why John Ensign resigned. The only mystery is why he hasn’t fled the country. This is extreme, even by Republican Senator standards. I can imagine Larry Craig and David Vitter reading this report and saying “What the hell was John Ensign thinking?” This report is so full of salacious details that a lot of its 68-pages are going to end up stuck together.

In one part of the report, Ensign’s “spiritual adviser” called Ensign from outside of a hotel room where the senator was with his mistress and said “I know exactly what you are doing. Put your pants on and go home.” Wow. I kind of assumed that a spiritual advisor helped you to avoid temptation. I guess we’re well beyond that point when your spiritual advisor is telling you to put your pants on. “Put on your pants and go home.” Too bad—that would have been the perfect sentence to close with if the Senate had expelled John Ensign: “The vote is for expulsion. Senator Ensign, put your pants on and go home.” And then Ensign engaged in obstruction of justice by destroying documents and emails relevant to the investigation. At least he had his pants on while he was doing that. Or am I assuming too much?

Three of bin Laden’s widows have been interviewed by U.S. intelligence. The other two of his wives are separated from him. You might get juicier tidbits from them. Together, these three wives gave birth to 20 of Osama bin Laden’s children. My God. If your kid allowed that to happen with his hamsters, you’d take them away from him. 20 children, and that’s just with three of his five wives! That sounds like a commercial for whatever type of herbal Viagra bin Laden was using.

JUST IN: Osama bin Laden’s porn stash

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Flashback: Randi asked the questions others won't in her Feb 2011 Ron Paul interview...

Norman Goldman: justice is served on torture; former Sen. John Ensign potentially criminal conduct; oil company taxes allegedly paid; flash mobs and R

Norman Goldman May 12th 2011 Full Show
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Today, justice is served on torture; former Sen. John Ensign potentially criminal conduct; oil company taxes allegedly paid; flash mobs and Republicon candidates, plus bin Laden's kids suing the government and 'Cons wanting to radically restructuring the state-federal balance. Too much show!

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) who was himself tortured in Vietnam, today came out strongly against torture. About time!

The Senate acted to bring criminal charges against recently made ex-Senator John Ensign and I'll explain why!

The First Amendment lives! And, I'd love to see it proved on the Republicon presidential candidates! I'll explain how today!

Does Exxon REALLY pay taxes? Let's take a little look-see at their claims today!

Osama bin Laden's kids are threatening a lawsuit. Should we be scared? Senior Legal Analyst time!

Republicons want to re fight the Civil War in a new way - and they may be on to something!! Civics class today!

On Beyond The Norm - the dangers of cough-and-cold prescription drugs!

Fierce independence means giving real analysis to all manner of ideas. We do this everyday here, at the place where fierce independence IS the norm - The Norman Goldman Show!


Norman Goldman: , justice is served on Wall Street; Afghanistan; oil companies; the Republicon Party; the budget deficit; unemployment and the nationa

Norman Goldman May 11th 2011 Full Show
Click Link Above to hear 2hour Radio Show

Today, justice is served on Wall Street; Afghanistan; oil companies; the Republicon Party; the budget deficit; unemployment and the national debt!

An insider trading case came to a close today with a jury verdict - it's Senior Legal Analyst time!

The plan to "draw down" from Afghanistan is leaking out and it's not much of a draw down! Details today!

Democrats in the Senate have a plan to strip oil companies of their corporate welfare and reduce the deficit. Finally!

There is a split amongst the 'Cons! There are the pure business Republicons and the insane Tea Baggers. Why do we need to care? The answers today!

Arthur Delaney of the Huffington Post is on with us today to discuss the latest effort by the House of Representatives to screw the unemployed.

On Beyond The Norm, "you have the right to remain silent". But do you really?

Fierce independence means leaving no favored interest unexamined. We do this every day here, at the place where fierce independence IS the norm, The Norman Goldman Show!


Norman Goldman: justice is served on immigration; Republicons; the corporate media; nuclear power plants; bank fees; antitrust law and gas prices!

Norman Goldman May 10th 2011 Full Show
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Today, justice is served on immigration; Republicons; the corporate media; nuclear power plants; bank fees; antitrust law and gas prices!

House Speaker John Boehner is a domestic terrorist. He is acting totally irresponsibly and threatening to destroy America. How can Americans vote for these people?

The President is out stomping for immigration reform. It's all about 2012! And, as to gas prices, I have a message for you!

Bank fees are up and Microsoft is buying Skype. We'll talk with David Lazarus of the Los Angeles Times about the bank fees!

Alabama has a nuclear plant in trouble. Is that really the only one here in the U.S. with problems?

The corporate media showed itself this past weekend. Rachel Maddow caught them and we'll give her the credit she deserves!

On Beyond The Norm, there is LOTS of law that happens out of sight and not in court. Have you ever heard of an "ALJ"? You will today!

Fierce independence means speaking up and speaking plainly. We do this every day here, at the place where fierce independence IS the norm - The Norman Goldman Show!


Randi Rhodes: Thursday May 12th

Well, the rapper named Common appeared at the White House last night. Surprisingly, there were no shootings. I guess they really must have searched people for weapons going in. Fox News tried their best to make Common sound like some kind of gangsta thug (see Jon Stewart video below). The guy is totally mainstream. Common has appeared on a recording by the Jonas Brothers! I’m no expert on gangsta rap, but I don’t think that singing with the Jonas Brothers is how a rapper gets street cred. And it’s rather ironic that rightwingers who idolize Ted Nugent are upset over this guy Common. That’s like fans of Lady Gaga criticizing Marie Osmond for showing too much skin.

Bin Laden told his followers to explore ways to recruit non-Muslims who are oppressed in the United States, like African Americans and Latinos. Osama, minorities in the US want a slice of the pie—they don’t want to blow the pie up. How could Bin Laden have thought that black people in America were ready or willing to attack their own country? He must have been watching too much Fox News. Osama probably saw the Fox News reports on those two Black Panther nuts outside the voting place. And nobody explained to him that it was all just footage of the same two guys.

Glenn Beck spent a good chunk of recent program pretending to vomit at the thought of Meghan McCain naked. Here’s some advice Glenn—if you want to criticize Meghan McCain, saying that she’s unattractive is probably not the most realistic tack to take. I have a lot of problems with Sarah Palin, but I don’t go after her for being ugly. Besides, on the scale of physical attractiveness, Meghan McCain is way above Glenn Beck. Of course, I could say the same thing about any human being who is under 90 years and/or 300 pounds.

Glenn’s also livid that Barack Obama put his feet on the desk in the Oval Office. How dare Barack Obama stick his feet on the desk! He might knock off one of the wads of gum that George Bush stuck there. There’s also a picture of George Bush with his feet up on the desk. And I suspect that right after they took that picture there’s another picture of George Bush tipping over backwards in the chair.

Today’s Homework | Discuss