Thursday, May 31, 2012

Randi Rhodes: Voter Purge

Florida Governor Rick Scott is systematically trying to purge voters who might vote Democratic. Rick, Florida voters already elected you—just how dumb do you need them to be? Actually, Rick Scott has been purging potential Democratic voters from Florida for years—by making Florida so nightmarish to live in that anyone with progressive views will move away.

Mitt Romney is touting a constitutional requirement that the president of the United States has to have spent at least three years working in business. Under such restrictions, Dwight Eisenhower and Teddy Roosevelt would not be eligible to be president... but Tony Soprano would be. Mitt thinks that his experience throwing people out of work and raiding pension funds makes him more fit to be president than Eisenhower’s experience leading the Allied forces over the Nazis in World War II. I don’t think Eisenhower could have beaten Hitler with a leveraged buyout.

Between Rick Scott’s voter purge and Mitt Romney’s business experience requirement, you can see where we’re headed—a world where only conservatives can vote, and where only businessmen run.

Mitt is lying about President Obama’s stimulus program. How can you tell? Because Mitt Romney is talking about President Obama’s stimulus program. A new Romney ad tries to portray the stimulus program as crony capitalism. Of over $800 billion in stimulus money handed out, only about one one-thousandth of one percent has been found to be fraudulent. You can tell the stimulus program wasn’t administered by Republicans. For Republicans, any program that has a fraud level that low isn’t worth administering.

The billionaire GOP mega-donors are getting annoyed at the attention being paid to them. What is this country coming to when a handful of billionaires can’t buy an election without some pesky do-gooders asking questions? Idaho billionaire Frank VanderSloot says his privacy has been invaded. It would be more accurate to say that his plans have been exposed. It’s not against the law to point out what the billionaires are doing... yet.

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Teaching hate: A four-year-old boy sings "Ain't no homos gonna make it to Heaven" over and over at the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle in Greensburg, IN...

Thom Hartmann: CEOs are literally stealing workers' wages

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As CNN reports - wage theft complaints have increased 400% over the last decade - with over 7,000 lawsuits alleging wage and hour violations against employers filed just in 2011. The complaints center on workers accusing their employers of not paying them for all the hours they worked or not paying overtime that they were entitled to. Some of the companies that have had suits filed against them are Walmart, Starbucks, and Bank of America.
This is yet another consequence of our corporate capitalism model - where executives are rewarded for squeezing whatever profits they can out of a company - including nickel and dimeing their workers - or outright stealing from them - just to hit quarterly profit goals. Time to bring back business in the public interest.
(What do you think can be done about it? Tell us here.)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Randi Rhodes: Bad Bromance

Yesterday Mitt Romney clinched the number of delegates needed to win the Republican nomination. Mitt clinched! But it’s kind of hard to picture Mitt clinching anything... unless he’s giving it an involuntary haircut.

On his big day, Mitt decided to share the spotlight with Donald Trump. Well, when you share anything with Trump, Trump usually ends up with most of it. Here’s a little advice, Mitt—never share the stage with someone more charismatic than you are. Oh wait, that would be everybody. Trump spent the day giving interviews in which he spewed birther crap. Every time Donald Trump raised questions about the President’s birth certificate, it just raised more questions about Mitt Romney’s judgment. Who Mitt Romney stands with says a lot about what he stands for. That’s true enough in this case—Romney stands for nothing, and Donald Trump is a big nothing.

Yesterday, Romney also met with billionaire super-donor Sheldon Adelson. That, more than anything, is the real reason Mitt was in Las Vegas. It sure wasn’t for the buffets. Mitt had a different kind of free buffet in mind. On the maps in Romney headquarters, Las Vegas is probably just called “Adelson.”

The Romney campaign misspelled the word “America” as “Amercia” on its iPhone app! Before you guys take advantage of all this new technology, you should familiarize yourselves with some older technology... like spellcheck. Mitt Romney can’t spell America? How did he ever function as Governor of Massachusetts? It’s even harder to spell!

Rush Limbaugh says he is a bigger jobs creator than Obama and Romney put together. If Rush Limbaugh created any jobs, it was for sweatshop workers in Indonesia making polo shirts in size XXXXXL. Rush says he created jobs, and still kept his job. He said “I did not cannibalize myself.” Rush, you’re in Florida... you should know to avoid the term “cannibal” right now.

There’s new news on the face-eater. The drug he was on wasn’t a new form of LSD, as was reported. It may have been mephedrone, which is often called “bath salts.” Great. Yesterday I was afraid to ever take LSD. Now I’m afraid to ever take a bath.

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Flashback: President Obama crushes Donald Trump at the 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner...

Thom Hartmann: 23% of all American children live in poverty

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Anyone who doubts the United States has been in an economic free fall for the last three decades should check out the new United Nations Children's Fund report on child poverty. OF the 34 wealthiest nations looked at by UNICEF - the United States has the second highest child poverty rate of all of them - with a staggering 23% of all American children living in poverty.
Only two nations - the United States and Romania have child poverty rates above 20%. That number would be even higher except for federal life lines like food stamps - which reduced the number of children in extreme poverty by half last year. Unfortunately - with unemployment benefits expiring around the nation - and Republicans gutting the food stamp programs - things could get a lot tougher for children in America.
(How can a rich country like America let this happen to its children? Tell us here.)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Randi Rhodes: The Fight for Wisconsin

Hour One Guest: The Nation Magazine’s John Nichols on the state of the Wisconsin recall.

The recall election for Scott Walker in Wisconsin is only one week away. Thanks to his billionaire backers, Walker has already spent an incredible $21 million on the campaign to keep his job. If he spent anywhere near that amount creating jobs for others, maybe Wisconsin wouldn’t have the worst job creation record in the country. Billionaires are supposed to be the “jobs creators.” The only job they seemed interested in is keeping Scott Walker in his job.

Tonight, Mitt Romney is holding a fund-raiser in Las Vegas featuring Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich. That has to be the worst billing ever put together in Las Vegas. I’d rather see a bill with a stuttering ventriloquist, a blind juggler, and an incontinent animal act. Who wants to see those three losers speak? Heck, I’d rather see Mitt Romney, Donald Trump, and Newt Gingrich sing. And I already know how Mitt Romney sings.

Romney refuses to repudiate Donald Trump over Trump’s crazy birther beliefs... like there aren’t a dozen other reasons to repudiate Donald Trump.  When asked about Trump’s birtherism, Mitt said “I don’t agree with all the people who support me and my guess is they don’t all agree with everything I believe in.” Probably not, Mitt— considering that you don’t believe in anything. Romney added “But I need to get 50.1 percent or more and I’m appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people.” Who said anything about good people? We’re talking about Donald Trump. “But I need to get 50.1 percent or more!” What’s worse—how cynical and conniving Mitt Romney is, or the fact that he is too clueless to hide how cynical and conniving he is?

George Will called Donald Trump a “bloviating ignoramus.” That’s out of line, George! There’s no reason to use words that Donald Trump doesn’t understand. Be a gentleman, and just say “loudmouth dumbass.” Donald Trump probably thinks a “bloviating ignoramus” is something you see a gastroenterologist for. Oh wait, Donald doesn’t know what a gastroenterologist is. Will said that Trump proves “if your net worth is high enough, your IQ can be very low and you can still intrude into American politics.” Heck, with Citizens United, if your net worth is enough, you can determine American politics.

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Mayor Tom Barrett laid into Gov. Scott Walker on Friday for trying to buy the election with tea-stained out-of-state cash...

Thom Hartmann: 70,000 more Americans cut off from unemployment insurance

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The National Employment Law Project is reporting that another 70,000 Americans will be cut off from unemployment insurance next month. Already - nearly half a million Americans have lost their unemployment benefits this year thanks to austerity measures demanded by Republicans in Congress - and rubber-stamped by Democrats and President Obama - that cut unemployment insurance down from 99 weeks to 79 weeks in states that haven't seen their unemployment situations get worse. That even includes states like Florida, Nevada, and Illinois that all have unemployment rates above the national average.
So what does this mean? Aside from the moral crisis of pushing families into desperation - it's also bad for the economy as money is being taken out of the hands of Americans who would normally spend it and stimulate the economy. Republicans have been pushing policies that will crash the economy - just so they have a better chance at beating President Obama in November. And unfortunately Democrats are letting them get away with it.
(What do you think can be done? Tell us here.)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Randi Rhodes: State of the Recall

It's Friday, ya bastids!

Randi's already begun her Memorial Day weekend (Vegas, baby!), but our good friend Nicole Sandler is filling in today. Nicole's guest include:

Forbes columnist and friend of the show Rick Ungar will update us on the increasingly hostile state of the Wisconsin recall race. While Democrats on the ground seem to get the importance of the race, the DNC may not fully understand how crucial this contest is.

Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. will talk about the role of race in American politics in the first re-election campaign of the first African-American President. Leonard's new novel "Freeman" deals with race, love and politics in post-Civil War America. Much has changed since then, but - sadly - some very negative traits persist to this day.

Actress, comedian, and activist Maysoon Zayid will discuss the differences between the seemingly never-ending Palestinian and Israeli conflict, and how the Egyptian people are handling their differences through elections.

Finally, Leah Bolger of Veterans For Peace will talk about what Memorial Day should really mean to most Americans - and how you might be able to help serve the needs of our fellow Americans who come home less than whole.
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Chris Matthews interviewed Newt Gingrich live yesterday, touching on everything from his rating-bating attacks on President Obama to his biting cutdowns of Mitt Romney...

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Thom Hartmann: Still doubt we're living under an Oligarchy?

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Check out a new report by the Associated Press today - showing that average CEO compensation topped $9.6 million in 2011 - the highest mark since the AP started looking at compensation numbers back in 2006. Meanwhile - wages for working people have barely budged - and it would now take the typical American worker 244 years just to make what their CEO makes in one year.
And among Fortune 500 CEOs - it's even worse - they make 380-times more than their average worker. So are Wall Street banksters, oil barons, and corporate executives really worth that much money? Should they be paid hundreds of times more than doctors, scientists, or even teachers? This is what neo-feudalism in America looks like - and if Paul Ryan and the Republicans who are pushing austerity for working people - and trillions of dollars in tax cuts for corporate CEOs - if they win big in November - it'll only get worse.
It's time to rethink corporate capitalism altogether - and find ways to democratize the economy with worker-owned cooperatives, and business models like unions that look out for workers, the community, and the environment.
(What do you think? Tell us here.)

Obama spending binge never happened

Commentary: Government outlays rising at slowest pace since 1950s


By Rex Nutting, MarketWatch
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Of all the falsehoods told about President Barack Obama, the biggest whopper is the one about his reckless spending spree.
As would-be president Mitt Romney tells it: “I will lead us out of this debt and spending inferno.”
Almost everyone believes that Obama has presided over a massive increase in federal spending, an “inferno” of spending that threatens our jobs, our businesses and our children’s future. Even Democrats seem to think it’s true.
Government spending under Obama, including his signature stimulus bill, is rising at a 1.4% annualized pace — slower than at any time in nearly 60 years.
But it didn’t happen. Although there was a big stimulus bill under Obama, federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950s.
Even hapless Herbert Hoover managed to increase spending more than Obama has.
Here are the facts, according to the official government statistics:
In the 2009 fiscal year — the last of George W. Bush’s presidency — federal spending rose by 17.9% from $2.98 trillion to $3.52 trillion. Check the official numbers at the Office of Management and Budget.
In fiscal 2010 — the first budget under Obama — spending fell 1.8% to $3.46 trillion.
In fiscal 2011, spending rose 4.3% to $3.60 trillion.
In fiscal 2012, spending is set to rise 0.7% to $3.63 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of the budget that was agreed to last August.
Finally in fiscal 2013 — the final budget of Obama’s term — spending is scheduled to fall 1.3% to $3.58 trillion. Read the CBO’s latest budget outlook.
The big surge in federal spending happened in fiscal 2009, before Obama took office. Since then, spending growth has been relatively flat. 
What people forget (or never knew) is that the first year of every presidential term starts with a budget approved by the previous administration and Congress. The president only begins to shape the budget in his second year. It takes time to develop a budget and steer it through Congress — especially in these days of congressional gridlock.
The 2009 fiscal year, which Republicans count as part of Obama’s legacy, began four months before Obama moved into the White House. The major spending decisions in the 2009 fiscal year were made by George W. Bush and the previous Congress.
Like a relief pitcher who comes into the game with the bases loaded, Obama came in with a budget in place that called for spending to increase by hundreds of billions of dollars in response to the worst economic and financial calamity in generations.
By no means did Obama try to reverse that spending. Indeed, his budget proposals called for even more spending in subsequent years. But the Congress (mostly Republicans but many Democrats, too) stopped him. If Obama had been a king who could impose his will, perhaps what the Republicans are saying about an Obama spending binge would be accurate.

Like in 2004, energizing the base will drive political victory

President Barack Obama doesn't normally dwell on similarities to his predecessor in the Oval Office, but Jerry Seib explains one area where Obama and George W. Bush have an awful lot in common.
Yet the actual record doesn’t show a reckless increase in spending. Far from it.
Before Obama had even lifted a finger, the CBO was already projecting that the federal deficit would rise to $1.2 trillion in fiscal 2009. The government actually spent less money in 2009 than it was projected to, but the deficit expanded to $1.4 trillion because revenue from taxes fell much further than expected, due to the weak economy and the emergency tax cuts that were part of the stimulus bill.
The projected deficit for the 2010-13 period has grown from an expected $1.7 trillion in January 2009 to $4.4 trillion today. Lower-than-forecast revenue accounts for 73% of the $2.7 trillion increase in the expected deficit. That’s assuming that the Bush and Obama tax cuts are repealed completely.
When Obama took the oath of office, the $789 billion bank bailout had already been approved. Federal spending on unemployment benefits, food stamps and Medicare was already surging to meet the dire unemployment crisis that was well underway. See the CBO’s January 2009 budget outlook.
Obama is not responsible for that increase, though he is responsible (along with the Congress) for about $140 billion in extra spending in the 2009 fiscal year from the stimulus bill, from the expansion of the children’s health-care program and from other appropriations bills passed in the spring of 2009.
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If we attribute that $140 billion in stimulus to Obama and not to Bush, we find that spending under Obama grew by about $200 billion over four years, amounting to a 1.4% annualized increase.
After adjusting for inflation, spending under Obama is falling at a 1.4% annual pace — the first decline in real spending since the early 1970s, when Richard Nixon was retreating from the quagmire in Vietnam.
In per capita terms, real spending will drop by nearly 5% from $11,450 per person in 2009 to $10,900 in 2013 (measured in 2009 dollars).
By the way, real government spending rose 12.3% a year in Hoover’s four years. Now there was a guy who knew how to attack a depression by spending government money!
Rex Nutting is a columnist and MarketWatch's international commentary editor, base
Over Obama’s four budget years, federal spending is on track to rise from $3.52 trillion to $3.58 trillion, an annualized increase of just 0.4%.
There has been no huge increase in spending under the current president, despite what you hear.
Why do people think Obama has spent like a drunken sailor? It’s in part because of a fundamental misunderstanding of the federal budget.
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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Randi Rhodes: Big Lies

Republicans keep talking about a massive spending increase under President Obama. In reality, federal spending is rising at its slowest pace since the 1950’s under Dwight Eisenhower. But Republicans don’t spend much time in reality. The amazing thing is that President Obama brought spending under control while he was forced to spend money to fix the disasters that George Bush caused with his spending. Republicans always spend more. Somebody should look into how much the Republicans are spending to portray President Obama as a big spender.

Colin Powell has questioned Mitt Romney’s foreign policy advisors. That’s good—I get the impression that Mitt Romney never questions his foreign policy advisors about anything. Mitt’s foreign policy team is made up of neoconservatives from the Bush administration. That’s not a team with a winning record!

The policy field where Mitt Romney shows the least amount of knowledge is education. And he’s probably not even aware of the irony. Do you really want our national education policy being made by a guy who went to an elite boarding prep school—let alone a guy who went there and bullied the less elite kids? The way that little Mitt Romney treated the less-than-rich students at boarding school is exactly how he would treat all students if he was in charge of education. If Mitt Romney becomes president, our education system is going to get an involuntary haircut!

Every time Mitt Romney turns his attention to a different problem, all it does is highlight just how unqualified Mitt Romney is to handle that problem. Mitt called education “the civil rights issue of our era.” Great—as he’s shown with his stance on gay marriage, Mitt opposes the other civil rights issues of our era! Romney also vowed to take on the teachers. Of course, Mitt has a long track record of taking on the teachers—like at his prep school when he walked the blind teacher straight into a door. All these big plans for education, but Mitt told a private gathering last month that he would eliminate the Department of Education! Mitt must think we’re stupid. And under his education policies, we would be!

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Unbelievable! Here's what it looks like after a GOP Congressman gets caught red-handed playing the Southern Strategy...

Thom Hartmann: Big Pharma is The Biggest Tax Dodger in America

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The pharmaceutical industry is the single biggest defrauder of Americans taxpayers in the country - surpassing the Defense Industry for the first time. A new Public Citizen report finds that over the last twenty years the pharmaceutical industry has accounted for 25% of all violations of state and federal law when it comes to the False Claims Act.
Among the infractions include illegally promoting drugs for purposes not approved by the FDA - which is a criminal offense since it can lead to patients suffering serious illnesses - and even death. Also the pharmaceutical industry routinely overcharged federal programs like Medicaid for their prescription drugs - bilking taxpayers out of billions of dollars. Since 1991 - over 165 pharmaceutical settlements with state and federal governments has led to $19.8 billion in penalties.
According to Taxpayers Against Fraud - pharmaceutical companies are expected to pay out another $9 billion in fraud settlements this year. This is the consequence of a for-profit health care system in America - drug companies who are supposed to be manufacturing products to help us live longer and be healthier - are ACTUALLY more focused on screwing us than our well-being. It's time to join the rest of the developed world - create a non-profit healthcare system - and kick the money-changers out of our hospitals.
(Have you been screwed by big Pharma? Tell us here.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Randi Rhodes: Why It Matters

President Obama says “When you’re president, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, then your job is not simply to maximize profits” (video below). I think Romney is going to be shocked to find out that the United States has citizens instead of investors. Mitt would probably like to rearrange our whole electoral system. Instead of everybody voting, he would have a system where only certain people get “voting shares.” In Mitt’s perfect world, the more of America you owned, the more voting share you would get. That way, the 1 percent could actually become the 99 percent.

The Republicans overplayed their hand with Cory Booker. Can you blame them? They haven’t been dealt any good hands in this election. And that’s odd, because they dealt the Mitt Romney hand to themselves. The RNC website featured a petition asking people to “Stand With Cory.” Cory Booker made it clear to Republicans that “Standing with Cory” means standing with President Obama—I don’t think most Republicans would find much standing room there. Evidently the RNC thought they could tell people to “Stand With Cory” while lying about where Cory was standing... not a very good strategy.

Romney campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom says that Romney created “well in excess of 100,000” jobs while at Bain. How did the Romney people arrive at the figure of 100,000? Well, first they drew a “1.” And then they added five zeros after it. That’s how job creation math works in the Mitt Romney campaign. Fehrnstrom called the 100,000 jobs figure a “rough back-of-the-envelope estimate.” I guess when you’re making things up out of thin air, the back of an envelope is as good a place as any to work.

A laboratory vial with blood from Ronald Reagan has been put on auction. The vial contains dried blood from the day that Reagan went to the hospital after being shot. A laboratory worker evidently took the vial that day, hoping they could make money off of it. At least they sound like a Republican. I remember Reagan had a colonoscopy while he was in office. They removed several polyps from his colon. So you hardcore Reagan lovers might want to wait until those come on the market.

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Thom Hartmann: Peter G. Peterson wants your Social Security money

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Meet Wall Street billionaire - Pete Peterson - the man trying to destroy Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid as we know it. According to tax documents - between 2007 and 2011 - Peterson has given nearly a half-billion dollars to his Peter. G. Peterson Foundation to run ads and lobby Congress warning that federal safety net programs are going broke and need to be drastically cut or privatized.
And last Tuesday - Peterson hosted a "fiscal summit" with power plays like Bill Clinton, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Paul Ryan, and John Boehner on reducing the deficit by cutting Social Security and Medicare. Senator Bernie Sanders was also at the meeting - though he wasn't invited. He was there to protest - and we should all be doing the same to stop Pete Peterson from destroying our social safety net.
(What do you think will happen to the Republican Party now? Tell us here.)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Randi Rhodes: What Was That?

Cory Booker, the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey sharply criticized Obama campaign attacks on Bain Capital. Cory Booker is described as a “surrogate” for the Obama campaign. With surrogates like this, who needs surrogates? Booker said “I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity.” Nobody is asking you to, Mayor. They want you to indict Bain, which under Romney was more vulture capitalism than “private equity.” According to Booker “It’s a distraction from the real issues.” No Cory, it is the real issues. This bizarre episode from you is a distraction. And now we have to deal with it and ignore the real issues. Cory Booker may be trying to cultivate Wall Street donors for a run for Governor of New Jersey. And the best way to cultivate any crop is to lay on the manure very thickly.

Geraldo Rivera is still obsessed with the hoodie that Trayvon Martin was wearing when he was killed. Geraldo said “he’s dressed in that thug wear...” Geraldo, I know it’s good for your job at Fox News to sound like a white guy, but do you have to sound like a 70-year old white guy? Nobody has more to fear from actual thugs than convenience store clerks, and the clerk in this video doesn’t seem bothered by Trayvon’s hoodie at all.  

At a town hall event for Tea Party lunatic Congressman Joe Walsh, a woman went off on a rambling diatribe against President Obama. In what seemed like one very long breath, the woman called President Obama seditious, socialist, communist, and Nazi. If she didn’t have to inhale again, I’m sure she could have worked in Muslim, terrorist, and Arab. I would say it was a rambling, stream-of-thought diatribe, but obviously, thought had nothing to do with it.

Jon Lovitz went off on an anti-Obama rant over Obama’s efforts to get the rich to pay their fair share of taxes. Jon, you don’t pay any taxes if you don’t have any income. And from what I know of your post-SNL career, you don’t have any income. Jon Lovitz, Victoria Jackson... what is up with Saturday Night alumni going all rightwing crazy? I guess that’s just what happens sometimes when white people get old. This all just proves that SNL needs more minority cast members.

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Rest in peace, Robin...

Thom Hartmann: Protesters bring the message of anti-war/anti-austerity to world leaders at the NATO summit in Chicago

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Tens of thousands of activists stormed Chicago to protest against war and inequality while the city hosts the annual NATO convention. Today is day two of the summit and more protest demonstrations are planned. At least 45 people were arrested during peaceful marches and rallies over the weekend. While some are applauding the Chicago Police Department's professionalism in dealing with protestors - others are pointing to repeated law enforcement abuses against citizen journalists and heavy-handed crowd control tactics.
Several journalists were arrested in Chicago over the weekend with little justification, and others were intimidated, detained, and interrogated without any probable cause. For today - demonstrators plan to march to Boeing's headquarters in downtown Chicago to protest against the defense company's role in our ongoing wars abroad. Keep an eye on this.
(What do you think will happen next? Tell us here.)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Randi Rhodes: Deja Vu

It's Friday, ya bastids!

A pro-Romney super PAC came up with a plan to run racially divisive ads attacking President Obama over Reverend Jeremiah Wright. As though there were any racists in America who weren’t already firmly against President Obama! When asked about it, Mitt Romney repudiated the plan, but he did so very tepidly. If you don’t know what “tepidly” means, it means “the way Mitt Romney does everything.” Then, when asked about a time he referred to Reverend Wright, Mitt said he didn’t remember, but “I stand by what I said, whatever it was.” “Whatever it was”!!! Could Mitt Romney tell you any more clearly that he doesn’t give a damn about the things he says? To Mitt, the things he says are meant to be any more permanent or continuous than whatever clothes he is wearing. He’ll change them according to the situation.

Police reports concluded that the killing of Trayvon Martin was “ultimately avoidable” if George Zimmerman had not pursued him. If Zimmerman didn’t go after him, it was more than “ultimately avoidable”—it was practically impossible. It wasn’t even a question of Zimmerman having to take steps to avoid killing Trayvon. He had to go out of his way to kill Trayvon—way out of his way.

The police report says the killing would have been avoided “if Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and awaited the arrival of law enforcement.” The problem is that Zimmerman was convinced he WAS law enforcement. The report also says Zimmerman could have “identified himself to Martin as a concerned citizen...” To be totally honest with Martin, he should have identified himself as a paranoid vigilante.

Trayvon Martin had small amounts of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana in his system. And that means that conservative pundits are going to try and turn this into a sequel to Reefer Madness. The THC could have been from 30 days ago. THC stays in person’s system for a long time. It’s still in your bloodstream for days after you stop thinking that Dane Cook is actually funny. The amount of THC in Trayvon Martin’s system was far too little to affect his behavior. Let’s put it this way—there is no way he was nearly as high as George Zimmerman was on Adderall and Temazepam.

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Always refreshing to see a multi-millionaire venture capitalist blow the lid off the GOP 'job creator' myth...

Thom Hartmann: The Occupy Movement confronts the NATO Summit this weekend in Chicago

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All eyes are on Chicago this weekend - where an annual NATO Summit is going up against the Occupy Movement. Tens of thousands of demonstrators are expected to attend this weekend's marches and rallies, calling for peace and economic fairness. Chicago police have already spent more than a million dollars on riot gear and high-tech crowd dispersal technology like long-range acoustic devices to use against the peaceful Occupy demonstrators.
Already - in the lead up to this weekend's actions - twenty people have been arrested - including some for protesting outside President Obama's re-election headquarters on Monday. So keep an eye on Chicago where the big question is: Will First Amendment rights be honored - or will we see another violent crackdown by law enforcement against patriotic Americans?
(What do you think will happen? Tell us here.)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Randi Rhodes: Trayvon Autopsy

Details of the investigation into the Trayvon Martin killing are coming out. According to his family doctor, George Zimmerman had a broken nose and two black eyes. That just proves that Trayvon Martin managed to fight back a little before he was killed. All I know is, if George Zimmerman hadn’t have pursued Trayvon against the instructions of the police dispatcher, he wouldn’t have gotten a broken nose... and Trayvon Martin wouldn’t have gotten killed. The bottom line is that Trayvon Martin’s autopsy report definitely proves one thing—Trayvon Martin was the one who needed an autopsy.

If George Zimmerman was stalking Trayvon, and Trayvon did manage to give him a broken nose and black eyes, wouldn’t Trayvon’s reaction be thoroughly justified under Florida’s Stand Your Ground Laws? Or do Stand Your Ground Laws only apply to people who shoot other people? Or should I say non-black people who shoot black people?

The House has passed a Republican version of the Violence Against Women Act. As you would expect, it does a lot more to protect Republicans than it does to protect women. President Obama says he would veto the House version. That tells you how bad it is—women need to be protected from the Republican House bill to protect women.

The wacky anti-gay activist who said President Obama might be gay has given an interview. Dr. Paul Cameron is the chairman of the Family Research Institute. It really makes you question who should be able to use the terms “doctor” and “institute.” It’s not clear what made Paul Cameron think Obama is gay, but after hearing this interview, you’ll realize Paul Cameron has no idea who is gay or not... starting with himself.

Finally, Ben Stein says that President Obama is not really very smart. Ben said this on the Bill O’Reilly show. Ben, you can’t really question somebody’s decision-making ability when you’ve obviously made the decision to spend time talking to Bill O’Reilly.

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Rest in peace, Donna...

Thom Hartmann: Judge Blocks a portion of the NDAA

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The highly-controversial indefinite detention provision signed into law by the President at the end of last year has been ruled unconstitutional by a U.S. District court judge in New York. The provision allows the military to detain anyone indefinitely if they are suspected of associating with terrorists - whether they realize it or not.
But that law was challenged by a group of journalists and whistleblowers - including Chris Hedges, Noam Chomsky, and Daniel Ellsberg - who argued the law violated the First Amendment - since journalists often come in contact with terrorist organization and thus under the law could be subject to detention. On Wednesday night, Judge Katherine Forrest agreed with the plaintiffs in the case, ruling that the law is unconstitutional - violating the First Amendment rights of the press and the Fifth Amendment right of due process.
Meanwhile, as a new version of the NDAA is being debated in Congress, brave members on both sides of the aisle are arguing that there should be no indefinite detention provision in it, invalidating the previous NDAA. We need to return to the values our nation was founded on, which include bravery and due process - and not fear and medieval imprisonment techniques.
(Do you think indefinite detention will be dropped? Tell us here.)

Randi Rhodes: Agent Orange

John Boehner has thrown down the gauntlet! Either that or he dropped it. When you drink as much as John, sometimes it’s hard to hold on to your gauntlet. Boehner vowed to block the next increase in the debt ceiling unless it’s offset by spending cuts larger than the increase. John is getting very combative. Somebody take him home before he ends up punching a parking meter. Make no mistake—these debt ceiling dramas damage the full faith and credit of the United States. But then damaging the United States is exactly what the Republicans want to do before the election.

Boehner’s remarks on the debt ceiling were coordinated with an attack by Mitt Romney on President Obama over the national debt. The theme of Romney’s debt speech was a prairie fire—a rather appropriate metaphor, seeing as how all the facts got obscured in a thick veil of smoke. Romney said that “A prairie fire of debt is sweeping” across America. That’s bad news, since Republicans have cut funding for basic services like fire-fighting.

George W. Bush has finally endorsed Mitt Romney, in the most unenthusiastic endorsement since... well, since the last person endorsed Mitt Romney. Bush endorsement consisted of him muttering “I’m for Mitt Romney” as a pair of elevators doors slid closed on him. Going down, Mr. President? That endorsement couldn’t have looked any weaker if Bush had actually been holding his nose when he said it. Bush doesn’t intend to campaign for Romney. Too bad, Bush and Romney deserve each other—the worst president who ever was, and the worst president who never will be.

James Lipton of “Inside the Actors Studio” has some advice for Mitt Romney on “how to act human” (video below). Unfortunately, Mitt simply isn’t convincing as a human being. Lipton says that Mitt’s laugh is not believable. I’m actually a little relieved by that, seeing as how the things he’s laughing about are things like beating up a gay kid, or the time his dad shut down that factory. According to Lipton, Mitt Romney exhibits what performers call “flop sweat.” In the case of Mitt Romney, it should be called “flip-flop sweat.” Lipton’s final advice to Romney is to just be who he really is. Hey, if Mitt comes off as an insincere phony, maybe that’s who he really is.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Randi Rhodes: You're So Bain

President Obama is out with a tough new ad about Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital.  The ad focuses on a steel company in Kansas City that Bain took over and drove into bankruptcy... after charging the company a hefty fee for the ride. The ad is called “Steel,” as in “steel company.” But it’s really about Bain Capital liking to “Steal,” as in “steal the company’s assets.” It features testimony from former employees of the steel company. That highlights Mitt’s big problem—this country is full of people who are “former employees” of somebody that Bain took over and destroyed. One ex-worker says Bain is “a vampire. They came in and sucked the life out of us.” And corporations, like vampires, live forever... as long as they can find fresh blood. Actually, a vampire is a perfect comparison for Mitt Romney. He’s good looking, he dresses well, and he’s got that slicked hair. The only thing missing is the cape.

At the Kansas City steel company, 750 workers lost their jobs, while Bain made big profits from the deal. Vultures don’t eat unless something dies. The workers lost their severance and their health insurance. Their pensions were cut, and the pension fund had to be bailed out by... a federal agency. That’s what government does. It steps in when a disaster strikes—a disaster like Mitt Romney. In fairness to Mitt, I’m sure he didn’t plan on sticking the federal government with the bill for the worker’s pensions. He would have been just as happy to leave those workers with nothing. I’m sure Mitt’s attitude was “let the workers go bankrupt.” The Romney campaign responded quickly to the Obama ad. I’m sure they were ready for it. More than anyone, they know the things that Mitt Romney has done wrong. Heck, they might even know more things than most people.

Politico is reporting that Mitt Romney is intentionally going to pick an “incredibly boring white guy” for his VP. As a Republican, he has a lot to choose from. Romney doesn’t want to make the same mistake that John McCain did with Sarah Palin. The problem for Mitt is that the Republican Party is full of boring white guys who are just as extreme and just as dumb as Sarah Palin. Bob McDonnell’s communications director joked “Hey, we resemble that remark.” McDonnell doesn’t mind being thought of as boring, because it’s better than being knows as “that crazy vaginal probe guy.”

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One of the best cases against hate-media is the influence it can have on those who aren't exactly all there...

Thom Hartmann: Could a lawsuit put an end to the Senate filibuster?

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The organization Common Cause filed suit today against the United States Senate claiming current filibuster rules are unconstitutional. In a statement released today - Common Cause President Bob Edgar said the abuse of the filibuster by minorities on both sides of the aisle - especially Republicans - is, "an affront to our democracy and not the way the Senate was supposed to work."
Citing a previous Supreme Court decision ruling that the Senate's rules cannot conflict with the Constitution - Common Cause's lawsuit alleges that the Constitution ONLY calls for a super-majority requirement in special cases like overriding a Presidential veto or ratifying a treaty - and does not require a super-majority to begin debate, approve judges, or pass routine legislation - as it's used today. Several Members of Congress are plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
For the last few years - led by Mitch McConnell - who boasted that his number one goal is NOT to create jobs for Americans but instead to put President Obama out of a job - a Republican minority has shut down an entire branch of government by abusing the filibuster. This is not what democracy what looks like.
(Who do you think will win? Tell us here.)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Randi Rhodes: The Ayn Rand Doctrine

Randi's out today, but our good friend Nicole Sandler will be filling in. Nicole’s guests include:

Stephen L. Goldstein, author of "Atlas Drugged: Ayn Rand Be Damned!" He'll discuss how the role of government is NOT what Republicans like Paul Ryan believe it is, and how the unregulated world Tea Party extremists dream of is a nightmare for the rest of us.

Speaking of unregulated, Jared Bernstein, former Chief Economist and Economic Adviser to Vice President Joseph Biden, and currently a Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, will explain what exactly happened in the $2 billion JP Morgan Chase loss - and what hedgehogs have to do with it.

Finally, comedian and commentator John Fugelsang - the guy who asked the question that generated the infamous Mitt Romney "Etch A Sketch" meme - will talk about about President Obama's support of same-sex marriage, the Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour, and his one-man show, Guilt: A Love Story, now touring the U.S.

Call Nicole at 866-87-RANDI (866-877-2634)

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You're so Bain: Obama 2012 released a video today hitting Mitt hard on 'Romney Economics'...

Thom Hartmann: The Euro crisis, and the revolt against trickled-down austerity, enters a new phase

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Europeans stocks are tumbling and investors around the world are keeping a close eye on Greece as the Euro crisis enters a new phase. On the heels of elections that ousted the pro-austerity government in Greece - new anti-austerity parties have - so far - been unable to form a coalition government. Greek President Karlos Papoulias is desperately trying to bring together party leaders for a meeting today in hopes of finding a coalition government. But, far-left SYRIZA Party leader - Alex Tsipras - is refusing to attend the meeting alongside other parties that support austerity.
Neither austerity nor anti-austerity parties won enough seats in the last election to form a coalition government - meaning the President will likely have to call for a new round of elections in the coming weeks. If so, the far-left SYRIZA party will likely pick up even more seats in Parliament - making an anti-austerity coalition government a real possibility just before Greece runs out of money as early as next month. When Greece goes broke - if the new government refuses to sign on to the IMF and EU-backed austerity and bailout - then Greece will default and likely be forced out of the Eurozone. Thanks to the worldwide economic meltdown and trickle-down austerity response - the Greek economy has been in recession for the last five years. At least now - an end might be in sight - although it could get very, very painful.
Meanwhile in Germany - Chancellor Angela Merkel saw her Conservative Party get crushed in state elections in the North Rhine-Westpahlian - the biggest state in Germany. Merkel has been leading the charge for austerity around Europe - but now finds herself vulnerable as support for her Party plunged to 26% - its worse result since World War 2.
Everywhere you look - the supporters of trickle-down austerity are getting hammered by voters. Let's help Americans get the message - and kick the Republicans, pushing their own trickled-down austerity here, to the curb.
(Will America get the message? Tell us here.)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Randi Rhodes: Attack of the Preppy

Look through the Washington Post article at the pictures of young Mitt at Cranbrook. They look like stills from a horror movie: “Willard Goes to Boarding School”! At least there aren’t any pictures of Mitt gripping money in his teeth. I guess the Cranbrook yearbook editors didn’t feel they were appropriate. Mitt made a call to Brian Kilmeade’s radio show to discuss the Post article. Kilmeade was a good choice. Something tells me that when the cameras aren’t rolling at “Fox and Friends,” Kilmeade bullies Steve Doocy in order to try and score points with Gretchen Carlson.

At first Mitt said he didn’t recall any such incident. Then he apologized for it anyway... you know, because other people remember it. Mitt said “As to the teasing or taunts that go on in high school, that’s a long time ago.” We’re familiar with “teasing and taunts,” Mitt, and they don’t involve having to hold somebody down. Mitt says he doesn’t believe that he “thought the fellow was a homosexual… That was the furthest thing from our minds in the 1960’s.” No, Mitt—the furthest thing from your mind in the 1960’s was Vietnam. You knew it was the working class shmucks who had to go there, not you.

The Romney campaign was fishing around for old classmates of Mitt’s who would offer “supporting remarks” to counter the story of Mitt’s gay-bashing. If they’re anything like Mitt, their supporting remarks will be things like “It was great!” A classmate described Mitt’s behavior in the dorms as “like Lord of the Flies.” And I’m sure that a Mitt Romney presidency would be every bit as brutal and dysfunctional as the society created by those schoolboys in Lord of the Flies. Remember what happens in Lord of the Flies—they all turn on each other, and end up killing Piggy. That doesn’t bode well for a Romney presidency... especially if the vice president ends up being Chris Christie.

In any case, we don’t want Mitt Romney in the White House. I can just see him storming down the Mall to the Capitol with his posse, ready to cut off Lindsey Graham’s hair.

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The Romney camp has know for weeks that this story was coming out. Watch Ann Romney - in a $990 t-shirt - try to get ahead of it on May 1st...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thom Hartmann: The GOP controlled House of Representatives fights back against marriage equality

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On the same day that President Obama and the nation took a major step forward toward marriage equality - Republicans in the House of Representatives tried to drag the nation backward. Hours after the President's endorsement of marriage equality - House Republicans passed a measure in support of the discriminatory Defense Against Marriage Act - known as DOMA - which is a federal ban against same-sex marriage.
The Republican measure also forbids the Department of Justice from using taxpayer funds to oppose DOMA. Even though Wednesday was a historic day for the nation - with the President of the United States coming out in support of marriage equality for this first time in history - it's clear that this will be a long battle before the LGBT community finally gets the civil rights it deserves.
And we'll need the President's leadership - and grassroots pressure on all lawmakers until victory is achieved.
(Who do you think will win this fight? Tell us here.)

Randi Rhodes: Obama Evolves / Romney Bullies

President Obama has come out in support of gay marriage. The reaction to Obama coming out in support of gay marriage was a lot like the reaction when a certain people come out as gay. Most folks just thought “Well, duh. Everybody always knew.”

Obama said that his children’s views on the subject influenced his decision to support gay marriage. He said it changes your perspective “not wanting to somehow explain to your child why somebody should be treated differently when it comes to the eyes of the law.” It’s one thing to have to convince yourself of something wrong, but it’s a whole other thing to have to convince your kid. In the end, the only way to justify something wrong to your kids is to resort to saying “Because I said so!” And that is essentially the argument that conservatives use to oppose gay marriage. Of course, they don’t literally say “Because I say so!” They say “Because the Bible says so! Now go to your room!”

If President Obama is now, as Fox's Shepard Smith said, in the 21st century when it comes to equality, Mitt Romney affirmed that he is still firmly entrenched in the 19th century... the early part of the 19th century, to boot. In addition to opposing gay marriage, Mitt added “I don’t favor civil unions if it’s identical to marriage.” The only marital arrangement that Mitt favors for gay people is a sham marriage to a heterosexual. So who is really diluting the institution of marriage? Of course you know, if public sentiment turns strongly in favor of gay marriage, Mitt Romney will say that supporting the idea of same-sex marriage was HIS idea in the first place. He’ll take a lot of credit!

It turns out that Mitt Romney was a bully in school. Of course, since we’re talking about Mitt Romney, he was a bully in an elite private school. Little Mitt led a pack of students in pinning down and cutting off the hair of a student they presumed was gay who had dyed his hair blond. I’m surprised Mitt didn’t tie the poor kid to the roof of his car. Actually, it sounds like Mitt did to this poor kid pretty much what he did to Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum this election. It’s just that now he’s using super-PACs instead of scissors.

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Jon Stewart on President Obama affirmation and North Carolina's condemnation...

Thom Hartmann: Most Americans now disapprove of the Afghanistan War

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No more war! That's the message the American people are sending as approval for the Afghanistan war has now dropped to an all-time low. A new AP poll shows that only 27% of Americans support the war - that's a ten-point drop from one year ago.
On the flip-side two-thirds of Americans are opposed to the war - and 40% say they are "strongly opposed" to the war. So far - 1,834 U.S. soldiers have died in Afghanistan - and the conditions don't seem to be getting much better over there. French President-Elect Francois Hollande has promised to remove all troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year. I think it's time we do the same.
(What do you think Obama will do? Tell us here.)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Randi Rhodes: Obama Affirms / N.C. Denies

In North Carolina, they voted to ban gay marriage... which was already prohibited in the state. I think they just enjoy banning gay marriage. In some states, they enjoy rodeos or barbecues. In North Carolina, people unwind by preventing lesbians from having a wedding. The gay marriage ban was approved by a margin of 61 to 39 percent. We get it, North Carolina—you don’t like gay people. Please stop before you ban dinner theater throughout the state.

The language of the ban is very vague, as it usually is with these anti-gay laws. It’s very difficult to put the sentiment “I hate homos” into proper legal language. The way the law is worded, it also strips rights away from straight couples in domestic partnerships. Great, in their haste to punish gays, they’re including those heterosexuals who just have a hard time committing.

50 percent of Americans support gay marriage. That’s a very high number when you consider that a certain percentage of people won’t support the idea of marriage for anyone. And most of those people are married. As recently as 1996, only 27 percent supported it. But back in 1996 people had all kinds of crazy beliefs—like balanced budgets. Even today, only 22 percent of Republicans support gay marriage. Those Republicans are living in 1996. I bet they don’t like it—Bill Clinton is still president!

Voters have taken down one of the longest-serving and most respected Republicans in the Senate. And I don’t have to tell you that they were Republican voters. Dick Lugar was the longest currently-serving Republican Senator, with 36 years of service. He knew what he was doing. And there’s no place for that in today’s Republican Party. Lugar was an expert in foreign policy and excelled at getting things done. But Tea Party Republicans want Senators who are experts in filibustering and preventing anything from getting done. On top of everything else, Richard Lugar was 80 years old! Kicking him out of the Senate just demonstrates impatience. Republican extremists got rid of an old man because they thought he was no longer useful. And they say Obama has death panels!

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President Obama has affirmed his support for same sex marriage! Click for video.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Randi Rhodes: Pants On Fire

Mitt Romney is now claiming that he deserves “a lot of credit” for saving the auto industry. Amazing! Mitt Romney is scared to death to say anything that might alienate a supporter, but he’s absolutely fearless when it comes to telling lies. Mitt said “I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy, and finally when that was done, and help was given, the companies got back on their feet.” Mitt, you didn’t want the auto companies “back on their feet.” You wanted them on their knees. Mitt’s “managed bankruptcy” idea wasn’t meant to serve the auto companies. It was meant to serve them up on a platter for other vulture capitalists like Mitt Romney.

Then Mitt said “So, I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry has come back.” Wow! What chutzpah! Or as Michele Bachmann would say, “What choots-paw!” Mitt didn’t even say “I deserve a lot of credit.” No, he said “I’ll take a lot of credit...” There’s Mitt’s privileged, entitled attitude in a nutshell! It’s not “Please give me credit.” He knows he can’t ask, because he doesn’t deserve it! He just says “The credit is mine, and I will take it now. Have it packaged and delivered to my California mansion. On the double!”

The auto industry was saved by a bailout, which was nothing like the “managed bankruptcy” that Mitt was calling for. The bailout was a lifeline. A managed bankruptcy was a death sentence. If Mitt deserves any credit for saving the auto industry, it’s because his crazy call to “let Detroit go bankrupt” woke people up to the fact that something had to be done before Mitt got his way! The extent of Mitt Romney’s lying on this one is simply amazing. In terms of lying, Mitt has crossed the line from pathetic to pathological.

Rick Santorum finally endorsed Mitt Romney... in an email sent out to supporters... at 11pm... in the 13th paragraph of the email. Yeesh, Rick, why didn’t you just post it on MySpace... or Friendster, for that matter? Rick, this “endorsement” couldn’t have been more obscure if you had just posted it on a handbill that you put up on a few telephone poles and lampposts like somebody looking for a lost dog. Santorum didn’t say if he plans to campaign for Romney. I’m sure Rick will be campaigning for Mitt—just  as soon as Rick conquers his gag reflex.

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Mitt Romney clearly finds it easier to take credit for saving Detroit than he does taking credit for his own tax returns...