Friday, July 29, 2011

Randi Rhodes: Late Night Tea Fit

It’s Friday, ya bastids!

DEVELOPING: As of 2pm ET, the House is back in session and a vote on the newly revised Boehner plan could tonight. WATCH IT LIVE

Uh oh. Republicans may be having problems maintaining their Boehner. House Speaker John Boehner’s debt-ceiling bill is in danger of collapsing faster than the United States’ credit-worthiness. Boehner couldn’t line up the votes to pass his bill last night, and had to withdraw it at the last minute. And I don’t need to tell you, when a Boehner pulls out at the last second, things get messy.

When the vote on Boehner’s bill was delayed last night, he had the House turn to mundane business like renaming post offices. Really. I’m just surprised that the Tea Party nuts didn’t refuse to do that too. “This country doesn’t have enough money to be repainting the signs on these post offices to name them after war heroes and such. Why is the federal government even in the business of delivering mail? This Benjamin Franklin guy was some kind of socialist!”

Late into the night, wavering members of the Republican caucus were being brought into Boehner’s office for a face-to-face discussion about their vote. I don’t envy anyone who has to get close to John Boehner’s face late at night. “Can I offer you a breath mint, Mr. Speaker?” Boehner seems to be keeping a stiff upper lip throughout this ordeal. Odd, the only time he doesn’t cry is the one time he really has something to cry about. Boehner has been through tough times before, though. And you know how it is with drunks—they never seem to get injured when they fall. It’s quite possible John Boehner could come out of this smelling like a rose. But it’s more likely he’ll come out of this smelling like a rosé.

Finally, Michele Bachmann is trying to dodge any questions about her husband’s “pray the gay away” therapy (video below). Michele said “My husband is not running for the presidency.” Nope. If my guess is correct, he really wants to be First Lady. Michele ducked the question and just alluded to celebrating her and her husband’s 33rd wedding anniversary. I guess that’s an answer of sorts—maybe Marcus Bachmann’s “gay conversion therapy” can’t turn gay people straight, but it can keep up appearances for at least 33 years. Well, it can keep up appearances, if you don’t look or listen too closely.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Thom Hartmann: We're turning into a nation of peons....

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As debt-limit talks stall - the economy hit a wall. Economic growth in the second quarter of this year was less than expected - only 1.3%. Not only that - first quarter economic growth was revised downward showing that our economy grew by less than a half-point at the beginning of the year - just .4%. The reason why our economy stalled is consumer spending which only grew by .1% - the slowest growth rate in two years.

That means are economy is tanking because people don't have enough money in their pockets to buy stuff, and it's made even worse by a half-million government employees - workers with paychecks - being laid off in the government sector over the past year-and-a-half, mostly in those states with Republican governors. Yet - Republican in the House have not passed ONE jobs bill or stimulus measure to get money back in the hands of Americans to spend it. Instead - we're all stuck relying on the millionaire and billionaire so-called "job creators" who, like Jeff Emmelt at GE, who just this week announced he's moving his X-ray machine division to China, are busily creating jobs in other countries.

Trickle down economics isn't working - it's only turning us into a nation of peons.


(How does the economy look like to you? Tell us here.)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thom Hartmann: Want to reboot the economy?

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Want to reboot the economy? Build some new roads! The American Society of Civil Engineers released a new report yesterday showing our economy will lose $3 trillion over the next decade thanks to the poor condition of our national infrastructure. As the report says, "If the nation's infrastructure were free of deficient conditions in pavement, bridges, transit vehicles, and track and transit facilities, Americans would earn more personal income and industry would be more productive."

That means more revenue into the government - which means lower deficits. So not only would we be stimulating the economy with a new national infrastructure project - but we'd also be addressing our debt. And this isn't a new idea - it's exactly what Democratic and Republican presidents did after World War 2 when our national debt was even higher - Eisenhower built the interstate highway system and expanded what is now Amtrak.

It's a no-brainer solution - unfortunately Eisenhower Republicans don't exist anymore.


(What is the deteriorating infrastructure costing you? Tell us here.)

Randi Rhodes:Teary Tough Guy

Boehner is getting firm. That’s just fun to say, especially if you pronounce “Boehner” the way you really should pronounce “Boehner.” All kidding aside, yesterday John Boehner told the Tea Party faction of his House Republicans that they better get their asses in line… for Boehner. OK, I promise, no more. The point is, if the Speaker of the House couldn’t get his own plan through the House, he would look like an idiot. OK, he already looks like an idiot—his face is the color of an overripe tangerine. But he would have looked weak too.

Despite what some pundits are saying, there are major differences between the Boehner bill and Harry Reid’s bill. Obviously, where the bills go has a lot to do with where they’re coming from, and John Boehner’s bill is not coming from a good place. It’s coming from John Boehner. The biggest difference between the plans is whether or not we have to go through this whole thing again in a few months. The House Republican plan is a recipe for a repeat.

John McCain is taking on the nuts in the Tea Party. If you didn’t already know, that’s your big clue that John McCain is NOT up for reelection in 2012. John McCain is certainly qualified to criticize the Tea Party people. He spent a good chunk of the past few years impersonating them. Be careful criticizing the Tea Party, John. You will eventually be up for reelection again, and there’s this newfangled thing called “video” that could come back and bite you in the ass.

The Wall Street Journal mocked the Tea Party, saying they envision a fantasy world where they get all they want “and the tea-party Hobbits could return to Middle Earth having defeated Mordor.” One problem comparing Tea Partiers to Hobbits—Hobbits are cute. If the extreme right wing is anything from the Lord of the Rings, then they are the ones who represent Mordor. Take a good look at Ann Coulter and try and tell me she is not a Ring Wraith. And all of the millions of dollars of computer graphic imagery that was spent on the Lord of the Rings movies failed to show any creature scarier looking than the people who actually attend the Tea Party events.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Jon Stewart whipped out some epic conservative crybaby montages on last night's Daily Show...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Randi Rhodes: Orange Crushed

It looks like John Boehner’s big debt ceiling plan is in some major trouble. Oh well, John, back to the cocktail napkin to draw up another one. The House vote on the Boehner plan has been delayed from today until at least Thursday… yeah, like spoiled fish is going to smell better if you let it sit a day. The big problem was that the Congressional Budget Office estimates show Boehner’s plan wouldn’t cut spending nearly as much as he said. Wait! John Boehner exaggerates? Now there are people all over Washington thinking “maybe Boehner didn’t mean it when he said I was his bestest friend forever.”

Brilliant! Boehner’s plan already doesn’t raise the debt ceiling enough. Republican leaders responded to the CBO report that it doesn’t cut deficits either by saying that then they’ll amend the bill so that it raises the debt ceiling even less. Every time somebody points out something wrong with Boehner’s proposal, Republican leaders say “No, wait! We can make it worse.” The only good news for John Boehner in all of this is that he won’t remember any of it tomorrow morning.

Leaders in Washington are more worried about a U.S. credit downgrade than they are about an actual default. The problem is that you don’t need complete default to have a disaster. A credit downgrade could wreak havoc on this economy. The Titanic didn’t have to ram that iceberg to end up sinking, it just had to graze it.

Rush Limbaugh says that the government is making up the heat wave. Wow. First we had a mental recession, and now we have mental heat wave. Either this country is really going crazy… or our problems are real. Rush claims that the heat index, which takes humidity into account, is “manufactured by the government.” Hey, who are you going to believe, Rush Limbaugh or your own lying, sweating pores?

Finally, according to campaign finance filings, Michele Bachmann spent $4,700 on hair and makeup shortly after entering the presidential race. To be fair, it’s not clear if that money was spent on her hair and makeup, or on her husband Marcus’s hair and makeup, which would be a shame, since he’s the only one who would get to see it.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

FLASHBACK 1944: Looking back at this excerpt of FDR's State of the Union address is a stark reminder of just how far America has been dragged to the Right since then...

Thom Hartmann; The Real Leaders of the Republican party - Rush Limbaugh and Grover Norquist - are quite happy

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Speaker of the House John Boehner probably had a few more cocktails and cigarettes than normal last night - it was a rough Tuesday for him. One day after a source at Standard and Poor's credit rating agency warned that passing Boehner's short-term debt-limit plan will still lead to a United States credit downgrade - the Congressional Budget Office piled on even more bad news. According to the CBO - the plan that Speaker Boehner touted as cutting $1 trillion from the deficit - ACTUALLY only cuts about $850 billion.

Not only that - droves of Republicans came out against the bill - forcing leadership to reach out to Fox so-called News talking heads like Sean Hannity and Brit Hume - as well as a number of other Conservative journalists, radio show hosts, and pundits to whip up support for the Boehner deal. But it didn't work. And now a vote on Boehner's debt-limit plan that was scheduled for today has been delayed as the Speaker goes back to the drawing board. It's becoming increasingly clear that Republicans invented this economic crisis now just 5 days away - by turning a routine housekeeping matter done 18 times during the Reagan Administration and 7 times during the Bush administration into a hostage-taking event that's now gotten out of their own control.

And the hostages are the American working people - and now the success or failure of the Obama presidency. I'm sure the real leaders of their party - Rush Limbaugh and Grover Norquist - are quite happy.


(Will they still be happy next week? Tell us here.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Randi Rhodes: Prime Time Smack Down

Last night President Obama went on the air to address the nation over the impending debt ceiling crisis. A presidential address to the nation should not have been necessary, but then this entire crisis is not necessary. Many of President Obama’s problems were inherited from President Bush, but this is one that Congressional Republicans created all on their own. The President derided what he called a “partisan three-ring circus” in Washington. Well, a circus is what you get when you include those Republican elephants—a circus and a big mess.

The President hardly had to underscore the seriousness of the threat we face, if only because the threat we face came on right after the President, in the form of the carved coconut face of Speaker of the House John Boehner. I’m sorry, but seeing John Boehner offer a rebuttal to President Obama’s remarks is like giving the Mayberry town drunk, Otis, a chance to rebut the common-sense wisdom of Andy Griffith, except that Otis was a lovable drunk.

The Senate and the House have rival plans to deal with the debt ceiling issue. Check that, the Senate has a plan to deal with the debt ceiling issue. The House has a plan to exploit the debt ceiling issue for the 2012 campaign. The Republican plan would force us to raise the debt ceiling again, in the middle of an election year. And by “us,” I mean everyone except Republicans. And you can be sure they’ll be standing in the way again. If Republicans really want to end this entire mess, why does their plan call for recreating this entire mess in a few months? Democrats want to put this problem behind us. Republicans want to keep it always just in front of us… at least while Barack Obama is President.

BTW, if Boehner’s plan is implemented, the AAA bond rating of the United States might still be downgraded (video below). That’s how bad of a plan it is—it undermines over two centuries of good credit for the United States. If Boehner has his way, the financial reputation of America is shot. It doesn’t matter how good or longstanding that reputation was. It’s kind of like what happened when Rupert Murdoch bought the Wall Street Journal.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Thom Hartmann: Welcome to the next Great Depression...

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After Democrats said a short-term debt-limit deal that kicks the can down the road to be picked up again 6-months from now in the middle of an election season is a NON-STARTER - guess what Speaker of the House John Boehner did yesterday? He released a short-term debt-limit deal that kicks the can down the road to be picked up again 6-months from now in the middle of an election season. That's right - a few days after Boehner took his toys and went home - breaking off negotiations with the White House and accusing the President of playing politics - Boehner offered up a debt-limit plan soaked in politics that includes NO revenue raisers and doesn't solve our debt-problem AT ALL. In fact - the credit rating agency Standard and Poor's warned that if Boehner's plan is passed to avoid an immediate default next week - the agency will STILL downgrade our debt because the Boehner plan is nothing more than a gimmick.

So now the only viable solution seems to be Harry Reid's plan which also isn't balanced since it includes NOT ONE single penny in tax increases on corporations, millionaires, and billionaires. But at least it saves entitlements from deep cuts. The President threw his weight behind the Reid plan last night in a speech to the nation - signaling that a balanced approach is now off the table in debt-limit negotiations and that working people will bear much of the burden of deficit reduction - just as Republicans wanted. Regardless of what plan passes out of Congress at this point - working people and the middle-class in the country are going to get a bad deal. And we can thank corporate shills like Tom Friedman, virtually all of the corporate media, and the lobbyists for the billionaire class pushing the story that there some mythical "centrist" voter out there who's worried about US debt, loves so-called "free trade," and thinks Social Security and Medicare are too generous - but doesn't care at all about jobs for it.

Perhaps most tragically, it seems the White House is buying the myth, instead of rolling back the Reagan tax cuts and bringing our jobs back home from overseas. Welcome to the next Great Depression.


(What do you think the Democrats should do? Tell us here.)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Thom Hartmann: Right-wing Terrorism...

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Norway is in mourning after Friday's terrorist attacks that killed more than 90 people - including more than 80 people gunned down on a remote island campsite. Shortly after the attack - Conservatives here in the United States pointed to Norway's lack of a state security complex as a reason why they were vulnerable to a terrorist attack. But now we realize Islamic terror had nothing to do with Friday's chaos in the Nordic nation. The man in custody for the attacks is Ander Behring Breivik - a white Christian Fundamentalist who was lashing out against Norway's Labour Party for their progressive approach to immigration and social welfare. This is the same sort of that Republicans bashed the Obama Administration for warning the nation about back in 2009.

And it's the same sort of terrorism that's far more prevalent here in the United States than Islamic terrorism - but the threat is largely ignored because the Fox News hate machine has whipped up so much fear against Muslims - that other threats are inconceivable to the American people.


(Do you think this latest attack will change anything? Tell us here.)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Thom Hartmann: Are we seeing the "shock doctrine" at work in the debt-limit debate?

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Are we seeing the "shock doctrine" at work in the debt-limit debate? Author Naomi Klein wrote the book on the shock doctrine - a tactic used by Conservatives throughout history to manufacture or exploit a crisis in order to push through radical right-wing reforms that benefit the super rich and screw over the working class. She's now weighing in on the current debt-limit debate saying this in a statement for the website "Using trumped up crisis to raid the public purse and attack the basic rights and benefits is a very old trick - but rarely is the shock doctrine tactic wielded as brazenly as in the pseudo debate about the debt ceiling. This is naked class war, waged by the ultra rich against everyone else, and it's well past time for Americans to draw the line."

She's right - we have no debt crisis. Our debt-to-GDP ration is well below what it was after World War 2 - and both Democratic and Republican Presidents spent federal money to grow our economy out of debt. And as a recent Gallup poll noted - Americans don't give a damn about the debt - they care about jobs! But Republicans are using a fake debt crisis to destroy the last remnants of FDR's New Deal by dismantling social safety nets - downsizing the middle class - and handing over the commons to transnational corporations.

As long as there is a so-called debt crisis - Republicans think they can get away with turning the United States into a banana republic.


(Will they get away with it? Tell us here.)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Randi Rhodes: The Ladies' Man

Allen West is trying to fundraise off of his tirade against fellow Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, because in the Republican world, the only thing worse than making a mistake is failing to profit off of that mistake. The subject line on West’s fundraising email is “Vile, Despicable, and Unprofessional.” It refers to what he originally called Wasserman Schultz, though “vile, despicable, and unprofessional” very neatly sums up the idea of this fundraising effort itself.

For her part, Debbie Wasserman Schultz had some choice words for Allen West yesterday. And guess what? None of those words were “vile, despicable, or unprofessional.” Once again, Wasserman Schultz just took apart Allen West on the issues, which is the perfect approach, since West has already proven that he cannot handle being criticized on the issues. I wonder how Allen is going to react. There are only so many synonyms for “vile” and “despicable” in the thesaurus.

At least Allen West has found a fierce defender in Allen West. And if you’re thinking “but they’re the same person,” well Allen West doesn’t seem so sure of that. Speaking on Fox News, West pulled the classic weirdo stunt of repeatedly referring to himself in the third person. Not that I blame him. If I was Allen West, I’d want to put some distance between me and Allen West.

Finally, according to a 2006 article in the Star Tribune, Marcus Bachmann sometimes acts as Michele’s wardrobe stylist. Well, to more accurate, he acts as her husband. He IS her wardrobe stylist. In 2006, the article says Marcus chose for Michele “a sleek, simple hourglass dress with a yoke collar in winter white.” No wonder this woman gets debilitating migraines. How much mental effort does it take to keep convincing herself that she is not married to Auntie Mame? If nothing else happens this Republican Primary cycle, I want Marcus Bachmann to be able to throw off the winter white yoke collar of closeted living. I don’t care who the Republican nominee in 2012 is, as long as Marcus is Grand Marshall of the 2012 Greenwich Village Pride Parade.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Stephen Colbert gets to the bottom of West vs Wasserman Schultz as only he can...

Thom Hartmann: The American people have spoken - and it's time Republicans AND Democrats listen

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The American people have spoken - and it's time Republicans AND Democrats listen. According to a new ABC/Washington Post poll - 62% of Americans want to see a balanced approach to raising the debt-limit that includes both spending cuts and revenue raisers. And when it comes to what sort of revenue raisers the American people want to see - the Republicans' heads are about to explode. A whopping 72% of Americans support raising taxes on people who make more than $250,000 a year.

Only 27% oppose. Not only that - large majorities of Americans also support: raising the Social Security tax cap - closing the hedge fund manager tax loophole - and cutting off taxpayer subsidies for big oil corporations. So why is it that President Obama is supporting the Gang of 6 plan that includes none of these reforms - and instead cuts $1,300 a year out of Social Security checks - and further lowers taxes for millionaires, billionaires, and corporations?

Maybe we were all fooled - and President Obama really is just the best Republican President in the last 50 years.


(What do you think? Tell us here.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Randi Rhodes: Planless Plans & Rupert's Excuses

Remember when we would criticize House Republicans for having no plan for the deficit? Well, they’ve managed to come up with a plan that’s worse than nothing. Last night they passed their “cut, cap, and balance” deficit reduction plan. The plan is utterly unworkable, and it will never become law. That’s the best you can say for Congressional Republican ideas—they’re terrible, but at least they have no chance of becoming reality.

In testimony before Parliament, Rupert Murdoch defiantly said he would neither resign nor accept any responsibility for the hacking scandal. I swear he was just about to start yelling at people to get the hell off his lawn. Murdoch said “people I trusted, I’m not saying who, I don’t know what level, have let me down.” Beautiful. The CEO, trying to avoid responsibility. Tell me Rupert, is it harder to throw people under the bus when you’re actually driving the bus? I loved watching the hearings. It’s amusing that the Prince of Darkness has that Australian accent. It makes you think “so that’s what would happen if Satan possessed Crocodile Dundee.”

HOUR TWO GUEST: Ring of Fire’s Mike Papantonio on yesterday’s Murdoch hearing and the very real legal problems that still lie ahead for News Corp.

Congressman Allen West has lost his marbles, which is a shocking statement only in that it implies that Allen West at one time had his marbles. DNC Chairwoman and fellow Congressman Debbie Wasserman Schultz set West off by criticizing his policy stances on the House floor. I’m not sure if Allen West understands… that’s pretty much what the House floor is for. West responded to the criticism by firing off a personal email to Wasserman Schultz calling her “vile, unprofessional, and despicable.” Really? You know, when you fly off the handle and unleash a tirade calling someone “vile” and “despicable,” you might want to leave out calling them “unprofessional,” if only to avoid the irony. Honest to God—the subject line on the email reads “Subject: Unprofessional and Inappropriate Sophomoric Behavior from Wasserman-Schultz.” Then follows the most unprofessional, sophomoric email ever sent by anyone who wasn’t actually a high school sophomore at the time. The text of the email actually starts out with the words “Look, Debbie…”! Oh. My. God. That reads like a transcript from one of those “Real Housewives” shows. If Allen West was delivering his tirade in person, I assume he would have flipped a table at some point.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Bernie Sanders: Save Social Security

National Buz Banner UPDATE

Save Social Security

Devasting Cuts

The latest idea to emerge in negotiations over a deficit-reduction package came from a group of senators that calls itself the Gang of Six. The proposal would be a disaster, Sen. Bernie Sanders warned. "The plan would result in devastating cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and many other programs that are of vital importance to working families in this country. Meanwhile, tax rates would be lowered for the wealthiest people and the largest, most profitable corporations.

"This is an approach that should be rejected by the American people. At a time when the rich are becoming richer and corporate profits are soaring, at least half of any deficit-reduction package must come from upper income people and profitable corporations. We must also take a hard look at military spending, which has tripled since 1997."

Read a summary of the proposal »
Read the analysis of The Nation's John Nichols »
Take our poll »

Join the conversation:

Thom Hartmann: No One or Company Should Have that Much Media Power

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It was a bizarre day in the UK yesterday. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his son James Murdoch appeared before the UK Parliament to answer questions about what they knew about the phone hacking scandal that's sweeping Britain. Murdoch was asked if he was informed on the hacking scandal when it became known within NewsCorp - to which Murdoch responded, "No."

He was then asked if he's called for a complete investigation yet in all NewsCorp media holdings to make sure similar illegal hacking isn't widespread throughout the company - Murdoch again answered, "No." And when asked if he felt responsible for the scandal as CEO - Murdoch said, "No." So as the CEO of NewsCorp it appears that Murdoch was largely out of the loop and didn't care to root out the problem moving forward.

About the only difference between Rupert Murdoch and Sylvio Berlusconi - two men who built media empires so powerful that politicians had to come kiss their feet in order to get elected - is that Murdoch isn't interested in running for political office. How long will it be before Americans realize that the control of the British political system Murdoch seized is very similar to the power he has in America with his ownership of The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, Fox News, and TV stations all around the country?

The fact is that no Republican politician in America can rise to national office against the disapproval of Murdoch and his attack dogs like Sean Hannity. That's not democracy, that corporatocracy.

No single man or company should be allowed to have that much media power.


(What do you think should happen to the empire? Tell us here.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Thom Hartmann: The final step in Ronald Reagan's "starve the beast" economics...

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If you thought the Paul Ryan plan to privatize Medicare was bad - wait until you see what Republicans have up their sleeve today. Republicans in the House today will vote on THEIR plan to raise the debt-limit - which includes a balanced budget amendment that makes sure the government can't close loopholes on rich people in the future - and can't spend any money beyond a certain threshold - even if emergency spending is needed to fight off a recession or some other crisis.

The balanced budget amendment will require a 25% spending cut in every single government program - from Social Security - to Medicare - to Veteran's benefits - and will return government spending to it's lowest levels since 1966 - when the United States population stood at 100 million people fewer than it is today. No President has ever supported a spending cut and structural changes this massive - yet Republicans feel that with our nation in a Great Depression and real unemployment above 16% - that now is the perfect time to blockade government spending - just like Herbert Hoover did.

What we're seeing unfold in the House today is the final step in Ronald Reagan's "starve the beast" economics - and if Republicans are successful - we're all screwed.


(Do you think they will succeed? Tell us here.)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Randi Rhodes: Tea Time & Murdoch Meltdown

Congress may be ready to get down to business on finding some way to avoid default. But this being the new Congress, first they have to debate a useless balanced budget amendment. In Washington, nothing necessary ever gets done unless it’s preceded by a lot of extremely unnecessary stuff. The balanced budget amendment being proposed has nothing to do with balancing the budget. It’s a desperate attempt to balance the factions within the Republican Party, and a sop to the Tea Party nuts. Everyone has to salute the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag before we can get to work. The balanced budget amendment being proposed would require a 2/3 majority in both Houses of Congress to enact any tax increase. That sounds pretty un-balanced to me. There are two ways to balance a budget—decrease spending, and increase revenue. All this “balanced budget” amendment does is to take away one of those methods. All this amendment would do is to tie the hands of the federal government. Of course, if your ultimate plan is to drown it in the bathtub, that’s not such a bad idea.

On Sunday, Rebekah Brooks, the head of News International for News Corp was arrested for her part in the phone hacking scandal. I wonder if the cops let her make a phone call after her arrest. Brooks resigned from News Corp on Friday and was arrested on Sunday. Let’s hope the timeline for Rupert Murdoch himself moves as fast. If Rupert Murdoch looks like the stereotypical villain, Rebekah Brooks looks like the stereotypical evil step-sister. I hope police searched her home for poisoned apples. It’s hard to convey how big this is in Britain. If this were happening in the United States… oh wait, it IS happening in the United States. Well if you want to appreciate how big it is in Britain, just be patient. It’ll be just as big here before long.

Of course, you have no idea how big it is anywhere if you’re a viewer of Fox News. Yeah, Fox News was all over this story, like indigo on rice. This weekend Fox News did address the scandal to a small degree. Some of the time they blamed it on Fox’s competitors, sometimes they blamed it on the left, and sometimes they blamed it on an agenda at the White House. So it’s good to know there is a variety of opinion there at Fox.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

On Friday, “Fox & Friends” determined that News Corp was some sort of victim in all this...

Thom Hartmann: Is the Game Up at Fox So-Called News?

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Another bad weekend for Rupert Murdoch. Yesterday - Rebekah Brooks - the former chief executive of News International - the parent company of Murdoch's British media empire - was arrested on charges that she illegally intercepted phone calls and bribed UK police officers. Also taking a hit in the scandal yesterday - Britain's top cop. Sir Paul Stephenson - the head of the Metropolitan Police Service - resigned citing, "ongoing speculation and accusations relating to the Met's link with News International."

But that's not all - now the UK's Serious Fraud Office - the agency in charge of investigating large fraud cases - opened up a probe into News International yesterday to look into whether or not Murdoch's corporation grossly misused shareholders' money. And, as Murdoch's media empire in the UK crumbles - there are new allegations in America that Fox News was also into illegal phone hacking. As the DailyKos is reporting - a former Fox News executive - Dan Cooper - has come forward saying that Fox News chief Roger Ailes constructed an underground bunker within the Fox News New York City headquarters to perform "counterintelligence" that may include illegally hacking phone calls. The bunker was known as the "brain room."

If what this former Fox executive is saying is true, and if the Obama administration will actually investigate and prosecute Murdoch - the game is up at Fox so-called News.


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

Friday, July 15, 2011

Randi Rhodes: Debt Drama, Barbarians & Hacking Hacks

It's Friday, ya bastids!

Yesterday, President Obama tossed the deadlocked debt ceiling negotiations back to Congress. Well, not literally “tossed,” or they would have stepped out of the way and let them crash to the floor. The President told Congressmen to confer with their rank and file members about what could get accomplished. Unfortunately, in the case of the Republicans that’s like telling them to take the trolley back to Looney Town. You think Congressional Republican leaders are crazy? The Republican rank and file in the House will want to tie this to returning to the gold standard and eliminating the Fed, the EPA, and child labor laws.

Today, the president responded to concerns that Republicans won’t work with him no matter what by quipping “I always have hope. Don’t you remember my campaign?” Yes, we do, Mr. President. But we also remember theirs.

In a new interview, Marcus Bachmann claims that his clinics only practice gay conversion if someone asks for it. How can you tell someone is asking for gay conversion therapy? Do they ask for it by what they’re wearing? In that case, the only patients safe from gay conversion would be those with no fashion sense whatsoever. Bachmann also claims that audio tapes of him on a Christian radio show referring to homosexuals as “barbarians” have been doctored. Come on, Marcus, tell the truth. You said gays were barbarians, but you meant it as a compliment. I mean, Conan the Barbarian sure looks sexy in that outfit. Oh, those barbarians, with their rippling muscles under those furs and metal armbands! It all makes you want to see them go and sack somebody, if you know what I mean.

Rupert Murdoch finally gave an interview to his very own Wall Street Journal, which is his way of telling them “I realize you have to talk about it. Here’s what to say…” Usually, newspapers cover stories of espionage, bribery, perjury, and payoffs. Now the people at the Wall Street Journal have to realize that they are working for a media empire that engages in all of those behaviors.

The rightwing is worried that the left is having too much fun watching the catastrophe at Fox News unfold. Hey, from our point of view, Fox News has been an unfolding catastrophe since it launched. Let the sucker go down. I won’t be happy until the only question that Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly get to pose to anyone is “would you like fries with that order?”

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Thom Hartmann: Does anyone else hear the fiddle playing as the nation burns?

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Another day - another credit rating agency warning about our debt. On the heels of Moody's threatening to downgrade our nation's debt rating on Wednesday - the S&P rating agency fired a warning shot too - putting our nation's triple AAA rating on negative watch. In a statement released yesterday - S&P said, "owing to the dynamics of the political debate on the debt ceiling, there is at least a one-in-two likelihood that we could lower the long-term rating on the U.S. within the next 90 days."

That's right - there's a 50-50 chance the United State will be downgraded to a nation with a spotty record of paying our bills. Even if a deal is made - S&P warns - our credit rating could still be downgraded if the agency doesn't feel enough has been done to solve the problem for the long term which puts Republicans short-term solutions off the table. Meanwhile - another round of talks at the White House pushed the President into laying down a deadline for a deal. "It's decision time," the President said issuing a 24 to 36 hour deadline for Congress to make a deal on the debt-limit. The house of cards that our economy is built on thanks to 30 years of Reaganomics and so-called Free Trade is now starting to crumble. And last night - lawmakers took to the diamond to play their annual Congressional softball game.

Does anyone else hear the fiddle playing as the nation burns?


(And what tune is it playing? Tell us here.)

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Randi Rhodes: Boo Hoo

Yesterday at the debt ceiling talks, President Obama and Eric Cantor had a big fight. Or judging from the conflicting accounts, they had two completely different big fights. Republicans claim that President Obama yelled at Eric Cantor and then walked out. Democrats claim the meeting ended with Eric Cantor being dressed down while sitting in silence. Both scenarios have Eric Cantor getting wimp-slapped, and that’s the best part of the story anyway. The difference is whether President Obama was losing his cool or not. I tend to think not. Yelling at Eric Cantor is the most logical thing to do in that situation. Who wouldn’t want to yell at Eric Cantor? He should open a booth at the State fair where people could yell at him for a dollar a minute. There goes your debt crisis right there.

INTERACTIVE: If there is no increase of the debt ceiling, how would you prioritize?

Obama said “This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this.” Well at least the first part of that finally got the Republicans’ full attention for the only time during these talks. Obama reportedly asked the leaders “Would Ronald Reagan be sitting here?” Well, if he was, he would be napping. With all due respect, President Obama, you are no Ronald Reagan. And I mean that as the highest compliment possible.

The Daily Show has a great take on Marcus Bachmann’s anti-gay crusading (video below). Marcus Bachmann offers gay conversion therapy? My first question would be, does Dr. Bachmann do a house call to my closet, or do I have to go his closet for the treatments? I’m sorry, but listen to the guy. Marcus Bachmann may have actually found a way to be openly gay while denying that he’s gay the entire time. So it seems Marcus Bachmann’s anti-gay agenda is like the approach of one of those militant anti-smoking ex-smokers. Except I’m not sure that poor Marcus Bachmann ever even allowed himself to enjoy a cigarette. Oh, I’m sure that somewhere down the line, he had a cigarette. I’m just saying he never allowed himself to enjoy it.

Finally, thanks to the efforts of the pharmaceutical industry, antipsychotics are now the biggest selling therapeutic class of prescription drugs in the United States. If you find that upsetting, do try to avoid the temptation to take a pill to deal with it.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Thom Hartmann: Moody's Investors Service turned its sights on the United States

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One day after downgrading Ireland's credit rating to junk status - Moody's Investors Service turned its sights on the United States. In an announcement released yesterday - Moody's said the United States is in danger of losing its "AAA" credit rating - and has put our nation under review for a credit downgrade. A credit downgrade for the United States could be the first step toward other nations dropping the dollar as their reserve currency - pushing our nation toward collapse - just like what happened to the British Empire after World War 2 when global confidence in the pound was lost.

And with financial calamity around the corner - Republicans now have no argument whatsoever in stopping a debt-limit deal as a new poll by Gallup shows that 74% of REPUBLICANS agree that a good debt-limit deal includes both spending cuts and tax hikes - just like what President Obama has proposed. Yet - after more "testy" negotiations last night at the White House - Republicans still won't play ball. And President Obama seems to be losing his patience with the Republican's dangerous game - reportedly telling Congressional leaders on the Right - "I've reached my limit. This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this."

Not only will a default bring down the presidency - but it will also bring down the nation. And unfortunately, it appears Republicans are willing to accept that trade-off.


(What credit rating would you give the US? Tell us here.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thom Hartmann: The Banksters are back to business as usual...

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Homeowners are screwed again. Banksters are laying the groundwork for a second financial crisis. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that private investment firms are once again giving out subprime mortgages to interested homeowners who normally wouldn't qualify for a home loan. It was these exact subprime mortgages that inflated the housing bubble and crashed the economy 3 years ago.

But since Congress failed to pass meaningful Wall Street reform - and Republicans are defunding Wall Street watchdogs - the banksters are back to business as usual - turning the housing market back into a high-stakes casino to gamble with America's economic future.


(Do you want the housing bubble reinflated? Tell us here.)

Randi Rhodes:Mitch Blinks & Rupert Caves

Mitch McConnell has a plan to deal with the debt ceiling crisis Link(video below). Of course, the first problem with any plan from Mitch McConnell is that it’s a plan from Mitch McConnell. McConnell’s plan effectively lets Congress empower President Obama to raise the government’s borrowing limit on his own without prior Congressional approval. Yes, no Congressional approval is needed. Mitch just wants more chances to express Congressional disapproval. Republicans refuse to raise the debt limit. They don’t have any problem allowing somebody else to raise the debt limit, however—as long as they can continuously blame them. It’s not exactly kicking the can down the road. It’s more like kicking the can to somebody else and then to start yelling “Hey that guy’s kicking a filthy can around!”

McConnell’s plan would allow the president to demand up to $2.4 trillion in new borrowing authority over the next year in three separate submissions. Well, not so much “borrowing authority” as “borrowing liability.” That’s three times in an election year that Republicans could say “Look what Obama is doing with spending!” ... after they authorized him to do it. In a sense, in this standoff, Mitch McConnell blinked, which is odd, if only because Mitch McConnell never seems to blink in real life. He looks like a parrot that needs a Heimlich maneuver.

Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation today announced they were dropping their bid for complete control of Britain’s main satellite television broadcaster. Maybe Rupert has decided it’s easier and cheaper to hack his way in. In Britain, Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid has hacked thousands of people, from politicians and celebrities, to murdered children. In fact, if our NSA really wanted to illegally spy on the most people possible, they could hardly do better than to find a way to crack into Rupert Murdoch’s cavern of secrets. Murdoch’s minions hacked into the cell phone of a 13-year old girl who had been murdered in Britain, looking for exclusives. Murdoch may have even hacked into the cell phones of 9/11 victims as well, which is the technological equivalent of going around the bodies and rifling through their pockets. And all this time you thought that the worst thing Rupert Murdoch was responsible for was Glenn Beck.

HOUR TWO GUEST: Ring of Fire's Mike Papantonio will join Randi to discuss MurdochGate.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Randi Rhodes: He`s Baaaaack!

Alan Grayson is back in the game! He announced his intention to run for congress again last night and will join us live in today’s second hour.

Alan Grayson's official site

Proving that they are 1) simply unfit to govern and 2) only able to sell their talking points to complete rubes that have no idea how government works, both John Boehner and Eric Cantor are now saying that raising the debt ceiling period IS the GOP’s compromise. When even the US Chamber of Commerce starts sounding the alarm over the GOP holding the nation hostage, it’s pretty clear that they guys have absolutely no intention of seeing the economy turn around before the next election.

While the House GOP engages in economic treason, 2012 presidential wannabe Michele Bachmann’s bigotry-for-profit ‘Christian Counseling’ enterprise is finally getting some media scrutiny. A hidden camera exposé shows that despite repeated denials, Bachmann & Associates does in fact engage in universally discredited pray-the-gay-away therapy. This revelation comes on the heels of Bachmann signing on to The Family Leader’s bizarre, highly-bigoted, slavery and Sharia Law invoking marriage pledge.

Meanwhile, it’s election day in Wisconsin as real Dems take on fake Dem GOP plants in the recall primary and in Southern California it’s the infamous “striper ad election” to fill Rep. Jane Harman’s seat. Also, an Arizona lawmaker points a loaded gun at a reporter, the tea-freaks go to war against energy saving light bulbs, and pizza guy/Muslim-hater Herman Cain’s 15-year old gospel album goes viral.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Whoopi Goldberg goes off on The Family Leader’s marriage pledge on yesterday’s The View...

Thom Hartmann: The race to the bottom in the labor force is killing the American middle-class...

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A new report by Brookings shows how corporations are forcing Americans to work to the bone for meager wages.

Today - the typical two-parent family has to work 26% longer than back in 1975. And since 1975 - wages have failed to keep up with the longer working hours.

In other words - fat cat CEOs are getting a lot more "bang for the buck" out of their workers today. Which is to be expected now that Americans have to compete for jobs with slave labor in the developing world thanks to so-called Free Trade.

The race to the bottom in the labor force is killing the American middle-class - it's time to ditch so-called Free Trade.


(Are you working harder than in 1975? Tell us here.)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Randi Rhodes: Dealing With Children

On the heals of Speaker Agent Orange bailing out on the idea of a ‘grand bargain’ to deal with the nation’s debt, President Obama again blasted the GOP today asking rhetorically, “if not now, when?” Obama said that he would not sign a short-term deal and burned Repubs for their all-talk/no-action approach to dealing with the debt/deficit saying it’s time for us to “pull off the band aid” and “eat our peas” – an apt response to the childish temper tantrum he’s been dealing with. For further evidence of GOP deficit hawk hypocrisy, one need only look at the bloated defense spending bill that the House passed on Friday – they wouldn’t even cut Pentagon NASCAR sponsorships.

Now, understanding the GOP hypocrisy at play here is as easy as understanding the wholly inaccurate twisted myth of Ronald Reagan that they’ve created for themselves. They have no basis in fact or history to back up their philosophies, so they just make up their own facts and history – and there should be no surprise to learn that tea-stained mythology doesn’t lend itself to actual governing. Couple that with half of US social program recipients believing they "have not used a government social program" and you have a perfect storm idiocy and denial that passes for today’s Republican Party.

And It’s been a big weekend for Michele Bachmann: she now leads the pack in Iowa, Tim Pawlenty took a swipe at her “non-existent” record of accomplishment on Meet The Press, and it’s been confirmed that her and husband’s ‘mental health’ clinics do in fact practice ‘ex-gay’ therapy.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Bill Maher proudly equates the Casey Anthony jury’s thinking to working class Americans who vote against their own best interests...

Thom Hartmann: The Disease of Inequality that's Infecting America

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Our unequal society is killing off hundreds of thousands of Americans every year. A new study by the American Journal of Public Health takes a look at how certain social factors contribute to early deaths. Looking at just the year 2000 - the study found that 245,000 Americans died because they didn't receive a quality education.

More than 160,000 Americans died because of a lack of social support. And - nearly 120,000 people died because of income inequality. Yet - Republicans are worsening the education system by gutting public schools - worsening our social supports by pushing for cuts to the social safety net - and worsening wealth inequality with their massive tax cuts for the rich.

We're not talking about political differences anymore - we're talking about life and death - and the disease of inequality that's infecting America.


(What do you think will stop inequality rising? Tell us here.)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Randi Rhodes: So Be It Continues

It's Friday, ya bastids!

In the warped alternate reality that is today’s Republican Party, there is great cause for celebration today: another 39,000 teachers, firefighters, police officers, etc. lost their jobs last month. In fact, over 500,000 public-sector workers have lost their jobs since President Obama took office – as John Boehner would say, “so be it.” No matter what you think of government jobs, 500K fewer paychecks circulating through local communities in a fragile economy means everybody loses. Well, maybe not everybody... CEOs are doing better than ever and Michele Bachmann sees job losses for us as political gains for her. And based on the zero job bills that have come out of the GOP House, Bachmann’s is a view shared by many of her colleagues.

Republican senator Orrin Hatch has had it with those fat-cat poor people not pulling their weight. Unbelievable! Hatch seized on a very misleading report that states 51% of households pay no federal income tax. Of course, the facts behind that statistic tell a very different story. But don’t expect facts to get in Orrin Hatch’s way – if they did, the fact that he is a wholly owned subsidiary of Big Pharma (for which his own son lobbies) would probably keep him from drawing any attention to himself over anything, ever.

Meanwhile, the latest Rupert Murdoch scandal has turned out to be quite a doozy; a Florida sheriff shrugs his shoulders over a mortgage company ordering a man’s home to be burgled and trashed; and God’s speed, Atlantis

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Thom Hartmann: Could this be the end of "Big Media"?

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Media moguls like Rupert Murdoch suffered a blow yesterday in their bid to take over the nation's news media. The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit struck down an FCC rule that allowed companies to own both a newspaper and a broadcast station in the same market. Back in 1997 - the FCC relaxed laws regarding cross-ownership in the media.

But the court said yesterday that rule change by the FCC was done improperly without giving the public enough time to weigh in on the matter. Corie Wright - policy council for the group "Free Press" - said after the ruling, "the court wisely concluded that competition in the media - not more concentration - will provide Americans with the local news and information they need and want."

Could this be the end of "Big Media"?

Up next is the Supreme Court.


(Does it look like the end to you? Tell us here.)

Norman Goldman: Justice is Served, Week in Review July 4-8th 2011

Friday, July 08, 2011

Today, justice is served on the Democratic Party. Serious damage is being done to the party BY the party. How to stop the rift? The jobs numbers out and they are BAD. Of course, the 'Cons use them to say "no new revenue". And, the head of the...

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Thursday, July 07, 2011

Today, justice must be served on the President! Word is that Social Security and Medicare cuts are on the table in the debt ceiling hostage talks. The Democratic wing of the Democratic Party is not happy. How about you? Rupert Murdoch takes a radical step to combat a...

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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Today, justice is served on many topics! We have almost too much show today! The debt ceiling issues keep multiplying - is the President playing chess, or have the Republicons already declared checkmate? The President did a Twitter Town Hall - did anyone notice? The Casey Anthony murder trial fallout...

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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Today progressive talk radio veteran Peter B. Collins takes the helm from the San Francisco Bay Area! There is plenty to catch up on after the long holiday weekend! I am taking one more day to finish my book - so please bear with me - I will...

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Monday, July 04, 2011

I and the crew wish you a safe, peaceful and dare I say - restful - Fourth of July! I like to give the crew the same three day weekends that many other folks enjoy - they work hard and an extra day helps, don't you think? To that end, we have...

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