Saturday, April 28, 2012

Randi Rhodes: Biden Beat Down

It's Friday, ya bastids!

Joe Biden is out on the campaign, assuring voters that President Obama has “a big stick.” He told a crowd “I promise you, the President has a big stick. I promise you.” He was referring to the Teddy Roosevelt quote “speak softly and carry a big stick.” Then Teddy would lean into the microphone and say “That’s what SHE said!” Maybe it was intentional—maybe Joe Biden heard the rumors about Mitt Romney, and he wants to close any possible “stick size gap.” In any case, I can’t imagine Obama being upset if Joe Biden has to tell him “I think I mistakenly gave a crowd the impression you have an enormous penis.” Obama should just say “What do you mean ‘mistakenly’?”

The Vice President made his reference to Obama’s big stick during a speech contrasting the foreign policies of Obama and Romney. You’d think that Mitt Romney would be better at foreign policy than he is. After all, every place on earth is foreign territory to Mitt Romney. Every time you see Mitt Romney take the podium, you expect his speech to begin “Greetings, people of Earth!” Biden said that Romney views the world “through a Cold War prism.” And then the Romney campaign basically responded by accusing Obama of being in line with “the Rooskis.” Seriously—one of Romney’s foreign policy advisors make a reference to “Czechoslovakia,” which hasn’t existed since the early 1990’s. I’m surprised they didn’t refer to it as “the Holy Roman Empire.” Obama is sucking up to Charlemagne! Here’s a little advice for the Mitt Romney campaign—when somebody accuses you of living in the past, don’t respond with references that are several decades out of date. Mitt Romney will keep America safe, alright—he’ll keep it safely stuck in 1965.

Biden brought it home by saying “Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive.” If Romney had been president, that would be reversed. His attitude was “let Detroit go bankrupt, and let bin Laden do what he wants.” In 2007, Romney said this about looking for Osama bin Laden: “It’s not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars, just to catch one person.”  Romney endorses hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts for the rich. In Mitt Romney’s world, it’s more important to eliminate the estate tax than it is to eliminate Osama bin Laden.

Today’s Homework | Discuss | Blog Archive

The latest installment of Mitt Romney vs Reality...

Thom Hartmann: If we don't change our ways soon...

Thom plus logo
A new report by the Royal Society, chaired by Nobel prize-winning biologist Sir John Sulston warns that world population must be stabilized and consumption in wealthy nations must be reduced or the entire planet is in big trouble. As the report reads: "The number of people living on the planet has never been higher, their levels of consumption are unprecedented and vast changes are taking place in the environment. We can choose to rebalance the use of resources to a more egalitarian pattern of consumption... or we can choose to do nothing and to drift into a downward spiral of economic and environmental ills leading to a more unequal and inhospitable future."
This is the same warning that President Jimmy Carter gave Americans back in the 1970's - but it was ignored when Ronald Reagan came to power with a "more positive" message basically telling Americans we can do whatever we want. And then after 9/11 - Bush told us all we should go shopping and consume ever more.
And now with corporations calling the shots in Washington - long-term sustainability of the planet takes a back seat to short-term profits. If we don't change our ways soon - and embrace clean, alternative energy and educate women around the plant - then we all could be headed for a rough century.
(Is there any chance we will learn in time? Tell us here.)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Randi Rhodes: SB1070 on Trial

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

Co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ) - who was at the Supreme Court hearings on SB1070 - will give his analysis of the oral arguments and and explain how he thinks the court will rule on Arizona's controversial SB1070 immigration law. Rep. Grijalva will also outline the next steps for SB1070 opponents if the Supreme Court upholds the law's key provisions.

Friend of the show and regular contributor to Forbes, Rick Ungar will discuss and debunk 'The Great American Social Security Lie'.

Activist/filmmaker Aurora Meneghello will speak with Nicole about the trillion dollar student loan debt monster, and how the House Republicans are using education to continue playing chicken with the middle class.

Finally, oil industry expert and author Antonia Juhasz on her cover story in the latest edition of The Nation magazine, 'Two Year's Later: BP's Toxic Legacy'.

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

Nicole’s blog

Today’s Randi Rhodes homework

Randi’s message board

Randi’s comedy bit archive

Randi’s daily blog archive

Randi on Facebook & Twitter

Rolling Stone is out with a new President Obama interview - editor & publisher Jann Wenner on the highlights:

Thom Hartmann: A Special Appeal From Thom Hartmann and Executive Director Don Rojas to Support FSTV and Independent Media

Noam Chomsky
An exclusive FSTV interview with Noam Chomsky is part of a package being offered to FSTV members during our Spring Pledge Drive.

We live in a critical moment in American history.

Conservatives won control of the House of Representatives in 2010 and are looking to press their gains in November. Confidence in Congress is at an all-time low, and corporate media still dominate the airwaves, which makes it imperative that alternate voices continue as strong and important parts of the political discourse.

The public sector won't support independent media. Political elites won't support independent media. Corporations won't support independent media. It's up to viewers like you to make sure that this information is available to everyone. That's why we're coming to you now. FSTV is YOUR voice, beholding to no commercial or governmental interests. To make your voice stronger, become a member of FSTV or renew your membership now.

As always, thanks for your continued support.

Thom Hartmann, Talk Show Host, The Big Picture
Don Rojas, Executive Director, FSTV

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Randi Rhodes: Mitt Happens

Mitt Romney wins big! If you like that headline, savor it. You won’t be seeing it again. Mitt completed a 5-state sweep. And what are you left with after a big sweep? A big pile of dirt! Now Mitt is turning his attention to taking on President Obama in the general election. And I do mean “turning” his attention. He’s going to be facing a completely different direction. He has assumed the helm of the Republican ship. Now he has to see if he can turn it away from the iceberg that the Tea Party types have it speeding towards.

Last night Mitt said “A better America begins tonight.” Cue the Etch A Sketch! Over the next couple of weeks, the Romney campaign will grow from some 80 employees to around 400. That, my friends, is the difference between needing to fool some of the people, and needing to fool all of the people.

Newt Gingrich said he will continue to campaign “as a citizen.” Translation—he thinks he can still milk this whole thing for some more book and DVD sales. As long as he continues campaigning, Newt’s Secret Service protection is costing taxpayers some $44,000 per day. So much for cutting government waste! But Newt needs those Secret Service agents! I bet that at a lot of his appearances, they’re the only ones there.

Last night, President Obama appeared on Jimmy Fallon’s late night show. The President spoke about the cost of student loans over a slow jam laid down by the house band (video below). It was important progressive political speech over a great slow jam—kind of like “Martin Luther King meets B.B. King.” It would be really difficult for Mitt Romney to speak over the sound of musicians jamming—Mitt would try to have several different beats going on at the same time. Mitt is a polyrhythmic politician!

An embarrassing porn video of Mitt Romney has surfaced! No, Mitt is not performing in the porn video—he is vowing to get rid of porn. Oops! That might actually hurt his chances more than an actual porn video of him would. I mean, people already think of him as stiff.

Today’s Homework | Discuss | Blog Archive

Slow-jamming with the POTUS...

Thom Hartmann: Two years of trickle-down austerity has The U.K. officially in a second recession

Thom plus logo
The U.K. is officially in a second recession as the British economy shrank for the second straight quarter. Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron whose government has been pushing trickle-down austerity for nearly the last two years called the new economic numbers, "very, very disappointing." The U.K. joins the long list of other European nations that have pursued trickle-down austerity and watched their economies tank - like Greece, Italy, and Spain.
Meanwhile in France - Conservative President Nicholas Sarkozy is desperately trying to cling to his job against Socialist Francois Hollande who's running on an anti-austerity platform. And in the Netherlands, the Dutch Government is in limbo after it caved to pressure and failed to pass its own austerity budget. Over the last year - we've seen the devastating consequences of trickle-down austerity - the job layoffs, the riots, and the suicides. And now - the politicians, banksters, and technocrats pushing trickle-down austerity in Europe are feeling the political backlash from their desperate populations.
Meanwhile - multi-millionaire Congressman Paul Ryan and the Republican Party here in the United States are pushing the same sort of trickle-down austerity - ignoring the economic consequences on full display across the Atlantic.
(When do you think will the tide will turn? Tell us here.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hugh Hefner: GOP 'war against sex'

Hugh Hefner poses for a photograph at his home at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, Calif. | AP Photo
Hefner writes, 'If these zealots have their way, our hard-won sexual liberation ... lie in peril.' | AP Photo
Although it’s his magazine, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner doesn’t frequently take to its pages to wax poetic about one thing or another. In the May issue, however, Hefner pens a rare, full-page editorial on an unsurprising topic: Sex.
This time, it’s political, however. In “The War Against Sex,” Hefner blasts “repressed conservatives” who he says are “pounding on America’s bedroom door.”

Text Size

  • -
  • +
  • reset
“For months I have watched the rhetoric building,” writes Hefner. “Last October, in an interview with an evangelical blogger, Rick Santorum promised to defund birth control on the grounds that contraception is ‘a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.’ … Ron Paul was no better, believing that the birth control pill did not cause immorality but that immorality creates the problem of wanting to use the pill. Mitt Romney vowed to see a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and to overturn Roe v. Wade.”
Hefner continues to site a history of efforts against sexual liberty and some of his successful attempts to defeat them.
Then: “All these years later I hear echoes of this same ignorance espoused by a new crop of self-appointed arbiters who are determined to oversee our morality. I heard it when Santorum backer Foster Friess said, ‘Back in my days, [women] used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives,’ implying that if women held an aspirin between their legs, they wouldn’t open them. I heard it when I learned about proposed anit-abortion legislation in Kansas that would protect doctors who conceal vital medical information from pregnant women. And I heard it when Rush Limbaugh called a Georgetown University law student a ‘slut’ and a ‘prostitute’ after she testified on Capitol Hill about allowing employers to avoid providing contraception for religious reasons. … Fifty years of sexual freedom vanished in a sound bite.”
Hefner concludes that, “If these zealots have their way, our hard-won sexual liberation — women’s rights, reproductive rights and rights to privacy — lie in peril. We won’t let that happen. … Welcome to the new sexual revolution.”

Randi Rhodes: End of the Line

Today is primary day in five states. The best news for Republicans is that it’s no longer really necessary for them to go out and vote for any of those losers. There’s only one loser left, so it’s academic. After today, Mitt Romney’s hold on the nomination will be as solid as that stuff he puts in his hair.

For his part, Mitt Romney is waxing poetic about how much he loves his vacations in France! Mitt spoke of how he loved “walking around the city of Paris... one of the most magnificent cities in the world.” And all of it paid for with socialist economic policies! I’m not sure you know this, Mitt, but the Louvre is not privately owned… or I’m sure that Bain would have bought it and sold the Mona Lisa to the highest bidder.

Sean Hannity is saying that poor people don’t ever go to bed hungry because they have things like air conditioners and stereos. I guess he thinks they can eat their appliances. Why don’t you people just barbecue your stereo sub-woofer and enjoy it with a nice cool glass of freon from the air conditioner? Sean, some become destitute after they tasted enough “luxury” to have a few appliances. They used to have food—that’s why they still have that empty refrigerator! Well, that and the hope that there will be food again at some point in the future. Then Sean lets you in on a little secret—you can “survive” on rice and beans. Really! That’s the Republican solution to income inequality—99 percent of you are going to have to learn to live with less! Sean assures you “There are ways to live really, really cheaply.” That would be a good point to throw in “So vote for Mitt Romney!”

A spokesman for the RNC says that the Republican Party’s economic platform will be the George Bush program, “just updated.” Great! Are you ready for “Bush 2.0”? “Updated” is an interesting choice of word. You can’t really say “new and improved,” because it really isn’t either one of those. It’s “updated” because they plan on just taking all of George Bush’s economic policies and changing the header on the page to read “January, 2013.” 

Today’s Homework | Discuss | Blog Archive

Jon Stewart on Romney's possible veeps playing hard to get...

Thom Hartmann: The blowback against Austerity rages throughout Europe

Thom plus logo
The continental rejection of austerity continues in Europe. In the Netherlands - the Dutch government coalition collapsed on Monday - after lawmakers failed to agree upon a series of austerity measures. And in Ireland - the nation's largest trade unions are pressuring the government to vote against more austerity measures being pushed by Germany.
These latest protests - coupled with the early electoral defeat of French President Nicholas Sarkozy, demonstrations against austerity in the Czech Republic, and growing unrest in places like Greece, Italy, and Spain, where austerity is in full-effect - show that Europe is fed up with forced budget cuts.
Stay tuned - the backlash against austerity could be severe.
(Where do you think it will lead? Tell us here.)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Randi Rhodes: Out On Bail

George Zimmerman is out of jail. Let’s hope that the ankle bracelet he has to wear is more able to hold him back than that poor police dispatcher was. He should have to wear an earpiece with a recording that periodically tells him “OK, we don’t need you to do that,” just in case.

There is a task force in Florida that has been appointed to look into the Stand Your Ground laws. All of the lawmakers on the task force voted for, or actually co-sponsored Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. This task force is going to exonerate the Stand Your Ground laws more quickly than the Sanford Police exonerated George Zimmerman.

Senator Marco Rubio says he thinks that George W. Bush did “a fantastic job” as president. That alone should disqualify Rubio from running for vice president. Heck, that should disqualify Rubio from operating heavy machinery. Somebody really should be checking Marco Rubio for signs of a concussion. To be fair, George Bush’s time as president was fantastic, if by fantastic you mean “rooted in fantasy.”

Mitt Romney lacks transparency... beyond the fact that you can see right through that phony, that is. Mitt seems to have contempt for the idea of public disclosure. It goes well with his contempt for the public in general. Why won’t Mitt release his tax returns? I would be shocked if there was anything illegal in them. But I have a feeling I would be even more shocked by what is in them that actually IS legal.

Mitt Romney has hired an openly gay spokesman. That’s a shock. If there are two things Mitt Romney is definitely against, it’s being gay, and being open. Where did Mitt find a supporter who was openly gay? If you are openly gay, and you support Mitt Romney... you are also openly insane. Actually, Richard Grenell, though gay, is a close-minded misogynist with arch-conservative views. The only good thing about this guy is how much his sexual orientation drives conservatives crazy. 

Today’s Homework | Discuss | Blog Archive

The John Edwards trial begins today - a quick recap of what led up to all this...

The Worldwide Recession & Austerity has led to Global Unemployment & Civil Unrest

Thom plus logo
The United States isn't the only nation dealing with chronic unemployment - the rest of the world is too! A new report by the World Bank says that the global economy needs to create 200 million jobs to recover from the worldwide recession and reach full employment. Twenty-seven million jobs were lost around the world when the economy went in the tank in 2008 - and subsequent job growth hasn't been nearly strong enough to keep up with the 40 million new people who enter the workforce every single year.
Austerity measures in several European nations from Greece to Spain to the U.K. have crippled economies and mobilized working people into the streets. Major demonstrations in Denmark and the Czech Republic were held over the week to protest against austerity too. And in France - austerity may just end up costing the President his job.
One way to create jobs is to unleash a green revolution around the world to cut carbon emissions and use energy more efficiently. Now only if we can get the oil barons out of the way to get started.
(How would you do it? Tell us here.)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Randi Rhodes: I Am Sorry

It’s 4/20, ya bastids!

Do something nice for a stoner today—remind them that it’s 4/20, because they’re not going to remember that until tomorrow. It’s not like anyone celebrating 4/20 does anything today that they don’t do every day. As a holiday, it’s kind of like Thanksgiving would be for people who eat turkey and cranberries all the time.

Speaking of apparently stoned decisions, George Zimmerman has been granted bail. Because some of the details are still being worked out, Zimmerman won’t be released today. So if you live in Florida, it’s still safe to go out... even with a hoodie. In court today, Zimmerman came face-to-face with Trayvon’s parents for the first time. He told them “I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son.” That’s the kind of thing that friends of the family say. The killer of their son really should phrase it differently.

Ted Nugent had his meeting with the Secret Service, which he described as a “Good, solid, professional meeting.” Well it’s nice to know that it didn’t do any damage to the delusional bubble you live in, Ted. Ted said he was just speaking figuratively in his comments about the President. He said “Metaphors needn’t be explained to educated people.” Yes, Ted… but you never speak to educated people. Your “metaphors” were being spoken to a bunch of violent dimwits who wouldn’t know a metaphor from a pinafore.

Ted’s rant against the Commander-in-Chief cost him a gig at the military base at Fort Knox. Time to book some more gun shows, Ted. The original line-up was Nugent, REO Speedwagon, and Styx. The military may still be a huge part of this country’s spending, but it seems their entertainment budget isn’t what it used to be. A line-up of Nugent, REO Speedwagon, and Styx tells you that, either the concert planner was on a severe budget, or it is 1978.

Finally, the New York Daily news has published photos of the Columbian prostitute at the center of the Secret Service scandal. Now we have a face to connect to this story. But it’s going to take most guys who see these pictures a while to realize that she has a face.

Today’s Homework | Discuss | Blog Archive

George Zimmerman on the the stand at this morning's bond hearing...

Thom Hartmann: It pays to be a greedy CEO and screw over your workers

Thom plus logo
The AFL-CIO is out with their new Executive Pay Watch report - revealing that CEOs at Fortune 500 companies made on average $12 million each in 2011. They're now getting paid 380-times more than their average worker. That's a slight increase since 2010 - and a massive increase since 1980 - when, before Reaganomics, CEOs were paid only 42-times more than their average worker.
On top of that - CEO pay increased nearly 14% in 2011 - compared to a meager 2.8% increase in worker pay that same year. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer - creating the largest wealth inequality gap in America since right before the Stock Market crash of 1929. And rather than doing something about it - multi-millionaire Congressman Paul Ryan and the Republicans want to make wealth inequality even worse with a $3 trillion tax cut for the nation's Romney-rich. We can't afford to do that - in fact, we need to be doing just the opposite.
We need to roll back the Reagan tax cuts - and make the Romney-super rich pay their fair share in taxes again.
(How high should CEO pay go? Tell us here.)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Randi Rhodes: No Silver Spoon

On the campaign trail, President Obama told a crowd “I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth.” What a perfect line! The “silver spoon” part is a dig at Mitt Romney, and the “born” part tweaks the noses of the birther nutbags. The President said “Now, I just paid taxes…” And the unspoken part of that simple statement is that Mitt Romney didn’t just pay taxes. Heck, he didn’t even just do his taxes. Everything is a dig at Mitt. It’s almost as hard for Obama to talk without saying something that damages Mitt Romney as it is for Mitt Romney to talk without saying... well, without saying something that damages Mitt Romney.

Today Ted Nugent is being interviewed by the Secret Service. And I’m sure Ted is delusional enough to think it’s going to turn into a job interview. After all, Ted himself is a “duly sworn” law enforcement officer. Ted, you and your “law enforcement” fantasies have nothing to do with people like the agents in the Secret Service. People like you are an embarrassment to them... and it’s not easy to embarrass the Secret Service right now. What is Ted Nugent going to tell the Secret Service? Guys! There’s no need to pay for hookers—just find an underage girl and convince her parents to make you her guardian! Ted’s opinion spewing is a lot like his guitar playing—he figures that if it’s loud and discordant enough, people will think it’s good.

Ted was on Glenn Beck’s show. Ted told Glenn “I’ve never threatened anybody’s life in my life. I don’t threaten, I don’t waste breath threatening.” Yup, that sounds like a threat. But then the way Ted Nugent talks, everything sounds like a threat. That’s what a person has to do when the stuff they’re saying doesn’t carry any other kind of weight. Glenn chimed in by asking how much time the Secret Service devotes to investigating the Black Panthers. Glenn, if the Secret Service wants to know what the Black Panthers are up to, all they have to do is turn on Fox News—they follow their every move. Besides, Glenn, the Secret Service protects President Obama. In the mythical realm that you inhabit, isn’t Barack Obama the leader of the Black Panthers?

Today’s Homework | Discuss | Blog Archive

Women for Romney: Donald Trump/Ann Romney fundraiser attendees prove that birthism & bigotry isn’t just for the Deliverance wing of the GOP...

Thom Hartmann: Children are the biggest victims of the current housing crisis

Thom plus logo
In 2008 - Wall Street got bailed out - and homeowners got sold out. And now - it's the children who are the biggest victims of the ongoing housing crisis. According to a new report from First Focus and the Brookings Institute - more than 8.3 million children are facing the direct consequences of home foreclosures.
Already - more than two million children have seen their homes foreclosed on since 2008, and another six million children are at risk of being foreclosed on. In California alone - more than a half-million children have gone through the foreclosure process - seeing firsthand what it's like to have their home taken away from them.
Families that are foreclosed on have a higher risk of living in poverty - and children growing up in poverty - as nearly 16 million currently are in the United States - are more likely to drop out of school and commit crime. Not only did Wall Street steal $7 trillion worth of wealth from the middle class - but they also stole a generation of young people too.
And yet still - not a single bankster is in jail.
(What do you think? Tell us here.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Randi Rhodes: Motor City Menace

Ted Nugent isn’t backing down from inflammatory statements he made about President Obama. Hello! He’s a gun nut! They have to “stand their ground,” even if the consequences are tragic for everyone. Earlier, Nugent had said “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” Amazing, that seems to be part threat, and part promise. It’s not just that Ted was making threatening statements about the President—he was making them at an NRA convention. It’s dangerous to play with matches, but it’s crazy to do it in a room soaked with gasoline. Ted told the NRA members “If you can’t galvanize and promote and recruit people to vote for Mitt Romney, we’re done.” Ted is telling NRA goons that their only hope is to get behind a preppy millionaire phony who secretly despises them. It’s like telling a gathering of Hell’s Angels that their new leader is Mitch McConnell. Close ranks!

Now Ted is doubling down on his statements, with the operative word being “down.” Ted is sinking lower, if that is possible. Ted said “I’m a black Jew at a Nazi-Klan rally.” No, Ted—if you were black, there would be at least a hint of rhythm in your music. And if you were a Jew, the lyrics would be a lot better. The bottom line, Ted, is that entertainers are allowed to be crazy, but there is a line. I don’t know exactly where the line is, but it’s somewhere between where Gary Busey is... and where Phil Spector is.

Ted Nugent is not only a chicken-hawk, he’s chicken-crap as well!. Do you know how Ted Nugent avoided the draft during Vietnam? He actually crapped in his pants for a week before going to take his draft board physical. Really! Ted Nugent got out of Vietnam by “pulling a Seamus.” In interviews from years ago, Ted told how, for week before his draft board physical, he stopped going to the bathroom. Oh, he still peed and pooped… he just stopped doing it in the bathroom. Ted spent a week crapping his pants, so that he didn’t have to go fight in Vietnam... which undoubtedly would have caused him to crap his pants again. Of course, in later interviews, Ted brags that if he had gone to Vietnam, “I would have killed everybody.” Yeah, if they got a whiff of what was in your pants! Everything Ted says about his patriotism and his past is a lie. When you look at it that way, maybe he IS the perfect spokesman for Mitt Romney.

Today’s Homework | Discuss | Blog Archive

Flashback: In a 1998 episode of VH1's Behind The Music, Ted Nugent's 'addicition' to underaged girls is exposed along with the story of how he got custody of his 17-year-old bride...

Thom Hartmann: ALEC drops it's campaign for 'Stand Your Ground' & Voter ID laws

Thom plus logo
In response to pressure from several progressive organizations - and an exodus of corporate members - the American Legislative Exchange Council announced on Tuesday it's dismantling its non-economic taskforces responsible for writing radical legislation like "Shoot First" laws and "Voter ID" laws.
While this is a small progressive victory - ALEC promises to continue writing economic legislation that repeals environmental regulations, busts up unions, and gives massive tax breaks to the Romney-rich in America. Not only that - even though ALEC is ending its non-economic task forces - the damage has already been done. Seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin is dead in Florida thanks to ALEC's Shoot First law - and millions of Democratic voters will be disenfranchised this election because of ALEC's Voter ID laws.
So let's not celebrate ALEC's decision yesterday - let's take it as a sign that we need to work even harder to expose the American corporatocracy that's been working in the shadows for the last 30 years.
(What difference do you think this will make? Tell us here.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Thom Hartmann: As the ice cap melts, the war for the North Pole is heating up

Thom plus logo
The oil barons of the world - and the militaries that rely on that oil - are seeing new opportunities in the North Pole as global climate change kicks into high gear. Warming weather is leading to the Northern ice cap melting - uncovering a treasure trove of oil and natural gas reserves. Scientists believe that the Arctic is storing 13% of the world's untapped oil - and nearly a third of the world's undiscovered natural gas.
As the ice melts - access to these resources becomes easier and shipping lanes open - so now Northern nations are scrambling to stake out their chunk of Arctic resources as well as running military operating in the area should they have to fight for these resources in the not too distant future. Two months ago - military leaders from the United States, Canada, Russia, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland met to discuss security issues around the Arctic.
But Greenpeace sees what's happening in the Arctic as a tragedy for the planet. As the organization reported last year, "The terrible irony of it is that instead of seeing the melting of the Arctic ice cap as a spur to action on climate change, the leaders of the Arctic nations are instead investing in military hardware to fight for the oil beneath it. They're preparing to fight to extract the very fossil fuels that caused the melting in the first place. It's like putting out fire with petrol."
(What do you think should happen to the Arctic? Tell us here.)

Randi Rhodes: S**t Romneys Say

Today is tax day... unless you’re Mitt Romney, or as rich as Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney doesn’t really have to pay taxes any more than Ann Romney has to work at Burger King. Mitt filed for a tax extension last Friday. How could he not be ready? Didn’t he see tax day coming? Mitt, as President of the United States you would have to deal with things that sneak up on you even more than that! For whatever reason, Mitt decided he was better off with the embarrassment of being late with his taxes than he would be with the embarrassment of whatever is on his taxes.

On that note, Mitt Romney has addressed the “dog on the roof” story again. When asked about the dog this time, Mitt actually showed remorse. Of course, since it was Mitt Romney, it wasn’t remorse for what he did. It was remorse for the fact that it has generated so much negative press. When asked if he would do it again, Mitt said “Certainly not, with the attention it’s received.” Wow! It’s another version of “We can’t have illegals. I’m running for office for Pete’s sake!” Classic Romney! At the time, the doggie-panic-fear-diarrhea didn’t sway Mitt’s opinion, but now the fact that it’s hurting his image has made him think twice. The bottom line is that Mitt Romney doesn’t live in a world of right and wrong—he lives in a world of what looks right and what looks wrong.

Meanwhile, in the same interview, Ann Romney was still defending the roof treatment for the dog! Ann Romney has doubled down on doggie diarrhea! During the interview, Ann jumped into the dog mess, so to speak. She said “The dog loved it.” Right. He was so happy he crapped himself! Looking back on the times in my life on the moments when I was the happiest, I never responded like Seamus the dog did. Good thing, too, or I would have ruined quite a few Kodak moments.

When Mitt was asked if he had anything to tell President Obama, he said “Start packing.” Ugh! When Mitt tries to sound like a tough guy, he just ends up sounding like a rich guy, again. Sorry, Mitt—if Clint Eastwood says “Start packing,” he looks macho. But when Thurston Howell III says “start packing,” he just looks privileged.

Today’s Homework | Discuss | Blog Archive

As expected, Senate Republicans killed the Buffett Rule yesterday via filibuster, but not before Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) had his say...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Randi Rhodes: Unless You're Poor

It seems Mitt Romney makes a distinction about working moms of different income levels. Just this January, Mitt said that moms on public assistance should be forced to work. He said “even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work.” But not if you also have a portfolio valued at a quarter billion dollars.

Classic—Mitt says “I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.” This is a guy who gets a special low tax rate because he gets his money from investments! Mitt evidently doesn’t care about “the dignity of work” for himself. That’s because Mitt knows that actual work comes with more than just dignity—it comes with a tax rate higher than the one he pays on his unearned money. “Yeah, dignity is great, but I’ll take the 15 percent tax rate, thank you very much!”

Secret Service agents are being investigated for cavorting with prostitutes on President Obama’s trip to Columbia. If the Secret Service is fooling around with prostitutes, do they use protection? They’re supposed to BE protection. These agents were actually doing advance work in preparation for the President’s trip. Guys, you’re just supposed to lay the groundwork—nothing else! The President said that we must “conduct ourselves with the utmost dignity and probity.” He’s handling it very well... but I would have avoided the word “probity.” None of the agents involved were directly assigned to protect President Obama, and I doubt that they will be in the future. Maybe they can be assigned to David Vitter.

It turns out that this whole thing may have come to light because a Secret Service agent had a disagreement with a prostitute over $47 he owed her. Great—now Americans look sleazy AND cheap. I haven’t done a lot of comparison shopping, but $47 for an overnight prostitute seems like a pretty good deal. He should have jumped on it. And then paid her. It turns out that the agent gave it to the prostitute in the end. I mean, at the end of everything he gave her the money. If he had given it to her in the end, it would have cost more than $47. The lesson here is never fight with a prostitute... unless that’s specifically what you paid for. And then you need to have a safe word.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Flashback 1994: 'It's not the sixties anymore' - if you're not rich, Mitt expects you and your spouse to be working a total of three jobs...

Thom Hartmann: The Buffett rule will get a vote in the Senate today...

Thom plus logo
- but it likely won't be able to overcome a unified Republican filibuster. President Obama's proposal would force millionaires and billionaires like Warren Buffet and Mitt Romney to pay at least the same tax rate as working Americans. Currently - America's super rich take advantage of loopholes created by the Bush tax cuts - and pay far lower rates than even a lot of middle class Americans.
Making the rich pay their fair share in taxes has been a rallying call by both Democratic and Republican Presidents in history - from Franklin Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan to now Barack Obama. Unfortunately - now that the rules of the Senate have been changed by the Republican minority to require 60-votes to pass anything - and now that the most-corporate friendly House of Representatives elected by over $300 million in corporate spending in 2010 - refuses to consider any sort of tax increases because multi-millionaire lobbyist Grover Norquist won't let them - then it looks like America's oligarchs will be let off the hook again.
Republicans are more focused on a $600,000 GSA scandal and whether or not Secret Service Agents cavorted with prostitutes, than actually making our economy work for the middle class again.
(Do you think it will pass? Tell us here.)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Randi Rhodes: Mommygate

It's Friday, ya bastids!

Republicans are still trying to score points off of commentator Hilary Rosen’s badly-phrased statement that Ann Romney “has never worked a day in her life.” Rosen’s gaffe was like a gift to Mitt Romney. And it’s not necessary to give gifts to people who have hundreds of millions of dollars. In the wake of the comments, the Romney campaign had Ann Romney issue her first tweet ever—she is, after all, working for the Mitt Romney campaign. I don’t think she’s drawing a salary—she just gets Mitt’s gratitude. And that’s the model for women’s employment that the Republican Party prefers.

Ann has spent a lifetime not only raising children, but being Mitt Romney’s wife. That can’t be easy. How many times a day does she have to pretend to be amused by some comment that just doesn’t make sense? “Ann, look! The trees here are the right height!” “Hey, who let the dogs out? Get it?”

I wish every woman had the options that Ann Romney has. Not necessarily the quarter billion dollars, though that would be nice—just the option to raise children if that’s their preference. In terms of their economic policies, the Republicans don’t want to give working women the option of just being able to raise their children. And under the Republicans’ social policies, women don’t even have the option of choosing if and when to have kids.

Today President Obama and Michele released their tax returns for this year. The total income for the Obamas last year was $789,674 or, as Mitt Romney calls it “a good week.” The Obama’s paid a tax rate of 20.5 percent. I wonder if there is any way in the world that a superrich person like Mitt Romney could manage to pay a rate that high, even if they wanted to for the sake of appearances. Over half of the Obamas income comes from sales of the books President Obama has written. Most of Mitt Romney’s income is investment income. So Obama makes money from what he has done, while Romney makes money from what he has. President Obama’s tax proposals would make him pay more taxes. Mitt Romney’s tax proposals would save Mitt Romney a fortune. You can tell who is looking out for you by noting who is actually just looking out for himself.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

At last week's White House Forum on Women and the Economy, President Obama talked about the four generations of women who shaped his life (jump to 5:45)...

Thom Hartmann: Giant Transnational Corporate Tax Dodgers are eating our towns

Thom plus logo
Small businesses are screwed. Giant transnational corporate tax dodgers are costing small businesses thousands of dollars. Not only have 26 major American corporations used tax loopholes to avoid paying any federal taxes over the last four years, but roughly $60 billion in revenue is lost every single year thanks to corporations stashing cash in offshore bank accounts. And guess where that money has to be recouped from - working people and small businesses.
According to a new report by the U.S. PIRG - corporate tax dodgers cost every small business more than $2,000 each every single year. As the PIRG report says, "Instead of competing on a level playing field, small businesses and those without offshore tax havens must pick up the extra tax tab and compete against the artificially lower costs of multinational companies using tax havens."
You can see the effect of this unfair competition in Main Streets across America - where small businesses have shuttered - and massive corporate chains have set up shop. These giants are monopolizing US towns.
(What do you think will happen? Tell us here.)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Randi Rhodes: It Begins

George Zimmerman is being charged with second degree murder, the highest charge possible without using a grand jury. It was a brave move by the special prosecutor. And it’s hard to be brave in a state with so many armed lunatics. Special Prosecutor Angela Corey said “we only know one category as prosecutors, and that’s a ‘V.’ It’s not a ‘B,’ it’s not a ‘W,’ it’s not an ‘H.’ It’s ‘V,’ for victim.” Unfortunately, the Sanford cops weren’t nearly as good with the alphabet. The special prosecutor may only see one category of V for victim, but the NRA has a couple of different categories for everybody—A for armed, and G for Guilty. And nobody is ever in both of those categories at the same time.

Yesterday, Mitt Romney made a big push to get himself some chicks. It didn’t work too well. The cast of “Revenge of the Nerds” did a smoother job of appealing to the ladies. Romney was trying to deny that there was a GOP war on women by claiming that President Obama was the one waging war on women. That, more than anything else, proves that there IS a GOP war on women. The moment that Mitt Romney accuses President Obama of anything, you know that it’s because that’s exactly what Mitt Romney is guilty of. But Mitt’s big chick initiative got off to a rocky start when the campaign couldn’t answer a simple question. The problem is that when you’ve created a web of lies as complicated at the Romney campaign, there is no such thing as a simple question. When asked if Romney supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, all that the Romney campaign could say was “We’ll get back to you on that.” They might as well have just said “Oops—we have to get our story straight on that.” The Lilly Ledbetter Act allows women to sue over pay discrimination. Republicans overwhelmingly oppose it, while women overwhelmingly support it. You know what that means—Mitt Romney has to do both!

The Republicans continuously deny that they are conducting a war on women. In fact, they put almost as much effort into denying the war on women as they do on waging the war on women. Maybe the Republicans just object to calling what they are doing a “war on women.” Perhaps they would prefer it if we called it a “police action” against women.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Earlier this afternoon, George Zimmerman made his first appearance before a judge (who wasn't his dad) since shooting Trayvon Martin...

video platform
video management
video solutions
video player

Thom Hartmann: The increase of autism in the US is linked to high-fructose corn syrup

Thom plus logo
Americans are screwed by the food we eat. On the heels of a report by the Center for Disease Control showing a drastic 78% increase in cases of autism in America since 2002 - a new study suggests that the food we eat might be responsible. The peer-reviewed journal, Clinical Epigenetics, links increased autism cases to the widespread use of high-fructose corn syrup in the American diet.
As the study's co-author Dr. David Wallings said, "To better address the explosion of autism, it's critical we consider how unhealthy diets interfere with the body's ability to eliminate toxic chemicals, and ultimately our risk for developing long-term health problems like autism." According to the study - consuming high fructose corn syrup can lead to the loss of zinc in the body - making it more difficult for the body to rid itself of toxic metals like mercury and arsenic that have an adverse effect on brain development in children.
Could studies like this deter major food corporations that are using high fructose corn syrup in their products to feed Americans? Probably not.
(Do you think the situation will be turned around? Tell us here.)

Thom Hartmann: The banksters are at it again - screwing over the poor

Thom plus logo
As banks have once again returned to making pre-recession profits - thanks mostly to their taxpayer bailout - they're once again preying on the poor with subprime lending. A new report by Experian shows that credit cards lender handed out 1.1 million new credit cards to people with damaged credit in December of last year. That's 12% jump from just one year ago.
The banks prefer those with low credit because they can jack up interest rates as high 29% - and charge endless over-the-limit and late fees. Every year - banks make tens of billions of dollars on just fees - not interest payments. Targeting the poor to maximize fee income is not responsible banking - it's predatory banking.
And today, banking makes up nearly a quarter of our entire economy. That means an entire quarter of our economy now depends on screwing over poor Americans. We need to break up the power on Wall Street - and create an economy with a strong manufacturing base that can once again support a middle class.
(Could you manage without credit? Tell us here.)

Randi Rhodes: WTF Was That?

DEVELOPING: The special prosecutor is expected to bring charges against George Zimmerman this afternoon.

In the Trayvon Martin case, George Zimmerman’s lawyers have become his former lawyers, while keeping open the possibility that they may become his future lawyers—all of which is par for the course in this bizarre case. There were cases on the “X-Files” that didn’t have as many weird twists as this one. The lawyer said Zimmerman has “cut off all contact and has started doing things without telling me he’s doing them.” Well, now he knows how that 911 operator felt back on the day of the incident.

Zimmerman is telling people he doesn’t have a lawyer. He said those lawyers were just his “legal advisors.” Does George make a distinction? He certainly didn’t see any difference between “neighborhood watch volunteer” and “duly sworn police officer.” One of the lawyers said he thinks Zimmerman has post-traumatic stress disorder. Zimmerman should have considered that possibility before he caused this entire stressful situation. It’s not like the guy was sent to Iraq or Afghanistan—he was in suburban Orlando, shooting an innocent kid. I’m sorry if he finds the fallout from that to be stressful.

The lawyers said that Zimmerman called the prosecutor on his own. That’s never a good thing for a suspect to do. He also called Sean Hannity. That’s never a good thing for anybody to do. How did George Zimmerman get through to Sean Hannity? Would people have believed him when he said he was George Zimmerman? Maybe he just told Hannity’s people that he was a rightwing gun nut, and Sean took the call.

In his withdrawal speech, Rick Santorum didn’t mention Mitt Romney at all. But when you think about it, Mitt beat his opponents with 100 percent negative ads, so Mitt Romney actually won the nomination without mentioning Mitt Romney.

Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich’s campaign has bounced a $500 check for the filing fee to appear on the ballot in the Utah primary! Yeesh, Newt! Get a clue! Even Rick Santorum had the sense to bail before the wheels completely fell off. Maybe Newt can get the state of Utah to give him a half-million dollar line of credit like Tiffany’s did.

>>> MORE

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Randi Rhodes: Blood Money

George Zimmerman has launched a website and he’s using it to solicit donations. That’s one of those things you could see coming, but which still shocks you—kind of like the rash of killings after the Stand Your Ground laws. The first thing on the site is the statement “I am the real George Zimmerman.” Thanks for the heads up, George. Please don’t shoot. It’s not that big of a site, but it’s really amazing that every sentence on this site manages to be incredibly offensive on some level. George says “On Sunday February 26th, I was involved in a life altering event...” A life altering event? For Trayvon Martin, it was a life ending event. George assures visitors “This website’s sole purpose is to ensure my supporters they are receiving my full attention without any intermediaries.” Wow. George, we’ve already seen what happens when someone gets your “full attention.” No thanks! And “without any intermediaries”? Thank God! When I’m giving money to a guy who shot an unarmed kid, I don’t want some sleaze ball scammer getting a cut of it.

The topper of the George Zimmerman website is the “album” page. It’s the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen on the internet, and yes, I realize just how extreme that statement is. The page has a photo of graffiti that says “Long live Zimmerman” (the photo was just removed - here's a screenshot from earlier today). It was spray-painted by vandals on the black cultural center at Ohio State University! Uh George, when the only message of support you can find is racist graffiti, maybe you should skip the messages of support. His supporters say George Zimmerman has already been convicted in the court of public opinion. With this awful website, it looks like he’s arguing for the stiffest sentence that the court of public opinion can hand out. The text says “This page is dedicated to persons whom have displayed their support of Justice for ALL.” George, we fully support justice for all. And in your case, justice would consist of an arrest and a conviction.

Also today President Obama is on the campaign trail pushing for the “Buffett Rule,” that would make sure the very rich pay a fair share of taxes. It’s perfect! Not only would an Obama reelection deny Mitt Romney a job, Obama is also running on a platform that would make Mitt pay fair taxes on the money he’s already making! Mitt Romney isn’t just on the wrong side of this problem—he IS this problem.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

How far to the extreme right has the GOP gone? Watch Ronald Reagan in 1985 make the case for the 'Buffett Rule'...

Thom Hartmann: What are the Rules of Engagement on the streets of America?

Thom plus logo
Had George Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on a battlefield in Iraq - he would have been punished. But on the streets of Florida - Zimmerman walks free. The organization points out today that Florida's Stand Your Ground law gives more leeway to shooters on the streets of America than our armed forces have to deal with hostile insurgents in Iraq.
According to the Rules of Engagement - which all our soldiers must follow - when confronted with a threat - the soldier is required to shout a verbal warning first, then show their weapon, then try to physically restrain the threat, then fire a warning shot, and then - if nothing else works - they are allowed to shoot to kill. But according to Florida's Shoot First law - which was written by Wal Mart and the NRA with the help of the American Legislative Exchange Council - a person only needs to feel threatened and then they can jump right to shooting people.
More than 20 states have passed similar ALEC-written shoot first laws since 2005 - leading to a 25% increase in justifiable homicides across the nation. When on the rules of engagement on the streets of America are more lenient than on the streets of Baghdad - then something is rotten in America.
(What do you think the Rules of Engagement should be? Tell us here.)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Randi Rhodes: It's The Guns

Comedian Bill Cosby isn’t afraid to point to the role of the gun in the killing of Trayvon Martin. Cosby said “When you carry a gun, you mean to harm somebody, kill somebody.” The irony is that a gun turns someone who is otherwise afraid of everybody into someone that everybody needs to be afraid of. And under Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, that person doesn’t even have to be afraid of getting arrested.

Around the country, Stand Your Ground laws lead to a sharp increase in justifiable homicide cases. Part of that is because, under Stand Your Ground laws, virtually every homicide is justifiable. It turns out that Stand Your Ground laws end up causing some very blood-soaked ground. Back when we had reasonable laws, there used to be a saying “Use a gun, go to jail.” Now it’s more like “Use a gun, go home.” Heck, in Sanford, Florida, they don’t even have a second part to that saying. Their slogan is “Use a gun. Period.”

In reporting on the awful shootings in Tulsa, a CNN reporter read a quote from a suspect’s Facebook page, and actually said out loud the phrase “F-ing N-word.” That’s not a term you hear on the air, unless you’re watching a live interview with a victim of Tourette’s syndrome. The weird part is that the reporter, Susan Candiotti, didn’t say it accidentally. Before she said the phrase, she warned “Please excuse the language, it’s very sensitive.” Actually, Susan, the language is very IN-sensitive. She says “excuse the language,” and then she says “f-ing n-word.” That’s like saying “pardon me” before knocking somebody unconscious. How do you possible think it’s OK to say that on TV? The only way that phrase is not over the line is if you decide there is no line. Oh, and the video showed a screenshot of the offensive Facebook page, with the phrase in question blurred-out. So I guess you were fine, if you had your TV muted.

Finally, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz says that Republicans are actually rooting for economic failure. Rooting? They’re much more than cheerleaders. They’re actually out on the field trying to beat the economic recovery.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Mike Wallace, 1918-2012...

Thom Hartmann: The jobless are screwed

Thom plus logo
As nearly 13 million Americans look for a job - federal funding to retrain Americans workers and prepare them for the jobs of the 21st century are drying up. Funding for job-training programs across the country is down 18% from 2006 - even though there are six million more unemployed Americans today. Funding for counseling for the unemployed - like resume guidance and job interview coaching - is down 13%. In fact - funding for job retraining for Americans is roughly half of what it used to be more than a decade ago.
So now - even though the economy is slightly improving - business are having difficulty finding Americans workers who are trained and qualified to handle the new job. President Obama's budget proposal called for a massive increase in job retraining programs - increasing funding to nearly $3 billion a year. Studies show this is a good economic investment, as every dollar spent on retraining unemployed Americans for new jobs yields as much as eight dollars for the local community.
However - multi-millionaire Congressman Paul Ryan's Republican trickle-down austerity budget once again slashes funding for federal job retraining programs. Under their proposal - it's far more important to give $3 trillion in tax breaks to the super-rich than give working Americans new job skills.
(What do you think? Tell us here.)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Randi Rhodes: Judicial Hypocrites

It's Friday, ya bastids!

Republicans are attacking President Obama for supposedly trying to “intimidate” the Supreme Court... and it’s all in an effort to intimidate President Obama. The President wasn’t even criticizing judicial activism. He was merely quoting the arguments that Republicans have used against the Supreme Court. If what he said was out of line, it was a line out of the Republican playbook. Mitch McConnell flat out told the President to “back off.” Don’t try to be a tough guy, Mitch. You come off like a parakeet trying to pick a fight with a housecat.

Ted Nugent has weighed in on the Trayvon Martin killing. Why ask Ted Nugent about a shooting? You already know he’s going to take the side of whoever did the shooting, so why ask? It’s like asking Rush Limbaugh if he wants a slice of cheesecake. The deepest thoughts that Ted Nugent ever had are expressed in the lyrics to “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang.” I don’t care what else he has to say. Ted says that we should be ashamed that the media is convicting George Zimmerman “of cold blooded murder.” Ted, the shame isn’t that the media has convicted him—they haven’t. The shame is that cops haven’t even arrested him. Nugent added, “but I’ve got some perspective, working in law enforcement for most of my life.” Oh! Law enforcement! So that’s what you were doing on stage wearing a loincloth all those years... enforcing the law!

When the Republican Convention is held in Tampa, Florida this year, it will be illegal to have a squirt gun outside the convention hall—but perfectly legal to have a real gun. Welcome to Florida—now, duck! The state of Florida prohibits Florida towns and cities from restricting firearms. So Tampa is banning clubs, hatchets, switchblades, pepper spray, slingshots, and chains... but not guns! So if somebody comes at you with a gun, you don’t even have access to anything else to defend yourself! Well, except for another gun, of course. Heck, they’ve even banned shovels, so you can’t even bury your friend if somebody shoots them! They banned shovels? Who are they taking security precautions against—the Three Stooges? Why not also ban monkey wrenches, seltzer bottles, and cream pies?

Today’s Homework | Discuss

President Obama earlier today at the White House Forum on Women and the Economy...