I had the pleasure to appear on San Francisco public radio's "Friday Media Roundtable" on their Your Call program today (heard on KALW in San Francisco and KUSP in Santa Cruz).
Along with the NYT's massive ACORN "Pimp" Hoax fail, we also discussed and critiqued media coverage of healthcare insurance reform, the latest in the U.S./Israel diplomacy theatrics, and even a bit on the guilty verdict for Kentucky election officials yesterday. Joining me on today's panel, along with host Sandip Roy, were Alex Wayne of Congressional Quarterly and Sherine Tadros of Al Jazeera English.
The audio is posted below, and I believe it's well-worth giving a listen to --- particularly in regard the direct disagreement that Wayne and I got into over the media's failure (as I see it, though he didn't), to have covered the substance of healthcare insurance legislation, while devoting an inordinate amount of coverage to the politics of that debate instead.
(Continue reading below for more on that, more on how the NYT's Public Editor Clark Hoyt illustrated the very crux of the media's failure on so many stories of importance to the public, and for the audio of the show itself)...
With the Senate having now passed the final reconciliation changes to the health care reform bill, the Republicans from their "Tea Party" wing to their high priest of hallucinatory fantasy; Glenn Beck, are about to pay a historic price for the biggest miscalculation in American political history since Charles Lindbergh sided with the Germans. The pundits all have it wrong. Obama's victory on health care reform will result in the Democratic Party retaining the majority in both houses of Congress as well as Obama winning a second term.
Disclosure: As a former Republican and Religious Right leader who quit the movement in the mid 80s (for reasons I explain in my book Crazy For God) let me tell my progressive friends and all reality-based people why and how the Republican Party just consigned themselves to defeat by (amongst other things) opposing health care reform...
This is an exceedingly disturbing report from last night's Rachel Maddow Show on the rising wave of terrorism by Rightwing extremists --- now known as the Republican Party --- in the wake of the passage of healthcare insurance reform.
I've long warned, and stand by the disturbing prediction again today, that someone will end up dead before this is all over. Where, oh, where, are the responsible GOP leaders who ought to be denouncing what's going on here loudly and clearly?
It's somewhat remarkable that Maddow never uses the word "terrorism" in this report, despite this meeting the very definition of the word. (Ed note: Please see correction on this point below.)
Since Maddow's report last night, things have only gotten reportedly worse. In VA, according to Politico, a tea bagger has posted what he thought was the home address of Democratic Rep. Thomas Perriello, inviting others to "drop by" and lend a "personal touch" to their opinions on the freshman Congressman's vote on health insurance reform. The address, however, turned out to be that of his brother who has a wife and four children under the age of eight.
Watch Maddow's report. This story ought to be the lead of every broadcast media outlet right now (and it certainly would have seen wall-to-wall coverage on Fox "News" had these been Republican offices vandalized by domestic Democratic-leaning terrorists.)
Also, please consider signing on to Velvet Revolution's StopDomesticTerror.com campaign before it's too late again. [Disclosure: The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder of VR. Hat-tip: BRAD BLOG reader "PS".]
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CORRECTION 3/26/10: Not sure how I missed it --- must have been jotting down a note at the moment she mentioned it --- but in fact, Maddow did note that some of these acts sound very much as if they are "close to the legal definition of terrorism in this country." She did so at appx. the 8:30min mark in the video above. My apologies for the oversight, and my thanks to BRAD BLOG commenter Lora for pointing it out.
Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.
This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none.
We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.
So today’s defeat for free-market economics and Republican values is a huge win for the conservative entertainment industry. Their listeners and viewers will now be even more enraged, even more frustrated, even more disappointed in everybody except the responsibility-free talkers on television and radio. For them, it’s mission accomplished. For the cause they purport to represent, it’s Waterloo all right: ours.
UPDATE 3/26/10: Frum is fired by rightwing American Enterprise Institute, where he's been employed since 2003, after having the temerity to pen the above. Guess the Right isn't into that whole "liberty" and "free speech" thing as much as they pretend to be. Who knew? Details...
The Baucus bill is a "legislative obscenity that Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) and a former vice president of WellPoint spent months preparing --- an insurance carrier wish-list that contains no public option, no means for controlling costs or abuse; a measure that does not merely protect but expands the already obscene wealth of the few by mandating that every citizen purchase insurance, with massive subsidies flowing into carrier coffers."
Yet Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), an original co-sponsor of H.R. 676 "Medicare for All," and a consistent critic of the pending obscenity masquerading as "reform" because it would serve to institutionalize the privatization of our health care, has now publicly declared that he will vote for the bill as presently drafted while continuing the fight for a rational, public health care system.
Meanwhile, Alan Grayson (D-FL), with 50 co-sponsors, has introduced "The Public Option Act," a bill which would provide all citizens with the option to buy into Medicare, though he, too, will vote for the Senate version of the health care bill...
The March 3, 2010 segment of Democracy Now is so shocking that it is best seen. In Utah, lawmakers have approved a measure that could potentially expose a pregnant woman to murder charges if she is stuck in an abusive relationship, is beaten and miscarries. When one of two twins is a still birth, the mother is charged with murder because she refused a C-section. In Iowa, a woman is arrested when she miscarries after a fall down the stairs.
All this amongst efforts by the health insurance cartel to treat spousal abuse as a pre-existing condition.
Perhaps we should post signs: Warning: Pregnancy will place you in legal jeopardy.
UPDATE, 3/10/10:Democracy Nowreported that Utah's Republican Governor Gary Herbert signed the anti-choice measure into law. "The...bill would allow women to be charged with murder if they commit 'an intentional or knowing act' that causes a miscarriage. The bill initially included language that would have also punished women for 'reckless' acts. But despite the revision, critics still say the measure could target women for all kinds of actions, including staying with an abusive partner."
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The 01/04/10 Democracy Now! segment, Utah Abortion Bill Could Punish Women for Miscarriages, Domestic Violence follows below...
By way of offering a rather convincing counterpoint to Frank Schaeffer's editorial posted here earlier today, in which he asserted his opinion that Republican Scott Brown's reported win in MA last night for the U.S. Senate seat was the fault of "the ideological purist Left" who undermined Obama and the Democrats, a Research 2000 poll conducted last night after the election, surveying 500 Obama backers who voted in the Senate election and 500 backers who sat it out, would seem to suggest the exact opposite. (Much as almost all of you did in comments)...
Since writing today's piece for Upstate New York's right-leaning Gouverneur Times, a new poll has come out this morning showing the Republican Scott Brown now leading the Democrat Martha Coakley by 4 points in the race for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by a Democrat named Kennedy for nearly 60 years.
As of last night, when I filed the story with them, the latest survey from a Democratic-leaning pollster showed Coakley up by 8, though a day or two earlier, Republican Rasmussen had Brown down only by 2 points.
Suffice to say it's now officially "a toss-up," at least according to the Rothenberg Political Report, and to all the Dems and Reps now sweating out what was previously thought to have been an easy Democratic win.
With the 60th "filibuster-proof" Senate seat now hanging precariously in the balance, I'm sure you'll be delighted to hear that the winner will now be whoever Diebold declares it to be. The near-entirety of the state will vote next Tuesday on paper ballots to be counted by Diebold op-scan systems. The same ones used dubiously in the New Hampshire Primary in 2008, and the same ones notoriously hacked --- resulting in a flipped mock election --- in HBO's Emmy-nominated Hacking Democracy.
$636 billion for annual military spending was approved by the U.S. Senate over the weekend, with little more than a hiccup of debate from Republican "conservatives," not a peep from the Democrats, and even less coverage from the corporate mainstream media.
But $850 billion for 10 years of what is ostensibly meant to be health care reform for the health and welfare of American citizens --- all while reducing the budget deficit by $132 billion over that period, according to the CBO? "A budget buster!," shout the phony "conservatives" in the same Senate.
Anyway, there's your "American Values," in a two-part nutshell, from today's Republicans and the Democrats and corporate media who enable their madness as if it weren't so.
While the topic was Afghanistan, a concern emerged over the splintering of the Left as a product of what Coiro described as strident "rhetoric," such as the suggestion that President Obama was a "sell-out" or the announcement by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) that he intended to introduce a privileged resolution to stop the "criminal enterprise" in Afghanistan. The concern was the potential for that "rhetoric" to adversely impact the Democratic Party in the 2010 and 2012 elections.
Unfortunately, in part due to technical difficulties they had on the show that night, I failed to adequately articulate my concerns, which go to the core of the Progressive dilemma in U.S. electoral politics....
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) says "comity" in the must-see clip below, but "comedy" might have been more appropriate in regard to Sen. Al Franken's (D-MN) shut down of Sen. Joe Lieberman (WhoKnows-CT), as Franken was presiding over the chamber, which left us laughing out loud, and applauding quietly to ourselves. (Via TPM with more background)...
And, if you missed it earlier this week, Franken's take-down of Sen. John Thune (R-SD) is an absolute must-see as well. Though we've had our own beefs with Franken's politics over the years, we must concede that it's frickin' awesome to finally see and hear someone --- anyone --- speak this way in the U.S. Senate. We'd be delighted to see 60 more just like him! Check it out if you haven't seen it already (and again, TPM has more background)...
Take a bow, Sen. Franken. Please keep up the great work!
Dear Republicans: I used to be one of you. In fact you'd likely have no "Tea Bag" movement if it hadn't been for my dad and me, and many others who, back in the 1970s and 80s, instigated the rise of the Religious Right. Dad and I were leaders of that movement. Then, after 1985, I got out, quit, left. But I hadn't given up on the Republican Party altogether. As late as 2000 I worked to get McCain elected in the primaries instead of W Bush. (Later, as a "thank you", McCain wrote a long and wonderful endorsement of one of my books about the military family.) When I saw the lies told about McCain --- and others --- by the Bush people and my old buddies on the Religious Right I finally quit.
These days I'm an Obama supporter. I'm also horribly aware that what we did, in bringing the Republican Party together with the Religious Right, is the root of one of the great American tragedies: the takeover of the Republican Party by very sick, simple and religiously deluded fundamentalists. And now you are out of ideas to the extent that all Republicans stand for is, well, nothing but obstruction.
What you've been doing in the Senate to stall health care reform is just too sad for words. And I take it personally. Who should I send my rising impossible-to-pay health insurance premiums to? Dick Armey?...
A whopping $1 billion was spent this year --- a non-election year --- on political ads, according to a leading political advertising expert. Most of the money was spent on issue ads, the biggest chunk of that going to health care reform ads, pro and con.
And, guess what? If you think that's bad, just wait until we get to Climate Legislation proper, where the Petroleum Industry, some of the largest and most profitable corporations in the history of civilization --- in no small part, thanks to enormous federal subsidies --- have a direct financial stake in the outcome.
(Yes, the world's most profitable corporations benefit mightily from U.S. government welfare, your tax-payer dollars, to the tune of some $72 billion over the last seven years in permanent subsidies. See the handy chart below the fold to see how those subsidies stack up against other energy industries, such as renewables. Never mind the worldwide recession. Exxon Mobil profited more than $45 billion last year, Chevron $23 billion, and the federal subsidies keep coming nonetheless, even as their stooges in the Tea Party denialist "ClimateGater" crowds have been duped into mindlessly continuing their dirty work for them.)
The Oil and Coal (Fossil Fuel) Industries have played no small part in ginning up the tea bagging fight against health care reform if only because it further serves to stall Climate Legislation.
It's horrible, an abrogation of what the Founding Fathers likely had in mind (nowhere, to my knowledge, does the support for unbridled corporate spending as "free speech" come into play in the Constitution at last read) and yet all signs suggest it's only going to get far worse before it gets any better --- if it ever does.
See the chart below to understand how the federal welfare queens from Exxon Mobil and Chevron et al. make out, thanks to your hard-earned tax dollars, and keep it in mind every time you hear yet another global warming denialist out there --- and even here in comments at The BRAD BLOG --- hoping to punk the world for more such free money and endless, record corporate profits...