Did Hillary Clinton Kill Someone Yesterday?

She must have. She must have killed a lot of people. Perhaps she perpetrated a mass shooting or blew up a school building full of children. Maybe she set a nursing home on fire and laughed while it burned. Something like that must have happened for there to be such Hillary-hating hysteria on television, the Internet, social media, and in print since yesterday.

It’s everywhere, this hysteria. Coming from the right and the left. I have seen it on Fox. I have seen it on CNN—which is subsidizing Trump’s campaign by paying so many of his surrogates for their on-air appearances and broadcasting his rallies endlessly—and, regrettably, I have seen it on MSNBC, starting last night when liberal journalist Chris Hayes invited Clinton-hating Glenn Greenwald on to have a go at Hillary. MSNBC this morning was even worse, as the crew at Morning Joe lost their minds over the FBI’s failure to recommend indictment of an obviously guilty Hillary Clinton.

morning joe and hillary emailYou see, Hillary’s guilt is determined not by a court, not by people in the law business, but by people in the Clinton-hating business. And as we can now see, that’s a big business. Joe Scarborough, a long-time Clinton hater, said this morning, “Anybody else would have gone to jail.” Scarborough, a Republican with a TV show, gets to play judge and jury when it comes to Hillary Clinton. She has no rights a cable pundit is bound to respect.

Try to keep all this hate and hysteria in context. And by context I mean Donald Trump. As Huffpo puts at the end of every story on the GOP nominee:

Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

That factual addendum leaves out one important fact: the man is clearly mentally unstable and in no way can be trusted with any intelligence information, let alone trusted with putting his tiny, insecure fingers on the nuclear trigger. Yet, this morning I heard the Morning Joe panel giggle over Trump’s unhinged speech last night at his rally in North Carolina, a speech that CNN carried in full and which featured this:

Trump Praises Saddam Hussein Again — This Time For Killing Terrorists ‘So Good’

Yes, Trump really praised a brutal dictator. He has never met an authoritarian he didn’t like. And his followers, who shower him with adoration, have apparently never met a lover of authoritarians they didn’t love. And journalists, on television and elsewere, apparently find Trump not dangerous or disturbed, but entertaining.

Also for context keep in mind the David Petraeus controversy scandal, which comes up during almost any discussion of Clinton’s email practices. What exactly did he do? As the L.A. Times put it in an excellent article:

In the Petraeus case, which came to light in 2012, the CIA director was found to have shared highly classified documents with his biographer, Patricia Broadwell, during the course of their affair. Investigators found more than 100 photographs from notebooks Petraeus had given her, as well as secret PowerPoint briefings on the war in Afghanistan. The Justice Department threatened to charge him with three felonies, which could have landed him in prison for years. They eventually settled on a misdemeanor plea deal, where Petraeus pleaded guilty to giving false statements to the FBI, paid a $100,000 fine and was sentenced to two years’ probation. Petraeus, regarded as one of the military’s most skillful commanders by Democrats and Republicans alike, resigned in shame.

Let me summarize that for you: The good, family-values General was banging someone-not-his-wife, and he knowingly gave that someone-not-his-wife classified information that he knew would be made public because that someone-not-his-wife was a journalist writing a book about him, and then, just for grins and giggles, he lied to the FBI about it. Yeah, that’s pretty close to what Hillary Clinton allegedly did, right? Jesus, people.

Oh, I almost forgot. Remember that George W. Bush email controversy in 2007? You don’t? Haven’t heard the hysterical talking heads mention that one when discussing Hillary?  Here’s a summary from PBS’s Washington Week:

In 2007, when Congress asked the Bush administration for emails surrounding the firing of eights U.S. attorneys, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales revealed that many of the emails requested could not be produced because they were sent on a non-government email server.  The officials had used the private domain gwb43.com, a server run by the Republican National Committee. Two years later, it was revealed that potentially 22 million emails were deleted, which was considered by some to be a violation of the Presidential Records Act.

Who went to jail over that? Huh? Karl Rove, who used that private server for most of his emailing while in the White House, is enjoying life on Fox “News” and still working to undermine Democrats everywhere. And Rove never suffered for his part in the public outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. Oh, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, knee-deep in that 2007 scandal, was on television this morning criticizing FBI Director James Comey!

What a country.

If I sound angry it is because I am. If you watched and appreciated President Obama yesterday, as he endorsed Hillary Clinton in North Carolina and gave a great speech extolling her virtues, obama and clinton.jpgthen you’d be angry too. That unprecedented event pretty much got lost in all the hate coming from, as I said, both the right and the left. We live in sick times.

If I were Mrs. Clinton, I would tell all the haters out there—especially those Bernie-bots who hate her more than most conservatives do—to go straight to hell. I would tell them they can have Donald Trump if they want him. I would say good luck getting, from a Trump administration, free college and decent healthcare for all and the other things you say you want. I would tell all those young people out there, those who hate Hillary’s guts so much they would prefer a global warming denier as their president, have at it. He’s all yours. I’ll be long dead before the worst of it hits the planet.

I would tell all those working stiffs—including some union folks—who prefer Trump, to enjoy the mess he makes of the economy and the world. Enjoy your lower wages, if you still have a bleeping job. And, finally, I would tell all those journalists, those who are making it safe for Trump to broadcast his bigotry and ignorance and racism and hatred for a free press, I’m outta here. You think it is more interesting to cover someone like Trump? You’ll find out what interesting is. You like the ratings he brings? You’ll be the ones who pay. You think he’s funny? Laugh until you cry.

I would tell them all that I’m going home to play with my grandkids. And when things get really bad, I can move. Can you?

__________________________

Not that it matters much to anyone it seems, but here is an excerpt from President Obama’s speech yesterday:

Now, let me tell you, North Carolina, my faith in Hillary Clinton has always been rewarded. I have had a front-row seat to her judgment and her toughness and her commitment to diplomacy. And I witnessed it in the Situation Room where she argued in favor of the mission to get Bin Laden.

I saw how — I saw how — how as a former senator from New York, she knew, she understood because she had seen it, she had witnessed it, what this would mean for the thousands who had lost loved ones when the Twin Towers fell.

I benefited from her savvy and her skill in foreign capitals where her pursuit to diplomacy led to new partnerships, opened up new nations to democracy, helped to reduce the nuclear threat. We’ve all witnessed the work she’s done to advance the lives of women and girls around the globe.

She has been working on this since she was a young woman working at the Children’s Defense Fund. She’s not late to the game at this; she’s been going door to door to make sure kids got a fair share, making sure kids with disabilities could get a quality education.

She’s been fighting those fights, and she’s got the scars to prove it….

But you know, it — it wasn’t just what happened in the lime light that made me grow more and more to admire and respect Hillary. It was how she acted when the cameras weren’t on. It was knowing how she did her homework. It was knowing how many miles she put in traveling to make sure that America was effectively represented in corners of the globe that people don’t even know about. There wasn’t any — any — any political points to be had, but she knew that it was important.

I saw how she treated everybody with respect, even the folks who aren’t quote/unquote “important.” That’s how you judge somebody is how do they treat somebody when the cameras are off and they can’t do anything for you. Do you still treat them right? Do you still treat them with respect? Do you still listen to them? Are you still fighting for them?

I saw how deeply she believes in the things she fights for. And I saw how you can count on her and how she won’t waver and she won’t back down. And she will not quit, no matter how difficult the challenge and no matter how fierce the opposition.

And — and if there’s one thing I can tell you, Charlotte, is those things matter. Those — those — those things matter. I am here to tell you that the truth is nobody fully understands the challenges of the job of president until you’ve actually sat at that desk.

Everybody’s got an opinion, but nobody actually knows the job until you’re sitting behind the desk. Everybody can tweet, but nobody actually knows what it takes to do the job until you’ve sat behind the desk.

I Spent 30 Minutes Watching Fox Today

You have to hand it to Fox. There is an amazing coordination of messaging, from morning to night and night to morning. In about thirty minutes today, I watched three segments that serve to demonstrate how that special brand of Fox journalism works.

First, I have to start with last night. Charles Krauthammer said on Special Report that the Obama administration is suffering from a “crisis of competence,” and that when you take all krauthammer on foxthe problems with the various government agencies, the IRS, the VA, and now the Secret Service, and put them together, “you get a sense that things are out of control.”

This morning on America’s Newsroom, “journalist” Bill Hemmer hosted a segment about the problems in the Secret Service. Just before Hemmer introduced Krauthammer’s comments from last night, he said this:

A lot of this now raising questions about whether the Obama team is simply capable.

In case you don’t watch Fox that often, that “now raising questions” trope is very common on the network. It is a way of disguising as news what simply is tendentious speculation and commentary. The questions being raised about the capability of the “Obama team” are, of course, all coming from conservatives like Charles Krauthammer. It’s pretty slick how it works. Slick, I mean, if you consider Fox’s target audience, most of whom think they are watching real news develop right before their eyes. Krauthammer makes a provocative and obviously biased statement on a so-called straight news program in the evening, and on another so-called straight news program the next day, his commentary is presented as news, via that “raising questions” device.

After his intro, Hemmer then plays a clip of Krauthammer’s comments, which sets up an interview with Rich Lowry, editor of the right-wing National Review. And Lowry is not appearing on Fox so he can provide a fair and balanced look at Krauthammer’s “crisis of competence” claim. No, sir. He is there to reinforce the message:

LOWRY: This is the central irony of the Obama administration, Bill. These are people who believe in government, who want to make government bigger, and more complex, and yet they have presided over a series of astonishing government failures. And it just makes you wonder what other failures are lurking in government agencies that we haven’t heard about yet. 

HEMMER: Hmm. Like what?

LOWRY: [Surprised] Well, we don’t know. But Charles made a very good point, Bill…

Yes, a very good point, indeed.

In yet another segment, about 8 minutes later, the Obama-hating daughter of Dick Cheney, Liz, also referenced the Krauthammer comment and spoke of “the incompetence of this liz cheney on foxpresident across a whole range of issues.” Krauthammer should get a special commission for providing so much chatter fodder for Fox. (As an aside, Liz told us that Obama and his political allies “are not doing their job in terms of trying to keep this nation safe.” That coming from the daughter of a man who was Vice President during the worst terrorist attack against this country in its history, while President Obama has in fact kept the country safe.)

My final example of this kind of phony Fox journalism came from a third segment this morning on the utterly misnamed America’s Newsroom. This time the host of the segment was Martha Maccallum, who also pretends to be a straight journalist on Fox. The organizing principle of this segment was something Karl Rove said on Greta Van Susteren’s program last night. Maccallum began the segment this way:

Some critics are saying that President Obama needs to take more responsibility for his handling of the growing ISIS threat. Here is Karl Rove on that last night:

Before we get to what Rove said, notice that intro: “Some critics are saying.” That is another way for Fox producers to present commentary as news. With an introduction like that, one rove on gretacould offer up anything, absolutely anything, and the gullible folks in the Fox audience will think they are actually watching real news. The entire segment was based on and focused on Rove’s comments from the night before. The entire thing.

What Rove said was the usual stuff about how the President could no longer “skate by” with blaming Bush for all his troubles. He also said that the President could “get bigger” and “look stronger if he takes responsibility on himself.” You get the idea. Referring to Obama’s interview on 60 Minutes on Sunday, Rove said Obama should not have “thrown James Clapper under the bus” and instead shouldered the blame himself for underestimating ISIL.

Now, I can’t go any further with my presentation of coordinated phony Fox journalism without bringing to your attention what President Obama actually said about James Clapper on 60 Minutes last Sunday. Obama did not throw Clapper, who is the Director of National Intelligence, under the bus. Here, in fact, is what he said in response to a Steve Kroft question about ISIL:

obama on sixty minutesKROFT: How did they end up where they are in control of so much territory? Was that a complete surprise to you?

OBAMA: Well I think, our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.

KROFT: I mean, he didn’t say that, just say that, we underestimated ISIL. He said, we overestimated the ability and the will of our allies, the Iraqi army, to fight.

OBAMA: That’s true. That’s absolutely true. 

As you can see, Clapper had no tire tracks on him after that rather mild claim. But Obama was accused, based on that short exchange, of denying all responsibility. Fox has been particularly focused on that comment about our intelligence community underestimating ISIL, especially since some “top U.S. intelligence official” leaked to Fox a memo to staff” that supposedly exonerated Clapper and our intelligence apparatus. The problem is that Clapper did actuclapper and obama via Inter press serviceally say that our intelligence analysts underestimated the strength of ISIL, as well as overestimated the capability of the Iraqi army. But why let facts get in the way of the message you are peddling to the gullible?

With that out of the way, we can now proceed to more of Fox ignoring reality. After playing Rove’s comments, Maccallum brings into our living rooms Doug Schoen, who gets paid by Fox to pretend to be a Democrat, and Monica Crowley, who gets paid by Fox to look good and to pretend to be an insightful right-winger. As the segment proceeded, Schoen said that his take on what Rove said was,

that we are all Americans. This is not about assessing blame or parsing responsibility. It’s coming together for common purpose to take on a common enemy. I think that’s what we need to do and that’s what the President should have done.

Yes, Karl is the perfect guy to lecture us about not assessing blame. Good ol’ Turd Blossom would never do anything so, uh, un-American. Beyond that, though, if you bothered to look at that 60 Minutes interview, you would see that not only did President Obama not do what Rove accused him of doing, but he did do what Schoen accused him of not doing. Confusing stuff, yes. But as I said, facts and Fox don’t mix.

For her part, Monica Crowley did what she is paid to do. She looked good and she pretended to offer us insights from a right-wing perspective. One of her insights was this gem:

I think this goes back to his original mission when he entered the presidency, which was…the fundamental transformation of the nation, which had two basic pillars. One, socialized medicine, which he got through. And, two, retrenchment of world power, of American power in the world, which he also got through. And now you have the sense that he believes that since he’s done both, at least both are rolling along nicely for him, that his work here is done. That he can essentially sit back for the next two years and say, “Well, I’ll tinker at the margins and manage it, but, you know, the big work is already over.”

Instead of laughing at that bit of doo-doo, instead of apologizing to her audience for presenting to them such lunacy on what is billed as a fair and balanced news program, how do you suppose “journalist” Martha Maccallum responded to that nonsense? She legitimated it by saying:

MACCALLUM: Unfortunately we’re not living in a “tinkering at the margins” moment in history.

Yschoen and crowleyeah, unfortunately we’re not. Nor are we living in the Golden Age of Journalism.

The final right-wing insight provided by Monica Crowley in this segment came after a question about who was giving advice to President Obama about his “legacy.” This led Crowley to assert that Obama has never had any “wise men or wise women around him” to tell him what he needs to hear. He has limited himself to his wife, Valerie Jarrett, David Axelrod, and “maybe one or two other people.” This, she said—and I kid you not—was,

a direct result of Barack Obama’s essential narcissism, where he believes that nobody is smarter than he is, nobody knows better than he does, so therefore he really doesn’t have to listen to anybody else.

And there you have it. This “news” segment began with, “Some critics are saying.” It featured Karl Rove’s comments last night mischaracterizing something President Obama said. Then, based on Rove’s erroneous comments, claims were presented that Obama is a narcissist who has socialized medicine and weakened the nation and is now resting from his work. Finally, the segment ended with the phony journalist who was hosting this madness again validating all of it by saying this:

MACCALLUM: As Karl Rove says, you can make a change. You can take the bull by the horns and you can become bigger, as Karl believes the President needs to do. We’ll see what the American people think and how he responds. Doug, Monica, always good to talk to you both. Thanks very much, guys. See ya next time.

Yep. There will most certainly be a next time. All day, every day. All night, every night.

The Republican Party Crackup, Presented By Rachel Maddow

No one on television quite ties it all together like the charming St. Rachel:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

“The Beginning Of The Battle To Take Over The Republican Party”

I just noticed, via C-SPAN, that a bunch of bitter extremist conservative leaders got together after the election last week and told reporters at the National Press Club that what’s wrong with the Republican Party is that there aren’t enough bitter extremist conservatives in it.

The press event was led by Richard Viguerie, an influential conservative who has tried to help right-wing nuts take over the Republican Party for more than 50 years. To people like Viguerie, the GOP is merely “the most convenient vehicle through which to seek elective office.”

To give you an idea of what strange ideas whiz around in the noggin’ of Richard Viguerie, he thought that Rick Santorum was “the most electable conservative seeking the Republican nomination for President.” Yes, he really thought that.

Viguerie said last week:

The battle to take over the Republican Party begins today and the failed Republican leadership should resign. Out of last night’s disaster comes some good news, however. Conservatives are saying, “Never again are we going to nominate a big-government establishment Republican for president.”

As if he were reading from a script written by liberal Democrats who want the GOP to continue on its path toward national irrelevance, Viguerie elaborated:

Republicans never, ever win the presidency unless they nationalize the election around conservative principles and a conservative agenda…In choosing to ignore the conservative agenda, Romney chose not to follow the path that led to Republicans winning the White House seven out of the last eleven elections…

Now don’t get caught up on how delusional Viguerie is to think that Mittens actually ignoredthe conservative agenda,” an agenda he embraced so effectively that it helped bring him down (“self deportation,” anyone?). Viguerie said something more important, in terms of the internecine struggle that has begun over the future of the Republican Party: “The battle to take over the Republican Party begins today.”

The old conservative went on to demand the heads of Reince Priebus, John Cornyn, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and “other Republican leaders behind the epic election failure of 2012.” He then tossed Karl Rove out with the other consultant trash he considered unworthy of advising the Republican Party, saying “no one should give a dime to their ineffective super PACs such as American Crossroads.”

Despite all that, the real problem for Republican leaders, who can see that their party is becoming nationally unattractive, is related to the following Viguerie remarks, in which he reiterated what is at stake for movement conservatives:

The disaster of 2012 signals the beginning of the battle to take over the Republican Party, and the opportunity to establish the GOP as the party of small government, constitutional conservatism.

Viguerie, you see, doesn’t just want to share the Republican Party with other Republicans. He and other like-minded zealots want to take it over and completely remake it in the image of the Tea Party. That’s what “small government, constitutional conservatism” translates to.

In the mean time, some of the more establishment righties, like columnist and Foxer Michael Barone, said the Tea Party “brings some talented people into politics…but it also brings some wackos and weirdos and witches, and we put too many of them on the ticket.

As a Democrat, I am more than happy to stand back and watch Republicans figure out just who are the “talented people” and who are the “wackos and weirdos and witches.” It will be amusing to see Republicans turn on one another, attack one another, injure one another. They deserve the tumult they are going through, given how many of them tried to destroy President Obama by waging a war of slander against him and by slowing down the economic recovery so he couldn’t win a second term.

While those disgraceful actions didn’t stop Obama’s reelection, they did hurt the country, and given the confusion they created around next year’s fiscal policies, Republicans are still hurting the country.

These people have sown division and uncertainty, and, by God, they are, as a political party, reaping what they sowed.

Celebrate! Karl Rove Went Nuts!

Now we know exactly why Republicans tried so hard to keep people from voting.

The easiest thing to do this morning, after Tuesday’s great Democratic victory, would be to rehearse all the pre-election hooey that oozed from Foxed-up folks, whether it be local bloggers or well-known extremists on TV and radio, who were cock-sure that Americans wouldn’t put the black Kenyan socialist back in the White’s House.

Yes, that would be so easy. But because I am such a gracious winner, I’m just not gonna play back all that stuff, all that vitriol-based commentary, all those foolish predictions by the Obama-haters. Nope, I’m not gonna do it.

Couldn’t help it.

But I’ll spare you the rest of the rubbish that came from others, who I am sure had a hard time popping out of bed this morning, at least those who could actually get to sleep after it became clear that they are going to have to live with Barack Obama for another four years.

And they will have to live with more Democrats in the Democrat-controlled Senate and a few more in the House. And, ahhhh, they will have to live with ObamaCare.

Not that some of those folks didn’t put up a fight last night.

I watched with utter delight what happened on Fox after it called the election for the President. Turd Blossom, uh, Karl Rove, was in rare form. He openly challenged Fox’s “decision desk“—nerdish guys and gals who crunch the numbers using decidedly non-ideological arithmetic—and pleaded with the anchors to do something about it. To stop it. To repeal the laws of mathematics.

Here’s how Time’s TV critic, James Poniewozik described it:

What is unusual–really, one of the most spectacular things I have ever seen on cable news–is for one arm of a network to basically turn against itself on-air. “Here’s what we’re going to do!” said anchor Bret Baier. “We’re going to get someone from the decision desk and we’re going to bring them in here and we’re going to have them on air and we’re going to interview them about this decision.”

That’s right: One of you nerds had better get in here and explain yourselves to Karl Rove! You have made an important Republican very upset!

If you didn’t see what happened on Fox, I suggest you read Poniewozik’s entire account of it, including his summation of Karl Rove’s attempt to commandeer a network in service to his political party:

It was a fitting moment for an election that often seemed to be a campaign over the idea of mathematical knowability itself. But it was also a glaring, and embarrassing, example of the extent to which Fox News has become an arm of the Republican Party and is expected by GOP operatives to behave as one. Rove may be a party big shot, but he’s just a guy giving analysis on Fox’s air. He does not run the network, even if his friends do.

And yet apparently no one in Fox’s studio felt empowered to tell him that, just because he’d raised a squillion dollars for Republicans SuperPACs this election, he is not entitled to have the decision desk hauled out to answer to him like a chef who sent out an undercooked steak. It’s the sort of thing that might cause you to examine your mission as a journalistic network. I’m not waiting up for that to happen, though.

No, Fox “News” will not examine its journalistic mission. It won’t ask itself why so many of us put quotation marks around its “News.” It will continue to falsely call itself fair and balanced and wage war on arithmetic and the Democratic Party.

But Democrats can celebrate one simple fact today. Despite all of what the Fox “News” Channel did to sabotage their chances of winning, despite all that Karl Rove and his moneyed minions did to try to buy the election, despite all the attempts to suppress the vote of minorities and young people, a majority of Americans still placed their hope for a better future in the hands of the Democratic Party.

And at least for one day, that is worth celebrating.

McCaskill Sends A Warning To Republicans

As Todd Akin, that brilliant medieval scientist, continues his “Give ‘Em The Finger Tour” around Missouri (he essentially kicked it off here in Joplin), and as he attempts to make Missouri the butt of all political jokes, Claire McCaskill appeared on MSNBC this morning and offered this rather unladylike warning to the honchos in the GOP:

Watch the national Republicans. You know, they’ve all said it was unacceptable what he did, and I think Scott Brown and Linda McMahon and a lot of candidates out there are really going to be in trouble if the national Republicans now go back on their word and come in here and try to fund Todd Akin.

McCaskill’s senate counterpart, Roy Blunt, has already decided to put political power ahead of principle and support Akin. But he has his own personal reasons for doing so. If Blunt, who is Mitt Romney’s congressional liaison, can help Republicans gain control of the senate by helping to engineer an Akin victory, he will be able to move up the leadership ladder—he is now the Vice-Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.

McCaskill is counting on national Republicans, who don’t share Blunt’s narrower interests because they have to look out for other candidates in bluish states, to keep to their word and not flirt with Akin and his goofy gynecological godliness imported from the Middle Ages.

So far, Texas Senator John Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, claims he has “no plans” to put money in Akin’s campaign, but we are talking about the Republican Party here. If the race is close in a couple of weeks, I’m betting the money will flow.

As for that other money-man, Karl Rove—who famously said of Akin that, “If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts” —he probably won’t sink any money into Akin’s race, just as he didn’t offer any dough to GOP senate candidates and wingnuts Sharron Angle, Joe Miller, or Christine O’Donnell in 2010.

But again, these are Republicans. If it appears that an Akin victory is possible, and a Republican-controlled Senate is still in play, then even the murder-minded Rove may make a cash dump in Missouri.

In the mean time, the fact that Todd Akin still has his political legs, after all he has said and done, says a lot about how far Missouri politics has been corrupted by a corrosive brand of conservatism.

“His Poor Father Must Be So Embarrassed About His Son”

 

The headline at HuffPo said it all:

Harry Reid: Bain Investor Told Me That Mitt Romney ‘Didn’t Pay Any Taxes For 10 Years’

Now, that kind of speculation about what Romney is hiding is inevitable and will only get worse, despite the fact that Mittens is standing strong against transparency.  The HuffPo story relates:

“His poor father must be so embarrassed about his son,” Reid said, in reference to George Romney’s standard-setting decision to turn over 12 years of tax returns when he ran for president in the late 1960s.

Saying he had “no problem with somebody being really, really wealthy,” Reid sat up in his chair a bit before stirring the pot further. A month or so ago, he said, a person who had invested with Bain Capital called his office.

“Harry, he didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years,” Reid recounted the person as saying.

“He didn’t pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain,” said Reid. “But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?

How it looks now is increasingly becoming a problem for Romney, who is still running strong on the idea that he was a “sterling” bidnessman—his latest ad quotes Bill Clinton as saying so—but refuses to let the light shine on the whole of his business career and how he benefited from it and from America’s skewed tax system.

In any case, Harry Reid, who at times is frustratingly kind to his Republican colleagues, also said some other stunning things about money and politics. Although he said he is optimistic about the Democrats’ chances of keeping control of the Senate, he accurately summed up what’s wrong:

We feel comfortable in the Senate. Where the problem is, is this: Because of the Citizens United decision, Karl Rove and the Republicans are looking forward to a breakfast the day after the election. They are going to assemble 17 angry old white men for breakfast, some of them will slobber in their food, some will have scrambled eggs, some will have oatmeal, their teeth are gone. But these 17 angry old white men will say, ‘Hey, we just bought America. Wasn’t so bad. We still have a whole lot of money left.’

Give ’em hell, Harry!

 

Sorry Asses

Turd Blossom, also known as Karl Rove, famously wrote a piece in The Wall Street Journal that gave legs to the demonstrably false meme that President Obama has been traversing the globe announcing our nation’s historical failings and apologizing for them.

Mr. Blossom wrote of the alleged apologies:

Mr. Obama makes it seem as though there is moral equivalence between America and its adversaries and assumes that if he confesses America’s sins, other nations will confess theirs and change.

Of course Mr. Obama never did what he was accused of doing, as many have pointed out, but that hasn’t stopped the criticism. WaPo quotes Donald Rumsfeld as saying,

I think he had made a practice of trying to apologize for America. I personally am proud of America.

And of course Mittens had something to say:

I will not and I will never apologize for America. I don’t apologize for America, because I believe in America.

The apology meme is perfectly suited for talk radio and Fox “News,” which moved it around the world at light speed. Sean Hannity, using his most serious and obnoxious voice, said Obama has a “habit” of issuing “wall to wall apologies,” and,

We have a president that’s more inclined to apologize for America than defend America’s greatness.

Now, leaving aside the disturbing hysteria that has taken up permanent residence in the brain of Sean Hannity and other talkers in the right-wing media, even if Mr. Obama were a serial apologizer, so what?

It seems obvious to me that any concept of America’s “greatness” should include the idea that we attempt to correct our wrongs when we can and when he can’t correct them, we at least should be great enough to express regret for them.  Other than those infected with fascist fantasies, what kind of mind would think that apologizing is a sign of weakness and not of strength?

I bring up the topic because of this wonderful headline:

Yes, that U.S. House, the one with all those extremist teapartiers who think Obama has apologized us into second-class status internationally.

Here’s the story:

WASHINGTON, June 18 (Xinhua) — U.S. House of Representatives on Monday unanimously passed a resolution apologizing for discriminating laws targeting Chinese immigrants at the turn of the 20th century.

Congressional leaders hailed the approval of the resolution as a “historic” moment for the Chinese American community.

In a voice vote, the House passed H. Res. 683, a bipartisan resolution that formally expresses regret for the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and other legislation that discriminated against people of Chinese origin in the United States.

This is the fourth resolution of regret passed by both houses of the U.S. Congress in the past 25 years. It was approved in the Senate last October.

“Today the House made history when both chambers of Congress officially and formally acknowledged the ugly and un-American nature of laws that targeted Chinese immigrants,” said Congresswoman Judy Chu, the only member of Congress who is of Chinese descent and who introduced the bill. “I feel so gratified… and I feel honored to have been a part of this great moment in history.”

The Chinese Exclusion Act, approved in 1882 in Congress and lasted for 60 years, was the first and the only federal law in U.S. history that excluded a single group of people from immigration on no basis other than their race. It explicitly banned Chinese workers from immigration and existing residents from naturalization and voting.

The Act was later expanded several times to apply to all persons of Chinese descent, each time imposing increasingly severe restrictions on immigration and naturalization.

No word in yet on when Turd Blossom will denounce House Republicans for their act of shame, which has made it “seem as though there is moral equivalence between America and its adversaries and assumes that if [the House of Representatives]confesses America’s sins, other nations will confess theirs and change.”

No word in yet on when Sean Hannity will summon his most serious and obnoxious voice and decry this outrage against American greatness, perpetrated by the Republican-dominated House.

No word in yet on when Mittens will grab a microphone and repeat his suggestion that it is not possible to both apologize for America and also believe in it.

And no word in yet on when Republicans will apologize to Barack Obama for slandering him, for loudly and endlessly suggesting that he doesn’t love America and that he has diminished its greatness.

Of Chicken Shit And Billionaires

I want to begin with a story that appeared on the front page of the Joplin Globe this Friday morning:

Moark is a subsidiary of Land O’Lakes in Minnesota and is the second largest distributor of fresh shell eggs in the country (about 6 billion eggs sold each year). Naturally, when millions of chickens are concentrated in one area there is a problem with waste and smell, which tend to diminish the quality of life for those residents who happen to live nearby.

The point of the Globe story was really to chronicle the lack of interest on the part of those nearby residents to resist this latest expansion of Moark’s production, since citizen resistance to an earlier expansion in 2005 met with utter failure. The state sided with the corporation.

Dave Boyt, one of those who challenged Moark’s 2005 expansion said this time:

People get tired of beating their heads against a wall. We knew during the earlier expansion what we were up against. We knew that the chances of stopping the expansion or getting even some concessions were absolutely minuscule.

Another nearby resident said:

Ordinary people can’t afford to fight something that big. Money talks, and as a little guy, unless you’ve got the money to fight them, you really can’t do much.

Such resignation may be behind the tendency, when one discusses money in politics, to resort to a “both sides do it” stance and just hope the wind blows the smell of chicken shit the other way.

But, folks, what Republicans are doing this election cycle ought to scare the complacency out of you, if, that is, you give a damn about our democracy. Last night on MSNBC, Ezra Klein (subbing for Saint Rachel) presented this graphic:

What this comparison shows is that Karl Rove, W. Bush’s Turd Blossom, will spend this election cycle, through his Crossroads group, nearly as much as the entire McCain-Palin campaign did in 2008.

But that’s not the whole story, of course. As Politico reported:

POLITICO has learned that Koch-related organizations plan to spend about $400 million ahead of the 2012 elections – twice what they had been expected to commit.

Just the spending linked to the Koch network is more than the $370 million that John McCain raised for his entire presidential campaign four years ago.

So, from just two sources, Rove and Koch, Romney’s effort to become CEO of America will have funding amounting to about twice as much as the Republican Party’s presidential candidate had last time.

But that still doesn’t include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the super PAC supporting Mittens (Restore our Future), which when added to the Rove-Koch dough will exceed $1 billion. Can you smell the chicken doo-doo yet?

But we still haven’t got to what the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee expects to raise—according to Politico about $800 million!

Add it all up and we are damn close to $2 billion that Republicans will have to slander and trash Obama and other Democrats. But we’re still not at the end:

Chicken caca, anyone? That Forbes article relates that the Las Vegas billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, who “has made more money during the Obama administration than just about any other American, based on Forbes tabulations,” will do “whatever it takes” to defeat the President. Adelson is quoted as saying:

What scares me is the continuation of the socialist-style economy we’ve been experiencing for almost four years. That scares me because the redistribution of wealth is the path to more socialism, and to more of the government controlling people’s lives…I believe that people will come to their senses and not extend the current Administration’s quest to socialize this country. It won’t be a socialist democracy because it won’t be a democracy.

It won’t be a democracy because people like Sheldon Adelson—worth a reported $25 billion—and the Koch brothers—combined net worth of $50 billion—and other wealthy Republicans will have cannibalized it, if voters don’t stop them.

And, again, if all this isn’t enough to get folks to electorally rebel against this hostile takeover of our politics—aided greatly by the conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court—then the American experiment with democracy—with government of, by, and for the people—will soon be over.

The people will have surrendered to the oligarchs and America will become a much different place, one where the Adelsons and the Kochs will rule and the Moarks of the world can pollute the countryside with impunity.

Fat Cats And Super PACS

It’s hard to overestimate the damage the Citizens United decision has done, is doing, to our democracy.  A report released by the Wesleyan Media Project, which analyzes political advertising, began with this:

The overall number of GOP presidential ads on the airwaves this election year is comparable with 2008, but who is paying for them so far has changed significantly.  The influence of SuperPACs in the race for the 2012 GOP nomination is clear, with a more than 1600 percent increase in interest-group sponsored ads aired as compared to 2008.

Get that? Comparing the same period of the last two presidential GOP primary seasons, the number of super PAC ads has gone up 1626.7% this year, with the actual spending increase amounting to 1281.8%. That is largely because corporations, which have become full-fledged folks under a weird interpretation of the Constitution, can now give unlimited amounts of cash:

In the first presidential election cycle following the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Citizens United v. FEC, interest group involvement in the presidential air war has skyrocketed from 3 percent of all ads aired in the 2008 Republican nomination race to nearly half (44 percent) of all airings.

As for the candidates themselves, they aired almost 41% fewer ads and spent almost 72% less money over the comparable periods. The candidates are essentially hiding behind the super PACS that support them.

(By the way, the donors to those candidate-oriented PACS will be disclosed today, while those advocacy groups organized as 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporations—like Karl Rove-supported Crossroads GPS—are allowed to keep their donor list of fat cats a secret.)

And while President Obama’s campaign has aired ads in important swing states to the tune of $1.4 million since January 1 of last year, over the same period we also know what outside groups supporting right-wing interests in the general election have spent (estimated):

AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY (Think: KOCH BROTHERS): $5,753,280

CROSSROADS GPS (Think: KARL ROVE): $3,013,340

AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE (Think: BIG OIL): $1,673,760

Keep in mind that the general election hasn’t even started and won’t for some time, depending on how much ga$ is poured into Newt Gingrich’s tank.

No matter the outcome of the 2012 election, these and other similar groups will not go away. They will be back again, even stronger and more committed (the Koch brothers play a long-term game).

Please, join Get Money Out or at least visit the site and check out the Idiot’s Guide to the Amendments, if you haven’t already.

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