We have to survive 57 more days of Trump insanity–along with the out-of-control coronavirus pandemic–between now and January 20, 2021. At least Trump finally agreed to let the official presidential transition begin–but he’s still refusing to give Joe Biden access to the government’s vaccine plans.
The New York Times: Trump Administration Approves Start of Formal Transition to Biden.
President Trump’s government on Monday authorized President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. to begin a formal transition process after Michigan certified Mr. Biden as its winner, a strong sign that the president’s last-ditch bid to overturn the results of the election was coming to an end.
Mr. Trump did not concede, and vowed to persist with efforts to change the vote, which have so far proved fruitless. But the president said on Twitter on Monday night that he accepted the decision by Emily W. Murphy, the administrator of the General Services Administration, to allow a transition to proceed.
In his tweet, Mr. Trump said that he had told his officials to begin “initial protocols” involving the handoff to Mr. Biden “in the best interest of our country,” even though he had spent weeks trying to subvert a free and fair election with false claims of fraud. Hours later, he tried to play down the significance of Ms. Murphy’s action, tweeting that it was simply “preliminarily work with the Dems” that would not stop efforts to change the election results.
Still, Ms. Murphy’s designation of Mr. Biden as the apparent victor provides the incoming administration with federal funds and resources and clears the way for the president-elect’s advisers to coordinate with Trump administration officials.
Trump had to be talked into allowing the transition to begin.
Mr. Trump had been resisting any move toward a transition. But in conversations in recent days that intensified Monday morning, top aides — including Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff; Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel; and Jay Sekulow, the president’s personal lawyer — told the president the transition needed to begin. He did not need to say the word “concede,” they told him, according to multiple people briefed on the discussions….
Some of the advisers drafted a statement for the president to issue. In the end, Mr. Trump did not put one out, but aides said the tone was similar to his tweets in the evening, in which he appeared to take credit for Ms. Murphy’s decision to allow the transition to begin.
“Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good fight, and I believe we will prevail!” he wrote. “Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.”
This morning, NBC News published an op-ed by Sen. Chris Murphy: As Trump’s GSA begins election transition, Biden needs access to Covid-19 vaccine plans.
At the very moment President-elect Joe Biden will take the reins of government, the federal government will be in the early stages of implementing the most complicated, most expensive and most important mass vaccination program in our nation’s history. On Monday, General Services Administration signaled that it is ready to begin the formal transition process. There is not a moment to lose….
…vaccines don’t protect people; vaccinations do. And the effort to make sure that every person in America, as soon as possible, gets vaccinated, is a logistical project on par with than anything the American health care system has ever accomplished. Trump’s teams at Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health have begun to develop and implement this system, but it will be barely up and running by Jan. 20. That means that there must be an errorless transition of responsibility from Trump’s team to Biden’s team. And yet for weeks, Trump’s team refused to allow Biden’s transition team access to the plan. Hopefully, the GSA’s announcement means this will change. But we cannot just assume it will happen.
As leaders of Operation Warp Speed, the coalition of federal agencies overseeing the plan for vaccine distribution, told the Senate last week, Trump had been blocking them from communicating at all with the Biden-Harris transition team. Why? Because of Trump’s petulant crusade against reality. Indeed, Trump is still refusing to accept the election results, hoping that desperate lawsuits and the bullying of local elections officials will somehow allow him to remain in office despite the fact that he lost the election convincingly.
Murphy believes the Trump plans are inadequate and Biden will need to make changes. Read Murphy’s detailed recommendations at NBC News.
Trump may have been talked into allowing the formal transition to begin, but he’s still obsessed with proving the election was fraudulent. Now that his many lawsuits have been thrown out of court for lack of evidence, he is becoming concerned that his crazy legal team is making him look bad. As if he hadn’t already done that to himself.
While President Donald Trump has publicly praised his legal team’s efforts, he has privately expressed frustration with the slapdash nature of his election defense fight, according to several people familiar with the discussions.
The president has been complaining to aides and allies about his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and recently-removed lawyer Sidney Powell’s over-the-top performances at a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters last week, these people said. Both Giuliani and Powell have continued to make conspiratorial and baseless claims about widespread voter fraud, for which they have provided no evidence.
The president is concerned his team is comprised of “fools that are making him look bad,” said one source familiar with the thinking. Asked why he would not fire them, this person replied, in essence, who knows?
The president grew less impressed with Powell over the weekend, as she continued to make outlandish comments, including falsely accusing Georgia’s Republican governor and its secretary of state of being part of a scheme to alter votes.
That ultimately led to the terse statement the Trump campaign put out Sunday night on behalf of Giuliani and senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis: “Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own. She is not a member of the Trump legal team. She is also not a lawyer for the President in his personal capacity,” it read.
Trump was also not pleased with the optics of the brown substance, presumed to be hair dye or a makeup product, dripping down Giuliani’s face during the nearly two-hour news conference Thursday, according to one of the sources familiar with the president’s reaction.
Even Rush Limbaugh is complaining about the “legal team.” Earth to Trump: you chose these morons. Only the best people, right?
Elie Honig at CNN: Trump’s bizarro-world ‘elite strike force’ legal challenge is about to implode.
Just moments after a federal judge issued a blistering rebuke of their evidence-free, legally-confused effort to contest President-elect Joe Biden’s win in Pennsylvania, President Donald Trump’s legal team flailed to spin the crushing loss as some sort of bizarro-world victory. Trump campaign attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis claimed in a statement that the dismissal “turns out to help us in our strategy to get expeditiously to the US Supreme Court.”
But if the Trump campaign’s legal team is counting on the Supreme Court to save them, they’re delusional. In this case, and in the larger effort to contest the outcome of the 2020 election, Trump’s team is just about out of runway.
In a news conference laden with false statements and incomprehensible legal claims, Ellis labeled Trump’s legal team an “elite strike force.” But their utter failure to uncover evidence of widespread voter fraud, or to articulate a coherent legal theory, suggests otherwise. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — a staunch Trump political ally — more aptly called Trump’s legal team a “national embarrassment.” The Trump team later distanced itself from Sidney Powell, an attorney on Trump’s legal team, after she spread conspiracy theories about the election.
Indeed, Saturday’s ruling by federal judge Matthew Brann — an appointee of President Barack Obama who previously held various positions in Pennsylvania’s Republican party — is one of the harshest rebukes I’ve ever seen from any judge. Brann heaped scorn on the Trump campaign’s “strained legal arguments” which, he noted, are “without merit … and unsupported by evidence.” He ridiculed one of the Trump team’s primary constitutional claims as a “Frankenstein monster.” And Brann noted that the Trump campaign position, if adopted, would “disenfranchise almost seven million voters.”
There’s much more at the CNN link. I seriously doubt that even the most extreme SCOTUS justices are going to want to touch the Trump cases with a ten-foot pole.
And then there’s Trump’s crazy pal Roger Stone. The Daily Beast: Roger Stone-Tied Group Threatens GOP: If Trump Goes Down, So Does Your Senate Majority.
Conservative operatives and a super PAC with ties to infamous GOP dirty trickster Roger Stone are calling for Trump supporters to punish Republicans by sitting out Georgia’s crucial Senate runoffs or writing in Trump’s name instead. And though their efforts remains on the party’s fringes, the trajectory of the movement has Republicans fearful that it could cost the GOP control of the Senate.
The most aggressive call to boycott or cast protest ballots in the two runoff races has, so far, come from a dormant pro-Trump super PAC with ties to Stone, which unveiled a new initiative to retaliate against the Republican Party’s supposed turncoats by handing Democrats control of the U.S. Senate.
The group, dubbed the Committee for American Sovereignty, unveiled a new website encouraging Georgia Republicans to write in Trump’s name in both of the upcoming Senate runoff elections, which could determine the party that controls the upper chamber during President-elect Joe Biden’s first two years in office. The PAC argued that doing so will show support for the president in addition to forcing Republicans to address the wild election-fraud conspiracy theories floated by Trump supporters and members of his own legal team.
“If we can do this, we have a real chance at getting these RINO senators to act on the illegitimate and corrupt election presided over by a Democrat party that is invested in the Communist takeover of Our Great Nation,” the group wrote on its new website, writeintrumpforgeorgiasenate.com. “We will not stop fighting for you, the American Patriot, against the evils of Socialism and inferior Religions.”
The effort is representative of a broader push among some of President Trump’s most devoted supporters to withhold support for the two Georgia Republican senators facing competitive runoff challenges, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, in the hope of leveraging the party’s fear of losing the U.S. Senate to get more establishment backing for their drive to change the result of the election. The goal, those operatives say, is to expose a supposed vast election fraud conspiracy abetted by high-level Republicans in Georgia’s state government, including Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Can we survive 57 more days of this insanity? I guess if we got through four years of it, we can hang on a bit longer–but it won’t be easy.
Take care, Sky Dancers! Enjoy your Tuesday in whatever way works best for you. I plan to read a novel and take a nap this afternoon. Please check in with us in the comments if you have the time and inclination.
There are so many headlines flying about at the moment of interest that it’s hard to pick just a few this morning. Let’s start with some big ones that won’t go away.
A 267 page internal investigation of pedophile Jerry Sandusky shows that every knew and they all concealed the horrible crimes. Gawker sums up the shameful findings.
If you don’t have time to review the full 267-page internal investigationof the Penn State scandal, here’s the gist: Everyone knew. Former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno knew. Former Penn State University president Graham Spanier knew. Former Penn State University vice president Gary Schultz knew. Penn State Athletic Director (currently on leave) Tim Curley knew. Everyone knew. As far back as 1998, when they learned of a criminal investigation of Sandusky related to an instance of suspected sexual misconduct with a boy in a PSU football locker room shower.
Here’s a paragraph from investigator Louis Freeh’s remarks sent out alongside his report that damns “the most powerful leaders at Penn State University” quite succinctly:
“Taking into account the available witness statements and evidence, it is more reasonable to conclude that, in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at Penn State University – Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley – repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse from the authorities, the Board of Trustees, Penn State community, and the public at large. Although concern to treat the child abuser humanely was expressly stated, no such sentiments were ever expressed by them for Sandusky’s victims.”
It’s really hard to put together the words that describe exactly how disgusted I am by this statement. That last sentence just is shameful. This sums up just about everything there is to say about how people in power with an agenda will behave when their interests are placed above everything else.
You wouldn’t know about the complete meltdown over Mitt Shady in the MSM and everyplace else if you hang out in right blogosphere or listen to Rush Limbaugh. It’s a wonderful day for race-baiting! They’re stuck on the NAACP Romney appearance and appear oblivious to the continued uncovering of Romney’s lies to every one including two federal agencies. Nope. Rush just turns up the volume and hate. Here’s more on that from MoJo.
“Obama’s the Preezy,” Limbaugh told his listeners Wednesday, (get it? Cuz that’s how black people talk). “He’s confident they’ll boo Romney, simply ’cause Romney’s white. He’s confident of that.” I’m sure Limbaugh will have an impressive rationalization for why Vice President Joe Biden was so well received by the NAACP convention Thursday. This is, put simply, the dumbest thing Limbaugh has said since the time the 61-year old radio host revealed he didn’t know how birth control works.
Romney has now said he “expected” to get booed, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi accused Romney of wanting to get booed in order to make himself look politically brave. Like Limbaugh’s ridiculous comment, Romney and Pelosi’s statements are unfair to the NAACP. There has only been one black president of the United States in history, and Mitt Romney is not the first white presidential candidate to address the NAACP. When Ross Perot (!) adressed the convention in 1992, press accounts don’t describe any boos despite Perot referring to the audience as “you people.” Then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton was well received. Former Republican Senator Bob Dole (R-Kan.) declined to speak, saying he wanted to talk to audiences he “could relate to.”Both Al Gore and George W. Bush addressed the convention in 2000, and neither were booed.
There are only two instances in the past thirty years or so in which a “white guy” of comparable status to Romney getting booed at an NAACP convention. Following his appearance in 2000, George W. Bush snubbed the NAACP for years as president, but when he finally did speak in 2006, he was booed when he brought up charter schools and the war in Iraq. Prior to that, you have to go back about twenty years of white guys not getting booed to 1983, when then-Vice President George H.W. Bush was booed because of his defense of the Reagan administration’s civil rights record. Even then, ABC News describes him as being “well received” when he returned as a presidential candidate in 1988.
Here’s something interesting from Paul Krugman quoted at Politico: “I miss Bush’s ‘honesty’.”
The “radicalized” GOP has gone so far off the deep end, according to Paul Krugman, that it has the New York Times columnist wishing for the days of George W. Bush.
Only one side’s to blame for our “nightmarishly dysfunctional political situation,” he tells Business Insider.
“It’s entirely one-sided,” Krugman said. “That’s one of those things, you know, the centrists — you want to be a centrist, and you want to blame both sides, and it’s one of those almost hilarious things because you see it again and again, the pundits who say, ‘Here’s what President Obama should do, he should reach out across the divide and propose some short-term stimulus but long-term spending cuts to balance the budget, and you say, ‘He’s actually proposed that.’”
“We have a radicalized, off-the-deep end Republican Party,” the Nobel Prize–winning economist added.
Krugman puts the GOP’s latest presidential candidate in that category.
“I find myself now, watching Mitt Romney campaign, I find myself wishing for the honesty of George W. Bush,” he said.
The FBI has released its report on George Zimmerman–shooter of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin–and has determined there is no evidence of racism present. CSM reports on the findings.
After interviewing 30 people familiar with George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain charged with killing African-American teenager Trayvon Martin, FBI agents found no evidence that the shooting was driven by racial bias or animus.
Before Thursday’s release of a Department of Justice report, both sides have argued over whether smatterings of racially charged testimony should be released to the public before the trial – in particular, the testimony of “Witness 9,” whom state prosecutors say has described an “act” by Mr. Zimmerman that suggests “he had a bias toward black people.”
The report released Thursday made clear that the FBI found no one willing to go on the record as saying Zimmerman is racist. Even one of the most skeptical local investigators with the Sanford, Fla., police department, Chris Serino, suggested to the FBI that Zimmerman followed Trayvon “based on his attire,” not “skin color,” and added that he thought Zimmerman had a “little hero complex,” but is not racist, according to the Orlando Sentinel, which obtained copies of the document.
Prosecutors say Zimmerman profiled Trayvon as a criminal (though the teen was doing nothing wrong), followed him, confronted him, and then killed him after a brief scuffle. Zimmerman says he shot Trayvon in self-defense after the teen jumped him, knocked him down, and bashed his head against a sidewalk. The case caused a national uproar over racial profiling and gun laws after local police originally declined to charge Zimmerman. Forty-four days after the shooting, a special state prosecutor charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder.
The report outlines how FBI agents asked each person interviewed whether Zimmerman “displayed any bias, prejudice or irrational attitude against any class of citizen, religious, racial, gender or ethnic groups.” No one said he had.
More information is available at the paper’s website.
I want to add a few interesting links since this is Friday! First, the CSM reviews DNA evidence that shows that indigenous Americans came to this side of the world in at least three waves.
Supporting a controversial view of how humans might have populated the Western Hemisphere, geneticists have found that groups from Asia traveled over the Bering Strait into North America in at least three separate migrations beginning more than 15,000 years ago — not in a single wave, as has been widely thought.
“We have various lines of evidence that there was more than one migration,” said Dr. Andres Ruiz-Linares, a professor of human genetics at University College London and senior author of a report on the findings that was published Wednesday by the journal Nature.The discovery was made possible by the sheer volume of genetic material the team was able to assemble and analyze, he said.
Ruiz-Linares and colleagues around the world analyzed DNA samples, primarily from blood, taken from hundreds of modern-day Native Americans and other indigenous people representing 52 distinct populations. These included Inuits of east and west Greenland, Canadian groups including the Algonquin and the Ojibwa, and a larger variety of people spanning the southern regions of the Americas from Mexico to Peru.
Investigating patterns in more than 350,000 gene variants, the scientists determined that most of the groups they studied did indeed descend from an original “First American” population.
One last link! Ever wonder how dinosaurs had sex? Here’s some information on T-Rex’s Sex Life from the Daily Mail. There’s even some paintings that depict the act. Consider this!
Scientific illustrators have also attempted to capture the intriguing rituals of the huge beasts – including an illustrator who worked with Dr Halstead on a magazine article in 1988.
The physical challenges involved must have been formidable.
The penis of a tyrannosaur is estimated to be around 12 feet long.
Kristi Curry Rogers, Assistant Professor of Biology and Geology at Macalester College in Minnesota, told the Discovery Channel.
‘The most likely position to have intercourse is for the male behind the female, and on top of her, and from behind, any other position is unfathomable.’
So, that’s my offerings today! That should get us started! What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
There are a couple of finance stories that I’ve been following that I’m getting ready to write more bout. One is the story about the manipulation of LIBOR by Barclays with possible involvement of JPM and others. Here’s an article from The Economist to get us started on the topic. Its title includes the word “banksters”. That should be telling.
At present, the scandal rages in one country and around one bank. Barclays has been fined $450m by American and British regulators for its attempts to manipulate LIBOR. The bank’s first attempt to ride out the storm failed miserably; Bob Diamond, Barclays’ chief executive, resigned this week. The British government has ordered a parliamentary review into its banks. The reputation of the City of London, where LIBOR is set by collating estimates of their own borrowing costs from a panel of banks, has been further dented.
But this story stretches far beyond Britain. Barclays is the first bank in the spotlight because it offered to co-operate fully with regulators. It will not be the last. Investigations into the fixing of LIBOR and other rates are also under way in America, Canada and the EU. Between them, these probes cover many of the biggest names in finance: the likes of Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, UBS, Deutsche Bank and HSBC. Employees, from New York to Tokyo, are implicated (see article).
I’m just delving into the details now. It will take me awhile to get to the point of being able to describe it nontechnically so please be patient. This is huge. It will likely show us why the moves to remove Dodd-Frank and the Volker Rule are as criminal as the intent.
Well, I certainly wouldn’t wish Bobby Jindal on the country but it appears that our Governor has made the short list in the Romney VP stake. Frankly, anything he does is only to further his professional political career having done nothing else. Judging from my LA twitter feed, he might just have fled the state because every one is mad at him over his move to end public education as we know it. The man has a weird personality and he excels at ambition and lying. He’d be perfect for the job, frankly. Romney and Jindal are a matched set of amoral liars. Unfortunately, he won’t quit even if he gets the nod which only puts my state in worse condition than it is since he took over. Ask me about our more than double unemployment rate since he took over. He’s got his eye on 4 years from now.
On readiness for office, conversations with Romney insiders and allies suggest that they have no qualms about Portman or Pawlenty. One of Romney’s biggest complaints about President Obama is that he is in over his head and had “never run anything before.” Pawlenty governed the state of Minnesota for two terms; Portman ran the Office of Management and Budget as well as the Office of the United States Trade Representative. Jindal is in his second term as governor of Louisiana. Paul Ryan, however, falls short in this regard; he was a Capitol Hill staffer and a marketing consultant before becoming a congressman at age 28.
As for chemistry with the candidate, Pawlenty, Portman and Ryan have all campaigned alongside him multiple times. Each endorsed him at critical moments in the primary process and appeared with him on the stump when they did. And each got a turn as his key surrogate on Romney’s June bus tour, which ran through their states. Jindal has not yet campaigned with the presumptive nominee, so look for that to happen soon in a swing state near you.
Does this picture remind you of something from the John Kerry Files? Notice the dressage horses are missing. Romney going one way on the lake. Then, the other way on the lake … then back again the other way on the lake …
I’ll just say it: I don’t think the political pundit class understands just how toxic the Swiss/Caymans/Bermuda accounts issue is for Romney. Not that they don’t know it’s a liability at all. But I don’t think they realize the extent of it.
Here’s a report just out from ABC News on how Ted Strickland introduced Obama in Ohio …
“Oh, what a contrast, my friends, between these two men who would be president!” Strickland said, standing outside the Wolcott House Museum. “President Obama is betting on America and American workers, and Mitt Romney is betting his resources in the Cayman Islands, in Bermuda, in Switzerland and God only knows where else he is putting his resources.”Fair or not, it just rolls off the tongue. Immediately understandable. And assuming you’re not talking to the deeply ideological committed or hyper-partisans, how exactly do you understand that a man running for president has parked a lot of his money in offshore tax havens?
Whatever harsh message you’re trying to prove — out of touch with lives of ordinary Americans, plays by a different set of rules, isn’t focused on America and American workers — it fits right in.
Set aside all questions of legality. And I think Romney’s probably too smart and close to the vest to break any laws. But how do you explain it? What’s the good explanation?
Do you seek the safe harbor of Romney’s 15% tax rate?
How many of you know any one that hides assets in off shore banking havens? Better yet, how many savvy politicians would do it?
The attacks on Mississipi’s sole abortion clinic seem to be aimed at sending a court case to SCOTUS to test Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Roe v. Wade. Creeping theocracy threatens the health of American women.
Earlier this week a district court issued an eleventh-hour stay to block a Mississippi law designed to shut down the state’s last surviving abortion clinic. It’s the only one that has muscled through a spate of regulations aimed at making Mississippi “abortion-free,” in the words of Gov. Phil Bryant (R).
“The Court has considered the parties’ arguments and finds Plaintiffs satisfy the requirements for temporary injunctive relief to maintain the status quo until the newly framed issues can be more thoroughly examined,” wrote U.S. district judge Daniel P. Jordan III.
Bryant’s intentions are clear: make Mississippi the first state without access to abortion. But that’s a tricky legal proposition as a result of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the two key Supreme Court rulings that protect abortion rights.
The question before the courts is whether the new state law is legitimate under Roe and Casey. If so, pro-choice advocates fear it would threaten abortion rights protections nationwide
“In this case, Plaintiffs have offered evidence — including quotes from significant legislative and executive officers — that the Act’s purpose is to eliminate abortions in Mississippi,” wrote Jordan. “They likewise submitted evidence that no safety or health concerns motivated its passage. This evidence has not yet been rebutted.”
A hearing is scheduled for July 11 to determine if a preliminary injunction should follow. That’s a reasonably likely scenario since the Bush-appointed Judge Jordan issued the stay on the basis that the plaintiffs have “a substantial likelihood of success on the merits.”
Whether or not the case climbs up to the Supreme Court and puts Roe at risk of being overturned depends on the breadth of the lower courts’ ruling. But neither side is particularly keen on going down that road — at least for now.
“From a pro-choice perspective, the less the current Court does to define Casey, the better. From a pro-life perspective, they want to wait until there’s a clear shot at Roe v. Wade,” said Scott Lemieux, a political science professor at the College of Saint Rose.
Rush Limbaugh has a major problem when it comes to women. In the past, the conservative talk radio host has accused them of being sluts for using birth control and called those who support feminism “feminazis.” (Media Matters has compiled a pretty good list of Limbaugh’s sexist and misogynistic remarks over the years.) Now, the caustic commentator has come up with a new calumny: “When women got the right to vote is when it all went down hill.”
He made the remark on his radio program Tuesday, adding: “Because that’s when votes started being cast with emotion and maternal instincts. …”
That’s right. According to Limbaugh, America messed up big-time when it allowed all of its citizens—not just men—to vote.
I have no idea what makes people vote Republican any more but I don’t think it has anything to do with sanity. What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
I would say that it’s the silly season of the political year but to tell you the truth, to name all this nonsense anything but insanity would be way too much like lying. I don’t recall seeing anything like this EVER and I came of age during Watergate.
So, the misogynistic attacks against law student Sarah Fluke are now being weighed against the misogynist attacks on women politicians by Bill Maher. First, we have to accept that Bill Maher’s career = Rush Limbaugh’s. Mahr’s a Hollywood comedian who has starred in a few cheesy movies and has an HBO comedy show laced with political commentary. Limbaugh’s TV show and radio show are billed as political commentary with bite. Equivalent? I don’t think so. Also, Maher’s used worse vocabulary than Limbaugh because his platform allows it and Limbaugh’s platform are public air waves. Equivalent? I don’t think so. But, misogyny is misogyny and none of it should be written off as simple “entertainment”. How is misogyny either entertainment or political commentary? Would racist slurs be given a pass under this standard?
President Obama’s campaign senior strategist David Axelrod weighed in on one of the testiest political debates in recent weeks during an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett on Thursday: Was Bill Maher’s ridicule of Sarah Palin as reprehensible as Rush Limbaugh’s criticism of Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke?
Burnett asked Axelrod whether “to be consistent,” Obama’s Super PAC should return the million dollars the comedian recently donated to the president’s reelection effort. Obama criticized Limbaugh’s descripton of Fluke, who testified before Congress about the need for insurance coverage for birth control, as a “slut” and a “prostitute.”
In past comedy routines, Maher has used vulgar, misogynistic terms for women to describe Palin.
“Understand that words Maher has used in his stand up act are a little bit different than — not excusable in any way — but different than a guy with 23 million radio listeners using his broadcast platform to malign a young woman for speaking her mind in the most inappropriate, grotesque ways,” Axelrod said.
Axelrod then described Limbaugh as the “de facto boss of” the GOP.
While Axelrod didn’t excuse Maher’s comments, he said Limbaugh’s comments about Fluke were “perverse.”
Bill Maher responds by saying Limbaugh attacked a “private citizen”. That’s a point I will give him. Still, can’t he find better things to attack then women being women? Aren’t Sarah Palin’s statements and behaviors a more appropriate target than her genitalia?
“To compare that to Rush is ridiculous – he went after a civilian about very specific behavior, that was a lie, speaking for a party that has systematically gone after women’s rights all year, on the public airwaves,” Maher told Jake Tapper of ABC News. “I used a rude word about a public figure who gives as good as she gets, who’s called people ‘terrorist’ and ‘unAmerican.’ Sarah Barracuda.”
Maher added, “The First Amendment was specifically designed for citizens to insult politicians. Libel laws were written to protect law students speaking out on political issues from getting called whores by Oxycontin addicts.”
The transcript of the Tapper-Maher interview can be found at the ABC website. Never let it be said that Mitt Romney omits an opportunity to pander. After refusing to comment on the Limbaugh sexism, he’s more than willing to slam Maher. Can this guy get any more inconsistent and hypocritical?
In an appearance on the Sean Hannity radio show, Romney said, “Frankly, what Bill Maher said, and I finally read the transcripts, I was offended, outraged that a person would say that on TV and would not have been called on the carpet before now and not apologized for it. To have the Obama campaign retain a million dollars from Bill Maher, it is simply outrageous. I don’t condone that kind of language and particularly in a public setting, a TV setting.… It’s just gone way beyond the pale.”
Romney did not stipulate which transcript he had reviewed, but Maher has used inappropriate language to attack conservative women, including Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee. Much of what he said is not publishable, but he did call Palin “a bully who sells patriotism like a pimp, and the leader of a strange family of inbred weirdos.”
I wonder if Romney knows the difference between cable and the public air waves.
Ever wonder why Republicans think climate change is a hoax? According to Senator James Inhofe from Oklahoma, it’s all in Genesis. Everything you need to know about climate change is right there in that iron age tale of tales.
Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) appeared on Voice of Christian Youth America’s radio program Crosstalk with Vic Eliason yesterday to promote his new book The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, where he repeated his frequentclaim that human influenced climate change is impossible because “God’s still up there.” Inhofe cited Genesis 8:22 to claim that it is “outrageous” and arrogant for people to believe human beings are “able to change what He is doing in the climate.”
Eliason: Senator, we’re going to talk about your book for a minute, you state in your book which by the way is called The Greatest Hoax, you state in your book that one of your favorite Bible verses, Genesis 8:22, ‘while the earth remaineth seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease,’ what is the significance of these verses to this issue?
Inhofe: Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that ‘as long as the earth remains there will be seed time and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night,’ my point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.Inhofe also says that Richard Cizik, the former Vice President of the National Association of Evangelicals, was bought off by environmentalists and “has been exposed since then to be the liberal that he is”…because apparently liberals can’t be Christians?
He went on to cite Romans 1:25 to criticize people, particularly evangelicals like Cizik, who believe in climate change. Inhofe said that just as Scripture forecasted, people have now “worship the creation” when they support environmental protection, which seems to assume that humans won’t be negatively impacted by climate change.
Throw out the textbooks and the evidence! A group of illiterate nomads from a thousand or so years ago had it nailed! So modern science–especially molecular biology and genetics–seem to throw this particular senator into apoplexy. I wonder what finding a new species of human will do to his small brain?
The fossilised remains of stone age people recovered from two caves in south west China may belong to a new species of human that survived until around the dawn of agriculture.
The partial skulls and other bone fragments, which are from at least four individuals and are between 14,300 and 11,500 years old, have an extraordinary mix of primitive and modern anatomical features that stunned the researchers who found them.
Named the Red Deer Cave people, after their apparent penchant for home-cooked venison, they are the most recent human remains found anywhere in the world that do not closely resemble modern humans.
The individuals differ from modern humans in their jutting jaws, large molar teeth, prominent brows, thick skulls, flat faces and broad noses. Their brains were of average size by ice age standards.
“They could be a new evolutionary line or a previously unknown modern human population that arrived early from Africa and failed to contribute genetically to living east Asians,” said Darren Curnoe, who led the research team at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
“While finely balanced, I think the evidence is slightly weighted towards the Red Deer Cave people representing a new evolutionary line. First, their skulls are anatomically unique. They look very different to all modern humans, whether alive today or in Africa 150,000 years ago,” Curnoe told the Guardian.
“Second, the very fact they persisted until almost 11,000 years ago, when we know that very modern looking people lived at the same time immediately to the east and south, suggests they must have been isolated from them. We might infer from this isolation that they either didn’t interbreed or did so in a limited way.”
One partial skeleton, with much of the skull and teeth, and some rib and limb bones, was recovered from Longlin cave in Guangxi province. More than 30 bones, including at least three partial skulls, two lower jaws and some teeth, ribs and limb fragments, were unearthed at nearby Maludong, or Red Deer Cave, near the city of Mengzi in Yunnan province.
Truthout has a fascinating history of the infiltration of political movements by law enforcement which shows that it’s been going on for ages. This link goes to part 1 of the series. J Edgar Hoover lives! Here’s some of the history I remember learning in high school while studying the labor movement and taking a field trip to see the movie Joe Hill.
Virtually every movement has been the target of police surveillance and disruption activities. The most famous surveillance program was the FBI’s COINTELPRO which according to COINTELPRO Documents targeted the women’s rights, Civil Rights, anti-war and peace movements, the New Left, socialists, communists and independence movement for Puerto Rico, among others. Among the groups infiltrated were the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the NAACP, Congress for Racial Equality, the American Indian Movement, Students for a Democratic Society, the National Lawyers Guild, the Black Panthers and Weather Underground. Significant leaders from Albert Einstein to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who are both memorialized in Washington, were monitored. The rule in the United States is to be infiltrated; the exception is not to be.
The Church Committee documented a history of use of the FBI for purposes of political repression. They described infiltration efforts going back to World War I, including the 1920s, when agents were charged with rounding up “anarchists and revolutionaries” for deportation. The Church Committee found infiltration efforts growing from 1936 through 1976, with COINTELPRO as the major program. While these domestic political spying and disruption programs were supposed to stop in 1976, in fact they have continued. As reported in “The Price of Dissent,” Federal Magistrate Joan Lefkow found in 1991, the record “shows that despite regulations, orders and consent decrees prohibiting such activities, the FBI had continued to collect information concerning only the exercise of free speech.”
How many agents or infiltrators can we expect to see inside a movement? One of the most notorious “police riots” was the 1968 Democratic Party Convention. Independent journalist Yasha Levine writes: “During the 1968 protests of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, which drew about 10,000 protesters and was brutally crushed by the police, 1 out of 6 protesters was a federal undercover agent. That’s right, 1/6th of the total protesting population was made up of spooks drawn from various federal agencies. That’s roughly 1,600 people! The stat came from an Army document obtained by CBS News in 1978, a full decade after the protest took place. According to CBS, the infiltrators were not passive observers, monitoring and relaying information to central command, but were involved in violent confrontations with the police.” [Emphasis in original.]
Peter Camejo, who ran for Governor of California in 2003 as a Green and as Ralph Nader’s vice president in 2004, often told the story about his 1976 presidential campaign. Camejo able to get the FBI in court after finding their offices broken into and suing them over COINTELPRO activities. The judge asked the Special Agent in Charge how many FBI agents worked in Camejo’s presidential campaign; the answer was 66 agents. Camejo estimated he had a campaign staff of about 400 across the country. Once again that would be an infiltration rate of 1 out of 6 people. Camejo discovered that among the agents was his campaign co-chair. He also discovered eavesdropping equipment in his campaign office and documents showing the FBI had followed him since he was a student activist at 18 years old.
The federal infiltration is buttressed by local and state police. Local police infiltrators have a long tradition dating back to the Haymarket riots of 1886 and the 1904 “Italian Squad in New York City. In addition to political activity they were also involved in infiltrations of unions especially around strikes. Common throughout the United States were the so-called “Red Squads” a 1963 report estimated 300,000 officers were involved in surveillance of political activities. These were local police focused on the same types of people as the FBI. Some of their activities included assassinations of political activists.
So, it appears that vigilance will always be a hallmark of a democracy. Witch Hunts and the persecution of freethinking intellectuals will always be considered threatening to the overlords. Speaking of Romney, watch for the Illinois and Louisiana primaries next week.
Meanwhile, what’s on your reading and blogging list today?