Posts Tagged ‘Rachel Maddow’

Nobody Does It Better

March 3, 2010

Nobody, nowhere, does it better than Rachel Maddow of MSNBC nohow.  Her outright intellect, her unwavering loyalty to the facts and her calm delivery provides a service to this country that no one else can duplicate.  The following is her say on the GOP’s sour grapes response to HRC:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/03/maddow-slams-orrin-hatch_n_483509.html

I agree with Rachel.  We will get health care reform.  The only remaining obstacles are procedural.  Thus, the GOP cannot stomach this loss and so they are waging war against the process of reconciliation as their last gasp effort to put a halt to any health care changes.  Never mind the long list of incidences from the recent past when the Republicans used reconciliation to jam through their legislative darlings.  Now they are crying “Unfair”.  Rachel nailed them.

Rachel is typically so even-tempered when she presents her political opinions.  In this video however, I am seeing a slightly ruffled, emotional Rachel.  It is beyond her comprehension that these hypocritical Republicans can blatantly lie about their platform beliefs, criticizing the Democrats’ use of reconciliation while remaining silent on their own partisan use of reconciliation over the last fifteen years.

Rachel, Rachel, Rachel.  Certainly she cannot deny the ongoing deception and narcissism of our politicians.  Perhaps because I am older than Rachel and thus, much more jaded and cynical, I am not surprised by the newest bouts of lying and cheating.  If only reason, logic and a concern for the greater good could win the day, Rachel Maddow would get top honors.  Unfortunately, such is not the case in the good old U. S. of A.  As corrupt as our elected officials are, their constituents are worse because, knowing the facts, they still vote into office those lying, good-for-nothing scoundrels.  The people usually get what they deserve.

Let me cite three examples.  The former Mayor of Washington, D.C., Marion Barry, has consistently been re-elected to public office despite drug charges followed by a prison sentence (“The bitch set me up.”), tax evasion and now, charges and an upfront admission of using public funding for his own personal use.  Barry has been redemptive after all of these crimes and seems to think that is all that is required of him.  Apparently, his constituents agree.  In his last re-election for Ward Councilman and right after the tax evasion charges, his electorate gave him a victory with 93% of the vote.  He could not care less if the D.C. government issues a censure motion; he has the vote.

Similarly, the government and voters of South Carolina have the nasty, philandering, thieving governor they deserve in Mark Sanford.  We all know of his lying to hide his overseas trips to see his soul mate in Argentina and his admitted use of public funds to pay for those trips.  What was his state’s response?  Absolutely nothing.  The legislators and the voters did not bring up charges against Sanford and are just going along to get along.  Good luck to South Carolina: they have an idiot for a Governor and even bigger morons in their state government and electorate.

Finally, how can we discuss incompetent politicians without giving a nod to Sarah Palin?  Take a look at his clip from the Jay Leno Tonight Show:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/02/palin-does-stand-up-comed_n_483421.html

Besides her empty cranium, Palin is just plain manic.  She calls the Tea Party “beautiful”, yet is too stupid to realize that those people will turn on her just as sure as the sun rises and sets every day.  Even Jay commented on the Teabaggers’ hatred of all government yet cited their love for Medicare.  Palin will use any and all venues to obtain her goals of money and fame.  But her entire demeanor is just frenetic, very unstable.  Yet, a large portion of the American population call this mania just Sarah being like one of them, a regular American.  Once again, people, you get what you deserve.

Rachel Maddow is a national treasure.  However, the gap (or more like a deep chasm) that exists between honest government and the sympathetically stupid public will never vanish.  In fact, honesty in government and any sort of intellect in the population is nothing more than a fairy tale.  Regardless of the facts, too many elected officials do whatever horrendous deeds they choose and then demand redemption (Americans are so fond of redemption) by appealing to the Everyman model, the flaws we humans all embody.  Then, lo and behold, the American people fall in love all over again with these criminals.  The most sickening fact is that the politicians know all the ins and outs of this procedure and so, there are virtually no constraints on their unacceptable behaviors.

Nevertheless, here’s to you, Rachel Maddow.  Keep on plugging.  Maybe, some day, somewhere, the people will value your intellectual honesty and dedication to the truth:

Stimulus One-Year Speech: Surgical Strike

February 17, 2010

Please know that I know how intelligent and perceptive Rachel Maddow is.  I am no match for her either in brain power or professional, fact-finding staff.  However, I do seem to have the same generalized perceptions as she does.  Perhaps it is simply because we are human beings, truly concerned with bettering our country.  For two years now, I have been railing against the hypocrisy of our politicians and the absence of ethics in our corporate and governmental quarters.  As an exercise in “seeing the whole picture”, I will attempt to cite international as well as national events that scream “hypocrisy”.

One of my readers on DailyKOS made an astute analogy.  He said that Obama’s ascending the Presidency was like buying a fixer-upper house: before one can put their own imprint on an administration or a house, one has to first clean up the mess left behind.  And what a mess was left for President Obama!  Two endless wars in the Middle East, an economy on the verge of collapse, a federal deficit at an all-time high and the bulk of Americans earning less over the last ten-year period than they had before.  President Obama probably has not yet reached the point of finishing the cleaning up.  He is almost there, at the point where he can exert his agenda, but then WHAM!   He has midterm elections with which to contend.  Things are so much more complicated than we wish them to be.  Let me proceed to cite those examples of hypocrisy and fumigating the debris left by the prior administration.

In the international arena, yesterday on the radio, I heard an interview on NPR.  Mark Thiessen (read about his bona fides), a senior Hoover Fellow, put forth the argument that the Obama White House is killing too many terrorists instead of interrogating them, thereby losing an option to find out valuable information.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/02/08/dead_terrorists_tell_no_tales

I laughed out loud.  What?  Should we continue to house the terrorists at some God-forsaken place like Guantanamo, leaving them to linger in years of limbo, all the while being provided with food, lodging and health care?  Furthermore, Thiessen holds that we indeed should use torture to get whatever information might be available.  Enough.  By collecting terrorists and having no place to put them for an undetermined span of time, we just offer more fodder for criticism and mayhem to flourish.

As an aside, not two minutes ago, Huffington Post announced that the Washington Post has just hired Mark Thiessen to write for their Op-Ed team.  Great: I get to read about the beauty and effectiveness of torture in my local paper:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/17/iwashington-posti-hires-c_n_465804.html

Nonetheless, the hypocrisy here is twofold.  First, the endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were nurtured by the Bush administration.  Loved, coveted and caressed, but without any kind of end strategy.  As if their initial reason for entering these wars was not skeptical enough, Bush held on to these wars like he was hugging his teddy bear for dear life, citing patriotism, as if a country cannot be patriotic unless they have an eternal war to fight.

Then, hypocrisy reared its ugly head again in relation to those terrorists that have been tried.  Not one so-called terrorist has been found guilty in a military trial.  Released and set free.  However, every single “terrorist”, and some carried this title very dubiously, was convicted and given a life sentence in federal, civil court.  It is truly amazing that our “liberal” new President is the leader taking the bull by the horns by taking more aggressive actions in Afghanistan and in trying to bring a terrorist to trial in civil court.  Still and yet, he is being met with constant criticism by the GOP, who is using opposition just for opposition’s sake.  I thought Republicans were the ones who wanted military actions in the war against terror as well as convictions for suspected terrorists.  Now that the President has acted on those policies, the Republicans still have nothing good to say.  Go figure.

Likewise on the domestic front.  Today President Obama gave a speech marking the one year anniversary of the stimulus package.  It was a damn good speech and highlighted some basic facts and figures that we all needed to hear.  The man has all of his marbles, despite the GOP’s highest aim to blockade all of his accomplishments.  This video is about 25 minutes long, with an introduction by Biden (What is that brown mark in the middle of his forehead?).  It is well worth listening to:

http://www.c-span.org/Watch/Media/2010/02/17/HP/R/29663/Obama+Administration+Marks+Stimulus+Bills+First+Anniversary.aspx

There have been definite benefits from the stimulus’  generosity.  If anything, the stimulus funds were not enough.  Today the President cited many examples of the beneficence created by the stimulus.  Don’t forget: he is still cleaning up that fixer-upper and has yet to implement his own agenda.  The Republicans have the gall to cite their favorite platforms of too much government interference, too much debt and their overall capitalistic catch-all stance that the economy will take care of itself.  I am not falling for that self-serving, elitist attitude one iota and today, President Obama addressed many of those accusations and delivered them back to the GOP on a silver platter.  I do think this particular speech could be a turning point for the administration.

Rather than rehash the hypocrisy of the GOP regarding domestic economic matters, read the following article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/16/obama-dispatches-cabinet_n_463602.html

Numerous elected officials condemn the administration’s policies yet take whatever those policies might hand over to them and their special interests.  Make no mistake: the Democrats are just as culpable as the Republicans, citing Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson as prime examples.  And those dedicated Republicans, who in better times hide behind their platform of “state’s rights” by calling for less government funding and interference, now are screaming bloody murder, “no fair”, (just Google Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger)as they are faced with humongous state deficits.  Of course now they want all the federal help they can muster.

So the hypocrisy abounds.  President Obama is getting the job done, slowly yes, but soon, soon, he will pick up speed.  His speech today was a step in the right direction because he cited specific facts to support items undertaken during the last year.  He communicated well —- and forcibly —- with the American people.  The generalities were gone, replaced by detailed examples of the last year’s accomplishments.

Keep cleaning up, Mr. President.  Your time is almost at hand.

POSTSCRIPT:

As long as we are on the topic of hypocrisy, have a look at the New Kid On Tha Block blog.  Sad that the author, still a twenty-something, has had to face the ravages of hypocrisy so early in her life.  But rewarding too, in that she will be better able to distinguish the phonies from the real mensches.  By the way, New Kid hits the mark in all of her posts; she is a voice of today:

http://newkidonthablog.blogspot.com/2010/02/this-was-on-gawker-and-it-gave-me.html

“Uncle”

February 10, 2010

We’re done.  And we lucked out: only six to eight inches this go-around.  I cry “Uncle” regarding the snow.  But enough of the weather.  More serious problems persist.  It is time to cry “Uncle”, loud and clear, in response to our government’s failure to thrive.

The do-nothing Congress is pathetic.  The GOP will vote against anything and everything that President Obama endorses.  Their only mission is to bring the man down.  Have a good look at this commentary by Rachel Maddow, who is relentless and truth-serving in her effort to showcase the hypocrisy of the Republicans:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/10/maddow-calls-out-individu_n_456645.html

Along with our elected GOP officials voting “No” on every substantive policy issue, they are also holding up effective governance by vetoing across-the-board political appointees, such as the new chief of the NLRB.  The Republicans voiced concern over the proposed nominee, Craig Becker, because in the past, he has worked in support of labor unions.  Can you imagine that?  An official, very well versed and experienced in labor issues, actually talking to labor unions?  It is time we-the-people cried out against this destruction and paralysis.  Take the time to view Senator Sherrod Brown castigate the Senate for their blockade against governing:

The other side of the coin, which in my mind, is just as liable for our failure of government, is the weak, gutless response of the Democrats and yes, our President.  Even without a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, the Democrats still have a whopping majority there and in the House.  There are viable alternatives available to getting major policies passed and appointments assigned: reconciliation, recess appointments and whatever other (I am no poli-sci maven here) methods that exist to ram through these much needed legislation.  The Republicans threaten a filibuster on almost every single item.  So what.  Let them filibuster.  Let them read from the phone book for hours, if not days, on end.  Let their electorates see how obstructive they are to any effective measures.  Let the people take notice of the waste of time and resources our government officials are expending.  Then, let the taxpayers rise up and scream bloody murder about the do-nothings in Congress who are not fulfilling their oaths of office — on our dime.  The Democrats need to be much more aggressive in getting their programs past the GOP blockade.  Further, the renegade Democrats like Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman, need to be put in their place and kicked off of any committee they chair.  No more back room deals to secure the votes of these renegade Democrats.  If the Democrats  also choose to do nothing, they are just as responsible for the failure to govern.  No excuses accepted.

Let the Republicans criticize the Democrats for ramming through legislation in whatever way they can.  Bush did exactly that: he used any and all legal strategies to push through such acts as the tax rollback, recess appointments and the freedom-eroding Patriot Act.  Cheney made sure that whatever bills they wanted passed, were passed.  Can our ruling party get some of that chutzpah and cajones that Cheney had?

As Albert Brooks writes in his Op-Ed on Huffington, Obama is being “punk’d”:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/albert-brooks/barack-obama-is-being-pun_b_454976.html

To have Sarah Palin write crib notes on the palm of her hand to help her get through a speech, all the while she criticizes President Obama for his reliance on the teleprompter, is so hypocritical.  For Palin to call for the firing of Rahm Emanuel for using the derogatory term “retard”, while deeming Rush Limbaugh’s same use of that word as “satire”, is outrageous.  Likewise, as Maddow pointed out, how deceitful was it to have those Republicans, who voted against the stimulus package, then appear publicly with the people of their state who benefitted from that exact stimulus?  These are only small examples of the larger outrage committed by the GOP.  I cite these examples to show how petty and self-serving, yet of one mind, the GOP is.  Their pettiness should not be allowed to affect the running of our government.  Lives are at stake here and real governing is not about who wins.  They have lost sight of their mission.  But the Democrats are allowing this distortion and blockade of the mission.

A person can be “punk’d” only if he allows it.  The Democrats can be maligned by the GOP and their very own party members only if they permit it.  When not even one GOP member votes for an act that is beneficial to the people, over and over again, you would have to be either dead or a real idiot not to assume that their agenda is simply to say “No” to our President.  What is much worse in my mind, is that the Democrats allow this behavior and are absolutely not fighting back.

It is time for all of us to cry “Uncle”.

MORE READING ON THE OBSTRUCTIONIST GOP AND THE GUTLESS DEMOCRATS:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-cesca/time-for-the-democrats-to_b_457222.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/10/opinion/10wed1.html?hpw

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cenk-uygur/its-time-for-democrats-to_b_456710.html

Get Smart

April 24, 2009

It is Friday again, and you know what that means: assigned reading and listening for the weekend ahead.  If I don’t take responsibility for your enlightenment, who will?

This issue of torture is riveting because how we treat our enemies is, in a nutshell, the measure of who we are:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-atran/the-moral-measure-of-a-ci_b_188579.html

This torture dilemma is wrapped up in the dual questions of transparency/accountability and the possibility of prosecution, is in the forefront of the news and we all need to educate ourselves on the merits of taking steps to expose and possibly punish those responsible.   One thing is for certain:  Americans do not like any circumstance that is long, drawn-out and emotionally taxing and draining.  We are an impatient people, whether the specific issue at hand is a war, a recession or a scandal.  Furthermore, Americans, when faced with an obstacle, want to take immediate steps to remedy the situation.  Whether or not immediate action is wise, practical and useful is of less importance than just making the problem go away right now.

This is exactly what we are faced with on the torture issue and the question of whether or not the Justice Department should take the inquiry and possible prosecution up to the highest levels of government.  On one hand, we have those that say it is in the best interest of national security to avoid such public transparency.   Even President Obama himself would prefer to put this issue to bed now and focus more on the future rather than the past.  On the other hand, we have those who, knowing that these policies were immoral and illegal, insist that the very groundwork  on which this country was founded is on the line.  The Iraq war and its accompanying POW practices were illegal and for the United States NOT to prosecute the top people who condoned these practices is an illegal act in and of itself.  Our national security and international reputation actually suffered substantially from all this blatant nose-thumbing at national and international law.  Therefore, to go after these criminals would not hurt us further; quite the contrary.  We MUST prosecute the guilty to in fact redeem ourselves and return to those founding principles of our Constitution.

Here then, is an Op-Ed piece supporting the side that wants to put this torture issue behind us, without further investigation and possible prosecution of officials, i.e. Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/23/opinion/23iht-edcohen.html

I do understand Roger Cohen’s viewpoint.  Yes, our government, media and Justice Department all failed in their oversight of the tactics used during the last seven years with regard to the war in Iraq.  Cohen believes that these checks and balances are now back in working order.  He feels that Obama’s decision to “out” the offending memos is enough for us to assume the correct path.  Sorry: unless this process is taken to its natural conclusion, that being accountability and prosecution, enough is NOT enough.  I am a big believer in consequences.  Atrocious acts WILL happen over and over again unless the resultant consequences are appropriate, steep and effective in dissuading future copy-cat behavior.  To refuse to fully investigate and if necessary, suffer consequences, would be a repudiation of everything that is the United States of America.

On the other side of the coin, there are plenty of individuals who want this investigation to go as high up as necessary.  Paul Krugman today had an article in the New York Times focusing on the “soul” of America:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/24/opinion/24krugman.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

Read his words carefully.  You would have to be a horse’s ass to deny Krugman’s last thought that to prevent further invesitigation is to deny our future:

“We need to do this for the sake of our future. For this isn’t about looking backward, it’s about looking forward — because it’s about reclaiming America’s soul.”

A few other events of relevance  must be cited.  On the MSNBC Rachel Maddow Show earlier this week, she had a true coup of an interview with Philip Zelikow.  He was on board at the Office of Legal Counsel at the same time as Jay Bybee and John Yoo.  However, Zelikow took the opposite position on torture: he deemed such practices as water-boarding to be illegal.  Gutsy.  Of course, his memos have since disappeared.  Please watch the following video from Maddow’s interview with Zelikow:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#30335366

Then today, Zelikow had his own say in an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/24/opinion/24zelikow.html?ref=opinion

Finally, President Obama, on April 15th, had a sit-down debate on the torture issue, listening to both sides.  Keep in mind that we are dealing with not only transparency of this issue, but also the content, and if this content demands prosecution.  Unlike John Boehner, who accused Obama of being unpatriotic because he released these memos to the American public, this panel assembled by Obama dealt with the whys and wherefores of future prosecution.  What kind of idiot is this Boehner?  No matter how illegal these acts were, Boehner believes that the public should have remained in the dark.  Does he not care at all about the content and substance of what went on, or is it all about covering up?  Has Boehner ever commented on the sheer illegality of these torture tactics?  No.  The content of the memos is not a worthy issue for Boehner;  it is the publication of the memos, informing the public, that is the total issue for him.  All looks, no substance.  But hey, he has a real nice tan.

Anyway, on one side of this debate were Leon Panetta, current CIA chief, and the immediate four previous  CIA heads.  These men were in favor of not prosecuting.  On the other side of the debate were Defense head Robert Gates, Attorney General Eric Holder, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair and White House counsel Gregory Craig.  I must tell you, I have been most impressed with the thoughts and actions of Robert Gates during these first few months of our new administration.  His comments at this particular meeting were wise because they were so simple and true.  Gates said that the publication of these memos that rationalized the legality of these torturous acts were “inevitable.”  How true; how prescient.  Remember: it is usually the cover-up, not the initial deed, that slams shuts the door on the acceptance of consideration and sympathy in any scandal.

At any rate, the forces on the side for public awareness and follow-up investigation won the day.  The phenomenal aspect that I am in awe of though, had to do with the way President Obama handled this meeting.  First, he gathered members of opposing camps so that he could have a fair and honest overview.  Then, once he made up his mind, he dictated a memo right in front of all the participants.  I guess we know where exactly the buck stops.  We actually have an actively engaged, interested and responsible leader.  Glory be!  The link below is a much more detailed account of this meeting.  It was the lead article of the Washington Post today:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/23/AR2009042304718.html?nav=hcmodule

Finally, we must remember that the final decision to go forth in this investigation and possibly bring those guilty parties to justice is solely within the power of the Department of Justice, not President Obama.  So far, all our President has done in this matter is to fact find and release that information to the American public.  Imagine!  The outrage and accusations of “traitor” that have befallen our President are, above all, the ultimate violation of our Constitution.

So please forgive me for all this assigned reading.  If you value your freedoms and your right to speak and act on them, you owe it to yourself and your country to “get smart”.