I attempted to write a clever rhyming thing here, but am running out of time before today’s show! Or, I should say, before the first of today’s two shows.
Since I wasn’t here yesterday, we’ll talk with Nicole Belle of Crooks and Liars, for our weekly gab-fest “Fools on the Hill.” Nicole watches the Sunday talking head shows so we don’t have to. Here’s what she’s bringing us today:
This is always a very busy time of the year for Congress. These last few days of the lame duck session of the 111th Congress are absolutely packed full of legislation that we progressives will be very happy to get passed, like DADT and some we wish we could have passed, like the DREAM act. It was the lame duck session that was the big topic of the day. A lot of the Republicans’ whining on it was fundamentally nonsense (hard to imagine, right?)
For example, Lindsey Graham has said that he will not support ratifying the START treaty, not because of its content, but because of DADT and the “poisoned” lame duck session. (I used the CBS embed. At :50 Graham says that the Russians view this as a way to control our missile defense, something that Obama unilaterally denied and at 1:30 he starts complaining about the lame duck session and at 2:10 he says that to pass START they should just start over in the new Congress). Apparently, Graham didn’t get the memo that the Republicans said they wouldn’t consider anything until after they got their tax cut extension for the wealthiest 2%. Now that they have that, suddenly, it’s too fast to pass START, despite the fact that the bill has been around for 8 months. What is patently obvious is that the Republicans are simply looking to run out the clock and obstruct as much as they can. It’s just sad when someone who used to be a fairly reasonable Republican (remember, Graham is the only GOP Senator who declined to vote for Clinton’s conviction during his impeachment hearing) toes the party line over what’s best for the country.
Likewise, Mitch McConnell and Jon Kyl concern troll all over the START ratification on State of the Union, both saying they’ll oppose the passage. These are the same people who deify Ronald Reagan and yet, they spit on his memory by opposing the continuation of his program. Are there any good reasons for us to not have a nuclear disarmament agreement with Russia? How many nuclear arms do we need to have?
If you’re not interested in having a second clip on START (because really, the comments are the same), we had Jon Kyl making pathetic excuses for killing the 9/11First Responders health care bill. Why? Because he doesn’t like to be hurried. I guess the hearing they held six months ago in June conflicted with something else. But that still doesn’t explain what he’s done in the last year that the bill has been written and available to be read. What these first responders have had to deal with in the last 9 years is absolutely heartbreaking. To have Republicans use them as political fodder to hurt the Democrats in the last few days of this year is inexcusable.
We also got a brand new “party” in the US last week, as the group “No Labels”, allegedly a centrist, post-partisan group who are dedicated “civility” in politics. David Gregory asked founding member, Republican strategist Mark McKinnon, about a criticism of the group by Frank Rich, while glossing over completely the substance of the critique.
Yet what’s most disturbing about No Labels is that its centrist, no doubt well-intentioned leaders seem utterly clueless about why Americans of all labels are angry: the realization that both parties are bought off by special interests who game the system and stack it against the rest of us. Indeed, No Labels itself is another manifestation of this syndrome. Its two prime movers are a political consultant, Mark McKinnon, a veteran of the Bush and McCain campaigns known for slick salesmanship; and a fund-raiser, Nancy Jacobson, who, along with her husband, the pollster and corporate flack Mark Penn, helped brand the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign as a depository for special-interest contributions.
What bothers me the most about the bipartisan fetishization by No Labels is that without any candidate or any real stance, they grab the mantle of being the reasonable ones, the serious ones. Therefore, anyone to the left of them, anyone willing to take a stand are then automatically unreasonable and unserious. Really, do we need any more marginalization for liberals than we already get?
VP Joe Biden came on Meet the Press to assure everyone that “come hell or high water” we’re outta Afghanistan in 2014. Now fully admitting that I have a bugaboo about David Gregory, but I do believe that Gregory asked more pointed questions of Biden than he ever did of anyone in the Bush administration. (again, full MSNBC embed, because I was short two video staffers on Sunday. The first minute is what our goal is in Afghanistan, actually better explained than I’ve heard by most. The relevant part is from 2:58 to 3:28).
And finally, my favorite Republican pundit (only because he is always reliably 100% wrong) Bill Kristol made the rather hilarious claim that the DREAM act was a political ploy to make the GOP look anti-Hispanic. Actually, I really don’t think the GOP needs any help whatsoever in that. They seem to be able to do it all on their own.
And if we have time (or maybe you’d like to do this as part of another segment on another day) 60 Minutes did a segment this Sunday on public employees, following NJ Gov. Chris Christie’s lead to basically attack them. And no one from a union or a public employee group was asked to give their side of the story. This is a growing Republican meme that I think progressives will have to fight mightily over the next two years. In the ongoing discussion of budgets and cutting costs, once again, the burden falls on those who can least afford it. I’m not saying there aren’t some people who are taking advantage of the system. But these are exceptions, not the rule. Most public employees could get more for a similar job in the private sector, but stay in the public sector typically for the benefits that aid them in the long run. It also ignores the fact that most of the time the employee pays into their own pension fund, some times as much as 80%. Meanwhile, private sector employees are getting laid off and there are dozens, sometimes hundreds of candidates for every job opening and CEOs are pocketing huge bonuses, some of which were taxpayer paid (as with Wall Street).
And, as we do on Tuesday mornings, I’ll be joined by The Political Carnival’s Gotta Laff to dish on the news of the week. Here’s what she’s bringing us today:
Plus, news from TRNS, the Media Matters Minute, commentary from Jim Hightower and lots more… 10-noon ET at www.radioornot.com.
And don’t forget, I’ll be back this afternoon, once again filling in for Randi Rhodes!