You might think I’m talking about Osama Bin Laden, but I’m not. I’m glad Bin Laden is gone. Now maybe we can bring our troops home and stop killing people.
But the war criminal I’m writing about now is Allen West, who disregarded the Geneva Conventions in 2003 when he carried out a mock execution of an Iraqi police officer – shot a gun right over his head. He was relieved of his command and fined $5000. Truthout’s Jason Leopold joined me on the show today to give the whole story of Allen West’s war crimes… everything you’d never wanted to know and more about this guy who is supposed to be representing me in Congress.
I’ve been smeared all over the interwebs, newspapers and on TV– when all I wanted to do was ask my congressman a question. Since there are so many accounts of what went on during West’s lecture (it was no “Town Hall Meeting”) I’m now posting the rest of the video I shot from my flip cam that evening.
The first clip is the beginning of West’s speech, during which a few people shouted out things about Medicare and “Ballots and Bullets” -in response to West’s first pick for his chief of staff, right wing radio host Joyce Kaufman who, in a speech at a ‘teaparty’ 4th of July rally shouted out “If ballots don’t work, bullets will”. By the way, a listener informed me that Kaufman now has her sites set on running for governor of Florida. Lovely.
A few points that should be made perfectly clear. This so-called Town Hall Meeting was more of a rally, presentation and speech than anything else. In every other town hall meeting I’ve been to or have seen on television, the representative interacts with his or her constituents. I went to make sure my congressman heard my concerns. I’ve already heard his talking points and have seen how he votes. I went to be able to express my opinions to him. That was not allowed. And for daring to attempt to be heard, I was escorted from the room and manhandled by a police officer. And to the trolls who are saying I was harassing West’s wife, the video shows quite the opposite. Notice how she tries to grab my camera!
The event was held at the Calvary Chapel, a mega-church, which is NOT EVEN IN WEST’S DISTRICT! Yes, “Pastor Bob” sauntered out on stage to sing the praises of Congressman West, and tell how he endorsed his candidacy. Why does this political organization have tax-exempt status? I can’t figure it out… By the way, West doesn’t even live in the district he represents; he lives in Plantation, FL and is represented by Debbie Wasserman Schultz!
Unlike the people who shouted out at the beginning of the event, I kept my comments to myself and the woman who saved me a seat in the center of the second row, right behind Mrs. West. In this segment, you’ll probably see how difficult it was to keep quiet, when West suggests we could better use the money we’re paying in interest to China to buy FIGHTER PLANES! Talk about scare tactics.
When West finally got around to “answering” the written questions that had been picked and read aloud by his staffers, he just proceeded to give his standard talking points. You’ll notice in all the videos thus far I may have muttered a few comments under my breath, and made some comments to the woman seated next to me. I raised my hand a number of times, in an attempt to be able to ask a follow-up question. Finally, after his bullshit answer about “preserving Medicare for future generations” I couldn’t sit quietly any longer. I said (loudly enough to be heard, as I was NOT given a microphone) that they weren’t preserving Medicare, they were privatizing it. I asked how a profit motive would make Medicare more efficient. (It won’t!) I asked for the name of the for-profit insurance company who’d sell a policy to a 75 year old with obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. (There isn’t one!)
And that’s when I was escorted out of the building.
This was not a town hall meeting. It was a lecture. Had it been billed as such, I wouldn’t have gone! I would have instead gone to the media availability the following evening in Boca Raton, when West answered this question about me:
And then there’s Andrew Breitbart, who thinks since he stages astro-turf events, that everyone else does it too… He was on Real Time with Bill Maher, and accused me of orchestrating my own arrest! Classic projection.
Later in the program as Maher asked him about his belief that Bill Ayers wrote President Obama’s second book, and asked Maher, incredulously, “Have you written all of your books?” to which Maher responded “YES!” Yikes.
Thanks to the wonderful Stephanie Miller, who invited me on her show to talk about the ordeal. We mostly wound up talking about Osama Bin Laden’s death, but that’s ok!
I feel a little ridiculous covering Sunday morning news shows when Sunday evening news has so clearly sucked all the oxygen out of the room and rendered all clips petty and unimportant. But carry on we must, so let’s look at the Sunday morning stupidity.
I think my first measure of disgust has to be Christiane Amanpour and This Week. Before Amanpour took over, I had had several arguments with the executive producer of This Week about their blatant tipping of scales in overwhelmingly booking Republicans. And frankly, I thought George Stephanopoulos was a lightweight. I had high hopes that Amanpour would elevate the level of discourse on ABC News, but so far, she appears to take more of a page from David (fact checking isn’t my job) Gregory and rarely, if ever, asks follow up questions or put her interview subjects in a light that would make it clear that their “facts” have little factual credibility to them. She appears to have been co-opted by the same machine that keeps any of the Beltway journalists from actually committing journalism.
So in a cozy town car, Amanpour asks Tea Party It Boy Paul Ryan (who didn’t have to deal with any kind of Democratic “balance”, given Amanpour’s uninterrupted attention for the entire segment) about the growing outrage being expressed in town halls all over the country. Ryan dismisses it as being from “misinformation” coming from ads and radio spots. Because, you know, that “liberal media” is so good at brainwashing the low information voter.
It’s humorous to me to see the growing number of Republicans—perhaps scared off by the vociferousness of the backlash at these town halls—trying to back pedal away from their support of Paul Ryan’s budget. But Ryan isn’t giving up his Randian dream to quash all those moochers and looters and transfer all the wealth to the supermen for whom Atlas shrugged. He insists to Christiane Amanpour that the deficit will be the main issue of 2012. Polls and town halls notwithstanding. Frankly, knowing the Democratic Party tendency to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, I remain cautiously optimistic that Obama is in a position right now to get Americans to forget the deficit completely in lieu of real job growth.
One of those backing away from Ryan’s plan is Marco Rubio, who refused to say if he supported the Ryan Plan when asked by David Gregory, but then completely made up figures to claim the Ryan budget does something it doesn’t. And then they complain about liberal misinformation.
And on the subject of low information individuals and misinformation, Michele Bachmann—who has been getting altogether way too much attention for someone who has yet to say anything that hasn’t been widely debunked—was on Fox News Sunday claiming that NATO air strikes ordered by Obama had caused the deaths of up to 30,000 Libyans. Should you be surprised that she’s completely wrong–again? The number she quoted came from the US Ambassador to Libya who says that 10-30,000 Libyans have died as a result of battles between rebels and Qaddafi’s forces, not NATO forces. Pesky details.
Someone else who has a lot to say our efforts in Libya is John “If it’s Sunday, I’m gonna be on TV” McCain. Not surprisingly, McCain is not very impressed with Obama’s work, saying that he’s taking a backseat to NATO and that he should be ordering MORE air strikes. Because we need more unnecessary deaths. And can I just point out that all this cowboy diplomacy coming from the right flies in the face of international law? Exactly how do we win over hearts and minds that way?
And because I simply cannot let go unmentioned the incredibly smooth performances of Obama and Seth Meyers in roasting Donald Trump at the WHCD, let me just highlight Donald Trump’s petulant response the next day. Calling in to Fox & Friends Sunday, The Donald whined about being the major focus of jokes (I heard some Biden jokes in there too, just sayin’) and resorting to the last refuge of the thin-skinned, insulted Seth Meyers’ delivery, calling him a “stutterer”. Contrast the high road taken by President Obama at the constant insults and racism and it’s plain to see that even if you didn’t think Trump for President was a joke before, there’s no question it is now. I also think that it’s high time we liberals start really pushing back on these expressions of white privilege. It never should have been allowed in the first place and it undermines us all by allowing it unchallenged.