Today's Rose Garden press conference was drenched in irony: a faltering, incoherent, angry man declaring a "national emergency", even as he demonstrated that he's the crisis. Donald Trump yelled at reporters to sit down, fell into sing-song whimsy, showed off his version of a Chinese accent, repeated phrases when he lost his train of thought, wielding terrifyingly grown-up powers with the gravitas of a toddler in a man's suit.
Fortunately, enough roadblocks will be thrown down --- by Reps AOC and Castro, by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, by the ACLU, and presumably by property owners along the proposed wall sites --- that he should be kept busy and irritated for some time. The taxpayer money wasted will be appalling.
Republican former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld appears willing to throw himself atop the bomb: he says he may primary Donald Trump. He minced no words -– I mean, he was stunningly straightforward -– in criticizing his fellow GOPers, who he said exhibit all the signs of Stockholm Syndrome(!). Someone needs to step up, he says. He even hints that he's willing to act as a spoiler to damage Trump in the general.
Plus the latest on Facebook, Amazon, and what tech campuses have to offer their neighbors.
Finally, my guest JOEL SIMON of the Committee to Protect Journalists. His new book, We Want To Negotiate, makes a compelling case that both the US and Britain need to re-examine their "we don't negotiate with terrorists" policies. His research puts the lie to a lot of assumptions, for example, that to pay ransoms will encourage more kidnappings. It makes sense on the face of it, but --- wrong.
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"When you let university administrators or other employers rather than women and their doctors dictate whose medical needs are legitimate and whose are not, a woman’s health takes a back seat to a bureaucracy focused on policing her body." - Georgetown Univ. Law Student, Sandra Fluke
One unfortunate aspect of the firestorm surrounding Rush Limbaugh's profoundly uninformed, deceptive and misogynistic vitriol and calls for accountability for the Rightwing radio blowhard, is that it has completely overshadowed the substance of Fluke's testimony on the importance of access to prescription contraceptives to women's health.
The Limbaugh firestorm has also overshadowed the fact that the American Taliban (aka the elected Tea Party House Republicans) prevented Fluke from testifying at a House Oversight Committee hearing, framed by the Republican majority as a hearing on "religious freedom", because, as the Washington Post described, "she was not a member of the clergy."
Indeed, while much is made of the fact that the first panel at the 2/16/12 House Oversight Committee examining an issue vital to women's health was all-male, few have taken note that it was also all-clergy. In opening the hearing, Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) announced: "Today, the committee will hear testimony from leaders of different faiths."
Not only did the right-wing GOP House leaders fail to so much as recognize Fluke's right to be heard, but, according to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (see video embedded in above-linked Washington Post article), they also refused to permit House Democrats to use the House Recording Studio as part of an effort to try and prevent the public from seeing and hearing Fluke's testimony at all. Instead, Pelosi and the Democrats of the Democratic Steering Committee were forced to hold a separate, unofficial "forum", in order to hear Fluke's testimony.
The video of Fluke's opening statement, the testimony that Republicans sought to prevent from being heard at all, is now posted below.
But it is the larger, arguably more disturbing constitutional ramifications of the actions of House Republicans that we'd like to take a moment to highlight on, as they have been almost entirely overlooked in this unnecessary brouhaha...
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), in the video at right, describes on the floor of the U.S. House this week what anyone paying attention already knows: how the "Rightwing Echo Chamber" works. He describes a completely false charge by Wall Street Journal's professional liar and GOP operative, John Fund, last November alleging --- with no basis whatsoever --- that Rep. Barney Frank (D-VT) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) would soon be introducing legislation for "universal voter registration."
Frank says, "It's a lie, it's a myth." But, he says, the "totally fictional allegation by John Fund with no basis whatsoever" was then picked up and reported as fact by the Washington Times, and naturally then repeated over the public's airwaves by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and on and on throughout the wingnut echosphere, as hoped. When Frank called Fund on it, he says, in a letter [PDF] and then by phone, Fund admitted he was in error, said he "told a few people" that he was wrong, but hadn't published any actual retraction.
"He's not only a liar, he's a coward," Frank accurately noted in his comments this week on the House floor. And here we had recently thought Fund was out of fresh lies.
But what Frank doesn't note in his comments above, is that the tactic described, as oft used by Fund and so many others on the Right, actually works very, very well...
While I've always known that the rightwing Washington Times was owned by the self-proclaimed Messiah and "Dear Leader" of the Unification Church, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, I don't think I fully appreciated just how directly in control of the paper the Moonies actually were. Nor did I fully appreciate how desperate the wingnuts must have been to give the appearance of "conservative" points of view seen emanating from a seemingly "legitimate" inside-the-beltway newspaper, even if it meant allying directly with a loony-tunes religious cult.
In any case, now that the wingers own both the Wall Street Journal and the bulk of the Washington Post, they can probably get by without the Washington Times if it comes to that.
A few selected on-point comments from the TPM story linked above, in which they post the first public statement from the Moon family (which also now owns UPI), about the ongoing, whacked-out internecine family battle over the newspaper most-frequently quoted by Limbaugh, Hannity and all the rest...
Given this morning's Fox "News"/AP switcheroo, here's a bit of headline bait-and-switch that's at least as nifty from UPI and Washington Times tonight (both owned by Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church):
There are three things that I can count on in life beginning with the sun coming up tomorrow and that when it comes up I will be a day older. A close third, is that every Saturday night on the McLaughlin Group, Tony Blankley will make a hypocritical statement. And tonight proved typical.
In this 1:55 clip (January 27, 2007), McLaughlin asks the panel whether Virginia Senator Jim Webb, who delivered an impressive rebuttal to Bush's lackluster State of the Union speech last week, has the credentials to be President. Eleanore Clift then sets Blankley off by calling his chickenhawk friends in the White House chickenhawks.
Since it should have always been front and center --- but even the New York Times succeeded in fellating the White House by ignoring the news this week --- here is that news once again:
* * * The White House failed to make any casualty estimates before committing another 20,000+ U.S. troops to War in Iraq, according to the Secretary of State. * * * (transcript)
The news, which The BRAD BLOG covered almost exclusively, came in reply to a direct question from Sen. Barbara Boxer during last Thursday's oversight hearings on Iraq Policy when Condoleezza Rice came to Capitol Hill to argue in favor of the White House's new escalation plan.
But as Boxer's critical direct question evoked Condi's stunning answer --- which, if true, reveals a remarkable delinquency and breathtaking lack of support for U.S. troops by this White House --- was subsequently all but ignored by the media both on the Right and the supposedly not-on-the-Right. After White House spokeshole/MVP Tony Snow gave his cue to attack the messenger to avoid the message, all of his media tools lined up behind him and performed admirably in the service of disserving America.
But among fierce competition this week, the Biggest Tool of the Week Award must be given to one of the White House's very own publications, The Washington Times.
In "reporting" on this statement made by Boxer during the exchange with Rice on Thursday...
BOXER: Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families. And I just want to bring us back to that fact.
...The Washington Times' and their "reporter" Charles Hurt topped the rest of the wingnut and non-wingnut media by turning it into the following remarkable opening graf from their front page propaganda piece on the phony, White House created "outrage" by Saturday...
The White House and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday accused Democrats of suggesting that the secretary's childlessness, race and sex are to blame for mistakes in Iraq.
Wow! Now that's some impressive work! Give that Tony Snow a raise!
All the other men and women in America who helped him --- for free --- give them a one-way ticket to Gitmo, since clearly they hate both America and the troops attempting to defend her.
Remind us again why Impeachment is "off the table"? Is it because Tony Snow says so? If so, we understand completely. We hope he'll let us know when it's okay to proceed.
This via AmericaBlog from Drudge...And note, if it's correct (Drudge isn't always, as you likely know) this if from the Washington Times, the White House organ! Not the Washington Post!
WASHINGTON TIMES ON TUESDAY WILL CALL FOR SPEAKER HASTERT'S RESIGNATION, NEWSROOM SOURCES TELL DRUDGE... DEVELOPING... Editorial titled: 'Resign, Mr. Speaker': 'House Speaker Dennis Hastert must do the only right thing, and resign his speakership at once... Mr. Hastert has forfeited the confidence of the public and his party, and he cannot preside over the necessary coming investigation, an investigation that must examine his own inept performance'... --- Washington Times, October 3, 2006...
UPDATE: We hear that Olbermann is reporting that Michael Reagan is calling for same! That's Michael Reagan, the White House organ! Not Ronny Reagan!