My friend Ari Melber shows how to deal with GOP liars: you call them out on their bull. Watch as he makes Brad Blakeman wilt before your eyes:
My friend Ari Melber shows how to deal with GOP liars: you call them out on their bull. Watch as he makes Brad Blakeman wilt before your eyes:
On the morning of the 9/11, just moments after the World Trade Center collapsed from the terrorist strikes, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) went on television and immediately began focusing the nation’s attention on Iraq. In an interview with CBS’ Dan Rather on 9/11, McCain said:
To be honest with you, Dan, I never thought that an operation of this sophistication and size would take place. I just never did. But I don’t think there’s any doubt that there are countries — Iraq, Iran, Libya, North Korea and others — who we know engage in proliferation of — of capabilities and, from time to time, involve themselves in state-sponsored terrorism. But never did we imagine on a scale such as this.
The next day, on 9/12, McCain reiterated the point in an interview with Chris Matthews. “It isn’t just Afghanistan,” he said, “we’re talking about Syria, Iraq, Iran, perhaps North Korea, Libya and others.”
Just a few weeks later — on Oct. 9, 2001 — McCain narrowed his focus, arguing that Iraq was “obviously” next:
PAULA ZAHN: And as you know, Senator, the U.S. and Great Britain notified the U.N. Security Council yesterday that they reserve the right to strike against other countries in this campaign. What countries are we looking at?
MCCAIN: Well, I think very obviously Iraq is the first country, but there are others — Syria, Iran, the Sudan, who have continued to harbor terrorist organizations and actually assist them.
On Oct. 18, 2001, McCain told David Letterman, “the second phase is Iraq” while linking Iraq to the anthrax attacks. Watch it:
In Jan. 2002, McCain visited a crowd of soldiers aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt and yelled: “Next up, Baghdad!”
The New York Times’ David Kirkpatrick recently noted that McCain “began making his case for invading Iraq to the public more than six months before the White House began to do the same.” The Times reported:
While pushing to take on Saddam Hussein, Mr. McCain also made arguments and statements that he may no longer wish to recall. He lauded the war planners he would later criticize, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney. (Mr. McCain even volunteered that he would have given the same job to Mr. Cheney.) He urged support for the later-discredited Iraqi exile Ahmad Chalabi’s opposition group, the Iraqi National Congress, and echoed some of its suspect accusations in the national media. And he advanced misleading assertions not only about Mr. Hussein’s supposed weapons programs but also about his possible ties to international terrorists, Al Qaeda and the Sept. 11 attacks.
YouTube has removed a webad that casts Sarah Palin as the victim of sexism on the request of CBS, whose anchor Katie Couric was featured in the ad.
“One of the great lessons of that campaign is the continued and accepted role of sexism in American life," Couric is quoted in the ad.
In the original clip, which aired months before Palin entered the race, Couric was talking about Hillary Clinton. The ad applies her words to Palin.
Asked about the ad, CBS spokeswoman Leigh Farris said, "CBS News does not endorse any candidate in the Presidential race. Any use of CBS personnel in political advertising that suggests the contrary is misleading."
YouTube's page displaying the ad now tells visitors, "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by CBS Interactive Inc."
In 1994, John McCain voted against legislation -- pushed through Congress by Joe Biden -- that helped put an end to the practice of charging rape victims for sexual assault exams.
Twisted as it may sound, charging victims for a forensic exam was a real problem. For example, as AMERICAblog has documented (and the media is now reporting), when Sarah Palin was mayor of Wasilla, the town charged rape victims for the exams.
Biden's legislation required that state, local, and Indian governments provide the rape exams to victims free of charge as a condition of receiving federal funds under the Violence Against Women Act. In 2000, Alaska finally passed state legislation in order to qualify for federal funding.
McCain not only opposed Biden's legislation, but also has voted against funding it as recently as October 2007.
McCain voted against final passage of Biden's legislation. He had supported an earlier version, but on the question of actually making the legislation the law of the land, McCain joined 35 conservative Republicans (and 2 Democrats) and said "no" to ensuring that all women had access to rape exams free of charge.
Here's the text of the rape exam provision in Biden's legislation:
SEC. 2005. RAPE EXAM PAYMENTS.
`(a) RESTRICTION OF FUNDS-
`(1) IN GENERAL- A State, Indian tribal government, or unit of local government, shall not be entitled to funds under this part unless the State, Indian tribal government, unit of local government, or another governmental entity incurs the full out-of-pocket cost of forensic medical exams described in subsection (b) for victims of sexual assault.
`(2) REDISTRIBUTION- Funds withheld from a State or unit of local government under paragraph (1) shall be distributed to other States or units of local government pro rata. Funds withheld from an Indian tribal government under paragraph (1) shall be distributed to other Indian tribal governments pro rata.
`(b) MEDICAL COSTS- A State, Indian tribal government, or unit of local government shall be deemed to incur the full out-of-pocket cost of forensic medical exams for victims of sexual assault if any government entity--
`(1) provides such exams to victims free of charge to the victim;
`(2) arranges for victims to obtain such exams free of charge to the victims; or
`(3) reimburses victims for the cost of such exams if--
`(A) the reimbursement covers the full cost of such exams, without any deductible requirement or limit on the amount of a reimbursement;
`(B) the reimbursing governmental entity permits victims to apply for reimbursement for not less than one year from the date of the exam;
`(C) the reimbursing governmental entity provides reimbursement not later than 90 days after written notification of the victim's expense; and
`(D) the State, Indian tribal government, unit of local government, or reimbursing governmental entity provides information at the time of the exam to all victims, including victims with limited or no English proficiency, regarding how to obtain reimbursement.
When is it OK to talk about lipstick on pigs? It depends.
"You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig," Obama said during a town-hall style event in Virginia on Tuesday night.
As you probably recall, Palin got applause at the Republican National Convention when she said that the only difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom (meaning herself) is that the latter wears lipstick. I think there are a few other differences, but I won't go into that here.
Now McCain's camp is acting outraged, outraged! It is accusing Obama of talking about Palin, calling Barack's comment "offensive and disgraceful" and saying Obama owes Palin an apology. This war hero and his self-described pit bull are so sensitive!
Meanwhile, McCain may have conveniently forgotten (hey, the dude's, like, really old) that he once used the same analogy in a 2007 Chicago Tribune article about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's healthcare plan. And I didn't hear anything about Hillary demanding an apology.
"I think they put some lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig," McCain is quoted as saying about Clinton's proposal.
If I were a pig or a pit bull, I might be offended. But right now I'm a little more worried about my mortgage, the price of gas and the economy, stupid.
Oh, and gorgeous actresses with waves in their hair.
Photo: AFP/Getty Images
By THOMAS FRANK
It tells us something about Sarah Palin's homage to small-town America, delivered to an enthusiastic GOP convention last week, that she chose to fire it up with an unsourced quotation from the all-time champion of fake populism, the belligerent right-wing columnist Westbrook Pegler.
"We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty and sincerity and dignity," the vice-presidential candidate said, quoting an anonymous "writer," which is to say, Pegler, who must have penned that mellifluous line when not writing his more controversial stuff. As the New York Times pointed out in its obituary of him in 1969, Pegler once lamented that a would-be assassin "hit the wrong man" when gunning for Franklin Roosevelt.
There's no evidence that Mrs. Palin shares the trademark Pegler bloodlust -- except maybe when it comes to moose and wolves. Nevertheless, the red-state myth that Mrs. Palin reiterated for her adoring audience owes far more to the venomous spirit of Pegler than it does to Norman Rockwell.
Small town people, Mrs. Palin went on, are "the ones who do some of the hardest work in America, who grow our food and run our factories and fight our wars." They are authentic; they are noble, and they are her own: "I grew up with those people."
But what really defines them in Mrs. Palin's telling is their enemies, the people who supposedly "look down" on them. The opposite of the heartland is the loathsome array of snobs and fakers, "reporters and commentators," lobbyists and others who make up "the Washington elite."
Presumably the various elite Washington lobbyists who have guided John McCain's presidential campaign were exempt from Mrs. Palin's criticism. As would be former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, now a "senior adviser" to the Dickstein Shapiro lobby firm, who hymned the "Sarah Palin part of the party" thus: "Their kids aren't going to go to Ivy League schools. Their sons leave high school and join the military to serve our country. Their husbands and wives work two jobs to make sure the family is sustained."
Generally speaking, though, when husbands and wives work two jobs each it is not merely because they are virtuous but because working one job doesn't earn them enough to get by. The two-job workers in Middle America aren't spurning the Ivy League and joining the military straight out of high school just because they're people of principle, although many of them are. It is because they can't afford to do otherwise.
Leave the fantasy land of convention rhetoric, and you will find that small-town America, this legendary place of honesty and sincerity and dignity, is not doing very well. If you drive west from Kansas City, Mo., you will find towns where Main Street is largely boarded up. You will see closed schools and hospitals. You will hear about depleted groundwater and massive depopulation.
And eventually you will ask yourself, how did this happen? Did Hollywood do this? Was it those "reporters and commentators" with their fancy college degrees who wrecked Main Street, U.S.A.?
No. For decades now we have been electing people like Sarah Palin who claimed to love and respect the folksy conservatism of small towns, and yet who have unfailingly enacted laws to aid the small town's mortal enemies.
Without raising an antitrust finger they have permitted fantastic concentration in the various industries that buy the farmer's crops. They have undone the New Deal system of agricultural price supports in favor of schemes called "Freedom to Farm" and loan deficiency payments -- each reform apparently designed to secure just one thing out of small town America: cheap commodities for the big food processors. Richard Nixon's Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz put the conservative attitude toward small farmers most bluntly back in the 1970s when he warned, "Get big or get out."
A few days ago I talked politics with Donn Teske, the president of the Kansas Farmers Union and a former Republican. Barack Obama may come from a big city, he admits, but the Farmers Union gives him a 100% rating for his votes in Congress. John McCain gets a 0%. "If any farmer in the Plains States looked at McCain's voting record on ag issues," Mr. Teske says, "no one would vote for him."
Now, Mr. McCain is known for his straight talk with industrial workers, telling them their jobs are never coming back, that the almighty market took them away for good, and that retraining is their only hope.
But he seems to think that small-town people can be easily played. Just choose a running mate who knows how to skin a moose and all will be forgiven. Drive them off the land, shutter their towns, toss their life chances into the grinders of big agriculture . . . and praise their values. The TV eminences will coo in appreciation of your in-touch authenticity, and the carnival will move on.
(CNN) – Former Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee was known for keeping a low-key profile on Capitol Hill, but the Republican -turned -Independent is making waves with his exceedingly blunt comments on newly-minted Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin:
She's a "cocky wacko," he told a Washington think tank earlier this week.
WATCH: Chafee make the remarks
Chafee, the lone Senate Republican to vote against the Iraq war who endorsed Obama's White House bid earlier this year, told an audience at the New America Foundation in Washington Tuesday that Palin's selection has energized Obama backers.
"People were coming into my office, phone calls were flooding in, e-mails were coming in, 'I just sent money to Obama, I couldn't sleep last night' — from the left. To see this cocky wacko up there," he said.
He also described McCain's candidacy as "lackluster” and described the selection of Palin as a throwing "this firestorm, this tornado, into the whole presidential election."
Chafee, whose father served as senator from Rhode Island from 1976 until his death in 1999, narrowly lost his re-election bid two years ago to Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse amid that election cycle’s wave of anti-Republican sentiment.
Chafee made a stir earlier this year when he directly called out Democrats who supported the Iraq war and were now expressing regret for their vote.
“I find it surprising now, in 2008, how many Democrats are running for president after shirking their constitutional duty to check and balance this president,” he wrote in his January 2008 book, “Against the Tide.” “Being wrong about sending Americans to kill and be killed, maim and be maimed, is not like making a punctuation mistake in a highway bill."
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Government officials handling billions of dollars in oil royalties partied, had sex with and accepted golf and ski outings from employees of energy companies they were dealing with, federal investigators said Wednesday.
The alleged transgressions involve 13 former and current Interior Department employees in Denver and Washington. Their alleged improprieties include rigging contracts, working part-time as private oil consultants, and having sexual relationships with - and accepting golf and ski trips and dinners from - oil company employees, according to three reports released Wednesday by the Interior Department's inspector general.
Frat house atmosphere: The investigations reveal a "culture of substance abuse and promiscuity" by a small group of individuals "wholly lacking in acceptance of or adherence to government ethical standards," wrote Inspector General Earl E. Devaney, whose office spent more than two years and $5.3 million on the investigation.
"Sexual relationships with prohibited sources cannot, by definition, be arms-length," Devaney said.
The reports describe a fraternity house atmosphere inside the Denver Minerals Management Service office responsible for marketing oil and natural gas that energy companies barter to the government in lieu of cash royalty payments for drilling on federal lands. The government received $4.3 billion in such royalty-in-kind payments last year. The oil and gas is then resold to energy companies or put in the nation's emergency stockpile.
"During the course of our investigation, we learned that some RIK employees frequently consumed alcohol at industry functions, had used cocaine and marijuana, and had sexual relationships with oil and gas company representatives," the report said. Two government employees who had to spend the night after a daytime industry function because they were too intoxicated to drive home were commonly referred to by energy traders as the "MMS Chicks."
Improper gifts: Between 2002 and 2006, nearly a third of the 55-person staff in the Denver office received gifts and gratuities from oil and gas companies, including Chevron Corp. (CVX, Fortune 500), Shell (RDS), Hess Corp. (HES, Fortune 500) and Denver-based Gary-Williams Energy Corp., the investigators found. Two oil marketers received gifts and gratuities on at least 135 occasions. One admitted having a one-night-stand with a Shell employee. That same individual allegedly passed out business cards for her sex toy business at work, bragging that her income from that business exceeded her salary at the Interior Department.
Devaney said the investigations took so long because Chevron refused to cooperate. An Interior Department official said Chevron would not allow investigators to interview its employees.
Don Campbell, a Chevron spokesman, said Wednesday that the company "produced all of the documents that the government requested months ago." A Shell spokeswoman said it would be premature for the company to comment on the report until it had time to review it.
Alleged abuse of power: The reports also said former head of the Denver royalty-in-kind office, Gregory W. Smith, used cocaine and had sex with subordinates. The report said Smith also steered government contracts to a consulting business that paid him $30,000 for his work from April 2002 through June 2003. Smith retired from the office in May 2007.
Smith's attorney, Steve Peters, called the claims "sheer fantasy."
"Greg Smith was a loyal, dedicated employee of the federal government for more than 28 years," Peters said Wednesday. "His efforts in running the royalty-in-kind program resulted in one of the most profitable government programs in American history."
MMS Director Randall Luthi, in an interview, said the agency was taking the report "extremely seriously" and would review the allegations and weigh taking appropriate action in coming months. The inspector general is recommending that current employees implicated be fired and be barred for life from working within the royalty program.
House Natural Resources Chairman Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., said "this whole IG report reads like a script from a television miniseries and one that cannot air during family viewing time. It is no wonder that the office was doing such a lousy job of overseeing the RIK program; clearly the employees had 'other' priorities in that office."
One of the employees named in the investigation, Jimmy Mayberry, already has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Washington to violations of conflict-of-interest laws. The Justice Department declined to prosecute Smith and former Associate Director of the Minerals Revenue Management program Lucy Querques Denett, who the report says manipulated contracts to ensure they were awarded to former Interior employees.
MMS stumbles: The findings are the latest sign of trouble at the Minerals Management Service, which already has been accused of mismanaging the collection of fees from oil companies and writing faulty contracts for drilling on government land and offshore. The charges also come as Congress and both presidential candidates are debating whether to open up more federal offshore waters to oil and natural gas drilling.
"This all shows the oil industry holds shocking sway over the administration and even key federal employees," said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. "This is why we must not allow Big Oil's agenda to be jammed through Congress."
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., urged Democrats to reopen a House investigation of the Minerals Management Service that was initiated in 2006 by House Republicans. "Looking into and fixing these problems would have meant highlighting the enormous revenues that domestic oil and natural gas production contributes to our treasury. This just didn't fit into their anti-drilling campaign," he said.
While most government royalties for drilling on federal lands are paid in cash, the government in recent years has been receiving a greater share of its oil and gas royalties in the actual product. More of that oil is also being sold on the open market, versus being deposited in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the nation's emergency oil stockpile. Congress earlier this year passed a law halting deposits of oil to the reserve to help alleviate high gasoline prices.The investigation was prompted by a 2006 phone call from an employee in the Denver office who reported ethical lapses.