Tag Archives: Rachel Maddow

Joe Wilson’s War against ‘illegal aliens’

South Carolina Republican Congressman Joe Wilson interrupted President Obama’s speech on health care reform the other night shouting, “you lie.” In last night’s show, Rachel Maddow led her broadcast with the Wilson fallout.

Since Wilson interrupted Obama’s speech, this back bencher has become a cause celebre among right wingnuts. Among other things has received plaudits from Operation Rescue’s Randall Terry;  Tea-Party Patriots; Palmetto Scoop gave away “I’m with Joe Wilson” T-shirts, others urging folks to open their wallets. Wilson himself issued a YouTube video trying to raise money from those who think Obama “want’s to give health care to illegals.”

What I found most alarming about Wilson’s verbal attack during Obama’s speech and this aftermath is how this wingnut extreme now drives the debate.  Such lunatic outbursts get instant legitimacy by the media and then become fodder for fund raising .

Simply does not matter, I guess, that fact checkers show that Wilson’s outburst, however rude,  is also simply not supported by the facts. Obama is not a liar. Obama’s plan does not provide health care for undocumented immigrants, and neither did the Dem. House bill issued in August. See for example,  ABC news fact check

In my opinion it is more alarming that so few people have the courage to criticize the House bill and Obama proposal for not covering undocumented immigrants. These human beings still seem politic ally expendable even by proprogressive dems.

This morning it was reported that max baucus and Kent Conrad are drilling back into the Senate bill to add further and more explicit exclusions regarding ‘illegal aliens’ and access to the health care ‘exchange.’

This is plain stupid from either a public health, or a budgetary point of view. Like it or not undoucmented immigrants by the millions are our neighbors and coworkers. When they get sick, we are a doorknob away from the same illness.  And who pays for emergency medical services for the uninsured? we all do.

Health care coverage ought to cover persons in the country regardless of legal status. plain and simple.  Sadly, today’s political climate that make the Joe Wilson’s among us into heroes and instant celebs, will not allow for a rational dialogue about undocumented immigrants, which offers up important info regarding the upcoming immigration reform debate. It is going to be a circus.

Wilson’s outburst should ring alarm bells for anyone who hopes the coming immigration reform debate in this country does not turn into a complete circus where rational dialogue is drowned out by distortions and untrue statements driven by hate.

Racial Politics in a Post Racial America

Since the election but really finding its stride this summer, the GOP/right has found its voice in some of the most scary demogagic race- baiting  the country has experienced since the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of the mid 1960s, and busing crisis of the 1970s.

Our president is being depicted on posters as an African tribesman w/a bone thru his nose; as Hitler, Stalin; as someone who wants to kill old people and disabled babies. He was forced to open a recent press conference by saying. No, we are not trying to kill grandma.” as John Stewart observed, if this is your opening line, your inspirational moment for reform has passed.

The recent Gates-gate had police arresting an african american home owner in cambridge for having entered his own home and then arresting the cop who arrested him to the white house for a beer.

And consider the Sotomayor nomination battle that pitched the most experienced nominee to the court in generations against cries that she had not proven herself as fit to serve because of one perfectly appropriate comment she made in terms of empowering the Latino community to serve in the field of law. Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” comment became the meme pushed ad-nauseum by the 24/7 news cycle, that eventually forced her to recant by insisting she believes “wise latinas” are no better than wise white guys.  Absurd to have to even say such a thing.

This discussion barely conceals the incredible fear of a small and shrinking number of aging whites about looming demographic changes in the country– the fear that one day soon whites will not longer comprise the majority–

Suffice it to say, this formula of scare and attack became clear during the current health care debate, as richly described recently by Rachel Maddow. Right wing activists and self appointed leaders 1) fabricate wildly distorted untruths designed to scare  core followers (ex. Sotomayor or Obama for that matter don’t like white people); use the media and corporate funded and constructed faux grass roots (astro turf) orgs to whip up the hysteria and unleash small and unrepresentative but angry and intense crowds–teabagging; town halls…; then GOP leadership and MSM observe a populist uprising that they insist represents the fears of most americans; mainstream conservative dems and moderate repubs take notice and feel intimidated; their support for reform weakens…and the cycle continues

Along the way, facts get no play for one key reason: the right has no agenda of their own other than their desire to defeat/eradicate Obama at all cost, which includes Sotomayor, health care and whatever lays in waiting, immigration reform?  It’s all the same.

Thus it matters little that Obama is compared to Hitler/ fascism/ socialism. anyism… or Sotomayor to Lucy Ricardo.  The purpose is to destroy an agenda. It is nihilistic, and as Howard Dean has observed, it is self defeating. The GOP core is shrinking with each death panel and birther fabrication.

The consequences however could be quite real and long lasting. The seem to be forcing the voices of reform to compromise beyond what is necessary, thus subverting good faith efforts to address really difficult and comples social problems in society.

It is also whipping up latent and not so latent racism that is playing out in increasingly violent ways, which is something that should concern everyone.

Our president may want to act as if we live in a post racial  society, but is being confronted w/ a much different reality, to our chagrin.

Congratulations Rachel Maddow!

Rachel Maddow gets her own show on MSN, replacing Dan Abrams’ Verdict which now follows Countdown with Keith Olbermann.  Maddow is a fresh new voice that brings the ability to engage in high level satire and biting political critique. She is entertaining, and her grasp of political issues would likely exist even if she didn’t have a Ph.D., but the degree doesn’t hurt particularly since it is in politics.  She knows how to put the Pat Buchanan in his place but does it with a level of sophistication that is almost unheard of on prime time television.

I’m looking forward to a long run!

CBS News Blew It, Big Time

CBS could have had an exclusive lead a couple night ago when John McCain totally botched an answer on Iraq. It could have played like Teddy Kennedy’s 1979 interview with Roger Mudd in which he fumbled why he wanted to be president. The Mudd interview effectively ended Kennedy’s chances.

Had CBS followed its journalistic instincts rather than pro-McCain bias, Katie Couric’s interview could have had a similar impact. Instead, CBS covered up for McCain and fabricated (via the editing process) a response that instead questioned Obama’s patriotis.

Wow.

And Rachel Maddow was the only one to pick this up.  This time, on Countdown, Keith asks her to comment on Katie Couric’s interview with John McCain, which corruptly substituted McCain’s answer to a previous Couric question instead of showing an answer which falsely depicted the relationship between the sunni uprising in Anbar Province and the “surge” in Baghdad.

McCain’s answer showed a lack of mental acuity, or downright lying about the chronology of events in Iraq. Keep in mind Iraq is McCain’s only suit for laying claim on the presidency.

On the week of a triumphant Obama in Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan and Israel, the fuddy-duddy McCain blunder should have been CBS’s lead story.

Instead, as Maddow adroitly points out, CBS re-edited the piece to have McCain questioning Obama’s patriotism, “Obama would rather win an election than win a war.” a quote that has no basis in fact, tho would make a compelling 30 second McCain spot.  The McCain campaign should have paid CBS cash for its bait and switch or at least offered the anchor as many servings of McCain Bar-B-Q as she and her staff could eat.

As Maddow suggested, it is odd indeed for the McCain camp to be criticizing pro Obama media bias, when CBS just served up such a treat for the republican presumptive nominee.

Good thing for You-tube which has the real footage.

And BTW, as such daily foulups show, McCain is not a credible candidate for president, and CBS should fire Katie Couric.

Senate Kisses President’s Tush on FISA

Today the Senate will do more to eviscerate fourth amendment privacy protections for American citizens than President Bush ever did during his almost 8 years as this country’s sorriest president.  One of the lasting legacies of Watergate is that it is not so much the crime that gets you as the cover-up.  The Senate is about to help Bush cover-up impeachable offenses.

If there is to be no impeachment this year, what is needed is a ‘truth and reconciliation” commission appointed by the next administration to learn abut the crimes that Bush has committed in furtherance of his neocon coup against the constitution.  With today’s vote, that will never happen.

The Senate is about to pass FISA legislation today that will allow the Bush Administration to cover-up about 30 wiretapping felonies against the American people. The legislation will give telecom giants blanket immunity for helping the NSA break the law and spy on millions of ordinary Americans. The Senate is helping in the coverup of telecom’s breaking the law in concert with the Bush Administration. Let me put this another way, the Senate is about to be complicit in a crime.

It is totally expected that John McCain would support telecom immunity. His campaign has been led by ATT and Verizon lobbyists who, were lobbying Congress on the telecom’s behalf while riding the Straight Talk Express.  Obama’s critique of McCain’s lobbyist-centered campaign here is on point.  All the more reason to be disappointed by Obama’s scheduled vote today for the bill, which he calls a “compromise.”  What I wonder is how did the telecoms get to him?

Rachel Maddow’s suggestion yesterday on Countdown that an exception be designed to allow warrantless spying on overseas-to-overseas communications that happen to cross US switching stations, seems to be the sort of reform that would maintain the integrity of the fourth amendment, hold telecom’s accountable, and allow the courts to delve further into Bush administration crimes even after the president leaves office. 

Instead, the bill will prevent Courts from ruling on the legality of the telecom’s assistance in warrantless surveillance.  Such court stripping is yet another example of this administration’s total disregard for separation of powers. The Senate’s appeasement on core oversight responsibilities here is Chamberlainesque.

Russert Wake a Self-Referential Good Bye

I caught some of the Tim Russert Memorial on TV while on the stairmaster at the gym.  Never seen such self referential nostalgia before– the mainstream press bidding itself adieu.

On stage were Mike Barnacle, Brian Williams, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and while watching the touching remarks, i couldn’t help but notice folks also saying goodbye to an anachronistic brand of television news reporting that is network based, and centered around evening and sunday morning broadcasts, in other words, old school traditional network reporting.  not so much a good bye to the “old fashioned news reporter–think eric severeid and walter cronkite, who departed from the scene long ago, but a farewell to a genre that has focused too much on an anachronistic network based talking heads who followed the classic ‘good ole days,’ where never quite as good as that “greatest generation,” and whose days are now also numbered.

In the midst of this transformative election campaign, Russert’s passing, tragic to be sure, also marks this transformation in media.  from tv to internet, from 24/7 bottom down to everywhere and always bottom up.  It is a changing of the guard from the Russerts, Barnacles, Brokaws, Gibsons to a new guard of reporting represented by Rachel Maddow, Talking Points Memo, firedoglake and others who are combining inside access with citizen journalism and critical perspectives. The new media is also re-introducing the idea that that the media is not to be considered an elite insiders game, but rather that in a democracy, we all have a responsibility to stay abreast of events, report and analyze them.

This post modern public sphere bodes well for the new Obama era.  

Rachel Maddow for “Meet the Press” Host

 

Rachel Maddow on Air AmericaNow that NBC is searching for a replacement host for Meet the Press, I’d like to add my two cents that Rachel Maddow would fill the bill. Like Russert, she is a natural news hound, with incredible smarts and offers up an easy but high octane screen presence.  Like Russert, she knows her stuff and from what I can tell she works incredibly hard.  She is not easily intimidated and can handle her own with the likes of Pat Buchanan, who may be a real paleocon ass, but is a smart, sharp tongued right winger who does his best to put Rachel through the rigors every time they meet on MSNBC.  She raises above rather than going tit-for-tat.

With Obama’s nomination sure to have a positive impact on media culture, it also appears time for the media to break glass ceilings, and Maddow offers up two such ceilings. 

In response to those who suggest that Maddow has a political agenda, I would point them to Chris Wallace, a right wing hound on Fox who was Russert’s predecessor at Face the Nation.  Unlike Wallace, Maddow has a Ph.d, in politics which provides evidence of the sophisticated political analysis she is capable of and which would be in display at Meet the Press.

But alas, I am a realist and realize the MSM may not yet welcome Maddow with open arms.  If that’s the case, then consider this.  David Gregory would make a decent Meet the Press Host, and by moving him to Sunday morning, I would suggest then moving Maddow into his MSNBC prime time slot. Maddow deserves her own prime time show, and if not to be Meet the Press, then why not MSNBC’s “Race for the White House,” for now?