A Morning with Joe Scarborough in Hypocrisy Hell

Joe Scarborough


Nothing more signals the heating up of another election cycle than the bleary-eyed, half-dressed, faux-cool Joe Scarborough actually showing up – on set or at all – for work on the MSNBC show that touts his first name if not his regular presence: “Morning Joe.”

Another clear signal is that his hypocrisy about and hyperbolic characterizations of both President Obama and his policies begin to approach that of such right-wing luminaries as Bill Kristol, Dick Cheney, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, John McCain, Allen West and others in the increasingly unhinged Republican Clown Car.

Election cycles also mean that Scarborough’s show begins to feature such low-lights as Hugh Hewitt, who has one foot hanging over the far-right edge of the Republican/Conservative flat earth, as if they were credible commentators on any issue other than putting new sewer lines in their neighborhoods.

And, one of the surest signs of an approaching election is that, not wanting to miss even a moment when he can trash either the president or Hillary Clinton, MSNBC’s token conservative propagandist is no longer willing to make time for Mika Brzezinsky to mention at least five times per day that her daughter is now beginning her second year at Johns Hopkins University!

After all, that is time that could be spent showing a clip from Jebbers’ Tuesday night speech during which he blamed Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for destabilizing the middle east by “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.”

No mention, of course, that his brother, George W., and his vice-president lied us into the Iraq War that put the entire Near and Middle East on the road to its present chaos. No mention, of course, that his brother negotiated and signed the Status of Forces agreement that forced President Obama to withdraw our troops from Iraq.

No mention, of course, that his brother purged from power Sadaam’s Baathist Party members, who could have been useful in rebuilding and restabilizing the country he destroyed and destabilized, but have now become part of the ISIS leadership. Not to mention that it ended any possibility of Iraq having a credible military to secure the country when the U.S. pulled out.

This Monday morning past, after the usual round of non-factual, often baseless innuendo and misleading statements that usually set the stage for the daily segment of Hillary-bashing, Joe Scarborough and his table of losers took on what history eventually might consider President Obama’s single foreign policy achievement; the agreement per Iranian nuclear research forged in the crucible of down-and-dirty negotiations in Geneva between Iran and the P5+1 (the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China.)

[Excursus:  It does bear mention that the reasonable and usually well-reasoned Steve Rattner was at the table, even though he could not get a reasonable, well-reasoned word in because the ever-annoying Nicole Wallace, who thinks the set of “Morning Joe” is nothing more than a Republican spin room, could not stop interrupting him with unreasonable, poorly-reasoned talking-points.]

Scarborough began with typical Republican hyperbole, professing “shock” and “dismay” that the president would “vilify” and “demonize” opponents of the agreement by “equating congressional hardliners with hardliners in Tehran.” Using what has, during the Obama years, become almost the go-to Republican modifier, Joe found it, uh, “chilling.”

Though old, I still have all of my original teeth. Had I not been in possession of them, any dentures carefully installed and glued into place earlier that morning would have fallen to the floor. No one has ever accused Joe Scarborough of being self-aware. But this little moment of straight-faced, hyperbolic hypocrisy answers the question of why that charge has never been leveled at him.

The fact of the matter is that Barack Obama is not in the habit of “vilifying” or “demonizing” anyone.  To his credit, it has just not been his style. And, in this instance, he remained true to his usual manner. He reasonably laid out his case and, quite frankly, it has no problem passing the smell test per the equivalency he draws.

Nothing more than a cursory glance at the record verifies that both Iranian and Republican “hardliners” have been“implacably opposed” to this deal before it was ever made, “before they even read it, before it was even posted.” For God’s sake, Republican presidential candidates admitted as much.  And it is equally verifiable that the opposition of hardliners in both Tehran and Washington “is reflective of an ideological commitment not to get a deal done.” Feel free to factually refute that if you can.

But, by accusing him of “vilifying” and “demonizing,” Scarborough didn’t just mean the president was dealing in false equivalencies. He was also accusing him of name-calling. And of making non-factual, hyperbolic characterizations of opponents. Projection much, Joe?

Though he would have been more than justified in doing so, President Obama, as mentioned earlier, has simply never made a practice of doing to his political opponents what they have habitually and almost daily done to him for nearly seven years; i.e.,  name-calling (general or racist), demonizing (“Nazi,” “Communist,” “the anti-Christ” et al), demagoguing, or calling into question his general character (“lawless,” “appeaser,” “liar,” et al), his religion (if he was Muslim, which he isn’t, what difference would it make?), his birthplace (Kenya, of course), and, their favorite, his patriotism (“He was placed here as a child to become part of a radical Islamic sleeper cell”).

Nonetheless, Scarborough summoned up a facial expression that, in a really creepy way, combined preternatural innocence with faux-indignation and pronounced himself “staggered” that President Obama would resort to “personal attacks” that represented a “new low” for a country that values and prides itself on “decency” and “respectfulness” in its public discourse.

The Editorial Board of the New York Times, along with many of us, disagreed with the Panhandle Panhandler’s take on who was and who wasn’t engaged in civil public discourse: “What should be a thoughtful debate has been turned into a vicious battle against Mr. Obama.”

To wit…

Mike Huckabee dropped in from the other side of the Looking Glass to offensively accuse the president of marching Jews “to the door of the oven” per the Iran agreement.

Tom Cotton, who apparently slept through U.S. Constitution 101 during his college and law school years, inexplicably equated John Kerry – whose military record and record as a public servant will, I promise, never be matched by the rookie senator from Arkansas – with Pontius Pilate.

Jeb Bush took the silver spoon out of his mouth long enough to access the usual Republican fallback position that the president is an appeaser. “Appeasement,” he said, is the “bad result you get when you enable people or regimes who don’t embrace democratic values.” And, with no one apparently willing to take the shovel out of his hands as he dug his own hole deeper, he said that “History is full of examples.” One supposes Jebbers forgot that the history of his brother’s administration was full of those examples. Hypocrisy much, Jeb!?

John “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran” McCain, whose every foreign policy prescription seems to involve “American boots on-the-ground and American bodies in-the-ground,” continued Jeb’s “appeaser” meme with his usual tripe about the president “carrying on in the finest traditions of Neville Chamberlain.”

Which raises the question of why the national media continuously searches out John McCain for his perspective on foreign policy issues. His remedy never changes: Bomb them into the Stone Age and then send in American troops. He could just copy/paste and email it in.

Ted Cruz claimed the president was cementing Iran’s status as “the world’s leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism.” Again, one notes how little attention Cruz—or, any Republican—pays to the situation on the ground in the Islamic world.  Were he paying attention, he would know that “the world’s [actual]leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism” is the home of the Bush family’s BFF, Saudi Arabia.

There are more but, seriously, how many can you stand to read?

When I first heard Scarborough slam the president for “vilifying” and “demonizing” those who differed with him per the Iran agreement, I thought I had fallen down the Rabbit Hole, where white is black and black is white. But, as it turned out, spending a morning with Joe and listening to him talk about how Republicans pride themselves on “decency” and “respectfulness” in their public discourse had just momentarily transported me to a parallel universe known to its permanent residents as Hypocrisy Hell.

Scarborough has a home in a gated community there.

GOP Celebrates 50th Anniversary Of The Voting Rights Act With Coded Call For More Voter Suppression

Alabama state troopers fire tear gas at civil rights marchers seeking the right to vote | AP PHOTO FILE


The Republican National Committee issued a statement on Thursday praising a law that Republican appointees to the Supreme Court have hobbled and that Republican officials have actively sought to undermine through state laws that disenfranchise racial minorities. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus’s statement on the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act even contains a coded call for more laws making it harder to Americans to cast a ballot.

The statement is drafted as if Republicans support the Voting Rights Act — a law they did actually support as recently as 2006, when Congress almost unanimously renewed the law. “We owe a great deal to those who stood up to discrimination, threats of violence and even death to push for the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965,” Priebus’s statement begins. The very next sentence, however, contains coded language which Republicans frequently use to describe laws that place barriers in the way of Americans seeking to vote: “Every citizen should have the chance to vote in our elections while we also work to ensure the integrity of the voting process by preventing things such as mistakes, fraud and confusion.”

Supporters of laws restricting the franchise frequently cite the need to protect voter “integrity” and prevent “fraud” at the polls in order to justify these laws. The conservative Heritage Foundation, for example, released talking points in 2014 seeking to defend some common proposals that create barriers to the franchise. Their first talking point was “[e]nsuring the security and integrity of the election process is critical to maintaining our democratic republic,” the second one was “Congress and the states should guarantee that every eligible individual can vote and that no person’s vote is negated by fraud.”

Similarly, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) defends his state’s voter ID law as “a common sense reform that protects the integrity of our voting process.” Armed law enforcement officers raided a group called Houston Votes, which registered low-income voters, as part of an investigation spearheaded by then-Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott’s (R) office. Though no charges were filed, Abbott’s aides defended the raid as an effort to “preserve the integrity of the ballot box” and to prevent voter fraud. When North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed omnibus legislation compiling multiple different restrictions on voting, the chair of the North Carolina Republican Party praised it as a tool seeking to address “massive potential voter fraud” and “protect the integrity of the ballot box.”

Yet, while Republicans and their allies are quick to warn about voter fraud and threats to voter integrity, reality does not match their rhetoric. Voter ID laws, for example, typically address just one form of voter fraud: voter impersonation at the polls. But such impersonation is only slightly more common than unicorns and dragons. A Wisconsin study of the 2004 election found just seven cases of fraud out of 3 million votes cast — and none of these seven cases involved voter impersonation at the polls. An investigation by former Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz (R) found zero cases of in-person voter fraud over the course of several elections.

Laws such as voter ID, in other words, potentially disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters, yet they address a problem that is little more than an illusion.

Because the voter suppression tactics supported by many Republicans often have a disproportionate impact on voters of color, the Voting Rights Act’s protections against racial voter discrimination are serious obstacles to efforts to implement these tactics. Indeed, on Wednesday, a federal appeals court held that Texas’s voter ID law violates the Voting Rights Act.

Republicans, meanwhile, have done more to undermine the Voting Rights Act in the last three years then all of the slings and arrows hurled at the law by the Jim Crow South. All five Republicans on the Supreme Court joined a 5-4 decision gutting one of the law’s core provisions in 2013. And, while a bill seeking to restore much of the law received nominal support from Republicans in Congress, Republican leaders did not even schedule a hearing on this bill.

Earlier this year, a group of Democrats introduced a stronger version of the bill. In an interview with The Nation’s Ari Berman, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) explained that the previous version was weaker because “[w]e made compromises to get [Republican] support and they didn’t keep their word.” Leahy has not found a single Republican co-sponsor for either version of the bill responding to the Supreme Court’s attack on the Voting Rights Act.

Thursday evening, just hours after the RNC released Priebus’s statement, ten candidates for the Republican presidential nomination will meet on a debate stage. They include Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who has “worked to restrict where and when state residents can register to vote, vote early, and vote absentee.” They’ll also include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who carried out voter purge shortly before the election and Supreme Court decision that handed the presidency to Bush’s brother. Wisconsin Gov. Walker, of course, signed his state’s voter ID law. On the day that the justices handed down their decision striking down part of the Voting Rights Act, Sen. Ted Cruz attacked that act for subjecting “democratically-elected state legislatures to second-guessing by unelected federal bureaucrats.”


“Pro-Life” Is A Lie, Here Are 10 More Accurate Descriptions They Won’t Like

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Addicting Info

There’s a lot of terms floating around that people use to describe themselves when they want to make their position sound more appealing, even if those terms are a completely (and very deliberately) misleading. One such lie term is “pro-life.”

John Fugelsang said it best: “Only in America can you be pro-death penalty, pro-war, pro-unmanned drone bombs, pro-nuclear weapons, pro-guns, pro-torture, pro-land mines, and still call yourself ‘pro-life.’” Indeed, the term “pro-life” has come to represent a group of people whose values have nothing to do with protecting life, and living people, and more to do with protecting unborn fetuses to the exclusion of all other considerations.

The only way to effectively kill a misnomer, such as “pro-life,” is to replace it with a more accurate description. I would encourage everyone to pick one of these terms, and start using it in place of the words “pro-life,” when discussing abortion.

1. Anti-Abortion: People who call themselves “pro-life” oppose abortion. Since that’s the only argument the “pro-life’ moniker is applied to we should just call their position what it is: opposition to a woman’s right to get an abortion, or anti-abortion for brevity.

2. Anti-Choice: This term works because the people who proclaim that they are “pro-life” are using that term to describe their position in regards to whether or not a woman can choose to have an abortion and absolutely nothing else. See the Fugelsang quote above. Therefore they are anti-choice. “Life” does not even enter the equation.

3. Pro-Fetus: This term works because a large swathe of the “pro-life” movement are the same people who support cutting funding to programs like WIC, food stamps, and other programs which generally help mothers and children. If they were really concerned with “life,” and not just the fetus, then they would aggressively commit themselves to make sure children have enough food to eat, a proper education, and a place to live. Since their concern for the fetus ends as soon as it is born, they are clearly pro-fetus.

4. Pro-Birth: Same reasoning as “pro fetus,” this term works because so many people who consider themselves “pro-life” stop caring about whether or not the baby is adequately taken care of the instant it’s born.

5. Pro-Controlling Women: It’s irrefutable that the people who would deny women the right to have an abortion are trying to control women. If someone thinks they’re more qualified than a pregnant woman to decide what she does with her body, without her input, that’s control, pure and simple.

6: Pro-Abuse: Attempting to dominate or control another person in a relationship is considered domestic abuse, so how is attempting to control women whom you’ve never met not considered abuse? A woman in Ireland died last year because she was denied a lifesaving abortion for a pregnancy that was already ending in an unavoidable miscarrage. How are the doctors who denied her that life saving procedure any better than a man who tells a woman how to dress, or what to do? If controlling what a woman does with her time is considered abuse then denying that same woman a medical procedure should be considered equally abhorrent.

7. Anti-Sex: My friend Justin insisted for a long time that the people who oppose abortion do so because they think that a baby should be punishment for premarital sex, and I was admittedly skeptical, but he actually proved it, here. I’ll let his words on this topic speak for themselves, he makes an excellent argument.

8. Pro-Religious Control: A lot of the arguments that fuel the anti-abortion debate are religious in nature. Since not everyone follows the same religion, trying to assert your religious beliefs over other people can be considered nothing less than pro-religious control. Not all of the “pro-life” movement is opposed to abortion, necessarily, but they are in favor of controlling people on the basis of religion. Rick Santorum, for example, who strongly opposes abortion for religious reasons, had no problem with his own wife having a life saving abortion. Despite the fact that his own wife needed one, because of his religion, he continues to insist that it should be denied to other women. What’s more controlling than that?

9. Misogynist: Misogyny is defined as the hatred of women, and what’s more hateful to women than treating them like they’re too stupid to decide what to do with their bodies, by denying them a procedure which could be life saving, medically necessary or, in many cases, the responsible choice to make? I can’t think of many things more hateful than letting women die, or forcing them to carry a rapist’s baby to term, because you think you’re more qualified to make their medical decisions than they are.

10. Hypocrite: I thought I’d end with this one, because after the previous examples it should be glaringly obvious that this isn’t a debate about “life,” it’s a debate about abortion and what women are capable of deciding in regards to their own bodies. History, and extensive studies, have shown that making abortion illegal doesn’t get rid of abortion; it only makes the procedure more dangerous and unregulated, which causes more women to die from complications. According to the World Health Organization, “illegal abortion is usually unsafe abortion.” Anyone who would call themselves “pro-life,” while simultaneously trying to outlaw abortions, making them more deadly, is a hypocrite.

I consider myself pro-life because I support programs and policies which help people to thrive, including abortion. There’s nothing “pro-life,” or noble, about forcing a woman to carry an unwanted fetus to term, especially when that fetus could put her life in danger, was conceived through rape or incest, or would be subjected to a life of difficulty and poverty because the mother is unable to provide for a child.

We can’t continue to allow people to pretend that they support life, on the basis that they oppose abortion. We have to be willing to say, “No, that’s not what you are, and I’m not going to let you lie about your position in order to make it sound more appealing. You are not pro-life. If you were, you would be fundraising for orphanages instead of protesting at abortion clinics.”


First, Fox News Attacks Obama For Scheduling His Speech On Wednesday, Then Attacks Him For Changing It To Thursday

The basic premise here is that Fox News will attack the President under any circumstance.  It’s what their demographic expects.

News Hounds

In case anyone needs proof that Fox News will attack President Obama no matter what he does, check out how the “fair and balanced” network handled the scheduling of his upcoming address to Congress about jobs. First, a fair amount of time was spent attacking President Obama for scheduling the address on Wednesday, September 7, because that’s the day of a Republican presidential candidate debate. In the middle of the Hannity show, it was announced that the date had been switched to Thursday, September 8. Did anyone on Fox show any gratitude or appreciation for the change? Heck no! They kept right on attacking him for the original schedule but now added that he had “caved.”

Sean Hannity led off his show complaining about the scheduling of the address. As he spoke, a graphic saying, “SPEECH PROBLEM” appeared on the screen. He repeated his complaints several times.

Later, after the news broke that the date had been changed, Hannity still complained about the original scheduling only now he added, “Now he’s backed down and he looks weak.”

In concert with Hannity, a banner on the screen read, “Obama caves to Boehner.”

Later, during the Great American Panel segment, the graphic read, “OBAMA CAVES.”

“Liberal” Greta Van Susteren picked right up where Hannity left off. She began her program with a “Fox News Alert” saying, “President Obama cries ‘Uncle’ and Speaker Boehner wins this round.” She made a point of noting that now Obama’s speech will conflict with a big football game. And then she went on to ask Donald Trump what he thought.

Memo to President Obama: Fox News and the Republicans don’t care how much you try to get along with them and do the right thing. They want power, not bipartisanship, and no detail is too small – from the kind of mustard you put on a hamburger, to where you go on vacation, to what day you schedule a speech – to seize as an opportunity to eat away at and ultimately destroy your presidency. The longer you fail to address this cancer, the worse it will get.

Hannity Pretends Christine O’Donnell Never Said She Dabbled In Witchcraft


Image via Wikipedia

Here is an excellent analysis by “Ellen” over at News Hounds, regarding Sean Hannity’s hypocrisy.  Hannity and his guests constantly bash Democrats for things that may have happened over 40 years ago.  Yet, he’s bitchin’ and moanin’ that the Dems are running a smear campaign on Christine O’Donnell…

News Hounds

Sean Hannity may have broken the record for most disingenuousness and hypocrisy in one Fox News segment last night (9/20/10). It started with Hannity whining about those meanie Democrats “orchestrating a smear campaign” against Christine O’Donnell. As if Hannity ever does anything but smear anyone he considers a political opponent. But then Hannity added dishonesty to disingenuousness by saying that Bill Maher “led the charge” for Democrats by “trying to suggest that she (O’Donnell) dabbled in witchcraft as a high schooler.” In fact, as Hannity must surely know, Maher did not suggest anything. O’Donnell said it herself, plain as day, that she had dabbled in witchcraft.

Hannity’s suggestion that Maher “led the charge” is also blatantly false. Maher is no Democratic operative. He describes himself as a libertarian who endorsed Bob Dole. Maher released the video – and promises more – because O’Donnell has refused to come on his show (video below).

O’Donnell did nothing to help herself over the weekend by canceling two appearances on Sunday talk shows with dubious excuses. In fact, I’d argue that it’s really not about the witchcraft but O’Donnell’s cowardly response to the revelations. But somehow, neither Hannity nor his guest, deadbeat Dick Morris, seemed to think of that.

Instead, Hannity “defended” O’Donnell by whining that nobody paid any attention to President Obama’s past. Right, nobody EVER discussed Rev. Jeremiah Wright or Bill Ayers (with whom Obama had at most a casual friendship long after Ayers had become an upstanding citizen) during the 2008 campaign.       Continue reading…

Gingrich: ‘It Doesn’t Matter What I Live’

“It doesn’t matter what I do.
  People need to hear what I say.
  No one else can say what I say.
  It doesn’t matter what I live.” ~ Newt Gingrich

After reading Newt Gingrich’s ex-wife’s interview in Esquire Magazine, I have come to the conclusion that Gingrich is a disgusting human being who exhibits signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. 

Little Green Footballs has more… 

John H. Richardson’s profile of Newt Gingrich in Esquire Magazine includes this anecdote about Gingrich’s former wife Marianne, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis shortly before Gingrich revealed to her that he was having an affair. 

She called a minister they both trusted. He came over to the house the next day and worked with them the whole weekend, but Gingrich just kept saying she was a Jaguar and all he wanted was a Chevrolet. ‘I can’t handle a Jaguar right now.’ He said that many times. ‘All I want is a Chevrolet.’ 

He asked her to just tolerate the affair, an offer she refused. 

He’d just returned from Erie, Pennsylvania , where he’d given a speech full of high sentiments about compassion and family values. The next night, they sat talking out on their back patio in Georgia. She said, “How do you give that speech and do what you’re doing?” 

“It doesn’t matter what I do,” he answered. “People need to hear what I have to say. There’s no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn’t matter what I live.”