Yesterday Team Christie cleared Chris Christie in a "report" by a firm that donated to his campaign; it was a laugh out loud over the top PR document that repeatedly relied on slut shaming to make its case.
Rachel Maddow made mince meat out of it, as did Lawrence O'Donnell on "The Last Word":
Why on earth would Bridget Kelly's personal life and how her love life was going and whether or not Bill Stepien dumped her be relevant to that political question? ...
Bridget Kelly never spoke to the lawyers doing this investigation...
So what they've printed throughout the report is gossip about what they heard about their relationship and how it was going. They just gratuitously bring that up as they blame the whole thing on her. In real life, this is called "slut shaming." I'm not sure what they call it in New Jersey politics, but it's amazing to see it in this report that New Jersey taxpayers have paid for.
$1 million in public money spent to produce this report which blames the bridge scandal without explanation on the fact that this lady in the office was having a tough time in her love life. Amazing.
... This is also the law firm that governor Christie's office has hired essentially to put together the governor's defense in this issue. The governor's defense as federal prosecutors continue to pursue potential federal criminal charges related to this scandal.
There's no indication right now that Governor Christie is going to be indicted in this matter, but today's report looks very much like a ready criminal defense if that would become necessary. A would-be defense prepared at taxpayer expense and previewed for all of us at a length of 360 pages today.
And as they have rolled out the governor's legal defense today, they also did it in conjunction with a public relations rollout, the governor granting his first one-on-one interview tonight since the scandal broke.
...They actually published no new documentation of the scandal at all....
This is called protesting too much. The guy who did the lane closures says Chris Christie knew about it while it was happening. He says he told him while it was happening. There are pictures of them together on the day and at the occasion where the guy says it happened.
There is still no purported explanation from the governor's lawyers or the governor, himself, as to why this happened if it wasn't political retaliation directed from the governor's office, and this is his million-dollar defense.
This is the best he's got. and New Jersey taxpayers, you paid for it. Well, they did get that incredible detail that Mayor Zimmer once yawned. So i guess there's that.
And as mentioned at the top, Lawrence O'Donnell had a field day with the
report whitewash as well as with former two-time Christie campaign manager Bill Stepien's response to it:
Two nights ago, Lawrence O'Donnell, as he often does, takes a breaking national story and rather than become a mouth-piece lemming and following along, or a parrot repeating back talking points, he examines the full story with an eye from overhead, giving him a wider view. Instead of flowing downhill with the jabberhead mainstream press through heavily germ-filled waters of bunk, spin and political pollution, he looks a bit deeper and sees some runoffs that might actually lead to fresh water.
Such is the case with Robert Gates new book, his memoir of the few years he served in the Obama Administration. Many thought it was a strange choice to keep Gates as he served in the corrupt GW Bush administration, but President Obama saw something in him. Perhaps it was his boldness. Maybe his honesty. Or possibly something else, he was a near perfect barometer. Perhaps Obama knew that if Gates was in favor of something, the wise choice was to do just the opposite.
DUTY: MEMOIRS OF A SECRETARY AT WAR, according to O'Donnell, actually makes a good argument for that. Gates was a litmus test. That's always good to have around when there's a toxic situation.
At yesterday's press conference the adjective "explosive" was tossed about like a hot potato. It was used so much, it was obvious that it was a prepared, planned buzzword. It's like "IRS Conspiracy," "Benghazi," and "Trainwreck" when referring to the ACA rollout. Explosive was the word of the day that Jay Carney needed to defend. If only he had Lawrence O'Donnell with him it would have been a cake walk.
During the Rewrite segment on THE LAST WORD yesterday O'Donnell took great delight in pointing out these explosive revelations are perhaps not as damaging as the headless chickens of the beltway press would have you think. Rather than look at what the ex-CIA chief and defense secretary really said, these brainless reporters took to their imaginations and interpreted what was really written. They took words like "vaguely" and changed them to "definitively" and phrases like "conceded political opposition to the Iraq surge" meant Obama's opposition, not his parties or the nation's opposition. When you twist words, you can get them to say almost anything.
Watch this systematic destruction of the "explosive accusations" in the book, and enjoy how it's actually becomes a most complimentary Obama piece. For instance, Gates writes Obama's decision to launch an attack on Osama Bin Laden (against Gate's advice) was, "One of the most courageous decisions I had ever witnessed in the White House."
Yes sir. This book is not a hammering away at Obama. It's a tribute to a fine military and diplomatic leader.
Take a look. This clip is bit longer than I usually add, but I think every minute of it's worth it to understand just how much the White House really loves what William Gates had to say, as it makes Obama one of the strongest and definitive leaders ever to rule the roost. This is one time that Obama is no Jack Kennedy, and we're all better because of it. (Watch the clip and you'll understand that reference.)
I often hear from indignant or disappointed Twitter followers that the progressive MSNBC political show hosts don't go to bat for this or that cause, and have threatened to boycott the network if their favorites let them down. I understand the frustration, but unfortunately, demands like those are not always realistic.
What many don't realize is, at least in some cases, on-air personalities are unable to speak out for contractual reasons. "Breach of contract" is nothing to sneeze at. For example, protesting on MSNBC air time or threatening to walk out on their jobs because of Martin Bashir's departure was very likely not an option. They'd get their asses sued faster than Megyn Kelly can say "Santa Claus is white."
However, perhaps publicly backing workers who want to join unions is different, and the AFL-CIO is all over them about that. I'm no legal expert, so I have no idea if this particular action would be contractually kosher or not.
The AFL-CIO is calling upon liberal MSNBC hosts to meet with workers at the cable network who are trying to unionize.
In a letter sent to Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, Rev. Al Sharpton, Chris Hayes and Lawrence O’Donnell, the nation’s largest labor federation said the television personalities should speak out in support of workers at Peacock Productions, who produce programming for MSNBC.
Workers at Peacock have complained about their access to health insurance, low pay, long hours and job insecurity, according to the AFL-CIO letter. [...]
The union drive has become a headache for MSNBC. The liberal-leaning network covered the battle between unions and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) over collective bargaining. But the network hosts have been silent regarding the Peacock workers who are fighting their employer.
"All In" host Chris Hayes has already secretly met with workers, per Salon.
Ed Schultz has been a strong and consistent supporter of labor unions on his show. He regularly travels to GOP-run, union-busting states and brought us live reporting that is sorely missing elsewhere in the "news" media. And according to Salon, he has pushed back against criticism that he has not stood by workers.
As Rachel likes to say, "Watch this space."
Lawrence O'Donnell is known to glow, rant and rave. He loves, hates and skewers with the best of them. So it takes little to get him going, but it takes a lot to make him glow. If the lights went out on his set last night, you'd never know because his internal incandescence was burning bright.
Why? Because once again, Elizabeth Warren showed why she's quickly becoming the darling of her party. She's also staying under the radar of the GOP front runners for 2016 POTUS campaign. And if she keeps it up, even Hillary might stand aside and let EW carry the banner.
There's not a public voice that speaks more eloquently and pointedly toward the constitution and our rights. She's a champion of the little guy/girl and protective of the larger.
If Time Magazine thought Christie was the elephant in the room, Elizabeth Warren is the Kick Ass in the country. Here's why:
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter: @Linzack
Government is full of redundancies, back-up systems to back-up systems. Despite all the problems with the Obamacare rollout of enrollment, there are in place rules to cover the exigencies of a breakdown. Of course there are. This is the government after all.
You would think a potential presidential candidate and outspoken opponent of the LAW would have read the document. But alas, Marco Rubio hasn't had time since it was signed into law a few years ago. But he shouldn't feel bad. He's not alone. Even some White House correspondents haven't taken the time to read it either as Lawrence O'Donnell points out with some glee.
In a segment called, Are You Smarter Than A White House Correspondent a reporter asked about the possibility of a delay in the individual mandate -- a penalty that would be assessed to anyone who did not sign up for health insurance by the end of March, 2014. Jay Carney gave the answer, but as usual, it was meandering and tangentially touched upon the factual answer. (Caution: it's a tad long, so if you can fast forward to the 6:33 mark and watch the final two minutes)
The bottom line is "No." Nobody will be ever be fined for two reasons. First, the provision of the Affordable Care Act Law -- yes Republicans, Obamacare is a law, not a bill -- and it says:
(A) Waiver of Criminal Penalties
In the case of any failure of a taxpayer to timely pay any penalty imposed by this section, such taxpayer shall not be subject to any criminal prosecution or penalty with respect to such failure.
B. Limitations on liens and levies. The Secretary shall not (i) file notice of lien with respect to any property of a taxpayer by reason of any failure to pay the penalty imposed by this section or (ii) levy on any such property with respect to such failure.
Also, as Lawrence points out, there is no mechanism to collect these penalties:
(2) Special rules :
Notwithstanding any other provision of law—
(A) Waiver of criminal penalties
In the case of any failure by a taxpayer to timely pay any penalty imposed by this section, such taxpayer shall not be subject to any criminal prosecution or penalty with respect to such failure.
(B) Limitations on liens and levies
The Secretary shall not—
(i) file notice of lien with respect to any property of a taxpayer by reason of any failure to pay the penalty imposed by this section, or
(ii) levy on any such property with respect to such failure.
So, with no penalties in place, what does Marco Rubio do to waste more time in the Senate? He comes up with a bill to suspend penalties for not being able to sign up for Obamacare because of glitches in the system.
How mighty nice of him. But perhaps if Rubio had taken the time while the government was shut down to read the ACA, he might have realized that the penalties don't even actually exist. But, that's not the Rubio method:
WASHINGTON -- WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Marco Rubio says he'll introduce legislation to delay the penalty that can be assessed on individuals who don't buy insurance under the government's new health care law.
The Florida Republican says people should not be punished for not buying the insurance when major technical problems have plagued the online sign-up process. Uninsured Americans have until about mid-February to sign up for coverage if they are to meet the law's requirement that they be insured by the end of March. If they don't, they will face a penalty.
Well, actually Marco, you're wrong -- again. So stupid is as stupid does. Today's moment of insanity and wasted public taxpayer money is brought to you by the senator from Florida, Markdown Rubio.
It happened before with these very same Republicans -- well the ancestors of these very same Republicans. And history just may be replaying itself.
Take the unlikely comparison of Teddy Roosevelt and his Bull Moose Party with another Teddy (Rafael 'Ted' Cruz) and his Tea Party. Don't roll your eyes. I said "unlikely."
Set your 'way back' time machines to 1912. Republican voters of the day couldn't decide between the sitting Republican President William Howard Taft and former President Teddy Roosevelt. When the convention backed Taft, Roosevelt stormed out and formed his own party -- the Bull Moose Party and joined in the general election against Democrat Woodrow Wilson AND Taft.
Taft and Roosevelt came away with a combined popular vote of 50% whereas Wilson ended with 43% of the vote. Many historians believe that the Bull Moose Party split the Republican vote there by leading to Wilson's victory although there are some who believe he would have won anyway.
Now return to today. The Republicans are publicly and privately in dispute. There has been a hijacking of the overall leadership by today's Bull Moose party, only now it's called the Tea Party. Will they go off into different camps, part ways and see what happens?
If you know your history, you know that the Bull Moose experiment didn't last very long. It had a few gasps of life, but after a few years it was pretty much gone. A flash in the pan.
Perhaps the GOP will learn from it's ancestors as well as the recent MSNBC - Wall Street Journal poll that they need to mend from within, or both could be doomed. Will clearer minds prevail over the wackadoos? Only time will tell but Lawrence O'Donnell explains it pretty well below.
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Kuwaiti Citizen Detained at Guantanamo since 2002
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