Archive for Republicans can’t help themselves

Gov. "Ultrasound" McDonnell probed, media mounts soap opera defense for him

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bob mcdonnell trans vag ultrasound probe

Media coverage of the Gov. Bob "Ultrasound" McDonnell corruption case could take a cue from the following excerpt from USA Today, and an even bigger one from The Rachel Maddow Show below:

RICHMOND, Va. — The key prosecution witness in the federal corruption trial of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, took the stand Wednesday, saying there was no personal relationship between he and the couple.

Jonnie Williams, the wealthy businessman and former chief executive of Star Scientific, said he did not give the two initial checks to the McDonnell family because he thought he and the McDonnells were friends.

"This was a business relationship," he said about why he helped the McDonnell family. "I needed his help."

That's news. Unfortunately, however, that has not been the focus of the so-called "news" media when it comes to this story. Rachel Maddow zeroed right in on the How Do You Solve a Problem Like Media Coverage? issue in the following segment. We owe her our gratitude:

Maddow on "the salaciousness of the headlines":

The headlines are all like this... "Trial reveals governor's wife had 'crush' on CEO"...

The indictment-- the allegations from prosecutors-- those have been out there for months now. But now that we're having the trial... what has stolen the show about the defense is this designed-for-headlines assertion from the defense, that the McDonnell's marriage was broken, Maureen McDonnell had a "childlike crush" on this businessman who the McDonnells are accused of helping in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars worth of gifts...

But the defense strategy in the corruption trial of Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife is apparently going to be [about their marriage]... This is how they're going to try to keep the governor and his wife out of jail.

Bob McDonnell and Maureen McDonnell stand accused of accepting over $160,000 in gifts and cash from this wealthy CEO [Johnnie Williams] in exchange for providing official help from the state for the CEO's company. That's called corruption, right? "Give me something of personal value to me, and in exchange, I'll give you a little something from the government, the government in which I am an official." ...

So that strategy, the "she took everything" defense... is undercut by the fact that Bob McDonnell himself did things himself like ask this guy for a $70,000 loan for his real estate business... But that is their main defense strategy, the claim is basically that "she did it all, she's not a public official, so there's no public corruption. And, there couldn't be a... corrupt conspiracy between the two of them, because there was no "two of them."... It was just her "lovesick stupidity. He's actually kind of the victim here."... That's their legal strategy...

What does not make sense is the media helping them with it... It is being covered purely in a tabloid way... Purely through catty, sexist gossip [her shopping, her "crush"]... That framing is not only sexist and gross, it ignores the fact that Bob McDonnell himself was doing things like setting up meetings for this wealthy donor with top state health officials... They claim they have the evidence to prove it.

But if the Bob McDonnell defense is gonna be to blame it all on the "lovesick, emotionally erratic, Louis Vuitton-loving wife, they are so far doing a masterful job of injecting that storyline into the press and getting the press to mount their defense for them.

The press is bending over backwards to help the McDonnell legal defense... Attention news media! This is an overt strategy and you are helping one side of this legal case by advancing the strategic storyline for them, because you can't resist a tabloid soap opera tale.

You're being played! You're being played... by covering this as a tabloid story about a marriage, and not a crime blotter story about a corrupt governor.

bob mcdonnell probe johnnie williams

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Conference caller: "Black people harvested cotton," Cochran “harvesting black votes”

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thad cochran farm animals

Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran's resurrection, er, re-election campaign has further devolved into something nearly unrecognizable. As Rachel Maddow reminds us, the Cochran v. Chris McDaniel primary spectacle has been one of the most bizarre in recent memory. And it just got weirder. Call it Conference Caller Unplugged Unhinged.

But first, your Moment of Maddow:

Recently, there was a conference call held for the national media to address a lawsuit challenging the primary runoff results for the GOP nomination. It was a pretty big call, with nearly 80 participants hopping on the line. On that call was Austin Barbour, a Cochran campaign adviser. He was trying to fend off charges of double-voting-- "people who voted in the Democratic primary and then voted for Cochran in the Republican primary runoff"-- and said this, per Roll Call:

"The time has certainly come in our minds for the McDaniel campaign and their allies to either put up or shut up.”

And then an unidentified conference caller, who was not a reporter, crashed the party and spit up this little morsel:

That person repeatedly said that “black people harvested cotton” and accused the Cochran campaign of “harvesting black votes.” Barbour asked him to stop multiple times, saying he would answer questions from anyone at the end of his statement. [...]

Finally, Barbour apologized and announced he was ending the call, telling national press that they had the contact information for the campaign if they had any questions.

At that point, someone who was possibly a reporter, interrupted to try to keep Barbour on the line. Barbour cut the line.

Then things got even more out of control...

With the Cochran campaign people gone, callers on the line broke into an argument...

... and even more outrageous:

Thirty minutes after the call ended, the call line was still open. Someone was using a soundboard of President Barack Obama’s voice saying “Hey! What’s up?” Someone else was playing the audio from the movie “Animal House.”

Republicans just can't help themselves.

Stay tuned for Mystery Conference Caller, the Sequel, coming to a blog near you!

eating their own

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SCOTUS rules for Freedom of Tyranny

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women's rights vote 2014 scotus decision freedom of religion

Freedom, freedom, freedom schmeedom. The concept is losing its meaning, especially in light of the Supreme Court's warped perception of the word. My reaction to their ruling on contraception and "freedom" of religion is still hampered by my inability to respond with anything but sputtering noises and involuntary twitches, bursts of banging my head against the wall, and convulsing into tears of outrage. Freedom my ass. What about our freedom to not have your damned religion shoved up our atheist and/or non-Christian hineys?  Bam! And that was just a hiccup. I'm shutting up now.

By the way, conservatives, how's that outreach thing going for ya these days?

Anyway, instead of ranting, which would be nothing more than stream-of-consciousness outbursts at this point, I'll leave it to the Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because, despite evidence to the contrary, our voices still matter. The Times headline for this batch of letters is, notably, "Don't want more Hobby Lobby decisions? Then don't elect conservative presidents":

The U.S. Supreme Court's distressingly improvident 5-4 decisions in this year's religious rights cases should surprise no one. They are the price we have paid for suffering disproportionate conservative appointments to the high court from 1980 to 2008, when Republicans occupied the White House for 20 of those 28 years. ("Supreme Court, citing religious liberty, limits contraceptive coverage in Obamacare," June 30)

All who despair over the Supreme Court's unseemly bowing to religious zealots — especially when certain faiths' tenets are allowed to trump enlightened medical care — should remember this in 2016: If a Republican is elected our next president, look for the court's conservative judicial activism to endure far beyond his or her term of office.

Robin Groves, Pacific Palisades

***

I am losing confidence in our system of three branches of government. Two of them seem no longer to be working for us.

The Supreme Court increasingly seems to be operating as a political body, rendering decisions that make questionable judicial sense unless one happens to be a corporation that has taken on "person" status or a religious group that wishes to impose its specific beliefs on its employees. These decisions are becoming more questionable as our do-nothing Congress functions less like an elected body responsible to the people and more like a robot body created and manipulated by wealthy donors.

As long as our lethargic electorate keeps reelecting these legislators, our president is left to act alone and the court decides in an increasingly predictable way, we will see the continued eroding of our beloved constitutional form of government.

Bette Mason, Corona del Mar

***

If there's a silver lining to the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling, it's that the decision will energize progressive voters to flood the polls for the foreseeable future as well as fuel boycotts against businesses that use religion as an excuse to discriminate.

Jerry Weil, Seal Beach

***

Will someone please explain to me how forcing your religious beliefs on others, who may or may not agree, is freedom of religion? Sounds more like tyranny to me.

Barbara Buckner, Laguna Niguel

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NE mayor: "Take me to fucking court because I don't care. Minorities are not going to run my city."

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Nebraska Mayor take me to fucking court Kindig

Nebraska Mayor "Take Me to Fucking Court" must be taking his cues from Ben Sasse. I recently posted about how Ben Sasse (R) will "promote almost anarchistic vision" as Senator: Religion trumps law. I wrote the following:

So, according to Mr. Freedom, if someone's religion promotes discrimination against another person's religion or sexual orientation or race or gender or belief, that's cool by him. Really? What about the discriminatee's rights?

Sasse is Nebraska's GOP nominee for the United States Senate.

Today I ran across this piece from the Daily Beast reporting on yet another Nebraskan who said something equally disturbing:

For Robert Fuller, a La Vista citizen and board member of Omaha Atheists, the blurred line between a very specific religion and the local government was frequent enough to merit a face-to-face with Mayor Kindig. According to a press release from Omaha Atheists, Fuller approached Kindig after the “Faith and Freedom Day” Memorial Day service with the intent of leaving his business card with the mayor in hopes of discussing his concerns about church-state separation issues. It was his taxpayer dollars, after all, that had gone to funding these explicitly religious events. That’s when Kindig dropped the other F-bomb: “Take me to fucking court because I don’t care,” according to Fuller. “Minorities are not going to run my city.”

How outreachy of him.

The Daily Beast has  more.

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