Archive for the last word

Slut shaming, gossip: Chris #Christie's taxpayer-funded million dollar PR defense


chris christie report bridget kelly slut shaming

you're a whore case closed slut shaming

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":

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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.

chris christie report christie crying

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:


All you need to know about "winners and losers" from #Obamacare in one pie chart (+ a video)


picture worth thousand words

Just a little something America should finally understand. I'm talkin' to YOU, Republicans:

Obamacare truth about plans pie chart


Republicans are actually defending junk insurance, just as they defended their irrational GOP shutdown. And the only reason they're doing that is to create another "Obama is a failure" meme. The Affordable Care Act was based on a Heritage Foundation idea, with the support of Newt Gingrich. WaPo:

Gingrich and Romney engaged in a brief but heated spat during the Oct. 18 GOP debate...

Romney: Actually, Newt, we got the idea of an individual mandate from you.

Gingrich: That’s not true. You got it from the Heritage Foundation.

Romney: Yes, we got it from you, and you got it from the Heritage Foundation and from you.

Gingrich: Wait a second. What you just said is not true. You did not get that from me. You got it from the Heritage Foundation.

Romney: And you never supported them?

Gingrich: I agree with them, but I’m just saying, what you said to this audience just now plain wasn’t true.

Romney: OK. Let me ask, have you supported in the past an individual mandate?

Gingrich: I absolutely did with the Heritage Foundation against Hillarycare.

[...] Gingrich continued to support mandates well after Massachusetts had implemented the so-called “RomneyCare” plan...

Nevertheless, now that it's called "Obamacare," the GOP is doing everything they can to discredit and destroy the ACA and the president. And they're spreading misinformation and lies everywhere, which all too many in the "news" media are more than happy to mis-report 24/7.

Hence, the pie chart.

One of my favorite columnists and Twitter pals, Michael Hiltzik, appeared on The Last Word and rocked it. Debunkitude galore:


VIDEO: Make it stop! The most cringe-worthy interview in recent memory


lawrence o'donnell anthony weinerare you kidding me

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make it stop smaller

Lawrence O'Donnell:

Anthony, I think there is something wrong with you.

And that concludes another in-depth interview with Anthony Weiner.

Did you see The Last Word last night? If not, please... Watch. The. Video.

That had to be the most worthless excuse for a conversation I've ever seen on a cable Tee Vee "news" show, with the exception of any given Sarah Palin Moment, of course. It had no value whatsoever, unless you consider humiliation a plus.

When I heard Lawrence repeatedly tease his Anthony Weiner segment, all I could ask was, "Why? Why was he invited on? He has no chance to win the mayoral race, he's a laughingstock, and nobody cares."

No, seriously, nobody cares.

I watch The Last Word nearly every night, and there are peaks and valleys, as there are on every show, but this particular segment... Seriously?

Pseudo, unintentionally comedic psychobabble trying to mimic analysis, followed by endless, self-indulgent rants intended to get ratings but accomplishing literally nothing else...


Not so much as allowing Weiner to answer a question? No, check that. Not so much as posing a question...


Interminable accusations, smackdown after smackdown, out and out bullying...


Lawrence sounded insane and Weiner sounded like an asshole. Or vice versa. Or both. Yet I somehow found myself rooting for Weiner. Now that's an accomplishment.

And after enduring seven minutes of meaningless, unproductive badgering, I never did find out who Weiner was lobbying for. That is, if he ever was a lobbyist.

Here's the superfluous, nearly as cringe-worthy online sequel that for some unknown reason, Weiner agreed to partake in. If you ignore it, I applaud you:

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Bigger guys than you have tried to knock me down.


The ever-delusional Anthony Weiner.

Cringeworthy Logo


VIDEO: No, George Takei did not suggest boycotting the Olympics. He had a better idea.


takei russian olympics gay rights

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Contrary to what's been floating around the Internets, George Takei did not start a petition to boycott the Olympics because of Russia's despicable and dangerous actions against gays and lesbians. He had a much better, more feasible idea, and you can sign the petition here if you agree.

Last night he presented a very convincing argument for moving the games to Vancouver. Here are some excerpts from his segment on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell.


In his latest blog post my next guest George Takei writes, "Nations are not judged merely on their might, but also by how they treat their most vulnerable. Russia's cynical and deplorable actions again the LGBT community have given license to hate groups within its borders to act with violence and impunity against a group based solely on whom they were born to love. It now seeks to spread that hate abroad through its tainted Olympics. the IOC must do the right thing, protect its athletes and the fans and move their 2014 winter Olympics out of Russia."


We must get it out of Russia. It is an untolerable [sic] situation. They've stated sternly that the laws will be enforced which has given license to hooligans and thugs to humiliate ...

It's a terrible situation. Vancouver can handle it. They have the facilities there, the hotel capacity, and I've been flooded with Canadians writing me saying, "We will embrace you with open arms, the Olympics."

It's the IOC that's got to stand up on this because they bear a huge responsibility. you know, there are athletes that are gays or lesbians and their supporters are gay or lesbians too and they are being put in danger; and if something horrific happens, and it's very likely given the kind of history of what's been happening there, the responsibility is great.

The IOC can move the Olympics out. There is enough time to do that yet.

takei russian olympics gay rights 2


The real IRS scandal: 501(c)4s. Oh, and liberal groups got that IRS letter, too.


karl rove irs social welfare

Michael Hiltzik has a thing or two to say about the IRS "scandal" in his L.A. Times column. He rightly points out how the real scandal is how "social welfare" groups are allowed tax-exempt status while participating in politics. As Lawrence O'Donnell noted, it's all about the word "primarily":

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[A]ccording to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, the real scandal happened long ago.

Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code defines tax-exempt social welfare groups like this:

Civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.

In 1959, under the administration of Dwight Eisenhower, the meaning of this section was changed dramatically when the IRS decided the word “exclusively” could, in effect, be read as “primarily.”

Hiltzik agrees, again emphasizing that the real scandal is that "political organizations are being allowed to masquerade as charities to avoid taxes and keep their donors secret, and the IRS has allowed them to do this for years."

By the way, none of the "targeted" groups was turned down for 501(c)4 status. Plus, as is their habit, conservatives are playing victim again. While this is a serious issue that deserves serious attention, liberal groups received the same IRS letter that ignited Tea Party outrage.

And one major negative outcome of this "controversy" is that "the IRS will have its wings clipped before its investigation of C4s is fully fledged."

Here are a few excerpts from Michael Hiltzik's piece:

The bottom line first: The IRS hasn't done nearly enough over the years to rein in the subversion of the tax law by political groups claiming a tax exemption that is not legally permitted for campaign activity. Nor has it enforced rules requiring that donors to those groups pay gift tax on their donations. [...]

Big donors were given the green light to spend freely on elections by the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision. That wasn't good enough for some; they wanted to distribute their largess secretly. [...]

According to an IRS Inspector General report made public this week, they represented only about a third of the 298 applications selected. That was certainly too coarse a screen, and by January 2012 the IRS had scrapped those definitions. It had substituted a screen designed to capture "political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding government, educating on the constitution and bill of rights, [and] social  economic reform/movement." [...]

And once again, now that the agency has tried to regulate, the regulated parties have blown its efforts up into a "scandal." It's amusing to reflect that some politicians making hay over this are the same people who contend that we don't need more regulations, we just need to enforce the ones we have. (Examples: gun control and banking regulation.) Here's a case where the IRS is trying to enforce regulations that Congress enacted, and it's still somehow doing the wrong thing. [...]

Here's a good rule of thumb: You don't want to get harassed by the IRS? Then don't claim a tax exemption you may not deserve.

It's well worth reading the entire column here.


VIDEO: How the gun lobby has already blocked Boston’s bombing investigators



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As you can see from Lawrence O'Donnell's opening rant, the NRA has already obstructed forensic officials from fully investigating the Boston Marathon explosions. The FBI said that gunpowder was an ingredient in the bombs planted along the finish line. (ADDED: PhotOH! VIDEO of FBI press conference: If you see these suspects, call 1-800 CALL-FBI. “Do not act on your own.”)


But a crucial piece of evidence called a taggant that could be used to trace the gunpowder used in the bombs to a buyer at a point of sale is not available to investigators.

If you had a good taggant this would be a good thing for this kind of crime. It could help identify the point of manufacturer, and chain of custody,” Bob Morhard, an explosives consultant and chief executive officer of  Zukovich, Morhard & Wade, LLC., in Pennsylvania, who has traced explosives and detonators in use in the United States and Saudi Arabia, told  [...]

The National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, Inc., share a cross-membership of dozens of firearms manufacturers based out of their joint offices in Newtown, Connecticut. [...]

NRA officials seem more concerned about government use of technology to trace either firearms or the gunpowder used to make ammunition. [...] In the past, the NRA has argued that taggants could affect the trajectory of bullets and would also be a de facto form of weapons registration, reported the Los Angeles Times in 1995.

Yes, NRA lobbyists have blocked the mandated use of taggants by gunpowder manufacturers.

Or to put it another way, they've made the job of tracking down murderers like the ones who planted explosives that killed and maimed Americans even more difficult.

Be proud, NRA. That was mighty patriotic of you.

gun ar 15 american flag god bless usa


Asa Hutchinson, former GOP congressman who led NRA School Task Force, is running for governor of Arkansas


lawrence o'donnell asa hutchinson

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Lawrence O'Donnell:

I am looking at the members now. RBT Solutions is a company, there are 13 members of your task force, five of them work for that same company. Another company that is not listed on here, six people are affiliated with, command consulting group. RBT Solutions is actually in the business, isn't it, of training school security officers? They would make money, a lot of money, if these recommendations that they voted for on your task force were actually carried out?


Well, I doubt that. they're actually -- they do work primarily for overseas military is my understanding.


So is it your understanding no one is involved in the task force that's involved with any company that would in any way profit from the recommendation made by this report if it was carried out nationally?


I don't think so.


And how much were you and the task force members paid for this work?


Well, we're not going to provide you with a line by line.


Why wouldn't you do that, congressman?


Because it is none of your business, primarily.


If you're submitting a report to be evaluated as an independent report, and you're being paid by the people who you are giving the report to, the credibility of the report rests on a lot of things, including that payment relationship. So I would like to ask you, how much did the National Rifle Association pay you individually to do this, and are they still paying you?


Lawrence, let me tell you, I compiled this group of experts to provide the report. Have you read the 252 page report?


Yes, I have, it is right here on my desk. If there's any page you want to refer to, I am happy to go straight to it.

That man, Asa Hutchinson, the one in the video who was interviewed by Lawrence O'Donnell, has now announced that he is running for governor of Arkansas:

(CNN) Asa Hutchinson, the former Republican congressman who helmed the National Rifle Association's task force on school safety, said Wednesday he was formally jumping into the race for Arkansas governor.

 tweet asa hutchinson run for gov


I wonder how much it will cost the NRA to buy his election.

Current Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe beat him in 2006.

You remember Asa, right? He was one of the managers (prosecutors) during the Senate impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in 1998.