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“The other argument they made us well—it will be a distraction.  The notion is that, and it‘s really hot, you have these brave young men and women.  And they can stand on the firing line.  They can be shot at.  They can see their best friends blown up. But the sight of a lesbian would disarrange them and freak them out.  I think they underestimate these young people.  And we‘re going to finally get to—the distraction is the policy.”

– Rep. Barney Frank, on Republicans and repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

From “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” 12-16-10


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Two weeks after MSNBC suspended Keith Olbermann for making donations to Democratic candidates in apparent violation of the network’s policy, MSNBC President Phil Griffin has now suspended Joe Scarborough as well after it was discovered that Scarborough violated the policy by making eight more contributions, this time to Florida candidates between 2004 and 2008. The donations were for $500 each.

Olbermann was suspended for two days for making three contributions to congressional candidates. MSNBC’s policy is that its employees cannot make political donations without notifying Griffin beforehand and getting permission. In Olbermann’s case he mistakenly violated the rules, which he says he knew nothing about.

At the time of Olbermann’s suspension, donations made by Scarborough were discovered. Two donations of $2,100 each were made in 2006 to Republican Derrick Kitts. After those donations came to light, Scarborough’s co-host on his show Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski made a statement:

That contribution should have been in the name of Scarborough’s wife, Susan Scarborough, according to Scarborough’s co-host on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski, as well as John R. McGregor III, a representative from the Scarboroughs’ Pensacola, Fla., bank. POLITICO was provided a copy of the bank transfer, which was dated April 9 and signed by Susan Scarborough.

“The Scarboroughs expect John Merrill will amend his campaign report to accurately reflect that reality,” said Brzezinski. “If he does not, I will recommend they file an ethics complaint against him.”

However, Joe Scarborough is listed as the only donor on the Open Secrets contribution website. When Obermann’s suspension was lifted, he released a statement explaining what actually happened and why he was unaware of the policy:

You should know that I mistakenly violated an inconsistently applied rule – which I previously knew nothing about – that pertains to the process by which such political contributions are approved by NBC. Certainly this mistake merited a form of public acknowledgment and/or internal warning, and an on-air discussion about the merits of limitations on such campaign contributions by all employees of news organizations.

Instead, after my representative was assured that no suspension was contemplated, I was suspended without a hearing, and learned of that suspension through the media. You should also know that I did not attempt to keep any of these political contributions secret; I knew they would be known to you and the rest of the public.

I did not make them through a relative, friend, corporation, PAC, or any other intermediary, and I did not blame them on some kind of convenient ‘mistake’ by their recipients. When a website contacted NBC about one of the donations, I immediately volunteered that there were in fact three of them; and contrary to much of the subsequent reporting, I immediately volunteered to explain all this, on-air and off, in the fashion MSNBC desired.

As for the first two original donations made by Joe Scarborough, MSNBC justified them this way:

 

 

That contribution was made in accordance with (network) policy,” said MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines. “Joe sought permission in advance. Since 2007 we have recommitted ourselves to following these important standards.”
At the time MSNBC also made this distinction for Scarborough’s donations:
Joe Scarborough, host of the “Morning Joe” talk show and the evening newscast “Scarborough Country,” (gave) $4,200 in March 2006 to Derrick Kitts, Republican candidate for the House from Oregon. … A spokesperson for NBC, Jeremy Gaines, replied to questions sent to Scarborough. “Yes, he did make a donation to Derrick Kitts. Kitts is an old friend of Joe’s. Joe hosts an opinion program and is not a news reporter.”
So when all these earlier donations were revealed, and Olbermann was suspended for two days, I think it’s safe to say that Joe Scarborough certainly understood the rules well enough, right?
Right. So why a couple of weeks later is Joe Scarborough himself suspended over yet more campaign donations he gave to candidates without seeking prior approval? If you ever watch Morning Joe, then it’s certainly not a stretch to assume that he might feel the rules don’t apply to him, or that he is somehow above the rules. He’s not exactly an open-minded person on Morning Joe, where he’ll pontificate non-stop how he is “rarely wrong” about anything, and when one dares to disagree with him, he just drowns them out, or he’ll “stop you right there” and cut to a commercial (Lawrence O’Donnell). Heck, he’ll even get Phil Griffin to ban you from other shows and the network altogether (Markos Moulitsas) even if you never appear on his show. A mere viewer having a different viewpoint than his is grounds enough to get them blocked by Scarborough on Twitter.
In spite of that, surely he’ll have a good explanation for not disclosing those additional donations, don’t you think? After all, you may have heard: He was in Congress once upon a time!
This morning Joe Scarborough informed me that he made eight contributions of $500 each to local candidates in Florida between 2004-08. In my conversation with Joe two weeks ago, he did not recall these contributions.
Seriously? The “man with all the answers” doesn’t recall making campaign contributions? C’mon Joe, can’t you do better than that?

It was recently brought to my attention that I made political contributions over the past several years that are not consistent with MSNBC’s guidelines. These contributions were to close personal friends and family members and were limited to local races.Despite the fact that these races were local and not relevant to my work at MSNBC, I have been told they violated MSNBC guidelines.

I recognize that I have a responsibility to honor the guidelines and conditions of my employment, and I regret that I failed to do so in this matter. I apologize to MSNBC and to anyone who has been negatively affected by my actions.

I gave a number of $500 contributions to my brother and three longtime family friends. These contributions were nothing more than simple acts of friendship. I gained nothing personally, politically, or professionally from these donations.

Who said anything about Joe “gaining something from the donations?” What does that mean? He also sounds as if he just heard about the guidelines now, not a couple of weeks ago, but they’re just donations for “friends and family” anyway.
To be blunt, I had no interest in their campaigns other than being kind to longtime friends.
Wow. How arrogant do you have to be to say “you may be my friend, or my brother, but quite frankly, I have no interest in your campaign? I’m just throwing you a bone bro’.”

Because the contributions involved local, non-competitive races–and were given for personal rather than political reasons–I mistakenly believed I did not need approval from MSNBC. I also apologize for that oversight.

After learning of this situation, I called Phil Griffin and agreed with Phil’s immediate demand of a two-day suspension without pay.

After learning of the situation, (contributions he made years ago) he still manages to make it sound as if he was the one to take charge, make the call, and come to an agreement over his own suspension with his boss.

Odd too, isn’t it, how similar his statement almost mirrors Olbermann’s. (You can read the rest of it here.)

So Joe will get a couple of days off next week. Plenty of time to make the explanations even better. Knowing how Scarborough operates, by the time he comes back the entire thing will probably be Phil Griffin’s fault.

 

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"Which Of These Hosts Will You Be Seeing Tomorrow?"

(UPDATED BELOW WITH OLBERMANN  STATEMENT)

After being suspended by MSNBC’s President Phil Griffin over campaign donations he made to Democratic candidates, it was announced yesterday that Keith Olbermann will return to “Countdown” on Tuesday night.

Griffin issued the following statement:

From Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC:

After several days of deliberation and discussion, I have determined that suspending Keith through and including Monday night’s program is an appropriate punishment for his violation of our policy. We look forward to having him back on the air Tuesday night.

This comes after the Progressive Change Campaign Committee issued a petition asking that Olbermann be put back on the air, which got over 300,000 signatures by Sunday night.

From the PCCC website:

EMERGENCY PETITION TO MSNBC:

“Keith Olbermann made your network a success. If you want your viewers to keep tuning in to MSNBC, put Keith back on TV now!

SIGN ON THE RIGHT! (We hit 300,000 — keep the momentum going!)

Background:Huffington Post reports: “MSNBC has suspended star anchor Keith Olbermann following the news that he had donated to three Democratic candidates this election cycle.”

NBC policy does not prohibit employees from donating to political candidates — but MSNBC president Phil Griffin wants to give “prior approval” first. Meanwhile, Republicans Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan also gave political contributions, but are not suspended. We’ve had enough insanity this week — America doesn’t need more with Keith kicked off the air.

On the Open Secrets website, Joe Scarborough is listed as having given donations to Republican Derrick Kitts in 2006. The same website shows Pat Buchanan gave numerous donations to Republicans Richard Mountjoy, George Allen, Paul Schiffer, Walter B. Jones Jr. and to America First National Committee.

Olbermann himself responded briefly on Twitter shortly before it was announced that his suspension would be lifted Tuesday.

At least that’s one win for our side.

Welcome back!

UPDATE I

As Democracy Now points out, the owner of MSNBC, GE, made over $2 million in Political Donations in 2010:

While Keith Olbermann’s donations became front-page news, little attention has been paid to the massive amount of political spending by MSNBC’s parent company General Electric, one of the nation’s largest military contractors. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting reports GE made over $2 million in political contributions in the 2010 election cycle. The top recipient was Republican Senate candidate Rob Portman from Ohio. The company has also spent $32 million on lobbying this year and contributed over $1 million to campaign against a California ballot initiative aimed at eliminating tax loopholes for major corporations.

UPDATE II

Olbermann released the following statement Monday night:

 

by Keith Olbermann
I want to sincerely thank you for the honor of your extraordinary and
ground-rattling support. Your efforts have been integral to the remedying of
these recent events, and the results should remind us of the power of
individuals spontaneously acting together to correct injustices great or small. I
would also like to acknowledge with respect the many commentators and
reporters, including those with whom my politics do not overlap, for their
support.
I also wish to apologize to you viewers for having precipitated such anxiety
and unnecessary drama. You should know that I mistakenly violated an
inconsistently applied rule – which I previously knew nothing about – that
pertains to the process by which such political contributions are approved by
NBC. Certainly this mistake merited a form of public acknowledgment and/or
internal warning, and an on-air discussion about the merits of limitations on
such campaign contributions by all employees of news organizations. Instead,
after my representative was assured that no suspension was contemplated, I
was suspended without a hearing, and learned of that suspension through the
media.
You should also know that I did not attempt to keep any of these political
contributions secret; I knew they would be known to you and the rest of the
public. I did not make them through a relative, friend, corporation, PAC, or
any other intermediary, and I did not blame them on some kind of convenient
‘mistake’ by their recipients. When a website contacted NBC about one of the
donations, I immediately volunteered that there were in fact three of them; and
contrary to much of the subsequent reporting, I immediately volunteered to
explain all this, on-air and off, in the fashion MSNBC desired.
I genuinely look forward to rejoining you on Countdown on Tuesday, to
begin the repayment of your latest display of support and loyalty – support and
loyalty that is truly mutual.

–K.O.

 


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Rachel Maddow debunks the Republican’s election narratives one by one. Every argument they’re making is covered and Ms. Maddow does an excellent job of steering you through all the smoke and shattering every last mirror.

If you haven’t seen it by now, do yourself a favor and watch it.

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For three solid hours this morning, Morning Joe was an anti-Obama, anti-Democrat propaganda machine. I know, that’s what it always is, but this morning it was turned up several notches. I know because I reluctantly endured most of it.

It was also like free advertising for FOXGOP-TV, and goodness knows THEY don’t get enough air time. Thanks to Joe, Mika and the gang of parrots at the regular round-table, they hit all the bases.

So pardon me if I don’t find this little bit of really bad play acting on Joe’s part believable. He calls Mitch McConnell “pathetic” for saying this:

The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.

Yes, I agree. It’s pathetic. But so were the other 179 minutes of Morning Joe (minus the ads) this morning. It always is. It’s about as close as you can get to FOXGOP-TV without actually being on FOX. I guess Joe is so bad they don’t even want him. Why MSNBC still does is beyond my comprehension. He’s an insult to those on the network who actually do the “real” news.

Of course, while Joe was busy playing Miss Scarlett without the fan, his “team” made up for it. Seriously, just look at the delight on Mika’s face along with the rest of the group.

Yes, it’s a pathetic statement. Almost as pathetic as Joe himself.

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Discussions about the BP oil spill disaster are starting to get heated with lots of finger pointing and blame is being placed everywhere. The most egregious sniping coming from the self-proclaimed “Drill Queen” and oil-lust spokesperson Sarah Palin, who came out with the laughable statement that Obama was too close to the oil industry as reasoning for the slow clean-up. Her comments got attention because they were so ridiculous, and once again she illustrated the depths of her hypocrisy. But she is by no means alone.

I heard about Palin’s latest comments when they came up on “Morning Jackass Joe” yesterday, a show known largely as a huge example of hypocrisy in action. Yesterday was no different.

In the past week or so while Joe Scarborough was doing his tired “What is Obama doing wrong, and how wrong is he doing it?” act, he was busy handing out blame for the oil spill. He’s gone on and on about how badly he thinks it’s being dealt with, namely because he claims that the government isn’t doing enough. Never mind that he preaches almost on a daily basis that “Big Government” is bad and “Free Markets” are good, he now professes “outrage” over “inaction” by the government in dealing with BP.

He’s one of a tired and long list of those who don’t want government interfering with private business, and yet when something like this happens, they blame the government and not the company or the industry itself. In their minds, little or no regulation by the government is the ultimate goal.

Well, congratulations are in order for Joe and his “Free Market” pals. Goal reached! The oil industry has been so de-regulated that this oil spill, and the mess that we are only beginning to grasp is a result. As for cleaning it up and stopping the leak? Well, they didn’t think that part of the plan through, it seems.

Not that Scarborough hasn’t had words for BP too, he has. He complains how bad this disaster will be “back home in Pensacola, FL.” He’s right. I was there a couple of weeks ago and it was already causing problems then. But there’s one thing Joe doesn’t mention during his angry rants. While he brags on nearly a daily basis about “when he was in Congress” and “what we did back in 1994” he’s left one thing out. He can’t just lay blame with the government and BP.

Why? Because “when he was in Congress back in 1994,” along with many others, he was the recipient of donations from BP. So, while he’s playing the “blame game” he criticizes others for doing, he might want to “look in the mirror” as he suggested someone else do this morning.

Scarborough has a lot in common with Sarah Palin. Those who take donations from, and side with the oil industry shouldn’t throw tar balls at others when rigs blow up and the oil starts flowing.

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This morning after downing the pre-required four-plus cups of coffee, I turned on the Saturday MSNBC morning “news” because like everyone else along the Gulf Coast, I wanted the latest “Today In Oil” update.

Anyone who watches MSNBC on the weekends knows that they’re in for a whopping double dose of “Not Ready For Prime Or Any Other Time Buchanan.” Pat’s like a well known old fossil, or barnacle that they apparently can’t quite chisel off the studio chairs. Now, he’s not to be confused with that other ever-ready fixture-fossil Mike Barnicle, who is actually more like a fossil than a barnacle in that he does actually move around on occasion. But I digress.

Getting back to the point. Pat. He’s ALWAYS there, double on the weekends. This morning was no different. Last time I saw him, there he was in all his bigoted glory complaining that there might be too many “Jews” on the Supreme Court. That was the last I heard before – Click!

This time what was the complaint? “Big Government” of course. Except not for the reasons you might expect. He wasn’t whining about too much government interference in (fill in the blank), no, no. He was complaining that there wasn’t enough government. In Pat’s mind the government (I think we all know he means Obama) just hasn’t done enough about the oil spill. “Where are they?” “Why aren’t they doing more?” “Why aren’t they cleaning up this mess?” “WHY??”

Now, you can agree or disagree with him on whether they’re doing enough. Knock yourself out. But what bugs me here is this: All these right wingers, GOP-Tea Baggers, or in other words: Pat can’t have it both ways. You can’t sit there and say “Keep Big Government Out Of My Business” or “Hands Off My Medicare” or “NO TAXES!” and then turn around when there’s a disaster (or in the case of taxes, a road to drive your pickup on), and scratch your head and say “Where is the government when I need them?” Pat can’t sit there and whine 24-7 about how bad government is, or pound his fists and say “Free market!” or “What’s wrong with capitalism?”

They want their “free market!” Well, last time I did my research, BP was a darned good example of everything Pat and his winger pals define as “Free market” and then some. Look at their profits. You can’t take a huge oil company, give them free rein without the burden of regulations, and when they blow up a rig and spew enough oil and gas to fill up the Gulf Of Mexico (maybe two, we’re still counting) and then turn around and say “When will the government arrive to suck up this mess?” and then turn a deaf ear as that company leaves the mess for the government and its taxpayers to fix and pay for (oops, there we go again, “TAXES BAD!”) and walks away whistling a happy tune as they hand out bonuses like drunken sailors in an oil tanker. Wrong. It makes no sense, unless you’re not too bright.

And while we’re on the subject of “stupid,” the same goes for the two newest “Male Palin Makeovers” Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. Last week Rubio took off his suit jacket in order to pose for pictures with fishermen in the Panhandle whose business is suffering from the oil spill. What was his “pronouncement” in less than 140 characters? (good for him that’s all Twitter-torials allow, because he doesn’t have a whole lot to say) “Fed Govt has made life miserable for them.” Uh, no. Those companies that blew up the rig? Those are the guys that made life miserable for them. More than miserable in fact, as they might well go out of business. Then they’ll really need your help. But again, as we’re all learning now: “No Government Handouts!” “Free Market!” Rubio probably didn’t mention that part to them I guess.

That brings us to Rand Paul. (And don’t confuse him with Pat Buchanan. He’s the younger one with more hair. Oh, and he doesn’t appear on MSNBC. Anymore. Ha! Yay Rachel!) I really think he and Palin compare palms, because he’s nearly as dim. His reaction to the whole oil spill problem was….what was the term? Oh yes, stupid:

1. That Obama was Un-American for his criticism of British Petroleum.

2. “Accidents happen.”

3. “Now if you’ll excuse me, Rachel Maddow scared me, so I’m off to cancel my “Meet The Press” appearance.”

When you’re prone to making idiotic and easily challenged statements Rand definitely is pulling a Palin. Unfortunately, he also has an ego bigger than both their heads, so you just know he’ll do it again.

That leaves one more player from the “Government Is Evil” crowd. Bobby Jindal. Those of us who watched his painful Republican response to Obama’s State Of The Union Address know him as “Kenneth.” Now he’ll be known for, among other things, crouching amid a big slick of oil on the Louisiana Coast in a picture from AP. He blew off Big Government when the cameras were rolling, and then went all over his state handing out stimulus checks like he was Santa Claus when he thought the cameras were off. He’s also the guy who mocked volcano monitoring (pshaw!) and then an actual volcano blew. But hey, they don’t have any volcanos in Louisiana, so no worries! And then way before he even had to care one way or another if another hurricane hit the Ninth Ward, boom! There goes an oil rig. First he cried wolf on “Big Government,” now he’s crying for the wolf to bail him out.

Unfortunately for those living in Louisiana, and the entire Gulf Coast, “Kenneth” and his “Free Market” pals have gotten us all into quite the predicament. They’ve really screwed things up royally this time. They deregulated themselves right into a bigger mess than they OR the government knows how to fix.

I suppose you could call it Karma for those wing-nuts who want to have it both ways. For the rest of us though it’s reality.

And reality bites. Be sure and reward them a bit of “reality” at the polls this November.

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