Sunday, May 03, 2015

Most Ridiculous Moment - May 3, 2015

Law and Order

Of course the big story on the Sunday talk shows was the situation in Baltimore – with mass protests and riots just miles from the Beltway itself. But first, Bernie Sanders came on ABC's This Week to defend socialism.

He said he was running for President to “take on” the billionaire class, saying “We need a political revolution.” While George Stephanoloulos didn't ask about flag pins, he did ask “Is it really possible for someone who calls himself a socialist to be elected president of the United States?”

Sanders explained socialism can be found in U.S. allies, such as Denmark, and in Scandinavia, where health care and education are a right, and “government works for ordinary people and the middle class, rather than, as is the case right now in our country, for the billionaire class.”
Stephanopoulos said, “I can hear the Republican attack ad right now. He wants American to look more like Scandinavia!”
Sanders replied “That's right. And what's wrong with that?” and “we can learn from other countries. We have, George, the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country on earth, at the same time as we are seeing a proliferation of millionaires and billionaires.” 
Stephanopoulos tried to get him to attack Hillary Clinton, but he said “It's not just Hillary. It is the Koch Brothers. It is Sheldon Adelson,” and finished by saying his campaign is about “whether somebody who is not a billionaire can actually win an election in which billionaires are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the election,” and 
“I get very frightened about the future of American democracy when this become a battle between billionaires.”

Stephanopoulos also talked to police who complained that citizens judge them without knowing them and don't seem them as regular people, while Ray Kelly said of the charges against the Baltimore police, “The case is perceived as being weak.” 
When George asked who saw it that way, Kelly said “the law enforcement people that I've spoken to.”

In his roundtable, Stephanopoulos first turned to Bill Kristol, who said “we cannot abandon tough policing and law and order,” while everyone else agreed we need criminal justice reform. Katrina vanden Heuvel argued Bernie Sanders has a chance because of “the populist moment we are in,” while Kristol said “the populist answer is to lock up criminals,” and said the best way to help the people of Baltimore is to quote “break up the teacher unions.”

On Meet The Press, the Mayor of Baltimore came on to swear she didn't condone violence or rioting, and promised she use would every resource to prosecute looters, including facial recognition technology. Martin O'Malley said he knew all about 
the problems of criminal justice since he 
started out his career prosecuting poor people in Baltimore.

Then came a strange discussion as Chuck Todd and Tom Brokaw got all nostalgic for Pat Moynihan's report on the pathology of the “American Negro,” with Brokaw saying black leaders should have stood up and said “Pat Moynihan was right.” Brokaw then proposed creating a blue ribbon commission with far reaching powers to fix the “inner city,” a term he used about 15 times. Chuck Todd loved this plan, which apparently will have young veteran Wes Moore, the chancellor of the University of Texas, and John Boehner.
That problem having been solved, Brokaw wishes you all could have been to Monticello this weekend, where Thomas Jefferson's and Sally Hemmings' descendants got together for some honest talk and no finger pointing.

But the most absurd moments came during a bizarre interview with Speaker of the House John Boehner. On the unrest in Baltimore, Boehner's solution is quote, “fix a broken tax code.” On helping the youth, “families are trapped in bad schools.” He also complained “50 years of liberal policies have not worked.” When Todd asked what works, he said “educate more of our kids.” When Todd pointed out “that takes money,” Boehner responded quote “if money solved the education problem it would have been solved decades ago.”
Things got more surreal when, on the possibility of the Supreme Court overturning part of Obamacare, leaving millions without insurance, Todd asked, “do you have your Plan B ready?” Boehner replied, “Not yet.”

When Todd pointed out Boehner once said Obamacare would “destroy jobs” and instead the U.S. added three million jobs, Boehner said “Obamacare made it harder to hire,” and “it's a fact.” He also complained, “a lot more people are on Medicaid,” which is “like giving them nothing,” since “you can't find a doctor to treat someone on Medicaid.”

To a now incredulous Chuck Todd, he even he defended gerrymandering, saying “it's our turn to draw the lines,” and denied there is a problem of too much money in politics, saying “everybody is a special interest,” and “every American belongs to dozens of special interests,” and “we spend more money on antacids,” than we do on politics.

So, after a year of exposure of police abuses leading to murder charges in two states just in the last few weeks, mass protests across the nation, a national debate on crime, justice, bias, race, neglect, poverty and opportunity, the Republican stated answer is more law and order, crushing unions, privatizing schools and prisons, less health care, more tax cuts, gerrymandering, and more billionaires buying influence in the democracy. 
And that's the most ridiculous thing that happened this Sunday.

Link to audio:

Link to complete Virtually Speaking episode from Sunday, May 3, 2015 with commentary from Dave Johnson, Cliff Schecter and Jay Ackroyd:

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