Thursday, September 25, 2014

Jon Stewart rips Congress and the media for ducking the ISIS war debate

On tonight’s Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the first segment, “The Way We War,” was devoted to Jon Stewart venting his frustration that the Congress won't even talk about the war against ISIS, and the news media is doing anything but hold their feet to the fire. Embedded video and an unauthorized transcript follow, after the fold. (update: attributions clarified, with several names added; still don't know the name of the reporter who asked Speaker Boehner about Congress’ role)

This is an unauthorized rush transcript of the lead segment of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Thursday, September 25, 2014 (2014-09-25). [Source video copyright ©2014 Comedy Central]

Jon Stewart: Breaking news today: Attorney General Eric Holder stepping down after nearly six years on the job.

President Obama: Eric has agreed to stay on as attorney general until I nominate a successor and that successor is confirmed by the Senate.

Stewart: [exaggeratedly] So. he. will. never. leave. [laughter] Because not only is Congress slow to move on any confirmation hearings, currently they're. busy. shitting. their. pants.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), 2014-09-20: ISIS is a threat.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY, Senate Minority Leader), 2014-08-28: They have the potential to hit us here at home.

Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), 2014-09-21: They have killed thousands, they are marching on...

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), 2014-09-21: We can't bury our head in the sands [sic] on this...

Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), 2014-09-03: Action must be taken.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), 2014-09-14: This President needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home!

Stewart: [affecting a Southern belle] All of us killed! ALL of us!! We'll be as dead as the art of how to properly squire a lady at cotillion. [stage whisper] (Always bring an extra pair of gloves, for punch can spill!)

So, we appear to be facing an existential threat, urging the President to act, but I was under the impression CONGRESS could also do something about this. Like, uh, uh, Declare. War.

television reporter on C-SPAN, 2014-09-11, to Rep. John Boehner (R-OH, Speaker of the House): If the Congress is such an equal partner — as it is — why not write a resolution on your own?

Speaker Boehner: Typically, in my time here in Congress, that's NOT how this has happened. [... flash cut ...] The President of the United States would REQUEST that support, AND would supply the wording of a resolution to authorize this force. And at this point in time we've not gotten that request, we've not seen that language.

Stewart: We would LOVE to help stop the greatest threat our country has ever known — [laughter] — but not if it means we're going to be RUDE. We're not gonna be rude! That would be gauche. But at least Congress can agree on one thing... [sigh/laugh] I'm just kidding; they can't.

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV, Senate Majority Leader), 2014-09-10: [
on the Senate floor] The President HAS the authority he needs now to act against ISIS.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Fox News, 2014-09-10: The President should come to Congress and ASK for authorization...

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), 2014-09-11: [
from the Capitol building] The President has the authority to immediately act... [sic, split infinitive and all]

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) on Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC, 2014-08-29: I think the President has to come to Congress.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC, 2014-09-11: I believe he [President Obama] has the authority to move on it.

Leader McConnell (R-KY), 2014-09-09: [with other Republican Senators behind him] The President should be seeking Congressional approval, PERIOD.

Stewart: It is so heartening to see Congress, usually gridlocked along partisan lines, finally reaching across the aisle and COMING TOGETHER to get nothing done. [laughter] Or, is there something else going on here?

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) on C-SPAN, 2014-09-12: I think, at some point in time, when we come back, after the elections, I think there will be a CONSIDERATION of a larger authorization for the use of force.

Stewart: AFTER the midterms! We'll do it after the midterms! We won't deal with the country's Existential Threat until Congress deals with ITS Existential Threat. All right.

[graphic: map of Syria indicating recent bombing sites, a warplane, and the Capitol dome; caption: THE WAY WE WAR]

So, what we've got here is an incredibly complicated Constitutional conundrum — what James Madison in Federalist #51 referred to as "a total pigf*#k." [laughter] WHICH branch of government has the power to take us to war?? Is this even a "war" at all? If it isn't a war, then what is it?? NOW is the time for an adult conversation about how our government makes its most important decisions and functions in crisis. And to lead that discussion, I give you Our National Media.

Bill O'Reilly, The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News, 2014-09-24: [video of President Obama stepping out of the Marine One Presidential helicopter, saluting two Marines while holding a cup in his right hand and fixing his suit with his left hand, caption: LATTE SALUTE]: President Obama's so-called "latte salute"...

voiceover, Al Jazeera English, undated: [similar video footage] Holding a coffee cup in his right hand....

Megyn Kelly, The Kelly File, Fox News, undated: The great coffee escapade...

Rev. Al Sharpton, Politics Nation, MSNBC, undated: "Coffee-gate"

voiceover, Fox 5 New York, [similar video footage, caption: THE "COFFEE" SALUTE] President Obama in hot water....

voiceover, The Five, Fox News, undated: [similar video footage] Some people think it was disrespectful...

voiceover, Al Jazeera English: Hashtag #LatteSalute

Ronan Farrow, Ronan Farrow Daily, MSNBC, 2014-09-24: [caption: "Controversy in a cup: Latte Salute"] The coffee salute — went viral.

Andrea Mitchell, Andrea Mitchell Reports, MSNBC, undated: [caption: "Strike on Syria: U.S. launched more strikes in Syria and Iraq overnight"] This is blowing up online...

Stewart: We are so fucked! [laughter] I don't even know what to do. [cheering] First of all, we're currently fighting — if I may say — so, apparently we're currently fighting ISIS and Ebola, two things that are LITERALLY "blowing up" and "going viral." So, if you're NOT going to cover the important stuff, at least don't use words that REMIND US of the important stuff you're not covering.

[graphic: Obama and Marines cut out and dropped against the Presidential seal, caption: CUP IN THE AIR]

Okay, now, to be fair, latte-gate wasn't ALL the news talked about yesterday, but where I might have given the President salutes with coffee cups an espresso-sized shot of attention, the news channels went for the full double venti coverage, with ONE network going ESPECIALLY deep.

[quick succession of video clips: News Nation with Tamron Hall, CNN political commentator Margaret Hoover, abc7 NYC "The World News Now Mix", CNN clip, Today Show with caption: President's "coffee cup" salute draws criticism]

Sandra Smith, The Five, Fox News, 2014-09-24: LEARN the proper respect of the salute...

Karl Rove, Fox News, 2014-09-23, 10:19p EDT/7:19p PDT: [caption: "Unpresidential"] It's insensitive!

Stuart Varney, Fox News, "Minding your Business" segment, 2014-09-24, 12:28p EDT/9:28a PDT: [caption: Pres. Obama saluted Marines using a coffee cup in his right hand] What's the meaning of it?? That's it...

Brian Kilmeade, Fox & Friends, Fox News, 2014-09-24: It looks terrible...

Dr. Keith Ablow, Fox News, 2014-09-24, 12:27p EDT/9:27a PDT: [credited as "Fox News Medical A-Team" on "Minding your Business" segment] It's outlandish! And it's disappointing...

Steve Doocy, Fox & Friends, Fox News: PUT your coffee in the other hand...

Sean Hannity, Hannity, Fox News: Our commander-in-chief displayed his COMPLETE disrespect for the men and women in uniform...

Stewart: [stage whisper] Shut! Up! [cheers and applause] You don't really care — [cheers and applause] You don't really care about this. You have no principle about this. You're just trying to score points in a game that no one else is playing. Here's how we know:

Eric Bolling, The Five, Fox News, 2014-09-24: [caption: Criticism brewing over Pres Obama's informal salute to Marines while holding a latte] It's an arrogance that he portrays [... flash cut ...] These people put their lives on the line for us — [female voiceover: You're right!] — show the respect, salute these guys.

Stewart: So, the principle here is "Show respect for the people who are putting their lives on the line for this fight." Here's Eric Bolling on that VERY SAME episode:

Kimberly Guilfoyle, "One More Thing" segment: [caption: UAE's 1st female fighter pilot was country's team leader in Syria strikes; still photo montage of fighter pilot giving thumb's up, etc.] The first female pilot flying for the U.A.E. [United Arab Emirates] [... flash cut ...] dropped the bombs on ISIS on Monday night [... flash cut ...]

Eric Bolling: Would that be considered "boobs on the ground," or no?

Stewart: First of all, FORGET the rapant sexism in that statement. Second of all, she's a PILOT, so whatever gender-specific equipment she might be carrying — is in the fuckin' air! [laughter] And thirdly, what was the quote that someone said earlier in your program? These people are putting their LIVES ON THE LINE for us; show RESPECT. So, FUCK YOU and all your false patriotism! [cheering] When Bush took us to war, [cheering continues] any criticism was shouted down as TREASONOUS. When Bush took us to war, any criticism was shouted down as treasonous, but a President YOU don't like has the country poised on the same precipice, and no transgression — no matter how IMMATERIAL and RIDICULOUS — is too small to cite as evidence that this President "isn't as American" as you are. You want a hot cup of cognitive dissonance? Watch this!

Sean Hannity, Hannity, Fox News, 2014-09-23, 10:19p EDT, split screen with guest Karl Rove: Would President Bush ever DO THAT??

Karl Rove: Yeah, are we surprised? [flash cut in background video as it loops] I mean, we've got a chai-swillin', golf-playin', basketball trash-talkin', uh, "leadin' from behind," "I got no strategy," uh, "Osama bin Laden is dead, GM is alive," community-organizing commander-in-chief. HOW DISRESPECTFUL WAS THAT?

Stewart: Yeah, yeah, now, while "Palin-in-a-bald-cap" [Karl Rove] was feeding us a steaming bowl of liberal epithets, [mockingly] "He drinks chai!" So that means when he sucks dick in the back of a Volvo, it has that "cardamom zing"!

But in their haste, they forgot to ANSWER THE QUESTION: Would. President. Bush. ever salute the troops with a cup of coffee in his hand?? And the answer is NO!, because HIS HANDS were too filled with DOG [photo of President Bush holding one of his dogs while saluting] — a SCOTTIE, out of RESPECT. So, here we've got two Presidents, both sending the United States to war, citing the same legal authorities, BOTH, without any seeming exit strategy, and both holding shit in their hands while saluting our troops.

But in their diseased minds [photos of Keith Ablow, Sean Hannity, Karl Rove, and Steve Doocy], ONLY ONE did that because he loved America. The OTHER did it because HE HATED IT!

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