Kyle Leighton takes a look at what kind of fallout the Todd Akin debacle is having in other races:Full-size version.[...]
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Jon Stewart has a field day with Clint Eastwood's convention speech. [...]
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When he invited him, Romney was hoping for ?Sudden Impact? with ?Magnum Force.? What he got was ?Any Which Way You Can? to put him ?In the Line of Fire,? leaving his acceptance speech in ?The Dead Pool,? his handlers running ?The Gauntlet? of blame ?Unforgiven.?
Yet now we learn it was the candidate himself, in reaching for ?Absolute Power,? who invited ?The Enforcer? and ended up on ?Heartbreak Ridge? with Charlie Sheen?s mentor, looking like ?The Rookie? of political acumen.
Today?s news comes with a soundtrack of GOP scrambling away from Clint Eastwood and his chair, Romney aides diving off the deck mumbling ?Not me,? ?weird,? and ?theater of the absurd? while the president of Paul Ryan?s fan club Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker tells reporters he ?cringed? during the segment.
Obama supporters are, of course, delighted by the ?disaster,? as they underscore Mitt Romney?s deficiencies as an out-of-touch rich guy in the real world.
Says one who knows a good deal about the subject, the Rev. Al Sharpton, ?It was embarrassing. I mean you almost wanted to go out there and get him.?
It goes without saying that Jon Stewart and Bill Maher are delirious but, when the furor dies down, what will Mitt Romney have learned?
You can dodge obvious disaster by not asking Donald Trump or Sarah Palin to be the mystery guest at your party but, as Truman Capote used to warn, be careful about Answered Prayers.
And above all, the next time you invite an American Icon, don?t give him a chair, no matter what.
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Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush hoped to use his Republican National Convention appearance to rehabilitate his brother's shattered reputation. After claiming on Sunday that it was "unbecoming" for Barack Obama to continue to "blame others" for the economic calamity he inherited from George W. Bush, on Thursday Jeb suggested the President should be "spanked" for pointing the finger at Dubya.
Now, there are only a few problems with this approach, not the least of which is that most Americans agree with Obama. In 2004, then Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney defended President Bush from John Kerry by protesting that "The people of America recognize that the slowdown in jobs that occurred during the early years of the Bush administration were the result of a perfect storm." Worse still, even now Team Mitt whines that "Governor Romney inherited an economy that was losing jobs each month" back in the Bay State. As it turns out, President George W. Bush and his acolytes have never stopped blaming Bill Clinton for the GOP's lost decade.
Jeb's brother made that point during his final press conference on January 12, 2009. During a month in which Americans would only later learn that the U.S. economy shed a staggering 820,000 jobs, President Bush passed the buck forwards--and backwards:
"In terms of the economy, look, I inherited a recession, I am ending on a recession. In the meantime there were 52 months of uninterrupted job growth. And I defended tax cuts when I campaigned, I helped implement tax cuts when I was President, and I will defend them after my presidency as the right course of action. And there's a fundamental philosophical debate about tax cuts. Who best can spend your money, the government or you? And I have always sided with the people on that issue."
But while that fundamental philosophical question is still the subject of heated debate, the facts should not be.
After all, Bush nearly doubled the national debt, as Republican majorities in Congress voted seven times to raise the debt ceiling during his tenure. The first modern President to cut taxes during wartime, Bush's tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 were the single biggest driver of red ink during the last decade and, if made permanent, will be for the next. And the meager one million jobs created during his presidency represented what the Wall Street Journal deemed the "The Worst Track Record on Record."
Then there's Bush's claim that "I inherited a recession" from Bill Clinton. As the data show, it's not true. (He did inherit a 4.2% unemployment rate and budget surpluses.) But after ten years of perpetuation by the right-wing propaganda machine, the long-ago debunked myth has remained remarkably durable.
Back in 2001 the new Bush administration and its water carriers in the right-wing media weren't shy at all when it came to blaming the sluggish economy that spring on Bill Clinton. Unfortunately for their mythmaking, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) which officially declared the current Bush recession began in December 2007 also determined the George W. Bush's first recession actually began in March 2001. And the history of U.S. GDP shows that the old definition of recession - two straight quarters of GDP decline - was never met during either the last year of the Clinton presidency or the first of Bush's tenure.
Undeterred, the Republican Party and its echo chamber have for years continued to perpetuate the myth that President Bush "inherited a recession" from Bill Clinton. As Media Matters detailed, the sound bite was introduced before George W, Bush even took the oath of office. On December 3, 2000, Dick Cheney told Tim Russert "I think so" when asked if "we're on the front edge of a recession." Within days, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich ("the Bush-Cheney administration should be planning on having inherited a recession as the farewell gift from Clinton") and House Majority Leader Dick Armey ("this new president may inherit a recession") followed suit. By August 2002, Mitch Daniels, Bush's head of the Office of Management and Budget, announced on Fox News:
"He [Bush] inherited that recession from the previous administration. Case is closed."
Predictably, the drumbeat from the Bush team was reproduced with zero distortion from the always reliable media.
While Fox News' Sean Hannity made the argument during the November 2002 mid-term election "this president -- you know and I know and everybody knows -- inherited a recession," CNN made the case for him two months earlier. On September 18th, 2002, CNN's John King announced, "That's why the president, in almost every speech, tries to remind voters he inherited a recession." Five days later, his colleague Suzanne Malveaux regurgitated the same line, reporting, "[Bush] took up that very issue earlier today, saying -- reminding voters that the administration inherited the recession."
Not leaving anything to chance, Fox News host Sean Hannity literally kept up the drumbeat for years, as this small sample shows:
"Clearly, we're out of the recession that President Bush inherited." (4/2/04)
"Stop me where I'm wrong. The president inherited a recession, the economic impact of 9/11 was tremendous on the economy, correct?" (4/6/04)
"[President George W. Bush] did inherit a recession." (5/3/04)
"[W]e got [the weak U.S. economy] out of the Clinton-Gore recession." (5/18/04)
"We got out of the Clinton-Gore recession." (5/27/04)
"We got out of the Clinton-Gore recession." (6/4/04)
To be sure, the Republican propaganda effort worked its magic. In 2004, pollster Geoff Garin showed that 62% of Americans believed the demonstrably false claim that an "economic recession actually began during Bill Clinton's administration, before George W. Bush took office."
"We've never in this country had 55 straight months of job creation. We had that under President Bush before the bank failures of September...You know, I think he came in with a recession, he left with a recession."
In December 2009, conservative attack dog Mary Matalin served up a double-slander:
"I was there, we inherited a recession from President Clinton, and we inherited the most tragic attack on our own soil in our nation's history."
Even in its last throes, the Bush White House insisted the disasters which unfolded on its watch were unforeseeable. Just days before leaving office, Vice President Dick Cheney tried to deflect blame for the calamity on Wall Street and the deepening recession by declaring, "nobody anywhere was smart enough to figure that out" and "I don't know that anybody did." Then, Cheney magically converted failure into a virtue and ignorance into a shield in explaining away the Bush presidency:
"No, obviously, I wouldn't have predicted that. On the other hand I wouldn't have predicted 9/11, the global war on terror, the need to simultaneous run military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq or the near collapse of the financial system on a global basis, not just the U.S."
Of course, no one should be surprised that Jeb Bush feels the need to defend the miserable economic record that hangs over his future and his brother's past. As for Jeb's charge that President Obama's highlighting of the obvious is "unbecoming," Americans could be forgiven for resorting to the same three-word response Dick Cheney once uttered on the floor of the United States Senate.
"Go f**k yourself."
(This piece also appears at Perrspectives.)
It was a spectacular week in the War on Voting, with the resistance winning back-to-back battles in Florida, Texas and Ohio. Everything is subject to appeal but, for the moment, American citizens came out on top.
Let's start in the Sunshine State:
Judge Robert L. Hinkle of Federal District Court in Tallahassee is tossing out pernicious curbs on third-party voter registration organizations. Last year, in addition to other changes, Florida Gov. Rick Scott approved a law requiring such organizations to turn in all completed registration forms within 48 hours after completion. Consequently, several key volunteer voter-registration organizations, including Rock the Vote and the League of Women Voters, closed up shop in Florida. Groups previously had 10 days to submit the forms.
Deirdre Macnab, the president of the League of Women Voters of Florida, told The New York Times she was happy about this week's ruling. But she added there is a tough row to hoe since the registration deadline for the November election is just five weeks away:
?We have so far now to catch up in making sure that everyday Florida voices are going to be heard in a very important election with very important decisions to be made,? Ms. Macnab said.The change matters a great deal. For the 13 months beginning July 1 the year before elections in 2004 and 2008, registered Democrats increased by an average of 209,425 voters. But from last summer up to July 1, 2012, only 11,365. And one county, Duval, registered some 13,000 new Democrats. Which means the rest of Florida lost Democratic voters. Over the same 13 months, registered Republicans rose by 128,039 statewide, well above the average of 103,555 during 2004 and 2008.
(Continue reading below the fold.)
The Justice Department ended its investigation into the final two cases of suspected CIA torture, both of which resulted in deaths of the detainees (two of the over 100 detainees who have died in US custody). Glenn Greenwald writes eloquently and[...]
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Charlie Chaplin- The Goldrush (1925) (1:11)This is the film for which Chaplin said he wished to be remembered. It was the 5th highest grossing silent film ever and in 1958 was named 2nd only to The Battleship Potempkin at the Brussels World's Fair.[...]
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A cyber-penny for your thoughts.
Another House Republican is raising eyebrows for suggesting that women who are raped are less likely to become pregnant — just weeks after Rep. Todd Akin (R-MS) sparked controversy for his “legitimate rape” remark. Speaking at a town hall on Thursday, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), responded to a question about abortion by reiterating his longstanding [...]