Our video editor Michael Lester has put together this marvelous video mash-up: Republicans on 'Politicizing' terrorism, then (2004) and now (2012). Watch. [...]
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Democrats vote Tuesday to decide who will face Gov. Walker in the recall election in June. Last night they met to debate and here's our report on how it went down. [...]
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A quick hits follow-up to the "Pelosi & Hoyer killing Social Security" story.
Yesterday, Russ Feingold called out once-and-would-be Speaker Pelosi for her new-found support of the Simpson-Bowles "Grannie's New Diet" proposal (my emphases everywhere):
Russ Feingold ... said in an email to supporters that Pelosi "has signaled a disturbing potential willingness to adopt a plan that could slash these benefits. And it follows a pattern: Too many House Democrats, including Steny Hoyer, are already on board."I think "potential willingness" is Feingold being polite, but that's just me; I could well be wrong.
Feingold?s missive was striking for its harsh tone. The email included a photo of an angry-looking Pelosi similar to ones that conservatives have used to demonize the former Speaker in their fundraising efforts.Or the reverse ? Feingold is a "favorite of liberals" ... and Pelosi is a "darling of the left." Hm, somehow not the same.
Feingold lost his bid for a fourth Senate term in 2010, but he remains a darling of the left. Pelosi supporters were apoplectic on Thursday and appeared taken aback by Feingold?s attack on a woman who is herself a favorite of liberals.
In a Twitter message on Thursday, Pelosi responded ... ?ICYMI I've spent my career protecting Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid from GOP attacks ? nothing's changed, I will continue fighting,? she wrote.See any mention of Simpson-Bowles? Anythng about protecting Social Security from Democratic attacks? Did the word "catfood" come up?
"Cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits ... shouldn't be put on the table by Democrats for any reason -- including cynical, political ones."Or not ? there are lots of cynical motives swirling in Democratic brains. Still, my money's on Occam to win.
Former Rep. David McIntosh (R-IN) is campaigning to return to Congress. On Tuesday, he will face several other Republicans in a primary for the GOP nomination to fill the open seat of retiring Rep. Dan Burton (R). A registered federal lobbyist, he hopes to spin through the revolving door back into the House. One lobbying client reveals a disturbing contradiction between his rhetoric and his actions.
McIntosh, a co-founder of the conservative Federalist Society and the executive director of then-Vice President Dan Quayle’s infamous Council on Competitiveness in first President Bush’s administration, left Congress in January 2001. That year, he became a registered lobbyist at the firm of Mayer Brown LLP (rules now require a one-year “cooling off” period), using his access and connections to advance the interests of a wide array of corporate interests including Pfizer, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Lockheed Martin.
In 2011, he registered as a lobbyist for the Royal Bank of Canada and, over the course of the year, the bank paid McIntosh and his Mayer Brown colleagues $300,000 to represent its interests.
Now, McIntosh is focusing much of his campaign message on his opposition to bailouts for banks such as President George W. Bush’s 2008 Toxic Asset Relief Program (TARP). He attacks two opponents for supporting “federal bailouts” and promises he’ll “never vote for a bailout.”
In one spot, he focuses on what he calls “really bad ideas” after the 2008 economic meltdown such as “bailing out companies, bailing out Wall Street with taxpayer dollars.” Watch the video:
The only problem: the Royal Bank of Canada’s American subsidiary, RBC America was among those banks receiving bailout funds. According to TARP records, RBC USA received a commitment of $270,000 in Incentive Payments for Home Loan Modification. At least $43,500 has already been given to the bank.
Either McIntosh is being insincere with his fiery anti-bailout bluster…or he was just happy to profit from that which he finds reprehensible.
Now that you know what AFP's ads look like, what they're really about, and what sort of sludge they're feeding your conservative brother-in-law, you can craft a way to counter their nonsense. Go forth and do so.[...]
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Saw the Avengers last night. This movie was everything that you would expect. There are outstanding special effects. There is crazy action. But, unexpectedly, there's actually some acting. If you like any of the superhero movies, you'll love this movie. If, on the other hand, you're more of the Titanic persuasion, this movie really might
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You may have seen David Barton on Jon Stewart the other night, or on several other shows, plugging his new book, "The Jefferson Lies." Barton is a right-wing fundie who's rewritten history to make Thomas Jefferson a religious man who never wanted religion out of public life. (You may also know him as a "professor" at the famous Beck University.) Slacktivist's Fred Clark, famous for calling out the charlatans in his faith, has a bone to pick with how the mainstream media depicts David Barton:
?Who is David Barton?? CNN?s Dan Gilgoff asks.
And then Gilgoff refuses to answer his own question.
Instead, Gilgoff retreats into a wretched, flaccid display of false-equivalence, view-from-nowhere, opinions-on-the-shape-of-earth-differ non-journalism.
?Barton?s work has drawn many critics,? Gilgoff writes, in lieu of actual journalism.
That?s a remarkable sentence. It?s like saying, ?Bernie Madoff?s investment skills have drawn many critics.? Or, ?Ty Cobb?s sportsmanship has drawn many critics.? Or, ?Leroy Jenkins? teamwork has drawn many critics.?
Who is David Barton? David Barton is a man who says things that are not true.
David Barton makes stuff up. He surgically alters quotations deliberately in order to deceive others.
David Barton says things that are not true. He is not merely ?controversial.? He is not merely ?a lightning rod for critics.? His many, many false assertions are not merely ?disputed? or ?questioned? or ?challenged.?
David Barton says things that are not true. After being repeatedly, publicly corrected, he repeats those very same untrue statements. This is what he does. This is how he makes his living.
David Barton has not attracted ?critics.? David Barton says things that are not true, and those Gilgoff mislabels as his ?critics? are simply those many, many people who have pointed out the many, many untrue things that David Barton has said. His false statements are obvious. His false statements are extravagant. His false statements are hard to miss.
David Barton says things that are not true. That is the primary, pre-eminent, pervasive fact about David Barton.
To say anything else about David Barton without also saying that is to be inaccurate, misleading and dishonest.
But Paul Harvey, a real history professor, says of course it won't matter:
I don't question the necessity of pointing out Barton's history of outright falsehoods, explaining the fallacies of his presentism (as in using a 1765 sermon or a 1792 congressional vote to show that the original intent of the founders was to oppose bailout and stimulus plans), and introducing to non-experts the abundant evidence calling his historical worldview of the Christian Founders into question. Yet while these kinds of refutations are necessary, they are not sufficient. That's because Barton's project is not fundamentally an historical one.
That's why historians' takedown of his ahistorical approach ultimately won't matter that much. Nor will historians' explanations of his presentism, and his obvious and unapologetic ideological agenda (albeit considerably muted for his appearance on The Daily Show). While all the historians' refutations are good and necessary, ultimately they won't matter for the audience which exists in his alternate intellectual universe, one described in much greater detail in my colleague Randall Stephens' forthcoming book The Anointed: Evangelical Experts in a Secular Age...
After all the refutations and belittling of pedigree, Barton still appears in a New York Times "puff piece," argues with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, and fields calls from congressmen and presidential candidates. In short, if this were a basketball game between Barton and professional historians, in some ways it's already a rout, with Barton far ahead and the scrubs in to play out the garbage time.
Some of that is because of the skill of Barton and his organization WallBuilders at ideological entrepreneurialism. Barton's intent is not to produce "scholarship," but to influence public policy. He simply is playing a different game than worrying about scholarly credibility, his protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. His game is to inundate public policy makers (including local and state education boards as well as Congress) with ideas packaged as products that will move policy.
And once again, our librul media is easily outplayed.
On May 2, 2012, the U.S. State Department released new rules for the J-1 visa Summer Work Travel program. Below is a statement on the new rules by Saket Soni, Executive Director of the National Guestworker Alliance (NGA):
"In August 2011, 400 students occupied the Hershey's factory to expose how the chocolate giant hijacked a cultural exchange program to turn hundreds of permanent, local, living-wage jobs into sub-minimum wage, temporary jobs. Today Secretary Cinton has vindicated the student guestworkers by pushing back against Hershey's and hundreds of corporations like it.
"We fully expect the corporate lobby to fight against these rules, because they are a step toward the protections that all workers need in America.
"Every time workers have stood up for basic dignity -- and every time the Obama administration has taken steps to support them -- corporations have fought them. Businesses have grown used to a profit formula based on shifting the nature of work in the U.S. from permanent to temporary, from stable to precarious. Increasingly, they do that by eroding wages and conditions for U.S. workers, and treating guestworkers, including cultural exchange students, as the ultimate source of cheap, exploitable labor.
"These rules don't include every protection that student guestworkers need, but they are a clear step toward ending the exploitation that Hershey's exemplified. Guestworkers will be organizing all across the U.S. this summer -- in the summer work travel program, the H-2B guestworker program, and beyond -- to defend decent work and dignified conditions for all."
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The White House had a somber reaction to the modest improvements in the unemployment numbers yesterday. Alan Krueger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers:
Today?s employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to heal from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, but much more remains to be done to repair the damage caused by the financial crisis and the deep recession. It is critical that we continue the economic policies that are helping us dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began at the end of 2007. President Obama has said that prosperity in America has always come from a strong and growing middle class. He has made clear that getting back to where we were is not enough. We need to do more, which is why the President has laid out his blueprint for an American economy that is built to last and will continue to urge Congress to act to do more to grow the economy and create jobs.
?Today?s report is more evidence President Obama?s policies aren?t working for families and small businesses, and aren?t creating enough jobs to get our economy back on track. Where are the jobs? Families are stuck: the wages of those fortunate enough to have a job are stagnant, but they?re paying more for everything from gasoline to groceries. And those looking for work can?t find it because ObamaCare, our spending-driven debt, and the threat of tax hikes are making it harder for small businesses to hire. Nearly half of college graduates are unemployed or underemployed in President Obama?s economy.
?But rather than address these challenges, President Obama has wasted time trying to distract the American people with gimmicks like the Buffett tax hike and fake fights over noncontroversial issues. Election-year gimmicks might win the president some votes but they won?t create American jobs.
?The House has passed a series of bills to address high energy prices through projects like Keystone XL, remove government barriers to job growth, and stop Washington from spending money we don?t have. President Obama has shown what doesn?t work; now it?s time to try something we know will: getting the government out of the way of families and small businesses.?
Risk-taking? These guys aren't risk-takers. Think of the founders of Google. They came from middle-class families and went to Stanford. Short of inheriting the crown of England, there's nobody in this life less exposed to risk than a Stanford Ph.D. in computer science. They had a business idea. They didn't put up their own money. They used other people's money-- venture capital. And the venture capital company wasn't using its own money either. They were investing other people's money too-- and taking fees of 2% on principal and 20% of profits for their trouble. You know the only people at risk in this deal? The teachers and university professors whose pension money would have been lost if the business had failed. Pension funds and insurance companies: they're the source of almost all our domestic investible funds. It's the middle-class and working-class people whose wages go into those funds who are at risk, not the rich-- and especially not a chop shop like Bain, where they buy a company, lever it up, charge huge fees, and then sell the parts.
Central to that argument is the premise of Romney?s whole candidacy: That you can run American like a corporation, and that Romney?s experience has left him with an understanding of the economy that automatically translates into an ability to create jobs as a public official.
"His favorability was basically a straight line down from his honeymoon," said David Paleologos, director of Suffolk University's Political Research Center and a longtime Massachusetts pollster. "Sometimes familiarity breeds contempt." [...]
Romney entered the Massachusetts State House in January 2003 with a flashy favorability rating of 61 percent.... By November 2004, voters were souring, and a Suffolk poll found his favorable rating had dropped to 47 percent... By November 2006, as he closed out his increasingly absentee term, his overall job approval rating had cratered to 36 percent.
Thomas Whalen, a Boston University political science professor, put it this way: "To know Mitt Romney is to dislike him. That is the moral of the story."
Maybe he looks better in hindsight? No, Romney's former constituents still don't like him and still don't want him to be president.
On the campaign trail, Romney touts his corporate credentials and argues he knows what's best for the ailing US economy. That's certainly fair play. But he has continuously accused Obama of not understanding the nation or its economy (while apologizing for the country overseas) and of desiring to turn the United States into a European-style state where poverty will spread. To level such an indictment credibly, it helps to toss out facts-- or what seem to be facts. By charging Obama with a power grab that will place government in control of half of the economy, Romney positions himself as a savior for those voters who believe (maybe because of Romney's own demagoguery) that Obama is running amok and threatening the fundamental nature of the nation.
This claim was a supersize stretch of the truth. Yet nothing prevented Romney from making good use of it, for in this political culture there is often little, if any, penalty to be paid for hurling such reality-defying rhetoric. One can only wonder how big the whoppers will get by November.