Monday, August 27, 2012

Headlines - Monday August 27

Ryan Chittum of The Columbia Journalism Review does a great take down of the barely-coded racist and nativist piece, including the fact that the nativist author of the piece is a foreign-born immigrant who only visited America for the first time when he was 17 - but that let that stop him from accusing Obama of spending time outside of America before he was - what age? - 17!

But hey, he's a Republican, and they don't let facts get in the way of some good hate.

The wingnuts and the Romney campaign plan to base their fall campaign on the falsehood that President Obama is ending the work requirement of welfare. It is a complete lie, but it does gin up racist feelings about the President among low-information white voters, so they're going for it. This morning comes the news that Mitt is releasing his fifth ad in his Welfare Lie series and planning an event in New Hampshire to push the attack.

All of this presents a big problem for the media. How can you report the horse race and your ever-so-predictable process stories without mentioning that Romney's entire effort is based on telling lies. So far, all signs point to a major media FAIL. The AP story cited above treats it as a he said/he said story.

Yesterday I wrote about how the NY Times decided to deal with the issue. To their credit they called out Mitt's Welfare Lie as a lie:

The Romney campaign is airing an advertisement falsely charging that Mr. Obama has "quietly announced" plans to eliminate work and job training requirements for welfare beneficiaries, a message Mr. Romney's aides said resonates with working-class voters who see government as doing nothing for them.
And give the NYTs credit for linking the lie to an effort to gin up the white vote. That's progress, but it would be better if they called out the effort as the race baiting that it is. Still, in a media environment where a false sense "balance" requires outright lies to be treated as possibly true, this is progress. And there is even more hope with this new story, Making the Election About Race, by Thomas Edsall.

The Wall Street Journal has also published their process story about the Welfare Lie. Not surprisingly, the WSJ fails to mention anything about the truthfulness of the Welfare Lie and instead writes it up as a statement of fact. Then they use it as evidence of how brilliant Rove, Romney and company are to use it: More »


The LATImes has an excellent article dissecting Ryan's "humble small-town working-class guy" bullshit:

... "I don't know about you, but when I was growing up, when I was flipping burgers at McDonald's, when I was standing in front of that big Hobart machine washing dishes, or waiting tables, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life," Ryan recently told a crowd at a high school in suburban Denver. "I thought to myself, I'm the American dream on the path or journey so that I can find happiness however I define it myself."...

And yet Ryan, 42, was born into one of the most prominent families in Janesville, Wis., the son of a successful attorney and the grandson of the top federal prosecutor for the western region of the state. Ryan grew up in a big Colonial house on a wooded lot, and his extended clan includes investment managers, corporate executives and owners of major construction companies.

The seeming contradiction appears to have its roots in a family crisis in 1986, when at the age of 16, Ryan discovered his father dead of a heart attack.

The death of Paul Murray Ryan forced the family to make adjustments. Ryan's mother went back to work. And Ryan took up jobs, as well….

But there was also more to it than work. Ryan's rise to political power and financial stability was boosted by family connections and wealth. The larger Ryan family has repeatedly helped the candidate along in his career, giving him a job when he needed one and piling up tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions…

By the time Ryan had entered Congress in 1999 at the age of 28 and filed his first disclosure statement, he reported assets between $167,000 and $1.3 million, owned a home and had three rental units.

The next year, Ryan married Janna Little, a tax attorney, and his income skyrocketed. (Ryan reported gross income of $323,416 in 2011.)

Of the Ryans' maximum estimated assets of $7.6 million, Janna's holdings account for about $6.5 million. She is the daughter of Dan and Prudence Little, two lawyers in Madill, Okla., who over the years have overseen a vast network of land and oil and gas mineral rights in the Red River area straddling southern Oklahoma and northern Texas…

There's a long tradition of American presidents "marrying up", starting with another widow's son, a big good-looking hustler who settled for a rich widow with important connections after years of failing to impress the local aristocracy of Virginia's "First Families" with his suitability for their daughters. Ryan is the offspring of modern small-town aristocracy, whose success with the daughter of state-wide aristocracy (albeit from a low-profile, underpopulated flyover state) has given him a shot at national power and attention. It's only in comparison to quarter-billionaire Willard Romney, son of a former almost-president, that Ryan can pretend to be a Jacksonian exemplar of hard-working virtue overcoming terrible odds to reach his current spot in the limelight.


So the President of the United States is an ungratefull wog who doesn't know his place, then? That seems to be Karl Rove's position. He told his minions at Fox that when the other GOP candidates were making "birther" allusions during the primary, Mitt Romney never stooped to that level, but did that uppity ingrate in the White House bother to say "thank you" to Magnanimous Mitt? No! He did not! So screw him and the Democrats who are indignant about Mitt's "joke."


Governor Bob McDonnell (R-VA) today claimed the issue of a rape exception to abortion was a "detail" to be left up to states and Congress. On ABC's This Week, George Stephanopoulos confronted the Governor and Party Platform Chair with the absolutist anti-abortion language in the platform he led the development of. This was his response:

McDonnell: We're affirming that we're a pro-life party.The details certainly are left to Congress and, ultimately, to the states and the people on how they ratify such an amendment. More importantly, what they do at the state level.

Stephanapoulous: So is the party for a rape exception or not?

McDonnell: The party didn't make any judgment on that. It's a general proposition to say we support human life. The rest of the details are up to the states and the people respectively, George. That's simply not covered.


Wonkette's Guide to Gawker's Bain Super Scooper, Pt. II


Mittens screws up and says what he really thinks again

Business Insider:

[In an interview with Fox's Chris Wallace,] Romney cited his health care law as an example of how he has protected health care for women.

"First of all, with regards to women's health care, look, I'm the guy that was about to get health care for all of the women — and men — in my state," Romney said. "They're talking about it on the federal level, we actually did something. And we did it without cutting Medicare and raising taxes."

"So you're saying, 'Look at Romneycare?'" Wallace interjected.

"Absolutely. I am very proud of what we did, and the fact that we helped women and men and children in our state. And we did it without cutting Medicare. … And then with regard to contraceptives, of course Republicans, myself in particular, recognize that women have a right to use contraceptives. There is absolutely no validity whatsoever to the Obama effort to try and bring that up."

"Conservatives got rather upset the last time the Romney campaign brought up Romneycare to defend something," the report goes on. "One even said it could have been the moment Romney lost the election. They generally don't like the law in general, considering it to be an implementation of Obamacare on a state level."

One of the games you can play with the Romney campaign is "Guess What Mittens Really Believes." With all the constant reversals, it's really very, very difficult to get a bead on what Romney actually believes. Romney says he'd repeal Obamacare and replace it with something. But if Romneycare is so wonderful and it's exactly like Obamacare, then replace it with what? Are you just going to change the name?


God Sent Isaac Because Of Israel

World Net Daily of course.

"This is the second straight Republican convention postponed due to a major hurricane," points out Koenig. "And this is the third straight Republican convention that became secondary news due to a hurricane. Bush was pressuring Israel during the times of the 2004 and 2008 conventions." Koenig links all three convention disruptions to platform committee decisions to support further division of the land of Israel to pave the way for the creation of a Palestinian state.

Blaming the gays is one, maybe two days away. Count on that.


Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), asking the agency to deny renewal of three broadcast licenses held by Fox television stations. Because their licenses are set to expire in October, two Fox stations in Washington, D.C. and one in Baltimore – which are wholly owned subsidiaries of News Corp. – filed to renew the licenses this past June.

CREW is objecting to the renewals because under U.S. law, broadcast frequencies may be used only by people of good "character," who will serve "the public interest," and speak with "candor." Significant character deficiencies may warrant disqualification from holding a license.

Read CREW's petition to the FCC

"It is well-established that News Corp. has been involved in one of the biggest media scandals of all time. Its reporters hacked voicemails and bribed public officials while top executives – including Rupert Murdoch – either approved the conduct or turned a blind eye," said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. "To say those responsible are not of good character is a colossal understatement – 'despicable' and 'loathsome' are more apt. Retaining U.S. broadcast licenses is a privilege, not a right. Based on its egregious actions, News Corp. should lose that privilege."

Last May, CREW asked FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to revoke News Corp.'s 27 broadcast licenses, but the FCC has taken no action to date. Under federal law, however, broadcast licenses must be renewed every eight years. Once renewal is sought, opposition may be filed within three months.

An investigation by Great Britain's House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee condemned Rupert Murdoch as "not a fit person to exercise stewardship of a major international company," and concluded that both Rupert and James Murdoch turned a blind eye to News Corp.'s illicit activities. The Committee described parts of Rupert Murdoch's testimony as "barely credible," and said the notion he had no inkling about the widespread illegal conduct was "simply not credible." The Committee described James Murdoch as "betray[ing] an astonishing lack of curiosity on the part of a Chief Executive."

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There are also indications illegal hacking may have taken place on U.S. soil. Further, as an American company, any bribes News Corp.'s employees paid to foreign officials may violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The Department of Justice is investigating.

Sloan continued, "It's clear that both Rupert and James Murdoch were complicit in New Corp.'s illegal activities. If the Murdochs don't meet British standards of character, they can't meet American standards. The Atlantic Ocean has no character-cleansing properties."


Catholics: No Dinner For Obama

The American Life League is furious that Archbishop Timothy Dolan has invited the president to dinner. So furious, in fact, that their complaint is rendered in all caps.



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