Saturday, September 29, 2012

Random Friday: Assassin's Creed 3: Boston Tea Party Trailer

This has more factual information than anything the right wing tea party passes out.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Wash. Post's Krauthammer Pushes Anti-Obama Myth Debunked By The Post Itself

ADAM SHAH/Media Matters for America

This morning, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer pushed the myth that "Obama's entire Middle East policy" consists of "apology and accommodation." This claim, however, has been repeatedly debunkedby Washington Post own fact-checker, Glenn Kessler.  
Kessler has noted that the speeches conservatives cite to push the myth that Obama regularly apologizes for the United States do not contain apologies and have often been "selectively trimmed for political purposes":
The claim that Obama repeatedly has apologized for the United States is not borne out by the facts, especially if his full quotes are viewed in context.
Obama often was trying to draw a rhetorical distinction between his policies and that of President Bush, a common practice when the presidency changes parties. The shift in policies, in fact, might have been more dramatic from Clinton to Bush than from Bush to Obama, given how Obama has largely maintained Bush's approach to fighting terrorism.
In other cases, Obama's quotes have been selectively trimmed for political purposes. Or they were not much different than sentiments expressed by Bush or his secretary of state.
In his column, Krauthammer went on to say that Obama has ignored the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya and referred to the attack as mere "bumps in the road." In fact, Obama has repeatedlycondemned the Benghazi attack, and when Obama said "bumps in the road," he was referring to his support for Arab countries' transition from autocracy to democracy during the Arab Spring, even though he knew the transition would not be perfect.
This is the second time in a week that a conservative Washington Post columnist has push a falsehood debunked by Kessler. Post columnist Marc Thiessen claimed that President Obama had often skipped his intelligence briefings and Kessler responded with a thorough debunking. Thiessen then criticized Kessler's debunking, and Kessler updated his original post, stating that Thiessen's answer was an "interesting if not very factual argument."

GOP tries another phony attack on Obama

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What's behind the Romney mask?

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Michigan senators draft new EM law if voters approve repeal

Lansing — The leader of the Michigan Senate said he and fellow Republican colleagues are armed with a proposal to replace the state law that lets emergency managers take over local governments in the event voters strike it down in November.

The behind-the-scenes effort, which doesn't appear to involve Republican House leaders or GOP Gov. Rick Snyder, aims to keep a form of the contentious law on the books while acknowledging some of the critics' concerns, which include that it takes too much power from local leaders struggling with budget deficits.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville of Monroe told the Associated Press on Thursday the move is not an admission the current law is flawed, but the new draft takes those concerns into account. He said he couldn't provide details about the alternative bill because the draft is under legal review.

"If something happened like that bill was overturned, I think the Legislature would have to be ready to respond and to still deal with the emergency," Richardville said. "You can eliminate the financial manager from the emergency financial manager legislation, but you can't remove the emergency."

The legislative tinkering is the latest twist in the battle over the law that went all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court last month. The state's highest court ruled a union-backed referendum to repeal the law can go on the ballot in November.

The law passed last year by the Legislature and signed by Snyder allows the governor to appoint people to run cities and school districts that are broke. Managers have sweeping authority to cut spending, sell assets and tear up contracts without the approval of elected officials.

The city of Detroit, struggling with record deficits for years, narrowly avoided such a takeover earlier this year.

The law has since been suspended until the election and replaced by the previous public act that gives emergency managers fewer powers. But that's also being contested — a lawsuit was filed this week by civil rights lawyers that claim the "old law is dead" because there is no legal framework to support it.

Emergency managers are operating in Benton Harbor, Flint, Pontiac and Ecorse, as well as in school districts in Detroit, Highland Park and Muskegon Heights.

Richardville said a replacement will be needed if the law is struck down.

"It's certainly a priority to make sure we help these communities out," he said. "We've had some real concerns that people in these communities could go without crucial services unless somebody was in there and given authority to fix things."

In Pontiac, emergency manager Lou Schimmel said his city and others will be "runaway fiscal nightmares" if the law is overturned and there is no substitute.

"There isn't anyone in this city who could run this city. ... We're not there yet," said Schimmel, who was appointed a year ago.

A spokesman for Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger of Marshall said that chamber's Republican leadership isn't working on a replacement bill and declined to speculate on whether it would also become a priority for the House if the law is repealed. Still, spokesman Ari Adler said Bolger is concerned about what happens to communities with financial emergencies if the law is repealed.

"Speaker Bolger supports Proposal 1, but ballot proposals are a time when voters have their chance to speak directly and it's important for legislators to listen to what they say with their votes," Adler said.

Likewise, Snyder is instead focusing on "making the strong case for why Public Act 4 is a critical and necessary tool," his spokeswoman Sara Wurfel said.

"We have an obligation to ensure continuity, prevent chaos and ensure health, safety and welfare of citizens, but can't work in hypotheticals and will have to cross that bridge if and when we come to it," she said.

Robert McCann, spokesman for Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer of East Lansing, said Democrats would prefer a bipartisan approach "rather than an end-around" by Republicans.

"They haven't shown great concern for community input up to this point," McCann said. "If this one is different, I think it would be a step in the right direction."

The Michigan Legislature has one session scheduled in October then doesn't reconvene until after the Nov. 6 election.

Bush Viewed More Favorably Than Romney

Taegan Goddard/Political Wire
Dallas Morning News: "For all the talk about whether Mitt Romney should distance himself from George W. Bush -- and the policies of the last GOP White House -- a new survey shows that the former president actually has better favorability ratings than the Republican nominee."

The most recent Bloomberg poll shows Bush with a 46% to 49% favorable rating as compared to Romney's 43% to 50%. 

Romney Aides "Pretty Resigned" to Losing

By Kevin Drum/Mother Jones
Over at NRO, Denis Boyles passes along an anecdote from Sam Coates of the London Times, who says that everyone in Europe is now assuming that Mitt Romney will lose in November:
Coates said the assumption of a Romney defeat fit his own view of the Republicans surrounding Mitt, a pessimism he saw back when Romney was in London eating his foot while talking about the Olympics. “His aides were there,” he said, “and they were telling some of our political advisers that, really, they weren’t that optimistic about their guy’s chances. They’re pretty resigned to it not going well, and it’s interesting to see that people are already moving away from his campaign.
So what's the answer? You guessed it: Romney's being too damn moderate. He needs to let his tea party flag fly:
In fact, what Americans seem to want is more polarization, not less. Those Republicans who try to campaign by galvanizing and leading their base, instead of ignoring and avoiding it, must be feeling now the way Romney’s dour aides have apparently felt all along — “pretty resigned,” minus the pretty.
We're going to be hearing a lot more of this as time goes by and Romney's campaign looks ever more hopeless. Despite the fact that Romney has faithfully adopted virtually every position the tea party has demanded of him, the true believers are already preparing the ground for his increasingly inevitable election-day repudiation. And their story is going to be exactly what you think: Romney was never really one of them and the American public sniffed that out. They wanted a real red-meat conservative, and Romney wasn't that guy.
You see, true conservatism can never fail, it can only be failed. Welcome to 2013.

Ron Reagan: Poll truthers smoking ‘giant crack pipe’ in Fox News green room

By David Edwards/Raw Story
Ron Reagan, the liberal son of former President Ronald Reagan, on Thursday said that the so-called ‘poll truthers’ at Fox News like Karl Rove and Dick Morris who deny any poll that says President Barack Obama is ahead were so out of touch that they must be smoking a crack pipe in the network’s green room.
During a Monday segment on Fox News, Morris had claimed that Romney was “in a very strong position” even though polls showed him down in all nine battleground states.
“I believe if the election were held today, I believe Romney would win by four or five points,” Morris explained. “I believe he would carry Florida, Ohio, Virginia. I believe he would carry Nevada. I believe he would carry Pennsylvania — Pennsylvania. And I believe he would be competitive in Michigan.”
“People need to understand that the polling this year is the worst it’s ever been,” he insisted. “Because this is the first election where if I tell you who’s going to vote, I can tell you how they’re going to vote. … And the models these folks are using are crazy. They assume a Democratic edge of six or seven points.”
On Thursday, MSNBC host Chris Matthews asked Reagan why Fox News would invite Morris on to slam even their own poll — which showed Obama leading Romney nationally, 48-43.
“You sometimes imagine that back in the Republican green room, there’s this giant crack pipe that they’re all hitting on constantly, hitting it hard,” Reagan joked.
“It’s time to say, ‘Don’t bogart that, Morris’ because I think he’s been on that pipe longer than most,” Matthews agreed.
“It’s true, he bought the pipe, I think,” Reagan added. “But let’s not give them too much credit here. The rank and file actually believes some of this nonsense. They believe that evolution didn’t happen, global warming is a hoax, Obama is a Kenyan. But the people like Dick Morris — and Sean Hannity for that matter, who has spread a lot of this kind of propaganda — they know better than this and there is a method to their madness here.”
“They’re not delusional, they’re dishonest. They’re not crazy, they’re craven… What they’re trying to do here and accomplish here is to say in advance, if President Obama wins this election, it’s because the pollsters suppressed the Republican vote, it’s therefore an illegitimate election, he’s not really president. They’re setting the table for that.”
Watch this video from MSNBC’s Hardball, broadcast Sept. 28, 2012.
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GOP Senate Candidate Akin: ‘Free Enterprise’ Means Being Allowed To Deny Equal Pay To Women

By Aviva Shen/Think Progress
Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) has struggled with a well-established woman problem in his Senate campaign, ever since he claimed women could not get pregnant from “legitimate rape.” After he said his opponent, incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), was not “ladylike,” her campaignreleased a video of Akin suggesting that businesses should be allowed to pay women less than men.
When a man asked him why he voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Akin said he didn’t support the idea that “government should be telling people what you pay and what you don’t pay.”
AUDIENCE MEMBER: You voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Why do you think it is okay for a woman to be paid less for doing the same work as a man?
AKIN: Well, first of all, the premise of your question is that I’m making that particular distinction. I believe in free enterprise. I don’t think the government should be telling people what you pay and what you don’t pay. I think it’s about freedom. If someone what’s to hire somebody and they agree on a salary, that’s fine, however it wants to work. So, the government sticking its nose into all kinds of things has gotten us into huge trouble.
Watch it:
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first bill President Obama signed into law and eases the burden on women to prove paycheck discrimination. Akin, along with all but three House Republicans, voted against the bill. Republicans blocked another pay equity bill, the Paycheck Fairness Act, earlier this summer; it would create larger penalties for employers who pay women less than men and strengthen protections for women who sue for equal pay.

Republican Party Paid $3.1 Million To Firm Under Investigation For Voter Registration Fraud

By Aviva Shen/Think Progress
The Republican National Committee is cutting ties to Strategic Allied Consulting, a voter registration firm under investigation for turning in fraudulent voter registration forms in Florida. The RNC hired the firm to do voter registration drives for $3.1 million this year.
The firm’s founder, Nathan Sproul, is a longtime Republican strategist whose reputation was tarred by widespread accusations of voter registration fraud and attempts to suppress Democratic voter turnout. George W. Bush’s campaign reportedly paid Sproul over $8 million for his work in the 2004 election. Sproul, now under new scrutiny, claims he started Strategic Allied Consulting because the RNC wanted to hide his past:
Sproul said he created Strategic Allied Consulting at the RNC’s request because the party wanted to avoid being publicly linked to the past allegations. The firm was set up at a Virginia address, and Sproul does not show up on the corporate paperwork.
“In order to be able to do the job that the state parties were hiring us to do, the [RNC] asked us to do it with a different company’s name, so as to not be a distraction from the false information put out in the Internet,” Sproul said.
The committee is now scrambling to distance itself from Sproul after Florida launched acriminal investigation into the company. Strategic Allied Consulting submitted 106 “questionable” voter registration forms to the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections, and several other counties have discovered fraudulent forms as well. The Florida GOP fired the firm on Tuesday night.
Republicans have launched relentless efforts to prevent in-person voter fraud, which isexceptionally rare, yet seem to have ignored the real threat of voter registration fraud by their own consultant. In a twist one Florida Supervisor of Elections called “ironic,” Sproul’s organization was in fact registering dead voters as Republicans, even as Republican lawmakers all over the country justified discriminatory voter purges with the threat of dead votersshowing up to the polls.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Video shows Bain Capital's harvest philosophy

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Jennifer Rubin: Obama's Terrorism Record Worse Than Bush's (9-11 Doesn't Count)

SIMON MALOY/Media Matters for America

Washington Post political blogger and de facto Mitt Romney surrogate Jennifer Rubin has posed some questions that she thinks should be asked of President Obama during the upcoming debates. Harnessing illogic and leaning on right-wing mythology, she wants the president to admit that his record on preventing terrorist attacks is worse than George W. Bush's, because there were no terrorist attacks on the U.S. under Bush after September 11, 2001.
No seriously. Here's the question she wants Obama to answer:
After Sept. 11, 2001, there were no terrorist attacks on the United States, but during your administration there have been the jihad-inspired Fort Hood massacre and the killing of four Americans in Libya, so isn't your anti-terror record worse than Bush's?
So Obama has to answer for Ft. Hood and the Benghazi attacks, but Bush gets a pass on the worst terrorist attack in American history. And when you neatly excise that horrific failure of intelligence and preparedness from the Bush terrorism ledger, Bush finds himself with a spotless record (the anthrax attacks, LAX shooting, DC sniper shootings, and attacks on various diplomatic personnel during the Bush years apparently don't count either).
The question refutes itself and evinces the sort of kneejerk partisanship and lack of seriousness that one would expect to find on a right-wing message board, and not under a Washington Post byline.

Whoopi Goldberg Explodes At Ann Coulter: 'Tell Me What You Know About Being Black' (VIDEO)

By /Huffington Post 
It took Ann Coulter roughly three sentences to ruffle Whoopi Goldberg's feathers on Thursday's "View."
The controversial conservative pundit appeared on the ABC daytime talk show to promote her new book, "Mugged," in which she argues that civil rights only "belong to blacks" because the U.S. "has a legacy of slavery." She also writes that the O.J. Simpson trial verdict was "good for America."
As Coulter started to discuss her book, Goldberg grew seemingly frustrated.
"What are you talking about?" she demanded. Coulter attempted to continue, but Goldberg cut her off.
"Oh you know what, hold up Ms. Coulter, please stop. Please stop," Goldberg said. "If you are going to talk about race, at least, at least, know what you're talking about."
"What don't I know?" Coulter asked.
"Well tell me what you know about being black," Goldberg said. "Your facts are a little shaky. I mean, you're saying that because liberals have abandoned black people now—what? I don't get it. I don't understand."
"I don't think liberals ever cared about black people," Coulter said. "Five minutes after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, they start calling everything that has nothing to do with black people a civil rights issue: abortion on demand, homeless rights."
Goldberg seemed to have had enough as Coulter continued answering more questions. She was eventually bleeped out when responding to Coulter, appearing to have used the word "bullshit."
Watch the whole segment in the video below:

Republicans fire voter registration firm owned by Romney consultant

By Arturo Garcia/Raw Story
The Republican National Committee fired a voter registration firm owned by a paid consultant to the party’s presidential candidate Mitt Romney Thursday, after Florida officials traced more than 100 possibly fake registration forms back to the company.
NBC News reported that the RNC cut ties with Strategic Allied Consulting (SAC), run by party strategist Nathan Sproul, had been paid $2.9 million this year to register voters in five swing states before being dismissed.
Sproul is also the founder and managing partner of another company, Lincoln Strategy Group, which records show was paid by the Romney campaign paid to do “field consulting.”
A Romney campaign spokesperson told NBC via email, “We used this vendor for signature gathering services during the primary but have not used them since 2011.”
Strategic Allied Consulting had been fired this week by Republican officials in Florida after 106 “questionable” registration forms were handed to the state attorney’s office after being flagged for review by Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher.
“When we learned today about the instances of potential voter registration fraud that occurred in Palm Beach County, we immediately informed the Republican National Committee that we were terminating the contract with the voter registration vendor we hired at their request,” state Republican Executive Director Mike Grissom told The Palm Beach Post Tuesday. “There is no place for voter registration fraud in Florida.”
Sproul told NBC Thursday the incident was caused by isolated acts by individual employees, and attacked state party officials of acting “in a likely libelous manner” against SAC, and suggested that on a national level, the Republicans were moving to protect Romney from any fallout.
“In the case of the RNC, they had no choice to do what they did,” Sproul said. “They’re trying to get the distraction behind him.”
The allegations in Florida led Sproul’s firm also being fired by GOP state officials in both North Carolina and Virginia, a decision one official told WTVR Thursday did not surprise him.
“They were responsible for people that appeared in some libraries in Chesterfield County, supposedly to conduct voter registration drives,” said the county’s General Registrar, Larry Hawke. “But they were asking voters for whom they are going to vote.”
And in North Carolina, state Democratic Party officials told WRAL-TV state Rep. Larry Hall (D) was preparing to criticize Republicans for hiring Sproul’s firm before learning they had cut ties.
“Republicans are using this unethical and shady firm to try to get a leg up in this election because they know North Carolinians aren’t interested in their message of slashing education to pay for more tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires,” Hall was planning to say in a statement.
WTVR’s report on the firm’s suspected activities in Virginia, aired Thursday, can be seen below

Webb drops the hammer on Romney


Jim Webb’s departures from party orthodoxy are frequent. As recently as last November, the retiring Virginia Democratic senator was reluctant to commit to campaigning for President Barack Obama.

So Webb’s bladework today on Mitt Romney was as unexpected as it was memorable.

From Webb’s introductory remarks before Obama’s Virginia Beach appearance:

Governor Romney and I are about the same age. Like millions of others in our generation, we came to adulthood facing the harsh realities of the Vietnam War.  2.7 million in our age group went to Vietnam, a war which eventually took the lives of 58,000 young Americans and cost another 300,000 wounded. The Marine Corps lost 100,000 killed or wounded in that war. During the year I was in Vietnam, 1969, our country lost twice as many dead as we have lost in Iraq and Afghanistan combined over the past 10 years of war.  1968 was worse.  1967 was about the same.  Not a day goes by when I do not think about the young Marines I was privileged to lead.

This was a time of conscription, where every American male was eligible to be drafted. People made choices about how to deal with the draft, and about military service. I have never envied or resented any of the choices that were made as long as they were done within the law.  But those among us who stepped forward to face the harsh unknowns and the lifelong changes that can come from combat did so with the belief that their service would be honored, and that our leaders would, in the words of President Abraham Lincoln, care for those who had borne the battle, and for their widows and their children.

Those young Marines that I led have grown older now. They’ve lived lives of courage, both in combat and after their return, where many of them were derided by their own peers for having served. That was a long time ago. They are not bitter. They know what they did. But in receiving veterans’ benefits, they are not takers. They were givers, in the ultimate sense of that word. There is a saying among war veterans:  “All gave some, some gave all.”  This is not a culture of dependency. It is a part of a long tradition that gave this country its freedom and independence. They paid, some with their lives, some through wounds and disabilities, some through their emotional scars, some through the lost opportunities and delayed entry into civilian careers which had already begun for many of their peers who did not serve.

And not only did they pay. They will not say this, so I will say it for them. They are owed, if nothing else, at least a mention, some word of thanks and respect, when a presidential candidate who is their generational peer makes a speech accepting his party’s nomination to be commander-in-chief.  And they are owed much more than that — a guarantee that we will never betray the commitment that we made to them and to their loved ones.

The attacks on Romney’s lack of military service and his failure to mention Afghanistan or Iraq in his convention speech aren’t new to the campaign, which is the first in 80 years without a military veteran on either major party’s ticket.

But coming from Webb — a voice for the white working class, a former Navy secretary and decorated Vietnam veteran whose son left college to enlist as an infantry private in the Marine Corps and fought in the Iraq War — his words carry a punch that few other Democratic surrogates can muster.

As much as anything else, Webb's sentiments are a reflection of Romney's missed opportunities — his failure to define his own character, to win over disaffected Democrats, to use the GOP convention to address the sacrifices made by the troops or even to speak convincingly to the white working class.

Explaining Today’s Great Jobs News

By Heather Boushey/Guest blogger for Think Progress
New data released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the private-sector added 450,000 more jobs as of March 2012 than previously thought. This means that the economy has crossed the threshold and more jobs have been created than lost during President Obama’s term.
This is a remarkable accomplishment—and one that would not have happened without the Recovery Act and other policies developed by this administration and passed by the 111th Congress in 2009. When President Obama was sworn in, the economy was losing jobs to the unprecedented tune of over 20,000 per day. Between the beginning of 2008 and February 2010 when the tide began to turn, the economy lost nearly 8.8 million jobs—4.3 million on Obama’s watch and almost 4.5 million under President Bush’s.
In February 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was signed into law and funds began almost immediately moving their way through the economy and the pace of job losses slowed, turning positive a year later. Since February 2010, including the newly revised data, the economy has added 4.4 million total payroll jobs, an average of 135,00 per month.
Even so, today’s data contained another glaring statistic: the economy has lost more than 700,000 public sector jobs since 2009, holding back the overall recovery. Without those losses, our unemployment rate would be at least a full point lower.
The data released today is part of the Bureau of Labor Statistics annual benchmark revisions to the establishment data and the magnitude of the revision is consistent with prior years, about plus or minus 0.3 percent. The establishment data includes all employers who pay into the unemployment insurance system, which is virtually every employer. Most firms file monthly reports for their payroll taxes, but some are late, some firms go out of business, some start up. Thus, once a year, the BLS sits down with the final UI payroll tax data to update the data previously released.
As the following chart shows, the economy has now added private sector jobs for 30 consecutive months:

Romney’s Budget Plan Could Kill Millions Of Jobs Over The Next Two Years

By Travis Waldron/Think Progress
The budget and tax proposals put forth by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney would not lead to the economic prosperity and job growth he has claimed, according to a new study released this week. In fact, the Economic Policy Institute found that Romney’s plans would actually lead to a net loss of jobs over the first two years of his administration, and the losses could grow even larger if Romney were to stick to his promise of reaching a balanced budget.
EPI had to make assumptions about Romney’s plan because of its lack of specificity, but according to its analysis, Romney’s plan to lower taxes and cut spending would cause a net loss of 554,000 jobs over the next two years if Romney abandons his plan to pay for the massive tax cuts he has promised. But if he maintains his promise to balance the budget while also providing the huge tax cuts, his plan would “lead to employment losses of 608,000 in 2013 and roughly 1.3 million in 2014″:
The deep spending cuts Romney has promised are the primary reason for the job losses, EPI’s analysis found. If Romney does pay for the tax cuts, as he insists he will, the spending cuts would get even deeper and thus cause the loss of even more jobs. Another independent analysis, meanwhile, found that fully paying for Romney’s tax cuts would require raising taxes on the middle class.
Romney’s call for a Balanced Budget Amendment would cause even more problems. “Government spending cuts of this magnitude would constitute an economic shock even larger than the one inflicted by the bursting of the housing bubble—a shock that led to the worst recession since the Great Depression,” EPI wrote. But because that shock would be so large, EPI concluded that passage of such an amendment is “exceedingly unlikely” and it chose not to include it in the analysis.

How The Tea Party Hopes To Purge Thousands of Ohio Voters

By Nicole Flatow/Think Progress
Members of an Ohio tea party group are taking it upon themselves to individually police alleged voter fraud, launching challenges to a targeted list of voters that includes hundreds of college students, trailer park residents, homeless people and African Americans in counties President Obama won in 2008. In all, the group has sought to remove from the voter rolls at least 2,100 registrations in 13 Ohio counties, nine of which Obama won in 2008, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The alleged perpetrators of this voter fraud include Lori Monroe, a 40-year-old recovering from cancer, whose apartment for the past seven years was allegedly listed as a commercial property; and eight members of an African American family, whose four-bedroom home where the family has lived since the 1980s was allegedly listed as a vacant lot. The group has also focused on challenging college students for failure to specify a dorm room number, a claim that every election board has thus far found invalid.
The group behind this crusade has dubbed itself the Ohio Voter Integrity Project, an offshoot of Texas-based True the Vote, which champions voter purges and voter ID laws and has been building a “poll watcher” network, an effort documented by Colorlines’ Brentin Mock:
[True the Vote National Elections Coordinator Bill] Ouren and Americans for Prosperity gathered these recruits in Boca Raton in July to instruct them on how they could become “empowered” vessels for True the Vote’s poll watcher program. True the Vote is most widely known for its advocacy of restrictive photo voter ID laws. But while that might garner headlines, the group’s real focus is on policing the act of voting itself. As Ouren declared during the group’s national summit in April, and repeated again in Boca Raton, his recruits’ job is chiefly to make voters feel like they’re “driving and seeing the police following you.” He aims to recruit one million poll watchers around the country. […]
True the Vote encourages recruits to “build relationships with election administrators” because “they control the access to the vote,” as Ouren told a gathering in Houston. In 2010, the group was able to get a list of voter registration data from Republican Harris County registrar Leo Vasquez, who reportedly refused the same to the Democratic Party, for which the party sued. When the King Street Patriots submitted to him their list of fraudulent actions they claimed to see at the polls, Vasquez accepted them without verification and held a press conference with Engelbrecht asserting Harris County polls were “under a systemic and organized attack.”
Of course, these phony charges of voter fraud – a wildly exaggerated phenomenon — do more than harass legally registered voters; they provide an artificial justification for the real and considerable threats to disfranchisement that come from new restrictive voter suppression laws, such as the move to limit early voting in Ohio, now embroiled in litigation.

The Truth About The Obama Phone

By Judd Legum/Think Progress
On Thursday, the Drudge Report splashed a video of an undentified woman who claims to have recieved a free “Obama Phone.”
The video has captured the attention of the right online, who see it as proof that Obama supporters are dependent on government. On his show today, Rush Limbaugh weighed in:
So these are the people that don’t like Romney because of what he said about 47%? No, these are the 47%!… She knows. She knows how to get this free Obama phone. She knows everything about it. She may not know who George Washington is or Abraham Lincoln, but she knows how to get an Obama phone.
Thousands of conservatives are on Twitter, telling jokes about the #ObamaPhone.
There is one problem with the Obama Phone: It doesn’t exist.
Since 2009, there has been an urban myth that Obama created a program to provide free phones to low-income Americans at taxpayer expense. There is, in fact, a government program that will provide low-income people with a free or low cost cell phone. It was started in 2008 under George W. Bush.
The idea of providing low-income individuals with subsidized phone service was originated in the Reagan administration following the break-up of AT&T in 1984. (It was expanded and formalized by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.) The program is paid for by telecommunications companies through an independent non-profit, not through tax revenue.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

90% of Delusional Fox News Viewers Think Romney Will Beat Obama in Ohio

By: Jason Easley/politicususa

Fox News viewers are so out of touch with reality that 90% of them actually think that Mitt Romney is going to win Ohio.
Special Report with Bret Baier asked Fox News viewers who they thought was going to win Ohio. Contrary to all of the polling that has Obama leading, 90% of Fox News viewers expect Romney to win.
Here are the current, at the time of publication, results of the poll:

As it states at the bottom of the graphic, this was not a scientific poll. However, it does tell us a lot about Fox News viewers. Like, the fact that 90% of them appear to be completely out of touch with reality. They think Romney will win Ohio, even though new polling suggests that Obama has opened up a double digit lead in the state. Fox News viewers think Romney will win despite the fact that his rallies in the state are drawing hundreds of supporters, while Obama is drawing thousands.

Perhaps they have forgotten that Ohio is the state where Republicans joined with Democrats to repeal John Kasich’s union busting SB 5 by a margin of 61%-39%. This is a state where the auto bailout is supported, 62%-30%. This is a state that Obama carried in 2008, and where his message is playing well again in 2012.
It is easy for non-Republicans to shake their heads and chuckle as Republicans start claiming that all the polls are really against Romney, and they bring up anything for a buck guy Dick Morris’ latest concoction that shows Mitt Romney really winning the election, but the truth is that these people really believe what is coming out of their mouths.
They truly can’t fathom why we all aren’t joining with them to throw Obama out of office. Their minds and communications have been so saturated with the right wing view that it is the only world that they see. It isn’t just that Fox News viewers are deluded and living in their own fantasy land where Obama is a secret Muslim socialist who is coming to steal your guns, but that this is their reality.
Of course, 90% of Fox News viewers think Romney will win Ohio. I mean, isn’t it obvious? Obama has ruined America, except in the minds of majority of the country that thinks Bush and the GOP ruined our economy, and the president is making things better.
Republicans aren’t in a different reality. They are living in an alternate universe. On Election Day, a portal will open, and for one day we will all be living in the same place.

Conservative Media Embrace Poll Trutherism In Face Of Romney Decline

SIMON MALOY/Media Matters for America

Occam's Razor is having a rough go of it these days.
We're now a few weeks out from the nomination conventions and the trend in the polls has been steady and unmistakable: President Obama rising, Mitt Romney declining. This is particularly true of the battleground states -- OhioFloridaVirginia, etc. -- where the president has maintained leads over his challenger, some within the margin of error, some very much outside of it. Faced with this phenomenon, which is reflected across nearly every reputable polling outfit, conservatives in the media have arrived at a sadly commonplace explanation: conspiracy.
Specifically, a conspiracy in which pollsters and the media are purposefully oversampling Democrats to create artificially high numbers for Obama in the hopes that they will discourage Republican voters from showing up at the polls on Election Day. It's wildly, objectively implausible stuff, but the idea of electoral collusion between Democrats and the media has become an article of faith in the modern conservative movement. It's a belief that's so strongly held that it has supplanted logical explanations for Romney's decline among the conservative media's most prominent voices.
Poll Trutherism
The much-mocked avatar of the poll truther movement is, which takes the results from various and sundry national pollsters and reweighs them according to the GOP-friendly partisan breakdown used by Rasmussen (a methodology skewered by Scott Rasmussen himself, among others). This statistical alchemy produces Romney leads ranging from a modest 3 points to an amusing 11 points. (Save for Rasmussen tracking results, Romney has not led a national poll since early September, according to Talking Points Memo's poll tracker.)
Already Unskewed Polls has found its adherents in the conservative press. The Washington Times features not one, but two opinion pieces this morning that cite Unskewed Polls to fight back against the polling conspiracy. Wes Pruden, in a bit of unintentional comedy, writes that Unskewed Polls' "numbers might not be 'unskewed' so much as 'differently skewed.' But they might be more accurate." Meanwhile, the Washington Times editorial board observes that "polls are used to drive the political debate and affect morale in both camps," and gives Unskewed Polls a nod for "recalculat[ing] major poll results based on numbers reflecting the current, more balanced partisan breakdown."
But it's not enough simply to say that the polls are being "skewed." They have to be skewed for a reason. And what might that reason be? Enter Rush Limbaugh:
LIMBAUGH: The purpose of the people right now, most of them doing these polls, they're trying to make news, not reflect it, they're advancing an agenda. They're all Democrats. They're all liberals. They just have different jobs. The polls are the replacement refs. They see certain things. They don't see other things. They don't call certain things, and other things go by. In this case, what they're trying to do is exactly what they've done in your case: frustrate you, make you pull your hair out, say, what the hell's happening to the country? They want you thinking the country's lost. They want you thinking your side's lost. They want you thinking it's over for what you believe. And that makes you stay home and not vote. That's what they're hoping.
This idea that polls are actually a sophisticated and subtle means of Republican voter suppression is, despite its manifest insanity, a popular one. Here's Fox News' Steve Doocy asking Romney campaign adviser Ed Gillespie this morning if he believes the "theory" that the "mainstream media's going to talk down Romney's chances of winning, they're going to show Mr. Obama way up in the polls just to tamp down enthusiasm so Republicans go 'you know, why even bother voting?'"
Hearing it actually spelled out on the most-watched cable news network sure helps to drive home how nuts poll trutherism is, but another way to illustrate the illogic of it is to look at the explanations for Romney's downturn in Ohio, Florida, and beyond that conservatives are eschewing in favor of the great poll conspiracy.
Improving Economies: The national economic picture is not reflected in several key swing states, which are showing real signs of growth. The New York Times Magazine reported earlier this month:
While most of the debate nationally still revolves around why the economy remains so pathetic, there are several pivotal states -- Ohio, Florida, Nevada, Virginia -- where things are slowly turning around. In these states, the real issue may not be who deserves blame for economic ruin but rather who deserves credit for a rebound, and what really causes jobs to come back after they've been lost. Republican governors are saying that unemployment rates have plummeted because of their pro-business policies. The president is saying that the hard decisions he made earlier in his term are finally starting to pay off. And then there's Mitt Romney, a congenital optimist who finds himself in the uncomfortable position of having to be a total downer, arguing that there really isn't a recovery at all. "Trust Me: You're Still Miserable"could be Romney's bumper sticker in Ohio.
Romney Is Being Outspent: According to Paul Blumenthal of the Huffington Post, President Obama is spending much, much more on advertisements in Florida and Ohio than Romney, and is dominating the airwaves in those two battleground states. "A review of political ad contracts with broadcast television stations in the top five media markets in Florida -- Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach -- and the top three markets in Ohio -- Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus -- show Obama's campaign running 10,000 more ads than Romney's campaign from the beginning of August through the middle of September."
Message Muddle: CNN reports that Ohio Republicans acknowledge the many factors working against Romney in the state, like the popularity of the auto bailout. Others are privately griping that "Romney is [a] man without a message," faulting his "lackluster political skills" and "stiff CEO demeanor." According to CNN:
Another statewide Republican officeholder who -- like others interviewed for this article -- did not want to be identified criticizing the Republican ticket, offered a blunter assessment.
Both Romney and Obama, this official argued, have provided nothing but "narrow arguments" and "fantasy land" policy prescriptions for the country.
"Why is Mitt Romney running for president and what will his presidency be about?" the official asked. "I don't think most Republicans in Ohio can answer that question. He has not made a compelling case for his candidacy. Don't make your campaign about marginal tax rates. Make it about your children and your grandchildren and the future of this country."
47 Percent: Romney's poll slide has coincided with Mother Jones' reporting on a surreptitiously shot video of Romney at a fundraiser in Florida disparaging 47 percent of Americans as government dependents who pay no income taxes and see themselves as "victims." As Suzanne Mettler and John Sides noted on the New York Times' Campaign Stops blog, the "reality he glossed over is that nearly all Americans have used government social policies at some point in their lives." The same conservatives propagating poll trutherism have also defended Romney's attack on the 47 percent, which explains why they don't view it as a reason for his sliding numbers, but Mettler and Sides point out, it's not a view of government that's broadly shared:
Because ideology influences how we view our own and others' use of government, Mr. Romney's remarks may resonate with those who think of themselves as "producers" rather than "moochers" -- to use Ayn Rand's distinction. But this distinction fails to capture the way Americans really experience government. Instead of dividing us, our experiences as both makers and takers ought to bind us in a community of shared sacrifice and mutual support.
Alec MacGillis of The New Republic has his own list of reasons why Obama is pulling away in Ohio, and theNational Journal offers some hypotheses for Romney's decline generally. None of this is to say that any one of these reasons alone or in tandem sufficiently explains the current political landscape. But they do make a hell of a lot more sense than poll trutherism.