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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Rush Whines Media is Harassing Romney

By Mike Sax/Evil Sax/ Diary of a Republican Hater:


For Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, et, al. to be claiming that someone else is harassing anyone is rich. After all haven't they been furiously printing up shirts that took the President's words out of context-'you didn't build that?'

    Yet listen to Rush wail:

    "“Now the reporters are harassing Romney,” Limbaugh said, referring to a Tuesday morning incident where a Romney press aide told journalists to “shove it.” “They’re trying to create gaffes. They’re working on behalf of Barack Obama. They are attempting to carry forth the meme that Romney’s foreign trip is a disaster, that it’s one gaffe after another. They’re trying to do this in the mainstream. And the fact of the matter is Romney is having a home run of a trip.”

Read more:http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0712/79210.html#ixzz22EmjRPdl

     Where to start? Rush claims that  journalists are trying to create gaffes? They sure don't have to try very hard with Mitt-born with a silver foot in my mouth-Romney. Romney's having a home run of a trip? He must have slept through London. Indeed, everywhere Mitt goes he loses friends. The rascally media hardly has a very hard time of somehow tricking him into making gaffes:

     "In one week abroad, Mitt Romney has managed to enrage both the Brits and the Palestinians. Now add to that roster his own press corps."

     "Over seven days in the UK, Israel and Poland, Romney held just one media availability for the U.S. traveling press — and even then, standing outside 10 Downing St. in London, he answered only three questions. While he gave a series of interviews to the major television networks, he granted no interviews to other U.S. outlets.

     "The snub has become the straw that broke the back of an already bitter press corps, long frustrated by limited access to the Republican candidate on the campaign trail. And those frustrations, which traveling reporters are voicing loud and clear online, are putting unprecedented pressure on the Romney campaign’s communications team."

Read more:http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0712/79200.html#ixzz22EthGuKp

      Isn't this actually all of a piece with the narrative on Romney? That he is incredibly secretive and not accessible? Remember when Stephanie Cutter accused Romney of running the most secretive campaign since Nixon? In reality I think he's worse than Nixon. 

     Nixon was a secretive President-although remember the reason we even have the Nixon Tapes is because he got this weird idea in his head that he should tape all his conversations in the White House the better to protect himself.

     I don't think we've ever seen such a secretive candidate:

     "The tensions came to a head in Warsaw today when reporters, increasingly aware that there would be no end-of-tour press avail with the candidate, began shouting questions at Romney as he walked back to his vehicle from a wreath-laying at their Tomb of the Unknown Soldier."

      “Kiss my ass; this is a holy site for the Polish people,” shouted Rick Gorka, a traveling press aide who has tussled with reporters before. “Show some respect.”

      "Gorka then told a reporter to “shove it.” (He would subsequently apologize to some of the reporters, calling his outburst “inappropriate.”)"

      There you go: Kiss my ass. I think that's an apt message. Remember it's not just directed at a particular reporter. This is Romney's attitude to the American people. This is why he doesn't think they deserve to even see his tax returns as every other Presidential candidate since his father, George Romney has done, since the 1960s. 

      This is why when people ask him what he will do he says they should elect him not and he'll tell them later. 

       "Members of the traveling press corps now wonder why they went all the way to Jerusalem and Gdansk to watch the candidate tour the monuments and hold meetings behind closed doors."

       “So it’s official: Romney is leaving a 7-day foreign trip after answer only 3 Qs from the media,” Ashley Parker of the New York Times tweeted Tuesday morning.

       ”Romney trip by the numbers: Three foreign countries, and three questions from the traveling press,” Kasie Hunt of The Associated Presstweeted a few minutes later."

       “We didn’t need to come all the way over here to handle photo ops,” another member of the press corps told POLITICO. “There is a growing frustration among reporters, a growing sense that the campaign doesn’t get it — we don’t want to screw you, we just want to do our job.”

      “Here’s a guy making his audition on the world stage, his trip has been defined by gaffes, and he gives us five minutes and three questions in front of 10 Downing,” said another. “The appetite grows with each gaffe, and the campaign isn’t making it easier on themselves.”

       "High-profile media personalities have also complained. Last week, NBC News political director Chuck Todd and his co-authors at NBC’s First Read blog lamented Romney’s decision to ignore the U.S. press even as he took questions from members of the UK media."

        “[T]hose of us that have traveled overseas and been involved in these VERY limited press avails have rarely seen heads of democracies TOTALLY ignore their own press corps but answer ANOTHER press corps’ questions,” hewrote in NBC’s First Read newsletter (Todd confirmed to POLITICO that he was the author of this paragraph). “Sure, it would have looked REALLY bad had Romney ignored the U.K. questions. But is the campaign so intent on limiting media access that the candidate won’t call an audible when standing next to a leader from another country who DOES want to take questions?”

      “There has been no press access to Governor Romney since we landed in Poland,” Van Susteren wrote on her blog. “We (press) are in a holding pattern (I can’t help but feel a bit like the press is a modified petting zoo since we are trapped in a bus while Polish citizens take pictures of us).”

       "Van Susteren, who interviewed Romney for Fox News but observed the distance the candidate kept from reporters in the press pool, expanded on those comments Tuesday afternoon."

       “I think it would be smarter if they interacted with the press,” Van Susteren told POLITICO. “What struck me is that when the candidate got on board, he never waved to the reporters in the back of the plane. Lots of times candidates will come back and talk. I was struck that there was no off-the-record chatter, not even a wave.”

       Van Susteren is from Fox News of all places-though she is a real reporter. Romney is not someone who aspires to be the head of a democracy but rather an aspiring Duke or Noble. He thinks it's his turn. He has a right to it. 

        "But those television interviews, with the likes of Matt Lauer and Wolf Blitzer, have hardly satisfied the expectations of the press corps, who now envy the access they had to candidates Barack Obama and John McCain in 2008. When then-Sen. Obama went overseas in 2008, he held four press conferences in as many countries and took at least 25 questions, according to the Obama campaign. McCain, meanwhile, was known to visit the back of his press bus frequently to talk with reporters."

       "The governor kept a very full and busy itinerary from the U.K. to Israel and on through to Poland,” Madden said. “The governor also made time for interviews that included every broadcast and cable news network, consisting of almost two hours of questions and answer time with those news organizations.”

      
“The people who are assigned to work with the press are generally less experienced, less familiar with policy or presentation,” one member of the press corps told POLITICO. “They have some really good people in Boston, but they need to put someone better in place — someone who is not going to scream, ‘kiss my ass.’”
But with 98 days until the election, some reporters said it might be too hard to repair relations. On occasion, Romney has been known to make the occasional trip to the back of the press plane, handing out chips or cookies to reporters. But reporters say such attempts at detente will be harder to make following his European tour.
“You can’t hand out cookies now when there are serious questions to ask, and there are very serious questions to ask that the campaign has refused to answer,” one reporter told POLITICO.
“I don’t think anyone wants cookies anymore,” said another. “This is the rough and tumble now. There are going to be tough questions — the American people want that, the campaign should know that, and they should know that it’s better for them if the answers come out now.”

     Thank you. That is a very important, vital point. These members of the press that a Rush Limbaugh loves to demonize have a very important, sacred job. It's to ask the questions we want answered. If Mitt Romney doesn't start answering them soon he won't have to worry about harassment much longer.

Israeli Defense Minister Undermines Right-Wing Narrative That Obama Is Anti-Israel


ANDY NEWBOLD/Media Matters for America:


Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak threw cold water on the right-wing media narrative that President Obama is anti-Israel, praising Obama for doing "more" for Israeli security than any other U.S. president.
In an interview with Wolf Blitzer that aired yesterday on CNN's The Situation Room, Barak responded to a question about the state of the current U.S.-Israeli relationship by saying, "I should tell you honestly that this administration under President Obama is doing, in regard to our security, more than anything that I can remember in the past." 
BLITZER: You've studied U.S.-Israeli relations over many years. How would you describe the relationship today?
BARAK: I think that from my point of view as defense minister they are extremely good, extremely deep and profound. I can see long years, administrations of both sides of the political aisle deeply supporting the state of Israel, and I believe that reflects the profound feelings among the American people. But I should tell you honestly that this administration under President Obama is doing, in regard to our security, more than anything that I can remember in the past.
BLITZER: More than any other president? LBJ, Bill Clinton, or George W. Bush?
BARAK: Yeah, in terms of the support for our security, the cooperation of our intelligence, the sharing of thoughts in a very open way even when there are differences, which are not simple sometimes, I found their support for our defense very stable. 
Barak's praise for Obama on Israeli security flies in the face of the right-wing media's false narrative that Obama is hostile to Israel, a narrative that goes as far back as 2008. These bogus attacks include claims that Obama and members of his administration are anti-Semitic and that Obama may use military force against Israel.   
Just yesterday, conservative media figures added to this narrative by remarking that Obama, as president, hasn't visited Israel.
During an appearance on Fox News' Special Report, Fox contributor and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristolpraised Romney's recent visit to Israel while noting that "President Obama has not been in Israel as president of the United States." Fox's Sean Hannity similarly said that it is an "alarming fact that after nearly four years in office, President Obama has yet to visit our closest ally in the Middle East in what is now a very troubling time."
In fact, Obama visited Israel as a candidate, just like Mitt Romney, and it is not unusual for a president to not make a trip to Israel during a first term. Furthermore, none of the previous three Republican presidentsmade trips to Israel at this point in their presidencies, and neither Ronald Reagan nor George H.W. Bush traveled to Israel as president at all. 

Florida a Central battleground in fight for voting rights


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Carol Aichele, Top Election Official, At Voter ID Trial: 'I Don't Know What The Law Says'


by Luke Johnson/Huffington Post
Secretary of Commonwealth Carol Aichele on the fifth day of a trial over Pennsylvania's voter identification law testified at one point that she didn't know what the law said.
She was asked about the details of the law by a lawyer for the plaintiffs, and at one point responded, "I don’t know what the law says," according to CBS.
Aichele also said the state doesn't know the number of voters who would need a new photo ID to vote. She said that an earlier estimate by the state of 759,000 people who lacked a driver's license or alternative ID was released after she was told she needed to come up with a figure.
At the trial, she disagreed with a state official's estimate that the number of people who lack the proper ID to vote could be more than 1 million. "We think the number is substantially less," she said. "We planned on less."
She also stood by a claim that 99 percent of voters have the correct ID.
The law passed in March by a GOP-controlled legislature and signed by Corbett requires voters to show a form of identification before polling. A driver's license, passport, in-state student ID, military ID, local government employee ID or nursing home ID are accepted. The state recently announced that it would introduce a new voting photo ID for voters without any of the forms.
The ACLU and NAACP filed a lawsuit on behalf of 93-year-old Vivian Applewhite, who is the lead plaintiff in the case. She has never had a driver's license, and had herpurse snatched with her Social Security card in it, but has consistently voted since 1960.
The state has already 
stipulated in an agreement
 with the plaintiffs that it has no evidence of past voter fraud, and will not offer evidence that it has occurred or is likely to occur in the 2012 elections.
The Justice Department has launched its own investigation into the law.

Harry Reid: Bain Investor Told Me That Mitt Romney 'Didn't Pay Any Taxes For 10 Years'


by Sam Stein and Ryan Grim/Huffington Post:
WASHINGTON -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has what he says is an informed explanation for why Mitt Romney refuses to release additional tax returns. According a Bain investor, Reid charged, Romney didn't pay any taxes for 10 years.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Huffington Post from his office on Capitol Hill, Reid saved some of his toughest words for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Romney couldn't make it through a Senate confirmation process as a mere Cabinet nominee, the majority leader insisted, owing to the opaqueness of his personal finances.

"His poor father must be so embarrassed about his son," Reid said, in reference to George Romney's standard-setting decision to turn over 12 years of tax returns when he ran for president in the late 1960s.
Saying he had "no problem with somebody being really, really wealthy," Reid sat up in his chair a bit before stirring the pot further. A month or so ago, he said, a person who had invested with Bain Capital called his office. 

"Harry, he didn't pay any taxes for 10 years," Reid recounted the person as saying.

"He didn't pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that's true? Well, I'm not certain," said Reid. "But obviously he can't release those tax returns. How would it look?

"You guys have said his wealth is $250 million," Reid went on. "Not a chance in the world. It's a lot more than that. I mean, you do pretty well if you don't pay taxes for 10 years when you're making millions and millions of dollars."

The highest ranked Democrat in Congress, Reid is known more as a back room brawler than a public flamethrower. So his willingness to throw this private conversation into the media frenzy over Romney's taxes underscores the low opinion he has of the Republican candidate.
Tellingly, neither Reid nor his office would reveal who the investor was, making it impossible to verify if the accusation is true. And as his quote makes clear, he's uncertain if the information is accurate. The Romney campaign's press secretary, Andrea Saul, has previously denied rumors that Romney didn't pay "any taxes at all."
But there is limited political downside to the type of open speculation that Reid is making, so long as Romney refuses to budge on the issue of his tax returns. Increasingly, other Democrats are growing more assertive in their goading. In an appearance at the Center for American Progress on Tuesday, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland argued that he could openly speculate as to whether Romney "is a tax avoider" or "cheat" because "his behavior invites such speculation."
Romney recently told ABC News that he couldn't recall if there were years when he paid below the 13.9 percent tax rate that he paid in 2010. Although he said he was "happy to go back and look," his campaign declined to do just that.
Asked for a response to Reid's latest comments, Romney campaign adviser Kevin Madden said his candidate had "gone above and beyond the disclosure requirements by releasing two years of personal tax returns in addition to the hundreds of pages of personal financial disclosure documents he has provided to the FEC and made public."
Madden added that it was "troubling and disappointing that Senator Reid would cite Governor Romney's father, George, as part of a personal attack against the governor. We have many substantive disagreements with the senator and his policies, but using insults about a father-son relationship is a step too far."
Reid has jabbed at Romney before. Indeed, during the HuffPost interview, he seemed to revel in the headlines and fallout his attacks have caused.
"It's interesting, my guy from Vegas wrote this. He's a snarky guy, [Las Vegas Sun political reporter] Jon Ralston. He's a center guy. I like Jon just fine, but he's cynical, and I guess that's what serves him well. So he criticizes me for saying that Romney couldn't be elected dogcatcher," Reid recalled.
"My wife said to me -- we don't talk politics very often -- she said, like, 'You shouldn't have said that.' So Stephanie Cutter [President Barack Obama's deputy campaign manager] comes down to talk about politics and outsourcing at my caucus. She said, 'I'm so grateful for Senator Reid, the best remark during the last week, was saying that he couldn't qualify to be dogcatcher.' I could hardly wait to get home to tell my wife."
Reid's assessment about the state of the political landscape didn't end at the borders of the presidential campaign. He spoke optimistically about the prospects of maintaining his role as Senate majority leader, offering up private polling data that he said showed four Democratic senatorial candidates ahead -- Rep. Mazie Hirono up 19 points in Hawaii, Sen. Jon Tester ahead by 5 points in Montana, Rep. Tammy Baldwin up 3 points in Wisconsin, and Elizabeth Warren leading by 4 points in Massachusetts.
"We feel comfortable in the Senate," he said. "Where the problem is, is this: Because of the Citizens United decision, Karl Rove and the Republicans are looking forward to a breakfast the day after the election. They are going to assemble 17 angry old white men for breakfast, some of them will slobber in their food, some will have scrambled eggs, some will have oatmeal, their teeth are gone. But these 17 angry old white men will say, 'Hey, we just bought America. Wasn't so bad. We still have a whole lot of money left.'"
"So that's the only problem we have with our candidates," Reid concluded, suggesting that virtually everything, his leadership position included, could be swept away by outside cash.

While Romney Embarrasses Himself Abroad, Campaign Sends Auto Rescue Opponent to Stand in for Him in Michigan


From the Michigan Democratic Party:
State Rep. Ellen Cogen Lipton, MDP Chair Mark Brewer Call out Romney Campaign’s Distortions
LANSING – State Rep. Ellen Cogen Lipton and Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer set the stage for South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s visit today to Michigan on behalf of Mitt Romney, who is desperate to distract voters from his anemic record of job creation in Massachusetts and Michigan voters in particular from his opposition to the auto rescue.
“It was Mitt Romney who said, ‘Let Detroit go bankrupt,’” said Brewer. “He must have liked what he heard from Nikki Haley, who called it ‘a terrible mistake’ when she was running for governor.
“Of course, Mitt Romney was wrong, and Governor Haley was wrong, about the auto rescue. Just yesterday, the Detroit News featured a story about Michigan’s recovery outpacing the rest of the country. The resurgence of the American auto industry – bringing with it jobs and economic security for middle class families – have helped Michigan turn a corner. And Michiganders know we can’t go back.”
“Governor Haley is coming to Michigan today, and like everyone else associated with the Romney campaign, including the candidate himself, she will twist the President’s words and hold on for dear life to their thoroughly distorted interpretation – against the judgment of every single independent fact checker on earth,” said Lipton. “When your own economic policies are exactly the same as the ones that caused the greatest economic disaster since the Great Depression, it’s probably smart politics to talk about something else. But it doesn’t make it the truth.
“When your private sector record at Bain Capital – once the centerpiece of your campaign – looks more like a liability amid discussions of outsourcing, laid-off American workers, devastated communities and retroactive retirement, it’s probably smart to change the subject. But it doesn’t make it the truth.
“And when your job creation record in Massachusetts was awful, it’s probably smart to talk about anything else. But that doesn’t make it the truth, either.”

Romney aide to reporters: ‘Kiss my *ss; this is a holy site’


 
By David Edwards/Raw Story
A Romney aide frustrated by questions about a series of gaffes the former Massachusetts governor made while Britain, Israel and Poland exploded on Monday and told reporters to “shove it.”
During a visit to a memorial to Pope John Paul II in Poland, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney ignored questions from reporters about his overseas gaffes and hissuggestion that Israelis were culturally superior to Palestinians, but traveling press secretary Rick Gorka responded with rage.
“This is a holy site for the Polish people,” Gorka said. “Show some respect.”
“We haven’t had another chance to ask some questions,” the reporter explained.
“Kiss my ass; this is a holy site for the Polish people,” Gorka shot back, adding, “Shove it.”
The aide later called two of the reporters to apologize, according to Politico.
“It was inappropriate,” Gorka admitted.
Watch this video from ABC News, broadcast July 31, 2012.


Why Pennsylvania’s Voter ID Law Will Create Chaos On Election Day


By Aviva Shen/Think Progress
As states fight to implement voter ID laws in time for the November election, it is becoming glaringly obvious that the current election system cannot handle the added burden of implementing voter ID laws. Judging from a new report on ballot design flaws by the Brennan Center for Justice and a recent study of chaotic election procedures in another swing state, Ohio, voters with or without an ID stand to be disenfranchised through a fragile bureaucratic maze likely to collapse under the extra burden of the new voter ID laws.
Pennsylvania, currently mired in a legal battle over its voter ID law, is one of the states facing an impossible logistical burden of getting voters the proper identification in the next 100 days.
During a call about the voter ID lawsuit Tuesday, State Senator Vincent Hughes (D-PA) stressed how unprepared Pennsylvania is to implement the law without disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of people.
“It is absolutely unequivocally clear that the state cannot pull this off by Election Day,” he said. “There’s not enough information or staff time to implement this in time, and it will cost the state an extra amount of millions of dollars to get this done.”
A state court is expected to rule on the law in August, giving the state just a few months to implement a voter ID structure certain to tax an already overtaxed system.
Hughes said he and other district officials have encountered many individuals who were given mixed messages about what kinds of identification were permitted and what exactly they needed to do in order to get the proper photo ID. He blamed the confusion on lack of training:
We don’t fault those staffers. This is completely brand new to them and not part of their historic responsibility. Their responsibility in PennDOT is to work on drivers licenses, not to focus on the proper info for photo ID measures. But what we do fault is the training that is clearly not occurring at the executive level for these individuals so they can do their job or do this new responsibility as part of this law.
What’s more, handling the number of voters who need the ID — a conservative estimate foundmore than 750,000 people without ID — is far beyond these offices’ resources.
“There’s no way PennDOT could process anywhere near that number of IDs, even if people could get the documents and the transportation to get there,” said Penda Hair, co-counsel for the voter ID lawsuit.
Pennsylvania has the lowest percentage of government workers in the nation. When Republicans took control of the legislature in 2010 and slashed public sector jobs, the number of government employees dropped by more than 3 percent in a year, among the sharpest declines in any state. Republican legislators now expect the remaining employees to take on even more responsibility with no preparation.
In a weak attempt to meet this challenge, the state may expand the hours of some PennDOT offices, many of which are only open two or three days a week and will only process ID applications within limited hours during the work day. But Hughes remains skeptical, pointing out the “hidden costs” of expanding office hours, coordinating services and data between offices and departments, which requires even longer hours from the reduced workforce.

Eight More Ways Women Will Benefit Under Obamacare Starting Tomorrow


By Amanda Peterson Beadle/Think Progress
When eight Obamacare regulations go into effect tomorrow, 47 million women will benefit from the guaranteed coverage of preventive services — including contraception coverage — without co-pays. The new rules will require most insurance plans to begin including the services at no additional cost at the next renewal date that falls on or after August 1, according to a news release from the Department of Health and Human Services.
The Center for American Progress graphic breaks down what will be covered and how women will benefit:
But even as millions of women will benefit from even more provisions of the Affordable Care Act, nine states are attacking the contraception coverage requirement because of the claim that the provision violates religious liberty. Even though President Obama announced an “accommodation” for religious institutions so that the employer does not have to pay for the birth control coverage, states have considered legislation or ballot measures to either reject the federal regulation or undermine contraceptive coverage in state law. And ongoing challenges against the contraception regulation continue in federal courts.

House GOP Tax Plan Raises Taxes On 10 Times As Many People As Democratic Proposal


By Travis Waldron/Think Progress
Senate Republicans last week proposed a plan that would raise taxes on more than 20 million Americans, while maintaining the high-end Bush tax cuts. Letting those tax cuts on income in excess of $250,000 expire would affect just two million wealthy taxpayers, by comparison.
Now, House Republicans have adopted the same plan, and the effect is the same: roughly 24 million middle- and lower-class Americans will see their taxes raised so that roughly two million of the richest taxpayers can maintain a tax cut, as this chart from the Center for American Progress’ Seth Hanlon and Sarah Ayres illustrate:
Even worse, more than a third of families with children — a total of 18.6 million households, including 9.2 million single parents — would see a tax increase, according to Hanlon and Ayres’ analysis:
According to the analysis, roughly 11 million American families would lose some or all of the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides a tax break on college tuition payments, at an average cost of $1,100 each. About 12 million would lose part or all of the Child Tax Credit, costing them an average of $800, and about 6 million would lose all or part of the Earned Income Tax Credit, which saves each recipient an average of $500.
The Senate GOP plan failed last week, as the Senate instead adopted a Democratic proposal that would extend a tax cut on just the first $250,000 in income.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Random Friday:Silent Hill Revelation 3D Movie Trailer

The Complete Dishonesty Of Fox News' Economic Context


JEREMY HOLDEN/Media Matters for America:


Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum rewrote economic history to blame President Obama for the recession that began in December 2007, arguing that the economy "got worse" in 2009.
The Commerce Department on Friday reported that the economy grew by 1.5 percent during the second quarter, a slower rate of growth than the first three months of the year. MacCallum, claiming to provide "a little context" to those figures, noted that the economy actually declined throughout 2008. She then put some deceptive Fox spin on the numbers:
It got worse in 2009. In fact, that's when we had our two quarters of consecutive loss and that's what put us into the actual official recessionary status.
Nothing about MacCallum's analysis is true.
The economy reached official recessionary status in December 2007 - not in 2009. It got worse in 2008. In fact, during the final quarter of that year, the economy shrunk by 8.9 percent. Nearly 2 million jobs were lost during that one quarter, which was the worst for economic growth in more than 50 years.
GDP
Contrary to MacCallum's claim, the economy did not get worse in 2009. While the economy continued to contract during the first half of 2009, it did so at a slower rate than during the last quarter of 2008 before turning to growth in the second half of that year. The recession officially ended in June 2009.
MacCallum's economic distortion furthers the conservative argument that President Obama made the economy worse.
Meanwhile, actual economists are noting that the economy is not growing quickly enough because of drastic cuts to government spending. Nobel prize winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman called the current economic situation "a picture of an economy hobbled by premature austerity," led by severe cuts in spending by state and local governments. Government spending, which makes up part of the GDP figures released on Friday, has declined for 8 consecutive months.  
And while the White House has pushed Congress to pass a jobs bill that would provide aid to states and local governments, Fox News has led a campaign to celebrate the very austerity measures that economists say are hampering economic growth.

Likability issues continues to hound Romney


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When Will Schuette Finish His Investigation of McCotter’s Petition Fraud?

From The Michigan Democratic Party:
LANSING – Two months after Attorney General Bill Schuette announced a criminal investigation of fraud found in GOP Congressman Thad McCotter’s nominating petitions, he has yet to provide even a progress report on his investigation.
“What is the status of the McCotter investigation?” asked Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer. “Schuette has made an obsession of his alleged concern about election integrity, yet we’ve heard nothing from him about the biggest case of candidate petition fraud in Michigan history.
“Is he actually investigating? Is the fact the petition drive involved five of McCotter’s congressional staff, a candidate for Livonia School Board, the president of the Troy-Clawson Republican Forum, the Milford Township Supervisor, an Oakland County Road Commissioner and several GOP activists affecting his ability to conduct an honest and thorough investigation? Is he planning on quietly dropping the investigation, hoping that no one will notice?
“Everyone responsible for this unprecedented petition fraud must be held accountable. Is Schuette ‘on duty’ for the voters of Michigan or his Republican cronies?”

Jay Smooth figures out how Mitt Romney’s mind works


By Muriel Kane/Raw Story
Hip-hop DJ Jay Smooth thinks he finally understands what makes Mitt Romney tick.
“Diplomacy usually requires having conversations with human beings, which is not Mitt Romney’s strong suit,” Smooth explains. “Up until now, the campaign has been trying to help Romney avoid human contact … but since human interaction is pretty much unavoidable on a goodwill tour, the Romney campaign has tried to cushion the blow by starting him off in the easiest place possible, sending him to England, our good buddies in England. What could possibly go wrong in England?”
Of course, a lot has gone wrong for Romney in England, but Smooth has figured out why. “I feel like I’ve been underestimating Mitt Romney,” he says, “’cause up until now, I thought Romney wasn’t capable of having any real opinions or ever talking frankly about what he really believes. But I’m realizing now that Mitt Romney is capable of speaking frankly about what he believes — but he can only do it when it’s the worst possible time.”
“Whenever he’s in a social situation when you’re supposed to keep your opinions to yourself, that is the one moment when Mitt Romney always has to share what’s in his heart. When he goes to meet local citizens and they give him a nice plate of cookies, that is the time he just can’t resist telling them that those cookies don’t look home-made and he thinks they came from 7-11. And when Brian Williams asks him a softball question about the London Olympics that’s supposed to be an easy setup for a compliment, that’s when Mitt Romney can’t resist showing off that he’s Mr. Olympics and being all critical and using words like ‘disconcerting.’”
“If you’re looking for someone who can go out on that world stage and just be awkward as hell,” concludes Smooth, “I think we have learned this week that Mitt Romney is your man. If you are an American who wants to restore our rightful place as laughingstock of the world, now is the time to get behind Mitt Romney.”
This video is from Jay Smooth at Ill Doctrine, July 27, 2012

Pennsylvania election official will defy voter ID law


By Muriel Kane/Raw Story
A local election official has announced his intention to defy Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law by not asking voters to offer proof of their identity on Election Day.
Christopher L. Broach, a Democratic inspector of elections in the small borough of Colwyn, which lies slightly west of Philadelphia, stated on Thursday, “To ask me to enforce something that violates civil rights is ludicrous and absolutely something I am not willing to do.”
Broach described the law as “a wholly unethical decision that violated civil rights for the sake of getting Mitt Romney elected,” a reference to the boast by a Republican Party leader that by disenfranchising poor and minority voters the statute “is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”
Broach, who is an IT consultant, an Army veteran, and an African-American, says he realizes he could face criminal penalties for defying the law but that he will not back down. “Rosa Parks made the same decision,” he says proudly.
The new Pennsylvania law is one of the most sweeping in the country. It was recently estimated that some 20% of state residents — and up to 43% of Philadelphians — do not have the required identification, and the vast majority of them are presently unaware that they may be ineligible to vote next fall. The ACLU and the NAACP have challenged the constitutionality of the law on behalf of 93 year old Viviette Applewhite, and the Justice Department is investigating whether it is racially discriminatory.
Although Broach is the only official who has so far taken a stand, there is widespread criticism of the law, and not only among Democrats. A Republican inspector of elections in Radnor Township, Jane Golas, points out that the same standard of proof is not required for absentee ballots. “This is a move by people to suppress the vote in the city of Philadelphia,” she stated. “We never had an issue with people coming in to fraudulently vote.”