Friday, January 31, 2014

Will O'Reilly Let Obama Actually Answer The Questions This Year?

ERIC BOEHLERT/Media Matters For America

Tapped to interview President Barack Obama on Super Bowl Sunday, professionally hostile Fox News host Bill O'Reilly insists he's deeply interested in what the president has to say. "We do want to hear his side," O'Reillysaid last week. "I think that's the key thing. I'm genuinely interested in hearing his response to my questions."
If the Fox host wants to pay attention to Obama's comments, maybe he'll let the president actually answer his questions this year? In 2011, the last time O'Reilly sat down to interview Obama for a Super Bowl telecast, the host famously interrupted Obama.
A lot.
He cut the president off, constantly interjected comments, and redirected the interview midstream. O'Reilly often asked Obama questions that required complicated answers and then jumped in with new ones after giving Obama just a few seconds to answer the first query. It seemed like he didn't want the president finish a sentence. O'Reilly kept up the constant stream of interruptions even when the interview shifted towards non-combative topics, such as the pending Super Bowl. (O'Reilly: "You know blitzes and coverage and all that?")
Here's the clip Wonkette put together of O'Reilly spending much of his 2011 White House interview trying to talk over Obama, butting in nearly 50 times during a 14-minute Q&A. (That's once every 17 seconds.)
But maybe that's just O'Reilly's style, right? Perhaps he's trying to drill down and not let his interview subject off the hook? Following the Super Bowl interview, O'Reilly defended his interview-by-intrusion by insisting, "The truth is that TV interviewers who want to get answers must--must--interrupt their guests."
But when he sat with President George W. Bush for an exclusive interview in 2006, those trademark O'Reilly interruptions were nowhere to be seen. Previewing his three-part interview with Bush, O'Reilly told viewers that you "cannot be confrontational with the president of the United States. You can be direct, but you can't be disrespectful." He certainly kept his word during his sit-down with Bush.
Noted one analysis:
In the entire 14-minute interview of Obama in 2011 the President's longest answer was 51 seconds long. President Bush's first answer to O'Reilly's question lasts 69 seconds. Later in the interview Bush is allowed to speak for two minutes straight, something President Obama could have only dreamed of 2011.
See here as O'Reilly sat respectfully silent and stone-faced while Bush answered question after question, uninterrupted, for more than a minute at a time.
The Fox hosts insists he respects the presidency and wants to get Obama's take on key issues. If so, he should let the president actually answer the questions this year. 

The 1% freak-out

Climate scientist’s lawsuit could wipe out conservative National Review magazine

By David Ferguson/Raw Story
The National Review magazine, longstanding house news organ of the establishment right, is facing a lawsuit that could shutter the publication permanently. According to The Week, a suit by a climate scientist threatens to bankrupt the already financially shaky publication and its website, the National Review Online (NRO).
Scientist Michael Mann is suing the Review over statements made by Canadian right-wing polemicist and occasional radio stand-in for Rush Limbaugh, Mark Steyn. Steyn was writing on the topic of climate change when he accused Mann of falsifying data and perpetuating intellectual fraud through his research.
Steyn went on to quote paid anti-climate science operative Rand Simberg — an employee of the right-wing think tank the Competitive Enterprise Institute — who compared Mann to Penn State’s convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky.
Mann, Simberg said, is “the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data.”
Mann sued for defamation. Steyn and theReview vowed to fight the suit, given that defamation is notoriously difficult to prove in court.
“My advice to poor Michael is to go away and bother someone else,” said Review editor Rich Lowry. “If he doesn’t have the good sense to do that, we look forward to teaching him a thing or two about the law and about how free debate works in a free country.”
As the case has played out, however, Lowry’s hubris has proven to be unwarranted.
“In July,” wrote The Week’s Damon Linker, “Judge Natalia Combs Greene rejected a motion to dismiss the suit. The defendants appealed, and last week D.C. Superior Court Judge Frederick Weisberg rejected the motion again, opening the door for the discovery phase of the lawsuit to begin.”
The Review, which has run at a loss since it was founded on money inherited by William F. Buckley, Jr. in 1955, appealed to readers and supporters for help paying its rapidly mounting legal bills.
Lowry wrote:
As many of you know, National Review is not a non-profit — we are just not profitable. A lawsuit is not something we can fund with money we don’t have. Of course, we’ll do whatever we have to do to find ourselves victorious in court and Professor Mann thoroughly defeated, as he so richly deserves to be. Meanwhile, we have to hire attorneys, which ain’t cheap.
The bills are already mounting.
This is our fight, legally. But with the global-warming extremists going all-out to silence critics, it’s your fight too, morally. When we were sued, we heard from many of you who expressed a desire to help underwrite our legal defense. We deeply appreciated the outpouring of promised help.
Now we really need it.
Then, at Christmastime, Steyn abruptly fired the legal team representing him and the magazine, white shoe firm Steptoe and Johnson, after an argument over a highly inflammatory — andappallingly typed — NRO post about Judge Combs Greene. Steyn accused her of “staggering incompetence,” called her stupid, and accused her of deliberate obtuseness regarding the Mann suit.
Now, Steyn is representing himself against Mann and he and the Review have parted ways.
Steyn wrote to Mother Jones, saying that he was simply no longer able to contain his sense of disdain for the federal judge and her decision not to dismiss Mann’s suit.
“I spent the first months attempting to conceal my contempt for Judge Combs Greene’s court,” said Steyn. “But really, it’s not worth the effort.”
On his personal blog, Steyn wrote, “As readers may have deduced from my absence at National Review Online and my termination of our joint representation, there have been a few differences between me and the rest of the team.”
Now, as the suit grinds onward, the Review faces fairly dismal prospects. The suit could eventually be dismissed, but that is looking less likely. What’s looking more likely is that Mann could win a substantial judgment in court or the magazine could settle out of court.
The Week doubts that the publication could financially survive either of those outcomes. In 2005, before his death, Buckley estimated that the Review had lost more than $25 million in its 50 years of operation. It has never enjoyed a single moment of robust financial health competing in the “free market of ideas,” but has relied on reader contributions and bailouts from wealthy donors for the entirety of its history.
Conservatives like to point Buckley’s legacy and the Review as the reasonable, moderate edge of an regressive, reactionary party. In its history, the magazine has consistently staked out far-right positions that favor whites over nonwhites and plutocrats over the middle and working classes.
National Review authors have railed against racial integrationcalled Hitler a left-wing radical, and argued with a straight face that African-Americans are inherently more violent and less civilized than whites.
Lowry himself famously declared “We’re winning” the War in Iraq just before catastrophic waves of sectarian violence engulfed the country and permanently scuttled the American-led reconstruction effort.
Lately contributor Mona Charen has authored a series of wildly LGBT-phobic articles, lamenting the mainstreaming of “unusual sexual identities” and accusing parents who allow their transgender children to be themselves of “child abuse.”

Fox News guest: Felons should buy guns, but helping people buy Obamacare is too far

By David Edwards/Raw Story
Conservative National Review writer Charles Cooke told Fox News on Thursday that criminals should not be able to assist people using the government’s website to buy health insurance, but they should be allowed to own guns.
During a “breaking news” segment about new dropping public support for President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, Fox News host Gretchen Carlson pointed out that the National Review had a new report that was going to “scare some folks.”
According to the report, “convicted criminals” have been hired as Obamacare navigators in California, “including three individuals with records of significant financial crimes.”
“I should just say at the outset that I think as a rule, I do think sometimes we do over-punish people for crimes they’ve committed in the past,” Cooke opined. “We take away their vote, we take away their guns, and we can sometimes ruin their lives for too long.”
“But this is an issue where privacy is of paramount importance,” he continued. “There’s a lot of personal information and financial information that is being pushed through the system. And some of the people who are working in the system really have some developed skills of fraud and corruption.”
Dana Howard, the spokesperson for Covered California, told National Review that the employees had not been disqualified from the Navigator program because their records had been clean for an extended period of time.
“People make mistakes,” Howard said. “They paid their debt to society. They rehabilitated themselves. And so they apply, and they meet the qualifications. We do not see them as a threat.”
Watch this video from Fox News’ The Real Story, broadcast Jan. 30, 2014.

Rachel Maddow: Democrats baiting GOP into unwinnable minimum wage fights

By Arturo Garcia/Raw Story
The offshoot of President Barack Obama’s unilateral decision to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said on Thursday, was the chance for Democrats to use their support for wage increases as a cudgel against Republicans nationwide.
“The White House and the Democrats, they have figured out a way to make this fight not about Barack Obama versus [House Speaker] John Boehner (R-OH),” Maddow said before letting out a mocking snore. “They have figured out a way to make this everybody who wants a raise versus every Republican politician who says no everywhere in the country.”
Maddow pointed out that Obama’s decision to raise contractors’ wages to a minimum of $10.10 per hour has already been followed by St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, who will do the same for all part-time city employees.
The issue has also impacted embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and his state’s half of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. While Christie’s appointees face mounting legal issues, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye signaled their intent to require contractors at both JFK and LaGuardia Airports to adopt the $10.10 minimum wage. Meanwhile, the New York Daily News accused Christie’s administration of “stomping on his constituents” for not requiring the same of contractors at Newark Airport.
And historically, Maddow said, putting minimum wage increases on the ballot has paid dividends for Democrats, since they both tend to pass while increasing voter turnout, which has fueled Democratic victories.
“Everybody says, ‘Oh, Chris Christie won re-election by such a huge margin — he won by 22 points,’” Maddow said. “You know what? Same margin by which he was overruled by the voters of his state on that minimum wage issue.”
Watch Maddow’s commentary, as aired on Thursday, below.

GOP Senator Admits His Obamacare Alternative Would Burden The Elderly

At the beginning of this week, three GOP senators unveiled their alternative to Obamacare — a set of conservative policies that would essentially dismantle the health law’s core consumer protections, and give insurers an opening to deny coverage to people with pre-existing health conditions. And on Thursday, in an interview with one of the primary architects of the proposal, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), MSNBC host Chuck Todd exposed another consequence of the GOP measure. It would actually serve to raise premiums for vulnerable Americans, like elderly people with debilitating health issues.
The Republican proposal promises to allow younger Americans to pay lower premiums for their health plans, and loosens some of the regulations that prevent insurance companies from setting their rates based on factors like health or gender. Todd pointed out that could ultimately result in older people, particularly those who are dealing with the health consequences of aging, paying much more for their care.
Hatch didn’t dispute that, acknowledging that “somebody has to pay for these things”:
CHUCK TODD: One of the assumed benefits in your new plan would allow for cheaper policies for young folks. At the same time, you would allow insurers to sell insurance at varying rates. So if you allow for a cheaper policy for younger, healthier people, right, this has been among the issues, the translation is you’re going to see — how do you prevent a spike for older Americans who, maybe just by default of genetics, are starting with a lot of health care problems, and because of that, end up getting charged more? How do you prevent that spike in rates for them?
ORRIN HATCH: Well, we have a formula in there that it can’t go beyond a certain position. But the fact of the matter is, somebody has to pay for these things. And the Obamacare bill doesn’t pay for things, they pushed them into — into Medicaid, which is non-functioning and not doing what it should do right now.
Watch it:
The two went on to discuss a 25-year-old unmarried man who will be able to get a cheaper policy under the GOP’s plan, since he won’t be required to purchase one that includes maternity coverage. But Todd pointed out that means a woman who needs that type of gender-specific coverage will ultimately have to pay more for it. “Aren’t you essentially shifting the costs to the health insurance user?” he noted. “Somebody is paying here.”
Republicans have maintained that their alternative to the Affordable Care Act will “reduce health care costs and increase access to affordable, high-quality care.” But doing away with the consumer protections that intend to regulate the insurance market for Americans who are older, sicker, and poorer will ultimately end up encouraging a shift toward requiring those individuals to shoulder a higher portion of their insurance costs.

In 1993, Hatch co-sponsored a much more moderate health reform proposal that would have established a minimum benefits package for American consumers. That measure also included a version of the individual mandate, which Hatch later decried as anunconstitutional policy during the fight to pass Obamacare.

Congresswoman Says She Supports Equal Pay Laws, Voted Against Them Four Times

BY BRYCE COVERT/Think Progress
On CNN Wednesday, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) told host Wolf Blitzer that she supports equal pay for women despite voting against a measure that would help women achieve that goal.
In response to a question from Blitzer about President Obama’s call for equal pay in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday and whether she is “with the President when he says that there should be laws mandating equal pay for equal work for women,” McMorris Rodgers, who gave the official Republican response, replied:
Yes. Yes. Absolutely. Republicans and I support equal pay for equal work.My message last night was one about empowering everyone in this country, no matter what your background, no matter where you live, what corner of the country, no matter what your experiences are. We want you to have the opportunity for a better life.
But McMorris Rodgers actually voted against laws meant to address the pay disparity between men and women four times. She voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Acttwice, which lengthened the time for victims of pay discrimination to file a complaint. She also voted twice against the Paycheck Fairness Act, a measure aimed at closing the gender wage gap by ending the practice of salary secrecy, thus giving women and others a better chance of rooting out discrimination, narrowing the guidelines for what pay disparities are justified, and strengthening penalties for discrimination as a way to deter it, among other things.
Republicans may say they support equal pay, but they voted unanimously against the Paycheck Fairness Act in the Senate 2010 and just 10 voted for it in the House. Senate Republicans blocked it again in 2012 with a filibuster.

Meanwhile, progress on closing the gender pay gap has stalled. Women have made just 77 cents, on average, for every dollar a man makes for the past five years.

Brain-Dead Texas Woman’s Family May Have To Pay For The Cost Of Keeping Her On Life Support

On Sunday, Marlise Machado Muñoz — the brain-dead women who was forced to remain on life support against her family’s will because she was pregnant — was disconnected from a respirator after a months-long battle with the hospital that was caring for her. John Peter Smith Hospital finally agreed to relinquish her body to her family after a judge ordered it. Now, her husband Erick is finally beginning the process of saying goodbye to Muñoz and her unborn child, who he named Nicole.
But in the aftermath of the family’s personal tragedy, there are still some unanswered questions. It’s not guaranteed that Texas will actually change the arcane state law that allows hospitals to override women’s end-of-life wishes if they are pregnant. And it’s unclear who exactly will be responsible for paying the medical bills that resulted from Muñoz’s hospital stay, which stretched on for about nine weeks.
In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Erick Muñoz acknowledged that he has been receiving medical bills at his home — although he’s not sure exactly what he will be expected to pay.
“They have not come to me and said how that’s going to work,” he told CNN. “But I believe I’ve heard several media outlets…saying that they’ve asked about that. They have asked that question. They said they would continue normal billing.”
After ThinkProgress reached out to the John Peter Smith Hospital, a spokesperson explained that billing is part of Muñoz’s medical records, and is therefore covered under privacy laws. The hospital noted that although Eric Muñoz may say whatever he wants on the matter, its officials are not allowed to disclose details about billing unless he agrees to release his deceased wife’s medical records.

Hospital care is often prohibitively expensive for the average American. A recent report on the issue found that bills at hospitals have been steadily rising for nearly two decades, and some facilities now charge patients up to 10 times more than what the service is actually worth. Pregnancy-related care is a good illustration of this dynamic. The cost of giving birth can vary by tens of thousands dollars at different hospitals, and there’s no good reason for the discrepancy. Often, one catastrophic health event is enough to put a family in serious debt — by some estimates, medical bills are the leading cause of U.S. bankruptcies.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Looks Like Someone's in Trouble

Federal authorities in New Jersey have interviewed several witnesses who said the mayor of Hoboken told them in May about a state official’s threat to withhold hurricane recovery funds if the mayor did not support a development project favored by the governor, people briefed on the matter said on Wednesday.

The statements by the witnesses, two of whom are aides to the mayor, Dawn Zimmer, support the account she gave to federal prosecutors on Sunday, and the interviews suggest that prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have moved swiftly to investigate her accusations.

What's notable about this new story is that it ties directly, in person, to the state's Lt. Governor, Kim Guadagno. Whatever we may speculate about Christie's knowledge of the bridge closure, there's no direct evidence tying him to the action or proving he knew about it. This is very different.
Of course, Guadagno denies the charges. Here's Brian Murphy's run-down of Zimmer's claim.

Fox: Wendy Davis And Her "Stilettos" Are More Scandalous Than Chris Christie

HANNAH GROCH-BEGLEY/Media Matters For America:

Fox News is now suggesting that minor contradictions in Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis' life story constitute a more important political "scandal" than accusations of corruption and political retribution by NJ Gov. Chris Christie's administration.
On the January 23 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, co-host Jon Scott accused "op-eds and pundits [for] tearing into [Christie's] character," while ignoring the "political scandal in Texas." This scandal, according to Scott, was that Davis' life story had "holes" in it, partly because she didn't pull "herself up by her stilettos" and instead relied on some financial help from her second husband in order to attend law school:
Scott: The interesting thing about Wendy Davis is this story that has propelled her to state-wide stardom, maybe even national stardom. She says she was married at 19, teenage mother, divorced, lived in a trailer, made it through Texas Christian University and Harvard Law School, and now she is where she is today, a state senator and maybe the next governor of Texas. The problem is, there are some holes in that story.
The suggestion that she pulled herself up by her stilettos and made it through Harvard Law School doesn't exactly jive with the fact that her husband, her then-husband, paid for it all, then as soon as it's all paid for, she left him, and he got custody of the two girls.
Michael Barone, a Fox News contributor, argued during the segment and in a Washington Examiner piece that Christie's record as governor of New Jersey was being scrutinized by media "because he might be a successful presidential candidate," and that Davis should come under similar media scrutiny for these details of her life because her run for governor could potentially "turn Texas blue," a move which would have national significance.
But the reason to scrutinize Christie's record is not that he might run for president. It's that he has been accused of corruption and petty political retribution in his position as the current governor of New Jersey. At no point during the segment did either Scott or Barone delve into the details of "Chris Christie's problems," but they are far more than minor contradictions in a timeline of life events.
Christie has admitted that his administration caused a massive traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge, in what is alleged to have been political payback against a local mayor. Though the governor claimed he was unaware of his staff's actions, and later removed two top aides, his administration was subsequently accused by a different mayor of holding Hurricane Sandy relief funds hostage for political reasons.
There are at least three separate legal investigations examining the accusations launched against the Christie administration.
In contrast, Davis is not currently under investigation for possibly abusing the power of her office as state senator. There are some small, legitimate questions about her presentation of her life story, but those questions have been blown out of proportion by conservative media, who have launched an absurd and often sexist campaign against her. Right-wing radio hosts and Fox contributors have implied she is an unstable and unreliable mother, unfit for public office, and have attacked her for defying gender norms by leaving her spouse to pursue her career (a move many male politicians have made, with little media fanfare).
Scott's sexist joke about Davis' stilettos is just the latest example of these demeaning attacks, and furthers the network's desperate attempt to bury the Christie scandal by deflecting attention to unrelated stories.
Fox has previously attempted to compare Christie's scandal to the September 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, and to the IRS scandal, in which bureaucrats largely based in Cincinnati allegedly devoted inappropriate scrutiny to conservative groups. The network also devoted less than 15 minutes of coverage to Christie on the day the scandal broke, and mentioned the revelations about Hurricane relief only once the day they emerged.
Cropped images via The Texas Tribune and Gage Skidmore, using a Creative Commons License.

Battling economic inequality

Republican Politician Suggests Detroit Become An Indian Reservation For Black People

RANDA MORRIS/Addicting Info

“I made a prediction a long time ago and it’s come to pass. I said what we’re gonna do is turn Detroit into an Indian reservation, where we herd all the Indians into the city, build a fence around it and then throw in the blankets and the corn.” — Oakland County (MI) Executive Director L. Brooks Patterson.
This quote came from L. Brooks Patterson, a Republican official in Oakland County, MI. Patterson has been the county’s Executive Director for 21 years. He might have said these lines back in the days when he was fighting against desegration of schools. He also said them more recently, during an interview with the New Yorker. The article came out on Martin Luther King Day, 2014.

Patterson gave the statement in response to a question about what steps Detroit might take to fix its finances.

Even as Patterson struggles against throngs of criticism and negative publicity, he doesn’t deny that these were his words. He told the Detroit Free Press that his quote was taken out of context. However, Paige Williams, who interviewed Patterson for the New Yorkersays the comment came in answer to a question regarding what steps Detroit might take to fix its financial problems.
“People know me and they know I sometimes use words to make a point,” Patterson told the Detroit Free Press earlier this week.
“When I said Detroit is going to become an Indian reservation, my point was, if you don’t get black people on their feet, the successful ones will move out and the ones that remain will be dependent. We’re getting very close to that now.”

Where does the fence come in?

So in context, he was saying that the black people in Detroit are like those other minorities, the Native Americans? But then what does herding them up have to do with getting them on feet? What benign meaning is there is ‘building a fence around them?’ Not to mention throwing in ‘blankets and corn’.
When you know where Patterson’s words are coming from, you understand that the meaning was not benign. He is the lawyer who represented the anti-segregationists in Oakland County, decades ago. He fought school busing all the way to the Supreme Court, where he eventually won the case. After that he lobbied for a ‘no busing amendment’ to the United States Constitution.
Here is a photo of Irene McCabe and attorney L. Brooks Patterson meet in Washington with Rep. Thomas Downey, D-Va., in October, 1971. McCabe and Patterson were lobbying for an anti-busing amendment to the Constitution.
Photo of a 1971 anti-bussing meeting with anti-bussing meeting Irene McCabe, young Attorney L Brooks Patterson, and Rep. Thomas Downey (D-VA).
Photo of a 1971 meeting with anti-bussing activists Irene McCabe, young Attorney L. Brooks Patterson (now a Republican official for Oakland County, MI), and Rep. Thomas Downey (D-VA). Photo from the Detroit News Photo Gallery Archives.

 Patterson’s entire career has been focused on building fences to keep ‘those people out.’

Patterson believes in fences. He’s been working at keeping ‘those people out’ of his own community for a very long time. I think maybe he’s gotten so old and set in his ways that he just forgot he was talking to an outsider, someone who might find his views shocking and more than a little distasteful.
The legacy of L. Brooks Patterson in Oakland County is that he protected the citizens of the once affluent area of from having to mingle with ‘other races.” In a way he built a fence at the border of Oakland County and the city of Detroit. In return for the fence, Oakland County voters elected him to the office of County Prosecutor. He has held one or another political office there, ever since.

 Apologize for what?

Community activists and civil rights leaders gathered in Detroit, on January 21. The Reverend Charles E. Williams III called for a sincere apology from Patterson. Patterson told the Detroit Free Press “I’m not apologizing because I didn’t do anything wrong.”
People who live in Detroit disagree with that. Here’s a video of the news report from WXYZ Action News.

Schumer Plots To Crush The Tea Party

In a speech planned for Thursday afternoon at the Center For American Progress, a liberal think tank in Washington, the New York Democrat is poised to lay out his plan to marginalize the right-wing movement by exploiting what he describes as its "glaring weakness": a deep rift between the moneyed interests that fuel the tea party and the wants of its average follower.
"[T]here is a glaring weakness, one very weak link in the tea party's armor, which is an inherent contradiction within the tea party that I believe can be exposed to greatly weaken their hold on the policy debate," he will say, according to prepared remarks. "The fundamental weakness in the tea party machine is the stark difference between what the leaders of the tea party elite, plutocrats like the Koch Brothers want and what the average grassroots tea party follower wants."
Schumer -- the No. 3 Democratic senator and his party's guru for policy and messaging -- will concede that Democrats failed to respond to the tea party's effective exploitation of declining middle-class incomes and America's cultural shifts by tarring government as necessarily bad. "Unfortunately, we Democrats really didn't have much of an antidote to this quack medicine; we let the argument go basically unchallenged," he will say. "It allowed the tea party to fill the vacuum and capture the anger that was bubbling in the land."
His prescription is to drive home the message that ordinary tea party followers may hate government in the abstract but they like actual government programs. "The fundamental contradiction here," he'll say, "is ... the average tea party member likes and wants to retain most of what government does ... The average tea party member, like the average American, likes government run Medicare, likes government built highways and water and sewer lines, likes government support for education, both higher and lower."
He'll also call for chipping away at the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling in order to marginalize big-spending "tea party elites," and propose an electoral reform plan in which the top two vote-getters in a primary enter a run-off.
"This," the senator will say, "would prevent a hard-right candidate from winning with 22 percent of the vote and force even the most extreme candidates to move further to the middle."

Conservative documentarian Dinesh D’Souza indicted on federal campaign fraud charges

By Arturo Garcia/Raw Story
Conservative filmmaker and author Dinesh D’Souza was indicted in federal court on Thursday for allegedly arranging for $20,000 worth of campaign contributions — far above legal limits, Reuters reported.
The indictment did not name the candidate benefitting from the donations, but the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) accused D’Souza of reimbursing others in August 2012 for making the donations in his name, enabling for them to be falsely reported to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). Taken together, the charges carry possible penalties of up to seven years in prison.
In 2012, D’Souza campaigned on behalf of Republican Wendy Long in her unsuccessful bid to unseat Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D). Federal law prohibits individuals from donating more than $2,500 to a candidate in either a primary or general election campaign.
“Trying to influence elections through bogus campaign contributions is a serious crime,” Assistant Director-In-Charge George Venizelossaid in a statement. “Today, Mr. D’Souza finds himself on the wrong side of the law. The Federal Election Campaign Act was written to limit the influence of money in elections; the FBI is fiercely committed to enforcing those laws to maintain the integrity of our democratic process.”
D’Souza, a former president at King’s College, was fired from the Christian-affiliated university in October 2012 after being spotted traveling with a woman who was not his wife.
He was also behind the documentary 2016: Obama’s America, which drew surprisingly well at the box office thanks to support from conservatives. While promoting the film, D’Souza accused President Barack Obama of harboring “Charles Bronson rage, vigilante rage.”
In November 2013, D’Souza was roundly criticized for a Twitter post seemingly comparing Obama to slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fox News contributor: Angry blacks to blame for rise in ‘American Anglo-Saxon’ racism

By Travis Gettys/Raw Story
A Christian radio host insisted last week that white people were no longer racist, and even if they were, it’s the fault of racist black people.
Sandy Rios, of American Family Radio, was offended when a listener suggested she was racist toward black people, who she blamed for inciting white racism.
“I think the racist garbage coming from the — uh, a lot of blacks right now who are just filled with bitterness and rage is just amazing to me,” Rios said. “It is racism, I am seeing it constantly here in D.C., you know, I think — and it’s causing white citizens to become more racist than they ever were.”
She continued, referring to white people using the term for Germanic tribes that once dominated England and is now generally associated with British-American Protestants and white supremacists.
“I think for the most part, the American Anglo-Saxon crew really has moved past racism, they did it quite a long time ago,” she said.
Rios, a Fox News contributor, said racism had demonstrably ended because segregation was no longer legally enforced and the nation had elected a black president.
“I mean, they did elect Barack Obama twice, so I think it’s not nearly the issue in the white community that it was in the 50s, sure it isn’t, or the 60s – it just isn’t,” she said. “But it seems to be raging, racism seems to be absolutely raging in the black community.”
She blamed this rise of racist feelings among whites on this same black president who signaled the end of American racism.
“I think what’s causing it is people like Barack Obama and (Attorney General) Eric Holder, who can’t say enough and stir the pot enough to create anger and hatred and bitterness,” Rios said. “You know, they do the same thing with women, it’s the same thing in feminism, that’s why I’ve never been a feminist. I hate feminism.”
Listen to audio of Rios’ comments posted online by Right Wing Watch: