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The ugly presidential campaign

The ugly presidential campaign | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Excerpt from column by Dana Milbank, Washington Post


Forgive me, but I’m not prepared to join this walk down Great Umbrage Street just yet. Yes, it’s ugly out there. But is this worse than four years ago, when Obama was accused by the GOP vice presidential nominee of “palling around with terrorists”? Or eight years ago, when Democratic nominee John Kerry was accused of falsifying his Vietnam War record?


What’s different this time is that the Democrats are employing the same harsh tactics that have been used against them for so long, with so much success. They have ceased their traditional response of assuming the fetal position when attacked, and Obama’s campaign is giving as good as it gets — and then some.


Balz is correct when he observes that the “most striking” element of the campaign is “the sense that all restraints are gone, the guardrails have disappeared and there is no incentive for anyone to hold back.” In large part, this is because the Democrats are no longer simply whining about the other side being reckless and unfair: They are being reckless and unfair themselves.


The starkest example of this was an ad by Priorities USA, a pro-Obama super PAC, that implied that Romney was to blame for a woman’s death because her husband lost his job and health insurance when Bain Capital took over his steel mill. After an initial attempt to distance themselves from the super PAC — Democratic National Committee Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz comically claimed that she had “no idea” about the political affiliation of the group, which is run by two former Obama staffers — Democratic officials defended the ad’s accusation.


David Axelrod said Sunday on “Meet the Press” that the ad “doesn’t cross the line” and then pivoted to declare that Romney “ought to be ashamed of himself” for running a false ad about Obama’s welfare policy.


It’s true that Romney is in a weak position to be complaining that the other side has been mean and nasty. He won the nomination by eviscerating his rivals with negative ads and accusations, and an ad his team aired last week that falsely claimed Obama was gutting welfare-to-work requirements injected racial politics into the campaign.


Also, many of the things Romney complains about are not unusual. Asked Wednesday morning by CBS News to explain why he thinks Obama has brought hatred into the campaign, Romney mentioned “the divisiveness based upon income, age, ethnicity and so forth. It’s designed to bring a sense of enmity and jealousy and anger.” But that’s standard fare for a presidential campaign. [MORE]

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Catch-22 at the Pennsylvania ballot box

Catch-22 at the Pennsylvania ballot box | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by The Washington Post Editorial Board


ON WEDNESDAY, a Pennsylvania judge upheld the state's voter ID law, which requires residents to present photo identification at the polls. It’s estimated that hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania voters - especially minority voters - lack the type of ID the law demands.


Of all the Republican-backed voter ID laws proposed since 2010, Pennsylvania’s is the one with the most demonstrable partisan motivation. All of these laws are bound to have a disproportionate effect on the poor and minorities, groups that contributed to President Obama’s victory in 2008. In Pennsylvania, this partisan advantage was boastfully acknowledged by Mike Turzai, the state's House Republican leader: "Voter ID," he said in June, "which is going to allow Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania - done."


This unapologetically partisan legislation now has been legitimized in court. The result of Judge Robert Simpson's ruling will be the disenfranchisement of some voters, though how many is a matter that can still be affected. Although he condemned the partisan noise around the law as "disturbing" and "tendentious," Judge Simpson - echoing the Supreme Court’s 2008 ruling on a similar case in Indiana - said these concerns had little to do with the substance of the law. "The Commonwealth’s asserted interest in protecting public confidence in elections," he wrote, "is a relevant and legitimate state interest sufficiently weighty to justify the burden."  [Read more.]

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Tom Morello: 'Paul Ryan Is the Embodiment of the Machine Our Music Rages Against'

Tom Morello: 'Paul Ryan Is the Embodiment of the Machine Our Music Rages Against' | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Last week, Mitt Romney picked Paul Ryan, the Republican architect of Congress's radical right-wing budget plan, as his running mate. Ryan has previously cited Rage Against the Machine as one of his favorite bands. Rage guitarist Tom Morello responds in this exclusive op-ed.


by TOM MORELLO, Rolling Stone 

 

Paul Ryan's love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades. Charles Manson loved the Beatles but didn't understand them. Governor Chris Christie loves Bruce Springsteen but doesn't understand him. And Paul Ryan is clueless about his favorite band, Rage Against the Machine.


Ryan claims that he likes Rage's sound, but not the lyrics. Well, I don't care for Paul Ryan's sound or his lyrics. He can like whatever bands he wants, but his guiding vision of shifting revenue more radically to the one percent is antithetical to the message of Rage.


I wonder what Ryan's favorite Rage song is? Is it the one where we condemn the genocide of Native Americans? The one lambasting American imperialism? Our cover of "Fuck the Police"? Or is it the one where we call on the people to seize the means of production? So many excellent choices to jam out to at Young Republican meetings!


Don't mistake me, I clearly see that Ryan has a whole lotta "rage" in him: A rage against women, a rage against immigrants, a rage against workers, a rage against gays, a rage against the poor, a rage against the environment. Basically the only thing he's not raging against is the privileged elite he's groveling in front of for campaign contributions.


You see, the super rich must rationalize having more than they could ever spend while millions of children in the U.S. go to bed hungry every night. So, when they look themselves in the mirror, they convince themselves that "Those people are undeserving. They're . . . lesser." Some of these guys on the extreme right are more cynical than Paul Ryan, but he seems to really believe in this stuff. This unbridled rage against those who have the least is a cornerstone of the Romney-Ryan ticket. [MORE]

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Bill Moyers Wants Your Help in Documenting the Voter Suppression Campaign of 2012

Bill Moyers Wants Your Help in Documenting the Voter Suppression Campaign of 2012 | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Bill wants your help building awareness about obstacles placed in front of valid voters across the country.  WATCH VIDEO


by BILL MOYERS, BillMoyers.com


In ten states so far — some of them swing states — voter ID laws make it prohibitively difficult for some voters, particularly the elderly, poor and minorities, to get required photo identification. Besides requiring voter ID, other laws have decreased the number of early voting days, made it harder for nonprofit groups to register new voters, and repealed election day voter registration.


Rather than throw your hands up in desperation at the powerful political steamroller smashing our democracy, Bill encourages you to re-double your efforts to make a difference, as others have. He offers some real-life, real-people examples, and asks you to share your encounters with politically-motivated rules that make it harder to register or vote, as well as stories of your efforts to overcome them.

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Ethics Watchdogs Planning to Crash Convention Parties

Ethics Watchdogs Planning to Crash Convention Parties | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by ELIZABETH FLOCK, US News


For decades, a large part of the allure of political conventions was the parties. In recent years, that's gotten complicated. The economy is bad, but more than that, the optics are bad. A lobbyist and congressman cozying up over a martini can be recorded on an iPhone and uploaded to the Internet within seconds.


At this year's conventions, two nonprofits say they're making it their goal to catch those in bed together who shouldn't be.


Armed with cameras and the press, the Sunlight Foundation and Public Citizen plan to crash convention parties in a double-teaming effort.


The Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to increasing transparency and accountability in politics, will focus on discovering instances of corporate influence peddling, and will be tracking the convention parties at its site Political Party Time.


Public Citizen, a consumer rights advocacy group, will focus on violators of an ethics rule put in place in 2007 that prevents lobbying organizations from hosting an event honoring a lawmaker.


Together, the groups plan to "bird-dog" partygoers, a term used to mean forcing politicians to address an issue instead of running from it, just as a bird dog persistently hunts and retrieves a bird.


In 2008, a similar effort at the conventions successfully shut down a party of House freshman Democrats. "They were just elected on the ethics platform," Craig Holman of Public Citizen tells Whispers. "And then they had a party in violation of ethics rules. It was sponsored by a lobbying entity, and honoring the freshman Democrats." [MORE]

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Become a Coffee Party Member

The Coffee Party is crowd-funded and we're proud of it!  By having thousands of small donors (avg. $28) instead of a handful of SuperPAC sized donors, we are free to follow the truth wherever it leads us. The Coffee Party brings you media content of, by, and for the People.

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Ryan Pick Solidifies Competing Visions in Federal Budget Debate

Ryan Pick Solidifies Competing Visions in Federal Budget Debate | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by JO COMERFORD, National Priorities Project

 

If there was ever any doubt that the U.S. federal budget would claim center-stage in the 2012 presidential race, it vanished with Mitt Romney's selection of House Budget Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) as the GOP Vice Presidential nominee.

 

Although Mitt Romney has emphasized he will run on a Romney budget, not a Ryan budget, he has already endorsed central elements of Ryan's plan – such as significant cuts to Medicaid and education – and has indicated that the Congressman will play a lead role in shaping the Romney/Ryan platform.

 

Paul Ryan's federal budget proposal includes sweeping changes that supporters say are necessary to shrink bloated government and balance the federal budget, but opponents believe would be draconian in their impact on the American people and the economy. [MORE]

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How 17 people funded the Republican super PAC world - in one chart

How 17 people funded the Republican super PAC world - in one chart | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Check out this inforgraphic that shows how the 17 people who have donated more than 41 million to super PACs account for half of the total contributions collected by these groups.
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Running Mate Paul Ryan and Mitt’s Medicare Mess | Nomadic Politics

Running Mate Paul Ryan and Mitt’s Medicare Mess | Nomadic Politics | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
So it seems as if the final chapter in the sorry Romney campaign is presently being written. After what can only be described as a disastrous summer, Romney settled on Tea Party and Fox News sweetheart Paul Ryan as his running mate.

In Romney’s never-ending (but futile) quest to be liked, the candidate has made one more desperate appeal to the far right. If that was the idea, then it was a colossal blunder.

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Paul Ryan’s Fairy-Tale Budget Plan | NY Times Op-Ed

Paul Ryan’s Fairy-Tale Budget Plan |  NY Times Op-Ed | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By DAVID A. STOCKMAN


PAUL D. RYAN is the most articulate and intellectually imposing Republican of the moment, but that doesn't alter the fact that this earnest congressman from Wisconsin is preaching the same empty conservative sermon.


Thirty years of Republican apostasy - a once grand party's embrace of the welfare state, the warfare state and the Wall Street-coddling bailout state - have crippled the engines of capitalism and buried us in debt. Mr. Ryan's sonorous campaign rhetoric about shrinking Big Government and giving tax cuts to "job creators" (read: the top 2 percent) will do nothing to reverse the nation’s economic decline and arrest its fiscal collapse.


...


The Ryan Plan boils down to a fetish for cutting the top marginal income-tax rate for "job creators" - i.e. the superwealthy - to 25 percent and paying for it with an as-yet-undisclosed plan to broaden the tax base. Of the $1 trillion in so-called tax expenditures that the plan would attack, the vast majority would come from slashing popular tax breaks for employer-provided health insurance, mortgage interest, 401(k) accounts, state and local taxes, charitable giving and the like, not to mention low rates on capital gains and dividends. The crony capitalists of K Street already own more than enough Republican votes to stop that train before it leaves the station.


In short, Mr. Ryan's plan is devoid of credible math or hard policy choices. And it couldn't pass even if Republicans were to take the presidency and both houses of Congress. Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan have no plan to take on Wall Street, the Fed, the military-industrial complex, social insurance or the nation’s fiscal calamity and no plan to revive capitalist prosperity -  just empty sermons.


[Read more.]


David A. Stockman, who was the director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1981 to 1985, is the author of the forthcoming book "The Great Deformation: How Crony Capitalism Corrupts Free Markets and Democracy."

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Two Dark Money Groups Outspending All Super PACs Combined

Two Dark Money Groups Outspending All Super PACs Combined | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by Kim Barker, ProPublica


Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity, a group backed by the Koch brothers, have put almost $60 million so far into ads to influence the presidential race, an analysis of new spending estimates shows.


These nonprofits, also known as 501(c)(4)s or c4s for their section of the tax code, don't have to disclose their donors to the public.


The two nonprofits had outspent each of the other types of outside spending groups in this election cycle, including political parties, unions, trade associations and political action committees, a ProPublica analysis of data provided by Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group, or CMAG, found.


Super PACs, which do have to report their donors, spent an estimated $55.7 million on TV ads mentioning a presidential candidate, CMAG data shows. Parties spent $22.5 million.


Crossroads GPS, or Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, is the brainchild of GOP strategist Karl Rove, and spent an estimated $41.7 million. Americans for Prosperity, credited with helping launch the Tea Party movement, is backed in part by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, and spent an estimated $18.2 million.


[Read more.]

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Putting the super in super PAC

Putting the super in super PAC | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by KIM BARKER, ProPublica


Two conservative nonprofits, Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity, have poured almost $60 million into TV ads to influence the presidential race so far, outgunning all super PACs put together, new spending estimates show.


These nonprofits, also known as 501(c)(4)s or c4s for their section of the tax code, don’t have to disclose their donors to the public.


The two nonprofits had outspent all other types of outside spending groups in this election cycle, including political parties, unions, trade associations and political action committees, a ProPublica analysis of data provided by Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group, or CMAG, found.


Super PACs, which do have to report their donors, spent an estimated $55.7 million on TV ads mentioning a presidential candidate, CMAG data shows. Parties spent $22.5 million.


Crossroads GPS, or Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, is the brainchild of GOP strategist Karl Rove, and it spent an estimated $41.7 million. Americans for Prosperity, credited with helping launch the Tea Party movement, is backed in part by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, and it spent an estimated $18.2 million. [MORE]


Via Michael Charney
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The Romney-Ryan ticket: right – and wrong

The Romney-Ryan ticket: right – and wrong | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Editorial: Mitt Romney is gambling by assuming that the whole of US has lurched further to the right...


The choreography of the Washington tango – skip to the extremes during the primaries, tack to the centre once they're locked up – used to be routine. Expectations that a different Mitt Romney might suddenly emerge in the general election were all the greater, seeing as he had previously skidded around so much. The son of a respected Republican moderate, and a governor in liberal Massachusetts who put Obamaesque healthcare in place, he only veered off to the right when the courting of militant Republican activists demanded it.

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Rick Scott Strikes Out Again: Federal Court Blocks Florida Attack On Early Voting

Rick Scott Strikes Out Again: Federal Court Blocks Florida Attack On Early Voting | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By Tara Culp-Ressler, Think Progress


Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) has been relentless in his push to restrict the right to vote. He's advanced an illegal voter purge that would have disproportionately impacted the minority citizens in his state. And a federal court blocked his effort to suppress voter registration last May. On Thursday, a federal court in Washington, DC concluded that another part of Scott’s anti-voting agenda cannot take effect because the state’s new restrictions on early voting negatively impact minority communities.


[Read more.]

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Be the Media w/ Coffee Party USA

Be the Media w/ Coffee Party USA | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

CLICK HERE and get connected to a network of half a million people that reaches 2 million people every week. 

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Romney's link to union suppression ruling

Romney's link to union suppression ruling | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by Robin Harding, Financial Times


A company controlled by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital ran an unlawful campaign to suppress a potential union in the 1980s, according to US court and federal agency documents.


Key Airlines, an early investment for the private equity firm founded by a young Mitt Romney and two associates, broke the law by attempting to coerce and then dismiss two pilots who tried to organise a union. Two months after a union vote failed, Bain agreed to sell Key Airlines at a large profit.


"The anti-union activities in this case are not merely unfair labour practices as Key argues, but blatant, grievous, wilful, deliberate and repeated violations of the Railway Labour Act," Roger Foley, federal judge for the District of Nevada, wrote in 1992, in a case brought by two Key pilots.


The case illustrates an episode in Mr Romney’s business career and raises questions about how it has prepared him to manage the US economy. [Read more.]

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Gore Vidal » Gore Vidal on Ayn Rand in 1961: ‘She Has a Great Attraction for Simple People’

Gore Vidal » Gore Vidal on Ayn Rand in 1961: ‘She Has a Great Attraction for Simple People’ | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

"This odd little woman is attempting to give a moral sanction to greed and self interest," Gore Vidal said of Ayn Rand, writing for Esquire in July 1961, "and to pull it off she must at times indulge in purest Orwellian newspeak of the 'freedom is slavery' sort."


The mindset of Rand’s followers has not changed over the decades. "She has a great attraction for simple people" Vidal said then, "who are puzzled by organized society, who object to paying taxes, who dislike the 'welfare' state, who feel guilt at the thought of the suffering of others but who would like to harden their hearts. For them, she has an enticing prescription: altruism is the root of all evil, self-interest is the only good, and if you're dumb or incompetent that's your lookout."


[Read more.]

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james's comment, August 17, 2012 7:00 PM
Ayn Rand didn't write for the simple-minded; she offered a simple solution. So the moral of this story is if you are trying to sell a point of charity rather than greed, use the KISS approach. So far compassion seems to have a convoluted message compared to the over-simplified "greed is good" mantra. We need to change the dialogue from greed vs charity and move it to sustainability and viability for the sake not only of the rich and poor of today, but of those we have put into economic slavery that have not yet been born.
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John Bogle, Vanguard’s Founder, Is Too Worried to Rest

John Bogle, Vanguard’s Founder, Is Too Worried to Rest | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By JEFF SOMMER, NY Times


At 83, John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard, says he’s never seen a market as treacherous as this one. But he still sees buying and holding index funds as the best option.


He is still preaching the gospel of long-term, low-cost investing. “My ideas are very simple,” he says: “In investing, you get what you don’t pay for. Costs matter. So intelligent investors will use low-cost index funds to build a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds, and they will stay the course. And they won’t be foolish enough to think that they can consistently outsmart the market.”


Still, because the market and the economy are deeply troubled, it’s time for action on many fronts, he says: “We’ve really got no choice. We’ve got to fix this system. All of us, as individuals, need to do it.”

That’s the message of his latest and 11th book, “The Clash of the Cultures: Investment vs. Speculation” (Wiley & Sons, $29.95). It offers a scathing critique of the financial services industry and updated guidance for investors. “A culture of short-term speculation has run rampant,” he writes, “superseding the culture of long-term investment that was dominant earlier in the post-World War II era.”


Too much money is aimed at short-term speculation — the seeking of quick profit with little concern for the future. The financial system has been wounded by a flood of so-called innovations that merely promote hyper-rapid trading, market timing and shortsighted corporate maneuvering. Individual investors are being shortchanged, he writes.


Corporate money is flooding into political campaigns. The American retirement system faces a train wreck. America’s fundamental values are threatened. Mr. Bogle remains a dyed-in-the-wool capitalist but says the system has “gotten out of balance,” threatening our entire society. “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing — after they’ve tried everything else,” he says, quoting Winston Churchill. Now, he says, it’s time to try something else.


He advocates taxes to discourage short-term speculation. He wants limits on leverage, transparency for financial derivatives, stricter punishments for financial crimes and, perhaps most urgently, a unified fiduciary standard for all money managers: “A fiduciary standard means, basically, put the interests of the client first. No excuses. Period.”


[Read more.]

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If political lies are going to be repeated, the truth needs to be, too.

If political lies are going to be repeated, the truth needs to be, too. | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

What to do with political lies.  Fact-checkers are no longer enough.


by GARANCE FRANKE-RUTA, The Atlantic


My former Washington Post colleague Alec MacGillis has a thought-provoking piece in The New Republic today about "The Welfare Card and the Post-Truth Campaign," lamenting the lies he's heard from Mitt Romney on the stump in Ohio and how little covered they are. Romney, writes MacGillis:


...got his biggest applause during this riff:


I want you to know I heard something the other day that really surprised me... What I heard is that the president is taking the work requirement out of welfare. (Boos.) Yeah. We value work, our society which celebrates hard work, we look to a government to make it easier for jobs to be created and people to go to work. We do not look for a government that tries to find ways to provide for people who are not willing to work. And so I'm gonna put work back into welfare and make sure able-bodied people can get jobs.


....After the speech, several in the audience told me that their favorite part had been Romney's calling out Obama for weakening welfare work requirements. Yes, one of the more depressing parts of the job of being a political reporter is watching an audience fully absorb a blatant and knowing lie. Which is, of course, what this is....


Romney just keeps using it, at stop after stop, in ad after ad. How can this be possible? Well, maybe because very few of my colleagues in the press seem all that troubled by it. Unless I've missed it, none of the national papers or networks or Buzzfeeders have done a comprehensive report on Romney's persistence in playing the welfare card. It's as if it was enough to have the factcheckers offer their initial scolding, but after that, hey, anything goes. I saw no mention in dispatches from yesterday of Romney's successful use of the welfare line in Beallsville -- instead, the stories were dominated by Romney's declaration of outrage, later in the day, over Obama's campaign of "anger and hate."


One person who is troubled by it is the Post's Dan Balz, who also lamented the ineffectiveness of the fact-checking process today in a piece on how poisonous the 2012 campaign has become.


News organizations instituted fact-checking and ad watches in reaction to earlier campaigns, when candidates were getting away with half-truths and worse, with little accountability. These have become robust and increasingly comprehensive. But they are not providing much of a check on the behavior of the campaigns.


Fact-checking was a great development in accountability journalism -- but perhaps it's time for a new approach. It's no longer enough to outsource the fact-checking to the fact-checkers in a news environment where every story lives an independent life on the social Web and there's no guarantee the reader of any given report will ever see a bundled version of the news or the relevant fact-checking column, which could have been published months earlier. One-off fact-checking is no match for the repeated lie.


Objective news outlets had to deal with this last cycle, too. Remember the huge controversy over how to cover the allegations that Obama was a Muslim without just publicizing the smear -- or suggesting that there is anything wrong with being Muslim?


The solution now as then lies in repeated boilerplate, either inserted by editors who back-stop their writers, or by writers who save it as B-matter (background or pre-written text) so they don't have to come up with a new way of saying something every single time they file. Basic, simple, brief factual boilerplate can save an article from becoming a crutch for one campaign or the other; can save time; and can give readers a fuller understanding of the campaigns, even if they haven't had time to read deep dives on complex topics.


"Obama, who is a Christian" was the macro of the 2008 cycle in reporting on the "Barack Obama is a Muslim" smears. Also widely used: "the false allegation that Obama is Muslim." Such careful writing may not have done much to disabuse nearly a fifth of Americans of the idea that Obama is a Muslim -- national newspaper stories can influence elite opinion while barely making a dent on widely held views in a nation of more than 300 million -- but they provided readers with an accurate sense of the facts while learning about a politically significant campaign development. [MORE]

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Ryan To Quietly Meet With Major Donors In Las Vegas

Ryan To Quietly Meet With Major Donors In Las Vegas | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by Sam Youngman, Reuters


Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan will meet behind closed doors with donors and fundraisers in Las Vegas at the Venetian hotel, owned by casino mogul and formidable campaign donor Sheldon Adelson.


The Wisconsin congressman will meet with members of the Nevada finance team on Tuesday evening - his first such event as part of Mitt Romney's campaign - but members of the media will not be allowed to attend.


Romney himself held a meeting with Adelson, this campaign season's most prominent donor, at the same hotel in May, but it was not certain that Ryan will meet the billionaire.


Adelson has yet to contribute directly to the Romney campaign, according to the latest disclosure filings, but the magnate and his wife, Miriam, have donated $10 million to the outside "Super PAC" group backing Romney.


During the primary season, Adelson and his family spent $21.5 million to support another Republican candidate, Newt Gingrich, who dropped out of the race on May 2. [MORE]

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Overt Discrimination in Ohio | NY Times Editorial

Overt Discrimination in Ohio | NY Times Editorial | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Republican elections officials curtail early voting in Democratic counties, but not their own.


NY Times Editorial


If you live in Butler or Warren counties in the Republican-leaning suburbs of Cincinnati, you can vote for president beginning in October by going to a polling place in the evening or on weekends. Republican officials in those counties want to make it convenient for their residents to vote early and avoid long lines on Election Day.


But, if you live in Cincinnati, you’re out of luck. Republicans on the county election board are planning to end early voting in the city promptly at 5 p.m., and ban it completely on weekends, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer. The convenience, in other words, will not be extended to the city’s working people.


The sleazy politics behind the disparity is obvious. Hamilton County, which contains Cincinnati, is largely Democratic and voted solidly for Barack Obama in 2008. So did the other urban areas of Cleveland, Columbus and Akron, where Republicans, with the assistance of the Ohio secretary of state, Jon Husted, have already eliminated the extended hours for early voting.


County election boards in Ohio, a closely contested swing state, are evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. In counties likely to vote for President Obama, Republicans have voted against the extended hours, and Mr. Husted has broken the tie in their favor. (He said the counties couldn’t afford the long hours.) In counties likely to vote for Mitt Romney, Republicans have not objected to the extended hours.


This is just the latest alarming example of how Republicans across the country are trying to manipulate the electoral system by blocking the voting rights of their opponents. These actions have a disproportionate effect on blacks, Hispanics and other ethnic minorities who struggled for so long to participate in American democracy.


...


In Ohio, as in other states, the Republican Party is establishing a reputation for putting short-term political gain ahead of the most fundamental democratic rights.


[Read more.]

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The Terrifying Texas GOP Platform

by John T. Harvey, Forbes


I named this blog Pragmatic Economics in part because of my desire to avoid politics. That’s why my tag line is, “I want to explain how things work, not what you should believe.” However, I am so distressed by the 2012 platform released by the Texas Republican Party that I find it impossible not to comment. While I am hardly in agreement with everything forwarded by the Democrats (and have taken aim at President Obama on a number of occasions, especially with respect to his desire to balance the federal budget), it is difficult to believe that what the Republicans put together during their convention in Fort Worth was even written in the 21st century. It is anything but pragmatic.


...


...by and large, it reads as if it were written in another age and in ignorance of the social, economic, and scientific evidence of the past half century. Let there be no mistake about it: the Texas Republican Party Platform is terrifying. Were its recommendations implemented, the US would resemble a third-world country with a cheap, uneducated workforce and a massive gap between rich and poor. Unemployment would be rampant, growth stagnant, and answers few and far between thanks to the systematic repression of higher order and critical thinking. I don’t know what happened to the Republicans of fifty years ago, who were willing to discuss, reason, and compromise and who respected logic and reason, but they are sorely missed.


[Read more.]

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GOP Senate Candidates Advocate 17th Amendment Repeal

GOP Senate Candidates Advocate 17th Amendment Repeal | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

How would the Senate look without Senators elected by voters? Before the ratification of the 17th Amendment in 1913, that s exactly how it worked, with increasingly corrupt state legislatures picking Senators.


Excerpt from article by by Niels Lesniewski, Roll Call


Last November, [Michigan's GOP Senate candidate Pete] Hoekstra told a conservative talk radio program on WAAM in Ann Arbor that allowing people to elect their own Senators weakened the power of the states relative to the federal government.


"The direct election of U.S. Senators made the U.S. Senate act and behave like the House of Representatives," Hoekstra said. "The end result has led to an erosion of states' rights."


Hoekstra is not the only Republican Senate nominee to express such opinions. And their Democratic opponents are attempting to profit.


In Arizona, presumptive Democratic Senate nominee Richard Carmona has circulated a Huffington Post story that cited Rep. Jeff Flake (R), his presumed general election opponent, making similar comments to conservative supporters last week.


Rep Todd Akin, the GOP nominee facing Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) in Missouri this fall, signaled during a primary debate in May that he might favor repeal. [MORE]

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The Great Society, Medicare and the Summer of ‘65 | Nomadic Politics

The Great Society, Medicare and the Summer of ‘65 | Nomadic Politics | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
I am not going to talk much about Romney's choice for vice-president. Other blogs can do a far better job at that than I can. I'll keep my comments about his selection brief.
With Republican presumptive nominee Mitt Romney’s announcement of Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan as his running mate, there’s bound to be a lot of talk about Ryan’s budget proposals, particularly the proposed reforms in Medicare and Medicaid. Democrats are no doubt pleased with Romney’s decision since any changes - no matter how necessary- to these social programs are bound to create some fear with some affected voters.

 

Instead I would like to take you back to forty seven years to a small town in Missouri where important events were happening..

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