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Friday, den 8. March 2013

On the same day that Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) high profile filibuster of John Brennan’s nomination to head the Central Intelligence Agency received widespread media attention, another filibuster that blocked confirmation for one of President Obama’s nominees went completely unnoticed by the broadcast networks and cable news channels

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Category: Articles, author, Breaking News, CNN, Congress, Economy, Elections, Environment, Feeds, Foreign Policy, Health, Justice, Marriage Equality, Media, Media Matters, Science, Video, War, Washington, White House | Comments Off
Friday, den 4. January 2013

The news shows of the major networks ABC, NBC, and CBS did not report on the need to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which expired after the House failed to reauthorize it by the close of the 112th Congress on Tuesday.

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Category: Articles, author, Congress, Debt Ceiling, Deficit, Economy, Elections, Environment, Feeds, Foreign Policy, Health, huffington post, Justice, LGBT, Media, Media Matters, Science, Video, War | Comments Off
Friday, den 31. August 2012

On Friday, Fox & Friends asked Ann Romney if it was difficult for the couple to turn down a $30 million job offer after Mitt lost the 2008 presidential nomination.

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Category: author, Economy, Feeds, Health, Justice, LGBT, Media, Politics, Science, The Nation, ThinkProgress, Tweets, Video, War | Comments Off
Friday, den 31. August 2012

This evening, each of the three broadcast networks aired interviews they did today with vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan. Given the widespread criticism of Ryan’s speech to the Republican national convention last night, you would expect the networks to use the opportunity to press Ryan on his many false and misleading attacks on President Obama identified by multiple fact-checking sites and news outlets . NBC and CBS did just that. ABC’s Diane Sawyer, however, didn’t ask about the speech at all, opting instead to quiz Ryan about childhood photos of himself, get his thoughts on the convention’s national debt clock, and discuss his dislike of raisins

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Category: Articles, author, Breaking News, Congress, Economy, Elections, Environment, Feeds, Foreign Policy, Health, Justice, Media, Media Matters, Medicare, Science, Taxes, Video, War, Washington | Comments Off
Friday, den 17. August 2012

On Wednesday, scientists announced that melting over the Greenland ice sheet has already “shattered the seasonal record” set in 2010, with four weeks left before the end of the melting season. Scientists say this record melting is driven by rising Arctic temperatures and could have serious consequences for the environment and coastal communities. But the major media outlets are once again failing to report on clear evidence that our climate is changing

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Category: Articles, author, Breaking News, CNN, Congress, Deficit, Economy, Elections, Environment, Feeds, Foreign Policy, Health, Justice, Media, Media Matters, Medicare, Politics, Science, SPONSOR, The Nation, Video, War, Washington | Comments Off
Friday, den 17. August 2012

The worst of the U.S. Drought Monitor categories, exceptional drought, is broadening its hold on Oklahoma. [ The Oklahoman ] Thursday’s report shows 38.86 percent of the state is experiencing exceptional drought, compared to 16.03 percent the previous week

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Category: agriculture, author, Climate Progress, Economy, Environment, Feeds, Global Warming, Health, Justice, LGBT, Media, Politics, Republican Party, Science, The Nation, ThinkProgress, Tweets, War, Washington | Comments Off
Wednesday, den 11. July 2012

Our guest blogger is Ben Harris, intern for  LGBT Progress . A series of polls released over the past two months confirms that marriage equality is now a mainstream value

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Category: Africa, author, CNN, Defense of Marriage Act, Economy, Elections, Feeds, Health, Justice, LGBT, Marriage Equality, Media, Politics, ThinkProgress, Tweets, War, Washington | Comments Off
Saturday, den 16. June 2012

Earlier this afternoon, President Obama announced a new “deferred action” immigration policy that would protect students in the U.S. who are already in deportation proceedings or those who qualify for the DREAM Act and have yet to come forward to the Department of Homeland Security from being deported. Confronted with the president’s landmark announcement, Mitt Romney attempted to whitewash his draconian immigration views during a campaign stop in New Hampshire today. Romney told reporters that he “agrees with Marco Rubio,” who has proposed a DREAM Act alternative. This newfound belief is a far cry from his views during the primary campaign. Here are Romney’s top 5 comments on immigration during the Republican primary: 1. Romney attacked Governor Rick Perry for supporting the DREAM Act, calling it a “magnet for illegal immigration.” : In a Florida GOP debate, Romney accused Governor Rick Perry of engendering a “magnet” in Texas by allowing the children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition. Romney maintained that even though many children had no part in their families’ decisions to immigrate to the United States, they should not be able to have the same academic opportunities as their peers. [September 2011, USA Today ] 2. Romney pledged to veto the DREAM Act : In December, Mitt Romney promised to veto the DREAM Act if he were elected president. Then during a January GOP debate, Romney called allowing any undocumented workers to gain permanent residency “a mistake.” [December 2011, ABC News ] 3. Romney promised to make life so miserable for undocumented immigrants that they would “self-deport.” : At the Florida Republican Debate, Romney said that he would enforce stringent documentation policies that would make it difficult for illegal immigrations to find work, eventually spurring them to “self-deport.” According to Romney, “If people don’t get work here they’re going to self-deport to a place where they can get work.” [January 2012, Huffington Post ] 4. Romney rebuffed undocumented young woman who was brought to the U.S. at age 10 and had a 4.0 grade-point average : Romney had a particularly awkward encounter when an undocumented worker demanded to know why he wouldn’t support the DREAM Act. After the young woman informed Romney of her 4.0 grade point average, the former governor was quickly ushered away by aides. [January 2012, The Hill ] 5. Romney consults author of extreme anti-immigrant legislation on immigration issues: Romney consults Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State and author of harsh immigration laws in Arizona, South Carolina, and Alabama, as an advisor. Kobach is a controversial figure who has become the leading spokesman of the hardcore anti-immigration movement. [ April 2012 , ThinkProgress] – Steven Perlberg

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Category: Arizona, author, Department of Justice, Economy, Feeds, Health, huffington post, Justice, LGBT, Media, Politics, ThinkProgress, Tweets, War | Comments Off
Thursday, den 14. June 2012

After incessantly covering the bankruptcy of Solyndra, the television media has largely overlooked the failure of a Massachusetts solar company championed by then-Governor Mitt Romney. The major cable and broadcast networks have failed to point out Romney’s flip-flop on government clean energy investments, which he supported in Massachusetts and which enjoyed bipartisan support before the GOP turned Solyndra into a political punch line . Mitt Romney has made Solyndra a central part of his campaign message , calling it a symbol of ” crony capitalism ” even though an extensive investigation has turned up ” no evidence of wrongdoing .” Earlier this month, Romney made a campaign stop at Solyndra’s headquarters to lambaste the Obama administration’s investments in clean energy. Many news outlets covered the event without mentioning that Romney made similar investments in renewable energy companies as Governor of Massachusetts. Shortly after taking office in January 2003, Romney held a press conference at Konarka Technologies to award the company a $1.5 million loan as part of a new Green Energy Fund . Romney predicted the state-backed venture capital fund would “become a major economic springboard for the Commonwealth by focusing on job creation in the renewable energy sector.” Since then, three of the twelve companies supported by the Green Energy Fund have gone bankrupt or been sold at a loss. Konarka Technologies declared bankruptcy on June 1 — the day after Romney’s press conference at Solyndra. Since then, the major cable (CNN, MSNBC, Fox) and broadcast (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks have discussed Konarka only four times, for a total of about 15 minutes.* By contrast, the same networks spent over ten hours covering Solyndra in the weeks following its bankruptcy announcement. Konarka’s failure does not detract from the overall success of Massachusetts’ green energy investments, most of which “continue to thrive” according to William Osborn, a general partner at the Green Energy Fund. Osborn told the Associated Press that the program anticipated some failures given the inherent risk associated with these investments: Osborn said the loss of three companies out of a dozen isn’t unusual in the venture capital world, which inherently involves some risk. He defended the decision to invest in Konarka, saying that in 2003 it was impossible to foresee the scale of investment that China would place on solar manufacturing — the same pressure that officials at Solyndra cited as a key reason for its failure. Similarly, Congress set aside ample funds to cover any losses from the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program, anticipating that not all investments would be successful — a point that was largely overlooked by mainstream news outlets. And despite the media’s attempt to paint this program as a failure, only 2 out of 26 loan guarantee recipients have filed for bankruptcy, and the majority of the loans are  low-risk . As Grist noted , the loan program’s failure rate is far lower than that of private venture capital investments in clean energy.

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Category: Articles, author, Breaking News, CNN, Congress, Economy, Environment, Feeds, Media, Media Matters, politico, Politics, Republican Party, Technology, The Nation, Video, War, Washington | Comments Off
Monday, den 4. June 2012

During Mitt Romney’s term as Massachusetts governor, that state ranked as one of the worst in the nation in terms of job creation — squeezing out a net jobs gain of 1 percent compared with the national average of 5.3 percent at the time. But ABC and NBC Sunday shows allowed Romney campaign surrogates to obscure that record using a new talking point that Romney ended his term with Massachusetts ranked in “the middle of the pack.” FACT: Massachusetts Jobs Growth Underperformed National Economy During Romney’s Entire Term BLS: Massachusetts Lagged Behind The Rest Of The Country In Jobs Growth. This chart, from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ FRED and using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows the jobs in Massachusetts and the nation as a whole compared with January 2003, the month Romney took office. The blue line represents Massachusetts while the red stands for the nation: [Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, 6/3/12 ] FactCheck.org: MA “Squeezed Out A Net Gain In Payroll Jobs Of Just 1 Percent, Compared With Job Growth Of 5.3 Percent For The Nation.” In January 2008, FactCheck.org examined Romney’s claim that Massachusetts gained jobs “every single month” he was governor and concluded: Payroll jobs in Massachusetts hit their low point in December 2003 at the end of Romney’s first year in office. And the number of jobs declined in seven of the remaining 36 months of his term, as measured by total nonfarm employment, seasonally adjusted, which is the standard measure of payroll employment used by economists and journalists. The claim that jobs increased “every single month” is false. Furthermore, Romney’s job record provides little to boast about. By the end of his four years in office, Massachusetts had squeezed out a net gain in payroll jobs of just 1 percent, compared with job growth of 5.3 percent for the nation as a whole. [FactCheck.org, 1/11/08 ] FACT: Massachusetts’ “Puny” Job Growth “Badly Lagged” Similar States Reuters: “Romney Presided Over One Of The Puniest Rates Of Employment Growth … At A Time [When] The Nation’s Economy Was Booming.” From an April 12, 2011, Reuters report: Romney stressed his experience as head of private equity firm Bain Capital when he announced on Monday he was forming an exploratory committee on seeking the Republican 2012 nomination to challenge Obama, a Democrat. He made a fortune wheeling and dealing in companies, some of which endured big job cuts as part of restructuring. Some ultimately went bankrupt. [A]s Massachusetts governor from January 2003 to January 2007, Romney presided over one of the puniest rates of employment growth among the 50 U.S. states, at a time the nation’s economy was booming. Labor Department figures showed Massachusetts ranked 47th among the states in the rate of jobs growth in those four years — ahead of only Ohio, Michigan and Louisiana. [Reuters, 4/12/11 ] WSJ ‘s Brett Arends: Mass. Job Growth “Badly Lagged Other High-Skill, High-Wage, Knowledge Economy States.” According to a February 2010 MarketWatch article by Wall Street Journal columnist Brett Arends: Romney, who may well be President Barack Obama’s opponent in 2012, he had great time last week blaming the president for the current jobs shortage. Speaking to the CPAC right-wing conference in Washington, D.C., Romney said that the dismal employment situation, a year after Obama took office, showed the president was a “failure” who was “going downhill faster than… Lindsey Vonn.” OK, let’s take him at his word. Then what does that say about Romney? The Republican contender was the governor of Massachusetts from January 2003 to January 2007. And during that time, according to the U.S. Labor Department, the state ranked 47th in the entire country in jobs growth. Fourth from last. The only ones that did worse? Ohio, Michigan and Louisiana. In other words, two rustbelt states and another that lost its biggest city to a hurricane. The Massachusetts jobs growth over that period, a pitiful 0.9%, badly lagged other high-skill, high-wage, knowledge economy states like New York (2.7%), California (4.7%) and North Carolina (7.6%). The national average: More than 5%. This was after four years. So far Obama has been in office for just one year. How was Romney’s performance by his first anniversary? Fiftieth out of fifty. That’s right. In Romney’s first year in charge, Massachusetts ranked dead last in America in jobs growth. [MarketWatch, 2/23/10 ] SPIN: Romney Campaign Surrogates Argue Massachusetts Went From “51st” to “30th” in Job Creation Ed Gillespie: MA Was “51st” In Job Creation When Romney Took Over, Moved Up To “30th” After Four Years. During an interview on Fox News Sunday, former Republican national Committee chairman Ed Gillespie argued that Massachusetts went from being ranked last in job creation to “number 30.” For his part, host Chris Wallace disputed those numbers, noting that “[o]ver the four years, it was 47th. There’s no question about that”: GILLESPIE: The first year, it was 50th in job — when he took office, it was number 50 in job creation, actually 51 if you count the District of Columbia. WALLACE: We’ll check the numbers. GILLESPIE: Go check it out, OK? And when he ended his term in office, his four years in office, it was number 30, so he moved it dramatically. WALLACE: But, over — wait, over the four years, it was 47th. There’s no question about that. GILLESPIE: When, if — this is what they’re doing, Chris. You take the first year which is a low base year when the governor came in and took office because it was 50th in job creation, out of all of the states, dead last, moved it to 30th by the fourth year, had a net job creation of around 40,000 jobs, and they were averaging out over the four years, so they’re bringing down the gains of his fourth year in office which shows the real impact of his policies and diluting it with his first year in office when he came into office and it was 50th in job creation. [Fox Broadcast Co., Fox News Sunday , 6/3/12] Three Other Romney Surrogates Used Same Talking Point. Neither NBC’s David Gregory nor ABC’s George Stephanopoulos challenged these claims : Ohio Gov. John Kasich : “First of all, he wasn’t 47. When he took over, he was 51st, counting D.C., when he left, he was 30th in the country. He created tens of thousands of jobs and the unemployment went down.” [NBC, Meet the Press , 6/3/12] Romney adviser Kevin Madden : “We were 50 — as Governor Kasich alluded to before, 51st in job creation, and when he had left office, he had advanced the state to 30th, so he had advanced it 20 places on that particular list.” [NBC, Meet the Press , 6/3/12] Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom : “On the jobs question, because this comes up repeatedly, that Massachusetts was 47 out of 50 in terms of job growth. Actually when Mitt Romney arrived, Massachusetts was an economic baskethouse. If you throw D.C. into the mix, we were 51 out of 51. By the time Mitt Romney left four years later, we were in the middle of the pack. We were 30th in the nation in terms of job growth.” [ABC, This Week , 6/3/12] Romney Campaign Surrogates Are Using Romney’s Last Year In Office To Distract From Overall Performance Boston Globe : In “Romney’s Last Full Year In Office, Massachusetts Jobs Grew By 1.06 Percent, 32nd In The Nation.” From the Boston Globe’s Political Intelligence blog: The claim that Massachusetts under Romney ranked 47th out of 50 states in job growth is true, and the Romney campaign has not disputed its accuracy. If the District of Columbia is included, Massachusetts’s rank was 48th. Over the four-year period 2003 to 2006, Massachusetts jobs grew by 1.26 percent, well behind the national median of 4.84 percent. In the previous four-year span 1999 to 2002, job growth in the Bay State was just 0.89 percent, but its national rank was 35th. A comparison between the full-term job growth rankings of Romney and his predecessor, Jane Swift, supports Cutter’s point. From one governor’s four-year term to the next, Massachusetts’s national ranking dropped 13 spots. Yet, BLS data also reinforce Fehrnstrom’s argument. In 2003, Romney’s first year in office, the number of jobs in Massachusetts declined by 1.39 percent, ranking it “51 out of 51,” as Fehrnstrom said. In 2006, Romney’s last full year in office, Massachusetts jobs grew by 1.06 percent, 32nd in the nation. Over the course of Romney’s tenure as governor, Massachusetts’s annual job growth ranking improved by 19 spots. [ Boston Globe , 6/3/12 ] Conservative Media Previously Cited MA Unemployment Rate To Obscure Romney’s Jobs Record National Review’s Jim Geraghty: “Massachusetts’s Unemployment Rate Changed From 5.6 Percent To 4.7 Percent.” In a post at National Review Online, contributor Jim Geraghty wrote: For the Obama campaign and Democrats, it’s “Spotlight Romney as Governor” Day. David Axelrod — you know, the political strategist who routinely attends national security meetings — will be in Boston, to hold a press conference in front of the State House in Boston to discuss “Mitt Romney’s economic philosophy and his failed economic record in Massachusetts.” Axelrod will warn that under Romney, Massachusetts’s unemployment rate changed from 5.6 percent to 4.7 percent, and that if elected, Romney would inflict the same pain and suffering to all of America. [National Review Online, 5/31/12 ] Economist: Massachusetts’ Unemployment Rate Drop A “False Indicator.” Economist Andrew Sum argued that “Romney’s frequent argument that unemployment dropped during his tenure is a false indicator.” He also stated that “the unemployment rate fell only because people were leaving the workforce in droves during Romney’s term.” [ Media Matters , 5/31/12 ]

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Saturday, den 5. May 2012

The jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning showed that 115,000 jobs were created in April, and the unemployment rate dipped to 8.1 percent. Reacting to the report on Fox & Friends , presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney called it “very, very disappointing” and said: “We should be seeing numbers in the 500,000 jobs created per month. This is way, way off from what should happen in a normal recovery.” Romney’s comments were reported by ABC News , the New York Times , the Wall Street Journal , and others . In each instance, these outlets simply quoted Romney’s target for job growth of 500,000-plus per month. Some context is sorely needed here. Since 1939, monthly job growth has exceeded 500,000 a grand total of sixteen times, according to BLS . It’s happened only five times since the end of the Eisenhower administration: March 1978, April 1978, September 1983, September 1997, and May 2010.  To put that in perspective, monthly job growth that exceeds 500,000 happens with roughly the same frequency as perfect games in baseball , of which there have been 19 since 1900. (Not an exact comparison, of course, but it illustrates the infrequency.) The vanishing rarity of such explosive job creation should have been mentioned when reporting Romney’s call for sustained growth at that rate.

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Category: author, Breaking News, Economics, Economy, FAA, Feeds, LGBT, Media, Media Matters, politico, Politics, Republican Party, Video, War | Comments Off
Thursday, den 26. January 2012

Tonight on Fox Business’ Power And Money , David Asman hosted Joe Petrowski, President and CEO of Gulf Oil LP, to claim that because President Obama has decided not to immediately build the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline and pursue additional domestic oil production, gas prices will increase as early as “the summer.” Petrowski specifically asserted that building the pipeline could reduce gas prices in the long term by as much as “20 to 30 cents a gallon.” However, according to researchers at the Cornell University Global Labor Institute , TransCanada, the proposed manufacturers of the pipeline, admitted that “KXL will increase the price of heavy crude oil in the Midwest by almost $2 to $4 billion annually.” The Cornell study explains that this will happen as a result of “diverting major volumes of Tar Sands oil now supplying the Midwest refineries, so it can be sold at higher prices to the Gulf Coast and export markets.” Fox expects us to take Petrowski at his word when he claims that building KXL could result in gas prices dropping “20 to 30 cents a gallon”; indeed, Asman responds to his claim by saying that the Gulf executive is “on the retail side of the gas business, so you know” how gas prices come about.   But the Cornell University study estimates nearly the exact opposite of Petrowski’s claim, estimating that building the KXL pipeline could increase domestic gas and diesel fuel prices in some states by between “10 to 20 cents more per gallon” and, to rub salt on the wound, possibly “cancel out some or all of the jobs created by KXL” after only one year of increased fuel prices. From the study: HIGHER FUEL PRICES IN 15 STATES  According to TransCanada, KXL will increase the price of heavy crude oil in the Midwest by almost $2 to $4 billion annually, and escalating for several years. It will do this by diverting major volumes of Tar Sands oil now supplying the Midwest refineries, so it can be sold at higher prices to the Gulf Coast and export markets. As a result, consumers in the Midwest could be paying 10 to 20 cents more per gallon for gasoline and diesel fuel, adding up to $5 billion to the annual US fuel bill. Further, the KXL pipeline will do nothing to insulate the US from oil price volatility. Even one year of fuel price increases as a result of KXL could cancel out some or all of the jobs created by KXL, based on the (more accurate) $3 to 4 billion budget for KXL (the remaining cost to build within the Us). Higher fuel prices due to KXL would have broad adverse impacts. Gasoline is a significant cost for most Americans, and especially for those with lower incomes and/or residing in rural areas. Moreover, refined oil products (notably gasoline and diesel) are very widely used throughout the economy (especially in agriculture and commercial transportation). So higher fuel prices due to KXL would ripple through the economy and impact a very broad range of people and businesses. This is just another example of Fox misleading its viewers on facts about the Keystone XL pipeline.

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Category: Afghanistan, agriculture, Articles, author, Breaking News, CNN, Congress, Economy, Environment, Feeds, Health, Iraq, Justice, Media, Media Matters, Science, War, Washington | Comments Off
Thursday, den 26. January 2012

On today’s edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity claimed that the U.S. economy has lost two million jobs since President Obama took office.  Hannity’s figure echoes a GOP talking point that has been circulating for months . Recently presidential candidate Mitt Romney said during the January 3 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends that Obama “is a president who lost more jobs during his tenure than any president since Hoover. This is 2 million jobs that he lost as President.” Tonight’s comments mark the fourth time since then that Hannity has referenced the two million jobs figure on his Fox News show, according to a Nexis search. But as Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman points out, such claims about Obama’s job record are ” deeply misleading ” because they take into account job losses that occurred during Obama’s “first few months, before any of his own policies had time to take effect”:  Mr. Romney claims that Mr. Obama has been a job destroyer, while he was a job-creating businessman. For example, he told Fox News: “This is a president who lost more jobs during his tenure than any president since Hoover. This is two million jobs that he lost as president.” He went on to declare, of his time at the private equity firm Bain Capital, “I’m very happy in my former life; we helped create over 100,000 new jobs.”  But his claims about the Obama record border on dishonesty, and his claims about his own record are well across that border.  Start with the Obama record. It’s true that 1.9 million fewer Americans have jobs now than when Mr. Obama took office. But the president inherited an economy in free fall, and can’t be held responsible for job losses during his first few months, before any of his own policies had time to take effect. So how much of that Obama job loss took place in, say, the first half of 2009?  The answer is: more than all of it. The economy lost 3.1 million jobs between January 2009 and June 2009 and has since gained 1.2 million jobs. That’s not enough, but it’s nothing like Mr. Romney’s portrait of job destruction.  Incidentally, the previous administration’s claims of job growth always started not from Inauguration Day but from August 2003, when Bush-era employment hit its low point. By that standard, Mr. Obama could say that he has created 2.5 million jobs since February 2010.  So Mr. Romney’s claims about the Obama job record aren’t literally false, but they are deeply misleading.  Krugman isn’t the only economist who has poked holes in the argument that Obama is to blame for destroying jobs. According to economist Robert J. Shapiro, the economy shed almost 8 million jobs under Republican policies before the Recovery Act could affect the economy.  From December 2007 to July 2009 — the last year of the Bush second term and the first six months of the Obama presidency, before his policies could affect the economy – private sector employment crashed from 115,574,000 jobs to 107,778,000 jobs. Employment continued to fall, however, for the next six months, reaching a low of 107,107,000 jobs in December of 2009. So, out of 8,467,000 private sector jobs lost in this dismal cycle, 7,796,000 of those jobs or 92 percent were lost on the Republicans’ watch or under the sway of their policies. Some 671,000 additional jobs were lost as the stimulus and other moves by the administration kicked in, but 630,000 jobs then came back in the following six months. The tally, to date: Mr. Obama can be held accountable for the net loss of 41,000 jobs (671,000 – 630,000), while the Republicans should be held responsible for the net losses of 7,796,000 jobs.   This is just the latest example of Hannity pushing Republican talking points to attack Obama.

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Thursday, den 26. January 2012

Rush Limbaugh criticized the president for invoking teamwork as an American ideal in the State of the Union address — an ideal that was invoked by Ronald Reagan during his 1984 State of the Union address. Limbaugh’s ire was directed at the portion of President Obama’s State of the Union address in which he spoke about teamwork making America great, an idea Limbaugh said was “wrong” and contrary to “what our founding documents are about.” Limbaugh explained: There’s nothing about teamwork. There’s nothing about compromise and getting along and working together.  Teamwork, Limbaugh made clear, was another word for fairness — “a code word for class warfare.” LISTEN: Limbaugh’s position that teamwork was contrary to American ideals puts him at odds with Ronald Reagan, who praised teamwork and pulling together during his State of the Union address in 1984:   Our second great goal is to build on America’s pioneer spirit – I said something funny? I said America’s next frontier – and that’s to develop that frontier. A sparkling economy spurs initiatives, sunrise industries, and makes older ones more competitive. Nowhere is this more important than our next frontier: space. Nowhere do we so effectively demonstrate our technological leadership and ability to make life better on Earth. The Space Age is barely a quarter of a century old. But already we’ve pushed civilization forward with our advances in science and technology. Opportunities and jobs will multiply as we cross new thresholds of knowledge and reach deeper into the unknown. Our progress in space – taking giant steps for all mankind – is a tribute to American teamwork and excellence. Our finest minds in government, industry, and academia have all pulled together. And we can be proud to say: We are first; we are the best; and we are so because we’re free.

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Thursday, den 12. January 2012

In recent days, Fox News personalities have been defending Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital . Joining the chorus, Fox News host Mike Huckabee sent an email to his list attacking Republicans for going after Romney’s time at Bain and embracing “that leftwing argument against capitalism.” Huckabee wrote, in part: Romney has come under a lot of fire for Bain Capital’s investments in some companies that were then scaled down with layoffs to become profitable. That’s been demonized thoroughly by the media as corporate raiding, But it’s surprising to see so many Republicans embrace that leftwing argument against capitalism. It’s terrible for the workers who lose their jobs, and nobody likes to see viable companies looted and destroyed. But if downsizing can turn around a failing company, then at least it prevents all the jobs from being lost, and it sets up a stronger company that can grow and start rehiring. The term for this among people who aren’t hostile to capitalism is “creative destruction.” Bad companies have to die to make way for stronger companies, in the same way that old trees fall over to make way for new trees. However, as a candidate running against Romney, Huckabee himself brought up concerns about Bain Capital. During a January 13, 2008, interview on CBS’s Face the Nation , Huckabee attacked Romney’s business record, especially with regard to layoffs:   HUCKABEE: You know, what Mitt Romney did is admirable in some quarters, but in some ways, there are a lot of people who lost their jobs when his company would take over, restructure a company, lay a lot of people off. Lot of times, the CEOs and the people at the top got some pretty huge bonuses and made a lot of money. A lot of people went home without a pension and a paycheck. I’m not sure that’s what Michigan’s looking for. A January 24, 2008, Associated Press article also reported that Huckabee “criticized” Romney’s record at Bain Capital:

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Tuesday, den 20. December 2011

Some right-wing media figures have rushed to embrace Newt Gingrich’s plan to impeach judges, subpoena them to testify before Congress, and abolish federal courts with which he disagrees. However, as even most conservatives have noted, this plan is “dangerous” to checks and balances and almost certainly unconstitutional. Gingrich Proposal: Subpoena, Arrest, Impeach Federal Judges Gingrich Position Paper Calls For Impeaching Judges When They Get Out Of Line. In a position paper on Newt Gingrich’s campaign website, Gingrich explained his plan to “[r]estore the proper role of the judicial branch by using the clearly delineated Constitutional powers available to the president and Congress to correct, limit, or replace judges who violate the Constitution.” This plan called for Congress and the President to work together to impeach and remove federal judges who they feel “refused to adhere to the legislative limitations on jurisdiction.” [Newt.org, 10/7/11 ] Gingrich Position Paper Suggests That Congress Should Abolish Federal Courts When It Disagrees With Their Decisions. From the position paper on Gingrich’s website: A good place to start correcting federal judges is in Texas. This past June, a federal district court judge in West Texas issued an extraordinary judicial order that threatened local school officials with going to jail if they failed to censor the content of a student’s speech at a high school graduation ceremony.  Such oppressive and tyrannical behavior from a sitting federal judge is not constitutional and has no place in America. Congress would be well within its power to impeach and remove this federal judge from office, or failing that, work with the President to abolish his judgeship. The Constitution vests Congress with the power to create and abolish all federal courts, with the sole exception of the Supreme Court. Congress even has the power, as Congressman Steve King of Iowa frequently notes, to “reduce the Supreme Court to nothing more than Chief Justice Roberts sitting at a card table with a candle.” During the administration of Thomas Jefferson, the legislative and executive branches worked together to abolish over half of all federal judgeships(18 of 35). While abolishing judgeships and lower federal courts is a blunt tool and one whose use is warranted only in the most extreme of circumstances, those who care about the rule of law can be relied upon to consider whatever constitutionally permissibly tools they can find to fight federal judges and courts exceeding their powers.  It is one of many possibilities to check and balance the judiciary.  Other constitutional options, including impeachment, are better suited in most circumstances to check and balance the judiciary. [Newt.org, 10/7/11 ] Gingrich Has Proposed That Congress “Subpoena Federal Judges” When They Did Not Like Their Decisions. From an article in the ABA Journal : On national security issues, Gingrich said at a Values Voters Summit on Friday, he saw no reason to obey some U.S. Supreme Court rulings, report CBS News and the Atlantic. “I would instruct the national security officials in a Gingrich administration to ignore the recent decisions of the Supreme Court on issues of national security,” Gingrich said. Gingrich also told the summit and  Face the Nation on Sunday that Congress could subpoena federal judges and ask them to explain their decisions. Gingrich thought the subpoenas could have “a sobering effect” on judges’ assessment of their powers. He also had another proposal for chastising judges. The Atlantic has Gingrich’s quote: “Congress has the power to limit the appeals, as I mentioned earlier. Congress can cut budgets. Congress can say: ‘All right, in the future, the 9th Circuit can meet, but it will have no clerks. By the way, we aren’t going to pay the electric bill for two years. And since you seem to be–since you seem to be rendering justice in the dark, you don’t seem to need your law library, either.’ ” [ ABA Journal , 10/12/11 ] Gingrich Subsequently Said If Judges Did Not Comply With Subpoenas They Could Be Arrested. [CBS News, 12/18/11 ] Limbaugh And Fox’s Doocy Have Touted Gingrich’s Proposals Doocy: Gingrich Was “Historical,” “Accurate,” And “Brilliant” When “Talking About Out-Of-Control Judges And The Courts.” During the December 16 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends , co-host Steve Doocy said: DOOCY: And when it comes to Newt Gingrich, while he was tamer, I’ll tell you, when he was talking about out-of-control judges and the courts, he was historical, he was accurate, he was brilliant. The crowd there in Sioux City really ate it up. [Fox News, Fox & Friends , 12/16/11 ] Limbaugh Hyped Gingrich’s Plan To Impeach Judges, Abolish Courts.  During the December 16 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show , Rush Limbaugh lauded Gingrich’s defense of his proposals for judges during the December 15 Fox News debate. He classified Gingrich’s statements as one of “Newt’s Best Debate Moments”: LIMBAUGH: Another Newt moment was this. Megyn Kelly: She handled the legal questions last night. “Speaker Gingrich, you have proposed a plan to subpoena judges to testify before Congress about controversial decisions that they make. In certain cases you advocate impeaching judges or abolishing the courts altogether. Two conservative former attorneys general have criticized your plan saying it alters the checks and balances of the three branches of government and they used words like ‘dangerous, outrageous, totally irresponsible.’  Are they wrong?” GINGRICH (audio clip):  The courts have become grotesquely dictatorial, far too powerful — and I think, frankly, arrogant in their misreading of the American people. There’s an entire paper at Newt.org. I’ve been working on this project since 2002 when the Ninth Circuit court said that “one nation under God” is unconstitutional in the Pledge of Allegiance, and I decided: If you had judges who are so radically anti-American that they thought “one nation under God” was wrong, they shouldn’t be on the court. LIMBAUGH:  That also brought people out of their seats last night. There were a lot of moments like that, and it was an uplifting debate throughout the whole time. The attitude, mood of the whole night was productive and good. You know, people don’t understand the courts, the separation of powers in Congress. Congress can do anything they want with their — Congress can totally redistrict the United — who set up the court system, do you think? Do you think that Oliver Wendell Holmes sat down one day and said, “You know what? This is going be the Ninth Circuit, and over here is going be the DC Circuit. Over here is going be the Fourth Circuit.”  That is not how it happened. Congress did it. If Congress wanted to split the Ninth Circus — make it smaller, make fewer people subject to it — they could. If they had the votes, if the president goes along with it. It’s — the Founding Fathers really did not want an imperial judiciary. They did not want what we’ve got. They did not want judges and bureaucrats writing law. The people are not represented when that starts happening. There is no representative republic. The Founding Fathers had no intention that the final word on law or anything else be nine people wearing robes. That was not the intent. It’s where we have evolved — in fact, not just with legal issues. How many political issues now end up at the court and whatever the Supreme Court verdict is is the final word and authority on a political issue like abortion?  Sorry, that was not the intent. Judges can be impeached. Now, it is a bit radical to bring ‘em in and start making them explain their decisions. It’s tempting. Some, but I — that — well, Alcee Hastings. You can impeach them.  Then they run for Congress after that. But there is a way of dealing with this. Most people, particularly people who are under 50, peripheral knowledge of the court system and the Constitution have grown up believing that what happens when a judge bangs a gavel is it. That’s it. There’s nowhere else you can go. Once you have gone to the last court that’ll hear your case, that’s it. That was never intended, particularly when it comes to legal issues. But with the left, politicizing all the judgeships as they can and putting unelectable people on courts, that’s where it all started transforming. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show , 12/16/11 ; RushLimbaugh.com, 12/16/11 ] But Legal Experts Call Gingrich’s Plan A Terrible Idea Group Aimed At Keeping The Judiciary Fair And Impartial: “Gingrich’s Proposal … Clashes Violently With The Founders’ Intentions.” From a report on Republican presidential candidates’ plans for the courts by the Justice at Stake campaign, an organization dedicated to keeping “state and federal courts fair and impartial”: Gingrich’s proposal to eliminate judgeships for political reasons also clashes violently with the Founders’ intentions. In August 1787, the Constitutional Convention considered a plan to allow Congress to oust judges for reasons other than misbehavior in office. The proposal was rejected by seven states, and favored by only one. Participants in the convention included Hamilton, James Madison, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. [Justice at Stake campaign, 10/24/11 ] Law Professor Raskin: Gingrich’s Proposal Says That “Racist Governors … Were Right In Thinking That [ Brown v. Board of Education ] Was Nothing More Than A Suggestion.” From a Huffington Post article by law professor and Democratic Maryland state Sen. Jamin Raskin: The campaign paper on the judiciary that Gingrich boasted of last week is a scary protracted critique of the Supreme Court’s 9-0 decision in  Cooper v. Aaron  (1958). This was a critical desegregation case from Arkansas reaffirming  Brown v. Board of Education  (1954) and the Court’s power under  Marbury v. Madison  (1803) to declare what the law is for the nation. In what must be seen as a shameless and shameful bid for attention in the Southern states, Gingrich is now effectively saying that racist Governors like Orval Faubus and George Wallace were right in thinking that Brown’s historic ruling was nothing more than a suggestion. He is attacking the decision that struck down, once and for all, the doctrines of “interposition” and “nullification” under which racists have rallied since before the Civil War. When Gingrich was asked last week about the Bush administration Attorneys General attacking his judicial positions, he said he would ask them “first of all, have they studied Jefferson, who in 1802 abolished 18 out of 35 federal judges? Eighteen out of 35 were abolished.” The following conversation followed: KELLY: Something that was highly criticized. GINGRICH: Not by anybody in power in 1802. Well, Newt, first of all, the repeal of the Judiciary Act in 1802 got rid of 16 judgeships, not 18, and, second, it was enormously controversial. For example, the Washington Federalist wrote: “The fatal bill is passed. Our Constitution is no more.” The New York Post described this non-controversial bill as “the death wound of our glorious Constitution.” Third, had he been around then, Gingrich would have certainly been on the other side wailing about attacks on the judges because all of the plutocrats and reactionaries rallied around the courts at that point. [Huffington Post, 12/19/11 ] Even Conservatives Have Labeled Gingrich’s Plan “Dangerous” And “Unconstitutional” Michael Mukasey Says Gingrich’s Plan For Judiciary Is “Outrageous,” “Dishonest,” “Ridiculous,” “Irresponsible,” And “Dangerous.” Former attorney general under President George W. Bush, Michael Mukasey, told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly on America Live that Gingrich’s plan is “off-the-wall” and would “reduce the entire judicial system to a spectacle.” From the show: MEGYN KELLY: Now let’s talk about his idea. He wants to, among other things, subpoena judges who issue decisions that he doesn’t like. MICHAEL MUKASEY: For judicial oversight hearings, as he calls them. KELLY: What — how does that strike you? MUKASEY: Outrageous Kelly: How so? MUKASEY: Because there’s no basis. The only basis on which Congress can subpoena people is to consider legislation. To subpoeana judges so as to beat them up about their decisions has only a — if they’re going to say that has to do with legislation that they might propose, that’s completely dishonest. KELLY: But what about the most controversial courts and Gingrich’s plan to eliminate them? He wants to see the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals entirely abolished. Your thoughts on that? MUKASEY: Ridiculous. The fact is that the Constitution empowers the Supreme Court [sic: Congress] to establish lower federal courts. Presumably, it can undo lower federal courts. But to say that you’re going to undo an entire court simply because you don’t like some of their decisions when there are thousands of cases before that court is totally irresponsible. KELLY: But you know, a lot of people don’t like, in particular, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. They think it’s issued some crazy rulings, it issued, as Newt Gingrich has pointed out many times, the opinion striking down “under God” in the pledge, which was later reversed by the Supreme Court, but a lot of people think “yeah, I don’t like that Ninth Circuit, let’s get rid of it” — to those viewers who are feeling that way, explain why you think that’s outrageous and dangerous. MUKASEY: It’s outrageous because it essentially does away with the notion that when courts decide cases, the proper way to have them reviewed is to go to a higher court. It’s dangerous because even from the standpoint of the people who put it forward, because you have no guarantee that you have a permanent majority. The minority now can be the majority tomorrow and can do the same thing to the courts that they don’t like. MUKASEY: It would reduce the entire judicial system to a spectacle. [Fox News, America Live , 12/15/11 ] Alberto Gonzales Says Gingrich’s Judicial Plan Is “Troubling” And He “Would Not Support” Gingrich’s Efforts. Former attorney general under President George W. Bush, Alberto Gonzales, told Megyn Kelly that Gingrich’s plan is “troubling” because having “a strong and independent Judiciary” is key to protecting the rule of law that makes our country great. From the show: ALBERTO GONZALES: I think that we have a great government, a great country because it’s built upon a foundation of the rule of law. And one of the things that makes it great and the fact — the rule of law is protected is by having a strong and independent judiciary. And the notion or the specter of bringing judges before the Congress like a school child being brought before the principal, to me, is a little bit troubling. I believe a strong and independent judiciary doesn’t mean that the judiciary is above scrutiny, that it’s above criticism for the work that it does. But I cannot support and would not support efforts that would appear to be intimidation or retaliation against judges. [Fox News, America Live , 12/15/11 ] National Review Online’s Whelan Calls Gingrich’s Proposal “Awful.” In a series of five blog posts on “Gingrich’s Awful Proposal to Abolish Judgeships,” Ed Whelan and Matthew Franck say Gingrich’s proposal is “constitutionally unsound and politically foolish.” From Whelan’s first post in the series: In last night’s debate among Republican presidential candidates, Newt Gingrich defended his proposal to oust bad judges from office by statutorily abolishing the judicial offices they occupy. In a series of posts, Matt Franck and I will explain why we believe that this particular proposal of Gingrich’s is constitutionally unsound and politically foolish. (Matt and I may have somewhat different thinking on the underlying issues, so the views expressed by one of us should not necessarily be imputed to the other.) [National Review Online, 12/16/11 ] National Review Online’s Franck Says Gingrich’s Plan Constitutes “Cheating On The Constitution’s Rules.” From a post by Franck: But Gingrich’s proposal doesn’t match its supposed precedent.  He doesn’t simply want to restore a status quo ante (for motives pure or partisan) by abolishing a court we don’t need.  He apparently wants to abolish it and then recreate it in some fashion, with new vacancies .  That’s cheating on the Constitution’s rules for the removal of judges one doesn’t like.  If the problem is the judge (not the court), then the Constitution provides for impeachment.  That’s difficult, both procedurally and in terms of the standards to be applied to justify removal.  But it’s difficult for a reason.  I have often said that judicial independence is something we could stand to have a lot less of.  But there are right ways and wrong ways to bring activist judges to heel.  This is a very badly wrong way. [National Review Online, 12/16/11 ] Bush-Appointed Former Federal Judge Says “The Constitution Is Pretty Clear That Neither Side Can Eliminate Judges Because They Disagree With Their Decisions.” From a Washington Post article quoting Michael W. McConnell, who was appointed by President George W. Bush to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit and resigned to become a law professor: Michael W. McConnell, director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford University and a former federal appeals judge appointed by Bush, also observed that conservative audiences “should not be cheering” and “are misled” if they believe Gingrich’s proposal is in their interest at a time when Republicans are looking to the Supreme Court to declare President Obama’s health-care law unconstitutional. “You would think that this would be a time when they would be defending the independence of the judiciary, not attacking it,” he said. “You can’t have it both ways. It can’t be that when conservative Republicans object to the courts, they have the right to replace judges, and when liberal Democrats disapprove of the courts, they don’t. And the constitution is pretty clear that neither side can eliminate judges because they disagree with their decisions.” [ The Washington Post , 12/17/11 ]

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