Monday ReadsPosted: October 29, 2012
All things surrounding the elections are now up to 11. I’ve seen some weird things in my days but I’m beginning to check my history books for more bizarre examples of crazy campaign antics. Andrew Sullivan turned my last week’s observation of the similarities between the election maps of 2012 and those of the US directly before the civil war into a national conversation yesterday on ABC. I’m just pointing to ABC right now because I’ve had enough virtual visitations from the KKK for the time being.
During this Sunday’s edition of ABC’s This Week, Daily Beast writer Andrew Sullivan claimed that if Republican nominee Mitt Romney wins back Florida and Virginia in the upcoming 2012 presidential election, especially due to the white vote, then the South’s electoral map will look exactly like the pro-slavery United States Confederacy during the Civil War.
This observation came in response to host George Stephanopoulos noting that the latest polls show that six out of ten white Americans intend to vote for Romney.
PBS reporter Gwen Ifill said that “we can’t ignore” the possible factor racial animus may play in deciding the election, noting that the poll indicates that, on some level, people are still willing to admit “racial bias.”
Sullivan then added: “If Virginia and Florida go back to the Republicans, it’s the Confederacy. Entirely. You put a map of the Civil War over this electoral map, you’ve got the Civil War.”
Perhaps we all really need to have a big conversation on racism in America. It appears white people think they are victims of racism while still using racial stereotypes for people of color. I’m confused. Hasn’t any one had read any literature or history on institutional racism. White people screaming racism is about like the current crop of republican men shouting they’re victims of misogyny.
Racial prejudice has increased slightly since 2008 whether those feelings were measured using questions that explicitly asked respondents about racist attitudes, or through an experimental test that measured implicit views toward race without asking questions about that topic directly.
Fifty-one percent of Americans now express explicit anti-black attitudes, compared with 48 percent in a similar 2008 survey. When measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, the number of Americans with anti-black sentiments jumped to 56 percent, up from 49 percent during the last presidential election. In both tests, the share of Americans expressing pro-black attitudes fell.
“As much as we’d hope the impact of race would decline over time … it appears the impact of anti-black sentiment on voting is about the same as it was four years ago,” said Jon Krosnick, a Stanford University professor who worked with AP to develop the survey.
Most Americans expressed anti-Hispanic sentiments, too. In an AP survey done in 2011, 52 percent of non-Hispanic whites expressed anti-Hispanic attitudes. That figure rose to 57 percent in the implicit test. The survey on Hispanics had no past data for comparison.
The AP surveys were conducted with researchers from Stanford University, the University of Michigan and NORC at the University of Chicago.
The Romney campaign continues its strategy of lying by planning on using an ad in Ohio about a false, conspiracy theory on a jeep plant closing to move to China. It’s been completely denied, debunked, and disproved so, Romney’s continuing to put it out there. They’ve even put together an ad.
As you may have heard, Romney on Thursday scared the bejeezus out of Ohio autoworkers when, during arally, he cited a story claiming that Chrysler was moving Jeep production to China. Thousands of people work at a sprawling Jeep complex in Toledo and a nearby machining plant. Many thousands more work for suppliers or have jobs otherwise dependent on the Jeep factories. It’s fair to say that they owe their jobs to President Obama, who in 2009 rescued Chrysler and General Motors from likely liquidation. If Chrysler moved the plants overseas, most of those people would be out of work.
The story turns out to be wrong. As Chrysler made clear the very next day, in a tartly worded blog post on the company website, officials have discussed opening plants in China in order to meet rising demand for vehicles there. They have no plans to downsize or shutter plants in the U.S. On the contrary, Fiat, the Italian company that acquired Chrysler during the rescue, just spent $1.7 billion to expand Jeep production in the U.S. That includes $500 million to renovate and expand the Toledo facilities, with 1,000 new factory jobs likely to follow. On Monday, about the same number of people will report for their first day of work in Detroit, when Chrysler adds a third shift to a Jeep plant it operates there.
This is as bad as all the false narratives out there being repeated about Benghazi including the completely false narrative that Hillary Clinton asked for more security and Obama denied it. Then, there’s the they didn’t send the military in to help meme that points to the White House too. All of this is patently false but still harped on by Romney surrogates. The desperation of Romney supporters is evident in all these lies. That and the contempt they must have for the American people. Even former Bush SOS Condi Rice says these Republican narratives are ridiculous.
It is being charged that requests for extra security in Benghazi were denied by the administration.
The suggestion is that the attack would have been stopped, and the ambassador still alive, if the requests had been granted.
But at a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee this month, Charlene Lamb, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and head of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, testified that the request was for added security in Tripoli, the capital of Libya, and not Benghazi.
The added manpower would have been based 400 miles away from the violence.
In addition, U.S. security officials report more guards could not have repelled heavy weapons used by the attackers.
The Wall Street Journal has reported “a four-man team of armed guards protecting the perimeter and four unarmed Libyan guards inside to screen visitors.”
In addition, “Besides the four armed Libyans outside, five armed State Department diplomatic security officers were at the consulate.”
There is an air of hypocrisy about this second charge from Republican critics.
House Republicans voted to cut nearly $300 million in funding from Embassy Security as part of their most recent budget.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) conceded this in a CNN interview.
“Absolutely. Look, we have to make priorities and choices in this country… When you’re in tough economic times, you have to make difficult choices how to prioritize this.”
Dean Baker has an excellent article up on the future of Social Security and Why Big Bucks Donors don’t like political discussions that strongly support the program. He argues that any highly vocal support of Social Security by Obama would dry up his campaign contributions.
But there is another set of economic considerations affecting the politics of social security. These considerations involve the economics of the political campaigns and the candidates running for office. The story here is a simple one: while social security may enjoy overwhelming support across the political spectrum, it does not poll nearly as well among the wealthy people – who finance political campaigns and own major news outlets. The predominant philosophy among this group is that a dollar in a workers’ pocket is a dollar that could be in a rich person’s pocket – and these people see social security putting lots of dollars in the pockets of people who are not rich.
Cutting back benefits could mean delays in repaying the government bonds held by the Trust Fund . The money to repay these bonds would come primarily from a relatively progressive income tax revenue. The wealthy certainly don’t want to see changes like raising the cap on wages that are subject to the social security tax, which is currently just over $110,000.
For this reason, a candidate who comes out for protecting social security can expect to see a hit to their campaign contributions. They also can anticipate being beaten up in both the opinion and news sections of major media outlets. While, in principle, these are supposed to be kept strictly separate, the owners and/or top management of most news outlets feel no qualms about removing this separation when it comes to social security – and using news space to attack those who defend social security.
So, that’s my offerings this morning. What’s on your reading and blogging list today?