Putting A Positive Spin On Negative Campaigning

by NPR Staff
The general presidential election is still months away, but President Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney are already hammering each other with attack ads.

Obama's most recent ads criticize Romney's time as a so-called "corporate raider," while Romney has released several ads seizing upon the president's statement that the "private sector is doing fine."

Negative campaigning is hardly new, but at the rate this year's campaign is going some say this could be one of the most negative races in recent history.

"I think it's very likely to be the most negative race since the advent of television," says John Geer, a political scientist at Vanderbilt University.

Geer tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz that there are several factors that could influence that negativity, including huge superPAC donations and the increasing polarization of the political parties. A third factor, he says, is the candidates themselves.

"Both candidates [have] some flaws," he says, "and those flaws will provide grist for the respective attack mills."

The Positivity Of Negativity
Poll after poll shows Americans don't like negative campaigning, but Geer says, people do want to know is whether a candidate has raised taxes or flip-flopped on an issue. He says one study found negative ads — by a margin of 60 percent — tend to be more accurate and truthful than positive ones.

"They want to know the downsides of candidates," Geer says. "We spend a lot of time worrying about the exaggeration or the misrepresentation on the negative side, but the same thing [happens] on the positive side."

Geer, who wrote the book In Defense of Negativity, says democracy requires negativity. When one group is trying to take control of the seat of power held by another group, criticism, and therefore negativity, is how they communicate to the public that those in power need to be replaced, he says.

"There is no democratic country in the world that doesn't have negativity in it," he says, "because it's ... a foundational aspect of the system."

Recent research from the Wesleyan Media Project shows that this presidential campaign has already been very negative, and Geer says it will be interesting to see how it plays out as the November election approaches.

"Obama does not have a lot to run on ... and Romney has some aspects of his record that he has to explain," he says.

One thing that has changed over the last decade or so is the news media's fascination with negative ads, Geer says. The power of some negative ads comes not from the ad itself but from the news coverage that follows.

Rise Of The Negative TV Spot

One of the TV ads that began that media fascination, Geer says, is the now infamous "Willie Horton ad." The ad ran during the 1988 presidential election between Republican George H.W. Bush and Democrat Michael Dukakis, a race often considered one of the nastiest elections in the modern era.

The ad, released by a Bush political action committee, features a Massachusetts prisoner named Willie Horton who committed a brutal assault and rape while on a weekend prison furlough. Dukakis was governor of Massachusetts at the time. He had defended against earlier attack ads, but Dukakis says this one was so negative and racially charged that he and his team decided the best response was to ignore it.
That decision might have cost him the presidency.

"I thought people were tired of a lot of the polarization that was taking place ... and basically just said, 'We're not going to respond to those attacks,' " Dukakis tells Raz. "It was a terrible mistake."

Dukakis, who now teaches at Northeastern University and UCLA, says that by the time he realized his mistake it was too late to repair all of the damage it had done. He says he found out the hard way that negative campaigning, if left unanswered, can really work.

"You can't do what I did ... [because] if you do that, you're going to be hurt and you're going to be hurt badly," he says.

Now that outside groups can spend unlimited amounts of money on ads, the 2012 election could make 1988 look pretty tame. Dukakis says there's no doubt this campaign is going to get very nasty, but he says there's no reason for it.
"I'm not suggesting we wouldn't have some negative campaigning without Citizens United," he says, "but I think that it was a terrible thing for the American political system."

Negative Ads Here To Stay

No matter the year, negative campaigns are part of America's DNA. During the 1828 presidential race between Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams, Jackson was accused of cock-fighting and cannibalism; his wife was called a prostitute.

"We seem to think ... everything is getting worse, but if people had any historical memory they'd see that this is relatively mild," says New York Magazine writer-at-large Frank Rich.

Rich, who wrote about negative ads this week, says that 2012 is not a departure from history. Romney ran negative ads early and often in the heated Republican primary and now in the general election. He tells Raz that the Obama campaign has shown it can do the same, citing ads attacking Romney's time at Bain Capital.

"The Obama campaign is schooled in this and presumably will act upon their expertise, as will the Romney campaign," he says.

Rich agrees that conversations wrought by negative campaigning are ultimately bad for American political discourse, but he says we can't pretend that they're not happening. The campaigns are going to have to participate in those conversations to sell their respective candidates.

The larger point, Rich says, is that the country will survive it all no matter how negative it gets.

"We can always feel that everything is going bad at any given moment," he says, "but the truth is we have to have a little bit of a longer view and realize that this is what waxes and wanes in American politics."
 Courtesy of NPR

Secret donors underwrite attack ads

 By Michael Beckelemail
published on i Watch News 
While super PACs were cast as the big, bad wolves during the last election, the groups were outspent by “social welfare” organizations by a 3-2 margin, a trend that may continue amid reports that major donors are giving tens of millions of dollars to the secretive nonprofit groups.

A joint investigation by the Center for Public Integrity and the Center for Responsive Politics has found that more than 100 nonprofits organized under section 501(c)(4) of the U.S. tax code spent roughly $95 million on political expenditures in the 2010 election compared with $65 million by super PACs.

Nearly 90 percent of the spending by these nonprofits — more than $84 million — came from groups that never publicly disclosed their funders, the joint analysis of Federal Election Commission data found. Another $8 million came from groups that only partially revealed their donors.

Unlike the nonprofits, super PACs are required to release the names of their contributors.

In terms of party allegiance, conservative “social welfare” groups outspent liberal groups $78 million to $16 million, nearly 5-to-1, according to the analysis.

So far in the 2012 election cycle, super PACs have far outspent nonprofits, thanks mainly to candidate-specific committees that were active during the GOP primaries. Super PACs have spent more than $120 million compared to about $9 million by 501(c)(4)s. But with clearly defined candidates for both the White House and in most congressional races, nonprofits are expected to become more active.

Billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson, for example, known for backing a super PAC that supported former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s failed presidential bid, has indicated he would give $35 million more to three conservative nonprofit groups, according to the Huffington Post.

Political warfare or ‘social welfare’?

The 2010 midterm election was the first time outside groups were permitted to accept unlimited contributions from corporations, unions and wealthy individuals to spend on ads supporting or opposing candidates. The change occurred thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s bombshell Citizens United decision, which came down in January 2010.

The high court’s decision and a lower court ruling called SpeechNow made possible super PACs — political groups that played a huge role in the GOP presidential primary by collecting multimillion-dollar contributions from billionaires and using the funds to blast opposing candidates.

The Internal Revenue Service says that groups organized under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code “must be operated exclusively to promote social welfare.” But they are also legally allowed to spend significant sums of money on electioneering and lobbying — so long as electoral politics isn’t a group’s primary purpose.

Meanwhile, the FEC requires nonprofits to report their expenses if they fall into one of three categories.

The first category is advertisements that expressly advocate for or against federal candidates, which are known as “independent expenditures.”

The second is for broadcast ads that mention a federal candidate within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election, but don’t overtly urge viewers to elect or defeat that candidate. These are known as “electioneering communications.”

And the last type are so-called “communication costs,” which are internal political communications targeting a group’s own members.

Three conservative groups accounted for more than half of all such spending: the American Action Network, Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies and the American Future Fund.

The American Action Network alone — with its $21 million in reported ad spending — accounted for more than $1 out of every $5 in political spending by 501(c)(4) nonprofits that was reported to the FEC in the 2010 election.

The group was created by Norm Coleman, former Republican senator from Minnesota, and describes itself as “center-right.” It has spent most of its money attacking Democrats running for Congress. Its donors are secret, but the board includes longtime GOP operative and former Nixon administration official Fred Malek and billionaire Home Depot co-founder Kenneth Langone, according to its most recent tax return.

In 2010, Crossroads GPS reported spending more than $17 million, while the American Future Fund spent about $9.6 million. Crossroads GPS is the sister organization of super PAC American Crossroads, and both were co-founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove, the former adviser to ex-president George W. Bush. The Iowa-based American Future Fund was founded by Nick Ryan, who also founded the super PAC that promoted former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum during the GOP presidential primaries.
These groups aim to be major players in the 2012 election. But because of the way election spending is reported, the exact size of their investment is unknown.

Spending untraceable

Nonprofit groups are not only able to hide their contributors; they are also able to avoid reporting their expenditures. Take, for instance, Crossroads GPS.

According to a source who tracks political advertising buys, since the start of 2011, Crossroads GPS has spent more than $44 million on ads critical of President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats such as Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Jon Tester of Montana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Bill Nelson of Florida, who all face contentious re-election fights.

But because the bulk of the ads did not air within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election, the group hasn’t been required to report the spending to the FEC. Reports Crossroads GPS has filed with the FEC this election cycle say it has spent just over $200,000.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is classified as a 501(c)(6), is also known for this type of spending.

By November, Crossroads GPS, along with American Crossroads intends to spend between $240 million and $300 million, according to the groups. If past trends hold, the bulk of that spending is likely to come from Crossroads GPS.

It wasn’t lawmakers’ intention that 501(c) organizations such as Crossroads GPS would be able to keep their donors secret.

Under the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law passed in 2002, anyone who donated at least $1,000 for “electioneering communications” was required to be identified. Yet in a 2007 rulemaking, the FEC decided that it would only require groups to disclose their donors if the person gave “specifically for the purpose of furthering electioneering communications.”

Unsurprisingly, few people give with explicit instructions and few groups opt for the voluntary disclosure.

Last summer, after the FEC asked Crossroads GPS for information about the donors who were bankrolling its spending during the midterm election, Thomas J. Josefiak, a lawyer for the group, said in a letter that the commission was misinterpreting its own reporting requirements.

“No contributions accepted by Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies were solicited or received ‘for the purpose of furthering the reported independent expenditure,’” Josefiak wrote, citing the official regulatory language for what triggers disclosure.
“Accordingly, no contributions were required to be reported,” he continued. “The omission of contributor information on future reports should not be assumed to be an oversight.”

Right to know or right to privacy?

Campaign finance watchdogs don’t think that Crossroads GPS and other politically active nonprofits should be off the hook when it comes to disclosure.

“The two most dangerous forms of money are unlimited contributions and secret money,” said Fred Wertheimer, the president of the advocacy group Democracy 21. “History tells us that secret money and unlimited money are vehicles for corrupting government decisions and officeholders.”

Wertheimer’s group, along with the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, has called for the IRS to investigate several 501(c)(4) groups that he says are masquerading as nonprofits to avoid publicly revealing their funders.

The targeted groups include Crossroads GPS, American Action Network and Priorities USA, a pro-Obama nonprofit launched last year by former White House aides Sean Sweeney and Bill Burton.

In Congress, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) has also been attempting to change disclosure requirements — through both lawsuits and legislation.

Van Hollen’s DISCLOSE Act, which, in 2010, passed the U.S. House of Representatives but failed to overcome a Republican filibuster in the U.S. Senate, was re-introduced in a slimmed down version earlier this year. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) introduced companion legislation this spring as well.

Opposition to the bill has been led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, with other groups, such as the Center for Competitive Politics.

Allen Dickerson, the legal director of the Center for Competitive Politics, says that the DISCLOSE Act would impose "burdensome" requirements on political nonprofits and violate the civil rights of donors.

"This [bill] is an enormous expansion of the government’s intervention in the internal workings of nonprofit groups," he said.

Nonprofits are super PAC donors too

While super PACs have been roundly criticized for their outsized — and largely negative — role in politics, they at least get credit for revealing their donors. But when the donor is a nonprofit, that’s not the case.

For instance, three “social welfare” nonprofits  — the National Association for Gun Rights, Campaign for Liberty and Independent Women's Voice — have paid a combined $22,500 to ChristinePAC for use of mailing lists, according to FEC records. The super PAC was created by tea party darling Christine O’Donnell, who bested Rep. Mike Castle in a Republican U.S. Senate primary in Delaware in 2010 but faltered during the general election.

Similarly, the GOP-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund has reported receiving more than $28,000 in in-kind contributions from the American Action Network.

Other super PACs to report in-kind contributions from nonprofits include the pro-Obama Priorities USA Action, the main super PAC supporting President Barack Obama, and FreedomWorks for America, a group tied to former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey.

In fact, since their creation in 2010, the Center for Public Integrity and Center for Responsive Politics found that about 15 percent of super PAC spending has been done by groups that have reported receiving contributions from a 501(c)(4) or a 501(c)(6).

Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California-Irvine, says the attack ads produced and funded by nonprofits are likely to have a "major impact" this year, "especially in congressional races."

"There's a lot of money flowing here beneath the radar," he said.

Courtesy of i Watch News


President Barack Obama Weekly Address June 23, 2012 (Video/Transcript)

President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
Washington, DC
June 23, 2012
Over the past three years, we’ve been clawing our way back from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes.  And we know it will take longer than any of us would like to fully recover all the jobs and savings that have been lost.  But there are things we can do – right now – to help put people back to work and make life a little easier for middle-class families.
For months, I’ve been pushing Congress to help us along by passing common-sense policies that would make a difference.  Democrats and Republicans have already done some important work together – like passing a tax cut that’s allowing working Americans to keep more of their paycheck every week.   But Congress has refused to act on most of the other ideas in my jobs plan that economists say could put a million more Americans back to work.
There’s no excuse for inaction.  Right now, we are seven days away from thousands of American workers having to walk off the job because Congress hasn’t passed a transportation bill.  We are eight days away from nearly seven and a half million students seeing their loan rates double because Congress hasn’t acted to stop it.

This makes no sense.  We know that one of the most important things we can do for our economy is to make sure that all Americans get the best education possible.  Right now, the unemployment rate for Americans with a college degree or more is about half the national average.  Their incomes are twice as high as those who don’t have a high school diploma.  So, if we know that a higher education is the clearest path to the middle class, why would we make it harder to achieve?
So much of America needs to be repaired right now.  Bridges are deteriorating after years of neglect. Highways are choked with congestion. Transportation delays cost Americans and businesses billions of dollars every year. And there are hundreds of thousands of construction workers who have never been more eager to get back on the job.  So why would we let our transportation funding run out?  This is a time when we should be doing everything in our power – Democrats and Republicans – to keep this recovery moving forward.
My Administration is doing its part.  On Friday, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced $500 million in competitive grants for states and communities that will create construction jobs on projects like road repair and port renovation.  And that’s an important step, but we can’t do it all on our own.
The Senate did their part.  They passed a bipartisan transportation bill back in March.  It had the support of 52 Democrats and 22 Republicans.
Now, it’s up to the House to follow suit; to put aside partisan posturing, end the gridlock, and do what’s right for the American people.
It’s not lost on any of us that this is an election year.  But we’ve got responsibilities that are bigger than an election.  We answer to the American people, and they are demanding action.  Let’s make it easier for students to stay in college.  Let’s keep construction workers rebuilding our roads and bridges.  And let’s tell Congress to do their job.   Tell them it’s time to take steps that we know will create jobs now and help sustain our economy for years to come.


President Obama Speaks on Student Loan Interest Rates (Video/Transcript)

HE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you, everybody.  Thank you.  Everybody have a seat.  (Applause.)  Well, it is good to see all of you. 
AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!
THE PRESIDENT:  I love you guys back.  (Laughter.)  I have to say, the -- I don’t know about the choice of music coming in here, though.  (Laughter.)  I love my Marine Band, but this is kind of a young demographic for the piano cocktail hour.  (Laughter.)
So some of the most fun I've had as President is when I get a chance to talk with you, college students, about the importance of earning a higher education in today's economy.  And I'll admit that the East Room isn't as rowdy as Carmichael Arena at UNC, or -- we got any UNC folks here in the house?  There we go.  Coors Center at CU Boulder -- any -- no?  Okay.  (Laughter.)  I have to say that most of you are much more dressed up than usually when I see you in your own natural habitats.  (Laughter.)
But our message today is serious.  Right now, the unemployment rate for Americans with a college degree or more is about half the national average.  They earn twice as much as those who don’t have a high school diploma.  So whether it's at a four-year college, or a community college, or a technical program, some form of higher education, something beyond high school has never been more important.  It's the surest path to finding a good job, earning a good salary, making it into the middle class.
And at the same time, over the last two decades, the cost of college has doubled -- it's actually more than doubled.  And that means -- and I don’t have to tell you, because you're probably tallying it up right now -- the cost for you to take out loans has increased, and you are more likely to rack up more debt.  The average student who borrows to pay for college now graduates with about $26,000 of debt from their student loans.  Americans as a whole now owe more on student loans than they do on their credit cards.  And that is wrong, because we cannot afford to price the middle class and folks who aspire to go into the middle class, we can't price them out of the college education market.  We can't stand by when millions of young people are already saddled with debt just as you're starting off.
Your parents, your grandparents, oftentimes they were in a position where when they got that first job, the first thing they're thinking about is, how do I save to buy a home and start a family.  And if you're already dealing with a big bunch of debt before you even get started, that’s a problem.  And it's mind-boggling that we've had this stalemate in Washington that threatens to make the situation even worse.
So the reason you're all here, the reason all these fine-looking young people behind me are here is that in just over a week the interest rates on federal student loans are scheduled to double.  I’ve been talking about this now for what -- a month and a half, two months, three months, five months -- I’ve lost track. (Laughter.)  We’ve been talking about it for a long time.  If Congress does not get this done in a week, the average student with federal student loans will rack up an additional $1,000 in debt over the coming year.  If Congress fails to act, more than 7 million students will suddenly be hit with the equivalent of a $1,000 tax hike.  And that’s not something that you can afford right now.
Now, as I said, if this warning sounds familiar, we’ve been talking about this for months.  Congress has had the time to fix this for months.  It’s part of the reason why everybody here looks impatient.  (Laughter.)  This issue didn’t come out of nowhere; it’s been looming for months.  But we’ve been stuck watching Congress play chicken with another deadline.  So we’re  nine days away from thousands of American workers having to walk off their job because Congress hasn’t passed a transportation bill.  We’re 10 days away from nearly 7.5 million students seeing their loan rates double because Congress hasn’t acted.  This should be a no-brainer.  It should not be difficult.  It should’ve gotten done weeks ago.
Now, the good news is there are folks in Congress trying to do the right thing.  Last month, Democrats in the Senate put forward a plan that would have kept these rates in place without adding a dime to the deficit.  Unfortunately, Senate Republicans got together and blocked it.  Over in the House, the Republicans said they’d keep these rates down only if we agreed to cut things like preventive health care for women, which obviously wouldn’t fix the problem, but would create a new problem.
This is -- even as they were voting in lockstep for an economic plan that would cut financial aid for nine million college students by an average of $1,000 and give a $150,000 tax cut to wealthy Americans.  So I recognize that there’s been some effort to change the subject from this rate hike.
One Congressman warned that this is all about giving college students “free college education” -- which doesn’t make much sense, because the definition of a loan is it’s not free -- (laughter) -- you have to pay it back.  Others have said we’re just talking about student loans to distract from the economy.  That doesn’t make much sense because this is the economy.
This is all about the economy.  This is all about whether or not we are going to have the best-trained, best-educated workforce in the world.  That improves our economy.  And higher education cannot be a luxury reserved just for a privileged few. It’s an economic necessity for every family, and every family should be able to afford it.
So you guys, during this period when you’ve been in college have been some of the toughest economic times since the 1930s,  and there are still a lot of challenges ahead globally.  And we can’t control every economic headwind that we face, but this is something we can control.  This is something we can do something about.  Stopping student rates from doubling at the end of the month is something we can do right now to make a difference in the lives of all the American people.
There’s still 10 days for Congress to do the right thing.  I understand that members of both parties say they want to get this done, and there are conversations taking place, but they haven’t done it yet.  And we’ve got to keep the pressure on.
That’s where all of you come in.  Over the past few months, there are so many students and parents who have been working hard to shine a light on this issue.  You’ve rallied on campuses, in your communities.  You’ve called, you’ve emailed, you’ve tweeted your representatives in Washington.  So you’ve played your part in making sure your voice is heard and your democracy is responsive.
My main message is, as you guys embark on this day of action, I want to make sure you keep this going.  Don’t stop until it’s actually done.  There is nothing more powerful than millions of voices that are calling for change, and all of your voices can make a difference.  So keep telling Congress to do what’s right, to get this done.  Tell them now is not the time to double interest rates on your student loans.  Tell them to double down on an investment in a strong and secure middle class -- and that means your education.  Tell them now is the time to double down on an America where everybody who works hard has a fair shot at success.
And for those who are not here and are watching, if you tweet, use the hashtag #dontdoublemyrate -- (laughter) -- #dontdoublemyrate.  But I tell you, when I look out at this group right here, you give me confidence in America.  You make me optimistic, not only because you’re getting a great education, but also because all of you are participating and making sure that this democracy works the way it’s supposed to.  We need outstanding engineers, and we need outstanding nonprofit leaders, and we need outstanding entrepreneurs, but we also need outstanding citizens.  And that’s what you guys are displaying by your presence and your activities.
So, keep it up.  Let’s get this done.  Thanks, everybody.  (Applause.)


Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius on Title IX at 40

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Hall of Fame Basketball Coach Pat Summitt, Professional Basketball Player and 2011 WNBA MVP Tamika Catchings and Author and Chief Sponsor of the Title IX legislation, former Senator Birch Bayh talk on the 40th Anniversary of Title IX and the monumental impact that piece of legislation had on furthering equal rights for women in America.


It's a rich man's world: How billionaire backers pick America's candidates

By Thomas Frank
Published on

While visiting Kansas City last December, I read a local newspaper story lamenting the gradual transformation of Missouri into a reliably Republican citadel—a red state, as we like to say. In the past, I read, Missouri had been different from its more partisan neighbors. It had been a “bellwether” state that “reflected national trends,” rather than delivering votes for any particular party. But now all that was over, and I assumed the article would go on to mourn the death of judicious public reason—the tradition of giving rival arguments a hearing and testing them with that famous “Show Me” skepticism.

I was wrong. Forget the death of open-mindedness. What was actually being mourned that day in the Kansas City Star was a possible loss of advertising revenue by the state’s TV stations. If Missouri was no longer a battleground state, then the two parties and their various backers would no longer fight their expensive electronic war over the airwaves between St. Louie and St. Joe, and “spending on TV ads in the state [would] plummet.”
This was the concern, not some airy nonsense about ideology or polarization. That would have been a mere matter of opinion, while this was so hard and so real it came with a price tag. Here is what Missouri’s creeping Kansification was going to cost: in the last election cycle, the national candidates and their allied PACs blew almost $21 million on advertising in the state. Given Missouri’s tilt to the right, every last penny of a similar windfall might be lost. Even worse: Missourians had squandered their battleground status just before what promises to be the biggest-spending political year ever. As the paper noted, campaign expenditures are predicted to skyrocket between now and November.
Thanks to their own ideological stubbornness, Missourians—or, more accurately, Missouri broadcasters—will now miss out on all that. The Star reassured readers that the hammer blows inflicted on their local FCC license holders “would not be fatal.” Yet the ultimate lesson was clear: political conviction comes at a high cost. Unemployment in Missouri stands at 8 percent, and like other Midwestern states, it has been hemorrhaging jobs and industries for decades. Now it has gone and turned away the one bonanza that even loser states, as long as they remain appropriately fickle, have a shot at winning: campaign finance.

When I came across the Star article, I thought it was an outlier—a strange and peculiarly tone-deaf way to approach political questions. Before long, however, I started noticing the same thing elsewhere: a tendency to describe Campaign 2012 exclusively in terms of the massive amounts being spent to sway us. Financial journalists reported dispassionately on “how to play the ad glut,” with even the drooping billboard industry preparing for a jackpot. “Without This Year’s Elections The Ad Business Would Be Totally Screwed,” screamed a January headline on the Business Insider website.
It wasn’t just the business press that was fixated on campaign spending. On the night of the Nevada caucuses, for example, CNN anchorman Don Lemon could be seen reporting on economic hardship in that state: the foreclosures, the real estate collapse, the unemployment. The network even trotted out a Nevadan homeless person to make its point. Then, a short while later, Lemon was back with one of those interactive displays for which CNN is so famous—in this case, a screen tracking outlays by candidates and outside groups on TV commercials.
After recalling what a glorious burst of spending the campaigns had rained down on other states as they prepared to vote, Lemon observed that now it was Nevada’s turn. Especially given the level of suffering there, said Lemon, “you would think the candidates may say, ‘Hey, you know, we want to put a little money into the economy.’ ” But now it was the anchorman’s duty to report a lamentable fact. Those candidates were actually spending less in long-suffering Nevada than they had elsewhere, and some of them had declined to buy even a single minute of airtime in the Sagebrush State. “They’re not add[ing] to the economy here,” Lemon soberly noted. The effrontery! The heartlessness!
Political advertising, in other words, might correctly be understood as a modern-day form of largesse. When presidential candidates run TV commercials assailing one another, they are playing the role of aristocrats in some medieval ceremony, throwing handfuls of coins to the toiling masses. And beside these gilded personages stand the commentariat, marveling in song and rhyme at what a fine democratic tableau it all is.
Alternatively, we might see TV commercials as one of the few stimulus programs Republicans fully endorse. They are also just about the only form of redistribution from the billionaire class that the rest of us will ever see.11. A classic example of this redistribution: in Manchester, New Hampshire, one local TV affiliate broadcasts from an unusually luxurious building. According to the political journalist David Frum, the facility is known as the House That Forbes Built, in honor of the lavish ad buys made by Steve Forbes during his 1996 and 2000 campaigns for the presidency.
And what of the ads themselves? After filling us in on how much each campaign had spent, CNN’s Lemon shared a few specimens. He told us exactly how many times each commercial had aired in Nevada and Florida, letting us calculate for ourselves the relative stopping power of each salvo. Did people’s hatred for Gingrich continue to mount after the fiftieth time an anti-Newt commercial had run, or were there diminishing returns?

There is nothing new about money in American politics. It has twisted the people’s will and infuriated the civic-minded for more than two centuries. Efforts to restrict the flow of campaign spending go back as far as 1757, when George Washington was taken to task for ladling out an excess of rum, beer, and hard cider to the voters in his district. Since then, a series of laws—including the Pendleton Act (1883), the Federal Corrupt Practices Act (1910), the Taft–Hartley Act (1947), the Federal Elections Campaign Act (1971, 1974), and the McCain–Feingold Act (2002)—have aimed to disrupt the synergy between cash and electioneering, with mixed success.
But it is different this time, in two ways.
First of all, there is the sheer size of it. Almost every modern election cycle sees a rise in spending over the previous one. This time, however, the increase will be much steeper. Think of the many outrages brought to you over the past decade or so by campaign dollars: the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth; the millions dumped by friendly billionaires into Americans Coming Together; the adventures of the Bush Pioneers, the Bush Rangers, the Bush Super Rangers. These will fade to insignificance when compared with the 2012 onslaught—the “coming tsunami of slime,” as journalist Joe Hagan calls it.
How big will the tsunami be? No one knows for sure, since today we are operating under different rules than those that prevailed just four years ago. One way of gauging the wall of filth that is headed our way would be to note that the 2010 congressional elections—the first to be conducted in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision—saw more than a fivefold increase in “independent expenditures” over the previous round of midterms. And according to the Center for Responsive Politics, independent spending to date for the 2012 elections is already 108 percent above 2008 levels. At a minimum, then, we can probably look forward to twice as much slime as the last time around.
We have been heading in this direction for a while, thanks to trends in campaign finance that brought us bundlers and PACs and 527s. Citizens United upped the ante by effectively inviting corporations and unions to spend as much as they liked on “electioneering communications.” What really changed, however, was neither the abolition of spending limits nor even the touching solicitude paid to corporations by equating their speech with that of human beings. No, Citizens United (and the related SpeechNow case) altered the political landscape most profoundly by ushering in the Super PAC.
What distinguishes the Super PAC from previous electoral-finance innovations is the deniability it affords the candidate it supports. By law, candidates themselves still cannot accept more than $2,500 from an individual. A Super PAC—officially designated as an “independent expenditure-only committee”—suffers from no such handicap. It can raise and spend potentially oceanic amounts of cash, as long as it maintains its nominal “independence” from a candidate. These slush funds are open to contributions from ordinary citizens, of course. But they have become the stalking horse par excellence for billionaire backers, who are now freed from the nickel-and-dime constraints of direct contribution—and much of this money, being theoretically separate from the candidates themselves, has naturally been poured into vitriolic TV ads.

It dawned on the world that we had reached a new level of campaign savagery during the weeks before the Iowa caucuses. For a brief moment, you will recall, Newt Gingrich, who had foresworn negative advertising and was behaving in an uncharacteristically congenial manner, took the lead in public-opinion polls. Almost immediately, Mitt Romney—which is to say, Mitt Romney’s studiously non-aligned corporate doppelgänger, the Restore Our Future Super PAC—blitzed his slow-moving opponent with a storm of derisive TV commercials. The spots ran day and night, and utterly destroyed Gingrich’s standing in the polls.
Among people who follow campaign spending closely, this seems to have been a sort of Hiroshima moment: the vast power of a new weapon was finally unveiled. Candidates like Romney could appear to be models of civic virtue, without an unkind or even combative thought in their heads, while their wealthy patrons came together to heap ridicule on their rivals, in unprecedented quantities of advertising and degrees of viciousness. All of the hand-shaking and diner-visiting and carefully drawn position papers were swept into irrelevance.
Romney’s carpet-bombing assault in Iowa triggered an immediate campaign-finance arms race among the surviving candidates. But Restore Our Future retained at least a temporary edge over Gingrich’s Winning Our Future and Rick Santorum’s Red, White and Blue Fund and Ron Paul’s Endorse Liberty. A few weeks later, Romney’s secret weapon delivered the Florida primary for the former Massachusetts governor by once again outsliming the hapless Gingrich, reportedly by a factor of five to one.
The rise of the Super PACs, and the sheer volume of cash they enabled candidates to devote to mudslinging without ever dirtying their hands, was something new. Just as new, and equally alarming, was the public’s cognitive capitulation to the process. Over the course of the past few decades, the power of concentrated money has subverted the professions, destroyed small investors, wrecked the regulatory state, corrupted legislators en masse, and repeatedly put the economy through the wringer. Now it has come for our democracy itself.
And by and large, we are pretty blasé about it. To judge by our society’s consensus-approved commentary, the permissible modes of political discussion are narrowing by the day. We speculate about what campaign spending will do for regional economies, or how effective this or that TV commercial is at persuading voters, or (at the outermost limits of journalistic daring) whether that selfsame commercial might contain . . . errors of fact. But what this style of commentary virtually requires the media to ignore is that with every juicy morsel of hate, we are becoming more and more a rich man’s country.

Newt Gingrich did not take the Iowa defeat lying down. Instead, he turned to a billionaire backer of his own, casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, to fill the coffers of Winning Our Future. With his war chest thus replenished, Gingrich began running TV commercials in South Carolina that held Romney responsible for certain unsavory deeds of Bain Capital, the buyout firm he used to run.22. Again, when I say “Gingrich,” I really mean “the Super PAC supporting Gingrich.” The candidate himself had absolutely nothing to do with the TV commercials that aired on his behalf. Largely on the strength of these bludgeoning ads, Gingrich proceeded to win the South Carolina primary.
And if you happened to turn on CNN the night of Gingrich’s big win, you would have heard the centrist pundit David Gergen depict the whole electoral process as a kind of card game for billionaires. While Gingrich took his victory lap in a packed South Carolina ballroom, Gergen predicted his next move: “Don’t you think he’ll call Mr. Adelson and say, ‘Why don’t you double down?’ ”
The line stuck in my craw. Its obvious but unspoken assumption was that the public may vote as its pleases, but that the parties to whom the candidates ultimately answer are the superrich, who will expect some returns but are also sometimes willing to invest in a sagging candidacy—buying on the dips, as it were. Even more disturbing is the unspoken but obvious follow-up question: What is the payoff for Adelson, or for any other major political contributor, if his long shot comes in?
Adelson himself spoke of Barack Obama’s “quest to socialize this country” when Forbes quizzed him about his motives. He also had this to say:
I’m against very wealthy people . . . influencing elections. . . . But as long as it’s doable I’m going to do it. Because I know that guys like Soros have been doing it for years, if not decades.
Foster Friess, the mutual-fund tycoon who is plowing money into Santorum’s Red, White and Blue Fund, is also happy to discuss his munificence with reporters. And when he does, the conversation seems naturally to gravitate to the language of gambling, investing, and financial speculation.
When Bloomberg’s Margaret Brennan interviewed Friess, for example, she persistently framed his patronage as a daring investment and potential ten-bagger. Friess, she explained, was “betting some of [his] fortune on a long shot.” This was on January 27, when the campaign of the fresh-faced former Pennsylvania senator seemed to be fading. Brennan wondered whether it was time to diversify or even cash out: “At what point do you cut your losses? At what point do you perhaps back one of the front-runners?”
A couple of weeks later, after Santorum was declared the surprise victor in Iowa and pulled off upsets in Minnesota, Missouri, and Colorado, Brennan spoke to Friess again. This time she asked, “Can you say at this point that your support paid off this week?”
The constant chatter of long shots and payoffs failed to rattle Friess. He cheerfully played along, noting that although he had contributed less to Santorum than Sheldon Adelson had to Gingrich, he had secured better political results. “I’m an investor,” Friess joked, “and Sheldon is a casino guy.”
Not that Friess is absolutely locked in to speculative metaphors. He also describes the millions he has put behind Santorum as the result of a political casting call. Musing to ABC News in February, Friess listed the candidate’s strengths as if reading from a classified ad:
fifty-three years old, starts each morning with fifty push-ups, is the grandson of a coal miner, has demonstrated the ability to win blue-collar votes by winning in Pennsylvania, which had over one million Democratic registration advantage, and grew up on a Veterans Administration hospital grounds where his father worked, and is a fellow of modest means.
Help Wanted: Working Man with Plutocrat-Friendly Views.
I haven’t even touched on the billionaires who are making such an inspiring display of class solidarity behind Mitt Romney—John Paulson, Julian Robertson, Paul Tudor Jones, a Walmart heir or two. Nor have I broached the question that is no doubt vexing many: Where are the liberal billionaires we’ve heard so much about? Well, as it happens, the nation’s number one progressive billionaire, currency speculator George Soros, is reportedly not jazzed about the presidential campaign. He is having trouble distinguishing between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, and his failure to take a stake in anybody’s Super PAC has been treated as a news story in its own right.

Many efforts to grapple with the Super PAC phenomenon bog down in the slough of advertising criticism, which offers not one but two misleading schools of thought. One holds that advertising is diabolically powerful, capable of transmitting into the minds of the millions whatever views the man with the camera chooses. The other insists that advertising is not effective in the least, that consumers are wily and evasive, always charting their own course.33. The aesthetic side of advertising criticism—which would point out that Super PAC ads are, by and large, clunky tirades apparently assembled in a matter of minutes by people armed with cheap editing software—is rarely part of the journalistic conversation.
Both views are clearly inadequate in the present circumstances. The idea that our votes can simply be purchased by a large enough ad expenditure is contradicted by the burnt-out hulks of gold-plated political campaigns that litter recent history—think of the floundering Steve Forbes, or the tongue-tied Rick Perry, or eBay CEO Meg Whitman’s fantastically expensive 2010 bid for the California governorship. Yet the other argument, that we remain proud and free and immune to the barrage, is such an obvious rationalization that you hear it advanced only by people who stand to benefit from the present spectacle, or are actually in some way responsible for it.
The latter category would include Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, who told an audience of lawyers back in January that “I don’t care who is doing the speech—the more the merrier.” Then Scalia tossed in one of the great canards of our time: “People are not stupid. If they don’t like it, they’ll shut it off.” All power, in other words, rests in the hand with the remote. Against the scoffing majesty of the American TV viewer, all the assembled efforts of the nation’s tycoons are as gentle Mediterranean waves against looming Gibraltar.
As it happens, this kind of clueless optimism contributed to the Citizens United decision itself. In the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy declared flatly that “this Court now concludes that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.” Got that? Independent expenditures are by definition clean, because those Super PACs are, you know, independent. The court continued unfolding its wisdom:
That speakers may have influence over or access to elected officials does not mean that those officials are corrupt. And the appearance of influence or access will not cause the electorate to lose faith in this democracy.
History records that when the court made this amazing proclamation on January 21, 2010, the electorate was in fact in the throes of a wrenching crisis of faith brought on by precisely the “appearance of influence or access” that Justice Kennedy declared to be impossible: namely, the apparent power of Wall Street banks to get themselves a colossal government bailout, an occurrence that had prompted rallies and protests and talk-show jeremiads by the thousand. All the judges had to do to see how wrong they were was use that all-powerful remote and turn on the damn TV.

Like the showdown we are edging toward today, the 1896 presidential contest between Republican William McKinley and Democrat William Jennings Bryan was one of apocalyptic rhetoric and superhuman fund-raising. Like Barack Obama, Bryan was perceived by a certain stratum of Americans as the representative of an alien, revolutionary tradition. With his fiery rhetoric and opposition to the gold standard, he seemed to embody the spirit of anarchism, or maybe Jacobin Paris. And so his opponents came together as a class to drown him under a deluge of money.
In his classic 1938 history of American graft, The Politicos, 1865–1896, Matthew Josephson tells how McKinley’s campaign manager, the industrialist and über-fixer Mark Hanna, visited the New York offices of the nation’s great corporations, impressing upon his listeners the “reality of the danger” and demanding from each a percentage of their capitalization in order to put down the Nebraska Robespierre. By and large, Hanna got what he asked. And with it he generated an unprecedented number of pamphlets and lithographs, fielded an army of canvassers, and caused a chorus of “the most violent class hate” to reverberate both in the press and on the lecture circuit.44. Naked coercion was also used, in a pattern that might be familiar to us today. According to Josephson, job creators across the country threatened their employees with layoffs and outright closings should Bryan win. Some speculated that Hanna may have outspent the Democrats by twenty or thirty to one. And money prevailed, of course, even if McKinley nabbed only 51 percent of the popular vote.
This fall, office parks throughout the land will no doubt ring with Hanna-like calls to take America back from the hands of the Indonesian-socialist usurper. The parallel that really bothers me, though, involves yet another visit to New York City by an enterprising campaign manager. In February, spooked by the success of Romney’s Super PAC—and also by a Koch Brothers conference at which conservative funders reportedly pledged $100 million to defeat the Democrats—the Obama campaign abruptly reversed its opposition to Super PACs. According to a Bloomberg News account, campaign manager Jim Messina was then dispatched to New York City to meet with representatives of the “financial services industry” and encourage them to chip in. During the meeting, the article reports, Messina “assured” his audience that the president would not “demonize Wall Street as he stresses populist appeals in his re-election campaign.” In other words, to avoid the fate of William Jennings Bryan, the president is apparently prepared to jettison a large chunk of his party’s legislative and rhetorical tradition.
Here we begin to see the real consequence of all this getting and spending. It’s not that campaign money has direct power over the public mind—that one advertising dollar can be counted upon to yield one vote. Nor is it true that the public is invulnerable, that we judiciously weigh these messages and see through the lies. The problem is that by putting such a price tag on the White House, we have imported market logic directly into our politics. Yes, even the village socialist will still get to vote, not to mention the village idiot. But in order to be a candidate—to be the kind of person who can make those calls to billionaires and get them to “double down”—Americans will have to undergo a far more rigorous process of ideological winnowing and executive training. And anyone who isn’t an absolute zealot about maximizing shareholder value will fail to make the cut.
For some, this seems to have been the idea all along; this is why companies have political action committees in the first place. In Honest Graft, a 1988 history of money in politics, Brooks Jackson tells us how Republican congressman Guy Vander Jagt barnstormed the nation in the 1970s, proselytizing for corporate PACs. This “preacher in the temple of free enterprise,” as Jackson describes him, believed there would come a day when corporate money would act at long last in its rational self-interest and deliver up a Republican majority in Congress. When Honest Graft was published, however, the consummation of Vander Jagt’s dream was still several years in the future. Corporate PACs had disappointed their prophet and were largely wasting their substance on the conservative faction of the Democratic Party.
To get us where we are today would take hundreds of millions more, a generation of super-lobbyists, and massive K Street projects designed to make the political market function as a political market should. What we ended up with is a system in which politicians answer primarily to the pressures of supply and demand, not to the blunt and obsolete incentives known as votes.
There is a profound irony, of course, in watching the fate of our proudly interconnected world get taken in hand by a collection of ad-hoc propaganda bureaus, broadcasting their top-down messages of gross stupidity via the definitive mass medium of yesterday, the television.
But that is the way the market rolls. There was a period in the first term of George W. Bush when the polite-thinking world trembled to hear Republican strategists talk about building a “permanent majority”—a new coalition that would make the GOP the dominant party for decades to come. It is too early to tell, of course, but perhaps with Citizens United they have finally done it. As the syndicated columnist E. J. Dionne has written, the Supreme Court decision is best understood as part of “a larger initiative by moneyed conservatives to rig the electoral system against their opponents.” It will take time before the legislative follow-through is completed, of course, and Republicans will continue to lose elections here and there, but sooner or later, the weight of the money will tell. The market will speak.


How Fox News Manipulating the American Opinion

Fox News as well as has reported the news that
"this week, the nine Justices of the Supreme Court have been listening to oral arguments about the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act."
They quote that
“according to polls” (which poll and what was the question), “56% of Americans favor repealing the health care reform law. Then again, a decision on fundamental rights and constitutionality should not be a popularity contest. What’s more, according another poll, 1 in 7 Americans believes the Supreme Court has already repealed the Affordable Care Act. So much for polling. “

This so called News shows how the most powerful Media Network in the United States of American is and has been scaring people and manipulating the American opinion. Having worked in the medical field for many years, I have seen firsthand what being uninsured does to a family who had to have heart bypass surgery! Most of these families went either bankrupt or the ones who had health insurance have lost their health insurance because their insurance would not cover them anymore because the margin of risks has gone too high for the premiums the family could afford.

So in the view of Fox News it is unconstitutional to protect families from such kind of practices. Patients’ protection is unconstitutional as well, according to Fox News. Obviously this is wrong but because Fox News owns the greatest network in the US, it can repeat these statements over and over again, eventually hoping their assertion becomes due to repetition right.

Why are allowing media to manipulate the population. How is the U.S.A different from China or Russia or other totalitarian counties except that the media control is done by one private company rather than the government?


Female legislater silenced after speaking out again the Republican Michgan Abortion Bill

President Barack Obama Weekly Address June 16, 2012 (Video/Transcript)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been talking a lot about America’s economic future.  I’ve told you how I believe we should go about creating strong, sustained growth; how we should pay down our long-term debt in a balanced way; and most of all, what we should do right now to create good, middle-class jobs, so people who work hard can get ahead.
This isn’t some abstract debate or trivial argument.  I’ve said that this is the defining issue of our time, and I mean it.  I’ve said that this is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and I believe it.  The decisions we make over the next few years will have an enormous impact on the country we live in, and the one we pass on to our children.
Right now, we’re still fighting our way back from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.  The economy is growing again, but it’s not growing fast enough.  Our businesses have created 4.3 million new jobs over the last 27 months, but we’re not creating them fast enough.  And we’re facing some pretty serious headwinds – from the effects of the recent spike in gas prices, to the financial crisis in Europe.
But here’s the thing.  We have the answers to these problems.  We have plenty of big ideas and technical solutions from both sides of the aisle.  That’s not what’s holding us back.  What’s holding us back is a stalemate in Washington.
Last September, I sent Congress a jobs bill full of the kinds of bipartisan ideas that could have put over a million Americans back to work and helped bolster our economy against outside shocks.  I sent them a plan that would have reduced our deficit by $4 trillion in a balanced way that pays for the investments we need by cutting unnecessary spending and asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little bit more in taxes.
Since then, Congress has passed a few parts of that jobs bill, like a tax cut that's allowing working Americans to keep more of your paycheck every week.  But on most of the ideas that would create jobs and grow our economy, Republicans in Congress haven’t lifted a finger.  They’d rather wait until after the election in November.  Just this past week, one of them said, “Why not wait for the reinforcements?”  That’s a quote.  And you can bet plenty of his colleagues are thinking the same thing.
I think that’s wrong.  This isn’t about who wins or loses in Washington.  This is about your jobs, your paychecks, your children’s future.  There’s no excuse for Congress to stand by and do nothing while so many families are struggling.  None.
Right now, Congress should pass a bill to help states put thousands of teachers, firefighters and police officers back on the job.  They should have passed a bill a long time ago to put thousands of construction workers back to work rebuilding our roads and bridges and runways.  And instead of just talking about job creators, they should give small-business owners a tax break for hiring more workers and paying them higher wages.
Right now, Congress should give every responsible homeowner the opportunity to save an average of $3,000 a year by refinancing their mortgage.  They should extend tax credits for clean energy manufacturers so we don’t walk away from 40,000 good jobs.  And instead of giving tax breaks to companies who ship jobs overseas, Congress should take that money and use it to cover moving expenses for companies that are bringing jobs back to America.  There’s no reason to wait.
Every problem we face is within our power to solve.  What’s lacking is our politics.  Remind your Members of Congress why you sent them to Washington in the first place.  Tell them to stop worrying about the next election and start worrying about the next generation.  I’m ready to work with anyone – Republican, Democrat, or Independent – who is serious about moving this country forward.  And I hope Members of Congress will join me.
Thanks, and have a great weekend.

Gallop Poll

Money Matters Most in Politics?

Just this past week Republican Scott Walker was reelected despite his move to eliminate unions in the state where American Unions were first founded. He has been supported by a Tea Party group attack ad which talks about the “labor-union mobs”!

What do we have learned from this controversial victory? Money Matters Most in Politics. As the great political strategist Lyle Lovett sang, “No finance, no romance.”

 Doesn’t this say everything about what is wrong with American politics these days? Walker’s campaign raised an astonishing $30.5 million compared to his opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who raised just $3.9 million. Why do we allow outside groups to compound this asymmetry by letting them pour tens of millions into other states like Wisconsin where the vast majority of this money went to the pro-Walker side? Is this still considered democracy where M-O-N-E-Y decides an election instead of values and integrity? In my opinion this borders on corruption and has nothing to do with real democracy anymore.

 Has a new class Warfare Has Already Begun? 

Just look at the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Does Mitt Romney really care about the common American or is he too  caught up with this new conservative trend that nothing matters any more but money. Do the ones who don’t have the money to buy a voice matter anymore or will they be left in the gutter to rot away?

It looks like America is on a path where people don’t get a voice because they don’t have the money to be heard. We are gazing at the Middle East with astonishment wondering how people could risk their lives for freedom. Well, let me tell you, it doesn’t take much anymore for people around the United States to stand up and fight for their democracy again. The past Occupy Wall Street Movement had been suppressed by the ones who have the money because it had become too annoying to the ones who have the money. But one can only take so much beating !

 Has M-O-N-E-Y once again become the roots of all evil?

President Obama Speaks on Department of Homeland Security Immigration Announcement(Video/Transcript)

Rose Garden

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  This morning, Secretary Napolitano announced new actions my administration will take to mend our nation’s immigration policy, to make it more fair, more efficient, and more just -- specifically for certain young people sometimes called “Dreamers.”
These are young people who study in our schools, they play in our neighborhoods, they’re friends with our kids, they pledge allegiance to our flag.  They are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one:  on paper.  They were brought to this country by their parents -- sometimes even as infants -- and often have no idea that they’re undocumented until they apply for a job or a driver’s license, or a college scholarship.
Put yourself in their shoes.  Imagine you’ve done everything right your entire life -- studied hard, worked hard, maybe even graduated at the top of your class -- only to suddenly face the threat of deportation to a country that you know nothing about, with a language that you may not even speak.
That’s what gave rise to the DREAM Act.  It says that if your parents brought you here as a child, if you’ve been here for five years, and you’re willing to go to college or serve in our military, you can one day earn your citizenship.  And I have said time and time and time again to Congress that, send me the DREAM Act, put it on my desk, and I will sign it right away.
Now, both parties wrote this legislation.  And a year and a half ago, Democrats passed the DREAM Act in the House, but Republicans walked away from it.  It got 55 votes in the Senate, but Republicans blocked it.  The bill hasn’t really changed.  The need hasn’t changed.  It’s still the right thing to do.  The only thing that has changed, apparently, was the politics.

As I said in my speech on the economy yesterday, it makes no sense to expel talented young people, who, for all intents and purposes, are Americans -- they’ve been raised as Americans; understand themselves to be part of this country -- to expel these young people who want to staff our labs, or start new businesses, or defend our country simply because of the actions of their parents -- or because of the inaction of politicians.
In the absence of any immigration action from Congress to fix our broken immigration system, what we’ve tried to do is focus our immigration enforcement resources in the right places.  So we prioritized border security, putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history -- today, there are fewer illegal crossings than at any time in the past 40 years.  We focused and used discretion about whom to prosecute, focusing on criminals who endanger our communities rather than students who are earning their education.  And today, deportation of criminals is up 80 percent.  We've improved on that discretion carefully and thoughtfully.  Well, today, we're improving it again.
Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people.  Over the next few months, eligible individuals who do not present a risk to national security or public safety will be able to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization.
Now, let's be clear -- this is not amnesty, this is not immunity.  This is not a path to citizenship.  It's not a permanent fix.  This is a temporary stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people.  It is --
Q    (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT:  -- the right thing to do.
Q    -- foreigners over American workers.
THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me, sir.  It's not time for questions, sir.
Q    No, you have to take questions.
THE PRESIDENT:  Not while I'm speaking.
Precisely because this is temporary, Congress needs to act.  There is still time for Congress to pass the DREAM Act this year, because these kids deserve to plan their lives in more than two-year increments.  And we still need to pass comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our 21st century economic and security needs -- reform that gives our farmers and ranchers certainty about the workers that they'll have.  Reform that gives our science and technology sectors certainty that the young people who come here to earn their PhDs won't be forced to leave and start new businesses in other countries.  Reform that continues to improve our border security, and lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
Just six years ago, the unlikely trio of John McCain, Ted Kennedy and President Bush came together to champion this kind of reform.  And I was proud to join 23 Republicans in voting for it.  So there’s no reason that we can’t come together and get this done.
And as long as I’m President, I will not give up on this issue, not only because it’s the right thing to do for our economy -- and CEOs agree with me -- not just because it’s the right thing to do for our security, but because it’s the right thing to do, period.  And I believe that, eventually, enough Republicans in Congress will come around to that view as well.
And I believe that it’s the right thing to do because I’ve been with groups of young people who work so hard and speak with so much heart about what’s best in America, even though I knew some of them must have lived under the fear of deportation.  I know some have come forward, at great risks to themselves and their futures, in hopes it would spur the rest of us to live up to our own most cherished values.  And I’ve seen the stories of Americans in schools and churches and communities across the country who stood up for them and rallied behind them, and pushed us to give them a better path and freedom from fear --because we are a better nation than one that expels innocent young kids.
And the answer to your question, sir -- and the next time I’d prefer you let me finish my statements before you ask that question -- is this is the right thing to do for the American people --
Q    (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT:  I didn’t ask for an argument.  I’m answering your question.
Q    I'd like to --
THE PRESIDENT:  It is the right thing to do --
Q    (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT:  -- for the American people.  And here’s why --
Q    -- unemployment --
THE PRESIDENT:  Here’s the reason:  because these young people are going to make extraordinary contributions, and are already making contributions to our society.
I’ve got a young person who is serving in our military, protecting us and our freedom.  The notion that in some ways we would treat them as expendable makes no sense.  If there is a young person here who has grown up here and wants to contribute to this society, wants to maybe start a business that will create jobs for other folks who are looking for work, that’s the right thing to do.  Giving certainty to our farmers and our ranchers; making sure that in addition to border security, we’re creating a comprehensive framework for legal immigration -- these are all the right things to do.
We have always drawn strength from being a nation of immigrants, as well as a nation of laws, and that’s going to continue.  And my hope is that Congress recognizes that and gets behind this effort.
All right.  Thank you very much.
Q    What about American workers who are unemployed while you import foreigners?


Is there too much money in politics?

NPR has a Million-Dollar Donors List on their page

Shouldn't we know who is financing our politician and the payoff they expecting! I at least think so. Or even better, stop giving money to politician in the first place. Money brings corruption and corruption hinders democracy!


President Barack Obama Weekly Address June 9, 2012 (Video/Transcript)

 Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House

This week, I spent some time talking with college students about how we can make higher education more affordable.  And one of the things I told them was how proud I was that they were making that investment in themselves – because in today’s economy, the best predictor of success is a good education.
That’s not just true for our individual success; it’s also true for America’s success.  New jobs and new businesses will take root wherever they can find the most highly-educated, highly-skilled workers.  And I want those workers to be American workers.  I want those good-paying, middle-class jobs to take root right here.
So it should concern everyone that right now – all across America – tens of thousands of teachers are getting laid off.  In Pennsylvania alone, there are 9,000 fewer educators in our schools today than just a year ago.  In Ohio, the number is close to 7,000.  And nationwide, over the past three years, school districts have lost over 250,000 educators.  Think about what that means for our country.  When there are fewer teachers in our schools, class sizes start climbing up.  Our students start falling behind.  And our economy takes a hit.
The point is: teachers matter.  One study found that a good teacher can increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000.  A great teacher can change the course of a child’s life.  So the last thing our country needs is to have fewer teachers in our schools.
Now, I know states are still going through some tough times.  I realize that every Governor is dealing with limited resources and many face stark choices when it comes to their budgets.
But that doesn’t mean we should just stand by and do nothing.  When states struggle, it’s up to Congress to step in and help out.  In 2009 and in 2010, we provided aid to states to help keep hundreds of thousands of teachers in the classroom.  But we need to do more.  That’s why a critical part of the jobs bill that I sent to Congress back in September was to help states prevent even more layoffs and rehire even more teachers who had lost their jobs.
But months later, we’re still waiting on Congress to act.
When it comes to this recovery, we can’t fully control everything that happens in other parts of the world.  But there are plenty of things we can control.  There are plenty of steps we can take, right now, to strengthen our economy.  Putting teachers back in our kids’ classrooms is one of those steps.  And there’s no excuse for inaction.  You work hard.  Your leaders should, too.  Especially at this make-or-break moment for the middle class.
I know this is an election year.  But some things are bigger than an election.  Some things are bigger than politics.  So I hope you’ll join me in telling Congress to do the right thing; to get to work and to help get our teachers back in the classroom.  We can’t afford to wait any longer.
Thanks and have a great weekend.


President Obama Honors the Super Bowl XLVI Champion New York Giants(Video/Transcript)


South Lawn 
THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!  (Applause.)  Everybody, please have a seat.  Welcome to the White House, and congratulations to the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.  (Applause.)

We’ve got some members of Congress and members of my administration who are here today and rabid Giants fans.  I want to also recognize the Maras and the Tischs, as well as, of course, head coach Tom Coughlin and general manager Jerry Reese.  They have built this team into one of the NFL’s most outstanding franchises.  So we are very proud of them.  (Applause.)

Now, I know for some of you, this is just “welcome back.”  (Laughter).  You guys have been through this drill before.  The last time the Giants were here was in 2008.  A lot of folks thought that team didn’t have a chance to win a Super Bowl.  They ended up winning with a circus catch in the fourth quarter, MVP performance by Eli Manning -- (applause) -- a come-from-behind win over the Patriots.  So this is all starting to sound kind of like déjà vu all over again.

But every season is different, and last year’s Giants were obviously a special bunch, not just because of where they ended up, but because of how they got there.  Every team has to deal with injuries to the players.  Not many teams have to deal with a late hit on the head coach.  (Laughter.)  You saw that Jets game.

Now, Coach Coughlin reminds everybody, he did not go down.  That’s a tough guy.  And you can see that toughness reflected in everybody else on this team.  The Giants took a whole bunch of hits this season, but they never went down.  From day one, they followed a simple motto:  Finish.  Finish the play.  Finish the game.  Finish the season.

And after week 15, sitting at 7-7, they knew that every game was a playoff game.  But the players, the coaches, the staff, the owners -- they didn’t quit.  They believed in each other.  And they kept winning, all the way to Indianapolis.

The night before the Super Bowl, they watched a highlight reel set to Justin Tuck’s good-luck song, “In the Air Tonight.”  I don’t know about a little Phil Collins before a big game.  (Laughter.)  I may try that before a big meeting with Congress.

But apparently it worked.  Next night, Eli Manning led the way, earned his second Super Bowl MVP.  (Applause.)  So I would just advise the sportswriters out there the next time Eli says he thinks he’s an elite quarterback, you might just want to be quiet.  (Applause.)

Eli wasn’t alone, of course.  Justin Tuck got to the QB.  Victor Cruz scored and salsaed.  (Applause.)  Mario Manningham kept his feet inbounds for the biggest catch of his life.  Nobody was perfect, but everybody did their job.  And when the  Patriots’ Hail Mary hit the ground, the Giants were Super Bowl champions.  Of course, the fans back home went crazy.

Now, people from New York and New Jersey don’t fall for just anybody.  It’s a tough crowd, let’s face it.  (Applause.)  You’ve got to earn their respect.  They're never completely satisfied, and you’ve got to earn it both on and off the field.  And that’s exactly what the Giants did.  From fighting childhood obesity -- Michelle likes that -- to wrapping up leftover food for homeless shelters, to working with the Make-a-Wish Foundation to bring kids to practices and games, Big Blue supports the folks who support them.

They’ve certainly earned the respect of folks like Ray Odierno -- is here, who is obviously one of our greatest warriors and one of our greatest soldiers -- because this team is always there for our men and women in uniform.  This is a New York Giants tradition that goes back to World War II.  (Applause.)  Back in World War II, Wellington Mara served in the United States Navy -- so there’s a long tradition here.

And these guys have made it clear that no matter who you root for on Sundays, if you’re a veteran, the New York Giants are on your team.  Whether it’s setting up tickets to games, or inviting folks to practices, the Giants never forget the men and women who risk everything to protect our freedom.  And I especially want to thank and congratulate Coach Coughlin on receiving the Army’s Outstanding Civilian Service Award.  That's a great honor.  (Applause.)

By the way, we’ve got some wounded warriors here today.  Let’s give them all a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  Having these folks here today, seeing how much the Giants means to them is a reminder of how important sports and football can be, but it's also a reminder that there are some things that are more important than football -- and the Giants know that.  They finished strong, they won six straight games with everything on the line, they made a difference in the lives of those around them.  But, most importantly, they did it not just on Sunday, but every week.

So, again, I want to congratulate the New York Giants.  Good luck this season.  It looks like we've got somebody singing for you.  (Laughter.)  That’s how happy everybody is.

Give the New York Giants a big round of applause.  (Applause.)



President Obama’s Message for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II (Video/Transcript)

President Barack Obama: Your Majesty; on the historic occasion of your Diamond Jubilee, Michelle and I send you and all the British people and members of the Commonwealth the heartfelt congratulations of the American people.
 In war and in peace, in times of plenty and in times of hardship, the United States and the United Kingdom have shared a special relationship. We’ve stood tall and strong. And together we’ve face the greatest challenges this world has known. While many presidents and prime minister have come and gone, Your Majesty’s reign has endured. As I said last year at Buckingham Palace, that makes Your Majesty both a living witness to the power of our alliance and a chief source of its resilience. As a steadfast ally, loyal friend and tireless leader, Your Majesty has set an example of resolve that will be long-celebrated. And as we work together to build a better future for the next generation, it is gratifying to know that the bonds between our nations remain indispensable to our two countries and to the world.
 In honor of your 60 extraordinary years on the throne, communities around the Commonwealth have lit thousands of jubilee beacons. And may the light of Your Majesty’s crown continue to reign supreme for many years to come.