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Thoroughly Modern Bob – Coming to a Legislature Near You!

Paul Hatfield
PERSPECTIVE-Thoroughly Modern Millie was a Tony Award winner. State Senator Bob Hertzberg is rolling out his own sequel. The only problem is the production cost. Actually, the real problem is we will be the ones bankrolling it if Bob gets the green light. It is the most expensive tax scam concocted, more than California HSR. I’m talking…

Elite Girls School Has Brentwood Up in Arms … Over Traffic

John Schwada
INSIDE LA-Hairdresser Mikell Powell is walking her two dogs in Brentwood along Sunset Boulevard just across the street from the Archer School for Girls (photo left). “I’m opposed to anything that would make driving on Sunset here anymore hellish than it already is,” Powell says as her dogs tug on their leashes. No question: there’s a 1.2 mile…

Homeless LA: Safe Havens, Not Sidewalks

Mike Bonin
WHO WE ARE-In recent years, Los Angeles has seen more progress in combating homelessness than it ever has – yet the problem is still getting worse. Since 2011, the region has housed more than 23,000 people – a record number even by national standards. Yet homelessness is on the rise. Encampments are proliferating in our neighborhoods throughout…

Can LA Afford Another Olympics?

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Boston bailed on hosting the 2024 Olympics when Mayor Martin Walsh refused to sign a host city contract with the United States Olympic Committee (“USOC”) that would have put Beantown (and possibly the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) on the hook for any cost overruns associated with this 17 day extravaganza. But Walsh’s refusal to…

The Petty Hypocrisy of Mandatory Ethics Training

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-As a member of a neighborhood council board, I am required by state law to do 2 hours of ethics training every 2 years. Elected officials such as members of the City Council are also required to take this training. The curious thing about our California ethics rules is that they prohibit the small stuff while looking the other way…

Los Angeles: Brown lives Matter!

Fred Mariscal
LATINO PERSPECTIVE-According to the Los Angeles Times, over the last five years in LA County, coroner's data show that Latinos, who make up about half of the county's population, also represent about half the people killed by police. Of the 23 people fatally shot by law enforcement in the county this year, 14 were Latino. The Times raises an…

Grading the LA Times: Mike Feuer’s B+ Leaves Something Out

Noel Weiss
OTHER VOICES-Reading the LA Times’ Report Card grade of B+ for City Attorney Mike Feuer, it was good to see at least a 'hat-tip' to the issue of whether the City Attorney really is the “attorney for the people.” But their conclusion seems to be that he is not, and I believe that is wrong. Exactly who does the City Attorney represent? Certainly, he…

Beverly Hills Pounds Final Nail in Bike Lanes Coffin

Mark Elliot
GETTING THERE FROM HERE-If you expected that Beverly Hills might install bicycle lanes on our segment of Santa Monica Boulevard when reconstructing it next year, you will be sorely disappointed to know that City Council just pounded the final nail into the bike lanes coffin. City Council split on the Blue Ribbon Committee recommendation to expand…

Helter Skelter, Murder and the Looming Race War

Tony Castro
TONY CASTRO’S LA-In one of our last conversations before his death earlier this year, author and prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi lamented that while he had successfully imprisoned Charles Manson, he feared he had only made a dent in the threat of an apocalyptic race war that the mass murderer had hoped to ignite. “Madness and mad men,” said Bugliosi,…

 

Reynolds Rap Video: Joey has hope for the pope in Philly.





You’re gonna cry! Kids sing to teacher with cancer

Scarrrry! The Flying Gun

Kid Stuff! Full of chuckles


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When the Big Lie Works

POLITICS - If you wonder why a desperate Mitt Romney rushed to lie about President Obama’s handling of crises in Cairo and Benghazi and make the ugly claim that Obama’s first response was “to sympathize with those who waged the attacks,” the latest poll from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life helps fill in the blanks.

 

Unbelievably, the poll finds that the percentage of Republicans who believe that Barack Obama is Muslim, not Christian, has doubled since October, 2008. It was actually a little higher in August, 2010, right before the GOP administered its midterm “shellacking.”

But in the most recent Pew poll on the topic, in July 2012, an astonishing 34 percent of “conservative Republicans” and 30 percent of all Republicans described the president as Muslim.Overall, 17 percent of registered voters say Obama is Muslim while 31 percent say they don’t know what religion he is; only 49 percent know the truth, that he is Christian.

How is it possible that almost four years after we elected Obama president, the number of Republicans who think he’s Muslim could double, and that less than half of all registered voters know what religion he professes (in a country where religion matters)? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe because virtually every Republican has either encouraged or tolerated the far-right lunatic fringe, from crackpot “birthers” who insist the president wasn’t born here, to Romney campaign surrogates like John Sununu who just last month insisted the president “needs to learn what it means to be an American.”

When House Speaker John Boehner dismissed evidence that a growing number of Republicans believe Obama was a Muslim, telling NBC’s David Gregory “it’s not my job to tell the American people what to think;” when presidential candidate Rick Santorum refused to correct a supporter who called Obama “an avowed Muslim,” saying “the President’s a big boy, he can defend himself and his record;” when Romney likewise remained silent when an audience member accused Obama of “treason” and later told reporters, “I don’t correct all of the questions that get asked of me;” and of course, when Romney “joked” that “nobody’s ever asked to see my birth certificate” – well,  moments like those reinforced the big lie and encouraged the right wing to continue to believe it.

On one level, though, you can understand it, because it turns out that playing up fears about Obama’s religion may be the GOP’s only chance to beat him. It  may not even be enough that the president is black: even some white southerners are telling pollsters that they’d rather vote for the black guy than for the rich guy. To be fair, some anti-Mormon prejudice also factors into that equation. But you don’t see Obama or his surrogates playing up fears about Romney’s Mormon beliefs to gain votes.

I’ve said it before: Romney and Republicans have every right to criticize the president’s handling of the aftermath of uprisings in Egypt and Libya, as do Democrats who have reservations about Obama’s Middle East policies. But they don’t have the right to lie about it. It’s impossible to ignore the way that Romney’s accusation not-so-subtly plays into that pervasive GOP belief that the president shares a religion with our enemies. Obama is not merely weak in dealing with them, in the Romney narrative; he actively “sympathizes” with them and delivered “an apology for America’s values” instead of a rebuke.

I wrote yesterday that “Mitt Romney will never be president” because Americans will be appalled by his deceit. I still think that. But Alex Pareene had a smart rejoinder, noting that the backdrop of rioting Muslims attacking American embassies (which continue in Yemen today) “is the sort of thing that will make certain voters more, shall we say, sympathetic to the candidate who is more shameless about hating Muslims. Romney understands this and is willing to capitalize on it.” He’s right. I’m counting on more Americans being appalled by Romney’s shamelessness than reassured by it, but it’s always risky to bet against the effectiveness of GOP fear-mongering.

Romney has made clear that he’s never going to pivot to the middle to win over independent voters; he obviously thinks his only path to victory is firing up the backward, racist and xenophobic elements of the GOP base. Now we know that strategy has succeeded in doubling the percent of conservatives who think the president shares a religion with people they see, one dimensionally, as the enemy. Well played, Mr. Romney. We’ll see where it gets you in November.

(Joan Walsh is editor at large Salon.com … where this column first appeared … and the author of "What's the Matter with White People: Why We Long for a Golden Age That Never Was.")
-cw




CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 74
Pub: Sept 14, 2012

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