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 IF IT'S BROKEN...FIX IT

Getting Serious about LA’s Sidewalk Repairs: A Five-Point ‘Let’s-Get-On-with-It’ Plan

Ken Alpern
FIXING LA-Last Tuesday night's City Council Board of Public Works and Budget Committees met and allowed a lot of good public input to a series of concerned and available Councilmembers and City officials. The attendance and input were both outstanding--I want to thank Councilmember Mike Bonin, in particular, for allowing the outreach and advice to…

Latino Politicians Putting Climate Change Ahead of Constituents

Joel Kotkin
POLITICS-Racial and economic inequality may be key issues facing America today, but the steps often pushed by progressives, including minority politicians, seem more likely to exacerbate these divisions than repair them. In a broad arc of policies affecting everything from housing to employment, the agenda being adopted serves to stunt upward…

Worlds Apart on Kathryn Steinle: When Political Opportunism Reigns Supreme

John Mirisch
MUSING WITH MIRISCH-The small Swedish Jewish Museum in Stockholm is tucked away on a side street. Discreet signage instructs would-be visitors to push a button which activates a camera, so they can be screened before they are granted entry. The museum's permanent exhibition fills one fairly small room. Most of the objects on display are Jewish…

Garcetti Passes, Wesson Fails

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Our Los Angeles Times has issued midterm letter grades for Controller Ron Galperin (B-) and City Attorney Mike Feuer (B+) and will be posting grades for City Council President Herb Wesson this Sunday and Mayor Eric Garcetti the following Sunday. Our City is facing many difficult issues, ranging from a lagging economy, relatively high…

What LA Really Needs: A Part-time City Council and a Part-time Mayor!

Dennis Zine
JUST THE FACTS-There are so many serious and pressing problems facing the City of Los Angeles and few if any real solutions are being proposed or implemented by our elected and appointed leaders at City Hall. I will start with the current city budget. Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had a $7.7 billion total budget in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.…

Why Don’t the City’s Women Managers Hire More Women?

Denyse Selesnick
MY TURN-Perusing the web is a little like the soap operas of yesteryear. You get suckered in! One link leads to another link and then one is exposed to a barrage both facts and idiocy. The reason for this discussion was my attending a July Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils (VANC) meeting with the Department of Water and Power. General…

Cleaning Up LA City Hall: ‘It’s What’s Legal That’s the Problem’

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-Everyone understands that developers own our city government. Sure, there are some officials here and there who are upright and independent, but recent history shows that the developers typically get their way in spite of public opposition. Whether it is a zoning change for an office tower or the required permits for a new mall,…

Not So Fast LA! Let’s Consider the Real Costs of Hosting the Olympics before We Jump In

Greg Nelson
SPORTS POLITICS-On Monday, Boston withdrew from its offer to be the nation’s bidder for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. In January, Los Angeles finished second to Boston when the U.S. Olympic Committee made its decision. After Boston was selected to polish up its bid before submitting it to the International Olympic Committee for a final decision,…

Party Crashing for Political Access: Schwarzenegger and My Pantsuit

Charlotte Laws
CALIFORNIA ACCESS POLITICS-Party crashing—or gate-crashing, as it is sometimes called—is an art form that I stumbled upon as a teen. I taught myself how to finagle into any event, anywhere, anytime. It required being part private eye, part actress and part chutzpah machine. I had to think outside of the box, throw myself into the role, and whip my…

 

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





Art or Ad? LA’s mural law written in gray ink

Escape the Room-Conan goes for the record … and the laffs


LADWP Rates Overview

 

 

  

 

 

 

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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