Monthly Archives: July 2012

After Aurora Shootings, How About a Gun Law Shock Doctrine?

Another six months, another tragic shooting. The Aurora, Colorado theater shootings were the 22nd such incident since and including the 1999 Columbine shootings. In the mainstream corporate media, especially the television and cable “news” networks, we hearĀ the cliche “our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this tragedy.” In addition to that sentiment, now is when we should push for real solutions to America’s gun violence epidemic, such as strengthening the nation’s gun laws. Call it the “Gun Law Shock Doctrine.”

Romney learns that legalisms and politics are very different

“I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” — President Bill Clinton, 1998

“I did not have economic relations with that company.” — Various satirists mocking Mitt Romney, 2012

As happened to President Bill Clinton in 1998, Republican presidential nominee Willard Mitt Romney is learning a tough lesson: legalisms don’t cut it in politics.

During the 1998 Clinton/Monica Lewinsky affair, while being deposed in the related Paula Jones lawsuit, Clinton was given a definition of “sexual relations” that appeared to be limited to performing sexual acts upon another person. Clinton was then asked whether, under this definition, he had had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. Since Clinton had not (according to him) performed sexual acts upon Lewinsky, he seemed to have answered the question truthfully by saying “no.” However, Clinton’s semantics did not fly in the political arena and, at least in the short term, Clinton suffered political damage and public humiliation.

Amazingly, Willard Romney and his advisers have not learned Bill Clinton’s lesson. Romney (who, like Clinton, has an Ivy League law degree) and his campaign keep falling back on similar legalisms to try to explain Romney’s various public filings and statements regarding his relationship with Bain Capital, and voters don’t seem to be buying it. The specific issue now is whether Romney left Bain in 1999, 2002, or some time in between. Romney created this issue by saying that all the “bad” things Romney’s Republican primary rivals and the Obama campaign have accused Bain of doing — allowing companies they took over to go bankrupt, firing workers at these companies, and outsourcing many of their jobs overseas — happened after February 1999, when Romney had “left” Bain. It’s stunning that Romney has conceded this framing of Bain’s track record to his opponents. However, even with the limited argument Romney has left himself, documents keep surfacing, including Bain’s own Securities Exchange Commission filings signed by Romney, that conflict with Romney’s narrative.

Interview With Progressive Talk Show Host Kenny Pick

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Kenny Pick

There is a small but growing band of progressive devotees who donate their time, equipment and talents to airing home-based progressive political talk shows on the Internet. One of the stars of this movement is Cleveland-based Ken Picklesimer, Jr. a/k/a Kenny Pick, host of the Turn Up the Night with Kenny Pick show which airs on Tuesdays and Fridays from 7-10 p.m. ET on the USTREAM Radio or Not channel on the web, and on Talk Radio One and Progressive Blend Radio (disclosure: the author is one of the co-hosts of Turn Up the Night).

Ken is a southeastern Ohio native who has always been enthralled with media and pop culture. Over the years, he has produced volumes of illustrations and paintings, written and performed hundreds of songs, created and co-published independent comic books, worked in front of and behind the camera on dozens of short films, contributed comedy bits to several radio programs and eventually started his own Internet talk show.

This week, Ken answered some exclusive interview questions regarding Turn Up the Night, progressive radio, and the state of the political media today:

How to Frame the Affordable Care Act Win

After suffering a historic political loss via the Supreme Court’s upholding of the Affordable Care Act, Republicans are seeking to make lemonade by characterizing the ACA as a massive tax on everyone. Let’s not help them do this.

For example, I’ve heard Republicans such as Rush Limbaugh call the ACA (please don’t call it “Obamacare” — that’s pejorative right-wing framing designed to evoke Big Government and the Nanny State) “the biggest tax increase in the history of the world.” I guarantee that Republican politicians will be using phrases like “massive tax increase” over and over. But then I hear Democrats saying “no, it’s not the the largest tax increase in history, there have been bigger ones.” That’s a terrible response. It’s like a criminal lawyer telling the court, “my client didn’t kill 26 people as the prosecution alleges, he only killed 20.” You never want to argue within the frame established by your opponent. That’s playing on a field tilted against you.

Instead, here are some useful points to remember regarding the ACA and the Supreme Court ruling: