A black camerawoman for CNN is speaking out after she was assaulted at the Republican National Convention when two attendees began throwing nuts at her, saying “This is what we feed animals.”
Patricia Carroll is not interested in rehashing the incident, but she did offer some thoughts to the Maryland Institute. “This situation could happen to me at the Democratic convention or standing on the street corner. Racism is a global issue,” she said:
Carroll, 34, said that as an Alabama native, she was not surprised. “This is Florida, and I’m from the Deep South,” she said. “You come to places like this, you can count the black people on your hand. They see us doing things they don’t think I should do.”
Carroll noted of the Republican convention, “There are not that many black women there.”[...]
“I can’t change these people’s hearts and minds,” Carroll added. “No, it doesn’t feel good. But I know who I am. I’m a proud black woman. A lot of black people are upset. This should be a wake-up call to black people. . . . People were living in euphoria for a while. People think we’re gone further than we have.”
Caroll’s assessment that “you can count the black people on your hand” isn’t far off; only 2 percent of delegates at the RNC are African-American. When the Democratic Convention begins, an estimated 26 percent of the delegates will be black.
One of the interesting side effects of the debate over the Stop Online Piracy Act earlier this year was the question of whether the legislation would damage the alignment between the tech community the Democratic Party. But as the Republican convention winds down, the GOP isn’t exactly making a major pitch either to Hollywood or to tech donors.
““The Republican Party platform language strikes a very smart balance: it emphasizes the importance of us doing more as a nation to protect our intellectual property from online theft while underscoring the critical importance of protecting internet freedom,” Motion Picture Association of American chairman Chris Dodd said in response to the Republican platform.
But there isn’t that much detail there. The platform talks about intellectual property mostly as a trade issue between nation states rather than as a matter of consumer behavior abetted by the kind of entities the content industries have identified as major malefactors. In the party’s section on China, IP comes up as part of a larger package of issues: “Our serious trade disputes, especially China’s failure to enforce inter- national standards for the protection of intellectual property and copyrights, as well as its manipulation of its currency, call for a firm response from a new Republican Administration.” And in more general terms, the platform promises that “Punitive measures will be imposed on foreign firms that misappropriate American technology and intellectual property.”
On tech, the Republican platform doesn’t really differ from the Democratic promise in 2008 to “implement a national broadband strategy (especially in rural areas, and our reservations and territories) that enables every American household, school, library, and hospital to connect to a world-class communications infrastructure”—it just blames Democrats for making “no progress toward the goal of universal coverage—after spending $7.2 billion more. ” And it has a real contempt for net neutrality, describing it as “trying to micromanage telecom as if it were a railroad network,” in itself a revealing sentiment.
We’ve yet to see what the Democratic platform will include, though I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some attempt to bridge Hollywood and the tech community and make up for the damage done by the SOPA debate. But these are party platforms, and this is a year when the broad strokes of the economy are going to predominate in favor of a segment of the economy that may be key to some donors’ hearts, but won’t swing a huge chunk of swing voters at the ballot box. It’s easy to forget this while we’re immersed in the internet, but we’re a long way from the point where a substantive conversation about cable, the internet, and the way we govern and access content is going to be a mandatory part of the political conversation.
As the GOP concludes its convention in Tampa, Florida this week, ThinkProgress continues keep you updated on everything you need to know about the featured speakers.
We’ll live blog the festivities tonight starting at 7:00 PM. Here is a rundown of Thursday’s luminaries:
Callista and Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich spent most of the past two years savaging Mitt Romney in the primary campaign. Many of his attacks focused on Romney’s record at Bain Capital — labeling them “rich people figuring out clever legal ways to loot a company, leaving behind 1,700 families without a job.” He called out Romney for his false claim of creating 100,000 jobs and said he would listen to Romney only if he’d “give back all the money he’s earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees.” When Romney acknowledged that he was not concerned about the very poor, Gingrich slammed him, saying the Founding Fathers wanted equal opportunity for the poor. When asked about Romney’s immigration policy views, Gingrich noted that one must “live in a world of Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island accounts and making $20 million for no work, to have some fantasy this far from reality.” Even after endorsing Romney, Gingrich continued to characterize the Republican nominee as a liar. The emnity was clearly mutual — throughout the campaign, Romney labeled Gingrich as an unregistered lobbyist for Freddie Mac, “at a time that Freddie Mac was not doing the right thing for the American people,” and said he “had to resign in disgrace” from Congress.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL)
While his brother, former President George W. Bush, has largely avoided the political scene entirely since leaving office, the former Florida Gov. has emerged as something of a thorn in his party’s side in recent months. He has called the GOP’s immigration and tax policies –- which Mitt Romney has firmly embraced –- “short-sighted.” Bush recently criticized his party’s increasing intolerance of diversity of opinion, noting that “Ronald Reagan would have, based on his record of finding accommodation, finding some degree of common ground, as would my dad [former President George H.W. Bush] — they would have a hard time if you define the Republican party — and I don’t — as having an orthodoxy that doesn’t allow for disagreement, doesn’t allow for finding some common ground.” While Romney embraced Grover Norquist’s no new taxes under any circumstances ever pledge, Bush said “I don’t believe you outsource your principles and convictions to people.” Norquist called that comment an “insult” to Romney.
Thomas Stemberg (left) was the co-founder of Staples along with Leo Kahn (right). During Romney’s tenure as CEO at Bain, the private equity form invested heavily in Staples, and the chain’s history is frequently held-up as evidence of Romney’s job reaction cred. Unfortunately for that cred, creative destruction is a sword that cuts both ways: From 1990 to 2012, jobs in the “Office Supplies and Stationary Stores” retail field actually declined by 13.5 percent even as Staples and the economy as a whole were adding jobs. Worse, the growth in the average weekly earnings of employees in this field failed to keep up with the growth in inflation. In other words, Staples was part of a business model that reduced jobs and drove down real wages in its field, even while reaping millions in profits for Bain’s investors. As for Stemberg himself, his other claim to fame was complaining earlier this year that President Obama’s health care reform hurts jobs by requiring businesses to provide new mothers with reasonable break time and a private area in which to breastfeed while on the clock.
Rep. Connie Mack IV (R-FL)
As he continues to change his mind, Mack has not yet decided what he thinks about Paul Ryan’s budget plan that would end Medicare as we know it. First he said he would vote for the extreme budget plan, then skipped the vote on it before calling it a “joke.” Now, he says he has not always backed the Ryan plan, and he is pushing his own “penny plan” that he claims will balance the budget sooner. And Mitt Romney’s immigration policies would use SB 1070 — Arizona’s harmful immigration law — as a national model, but Mack condemned the measure as “reminiscent of a time during World War II when the Gestapo in Germany stopped people on the street and asked for their papers without probable cause.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) floated the idea of proposing a GOP alternative to the DREAM Act, but after President Obama announced a new deportation directive to grant deferred action to DREAM Act-eligible young adults, Rubio complained that Congress will not be able to pass a legislative version of the President’s immigration directive because the “sense of urgency has been taken away” — even though the policy is only temporary. And while Mitt Romney has staked out far-right immigration stances in favor of harmful self-deportation measures, Rubio has said that “it feels kind of weird” to deport undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. And in his memoir released in June, Rubio wrote that he would immigrate illegally “if my kids went to sleep hungry every night.” His comparatively moderate immigration positions put Rubio at odds with other anti-immigrant officials who are Romney advisers and supporters.
Bain Capital Managing Director Bob White
Bob White is a former partner of Bain Capital and Romney adviser who led his 1994 Senate campaign, headed Romney’s transition team as Massachusetts governor, and chaired both of his presidential campaigns. It was White who encouraged Romney to not release his tax returns, saying that “you never release something that’s five hundred pages long or more till you understand it,” according to The New Republic.
Vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is taking flack on the morning news shows for his keynote address at the Republican National Convention Wednesday night. His speech was riddled with false claims, so much so that even Fox News wrote, “To anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech.”
Here are the most glaring lies from his speech:
1. “A downgraded America.” Ryan blamed the president for the nation’s credit downgrade in August 2011 after Republicans threatened to allow the government to default on its debt for the first time in history. But the ratings agency explicitly blamed “Republicans saying that they refuse to accept any tax increases as part of a larger deal.”
2. “More debt than any other president before him, and more than all the troubled governments of Europe combined.” Romney has made the almost identical claim, that Obama has amassed more debt “as almost all of the other presidents combined.” But their math doesn’t add up: when Obama took office, the national debt was $10.626 trillion. It has increased to slightly above $15 trillion.
3. Shuttered General Motors plant is “one more broken promise.” Ryan described a GM plant that closed down in his hometown, Janesville, Wisconsin, and blamed Obama for breaking his promise to keep the plant open when he visited during his campaign. But Obama never made that promise, and the plant shut down in December 2008, before Obama even took office.
4. Obama “did exactly nothing” on Bowles-Simpson. Ryan said, “He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.” In fact, Ryan was instrumental in sabotaging the commission, leading the other House Republicans in voting against the plan.
5. “$716 billion, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama.” Ryan’s favorite lie is a deliberate distortion of Obamacare’s savings from eliminating inefficiencies. Furthermore, Ryan’s own plan for Medicare includes these savings. Romney has vowed to restore these cuts, which would render the trust fund insolvent 8 years ahead of schedule.
6. “The greatest of all responsibilities is that of the strong to protect the weak.” Ryan closed the speech with an invocation of social responsibility, saying, “The truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves.” However, numerous clergy members have condemned Ryan’s budget plan as “cruel,” and “an immoral disaster” because of its devastating cuts in social programs the poor and sick rely on. Meanwhile, Ryan would give ultra-rich individuals and corporations $3 trillion in tax breaks.
Gay Republicans have had their own dim spotlight at the Republican National Convention as they peddle apologetics for their party while trying to advance LGBT equality from within. Log Cabin Republicans were proud to have been part of the platform drafting committee, but the GOP ended up approving one of the most anti-gay platforms ever. One member of LCR, Casey Pick, admitted to NPR that the platform might very well have been a “hostile” retaliation to their presence:
PICK: When you back someone into a corner, they fight back twice as hard. The platform is ugly and harmful. We lost, and you could say the social conservatives in our party dropped the hammer harder because we were there.
Former Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), who is openly gay, believes 2012 will be the last year for such vitriol, but Pick’s comments suggest otherwise. The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins had a prominent leadership role on the drafting committee and personally drafted much of its social policy. Though LCR has achieved visibility at this year’s convention, their contributions seem particularly unwelcome in contrast. Though the group admitted the platform was “bad with a capital ‘B,’” it continues to defend the Romney/Ryan ticket, compromising its supposed commitment to LGBT equality in favor of party politics.
GOProud has also taken advantage of the convention’s publicity, but unlike LCR and despite being a gay Republican group, they never purport to support any aspect of LGBT rights.
It says a lot about how the Republican convention is going that the biggest buzz isn’t over any one speech, but over the possible identity of a mystery speaker slated for Thursday night. The rumors seem to be coalescing around actor Clint Eastwood. And if he takes the stage in Tampa tonight, Eastwood’s appearance will reveal more about the current state of the Republican party than about Eastwood or the man he’s there to endorse.
Taxes and regulations have long been touchstone issues for Eastwood. When he ran of Carmel-By-The-Sea in 1986, his campaign was in part inspired by his fights with the town over building permits, and he was backed by small business owners irritated by the city’s regulations intended to make sure Carmel wasn’t overrun by tourists. In statewide California politics, Eastwood backed term limits. And during President Regan’s 1985 budget fight, United Press International reported that “Sen. William Armstrong, R-Colo., presented Reagan with a blue sweatshirt inscribed with the phrase ”Make My Day,” which Reagan borrowed from actor Clint Eastwood to dramatize his intention to veto any tax increases.”
But it’s not as if the actor’s politics are a perfect fit for a Romney administration. In an interview with GQ last fall, Eastwood cited the importance of issues like global warming and described his political evolution and support for equal marriage rights:
I was an Eisenhower Republican when I started out at 21, because he promised to get us out of the Korean War. And over the years, I realized there was a Republican philosophy that I liked. And then they lost it. And libertarians had more of it. Because what I really believe is, Let’s spend a little more time leaving everybody alone. These people who are making a big deal out of gay marriage? I don’t give a fuck about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We’re making a big deal out of things we shouldn’t be making a deal out of.
He’s never been particularly pro-life either, saying in the eighties that the extreme rhetoric that contributed to clinic bombings made him nervous (and for extremists in the Republican Party today, when actress Sondra Locke sued Eastwood for palimony in 1989, she accused him of encouraging to have two abortions and a tubal ligation). Eastwood endorsed John McCain in 2008 on the grounds that his experience in Vietnam would better equip him to handle the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, though he celebrated the breakthrough that Obama’s election represented even as he expressed skepticism of the younger man’s experience. Eastwood’s always been clear that he doesn’t fit comfortably into one party, though the one he seems most inclined to accomodate himself to is the GOP.
But if Eastwood takes the stage at the RNC tonight, he’ll be behaving exactly the way conservatives wish movie stars would behave: putting the self-interest created by his wealth over his opinions on social issues. Some day, there will be a reckoning between the wing of the Republican party that espouse limiting government’s influence in business and the one that wants to increase federal limitations on Americans’ sexual and reproductive lives. But as long as the people who believe in the former and oppose the latter aren’t willing to prioritize the freedom of women and gay people along with their freedom from taxes, that day will be pushed off a little further.
In his speech at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee tried to cast doubt about President Barack Obama’s faith, hinting that he might be lying or misleading Americans about his religion.
Huckabee labeled President Obama a “self-professed evangelical” — an assertion that is, first and foremost, incorrect, but one that nevertheless seems imply that Obama’s profession is different than the truth. The line that was not off-the-cuff, but in his prepared remarks:
Let me clear the air about whether guys like me would only support an evangelical. Of the four people on the two tickets, the only self-professed evangelical is Barack Obama, and he supports changing the definition of marriage, believes that human life is disposable and expendable at any time in the womb or even beyond the womb, and tells people of faith that they must bow their knees to the god of government and violate their faith and conscience in order to comply with what he calls health care.
Welcome to ThinkProgress’ primetime Wednesday coverage of the Republican National Convention. We’re here all night to fact check and debunk the claims of the GOP’s brightest stars. Here is our guide to Wednesday’s speakers.
10:56: Ryan pokes fun at Mitt. Jokes that the songs on his iPod can also be heard in “many hotel elevators.”
10:50: Ryan reiterates Romney’s goal of capping spending to 20 percent of GDP by 2016 — while growing defense spending and cutting taxes. That would require drastic cuts in programs “such as veterans’ disability compensation, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for poor elderly and disabled individuals, SNAP (formerly food stamps), and child nutrition programs would move millions of households below the poverty line or drive them deeper into poverty.”
10:45: Ryan compares the U.S. debt situation to Europe’s. Across the Atlantic, the austerity policies Ryan favors have pushed nations into second recessions, made the debt situation even worse, and caused unemployment to skyrocket.
10:44: Obama hasn’t amassed more debt than all past presidents combined, as Ryan claimed. The New York Times beaks down the math: “The national debt stood at $10.626 trillion on the day that President Obama took office. It now stands slightly above $15 trillion.”
10:27: Here comes vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan to tell us about the debt that is strangling America…after voting to add $6.8 trillion to it during his time in the House and proposing a budget plan that would pile on even more.
10:14: Rice referenced 9/11 at least twice during her speech, but like McCain, she didn’t mention that Osama bin Laden was killed.
10:08: Rice wants America to “show that we’re a compassionate nation of immigrants.” She should let Romney know. During the GOP presidential primaries, he said America should make immigrants’ lives so miserable that they would choose to leave the country on their own.
10:03: Though the Republican party is widely skeptical of climate change, Rice takes a more progressive stance. She called the US “a major emitter” and said that it is “not above the internation community on this issue.”
10:01: Rice said “you cannot lead from behind.” Yet she endorsed Obama’s so-called “leading from behind” strategy in Libya. “I think it’s good that others can take lead like the British and French,” she said.
9:57: Rice sells the Iraq war in 2003: “The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly [Saddam Hussein] can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” She didn’t mention the war in her remarks tonight.
9:57: Rice criticizes Obama on Syria and wonders where America stands. President Obama has said: “We will help because we stand for principles that include universal rights for all people and just political and economic reform. The suffering citizens of Syria must know: we are with you, and the Assad regime must come to an end.”
9:54:Huckabee boasts that he’s helped fight AIDS with the ONE campaign, but the homophobia he spews and abstinence-only policies he supports contribute to the HIV epidemic.
9:49: Huckabee accuses Obama of waging a war on Catholics, referring to an Obamacare provision which requires employers and insurers to offer women birth control. But the measure exempts houses of worship and religiously-affiliated institutions from the requirement.
9:48: Huckabee raises doubts about Obama’s religion. Calls him a “self-professed evangelical” who “tells people of faith that they must bow their knees to the god of government.”
9:46: Huckabee has been the most vocal supporter of Todd Akin in the immediate wake of his “legitimate rape” comments.
9:43:: Huckabee reprises Newt Gingrich’s “food stamp president” line about Obama, ignoring that the growth in food stamps was due to a recession that began before Obama took office. The program has helped keep millions out of poverty, but it faces the axe under Paul Ryan’s budget. A diverse group of faith leaders has condemned the cuts.
9:40: Pretty tasteless line from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: “The only hitch in an otherwise perfect week was the awful noise coming from the hotel room next door to mine. Turns out it was just Debbie Wasserman Schultz practicing her speech for the DNC in Charlotte next week.”
9:30: Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) attacks Obamacare, which he labeled “Obamneycare” during the GOP presidential primaries. Here he is explaining himself in front of Mitt Romney:
9:22: Puerto Rican children are suffering the worst rates of poverty out of anywhere in the United States. Eighty percent of kids in Puerto Rico live in high-poverty areas.
9:20: Fortuño says the “government must get out of the way.” But just three years ago, he “appealed to the Obama administration for federal assistance” to help balance the island’s $3.2 billion budget deficit.
9:16: The National Review gave Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño the title of “Puerto Rico’s Scott Walker” — and that’s not a compliment. Fortuño has presided over huge cuts to his island’s budget; he suspended all collective bargaining rights for two years; and he stopped all salary increases for public employees for two years.
9:15: Business owner Steve Cohen blasts Obama’s “war on coal,” which has led to a 15-year high in Appalachian mining jobs.
9:09: Ryan will give middle and lower class Americans “hope and opportunity for the future,” Portman claims. Forgets to mention that Ryan’s budget gets 62% of its non-defense budget cuts from programs like Pell Grants and job training:
The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins has had a prominent role in shaping the Republican Party’s platform, including support for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The Bridge Project noticed an interview Perkins did with CNSNews.com today in which he claimed that only a “very small minority” of Americans support marriage equality:
PERKINS: I think this is the year of contrast. This is the year of contrast when you look at the party platforms. The Republican Party has very strong language as it pertains to natural, traditional marriage.The Democratic Party going the way of a very small minority in this country and embracing same-sex marriage, which undermines the 32 states that have voted on this, the 30 states that have constitutional amendments. I think that’s in your face to those states that have constitutional amendments.
Apparently Perkins believes a “very small minority” means the same thing as a “consistent majority” and “the Democratic Party.” Over the past two years, polls have repeatedly shown that a majority of Americans support marriage equality. Of course, the Democratic Party has also endorsed this position, in stark contrast to the platform Perkins helped draft. Like all other issues related to LGBT people, Perkins has convinced himself of something that contradicts with the reality of the world around him.