Have you been watching Aaron Sorkin's new series on HBO, "The Newsroom"? If not, you should. It's an interesting program. Sorkin -- who was the creator of "The West Wing" show that ran from 1999 to 2006 on NBC years ago -- has put together another show with great acting, fantastic camera work, great writing, fast action and a truckload of made-for-TV sexual tension. Sounds like an all-around great show, right? It is, but there is one basic, fundamental flaw with the program: It is completely unbelievable.
To understand, let's take a look at part of the opening scene of the very first episode of the show:
Again, that's the beginning of the first show. Or much of the beginning. You missed a little bit before this clip starts, but you get the drift of what it's about.
So what is so unbelieveable about that monologue?
You have to watch the entire first show -- and maybe the second show in the series -- to eventually figure out that the character talking -- played by actor Jeff Daniels -- is a conservative, Republican news program anchor. The character's name is "Will McAvoy." McAvoy is supposed to be like a nationally recognized Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity-type guy. In the series (so far), Daniels' character has become fed up with the crazyness of the Republican Party and its teabagger majority. He can't believe that his once great party has given up on science and given in to greedy billionaires and deer-in-headlights-eyed fundamentalist theocrats. He's brilliant, he's outraged and he's not afraid to take on the right-wing nutjobs and corporatists.
That, my friends, will never, ever, ever happen. Not in my lifetime. Not in a hundred years or more.
There will always be unlimited money backing the Bill O'Reillys of the world who DON'T question the greedy corporatists, teabaggers and theocrats, and there will always be right-wing sheeple who eat up their every word. And there will never be room for a real-life Will McAvoy character in real-world America.
So... the entire premise of Sorkin's show is not credible. There are no Republicans with that kind of integrity anymore. And if there were, they would never -- not in a million years -- be allowed to anchor a conservative news program.
That's why reasonable conservatives are walking away from the Teapublican Party. They don't feel welcome there anymore.
The Dem-NPL commissioned another ND-Sen poll from DFM Research out of Minnesota. They polled 400 likely voters in North Dakota, and things are looking good for Heidi Heitkamp and aren't looking bleak for Rick Berg.
These poll results (and Berg's unreleased internals) probably explains why the slumshark is using unwitting surrogates to go on the offensive in his campaign ads. He's in trouble, and he knows it. But he has to do something, so he's spending lots of money on his smarmy ads. Gotta wonder what women voters think of his brand of smarm.
The next question people should be asking is this: Will Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers Crime Family recognize North Dakota's senate seat is going to cost them too much money and go buy up some other state's airwaves, or are they going to really ramp up their dishonest, hypocritical and occasionally illegal ads?
There's an interesting, new, dishonest TV ad out from slumshark Rick Berg. I'll give you a the dishonest and hypocritical ad, first, and then give you some analysis. Here's the ad...
Okay, so here are few things that are "interesting" about the ad.
First, the woman who says the first line in the ad -- "There she goes again..." -- is Ilene Larson. She's the mother of a liberal friend of mine, Sarah. I don't think they agree on much, politically. I've known Ilene (not particularly well, but as a friendly acquaintance) for years and years. I'm surprised to see her in this type of ad.
Second -- and this is kind of a side note -- when I voted in the primary, Ilene was working as an election clerk. As my ballot was handed to me, Ilene said to me, "You want me to fill that out for you?" She's funny. (I declined.)
Third, I'm pretty sure the woman sitting next to Ilene is Neva Carlisle, state Senator Ron Carlisle's wife. I recognize one of the other ladies but can't place her.
Fourth, it's interesting that the premise of the commercial is that Heidi Heitkamp is a bad person because she's bought "another" negative attack ad against Rick Berg. And that ad is apparently in a newspaper somewhere. (Ilene is holding a newspaper in her hands and apparently referring to it as she talks.) I'd ask this question of Ilene: "What newspaper are you reading?" You say, "Heidi Heitkamp attacking Rick Berg" but nobody I know has seen anything in a newspaper where Heitkamp has "attacked" Berg. Not one ad.
And I've asked around, and nobody has seen a single negative newspaper ad from Heidi Heitkamp this year. (For the record, I also haven't seen any negative ads from her on TV either. You can see all her TV ads -- and one snippet of a news show that is not one of Heidi's ads -- on her Youtube page.) All her TV ads have been very, very positive. (My favorite, so far, is the football one. It's very well done.) To the best of my knowledge, Heitkamp's campaign has not done a single negative ad "attacking Rick Berg" yet. (And he's given her plenty of material.) All the attacking so far has come from Berg.
So what's going on here?
Well the ad, unfortunately, is a completely disingenuous attack ad. Heitkamp has done no negative advertising, but that's only half of it. Berg has actually voted twice -- yes TWICE -- for the exact same Medicare savings his surrogates, in this ad, criticize Heitkamp for supporting. (Click here and here for his votes.) For Berg to criticize Heitkamp for her view on those same Medicare savings he voted for -- twice -- is textbook hypocrisy. It's the kind of hypocrisy that got Republicans "two Pinocchios" from the Washington Post, which the Post defines as "Significant omissions and/or exaggerations. Some factual error may be involved but not necessarily. A politician can create a false, misleading impression by playing with words and using legalistic language that means little to ordinary people." Two Pinocchios is apparently the best we should expect from Berg.
Why has he done this? Well, you'll notice all the surrogates in the ad are women, right? That's no accident. According to the ValleyNewsLive.com poll, Heitkamp is ahead of Berg with women voters by 9 percentage points. Those are some pretty tough numbers for Berg to have to overcome. And we also know Berg has done polling at least twice, and probably three times (not counting polling done by the RSCC and other friends of Berg). He knows he's in trouble with women voters. Women are going to vote in this election. Berg obviously needs to do something dramatic to try to carve away at Heitkamp's sizeable lead with women. In his first ad, the mother of one of Congress' most wealthy multi-millionaires talked about how she can't make ends meet without her Social Security check. That probably appealed to some women and wasn't so bad. But dishonesty like this? I'm sorry to see my friend's mother dragged into it. I'll be surprised if women voters are fooled by all of it.
Lastly, where in the heck was this commercial shot? Two of the women in the ad are from Bismarck, but -- for the life of me -- I can't figure out what cafe that might be in the BisMan area. Can anybody else ID it? And who are those other two ladies?
David Nir at DailyKos.com made a great catch today. Today he posted a clip about the North Dakota U.S. House race. After NorthDecoder.com busted Kate Bommarito -- Kevin Cramer's communications director -- reTweeting some moron's racist comment on Twitter, Bommarito's entire Twitter account has been purged from the interwebs.
If you click here, you'll go to the empty space where Bommarito used to have a Twitter presence on the interwebs.
It got me thinking; while it's not necessarily crucial that a U.S. House candidate's communications director have a twitter account, I imagine most U.S. House candidate's communications directors have the good sense to not post racist things on Twitter. I also imagine a candidate's communications director might find having a Twitter account to be useful, at times.
So here's my question: Was Bommarito forced to delete her entire account by Cramer? Or did she do it on her own? Was she getting questions and pressure from the mainstream press to explain the racist post? Or was Cramer?
What's the back story here?
And... if Bommarito has been convinced that her racist post was, at best, inartful... what is she doing still serving as a congressional candidate's communications director?
Cars don't kill people, either. But cars are all licensed, as are drivers. Rocket propelled grenades also don't kill people, either. And surface-to-air missiles also don't kill people. Nuclear weapons don't kill people. Yelling fire in a crowded movie theater doesn't kill people. Threatening to kill someone doesn't kill anyone. Calling a high school and saying there's a bomb in the school also doesn't kill people.
But everyone accepts that all those things can be regulated. Well, probably not everyone, but most rational people. Most rational people understand that when the Second Amendment allows for citizens to have muskets as part of the constitutional approval of a well regulated militia, it did not mean everyone gets to have a nuclear arsenal. That was not the original intent of the constitution's framers. They understood that it is important that constitutionally protected rights need to be... well... reasonable.
So... Why do some people think it's okay to have gun regulations? Because, though guns don't kill people... "... the gun helps."
The National Rifle Association (NRA) says that "Guns don't kill people; People do." But I think the gun helps. You know? I think that it helps. I think just standing there going "Bang!" That's not going to kill too many people, is it? You'd have to be really dodgy on the heart to have that...
Wouldn't it be nice if we could have a grown-up conversation in America about reasonable and unreasonable gun laws?
Memo to the Bismarck Tribune, Fargo Forum, Minot Dialy News, Grand Forks Herald, Jamestown Sun, Dickinson Press, Williston Herald and every other North Dakota newspaper: This is what real journalism looks like:
About five months ago, as western North Dakota was aching under the pressure of the oil boom, a well-connected Republican told me that Gov. Jack Dalrymple was planning to wait a few months before announcing a major investment of state money into things like new roads and public safety programs in the oil patch.
Waiting for what? The need for additional investment was already quite clear. And the state had just finished stashing away several hundred million dollars into various rainy day funds after meeting the budget requirements for the upcoming biennium.
My Republican friend told me the governor was waiting until summer, so his announcement would be timed just ahead of this fall’s general election. He said the governor himself acknowledged the timing would be much more beneficial, from a political standpoint, if the proposal was stalled for a few more months.
So, today, the governor followed through by announcing plans to spend $2.5 billion on road work and infrastructure projects funded by oil and gas impact grants. As part of the plan, local governments in the oil patch also will be allowed to keep a greater percentage of the revenue from the oil and gas tax.
Admit it: You knew Jack Dalrymple was not above this. You're a smart person. This stuff isn't that hard. As these "Christmas In July" stories have been coming out from the Governor's office, we've all recognized them for what they are: the worst kind of politics. This is clearly Dalrymple's transparent effort to buy votes by trying to be North Dakota's too-little-too-late Santa Claus.
But while Dalrymple has withheld this money from the Bakken, people are suffering. Entire communities are suffering. Western North Dakota is suffering, and Jack Dalrymple is playing hold-out Santa Claus. While Rome burns, Dalrymple's been fiddling.
And it's a big deal.
But it's not big enough for the Fargo Forum. You will never read this story in the Fargo Forum, Bismarck Tribune, Minot Daily News or Williston Herald. Why? Because all those newspapers are bought-and-paid-for by Jack Dalrymple and John Hoeven. They'll never publish a word that might make either of them look bad. Wouldn't dare. Because they're cowards.
Let's compare this Great Plains Examiner story to the sorry excuses for journalism we get from other North Dakota "news" outlets. Matt Bunk, the author of the above-referenced story, is not afraid of Jack Dalrymple. He is not afraid to expose the truth. If he was afraid of writing the truth, he wouldn't have written this story. Matt Bunk is a real journalist.
The state's other newspapers? They're propaganda-spewing, press-release republishing automatons.
North Dakota's other "journalists" should read the Great Plains Examiner and take good notes.
Rick Berg's polling numbers in North Dakota have consistently looked bad. No meaningful, worthwhile poll has been done in North Dakota showing Berg at anything better than a dead heat,* while most polls have showed Heidi Heitkamp ahead. This has to be scary for the out-of-state interests counting on Berg to sell his Senate votes to them.
He's spent over $70,000 this year doing polling, including $16,000 he paid for yet another poll last month.
But he's not releasing the poll results to anybody. Probably not even his funders.
So how are slumshark Rick Berg's corporate masters dealing with this? They're swamping North Dakota's media with expensive ads attacking Heidi Heitkamp. Here's what their spending looks like so far...
Here's a bit of a summary on who these groups are that are panicking about how well Heitkamp is doing over Berg:
(1) American Commitment: While "Politifact.org" hasn't rated American Commitment's (AC's) Heitkamp ad, they've rated other AC ads as "mostly false," "false" and "pants on fire." (Source) American Commitment, like most Koch Brothers Crime Family non-profits, is secretly funded and will not disclose which crime family member funds it.
(2) American Future Fund: Here's what Sourcewatch says about them:
American Future Fund, according to an opinion piece in the conservative New Republic, was "founded by long-time Republican operatives Alex N. Vogeland his wife, Jill Holtzman Vogel, who together run the consulting agency Holtzman Vogel. The couple is joined by Republican pollster Jan Van Lohuizen, who previously worked for George W. Bush. The president of the group, Nicole Schlinger, is the former executive director of the Iowa Republican Party. ... This group is geared toward helping Republicans in congressional races, allowing others to focus on the presidential election. So far, their activities have included an extensive campaign ad against the Democratic contender in a Minnesota senatorial election, as well as some suspiciously timed polling in Louisiana that appears to have been coordinated with Freedom's Watch. It's difficult to track major donors, as their anonymity is a major bonus of 501(c)4 status." . According to NPR, a large number of AFF's leadership were members of Mitt Romney's 2008 failed campaign for president.
(3) Concerned Women for America, who are not: This organization advocates for teen pregnancy by advocating for abstinence-only education, which doesn't work. They advocate for prayer in schools and mandatory "intelligent design" teaching. They are against life-saving stem cell research and for discrimination against LGBT taxpaying citizens. (Source)
(4) Crossroads GPS: This is Karl Rove's group. You may know Rove by his other name, "Turd Blossom." He's the guy who has made dirty tricks political strategies into an art-form. Think of him as being like a human feces sculptor. The finished products might be effective and even look really nice, but it's still poop. That's who's attacking Heidi Heitkamp. And they won't tell you where they get their money. It could be coming from the Chinese Government, for all we know.
(5) U.S. Chamber of Communists: This group is funded by big polluters, carcinogen manifacturers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, Wall Street Bankers, insurance companies and other bottom feeders. (Source) These are the non-people people who are trying to change our democracy into a coin-operated government.
This is who is fighting for Rick Berg. And they're spending all this money in North Dakota to try to move Rick Berg's poll numbers.
And it's not working.
Look for them to either dump a LOT more money into North Dakota, or to give up because he's not worth it.
* Two polls (one poorly-done, the other done by a right-wing pollster) have been done in North Dakota showing Berg up, but both polls have nearly-universally discredited as fundamentally flawed and/or biased.
Kevin Cramer is the Republican candidate for North Dakota's open U.S. House seat. According to a press release he issued on February 3, 2012, Kate Bommarito is his campaign's Communications Director. Bommarito found an offensive, racist comment by a friend of hers to be so compelling that she "retweeted" it recently.
Kate Bommarito had no business pretending to be a journalist. She had no qualifications to be a journalist. She was a political hack. She was horrible writer. At her core, she was fundamentally incapable of writing a story in a non-partisan, politically neutral way, but she pretended to be able to do so. She also, apparently, lacks the ability to recognize when her friends' comments are racist and offensive.
And Kate Bommarito is Kevin Cramer's Communications Director.
Kate Bommarito should resign as Cramer's Communications Director by the end of the day today, or be fired. For Cramer to keep a racist on his staff is a tacit endorsement of Bommarito's racist, offensive "re-tweet." For Kevin Cramer to keep Bommarito on his staff is to endorse her racism.
“You know, you should really look at where Mitt has led his life, and where he’s been financially,” the potential first lady said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “He’s a very generous person. We give 10 percent of our income to our church every year. Do you think that is the kind of person who is trying to hide things, or do things? No. He is so good about it. Then, when he was governor of Massachusetts, didn’t take a salary for four years.”
“We’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life,”
First off, as Politico points out, tithing is required by the Mormon Church of its members, which somewhat lessens the whole "we're so generous" angle.
Second off, even if you disregard the requirement, nobody is saying the Romney's aren't generous. She's sidestepping the point of the argument, which is that the Romneys are clearly hiding something in not releasing their returns at this point. There is something about Mitt that he is refusing to explain to us, and given the gravity of the office he is running for, secrecy is not a virtue. We went down that road with George Bush.
Third off, "all 'you people' need to know"?
WHAT?! I suppose she could have been a bit more condescending of the American public.
That line deserves an apology, if nothing else to the people that she was interviewing with, if not to the public. You don't call the voters or reporters "you people."