Category Archives: Politics

Four Great Political Scandal Movies

John Travolta and Adrian Lester in Primary Colors.

Full disclosure…

I’m a political movie fanatic so this article caught my eye and I wanted to share it with any fellow political movie devotees out there.

Granted, this list consists of political scandal movies but that’s ok as long as politics is a part of the main storyline.

Slate

Since word broke on Friday that CIA director David Petraeus was resigning his post because of an affair with biographer Paula Broadwell, the news cycle has whiplashed from one theory to another, trying to figure out what exactly this scandal is about: Is it about classified information? A scheming professional climber? Proof that the FBI is abusing its power to investigate the private lives of public figures? An example of military culture gone awry? As the who, what, where, and whys continue to unravel and we all sweat to keep up, here are four movies that go a long way toward explaining the sexual culture of Washington and the powerful men who live it.

1. The Seduction of Joe Tynan (1979): A must-see, if only for the sight of Alan Alda and Meryl Streep in bed together, The Seduction of Joe Tynan shows just how sexy shared interests can be. Alda plays Joe Tynan, a senator who’s been tapped to lead the campaign against a conservative Supreme Court nominee, raising his political career prospects. But he risks everything for an affair with Karen Traynor (Streep), a smart lobbyist, that begins when they’re out on the road together, inspecting wetlands. What’s sticks with you isn’t just Tynan’s stupidity—though there’s that too—but also how much fun he’s having with Traynor. We tend to think of affairs as furtive, desperate things. But despite how sordid they can seem when exposed, The Seduction of Joe Tynan is a reminder of why people, particularly those with lots of power but little in the way of amusement, fall into affairs in the first place.

2. Primary Colors (1998): Based on Joe Klein’s novel of the same name, Primary Colors follows the peccadillo-plagued campaign for president of a southern governor named Jack Stanton (John Travolta, in one of the best performances of his career), otherwise known as Bill Clinton. Rather than trying to understand the appetites of powerful men, the movie is more interested in how people enable those men and those appetites, whether they are aides lying to themselves about their candidate’s transgressions, or actively covering them up in service of some perceived greatness. When Libby Holden, the long-time friend of Jack Stanton played by Kathy Bates, mourns that “No one ever calls you on it. Because you’re so completely fucking special … Me too. Me the worst,” she’s articulating what it’s like to believe in someone so deeply, and to have that faith betrayed.

3. Heartburn (1986): Not strictly a political scandal movie, Heartburn is the movie adaptation of Nora Ephron’s novelization of her marriage to Carl Bernstein—a marriage that was broken up by his perpetual philandering. But if you’ve been watching l’affair Petraeus-Broadwell unfold and marveling at how small the world of the scandal seems—Broadwell’s emails were investigated after she harassed a friend of Petraeus, Tampa hostess Jill Kelley, who was herself exchanging flirty emails with Petraeus’s successor in Afghanistan—this is the movie for you. As Rachel Samstat (Meryl Streep again) navigates life in Washington with her journalist husband Mark Forman (Jack Nicholson), the city starts to feel more and more claustrophobic with every encounter Rachel has at a Georgetown supermarket or at the beauty salon, where she bolts out mid-perm. I can only imagine that the social bubble of the military elite feels equally incestuous, and is equally capable of driving everyone a little crazy.

4. Dick (1999): Particularly if you’re of the view that the FBI, which has its own problems with an agent who sent shirtless photos of himself to Jill Kelley, dramatically overstepped its bounds in investigating Broadwell and Petraeus, watch Dick. It’s both one of the great, underrated Washington movies, and a brilliantly mean portrait of powerful men working themselves into a flop sweat. After two teenaged girls (Michelle Williams and Kirsten Dunst) accidentally witness the Watergate break-in, the Nixon administration goes to great lengths to placate them, even making them Checkers’ official dog walkers. But when the two turn out to be good for more than worshipping the president and hooking up the Secret Service with magic brownies, the administration turns on them. The lesson? The less time important men spend on teenage girls and middle-aged mistresses, the better for the nation.

 

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Think Progress: Morning Briefing: May 8, 2012

Think Progress

The CIA thwarted an attempt by Al Qaeda to blow up a commercial airplane heading for the United States, according to the National Security Council. CIA agents uncovered the plot, which was supposed to coincide with the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death on May 1.

President Obama has given Congress a “to do list” for the rest of the year, urging job creation proposals and help for families who need to refinance their mortgages.

Democratic legislation that would prevent federal student loan interest rates from doubling by eliminating some corporate tax breaks hits the Senate floor today. Republicans, who want to extend the lower interest rate by pulling money from a preventative care fund under the health reform law, have promised to block the White House-backed bill.

In a late-night email to supporters last night, Rick Santorum endorsed Mitt Romney. While Santorum’s tone was tepid, he said Republicans should rally around the presumptive nominee,writing, “We both agree that President Obama must be defeated.”

At an event in Ohio yesterday, Mitt Romney was confronted by a voter “over $1.5 million in foreign tax credits” he received since 2000. Romney dodged, claiming to be “not familiar with that.” The crowd booed.

American taxpayers could make a profit of more than $15.1 billion from the government bailout of insurer AIG, according to a report from Government Accountability Office.

Major liberal donors are preparing to give up to $100 million to independent groups to help Democrats this fall, but instead of pouring the money into Super PACs, the donors are focusing on grass roots organizing, voter registration, and Democratic turnout efforts.

Three “pink slime” plants are closing following uproar over the ammonia-treated meat trimmings they produce. Production was suspended at the plants after a petition asking that they take pink slime out of schools went viral, but now the plants are set to close permanently at the end of the month.

And finally: DC has always been home to major scandals, and now a company will offer a walking tour of city to show you where they all went down. The two-and-a-half hour Scandal Walking Tour, which costs $15, promises to show you the strip club where a congressman held a press conference and teach you which politico shot his wife’s lover and got away with it.

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Most of Obama’s “Controversial” Birth Control Rule Was Law During Bush Years

Tell me again what’s wrong with this administration requiring most employers to cover birth control which the Bush administration also required without the hysterics from those on the Right?

In fact some twenty-six states have also implemented the law.

So what is the big deal here?

Kick! Making Politics Fun says:

BTW, did you know that in the Sherman State of Georgia they have a state mandate for this very same thing law, as do 25 other states?

Politifact:

A study by the Guttmacher Institute in 2002 found that 86 percent of employer-purchased insurance plans covered a full range of contraceptive methods, up dramatically over the previous decade. One reason is that 27 states have passed laws requiring fully-insured employer health insurance plans that cover prescription drugs to provide “equitable” coverage for contraceptives. In short, if an employer is going to offer prescription drugs, contraceptives have to be among the options.

Mother Jones

The right has freaked out over an Obama administration rule requiring employers to offer birth control to their employees. Most companies already had to do that.

President Barack Obama’s decision to require most employers to cover birth control and insurers to offer it at no cost has created a firestorm of controversy. But the central mandate—that most employers have to cover preventative care for women—has been law for over a decade. This point has been completely lost in the current controversy, as Republican presidential candidates and social conservatives claim that Obama has launched a war on religious liberty and the Catholic Church.

Despite the longstanding precedent, “no one screamed” until now, said Sara Rosenbaum, a health law expert at George Washington University.

In December 2000, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that companies that provided prescription drugs to their employees but didn’t provide birth control were in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prevents discrimination on the basis of sex. That opinion, which the George W. Bush administration did nothing to alter or withdraw when it took office the next month, is still in effect today—and because it relies on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, it applies to all employers with 15 or more employees. Employers that don’t offer prescription coverage or don’t offer insurance at all are exempt, because they treat men and women equally—but under the EEOC’s interpretation of the law, you can’t offer other preventative care coverage without offering birth control coverage, too.

“It was, we thought at the time, a fairly straightforward application of Title VII principles,” a top former EEOC official who was involved in the decision told Mother Jones. “All of these plans covered Viagra immediately, without thinking, and they were still declining to cover prescription contraceptives. It’s a little bit jaw-dropping to see what is going on now…There was some press at the time but we issued guidances that were far, far more controversial.”

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Occupied Washington

Mother Jones

Grotesque income inequality is just a symptom of our larger political disease.

A FEW WEEKS AFTER the Occupy Wall Street protests began, we found ourselves having a random conversation with a couple of San Franciscans at a store counter. What were these kids going on about? they asked. Time was tight, the inquiry a pleasantry, really. Best to keep it simple. “Jobs, the economy, income inequality.” Well, one offered, he knew the wife of Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf, and according to him, the reason companies aren’t hiring is because they are worried about the extra cost of Obama’s health care reform.

Stunned silence.

Because what can you really say to that, except…let them eat cake? Stumpf made $17.6 million in 2010—672 times what the average American takes home. And say what you will about Obamacare, but for large companies that already offer health benefits, it imposes pretty much zero costs and might even save money.

But why single out Stumpf, who actually sounds fairly cuddly for a bank CEO? (His hobby is baking bread, for Christ’s sake.) Let’s turn instead to John Paulson, the billionaire hedge fund manager who unctuously admonished Occupy protesters: “Instead of vilifying our most successful businesses, we should be supporting them and encouraging them to remain in New York City and continue to grow.” Or how about the homeless-themed Halloween party thrown by an upstate New York foreclosure mill? Or the financier David Moore, who, having been dressed down by a panhandler for proffering only a dollar, took to the Wall Street Journal op-ed pages to bray about Obama’s class-warfare rhetoric: “The president’s incendiary message has now reached the streets. His complaints that rich people must ‘pay their fair share’ have now goaded some of our society’s most unfortunate.”

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Thursday 6/16/11: The Day In 100 Seconds

H/t: Talking Points Memo

 

 

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Racism to blame for Obama’s problems, key Democrat says

Well, I’m just shocked!  Shocked, I tell you, to find out that racism is to blame for Obama’s problems (sarcasm).

However, I prefer to call it Obama Derangement Syndrome. You know, it sounds more politically correct.

The truth of the matter is, Rep. Clyburn is spot on!

McClatchy

House Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn, the highest-ranking African-American in Congress, on Wednesday blamed most of President Barack Obama’s political problems on racism.

Clyburn, who’s from South Carolina and is a close ally of the president, offered his views in response to a question about Obama’s re-election prospects next year.

“I think they’re improving every day,” Clyburn said. “I think the president has been a good president, a great commander in chief.”

Clyburn, who met his wife at a 1960 court hearing after spending a night in jail for having engaged in a civil rights protest in Orangeburg, S.C., then brought up Obama’s race as the first black president.

“You know, I’m 70 years old,” he said. “And I can tell you; people don’t like to deal with it, but the fact of the matter is, the president’s problems are in large measure because of the color of his skin.”

Clyburn noted that he himself got hate mail, racist phone calls and offensive faxes on a regular basis. Asked how that relates to the president, Clyburn retorted: “We have the same skin color; that’s how it relates to him.”

Clyburn described a recent racist image of Obama that received widespread news coverage.

“When he sees his face being put on a chimpanzee’s body; do you think he didn’t see that?” Clyburn said. “And I suspect they send the same faxes to his office they send to mine.”

Marilyn Davenport, a member of the Orange County Republican Central Committee in California, forwarded an email to friends last month that displayed a photograph of a chimpanzee with Obama’s face superimposed on its head.

In response to the immediate uproar, Davenport apologized but rebuffed demands from the California NAACP that she resign her GOP post.

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Filed under Politics, President Barack Obama, Race-Baiting, Racism, Racist Rhetoric, Rep. Jim Clyburn

4-19-11 Did You Know?

 

Hedge Fund Gamblers Earn the Same In One Hour As a Middle-Class Household Makes In Over 47 Years.  When I heard this I couldn’t believe it.  The same people that want to take away from the middle class want to give those guys  more of a tax break.  Is this America?

Report confirms Walker budget would cut tax aid for poor, decrease overall taxes.  Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget would reduce tax credits for the poor — effectively taking money out of their pockets — while decreasing taxes overall, according to a nonpartisan report released Friday.

U.S. and Allies Seek a Refuge for Gadhafi.  The Obama administration has be  gun seeking a country, most likely in Africa, that might be willing to provide shelter to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi if he were forced out of Libya, even as a new wave of intelligence reports suggest that no rebel leader has emerged as a credible successor to the Libyan dictator.

Va. Nuclear Power Plant Shuts Down After Storm.  Dominion Virginia Power reports that an apparent tornado touched down on the switchyard supporting the Surry Power Station and the facility’s access road Saturday. The storm cut off the electrical feed from the grid to the station, which is located in Surry County, Va.

Progressive economist Paul Krugman says: Let’s Not Be Civil. “Last week, President Obama offered a spirited defense of his party’s values — in effect, of the legacy of the New Deal and the Great Society. Immediately thereafter, as always happens when Democrats take a stand, the civility police came out in force. The president, we were told, was being too partisan; he needs to treat his opponents with respect; he should have lunch with them, and work out a consensus.”

Sure to drive the Tea freaks nuts, President Obama to ignore ‘czar’ ban.  President Barack Obama is planning to ignore language in the 2011 spending package that would ban several top White House advisory posts.  House Republicans tacked on language to the contentious spending bill to cut the salaries for four so-called czars — policy advisers appointed to assist the president on health care, climate change, autos and manufacturing, and urban affairs.

H/T The Randi Rhodes Show

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Politico’s: THE WEEK IN ONE-LINERS

The week’s top ten quotes in American politics: 

“Unicorns for everybody!” – The subject line of an e-mail sent from Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s office in reaction to Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal. 

“People ask me if I’m running, I say I’m walking. I’m just taking it one step at a time.” – Sen. Rick Santorum, discussing whether or not he’d run for president in 2012. 

“We’ve gone to 50th in education and number one in gonorrhea, and that’s the accomplishments of an all Republican government.” – Former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Dick Harpootlian, articulating the motivation behind his decision to get back into politics. 

“It’s great to be in a room full of young people. … The average age of the Senate, I think, is death.” – Rep. Aaron Schock, during a speech for National Arts Advocacy Day. 

“The only thing I’m running for is the county line.” – Former Sen. Carte Goodwin, ruling just about everything out. 

“My TV show still enjoys very low ratings.” – “30 Rock”‘s Tina Fey, explaining that her Sarah Palin impersonation did not improve the ratings of her NBC comedy show. 

“Maybe this is God’s will that Obama not have a reasonable opponent out there. How’s that for an incendiary statement?” – MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, assessing the 2012 Republican field. 

“Don’t tread on me was a motto at and rallying cry for our founding fathers. The new motto of Congress appears to be tread on me.” – Sen. Rand Paul, condemning President Barack Obama’s use of military force in Libya without authorization from Congress. 

“How many folks are married here? When was the last time you just got your way? That’s not how it works.” – President Obama, comparing the budget compromise to family matters. 

“It may be coming available.” – Fox News’s Megyn Kelly, joking with her colleague Bret Baier about Glenn Beck’s chalkboard, referring to the news that Beck would be transitioning away from his daily show.

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POLITICO’S: THE WEEK IN ONE-LINERS

The week’s top 10 quotes in politics: 

“Trust me, I don’t laugh about it.” – Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, explaining how he now views his prostitution scandal. 

“I don’t want to use the word ‘screwed,’ but I screwed him.” – Businessman Donald Trump, explaining his previous business dealings with Muammar Qadhafi. 

“The only decision I’ve made is I won’t run against my dad.” – Sen. Rand Paul, keeping just about every door open. 

“I’m going to keep my remarks tonight very brief, because otherwise you won’t invite me back.” – President Barack Obama, speaking in Chile. 

“I didn’t have any white or blue shirts.” – White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, explaining why he was opting for an off-camera briefing. 

“It doesn’t do me any good to whine.” – Sarah Palin, throwing up her hands over perceived liberal bias in the media. 

“I’ll hold LSM [Lamestream Media] accountable MORE THAN EVER.” – Palin, hours later, clarifying her resolve against the Fourth Estate. 

“As goes Bill Nelson in Florida, so go Barack Obama and Joe Biden in Florida.” -Vice President Joe Biden, scaring fundraisers into supporting Nelson during a stop in Orlando. 

“Health care is a little bit like Buddhism. We know it’s going to change, we just don’t know how.” – Rep. Anthony Weiner, making last year’s legislation even more confusing than it already is. 

“What is difference between Charlie Sheen & John Boehner? At least right now, Charlie Sheen is winning” – A message from the Tea Party Nation

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Obama’s Southern Roots?

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