Supreme Court will rule on whether political falsehoods are protected by the First Amendment

Why the Supreme Court hasn’t long ago settled this matter is simply beyond me. The statutes at issue should have been laughed away before they were ever adopted. But here we are, as if there’s even one chance in hell that the high court will uphold an Ohio law against political lying. After all, when it comes to political rhetoric, truth is often a vague concept. The story is HERE: Groups at both ends of the ideological spectrum are challenging an Ohio law, on the books since the 1970s, that forbids candidates, issue groups or anyone else from knowingly or recklessly making false statements about someone on the ballot — whether the untruths are intended to help elect or defeat the candidate. Fifteen other states similarly criminalize “false” political statements, briefs in the case say, but this is the first constitutional challenge against one of those laws that’s made it to the Supreme Court…. The plaintiffs are hoping to bolster their cause by likening the Ohio statute to a 2005 law that made it a federal crime to lie about receiving military honors or decorations. Two years ago, the justices voted 6-3 to strike down that “Stolen Valor Act” as a violation of the First Amendment. But as is the case so often, the court has a wide opening to decide the case without addressing the big constitutional question....

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The party of anger and division runs a campaign ad decrying anger and division

This ad from the Republican National Committee is beyond any measuring with an hypocrisy meter. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STdzNePvR-4[/youtube] . UPDATE: This cartoon offers an appropriate...

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Karl Rove says he expects Obama’s re-election effort will include lots of mudslinging

  Karl Rove, the most overrated political guru of our time, is direly warning Republicans that Barack Obama will resort to mudslinging in the coming presidential campaign. Is this guy serious? Is he talking about the same Barack Obama whose political base is often impatient with his reluctance to fight back against the calumny aimed at him by Republicans? Is he talking about the same Barack Obama who’s better known for playing patty-cake with his political rivals than for counterpunching? Or could it be that Rove actually fears that Obama will finally decide, with justification, that it’s payback time for all the garbage that’s been thrown at him? After all, Republican right-wingers have questioned Obama’s patriotism, his parentage and his American roots. They have slurred his family, lied about his religion, and resorted to almost every kind of disgusting disparagement imaginable. Perhaps Rove has belatedly come to the recognition that Obamaphobia is much worse than what folks on his side used to call Bush Derangement Syndrome. Perhaps he’s afraid that such provocation is irresistible and will spawn a counter-volley in the coming campaign. On the other hand, I might be completely wrong about Rove in this regard. I might be crediting him with much more political acuity than he merits. Yeah, that must be it. Isn’t this the same so-called political genius whose efforts on behalf of George W. Bush failed to stave off the lowest approval ratings for any president since Richard Nixon? Then, too, in his warning about Obama’s inevitable mudslinging next year, Rove says Republicans should avoid responding in kind, as we see HERE. Avoid responding? Come on! If Karl Rove actually thinks that Republicans can refrain from slinging mud, he knows even less about politics than I had...

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The universality of pro-war rhetoric

Glenn Greenwald LIKENS the pro-war rhetoric of the Obama administration with that of the Bush administration. The common thread is this question: Whose side are you...

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Is can-do spirit emerging as theme of Obama’s campaign for re-election?

  It says HERE that President Obama’s political rhetoric of late suggests an emerging theme, a variation of sorts on the 2008 campaign slogan, “Yes, We Can.” A few excerpts: In January, President Obama told a story in his State of the Union address about a Pennsylvania small business owner whose innovations helped save trapped Chilean miners. One of the business’ workers later boasted, “We do big things,” and Obama used the line to reinforce his belief in American greatness. Michael Scherer noted the other day that the White House intends to make a “thematic connection” between this argument and the mission that killed Osama bin Laden. This week, we saw a fair amount of this with varying degrees of subtlety. (Snip) The president didn’t explicitly connect the bin Laden mission to the larger theme, but his point was hard to miss. And it’s a theme the president and his team are likely to keep emphasizing going...

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