Two weeks ago, Hollywood liberal and all-around gorgeous good guy George Clooney hosted a glad-handing fundraising event that, according to the Patriot Act's broad provisions, should have landed him and fellow attendees Billy Crystal, Barbra Streisand, Tobey Maguire, and Robert Downey, Jr., behind bars for violating broadly designed material support for terrorism laws.
Masses of people thronged Place de la Bastille -- symbolically representative of the French revolution -- to cheer the electoral victory May 6 of French Socialist Party candidate François Hollande, over conservative incumbent President of the Republic Nicholas Sarkozy.
The joyful celebratory mood was a welcome change. Over a decade of grim employment news had brought a measure of despondency to the nation once noted for its "joie de vivre." On the campaign trail, Hollande was called the only happy person in a morose country.
May Day, Murdoch and the murder of Milly Dowler. What do they have to do with the 2012 U.S. general election? This year's election will undoubtedly be the most expensive in U.S. history, with some projections topping $5 billion. Not only has the amount of spending increased, but its nature has as well, following the 2010 U.S.
President Barack Obama's re-election campaign launched its first Spanish-language ads this week, just after returning from the Summit of the Americas. He spent three days in Colombia, longer than any president in U.S. history. The trip was marred, however, by a prostitution scandal involving the U.S. military and Secret Service. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chair of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, "We let the boss down, because nobody's talking about what went on in Colombia other than this incident." Dempsey is right. It also served as a metaphor for the U.S government's ongoing treatment of Latin America.
"The president is wrong." So says one of the newly appointed co-chairs of U.S. President Barack Obama's re-election campaign.
Those four words headline the website of the organization Progressives United, founded by former U.S. Sen., and now Obama campaign adviser, Russ Feingold. He is referring to Obama's recent announcement that he will accept super PAC funds for his re-election campaign. Feingold writes: "The President is wrong to embrace the corrupt corporate politics of Citizens United through the use of Super PACs -- organizations that raise unlimited amounts of money from corporations and the richest individuals, sometimes in total secrecy. It's not just bad policy; it's also dumb strategy." And, he says, it's "dancing with the devil."
Although Mitt Romney has yet to win a majority in a Republican primary, he won big in Florida. After he and the pro-Romney super PACs flooded the airwaves with millions of dollars' worth of ads in a state where nearly half the homeowners are underwater, he talked about whom he wants to represent. "We will hear from the Democrat Party the plight of the poor, and there's no question, it's not good being poor," he told CNN's Soledad O'Brien. "You could choose where to focus, you could focus on the rich, that's not my focus. You could focus on the very poor, that's not my focus. My focus is on middle-income Americans." Of the very rich, Romney assures us, "They're doing just fine." With an estimated personal wealth of $250 million, Romney should know.
For Americans and a huge chunk of non-Americans who (sometimes unwillingly) are affected by U.S. policy and rhetoric, the annual State of the Union (SOTU) address makes for must-watch TV.
Oh, except for that one time in 2010 when an episode of Lost was nearly delayed thanks to competing airtime, leading many to question whether the president was even aware of this pending catastrophe. Very kindly, the White House assured America's citizenry that President Obama would "not pre-empt the premier of the show's final season."