Thursday, August 30, 2012

Matt Taibbi: The Secret to Mitt Romney's Fortune? Greed, Debt and Forcing Others to Foot the Bill

I've followed Matt Taibbi on satellite radio station POTUS and the Pete Dominic show for the last few years and I trust his perspective and experience in the financial world. Please listen to this interview and you will get a straight answer about how Bain Capital functioned and Mitt Romney's role in its success and failures.

Matt Taibbi: The Secret to Mitt Romney's Fortune? Greed, Debt and Forcing Others to Foot the Bill

FOX NEWS Contributor Weighs In On RYAN Convention Speech

Fox News contributor Sally Kohn wrote the best piece on Paul Ryan's coming out speech last night at the Republican National Convention, entitled Paul Ryan's Speech In Three Words. I would add one more word, "Disaster" because that is what it would be if he were voted into office.

1. Dazzling
At least a quarter of Americans still don’t know who Paul Ryan is, and only about half who know and have an opinion of him view him favorably.

So, Ryan’s primary job tonight was to introduce himself and make himself seem likeable, and he did that well. The personal parts of the speech were very personally delivered, especially the touching parts where Ryan talked about his father and mother and their roles in his life. And at the end of the speech, when Ryan cheered the crowd to its feet, he showed an energy and enthusiasm that’s what voters want in leaders and what Republicans have been desperately lacking in this campaign.

To anyone watching Ryan’s speech who hasn’t been paying much attention to the ins and outs and accusations of the campaign, I suspect Ryan came across as a smart, passionate and all-around nice guy — the sort of guy you can imagine having a friendly chat with while watching your kids play soccer together. And for a lot of voters, what matters isn’t what candidates have done or what they promise to do —it’s personality. On this measure, Mitt Romney has been catastrophically struggling and with his speech, Ryan humanized himself and presumably by extension, the top of the ticket.

2. Deceiving
On the other hand, 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. On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold.

The good news is that the Romney-Ryan campaign has likely created dozens of new jobs among the legions of additional fact checkers that media outlets are rushing to hire to sift through the mountain of cow dung that flowed from Ryan’s mouth. Said fact checkers have already condemned certain arguments that Ryan still irresponsibly repeated.

Fact: While Ryan tried to pin the downgrade of the United States’ credit rating on spending under President Obama, the credit rating was actually downgraded because Republicans threatened not to raise the debt ceiling.

Fact: While Ryan blamed President Obama for the shut down of a GM plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, the plant was actually closed under President George W. Bush. Ryan actually asked for federal spending to save the plant, while Romney has criticized the auto industry bailout that President Obama ultimately enacted to prevent other plants from closing.

Fact: Though Ryan insisted that President Obama wants to give all the credit for private sector success to government, that isn't what the president said. Period.

Fact: Though Paul Ryan accused President Obama of taking $716 billion out of Medicare, the fact is that that amount was savings in Medicare reimbursement rates (which, incidentally, save Medicare recipients out-of-pocket costs, too) and Ryan himself embraced these savings in his budget plan.

Elections should be about competing based on your record in the past and your vision for the future, not competing to see who can get away with the most lies and distortions without voters noticing or bother to care. Both parties should hold themselves to that standard. Republicans should be ashamed that there was even one misrepresentation in Ryan’s speech but sadly, there were many.

3. Distracting
And then there’s what Ryan didn’t talk about.
Ryan didn’t mention his extremist stance on banning all abortions with no exception for rape or incest, a stance that is out of touch with 75% of American voters.

Ryan didn’t mention his previous plan to hand over Social Security to Wall Street.

Ryan didn’t mention his numerous votes to raise spending and balloon the deficit when George W. Bush was president.

Ryan didn’t mention how his budget would eviscerate programs that help the poor and raise taxes on 95% of Americans in order to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires even further and increase — yes, increasethe deficit.

These aspects of Ryan’s resume and ideology are sticky to say the least. He would have been wise to tackle them head on and try and explain them away in his first real introduction to voters. But instead of Ryan airing his own dirty laundry, Democrats will get the chance.

At the end of his speech, Ryan quoted his dad, who used to say to him, “"Son. You have a choice: You can be part of the problem, or you can be part of the solution."

Ryan may have helped solve some of the likeability problems facing Romney, but ultimately by trying to deceive voters about basic facts and trying to distract voters from his own record, Ryan’s speech caused a much larger problem for himself and his running mate.

Sally Kohn is a writer and Fox News contributor. You can find her online at or on Twitter@sallykohn.

And The Beat Goes On...

Juan Cole also has an excellent piece out today detailing ten lies that Paul Ryan repeats. You can read it here.

Read more:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Earth. We Are One.

We are biologically connected to each other.
And all of us are chemically connected to the earth,
and atomically connected to the rest of the universe.

"Everything is inter-linked.
And therefore everything has numberless causes.
The entire universe contributes to the least thing.
A thing is as it is, because the world is as it is."

Namaste ♥

Please visit this most important and beautiful group on Facebook here.

Monday, August 27, 2012

One Term More

This is just so over the top that I had to put it here on my blog. Enjoy!


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Everything You've Ever Wanted To Know About Voter ID Laws

You know that Voter IDs laws are in the news and will continue to be until the last ballot is counted in the November election. So, why not get the straight scoop now, so you can stand your ground when the Republicans try to impress upon you how they have all of our best interests at heart by passing stringent Voter ID laws in their states. Thanks to those over at Propublica for this thorough explanation of what's going on here.

Voter IDs laws have become a political flashpoint in what's gearing up to be another close election year. Supporters say the laws — which 30 states have now enacted in some form — are needed to combat voter fraud, while critics see them as a tactic to disenfranchise voters.
We've taken a step back to look at the facts behind the laws and break down the issues at the heart of the debate.
So what are these laws?
They are measures intended to ensure that a registered voter is who he says he is and not an impersonator trying to cast a ballot in someone else's name. The laws, most of which have been passed in the last several years, require that registered voters show ID before they're allowed to vote. Exactly what they need to show varies. Some states require a government-issued photo, while in others a current utility bill or bank statement is sufficient.

As a registered voter, I thought I always had to supply some form of ID during an election.
Not quite. Per federal law, first-time voters who registered by mail must present a photo ID or copy of a current bill or bank statement. Some states generally advise voters bring some form of photo ID. But prior to the 2006 election, no state ever required a voter to produce a government-issued photo ID as a condition to voting. Indiana in 2006 became the first state to enact a strict photo ID law, a law that was upheld two years later by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Why are these voter ID laws so strongly opposed?
Voting law advocates contend these laws disproportionately affect elderly, minority and low-income groups that tend to vote Democratic. Obtaining photo ID can be costly and burdensome, with even free state ID requiring documents like a birth certificate that can cost up to $25 in some places. According to a study from NYU's Brennan Center, 11 percent of voting-age citizens lack necessary photo ID while many people in rural areas have trouble accessing ID offices. During closing arguments in a recent case over Texas's voter ID law, a lawyer for the state brushed aside these obstacles as the "reality to life of choosing to live in that part of Texas."

Attorney General Eric Holder and others have compared the laws to a poll tax, in which Southern states during the Jim Crow era imposed voting fees, which discouraged the working class and poor, many of whom were minorities, from voting.

Given the sometimes costly steps required to obtain needed documents today, legal scholars argue that photo ID laws create a new "financial barrier to the ballot box."

Just how well-founded are fears of voter fraud?
There have been only a small number of fraud cases resulting in a conviction. A New York Times analysis from 2007 identified 120 cases filed by the Justice Department over five years. These cases, many of which stemmed from mistakenly filled registration forms or misunderstanding over voter eligibility, resulted in 86 convictions.

There are "very few documented cases," said UC-Irvine professor and election law specialist Rick Hasen. "When you do see election fraud, it invariably involves election officials taking steps to change election results or it involves absentee ballots which voter ID laws can't prevent," he said.
An analysis by News21, a national investigative reporting project, identified 10 voter impersonation cases out of 2,068 alleged election fraud cases since 2000 – or one out of every 15 million prospective voters.

One of the most vocal supporters of strict voter ID laws, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, told the Houston Chronicle earlier this month that his office has prosecuted about 50 cases of voter fraud in recent years. "I know for a fact that voter fraud is real, that it must be stopped, and that voter id is one way to prevent cheating at the ballot box and ensure integrity in the electoral system," he told the paper. Abbott's office did not immediately respond to ProPublica's request for comment.

How many voters might be turned away or dissuaded by the laws, and could they really affect the election?
It's not clear.

According to the Brennan Center, about 11 percent of U.S. citizens, or roughly 21 million citizens, don't have government-issued photo ID. This figure doesn't represent all voters likely to vote, just those eligible to vote.

State figures also can be hard to nail down. In Pennsylvania, nearly 760,000 registered voters, or 9.2 percent of the state's 8.2 million voter base, don't own state-issued ID cards, according to an analysis of state records by the Philadelphia Inquirer. State officials, on the other hand, place this number at between 80,000 and 90,000.

In Indiana and Georgia, states with the earliest versions of photo ID laws, about 1,300 provisional votes were discarded in the 2008 general election, later analysis has revealed.

As for the potential effect on the election, one analysis by Nate Silver at the New York Times' FiveThirtyEight blog estimates they could decrease voter turnout anywhere between 0.8 and 2.4 percent .

It doesn't sound like a very wide margin, but it all depends on the electoral landscape.

"We don't know exactly how much these news laws will affect turnout or skew turnout in favor of Republicans," said Hasen, author of the recently released The Voting Wars: From Florida 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown. "But there's no question that in a very close election, they could be enough to make a difference in the outcome."

To read more, go here.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Mitt's Lying Ways: Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity, Vol. XXX

Mitt Romney is a serial liar. He just blurts these whoppers out like nobody will ever check his accuracy. Doesn't he know that we have ways to do that in 2012? This is the 30th week that his lies have been tracked by the Maddow Blog. It's quite a list this week. If you don't believe what you read, then just click on the links and you will be transported to the truth.

Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity, Vol. XXX

So, can we trust this Presidential candidate to tell the truth...about anything,
especially his income taxes?

Well, surely he will be able to tell the truth about his plan for Medicare, right?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Paul Ryan, The Cowardly Lion, Is Romney's VP Pick

Best of the Blogs featured this article by Progressive Winner today...It's Ryan's budget that the conservatives are pushing, and all that he has going for himself...but what does that budget imply for the American people??? Read on...

"Most major media outlets are at the time of this post reporting that Mitt Romney intends to select Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as his running mate. As such, now is a good time to take a look at Ryan’s cowardly record of proposing to abolish Medicare and raise taxes on the middle class, while providing more tax giveaways to the wealthy, all under the guise of being a fiscal conservative.

 Any discussion of Paul Ryan and fiscal issues should start with the fact that he has zero credibility as a “deficit hawk.” For example, Ryan supported every deficit-inducing Bush tax cut and tax cut extension, voted for the unfunded prescription drug expansion of Medicare and supported military ventures in Iraq and Afghanistan that weren’t paid for over the past few years, however, Ryan has tried to fabricate a record as a fiscal conservative by issuing a series of budget plans, including the 2010 Roadmap to America’s Future and the 2012 Path to Prosperity.

 In reality, Paul Ryan’s proposals should be called the Path to Higher Deficits and a Weaker Middle Class.

 For example, the folks at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explained that Ryan’s 2010 budget proposal would:
proposing a deficit “reduction” plan that would eliminate the tax on wealthy estates and lower taxes on the wealthiest A* Raise taxes on three-quarters of Americans, including any family with an annual income between $20,000 and $200,000 by, among other things, replacing the corporate income tax with an 8.5% value added tax that would hit middle class families the hardest
  •  Provide massive tax giveaways to the wealthiest two percent through elimination of the estate tax and capital gains taxes, reduction of the top tax brackets, and repeal of the corporate income tax. Households with annual incomes of more than $1 million would receive an average tax break of $502,000.
  •  Abolish Medicare for people currently under 55 years of age, and replace it with an inadequate voucher that would shrink in comparison to expected health care cost increases for people to try to purchase insurance on the market. A Congressional Budget Office analysis found that Ryan’s proposed elimination of Medicare would cost seniors between $7,000 and $13,000 per year while eliminating much of the cost savings achieved through the existing Medicare system.
  •  Cut Social Security benefits by 16% by 2050 and 28% by 2080, while blowing a $1.2 trillion hole in the Social Security Trust Fund in order to shift people to privatized accounts.
  •  Eliminate Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and replace them with a tax credit and a voucher that would be insufficient for many lower income folks to purchase insurance.
  •  Lead to an increase in the national debt from its 2010 level of 60% of GDP to a peak of nearly 175% by 2050 and remain at 100% or more of GDP through 2080. Despite these facts, many in the media will almost certainly continue to pretend that Paul Ryan’s budget proposals are somehow “brave” and “serious.” For people who claim that, we ask:
  • What is brave and serious about a Republican using deficits that conservatives created to propose abolishing Medicare, and replacing it with a program that would cost more to implement while leaving most seniors without quality health care?
  • What is brave and serious about a Republican mericans, while raising taxes on the poor and working class?
  • What is brave and serious about a Republican proposing a deficit “reduction” plan that puts almost all of the burden of spending cuts on the middle class, working class, and poor?
  • What is brave and serious about a Republican proposing a deficit “reduction” plan that relies on cooking the books and using ridiculous assumptions?
The simple fact is that Paul Ryan’s budget proposals are cowardly, as they simply go along with the interests of the Republicans’ billionaire funders while ignoring the role that conservative economic policies played in creating the deficits, eviscerating middle class security, and undermining our economy. And if Romney chooses Ryan as his running mate, Multiple Choice Mitt will simply be confirming that he prioritizes abolishing Medicare, privatizing Social Security, and providing billionaires with even more tax giveaways over any sort of serious effort to address the deficit in a balanced way.

If Ryan and Romney wanted to show they were “brave” and “serious” they would acknowledge that economic growth is the primary short term way to reduce the deficit, and that asking the wealthy to pay their fair share, cuts to military spending cuts and corporate subsidies, increased immigration, and the types of sensible efficiencies promoted by health care reform are what are necessary to achieving long term fiscal sanity.
Unfortunately, Ryan and Romney are neither brave nor serious. Instead, they are just Cowardly Lions, but without a heart."

It's Not Going Away Until Romney Shows His Tax Returns

I love Rachel here she is talking about how Mitt has made tax avoidance a habit over the years. You'll just have to watch to enjoy it all.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mitt Romney Is A Shameless Liar

"Mitt Romney is a blatant liar and he is running for president of the United States.

Let’s look at that again: Mitt Romney is a blatant liar and he is running for president of the United States. What was once just “flip-flopping” has now become full on, in public, repeated without shame or any concern that anyone will care, lying about President Obama. Romney has been picking around the edges of the LIAR scab for a very long time but this past week showed us in no uncertain terms that Mitt Romney is making up lies about President Obama and repeating them over and over again in front of cameras. It’s now time for every major media outlet to acknowledge what is clearly obvious to thinking people:

Mitt Romney is a blatant liar and he is running for president of the United States." You'll want to read the rest of the article over at

Rachel Maddow on Mitt's Unmanageable Message Machine

We don't have full cable up here in the foothills, so we don't get to watch Rachel Maddow on a regular basis. I try to catch her on the web, but I miss a lot, I know. Tonight I was reading Electablog and there was a link to this video. I think it was on yesterday's program. She is hilarious here and the clips are excellent. I love how she spins it all. Enjoy! And don't forget you watched it here.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Character Counts...or Does It?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Rachel Maddow On MItt Romney's Tax Returns

You just have to see these videos from MSNBC's Rachel Maddow show. It seems that Harry Reid has called out Mitt Romney to show his taxes. It has started to get really funny, actually, but Rachel explains it all in detail. Check it out here.
Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Obama Fights For Tax Cuts For the Middle Class

Wow. How cool? Obama/Biden have a TAX CALCULATOR that is interactive. You can put your yearly income into the field and it will give you a read-out for taxes or savings for both the Obama Tax Plan vs. the Romney Tax Plan. Go ahead, just put in your yearly income and you will instantly see how you will fair under each plan. If you don't believe it, you can read how this calculator was created and how it works. Please go here.

Betty Bowers Explains Traditional Marriage...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

America's Billionaires Flying High

Over at they have some pretty nifty graphs that show how America's billionaires fair taxwise compared to billionaires in other countries. Our billionaires have it rich! Find the article here.