Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mitt Romney Is The Executioner Who Is Leading His Supporters To The Gallows

October 21, 2012
This article was published today over at and was written by Rmuse. I have no idea who this writer is, but this is the best article I have read lately that describes my frustration about the people I know and love who will be voting for Mitt Romney this election. I just don't understand how they could do it to all of us. Here it is...

In the Aesop fable, “The Ass and His Purchaser,” the moral of the story is that you are known by the company you keep, and it suggests that an adult is apt to be judged by their friends, associates, and heroes, but it does not mean they have to choose to be like them. It is related to another message in “The Farmer and the Stork” whose moral is “birds of a feather flock together,” and it is apropos to who one supports in the upcoming general election. The choice Americans make in November informs they either identify as associates of warmongers, racists, corrupt corporatists, and phony Christians, or as citizens of a country founded on equality and fairness.

At this late date in the campaign, it is unfathomable that any American would associate themselves with Republicans or Willard Romney. Romney promises to lead the GOP in cementing their reputation as enemies of the people and friends of corporations and the wealthy elite, and the idea that half of America yearns to cede government control to corruption and religion is beyond the pale. However, the past eleven years have proven that a large segment of the population is stupid enough to wildly cheer as their executioners lead them to the gallows, and defines the sad state of affairs America appears unlikely to escape.

There is no demographic that supports Romney that is not inexorably linked to their own destruction and unfortunately, to their family members, friends, and this country’s future. Republicans have panted to turn government over to corporations, religion, and the wealthy since their man-turned-god, Ronald Reagan, was president. For three-and-a-half years, Republicans actively and with malice aforethought worked to retard economic recovery and keep millions of Americans unemployed and hungry while they fought to increase entitlements to the wealthy, oil industry, and Israel. One hoped Republican supporters were not willing participants in inflicting damage to their fellow citizens and this country, but the 2010 midterm elections were proof positive that a majority of Americans thought so little of their countrymen and government, that they elected the most vindictive and incompetent representatives in the nation’s history.

What boggles the mind is the groups supporting Republicans and Romney know exactly what awaits them if they are victorious in November. Senior citizens who support Romney and Ryan know they intend on ending Medicare in its present form, and guarantee its insolvency by 2016. Veterans who support the current Republican ticket know the Veteran’s Health Administration faces steep cuts as Romney promotes giving them a coupon to buy private healthcare insurance as well as cutting their benefits. Women supporting Republicans are crying out for lower pay, discrimination, allowing Christian men to dictate their reproductive health, and to become birth machines producing cannon fodder for perpetual Middle East wars.

One might think that Romney supporters forgot the devastation their champions caused this country during the Bush presidency, but it is highly unlikely because it has only been two years since Republicans toured the nation promising their focus was creating jobs, jobs, jobs, only to begin the 112th Congress attacking women, women, women. Despite high unemployment and several jobs bills sitting idle on John Boehner’s desk, he led House Republicans on a campaign to ban contraception, drastically slash social safety nets, and strive to make America number one with the highest child poverty rate in the entire world. It must make Republican supporters proud that they are associated with harsh overlords influenced by religious fanatics and corporate cash. However, it is the number of Americans identifying with Willard Romney that associates them with racism, religious extremism, and corruption.

Willard Romney is a pathological liar with a business history steeped in corruption and fraud as he destroyed entire companies and consorted with the likes of disgraced junk bond king Michael Milken, his son Tagg’s Ponzi schemers, and foreign countries he contends are enemies of the state. Americans love a success story, but Romney’s support informs that they also love his un-American tactics that raided employees’ pensions, shipped jobs to China, and sent his ill-gained wealth offshore to avoid paying taxes. Romney’s supporters claim accusations of his malfeasance are historical, but how many corruption accusations does it take before intelligent human beings think, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire?” The only conclusion one can make is that a large segment of the population loves associating with liars, economic traitors, and tax evaders and still call themselves “real Americans.”

Read more here...

Bill Moyers Interviews Matt Taibbi and Chrystia Freeland on The New Gilded Age - for the 1%

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Joe Biden Was Right To Laugh

Matt Taibbi writes for Rolling Stone Magazine.

I've never thought much of Joe Biden. But man, did he get it right in last night's debate, and not just because he walloped sniveling little Paul Ryan on the facts. What he got absolutely right, despite what you might read this morning (many outlets are criticizing Biden's dramatic excesses), was his tone. Biden did absolutely roll his eyes, snort, laugh derisively and throw his hands up in the air whenever Ryan trotted out his little beady-eyed BS-isms.

But he should have! He was absolutely right to be doing it. We all should be doing it. That includes all of us in the media, and not just paid obnoxious-opinion-merchants like me, but so-called "objective" news reporters as well. We should all be rolling our eyes, and scoffing and saying, "Come back when you're serious."

The load of balls that both Romney and Ryan have been pushing out there for this whole election season is simply not intellectually serious. Most of their platform isn't even a real platform, it's a fourth-rate parlor trick designed to paper over the real agenda – cutting taxes even more for super-rich dickheads like Mitt Romney, and getting everyone else to pay the bill.

The essence of the whole campaign for me was crystalized in the debate exchange over Romney's 20 percent tax-cut plan. ABC's Martha Raddatz turned the questioning to Ryan:
MS. RADDATZ: Well, let's talk about this 20 percent.
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well – (chuckles) –
MS. RADDATZ: You have refused yet again to offer specifics on how you pay for that 20 percent across-the-board tax cut. Do you actually have the specifics, or are you still working on it, and that's why you won't tell voters?
Here Ryan is presented with a simple yes-or-no answer. Since he doesn't have the answer, he immediately starts slithering and equivocating:
REP. RYAN: Different than this administration, we actually want to have big bipartisan agreements. You see, I understand the –
"We want to have bipartisan agreements?" This coming from a Republican congressman? These guys would stall a bill to name a post office after Shirley Temple. Biden, absolutely properly, chuckled and said, "That'd be a first for a Republican congress." Then Raddatz did exactly what any self-respecting journalist should do in that situation: she objected to being lied to, and yanked on the leash, forcing Ryan back to the question.

I'm convinced Raddatz wouldn't have pounced on Ryan if he hadn't trotted out this preposterous line about bipartisanism. Where does Ryan think we've all been living, Mars? It's one thing to pull that on some crowd of unsuspecting voters that hasn't followed politics that much and doesn't know the history. But any professional political journalist knows enough to know the abject comedy of that line. Still, Ryan was banking on the moderator not getting in the way and just letting him dump his trash on audiences. Instead, she aggressively grabbed Ryan by his puppy-scruff and pushed him back into the mess of his own proposal:
MS. RADDATZ: Do you have the specifics? Do you have the math? Do you know exactly what you're doing?
So now the ball is in Ryan's court. The answer he gives is astounding:
REP. RYAN: Look – look at what Mitt – look at what Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill did. They worked together out of a framework to lower tax rates and broaden the base, and they worked together to fix that. What we're saying is here's our framework: Lower tax rates 20 percent – we raise about $1.2 trillion through income taxes. We forgo about 1.1 trillion [dollars] in loopholes and deductions. And so what we're saying is deny those loopholes and deductions to higher-income taxpayers so that more of their income is taxed, which has a broader base of taxation –
Three things about this answer:

1) Ryan again here refuses to answer Raddatz's yes-or-no question about specifics. So now we know the answer: there are no specifics.

2) In lieu of those nonexistent specifics, what Ryan basically says is that he and Romney will set the framework – "Lower taxes by 20 percent" – and then they'll work out the specifics of how to get there with the Democrats in bipartisan fashion.

3) So essentially, Ryan has just admitted on national television that the Romney tax plan will be worked out after the election with the same Democrats from whom they are now, before the election, hiding any and all details.

So then, after that, there's this exchange.
REP. RYAN: – so we can lower tax rates across the board. Now, here's why I'm saying this. What we're saying is here's a framework –
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: I hope I'm going to get time to respond to this.
REP. RYAN: We want to work with Congress –
MS. RADDATZ: I – you'll get time.
REP. RYAN: We want to work with Congress on how best to achieve this. That means successful – look –
MS. RADDATZ: No specifics, yeah.
Raddatz did exactly the right thing. She asked a yes-or-no question, had a politician try to run the lamest kind of game on her – and when he was done, she called him on it, coming right back to the question and translating for viewers: "No specifics."

Think about what that means. Mitt Romney is running for president – for president! – promising an across-the-board 20 percent tax cut without offering any details about how that's going to be paid for. Forget being battered by the press, he and his little sidekick Ryan should both be tossed off the playing field for even trying something like that. This race for the White House, this isn't some frat prank. This is serious. This is for grownups, for God's sake.

If you're going to offer an across-the-board 20 percent tax cut without explaining how it's getting paid for, hell, why stop there? Why not just offer everyone over 18 a 1965 Mustang? Why not promise every child a Zagnut and an Xbox, or compatible mates for every lonely single person?

Sometimes in journalism I think we take the objectivity thing too far. We think being fair means giving equal weight to both sides of every argument. But sometimes in the zeal to be objective, reporters get confused. You can't report the Obama tax plan and the Romney tax plan in the same way, because only one of them is really a plan, while the other is actually not a plan at all, but an electoral gambit.

The Romney/Ryan ticket decided, with incredible cynicism, that that they were going to promise this massive tax break, not explain how to pay for it, and then just hang on until election day, knowing that most of the political press would let it skate, or at least not take a dump all over it when explaining it to the public. Unchallenged, and treated in print and on the air as though it were the same thing as a real plan, a 20 percent tax cut sounds pretty good to most Americans. Hell, it sounds good to me.
The proper way to report such a tactic is to bring to your coverage exactly the feeling that Biden brought to the debate last night: contempt and amazement. We in the press should be offended by what Romney and Ryan are doing – we should take professional offense that any politician would try to whisk such a gigantic lie past us to our audiences, and we should take patriotic offense that anyone is trying to seize the White House using such transparently childish and dishonest tactics.

I've never been a Joe Biden fan. After four years, I'm not the biggest Barack Obama fan, either (and I'll get into why on that score later). But they're at least credible as big-league politicians. So much of the Romney/Ryan plan is so absurdly junior league, it's so far off-Broadway, it's practically in New Jersey.

Paul Ryan, a leader in the most aggressively and mindlessly partisan Congress in history, preaching bipartisanship? A private-equity parasite, Mitt Romney, who wants to enact a massive tax cut and pay for it without touching his own personal fortune-guaranteeing deduction, the carried-interest tax break – which keeps his own taxes below 15 percent despite incomes above $20 million?

The Romney/Ryan platform makes sense, and is not laughable, in only one context: if you're a multi-millionaire and you recognize that this is the only way to sell your agenda to mass audiences. But if you're not one of those rooting gazillionaires, you should laugh, you should roll your eyes, and it doesn't matter if you're the Vice President or an ABC reporter or a toll operator. You should laugh, because this stuff is a joke, and we shouldn't take it seriously.

Read more:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Rope-A-Dope: The Romney Edition

The big debate today is about the big debate last night that matched up Mitt Romney, the GOP nominee, with President Obama, the incumbent. At first glance just minutes after the debate the media was on fire about how Romney had won this bout and that Obama was lacking in energy, charisma, you name it. Everyone was so disappointed in Obama's performance. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

I didn't see it that way. I watched as President Obama looked down and kind of smiled, almost chuckled, as Romney went on and on slathering on the lies. Yes lies. I don't think Obama could even believe what he was he just let Mitt bury himself even deeper and deeper.

I found this article by Allen Clifton, over at Right Off A Cliff and I think it says it best:


After the first Presidential debate right-wing voters are gushing all over themselves because Romney..

Looked strong? No, not really.

Because he really nailed Obama on key issues? No, didn’t do that either.

Because he laid out a clear vision for our country under his leadership? Nope, never gave specific details on much of anything.

You know why they’re gushing–because he managed to go 90 minutes on live television without looking like a complete moron. He didn’t say anything that made him seem like a competent leader with a clear vision for our country’s future.

But let’s prove this. Republicans–if he did such a great job please answer for me:
What tax deductions does he plan to close?
What plan will he use to replace the Affordable Care Act?
If Medicare is such a bad program, why does he want to keep it the same for current (or soon to be) retirees? If it’s such terrible health coverage why are those who currently receive these benefits strongly opposed to any changes to the program?

How does he plan to maintain tax revenue by just closing deductions? Especially when you look at the numbers that say even if you closed every single deduction we have for the wealthy it wouldn’t equal the amount of revenue we’d lose with his continuation of Bush’s policies. Only this time the tax breaks would be even larger than the Bush tax breaks…which added trillions to our national debt.
Oh..that’s right! His plan assumes 3% growth, every single year, just like George W. Bush’s plan. How many years did we see 3% growth under Bush? A whooping 2 of his 8 years. This plan promotes a hypothetical number that if we don’t hit 3% growth every single year it will mean we’ll either have to raise taxes or our national debt will continue to grow.

What government subsides, besides that deficit killer given to PBS, will he get rid of?
How does he plan to make America more energy independent when simply drilling more won’t do anything to lower the global price of oil? More domestic drilling just gives oil companies more to sell on the global market (to the highest bidder) just as they do now.
Unless of course Romney is calling for more domestic drilling with a simultaneous nationalization of our oil supply. I however doubt that’s what he’d do so in reality this pathetic “Drill Baby Drill!” bullshit is just that…complete bullshit. It’s fed to those who have no idea how oil is traded globally or how its price is set.

He said last night he likes regulation (except all he’s talked about, up until that moment, his entire campaign is how regulation kills job growth) and would repeal Dodd-Frank. So can you tell us which regulations he likes and would keep?

Can you, Republican voters, answer any of these? No? Oh that’s right…
Because he’s yet to offer a detailed explanation for any of these questions during his campaign and he sure as hell didn’t answer them last night.

But what did President Obama do? Well…not much. Only he actually did. He gave this debate to Romney. He let him spout off lie after lie, flip-flop after flip-flop. He let him play his hand early while sitting back allowing Romney to dig his own hole.

It’s called rope-a-dope. See Romney flip-flops on so many issues, seemingly at will, that it was impossible to really know publicly where Romney would make his final stand on key points. It’s hard to counter a man who’s anti-regulation one minute and pro-regulation the next. Who pushes a tax plan for 18 months only to say that if his plan were to call for an increase to our deficit, which almost every tax expert says it will, that he won’t pass it.

So President Obama let Romney fire away. He didn’t bring up the 47% comment, the ER health care comment, his tax returns, offshore accounts, his record of outsourcing jobs, his stance on letting Detroit go bankrupt, his blunders on foreign policy….he didn’t need to. He needed to know where Romney’s final stance on issues would be and he got just that. a fight it isn’t about who wins the first round. Often underdogs, or weaker opponents, come out initially strong–confident. They’re out there to show that they can win. The favorite, or stronger competitor, often just sits back…letting them burn themselves out. That’s exactly what Obama did. Romney came out swinging while Obama sat back and took the blows.

Now Romney’s dug himself into a hole. He played the best possible hand he could and even then it wasn’t that great. He just didn’t embarrass himself. That’s how pathetic he is. A victory for this man wasn’t landing a big blow, making a great point or obliterating his opponent…it was just not making a fool of himself on national television.
Hell, even towards the end you saw the wheels coming off when he said we’re a nation of people under one God. What the hell does that even mean? I’m a Christian and at no time have I read about the need to wear magical underpants or have I been told of some fake planet named Kolob. Then let’s not forget there are millions of non-Christian Americans of which he completely dismissed their personal beliefs with this comment.

Remember it isn’t who wins the first round, it’s who wins the last. If Romney gets crushed in the next 2 debates no one will remember a thing he said on October 3, 2012. President Obama knows this. He knew Romney would come out lying, flip-flopping and exaggerating on the issues. He knew the first debate would be the best Romney had to offer.

So now that Romney has made his stand (which fact checking groups have been shredding since the debate ended). He can no longer treat his campaign like an Etch A Sketch. He’s made his case and now it’s President Obama’s turn.

Come debate #2….just wait, President Obama is going to annihilate this flip-flopping clown.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mitt Romney's Real Agenda - Rolling Stone Magazine

By Tim Dickinson

It was tempting to dismiss Mitt Romney's hard-right turn during the GOP primaries as calculated pandering. In the general election – as one of his top advisers famously suggested – Romney would simply shake the old Etch A Sketch and recast himself as the centrist who governed Massachusetts. But with the selection of vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan, the shape-shifting Romney has locked into focus – cementing himself as the frontman for the far-right partisans responsible for Washington's gridlock.

There is no longer any ambiguity about the path that Romney would pursue as president, because it's the same trajectory charted by Ryan, the architect of the House GOP's reactionary agenda since the party's takeover in 2010. "Picking Ryan as vice president outlines the future of the next four or eight years of a Romney administration," GOP power broker Grover Norquist exulted in August. "Ryan has outlined a plan that has support in the Republican House and Senate. You have a real sense of where Romney's going." In fact, Norquist told party activists back in February, the true direction of the GOP is being mapped out by congressional hardliners. All the Republicans need to realize their vision, he said, is a president "with enough working digits to handle a pen."

 The GOP legislation awaiting Romney's signature isn't simply a return to the era of George W. Bush. From abortion rights and gun laws to tax giveaways and energy policy, it's far worse. Measures that have already sailed through the Republican House would roll back clean-air protections, gut both Medicare and Medicaid, lavish trillions in tax cuts on billionaires while raising taxes on the poor, and slash everything from college aid to veteran benefits. In fact, the tenets of Ryan Republicanism are so extreme that they even offend the pioneers of trickle-down economics. "Ryan takes out the ax and goes after programs for the poor – which is the last thing you ought to cut," says David Stockman, who served as Ronald Reagan's budget director. "It's ideology run amok."

 Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital

 And Romney has now adopted every letter of the Ryan agenda. Take it from Ed Gillespie, senior adviser to the campaign: "If the Ryan budget had come to his desk as president," Gillespie said of Romney, "he would have signed it, of course."

 A look at the bills that Republicans have passed since they took control of the House in 2010 offers a clear blueprint of the agenda that a Romney administration would be primed to establish:

Read more here.

Bill Moyers: ALEC Explained