Democratic Blue Swirls wallpaper – The Year of Romney’s Deceptive Videos and A Few Words In Defence of Joe Soptic

Democratic Blue Swirls wallpaper

 

Every election cycle has a major theme or two. Sound bits and images that stick in our heads long after the exact details have faded away. There cycle has some themes that already stand out. One is the choice between the elitist crony corporatism of Mitt Romney, the special interests that support him, and the merit based capitalism of the Democrats. Republicans want to reward the wealthy because of their wealth – in the conservative mind wealth always equals virtue ( in the reality based community some are virtuous and many so so much). Conservatives start jumping up and down frantically waving their arms when someone steals an apple from a grocery ( that is a bad thing, but let’s have some perspective), yet think bankers and corporations steal trillions, when they bankrupt pension plans, when as David Brooks of the NYT said, go in an trim the fat off a company and send the jobs to Asia, that is all apple pie patriotism and everyone that dissents is a far left Marxist. That is how every malevolent political movement in history has worked. Talked the public into believing bad was good and good was bad. There are others, but one of the major themes or tactics of this cycle is the use by one of the major candidates of deceptively edited videos. With major media outlets joining in by either replaying those videos or creating deceptively edited videos of their own, New Romney Campaign Distortion: Falsely Claims Obama ‘Promised Today To Bail Out Every Industry’

The distortion comes from Obama’s speech in Pueblo, Colorado, touting his administration’s successful revival of the auto industry, which came back from the brink of collapse to add thousands of jobs and is now poised for its strongest sales since 2007. Obama said he wanted to help other flagging industries experience the same kind of success. Conservatives, however, are using the clip to make it sound like Obama wants to bail out every industry.

Here is what he actually said:

OBAMA: I said I believe in American workers, I believe in this American industry, and now the American auto industry has come roaring back and GM is number one again. So now I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs not just in the auto industry, but in every industry. I don’t want those jobs taking root in places like China. I want them taking root in places like Pueblo.

Just a few months ago, Romney tried to “take a lot of credit” for the auto industry’s rescue. Now, his campaign is warning against boosting similar prosperity in other industries that have suffered in the economic downturn.

Last week there was an editorial in the WaPo that said Romney should play up his faith more. I’m dubious that a shameless serial liar, that refuses to admit how deceptive and poisonous his attacks are would be much credit to the Mormon community. This is the second most blatant use of deceptively edited video by the candidate that WaPo thinks should run on his “values”.  Romney video deceptively edits Obama speech to make it sound anti-business. Obama said they did not build all the infrastructure it takes to have a business in the USA. He never said that individuals do not build their businesses. Never said it. Romney knows that. So it is not a lie of ignorance, the kind of ignorance from living in a bubble of conservative disinformation like the commenters at Republican web sites. It is a malicious piece of propaganda. There is also another completely dishonest ad that takes its talking points from proto-facist Matt Drudge: Bill Clinton Calls Mitt Romney Welfare Reform Ad ‘Especially Disappointing’. The Big Dog is understating not only a blatant falsehood, but Romney is once again pretending that welfare reform he was previously for and signed off on is now an awful thing to do. The Romney campaign staff seems to have a scorecard which awards more points for fitting a lie in with some blatant hypocrisy.

Romney is not on the propaganda videos bandwagon by himself. Conservatives have joined him: Fox Nation, right-wing blogs seize on heavily edited anti-abortion video to smear Planned Parenthood….. Fox Promotes Deceptive Ad Accusing Obama Of Taking All The Bin Laden Credit – There is no new gutter low for Fox News, Republicans and Mitt Romney, they are the gutter to which all spores and other forms of low life aspires……Bolling Uses Fox’s Deceptively Edited Obama Remarks To Claim “His Policies Are Socialist”  – As far as collectivism goes, with a concentrated group of special interests having such far ranching control over people’s lives, Republicans are much closer to being Marxists than Democrats. This was a nice trick. Have some video that they just can’t edit to make their future king look good, make believe it doesn’t exist, Fox Disappears Romney’s Attack On Teacher, Firefighter, And Police Hiring.

 

Anyone think that what happened in your life last week, last year, five years ago has any effect on your life today. Anyone ever watched one of the dozens of dramatizations of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. Most people think that past events affect our lives. Everyone, including Jon Stewart has jumped on the attack against Priorities USA and the steel worker featured in their ad Joe Soptic, a former employee at GST Steel in Kansas City, Kan. The HuffPo is one example, Mitt Romney, Bain Capital Targeted Over GST Steel Plant Closure In New Priorities USA Action Ad [UPDATE]. Let’s look at what Joe says in the ad and the timeline:

I don’t think Mitt Romney understands what he’s done to people’s lives by closing the plant. I don’t think he realizes that people’s lives completely changed.

When Mitt Romney and Bain closed the plant, I lost my health care, and my family lost their health care. And a short time after that my wife became ill.

I don’t know how long she was sick, and I think maybe she didn’t say anything because she knew that we couldn’t afford the insurance. And then one day she became ill and I took her up to the Jackson County Hospital and admitted her for pneumonia. And that’s when they found the cancer, and by then it was stage four. It was, there was nothing they could do for her.

And she passed away in 22 days.

I do not think Mitt Romney realizes what he’s done to anyone, and furthermore I do not think Mitt Romney is concerned.

1993: With Romney at the helm, Bain Capital bought the small Kansas City steel mill called GST Steel Co.

1994: Bain puts in $8 million dollars, one assumes for upgrades to aging equipment. Bain and GST issued $125 million in bonds and paid out $65 million in dividends — $36.1 million of which went to Bain. This is important because once again the kind of crony capitalism, Bain and Romney reap rewards without producing anything. Legal, yes, Sleazy, certainly.

1995: Bain merged the company with another in Georgetown, S.C., renaming the company GS Industries and issuing another $125 million in bonds, while also putting in another $16.5 of its own money or from the windfall it paid itself in 1994. Either way none of Romney or Bain’s money was at much risk. Market watchers saw this and thought wow, Bain seems genuinely interested in turned this company into a thriving enterprise.

2000-2001: GS Industries, deep in debt caused by Bain’s leverage of the company declared bankruptcy and eliminated 750 jobs — including Joe’s. Back up to 1997: Bain had promised to fully fund the pension fund of Joe and other employees as well as other benefits. They reneged on those promises. The U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. later determined the company had severely underfunded its pension, and the federal agency covered the cost of basic pension payments. Gee, it looks like Bain and Romney benefited from gov’mint.

2002: Romney is still listed on legal documents filed with the SEC as Bain’s sole owner. Romney told the Boston Globe in what is now classic Romneyspeak, “I take personal responsibility for making the investment,But I didn’t manage these companies.” So even today he wants credit for making profits as a Robin Hood of capitalism, yet he is not to be held responsible for any company he leveraged tanking. Many an employee has been fired for speaking and acting like that, but Mitt Romney thinks he deserves the presidency.

2001: Joe loses his job at GS, along with hundreds of others. Now with bare minimum pension benefits and no health insurance. Steel workers – because of the physical and health hazards in the steel industry, probably had a very good health plan. Joe’s wife was employed and had health insurance at Savers, a local thrift store. I do not know the specifics of her policy, but I am familiar with trends in the benefits given to retail chain employees. Generally they are old school PPO policies. That is where you pay a deductible very year of an average of $500 and %20 of everything over that. Those polices also tend to have limits – $25k is common.

2002-2003: Joe says his wife lost her job around this time. So by this time period they no longer had Joe’s upper tear policy and did not have her bare bones policy. Joe’s wife Ranae Soptic, died in 2006. That is 5 years after Joe lost his better paying job ( he was making around $24k as a janitor). Romney, Romney sycophants and some liberals want o argue that what Romney did in a series of events in 1993 had absolutely nothing with the Soptic’s fear of seeking medical attention and the bills that might go with that. If Joe had his job through 2005, he and his wife might have felt financially secure enough to seek medical attention. So I am suggesting that a series of events started with some guys setting behind a desk with some financial figures, some spread sheet software and pursued profits with little thought to the human consequences. If Romney and others want to feel that Mrs. Soptic might have died anyway and emphasis that outcome over possible others, fine. It is possible, like real life and Dicken’s stories about greed and thoughtlessness, that actions have consequences. Maybe Romney did not see what he was doing had real life and death consequences. Some would even argue that high finance wheeler dealers such as Romney only have an obligation to make money, not to see the moral consequences of their actions. That is one point of view. Has anyone proven Joe is a liar or as the saying goes , pulling some kind of fast one. I do not see proof of that. Joe is looking back to 1993 and seeing when things, a good life, started to spin out of control. That is not a lie, that is a legitimate point of view.

I used dates and events supplied by The Boston Globe and Factcheck.org

Hautes-Alpes Autumn wallpaper – Romney and His Trolls Cannot Deflect From Sleazy Behavior

Hautes-Alpes Autumn wallpaper

 

I’m not sure how many lies the Bush-Cheney ticket told during the 2004 election. between the economics lies, the national security lies, the lies about the Justice Department and Alberto Gonzales, continued lies and distortions about Iraq’s nonexistent WMDs and connections to Al-Qaeda, the missing $12 billion dollars in cash meant for Iraq reconstruction, the incompetent and fraudulent activities of no-bid contractor KBR, feeding reporter Armstrong Gates White House talking points passed off as real news, the General Services administration employees asked to help Republican candidates… well you get the picture. Sleaziness was not just their middle name, but their first and last as well. Obviously Romney is not president, but his campaign has all the flashing neon warning signs of being another Bush administration. If its possible a Romney administration might be even sleazier, more dishonest and incompetent. The Bush administration looked back at the Nixon and Regan administration scandals and rather than study them for lessons in morality and governance, they doubled down on on the hubris and tawdry behavior.  Romney’s Three Biggest Lies, Just This Week. The tax issue continues to haunt Romney. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) makes for a nice distraction for the usual false outrage from Romney and the political movement that worships greed and thrift as virtues, but Mitten’s shadowy behavior is still an issue. For someone who supposedly has high morals, that shadowy behavior is all the more sinister. The lie about President Obama “gutting” welfare reform would be funny if it was not yet another racist dog whistle for the Republican base. Romney actually requested such flexibility for the states at one point,

Incidentally, if you’re wondering where Barack Obama could have gotten the idea of giving states more flexibility on welfare requirements, it may have come from this 2005 letter from the Republican Governor’s Association requesting exactly that from then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. The second signature on the request was then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who was for Obama’s welfare rule changes before he was against them.

Republicans have never been shy about exploiting patriotism in the most blatant and tawdry ways imaginable. Exploiting the military and the public’s kind feelings toward the military has been especially sickening.

Mitt’s biggest lie of the past week is a doozy. Romney claimed that Barack Obama was trying to limit the voting rights of members of the military in Ohio, because of a lawsuit filed in the state over Ohio’s decision to eliminate early voting except for members of the military. Was Obama trying to “undermine” the rights of soldiers? In a word, no. Instead, Obama and the Democratic Party sought to give everyone in Ohio the same rights as Ohio wanted to give soldiers — in other words, to give everyone the opportunity to vote early.

….Indeed, Romney’s bald-face lie drew a rejoinder from John Soltz of VoteVets.org, who said, “Obviously with the narrative the Romney campaign is pushing, they probably don’t have a lot of people around them who have actually served. We also agree, like the president does, that someone who served in World World II in the Battle of the Bulge or someone who lost their legs in Vietnam has just as much of a right to vote as today’s veteran.”

With three whoppers in the last week, it’s tempting to ask why Romney thinks he can lie with impunity, but of course, the answer is simple: the media won’t call him on it.

As always I recommend visiting some conservatives sites. They regurgitate everything Romney and his campaign put out, including what the campaigns feels are solid responses. The Romney campaign, thus his surrogates in the media and trolls on the internet have decided on several talking points. All of them ridiculous. The powers of denial, delusion and sheer amount of kool-aid required to make these lame rejoinders are amazing.

Troll: The only people whining about the release of Romney’s federal tax returns are the 48% of people who pay no federal income taxes. Proof please. It has become customary for presidential candidates to release around ten years their tax returns. Romney’s refusal to do so in combination with the public’s knowledge of his Swiss and Cayman Island, and his denial about profiting from outsourcing jobs makes the release of Romney’s returns all that more important as a matter of public ethics and accountability. A majority of Americans, including a third of Republicans think releasing his tax records is the right thing for Romney to do. If he is the successful businessman that conservatives claim. Someone who has always played fair and truly earned every dollar, it should not be an issue, right?

Troll: Romney’s tax returns are not important, we should be talking about jobs and 8.3% unemployment. OK, let’s talk honestly about unemployment. That unemployment figure would be under 8% and closer to 7% if Republicans had not blocked every jobs bill and used stimulus money to balance state budgets instead of using it to retain teachers and firefighters. Senate Republicans Block Dem Jobs Bill For Teachers, Firefighters…….Republicans block Bring Jobs Home Act, protecting companies that outsource jobs…..Republicans Obstruct Third Jobs Measure in Senate….Local, State Governments Have Laid Off 668,000 Workers Since Start Of Great Recession. The Romney plan? Romney’s Tax Plan May Cost U.S. As Many As 800,000 Jobs: Report. The Romney campaign team and the trolls can try to shift the conversation to anything they like and Romney still comes up a loser on the facts.

Troll: Home foreclosures are going to increase late this year, let’s talk about that. Maybe they will. In some instances that could be a good thing. Though discussing foreclosures with conservatives is a text book example of Republicans taking a  stance about which they have no genuine interests in the government taking an active role. Like jobs, they have done everything they can to block mortgage relief. The mortgage relief we do have has been done through the powers of the executive branch and to some degree pressure from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Troll: Forget the outsourcing Romney did at Bain, let’s talk about the 37 million people on food stamps and the highest poverty level in history? Actually as a percent of GDP, poverty is no worse now than it has been in the past.

Household Poverty Trends as Percent of GDP. U.S. Census

And as usual spare the rest of America the fasle and misdirected outrage. Conservative economic policies that started during the Regan era, that stripped away banking regulations and consumer protections lead to the Great Recession costing America $17 trillion dollars. Conservative spent a trillion just on Iraq, yet have filibustered any attempt to create jobs. Republican trolls like to pretend that what they say on the intertubes is related to how they act in real life. In real life Republicans take every advantage of the safety net and many of those white high school educated red staters would be in dire shape if not for the safety net, Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend on It

Ki Gulbranson owns a logo apparel shop, deals in jewelry on the side and referees youth soccer games. He makes about $39,000 a year and wants you to know that he does not need any help from the federal government.

He says that too many Americans lean on taxpayers rather than living within their means. He supports politicians who promise to cut government spending. In 2010, he printed T-shirts for the Tea Party campaign of a neighbor, Chip Cravaack, who ousted this region’s long-serving Democratic congressman.

Yet this year, as in each of the past three years, Mr. Gulbranson, 57, is counting on a payment of several thousand dollars from the federal government, a subsidy for working families called the earned-income tax credit. He has signed up his three school-age children to eat free breakfast and lunch at federal expense. And Medicare paid for his mother, 88, to have hip surgery twice.

[  ]….The government safety net was created to keep Americans from abject poverty, but the poorest households no longer receive a majority of government benefits. A secondary mission has gradually become primary: maintaining the middle class from childhood through retirement. The share of benefits flowing to the least affluent households, the bottom fifth, has declined from 54 percent in 1979 to 36 percent in 2007, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis published last year.

And as more middle-class families like the Gulbransons land in the safety net in Chisago and similar communities, anger at the government has increased alongside. Many people say they are angry because the government is wasting money and giving money to people who do not deserve it. But more than that, they say they want to reduce the role of government in their own lives. They are frustrated that they need help, feel guilty for taking it and resent the government for providing it.

One of the reason these people think that participating in programs that help them to literally survive is a bad thing is because of the ceaseless cries by the conservative noise machine that says a country where citizens provide some safety net for an imperfect free market is some how the truly American way. Conservatives really believe that America was built on the philosophy of social-Darwinism, of dog-ate-dog ethics. Conservative pundits and think tanks believe this very thin think safety net we have are leaches and job killers like Mitt Romney are heroes. The same conservatives have no problems in paying $77,000 dollars in write-offs for Mitt Romney’s horse. Or subsiding his financial shenanigans at Bain.

Republicans get a lot of mileage out of deciding who is deserving and who is undeserving. It turns out they think they deserve their gov-mint benefits. They deserve subsidies. Those people over there – usually the working poor or a minority group do not deserve anything, even though they produce the work and services that create the capital on which the nation runs. “Deserving” and “Undeserving” How To Discuss The Safety Net

In bad economic times, when the number of people receiving government assistance is rising, politicians must acknowledge a class of deserving poor to reap the political rewards from the depiction of an undeserving poor.  In this way, politicians can get politically mileage out of the idea that a class of undeserving poor is hurting the society while slyly suggesting to their poor, unemployed, or struggling constituents: “No, I don’t’ mean you.  Those other people, you know who I’m talking about.”

The biggest slice of the pie still goes to people providing questionable value to the nation – Romney, the Waltons, the Koch brothers and corporations that pay less taxes than an assistant shoe store manger –America’s 10 Largest Corporations Paid 9 Percent Average Tax Rate Last Year, while conservatives are pissed off that some crumbs may be eaten by the dirty masses.

Billiards wallpaper – Welcome to the Sleazy Hypocritical World of RNC Chairman Reince Priebus

Billiards wallpaper

David Krone, Harry Reid’s chief of staff, denounces GOP ‘cowards’

The war over Mitt Romney’s tax returns is getting more bitter by the moment, with a top aide to Senate Majority Harry Reid blasting Republicans as “cowards” and “henchmen” for their attacks on the Nevada Democrat.

“They’re a bunch of cowards, and they’re avoiding the issue,” said David Krone, Reid’s chief of staff, in an interview with POLITICO on Sunday night. “Lindsey Graham, Reince Priebus — they’re a bunch of henchmen for Romney, and they’re all reading off the same talking points. They couldn’t hold a candle to Harry Reid.”

Krone added: “What Harry Reid said is the fact of what he was told. To turn it around, all their childish rants this weekend about calling Reid a ‘liar’ and all that, it just shows you how scared they are that Harry Reid was telling the truth.”

Krone’s comments are the latest round in what has becoming an increasingly bitter — and personal fight — between Reid and Romney and Republicans over Reid’s assertion that Romney has not paid taxes for a decade.

Reid first made the charge in an interview with The Huffington Post on Tuesday, saying he was told this by an as-yet-unidentified investor in Bain Capital, the investment fund that Romney co-founded in 1984. Reid later repeated the claim on the Senate floor, infuriating the Romney campaign and GOP senators.

One of the reason I had not posted about what Sen. Reid (D-NV) said is that like most of the reality based community I like my documentation, my studies and charts. Some Democratic bloggers have torn into Reid for not following that tradition. What Reid is doing, whether one approves of the tactic or not is one on which so much of conservative electoral tactics are based. I linked to this video the other day in which a young woman says she “heard” that President Obama has sympathies with radical Muslim ( never mind that this is the president and national security team that has killed so many terrorists, included Bin Laden). Where did she get that impression? From the Republican disinformation machine – from Fox News to Limbaugh to conservative bloggers. No fact checking required, no documentation. Obama has produced a certified copy of his birth certificate, a record of live birth and the hospital where he was born has verified he was born in Hawaii – a third of Republicans still believe he was born outside the U.S. What has Reid done, say that someone told him, a Bain insider, a former business associate, that he did not think Romney had paid his proper taxes for years. Dirty or not Romney and his faux outraged apologists could make this all go away tomorrow by doing one simple thing, release Romney’s tax records for the last ten years. The complete records, not just snippets. Harry Reid is not dumb and he is not one to shoot from the hip. By provoking Romney and the tax records scandal,, Reid has put Republicans on the defensive. Conservative suck at defense. Thus we have the sleazy and desperate RNC chairman Reince Priebus attacking Harry Reid, businessman, grandfather and Mormon with he is a “dirty liar”. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) saying he cannot believe that Harry is ” make accusations that are absolutely unfounded, in my view, and quite frankly making things up to divert the campaign away from the real issues.” What documentation does Graham have to prove that Harry is wrong. In baseball this is called an unforced error. Lindsay and Priebus have both put themselves in the position of knowing, of having the facts. Yet here the nation waits to see those facts, those tax returns that prove that Reid at least used poor judgement in repeating something someone told him.

Is RNC Chairman Reince Priebus really the go-to guy to break bad on Reid or anyone? Reince is a well documented sleazeball, hypocrite and liar. RNC Chair Priebus Criticizes Obama For Cutting Medicare, Then Touts Paul Ryan’s Medicare Busting Budget. As most of us know Obamacare cuts cost and did away with government subsidies of gold plated – what are called Medicare gap plans – it does not cut Medicare. Reince lied. The facts are out there in legislation passed by Congress for anyone to read. Reince doesn’t care if the Ryan plan becomes law and by June of every year grandma and grandpa are down on the corner begging for money to pay for the gap left by Ryan’s notorious voucher plan.

Priebus is a conservative and like every two faced cowardly conservative he has the courage of his convictions, Meet Newly-Elected RNC Chair Reince Priebus

Priebus’s law firm sought funds from Obama’s stimulus package: Connecticut GOP chairman Chris Healy noted that Priebus’s Wisconsin law firm helped its clients obtain federal stimulus funds, citing the fact that Priebus’s name was attached to the “Stimulus and Economic Recovery Group.” Priebus immediately responded to the story, claiming he had never worked with his firm’s “Stimulus and Economic Recovery” group.

Just like Romney’s name was on all those SEC documents, but he had nothing to do with Bain.

Like all conservatives Preibus has high and thoroughly consistent values, While Demanding Weiner’s Resignation, RNC Chairman Refuses To Discuss Vitter Prostitution Scandal. Well, like other conservatives Preibus has values depending on the situation. They’re called relative values. values that shift more frequently than the tides.

Conservative Republicans pushed for and thoroughly gutted financial regulation and when they were in power from 2000 to 2008 they did not enforce what regulations we did have. Having pushed the economy into an open grave and throwing dirt in the face of the middle-class they stole $17 trillion in wealth from, they have been tossing peanuts from the gallery ever sense, On Three Year Anniversary Of Stimulus, GOP Goes Into High Gear Falsely Claiming It Failed

RNC CHAIRMAN REINCE PRIEBUS: “Three years ago today, President Obama signed his ‘Stimulus’ into law, and it’s clear, by Obama’s own standards, that his signature economic plan has been an abject failure.”

…As economists Alan Blinder and Mark Zandi wrote in their study “How the Great Recession was Brought to an End,” the effects of the stimulus were “very substantial, raising 2010 real GDP by about 3.4%, holding the unemployment rate about 1½ percentage points lower, and adding almost 2.7 million jobs to U.S. payrolls.”

Anyone ever need a bratty smart-ass to hurl garbage give Preibus a call, it is the one thing he has qualifications for.

Reince Priebus Flat-Out Lied on Meet the Press (w/video). Even some liberals have forgotten the historically successful legislative accomplishments of the Obama administrations first year. Preibus knows better because he hates every single one of them from the Children’s Health Insurance Program Re-authorization Act –  Pub.L. 111-3 to the Tax Relief  Unemployment Insurance Re-authorization  and Job Creation Act of 2010 –  Pub.L. 111-312 and the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act –  Pub.L. 111-203.

Reince would be pro democracy and against tyranny right? They do not seem to know what those words mean, but Republicans say them a lot. So why has Reince been part of the systematic disenfranchisement of American voters. Going so far as to participate in vote caging, Priebus’ Republican National Committee: A Wholly Owned Subsidiary of Koch’s Americans for Prosperity?

As reported in November by Sarah Posner for the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute (and reprinted by AlterNet [5]), Americans for Prosperity was implicated, together with the Republican Party of Wisconsin, in a voter-caging scheme designed to challenge the votes of university students in Milwaukee, and voters in a largely African American assembly district in the city. With the election of Priebus last week to the helm of the national GOP, AlterNet decided to take a second look at the scheme, and found Priebus’ own chief counsel deeply involved, providing lists to Tea Party activists of voters targeted for purging from the rolls.

Priebus is to decency, honor and democracy what a flesh eating spore is to good health. He is the chairman of the RNC.

Preibus and Romney are two peas from the same pod, Why Does Mitt Romney Want To Restrict Voting Rights For More Than 900,000 Ohio Veterans?

Our guest blogger is Jon Soltz (@jonsoltz) is a two-tour Iraq veteran and Chairman of VoteVets.org.

When I read stories this weekend that said the Obama campaign was suing to restrict the voting rights of military in Ohio, my blood got boiling. Of course, Think Progress has already documented that story, inflamed by the Romney campaign, is patently false. In fact, the Obama campaign was suing to block an Ohio law which restricts a very successful early voting program in the state. The President’s campaign was trying to keep expanded voting rights in place for everyone, military included. So, why am I still so disturbed?

Because Mitt Romney, by supporting the Ohio law that would do away with three days of early voting for all but those covered under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter Act (‘UOCAVA’), is supporting the restriction of voting rights for as many as 913,000 Ohio veterans. This includes military retirees with over 20 years of service and multiple deployments. In short, Mitt Romney supports efforts to make voting more difficult for the very people who have put their lives on the line after swearing an oath to uphold our Constitution and democracy.

Once you leave the military, you are no longer covered by UOCAVA. Your voting rights are the same as any civilian. That means the early voting law which Mitt Romney wants to undo, provided hundreds of thousands of Ohio veterans with more of an opportunity to vote. By all accounts, Ohio voters liked and used the early voting law. In 2008, nearly one-third of all ballots was cast under the early voting measures, surely many of them veterans.

Interestingly, the press reported that 15 military and veterans’ groups supported Romney’s position. That isn’t the case. Those groups actually petitioned the court to be involved in the case, because of their concerns that the end result, whatever it was, might hurt troops’ ability to vote. On Friday, the Obama Campaign actually signed a brief to the court that backed the petition of those groups – welcoming them into the case, because the Obama campaign says it wants to ensure that military voters aren’t kept from early voting. Now that we know the truth, I hope those groups will come out and fully support the President’s campaign, in court. Because if they don’t, the change in law will hurt so many who have served in uniform.

So, how is the law about to change? Under the previous statute, Ohioans were allowed to vote early, all the way up to election day. Under the new law that the Obama campaign is seeking to block, almost all Ohioans will not be able to vote early starting three days before the election – doing away with weekend voting, which was the easiest for those with a full time job, or multiple jobs.

For veterans, most of whom have full-time work, often in jobs they can’t leave during the day, that lessens their ability to vote.

We’ve already seen what a non-early-voting Ohio looks like. We saw it in 2004, when in many polling places had extremely long lines (especially in urban areas), and polling places were shut down before everyone in line had a chance to vote. Non-early voting, quite literally, resulted in the disenfranchisement of voters. That’s what Mitt Romney wants to go back to. That’s what he wants to subject nearly a million Ohio veterans to, after they wore the uniform, and swore their lives to uphold our Constitution, including the right to vote.

My question for Mitt Romney is simple: “Why won’t you join the Obama lawsuit in Ohio, and protect our veterans’ right to vote?”

Romney will not join in to do what is right for every voter, including veterans because he has sworn his ideological fidelity to the Reince Priebus wing of conservatism: why do the right thing when you can whip up some kool-aid addled outrage from the knuckle-draggers who Mitt is depending on to put him in the White House.

“Mitt Romney was attacking Obama about our failing education system. He has a point. We are graduating millions of people in this country who are so lacking in basic analytical skills, they are considering voting for Mitt Romney.” –Bill Maher

Bulletin: Alleged Sikh Temple Shooter Former Member of Skinhead Band. Skinhead is just another word for Neo-Nazi. And this just came in, FBI: Seeking second “person of interest” in Oak Creek Sikh Temple shooting

American History and August – And America Must Let Go of Republican Economic Policy that Coddles the Wealthy

Looking back over some of the historical events of August it is amazing how much happens during the dog days of summer. You’d think people would be too hot and anxious to keep in the shade, find a cool breeze or a local swimming hole.

Print showing George and Martha Washington sitting at a table with George Washington Parke Custis and Nelly Custis standing to the right and left of George, and a servant entering on the far right. The original painting was done by Christian  Schussele (1826?-1879). Engravings were made and sold by William Sartain (1843-1924). Washington died in 1799 so the painting would have been based on other depictions and written descriptions of Washington and his family. On August 4, 1753 – George Washington became a master mason. At 23 he was already a Master Mason, the highest rank in the Fraternity of Freemasonry, in his hometown of Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Derived from the practices and rituals of the medieval guild system, freemasonry gained popularity in the eighteenth century, particularly in Great Britain. British Masons organized the first North American Chapter in 1731. Masons aroused considerable suspicion in the early American republic with their mysterious rites and closely held secrets. These fears mushroomed in response to the suspicious death in 1826 of William Morgan, who was said to have been murdered on account of his threat to reveal the secrets of freemasonry.

The Masons are still controversial. In televangelist and former Republican candidate for president, Pat Robertson’s book New World Order he repeats an unsubstantiated myth about the secret satanism of Masonry,

Satanic hoax. Despite the fraternity’s good works, myths of dark doings continued to haunt Freemasonry. In the late 1880s, a mischievous French writer and former Mason, known by his pen name Leo Taxil, set out to play on Catholic fears of the order. He claimed to expose the order’s greatest secret, known only to the highest-degree Masons: that the secret religion of Masonry was the worship of Lucifer. Even after Taxil confessed to the hoax in 1897…

Ironically and perhaps just for someone so fond of spreading hateful myths, there are hundreds of sites on the net accusing Robertson of being a secret Mason intent on establishing a new world order.

Revenue Act of 1861

The Revenue Act of 1861, formally cited as Act of August 5, 1861, Chap. XLV, 12 Stat. 292
August 4, 1862 – US government collects its 1st income tax. Signed into law by Abraham Lincoln. The Act of 1861 was amended to make it a more progressive tax – it increased based on income, in 1862.

Theatre Comique Detroit, Michigan circa 1900-1910

This would have been the beginnings of vaudeville. As early as the late 1800s there were theaters, with mostly male only patrons. They would come in to listen to bawdy songs and jokes, drink, and watch the female entertainers.

Times Square Crowd for V-J Day August 14, 1945. This is a fairly well-known historical photo. The original caption read, ” The largest crowd to date in Times Square gathers for the announcement that the war with Japan was ended, New York, New York”. That would be the second threat to freedom and democrat defeated by liberals within a decade. Can you imagine if we hadn’t, conservatives would have been forced to learn German or Japanese. Yet we not only do not get any gratitude, but we get some of the most sordid revisionist history one can imagine.

Ezra Klein or rather The Tax Policy Center by way of Ezra, gets the quote of the day, I can describe Mitt Romney’s tax policy promises in two words: mathematically impossible.

The truth is that Romney is afraid to put his plan on the table. He has promised to reduce the deficit, but refused to identify the spending he would cut. He has promised to reform the tax code, but refused to identify the deductions and loopholes he would eliminate. The only thing he has put on the table is dessert: a promise to cut marginal tax rates by 20 percent across the board and to do so without raising the deficit or reducing the taxes paid by the top 1 percent.

….The Romney campaign has not provided good answers to the questions raised by its own math. But we already knew the Romney campaign didn’t have good answers. If Romney had good answers, he would have made good on his rhetoric and put his plans on the table.

It would be great if Romney could fulfill his promise to cut taxes by trillions of dollars, increase defense spending, keep entitlement spending on pretty much its current path for the next decade, and balance the budget. But as Tyler Cowen, the George Mason University economist, put it in a pithy tweet (though perhaps “pithy tweet” is a tautology), “The proposed Romney fiscal policy just doesn’t make any sense.”

When confronted with the numbers a Romney spokesperson said the numbers used were biased because one of the three analyst used to work for Democrats, yet one of the analyst also worked for Bush. This is a thread bare excuse rolled out by Republicans every time they get got in a lie. The conservative establishment knows it lies. A lot. Like all propagandists worth their weight in caviar, the hope is that some of the lies stick well enough to grain traction as a credible truth passed around America’s kitchen tables. Then its time to vote and millions of kool-aid addled conservatives with modest to middling incomes are once again voting against their own rational self-interests. As Romney is promising a return to the voodoo trickle on America economics of the Bush-era, for reasons just mentioned some people are ready for their fourth round of trickle on America economics (Reagan, Bush 41, Bush 43 and Mittens would be 4), a reminder that we need to jettison the belief in voodoo once and for all, Letting Go of Economic Policy that Entrenches Poverty, Coddles the Wealthy

As much as they claim to loathe government, right-wing policy makers adore government assistance to the nation’s superrich.

The economic policies, including weakened regulation of the financial industry, pushed by a party that has become behold to the superrich ushered in the Great Recession and the gaping economic inequality that the nation seems to be slowly awakening. Yet likely not fast enough. The number in poverty is on track, The Associated Press reported in July, to reach “levels unseen in nearly half a century,” and wiping out gains to lessen poverty that were seen in the 1960s. These economic policies center on tax cuts for the wealthiest, dwindling social services, along with weak regulation of the financial industry.

“The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year,” Columbia Business School Professor Joseph Stiglitz wrote last year. “In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent.”

Stiglitz noted in the same article how woefully out touch the wealthiest are – they can take care of themselves just fine and are numb to the plight of a family of three that must somehow survive on an annual income of less than $38,000.

So what can be done to reverse the situation? It appears rather hopeless, since the superrich are also the most powerful and have been able to keep alive the economic policies that have benefited them at a great cost to everyone else.

Why does the family driving the eight year old car in front of you with the Obama is a secret Muslim bumper sticker keep voting to give themselves the shaft. Why does a good third or more of the middle-class vote with the 1% against their best interests. The bumper sticker voters are the ones that Fox News, Limbaugh and the rest of the right-wing noise machine cater to. That is why we have the urban myth a day phenomenon from conservatives. They have to find a way to demonize the opposition, whose actual policies created the middle-class and the potential for so many Americans to advance up the economic ladder. That third of the middle-class, most of whom have some college or special training think their interests are the same as the 1%. That if they lead good lives and work hard, yep, some day they’ll be like the Koch brothers. The odds for that happening have always been low, but the prospect of getting ahead, of moving from doing OK to doing very well, has slowly diminished over the years, not coincidentally, with the growth of conservative economic polices. Republicans and the Myth of Upward Mobility

A recent article by Walt Gardner of Education Week, entitled “Policies Trump Schooling in Upward Mobility” states:

“In 2008, when 29.4 percent of the population held a college degree, the bottom 90 percent got less than 52 percent of the national income, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. But in 1970, when only 11 percent of the population had a degree, the bottom 90 percent got 67 percent of the national income.”

These findings seem to be in line with the earlier international report “American Exceptionalism in a New Light: A Comparison of Intergenerational Earnings Mobility in the Nordic Countries, the United Kingdom and the United States” by Germany’s Institute for the Study of Labor, which claims:

“The main driver of the difference in the pattern of male intergenerational mobility in the U.S. from that of each of the other countries in our study is the low mobility out of the lowest quintile group in the United States. Indeed, it is very noticeable that while for all of the other countries persistence is particularly high in the upper tails of the distribution, in the U.S. this is reversed – with a particularly high likelihood that sons of the poorest fathers in the U.S. will remain in the lowest earnings quintile.”

In fact, census analysis by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University found that in 2010 37% of young families with children were living in poverty.

Mitt Romney would have us believe this is a recent trend brought about by poor leadership in the Obama administration saying, “Over the past three years Barack Obama has been replacing our merit-based society with an entitlement society.”

The downward spiral of the middle class has actually been well documented since the 1979. The Congressional Budget Office shows that the income level of the top 1% of earners has grown at three times the rate of the middle class, while the income level for the bottom 80% of our society has stayed nearly flat. This disparity has recently accelerated to a crisis point where one in three mortgage-carrying families are facing the possibility of foreclosure.

Since I live and work in the real world, not the bubble of conservative talking heads, I know that Democrats generally work hard and Republicans may not have pointed tails, but they are hardly paragons of virtue or a solid work ethic. Most Americans are not perfect, but they work hard. They’re working harder and more productive than ever and have less to show for it. Just pointing that out makes anyone who says it a raging anti-American Marxist. That shows you how far Right, how far out of the mainstream, how clueless and delusional the conservative movement is.

Productivity versus wages

One of the latest conservative urban myths, Fox’s Evening News Show Lies About Military Voting In Ohio .

Tea Party Report: So Sorry for Dixie-Chick-fil-A

Susie Sampson went down to her local Chick-fil-A to interview the fine folks who were participating in Bash the Faggots Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.

As always with Tea Partiers, you learn all kinds of amazing things from these folks. Did you know that Halloween is a satanic holiday.

Both a funny and sad video at the link. Conservative thinking: Anyone who interferes with their right to hate and eliminationism is intolerant.

The Hollow Defense of Voter ID Laws

Are laws aimed at voter fraud really enabling voter suppression? In a preview clip from this weekend’s Moyers & Company, Keesha Gaskins and Michael Waldman from the Brennan Center for Justice rebut common defenses of voter ID laws, including “everybody’s got a driver’s license!”, “what about public transportation!” and state requirements to make “free IDs” available.

Using new research, Waldman and Gaskins argue these laws represent “the first rollback of voting rights since the Jim Crow era.”

Republicans See Any Opposition To Their Tyranny as Oppression

Conservatives, intent on being dishonest and disingenuous are still flogging the President Obama built it story. Thus far it is the only spin they seem to be able to get some traction out of. Here are the relevant few sentences,

“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That’s how we funded the GI Bill. That’s how we created the middle class. That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That’s how we invented the Internet. That’s how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for president — because I still believe in that idea. You’re not on your own, we’re in this together.”

First, President Obama never said people in business do not build their businesses. He said they did not build the roads and bridges. Saying otherwise is a malicious or ignorant lie, or both. Non kool-aid drinkers are not responsible for the illiteracy of conservative partisans that cannot see past their blinding zealotry. No wonder Sarah Palin, George W. Bush and Mitt Romney speak in wilted word salads. I often wish I could write like Bill Moyer or a couple of the better diarists at DKos and a few other pundits I admire, but at least I do not butcher the English language beyond recognition at the alter of venal and unsupported assertions. The Obama campaign pushed back against Mitt Romney’s ad that distorts the “you didn’t build that”

The Romney campaign took Obama’s comments about infrastructure out of context and have used it on the stump and now in a new ad to push the point that Obama doesn’t believe in small business owners.

In their new video, Cutter compares Romney and Obama’s plans to help small businesses. Cutter then brings up Romney’s history at Bain Capital, where he negotiated $10 million in debt forgiveness from the FDIC. “Ironically, Mitt Romney knows better than anyone that business can’t always do it alone,” Cutter says in the video.

 

Maybe conservatives read one of their infamous pundits say that hypocrisy is a virtue, Romney’s ‘We Did Build This’ Events Feature Businesses Built With Government Subsidies And Contracts

These come over the science/tech news wires just about everyday, Carbon Fiber a Government Clean Tech Innovation Success Story – Lighter cars, better crash protection. Big profits for corporations and safety for consumers via a public-private partnership. The real world.

Happy Chick-fil-A Day! – It’s here, America — our own culture war holiday

The great battle of Chick-fil-A has drawn responses both sensible and stupid from a variety of corners. On the liberal-yet-kinda-dumb side, there’s Boston Mayor Tom Menino, who, in a well-intentioned but ultimately ironic display of liberal muscle, declared, “You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population.” Dear Tom: Expressing one’s beliefs is not discrimination. Also, announcing your intention to block someone from opening a business in your town because you don’t like his beliefs is discrimination.

[   ]….Meanwhile, over on the conservative side of the hen house, it’s been old home week for right-wing attention whores. Posing with a bag of chicken has, for a moment, become the new posing with an American flag. Why look, here’s Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, supporting values of both the family and meal variety. Here’s – wait for it – Sarah Palin, pausing long enough before any grease could leak through the bag to give a victorious thumbs up. And here’s windbag-at-large Rick Santorum defending the company against “intolerance and bigotry” that’s obviously a result of the way we’re “fundamentally changing the moral foundation of our country.”

But the real champion in all of this has been former governor, marathon runner and occasional overeater Mike Huckabee, who masterfully came up with the idea of declaring Aug. 1 Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day — a day for Americans to “take a stand for the Godly values we espouse” and fight the “vicious hate speech and intolerant bigotry from the left” by patronizing their local franchises.

[    ]…Patronize establishments like Schnipper’s, which has offered to donate $1 from every chicken filet sandwich it sells this month to Marriage Equality USA. Be sane and civilized. That’s what true freedom and productive dialogue and effective change look like. So just let Chick-fil-A go. They’ll get the message — we   can’t stomach them.

It seems like some moderate minded folks cannot get jaw off the floor at the sheer audacity of the conservative noise machine, they are the ones who are victims? That is what they are claiming. A goat ate my copy, but as I remember from the Right-Wing Republican Book of Victim-hood, this is just another day and another melodramatic spectacle where conservatives – the perpetrators – flip the mirror and show the people who they are discriminating against, as horrible ogres. You see, conservatives thinks anyone who objects to their tyranny as oppressors. Stopping injustice is an injustice to conservatives. Why else do they so often defend the treason of the Confederacy. The mean Union objected to the supposed rights of states to buy and sell human beings. The Union were the oppressors and the Confederacy but poor little victims. The Union was immoral, the South the victim of liberal nanny state tinkering. Object to the twisted morality of some greasy nasty fast food joint who uses its profits to further its Jim Crow-lite crusade against gay Americans, and you’re a mean intolerant anti-marriage/anti-God/ radical. They’re hate is the new righteousness. Your intolerance of that hate is oppressive. This is the sick world of modern conservatism.

Chick-fil-A has done fair minded Americans a huge favor. When you spend your hard earned money you should know where it goes. Boycotts of one or two businesses are not going to cut it. Everyone needs to know where their money goes and what it is used for. Chick-fil-A is just the tip of a massive conservative business structure who works 24/7 to make the USA into an increasingly authoritarian plutocracy. Its time to get past the occasional boycott and serious ly our buying habits, A Guide To Consumer Brands Helping Bankroll Right-Wing Attack Ads. Some of the companies include Brawny paper towels, Waffle House, New Balance and Charles Schwab Corporation. These people are not just on a crusade to make gay Americans second class citizens, their agenda includes gutting workers’ rights, gutting environmental and wildlife protection, making women into citizens with only limited rights, gutting Medicare and Social Security ( S.Sec as ponzi scheme is another meme the far Right has fallen in love with), doing away with regulations like those concerning food ( hormone regulation, meat inspections), more preemptive wars, increasing taxes on the middle-class to finance yet more tax cuts for millionaires.

A recent column from Jennifer Granholm, Tea Party: Thank You for Your Insanity

Congratulations to him and to the Tea Party for putting another feather in their tri-corner hat.
But here’s the thing: The ascendancy of Tea Party candidates like Cruz, while impressive, comes at a cost to the Republican Party: the loss of moderate Republicans who have been knocked off or have resigned. Other Republicans have simply moved farther to the right in order to placate the absurd demands of the Tea Party extremists.

Mitt Romney is the perfect example: He seemed like a moderate governor, but now he can’t wait to board the Tea Party Express to Crazytown. As Michael Tomasky said on my show last night, he’s such a pandering, weak-willed wimp that he’s basically outsourced his brain to the Tea Party and the Koch brothers who fund it. Whatever they want, he’ll do. As the Tea Party takes the Republicans further to the right, he’s got to move along with them. He’s got to chase the base — a base which is getting smaller and crazier and Koch-brothers-ier.

Whether it’s their Sharia law and birther conspiracies or their unwillingness to buck Grover Norquist’s no-tax pledge, the Tea Partiers have hijacked their party and carried it all the way to the right.

Don’t believe me?

Think back to the Republican presidential debate when the moderator asked Republican candidates to raise their hands if they would reject a budget proposal that that offered ten dollars in spending cuts for every one dollar in tax increases. Ten to one! Ten bucks of what they want for one measly dollar of what’s actually fair. And how many of them rose their hands? Every. Single. One.

That’s insanity! But that’s also the Tea Party. Because who are the puppeteers pulling the strings lifting these candidates’ hands? Why, of course, it’s the Koch brothers. And as the Tea Party moves further to the right, the Koch brothers’ strings get tighter and more controlling.

Tuesday night’s primary was a victory for Ted Cruz, but it also should be a victory for the Democratic Party. Because as the Republicans run to the crazy Tea Party right, they leave behind the huge mass of genuinely moderate and independent Americans that make up the majority of voters. The ones that used to consider themselves now-extinct moderate Republicans. They’re up for grabs. And the Democrats have to grab them! Not just with their with their lack of Tea Party insanity and Koch brothers strings, but with their solid, forward-thinking ideas. With their vision for middle-class resurgence. With their plans to invest in the people and future of America.

So congrats, again, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, David and Charles Koch and the whole Tea Party gang. Thank you for the opportunity for the Democratic Party and progressives to reclaim the votes of the sane citizens of these United States.

The charlatans of morality who are invoking Biblical principles to defend Chick-fil-A are playing the same game with God that the vice president of the Confederacy Alexander H. Stephens did in defending slavery, Cornerstone Speech, March 21, 1861,Savannah, Georgia

“Many Governments have been founded upon the principles of certain classes; but the classes thus enslaved, were of the same race, and in violation of the laws of nature. Our system commits no such violation of nature’s laws. The negro by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, [note: A reference to Genesis, 9:20-27, which was used as a justification for slavery] is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material-the granite-then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it is the best, not only for the superior but for the inferior race, that it should be so. It is, indeed, in conformity with the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of His ordinances or to question them. For His own purposes He has made one race to differ from another, as He has made “one star to differ from another in glory.”

The great objects of humanity are best attained, when conformed to his laws and degrees [sic], in the formation of Governments as well as in all things else. Our Confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws. This stone which was rejected by the first builders “is become the chief stone of the corner” in our new edifice.”

Just replace negro with gay or women or any group who dares to disagree with the conservative interpretation of what is moral or not.