Railroad map of North Carolina, 1900 – Republicans Can Only Win Arguments With Empty Chairs and Straw Men

Railroad map of North Carolina, 1900. Authorized by the North Carolina corporation commission.

North Carolina 1770. Done by John Collet. “Publish’d according to Act of Parliament, May the 1st, 1770, by S. Hooper, No. 25 Ludgate Hill, London.” And this map was dedicated to King George. Which makes sense as the first Continental Congress of the U.S. would not occur for another four years.

Everyone is probably suffering from convention and convention analysis fatigue so you’ll be relived to know I will not be rehashing too much of that. I did want to take up a little space to give one very typical example of how for the DNC convention and the Democratic agenda in general is assaulted by the extremists in the conservative movement. Peggy The Loon Noonan in the WSJ writes, Noonan: The Democrats’ Soft Extremism

There was the relentless emphasis on Government as Community, as the thing that gives us spirit and makes us whole. But government isn’t what you love if you’re American, America is what you love. Government is what you have, need and hire. Its most essential duties—especially when it is bankrupt—involve defending rights and safety, not imposing views and values. We already have values. Democrats and Republicans don’t see all this the same way, and that’s fine—that’s what national politics is, the working out of this dispute in one direction or another every few years. But the Democrats convened in Charlotte seemed more extreme on the point, more accepting of the idea of government as the center of national life, than ever, at least to me.

Conservatives cannot let the words that Democrats actually say speak for themselves. They like to pretend they speak some kind of English and that Democrats speak Latin. Then proceed to give an interpretation that would get an F from the Latin teacher. President Obama said nothing about making government our community that makes us “whole”. That is the pure projection of someone who has rightfully earned her nickname. The President’s full speech transcript.

And on every issue, the choice you face won’t just be between two candidates or two parties. It will be a choice between two different paths for America, a choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future. Ours is a fight to restore the values that built the largest middle class and the strongest economy the world has ever known — (cheers, applause) — the values my grandfather defended as a soldier in Patton’s army, the values that drove my grandmother to work on a bomber assembly line while he was gone. They knew they were part of something larger — a nation that triumphed over fascism and depression, a nation where the most innovative businesses turn out the world’s best products, and everyone shared in that pride and success from the corner office to the factory floor.

Peggy is part of the movement that keeps saying to the straw man Democrat they’re always fighting with, and empty chairs as well, that America can only have one identity, that their straw man multicultural agenda is bad for America. In a much nicer way Obama is saying we do have a cultural identity from shared achievements. That is now “soft” extremism. This is part of the on going childish and dangerous game conservatives play where a Democrat says something very similar to what they have said – except Democrats tend to be saner and more inclusive – and Republicans find some twisted doublespeak to use against things they say they believe, but do not believe in now just because a Democrat said it. You know what else Obama said that for some reason Peggy did not mention:

And by the way, those of us who carry on his party’s legacy should remember that not every problem can be remedied with another government program or dictate from Washington.

Lobbyists for corporate America spend billions in Washington. They’re not giving that money away , they’re buying the things that gov’mint can give them. There ain’t no community out here Peggy that has that kind of money, we too busy working or trying to find a job and taking care of our families. Mitt Romney and Bain were happy to benefit from that gov’mint that is so eeeevil.

The Big Dog’s speech varied from his written speech – both are here. Noonan said this speech was “beneath” him. That might have a few atoms worth of weight if it was said by someone who had any moral depth beyond her tea spoon. She is a full fledged member of the party of delusional soil-darwinism who is trying its best not to win the election on who has the best ideas, but on whether the Koch brothers and the Chamber of Commerce can buy it.

The Republican narrative is that all of us who amount to anything are completely self-made. One of our greatest Democratic Chairmen, Bob Strauss, used to say that every politician wants you to believe he was born in a log cabin he built himself, but it ain’t so.

We Democrats think the country works better with a strong middle class, real opportunities for poor people to work their way into it and a relentless focus on the future, with business and government working together to promote growth and broadly shared prosperity. We think “we’re all in this together” is a better philosophy than “you’re on your own.”

Who’s right? Well since 1961, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats 24. In those 52 years, our economy produced 66 million private sector jobs. What’s the jobs score? Republicans 24 million, Democrats 42 million!

It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics, because discrimination, poverty and ignorance restrict growth, while investments in education, infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase it, creating more good jobs and new wealth for all of us.

The very reason for the existence of the conservative movement is a USA modeled on a plutocracy, with all the money, thus power at the top. That’s not soft extremism, that is an ideology that is antithetical to a healthy democratic republic.

The jobs report. Its not great, but it is not a game changer either way – Disappointing jobs report unlikely to change presidential contest

Today’s unemployment report was disappointing: only 96,000 jobs created last month, and revisions reducing the previous two months by 40,000, it was not only well below expectations but, more importantly, below what the economy needs to do to get people back to work. A lot of people are suffering in this economy, and for each of them, this is bad news.

As far as the presidential race goes, however, there’s nothing here that changes the status quo significantly. Last month, before the report was released, I said that “anything between 50,000 and 150,000 is not a very big deal politically, and it would take either an actual negative number or something over 200,000 to really shake things up.” So this number falls comfortably within that “not a big deal” range. Moreover, the headline unemployment rate number fell a bit, from 8.3 to 8.1 percent, making this a more mixed and muddled picture.

Mitt Romney, who as governor was ranked third from very last out of fifty states in job creation, and laid off thousands of workers while performing his crony capitalism magic at Bain, say these new job numbers are awful. Mitt has the same plan to create jobs Bush did. That turned out really well.

The US Chamber of Commerce’s Multimillion-Dollar Attack Plan To Buy The Election

If you live in a state where a competitive race could help tip the balance in the Senate this fall, you’ve almost certainly seen ads like these, laden with menacing theme music, light on the facts and funded by the US Chamber of Commerce. The nation’s largest business lobby is showcasing bold ambitions this year in an effort to build on gains made in the 2010 midterms, when at least $33 million of Chamber advertising helped push the nation dramatically rightward. The group began placing ads in swing districts as early as November 2011. Since then, it has rolled out a campaign aimed at influencing at least fifty House and eight Senate races, and according to Politico it has set a goal of $100 million in spending for this electoral cycle.

Watchdog groups believe the strategy in 2012 is similar to that of 2010: the Chamber goes into a district, blitzes it with attack ads to soften up the opposition and then steps back to let other deep-pocket groups come in. The intent is to force Democrats to play defense across the board, thus spreading their resources thin. According to the liberal online publication ThinkProgress, twenty of the twenty-one ads the Chamber released in May were hostile to Democratic candidates.

“The Chamber has spent about $600,000 attacking me,” Tester, the farmer turned Democratic Montana senator, told me in April. “I’ve got a great small-business record. I’ve carried bills the US Chamber has advocated for in the past. [But] they see Montana as a state that they can pick up. They’re dishonest, painting me as something I’m not. They’re trying to paint me as Wall Street, as somebody who’s ‘gone DC.’ It’s about as crazy as anybody can get.”

Is this what Americas slide into Marxism looks like, record corporate profits

Corporations are constantly complaining about taxes and regulations cutting into their profits. That is just so much bs. Though if they really do need money they can always stop spending millions upon millions trying to buy democracy.

Fox News and The Republican National Committee Vindicate President Obama’s Build It Speech

Old Stone Lighthouse wallpaper

 

Recently Fox News of all places, and joined by the Republican Party, Mitt Romney and Romney’s PAC ads have joined in to vindicate President Obama’s speech that has become known as the Build it speech. First what the President actually said,

 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.

Even though some readers may consider the wording awkward it is clear when he say “that” he is referring to roads and bridges – the infrastructure that allows business to transport goods and customers to buy goods and services. There have been attempts to undermine the whole speech with the counter argument that we do not “do things together”. The latter is just as absurd as twisting the build it remarks wildly out of context. We first have Fox News arguing that yep, gov’mint needs to get in there and do something, You Didn’t Build That: Fox News & The Bridge To Grandma’s House

Fox News’ campaign to pretend President Obama insulted American ingenuity when he told voters no one individual built the “unbelievable American system” of roads and bridges, public schools and the Internet, ran into a roadblock today when they reported on the bridge to grandma’s house.

Bob and Connie Bushner have been embroiled in a lawsuit with Ozark County, MO officials over replacing a bridge to their property that washed away in 2010. According to the Ozark County Times, the county has maintained the bridge on and off for years, even though the bridge resides on land owned by the Army Corps of Engineers.

The Bushners, the only residents at the end of the bridge, appeared on Fox & Friends to explain their struggles with the county over replacing that bridge. According to Connie Bushner, the family has been forced to pilot their grandchildren across the creek on an ATV in order to visit. “It’s treacherous,” she said.

Gretchen Carlson was aghast: “It seems crazy that you are stranded in your own home.”

But curiously, she concluded the segment by reporting, “It seems like it’s a mess, because the county claims the bridge is the responsibility of the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Army Corps claims that it’s the county. In the meantime you guys remain stranded.”

Another thing stranded here is logical consistency.

Shouldn’t Carlson be hopping mad that the government would be asked to rebuild a bridge?

After all, Fox News has been stoking outrage for weeks that President Obama insulted business owners by saying they didn’t build the roads and bridges that help them bring goods to market and that bring customers to their stores.

The outrage Fox spent so much time and energy manufacturing takes center stage at the GOP convention next week, with the cynical theme “We Built It.”

Granted, taxpayers built and own the NHL stadium that will host the convention, redesigned Tampa’s highways and byways that convention goers will use to get to that publicly funded stadium, and will foot the bill for the security that will keep those convention-goers safe.

Never mind all that. “You Didn’t Build That” is a Fox News/GOP brand.

Just don’t tell grandma.

I have some sympathy for the Bushners. I went through that phase where I thought how nice it would be to have a rural cabin with all the peace and quiet. Though it is clear in their case that in order to afford easy access to and from their home they need the resources of the local or federal government. Now if Fox and conservatives have the genuine conviction that no American ever needs gov’mint help than, under that blanket of ideological conviction the Bushners need to start building their own bridge. Right after the build it speech Romney started running some  dishonest ads that were carefully edited deceptive video that had President Obama saying that business owners do not build their businesses. Who did Romney have in the ads? Businesses – that also happen to be extreme partisan conservatives – that relied heavily on government contracts. That should be enough dishonesty and hypocrisy to make anyone with a conscience reconsider putting words in the president’s mouth or deceptively editing video, an oh, making sure that featured speakers at the RNC convention are monuments to the complete and utter self sufficiency fantasy-land of conservative rhetoric: How She “Built It”: Fox’s RNC Theme Undercut By Key Speaker’s Business Success

On the day that the GOP convention will tout Fox-fueled myth “We Built It” as its primary theme, Delaware Lt. Gov. candidate and small business owner Sher Valenzuela is slated to deliver a speech about small business issues. But contrary to the evening’s theme, Valenzuela’s company, First State Manufacturing, has received millions of dollars in federal loans and contracts. Valenzuela has not only attributed her success in part to this outside assistance, but urged other small business owners to follow the same strategy of seeking government funds.

M’s Valenzuela and the brain trusts that picked her should get some kind of bronze Build It award for utter cognitive dissonance. Not only does she owe the government for the start up funds for her business ( a SMA loan), but she also does presentations, complete with slide show on how to get government loans and contracts – it can be viewed at the link. At this juncture if you put this all on in a screenplay people would think they were watching some outlandish satire adapted from the Daily Show or Saturday Night Live brought to the local cineplex. All of this must be some kind of absurd comedy unfolding, not real life events. Who would believe that people say and do these things, than act as though they are still stone cold right about what they believe. Just in today, Who Built That? Fox Hypes Romney Op-Ed That Touts Businesses Receiving Government Money

Fox News host Brian Kilmeade called an op-ed written by Mitt Romney touting lessons learned from his experience investing in companies at Bain Capital “brilliantly written.” But unmentioned by Fox is the fact that many of the companies Romney touted have benefitted from government largesse.

Brian Kilmeade thinks sliced white bread is brilliant. If you took the number of times that Kilmeade has said “I don’t get it” on their morning show over the last ten years, you’d have at least an hour worth of what he considers deep insights. He is as bright as rape specialist Todd Akins.

In his op-ed, Romney stated that during his days at Bain Capital, he learned that “A good idea is not enough for a business to succeed. It requires a talented team, a good business plan and capital to execute it.” Romney then proceeded to list several companies that he invested in at Bain. But many of those companies have relied on government funds or special tax breaks as part of their business model:

Steel Dynamics. The Los Angeles Times reported that when Bain made its investments in Indiana-based Steel Dynamics, state and county officials “pledged $37 million in subsidies and grants for the $385-million plant project.” The Times also reported: “The county also levied a new income tax to finance infrastructure improvements to benefit the steel mill over the heated objections of some county residents.” Furthermore, Steel Dynamics had also successfully petitioned the federal government to levy tariffs on a foreign competitor in 2000.

Staples. Staples directly relies on government money for part of its revenue. Indeed, it has programs to woo state, local, and federal agencies to buy products from Staples. It even has a separate website dedicated to providing customer service to its federal government clients.

Bright Horizons. Bright Horizons has a number of federal contracts to run daycare centers around the country on behalf of federal agencies. It also runs daycare centers on behalf of Cook County, IL.

In a poll that came out late yesterday or this morning that gives President Obama the edge on likability. I can understand that. I disagree with him on some things, but there is little denying that he is a decent likeable guy. Yet potential voters give the guy with Swiss bank accounts and a career that entailed nothing but crony vulture capitalism the edge on economics. Romney knows how to game the system to make himself and a few investors very wealthy. Is he going to stripe down America, sell off part of it, than dump the country for a profit. That is what he knows how to do. In no way does that translate into governing a country. We a democratic republic, not a office supply company. Americans should be insulted and deeply concerned that he and his supporters see the USA as just another opportunity to offshore jobs, cut what they see as waste (seniors, low skilled labor, the working poor, the struggling middle-class, students unsure of whether their college loans will pay off, the disabled) and America as some inefficient machine that needs to be whipped into shape. of course conservatives – the same ones that hated him during the primaries – have drunk the kool-aid and they are probably the ones who lick up every lie Romney tells, Romney’s Lying Machine or how to run a morally corrupt campaign,

I’ve been struck by the baldness of Romney’s repetitive lies about Obama — that Obama ended the work requirement under welfare, for example, or that Obama’s Affordable Care Act cuts $716 billion from Medicare benefits.

The mainstream media along with a half-dozen independent fact-checking organizations and sites have called Romney on these whoppers, but to no avail. He keeps making these assertions.

Every campaign is guilty of exaggerations, embellishments, distortions, and half-truths. But this is another thing altogether. I’ve been directly involved in seven presidential campaigns, and I don’t recall a presidential candidate lying with such audacity, over and over again. Why does he do it, and how can he get away with it?

The obvious answer is such lies are effective. Polls show voters are starting to believe them, especially in swing states where they’re being repeated constantly in media spots financed by Romney’s super PAC or ancillary PACs and so-called “social welfare” organizations (political fronts disguised as charities, such as Karl Rove and the Koch brothers have set up).

Romney’s lying machine is extraordinarily well financed. By August, according to Jane Mayer in her recent New Yorker article, at least 33 billionaires had each donated a quarter of a million dollars or more to groups aiming to defeat Obama – with most of it flooding into attack ads in swing states.

I wonder if swing voters have pondered this situation and its irrationality. We have billionaires  – people with a thousand million dollars – complaining that the country is going to hell in hand basket. Of course they are humans and can suffer physical pain like everyone else, but other than that how are they suffering. They could have a few more million if Paul Ryan gets his way and gives them another tax cut. To buy what then, that they cannot buy now? What they seem to be aiming for is a plantation style USA. One where they have all the economic and political power. They’re like heroin addicts, only instead of drugs, they will never have enough money, and the power that goes with it. It is the opposite of Paul Ryan’s hero John Galt. In the real world the everyday American workers who are the producers become the servants of the real life Galts who never do any actual work. Corporate Profits Rebound But Household Income Falls In Wake Of Great Recession.

Corporate profits are at record levels, reaching an all-time high of 11 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product in July. But instead of re-investing that cash into jobs that will help the economy recover, corporations are sitting on cash — the members of the Standard and Poor’s 500 held $800 billion in cash in June 2011.

How can wackos like the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, Mitt Romney the 33 billionaires and all the conservative pundits look at information like that and conclude, yep Democrats are turning America into a Marxist wasteland.