Map of Florida and West Indies1796 – Romneyism and The Plutocratic Model For America

Map of Florida and West Indies – 1796

This map was created by English mariner Captain Joseph Smith Speer. Note that U.S. territory is in green and does not include Florida or any territory west of the Mississippi.

Thomas Jefferson Banner 1800

The banner is one of the earliest known and preserved partisan political images. It shows Jefferson’s victory over John Adams in the presidential election of 1800. Flowing out from the eagle is a streamer in its beak that proclaims, “T. Jefferson President of the United States of America / John Adams is no more.”

Robert Reich’s closing argument against Mitt Romney, Romneyism

The ten guiding principles of Romneyism are:

1. Corporations are the basic units of society. Corporations are people, and the overriding purpose of an economy is to maximize corporate profits. When profits are maximized, the economy grows fastest. This growth benefits everyone in the form greater output, better products and services, and higher share prices.

2. Workers are a means to the goal of maximizing corporate profits. If workers do not contribute to that goal, they should be fired. If they cannot then find other work that helps maximize profits in another company, their wages must be too high, and they must therefore accept steadily lower wages until they find a job.

3. All factors of production – capital, physical plant and equipment, workers – are fungible and should be treated the same. Any that fail to deliver high competitive returns should be replaced or discarded. This keeps an economy efficient. Fairness is and should be irrelevant.

4. Pollution, unsafe products, unsafe working conditions, financial fraud, and other negative side effects of the pursuit of profits are the price society pays for profit-driven growth. They should not be used as excuses to constrain the pursuit of profits through regulation.

5. Individual worth depends on net worth — how much money one has made, and the value of the assets that money has been invested in. Any person with enough intelligence and ambition can make a fortune. Failure to do so is sign of moral and intellectual inferiority.

6. People who fail in the economy should not be coddled. They should not receive food stamps, Medicaid, or any other form of social subsidy. Coddling leads to a weaker society and a weaker economy.

I’m not crazy about some of the phrasing, but the major points are still good ones. While political junkies have known this for some time, this election has been notable for Republicans shouting from the roof tops their plantation master view of American workers. Human beings are reduced in the Republican view as mere means to the most profitable ends. Other values are either placed well down on the list, or disregarded almost entirely. There used to be a bumper sticker that was fairly popular back in the 90s that said those who die with the most toys wins. Conservatives took that bumper sticker as some kind of holy writ.

Conservative bureaucrats in Ohio as the energizer bunnies of voting rights infringement, Ohio’s Provisional Ballot Order: The Biggest Legal Story of the Weekend

The motion also is important for what it says these days about Husted and the way he is running the state’s elections. Leaving aside the provisional ballot court fight for a moment, Saturday’s early voting period was hectic, largely because Husted and his fellow Republicans succeeded this cycle in reducing the number of early-voting weekends from five to one. Indeed, they tried to eliminate all such early voting, which traditionally helps wage earners who can’t vote during regular business hours on weekdays, but were rejected in this effort by the federal courts.

This story from the NYT – Petraeus’s Quieter Style at C.I.A. Leaves Void on Libya Furor, is part of the inspiration for this report, News Outlets Held Back Detail Of Benghazi Attack At CIA’s Request

U.S. intelligence officials, speaking on a not-for-attribution basis, provided reporters Thursday with the most detailed explanation yet of the CIA’s presence in Benghazi, Libya, and the agency’s response to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack, while also identifying the two former Navy SEALs killed that night as being employed by the CIA.

But some news organizations, including the Associated Press, The New York Times and The Washington Post, already knew that the two former SEALs — Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty — were working for the CIA and had agreed not to publish the information at the government’s request.

Reports  or rather spin from Fox News and conservative pundits has portrayed the SEALS as just some guys who bravely helped out when President Obama or the military did not respond fast enough. It is an important element of the narrative that these guys were there working for the CIA and responding to such emergencies was part of their job. They’re still heroes, but not the accidental heroes taking up some slack Fox has tried to turn them into.

Noble prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz: “Romney’s Plan is Based on Magic”

What’s at stake in this election for the U.S. economy?

Quite a lot. First, there’s what we call the macro-economy. The budget cuts that Romney/Ryan propose will certainly slow growth. If the European downturn continues that could tip us into a recession. The cuts certainly won’t provide the kind of stimulus that Obama’s jobs bill, for instance, pushes. Romney’s plan is based on magic: Just because he gets elected, the economy is supposed to take off. There is no evidence that anything like that would happen. Quite the contrary — I think the opposite would happen. The business community would see the cutbacks coming and that would itself cause a slowdown in the economy.

So that’s the macroeconomy. Secondly, the Romney/Ryan budget promises to spend more on the military while cutting taxes and cutting the deficit, and that means only one thing. If you look at the arithmetic, it means less investment in infrastructure, R&D, education … it just can’t add up any other way. And that means we’ll be growing more slowly in the future.

The irony is that these two things — lower growth now and lower growth in the future — means that our debt-to-GDP ratio won’t improve, it will get worse. So even if you were foolish enough to think that the debt-to-GDP ratio is the main determinant of future prosperity — which it’s not — the Romney agenda will fail.

And although I don’t like what’s called “presidential economics,” where you look solely at what happens under a particular presidential regime, the fact is that Romney has many of the same economic advisers that Bush did. Those economic advisers essentially doubled the debt in eight years. And that was in a period of relatively high growth. Why would we think that wouldn’t happen again? I don’t see any reason for that. Particularly when the global environment is more adverse.

While most Americans agree with Stiglitz, Romney and conservatives see making America into a plutocracy as a virtuous goal rather than the end of democracy and genuine competitive capitalism.

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Spruce Snow wallpaper – Yet Another Report Debunks Republican Tax Myths

Spruce Covered in Winter Snow wallpaper

 

One of conservatism’s most cherished myths is that the lower taxes are on the wealthy the more that trickles down to the middle-class and working poor. So any empirical data that shows Voodoo Economics Chapter 1, Verse 1, is false is offensive to the cult of conservatism. There will be no heresy on the subject. Republicans who have bathed in the waters of Trickle on America economics are not called heretics, though that is what they mean, they call them statists or socialists, or Glenn Beck calls them progressives as he hisses. So no wonder that Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his senate Politburo tried to censor a report showing that Trickle on America tax policy just made the rich richer. Nonpartisan Tax Report Withdrawn After G.O.P. Protest

The Congressional Research Service has withdrawn an economic report that found no correlation between top tax rates and economic growth, a central tenet of conservative economic theory, after Senate Republicans raised concerns about the paper’s findings and wording. ( link is a pdf of report. It may not last long)

The decision, made in late September against the advice of the agency’s economic team leadership, drew almost no notice at the time. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, cited the study a week and a half after it was withdrawn in a speech on tax policy at the National Press Club.

But it could actually draw new attention to the report, which questions the premise that lowering the top marginal tax rate stimulates economic growth and job creation.

“This has hues of a banana republic,” Mr. Schumer said. “They didn’t like a report, and instead of rebutting it, they had them take it down.”

Republicans did not say whether they had asked the research service, a nonpartisan arm of the Library of Congress, to take the report out of circulation, but they were clear that they protested its tone and findings.

Mad Dog McConnell, after throwing a temper tantrum has claimed the CRS withdrew the report all on its own. Which is like the sidewalk madman that screams in your face and your walking to the other side of the street was strictly a voluntary act on your part. Why The GOP Muzzled The Library of Congress’s Research Agency

The withdrawal is, nonetheless, outrageous. McConnell spokesman Don Stewart told the Times that the CRS report wasn’t just criticized by Republican senators; it was also criticized by what the Times (in a paraphrase) calls “people outside of Congress.” I wish the Times had taken the opportunity to say who these “people outside of Congress” are. You can probably guess. There’s the conservative Heritage Foundation. And there’s the Tax Foundation, a conservative nonprofit (not to be confused with the Tax Policy Center, which is non-ideological and nonpartisan but has nonetheless been vilified by the right for pointing out that Mitt Romney’s proposed tax cut benefited the rich at the expense of the middle class). The author of the CRS study, Thomas Hungerford, has written many excellent studies on themes directly or indirectly related to income distribution, and that’s made him a conservative target for some time. This past April, Kevin Hassett of the conservative American Enterprise Institute (a prominent income-inequality denialist and Romney adviser doomed never to live down his co-authorship, shortly before the dot-com bust, of a book titled Dow 36,000) testified before Congress’s  Joint Economic Committee that a different Hungerford report was “radically at odds with the literature. I relish academic debate, and think that authors serve a valuable service when they challenge research. But a CRS report that is supposed to inform about the consensus of the literature that veers so far from that activity is a disservice to Congress, and the taxpayers.” When Hassett cites “the literature” he means “the literature acceptable to AEI hacks and their Republican allies in Congress,” or what Jacob Weisberg has felicitously labelled “the Conintern.”

What’s the matter with the CRS report? Well, it calls the Bush tax cuts “the Bush tax cuts,” which is somehow deemed partisan but in fact is merely explanatory. The Bush tax cuts were tax cuts passed when George W. Bush was president. Bush proposed them, pushed them through Congress, and signed them into law. Even Republicans call the Bush tax cuts “the Bush tax cuts.” The CRS report also stands accused of making reference to “tax cuts for the rich.” This is unacceptably hurtful, I suppose, to a group that any sensitive person would know to call the “special-incomed.” As it happens, though, my PDF search of the CRS report reveals that nowhere does the phrase “tax cuts for the rich” appear. The word “rich” does appear here and there, but always in a neutral context, such as, “Under both definitions of the top of the income distribution (i.e., the rich) the income shares were relatively stable until the late 1970s and then started to rise.”

As Timothy Noah notes there is really no shocking news in the report. It is simply another report in a long history of reports that show the top tax rates for the top 1% have steadily declined over the past five decades – under Democrats and conservatives. Despite those ever lower tax rates, there has been no real benefit to the country in terms of improved or better maintained infrastructure, better education, lower post secondary education costs, a bigger space program, or more investment in technology or scientific research – or narrowing the wage inequality gap. In all these areas of public policy, thus national progress, we have fallen behind. Conservatives decided in 2008 that they really really cared about the deficit. If that were true they would have paid for their spending from 2000 to 2008. Currently they would tap into new revenue streams – like having a minimum tax for millionaires and rising the capital gains tax to 30%. Instead they use some math that would shame a 6th grader, propose gutting Medicare and rising the age for Social Security again ( even though the only people living appreciably longer are the wealthy, not the working class Americans who really need those programs they have invested in over the course of their working life). Sites like World Nut Daily and of course Fox News display big headlines about the billions spent on Medicare. Just the sticker shock is supposed to scare people. What should scare people is America’s seniors and disabled living off baloney and Romain noodles, not being able to afford their meds.

Romney’s Tax Secrecy: Did He Get Away With It? The short answer is yes because most of the media gets tried of a story and likes to move on.

3. Did Romney really get away with something? On one level, the answer clearly seems to be yes: Romney has managed to get through an entire campaign for president without having to give up the basic information his predecessors did, information that could have been seriously damaging to his prospects, and now finds himself a lucky break or two from the White House. But the strategists are quick to argue that this elusiveness came at a cost. Romney’s secretiveness about his taxes, they say, was a major element of the unflattering frame the Obama campaign managed to construct around him for most of the campaign, of a self-interested plutocrat who was not to be trusted. “He paid a price,” Jordan said. “When these issues were front and center, as he was becoming known to the American public, this oddness, this secrecy, this penchant did help to shape his image in significant ways….The image of him as being secretive and behaving in sort of unprecedentedly plutocratic ways has sunk in.” Again, Devine agrees. “He’s gotten away with it, but it’s hurt him,” he said. He noted that Obama’s stubborn polling lead in Ohio is almost surely due in part to effective attacks over on the summer on Bain Capital and the few things that have emerged about Romney’s taxes, including his accounts in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland, which were so memorably targeted in this ad. “In terms of getting away with it,” concludes Devine,“it’s only something can get away with if…you’ve won the election.”

Let’s envision this imaginary Democratic candidate: he dodged the draft ( well, got deferments for some thin reasons), used leveraged buyouts to cut American jobs and outsource them, used government tax breaks and loans to make himself wealthy, told everyone he was a self-made entrepreneur, kept money in multiple offshore banks, used some very creative accounting to have an IRA account worth over million, set up his own charity to which he donated and took the tax deductions, told 533 documented lies in 30 days. That Democrat would have been bulldozed and buried by the conservative media a year ago. His decaying corpse would be getting nada in the polls. Yet, here we have a Republican with just that record and he is at least competitive. Romentum seems to be largely a construct of the Romney campaign, echoed by the right-wing noise machine. He is actually trying to buy the election in Pennsylvania with a media blitz. Ditto for Ohio. He has lost ground in Virginia and Florida. The noise machines’ answer to all of this is to try to tie President Obama to some kind of negligence in regards the terrorist attacks in Libya. The picture is messy, but the evidence suggests that is probably largely due to the CIA letting out new information in bits and pieces, C.I.A. Played Major Role Fighting Militants in Libya Attack

Security officers from the C.I.A. played a pivotal role in combating militants who attacked the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, deploying a rescue party from a secret base in the city, sending reinforcements from Tripoli, and organizing an armed Libyan military convoy to escort the surviving Americans to hastily chartered planes that whisked them out of the country, senior intelligence officials said Thursday.

The account given by the senior officials, who did not want to be identified, provided the most detailed description to date of the C.I.A.’s role in Benghazi, a covert presence that appears to have been much more significant than publicly disclosed.

Within 25 minutes of being alerted to the attack against the diplomatic mission, half a dozen C.I.A. officers raced there from their base about a mile away, enlisting the help of a handful of Libyan militia fighters as they went. Arriving at the mission about 25 minutes after that, the C.I.A. officers joined State Department security agents in a futile search through heavy smoke and enemy fire for Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens before evacuating the mission’s personnel to the apparent safety of their base, which American officials have called an annex to the mission. Mr. Stevens was one of four Americans killed in the attack.

The entire episode was over in no more than eight hours. The deaths seemed to have taken place within the first hour- the first wave of the attack. So conservatives who want to drop all of this in Obama’s lap have two expectations of the readers they want to buy into their account: that Obama is Superman and did not use his super powers to squash the attack immediately or he is an incompetent commander-in-chief. This is from the same people who thought that George W. Bush was a great leader when he landed on an aircraft carrier and declared ‘mission accomplished’ after which over 4000 Americans died in a needless war. It is not that conservative propagandists are wrong about Libya – and pumping it into a scandal (Hidden Tapes & Secret Emails: Right Wing Now Throwing Kitchen Sink At Obama On Benghazi, Libya) directly connected to the White House, it is about the credibility of conservative pundits and pols who have a cowardly brazen record of shoving disinformation down America’s throat. Four Star General debunks claims of Obama lies and dereliction in Benghazi-gate

The Benghazi arm chair generals on Fox News like Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly cannot be too happy today with the comments made by retired Four-Star General Jack Keane yesterday regarding “Benghazi-gate” and the laying of blame on President Obama. Being interviewed by Geraldo Rivera of Fox News, General Jack Keane basically debunked the theory that more could have been done to conduct a timely rescue mission at the U.S. consulate in Libya or that the President somehow screwed up or was incompetent. Here are some of the General’s direct quotes:

“The consulate was stormed”.
“There was no gunships in the region”.
“There was nothing that could have prevented it”.
“It was over in about an hour”.
“Forces got there as soon as possible”.
“To politicize this is very hurtful”.

General Keane is already catching a lot of flack and criticism from those on the right and the Romney supporters for his comments. Even for the Obama-haters it is disrespectful and despicable to call an experienced Four Star General a liar who is covering for the White House and the Commander in Chief a liar and a coward. It’s rather ironic for those who would politicize this tragedy to call the President a coward, when it was Mitt Romney who was the draft dodger – ahem! a draft deferment- while his peers were getting shot and killed in Vietnam.

There does seem to be some push back between the Sate Department and the CIA. I’ve ready some theories about this and let’s just say they’re armchair theories for now. Most of us know how Washington works. If you’re completely honest you’ll get buried. If you let out more than one version of a story, varying just a word or two, you’ll be nailed for the biggest cover-up since Watergate. I would like The Daily Beast to survive as a media outlet, but they’re doomed if they think this piece by Eli Lake ( who used to work for the conservative rag The Washington Times) is news, Two U.S. officials tell Eli Lake the State Dept. never requested military backup the night of the attack.

The only security backup that did arrive that evening were former special-operations soldiers under the command of the CIA—one from the nearby annex and another Quick Reaction Force from Tripoli. On Friday, Fox News reported that requests from CIA officers for air support on the evening of the attacks were rejected. (The Daily Beast was not able to confirm that those requests were made, though no U.S. official contacted for this story directly refuted the claim either.)

Lake resorts to the theory or pure conjecture that military assistance would have stopped the last part of the attack – which was the mortar attack that killed a SEAL  ( who might have been there working for the CIA). That sounds like a discussion you could have over beers at the kitchen table and everyone puts in their two cents worth. We’re all entitled to our little theories and what if’s. that is not the same thing as fact based reporting. Think back to the initial breaking of the story. In that flurry of media reports we were all told there was no military response. We were likely told that because the CIA did not want anyone to know they were there. That leaves gaps for the Republican keyboard commandos to drive a truck through.

Sailing Ships Armada wallpaper – Republican is Just a Synonym For Shameless

Sailing Ships Armada wallpaper

 

I had to do some stuff today that I have been putting off for a while so I don’t have time for a regular post.

A must read story by  Jonathan Cohn, A Desperate, Deceptive Gambit for Romney in Ohio

How desperate is Mitt Romney to win Ohio? Before you answer, pay attention to what he and his campaign have been saying about the auto industry in the last few days.

As you may have heard, Romney on Thursday scared the bejeezus out of Ohio autoworkers when, during a rally, he cited a story claiming that Chrysler was moving Jeep production to China. Thousands of people work at a sprawling Jeep complex in Toledo and a nearby machining plant. Many thousands more work for suppliers or have jobs otherwise dependent on the Jeep factories. It’s fair to say that they owe their jobs to President Obama, who in 2009 rescued Chrysler and General Motors from likely liquidation. If Chrysler moved the plants overseas, most of those people would be out of work.

The story turns out to be wrong. As Chrysler made clear the very next day, in a tartly worded blog post on the company website, officials have discussed opening plants in China in order to meet rising demand for vehicles there. They have no plans to downsize or shutter plants in the U.S. On the contrary, Fiat, the Italian company that acquired Chrysler during the rescue, just spent $1.7 billion to expand Jeep production in the U.S.

Romney’s campaign has struck back, basically claiming yea but Mitt was telling the truth if you look at the story through the the same candy colored kaleidoscope that Mitty used.

Romney on disaster relief: ‘We can’t afford to do those things’

And what would a President Romney be doing in such a situation? If you take him at his word, he would prefer to be doing little or nothing.

Back during the Republican primary season, in the wake of devastating tornadoes that hit Louisiana, Missouri and Tennessee, Mitt Romney strongly endorsed the idea of ending federal disaster-relief programs and devolving that job to the states. As I pointed out in a blogpost at the time, that’s a dangerous proposal, because a state that has just been hit hard by a major natural disaster simply does not have the financial resources necessary to respond on the necessary scale.

You have to go out and tackle life on your own just like Mitt, with financial help from dad and friends, and government subsidies. Treat companies like fruit to be squeezed and employees like so much extra baggage. Mitt’s vision of himself and America. In other words there is nothing there that a patriot would recognize as true American values.

Linda McMahon (CT), Republican Senate Candidate’s Company Collected Millions In State Subsidies While Laying Off Workers. Do Republicans own mirrors? Do they ever have the courage to take an honest look at themselves. Do they know what humility is?

 

From Meteor Blades, If you think Mitt Romney’s lies and secrets are bad now, just wait. Republicans should get up every morning and be thankful that the most arrogant mendacity is not a capital crime or death row would be full.

There is a psychological phenomenon known as the bandwagon effect. Conservatives are well aware of it, thus the flood of stories from the right-wing noise machine about how well Mitt is doing. Nate Silver singlehandedly dismantling the myth of Mitt-mentum

Romney Sincerely Feels His Presidency Would Be Just Like Obama’s, Except It Would Taste Great and Be Less Filling

High Speed Train II  wallpaper

 

Mitt’s entire debate strategy: What he just said, but from a white guy
— Bill Maher (@billmaher)

Essentially, Romney would do no different but thinks the President’s doing a terrible job. #debate — Joshua Lyman (@joshualyman)

That awkward moment when both presidential candidates realize they don’t disagree on foreign policy enough to debate it. — Aaron Levie (@levie)

Is it sad or a welcome relief amid all the hateful and distorted rhetoric that the comedians had the best take on the last of the presidential debates. With just about every question it was Romney saying yea I agree, but I would put more icing on the cupcakes. Yea, President Obama is doing a good job, but I could outsource our national security to China and get everything done cheaper. These are some of the things Romney, not a comedian actually said,

Romney: We have in — in Egypt, a Muslim Brotherhood president. And so what we’re seeing is a pretty dramatic reversal in the kind of hopes we had for that region. Of course the greatest threat of all is Iran, four years closer to a nuclear weapon. And — and we’re going to have to recognize that we have to do as the president has done. I congratulate him on — on taking out Osama bin Laden and going after the leadership in al-Qaeda.

But we can’t kill our way out of this mess. We’re going to have to put in place a very comprehensive and robust strategy to help the — the world of Islam and other parts of the world, reject this radical violent extremism, which is — it’s certainly not on the run.

Up until a year ago that not quite robust enough effort was partly led  by some Republican holdovers from the Bush-era, including SecDef Gates. Funny how better executive leadership from Obama, instead of the inept micromanaging of the George Stooge and Dick Stooge made all the difference. Romney wants to bring back the same brain-trust that brought us the Iraq quagmire. “But we can’t kill our way out of this mess” ” sounds like something Senator Obama said to John McCain in 2008. The Muslim brotherhood in Egypt? The Brotherhood is not a monolithic organization – it has some extremists and some moderates. As Donald Rumsfeld once said democracy is messy and when you let a people who had been ruled for years by an authoritarian military, it is going to vote for some people who might have some extreme views. So welcome to Donny Rumsfeld world. Conservatives, and Romney seems to have a particular talent it, like to switch positions depending on shifts in the wind, and then hope that no one in the media acts like a real journalists and calls them out on it. During the Bush administration the Right was constantly blabbing on about how Bush and neoconservatism was spreading democracy and planting the seeds of democracy. The reality based community pointed out that on the contrary the Bush administration was supporting authoritarian regimes that would not allow democratic elections. The very reason was that is was to conservatives, and some Democrats as well, better the authoritarians you know than those you don’t. Well the tides of change went and shifted despite seeds being spread and all. Now that some nascent democracies have started they are going to have some growing pains. Unless Romney and company plans on putting boots on the ground and shoving his idea of democracy down millions of people’s throats, he’ll have to face the same frustrations any president has to face when trying to control events in other countries. At the end of the day President Obama has done a great job. That some of the people we have helped cannot – for now  – get their act together faster is not his fault as much as the conservative blame shifters would like it to be. As I remember there was once a new struggling democracy that took a hundred years to free the slaves, a few more years than that to recognize women as full citizens who should have the right to vote and  used Jim Crow laws to have a de facto separate nation based on race up until 1964 – now what was the name of that country?

ROMNEY: Well, my strategy is pretty straightforward, which is to go after the bad guys, to make sure we do our very best to interrupt them, to — to kill them, to take them out of the picture.

But my strategy is broader than that. That’s — that’s important, of course. But the key that we’re going to have to pursue is a –– is a pathway to get the Muslim world to be able to reject extremism on its own.

In future videos demonstrating what it is like to swim in gelatin, they’re be playing that clip. Romney has to some degree been able to outrun his idiocy until this debate. He has been running on economic lies and empty feel good slogans – all the hollow crap that has made much of the American public so cynical about politics. Suddenly in the middle of a presidential debate he decides to recite to the public the rough draft of the children’s book he is writing for the United Nations. Jerry Jihadist was walking  home from school one day and saw the outline of a man bathed in luminous golden light – The Mittens – and on that day he and his fellow radicals decided that having seen the vision of The One, The Mittens, they would all start a new life as leveraged buyout specialists, export their neighbor’s jobs to China and live happily ever after. This is Romney doing his 2008 impression of Senator Obama,

We don’t want another Iraq, we don’t want another Afghanistan. That’s not the right course for us. The right course for us is to make sure that we go after the — the people who are leaders of these various anti-American groups and these — these jihadists, but also help the Muslim world.

And how do we do that? A group of Arab scholars came together, organized by the U.N., to look at how we can help the — the world reject these — these terrorists. And the answer they came up with was this:

One, more economic development. We should key our foreign aid, our direct foreign investment, and that of our friends, we should coordinate it to make sure that we — we push back and give them more economic development.

Number two, better education.

Number three, gender equality.

So Romney is going to let the sovereign USA be guided in its national security policy by the UN. Why haven’t I seen a single crazed conservative blogger (CCB) start with some paranoid delusions about Romney promoting one world government, answering terrorism with intellectual flower power and showing weakness to our enemies. Romney lost the debate. That is clear enough. Romney has also managed to twist multiple versions of Mitt into so many knots that the maze of his opinions has turned Romney’s brain into an out of control bumper car ride.

ROMNEY: No. I believe, as the president indicated, and said at the time that I supported his — his action there. I felt that — I wish we’d have had a better vision of the future.

In other words if a white conservative had done exactly the same thing we could call it a VISION. That would make it wholesome and good. So vote for Mitt so we can continue the white conservative version of Obama’s policies.

But for us to be able to promote those principles of peace requires us to be strong. And that begins with a strong economy here at home. Unfortunately, the economy is not stronger. When the — when the president of Iraq — excuse me, of Iran, Ahmadinejad, says that our debt makes us not a great country, that’s a frightening thing.

Vote for Romney because it will make America into a country that Ahmadinejad will like. Why is Mitt apologizing for the USA. Why do conservatives always care so much about what radical Shiite Muslims think. When will Mitt end his constant apologies for America.

One consistent tactic Romney used in every debate was to drag out at least one, frequently more, of the kind of freaky urban myths that is perpetuated by wacky conservative bloggers, Matt Drudge and Glenn Beck. The one that he used last night was the so-called Obama apology tour. Back during the Republican primaries I admit that I gave Romney some credit for not drinking all the kool-aid. As far as wingnuttery goes, the only candidate that outclassed Romney in that regard was John Huntsman. I thought, well maybe, just maybe Romney would be above repeating this cheap trash talk. Nope last night was Romney’s final nail in any doubt that remained, Mitt Romney is a sleazy morally corrupt dipstick just like any other Republican pol.

On the facts. On acting like a gentleman, Obama won the first debate. Since we live in a political climate that rewards flash over substance, the powers that be, including some contrarian liberals gave the win to Romney. Like a good tactician Obama adjusted. He was forceful enough to make Romney overplay the plastic commando act, Obama as Commander-in-Chief, Romney as Banal Bully

I thought the third and last presidential debate was a clear win for the President. He displayed the authority of the nation’s Commander-in-Chief – calm, dignified, and confident. He was assertive without being shrill, clear without being condescending. He explained to a clueless Mitt Romney the way the world actually works.

Romney seemed out of his depth. His arguments were more a series of bromides than positions – “we have to make sure arms don’t get into the wrong hands,” “we want a peaceful planet,” “we need to stand by our principles,” “we need strong allies,” “we need a comprehensive strategy to move the world away from terrorism,” and other banalities.

This has been Romney’s problem all along, of course, but in the first debate he managed to disguise his vacuousness with a surprisingly combative, well-rehearsed performance. By the second debate, the disguise was wearing thin.

In tonight’s debate, Romney seemed to wither — and wander. He often had difficulty distinguishing his approach from the President’s…

Among other things one could chalk the conservative movement up to simple bad melodrama. Though considering their policies actually become injected into real life, with generally disastrous real world consequences, the real believers like Romney always end up champions of banality. It seems that anyone not wearing a tin foil helmet saw much of the same thing, Elitist Airhead For President, Vote Romney

Mitt Romney has nothing really coherent or substantive to say about domestic policy, but at least he can sound energetic and confident about it. On foreign policy, the subject of Monday night’s final presidential debate, he had little coherent to say and often sounded completely lost. That’s because he has no original ideas of substance on most world issues, including Syria, Iran and Afghanistan.

During the debate, on issue after issue, Mr. Romney sounded as if he had read the boldfaced headings in a briefing book — or a freshman global history textbook — and had not gone much further than that. Twice during the first half-hour, he mentioned that Al Qaeda-affiliated groups were active in northern Mali. Was that in the morning’s briefing book?

At other times, he announced that he had a “strategy” for the Middle East, particularly Iran and Syria, and really for the whole world, but gave no clue what it would be — much like his claim that he has a plan to create 12 million jobs and balance the budget while also cutting taxes, but will not say what it is. At his worst, Mr. Romney sounded like a beauty pageant contestant groping for an answer to the final question. “We want a peaceful planet,” he said. “We want people to be able to enjoy their lives and know they’re going to have a bright and prosperous future and not be at war.”

Romney is by most accounts pretty good with a spreadsheet and understanding the dense language of business transactions. Like many conservatives he ha a skill set. One skill set. Unlike most people who understand that being good at one particular skill – buying companies, gutting them and sending jobs to Asia – that does not translate into governing skills. When Mittens left the governorship of Massachusetts he had a 38% approval rating. Looking back over these three debates it is easy to see why.

Why The Charge That Obama Is ‘Anti-Business’ Is Ridiculous, In Three Charts

Republicans, during the current campaign, have continuously labeled the Obama administration as “anti-business.” “The president and his people just don’t understand how the private sector works,” said Mitt Romney. “Too often, you find yourself facing a government that looks at you like you’re the bad guys.” “This is certainly the most anti-business administration since the Carter years,” added Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “I think he borders on being hostile to the private sector,” said former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR).

First, as the New York Times noted, since Obama came into office, “the Dow Jones industrial average has gained 67.9 percent. That’s an extremely strong performance — the fifth best for an equivalent period among all American presidents since 1900?:
Next, the S&P 500, measuring the 500 largest publicly traded companies, is up 80 percent
Finally, corporate profits have soared back beyond their pre-recession heights:
Corporations made a record $824 billion last year. The Obama administration has also cut taxes for small businesses several times, and, of course, presided over a rescue of the auto industry that was almost universally opposed by Republicans. If this is anti-business, it seems that the business world could use more of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

North Carolina Autumn wallpaper – The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one’s country deep enough to call her to a higher plain

North Carolina Autumn wallpaper

 

U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks

The United States and Iran have agreed in principle for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, according to Obama administration officials, setting the stage for what could be a last-ditch diplomatic effort to avert a military strike on Iran.

Iranian officials have insisted that the talks wait until after the presidential election, a senior administration official said, telling their American counterparts that they want to know with whom they would be negotiating.

News of the agreement — a result of intense, secret exchanges between American and Iranian officials that date almost to the beginning of President Obama’s term — comes at a critical moment in the presidential contest, just two weeks before Election Day and the weekend before the final debate, which is to focus on national security and foreign policy.

It has the potential to help Mr. Obama make the case that he is nearing a diplomatic breakthrough in the decade-long effort by the world’s major powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, but it could pose a risk if Iran is seen as using the prospect of the direct talks to buy time.

It is also far from clear that Mr. Obama’s opponent, Mitt Romney, would go through with the negotiation should he win election. Mr. Romney has repeatedly criticized the president as showing weakness on Iran and failing to stand firmly with Israel against the Iranian nuclear threat.

This is bad news for Romney and the radical Right. The Iranians were supposedly intractable and would never agree to any sincere and constructive talks. So they’re wrong again. This not particularly news as talks with Iran have been going on through back diplomatic channels for years so it is the culmination of the Obama administrations stick and carrot approach.’ We don’t even have to dust off the old crystal ball to predict some of the conservative punditsphere’s reaction and spin: If the Obama White House even agrees to talks, that is a sign of weakness, the Iranians should simply cave into all demands before talks even begin, who cares about helping Iranian leaders save face before talks. As one commenter here notes, and some at the NYT article, negotiating is for the weak. A strong and exceptionalist nation – which in conservospeak means bomb first, negotiate later – doesn’t talk, they demand. The general fear among left of center blogs about Romney, considering that his foreign policy team includes Crazy John Bolton and some of the same neocons that guided Bush-era foreign policy is that Romney will start a war with Iran. I think it was a pundit at the New York Magazine (I’m not sure and cannot find the link) that argued that Obama was more likely to go with some kind of bombing or strategic missile strike if Iran did not open up its nuclear energy development for international monitoring. The reasoning goes that America is still feeling burned by the Iraq fiasco. Soldiers and their families are still suffering the consequences with the full range of issues from integrating back into civilian work life to PTSD and physical disabilities. Those families, many of whom lean conservative would absolutely turn on a Romney administration starting another counter productive war. Romney’s poll ratings would drop like lead at any attempts to start a war. The conservatives who hang out at and are mentally submerged in the all war all the time mentality of sites like The Free Republic, Breitbart and Hot Air greatly overestimate the actual troop’s desire to get bogged down in yet another mid-east debacle. American do not want Iran to have nuclear weapons, but they do not want another ground war in the Middle-East, New poll: Majority of Americans oppose military strike on Iran. If it should come down to Israel coming under attack, that changes things, with the majority of Americans supporting intervening to defend Israel. Which is what Obama has pledged he would do. This last bit is how the Right is framing the issue. Everyone with an ounce of common sense knows that an Iranian attack on Israel would be the same as Iran committing national suicide. Conservatives want to appear like the tough guys with the never-ending saber-rattling, but they just end up looking like insecure weenies in light of the overwhelming American superiority in our ability to launch missile and air strikes.

Just a reminder of the last time Republicans broke bad on someone:  Iraq: the rationale for, cost of, and occupation plans following America’s conquest (DOS, DOD, CIA, FBI)

Insufficient terrorism preparedness and prevention, domestic and international, before and after 9/11 (CIA, FBI, DOD, etc.);

Halliburton’s Corruption. In 2004, Pentagon auditors found that Halliburton had not adequately accounted for $1.8 billion of the bill it sent to the United States government for its work in Iraq and Kuwait.

Iraq’s spiral into a near genocidal sectarian war

Abu-Gate is the term occasionally found identifying the allegations of acts of brutality, abuse, and torture at Abu Ghraib Enemy Prisoner of War camp in Iraq.

The Treasonous “Outing” of Valeria Plame. After former Ambassador Joseph Wilson exposed Bush’s Niger uranium claim as a lie, two Bush administration officials sought revenge by exposing his wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA agent, thus endangering her life and the lives of her network of informants, and committing a most serious crime.

Politically Manipulating Intelligence. America’s $30 billion intelligence agencies are supposed to give strictly accurate information to the President. But when the intelligence agencies could not find evidence of Iraqi WMD’s, Vice President Dick Cheney made several unprecedented visits to the CIA to intimidate intelligence officials into writing deliberately misleading reports.

When testifying before Congress in 2007, L. Paul Bremer, the former head of reconstruction in Iraq, was unable to account for as much as $12 billion—about half of his budget—as the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority between May 2003 and June 2004. According to a report by Rep. Henry Waxman, contractors brought bags to meetings in order to collect shrink-wrapped bundles of money.

Most Americans live in the reality based community. When we screw up or trust people who screw up badly, we learn from the experience. Not so with the average conservative politician. This time when they bang their head into that wall there is going to be a different result. Romney Enlists General Behind Iraq Debacle as Key Military Adviser – General Tommy Franks, USA (Ret.)

Deliberately concealed [4] from the American public how in 2001, at Bush White House’s request, he was planning an Iraq invasion—while we were still trying to topple the Taliban and find  bin Laden in Afghanistan.

Lost track of bin Laden at Tora Bora in late 2001 [5], then claimed he hadn’t [6], then was proven wrong [7].

Perpetuated [8] the bogus “weapons of mass destruction” myth about Iraq.

Ignored warnings from his CENTCOM predecessor [9] that Iraq wouldn’t be a walk in the park, and disregarded an earlier series of US war games [9], titled Desert Crossing, that predicted many of the difficulties of an Iraq occupation.

Completely failed to plan for any post-conflict cleanup [10] after the predicted fall of Saddam Hussein. “You pay attention to the day after,” he reportedly told the administration [11], “I’ll pay attention to the day of.” Here are the briefing slides [12] he showed administration officials in which he described “post-hostilities” operations in Iraq as “unknown,” and here’s where he estimated [13] we’d have a mop-up force of about 5,000 US troops in Iraq by 2006. (Actual US forces in Iraq throughout that year averaged about 141,000 [14].)

Authored one of the most nakedly self-serving, embarrassingly written military memoirs [15] of all time. (“Rumsfeld fixed me in his thoughtful blue gaze.”)

In case anyone has not heard of the phenomenon – Franks is a great example of the Peter Principle – “the effect could be stated as: employees tend to be given more authority until they cannot continue to work competently.” Franks would have been a competent colonel – someone who is good at following instructions. He sucked at strategy and adjusting tactics. Which is kinda the whole point of being a competent general.

 

Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) Benghazi document dump exposes several Libyans working with the U.S.

But Issa didn’t bother to redact the names of Libyan civilians and local leaders mentioned in the cables, and just as with the WikiLeaks dump of State Department cables last year, the administration says that Issa has done damage to U.S. efforts to work with those Libyans and exposed them to physical danger from the very groups that had an interest in attacking the U.S. consulate.

“Much like WikiLeaks, when you dump a bunch of documents into the ether, there are a lot of unintended consequences,” an administration official told The Cable Friday afternoon. “This does damage to the individuals because they are named, danger to security cooperation because these are militias and groups that we work with and that is now well known, and danger to the investigation, because these people could help us down the road.”

One of the cables released by Issa names a woman human rights activist who was leading a campaign against violence and was detained in Benghazi. She expressed fear for her safety to U.S. officials and criticized the Libyan government.

“This woman is trying to raise an anti-violence campaign on her own and came to the United States for help. She isn’t publicly associated with the U.S. in any other way but she’s now named in this cable. It’s a danger to her life,” the administration official said.

Do conservatives watch a lot of Three Stooges movies growing up and consider them instruction videos. An Issa staff stooge has since claimed that hey just because the documents were marked sensitive does not mean we should not let the world know what they said. Imagine for a moment the little gears turning inside Issa’s pointed head: go for some gotcha points against the Obama administration or look out for America’s best interests. The George W. Bush gear screamed release the sensitive documents as soon as possible, damn the consequences.

So long to the great statesman and WW II hero George McGovern, George McGovern: He deserved better
In 1972 the populist war hero was destroyed by Richard Nixon’s dirty tricks and Democrats’ self-destructive fear

The son of a Methodist minister, McGovern grew up in Depression-era Mitchell, South Dakota and never forgot the raw Dustbowl desperation he witnessed there. He volunteered for the Air Force at the start of World War II and won the Distinguished Flying Cross; just as influential in his career was the hunger he saw in Italy as the war came to a close, which led to his lifelong work on hunger relief. He returned home and went to divinity school on the G.I. Bill but switched to history, doing his doctoral dissertation on the 1913 Colorado coal strike, which shaped his lifelong advocacy for labor. He supported Henry Wallace’s Progressive Party presidential bid in 1948, but moved away due to the predominance of what he derided as “fanatics,” Communists and extremists.

Elected to the House of Representatives in 1956 (despite being red-baited for his Wallace association, a sign of things to come), he ran for Senate in 1960, campaigning alongside John F. Kennedy. Kennedy later lamented that he probably cost McGovern his election, given that the Massachusetts Catholic was associated with a toxic East Coast liberalism unpopular in South Dakota. He was right; McGovern lost, but Kennedy made him the first director of his Food for Peace program (he would be President Clinton’s Ambassador to United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture through both Clinton terms.) McGovern won the senate seat in 1962.

 

“The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one’s country deep enough to call her to a higher plain.” – George McGovern

Happy Birthday John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie (October 21, 1917 – January 6, 1993)

Bowling wallpaper – Shameless Republicans and Whining Greedy Billionaires

Bowling wallpaper

 

This editorial from the NYT pretty much sums up Republican behavior in general and especially this election cycle, No Shame

There are many unanswered questions about the vicious assault in Benghazi last month that killed four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. And Congress has a responsibility to raise them. But Republican lawmakers leading the charge on Capitol Hill seem more interested in attacking President Obama than in formulating an effective response.

It doesn’t take a partisan to draw that conclusion. The ugly truth is that the same people who are accusing the administration of not providing sufficient security for the American consulate in Benghazi have voted to cut the State Department budget, which includes financing for diplomatic security. The most self-righteous critics don’t seem to get the hypocrisy, or maybe they do and figure that if they hurl enough doubts and complaints at the administration, they will deflect attention from their own poor judgments on the State Department’s needs.

At a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform last Wednesday, Representative Darrell Issa, Republican of California and the committee’s chairman, talked of “examining security failures that led to the Benghazi tragedy.” He said lawmakers had an obligation to protect federal workers overseas. On Sunday, he said more should be spent on diplomatic security.
But as part of the Republican majority that has controlled the House the last two years, Mr. Issa joined in cutting nearly a half-billion dollars from the State Department’s two main security accounts.

Imagine if after 9-11 Democrats had called for Bush’s impeachment – as conservatives are doing now for the alleged security failures at the White House. Instead the nation, including the vast majority of Democrats put aside ideological differences to support Bush. Though a few months after the 9-11 attacks, many Democrats, the families of the 9-11 victims and a hand full of Republicans asked for a commission to look into the structural security issues that may have failed in the lead up to 9-11. The Sept 11 attacks occurred in 2001. When did we finally get a commission – after much lobbying and subsequent bad press for Bush and conservatives? Nov. 27, 2002. Bush and Cheney had to be threatened with subpoenas and after Mr. 4th Branch Dick Cheney said they had no constitutional obligation to testify, they finally decided they would testify, but only behind closed doors and not under oath. Top Romney Surrogate Says Romney ‘Should Be Exploiting’ Libya Incident For Political Gain

Top Mitt Romney surrogate Rudy Giuliani admitted that the GOP is accusing President Obama of covering up the violence that led to the death of an American ambassador in Libya for political gain.

During an appearance on CNN’s Starting Point on Monday, the former New York City mayor argued that the administration is purposely delaying investigations into the incident until after the election to “cover up” its own failures. But asked to substantiate the claim, Giuliani became agitated. He announced that he did not have to give Obama the benefit of the doubt or withhold judgment about the incident until a full investigation is complete because the president is a Democrat…

….Republicans have a long history of politicizing acts of terrorism for political advantage: from using the 9/11 terrorist attacks to push the country into a war in Iraq, to portraying Democrats as terrorist sympathizers to score political victories in 2002 and 2004. Giuliani himself ran his presidential campaign on a “noun, verb and 9/11” and Romney’s first political instinct upon learning of violence in Libya was to accuse President Obama of apologizing for terrorism

If and when all else fails the Republican political tool box is full of unsubstantiated claims and attrition errors. The sheer volume and repetition of the accusations magically makes them true. It’s like a middle school brat who just keeps saying they know, they just know. An investigation into Libya might be a good idea, but who is going to head that investigation, Darrell Issa (R-CA) who has already built the piles of straw to carry out the witch burnings once the “trial” is over.

Part of the mindset of conservative billionaires – not necessarily everyone with wealth certainly – is to see themselves as poor victims, Another CEO Threatens To Fire Employees If Obama Wins

And Siegel is not alone in pushing his employees to cast their vote a certain way. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes reported today on another CEO — Arthur Allen of ASG Software Solutions — who said in an email to his employees that they’d only have themselves to blame if they lose their jobs if Obama wins. The email reads, in part:

Many of you have been with ASG for over 5, 10, 15, and even 20 years. As you know, together, we have been able to keep ASG an independent company while still growing our revenues and customers. But I can tell you, if the US re-elects President Obama, our chances of staying independent are slim to none. I am already heavily involved in considering options that make our independence go away, and with that all of our lives would change forever. I believe that a new President and administration would give US citizens and the world the renewed confidence and optimism we all need to get the global economies started again, and give ASG a chance to stay independent. If we fail as a nation to make the right choice on November 6th, and we lose our independence as a company, I don’t want to hear any complaints regarding the fallout that will most likely come. […]

The part about losing their independence as a company seems like pearl clutching at best. The only two things that would threaten their independence are bad management and competition. Which all conservatives fear and one of the reasons that industry backed lobbying and PACS are now an actual career field. If you can’t afford tires for the car, braces for your kid’s teeth, if the neighbor is keeping a dozen pigs in a suburban area not zoned for agriculture you have something to complain about. According to this report from 2010 ASG is making millions,

ASX-listed IT services provider ASG Group has announced a record  full year net profit increase of 9 percent to $12.3 million for the year ending 30 June 2010.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amoritisation was up 6 percent to $21.6 million, while revenue dipped 5 percent to $120.8 million.

Despite the revenue slump, ASG Group managing director Geoff Lewis was “pleased” and said the integrator has “invested heavily in areas that will lead to strong revenue contribution in future reporting periods”.

The ASG website contains this statement,

Strategic acquisitions are central to ASG’s ability to provide the most diversified range of robust product offerings. In fact, ASG has completed more than 30 acquisitions that have dramatically enhanced distribution synergies, customer diversity, and profitability. ASG also offers its solutions at a rate that averages 30% lower than the list prices of any competitor.

They also mention that they recently bought a Chinese company to increase their cloud storage and back-up capacity. The press release from 2010 also mentions what seems to be an inevitable shoe drop when it comes to conservatives complaining about government, ASG gets some of its millions in profits from, that’s right, gov’mint contracts,

  March 31 ASG signs $41m government contract

Jan 19 ASG scoops $23m WA Dept Education win

 

ASG are just more garden variety conservative pigs at the trough.

The Koch brothers are mentioned in the same article from TPro for the letter they sent to employees that was just an extortion letter. The Kochs acknowledged in a recent interview that they also benefit from large government subsidies, tax breaks and probably government contracts as well. How is it that any segment of the voting public can read the complaints of billionaires not making enough money and keep a straight face. How any one seriously listen to the Kochs talk about Barack Obama’s reelection being the “end” of civilization as we know it and say to themselves, oh yea these guys are rational people. The economy and this country has not been generous to the Kochs, ASG and CEO David Siegel, it has opened up the vault and said here, take the piggish share of the capital produced by America’s labor force.

Why aren’t the greedy pigs happy?

 

Here Are The Charts That Should Get Obama Reelected…

There are more at the link. If America was a socialist country and we had a choice between a real socialist and any Democrat running for office, Democrats would be trampled. Democrats are obviously, to anyone who is not a right-wing sycophant, not even in the park of being socialists or burdening business profits with taxes or regulations. Now is it that the conservative movement, with its utterly delusional version of reality not been relegated to the dust bin of history with every other radical group of weirdos and freaks. I might not live long enough to see the end result, but the Romney-Koch-Conservative mentality is sewing the seeds of its own destruction, The Self-Destruction of the 1 Percent

The reigning elites were acting in their immediate self-interest, but in the longer term, La Serrata was the beginning of the end for them, and for Venetian prosperity more generally. By 1500, Venice’s population was smaller than it had been in 1330. In the 17th and 18th centuries, as the rest of Europe grew, the city continued to shrink.

Quite a few commenters across the intetubes have wondered why president Obama did not call Romney a liar in the first debate. It told plenty of lies certainly. As still other commenters and bloggers have also noted you cannot do that because Romney will just say, am’ not. Paul Waldman has a good if imperfect suggestion for the next debate, Time to Try the “Romney Is Lying” Debate Strategy

What Obama needs is a set of responses that cover the topic at hand, but that all follow a single theme. He needs, to put it bluntly, a single phrase that he will repeat every time he’s refuting a Romney falsehood. It could be something slogan-y, like “That’s another Romney Reinvention,” or could be something simple, like “Once again, Governor Romney thinks he can fool you and get away with it.” It almost doesn’t matter what it is, so long as he repeats it every time. The repetition acts as a signal to the viewers, linking that particular part of the debate to what they’ve already heard. This would not only make Romney’s deceptions the headline of post-debate analyses, it would also probably freak Romney out a bit during the debate.

[  ]…Let’s take an example. During their last debate, one of the lies Romney told was that “pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan.”

He should have turned to Romney and said, “I’m sorry, did you just say pre-existing conditions are covered under your plan? With all due respect, I’m a little shocked that you would try to deceive people like that. You and I both know that your plan doesn’t cover people with pre-existing conditions. It only does what current law does, which still lets insurance companies deny coverage to millions of Americans. Folks, this is one of the key differences between us on health care, maybe the most important difference of all. The law we passed, Obamacare, starting a year from January will make it illegal for insurance companies to deny you coverage if you have a pre-existing condition. Governor Romney believes insurance companies ought to be able to deny you coverage if you have a pre-existing condition. It’s as simple as that. Now a minute ago, he tried to fool you into thinking he has the same position as I do. But he doesn’t.

Facts are on Obama’s side, but they are not enough. They never are with zealots who are determined to literally create their own reality. You’re lying, here is the details in brief, cut it out. On a national stage that should resonate with swing voters. It might even move them to do some fact checking on their own if they have doubts.

USA Land Use Map 1970 – Romney and Ryan Are Running On A Secret Plan They Might Tell America About Somedayn

Land Use map of the USA 1970

From the legend at the top right:

tan – cropland
yellow – brazing and pasture, public land and private
green – forest and woodland, excludes special use land
red – special uses – urban and other built up areas, parks and special facilities
gray – other land – desert, swamp, marsh, sand dunes, and tundra

Notice how little land is set aside for parks east of the Mississippi. Teddy Roosevelt didn’t come along early enough to save the east from poor land management.

Panoramic view of West Palm Beach, North Palm Beach and Lake Worth, Florida. Published by W. K. Pleuthner in 1915. This is the kind of display map one would have found in places like city hall or a tourist office. While still a nice area to visit, also another example of land developers trumping thoughtful city planning.

Just in case anyone is not had enough coverage of the VP debates ( they were stilling talking about them on the Today Show this morning), The Real Paul Ryan Is Bad for America

There is a deeply held Beltway myth of Paul Ryan, Man of Big Ideas, and it dies hard. But, if there is a just god in the universe, on Thursday night, it died a bloody death, was hurled into a pit, doused with quicklime, buried without ceremony, and the ground above it salted and strewn with garlic so that it never rises again.

Setting aside the conservative spin on laughing and smiles, and ignoring the substance (How The Media Used Biden’s Smile To Deflect From Ryan’s Dishonesty)  America got a close look at one of the Young Guns, the allegedly brainy conservatives who is supposed to be the future of the conservative movement.

The Young Guns shared some overlapping goals with the amateurs of the tea party, especially an abhorrence of taxes. But there is no mistaking them for grassroots rubes; all three are career politicians and longtime allies of the hedge-fund managers, bankers, and other corporate interests that fill their campaign coffers. For all they talk about private enterprise, Cantor, Ryan, and McCarthy all went on the public payroll in their twenties, and have cashed government or political paychecks all their working lives.

You cannot be a conservative without being the Lex Luthor of hypocrisy, so no surprise there. Despite that well entrenched myth of conservatives being for small government, they have always believed, betrayed by their actual behavior, that government and the plutocracy should piggy back off each other. From Paul Ryan to Sarah Palin to Michele Bachmann to George W. Bush we’ve seen conservatives who take every advantage of government programs, subsidies and special favors to get the inside track to money and power not available to the average American. Republicans see government as their own personal Politburo. That is one of the reasons for the resentment against Obama. Only the Politburo elite should rule. Democrats will not crack down on the uppity working class Americans demanding their fair share of the nation’s output. Great cartoon here illustrating the point, Ryan at the Trough.

Not all of the media, but much of it has set expectations about the way things are supposed to be. They would have probably been fine with a Biden win done the way they thought it should have been done, but it was done on Biden’s terms. If the talking heads on the TeeVee would like to try a little experiment they could try putting the performance out of mind and just read the transcript. The Vice Presidential Debate: Joe Biden Was Right to Laugh

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.

No Democrat could get away with that answer. Have you heard any commentary – from the broadcast media in particular mention this very specific point and how large an issue it is that the Republican presidential ticket is doing what amounts to faking its way through a job interview. Do you know how to use Excel? Well you know I’m kinda familiar with spread sheets, my roommate used to use them so I’m sure I’ll pick it up easy enough if you hire me. Democrats could not get away with, not because of conservatives so much as left of center pundits at The Nation, or the ones that get aggregated at Common Dreams, Paul Krugman at the NYT, and on and on would call them out on it. When conservatives lie and deceive, conservatives cheer on the new reality, while the press might say that Democrats disagree. Josh Barro gets into the nebulous nature of the Romney-Ryan plan, or stretch they made at lunch on the back of a napkin – The Final Word on Mitt Romney’s Tax Plan

Mitt Romney’s campaign says I’m full of it. I said Romney’s tax plan is mathematically impossible: he can’t simultaneously keep his pledges to cut tax rates 20 percent and repeal the estate tax and alternative minimum tax; broaden the tax base enough to avoid growing the deficit; and not raise taxes on the middle class. They say they have six independent studies — six! — that “have confirmed the soundness of the Governor’s tax plan,” and so I should stop whining.  Let’s take a tour of those studies and see how they measure up.

The Romney campaign sent over a list of the studies, but they are perhaps more accurately described as “analyses,” since four of them are blog posts or op-eds. I’m not hating — I blog for a living — but I don’t generally describe my posts as “studies.”

The Tax Policy Center has done a study, an actual reality based analysis. Romney has had some friends he used to hang out with behind the caddy shack say that his plan looks really cool dude. Acknowledging that politics and political races are not all about being rational and factual, I still do not understand why Romney is polling over 20%. Romney and Ryan are no more than the high school brats running for student council promising free cupcakes if elected. What bozo brained human could take him seriously. Biden was not faking any laughs, it is genuinely difficult for a reasonably mature and informed adult to consider voting these conservative clowns dog walkers much less the nation’s executives. Mitt and Tagg Romney Are Not Capitalists, They’re Looters and Plutocrats

What Tagg lacked in experience in the world of high finance, he made up for with a vast network of political connections forged through his father, who seeded the firm with $10 million and was the featured speaker at its first investor conference in January of 2010. Romney also reportedly gave strategic advice to the company, which secured prominent campaign donors as some of its first investors.

Unlike most private equity firms dedicated to analyzing and buying companies, Solamere specializes in something else: billing itself as a “fund of funds” with “unparalleled networks,” it provides investors with “unique access” to an elite set of other private equity firms and hedge funds. Sun Capital Partners, the fund founded by Leder, is one of at least thirteen Romney-linked firms in Solamere’s network, according to a prospectus circulated among potential investors and uncovered by The Boston Globe last year. Solamere also has an investment relationship with Bain Capital, the pioneering fund founded by Mitt Romney.

Solamere, a firm predicated on its founders’ relationship with Romney, presents a channel for powerful investors to influence the White House if he wins.

 

Wait a minute, how could this be. Conservatives, legend has it, build things, utterly and completely on their own. Conservatives would never belong to a network of crony capitalists. Conservatives would never take the icing and most of the cake produced at the bottom of the pyramid by people who do actual work. Government is evil so they would never use government to enhance their power, income and build walls through which only the elite may enter.