How The Capital Created By American Families is Redistributed to Plutocratic Corporations

Add It Up: The Average American Family Pays $6,000 a Year in Subsidies to Big Business

That’s over and above our payments to the big companies for energy and food and housing and health care and all our tech devices. It’s $6,000 that no family would have to pay if we truly lived in a competitive but well-regulated free-market economy.

The $6,000 figure is an average, which means that low-income families are paying less. But it also means that families (households) making over $72,000 are paying more than $6,000 to the corporations.

1. $870 for Direct Subsidies and Grants to Companies

The Cato Institute estimates that the U.S. federal government spends $100 billion a year on corporate welfare. That’s an average of $870 for each one of America’s 115 million families. Cato notes that this includes “cash payments to farmers and research funds to high-tech companies, as well as indirect subsidies, such as funding for overseas promotion of specific U.S. products and industries…It does not include tax preferences or trade restrictions.”

It does include payments to 374 individuals on the plush Upper East Side of New York City, and others who own farms, including Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and Ted Turner. Wealthy heir Mark Rockefeller received $342,000 to NOT farm, to allow his Idaho land to return to its natural state.

It also includes fossil fuel subsidies, which could be anywhere from $10 billion to $41 billion per year for research and development. Yet this may be substantially underestimated. The IMF reports U.S. fossil fuel subsidies of $502 billion, which would be almost $4,400 per U.S. family by taking into account “the effects of energy consumption on global warming [and] on public health through the adverse effects on local pollution.” According to Grist, even this is an underestimate.

2. $696 for Business Incentives at the State, County, and City Levels

The subsidies mentioned above are federal subsidies. A New York Times investigation found that states, counties and cities give up over $80 billion each year to companies, with beneficiaries coming from “virtually every corner of the corporate world, encompassing oil and coal conglomerates, technology and entertainment companies, banks and big-box retail chains.”

$80 billion a year is $696 for every U.S. family. But the Times notes that “The cost of the awards is certainly far higher.”

3. $722 for Interest Rate Subsidies for Banks

According to the Huffington Post, the “U.S. Government Essentially Gives The Banks 3 Cents Of Every Tax Dollar.” They cite research that calculates a nearly 1 percent benefit to banks when they borrow, through bonds and customer deposits and other liabilities. This amounts to a taxpayer subsidy of $83 billion, or about $722 from every American family.

The wealthiest five banks — JPMorgan, Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. and Goldman Sachs — account for three-quarters of the total subsidy. The Huffington Post article notes that without the taxpayer subsidy, those banks would not make a profit. In other words, “the profits they report are essentially transfers from taxpayers to their shareholders.”

4. $350 for Retirement Fund Bank Fees

This was a tough one to calculate. Demos reports that over a lifetime, bank fees can “cost a median-income two-earner family nearly $155,000 and consume nearly one-third of their investment returns.” Fees are well over one percent a year.

However, the Economic Policy Institute notes that the average middle-quintile retirement account is $34,981. A conservative one percent annual management fee translates to about $350 per family. This, again, is an average; many families have no retirement account. But many families pay much more than 1% in annual fees.

5. $1,268 for Overpriced Medications

According to Dean Baker, “government granted patent monopolies raise the price of prescription drugs by close to $270 billion a year compared to the free market price.” This represents an astonishing annual cost of over $2,000 to an average American family.

OECD figures on pharmaceutical expenditures reveal that Americans spend almost twice the OECD average on drugs, an additional $460 per capita. This translates to $1,268 per household.

6. $870 for Corporate Tax Subsidies

We’ve heard a lot about tax avoidance and tax breaks for the super-rich. With regard to corporations alone, the Tax Foundation has concluded that their “special tax provisions” cost taxpayers over $100 billion per year, or $870 per family. Corporate benefits include items such as Graduated Corporate Income, Inventory Property Sales, Research and Experimentation Tax Credit, Accelerated Depreciation, and Deferred taxes.

Once again, it may be even worse. Citizens for Tax Justice cite a Government Accountability Office report that calculated a loss to the Treasury of $181 billion from corporate tax expenditures. That would be almost $1,600 per family.

7. $1,231 for Revenue Losses from Corporate Tax Havens

U.S. PIRG recently reported that the average 2012 taxpayer paid an extra $1,026 in taxes to make up for the revenue lost from offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals. With 138 million taxpayers (1.2 per household), that comes to $1,231 per household.

Much More Than an Insult

Overall, American families are paying an annual $6,000 subsidy to corporations that have doubled their profits and cut their taxes in half in ten years while cutting 2.9 million jobs in the U.S. and adding almost as many jobs overseas.

This is more than an insult. It’s a devastating attack on the livelihoods of tens of millions of American families. And Congress just lets it happen.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License by
Paul Buchheit   

Paul is a bright guy and maybe this time they have some solid numbers, but i generally do not trust any statistics from CATO. They are a Right-leaning libertarian think tank.

Conservatives are going to play the coming fight over the debt ceiling a few ways. One is that it is Obama’s fault for not compromising – and we all know that conservatives define compromise as giving them everything they want or they’ll throw another temper tantrumn. One other angle is that they really do not want a shut0-down, but Democrats are giving them no choice, that would also be a lie since the conservative money machine wants a shut-down, The Money Behind the Shutdown Crisis

Good ammunition in those arguments with Obamascare cons who swear the world is about to end, Obamacare explained. With maps! The curve the ACA was designed to bend is already bending

Conservatism Has Pushed America Away From Being a Merit Based Culture

Starry Night Japan wallpaper

Starry Night Japan wallpaper

 

H/T to Mike for these links,  Bankers Explain How They Cannot Possibly Live On $1 Million Pay

Like many carbon-based lifeforms, you perhaps think that bankers are driven only by naked greed. But that is just because you don’t understand them: They actually have a deep psychological need for that money.

In a new article at the U.K. site eFinancialCareers, several bankers explain that they have legitimate reasons for needing more than one million British pounds (about $1.6 million) per year in pay — more money than most non-banking types could ever figure out how to spend. In a nutshell, it’s all about psychology.

[  ]…For one thing, taxes will quickly whittle a seven-figure income right down to the mid-six figures, perilously close to being within sight of the middle class. Then, an ex-Goldman banker points out, with the mere $600,000 in take-home pay remaining, bankers still need to “pay the mortgages on, and maintain houses, in the Hamptons and Manhattan, to put three children through private schools costing $40k a year each, and to pay living costs.”

Bankers might want to shed some of these costs by, say, sentencing their kids to rub elbows with the filthy Poors in public schools or owning just one house. But they are under constant social pressure to spend and spend some more, according to another ex-Goldmanite — who is now a psychotherapist, naturally.

I’m figuring that according to statistics most of the people that visit this blog are probably at the national median income – about $52k per year. Perhaps a few professionals – dentists, engineers, administrators, etc. who are in the  $64k to $125k range. Take a breath and try to get past the sheer cluelessness and ivory tower world view of these bankers. Look at the psychology. Their case is not that by merit of the work they, the value they provide society, the special value of their skills ( like not everyone can do fine assembly work with small electronics or watches. Not everyone can be a master carpenter, or forensic pathologist). Their value has been determined by other members of the club of bankers. Not based on merit, rather how much they think their class of people should get to maintain a certain lifestyle. Whatever that is, it is not capitalism. When someone gets a bag of salty fat laden chips with their food stamps, conservatives go ballistic over the undeserving getting the undeserved benefits. That particular issue being one of pennies and dimes. The upward distribution of unearned income, from capital created by working class Americans, the radical Right not only has no problem with, they think this is how a virtuous economy and culture should be structured. Are the bankers in the UK or the USA acting the way a patriot would act. Is this the way a patriot acts,  Global Super-Rich Stashing Up To $32 Trillion Offshore, Masking True Scale Of Inequality: Study

The global super-rich are stashing trillions of dollars offshore with the help of some of the world’s biggest banks, putting billions of dollars out of the taxman’s reach and masking wealth inequality’s true heights.

Wealthy people were hiding between $21 and $32 trillion in offshore jurisdictions around the world as of 2012, according to a 2012 study from the Tax Justice Network, an organization which aims to promote tax transparency. The study, highlighted by a recent Bloomberg News report, found that more than $12 trillion of that money was managed by 50 international banks, many of which received bailouts during the financial crisis, according to James Henry, the study’s author.

“There’s a lot more missing wealth in the world than we had known about from previous estimates,” Henry told The Huffington Post.

[  ]…The global super-rich are stashing trillions of dollars offshore with the help of some of the world’s biggest banks, putting billions of dollars out of the taxman’s reach and masking wealth inequality’s true heights.

Wealthy people were hiding between $21 and $32 trillion in offshore jurisdictions around the world as of 2012, according to a 2012 study from the Tax Justice Network, an organization which aims to promote tax transparency. The study, highlighted by a recent Bloomberg News report, found that more than $12 trillion of that money was managed by 50 international banks, many of which received bailouts during the financial crisis, according to James Henry, the study’s author.

“There’s a lot more missing wealth in the world than we had known about from previous estimates,” Henry told The Huffington Post.

The Tax Justice Network say the real scandal is that policy makers are not doing anything to shut down what is no less than mob style money laundering. Maybe elsewhere circumstances are different, but as we just saw with closing some gun safety background check loopholes, a minority party can shut down any legislation they like. With several senior Democrats retiring and a couple of those seas now in play for conservative nutbars, iit is very unlikely we’ll have a sixty seat filibuster proof majority in 2014 or 16. There were a couple of Senate Republicans on board with the background check legislation. It was very reasonable legislation that in no way interfered with a law abiding citizen buying a firearm for personal protection. It should have easily passed, but Obama liked it so, Toomey’s candor sheds light on post-policy party

So why did GOP senator put aside common sense and popular will? According to Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who co-authored the bipartisan measure, it wasn’t just about the gun lobby — some of his Republican colleagues didn’t want to “be seen helping the president.”

“In the end it didn’t pass because we’re so politicized. There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it,” Toomey admitted on Tuesday in an interview with Digital First Media editors in the offices of the Times Herald newspaper in Norristown, Pa.

If Obama came out and said he liked puppies tomorrow, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Paul Ryan (R-WI) would claim that puppies were a commie plot.

Never assume that conservatives cannot reach the bottom of the scum pond, they always find a way to make moral corruption the new standard for behavior: DIRTY TRICKS: Mysterious Conservative Group Sending Out Push Polls In South Carolina Special Election

A mysterious conservative group has been placing highly-misleading phone calls to South Carolina voters, trying to dissuade them from voting for the Democrat in an upcoming congressional special election.

South Carolina has a reputation for dirty tricks, and next week’s special election between former Gov. Mark Sanford (R) and businesswoman Elizabeth Colbert Busch (D) is no exception. One of the most popular tactics is known as “push polling,” whereby a group calls up voters under the guise of conducting a poll, only to ask questions that leave the voter with a highly-misleading impression about a certain candidate.

[  ]…The questions they did ask ranged from outlandish smears to thinly-veiled Republican talking points. Here are some of the issues SSI brought up in various iterations of the push poll, according to those ThinkProgress spoke with:

– “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you she had had an abortion?”

– “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you a judge held her in contempt of court at her divorce proceedings?

– “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if she had done jail time?”

– “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you she was caught running up a charge account bill?”

– “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if she supported the failed stimulus plan?”

– “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you unions contributed to her campaign?”

After about a half dozen of these questions, Wolford began to challenge the caller for asking such absurd questions. He apologized, telling her, “ma’am, I’m just paid to ask questions.” When Wolford asked who all he was calling, he demurred, saying he “just had to call the numbers they gave him.” She told ThinkProgress she suspects the calls were targeted towards Democratic women to try to discourage them from voting.

 

Conservative economics has redistributed income to the already wealthy and powerful

Spring Sunset wallpaper

Spring Sunset wallpaper

 

If Companies Are People…

HERE’S an idea: why not tax corporations as if they were natural persons, in accordance with their newly discovered rights of free speech? That move would solve any impending fiscal crisis.

Indeed, we used to do just that. For most of the 1950s, corporate income at large companies was taxed at 52 percent, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. The federal government, meanwhile, collected about a third of its revenues from this source. Today, thanks largely to the “reforms” ushered in by President Ronald Reagan, the ostensible tax rate on corporate income is no higher than 35 percent — and the corporate-tax share of federal revenue has fallen to about 9 percent.

….So, by slashing corporate income taxes and forcing a new reliance on payroll taxes to finance government spending, we have redistributed income to the already wealthy and powerful. Our tax system has actually fostered inequality.

James Pethokoukis writing at the far Right National Review, who is also either an idiot or skipped his arithmetic classes, writes,

The Reagan tax cuts freed the economy from that trap and contributed greatly to a generation-long boom in the U.S., one that also led to a global tax-cutting craze.

Even Saint Ronnie saw that he cut taxes too much and proceeded to sign four tax increases into law. The economy did not pick up real steam again until that tax increaser Bill Clinton was in office for a couple years. Pethokoukis continues

But conservatives need to pick their battles intelligently. It will be exceedingly difficult for the U.S. to maintain the average post–World War II tax burden given the aging of American society and the necessity of remaining a global military superpower. Rates won’t be returning to the Coolidge-era levels that the House GOP continues to push for. Instead, better to push for changes to make the code more pro-investment by reducing corporate tax rates (and eliminating crony-capitalist loopholes) and more pro-family by creating an expanded child tax credit to offset income and payroll taxes.

I really don’t know what Pethokoukis’s problem is. Would it be hard to believe that he is on wing-nut welfare at the American Enterprise Institute, where he is considered an expert on tax and economic policy. Under those pre-Reagan sky high tax years from WW II through the 1970s the U.S. had it’s greatest economic expansion.

U.S. economic growth greatest before Reagan and the far Right tax revolution

Note the sudden dip in the 1980s. That is when economic growth for most Americans really started to level off or go down.

 A Guide to Statistics on Historical Trends in Income Inequality

The years from the end of World War II into the 1970s were ones of substantial economic growth and broadly shared prosperity.

Incomes grew rapidly and at roughly the same rate up and down the income ladder, roughly doubling in inflation-adjusted terms between the late 1940s and early 1970s.

The income gap between those high up the income ladder and those on the middle and lower rungs — while substantial — did not change much during this period.

Exactly how low do taxes have to go to produce this economic growth that Main Street regular Americans get the benefits. Some of those average Americans are the ones are the ones conservatives get ginned up on cultural issues and gun safety to keep voting against their own best interests. This is a strange finding from Gallup, Fewer Americans Now View Their Income Taxes as Fair

This Tax Day, 55% of Americans regard the income taxes they have to pay as fair, the lowest percentage Gallup has measured since 2001.

One can blame the media and public officials to some degree. Both are supposed to keep the public informed about civic information such as taxes. Though the public has to takes the lion’s share of the blame for not making an effort to stay informed and let themselves be given the impression that their tax rate is unfair. This goes back to the National Review and the attempt to make people believe that if everyone paid five dollars a year in taxes we’d all be driving gold plated Cadillacs. Impressions, the general noise of the conservative media or what someone repeats around the water-cooler aside, the truth is that taxes are very low for everyone, Federal Income Taxes on Middle-Income Families Remain Near Historic Lows

Federal taxes on middle-income Americans are near historic lows,[1] according to the latest available data.  That’s true both for federal income taxes and total federal taxes.[2]

Income taxes:  A family of four in the exact middle of the income spectrum will pay only 5.3 percent of its 2013 income in federal income taxes next year, according to a new analysis by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center (TPC).[3]  Average income tax rates for these typical families have been lower during the Bush and Obama Administrations than at any time since the 1950s (see Figure 1).  As discussed below, 2009 and 2010 were particularly low because of the temporary Making Work Pay Tax Credit.
Overall federal taxes:  Overall federal taxes — which include income, payroll, and excise taxes, and imputed corporate taxes — on middle-income households in 2009 were at their lowest levels in decades, according to the latest data from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

And those corporations who the far Right keeps saying are suffering from a terrible tax burden, they have it easier than ever, Corporate Taxes As Percentage Of Profits Now Lowest In Decades.

 

It Is Possible For President Obama to Be Both Pragmatist and Transformative

Blue Cloudscape wallpaper

Blue Cloudscape wallpaper

 

 

I’m fairly certain that Slate’s Jacob Weisberg is a left of center political analyst. So I found it remarkable in a column written a year or so ago that he pleaded for compromise on Medicare because, he argued Medicare paid a 100% of seniors medical expense – it actually ranges from 70 to 75% with the rest paid out of pocket or by Medicaid. He has written some good columns since then. Bloggers are pundits and sometimes analysts and even those of us on the same side do not always agree on every detail, yet Weisberg seems to have a dark side, a tendency to embrace Beltway cynicism that is on full display in this column of President Obama’s second term, The Agenda. How the president can move beyond reactionary liberalism in his second term.

To say that the president has yet to develop a broad, coherent vision of government is not the same as saying he lacks an agenda. Obama’s second-term program has already begun to emerge: gun control, immigration reform, and protecting the core of the federal safety net—Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. But this agenda comes largely as a response to events and political opportunity: gun control because of the Sandy Hook shootings, immigration because of the rising power of Latinos, a defense of entitlements against the House Republican Jacobins.
With such a defensive agenda, however, Obama and the Democrats face a long-term hazard. The danger is slipping into a purely reactionary liberalism—one that stands for spending on programs that please powerful constituencies rather than for basic principles.

The obstacle that prevents liberals from thinking more ambitiously about government’s role is the swelling cost of entitlement spending, which is turning the Democrats into the party of transfer payments and taking any new ideas that cost money off the table.

That is not even thinly disguised Simpson-Bowles Catfood commission mentality. Since health care costs are not like the costs of potatoes and subject to market forces – when was the last time you saw a Sunday newspaper coupon for 10% off a bag of costly medical services, Medicare costs are going to go up. Weisberg, apparently a captive of the austerity mindset just can’t see through the Beltway fog. Instead of cutting benefits, which is another way of saying that seniors and the disabled will have to accommodate more pain, more misery and a higher death rate – something that Weisberg found morally objectionable when Republican cheered for social-Darwinism – employers like the big retail and fast food chains could pay their employees a living wage. They in turn would contribute more into the entitlement insurance they will need one day. And we could also increase the co-pay for richer recipients of Medicare. That is not reactionary. It is reactionary to force hardship on the nation’s most vulnerable – much as the old Russian Czars did to the poor in Russia. Rather than cost billionaires a few million. Jacob did mention something that all of us care about, except for the particulars obviously,

By continuing in this mode for another four years, he stands to leave a legacy as a fine decision-maker and manager in troubled times. Unless he raises his sights, however, he is unlikely to live up to his promise as a transformational leader.

A lot can change in four years. While Obama has been the frustrating pragmatist at times, Democrats, the Democratic base is a rough crowd. The pundits, bloggers, analysts and visionaries are difficult to please because they set their sights so high and tend towards impatience. Obama is part pragmatist and part transformational. His legislative accomplishments are in fact, unsurpassed. They look smaller only in comparison to the Democratic bases wish list. There is room for improvement as Gleen Greewald and The Nation will be happy to tell you, but also a rough road ahead. The number one mission of the House Republican majority and the Senate minority’s use of the filibuster means baby steps, not leaps. There will be accomplishments, especially if Democrats can overcome the Republican gerrymandering advantage and take the House in 2014. Barack Obama, Student of Power

And if the last few weeks are any indication, the Obama of the second term could be a much tougher character. He probably won’t be as tough as many of his liberal supporters would like, but he seems to have fundamentally changed his perspective on how to deal with the opposition. Whether because he was disabused of some naïve notions about his power to persuade or because he has simply made a strategic shift (more likely the latter), Republicans are likely to be even less pleased with him than they have been up until now.

We shouldn’t overstate this—Obama isn’t suddenly turning into a cold-blooded Machiavellian, seeking only to crush his enemies and see them driven before him. But he acting as though he has come to realize that bipartisanship for bipartisanship’s sake has no particular value, and negotiating with yourself only leaves you with less when all is said and done.

Look, for instance, at how he handled his new effort to address gun violence. As E.J. Dionne has observed, instead of trying to guess what Republicans might want and including some of those guesses in his proposal, Obama simply said, Here is what I want, now we can start negotiating. It’s true that his proposals could have gone farther (he could, for instance, have proposed that everyone who wants a gun should pass a safety test and get a license), but there wasn’t that attempt we’ve seen so often from him of trying to bring in Republicans by making concessions from the start.

Let’s not forget how many times Obama played that guessing game in his first term. He wanted Republican support for his stimulus package, so it was written so a full third of the money would be distributed in the form of tax cuts. How many Republicans voted for it? Zero in the House, and two (the Maine moderates) in the Senate. On health care reform, he not only made a conservative idea the centerpiece of his proposal (the individual mandate, which had its origins at the Heritage Foundation), but spent a year in meetings and speeches and conclaves and events practically begging Republicans to join him. How many voted for the Affordable Care Act in the end? Zero in the House, zero in the Senate.

While melodrama of debt ceiling conservative pearl clutchers is not over, they seem to have taken Obama at his word – this is what I am prepared to do, take it or leave it. With Newt Gingrich emitting the occasional sound bite and Boehner (R-OH) being a veteran of the Republican 1996 debt ceiling humiliation, conservatives seem headed toward avoiding the worse in order to save their own skin if nothing else. Many Republican voters agree with the President’s new gun safety regulations, whether they can make themselves heard over the shrill victim-hood of the gun fetishists is another matter. There might be enough support there to bring back Bush 41’s assault weapon’s ban.

Five Injured in Accidental Shootings at Gun Shows on “Gun Appreciation Day” and Kid Kills 5 in Family with Assault Rifle in New Mexico, Planned Slaughter at WalMart. Unlike some other issues where we can gloat a little at a conservative getting their comeuppance we don’t get that pleasure here. The medical costs of the five accident victims will be outrageous. Some if not all of them look like they’ll miss some work, so there is the lost income, the medical bills and the physical pain and maybe lifetime disability. The murdered family had a closet full of guns. They did not keep them locked. This kid had a history of emotional issues. If they saw a fire moving towards their house they would have taken precautions, but for some reason ignored a potential disaster under their nose. Another terrible tragedy that might have been avoided with just a tiny shift in attitude towards guns.

Death doesn’t take vacations, it just takes advantage of unhinged and unfounded fears of some sensible changes to make more money, Major Gun Company Begins Asking Customers to Fight Obama’s Proposed Reforms

The threat of gun control has been integral to the soaring profits of gun companies in recent years, since NRA-stoked fears of gun confiscation have sent a record number of Americans to the stores to purchase weapons. As Business Week noted, “Since Obama’s inauguration the [Ruger’s] stock price has risen more than 400 percent, making it a better investment than gold, which is up 113 percent.”

It appears that Phil Mickelson is the Gerard Depardieu of golf, Golfer Phil Mickelson May Call It Quits Due To Climbing Tax Rates

Q. Moving to Canada?

PHIL MICKELSON: I’m not sure what exactly, you know, I’m going to do yet. I’ll probably talk about it more in depth next week. I’m not going to jump the gun, but there are going to be some. There are going to be some drastic changes for me because I happen to be in that zone that has been targeted both federally and by the state and, you know, it doesn’t work for me right now. So I’m going to have to make some changes.

To be honest, it’s hard to blame Mickelson – who has compiled a net worth approaching $180 million by repeatedly striking a tiny white ball until it falls into a hole — for putting all options on the table, which according to some, include the possibility of prematurely shutting down his career to avoid his rising tax burden. Let’s take a look at what Mickelson is up against in 2013:

For starters, courtesy of President Obama’s re-election and the subsequent fiscal cliff negotiations, Mickelson will experience an increase in his top tax rate on ordinary income from 35% to 39.6%, and an increase in his top rate on long-term capital gains and qualified dividends from 15% to 20%. Clearly, when faced with tax hikes of that magnitude, it stops making economic sense for Mickelson to continue to swing a metal stick up to 70 times a day in exchange for the $48 million he earns on an annual basis.

But it gets worse. Thanks to the expiration of the temporary 2% reduction in the payroll tax rate on the first $113,700 of self-employment income, Mickelson will have to fork over an extra $2,274 in tax during 2013, an additional burden that makes it hard to justify briskly walking as many as five miles per day, four days a week. In long pants, nonetheless.

What is it like to live in a complete cocoon of elitist entitlement. Is he going to have to sell his car elevator to one of the Romney kids.

“The Dream Continues: Photographs of Martin Luther King Murals by Camilo José Vergara”. The picture below is just from my collection.

Statue of Dr Martin Luther King Jr in the Kelly Ingram Park, Birmingham, Alabama

Statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the Kelly Ingram Park, Birmingham, Alabama. “Kelly Ingram Park (formerly West Park) was a staging ground for civil rights demonstrations in the 1960s. It is located adjacent to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the 16th Street Baptist Church.”

Golden Autumn Path wallpaper – Republicans See All Fiscal Tax Issues As A Way To Sabotage American Values

fall, autumn, landscape, leaves

Golden Autumn Path wallpaper

 

I agree with the analysts who say we should not call the current budget negotiations the “fiscal cliff” ( I like Krugman’s description of it as an austerity bomb), but I can’t do much about other people calling it that. This is another issue that conservatives to have both ways – like chanting freedom and then listing all the freedoms that would flush. Cons in DC and on the net are warning of the most dire of consequences if President Obama and Democrats do not come to a “compromise”. Meaning as usual that if the austerity freaks do not get everything they want, Democrats did not compromise. While the usual suspects – Malkin, Redstate, Fox, The Washington Free Beacon are providing the echo, the noise machine’s messages still originate with the American Free Enterprise Institute, the Chamber of Chamber, David Koch’s Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks. The economic calamity message from the radical Right is meant to get the conservatives next door to provide what looks like populist support. Once again convincing some working class Americans to advocate against their own rational self interests. This is a tried and somewhat proven tactic on the Right’s part. The reason, or at least part of the reason it works in regards the debt ceiling and balancing the budget is that Democrats are citing the very real dire consequences. So amidst all that chattering what are relatively clear facts get lost and the working class Right gets snookered into helping the wealthy put another heads they win, tails they win, Some of America’s richest people are about to get even richer thanks to the fiscal cliff

The risk that the US government could raise taxes on dividends as part of a deal on the forthcoming “fiscal cliff” has finally forced corporate America to do something with its massive pile of cash. Here’s a look a the Smaug-worthy* hoard companies have been accumulating:

US Corporate Cash

And what will they do with this haul? Spend it on investment? Hah! They’re rushing to give some of it to shareholders. Both the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times have taken note of the trend in recent days. The Journal writes:

The moves would send hundreds of millions of dollars back to shareholders before tax hikes that could kick in next year either automatically or as a result of negotiations between the White House and Congress.

And the FT reports that since the beginning of the fourth quarter, “a record 103 companies have announced they will pay special dividends before the end of the year, according to Markit. The data firm is forecasting that 123 companies will announce special fourth-quarter dividends, compared to the previous average of just 31.” This is similar to what happened during the fourth quarter of 2010 the last time that the so-called Bush tax cuts were about to expire.

With a ton of cash, there’s no reason companies shouldn’t be giving at least some of it back to shareholders. Especially if those shareholders are well, the controlling ones. The Journal rightly notes that some rich Americans stand to gain quite a bit from getting their cash now, thanks very much. For instance, Las Vegas Sands CEO—and well-known backer of Republican political candidates—Sheldon Adelson could collect about $1.2 billion from the $2.75 a share special dividend on his 52% ownership interest in the casino company, which said it would pay a new one-time dividend next month.

Some of America’s richest and laziest people are about to get even richer

We’ve been told over and over again the top 10% have to have low taxes so they’ll invest it and create jobs. They invest it in each other, they horde it and they spend very little on it in entrepreneurial enterprises. They’re sitting on so much cash that no honest argument can be made that tax rates are at levels that a disincentive to investment or job creation on their part. The Right has always claimed that we can cut spending to find our way to fiscal paradise. That was never true and untrue now more than ever, just ask anyone in Europe. The wealthy are whining because of greed. They just want your conservative neighbors to believe the fairy tale about them creating jobs if only they had a few dollars to spare, but big bad gov’mint is taking all their hard earned profits and buying stuff for the United Nations. The top 10% is going to win no matter how the tax cuts are finally settled. It is mind boggling to believe that someone with millions of dollars in assets is going to be really upset if they have to start paying the same marginal tax rates they did during the Clinton boom years. The real purpose of the tax cuts for the Right is to edge a little closer to not just gutting Medicare and other safety net programs, but to do away with the Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency and anything else that protects the average citizen. Taxes will thus never be low enough until we reach the point where Monsanto can exercise its God given right to poison entire counties with impunity and the anti-rationalist can teach their children that humans were created out of space dust a couple thousand years ago with no competing science based narrative. I have read Democratic bloggers talk about their personal experiences trying to convince relatives of how dangerous the conservative movement is. That despite all the flag waving the last thing conservatives hold dear is the best interests of the country. Many Americans just find it hard to believe that a movement that talks so much about values has so little of them. Making the USA into a permanent Pottersville wasteland is hardly the dream of most Americans when you get the conversations down to specifics. If companies such as Walmart brought back have their exported jobs to the U.S. and paid their average retail workers a living wage they would still make billions. But money equals power for them and less power for the average citizen, and that’s the way they want it. Even if people have to die to keep it that way, Wal-Mart’s strategy of deniability for workers’ safety

The Bangladesh factory supplied clothing to a range of retailers, and officials who have toured the site said they found clothing with a Faded Glory label — a Wal-Mart brand. Wal-Mart says that the factory, which had received at least one bad report for its fire-safety provisions, was no longer authorized to make its clothing but one of the suppliers in the company’s very long supply chain had subcontracted the work there “in direct violation of our policies.”

If this were an isolated incident of Wal-Mart denying responsibility for the conditions under which the people who make and move its products labor, then the Bangladeshi disaster wouldn’t reflect quite so badly on the company. But the very essence of the Wal-Mart system is to employ thousands upon thousands of workers through contractors and subcontractors and sub-subcontractors, who are compelled by Wal-Mart’s market power and its demand for low prices to cut corners and skimp on safety. And because Wal-Mart isn’t the employer of record for these workers, the company can disavow responsibility for their conditions of work.

We’re not talking about a company that is forced to do what it does to make a fair profit. We’re talking about a company and a nation wide mentality when if they can make a hundred million doing things this way, hey, they can make even more if they export more jobs and give more workers the shaft. They’ll scream anti-American Marxist at anyone who criticizes them. I remember reading about Marx and the standard for being a Marxist has found a new definition according the current Republican Partay – anyone who believes in reason and decency. I think these figures are a little low because I have read other papers that say people tend to lie about their virtues or lack of them, Wall Street Professionals Admit: Yes, Lots of Us Are Corrupt

Is Wall Street corrupt? Responses vary depending on whom you ask. But ask the folks who work in the financial services industry and you’ll get a surprisingly clear answer: “Yes.”

A recent survey of 500 financial services professionals, conducted by market researcher Populus at the behest of law firm Labaton Sucharow, turned up some surprisingly candid results from the folks surveyed. For example:

39% of financial industry insiders surveyed “reported that their competitors are likely to have engaged in illegal or unethical activity in order to be successful.”
And this was more than just suspicion. “26% of respondents indicated that they had observed or had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace.”
Nearly one in four “believed that financial services professionals may need to engage in unethical or illegal conduct in order to be successful.
Nearly one in three said they themselves felt “pressured by bonus or compensation plans to violate the law or engage in unethical conduct.

Add in the ones who say they would engage in corrupt activity if pressured to by their company and you have almost half of Wall Street either engaged in criminal activity or willing to under the right circumstances. And even some irony for dessert,

All of a sudden, the epidemic of mortgage fraud, the Bank of America (BAC)-Merrill Lynch bonus debacle, the Madoff scandal — all of it starts to make sense. Suddenly, you start to understand why Goldman Sachs (GS) CFO David Viniar, when asked earlier this week whether decreased profitability at his firm was a cue to cut costs after he had just noted that Goldman was paying out 44% of all corporate revenue as compensation for his employees, responded simply that “we aren’t going to cut our way to prosperity.”

Another moving holiday story of sacrifices  by the hardest working people in America.

It pays to be rich, it does not pay so much for work. Or at least does not value work like the old fashioned values conservatives pretend to believe in,

American workers more productive than ever and getting less of the rewards

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.

Romnesia is “A potent myth is being used to justify economic capture by a parasitic class”

Old Explorer Map and Compass wallpaper

Occasionally I’m not going to list the daily graphic in the post title. Just assume that almost everyday I post there will be some kind of graphic – wallpaper, map, historical photograph etc.

By way of Mike Norman Economics an explanation of a new word that is defining this election cycle, Romnesia: The Ability of the Very Rich to Forget the Context in Which They Made Their Money

A potent myth is being used to justify economic capture by a parasitic class.

We could call it Romnesia: the ability of the very rich to forget the context in which they made their money. To forget their education, inheritance, family networks, contacts and introductions. To forget the workers whose labour enriched them. To forget the infrastructure and security, the educated workforce, the contracts, subsidies and bail-outs the government provided.

Every political system requires a justifying myth. The Soviet Union had Alexey Stakhanov, the miner reputed to have extracted 100 tonnes of coal in six hours. The United States had Richard Hunter, the hero of Horatio Alger’s rags-to-riches tales(1).

Both stories contained a germ of truth. Stakhanov worked hard for a cause in which he believed, but his remarkable output was probably faked(2). When Alger wrote his novels, some poor people had become very rich in the United States. But the further from its ideals (productivity in the Soviet Union’s case, opportunity in the US) a system strays, the more fervently its justifying myths are propounded.

One of the things the notorious Romney video implied, a prejudice about how U.S. economic culture works, was that Romney would not be your president, but there was little reason for the 47% to work hard, because hey, you’re going nowhere fast. While getting as much education as possible and having a good work ethic still increase one’s chances of moving up the economic ladder, upward mobility is not what it used to be in the U.S. –

 But the reality is very different, according to a University of Michigan researcher who is studying inequality across generations around the world.

“Especially in the United States, people underestimate the extent to which your destiny is linked to your background. Research shows that it’s really a myth that the U.S. is a land of exceptional social mobility,” said Fabian Pfeffer, a sociologist at the U-M Institute for Social Research and the organizer of an international conference on inequality across multiple generations being held … in Ann Arbor.

Pfeffer’s own research illustrates this point based on data on two generations of families in the U.S. and a comparison of his findings to similar data from Germany and Sweden. … He found that parental wealth plays an important role in whether children move up or down the socioeconomic ladder in adulthood. And that parental wealth has an influence above and beyond the three factors that sociologists and economists have traditionally considered in research on social mobility—parental education, income, and occupation.

“Wealth not only fulfills a purchasing function, allowing families to buy homes in good neighborhoods and send their children to costly schools and colleges, for example, but it also has an insurance function, offering a sort of private safety net that gives children a very different set of choices as they enter the adult world,” Pfeffer said.

“Despite the widespread belief that the U.S. provides exceptional opportunities for upward mobility, these data show that parental wealth has an important role in shielding offspring from downward mobility and sustaining their upward mobility in the U.S…”

Recent findings show that children from low income families even have a biological disadvantage with genes affected by income. Obviously some people make in spite of these hurdles, but they are the exception, not the rule. Back to Romnesia,

The crudest exponent of Romnesia is the Australian mining magnate Gina Rinehart. “There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire,” she insists. “If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain; do something to make more money yourselves – spend less time drinking, or smoking and socialising and more time working … Remember our roots, and create your own success.”(3)

Remembering her roots is what Rinehart fails to do. She forgot to add that if you want to become a millionaire – in her case a billionaire – it helps to inherit an iron ore mine and a fortune from your father, and to ride a spectacular commodities boom. Had she spent her life lying in bed and throwing darts at the wall, she would still be stupendously rich.

The rich lists are stuffed with people who either inherited their money or who made it through rent-seeking activities: by means other than innovation and productive effort. They’re a catalogue of speculators, property barons, dukes, IT monopolists, loansharks, bank chiefs, oil sheikhs, mining magnates, oligarchs and chief executives paid out of all proportion to any value they generate.

Looters, in short. The richest mining barons are those to whom governments sold natural resources for a song. Russian, Mexican and British oligarchs acquired underpriced public assets through privatisation, and now run a toll-booth economy(4). Bankers use incomprehensible instruments to fleece their clients and the taxpayer. But as rentiers capture the economy, the opposite story must be told.

Scarcely a Republican speech fails to reprise the Richard Hunter narrative, and almost all these rags-to-riches tales turn out to be bunkum. “Everything that Ann and I have,” Mitt Romney claims, “we earned the old-fashioned way”(5). Old-fashioned like Blackbeard perhaps. Two searing exposures in Rolling Stone magazine document the leveraged buyouts which destroyed viable companies, value and jobs(6), and the costly federal bail-out which saved Romney’s political skin(7).

Romney personifies economic parasitism. The financial sector has become a job-destroying, home-breaking, life-crushing machine, which impoverishes other people to enrich itself. The tighter its grip on politics, the more its representatives must tell the opposite story: of life-affirming enterprise, innovation and investment, of brave entrepreneurs making their fortunes out of nothing but grit and wit.

Let’s say that current poll trends continue. President Obama is reelected, Democrats have a small majority in the senate and Republicans mange to eck out a majority of House seats. Will that mean we’ll make any great strides in undoing forty years of the supply-side nightmare. NO, but we might make some incremental progress. We might have as many as three new Supreme Court Justices that will reconsider Citizen’s United, making it more difficult for billionaires to influence elections. Democrats and Obama were very successful with their pro middle-class legislative agenda in 2009. All of those victories for the middle-class is what pissed off the tea smokers. Go figure. There is nothing wring with incremental progress. I know we live in the age of the internet when news that happened two months ago is two years in internet time. But real progress has been historically slow. It was about 400 years as feudal lords and peasants system ended before than was such a thing as upward mobility. It was not until around 1850 that the average American could reasonably expect to have more education and material comforts than their parents. Even then it was not until the New Deal of the 1930s that America had the great expansion of the middle-class. One that most Americans now take for granted. That is they see the middle-class a something that has always been here during their lifetimes. It is assumed it appeared of its own accord and will somehow magically remain. It is taxes and the subsequent expenditures on education, scientific research, health care and other infrastructure that makes the middle-class possible. Once obtained we all have to work and think smart to keep it, but it can obviously be taken away by Wall Street parasites and their partners in crime, the political plutocrats.

I know that Romney is really ahead in the polls by 118% today and the liberal media is covering up that fact, but let’s just suppose he is behind and ask ourselves why. Sept 26, 2012 – Romney Campaign Now Says They Probably Won’t Do Their Tax Cuts After All. Sept 27, 2012 – Romney Campaign: No, We’re Not Backing Off Our Tax Plan. Having a clear and at least somewhat consistent message is a big part of what defines a political campaign in the public’s eyes. Imagine the mythical small town diner and two conservatives discussing Romney’s tax plan. Who is right the one arguing that Romney is going to cut taxes again for millionaires or the one that says Romney has abandoned that because the numbers do not add up for his plans to tackle the deficit.

I keep hearing/reading conservatives who are at a loss to explain why Romney-Ryan are not ahead in the polls by 10% or more. While part of the reason this has become the whine of the moment is the deafening affects of the conservative bubble of self delusion, the other part is that Romney is warmed over George W. Bush. The question conservatives should be asking themselves is how far behind they would be if they had to stop the politics of character assassination and run a public policy-truth based political campaign. With  the acknowledgement that Democrats are running at least a half counter-attack campaign. Over Labor Day weekend I only watched a few hours of TV. In that short time I saw half a dozen pro Romney attack ads – either from him or his PACs. Larry McCarthy, the Missing Link?

McCarthy, whom I profiled for the magazine, is best known for the notoriously race-baiting Willie Horton ad he made in 1988 that helped annihilate Michael Dukakis’s chances. Floyd Brown, a conservative Republican operative, described McCarthy to me as the Party’s “secret weapon.” The Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who has known McCarthy for years, went one step further, saying of McCarthy, “If you want an assassination, you hire one of the best marksmen in history.”

Recent F.E.C. filings show that McCarthy’s tiny Washington, D.C.,-based firm, McCarthy Hennings Media Inc., has been simultaneously involved in producing anti-Obama ads for Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, a nonprofit “social welfare” group masterminded by the Republican political operative Karl Rove; the separate nonprofit “social welfare” group Americans for Prosperity, co-founded and partly funded by the conservative industrialists Charles and David Koch; and Restore Our Future, the main pro-Romney Super PAC. The filings show that during August and the beginning of September, McCarthy’s firm is identified as the “media production” company for $21.8 million worth of ad buys by Americans for Prosperity, a $21.7 million worth of ad buys for Restore Our Future, and $7. 1 million worth of ad buys for Crossroads GPS. Cumulatively, as the Times reported, these outside ads have filled huge gaps for Romney’s campaign, not just supplementing his campaign’s ad buys but at times outspending them.

Remember during the primaries when Newt Gingrich had his surge. That was partly Sheldon Adelson’s millions, but was also due to McCarthy Hennings Media Inc. Obviously Democrats did not knock out Newt. It was hit-man McCarthy. All of those ads I saw, with the only correct fact in them being that Barrack Obama is the President, came out of the Big Lie machine at McCarthy Hennings Media. If we had fact based, publicly financed presidential campaigns, Romney would be down to the hardcore wingers at 30%. The Right is playing the victim card about allegedly rigged polling even as they dominate every media. It could be you can only put so much lipstick on a pig and tell so may cowardly lies.

 

NEW ROMNEY VIDEO: In 1985, He Said Bain Would “Harvest” Companies for Profits

But this short clip offers a glimpse of Romney when he was at the start of his private equity career and saw businesses as targets of opportunity that could be harvested for the benefit of his investors, not as long-term job creators or participants in a larger community. His remarks were hardly surprising, but they did encapsulate the mindset of get-in/get-out private equity deal makers.

Romney and Conservatives Are Paving The Road To Serfdom With Their 47% Lie

Autumn Colors Lake Reflections wallpaper

 

Last Thursday, September 13, a few bloggers, both Democratic and conservative were saying that Romney’s were claiming that Mitt Romney’s egregious exploitation of the deaths of an American diplomat and two Marines was the end of the Romney campaign. As Mitt Romney told nearly half of America that they were leaches, there was a similar round of hand wringing from some Democrats and conservatives. Both of these events and the subsequent reactions remind me of a blog post I read before the 2004 election. I don not remember him, but the post got a fair amount of attention at the time. he was not a political blogger per se but was occasionally posting some of his personal observations. he noted that his grandmother was going to vote for Bush. Even by the end of his first term Bush 43 has rung up quite a list of scandals, criminal negligence, sleazy exploitation of a national tragedy, various acts of corruption and general malfeasance in governance. The blogger went on to very politely and diplomatically explain some of those things to his beloved grandmother, to no avail. The post was a nice combination of humor and a look at the personal psychology of voting, and partisanship. In his summary he noted that short of a hundred witnesses and video tape of Bush having relations on the White House lawn with farm animals his grandmother and people that thought like her were going to vote for Bush regardless of how many reasons that Bush was hurting the country. It is also the reason that Romney, who conservatives were never in love with, in the way they were with Reagan and Bush 43 ( until the second year of his second term anyway when his disapproval ratings reached an historic 62%), will probably shed some voters, but is still in the running. What Romney said in that video is not new in terms of what the conservative movement believes is sociology-economic gospel, which is why he has doubled down on what he said, simply claiming that he could have been more eloquent about how he said it:

“There are 47 percent who are with him (Obama), who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them,” Romney is heard saying on the video. He also said the 47 percent did not pay taxes.

The video gave the Obama campaign a chance to return to a popular theme – that the multi-millionaire Romney is an out-of-touch elitist.

“It’s not elegantly stated. Let me put it that way,” Romney said in response.

“I’m sure I could state it more clearly and in a more effective way than I did in a setting like that,” he told the news conference in California.

However, Romney stuck by his video-taped remarks, saying it was a message that he would continue to carry in the run-up to the Nov. 6 presidential election.

“Frankly, my discussion about lowering taxes isn’t as attractive to them and therefore I’m not likely to draw them into my campaign as those in the middle,” Romney said.

“This is really more about the political process of winning the election and of course I want to help all Americans have a bright and prosperous future and I’m convinced that the president’s approach has not done that and will not do that.”

The reason the 47% world view is outrageous is that it is wrong on the facts and the thinking behind it is a cancer eating away at American democracy and capitalism. Romney has clearly stated the conservative movement’s dogma that those in modest economic circumstances belong there. They belong there because they are not deserving, they are not virtuous enough or working hard enough. The wealthy – people such as Romney, Shedlon Adelson, the Koch brothers, the billionaires that contribute to American Crossraods PAC, Frank VanderSloot, Bob Perry, Wayne Hughes, Fred Eshelman and Robert Mercer believe that something akin to divine providence made them very wealthy and just as importantly, deserving of that wealth over others. They are the ruling class because the rules of social-Darwinism are at work. Half of America is struggling because they lack some magical ingredient. There is no use trying to get everyone a good education and not the guarantee, but the opportunity for a reasonable degree of financial success because nature has divided the deserving from the undeserving and any attempts by bleeding heart liberals to undue what nature intended is a kind of economic and social blasphemy. That is not how conservatives state their case of course. Even the most die hard white high school graduate Rush Limbaugh acolyte likes to think if they play by the rules, they’ll get ahead. The people who really run the conservative movement – some included in that list of the right-wing elite – could care less if  Billy Joe Bob climbs the economic ladder or is able to afford to send his kids to the state university. We’ll All Be Moochers Someday. Yay!

Romney’s argument is actually an amalgam of two separate, although related, claims that you hear all the time in conservative circles. The first is about who pays taxes and, more important, who does not. Romney pointed out that, today, 47 percent of Americans don’t pay federal income taxes. But Romney neglected to point out that most people still pay federal payroll taxes and state taxes, both of which are regressive. And most of the people who don’t pay income taxes now either paid them in the past or will pay them in the future.

[  ]…The other claim might seem the more defensible of the two: It’s the argument that many more people have become dependent on government programs, placing unsustainable claims on the federal treasury and reducing incentives to work. A seminal text for this argument is “A Nation of Takers: America’s Entitlement Epidemic,” an essay by Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute. Its key piece of evidence is the observation that, since 1960, “government transfers to individuals” have risen sharply. According to Eberstadt,

What is monumentally new about the American state today is the vast and colossal empire of entitlement payments that it protects, manages, and finances. Within living memory, the government of the United States has become an entitlements machine. As a day-to-day operation, the U.S. government devotes more attention and resources to the public transfers of money, goods, and services to individual citizens than to any other objective: and for the federal government, these amounts outpace those spent for all other ends combined.

Just as over the course of sxity years or more conservatives made the term liberal into a profanity, they have also done the same thing with entitlements. They’re called entitlements because people pay into the safety net – than having reached the terms of the means testing like old age or severe disabilities – people collect those entitlements. Entitlements is a good word describing a reasonable remedy for poverty that killed millions of Americans up until FDR’s New Deal. He made Social Security an insurance program that Americans paid into, because – his thinking at the time anyway – was that no one could argue against collecting benefits they had paid for. It was and still is a brilliant free market answer to social-economic problems that the private sector have no clue or interest in solving. Conservatives – the shakers and movers of the conservative movement like the ironically named Free Enterprise Institute – hate these programs because they interfere with nature punishing the undeserving – the serfs, the modern wage class, the dirty undeserving underclass. They see the economy and our culture as one where the overlords at the top should collect the vast majority of rewards and the peasants should get the crumbs they overlords are kind enough to let trickle down. This is from one of the links Jonathan Cohn’s listed as a rebuttal to AEI, We’re all dependent on government, and it has long been thus

Nicholas Eberstadt’s “A Nation of Takers” argues that too many Americans have become dependent on government benefits. Over the past half-century, he notes, the share who receive a government cash transfer and/or public health insurance — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment compensation, and so on — has grown steadily. The United States, according to Eberstadt, is now “on the verge of a symbolic threshold: the point at which more than half of all American households receive, and accept, transfer benefits from the government.”

Eberstadt doesn’t contend that this has weakened our economy. His concern is moral. He believes reliance on government for help is undermining Americans’ “fierce and principled independence,” our “proud self-reliance.”

In Eberstadt’s way of seeing things, we are either givers or takers — taxpayers or benefit recipients. This is mistaken. Every American who doesn’t live entirely off the grid pays some taxes.

I use the not politically correct term s like overloads and wage slaves where as Eberstadt using framing like “fierce and principled independence,” our “proud self-reliance.” Eberstadt and his brethren of conservative social-Drawinism are very clever to use this framing. Americans – with our justifiable pride in trying to be as independent as possible, our goal not to be a burden on our families and society – are easy marks for arguments based on self blame and guilt. I and most of you reading this have worked with the lazy and incompetent so we know that a job is no guarantee that someone is a genuine producer. Certainly many of the bosses we have worked for from middle managers to corporate jet using executives are some of the laziest scoundrels in the country. That is reality. Not the pure merit based lala-land that AEI sells to the gullible, including why Romney is wealthy and why the brick laying, house painting, fire fighting class are ungrateful riff-raff,

Growth of government spending is not, for the most part, a consequence of rent-seeking special interests or narrow-minded bureaucrats looking to expand their turf. It’s a product of affluence. As people and nations get richer, they tend to be willing to allocate more money for insurance (protection against risks) and for fairness (extension of opportunity and security to those who are less fortunate). Rather than lamenting an imagined shift from self-reliance to dependence, or claiming that we can’t afford more security and fairness, the American right would do better to focus its energy and creativity on devising alternative ways of pursuing these goals. Government doesn’t always do things best; and even when it does, there almost always is room for improvement. Nicholas Eberstadt’s essay is emblematic of the backward-looking orientation that has dominated America’s right for the past three decades. It’s an orientation that in my view has long since outlived its usefulness. The country will benefit when more smart minds on that side of the spectrum turn their gaze forward.

There are also some good points here, The Theory of the Moocher Class by Mark Schmitt

The conservative narrative of the “entitlement society” ignores the fact that most Americans are both givers and takers.

As David Brooks points out, Mitt Romney’s remarks describing 47 percent of the population as, in effect, moochers who would vote for Obama because they got government benefits were not “off the cuff,” as he described them today. There is a carefully developed theory behind his words, which has seen expression in previous Romney speeches, such as one last December in which he described Obama’s vision as an “entitlement society” in which “everyone receives the same rewards,” but in which “we’ll all be poor.”

The lab where this theory that we’re headed toward a radical egalitarian state is being developed is the American Enterprise Institute, the oldest of the conservative think tanks and one that, much like Romney, has forsaken the traditional business-minded conservatism of, say, the first President Bush, for hard conservatism in which everything is a grand showdown of incompatible worldviews.

Every dollar every millionaire ever made can be traced back to someone doing some actual work or providing a service. The very wealthy just play with money. They bet that companies wage slaves will produce a top selling product. If they win the bet they get more money taxed at a lower rate than the woman who assembled the product or the guy who supervised the loading dock.

Another part of this conservative movement Big Lie is who is befitting from gov’mint the most. I’m talking about government actually redistributing capital, not entitlement insurance that working Americans pay for one way or another or at one time or another,

It’s also worth noting that most members of the “Nation of Takers” probably don’t think of ourselves as “takers.” In her important recent book, The Submerged State, Suzanne Mettler of Cornell looked at data asking people whether they had ever benefited from a government social program. While most participants in the classic, older transfer programs were aware that they had benefited from programs, most of the newer programs, especially those delivered through the tax code, were invisible to a majority of their beneficiaries. (Even 45 percent of Social Security recipients said they had never used a government program, which may reflect the belief that they are receiving benefits they’ve paid for.)

While many on the left latched onto this data as evidence that Americans, especially conservatives, are hypocrites who revel in public benefits while maintaining an anti-government stance, there’s really much more to it than that. Delivering benefits through “submerged state” programs has broken any kind of connection between citizens and the benefits we receive. We can’t have a clear debate about whether we’re a “Nation of Takers” or whether these benefits are essential to maintaining the promise of a middle class country if most of us don’t even know the role that government plays in our lives.

Conservatives and liberals built the submerged state together, often sharing a preference for delivering benefits through the tax code. But a concerted effort to reduce the long-term budget deficit, with tax reform at the center of it, creates an opportunity to surface submerged programs and replace them with far more efficient, visible, direct programs. When the public is fully aware of the benefits it’s receiving, it’s possible that voters will recoil in shock at the degree of their dependency, or perhaps they will regain a healthy respect for the role of government in providing some of the security that helps them take full advantage of their capacities and opportunities.

It’s disappointing that Romney shows no interest in either drawing out the submerged state or in the bipartisan project (of which his health reform in Massachusetts was a part) of smoothing the path to economic success for families. Instead, he just sees half the country as people who can’t be convinced “that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” That’s a very strange view of this country and a tragic development in modern conservatism.

Just two examples of what mark is talking about and they include Mr. Take Responsibility for Himself, Mitt Romney Benefited From Government Bailout: Report

Ultimately, Romney managed to convince Bain’s creditors to take a steep discount on Bain debt, using a threat to pay Bain executives big bonuses that would have stripped it of the cash it had left, leaving creditors with next to nothing, according to Rolling Stone.

One of those creditors was the FDIC, which had taken over a bank that loaned money to Bain. The FDIC ended up collecting about $14 million of the $30 million Bain owed it, according to the magazine. Taxpayers didn’t foot the bill for this, FDIC banks did, but RS points out that those costs were in turn probably absorbed by bank customers in the form of higher fees.

You and I, the people who just cannot learn to take responsibility for ourselves paid for Romney’s financial shenanigans. Being an upstanding straight talking guy I’m sure Mittens will be sending our refunds and an apology any day now. Romney’s ‘Crony Capitalism’: Bain’s Big Government Subsidies

But a closer look at Bain’s record under Romney reveals that the company relied on the very government subsidies that Romney and Tea Party conservatives routinely denounce as “crony capitalism.” The Los Angeles Times ran a big story yesterday about Bain’s investment in Steel Dynamics, which received $37 million in subsidies and grants to build a new plant in DeKalb County, Indiana. An analyst at the Cato Institute called it “corporate welfare.”

Romney has recently pointed to Steel Dynamics as one of his success stories at Bain, including in a new ad, which contributed to the 100,000 net jobs he’s claimed to have created at the firm (an incorrect figure he’s subsequently had to walk back). He never mentions that government subsidies played a major role in ensuring that success.

Phil Mattera, research director for Good Jobs First, provides a few more examples of the government subsidies Bain received during Romney’s tenure at his blog, Dirt Diggers Digest.

GS Industries. In 1996 American Iron Reduction LLC, a joint venture of GS Industries (which had been taken private by Bain in 1993) and Birmingham Steel, sought some $20 million in tax breaks in connection with its plan to build a plant in Louisiana’s St. James Parish (Baton Rouge Advocate, April 6, 1996). As the United Steelworkers union noted recently, GS Industries later applied for a federal loan guarantee, but before the deal could be implemented the company went bankrupt.

Sealy. A year after the 1997 buyout of this leading mattress company by Bain and other private equity firms, Sealy received $600,000 from state and local authorities in North Carolina to move its corporate offices, a research center and a manufacturing plant from Ohio (Greensboro News & Record, March 31, 1998). In 2004 Bain and its partners sold Sealy to another private equity group.

What Bush did, with Paul Ryan’s help, what Romney is doing, what the conservative movement is doing is undermining faith in our nation. By their actions they’re destroying faith that the free market really rewards work and they’re destroying the idea that government and people who really care about good governance can make a positive difference in people’s lives. Conservatives have it backwards, American workers are carrying the wealthy parasites on their backs. There is nothing patriotic about that.

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

Billiards wallpaper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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