Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Anti-American Site The Daily Caller Pushes Fact Free Bin Laden "Bombshell"

The Anti-American Site The Daily Caller Pushes Fact Free Bin Laden "Bombshell"

The Daily Caller reported late last night that they obtained an exclusive first look at Richard Miniter's forthcoming book Leading From Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors Who Decide for Him, which contains the "bombshell" allegation (sourced to a single anonymous official) that in the first three months of 2011, President Obama thrice canceled the mission to kill Osama bin Laden. Miniter's and the Caller's reporting is contradicted by previous in-depth reports indicating that the plan for the raid wasn't delivered to the president until the end of March, and training for the operation didn't begin until mid-April, meaning that there wasn't yet a "mission" for the president to cancel.

The Daily Caller's David Martosko wrote last night:

    In "Leading From Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors Who Decide for Him," Richard Miniter writes that Obama canceled the "kill" mission in January 2011, again in February, and a third time in March. Obama's close adviser Valerie Jarrett persuaded him to hold off each time, according to the book.

    Miniter, a two-time New York Times best-selling author, cites an unnamed source with Joint Special Operations Command who had direct knowledge of the operation and its planning.

Miniter's reporting doesn't match up with the New Yorker's deep dive into the Bin Laden raid, published in August 2011, which offered a timeline of the planning process based on quotes and information from a variety of sources, named and otherwise.

According to the New Yorker, in late 2010 President Obama ordered Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to "begin exploring options for a military strike" against the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan where Bin Laden was thought to be hiding, and that planning began in February 2011. At that point, according to the Caller's vague reporting, Obama is alleged to have already twice "canceled" the mission.

From the New Yorker:

    In late 2010, Obama ordered Panetta to begin exploring options for a military strike on the compound. Panetta contacted Vice-Admiral Bill McRaven, the SEAL in charge of JSOC. Traditionally, the Army has dominated the special-operations community, but in recent years the SEALs have become a more prominent presence; McRaven's boss at the time of the raid, Eric Olson--the head of Special Operations Command, or SOCOM--is a Navy admiral who used to be a commander of DEVGRU. In January, 2011, McRaven asked a JSOC official named Brian, who had previously been a DEVGRU deputy commander, to present a raid plan. The next month, Brian, who has the all-American look of a high-school quarterback, moved into an unmarked office on the first floor of the C.I.A.'s printing plant, in Langley, Virginia. Brian covered the walls of the office with topographical maps and satellite images of the Abbottabad compound. He and half a dozen JSOC officers were formally attached to the Pakistan/Afghanistan department of the C.I.A.'s Counterterrorism Center, but in practice they operated on their own. A senior counterterrorism official who visited the JSOC redoubt described it as an enclave of unusual secrecy and discretion. "Everything they were working on was closely held," the official said.

Obama convened his national security team in mid-March to review the "possible courses of action" devised by "Brian" and his team, at which point Obama ordered Admiral William McRaven, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, to begin planning the raid on Bin Laden's compound. That plan was delivered to the president on March 29, and the SEAL team began training for the operation on April 10. This means that, according to the Daily Caller, by late March the president had "canceled" three times a "mission" that didn't yet exist.

Again, from the New Yorker:

    On March 14th, Obama called his national-security advisers into the White House Situation Room and reviewed a spreadsheet listing possible courses of action against the Abbottabad compound. Most were variations of either a JSOC raid or an airstrike. Some versions included co√∂perating with the Pakistani military; some did not. Obama decided against informing or working with Pakistan. "There was a real lack of confidence that the Pakistanis could keep this secret for more than a nanosecond," a senior adviser to the President told me. At the end of the meeting, Obama instructed McRaven to proceed with planning the raid.

    Brian invited James, the commander of DEVGRU's Red Squadron, and Mark, the master chief petty officer, to join him at C.I.A. headquarters. They spent the next two and a half weeks considering ways to get inside bin Laden's house. One option entailed flying helicopters to a spot outside Abbottabad and letting the team sneak into the city on foot. The risk of detection was high, however, and the SEALs would be tired by a long run to the compound. The planners had contemplated tunnelling in--or, at least, the possibility that bin Laden might tunnel out. But images provided by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency showed that there was standing water in the vicinity, suggesting that the compound sat in a flood basin. The water table was probably just below the surface, making tunnels highly unlikely. Eventually, the planners agreed that it made the most sense to fly directly into the compound. "Special operations is about doing what's not expected, and probably the least expected thing here was that a helicopter would come in, drop guys on the roof, and land in the yard," the special-operations officer said.

    On March 29th, McRaven brought the plan to Obama. The President's military advisers were divided. Some supported a raid, some an airstrike, and others wanted to hold off until the intelligence improved. Robert Gates, the Secretary of Defense, was one of the most outspoken opponents of a helicopter assault. Gates reminded his colleagues that he had been in the Situation Room of the Carter White House when military officials presented Eagle Claw -- the 1980 Delta Force operation that aimed at rescuing American hostages in Tehran but resulted in a disastrous collision in the Iranian desert, killing eight American soldiers. "They said that was a pretty good idea, too," Gates warned. He and General James Cartwright, the vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs, favored an airstrike by B-2 Spirit bombers. That option would avoid the risk of having American boots on the ground in Pakistan. But the Air Force then calculated that a payload of thirty-two smart bombs, each weighing two thousand pounds, would be required to penetrate thirty feet below ground, insuring that any bunkers would collapse. "That much ordnance going off would be the equivalent of an earthquake," Cartwright told me. The prospect of flattening a Pakistani city made Obama pause. He shelved the B-2 option and directed McRaven to start rehearsing the raid.

UPDATE: The White House has flatly denied Miniter's allegation, telling USA Today that it is "an utter fabrication" and that White House senior adviser Valerie Jarret "wasn't read into super-secret plans for the raid that took place in May of 2011."

For those who may not remember Miniter, he was one of the parade of right-wing conspiracy mongers who tried to make the case that Saddam/and Iraq was connected to AL-Queada.  Crazies like Miniter are never punished by conservatives for their lie mongering, in fact they reward serial liars with jobs at media outlets they own and book deals, so they can lie some more. Conservatism continues its cult-like ways because paranoia, lies and radicalism are the only thing they truly stand for.

Florida's Criminal Governor Rick Scott (R) Preaches Austerity, Spends Big On Frivolous Lawsuits

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Mystery Candidate For King of America, Mitt Romney

The Mystery Candidate For King of America, Mitt Romney

Presidential candidates try as best they can to control their public image. But by modern standards, Mitt Romney has taken his quest for secrecy to extraordinary lengths. Here's all there is to know about what we don't know about Romney.

His Old Emails

Reporters looking for emails and other records from Romney's tenure as Massachusetts governor are out of luck.

In the final months of Romney's four-year stint as governor, as the Boston Globe reported, 11 of his top staffers purchased the hard drives in their government-issued computers, preventing state archivists from accessing any of their emails. In its final days, the Romney administration also replaced computers and scrubbed state government servers of all the administration's emails. As the top attorney for Romney's replacement, Deval Patrick, put it: "The governor's office has found no e-mails from 2002-2006 in our possession."

The Romney administration did turn over to state archivists hundreds of boxes of records, including memos, emails, and other communications among state agencies and cabinet members. However, the boxes containing those records were hand-picked and given over voluntarily by Romney's staff. It stands to reason that any embarrassing or revealing information—say, internal planning or deliberations about Romney's universal health care legislation—did not make it into the Romney administration's record dump.

Pam Wilmot, the director of Common Cause Massachusetts, the Bay State affiliate of the good-government lobbying group, says no previous administration went to the same lengths as Romney's to keep its communications secret from reporters and the public. "In retrospect, there does seem to be a substantial difference between [Romney's] administration and other administrations on transparency," Wilmot says.

Offshore Accounts

Mitt Romney might not see anything wrong with putting his money into offshore investment holdings to avoid US taxes, but he hasn't been especially keen on letting the public know how much he's done it. According to a recent story by the Associated Press, Romney failed to include more than 20 investment holdings on his federal financial disclosure reports. Of those, at least seven were in foreign countries.

The only reason the public knows about these financial instruments now is that Romney, under duress, finally released his 2010 tax returns, which showed the existence of dozens of investments, many of which were never included on his state or federal disclosure forms. Among them was Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors Ltd., which is based in Bermuda, a notorious tax haven. Romney used Sankaty, which he owned, as his partnership stake in many Bain Capital deals in the late 1990s. Sankaty was involved in Bain's takeover of Domino's Pizza and also controlled 50,000 shares of Global-Tech Appliances, the Chinese appliance firm that profited handsomely from the outsourcing of American jobs.
Romney never listed his ownership of Sankaty on Massachusetts disclosure forms when he ran for governor. And then, in 2003, Romney transferred Sankaty to his wife's trust the day before he was sworn in as governor of Massachusetts. The transfer did not have to be made public, and it allowed him to keep the investment secret by describing it in disclosure forms as simply part of a blind trust that held "various investments and securities," according to AP.

Romney's 2010 tax returns show that Sankaty doesn't have any assets at the moment, but tax experts told AP that it could still be used for future tax benefits with his remaining Bain investments. But he has refused to answer any questions about why he still has the Bermuda company, or what he plans to do with it.


The Obama campaign returned $200,000 dollars in February after the New York Times discovered it had been raised by two men whose brother was angling for a presidential pardon that would exonerate him for fraud and drug-related criminal charges. Despite the president's pledge not to take money from lobbyists, several of his big bundlers are connected to special interests in Washington. Former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine was one of Obama's biggest bundlers, but he has since come under investigation and the campaign has returned the money.

The reason we know all this is that Obama, like every other recent presidential candidate, discloses his bundlers—those well connected elites with the social ties to raise huge sums of money for their preferred candidate while getting around regulatory limits on how much one person can give. Romney runs ads attacking Obama as a "crony capitalist" for supposedly rewarding his most generous campaign contributors, but he will not say who his own bundlers are. Romney is not required by law to do so—but previous candidates have.

"Since bundling became one of the prominent means of raising money, the presidential candidates of the two main parties have released that list," says Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center, a group that supports campaign finance reform. "It's hard to assess who are the real kingpins in [the Romney] campaign."

Romney's stance makes it hard for voters to figure out what his donors might want in exchange for their cash, argues Kathy Kiely, managing editor of the Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group, which reports on transparency and campaign finance issues. "If someone's running for public office, the voters have an interest in knowing who's writing the big checks and how much they're writing," Kiely says. "If nobody knows that this person, or this company, has written you a seven-figure check, it makes it a lot easier to do them a favor."

Mitt's Correspondence Gap

George Romney, Mitt's father, relished the letters he exchanged with his four children. The elder Romney's archives—nearly 450 boxes of letters, clippings, microfilm, and more held at the University of Michigan—include a trove of letters between him and his children who were at college, on their Mormon missions abroad, or who had moved out of the family home.

Romney wanted details on everything: from his children's academic progress to their living arrangements and even their love lives. In a November 3, 1959, letter, Romney writes to Scott, then an undergraduate at Stanford University, that he was "always interested in the girls you are dating." George Romney continues, "Have you looked up that little blonde girl over at church—the Driggs girl?…Are there any good-looking Mormon girls going to Stanford?" In another letter to Scott, Romney chides his son for failing to maintain regular correspondence, a source of annoyance for Scott's mother, Lenore.

Yet all but absent from the Romney archives is correspondence with Mitt. The lone letter of note is one from Mitt to his parents while Mitt worked in France as a missionary. The letter's cheery tone belies the fact that Mitt had nearly died in a car crash one month earlier near the village of Beaulac. The wife of Duane Anderson, president of the Mormon mission in France and a mentor for Mitt, died from injuries sustained in the crash.

In the letter to his parents, Mitt writes that his missionary work "is going really well." He ends by urging his parents to share "his letters" with his siblings, suggesting that other letters exist. But those other letters aren't included in the Romney archives.

George Romney's archives span the years 1939 to 1973. It's unclear why so few of Mitt Romney's letters made it into his father's archive, or who possesses the letters today. What is apparent is that, in the sole public archive that his beloved father wanted the public to remember him by, Mitt is glaringly absent.

Tax Returns

Romney has released only one year of tax returns, and has said last year's return, once finalized, is as much as he's willing to disclose. He fears that the information in previous years' returns could be used against him by Democrats: "The opposition research of the Obama campaign is looking for anything they can use to distract from the failure of the president to reignite our economy," he told National Review. "I'm simply not enthusiastic about giving them hundreds or thousands of more pages to pick through, distort, and lie about."

Partisan attacks may be a risk of Romney releasing more tax returns—but his eschewing transparency raises questions about what the GOP candidate wants to hide. Previous presidential candidates have released multiple years of tax returns, either during the presidential race or prior runs for public office.

"If you don’t want people…to be suspicious, be open about it, and if you don’t want to be open about it, why are you running for public office?" Kiely says. "You've made a contract with the public: 'I'm asking you to trust me, so I should put my stuff out there.' So to the extent you're not doing that, I think it raises suspicions."

IRA Details

According to financial-disclosure firms he's filed, Romney's Individual Retirement Account—a tax-advantaged retirement plan—is worth at least $20.7 million and as much as $101.6 million. It grows tax-free. But it's unclear how Romney's IRA grew so large. The annual limit for contributions to an IRA is currently $17,000, which employers can match if they choose. The limit for personal and matching contributions combined was around $30,000 per year when Romney was at Bain, suggesting that the most he could have put into his IRA was around $450,000. But his IRA could be worth 200 times that. (Even if Romney released several years worth of tax returns, it may not explain why his IRA grew so large.)

Some financial and tax experts believe Romney may have used a complicated, highly technical tax dodge called a "blocker corporation" to get such a large amount of money into the IRA. Others have suggested that Romney put in some of his partnership shares in Bain Capital itself and valued them at zero because they represented future income—another obscure tax maneuver unavailable to most Americans. It's impossible to know for sure, because, as with so much else, Romney won't talk about it.

All of this sleazy behavior is fine with conservative Republican voters. Look back at the history of who conservatives vote into Office: Nixon- Watergate/self sabotaging peace talks with the North Vietnamese. Reagan - Iran-Contra ( using arms smuggling profits to make for hostage release), the HUD scandals, the second worst recession since 1929. They voted in known criminal Rick Scott as governor of Florida. They believed every lie Bush 43 told about Iraq even though there was plenty of information available that said he was greatly exaggerating and lying. Conservatism is the culture of moral corruption, so of course morally corrupt candidates don't bother conservative voters. It even seems that the sleazier their candidates are the more they like them. There is nothing remotely patriotic about that.

The Pravda Chanel or as some call it, Fox News is "Doubling Down" On Deceptively Edited Comments

Fox News accused President Obama of "doubling down" on comments they helped characterize as "insulting" to business owners, but in doing so, Fox itself doubled down on its campaign to strip Obama's statements out of context to further a political agenda.

Obama spoke at a campaign event and pointed out how benefits such as American infrastructure factor in the success of small businesses. Fox deceptively edited the president's remarks to accuse him of telling small business owners that if they have a business, "you didn't build that."

This morning, Fox returned to the scandal they helped to manufacture, reporting that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney called Obama's comments "insulting" to business owners. Fox then turned its sights on another campaign event and accused President Obama of "doubling down." Here's the portion of the remarks that Fox chose to play as evidence:

    OBAMA: We did not build this country on our own. We built it together. And if Mr. Romney doesn't understand that, then he doesn't understand what it takes to grow this economy in the 21st century for everybody.

But the only way these comments can be portrayed as doubling down on an insult to business owners is to completely strip them of context. In the portion of Obama's speech that Fox chose to ignore, it's clear that he  explicitly touted the "drive and ingenuity of Americans who start businesses" as crucial to "what makes us such a robust dynamic economy." Here is what Obama actually said:

    OBAMA: As I said, I believe with all my heart that it is the drive and ingenuity of Americans who start businesses that lead to their success.  And by the way, that's why I've cut taxes on small businesses 18 times since I've been President.  (Applause.)  I believe the ability for somebody who is willing to work hard, and sweat and sacrifice to turn their idea into a profitable business, that's what makes us such a robust, dynamic economy.  We prize that.

    But I also believe that if you talk to any business owner -- small or large -- they'll tell you what also helps them succeed alongside their hard work, their initiative, their great ideas, is the ability to hire workers with the right skills and the right education.

    What helps them succeed is the ability to ship and sell their products on new roads and bridges and ports and wireless networks.  What helps them succeed is having access to cutting-edge technology, which like the Internet often starts with publicly funded research and development.  (Applause.)  And what helps them succeed is a strong and growing middle class, so they've got a broader base of customers.

Why is every Republican with access to the media distorting President Obama's reality based comments? Simple, conservative cannot win elected office without lying. That should tell every American something about the deep moral corruption and anti-Americanism of the Republican movement.

Jewish Voters, Republican Chutzpah

Friday, July 27, 2012

Morally Bankrupt Republican Media Still Pushing Its Discredited Take On Obama And Small Business

Morally Bankrupt Republican Media Still Pushing Its Discredited Take On Obama And Small Business

Fox News is characterizing President Obama's response to the Fox-manufactured "you didn't build that" controversy as "damage control." This comes after Fox promoted its deceptively edited clip for days -- and after independent fact-checkers have discredited attacks on Obama based on the deceptive editing.

Fox Claims Obama Campaign In "Damage Control" Mode

On-Screen Text: "Obama Campaign Steps Up Damage Control Over 'You Didn't Build That' Remark." During the July 26 edition of Fox News' America Live, host Megyn Kelly reported that President Obama's campaign released an ad responding to Mitt Romney's distortion of Obama's "you didn't build that" comments. On-screen text during the segment read: "Obama Campaign Steps Up Damage Control Over 'You Didn't Build That' Remark.'"

[Fox News, America Live, 7/26/12]

Fox's Kelly Suggests That "The Damage" From Obama's Comments "May Be Lasting." During her report on Obama's response to attacks over his "you didn't build that" remarks, Kelly suggested that "the damage" from Obama's comments "may be lasting," citing a poll showing Obama's approval rating among business owners. From America Live:

    KELLY: It has been two weeks since the president made the now-infamous "you didn't build that" remarks, but the damage may be lasting. A new Gallup poll shows that nearly 60 percent of American business owners now disapprove of the president's job performance. Just 35 percent approve. To counter the new GOP war cry "we did build it," team Obama just released a new television ad featuring the president himself, in which he dismisses the attacks against him, accusing his opponent of slicing and dicing his comments. [Fox News, America Live, 7/26/12]

But Fox Has Pushed This False Narrative From The Beginning ...

    Fox & Friends Deceptively Edited Obama's Comments On Small Business. The morning show cut Obama's remarks in a way that made it seem like he was suggesting business owners didn't deserve credit for their success. In fact, Obama was noting that community support and public investment are important factors in business success. [Media Matters, 7/16/12]

    The Following Day, Mitt Romney Repeated Fox's Distortion. [Media Matters, 7/17/12]

    In The First Two Days Of Pushing The Story, Fox Spent More Than Two Hours Of Airtime Promoting The Falsehood. Coverage of the story ran on both Fox's "news" shows and its opinion programming. [Media Matters, 7/18/12]

    On Day 3, News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch Endorsed The Falsehood On Twitter. In a tweet, Murdoch wrote "Yesterday Obama went off script, showed real self ie government omnipotent, individuals secondary. Must be big damage." [Media Matters, 7/19/12]

    As Part Of "The Fox Cycle," The Network Attacked Nonpartisan Journalists For Ignoring The Made-Up Story. [Media Matters, 7/19/12]

    After More Than A Week, Fox Tried To Keep The Story Alive By Suggesting Obama Was "Doubling Down" On His "Insulting" Remarks. Fox & Friends used Obama's comments that "we did not build this country on our own. We built it together" as a pretext to revive the "didn't build that" smear. [Media Matters, 7/25/12]

    On Fox News Radio, Fox's Martha MacCallum Said Obama's Comment "Shock[ed] Me" And That They Show "Some Level Of Resentment" Toward Small Business. [Media Matters, 7/25/12]

    Fox & Friends Tried To Rebut Charge That Video Was Deceptively Edited With New Deceptively Edited Video. In this video, rather than play a video clip of Obama that includes all context context, the show played an extended video that still omitted the crucial piece of context: Obama's references to teachers, "this unbelievable American system," as well as government research, roads, and bridges. [Media Matters, 7/26/12]         

    Fox Hosted Karl Rove And His New Anti-Obama Attack Ad Repeating "Didn't Build That" Falsehood. Rove, cofounder of conservative super PAC American Crossroads, used a Fox appearance to promote the organization's new ad "Replay," which mimics Fox's misleading editing of Obama's remarks. [Media Matters, 7/25/12]

... Even As Independent Analyses Say The Criticism Is Bogus

Wash. Post's Kessler: "Focusing On One Ill-Phrased Sentence" Amounts To "Pretend[ing] That Obama Is Talking About Something Different." The Romney campaign released an ad that copied Fox's editing of Obama's remarks, and the candidate himself claimed Obama's remarks were akin to suggesting that "Steve Jobs didn't build Apple." The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler gave those comments three "Pinocchios." From The Washington Post:

    Obama certainly could take from lessons from [Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth] Warren or [Franklin Delano] Roosevelt on how to frame this argument in a way that is less susceptible for quote-snipping. And Romney certainly could answer Obama's argument by engaging in a serious discussion about whether the wealthy should pay much more in taxes as a matter of social good and equity. That would be grounds for an elevated, interesting and important debate.

    But instead, by focusing on one ill-phrased sentence, Romney and his campaign have decided to pretend that Obama is talking about something different -- and then further extrapolated it so that it becomes ridiculous. That's not very original at all. [The Washington Post, 7/23/12]

FactCheck.org: "Taking Snippets Of" Obama's Speech "Ignores The Larger Context Of The President's Meaning." A FactCheck.org analysis detailed Obama's remarks and some of the attacks coming from Republicans. From FactCheck.org:

    There's no question Obama inartfully phrased those two sentences, but it's clear from the context what the president was talking about. He spoke of government -- including government-funded education, infrastructure and research -- assisting businesses to make what he called "this unbelievable American system that we have."

    In summary, he said: "The point is ... that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together."


    We don't know what the president had in mind when he uttered those words, and his intent is not clear. Regardless, our conclusion is the same: Taking snippets of his speech ignores the larger context of the president's meaning that a business owner does not become successful "on your own." [FactCheck.org, 7/23/12]

Try to imagine one of these faux outraged business puppets for Romney on an island - they seem to imagine themselves an island already. Where do they get the materials to make a product, on what roads or shipping lanes would it arrive and who would protect the ships. Where are the people who make the products, where did they get their education. If the island is invaded who protects their business. Who do they sell services to - people who don't have an education? Who puts out the fires on the island. As Obama and Elizabeth warren has said, of course people who run businesses deserve credit, but they have never and will never operate a business without the complex connections and support of a nation with government that provides some of the essential ingredients. Romney camp features Tampa govt. contractors who say they don't need... government. Talk about being clueless.

Scott Brown (R-MS) is not a friend of working class America.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Killing The Dreams of America's Founders: Mitt Romney's Sees a Future That Excludes Government By And For The People

Killing The Dreams of America's Founders: Mitt Romney's Sees a Future That Excludes Government By And For The People

"Too much money" sounds like an oxymoron, especially when applied to American politics. But in the last week, Republicans are beginning to learn that lots of money can have its downside. Thursday's story that Romney may have actively directed Bain Capital three years longer than he claimed – a period in which Bain Capital-managed companies experienced bankruptcies and layoffs – caps what must be the worst weekly news cycle of any modern American presidential candidate. From images of corporate raiding, to luxury speedboats, to offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands, to mega-mansions in the Hamptons, this week's stories suggest that the candidacy of Mitt Romney – poster-boy for the symbiotic relationship between big money and the modern Republican party – is in serious trouble.

Last weekend's photos of the Romney clan on a luxury speedboat cruising around a lake in New Hampshire, where their multimillion-dollar compound sits, were startling in their tone-deafness. And just to make sure the sentiment wasn't lost on anyone, at a campaign event the same week, Obama recounted childhood memories of touring the US with his grandmother by Greyhound bus, even the thrill of staying at a Howard Johnson motel. In a smart political calculation, the Obamas chose to forgo their annual summer vacation in Cape Cod (a nice upper-middle class vacation spot, mind you, but nowhere near the same league as the Romney estate). Instead, Obama was photographed visiting a senior citizens' home in the battleground state of Ohio.

And the hits kept coming. Next, Vanity Fair published an article listing the Romneys' various offshore investment accounts worth potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in the secretive tax havens of Cayman Islands and Bermuda, as well as a since-closed Swiss bank account. Democrats stoked the predictable outrage from the revelations. On the Sunday ABC news program "This Week", Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley thundered:

    "Mitt Romney bets against America. He bet against America when he put his money in Swiss bank accounts and tax havens and shelters."

On the same program, Bobbie Jindal, Republican governor of Louisiana, could only lamely respond:

    "In terms of Governor Romney's financial success, I'm happy that he's a successful businessman."

While there is no evidence that the Romneys illegally evaded taxes through their various offshore accounts (their secretiveness making it impossible to tell), the reek of entitlement became overwhelming when it was revealed that the Romneys had accumulated somewhere between $20m and $101m in an "IRA", a tax-advantaged retirement account designed for middle-class savers, limited to a few thousand dollars a year contribution. As one commenter parried, "I may be stupid, but I ain't no fool." In other words, we might be too stupid to understand how Romney was able to obtain all these tax breaks legally, but we aren't fooled about unfairness of it all.

Well, at this point, you might of think that the next sighting of Romney would be of him clothed in ash-cloth ladling out soup at an inner-city soup kitchen. But no. Next, we were regaled with the New York Times story of a lavish fundraiser in the Hamptons hosted by the infamous David Koch, the billionaire benefactor of conservative causes. The optics were worse than bad, as the the Times recounted how one woman in a Range Rover, idling in a 30-deep line of cars waiting for entry, yelled to a Romney aide, "Is there a VIP entrance? We are VIP."

Romney was expected to haul in several million dollars from his trip to wine and dine with the billionaires of the Hamptons. But why risk confirming the very message that Democrats have been hammering upon: that Romney is a super-wealthy elitist whose objective is to further the interests of the 0.01%?

Certainly, billionaires for Romney would have given him those millions without the face-time and the photo-ops, the chance to dress up and be seen. And to be heckled by Occupy Wall Street protesters and parodied by reporters. What is so very puzzling about the whole episode is the sheer in-your-face-ness of it.

Yet, perhaps that is the point. As a very perceptive article in the New York Magazine, Lisa Miller describes how new psychological research indicates that wealth erodes empathy with others. In the "Money-Empathy Gap", Miller cites one researcher who says that:

    "The rich are way more likely to prioritize their own self-interests above the interests of other people. It makes the more likely to exhibit characteristics that we would stereotypically associate with, say, assholes."

Researchers found a consistent correlation between higher income, management responsibility and disagreeableness. One researcher interpreted her findings to imply that money makes people disinterested in the welfare of others. "It's not a bad analogy to think of them as a little autistic" says Kathleen Vos, a professor at the University of Minnesota.

If this research is accurate (as it seems to be, replicated in various ways by several researches), the synergies between it, the increasing concentration of wealth and the Citizens United ruling, have striking implications for the future of the Republican party. As Newt Gingrich, the uber-southern politician, plaintively explained how he lost the Republican primary: "Romney had 16 billionaires. I had only one." The domination by the super-wealthy means that Republicans not only have no interest in the welfare of the rest of the 99.9%, they have no understanding of why this is a problem. The noblesse oblige days of the old money, such as the Bushes, the Kennedys and the Roosevelts are long gone, replaced by the new mega-money of hedge funds, corporate raiders and global industrialists.

How else can one explain the allegiance of the Republican party to the profoundly unpopular Ryan tax plan, which would eviscerate Medicare and Medicaid while delivering more tax cuts to the rich? What is the future of a party in a democracy when the powers-that-be can no longer even understand, much less address, the welfare of the vast majority of its citizens?
Articles like this are an appeal to humanity and the common good. Admirable in its intentions, but lost on Republicans who have nothing but contempt for the notion of the common good. Conservatives seem to collect as much, if not more government benefits than everyone else, so its kind of like saying their soda is sugar free, but actually has more sugar in it than other drinks. There is the real world that descent normal Americans live in and there is a fantasy world where conservatives live. They are not now, nor have they ever been against big government for themselves, they're just against the people acting together to provide a safety net for themselves like Medicare. Some reasonable Americans look around and see the reality of how Republicans crashed the economy and say it is only common sense they we provide something for ourselves because Republicans keep giving America the shaft ( the last very bad recession we had was courtesy Saint Ronnie Regan).

Romney: Gold Medal in Dishonesty

Conservative Bill O'Reilly makes a reported $3 million dollars a year for sitting behind a desk acting like an arrogant assclown. What a nice way to cruise through life, never doing a honest day's work, making fun of the disabled and seniors, - "Are You Weak?" Bill O'Reilly Belittles Social Safety Net Recipients

EXCLUSIVE: Romney Bundler A Registered Foreign Agent For Hong Kong

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tis The Season For The Limitless Gutter of Republican Elite Lies

Tis The Season For The Limitless Gutter of Republican Elite Lies

When it comes to the economy, too many Americans continue to be numbed by the soothing sounds of conservative spin in the media. Here are three of their more inventive claims:

1. Higher taxes on the rich will hurt small businesses and discourage job creators

A recent Treasury analysis found that only 2.5% of small businesses would face higher taxes from the expiration of the Bush tax cuts.

As for job creation, it's not coming from the people with money. Over 90% of the assets owned by millionaires are held in a combination of low-risk investments (bonds and cash), the stock market, real estate, and personal business accounts. Angel investing (capital provided by affluent individuals for business start-ups) accounted for less than 1% of the investable assets of high net worth individuals in North America in 2011. The Mendelsohn Affluent Survey agreed that the very rich spend less than two percent of their money on new business startups.

The Wall Street Journal noted, in way of confirmation, that the extra wealth created by the Bush tax cuts led to the "worst track record for jobs in recorded history."

2. Individual initiative is all you need for success.

President Obama was criticized for a speech which included these words: "If you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own...when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together."

'Together' is the word that winner-take-all conservatives seem to forget. Even the richest and arguably most successful American, Bill Gates, owes most of his good fortune to the thousands of software and hardware designers who shaped the technological industry over a half-century or more. A careful analysis of his rise shows that he had luck, networking skills, and a timely sense of opportunism, even to the point of taking the work of competitors and adapting it as his own.

Gates was preceded by numerous illustrious Americans who are considered individual innovators when in fact they used their skills to build upon the work of others. On the day that Alexander Graham Bell filed for a patent for his telephone, electrical engineer Elisha Gray was filing an intent to patent a similar device. Both had built upon the work of Antonio Meucci, who didn't have the fee to file for a patent. Thomas Edison's incandescent light bulb was the culmination of almost 40 years of work by other fellow light bulb developers. Samuel Morse, Eli Whitney, the Wright brothers, and even Thomas Edison had, as eloquently stated by Jared Diamond, "capable predecessors...and made their improvements at a time when society was capable of using their product."

If anything, it's harder than ever today to ascend through the ranks on one's own. As summarized in the Pew research report "Pursuing the American Dream," only 4% of those starting out in the bottom quintile make it to the top quintile as adults, "confirming that the 'rags-to-riches' story is more often found in Hollywood than in reality."

3. A booming stock market is good for all of us

The news reports would have us believe that happy days are here again when the stock market goes up. But as the market rises, most Americans are getting a smaller slice of the pie.

In a recent Newsweek article, author Daniel Gross gushed that "The stock market has doubled since March 2009, while corporate profits and exports have surged to records."

But the richest 10% of Americans own over 80% of the stock market. What Mr. Gross referred to as the "democratization of the stock market" is actually, as demonstrated by economist Edward Wolff, a distribution of financial wealth among just the richest 5% of Americans, those earning an average of $500,000 per year.

Thanks in good part to a meager 15% capital gains tax, the richest 400 taxpayers DOUBLED their income and nearly HALVED their tax rates in just seven years (2001-2007). So dramatic is the effect that anyone making more than $34,500 a year in salary and wages is taxed at a higher rate than an individual with millions in capital gains.

There's yet more to the madness. The stock market has grown much faster than the GDP over the past century, which means that this special tax rate is being given to people who already own most of the unearned income that keeps expanding faster than the productiveness of real workers.

And one fading illusion: People in the highest class are people of high class.

Scientific American and Psychological Science have both reported that wealthier people are more focused on self, and have less empathy for people unlike themselves.

This sense of self-interest, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and other sources, promotes wrongdoing and unethical behavior.

Can't help but think about bankers and hedge fund managers.

Paul Buchheit is the founder and developer of social justice and educational websites (UsAgainstGreed.org, PayUpNow.org, RappingHistory.org)

In another age a moderate conservative ( remember them) called this phenomenon voodoo economics - where you redistribute the capital produced by American labor to the top of the pyramid. Why? Well there are many reason people buy into this. One is that low to modest income conservative Republicans are obsessed with someone getting $4 in food assistance they fell they don't deserve, but do not care about the plutocrats at the top taking most of the value produced by the work they do. Working class Republicans are happy to make their plantation masters happy as long as those people over there - the nebulous other - does not get a few pennies in assistance during tough times. Tough times created by the plutocrats they vote into power. A great example of people not acting in their own rational self interests.

Conservative Evangelical Leaders Blame Liberals, Media For Aurora Shootings, Say Only Christian Victims Will Go To Heaven

Democrats Crush Republicans as Capitalists in the White House

I think its great that CNN has an affirmative action program for the brain dead, Erick Erickson Brings Fox's Bogus Small-Business Attack On Obama To CNN. And I thought Erick was going to lead the American Dish Detergent Revolution.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mitt Romney Is A Capitalist The Way A Bank Robber Is A Champion Of The Free Market

Mitt Romney Is A Capitalist The Way A Bank Robber Is A Champion Of The Free Market

A splendid accidental benefit of this year’s Republican presidential primary is that one of the most abusive dark corners of American capitalism, so-called private equity, is coming in for belated scrutiny and scorn. Delectably, the disclosures and criticisms are coming from leading Republicans, in a blatant undermining of cherished Republican ideology. Even before Democrats lay a glove on Romney, he will be assaulted by an investigative documentary that is more Michael Moore than Adam Smith. In politics, it doesn’t get much better than this.

“Private equity” was rebranded in the 1990s. It used to be called, more honestly, leveraged buyouts. While the job-killing aspect of many of the deals done by Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital and kindred financial engineers has come in for withering criticism, that is only one part of the mischief.

The phrase “private equity” conjures up images of venture capitalists pooling their funds and backing promising new ventures or contributing new equity and new management to companies in need of restructuring. But that is not how the game really works most of the time. Typically, private-equity companies borrow a ton of money, sometimes in collusion with incumbent management and sometimes in opposition to it, and take a company private. That is, the company’s shares are no longer publicly traded.

This maneuver has several advantages to the new owners. First, despite the picture of investors putting in equity, most of the money is usually borrowed. That produces a huge tax break, since the interest is tax-deductible. Second, the new owners can pay themselves large management fees as well as “special dividends.” Typically, they take out far more than they put in, by incurring debts carried on the books of the operating company.

For instance, when Bain masterminded a private-equity deal for HCA, one of America’s largest for-profit hospital chains (which has gone from private to public twice and which paid a multibillion-dollar fine for defrauding Medicare), Bain paid itself a management fee of $58 million, even though it had only put up 6.3 percent of the buyout fund.

Another big plus: The main regulatory principle protecting investors and by extension, the system as a whole, is disclosure. Under the securities laws administered by the Securities and Exchange Commission, management must disclose information deemed “material” to the interests of the investing public, including salaries, earnings, losses, assets, liabilities, and risks. But these laws flow from the fact that a corporation’s shares are publicly traded. A company owner by a private-equity outfit like Bain can operate completely in the shadows.

Then, there are three possible ways to cash in.  If the company turns out to be a success, like Staples (one of Bain’s big winners), the private-equity owners can take their legitimate share of the reward. But that turns out to be the exception. If the company, newly loaded up with debt, starts to falter, it can be broken up, with massive layoffs and cuts in health and pension benefits, and resold, usually at a profit for the private-equity owners.

Or the company can simply declare bankruptcy under Chapter 11 and shed its debts. Normally, shareholders think twice about incurring risks that could result in  bankruptcy, because one of the consequences is that the stock becomes worthless. But private-equity owners typically have already made their bundle on management fees and special dividend payouts, so even if the operating company goes bankrupt, they are still in the money.

And all of this is legal.

Oddly, as one abuse after another was exposed following the financial collapse, the predations of private equity have sailed merrily on. There is a terrific 2009 book on the subject, which I reviewed for the Prospect, Josh Kosman’s The Buyout of America. Read Kosman, and you will learn chapter and verse about how Bain, Carlyle, Blackstone, Texas Pacific Group, and the others plunder operating companies with taxpayer subsidies thanks to the borrowed money.

Among the tales Kosman tells: Thomas H. Lee Partners buys Warner Music, the world's fourth-biggest music company, and loads up the company with debt to finance the buyout and to pay itself $1.2 billion in dividends. One-third of the workforce is fired. CD&R, The Carlyle Group, and Merrill Lynch buy Hertz, the nation's largest auto-rental company, putting up just $2.3 billion in cash out of a $15 billion deal. The private-equity owners quickly recoup more than half of their down payment by loading up the company with even more debt. Funds for rental operations are cut by 39 percent, and Hertz's market share falls. In another example, Bain Capital, the company that made Mitt Romney rich, invests just $18.5 million in KB Toys, extracts $85 million in dividends, then takes the company into bankruptcy, stiffing employees, investors, and creditors.

In their tactical attack on Mitt Romney, the other Republicans have painted themselves into a corner. They owe it to the public to explain just what is improper about what private-equity operators do, what should be illegal, and what should be subject to disclosure.

Many Americans, bless them, have some naive ideas about how modern capitalism works in the USA. Many, if not most think if you work hard you earn money. You might get promotions and rises based on merit. You get ahead mostly by playing fair and being a decent human being. That is pretty much the way things operate for most Americans. Romney, Bain, Carlye group, and Blackstone operate by different rules. They make money as parasites on the value or capital created by others. That is not capitalism or even Americanism, it is moral corruption of the worse kind. No nation in history that has fallen so deep into this kind of depraved behavior has survived unscathed. We are well on our way to be a nation not of and for the people, but of and for the upper 1%. They used to call that tyranny.

CNN Facilitates Romney's Deceptive Highly Edited Video Attack Ad Against Obama and

Romney To Release Misleadingly Edited Obama Video As An Ad

Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic nominee for Senate in Massachusetts, has said that the Libor scandal calls the integrity of the entire financial system into question. Her opponent the morally bereft Scott Brown doesn't care because without a corrupt system where are his contributions going to come from.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Republican Lies About Spending and Deficits Exposed

Republican Lies About Spending and Deficits Exposed

We’re at the edge of the cliff of deficit disaster!  National security spending is being, or will soon be, slashed to the bone!  Obamacare will sink the ship of state!

Each of these claims has grabbed national attention in a big way, sucking up years’ worth of precious airtime. That’s a serious bummer, since each of them is a spending myth of the first order. Let’s pop them, one by one, and move on to the truly urgent business of a nation that is indeed on the edge.

Spending Myth 1:  Today’s deficits have taken us to a historically unprecedented, economically catastrophic place.

This myth has had the effect of binding the hands of elected officials and policymakers at every level of government.  It has also emboldened those who claim that we must cut government spending as quickly, as radically, as deeply as possible.

In fact, we’ve been here before.  In 2009, the federal budget deficit was a whopping 10.1% of the American economy and back in 1943, in the midst of World War II, it was three times that -- 30.3%. This fiscal year the deficit will total around 7.6%. Yes, that is big. But in the Congressional Budget Office’s grimmest projections, that figure will fall to 6.3% next year, and 5.8% in fiscal 2014. In 1983, under President Reagan, the deficit hit 6% of the economy, and by 1998, that had turned into a surplus. So, while projected deficits remain large, they’re neither historically unprecedented, nor insurmountable.

More important still, the size of the deficit is no sign that lawmakers should make immediate deep cuts in spending. In fact, history tells us that such reductions are guaranteed to harm, if not cripple, an economy still teetering at the edge of recession.

A number of leading economists are now busy explaining why the deficit this year actually ought to be a lot larger, not smaller; why there should be more government spending, including aid to state and local governments, which would create new jobs and prevent layoffs in areas like education and law enforcement. Such efforts, working in tandem with slow but positive job growth in the private sector, might indeed mean genuine recovery. Government budget cuts, on the other hand, offset private-sector gains with the huge and depressing effect of public-sector layoffs, and have damaging ripple effects on the rest of the economy as well.

When the economy is healthier, a host of promising options are at hand for lawmakers who want to narrow the gap between spending and tax revenue. For example, loopholes and deductions in the tax code that hand enormous subsidies to wealthy Americans and corporations will cost the Treasury around $1.3 trillion in lost revenue this year alone -- more, that is, than the entire budget deficit. Closing some of them would make great strides toward significant deficit reductions.

Alarmingly, the deficit-reduction fever that’s resulted from this first spending myth has led many Americans to throw their support behind de-investment in domestic priorities like education, research, and infrastructure -- cuts that threaten to undo generations of progress. This is in part the result of myth number two.

Spending Myth 2: Military and other national security spending have already taken their lumps and future budget-cutting efforts will have to take aim at domestic programs instead.

The very idea that military spending has already been deeply cut in service to deficit reduction is not only false, but in the realm of fantasy.

 There are a few other details at the link, including the ridiculous Republican urban myth that Obamacare will increase the deficit ( that is utterly false), that government health care (Medicare) is too expensive and we should privatize it Medicare is more cost effective than private insurance). Why do Republicans use these myths as a crutch; because they cannot win the battle on ideas based on facts. Conservative constantly engage in the sleaze of fake patriotism - hiding their freakish agenda behind the flag, and behind the Bible. They should be ashamed, but they seem to lack the moral conscience to feel shame.

Conservative Republicans are actively trying to stop job creation. Not exactly how a patriot should act.

Conservative Republican Journalist and Pervert James O'Keefe Fails To Find A Scandal, Union And Public Works Edition

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mitt Romney, Like The Republican Party is Out to Destroy Capitalism

Mitt Romney, Like The Republican Party is Out to Destroy Capitalism

Mitt Romney touts his business acumen and job-creation record as a key qualification for being the next U.S. president.

What’s clear from a review of the public record during his management of the private-equity firm Bain Capital from 1985 to 1999 is that Romney was fabulously successful in generating high returns for its investors. He did so, in large part, through heavy use of tax-deductible debt, usually to finance outsized dividends for the firm’s partners and investors. When some of the investments went bad, workers and creditors felt most of the pain. Romney privatized the gains and socialized the losses.

What’s less clear is how his skills are relevant to the job of overseeing the U.S. economy, strengthening competitiveness and looking out for the welfare of the general public, especially the middle class.

Thanks to leverage, 10 of roughly 67 major deals by Bain Capital during Romney’s watch produced about 70 percent of the firm’s profits. Four of those 10 deals, as well as others, later wound up in bankruptcy. It’s worth examining some of them to understand Romney’s investment style at Bain Capital.

In 1986, in one of its earliest deals, Bain Capital acquired Accuride Corp., a manufacturer of aluminum truck wheels. The purchase was 97.5 percent financed by debt, a high level of leverage under any circumstances. It was especially burdensome for a company that was exposed to aluminum-price volatility and cyclical automotive production.

Casino Capitalism

Forty-to-one leverage is casino capitalism that hugely magnifies gains and losses. Bain Capital wisely chose to flip the company fast: After 18 months, it sold Accuride, converting its $2.6 million sliver of equity into a $61 million capital gain. That deal, which yielded a 1,123 percent annualized return, was critical to Bain Capital’s early success and led the firm to keep maximizing the use of leverage.

In 1992, Bain Capital bought American Pad & Paper by financing 87 percent of the purchase price. In the next three years, Ampad borrowed to make acquisitions, repay existing debt and pay Bain Capital and its investors $60 million in dividends.

As a result, the company’s debt swelled from $11 million in 1993 to $444 million by 1995. The $14 million in annual interest expense on this debt dwarfed the company’s $4.7 million operating cash flow. The proceeds of an initial public offering in July 1996 were used to pay Bain Capital $48 million for part of its stake and to reduce the company’s debt to $270 million.

From 1993 to 1999, Bain Capital charged Ampad about $18 million in various fees. By 1999, the company’s debt was back up to $400 million. Unable to pay the interest costs and drained of cash paid to Bain Capital in fees and dividends, Ampad filed for bankruptcy the following year. Senior secured lenders got less than 50 cents on the dollar, unsecured lenders received two- tenths of a cent on the dollar, and several hundred jobs were lost. Bain Capital had reaped capital gains of $107 million on its $5.1 million investment.

It always seems that some essential ingredients are missing from how conservative Republican views capitalism versus moral patriotic Americans. Romney and conservatives are out to exploit the system, to plunder, to sneak around ethical concerns, to undermine competitive markets - to create loads of money for themselves by any means necessary. Normal patriotic capitalists see the free market as a place to compete - to offer goods and services at competitive prices. To engage in meaningful dignified employment. To enjoy our families and lives.To buy the basics like food, shelter and clothing to provide the basic comforts. Republican believe in making America into a kind of corporate collective - a weird mirror image of Marxism - with the corporate lite at the top, and the powerless workers below.

Romney's 'Free Stuff' Speech Is a New Low

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mitt Romney Wants To Stack His Administration With The Same Corrupt Plutocrats Who Crashed The Economy. Republicans See Corruption As A Virtue

Mitt Romney Wants To Stack His Administration With The Same Corrupt Plutocrats Who Crashed The Economy. Republicans See Corruption As A Virtue

In May, Mitt Romney suggested a new eligibility test in the U.S. Constitution requiring that the President first "spend at least three years working in business." It was bad enough that America's would-be second Harvard MBA President forgot the disastrous record of the first. Now, Mitt has chosen the worst possible week to announce that President Romney's Cabinet will feature people who had "real jobs" and "have experience in the real world, in the private sector." After all, while Romney's campaign was getting battered by mounting questions over his AWOL tax returns and mysterious tenure at Bain Capital, some of the biggest banks on both sides of the Atlantic were revealed to be cheats, gamblers and frauds. And as it is turns out, recent studies suggest those abysmal business ethics are not exceptions to the rule.

To be sure, the Republican nominee and his former firm weren't the only ones to be on the receiving end of headlines like "50 Shades of Bain" and "Did Romney Make a False Statement on His Financial Disclosure?" The mushrooming scandal over Barclay's rigging of the crucial London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) came to the U.S. with word that the New York Fed knew of manipulation in the UK dating back to 2008. (That scandal has already claimed the job of Barclay's CEO Bob Diamond, a man who was to have co-hosted Mitt Romney's upcoming fundraising event in London.) On Friday, JP Morgan once again found itself the under the microscope as the bank reported its growing losses from bad bets placed by the notorious "London whale" may have cost the firm $7 billion. That same day, the New York Times reported that "MasterCard, Visa and major banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, agreed to pay more than $6 billion to settle accusations that they engaged in anticompetitive practices" in processing credit card payments to retailers. Meanwhile, the nation's largest bank, Wells Fargo, beat earnings expectations on Friday even as it announced a $175 million settlement with the Justice Department over "accusations that it discriminated against some minority homeowners seeking loans from 2004 to 2009."

Reflecting on the LIBOR scandal, University of San Diego Law School professor Frank Partnoy lamented, "I wish I could say I'm shocked, because it is shocking, but regulators have not been particularly effective or aggressive in the past two decades of finance." Simon Johnson summed up the banking scandal that may have impacted $800 trillion worth of business and consumer credit transactions with this powerfully simply headline:

    "Lie More, as a Business Model."

Conservative Republicans like Mitt have be successful in repealing most of the financial regulation that would have prevented the Great Recession. What regulation we had left they were negligent about enforcing. If terrorists had done this much damage to the USA conservatives would be back in shrill paranoid mode. Instead they're asking to help elect more congressmen, senators, governors and a president so they can commit some more domestic terror on working and middle-class America's finances.

Fox's Latest Attempt To Deflect Blame For Recession Away From GOP

Friday, July 13, 2012

Is Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) Going Crazy? Will LePage Start Murdering People?

Is Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) Going Crazy? Will LePage Start Murdering People?

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) raised eyebrows last week when he called the IRS "the new Gestapo." Soon after, he issued a statement saying "the use of the word Gestapo has clouded my message," but in person, the governor didn't sound especially apologetic.

This morning, LePage appeared in Vermont, where he spoke at a fundraiser for Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock, and the far-right Maine Republican started the mess all over again (thanks to reader B.S. for the tip).

    Standing by Brock's side at the Sheraton in South Burlington, the Maine governor said, "What I am trying to say is the Holocaust was a horrific crime against humanity and, frankly, I would never want to see that repeated. Maybe the IRS is not quite as bad -- yet."

    LePage then said, "They're headed in that direction."

    Asked if he had a sense of what the Gestapo did during the second world war, LePage said, "Yeah, they killed a lot of people." Asked whether the IRS "was headed in the direction of killing a lot of people," LePage answered: "Yeah."

If you're skeptical that LePage could be this absurd, there's an audio recording of the exchange.

So, in the mind of the governor of Maine, the IRS reminds him of Nazis, then he's sorry, then he's comfortable saying the IRS is headed in the "direction" of Nazis and "killing a lot of people."

One of the techniques the Nazis used to gain and keep power was to unjustly demonize any group they disagreed with. IRS employees are our friends, neighbors and families - real human beings. All they do is what presidents and Congress - both Republicans and Democrats  -  what the law dictates they do. So far they have not gone on any murderous rampages. Does anyone know if LePage has ever had a mental exam?

Questions of Character - Mitt Romney's Bain Stories Do Not Add Up

Questions of Character - Mitt Romney's Bain Stories Don't Add Up

Romney didn’t start pushing the idea that he’d severed all ties with Bain in ’99 until late in the ’02 campaign, when Democrats played up Bain’s closure of a Kansas City steel plant, a move that cost 700 workers their jobs. Confronted with this potentially damaging attack, Romney pleaded ignorance, insisting he couldn’t have had anything to do with the closure because it came two years after he’d left. That’s the story he’s stuck with ever since – and especially this year, as national Democrats have taken up the GST story.

The point here isn’t that Romney was running Bain Capital and making all of its key decisions from 1999 to 2002. But the story he tells now absolves him of all responsibility for anything and everything Bain did in those years. This would be reasonable if Romney had forged a clear and total break with the company in 1999, but he didn’t. His statement to the ballot law commission 10 years ago was supported by just about all of his actions between 1999 and 2002: Until the final few months of his Olympic tenure, Romney’s break from Bain was supposed to temporary.

According to Fortune magazine - who is being fed documents by a Bain employee, we are supposed to believe that while Romney was listed as exclusive owner of Bain from 1999 until 2002 he had zero say in how the company was run. Did Romney tell the water-cooler guy to come twice a week instead of once - probably not, but Bain moved around hundreds of millions of dollars during that time and Romney claims he did not have a clue what Bain was doing - even though he was collecting income from Bain. Only a kool-aid drinking conservative could believe that load of BS. Another bad news cycle for Mitt Romney, even Republicans want him to come clean

Comically Awful Survey Says 83 Percent Of Doctors Might Quit Over Obamacare . Republicans live in their own little world with their own version of reality.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

To Mitt Romney Apologists Having Blind Investments is The Same Thing as Hiding Money in Switzerland and The Cayman Islands

The book cover is related to this essay at The Root, How Did Blacks Travel During Segregation? - The Negro Motorist Green Book was helpful for navigating Jim Crow America.

To Mitt Romney Apologists Having Blind Investments is The Same Thing as Hiding Money in Switzerland and The Cayman Islands

Mitt Romney and his right-wing media allies appear to be going into full-panic mode over the Obama campaign's increasingly successful efforts to define Romney as a hopelessly out-of-touch multimillionaire.

Obama is leading in swing states where the president's campaign and pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA have run ads attacking Romney's record as a corporate predator who put Americans out of work by sucking the life out of their companies and sending their jobs overseas.

    [I]n toss-up states, 16 percent say Bain is a reason to support Romney, while 32 percent say it's a reason to oppose him. More people have an opinion on Romney's business record, too. In February, 36 percent said Romney cut jobs while 32 percent said he created them. Now 40 percent say he cut them and 36 percent say he created them.

Today, Romney began hitting back against the Obama attacks. Well, "hitting back" might be too strong a term.  "Nanny-nanny boo boo" is more accurate:

    No you’re the “outsourcer-in-chief.”

    In what has become a signature move for Mitt Romney, Republicans are trying to rebut attacks against their nominee by accusing President Obama of doing the exact same thing. Or something vaguely related to it.

The substance (for want of a better term) of the Romney counter-slap is his claim that money from the American Recovery Act allegedly went to companies that employed some foreign workers. 

In addition to the candidate's pushback, at least one right-wing media outlet is trying to help Romney deflect criticism of his personal finances, including questions about his unreleased tax returns, and the vast sums of money he is reported to have hidden away in tax havens such as Bermuda and Switzerland. 

The Weekly Standard is out with a report that it apparently hopes will expose Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz as a hypocrite for demanding that Romney come clean about his finances.  The website's scoop: that the DNC chair has some of her own money invested in "Swiss Banks, Foreign Drug Companies, and the State Bank of India:"

    But disclosure forms reveal that in 2010, Wasserman Schultz invested between $1,001-$15,000 in a 401k retirement fund run by Davis Financial Fund. As the fund discloses, it is invested in the Julius Baer Group Ltd. and the State Bank of India GDR Ltd., as well as other financial, insurance, bank institutions.

The report does not appear to be a satire. The Weekly Standard is seriously suggesting there is an equivalence between a few thousand dollars in a managed 401k and hundreds of millions of dollars shielded from U.S. taxes in Swiss bank accounts and offshore shell corporations.

This panicked, flailing reaction tells you everything need to know about the narrative Obama is crafting against Romney:  it's working.


Right on cue, the wingnut blogosphere is all, "Yeah, so THERE!!1!"

PJ Tatler:

    If overseas investments are “toxic” for Romney, they’re also toxic for the Democrat Party chairman hand-picked for that role by President Barack Obama.

Daily Caller (Jim Treacher):

    Overseas investments are bad except when they’re not. And one way to tell they’re okay is when they’re made by Democrats.

    Oh, and DWS won’t release her tax returns, either. Again: she’s a Democrat. The same standard doesn’t apply to her. Duh.

These right-wing Anti-American nitwits want everyone to believe that Mitt Romney is a financial genius that knows what he is doing - that means he knows that hiding funds in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands is very different from the people who handle your 401k have a diversity of investments. Hiding money versus investments. See how simple that is. If they were the same thing we would use the same WORDS to describe them. When the average person puts money into their 401k do they think they are hiding money in foreign accounts.

Memo to Republicans... Entrepreneurship is Actually Declining Thanks to Policies Like Yours

Mitt Romney or Mr Morality, lied about leaving Bain in 1999

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Don't Have a Job? Say Thanks to Conservative Republicans

Don't Have a Job? Say Thanks to Conservative Republicans

New numbers released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the economy added a mere 80,000 jobs in June. That’s down from an average of 150,000 jobs a month for the first part of the year, and far too little to keep up with population growth.

Republican intransigence on economic policy has been a key contributor to the sluggish recovery. As early as 2009, Republican fear-mongering over spending and their readiness to filibuster in the Senate helped convince the White House economic team that an $800 billion stimulus was the most they could hope to get through Congress. Reporting has since revealed that the team thought the country actually needed a stimulus on the order of $1.2 to $1.8 trillion. The economy’s path over the next three years proved them right. Here are the top five ways the Republicans have sabotaged the economic recovery since:

    1. Filibustering the American Jobs Act. Last October, Senate Republicans killed a jobs bill proposed by President Obama that would have pumped $447 billion into the economy. Multiple economic analysts predicted the bill would add around two million jobs and hailed it as defense against a double-dip recession. The Congressional Budget Office also scored it as a net deficit reducer over ten years, and the American public supported the bill.

    2. Stonewalling monetary stimulus. The Federal Reserve can do enormous good for a depressed economy through more aggressive monetary stimulus, and by tolerating a temporarily higher level of inflation. But with everything from Ron Paul’s anti-inflationary crusade to Rick Perry threatening to lynch Chairman Ben Bernanke, Republicans have browbeaten the Fed into not going down this path. Most damagingly, the GOP repeatedly held up President Obama’s nominations to the Federal Reserve Board during the critical months of the recession, leaving the board without the institutional clout it needed to help the economy.

    3. Threatening a debt default. Even though the country didn’t actually hit its debt ceiling last summer, the Republican threat to default on the United States’ outstanding obligations was sufficient to spook financial markets and do real damage to the economy.

    4. Cutting discretionary spending in the debt ceiling deal. The deal the GOP extracted as the price for avoiding default imposed around $900 billion in cuts over ten years. It included $30.5 billion in discretionary cuts in 2012 alone, costing the country 0.3 percent in economic growth and 323,000 jobs, according to estimates from the Economic Policy Institute. Starting in 2013, the deal will trigger another $1.2 trillion in cuts over ten years.

    5. Cutting discretionary spending in the budget deal. While not as cataclysmic as the debt ceiling brinksmanship, Republicans also threatened a shutdown of the government in early 2011 if cuts were not made to that year’s budget. The deal they struck with the White House cut $38 billion from food stamps, health, education, law enforcement, and low-income programs among others, while sparing defense almost entirely.

There have also been a few near-misses, in which the GOP almost prevented help from coming to the economy. The Republicans in the House delayed a transportation bill that saved as many as 1.9 million jobs. House Committees run by the GOP have passed proposals aimed at cutting billions from food stamps, and the party has repeatedly threatened to kill extensions of unemployment insurance and cuts to the payroll tax.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, those policies — the payroll tax cut, food stamps, unemployment insurance, and discretionary spending for low-income Americans — have the highest multipliers, meaning more job boosting potential per dollar.

Since the tea baggers voted in a majority in the House of Representatives in 2010 and Republicans in the Senate - even though they are the minority - have used the filibuster or threats of one to kill any jobs bills, there is not much Obama can do. In a round about way Mitt Romney agrees. H/T to here for this video,
Gov. Romney on Poor Job Growth in Massachusetts: ‘To Suggest That Somehow the Day I Got Elected, Jobs Should Have Immediately Turned Around, Well, That Would Be Silly’
[When] Romney himself was running a government, in his case the state of Massachusetts, he was even more defensive about his lack of control of the employment picture than Obama is today. A new video unearthed by the liberal research group American Bridge shows Romney at a press conference in June 2006 admonishing reporters on disappointing jobs data. “You guys are bright enough to look at the numbers. I came in and the jobs had been just falling right off a cliff, I came in and they kept falling for 11 months,” he explains.

    “And if you are going to suggest to me that somehow the day I got elected, somehow jobs should have immediately turned around, well that would be silly. It takes awhile to get things turned around. We were in a recession, we were losing jobs every month,” he added.

USA Today's Uninformed Campaign To Shame The Poor - A USA Today editorial is downplaying poverty and food insecurity in America, and using Fox News talking points to justify a push to cut vital and effective anti-poverty programs.