Paladino and his BFF Romney

In case you wanted to see how local, poorer version of Donald Trump handled the re-election of President Barack Obama, 

ObamapelosimuslimchinaBenghazicommunism. For fun, I had a friend of mine who is a licensed psychologist analyze Mr. Paladino’s screed. Here’s their conclusion: 

First of all, did it come to you with the half black/half blue font? I tried to figure out if that was on purpose or just a weird formatting thing. He could be trying to emphasize certain points with the font color but I could not find a pattern that made sense. 

The blatant misspelling of Obama to O’Bama in the second paragraph either means he (or whoever wrote it for him) is an idiot or did it purposely to show how much he disrespects and dislikes the president. It’s hard to figure out which one is the case because he is both an idiot and horribly disrespectful.

I also found it interesting that he says right off the bat that most of his 500 employees are voting republican. First of all, I doubt that is the case, but clearly he has tried to bully them into doing do. I can only imagine the other emails and notices hes sent to his employees “encouraging” them whom to vote for. Was this an email sent to his employees? If so, it’s pretty much him telling them, ‘you’d better vote for Romney or you won’t be working for my anymore.’ It’s straight up bullying. He’s telling them he is the boss, is stronger than they, (he using strength and references to it a lot) and they better follow suit.

Overall, the whole email is right in line with how his whole campaign was, full of bullying and misinformation. It’s fearmongering at its best, scaring people with nuclear warhead talk and that Obama is a crazy socialist Muslim whose only goal is to take all our money from us. 

What I also think what he’s trying to do is make people feel disgust and shame when they hear Obama’s name. Humans are genetically engineered to act accordingly based the disgust we experience in certain situations (it keeps us aware from harmful disease and contaminants). By trying to conjureup feelings of disgust and associating it with Obama (and gays, blacks, welfare recipients, Muslims, etc) it causes us to shun and treat people unfairly and think of Obama as ‘dirty’ which can then lead to even more malicious thoughts and views. The same goes for shame…everyone hates the feeling of shame…no one wants to feel shame and if they can defer those feelings and blame someone else, they will. Throwing in his hatred of all other cultures by saying its shameful to ever align ourselves with the Chinese or Muslims, that’s just classic Paladino.

Paladino fits the mold of the extremely conservative right-winged ‘religious’ republicans very well. The more extreme you are the more you are hiding (like his extramarital affair and illegitimate daughter). The more moral you say you are, the more likely you are hiding lot of amoral activities. It’s a common defense mechanism to ignore our past mistakes and look down upon and criticize those who make the same mistakes as we have.

Carl, for his part, is taking it all in stride. 

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship”. – Alexander Tytler 1787 (unverified)

“Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage.”

Four more years of Obama will make permanent the decline of the America we have known at the hands of the liberal progressive movement and it’s inept control of our government. 

The republican establishment is to blame for letting the movement grow out of control for the past 2 decades.  They gave us the weakest of the candidates to run on the republican ticket by supplying the money for him to destroy Gingrich and the others with a total disregard of the parties rank and file, three quarters of which favored the other candidates, playing right into the hands of Obama’s strategists who knew that Romney would be easiest to beat as the very rich Mormon defending the rights of Billionaires to earn unconscionable money.  His  platform emphasized class struggle by insanely stating that the superrich should not pay more.  How much money do people making a million dollars a year need? 

Romney was out of touch with rank and file republicans and independent voters. They condemned the tea party as extremists who live somewhere in the woods when in fact they are two thirds of the rank and file of the republican and conservative parties and independent voters.   He had no appeal to the young or the working man.  He chose to side with the 1% rather than the 99%.  He is an elitist.  No, billionaires do not create jobs.  They don’t share.  They are not nice people.  They are self-centered, greed driven and arrogant opportunists who found ways to game the system.  Like liberal elitists the feel guilt about the rest of us so they want the government to take care of the masses but to do so with money they collect only from the middle class.

Instead of pummeling Obama when he had him on the ropes over Benghazi,  Romney let him off unblemished while trying to look presidential.  Looking presidential was somehow more important than beating your opponent into oblivion.  Terrible advice from faceless and nameless advisors (some say they were disgruntled former Obama campaign staff) who could not have run a worse campaign.

The old guard of the republican party is washed up and finished both on a national and state level. They live in the past and have shown that they can’t lead.

Benghazi has legs.  Insofar as they don’t want to be complicit in the cover-up,  I predict that Hillary, Pretraeus and Panetta will resign shortly.  They are respected leaders with backbones and I can’t believe they will carry Obama’s water on Benghazi.

Without any real jobs plan or economic plan, with no effort to put trade restrictions on China and force them to raise the value of their currency, with our small businesses and the middle class refusing to invest in the economy because they don’t trust their government, with the tax increases to take effect in 2013 and 2014, with government intrusion and regulation and with the pending loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the defense industry, I predict that our nation will suffer a second dip into recession if not an outright depression dragging the rest of the Western world with it. Obama’s scheme is to create economic chaos from which he thinks a socialistic society will evolve. 

By weakening America’s military and advocating that America will be an equal partner to the rest of the world, Obama will allow the warring tribes of the world to advance upheavals, wars and terrorism the likes of which we can’t imagine.

I firmly believe that Obama is diabolical and evil.

If I was a paranoiac who had just been rendered essentially part of an electoral minority in this country with waning influence over national elections, I might lash out, as well. I’d probably keep it to myself, however. 

A Local CEO Implores His People to Vote Romney

A tipster wrote, saying that the following screed was emailed by a local business owner to all employees on the morning of election day.  The man sending it is David Buonerba, CEO of Trans American, a local customs brokerage. I don’t quite understand why businessowners can’t be satisfied with having a loyal set of hard-working employees, and has to give them a set of lies and try to force them to vote a particular way, especially when it’s palpably against their own interests.  

A message from the C.E.O. on Election Day Nov. 6, 2012

Today is a very important day. I am voting for Republicans and urge all of you to do the same.

Gov. Romney has not only solid business experience but has the necessary leadership skills to lead our country in the right direction.

Not really. Governor Romney is a vulture capitalist. To the extent that “Bain Capital” is a business, it exists to swallow and regurgitate struggling businesses, using other people’s money as leverage. It’s a fantastic way for the rich to get richer, but hardly indicative of “leadership skills”. 

Some facts about Gov. Romney:

He is of impeccable moral character
He is a good father and husband
He is a very successful self-made businessman
He is well educated with an M.B.A. and law degree
He donated ALL of his (family) inheritance to charity
He donates at least 20% of his annual income to charity
His “15% tax rate” is our Capital Gains tax rate… he has already paid either corporat tax at 35% or personal income tax at 30%+ on the money that he has invested (that he pays the 15% on!)

Self-made? While he may have donated his inheritance proceeds, by the time George Romney died, Mitt was already quite wealthy. For him to be “self-made”, we’d be assuming that his father didn’t support Mitt throughout his youth. After all, Ann Romney explained that she and Mitt struggled through college, selling off parts of his stock portfolio just to buy Chateaubriand. As for Romney’s track record of taxpaying, we learned in the waning days of the campaign that Harry Reid was right – Romney likedly avoided paying any tax whatsoever for years through a carefully crafted loophole available only to the superwealthy. 

Unfortunately, we know very little about Barack Obama’s background because he REFUSES to release his academic and personal records. Obama has never run a business and has no idea how to create value to grow the economy.

Mitt Romney didn’t release more than one solitary complete tax return, for one year. He released no academic or other personal records. Romney supporters have unclean hands on this particular whine. You don’t have to run a business to know how to run a government. See Collins, Chris

Every single member of the TA family of companies knows far more about economics than Obama… we all (actually) balance our budgets. Obama promised to cut the national debt in half… he increased it by $6+ trillion. What’s a trillion $?…If you spent a dollar a second it would take you 2,700 (two thousand seven hundred) years to spend a trillion $.

Of course, this ignores the depression spiral in which the country was falling in the latter half of 2008. Also, the trillion-dollar war in Iraq paid on credit, which was waged by choice, not out of necessity. 

President Obama has no business experience and is a poor leader surrounded by a bunch of nuckleheads. He recently admitted, “I can’t change Washington from within!” What a profound admission.

Frankly, I agree with him and he should leave Washington ASAP, because it sure is a mess! Barack Obama won election 4 years ago on “Hope and Change”. The definition of hope is “to have a wish to get or do something”… we need more than more wishes after 4 years!

You can’t change Washington from within. You need people – the grassroots – to help change Washington from without. To attack that notion is to attack the very principles of representative democracy. As for Hope and Change, we got both. President Obama pulled us out of that depressionary spiral through the stimulus, which didn’t kill jobs, but grew them; which contained more tax cuts than any previous law ever passed. 

On another very serious note, the Benghazi attack that killed our Ambassador and 3 CIA operatives on Sep. 11th continues to seep out each day and you’re going to learn in the very near future that Barack Obama has outright lied to us about what really happened… an left American’s behind.

This is a right-wing trope that has been repeatedly debunked, and also ignores the Iraq war, which killed thousands based on lies. 

Gov. Romney has a plan to grow the economy that includes reducing taxes (for everyone), getting rid of obamacare and making the U.S. energy independent which will take our country in the right direction. The U.S. has more oil and gas reserves than any other nation in the world. Every time you fill your gas tank, just think of what you could do if you were able to keep at least half of those dollars in your pocket! I most strongly believe that if we have 4 more years of Obama, as Americans we will be much worse off than we are now.

Gas prices went from an average of under $1.50 before the Iraq War, and shot up past $3 and 4/gallon around the time of Katrina, and haven’t significantly dropped since then, except in the midst of the Bush global recession of 2008. The Republican answer to energy problems is to drill – a “solution” that takes 10 years to take effect. 

I invite everyone to take time off during the day or leave early today to vote. Please coordinate with your Supervisor to ensure that we have no lapse in client service.

I hope they all voted for Obama to teach this asshole a lesson. 

Quick Take

Quick take because President Obama didn’t start giving his acceptance speech until almost 2am. If you see me today, steer clear. I’m tired and filled with mixed emotion. 

POTUS: Barack Obama won re-election rather handily, and a great deal of people – mostly made up the disingenuous and the dumb – owe Nate Silver from 538 a massive apology for doubting his predictive models and for complaining about “skewed” polls. Silver was right on the money, and people like the always-wrong Dick Morris, and a whole set of mostly Republican “pundits” were beyond wrong. Science and math win over “gut” and “feelings”. Maybe it has to do with boomer conservatives all being former hippies. You know, “me, myself, and I”. I’ll write more about this later, but a win is a win, and watching Fox News during part of last night, I found the most amazing Vaudeville show ever produced

NY-27: This is devastating. Make no mistake, the electorate of the 27th Congressional District has left me – themselves – effectively without Congressional representation. For all intents and purposes, I’m an inadvertent, unvoluntary liberal tea partier.  Only for real. Late last night, Kathy Hochul, who has served in Congress with excellence and bipartisanship sent this: 

“Early this morning I called Chris Collins and congratulated him on being elected to Congress.  I encouraged him to work across the aisle and offered to assist him in any way I can.  I also volunteered to help him make a smooth transition in January to ensure our constituents are well served.  Congress can do better, and the people of this country deserve better than what Washington has given them.”

Collins is all over the air saying Hochul lost because of her Buffalo China ads. I’ll agree that they went too hard on that tack, and didn’t push the real issue – that she’s bipartisan and he’s completely partisan. Mr. Obamapelosi has no business claiming not to have been more negative than Hochul in the race. Thank God Obama won, otherwise you’d see the rapid dismantling of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and a whole variety of so-called “entitlements” that you depend on and pay for

Comptroller: Voters chose name recognition over qualifications, such as they were. No surprise there. Now what, Stefan? 

Other than that – marriage equality won referenda in Maine and Maryland – a first. Horrible red-baiting Congressman Allen West is gone. Michele Bachmann almost lost. Elizabeth Warren defeated Scott Brown in Massachusetts; democrats took back “Teddy Kennedy’s seat”. 

A mixed night, but a relief that we will continue to move forward with President Obama. Hopefully Washington will start to get things done, now that the Republican’s chief policy aim of preventing Obama’s re-election is extinguished, they can get back to governing

 

 

Romney’s American Value: Lying

One of the reasons a local birther cited for choosing Mitt Romney over Barack Obama is that Romney is an American who holds American values with other Americans in America and has America’s best American interests at American heart. 

One of those American values must also involve lying

For instance, American Mitt Romney hopped on a Bloomberg story indicating that Jeep would return to the Chinese market. Jeep doesn’t make cars in China, and not a single car made in the People’s Republic of China is sold in the United States at this time.  That didn’t stop the Romney campaign from saying – with a straight face – that Obama is an outsourcer because Jeep will start building its cars in ChinaThe report was that Jeep would resume exporting American-made Jeeps to China. From Chrysler: 

There are times when the reading of a newswire report generates storms originated by a biased or predisposed approach.

On Oct. 22, 2012, at 11:10 a.m. ET, the Bloomberg News report “Fiat Says Jeep® Output May Return to China as Demand Rises” stated “Chrysler currently builds all Jeep SUV models at plants in Michigan, Illinois and Ohio. Manley (President and CEO of the Jeep brand) referred to adding Jeep production sites rather than shifting output from North America to China.”

Despite clear and accurate reporting, the take has given birth to a number of stories making readers believe that Chrysler plans to shift all Jeep production to China from North America, and therefore idle assembly lines and U.S. workforce. It is a leap that would be difficult even for professional circus acrobats.

Let’s set the record straight: Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China. It’s simply reviewing the opportunities to return Jeep output to China for the world’s largest auto market. U.S. Jeep assembly lines will continue to stay in operation. A careful and unbiased reading of the Bloomberg take would have saved unnecessary fantasies and extravagant comments.

That didn’t stop the American Romney campaign from completely making something up out of whole cloth. On the American stump, Romney began saying that Jeep was going to start building cars in China. When Chrysler and the media pointed out that this was false,  American Romney doubled down on the lie and made an ad about it. It’s a lie. It’s false. Mitt Romney’s American or Mormon or whatever values allow him to just blatantly make stuff up

It’s so bad that it’s now actually become a thing. The Obama campaign is pouncing, Americanly 

Romney’s Math Doesn’t Add Up

The Democratic Party put up a funny website that is designed to look like something from the Romney/Ryan campaign, and pokes fun at the fact that Romney’s tax plan is backed up by a complete absence of any salient details. 

Now, those dirty redistributive Kenyan socialists at Forbes and the Council on Foreign Relations have an even bigger bombshell to share. Romney/Ryan promise to reduce the income tax on the wealthy by 20% – this costs America $2.5 trillion. They promise to eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax, costing America $700 billion.  A repeal of the high-income payroll tax will cost another $300 billion in revenue. Corporations will get another $1 trillion tax cut. 

So, how does the government pay for that, and not affect the deficit? Here’s what Forbes’ Robert Lenzer has to say

Then, comes the problem, the headache, or maybe its the head fake. No identification of a single loophole that will be closed. No concrete exposition about raising the capital gains tax on rich people. Our friends at the Democratic Party headquarters have estimated the savings for “ending all tax benefits for the wealthy” at $1.7 trillion; eliminating ALL corporate tax benefits to offset the corporate tax cut- $1.1 trillion and then another $1 trillion of middle class tax benefits to pay for the middle class cut=- another $1 trillion.

Imagine the chaos, the bitterness, the social unrest that would occur. But, then realize these measures only get back $4 trillion. There’s another $1 trillion to go.

Even studies by that staunch Republican economist Martin Feldstein and Princeton economist Harvey Rosen “concede that paying for Romney’s tax cuts would require large tax increases on families making between $100,000 and $200,000. So much for campaign rhetoric favoring the 1% over the 99%.

 The Forbes article cites this one from the Council on Foreign Relations, which adds a chart to help aid in the analysis. 

At the VP debate, candidate Paul Ryan said that his ticket would lower marginal tax rates by eliminating $1.1 trillion in loopholes and deductions for high-income taxpayers. But the chart above shows those loopholes and deductions, and a full 30% of that $1.1 trillion has been deemed by Romney to be untouchable. So, they only account for $770 billion of their promised $1.1 trillion. 

Mitt Romney can lurch to the center all he wants, but he doesn’t want to change the system to benefit the middle class and the working poor – he’s done quite well under the status quo and has no incentive to change a thing. Romney and his running mate can brazenly lie and make promises that don’t mathematically add up, and seldom does it meet with much pushback because seriously, most people – most journalists – aren’t economists. 

Romney vs. Obama: Colorado

On style, Mitt Romney ran away with the debate. President Obama barely showed up, and seemed to be completely disengaged and bristly. Romney denied and attacked consistently and constantly, and Obama sort of repeated himself and backed off of capitalizing on huge entrees. 

Then again, debates don’t win elections – zingers and good performance don’t win debates. Dan Quayle defeated Lloyd Bentsen, you guys. George W. Bush was one of the least articulate candidates in history, with a superficial grasp of issues and he defeated Al Gore and John Kerry. 

But here’s the thing – Obama is weakest on the economy. This performance may have been a strategic choice. After all, we still don’t know how Romney will pay for his tax plan, do we? We still don’t know the details of what he’d replace Obamacare with. We don’t know how he’s going to get insurers to cover pre-existing conditions without Obamacare/Romneycare’s promise of more customers through a mandate. 

Instead, Romney started in with death panels again, and Obama meekly defended the Affordable Care Act’s advisory groups that would streamline care and make it more efficient for patients. Instead, Romney repeated the “take $716 BN from Medicare” lie. 

The Republicans are demonizing efficiency and cost-cutting. 

When Romney somehow tries to claim that Obamacare differs from Romneycare, he’s lying. When your lie is caught and you then devolve to a state’s rights argument – why should people in Iowa have worse access to care than people in Massachusetts?  If health insurance universality is worth doing, it’s worth doing universally. Obama’s failure was in not confronting Romney on his blatant lies

“I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut. I don’t have a tax cut of the scale you’re talking about. I think we ought to provide tax relief to people in the middle class. But I won’t reduce the share of tax paid by high-income people. … I’m not looking to cut massive taxes and to reduce revenues going to the government. My number one principal is, there will be no tax cut that adds to the deficit. I want to underline that no tax cut that will add to the deficit.”

So who’s right?

Romney has run for months on a plan to lower everyone’s tax rates by 20 percent — an amount that independent analysts have concluded will reduce revenues by $5 trillion over 10 years.

Romney has also insisted that his plan will be deficit neutral and that it won’t increase taxes on the middle class. But according to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center and other analysts, Romney won’t be able to make good on both of those latter promises.

According to TPC, even if Romney closes all loopholes and deductions for high-income earners, that alone will not account for all the revenue he loses because of the rate cut. Thus, to make the overall plan deficit neutral he’d have to raise the tax burden on middle income Americans.

If Obama had the attack line on deck, responding to the lying denial should have been ready to go in the dugout. It never came to the plate. Obama got a few good lines in, delivered sleepily. Obama asked whether Romney was “keeping the details of his plan secret because they’re too good?” Under Obamacare, insurers will no longer get to “jerk you around”.  On substance, Romney seemed to pretend that the world began in 2008, and Obama did practically nothing to disabuse him of that notion. 

Obama said, “budgets reflect choices. If we ask for no revenue, we have to get rid of a lot of stuff…severe hardship for people, and  no growth.”  It was too wonky by half. The poor economy is most people’s central issue. Selling the successes and benefits of health insurance reform is critically important. Obama whiffed on all of them. He didn’t strongly defend his administration’s record, he didn’t strongly enough rebut Romney’s lies and promises, and he simply sleep-walked through the thing. 

On a side note – Jim Lehrer also barely showed up. I have never seen a less structured debate or a less forceful moderator. At times, he was simply trying to get a word in edgewise, saying, “um…hey….guys”. Perhaps someone slipped something in Obama’s and Lehrer’s drinks. 

Twice, Romney claimed that Obama wanted “trickle-down government”. Along with his tax claims and his health care obfuscation, I suspect that this is a line that will come back to haunt him.

It’s easy to be confident and outperform your debate opponent when you’re lying. Romney tried to remake himself last night as a champion for the middle class – this is the same guy who opposed the auto bailouts and denigrates 47% of the population as victim moochers. Time will tell how this will play out, but debates aren’t game-changers.  Coming up: 

Thursday, October 11 – Vice Presidential Debate

Tuesday, October 16 – Second Presidential Debate (Town Hall)

Monday, October 22 – Third Presidential Debate

Campaign Without End

The process to elect a nominee and President in the United States is ridiculous, expensive, ineffective, and flawed. Because the process now takes well over a year, the cost to run such a race is astronomically wasteful, and thanks to a lowest-common denominator mass media in America, it comes down to a horserace and Honey Boo-Boo politicking. 

Our neighbors in Canada follow the British parliamentary model. In federal elections, they vote for a member of parliament – the parties release their platforms through slick manifestos, and you elect people based on the policies they promote more than the personalities. The party that wins the most seats gets to name the Prime Minister, or head of government (the Queen, through her Governor-General, remains the head of state).  In the US, the head of state and of government are unified. 

Canada recently made a change whereby a particular government must submit to an election at least every four years (it used to be a maximum of five). PMs may ask the Governor-General to call a new federal election on demand. MPs may call for a no-confidence motion, and if successful, a new election is called. 

The minimum time for a federal election is 36 days. The longest one ever conducted was less than 80 days long. Spending on elections is strictly regulated by statute. 

As you watch the tightly scripted, wildly predictable debate tonight between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, think about how there just might be a better way to go about this. 

Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Victory

I’m sort of sick of talking about Mitt Romney because, you know, Buffalo. But the Presidential campaign has become that car wreck you rubberneck on the 33. The three swing states Mitt has to win to have a chance of winning this thing are Ohio, Virginia and Florida, right? Well, a WaPo poll has Mitt trailing Obama -8 in Virginia.  Not only that, but Mitt’s entire campaign has boiled down to – hey, disillusioned Obama ’08 voters, not so excited anymore? Vote for Mitt!  That WaPo poll in Virginia reveals that 61% of likely Obama voters are “very enthusiastic” about the incumbent; only 45% of Romney voters are “very enthusiastic” .  It gets better, because the conservative commentariat’s hand-wringing has become so vigorous and anxious that they are warning that Romney isn’t just losing  a sure thing, but he’s taking the entire conservative movement down with him.  And his campaign is currently $11 million in debt

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court remanded a case involving that state’s proposed voter ID/disenfranchisement law. A lower court had upheld the statute, but the state’s highest court demanded that the lower court 

… block the law unless Pennsylvania can prove it is currently providing “liberal access” to photo identification cards and that there “will be no voter disenfranchisement” on Election Day. The two dissenters opposed the voter ID law and wanted the Supreme Court to issue an injunction itself.

The ruling said there was a “disconnect” between what the law prescribes and how it was actually being implemented. It said an “ambitious effort” to implement identification procedures in a short timeframe “has by no means been seamless in light of the serious operational constraints faced by the executive branch.”

Voter ID is an answer to a question no one asked – actual cases of voter fraud are almost non-existent, and the actual effect of these statutes is to disenfranchise the poor and elderly – the 47% about whom Mr. Romney so famously spoke at a $50,000/plate fundraiser in Boca Raton in May. 

Incidentally, click here (part 1) and here (part 2) if you’d like to see the complete, uncensored Romney remarks – where he promises to take advantage of things like the storming of the Benghazi consulate, and that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is so intractable that, why bother? Just kick the can down the road. (That’s “leadership”, folks.) 

Romney went on Fox News yesterday and accused Obama of having a hidden video problem, trotting out a video of then-State Senator Obama in 1998 explaining that he likes the fact that America’s taxation policies are redistributive. McCain did it in 2008, and it went nowhere. Taxes are by their very nature redistributive – they take money through taxes to pay for other things, sometimes social welfare safety net programs. Society has deemed it more desirable to, e.g., provide food stamps rather than revert to a Dickensian nightmare of poor kids stealing pocketwatches for Mr. Fagin. 

No one knows why Romney wants to run against 1998 Obama instead of 2012 Obama, except that it allows him to paint Obama as a socialist. Because even though Obama’s policies are fundamentally centrist and comport with mainstream Democratic policy, because of his name and race, it’s quite easy to paint him as a foreign “other”. Honestly? It’s racist, and we shouldn’t pussyfoot around that fact. 

But if Mitt Romney really wants to compare and contrast videos 1990s videos with Barack Obama, then that’d be fun

Finally, part of the problem in the 27th Congressional District race is that Chris Collins is trying to hop on the Romney bandwagon, unaware of just how much he resembles the out-of-touch, unlikeable Presidential candidate. He has repeatedly stated that he supported the Ryan budget that would have turned Medicare into a complicated voucher program, costing seniors more, and that the Ryan budget in fact, “didn’t go far enough”. So, it must come as a worry to seniors because Collins says his first order of business would be to repeal Obamacare. But Obamacare is in the process of eliminating the Medicare “donut hole”. which saddles many seniors with huge bills for medication

Seniors whose annual drug costs surpassed $2,830 found themselves paying the rest of their bills in total until they hit an out-of-pocket limit of $4,550. At that point “catastrophic coverage” kicks in, and the government pays 95 percent of the costs.

Someday, we’ll reset the public debate over health insurance and come to the realization that expansion of Medicare to all Americans, with an efficient single-payer program so that people don’t ever see a bill for anything ever, so that their Medicare is paid for through payroll taxes (and is therefore not something for nothing),  and that the very rich retain their opportunity to seek cancer treatments in Switzerland (a country with a universal insurance mandate) complete with LearJet transportation. Someday we’ll reset the debate to question why we agonize over coverage gaps, why our employers spend so much money and effort choosing between crappy insurance plans that cost a fortune. Someday we’ll reset the debate to compare the actual cost of what we pay for costly, inefficient, bureaucrat-heavy private insurance versus the actual cost of what we’d all pay to expand Medicare to everybody. 
 
You know, the debate we’ve been having essentially since the end of World War II, and which every other industrialized, free market capitalist, pluralist nation-state has figured out generations ago. 

 

Romney's First Foreign Policy Test: Fail.

The last 48 hours have displayed the best and worst in American handling of urgent foreign crises. 

Secretary Clinton and President Obama are deftly handling a crisis caused by idiots. Romney and certain Republicans – but not all (to their credit) have chosen politics over patriotism.

An absolutely horribly produced movie was posted to YouTube in July by a convicted fraud in California. We know how movies like Passion of the Christ insulted Jews, and we know how Life of Brian and Last Temptation of Christ insulted Christians – although I’m not aware of these movies inciting riots, murder, and international crises. But then neither of those movies clumsily accused their central deity figures of being murderous pedophiles. The movie itself was shot on a budget reaching into the dozens of dollars, and the actors were completely duped – none of them had any clue they were filming a movie defaming a major religion’s prophet.  They’re understandably horrified that the movie resulted in riots that led to the deaths of American diplomats in Libya. 

And about those riots in Egypt and the murders in Libya – they are inexcusable and unacceptable. Secretary of State Clinton said all the right things and hit the right tone: 

We must be clear-eyed even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group, not the people or government of Libya. Everywhere Chris and his team went in Libya, in a country scared by war and tyranny, they were hailed as friends and partners. And when the attack came yesterday, Libyans stood and fought to defend our post. Some were wounded. Some Libyans carried Chris’s body to the hospital and they helped rescue and lead other Americans to safety. Last night when I spoke with the President of Libya, he strongly condemned the violence and pledged every effort to protect our people and pursue those responsible.

The friendship between our countries borne out of shared struggle will not be another casualty of this attack. A free and stable Libya is still in America’s interest and security. And we will not turn our back on that.

President Obama had this to say: 

There was controversy, however, thanks to the shoot-first-aim-later reactionaries in the GOP. Chief among them, Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who broke a 9/11 campaign truce to release a hit piece on Obama after 10pm that day. 

I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.

At precisely midnight 9/12, RNC Chair Reince Preibus Tweeted, “Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic.”

But the statement of “sympathy” that Preibus and Romney are criticizing didn’t come from Obama. It came from the diplomatic staff in the American Embassy in Cairo well before the actual rioting began as an effort to prevent it. They were trying to calm a bad situation, unfortunately it didn’t work. But Obama didn’t write it, nor did he condone it

There should be “civilized demonstrations of the Egyptian people’s displeasure with this film,” the Brotherhood spokesman said, according to the newspaper Web site. “Any nonpeaceful activity will be exploited by those who hate Islam to defame the image of Egypt and Muslims.”

Bracing for trouble before the start of the protests here and in Libya, the American Embassy released a statement shortly after noon that appeared to refer to Mr. Jones: “The United States Embassy in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.” It later denounced the “unjustified breach of our embassy.”

Apparently unaware of the timing of the first embassy statement, the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, put out a statement just before midnight Tuesday saying, “It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” Mr. Romney also said he was “outraged” at the attacks on the embassy and consulate.

As Andrew Sullivan points out, the Romney camp’s vicious criticism of Obama while an international crisis was still going on wasn’t just based on a lie and tone-deaf in every way, but it’s indicative of the fact that Romney is simply unfit to govern. Romney’s 3am call resulted in shooting from the hip without having even a small amount of the facts. 

Predictably, the conservative reactionary commentariat is outraged, likening Obama to Carter (?!) and heaping scorn and derision on the entire Muslim world as being a bunch of clumsy medieval murderous barbarians. 

Because, evidently, that’s how you handle international incidents – you dehumanize the enemy, turn them into something unfit for life. Even though some semi-intelligent cretins yelled “fire” in the most crowded theater in the world. 

TPM has a comprehensive timeline of the events

  • 7:35 p.m. ET: Reuters confirms that an American consulate staffer has been killed in Benghazi. This staffer is later identified as Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith.
  • 10:09 p.m. ET: The Romney campaign issue a statement from Mitt Romney himself condemning the Obama administration for the Cairo embassy’s repudiation of religiously insensitive speech. It falsely suggests that the Cairo embassy’s condemnation came in response to the attacks in both Egypt and Lybia. 

    I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.

    The statement is embargoed — meaning the press cannot report on it — until midnight, Sept. 12 — the moment the Obama and Romney campaigns’ Sept. 11 truce is scheduled to end

  • 10:10 p.m. ET: An Obama administration source disavows the U.S. embassy in Cairo’s statement of condemnation to Politico.
  • 10:25 p.m. ET: Without explanation, the Romney campaign lifts its embargo on Romney’s statement and it becomes public.
  • 10:44 p.m. ET: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemns the attack in Benghazi. 

    I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our mission in Benghazi today. As we work to secure our personnel and facilities, we have confirmed that one of our State Department officers was killed. We are heartbroken by this terrible loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and those who have suffered in this attack.

    This evening, I called Libyan President Magariaf to coordinate additional support to protect Americans in Libya. President Magariaf expressed his condemnation and condolences and pledged his government’s full cooperation.

    Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.

    In light of the events of today, the United States government is working with partner countries around the world to protect our personnel, our missions, and American citizens worldwide.

  • Just before midnight ET, the U.S. embassy in Cairo removes some its tweets, from both before and during the protests, condemning religiously offensive speech. It does not remove one posted at 4:29 p.m. ET: “3) Sorry, but neither breaches of our compound or angry messages will dissuade us from defending freedom of speech AND criticizing bigotry.”

Sept. 12

  • 12:01 a.m. ET: Just as the campaigns’ Sept. 11 detente ends, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus tweets, “Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic.” Unlike Romney’s statement, Priebus’ tweet is silent on Libya.
  • 12:09 a.m. ET: The Obama campaign fires back. “We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Governor Romney would choose to launch a political attack,” spokesman Ben LaBolt said, in an emailed statement.

It’s absolutely unbelievable. Romney has found almost no support whatsoever among elected Republicans, most of whom condemned the attacks without throwing political bombs. In fact, they went on the record criticizing the President for attacks that were still taking place at the time. in response to Romney’s disgusting criticism, President Obama said

There’s a broader lesson to be learned here: Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later and as president one of the things I’ve learned is you can’t do that. It’s important for you to make sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the facts and that you’ve thought through the ramifications before you make them.

Weird, because the Romney campaign issued a bunch of talking points to surrogates that included

Questions & Answers:

Don’t you think it was appropriate for the embassy to condemn the controversial movie in question? Are you standing up for movies like this?

– Governor Romney rejects the reported message of the movie. There is no room for religious hatred or intolerance.

That’s sort of exactly what the Cairo embassy wrote before the rioting began. Isn’t that what Romney was criticizing them and Obama for? In any event, Romney seems quite pleased with himself

To Republicans who are trying out the meme that attacks on American diplomatic missions are reflective of a perceived weakness

June 14, 2002, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan
Suicide bomber kills 12 and injures 51.

February 20, 2003, international diplomatic compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Truck bomb kills 17.

February 28, 2003, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan
Gunmen on motorcycles killed two consulate guards.

July 30, 2004, U.S. embassy in Taskkent, Uzbekistan
Suicide bomber kills two.

December 6, 2004, U.S. consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Militants stormed and occupied perimeter wall. Five killed, 10 wounded.

March 2, 2006, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan
Suicide car bomber killed four, including a U.S. diplomate directly targeted by the assailants.

September 12, 2006, U.S. embassy in Damascus, Syria
Gunmen attacked embassy with grenades, automatic weapons, and a car bomb (though second truck bomb failed to detonate). One killed and 13 wounded.

January 12, 2007, U.S. embassy in Athens, Greece
A rocket-propelled grenade was fired at the embassy building. No one was injured.

July 9, 2008, U.S. consulate in Istanbul, Turkey
Armed men attacked consulate with pistols and shotguns. Three policemen killed.

March 18, 2008, U.S. embassy in Sana’a, Yemen
Mortar attack misses embassy, hits nearby girls’ school instead.

September 17, 2008, U.S. embassy in Sana’a, Yemen
Militants dressed as policemen attacked the embassy with RPGs, rifles, grenades and car bombs. Six Yemeni soldiers and seven civilians were killed. Sixteen more were injured.

Possibly this explains what’s going on in the brazen, party-first, country-last GOP: 

Kennedy vs. Romney

Edward Kennedy (D.MA) at the National Institutes of Health

courtesy Flickr user NIHLibrary

The 1994 Senate race in Massachusetts between Mitt Romney and Teddy Kennedy was utterly amazing to watch first-hand. For all his flaws, Senator Kennedy was a brilliant politician who was able to connect with voters in an awe-inspiring way. I remember watching every minute of this debate, and passed by the Faneuil Hall venue a few hours or so before to see a sea of people with Kennedy signs and a smaller lake of people with Romney signs taunting each other back and forth. Romney gave Kennedy his first real re-election scare that year, and the Senator re-recruited a lot of the people who helped get him there in the first place – and keep him there after the death of Mary Jo Kopechne on the bridge to Chappaquiddick.  

The Senator turned his campaign around during this debate, which showed that he was still the feisty lion of the Senate, and that he shared Massachusetts’ voters’ values. A little less than a decade later, Romney returned from Utah to become governor after some lackluster performances from Governors Cellucci and Swift. 

In 1994, I got to see Senator Kennedy speak to a packed, enthusiastic audience at an IBEW hall in Waltham, MA. He was bounding with energy, and the crowd loved every minute of it. It’s not too often that hard-working, blue-collar workers are given honor and respect anymore in contemporary America. Kennedy gave them that, and he fought his entire career to ensure that America’s workers had the health care, social security, and freedom from want that we all deserve as citizens of a first-world nation that doesn’t always act like it. 

At the DNC last night, a video tribute to the late Senator was shown, and this clip was a big hit: 

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