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Author Topic: The Presidential Election In The USA..........  (Read 13728 times)
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« Reply #30 on: Oct 11, 2012, 07:30 AM »

FDR: WARNING ABOUT TODAY'S REPUBLICANS

Click to watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=SUZGkNAUSvY
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« Reply #31 on: Oct 12, 2012, 05:34 AM »

 SPIEGEL ONLINE
10/12/2012 11:51 AM

Who's Laughing Now?: Biden Bares Teeth in Debate

A Commentary by Gregor Peter Schmitz

US Vice President Joe Biden likes being the butt of jokes -- even ones made by friends within his own party. But during the television debate with his Republican challenger Paul Ryan on Thursday night, Biden put up exactly the kind of spirited fight that the Obama campaign needs.

If there were no Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., we journalists would just have to make one up. The American vice president's verbal slipups simply can't be beat. For example, he once praised Barack Obama, his future boss, as "the first mainstream African-American (presidential candidate) who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy." Speaking before a largely African-American crowd in August, Biden warned that Republicans are "going to put y'all back in chains." And, more recently, while heaping praise on Obama's performance as president so far, Biden said that the middle class has been "buried" under the president's leadership.

In fact, some Obama aides have so little trust in Biden that he hasn't been allowed to conduct any major interviews with journalists in months. Meanwhile, Republicans joke that they would like to see more Biden appearances because he can help the campaign of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan like no other.

Still, following Thursday night's TV debate in Kentucky between the current vice president and the man who wants his job, only one man should be laughing: Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.

Single-Handedly Reviving the Obama Campaign

With his debate performance, Biden has almost single-handedly revived the Obama campaign, which was in danger of being put on life support after the president's disastrous debate performance in Denver. Granted, at times, Biden seemed so aggressive and wound-up that a Twitter site devoted to his ostentatious guffawing was promptly set up during the debate and quickly attracted almost 8,000 followers. The verdict on the social networks was unanimous: Biden had probably drunk a few too many Red Bulls before the debate.

Still, the high-octane vice president easily accomplished his most important goal: He showed that he is absolutely dead-set on keeping his job, whereas Obama only rarely gave off that impression during his own debate.

Biden was already on the attack with the first question. Moderator Martha Raddatz, a senior correspondent for ABC News, asked Biden about the tragic death of the US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans during a Sept. 11 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which has led to questions about whether the facility was sufficiently protected. When Raddatz asked whether this was "a massive intelligence failure," Biden's response left no doubt that he was determined to talk tough. "I can make absolutely two commitments to you and all the American people tonight," Biden said. "One, we will find and bring to justice the men who did this. And, secondly, we will get to the bottom of it ... because whatever mistakes were made will not be made again."

Moments later, he reprimanded Ryan for his creative arguments about how America should confront Iran and its nuclear program. "Facts matter," he said. "Facts matter."

Most importantly, Biden showed that he didn't have any qualms about reminding people about Romney's secretly recorded statements on the "47 percent" of Americans who supposedly see themselves as "victims," don't take personal responsibility for their lives and are dependent on state assistance.

"These people are my mom and dad -- the people I grew up with, my neighbors," Biden said. "They pay more effective tax than Governor Romney … They are elderly people who in fact are living off Social Security. They are veterans and people fighting in Afghanistan right now who are, quote, 'not paying any tax.' I've had it up to here with this notion (about) 47 percent -- it's about time they take some responsibility here."

The Opposite of the 'Listless President'

In short, Biden was the exact opposite of the "listless president" that Barack Obama showed the world last Thursday. "Biden was direct, folksy and a little rude -- but it worked," said Larry Sabato, an election expert at the University of Virginia. "He made more and better comebacks in five minutes than Obama made in 90 last week."

But is that really important? Shouldn't this be about substance and not just catchphrases? TV debates are the game shows of American presidential elections. More than 50 million people tuned in for this debate alone. They're like some kind of TV campfire hour that attracts the very Americans who will ultimately determine this election.

And we're not talking about political junkies who have been following Twitter feeds for the past 18 months. Many US voters have only just tuned in to the election. And while they can't be described as uneducated, they often aren't well informed -- and they make decisions based on gut feelings rather than on policy proposals. What matters most to them is decisiveness. What they want in a candidate who can't wait to get to work in the Oval Office.

During the first television debate between the candidates, Romney illustrated precisely this desire. But Obama looked uncomfortable debating on stage -- as if he dreaded the idea of another four years in the White House.

His odd appearance may have done more to frighten off voters at the base of the Democratic Party than undecided centrist voters. But it is precisely the left-leaning party base that Obama needs to attract to the ballot box in order to defeat Romney.

Despite all the spin (or perhaps because of it), Biden succeeded in energizing precisely this group of voters. In that sense, he gave Obama a boost. Obama's next opportunity to take on Mitt Romney will come during the town-hall-style debate on Tuesday. If it is Biden's laughter that America is talking about between now and then, then perhaps Obama's own debate debacle will be forgotten by then.

Ultimately, Biden proved to be Obama's best man. And that's no joke.


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« Reply #32 on: Oct 12, 2012, 07:00 AM »


GOP Congressman: Romney Tax Plan Follows The Bush ‘Recipe’

By Travis Waldron posted from ThinkProgress Economy on Oct 11, 2012 at 4:20 pm

The tax plan proposed by Mitt Romney, which he says will avoid adding to the debt and won’t cut taxes for the rich, will work exactly the way the 2003 high-income Bush tax cuts worked, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) said during an appearance on CNN on Thursday. Romney has faced criticism over how his tax plan will provide a 20 percent, across-the-board tax cut without adding to the debt or raising taxes on the middle class. The Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan analyst, recently found that Romney’s plan as outlined is mathematically impossible.

But Hensarling has confidence that it will work, because the Republican Party has tried this before. In fact, Hensarling said, Romney’s tax plan will work just because it followed the “recipe” outlined by earlier GOP-led tax cuts, including the 2003 Bush tax cuts:

    HENSARLING: This is the tax plan: fairer, flatter, simpler, more competitive tax code. We broaden the base by getting rid of a lot of these special interest deductions, exclusions — by one estimate, one-third of the tax code is what is known as tax expenditures.

    HOST: Why couldn’t Paul Ryan explain that 11 days ago?

    HENSARLING: My guess is he could have had he had time. But we did this in ’03, it was done in the Reagan administration, it was done under President Kennedy under JFK, and guess what: when you follow this recipe, you get more jobs, more economic growth, and more tax revenue.

Since their passage, the Bush tax cuts have been a major driver of the nation’s increased debt and deficits. Without the Bush tax cuts, in fact, the nation’s debt would be at sustainable levels.

Even worse, the Bush tax cuts, which the Romney plan maintains before cutting taxes even deeper, were heavily skewed toward the rich and failed to lead to the economic and job growth Republicans promised. The decade following was one of the worst on record for economic, job, and income growth.

Hensarling is correct: the Romney tax plan certainly follows the Bush recipe. That recipe, though, is one that leads to fewer jobs, slower economic growth, and even bigger debts and deficits.
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« Reply #33 on: Oct 12, 2012, 08:24 AM »


Paul Ryan Outed the GOP Ticket’s Extremism on Abortion in VP Debate

By: Sarah JonesOctober 12th, 2012

Congressman Paul Ryan outed the Romney/Ryan position on abortion last night during the vice presidential debate at Centre College in Danville, Ky. American women found out that Paul Ryan wants to ban abortion, and doesn’t really think that exceptions should be made since “life begins at conception.” This means that all life is precious (except for live children, the elderly, our troops, and people on death row).

RYAN (emphasis mine): Now, you want to ask about why I’m pro-life. It’s not simply because of my Catholic faith. That’s a factor of course. But it’s also because of reason and science… All I’m saying is that if you believe life begins at conception that therefore doesn’t change the definition of life. The policy of a Romney administration is to oppose abortion with exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.”

Ryan gave an uncomfortable nod to the far right, saying that he and Romney don’t believe “unelected judges” should be able to make those decisions. He also suggested that elected officials should be the ones in charge of Row V Wade, raising the alarm bell that a Romney/Ryan administration intends to implement a form of the Personhood Amendment, which did not make exceptions for rape and incest when Ryan introduced his version.

Watch here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=GDiZpZlqkGw

Ryan’s belief that life begins at conception means the Romney/Ryan administration would oppose abortion except in cases of rape, incest or a threat to the life of the mother, but that’s not the whole story, because Ryan has a history of working to restrict access even in the case of rape and incest.

In 2011, Ryan co-sponsored the Sanctity of Human Life Act, a Personhood Bill that defined life as beginning at conception. This is important because it uses the same words the public heard from Paul Ryan last night — “life begins at conception”. What does that mean policy wise? The Personhood Amendment does not make exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the mother and it can render some birth control illegal:

    If the bills become law and zygotes are afforded the protection of legal personhood, abortion would be legally equivalent to murder, as would almost anything that interfered with the zygote’s development. That could include the morning-after pill, which primarily works by preventing fertilization but which anti-abortion activists insist prevents fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus. (Many scientists disagree.) Intrauterine devices (IUDs), which can prevent implantation, would also be affected by the laws.

Birth control is, of course, the best method of stopping actual abortions from taking place. Romney has said he wanted to defund Planned Parenthood, which not only offers many health related services beyond abortions, but also provides birth control to low-income women. Abortions don’t decrease when they are illegal, but women do die from illegal abortions.

The Republican Party platform also includes a constitutional amendment to ban abortion even in cases of rape and incest. Many “pro-life” women, including Republicans, don’t think that abortion should be denied to a rape survivor. These are decisions that are best left to women and their families and doctors.

Paul Ryan worked with Republican Todd Akin to sponsor legislation that would have redefined rape as “forcible rape” and limited abortion coverage for rape victims. According to the Washington Post,
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« Reply #34 on: Oct 12, 2012, 09:32 AM »


Paul Ryan Visibly Gulped While Being Pressed for Answers During Debate

By: Sarah Jones October 12th, 2012

Thursday’s debate involved Congressman Paul Ryan recycling previously debunked talking points yet refusing to be specific, while Vice President Biden was referred to as a “human PolitiFact”.

Ryan was said to have ‘Visibly Gulped’ while being ‘Hard put to answer’ last night. The gulping was so evident that Obama for America released a new web video that that pokes fun at Congressman Ryan’s endless thirst and the public’s thirst for answers they never got from Ryan.

Watch “The Romney-Ryan Strategy: Thirsting for an Answer” here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RbpYHrfoqlA

Chicago explained, “Last night, Paul Ryan doubled down on widely and repeatedly debunked attacks. He hid the truth of his and Mitt Romney’s plans that would devastate the middle class. He offered only a troubling silence when pressed on a woman’s right to choose. And, as the Vice President noted, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan seem to believe that almost half of the American people are moochers, or see themselves as victims. Voters are tired of cheap lines to mask dangerous policies.”

The reviews were unanimous in seeing a lack of substance from Ryan. A roundup:

George Stephanopoulos: “Over the course of the debate, more of the issues fell in Biden’s corner, he was able to take control of more of the debate.”

Chuck Todd: “If you were scoring as a debate coach, you’d say, ‘boy, the guy who controlled that debate was Joe Biden.”

Mark Shields: “I just thought he really kind of hung Ryan out to dry on the no details of the tax plan. I mean, that really was exposed.”

Mike Allen: “This also is a reminder that the promise of the Paul Ryan pick was supposed to be that they were going to tell the American people hard truths, this was a sign that they were getting us ready for an adult conversation. Well, we haven’t had one hard truth said to us since and I don’t remember Paul Ryan giving us a hard truth tonight.”

Governor Martin O’Malley: “People said ‘oh he laughed too much’, but it is laughable that we would be 28 days out from this election and they still haven’t told us how they’re going to do this wonderful plan that all the details are behind door number three. That stuff is laughable. You can’t cut by 20% taxes for millionaires and billionaires, corporations by 30% and not have to pay for it somehow.”

Jim Vandehei: “There was an enormous gap, it seemed, in substance and specificity, the gap between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan when it came to everything from what’s happening in Afghanistan to the Middle East to the defense budget to taxes. On every single one of those, it’s like Biden came ready to brawl, he came ready to brawl with lots of nitty gritty details.”

John Harris: “It seems to me…the consensus back here in our newsroom is that [Ryan] did at best a passable performance…He really didn’t do anything positive to help his own reputation or help the case of his ticket.”

Lois Romano: “You know, I think [Ryan] had a missed opportunity on his own budget. You know, it’s his own budget, his own numbers. I feel like Biden got the best of him on it.”

Sam Youngman: “I tend to agree with Jonathan, I saw a very long pause from Congressman Ryan when the discussion turned to abortion. I don’t think he was probably prepared to discuss that.”

Wolf Blitzer: “Congressman Ryan’s low point happened near the end of the debate around 10:20 eastern when he was asked about abortion.”

Jonathan Chait: “I predicted that Paul Ryan would wipe the floor with Joe Biden. That did not so much happen. Ryan did not perform quite as well as I expected – he seemed greener, younger, and he visibly gulped when challenged. But Biden delivered a revelatory performance that proved me utterly wrong.”

Buzzfeed: “After effectively vanishing from the national stage, Ryan re-emerged Thursday not as the intellectual leader of the right, but as passable debater with a slightly crooked necktie.”

Reuters: “While Ryan tried to depict the Obama administration as projecting weakness, Biden hit back hard with repeated questions on details of Romney’s foreign policy plan, which Ryan was hard put to answer.”

Fox focus group participant: “I found that the Vice President’s position on foreign policy was stronger than Paul Ryan’s. I really thought he scored some pretty good points there.”

National Review’s Robert Costa: “It wasn’t a knockout performance [for Ryan].”

Ryan left the impression that he was a young, green, inexperienced kid talking about things he didn’t really understand. This was probably due to the emphasis on foreign policy, which is a Biden speciality whereas Ryan once claimed he had foreign policy experience because he voted to send us to war. Ryan was unveiled in last night’s debate as less of a policy wonk and more of a talking point with cluelessly extreme ideas about abortion.

Congressman Paul Ryan revealed himself to be what he is – a member of the House, rather than a national figure. He looked like a paper tiger Congressman rather than a future Vice President, and there aren’t enough talking points or smirks to repackage the ideologically naive true believer into a serious politician.


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« Reply #35 on: Oct 13, 2012, 07:57 AM »

The ‘Moderate Mitt’ Myth

Published: October 12, 2012
NYT   

The way a presidential candidate campaigns for office matters to the country. A campaign should demonstrate seriousness of purpose and a set of core beliefs, and it should signal to voters whether a candidate shows trustworthiness and judgment. Those things don’t seem to matter to Mitt Romney.

From the beginning of his run for the Republican nomination, Mr. Romney has offered to transfigure himself into any shape desired by an audience in order to achieve power. In front of massed crowds or on television, he can sound sunny and inclusive, radiating a feel-good centrism. His “severely conservative” policies and disdain for much of the country are reserved for partisans, donors and the harsh ideologues who clutter his party’s base. This polarity is often described as “flip-flopping,” but the word is too mild to describe opposing positions that are simultaneously held.

The best way to judge candidates is not by the popular way they describe their plans near the end of a campaign; it is by the most divisive presentations of themselves earlier on. A candidate’s political calculations when fewer people are watching is likely to say far more about character than poll-tested pleasantries in the spotlight.

That’s what is disingenuous about the “Moderate Mitt” in recent speeches and the first presidential debate. He hasn’t abandoned or flip-flopped from the severe positions that won him the Republican nomination; they remain at the core of his campaign, on his Web site and in his position papers, and they occasionally slip out in unguarded moments. All he’s doing is slapping whitewash on his platform. The immoderation of his policies, used to win favor with a hard-right party, cannot be disguised.

This week, for example, in the swing state of Iowa, Mr. Romney tried to cover up his strident anti-abortion agenda. “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda,” he told The Des Moines Register’s editorial board. But that carefully worded statement was designed to mislead, because the threat to women’s rights doesn’t necessarily come from legislation. He would cut financing for Planned Parenthood, and he has said he wants to overturn Roe v. Wade and would appoint justices who would do so.

And, though he has conveniently forgotten, he does support anti-abortion legislation — what he called in a 2011 essay the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to ban abortion when a fetus can feel pain. In 2007, he said he’d sign a bill prohibiting all abortions. He has also tried to paper over his positions on his $5 trillion tax cut, pretending it would be cost-free, and he now says he wants to cover pre-existing health conditions, though his plan does so only for those who have insurance coverage.

At last week’s debate, Mr. Romney presented himself as a bipartisan leader able to work with Democrats. But that’s not how Massachusetts Democrats remember his tenure as governor, as Michael Wines of The Times reported last week. He ignored or insulted Democrats and failed to achieve most of his big-ticket proposals, like reform of the Civil Service and pension systems. His decision to support a universal health care system in 2006, long advocated by Democrats, was seen at the time as a purely political calculation, at least until Republicans rejected the idea in 2009 when President Obama proposed it.

There isn’t really a Moderate Mitt; what is on display now is better described as Convenient Mitt. Anyone willing to advocate extremism to raise money and win primaries is likely to do the same to stay in office.

************

October 5, 2012

Romney Claims of Bipartisanship as Governor Face Challenge

By MICHAEL WINES
NYT

BOSTON — He came into office with a mandate to shake things up, an agenda laden with civics-book reforms and a raging fiscal crisis that threatened to torpedo both. He sparred with a hostile legislature and suffered a humiliating setback in the midterm elections. As four years drew to a close, his legacy was blotted by anemic job growth, sagging political popularity and — except for a landmark health care overhaul bill — a record of accomplishment that disappointed many.

That could be the Barack Obama that Mitt Romney depicted in Wednesday’s presidential debate as an ineffective and overly partisan leader. But it could also be Mitt Romney, who boasted of a stellar record as Massachusetts governor, running a state dominated by the political opposition.

Mr. Romney did score some successes beyond his health care legislation, notably joining a Democratic legislature to cut a deficit-ridden budget by $1.6 billion and revamping a troubled school building fund. Some outside experts and former aides say his administration excelled at the sorts of nuts-and-bolts efficiencies that make bureaucracies run better, like streamlining permit approvals and modernizing jobs programs.

As a Republican governor whose legislature was 87 percent Democratic, Mr. Romney said in Wednesday’s debate, “I figured out from Day 1 I had to get along, and I had to work across the aisle to get anything done.” The result, he said, was that “we drove our schools to be No. 1 in the nation. We cut taxes 19 times.”

But on closer examination, the record as governor he alluded to looks considerably less burnished than Mr. Romney suggested. Bipartisanship was in short supply; Statehouse Democrats complained he variously ignored, insulted or opposed them, with intermittent charm offensives. He vetoed scores of legislative initiatives and excised budget line items a remarkable 844 times, according to the nonpartisan research group Factcheck.org. Lawmakers reciprocated by quickly overriding the vast bulk of them.

The big-ticket items that Mr. Romney proposed when he entered office in January 2003 went largely unrealized, and some that were achieved turned out to have a comparatively minor impact. A wholesale restructuring of state government was dead on arrival in the legislature; an ambitious overhaul of the state university system was stillborn; a consolidation of transportation fiefs never took place.

Mr. Romney lobbied successfully to block changes in the state’s much-admired charter school program, but his own education reforms went mostly unrealized. His promise to lure new business and create jobs in a state that had been staggered by the collapse of the 2000 dot-com boom never quite bore fruit; unemployment dropped less than a percentage point during his four years, but for most of that time, much of the decline was attributed to the fact that any new jobs were being absorbed by a shrinking work force.

Mr. Romney won lawmakers’ consent to streamline a tangled health and human services bureaucracy, but the savings amounted to but $7 million a year. He entered office considering an eight-state compact to battle climate change, but left office outside the consortium, saying it cost too much.

“He put on the table in his inaugural address, and then in his budget, a series of proposed reforms like civil service reform, pension reform — going right to the heart of the lion’s den,” Michael Widmer, president of the nonpartisan Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said in an interview. But excepting health care, “he never followed up. There was a handful of successes, but there was never a full-blown or focused program in the sense of saying, ‘Here’s our vision.’ ”

Mr. Romney’s former aides vigorously disagree.

  “That’s an overwrought type of critique,” said Timothy Murphy, the health and human services secretary under Mr. Romney. “If you take a look at the things the governor set out to do, we accomplished a lot. The budgets were more than balanced — we generated surpluses.”

And, he said, “We did pass the most consequential piece of health care legislation in this state in 25 years.”

Mr. Romney was pushing on an open door on the 2006 initiative — Democrats had long dreamed of providing health coverage to almost every resident.

Jane Edmonds, who headed the state’s Labor and Workforce Development agency, recounted a meeting at the start of Mr. Romney’s term in which he handed out a list of campaign promises to his staff and ordered them carried out within four years.

“My opinion is that he delivered on almost all those promises,” she said. “We had 8 or 10 of them and we carried them all out.”

Some of Mr. Romney’s harshest critics concede his competence and his grasp of Massachusetts’ problems and needs. Many of the initiatives he took into office were arguably nonpartisan; he brought to the job the same gimlet-eyed scrutiny of costs and revenues that he employed as an investment manager to spot potentially profitable companies.

But in contrast to his statements in the debate, many say, Mr. Romney neither mastered the art of reaching across the aisle nor achieved unusual success as governor. To the contrary, they say, his relations with Democrats could be acrimonious, and his ability to get big things done could be just as shackled as is President Obama’s ability to push his agenda through a hostile House of Representatives.

Mr. Romney could be appealing and persuasive, they say. But he also could display a certain political tone-deafness and a failure to nurture the constituencies he needed to make his initiatives succeed.

Mr. Romney promoted his record on Wednesday as a bipartisan leader by noting that he met regularly with the Democratic leadership of the Massachusetts legislature. But that apparently was not enough to keep afloat a relationship that had been rancorous from the beginning.

 In the opening months of his tenure, Mr. Romney vetoed a House plan to create new committees and raise legislative pay, and the legislators rejected his flagship proposal, a nearly 600-page plan to overhaul the state bureaucracy. “They had a deteriorating relationship during the first two years,” said Jeffrey Berry, a political science professor and expert on state politics at Tufts University.

Mr. Romney proved to have a taste for vetoes, killing legislative initiatives in his first two years at more than twice the rate of his more popular Republican predecessor, William F. Weld, The Boston Globe reported in 2004.

Some seemed almost designed to rankle legislators: one rejected an increase in disability payments to a police officer who had slipped on an ice patch. Others reflect his ramrod-straight views on ethics and government waste — knocking down a special pension deal for a state legislator; rejecting a subsidy to Medicaid payments so nursing homes could provide kosher meals to Jewish residents.

“He seemed to take great delight in vetoing bills,” recalled his director of legislative affairs, John O’Keefe. "Some of the bills we would chuckle when we wrote the veto message.”

By 2004, the second year of his term, Mr. Romney was provoked enough to mount an unprecedented campaign to unseat Democratic legislators, spending $3 million in Republican Party money and hiring a nationally known political strategist, Michael Murphy, to plan the battle.

The effort failed spectacularly. Republicans lost seats, leaving them with their smallest legislative delegation since 1867. Democratic lawmakers were reported to have been deeply angered by the campaign’s tactics.

On close scrutiny, some of the bipartisan successes that Mr. Romney claimed in the Wednesday debate turn out to by peppered with asterisks.

On education, Mr. Romney was correct in stating that Massachusetts students were ranked first in the nation during his tenure. Students in grades four and eight took top honors in reading and mathematics on the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress.

However, educators largely credit an overarching reform of state schools 10 years earlier under Governor Weld. The reforms doubled state spending on schools and brought standards and accountability to administrators and students.

“Governor Romney does not get to take the credit for achieving that No. 1 ranking,” said Mike Gilbert, field director for the nonprofit Massachusetts Association of School Committees, “but it did happen while he was in office.”

Mr. Romney’s claim that he was responsible for 19 separate tax cuts is also technically accurate, but not the full story. In 2005, for example, Mr. Romney’s administration wrote legislation refunding $250 million in capital gains taxes — but the bill came only in response to a court ruling that the taxes had been illegally withheld in 2002.

Many of the other tax cuts were first proposed by the legislature, not Mr. Romney, and others were routine extensions of existing tax reductions or were one-day sales tax holidays.

Michael Barbaro contributed reporting.
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« Reply #36 on: Oct 13, 2012, 08:17 AM »

Joe Biden Keeps the Momentum Going by Slamming Romney/Ryan Social Policy

By: Sarah JonesOctober 12th, 2012

In La Crosse, Wisconsin today, Vice President Biden took Congressman Paul Ryan to the woodshed for his anti-women policies. Not only is the Supreme Court at issue in the next election and reproductive rights at risk, but also the Violence Against Women’s Act. Republicans want to allow employers to make healthcare decisions for women and Congressman Ryan even voted against the Lily Ledbetter Act. Biden said, “These guys have a social policy out of the 50′s!”

Watch here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=O5dvqGtktYI

Transcript:

BIDEN: If anyone had a doubt about what’s at stake in this election, when it comes to women’s rights, and the Supreme Court, I am sure they were settled last night. Congressman Ryan made it very clear that he and Governor Romney are prepared to impose their private views on everyone else. It was made clear last night that they do not believe in protecting a woman’s access to health care. It was made very clear that they do not believe a woman has a right to control her own body—that’s between she and her doctor. And now they say they are willing to make an exception in the case of rape and incest.

Ladies and gentlemen, Congressman Ryan was a leader in the House and even blocked those exceptions…Ladies and gentlemen, can you imagine the next president is likely to have almost surely have one and probably two Supreme Court appointees. Roe v. Wade is hanging. Do you think they’re possibly going to appoint two justices to the court who aren’t going to join Scalia and others to overrule Roe v. Wade? Ladies and gentlemen, the single most consequential decision a President makes other than going to war is the appointment to the Supreme Court, because those appointments live on long after any President is gone.

Ladies and gentlemen, Congressman Ryan, he voted against the Lily Ledbetter Act. All it did was—it sounds ridiculous—but all it did was give a woman a cause of action when she found out she was cheated in her employment, that the statute of limitations didn’t kick in and prevent her from bringing an action when she was cheated. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re all pushing hard for a Fair Pay Act. I happen to think my daughter should get paid exactly what any man is being paid for the job she is doing. We have proposed equal pay legislation. They are against it. They want to turn back to the insurance companies, the decision on whether a woman continues having to pay 50% more for the same health care, where once again pregnancy will be able to be a pre-existing condition.

Ladies and gentlemen, they are holding hostage one of the proudest accomplishments of my career, the Violence Against Women Act. They’re still debating whether or not we need the Violence Against Women Act after 20 years. Folks, if I leave you with no other message today, I want you to remember this one – Barack Obama and Joe Biden are absolutely, positively, firmly committed to ensuring that our daughters and my granddaughters at the exact same rights and opportunities to control their lives as my sons and my grandsons -exact same rights. Make no mistake about that. These guys have a social policy out of the 50′s.

End transcript.

It’s amazing that we are here, fighting issues that were settled years ago. It’s beyond incredible that Republicans have obstructed the much needed Violence Against Women’s Act, as well as voting no as Congressman Ryan did, on the Lily Ledbetter Act. It’s impossible to see the rationale behind these votes and obstruction, especially when women’s lives are at risk.

Joe Biden has long been a champion of equal rights for women, including his work on the first Violence Against Women Act. When Biden says he stands by you, he was already there years ago taking a stand for women. It’s not political rhetoric in a campaign season – it’s the truth. No politician is perfect and certainly Joe has his flaws, but he is one of the more authentic politicians in DC.

Republicans like to pretend that there is no war on women, but there is a very real legislative war against women, aimed at restricting and removing freedoms and protections we took for granted in the past.
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« Reply #37 on: Oct 13, 2012, 09:38 AM »


The Republican Vision for Government is Corporate Owned and Operated

By: Rmuse October 13th, 2012

Government is one of mankind’s oldest institutions that, in the modern era, affects every human activity in important ways.  America’s government is the means by which state policy is enforced according to laws voted on by the populace within the confines of the U.S. Constitution, and one of its primary functions is protecting the people. During the early 1980′s, Republicans made a conscious decision to oppose the current form of government in their drive to transform America’s constitutional republic into a plutocracy, and they have worked diligently to deliver control of the country’s policies to corporations and financial institutions.

A means of giving corporations and financial institutions power to govern is ceding control of the nation’s resources, and eliminating regulatory agencies tasked with enforcing policies that protect the people and guarantee the nation survives according to the Constitution. After thirty years, Republicans are blatantly campaigning for voters’ permission to give the wealth of the nation directly to the rich, and allow banks and corporations to dictate policies advanced by groups such as the Koch brothers, Heritage Foundation, and Willard Romney.

Romney travels the country promising that if he is elected president, he will give job creators more tax dollars and “get government out of the way” to allow corporations and financial institutions the freedom to conduct business without regulation or oversight. It is a libertarian dream and, coupled with his party’s aspiration to charge for the privilege of living in this country, effectively changes America into a nation of peasants subsisting to enrich wealthy industrialists and bankers. The past few years provided a glimpse of the America Romney yearns for that means more wealth for the rich, and more bodies from the lack of regulations.

Republicans hate regulations because they hold big business accountable for their actions and protect the people from malfeasance in the pursuit of profits. In their drive to kill regulations, Republicans slashed funding for regulatory agencies  and took the savings to fund tax breaks and subsidies for corporations and the wealthy; in the process Americans are left at the mercy of big business. A deadly meningitis outbreak that shows no signs of abating is a direct result of no oversight and a company flouting state laws, and it is a precautionary tale that plays out often when businesses police themselves which is Romney and his libertarian cohort’s preferred business model.

The notion that businesses police themselves is in itself a dangerous proposition, and Americans saw it play out when BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil platform blew up killing twelve men while spewing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico; the well is still leaking oil. Several investigations blamed BP and its partners, Halliburton and Transocean, for making cost-cutting measures, and warned that without effective government oversight, the offshore oil and gas industry will not reduce the risk of accidents, nor prepare to respond in emergencies because their motivation is maximizing profits, not protecting workers or the environment. The final report also concluded that government oversight must be accompanied by sweeping reforms that accomplish no less than a fundamental transformation of the industry’s safety culture, but Republicans objected strenuously to reforms and slashed funding for regulators.

A similar tragedy occurred in West Virginia in 2010 when an explosion in the Upper Big Branch mine claimed the lives of 29 miners as a result of flagrant safety violations according to an independent investigation that found Massey Energy was directly responsible for the blast. The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issued 369 citations, assessed $10.8 million in penalties, and is still investigating criminal liability as one former superintendent plead guilty and confessed to conspiring to impede the MSHA’s enforcement efforts. Republicans objected to safety reforms and slashed funding for regulators.

Over a month ago, the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi Libya came under attack from terrorists that claimed the lives of four American diplomats, and just a year earlier, Republicans led by vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan defunded security for consulates. The cuts prompted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to warn that the Republican cuts would be “detrimental to America’s national security,” but Republicans rejected her assertion.  The Obama administration requested $2.15 billion for the State Department’s Worldwide Security Protection program for fiscal 2013, but Republicans in the House proposed spending $1.934 billion as they fought valiantly to maintain Bush-era tax cuts for the rich. Republicans are wont to claim America is broke and cannot possibly afford one penny to protect Americans at home or abroad, but they always find money to provide more tax cuts for the rich and their corporations.

Over the past year and eight months, Republicans proposed cuts to FEMA, the CDC, Weather Service, OSHA, FDA, USDA, and myriad regulatory agencies that exist to protect the American people, and throughout it all they fought for deeper tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. Willard Romney proposes cuts to regulatory agencies as the means of “getting government out of the way” of big business, while proposing $5 trillion in tax cuts and reducing corporate taxes. All the while he touts education, law enforcement, and Medicare cuts to pay for the wealthy’s entitlements,  and is peddling coupons for Medicare, education, and Veterans Health Administration in the latest privatization scam to enrich corporations.

The government Romney and Republicans propose is not business friendly, it is business-owned and operated, and the people are expendable assets. The American people depend on regulatory agencies to ensure the food supply, medicine, air travel, and workplace are safe, and their tax dollars support disaster relief, early warning systems, education, law enforcement and fire protection that Republicans pant to eliminate to fund more tax breaks. The GOP is well aware their plans for corporate- government are not a popular proposition among most Americans, and it is why Romney and Republicans support voter suppression tactics and ALEC’s voter ID laws to eliminate opposition to their corporatist agenda.

Ronald Reagan first proposed the idea that government is bad, and now thirty years later, the Republican presidential candidate and his running mate are openly campaigning to transform government to benefit corporations with full support of the Republican establishment. Their goal is American people at the mercy of unregulated manufacturing, banking, pharmaceutical, and food industry, and their remedy for disastrous outcomes is tort reform to limit damage claims against big business.  It has taken Republicans three decades, but they are one election away from transforming American government into a deregulated corporate plutocracy to ensure a few hundred families prosper beyond their wildest dreams. However, for the great majority of Americans, what awaits them is environmental, natural, and man-made disasters and knowledge that their only recourse is a coupon redeemable at the local company store.
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« Reply #38 on: Oct 15, 2012, 08:20 AM »

October 14, 2012

Death By Ideology

By PAUL KRUGMAN
NYT

Mitt Romney doesn’t see dead people. But that’s only because he doesn’t want to see them; if he did, he’d have to acknowledge the ugly reality of what will happen if he and Paul Ryan get their way on health care.

Last week, speaking to The Columbus Dispatch, Mr. Romney declared that nobody in America dies because he or she is uninsured: “We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance.” This followed on an earlier remark by Mr. Romney — echoing an infamous statement by none other than George W. Bush — in which he insisted that emergency rooms provide essential health care to the uninsured.

These are remarkable statements. They clearly demonstrate that Mr. Romney has no idea what life (and death) are like for those less fortunate than himself.

Even the idea that everyone gets urgent care when needed from emergency rooms is false. Yes, hospitals are required by law to treat people in dire need, whether or not they can pay. But that care isn’t free — on the contrary, if you go to an emergency room you will be billed, and the size of that bill can be shockingly high. Some people can’t or won’t pay, but fear of huge bills can deter the uninsured from visiting the emergency room even when they should. And sometimes they die as a result.

More important, going to the emergency room when you’re very sick is no substitute for regular care, especially if you have chronic health problems. When such problems are left untreated — as they often are among uninsured Americans — a trip to the emergency room can all too easily come too late to save a life.

So the reality, to which Mr. Romney is somehow blind, is that many people in America really do die every year because they don’t have health insurance.

How many deaths are we talking about? That’s not an easy question to answer, and conservatives love to cite the handful of studies that fail to find clear evidence that insurance saves lives. The overwhelming evidence, however, is that insurance is indeed a lifesaver, and lack of insurance a killer. For example, states that expand their Medicaid coverage, and hence provide health insurance to more people, consistently show a significant drop in mortality compared with neighboring states that don’t expand coverage.

And surely the fact that the United States is the only major advanced nation without some form of universal health care is at least part of the reason life expectancy is much lower in America than in Canada or Western Europe.

So there’s no real question that lack of insurance is responsible for thousands, and probably tens of thousands, of excess deaths of Americans each year. But that’s not a fact Mr. Romney wants to admit, because he and his running mate want to repeal Obamacare and slash funding for Medicaid — actions that would take insurance away from some 45 million nonelderly Americans, causing thousands of people to suffer premature death. And their longer-term plans to convert Medicare into Vouchercare would deprive many seniors of adequate coverage, too, leading to still more unnecessary mortality.

Oh, about the voucher thing: In his debate with Vice President Biden, Mr. Ryan was actually the first one to mention vouchers, attempting to rule the term out of bounds. Indeed, it’s apparently the party line on the right that anyone using the word “voucher” to describe a health policy in which you’re given a fixed sum to apply to health insurance is a liar, not to mention a big meanie.

Among the lying liars, then, is the guy who, in 2009, described the Ryan plan as a matter of “converting Medicare into a defined contribution sort of voucher system.” Oh, wait — that was Paul Ryan himself.

And what if the vouchers — for that’s what they are — turned out not to be large enough to pay for adequate insurance? Then those who couldn’t afford to top up the vouchers sufficiently — a group that would include many, and probably most, older Americans — would be left with inadequate insurance, insurance that exposed them to severe financial hardship if they got sick, sometimes left them unable to afford crucial care, and yes, sometimes led to their early death.

So let’s be brutally honest here. The Romney-Ryan position on health care is that many millions of Americans must be denied health insurance, and millions more deprived of the security Medicare now provides, in order to save money. At the same time, of course, Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan are proposing trillions of dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy. So a literal description of their plan is that they want to expose many Americans to financial insecurity, and let some of them die, so that a handful of already wealthy people can have a higher after-tax income.

It’s not a pretty picture — and you can see why Mr. Romney chooses not to see it.

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« Reply #39 on: Oct 15, 2012, 09:55 AM »


Is Mitt Romney Mentally Ill?

By: Rmuse October 15th, 2012

During an important election to decide the fate and direction of a country, a voter is likely to consider a candidate’s consistency of actions, values, methods, principles, and expectations, as well as outcomes from previous experience in political office before supporting a candidate. Many voters contemplate a candidate’s honesty and truthfulness, or accuracy of actions, before deciding to cast their vote, and few would choose a candidate renowned for lies and hypocrisy because it defines the candidate as morally deficient with anti-social tendencies. Americans are witnessing a morally deficient candidate for the presidency, and if it is not obvious by now that Willard Mitt Romney is a pathological liar, a hypocrite, and deceitful in words and deeds, it is about time his possible mental illness, Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASP), is exposed to the American people.

An individual suffering from ASP is calculating, manipulative, frequently charming and alluring, and fits the clinical portrait matching depictions of con artists and predators found in literature, and is masterful at using machinations of a criminal who fails to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors. Some criteria psychologists use to diagnose ASP are deceitfulness, as indicated by repeatedly lying, conning others for personal profit, and lacking remorse or rationalizing having caused harm. Besides persistent lying, Romney demonstrates an innate inability to care about harming others borne out of narcissism, elevated self-worth, and a sense of extreme entitlement and cannot tolerate authority figures. If these criteria seem suspiciously similar to convicted felons and life-criminals, it is because over one-third of the prison population suffers from different degrees of ASP and,  like Romney, they have a childhood history of the disorder.

Over the course of the campaign, stories of Willard’s childhood bullying and disregard for people other than himself abound, and besides chasing and holding down a gay classmate and cutting his hair, there are other instances of his disregard for others. Romney’s impersonating a police officer is not just a prank, and victims of Romney’s faux law enforcement attention may have a different opinion of his behavior that contradicts the portrait of the squeaky-clean Mormon boy. Indeed, Romney carried his disregard for young Americans into college when he protested in favor of sending young men to fight and die in Viet Nam while his “religious” deferments allowed him to luxuriate in a French castle while he proselytized French people into his cult.

Willard carried his disregard for other people with him to Bain Capital where he repeatedly lied and  conned unwitting companies and shareholders into believing that, under Bain management, their firms would flourish only to end up in bankruptcy as Romney and his partners pillaged their assets, shuttered businesses, and raided employee’s pensions all for personal profit. Romney’s narcissism drives him to claim he saved the Salt Lake City Olympics, but he is remiss to give credit to the American taxpayer who funded his efforts to the tune of $1.5 billion, and then destroyed records to conceal malfeasance and cronyism related to his Mormon business associates. He continued covering tracks at the end of his failed term as Massachusetts governor when he charged taxpayers for wiping computers to conceal internal correspondence, and his bankruptcy gang repeated the cover-up practice by destroying books and records in the eToys bankruptcy between 1999 and 2001. Old habits die hard, but especially when they are borne of a cognitive disorder like ASP.

Romney’s narcissism informs his fallacious contention that he “retroactively retired” from Bain Capital in February 1999 despite SEC and FEC filings clearly showing he was CEO until 2002, and his blatant disregard for the law allowed him to assume that because he is Willard Romney, federal and state law enforcement officials dared not challenge his contention that he lied on disclosures. Recently, Romney displayed his belief the law did not apply to all Americans equally when a mine owner who forced workers to lose pay to stand with Romney at a rally contacted Willard for help after a complaint filed with the FEC and Ohio Democrats alleged “extortion, money laundering, racketeering,” to which  Romney responded “We get a lot of charges, this will go away.” It was a telling statement that reeks of an organized crime boss used to influencing investigations to avoid prosecution, and not something an upright businessman, or candidate for president, would cavalierly utter.

Throughout the campaign for the presidency, Romney has distinguished himself as a master of mendacity, and boasts that his wealth qualifies him to “run” America as a company Bain Capital is preparing to pillage for Romney’s personal profit. His persistent lying conceals his well-laid plans to eliminate funding for myriad programs that help the least fortunate Americans to fund tax cuts for himself, and informs a man devoid of compassion for others borne out of an extreme sense of entitlement and elevated self-worth.

Romney may not express his dysfunction the same as a convict who shows disregard for others physically, but his willingness to destroy jobs while at Bain Capital, or as president by eliminating entire agencies to fund his tax cuts, is only a matter of degree. As a psychologist pointed out, sociopaths like Romney do not think or act like normal people, and his aggression is acted out on entire groups such as the 47% he considers parasites, or gays, women, and minorities. Romney has demonstrated he will do anything to succeed and everything in “the service of his own wishes” and not what is good for the American people or this country. Willard’s biggest advantage to date is that it is incomprehensible that a presidential candidate would resort to lying, obfuscation, and blatant racism in his bid for the White House, and to a degree this falls on a negligent press that is as aware of Romney’s anti-social behavior, record of entitlement and flouting the law as anyone, and yet they have turned a blind eye to his malfeasance.

Perhaps Romney’s greatest crime is purporting to be a Christian to appeal to the religious right. The crazy Mormon foundations and beliefs notwithstanding, would a Christian lie as a matter of course, promote pre-emptive war, cut funding for children, seniors, and Veterans in the pursuit of greater tax cuts for himself? Willard Romney has given every indication under the Sun that he harbors sociopathic tendencies on a variety of levels, and as such, is not qualified or trustworthy to run for the presidency much less win the election. Any reasonable human being is revolted by a pathological liar, narcissist, and entitled charlatan, so it is curious why any American other than Mrs. Willard thinks he is qualified to be president. It is true that a president has to be something more than normal to handle the Herculean job of leading America, but the idea of more than normal does not mean abnormal, and certainly not a self-entitled narcissist displaying all the traits of a dysfunctional antisocial sociopath with personality disorders reminiscent of a third of the prison population.


* Willard.jpg (5.75 KB, 275x183 - viewed 112 times.)
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« Reply #40 on: Oct 15, 2012, 12:01 PM »

This is what happens in any country that has an out of control Capitalism .....

October 15, 2012 10:00 AM

The Oligarchs Are Nervous

By karoli

Despite the millions upon millions the oligarchs are pouring into their candidate, they're not running away with the election. Courts are pushing back on their voter suppression initiatives, and they're not getting a margin that guarantees their guy the win.

In the battle for control of our country, they're willing to use every weapon at their disposal. Today's weapon of choice is the employee intimidation spray gun.

Over at Koch Industries, an nice little voter pamphlet went out to 45,000 Georgia Pacific employees. Mike Lux found himself in possession of a copy and let us all in on the secret.

    The packet arrived in the mailboxes of all 45,000 Georgia Pacific employees earlier this month. The cover letter, by Koch Industries President and Chief Operating Officer Dave Robertson, read:

        While we are typically told before each Presidential election that it is important and historic, I believe the upcoming election will determine what kind of America future generations will inherit.

        If we elect candidates who want to spend hundreds of billions in borrowed money on costly new subsidies for a few favored cronies, put unprecedented regulatory burdens on businesses, prevent or delay important new construction projects, and excessively hinder free trade, then many of our more than 50,000 U.S. employees and contractors may suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation, and other ills.

    Enclosed with the letter was a flyer listing Koch-endorsed candidates, beginning with Romney. Robertson’s letter explained: “At the request of many employees, we have also provided a list of candidates in your state that have been supported by Koch companies or by KOCHPAC, our employee political action committee.”

    The packet also included an anti-Obama editorial by Charles Koch and a pro-Romney editorial by David Koch. The letter went on to say, “We believe any decision about which candidates to support is—as always—yours and yours alone, based on the factors that are most important to you. Second, we do not support candidates based on their political affiliation.”

    In the flyer sent to Oregon employees, all 14 Koch-backed state candidates were Republicans.

This isn't new. They did it in 2010, and they did it with their little Prosperity 101 seminar employees had to take last year.

But it isn't only the Koch boys. As Heather posted on Sunday, ASG Software Solutions also sent a threatening letter to its employees saying that their jobs were in jeopardy if they didn't make darn sure Mitt Romney was elected. And Westgate Resorts CEO took similar action.

Here's what you need to know. This is a coordinated effort to force support for Mitt Romney. It's just as obvious as the coal CEO docking his employees and making them contribute to Romney's campaign. There isn't a major corporate presence in this country that Romney hasn't touched or crossed in his Bain Capital dealings, and while he might not be one of the oligarchs, he is most certainly the oligarchs' ideal choice to guard the henhouse and provide the digits on command for signatures on their key legislation.

It doesn't stop with coordinated employee intimidation either. Brad Friedman has another report out that ought to raise the hackles on everyone's neck. It seems that Bain Capital owns a hefty share of a voting machine company. Via The Free Press:

    The majority of the directors of Hart come from the private equity firm H.I.G. Capital. H.I.G. has been heavily invested in Hart Intercivic since July 2011, just in time for the current presidential election cycle. But who is H.I.G Capital?

    Out of 49 partners and directors, 48 are men, and 47 are white. Eleven of these men, including H.I.G. Founder Tony Tamer, were formerly employed at Bain and Company, and two of those men, John P. Bolduc and Douglas Berman are Romney bundlers along with former Bain and H.I.G. manager Brian Shortsleeve.

    Additionally, four of these men were formerly employed at Booz Allen Hamilton. Bush family friendly Carlyle group is an owner of Booz Allen which also made voting machines for the United States military. Booz Allen was also the key subcontractor for the controversial PioneerGroundbreaker program, an NSA data mining operation that gathered information on American citizens until it was shut down and replaced with even more invasive successor programs like MATRIX and Total Information Awareness.

Awesome. And Brad has more.

    Lee Fang at The Nation recently confirmed the FreePress reporting in a story of his own on the "crony capitalism" of Tagg Romney, whose father's money and high-profile connections present a number of troubling corporate conflicts of interest should Mitt Romney become President. Also this week, in a video that has gone a bit viral, The David Pakman Show expressed understandable concerns about Romney's close business partners having this type of corporate control over a large e-voting company whose, extremely vulnerable and insecure [PDF] --- and often 100% unverifiable --- voting and tabulation systems are now used, according to VerifiedVoting.org's database, in all or parts of California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington. [Pakman's video is embedded below.]

Rule of the oligarchs: If at first you're not succeeding, buy the system and break it.

But I don't write all of this to discourage anyone. Indeed, just the opposite. The only way to overcome their influence is to overwhelm it, and the only way to overwhelm it is by showing up to vote in unprecedented numbers. Because if they succeed, then it really won't matter what happens next. This country will look like Wisconsin after Scott Walker was elected, or Texas, or Rick Scott's Florida. That's what these guys want.

They're restless, and they're hungry, and they can be defeated.
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« Reply #41 on: Oct 15, 2012, 05:05 PM »

TPM Editor’s Blog
Scared? Get Scared
Josh Marshall October 15, 2012, 11:51 AM

It’s looking like a Romney victory — inter alia — would mean Medicare abolished and replaced with a voucher program this Spring.

From Jon Chait …

Quote
   Let’s first imagine that, on January 20, Romney takes the oath of office. Of the many secret post-victory plans floating around in the inner circles of the campaigns, the least secret is Romney’s intention to implement Paul Ryan’s budget. The Ryan budget has come to be almost synonymous with the Republican Party agenda, and Romney has embraced it with only slight variations. It would repeal Obamacare, cut income-tax rates, turn Medicare for people under 55 years old into subsidized private insurance, increase defense spending, and cut domestic spending, with especially large cuts for Medicaid, food stamps, and other programs targeted to the very poor.

    Few voters understand just how rapidly Romney could achieve this, rewriting the American social compact in one swift stroke. Ryan’s plan has never attracted Democratic support, but it is not designed for bipartisanship. Ryan deliberately built it to circumvent a Senate filibuster, stocking the plan with budget legislation that is allowed, under Senate “budget reconciliation” procedures, to pass with a simple majority. Republicans have been planning the mechanics of the vote for many months, and Republican insiders expect Romney to use reconciliation to pass the bill. Republicans would still need to control 50 votes in the Senate (Ryan, as vice-president, would cast the tiebreaking vote), but if Romney wins the presidency, he’ll likely precipitate a partywide tail wind that would extend to the GOP’s Senate slate.

Nonpartisan report: Ryan Medicare plan hurts Florida seniors the most

By Stephen C. Webster

Monday, October 15, 2012 15:14 EDT

The nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation said Monday that a year-long study has found that Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to turn Medicare into a privatized “premium support” coupon program will result in higher costs for six out of every 10 beneficiaries just to maintain their current levels of service.

Kaiser’s study (PDF) found that his plan to partially privatize Medicare would result in wild variations in policy costs across the country, with some states set to be hit much worse than others, confirming in greater detail earlier studies that found Ryan’s plan would result in significantly higher costs for most seniors.

In particular, Kaiser notes that the crucial swing state of Florida — where former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney currently enjoys a slight lead in the polls over President Barack Obama — would see the worst fallout, with about 77 percent of Medicare beneficiaries expected to pay $200 or more per month under the Republican’s coupon program.

It would be especially expensive in areas with the highest concentration of Medicare enrollees, like Miami-Dade County, where nearly all seniors face paying nearly $500 more per month, or Palm Beach County, where 99 percent of plans would go up by more than $370 a month. Kaiser added that Los Angeles County and Orange County in California also face some of the worst price hikes under the Ryan coupon plan, where 99 percent of seniors face paying an additional $$216-$260 more per month.

Overall, seniors would face increased costs of about $720 per year on average across the country under Ryan’s proposed plan, Kaiser added.

“That means that under Romney’s plan, millions of people—especially those with complicated health needs who see a lot of different doctors—would have to give up their doctors or pay extra to maintain access to their choices,” a prepared statement from the Obama campaign claimed. “Even worse, this study is just examining the impact of their plan in a single year. It ignores the role of adverse selection against traditional Medicare—which would drive costs higher and force more people to give up their choice of doctor. It also doesn’t factor in the impact of the cap Romney would place on the growth rate of the vouchers, which results in seniors paying thousands of dollars more every year regardless of which plan they choose.”

Both Romney and Ryan have campaigned on the claim that 7.4 million seniors will lose their access to Medicare due to cuts in Obama’s health reforms, but many fact checkers have refuted that representation of the law. The Affordable Care Act does not cut Medicare benefits, but instead aims to find billions in savings in the Medicare Advantage program, which officials say is unnecessarily costly. The 7.4 million figure cited by both conservative candidates is actually the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of how many more people would be covered under traditional Medicare plans that cost beneficiaries less. Additionally, Ryan’s budget includes the same provision, and most Republicans in Congress have voted for it twice.

Reacting to Kaiser’s study, Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul told Talking Points Memo that Kaiser’s study does not reflect “the Romney-Ryan plan,” which is supposedly different from the Ryan plan, although neither candidate has specified where they differ on substance. “Our plan would always provide future beneficiaries guaranteed coverage options with no increase in out-of-pocket costs from today’s Medicare,” Saul insisted, offering no further details.

Romney said in August that he would implement a program that’s “the same if not identical” to what Ryan proposed.
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« Reply #42 on: Oct 16, 2012, 07:06 AM »


Just more evidence of the corruption caused by corporations in the USA ...

The Obama Campaign Calls Out Gallup’s Deeply Flawed Battleground Women Poll

By: Jason Easley October 15th, 2012

After Gallup released a poll showing Obama and Romney tied at 48% with battleground state women, the Obama campaign exposed a flaw in Gallup’s likely voter methodology.

The Obama campaign pointed out that Gallup’s likely voter survey was way off in 2010, “Only 2 years ago the distortions in Gallup’s likely voter screen were exposed, leaving Gallup’s survey 9 points off the mark just days before the election. Gallup’s likely voter model predicted a 15 point advantage for Republicans, 55-40, on October 31, 2010. The final result was a 6 point margin, 51-45. That year, Gallup’s registered voter survey was much closer to reality at 48-44.”

The Obama camp called the Gallup likely voter women battleground poll an outlier and said that in 14 polls in 8 battleground states since October 4, President Obama has led with women in every poll. In ten of the polls Obama held a double digit lead, and his average margin in all 14 polls is 10.2%.

Swing state polling chart:

The Obama campaign suggested that Gallup’s other polling was more accurate, but that there is a problem with the questions that Gallup uses to screen likely voters, “We believe the problem with Gallup’s outlying data is rooted in their 7 question likely voter screen, which distorts the composition of likely voters, leading to erratic and inaccurate results…Several of the likely voter questions create a bias against groups inclined to support Obama. For example, Gallup asks voters both whether they have voted in their precinct before and where people in their neighborhood go to vote. This creates a bias against registered voters who more likely to move from time to time, such as young voters, renters, minorities and urban dwellers, all of whom tend to lean toward the President.”

In general, the venerable polling firm has largely been out of step with the polling consensus in 2012. Unlike when the Romney campaign whines about polls, the Obama camp actually provided a methodological reason for their skepticism.

Since the election has tightened up, the Obama campaign is more sensitive to the perceptions caused by polling, but it is important to note that not all polls are the same. Too often, the media gives every poll equal weight when it shouldn’t. Some polls really are better and more accurate than others. Anyone who reads polling should do so not by focusing on one poll, but by looking at the overall picture presented by 5 or 10 polls.

Gallup’s recent track record over the last couple of years suggests that they are oversampling Republicans. Gallup has a ton of credibility because they are the founding father of political polling, but even legends make mistakes, and something smells fishy in Gallup’s latest women likely voter survey.
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« Reply #43 on: Oct 16, 2012, 07:09 AM »


Romney’s Tax Plan Turns the Laws of Mathematics on their Head

By: Hrafnkell HaraldssonOctober 16th, 2012         
   
A New York Times editorial proclaims “Mr. Romney needs a working calculator.” Amen. As this editorial says, “To the annoyance of the Romney campaign, members of Washington’s reality-based community have a habit of popping up to point out the many deceptions in the campaign’s blue-sky promises of low taxes and instant growth.”

It is fitting that the New York Times refers to a ”reality-based community” because it was in the New York Times that this now famous phrase first appeared, back in 2004, quoting, fittingly enough, a Republican. It was an aide to President George W. Bush who first put a Republican president outside of reality and bragged about the expediency of making his own. And this is a community from which Mitt Romney has also willingly excluded himself.

“Blue-sky promises” hits the nail on the head. We are going to fix this and fix that, Romney says, but he won’t - and can’t - say how. It’s like magic (after all, Ann says, just electing him will fix everything – who needs math?) and we’re just supposed to trust him. I wouldn’t trust Romney if he told me the sky was blue.

Watch whichmitt.com and tell me you can trust this man. My hunch is that Rmuse was right to question Mitt’s mental health the other day.

As the Times go on to tell us: “The latest is the Joint Committee on Taxation, an obscure but well-respected Congressional panel — currently evenly divided between the parties — that helps lawmakers calculate the effect of their tax plans.”

And what is the word, you ask?  It’s another blow to wishful thinking:

    The answer came last week: ending all those deductions would only produce enough revenue to lower tax rates by 4 percent. Mitt Romney says he can lower tax rates by 20 percent and pay for it by ending deductions. The joint committee’s math makes it clear that that is impossible.

That won’t stop Mr. Romney from insisting that it is possible when he debates President Obama, of course, though he won’t have Lehrer in his corner this time.

We have already seen how Paul Ryan handled these questions when Mike Wallace put him on the spot on Fox News of all places.

Yet it was Romney who told Obama he was not entitled to his own reality. That was a brilliant stroke, taking the initiative.  You have to admire anyone willing to lie so boldly and so confidently. But with Mike Wallace, and with developments like the Times editorial, the tide me be beginning to turn on Romney’s fantasy economics. President Obama has the chance to put this lie away at the upcoming debate.

You don’t have to go far, though, to see how widespread this denial-of-reality goes, and why even a splash of cold ocean won’t shake the devotion of the faithful.

Glenn Beck may be less visible these days but he’s no less over-the-top. When you get a mythologizer like David Barton together with the suggestible and highly-strung Beck, anything can happen. Like proclaiming that Mitt Romney is the next Abraham Lincoln.

The Great Enslaver is like the Great Emancipator?

Glenn, you’re known for saying some crazy things, but are you sure you want to go there?

Take a look courtesy of Right Wing Watch:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=LxO3b_ywVis

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Aw04ytGdr9E

David Barton says it was  Lincoln’s proclamation of a day of prayer and fasting on March 30, 1863 that gave the Union the win. Apparently, “God” decided that rather than giving the Union the win right then and there as a reward, he’d make them fight for another bloody two years and let tens of thousands of young men die horribly along with the suffering of an often innocent civilian population in the war zones.

Right. And Thomas Jefferson could not have freed his slaves. Look, the war was won because of a number of factors, not least Lincoln’s tenacity and 23,000 dead and wounded and missing at Gettysburg who exhibited a tenacity of their own in the cause of the Union. If Barton’s god won the Civil War, he had a sick way of doing it.

These two topics may seem unrelated but they’re tightly entwined. The fundamentalist Republican base wants a certain America. To have that certain America, they need a certain past. Romney wants to have a certain America too – namely an America with him at the head. To have that, certain things have to be true even when they cannot possibly be. Like this recent Romney ad attacking Obama. As lies go, this is nothing less than breathtaking:

“The facts are clear. Obama’s four deficits are the four largest in U.S. history. He’s adding almost as much debt as all 43 previous presidents combined.”

Not only did 9/11 now happen on Obama’s watch, but George W. Bush’s debt now magicaly becomes Obama’s debt. Do the math. Romney sure didn’t.

The Republican War on Science has tossed aside all appeal to facts, to reality, to cause and effect, and to the historical record.

Really, with all due respect to the New York Times, it is not a working calculator Romney needs at all. What Romney needs, what the Republican Party as a whole needs, is a willingness to use a calculator. It’s almost as though such things have come to be seen as the workings of Satan, and we can only wonder how long it will be before we are being told that microphones and cameras steal the soul.

Anything that casts doubt on the Republican Party’s fantasy America must be the work of demons.

The Times sums up the situation nicely: “It is increasingly clear that the Romney tax ‘plan’ is not really a plan at all but is instead simply a rhapsody based on old Republican themes that something can be had for nothing.

Including a new history and indeed, new mathematical laws, and new laws of physics, more amenable to their fantasies.

We have many mathematical laws but the most important law in all of history might be Romney’s Law, which supersedes everything you thought you knew: that numbers are and do what you insist they are and do.

Let the voter beware.
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« Reply #44 on: Oct 16, 2012, 07:11 AM »


Bill Clinton Explains What’s Missing in Mitt Romney’s Tax Math

By: Sarah JonesOctober 16th, 2012

President Clinton explains Mitt Romney’s $5 trillion tax cut and how middle class families with children will get an average tax increase of $2,000 to pay for $250,000 in tax cuts for multi-millionaires.

President Clinton tells the American people, “In the first debate, Governor Romney said that he wasn’t really going to cut taxes on upper income people—he only wanted to cut taxes for middle class people. That’s not true.”

Chicago is coming on strong, saying, “As Americans learned in the first presidential debate, Mitt Romney will say anything to close the deal, even if it’s not true, just like he did in the corporate boardroom. So in advance of tonight’s debate, President Clinton is taking a couple of minutes to explain how Romney’s $5 trillion tax cut – which Romney claimed didn’t exist in the last debate — gives multimillionaires like him a new $250,000 tax cut, even with closing upper-end loopholes and deductions. He also details how it is mathematically impossible to pay for the $5 trillion tax cut without cutting deductions for the middle class, like the home mortgage, charitable, and state and local taxes deductions. In this new video, President Clinton notes that Romney is now cynically hiding the existence of the tax cut because he knows the only way to pay for it is to raise taxes on the middle class. While Romney continues to deceive Americans about his tax plan, President Clinton reminds them to rely on “arithmetic over illusion.” In other words, facts matter.”

Mitt Romney better be on his A-game tonight. Big Dog and the guy who got Osama are after his tax lies.

Click to watch:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mB7I0vpwT7M
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