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Author Topic: The Presidential Election In The USA..........  (Read 12308 times)
Rad
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« Reply #45 on: Oct 16, 2012, 07:14 AM »


Main Street: President Obama’s Plan to Build the Economy from the Middle Out

By: Sarah Jones October 15th, 2012

Obama for America’s newest ad “Main Street” is set to hit Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, and Virginia. The ad features Americans from across the country talking about how Obama’s policies are moving us forward. With consumer confidence at a 5 year high, the President knows there’s more work to be done, but his plans to build the economy from the middle out are working.

This is more than just rhetoric, and I can prove it.

    Female narrator: We’ve gone from pulling into our parking lot, which was so depressing – there would be 2 or three cars in this parking lot to our parking lot being full.

    Second female narrator: We have a whole second shift that we brought in, new employees, and we have a future at our plant now.

    Male narrator: When you look at the president’s plan I don’t think there can be any question that we’re on the right course for today’s economy.

    Second male narrator: President Obama does get what people need and that’s jobs and the opportunity to help themselves.

    Third Male narrator: Stick with this guy. He will move us forward.

Chicago explains, “When the President took office, we were losing 800,000 jobs a month. But the President’s policies brought us back from the brink and we’re now moving forward again – businesses have added 5.2 million private sector jobs over the past two and a half years, the unemployment rate is at its lowest level since January 2009, and consumer confidence is at a five-year high.” They continue, “The President understands there’s more work to do to get Americans back to work and restore economic security for the middle-class, but as the hard-working Americans in OFA’s new ad highlight, the President’s plans are building an economy meant to last – from the middle out, not the top down.”

Let’s take a look at what Obama inherited and what he built.

PRESIDENT OBAMA ENTERED OFFICE FACING AN ECONOMIC CRISIS AND AN AUTO INDUSTRY ON THE BRINK OF COLLAPSE

IN THE SIX MONTHS BEFORE PRESIDENT OBAMA TOOK OFFICE, THE COUNTRY LOST THREE AND A HALF MILLION JOBS—800,000 DURING THE MONTH HE WAS SWORN IN

In The Six Months Before President Obama’s First Full Month In Office, The Economy Lost Nearly 3.5 Million Jobs. According to Bureau Of Labor Statistics data, job losses in the six months before President Obama’s first full month in office, the economy lost 3,477,000 nonfarm jobs: August 2008 (-247,000), September 2008 (-432,000), October 2008 (-489,000), November 2008 (-803,000), December 2008 (-661,000), January 2009 (-818,000). [Current Employment Statistics, Bureau Of Labor Statistics, accessed 8/22/12]

The Month President Obama Took Office, The Economy Lost 818,000 Nonfarm Jobs. According to Bureau Of Labor Statistics data, the economy lost 818,000 nonfarm jobs in January 2009. [Current Employment Statistics, Bureau Of Labor Statistics, accessed 8/23/12]

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke In March 2009: “The World Is Suffering Through The Worst Financial Crisis Since The 1930s.” “Mr. BEN BERNANKE (Federal Reserve Chairman): The world is suffering through the worst financial crisis since the 1930s.” [Remarks By Ben Bernanke On A Council On Foreign Relations Meeting, 3/10/09]

WHEN PRESIDENT OBAMA CAME INTO OFFICE, THE AUTO INDUSTRY WAS ON THE BRINK OF EXTINCTION – WITH OVER A MILLION JOBS HANGING IN THE BALANCE

Princeton Economist Alan Blinder And Moody’s Economist Mark Zandi: In Late 2008, The Auto Industry Was “Near Collapse” And Its Demise “Threatened To Exacerbate The Recession.” “The near collapse of the domestic auto industry in late 2008 also threatened to exacerbate the recession. GM and Chrysler eventually went through bankruptcies, but TARP funds were used to make the process relatively orderly. GM is already on its way to being a publicly traded company again. Without financial help from the federal government, all three domestic vehicle pro­ducers and many of their suppliers might have had to liquidate many operations, with devastating effects on the broader economy, and especially on the Midwest. [Princeton University, 7/28/10]

2009: The Motor And Equipment Manufacturers Association Warned About “An Impending Implosion Of The [Auto] Supply Base.” “Throughout the year, MEMA, OESA and other industry analysts warned about an impending implosion of the supply base. The risk was real.” [Testimony of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association Before the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee, 11/30/09]

Center For Automotive Research: If GM And Chrysler Had Failed, The United States Would Have Lost Over A Million Jobs. “Across the globe, federal, state and provincial governments stepped in to provide aid to the Detroit-based automakers with operations in their countries. These loans and other financial assistance provided to General Motors and Chrysler by the U.S. and foreign governments averted certain economic catastrophe had the companies been allowed to fail… The May results estimated that the outcomes of the orderly bankruptcy proceedings would save 1.28 million jobs in 2009, while the current review estimates slightly lower job savings of 1.14 million jobs. For 2010, original estimates (of orderly bankruptcies vs. unsuccessful proceedings) were that 267,300 jobs would be saved, while the current review estimates that 314,400 jobs were preserved.” [Center For Automotive Research, 11/17/2010]

PRESIDENT OBAMA BET ON THE AMERICAN WORKER, AND HIS AUTO RESCUE SAVED OVER A MILLION JOBS

President Obama: “Don’t Bet Against The American Worker.” In a speech to Chrysler plant workers in Kokomo, Indiana, President Obama said, “We’re coming back. We’re on the move. All three American companies are profitable, and they are growing. Some of you read last week, G.M.’s stock offering exceeded expectations as investors expressed their confidence in a future that seemed so dim just 18 months ago. And as a result, the Treasury was able to sell half of its G.M. stock. So here’s the lesson: Don’t bet against America. Don’t bet against the American auto industry. Don’t bet against American ingenuity. Don’t bet against the American worker.” [Remarks by the President to Chrysler Plant Workers in Kokomo, Indiana, 11/23/10]

Center For Automotive Research: The Auto Industry Rescue Saved Over 1.1 Million Jobs In 2009. According to a report on the difference between orderly bankruptcy proceedings assisted by government-provided debtor-in-possession financing versus an uncontrolled bankruptcy for American automakers, the Center for Automotive Research estimates that emergency loans to American automakers saved 1.14 million jobs in 2009. [Center for Automotive Research Report, 11/7/10]

SINCE THE RESCUE, THE AUTO INDUSTRY HAS ADDED NEARLY 250,000 JOBS, SALES ARE SURGING, AND AMERICAN AUTOMAKERS ARE ALL PROFITABLE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN YEARS

Since Chrysler And GM Retooled In June 2009, The American Auto Industry Has Added Nearly 250,000 Jobs. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Employment Statistics survey data, motor vehicle and parts manufacturing and motor vehicle and parts retail trade sectors employed 2,252,100 Americans in June 2009. In September 2012, these sectors employed 2,498,400 Americans – an increase of 246,300 jobs. [Bureau Of Labor Statistics Current Employment Statistics Survey Database, Accessed 10/5/12]

CNN Money Headline: “Best Car Sales Since Early ’08.” [CNN Money, 10/2/12]

“U.S. Car Buyers Flooded Showrooms In September, Sending Auto Sales To Their Highest Level In More Than Four Years.” “U.S. car buyers flooded showrooms in September, sending auto sales to their highest level in more than four years. Overall sales were were up 13% from a year ago, according to sales tracker Autodata, which put the pace of sales at an annual rate of just under 15 million vehicles. That easily topped most forecasts and was even better than the spike in sales caused by the government’s ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program three years ago. The last time sales reached this level was February 2008, before gas prices surged and the financial meltdown caused a deep, sustained drop in auto sales. White House National Economic Council, July 2012]

PRESIDENT OBAMA SET A THE GOAL OF CREATING ONE MILLION NEW MANUFACTURING JOBS BY 2016, WITH PLANS TO CUT TAXES FOR COMPANIES BRINGING JOBS BACK TO THE U.S. AND DOUBLING OUR EXPORTS BY 2015

President Obama Set A Goal Of Creating One Million New Manufacturing Jobs Over The Next Four Years. “President Barack Obama will set a goal of creating 1 million new manufacturing jobs over the next four years and doubling exports during the next two years, according to excerpts of his speech to the Democratic National Convention released Thursday.” [CNN, 9/6/12]

President Obama’s Tax Reform Framework Removes Tax Deductions For Moving Production Overseas And Provides New Incentives For Bringing Production Back To The United States. “Remove tax deductions for moving productions overseas and provide new incentives for bringing production back to the United States. The tax code currently allows companies moving operations overseas to deduct their moving expenses—and reduce their taxes in the United States as a result. The President is proposing that companies will no longer be allowed to claim tax deductions for moving their operations abroad. At the same time, to help bring jobs home, the President is proposing to give a 20 percent income tax credit for the expenses of moving operations back into the United States.” [The President's Framework For Tax Reform, February 2012]

President Obama Created The National Export Initiative To Create Jobs By Putting America On The Path To Doubling Exports By 2015. President Obama's Remarks At The Democratic National Convention, 09/07/12]

The Administration’s Budget Offers $1 Billion In “Race To The Top”-Style Grants To States That Slow Their Tuition Growth And Sustain Their Higher-Education Budgets. “The election-year budget, which comes at a time of shrinking revenue and rising deficits, would also double the number of work-study jobs and reward colleges and states that slow their tuition growth and sustain their higher-education budgets. As the president promised in his State of the Union address and a speech at the University of Michigan late last month, the administration would offer $1-billion in “Race to the Top”-style grants to states and expand the Perkins Loan program from $1-billion to $8.5-billion, allocating additional aid to institutions that offer relatively low net tuition, graduate relatively high proportions of Pell recipients, and prepare graduates to obtain employment and repay their loans.” [Chronicle of Higher Education, 02/13/12]

PRESIDENT OBAMA WOULD INVEST IN TRAINING WORKERS FOR GOOD-PAYING JOBS, AND IN REBUILDING OUR NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE

The President Proposed Training Two Million Workers For Good-Paying Jobs Through New Partnerships Between Community Colleges And Businesses. “The bulk of the job-training money would come in an $8-billion ‘Community College to Career Fund,’ which would provide money to community colleges and states to form partnerships with businesses to train an estimated two million workers in high-growth and in-demand areas.” [Chronicle of Higher Education, 02/13/12]

President Obama Proposed To Create Jobs By Using Half Of The Savings From Ending Foreign Wars To Rebuild America. To help ensure we have the infrastructure so that companies can ship their goods more efficiently throughout the country and the world, the President is calling for new efforts to revitalize American infrastructure. The President’s plan will protect taxpayer dollars by fixing existing roads and by directing funding to the best projects instead of earmarks, and will continue investments in high-speed rail. To pay for these investments, the President is proposing to use approximately half of the savings that we will achieve from winding down wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the 6 year period of the infrastructure plan with the other half going towards paying down the debt. The President also announced that within the coming weeks, he will sign an Executive Order clearing the red tape that can slow down new infrastructure projects, accelerating those projects that have already been funded.” ["An America Built To Last," White House, February 2012]

UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA’S LEADERSHIP, BUSINESSES HAVE ADDED 5.2 MILLION JOBS IN THE LAST 31 MONTHS

The U.S. Economy Has Added 5.2 Million Private Sector Jobs In The Last 31 Months. In February 2010, the U.S. economy employed 106,773,000 people in the private sector. In September 2012, the U.S. economy employed 111,952,000 people in the private sector, gaining 5,179,000 jobs over the 31 month period, including the CES preliminary benchmark revision to March 2012 data. [Current Employment Statistics, Bureau Of Labor Statistics, accessed 10/5/12; CES Preliminary Benchmark Announcement, Bureau Of Labor Statistics, 9/27/12]

THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IS AT ITS LOWEST LEVEL SINCE PRESIDENT OBAMA TOOK OFFICE

The Unemployment Rate Is Lower Than At Any Time Since January 2009. [Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed 10/5/12]

UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA, MANUFACTURERS HAVE ADDED JOBS FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE LATE 1990s

New York Times:
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Prometheus
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« Reply #46 on: Oct 17, 2012, 07:03 AM »

US Elections: Pick Your Poison - VIDEO Interview with Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges: The system has not been able to respond in a rational way, the way the Roosevelt administration responded rationally through the New Deal. And because of that, we're in deep, deep trouble. So I think all of our hope now has to be invested in acts of civil disobedience
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omiKV_6WnFg



How Do You Take Your Poison?
          
Sep 24, 2012

By Chris Hedges

We will all swallow our cup of corporate poison. We can take it from nurse Romney, who will tell us not to whine and play the victim, or we can take it from nurse Obama, who will assure us that this hurts him even more than it hurts us, but one way or another the corporate hemlock will be shoved down our throats. The choice before us is how it will be administered. Corporate power, no matter who is running the ward after January 2013, is poised to carry out U.S. history’s most savage assault against the poor and the working class, not to mention the Earth’s ecosystem. And no one in power, no matter what the bedside manner, has any intention or ability to stop it.

If you insist on participating in the cash-drenched charade of a two-party democratic election at least be clear about what you are doing. You are, by playing your assigned role as the Democratic or Republican voter in this political theater, giving legitimacy to a corporate agenda that means your own impoverishment and disempowerment. All the things that stand between us and utter destitution—Medicaid, food stamps, Pell grants, Head Start, Social Security, public education, federal grants-in-aid to America’s states and cities, the Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program (WIC), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and home-delivered meals for seniors—are about to be shredded by the corporate state. Our corporate oligarchs are harvesting the nation, grabbing as much as they can, as fast as they can, in the inevitable descent.
Read more: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/how_do_you_take_your_poison_20120924/
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« Reply #47 on: Oct 17, 2012, 07:05 AM »

October 17, 2012

Mr. Obama Comes Back

NYT Editorial

There is a price to pay when a president appears disengaged, and President Obama obviously learned how much his diffidence cost him in the first debate this month. On Tuesday night, in the second debate, he regained full command of his vision and his legacy, leaving Mitt Romney sputtering with half-answers, deceptions and one memorable error.

Instead of windy and lethargic answers, the president was crisp in reciting his accomplishments and persuasive in explaining how he has restarted economic growth. Instead of letting Mr. Romney get away with a parade of falsehoods and unworkable promises, he regularly and forcefully called his opponent wrong. Having left many supporters wondering after the first debate whether he really wanted another four years, he finally seemed like a man who was ready to fight for another term.

What he did not do was describe how a second term would be more successful than his first has been, and, in particular, show how he would cut through the thicket of Republican opposition if re-elected. He missed opportunities to call for a more forceful opposition to assault weapons in another term, and to put forward a clear immigration policy.

But the contrast with the weak and failed ideas that Mr. Romney proposed could not have been clearer. The president noted that he had signed legislation that increased pay equity for women; Mr. Romney not only refused to say whether he would have done so, but condescendingly said he had hired many women when he was the governor of Massachusetts and had given them flexible schedules.

Mr. Obama pointed out that Mr. Romney’s tax numbers did not add up, and called the plan a “sketchy deal”; Mr. Romney responded in a huff. “Of course they add up,” he said. “I was someone who ran businesses for 25 years and balanced the budget.” Apparently he thinks it should be self-evident that a private equity mogul knows how to cut taxes drastically and still balance the budget, but it is not evident to any of the independent experts who have looked at his plan, as Mr. Obama icily pointed out.

The president reminded listeners that Mr. Romney’s immigration adviser was the author of Arizona’s radical, unconstitutional immigration law. And Mr. Romney himself repeated his cruel prescription to have undocumented immigrants “self-deport” by making it impossible for them to find work and aggressively demanding their identification papers. Mr. Obama offered the better, broader view on fixing immigration, though his own administration has also deported tens of thousands of noncriminals through a crackdown similar to Arizona’s law.

The president even got off a few good lines, pointing out that his pension was considerably smaller than Mr. Romney’s, and that his opponent was far more extreme than President George W. Bush in proposing to turn Medicare into a voucher system and to eliminate financing for Planned Parenthood. He finally took the opportunity to bring up Mr. Romney’s dismissal of 47 percent of the country as people who consider themselves victims and do not take personal responsibility for their lives.

But the most devastating moment for Mr. Romney was self-inflicted. Continuing his irresponsible campaign to politicize the death of the American ambassador to Libya, he said it took two weeks for the president to acknowledge that it was the result of an act of terror. As the moderator, Candy Crowley of CNN, quickly pointed out, the president referred to it as an act of terror the next day, in the Rose Garden. “Can you say that a little louder, Candy?” asked Mr. Obama, having fully regained his stride and confidence.

Voters who watched the first debate might have been left with an impression that Mr. Romney was the candidate of ideas and that Mr. Obama’s reserves of energy and seriousness had been tapped out. On Tuesday night, those roles were reversed.
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« Reply #48 on: Oct 17, 2012, 07:08 AM »

October 17, 2012

For the President, Punch, Punch, Another Punch

By PETER BAKER
NYT

He waited all of 45 seconds to make clear he came not just ready for a fight but ready to pick one.

President Obama, who concluded that he was “too polite” in his first debate with Mitt Romney, made sure no one would say that after their second. He interrupted, he scolded, he filibustered, he shook his head.

He tried to talk right over Mr. Romney, who tried to talk over him back. The president who waited patiently for his turn last time around forced his way into Mr. Romney’s time this time. At one point, he squared off with Mr. Romney face to face, almost chest to chest, in the middle of the stage, as if they were roosters in a ring.

“What Governor Romney said just isn’t true.”

“Not true, Governor Romney, not true.”

“What you’re saying is just not true.”

For a president teetering on the edge of a single term, making a more forceful case at Hofstra University on Long Island on Tuesday night could hardly have been more imperative. Thirteen days after he took presidential decorum to a Xanax extreme, he tucked away a dinner of steak and potatoes and then went out on stage with plenty of red meat for anxious supporters.

Whether it will decisively reroute the course of the campaign remains to be seen, but the president emerged from the encounter having settled nerves within his panicky party and claiming a new chance to frame the race with just three weeks left.

Heading into the evening, the Obama camp said that he needed at least a draw to mute the commotion over the first debate and drain some of the potential drama from the final meeting next Monday. But the risk, of course, was that an acerbic confrontation could turn off the very swing voters he covets.

The strategy for Tuesday night was clear: undercut Mr. Romney’s character and credibility by portraying him as lying about his true positions on issues like taxes and abortion. Time and again, Mr. Obama questioned whether the man on stage with him was the same “severely conservative” candidate who tacked right in the Republican primaries.

He painted Mr. Romney as a tool of big oil who is soft on China, hard on immigrants, politically crass on Libya and two-faced on guns and energy. He deployed many of the attack lines that went unused in Denver, going after Mr. Romney’s business record, his personal income taxes and, in the debate’s final minutes, his comments about the 47 percent of Americans he once deemed too dependent on government.

“Governor Romney doesn’t have a five-point plan,” Mr. Obama charged. “He has a one-point plan,” which is to help the rich, he said.

He mocked Mr. Romney by noting that he once closed a coal plant as the governor of Massachusetts. “Now suddenly you’re a big champion of coal,” he said.

As for trade, he said, “Governor, you’re the last person who’s going to get tough on China.”

And he pressed Mr. Romney for not disclosing how he would pay for his tax and deficit reduction goals. “We haven’t heard from the governor any specifics beyond Big Bird and eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood,” he said.

Mr. Romney held his own and gave as good as he got, presenting Mr. Obama as a failed president who has piled on trillions of dollars of debt, left millions of Americans without work, bungled security for American personnel in Libya, done nothing to reform entitlement programs and deserted a middle class “crushed under the policies of a president who has not understood what it takes to get the economy working again.”

But it was Mr. Obama who was the central story line of the night, his performance coming across as a striking contrast to that of his first face-off with Mr. Romney. For days leading up to Tuesday night’s encounter, Mr. Obama huddled in a Virginia resort with advisers to practice a more aggressive approach without appearing somehow inauthentic or crossing over a line of presidential dignity. It was a line he would stride up to repeatedly over the course of more than 90 minutes, and some will argue that he slipped over it at times.

Along the way, he ducked some questions. He never directly answered a voter who asked whether it was the government’s responsibility to try to lower gasoline prices, instead giving his stump speech on energy. Nor did he respond directly to another voter who asked who denied extra security to diplomats in Libya and why, although he did say, “I am ultimately responsible for what’s taking place there.”

Nor did he offer an extensive articulation of what his forward-looking agenda would be for a second term beyond, essentially, arguing that electing his opponent would be moving back to failed policies of the past.

His aggressive approach came as no surprise to Mr. Romney’s camp. It was clear from the start when Mr. Obama made sure to use the first question — from a college student worried about finding a job — to jab Mr. Romney for opposing the way the president went about the auto industry bailout of 2009.

With each question that followed came another attack. When it was not his turn, Mr. Obama sat on a stool and looked at Mr. Romney as he talked, rather than staring down and taking notes as he did in Denver. There was little smirking, though he did project at times an air of tolerant dismissal.

Evidently intent on redeeming himself by getting in all the points he failed to get in last time, Mr. Obama pushed right past time limits and at one point even refused to yield when the moderator, Candy Crowley of CNN, tried to rein him in.

“I want to make sure our timekeepers are working,” he complained when she tried to stop him on another occasion — never mind that at that point CNN’s time clock showed that he had spoken 19 minutes and 50 seconds, compared with 17 minutes and 17 seconds for Mr. Romney.

By the end, he had dominated the clock, consuming 44 minutes and four seconds to 40 minutes and 50 seconds for Mr. Romney.

If that sort of score keeping gave it the feel of an athletic competition, Mr. Obama might not object. Aides and friends have long said he is a clutch player on the basketball court, the kind who turns in listless performances during practice but raises his level when the game is on the line.

The game was on the line Tuesday night, and he scored some points. But the final buzzer is still 20 days away.
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« Reply #49 on: Oct 17, 2012, 07:09 AM »

October 15, 2012

Mr. Romney Needs a Working Calculator

NYT Editorial

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. 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.

Last month, the committee asked its staff what would happen if Congress repealed the biggest tax deductions and loopholes and used the new revenue to lower tax rates. The staff started adding it up: end all itemized deductions, tax capital gains and dividends as ordinary income, and tax the interest on state and local bonds, along with several other revenue-raisers.

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.

The analysis doesn’t include every possible tax expenditure, leaving out, for example, the tax break employers get for providing health insurance. But because Mr. Romney refuses to raise capital gains taxes and wants to end the estate tax, it is hard to see how he could do much better than 4 percent.

This is why Mr. Romney has refused to say which deductions he would eliminate, just as Representative Paul Ryan refused when asked a direct question in last week’s debate. Specify a deduction, and some pest with a calculator will point out that it doesn’t add up.

Even Fox News isn’t buying it. Ed Gillespie, a senior adviser to the Romney campaign, said on Fox News Sunday that Mr. Romney would work out those details later with Congress. As the program’s moderator, Chris Wallace, pointed out, that’s like offering voters the candy of a 20 percent tax cut without mentioning the spinach they will have to eat.

The Romney campaign claims it has six studies proving it can be done, but, on examination, none of the studies actually make that point, or counterbalance the nonpartisan analyses that use real math. Two of the studies, for example, were done by the same Republican economist, Martin Feldstein, an adviser to the Romney campaign, who said it would require ending all deductions for everyone making $100,000 or more. But Mr. Romney has explicitly said he would not do that.

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. For middle-class taxpayers without the benefit of expensive accountants, the bill always comes due a few years later.
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« Reply #50 on: Oct 17, 2012, 07:13 AM »

The 2012 US Presidential “Non-election”: Which Brand of “Fascism” this Time?
No matter who “wins”, humanity loses.
By Larry Chin
Global Research, October 14, 2012


Every four years, the deck chairs of the political Titanic that is the American empire get rearranged in the choreographed spectacle of another presidential “election”. The 2012 charade is particularly disgusting; the lies more blatant and shrill, as the world continues to burn.

It is critical to focus on the cold, ugly reality facing the world with either prospective White House occupant.

On one side, the Obama administration, and the traditional brand of neoliberal imperialism and international consensus, and false domestic populism. On the other side with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, militant right-wing extremism, an apocalyptic war agenda and the politics of sadism at home.
Read the rest:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-2012-us-presidential-non-election-which-brand-of-fascism-this-time/5308307
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« Reply #51 on: Oct 17, 2012, 07:18 AM »

Obama versus Romney: Bipartisan Consensus on Foreign Policy and Global Warfare

By Jack A. Smith
Global Research, October 05, 2012

Despite the sharp charges and counter-charges about foreign/military and national security policy there are no important differences on such matters between President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney. The back and forth between the candidates on international issues is largely about appearance not substance.

The Washington Post noted Sept. 26 that the two candidates “made clear this week that they share an overriding belief — American political and economic values should triumph in the world.” Add to that uplifting phrase the implicit words “by any means necessary,” and you have the essence of Washington’s international endeavors.

There are significant differences within the GOP’s right wing factions — from neoconservatives and ultra nationalists to libertarians and traditional foreign policy pragmatic realists — that make it extremely difficult for the Republicans to articulate a comprehensive foreign/military policy. This is why Romney confines himself to criticizing Obama’s international record without elaborating on his own perspective, except to imply he would do everything better than the incumbent.

Only nuances divide the two ruling parties on the principal strategic international objectives that determine the development of policy. Washington’s main goals include:

• Retaining worldwide “leadership,” a euphemism for geopolitical hegemony.

• Maintaining the unparalleled military power required to crush any other country, using all means from drones to nuclear weapons. This is made clear in the incumbent administration’s 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), and the January 2012 strategic defense guidance titled, “Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense.”

• Containing the rise of China’s power and influence, not only globally but within its own East Asian regional sphere of influence, where the U.S. still intends to reign supreme. Obama’s “pivot” to Asia is part of Washington’s encirclement of China militarily and politically through its alliances with key Asian-Pacific allies. In four years, according to the IMF, China’s economy will overtake that of the U.S. — and Washington intends to have its fleets, air bases, troops and treaties in place for the celebration.

• Exercising decisive authority over the entire resource-rich Middle East and adjacent North Africa. Only The Iranian and Syrian governments remain to be toppled. (Shia Iraq, too, if it gets too close to Iran.)

• Provoking regime change in Iran through crippling sanctions intended to wreck the country’s economy and, with Israel, threats of war. There is no proof Iran is constructing a nuclear weapon.

• Seeking regime change in Syria, Shia Iran’s (and Russia’s) principal Arab ally. Obama is giving political and material support to fractious rebel forces in the civil war who are also supported by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey. The U.S. interest is in controlling the replacement regime.

• Weakening and isolating Russia as it develops closer economic and political ties to China, and particularly when it expresses opposition to certain of Washington’s less savory schemes, such as continuing to expand NATO, seeking to crush Iran and Syria, and erecting anti-missile systems in Europe. In 20 years, NATO has been extended from Europe to Central Asia, adjacent to China and former Soviet republics.

• Continuing the over 50-year Cold War economic embargo, sanctions and various acts of subversion against Cuba in hopes of destroying socialism in that Caribbean Island nation.

• Recovering at least enough hegemony throughout Latin America — nearly all of which the U.S. dominated until perhaps 15 years ago — to undermine or remove left wing governments in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador.

• Significantly increasing U.S. military engagement in Africa.

Both the right/far right Republican Party and the center right Democratic Party agree on these goals, although their language to describe them is always decorated with inspiring rhetoric about the triumph of American political and economic values; about spreading democracy and good feeling; about protecting the American people from terrorism and danger.

Today’s foreign/military policy goals are contemporary adaptations of a consistent, bipartisan international perspective that began to take shape at the end of World War II in 1945. Since the implosion of the Soviet Union ended the 45-year Cold War two decades ago — leaving the U.S. and its imperialist ambitions as the single world superpower — Washington protects its role as “unipolar” hegemon like a hungry dog with a meaty bone.

The people of the United States have no influence over the fundamentals of Washington’s foreign/military objectives. Many Americans seem to have no idea about Washington’s actual goals. As far as a large number of voters are concerned the big foreign/military policy/national security issues in the election boil down to Iran’s dangerous nuclear weapon; the need to stand up for Israel; stopping China from “stealing” American jobs; and preventing a terrorist attack on America.

One reason is the ignorance of a large portion of voters about past and present history and foreign affairs. Another is that many people still entertain the deeply flawed myths about “American exceptionalism” and the “American Century.” Lastly, there’s round-the-clock government and mass media misinformation.

After decades of living within an aggressive superpower it is no oddity that even ostensibly informed delegates to the recent Republican and Democratic political conventions engaged in passionate mass chanting of the hyper-nationalist “USA!, USA!, USA!,” when they were whipped up by party leaders evoking the glories of killing Osama bin-Laden, patriotism, war and the superiority of our way of life.

Since Romney has no foreign policy record, and he’ll probably do everything Obama would do only worse (and he probably won’t even win the election) we will concentrate mainly on Obama’s foreign/military policy and the pivot to China.

One of President Obama’s most important military decisions this year was a new strategic guidance for the Pentagon published Jan. 5 in a 16-page document titled “Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense.”

The new doctrine is the response by the White House and Congress to the stagnant economy and new military considerations. It reduces the number of military personnel and expects to lower Pentagon costs over 10 years by $487 billion, as called for by the Budget Control Act of 2011. This amounts to a cut of almost $50 billion a year in an overall annual Pentagon budget of about $700 billion, and most of the savings will be in getting rid of obsolete equipment and in payrolls. This may all be reversed by Congress.

Introducing “Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership” to the media, Obama declared:

“As we look beyond the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — and the end of long-term nation-building with large military footprints — we’ll be able to ensure our security with smaller conventional ground forces. We’ll continue to get rid of outdated Cold War-era systems so that we can invest in the capabilities that we need for the future, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, counterterrorism, countering weapons of mass destruction and the ability to operate in environments where adversaries try to deny us access. So, yes, our military will be leaner, but the world must know the United States is going to maintain our military superiority with armed forces that are agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats.”

Following the president, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta declared:

“As we shift the size and composition of our ground, air and naval forces, we must be capable of successfully confronting and defeating any aggressor and respond to the changing nature of warfare. Our strategy review concluded that the United States must have the capability to fight several conflicts at the same time. We are not confronting, obviously, the threats of the past; we are confronting the threats of the 21st century. And that demands greater flexibility to shift and deploy forces to be able to fight and defeat any enemy anywhere. How we defeat the enemy may very well vary across conflicts. But make no mistake, we will have the capability to confront and defeat more than one adversary at a time.”

The Congressional Research Service summarized five key points from the defense guidance, which it said was “written as a blueprint for the joint force of 2020.” They are:

1. A shift in overall focus from winning today’s wars to preparing for future challenges.

2. A shift in geographical priorities toward the Asia and the Pacific region while retaining emphasis on the Middle East.

3. A shift in the balance of missions toward more emphasis on projecting power in areas in which U.S. access and freedom to operate are challenged by asymmetric means (“anti-access”) and less emphasis on stabilization operations, while retaining a full-spectrum force.

4. A corresponding shift in force structure, including reductions in Army and Marine Corps end strength, toward a smaller, more agile force including the ability to mobilize quickly. [The Army plans to cut about 50,000 from a force of 570,000. In 2001 there were 482,000.]

5. A corresponding shift toward advanced capabilities including Special Operations Forces, new technologies such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and unmanned systems, and cyberspace capabilities.

Here are the new military priorities, according to Obama’s war doctrine (notice the omission of counter-insurgency, a previous favorite):

• Engage in counter-terrorism and irregular warfare.

• Deter and defeat aggression.

• Project power despite anti-access/area denial challenges.

• Counter weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

• Operate effectively in cyberspace and space.

• Maintain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent.

• Defend the homeland and provide support to civil authorities.

• Provide a stabilizing presence.

• Conduct stability and counterinsurgency operations.

• Conduct humanitarian, disaster relief, and other operations.

In an article critical of the military and titled “A Leaner, More Efficient Empire,” progressive authors Medea Benjamin and Charles Davis wrote:

“In an age when U.S. power can be projected through private mercenary armies and unmanned Predator drones, the U.S. military need no longer rely on massive, conventional ground forces to pursue its imperial agenda, a fact President Barack Obama is now acknowledging. But make no mistake: while the tactics may be changing, the U.S. taxpayer — and poor foreigners abroad — will still be saddled with overblown military budgets and militaristic policies.

” ‘Over the next 10 years, the growth in the defense budget will slow,’ the president told reporters, ‘but the fact of the matter is this: It will still grow.’ In fact, he added with a touch of pride, it ‘will still be larger than it was toward the end of the Bush administration,’ totaling more than $700 billion a year and accounting for about half of the average American’s income tax. So much for the Pentagon’s budget being slashed.”

The Obama Administration’s so-called pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, actually East and South Asia (including India) and the Indian Ocean area, was unveiled last fall — first in an article in Foreign Policy magazine by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton titled “America’s Pacific Century,” then with attendant fanfare by President Obama on his trip to Hawaii, Australia and Indonesia.

The “pivot” involves attempting to establish a U.S.-initiated free trade zone in the region, while also strengthening Washington’s ties with a number of existing allied countries, such as Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and India, among others. A few of these allies have sharp disagreements with China about claims to small islands in the South China Sea, a major waterway for trade and commerce. The U.S., while saying it is neutral, is siding with its allies on this extremely sensitive issue.

Over the months it has become clear that the principal element of the “pivot” is military, and the allies are meant to give the U.S. support and backing for whatever transpires.

The U.S. for decades has encircled China with military might — spy planes and satellites, Navy warships cruising with thousands of personnel nearby and in the South China Sea, 40,000 U.S. troops in Japan, 28,000 in South Korea, 500 in the Philippines, many thousands in Afghanistan, plus a number of Pacific island airbases.

Now it turns out that the Navy is moving a majority of its cruisers, destroyers and aircraft carrier battle groups from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In addition old military bases in the region are being refurbished and new bases are under construction. Australia has granted Obama’s request to allow a Marine base to be established in Darwin to accommodate a force of 2,500 troops. Meanwhile Singapore has been prevailed upon to allow the berthing of four U.S. Navy ships at the entrance to the Malacca Straits, through which enter almost all sea traffic between the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean, a key trade route.

An article in the Sept./Oct. 2012 Foreign Affairs by Andrew J. Nathan and Andrew Scobell, titled “The Sum of Beijing’s Fears,” paints a clear picture of American power on the coast of China:

“U.S. military forces are globally deployed and technologically advanced, with massive concentrations of firepower all around the Chinese rim. The U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) is the largest of the United States’ six regional combatant commands in terms of its geographic scope and non-wartime manpower. PACOM’s assets include about 325,000 military and civilian personnel, along with some 180 ships and 1,900 aircraft. To the west, PACOM gives way to the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), which is responsible for an area stretching from Central Asia to Egypt. Before Sept. 11, 2001, CENTCOM had no forces stationed directly on China’s borders except for its training and supply missions in Pakistan. But with the beginning of the “war on terror,” CENTCOM placed tens of thousands of troops in Afghanistan and gained extended access to an air base in Kyrgyzstan.

“The operational capabilities of U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific are magnified by bilateral defense treaties with Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, and South Korea and cooperative arrangements with other partners. And to top it off, the United States possesses some 5,200 nuclear warheads deployed in an invulnerable sea, land, and air triad. Taken together, this U.S. defense posture creates what Qian Wenrong of the Xinhua News Agency’s Research Center for International Issue Studies has called a “strategic ring of encirclement.”

An article in Foreign Policy last January by Clyde Prestowitz asked: “Why is the ‘pivot’ a mistake? Because it presumes a threat where none exists but where the presumption could become a self-fulfilling prophecy and where others could deal with any threats should they arise in the future. Because it entails further expenditures far beyond what is necessary for effective defense of the United States and its interests. And because it reduces U.S. productive power, competitiveness, and long-term U.S. living standards by providing a kind of subsidy for the offshoring of U.S.-based production capacity.”

This development cannot be separated from the increasing economic growth and potential of China in relation to the obvious beginning of America’s decline. Washington may remain the world hegemon for a couple of more decades — and Beijing is not taking one step in that direction and may never do so. (Beijing seems to prefer a multipolar world leadership of several nations and regional blocs, as do a number of economically rising countries.)

“Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership,” as noted above, specified that the thrust of the Pentagon’s attention has now shifted to Asia. The most recent Quadrennial Defense Review already has informally identified China as a possible nation-state aggressor against which America must defend itself. The U.S. claims it is not attempting to contain China, but why the military buildup? It cannot be aimed at any other country in the region but China. Why also in his convention acceptance speech did Obama brag that “We’ve reasserted our power across the Pacific and stood up to China on behalf of our workers.”

The U.S. evidently is developing war games against China. On Aug. 2 John Glaser wrote in Antiwar.com: “The Pentagon is drawing up new plans to prepare for an air and sea war in Asia, presumably against China, in the Obama administration’s most belligerent manifestation yet of the so-called pivot to Asia-Pacific…. New war strategies called ‘Air-Sea Battle’ reveal Washington’s broader goals in the region,” including a possible war.”

The Aug. 1 Washington Post reported that in the games “Stealthy American bombers and submarines would knock out China’s long-range surveillance radar and precision missile systems located deep inside the country. The initial ‘blinding campaign’ would be followed by a larger air and naval assault.”

Both candidates have opportunistically interjected China-bashing into their campaigns, second only to Iran-bashing. Obama has several times told working class audiences that China is stealing their jobs. Romney fumes about China’s alleged currency “cheating.” Republican former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger sharply criticized both candidates Oct. 3 for “appealing to American suspicions of China in their campaigns.”

Kissinger, whose recent book “On China” we recommend, also wrote a piece in the March-April Foreign Affairs titled “The Future of U.S.-Chinese Relations — Conflict Is a Choice, Not a Necessity” that injects an element of understanding into the matter.

“The American debate, on both sides of the political divide, often describes China as a ‘rising power’ that will need to ‘mature’ and learn how to exercise responsibility on the world stage. China, however, sees itself not as a rising power but as a returning one, predominant in its region for two millennia and temporarily displaced by colonial exploiters taking advantage of Chinese domestic strife and decay. It views the prospect of a strong China exercising influence in economic, cultural, political, and military affairs not as an unnatural challenge to world order but rather as a return to normality. Americans need not agree with every aspect of the Chinese analysis to understand that lecturing a country with a history of millennia about its need to ‘grow up’ and behave ‘responsibly’ can be needlessly grating.”

Clearly, the Obama Administration is opposed to modern China even becoming “predominant in its region” once again, much less in the world. At this stage Washington is predominant in East Asia, and between its military power and subordinate regional allies it is not prepared to move over even within China’s own sphere. No one can predict how this will play out in 20 or 30 years, of course.


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Wendy
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« Reply #52 on: Oct 17, 2012, 08:16 AM »

Hi Rad and All,

While watching the US Presidential debate last night, I noticed and wondered about several things.  Obama carrying the Pluto in Virgo archetype, seemed to easily absorb the projections made, and or lies, though he stand up for and defend his beliefs and the truth.

Romney comes across so strong and confident, like a businessman of course and the GOP is selling that and  some people are beginning to buy that, all the while changing he stance every which way he turns.

All of this makes me wonder about:

Obama's Chiron return, how it is affecting him

the current Moon Mars conjunction opposing US Uranus square US Sun--
"...And lest we forget, from late on October 17 through the morning of October 19, transiting Mars will be opposite US Uranus (8Gemini55) and square to US progressed Sun (8Pisces), suggestive of some kind of sudden, unexpected, and possibly violent incident that jolts the nation and wakes people up to a previously little-considered issue.  A swift shift in national attention is likely during this time. In particular, watch for significant events on the morning of October 18 when the Moon makes a conjunction to Mars." from Nancy Sommers Starlight News Blog

What really happened in Libya (did the Big Guns create that scenario in an attempt to make the Whitehouse take a fall?Huh)

and who the heck was Mitt Romney in relation to the past life of Abraham Lincoln?

Rad, I recall reading a post or comment, somewhere here on the forum, that briefly alluded to who Romney may have been relative to the same lifetime as Lincoln.  Do you recall this?  Is this something you can speak to now?

Thanks and God Bless,

Wendy
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Rad
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« Reply #53 on: Oct 17, 2012, 08:30 AM »

Hi Wendy,

Yes. Here is the link: http://schoolofevolutionaryastrology.com/forum/index.php/topic,742.0.html

God Bless, Rad
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« Reply #54 on: Oct 17, 2012, 08:49 AM »

Hi All,

Here is a link in which you can watch the second debate between Romney and Obama.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QEpCrcMF5Ps


God Bless, Rad
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« Reply #55 on: Oct 18, 2012, 07:25 AM »

October 17, 2012

Mr. Obama Comes Back

NYT Editorial

There is a price to pay when a president appears disengaged, and President Obama obviously learned how much his diffidence cost him in the first debate this month. On Tuesday night, in the second debate, he regained full command of his vision and his legacy, leaving Mitt Romney sputtering with half-answers, deceptions and one memorable error.

Instead of windy and lethargic answers, the president was crisp in reciting his accomplishments and persuasive in explaining how he has restarted economic growth. Instead of letting Mr. Romney get away with a parade of falsehoods and unworkable promises, he regularly and forcefully called his opponent wrong. Having left many supporters wondering after the first debate whether he really wanted another four years, he finally seemed like a man who was ready to fight for another term.

What he did not do was describe how a second term would be more successful than his first has been, and, in particular, show how he would cut through the thicket of Republican opposition if re-elected. He missed opportunities to call for a more forceful opposition to assault weapons in another term, and to put forward a clear immigration policy.

But the contrast with the weak and failed ideas that Mr. Romney proposed could not have been clearer. The president noted that he had signed legislation that increased pay equity for women; Mr. Romney not only refused to say whether he would have done so, but condescendingly said he had hired many women when he was the governor of Massachusetts and had given them flexible schedules.

Mr. Obama pointed out that Mr. Romney’s tax numbers did not add up, and called the plan a “sketchy deal”; Mr. Romney responded in a huff. “Of course they add up,” he said. “I was someone who ran businesses for 25 years and balanced the budget.” Apparently he thinks it should be self-evident that a private equity mogul knows how to cut taxes drastically and still balance the budget, but it is not evident to any of the independent experts who have looked at his plan, as Mr. Obama icily pointed out.

The president reminded listeners that Mr. Romney’s immigration adviser was the author of Arizona’s radical, unconstitutional immigration law. And Mr. Romney himself repeated his cruel prescription to have undocumented immigrants “self-deport” by making it impossible for them to find work and aggressively demanding their identification papers. Mr. Obama offered the better, broader view on fixing immigration, though his own administration has also deported tens of thousands of noncriminals through a crackdown similar to Arizona’s law.

The president even got off a few good lines, pointing out that his pension was considerably smaller than Mr. Romney’s, and that his opponent was far more extreme than President George W. Bush in proposing to turn Medicare into a voucher system and to eliminate financing for Planned Parenthood. He finally took the opportunity to bring up Mr. Romney’s dismissal of 47 percent of the country as people who consider themselves victims and do not take personal responsibility for their lives.

But the most devastating moment for Mr. Romney was self-inflicted. Continuing his irresponsible campaign to politicize the death of the American ambassador to Libya, he said it took two weeks for the president to acknowledge that it was the result of an act of terror. As the moderator, Candy Crowley of CNN, quickly pointed out, the president referred to it as an act of terror the next day, in the Rose Garden. “Can you say that a little louder, Candy?” asked Mr. Obama, having fully regained his stride and confidence.

Voters who watched the first debate might have been left with an impression that Mr. Romney was the candidate of ideas and that Mr. Obama’s reserves of energy and seriousness had been tapped out. On Tuesday night, those roles were reversed.
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« Reply #56 on: Oct 18, 2012, 07:26 AM »

October 17, 2012

Mr. Romney’s Version of Equal Rights

NYT Editorial

It has dawned on Mitt Romney that he has a problem with female voters. He just has no idea what to do about it, since it is the result of his positions on abortion, contraception, health services and many other issues. On Tuesday night, he bumbled his way through a cringe-inducing attempt to graft what he thinks should be 2012 talking points onto his 1952 sensibility.

In the midst of their rancorous encounter at Hofstra University, President Obama attacked Mr. Romney for vowing he would end federal support of Planned Parenthood and for criticizing the provision in the health care law that requires employers — except churches and religiously affiliated institutions — to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives.

Clearly agitated, Mr. Romney said in response, “I’d just note that I don’t believe that bureaucrats in Washington should tell someone whether they can use contraceptives or not, and I don’t believe employers should tell someone whether they could have contraceptive care or not. Every woman in America should have access to contraceptives.”

Perhaps Mr. Romney forgot that he vetoed a bill as Massachusetts governor in 2005 that would have given women who were raped access to emergency contraception, or that he supported an amendment this year that would have allowed any business to opt out of the contraceptive mandate, or that he has said he would support a state constitutional amendment that would declare that life begins at conception — potentially making some kinds of contraceptives illegal.

Perhaps Mr. Romney was trying to say that the issue is who pays for contraceptives, not whether women can use them. But all those possibilities are just reminders of how hard it must be for him to remember where he stands at any given moment.

In any case, you cannot untangle access and money. Mr. Romney’s stated zeal to “defund” Planned Parenthood is either a rote ideological posture or a belief that it is right to end the federal support that gives many poor women access to mammograms, cervical cancer screening, family planning and other services. As Mr. Obama said: “That’s a pocketbook issue for women and families all across the country. And it makes a difference in terms of how well and effectively women are able to work.”

Having fumbled that one, Mr. Romney made things worse when he tried to talk about equal opportunity for women, which was made much harder by his opposition to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. He told a strange tale of his early days as governor of Massachusetts when he “had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be men.” He said he went to his staff about it and was told that “these are the people that have the qualifications.”

So far, not so terribly bad.

But then he started a slow, painful slide into one of the most bizarre comments on this issue we’ve ever heard, which became an instant Internet sensation. “We took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet,” Mr. Romney said, sounding as if that were a herculean task. An appeal to women’s groups, he said, “brought us whole binders full of women.”

This was important, he said, because “I recognized that if you’re going to have women in the work force that sometimes they need to be more flexible. My chief of staff, for instance, had two kids that were still in school.”

At this point we could practically hear his political consultants yelling “Stop!”

But Mr. Romney did not. “She said, I can’t be here until 7 or 8 o’clock at night. I need to be able to get home at 5 o’clock so I can be there for making dinner for my kids and being with them when they get home from school.”

Flexibility is a good policy. But what if a woman had wanted to go home to study Spanish? Or rebuild an old car? Or spend time with her lesbian partner? Would Mr. Romney have been flexible about that? Or if a man wanted similar treatment?

True equality is not satisfied by allowing the little lady to go home early and tend to her children.
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« Reply #57 on: Oct 18, 2012, 07:35 AM »

For those who live in America please read....

The Real Threat of Bain Electoral Fraud for Romney in Ohio

By: Rmuse October 17th, 2012

It is a privilege and a right in a representative democracy for an electorate to choose, among several candidates, its representatives in government, and a vote is a formal expression of an individual’s choice for a certain candidate or a political party. In America, a secret ballot prevents voters from being intimidated and protects their political privacy, but it has its drawbacks as well as benefits. Voting is the greatest expression of a democracy, but tragically, one political party in America is going to great lengths to end to the democratic process in their drive to transform the government into a plutocracy. Republicans have spent the past two years bemoaning rampant voter fraud that investigations have proven does not exist (except among Republicans), and they utilized their corporate legislative arm, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to model and pass state legislation to prevent seniors, students, minorities, and the poor from participating in the democratic process.

Despite courts striking down, as unconstitutional, suppression efforts, the GOP and their candidate for president, Willard Romney, have been inexorably linked to voter suppression and fraud with impunity, and as of late there are two developments involving Republican groups that warrant more investigation by the Justice Department. It has been obvious for over three years that Republicans hate the American people, and to silence opposition to their democracy destroying efforts conservatives are resorting to outright employee intimidation and, in Ohio, there is a real threat of Bain Romney electoral fraud.

The news has been inundated with reports of voter suppression and intimidation tactics in states controlled by Republicans to deny Democratic-leaning groups their right to cast ballots. In several states, besides harsh voter ID laws, voters were purged to give Republican candidates an advantage in the general election, and Romney’s campaign was linked to a company that sought out and registered Romney supporters, and the same group is tied to destroying Democratic voter registration forms. In each of the cases, they attempted to suppress voting, but this week reports surfaced that large corporations were intimidating employees with threats of job losses if Romney failed to win the election in another attempt to influence the outcome prior to Election Day. However, there is a troubling development out of Ohio that could alter the results of the election after voting is finished and it is no surprise they are intricately linked to Willard Romney’s company, Bain Capital.

In this year’s election, much of the Ohio electorate will cast its ballots on machines owned by close cronies of the Republican presidential candidate Willard Romney. Electronic voting machines owned by Mitt Romney’s Bain business partners and set to count the votes in Cincinnati could decide the 2012 election. In Cincinnati and around the state, the e-voting machines are owned by Hart Intercivic that are infamous for mechanical failures, “glitches,” counting errors and other problems now completely identified with the way Republicans steal elections. Hart Intercivic was taken over last year by H.I.G. Capital, and prominent partners and directors on the H.I.G. board hail from Bain Company or Bain Capital that Romney is still associated with.  What is more troubling is that H.I.G. employees have contributed at least $338,000 to Romney’s campaign, and two H.I.G. Directors, John P. Bolduk and Douglas Berman, are major Romney fundraisers along with a former Bain and H.I.G. manager, Brian Shortsleeve.

The problem with electronic voting machines is that the software they use is proprietary to the manufacturer, and individual election boards may own the actual machines. In Ohio, it is nearly guaranteed there will be no vote count transparency on election night because the tally will be conducted by Hart Intercivic and controlled by Secretary of State John Husted and Governor Kasich, with no public recourse or accountability. Husted was in the news yesterday when the Supreme Court denied his suit to eliminate early voting in Ohio on the weekend prior to the election, but by controlling the vote count with Romney’s Bain business partners owning the machines, it may not matter what the real results are. In 2008 during federal testimony, Karl Rove operative, and now-deceased, Michael Connell made it perfectly clear that electronic vote-flipping is relatively cheap and a simple process; especially if Republican election officials own and programmed the machines prior to the election.   Just as Governor Robert Taft controlled election results in 2004, Husted and Kasich will control Ohio’s electronic vote count on election night free of meaningful public checks or balances which is why the Department of Justice must investigate Kasich, Husted, Romney, and his Bain Capital cohorts for conflict of interest and remove electronic voting machines owned by Bain directors and Romney fundraisers.

These questionable ties to Bain, Romney, and Ohio’s Republican governor and secretary of state may not be an issue if they were an isolated case of election tampering. However, throughout the campaign there has been one after another instance of voter suppression and fraud unique to Republicans. In several states, a so-called Republican strategist and voter fraud activist, Nathan Sproul, and his company registered Republicans while destroying registration forms of Democrats, and in GOP-controlled states, ALEC-modeled voter ID laws targeting Democratic-leaning voters sailed through legislatures, and election officials were terminated if they contested voter purging efforts.

It should come as no surprise that Koch Industries sent letters to 45,000 employees warning them of possible job losses if Romney was not victorious, and David Siegel, founder and CEO of Westgate Resorts, sent an email to all of his thousands of employees, insinuating they would be fired of Barack Obama is reelected. In 2008, Siegel sent a similar email to employees prior to the election warning that “if you lose your job, it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, and if that happens, you can find me retired, with no employees to worry about.”  Siegel is wealthier than ever.

America’s days as a representative democracy are numbered as Republicans seek to reserve voting rights to white Christian Republicans. In Republican states there is no way elections are free of despicable tactics whether it is in Pennsylvania claiming voter ID is still required (they are not) or in Florida where Veterans of WWII are purged from voter rolls. It is nearly unfathomable that Willard Romney’s business associates and fundraisers from Bain Capital own electronic voting machines and the count will be supervised by confirmed vote-suppresor John Husted and governor Kasich. Perhaps if Romney was not corrupt, and if Husted was not actively working to suppress the vote, Americans could rest easy, but in their drive to destroy democracy, Republicans, especially Romney, have demonstrated they will use any devious, illegal, unconstitutional, and decidedly un-American ploy to muzzle the American peoples’ voices and put an end to their last hurdle toward plutocracy; the right to a free and fair election

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

Audio Reveals Mitt Romney is Behind Employer Layoff Threats if Obama Wins

By: Jason Easley October 17th, 2012

In audio of a conference call, Mitt Romney can heard instructing employers on how to tell their employees who to vote for, and the consequences to their job if Obama wins.

Here is the audio: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ucuMHuVlIW0

According to the Working blog at In These Times, Romney said, “I hope you make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections. And whether you agree with me or you agree with President Obama, or whatever your political view, I hope, I hope you pass those along to your employees.”

Thanks to Citizens United, these kind of scare tactics are legal, and they should sound familiar. Employers have been using these same kinds of threats to keep unions out of the workplace for decades.

It isn’t a coincidence that in recent weeks there have been a rash of Romney supporting billionaires warning of layoffs if Obama wins.

ASG President and CEO Arthur Allen warned his employees, “We have been able to keep ASG an independent company while still growing our revenues and customers. But I can tell you, if the US re-elects President Obama, our chances of staying independent are slim to none. If we fail as a nation to make the right choice on November 6th, and we lose our independence as a company, I don’t want to hear any complaints regarding the fallout that will most likely come. I am asking you to give us one more chance to stay independent by voting in a new President and administration on November 6th. Even then, we still might not be able to remain independent, but it will at least give us a chance. If we don’t, that chance goes away.”

Westgate Resorts CEO David Siegel told his employees, “The economy doesn’t currently pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is another 4 years of the same Presidential administration. Of course, as your employer, I can’t tell you whom to vote for, and I certainly wouldn’t interfere with your right to vote for whomever you choose. In fact, I encourage you to vote for whomever you think will serve your interests the best.”

The Koch Brothers also threatened 45,000 Georgia Pacific employees, “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.”

All three messages to employees have one thing in common. They warn that a vote for Obama could cost a person their job, and we now know that this coordinated scare campaign is being run through the Republican nominee for president.

With Romney continuing to trail President Obama, the right wing millionaires and billionaires are worried that their multimillion dollar investment in Mitt Romney, Candidate Inc. might be turning into a bust. Despite their best efforts, and literally hundreds of millions of dollars in dark money ads, Obama continues to lead. They needed to do something to turn up the heat, so the message is vote for Mitt Romney or lose your job.

Mitt Romney wants America to believe that he cares about the middle class, and if you don’t believe that, you could lose your job.

Because nothing says democracy like the threat of being fired if you exercise your right to vote for the candidate of your choosing.
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« Reply #58 on: Oct 18, 2012, 07:58 AM »

October 17, 2012 7:29 AM

Romney’s Cynical China Strategy

By Jonathan Alter

Florida Senator Marco Rubio recently appeared for coffee at Bloomberg View in New York and made a good impression, if you don’t count his failure to identify even one tax loophole or deduction he would eliminate to help pay for a 20-percent reduction in tax rates. But he didn’t make any news until he was on the way out and a bunch of reporters from other news organizations were out of earshot.

I asked Rubio if he thought it was a good idea for Mitt Romney to declare China a currency manipulator on day one of his presidency, as the former governor of Massachusetts has repeatedly promised to do.

“No, not really,” Rubio said. “It could kick off a trade war that would be bad for the economy.” As he walked away from the table, he added, “I agree with Obama on that one.”

Rubio is right, of course, as anyone in the business community — including Romney — understands. The only reason Romney hasn’t been pilloried for this bit of shameless pandering is that nobody expects him to keep his promise.

This view that he will back off immediately after taking the oath is simultaneously cynical and politically ignorant. Romney’s promise is so specific — and so lacking in escape hatches — that it’s a sure bet he would feel obliged to keep it.

Otherwise, within 24 hours of his swearing in he would be pilloried by the press for breaking a major promise. If he immediately confirmed all of the Democrats’ attacks about his lack of constancy, his honeymoon would be over before it even started.

Presidents break campaign promises all the time, of course, but there is no history of a president backing off a day-one promise.

President Bill Clinton had to retreat from a campaign promise to crack down on China in the wake of Tiananmen Square, vaguely suggesting he might not let China obtain most-favored-nation status. But the promise was so open-ended and unspecific that it was easily skirted.

Similarly, candidate Barack Obama promised in 2008 to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, but not on day one, and, after a lopsided vote in Congress in the late winter of 2009, it was not something he could do unilaterally.

By contrast, each of the executive orders Obama promised to sign on day one, including banning torture and loosening secrecy standards, he signed. Had he not done so, he would have been accused of breaking pledges even before the inaugural scaffolding was down. The same would happen to Romney should he renege.

We all know that the Chinese do indeed manipulate their currency, and calling them out on various trade abuses — as Obama did on tires — is important. The U.S. government must push back on a variety of fronts to keep the pressure on for fair trade.

But officially designating China as a currency manipulator — a formal finding — would be seen as a declaration of trade war, which is in no one’s interest. If you don’t believe me, check with Mayor Michael Bell and the business community of Toledo, Ohio, where thousands of new jobs have been created through joint ventures between U.S. firms and the Chinese. Those jobs — and thousands of others — would immediately be at risk.

Romney knows this perfectly well, as do all of his friends and business associates. But unlike Rubio, he will say anything to try to gain a political advantage. Why this doesn’t seem to bother his supporters is beyond me.


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« Reply #59 on: Oct 19, 2012, 07:35 AM »


Obama Exposed Romney as a Brat Who has Never Been Challenged or Corrected

By: Rmuse October 18th, 2012

One of the most difficult and under-appreciated jobs in America is being a public school teacher for myriad reasons, but none more than dealing with children whose parents coddle them from birth and inculcate them with the notion they can do no wrong. It is a disservice to children, and teachers, for parents to indoctrinate their child to believe that not only are they perfection exemplified, but that their excellence makes them immune to authority. Most teachers have experienced a student who refuses to follow instructions based on their deep-seated belief their superiority exempts them from following directions or adjusting to social norms. Early primary grade teachers have an especially trying job because they may be the first real authority figure the blessed student interacts with, and possibly the first non-family member who either corrects them or gives them negative feedback for improper behavior.

There is no dearth of analysis of the 2nd presidential debate on Tuesday, and critics and pundits alike weighed in on the exchanges between Romney and President Obama as well as the fine job the debate moderator, Candy Crowley, pulled off during tense exchanges as Romney and the President answered questions posed by audience members. However, there were several instances during the debate that a seasoned school teacher may have noticed that Willard Romney exhibited all the characteristics of a petulant child who was corrected, and challenged, for the first time in their life. Whether it is due to his cult’s belief that Mormon males are without fault and princely from the age of twelve, or because he was born into wealth and privilege, Willard had the look of disbelief that anyone on Earth dared to doubt, challenge, or correct his stunning lies and misinformation, and for the first time in the campaign, his vapid, soulless eyes showed emotion.

It was not surprising Willard stood and lied time and time again, it is what pathological liars do, but his insolence, rude behavior, and blatant disrespect for the President, moderator, and debate rules he agreed on was stunning. What Romney verified was that he presents symptoms of anti-social personality disorder that informs his “narcissism, extreme sense of entitlement, and intolerance for authority figures” that he put on display for 65-million Americans in Tuesday’s debate.

One of the rules Romney agreed on was no questions from one candidate to the other, and Romney broke that simple rule often. It wasn’t just that he asked President Obama direct questions, he harassed him and at one point told the President “answer the question, answer the question” as if he was the authority figure and the President was his employee or a witness being grilled by a slimy defense attorney. In one exchange, Romney asked the President about oil drilling permits, and he interrupted and badgered the President by repeating the question 6 times before he stopped running his mouth, and then interrupted the President again and told him “you’ll get your chance in a moment, I’m still speaking.” It was, without a doubt, typical of an arrogant spoiled child used to bullying his parents that educators see from children who never learned social convention whether it is in a school setting, at home, or at family functions, but one never expected to see such rude behavior from a presidential candidate.

Romney also attempted to bully and manipulate the moderator as he had done in the first debate, except Ms. Crowley is not Jim Lehrer and at one point she told Willard, “if I can have you sit down governor Romney;” it must have stung Romney to have anyone, much less a woman, tell him, in essence, to sit down and shut up. One wonders if anyone, male or female, ever gave Willard Romney a direct order he had to follow, because this was not Bain Capital’s board room, or a Mormon temple event, but a nationally televised debate witnessed by 65 million Americans and there is little question it flustered Romney when he realized he was not in charge. Romney failed to appear presidential, because he is an overbearing bully used to never being challenged, and it plays out every day in public schools by children whose parents are either too in awe, or too frightened, to discipline their child to function normally in society, public school, or a presidential debate.

Romney challenged the moderator, disrespected the President, and showed America he is rude, obnoxious, and a schoolyard bully borne of arrogance, entitlement, and inability to acknowledge authority. One observation psychologists make regarding sufferers of ASPD is their behavior closely resembles that of convicted felons unable to recognize they are not a law unto themselves, or that as members of civilized society they are required to demur to authority, rules, and social conventions. School teachers are hardly surprised when petulant, overbearing children find themselves in trouble with the law as adults, and they can cite the same behavior and attitude Willard Romney displayed in the first two debates.

What should concern voters is how Romney could work with Democrats if he brings his overbearing boardroom-boss style of governance to negotiations with Congress, or worse, if he meets with foreign leaders. What the people witnessed was a man unwilling to follow social norms of mutual respect that good parents teach their children long before they reach school age. It is safe to say that every public school teacher has witnessed, at some point in their career, the Willard Romney’s of the world in their classrooms, and because their parents treated them as entitled little gods they become socially inept bullies who lord their arrogance over classmates, teachers, and their parents until they end up in jail or the CEO of Bain Capital.

No-one really knows what shaped Willard Romney into the self-important, arrogant malcontent he is today, but it appears that between his life of wealth and entitlement coupled with his religious upbringing as a princely god-in-waiting, he was molded into a disrespectful bully who cannot bring himself to show deference to the President and in fact, treated him like an underling or worse; a cursed-by-god dark-skinned man unworthy of respect.

President Obama won the debate on Tuesday, and he won using facts and challenging every one of Romney’s lies and deceitful assertions. He also exposed Romney as a fraud because when his lies were stripped away, and the bully was smacked down, what was left was a sniveling little brat who has never been challenged or corrected. When he was confronted as a liar and bloviate incapable of showing deference to the President or debate moderator, he was exposed for what he really is; a bully that a school teacher would report as antisocial and in need of immediate intervention.


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