Morning coffee: Wednesday

A different kind of landscape photo for today:

Photographing the Beauty and Inhumanity of Asia’s Cramped Megacities
Michael Wolf takes photos of the masses of people who live on top of one another in Asia’s biggest cities and who struggle to survive in environments that weren’t built with their comfort in mind.

Knife vs. gun

What in the hell was with the world yesterday?

China school knife attack in Henan injures 22 children12/14/2012: A man with a knife has wounded 22 children – at least two of them seriously – and an adult at a primary school in central China. The attack happened at the gate of a school in Chenpeng village in Henan province. Police arrested a 36-year-old local man at the scene.

Now, imagine what might have happened if this guy would’ve had access to a gun…  oh, wait.

The Black Friday shopping spiral of desperation

“Walmart has been shown to come into a community, pay lower wages than the traditional wage standard, and actually depress the wage standard in the area.” — Catherine Ruetschlin

On Friday, Americans by the millions will crowd into big-box retail shops to take advantage of bargains on wide-screen TVs and other electronics – necessities, as well as luxuries – all marked down in order to draw them in and have them line up outside in advance of the doors opening. And now, as we’ve learned, several chains plan to open at 8pm on Thanksgiving day itself.

The greatest irony of “Black Friday”, as it’s known, is that it’s seen as a celebration of consumerism, instead of a sign of desperation: when a Walmart worker was crushed to death by a Black Friday crowd in 2008, the news was accompanied with moralizing about American greed, rather than any discussion about low wages in the US.

Would people be so desperate for bargain shopping at already dirt-cheap places like Walmart if they themselves were making a decent living?

— Guardian: Walmart rattled by growing unrest ahead of Black Friday’s strike

Stand up. Live better

It’s not that Mitt Romney has terrible policies. It’s that he’s a terrible human being.


topixpolitix: Mitt Romney hasn’t given a media interview for 23 days, or answered a press question for 22 days, according to Lawrence O’Donnell. During that time, Obama has been interviewed on the Tonight Show, on MTV, and in Rolling Stone, among other outlets.

The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent thinks the reason for Romney’s interview-shyness is more sinister: it’s a deliberate strategy to avoid “questions about the mounting instances of dishonesty his campaign has resorted to in the final stretch,” including his misleading auto ads in Ohio.

“In the race’s final days, Romney has adopted what you might call a Kamikaze strategy. His campaign is cranking out a startling number of falsehoods and sleazy attacks, drawing widespread condemnation in the media that could ultimately crash his campaign, because that condemnation dovetails with Obama’s closing character argument against him. [...]

All of this feeds directly into the final argument Obama is making about Romney’s character, integrity, and authenticity: He’ll shamelessly say anything to win and as a result you can’t trust him on anything, let alone to look out for your interests. Romney is banking that he can surf past all the media and Obama camp criticism on a wave of last minute ad spending. Refusing to answer questions from the press is central to pulling that off. If Romney were to take questions from reporters, he’d be asked to answer for all of this stuff.

After all, when reporters do press him on his dishonesty and/or evasions, the results aren’t pretty. Romney faced harsh criticism for his refusal to answer questions about whether he still agreed with his previous suggestion that he favors transferring FEMA responsibilities to the states. And as Steve Benen notes, the statement he finally did release on FEMA didn’t put to bed lingering questions about his position.

None of this is to say Romney’s closing strategy can’t work. But it’s a pretty massive and audacious gamble on his part.”

The Rude Pundit: “See, we use the cute phrase “flip-flop” to describe Romney’s change in positions. But they’re not mere shifts in position. They’re lies that get to the core of the man’s beliefs, such as they aren’t. And we could ask if Romney was lying in the past, when he was very moderate, then intensely conservative, or now, when he’s somewhat more moderate again. But, except for abortion, Romney refuses to admit that he’s changed his position. That’s the big lie, the one he has gotten away with more than any other, the one that’s winked at as if “That’s just Mitt.” It’s not that Mitt Romney has terrible policies. It’s that he’s a terrible human being.”

It’s always Ohio

“In 2004, Ohio was ground zero for the Swift Boat smear campaign. In 2008 Ohio was ground zero for all things related to Joe the Plumber. In 2012 it’s already been ground zero for Mitt Romney’s fraudulent welfare ad and is now ground zero for a flatly dishonest ad about Jeep assembly being moved to China. At some point, you’d think that Ohio voters would get tired of Republicans treating them like chumps. Maybe this is the year.” — One can always dream… (via motherjones)

Donald Trump is a horse’s ass and other thoughts on Romney’s lies about Jeep

dailydot: That awkward moment when the Senior Vice President of Design at Chrysler (which owns Jeep) calls you out on Twitter.

Detroit Free Press: “The larger question is: Why is this coming up at all at this late stage of the campaign? The answer is simple, political experts say. Both sides have known from Day One that this campaign would hinge, in large part, on the saving of Detroit’s signature business, and it’s still in Romney’s eleventh-hour interests to change the narrative that Obama gets the credit, especially in blue-collar parts of the battleground state of Ohio. No Republican president has ever won the White House without winning Ohio, and Romney — in most polls — trails there. [...] Melissa Miller, a political science professor at Bowling Green State University south of Toledo, said she doesn’t think the Romney campaign would be making the claim if they didn’t think it was going to help them, though she thinks its effectiveness is very much in doubt. “He’s probably put some fear in the minds of some people who work for Jeep, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re being told right there on the factory floor — by management — that this is a false claim,” she said.”

Romney Style: How to Destroy Your Campaign’s Credibility in Five Easy Steps:

The Romney Campaign’s game plan: Fear. And hoping Ohio voters are stupid. It is literally all they have.

Hunter / Daily Kos:

“A reminder: Mitt Romney has had to absolutely kowtow to this man. [...] Does Mitt Romney—or any Republican, for that matter—care in the slightest that Trump is a rotten boil on the political landscape? Do they give a damn that the Republican brand has so thoroughly been reduced to pandering to the least common denominator of their base, all the rest of reality be damned? Of course not. No matter how big a fool this dimwitted, Palinesque publicity hound makes himself, Mitt Romney will still shake his hand, and Paul Ryan will still hold private fundraisers with the man. [...] Welcome to the modern Republican Party. These are the people who are chosen not to be shunned, but to speak for the party, and guide the party, and raise money for the party, and appear on television for the party, and hold the reins of party leadership. Congratulations, Republican Party. Whatever depths of vapidity and grifting you might have been aiming for, I’d say you’ve managed to get there and then some.”

Tweet of the Day:


Five days to go: Romney is now just turning up the volume on his lies

Vice President Joe Biden tore into Mitt Romney on Wednesday for running ads with a widely debunked claim about Chrysler and General Motors shipping American jobs to China, saying it calls into question the character of the Republican presidential nominee. …”What a cynical, cynical thing to do,” Biden said of Romney. [...] The vice president said the ad calls into question something even greater about Romney: his character. He asked people to consider who they trust more in this election. “Presidential elections are overwhelmingly about character,” said Biden. “My guy, your guy, has character … [He] does not engage in deception. He means what he says.” — Joe Biden Torches Mitt Romney For ‘Flagrantly Dishonest’ Jeep Ad


Steve Benen: ‘An exercise in deception’: It’s been eight days since Mitt Romney first floated his Chrysler/Jeep/China falsehood, which he then doubled and tripled down on, even as industry executives called him out for lying. Unfortunately for the Republican, the story isn’t going away.

The New York Times editorialized today, “It’s bad enough to be wrong on the policy. It takes an especially dishonest candidate to simply turn up the volume on a lie and keep repeating it.” What’s more, the Toledo Blade chastised Romney today for “conducting an exercise in deception about auto-industry issues that is remarkable even by the standards of his campaign.”


News you won’t hear on Fox: Chrysler, GM rebuke Mitt Romney’s Jeep ads

The Huffington Post reports,

A spokesperson for General Motors told the Detroit Free Press that the ad was, more or less, crass and misleading.

“We’ve clearly entered some parallel universe during these last few days,” GM spokesman Greg Martin said. “No amount of campaign politics at its cynical worst will diminish our record of creating jobs in the U.S. and repatriating profits back to this country.”

[...] Chrysler Group LLC CEO Sergio Marchionne penned a letter to the Detroit News insisting that there was no validity to the idea that the company was shipping Jeep production overseas. Instead, he noted, the company was looking to open new factories in China to meet increasing demand there.

The Romney campaign has showed no willingness to back off the suggestion that American Jeep workers may end up losing their jobs. In fact, the campaign has released a radio ad in Ohio to complement the one it has on television there that repeats the insinuation.

Under President Obama, GM cut 15,000 American jobs, but they are planning to double the number of cars built in China, which means 15,000 more jobs for China. And now comes word that Chrysler plans to start making Jeeps in, you guessed it, China.

The Romney campaign released the ads before it was rebuked by two of the nation’s top automakers. But the criticism seems unlikely to change the campaign’s mindset. It never announced the ads to begin with, suggesting the campaign is trying to surreptitiously throw the kitchen sink at President Barack Obama during the election’s closing days. Indeed, by Tuesday afternoon, the Romney campaign had put out a blog post from Lee Iacocca and Hal Sperlich, former chairman and president of the Chrysler Corporation, defending Romney as a car guy.

Romney’s a car guy all right. A used-car-salesman kind of guy.

Romney’s latest, shameless lie: Jeep shipping jobs to China

Isn’t it great that people are actually voting for a candidate who is always getting his facts straight?

No, Mitt Romney, Jeep is not shipping our jobs to ChinaIn his latest attempt to distort President Obama’s consistent record of successfully betting on the American worker, Mitt Romney shamelessly tried to scare voters into thinking that Jeep is moving production to China and taking American jobs with it. The claim is blatantly false: As Chrysler made clear, “Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China.

This is especially galling when you consider what’s happening right now with Romney’s Bain Capital shipping American jobs to China via Sensata Tech in Illinois.

Steve Benen: All of this, incidentally, is rather ironic given the successful efforts of the Obama administration when it comes to China and Jeeps, specifically.

Greg Sargent: “Romney may very well be the next president. That’s a position of some responsibility. Yet he and his campaign rushed to tell voters a story designed to stoke their fears for their livelihoods without bothering to vet it for basic accuracy. This is not a small thing. It reveals the depth of Romney’s blithe lack of concern for the truth — and the subservience of it to his own political ambitions.”

image: silas216


Mitt Romney’s America – After Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital announced their jobs would be outsourced, they made workers at Sensata Tech in Illinois train their Chinese replacements and take down the American flag when they arrived.


Mitt Romney has a vision.

Main Street… ISOLATED
The Middle Class… DECIMATED
American jobs… RELOCATED
Supreme Court… STACKED
Social Security… PRIVATIZED
Planned Parenthood… DEFUNDED
Global Warming… IGNORED
College Aid… SLASHED
Health Insurance Reform… REPEALED

Mitt Romney’s America is not our America.

The National Memo » Even The Mitt Bobbleheads Were Made In China—By Ann Romney’s Brother: This year, the Romney bobbleheads are marketed on the Internet, along with Barack Obama bobble-eads that are reportedly selling faster. But the original Mitt bobblehead first appeared four years ago and was produced—by Ann Romney’s brother at a factory in China—as a party favor for big donors. [...] If those dolls could talk, they might have a lot to tell about their country of origin and who made them there. Although Romney now complains frequently that China has unfairly “taken American jobs,” the Chinese bobblehead Mitts are yet another example of Romney’s propensity to invest in the People’s Republic—and to enrich family members such as Roderick Davies, his brother-in-law, who oversaw the creation of the dolls in China through a Utah company called Asian Sources, Inc.

via: truth-has-a-liberal-bias

Mitt the Chickenhawk: understanding Romney’s foreign policy positions

via: liberalsarecool

Mitt Romney isn’t qualified to run U.S. Foreign Policy

When conservatives want to put another version of George W. Bush in charge of U.S. foreign policy:

OFA: In a series of interviews, Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Senator John Kerry, Admiral John Nathman (ret.), and Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy explain why Mitt Romney is not prepared to be commander-in-chief. They each lay out how President Obama’s leadership has made America stronger, safer and more secure while Mitt Romney has nothing to offer except bluster, chest-thumping, and a commitment to endless war. As Monday’s debate will demonstrate, blunder and bluster are no substitute for strong leadership.

And this:

Mitt Romney’s Neocon War Cabinet: “Romney is loath to mention Bush on the campaign trail, for obvious reasons, but today they sound like ideological soul mates on foreign policy. Listening to Romney, you’d never know that Bush left office bogged down by two unpopular wars that cost America dearly in blood and treasure. Of Romney’s forty identified foreign policy advisers, more than 70 percent worked for Bush. Many hail from the neoconservative wing of the party, were enthusiastic backers of the Iraq War and are proponents of a US or Israeli attack on Iran. Christopher Preble, a foreign policy expert at the Cato Institute, says, “Romney’s likely to be in the mold of George W. Bush when it comes to foreign policy if he were elected.”

Mitt’s approach to foreign policy: international disaster

Mitt Romney’s easy five-step approach to foreign policy:

Step 1: Get the facts wrong.
Step 2: Undermine long-standing relationships with your allies.
Step 3: Frequently highlight your lack of experience.
Step 4: Assemble a team of ideologues committed to endless war.
Step 5: Mistake your enemies.

My pain is Mitt Romney’s gain: Sensata and American jobs lost to China

This from Tom Gaulrapp, an employee of Sensata for 33-years:

“I hold Mitt Romney responsible because he created Bain Capital. He helped pioneer the outsourcing of good American jobs to China, and he created the model that the company has followed over the years. It’s a business model that puts profits above people — at all cost to us back home. And it’s the approach he would take as CEO of our country. But Mitt Romney’s connection to Sensata is even more direct. He is also personally invested in Sensata Technologies, according to his 2010 and 2011 tax returns, and last year got a huge tax break by moving some of his Sensata stock to one of his foundations. That’s right: Mitt Romney got a big tax break on his investment in his company that’s shipping my job to China. My pain is Mitt Romney’s gain.

[...] Mitt Romney hasn’t lifted a finger to help us. Instead, his campaign blamed the outsourcing of our jobs to China on President Obama, because his pension with the Illinois State government has invested in Sensata. The Romney campaign didn’t mention Mitt’s personal investment in Sensata, the big tax break he got from shifting his Sensata stock to his foundation, or his own role in Bain’s longtime practice of outsourcing. Instead of owning up to his past and helping save our jobs, he decided to play politics with our lives. In Romney’s world, everyone else is guilty and he’s the innocent bystander. Fortunately, our story is beginning to be heard. Last week, I was quoted in an article that was on the front page of the New York Times about Romney, Bain and China. Our country should know that the issues being debated in this presidential election are not abstract, and are playing out everyday in my community. In 20 days, on November 5th, I’ll be out of a job.”

A vote for Romney is a vote of approval for every American job that’s been off-shored to China for the past 30 years.


The Mitt Romney way: how he made millions from the rescue of Detroit

The Mitt Romney way: how he made millions from the rescue of Detroit

Greg Palast: “Mitt Romney, through Ann Romney’s blind trust—not so blind, they could see exactly where the money was going—gave their money to Paul “The Vulture” Singer… Singer, with two of his hedge fund buddies, bought up the auto parts division of General Motors for only 67 cents a share. They were able to turn 67 cents a share into $22 a share by threatening GM and the U.S. Treasury with a complete shutdown of the auto industry. They had complete control of all the steering wheels and steering columns of every car that was being made in America. GM would have been liquidated. They literally threatened to shut down GM. And so, they—the government simply allowed GM to pay them $12 billion. About half of that was straight from the U.S. Treasury in a takeover of Delphi’s pension fund.

Once they got the money—once they got the money, they eliminated 28 of 29 auto plants in the U.S. They moved—they eliminated every single job of every UAW member; 25,200 UAW members all lost their jobs. Almost every plant was then moved by the Romney group to China. Delphi is making a fortune today. So you have 25,000 workers who lost their jobs to China. Three hedge fund managers made at least $4 billion, $4.2 billion. And the Romneys have made at least 15, but the evidence suggests that it’s more like $115 million for the Romneys, about a 4,000 percent profit.

What we can’t get from them at this moment, this may be the reason why they are not releasing their 2009 taxes, because that would give us a better hint. Unfortunately, they’ve not only moved the company operations to China, but they’ve moved their incorporation of the auto parts division of General Motors from Troy, Michigan, to the Isle of Jersey in the Mediterranean Sea, which hides their taxes and also, of course, hides their accounts.”

— “Mitt Romney’s Bailout Bonanza: How He Made Millions from the Rescue of Detroit”

It would be great if someone would ask Mitt Romney to explain: 1) this, or 2) how vulture capitalism helps America or the tax payer — or the 47 percent he was sneering at with his wealthy donors in May — or, 3) how more tax cuts for “small businesses” like Delphi would translate into “job creation.”


My pain is Mitt Romney’s gain: Sensata and American jobs lost to China