If you see bullshit, don’t dress it up — call it what it is. Anyone paying attention to Mitt’s many opinions, beliefs, and plans over the past several months (or just weeks!) is calling him the same thing.
If you see bullshit, don’t dress it up — call it what it is. Anyone paying attention to Mitt’s many opinions, beliefs, and plans over the past several months (or just weeks!) is calling him the same thing.
Tim Dickinson writes that if you want to understand Romney’s game plan, you just need to look at what Republicans have been doing in Congress:
“There is no longer any ambiguity about the path that Romney would pursue as president, because it’s the same trajectory charted by Ryan, the architect of the House GOP’s reactionary agenda since the party’s takeover in 2010. “Picking Ryan as vice president outlines the future of the next four or eight years of a Romney administration,” GOP power broker Grover Norquist exulted in August.
“If the Ryan budget had come to [Romney's] desk as president, he would have signed it, of course.” – Ed Gillespie, Romney campaign senior adviser.
“Ryan has outlined a plan that has support in the Republican House and Senate. You have a real sense of where Romney’s going.” In fact, Norquist told party activists back in February, the true direction of the GOP is being mapped out by congressional hardliners. All the Republicans need to realize their vision, he said, is a president “with enough working digits to handle a pen.”
“The GOP legislation awaiting Romney’s signature isn’t simply a return to the era of George W. Bush. From abortion rights and gun laws to tax giveaways and energy policy, it’s far worse. Measures that have already sailed through the Republican House would roll back clean-air protections, gut both Medicare and Medicaid, lavish trillions in tax cuts on billionaires while raising taxes on the poor, and slash everything from college aid to veteran benefits. In fact, the tenets of Ryan Republicanism are so extreme that they even offend the pioneers of trickle-down economics. “Ryan takes out the ax and goes after programs for the poor – which is the last thing you ought to cut,” says David Stockman, who served as Ronald Reagan’s budget director. “It’s ideology run amok.”
“[...] A look at the bills that Republicans have passed since they took control of the House in 2010 offers a clear blueprint of the agenda that a Romney administration would be primed to establish…” Continue reading.
Mitt Romney’s agenda, summarized:
Not only does Mitt have enough working digits to handle a pen, but the next POTUS will be choosing Supreme Court justices:
The Supreme Court is not on the ballot in November, but its future direction on issues such as abortion, gay rights, gun rights, voting laws and the role of money in politics depends on who is elected president for the next four years. The justices, who open their annual term Monday, are closely split along ideological lines. The current court has four liberals appointed by Democrats, four conservatives appointed by Republicans, and a centrist Republican in 76-year-old Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. The court’s makeup means that a President Mitt Romney could tip the court decisively to the right if he were to replace liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 79, with a conservative. Similarly, a reelected President Obama could tilt the court to the left if he were to replace Kennedy or Justice Antonin Scalia, 76, with a liberal.
So will this be another issue where Romney is given a pass by the Republican / conservative supporters? Will it be only be Democratic / independents outraged to learn about Romney’s hypocrisy over a government bailout for his company? From The Raw Story:
The day after the close of the 2012 Republican National Convention, Vice President Joe Biden came out swinging at inaccuracies in a speech given by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and calling Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to account for pressuring the government to bail out help his former private equity firm Bain & Company.
For Biden, the Bain attack is a new one, based upon a report filed Wednesday in Rolling Stone. Documents obtained by reporter Tim Dickinson show that Romney settled more than $30 million in debts Bain owed to a bank the FDIC had taken control of by threatening to loot the company’s assets for executive bonuses and put Bain into bankruptcy if the government didn’t cancel the company’s debt for just 30 cents on the dollar.
“You know, he is absolutely against the federal government or any government using funds to save jobs, to save industries,” Biden said Friday, speaking to a group of auto workers in Lordstown, Ohio. “It’s bad business, he says. Except when it comes to his business.”
“Let me quote from recent reporting,” he went on. “‘Romney was willing to go to extremes to secure a federal bailout’ when Bain Consulting was on the verge of collapse. The way they reorganized cost the government $10 million. Imagine that: It was one thing when a million middle class jobs were on the line. It was another when his own financial interests were on the line. And now they say they care about the middle class?”
Now we know that Romney’s “success” and business experience relies on government bailouts — for himself, not for anyone else (Let Detroit Go Bankrupt). And we know that it’s okay for the federal government to run up debt if it’s going to bail out Mitt Romney’s own company. Can you imagine how Romney will manage America®, once he’s acquired that investment?
“Paul Ryan is the embodiment of the machine our music rages against.”
“I wonder what Ryan’s favorite Rage song is? Is it the one where we condemn the genocide of Native Americans? The one lambasting American imperialism? Our cover of “Fuck the Police”? Or is it the one where we call on the people to seize the means of production? So many excellent choices to jam out to at Young Republican meetings!…..
“Don’t mistake me, I clearly see that Ryan has a whole lotta “rage” in him: A rage against women, a rage against immigrants, a rage against workers, a rage against gays, a rage against the poor, a rage against the environment. Basically the only thing he’s not raging against is the privileged elite he’s groveling in front of for campaign contributions.”
——————————WHAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY STANDS FOR TODAY
SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD) says he and his senate colleagues may push a government shutdown to get out of the debt deal agreed upon last year with President Obama. — TPM
ROMNEY SWEEPS GOP PRIMARIES (i.e. collects on his investments) – Mitt Romney laid claim to the fiercely contested Republican presidential nomination Tuesday night with a fistful of primary triumphs, then urged all who struggle in a shaky U.S. economy to “hold on a little longer, a better America begins tonight.” Eager to turn the political page to the general election, Romney accused President Barack Obama of “false promises and weak leadership.” He declared, “Everywhere I go, Americans are tired of being tired, and many of those who are fortunate enough to have a job are working harder for less.” The former Massachusetts governor spoke as he swept primaries in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York, the first since Rick Santorum conceded the nomination. — HuffPo
ROMNEY STILL WITHOUT RICK SANTORUM’S Holy Blessing and endorsement — “Logistically, there’s just no way,” top Santorum adviser John Brabender told POLITICO of an endorsement prior to Pennsylvania’s primary. “That won’t be happening … Look, the senator takes his endorsement very seriously. He feels there’s many things for he and Governor Romney to talk about. This isn’t just a five-minute meeting: How do you do, let’s endorse.” – POLITICO
JON HUNTSMAN HANDS OVER HIS TINY SPINE to the Republican Party establishment (disregard his comments of the past 48 hours) – Huntsman was asked on CNBC’s Squawk Box whether he was still 100 percent behind Mitt Romney’s presidential bid. “Absolutely, I am,” Huntsman replied. — Buzzfeed
SEN. SCOTT BROWN (R) seems to believe Elizabeth Warren’s personal finances are of the utmost importance in this year’s Senate race in Massachusetts. [...] Why should anyone outside Massachusetts care? Because it turns out, the Republican senator’s top political advisers are the same people advising Mitt Romney, who’s trying to keep his tax returns secret. In other words, the same campaign strategists telling Brown to push for more disclosure are also telling Romney to push for less disclosure. Eric Fehrnstrom, who advises both Romney and Brown, believes it’s wrong if Elizabeth Warren releases only two years of tax documents, but also believes it’s perfectly acceptable if Romney does the same thing. — Maddow Blog
GOP WAR ON WOMEN: FLORIDA GOV RICK SCOTT (R) celebrates Sexual Assault Awareness Month by cutting aid for Rape Crisis Centers
DARRELL ISSA (WHO BANNED A WOMAN FROM SPEAKING AT HIS ALL-MALE CONTRACEPTION PANEL) calls Obama Admin the ‘most corrupt government’ in history. Speaking to Bloomberg on Tuesday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said: “But again, we’re very busy in Washington with a corrupt government, with a government that I said a year ago, because of the money, because of the TARP and stimulus funds, was going to be the most corrupt government in history, and it is proving to be that.” In spite of Issa’s allegations, he only cited two specific scandals. According to journalist Haynes Johnson, the “most corrupt” label actually belongs to the administration of President Ronald Reagan. Plagued by dozens of scandals like selling weapons to Iran, rigging federal grants, the savings and loan crisis and other assorted political skullduggery, it all ended with 138 officials having been investigated, indicted or convicted — the most of any U.S. presidency, ever. – The Raw Story
PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS————————————————————
SLOW JAM THE NEWS with Barack Obama: Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
OBAMA TELLS UNC CROWD he only paid off his student loans 8 years ago – His chief policy message was an appeal for Congress to pass legislation to stop interest rates on a popular student loan from doubling July 1 from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. “I didn’t just read about this. I didn’t just get some talking points about this. I didn’t just get a policy briefing on this,” the president said to laughter from the crowd. “We didn’t come from wealthy families. When we graduated from college and law school we had a mountain of debt. When we married, we got poor together. We added up our assets and there were no assets. And we added up our liabilities and there were lot of liabilities—basically in the form of student loans,” — ABCNews
FROM A NEW ROLLING STONE INTERVIEW WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA — Given all that, what do you think the general election is going to look like, and what do you think of Mitt Romney? “I think the general election will be as sharp a contrast between the two parties as we’ve seen in a generation. You have a Republican Party, and a presumptive Republican nominee, that believes in drastically rolling back environmental regulations, that believes in drastically rolling back collective-bargaining rights, that believes in an approach to deficit reduction in which taxes are cut further for the wealthiest Americans, and spending cuts are entirely borne by things like education or basic research or care for the vulnerable. All this will be presumably written into their platform and reflected in their convention. I don’t think that their nominee is going to be able to suddenly say, “Everything I’ve said for the last six months, I didn’t mean.” I’m assuming that he meant it. When you’re running for president, people are paying attention to what you’re saying.” — Rolling Stone
…The police in their own way are symbols of the problem. All over the country, thousands of armed cops have been deployed to stand around and surveil and even assault the polite crowds of Occupy protesters. This deployment of law-enforcement resources already dwarfs the amount of money and manpower that the government “committed” to fighting crime and corruption during the financial crisis. One OWS protester steps in the wrong place, and she immediately has police roping her off like wayward cattle. But in the skyscrapers above the protests, anything goes.
This is a profound statement about who law enforcement works for in this country. What happened on Wall Street over the past decade was an unparalleled crime wave. Yet at most, maybe 1,500 federal agents were policing that beat – and that little group of financial cops barely made any cases at all. Yet when thousands of ordinary people hit the streets with the express purpose of obeying the law and demonstrating their patriotism through peaceful protest, the police response is immediate and massive. There have already been hundreds of arrests, which is hundreds more than we ever saw during the years when Wall Street bankers were stealing billions of dollars from retirees and mutual-fund holders and carpenters unions through the mass sales of fraudulent mortgage-backed securities.
It’s not that the cops outside the protests are doing wrong, per se, by patrolling the parks and sidewalks. It’s that they should be somewhere else. They should be heading up into those skyscrapers and going through the file cabinets to figure out who stole what, and from whom. They should be helping people get their money back. Instead, they’re out on the street, helping the Blankfeins of the world avoid having to answer to the people they ripped off.
Seattle activist Dorli Rainey, 84, reacts after being hit with pepper spray during an Occupy Seattle protest on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at Westlake Park. Protesters gathered in the intersection of 5th Avenue and Pine Street after marching from their camp at Seattle Central Community College in support of Occupy Wall Street. Many refused to move from the intersection after being ordered by police. Police then began spraying pepper spray into the gathered crowd, hitting dozens of people. A pregnant woman was taken from the melee in an ambulance after being struck with spray. (Seattlepi.com)
Photo: Joshua Trujillo / seattlepi.com
And here is the article that accompanies the program:
[...] “Almost without exception, every proposal put forth by GOP lawmakers and presidential candidates is intended to preserve or expand tax privileges for the wealthiest Americans,” writes Rolling Stone political correspondent Tim Dickinson. “Most of their plans, which are presented as commonsense measures that will aid all Americans, would actually result in higher taxes for middle-class taxpayers and the poor.”
On Wednesday’s Fresh Air, Dickinson explains how the tax policies pursued by the Republican Party have changed in the past 14 years — and says those changes have led to greater economic inequality in our country.
He explains that the top 400 taxpayers in the United States have seen their incomes increase threefold since 1997. In that same period, their tax rate has fallen by 40 percent.
“Today, a billionaire in the top 400 pays an effective tax rate of about 17 percent,” he says. “That’s about 5 percentage points less than your average worker.”
The income of the wealthiest Americans has also increased. Dickinson writes that “since Republicans began their tax-cut binge in 1997, they have succeeded in making the rich much richer. While the average income for the bottom 90 percent of taxpayers has remained basically flat over the past 15 years, those in the top 0.01 percent have seen their incomes more than double, to $36 million a year.”
Dickinson tells Terry Gross that the revenue going to the wealthiest Americans is increasing.
Read the entire NPR article…
“If you don’t like the nature of what government does — you don’t like that it funds a social safety net, you don’t like Medicare, you don’t like Social Security — it’s actually a good strategy to leave the government in a perilous fiscal situation, because energies will be directed into cutting spending and paring back these programs.” — Tim Dickinson, on the ‘starve the beast’ strategy
It seems almost crazy to NOT be a part of / support the Occupy movement, doesn’t it?
“Taxes are ridiculously low! And yet the mantra of the Republican Party is ‘Tax cuts raise growth.’ So – where’s the fucking growth?” – Bruce Bartlett, an architect of Reagan’s 1981 tax cut, from a must-read article from the November 24, 2011 edition of Rolling Stone:
[...] When Republicans won back control of the House in last year’s midterm elections, they followed Brown’s lead and moved swiftly to betray their Tea Party backers by running up more deficits on behalf of the rich. Within days of the election, Republicans not only secured a two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, they also enabled America’s richest scions to inherit millions of dollars without paying a dime in taxes. All told, the GOP’s two favors for the party’s biggest donors were secured in a lame-duck bargain that adds another $858 billion to the debt – an amount greater than the original stimulus plan the Republicans opposed so bitterly.
First, the GOP filibustered a Democrat-led effort to extend the Bush tax cuts on only the first $250,000 of income. The party leadership’s hard-line stance – supported by barely a third of all voters – turned $90 billion over to the wealthiest Americans. It also set a precedent for further extensions that would cost nearly $1 trillion over the next decade. At the same time, the GOP drove through a deal that actually raised taxes for couples who make less than $40,000 a year – and then turned much of the extra cash over to couples who earn more than $200,000. Obama agreed to this massive transfer of wealth in order to retain the Bush tax cuts for the middle class – but the only other significant thing he got in return was a one-year extension of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed.
But even the GOP’s big payday for the wealthy pales in comparison to the handout that Republicans secured by gutting the estate tax. With the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, the inheritance tax was set to snap back to its Clinton-era standard: exempting the first $1 million of all estates from taxation, and stepping up the tax rate on the wealthiest estates to 55 percent. Instead, Obama agreed to raise the exemption to $5 million and lower the top tax rate to 35 percent – an apparent horse trade demanded by the Senate’s second-ranking Republican, Jon Kyl of Arizona, who then allowed the president’s nuclear-stockpile treaty with Russia to move forward in the Senate…
From the article, clear illustrations of income redistribution from the bottom to the top:
[...] Indeed, since Republicans began their tax-cut binge in 1997, they have succeeded in making the rich much richer. While the average income for the bottom 90 percent of taxpayers has remained basically flat over the past 15 years, those in the top 0.01 percent have seen their incomes more than double, to $36 million a year. Translated into wages, that means most Americans have received a raise of $1.50 an hour since the GOP began cutting taxes during the Gingrich era. The most elite sliver of American society, meanwhile, saw their pay soar by $10,000 an hour.
America became a great nation with a prosperous middle class on the strength of a progressive tax code – one that demands the most of those who benefit most from our society. But the Party of the Rich has succeeded in breaking the back of that ideal. Today, says Johnston, “the tax system ceases to be progressive when you get to the very top of the wealthiest one percent.” Above that marker, the richer you get, the lower your relative tax burden. “We have moved toward a plutocracy,” Warren Buffett warned in a recent interview. “As people have gotten richer and richer, they have been favored by taxation – and have gotten richer to a greater degree.”
Far from creating the trickle-down economics promised by Reagan, the policies pursued by the modern Republican Party are gusher up. Under the leadership of Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the House’s radicalized GOP caucus is pushing a predatory agenda for a new gilded age. Every move that Republicans make – whether it’s to gut consumer protections, roll back environmental regulations, subsidize giant agribusinesses, abolish health care reform or just drill, baby, drill – is consistent with a single overarching agenda: to enrich the nation’s wealthiest individuals and corporations, even if it requires borrowing from China, weakening national security, dismantling Medicare and taxing the middle class. With the nation still mired in the worst financial crisis since the 1930s, Republicans have categorically rejected the one financial policy with a proven record of putting the country back on a more prosperous footing. “You hear the Republicans say that you don’t dare raise taxes in a weak economy,” says Stockman. “Ronald Reagan did – three times.” Not even the downgrading of America’s debt – which placed the world’s only superpower on credit par with New Zealand and Belgium – has given GOP leaders cause to reconsider their pro-wealth jihad. In August, as the so-called Supercommittee began its work to complete the debt-ceiling deal by reducing future deficits by another $1.5 trillion, Cantor issued the Party of the Rich’s marching orders, insisting that Republicans not buckle under the “tremendous pressure” to hike taxes and instead target spending cuts in “mandatory programs.”
From the article, here’s a “tax cuts for the wealthy paid for by spending cuts for the rest of us” table to consider –
Republican Teabagger base voters, please do continue to worry about gay marriage and a Christmas tree tax and Obama taking your guns. That’s what the Republican party needs you to concentrate on through November 2012.
“I can’t remember a grimmer time for the Republican party in my lifetime. Now that Bin Laden is dead, the 2012 election seems like a formality. The setup is all wrong for the Republicans from almost every conceivable angle, with some of that being bad luck and some of it being poor strategy.
First of all, for the next eighteen months, Obama is going to respond to every single foreign-policy question by holding up Bin Laden’s head and swinging it in front of him like a lantern (metaphorically speaking, of course). It doesn’t matter what the question is: ask Obama about the Irish debt crisis, he’ll answer, “The Irish have been important allies in our fight against terrorism, which as you’ll recall resulted recently in the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden …” Things are so bad for the Republicans on this front that their only strategy left is to adopt an antiwar platform and complain about such things as the brutalizing of Afghan citizens by American troops and the illegality of the Bin Laden operation, things that would have been celebrated by the likes of Karl Rove had they occurred during a Bush presidency.
And from a domestic-policy standpoint the Republicans are similarly screwed, absent a new financial crisis, which of course is far from unlikely. A year or two ago anxiety about the economy and deficits was at an all-time high and the Republicans smartly rode public discontent by bashing Obama’s spending habits. But in following that path the party went a step or two too far, unleashing Paul Ryan on the budget; now, for the next eighteen months, Barack Obama can walk into Florida and Arizona and California and explain to every person over 50 that the Republicans want to eliminate the Medicare program as they know it. The Republicans meanwhile are already running sideways away from Ryan’s program, or at least are clearly concerned about having to enter 2012 owning Ryan’s Medicare-voucher program. Couple that with dropping unemployment levels and the stabilized capital markets (stabilized of course by massive ongoing government spending, but the casual voter knows little of this), and Obama can now waltz into 2012 claiming that while he was busy rescuing the wrecked economy left to him by George Bush, Republicans were using the financial chaos as an opportunity to launch long-planned attacks against Medicare and Social Security.”
“So how does a group of billionaire businessmen and corporations get a bunch of broke Middle American white people to lobby for lower taxes for the rich and deregulation of Wall Street? That turns out to be easy.
Beneath the surface, the Tea Party is little more than a weird and disorderly mob, a federation of distinct and often competing strains of conservatism that have been unable to coalesce around a leader of their own choosing.
Its rallies include not only hardcore libertarians left over from the original Ron Paul “Tea Parties,” but gun-rights advocates, fundamentalist Christians, pseudomilitia types like the Oath Keepers (a group of law- enforcement and military professionals who have vowed to disobey “unconstitutional” orders) and mainstream Republicans who have simply lost faith in their party.
It’s a mistake to cast the Tea Party as anything like a unified, cohesive movement — which makes them easy prey for the very people they should be aiming their pitchforks at.
A loose definition of the Tea Party might be millions of pissed-off white people sent chasing after Mexicans on Medicaid by the handful of banks and investment firms who advertise on Fox and CNBC.”
What do you think of Fox News? Do you think it’s a good institution for America and for democracy?
[Laughs] Look, as president, I swore to uphold the Constitution, and part of that Constitution is a free press. We’ve got a tradition in this country of a press that oftentimes is opinionated. The golden age of an objective press was a pretty narrow span of time in our history. Before that, you had folks like Hearst who used their newspapers very intentionally to promote their viewpoints. I think Fox is part of that tradition — it is part of the tradition that has a very clear, undeniable point of view. It’s a point of view that I disagree with. It’s a point of view that I think is ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country that has a vibrant middle class and is competitive in the world. But as an economic enterprise, it’s been wildly successful. And I suspect that if you ask Mr. Murdoch what his number-one concern is, it’s that Fox is very successful.
CBS News Chief Foreign Correspondent Lara Logan on Michael Hastings’ Rolling Stone article on McChrystal: “To be fair to the military, if they believe that a piece is balanced, they will let you back.” Or this: “Michael Hastings has never served his country the way McChrystal has.”
Howard Kurtz asked Logan if there is an “unspoken agreement that you’re not going to embarrass [the troops] by reporting insults and banter.”
“Absolutely,” she said. “Yes… there is an element of trust.”
What Logan is saying–in the shameful code of embedded journalism–is that she and her former colleagues in Afghanistan have been systemically engaged in a journalistic cover-up in their reporting on the longest war in U.S. history, one in which more than 30,000 human lives have been lost, including more than 1,000 Americans and an untold number of Afghani civilians.
…Logan also asserted that Hastings–”if you believe him–says that there were no ground rules laid out. And, I mean, that just doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me.” The “ground rules,” as Andrew Sullivan assessed, are the quid pro quo of trading access for journalistic protection.
And then Logan said something that would be downright laughable if it weren’t so reflective of a thoroughly corrupt mindset. “To be fair to the military,” she said–apparently oblivious to the dirty little secret she was about to reveal– “if they believe that a piece is balanced, they will let you back.“
By the way, Logan is now married to a military contractor. Conflict of interest much?
When I first heard her say that, I thought to myself, “That has to be a joke. It’s sarcasm, right?” But then I went back and replayed the clip – no sarcasm! She meant it! If I’m hearing Logan correctly, what Hastings is supposed to have done in that situation is interrupt these drunken assholes and say, “Excuse me, fellas, I know we’re all having fun and all, but you’re saying things that may not be in your best interest! As a reporter, it is my duty to inform you that you may end up looking like insubordinate douche bags in front of two million Rolling Stone readers if you don’t shut your mouths this very instant!” I mean, where did Logan go to journalism school – the Burson-Marsteller agency?
…instead of cheering this as a great break for our profession, a waytago moment, one so-called reputable journalist after another lines up to protest the leak and attack the reporter for doing his job. God, do you all suck!
[T]hose who view their role as exposing the relevant secrets of the powerful (Hastings) and those who view their role as protecting those secrets and serving the interests of those officials (Logan). Amazingly, Logan sounds like the most devoted member of McChyrstal’s P.R. staff or even his family…