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Suddenly moderate Mitt still has Ryan plan
for the 47% ‘who will never vote for me’

Here are two very important factoids for everyone to keep in mind right through the time they vote, and to warn others about.

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  • No fewer than 14 million of America’s most needy and vulnerable people would lose access to medical care if Mitt Romney becomes president and Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan becomes a reality. Ryan’s budget would slash $770 billion from Medicaid over the next 10 years. Adopting Ryan’s Ayn Rand-inspired budget is something Romney has indicated he will do and exactly what Republican tea party extremists will demand of him.
  • The Congressional Budget Office estimates 1.7 million children will lose health insurance by 2016 if Ryan’s budget is adopted.

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Don’t be lulled into thinking Romney wouldn’t really implement Ryan’s scorched-earth, economic Darwinism budget or that a Republican-controlled Congress would never pass it. As surely as Romney will want to keep the radical Republican political base happy so he can get re-elected in 2016, he will do it.

H/t to Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., America’s Senator.

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Well-prepared with fresh lies
Romney wins debate with Obama

No voltage sign

Imagine the confrontation of a seasoned diplomat vs. a Marine Corps general, the former accustomed to conversation and negotiation, the latter’s attitude one of “Get out of my way or be prepared to wear my footprint on your face,” and you get the tone and tenor of last night’s first debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney.

To fully appreciate the event, though, you’d have to imagine a president who had failed to get a good night’s sleep and hadn’t had a cup of coffee since 9 a.m., and a raring-to-go bundle of nervous energy with a few fresh lies in his repertoire.

In short, those of us rooting for Obama came away disappointed, while Romney’s supporters were overjoyed at the first sign of things looking up for them in months.

Pundits, tweeters and those responding to instant polls immediately panned Obama’s performance as flat, weak and even ambivalent. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews went ballistic, his mind blown at how Obama had passed up one chance after another to call Romney out for misstating facts long ago debunked by third parties. Zingers? Forget that. Pop psychoanalysis was easy to find in the post mortems, some tagging Obama with feeling he shouldn’t have to be there to defend his serious and overall good work of governing against a crass wannabe who changes positions on serious matters more often than most people change their socks.

Our take on Obama’s lack of combativeness is that by nature he’s not that way. He is a well-informed, thoughtful, reasonable guy. He’s most comfortable around others who share his preference for honest discussion and bargaining in good faith to lying and street brawls.

Mitt Romney, by contrast, is a competitor and a predator. Getting what he wants is his top priority. Concern about what that might mean to and for others is way down his list. If a company must be gutted, saddled with debt and its workers’ jobs destroyed, it’s nothing personal, just what’s necessary for him to make another million, or ten. If he must risk being caught at lying repeatedly to win office, so be it. Hey, as the successful Bain venture capitalist honcho, he left a trail of trashed and debt-ruined companies behind. But to hear Romney tell it, he created 100,000 jobs in the U.S.

All that was on display last night, delivered with energy and, often, a smile. A well-done New York Times story details Romney’s mendacious tour de force, for those interested in the facts. Here’s a sample we find especially compelling.

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Mr. Romney said Mr. Obama had doubled the deficit. That is not true. When Mr. Obama took office in January 2009, the Congressional Budget Office had already projected that the deficit for fiscal year 2009, which ended Sept. 30 of that year, would be $1.2 trillion. (It ended up as $1.4 trillion.) For fiscal year 2012, which ended last week, the deficit is expected to be $1.1 trillion — just under the level in the year he was inaugurated. Measured as a share of the economy, as economists prefer, the deficit has declined more significantly — from 10.1 percent of the economy’s total output in 2009 to 7.3 percent for 2012.

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Romney also falsely denied his plan would cut taxes by 20 percent and that his plan includes $5 trillion in spending cuts. Ample videos exist of Romney saying the exact opposite. In fact, Romney put up a steady barrage of lies, distortions and insulting innuendo.

Romney then capped his lying-like-a-champ performance by chastising the president for trying to have his own facts and making his own sons out to be young practitioners of the Big Lie Technique.

Gosh, we wonder where Romney’s sons learned The Big Lie Technique.

But never mind, because a thousand shallow media minds, amplified by Romney’s legion of liars and spinners, are made up today: dishonest style trumps honest, if uninspiring, substance. So, they’re naming Romney the clear winner.

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The moderator who didn’t: We won’t belabor what a poor job PBS’ Jim Lehrer did as moderator. We will just say that having served as moderator for a number of past presidential debates, Lehrer clearly signed on for one too many. It should be his last.

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A factoid to make Republicans’ Monday blue

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Oh no! (Republicans react to today's factoid.)

Against the backdrop of a presidential candidate they don’t especially like running a lackluster campaign, Republicans take comfort in reminding everyone no president has been re-elected in modern times when unemployment was higher than 7 percent.

However, there’s another factoid today’s tea party-ridden GOP should pause to consider:

No Republican presidential campaign has succeeded in winning the White House without a Bush on the ticket since 1968 1972.

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Poll shows seniors forsaking economic Darwinists

From the time he won his party’s presidential nomination to a couple of weeks ago, Mitt Romney, R-1 percent, struggled to get his poll numbers above 47 percent. Now, Romney must strain to get his numbers to 47 percent.

Thanks to a near wholesale abandonment by senior citizens of the ticket that intends to replace Medicare with vouchers and leave Medicaid to any states that want to fund medical care for the destitute, Romney’s goal is becoming harder to reach by the day.

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New polling by Reuters/Ipsos indicates that during the past two weeks – since just after the Democratic National Convention – support for Romney among Americans age 60 and older has crumbled, from a 20-point lead over Democratic President Barack Obama to less than 4 points.

Romney’s double-digit advantages among older voters on the issues of healthcare and Medicare – the nation’s health insurance program for those over 65 and the disabled – also have evaporated, and Obama has begun to build an advantage in both areas.

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We don’t post on every twist and twitch in pre-election opinion polls. This one is different because it portends certain victory for President Obama Nov. 6. The over-60 set and white Southern males have made up the solid, unwavering core of Romney’s support throughout the year, with percentages high enough to appear insurmountable for the president.

Romney has managed to lose the backing of a powerful voting bloc made up of the demographic most likely to cast ballots. What’s more, many seniors are better able to make campaign contributions than their younger counterparts, albeit not always large ones.

From the same Reuters story:

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Analysts say that if Romney cannot reverse the trend among older voters, he won’t win on November 6.

“If Romney loses seniors, he loses this election, period,” said Jonathan Oberlander, a health policy specialist at the University of North Carolina. “A bad showing nationally (among older voters) does not bode well for Florida and other states with big senior populations.”

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It’s possible, although unlikely, that Romney could win back many older voters in the last pre-election weeks. However, to do that he would have to renounce key features of the budget plan of his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-19th century England. Those provisions would effectively end Medicare and gut Medicaid.

Then, Romney would face the seemingly impossible task, given all his flip-flops and about faces, of convincing seniors he means what he says about rejecting Ryan’s plans for ending Medicare and Medicaid. Of course, doing that would cost him the support of many in the GOP’s extremist/tea party base.

If this seniors poll holds true, along with others showing waning support in key states like Iowa, Ohio and Florida, Romney and Ryan will go down to defeat with the sound of booing AARP members ringing in their ears.

That would be a fitting rejection for this pair of selfish, self-serving pols and rich economic Darwinists.

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Study shows how much Murdoch News Corp.
propagandists distort climate-change news

More evidence is at hand, as if any were needed, that Fox News is a leading reason why our friends on the right don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to climate change and the need for remediation.

A just-released Union of Concerned Scientists report also cites The Wall Street Journal editorial page as a co-enabler of willful ignorance and propagator of climatological misinformation.

Stephen Lacey at Think Progress reports on the study findings, noting how pervasive the distortion of facts from these “news” and opinion sources is:

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. . . 93 percent stories from Fox News on climate were misleading and 81 percent of stories in the WSJ op-ed section were misleading.

. . . What makes a “misleading” comment? UCS researchers say they include “broad dismissals of human-caused climate change, disparaging comments about individual scientists, rejections of climate science as a body of knowledge, and cherry picking of data.”

. . . This shoddy reporting isn’t just limited to U.S. operations. According to a recent analysis from the Australian Center for Independent Journalism, the top six Australian newspapers featuring overwhelmingly negative and misleading coverage about climate issues in 2011 were all owned by Rupert Murdoch.

“It’s fair to say they’ve campaigned against it rather than covered it,” wrote the report’s authors.

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This brings us back to the decades-old IT professionals’ adage about computer programming and data management: “Garbage in, garbage out.”

Remember that the next time a conservative Republican, tea party or libertarian type spouts patent nonsense about global warming and the need to switch to alternatives to fossil fuels, and thereby reduce CO2 releases into the atmosphere.

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GOP strategist: Here come da sludge

“O n the outside, here’s what going to happen: we’re going to nuke Barack Obama into radioactive sludge in the swing states with 3000-4000 points of TV in September. Crossroads and Restore [Republican SuperPACs] will do the same. It’s going to be hitting in concert with the terrible economic news, and it’ll strike a chord.”

— Rick Wilson, Republican strategist,
quoted by Buzzfeed’s McKay Coppins
in a post, Romney’s New Strategy Turns Right,
Sept. 17, 2012

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Our sincere condolences to swing state residents for what they are having to endure. We hope many will be able to forsake TV in favor of streaming video off their PC or rental DVD’s and National Public Radio for the duration.

After all the BS those poor people were bombarded with on behalf of George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, this sludge offensive to help Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan win the White House adds insult to injury.

Republican strategists, super PACs and the fat cats who fund them might want to think twice about this onslaught. First, because a whole lot of voters disgusted with saturation-level attack ads might act on their displeasure by voting against the Romney-Ryan dysfunctional duo. Second — and this might come as a shock to those steeped in the politics of sliming opponents and pandering to racists — a whole lot of voters might decide they don’t like seeing a president who’s worked hard on their behalf being “nuked into radioactive sludge.”

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Mideast blowup could be political right’s
September surprise bid to win election

old-time bombSome demented Americans create a salacious video about the prophet Muhammad, Muslims’ most revered mortal; an excerpt is uploaded to YouTube, and 14 months later an angry mob converges on the U.S. embassy in Cairo. Then, in Benghazi, heavily armed terrorists invade and destroy our embassy, killing the ambassador and three other State Department personnel.

Angry demonstrations and attacks against American diplomatic posts flare throughout the Mideast, like fire whipped by treacherous winds spreading across a drought-parched prairie.

Why this and why now?

Is this series of events just coincidental to the late stage of a presidential campaign that’s not going well for America’s anything-to-win Republican Party, its billionaire backers who are used to getting their way, its racist, resentful tea party cohort and its corps of dirty-tricks specialists? It’s possible, but other possibilities should be considered and thoroughly investigated.

What follows is a possible explanation for this week’s events. We don’t claim it’s true, only that it could be — and should be investigated.

One or more super-rich conservative Republicans grow anxious and displeased watching the early 2012 GOP primaries. It seems likely Mitt Romney will be the nominee, leaving the party with a candidate its radical-right base considers a closet moderate and not to be trusted.

Republican governors and legislatures across the country, especially in swing states, are making good progress passing voter-suppression laws. The new laws, passed in response to a problem proven to be minuscule, are clearly designed to keep as many likely Democratic voters as possible from casting ballots in the November election. But our super-rich conservative Republican(s), hereinafter referred to as Deep Pockets, know voter suppression laws could fall prey to court decisions. This effort might even backfire, making targeted voters all the more determined to overcome obstacles thrown in their way.

As spring turns to summer, Deep Pockets sees 2008 happening all over again. Romney isn’t pulling ahead in polls. Even though Romney chose Rep. Paul Ryan to be his No. 2, the public remains unimpressed. Romney is continually called out for lying, and the media publicize repeated instances in which Ryan sought federal funds from programs he had condemned and voted against. Romney’s foreign bank accounts and refusal to release more than two years’ tax returns generates more bad publicity.

The GOP convention comes off as largely a dud. Speaker after speaker touts his own accomplishments, mentioning Romney only as a brief afterthought. Romney’s acceptance speech is credited as his best to date, yet few in or out of the party seem any more enthused about him. Polls show no post-convention bounce. Then the Democrats hold their convention and President Obama gets a good bounce. The media and pundits talk incessantly about the stark difference.

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Obama’s convention speech: the missing passage

Obama, 2012 DNCPresident Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday laid out his and Democrats’ ideals, goals and approach well, defining anew night-vs.-day differences wth Mitt Romney and today’s radical-conservative Republicans.

Like nearly all acceptance speeches of recent decades, Obama’s was devoid of specifics – an omission noticed and not appreciated by a group of middle-class commenters assembled by PBS’ News Hour Friday for a discussion.

Had they participated in the News Hour discussion, Obama’s political advisers would surely have explained that laying out detailed plans invites Republicans to launch an offensive of lies and distortions about them. Just like the “death panel” lies about health care reform, and recently, the lie that Obamacare will shunt $7 billion from Medicare to the president’s pet projects. So, had detailed plans been included in the acceptance speech, Obama and other Democrats would’ve had to spend the final weeks of their campaigns defending against those lies, at considerable cost in time, money and energy.

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What we missed in Obama’s speech was a brand-strengthening appeal that could help break the partisan straitjacket that has weakened his hand and efforts to create jobs throughout his presidency.

So, we wrote the following in response to a fine post on Obama’s speech at Tom Harper’s Who Hijacked Our Country blog. In it we add a passage we wish the president had included.

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Those speeches are excellent. (Jennifer) Granholm blew me away. If more Dems had her fight and spirit, Romney might as well outsource himself.

There was something strangely missing from Obama’s speech, and the others too. Dems usually fail to do a good job on this, and the tradition continues.

“I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I never have. . .”

Obama should’ve added:

. . . I will tell you that getting things done, like increasing demand, creating jobs, bolstering business and thereby growing an economy stuck in a deep jobs recession requires cooperation in Congress. We know what needs doing and how to do it. But Congress is all about numbers — having the votes to get the job done. Unfortunately, two years ago some voters decided to sit the midterm election out, and others decided to vote for so-called tea party extremists whose slash-and-burn, cut-spending, shrink-government ways compounded Republicans’ policy of no cooperation and no compromise. The result is a slower and weaker recovery than 20 million jobless Americans need and that all Americans deserve.

As I said, getting things done in Congress is a matter of who has the votes. I need a team in Congress willing to work with me to kick recovery into high gear and put all those jobless Americans back to work. Republicans and their tea-party component have made it clear they will only work against rapid, effective measures to recover our economy, for selfish political reasons.

So, America, if you will vote the obstructionists out of Congress this November and replace them with progressive Democrats who will work with my administration to get the job done, you’ll see a faster, stronger, more-complete recovery. You will see the additional stimulus needed to boost demand, create jobs and shore up revenues at all levels of government. You will see an economy moving and growing again, with the added benefits of teachers back in classrooms and badly needed infrastructure improvements being made that will serve us all for decades to come. You’ll also see, at long last, the wealthiest Americans paying a fairer share of the tax burden to help make these things happen.

Register, if you haven’t already, and vote, and get your family, friends and neighbors to vote also. Vote to send me a team in Congress to get this job done, and we will get this job done, sooner and better, and to everyone’s ultimate advantage.

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This passage is a deliberately partisan call to action — appropriate for a Democratic convention speech. It doesn’t get into fine details, but it does include a clear, credible and definite action plan for moving forward.

It’s intended to promote unity of purpose and action among Democrats. It’s also an appeal to others who support the president or simply want no part of Romney and his No. 2., Rep. Paul Ryan, and more years of trickle-down, borrow-and-spend economic policy to benefit the rich at the expense of the rest.

There’s still time. We hope Obama will say more along these lines in his campaign speeches, and that Democratic candidates down the ticket will do likewise between now and election day.

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Barbour pays his disrespect, using imagery
of a hot poker and President Obama’s butt

“While I would love for [New Jersey Gov. Chris] Christie to put a hot poker to Obama’s butt, I thought he did what he was supposed to do.”

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—Haley Barbour, former Mississippi governor and former
Republican National Committee chairman, referring
to Christie’s convention keynote address
, during a fund-
raising breakfast hosted by Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS,
in Tampa, Aug. 30, 2012.

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Way to go, Barbour. In the finest tradition of what folks in his home state refer to as poor white trash, Barbour opened his arrogant, disrespectful mouth and showed his butt.

Not that there was any racist sentiment or sense of entitlement to say such a thing about America’s first non-white president. Oh no, of course not.

But even if there was, we’re sure he believes it’s OK if you’re a Republican.

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The crude, the bad and the ugly

eastwood speaking at GOP convention

Clint Eastwood, 82, speaking at the Republican National Convention, Aug. 30, 2012.

There’s a zone in which people getting up in years lose the inner guide that causes most adults to keep their remarks within certain bounds of appropriateness for time, place, who is being talked about and who’s listening — a sad eventuality demonstrated spectacularly by Clint Eastwood at the GOP convention in Tampa last night.

As a special guest speaker, Eastwood’s schtick of choice was to bitch and moan, disrespectfully and crudely, to an empty chair on which the audience was supposed to imagine President Barack Obama was sitting.

Eastwood’s complaints included the Obama administration’s aborted plan to try Guantanamo prisoners in New York City and the president’s decision to complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in 2014.

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He attacked Obama for, of all things, riding in Air Force One. “You could still use a plane,” he said, “Not that big gas guzzler you are going around to colleges and talking about student loans and stuff like that.”

“I can’t do that to myself,” Eastwood said several times to the empty chair next to him, pretending, apparently, that the president was telling Eastwood to go f*** himself.

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That kind of thing might be OK for a private gathering of like-minded cronies. At an event viewed by a mixed audience of millions — including schoolchildren encouraged to watch by their teachers — Eastwood’s lame attempt at caustic humor was appallingly out of place.

Criticizing Obama’s decisions and accomplishments, or lack thereof, was to be expected. Putting foul language in the president’s mouth was not. It was demeaning, insulting and completely uncalled for to Obama personally. It was also disrespectful to the office Obama holds.

After his tasteless turn on stage, event managers claimed they had no idea what Eastwood was going to do. We give as much credence to that as we do to most of what comes out of Republicans’ mouths any more.

We think Romney’s crew let their candidate and Eastwood himself down by allowing this superb actor, director and producer, so long an icon of American filmmaking, to make a fool of himself in front of the nation.

We’d prefer to remember Eastwood as his unforgettable character, police Inspector Harry Callahan, than as a punk who thinks anything goes when he’s badmouthing a president he disagrees with.

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