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Friday, August 31, 2012

A "Career Politician" Without A "Real Job"

Aug 31st, 2012

I am referring to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), of course. This is how Ryan's own brother, Tobin, referred to him during a chat with Fox News' Megyn Kelly on Wednesday.

The GOP Convention - Over At Last

Aug 31st, 2012

In 32 years of watching political conventions, I've never seen an emptier, more dishonest display. Outside of the Michael Dukakis debacle, I've also never seen a less likable candidate. Yes, that includes Bob Dole.

With just over 2 months to go before the election, the big message of the GOP's final night was that Mitt Romney is actually a human being. They are genuinely concerned about this. They set out to prove it. They also spent about half of the evening trying to rehabilitate the public image of Bain Capital.

A noticable portion of the ceremony was used to soothe fears regarding Romney's Mormonism.

Dave Weigel writes:
"Nineteen years after he started running for office, Mitt Romney schedules references to his religion throughout his biggest night. I can't recall anything comparable for other candidates who broke the WASP barrier."
There was plenty of New Testament but no Joseph Smith. Romney was referred to more than once as "clergy" but the new doctrines of the Church for which he spent so many years as an elder were completely absent. Let's face it, it was weird.

That they found all this image management necessary and Romney still could win this is a testament to the success his party has achieved in sabotaging any recovery and keeping our nation on its knees.

This brings us to getting the economy moving again.

Ezra Klein was justifiably annoyed by the lack of specifics and noted an interesting coincidence:
"The only policy idea he described in any detail was his five-point plan “to create 12 million new jobs.” The plan is more domestic energy production, more free trade agreements, more skills development, more deficit reduction, and cutting taxes and regulations. It is difficult to see how these policies — most of which would take some time to work — would address the jobs crisis we’re in right now. But perhaps they don’t have to. Romney’s target of 12 million jobs over the next four years happens to be the same number of jobs the economic forecasting firm Moody’s Analytics expects us to add even without major policy changes."
The real problem with the Romney jobs promise is not that it cynically parrots existing projections. It's that actually passing his tax plan would likely prevent us from reaching them. Assaulting demand with an average middle class tax hike of $2000 annually will grind whatever growth we might see to a halt.

Pete Suderman is more blunt:
"It's kind of amazing, actually. Romney managed to say even less about what he would do as president than he usually does. Despite Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan's promise earlier today that Romney would discuss his plans for the country in "granular" detail, Romney offered almost nothing in the way of a governing vision, much less specific legislative goals. Instead, he criticized Obama for running up too much debt, and, in practically the same breath, for cutting spending on Medicare and the defense budget. Vote Republican!"
Agreed. There was nothing there. 

If the GOP's plan was an actual product, like a car or a refrigerator, their pitch would be called false advertising at best and criminal misrepresentation at worst.

The terrible, obscene lies of last night were replaced with bland, general falsehoods. Some fact checking can be found HERE and HERE.

In the end, they weren't pitching their own ideas as much as they were challenging the opposition to defend theirs.

I have never seen it done that way.

On a side note, although I find the pile on Clint Eastwood is now enduring to be both vulgar and cruel, there is a sum up in it.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

GOP Convention Live Blog

Aug 30th, 2012

10:25pm CST 

And there we have it.

An empty suit with no core values who thinks we can magically alter our financial agreements with China, drastically lower taxes where there is actual revenue, raise them where it will cripple aggregate demand, and retool for a battle against the Soviet menace might be the next President of the United States.

Back later with reactions and round ups.

Quote Of The Day - Batshit Crazy GOP Edition

Aug 30th, 2012

"In 2010, when I was running, everybody said 'No, you're too extreme.' But now look, it's where everybody is going."

-- Notorious GOP whack job and former candidate for the U.S. Senate, Sharron Angle

Did Any Of Them Build This?

Aug 30th, 2012

For all of the mileage the GOP is getting from what is shaping up to be the all time gaffe of President Obama's career, they still just don't seem to have thought this thing through.

The Only Thing They Did Build
"We Built It."

Okay. It's glib but clever. Obama handed it to them. Here's the problem with this theme for the week; it's beginning to look like they didn't actually find anyone to speak at the convention who didn't benefit from public investment.

The Ryan Acceptance Speech, cont...

Aug 30th, 2012

Sally Kohn notes that what Ryan "didn't say" is nearly as remarkable as his stunning deceits:
"Ryan didn’t mention his extremist stance on banning all abortions with no exception for rape or incest, a stance that is out of touch with 75% of American voters.
Ryan didn’t mention his previous plan to hand over Social Security to Wall Street.
Ryan didn’t mention his numerous votes to raise spending and balloon the deficit when George W. Bush was president.
Ryan didn’t mention how his budget would eviscerate programs that help the poor and raise taxes on 95% of Americans in order to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires even further and increase — yes, increase —the deficit."
Nope. That would have been the real Ryan, the heartless, spoiled, Objectivist child trapped in the body of a man and eager to do whatever he must to secure the accolades of the party of "no."

Now We Know Why Romney Picked Ryan

Aug 30th, 2012

In an election year which has seen one of our country's two major parties nominate the most remarkably dishonest public figure in living memory for the presidency, everyone had an opinion on why that liar picked Paul Ryan as his second. 

Some said it was Ryan's "seriousness." 

Others said it was his "grasp of budgets." 

There were even those that said it was a calculated move to appeal to young, conservative women. After all, Ryan does P90X. He is buff.

We were all wrong. Every one of us failed to see what Romney saw. Paul Ryan, as it turns out, is actually capable of lying with a straight face nearly as well as Mitt Romney himself.

Quote Of The Day - GOP Convention Reaction Edition

Aug 30th, 2012

"Paul Ryan demonstrated that he is an appealing, energetic campaigner comfortable with the sort of looseness with facts voters perpetually reward."

-- The Economist's Will Wilkinson on the stunningly dishonest spectacle that was Paul Ryan's acceptance speech for the VP nomination.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

GOP Convention Live Blog

Aug 29th, 2012

10:10 pm CST The motion to adjourn is made and it's a wrap. Back soon with a round up and my thoughts.

10:05 pm CST Ryan's attempt to portray himself as some sort of deep, devout man of scripture is, quite literally, nauseating. He says the truest measure of every society is how it cares for those in need. He's a Randian. He's been one his entire adult career.

It's like a two-decade, full-blown alcoholic preaching temperance.

"Legitimate Rape"

Aug 29th, 2012

There's an ad touting the benefits...

Mitt Watch - Puncturing The Myth Of Bain

Aug 29th, 2012

Team Romney has consistently told a tale of rugged, independent capitalist dynamism when describing the GOP nominee's record at Bain. 

He is credited with nearly singlehandedly saving it from collapse. 

This a a huge part of their argument for a corporate presidency.

Is it true? 

Not by a long shot writes Tom Dickinson:
"The federal records, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that Romney's initial rescue attempt at Bain & Company was actually a disaster – leaving the firm so financially strapped that it had "no value as a going concern." Even worse, the federal bailout ultimately engineered by Romney screwed the FDIC – the bank insurance system backed by taxpayers – out of at least $10 million. And in an added insult, Romney rewarded top executives at Bain with hefty bonuses at the very moment that he was demanding his handout from the feds."
He didn't build this.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It's Official. The GOP's New War Is Actually On Facts

Aug 28th, 2012

It's one thing to note for the umpteenth time that Team Romney lies regularly and without shame. Steve Benen has found that to be a full time job. It's quite another to see what has happened today; the "conservative" movement has actually rallied around a war on facts.

When GOP pollster Neil Newhouse declared earlier that Team Romney is "not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers," it was not some isolated gaffe. As far as the "conservatives" are concerned, it wasn't a gaffe at all. In fact, it seems to be part of a coordinated effort to discredit the provable.

There is a stunning piece of venom from the Weekly Standard. Mark Hemingway smarms:
"Perhaps if we all ignore PolitiFact, they'll go away. But for the time being, the supposedly independent organization continues to crank out skewed and partisan work. There's no better example of this than the the current jihad the "fact checking" organization is waging against the Romney-Ryan health care plan." EMPHASIS OURS
Roll that one over for a minute. Bill Kristol's magazine is likening the act of trying to determine the veracity of political pronouncements with irrational superstition and violence. Specifically, they are coding it with a term designed to evoke images of Islamic supremacists.

They are not alone in this campaign against "fact-checking." 

NRO's editors are carrying Romney's water as well:
"The website PolitiFact is going to be truth-squadding the Republican convention speakers this week, delivering verdicts on which claims are “mostly true” and which deserve a "pants on fire" rating. Our advice: Pay no attention to those ratings. PolitiFact can’t be trusted to get the story right." EMPHASIS OURS
We are witnessing one of the only two major parties in America, the one with deeper pockets I might add, openly sneer at the truth.

Put aside the fact that Rachel Maddow's ongoing battle with PolitiFact puts the lie to arguments that they are some sort of shifty, leftist cabal.

That's not the point. The right is not suggesting that the electorate should take PolitFact or even "fact-checking" with a grain of salt or, perhaps, even do their own research.

Team Romney's mouthpieces, both official and unofficial, are signalling to the base that it is acceptable to dismiss facts altogether.

That's what they are counting on. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Quote Of The Day - GOP Flashback Edition

Aug 27th, 2012

"Dogmatic ideological parties tend to splinter the political and social fabric of a nation, lead to governmental crises and deadlocks, and stymie the compromises so often necessary to preserve freedom and achieve progress."

-George Romney, letter to Barry Goldwater, 1964

Want To Save A Trillion Dollars?

Aug 27th, 2012

It's simple. End the "Bush Tax Cuts" for the top quintile.
via CBPP

Thursday, August 23, 2012

In A Nutshell

Aug 23rd, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Charting Blame

Aug 22nd, 2012

Calling the aughts the "lost decade of the middle class," PEW has released the results of some recent polling. Their sample was asked to assess "blame" for the general collapse of American upward mobility. The numbers are probably providing Team Obama with some confidence as the public lays responsibility for what ails us at the feet of congress over the President by nearly a two to one margin.

In A Nutshell

Aug 22nd, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

Quote Of The Day

Aug 20th, 2012

"The split in America, rather than simply economic, is between those who embrace reason, who function in the real world of cause and effect, and those who, numbed by isolation and despair, now seek meaning in a mythical world of intuition, a world that is no longer reality-based, a world of magic."

-- Chris Hedges

Friday, August 17, 2012

Quote Of The Day

Aug 17th, 2012

"Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear."

-- William E. Gladstone

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Everybody's Choice!

Aug 14th, 2012

Ryan Watch - A View From The Base

Aug 14th, 2012

With a little bit of a wink and a nudge from Roger Simon:

"This is what the base likes. This is what the base needs. We haven’t been this excited since McCain chose Palin. OK, bad example. We haven’t been this excited since Dole chose Kemp. OK, another bad example. We haven’t been this excited since George H.W. Bush chose Quayle. Ha! Gotcha, there.

The fact is that Paul Ryan has spent virtually his entire adult life in politics, and, therefore, is insulated from time-wasting side issues like understanding how ordinary people live.

He has seen life from the top, and the top is where you want to be. Believe us. We are the base, and we know the difference between coach and Premier Executive seating.

Does Ryan lack any real foreign policy experience? Yes. So what? How much did George W. Bush have when he plunged us into a tragic and unnecessary war for mythical weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

But let us tell you the upside: There are a lot of people who made out like bandits on that war. They made fortunes. And they are up there flying in first class. Or on their own jets.

And that is the real lesson that any kid from Wisconsin knows: You only go around once in life, so you’ve got to grab for all the gusto you can."

Monday, August 13, 2012

Quote Of The Day

Aug 13th, 2012

"People striving for approval from others become phony."

-- Ichiro Suzuki

Say What You Will About Paul Ryan But...

Aug 13th, 2012

The story that broke earlier today suggesting that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) may have been among those who traded on insider information at the outset of the financial crisis to make personal gains has been proven untrue.

Benjy Sarlin reports:
"Peter Schweizer, the conservative Hoover Institution fellow whose investigation of insider trading by members of Congress prompted the STOCK Act, said Ryan’s trades bore no resemblance to those by lawmakers like Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), who shorted finance stocks after high-level meetings."
There is still something to be learned about the man GOP leaders are parading around as a numbers genius and some sort of budget wizard. Brad DeLong took a long look at the disclosure documents at the heart of the matter before arriving at this takeaway:
"The impression I get from these 27 transactions in individual bank stocks in 12 months, 17 of which involve not net injections or withdrawals but rather switches between banks, is of a guy who simply does not know what he is doing."
There you have it.

Mitt Watch - The Most Brazen Hypocrite In Presidential History

Aug 13th, 2012

Well, Team Romney today released the latest ad smearing the President and misinforming the electorate about new flexibility allowed to the states in the administration of their benefit programs. There is coverage HERE and HERE and the ad is at the bottom if you are interested.

What makes this lie more egregious than almost all of his others is the fact that Romney fought hard as governor of Massachusetts for states to have the very latitude that he now attacks. Below is a screengrab from the RGA document, bearing his signature, pleading with then President Bush to support "increased waiver authority" in America's welfare system.

I don't expect any comment from Romney or his team explaining the hypocrisy as the entire campaign has become a surreal exercise in the mendacious.

Forget for a moment that the Obama order comes at the request of desperate Republican governors grappling with the ongoing financial crisis. This was something Romney thought was good policy when the economy was comparably strong.

None of this matters to a campaign which has shown its willingness to rile their own base by any means necessary. If that means preying upon white fears and coding propaganda with classic, right wing imagery of shiftless, lazy poor people (psst, "blacks") then so be it.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Quote Of The Day

Aug 11th, 2012

"No man is rich enough to buy back his past."

-- Oscar Wilde

Thursday, August 9, 2012


August 9th, 2012

Following up on a profile  in The Nation of Mike Huckabee and his radio program, Noah Kristula-Green takes a look at the blowback the former governor has received for, well, his general decency and politeness:
"For some, the best indicator of your conservative values is how loudly you shout and how much you scream. Huckabee's situation is actually very similar to a problem Jon Huntsman faced when he ran for president. Substantively, Huntsman was a very conservative governor but because he did stoop to name-calling and radical accusations, he never caught fire with the conservative base."
This sums things up pretty well. A demeanor that is anything less than overtly vicious is now deemed impure in some conservative circles.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Quote Of The Day

Aug 3rd, 2012

"Political extremism involves two prime ingredients: an excessively simple diagnosis of the world's ills, and a conviction that there are identifiable villains back of it all."

-- John W. Gardner

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Totally Random Let's All Stay Sane Moment

August 2nd, 2012

This is arguably the most amazing convenience store incident in history.


August 2nd, 2012

Not as far as I can tell.