Tag Archives: Romney

Romney's First Foreign Policy Test: Fail.

13 Sep

The last 48 hours have displayed the best and worst in American handling of urgent foreign crises. 

Secretary Clinton and President Obama are deftly handling a crisis caused by idiots. Romney and certain Republicans – but not all (to their credit) have chosen politics over patriotism.

An absolutely horribly produced movie was posted to YouTube in July by a convicted fraud in California. We know how movies like Passion of the Christ insulted Jews, and we know how Life of Brian and Last Temptation of Christ insulted Christians – although I’m not aware of these movies inciting riots, murder, and international crises. But then neither of those movies clumsily accused their central deity figures of being murderous pedophiles. The movie itself was shot on a budget reaching into the dozens of dollars, and the actors were completely duped – none of them had any clue they were filming a movie defaming a major religion’s prophet.  They’re understandably horrified that the movie resulted in riots that led to the deaths of American diplomats in Libya. 

And about those riots in Egypt and the murders in Libya – they are inexcusable and unacceptable. Secretary of State Clinton said all the right things and hit the right tone: 

We must be clear-eyed even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group, not the people or government of Libya. Everywhere Chris and his team went in Libya, in a country scared by war and tyranny, they were hailed as friends and partners. And when the attack came yesterday, Libyans stood and fought to defend our post. Some were wounded. Some Libyans carried Chris’s body to the hospital and they helped rescue and lead other Americans to safety. Last night when I spoke with the President of Libya, he strongly condemned the violence and pledged every effort to protect our people and pursue those responsible.

The friendship between our countries borne out of shared struggle will not be another casualty of this attack. A free and stable Libya is still in America’s interest and security. And we will not turn our back on that.

President Obama had this to say: 

There was controversy, however, thanks to the shoot-first-aim-later reactionaries in the GOP. Chief among them, Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who broke a 9/11 campaign truce to release a hit piece on Obama after 10pm that day. 

I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.

At precisely midnight 9/12, RNC Chair Reince Preibus Tweeted, “Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic.”

But the statement of “sympathy” that Preibus and Romney are criticizing didn’t come from Obama. It came from the diplomatic staff in the American Embassy in Cairo well before the actual rioting began as an effort to prevent it. They were trying to calm a bad situation, unfortunately it didn’t work. But Obama didn’t write it, nor did he condone it

There should be “civilized demonstrations of the Egyptian people’s displeasure with this film,” the Brotherhood spokesman said, according to the newspaper Web site. “Any nonpeaceful activity will be exploited by those who hate Islam to defame the image of Egypt and Muslims.”

Bracing for trouble before the start of the protests here and in Libya, the American Embassy released a statement shortly after noon that appeared to refer to Mr. Jones: “The United States Embassy in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.” It later denounced the “unjustified breach of our embassy.”

Apparently unaware of the timing of the first embassy statement, the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, put out a statement just before midnight Tuesday saying, “It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” Mr. Romney also said he was “outraged” at the attacks on the embassy and consulate.

As Andrew Sullivan points out, the Romney camp’s vicious criticism of Obama while an international crisis was still going on wasn’t just based on a lie and tone-deaf in every way, but it’s indicative of the fact that Romney is simply unfit to govern. Romney’s 3am call resulted in shooting from the hip without having even a small amount of the facts. 

Predictably, the conservative reactionary commentariat is outraged, likening Obama to Carter (?!) and heaping scorn and derision on the entire Muslim world as being a bunch of clumsy medieval murderous barbarians. 

Because, evidently, that’s how you handle international incidents – you dehumanize the enemy, turn them into something unfit for life. Even though some semi-intelligent cretins yelled “fire” in the most crowded theater in the world. 

TPM has a comprehensive timeline of the events

  • 7:35 p.m. ET: Reuters confirms that an American consulate staffer has been killed in Benghazi. This staffer is later identified as Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith.
  • 10:09 p.m. ET: The Romney campaign issue a statement from Mitt Romney himself condemning the Obama administration for the Cairo embassy’s repudiation of religiously insensitive speech. It falsely suggests that the Cairo embassy’s condemnation came in response to the attacks in both Egypt and Lybia. 

    I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.

    The statement is embargoed — meaning the press cannot report on it — until midnight, Sept. 12 — the moment the Obama and Romney campaigns’ Sept. 11 truce is scheduled to end

  • 10:10 p.m. ET: An Obama administration source disavows the U.S. embassy in Cairo’s statement of condemnation to Politico.
  • 10:25 p.m. ET: Without explanation, the Romney campaign lifts its embargo on Romney’s statement and it becomes public.
  • 10:44 p.m. ET: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemns the attack in Benghazi. 

    I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our mission in Benghazi today. As we work to secure our personnel and facilities, we have confirmed that one of our State Department officers was killed. We are heartbroken by this terrible loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and those who have suffered in this attack.

    This evening, I called Libyan President Magariaf to coordinate additional support to protect Americans in Libya. President Magariaf expressed his condemnation and condolences and pledged his government’s full cooperation.

    Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.

    In light of the events of today, the United States government is working with partner countries around the world to protect our personnel, our missions, and American citizens worldwide.

  • Just before midnight ET, the U.S. embassy in Cairo removes some its tweets, from both before and during the protests, condemning religiously offensive speech. It does not remove one posted at 4:29 p.m. ET: “3) Sorry, but neither breaches of our compound or angry messages will dissuade us from defending freedom of speech AND criticizing bigotry.”

Sept. 12

  • 12:01 a.m. ET: Just as the campaigns’ Sept. 11 detente ends, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus tweets, “Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic.” Unlike Romney’s statement, Priebus’ tweet is silent on Libya.
  • 12:09 a.m. ET: The Obama campaign fires back. “We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Governor Romney would choose to launch a political attack,” spokesman Ben LaBolt said, in an emailed statement.

It’s absolutely unbelievable. Romney has found almost no support whatsoever among elected Republicans, most of whom condemned the attacks without throwing political bombs. In fact, they went on the record criticizing the President for attacks that were still taking place at the time. in response to Romney’s disgusting criticism, President Obama said

There’s a broader lesson to be learned here: Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later and as president one of the things I’ve learned is you can’t do that. It’s important for you to make sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the facts and that you’ve thought through the ramifications before you make them.

Weird, because the Romney campaign issued a bunch of talking points to surrogates that included

Questions & Answers:

Don’t you think it was appropriate for the embassy to condemn the controversial movie in question? Are you standing up for movies like this?

– Governor Romney rejects the reported message of the movie. There is no room for religious hatred or intolerance.

That’s sort of exactly what the Cairo embassy wrote before the rioting began. Isn’t that what Romney was criticizing them and Obama for? In any event, Romney seems quite pleased with himself

To Republicans who are trying out the meme that attacks on American diplomatic missions are reflective of a perceived weakness

June 14, 2002, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan
Suicide bomber kills 12 and injures 51.

February 20, 2003, international diplomatic compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Truck bomb kills 17.

February 28, 2003, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan
Gunmen on motorcycles killed two consulate guards.

July 30, 2004, U.S. embassy in Taskkent, Uzbekistan
Suicide bomber kills two.

December 6, 2004, U.S. consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Militants stormed and occupied perimeter wall. Five killed, 10 wounded.

March 2, 2006, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan
Suicide car bomber killed four, including a U.S. diplomate directly targeted by the assailants.

September 12, 2006, U.S. embassy in Damascus, Syria
Gunmen attacked embassy with grenades, automatic weapons, and a car bomb (though second truck bomb failed to detonate). One killed and 13 wounded.

January 12, 2007, U.S. embassy in Athens, Greece
A rocket-propelled grenade was fired at the embassy building. No one was injured.

July 9, 2008, U.S. consulate in Istanbul, Turkey
Armed men attacked consulate with pistols and shotguns. Three policemen killed.

March 18, 2008, U.S. embassy in Sana’a, Yemen
Mortar attack misses embassy, hits nearby girls’ school instead.

September 17, 2008, U.S. embassy in Sana’a, Yemen
Militants dressed as policemen attacked the embassy with RPGs, rifles, grenades and car bombs. Six Yemeni soldiers and seven civilians were killed. Sixteen more were injured.

Possibly this explains what’s going on in the brazen, party-first, country-last GOP: 

Romney’s First Foreign Policy Test: Fail.

13 Sep

The last 48 hours have displayed the best and worst in American handling of urgent foreign crises. 

Secretary Clinton and President Obama are deftly handling a crisis caused by idiots. Romney and certain Republicans – but not all (to their credit) have chosen politics over patriotism.

An absolutely horribly produced movie was posted to YouTube in July by a convicted fraud in California. We know how movies like Passion of the Christ insulted Jews, and we know how Life of Brian and Last Temptation of Christ insulted Christians – although I’m not aware of these movies inciting riots, murder, and international crises. But then neither of those movies clumsily accused their central deity figures of being murderous pedophiles. The movie itself was shot on a budget reaching into the dozens of dollars, and the actors were completely duped – none of them had any clue they were filming a movie defaming a major religion’s prophet.  They’re understandably horrified that the movie resulted in riots that led to the deaths of American diplomats in Libya. 

And about those riots in Egypt and the murders in Libya – they are inexcusable and unacceptable. Secretary of State Clinton said all the right things and hit the right tone: 

We must be clear-eyed even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group, not the people or government of Libya. Everywhere Chris and his team went in Libya, in a country scared by war and tyranny, they were hailed as friends and partners. And when the attack came yesterday, Libyans stood and fought to defend our post. Some were wounded. Some Libyans carried Chris’s body to the hospital and they helped rescue and lead other Americans to safety. Last night when I spoke with the President of Libya, he strongly condemned the violence and pledged every effort to protect our people and pursue those responsible.

The friendship between our countries borne out of shared struggle will not be another casualty of this attack. A free and stable Libya is still in America’s interest and security. And we will not turn our back on that.

President Obama had this to say: 

There was controversy, however, thanks to the shoot-first-aim-later reactionaries in the GOP. Chief among them, Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who broke a 9/11 campaign truce to release a hit piece on Obama after 10pm that day. 

I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.

At precisely midnight 9/12, RNC Chair Reince Preibus Tweeted, “Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic.”

But the statement of “sympathy” that Preibus and Romney are criticizing didn’t come from Obama. It came from the diplomatic staff in the American Embassy in Cairo well before the actual rioting began as an effort to prevent it. They were trying to calm a bad situation, unfortunately it didn’t work. But Obama didn’t write it, nor did he condone it

There should be “civilized demonstrations of the Egyptian people’s displeasure with this film,” the Brotherhood spokesman said, according to the newspaper Web site. “Any nonpeaceful activity will be exploited by those who hate Islam to defame the image of Egypt and Muslims.”

Bracing for trouble before the start of the protests here and in Libya, the American Embassy released a statement shortly after noon that appeared to refer to Mr. Jones: “The United States Embassy in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.” It later denounced the “unjustified breach of our embassy.”

Apparently unaware of the timing of the first embassy statement, the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, put out a statement just before midnight Tuesday saying, “It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” Mr. Romney also said he was “outraged” at the attacks on the embassy and consulate.

As Andrew Sullivan points out, the Romney camp’s vicious criticism of Obama while an international crisis was still going on wasn’t just based on a lie and tone-deaf in every way, but it’s indicative of the fact that Romney is simply unfit to govern. Romney’s 3am call resulted in shooting from the hip without having even a small amount of the facts. 

Predictably, the conservative reactionary commentariat is outraged, likening Obama to Carter (?!) and heaping scorn and derision on the entire Muslim world as being a bunch of clumsy medieval murderous barbarians. 

Because, evidently, that’s how you handle international incidents – you dehumanize the enemy, turn them into something unfit for life. Even though some semi-intelligent cretins yelled “fire” in the most crowded theater in the world. 

TPM has a comprehensive timeline of the events

  • 7:35 p.m. ET: Reuters confirms that an American consulate staffer has been killed in Benghazi. This staffer is later identified as Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith.
  • 10:09 p.m. ET: The Romney campaign issue a statement from Mitt Romney himself condemning the Obama administration for the Cairo embassy’s repudiation of religiously insensitive speech. It falsely suggests that the Cairo embassy’s condemnation came in response to the attacks in both Egypt and Lybia. 

    I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.

    The statement is embargoed — meaning the press cannot report on it — until midnight, Sept. 12 — the moment the Obama and Romney campaigns’ Sept. 11 truce is scheduled to end

  • 10:10 p.m. ET: An Obama administration source disavows the U.S. embassy in Cairo’s statement of condemnation to Politico.
  • 10:25 p.m. ET: Without explanation, the Romney campaign lifts its embargo on Romney’s statement and it becomes public.
  • 10:44 p.m. ET: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemns the attack in Benghazi. 

    I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our mission in Benghazi today. As we work to secure our personnel and facilities, we have confirmed that one of our State Department officers was killed. We are heartbroken by this terrible loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and those who have suffered in this attack.

    This evening, I called Libyan President Magariaf to coordinate additional support to protect Americans in Libya. President Magariaf expressed his condemnation and condolences and pledged his government’s full cooperation.

    Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.

    In light of the events of today, the United States government is working with partner countries around the world to protect our personnel, our missions, and American citizens worldwide.

  • Just before midnight ET, the U.S. embassy in Cairo removes some its tweets, from both before and during the protests, condemning religiously offensive speech. It does not remove one posted at 4:29 p.m. ET: “3) Sorry, but neither breaches of our compound or angry messages will dissuade us from defending freedom of speech AND criticizing bigotry.”

Sept. 12

  • 12:01 a.m. ET: Just as the campaigns’ Sept. 11 detente ends, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus tweets, “Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic.” Unlike Romney’s statement, Priebus’ tweet is silent on Libya.
  • 12:09 a.m. ET: The Obama campaign fires back. “We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Governor Romney would choose to launch a political attack,” spokesman Ben LaBolt said, in an emailed statement.

It’s absolutely unbelievable. Romney has found almost no support whatsoever among elected Republicans, most of whom condemned the attacks without throwing political bombs. In fact, they went on the record criticizing the President for attacks that were still taking place at the time. in response to Romney’s disgusting criticism, President Obama said

There’s a broader lesson to be learned here: Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later and as president one of the things I’ve learned is you can’t do that. It’s important for you to make sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the facts and that you’ve thought through the ramifications before you make them.

Weird, because the Romney campaign issued a bunch of talking points to surrogates that included

Questions & Answers:

Don’t you think it was appropriate for the embassy to condemn the controversial movie in question? Are you standing up for movies like this?

– Governor Romney rejects the reported message of the movie. There is no room for religious hatred or intolerance.

That’s sort of exactly what the Cairo embassy wrote before the rioting began. Isn’t that what Romney was criticizing them and Obama for? In any event, Romney seems quite pleased with himself

To Republicans who are trying out the meme that attacks on American diplomatic missions are reflective of a perceived weakness

June 14, 2002, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan
Suicide bomber kills 12 and injures 51.

February 20, 2003, international diplomatic compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Truck bomb kills 17.

February 28, 2003, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan
Gunmen on motorcycles killed two consulate guards.

July 30, 2004, U.S. embassy in Taskkent, Uzbekistan
Suicide bomber kills two.

December 6, 2004, U.S. consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Militants stormed and occupied perimeter wall. Five killed, 10 wounded.

March 2, 2006, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan
Suicide car bomber killed four, including a U.S. diplomate directly targeted by the assailants.

September 12, 2006, U.S. embassy in Damascus, Syria
Gunmen attacked embassy with grenades, automatic weapons, and a car bomb (though second truck bomb failed to detonate). One killed and 13 wounded.

January 12, 2007, U.S. embassy in Athens, Greece
A rocket-propelled grenade was fired at the embassy building. No one was injured.

July 9, 2008, U.S. consulate in Istanbul, Turkey
Armed men attacked consulate with pistols and shotguns. Three policemen killed.

March 18, 2008, U.S. embassy in Sana’a, Yemen
Mortar attack misses embassy, hits nearby girls’ school instead.

September 17, 2008, U.S. embassy in Sana’a, Yemen
Militants dressed as policemen attacked the embassy with RPGs, rifles, grenades and car bombs. Six Yemeni soldiers and seven civilians were killed. Sixteen more were injured.

Possibly this explains what’s going on in the brazen, party-first, country-last GOP: 

Kennedy vs. Romney

5 Sep
Edward Kennedy (D.MA) at the National Institutes of Health

courtesy Flickr user NIHLibrary

The 1994 Senate race in Massachusetts between Mitt Romney and Teddy Kennedy was utterly amazing to watch first-hand. For all his flaws, Senator Kennedy was a brilliant politician who was able to connect with voters in an awe-inspiring way. I remember watching every minute of this debate, and passed by the Faneuil Hall venue a few hours or so before to see a sea of people with Kennedy signs and a smaller lake of people with Romney signs taunting each other back and forth. Romney gave Kennedy his first real re-election scare that year, and the Senator re-recruited a lot of the people who helped get him there in the first place – and keep him there after the death of Mary Jo Kopechne on the bridge to Chappaquiddick.  

The Senator turned his campaign around during this debate, which showed that he was still the feisty lion of the Senate, and that he shared Massachusetts’ voters’ values. A little less than a decade later, Romney returned from Utah to become governor after some lackluster performances from Governors Cellucci and Swift. 

In 1994, I got to see Senator Kennedy speak to a packed, enthusiastic audience at an IBEW hall in Waltham, MA. He was bounding with energy, and the crowd loved every minute of it. It’s not too often that hard-working, blue-collar workers are given honor and respect anymore in contemporary America. Kennedy gave them that, and he fought his entire career to ensure that America’s workers had the health care, social security, and freedom from want that we all deserve as citizens of a first-world nation that doesn’t always act like it. 

At the DNC last night, a video tribute to the late Senator was shown, and this clip was a big hit: 

Romney Promises New Covers for TPS Reports

31 Aug

The Republican nominee for President, W. Mitt Romney, gave his acceptance speech last night. Here it is: 

These speeches are seldom negative – they’re usually positive and forward-thinking; they’re inspirational and hopeful. Romney’s was starkly negative, criticizing Obama/Biden 2008 for having been inspirational and failing. 37 minutes’ worth of blaming the President for a crisis that he didn’t cause, and that he can’t solve in a vacuum. The Euro crisis affects us. The absurd cost of energy affects us. The worldwide financial meltdown affects us. 

Romney says he wishes Obama had succeeded, because he wants “America to succeed”. He then blames Obama for the division that came about after he took office. In Romneyland, the Republicans share no blame. 

Romney is blaming Obama for the Republicans’ stated platform of obstructing and thwarting every single policy, law, and nominee that Obama ever proposed. Governor Romney, if Obama has failed, that failure is the exact result sought by the political party you addressed last night. 

The first portion of the speech was a disjointed series of blame Obama, American exceptionalism, and jingoism. 

Romney omitted a lot of stuff from his speech. You’d never know, for instance, that he spent time as Governor of Massachusetts, except for a fleeting throwaway line about how he hired some women while in that position.  Medicare, Social Security, the ongoing wars – all absent. His 12 million jobs are what’s targeted to happen regardless of who becomes President, regardless of what policies they implement. 

Romney noted that Americans are less hopeful, less optimistic now. Well, a largely jobless recovery will do that. But instead of reinvigorating that hope and optimism, Romney simply said that we should have it, and that we should stop thinking about big ideas, and just stick to small basics. He’s running to be not President, but Manager. I’m shocked that there was no mention of Lean Six Sigma. 

Oh, and he got in some digs against Obama for supposedly “apologizing for success”, betraying Israel, and not standing up to Putin. The first never happened, the second never happened, and the third isn’t true. There was never an Obama “apology tour”. The rich? They got richer. Americans are largely pleased with the way in which Obama has handled foreign policy – incredibly, in just 30 years, the Republican Party has completely conceded the issue to the Democrats. 

Are you better off than you were four years ago? Maybe not you, specifically, but the country? Absolutely. Four years ago: 

The Dow closed at just above 13,000 yesterday.

Bank bailouts, lost jobs, decreased trade, auto bailouts, the bursting of the housing bubble, the European sovereign debt crisis – the recession began in December 2007 under Obama’s predecessor, became a terror in late 2008, and ended in mid-2009. Obama dragged us out of recession. You are objectively better off in August 2012 than you were in August 2008

I wasn’t going to vote for this guy,  but I watched his speech. It ended stronger than it began, but he didn’t say a thing to persuade me to change my mind. How about you? 

 

Ryan, Romney, Regression

13 Aug

So, Mitt Romney selected Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan to be his Vice Presidential candidate. Ryan is popular among conservatives, so this should help shore up some rightist support for the wishy-washy Romney. Ryan’s popularity comes despite the fact that his policies are all about doing more for those who have everything and doing less for those who have nothing. 

Don’t say there’s no difference between the Republican and Democratic tickets this year. The difference couldn’t be starker. 

Forward!

Heckuva Job, W.

27 Jul

W. as in W. Mitt. He is so adept at diplomacy – he will so dramatically change Obama’s foreign policy – that he managed in just one day to epically piss off our country’s very closest ally. This guy is a trip

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/SherrieGG/status/228691144161243136″%5D

Corporate Welfare King Complains About Socialism; Obama Looks Forward

25 Jul

A couple of weeks ago, President Obama gave a speech in Virginia where he somewhat clumsily made the assertion that even self-made businessmen didn’t get successful on their own. They had teachers who inspired them, firefighters and police who protect them, roads that help them engage in commerce, and that ours is a society in which we are somewhat interdependent on each other; i.e., “government” to help private enterprise thrive. It is thus everywhere, despite the current fad among some to denigrate government and everything it does. Fox News is, naturally, at the forefront of this phony nontroversy, even trotting out a couple of little kids to discuss how N0bama is nationalizing their lemonade stand, or something. 

So, Mitt Romney – who purports to be a self-made businessman, facts notwithstanding – put out this ad: 

Jack Gilchrist, the New Hampshire business owner Romney features in that ad, is right out of Republicanland central casting. He whines that the President is “demonizing” people like him, who, with his father, built his business, “through hard work and a little bit of luck”. Also, the black Kenyan guy doesn’t “believe in America”. So, there’s that. 

Yet Jack Gilchrist didn’t just get where he is thanks to hard work, luck, teachers, roads, and civic protection services. He also got there thanks to thousands of socialist government dollars

In 1999, Gilchrist Metal received $800,000 in tax-exempt revenue bonds issued by the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority “to set up a second manufacturing plant and purchase equipment to produce high definition television broadcasting equipment,” according to a New Hampshire Union Leader report at the time…

Last year, Gilchrist Metal also received two U.S. Navy sub-contracts totaling about $83,000 and a smaller $5,600 Coast Guard contract in 2008, according to a government web site that tracks spending.

Gilchrist also is a recipient of an SBA loan of about $500,000, with matching funds from the federally-funded New England Trade Adjustment Assistance Center.  In other words, Gilchrist got where he is thanks to hard work, a little bit of luck, and over a million dollars in federal and state corporate welfare. Out of all the businesspeople available in the country to use to send this message, Romney’s campaign didn’t even adequately vet their Obama-hating generic middle-aged blue-collar rich guy. 

By contrast, in the wake of the Aurora shootings, the Obama campaign took the opportunity to speak frankly to the American people about what’s really at stake in this election, and he also directly addressed Romney’s clumsy rejection of civic society: 

The New Aristocracy (Let Them Drive Bentleys!)

9 Jul

Since the Reagan Administration, it has been an article of faith among the Republican Party faithful that the best way to grow and help the economy is to cut taxes on the wealthy, and to otherwise make rich people’s lives more comfortable. As a result, the wealthy will spend more money and the wealth will “trickle down” to the middle class and poor.

Yet history shows us that the idea that our economy cannot thrive when the rich are highly taxed is patently false – the postwar boom years of 1946 – 1963 featured the wealthiest Americans paying up to 91 – 92% of their income to the IRS. Until 1982, the last time the wealthiest Americans paid less than a 63% rate was in 1931, when it was 25%.  The masters of the universe, undertaxed and unfettered, love plunging the world into massive depression spirals; we learn little from history. 

Reaganomics was not the panacea it’s remembered as.  The Reagan Administration dropped the top marginal tax rate from 70% to 50% to 38.5%, but as a result income inequality has skyrocketed, and median household income has risen by a paltry 30%, while the richest Americans’ income has tripled or quadrupled in the same time frame. 

When your nation is built upon a mythology of equality not only at birth but in opportunity, this sort of thing – a system that is designed to comfort the comfortable and stymie regular people – tends to cause widespread anger and disgust.  We cut taxes on the people best able to afford them and propose the privatization, cuts, or elimination to social programs like Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and other portions of our hodgepodge of a safety net. 

When you complain about how the system is now bought and paid for by the superwealthy – how the very rich have bought a political party, (if not the entire government), aided and abetted by an almost complete absence of campaign finance limitations, right wing America dismisses you as a Soviet communist engaging in Marxist class warfare. 

But class warfare is patriotic; class warfare is the very cornerstone upon which this country was founded. Our late 18th century revolt against Great Britain was a bourgeois revolution, which overthrew an oppressive colonial aristocratic superpower and established a constitutional representative republic based not on birthright and divine providence, but on law. Gentleman farmers, educated professionals, merchants, and traders united to create the first nation forged out of the ideas of the Enlightenment

Yet now, we are told that helping the bourgeoisie is communism, while a new aristocracy is being created and we are repeatedly told that assisting the aristocracy will help the common man. The facts, however, don’t bear that out. Why that isn’t part of the political discussion has a lot to do with misinformation and propaganda. The New Aristocracy and their paid-for media and politicians have in the past two generations mastered how to frame the argument – help us, help yourselves! 

The perfect crystallization of this was revealed this weekend. Republican / New Aristocrat Presidential candidate Mitt Romney attended fundraisers this past weekend in the Hamptons – the uberglitzy, exclusive, and home of ridiculously conspicuous overconsumption – the east coast playground of the New Aristocracy. The Los Angeles and New York Times interviewed attendees, and these quotes ought to be that new class’ “Let them Eat Cake” moment. 

A New York City donor a few cars back, who also would not give her name, said Romney needed to do a better job connecting. “I don’t think the common person is getting it,” she said from the passenger seat of a Range Rover stamped with East Hampton beach permits. “Nobody understands why Obama is hurting them.

“We’ve got the message,” she added. “But my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies — everybody who’s got the right to vote — they don’t understand what’s going on. I just think if you’re lower income — one, you’re not as educated, two, they don’t understand how it works, they don’t understand how the systems work, they don’t understand the impact.”

and 

A few cars back, Ted Conklin, the owner of the American Hotel in Sag Habor, N.Y., long a favorite of the well-off and well-known in the Hamptons, could barely contain his displeasure with Mr. Obama. “He is a socialist. His idea is find a problem that doesn’t exist and get government to intervene,” Mr. Conklin said from inside a gold-colored Mercedes as his wife, Carol Simmons, nodded in agreement.

Ms. Simmons paused to highlight what she said was her husband’s generous spirit: “Tell them who’s on your yacht this weekend! Tell him!”

Over Mr. Conklin’s objections, Ms. Simmons disclosed that a major executive from Miramax, the movie company, was on the 75-foot yacht, because, she said, there were no rooms left at the hotel.

Oh, the common person is “getting it”. 

I’d very much like it if these people paid a bit more in taxes if it means that regular people get improved access to health care, shoring up Social Security, strengthening of Medicaid and expansion of Medicare, and to help pay for our many overseas military adventures – disproportionately fought by the children of the bourgeoisie and proletariat – and ultimately to help reduce the deficit. 

Fiscal responsibility begins when you ease and help lives that are tough. There’s a class war being waged, and it’s being aggressively promoted by the modern, New World version of titular nobility. 

 

Romney & Collins

30 Jun

Mitt Romney flew into Buffalo for as long as wealthy Massachusetts/Californian/Utahn multimillionaires can stand being in Buffalo – a couple of hours. 

His mission during his nose-holding tour of a flyover New York burg was to do something else he habitually does – collect a whole lot of money and pull it out of the WNY economy. Every loathsome corporate welfare recipient and electoral fusion enthusiast was in attendance, gladly plunking down thousands of dollars to ensure future favors, future corporate welfare, and to make sure the President of color is defeated. 

Among them was our own little local Napoleon, Chris I, Duke of Spaulding. Seen here eagerly double-clutching his wine goblet, with a look of absolute lurve in his eyes. What could they have been discussing? Our President’s birth certificate? The commoditization of labor? How well they have the plebes fooled? We’ll never know, but chances are, we’re going to get a lot of mileage from this simply bizarre image. 

Fear & Propaganda

27 Mar

Lost amid the sound and fury of the race for the Republican nomination is how candidates Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, and even former candidates like Cain, are really focusing on issues and not engaging in race-baiting or hyperbole. 

Nah, I’m just kidding. The issues are secondary. This is all about how Obama has destroyed / is about to destroy America, grandma, apple pie, and Chevrolet. Why, yesterday Obama got caught on a hot mic telling Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev the truth – that missile shield talks need to wait until after the election, at which time Obama will have “more flexibility”. 

Given that Mitt Romney went on record yesterday all but demanding war against Russia, Obama’s position is a bit more sane. 

So, here are some pretty awesome advertisements that Santorum and Cain’s PAC have put out in recent days. I’d call these “blatantly false propagandistic fearmongering”, but Limbaugh and his clones tell me only Democrats do that. 

 This one is from Rick Santorum. It’s got everything – how Obama destroyed the economy while he was President in 2008, how Ahmadinejad is going to rocket-destroy America and, like, take it over – maybe with Obama’s help, because he’s a seekrit Kenyan Mooslim!

Herman Cain isn’t going to be outdone by the patent insanity of a Rick Santorum. So, he’ll start out by displaying his hatred for “stimulus” by having a little kid kill a goldfish: 

And, not content with sanctioning the killing of a 10-cent fish, Cain pays for some really poor CGI showing a guy shooting a bunny rabbit in mid-air. 

Because nothing says, “I disagree with Keynesian economic pump-priming” like blowing a rabbit into little bits!

Your 2012 GOP: Totally out to lunch!