Archive for: August, 2012

GOP Convention Shows How Little the Truth Matters to Them

Aug 31 2012 Published by under Featured News, Republican Party

You might need an asterisk for this one. An asterisk to put next to the wording of the giant sign positioned just behind the speaker’s podium at the Republican National Convention Thursday night. Printed on the sign was, “We believe in America.” The phrase was festooned with a blue star and a double line of red stripes. Maybe a disclaimer would have been better. “We believe in America as long as gays, blacks, immigrants, people who support voting rights for all, food-stampers, public workers, union members, the unemployed, those crazy climate scientists, ‘tree-huggers’, Peaceniks, really sick people, sissies who don’t own guns, Democrats, Islam and other non-Christian faiths, believers in evolution and especially women, aren’t included.

Otherwise, “We believe in America.”

My main takeaway from the last night of the GOP convention was a sad one. The troubling spectacle of Clint Eastwood, the ‘surprise guest’ and one of our great cinema action heroes, talking to an empty chair, supposedly occupied by an imaginary President Obama. Eastwood had the invisible Obama uttering “Go ef yourself” a couple of times. Truth be told, Clint made a fool of himself.

I don’t even say that critically. I say that from the standpoint of party officials not properly vetting the aging actor and realizing that the task of standing up and improvising a speech (I didn’t sense there was a prompter) before thousands in the Tampa Convention Center and a prime-time TV audience in the multiple millions, was just simply beyond his current capabilities.

Before that performance we were treated to a different kind of spectacle; Newt and Callista Gingrich alternately telepromptering their way through a tribute to Ronald Reagan. Remember how Republicans profess to hate Obama’s use of this same device? It was a mercifully short appearance highlighted by Newt’s usual hyperbole when he named Ronald Reagan as one of America’s 3 greatest Presidents. Moving on…

Romney son, Craig, mounted the stage to assure Mitt’s highly limited Hispanic voting base that pop’s mom and pop actually came to America from Mexico. Spoiler alert! ABC News dug into the background of the story of George Romney and his Mexican roots. Seems Great-grandpa Miles had an eye for the ladies, handily accommodated by polygamy. Unfortunately for Miles, his 4 wives and 30 (count ’em, 30) offspring, America passed some anti-polygamy laws and if Miles wanted to continue to bed a bevy of babes, he’d have to go to a sympathetic Mexican village to do it. A couple of generations later, the Romney’s returned to the U.S.

Isn’t it fascinating that whenever you barely scrape the surface of any Romney tale, it’s never what it seems. Craig was a late addition to a long line of 9 native speakers designed to make Mitt’s “let’s deport the lot of them” more palatable to the Latino and Hispanic populations. Maybe Romney could dip into his running-mate’s hometown of Janesville and its 2.6 percentile of our Hispanic brothers and sisters for support. Did I mention the black population of just over 1%?

The convention paraded out a minority success story in the stage presence of a young black man, Frantz Placide, who had escaped his wretchedly failing public school thanks to the Jeb Bush school choice program and went on to graduate college. God forbid we should stop cutting funds to public schools and firing teachers and fix the public system. To Republicans it makes much more sense to hand our children over to privatized and publicly-financed for-profit student mills with virtually no oversight that do not have to meet the same criteria as public schools.

Jeb was the next speaker, opining as to how the Democrats should stop ‘blaming’ his brother for the state of the union. Little matter that G.W. the awesomely incompetent 43rd President (brother Jeb was, coincidentally, the 43rd Governor of Florida; doesn’t mean anything, just thought I’d lighten the load for a moment) is richly deserving of virtually all the blame for our current mess along with a recalcitrant and totally uncooperative Republican House.

Bush spoke in his usual bullshit educational platitudes. He runs something called the “Foundation for Excellence in Education.” If he were honest, he would call it the foundation for destroying public education and exploiting gullible taxpayers to give their public money to private for-profit “mills” as described above. I’ve already written at length about this hustler and nothing he said changed my mind about any of it.

Then came a goofy video about Mitt, so transparent that it would get a gentleman’s ‘D’ at any film school worth its name. Much time was given over to the Romney/Bain role in the success of a company called Steel Dynamics. And it is a going concern steeped in the latest technology, growing and undeniably successful. Unlike the video, Bain played a minimal to non-existent role in all the above. ThinkProgress puts Bain’s involvement in the practical context of truth. Bain plunked down $18.2 million back in ’94. Major funding was provided by 3 domestic banks, 3 foreign banks and a domestic insurance company. Germany, alone, injected $200 million.

There were $37 million in grants and subsidies from Indiana State and County GOVERNMENTS! Taxes were raised on residents because of the project but the county granted the company a $23.4 million dollar property tax abatement. A new income tax was generated for state taxpayers for economic development funds. The state lumped an additional $13.6 million onto the deal in additional credits and grants. The minimal Bain investment, while a wise move, earned them a small percentage of the profits and ZERO say in the control of the company. A German company did all the heavy lifting, providing the technology and calling the shots.

Bain sold it’s share in ’99 with a handsome profit on mostly OPM and has had nothing to do with Steel Dynamics since. Until the 2012 Presidential election that is.

That’s all your really need to know at this point about the convention, Romney, Ryan, the carefully culled-out speakers and the uninformed “applaud when the sign goes on” delegates.

The Democrats are next. It’s onward and definitely upward starting Monday, September 3rd. Don’t think anybody will be talking to empty chairs (or heads) in Charlotte.

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Romney Bombs: Convention Speech Draws 13 Million Fewer Viewers than McCain in '08

Aug 31 2012 Published by under Featured News

Mitt Romney’s convention speech was watched by 25 million Americans, which is 13 million fewer viewers than watched John McCain accept the Republican nomination in 2008.

Mitt Romney’s inability to captivate the nation resulted in a gain of only 5 million viewers from the second night to the third night of the Republican convention. The Romney campaign was counting on widespread viewership, outside of the GOP, but 39% of their audience came from Fox News. Fox was the top network with over 9 million viewers, followed by ABC (4.44 million), NBC (3.85 million), CBS (3.73 million), CNN (2.33 million), and MSNBC (1.88 million). In contrast, over 38 million Americans watched John McCain’s speech in 2008.

Every network lost viewers compared to 2008. According to TVNewser, “Fox News was just about flat compared to 2008, losing around -2% of its viewership, while NBC (-56%), ABC (-26%), CBS (-30%), CNN (-52%)and MSNBC (-25%) were down mid double digits.” These are the consequences of having a nominee who has no positive message of his own.

To draw 13 million fewer viewers than McCain, and tens of millions fewer viewers than Sarah Palin is an embarrassment. If America is really as upset at Obama as Republicans claim they are, then why aren’t they lining up behind Mitt Romney? You would think that if the country was itching to make a chance it would be reflected in the ratings for Romney’s acceptance speech.

John McCain was no ball of charisma, but he was able to get people to tune in to his speech. This election lack the enthusiasm of 2008, but there is no proof anywhere that the American people are ready to elect Mitt Romney. The pundit class is chattering about how Romney was a able to soften his image, but it doesn’t matter if the American people didn’t tune in to watch. It looks like Americans have made their minds up on Mitt Romney, and they aren’t interested.

2012 isn’t 2008 and nobody should be surprised if the Democrats have lower ratings this time around too, but Obama is the incumbent. He is leading. Mitt Romney needed a moment where he grabbed the nation’s attention and looked like a credible replacement for Obama.

Instead, he looked more like a pretender than a contender. No matter how hard Republicans try to sell it, it is obvious that voters are never going to fall in love with Mitt Romney, and the ratings show that those cries that Obama has to go aren’t resonating much outside of Republican circles.

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Mitt Romney Blows Off Fox News and Watches GOP Convention on C-SPAN

Aug 31 2012 Published by under Featured News

Mitt Romney proved once again that he is not really good at this being a Republican thing, as his personal aide tweeted a pic of him watching the RNC convention on C-SPAN, not Fox News.

Here is the pic from Mitt’s Body Man:

It is okay, Mitt. You could have watched Fox News. They booted Sarah Palin off of the convention coverage for you. For a candidate that has some serious credibility issues with conservatives, Mitt Romney excels at making things worse. While vice president, Dick Cheney required all television sets in his presence to be turned on to Fox News.

In 2008, John McCain and Sarah Palin kept their televisions tuned in to FNC. Fox News is the only cable channel for news if you are a Republican. Maybe Mitt was watching C-SPAN because he doesn’t like commercials?

The picture was posted 38 minutes before Romney took the stage for his acceptance speech. A more likely explanation is that he was watching C-SPAN because they provide uninterrupted coverage without all the talking heads and pundits.

The Romney camp may have wanted to keep their guy’s head clear. They didn’t want to take the risk of Sean Hannity showing up on the screen and offering Romney some last second advice like, “talk about Obama’s birth certificate and college transcripts. That’s what America wants to hear.”

Mitt Romney has spent oodles of the courting Fox News. In fact, Fox is his media refuge of choice when he needs to go somewhere and just feel loved. What other network would let Mitt make buttermilk pancakes on a Sunday morning?

If Romney wants to be taken seriously as a conservative, he needs to turn off the nerds on C-SPAN with their policies and facts, and watch nothing but Fox News.

Anything less is just “liberal media” brainwashing.

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Obama's Odds of Reelection Increase After Romney's Acceptance Speech

Aug 31 2012 Published by under Featured News

How bad was Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech? According to Intrade, the odds of Obama being reelected have increased from 55.7% before the speech to 56.8% after.

Bloomberg reported that, “The odds that President Barack Obama will be re-elected on Nov. 6 rose to 56.8 percent after the Republicans concluded their nominating convention, according to online prediction market Intrade. Obama’s odds, at 10:21 a.m. New York time, compared with a 43.3 percent chance for a victory by Republican nominee Mitt Romney, according to bets made at the Dublin-based bookmaker. Obama’s chances increased from 55.7 percent yesterday, while Romney’s dropped slightly from 43.4 percent.”

Anyone looking for a big bounce in support for Mitt Romney after that speech probably shouldn’t be holding their breath. The speech was an underwhelming disjointed mess with no theme, no vision, and at times seemingly no idea where it was going.

Mitt Romney’s speech was essentially a longer more drawn out version of his stump speech. If you have heard Romney speak in the last five years, then you’ve heard this speech before.

But it takes a special kind of fail to give a national address, and see your opponent’s odds of success increase.

The lowered odds on Romney highlight his main problem. The more voters see and hear from him, the less they like him.

This phenomenon presented itself first during the Republican primary. In state after state, the more Romney campaigned, the more his approval numbers dropped. His numbers experienced a bit of an uptick after he clinched the nomination and got off the campaign trail, but his first big step on the national stage revealed same underwhelming and unlikable Romney.

Mitt Romney not only failed to redefine his campaign, but he may have hurt himself with voters. In a bad economy, voters are always open to the idea of tossing out incumbents, but it is up to the challengers to make the case that they can do a better job. Mitt Romney didn’t do that.

It is doubtful that there will be a tidal wave of Romney support in the next set of polls. No one should be surprised if Romney gets zero to minimal bounce out of his convention. Romney may have been harmed by the fact that convention forced him into a shotgun wedding with the unpopular Republican brand. He may have been dinged by the fact that Clint Eastwood yelling at furniture was the most memorable moment of the convention, but mostly the problem was Mitt Romney.

The Republican nominee demonstrated once again that he is over matched by the big stage. If the impression that Romney left in Tampa helped Obama today, imagine what is fallout might be when these two men are standing by side at the presidential debates.

Only Mitt Romney could hurt his odds of victory by showing up at his own convention. The one thing working most in Obama’s favor as he campaigns for reelection is that he is running against Mitt Romney.

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Lie of Omission: Republican Convention Pretends Iraq and Afghanistan Never Happened

Aug 31 2012 Published by under Featured News

It is always important to listen carefully to politicians give policy speeches, and it is often the case that an informed and discrete listener can learn a wealth of information from what a speaker does not say. Throughout the Republican National convention in Tampa, the speakers railed on President Obama with lies and deceptive information about the staggering debt they claim the President piled on the American people, and how a Romney-Ryan administration will make tough choices and give enormous tax cuts to the rich and corporations to inspire them to create jobs. However, there has been a deafening silence about why America’s debt is as high as it is, and how Bush-Republicans borrowed trillions of dollars to give out tax cuts and engage in two wars that have cost the American people dearly in lives, resources, and money. One can hardly blame the Republicans for avoiding any mention of Bush’s wars because it will remind Americans of the Republican-masterminded economic malfeasance that caused the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and continues with no end in sight.

Republicans never learn from their mistakes, and besides panting to return to Bush economic policies that this country still suffers from, they are intent on maintaining a state of perpetual war to kill Muslims, acquire oil, and enrich the corporate military-industrial complex. Besides the direct costs to prosecute the two wars, the price of oil skyrocketed from $25 a barrel before the Iraq invasion to $140 a barrel by 2008 and Romney, who thinks President Obama is not doing enough against Iran, has telegraphed his intention of military action in the Gulf that will send oil prices skyrocketing and derail recovery from the Republican-caused global recession. Romney, in speaking about the possibility of keeping combat troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014 said “you don’t make a decision about our involvement in a conflict based on dollars and cents,” and up to this point, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have cost the American people between $3.7 and $4.4 trillion with no end in sight. It is no wonder that throughout the convention, Republicans hardly mentioned the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Not only did Bush-Republicans saddle future generations with staggering $3.7-4.4 trillion war debt, there is the little issue of $1 trillion more in interest payments and many billions more in expenses that cannot be counted, such as lifetime care for the brave men and women injured and maimed from Bush’s folly. Romney has given every indication that he intends on revisiting Bush’s cowboy diplomacy of costly wars for no apparent reason, and surrounded himself with a foreign policy (war cabinet) team of former Bush neo-cons who lied to attack Iraq. Romney has garnered glowing reviews and support from war-criminal Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, and John Bolton who casually promotes the idea of bombing Iran regardless the cost in lives and resources to a war-weary nation.

After going back and reviewing the myriad mendacious speeches throughout the convention, even war monger John McCain failed to expound on the wisdom of the two wars, but he did tie Iran and Syria together as the greatest threats to human-kind, and as usual, said the biggest reason to take on Iran was to protect Israel, “a nation under existential threat.” Romney has spent plenty of time promoting conflict to attract support from veterans and ultra-conservative voters, and the overriding reason is always to protect Israel.

Romney has parroted the “protect Israel” mantra as a reason for war with Iran, and promises that if elected, he will add to the deficit with more defense spending and increasing the size of the military to, as he says, “show the Mullahs and Ayatollahs American resolve” despite the cost in lives and resources. In fact, the Romney campaign co-chair, Tim Pawlenty, told Foreign Policy Magazine he supported a Congressional authorization for war with Iran; an idea he got from Elliot Abrams, a foreign policy adviser to Paul Ryan and former Bush official who suggested the idea last week. Pawlenty said “it might be a good idea and it couldn’t hurt and probably would help.”  If it is such a good idea, why are Republicans avoiding mentioning the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to drum up support for another Mid-East war? It is simply because Americans are weary of over ten years of war, the staggering cost in lives, and trillions of dollars heaped on the deficit that every Republican speaker at the convention has blamed on President Obama.

One hopes that Americans tuning in to the parade of lies notice that Republicans have not mentioned the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and especially the thousands of military families who have lost loved ones to those horrible conflicts that were unnecessary and unfunded. America’s economy would not be in the shape it finds itself today if America had not invaded two sovereign nations that had nothing to do with the terror attacks on 9/11 and it is why Republicans avoid any mention of them like plague. Remember, oil was $25 a barrel pre-Iraq invasion, the war’s costs will exceed $5 trillion within a year, and that does not take into account the trillion dollar interest payment that came due in 2011 Republicans continue blaming on President Obama. Instead, Romney and Republicans will claim Americans are worried about nuclear Iran, “threat of war” from “geopolitical enemies” like Russia, the threat to Israel, and the debt President Obama inherited from Bush-Republicans for two costly wars that had a profoundly negative effect on the world and America’s economy. Republicans made their convention a festival of lies, but the biggest lie was one of omission and hopefully Americans are being astute and discriminating listeners and taking note that the $5 trillion wars have not been mentioned one time and begin asking why not.

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The Republican Party Turns the Page on Truth – And the Media Helps

Aug 31 2012 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

“They’re actually buying this stuff!”

In the wake of three days of lies at the Republican National Convention we should take stock of what we have been told. It’s bad, folks. It’s very bad, as Jason Easley has shown here with regards to Paul’s Ryan’s lies and Mitt Romney’s subsequent lies.

It was so bad that The Week quipped that Ryan’s speech left the media scrambling “to find 15 euphemisms for ‘lying’.” I mean, come on, the First Amendment grants us free speech but it doesn’t encourage us to lie.

Even a Fox News columnist, Sally Kohn (she is also published by the Washington Post and USAToday), was moved to say of Paul Ryan’s speech that, “to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech.” When you read something like that on Fox News, you know the lying has broken the lie meter.

“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of dishonesty” has become the Republican motto, and one increasingly shared by the mainstream media.

Media Matters for America examines two Romney lies circulated by television ads leading up to the convention; lies repeated at the convention that we are sure to hear more of leading up to Election Day, and determines that not only does the Republican Party lies with impunity but that its lying is actually enabled by the mainstream media.

On August 30 the Media Matters report revealed that where the two lies are concerned, that Obama has removed the work requirements from welfare and that Obama’s healthcare reform cut $716 billion from Medicare, the so-called liberal media elite is playing hit and miss with journalistic standards, often letting proven falsehoods pass without challenge. Media Matters signaled out – unsurprisingly – Fox News and the Wall Street Journal as repeat offenders.

The two lies:

Romney Ad: “Under Obama’s [Welfare] Plan, You Wouldn’t Have To Work … They Just Send You Your Welfare Check.” A Romney ad released on August 6 claimed that “on July 12, President Obama quietly announced a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements. Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check, and ‘welfare to work’ goes back to being plain old welfare.” [MittRomney.com, accessed 8/29/12]

PolitiFact Rates Romney Ad’s Claim “Pants On Fire.” In an August 7 post, PolitiFact noted that the July 12 memo from the Department of Health and Human Services was intended “to give states more flexibility in meeting those [work] requirements” of the welfare program. The post called Romney’s ad “a drastic distortion of the planned changes” and concluded that:

By granting waivers to states, the Obama administration is seeking to make welfare-to-work efforts more successful, not end them. What’s more, the waivers would apply to individually evaluated pilot programs — HHS is not proposing a blanket, national change to welfare law.

The ad tries to connect the dots to reach this zinger: “They just send you your welfare check.” The HHS memo in no way advocates that practice. In fact, it says the new policy is “designed to improve employment outcomes for needy families.” [PolitiFact, 8/7/12]

and,

Romney Claims Obama “Has Cut Medicare Funding By $700 Billion.” During his August 11 remarks in Norfolk, Virginia, announcing his selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney said that he and Ryan would “preserve and protect Medicare and Social Security” “[u]nlike the current president who has cut Medicare funding by $700 billion.” [MittRomney.com, accessed 8/29/2012]

PolitiFact Rates Romney’s Claim “Mostly False.” In an August 15 post, PolitiFact rated as “mostly false” Romney’s claim on CBS’ 60 Minutes that Obama “robbed Medicare” of “$716 billion.” PolitiFact wrote that “[n]either Obama nor his health care law literally cut a dollar amount from the Medicare program’s budget” and continued:

[…]

The only element of truth here is that the health care law seeks to reduce future Medicare spending, and the tally of those cost reductions over the next 10 years is $716 billion. The money wasn’t “robbed,” however, and other presidents have made similar reductions to the Medicare program. [PolitiFact, 8/15/12]

The surprise here is CNN, commonly thought of as a sort of Fox News Jr by Democrats. According to Media Matters, “CNN debunked the [welfare] claim in 69 percent of its segments that mentioned it, and MSNBC debunked the claim in 87 percent of such segments. Fox News, however, debunked the claim in only 17 percent of such segments.”

Print media did not escape scrutiny in this study. “The New York Times debunked the [welfare] claim in 78 percent of the articles that referenced it, and The Washington Post debunked the claim in 64 percent. The Associated Press, however, debunked the claim in only 48 percent of its articles that mentioned it, and The Wall Street Journal debunked it in 25 percent — just one of its four articles mentioning the claim.”

In examining Romney’s Medicare lies, Media Matters found that, “Among the cable networks, MSNBC debunked the claim in 84 percent of segments that discussed Romney making it, while CNN debunked the claim in 44 percent of relevant segments. Fox News did so in just 4 percent of relevant segments.”

The print media was even worse: “No print outlet in Media Matters’ study debunked Romney’s Medicare claim in the majority of relevant articles. The Associated Press debunked the claim in 45 percent of its relevant articles, and The New York Times did so in 37 percent of its articles; The Washington Postdebunked it in only 28 percent of articles mentioning Romney’s Medicare claim. No Wall Street Journal article that mentioned the claim debunked it.”

Republicans frequently excoriate the New York Times but the Times only stuck up for the truth 37 percent of the time?

Ironically, a New York Times editorial this morning states unequivocally, “Mr. Romney Reinvents History,”  particularly Romney’s claim – which the Times calls a  “extraordinary reinvention of history” – that “his party rallied behind President Obama when he won in 2008, hoping that he would succeed.”

The Times points out that this is not true, and goes even farther than that:

The truth, rarely heard this week in Tampa, Fla., is that the Republicans charted a course of denial and obstruction from the day Mr. Obama was inaugurated, determined to deny him a second term by denying him any achievement, no matter the cost to the economy or American security — even if it meant holding the nation’s credit rating hostage to a narrow partisan agenda.

Another exception to the rule is a piece by Rekha Basu appearing in the Des Moines Register, which asserted that “half the truth often is a full lie for Paul Ryan. Basu pointed out that “the Republican vice presidential nominee’s speech Wednesday stood out for its shameless rewriting of history.”

As Sally Kohn at Fox News says,

“The good news is that the Romney-Ryan campaign has likely created dozens of new jobs among the legions of additional fact checkers that media outlets are rushing to hire to sift through the mountain of cow dung that flowed from Ryan’s mouth. Said fact checkers have already condemned certain arguments that Ryan still irresponsibly repeated.”

When Romney says it’s time to “turn the page” he is talking about more than turning the page on Obama; he is talking about turning the page on the truth, and with some exceptions the mainstream media seems happy to go along with that.

David Bartonism has infected not only the Republican Party but the mainstream media on a grand scale. This egregious reinvention of history by the Republican Party, aided and abetted by the media that same Republican Party incessantly labels as hostile, is a pox on the American people. The American voter deserves better than euphemisms for lying.

We expect Fox News as the propaganda arm of the Republican Party, to disseminate falsehoods. It’s what they do. But we have a right to expect better of other media outlets. We expect them to show some adherence to journalistic integrity. That they fail so consistently to appeal to the facts in their reporting is a real source of disappointment.

In the cases where media outlets did refute Romney’s lies they do not deserve thanks. It is only what they should be doing, after all. But as this study shows, causes for shame compile faster than any opportunities for praise, should it be given.

It is central the Republican narrative that President Obama be portrayed as anti-white, as a welfare president, as a man determined to spread dependency on the government as a panacea of cures for what ails you. And despite incessant attacks on Medicare, the GOP has now decided to present Obama as the enemy of Medicare and they its champions, perhaps realizing that the only demographic they have any hope of retaining are those over 60.

Rekha Basu wrote that, “Whatever your political leaning, no one wants to be lied to” but I am far from certain that can be said of the Republican faithful, according to a reading of the National Review Online, and the crowd on the convention floor who greeted three days of lies with thunderous applause.

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The 5 Biggest Lies In Mitt Romney's Acceptance Speech

Aug 31 2012 Published by under Featured News

Mitt Romney delivered an acceptance speech that stretched, massaged, distorted, and flat out violated the truth. Here are the five biggest lies uttered by Romney in Tampa.

1). Mitt Romney Goes Birther

What Romney Said, “Tonight that American flag is still there on the moon. And I don’t doubt for a second that Neil Armstrong’s spirit is still with us: that unique blend of optimism, humility and the utter confidence that when the world needs someone to do the really big stuff, you need an American.”

The Truth: Ah yes, what would a gathering of more than four Republicans be if somebody didn’t suggest in the most sly way that Obama is not American. Romney’s statement can also be viewed as when you need really big stuff done, you need a white man. It was subtle, but it was there. Romney was doing his best Ronald Reagan all-American impression. If Romney is Captain America, then what does that make Barack Obama?

2). Romney Says he Won’t Raise Taxes on the Middle Class

What Romney Said, “Unlike President Obama, I won’t raise taxes on the middle class of America.”

The Truth: Romney’s tax plan is classic trickle down economics. Romney’s tax plan lowers on the top 2% of earners and raises taxes on everyone else. According to the Tax Policy Center, taxes on the middle class would go up by about $2,000 to pay for Romney’s tax cut for the wealthy.

3). Romney Promises to Create 12 Million New Jobs and Claims Obama has no Jobs Plan

What Romney Said, “And unlike the president, I have a plan to create 12 million new jobs.”

The Truth: This is a double whopper on Romney’s part, and one that he is fond of repeating on the campaign trail. First, President Obama does have a plan to create jobs. It’s called the American Jobs Act, and it was killed by congressional Republicans.

The second part of Romney’s lie was a bit more devious. Romney promised to create 12 million new jobs, because he and his campaign know that economic forecasts show that if nothing is done, the economy will create 11.8 on its own. Mitt Romney is suggested that America should elect him because his leadership will be 200,000 jobs better than doing absolutely nothing. That is the kind of leadership that Mitt Romney is promising America.

4). Romney Accuses Obama of Not Creating Jobs, Wanting to Raise Taxes on Small Business, and Assaulting Coal, Oil and Natural Gas

What Romney Said, “His policies have not helped create jobs, they have depressed them. And this I can tell you about where President Obama would take America: His plan to raise taxes on small business won’t add jobs, it will eliminate them; His assault on coal and gas and oil will send energy and manufacturing jobs to China; His trillion dollar cuts to our military will eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs, and also put our security at greater risk.”

The Truth: This was a triple play of lies. So far Obama has created 4.5 million jobs. Obama’s extension of the Bush tax cuts for everyone but the rich actually cuts taxes for 97% of small businesses. Oil, coal, and natural gas production have all increased under Obama. Coal production is up 0.93%. Oil production is up 5.7%, and natural gas is up 22%.

5). Romney Claims Obama Began his Presidency with an Apology Tour

What Romney Said, “I will begin my presidency with a jobs tour. President Obama began with an apology tour. America, he said, had dictated to other nations. No Mr. President, America has freed other nations from dictators.”

The Truth: This is a huge lie that has been debunked by every fact checker in the United States. It is also one of the Republican Party’s favorite lies about Obama.

As The Washington Post’s Fact Checker put it, “The claim that Obama repeatedly has apologized for the United States is not borne out by the facts, especially if his full quotes are viewed in context. Obama often was trying to draw a rhetorical distinction between his policies and that of President Bush, a common practice when the presidency changes parties. The shift in policies, in fact, might have been more dramatic from Clinton to Bush than from Bush to Obama, given how Obama has largely maintained Bush’s approach to fighting terrorism. In other cases, Obama’s quotes have been selectively trimmed for political purposes. Or they were not much different than sentiments expressed by Bush or his secretary of state. Republicans may certainly disagree with Obama’s handling of foreign policy or particular policies he has pursued, but they should not invent a storyline that does not appear to exist.”

Overall, Romney’s speech was just like everything else we have seen from the Republican nominee. It was long on Obama bashing and lacking a real vision for the future. There were few specifics, sparse details, and the only thing to be gained from his speech that Romney wouldn’t do what Obama did.

The question Romney never answered is why anyone should vote for him?

What Romney will do as president? He won’t tell you. The opening of the speech was designed to humanize Romney and get voters to like him, but stories about getting a church’s pension fund aren’t the kind of thing that connects with voters.

Mitt Romney was going for I feel your pain, but what came out was I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore. A fresh bit of Botox can’t smooth out the wrinkles in this candidate. Mitt Romney came in to Tampa as fatally flawed nominee, and he leaves having addressed none of those flaws.

Romney’s speech will be forgotten by Labor Day, and he will be even further behind in the polls after Obama speaks next Thursday. The under card is finished. Democrats are bringing the star power and the main event is heading to Charlotte.


Update: Edited to correct it’s to its in reason number 3.

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Another GOP Convention Night of Lies and Distortions

Aug 30 2012 Published by under Featured News, Republican Party

The second night of the Republican Convention Liars Club was a mirror image of the first. The speakers were all plugged into the same outlet. Obama as job-killing monster; the end is near and the ongoing distortion of the President’s “You didn’t build that” statement that has gone viral within the convention.

Here’s the text of what the President said, “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped you create this unbelievable American system that we have, that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges.”

Here comes the kicker. The gift to Republicans that keeps on giving. “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet, so that all companies could make money off the Internet.”

Front and center, the cherry-picked, “you didn’t build that.” In truth, I would have counseled the president to leave the “you didn’t build that” phrase out of the equation. Taken out of context, it does sound mean-spirited and somewhat insulting. And that’s what the Republicans have done. Taken it out of context and mentioned it probably a million times in every political venue, especially the convention. Keynote speaker without portfolio (Chris Christie stunk), Paul Ryan, certainly pushed it.

Gone from the public conversation is Romney’s refusal to release more than one tax return, the GOP filibuster bludgeoning of the latest 2 Obama jobs acts; The Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act that rewards small businesses for hiring new employees and the “Bring Jobs Home Act”, another tax-incentive bill to encourage the return of American jobs that were shipped overseas. It also removes tax deductions when companies abandon the American worker for overseas locales. In point of fact, Republicans have done everything in their power to block Democratic job-creating bills.

Last night was Paul Ryan’s night. After Rand Paul’s predictable anti-government gibberish, he gave most of the rest of his speech over to, you guessed it, Obama’s “you didn’t build that” statement. Completely without context, but what the hell, the trained seals in the audience were clapping with every distorted insult thrown their way.

John McCain was next with possibly the most bellicose address in the history of political conventions. This 76-year-old warrior is ready to saddle up and send your kids to any number of Middle East wars. Take your pick. Iran of course (Mitt has promised an early bombing), Syria, Libya, jack things up in Afghanistan and maybe we should fire off a few more rounds in Iraq for good measure. Applause all the way. OK, next war, the GOP gets to provide all the human fire power. Their kids; their brothers and sisters; their dads. You want peace? Limit the combatants to registered Republican’s kin.

Another speaker, New Mexico Governor, Susana Martinez, a former Democrat who was persuaded by 2 Republicans to switch sides at lunch, said she looked at her husband on the drive home and exclaimed, “I’ll be damned, we’re Republicans.” She’s most likely correct. The high point of her speech, given before her eventual deportation if the fellow speaker, Jan Brewer has her way, was describing working for her Dad’s Security firm as an 18-year-old, “I carried a .357 Smith & Wesson Magnum.” That’s a point of honor when addressing Tampa Convention Center gun-nuts (where guns were not allowed) who cheered like, well, gun-nuts.

Then came Mike Huckabee who ‘joked’ that there was some kind of commotion in the hotel room next to his. He told the audience it was Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Chair of the Democratic National Committee practicing her speech. It was an patronizing and unfunny jab at yet another women, just another addition to the Republican “War on Women” repertoire. He also made a crack about Obama wanting people on food stamps and ended his boring diatribe with “Let’s vote him out!” No, Mike, let’s wake up the audience.

Condoleezza Rice came on board as the distaff side of McCain with veiled threats to bunk-buster anybody who dared challenge America’s “Exceptionalism”. She tossed out “You cannot lead from behind” and “Peace really does come through strength” red meat to the war-mongering GOP hoards. The latter statement “Peace through Strength” was a blatant threat that every world Head of State could easily dissect. “Do anything to keep our corporations from taking over your country and will flatten your ass.”

Paul Ryan, who seems to possess not one empathetic bone in his body, was the night’s featured act. He opened with, “After 4 years of getting the runaround America needs a turnaround.” Of course, the Republican House has done everything in their power to prevent every piece of Democratic legislation aimed at exactly that, a turnaround from Bush’s ruinous policies.

He said the Democrats have run out of ideas. “Fear and division are all they’ve got left” he bleated. What hogwash. Every idea, and in the word of the New Mexico Governor, there are some ‘damn’ good ones, has been blocked by legislative Republicans ‘fearing’ that their implementation will demonstrate that the Democratic Party is the party of ideas. He went on to talk about those awful democratic attack ads after his party has had a virtual KKK rally for the entirety of the Obama administration.

Ryan is the earnest, tall, eager to please kid who helps the teacher move his or her desk. He’s kind of like a grown-up, dark-haired Opie Taylor. But God is he scary. Just as frightening in his own way as McCain and Rice. And if all his ideas are adopted, his legislation could be responsible for just as many casualties. Repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act? Vouchered Medicare with some vague options? $1.4 tillion cuts to Medicaid. Partially privatized Social Security with the unregulated billions, maybe trillions routinely frittered away by Wall Street? Huge cuts in government programs and spending?

He said we need to stop spending money we don’t have. Unless, of course, it’s for tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, or corporate-sponsored wars or subsidies for giant energy polluters with their campaign contribution kickbacks…then that’s just fine.

This guys a heartless boob teamed with a clueless boob. You want to go to war, McCain/Condi? Take aim at the Ryan budget.

Tomorrow’s the highlight of my week. The last day or the Republican National Convention.

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Republican Convention Bombs As Viewership Drops by 17 Million

Aug 30 2012 Published by under Featured News

The GOP’s Mitt makeover isn’t going over well with American television viewers. Compared to night two of the 2008 Republican convention, viewership is down by 17 million.

Paul Ryan is no Sarah Palin. The viewership for Paul Ryan’s speech was down across every network compared to what Sarah Palin averaged in 2008. NBC was down 3.5 million viewers. ABC was down three million viewers. CBS and MSNBC were down 2 million viewers each. CNN lost a whopping 5 million viewers compared to Palin’s 2008 speech. Even Fox News was down 1.5 million viewers. In total, only 20 million people tuned in for Paul Ryan compared to the 37 million who watched Sarah Palin.

Ryan’s ratings nosedive isn’t the Republican convention’s only problem. Only Fox News and ABC saw their viewership rise or stay the same from night one to night two. Fox News saw their viewership rise from 6.89 million on night one to 7.70 million on night two, while ABC has drawn to 2.86 million viewers on each night.

What really jumps out in the ratings data is how limited the appeal of this convention is. Fox News has led the ratings for all networks on both nights. If the Romney campaign was hoping to reach Independents with their convention, it isn’t working. Over one third of the total audience is coming from the Republican cheering section known as Fox News.

Ryan’s ratings collapse highlights his limited popularity. As you could tell by the reception in the convention hall, Paul Ryan is beloved by the right. His appeal though seems limited just to the right. Ryan and the Romney campaign did themselves no favors by having him give a speech that was loaded with falsehoods, while also being completely devoid of any hope, optimism, or vision for the future.

Republicans love nasty negative politics, but America doesn’t. Voters love optimism and vision, but Mitt Romney has not highlighted any of this during his convention. Instead the Republican Party has presented an angry gloom and doom fest where speaker after speaker tell us all how lousy everything is, and that it is all Barack Obama’s fault.

Since voters don’t like Mitt Romney, it seems the Republican Party has decided that it must terrify America into supporting him. That type of strategy makes for a depressing convention, and even worse, it’s bad television.

Paul Ryan’s speech was delivered like an oral book report by someone who was making up the book as he went along. It is no surprise that viewers aren’t tuning in to the Republican convention. This is convention that lacks warmth, charisma, and star power.

The Republicans were hoping to reinvent Mitt Romney, but they got was confirmation that America is just not into both of them.

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Bernie Sanders Applauds Obama for Supporting Citizens United Amendment

Aug 30 2012 Published by under Featured News

Sen. Bernie Sanders is praising President Obama’s support for his constitutional amendment and movement to overturn Citizens United.

Yesterday, during a Reddit chat, Obama announced his support for Sen. Sanders’ efforts to overturn Citizens United, “Money has always been a factor in politics, but we are seeing something new in the no-holds barred flow of seven and eight figure checks, most undisclosed, into super-PACs; they fundamentally threaten to overwhelm the political process over the long run and drown out the voices of ordinary citizens. We need to start with passing the Disclose Act that is already written and been sponsored in Congress – to at least force disclosure of who is giving to who. We should also pass legislation prohibiting the bundling of campaign contributions from lobbyists. Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn’t revisit it). Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.”

Sen. Sanders responded to Obama in a statement, “I applaud President Obama for expressing support for a serious effort to restore the democratic foundations of our country that are under severe attack as a result of the disastrous Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United.”

Let’s be honest, President Obama isn’t going to sway the electorate by supporting the movement to overturn Citizens United. The truth is that most Americans still don’t understand Citizens United and the impact that it is having on both our electoral system and our government. The Sanders led campaign to get rid of Citizens United is currently just as much about education as it is policy change.

The support of President Obama raises awareness for the movement. The president has the biggest megaphone in the world, and every one who cares about what is happening to our electoral system should be excited to have his support.

This isn’t about Democrat or Republican. It’s about fairness and democracy. It is about the voices of regular people being heard over the sound of millions of dollars of checks being written in campaign contributions, and what those dollars purchase from candidates and elected officials.

The movement to overturn Citizens United is about returning the government back to the people, and making sure that our elected officials serve their constituents, not their donors.

Corporations and wealthy billionaires are trying to buy your liberty, and the only thing standing in their way is you.

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