Archive for: September, 2012

A visit to a local Republican Party Headquarters reveals some interesting twists

Sep 30 2012 Published by under Featured News, Republican Party

I live in an Upstate South Carolina area that is so republican-bound that the party could run a Pomeranian and get it elected as long as he or she barked to the right. The Democrats, reluctant (well, terrified) to utter a peep of opposition in public and in most private places as well, still follow the lead of a one-time female congressperson whose idea of opposition is to treat Republicans like best buds and get herself elected to the presidency of the local Rotary Club.

Ergo, a grand total of two brave Democratic souls (excluding a couple of incumbents) have offered themselves up for office for the next general election, November 6th. One is a clone of the lady I just mentioned though presumably lacking the goal of being president of any service club that I know of and the other is an African-American graduate of Johns Hopkins, who, as you can imagine, already has two strikes against him in South Carolina. Both fine people. Both all but invisible. Both facing 70%-30% defeats in their respective races. 7 of 8 House Republicans are returning to the state capital with no Democratic opposition.

So what’s a party of such dominance to do? Their candidates can turn into petrified wood when it comes to campaigning and still prevail by double digits. Why bother? I did wonder what the party was selling so I decided to take a ride to their headquarters located at the far end of a well-manicured little strip mall. I wandered the relatively small public space in search of candidate literature and anything else I could find reflecting the extreme states’-rights product being peddled to the locals.

I had been told that the selection of campaign materials had been pretty well picked over and indeed that was the case. There were a couple of bumpers stickers available with “Trey Gowdy congress” printed on them. They were actually cheesy and cheap; egg-shaped, small; 4 X 7, and looked like an elementary school crafts product. But why spend for fancy when most of your million-dollar booty is directed to other campaigns anyway. The faaaar right-winger and incumbent state rep running against the Johns Hopkins democrat had a stack of garish yellow bumper stickers visible by satellite. The guy’s name is Bright. Clever!

Jane Hall, currently serving as a County Councilperson was represented by some overly wordy palm cards with her picture on one side and a picture of “Mickey and Jane Hall” on the other. The piece looked earnest, but cluttered, with not a union bug in sight. She’s apparently going to be running against Steve Collins, a tea party favorite. I say apparently because Collins, due to a filing snafu, wasn’t on the primary ballot and has to get enough petition signatures to make the general.

There was also an available copy of a 14-page newspaper, The Times Examiner, “Independent Conservative Voice of the Palmetto State.” It was dated June 6, 2012. It’s lead story featured the tired retread of all those Democratic commies in congress; the assertion of Florida Congressman Allen West. And, by God, West names those pinko bastards (and bitches). They’re all apparently members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus; progressive being synonymous with communist as any wing-nut will tell you.
How do we know these progressives are communists? West spells it out. How he found out, I’ll never know. A congressional communist can be readily recognized because – The CPC advocates “universal access to affordable health care, living wage laws, the rights for labor to organize labor unions and engage in collective bargaining, legalization of same-sex marriage, US participation in international treaties such as the climate change Kyoto Accords, strict finance reform laws, a crackdown on corporate welfare and influence – well, you get the idea. The article emphasizes that none of the CPC members come from South Carolina. Hey, I could have told you that! Page 2 lists the names and states of all the members.

The rest of the paper is a predictably propagandizing piece of shit.

What I found really interesting was the influence of FreedomWorks within this humble Deep South Republican Party headquarters. We stew about what the superPACs are contributing to right-wing candidates, how about all of the other mischief their money goes for? FreedomWorks is one of those laughable non-profits that bring in and send out multiple millions, even billions over time to right-wing political causes. Its current head is former House Majority leader, Dick Armey (there was a falling out with early co-leader, David Koch). In the South Carolina republican headquarters you could pick up very expensive four-fold glossy handouts and even larger two-sided pieces; just as glossy, just as expensive. The two-sided version was pushing the Tea Party and giving sites where Republicans could get involved in “the movement” by connecting with activists, forming groups, promoting events and TAKING AMERICA BACK! From who? The black president?

The four-folder is another propaganda piece, mostly fishing for contribution to FreedomWorks. To make this destructive partisan organization seem more fuzzy and youthful, a quote from a two-year-old New York Times piece is featured; “They model Freedom Works on the Grateful Dead or Virgin Atlantic Airways; they want to build a like-minded community, an endeavor that is as much fun as work.” Awww- how cutesy! I’m thinking Virgin Atlantic majority owner Richard Branson would be mortified and genuinely pissed to know his company’s name was being included in a FreedomWorks handout.

Among his many progressive endeavors, Branson is part of a group called “The Elders”, founded by Nelson Mandela. Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan and Jimmy Carter are other recognizable members. Their mission is to bring peace to long-standing conflicts, take new approaches to issues causing immense human suffering and connect voices all over the world. The diametric opposite of Armey’s goals that are concentrated on money and big business.

Wonder why the handout didn’t repeat the Times reporting that each new employee is handed a copy of Saul Alinsky’s book “Rules for Radicals.” Read no doubt by the same bunch that excoriated the president for his purported admiration for Alinsky’s organizational skills.

FreedomWorks also has lots of pieces pushing school choice.

I’m glad I went. The visit served as a timely reminder that there’s an incredible amount of work to do before November 6th.

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An Ohio Republican Speaks for the Nation: 'I've Never Seen Such Hate as in the GOP'

Sep 30 2012 Published by under Featured News, Republican Party

Romney’s biggest problem in Ohio is that not only is Obama leading in the polls, but he has slightly more support from Republicans than Romney does from Democrats. One such Republican, a 70-year-old retired store owner, says he has voted Republican for almost all of his life, but not this year.

Wayne Butterfass told the Columbus Dispatch in an email, “All you have to do is look at the Republican platform. I’ve never seen such HATE this year in the Republican Party, national or state.”

The Columbus Dispatch printed part of Mr. Butterfass’ email, “Obama was handed an economy on the skids, after eight years of Bush. All he ever did was think about war. I’m afraid Romney will do the same, especially the trickle-down theory.” He continued, “I don’t know why any woman or gay would ever vote for Romney. All you have to do is look at the Republican platform. I’ve never seen such HATE this year in the Republican Party, national or state.”

Not only is Ohio leaning Obama right now, but Ohioans think Vice President Joe Biden is more qualified for his job than Paul Ryan would be for the same job by 8 points.

Obama is leading Romney by 9 points in Ohio according to a new Dispatch poll, and early balloting starts in two days.

Wayne Butterfass is not alone is his disgust with his former party. According to Stan Greenberg, the Republican Party has lost 5 points in voter identification over the past month. He writes, “Contempt for the Republicans is pushing Democrats into the lead, not only in the presidential race but across Senate and likely many House races as well.”

Interestingly, a month ago Ohio was an even race. Today, it’s a plus 9 for Obama, suggesting that the Republican National Convention, the Ryan pick, and the 47% comments have damaged Romney in Ohio, along with his tone deaf “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” editorial.

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Paul Ryan Hasn't Lost Yet, But Blames the Media for Getting Obama Reelected

Sep 30 2012 Published by under Featured News

While speaking to Fox News Sunday, Paul Ryan started laying the groundwork for his excuse if Obama gets reelected by claiming that the media is biased and wants Obama to win.

Here is the video:

Transcript from Fox News Sunday,

WALLACE: Do you think the mainstream media is carrying water for Barack Obama?

(LAUGHTER)

RYAN: I think it kind of goes without saying that there’s definitely a media bias. We’ve — look, I’m a conservative person, I’m used to media bias. We expected media bias going into this. That’s why we’re trying to cut through and go straight to people. That’s why when you hear people in Washington complain about media bias, come out into these states with us and attend out town hall meetings.

WALLACE: But where have you seen it? Where have you seen it in this campaign where you feel they’re judging you and Romney by one standard and Obama and Biden by another?

RYAN: I don’t think — I’m not going to go into a tit-for-tat or litigate this thing. But as a conservative, I’ve long believed and long felt that there is inherit media bias. And I think anybody with objectivity would believe that that’s the case.

WALLACE: Do you think mainstream media wants Barack Obama to win?

RYAN: You’ll have to ask mainstream that.

WALLACE: No, what do you think?

RYAN: I think most people in the mainstream media are left of center and therefore, they want a very left of center president than they want a conservative president like Mitt Romney.

Earlier in the interview said all the right things about the race not being over and there still being time left, but it was his willingness to blame the media that really stood out. With more than a month to go before the election, Paul Ryan was building his excuse for defeat. Ryan is getting set to follow in the footsteps of Sarah Palin and blame the media if he loses.

The media has shown a particular bias that has worked against Romney and Ryan so far in this election. The media has been biased against lying. The mainstream press has been active in their fact checking of both campaigns, but it is the Republican ticket that has been especially damaged by the the media’s new found willingness to search for truth. Ryan has seen his lies about Medicare, the plant closing in Janesville, and especially the laundry list of half truths and falsehoods that passed for his acceptance speech at the Republican convention hit hard by the fact checkers.

It is always a bad sign for a Republicans when they start complaining about media bias. When a Republican running for office starts crying liberal media bias, it means they are losing, and in many cases losing badly.

Paul Ryan was engaging in preemptive damage control. Just like Sarah Palin in 2008, Ryan is trying to protect his brand. The obvious irony is that Ryan went on Fox News, the most politically biased network on all of television, to complain about media bias.

Republicans love media bias in some forms (Fox News), but will claim bias if a media outlet tries to report facts (In varying degrees, all other non-right wing media.)

It is only when they lose an election that conservatives scream media bias. (Usually, right after they howl voter fraud, and Obama is a Muslim.)

In Paul Ryan’s mind, it isn’t that Mitt Romney is a terrible candidate or that voters hate his ideas for the budget, Social Security, and Medicare. To Paul Ryan, the reason why he is losing is because the liberals in the media want him to lose.

Ryan may talk a good game, but to the horror of many the truth is starting to slip out.

Paul Ryan is a lot more like Sarah Palin than anybody in the Republican Party wants to believe, and 2012 Boy Palin is getting ready to sulk, pout, and throw a tantrum if Obama wins a second term.

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Meet the Press Loses Credibility by Letting David Gregory Misquote Obama

Sep 30 2012 Published by under Featured News, Republican Party

Think Progress busted Meet the Press host David Gregory today, as he “twice asserted that, in May, President Obama declared that “al Qaeda has been defeated.” But apparently, President Obama never said that. As Think Progress points out, Gregory used this false assertion as a premise for laying the Libya attacks on Obama, claiming Obama wasn’t paying attention.

Watch here via Think Progress:

Transcript from TP:

GREGORY: The President has said as recently as May of this year that al Qaeda has not had a chance to rebuild, that al Qaeda has been defeated. There is an election on, as we’ve been talking about, and the President’s challenger said plain and simple, the President failed to level with the American people and call this a terrorist attack, because you had to be concerned about another terrorist attack from al Qaeda in the Middle East after the President said that al Qaeda had been defeated.

Think Progress’ Judd Legum corrected the record, noting that in a televised address from Bagram Air Base on the anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, Obama specifically warned us that “difficult days” and “enormous sacrifices” yet to come. Obama:

And one year ago, from a base here in Afghanistan, our troops launched the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. The goal that I set — to defeat al Qaeda and deny it a chance to rebuild — is now within our reach. Still, there will be difficult days ahead. The enormous sacrifices of our men and women are not over.

The problems with this are manifold, not the least of which is Gregory’s failure to address his inaccuracy. Raw Story pointed out “Gregory did not reference the question on his Twitter account or his post-show recap on NBC News’ website.”

There is also the issue of the desperate hypocrisy of the underlying argument from the President’s opponents in calling the attacks a terrorist attack.

It should come as no surprise that just a few days ago, Paul Ryan was making this argument, saying that Obama’s foreign policy was “blowing up in our faces”. Juan Cole made a definitive argument against Paul Ryan’s attacks on Obama’s alleged foreign policy disasters being based on the violence against our consulates:

By the way, does Ryan always consider attacks on US embassies a sign that an administration’s foreign policy is blowing up in our faces? For instance, if if the US embassy in Athens, Greece, was attacked in 2007,, would that have been an indictment of George W. Bush’s foreign policy? What about if the US embassy in Serbia was burned down early in 2008? If the US embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, were attacked in September 2008? If the US consulate in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, was attacked in 2004? What if thousands of anti-American Iraqis were regularly demonstrating and even shelling the Green Zone in Baghdad where the US embassy is, in 2008? Did all that mean that Bush’s foreign policy, the most recent foreign policy outing of the Republican Party, blew up in our faces, according to Ryan?

Back then, democracy was “messy”. Now it’s a sign of failure.

There was a time not so long ago when Republicans were warned by their own side that their obstructionism on Libya was “emboldening our enemies”. In June of 2011, Republicans voted for the first time since 1999 to deny a president’s authority to carry out a military operation. That was Libya. They also played around with denying funding for the Libya mission.

Conservative policy makers wrote to the House Republicans, “For the United States and NATO to be defeated by Muammar al-Qaddafi would suggest that American leadership and resolution were now gravely in doubt–a conclusion that would undermine American influence and embolden our nation’s enemies.”

This is never brought up. Naturally, Republicans were dismayed when Obama got yet another dictator.

The Republican thinking goes like this: They obstruct Obama in the Libya mission, even in the face of their own policy makers. Now, after democracy is making its fragile birth, they claim that somehow if only more had been done, the unfortunate uprising could have been stopped in advance.

Sadly for logic, you won’t hear this argument about the uprisings in Iraq and Afghanistan as we turned/are turning power over. No one likes it, but everyone who is paying attention expects it; with change comes upheaval and with power vacuums come attempted takeovers.

It’s hard to know how Romney, Ryan and the Republicans see Libya as a failure. Both the Libyan government and tens of thousands of people from Benghazi allied with America, taking to the streets to protest the attacks, holding signs honoring slain Ambassador Chris Stevens. We suffered a terrible tragedy with the death of four Americans. But our long term relations with Libya look good. This is a consequence of Obama’s foreign policy, which is much more popular here and abroad than Republicans’.

As Republicans noted again and again when Bush was in office, democracy is messy. If they were expecting Libya’s transition to be smooth, they haven’t been paying attention. Now they want to blame Obama because democracy is messy. It’s not quite as messy as invading the wrong country, now is it.

Meet the Press should correct David Gregory on the record next Sunday. Otherwise, they risk their credibility, which is already skating on thin ice with Gregory having headlined for a major Republican advocacy group. NBC said Gregory wasn’t paid, but they failed to address the matter of his travel, accommodation, meals, swag, etc.

Undisclosed advocacy on any level does not impart trust, and David Gregory knows this. David Gregory is hardly alone in advancing an unchecked argument that is a copy of Paul Ryan’s, but he misquoted the President to achieve it today.

Perhaps it’s time for Meet the Press to disclose Gregory’s bias on each show, if they’re not going to insist on accuracy.

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Chris Christie Goes Off Script and Raises Expectations for Romney in Debates

Sep 30 2012 Published by under Featured News

Yet another surrogate of Mitt Romney’s seems to be suffering from message confusion or a personal agenda. The Romney campaign has been busy telling the press how unfair the debates are going to be because Barack Obama is Superman of the Spoken Word whereas poor Mitt Romney has only been practicing every single day for weeks now. They set Romney up as the victim of a President Obama’s unfair skills, hoping to lower the bar for a Romney handicap similar to the one given to Sarah Palin in 2008, when a wink passed for solid debate skills.

But today Chris Christie told NBC’s David Gregory that Romney was going to change the entire narrative of the campaign on Wednesday’s debate.

Watch a clip from Meet the Press here:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Christie promised, “On Wednesday night Mitt Romney is going to be standing on the same stage as the president of the United States. And I am telling you David, come Thursday morning the entire narrative of this race is going to change.”

Christie buttressed this thought with the anecdotal notation that “the general public that I speak to in New Jersey and elsewhere are just beginning to really tune in to this race,” therefor the swing states are not paying attention to the race either, in Christie’s mind.

You thought the Romney campaign already had their re-boot, their reignite, their redo, but what they haven’t had was a restart. Christie assures us, “Wednesday night is the restart of this campaign. I think you’re going to see those (polling) numbers move right back in the other direction” as a result of the debate.”

It also seems that Chris Christie has his eye on his own career, rather than Mitt Romney’s 2012 race, since this is the second time in one day that he stabbed Romney in the back. We note that even as Christie was selling the Game Changer, Ryan was tamping down expectations on Fox, saying, “I don’t think one event is going to make or break this campaign.” Oopsie.

We are told Romney has been practicing a series of zingers with which to win this debate, because nothing says I’m getting specific like rehearsed attack lines. Sounding dangerously 80’s, team Romney says the candidate is going to create a series of “moments” with his zingers and lull the President into sounding smug. That will surely be a feat for Mr. 47%. Romney was quite pleased with himself when he announced one of his zingers is going to be a Reagan redux, “There you go again.”

That line would actually work better for Obama given the consistent inaccuracies of the Romney campaign and his failure to get specific on anything without immediately taking it back.

We already know that Romney’s strategy is to make Obama Carter and himself Reagan. The overreaching problem with this is that Obama is not Carter and Romney is surely no Reagan. We recall that Reagan thought Social Security and Medicare were important programs. He also raised taxes many times. If anything, Obama is to liberalism what Reagan was to conservatism. Obama has mainstreamed the fundamentals of liberalism in the same way Reagan stamped conservatism with the American flag.

You heard it from Chris Christie’s mouth – this debate is going to turn the race around. So by Friday we should be seeing Romney soar in the swing states once he reintroduces himself to America for the 800th time. This time, this time, they’re gonna believe.

Christie stuck the knife in all of the way today, declaring, “I’m not going to sit here and complain about coverage of the campaign. As a candidate, if you do that, you’re losing.” But that is all that the Romney campaign has been doing, up to and including their hysteria over the debates, and Christie knows it.

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GOP Melts Down as Chris Christie Screws Mitt By Praising Obama's Anti-Romney Ad

Sep 30 2012 Published by under Featured News

Chris Christie went on ABC’s This Week supposedly to defend Mitt Romney, but he ended up praising an Obama ad that claimed Romney will cut taxes on the rich.

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Here’s the transcript from ABC’s This Week:

STEPHANOPOULOS: He’s been making the closing arguments in the battleground states, two-minute ads straight to camera. Here’s a portion of them.

OBAMA: Governor Romney believes that with even bigger tax cuts for the wealthy and fewer regulations on Wall Street, all of us will prosper. In other words, he’d double-down on the same trickle-down policies that led to the crisis in the first place.

STEPHANOPOULOS: If you were on the stage Wednesday, how would you respond to that?

CHRISTIE: Stop lying, Mr. President.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Lying?

CHRISTIE: Yeah. That’s what I’d say.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What’s the lie there?

CHRISTIE: That he — Governor Romney is not talking about more tax cuts for the wealthy. In fact, what he said is that the wealthy will pay just as much under a Romney administration as they pay today.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But their tax rate will go down into the 20s.

CHRISTIE: Right. But their tax rate will go down, but they will lose deductions and other loopholes that will have them paying the same. That’s what Governor Romney’s plan is.

And so what I’d say — you know, I love those ads. I mean, you know, the president gets to say things like a million new manufacturing jobs, well, how, Mr. President? We’re still waiting. Four trillion reduction in the debt. Really, Mr. President? How? Simpson-Bowles? You haven’t endorsed your own plan. Nor has he come forward with a plan.

I mean, it’s a great ad. I have no doubt about that. It sounds really nice, and it looks nice. But there’s nothing substantive there.

I don’t think the Romney campaign will be happy with their top surrogate calling an Obama ad a “great ad,” and saying it looks nice and sounds nice. What Christie should have said was that this ad was the worst thing he has even seen in his life. He should have been outraged by it. Instead of defending Romney, he tried to advance his own agenda and stature within the Republican Party by calling Obama liar. Chris Christie was more interesting in advancing his own ambitions than helping Mitt Romney save his campaign. It was bizarre that Christie would lend credibility to the ad by praising it in any way, unless he had his own motives in mind.

Since Gov. Christie brought up substance, it seems that there are people within the Romney campaign who disagree with him about the Republican nominee’s plan to cut taxes on millionaires and billionaires.

While Christie was on ABC telling the world that Romney won’t cut taxes for the rich, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan was telling Fox News that Mitt Romney is going to cut taxes for everyone. Paul Ryan told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that, “The cut in tax rates is lower all Americans tax rates by twenty percent.”

It appears that no one associated with the Republican ticket actually knows what is in the Romney tax plan, so let’s see what the candidate has to say.

In February, Mitt Romney wrote in The Wall Street Journal, “First, I will make an across-the-board, 20% reduction in marginal individual income tax rates. This bold stroke reduces the tax on the next dollar of income earned by all taxpayers. It also reduces tax rates for the many businesses that pay at individual rates and employ the majority of private-sector American workers, thus driving significant increases in hiring and wages.”

After his keynote speech at the Republican convention, it was pretty obvious that Chris Christie wants Romney to lose so that he can run in 2016. Christie has been spending time in Iowa laying the groundwork for 2016. The New Jersey governor wants to look like a good party man by supporting Romney, but his actions like barely mentioning Romney at the convention and not very subtly praising Obama’s anti-Romney ad tell a different tale.

Chris Christie is now going on television and making stuff up for Romney while praising his opponent’s advertising against him.

It is no secret that many in the Republican Party personally dislike Romney, so the question becomes is the Republican Party really this incompetent, or is GOP now out to sabotage their own nominee?

Republicans are abandoning ship in their own subtle or not so subtle ways, and the Mitt Romney is increasingly being left to fend for himself against Obama.

Romney’s got one last chance to get the party behind him at Wednesday’s debate. If he fails, Republican disgruntlement will turn into a full on exodus.

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Paul Ryan Goes All Deer in the Headlights When Asked About Romney's Tax Plan

Sep 30 2012 Published by under Featured News

The Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan was on Fox News showing off his alleged wonk skills again. This time, Chris Wallace asked for “the math” that makes Romney’s secret tax plan work. Ryan replied, “I don’t have the – it would take me too long to go through all of the math.”

Watch here:

WALLACE: You haven’t given me the math.

(Ryan looks like deer in headlights.)

RYAN: I don’t have the … It would take me too long to go through all of the math

(Ryan regaining composure, sniffs a shot of courage through his nose for the Big Lie.)

RYAN: But let me say it this way. You can lower tax rates 20 percent across the board by closing loopholes and still have preferences for the middle class for things like charitable deductions, home purchases, for health care. What we’re saying is people are going to get lower tax rates and therefore they will not send as much money to Washington.

Of course, this is not true. “The Tax Policy Center (TPC), a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, examined Mr. Romney’s claim and found that, even if every loophole for the top brackets were closed, there wouldn’t be enough revenue. The middle class would have to pay more.”

But you already suspect that because any time someone won’t tell you the specifics but they keep promising that they can make magic happen, you have to wonder. Plus, this is the party of the unpaid for Bush tax cuts. You’d think if anyone felt obligated to explain how they weren’t repeating that fiscal failure, it would be an alleged Republican wonk. But no.

Trust us.

The Romney Ryan campaign has been “rebooting” this week with promises of specifics, only they haven’t managed to actually get specific on anything other than Lyme disease, and even that they got wrong.

Ryan is promising the American people that the non-partisan tax analysts are wrong about the Romney plan raising taxes on the middle class, but he won’t tell you why or how. He says he doesn’t have the – blank. The what? The numbers? The information? What are the odds that they haven’t even decided what deductions they’re going to cut yet? What are the odds that just like Ryan’s budget, this one doesn’t add up, and worse yet, they don’t care?

Just last week, Romney inadvertently told Ohioans the truth in an attempt to get specific that they shouldn’t “be expecting a huge cut in taxes because I’m also going to lower deductions and exemptions.” That didn’t go over well, so the Romney campaign immediately sent Paul Ryan onto Fox for some damage control.

Ryan’s magic damage control was to tell Fox viewers that Romney’s tax plan would be revenue neutral by getting rid of tax-shelters while cutting taxes for the middle class.

Right. So, see, that’s why they won’t tell you – it’s because you would LIKE IT, and they are working very hard on losing this election. Capiche?

The truth is – and I’m getting really tired of repeating these facts that even conservatives agree on, but Romney and Ryan refuse to acknowledge — Romney’s plan will raise taxes on the middle class by cutting deductions like mortgage interest, children, and charitable contributions. If you have kids, expect an average of a $2,000 a year raise in your taxes under Romney.

We all remember Paul Ryan falling apart when asked to explain the tax cuts for the rich in the Romney budget:

STEPHANOPOULOS: — many say it’s difficult –
RYAN: Go ahead, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: — to accept your word if you’re not going to specify which tax loopholes you’re willing to close. Don’t voters have a right to know which loopholes you’re going to go after?
RYAN: So Mitt Romney and I, based on our experience, think the best way to do this is to show the framework, show the outlines of these plans, and then to work with Congress to do this. That’s how you get things done. The other thing, George, is-
STEPHANOPOULOS: Isn’t that a secret plan?
RYAN: — we don’t want to — no, no. No, no. What we don’t want is a secret plan.

So, how are they going to not give you a secret plan? By giving you a secret plan!

Now, instead of telling you what you don’t want to hear, Paul Ryan is just gonna lie to you, and hope you promise to believe like all of the good Fox soldiers. He won’t give you the numbers because he doesn’t have time in this entire election season to give them to you. He is very, very busy reading Ayn Rand’s characters’ speeches about monetary policy. And anyway, didn’t you hear that if you throw enough words at people and pepper them with Reagan and tax cuts and growth, they won’t care what you’re actually saying, if indeed you are saying anything at all?

Paul Ryan might as well be Sarah Palin. He uses the English language with slightly more confidence, but if he thinks he’s fooling everyone with his high-handed wonk tone, he’s wrong. Behind the arrogant presumption that you just wouldn’t understand and he doesn’t have the time is a lost boy who can’t do the math and doesn’t even care to do the math because it’s not about a balanced budget for him or for Romney. It’s about selling a failed ideology at any cost.

According to non partisan tax analysts, the Secret Romney tax plan lowers taxes on the rich on the backs of the poor and middle class.

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Protect Your Vote: What You Need to Know to Vote in Ohio

Sep 30 2012 Published by under Featured News

As Jon Husted attempts to argue before Ohio’s courts that restrictions on early voting somehow serves the public interest, it’s time for voters in Ohio to do what they can to protect their right to vote. Ohio has a voter ID law, which Jon Husted believes isn’t strict enough.

If you are part of the sane America who believes in our constitution, including the right to vote, you may want to vote in this election and be sure that it counts.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice 11% of eligible voters do not have government issued ID’s. The elderly, racial minorities, people with disabilities and the working poor are disproportionately affected by the ALEC sponsored new ID requirements that have become law in many states. The reason these are ID laws can suppress the vote is noted by Brennan Center for Justice:

Many citizens find it hard to get government photo IDs, because the underlying documentation like birth certificates (the ID one needs to get ID) is often difficult or expensive to come by. At the same time, voter ID policies are far more costly to implement than many assume.

Under the current law, which Husted doesn’t think is strict enough, eligible voters must present ID that proves residency. So you must be sure that you have the legally mandate ID with you when you go to the polls.  (See list of accepted ID below.)

It is also important to confirm that you are registered and that the information is current.  You can do that at the Secretary of State’s website, here.
In order to check your registration information, you will need to provide:

  1. You first and last name and your middle initial.
  2. Your address (house number and street)
  3. Zipcode
  4. County

You also need to make sure you have a valid ID that includes your current address.

If you are not registered, you will need to get it done now.  The deadline for registering to vote in Ohio is 30 days prior to the election.

You can download a voter registration form here.

You can also register on-line at the Secretary of State’s website here.

Finally, you can register in person.  According to the site, votesmart.org, you can register in person at the following locations:

-Any county board of elections;
-The Ohio Secretary of State’s office;
-BMV or Deputy Registrars;
-Any county treasurer’s office
-Any public high school or vocational school;
-Any public library;
-Office of designated agencies, including:
-The Department of Job and Family Services;
-The Department of Health (including the Women, Infants and Children(WIC) program);
-The Department of Mental Health;
-The Department of Developmental Disabilities;
-The Rehabilitation Services Commission; or
-Any state-assisted college or university that provides assistance to disabled students;.

According to the Secretary of State’s website:

“Ohio law requires that every voter, upon appearing at the polling place to vote on Election Day, to announce his or her full name and current address and provide proof of the voter’s identity.”

The acceptable forms of ID in Ohio are:

Original or copy of one of the following:

A current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or a current government check;

A current other government document, other than a voter registration acknowledgement notification mailed by the board of elections, that shows the voter’s name and current address.

A current and valid photo ID issued by Government of Ohio or the Federal Government or a Military ID.

Voters who present an Ohio driver’s license with a previous address will be allowed to vote provided that their current address is on the voter rolls.

Despite Jon Husted’s dogged determination to restrict early and absentee voting, an Ohio Court ordered him to make early voting more accessible than it was under his directive.  Husted has complied   with the order, while simultaneously appealing  for a return to his restrictions on early and absentee voting .

At least for now, early voting which starts on October 2nd, will occur during the dates and hours as set out below.

“Vote in Person before Nov. 6: County election offices statewide will be open during weekday hours set by Husted as follows:

• 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 2-Oct. 5, Oct. 10-Oct. 12 and Oct. 15-Oct. 19.

• 8 a.m.-9 p.m. on Oct. 9 (the deadline to register to vote).

• 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 22-Oct. 26 and Oct. 29-Nov. 1.

• 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 2.

Husted was ordered by the court to allow early polls to open on the Saturday, Sunday and Money before Election Day.

Last, but not least, make sure you know your voting place.  You can find that information at the Secretary of State’s website, here.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of making sure that you are registered and that your information is accurate.   If anyone challenges your vote, ask for their ID, and most of all, document the encounter with your cell phone video and audio (provided that it’s legal to do so in your state.)

Help a couple of friends (or more) get registered and confirm that their info is correct.

It’s you’re vote!  Don’t let anyone take it away from you!

Image from Your Caring Angels

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Biblically Clueless Joseph Farah Attacks the Left's Biblical Literacy

Sep 30 2012 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

When I saw that Joey Farah was going to school the left on biblical illiteracy, I knew this was something I’d be writing about. Because if there is one thing you can count on where Farah is concerned, it is that he will be wrong 100 percent of the time.

In other words, if Joey Farah says that the religious left got the Bible wrong, the religious left got the Bible right and Joey Farah has proved his ignorance again.

Joey complains in a WND commentary that Rev. Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners, “in his opposition to free expression of opinion against Islamic jihad,” (in other words, his objections to Pamela Geller’s hateful subway posters) said this in a press release dated Sept. 26:

“The second of the Ten Commandments is ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,'” he was quoted as saying. “It didn’t come with stipulations. It didn’t come with extra addendums, with added qualifiers. Christians around the world need to put that into action as often as we can, especially where we see hatred like this.”

Though he acknowledges that “A spokeswoman for Jim Wallis contacted WND to say the misquoted biblical reference was corrected an hour after initially issued”, Joey let’s his criticism of the religious left stand. He has a few pointers for Wallis and the rest of us biblically un-eddicated libruls. He says:

The second of the Ten Commandments has nothing to do with loving one’s neighbor, as any Sunday School child should be able to tell you. It is “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” (KJV).

Joey complains, “Now, how does a so-called “Christian minister” make a mistake like that? Is it stupidity? Is it deliberate distortion? In fact, the statement Wallis suggested was the second of the Ten Commandments is not to be found in any version of the Ten Commandments.”

Sure it is. It’s in Jesus’ version.

You know, the Son of God guy fundamentalists claim to worship but utterly ignore:

When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gravitated together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second  is like it. ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:34-40).

As Biblical scholar Geza Vermes writes, “We are thus confronted with the kernel of the Jewish religion.” He goes on to point out that according to Matthew, then, verse 40, Jesus’ statement that “On these two commandments..” means that “the whole biblical revelation – the Torah and the prophets – is summed up in those two commandments.”

That’s heady stuff. Two Commandments that sum up the whole of Mosaic Law, as part of what Vermes calls “the culmination of a tendency attempting to reduce the many laws of the Bible into one.” He gives a couple of other examples: Rabbi Simlai in the third century who cut down the 613 precepts of the Torah of Moses “into one imperative: ‘Seek me!’, uttered by God in Amos 5:4” and Jesus’ extra-biblical employment of the Golden Rule (Matt. 7:12; Luke 6:31).[1]

Now Joey doesn’t agree with me on this. He claims that the Pharisee was asking a completely different question.  He says Jesus was just reiterating Leviticus 19:18. But he wasn’t. Leviticus renders all the commandments given to Moses; it’s just a dreary’s accountant’s listing. It doesn’t put “love your neighbor” as second in importance. Ity says nothing about embodying the law in just two short sentences.

Farah has illustrated the Religious Right’s biblical illiteracy by getting it all wrong, as usual. The scribe wasn’t just asking “a different question” as Farah claims.  He was asking what, in Jesus’ view, the most important commandment was. What he got from Jesus was the Law of Moses in two sentences; the entire basis of the Jewish religion, as Vermes puts it.

The scribe, apparently, went away satisfied. Matthew doesn’t tell us differently.

How can Farah miss this? Love God/Love your neighbor. Jesus could have answered No Gods before me/No graven images, but he didn’t. He said to love God, and to love your neighbor. Joey really wants the jealous, not the loving God. But that isn’t what Jesus gave his followers or that Pharisee lawyer. He gave them love.

What is it about this that the right has so many problems with? And that was Wallis’ point: to stress the need to love your neighbor. In this case, your Muslim neighbor. As Wallis wrote in a HuffPo op-ed, “‘Love your neighbor’ wasn’t just a suggestion.”

Jesus was serious about this. He wasn’t being flippant. He didn’t expect a few vague nods and then for people to walk away and forget. He expected people to remember. And they did, at least for a time. Even Paul of Tarsus remembered, citing Jesus words in one of the few examples we have of Paul actually doing so (Gal. 5:14). These words must have been pretty memorable. A stress not on a jealous God wanting his followers to kill all the heathen idolators, but a loving God wanting his followers to love him, but also, to love each other.

We should ask here: what’s so terrible about that?

Wallis’ great sin, and the religious left’s great sin, is not ignorance of the Bible. Their sin is that they are actually willing to hear the words of Jesus. Even “infidels” like Thomas Jefferson appreciated wisdom when he heard it. Wallis’ great sin is to compound that audacity of putting Jesus back into Christianity - where fundamentalism seems to have lost him - with the suggestion that people love Muslims.

For Farah, hung up on the whole jealousy thing, this proposal is as wicked as idolatry. As Farah tendentious puts it, “Apparently, [Wallis] believes criticizing violence, brutality, savagery and barbarism – not to mention false religions – is a violation of the commandment to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”

I would just like to remind Farah here that Jesus didn’t tell you to slap the person who slaps you; he told you to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39): “But I say to you, Do not resist an evil-doer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also.” And Jesus also said to love your enemy.

Joey Farah has shown us that he has a hard time listening to Jesus, a problem all too common with conservative evangelical Christians in these fallen times.

But here is the thing, and this is what Joey doesn’t want you to think about: as I showed here the other day, Geller wasn’t criticizing just violence and brutality and so forth: she was criticizing Arabs and Muslims as a whole by quoting Ayn Rand’s hateful words which did in fact (shame on you, Joey) accuse all Arabs of being savages.

If there is one thing you can count on the Right to leave out, it is the context. Well, and facts…and okay, the truth.

Joey concludes:

Lastly, Wallis is not only turning biblical morality on its head with his confusion of loving one’s neighbor with tolerance of sin, he is also doing something here that is quite un-American. He is attacking the constitutionally protected, God-given, inalienable right of free speech by attacking a judge’s ruling supporting it.

And here is Joey attacking Wallis’ “constitutionally protected, God-given, inalienable right of free speech”. He clearly does not understand how this works. The right to say something does not preclude the right to be offended. If Geller has the right to post her hateful, bigoted message, Wallis has the right to respond. He has the right to be offended. He still has the right to his point of view.

Joey seems to think because a judge ruled in Geller’s favor that Wallis now has no constitutional right to respond.

That’s not true at all. And if that’s the way the Right translates the First Amendment, we’re all in trouble if they get back in control of this country.

“But that’s what we have come to expect from the religious left and Jim Wallis,” Farah laments.

Yes, that’s what you can expect from the religious left and Jim Wallis: a) to remember to include Jesus in Christianity, and b) to stand up for free speech for everybody, not just for fundamentalist Republicans.



[1] Geza Vermes, The Authentic Gospel of Jesus (Penguin, 2003), 188-189, 198.

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The RNC Needs to Demand Money Back from Scandal Ridden Sproul

Sep 29 2012 Published by under Featured News, Republican Party

The Republican Party put on a big show of running away from the election fraud, scandal-ridden Sproul’s voter registration firm Friday, after potentially fraudulent voter registration forms were found in at least ten counties in Florida while at the same time a video of a Sproul employee illegally registering only Republicans supporting Mitt Romney went viral.

Sproul was paid to do voter registration and get out the vote work in Florida, Nevada, Colorado, North Carolina and Virginia. Wisconsin and Ohio haven’t paid his firm yet for work done in those states, according to the LA Times. The Nation points out that “Although the payments were made by state party committees, its now clear that the Romney campaign and the national GOP coordinated the effort.”

It’s not just that they registered dead people, but they changed addresses for real voters, meaning that those folks might not be able to vote when they show up at the polls. It’s possible election fraud and voter suppression in one; quite the remedy for a party failing desperately in all polls.

Today, we find out that the Colorado Republican Party spent over $400,000 with Sproul for “voter contact”. Colorado GOP Chair Ryan Call told the Denver Post that he has fired Sproul’s company but can’t say for sure how much money they spent on him or how many voters he “registered” because invoices are still out.

Here’s the problem. It’s not as if the Republicans didn’t know that Sproul had a past of shredding Democratic registrations and shady, illegal tactics. In fact, they requested that he change his company name and operate under a shell in order to avoid the appearance of doing business with Sproul yet again.

The LA Times reported that the RNC requested Sproul set up a shell company in order to avoid being linked to his past, proving that they knew about it and still gave him the lucrative contract:

(H)is reputation is such that when Sproul was tapped by the RNC to do field work this year, officials requested that he set up a new firm to avoid being publicly linked to the past allegations, Sproul told The Times. The firm was set up at a Virginia address, and Sproul does not show up on the corporate paperwork.

In an interview Thursday, Sproul blamed the problematic forms in Palm Beach on one individual and said his firm had offered to assist elections officials in identifying the problems in other counties.

Obviously, Sproul was incorrect in his one bad apple claim. His firm is overrun with bad apples, across the country, suggesting that his employees are doing as they are instructed rather than going rogue. So the question is, since the GOP knew about Sproul’s tactics, what did they hire him for?

If they really hired him to do legal voter registration drives, why aren’t they demanding their money back? The Republican National Committee had a 2.9 million dollar contract with Sproul this election season.

If he really went rogue, wouldn’t good business people, as we are told the Republicans are, demand their money back? If they don’t, it can only be because Sproul wasn’t violating the stated or implied contract with his dirty deeds.

Democrats need to demand that the RNC come clean with their Sproul contract, and the DOJ needs to investigate just why a national party would hire a firm known for being accused of illegal tactics, and ask them to operate under a shell. Furthermore, when it came out that yes, he’s still committing election fraud, why aren’t they asking for their money back if he is not doing as they requested?

The RNC is trying to equate their for hire voter registration firm with ACORN, but the problems at ACORN came from employees making up forms in order to get paid. Those forms got rejected internally. That is not the same thing as changing real voters’ addresses. One is an act of greed and another is a deliberate attempt to suppress the vote.

Now we have a truly partisan voter registration firm being accused in multiple states of violating the law, and the Republican Party isn’t asking for their money back? What gives?

The Republican National Committee needs to put its money where its mouth is. If they really didn’t want or expect Sproul to do what he always does, they would be demanding that he give their money back; after all, it’s not as if they can afford to pay so much money for services not rendered per their contract. A truly fiscally conservative party would never let millions of their dollars go to waste and fraud.


Additional sources: U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General. “An Investigation into the Removal of Nine U.S. Attorneys in 2006, pp. 156-167, 190”

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