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Archive for the ‘2012_Election’ tag

Mitt Romney Feared Chris Christie’s Baggage

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Lobby Horse
Lobby Horse

Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign seriously considered adding Chris Christie, the NJ GOP governor as vice president, but didn’t mostly because Romney doesn’t care for fatties – Pufferfish was the code word for Christie, as example – and because there was a lot of potential baggage in Christie’s history. Amused that some back stabbers in the Romney campaign team have released all this opposition research on Chris Christie to Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, prior to Christie’s announcement that he is running for the 2016 ticket. I’d guess these staffers won’t be running Christie’s campaign…

The list of questions Myers and her team had for Christie was extensive and troubling. More than once, Myers reported back that Trenton’s response was, in effect, Why do we need to give you that piece of information? Myers told her team, We have to assume if they’re not answering, it’s because the answer is bad.

The vetters were stunned by the garish controversies lurking in the shadows of his record. There was a 2010 Department of Justice inspector general’s investigation of Christie’s spending patterns in his job prior to the governorship, which criticized him for being “the U.S. attorney who most often exceeded the government [travel expense] rate without adequate justification” and for offering “insufficient, inaccurate, or no justification” for stays at swank hotels like the Four Seasons. There was the fact that Christie worked as a lobbyist on behalf of the Securities Industry Association at a time when Bernie Madoff was a senior SIA official—and sought an exemption from New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act. There was Christie’s decision to steer hefty government contracts to donors and political allies like former Attorney General John Ashcroft, which sparked a congressional hearing. There was a defamation lawsuit brought against Christie arising out of his successful 1994 run to oust an incumbent in a local Garden State race. Then there was Todd Christie, the Governor’s brother, who in 2008 agreed to a settlement of civil charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission in which he acknowledged making “hundreds of trades in which customers had been systematically overcharged.” (Todd also oversaw a family foundation whose activities and purpose raised eyebrows among the vetters.) And all that was on top of a litany of glaring matters that sparked concern on Myers’ team: Christie’s other lobbying clients, his investments overseas, the YouTube clips that helped make him a star but might call into doubt his presidential temperament, and the status of his health.

Ted Newton, managing Project Goldfish under Myers, had come into the vet liking Christie for his brashness and straight talk. Now, surveying the sum and substance of what the team was finding, Newton told his colleagues, If Christie had been in the nomination fight against us, we would have destroyed him—he wouldn’t be able to run for governor again. When you look below the surface, Newton said, it’s not pretty

.…

Four nights later, on July 19, Myers’ team put the finishing touches on the Pufferfish vetting dossier. Included was a DVD with some of Christie’s most outlandish or unnerving YouTube hits: his castigating a pro-gay-marriage New Jersey assemblyman as “numb nuts,” his angrily berating a constituent while chasing him down the Seaside Heights boardwalk, brandishing an ice cream cone. But the main event was the 35-page written report titled “Chris Christie memo 71912 FINAL.”

After 11 days of teeth-gnashing labor, several of the issues that the vetters had unearthed around Christie were still unresolved. Myers and her team were sticklers. Uncomfortable producing a final report they considered incomplete, they made a point of being meticulous about framing and flagging the problems, including a refrain in bold applied to a number of items.

On Todd Christie’s securities-fraud settlement: “[Governor] Christie has been asked to disclose whether Todd Christie incurred any monetary or other penalty as a result of the SEC/NYSE action. If Christie’s possible selection is to move forward, this item should be obtained.” On Christie’s defamation lawsuit: “Christie has been asked to provide the terms of the settlement of this matter. If Christie’s possible selection is to move forward, this item should be obtained.” On Christie’s household help: “Christie has been asked to provide the names and documented status of all domestic employees. This material has not been received. If Christie’s possible selection is to move forward, these items should be obtained.” On Christie’s lobbying clients: “Christie has provided only one of the twelve or so [public disclosure] filings made [in the time he was a lobbyist] … If Christie’s possible selection is to move forward, these items should be obtained.

Then there was this: “In response to the questionnaire, Governor Christie indicates that he has no health issues that would hinder him from serving as the vice-presidential nominee. Published reports indicate that Christie suffers from asthma and was briefly hospitalized last year after he suffered an asthma attack. He is also obese and has indicated that he struggles with his weight. ‘The weight exacerbates everything,’ he is quoted as saying. Christie has been asked to provide a detailed medical report. Christie has been asked to provide a copy of all medical records from his most recent physical examination. If Christie’s possible selection is to move forward, this item should be obtained.

(click here to continue reading Double Down Excerpt: Mitt Romney Feared Chris Christie’s Baggage | TIME.com.)

Written by Seth Anderson

November 3rd, 2013 at 6:36 am

Did Anonymous stop Karl Rove from Stealing Ohio Like What Happened in 2004?

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A conspiracy theory you might enjoy: did Anonymous thwart Turdblossom from subverting democracy? If so, they should get a Congressional Medal of Freedom, or a Nobel Prize, or something. Free beer? Something. Anonymous should also publish their findings so that Karl Rove gets that jail term he so deserves…

Thom Hartmann discusses an article that says the hacker group, Anonymous may have been involved in stopping GOP mastermind Karl Rove from stealing the election in Ohio this year.

The letter itself is currently at Scribd (as PDF), read it yourself

John Kerry at Austin Bergstrom Airport
John Kerry at Austin Bergstrom Airport

via Crooks and Liars
who add:

I’m especially interested in 2004. Remember when all the corporate media people were chiding bloggers, who reported the exit poll info, for leaking inaccurate raw data? What I remember that the exit polls were only off in a few counties. Gee, I wonder why?

The other thing I’ve always wondered is why John Kerry collected donations for his legal fund, swearing he would fight for every last vote — and then didn’t. I guess we’ll never know.

Written by Seth Anderson

November 19th, 2012 at 4:43 pm

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The Election 2012 is Over

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Finally, the never ending 2012 election is over, and the anti-American GOP lost. Whew. Take a deep breath, and let’s start speculating who will run in 2016! Kidding, sorta…

Thank You For Voting
Thank You For Voting

Electoral College prediction

Electoral College prediction

(double click to embiggen)

I did pretty good guessing which state’s electoral votes would go to President Obama – the only state I guessed incorrectly was North Carolina, and that was an optimistic guess that I didn’t really expect to happen. In the official count, as of this exact moment, Florida is not declared, so either there is going to be a recount, or they are just taking their sweet time. From the reported votes, Romney lost Florida too.

Actual Electoral College Results 2012

Actual Electoral College Results 2012

(double click to embiggen)

The New York Times reports that with 100% of Florida counted, the totals are:

  • Barack Obama Dem. 4,129,502 49.8%
  • Mitt Romney Rep. 4,083,441 49.3%

No matter, President Obama won…

Truth and Mister Rogers

Written by Seth Anderson

November 7th, 2012 at 11:21 am

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Social Security and the 2011 VP Debate

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Forget-me-not Social Security
Forget-me-not Social Security

One other point on the VP debate, beyond Paul Ryan’s disturbing call for a theocracy, is that Social Security is not going broke. No matter how many times the beltway press claims it is, no matter how many times the political party that wants to privatize Social Security claims it, no matter how many times the other party which isn’t that enthusiastic a supporter of social welfare agrees: Social Security isn’t about to go broke. It just isn’t.

But it’s domestic policy where Raddatz, like Lehrer, blew it. She started by asking about unemployment, which is at least a gesture at the enormous suffering in the country right now. That set off minutes and minutes of rambling, all of which was boilerplate (though the stuff on the green stimulus was interesting, mostly because Ryan lied his ass off).

Then it was straight to “entitlements,” which, in case you weren’t aware of the Beltway CW, Raddatz introduced by saying, “Both Medicare and Social Security are going broke.” That is just absolutely, empirically false. Medicare is fine out to 2024 and easily fixable after that (it’s medical costs, not Medicare, that are the real problem). And Social Security quite literally cannot go broke. It too can be kept solvent for many decades with small tweaks. Neither is a problem until a decade from now.

Of all the requirements for a debate moderators, surely the very minimum is that he or she not introduce factual errors into the discussion. No?

And then it was on to taxes and the defense budget. I kept thinking, “This is exactly the stuff we went over the other night in the presidential debate! Where are immigration, education, innovation, housing, LGBT issues? Where is energy? Where is, God forbid, climate change?”

(click here to continue reading Questions at VP debate reveal bankrupt Beltway thinking | Grist.)

In honor of Tax Day
In honor of Tax Day

more on the fallacy from John Harvey, of Forbes, no less:

It is a logical impossibility for Social Security to go bankrupt. We can voluntarily choose to suspend or eliminate the program, but it could never fail because it “ran out of money.” This belief is the result of a common error: conceptualizing Social Security from the micro (individual) rather than the macro (economy-wide) perspective. It’s not a pension fund into which you put your money when you are young and from which you draw when you are old. It’s an immediate transfer from workers today to retirees today. That’s what it has always been and that’s what it has to be–there is no other possible way for it to work.

The most obvious and straightforward means is this: set a tax of 30% on the salaries of existing workers and give it directly to the retirees–right now, today, immediately. Have the money come straight out of your paycheck and right into your grandmother’s bank account. This accomplishes the goal neatly and directly–and it’s exactly what we do in real life. This is how Social Security actually operates. As you can see, this needs no prior financing or savings, nor would that appear to be particularly helpful. At the national level, maintaining a class of retirees (whether via Social Security or private pensions) means redistributing existing output, not putting money under your mattress. Although you can run out of money for retirement, we, as a nation, cannot.

What, then, you may ask, is the Social Security Trust Fund, the pool of money that people say will dry up and make it impossible for anyone to receive their Social Security payments? It is the surplus that resulted from having collected more in taxes than was necessary to pay out to retirees. Let me say that again: it is how much existing workers were overtaxed relative to the need to pay retirees in the past. It was never the source of the money we’ve been paying to Social Security recipients all these years. Strictly speaking, it’s completely unnecessary if we are able to precisely and continuously match tax revenues and pay outs.

(click here to continue reading Why Social Security Cannot Go Bankrupt – Forbes.)

Spare Change
Spare Change

Too bad this simple point is not repeated often by those who should know better. In fact, the only politician who I’ve heard correct this error forcefully has been Bernie Sanders, and he isn’t a Democrat or Republican…

Written by Seth Anderson

October 13th, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Romney’s Sick Joke

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Earlier…

So, about that sick joke: What Mr. Romney actually proposes is that Americans with pre-existing conditions who already have health coverage be allowed to keep that coverage even if they lose their job — as long as they keep paying the premiums. As it happens, this is already the law of the land. But it’s not what anyone in real life means by having a health plan that covers pre-existing conditions, because it applies only to those who manage to land a job with health insurance in the first place (and are able to maintain their payments despite losing that job). Did I mention that the number of jobs that come with health insurance has been steadily declining over the past decade?
What Mr. Romney did in the debate, in other words, was, at best, to play a word game with voters, pretending to offer something substantive for the uninsured while actually offering nothing. For all practical purposes, he simply lied about what his policy proposals would do.

Via:
Romney’s Sick Joke – NYTimes.com
[automated]

 

Written by eggplant

October 5th, 2012 at 2:33 pm

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Post-Debate Analysis: Mitt Romney Lied. And Wants to Kill Big Bird | Crooks and Liars

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I read…

As I watched Romney tonight, I saw the guy who made those completely candid 47 percent remarks. …but I didn’t find him pleasant or especially appealing. I found him to be exactly like that dude talking to billionaires about people being victims and dependent on government before sitting down to the cheesecake dessert with his fellow billionaires.

I thought President Obama could have done better, for sure. He missed some key opportunities to be sharper about Obamacare, …
In the end, people are going to remember that Mitt’s down with killing off Big Bird and PBS so he can do his Mitt magic with numbers that just don’t add up, no matter how it’s spun.

Jim Lehrer kept saying the point of this debate was to define their differences. Unfortunately, the biggest difference didn’t come through: one was telling the truth and one wasn’t.

In the end, Big Bird’s life still hangs in the balance, and im Lehrer should never, ever be allowed to moderate anything even resembling a debate ever again

Via:
Post-Debate Analysis: Mitt Romney Lied. And Wants to Kill Big Bird | Crooks and Liars

Shit Just Got Real

Shit Just Got Real

Written by eggplant

October 4th, 2012 at 4:54 pm

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Factchecking the first presidential debate – The Washington Post

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I thought this article was worth reading, especially this part…

The math does not add up for this statement that Romney directed at Obama.
The president’s 2013 budget called for elimination of tax breaks for oil subsidies, which the White House estimated at $4 billion per year. Dividing $90 billion — the federal money that Romney claims went toward clean energy — by $4 billion in breaks for the oil industry amounts to 22.5 years, not 50 years.
It’s also worth noting that the $90 billion was not “breaks,” but a combination of loans, loan guarantees and grants through the stimulus program, and they were spread out over several years rather than one, as Romney claimed.
Furthermore, not all of the money went to the “green energy world.” About $23 billion went toward “clean coal,” energy-efficiency upgrades, updating the electricity grid and environmental clean-up, largely for old nuclear weapons sites.

Via:
Factchecking the first presidential debate – The Washington Post

Written by eggplant

October 4th, 2012 at 8:33 am

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Hullabaloo

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I thought this article was worth reading, especially this part…

It may be that Romney was trying to shake the etch-a-sketch starting tonight, or it may be that he was trying to win over the undecided voter who pays little attention to news except to watch one or two debates. If the latter, then it won’t matter to him how much fact checkers rip apart his statements …

But the Obama campaign may see fit in the coming weeks to put Romney’s sudden pretenses at being a moderate tonight alongside his actual speeches and statements from no more than a few days ago. That will have the effect of reinforcing Romney’s image as an ambitious used car salesman who will say anything to get elected. And that will hurt him as voters go to the polls.

In the end, Mitt Romney sacrificed his long-term standing in order to try to fool undecided voters in the immediacy and win a news cycle. And he still didn’t win enough voters in the news cycle to make even that short-term strategy successful.

Via:
Hullabaloo

Written by eggplant

October 4th, 2012 at 8:20 am

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The Real Referendum – NYTimes.com

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Yet there is a sense in which the election is indeed a referendum, but of a different kind. Voters are, in effect, being asked to deliver a verdict on the legacy of the New Deal and the Great Society, on Social Security, Medicare and, yes, Obamacare, which represents an extension of that legacy. Will they vote for politicians who want to replace Medicare with Vouchercare, who denounce Social Security as “collectivist” (as Paul Ryan once did), who dismiss those who turn to social insurance programs as people unwilling to take responsibility for their lives?

If the polls are any indication, the result of that referendum will be a clear reassertion of support for the safety net, and a clear rejection of politicians who want to return us to the Gilded Age. But here’s the question: Will that election result be honored?

Via:
The Real Referendum – NYTimes.com

Written by eggplant

October 1st, 2012 at 6:17 pm

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TV Stations Accept Political Ad Cash — and Leave Viewers in the Dark | Free Press

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Media analysts project that campaigns, Super PACs and “social welfare” groups will spend a record-breaking $3.3 billion on political ads by Election Day.


And let’s consider these stations — are they offering any local news coverage to debunk the lies in these ads? Are they exposing the deep-pocketed interests behind the groups buying ad time?

…Free Press took a deeper look at local news coverage in five of the cities — Charlotte, Cleveland, Las Vegas, Milwaukee and Tampa — where ad spending has been highest.

We inspected the political files of stations in these markets, identified the groups most actively placing political ads and pored over hundreds of hours of local news transcripts. In all five of these markets, we found that local newscasts were lacking when it came to covering the ads that dominated their stations.

In other words, they provided no local stories exposing the special interests behind these ads, and only one station among the 20 surveyed devoted eve

Via:
TV Stations Accept Political Ad Cash — and Leave Viewers in the Dark | Free Press

Written by eggplant

September 29th, 2012 at 11:31 am

Let Detroit Go Bankrupt – By Mitt Romney

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Let Detroit Go Bankrupt – by Mitt Romney. Read it yourself and see if Smirky McSmirkenson actually can claim credit for GM, Ford, et al not being bankrupt. (Answer, he cannot, at least with a straight face).

Paul Krugman noted at the same time:

If the economy as a whole were in reasonably good shape and the credit markets were functioning, Chapter 11 would be the way to go. Under current circumstances, however, a default by GM would probably mean loss of ability to pay suppliers, which would mean liquidation — and that, in turn, would mean wiping out probably well over a million jobs at the worst possible moment.

and yet, Obama is having a hard-sell convincing folks in states impacted by the bailout to vote for him.

Ohio and Missouri are traditionally important swing states. But in St. Charles County, where Wentzville is, it’s not Mr. Obama but his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, who is predicted to win by a large margin. In heavily Democratic Lordstown, Mr. Obama is expected to prevail, but Mr. Romney is likely to carry two neighboring counties that also benefit from G.M.’s success.

“That’s surprising,” John Weaver, a political consultant and former John McCain adviser, told me this week. “I think especially with swing voters, they look at the auto industry and they see that government did work for them. It’s not just Wall Street that got help. It worked in a practical way in an industry that’s important to their state.” (Mr. Weaver isn’t working on the Romney campaign.)

I spoke this week with residents of both towns, and no one disputed that, from their perspective, the G.M. rescue has been a success.

“G.M. has been the catalyst for everything,” Wentzville’s mayor, Nick Guccione, told me. “They’ve already hired about 700 people, and they’re talking about bringing in over a thousand new jobs. And these are real jobs, with real wages. G.M. has brought in 1,300 construction workers for the new plant. We’re told that for every job they bring in, that creates five more jobs. It’s made Wentzville a more vibrant community. People can work, play, spend, shop.”

(click here to continue reading In Towns Helped by Obama’s GM Bail, Support for Romney)

Written by Seth Anderson

September 15th, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Why Romney’s Vileness Matters

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You Might Be Right
You Might Be Right

Paul Krugman makes a good point that bears repeating, namely that GWB was treated with deference by the corporate media in 2000, and it was one of the factors that cost Al Gore the election. Luckily, Willard is a lot less likable than the Shrub…

I’ve seen some comparisons between Mitt Romney’s position right now and that of George W. Bush after the Democratic convention in 2000, and by the numbers there is some resemblance. But what really happened in the final months of that election? The answer — not a popular one with journalists, but very obviously true to anyone who lived through it — was that the press took sides. Reporters liked Bush and didn’t like Gore, and as a result they treated Bush with kid gloves while gleefully passing on every smear against his opponent (“Gore says he invented the internet!” No, he never did).

That probably wasn’t going to happen this time in any case. But now Romney has really ensured that everyone in the news media, the GOP propaganda organs aside, is going to view him with distaste and alarm — as well they should.

Romney could still win, but he has just made it even harder for anyone to consider him suitable for the job.

(click here to continue reading Why The Vileness Matters – NYTimes.com.)

John Aravosis of AmericaBlog collected a brief sampling of some of the newspaper editorial board responses:

Editorial boards savage Romney over Egypt/Libya

(click here to continue reading US Politics | AMERICAblog News: Editorial boards savage Romney over Egypt/Libya.)

Written by Seth Anderson

September 13th, 2012 at 2:35 pm

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Mitt’s Major Meltdown

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A Moment of Peace
A Moment of Peace

Team Romney is more interested in scoring political points than reverence for the dead, or even getting the facts correct. Not to worry, Romney’s family will probably baptize Ambassador Christopher Stevens into the Mormon faith posthumously.

A damning fact check from AP: The gunfire at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, had barely ceased when Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney seriously mischaracterized what had happened in a statement accusing President Barack Obama of “disgraceful” handling of violence there and at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

“The Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks,” Romney said in a statement first emailed to reporters at 10:09 p.m. Eastern time, under the condition it not be published until midnight.

In fact, neither a statement by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo earlier in the day nor a later statement from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton offered sympathy for attackers. The statement from the Cairo Embassy had condemned anti-Muslim religious incitement before the embassy walls were breached. In her statement, issued minutes before Romney’s, Clinton had offered the administration’s first response to the violence in Libya, explicitly condemning the attack there and confirming the death of a State Department official.

(click here to continue reading US Politics | AMERICAblog News: AP: Romney lied, as advisers saw Libya/Egypt violence as “opportunity”.)

Pumpkin Head
Pumpkin Head

Gail Collins is worried about Mitt – he does seem a bit unstable. He might be a borderline General Jack D. Ripper type.

Virtually nobody seemed to think this was all that great a plan. The Romney campaign, according to CNN, helpfully passed out suggestions for supporters who might want to defend Mitt. (When asked whether he was too quick on the attack, loyalists were supposed to say: “No. It is never too soon to stand up for American values and interests.”)

But not all that many other Republicans seemed excited about joining in. A few social conservatives did unveil a hitherto-unnoticed passion for the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom to make fun of religion. “It was disheartening to hear the administration condemn Americans engaging in free speech that hurt the feelings of Muslims,” said Senator Jim DeMint.

And, let’s see, who else. Donald Rumsfeld tweeted support. Party chairman Reince Priebus chimed in: “Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic.” Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona said the embassy’s comment “is like the judge telling the woman that got raped, ‘You asked for it because of the way you dressed.’ That’s the same thing.”

On this side: Mitt Romney, a totally disgraced former secretary of defense, a person named Reince Priebus, and a new Republican rape comment.

Two months to go and we’re rethinking our presumption that the Republican primary voters picked the most stable option.

(click here to continue reading Mitt’s Major Meltdown – NYTimes.com.)

Indistinct Memories
Indistinct Memories

from the American Prospect:

“Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later.”

—President Obama to CBS News

Democrats were—obviously—outraged by Romney’s response to the crisis in Libya. But (some) Republicans have been quite miffed by their presidential candidate too.

  • Former Reagan speechwriter and eternally opinionated Peggy Noonan said, “In times of great drama and heightened crisis … I always think discretion is the way to go.”
  • Former ambassador Jon Huntsman said, “This is above all a reminder that politics should end at the waters’ edge.”
  • Indiana Senator Dick Lugar said, “I’m not going to make any comment about the political. None.”
  • Some Republicans did echo Romney’s words, like Representative Howard “Buck” McKeon: “Again and again under President Obama we have met threats and thugs with apologies and concessions.”
  • …[Sarah Palin said something stupid about wanting to see Obama’s penis]
  • Most Republicans stayed above the fray, though. Vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan knew what to say: “The attacks on our diplomatic missions in Egypt and Libya … this is outrageous. Our hearts are heavy. And our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”
  • Senators McCain, Lieberman, and Graham released a joint statement saying, “We cannot give in to the temptation to believe that our support for the democratic aspirations of people in Libya, Egypt, and elsewhere in the broader Middle East is naive or mistaken.”

(click here to continue reading Reckless Romney.)

Puh-Leeza
Puh-Leeza

and David Atkins notes:

What’s received less press is this tweet from RNC Chairman Reince Priebus:

Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic.

That’s the actual, nominal head of the Republican Party speaking, not some radio shock jock.

There is politics. There are lies, exaggerations and half-truths aplenty in politics. But then there are times when playing this sort of mendacious politics is even more offensive than usual. The death of a U.S. Ambassador is one of those times.

But this this is who they are, and what the official Republican discourse has been reduced to. It’s time the press started reporting the callous, lying extremism of the mainstream Republican Party for what it is.

(click here to continue reading Hullabaloo.)

Written by Seth Anderson

September 12th, 2012 at 10:01 pm

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Obstruct and Exploit

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Renewed Threats

Renewed Threats

Paul Krugman on the GOP plan for defeating Obama, and America, for good measure:

The most important consequence of that stonewalling, I’d argue, has been the failure to extend much-needed aid to state and local governments. Lacking that aid, these governments have been forced to lay off hundreds of thousands of schoolteachers and other workers, and those layoffs are a major reason the job numbers have been disappointing. Since bottoming out a year after Mr. Obama took office, private-sector employment has risen by 4.6 million; but government employment, which normally rises more or less in line with population growth, has instead fallen by 571,000.

Put it this way: When Republicans took control of the House, they declared that their economic philosophy was “cut and grow” — cut government, and the economy will prosper. And thanks to their scorched-earth tactics, we’ve actually had the cuts they wanted. But the promised growth has failed to materialize — and they want to make that failure Mr. Obama’s fault.

Now, all of this puts the White House in a difficult bind. Making a big deal of Republican obstructionism could all too easily come across as whining. Yet this obstructionism is real, and arguably is the biggest single reason for our ongoing economic weakness.

And what happens if the strategy of obstruct-and-exploit succeeds? Is this the shape of politics to come? If so, America will have gone a long way toward becoming an ungovernable banana republic.

(click here to continue reading Obstruct and Exploit – NYTimes.com.)

Written by Seth Anderson

September 12th, 2012 at 7:53 am

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IRS Interested In Karl Rove SuperPACs

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Abandon All Chairs Ye Who Enter
Abandon All Chairs Ye Who Enter

Karl Rove is not the evil genius mastermind that his bio claims. He makes mistakes too, and his mistakes are often catastrophic. Let’s hope there is some teeth to this investigation. I’m very curious who donates most of Rove’s money…

A new report from Congress’ nonpartisan research arm (11 page PDF) suggests that the Internal Revenue Service won’t have much patience with the argument from groups like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS that the ads it buys shouldn’t be counted as political campaign activity.

The claim that ads attacking candidates aren’t political — as long as they avoid words like “vote” or “elect” — is key to the empire of shadowy non-disclosing political groups that Rove, the Koch Brothers and other major political players have created.

By insisting that most of their budget goes toward “issue advocacy,” rather than influencing elections, these groups exploit a loophole that allows certain non-political groups to keep their donors secret.

The Aug. 30 report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS), first reported by Diane Freda for Bloomberg BNA, reviews IRS rulings on what qualifies as issue advocacy, and strongly indicates that the Rove-style ads wouldn’t be a tough call for the agency — which could revoke an organization’s tax-exempt status.

For instance, a recent $4.2 million Crossroads GPS ad buy attacked four Democratic Senate candidates, using the figleaf of calling on them to do such things as repeal health care or “cut the debt” — as if there was imminent action about to be taken on the Hill.

The CRS report notes, however, that “when there is no pending legislative vote or other non-electoral activity, the IRS rulings suggest it can be difficult for an ad to avoid being classified as campaign activity.”

Crossroads GPS publicly released its 2010 and 2011 tax filings in April, claiming tax-exempt status as a social welfare group under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code.

But the IRS has not yet approved its status. Should the IRS conclude that the group is primarily political in nature, the results could be politically explosive. Tax experts tell The Huffington Post that political groups that don’t disclose their donations and expenditures to the IRS are subject to a 35 percent penalty on all donations that should have been disclosed but weren’t and another 35 percent for the expenditure of that donation.

So a reclassified group could be on the hook for a 70 percent tax bill — and might have to disclose its donors, to boot.

(click here to continue reading Karl Rove’s Donor Plan Could Run Afoul Of IRS, Congressional Report Suggests.)

There is no excuse for these political hacks claiming non-profit status, it is a mockery of the tax code for “social welfare” organizations.

Written by Seth Anderson

September 1st, 2012 at 8:55 am

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