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Archive for the ‘2012_Election’ tag

Matt Wuerker: Scurrilous Ruffians!!

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Scurrilous Ruffians by MattWuerker

Scurrilous Ruffians!! by MattWuerker.jpg

(click here to continue reading Daily Kos: Scurrilous Ruffians!!.)

Truth. Willard being shocked that a Democrat might use the same tactics that the GOP has been using, without pause, since Lee Atwater whispered in Ronald Reagan’s ear is one of the funniest things about the 2012 election. Especially since the oh-so mean things that are making Willard cry are not very vicious by Tea Bagger standards. 

Can't See the Couch For the Forest
Can’t See the Couch For the Forest

Kos has more:

Bullies don’t like it when their targets punch back, which is why the GOP is apoplectic right now. I mean, their reaction to Biden’s “chains” thing is comically hysterical. And Mitt Romney is genuinely unhinged. I’m not sure why Republicans think that crying and whining about the big bad meanie Democrats is such a political winner. It never worked when Democrats tried it (just ask John Kerry).

Of course, the media punditry getting the vapors was nowhere to be found when Romney systematically mowed down his primary opposition. Or, for that matter, for decades of GOP smear campaigning. It wasn’t the media who called out Lee Atwater for his “naked cruelty” against Michael Dukakis in 1988. It was Lee Atwater himself.

But let them kvetch on their fainting couches. We finally have Democrats who have learned from a long line of Republican no-holds-barred strategists—from Atwater to Karl Rove. And if there’s one thing that bullies hate most, it’s being on the receiving end of their own tactics.

(click here to continue reading Daily Kos: Democrats fight back, Republicans and their media friends get the vapors.)

Written by Seth Anderson

August 16th, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Posted in politics

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Romney Ryan: The Real Target

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Romney Ryan Rolls Royce Hood
Romney Ryan Rolls Royce Hood

Paul Krugman is not fooled by Paul Ryan, nor Willard’s cynical choice in selecting Ryan as VP candidate…

The trouble, of course, is that it’s really really hard to find any actual conservative politicians who deserve that praise. Ryan, with his flaky numbers (and actually very hard-line stance on social issues), certainly doesn’t. But a large part of the commentariat decided early on that they were going to cast Ryan in the role of Serious Honest Conservative, and have been very unwilling to reconsider that casting call in the light of evidence.

So that’s the constituency Romney is targeting: not a large segment of the electorate, but a few hundred at most editors, reporters, programmers, and pundits. His hope is that Ryan’s unjustified reputation for honest wonkery will transfer to the ticket as a whole.

So, a memo to the news media: you have now become players in this campaign, not just reporters. Mitt Romney isn’t seeking a debate on the issues; on the contrary, he’s betting that your gullibility and vanity will let him avoid a debate on the issues, including the issue of his own fitness for the presidency. I guess we’ll see if it works.

(click here to continue reading Romney/Ryan: The Real Target – NYTimes.com.)

I guess we will. Early returns show mixed results: there are plenty of soft, substance-less pieces on Ryan, but there are plenty of discussions of Ryan’s plan to shred the safety net, privatize Social Security and demolish Medicare as well. 

Everybody Is Going to Make It This Time
Everybody Is Going to Make It This Time

Kos has more in this vein:

Yet rather than earn him some breathing room in the campaign and a nice honeymoon, the reception has been cold at best. Sure, there’s been a smattering of puff pieces about Ryan’s body fat composition, but the coverage has been more focused on the facts that Romney has moved to the Right rather than the center, that he had to pacify an increasingly hostile base, that Ryan endangers GOP advantages with seniors, that his presence on the ticket is a nightmare for downballot Republicans, and that his budget gives Democrats a treasure trove of material with which to attack.

Indeed, in the last several days, half the questions Romney has gotten have been along the lines of, “Where, exactly, do you disagree with the Ryan budget?”

Romney is on the breaking point. He’s already had to cancel campaign appearances (though not fundraisers!) because of exhaustion. He’s used to being surrounded by yes-men who tell him he’s wonderful. Now that Obama fellow (and even critics on his own side) has the temerity to talk about him!

Romney whines: The president’s campaign has put out a campaign that’s talking about me and attacking me. I think it’s just demeaning to the nature of the process, particularly when we face the kinds of challenges we face.

It’s so demeaning to elections to have candidates talk about each other! Of course, it wasn’t demeaning when Romney accused Obama of not being American. That part was as perfectly all right as was insulting the British prime minister, the cookies at a campaign stop, and the ponchos worn by NASCAR fans. That’s just Mitt being Mitt (IOW, a dick). But to have other people talk about you? That can’t stand!

(click here to continue reading Daily Kos: This is what panic looks like.)

Some Things Shouldn't Change
Some Things Shouldn’t Change

More Dr. Krugman:

even Jacob Weisberg apologized for his initial praise, admitting that

I reacted too quickly and didn’t sort out just how laughable Ryan’s long-term spending projections were. His plan projects an absurd future, according to the Congressional Budget Office, in which all discretionary spending, now around 12 percent of GDP, shrinks to 3 percent of GDP by 2050. Defense spending alone was 4.7 percent of GDP in 2009. With numbers like that, Ryan is more an anarchist-libertarian than honest conservative.

Look, Ryan hasn’t “crunched the numbers”; he has just scribbled some stuff down, without checking at all to see if it makes sense. He asserts that he can cut taxes without net loss of revenue by closing unspecified loopholes; he asserts that he can cut discretionary spending to levels not seen since Calvin Coolidge, without saying how; he asserts that he can convert Medicare to a voucher system, with much lower spending than now projected, without even a hint of how this is supposed to work. This is just a fantasy, not a serious policy proposal.

So why does Saletan believe otherwise? Has he crunched the numbers himself? Of course not. What he’s doing – and what the whole Beltway media crowd has done – is to slot Ryan into a role someone is supposed to be playing in their political play, that of the thoughtful, serious conservative wonk. In reality, Ryan is nothing like that; he’s a hard-core conservative, with a voting record as far right as Michelle Bachman’s, who has shown no competence at all on the numbers thing.

What Ryan is good at is exploiting the willful gullibility of the Beltway media, using a soft-focus style to play into their desire to have a conservative wonk they can say nice things about. And apparently the trick still works.

(click here to continue reading The Ryan Role – NYTimes.com.)

Written by Seth Anderson

August 15th, 2012 at 10:02 am

Romney’s Tax Plan Defies the Rules of Math

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Intellectual Amnesia
Intellectual Amnesia

Willard seems to have gambled that the electorate is so stupid that they can be brainwashed into voting for him on the basis of his haircut and his fat advertising budget. There is less than zero substance to anything Romney has proposed, and that is an intentional choice.

For instance: his tax “plan”…

Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, claims his far deeper tax cuts would have a price tag of exactly zero dollars. He has no intention of submitting his tax plan to the committee or anywhere else that might conduct a serious analysis, since he seems intent on running a campaign far more opaque than any candidate has in years.

He has made his economic plan the fundamental basis of his candidacy, and yet with the Republican convention just two weeks away, we know next to nothing of the plan’s details. The extreme cuts proposed by his new running mate, Paul Ryan, are far more hard-edged, making Mr. Romney’s mathematically impossible promises look vague and shopworn by comparison.

For example, Mr. Romney wants to keep all the Bush tax cuts, then cut taxes much further, particularly for the rich, but he says the plan won’t grow the deficit by a dime. He won’t say how he will accomplish this — there are no real numbers in his plan beyond a vague pledge to eliminate some loopholes. The Joint Committee would take one look at his substance-free plan and say, we can’t work with this.

Mr. Romney’s tax proposal is no different from any other aspect of his economic plan. He promises to cut nondefense spending by 5 percent, but won’t tell voters what programs that will affect. He wants to repeal all of President Obama’s regulations that burden the economy, but won’t say which ones. And he pledges to eliminate health care reform, but won’t discuss how or even whether he would replace it.

Earlier this month, a nonpartisan group of tax experts took matters into their own hands and tried to analyze the tax plan. What would happen, they asked, if you actually made all the cuts he has proposed? That would mean extending the Bush cuts, reducing income-tax rates by an additional 20 percent, and ending capital gains taxes for the middle class, the estate tax, the alternative minimum tax and the various taxes in health care reform, including the Medicare tax increase on high incomes. The experts at the Tax Policy Center estimated that this would cost $456 billion a year, starting in 2015.

But Mr. Romney said the cuts would be “revenue neutral” and cost nothing because they would be paid for by ending tax breaks and loopholes. He never identified those tax breaks, and now we know why — the experts concluded that there aren’t enough loopholes in the tax code to balance out the cuts. Following Mr. Romney’s plan would mean ending popular deductions for mortgage interest and charitable contributions, which would wind up raising taxes on the middle class, while the rich would still enjoy the benefits of an income-tax cut larger than the deductions they would lose.

On issue after issue, the dominant theme of Mr. Romney’s plan is a refusal to make real choices. He talks endlessly about his 59-point plan “to get America back to work,” but you can scrutinize all 160 pages of his economic booklet without finding any evidence of decision-making. A few examples:

He says he wants to cut nondefense spending by 5 percent, and cap federal spending at 20 percent of the economy, down from about 24 percent. But what would that actually mean in terms of programs cut and services reduced? The plan is silent. The programs he mentions cutting are the comically minuscule national endowments for the arts and the humanities, foreign aid, family planning, Amtrak and a few others — all tattered Republican punching bags.

(click here to continue reading Romney’s Tax Plan Defies the Rules of Math – NYTimes.com.)

Written by Seth Anderson

August 13th, 2012 at 9:56 am

Posted in politics

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Federal spending is helping drive recovery of Paul Ryan’s hometown

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Road closed
Road closed

Paul Ryan is a Tea Party hypocrite, surprise surprise…

Now that Paul Ryan has been tapped as Mitt Romney’s veep candidate, he’ll take on an elevated role as a critic of Obama’s stimulus package. Ryan will be aggressively painting the stimulus — whose legacy is central to the campaign — as a failure, while making a broader ideological case for rolling back government intervention in the economy.

So it’s worth pointing out that Ryan’s home town of Janesville, Wis., where he still lives, is recovering economically in no small part because of money from the stimulus and other federal grants.

The relevant info is toward the end of Ryan Lizza’s recent New Yorker profile of Ryan. As Lizza put it, “government spending programs” are “at the heart of his hometown’s recovery.”

Lizza reported that several major economic development projects financed by federal money are underway in Ryan’s home town. There’s the Janesville Innovation Center, which will “provide entrepreneurs with commercial space in which to launch their ideas.” This is being funded by a $1.2 million stimulus grant, Lizza notes.

That’s not all. As Lizza notes, the federal government is contributing more than $10 million to a new facility in Janesville that will produce a medical tracer that used to be made outside the United States. The new plant could employ some 150 people.

what all this shows is that it is Romney and Ryan who are painting a caricature of Obama’s views, positions and policies. They need to suggest Obama’s argument — that the success of business is enabled partly by government investment in the vitality of the larger American system — means he thinks only government is responsible for people’s success, demeaning the central role that hard work and individual initiative play. This distortion is the only way Romney and Ryan can paint Obama’s vision as radical. But it isn’t radical at all — as the recovery of Ryan’s own home town demonstrates.

(click here to continue reading Federal spending is helping drive recovery of Paul Ryan’s hometown – The Plum Line – The Washington Post.)

Written by Seth Anderson

August 13th, 2012 at 9:50 am

Posted in politics

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Paul Ryan Is No Fiscal Conservative

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Keep away from children
Keep away from children

The funny thing, at least from my perspective, is that Paul Ryan really isn’t a good fit with the Tea Party mantra: he has a voting history of supporting government expansion, especially when a Republican is suggesting it. You know, like if Romney, gods forbid, becomes President. But I guess in the new Tea Party controlled GOP, simply saying you are something is enough. Proof is not required.

Ryan’s voting record shows a robust support of big-spending programs to enlarge the role of the federal government, especially when they are promoted by a Republican in the White House. Ryan voted for all of the big-ticket, budget-busting items of the administration of President George W. Bush, including the No Child Left Behind Act and the prescription drug benefit known as Medicare Part D, often described as the largest expansion of the welfare state since Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. Ryan voted to create the new Department of Homeland Security, including the Transportation Security Administration that has harassed air travelers, while making aircraft safe from shoes, belt buckles and grandma’s knitting needles. He voted for the PATRIOT Act, giving government enhanced powers for warrantless snooping into the lives of American citizens as well as foreign nationals. Ryan voted for the Troubled Assets Relief Program that bailed out the “too big to fail” financial institutions and inspired the Tea Party rebellion against big government and “crony capitalism.” He backed the auto bailout that turned GM into “Government Motors.”

And while conservatives generally like to leave wars and military spending off the list of costly “big government” programs, Ryan’s record on that front is also troubling. Like Romney, Ryan has no foreign policy credentials and no record of military service to point to in the election campaign. And like Romney, Ryan swallowed whole the Bush-Cheney line on Iraq and supported the decision to invade and occupy that country in a needless war that cost more than 4,000 American and hundreds of thousands Iraqi lives and has added roughly a trillion dollars to our soaring national debt. Ryan’s budget calls for no reduction in military spending, despite the continued presence of U.S. troops in some 130 countries around the world, most of which have no bearing on our own national security. Even more troubling is Ryan’s vote last December in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act. The legislation included a provision authorizing the President to use the military to arrest suspected terrorists, including American citizens apprehended in the United States, and hold them indefinitely, without charges and without trial, in clear violation of due process rights guaranteed by the Constitution. This year Ryan voted against an amendment to remove that provision from the law.

Finally, the Ryan budget, while including a number of unspecified cuts in entitlement programs, would push overall spending higher than current levels. Despite its optimistic revenue projections, the Congressional Budget Office projects the Ryan plan will lead to a balanced budget by 2040.That suggests a rousing slogan for the Romney-Ryan ticket: “Slightly Less Socialism And A Balanced Budget in 28 Years.”

(click here to continue reading » Veep Pick Paul Ryan Is No Conservative Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!.)

Written by Seth Anderson

August 12th, 2012 at 11:18 am

Posted in politics

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Paul Ryan: Murderer of Opportunity, Political Coward

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Are We Done Yet?
Are We Done Yet?

As you probably heard, Mittens chose the his VP: Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny-starver from Wisconsin. I guess the Etch-a-Sketch isn’t going to move to the center after all. Here are a few articles I’ve read about Ryan today. 

Jim Messina, the President’s campaign manager, blogged:

What you need to know right now: This election is about values, and today Romney doubled down on his commitment to take our country back to the failed policies of the past.

Paul Ryan is best known as the author of a budget so radical, The New York Times called it “the most extreme budget plan passed by a House of Congress in modern times.” With Mitt Romney’s support, he’d end Medicare as we know it and slash the investments we need to keep our economy growing—all while cutting taxes for those at the very top.

(click here to continue reading Romney’s VP pick — Blog — Barack Obama.)

a few news clips for your amusement: Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan: Back to the Failed Top-Down Policies

from the NYT article about the announcement, this bumpersticker:

It was the largest stage yet for Mr. Ryan, a native of Janesville, Wis., elected to Congress at age 28, who has spent his adult life working in the federal government of Washington that many conservatives deplore.

(click here to continue reading Romney Adds Ryan to the Republican Ticket – NYTimes.com.)

Charles Pierce has a good description for Mitt Romney’s Vice President choice:

Leave it to Willard Romney, international man of principle, to get himself bullied into being bold and independent.

Make no mistake. In his decision to make Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny-starver from Wisconsin, his running mate, Romney finally surrendered the tattered remnants of his soul not only to the extreme base of his party, but also to extremist economic policies, and to an extremist view of the country he seeks to lead. This is unimaginable to those of us who lived here under Romney’s barely perceptible stewardship of the Commonwealth (God save it!). If he’d even hinted that he agreed with a fraction of a smidgen of a portion of the policies on which Ryan has built his career, Romney would have been hanging from the Sacred Cod by the middle of 2005. And it’s hard not to notice that the way the decision got leaked — in the dead of a Friday night, with the Olympics still going on, after two weeks in which Romney and his campaign had demonstrated all the political skills of a handball — fairly dripped with flopsweat.

And more:

Romney now has forced the administration itself to confront its own silly attempts to woo Ryan as a serious man of policy back in the day. Granted, they split rather permanently last April, when the president, correctly, referred to Ryan’s “budget” as “thinly veiled social Darwinism.” (Ryan got all sad about how things had deteriorated.) But, prior to that, the president had treated Ryan as though the president were, oh, I don’t know, a CNN anchor or something, specifically wooing him prior to the big health-care summit back in 2010, when everybody was oh-so-reasonable while the howler monkeys were out across the dim horizon, photoshopping bones through the president’s nose. Nonetheless, it can be argued — and I’m fairly sure it will be — that Ryan is the logical end of any Grand Bargain the White House strikes on the economy and on debt reduction. And, if you have committed yourselves to that latter purpose over most others, then it’s harder for you to argue against a guy who’s more committed than you are to your own ultimate goal.  I have none of those problems.

Paul Ryan is an authentically dangerous zealot. He does not want to reform entitlements. He wants to eliminate them. He wants to eliminate them because he doesn’t believe they are a legitimate function of government. He is a smiling, aw-shucks murderer of opportunity, a creator of dystopias in which he never will have to live. This now is an argument not over what kind of political commonwealth we will have, but rather whether or not we will have one at all, because Paul Ryan does not believe in the most primary institution of that commonwealth: our government. The first three words of the Preamble to the Constitution make a lie out of every speech he’s ever given. He looks at the country and sees its government as something alien that is holding down the individual entrepreneurial genius of 200 million people, and not as their creation, and the vehicle through which that genius can be channelled for the general welfare.

(click here to continue reading Paul Ryan Romney VP Pick – Paul Ryan: Murderer of Opportunity, Political Coward, Candidate for Vice President of the United States. By Charles P. Pierce – Esquire.)

Dancing Lesson

Dancing Lesson 

David Frum has the script for a commercial already written, in his head, at least:

A woman’s voice over. “You’ve worked hard all your life. You’ve paid Medicare taxes for almost 30 years. But under the Republican plan, Medicare won’t be there for you. Instead of Medicare as it exists now, under the Republican plan you’ll get a voucher that will pay as little as half your Medicare costs when you turn 65—and as little as a quarter in your 80s. And all so that millionaires and billionaires can have a huge tax cut.”

That ad will draw blood and will—as Henry Kissinger used to say—have the additional merit of being true.

(click here to continue reading The Coming Democratic Attack Barrage – The Daily Beast.)

kind of like this ad:

Little Faith
Little Faith

Liz Ryan’s cover piece on Paul Ryan in the August 6th, 2012 edition of the New Yorker1 is worth a read, it includes a bio, and this bit of hypocrisy from Ryan:

The current Presidential campaign centers on the debate about the government’s role in the economy. Ryan, by forcing Republicans to embrace his budget plan, has helped shape this debate. Obama, on July 13th, told a crowd in Virginia, “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” He added, “When we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.”

To Ryan, Obama’s words were anathema. In a conversation three days later with James Pethokoukis, a conservative blogger for the American Enterprise Institute, he had harsh criticisms for the President. “His comments seem to derive from a naïve vision,” Ryan said, that is based on “an idea that the nucleus of society and the economy is government, not the people.” Obama’s “big-government spending programs fail to restore jobs and growth,” he said, and amount to “a statist attack on free communities.”

When I pointed out to Ryan that government spending programs were at the heart of his home town’s recovery, he didn’t disagree. But he insisted that he has been misunderstood. “Obama is trying to paint us as a caricature,” he said. “As if we’re some bizarre individualists who are hardcore libertarians. It’s a false dichotomy and intellectually lazy.” He added, “Of course we believe in government. We think government should do what it does really well, but that it has limits, and obviously within those limits are things like infrastructure, interstate highways, and airports.” But independent assessments make clear that Ryan’s budget plan, in order to achieve its goals, would drastically reduce the parts of the budget that fund exactly the kinds of projects and research now helping Janesville.

(click here to continue reading Paul Ryan’s Influence on the G.O.P. : The New Yorker.)

 Victim of Fuzzy Thinking

Victim of Fuzzy Thinking

  Charles Pierce snorts, in response:

The fact is that his “budget” will demolish federal spending on those very things, either directly, or by sending the deficit off in the direction of Alpha Centauri. But the quote illustrates something else about Paul Ryan: get him out of his comfort zone of being thought an intellectual by the likes of Louie Gohmert, and of being thought of as a bold thinker by half the buffet-grazers in the Beltway media, and he really is quite the political coward.…Paul Ryan… lives in a house overseen by the National Park Service, which means that he qualifies for a 20-percent investment tax credit for the house he lives in. Of course, his “budget” would largely decimate the NPS, but that would be only those parts of it enjoyed by other people. Yes, Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny starver, has done very well by the federal government that he seeks to dismantle.

Making The Same Mistakes
Making The Same Mistakes

Jamelle Bouie of the American Prospect:

[Paul Ryan’s] plan to cut taxes on the rich and gut the welfare state is one of the most unpopular proposals in American politics. Conservatives love Ryan, but seniors, young people, women, nonwhites, veterans, the disabled, and the poor might feel differently about a man who wants to make the federal government an ATM for the wealthy.

In terms of the election, it’s hard to see how Romney gains from this choice. Because of its large population of working-class whites, Wisconsin has the potential to become a swing state, but for now, Obama has a solid lead. Yes, vice presidential nominees provide a home-state boost, but it’s small—on average, two points. Barring a major change in the race, the most Ryan will do is help Romney lose Wisconsin by a somewhat smaller margin than he would have otherwise.

With that said, a vice presidential choice is most important for what it says about the nominee, and Ryan reflects poorly on Mitt Romney. On the first and most crucial qualification—“Can this person govern the country if the president dies or leaves office”—the answer is “no one knows.” Ryan has no executive experience of any kind: no experience leading a large organization, or something just as complex like a presidential campaign. Executive experience isn’t everything, but it does stick out, especially given Romney’s short tenure in public office.

(click here to continue reading Lipstick on a Wonk.)

 Waiting to be Discovered

Waiting to be Discovered

One day, some years from now, I’m going to figure out how Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny-starver from Wisconsin, managed to fool so many people for so long. He’s a garden-variety supply-side faker. His alleged economic “wonkery” consists of a B.A. in economics from Miami of Ohio — which he would not have been able to achieve without my generosity in helping him out with the Social Security survivor’s benefits that got him through high school after his father kicked. (You’re welcome, zombie-eyed granny-starver. Think nothing of it. Really.) Whereupon he went to work in Washington for a variety of conservative congresscritters and think-tanks, thinking unremarkable thoughts for fairly unremarkable people. Once in Congress, however, he has been transformed into an intellectual giant despite the fact that, every time he comes up with another “budget,” actual economists get a look at it and determine, yet again, that between “What We Should Do” and “Great Things That Will Happen When We Do” is a wilderness of dreamy nonsense, wishful thinking, and an asterisk the size of Lake Huron. 

(click here to continue reading Paul Ryan Is Not a Vice President. Paul Ryan Is a Fake. – Esquire.)

How about his legislative accomplishments?

If you’ve heard of Paul Ryan, you’ve heard of Paul Ryan’s budget. But Ryan has been in the House of Representatives for 14 years and has proposed many, many other bills. Looking through the Library of Congress’s records, I counted 71 bills or amendments that Ryan has sponsored 71 bills or amendments and 971 bills that he has co-sponsored. That’s a lot of legislation, and some of it is pretty interesting. As Ezra noted, Ryan sponsored a Social Security privatization scheme that went so far the George W. Bush administration rejected it. So let’s dig a little deeper in the Ryan archives.

(click here to continue reading Paul Ryan’s non-budget policy record, in one post.)

 Ryan is no Green:

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential pick, is a virulent denier of climate science, with a voting record to match. A favorite of the Koch brothers, Ryan has accused scientists of engaging in conspiracy to “intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change.” He has implied that snow invalidates global warming.

Ryan has voted to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from limiting greenhouse pollution, to eliminate White House climate advisers, to block the U.S. Department of Agriculture from preparing for climate disasters like the drought devastating his home state, and to eliminate the Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E)

(click here to continue reading Meet Paul Ryan: Climate Denier, Conspiracy Theorist, Koch Acolyte | ThinkProgress.)

Rooster and angles
Rooster and angles

A Koch-sucker

Rep. Ryan’s budget maintains his recent path of supporting Big Oil at the expense of the middle class. In 2011 Rep. Ryan joined all House Republicans and 13 Democrats in his vote to keep Big Oil tax loopholes as part of the FY 2011 spending bill while cutting funds for education, medical research, and clean-tech investments. His subsequent FY 2012 budget left $40 billion in Big Oil tax breaks untouched, too, though it cut $30 billion from Medicare.

Interestingly, after Rep. Ryan introduced his 2012 budget last year, he told some of his constituents that he would support repeal of Big Oil tax breaks. Think Progress captured this discussion at a Ryan town meeting in Wisconsin.

Q: The subsidy for the oil companies that the federal government gives. They’ve gotta stop.

RYAN: Sure.

Q: End the oil company subsidies…

RYAN: I agree.

So why does his FY 2013 proposal leave these Big Oil tax breaks intact? Why would he break his word?

Perhaps it’s because Koch Industries, a large private oil company, is his fifth-largest campaign contributor over his career. And the oil and gas industry as a whole gave him $242,850 in campaign cash. Or maybe he maintained these oil tax breaks because Big Oil gave Republican incumbents and candidates 88 percent of their $20 million in donations so far this election cycle. This is a higher proportion than the 75 percent of $174 million in donations given by Big Oil to Republican congressional candidates beginning in 1990.

As he promotes his new budget, Rep. Ryan will make numerous claims about the urgency of cutting the federal budget deficit to justify cuts in clean energy, health, education, and other priorities essential to the American people. Maintaining $40 billion in tax breaks for rich Big Oil companies profiting from high gasoline prices makes his rhetoric hypocritical at best and a lie at worst.

(click here to continue reading Ryan Budget Pads Big Oil’s Pockets with Senseless Subsidies.)

Matt Taibbi was never fooled by Paul Ryan’s schtick…

Paul Ryan, the Republican Party’s latest entrant in the seemingly endless series of young, prickish, over-coiffed, anal-retentive deficit Robespierres they’ve sent to the political center stage in the last decade or so, has come out with his new budget plan. All of these smug little jerks look alike to me – from Ralph Reed to Eric Cantor to Jeb Hensarling to Rand Paul and now to Ryan, they all look like overgrown kids who got nipple-twisted in the halls in high school, worked as Applebee’s shift managers in college, and are now taking revenge on the world as grownups by defunding hospice care and student loans and Sesame Street. They all look like they sleep with their ties on, and keep their feet in dress socks when doing their bi-monthly duty with their wives.

Every few years or so, the Republicans trot out one of these little whippersnappers, who offer proposals to hack away at the federal budget. Each successive whippersnapper inevitably tries, rhetorically, to out-mean the previous one, and their proposals are inevitably couched as the boldest and most ambitious deficit-reduction plans ever seen. Each time, we are told that these plans mark the end of the budgetary reign of terror long ago imposed by the entitlement system begun by FDR and furthered by LBJ.

Never mind that each time the Republicans actually come into power, federal deficit spending explodes and these whippersnappers somehow never get around to touching Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. The key is that for the many years before that moment of truth, before these buffoons actually get a chance to put their money where their lipless little mouths are, they will stomp their feet and scream about how entitlements are bringing us to the edge of apocalypse.

The reason for this is always the same: the Republicans, quite smartly, recognize that there is great political hay to be made in the appearance of deficit reduction, and that white middle class voters will respond with overwhelming enthusiasm to any call for reductions in the “welfare state,” a term which said voters will instantly associate with black welfare moms and Mexicans sneaking over the border to visit American emergency rooms.

The problem, of course, is that to actually make significant cuts in what is left of the “welfare state,” one has to cut Medicare and Medicaid, programs overwhelmingly patronized by white people, and particularly white seniors. So when the time comes to actually pull the trigger on the proposed reductions, the whippersnappers are quietly removed from the stage and life goes on as usual, i.e. with massive deficit spending on defense, upper-class tax cuts, bailouts, corporate subsidies, and big handouts to Pharma and the insurance industries.

(click here to continue reading Tax Cuts for the Rich on the Backs of the Middle Class; or, Paul Ryan Has Balls | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone.)

and silly, but…

One small but important part of the announcement: Paul Ryan’s Wikipedia page is about to undergo a wave of edits and revisions. (The page was edited 14 times in the first hour and a half following the Romney campaign’s announcement.)

The first edit:

Removed unnecessary statement from Early Life about prom king or “Brown Noser.”  This is not needed in article is not common in such brief survey sections.

The detail, in Ryan’s Wikipedia biography since June 16, comes from an AP report on that date noting that Ryan “was voted prom king and the ‘Biggest Brown-Noser’ of his 1988 high school class before leaving for college in Ohio.”

(click here to continue reading The Paul Ryan Wikipedia edits begin – POLITICO.com.)

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  1. last week’s magazine []

Written by Seth Anderson

August 12th, 2012 at 5:21 am

Posted in politics

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Mitt Can Only Dish It Out

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 What, Pray Tell?

What, Pray Tell?

You’ve probably heard that Harry Reid, a Mormon, is not a buddy of Mitt Romney:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has what he says is an informed explanation for why Mitt Romney refuses to release additional tax returns. According a Bain investor, Reid charged, Romney didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Huffington Post from his office on Capitol Hill, Reid saved some of his toughest words for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Romney couldn’t make it through a Senate confirmation process as a mere Cabinet nominee, the majority leader insisted, owing to the opaqueness of his personal finances.

“His poor father must be so embarrassed about his son,” Reid said, in reference to George Romney’s standard-setting decision to turn over 12 years of tax returns when he ran for president in the late 1960s.

Saying he had “no problem with somebody being really, really wealthy,” Reid sat up in his chair a bit before stirring the pot further. A month or so ago, he said, a person who had invested with Bain Capital called his office.

“Harry, he didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years,” Reid recounted the person as saying.

“He didn’t pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain,” said Reid. “But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?

“You guys have said his wealth is $250 million,” Reid went on. “Not a chance in the world. It’s a lot more than that. I mean, you do pretty well if you don’t pay taxes for 10 years when you’re making millions and millions of dollars.”

(click here to continue reading Harry Reid: Bain Investor Told Me That Mitt Romney ‘Didn’t Pay Any Taxes For 10 Years’.)

Restrained Moral Judgements
Restrained Moral Judgements

And of course, if Willard released his tax returns, this whole Harry Reid broo-ha-ha would vanish…

Logic tells us that Reid couldn’t possibly have heard this from multiple sources, so he’s just blowing smoke. And yet, even if it’s a lie, Reid’s put Romney on the spot, because what he’s saying sounds plausible to a lot of people.

Y’know, it’s a bit like saying that the current president is a secret Muslim socialist who lied about his U.S. birth and has a fake Social Security number and is secretly plotting to take away all privately owned guns if he’s reelected, either before or after he finishes the job of deliberately destroying American capitalism. It’s also a bit like saying that the previous Democratic president was a drug dealing serial murderer and rapist whose lesbian wife had her male lover killed when she wasn’t hanging sex toys on the White House Christmas tree.

It’s almost like that. The difference is that Romney’s not facing an ever-expanding list of accusations, most of them truly grotesque and preposterous, many of them of a felonious or treasonous nature, spread by multiple prominent rumormongers over the course of years, and believed in every particular by roughly a third of the country. Hell, what he’s being charged with isn’t even illegal.

But still, welcome to our world, Mitt. Now you have a vague sense of how Democrats feel all the time.

(click here to continue reading No More Mister Nice Blog.)

Ha Ha You Were Drowning
Ha Ha You Were Drowning

Harry Reid is a honey badger…

So lets game this out a little further.

Fox News will deploy their in-house “Democrats” and “liberals” to deplore the ugliness of the Reid “smears”. Expect to see Kirsten Powers looking like she is in the process of passing a kidney stone while Juan Williams says that he thinks that Mitt Romney should release his tax returns … but that he also thinks that Reid should not be involved. Evan Bayh will also make his usual cameo appearance as a brighter than usual mannequin, but will have  nothing to add, perking up only when he receives his check. Also, Jon Stewart will be cited many times (“Even Jon Stewart says…”) because he is the Get Out Of Jail card of last resort when it comes to Republican panic.

Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen will pen an editorial for either the Wall Street Journal or the Washington Post urging Harry Reid to step down for the good of the country. The ole Perfesser will link to it pointing out that Caddell is a “Democratic pollster”.

The Romney campaign is already squealing like a stuck pig and they will blame the White House of conspiring with Reid on the story, calling it “unseemly” and “undignified”. In an effort to illustrate this unholy alliance between Barack Obama and a sitting senator of the same party, the Romney campaign will deploy Senators Rubio, Ayotte, and Portman, as well as Governors Jindahl  and Christie  and also sad sack unemployable intern Tim Pawlenty to dispense rage burgers made up of equal parts disgust, anger, and denial.

Harry Reid is the honey badger; he doesn’t give a shit. He has the advantages of being the Senate Majority Leader which comes with a bully pulpit that can’t be ignored, he’s not some bomb-throwing back bencher, and he is a fellow Mormon who, like Jon Huntsman, seems to harbor a white-hot hatred of all things Mitt. Reid is most likely serving his last term in the senate and he’s is plainly tired of fucking around with Republicans and fully intends to bury their standard bearer which can have down ticket implications if depressed Republicans decide to stay home on election day because their top of the ticket prospects look like they are deader than Bob Dole’s dick.

Republicans have to be in a panic (see above). They haven’t even nominated their guy, they don’t trust him, he’s a terrible campaigner, his wife may be worse, everyone hates him, his campaign staff is a clown car chock full o’ bumblers, stumblers and maladroits, his foreign tour was a disaster, the media (which he ignores) is growing to loathe him more than the general public does, and the Republican convention is only four weeks away at which time Republicans are expected to formally tie the knot with him despite the fact that his unreleased tax returns are undoubtedly a ticking time bomb loaded with tax avoidance maneuvers, overseas accounts, and financial 3-card monte.

And this is all so unfair because Democrats aren’t supposed to punch back.

(click here to continue reading Harry’s Game | TBogg.)


Not to mention:

But, of course, as even Steve M. acknowledges, Reid’s charges aren’t really anything like the kinds of crap the right slings at Democratic leaders every day of the week. Let me try to give an illustration of my point.

Mitt Romney isn’t really a Mormon. He’s an atheist who only went along with his father’s faith so he could duck the Vietnam draft. He didn’t actually try to convert anyone when he was in France either. In reality, he spent all his time in Monte Carlo gambling and buying high-end hookers. When his daddy found out what he was doing, he made him come home and marry his high school sweetheart. Actually, he only made him marry her after the second time she got pregnant. The first time, they got an abortion. Then Romney started using some of the mafia connections he had made in Marseilles to import heroin. By the time he became governor, they were flying it straight into a secret airport they set up in the Berkshires. When one of the pilots started to talk, Romney had him killed.

Now, if we started telling these stories to people, and a substantial percentage of the population started to actually believe these stories, and if congressmen humored and even encouraged the people who believed these stories, and if media figures talked about these stories, and if Congress actually had hearings about some of these stories, then Mitt Romney would know what it’s like to be treated like a Democrat.

(click here to continue reading Booman Tribune ~ A Progressive Community.)

Written by Seth Anderson

August 3rd, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Posted in politics

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Why Won’t Romney Release More Tax Returns

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The Question Unceasingly
The Question Unceasingly

The longer Willard refuses to comply with presidential election tradition and release multiple years of tax returns, observers are going to wonder: what is in those documents that is so damning?

John Cassidy of the New Yorker speculates:

three well known Republican pundits—Bill Kristol, George Will, and Matthew Dowd—all criticized Mitt Romney for not releasing more of his tax returns.

“He should release the tax returns tomorrow: it’s crazy,” Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard, said on “Fox News Sunday.” “You gotta release six, eight, ten years of back tax returns. Take the hit for a day or two.” Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Will, the veteran columnist, agreed, saying, “If something going to come out, get it out in a hurry.” And Dowd, who was the chief strategist for the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004, said Romney’s refusal to release returns for the years prior to 2010 was a sign of his “arrogance.”

With even prominent Republicans saying that his current stance is unsustainable, the obvious question to ask is: Why is the Mittster being so obstinate? He surely isn’t standing on principle, for what principle would that be? The notion that very rich men running for President shouldn’t have to disclose as much information about their personal finances as less wealthy candidates?

It’s only fair to assume that Mitt is doing what he always does: acting on the basis of a careful cost-benefit analysis. Will’s comments on this were spot on: “The cost of not releasing the returns are clear,” he said. “Therefore, [Romney] must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them.” But what information could the earlier tax returns contain that would be so damaging if it were brought out into the open? Obviously, we are entering the realm of speculation, but Romney has invited it. Here are four possibilities:

(click here to continue reading Why Won’t Romney Release More Tax Returns? : The New Yorker.)

There Might Be Prizes
There Might Be Prizes

What could be contained in his returns? A few guesses:

  • Insane wealth? Maybe much more than Willard has admitted in his election paperwork? Or that he makes millions, still, from the various Bain entities?
  • Offshore money laundering and tax evasion? Swiss bank accounts, Cayman Island non-taxable entities and so on? Or should I say, more than are known?
  • Investments in non-evangelical approved companies? Like fetus disposals, sweatshops, and worse? Or helping Mexican drug cartels launder money?
  • Negative tax? i.e., a tax rate lower than zero, or close to zero. Massively wealthy corporations like ExxonMobile and General Electric have creative accountants and tax lawyers, and some years pay less than zero in taxes, perhaps Willard has done the same.
  • Residency issues? Like claiming he lived in Utah instead of Massachusetts?
  • Not tithing ten percent to the Mormon Church? Or giving money to an even wackier religion, like Scientology? 
  • Nothing at all  – it’s all just a smokescreen, and a trap for Obama? Playing of the Dan Rather – Texas National Guard story from the 2004 election

What do you think it could be?

Written by Seth Anderson

July 16th, 2012 at 9:18 am

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Mitt Romney and His Birther Pals

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Danger Peligro
Danger Peligro

I wish I could be shocked that Willard Romney isn’t getting more media blowback from his wishy-washy toe-dipping into the birtherism sewer. But I’m not. Romney doesn’t have the strength of his convictions, much less the backbone to stand up against the bottom feeders in his own party.

Joan Walsh writes, in part:

If you haven’t been following the story, and I tried not to, the addled spawn of Andrew Breitbart found a dusty 20-year-old catalog from Obama’s former literary agency that said he was born in Kenya. An assistant quickly said that she wrote down incorrect information. Trump doesn’t believe her.

“That’s what he told the literary agent,” Trump told Grove. “That’s the way life works … He didn’t know he was running for president, so he told the truth. The literary agent wrote down what he said … He said he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia … Now they’re saying it was a mistake. Just like his Kenyan grandmother said he was born in Kenya, and she pointed down the road to the hospital, and after people started screaming at her she said, ‘Oh, I mean Hawaii.’ Give me a break.”

Give us a break, Mitt. It was already embarrassing that you were using Trump as a fundraising lure – why not raffle off a dinner with Dick Cheney, who’s hosting a fundraiser for you in July? At least Darth Vader has gravitas; Trump is a joke. Pretending to run for president, Trump made birtherism his big issue, and ultimately Obama responded by prevailing on the state of Hawaii to release his long-form birth certificate – a truly sad moment for this country, when the overwhelmingly elected president, a black man, has to show a nasty rich white guy his papers.

If you ever want an example of the vicious political double standard that helps Republicans in this country, here it is: Democrat Hilary Rosen said something inartful about Ann Romney being a stay-at-home mom, and the entire Democratic Party had to denounce her; Obama campaign leaders tripped over themselves to be the first to push her under the bus; Rosen immediately apologized. But Romney has been able to keep his ties to Trump as well as misogynist Rush Limbaugh without political penalty — so far.

(click here to continue reading Joan Walsh – Salon.com Hey, Mitt: Dump Trump! . After a new rant about Obama’s birthplace, Romney needs to cut all ties with the birther loon)

I like Bill Maher’s take on this, Wiferism


MAHER: The media can keep giving this story oxygen, but I think they’re neglecting a much bigger scandal, which is wiferism. Mitt Romney comes from a Mormon background. I don’t know how many wives he has. I’m not saying I believe in that. I just say he was born in a Mormon compound, I’m not a wifer, but for some reason he has never shown his original marriage certificate and we’d like to show it to you now.

Now I’m getting a lot of my information, I must say from a book called Me So Romney, the Secret Love Life of the World’s Horniest Mormom. Again, I’m not a wifer, I’m just saying that he has the blood of a nomadic polygamist tribesman, and I think that has shaped his world view.

Now this is a copy of Mitt Romney’s marriage license. I specifically asked for the original. I even offered to go to the Romney house and take it out of Ann Romney’s wedding scrap book, but for some reason they frowned upon that idea and instead sent me this obvious photocopy, and isn’t it a little weird that they chose to only send the short form license?

And why next to Ann Romney does it say spouse and not only spouse? I’m just asking the hard questions that the lame stream media won’t ask about Mitt’s unholy harem of obedient sister-wives, which I really hope I’m wrong about.

But, now look at this. This I’m told is the Romney tooth brush holder. And think about that strained look on Mitt’s face. That’s the look of a man who has not been able to get into the bathroom since 1988.

Plus, how is it that Ann and Mitt Romney have five kids and they’re all thirty years old? And here, what is Mitt pointing to in this picture? The Olympic symbol. What is it? Five rings and what else has five rings? Five wives.

And why did Mitt Romney strap his dog to the roof of his car? Could it have been because the station wagon was full of wives? I’m not saying I believe this wifer stuff. I take Mitt Romney at his word. But how do you explain this video?

(click here to continue reading Bill Maher Takes a Shot at the Birthers With Parody on Romney’s ‘Wiferism’ Scandal | Video Cafe.)

Written by Seth Anderson

May 27th, 2012 at 9:44 am

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Ricketts family Screws Up

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 Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs

Talk about stupid moves: the New York Times reported today that Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade, and patriarch of the family that owns Wrigley Field, is planning to spend at least $10,000,000 on attack ads targeting President Obama, bringing up old smears, and doing whatever nasty tricks the PAC can come up with to defeat Obama.

 Except that the Chicago Cubs are trying to get money from former Obama Chief of Staff, and current Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, to pay for renovations on Wrigley Field. Ooops.

The Cubs are trying to work out a deal with the city that would involve using $150 million in city amusement taxes for a $300 million renovation of Wrigley Field.

The presidential campaign issue was widely viewed as threatening to upend the delicate talks between the family and city and state government. A mayoral aide said Emanuel was furious when he read about the anti-Obama ad proposal.

At City Hall, it did not go unnoticed that part of the Ricketts family is asking for taxpayer support while gearing up to spend millions on a presidential campaign. The mayoral aide described that as hypocritical.

The Emanuel aide said the Ricketts family has tried to contact Emanuel to discuss the situation, but the mayor declined the overture. Publicly, Emanuel did not have an immediate comment on how the effort by Joe Ricketts might affect those talks. “I’ll have some conversations on that later — comments rather,” Emanuel said.

(click here to continue reading Ricketts family moves to control fallout on Obama attack ad – chicagotribune.com.)

Assholes. I hope they don’t get a single dime of taxpayer money. In fact, the city ought to use the power of eminent domain, and seize control of the stadium until the Ricketts divest from it. Sell the Cubs to Mark Cuban, he’s much smarter than these tone-deaf idiots. 

Las Vegas Showgirls
Las Vegas Showgirls

The media buy for the proposal (source document here – PDF) includes advertising on Meet the Press, Face the Nation, the History Channel, the Weather Channel, TNT, Anderson Cooper’s show on CNN, Fox and Friends, of course, aerial banners to fly over the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, blanketing the Charlotte airport with 15 screens running this clap-trap four times an hour, full page 4-Color newspapers ads, and more. 

No Corporate Welfare for The Ricketts

more from the NYT on the Rickett plan:

Timed to upend the Democratic National Convention in September, the plan would “do exactly what John McCain would not let us do,” the strategists wrote.

The plan, which is awaiting approval, calls for running commercials linking Mr. Obama to incendiary comments by his former spiritual adviser, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., whose race-related sermons made him a highly charged figure in the 2008 campaign.

“The world is about to see Jeremiah Wright and understand his influence on Barack Obama for the first time in a big, attention-arresting way,” says the proposal, which was overseen by Fred Davis and commissioned by Joe Ricketts, the founder of the brokerage firm TD Ameritrade. Mr. Ricketts is increasingly putting his fortune to work in conservative politics.

The $10 million plan, one of several being studied by Mr. Ricketts, includes preparations for how to respond to the charges of race-baiting it envisions if it highlights Mr. Obama’s former ties to Mr. Wright, who espouses what is known as “black liberation theology.”

The group suggested hiring as a spokesman an “extremely literate conservative African-American” who can argue that Mr. Obama misled the nation by presenting himself as what the proposal calls a “metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln.”

A copy of a detailed advertising plan was obtained by The New York Times through a person not connected to the proposal who was alarmed by its tone. It is titled “The Defeat of Barack Hussein Obama: The Ricketts Plan to End His Spending for Good.”

The document, which was written by former advisers to Mr. McCain, is critical of his decision in 2008 not to aggressively pursue Mr. Obama’s relationship with Mr. Wright. In the opening paragraphs of the proposal, the Republican strategists refer to Mr. McCain as “a crusty old politician who often seemed confused, burdened with a campaign just as confused.”

“Our plan is to do exactly what John McCain would not let us do: Show the world how Barack Obama’s opinions of America and the world were formed,” the proposal says. “And why the influence of that misguided mentor and our president’s formative years among left-wing intellectuals has brought our country to its knees.”

The plan is designed for maximum impact, far beyond a typical $10 million television advertising campaign. It calls for full-page newspaper advertisements featuring a comment Mr. Wright made the Sunday after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. “America’s chickens are coming home to roost,” he said.

The plan is for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., to be “jolted.” The advertising campaign would include television ads, outdoor advertisements and huge aerial banners flying over the convention site for four hours one afternoon.

The strategists grappled with the quandary of running against Mr. Obama that other Republicans have cited this year: “How to inflame their questions on his character and competency, while allowing themselves to still somewhat ‘like’ the man becomes the challenge.”

Lamenting that voters “still aren’t ready to hate this president,” the document concludes that the campaign should “explain how forces out of Obama’s control, that shaped the man, have made him completely the wrong choice as president in these days and times.”

(click here to continue reading G.O.P. ‘Super PAC’ Weighs Hard-Line Attack on Obama – NYTimes.com.)

Look, if Papa Ricketts wants to attack the president with his own TD Ameritrade money, well, I don’t like it, nor their moronic intentions, but I don’t object. However, the Ricketts simultaneously having their hands out to take my tax money is just wrong, and I hope Mayor Emanuel tells them to fuck off, in those words.  If I had a TD Ameritrade account, I’d close it right away. You should close yours right away.

Written by Seth Anderson

May 17th, 2012 at 3:51 pm

The Buffett Rule (fka The Reagan Rule)

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Shouldn't That Be a Right Turn?
Shouldn’t That Be a Right Turn?

Obama calls for some fairness in our tax policy, meaning those most able to pay more taxes, should pay more taxes.

I’m not the first President to call for this idea that everybody has got to do their fair share.  Some years ago, one of my predecessors traveled across the country pushing for the same concept.  He gave a speech where he talked about a letter he had received from a wealthy executive who paid lower tax rates than his secretary, and wanted to come to Washington and tell Congress why that was wrong.  So this President gave another speech where he said it was “crazy” — that’s a quote — that certain tax loopholes make it possible for multimillionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary.  That wild-eyed, socialist, tax-hiking class warrior was Ronald Reagan.

He thought that, in America, the wealthiest should pay their fair share, and he said so.  I know that position might disqualify him from the Republican primaries these days, but what Ronald Reagan was calling for then is the same thing that we’re calling for now:  a return to basic fairness and responsibility; everybody doing their part.  And if it will help convince folks in Congress to make the right choice, we could call it the Reagan Rule instead of the Buffett Rule.

(click here to continue reading The Buffett Rule (aka The Reagan Rule) | The White House.)

The President believes we should build an economy where everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same set of rules. That’s why he proposed the Buffett Rule. It’s simple: if you make more than $1 million a year, you should pay at least the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle class families do. On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year – like 98 percent of American families do – your taxes shouldn’t go up.


Written by Seth Anderson

April 12th, 2012 at 8:34 am

Posted in politics

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Mitt Romney Is Not a Moderate

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Why Worry Now?
Why Worry Now?

Paul Waldman makes a good point: is there any evidence that Mitt Romney actually is a moderate? Not really, just lazy reporters who repeat what Romney’s primary opponents and other frenemies say about him. Show some proof if you want to assert he’s a moderate…

Time’s Alex Altman writes, “A very conservative party is on the verge of nominating a relative moderate whom nobody is very excited about, largely because none of his rivals managed to cobble together a professional operation.” I beg you, Alex, and every other reporter covering the campaign: If you’re going to assert that Mitt Romney is a “relative moderate,” you have to give us some evidence for that assertion. Because without mind-reading, we have to way to know whether it’s true.

What we do know is that when he ran in two races in the extremely liberal state of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney was a moderate. Then when he ran in two races to be the Republican nominee for president, Mitt Romney was and is extremely conservative. There is simply no reason—none—to believe, let alone to assert as though it were an undisputed fact, that the first incarnation of Romney was the “real” one and the current incarnation of Romney is the fake one.

Every single issue position that might mark Mitt Romney as a “relative moderate” is something he has cast off, whether it’s being pro-choice, or pro-gay rights, or not hating on immigrants

(click here to continue reading Why Do Reporters Think Mitt Romney Is a Moderate?.)


Written by Seth Anderson

April 5th, 2012 at 6:57 am

Posted in politics

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We Are The Presidential Candidates Who Say Ni!

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We Are The Presidential Candidates Who Say Ni!
We Are The Presidential Candidates Who Say Ni!, originally uploaded by swanksalot.


Screenshot from the iPad App: Monty Python: The Holy Book of Days about The Holy Grail

Referring to this, if you hadn’t heard:

Santorum was speaking at a rally in Janesville, Wisconsin, still locked in the ferocious nomination battle with Mitt Romney and still desperate to become the true conservative standard-bearer of the Republican party.

“We know the candidate Barack Obama, what he was like – the anti-war government nig …” he seems to say, then suddenly stopping, and changing tack to add: “America was a source for division around the world, that what we were doing was wrong.

It is hard to think of exactly what word Santorum was about to use. What word beginning with “nig-” comes naturally after government? It has been suggested he was trying to say “-nik”, as in peacenik or beatnik. That is possible. Or perhaps, it was some non-specific verbal tic: a random vowel-consonent flub.

Here, Santorum has previous form. In Iowa, he stumbled when discussing conservative opposition to welfare programmes:

“I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.”

In the face of later outrage at singling out black Americans, he insisted that he had not said “black”, but instead vocalised “bleugh”, as his mind became confused over his own train of thought. Believe that? Judge for yourself here.



Written by swanksalot

March 30th, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Posted in humor,politics

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A Glimpse into the Brokered Convention

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Pumpkin Head
Pumpkin Head

Charles Pierce on the GOP clown show:

You have to give the Republican party credit. Faced with a down economy and a vulnerable incumbent, the GOP has managed to put together not only an incredibly mediocre field of candidates, but also a nominating process that seems to have been designed by angry ferrets on crystal meth. It is an altogether remarkable parlay.

Take, for example, the events over the weekend in Missouri. A while back, Rick Santorum won a non-binding primary in that state and the problem with non-binding primaries is that they’re not, well, binding. Consequently, the parceling out of delegates — which is, after all, the point of the entire exercise — was left to local Republican caucuses. And, while all politics is indeed local, it does not necessarily follow that all politics is sane. I know from following the Republican presidential candidates that the soul of America is in its small towns full of white people where reason and good old common sense prevail. And, when it doesn’t, well, hell, just call in the law.

An off-duty police officer, hired as security, eventually filed a trespassing complaint against the Paul supporters and notified on-duty police in the area municipality of St. Peters, who, along with police from other jurisdictions, arrested two Paul supporters and ended the caucuses early. A joint-jurisdictional police helicopter arrived on the scene. Kipers said about 10 officers arrived in total. “Two people were arrested for trespassing after receiving numerous warnings to leave the school property,” the St. Peters police said in a press release. “Both subjects were transported to St. Peters Justice Center where they were booked for Trespassing and released on a summons.”

(click here to continue reading Missouri: A Glimpse into the Brokered Convention – Esquire.)

Written by Seth Anderson

March 20th, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Posted in politics

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Mitt Romney could’ve avoided epic Illinois battle

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I'm With Stupid
Stupidity On the Right

Speaking of the Illinois primary, Mitt Romney’s vaunted organization made a major error:

the Illinois GOP awards all of its 54 delegates by congressional district—three delegates to the winner of each of the 18 CDs in the state.

Delegates for Santorum in January filed the minimum legal number of petition signatures to appear on the ballot in just four of Illinois’ 18 available congressional districts, a review of petition signatures found. In 10 others, delegates who filed signatures came far short of the 600 required to appear on the ballot, a review of the signatures found. They didn’t file any delegates in four districts. “They were woefully short,” state treasurer and Romney Illinois campaign Chairman Dan Rutherford said.

The petitions of Santorum delegates were initially challenged in January, but those challenges were withdrawn shortly after they were filed, said Illinois Board of Elections Director Rupert Borgsmiller.

So, had the Romney campaign challenged the Santorum petitions where warranted, Santorum would only be eligible to win 12 of the state’s 54 delegates. It would’ve been a default Romney victory with minimum 42 delegates (or 3.7 percent of the total he needs to clinch the nomination) and he could focus instead on upcoming states, or at least save that $3.4 million (and counting) to use against Obama. So why didn’t the Romney campaign aggressively move to deny Santorum those possible delegates, the way they forced Santorum off the ballot in Virginia? Because that aforementioned Dan Rutherford, Romney’s campaign chair in the Land of Lincoln, also happens to be gearing up for a 2014 gubernatorial challenge. And if you hope to win a contested primary, the worst thing he could do is go to the mat for Mitt Romney by denying Rick Santorum his delegates.

(click here to continue reading Daily Kos: Mitt Romney could’ve avoided epic Illinois battle.)


Written by Seth Anderson

March 15th, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with , , ,