Friday, June 01, 2012

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) Asheligh Banfield used to be hot. Now, she's a right-wing nutcase who somehow believes that pedophilia...pedophilia! sometimes a voluntary lifestyle choice. No doubt the *children* involved, like I was, were free to weigh the choices, you moronic cheap-suited newsslut.
Which, by the way, ARE all voluntary lifestyle choices.
2) Mitt Romney picks yet another idiotic target. Solyndra received $500 million in loan guarantees under a program that the *Bush* administration insituted. The application was made and the initial approvals given before Obama even had the chance to take office.
3) John Edwards walks. Zombie Elizabeth Edwards bides her time.
4) Spell it? I never even heard of it!
5) Good news! With bonus adorable picture. In a Clockwork Orange sort of way.
6) Forget the Mayans and 2012. Mark 4,000,002,012 on your calendars! That's when the shit hits the fan, literally.
7) Speaking of Armageddon, the last transit of Venus in our lifetimes occurs next Tuesday/Wednesday. This is one of the Mayan signal events for the ending of the current b'a'ktun. Here's how to watch the transit. Online. Safely. DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN!
9) Selling yourself....for advertising? There's the capitalist system working, you betcha.
10) Everything I've told you today is a lie. OK, no, but that was, tho. Everyone does it.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

One Of These Things Is Just Like The Others


The G Spot

By any account, Mitt Romney's tenure as governor of Massachussetts can be termed a period of moderate governance.
Which is great until you decide to run for President as a Republican:

"Mitt Romney claims his experience as a corporate buyout specialist will bring positive economic results for the nation," said an Obama campaign announcement.

"He made the same economic promises when he ran for governor of Massachusetts that he makes today -- more jobs, less debt and smaller government," added the statement. "Once in office, he broke all those promises and more."

I don't want to start to parse the Romney administration and weigh it on a scale of just how moderate it was. Suffice it to say that, by today's standards of homophobic legislation and anti-government rhetoric, it was pretty moderate.

So why would the Obama administration slam Mitt Romney as a moderate governor? After all, everyone-- except Mitt now, altho I suspect that will change by November-- acknowledges that Romneycare was the blueprint for Obamacare (clever, that, and part of Obama's vaunted eleven-dimensional chess), and that Romney was pro-family autonomy before he was pro-life.

("Family autonomy" meaning that medical decisions are left up to the individual family unit.)

You read that campaign tactic and view the four minute film and you begin to wonder if it makes sense: it's not going to persuade anyone on either side of the fence to switch allegiances. Republicans will still hold their noses and vote Romney and Democrats for Obama, albeit more enthusiastically. Anyone on the fence isn't really going to care about his social issue stances or his spotty record as governor.

Ah, but the devil is in the details...

The four-minute film notes that Romney raised state fees (i.e., taxes) and increased state debt during his single term in the statehouse; Massachusetts wound up 47th out of 50 states in job creation.

Those three items-- jobs, debt, and taxes-- are right at the top of the mind of every independent voter in every swing state. It shows that even Mitt Romney admits that he'll have to raise taxes and even then, there's no guarantee that he can cut the deficit. And, to boot, it thoroughly destroys the central rationale of his candidacy, that he's a job creator.

Remember, he was governor of Massachussetts, elected in 2002, and part of his constituency was the Route 128 corridor (Silicon Highway). A high tech hotbed that should have been creating jobs like crazy given the massive tax cuts that Congress passed under President....errr, what was his name again?

In other words, he stepped up to the plate with a runner on third and no outs and somehow managed to hit into a triple play. He could hardly have asked for more favorable economic conditions to take office in.

Mind you, in his first year in office, he received $500 million in Federal grants under the Homeland Security intiatives. He also got a windfall from increased capital gains tax increases passed under his predecessor of $1 billion. He still couldn't close the gap.

And he had strong bipartisan support from the Democratic legislature, mostly because he didn't set out to bash them as he has started to do in the general election campaign.

Yet, he still failed.

It's a powerful message, one that ought to resonate with voters across the country.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

In Re: Chris Hayes

Conor Friedersdorf does the unthinkable: he defends the defensible
In case you missed it, MSNBC host Chris Hayes has been obligated to apologize for pretty inocuous comments he made with respect to death in wars and whether "hero" is a term bandied about too easily.
It's an emotionally charged subjec to be sure and kudos to Friedersdorf for taking the time to lay out not only the context but the rationale for the argument.
"UP with Chris Hayes" is one of my favorite punditry programs because Hayes is unafraid to tackle tough questions and to invite people (Buddy Roemer, for example) who will take opposing viewpoints. Arguments are intelligent and difficult topics are discussed fully, including the dark sides that those of us politely sipping our coffee would rather leave alone.
Hayes called into question whether anyone who dies fighting for his nation in a war, specifically this nation, is a hero. He walked a difficult tightrope, which he himself acknowledged by not only putting a hefty emphasis on the context in which he was speaking and "pre-apologizing" because he knew he would offend some people who suffered losses at war.
He also defended deaths in our recent wars as heroic, simply because these were kids who volunteered to put themselves in harm's way, the context of their demise irrelevant beyond that simple fact.
To those who took umbrage at Hayes' comments, let me ask this: did you wear a bandaid on your boo-boo during the 2004 campaign? Did you mock Max Cleland, who lost both his legs and one arm in a tragic accident in Viet Nam?
Did you Swift Boat?
Then shut up and let the man speak. At least he speaks from his heart.

And So It Begins

The past couple of weeks, ever since Rick Santorum dropped out, have been prologue. A time trial, if you will, the opening stage of silly season touring:

(CBS News) WASHINGTON - The Republican presidential race is over.

Mitt Romney won the Texas primary Tuesday, picking up enough delegates to clinch the nomination.

CBS News estimates Romney now has 1,198 GOP delegates.

Romney didn't go to Texas Tuesday night to celebrate.

He was raising big money with Donald Trump in Las Vegas.

OK, couple of points to make here before I move on:

1) Texans won't forget the insult. Texas is arguably a soft Republican state now, as the dramatic increase in Latinos bodes poorly for a state-wide electorate suddenly voting not only against their better interests but also against their own safety and security. Romney really needs to solidify his standing with the cowboys and oil men of Texas and generate enthusiasm. This fundraiser with Trump in Vegas not only puts him at odds with Texans who would have wanted to celebrate with Romney, but gives a clear signal that the yankee has more stroke than the largest state in the Republican column.

2) The more Trump speaks and the closer that Romney ties himself to Trump, the bigger the loss Romney faces. For Trump, it's a no-lose situation: he gets publicity, he gets to dupe the rubes out of even more cash in his casinos, and if Romney manages a miracle, he suddenly has stroke in the White House. This is Trump's MO, however: risk nothing and gamble with everyone else's money. After all, it's how he attempted to "steal" the Empire State Building for a mere $50,000. For Romney, he's blind to the danger he's put not only his campaign in, but the entire party.

3) Up until now, the Obama re-election campaign has kept their powder dry and not unleashed torrents of attacks. This is traditional and pro-forma: you don't launch a full-scale campaign until you're sure of who you are facing. Even now, Obama will smartly withhold the main thrusts of his attack at least until Romney names a Veep candidate. Why tip your hand and allow your opponent to shore up his weaknesses? By all accounts, Romney is not politically savvy enough to remain nimble. A lot of what he has said up to this point has been a mixture of memorized bromidizations and off-the-cuff gaffes-- "tells," if you will. Romney's weakness is his uncomfortable balance of entitlement with the appearance of caring for the poor (if indeed he actually does not.)

If Romney's staff is as disciplined as it should be, Romney will take this opportunity to lay out his attacks on Obama. It's free play time, and Obama will be busy being Presidential right up to the convention, if not beyond. A lot depends on the polls: specifically, polls in states like Ohio, Florida, Virginia and North Carolina.

Right now, tho, Romney has a few weeks of free sailing, and that message seems to be taken up. So far this week, Romney's attacked foreign policy and the stimulus, two Obama strengths (and two really stupid attacks to make.) Job creation will likely be on the agenda, which for Romney is probably his strongest argument.

Which is saying a lot considering how few jobs he's actually created himself, a point the President's team has been quick to make early and often.

If Romney's staff is as undisciplined as I believe it is, they'll screw up this freebie.

But, as we hockey people like to say, "Game on!"

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mitt's Dilemma

Pity poor Mitt Romney: he has to beat an incumbent with favorability ratings hovering around 40-50%, with a flagging economy and some of the worst press ever, and yet can only manage to draw about even with him.
What's a billionaire to do to win an election? I guess, attack the successes of the President?

Mitt Romney’s campaign events and the firepower of American Crossroads will both focus this week on President Barack Obama’s jobs record as a way to fight off charges about the Republican candidate’s private-sector experience, with a Romney aide attacking the stimulus as “the mother of all earmarks.”

This week is a preview of coming attraction for the general election campaign, with American Crossroads, the outside Republican group poised to spend $300 million this cycle, pushing a message that amplifies the Romney campaign’s storyline.

A senior campaign aide said Romney will argue that Obama has actually subtracted jobs: “Were these investments the best return on tax dollars, or given for ideological reasons, to donors, for political reasons? He spent $800 billion of everybody’s money. How’d it work out?”

It seemed to work fine: most of it was paid back, GM and Chrysler are both making money again and the economy is slowly picking up steam while the unemployment rate has cooled off almost 1.5%
Sure beats the Hoover-style tax cuts of Bush and the GOP over the past ten years. Plus, Mitt might want to consider who he's really chiding in his silliness: his banking buddies, who begged for relief from the Obama administration. Remember TARP?
This comes on the heels of, well, perhaps the silliest thing Mitt Romney has said seriously this season:
But he ticked off a list of global threats and said: "I wish I could tell you that the world is a safe place today."

Romney said the country must not shrink its military to the point where the U.S. loses its status as the strongest power in the world.

"Were we to follow that kind of course, there would be no one that could stand to protect us," he said.

Osama bin Laden and Muammar Qaddafi would respectfully disagree. Actually, not so respectfully, which is why Obama killed them in his first term. And the US suddenly becoming a second-rate superpower over the next four years is unlikely to happen, but if it did, it would be a damnation of the American economy having been starved for tax revenues, and not an inclination on the part of Obama to dismantle the machine.

If anything, Obama has proven rather too quick to pull triggers.

This all points to one thing, and one thing only: Mitt's inability to stop lying about something, even when the facts are clearly against him.

Next up: race relations, no doubt.