After a recent Romney rally, a woman in the crowd said this to a radio news reporter: “I will not help those people.” She was referring to “welfare” recipients, who, according to Mr. Romney, would no longer be required to work or to look for work to qualify for these public benefits. She uttered the words “those people” with the absolute certainty that she or anyone she cares about would never be one of them. As a social scientist who studies issues directly related to race, I know that in the context of implicit racial bias, she is most likely referring to African Americans, the “racialized other” in her mind, and this is precisely what Mr. Romney and his tea party cohorts want her to do.
Every reputable fact checker, including the New York Times, has said that Romney’s campaign ad about the President’s welfare reform is either grossly distorted or an out-and-out lie. And yet, just yesterday, this ad was aired four times within sixty minutes on one of my local television stations. Romney and his people are keenly aware of the racialized mythology about who gets welfare and why (most welfare recipients are not Black). Heightened reaction to this myth channels cognition away from more fundamental issues like who will pay for tax breaks for the wealthy or who rode shotgun over the bankers who are responsible for the subprime lending crisis or who is sending American jobs overseas to increase profit, shareholder dividends and executive bonuses.
Did Romney play the race card? Yes he did, and he is likely to do it again and again as the election approaches.
If you haven’t heard much about how takeover deals like Dunkin’ and KB Toys work, that’s because Mitt Romney and his private equity brethren don’t want you to. The new owners of American industry are the polar opposites of the Milton Hersheys and Andrew Carnegies who built this country, commercial titans who longed to leave visible legacies of their accomplishments, erecting hospitals and schools and libraries, sometimes leaving behind thriving towns that bore their names.
The men of the private equity generation want no such thing. “We try to hide religiously,” explained Steven Feinberg, the CEO of a takeover firm called Cerberus Capital Management that recently drove one of its targets into bankruptcy after saddling it with $2.3 billion in debt. “If anyone at Cerberus has his picture in the paper and a picture of his apartment, we will do more than fire that person,” Feinberg told shareholders in 2007. “We will kill him. The jail sentence will be worth it.”
Which brings us to another aspect of Romney’s business career that has largely been hidden from voters: His personal fortune would not have been possible without the direct assistance of the U.S. government. The taxpayer-funded subsidies that Romney has received go well beyond the humdrum, backdoor, welfare-sucking that all supposedly self-made free marketeers inevitably indulge in. Not that Romney hasn’t done just fine at milking the government when it suits his purposes, the most obvious instance being the incredible $1.5 billion in aid he siphoned out of the U.S. Treasury as head of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake – a sum greater than all federal spending for the previous seven U.S. Olympic games combined. Romney, the supposed fiscal conservative, blew through an average of $625,000 in taxpayer money per athlete – an astounding increase of 5,582 percent over the $11,000 average at the 1984 games in Los Angeles. In 1993, right as he was preparing to run for the Senate, Romney also engineered a government deal worth at least $10 million for Bain’s consulting firm, when it was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. (See “The Federal Bailout That Saved Romney,” page 52.)
But the way Romney most directly owes his success to the government is through the structure of the tax code. The entire business of leveraged buyouts wouldn’t be possible without a provision in the federal code that allows companies like Bain to deduct the interest on the debt they use to acquire and loot their targets. This is the same universally beloved tax deduction you can use to write off your mortgage interest payments, so tampering with it is considered political suicide – it’s been called the “third rail of tax reform.” So the Romney who routinely rails against the national debt as some kind of child-killing “mortgage” is the same man who spent decades exploiting a tax deduction specifically designed for mortgage holders in order to bilk every dollar he could out of U.S. businesses before burning them to the ground.
TAMPA, Fla. — During these past four days at the RNC convention, janitors have worked around the clock picking up after delegates, conservative stars like Ann Coulter and Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), and the thousands of reporters in…
Despite the error, Mitt Romney’s campaign defended Eastwood’s speech in a statement, noting that the actor and director “rightly pointed out that 23 million Americans out of work or underemployed is a national disgrace,” according to CNNMoney. But Eastwood didn’t make a distinction between unemployed and underemployed Americans. He simply doubled the unemployment figure.
Any party platform is necessarily a compromise between a number of different interest groups. Inevitably, there are always some odd or puzzling policy planks that make it in. Here are 10 of the more unexpected items from this year’s Republican platform:
(The Washington Post)
1)Repeal the Sixteenth Amendment! Maybe… “In any restructuring of federal taxation, to guard against hypertaxation of the American people, any value added tax or national sales tax must be tied to the simultaneous repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment, which established the federal income tax.”
2) Police the universities for liberal bias. “Ideological bias is deeply entrenched within the current university system. Whatever the solution in private institutions may be, in State institutions the trustees have a responsibility to the public to ensure that their enormous investment is not abused for political indoctrination. We call on State officials to ensure that our public colleges and universities be places of learning and the exchange of ideas, not zones of intellectual intolerance favoring the Left.”
3) Defend the Electoral College at all costs. “We oppose the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact or any other scheme to abolish or distort the procedures of the Electoral College.” (See here for an explanation of the National Popular Vote compact.)
4) End our dependence on foreign… fertilizer? “Our dependence on foreign imports of fertilizer could threaten our food supply, and we support the development of domestic production of fertilizer.” (For those curious, here’s a longer analysis of America’s potential fertilizer woes.)
5) Affirmative action for Republican officials inside the District of Columbia. “D.C.’s Republicans have been in the forefront of exposing and combating the chronic corruption among the city’s top Democratic officials. We join their call for a non-partisan elected Attorney General to clean up the city’s political culture and for congressional action to enforce the spirit of the Home Rule Act assuring minority representation on the City Council. After decades of inept one-party rule, the city’s structural deficit demands congressional attention.”
6) Selective statehood. “We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state if they freely so determine.” So, good news for Puerto Rico. But don’t get too excited, D.C.: “We oppose statehood for the District of Columbia.”
7) Step up the war against pornography. “Current laws on all forms of pornography and obscenity need to be vigorously enforced.”
8) Innovation is all about freedom. “Liberty alone fosters scientific inquiry, technological innovation, entrepreneurship, and information exchange. Liberty must remain the core energy behind America’s environmental improvement.”
9) Reconsider the gold standard. “Determined to crush the double-digit inflation that was part of the Carter Administration’s economic legacy, President Reagan, shortly after his inauguration, established a commission to consider the feasibility of a metallic basis for U.S. currency. The commission advised against such a move. Now, three decades later, as we face the task of cleaning up the wreckage of the current Administration’s policies, we propose a similar commission to investigate possible ways to set a fixed value for the dollar.”
10) No minimum wage for the Mariana Islands. “The Pacific territories should have flexibility to determine the minimum wage, which has seriously restricted progress in the private sector.”
One quote from a pollster for Mitt Romney on why they’re going to keep running ads saying that Obama is gutting work requirements for welfare, an assertion that is a demonstrable lie: “Fact checkers come to this with their own sets of thoughts and beliefs, and we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.” And even though Romney himself has cited fact checkers when they have said Obama is not telling the truth, the pollster said that fact checkers have “jumped the shark.”
And, so, fuck Paul Ryan’s speech last night. He went out and told so many lies that, if you were actually a Christian who believed in things like the Bible, you’d pretty much have to declare him “the Antichrist.”
So, since facts don’t matter to the Romney campaign, what they say is irrelevant and unworthy of anything that approaches analysis or even mild consideration. To do so would mean that you have to contemplate the ideas of someone whose plans include riding unicorns and demanding that Bigfoot be captured.
“Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan’s speech at the RNC was interrupted by two CODEPINK activists calling for reproductive rights and funding for healthcare, not warfare. Retired Colonel Ann Wright, who served 29 years in the US military, took Ryan to task for his budget priorities, shouting “Fund Healthcare not Warfare!” and unfurling a banner with the same message. Laura Mills, 21-year-old recent college graduate, focused on Ryan’s anti-women policies, shouting “My body, my choice!” and her banner read, “Vagina. Can’t say it? Don’t legislate it.” Their words stopped Ryan’s speech.”—
It was a day late, but the Republicans’ parade of truth-twisting, distortions and plain falsehoods arrived on the podium of their national convention on Tuesday. Following in the footsteps of Mitt Romney’s campaign, rarely have so many convention speeches been based on such shaky foundations.
“We built it,” the slogan of the evening, was painted on the side of the convention hall. Speaker after speaker alluded to the phrase in an entire day based on the thinnest of reeds — a poorly phrased remark by the president, deliberately taken out of context. President Obama was making the obvious point that all businesses rely to some extent on the work and services of government. But Mr. Romney has twisted it to suggest that Mr. Obama believes all businesses are creatures of the government, and so the convention had to parrot the line.
“We need a president who will say to a small businesswoman: Congratulations, we applaud your success, you did make that happen, you did build that,” said Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia. “Big government didn’t build America; you built America!”
That was far from the only piece of nonsense on the menu, only the most frequently repeated one. Conventions are always full of cheap applause lines and over-the-top attacks, but it was startling to hear how many speakers in Tampa considered it acceptable to make points that have no basis in reality.
There was a wide variation on this theme.
Gov. John Kasich of Ohio boasted of the booming economy in his state, never mentioning that he and Mr. Romney opposed the auto bailout that has played an outsized role in the state’s recovery. (Apparently Mr. Obama’s destructive economic policies do not apply everywhere.)
John Sununu, the former governor of New Hampshire, said the president had lost the world’s respect because he “prefers to lead from behind,” inflating an anonymous comment from a White House aide into a philosophy and ignoring the success of the Libyan mission to which the remark referred.
Rae Lynne Chornenky, president of the National Federation of Republican Women, repeated the oft-discredited line that 92 percent of all the jobs lost under Mr. Obama were those of women. Men lost the vast majority of jobs in the recession, which began under President George W. Bush. The only way the Republicans can arrive at Ms. Chornenky’s fictitious version is by pretending it began at the start of the Obama presidency. One could just as easily point out that men gained 1.9 million jobs from March 2011 to March 2012, and women 635,000 jobs.
… Considering how Mr. Romney has conducted his campaign so far, most recently his blatantly false advertising accusing Mr. Obama of gutting the work requirement on welfare, it is probably not surprising that the convention he leads would follow a similar path.
Voters looking for a few nuggets of truth would not have found them in Tampa on Tuesday.
Last week, Paul Ryan gave an interview in which, defending his position that there should be no excuses for abortion, he referred to rape as a “method of conception.”
Wow, right? Talk about a benign euphemism. Rape —RAPE! — is now a “method of conception.” You know, like love-making, just without the love.
There could be no greater testament to the utter abdication of responsibility by what passes for a “news” media in America in 2012 than that, despite the grotesquerie of this cavalierly callous comment, chances are better than good that this is the first you’re hearing of it.
Here, watch it — and try to figure out why this has gotten NO MAINSTREAM MEDIA play (not even here at the Huffington Post) despite it being, to my mind, a far more offensive remark than Todd Akin’s imbecilic blurt of last weekend. What, are we tired of stupid remarks about rape now, so Ryan gets a free pass?
Given the demands for Akin’s resignation from a mere Senate race when his musings on “legitimate rape” were publicized, what do you imagine the reaction would be if people were as familiar with VP wannabe Ryan’s stunning statement? Might there be a cacophony of outrage? Might there be calls for his resignation from the ticket? Might there be a focus on how fundamentally oblivious these people who would make our laws are to not just women’s but humans’ rights and dignity? Sure, there might, but then of course people would have to have heard about it.
According to the man who would be the proverbial heartbeat away from the White House, and who in any event would — given Romney’s utter hollowness — have an inordinate influence on the judicial appointments that will determine how much freedom our children get to live under, RAPE = “METHOD OF CONCEPTION.” And yet, unless you’re a frequenter of one of a dozen or so lefty blogs — or my friend on Facebook — you probably knew nothing about it.
I truly despair for the country my 14-year-old daughter is inheriting. That a remark this intensely revealing of the danger posed by this ticket can go basically unreported is as nauseating to me as the quote itself.
YOU awesome readers heard about, because I love you enough to keep you in the loop. I don’t know what the rest of the media is doing with their time.
They could not resist. One by one, Republican governors of three presidential battleground states took the floor at the party’s national convention and touted recent job gains in their states – not Mitt Romney’s preferred message.
First up was Gov. John Kasich of Ohio: 122,000 jobs created since he took office last year, he boasted, and a state that has leaped from 48th to fourth in job creation.
Next came Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia: “Over the last two years, with Republicans and Democrats working together, our unemployment rate is down 20% to 5.9%,” he said. “We’ve added 151,000 net new jobs.”
Finally, there was Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin. “Like many places across the country, Wisconsin lost more than 100,000 jobs from 2008 to 2010,” he said. “Unemployment during that time topped out at over 9%. But because of our reforms, Wisconsin has added thousands of new jobs, and our unemployment rate is down from when I first took office.”
Obama’s reelection team was delighted – particularly with Walker.
“Highlighting how unemployment is dropping, the economy is growing, and small businesses are adding jobs, his message tonight was vastly at odds with how Mitt Romney talks down the economy,” Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said in an email to the media.
Her subject line: “We Couldn’t Have Said It Better Ourselves, Gov. Walker.”
The Republicans have kind of painted themselves into a real demographic corner. And you hear people like even Jeb Bush saying that they have to change for the long term because this view of white, Anglo-Saxon Americans — ‘I’m a true American, no one questions where I was born’ — sort of thing is really off-putting to those of us who believe that our diversity is our strength.
When you have a party that says coded things, that makes totally false ads up about saying the president is trying to undo welfare reform, I think you’re going to see a lot of pretty heavily and not-so-subtly coded messages from the Romney-Ryan campaign that it is not in keeping an America with that is moving forward, that is growing, that is becoming more diverse with fuller freedoms for every individual.
“Obama wasn’t even born in this country,” she-who-will-remain-nameless proclaimed.
“No, you’ve got it mixed up. McCain wasn’t born in this country,” I said. “He was born in Panama, but it was a U.S. territory at the time.”
“No it’s Obama. He was born in Hawaii and Hawaii wasn’t a state yet.”
“Hawaii became a state in 1959,” I busted out with some grade school civics class knowledge.
And then, there it was, the thing birthers are now being known for: My name-withheld family member then sighed and muttered, “Well, I don’t know.”
“No, you do know. Because I just told you.” I thought but didn’t dare yap aloud. “Hawaii was a state in 1959 and Barack Hussein Obama was born in 1961. He just won the election by the biggest margin since Ronald Reagan and he’s going to be the first half African-American President of the United States.”
“Well, I don’t know,” she continued, sure of herself. Then she switched tactics, “He won’t show anybody his birth certificate.”
“I’ve seen it online,” I said.
“Well, I don’t know. It’s suspicious. Don’t you think it’s suspicious? He won’t show anybody his birth certificate.”
“But he does. He has. I’ve seen it. Online.”
“Well, I don’t know. I think he should show it. It’s interesting though, huh?”
No. No it’s not interesting. There’s nothing interesting. There are questions. Here are answers. Refusing said answers, doesn’t mean there are still questions. Furthermore, refusing other answers and holding tight to doubt then blaming the proof-provider for not being forthcoming does not equal “interesting.”
Fires can’t burn in the oxygen-free vacuum of space, but guns canshoot. Modern ammunition contains its own oxidizer, a chemical that will trigger the explosion of gunpowder, and thus the firing of a bullet, wherever you are in the universe. No atmospheric oxygen required.