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All Pants on Fire! statements involving Mitt Romney
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by TONY SKAGGS, KeepThis100.com
A life-long Republican, voted for John McCain, and supported Mitt Romney as the most realistic candidate in the primaries. However, as both a Republican and more importantly an American, I did not share Rush Limbaugh’s view expressed in January 2009: “I disagree fervently with the people on our side of the aisle who have caved and who say, ‘Well, I hope he succeeds’… I hope he fails.” Nor do I agree with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who in October of 2010, was asked what “the job” of Republicans in Congress was.
McConnell answered, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” We were in the middle of the greatest economic crisis since the 1930′s and my party has as its main goal trying to make sure the president fails — even if the country fails right along with him. What has happened to my Republican party, this is not a sporting event, we all either win or lose together.
Ronald Reagan is known for his tax cuts, but he also pragmatically raised taxes 11 times to address the growing budget deficit, and had a good relationship with Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill. Since Reagan was pragmatic, not ideological, he compromised and worked with congress and accomplished what needed to be done to help the economy. Pragmatic non-ideological republican presidents never had a problem expanding the national government to solve national problems. Republican President Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Republican President Theodore Roosevelt created the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Republican President Ford created the first federal regulatory program in education, with a program for special needs children. Republican President George Bush Sr. signed the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and raised taxes to fight the deficit. Republican President Eisenhower warned: “we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, by the military–industrial complex” and was responsible for one of the largest Infrastructure projects in American history (Interstate Highway System). President Eisenhower also sent federal troops to Little Rock Arkansas so that discrimination against black school children would be ended. These men were not Left-wing radical hippies, but the “Tea Party movement” and their supporters in Congress would call them Socialist. While I question many of President Obama’s policies, I can not be sure Mitt’s policies regarding the economy would have been any better. [MORE]
Romney describes Obama’s failures more clearly than his own plan for success.
Excerpt from Editorial from The Washington Post
We support the more vigorous trade policy he advocated and the notion of giving parents more choice in their children’s schooling. His advocacy of a foreign policy that champions the ideal of freedom is welcome.
But Mr. Romney mostly repeated his five rather vague priorities for fixing the economy, adding little meat to the gauziness of past declarations. There was nostalgia for an earlier era of greater American confidence, without much detail about how to achieve a restoration. Promising to begin his presidency “with a jobs tour” — and jabbing, inaccurately, at Mr. Obama for starting his with an “apology tour” — is not a substitute for a serious policy.
Mr. Romney presented himself more as an empathetic manager than an ideological visionary. He mocked Mr. Obama’s grand claims with a direct and appealing promise “to help you and your family.” But this was not a speech in which he demonstrated how he would do so. He made no mention of the tough love and hard budget choices that earlier convention speakers had touted as central to the Republican plan. His argument against Mr. Obama was stronger than his pitch for himself. [Read full editorial]
Sen. Bernie Sanders told a Senate panel on Tuesday that a constitutional amendment is needed to undo the Supreme Court ruling that let corporations and wealthy individuals spend unlimited sums to sway American elections.
I heard the fist segment of the senate hearing on this, this must be a second segment of testimony.
By Robert Reich.
“We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers."...
A half dozen fact-checking organizations and websites have refuted Romney’s claims that Obama removed the work requirement from the welfare law and will cut Medicare benefits by $216 billion.
Extract from FDR's 1936 speech in Madison square garden:
The GOP convention was primarily funded by private companies that have business with the federal government.
by CRAIG HOLMAN, Public Citizen
As the nation witnesses the spectacle we call the party nominating conventions, the ironies are dripping more than the corporately funded ice sculpture bars in Tampa Bay. The most obvious irony, of course, is that more money is being spent on the conventions yet fewer people seem to care.
Most of those who are thrilled about the conventions are those who attend them: delegates, lobbyists, corporate executives, budding politicians and lawmakers. The party conventions host huge influence-peddling and fundraising events between those who want something from government and those in government who can affect those interests. Many of the convention-goers are so caught up in the spectacle of the rich and powerful that they simply do not see some of the ironies.
Take Wednesday's event in which former Gov. Mitt Romney toasted about 50 of his top campaign bundlers in an exclusive dinner aboard a private yacht. These individuals each brought in roughly $1 million to the Romney campaign. Romney is the first major presidential candidate in 12 years not to disclose the true identities of his bundlers, and one of the very few presidential candidates in modern history not to reveal much about his taxes and Cayman-based investments. Apparently, it is best not to draw too much attention to the wealth. Yet, the floating party aboard the "Cracker Bay" yacht adorned with the Cayman Islands flag was just one of a dozen such exclusive Romney events honoring the ultra-rich group's successes in raising pots of money for the Romney campaign machine.
As one woman who lives on a much smaller boat in the marina said to ABC News: "I think it's ironic they do this aboard a yacht that doesn't even pay its taxes."
Still countless other soirées held in restaurants and nightclubs across Tampa cut right to the core of what is terribly wrong with today's conventions. The nominating conventions are primarily funded by corporations with business pending before the federal government. Private money flows into the conventions through "host committees" in contract with the national parties that raise and spend as much corporate and special-interest money as they can possibly get their hands on. [MORE]
The president just made his super-PAC buddies' jobs more difficult
President Obama set the internet aflame Wednesday with his "Ask Me Anything" Q-and-A on Reddit, the massive web aggregator and online community.
Given Mother Jones' obsession with super-PACs, dark money, and the mad dash for campaign cash in 2012, one particular question stood out to us: "What are you going to do to end the corrupting influence of money in politics during your second term?"
Obama responded by decrying the "no-holds barred flow of seven- and eight-figure checks" into super-PACs' war chests. He worried that these outside groups "threaten to overwhelm the political process over the long run and drown out the voices of ordinary citizens."
by Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone
Mitt Romney likes to say he won't "apologize" for his success in business. But what he never says is "thank you" – to the American people – for the federal bailout of Bain & Company that made so much of his outsize wealth possible.
According to the candidate's mythology, Romney took leave of his duties at the private equity firm Bain Capital in 1990 and rode in on a white horse to lead a swift restructuring of Bain & Company, preventing the collapse of the consulting firm where his career began. When The Boston Globe reported on the rescue at the time of his Senate run against Ted Kennedy, campaign aides spun Romney as the wizard behind a "long-shot miracle," bragging that he had "saved bank depositors all over the country $30 million when he saved Bain & Company."
In fact, government documents on the bailout obtained by Rolling Stone show that the legend crafted by Romney is basically a lie. The federal records, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that Romney's initial rescue attempt at Bain & Company was actually a disaster – leaving the firm so financially strapped that it had "no value as a going concern." Even worse, the federal bailout ultimately engineered by Romney screwed the FDIC – the bank insurance system backed by taxpayers – out of at least $10 million. And in an added insult, Romney rewarded top executives at Bain with hefty bonuses at the very moment that he was demanding his handout from the feds. [MORE]
by SALLY KOHN, Fox News | Opinion
At least a quarter of Americans still don’t know who Paul Ryan is, and only about half who know and have an opinion of him view him favorably.
On the other hand, to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech. On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold.
by JESSICA ENGLISH, Coffee Party USA
If you don't like welfare and you don't like food stamps, tell Congress to raise the minimum wage. Government of, by, and for the People means putting people before profit. Our taxpayer dollars are subsidizing the profit margins of powerful corporations who can buy influence in Washington enough to write our laws. We need to change that.
So the next time a slick, expensively produced advertisement tells you to hate your fellow Americans who are struggling to feed their families, think about this: how much did it cost to create that advertisement? Who paid for it? And why? The definition of patriotism is not just love of country; it is also love of the PEOPLE who live in this country. If you are truly a patriot, don't allow your television to instruct you to hate your brothers and sisters, your fellow Americans. Help us connect our communities to reclaim our government for the People. [MORE]
Rove and Haley Barbour offered a direct, detailed breakfast pitch to 70 top Republican donors for an additional $100 million on behalf of super-PAC American Crossroads...
On the final morning of the Republican National Convention, Karl Rove took the stage at the Tampa Club to provide an exclusive breakfast briefing to about 70 of the Republican party’s highest-earning and most powerful donors. During the more than hour-long session, Rove explained to an audience dotted with hedge fund billionaires and investors—including John Paulson and Wilbur Ross—how his super PAC, American Crossroads, will persuade undecided voters in crucial swing states to vote against Barack Obama. He also detailed plans for Senate and House races, and joked, “We should sink Todd Akin. If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!”...
Mitt Romney accepts the Republican Presidential nomination at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay Times Forum. From C-SPAN's LIVE gavel-to-gavel coverage.
Mitt Romney officially accepted the Republican nomination for President Thursday night with a speech that featured more of his personal story than he has told before, but also attacked President Obama on the key Romney campaign points of the economy and the President's 2008 campaign promises of hope and change...
CBS NewsGOP platform highlights the party's abrupt shift on energy, climateWashington Post (blog)The 2008 platform went on to call for “technology-driven, market-based solutions that will decrease emissions, reduce excess greenhouse gases in the...
On the topic of Medicare, both sides of the presidential campaign have come down with a bad case of "Mediscare," according to FactCheck.org.
Romney, GOP attack Obamacare for its "unelected board." But Romneycare has one, too.
Chris Christie got big applause on Tuesday night when, during his address to the Republican convention, he said:
Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear to end the debacle of putting the world's greatest health care system in the hands of federal bureaucrats and putting those bureaucrats between an American citizen and her doctor.
DENVER (AP) — Nearly a third of people whose citizenship and right to vote were questioned by Colorado's secretary of state are actually U.S. citizens, election officials said Wednesday, prompting Democrats to question the motives behind the effort to clean up voting rolls as a tightly contested presidential election approaches.
Earlier this month, Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler sent letters to nearly 4,000 people questioning their citizenship as part of a plan to have them voluntarily withdraw or confirm their eligibility to vote.
State officials were able to run 1,400 of those names through a federal immigration database and found that more than 1,200 were U.S. citizens. Verification of the remaining names is still pending, but so far, the search hasn't turned up any non-citizens registered to vote.
Across the country Republicans have aggressively pursued initiatives to verify voters' citizenship, particularly in swing states, much to the ire of Democrats who worry that key parts of their base — Latinos and seniors — are likely to be disenfranchised.
Election chiefs in Iowa, Michigan, New Mexico and Ohio — all expected to be competitive in November — joined Colorado and other states asking the federal government for access to the database to verify citizenship. Colorado got access to the database last week.
Samantha Meiring, 37, a Colorado voter whose status was questioned, waved a letter as she told election officials Wednesday that she was speaking "as an immigrant and U.S. citizen who got a lovely little letter in the mail."
"I find it absolutely ridiculous that a U.S. citizen is being asked to jump through additional hoops to exercise a right to vote," said the registered Democrat, a South African immigrant who became a U.S. citizen in 2010. "I think you're chasing people that don't need to be chased."
A total of 1,566 letters went to Democrats and 1,794 went to unaffiliated voters. Another 486 letters were sent to Republicans.
by ELSPETH REEVE, The Atlantic Wire
One of the most surprising things about Paul Ryan's speech to the Republican National Convention Wednesday was not that he shaded the truth, but that he told one lie that was so easily disproven. Reporters used to be able to shame politicians into quitting repeating their lies. Mitt Romney himself got nostalgic for that bygone era just a couple weeks ago. "You know, in the past, when people pointed out that something was inaccurate, why, campaigns pulled the ad," Romney said on Bill Bennett’s radio show August 9. "They were embarrassed. Today, they just blast ahead." But Romney's own campaign has been very explicit about blasting ahead, no matter the fact-checkers' complaints. "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers," Romney pollster Neil Newhouse said this week.
The morning's coverage of Ryan's speech has been dominated picking through its many factual errors. But the most apparent whopper, in our opinion, was the story Ryan told about what Barack Obama had said of GM plant in Janesville, Wisconsin in 2008, "I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years." And yet, Ryan said, "as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. And that's how it is in so many towns where the recovery that was promised is no where in sight." The obvious implication is that if Obama's policies were working that plant would still be open. There's just one big problem: Obama couldn't have saved it, because he was not in the White House. The plant announced it would close in June 2008. It sent home 1,200 workers for good in December 2008, keeping just 100 on until it closed entirely in 2009. This isn't a "shading the truth" problem, where people quibble over whether Obama's policy could have saved the plant. (And for that matter, Ryan himself asked for federal help to keep the plant open in 2008.) So, why would he lie about something so easily debunked by just looking at the dates on old newspaper stories?
Well, because, there's no downside to getting caught. This post, and the many like it across the Internet this morning will not erase the gain Ryan got with telling a pat anecdote on national television. As Slate's Farhad Manjoo explained way back in 2008, there is little to lose by lying. One thing Ryan is taking advantage of is "media fragmentation." You can find plenty of websites and email forwards to support whatever your version of reality is. Here's Ari Fleischer, former spokesman for George W. Bush, this morning: "Ryan was right about Janesville GM plant. 'Factchecker' Politifact wrong. Check out Milwaukee Journal," he tweeted, linking to a 2011 story saying the GM plant is on standby. This was retweeted by the Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes. But even this supposedly exculpatory article contains this sentence: "The Janesville plant stopped production of SUVs in 2008 and was idled in 2009 after it completed production of medium-duty trucks." But so what? Fleischer's tweet was retweeted 236 times. Hayes' retweet of it was retweeted 109 times. [MORE]
Mike Lofgren served 16 years on the Republican staff of the House and Senate Budget Committees. He has just published The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted.
by MIKE LOFGREN, The American Conservative
It was 1993, during congressional debate over the North American Free Trade Agreement. I was having lunch with a staffer for one of the rare Republican congressmen who opposed the policy of so-called free trade. To this day, I remember something my colleague said: “The rich elites of this country have far more in common with their counterparts in London, Paris, and Tokyo than with their fellow American citizens.”
That was only the beginning of the period when the realities of outsourced manufacturing, financialization of the economy, and growing income disparity started to seep into the public consciousness, so at the time it seemed like a striking and novel statement.
At the end of the Cold War many writers predicted the decline of the traditional nation-state. Some looked at the demise of the Soviet Union and foresaw the territorial state breaking up into statelets of different ethnic, religious, or economic compositions. This happened in the Balkans, the former Czechoslovakia, and Sudan. Others predicted a weakening of the state due to the rise of Fourth Generation warfare and the inability of national armies to adapt to it. The quagmires of Iraq and Afghanistan lend credence to that theory. There have been numerous books about globalization and how it would eliminate borders. But I am unaware of a well-developed theory from that time about how the super-rich and the corporations they run would secede from the nation state.
I do not mean secession by physical withdrawal from the territory of the state, although that happens from time to time—for example, Erik Prince, who was born into a fortune, is related to the even bigger Amway fortune, and made yet another fortune as CEO of the mercenary-for-hire firm Blackwater, moved his company (renamed Xe) to the United Arab Emirates in 2011. What I mean by secession is a withdrawal into enclaves, an internal immigration, whereby the rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well being except as a place to extract loot.
Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it. If one can afford private security, public safety is of no concern; if one owns a Gulfstream jet, crumbling bridges cause less apprehension—and viable public transportation doesn’t even show up on the radar screen. With private doctors on call and a chartered plane to get to the Mayo Clinic, why worry about Medicare?
Being in the country but not of it is what gives the contemporary American super-rich their quality of being abstracted and clueless. Perhaps that explains why Mitt Romney’s regular-guy anecdotes always seem a bit strained. I discussed this with a radio host who recounted a story about Robert Rubin, former secretary of the Treasury as well as an executive at Goldman Sachs and CitiGroup. Rubin was being chauffeured through Manhattan to reach some event whose attendees consisted of the Great and the Good such as himself. Along the way he encountered a traffic jam, and on arriving to his event—late—he complained to a city functionary with the power to look into it. “Where was the jam?” asked the functionary. Rubin, who had lived most of his life in Manhattan, a place of east-west numbered streets and north-south avenues, couldn’t tell him. The super-rich who determine our political arrangements apparently inhabit another, more refined dimension.
To some degree the rich have always secluded themselves from the gaze of the common herd; their habit for centuries has been to send their offspring to private schools. But now this habit is exacerbated by the plutocracy’s palpable animosity towards public education and public educators, as Michael Bloomberg has demonstrated. To the extent public education “reform” is popular among billionaires and their tax-exempt foundations, one suspects it is as a lever to divert the more than $500 billion dollars in annual federal, state, and local education funding into private hands—meaning themselves and their friends. What Halliburton did for U.S. Army logistics, school privatizers will do for public education. A century ago, at least we got some attractive public libraries out of Andrew Carnegie. Noblesse oblige like Carnegie’s is presently lacking among our seceding plutocracy.
In both world wars, even a Harvard man or a New York socialite might know the weight of an army pack. Now the military is for suckers from the laboring classes whose subprime mortgages you just sliced into CDOs and sold to gullible investors in order to buy your second Bentley or rustle up the cash to get Rod Stewart to perform at your birthday party. The sentiment among the super-rich towards the rest of America is often one of contempt rather than noblesse.
Stephen Schwarzman, the hedge fund billionaire CEO of the Blackstone Group who hired Rod Stewart for his $5-million birthday party, believes it is the rabble who are socially irresponsible. Speaking about low-income citizens who pay no income tax, he says: “You have to have skin in the game. I’m not saying how much people should do. But we should all be part of the system.”
But millions of Americans who do not pay federal income taxes do pay federal payroll taxes. These taxes are regressive, and the dirty little secret is that over the last several decades they have made up a greater and greater share of federal revenues. In 1950, payroll and other federal retirement contributions constituted 10.9 percent of all federal revenues. By 2007, the last “normal” economic year before federal revenues began falling, they made up 33.9 percent. By contrast, corporate income taxes were 26.4 percent of federal revenues in 1950. By 2007 they had fallen to 14.4 percent. So who has skin in the game? [MORE]
by DYLAN MATTHEWS, Washington Post
It was Paul Ryan’s big moment in Tampa tonight, and he sure didn’t lack for passion. But do the claims he made hold up? Wonkblog went about sorting the true from the misleading and the downright false.
1. Obama cut Medicare - Ryan blasted the cuts to Medicare reimbursements and Medicare advantage included in the Affordable Care Act. “They just took it all away from Medicare,” Ryan declared. “Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama.” That much is correct – the Affordable Care Act contained over $700 billion in cuts to Medicare reimbursement rates and Medicare advantage. The Obama administration insists the cuts will not hurt quality and are necessary to control costs, while the Romney-Ryan campaign disputes this, but the underlying claim is correct.
"A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.” That’s what he said in 2008.
"Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day."
The plant shut down in June 2008, when George W. Bush is president. Ryan says it had not yet shut down Obama was elected, that Janesville was “about to” lose the factory at the time of the election. This is false, as Ryan knew in 2008 when he issued a statement bemoaning the plant’s closing.
3. The Affordable Care Act increases taxes on millions of small businesses – Paul Ryan declared that the Affordable Care Act would impose “new taxes on nearly a million small businesses.” The Act changes taxes for small businesses in three ways. It provides a tax credit (pdf) to subsidize insurance coverage for which between 1.4 and 4 million small businesses are eligible. It imposes a tax on medical device manufacturers, of which there were only 5,300 (pdf) in the United States in 2007. Finally, it imposes an employer mandate on businesses that do not provide coverage, which will not affect (pdf) businesses with under 50 employees. Most small businesses, then, get a tax cut, and the number of small businesses facing tax increases is about five thousand, far under a million. Ryan’s claim is just false.
4. The stimulus was full of fraud – “The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare, and cronyism at their worst,” Ryan boomed. No it wasn’t. According to TIME’s Michael Grunwald, whose new book The New New Deal is the definitive history of the stimulus, only 0.0001 percent of stimulus funds were wasted on fraud. Grunwald quotes the stimulus’ head watchdog, Earl Devaney: “We don’t get involved in politics, but whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, communist, whatever, you’ve got to appreciate that the serious fraud just hasn’t happened.” Even in the notorious case of Solyndra, House Republican investigation chair Darrel Issa found no evidence of undue political influence. Ryan is wrong to say that the stimulus was unusually corrupt or devoted to political patronage.
5. The Affordable Care Act was a government takeover – ”We got a long, divisive, all-or-nothing attempt to put the federal government in charge of health care,” Ryan stated. Nope. The Affordable Care Act greatly expands private insurance rather than implementing a truly government-run insurance system, like those in Canada and Australia, or a government-run hospital system, like that in the United Kingdom. As Jonathan Oberlander, a health policy expert at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, put it, “The label ‘government takeover’ has no basis in reality, but instead reflects a political dynamic where conservatives label any increase in government authority in health care as a ‘takeover.’”
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