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Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People
American elections feature an epic struggle between actual people trying to express their views in the face of fictional "people" (i.e., Corporations) trying to buy influence. I want to highlight topics such as corrupt money in politics, campaign lies and dishonesty, voter suppression.
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Mitt Romney: Lazy Liar

Mitt Romney: Lazy Liar | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it

While all politicians shade the truth, this author argues that Mitt's campaign's lies are different in kind from the usual distortions, in that the lies are so easily disproven and when caught in the lies, they keep on telling them.

 

What explains this?  Could it be that Repubs are simply less picky about the truth?  that they are more willing to believe whatever is thrown their way and/or to dismiss criticism of the message as being part of the mythical "liberal media"?

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Romney Tax Returns: What Could Be Worse Than the Speculation?

Romney Tax Returns: What Could Be Worse Than the Speculation? | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it

A few guesses about what he doesn’t want us to see.

 

by Matthew Yglesias, The Washington Post

 

Mitt Romney’s campaign is taking heat for declining to disclose more than the two most recent years’ worth of his tax information. Even conservative commentators such as The Washington Post’s George Will and the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol are saying it’s past time to come clean. Of course, members of Romney’s team, unlike their friends on the outside, presumably know what the documents would reveal, so we should probably assume that they have fairly good reason not to release them. Could the criticism Romney would suffer over the contents of the returns be worse than the criticism he’s getting for not disclosing them? Here are some guesses about legal — but potentially embarrassing — things in Romney’s tax returns:

 

Profits from the financial crash

 

The vast majority of American families lost wealth in the housing bust of 2007-09 and the financial crisis that came in the middle of it, and millions lost jobs or earnings. But it was possible for a canny or lucky investor to profit from the chaos — especially for a wealthy individual with access to unusual financial products. Maybe Romney made a lot of money through bets on skyrocketing foreclosures or well-timed investments in bailed-out banks. There’s nothing wrong with smart financial planning, but making money on the crash could be awkward for a politician. There’s a tension between promising to make things better and profiting off human misfortune.

 

A low tax bill because of the crash

 

There’s also the possibility that Romney’s investments lost some value during the crash years and that he combined this with aggressive exploitation of loopholes to pay a strikingly low tax bill. One rumor was that he managed to pay nothing in taxes, something his campaign has denied. But would paying $2.75 really look all that different from paying $0? A super-low tax bill would turn Romney into the poster child for President Obama’s very popular “Buffett rule” proposal, which aims for a minimum tax level on high-income individuals.

 

Swiss bank amnesty

 

We know from the tax documents Romney has released that he once had a Swiss bank account, a fact that the Obama campaign has played up in ads. But his 2010 tax return did not include a Report on Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts form (“FBAR” to accountants) detailing his offshore investments. In 2009, the Swiss government began to relent on its traditional banking secrecy rules, and banks turned over information about tens of thousands of American tax scofflaws to the U.S. government. To help deal with the crush, the IRS staged a limited-time amnesty in 2009 for American citizens with previously non-disclosed foreign accounts to pay their back taxes without penalty. It’s possible that earlier tax documents or the 2010 FBAR would show that Romney took advantage of the amnesty. While legal, this would amount to a problematic confession of past wrongdoing. [MORE]

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Why Is the Ruling Class So Desperate? VIDEO Shows "We Live In Exponential Times"

Watch this video to understand why the "Citizens United" decision of 2010 and the Tea Party television productions of 2009 were acts of desperation. 

 

by ERIC BYLER, Coffee Party USA

 

I have argued that "Citizens United" decision and Tea Party campaign were both counter measures, and in fact acts of desperation, in response to two global forces that, even in their early stages, have shown themselves to be much more powerful: (1) a revolution in communications technology, and (2) accelerating demographic and cultural shift. 

 

It's beginning to look like the Tea Party narrative and "Citizens United" may backfire.  Conservative thinkers and mainstream Republicans are lamenting the One Percent Media/Tea Party strategy in op-ed's such as this one by David Brooks. Others, such as former Reagan strategist Ed Rollins, are quoted literally cursing a One Percent Media-dominated approach to electioneering in articles like this one by Jon Heilemann. And, although the connection between "Citizens United" and the first ever Super PAC Presidential Primary is not yet fully apparent to the public at large, it is being written about widely, and, even our most deeply partisan friends in the Republican party are beginning to question whether the handful of wealthy families bankrolling the four remaining presidential candidates really have the People's best interest at heart.  [MORE]


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Where Obama Shines

Where Obama Shines | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
In a world characterized more by anxiety than overt conflict, President Obama’s situation-specific foreign policy strategy has been nimble and effective.
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Obama raises 47% from small donors, Romney 22% as Super-PACs dominate campaign

Obama raises 47% from small donors, Romney 22% as Super-PACs dominate campaign | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it

Excerpt from article by DAN  Dan Eggen and T.W. Farnam, Washington Post

 

Obama, whose fundraising juggernaut in 2008 became political legend, has had a harder time raising money this time and has been outraised by Romney for two straight months. The presumptive Republican nominee and affiliated party committees had $170 million cash on hand at the end of June, compared with $147 million for Obama and the Democrats.

 

Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were outraised by their challengers, but Obama campaign officials say they are particularly worried because of an influx of money from conservative groups that can amass unlimited amounts. Last week, for example, the Obama operation spent twice as much as Romney on advertising but was still outspent by $1.9 million when independent groups were added to the mix, according to data from Kantar Media/CMAG.

 

The reports filed Friday reflect two distinct fundraising approaches: Obama relies more heavily on smaller contributions and keeps most of his cash under the control of his campaign, while Romney focuses more on high-dollar donors and has most of his money stashed at the Republican National Committee.

 

Even so, Romney was able to increase the amount he raised from small donors, considered an important measure of grass-roots support. In June, his campaign and the RNC raised 22 percent of their money from donors who gave less than $200 at a time, up from 14 percent a month earlier. That’s still less than half the rate of Obama and the Democratic National Committee, which have raised 47 percent of their money from such donors.

 

Obama on Friday identified more than 100 new fundraisers in the second quarter who had bundled together $50,000 or more in contributions. The full list includes 638 bundlers who have raised at least $143 million for the campaign and the DNC, records show. Romney has not released a list of his bundlers. [MORE]


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GOP senators block top Obama jobs initiative - CNN.com

GOP senators block top Obama jobs initiative - CNN.com | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked the No.1 item on the president's congressional "to-do-list," refusing to allow a vote on a bill that would give tax breaks for companies that "insource" jobs to the U.S.
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Scalia Disagrees With Republicans on Disclosure

Scalia Disagrees With Republicans on Disclosure | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it

Defending his role in the Citizens United case that opened the floodgates to overwhelming spending by corporate interests, Justice Scalia said there is nothing to fear from unlimited political spending in elections -- so long as the American people know where the money is coming from.

 

But, the GOP is blocking the Disclose Act that would provide the people with that information.  If we can't have disclosure, then even the purported intellectual underpinnings of Citizens United crumble.

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Study: People Who Don't Like Blacks More Likely To Support Voter ID Laws

Study: People Who Don't Like Blacks More Likely To Support Voter ID Laws | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
A new study has found that support for voter ID laws, especially among those who lean Democratic, is linked to one's feelings toward African Americans.
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Secrecy is not a small business value. Transparency is

Secrecy is not a small business value. Transparency is | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it

by DAVID BORRIS, Main Street Alliance for THE HILL

 

I’ve been a small business owner for more than 25 years. So it’s fair to say I’ve been around the block. I also happen to live in the Chicago metro area, so I know a thing or two about hard-nosed politics.

 

But even so, the brazen defense of secret political spending we’ve just witnessed in the U.S. Senate with the filibuster of the DISCLOSE Act still made my jaw drop. It’s hard for me to grasp how anyone who believes in free and fair competition would be against this basic level of transparency.

 

My wife and I pooled our life savings 27 years ago to take our shot at the American Dream. We started our catering business in 900 square feet with two employees and a handful of our mothers’ recipes. Through hard work and commitment – both our own and that of a dedicated staff – we’ve built a thriving business. Today we have 27 full-time, year-round employees, and over 80 part-time and seasonal workers.

 

I’m proud of what we’ve done and the role we play as job creators. I believe our country needs public policies that lay the foundation for more small business success stories like ours. Defending secrecy in political spending won’t do that.

 

The explosion of secret money in our elections leaves small businesses like mine at a severe disadvantage. I don’t have a line item in my budget for “independent expenditure” political ads. When big corporate entities and their CEOs dump millions of dollars into elections, there’s no way for small business owners like me to keep up.

 

Look, I’m a realist. I know that to be successful I have to deal regularly with big corporate interests. Some are direct competitors. Others are vendors, insurance companies, and big banks. I welcome the challenges that come with this – that’s why I chose to be a part of entrepreneurial America. But I want to face these challenges on a level playing field.

 

Dark money organizations and secret political spending make a mockery of that level playing field idea. They drown out the voices of Main Street and they corrupt and warp public policy to the benefit of narrow special interests. [MORE]


Via Eric Byler
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Romney campaign's attacks on Obama play on 'birther' fears

Romney campaign's attacks on Obama play on 'birther' fears | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it

When Hillary and McCain ran against Obama in 2008, they chose not to focus on his race, strange name or unusual background.  The Romney campaign apparently has concluded that that is why those candidates lost.  Romney has sharply diverged from his best argument for the Presidency (jobs and the economy) and is now attempting to instill fear that O is "the other."

 

Yesterday, top Romney spokesperson John Sununu said the President should "learn how to be an American," which Cuban-born Sununu believed O needed lessons on because he spent some childhood years in Hawaii and Indonesia.  Romney himself today repeatedly said O's beliefs were extraordinarily "foreign."

 

As this LATimes article points out, these charges have obvious ties to issues of race, birther and Muslim conspiracies and the facts that O's father was an immigrant and his step-father was Indonesian.  The campaign's underlying message, whether overt or implicit, is that only white Christians are "real" Americans. 

 

I am personally nauseated and insulted by these attacks.  But I believe in the core values of America.  I predict that Romney's attempt to scare Americans into fearing those of other races, religions or ancestries will backfire, and that they will choose to support the candidate who embodies the American dream.  We shall see.

 

 

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Flip Flop of the Century: Video shows GOP Senators fighting for DISCLOSE Act (10 years ago)

by LEE FANG, The Nation

 

"I hope that the Senate will stand four square behind disclosure and sunlight and against the uncheck process of these [outside] electioneering ads that have certainly I think transformed the political landscape in ways that we could not possibly desire or embrace," thundered Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), in a speech imploring her colleagues to vote on an amendment to force campagin disclosure. But that was eleven years ago, during debate over McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation.

 

Last night, Senator Snowe, along with every single Republican US Senator, voted to filibuster the Disclose Act, a legislative item designed to add transparency in the post–Citizens United campaign finance landscape. The Disclose Act accomplishes essentially the exact same goal as Snowe's amendment over a decade ago. But her party has changed, and she along with it. I used C-SPAN’s archives to pull together a quick video showing half a dozen GOP senators giving impassioned speeches in support of full campaign transparency. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the leader of the opposition to any new campaign disclosure, as the Washington Post has noted, once supported providing transparency for outside money groups. Here are six senators who voted last night to kill the Disclos Act—Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Snowe, Thad Cochran (R-MS), McConnell, Pat Roberts (R-KS)—all speaking out on behalf of disclosure over a decade ago.

 

“Campaign finance reform used to be an arena where Democrats and Republicans could find common ground,” said Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) on the floor this morning. Indeed, the GOP once supported unlimited spending and full campaign transparency. Now that Citizens United has allowed unrestrained corporate, individual and union donations in elections, the party has flipped, voting lock-step for secrecy.

 

The US Chamber of Commerce, Crossroads GPS, Americans for Prosperity and other 501(c)s have concealed hundreds of millions in corporate and individual donations to run ads since the Supreme Court decision. The GOP, knowing full well that these groups boost Republican and big-business candidates, are now firmly against any effort to add disclosure. The Chamber’s lobbyists are so concerned about disclosure, that one even compared going to war with the Obama administration on the issue to killing Qaddafi. "We will fight it through all available means,” the Chamber’s Bruce Josten told the New York Times. Referencing the effort to depose Libya’s leader, Muammar Qaddafi, Josten said, “To quote what they say every day on Libya, all options are on the table.”

 

And McConnell knows full well about the benefits of secrecy. Though he has suggested to the press that he’s afraid of donors being “intimidated” through exposure, he’s probably more motivated by pure partisan advantage. His former chief of staff, Steven Law, is the head of Crossroads GPS, the well-funded 501(c)(4) group that is dedicated largely to electing more GOP members to the US Senate. [MORE]


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Romney Doubles Down On ‘You Didn’t Build That’ — Then Affirms Obama’s Point

Romney Doubles Down On ‘You Didn’t Build That’ — Then Affirms Obama’s Point | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
Mitt Romney continued his attack on President Obama for recent remarks suggesting public investments help build businesses Wednesday, then all but admitted he agreed with Obama’s underlying point.
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How Democrats Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Fiscal Cliff

How Democrats Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Fiscal Cliff | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it

Interesting explaination of the difference between the debt crisis last time and the coming "fiscal cliff."

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Lawrence Lessig quote about democracy in the U.S.

Lawrence Lessig quote about democracy in the U.S. | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
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Mitt Romney - Money has too much influence in politics

During his 1994 Senate campaign, Mitt says that the influence of money on politics is too great. He calls for a campaign spending cap and the elimination of PACs.


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Mitt Romney’s misleading attack ad

Romney's ad omits the subject ("roads and bridges") in falsely suggesting that when O said that a business owner did not build "that," someone else did, O meant "his own business."

 

Once again, the fact that most of the media have failed to call out Romney to acount for this deliberate distortion belies the notion of a "liberal media" that is supporting O's re-election.

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Tea Party Demands Obama Prove He’s Not A Gay Crack-Head (Not An Onion Story)

Tea Party Demands Obama Prove He’s Not A Gay Crack-Head (Not An Onion Story) | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it

To combat calls by both Dems and Repubs for Romney's tax returns, the Tea Party Nation head demands that O rebut a convicted con artist and release college transcripts.  In so doing, he falls back on dog whistle racism.  Crack?  Well, you how black people like crack.  O got into Harvard?  Couldn't have been his intelligence; must have been because he's black.

 

Of course, not all Tea Partiers are racist.  But when the leaders are, you can't credibly deny that there is a substantial racist element in their midst.

 

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The Daily Banter » Five Million Registered Voters will be Hindered by Voter ID Laws

The Daily Banter » Five Million Registered Voters will be Hindered by Voter ID Laws | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it

Milions of people, including elderly, non-drivers holding actual (by now tattered) voter registration cards after having voted for the past 75 years, may be denied the right to vote.

 

Romney likes to talk about un-American.  THAT is un-American.

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America’s grand tax lie

America’s grand tax lie | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
President Obama, Mitt Romney, the media -- why can't any of them tell the truth about tax cuts?
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Reclaiming What It Means to Be an American

Reclaiming What It Means to Be an American | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it

<<I was born in the Displaced Persons camp of Bergen-Belsen in Germany in 1948. From the day I became a naturalized US citizen, I have been as much an American as anyone. *** It is depressingly disconcerting, therefore, to hear the cacophony of voices from the political right accusing the President of the United States of not being "American," of being somehow foreign.>>

 

Bravo!

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Paul Weyrich - Goo-Goo Syndrome (proper audio/video synchronization)

Paul Weyrich, father of the right-wing movement and co-founder of the Heritage Foundation, Moral Majority and various other groups admits, "I don't want everybody to vote" because higher turn out decreases conservatives' leverage.

 

Sad that a political leader hates democracy so much.

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WATCH: Fighting Disclosure, Killing Democracy

WATCH: Fighting Disclosure, Killing Democracy | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it
Politicians required to play by the rules, to openly confess that their loyalty has been purchased and forced to identify the highest bidders, could not possibly survive. So they must bend the rules to conceal their transactions.
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Mitt Romney Retroactively Retired |The New Yorker

Mitt Romney Retroactively Retired |The New Yorker | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it

posted by JEFFREY TOOBIN, The New Yorker

 

Ed Gillespie, a senior adviser to Mitt Romney’s campaign, went on CNN yesterday to explain the circumstances surrounding the former governor’s departure from his position at Bain Capital. Gillespie settled the controversy by saying that Romney left Bain and went to work at the Salt Lake City Olympics in 1999 and then “retired retroactively” from Bain in 2002. This explanation has met with criticism and ridicule.

...

 

The criticism of Romney is especially unjust because, after all, he has retroactively retired from other jobs besides the one he held at Bain Capital—Governor of Massachusetts, for instance. During his term in office, Romney sponsored a health-care law with an individual mandate. As Romney said when he signed the law, on April 13, 2006, “Today, Massachusetts is leading the way with health insurance for everyone.” Later, when he began running for the Republican nomination for President, he retroactively retired from that position and said, “what works in one state may not be the answer for another.” Romney thus has a record of consistency in his commitment to retroactive retirement. (Ryan Lizza has written about his mastery of the technique.)  [Read More.]

 


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Mitt Romney: Chairman, CEO, and Sole Shareholder—But Not Responsible?

Share this: http://OFA.BO/LDahZw Tweet this: http://OFA.BO/QQhtSN This was Mitt Romney's explanation. Verbatim.
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Why both parties should embrace ObamaCare's state exchanges

Why both parties should embrace ObamaCare's state exchanges | Election by Actual (Not Fictional) People | Scoop.it

Here's a rarity: a Republican who embraces a key part of Obamacare -- the state insurance exchanges which, as former Majority Leader Bill Frist reminds us, was a Republican idea.  He points out that one of the great things about Obamacare is that it lets each state design its own program (e.g., conservative one founded by former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman vs. single payer system that Vermont is heading toward).

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