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.
WASHINGTON -- House Republicans routinely beat the drum about the hard work they have done in passing "more than 30 jobs bills" that are now before the Democrat-controlled Senate, going nowhere, as the economy gasps for air. But economists agree that the bills would have no impact on short term job growth and some say they would have no measurable impact even on long term job growth.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects that the Supreme Court’s health care reform decision will leave three million people who would’ve otherwise been covered under the Affordable Care Act without insurance, but will reduce the 10-year price tag by $84 billion.
In contrast, if GOP repeals Obamacare, the CBO projects that the deficit would be increased over 10 years by $109 billion and leave tens of millions of people uninsured.
So, once again, Repubs claims to be concerned about the deficit are exposed as a sham by a neutral numbers cruncher.
The Romney campaign has been making much out of a misleadingly edited Obama quote about small businesses relying somewhere along the line on help from others, on infrastructure that someone else built, on government investments.
Romney put together an ad to highlight this distortion, featuring a New Hampshire businessman who criticized O's remarks and said his famly built his company with his own hands. Oops. Turns out, just as O said, this guy got help along the way. Well over $1 million in government loans, bonds and government contracts.
Thus, Romney inadvertently proves exactly the point that O was making.
As the Justice Department investigates Pennsylvania’s voter ID law on the federal level, a coalition of civil rights groups is gearing up for a state trial starting Wednesday examining whether the law is allowable under Pennsylvania’s constitution.
Take a look at this astonishing admission: <<Pennsylvania “will not offer any evidence in this action that in-person voter fraud has in fact occurred in Pennsylvania and elsewhere” or even argue “that in person voter fraud is likely to occur in November 2012 in the absense of the Photo ID law.”>>
If fraud is not likely to occur in the coming election, they why in the hell is the State trying to impose a poorly thought out voter ID law that is extremely likely to disenfranchise SOME legitimate voters? Oh yeah, because the GOP needs to deliver Pennsylvania to Romney.
Back in November, 2011, Mitt Romney's presidential campaign proudly took President Obama out of context in one of its first web ads. Now, despite the press calling him on his distortions, Romney is doing it again. No shame.
Not only does the GOP’s tax plan extend tax cuts for wealthy Americans, it also would actually allow middle class taxes to go UP slightly. The Democrats’ plan accomplishes the opposite. And the net result?
<<the Democrats’ plan would have a significantly more salutary impact on the deficit next year — over $42 billion in 2013 — than the GOP plan.>>
Since the Repubs and Romney still refuse to document how they intend to cut the deficit, all of their talk about the dangers of the deficit are revealed to be blather and cover for their true aim: to cater to the richest Americans at any and all costs.
<<The world's super-rich have taken advantage of lax tax rules to siphon off at least $21 trillion, and possibly as much as $32 trillion, from their home countries and hide it abroad – a sum larger than the entire American economy.>>
Romney keeps turning up examples of businesses who claim they built their businesses by themselves. <<The problem is that the real-world examples Romney keeps seizing on include people who got help from the government. ... the star of a recent Romney ad hitting Obama over "you didn't build that" had received millions in government loans and contracts. Romney stopped in Costa Mesa, California Monday to meet with a "roundtable" of small business leaders, held in front of a sign that says "We did build it!"
Naturally, it turned out that at least two of the companies represented—Endural LLC and Philatron Wire and Cable—had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in government contracts. When Romney visited the Boston's historic black neighborhood of Roxbury last week, Romney touted an auto repair shop, declaring that "This is not the result of government...This is the result of people who take risks, who have dreams, who build for themselves and for their families." Except it turned out that the auto repair shop guy started out without any funds and was only able to build his business because of a bond issed by the local government.>>
Ultimately, it’s an argument over how to create jobs.
<<On the question of the relationship between government spending and job creation, Romney’s positions are at odds with mainstream economic opinion. “The debate in Washington has become completely unmoored from this consensus,” Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers write today. “Republicans have pushed their representatives to adopt positions that are at odds with the best of modern economic thinking. “ Romney does not have a plan to fix the short term crisis, in the sense that he’d be proposing exactly the same things if the economy were doing great.>> That's why he has to invent the idea that O is hostile toward free enterprise in order to convince the public that w/o O, the economy will magically improve.
Romney told CNBC that Americans "ought to give, whichever president is going to be elected, at least six months or a year to get those policies in place." But, <<if we don't hold Obama's first year against him, the economy has added over 3.7 million jobs overall during his presidency, and over 4.2 million in the private sector. That's not the count by my standard; that's the count by Romney's standard.>>
So this Politico story by Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen is making the rounds. How about we move beyond the claims and counter-claims of Democrats and Republicans to some actual data?
<<What [atual data] shows is that every point in the past 10 months, Obama has received more negative coverage than positive coverage. The tone of Romney coverage has shifted depending on primary campaign events, but, as of the end of April, positive coverage still outweighed negative coverage. At that point, Romney received about as much positive coverage as Obama received negative coverage.
Now, these data don’t speak to the specific subject matter of the Politico story, which focuses on a couple of stories about Romney that aired recently in the New York Times and Washington Post. But, in the news media as a whole, the PEJ data suggest that there hasn’t been “blatant bias” toward Obama.>>
<<Because all these people provide all these services we want and need, we would normally have a rather large fondness for them in the aggregate. Moreover we would rightfully want them compensated well.
This is anathema to Right Wing vision of government. They do not want a public sector with teachers, police, firefighters, and other public employees. They want to relegate all these services to private corporations.>>
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"?
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]
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]