Saturday, July 21, 2012

Right Sentiment. Woefully Wrong Approach.

You have got to be fucking kidding me...

This is one of the worst. Front. Pages. Ever.

The Editors of the New York Daily News thought it would be appropriate to blame President Obama on the front page of their rag today, in the aftermath of the Aurora shootings.

They continue in their editorial to point fingers at the NRA and its Vice President Wayne LaPierre, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and the "millions of zealots who would sooner see blood flow and lives end than have to check a box on a gun registration form."

They have a point, but man, do they go about it in a strange way. The first half of their editorial comes across as hacky, amateurish and way over the top, describing the scene in Aurora as if the President and his opponent were right by the shooter's side.

While I understand their sentiment in pointing out the lack of enthusiasm among most politicians in legislating stricter gun laws, attempting to cast blame on Obama or Romney for not taking the opportunity to pull an Andrew Shepard "I'm gonna get the guns"moment the second they got in front of the cameras while the country was still in shock is simply ludicrous.

Look, we all know the NRA has Washington DC by the balls, but to blame 535 people on the hill and one in the Oval Office is complete misdirection. There are 4.3 million members of the National Rifle Association and staggeringly, that is a fraction of the approximately 47% of American adults that self report ownership of a gun, let alone the possibly millions of unregistered firearms in this country. But I suppose if you want to sell papers in a dying industry, it wouldn't be quite so powerful putting a crowd of a 100 million gun waving people on the cover.

I'm not happy with the Obama Administration's grade when it comes to gun laws, and yes, I wish someone would take the lead on this, whether it be Obama or Congress. But I don't remember the editors putting George W. Bush's face on the front page of the paper when the Assault Weapons Ban was allowed to expire in 2004.

And let's not forget that at this point in time, the gun crazies - LaPierre included - think (or want the rubes to believe) that there's some vast Obama conspiracy to take away everyone's guns when there are absolutely no facts to back it up. And it continues to work. Since the 2008 election, gun sales have shot through the roof (no pun intended) for fear that Big Brother is coming for their guns and restrict or flat out revoke their precious 2nd Amendment rights. Can you imagine the wall to wall pout-rage by the RWNJs if the President had even broached the subject legislating a curb or ban of assault weapons due to the most recent tragedy? And the backlash and accusations for making political hay out of it?

We don't live in a vacuum. As much as I'd like to live in an Aaron Sorkin world, the reality is that politics plays a role in everything, including the timing of when to take on certain issues. And while I still believe that there's some time to turn the gun issue around for the Obama administration - after November 7th in a second term? - the day of a national tragedy is not the time for pulling the gun control card. And the editors of the New York Daily News know that, but chose to take a cheap shot anyway.

(Cross-posted at ABLC)

Must Reads

Elspeth Reeve: Sarah Palin's Incredible Shrinking Act Is Almost Complete

David Sirota: Why the anti-Obama tax spin?

Andrew Sullivan: Romney's Got Nothing

Matt Negrin & Jonathan Karl: The Bain Ad That Romney Should Fear the Most

Ron Sherer: Mitt Romney taxes show 'very high' charitable giving tied to Mormon church

Jonathan Capehart: Romney’s current Bain woes were planted two months ago

Eclectablog: OMG!!! Obama disses ALL businesses owners everywhere ever!!! EVERYBODY FREAK OUT!!!

Paul Waldman: Why "Knowing How the Economy Works" Is Not Enough

Kathleen Parker: Get Smart, America

Bill Moyers & Michael Winship: The NRA Has America Living Under the Gun

Aurora Shooting: I Wish I Were Surprised

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
~George Santayana

I awoke yesterday morning to an AP alert on my phone about the shooting in Aurora, Colorado. By the time I read the two sentence alert to my wife, I was over the shock. I shrugged my shoulders, shook my head and we went about our morning. I mean, really, how can we continue to be surprised at the constant repetition of tragedies like this, when the collective "we" don't or won't do a goddamn thing about it?

Later on I channel surfed a bit knowing all news would stop this day, as it had for the previous mass shooting. And the one before that. And the one before that. And the one before that.... The President made his requisite comments. The candidate followed with much the same. They would suspend their campaigns and pull all ads from Colorado; word of that news was immediately followed by an RNC anti-Obama ad in New York. On MSNBC of all places. (Who are the RNC trying to convince?)

My cynical side started asking questions. What pundit would be the first idiot to politicize this event? How soon before someone blamed Hollywood violence? What right winger would be the first to either blame Obama or spew some backwards conspiracy that it's another attempt to take away your guns? What politician would make a complete ass of him/herself? (The answer to that last question is Rep. Louis Gohmert, by the way, who has vaulted into first place in the Dumbest Congressional Fuckwad Race. Michelle Bachmann has some competition.)

Here's a list of mass shootings since, and including, Columbine (via Newsmax):
April 1999 - two teenage schoolboys shot and killed 12 schoolmates and a teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, before killing themselves. 
July 1999 - a stock exchange trader in Atlanta, Georgia, killed 12 people including his wife and two children before taking his own life. 
September 1999 - a gunman opened fire at a prayer service in Fort Worth, Texas, killing six people before committing suicide. 
October 2002 - a series of sniper-style shootings occurred in Washington DC, leaving 10 dead. 
August 2003 - in Chicago, a laid-off worker shot and killed six of his former workmates. 
November 2004 - in Birchwood, Wisconsin, a hunter killed six other hunters and wounded two others after an argument with them. 
March 2005 - a man opened fire at a church service in Brookfield, Wisconsin, killing seven people. 
October 2006 - a truck driver killed five schoolgirls and seriously wounded six others in a school in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania before taking his own life. 
April 2007 - student Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 people and wounded 15 others at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, before shooting himself, making it the deadliest mass shooting in the United States after 2000. 
August 2007 - Three Delaware State University students were shot and killed in “execution style” by a 28-year-old and two 15-year-old boys. A fourth student was shot and stabbed. 
December 2007 - a 20-year-old man killed nine people and injured five others in a shopping center in Omaha, Nebraska. 
December 2007 - a woman and her boyfriend shot dead six members of her family on Christmas Eve in Carnation, Washington. 
February 2008 - a shooter who is still at large tied up and shot six women at a suburban clothing store in Chicago, leaving five of them dead and the remaining one injured. 
February 2008 - a man opened fire in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, killing five students and wounding 16 others before laying down his weapon and surrendering. 
September 2008 - a mentally ill man who was released from jail one month earlier shot eight people in Alger, Washington, leaving six of them dead and the rest two wounded. 
December 2008 - a man dressed in a Santa Claus suit opened fire at a family Christmas party in Covina, California, then set fire on the house and killed himself. Police later found nine people dead in the debris of the house. 
March 2009 - a 28-year-old laid-off worker opened fire while driving a car through several towns in Alabama, killing 10 people. 
March 2009 - a heavily armed gunman shot dead eight people, many of them elderly and sick people, in a private-owned nursing home in North Carolina. 
March 2009 - six people were shot dead in a high-grade apartment building in Santa Clara, California. 
April 2009 - a man shot dead 13 people at a civic center in Binghamton, New York. 
July 2009 - Six people, including one student, were shot in a drive-by shooting at a community rally on the campus of Texas Southern University, Houston. 
November 2009 - U.S. army psychologist Major Nidal Hasan opened fire at a military base in Fort Hood, Texas, leaving 13 dead and 42 others wounded. 
February 2010 – A professor opened fire 50 minutes into at a Biological Sciences Department faculty meeting at the University of Alabama, killing three colleagues and wounding three others. 
January 2011 - a gunman opened fire at a public gathering outside a grocery in Tucson, Arizona, killing six people including a 9-year-old girl and wounding at least 12 others. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was severely injured with a gunshot to the head.
Slaughter after slaughter and yet, what is the response? We can't possibly be callous enough to talk about something political like gun control laws so soon after the tragedy. We really shouldn't legislate something in a desperate attempt to prevent another heinous act while she should still be in mourning.  Besides, deer hunters really need access to semi-automatic rifles. And armor-piercing bullets. And pistols with 30 round clips.

So we wait just long enough until the event seeps out of the public consciousness, which these days is about 12 seconds - who's on Dancing with the Stars this season? - and the N.R. Fucking A. has enough time to circle the wagons and threaten some bullshit scoring on a bill which has nothing to do with actual gun legislation. And we forget about the shooting du jour until the next time when the whole cycle starts all over again.

Until we stop sucking NRA cock, nothing will happen. And I won't be surprised the next time either.

(Cross-posted at ABLC)

President Obama's Weekly Address - July 21, 2012

Remembering the Victims of the Aurora, Colorado Shooting

Friday, July 20, 2012

Just Say 'Oops!' and Get Out (The 'Romney Should Have Quit While He Was Ahead' Edition)

By now we all know about the "you didn't build that" gaffe that wasn't a gaffe. President Obama was referring to roads, bridges, schools and infrastructure already in place, when he said business had help along the way. But just so we're clear, he's the full statement.

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t -- look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.) 
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. 
The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.
So the Romney campaign, and some would say rightfully so in the world of negative campaigning, decided not only to quote the President out of context to show that he was maligning and dismissing small business and individual achievement, they quickly produced a commercial to further illustrate their point.

And there you have it. A pretty good, effective ad. If only it were true. The whole premise is based on a heavily edited version of Obama's quotes over three paragraphs. But one thing the Romney camp missed was the possibility that the person they were lying to for use in an opportunistic ad can't be controlled once the cameras leave.

Neil Cavuto thought it would be a good idea to interview the "star" of the new ad, New "Live Free or Die" Hampshire small businessman Jack Gilchrist. Cavuto asked what he thought of the President's comments... and it seems that Gilchrist knew all of them, not just the one line soundbite. (2:30 mark)

Gilchrist: "Well, I mean, there's truth to what [President Obama] says, I mean, Helen Bresnehan, Ms. Bresnehan was my eleventh grade English teacher and she made an impression on me that will last with me for the rest of my life. I can't even tell you what but she just sticks with me. I think my dad and his parents, they're great generations, on their back we built the interstate highway systems, bridges and whatnot. But we all pay taxes every time we put gas in our tank which go to maintaining the roads and keeping up the bridges. I think the military maybe, I don't know if it was Al Gore I'm not sure which that created the internet for whatever purposes it was intended but we all get the benefit from it since then, so ya, there's been some help along the way."
Watching the full Cavuto interview with Gilchirst is a little disappointing and unfortunate because while he actually agrees with the President's premise, he still accepts Romney's wrongly contextualized interpretation. But hey, I know a lot of successful businessmen that aren't the brightest bulbs or worse yet, willfully choose to believe something other than the truth in order to fit their narrative. I don't know if Gilchrist is the former or the latter, but his "Al Gore internet" jibe sheds a little light, doesn't it?

Finally, not only does Gilchrist fundamentally agree with President Obama that without infrastructure in place that only a centralized entity like the government can create (albeit with tax funds) business ventures would be much harder if not next to impossible, someone else agrees with Obama as well. Mitt. Freakin'. Romney!

Romney: "We value teachers, firefighters, people that build roads... so you really couldn't have a business if you didn't have those things."
They couldn't leave well enough alone. They kept hammering until they smashed their own thumb. Romney even tried it again with a Roxbury, Massachusetts businessman.
Company owner Brian Maloney, 69, agreed with Romney's assessment. "I take umbrage at the suggestion that people don't start and build businesses," Maloney said. "I started out with 500 bucks and worked with my hands to afford grad school at night. My wife supported me. Started a little body shop and was able to bring together people, one at a time." 
He added: "We don't need any more of government's help. We haven't had any. We've only had pain. It's overbearing. It's top-heavy." 
But in an interview with Boston-based reporter Jon Keller of WBZ-TV, Maloney acknowledged that his business received some government help. "The only way I was able to come here, because I had no money, was with an industrial revenue bond," Maloney said in the interview. Industrial revenue bonds are typically issued by local and state governments to attract new business to an area. They create low-interest loans for new development and startups.
That thumping sound you hear is my head banging against my desk. How many of these "Keep your government hands off my Medicare" morons are out there?! Mitt Romney wants to take advantage of every one of them. And it seems they're more than willing to oblige.


(Cross-posted at ABLC)

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Posted by Long Island Weegie B.

Before we embrace another Republican president, let's just remember what happened under George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, and the 107th, 108th and 109th Republican led Congresses. In my opinion Bush and Cheney have lived up to the term "Worst. Presidency. Ever."

How quickly we forget while listening to the Fox Lies. The propaganda really does work.

What happened on W.'s watch (and I am just going from memory):

September 11th, two unjust wars, thousands of Americans dead by war or by natural disaster (remember a little place called Louisiana where dead Americans were floating in the streets and left to die on rooftops, in attics, and their homes?)

Then there was Terri Schiavo.  Congress made a mockery of the woman's privacy, death, and dragged her family through the mud for months as I recall. I find this particularly hypocritical and offensive as a government intrusion into a private discussion.

Hmm... what else?

Revision of posse comitatussuspension of habeas corpus, expansion of eminent domain rights. With the changes in eminent domain the government can now take your property and give it to a private corporation.

It used to be the government could only take for a public good. Before, if Corp A wants your house, you'd say give me a million dollars and then negotiate until you get what you want and they get what they want. Now, if Corp A wants to build on your property they just get the governor to take it, pay market rate (not necessarily what it is worth), and gives it to them. Not hard to understand, your rights of property ownership just disappeared. Cases are still open in Florida about this.

What else... collapse, recession, depression, a nosedive in unemployment, the bank disaster (all of which we are still fighting to emerge from), the GM bailout, the housing collapse... outsourcing to China... the only thing he could have done to top it off was to fire a nuke at Russia.

Obama? He is trying to give everyone health care, green energy, tax the super rich, and rebuild the middle class. Yeah, yeah, he let the gays get married, he's black, and America is a deeply racist, bigoted country. I get it. But if we are really just interested in the economy and jobs, what does that have to do with anything?

For some reason, we are all genetically engineered to attack the word SOCIALISM. Well, socialism is a very good thing in moderation. We have Social Security, Medicare, and any number of other socialism based enterprises like the Armed Forces, departments of water supply, sewer departments, departments of traffic, etc. Last I checked, nobody wanted to disband the Army because they function as a socialist organization.

Socialism is no better or worse than Capitalism, Communism, or any of the other 'isms' out there with the exception of Libertarianism. Libertarians are social Darwinists and should be bludgeoned on sight. Most Corporatists are Libertarians in their basic design, except for eating those government bailouts when they fail.

In Socialism (which the US is not), the people own the means of production. Sounds good to me. The Hoover Dam: government built and people owned. Niagara power project: government built and owned by the state of New York. Tennessee Valley Authority? Same thing. In New York alone, George Washington Bridge, Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, Whitestone Bridge, Midtown Tunnel, Central Park. These are all products of Socialism.

Social Security, yes that too. It is your money, owned by you like a bank account so you should be very aware of what the government is doing with your money... because it is YOUR money.

I've gone far longer here than I wanted, so all I want to say is think before you jump to embrace an ideology that has failed for 30 years. Think before you blindly believe the patented lies that are being delivered by the corporate owned media. You see, that was deregulated too. Now the news is no longer fact based as much as it is entertainment based opinion (some call it lies).

Welcome to the Campaign, Ann Romney

In the world of politics, there's a "keep the families out of it" unwritten rule (consistently broken, by the way) that's bandied about as soon as someone attacks something said by a familial surrogate. Absolutely, children should be out of bounds. Sasha and Malia Obama, a young Chelsea Clinton in the 90s, the younger children of the Palin brood. They're victims of circumstance thrown into the spotlight through no fault of their own.

But the spouses of candidates are a different matter. If you immerse yourself into the political arena, you are now fair game. They actively campaign, give speeches, give interviews explaining policy positions, and travel with the candidate and the campaign. Campaign spokespersons paid to be there are one thing - they're connected to the chaos of campaigns and politics. But someone's wife? How dare anyone respond to someone's remarks when touting their husband/wife candidate? Just ask Michelle Obama. Whether you believe she was misquoted or not, her "really proud of my country" line was one of the highlights of the 2008 presidential campaign.

Just off the top of my head, I don't remember seeing very much pushback against Laura Bush because, well, she seemed likable and milquetoasty and didn't come across as a threat. I may be wrong, but I don't remember her stumping on the trail much either. Michelle Obama was/is a different story, as we all know, because of the fierce anti-Obama faction in this country; the I-want-to-take-my-country-back, she's-taking-away-my-dessert, and just flat out racist faction. But I digress.

From the beginning, Mitt's wife, Ann Romney, has been treated with kid gloves. I say this because the minute it was revealed that Mitt and Ann dabble in Olympic dressage horses and that Ann's horse will be at the London Games in a few weeks, the criticisms arose of their elitist stature. Then it was revealed that the Romney's took a $77,000 tax break on the care of the horse as a business expense.

So what did they do? They played the Multiple Sclerosis card. I don't say that lightly. Yes, Ann Romney as been courageously battling MS for the past fourteen years. And while I don't doubt that horseback riding can be beneficial to the health of an MS patient, really? A quarter million dollar dressage horse for which you took a $77,000 deduction as a loss on your taxes? Riding Ol' Bessie around the farm not good enough?

Today, Ann Romney cannonballed into the middle of the presidential campaign pool when asked if Mitt Romney would release more than his one year of tax returns.

 “You know, you should really look at where Mitt has led his life, and where he’s been financially,” Ann Romney told ABC’s Robin Roberts. “He’s a very generous person. We give 10 percent of our income to our church every year. Do you think that is the kind of person who is trying to hide things, or do things? No. He is so good about it. Then, when he was governor of Massachusetts, didn’t take a salary for four years.” 
“We’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life,” the candidate’s wife added.
Sorry, Ann. We're trying to look at where Mitt has been financially... if he'd only release his tax records, we'd see. And tithing is pretty much a requirement for the Mormon Church. Mandatory? No. But it's a commandment. And yes, unless he makes his financial life an open book by doing something as simple as making tax returns available, we're going to think he's hiding something. Illegal? Probably not. But something scathing like little to no tax rate in certain years. Oh, and was he Governor of Massachusetts? We seem to forget because HE NEVER MENTIONS IT. He must be really proud of his record as Governor, huh?

And then comes the kicker. "We've given all you people need to know..." You people? Did she mean the media? The American voters? The rabble? You know how we live our lives. Leave us alone! Let them eat cake!

Welcome to the campaign, Mrs. Romney. It's good to have you.

(By the way, pretty crappy softball interview, Today Show.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

McCain to Bachmann: Have You No Sense of Decency?

Kudos to Senator John McCain fighting back against Tea Party Queen and 21st Century Joe McCarthy, Rep. Michele Bachmann, who is claiming Secretary of State aide Huma Abedin is some sort of secret agent for the Muslim Brotherhood based on yet another wingnut conspiracy theory.

"These allegations about Huma [Abedin] and the report from which they are drawn are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable woman, a dedicated American and a loyal public servant," said McCain in a speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday morning. The accusations stem from a report by the Center for Security Policy. The organization is run by Frank Gaffney, who has been crusading against the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and Sharia law for years... 
..."The letter alleges that three members of Huma’s family are 'connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations,'" he said. "Never mind that one of those individuals, Huma’s father, passed away two decades ago. The letter and the report offer not one instance of an action, a decision or a public position that Huma has taken while at the State Department that would lend credence to the charge that she is promoting anti-American activities within our government." 
"These attacks on Huma have no logic, no basis and no merit," McCain added. "And they need to stop now."... 
..."Ultimately, what is at stake in this matter is larger even than the reputation of one person," he added. "This is about who we are as a nation, and who we still aspire to be ... When anyone, not least a member of Congress, launches specious and degrading attacks against fellow Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are and ignorance of what they stand for, it defames the spirit of our nation, and we all grow poorer because of it."

This is what we are dealing with, folks. Outrageous, idiotic, uneducated liars of the first order. Who are the elected officials that signed on to the letters sent to federal agencies demanding witch hunts on Abedin? Reps. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), Thomas Rooney (R-Fla.) and Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.). These, along with Michele Bachmann and Iowa's Republican Rep. Steve King (surprisingly not among the signers), are the looniest of the loons. The inmates that run the Tea Party asylum.

And they are dangerous.

(I suggest you watch the video of McCain's speech here.)

UPDATE: Rep. Steve King may not have signed his name to the Bachmann letter in question, but I included him in the wingnut pile for reasons like this.

Think about it


Think about it: The GOP constantly tries to tie the personal tax rates of business owners to the businesses they run. They want you to think that if a person's personal tax rates go up their business will suffer. If their personal taxes go down, they will hire more at their businesses.

Mitt Romney says he has the business experience to create jobs because of his 25 years at Bain.

SOOOO, if the GOP says that personal taxes are a direct factor in how someone runs a business and Mitt Romney says how he ran Bain is the reason to trust he can create jobs, shouldn't we be seeing as much documentation as possible on his taxes? 25 years of running a business can't be summed up in one year of taxes especially when that one year was a year he wasn't "running" that business.

If taxes = job creation. We need to see Mitt Romney's taxes, Bain's taxes, Bain's hiring and firing record.

Ya Think?!

From the "No shit, Sherlock!" annals of journalism comes this NY Times piece suggesting New Jersey Governor Tony Soprano may have hindered his chances for a VP nod because he's a bit over the top.

From: Christie’s Brashness Blunts Hopes to Join Ticket

...Mr. Christie’s star has faded as a potential vice-presidential pick. As polls show that his bluntness is striking more voters as bullying, Republicans close to Mr. Romney’s campaign say that the governor’s continued hostile encounters — including one on the Jersey Shore this month that was caught on video — have augmented fears that he is too unpredictable and too contentious, turning what was once viewed as a key strength into a drawback. 
A decision to pass on Mr. Christie would highlight the more cautious approach Mr. Romney appears to be taking — by all indications he has been leaning toward measured personalities like Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor, or Senator Rob Portman of Ohio. This may reflect the lessons of the last presidential race, when a Republican running mate who seemed authentic and exciting went rogue... 
...Aides and advisers to Mr. Romney, who acknowledge that he was never going to be the safest choice, privately say that they are troubled by Mr. Christie’s temper, calling it unsettling and out of step with Mr. Romney’s temperament... 
...In the town-hall-style meetings that have become his preferred method of delivering messages (he has done 88 in 18 months), he boasts of his skill getting a Democrat-led Legislature to buckle. But what is often left out is that the changes were things that had first been proposed by Democrats who were coming in when Mr. Christie took office. 
“It’s like the guy who catches the little fish, then by the time he’s done telling you the story, it’s a 60-pound tuna,” said Stephen M. Sweeney, the State Senate president and a Gloucester County Democrat who initially proposed the pension changes and property tax cap.

So was it calling people idiots in town-hall meetings or his thin-skinned approach to hearing criticism on a Jersey Shore boardwalk from a constituent that has people second guessing his baseball bat to the knees approach? Or maybe it's his economic decisions based on politics instead of what's best for his state, like canceling the ARC tunnel project or blowing a $400 million federal education grant because of his disapproval on a teachers' union compromise.
But hey, you gotta love that tough guy persona, huh? 
New Jersey voters, you can only polish a turd for so long.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

McCain: Homina, Homina Homina... Get Off My Lawn!

Mitt Romney's taxes. That's what we're talking about. Why won't he release his more than the tax returns he's made available when he knew he was running for president? What's he hiding? Well, maybe nothing, but the perception is that he does have something to hide, otherwise, why not release the forms?

When John McCain was asked why he chose Sarah Palin as his running mate over Romney after reviewing 23 years of Romney tax returns made available to the McCain campaign, John McCain said this:
...because we thought that Sarah Palin was the better candidate," he said. "Why did we not take [Tim] Pawlenty, why did we not take any of the other 10 other people. Why didn’t I? Because we had a better candidate, the same way with all the others. ... Come on, why? That’s a stupid question."
Yes. You read that correctly. The McCain campaign thought Sarah Freakin' Palin was a better vice presidential candidate than, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and countless others when searching for someone who would be the Commander-in-Chief should something happen to John McCain.

Perhaps the McCain camp saw something in Romney's tax returns that made them cringe. Perhaps they saw something that they figured the American public would find just as problematic. We may never know.

But soon after Grampa Simpson realized he stuck his slippered foot in his mouth, he attempted to walk back his statement.
John McCain sought to clarify his remarks on Tuesday that he picked Sarah Palin as his running mate over Mitt Romney because she was the “better candidate” and not due to Romney’s tax returns. A statement released by his Senate office reads:
“Some in the media have chosen to take my answer today, in response to the question of why I did not select Governor Romney as my vice presidential nominee, out of context. I selected Sarah Palin because she was the best fit for my campaign, and my decision had nothing to do with the bogus tax return attacks currently being waged by the Obama campaign. I have the highest respect for Governor Romney and his record of public service, and he will make an outstanding president.
But not such a high respect that he would have been an outstanding Vice President? Thanks, Senator McCain. You've made things very, very clear.

Senate GOP Filibusters DISCLOSE Act

If there's any question left at all where the Republicans stand on campaign finance reform or transparency, think no more.

Last night, Senate Republicans led by Minority Leader and resident Galapagos tortoise Mitch McConnell, voted against bringing a bill to the floor requiring disclosure of anyone who donates to independent groups that spent more than $10,000 on campaign ads.

Once the supposed leaders in campaign finance disclosure (remember John McCain?), not one, single Republican voted in favor of the ‘Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act of 2012’ or 'DISCLOSE' Act. Not even John McCain.

And what is wrong with wrong with disclosing who is behind the the financing of specific independent ads on either side of the political spectrum? According to a McConnell op-ed, he considers it "un-American." He believes it "punishes political enemies." How so if the bill is equally enforced towards ads supporting both parties? McConnell also says it's a First Amendment infringement on free speech. Well, if what you are financing is something you believe in, something you stand for, why would you be ashamed of attaching your name to it?

The truth of the matter is it has nothing to do with protecting free speech or punishing political enemies. Republicans are blocking a vote on this bill because the majority of anonymous money is funding anti-Obama ads. And for the last three years, the GOP has made it clear that their number one priority above all else is to make President Obama a one term president. If the roles were reversed and it were Romney who was in the crosshairs of most of the superPACS, I would posit that there would have been no such filibuster.

The Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court overturned McCain-Feingold except for the ban on foreign corporations or foreign nationals in decisions regarding political spending. But how are we to know where the money is actually coming from to fund the superPACS when the donations are anonymous? This loophole could possibly allow foreign entities to play a role in our albeit fractured political campaign finance system. Whether or not this is the most important reason for disclosure is a conversation for another day (I think it should be a major reason), but I digress.

The fact remains that Republicans would rather have millions upon hundreds of millions of dollars pumped into the political process without any care as to where it came from. It's dangerous. It should stop. And maybe one day it will when it's the Republicans who are on the short end of the stick.

Dumbass Quote of the Week

"He took a leave of absence and in fact, ended up not going back at all and retired retroactively to February 1999 as a result."  
~Romney senior campaign advisor Ed Gillespie, trying to explain why Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was listed as CEO, sole stockholder, chairman of the board and coffee gofer of Bain Capital through 2002 according to SEC documents, when Mitt Romney claims he left Bain in February of 1999.
Yes. Retroactive retirement. He said that.