Sunday, May 31, 2020
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Hello, Rachel, Ed, Lawrence, Chris: Bill Scher is Right: Stop Obsessing...

Bill Scher is right. Stop reading the polls and read the debate transcript instead. And here's what to do next:

First, remember Reagan's loss of the first debate in 1984?  Did Reagan go on to lose the election? No. Remember John Kerrey's win of the first debate in 2004?  Did he win the electon? No. The debates usually mean squat. And now they have deteriorated to the point of meaningless show. But what your parade of idiots has done meanwhile is fan a whole new round of poll results. Their fumes have continued unabated and are creating the beginnings of a self-fulfilling prophesy. If you do not STFU, and SOON, you will destroy Democrats' chances. You are taking the worst, most awkward, most unqualified (by virtue of his own conflicts of interest and reckless and inhumane business habits), and most untruthful candidate in a century and making him more viable. The man is the essence of what is wrong with our country's Wall Streeters. And you try to render him credible while he spews more lies per hour than any pol has ever done?

He plans to destroy nearly every program that helps ordinary Americans. He plans to steal our educational institutions, programs for the poor, retirements and then lies about it. Do not let him get away with it. He plans to launch endless war, give our money to the rich (trickle up).  He plans to gut regulation (despite his lies last Wednesday). Don't let him get away with it. It's drill, baby, drill. And forget the consequences to Americans.

Then, second,  remember this: The debate transcript is chock full of ammunition to defeat Mitt Romney, every single lie in it. Comb through it. Write more about it. Talk it up on the airwaves. A few (like Think Progress and even the NYT) have done it, but not most of you. As the U2 song says "You're stuck and in the moment and you can't get out of it."

Things Reporters Aren’t Supposed to Say: Mitt Romney is Lying About...

RNC 2012-53It's not that Mitt Romney doesn't have his facts straight about the Environmental Protection Agency. It's not that reasonable people can disagree with the Environmental Protection Agency about the best approach to solving a set of problems. Mitt Romney is choosing to lie about the Environmental Protection Agency because he thinks that will give him a political advantage.

But as Paul Krugman said on ABC's This Week, "The press just doesn't know how to handle flat-out untruths," so you get articles like this in Politico today:

The GOP presidential nominee is telling voters in Colorado, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia that Obama's EPA is to blame for wiping out the coal industry. Romney and his surrogates are warning Iowans of EPA plans to regulate for farm dust and railing against the agency for flying airplanes over livestock operations to spy for dirty water.

In many instances, Romney's EPA attacks stretch the boundaries of what the agency actually does or can do. The EPA has repeatedly denied any plans for new farm dust rules, and the planes have been used as a cost-cutting enforcement measure dating back to the George W. Bush administration. Energy experts say the coal industry's problems are a byproduct of all-time lows in natural gas prices rather than new air pollution requirements that have been subject to legal battles for more than a decade.

Mitt Romney says something that's not true. Even after widely-available facts to the contrary are pointed out, Mitt Romney keeps repeating the untruth. We'll have to leave it there.  

Subliminal Messages in the First Presidential Debate

Prior to the first debate, many Democrats were metaphorically high-fiving each other, doing a pre-victory dance in the end-zone. After the debate, the revived Republicans powered up their CEO smirk- machine, crowing that their man's aggressive performance buried an obviously weak President, revealing him as an amateur in over his head.  

The next day came one analysis after another from upset liberals, disappointed supporters, and know-it-all pundits, some piling on with criticism of President Obama's "passive" or "listless" performance, some rationalizing that "the President just had a bad day," some pointing out that Obama  plays a masterful "long game," and was giving Romney rope enough to hang himself (witness the new attack ads based on Romney's lie-a-minute self-contradictory statements), and all of them taking note of Romney's rudeness, his bullying behavior, and his refusal to play by the rules. All have agreed that Obama does not debate well, and never has; all have agreed that Romney was hyper-aggressive, domineering, and, some hinted, may have illegally used hidden notes which he smuggled on to his podium (an as-yet-unconfirmed accusation).

Upon reflection, I believe the debate offers two very interesting subliminal narratives, one for each side. They are not mutually exclusive; one, both, or neither may have been deliberately employed, and each delivers a powerful psychological punch, if, as I believe, politics is power, and is a form of warfare.

How a Horse Becomes a “Small Business”

Not everyone knows that the food, training and stabling of Mitt and Ann Romney's dressage horse, the one that competed in the Olympics, is also considered a "small business" by the Romneys, allowing them to claim a $77,000 deduction for "business losses" on their income taxes. How can such a travesty happen? Well, Romney created a "business" called Rob Rom Enterprises that "owns" the 15-year-old mare, Rafalca. Romney claims Refalca is a "business" because she could produce foals worth money, thus becoming a "product." (At that age, the old gal hasn't got many productive years left to pop out foals, though.)

As President Obama pointed out in the debate Wednesday night, "Under Gov. Romney's [tax plan] definition, Donald Trump is a small business. I know Donald Trump doesn't like to think of himself as small anything."

Trump qualifies as a "small business" under Romney's tax program because he earns speaking fees and book royalties. Romney and the Republican Party propose that anyone with any business income listed on their tax returns should be classified as a "small business," even if they earn tens of millions in other income every year like Trump and Romney, millions taxed under most favorable tax rates. Creating yet another loophole would be nothing but blatant welfare for the very wealthy.

The End of Mitt Romney’s Quest for the Presidency and The...

As Lowell pointed out, President Obama says Mitt Romney owes the American people the truth in place of all the misrepresentations he (Romney) made at the debate last night. Indeed, the lies Mitt Romney presented to the American people are not just grounds for a correction. They require an apology. But more than that, the many lies disqualify Mitt Romney  from the presidency. His barrage of untruths was just shameful.

But those same lies also suggest it is time to end the farce of the so-called presidential debates, at least as they have been presented to us in recent years. Those in the know about debates (and as a former debater, I am one of them) have long questioned  whether the presidential debates are real debates. A craven, saber-rattling media makes the situation worse by craving "body blows," regardless of substance. And let's not forget their adoration of the horse race.  But these same media ignore that you cannot win by just firing off untruths. (Some of the fact checks are linked below the fold.) And these same media folks abrogated their responsibilities by pretending the debate was about those superficial elements.

At each four-year juncture, candidates through their representatives negotiate the terms, even down to who comes up on the stage first afterwards (the wives). But all the planning cannot account for a worthless moderator and a candidate who lies faster than anyone can write or type them. I started out ready to join in the fact checking.  But the speed with which Romney fabricated was just breathtaking. I gave up. Kudos to Lowell for getting some of the facts clarified. I hope the readers of BV understand just how dedicated Lowell is and has been. It is remarkable.  

Paul Ryan Won’t Tell You Which National Parks He’d Sell Off,...

Mt. Moran at Oxbox BendEveryone knows Paul Ryan doesn't want to explain the math behind the Romney-Ryan $5 trillion tax cut for the wealthy, but in a new interview with Outdoor Life, he doesn't have any more interest in explaining their plan to sell off America's public lands:
OL: In your 'Path to Prosperity' budget plan, you have several proposals to sell government property, from things like automobiles to buildings to federal land. Can you give me an example of some type of public land that may fall under that plan?

PR: Not off the top of my head, I couldn't.

Rachel Maddow’s Take-down of Mitt’s Minimal Foray into Foreign Policy.

Mitt Romney is so incompetent in the area of foreign policy, he mostly just doesn't talk about it. It was absent altogether from his acceptance speech. It has surfaced only minimally on other occasions, notably to make outrageous statements about the Arab Spring.

This week Rachel Maddow presented some really important information about Mitt's foreign investments as they relate to his foreign policy. Rachel's done some excellent shows of late. But this video demonstrates how she drives me crazy.  She is a brilliant woman. So, someone must have told her to dumb things down, to talk painfully slowly, to take nineteen minutes to explain something that can take much less. We have a limited amount of time to inform the public about what's wrong with the GOP argument. This will not do.

So here 'tis abreviated:

* 2005: CNOOC tried to take over Unocal, a California oil company.  This was blocked by the US Interagency Committee on Foreign Investments, headed by the US Treasury Secretary.
* Then it tried to by a Canadian oil company,, which drills in our Gulf Coast, within US territorial waters.

By His Own Definition, Paul Ryan is a “Looter”

Photo credit: C-Span

People receiving Social Security paid for their benefits throughout their working years.  They did so with their own payroll deductions.  There is an employer's portion as well. But the worker essentially pays for that portion too, by receiving lower pay. In other words, ALL of it comes out of the workers' hides (err paycheck) during their working lives.  There is, however, a portion of  Social Security which is not based on work the beneficiary has done. I speak of survivors' benefits.  Survivors' benefits are based upon the work record of a deceased person.  I am not here addressing whether or not that is a good thing, though I think it is (a good thing).  This portion of Social Security assures that parents of young children left without a breadwinner get the a benefit for each child until each turns 18.  

Paul Ryan received such a benefit. And then he has the nerve to call Social Security recipients as looters (for using the very old age insurance they paid for during their working lives). Why does Paul Ryan hate old people?

I would like to say, how dare he, he who benefited from a system he had never put into at that point?  The man talked like this vilifying essentially every American, for nearly every American will one day take Social Security, assuming that we do not allow Republicans and a few Blue Dogs to destroy the program.  

Mere Presence: Mitt’s Empty-Suit Posturing that Our Merely Electing Him Will...

Mitt Romney has long believed in market hocus pocus, trickle down economics; snake-oil financial "products;" off-shoring jobs; off-shoring his bank accounts to Switzerland, Bermuda and the Caymans; and no-values talk out of both sides of his mouth. (It should be apparent by now he will say anything.) So the question arises: Why does Mitt think his mere election (with him having no real plan for anything) will turn things around.

Business Insider posted a story about the emptiness of Mitt Romney's claim that his mere election will "turn this country around." I urge you to read it because I will not repeat all the evidence here.  

First the article explores the uncertainty myth. And the article shows foreign investment has begun to improve.  So, perhaps it's only US employers who are uncertain. Why would that be? Is it because they plan to invest only in foreign companies themselves?  Do they never intend to bring back US jobs.  And what about the total obliteration of that myth by the trillions US companies are sitting on?  Perhaps the problem is demand?  The article explores this with evidence that that is a factor.  

The analysis goes on to explore whether other factors impact demand. The data show that private investment isn't the problem. Besides, otherwise how would companies be sitting on their stockpiles of cash?  Also, GDP is doing well, as even AEI found. The claim that a regulatory environment is causing this uncertainty doesn't wash either (see the graph in the article).  And, besides:

It is a fact that complaints about regulation are creeping up (per another chart from the same survey) but for the vast majority of this President's term, it's an issue that's been far below sales.
Read more here.  

President Obama: Making the Environmentally Friendly List Less than 4 Years...


Less than four years into his presidency, 12 "leading environmental groups" were asked to rank the presidents they "felt did the most for the environment," and President Obama ranked fourth[1] behind "Teddy" Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, and Jimmy Carter. Not bad for a first term. But even more impressive is the congressional context within which President Obama progressed environmentally progressive legislation.

Sierra Club's Michael Brune said it best, "If you look at Clinton or Carter or Nixon - every single president was able to sign legislation that Congress passed...Obama doesn't have that. He has to do it in the face of this head wind from Congress." Mighty head winds, indeed!

20 or 30 years down the road, it's quite possible that President Obama could be named the second most environmentally progressive president in our country's history, behind the standard-bearer, Teddy Roosevelt. And President Obama still has one term left!

I could go through the laundry list of environmental policies that President Obama has established[2] and approved, but I'm assuming you already know many of them.