Friday, September 28, 2012


Taking another weekend break.  This time it's our Emory Psychoanalytic Faculty retreat in the mountains of North Georgia.


Careful, you're treading dangerous territory

As senior adviser to Mitt Romney, John Sununu should know better than to go there.  After all, he was George H. W. Bush's Chief of Staff from 1989 to 1991 and before that served three terms as governor of New Hampshire.   He is definitely a political insider.

He told Fox News that Obama is responsible for the attack on our consulate and the killing of our ambassador because he has "failed to maintain respect for the United States in that part of the world."
"One of the key responsibilities of a president is to keep up with the intelligence data that's coming in. . .  This president thinks he's so smart that he doesn't have to go through that. He thinks he doesn't need to put the extra work in for going through that process. That's why I say he's lazy and detached, and unfortunately Ambassador Stevens suffered the consequences of us not providing adequate security there."
Lazy and detached?   Doesn't read intelligence data?

Surely he's talking about George W. Bush, who famously either didn't read or didn't heed the August 6, 2001 intelligence brief that warned of an imminent attack on the U.S. by terrorists, which just weeks later resulted in 9/11 -- which perhaps could have been averted by a president paying attention to the intelligence data.

Obama intellectually lazy?

I don't think even his worst critics think that.   Sununu is just being a mean, Republican politician doing what they do when they get desperate.

It's not going to work this time, Sununuy boy.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Romney lies about his lies

Rachel Maddow did a long piece on Mitt Romney's lies.  Beginning with a clip of him being questioned about the proven factual inaccuracies in his ads, Romney said:
"We've been absolutely spot-on, and anytime there's anything amiss we correct it or remove it."
But they don't.  They most definitely do not.  In fact, Romney's top campaign adviser said, "We're not going to let this campaign be run by the fact-checkers."

Rachel then gave three examples in which blatant lies were said in a Romney ad, which the press and fact-checkers proved to be false -- and all of those ads are still posted on the Romney campaign web site today.

The worst, in that it was not just "taken out of context" or distorted in meaning, but was in fact a deliberate editing to show Obama saying:  "If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose." 

Well, in fact Obama did say those words during the 2008 campaign.  That's what the video clip shows.   But here's what preceded those words that they edited out: "John McCain says that 'if we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose.'"

Get it?   Obama is quoting McCain in order to disparage what McCain said.   But Romney actually ran an ad in which they edited out that it was McCain's words he was quoting.  That ad ran in November 2011;  the press went wild with denouncing it.   But it is still posted on the Romney campaigb web site in September 2012.

So -- when he says they correct their lies, he lies.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Monotony of Romney's inconsistencies

Every day I think:  "enough of the Ronmey bashing."  And then he does it again, and it's so egregiously inconsistent or frankly contradictory that it can't be let to slip by without comment.

So here's the latest:  When asked in an interview on NBC about the Chicago teachers' strike, Romney said he wouldn't necessarily deny teachers the right to strike, but instead the focus should be on removing the teachers' union money from the political process.
We simply can’t have a setup where the teachers unions can contribute tens of millions of dollars to the campaigns of politicians and then those politicians, when elected, stand across from them at the bargaining table, supposedly to represent the interests of the kids. . . .  I think we’ve got to get the money out of the teachers unions going into campaigns. It’s the wrong way for us to go. We’ve got to separate that.”
Romney has previously said he thought the Supreme Court's ruling on Citizens United was the correct decision.  And to NBC he said he thought people should be able to give whatever they want to a campaign;  he would do away with SuperPacs and just let all contributions go straight to campaigns.

The Citizens United decision allows both corporations and unions to give unlimited amounts of campaign money, as long as it is to an entity (SuperPacs) that does not coordinate its efforts with a specific politician's campaign.    That's right:  corporations and unions.

Yet Romney would like to deny teachers unions specifically.  Why?   Here's his tortured reasoning.
"They are directly negotiating over a contract with a mayor or a governor who is going to be approving that contract, that’s the distinction," Romney told NBC.
Like that's terrible, but highlty paid lobbyists actually writing laws on regulation of the industry they represent, that's OK?

Spoken like a true plutocrat who wants all the marbles for himself and none for the other guy.  That's just what we need as president.   Someone who "doesn't worry about the 47%."

I think it's beginning to sink in to the American voters.   Obama's lead in the polls continues to climb -- 8% nationally in one recent poll.   And yesterday he was leading in all the swing states -- even North Carolina.


Religious paradox

Why is it, do you suppose, that those who wear their religion on their sleeve (as in politicians who pander to the religious right wing) also tout policies that are so at odds with some of the principles of their religion?

One prime example is what I recently wrote about, where the male hierarchy of the Catholic Church has told the American nuns that they should spend less time working for the poor and the sick and more time protesting against abortion and gay marriage.    Jesus's teachings are quite clear:   he said feed the hungry, take care of the sick, treat your neighbor as you would want to be treated.  He said nothing about abortion or about gay rights or keeping out immigrants.

Now Mormon Mitt Romney has been chastised by fellow Mormon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  Reid says he agrees with Gregory Prince, a Mormon and former Romney supporter, who has written:

"His arrogant and out-of-hand dismissal of half the population of this country struck me at a visceral level, for it sullied the religion that he and I share -- the religion for which five generations of my ancestry have lived and sacrificed, the religion whose official mantra is 'to take care of the poor and needy throughout the world. . .  My first impulse was to rent an airplane towing a banner:  'Mitt Romney is Not the Face of Mormonism!'"
This of course also applies across the board to most Christian fundamentalist politicians and their voters.   They selectively choose the "social values" that suit them (anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, anti-Muslim rights, anti-immigrant, selfishness, greed) and somehow they lose track of the more basic human values of Chrisitianity (kindness, love, charity, respect, sharing, cooperation, community).  When you really look at Jesus's teachings about how to treat others, they are far closer to the social network of the Democrats than to the market-place competition and you're-on-your-own individualism of the Republicans."

So how did the Republicans capture the "religious right" vote?   Where did the liberal religious activists of the civil rights era disappear to?


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Romney's 47%

Romney disparaged the "47% who pay no taxes" and told his wealthy donors that there was no point in going after their votes because they would never vote for him, preferring to vote for Obama who will keep them dependent on the government dole.

Well, there are so many things wrong with that, starting with the fact that 25% of them are seniors who tend to vote Republican.   Then there's the 27,000 who make over half a million a year who pay no income taxes because of the "government dole" they get in the form of special tax breaks that benefit the wealthy.  Most of them vote Republican.

But there's another thing wrong.   Of course, the states with the lowest income do not necessarily correlate exactly with those that receive the most in social network benefits (Medicaid, Aid to Dependent Children, unemployment, etc.);  but it probably comes close.

So, Mittens, take a look at this.

The 10 states with the lowest per capita average income are, in this order:  Mississippi, West Virginia, Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Lousiana, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Oklahoma.

Nine (9) of these ten are reliably red states that almost always vote Republican, while the tenth, New Mexico, is leaning Democrat this year -- probably due to its large number of Hispanics, who really won't vote for Romney but who elected a Latina governor who is Republican.

Now, how does this all add up for you, Mittens?    Oh, right, the same way all your other claims (don't) add up.

There's a line in Downton Abbey that's a propos here for Gov. Romney.   Lady Mary says to her on-again, off-again fiance, whom she has once again confused about whether she will marry him or not:  "Oh, Matthew, don't pay any attention to what I say.   I don't."


Monday, September 24, 2012

Obama is getting it right, now

Obama has at times seemed unwilling to engage in pointed jabs at his opponent, but now he seems to be getting his groove going.

Romney's criticized Obama, saying he has been "weak" and has "a policy of paralysis" in his response to the unrest in the Islamic world.  He thinks we should be arming the opposition fighters in Syria.

To which Obama fired back:

"If Gov. Romney is suggesting that we should start another war, he should say so."

Right on.  Call his bluff.   The American people do not want us to get into another war, that's for sure.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Photo ops

The Romney campaign is making a big deal about getting him out among the people to show that he really does connect with average Americans.  So tonight there is a series of eight photos reportedly taken today of him helping ordinary Americans do their jobs.

Here is Romney wearing a hard hat and tool belt helping on a construction site.   Here is Romney riding on the back of a street paving machine.   Here he is emptying a big bucket of fresh-caught fish into the fisherman's boat.   Now he's got on a food-handler's apron and selling sausage at a market.  Next up, he's helping kids with their art work in a day care center.  Wow . . . now he's helping garbage collectors load the big curb side cans into the big garbage truck.   Oh . . . most impressive;   Mittens driving a tractor.  Then back inside to help out at a Boys and Girls club with a computer activity.

With all the wardrobe changes and the travel time to the eight different work sites, I doubt that Mitt got in much actual work.

Just photo ops, obviously, trying to show that Mitt is really just an average Joe.  But in none of those pictures was a hair out of place or a shirt even slightly rumpled. 

It's not going to work.   But I guess they have to try.  [Note to staff:  next time, muss his hair up just a tiny bit;  pull his shirt tail loose.]

But here's the way to really do it:   Jimmy Carter would spend all day doing actual carpentry work, helping to build a house with Habitat for Humanity.


From bad to worse

If this keeps up, I'm going to wind up feeling sorry for Mittens.   He just can't seem to get anything right.   Everyone says he needs to get specific, give details.   Then he does, and it inevitably contradicts his prior statements or obviously won't fit with what he's claimed he would do.

Even when he tries to be consistent.   Remember he famously said about his unreleased tax returns than he had not paid "less than 13%" on any of them.

So now he finally released his 2011 returns today.  And someone immediately spotted that he did not take the allowed charitable deduction for some millions of dollars in charitable donations -- in order to keep his taxes above 13%.

Now those people who keep up with everything (I believe they're called computers these days) have reminded us that back in July, when he was trying to justify rich people sometimes paying a very low tax rate because of legal tax advantages available to them, Romney said:
"If I had paid more [taxes] than are legally due, 
I don't think I'd be qualified to become president."
Oops !!

Even Mittens himself is on record now as saying he's not qualified to be president.

See, the problem with lying is that you have to remember what you say.   And neither Mittens nor his campaign staff seem to be capable of keeping track of the lies.   Well, no wonder.   Who even knows anymore what's the lie and what's the truth?


PS:  Just for the record:   this morning David Brooks said that Romney is "the least popular candidate in history."