Monday, July 30, 2012

Pissing Off the Palestinians

Willard, Willard, Willard ...

First he managed to blow off the Brits; now in Israel, he's doing a pretty fair job of pissing off the Palestinians. It's a cultural thing, you know, according to the New York Times article.

Romney suggested that cultural differences were the vast reason why the Israelis were economically more successful than the Palestinians, which is a very subtle dig at one culture being better than the other, for various reasons.

Culture makes all the difference. And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things.
As you come here and you see the G.D.P. per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000, and compare that with the G.D.P. per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality.

Hands up, anyone who can see a thin veil of racism in those remarks. Somebody could and called him ouot on it. Enter Saeb Erekat, an aide to the Palestinian President: -

 It is a racist statement and this man doesn’t realize that the Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation. It seems to me this man lacks information, knowledge, vision and understanding of this region and its people.

At last the truth about Willard is spoken bluntly. What a shame no one in the United States, much less their fawning faux media, has the guts and gumption to say what Mr Erekat said. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The President Speaking Southern

Many thanks to Imani Gandy, the indomitable Angry Black Lady, herself - not only a fellow alumna of my alma mater, but the savviest of all political pundits about today. She pointed me in the direction of this.

Jonathan Chait has written a couple of articles about the infamous out-of-context remark made by the President and hammered home by Willard as evidence that the President is out-of-touch with small business-owners.

Yes, the ubiqutious "You didn't build that" remark.

In two articles, Chait argues that the Romney campaign's success in twisting and spinning this remark is a subtle fear-play on Anglo-Saxon Americans who don't want to see themselves as necessarily racist, but who, nevertheless, are convinced to see the President in this instance, in the guise of their idea of a stereotypical black politician. Chait argues that the Romney campaign are capitalising on the President sounding black in that comment. You can read his articles about that premise here and here.

I think Chait probably has a point, but I think there's another positive point to be made here also.

I remember when the President made that speech. He was in Virginia, my home state. Not only was he in Virginia, he was in the part of Virginia that the McCain operative deemed "real" Virginia, back in the 2008 campaign. He was down in Roanoke. Big Lick. On the cusp of the Southwestern Blue Ridge, bordering on Tennessee. You couldn't get more deeper into Virginia's innards than that.

More importantly, he was speaking to those people in their language. What sounded black to some, sounded Southern to me. The President was in a Southern swing state, speaking to rural-ish voters in an accent they'd find familiar. There are black people and white people in the South and - guess what? - most of the time, they sound the same. Governor Douglas Wilder, an African-American octogenarian, speaks with the same mellifluous Virginia accent borne by my aunts, white women of his generation; and that accent is dying out with that demographic, black and white.

If the Romney campaign is subtly pushing the race meme with this, people in the South need to listen to the President closely - he who not only has Kansas roots, but also is a great-great-great grandson of Jefferson Davis.

Here's the President speaking Southern to Southerners:-

The BBC Is Not Necessarily the Best Because It's Live

The Olympics have started. That's something that is never forgotten in England (as opposed to Great Britain) because England doesn't have a national holiday where Englishness can be celebrated. It's bad form to celebrate Englishness these days in Britain. Really, they're not very good in integrating their now multi-cultural society into feeling a part of England as the mother country, so they just wipe away thousands of years of history and decide that history begins at a certain point, which is what they did for the Olympic Opening Ceremony.

It was a celebration of English history, but without Elizabeth I, Sir Walter Raleigh, Henry V, the Wars of the Roses, Henry VIII and the English Reformation, the English Civil War, the Restoration and - God forbid! - the Revolution.

Instead, we got grimy-faced peasants cavorting in meadows followed by grimy-faced urban dwellers cavorting in factories. We got Kenneth Branagh dressed as Isambard Brunel quoting Shakespeare and J K Rowling reading James M Barrie.

Americans complained because NBC taped the thing and showed it primetime. If they'd shown it live, it would have started at 4pm on the East Coast and 1pm on the West. I don't know what or how the US commentators did, but here in Britain we got the godawful poisoned Scottish dwarf Hazel Irvine of the BBC and some other male English commentator talking OVER the events being portrayed. That meant talking OVER Mike Oldfield and the Arctic Monkeys performing, amongst other things.

The Olympics here, otherwise known as The Corporate Games, are amidst a scandal that sees venue after venue with hundreds of empty seats. People were denied tickets in order to appease corporate sponsors, who - for some reason - didn't show up. Sound familiar?

I've been hearing various people, disgruntled with NBC showing taped coverage longing to watch the BBC. Well, I watch the BBC, and the coverage here is dire. Go on, hack into the system and watch it.

If you're interested in Team USA, forget it. The BBC covers all things British, and be prepared to hear their commentators unabashedly piss on any US achievement. When Vollmer broke the world record in the butterfly stroke today, I never heard it mentioned on the BBC. I found out, three hours after the fact, that this had happened, only via The New York Times website.

The BBC have the abominable Clare Baldwin, who makes her hatred of Americans viscerally evident, covering the swimming events. Tonight, when Alison Schmitt won silver in her event, we got interminable praise for the British bronze medalist and effusive praise for the French gold medalist - arguably the first time any English person has ever given credit to anyone French. Schmitt got no mention at all from Baldwin, who later took immense pleasure in verbally pissing on the US Men's Relay Team - again, to heap praise on the French.

The news pushed by the BBC today has all been about the British winning silver in a cycle race and Paula Radcliffe not being able to run the women's marathon.

Then, there are the commentators, themselves. Kelly Holmes, a former gold medalist, was a great runner, but isn't the most articulate of commentators. Her remarks on Manxman Mark Cavendish's failure to win gold in the premier cycling road race yesterday, only nine days after the Tour de France was thus:-

"We was 'opin' fer a gold, but vem lads on ve team din giv'im no suppor'. Ah doan know wot vey was finkink."

You get the picture.

So, go on, watch the BBC. It's commercial-free and the licence fee I have to pay enables you to watch it. NBC might be taped, its commentary might be awful, but at least it's ours.

Tell me how you enjoy the dressage and the sailing events.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

On the Eve of the Olympics, Mitt Romney Brings Foot-in-Mouth Infection to London

Twenty-four hours after a Romney staffer extended the hand of Anglo-Saxon (white) peace, love and understanding to Britain via a sympathetic conservative national newspaper, Mitt Romney, himself, inadvertantly spat on that hand.

Even after the Romney camp tried to backtrack their staffers candid comments to the Torygraph, the paper, itself, didn't offer to retract anything the staffer said - which means that he said it.

But then Mitt allowed himself to be interviewed by Brian Williams, abroad, in London for the NBC Nightly News. Cue insert foot in mouth and shove, and the President gets an early souvenir from the Olympic Games.

The Guardian was positively gleeful.

Mitt Romney handed Barack Obama a priceless gift for the US presidential election campaign when the presumptive Republican nominee blundered on his first diplomatic outing by questioning whether London was capable of staging a successful Olympic Games.
In a move that astonished Downing Street, hours before it laid on a special reception for Romney at No 10 he told NBC there were "disconcerting" signs about the preparations for the Games.
One senior Whitehall source said: "What a total shocker. We are speechless."
David Cameron wasted no time in rebuking Romney hours after his remarks were broadcast. On a visit to the Olympic Park, the prime minister said: "We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere."
Cameron's remarks were intended to be a light-hearted jibe at Romney, who used his famous management skills honed at Bain Capital to rescue the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Oh dear ... considering this was Romney's first diplomatic trip abroad as the potential future President of the United States, this was as big a gaffe as any he's made Stateside, but on an international level. If I were a Republican, I would be embarrassed at the arrogance, the entitlement and the insensitivity of both Mitt and Ann Romney, and as an American, I am.

This is what Romney actually said in the interview which caused such consternation:-

You know, it's hard to know just how well it will turn out. There are a few things that were disconcerting, the stories about the private security firm not having enough people, supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging. Because there are three parts that makes Games successful.
Number one, of course, are the athletes. That's what overwhelmingly the Games are about. Number two are the volunteers. And they'll have great volunteers here. But number three are the people of the country. Do they come together and celebrate the Olympic moment? And that's something which we only find out once the Games actually begin.

Just a few quirks here ... we all know the problems the organisers have had with the security firm employed. The British have been open and honest about what has gone wrong, and they're seeking to remedy that with thousands of military personnel on call-up. Also, the strike by border officials was called off this morning, but still, in this day of massive globalisation, Romney should never have made that remark, even on a US broadcast, because it would play here, almost simultaneously. Jeez, he really is out of touch.

Now, here comes some good irony ... Boris Johnson, the Conservative Mayor of London, leapt to his city's defence.

London is as ready as any city has ever been in the history of the Olympic Games.

The irony is this: The Conservatives are the spiritual brethren of the Republican party. Boris Johnson was born in New York City and, therefore, is entitled to a US passport. Perhaps the Republicans might think about approaching him in the future? Naaah, Boris is pro-choice and believes in climate change. Besides, he's part Turkish.

Gaffe Number Two came when he met Labour Leader Ed Miliband, a bastion of Anglo-Saxon heritage, being the son of Polish Jewish immigrants. Romney forgot Miliband's name.

As things happen in threes, the third gaffe was lying in wait. Romney had a briefing with Sir John Sawers, head of MI6 (that's Brit for CIA) and announced that he'd met with this man during his Downing Street visit ... something visiting foreign dignitaries simply do not do.

Still, Ann Romney's staying in Britain in order to watch their tax deduction horse perform in the Olympic dressage event. I guess Mitt needs to learn not to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mitt Masters Coded Language: A Euphemism for "White"

It's Olympic Week in the UK. That's the time to show stuff of Empire and how the Brits taught the world how to organise properly ... well, that last bit's a lie if their security shambles is proof of anything. Seriously, though, the Brits are actually prosecuting parts of their media machine, and we could well learn something from that.

Still, everyone here's excited beyond belief -not only because of the Olympics (which I choose to refer to as the "Corporate Games"). They really are the Corporate Games. What else would you call a three-week meeting of multi-millionaires, who pretend to be amateurs, for the purpose of playing games for which their corporate sponsors will reward them far more than a gold medal. I mean, how many "amateur" athletes have a luxury Jaguar, retail price $125,000, given to them by the company in exchange for promoting their product? World champion heptathlete, Jessica Ennis, does ...

By the way, she wouldn't know a real job if she saw it, but that's beside the point. There's another reason to be excited too ... Mitt Romney's coming to the Olympics!

I know, it's too wonderful to comprehend. He arrives today. In fact, he's probably already here, just 60 miles up the road from me. Exciting, innit?

The Corporate Games should sit very well with Mitt, because "Corporate" was his middle name before it actually was "Mitt." Besides, he's here to watch his $77,000 tax write-off compete in the dressage event, but he's also here to show Europeans that he has a better grasp of foreign policy than the current Democratic incumbent.

Yet in coming to the UK first, it appears there's something else on Romney's agenda. It would seem he's appealing to the traditional stiff-upper-lipped image of a Britain from days of yore, seeking to remind a certain demographic of Brit that Obama ... well, isn't really like "one of them," which would explain the President's total misunderstanding of the British psyche. As the whiter-than-white Daliy Torygraph  Daily Telegraph reports, quoting an anonymous Romney staffer:-

As the Republican presidential challenger accused Barack Obama of appeasing America's enemies in his first foreign policy speech of the US general election campaign, advisers told The Daily Telegraph that he would abandon Mr Obama’s “Left-wing” coolness towards London.
In remarks that may prompt accusations of racial insensitivity, one suggested that Mr Romney was better placed to understand the depth of ties between the two countries than Mr Obama, whose father was from Africa.
“We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special,” the adviser said of Mr Romney, adding: “The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have”.
Kindly note the bit in bold, which isn't a quote by the Romney staffer, but an insinuation by the snide, little Tory bastard who wrote the article, and - believe me - the Telegraph and all who read it are no friends of Barack Obama. His ascendency to the Presidency frightens them to the point of causing a preponderant blush to cascade over their pasty white British skin. A black man in the White House could herald a black man in Number 10!!!

But, of course, President Obama's Kenyan father, whom he saw exactly twice during his lifetime, had far more influence on his understanding of American history than his Kansas-born-and-bred mother who bore the very English-sounding name of Stanley Ann Dunham.

Scratch the surface of that article a bit and you'll come up with the truth, which New York magazine easily sussed - that the ubiquitous Romney advisors spoke to the Telegraph anonymously because the candidate had advised them not to be seen criticizing the President to foreign media. However, when asked how Mr Romney's foreign policy would differ from the President's in relation to Britain, the only thing they concretely suggested was that Mitt would ensure that the Churchill bust (which was on loan to Dubya) was placed back in the Oval Office.

I repeat: the bust was loaned to Dubya Bush for the duration of his Presidency by the British Embassy. At the end of the Bush tenure, Obama returned the bust to its rightful owner. For all the kerfuffle that damned thing has caused, I have a suggestion where it might go.

And I understand that as much as Mitt and Mitt's people might like to think that their "Anglo-Saxon heritage" remarks are all about Mitt's lineage, whilst it may be, it's also about something bigger.

Just another bit of coded language and a euphemism for "white."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Titheing - No Widow's Mite for Mitt

It's quite simply this: Mormons are required by their religion to tithe - give ten per cent of their annual earnings to the church. If Mitt Romney's tax returns disclosed the contribution he has to make to the Mormon church, all we'd need to do is multiply that by ten to get what he earned, then compare it to what he paid in taxes. Simples.

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

American Exceptionalism de Tocqueville-Style

The Republicans can't ever stop pushing the meme of "American Exceptionalism". In the wrong way.

Then, there are some on the Left (or who purport to be on the Left), who can't stop talking about it either; they tout "American Exceptionalism" as a bad thing. I agree with them, inasfar as they're actually talking about the Right's interpretation of "American Exceptionalism," which is incorrect; and since, the Left takes umbrage with the Right's interpretation of it, they must, as well, be totally as clueless as the Right about what "American Exceptionalism" means.

In the wake of the horrific events which happened this week in Aurora, Colorado, Bill Maher has waded into the post-tragedy debate with a tweet which pokes at everyone's misconception of American Exceptionalism:-

Well, it certainly got Newsbuster's Noel Sheppard's knickers in a twist. (Really, Maher throws these soupcons out, and the Right lap it up. It's publicity for Maher, don't they realise?) Sheppard responded thus:-

One has to wonder how stoned Maher was when he wrote this nonsense.
So many of the things that make us exceptional these days are bad?
How can something exceptional be bad?
Most people define "exceptional" as excellent or superior. Can that be bad?
More importantly, a clearly disturbed young man massacred innocents for no reason, and Maher sees this as an opportunity to bash conservatives and the concept of American exceptionalism.
What should make people sadder than the comment itself is that there are so many folks around this great nation who agree with him, and that maybe such anti-American sentiments are part of the problem.
Well, actually, Noel, something "exceptional" can be bad, but that's beside the point. The point is that both sides  who enter into the "American Exceptionalism" debate, clearly don't understand what American Exceptionalism is as defined by the man who invented the term - a Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville.

I can buy into the premise that most of the Right haven't read de Tocqueville, for various reasons - chief amongst them, being that he's French. So they read the writings of Ayn Rand, a Russian, instead. Go figure.

But, surely, people on the Left - and, in particular, Maher, who, purportedly, had a double major in English and History at no less than Cornell, must have read de Tocqueville's writings about America. I first read de Tocqueville in English in my podunk Southern high school in Virginia - where I was taught by various, Southern atheist and Republican intellectuals. Then I read him again at university, in French. That was also in the South.

de Tocqueville's idea of American Exceptionalism basically derives from his amazement that the United States was different from every other nation then extant in the world, in that it derived its origin from revolution. And instead of being a nation founded upon a common racial or ethnic demographic or upon a common religious background, the United States of America was a nation of immigrants from various demographics, who based their nation on the ideals of liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, populism and laissez-faire.

Removed from our older and probably more socially repressive roots, the new country and its new democracy made it easier for people to advance in a way which was unthinkable in the world from whence de Tocqueville came. Hard to believe today, but the United States really was once the land of opportunity for so many who came to its shores.

That this historic phrase has been appropriated and spun into disrepute by people who neither understand its true meaning nor have read the phrase in its original context is something that one would expect from the likes of neocons and their mutations like the Tea Party and its doyennes such as Palin and Bachmann. But the Left shouldn't add fodder to the fire by pushing back against the Right's misappropriated interpretation just for the sake of an argument.

Instead, they should accentuate the positive and educate the benighted to its true and original meaning. It's simple, because the real meaning of American Exceptionalism is summed up in the three Latin words which appear on our currency: E pluribus unum ... Out of many, one.

Shame too few realise what that means.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Real Queen of Mean

Remember when the Republicans did this?

Remember the mock-up of the First Lady as Marie Antoinette, because the Republicans thought she was way above their version of her "station" in planning a holiday abroad (paid for by herself and not by the American people)?

So now, they're going to whine, cry and throw their toys out of their prams because the wife of their Presidential contender speaks, naturally, as if she's more than just a cut above the people whom her husband hopes to govern.

Please watch, and take note from the two-minute mark onwards:-

First point, I have Mormon cousins, who are Democrats. Mormons require their members to give 10% of their annual earnings to the Church. It's not voluntary; if you don't do it, the treasurer of your respective church knows your financial history, and they'll just play bailiffs and take what you owe, if you try to cheat. Still, I wouldn't put Willard above rendering more to Caesar than he would to God.

Secondly, the phrase "you people" sounds particularly condescending, no matter how much Miss Ann might flash a dimple and try to sound sincere when saying it. Truth is, she's being interviewed by the sort of woman whom she's accustomed to seeing pandering to her needs on a daily basis in one of her many grandiose kitchens.

That phrase, right there, was worthy of a Marie Antoinette moment.

Thirdly, this is politics, and her husband has whinged, wined and moaned about everything the Obama campaign has levelled his way. Remember Mitt's book is entitled No Apology, yet he demands many? He's the rich kid accustomed to getting his way, and neither he nor she is comfortable with someone like the President - nudge nudge wink wink - in the White House. So when she whines prettily about the President's refusal to apologise for his campaign tactics against her husband, the moan about his behaviour being "beneath the dignity of the Office" is code language for an uppity black man not knowing how to behave in proper society.

Damn. I feel just like Madame DeFarge in the French Revolution. Pass the knitting needles.

No Sex, But More Lies on Videotape by the Republicans

I love it that Barack Obama keeps coming to Virginia. I understand why; after all, we've now officially become a swing state - or, rather, a swing commonwealth.

I was pleased that, on his most recent visit, the President got past the NoVa suburbs and outside the Richmond and Hampton Tidewater areas and into the greenery that's rural Virginia - down Roanoke way (otherwise known by the locals as Big Lick) - into what Sarah Palin infamously called real Virginia.

I mean, I know ... these are the people the President has to convince; and he seems to understand, like most educated Virginians, that in Virginia, you can go from cosmopolitan to DeliveranceLand in twenty minutes. It's the DeliveranceLand inhabitants - the box store workers, the WalMart devotees, the rural residents who live off a diet of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and religious radio - he needs to convince.

I get the President's message, and I suppose everyone who was in his presence got that message too. He's pushing a jobs agenda, the basis of which is the rebuilding and restoration of our crumbling and out-dated infrastructure; and he's tying that into how its improvement will benefit business, in general, in the long run.

Here's what he actually said:-

 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.

Well, of course, we all know what the Republicans did. They did the same old same old - pluck a sentence from the text of the speech, selectively edit it and play and replay the clip ad nauseam. Somewhere in the netherfields of Hell, Josef Goebbels is smiling - a political party at the heart of American life is using his Big Lie PR technique to destroy the less-than-Aryan President of the United States.

Fox News, America's equivalent of Goebbels, has devoted two days of broadcast, fixating on what deliberately dumbed-down Stanford graduate Gretchen Carlson called a startling comment.

Startling, taken out of context, but when taken in its entirety, the remark is part of a direct challenge to the fallacy that wealthy individuals never benefited from government programs. In fact, you can read some more exerpts from the speech which support that premise here.

The Republicans, and their standard-bearer, Willard Mitt Romney, have seized upon the soupcon: "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." They've done it as part of a concerted effort to make the President appear to disdain the small business initiative which forms the backbone of American life, and in doing this, they are reinforcing the idea that the President is unAmerican.

The Left and the Democrats should be prepared to hear a lot of the "unAmerican" meme during this election cycle, but they should understand fully what it really means; and they shouldn't be afraid to refute it openly and directly.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mrs Greenspan Practices a Little Bit of False Equivalency

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Thank dog, Bill Richardson isn't buying any of it.

The Obama ad had nothing to do with Ann Romney. Perhaps Mrs Greenspan would like to articulate on the direct attacks the opposition has made on the First Lady?

Old Racists Never Die ...

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They just want to see the microfilm ... unless they can see the afterbirth.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

John Sununu's Pot and Kettle Moment

Seems there's yet another euphemism for the word "black" in American English: unAmerican. Because that's really what Republicans mean when they say that about our current President.

So, here's what Romney surrogate and attack dog, John Sununu, had to say earlier whilst in conversation with one of the ubiquitous Fox News resident blonde talking heads:-

Hold the moment right at 1:38, when Sununu unleashes this priceless gem:-

He has no idea how the American system functions, and we shouldn't be surprised about that, because he spent his early years in Hawaii smoking something, spent the next set of years in Indonesia, another set of years in Indonesia, and, frankly, when he came to the U.S., he worked as a community organizer, which is a socialized structure, and then got into politics in Chicago.

This isn't just the rant of an angry old white man voicing the thoughts of every other angry old white man in America, this happens to be John Sununu, former Bush 41 Chief of Staff and a former governor of New Hampshire.

What's rich about this unguarded and totally hypocritical moment is that John Sununu, himself, was born in Cuba and spent the bulk of his childhood and youth in El Salvador. His mother was Cuban, and his father, John Saleh Sununu, was of Lebanese and Palestinian (as in Middle East) descent, with a smidgeon of Greek thrown in for good measure.

When Sununu's talking about our President's background, which he views as unAmerican, maybe he wants to take a look at his own. Saleh is certainly as foreign as Hussain, after all.

Pot + kettle = unAmerican. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bob McDonnell Lies About the Amurrcan Pipple

Mrs Greenspan interviewed the less-than-illustrious Governor of my home state today. That would be the lying, overzealous, Carpetbagging misogynist named Bob McDonnell, he who speaks with a Philadelphia accent and pretends to know and speak for all Virginians.

I still can't figure out how he got elected. Well, yes, I can ... he got elected because people who should have and could have didn't vote, and now because he's in the Statehouse for the next two years, a lot of those people who could have and should have voted might just find it harder to vote.

Anyway, Mrs Greenspan was talking to Sponge Bob Square Pants Bob McDonnell today about - what else? - Mitt Romney's tax returns. But Bob, who still hopes to be in with a shout as Mitt's Veep pick (even though his doctoral thesis at that pretend evangelical university in Virginia was a hateful screed aimed at plopping women right back in the Middle Ages), doesn't think Mitt's tax returns are important to the American people - or rather, the Amurrcan pipple, as Bob calls them.

According to Bob, the Amurrcan pipple are worried about their own tax increases which have occurred under the administration of Barack Obama. (A lie). In fact, Bob says, Virginians don't really give a rat's ass about Mitt not releasing his tax returns; Virginians are worried about jobs - this, in a state which has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.

People like Bob think that the Obama campaign is dredging up Mitt's unreleased tax returns and carping on about his retroactive retirement from Bain Capital as things which happened too far in the past for people to worry about now. I disagree. And Paul Krugman explains it brilliantly in his column.

First of all, this election really is — in substantive, policy terms — about the rich versus the rest.
The story so far: Former President George W. Bush pushed through big tax cuts heavily tilted toward the highest incomes. As a result, taxes on the very rich are currently the lowest they’ve been in 80 years. President Obama proposes letting those high-end Bush tax cuts expire; Mr. Romney, on the other hand, proposes big further tax cuts for the wealthy.

The impact at the top would be large. According to estimates by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, the Romney plan would reduce the annual taxes paid by the average member of the top 1 percent by $237,000 compared with the Obama plan; for the top 0.1 percent that number rises to $1.2 million. No wonder Mr. Romney’s fund-raisers in the Hamptons attracted so many eager donors that there were luxury-car traffic jams.

What about everyone else? Again according to the policy center, Mr. Romney’s tax cuts would increase the annual deficit by almost $500 billion. He claims that he would make this up by closing loopholes, in a way that wouldn’t shift the tax burden toward the middle class — but he has refused to give any specifics, and there’s no reason to believe him. Realistically, those big tax cuts for the rich would be offset, sooner or later, with higher taxes and/or lower benefits for the middle class and the poor.

So as I said, this election is, in substantive terms, about the rich versus the rest, and it would be doing voters a disservice to pretend otherwise.

Of course, Bob McDonnell is going to try to sell his man's candidacy to the Amurrcan pipple in Virginia, and he knows damned well how he's going to do the selling too. He knows very well that the Republican party has made various tenets of the economy question veritable dog whistles in subtle race baiting, and Bob's going to try to get in on that situation also. It's what he does. He's a Republican, after all. And if he doesn't get the Veep nod, he will have established just enough of a high profile to establish a Senate run against Mark Warner in 2014.

One obvious racial association ... Mitt Romney (and as his surrogate, Bob McDonnell) will be forever tied on the Virginia ballot with another Republican running for national office, George "Macaca" Allen. And if that isn't racist enough for you, I don't know what is.

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Who's Spineless Now? The Democrats, Not the President

We've spent the past three years listening to such urbane and erstwhile Progressive voices like Arianna Huffington, Bill Maher and Michael Moore talk about how spineless the President was, how he caved on important issues.

Well, now on the eve of what promises to be the most important Election of America's lifetime, it seems, at least, some pundits are finally able to admit that, it wasn't the President who lacked a spine at all .... All along, it was actually the Democratic party and certain Democratic politicians - yes, I'm looking at you, Joe Machin and you, Clare McCaskill.

Go back as far as the 2010 Mid-Terms, with the Affordable Care Act just passed, and how many Democrats actually went out and campaigned with that law as a feather in their caps? How many actually bothered to counter the Tea Party's howls of death panels and socialised medicine? None. And look what we got? The most useless and worthless Congress in the history of the United States.

Melissa Harris-Perry and crew spelled it out succinctly on Sunday:-

So all those Progressive pundits have their feet firmly planted in their mouths. Better to foist the shortcomings of a party, traditionally famous (at least during the past forty years) of being unable to get a simple message across), on the President than admit that the party, itself, was tepid in support. Because the President is, oh, you know ...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

New Rule: If Obama Had to Show His Birth Certificate, Then Romney Has to Show His Tax Returns

In the spirit of Bill Maher, who's taking a hike until the middle of August, I'd like to offer a New Rule of my own:

If the President had to show is birth certificate to prove he was born in America, then Governor Romney has to show his tax returns to prove he's paying taxes in America.

Many pundits have, rightly, noted that if Mitt Romney were to win the election in November, he may very well be the first President of the United States with a Swiss bank account.

You know, rich men have been President before. In fact, I'd say every man who's ever held the Office has been financially more comfortable than most of the people he governed. The eight Virginian Presidents were either plantation owners or, in the case of Woodrow Wilson, the child of people who owned slaves. The two Roosevelts were immensely wealthy. Jack Kennedy's people made their money off the whiskey and entertainment trades, but it was wealth all the same.

But the difference between all these men and Mitt is that none of his predecessors had Swiss bank accounts, or accounts in the Cayman Islands or any such stuff that's contrived - face it - to avoid paying the full whack in income tax.

One of my favourite journalists, Charles Blow, does an excellent take-down of what I can only describe as Romney's duplitiousness in today's New York Times, and he knocks it out of the park:-

Blind trusts, Swiss bank accounts and Bermuda accounts designed to shield your money from the taxing agency of the country you want to lead just doesn’t sound right. And Romney’s reluctance to reveal more suggests that there is more that’s distasteful.

In general, people are uneasy when politicians are unwilling to disclose details. President Obama learned this as it related to his birth certificate. He may have been withholding it on principle because no other president had been forced to go to such an extent to prove his legitimacy, but, eventually, the damage being done by withholding became greater than the principle. So he released it, and much — but not all — of the second-guessing went away.

Romney may have to reach that decision more quickly than Obama. The narrative is starting to take hold that he is dishonest, devious and irreconcilably different. These are simple, deadly character flaws in a candidate because they’re antithetical to the American ideal of the presidency.

Yes, indeed, people are uneasy when politicians seem to withold information, and they're all the more uneasy when the media gets behind a story that about a politician who seems to be keeping a secret that may smell a bit too whiffy for the public's perception of his image. The Rightwing media made various people think the current President was being less-than-honest about his status as an American citizen. And I'm in a state of disbelief that the media, in general, is now doing its rightful job in making Willard Mitt Romney squirm noticeably about a little matter such as paying your income tax. Too many people are alive, and we're not that old either, who remember Honest George Romney, Mitt's father, who released twelve years of his income tax returns when he declared himself a candidate for President. That was the same George Romney who walked out of the 1964 Republican Convention when it refused to adopt Civil Rights as a part of its national platform. That was the same George Romney, whose son race-baited the NAACP convention to its collective face this past week.

Charles Blow, a Southerner quotes his mamma as saying it's better to tell the truth, because then you wouldn't have to remember what you said. Truth is irrelevant to Mitt, whose idea of truth changes depending on who's in charge of the GOP. Well, I can quote my Southern mamma too, who'd have something to say about Mitt as well ...

The boy ain't his daddy.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Another Gem from the Democratic Campaign Songbook

I just keep finding these songs the Democrats can use in their campaign ads against Mitt Romney. There are so many, like this one:-

Sometimes It Takes a Brit

Just for the information of Americans, Britain's gift to our cable news channels - Martin Bashir and Piers Morgan - come from the fluff end of the British news media. Interviewing crazy Princesses and soap stars were their forte back in Blighty.

But in the US, both Bashir and Morgan put our political pundits to shame, as Bashir shows when he absolutely pegs Mitt Romney for the deliberate and elitist race-baiter that he was, is and always will be.

Divide and conquer.

If Martin Bashir is from the dumbass end of British broadcast news, what does this say about our media?

The Rich Are Always With Us

Mitt and Miss Ann should take heart in their quest to relate to the simple people. Privileged people have been wondering how to accomplish this since ... oh, since Camelot ...

On the other hand, there's the direct approach ...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Remember the Title of the Book Romney Wrote?

I do.

It's No Apology.

Well, there's such a thing as karma, and it hurts Politico to admit it.

Mitt Romney's campaign manager called Thursday for President Obama to apologize for his campaign staff's "out of control behavior," but the Obama campaign says there's no apology coming.
"No," Obama press secretary Ben LaBolt said in response to a question from POLITICO about whether the president would apologize.
"Romney has said he had no authority or responsibility for managing Bain since February 1999, but that has been proven false," LaBolt continued. "He remained CEO, President, Chairman, sole owner and sole shareholder through 2001. Governor Romney either misled the American people about when he left Bain or misled the SEC. Which one is it? The Romney campaign still won’t say.”
Matt Rhoades, who leads the Romney campaign, said in a statement earlier Thursday that“President Obama ought to apologize for the out-of-control behavior of his staff, which demeans the office he holds."
In a conference call with reporters, deputy Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter suggested that Romney had either lied to the American people about his work experience at Bain Capital or had committed a felony. Rhoades responded: "Campaigns are supposed to be hard fought, but statements like those made by Stephanie Cutter belittle the process and the candidate on whose behalf she works." 
LaBolt also offered a statement from Obama campaign general counsel Bob Bauer, who said that the conflict of the assertions made by the Romney campaign, Bain and the candidate with filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission would typically lead to suspicions. "Under normal circumstances, the question of the truth of this representation would result in an investigation by the SEC into possible criminal, as well as civil, violations of the law," Bauer said.

There's another song the Democrats could use for this situation ... sung by an immigrant, no less ... take it away, John, for Mitt ...


(Special shout out to dvnix for tweeting me this!)

From the Democratic Campaign Songbook: A Song for Mitt's Little Tax Problem

Take it away, Martha Reeves ...

An Olympic Uniform for Republicans

So, Ralph Lauren has designed the US Olympic Team's Opening Ceremony uniforms. See below:-

As the Olympics is being held in two weeks' time here in the land of the perenniel losers, dingy and wet summers and same-sex private education, this ensemble sports whiffs of Tom Brown's Schooldays and jolly hockey sticks.

In short, we're sending an Olympic Team to merry old England, looking like British public (as in private) schoolkids.

Maybe there's some irony in that. But then again, you'd probably have seen a lot of people dressed like this last weekend at Willard's mega Koch fundraiser in the Hamptons. From our side of the Pond, it's scary that we're sending our Olympians to parade around the East End of London dressed like rich Republicans.

Every Picture Tells a Story

If you think it can't happen here, just elect a Republican majority, or don't vote and enable them. We're already seeing it alive, well, draped in the American flag and carrying a cross.

If you're disillusioned because the President didn't give you your pink unicorn which farts gold dust and you're thinking about not voting, by all means, don't vote ... but own your responsibility in enabling a government you'll live to regret.

The Real Romney and Another Campaign Song

Remember Nixon's secret plan to end the VietNam War? I don't, because there wasn't one. I mean, there was one, because Nixon said there was, but after he was elected, it seemed to be conveniently forgotten.

Now, remember Willard's performance yesterday at the NAACP convention? You know, when he told the assembled delegates that he was going to repeal "Obamacare?"

Kabuki theatre. The candidate as Braveheart. Charles Blow does an excellent analysis of why Romney did and said what he did and said. You can read it in full here, but he also offers an update of events which happened after Willard left the convention and returned to the campaign trail.

Willard went onto Hamilton, Montana, for a fund-raising event, where he pretty much said the same thing to Republicans as he said to the NAACP - except he qualified himself more openly:-

I had the privilege of speaking today at the N.A.A.C.P. convention in Houston and I gave them the same speech I am giving you. I don’t give different speeches to different audiences all right.

(Oh, well ... that's all right then. Far be it for a candidate to tax his integrity by maybe giving more than one speech to several diverse demographics. I'd call that lazy.)

 When I mentioned I am going to get rid of Obamacare they weren’t happy, I didn’t get the same response. That’s O.K, I want people to know what I stand for and if I don’t stand for what they want, go vote for someone else, that’s just fine.

(Brave Willard. Honest Willard. It's as if he's proving his credentials by reminding them that he went and spoke to a roomful of Negroes, told them he was going to repeal Obamacare, and now stands before them to tell the sordid tale.)

Now here's the best bit ...

 But I hope people understand this, your friends who like Obamacare, you remind them of this, if they want more stuff from government tell them to go vote for the other guy — more free stuff. But don’t forget nothing is really free. It has to paid for by people in the private sector creating goods and services, and if people want jobs more than they want free stuff from government, then they are going to have to get government to be smaller. And if they don’t want to repeal Obamacare they are going to have to give me some other stuff they are thinking about cutting, but my list takes Obamacare off first and I have a lot of other things I am thinking of cutting.

So, there you go ... the speech he's giving to the good Republican citizens of Hamilton, Montana, is actually a tad different from that which he gave to the NAACP; because here, he talks the code talk that he really couldn't express at the convention. Here, repealing Obamacare is all about getting rid of the free stuff - you know, the stuff the government hands out to minorities and poor people (many of whom are minorities, in these people's minds), which responsible people pay for via their taxes - which will, inevitably, have to be increased and shouldered by these very people in order to pay for the poor getting ... the free stuff.

I told y'all that language evolves all the time, and that now there's almost a limitless vocabulary of euphemisms which can only be identified as subtle dog whistling.

The delegates at the NAACP convention saw the real Romney and booed him. The viewers of Fox News and people who hang on every word spewing forth from the mouths of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck saw and heard the faux Romney in that speech - the lone, brave white man who entered the darkened den of the people who've taken their country from them and told a singular truth, got booed and survived. But the people of Hamilton, Montana actually heard the real, real Romney too, and that was a Romney who wants to be President of all the people in the United States, but with a given that various of those people learn to know their place.

I think the Democrats should use Willard's real words, like those spoken in Hamilton, Montana, or like those spoken when he said he had no real concern for the poor or like the many, many times he's been revealed to be the effete elitist that he is, do a mock-up of all of those quotations and set it to background music, like this - for example:-

I'm sorry ... I just keep finding all these songs the Democrats could use against Willard ...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Willard Proves He's Real Gone With the Wind

I'm a big fan of I Love Lucy. Not as much as one of my cousins, however. She can recite dialogue from every episode by heart, so I had to consult her by e-mail in my research for this particular blog.

Do you remember the episode where Lucy wrote a novel? It was entitled "Real Gone With the Wind" and featured unflattering characterisations of Ethel, Fred and Ricky. If you can't remember the episode and you're in the US, you can watch the twenty-six minute spectacular here.

The twist in the tail is at the end. Ricky, Ethel and Fred have just about convinced Lucy to scrap her manuscript, when - out of the blue - a publisher contacts her. He pays a visit to the Ricardos' apartment, where he tells Lucy, much to the chagrin of her husband and neighbours, that his publishing firm would be very much interested in Lucy's work ... but only the first chapter. It seems the publishers want to use the first chapter of "Real Gone With the Wind" in a writers' textbook - as an example of how not to write a novel.

Well, today, Willard gave a masterclass to all future Republican politicians, especially those who seek higher office and want to recruit to the Republican Party more people from diverse racial and/or ethnic backgrounds. He was invited to address the annual conference of the NAACP, one day before Vice-President Joe Biden was scheduled to do so.

Here's a condensed video account of what transpired:-

This was the "Real Gone With the Wind" moment of Willard's campaign. He's speaking at a conference of African-Americans, an esteemed American politician and the son of a man who marched with Civil Rights' campaigners and who walked out of a GOP convention in 1964 when it refused to endorse a platform for Civil Rights. And he is booed. In short, Willard was an epic fail, a masterclass in how not to pander to a demographic whose votes you crave.

First, don't refer to the Affordable Care Act as "Obamacare" - especially since "Obamacare's" blueprint design was lifted from your own successful "Romneycare" plan.

Second, don't say you're going to repeal it - at least, not unless you're prepared to say with what you're going to replace it.

And third, don't walk into a conference of people whose demographic overwhelmingly supported the President in 2008 and who, for the most part (yes, I'm looking at you, Messrs Smiley and West) consistently support him still, and brazenly announce that the President has done nothing in the past four years.

Because that's a lie, and you know it; and furthermore, your audience knows it, and they know your entire demeanor smacks of selling the American people a bill of goods.

Well, if Willard wants to loosen up and convince people who would normally vote Democratic that he's their man, maybe he needs to take another tip from I Love Lucy and stock up on the old Vitameatavegamin ...

Willard knows he's "unpoopular," and he really needs to start "popping" out of the Republican Party.

The Republicans Are Just Mean People

Guess what? The Republicans in the House are voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act - or as they call it, "Obamacare." Again. Just for something to do, you know. Just so they can be seen to be doing something. Just as a warning to all those people whose votes they curry, so said voters can see that once they get real power - meaning, once they get a real (white) President in the Oval Office - they can and will repeal this law.

And everyone will be happy.

Well, they will. What about those people who don't have medical insurance or are too poor to afford any (since slicing and dicing up Medicaid is on their agenda as well)?

Two words. Tough shit.

Anyone who doesn't think the present-day Republican Party is all about helping the ones who have (like their friend David Koch) and pissing on the ones who don't, needs to think again. What's totally incongruous to me is people whose lives were changed for the better by Democratic policies now hone the backbone of a Republican Party which is mean in make-up, mean in nature and just plain mean all around. I'm talking about people like Paul Ryan, whose late father's Social Security payments ensured young Paul a college education, or John Boehner, born and bred a Democrat, who was amongst the first of a generation to benefit from Lyndon Johnson's Great Society's higher education policies.

I guess they don't want anyone else to benefit from what they had, because then those poor people might have acquired enough knowledge to see them for the scam-artists and scoundrels that they really are - and that's pretty damned mean too.

When I was a child, my uneducated, Roosevelt-Democrat of a father used to tell me that he could always tell a Republican on sight, because they looked mean. He wasn't wrong.

The fact that the Republicans start obfuscating (their favourite pastime) when asked, point-blank and rarely by our ineffectual media, how they would ensure that the 30 million people covered by the ACA would be helped once they repealed the thing, tells you that they don't really have a plan at all to replace what really should be an incipient and long overdue health system in America.

But, the truth is, the Republicans do have a plan. It was articulated as early as last September in the GOP primary debates, when a Republican audience answered Ron Paul's question for him, about what should be done when uninsured sick people show up for treatment at a hospital emergency room.

Remember what they said? Here's a reminder:-

The Republican healthcare plan summed up in three words: Let. Them. Die.

I told y'all they were mean people.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mitt Romney's Versailles-on-the-Hamptons

Yesterday, Martin Bashir took time to relate a curious story that unfolded during the weekend as Willard went a-wandering through the wasteland of the filthy rich for political contributions. Whilst the President is pushing for an end to the Bush era tax cuts for those people earning over $250k, whilst extending them for the lower-income earners, Romney parties with the rich meanies who appear to be reincarnations of Marie Antoinette's lunch-bunch in the days leading up to the French Revolution.

The clip below relates a story of an "anonymous" Romney donor, a woman in a Land Rover, too cowardly to give her name, pompously and dismissively remarking how, those whom she would deem the "little people" simply don't get "it." They have the right to vote - these babysitters and nail ladies - and yet they still don't get "it."

Well, what is "it?" "It," I would surmise is that the people who attended Willard's Wonderland bash, hosted by David Koch, consider themselves to be the betters of the people who have to scrap at minimum wage to make ends meet, and the sooner the little people realise this, the better. Just vote Republican and let their betters get on screwing them to the wall acting in their own interests on their behalf. After all, they know better than the little people.


Just look at the contrast - a President fighting for the middle class and wanting the upper one percent to revert to the tax levels of the Clinton era (not a great sacrifice) and a Presidential candidate, who refuses to release his tax reports, a Presidential candidate who may very well have the bulk of his wealth invested in offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands and in the preserve of the wealthy, in the ubiquitous Swiss bank accounts. One man striving to help boost the economy by calling upon those able to do so to pay their fair share of income tax, and another ferreting that wealth away offshore, whilst encouraging those of his ilk to do so.

It's a shame so many white working and middle-class people buy into Willard's empty rhetoric only because he possesses the right sort of melanin. If I thought everyone able to do so who sulked out the MidTerms would vote this time around, I'd have no qualms in dismissing Willard and his minions by saying, "Let them eat Koch."

Unfortunately, the media are ensuring that this race is a dead heat. Still, at least Joan Walsh is onside.

And then some, with the secret offshore accounts:-

Monday, July 9, 2012

There's a Place for Women in Pat BuchananLand

Poor Pat. Stuck in the South of the 1850s, where black people were slaves and women were meant to keep their mouths shut and stay in the background. There's a place for black people and women in Pat's neat, orderly, male-dominated, white world, and it's not in the Oval Office. At least, not in his lifetime.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Song and a Suggestions for Democrats to Use Against Mitt Romney

Remember how the Republicans used footage of John Kerry's windsurfing holiday against him in attack ads? Well, now we have Willard and the fragrant Miss Ann jetskiing at their own multi-million dollar lakeside complex in New Hampshire, discussed below on Al Sharpton's recent show:

Can you imagine how much grief the Republicans would be giving a Democratic candidate (and have given the President and his family) for taking such a holiday?

Bob Schrum and Karen Finney are right. Mitt Romney is totally and utterly out of touch with the average voter. In his wildest dreams, he would never be able even to imagine the sort of lifestyles normal, struggling people lead.

Were I a part of the DNC or the Obama  campaign, I wouldn't stint to use the jetski footage accompanied by a little ditty sung by a couple of lads from the swing state of Pennsylvania.

Take it away, Darryl and John ...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Congressional Douchebag

Talking about Joe Walsh, who is walking evidence about the dumbasses that get put into power as much as by the people who don't vote, as by the people who do. An awful lot of Progressives stayed at home and sulked in the 2010 Mid-Terms, and the result was that we got handed our asses in the most ineffectual, ignorant and recalcitrant Republican House of Representatives in history.

Here's Walsh's latest performance, reinforcing his image as a sexist bully, a thug and just an ignominious piece of slime.

If he defeats Tammy Duckworth, there's something seriously wrong with our society and our nation.

The Gettysburg Address ... And Ted Nugent

On Friday, two Yankees and two Southerners sat down at a table at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City to talk about the Battle of Gettysburg and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. You can watch the bunfest below. You'll recognise the usual suspects pontificating.

Interesting, that from all of that, Mike Barnicle, plagiarist, is able to make a direct comparison between Abraham Lincoln and George Herbert Walker Bush, when the most obvious present-day analogy to Lincoln is with our current President.

As Doris Kearns Goodwin states that Lincoln's Gettysburg Address channeled encouragement of the people and the nation, North and South, to move forward from this catastrophic event, this Civil War, to move forward as a nation, it reminded me of the numerous times our President has called for the nation to do that. After all, it was Barack Obama, who reminded us that we are not red states or blue states, but the United States.

Meanwhile, back in Deliveranceland, Ted Nugent - a Yankee from Mitt Romney's home state of Michigan and the extreme Rightwing's pop posterboy, whose endorsement Willard actually sought - produces this prize piece of tripe in the Moonie rag The Washington Times.  In full rant about the Supreme Court upholding the legality of the Affordable Care Act, Nugent let this little nugget slip:-

Because our legislative, judicial and executive branches of government hold the 10th Amendment in contempt, I’m beginning to wonder if it would have been best had the South won the Civil War. Our Founding Fathers’ concept of limited government is dead.

Uh-huh. Yes. You read it correctly. Ol'Ted spoke the unspeakable. You couldn't get further North in our great land than Michigan, and it's other favourite Rightwing nutjob son vocalises the thought that rages in the hearts and minds of many Republicans.

And, really, what Ted said is actually a dream to which most Republicans, and many of their Libertarian types, aspire.

Meanwhile, Willard had no comment on that remark. Can that be construed as tacit consent?