Monday, August 6, 2012

Headlines - Monday August 6

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms identified the terrorist who killed six people at a Sikh temple this weekend, releasing that he is "an Army veteran who may have been a white supremacist."
Mitt Romney paid 14% tax in 2010, the only year that he has released a (partial) tax return. And that was 14% of his taxable income after he had squirreled away millions in swiss bank accounts.

According to plutocrat economics, low taxes on the rich make them work harder. Mitt paid
$6.2 million in taxes on a total of $42.5 million in taxable income leaving him with $36.3 million rather than the $29.8 million he would have left if he had paid tax at a 30% rate.

So how much harder did Romney work for that extra disposable income? Or put it another way, how much less would he have worked had the tax rate been higher?

The answer of course is that Romney was '
unemployed' (NYT). He didn't work at all in 2010. Romney had made enough money as a corporate raider that he didn't need to work at all.

Romney's returns also give the lie to the ludicrous notion that lower tax rates on the rich actually increase tax revenues. If Romney's tax rate was 30%, he would have to be so upset about paying the same as the rest of us that he decided to leave $21.9 million on the table for his taxes to fall.
What's it going to take? How high does the body count have to go? What has to happen before we can talk about guns? At what point does the NRA have to concede that rights come with responsibilities? On the other hand, how can we have a discussion when leaders of the political party that refuses to cotton to ANY discussion of ANY kinds of sensible responsibilites of gun owners behaves like a bunch of four-year-olds, stuffing themselves with meat in response to a suggestion that maybe skipping meat one night a week might be a good idea?

Of course these are people who are incapable of having two ideas in their heads at the same time, instead believing that something not forbidden must be mandatory (abortion), and something not mandatory is forbidden (guns). The ideas of "less" or "sensible" never occur to Republicans. It's eather stuff yourself with pig flesh until you can't breathe or be a pussy. It's either own an arsenal that could kill an entire town or be unprotected against unspecified threats.

This morning I wonder just how much the fear of unspecified threats motivates the amassing of these arsenals, and how much amassing these arsenals CAUSES this constant state of fear. We heard about ignorant yahoos beating up Sikhs in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, but haven't heard much lately about violence against Sikhs until yesterday, when
a white male decided to kill a bunch of them before being shot to death himself by police.

This happened in Wisconsin, the state that elected Scott Walker and refused to boot him from office. This happened in a state right next door to Minnesota, where one district is represented by Michele Bachmann, who advocates a witch hunt against Muslims in America. Sikhs are not Muslims, but that's immaterial. The modus operandi of Michele Bachmann and other Republicans who have made no secret of their advocacy of an all-white, all-Christian America, cannot be ruled out as an influence on the gunman, despite the delicate treading of the police, who are referring to this incident as "domestic terrorism" (something you ironically never hear when the target of a shooting is a medical practitioner of women's health care).

And once again, "our thoughts and prayers" are with the families of the victimes, blah blah blah. President Obama, who has been vilified as being ready to take guns away from these morons despite the fact that he has never, ever, ever, ever even MENTIONED the word "gun" since taking office,
responded with the usual platitudes:
Michelle and I were deeply saddened to learn of the shooting that tragically took so many lives in Wisconsin. At this difficult time, the people of Oak Creek must know that the American people have them in our thoughts and prayers, and our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who were killed and wounded. My Administration will provide whatever support is necessary to the officials who are responding to this tragic shooting and moving forward with an investigation. As we mourn this loss which took place at a house of worship, we are reminded how much our country has been enriched by Sikhs, who are a part of our broader American family.
What a lovely sentiment. How clean, how completely devoid of any sense of the horror of people being mowed down simply because of their religion, or of the fact that their religion requiers them to wear headgear that some ignorant idiot decide made them Muslim, or the general anti-Muslim sentiment that is still pervasive in many communities in America.

Willard Rmoney responded similarly:

"Ann and I extend our thoughts and prayers to the victims of today's shooting in Wisconsin. This was a senseless act of violence and a tragedy that should never befall any house of worship. Our hearts are with the victims, their families and the entire Oak Creek Sikh community. We join Americans everywhere in mourning those who lost their lives and in prayer for healing in the difficult days ahead."
Sound pretty much the same, don't they? Someone right now is probably coming up with a "Presidential Gun Violence Statement Generator" where you can push a button and come up with similar platitudinous nonsense.

Yes, let's talk about how "our hearts are with these people" when they aren't, for if they really were we would DO SOMETHING. Let's talk about how we "pray" for them and their families. Let's just say a bunch of words that mean nothing, and continue to go on just as we have been, insisting that guns had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH people who go out and mow down
doctors and movie theatre patrons and Congresswomen and Amish girls and college students and high school students and people attending a Unitarian church. Let's continue to pretend that these guys could do the same thing with a knife, or that turning every one of these into a free-for-all gunfight would be the answer. Let's continue to ignore the big white elephant in the room. Because in our "pro-life" society, the only lives that matter are those of fetuses and people who own guns. The rest of us are just cannon fodder.

Mitt Romney wrote that President Obama is trying to disenfranchise the troops! Via The Facebook:

President Obama's lawsuit claiming it is unconstitutional for Ohio to allow servicemen and women extended early voting privileges during the state's early voting period is an outrage. The brave men and women of our military make tremendous sacrifices to protect and defend our freedoms, and we should do everything we can to protect their fundamental right to vote. I stand with the fifteen military groups that are defending the rights of military voters, and if I'm entrusted to be the commander-in-chief, I'll work to protect the voting rights of our military, not undermine them.

As with most of what Romney says, this is a lie. Ohio voters used to have early voting, but the Republican legislature predictably eliminated it except for the military. The Obama administration is challenging the law in court in order to restore early voting for everyone.

To paraphrase the vice president, every Romney sentence contains three things: a noun, a verb and a lie.


Mitt Romney' new demand that Harry Reid needs to "put up or shut up" is pretty rich. Let's stipulate that Reid's bald, unsubstantiated claim that Mitt went 10 years without having to pay taxes is, well, bald and unsubstantiated. Still, in the spectrum of vicious political attacks, this doesn't rank. It's not the unprovable, unknowable, can't-wash-off-the-stink, scurrilous savagery that any candidate is defenseless against.

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