Saturday, August 25, 2012

Headlines - Saturday August 25

This guy just can't make it through a day without shoving his foot right in his mouth, can he?
"Big business is doing fine in many places," Romney said during a campaign fundraiser Thursday. "They get the loans they need, they can deal with all the regulation. They know how to find ways to get through the tax code, save money by putting various things in the places where there are low tax havens around the world for their businesses."
I know "big business is doing fine" sounds like "the private sector is doing fine," but it's not exactly the same thing—though Mitt Romney would probably justify removing the "big" from his quote, because who cares about what words actually mean. Still, I'll read the quote like a normal person instead of a Romney hack and cut him some slack on hypocrisy there. But here's the thing: I honestly don't know if he's praising or condemning offshore tax havens.

I mean, with a normal politician you'd assume Romney was condemning them. And you'd assume he wasn't speaking highly of big business. But Mitt is a guy who says that anyone who dares criticize business hates America, and that anything other than unadulterated love for free enterprise is akin* to Stalinism—so he couldn't be criticizing big business. And given that he says offshore tax havens are part of the reason that big business is doing fine, you have to assume that he's in favor of them, right?

And no, I'm not being entirely serious here. After all, it's really hard to take anything Mitt Romney says very seriously. That being said, have you heard him say anything specific about getting rid of any of those tax havens? No? Neither have I. And we all know that he's taken extensive advantage of them at Bain and in his personal life. So as weird as it would be, maybe he really was praising offshore tax havens. I mean, job creators love them, right? And Mitt Romney is nothing if not a job creator.



Well, this could get interesting:

Republicans could move Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-Fla.) speech at the Republican National Convention to ensure Ann Romney's speech is carried by the television networks, multiple Republican sources said Friday.

Rubio is currently slated to give the speech immediately preceding that of Mitt Romney, who will accept the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday night.

I guess the GOP has officially decided that their situation with women is now worse than their situation with Latino voters. And considering how badly they're doing with Latino voters, that is saying something.

No word on why they couldn't find a white guy whose slot they could take, but I think we all have our theories on that one. Since Rubio is a tea partier, it's also likely to anger many in the tea party base as well.


Way to go, Fox News: Al-Qaida linked websites threaten ex-Navy SEAL turned author with 'destruction'


If you watch the surveillance video of two New York police officers shooting the man who shot his ex-boss near the Empire State building yesterday, you'll see the absolute opposite of the kind of fantasy event that is touted by gun advocates. The whole thing takes 15 seconds, there's no time for the cops to do anything but pull their pistols and fire, and there are bystanders scattering everywhere. It appears that the man who was killed pulled his gun but didn't fire a shot. Nine people were hit by bullets and bullet fragments, apparently all from the officers' weapons.

Life is not a fucking movie. It doesn't happen in slo-mo, and even well-trained cops have trouble controlling their fire. Adding in armed civilians to almost any scenario like this would make it worse, not better.



Mitt Romney joked about the right-wing conspiracy theory claiming that President Obama was born in Kenya, during a rally in Commerce, Michigan on Thursday afternoon.

"No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised," Romney declared to loud cheers.

The Obama campaign responds:

"Throughout this campaign, Governor Romney has embraced the most strident voices in his party instead of standing up to them. It's one thing to give the stage in Tampa to Donald Trump, Sheriff Arpaio, and Kris Kobach. But Governor Romney's decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America."

Both Mitt and his wife Ann Romney were born in Michigan, though a small group of so-called Romney birthers question the claim, noting that since Mitt's father George Romney was born in Mexico, "his candidate son is not a natural-born citizen, and therefore Constitutionally ineligible to occupy the Oval Office." Some believe that Romney himself was also born in Mexico. I believe he was an anchor baby.


If you've gone to church or bought anything at a store in the last three months, Mitt Romney might know about it.

According to an investigation by the AP, Mitt Romney's campaign has been using a tactic called "data mining" to cull personal information about random Americans, with the goal of finding and targeting potential donors through advertisement. Two primary pieces of information the Romney campaign seeks are "purchasing history and church attendance" of potential donors, indicating that they are looking for high-spenders.

The campaign is working with an outside firm to track down such data, which is usually used by big businesses that are trying to do targeted advertising. And, it seems, the data-mining program was kicked off at the behest of one of Romney's former coworkers from Bain:

The head of Buxton Co. of Fort Worth, Texas, chief executive Tom Buxton, confirmed to the AP his company's efforts to help Romney identify rich and previously untapped Republican donors across the country.

The Romney campaign declined to discuss on the record its work with Buxton or the project's overall success.[...]

Buxton confirmed that the data-mining project began with the help of Dick Boyce, Romney's former Bain & Co. colleague, after Romney joined fundraising forces with the Republican National Committee. Buxton expressed such confidence in his business and analysis methods that, in nearly two decades of running his firm, he told AP he has always been able to answer essential questions for customers.

What's more, the AP found no indication of how the Romney campaign paid Buxton, despite working with the company since June. According to Paul S. Ryan, Senior Counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, the campaign would have had to list Buxton in its disclosure forms, even if it was sub-contracted, if the company billed for more than $200. It is possible, however, that Buxton has not yet submitted a bill for its services.

Ordinarily this kind of technology is used to sell you hair color, toothpaste, fancy mattresses, or insurance plans. Companies may use this kind of data to determine where they will build the next Chick-Fil-A, for example.

In this case, it's being used to sell you tax cuts and minority suppression.

Team Romney is a corporation in the making. A product to be marketed. And this kind of cynical, targeted, calculated campaign, aimed at persuading a specific audience to buy his policy agenda at the expense of their neighbors and fellow citizens, is perhaps dirtier at face value than his rhetoric is.

He smiles at the American public and decries "division" while privately selling division. He's selling the knife you will use to stab your less-privileged neighbors in the back.


Yargle bargle floop, word word word.

LIMBAUGH: So we got a hurricane coming. The National Hurricane Center, which is a government agency, is very hopeful that the hurricane gets near Tampa. The National Hurricane Center is Obama. It's the National Weather Service, part of the commerce department. It's Obama.



I'm getting a little tired of the Todd Akin auto-da-fe. It's annoying to hear "reasonable" Republicans like Joe Scarborough and Mark McKinnon fret that a Republican candidate for US Senate would blurt out such offensive craziness.

Where have these guys been for the past 20 years?

Akin isn't the problem at all -- it's the entire party.

Take a look around key committees of the House and you'll find a governing body stocked with crackpots whose views on major issues are as removed from reality as Missouri's Representative Todd Akin's take on the sperm-killing powers of a woman who's been raped.


We're currently experiencing the worst drought in 60 years, a siege of wildfires, and the hottest temperatures since records were kept. But to Republicans in Congress, it's all a big hoax. The chairman of a subcommittee that oversees issues related to climate change, Representative John Shimkus of Illinois is — you guessed it — a climate-change denier.

At a 2009 hearing, Shimkus said not to worry about a fatally dyspeptic planet: the biblical signs have yet to properly align. "The earth will end only when God declares it to be over," he said, and then he went on to quote Genesis at some length. It's worth repeating: This guy is the chairman.


On the same committee is an oil-company tool and 27-year veteran of Congress, Representative Joe L. Barton of Texas. [...] Barton cited the Almighty in questioning energy from wind turbines. Careful, he warned, "wind is God's way of balancing heat." Clean energy, he said, "would slow the winds down" and thus could make it hotter. You never know.

"You can't regulate God!" Barton barked at the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, in the midst of discussion on measures to curb global warming.


Jack Kingston of Georgia, a 20-year veteran of the House, is an evolution denier, apparently because he can't see the indent where his ancestors' monkey tail used to be. "Where's the missing link?" he said in 2011. "I just want to know what it is." He serves on a committee that oversees education.


Another Georgia congressman, Paul Broun, introduced the so-called personhood legislation in the House — backed by Akin and Representative Paul Ryan — that would have given a fertilized egg the same constitutional protections as a fully developed human being.

Broun is on the same science, space and technology committee that Akin is. Yes, science is part of their purview.

Paul Broun is the raving loon who, shortly after Barack Obama won a higher percentage of the popular vote than Ronald Reagan in 1980, warned of the looming fascist dictatorship and compared him to Hitler (audio above).

And did these congressmen face any consequences for their inflammatory rhetoric? Not at all, they're all members -- and leaders -- in good standing.

So when Republicans start kicking out members like Broun, Kingston, Bachmann, Shimkus, Barton, Gohmert and Allen West -- just to name a few -- I'll know they're serious about cleaning up their party.

Until then, they should stop picking on Todd Akin. He's just playing by their rules. And they're only making noise about it because he may cost them the Senate.


5 Ways Privatization Is Ruining America



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