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Member since: Thu May 7, 2009, 11:59 PM
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Rollingstone Magazine - Mitt Romney's Real Agenda (Good Read)

Here is a good article that does the best job of reconciling and explaining Romney's agenda if he were to be elected President. With the selection of Ryan, the heavy fundraising from right wing billionaires, and his refusal to describe his agenda in a manner that makes mathematical sense, it is clear that Romney is not suddenly an incompetent candidate. Instead, his incompetence is actually attibutable to his efforts to obscure his agenda as President.


It was tempting to dismiss Mitt Romney's hard-right turn during the GOP primaries as calculated pandering. In the general election – as one of his top advisers famously suggested – Romney would simply shake the old Etch A Sketch and recast himself as the centrist who governed Massachusetts. But with the selection of vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan, the shape-shifting Romney has locked into focus – cementing himself as the frontman for the far-right partisans responsible for Washington's gridlock.

There is no longer any ambiguity about the path that Romney would pursue as president, because it's the same trajectory charted by Ryan, the architect of the House GOP's reactionary agenda since the party's takeover in 2010. "Picking Ryan as vice president outlines the future of the next four or eight years of a Romney administration," GOP power broker Grover Norquist exulted in August. "Ryan has outlined a plan that has support in the Republican House and Senate. You have a real sense of where Romney's going." In fact, Norquist told party activists back in February, the true direction of the GOP is being mapped out by congressional hardliners. All the Republicans need to realize their vision, he said, is a president "with enough working digits to handle a pen."

The GOP legislation awaiting Romney's signature isn't simply a return to the era of George W. Bush. From abortion rights and gun laws to tax giveaways and energy policy, it's far worse. Measures that have already sailed through the Republican House would roll back clean-air protections, gut both Medicare and Medicaid, lavish trillions in tax cuts on billionaires while raising taxes on the poor, and slash everything from college aid to veteran benefits. In fact, the tenets of Ryan Republicanism are so extreme that they even offend the pioneers of trickle-down economics. "Ryan takes out the ax and goes after programs for the poor – which is the last thing you ought to cut," says David Stockman, who served as Ronald Reagan's budget director. "It's ideology run amok."

And Romney has now adopted every letter of the Ryan agenda. Take it from Ed Gillespie, senior adviser to the campaign: "If the Ryan budget had come to his desk as president," Gillespie said of Romney, "he would have signed it, of course."

BREAKING - Romney Was Part of 47% Who Didn't Pay Any Federal Income Taxes In 2008 and 2009

The amazing thing is that the source of this disclosure is Mitt Romney himself during a debate with Newt Gingrich where he attacks Gingrich's proposal to reduce capital gains taxes to zero. Ironically, in making the attack, Romney admits that he did not pay any federal income taxes!

Does this mean that even Romney will vote for Obama in 2012?


The moment came after Newt Gingrich joked about Romney’s 15 percent tax rate, saying: “I’m prepared to describe my flat tax as the Mitt Romney flat tax.”

Romney jumped in to ask: Do you tax capital gains at 15 percent or zero percent?

Gingrich’s answer: Zero.

“Under that plan, I’d have paid no taxes in the last two years,” Romney said, alluding to the fact that all his income is from investments.

ProPublica - "Where the Candidates Stand on Medicare and Medicaid"

Here is a serious, sober and sometimes scary look at the positions of President Obama and Romney on Medicare and Medicaid. This just underscores how much Romney and Ryan are lying when they say they are trying to "save" Medicare and Medicaid.


The Obama administration has also made moves that it says would keep Medicare afloat. It says the Affordable Care Act would extend solvency by eight years, mainly by imposing tighter spending controls on Medicare payments to private insurers and hospitals.

In contrast, Rep. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s running mate, has proposed a more fundamental overhaul of Medicare, which he says is on an “unsustainable path.” On his campaign website, Romney says that Ryan’s proposals “almost precisely mirrors” his ideas on Medicare. But he’s been fuzzy on other aspects of the plan.

A Romney-Ryan administration would replace a defined benefits system with a defined contribution system in which seniors are given federal vouchers to purchase health insurance in a newly created private marketplace known as Medicare Exchange. In this marketplace, private health plans, along with traditional Medicare, would compete for enrollees’ business. These changes wouldn’t start until 2023, meaning current beneficiaries aren’t affected – just those under 55.

Under the Romney-Ryan, the vouchers would be valued at the second-cheapest private plan or traditional Medicare, whichever costs less. Seniors who opt for a more expensive plan would pay the difference. If they choose a cheaper plan, they keep the savings.

NY Times Editorial - "No Rush To War" - Re Netenyahu's Advocacy of Preemptive War On Iran

The scary thing is that Sheldon Adelson is a strong supporter of Netenyahu, as well as Romney. A war with Iran would give Romney an easy out for backing out of his promises to reduce the deficit while he proceeds with huge tax cuts to the rich. Then, when we are even more upside down then before, Republicans will once again blame Medicare and Social Security.


Amid the alarming violence in the Arab world, a new report about the costs of a potential war with Iran got lost this week. It says an attack by the United States could set back Iran’s nuclear program four years at most, while a more ambitious goal — ensuring Iran never reconstitutes its nuclear program or ousting the regime — would involve a multiyear conflict that could engulf the region.

The significance of the report by The Iran Project is not just its sober analysis but the nearly three dozen respected national security experts from both political parties who signed it: including two former national security advisers, Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski; former Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering; and the retired Gen. Anthony Zinni.

Yet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel is trying to browbeat President Obama into a pre-emptive strike. On Tuesday, he demanded that the United States set a red line for military action and said those who refuse “don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.” Later, Mr. Obama telephoned him and rejected the appeal. On Friday, Mr. Netanyahu suggested in an interview that Israel cannot entirely rely on the United States to act against Iran’s program.

* * *
There is no reason to doubt President Obama’s oft-repeated commitment to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon. But 70 percent of Americans oppose a unilateral strike on Iran, according to a new poll by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and 59 percent said if Israel bombs Iran and ignites a war, the United States should not come to its ally’s defense.

Adelson: Obama's moves liable to bring the destruction of Israel

Is it causation or correlation that just as Romney is looking for some sort of game changer, Netanyahu loudly demands a meeting with the President prior to the election (to once again publicly bitch about Obama's refusal to bomb Iran right now), then just as loudly raises a big stink when President Obama refuses to act as a neocon prop for Adelson's puppet. Netanyahu. Adelson almost makes Rupert Murdoch look tame given his direct willingness to lean on both Netanyahu and various Republican presidential candidates to promote his private foreign policy goals.


The gambling billionaire, who publishes the pro-Netanyahu “Israel Hayom” tabloid, said he objects to an agreement with any of the current Palestinian leaders

Unlike the confrontation between the White House and Jerusalem over the settlements during the administration’s first year, I think that the current rift has more to do with tones and personal mistrust than actual policy differences. More than anything, it seems that President Obama’s Middle East speech was meant to help Israel avoid isolation at the UN, but Netanyahu overreacted, and later decided to play tough, mainly for political reasons. As I wrote yesterday, it worked out for him quite well.

What do people around the prime minister really think of Obama? A good example was given just before Netanyahu’s visit to the United States, in a phone interview Jewish Week’s Gary Rosenblatt conducted with Gambling Billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

Apart from being a personal friend of the Netanyahus, Adelson is the publisher of the pro-Netanyahu tabloid Israel Hayom (“Israel Today”), currently the most widely read paper in Israel (speculations held that the paper was started by Adelson to help Netanyahu personally). Many of Netanyahu’s men were on Adelson’s payroll until recently: The head of the Prime Minister’s Office, Nathan Eshel, was a deputy manager at Israel Hayom before joining the Neyanyahu campaign; former National Security Advisor Uzi Arad was part of the Adelson Institute for Strategic Research; the current NSA, Yaakov Amidror, was a pundit for Israel Hayom; the ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, was a fellow at Adelson’s conservative think-tank, the Shalem Center.

And what does Adelson think of Obama? Here it goes:

Any of the Republican hopefuls “are going to be 180 degrees” different from President Obama in terms of “what’s good for this country and for Israel,” Adelson said, adding that Obama is “the worst president” for Israel.

“All the steps he’s taken against the state of Israel are liable to bring about the destruction of the state,” he asserted.

Romney On Omitting U.S. Troops From RNC Speech: ‘You Talk About Things You Think Are Important’

This is a rather blase attitude toward the troops by someone who has engaged in belicose talk against Russia and Iran. I guess the 1% sees our troops as expendable as the workers he laid off while at Bain.


In an interview with Fox News this afternoon, Mitt Romney shot back at critics who complained that he didn’t mention Afghanistan or praise U.S. troops in his convention speech last week, arguing that he focused on issues that are “important.”

Fox News’s Brett Baier told Romney that “several speakers” at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this week criticized the GOP presidential nominee for the omissions (actually it was right-wing foreign policy leader Bill Kristol who started the attacks) and asked him if he had any regrets. “I only regret you’re repeating it day in and day out,” Romney said, adding that his speech focused on things that are important:

BAIER: To hear several speakers in Charlotte … they were essentially saying that you don’t care about the U.S. military because you didn’t mention U.S. troops and the war in Afghanistan in your nomination acceptance speech. … Do you regret opening up this line of attack, now a recurring attack, by leaving out that issue in the speech.

ROMNEY: I only regret you’re repeating it day in and day out. When you give a speech you don’t go through a laundry list, you talk about the things that you think are important and I described in my speech, my commitment to a strong military unlike the president’s decision to cut our military. And I didn’t use the word troops, I used the word military. I think they refer to the same thing.

Revealed: The Dark Money Group Attacking Sen. Sherrod Browne

Source: Propublica

In May, a previously unknown group started pouring money into Ohio’s U.S. Senate race, considered one of the most important in the country and currently the nation’s most expensive. The group, the Government Integrity Fund, has spent over $1 million so far on TV ads bashing Democratic incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown and praising his Republican opponent, Josh Mandel.

Like many other such non-profit groups that are playing a dominant role in this year’s elections, the Government Integrity Fund is shrouded in mystery. It isn’t required to reveal donors, nor has it answered questions about who runs the group. The Fund’s barebones website lists no contact information beyond a P.O. Box.

* * *
The Associated Press reported last month that outside groups have spent $15 million supporting Mandel compared to about $3 million on the Democratic side.

We still don’t know who is putting up the money for the Government Integrity Fund’s ads because the group is a non-profit “social welfare” group, which don’t have to release donor information or register with the Federal Election Commission. Such groups are supposed to be “primarily” engaged in promoting social welfare but they have been flooding the airwaves with political ads in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United case and decisions by regulatory decisions.

Read more: http://www.propublica.org/article/revealed-the-dark-money-group-attacking-sen-sherrod-brown

Ayn Rand's Fountainhead - Insight Into Paul Ryan's Understanding of Forcible Rape v. Kinky Sex?

Much of the focus on Paul Ryan and other Republicans' idolization of Ayn Rand has been on her work Atlas Shrugged. However, what is interesting is that her other well known work, the Fountainhead, has generally been ignored. In particular, no mention has been made about how the "hero," Howard Roark, would rape his antagonist/love interest, Domanique Falcon, and how she secretly enjoyed it. Indeed, the fact that she did not scream for help was proof of her implicit concent to Roark's abuse of her.

Yet, rather than being condemned, some folks describe this as erotic. For example, here is a review analyzing a sample rape scene to argue that despite the Domanique herself referring to Roark as "raping" her, the reviewer concludes that she really did consent. Is this what Republicans and Paul Ryan are referring to by focusing on forcible or legitimate rape?


Ayn Rand writes, "She fought like an animal. But she made no sound. She did not call for help." (bottom of p. 216). She goes on: "He did it as an act of scorn. Not as love, but as defilement. And this made her lie still and submit. One gesture of tenderness from him - and she would have remained cold, untouched by the things done to her body. But the act of a master taking shameful, contemptuous possession of her was the kind of rapture she had wanted." Later, when Dominique wants to take a bath, she writes: "She turned the light on in the bathroom. She saw herself in a tall mirror. She saw the purple bruises left on her body by his mouth. She heard a moan muffled in her throat, not very loud. It was not the sight, but the sudden flash of knowledge. She knew she would not take a bath. She knew that she wanted to keep the feeling of his body, the traces of his body on hers, knowing also what such a desire implied."

In fact, after Roark leaves, Ayn Rand writes (middle of p. 219): "She could accept, thought Dominique, and come to forget in time everything that had happened to her, save one memory: that she had found pleasure in the thing which had happened, that he had known it, and more: that he had known it before he came to her and that he would not have come but for that knowledge. She had not given him the one answer that would have saved her: an answer of simple revulsion - she had found joy in her revulsion, in her terror and in his strength. That was the degradation she had wanted and she hated him for it." When Dominique is reading a letter from Alvah Scarret: "She read it and smiled. She thought, if they knew... those people... the old life and that awed reverence before her person. I've been raped... I've been raped by some red-headed hoodlum from a stone quarry... I, Dominique Francon... Through the fierce sense of humiliation, the words gave her the same kind of pleasure she had felt in his arms." Additionally, when Dominique goes to the quarry looking for Howard Roark and doesn't find him (bottom of p. 220), Ayn Rand writes: "She walked away. She would not ask for his name. It was her last chance of freedom." Finally, she had multiple scenes where Dominique would consider something a "win" (i.e., against Roark) and would then proceed to dominate him by being the more sexually forceful.
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