Serendiptiy SOUL | Thursday Open Thread | Bush “Retreads” Head Romney’s Foreign Policy Advisory Team

Here’s today’s Wes Montgomery tune.


Mitt Romney is embarking on an overseas trip to refine his foreign policy chops.  Guess what folks, HE DOESN’T HAVE ANY SUBSTANTIVE.  His foreign policy team are retreads from George W. Bush’s administration.

His first stop is in London to catch “RAFALCA,” Ann’s dressage horse compete in the 2012 London Olympics, with Poland and Israel to follow.

***********************FROM THINK PROGRESS*********************************

‘Quite Far To The Right’: Meet Mitt Romney’s Foreign Policy Team  


Truth Team: Ten of Romney’s foreign policy failures: 

Two hundred and ninety-one days after his last foreign policy speech, Mitt Romney stood up once more to deliver a major foreign policy plan and—once again—failed to offer any new or even credible policy ideas.

Romney has long displayed a significant lack of knowledge and experience over the years when it comes to foreign policy. But the commander-in-chief only has one chance to make the right decision. Here’s a look at ten times Romney and his campaign got it wrong:

1.     Romney “has been especially vague about how many U.S. forces he would keep in Afghanistan” and has no detailed plan for our engagement in the country.

2.     Romney’s campaign said “real Americans” don’t care what Romney’s Afghanistan policy is.

3.     Before Osama bin Laden’s death, Romney said he wouldn’t go into Pakistan if we had bin Laden in our sights and that it was “not worth moving heaven and earth” to find bin Laden.

4.     Romney pledged “to do the opposite” of what President Obama has done for Israel, which includes record-level security funding.

5.     Romney called Russia, a strategic partner of the United States on vital issues, America’s“number one geopolitical foe.” 

6.     When asked how he’d approach going to war with Iran, Romney has said he’d defer this lawyers: “You sit down with your attorneys” so they can “tell you what you have to do.”

7.     Romney has said that bringing all our troops home from Iraq was“tragic” and that it was a “naked political calculation.”   

8.     Romney “fled down a hallway and escaped up an escalator” to avoid answering a reporter about his position on the NATO mission in Libya.

9.     Romney called the fading power of Venezeula’s leader Hugo Chaveza serious threat to our national security.

10. Romney’s campaign said President Obama was not doing enough to protect Czechoslovakia—a country that no longer exists—from“the Soviets.” 


UPDATE: Chris Matthews on Hardball’s – LET ME FINISH segment. That’s a WRAP!

Keep an eye on Romney.  Let’s see if he can mix and mingle with those ANGLO-SAXONS in London and restore America’s greatness in the eyes of the Brits!

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74 Responses to Serendiptiy SOUL | Thursday Open Thread | Bush “Retreads” Head Romney’s Foreign Policy Advisory Team

  1. rikyrah says:

    found this is in the comments at TOD:

    July 26, 2012 at 8:53 pm
    I have to come out of my months-long lurkdom to share something a friend of mine wrote on her Facebook page today. She does amazing work with struggling families, and she has been on the front lines of those serving those who have been devastated by poverty. Today she had this to say: “Notes from the field: This spring, I had the privilege to be welcomed into homes in the second poorest census tract in the U.S. (in Cleveland). The people in these homes wanted what we all want: a good education and a better life for our children. Driving up to these homes, I was struck by how difficult it must be to hope for these. On the walls in many of these homes was the same picture: the inauguration photo of the Obama family in Grant Park Chicago. The Audacity of Hope is not just a title: it is an inspiration to an entire segment of the population that had given up. Tonight, the President described many important initiatives in his speech to the Urban League, including an admonition to young people to turn off Real Housewives and video games and hit the books. This was a terrific speech, for many reasons, not least because it continued to inspire those who most need inspiration. There is a lot at stake in the elections coming up. I pray that the electorate does not squander the chance to attend to the needs of “the least of these”, which many Christian doctrines mention but do not always support. It is in everyone’s interest to advance the progress of these hardworking, but poor, families, so that their children, and our children, can build a better world.

  2. Ametia says:

    MED is telling the black PBO supporters he is a PBO supporter. Oh Oh, what’s up’ I haven’t been following Twitter?

  3. rikyrah says:

    found this in the comments at TOD:

    July 26, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    I saw the interview where Wolf, playing a Willard/GOP agent, introduced Adm. McRaven as the one who made the decision to go after Bin Laden, in an obvious attempt to take that accomplishment away from President Obama. The admiral made it very clear that it was President Obama who made the decision, not him, and after further high praise for President Obama and his team for how they prepared and handled the whole operation, Wolf just sat there and swallowed, rightly chastened, and then sadly mumbled a slight agreement. CNN and Wolf are not trustworthy, not shocking news, I know.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Open Thread: Hiding Behind Ann’s Mom Jeans

    By Anne Laurie July 26th, 2012

    Looks like R-money’s handlers have finally accepted that he’ll never be as butch as Dubya (speaking of setting the bar low), so they’re going for the Full Herbert Walker

    With presidential campaign rhetoric almost exclusively concerned at the moment with issues of character — as corruption, secrecy, and honesty become major themes in both sides’ talking points — the Romney campaign could begin using the candidate’s sympathetic wife as a shield.

    In an interview with BuzzFeed about the Obama campaign’s recent assault on Romney’s personal finances, a Romney adviser repeatedly brought up Ann Romney’s name unprompted, arguing that the attacks were aimed at her as well.

    “I think when they refer to Mitt, suggesting there was something illegal or untoward about how they managed their financial affairs, they’re talking about Ann by extension, because she signed those tax returns.” the adviser said. The insinuation of Ann Romney’s culpability, he argued, is one reason the campaign believes that Romney partisans are not the only ones who will see Obama’s attacks as underhanded. “It’s not just right-wing Republicans — I’m talking about business leaders, officials in the [George] H.W. [Bush] administration, who are frankly shocked by what [Obama’s campaign] is saying.”

    The adviser added, “Nobody’s perfect, but there’s a level of decency that shines through with Gov. Romney and Ann and the family that no one can deny.”

    Sure, if you spell “decency” P-R-I-V-I-L-E-G-E. Nobody wants to pick on an MS sufferer who’s been trapped in the Romney stockade since she was a teenager, but it’s been thirty years since “Bar” Bush had so much fun needling that wop Ferraro, and without St. Reagan’s aura “Poppy” couldn’t fool the voters into a second term, remember?

  5. rikyrah says:

    Doonesbury- Jimmy Crow: In Florida “voter suppression is in FULL SWING for ’12!”
    Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2012, 10:41 am by GottaLaff

    We owe Garry Trudeau yet another huge thank you for this story arc. Here’s the first installment, here’s the second, and here’s the third.

  6. rikyrah says:

    did the Mayor of London clown Willard?

  7. rikyrah says:

    The still-hidden tax returns
    Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:03 PM EDT.

    Reader Dan Sachar asked me via Twitter yesterday to tackle a good question: “Question for you to explore: Romney digs in on tax returns. Will press keep asking him or get bored and move on?”

    The latter possibility seems plausible, doesn’t it? Whereas Mitt Romney’s hidden tax returns were a major topic of conversation for a short while, the political world invariably shifts its focus as new stories come to light, and the drum beat has obviously grown quieter.

    That said, as NBC’s Brian Williams demonstrated last night, the issue hasn’t completely disappeared, at least not yet.

    Given Romney’s response, it doesn’t seem like he’s even considering more disclosure. The polls show Americans want and expect more transparency, but the Republican candidate, at this point, doesn’t seem to care.

    Also, note how unpersuasive the explanation is: Romney won’t disclose more information because “Democrat [sic] operatives” will “twist and distort” the information.

    Dahlia Lithwick and Raymond Vasvari recently had a terrific take on this argument: “[Romney] isn’t actually claiming that his opponents will lie. He’s claiming he’s entitled to hide the truth because it could be used against him…. These are tax returns. Factual documents. No different than, say, a birth certificate. But the GOP’s argument that inconvenient facts can be withheld from public scrutiny simply because they can be used for mean purposes is a radical idea in a democracy.”

    But what about Sachar’s question: will this keep dogging Romney or not? If I had to guess, regrettably, I’d say no.


    We’re clearly not yet at the point at which news organizations have given up. Williams was right to press Romney on this last night, and today, the Union Leader newspaper in Manchester, N.H., run by a very conservative editorial board, hit Romney pretty hard over his secrecy.

    “Surely he could not have arrogantly believed that he could withstand any storm that developed by bluffing his way through it? If so, it hasn’t worked,” the editors wrote.

    But hasn’t it? Romney and his team have buckled down, refused all requests for transparency, and fully expect to hear fewer questions on the matter going forward — and sure enough, the questions are starting to fade.

    Paul Waldman had a good take on this the other day.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    July 26, 2012 11:23 AM

    Louisiana’s No-Count Accountability Standards For Vouchers

    By Ed Kilgore

    It’s been a while since we checked in on the Gret Stet of Loosiana’s new voucher program for private schools, which has succeeded in making Gov. Bobby Jindal the Christian Right’s very favorite prospect to become Mitt Romney’s running-mate.

    Under considerable pressure to provide some sort of accountability standards for private schools receiving vouchers (as vaguely required in the enabling legislation), Jindal’s state education chief John White and his staff scrambled to come up with a plan. They did so, and got a rubber-stamp approval from the state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and probably the most that can be said for it is that it’s slightly better than nothing. Here’s a report from Reuters’ Stephanie Simon:

    State money will continue to flow to scores of private and religious schools participating in Louisiana’s new voucher program even if their students fail basic reading and math tests, according to new guidelines released by the state on Monday.
    The voucher program, the most sweeping in the nation, is the linchpin of Louisiana’s bold push to reshape public education. The state plans to shift tens of millions of dollars from public schools to pay not only private schools but also private businesses and private tutors to educate children across the state….
    Under the new rules, schools will not be penalized for poor scores on state standardized tests if they have fewer than 40 voucher students enrolled in the upper elementary or secondary grades. Those schools can continue to receive state funds even if their voucher students fail to demonstrate basic competency in math, reading, science and social studies.
    White estimated that 75 percent of the 120 private schools in the voucher program this year will fall into this protected category….
    Lance Hill, executive director of the Southern Institute for Education and Research in New Orleans, said the new guidelines failed to hold private schools to the same academic standards as public schools.
    “Almost all the voucher schools are religious schools,” Hill said, “and many use an evangelical curriculum that teaches that humans walked the earth 6,000 years ago with dinosaurs. Do I, as a taxpayer, want my taxes to support that as a proper education in science?

  9. rikyrah says:

    July 26, 2012 11:56 AM

    Fact-Free Zone

    By Ed Kilgore

    The latest effort by conservatives to lie about what Barack Obama is saying doesn’t require much exegesis, and leaves virtually nothing to legitimate differences of opinion over interpretations of words or phrases. Take it away, Dave Weigel:

    At this point, getting video clips of Obama from Republican campaigns is like getting an article pitch from Jayson Blair. It might tell a good story, but you need to run down the source and triple-check. Jim Geraghty points to our latest example, a rapid response video from the RNC that clips Obama’s speech from Oakland


    Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me if by sundown conservatives were arguing that this Obama quote proves he’s taken the Democratic Party away from the centrist Clinton legacy. We’re entering a fact-free zone here that cannot be described simply as spin or distortion, much less a morally equivalent tit-for-tat response to Obama campaign tactics. As Weigel concludes:

  10. Ametia says:

    For Immediate Release July 25, 2012
    Remarks by the President at the National Urban League Convention

    Read them here:

  11. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 01:23 PM ET, 07/26/2012
    Wealthy Dems bankrolling new effort to counter GOP `swift-boating’ of Obama on Israel
    By Greg Sargent

    So how seriously are Dems taking the possibility that Obama could lose Jewish votes, now that billionaire Sheldon Adelson is planning a multi-million-dollar campaign to hammer Obama over Israel?

    A group of wealthy and influential Democrats is quietly putting together their own effort to raise several million dollars to counter Adelson’s efforts in key swing states, by aggressively pushing back on criticism of Obama’s record on Israel and reminding Jewish voters that he agrees with them on domestic issues they care about, I’m told.

    The effort — which involves Dems like Harvey Weinstein and Rahm Emanuel — is effectively an acknowledgment that Dems need to take the possibility of Jewish defections seriously, that Republicans have gotten an early start in their efforts to peel off swing state Jewish voters, and that small shifts could impact the outcome.

    “The possibility exists that the swift-boating of the President’s record will confuse voters — that is always a danger situation,” Marc Stanley, a Texas lawyer who is organizing the effort, tells me. “We need to amass the resources to fight against the big amounts of money that Sheldon Adelson and others have given to the Republican Jewish Coalition and also to the Emergency Committee for Israel.”

    Adelson, a casino magnate, and other members of RJC’s board have pledged to spend at least $6.5 million on an effort to paint Obama as hostile to Israel in battleground states like Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The ECI, which was co-founded by Bill Kristol, is also running newspaper and other ads aimed at doing the same.

  12. rikyrah says:

    26 Jul 2012 11:36 AM

    How Do You Know A Horse Is Mitt Romney’s?
    She’s completely hidden from public view:

    The United States Equestrian Federation and the United States Olympic Committee have refused to make those working with Rafalca available for interviews in the days leading up to the Games and prohibited the news media from even seeing the horse. Through a spokeswoman, Ann Romney declined to be interviewed.

    Does Rafalca also have tax returns?

  13. rikyrah says:

    The Persistent Oddness Of Mitt Romney
    A reader homes in on something else he said in his “insult to England” interview:

    I have to tell you. This is Ann’s sport. I’m not even sure which day the sport goes on. She will get the chance to see it, I will not be watching the event. I hope her horse does well.

    WTF? If your spouse’s horse were in an Olympic contest, would you not even watch? This is either a fib, designed to insulate him from whatever minimal fallout there is from owning a dressage horse; or it’s true and he’s just unlike other human beings. I mean, Obama makes sure he sees his daughters’ high school sports games. But Romney won’t even watch his wife’s horse at the Olympics?

  14. rikyrah says:

    July 26, 2012
    The ‘conservative’ fraud of voter fraud

    Power Line’s John Hinderaker enlightens: “Pennsylvania is, for the moment, ground zero in the battle over voter fraud,” a savage fight for republican virtues that is driving unRepublican sorts “simply insane. In the Democrats’ lexicon, making sure that only qualified voters cast ballots constitutes stealing elections. Whereas supplying the winning margin through illegal votes is democracy in action.”

    Power Line’s argument would be perfectly reasonable and powerful indeed, if there were voter fraud, which the fraud-battling state of Pennsylvania admits is a phantom.

    This, we all know. There’s no reason to thrash this particularly familiar horse any further. What I’ve never seen pointed out, though, is the peculiar and deep-rooted contradiction in the ideological source that is “battling” voter fraud: contemporary conservatism.

    Of all the assorted empirical legs on which conservatism has stood for centuries, none has been more muscular than the concept that humankind is non-perfectable; that we are a flawed species, in whom there lies a congenital bent toward the occasionally or even frequently irrational; any and in fact all attempts at wiping out man’s imperfections will thus go down in ignominious failure. Some reformation is possible, and incremental progress is possible, but shooting for absolute perfection is, as the cliche goes, a fool’s errand.

    However. It is “conservatives” who now wish to make absolutely sure that the electoral system is absolutely perfect. Well, yeah, OK, so there is no voter fraud, but there might be. It is against this teensy-weensy notional imperfection that we must gird our loins and pass these bills and protect ourselves from the immaterial and the unempirical.

    And that’s why this–all this anti-voter-fraud garbage–isn’t conservatism at all. It’s radical, it’s undemocratic, it’s pseudo, it’s monumentally whacko, but conservative it most decidedly is not.

  15. rikyrah says:

    July 26, 2012
    England and the world, 2 (and counting); Mitt, 0

    Oh my. It looks as though the Cousins’ War may be back on. Leave it to Mittster–he’s managed to embarrass himself and 310 million of us and antagonize the British P.M. in record diplomatic time.

    Mitt, you see, finds England’s Olympic atmosphere less regimentally satisfying than that of Salt Lake’s imposed discipline. In fact, John Bull’s mishandling of all this hubbub is downright “disconcerting,” said Mitt, what with all those “stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials — that obviously is not something which is encouraging.”

    Graciousness. Always graciousness.

    British honor, however, is being upheld by David Cameron, whom I’m liking more by the minute, even if he is devastating Britain’s once-imperial economy:

    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.

    Ouch. You brute. I love it. Beneath that debonair accent there lurks the tongue of a righteous serpent.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Pennsylvania’s voter-ID scheme looks even worse
    By Steve Benen – Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:16 PM EDT.

    Pennsylvania’s controversial, legally-dubious voter-ID scheme has suffered through some unpleasant headlines lately, but the problems are not going away.

    For example, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, who signed the voter-suppression measure into law, fielded a reporter’s question on the subject yesterday, and couldn’t remember the forms of ID he’s requiring his constituents to have.

    Meanwhile, Daniel Denvir published this piece yesterday on just how serious a problem the new law may pose in Pennsylvania’s largest city.

    The number of Pennsylvanians who might not have the photo identification necessary to vote this November has more than doubled: at least 1,636,168 registered voters, or 20 percent of Pennsylvania voters, may not have valid PennDOT-issued ID, according to new data obtained by City Paper. In Philadelphia, an enormous 437,237 people, or 43 percent of city voters, may not possess the valid PennDOT ID necessary to vote under the state’s controversial new law. […]

    The new data, received and processed by the AFL-CIO, for the first time includes voters who had PennDOT licenses that have (as of Monday) been expired since Nov. 6, 2011 or an earlier date. If those people do not renew their licenses, the licenses will be expired by at least one year on election day and thus invalid under the new law.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Willard thought he could insult the British and get away with it:

    [Romney’s comments] prompted a tart rejoinder from the British prime minister, David Cameron. “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,” an allusion to Salt Lake City, which hosted Games that Mr. Romney oversaw.

  18. Ametia says:

    July 24, 2012 08:49 PM
    Lewis Black Takes Apart Dishonest Campaign Ads in Epic Rant
    By Heather

    Video here

  19. rikyrah says:

    for the Jackson family saga, go here:

  20. rikyrah says:

    Romney resists specifics on VA policy
    By Phil Stewart

    WASHINGTON | Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:02am EDT

    Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is raising some of the same complaints about veterans’ plight that then-Senator Barack Obama did four years ago, as both sides gear up for an election in which the veteran vote in swing states could be of critical importance.

    But many veteran advocates are still waiting for Romney to spell out how he would do better than his opponent.

    “We haven’t … heard any specific plans yet from Governor Romney or his campaign,” said Bob Wallace, executive director at the Washington office of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, echoing the sentiment of many advocates.

    Asked by Reuters for information on Romney’s plans for helping U.S. veterans, the campaign provided a single-page document. It laments veterans’ high unemployment, a growing backlog of disability claims and “unacceptable bureaucratic delay and neglect” at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    The document also criticizes military spending cuts that Obama and Congress agreed on – a staple of Romney’s campaign rhetoric, but perhaps of less immediate concern to many former troops in need of VA services.

  21. rikyrah says:

    this is no liberal paper writing this.

    This is the UNION LEADER.


    Romney’s taxes: Why do they matter?
    ShareThisEDITORIAL Mitt Romney is a rich man. Like everyone, rich or poor, he has done everything legally available to him to minimize the tax bite. There are very few people standing in line waiting for the opportunity to overpay their taxes.

    It is very clear, from the current debate over revealing more of his tax documents, that Romney knows the steps he has taken to minimize his tax bite, while legal, will subject him to still more fire from President Obama and his supporters. That is a given. No doubt, Romney is right. In fact, his wife, Ann, made that very clear when asked why he would not reveal additional years: “Because there are so many things that will be open again for more attack … and that’s really just the answer.”

    Well, yes — and no. Maintaining the secrecy creates the impression, justly or not, that there is something there to hide. No escaping that reality. The impression is there. And it will cost Romney votes he cannot afford to lose. Those voters might not cast their ballots for Obama, but not voting can be just as damaging. And yes, for using the tax dodges and loopholes legally available to him, he might lose votes as well.

    But there is no place for secrecy or, indeed, privacy in a Presidential campaign. If you want the job, you have to subject yourself to the scrutiny.

    You have to be prepared to stand and explain, indeed, justify, your actions. If they are legal, then so be it.

    Perhaps the most troubling aspect of this entire controversy is the one NOT being discussed much: How did Romney get himself into this position in the first place? He has been running for office for a long time. His presidential aspirations predate the tax returns in question.

    What could he possibly have been thinking when he failed to ensure that everything contained in those documents was above reproach? Or was he simply not thinking at all? Surely he could not have arrogantly believed that he could withstand any storm that developed by bluffing his way through it? If so, it hasn’t worked.

    If Romney intends to win, he is going to have to make the tax forms public. This storm won’t go away. It will distract from his policy debate with Obama — and it will distract from Obama’s failures, providing the incumbent with the smokescreen he is attempting to create.

    Romney needs to end this. He needs to end this by revealing the tax documents, explaining them, explaining the legality behind his actions, and then he needs to move on.

    This campaign is not about his wealth. And it is not about the amount he has paid, or not paid, in taxes. It is about vastly different views of America — and America’s future.

    Unfortunately, as long as some voters believe there is something the presumptive Republican nominee is attempting to hide, the true debate takes a back seat. It’s time to get the inevitable over with. Release the tax returns, explain them, take the heat, and move on.

  22. Ametia says:

    Private-Equity Exec Luke Johnson: Romney’s Candidacy ‘Lacks All Credibility’
    Just because Mitt Romney ran a private equity firm doesn’t mean he’s qualified to be president. That’s what guys like Vice President Joe Biden and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa have said.

    And fine, you’d expect that since they’re politicians and Democrats. But it’s a little more significant when a fellow private equity man says the same thing.

    In a column for the Financial Times this Tuesday, Luke Johnson, chairman of the private equity firm Risk Capital Partners, rips the idea that Romney’s experience as the head of Bain Capital might have done anything to prepare him for public service.

    You really ought to read the whole thing, but here are a few choice bits: Johnson argues that private equity firms are “run to maximise profits for the owners, rather than for the creation of jobs”; that people who succeed in the industry “need to be ferociously interested in accumulating money”; and that generally speaking, private companies “are not democracies — they are quasi-dictatorships.”

  23. rikyrah says:

    A Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time Player
    By Steve Benen – Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:29 AM EDT.

    As we discussed a few weeks ago, Mitt Romney thought a trip abroad would bolster his foreign-policy credibility and make him appear more “presidential.” So far this week, however, the Republican candidate has ended up looking like an amateur who’s nowhere near ready to lead.

    It started the day before his departure, when Romney caused a diplomatic incident with Australia, a steadfast U.S. ally, misquoting the Australian foreign minister. The same day, a Romney advisor made a racially-charged comment about President Obama to a British newspaper.

    And then Romney arrived in London, where things went really downhill. The Republican, whose foreign policy experience is limited to his mysterious Swiss bank account, said there are “disconcerting” signs that his British hosts are not prepared to host the Olympics. (Yesterday, he also forgot Labour Party leader Ed Miliband’s name after meeting him.)

    British Prime Minister David Cameron did not seem pleased.

    The prime minister has hit back at comments from the US presidential candidate Mitt Romney querying Britain’s readiness for the Olympics… Romney said the fallout from the G4S security fiasco and a threatened strike by immigration officials were “disconcerting” and questioned whether British people would get behind the Games.

    • Ametia says:

      Let’s watch and see if Romney actually go out amongst the “COMMON PEOPLES” during his foreign policy tour. Doubt it; he’ss stick with the peeps who hold the purse strings.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    July 26, 2012 10:04 AM

    Will Mitt’s Trip Become His Own Apology Tour?

    By Ed Kilgore

    So much for Mitt Romney’s low-profile, non-controversial trip to Europe, eh? Let’s remember what he said about his own parameters for behavior overseas:

    “While I’m on foreign soil, I’m very careful not to be critical of my own government’s policies,” Romney said. “I would be even more remiss if I were to be critical to any other government’s policies. I will instead look forward to an exchange of ideas.”
    Yet in the course of about 24 hours, Romney’s had to put out a fire set ignited by his staff’s alleged trash-talking about Barack Obama to British journalists, and now has managed to offend British Prime Minister David Cameron over the UK’s Olympics preparations.

    As The Guardian’s Owen Gibson reports:

    The prime minister has hit back at comments from the US presidential candidate Mitt Romney querying Britain’s readiness for the Olympics, urging the country to “put its best foot forward” and ensure they are remembered as “the friendly Games”….

  25. rikyrah says:

    Scott Brown Attempts an Argument
    By Charles P. Pierce at 2:50PM
    Senator McDreamy believes he’s found an acorn:

    Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) said Wednesday that President Barack Obama made his “you didn’t build that” comments after getting “bad advice from professor [Elizabeth] Warren.” “They’re almost verbatim,” Brown said on “Fox and Friends,” referring to a speech Warren gave last year. “And the president got bad advice from professor Warren, certainly. You’ll never hear me demonizing our job creators.”

    For the benefits of readers who may have joined us late, what McDreamy is saying here is that what the president didn’t really say is “almost verbatim” something that his opponent, Elizabeth Warren, didn’t say.

    (That he said it on Fox and Friends, the morning show that parents let their toddlers watch when they find Fanboy and Chum Chum too intellectually challenging, is just a bonus.)

    The Politico reporter does eventually tumble to the notion that there are actual facts involved in this story.

    “You built a factory out there?” Warren said during her remarks at a fundraiser in Andover, Mass., last August. “Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.” “Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea,” she continued. “God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

    This is undoubtedly similar to what the president actually said — and no, McDreamy, saying that the Romney campaign is lying their ass off about what he said is not the president “stepping back and correcting the record” — and undeniably true. For example, here in the Commonwealth (God save it!) we are blessed with a junior senator who benefitted early in life from the welfare benefits provided by other taxpayers that his family collected after his parents split, who attended a public high school financed by other taxpayers in Wakefield, who trained in the publicly financed Massachusetts National Guard, and who has been on the public payroll in one way or another since 1992.

    You’re welcome, senator. Think nothing of it.

    Read more:

  26. rikyrah says:

    July 26, 2012 9:32 AM

    The Moral Imperative of Maintaining Inheritance Taxes

    By Ed Kilgore

    The tax issue that most definitely was not addressed in yesterday’s action in the Senate was the future of federal estate taxes, for the simple reason that Democrats probably didn’t have to votes to win on it. In a Bloomberg column, Richard Rubin has the sad, sad story:

    Lobbied by business owners and billionaires, Democrats including Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana resisted a proposal from President Barack Obama to tax individual estates of more than $3.5 million — roughly three in 1,000 — at a top rate of 45 percent. The split among Democrats, who control the Senate, will give Republicans more influence on the issue after the Nov. 6 election….
    Republicans favor the $5.12 million exemption, which means a compromise on the issue would be more generous to estates than Obama’s plan.
    One other reason, said Paul Caron, a law professor at the University of Cincinnati, is the “brilliant” public-relations move by estate tax opponents, who rebranded the issue as the “death tax,” making it unpopular even among those who will never have enough wealth to pay it.
    Yep. Given how many Democrats during the last decade succumbed to the whole “abolish the death tax” campaign, it’s a minor miracle the estate tax still exists to be fought over. In fact, the only reason it remains is that the authors of the Bush tax cuts had to disguise its ultimate costs and thus could not enact any permanent cuts.

    So the current battle is not over abolition of estate taxes, but over how much to gut them lest they return to the pre-2001 levels, as Rubin explains:

  27. rikyrah says:

    Idiot of the Day: Assrocket
    by BooMan
    Thu Jul 26th, 2012 at 10:32:12 AM EST

    The blogger fondly known as Assrocket has decided to opine about Pennsylvania’s voter identification law, which is currently being litigated in our state’s commonwealth court. Assrocket has many ill-informed opinions about the matter, but I want to address this one:

    I haven’t read the State’s court filing, but I’m pretty sure the State didn’t “admit they have no evidence of in-person voter fraud.”

    Assrocket is wrong. Here is the state’s stipulation that there have been no investigations or prosecutions for in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania, and that they have no direct knowledge of any investigations or prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in any other states. In addition, they stipulated that they have no reason to believe that in-person voter fraud is likely to occur in the November election. They are asking the court to uphold the law for no other reason than that the legislature has the right to make election laws.

    In addition to this, Assrocket is confused by an email the DCCC sent out that claimed that 10% of registered voters in Pennsylvania lack the identification now required to vote. He wants to know where the DCCC got those numbers. They got those numbers from the Republican-run state government. The actual number of Pennsylvania registered voters who lack a Department of Transportation identification is 9.2%. So, when the DCCC said that nearly one-in-ten Pennsylvania voters are at risk of being disenfranchised, they were not just correct, they were using Republican data. The number in Philadelphia County is 18%, meaning nearly one in five Philly voters need to head to the DMV or they’ll be shut out on election day.

    If even one registered voter fails to realize that they need to get on a bus and make two transfers to get down to Delaware Avenue to get their voter authorization card, then the election will be distorted by their lack of participation much more than it will be by the entirely absent cases of in-person voter fraud. But you can be sure that, with nearly a fifth of Philadelphia currently unqualified to vote, the impact will be much greater than one vote.

    But Assrocket doesn’t care about votes if they are likely to be Democratic votes. He just wants to win.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Dems gain leverage in tax fight
    By Steve Benen – Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.

    Yesterday, 51 votes meant success, not 60.

    There are perfectly sensible reasons to think yesterday’s Senate votes on tax policy were more symbolic than substantive. But there’s a political salience to the developments that shouldn’t be overlooked too quickly.

    The Senate, foregoing filibusters, held up-or-down votes on two competing tax plans: the Hatch/McConnell Republican plan, which would have kept Bush-era tax breaks in place for everyone, and President Obama’s Democratic plan, which would extend tax breaks for all income up to $250,000.

    The GOP plan failed, garnering only 45 votes, but the Democratic proposal eked out a surprising win, 51 to 48, proving that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) knows what he’s doing.

    As a legislative matter, tax bills have to start in the House, where the Democratic plan has no credible shot of passage. But as a strategic matter, yesterday’s vote gives the president’s party much-needed leverage going forward.

    Remember, the GOP message is simple: protect the tax breaks for the wealthy or Republicans will force tax increases on everyone. If the president’s plan had failed in the Senate, the takeaway would have been, “The White House agenda can’t even pass a Democratically-controlled Senate, so Obama’s plan is dead.” Going into negotiations, the president would have been in a weaker position.

    Instead, the opposite is true — the pressure is now on House Republicans. Obama is on board with protecting middle-class tax breaks, and the Senate is on board with protecting middle-class tax breaks. Will the House GOP do the right thing, or will they let taxes go up? The burden has shifted.

  29. Ametia says:


    Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown not getting involved for Obama
    The Democratic mayor says he’ll play no role in the presidential race.
    Posted: July 26, 2012 – 1:30am
    By The Times-Union

    Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown’s non-appearance at President Barack Obama’s campaign rally in Jacksonville last week was officially because Brown was out of town at a mayors’ conference.

    But if he had been in town, he might not have been there anyway.

    “I’m not going to get involved in presidential politics. I’m not getting involved in any campaigns,’’ Brown told the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday, reiterating a nonpartisan stance he expressed during his campaign last year and again before the GOP debate in Jacksonville in January. The Democratic mayor didn’t say whether he’d even vote for Obama, the Times reported.

    He said he wants to work on Jacksonville, not national, issues.

    “I ran a bipartisan campaign, I have a bipartisan administration with Republicans and Democrats. I made a promise I would focus on governing, not politics,” Brown said.


  30. Ametia says:

    Michael Tomasky on Why Mitt Romney’s Warmongering Won’t Work
    by Michael Tomasky Jul 26, 2012 4:45 PM EDT

    Romney’s foreign policy proposals are remarkably similar to Obama’s, but his rhetoric is far more irresponsible—and much less likely to attract voters.

    Mitt Romney is at it again. Appeaser, apologizer, blah blah blah. It’s funny, isn’t it, that if Barack Obama is such an appeaser and an apologizer, then why do their foreign-policy plans and ideas—insofar of course as Romney actually iterates any, which is not very far at all—sound so similar? The truth is, they are awfully similar. The only thing that’s really all that different is the rhetorical upholstery that supports and frames those ideas. But this is an important difference indeed, because in foreign policy more than the domestic arena, rhetoric commits a candidate to certain types of follow-through, and Romney’s rhetoric commits us to an idea about America that is out of date, reactionary, and dangerous. But the thing that amuses me is that it isn’t the automatic winner with the public that he undoubtedly assumes it is.

  31. rikyrah says:

    July 25, 2012 5:00 PM

    More Evidence of Obama’s Solid Latino Base

    By Ed Kilgore

    On the heels of last week’s Latino Decisions survey, there’s a new NBC/WSJ/Telemundo poll of Latino registered voters that shows the same thing: Barack Obama is slowly but steadily widening his lead in this segment of the electorate amid signs that Mitt Romney may have blown a big opportunity when he got all Tancredo during the GOP primaries.

    The new poll showed Obama leading Romney 67/23, as compared to a 66/26 margin last month and a 61/27 margin in May (if you’re keeping score at home, that’s a ten-point boost in Obama’s net margin in two months).

    Now the conventional wisdom all along has been that even if Obama does as well as or even better among Latinos than in 2008, lower turnout could blunt or reverse the impact, and given the disproportionate economic battering this demographic has been taking, that’s a strong possibility.

    This poll’s assessment of Latino voter enthusiasm is interesting, if murky given the usual problems in how to measure “enthusiasm.” Asked if they were more or less enthusiastic about voting “than in past elections” (which elections?!?), 50% said “more” and 32% said “less.” No telling what that means, but it doesn’t sound like a deeply discouraged voter segment. In a more absolute measure, “interest in the elections” on a scale of 1 to 10, the percentage at the very interested level of “10” is down from 59% at this point in 2008 to 49% today, but those at a level of “7” or higher isn’t that different (83% in 2008, 78% today).

    Interestingly enough, Romney’s sharing his Latino problems with his party: respondents to this survey preferred a Democratic-controlled to a Republican-controlled Congress by a 64/24 margin, again representing a sizable net boost from the 58/30 margin in May.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s Posted at 09:09 AM ET, 07/26/2012
    The Morning Plum: Which candidate would be better for small businesses?
    By Greg Sargent

    In the big battle between Obama and Mitt Romney over whether the President demeaned small business people with his “didn’t build that” comment, one question has been oddly missing: Which candidate’s policies would be better for small business people?

    In the read of the morning, Bill Turque took a first step towards answering that question, with the focus mainly on Obama’s policies:

    Small-business leaders say Obama’s record is mixed. Todd McCracken, president of the National Small Business Association, said that for some small firms, the administration has been a boon. For businesses that export, for example, McCracken said that reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank Act will help ensure a level playing field. He also described his 65,000 member companies as being “quite comfortable” with the individual insurance mandate at the heart of the Affordable Care Act. The one-year extension of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for incomes under $250,000 is also a plus, he said.
    But McCracken said Obama has not been aggressive enough in compelling banks to loosen lending policies. And in many instances, he said, tax relief is secondary to the regulatory burdens that leave many small businesses uncertain.
    The GOP argument is that Obama’s push to reinstate Clinton era tax rates on income over $250,000 will cripple small businesses, and that Obama’s regulatory policies are smothering them. And in the GOP’s favor, a new Gallup poll finds that 59 percent of business owners disapprove of Obama, though it’s unclear whether that reflects dissatisfaction with the economy alone or with Obama’s tax and regulatory policies.

    But if McCracken is to be believed, small businesses are pleased with the push for continued tax cuts on incomes just under $250,000 and don’t see Obamacare — which is supposed to be Obama’s most flagrant regulatory overreach — as a serious problem

  33. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s Dishonesty World Tour Sets Sail…
    By Anne Laurie July 26th, 2012

    with an extra-big bagful of hot air. Per Mr. Pierce, at Esquire:

    Bolstered by the roaring cheers of dozens over the past week, the newly butched-up Willard Romney went before the VFW convention in Reno today and gave what was thought to be an “important” speech on “foreign policy.” He needed one of those because, as even the guys at the VFW hootenanny must know by now, Willard worked very hard in his youth not to be a V of the FW that was going on at the time. So, what was Willard’s take on foreign policy that he sought to share with the people who’d fought elsewhere while he was keeping luxury Parisian apartments safe from Viet Cong infilitration?

    Well, basically, he is a bigger, tougher man than the president is, and he’s got the speechwriters to prove it…

    The rest of the speech was an aria of elaborate dick-waving because, frankly, on these difficult issues, that’s all Romney has. His experience in foreign policy is decidedly limited to finding new places to hide his fortune.

    “I am an unapologetic believer in the greatness of America.”

    Which I did my level best not to pay for.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney calls Ed Miliband ‘Mr Leader’

    The Republican party presidential candidate Mitt Romney is in London for the Olympic games and talks with senior politicians. During his meeting with Ed Miliband he appeared not to know the Labour leader’s name.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Mitt dials back Olympics critique

    By JONATHAN MARTIN | 7/26/12 6:50 AM EDT LONDON — After pointing yesterday to “disconcerting” events surrounding Great Britain’s preparation for the Olympics, Mitt Romney this morning tempered his assessment of the country’s readiness for the games.

    In a joint appearance at Parliament with Labour leader Ed Miliband, Romney, who ran the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, said: “My experience with regards to the Olympics is it is impossible for absolutely no mistakes to occur.

    “Of course there will be errors from time to time, but those are all overshadowed by the extraordinary demonstrations of courage, character and determination by the athletes,” Romney continued, responding to a British reporter who asked about flaps here involving a shortfall of private security and mix-up of North and South Korean flags. “The games are, after all, about the athletes, the volunteers and the people of the community that come together to celebrate those athletes. They are not about the Organizing Committee. And as soon as the sporting events begin, we all forget the organizers and focus on the athletes.”

    That’s a markedly different tone than what Romney used yesterday in an interview here with NBC’s Brian Williams, who asked the GOP presidential nominee if Great Britain was ready for the games.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal


    July 25, 2012 10:47 AM

    Ghost Candidate

    By Ed Kilgore

    I’ve spent a lot of time here lately raising doubts about the “referendum” hypothesis of this presidential election: that swing voters are in the process of or have already taken their own temperatures as to how they feel about life under Barack Obama, and once that process ends, the outcome will be determined with little or no regard to anything Mitt Romney says, does or represents.

    But the more nuanced (or honest) advocates of the “referendum” hypothesis will admit that even under their model, it’s a two-phase process, and that once swing voters have made their judgment about the incumbent, the challenger must cross some invisible threshold of credibility, and if he struggles to do so, the election can turn into much more of a “choice” than a “referendum.”

    That’s why Sean Trende’s latest column for RCP, which essentially warns Team Romney they are failing so far to navigate “Phase 2,” is well worth reading. Sean looks at the most recent Pew survey and finds that while swing voters may be prepared to “fire” the incumbent, they aren’t sold on the challenger just yet because he refuses to tell them much about himself:


    But we all understand why Romney hasn’t “gone positive,” don’t we? Just look at the things Pew’s independents say they need to know more about: Mitt’s gubernatorial record is a snake pit for him, featuring accomplishments that he dare not talk about for fear of offending his party “base” and/or exposing flip-flops. He clearly doesn’t want to talk about his taxes. And whether or not you think the attacks on Bain Capital have “worked” so far, they have certainly neutralized that part of Mitt’s life as a clear positive. So what’s he going to “go positive” about? The Ryan Budget? His rickety policy proposals on taxes? His virtually non-existent jobs platform? Do tell.

    Trende thinks Team Romney’s fooling itself if it imagines he can get away with campaigning the way it has up until now, with a ghost candidate:

    [T]hese are parts of his biography that simply must be filled in if Romney wants to win, along with his activities turning around the Salt Lake City Olympics. (Does anyone outside of the political world even know about that?) If Romney can do this, he’ll have an excellent shot at winning this race. It might not even be close. But if he can’t, he will probably become the first presidential challenger in modern history to pass Step 1 of the referendum model, but fail Step 2.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 03:00 PM ET, 07/25/2012
    It’s not OK to ignore this pro-Romney ad
    By Jonathan Capehart

    There are two really effective campaign ads blanketing the airwaves. One from each campaign. But only one of them is perhaps the most dangerous in its potential impact against its target. And Democrats better beware.

    There are two really effective campaign ads blanketing the airwaves. One from each campaign. But only one of them is perhaps the most dangerous in its potential impact against its target. And Democrats better beware.

    President Obama came to the White House with big plans. He’d halve the deficit. Strengthen the economy. Lower unemployment. What did we get? National Debt over 15 trillion and climbing. Unemployment above 8 percent for 40 straight months. An ongoing economic crisis with no end in sight. He tried. You tried. It’s OK to make a change.
    All that stuff about what the president promised he’d do and didn’t isn’t what bothers me. Obama did make big plans. But inheriting a free-falling economy followed by a stubborn recovery coupled with congressional Republican recalcitrance, not to mention some backtracking on various things he promised, have made achieving many of those goals impossible. So, he and his campaign have to deal with that as best they can.

    No, what bothers me is that last line spoken by the narrator as we see a black-and-white still image of a downward looking Obama.

    He tried. You tried. It’s OK to make a change.
    Millions of Americans were swept up in the drama of the 2008 presidential contest and were proud to cast a ballot that helped elect the first African American president of the United States. Doing so was and will remain one of our nation’s crowning achievements. But there’s no denying that many of those same millions have soured on Obama because of what they believe he hasn’t been able to achieve. Yet, they are conflicted.

  38. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney Called Tim Geithner’s Tax Evasion Allegations ‘Disqualifying’

    In the early days of his confirmation process, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner faced heaps of criticism over reports of his failure to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes while working at the International Monetary Fund. Among those calling for more transparency from Geithner and saying the reports were disqualifying was Mitt Romney.

    The former Massachusetts governor was, at the time, the point man for the GOP’s economic message. That involved walking a fine line when it came to Geithner: respecting the incoming president’s prerogative to choose his team and praising the former president of the New York Federal Reserve as qualified, while raising questions about his taxes.

    “[H]e’s a person of accomplishment and skill. I think he’s a very bright individual and obviously we’re learning as much as we can about his tax dealings in the past and his level of integrity,” Romney said of Geithner during an appearance on “Fox and Friends” on Jan. 15, 2009. “I think it’s appropriate for the committee to really delve into this matter. If they find it was an honest mistake, then I think he should be confirmed. If, on the other hand, they find that there was deliberate tax evasion, that’s a very different matter. Then a person would not be qualified. I certainly hope it turns out just to be an honest mistake.”

    “I think in the case of Tim Geithner, it’s an important issue,” he would tell CNBC later that day. “The committee ought to take a close look at it. If he was found to have been deliberately evading taxes, why, that would be a disqualifying feature. But if, instead, it were found to be an honest mistake on his part, then I think he ought to be confirmed.”

    A week later, he was on the same talking points.

  39. rikyrah says:

    To Move Polls, Romney Needs to Go Positive

    By Sean Trende – July 25, 2012

    Every once in a blue moon, a pollster asks exactly the right questions and brings some clarity to a number of important “big picture” issues in an election. Such is the case with the latest Pew poll. In particular, this survey helps us answer:

    — Is this election a choice or a referendum?

    — Why aren’t the bad economy and Mitt Romney’s attacks on the president moving the polls more in his favor?

    Here are the key findings:

    First, by a 90 percent to 8 percent margin, registered voters say that they already pretty much know what they need to know about President Obama.

    Second, by a 69 percent to 28 percent margin, these voters say that they already pretty much know what they need to know about Romney. In other words, three times as many voters are still evaluating the presumptive GOP nominee as are evaluating the president.

    Third, among independents — who are almost certainly the lion’s share of those who have not yet formed a strong opinion of Romney — 42 percent say they want to know more about his record as governor, 37 percent want to know more about his record as CEO of Bain Capital, and 35 percent want to know more about his tax returns. Just 21 percent of independents want to know more about his wealth, 19 percent want to know more about his family and upbringing, and 16 percent want to know more about his religious beliefs.

  40. Ametia says:


  41. rikyrah says:

    Snow Job By Donald L. Barlett, James B. Steele on December 10, 2001

    The value of Summit Ranch development was further enhanced in 1999, when a second access road was built into Utah Olympic Park. This three-mile stretch cost U.S. taxpayers $3 million. The second road will benefit not only Myers, in part by diverting sports-park traffic around his development, but also the most powerful organization in Utah: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The church’s real estate arm, Property Reserve Inc. (PRI), owns 430 prime acres through which the road runs, a tract long coveted by developers for its gorgeous mountain backdrop (which now includes the ski jumps) and its proximity to Park City (10 minutes) and other nearby resorts.

    Shortly after the asphalt was laid for this road, PRI presented plans to Summit County authorities for an ambitious development: 994 single-family homes and town houses, nearly one million square feet of commercial space, an office campus and a town center with its own main street, school and library. No one knows how soon construction will begin. The one certainty is the role of the federally built road. It is the spine of the development, the feeder from which everything else flows.

    • rikyrah says:




      Mitt Romney questions whether Britain is ready for Olympic Games

      Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, has questioned Britain’s preparedness to host the London 2012 Olympics and asked whether the country is genuinely willing to “celebrate” the Games.

      Mitt Romney, who was chief executive of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002, spoke on the first day of a visit to Britain.

      He will meet the British political leadership in London on Thursday, including David Cameron, the prime minister, and Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister. Mr Romney is then expected to attend the Olympics opening ceremony on Friday.

      But he told US television there were “disconcerting” signs about Britain’s readiness. “It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out,” he said. “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.”

  42. Ametia says:

    Michael Steele, the slave-catcher is defending Romney’s “POINT OF NO RETURNS.” on Moaning Joke.

  43. rikyrah says:

    Tweety really has been on this – pointing out that Willard has all of Dubya’s foreign policy hacks and that all they ever want to do is go to war.

    • Ametia says:

      I didn’t see this yesterday. Do you have a link to the video you can post here? Thanks!

      • rikyrah says:

        no, you got the segments in question. but, it’s not just these segments…he’;s been slipping it in all the time lately, in whatever conversation he has about Willard.

  44. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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