Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Thread |

Good Morning, Everyone!  Here’s your classic tune from the 80’s- 90’s is Mr. Lionel Ritchie.



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52 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Thread |

  1. Ametia says:

    In an interview that aired last night on WBAY in Green Bay, Mitt Romney said his Medicare plan is “the same, if not identical” to Ryan’s plan, which would provide vouchers that new retirees would have to use to buy their health care coverage:

    · The AP says such a plan would hasten Medicare’s insolvency “toward the end of what would be his first term in office.”

    · Romney is becoming increasingly ensnared in his own web of Medicare claims. ThinkProgress cuts through to the truth:

    · Greg Sargent blasts Romney’s deliberate attempt to mislead the public, explaining that the Medicare savings in Obamacare are “wrung from providers, not benefits, and Obamacare lowers costs for the very same seniors Romney and Ryan are pretending to defend from the alleged ‘cuts’ to Medicare.”

    But seniors on Medicare aren’t the only ones who would suffer under a Romney-Ryan administration.

    · Ed Kilgore explains how the Romney-Ryan plan, which cuts Medicaid by an estimated one-third, yanks the rug out from under lower-income seniors who depend on the program for their basic needs:

  2. rikyrah says:

    Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 04:55 PM PDT.

    Paul Ryan did request stimulus funds, but says retroactively he would not have done that.+*

    by Hunter

    Oh boy, here we go …
    Apparently Paul Ryan had his people check into it and yes, it turns out Paul Ryan did indeed write letters explicitly asking for (and getting) stimulus funds in spite of his own certainty that he never would have done such a horrible thing. Well, oops. But he can explain!

    You see, he just didn’t know those millions of dollars of projects were related to the stimulus. If he had known that those projects were being funded by the stimulus, he would have told those constituents to go right to hell:

    “After having these letters called to my attention I checked into them, and they were treated as constituent service requests in the same way matters involving Social Security or Veterans Affairs are handled. This is why I didn’t recall the letters earlier,” he continued. “But they should have been handled differently, and I take responsibility for that. Regardless, it’s clear that the Obama stimulus did nothing to stimulate the economy, and now the President is asking to do it all over again.”

  3. rikyrah says:

    One of Tweety’s old Aunts must be calling him 24/7 about moving in, cause he’s been a dog with a bone about Willard, Ryan and CouponCare. He’s not letting anything slip by when it comes to Willard and CouponCare.

  4. rikyrah says:

    August 16, 2012 2:40 PM

    Waldman Boils It All Down on Medicare

    By Ed Kilgore

    Does Medicare, and the endless political arguments over that program, confuse you? If not, you are a rare and blessed beast. I read and write about Medicare all the time, and have for decades, but still sometimes get tripped up in the weeds.

    So if you are like me, I strongly encourage you to take the time to read Paul Waldman’s relatively brief and remarkably lucid discussion of the two parties’ Medicare proposals at TAP. Here’s the kicker, involving the Obama and Romney/Ryan approaches to restraining Medicare’s long-range costs:

    Through the Affordable Care Act, Obama uses a variety of means-dozens of them, actually-to attempt to bring down costs within the existing program. But he does it while retaining Medicare’s guarantee of coverage. Romney, on the other hand, explicitly refuses to entertain changes within Medicare itself. He doesn’t propose changing the way Medicare pays for care, or suggest any pilot programs or any incentives to lower costs. Instead, he hopes that that competition with private insurers is all that’s necessary to bring those costs down. If that doesn’t work, his plan will shift more and more of the expense onto the seniors themselves. One approach says we can shape this program to make it work as well as possible and use it to leverage the kind of changes we’d all like to see in the broader health care market. The other says if we just get government out of the way, the market will produce optimal results on its own. The Obama approach includes some uncertainty; improving on a large and complex government program isn’t easy, and it’s likely that some of the reforms in the ACA will work better than others. So it’s possible it won’t succeed. But if Romney was right, the private insurance market would already be outperforming Medicare. And we know that hasn’t happened.

    Beyond that, I might add, Obama’s approach uses Medicare’s massive leverage to execute cost-saving improvements in how the entire health-care system operates, while the Romney/Ryan approach exposes Medicare much more than it is today to the cost pressures of the private market-place, which have boosted, not restrained, prices, even as it makes tomorrow’s retirees more “individually responsible” (i.e., stuck with the bill for) their health care.

    So you can either listen to or take with a grain of salt all the charges and counter-charges of “Medicare cuts.” What’s really going on is an obscured but very real debate over two fundamentally different views of government’s role in a mixed public-private health care system.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Paul Ryan On GOP Budget’s Medicare Cuts: Obama Started It!

    Benjy Sarlin- August 16, 2012, 1:35 PM 1917Paul Ryan, in his ongoing evolution from active supporter to newfound critic of the Affordable Care Act’s $716 billion in Medicare savings, now claims he actually opposed the cuts before he embraced them (and then turned against them again later).

    “We would never have done it in the first place,” Ryan told reporters Thursday.

    The confusing new wrinkle is the latest example of Ryan’s awkward contortions as he tries to reconcile the Romney campaign’s new promise to restore the $716 billion in cuts with Ryan’s previous decision to include the same exact cuts in two Republican budgets he wrote.

    On Thursday, Ryan tried to square the circle with reporters, explaining that he tried to reverse the cuts by voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but restored them in his own budgets anyway. Per the pool report:

    “First of all, those are in the baseline, he put those cuts in. Second of all, we voted to repeal Obamacare repeatedly, including those cuts. I voted that way before the budget, I voted that way after the budget. So when you repeal all of Obamacare what you end up doing is that repeals that as well. In our budget we’ve restored a lot of that. It gets a little wonky but it was already in the baseline. We would never have done it in the first place. We voted to repeal the whole bill. I just don’t think the president’s going to be able to get out of the fact that he took $716 billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare.”

  6. rikyrah says:

    Paul Ryan condemns Paul Ryan’s policy
    By Steve Benen – Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:07 AM EDT.21

    I guess we should have seen this one coming.

    Speaking at his alma mater Miami University in Ohio, Paul Ryan slammed President Obama for adopting Medicare cuts that, until last week, were openly supported by Ryan himself. […]

    Ryan went on to say that “what I don’t think he’ll be telling people is that the president took $716 billion from the Medicare program — he raided it to pay for Obamacare.”

    Consider this remarkable series of events:

    1. President Obama extends new benefits to seniors on Medicare and finds savings in the system to strengthen Medicare’s finances.

    2. Paul Ryan approves of Obama’s Medicare savings and incorporates them into his own budget plan.

    3. Mitt Romney endorses Ryan’s plan, which includes Obama’s Medicare savings.

    4. Romney changes his mind, and tries to argue he’s for and against the Medicare savings at the same time (for them in Ryan’s plan, against then in Obama’s law).

    And finally 5. Ryan denounces the Medicare savings he supports.

    So to review, the Romney/Ryan ticket is for and against Obama’s Medicare savings, for and against including Obama’s Medicare savings in the Republican budget, for and against extending benefits for seniors, and for and against strengthening Medicare’s finances — all at the same time.

    Complicating matters, Romney/Ryan intends to deliberately eliminate the savings — “We’re putting the $716 billion back” — which necessarily means pushing Medicare closer to insolvency and $716 billion in additional entitlement spending that Romney can’t afford.

    It’s like the Republican ticket is sinking deeper into the quicksand of policy stupidity.

    For her part, Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul told the AP, “The idea that restoring funding to Medicare could somehow hasten its bankruptcy is on its face absurd.”

    Just for fun, let’s flesh out to see who’s actually being absurd.

  7. rikyrah says:

    August 16, 2012 12:41 PM

    Has Obama Created A Monster?

    By Ed Kilgore

    At Ten Miles Square, Ezra Klein has a column up outlining the many ways in which the White House has helped make Paul Ryan a celebrity and the symbol of the congressional GOP—sometimes by praising Ryan, sometimes by attacking him, but always by treating him as his party’s leader.

    This all makes for a helpful stroll through the familiar landscape of questions about Barack Obama’s political strategy for 2012. But I can’t say I fully agree with Ezra’s take on the post-election consequences of Ryan’s notoriety as capped by his ascendancy to the national ticket:

    Putting the Ryan budget at the center of the 2012 election has the tactical benefit of forcing Republicans to defend an unpopular proposal; more important, it has the long-term strategic benefit of potentially discrediting the Ryan budget as a political document. Prior to Ryan joining the ticket, a Romney loss seemed likely to strengthen the Republican Party’s conservative wing, because the defeat would be blamed on Romney’s moderate past. Now, if the Romney-Ryan ticket loses, it will vindicate skeptics of the party’s rightward shift, potentially strengthening the party’s moderates. That could produce a more cooperative opposition for Obama to work with in a second term.
    But if Obama loses, Republicans will have won the presidency with a mandate to enact a deeply conservative agenda. Left to his own devices, Romney might have been a relatively pragmatic and cautious president. Instead, the Obama administration’s three-year effort to enshrine the Ryan budget at the heart of the Republican Party would prove to have been a crucial push toward enacting that budget into law.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Obama Spokesman: Romney Has Run ‘An Entirely Negative Campaign’
    Pema Levy – 2:07 PM EDT, Thursday August 16, 2012

    Ben LaBolt, press secretary for the Obama campaign, said in an appearance on MSNBC Thursday that Mitt Romney’s attacks on President Obama for running a hateful, divisive campaign are hypocritical because Romney himself has run a negative campaign.

    “Over the course of the past year, Gov. Romney has run almost an entirely negative campaign, tearing down his opponents and after tearing them down, telling them to stop whining,” LaBolt said. “Over the past weekend, when he announced his vice presidential selection, he said that he wanted to focus on the economic choice in this election, which the president has been focused on all along. But the other night, he abandoned that pledge and strangely accused the president of running a hateful campaign.”

    LaBolt also said Romney’s ads accusing Obama of ending welfare’s work requirements demonstrate the Republican’s hypocrisy.

    Romney is calling the president divisive “at the same time as he’s got these ads on the air that are [demonstrably] false, that President Clinton said are false,” LaBolt said.

  9. rikyrah says:

    From ‘very different’ to ‘identical’ in 24 hours
    By Steve Benen – Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:13 AM EDT

    .If you watched Tuesday night’s show, you saw Rachel explain that Mitt Romney’s position on Paul Ryan’s Medicare privatization scheme hasn’t exactly been consistent.

    In May 2011, he was against the Ryan plan to end Medicare. Six months later, he was for it. More recently, on Monday, Romney said his plan for Medicare is “very similar” to Ryan’s proposal, but on Tuesday, the Romney campaign said the plans are “very different.”

    And 24 hours after the Romney campaign said the two policies are “very different,” Romney told a reporter in Green Bay, Wisconsin the opposite again.

    For those who can’t watch clips online, the WBAY reporter asked, “Your senior campaign advisor said Sunday if the Ryan budget would have come to your desk you would have signed it. In a January debate you called it a proposal that was absolutely right on. So I guess, why now are you distancing yourself from at least the Medicare portion of the Ryan budget?”

    Romney replied, “Actually Paul Ryan and my plan for Medicare I think is the same — if not identical it’s probably close to identical.”

  10. rikyrah says:

    Run the numbers
    By Steve Benen – Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:26 PM EDT.10

    Ed Gillespie, a senior advisor to Mitt Romney, talked to Wolf Blitzer yesterday and was asked when the Romney-Ryan budget plan would balance the federal budget. Gillespie didn’t have the foggiest idea.

    As it happens, the question didn’t just come out of thin air. Blitzer raised the point yesterday, but on Tuesday night, Fox News’ Brit Hume asked Rep. Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate, the same question. Ryan was also stumped, saying, “We haven’t run the numbers on that specific plan.”

    I honestly don’t know what that means. The Romney-Ryan ticket has presented a budget plan, based in part on the Ryan budget plan that’s already been voted on in Congress. Romney and Ryan are making plenty of promises based on their expectations of how effective their plan would be if they’re elected.

    But they “haven’t run the numbers” on it. Hmm. If they “haven’t run the numbers,” how do Romney and Ryan know their numbers add up? How do they assure voters they have a credible plan to balance the budget?

    When, exactly, do they think they might get around to running the numbers? Do they realize there’s a presidential election coming up in a few months?

  11. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 09:11 AM ET, 08/16/2012
    The Morning Plum: Yes, one side is more to blame than the other for scuttling real debate
    By Greg Sargent

    Today’s Post has a big story quoting a number of bipartisan deficit experts who are very upset that the tone of the debate over Medicare in Campaign 2012 has taken a nasty turn. One after another, they complain that both candidates are making a serious discussion about Medicare’s long term problems — and the deficit — impossible.

    Can we please talk about this?

    The problem is not that both candidates are equally responsible for making this debate impossible. Rather, one candidate is far more than the other for making this debate impossible. The candidate who is far more responsible is Mitt Romney.

    There is no comparison between the claims Romney is making and the claims Democrats are making. Dems are making two main assertions: They argue that Romney and Paul Ryan would “end Medicare as we know it,” and that people could die as a result of the GOP agenda. The first of those claims is a legitimate topic for argument, but it’s not factually false. The plan actually would gradually end Medicare’s core mission as it’s been defined for decades, and replace it with a differently organized program. Meanwhile, Republicans keep arguing that the Ryan plan would not change anything for people over 55. But the GOP plan to repeal Obamacare would change things for those people, driving up their health care costs.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:23 AM ET, 08/16/2012
    Why Republicans want Artur Davis to speak at the GOP convention
    By Jamelle Bouie

    Artur Davis’ decision to speak at the Republican National Convention dovetails well with the GOP’s attempt to capitalize on disappointment with President Obama. Davis, who represented Alabama’s 7th Congressional District from 2007 to 2011, was one of Obama’s earliest supporters and the first politician outside of Illinois to endorse the former senator’s presidential bid.

    In 2009, seeking to replicate Obama’s success (on a smaller scale), Artur announced his candidacy for governor of Alabama. If he won, he would have been the first African American governor of Alabama, and the first to win a gubernatorial seat in the Deep South. But for Davis to win, he needed to broaden his appeal beyond the state’s predominantly black Democratic Party, and attract support from Alabama’s white, conservative majority.

    In practice, this meant opposing the priorities of the now-President Barack Obama. Davis supported the stimulus, but was a vocal critic of the health care bill, and eventually voted against it. He did as much as possible to distance himself from Alabama’s Democratic establishment — in his race for the party nomination, he avoided prominent African American groups, and tried as much as possible to convince whites (on both sides) that he could be their first black governor.

    The result of this manuevering was a landslide loss. His opponent Ron Sparks, a white Democrat, took 62.44 percent of the vote to Davis’ 37.56 percent. Davis had so alienated African Americans with his opposition to health care reform that, when it came time to vote, he lost the black vote — in a Democratic primary — by huge margins.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Scott Brown’s troublesome summer continues
    By Steve Benen – Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:26 PM EDT.1

    Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) is in the midst of a very tough re-election fight, and probably hoped for a trouble-free summer to position him for a strong push in the fall. It’s not working out that way at all.

    Brown has run into a series of troubles, including touting a strange conspiracy theory, talking up imaginary phone calls, denying the existence of oil company subsidies he’s voted for, “kings and queens,” and his stumbling on one of the few bill he’s actually passed.

    This week, Brown scheduled a major policy speech, “but did not include any new policy pronouncements,” and walked “out the back door with a cellphone to his ear as he was chased by reporters.”

    But Blue Mass Group has come up with a new problem, noting the similarities between Brown’s words and those of Earline Parmon, a Republican lawmaker in North Carolina.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, August 16, 2012
    Lynn Parramore: Revealed – Romney Campaign’s Attempts to Deny Paul Ryan’s Insider Trading Don’t Add Up

    Yves here. As readers may know, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan engaged stock trades in September 2008 that look to be based on inside information, specifically, discussions Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson had with Congress about the increasingly desperate condition of the financial system. This post explains why the Republican rebuttals are not very persuasive. What is intriguing is that a Twitterstorm emerged over this article as some writers who are not part of the Republican messaging apparatus joined in attacking the scrutiny of Ryan’s trades.

    Folks, this isn’t that hard to understand. Even if Ryan only unloaded some bank stocks he had and bought some Goldman shares, and it was indeed in response to the word he got from privileged channels, guess what, it’s likely that it would be considered to be insider trading. When I was a kid, “insider trading” was more narrowly defined, as in information coming from an “insider,” meaning someone who has a duty of care to the company, like a board member, executive, or agent. The SEC has taken a much more expansive of what it considers inside information to be over the years (including some that are overreaching, for instance, its recent failed case against traders who used information that was broadcast over the “squawk box” system of other firms). One might surmise that the overly zealous debunkers are embarrassed because they got it wrong or unsure which way the wind is blowing and waiting to see if the story gets traction.


  15. rikyrah says:

    .Shattered Movie Dreams May Mean State Control for Detroit Suburb
    By Chris Christoff – Aug 14, 2012 11:01 PM CT

    It was lights, cameras, farewell.

    California film executive Jimmy Lifton persuaded Allen Park, Michigan, to become a Midwest moviemaking hub, then left the Detroit suburb $31 million deeper in debt and, according to a state report this month, so financially stressed that it needs an appointed emergency manager.

    Three years ago, hundreds attended Lifton’s announcement of a $146 million studio where an automotive supplier once operated. Then-Mayor Gary Burtka declared “Hollywood 48101” — a reference to Allen Park’s zip code — and Lifton talked of cranking out movies like Henry Ford mass-produced cars, with 3,000 new jobs. The city sold $31 million in general-obligation bonds to buy and improve 104 acres for Lifton’s Unity Studios. By mid-2010, the deal had dissolved in a dispute over rent.

    “We were buffaloed,” said Tony Lalli, a member of the City Council that approved the bond sale and then was voted out of office. “Everyone said they wanted it, and we went along.”

    The crisis in Allen Park, which is saddled with $2.6 million in annual bond payments, a $6 million deficit and junk- level B credit rating from Standard & Poor’s, shows the risk governments take when they go into debt to aid private enterprise. Rhode Island is on the hook for $75 million in state bonds to lure a video game company led by former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, which never took off.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 01:15 PM ET, 08/16/2012
    Mitt Romney’s `just trust me’ campaign
    By Greg Sargent

    In a remarkable bit of political theater, Mitt Romney carefully divulged a bit more information about his tax returns, confirming for the first time that for the past 10 years, he has paid at least 13 percent in taxes.

    Romney, asked some time ago by ABC News whether he had ever paid less than the 13.9 percent he paid in 2010, said he didn’t know, and promised to go back and check. After taking a pounding from Obama and Dems, Romney appeared to have decided not to make good on that vow.

    But today Romney offered what was clearly a carefully scripted reply, claiming that “over the past 10 years, I never paid less than 13 percent.” But in the process, Romney denounced those who keep clamoring to see his returns, adding: “The fascination with the taxes I paid, I find to be very small minded compared to the broad issues we face.

  17. rikyrah says:

    August 16, 2012
    The GOP’s metastasis

    Dana Milbank, on the “ugly-umbrage” campaigns:

    What’s different this time is that the Democrats are employing the same harsh tactics that have been used against them for so long, with so much success. They have ceased their traditional response of assuming the fetal position when attacked, and Obama’s campaign is giving as good as it gets — and then some….

    [T]he Democrats are no longer simply whining about the other side being reckless and unfair: They are being reckless and unfair themselves.

    I’ll put aside for the moment that, in the aggregate, I see little more venom and viciousness than in most presidential campaigns. The Romney camp is doing its part, and far more, to uphold the American political tradition of demagogic flailing; so all in all, this campaign season’s sum of imbecility is about right. If Obama were losing, perhaps he’d call Romney’s recklessness and unfairness and then raise, but there seems to be no need for that, not yet anyway.

  18. rikyrah says:

    August 16, 2012
    “My taxes”
    Romney’s latest ambiguity answers nothing:

    I did go back and look at my taxes, and, over the past 10 years, I never paid less than 13 percent…. Every year, I paid at least 13 percent, and if you add in, in addition, the amount that goes to charity, the number gets well above 20 percent.

    What kind of taxes? Federal? State? Local? Sales? Payroll? Property? Investment?

    Given Romney’s Nixonian shiftiness, was it carelessness that caused him to say merely “taxes,” rather than federal taxes? Or was it extreme care?

  19. rikyrah says:

    August 16, 2012
    WE’RE “small-minded”
    Romney added, in that aristocratically oblivious way that only an oblivious aristocrat can,

    Given the challenges that America faces — 23 million people out of work, Iran about to become nuclear, one out of six Americans in poverty, the fascination with the taxes I paid I find to be very small-minded compared to the broad issues we face.

    That’s the whole point. Mitt Romney’s tax returns should not be an issue, because he should have released them long ago. We do indeed face immense global and domestic challenges, and the last thing we should have to spend time on is some paranoid, übersecretive candidate’s small-minded obsession over extra-privileged privacy.

    Parenthetically, just after Romney’s blathering misdirection play I heard the monumentally banal Chris Cillizza suggest on MSNBC in rather unmistakable terms that presidential candidates don’t lie; at least, at any rate, folks like Harry Reid should not persist in suggesting that presidential candidates do lie. It’s just not cricket. Not sporting. What what?

    So that’s two brutal assaults we’ve now suffered today from the Washington Post–one in print, and one on TV. I’m afraid to turn on the radio.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Romney makes his tax-return troubles worse
    By Steve Benen – Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:17 PM EDT.

    Let’s walk through the top five reasons this answer is woefully unacceptable.

    1. Romney can prove this claim is accurate, and also prove that Reid is wrong, by releasing his tax returns (the tax returns he already turned over to John McCain). For reasons he can’t explain, Romney still refuses. Today’s response, at its root, comes down to, “trust me.”

    2. Romney isn’t in a position to say “trust me” since he has a track record of making similar claims that turned out to be completely wrong.

    3. Romney’s answer only leads to more questions. He claims, without proof, to have paid “at least 13 percent” every year. But 13 percent of what? Does that cover total or taxable income? Maybe Romney would be happy to “go back and look” again?

    4. Romney may not understand this, but 13 percent isn’t a tax burden worth bragging about. Most of the middle class are not, by definition, multi multi-millionaires with car elevators, and they’re paying a higher percentage of their incomes in taxes than Romney is. (Romney, if elected, intends to make sure he and his wealthy buddies continue to pay less than working people).

    And 5. Romney, by addressing the story in detail again today, keeps the story alive and steps on every other part of his message.

    Bonus! 6. If you watch the clip, Romney describes interest in this issue as “very small-minded.” He just insulted nearly two-thirds of the country.

  21. rikyrah says:

    VIDEO: Mitt Romney answers “small minded questions” about tax returns with, “I never paid less than 13 percent.”
    Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2012, 10:38 am by GottaLaff

    Yesterday Ann Romney got a little icy bristled snarled when she was asked about hubby Willard’s tax returns. Now hubby himself is clearly feeling the heat, because he sees that this is not going away any time soon.

    Harry Reid, I salute you. First Read:

    “Given the challenges that America faces – 23 million people out of work, Iran about to become nuclear, one out of six Americans in poverty, the fascination with the taxes I paid I find to be very small-minded compared to the broad issues we face,” Romney told reporters gathered for a press conference at the Greer airport in South Carolina, where Romney had just arrived to attend a fundraiser.

    “I did go back and look at my taxes, and, over the past 10 years, I never paid less than 13 percent,” he said, later adding: “Every year, I paid at least 13 percent, and if you add in, in addition, the amount that goes to charity, the number gets well above 20 percent.”

    So we’re “small minded” for asking him to explain why he thinks he’s so good at handling finances, especially considering all that boasting about his business background. We’re “small minded” for wanting him to prove whether or not he’s telling the truth. We’re “small minded” for wondering how he gets away with paying less than the so many of us. We’re “small minded” for wondering if he may have avoided felony charges by being granted amnesty (see video). How dare we even think that this is important?!

  22. rikyrah says:

    August 16, 2012, 12:53 pm
    Romney Says ‘I’ve Paid at Least 13%’ in Taxes in Past Decade


    Mitt Romney said on Thursday that he had not paid less than 13 percent of his income in taxes during the past decade, but he called the continued focus on his personal tax returns “small-minded” in the face of the nation’s problems.

    Speaking to reporters during a stop in South Carolina, Mr. Romney said that he had examined the last 10 years of his tax returns.

    “Every year, I’ve paid at least 13 percent,” he said, apparently referring to his effective federal income tax rate.

    Mr. Romney decision to address the tax question on Thursday appeared to be the campaign’s latest attempt to put the nettlesome issue of his tax returns behind him. But Democrats seized on the comments as a way to revive the issue and to once again demand proof of his claims.

    His statement is the first direct response to attacks by President Obama and his Democratic allies that have questioned whether Mr. Romney paid little or no taxes in previous years.

    In particular, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada has alleged — without any proof — that Mr. Romney paid no taxes in some years, presumably by using offshore tax shelters and other legal accounting measures. Mr. Romney had already denounced that as false.

    But Mr. Romney has steadfastly refused to release more than the single year of returns that he has already disclosed. He has released the full returns for the 2010 tax year and a short summary of the taxes he paid in 2011.

  23. rikyrah says:

    ’10 years of birth certificates’
    By Steve Benen – Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:40 AM EDT

    Mitt Romney is obviously committed to keeping his tax returns hidden, despite calls from members of his own party to disclose more materials. Even Bill Kristol has called Romney’s position “crazy.”

    But some in the GOP are backing Romney’s secrecy.

    “Let’s say Mitt Romney released 100 years of tax returns tonight,” said Alex Castellanos, a Republican media consultant who advised Romney in 2008. “What do you think the odds are that the Obama campaign would say, ‘Oh great Mitt. Thank you! Now we can put that behind us and move on to more substantive issues like entitlement reform!’ Zero.”

    Added Castellanos: “I’d advise Mitt to release 10 years of tax returns when Obama releases 10 years of birth certificates.”

    There are a couple of angles to this to keep in mind. The first is that really are legitimate questions that voters deserve answers to, and those answers are only available in the documents Romney is inexplicably keeping secret. No one is characterizing this as some kind of procedural hurdle that must be cleared; it’s about resolving lingering, relevant questions about Romney’s background.

    Indeed, Romney publicly gave his word, on camera, that he would “go back and look” to let us know what tax rates he paid over the last decade, and it now appears the candidate will break that commitment without explanation.

  24. rikyrah says:


    need all the Coon graphics you can give me


    Three Maps That Explain the Artur Davis Switch
    By David Weigel
    Posted Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012, at 9:02 AM ET

    The Republican National Convention will be the latest stop on Artur Davis’s comeback/apology tour. Quoth Reince Priebus:

    Former Congressman Davis especially will give voice to the frustration and disappointment felt among those who supported President Obama in 2008 and are now hungry for a new direction.

    More accurately, isn’t he speaking to for the people who supported President Obama in 2008 and are named “Artur Davis?” The media loves an apostate story, and every Davis move and quote, during his move into the GOP, has gotten enormous play. The former congressman is accessible, quotable, and gives the impression of a man once muzzled now unleashed — especially when it comes to voter ID laws.*

    But you have to see the Davis move in the context of his 2010 career implosion. Davis had always been a “next wave” black politician, who beat the embarassing (I’m understanding) Rep. Earl Hilliard in 2002 to come to Congress. He cut against liberals by voting for partial-birth abortion legislation and a “traditional marriage amendment,” and irritated liberals on economic policy by backing bankruptcy reform in 2004. But in late 2008, he made a determination to run for governor of Alabama. He backed the stimulus, but he opposed the Affordable Care Act. Because the debate over that bill took so long, Davis had to come out against it many, many times. Davis found himself in an untenable position, trying to oppose swathes of the first black president’s agenda while convincing the decreasingly-white Alabama Democratic electorate that he could be their first black governor.

    It didn’t work, and it flopped in one particularly painful way. Here’s a map of the Alabama “black belt,” counties that are at least 40 percent black, sometimes as high as 71 percent black. (UPDATE: Worth noting that the “black” term applies to the soil, not the people — this also happens to be an area with a lot of rural black voters.)

    And here’s a map of the 2010 gubernatorial primary — Davis in blue, Ron Sparks in red. Davis lost this one by 25 points.

    Anyway: This is the starting point for understanding Davis’s new career as a whip-smart analyst of “center-right politics.” In 2004, Zell Miller arrived at the Republican National Convention as a life-long Democrat who’d won his last election, in 2000. In 2008, Joe Lieberman arrived in St. Paul as a Democrat who’d lost a primary, then won as an independent.

    But in his last election, Artur Davis was a loser. The party rejected him. So he suggests that he should have left it years ago.

    To understand what a shellacking that was, look at the exit poll in the 2008 Obama-Clinton primary. Fifty-one percent of those voters were black. Davis’s loss was enabled by a huge number of black voters turning against him. He lost in his own congressional district, which captured much of the black belt.

  25. rikyrah says:

    if you really want to talk about who is playing the race card this year, it’s worth briefly revisiting the latest attack ad from the Romney campaign on welfare….

    It might seem odd to the untrained observer that welfare is even being prominently featured in this campaign. It’s hardly an issue of pressing concern among voters. But of course, welfare never is and never has been just about policy; it’s really about politics and in particular, racial politics.

    Romney accuses Obama of gutting welfare reform by granting waivers to state governments in how they choose to implement the law. It’s a charge that is completely without merit; spun from whole cloth; an invented attack line. But again, lying on the campaign trail about President Obama’s record is the rule, not the exception, for Mitt Romney.

    … What’s most striking about the ad are the visuals – workers wiping their brow; working class Americans toiling away at manufacturing jobs. And coincidentally all the people in the ad … are white. This might not mean much, except for the fact that, as anyone who has followed American politics for the past 45 years knows, criticisms of the welfare system from the campaign trail have habitually always been used as racial code in attacks on Democrats for coddling blacks. It is the symbol of wasteful government spending, rewarding poor Americans for not working and creating a culture of dependency.

    …. Indeed, this ad and in fact this whole line of attack is one of the most blatant uses of racial coding in a presidential campaign since the Willie Horton ad of 1988….

  26. Ametia says:

    The WASP-less Presidential Election and the End of the ‘Establishment’
    by Peter Schrag Aug 16, 2012 6:15 AM EDT

    A black guy, a Mormon, and two Catholics walk into a presidential election. Peter Schrag delivers the punch line about the end of the old elite.
    What happened to the WASP establishment?
    Mormon Mitt Romney’s selection of Catholic Paul Ryan as his running mate is an historic moment.

    For the first time in the 236-year history of the Republic, no one on either presidential ticket belongs to the once-prototypical American group, the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.

    Until 2008, when black Protestant Barack Obama ran with Catholic Joe Biden, we’d never had even one party offer a non-WASP ticket.

  27. rikyrah says:

    August 16, 2012
    Spot-checking the awful Jennifer Rubin

    This is just a damn shame. It was once my amusing custom to spot-check the uniquely awful ravings of WaPo’s Jennifer Rubin–her Romney Deification blog is, I imagine, diurnally dipped in bronze by the jealous god himself–but I see that she’s gone conventionally meshuga. Her page now reads like a GOP talking point memo, with any unused cliches and excess platitudes swept up at night for tomorrow’s recycling.

    Her blog once strained (which was what made it so fun) to be one of the big boys, part of the institutional goofy far right, an authentic enrollee of the pseudoconservatively cracked club. Now, well, just how was that induction ceremony, Jennifer?

    Her latest, or at any rate the latest I saw: “Obama and Biden scrape the bottom of the barrel.” That’s the title. And need I point out that any piece so unoriginally titled has already bottomed out?–therefore the best one can say is that it can get no worse?

    That’s what you’d think, or at least that’s what I thought, until I pluckily plowed on. I’ll be merciful, which is to say, exiguous in my Rubin-quotation: Obama’s surrounded by “political hacks,” mostly because “In truth there are few ‘wise men’ in the Democratic Party with the gravitas and the nerve to tell Obama to clean up his act”; even “The mainstream media find it hard to ignore how low the Democratic ticket has sunk”; every pitiable media attempt to assert campaign-low “equivalency is false, of course” (my emphasis, her delusion); and–brace for insight impact–“we should expect non-stop Romney attacks at the Democratic National Convention.”

  28. rikyrah says:

    Joy Ann Reid discusses the whining of Willard.

    • Ametia says:

      LOL That knucklehead, had some of the nastiest attack ads on Newty Newt! I hope the Obama campaign NUKE the living shit out of Romney-Ryan.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Larry O continues on Paul Ryan’s love affair with Ayn Rand.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Larry O had on Wendell Potter again to discuss the fraud that is the GOP and Medicare.

  31. rikyrah says:

    You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry
    By Steve Benen – Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:01 AM EDT.

    For most of the year, Republicans saw polls showing the American mainstream liking President Obama personally, whether they approved of his job performance or not. The GOP line was shaped accordingly — Obama may be a nice guy, they said, but he’s not doing a good job.

    That was before. Now, they’re trying saying something new.

    Mitt Romney is portraying the outwardly calm President Barack Obama as a man seething with animosity and power lust as the Republicans seek to undermine one of the Democrat’s greatest campaign strengths — his personal likability. The president’s re-election effort, Romney said Wednesday, “is all about division and attack and hatred.” Obama, Romney added later while campaigning in Charlotte, is an angry man who “will do or say anything to get elected.”

    The attack has all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. In Chillicothe, Ohio, Romney said Obama is “angry” and basing his campaign on “anger.” In an interview with CBS, Romney said Obama’s message is “designed to bring a sense of … anger.” Paul Ryan, Romney’s new right-wing running mate, told voters yesterday Obama is running an election “based on anger.”

  32. rikyrah says:

    Tweety on the travesty in Pennsylvania.

  33. rikyrah says:

    The Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman and columnist Cynthia Tucker join Hardball to discuss the negative campaigns both President Obama and Mitt Romney are running, and Romney’s recent complaints about Obama’s negative attacks.

  34. rikyrah says:

    A candidate can’t win if his supporters can’t vote
    By Steve Benen – Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.2

    I was chatting with a friend of mine last night who works in Democratic politics, and looking ahead, he was feeling pretty optimistic about the 2012 elections. As he sees it, the pieces are largely in place — President Obama has weathered the attacks and remains in the lead; Mitt Romney is not well liked; and Paul Ryan’s radicalism only further tips the scales.

    The recent economic data is pointing in the right direction; the post-Ryan bump was even smaller than expected; and Medicare is suddenly topic #1. Why shouldn’t Dems be happy?

    What my friend couldn’t explain is how Democrats expect to succeed if Republicans rig the electoral process. Did everyone see Rachel’s lead story last night on Pennsylvania?

    We talked a bit about the state court ruling on voter-ID yesterday, but Rachel’s explanation is worth keeping in mind:

    “Seriously, the judge’s reasoning was that hundreds of thousands of people in Pennsylvania who do not have this kind of ID will be provided it by the state of Pennsylvania before the election. This of course requires that the state can handle that influx of work, requires that all of those hundreds of thousands of people in Pennsylvania are going to have the documentation they need in order to get the new IDs. It requires that all of those hundreds of thousands of people are going to have transportation and access to the Department of Transportation offices in Philadelphia where you can get these new IDs.

    “I should perhaps note here that Pennsylvania has the lowest proportion of government workers to state population of any state in the country. I should note that 13 of the state’s transportation offices where you can get these IDs are open only one day a week. Nine Pennsylvania counties don’t even have one of these offices at all.

    “And perhaps most pressingly, this whole rationale for the judge keeping the law in place requires that the hundreds of thousands of legal voter Pennsylvania residents will know in advance that they have to do all of this in time to get it done before the election. They’ve got to complete the paperwork, have their ID issued to them in time to vote.”

  35. rikyrah says:

    The problem Willard has with Latinos.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Rachel Maddow on how Willard’s gonna now try and run on his record as Governor of Massachusetts.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Rachel Maddow discusses the change of heart of the Secretary of State of Ohio

  38. rikyrah says:

    Kathy Culliton-Gonzalez, director of Voter Protection for the Advancement Project, talks with Rachel Maddow about a court ruling allowing one of the strictest new voter restrictions in the country to be put in place in Pennsylvania, one of the country’s most significant swing states, despite the fact that the policy only exists to give Republicans a partisan advantage in the upcoming election.

  39. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Ametia and Everyone :)

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