Serendipity SOUL | Wednesday Open Thread


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48 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Wednesday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Tax returns in need of more scrutiny, not less
    By Steve Benen
    Aug 22, 2012 4:45 PM EDT

    While there are apparently some political reporters who think Mitt Romney’s tax returns — or rather, the absence of his tax returns — are generating a little too much attention, I tend to think that’s backwards.

    Romney has released his returns for one year. One. His aides said they’ll get around to releasing the 2011 materials eventually, maybe in October. In the meantime, there are important unanswered questions about Romney’s offshore finances, controversial investments, an individual retirement account that somehow ended up with more than $100 million, and claims about his business that contradict SEC filings. Worse, Romney hasn’t even tried to come up with a good defense that explains his need for secrecy.

    Given all of this, common sense suggests red flags should be going up. As Jamelle Bouie noted, the public has certainly taken notice.

    The ongoing fight over his tax returns has done even more damage to the former Massachusetts governor. Here’s the question [from the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll]: “Has what you have seen, read, or heard about Mitt Romney’s tax returns and the percent he has paid in federal income taxes made you feel … more positive or more negative about him, not made much difference in your opinion or do you not know enough about this to have an opinion at this time?”

    Only 6 percent of respondents say that it has made a positive difference in their opinion of Romney. Thirty-six percent say that it has made a negative difference, and 41 percent say that it hasn’t made much difference at all…. Romney’s anger over the Obama campaign’s decision to go after his tax returns makes more sense in this light; the controversy is doing real damage to his campaign, and more important, it has the potential to do more if Team Obama can return it to the forefront of the discussion.

    When more than a third of the electorate is souring on Romney over this, it’s a real issue, not a peripheral distraction.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Ametia, you have been rocking with the videos!!

  3. Ametia says:

    Tampa Mayor “Prepared” To Call Off GOP Convention Over Isaac
    Tropical Storm Isaac poses a potential threat to Florida during next week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa

    Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 | Updated 2:44 PM CDT

    With meteorologists saying that Tropical Storm Isaac could hit Tampa right in the middle of next week’s Republican National Convention, the city’s mayor is preparing to take drastic measures in a worst-case scenario: Shutting down the convention altogether.
    Mayor Bob Buckhorn told CNN on Wednesday morning that if the storm hit as a catastrophic hurricane he could pull the plug on the convention.
    “Well, absolutely, we’re prepared to call it off,” Buckhorn said on the network’s Early Start with John Berman. “Safety and human life trump politics. I think the RNC recognizes that. The organizers, certainly Gov. (Mitt) Romney, recognize that.


  4. Ametia says:

    Why Believe Romney Now, After His Lies on Medicare, Bain & Taxes?
    by Robert Shrum Aug 22, 2012 4:45 AM EDT

    The candidate this week added Medicare to his litany of falsehoods—on Bain Capital, his taxes, welfare, and debt, among many others. It’s now clear Romney will say anything. So why trust anything he says?

    First, Paul Ryan placed Medicare on the chopping block. And amid the aftershocks of a bold and bad decision to put Ryan on his ticket, Mitt Romney this week also put Medicare on the lying block. Michael Tomasky is on target when he tartly observes that Romney is waging the “lyingest campaign ever”—and utterly demolishes the most “blatant” lie of all, that the president has gutted welfare reform. The third Romney ad leveling this charge brazenly cites a newspaper that was condemning the accusation.

    The fabulation about welfare wasn’t just an expedient ploy for a candidate who was falling in the polls as he stumbled home from his malaprop-laden trip abroad. And the gyrations about Medicare weren’t just a one-off tactical response to a potentially mortal threat. Reckless disregard for the truth is a habit at the heart of the Romney enterprise. From the beginning, the entire campaign has been a calculated exercise in deceit. Its central rationale was conceived in a falsehood, that Romney the financial manipulator at Bain was a prolific job creator. The suspiciously round number was 100,000 jobs. The evidence? Romney never did disclose any records to back up his boast, and he took credit for hiring at companies long after Bain was gone from them—and he was gone from Bain.

    Then, when the Obama campaign’s Bain ads hit, similar to the ones that upended Romney in a Senate contest with Ted Kennedy in 1994, the former governor was still unprepared, presumably unable to disprove the criticism or prove his self-defining claim. He retreated first to bromides about free enterprise, and more recently to a cop-out plea for an “agreement between both campaigns” to declare that attacks on “business or family or taxes” are off-limits. What’s family got to do with job-crushing profiteering, offshore tax havens, or Swiss bank accounts? It was Romney who ran on his business experience. Suddenly it’s unfair to talk about it.

  5. Ametia says:


    My Vagina Has Legitimate Concerns About Electing Republicans
    Posted by: Helen Philpot | August 22, 2012

    Margaret, I am aware that some people may call me a single issue voter. Not true. What is true is that the Republicans have become a single issue party.

    What Akin actually said was, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.” And then in his apology he stated, “I made that statement in error. Rape is never legitimate. It is an evil act.”

    There are just so many things wrong with that statement that I don’t even know where to begin. I do know, however, that my legitimate foot is going to meet a certain illegitimate ass if I ever run into this Akin fella.

    Rape is never legitimate? So that means that rape is illegitimate? And I guess illegitimate rape is when the woman enjoys the attack so much that she gets pregnant? Even in his apology there is no awareness of the real issue. He gives absolutely no thought to the woman – just the man and the “child”? And where does Akin get his opinion on the reproductive system of a woman, or as he calls it “that whole thing”. Clearly he’s a few credits shy of being a gynecologist, but he does have a degree in management engineering. I guess on the weekends, he manages to hang out with doctors and discuss how that whole female reproductive system thing has been engineered to protect itself against rape. Honestly, Margaret, where do they find these asshats? Is it just me, or is there a different Republican each week with his head up my whole thing? What exactly are they looking for up there – a tax refund?

    Read the rest here:

  6. rikyrah says:

    I’m Talking To You, Mr. Mingo

    by BooMan
    Wed Aug 22nd, 2012 at 11:40:21 AM EST

    Clarence Mingo is a black delegate to the Republican National Convention. Yesterday, he participated on a panel that formally adopted support for Voter ID laws in the Republican Party platform. Here’s what Mr. Mingo had to say:

    “I think it is very important and critical that this language not be used for strategic political purposes,” Mingo, an African-American, said. “Our efforts in this regard must be sincere, and that’s to prevent voter fraud. Any other message or any other suggestion that the party or this platform is attempting to suppress votes for political gain I don’t think will help our cause much, and that’s certainly not the intent of this body.
    “But I do think it’s terrifically important that we demonstrate sincerity in this regard in that we highlight the fact that this is about voter fraud and not political gain,” Mingo added.

    I present the following for Mr. Mingo’s consideration:

    A new nationwide analysis of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases since 2000 shows that while fraud has occurred, the rate is infinitesimal, and in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tough voter ID laws, is virtually non-existent.
    In an exhaustive public records search, reporters from the investigative reporting project “News21” sent thousands of requests to elections officers in all 50 states, asking for every case of fraudulent activity including registration fraud, absentee ballot fraud, vote buying, false election counts, campaign fraud, casting an ineligible vote, voting twice, voter impersonation fraud and intimidation.

    Analysis of the resulting comprehensive News21 election fraud database turned up 10 cases of voter impersonation. With 146 million registered voters in the United States during that time, those 10 cases represent one out of about every 15 million prospective voters.

    With ten cases of confirmed in-person voter impersonation over a ten year period, that’s two cases nationwide per election cycle. By contrast, under the new Pennsylvania Voter ID law, there are 758,000 Pennsylvanians and 186,830 Philadelphia residents (18% of the population) who do not have the requisite identification to vote.

    Now, Mr. Mingo is concerned that the Voter ID laws not be perceived as designed to provide some kind of political advantage. He wants to have free and fair elections, not to change the outcome through chicanery. Taking Mr Mingo at his word, I hope he would agree that a vote wrongly denied is just as much of a distortion of the political will as a vote wrongly cast. A law that disenfranchises 186,830 Philadelphians is just as bad as a computer virus that adds 186,830 make-believe votes to the overall tally. The Voter ID laws won’t actually disenfranchise that many voters because people can take steps to obtain identification between now and the election, but the laws will surely cost more than two people their right to vote.

    To knowingly take tens of thousands of people’s votes away just to try to prevent a one in fifteen million chance of in-person voter impersonation cannot be justified. And, given the demographic profile of the people who lack identification, it cannot be seriously argued that the laws don’t give the Republicans a political advantage. Mr. Mingo must be able to see this. His first clue is that only Republican-controlled legislatures are passing these laws.

    Voter ID laws may make a lot of intuitive sense, but they are really just latter-day Jim Crow laws passed to change the outcome of this November’s election. It’s cheating under the pretense of preventing cheating. It’s dishonest and dishonorable, and it’s an affront to the people who fought during the Civil Rights Era to win the vote for African-Americans.

    Mr. Mingo should be ashamed to have anything to do with these laws. He should not want to win this way.

  7. rikyrah says:

    August 22, 2012 9:56 AM

    Running Out Clock on Medicare

    By Ed Kilgore

    Given what we know about the cynicism of the Romney campaign, it’s entirely possible its strategy for dealing with attacks on the Ryan Budget’s effect on Medicare will be to raise constant counter-attacks that don’t survive a moment’s serious scrutiny, but succeed each other quickly until Election Day arrives and the clock runs out.

    The Big Bertha rolled out about the time Paul Ryan was selected as Mitt’s running-mate, based on one of the Big Lies of the 2010 campaign, was that Obama and congressional Democrats had “raided” $716 billion in Medicare funds to pay for its socialist efforts to give undeserving poor and sick people health insurance. When it was pointed out that the same “cuts” (actually negotiated reductions in provider reimbursements plus a paring back of the “bonus” subsidies for private Medicare Advantage plans) were included in Paul Ryan’s own budget plan, Romney quickly said he’d restore the money if elected.

    Now that promise is drawing scrutiny, as noted by the New York Times’ Jackie Calmes:

    While Republicans have raised legitimate questions about the long-term feasibility of the reimbursement cuts, analysts say, to restore them in the short term would immediately add hundreds of dollars a year to out-of-pocket Medicare expenses for beneficiaries. That would violate Mr. Romney’s vow that neither current beneficiaries nor Americans within 10 years of eligibility would be affected by his proposal to shift Medicare to a voucherlike system in which recipients are given a lump sum to buy coverage from competing insurers.

    For those reasons, Henry J. Aaron, an economist and a longtime health policy analyst at the Brookings Institution and the Institute of Medicine, called Mr. Romney’s vow to repeal the savings “both puzzling and bogus at the same time.”

    Marilyn Moon, vice president and director of the health program at the American Institutes for Research, calculated that restoring the $716 billion in Medicare savings would increase premiums and co-payments for beneficiaries by $342 a year on average over the next decade; in 2022, the average increase would be $577

  8. rikyrah says:

    Romney far short of Latino goal

    By Steve Benen

    Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:33 PM EDT.

    Getty Images

    Jose Fuentes, a co-chairman of Mitt Romney’s Hispanic leadership team, has a fairly specific goal in mind when it comes Latino voters. “Our goal is to do better than four years ago and the McCain campaign did — our goal is to hit 38 percent with the Hispanic vote,” Fuentes said.

    So, as far as Team Romney is concerned, McCain/Palin won 31% of the Latino vote in 2008, and Romney/Ryan believes it needs to do significantly better.

    At this point, they’re not close to their goal.

    President Barack Obama continues to lead presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney by wide margins with Latinos, according to the latest NBC News-Wall Street Journal-Telemundo poll.

    Hispanics, the largest-growing segment of the U.S. population over the past decade, said they preferred Obama over Romney in the presidential race, 63 to 28 percent.

    That margin has been relatively consistent since May when the poll started sampling additional Latino interviews.

    For what it’s worth, while Romney probably won’t be pleased by this 35-point deficit, this is better than the 48-point gap shown in a recent Latino Decisions poll.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:03 AM ET, 08/22/2012
    Why Obama wants to fight Romney to a draw on economy, ctd.
    By Greg Sargent

    I’ve been saying here that Obama’s reelection chances could rest on his ability to fight Mitt Romney to a draw on the economy, in order to win the election in other areas — entitlements, personal attributes, leadership qualities, who really has the middle class’s interests at heart, etc.

    Today’s Associated Press poll sheds more light on this. It finds the two candidates roughly tied on who can be trusted to handle the economy; AP polling has found this for months. But the new poll also finds:

    * Fifty-four percent trust Obama to handle social issues such as abortion or gay marriage, versus only 33 percent who trust Romney.

    * Forty-nine percent trust Obama to handle Medicare, versus 41 percent who trust Romney. (You might argue that this should be larger for Obama; but that’s still an eight point lead on an issue that is now central to the presidential race, now that Paul Ryan has been tapped.)

    * Fifty-two percent say Obama is a strong leader, versus 40 percent who say that about Romney.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:42 PM ET, 08/22/2012
    Fox, meet henhouse. Paul Ryan, meet Medicare.
    By Jamelle Bouie

    At this point, you can safely assume each new ad released by the Romney campaign will be rife with dishonesty. Today, it’s another ad on Medicare, which claims Romney and Ryan — and not Obama — can be trusted to defend the program. It’s full of distortions. But the larger point here may be this: Why would you trust someone who is on record attacking entitlements for ideological reasons to guard entitlements?

    First, the facts. Called “Nothing’s Free,” the ad attacks Obama for “raiding $716 billion from Medicare and changing the program forever,” “taxing wheelchairs and pacemakers,” and “raising taxes on families making less than $120,000.” In crafting Medicare reforms for the health law, the Obama administration did find savings that — over ten years — add up to $716 billion. Those were used to pay the cost of health insurance subsidies for low-income Americans, shore up the Medicare trust fund, close the prescription drug “donut hole,” and provide preventative care for seniors. So this “cut” has benefitted the program.

    The health law does include an excise tax on medical devices — seemingly the source of “taxing wheelchairs and pacemakers.” But as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explained, the excise tax will have a “minimal effect on consumers.” Spinning this as directly harmful to seniors is misleading, although perhaps par for the course in politics.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Dodging questions is hard
    By Steve Benen
    Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:44 PM EDT.

    Ask the typical Republican policymaker for an opinion on President Obama’s rescue of the American auto industry, and you’ll get an earful about an “outrageous abuse” and the scourge of “bailouts.” It doesn’t matter that Obama’s policy worked better than expected — what matters is that the successful policy runs counter to the GOP’s ideology.

    But Republican opposition isn’t universal. Republicans in Michigan, for example, tend to admit that the president made the right call and generally applaud the policy that helped hundreds of thousands of families in the Midwest.

    Occasionally, though, we’ll find a conservative politician who just doesn’t want to take a side (via Dave Weigel).

    In this clip, a reporter in Dayton asks U.S. Senate hopeful Josh Mandel (R) of Ohio whether he would have supported Obama’s rescue policy. “I will do everything I can as a United States Senator to protect auto jobs,” he replied.

    Asked if he’s willing to answer the question, the Republican said, “We’ve talked quite a bit throughout the state of Ohio about all the great plans we have for protecting auto jobs here.” Pressed for a direct answer, Mandel responds, “Great seeing you.”

    If the Senate candidate denounces Obama’s policy, Mandel condemns a rescue effort that help save Ohio’s economy at a time of severe crisis. If he endorses Obama’s policy, Mandel sides with the president he hates and is desperate to undermine.

    So he’s left to clumsily dodge the question in a way that makes him appear rather foolish.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Clinging to detail-free campaigning

    By Steve Benen

    Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:26 PM EDT

    Politico reported this week that Mitt Romney’s campaign advisers believe “diving into details during a general-election race would be suicidal.” The line continues to ring true.

    Mitt Romney started to lay out his energy plan at a Tuesday event, but because there were reporters in the room, he decided against doing so.

    During a Houston fundraiser, Romney told a room of about 125 donors that he planned to unveil his comprehensive energy plan this week. He said his proposal will specifically relate to fossil-based fuels. But then, he said no more.

    “I know that we have members of the media here right now, so I’m not going to go through that in great detail,” Romney said, according to a pool report from the event.

    I’ve never heard rhetoric like this from a national candidate before. Romney wants to talk about energy policy, voters care about energy policy, he has detailed energy policy plans in mind, but he’ll bite his tongue because he’s afraid journalists will tell the public about what he’d do if elected.

    If Romney has an energy plan, and there are reporters around who’ll convey the information to the electorate, shouldn’t Romney want to go into detail? If he’s interested in a substantive campaign — and he insists that he is — doesn’t he have this backwards?


    As we’ve discussed before, this isn’t a new development for Romney. He explained to a conservative magazine in April that when he told voters his specific plans in previous campaigns, voters didn’t agree with the specifics and it undermined his ambitions.

    Voters should just trust him, vote him into office, and then Romney will let us know what he has in mind. Everyone loves surprises, right?

    Of course, what does it say about the merit of Romney’s policy agenda if voters are likely to recoil if they heard the whole truth?

  13. rikyrah says:

    Obama Tries In Vain To Shift Conversation To Education, Economy

    Benjy Sarlin- August 22, 2012, 11:36 AM 3488President Obama is on the road for the second day of a swing-state tour touting his long-term economic plan. But he’ll have a tough time breaking through the din of Todd Akin’s ongoing meltdown.

    Obama is focusing chiefly on education, where his re-election team is promoting a new ad calling out Mitt Romney for minimizing the importance of class size (although Obama’s education secretary has made similar remarks as Romney). He’s also going after Paul Ryan for broad discretionary spending cuts that could trim federal education dollars.

    “Gov. Romney likes to talk about his time as an investor as one of the bases for his candidacy, but his economic plan makes clear he doesn’t think your future is worth investing in — and I do,” Obama said in a speech at a community college in Reno, Nev. on Tuesday. “That’s what’s at stake in this election.”

    On Wednesday, Obama is starting his day with an education roundtable in Las Vegas, followed by a speech that the campaign says will highlight his vision for “how to grow the economy, create middle-class jobs, pay down the debt and invest in quality, affordable education.”

  14. rikyrah says:

    Akin’s Position Is The GOP’s

    That’s the truth whatever Romney now wants to say. 150 Republican congressman voted for a bill that would allow abortions only for “forcible rape”, as if there were some other kind. (Mercifully, the language was later stripped from the bill.) The distinction is designed to prevent women citing rape as a reason for abortion when there is no sign of physical trauma. It’s a disgusting form of contempt for women’s autonomy and integrity – and a truly despicable soft tolerance of all other kinds of sexual coercion. Remember the words of the mainstream pro-life figure John C Willke:

    When pro-lifers speak of rape pregnancies, we should commonly use the phrase “forcible rape” or “assault rape,” for that specifies what we’re talking about. Rape can also be statutory. Depending upon your state law, statutory rape can be consensual, but we’re not addressing that her

    Here’s what Romney said about Willke in 2007: “I am proud to have the support of a man who has meant so much to the pro-life movement in our country.” Someone should ask Mitt: is he still proud that his party platform is basing its social policy on the views of a man who thinks “statutory rape can be consensual”?

    But in many ways, these nuances are just helpful signs of how the fundamentalist psyche thinks – it is always trying to tidy up the messy realities of human experience to conform to its eternal diktats. The real point is that the GOP platform would make all abortions, including those caused by rape and incest, illegal in every state by constitutional amendment. It would not just allow the states to decide, but insist on a national ban. As on gay rights, and medical marijuana, the GOP has total contempt for federalism.

    Until this incarnation of the Republican party is destroyed at the polls, we live in its thrall. We have in this election an opportunity not just to re-elect a president capable of making the Grand Bargain we all need; but to punish and humiliate the most extreme, irrational, hateful version of Republicanism that now stalks the land, led by a brazen liar and fathomless cynic.

    • Ametia says:

      THERE YOU GO. ALL.OF.THIS. Just posted this excerpt & link in a thread. These fools think we’re that stupid not to know what they’re about?

  15. Ametia says:

    Ann Romney’s GOP Convention Speech May Not Make It Into Network TV Coverage
    by Meenal Vamburkar | 12:33 pm, August 22nd, 2012

    Earlier this week, CNN reported that Ann Romney is expected to kick off the Republican National Convention with a keynote speech on Monday night. But it seems Romney’s speech may not make it to primetime television on the three major television networks — because they won’t be airing convention coverage on Monday night.

    POLITICO’s Dylan Byers reported today that ABC, CBS, and NBC have said their Monday night primetime schedule doesn’t include convention coverage. So, “in order to get Mitt’s wife onto television, the campaign may have to scramble and reschedule her speech.”

    CNN also noted that having Romney speak on the first night makes sense:
    Having Ann Romney play a prominent role on the convention’s first night makes sense, as she is widely considered to be one of her husband’s most effective surrogates. It would also create a bookend effect – Ann Romney speaking on the first night, with her husband formally accepting the Republican presidential nomination on the final evening of the convention. This is an important optic as Mitt Romney’s family has played a key messaging role in his presidential campaign.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Ryan Is More Extreme On Abortion Than Akin
    The spinning has begun:


    22 Aug 2012 12:48 PM Ryan Is More Extreme On Abortion Than Akin
    The spinning has begun:

    Ian Millhiser reviews Ryan’s record:

    The man Mitt Romney wants to be a heartbeat away from the presidency claimed that abortion should be illegal except for “cases in which a doctor deems an abortion necessary to save the mother’s life” as far back as his first House campaign in 1998. Throughout his career Ryan’s view has been consistent and unambiguous — rape survivors are out of luck.

    Kate Sheppard says some of the legislation Ryan has supported is even more severe:

    Although Ryan’s anti-abortion credentials have gotten plenty of coverage since he was announced as Romney’s veep choice, the full extent of the measures he’s endorsed is breathtaking, and includes cosponsoring a measure that would allow hospitals to deny women access to an abortions even if their life is in immediate danger.

    Buzzfeed has dug up video of Ryan railing against abortion health-of-the-mother exemptions. Jamelle Bouie says if “you live in a swing state, don’t be surprised if this video appears with a short endorsement from President Obama”:

    It’s almost unfair that Todd Akin is the new national symbol of anti-abortion extremism; compared to Ryan, he’s almost a squish. Akin received a 90 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee during one of his six terms. Ryan has maintained a 100 percent rating throughout the same period.

  17. rikyrah says:

    But What About Medicaid?
    Ed Kilgore reminds us that, even with Medicare somewhat protected under the Romney-Ryan plan, all is not peachy for seniors, especially poor ones:

    More than two-thirds of America’s nursing home residents—two-thirds—are having their basic needs met by Medicaid. So with federal Medicaid funding being cut an estimated one-third over the next decade if Ryan gets his way (not cuts likely to be offset by the typically Republican leadership in the states most affected, who are already whining they can’t afford their current costs), and Romney apparently even more inclined to aggressively follow the block, cap and dump approach, it’s going to get tough fast for lower-income seniors.

    Harold Pollack likewise focuses on seniors covered by both Medicaid and Medicare:

    Dual-eligibles are the sickest, poorest, and most vulnerable segment of the Medicare population. Medicaid spends billions on nursing home and long-term care for the dual-eligible population. It pays for many other things, too. It helps dual-eligibles by covering Medicare Part B premiums, copayments, and deductibles that they couldn’t otherwise afford. It also covers essential services such as dental care that Medicare doesn’t cover, but that elderly and disabled people need.

  18. rikyrah says:

    So Many Mysteries
    Josh Marshall- August 22, 2012, 11:04 AM 3906TPM

    Reader TF plumbs some more of them …

    What strikes me about this whole flap is that Akin’s response, and Republicans’ response to him, is that use of the phrase “legitimate rape” was what was offensive. Akin’s “apology,” as well as many statements from people decrying the original flap, imply that it’s terrible to say that rape is sometimes “legitimate.” But as Brian pointed out, this is not what Akin said at all. Rather, he was distinguishing genuine rape from rape that the woman may actually have wanted, or falsely claimed, or something like that.But what’s most interesting to me is the subtext of Akin’s response.

    In apologizing for having called some rape “legitimate”, he reveals that his press team looked at what he said (women’s bodies have mechanisms to prevent impregnation from rape) and made the calculated decision that they’d rather portray him as having said some rape is OK than as having said what he actually said. This could be because they fear the electoral backlash of having made such a crazy statement, but it could also be because they fear backlash from the base because what he said reflects what a lot of the base actually believes.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Ryan vs. Ryan’s record
    By Steve Benen – Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:30 AM EDT

    Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan sat down this morning with Jon Delano of KDKA in Pittsburgh, offering his first detailed remarks since Todd Akin’s odious comments over the weekend on rape. What was striking about Ryan’s comments was the extent to which they were at odds with his own record

    For those who can’t watch clips online, Ryan said Akin’s comments were “outrageous” and “over the pail.” Though I’m not familiar with this “pail” idiom, in context, it seems safe to say Ryan was expressing disagreement with Akin. So far, so good.

    But note who the right-wing congressman struggles to defend his own record. Ryan said in the interview, “Rape is rape. Period. End of story.” And while that may sound heartening, Ryan, just a year ago, co-sponsored legislation — with Todd Akin — that would have redefined “rape” for the purposes of Medicaid funding. In Ryan’s proposal, victims of “forcible rape” would receive protections, but victims of other, undefined kinds of rape would not.

    Asked to defend his own legislation, Ryan refused. “Rape is rape. Rape is rape, period. End of story,” he said. When the reporters pressed further, asking, “So that forcible rape language meant nothing to you at the time?” The vice presidential hopeful again added, “Rape is rape and there’s no splitting hairs over rape.”

    But therein lies the point: for Paul Ryan, Todd Akin, and their far-right colleagues, there is splitting hairs over rape, and it’s not the end of the story. Under the legislation Ryan pushed, if a 13-year-old girl who was impregnated by a 24-year-old man would not be able to use Medicaid funds to terminate the pregnancy, unless she could prove she’d been “forcibly” raped.

    If “there’s no splitting hairs over rape,” why did Paul Ryan help champion legislation that would have split hairs over rape?

  20. rikyrah says:

    Pushing Medicare back into center stage
    By Steve Benen – Wed Aug 22, 2012 10:40 AM EDT

    At this point in the presidential race, there isn’t just one controversy surrounding Medicare; there are two — and Mitt Romney’s campaign hopes one completely obscures the other.

    The first is Romney’s effort to take the offensive, launching a series of blatantly dishonest — and common-sense defying — attacks on President Obama. Consider this ad released this morning.

    If there’s literally anything accurate in this ad, I can’t find it. The spot says, “Some think Obamacare is the same as free healthcare,” but no one thinks that. The ad says Obama is “raiding $716 billion from Medicare,” but that’s simply not true. The ad says the Affordable Care Act is “raising taxes on families making less than $120,000 a year,” but that’s a lie, too. (This last one is especially amusing, since if Romney thinks it’s accurate, it means he raised taxes, too.)

    So why bother airing such garbage? In large part because of the second controversy: Romney/Ryan has a plan to end Medicare altogether, replacing it with a voucher scheme, and if voters understand the policy, President Obama is going to win re-election fairly easily. The Republican ticket has to obscure reality, kicking up a dust cloud that makes it seem as if Obama, whom they accuse of supporting socialized medicine, is actually a far-right brute who’s trying to undercut Medicare’s socialized coverage.

    As a result, we’re left with an exceedingly odd dynamic: Romney/Ryan wants desperately to talk about Medicare, without making any effort whatsoever to defend their own Medicare plan.

    And why not? In part because it’s very unpopular, in part because it would cut benefits for current and future retirees, and in part because, as the New York Times reported today, the Romney-Ryan plan would force Medicare into insolvency by the end of their first term.

    By any sane standard, this is one of Romney’s single most important vulnerabilities, which he’s pushing to the forefront, on purpose, because he suspects ignorance can propel him into the White House.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Akin in the Districts
    By mistermix August 22nd, 2012

    In my House district (the new NY-25), the trick for a Republican is to be pro-life on the down low – keep it off the website, don’t discuss it in the campaign, but put out the word to the pro-lifers that you’re one of them. Akin is forcing Maggie Brooks, who’s a serious challenger to Louise Slaughter, out of the closet, and it’s interesting to watch. I wrote a couple of posts about it on my sadly neglected race blog (here and here) if you want more detail, but the net of it is that Slaughter is beating Brooks over the head with Ryan, Akin, and all the Republicans who signed on to the forcible rape bill and gave Brooks money.

    Brooks was caught flat-footed, because pro-life lite™—a rape and incest exemption to abortion and acceptance of contraception—has worked for Republicans around here for decades. Now the tubes are spastic, and the usual “keep your mouth shut and your bowels open” strategy on abortion just ain’t gonna cut it. One of the factors in this race is that Slaughter is a hard core, true believing choice advocate who doesn’t mince words about her support of the right to an abortion. Her abortion talking points are hard-edged and well-practiced. Last she was asked, Brooks was still making up her mind on Planned Parenthood, and now she’s got to tell us what kinds of rape are really rape rape, and which ones are non-abortion slut rape.

    This is even more important over in the new NY-27, where Kathy Hochul is running to keep the seat she won in a special election by running on the Ryan plan. Her opponent is the white, male asshole Chris Collins, and I’m going to love seeing him explain reproductive biology the next time he emerges from whatever bunker he’s hiding in.

  22. rikyrah says:

    ‘It’s just completely false and I’m pretty stunned’
    By Steve Benen – Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:36 AM EDT

    Sixteen years ago today, President Clinton signed his signature welfare-reform measure into law. Marking the occasion, the Romney campaign said in a statement this morning, “[D]on’t expect President Obama to mark the occasion after just last month gutting the historic work requirements.”

    They are, of course, lying — Obama didn’t gut the work requirements. As even the Romney campaign knows, governors asked the Obama administration for some flexibility on the existing welfare law, and the White House said that’d be fine, so long as the work requirement isn’t weakened. It’s consistent with the policy endorsed by many Republican governors, including Romney himself, just six years ago.

    What I find interesting, however, is the number of people who are picking up on Romney’s shameless attempt to deceive the public. Consider these comments from Joe Scarborough yesterday:

    “I’ve been looking for a week-and-a-half to try to figure out the basis of this welfare reform ad,” Scarborough said, concluding that that the attack is “just completely false, and I’m pretty stunned.”

    The Associated Press this morning ran a news piece on the racially-charged smear, calling the attack “factually inaccurate,” noting the campaign can’t “back up” the attack, and explaining that Romney is “distorting the facts.”

    But Romney just doesn’t give a damn. He’s put out five videos repeating the attack — three for broadcast, two for the web — in just two weeks, and his campaign repeated the same obvious falsehood again this morning, effectively taunting reality. “Yep, I’m deliberately and repeatedly lying to the public,” Romney seems to be saying . “What are you going to do about it?”

    As we discussed yesterday, Romney is testing American politics, pushing past boundaries and traditional norms, raising uncomfortable questions about just what kind of man he really is

  23. rikyrah says:

    Associated Press hints at Romney race-baiting:

    Along those lines, credit where credit is due. The AP is out with a new article dissecting the dishonesty of Romney’s welfare attack. The story is careful about it, but it raises the racial angle:

    It could open Romney up to criticism that he is injecting race into the campaign and seeking to boost support among white, working-class voters by charging that the nation’s first black president is offering a free pass to recipients of a program stereotypically associated with poor African-Americans.
    The welfare and Medicare attacks are linked. Both are about sowing resentment among struggling middle class Americans by suggesting Obama is taking away what’s rightfully theirs and redistributing it downward; the subtext is that his sympathies lie elsewhere.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 08:48 AM ET, 08/22/2012
    The Morning Plum: Romney Medicare plan would drive seniors’ costs up
    By Greg Sargent

    The Romney campaign is up with yet another ad accusing Obama of raiding Medicare of $716 billion to pay for Obamacare, while claiming the Romney-Ryan plan would “restore” Obama’s cuts and strengthen the program. It’s clear that this claim will continue to be central to Romney’s case for the presidency.

    For some reason, Jackie Calmes of the New York Times decided it might be a good idea to call up a range of experts and ask them if Romney’s claim is, you know, true. And they say Romney’s plan would actually make Medicare insolvent sooner and drive costs up for seniors:

    The 2010 health care law cut Medicare reimbursements to hospitals and insurers, not benefits for older Americans, by that amount over the coming decade. But repealing the savings, policy analysts say, would hasten the insolvency of Medicare by eight years — to 2016, the final year of the next presidential term, from 2024.
    While Republicans have raised legitimate questions about the long-term feasibility of the reimbursement cuts, analysts say, to restore them in the short term would immediately add hundreds of dollars a year to out-of-pocket Medicare expenses for beneficiaries. That would violate Mr. Romney’s vow that neither current beneficiaries nor Americans within 10 years of eligibility would be affected by his proposal to shift Medicare to a voucherlike system in which recipients are given a lump sum to buy coverage from competing insurers…

  25. rikyrah says:

    Obama presses education advantage
    By Steve Benen – Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:04 AM EDT

    The good news for Democrats this week is that Todd Akin has thrown Republicans off-message, pushing the GOP’s extremism on reproductive rights into the spotlight. The bad news for Democrats this week is that Akin is also distracting attention away from what they want to talk about.

    President Obama was in Columbus, Ohio, yesterday, pressing an issue that hasn’t gotten much attention in the presidential race, but which Obama’s re-election team sees as a key issue: education, or more specifically, Mitt Romney’s vulnerability on education

    Here’s a quote from the speech:

    “When a high school student in Youngstown asked him what he would do to make college more affordable for families like his, Governor Romney didn’t say anything about grants or loan programs that are critical to millions of students to get a college education. He said nothing about work-study programs or rising college tuition. He didn’t say a word about community colleges or how important higher education is to America’s future. He said, the best thing you can do is shop around. ‘The best thing I can do for you is to tell you to shop around.’

    “That’s it. That’s his plan. That’s his answer to young people who are trying to figure out how to go to college and make sure that they don’t have a mountain of debt — shop around and borrow more money from your parents.

    “Now, I want to make sure everybody understands. Not everybody has parents who have the money to lend. That may be news to some folks, but it’s the truth.”

    Obama added, “[P]utting a college education within reach for working families just doesn’t seem to be a big priority for my opponent,” which seems self-evidently true.

    Indeed, what makes this issue seem especially salient is that Romney doesn’t have much of a defense. Obama’s criticisms are accurate, and the Republican campaign isn’t even trying to suggest otherwise.


    By Romney’s own admission, he intends slash Pell Grants, cut college tax credits, reintroduce the loan-system middleman that rewards banks instead of students, and encourage young people to choose wealthy parents when thinking about higher education.

  26. rikyrah says:

    The absence of ‘an appropriate spokesperson’
    By Steve Benen – Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:55 PM EDT

    MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” hosted a good interview today with Stephanie Schriock, president of Emily’s List, on Romney/Ryan, the Republican Party, women’s health, and reproductive rights. It’s well worth your time.

    But The Political Carnival caught something interesting Andrea Mitchell said in the last 15 seconds of the segment that seemed especially noteworthy.

    For those who can’t watch clips online, the host told viewers, as the segment wrapped up, “We should point out that we have been trying to get the Romney campaign to join this debate today, and they have said that they don’t have an appropriate spokesperson.”

    The Romney campaign has a small army of spokespersons and surrogates to discuss every issue under the sun — or at a minimum, repeat talking points while slamming President Obama — but when the subject is women’s health and reproductive rights, all of a sudden, Team Romney doesn’t have “an appropriate spokesperson” at all. They’d rather send no one then send a spokesperson to defend the ticket’s positions on these hot-button, in-the-news issues.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Fighting the last war
    By Steve Benen – Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:34 AM EDT

    The whole point of adding Paul Ryan to the Republican ticket, we were led to believe, was to add substance and a forward-thinking vision. And yet, at least for now, the right-wing vice presidential nominee is avoiding substance and taking a decidedly backwards-looking approach.

    Consider this clip from a Ryan event in Pennsylvania yesterday.

    The Republican congressman engaged in a series of rather predictable attacks against President Obama, but note how far back he went to find material. “Remember this other time where he was caught on video saying people like to cling to their guns and religion?” Ryan said. “Hey, I’m a Catholic deer hunter. I am happy to be clinging to my guns and my religion.”

    Ryan also complained, “Remember back in 2008, remember the guy Joe the Plumber? Remember when he said, you know, ‘We wanna spread the wealth around’?”

    The crowd roared with approval, but in case Republicans have forgotten, these were also standard GOP attack lines four years ago — right up until Barack Obama won the highest percentage of the popular vote of any Democrat in 44 years.

  28. Ametia says:

    Prince Harry
    Naked Photos
    During Vegas Rager

    Prince Harry put the crown jewels on display in Vegas this weekend … getting BARE ASS NAKED during a game of strip billiards with a room full of friends in his VIP suite.
    It all went down Friday night during a raging party in a high rollers hotel suite.

    We’re told Harry, along with a large entourage, went down to the hotel bar and met a bunch of hot chicks … and invited them up to his VIP suite.

    Once in the room, things got WILD … with the group playing a game of strip pool that quickly escalated into full-on royal nudity.

    Read more:

    Is Prince Harry a SLUT, Rush?

  29. Ametia says:

    ‘Russia certain Syria won’t use chemical weapons’
    08/22/2012 11:34

    Russian official tells ‘Kommersant’ dialogue with Syria persuaded Moscow Assad’s regime is able to “safeguard” weapons.

    Russia believes Syria has no intention of using its chemical weapons and is able to safeguard them, the Russian newspaper Kommersant reported on Wednesday, citing a unidentified Foreign Ministry official.

    The report seemed aimed at reassuring the West that Syrian President Bashar Assad will not use chemical weapons against rebels after US President Barack Obama threatened “enormous consequences” if Damascus even moved them in a menacing way.

    A “confidential dialogue” with the Syrian government on the security of the arsenal has convinced Russia that “the Syrian authorities do not intend to use these weapons and are capable of keeping them under control themselves,” Kommersant reported.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry declined immediate comment on the report, which cited the official as saying Russia considered it “entirely probable” the United States would take military action if it saw a threat from chemical arms.

    Russia vehemently opposes military intervention in Syria, where Assad has given Moscow its firmest Middle East foothold in recent years, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned the West against unilateral action on Tuesday.

  30. Ametia says:


    DNCC announces more speakers for the DNC (ALL WOMEN)
    Source: WCNC – Charlotte

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Democratic National Convention Committee announced additional speakers for the 2012 Democratic National Convention on Wednesday.
    Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin
    Former Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Tammy Duckworth
    Sandra Fluke, Georgetown University Student
    Denise Juneau, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Montana
    Nancy Keenan, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America
    Caroline Kennedy
    Lilly Ledbetter
    Eva Longoria, Obama Campaign Co-Chair
    U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, together with the women of the U.S. Senate
    Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund

    Previously announced speakers include: San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who will be the first Latino keynote speaker at a Democratic National Convention, President Bill Clinton, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, Former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, U.S. Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland and Elizabeth Warren.

    Read more:

  31. Ametia says:

    Good Morning Everyone! :-)

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