Good Housekeeping has published interviews with Michelle Obama and Ann Romney. The editors call the interview with Romney “revealing,” and I’d have to agree–though probably for different reasons than theirs.
The headline revelation has to be that Ann Romney wants to “throw out the” education “system.”
GH: Can you tell me, what campaign issue is closest to your heart?
AR: I’ve been a First Lady of the State. I have seen what happens to people’s lives if they don’t get a proper education. And we know the answers to that. The charter schools have provided the answers. The teachers’ unions are preventing those things from happening, from bringing real change to our educational system. We need to throw out the system.
Romney doesn’t elaborate on what “answers” the charter schools have provided or which improvements teachers unions are preventing. But a number of studies have found problems with charter schools, and there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that students’ test scores are better overall in charter schools than public schools.
As for the teachers unions, I realize that Ann’s husband would like to eliminate all unions and reduce workers’ pay as much as possible. Certainly privatizing education through charter schools would be a good way to eliminate teachers unions.
Ann Romney was certainly a lot more explicit about the goal of ending public schools in this interview than her husband has been. Perhaps Mitt isn’t worried about the reactions of readers of Good Housekeeping. He probably thinks they’re just a bunch of silly airheads.
Ann gave several other answers that I found pretty stunning. In response to a question on why her husband should be president, Ann said:
I’d say because of his life experience, starting with the example [his father] George Romney set of being successful in his family and business and then serving in a political sphere. [He showed] what a difference being involved in politics makes. The formula from his perspective was, you never get involved in politics unless you’re financially secure and your children are raised. So when our children were older and Mitt had made a bit of money, there was his father’s example that you find ways to serve and give back.
So I guess anyone who isn’t a millionaire shouldn’t run for office? Or does “a bit of money” mean hundreds of millions to Ann? Clearly Obama shouldn’t have run with those two young daughters! Back to Ann’s pontificating:
That’s also what drew us to the Olympics. Mitt gave up everything, walked away from a very lucrative position [to lead the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Olympics]. It was just a little square inch of light that you walk into saying, “I think this is the right thing to do.” You get that confidence from intuition and prayer…all of those things where no one’s going to give you a blueprint of how life is going to turn out.
“Mitt gave up everything?” WTF?! At this point it should be clear to anyone who is paying attention that Mitt Romney never really left Bain Capital. The Boston Globe reported in July that Romney didn’t resign from Bain in 1999 as he has claimed, but instead took a leave of absence and only negotiated his severance package in 2002 when he decided to run for governor of Massachusetts. The severance package kept him earning money from current Bain investments for ten more years. Romney was even listed as CEO of Bain on the Olympics website and during public appearances at the time. Even now Romney is still profiting from the company he founded.
Ann Romney is every bit as full of shit as her husband is. She says that Mitt would help the economy by “getting rid of regulation,” and “using our natural resources,” (meaning open up national parks to oil drilling) but she acknowledges that in places like China where there is no environmental regulation,
the pollution and the air quality is just abysmal, and people are having to live in that. You understand how important it is, but you also have to recognize that we have to balance those things.
Right. We “have to balance” the rights of the rich to feed their endless greed with the rights of the 99.9% of Americans to clean air and water.
Ann says that as First Lady she would continue to work with at-risk young people. I didn’t realize she had done that, so I looked it up. According to Wikipedia,
Ann Romney has been involved in a number of children’s charities, including having been a director of the inner city-oriented Best Friends, which seeks to assist inner-city adolescent girls. She advocated a celibacy-based approach to the prevention of teen pregnancy. She worked extensively with the Ten Point Coalition in Boston and with other groups that promoted better safety and opportunities for urban youths. She was an honorary board member of Families First, a parent education program in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She was a volunteer instructor of middle-school girls at the multicultural Mother Caroline Academy in Boston.
She has said her interest in helping underprivileged children dates back to when she and her five boys saw a vehicle carrying a group of boys to a Massachusetts Department of Youth Services detention center. She began volunteering for the United Way of Massachusetts Bay soon after that, and by 2002 was serving as one of that organization’s board members. She was on the Faith in Action Committee for the United Way, working with local religious establishments to assist at-risk children and helping to found United Way Faith and Action. Earlier, by 1996, she was a member of the Massachusetts Advisory Board of Stand for Children.
Please note that Stand for Children is an organization that has worked to reduce protections for teachers and undermine the power of teachers unions.
A couple more of Ann’s answers really bugged me. There was the one in which she praises Mitt for saying it was OK if Ann couldn’t cook all his meals for him when she was suffering from MS:
You have to find something that’ll pull you away from those scary places. And it was my husband telling me, “I don’t care if you’re in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. I don’t care whether you make dinner; I can eat cold cereal and toast. As long as we’re together, as long as you’re here, we’re going to be OK.”
Why couldn’t Mitt cook his own damn meals? How hard is it to open a cookbook and learn the basics? If he just couldn’t bring himself to do that, he could hire a cook–and other servants as well–to help his sick wife. They were hardly struggling to make ends meet!
But here’s the most annoying statement Ann made in the interview:
GH: Who are your heroes? Your role models? Don’t say your husband, even if it’s true. (Laughing)
AR: I would say Eleanor Roosevelt, Mother Teresa…and Hillary Clinton. She has been through so much; she just kept going. Now she’s doing a great job as Secretary of State.
Mother Theresa was a hypocrite just like Ann, I buy that one. But I don’t believe for one minute that she agrees with Eleanor Roosevelt or Hillary Clinton on anything.
So, I’m uploading my Mozy backup files–estimated time hours and hours and hours–because my computer suffered a case of blue screen of death. Windows 7 totally choked and I had to return it to the factory image. So, I’m throwing up a retro speak open thread since I have an alien computer until Mozy does its thing. This thread is actually related to this NYT’s article: “Gosh, Who Talks Like That Now? Romney Does”. RomneySpeak is a throwback to the good ol’ days when blacks had to pay poll taxes, count marbles in jars, and take long tests to vote. It’s a time when it was hard to get birth control and abortion was one of those back alley things. Yes, folks with Mittens, it’s like a throw back to that good old time when White Men were White Men and the rest of us were under their thumb. Probably why they appear to be his main supporters.
At a campaign stop in Rockford, Ill., not long ago, Mitt Romney sought to convey his feelings for his wife, Ann. “Smitten,” he said.
Not merely in love.
“Yeah, smitten,” he said. “Mitt was smitten.”
It was a classic Mittism, as friends and advisers call the verbal quirks of the Republican presidential candidate. In Romneyspeak, passengers do not get off airplanes, they “disembark.” People do not laugh, they “guffaw.” Criminals do not go to jail, they land in the “big house.” Insults are not hurled, “brickbats” are.
As he seeks the office of commander in chief, Mr. Romney can sometimes seem like an editor in chief, employing a language all his own. It is polite, formal and at times anachronistic, linguistically setting apart a man who frequently struggles to sell himself to the American electorate.
Romney evidently hides out a lot in his little corners of the world where modernity alludes him.
Mr. Romney, 65, has spent four decades inside the corridors of high finance and state politics, where indecorous diction and vulgarisms abound. But he has emerged as if in a rhetorical time capsule from a well-mannered era of soda fountains and AMC Ramblers, someone whose idea of swearing is to let loose with the phrase “H-E-double hockey sticks.”
“He actually said that,” recalled Thomas Finneran, the speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives when Mr. Romney was governor. “As in, go to ‘H-E-double hockey sticks.’ I would think to myself, ‘Who talks like that?’ ”
Mr. Romney, quite proudly. In fact, he seems puzzled by the fascination with something as instinctive (and immutable) as how he talks, as if somebody were asking how he breathes
You can tell he’s stuck there by the way he thinks the Soviet Union is still our biggest threat? Kruscheve any one?
Those around him are so accustomed to his verbal tics that they describe them in shorthand. “Old-timey,” said one aide. “His 1950s language,” explained another. “The Gomer Pyle routine,” said a third.
Asked about his boss’s word preferences, Eric Fehrnstrom, a veteran Romney adviser, responded knowingly: “You mean like ‘gosh, golly, darn’?”
For Democratic strategists, Mr. Romney’s throwback vocabulary feeds into their portrayal of a man ill-equipped for the mores and challenges of the modern age. David Axelrod, a top adviser for an Obama campaign that has adopted “Forward” as its slogan, once quipped that Mr. Romney “must watch ‘Mad Men,’ ” the hit television show set in Manhattan in the 1960s, “and think it’s the evening news.”
His exclamations can sound jarring to the contemporary ear — or charming, depending on whom you ask. Midway into a critique of Mr. Obama’s economic policies a few months ago in Charlotte, N.C., Mr. Romney declared: “They’ve scared the dickens out of banks,” he said. “They’ve scared the dickens out of insurance companies.”
Frankly, the idea of a President Romney and a Vice President Ryan scares the dickens out of me! Talk about revenge of the zombies!
I have to admit to being in Nursery School in 1960 so you’ll have to excuse me if most of what I remember has to do with Captain Kangaroo. I do know that when I was growing up as the 60s rolled on that I saw the Vietnam War on TV and heard nightly body count and black people in the south being hosed down with fire hoses just for trying to vote. I remember that I couldn’t even wear pants to school in the middle of a midwestern winter. I sure as hell don’t want to go back to that.
It was a collective sigh from all the people who were relieved to see Obama giving it to Romney last night.
I plumb forgot that I had to write this post. Guess I was enjoying the commentary from all you sky dancers last night. I’m still worried about what could happen on November 6th…but as least Obama did a better job of it this time around. And kudos to Candy Crowley, she did a fantastic job as moderator….
I think the photo above is very telling…Romney did not have his jerk ass smirk on, nope…he sure didn’t. And I also feel that Obama was truly offended by Romney’s politicizing the deaths of our Embassy staff in Libya and it showed when Obama gave the best answer of the night to the question about Benghazi…
Josh Marshall agrees this was a stand out moment:
I’m not sure it’s the most significant. But in some ways a stand out moment for me was the exchange on Libya when Romney clearly thought he’d caught Obama in a gotcha moment (saying he referred to attack as “terrorism” the day after it happened). But if you’ve been paying attention you know that’s exactly the word he used. Whatever else you can say happened — and must is total baloney from the Romney camp — that’s the word he used. But somehow Romney hadn’t been prepped or briefed on that. And even Crowley had to factcheck him in real time. Here’s the video.
Here are a few take-aways from last night’s debate.
First I will point to Andrew Sullivan, who will not be jumping from the George Washington bridge…. Town Hall Debate: Blog Reax He has put together many of the pundits comments in this one post. So give that link a look-see.
These are just a few more observations…in link dump fashion…
Taegan Goddard- Reaction to the Second Presidential Debate
Obama Wins Debate. Rude Romney Loses. Round-Up.Tennessee Guerilla Women
(CNN) – Who was telling the truth in last night’s debate? Check out a slate of CNN Fact Checks below.
1) The Obama team had clearly thought about one long-term tic in Mitt Romney’s debate demeanor: His apparently uncontrollable vulnerability to being flustered if he thinks the “rules” are not being enforced. “I’m speaking … it’s my turn.” Thus pictures like this, with Romney in a “teacher! teacher!” mode. This is the counterpart to the iconic picture of the first debate, which was Obama looking downcast and downward with a scowl. If I had more time I’d dig up one of those pics.
2) To spell it out, I agree with my Atlantic colleagues Ta-Nehisi Coates and also Robert Wright on the general flow of this one, and disagree with our National Journal colleague Ron Fournier, who considered it a no-winner squabble that left everyone worse off. Certainly there were pitched disagreements — but to me they did not amount to squabbling but rather to the expression of actual differences, on issues from Libya to taxes. Unfortunately not on the automatic-weapons question, but that’s a different topic.
I still think that picture I put up top is better…
And… Fox Doesn’t Declare Debate Winner, Focuses On ‘Aggressive’ Obama, Romney’s Botched Libya Response (Well, no surprise there.)
One of the trends from the debate was taken from a comment Mitt made about binders full of women. In fact, I thought that whole comment of his about hiring women for his cabinet was condescending crap! You know what? Fuck you Mitt! According to this link, (h/t Boston Boomer) it was not a true story : Mind The Binder – Talking Politics
What actually happened was that in 2002 — prior to the election, not even knowing yet whether it would be a Republican or Democratic administration — a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts formed MassGAP to address the problem of few women in senior leadership positions in state government. There were more than 40 organizations involved with the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (also bipartisan) as the lead sponsor.
They did the research and put together the binder full of women qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions. They presented this binder to Governor Romney when he was elected.
I have written about this before, in various contexts; tonight I’ve checked with several people directly involved in the MassGAP effort who confirm that this history as I’ve just presented it is correct — and that Romney’s claim tonight, that he asked for such a study, is false.
I will write more about this later, but for tonight let me just make a few quick additional points. First of all, according to MassGAP and MWPC, Romney did appoint 14 women out of his first 33 senior-level appointments, which is a reasonably impressive 42 percent. However, as I have reported before, those were almost all to head departments and agencies that he didn’t care about — and in some cases, that he quite specifically wanted to not really do anything. None of the senior positions Romney cared about — budget, business development, etc. — went to women.
Secondly, a UMass-Boston study found that the percentage of senior-level appointed positions held by women actually declined throughout the Romney administration, from 30.0% prior to his taking office, to 29.7% in July 2004, to 27.6% near the end of his term in November 2006. (It then began rapidly rising when Deval Patrick took office.)
Third, note that in Romney’s story as he tells it, this man who had led and consulted for businesses for 25 years didn’t know any qualified women, or know where to find any qualified women. So what does that say?
We will keep up with this story…of course.
Did Mitt Romney really request that as governor of Massachusetts, he be brought “whole binders full of women?” It was his response to a question – on gender pay inequality – which turned heads and started fingers tapping on keyboards. Before the debate was over, there was a Twitter hashtag, a blog, a series of memes, and a Facebook page with over 100,000 fans. The phrase was the third-fastest rising search on Google during the debate.
These are good:
It prompted memes, such as Hugh Heffner in what appears to be a library: “Binders full of women? Oh sure, I’ve got hundreds of them.”
Referencing an investment by Romney’s former company, Robert Drakes asked on Facebook, “Do they sell #BindersFullOfWomen at Staples?”
Others, such as Joi Jamison’s post to Facebook, get at the heart of the matter: “Binders full of women cost 77 cents, while binders full of men cost $1.”
The Obama campaign was in on it as well: a paid post from President Barack Obama’s official campaign account appeared atop searches for “binders full of women” on Twitter.
In the second question of the night, voter Katherine Fenton queried Obama: “In what new ways to you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?”
The incumbent cited the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which was the first piece of legislation he signed into law.
Romney, who worked in business, then served as governor of Massachusetts, said he “learned a great deal” about the inequalities between men and women in the workplace when chief executive of his state.
“I had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be men,” Romney said. And I – and I went to my staff, and I said, ‘How come all the people for these jobs are – are all men?’ They said, “Well, these are the people that have the qualifications.’ ”
Romney said he requested “a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet.”
Then, the sound bite which drove the online chatter.
“I went to a number of women’s groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks,’ and they brought us whole binders full of women,” Romney said.
The tweets and posts quickly stacked up.
You can read lots of tweets here at hastag.org…#BindersFullOfWomen
Or, check out this tumblr: Binders Full Of Women
That is a great way to end this post…so what’s going on in your part of the world?
Hey, good evening!
Facebook has become quite the place for photoshop images of protest. By that I mean the kind of photos that make a political statement. So tonight I will bring you a few of these that I found on the ol’ circle box.
From the Being Liberal page:
Keeping with the vagina protest, from Planned Parenthood Southeast:
What’s the question you want Mitt Romney to answer on Wednesday? VOTE now! –> http://ask-mitt.com/
I have two more to share that touches on the war on women:
How extreme are restrictions on insurance coverage of abortion in your state? Check out our map to find out.
That cartoon was posted on the Republican War on Women page.
Hey, Media Matters is getting in the swing of things too, we go from the war on women to the war on the poor:
You all probably got a chance to see the live blog BB had going for the Warren/Brown debate, well check this out. From the F’d up Republican Party in Boston Boomer’s neck of the woods.
This one from Reuters is not photoshopped at all, it is the editor’s choice photo journalism pick for today and what a statement it makes:
A police officer uses his baton to hit an activist from the National Committee to protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports during a protest against the government in Dhaka September 30, 2012. Demonstrators demanding the government withdraw the recent power tariff hike marched towards the city’s energy ministry on Sunday, but were dispersed by local authorities using batons and tear gas, according to local media. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj
Our top photos from the past 24 hours http://blogs.reuters.com/fullfocus/2012/10/01/editors-choice-3/#a=1
After that we need something uplifting. So….now, two feel good images. First is this one posted on the Voluptuous Vixens page:
BTW, that VV page is full of links and pictures that, “Promoting a positive atmosphere for CONFIDENT women who embrace their curves (and those who adore them) to freely discuss hot topics and issues.”
And….this is a picture that Wonk the Vote posted on her wall, it is a picture of the First Lady and I thought it was great:
I just love the connection between Michelle Obama and the baby girl…it is genuine too!
So, any of you finding cool stuff on the web? Be sure to post the links!
A closer look at the Romney/Ryan Budget plan and plan for medicare/medicaid reveals some startling information on the future of family planning–if the Republicans have their way–according to a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood. It would severely limit access to women needing preventative cancer procedures and shut down much of the country’s access to family planning.
In 2010, clinics funded by Title X performed over 6 million Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) tests, according to STD awareness organizations. Planned Parenthood alone provides care to about one-third of Title X patients. And some studies show that Title X family planning actually saves taxpayers money—according to Guttmacher Institute, which promotes reproductive rights worldwide, in the US “every $1.00 invested in helping women avoid pregnancies they did not want to have saved $3.74 in Medicaid expenditures.”
Despite those statistics, Title X has drawn fierce opposition from the two men at the top of the GOP ticket. Last year, Ryan supported a bill that would have amended Title X to prohibit grants from being awarded to groups like Planned Parenthood that provide abortions. (Such groups are already forbidden from spending federal money on the procedures.) Romney wrote in a USA Today op-ed that he would scrap the Title X program entirely to cut costs.
Medicaid, which provides an even bigger chunk of funding for family planning centers than Title X, would also take a serious hit under Romney and Ryan—at least if Ryan’s budget proposal is any indication. Ryan’s plan suggests slashing Medicaid by $810 billion over the next decade. States would then receive fixed federal grants and would get to pick and choose who and what they would cover.
Family planning advocates say that if Ryan and Romney go through with overhauling the program, legislators will have no qualms about getting rid of women’s health clinics. Several states have already shown their willingness to slash women’s health funds. Last year, in Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin, which has 27 Planned Parenthood clinics, Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) signed a bill cutting about $1 million in family planning funding. The cut will affect nine health centers and 12,000 patients, according to Nicole Safar, public policy director for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin.
“Ryan’s plan essentially scraps Medicaid and gives the states chunks of money instead,” Safar explains. “In a state like Wisconsin, we wouldn’t have any chance to fund women’s health.”
Texas is another example of what the future of women’s health could look like if Romney and Ryan are elected. Last year, Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) slashed state family planning funds by two-thirds. As a result of those cuts, over 60 clinics (12 of which are Planned Parenthoods) in the Lone Star State have shut their doors, and over one hundred thousand women who previously had access to breast and cervical cancer screenings, STD tests, and birth control have been left without care.
Paul Ryan co-sponsored a federal “personhood” amendment. He voted to defund Planned Parenthood. He opposes all abortions, except when the life of the mother is at risk. And he supports a federal bill requiring women to get an ultrasound before an abortion.
So, he will pay for unnecessary ultrasounds. He just won’t pay for cervical or breast examinations to prevent and detect cancers.
Lisa Maatz, director of public policy and government relations at the American Association of University Women, a nationwide network of more than 100,000 members and donors, said the group has more than $2 million to spend on a voter education project in conjunction with the National Organization for Women. She sees the Ryan budget taking center stage.
“What we have found is that the only thing some women know about Mitt Romney is that he was the governor of Massachusetts, and so they think, ‘How conservative can he be?'” said Maatz. “Well the selection of Ryan crystallizes who Romney is — and allows us to draw a sharp contrast for women.”
Ryan’s co-sponsorship of a “personhood” bill is among the positions that Democrats are likely to highlight in the fall.
So, too, is his support of a bill to require a woman to have an ultrasound and see the in-utero picture of the fetus before an abortion. The bill, introduced by conservative Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), differs significantly from the controversial Virginia bill in that a transvaginal probe isn’t involved.
But the chances are high that distinction will be lost as Ryan’s vote record is highlighted in the coming months.
Ryan, a Catholic, has eschewed the social issues “truce” once advocated by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels. He’s been clear and consistent on issues like abortion rights since he was elected to Congress, earning him praise from conservatives — who say their own base is energized by the presence of a mild-looking former altar boy on the ticket and believe Democrats are misreading the issue.
Democratic attacks on Ryan “won’t work because, in spite of the best efforts by Democrats, this election is about a different war on women — namely an economic war in which women have suffered more, lost more jobs and have higher unemployment and more lost income than men in this weak economy,” said Faith and Freedom Coalition head Ralph Reed.
“No attempt to change the subject from the economy will work among swing women voters. And even the use of moral issues cuts both ways. Their effort to portray Paul Ryan in an unflattering light because of his strong pro-life stance will also help the GOP ticket with Catholics and evangelicals, the majority of whom are women voters.”
There is a war on women and the republican presidential ticket is leading it.
So,what better way to take the focus off your own short comings and the way you hide your viewpoints and taxes than to appoint a VP candidate that is sure to be a touch stone with the political press? That’s how I see the Ryan appointment. Romney’s positions are all over the place. Ryan’s are very much on record. Romney’s specific agendas and plans have been as translucent as his tenure at Bain and his tax returns. Ryan’s agenda is very much known. Ryan holds extreme views on abortion and all social issues as well as having introduced two extremely controversial and unpopular budget plans. What a way to change the conversation. Here’s a reminder of the extremist positions of Paul Ryan who still manages to be a media darling. This is from The Daily Beast today and was written by Michelle Goldman.
By now, you surely know, if you didn’t already, that Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick, wants to privatize social security and turn Medicare into a voucher system. You might have read that, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, his economic plan “calls for radical policy changes that would result in a massive transfer of resources from the broad majority of Americans to the nation’s wealthiest individuals.”
Less attention has been paid, though, to Ryan’s hard-right positions on social issues. Indeed, on abortion and women’s health care, there isn’t much daylight between Ryan and, say, Michele Bachmann. Any Republican vice presidential candidate is going to be broadly anti-abortion, but Ryan goes much further. He believes ending a pregnancy should be illegal even when it results from rape or incest, or endangers a woman’s health. He was a cosponsor of the Sanctity of Human Life Act, a federal bill defining fertilized eggs as human beings, which, if passed, would criminalize some forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization. The National Right to Life Committee has scored his voting record 100 percent every year since he entered the House in 1999. “I’m as pro-life as a person gets,” he told the Weekly Standard’s John McCormack in 2010. “You’re not going to have a truce.”
Indeed, Ryan exemplifies a strange sort of ideological hybrid that now dominates the GOP. On economic issues, he’s a hardcore libertarian who once said, “[T]he reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker…it would be Ayn Rand. And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism.” Yet when it comes to women’s control of their bodies, he quickly turns into a statist. “In the state of nature—the ‘law of the jungle’—the determination of who ‘qualifies’ as a human being is left to private individuals or chosen groups,” he wrote in a 2010 essay titled “The Cause of Life Can’t be Severed from the Cause of Freedom.” “In a justly organized community, however, government exists to secure the right to life and the other human rights that follow from that primary right.”
For anyone who wants to know how Ryan thinks, that essay is worth reading. It’s about 1,500 words long, but the word “woman” doesn’t appear in it once. Nor does the word “mother.” To him, a woman’s claim to bodily autonomy or self-determination doesn’t merit even cursory consideration. Here’s his analogy: “The car which I exercised my freedom of choice to purchase…does not ‘qualify’ for protection of human rights. I can drive it, lend it, kick it, sell it, or junk it, at will. On the other hand, the widow who lives next door does ‘qualify’ as a person, and the government must secure her human rights, which cannot be abandoned to anyone’s arbitrary will.”
In selecting Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney has doubled-down on the one thing he has never flip-flopped on: economic elitism. Romney, born to wealth, has selected Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, who was also born to wealth. As the former University of Oklahoma football coach, Barry Switzer, once said of someone else: both these guys were born on third and thought they hit a triple.
There’s nothing wrong with inherited wealth. Lord knows great presidents from FDR to JFK came into their fortunes through the luck of birth. But there is something wrong with winners of the lineage lottery who want to hammer those who did not have the foresight to select wealthy sperm and egg.
Finally, we have peered into Mitt Romney’s core. It is neither pro-choice nor pro-life; neither pro-NRA nor pro-gun control; neither pro-equality nor antigay. But it is pro-wealth and very anti–middle class. Mitt Romney has decided to go nuclear in the class war.
Paul Ryan, the darling of the New York–Washington media elite, is almost certainly not the most qualified person Romney could have picked. Unlike governors like Chris Christie or Tim Pawlenty, or a former high-ranking White House official like Rob Portman, Ryan has never run anything larger than his congressional office or the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile. The elite love Ryan because he speaks for more cowardly members of their class; his stridently anti–middle class policies are music to their ears.
You will often hear people who ought to know better dress up Ryan’s savage economic priorities with euphemisms. Ryan wants to “fix” Medicare. No, he doesn’t. He wants to kill it. Saying Paul Ryan wants to “fix” Medicare is like saying the vet wanted to “fix” my dog Major; that which used to work very well no longer works at all—and Major is none too happy with the procedure.
Ryan’s budget is the fiscal embodiment of the deeply evil, wholeheartedly selfish so-called philosophy of Ayn Rand. In fact, Ryan has described Rand as “the reason I got involved in public service,” and reportedly makes staffers read her works.
Think about that. As my buddy James Carville has said, what would all the Best People say if Nancy Pelosi made her staffers read, say, Margaret Sanger? Or if Barack Obama made interns study Das Kapital? Sure, a few months ago, facing Catholic protestors at Georgetown University, Ryan said he renounced Rand. But as the national Catholic weekly, America, wrote, he did not change the substance of a single policy. Some renunciation. It seems to me Ryan has renounced Rand’s politically incorrect atheism, not her morally bankrupt philosophy of Screw Thy Neighbor.
So, how long will the focus be on Major’s neutering rather than poor Shamus who was strapped to the top of a car for 12 hours?
How long will the focus be on Paul Ryan whose life is an open book compared to the secretive and snaky Willard?
Was this part of the strategy of picking Paul Ryan. Was this an attempt to get the focus off of the car elevators, the dancing horses who get bigger tax deductions than most people’s children, the you don’t get to see my taxes stand, the insults to Japan and Britain and the highly botched tour abroad? Is this all about appeasing the base and getting the punditry to chase a less important bone?
There are a couple of finance stories that I’ve been following that I’m getting ready to write more bout. One is the story about the manipulation of LIBOR by Barclays with possible involvement of JPM and others. Here’s an article from The Economist to get us started on the topic. Its title includes the word “banksters”. That should be telling.
At present, the scandal rages in one country and around one bank. Barclays has been fined $450m by American and British regulators for its attempts to manipulate LIBOR. The bank’s first attempt to ride out the storm failed miserably; Bob Diamond, Barclays’ chief executive, resigned this week. The British government has ordered a parliamentary review into its banks. The reputation of the City of London, where LIBOR is set by collating estimates of their own borrowing costs from a panel of banks, has been further dented.
But this story stretches far beyond Britain. Barclays is the first bank in the spotlight because it offered to co-operate fully with regulators. It will not be the last. Investigations into the fixing of LIBOR and other rates are also under way in America, Canada and the EU. Between them, these probes cover many of the biggest names in finance: the likes of Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, UBS, Deutsche Bank and HSBC. Employees, from New York to Tokyo, are implicated (see article).
I’m just delving into the details now. It will take me awhile to get to the point of being able to describe it nontechnically so please be patient. This is huge. It will likely show us why the moves to remove Dodd-Frank and the Volker Rule are as criminal as the intent.
Well, I certainly wouldn’t wish Bobby Jindal on the country but it appears that our Governor has made the short list in the Romney VP stake. Frankly, anything he does is only to further his professional political career having done nothing else. Judging from my LA twitter feed, he might just have fled the state because every one is mad at him over his move to end public education as we know it. The man has a weird personality and he excels at ambition and lying. He’d be perfect for the job, frankly. Romney and Jindal are a matched set of amoral liars. Unfortunately, he won’t quit even if he gets the nod which only puts my state in worse condition than it is since he took over. Ask me about our more than double unemployment rate since he took over. He’s got his eye on 4 years from now.
On readiness for office, conversations with Romney insiders and allies suggest that they have no qualms about Portman or Pawlenty. One of Romney’s biggest complaints about President Obama is that he is in over his head and had “never run anything before.” Pawlenty governed the state of Minnesota for two terms; Portman ran the Office of Management and Budget as well as the Office of the United States Trade Representative. Jindal is in his second term as governor of Louisiana. Paul Ryan, however, falls short in this regard; he was a Capitol Hill staffer and a marketing consultant before becoming a congressman at age 28.
As for chemistry with the candidate, Pawlenty, Portman and Ryan have all campaigned alongside him multiple times. Each endorsed him at critical moments in the primary process and appeared with him on the stump when they did. And each got a turn as his key surrogate on Romney’s June bus tour, which ran through their states. Jindal has not yet campaigned with the presumptive nominee, so look for that to happen soon in a swing state near you.
Does this picture remind you of something from the John Kerry Files? Notice the dressage horses are missing. Romney going one way on the lake. Then, the other way on the lake … then back again the other way on the lake …
I’ll just say it: I don’t think the political pundit class understands just how toxic the Swiss/Caymans/Bermuda accounts issue is for Romney. Not that they don’t know it’s a liability at all. But I don’t think they realize the extent of it.
Here’s a report just out from ABC News on how Ted Strickland introduced Obama in Ohio …
“Oh, what a contrast, my friends, between these two men who would be president!” Strickland said, standing outside the Wolcott House Museum. “President Obama is betting on America and American workers, and Mitt Romney is betting his resources in the Cayman Islands, in Bermuda, in Switzerland and God only knows where else he is putting his resources.”Fair or not, it just rolls off the tongue. Immediately understandable. And assuming you’re not talking to the deeply ideological committed or hyper-partisans, how exactly do you understand that a man running for president has parked a lot of his money in offshore tax havens?
Whatever harsh message you’re trying to prove — out of touch with lives of ordinary Americans, plays by a different set of rules, isn’t focused on America and American workers — it fits right in.
Set aside all questions of legality. And I think Romney’s probably too smart and close to the vest to break any laws. But how do you explain it? What’s the good explanation?
Do you seek the safe harbor of Romney’s 15% tax rate?
How many of you know any one that hides assets in off shore banking havens? Better yet, how many savvy politicians would do it?
The attacks on Mississipi’s sole abortion clinic seem to be aimed at sending a court case to SCOTUS to test Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Roe v. Wade. Creeping theocracy threatens the health of American women.
Earlier this week a district court issued an eleventh-hour stay to block a Mississippi law designed to shut down the state’s last surviving abortion clinic. It’s the only one that has muscled through a spate of regulations aimed at making Mississippi “abortion-free,” in the words of Gov. Phil Bryant (R).
“The Court has considered the parties’ arguments and finds Plaintiffs satisfy the requirements for temporary injunctive relief to maintain the status quo until the newly framed issues can be more thoroughly examined,” wrote U.S. district judge Daniel P. Jordan III.
Bryant’s intentions are clear: make Mississippi the first state without access to abortion. But that’s a tricky legal proposition as a result of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the two key Supreme Court rulings that protect abortion rights.
The question before the courts is whether the new state law is legitimate under Roe and Casey. If so, pro-choice advocates fear it would threaten abortion rights protections nationwide
“In this case, Plaintiffs have offered evidence — including quotes from significant legislative and executive officers — that the Act’s purpose is to eliminate abortions in Mississippi,” wrote Jordan. “They likewise submitted evidence that no safety or health concerns motivated its passage. This evidence has not yet been rebutted.”
A hearing is scheduled for July 11 to determine if a preliminary injunction should follow. That’s a reasonably likely scenario since the Bush-appointed Judge Jordan issued the stay on the basis that the plaintiffs have “a substantial likelihood of success on the merits.”
Whether or not the case climbs up to the Supreme Court and puts Roe at risk of being overturned depends on the breadth of the lower courts’ ruling. But neither side is particularly keen on going down that road — at least for now.
“From a pro-choice perspective, the less the current Court does to define Casey, the better. From a pro-life perspective, they want to wait until there’s a clear shot at Roe v. Wade,” said Scott Lemieux, a political science professor at the College of Saint Rose.
Rush Limbaugh has a major problem when it comes to women. In the past, the conservative talk radio host has accused them of being sluts for using birth control and called those who support feminism “feminazis.” (Media Matters has compiled a pretty good list of Limbaugh’s sexist and misogynistic remarks over the years.) Now, the caustic commentator has come up with a new calumny: “When women got the right to vote is when it all went down hill.”
He made the remark on his radio program Tuesday, adding: “Because that’s when votes started being cast with emotion and maternal instincts. …”
That’s right. According to Limbaugh, America messed up big-time when it allowed all of its citizens—not just men—to vote.
I have no idea what makes people vote Republican any more but I don’t think it has anything to do with sanity. What’s on your reading and blogging list today?