Archive for International
I thought I should point out that the constant flood of mailers crowding the mailboxes of people in the 115th district in support of Nathan Ramsey are straight from the Koch Brothers.
Americans for Prosperity is the sister group of FreedomWorks. Both originated from the original Super Pac, Citizens For A Sound Economy. When it split, Dick Armey took control of one group, and David Koch the other. They have operated in synchronous orbit around Washington DC ever since, and they represent perhaps the most powerful corporate lobbying force in the nation. Read More→
You probably know just who to vote for in the Presidential race and the Congressional race. Maybe you even have your legislators and County Commissioners figured out. How many of you have the County School Board or statewide judicial races sussed? To help you sort out who’s who, the Buncombe County Democratic Party has put together a handy list of Democratic candidates. Use it if you want it, leave it if you don’t!
Anyone who saw it will know what I’m talking about. That was one of the most awkward speeches I’ve ever seen at a National Convention, personifying a grumpiness, confusion, and factual ambivalence that exemplifies the approach being taken by the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee. The entire Convention theme was predicated on a strawman argument, and last night was virtually policy-free. Romney and surrogates spun his polling weaknesses hard in an effort to move the numbers. Likeability, Bain, minorities, women, and Medicare were repackaged and trotted out as though none of the substantive issues raised by skeptics had any merit. The whole scene was a focus-grouped exercise in creating a narrative. If that narrative had any relation to the factual reality you and I occupy, it was wholly accidental.
I saw a great tweet from Sam Spencer: “You know whose empty chair will be at #dnc2012? Osama bin Laden’s.”
Next, of course, it’ll be time for the Democrats to build a narrative of their own. While I don’t expect them to make the Convention a policy wonk’s wet dream, I do expect that they’ll actually say what they would do differently from a Romney administration. I expect they will say that returning to Bush style supply-side/trickle-down economics is just continuing to set us up for more income inequality and more debt. I expect they’ll say that the Affordable Care Act is insuring millions of people who weren’t insured before. I expect they’ll note that nuclear nonproliferation is a good thing. I expect there to be a lot of policies noted and sold as part of the narrative. There may also be a healthy chunk of factual information about the economic crisis President Obama inherited and the attitude of Congressional Republicans who had no intention of allowing the President to succeed. The GOP has said that this demonstrates a lack of leadership and willingness to accept responsibility. It’s a basic Karl Rove tactic that boils down to accusing the other guys of your own bad behavior.
The narrative is likely to focus on how Mr. Romney is a flip-flopping corporate raider and how President Obama needs four more years to fulfill the hopes of his supporters. It’ll focus on the many successes of the administration while casting the GOP as a fringe party made up of radicals and funded by the 0.1%. It will ignore that Wall Street got away with the 2008 collapse.
Anyway, here’s an open thread. It can be whatever you want it to be. Use the facts, or just spin up a fictitious golem. Bring a fleshy argument or an empty chair.
Politico reports that in a surprise Reddit chat today, President Barack Obama supported a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United:
“Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn’t revisit it). Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change,” Obama wrote.
Now, what does “over the longer term” mean?
(UPDATED with link.)
Rolling Stone explains how Gov. Mitt Romney made his money: by buying vulnerable companies, saddling them with the debt Bain Capital raised to buy them, then forcing their companies to take on even more debt to pay off Bain investors, leaving the debt-burdened companies to lay off thousands in an attempt to make the stay ahead of the repayments. As one analyst described it, “borrowing someone else’s credit card to take out a cash advance, and then leaving them to pay it off.”
What worries Matt Taibbi more is what Romney represents: a business model that’s now running for president, and a new global elite who — as Atlantic wrote last year — “view themselves increasingly as a global community, distinguished by their unique talents and above such parochial concerns as national identity, or devoting ‘their’ taxes to paying down ‘our’ budget deficit.” Taibbi writes:
Listen to Mitt Romney speak, and see if you can notice what’s missing. This is a man who grew up in Michigan, went to college in California, walked door to door through the streets of southern France as a missionary and was a governor of Massachusetts, the home of perhaps the most instantly recognizable, heavily accented English this side of Edinburgh. Yet not a trace of any of these places is detectable in Romney’s diction. None of the people in any of those places bled in and left a mark on the man.
Off the YouTube machine via Upworthy:
“From May 2010, an exchange between Michael D Higgins (who was elected President of Ireland last year) and Tea Party-loving radio guy Michael Graham on Irish radio.”
Karoli dug into the origins of this event in an Irish pub:
[Radio talker] Graham was going down the usual neocon astroturf Tea Party road, and President Higgins served him a hefty helping of humility with applause included. This clip starts in the middle of the interview, where Graham has evidently labeled some people — I’m not sure who — as antiSemitic, which causes Higgins’ Irish temper to boil over and explode on the air. Graham had no idea what hit him.
The funniest part is that Higgins does to Graham what Graham was hoping to do to Higgins. The crowd was stirred, all right, but not in Graham’s direction. As he moves from health care to tea party racism to foreign policy and back again, all Graham can do is sputter.
Hey White Guys: Cheaters
Here’s a neat get-out-of-jail trick. The secret is it doesn’t usually work for ordinary crimes by flesh-and-blood people — for smoking marijuana or selling food stamps for rent money, for example. No, those people we warehouse in taxpayer-funded Corrections Corporation of America for-profit prisons. This trick works best for those who have turned themselves into the unnatural, corporate persons they serve. Creatures of appetite and instinct. Bloodless. Soulless. Like vampires, but without the teen angst.
The former Blackwater Security, a North Carolina company with a history of legal troubles, this week walked away from 17 federal charges by paying fines: $7 million for arms trafficking and other charges on top of $42 million for other violations of the Arms Export Control Act and the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations.
Today marks the 67th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. Over 70,000 people were killed instantly, and whithin two months the death toll rose to 166,000.