Nel's New Day

October 1, 2012

Republicans Face Obstacles

Election Day is five weeks from tomorrow, and the Republicans are growing more and more desperate. From ridiculous statements to voter registration fraud, the GOP leaders are making fools of themselves.

The latest loopy Republican is Mitt Romney surrogate John Sununu. In an interview with the New York Times, he claimed President Obama didn’t deserve credit for killing Osama bin Laden because he could have done it sooner.

Paul Ryan has also been infected by the mania to hide facts. In assuring Chris Wallace (Fox News) during an interview yesterday that Romney’s tax plan would give tax cuts to everyone, he said it would take too long to explain. “But let me say it this way, you can lower tax rates 20 percent across the board by closing loopholes and still have preferences for the middle class for things like charitable deductions, home purchases, for health care,” he explained. Ryan stuck to his classic “trust me” approach today when he said that he just didn’t want people “change the channel.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has been a member of both major political parties as well as an independent in the last decade, has a reason for racial prejudice. When the NAACP filed a complaint about the racial bias against blacks and Hispanics in the admissions test for entering the city’s top public high schools, Bloomberg had an answer. “Life isn’t always fair,” he said.

If anything on Fox News can be believed, the big money donors are switching their cash from Mitt Romney to Republican Congressional candidates.

Since even the Fox polls shows that President Obama is polling ahead of Romney, the Republicans have this theory that all the polls are rigged—except the Rasmussen poll that shows the two men almost equal. First, Nate Silver, who predicted the electoral results for president in 49 out of the 50 states, has said that the polls are probably close to accurate. But second, the methodology for the Rasmussen polls lead to skewed results. They employ Pulse Opinion Research, a pay-to-poll agency which uses automated polling, a process that calls up a land line and allows anyone who answers to provide the answers despite age or eligibility.

The New York Times has published an article, buried on the bottom of page 13 last Friday, stating that Romney’s national security team recommends that he should rescind President Obama’s executive order barring torture. In all likelihood, he would do this because he is on record as saying that waterboarding is not torture. He has also said that he would approve “techniques” not allowed by the Army manual.

Fox News has trained one Millennial very well. In an interview with Fox, Steven Crowder said that he’s against “free” healthcare and “free” Social Security unlike other Millennials who just want “free” stuff. The interview doesn’t mention that Crowder grew up in Canada where he received “free” healthcare until he moved to Los Angeles. He did, however, use the typical Republican catchphrases such as “free birth control” and “Obama phones,” a program that started under Ronald Reagan.

More and more cases of Republican voter registration frauds are appearing across the country after Strategic Allied Consulting, an RNC-employed company, turned in registration forms to at least ten Florida counties with names of people who had died.

A complaint in California occurred after a surge of 35,000 registered Republicans in Riverside, a notorious blue area. Democrats presented affidavits from 133 Democratic voters who said that they had been re-registered as Republicans without their consent after signing petitions, including one that purported to lower the price of gasoline.  Others said they were offered free cigarettes or a “job at the polls” if they signed some paperwork. Re-registering Democrats as Republicans interferes with Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts because the party won’t contact a voter who is listed as a Republican. Petition voters said they were being paid $7 per signature.

In Colorado, the same company, paid $466,643 or half its total budget by the Colorado Republican Party, was fired at the recommendation of the Republican National Committee but not soon enough. On video, a young woman told someone that she was working for the county clerk’s office. She said, “I’m actually trying to register people for a particular party because we’re out here in support of Romney, actually.” No one knows how many people the company registered for the Democratic party and then discarded.  Colorado is one of five swing states that have stopped voter registration efforts because they had all employed the fraudulent company.

Also in Clay County (FL), a female volunteer calling for the Republican Party said that President Obama is a socialist and Muslim and that he’s going to take away Medicare. In addition, she gave instructions to watch Fox News and the propaganda “documentary” 2016: Obama’s America. None of these things is true—including the information in the film. There’s proof that the volunteer said these things because she left a message on an answering machine.

The icing on the cake for today, however, is last Friday’s ruling from Judge Carol Jackson, a George H.W. Bush appointee to a federal court in Missouri, that rejected a Catholic business owner’s challenge to the Obama Administration’s rules requiring employer health plans to cover birth control. The decision stated that salaries and health insurance can be used to buy birth control, so if religious employers really object to enabling their employees to buy birth control, they would have to not pay them money in addition to denying them comprehensive health insurance.

According to the ruling, an employer cannot assert a religious objection to how their employees choose to use their own benefits or their own money because religious freedom is not a license to “force one’s religious practices upon others.” Jackson not only rejected the plaintiffs’ claim that the birth control rules violate the Constitution’s Free Exercise Clause but also rejected the plaintiffs’ much stronger claim that the rules violate a federal law known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). RFRA gives religious objectors significant, although not entirely insurmountable, rights against laws they do not wish to follow for religious reasons. So Jackson’s opinion rejects the strongest possible legal argument against the Obama Administration’s contraception rules.

As shown below, the Romney campaign can’t even find enough women to get out and support Mitt Romney in Missouri.

July 17, 2012

Republican Politicians Attack Obama

The Mitt Romney campaign is on the ropes and going crazy. The most recent issue is not just a gaffe; it’s a horrible mistake that won’t go away. No one who watches television can have missed the whole whooplaw about Romney’s refusal to release more than the past two years of income tax returns and his attempt to explain that he quit Bain Capital before the company sent jobs to China—except for those jobs in which they cut up aborted fetuses and burned them. I chuckle every time I hear Romney say, “I’ve put out as much as I’ve put out.”

George Will got it right when he said, “The cost of not releasing the returns are clear. Therefore, [Romney] must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them.”  He did give a typical conservative answer about making sure that he could hide everything: “I do not know why, given that Mitt Romney knew the day that [John] McCain lost in 2008 that he was going to run for president again that he didn’t get all of this out and tidy up some of his offshore accounts and all the rest.” Will, by the way, is the staunch Republican pundit who stole Jimmy Carter’s questions before the 1980 debate and gave them to his opponent, Ronald Reagan.

The feeding frenzy isn’t going away, despite all the attempts by Romney’s supporters to divert the discussion. Speculation has run rampant through the media. Did he not pay taxes? Or did he make even more money from Bain than we realize?  Or did he have to pay fines? Or did he have even more offshore tax dodges than the ones in Bermuda, the Caymans, and the Swiss bank account? Or would the tax returns  show deductions from “controversial charities” that would turn off his potential voters?

The issue of Bain’s offshoring by sending jobs from its purchased companies to China has paled by comparison, but it’s equally as perplexing. Romney spent three weeks saying that there was nothing wrong with doing this until he calculated the problems from admitting it and told everyone who would listen that he wasn’t at Bain at the time that this happened. On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Ed Gillespie said that Romney decided to “retroactively retire” for the previous years in 2002, not explaining why Romney took money for working while retired. And even now, Romney doesn’t criticize offshoring; he just says that he didn’t do it.

The Olympics situation may add to Romney’s problems. When he was asked how he felt about the clothing for United States’ participants being made in China, he said, “No comment.” Possibly he wanted the entire question to go away because the clothing for the 2002 Winter Olympics torchbearers, the Olympics administered by Romney, were made in Burma, until last year a brutally military regime.

The Republican forces are gathering to protect Romney by attacking President Obama. After the president’s speech talking about how the United States has accomplished important things by working together to build an infrastructure, John Sununu, the former governor of New Hampshire said Obama’s recent defense of public infrastructure shows he “doesn’t understand how America works.” Later Sununu said, “I wish this president would learn how to be an American.”

Another distortion of President Obama’s speech came from his statement that “U.S. policymakers are lazy in creating jobs.” True, but the Republicans are now running television ads that claim the president said, “Americans are lazy.”

Sununu may have gotten more talking points from Rush Limbaugh. “He [Obama] has no idea how the American system functions,” Sununu said on Fox News. “And we shouldn’t be surprised about that, because he spent his early years in Hawaii smoking something, spent … another set of years in Indonesia.”

Limbaugh said Romney should “get down and dirty with Obama” and say:

“Look, pal, when I was out creating jobs, investing in businesses, and growing this economy, you were at Columbia smoking weed and snorting coke. You write about it in your book. You talk about how you got into Columbia and the Harvard Law Review, and you didn’t have to do anything. That’s what was great about it to you! You loved getting into Columbia ’cause all you had to do was go to class, get your grades, and smoke a little weed! Well, I was out building the country when you were doing that.”

I can’t understand what influenced Sununu to accuse President Obama of outsourcing “a major portion of the U.S. space program to the Russians.” FactCheck declared this statement false and explained that George W. Bush set NASA on a path eight years ago to retire the Space Shuttle and rely on the Russians for space travel. It was under President Obama’s charge that the Space Shuttle program ended, but it was George W. Bush who retired the shuttle because the White House refused to give NASA the authority and funds to replace it.

Bush directed NASA to retire the shuttle in 2010 to coincide with the scheduled completion of the space station as part of his plan for NASA that also called for the agency “to conduct the first manned mission no later than 2014,” with the goal of reaching the moon in 2020 and using it as a base for future trips to Mars.

In a 2007 speech at Georgetown University, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said the U.S. may have “no alternative other than to use Soyuz [Russian space craft] for crew transport and rescue.” Bush signed a bill on Sept. 30, 2008, so that Russians would provide transportation to the space station. U.S. astronauts also went to the space station aboard the Soyuz in 2003 after the Columbia disaster caused a suspension of the shuttle program for two years and Edward Lu used Russian transportation. If this is outsourcing, Sununu should have kept quiet because it’s the Republican president who offshored the NASA program.

Even sometimes-reasonable Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, has joined the irrational chorus. Because Republican governors in Utah and Nevada asked the Obama administration for flexibility in the welfare reform law that required adults to either work or participate in a work training program, the president granted flexibility to satisfy their needs. On a voluntary basis, states can now “experiment with ways to improve the number of people making the jump from government assistance to jobs.” On Fox and Friends, Huckabee said:

“It’s basically just a transfer of money from the taxpayer to the government, from the government to people who become beneficiaries of the government, because that way the government can own these people. It is a trap, and it is like the roach motel. Once you get in, but you never get out.”

It’s not the first time that conservatives have compared people needing the safety net to animals. Gabriela Saucedo Mercer, the GOP candidate for Arizona’s District 3, put the following on her website before she hastily removed it.

“The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is actually proud of the fact it is distributing the greatest amount of free meals and food stamps ever. Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us to ‘Please Do Not Feed The Animals.’ Their stated reason for the policy is because the animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves. This ends today’s lesson.”

Arizona is one of the top two states with food insecure (aka hungry) children; in Arizona 29 percent of the children go to bed hungry each night.

Another Republican disaster today is the release of the first book from the George W. Bush Institute, The 4 Percent Solution: Unleashing the Economic Growth America Needs.  James K. Glassman, executive director of the Bush Institute, said the book states the country can achieve a 4 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by extending the Bush-era tax cuts, broadening the tax base by getting rid of special exemptions and loopholes, taxing consumption rather than income, and lowering corporate taxes. With GDP being the market value of all officially recognized final goods and services produced within a country in a given period, it is often considered an indicator of a country’s standard of living.

During the reign of George W. Bush, who wrote the forward for The 4 Percent Solution, the GDP averaged just over 2.3 percent using the ideas promoted in the Bush Institute’s book. Because of the over 30% increase in imports during that time, business investment actually declined relative to GDP despite all the Bush tax breaks. Residential investment, which was almost 35% higher in 2005 than it was in 2000, plummeted to less than 83% of its 2000 level by 2008.

Republicans repeatedly say that President Obama’s policies are ruining the nation. He hasn’t had a chance to put his policies into effect. It’s the conservative Republicans’ policies that keep the GDP from growing as Republicans refuse to provide revenue and send jobs out of the country.

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