Nel's New Day

July 6, 2018

GOP Values: Separate Children from Parents, Charge People Higher Prices with Tariffs

Last week, Alexander Azar, HHS Secretary, told a Senate committee last week that the process is simple:

“I could at the stroke of—at keystrokes, I sat on the ORR Portal with just keystrokes and within seconds could find any child in our care for any parent available.”

The day after Azar explained the simplicity of reunification, a federal judge ordered ICE to stop most family separations and reunify the already separated ones. The parents were to have contact by phone by July 6, today, and all children five years old and younger, assumed to be about 100, were to be returned to parents by July 10. The other minor children were to be returned by July 26. The process of reunification seems to be more difficult than Azar claimed. Records linking children have disappeared with some of them destroyed, and the two federal agencies in charge of the separated children and parents haven’t shared records. The HHS solution is to find volunteers to search through 12,000 case records to confirm identities, locations, and connections. When children were separated from their parents, many of them were sent thousands of miles away, and the mothers and fathers were also separated from each other. Many children are also too young and/or frightened to speak.

Four days before the deadline to reunify 100 children under six with their parents, the government asked for an extension because they cannot find parents for half the parents by the deadline. The DOJ hasn’t found parental identification for 19 of the 102 children. Another 38 parents can’t be found—half them somewhere in the U.S. and the other half deported. DOJ wants DNA identification as proof of biological child/parent relationship and vetting that the parents will be fit parents, but the judge sees no necessity if parents arrived at the border with their children.

The judge did offer to delay the deadline for the youngest children if the government provides a list of all children and their parents’ status by Monday morning. He also asked for a status conference over the weekend. The DOJ lawyer, representing the failed agencies, cannot attend a conference. Why? She has “dog-sitting” responsibilities in Colorado that keep her from appearing at a meeting about the status of 100 infants and toddlers involuntarily separated from their parents at the Mexico border. This action represents the status of the U.S. GOP; dog-sitting supersedes reunification of families after children have been torn from their parents.

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) failed to buy one of the available sites for his Trump Hotel so Atlanta attorney Loren Collins bought it. TrumpHotels.org shows life at DDT’s “home” for migrant children kidnapped from their parents during the past few months. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) inspired the concept with his tweet, “The real Trump hotel,” accompanied by the photo of a detention facility in McAllen (TX) used as the website header. Collins said he would give DDT the site “in exchange for 10 years of his tax returns and the termination of 25 NDAs of my choosing.” TrumpHotels.org also links to articles showing articles such as DDT’s ridicule of a disabled reporter, his attacks on Mexico, and his unhappiness about parenting.

Collins is a conservative who ran as a Republican candidate for the George state House. Yet his writing shows his dissatisfaction with DDT’s policies, demonstrated in his book about critical thinking and conspiracies, Bullspotting: Finding Facts in the Age of Misinformation. Collins wrote:

“Even if you take all of his ill-defined political beliefs out of the picture, he’s still an ignorant, intemperate, foolish, gullible, intellectually incurious, pathologically dishonest conspiracy theorist who is utterly unqualified for the job of running a country. And every day since he’s taken office, he’s demonstrated how ill-suited he is for a job that demands diplomacy and considered thought.

“Which is why he not only managed to unnecessarily create this current border fiasco, but he cannot even appear that he has any real empathy for the people involved or has given any serious thought to how to remedy it. Instead, as always, he blames others and passes the buck, while he spends time holding rallies and insulting Jimmy Fallon on Twitter.”

DDT proves Collins’ description with his accelerating trade war through the world. The U.S. placed the first duties on $34 billion of Chinese goods today, China accused the U.S. of violating World Trade Organization rules, and DDT claimed that he will put tariffs on all products from China. Soybeans, corn, pork, seafood, and poultry are a few of the U.S. goods that China will target with tariffs. In return, DDT threatened to put tariffs on every Chinese import. Meanwhile, China is holding up shipments from the United States.

Defense Secretary James Mattis wrote that the Pentagon was concerned “about negative impact on our key allies” from the tariffs. Another concern is higher costs for weapons and infrastructure. Other countries could also stop defense purchases from the U.S.

DDT wants legislation to ditch World Trade Organization rules and maybe even WTO itself that would give DDT more control on U.S. trade policy by renegotiating with countries and applying tariffs. The plan follows DDT’s wish to withdraw from WTO. http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/team-trump-drafts-radical-economic-bill-unfortunately-crude-name?cid=eml_mra_20180702  DDT’s proposed legislation is the Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act (FART).

One person who won’t suffer from DDT’s trade war is DDT himself. Chinese government-backed firms will continue work on two large developments in Dubai and Indonesia that include DDT’s name. He will be paid to operate his second golf course in Dubai and for the use of his name. DDT’s partner in Indonesia is building a DDT-branded golf course, hotels, and villas, a separate contract from DDT’s planned project in Indonesia. One of China’s top state-owned banks pays $2 million annually for the 20th floor of Trump Tower in Manhattan. Ivanka Trump will continue to get blouses, shoes, and handbags from Chinese assembly line workers.

In another attempt to make more money, DDT has called for further lowering the corporate tax rate another percent to 20 percent. Other than businesses becoming wealthier, no one has been helped by the six-month old tax cut. The Dow Jones is lower than it was then, wages are at the same pace, and a few people got small one-time bonuses. The majority of people have a negative view of the tax cuts.The greater the tax cuts, the more Republicans can moan about the deficit and use it to remove the safety net along with Social Security and Medicare.

Other major events of the week deserving longer examination are the resignation of Scott Pruitt and the continuing investigation of the Russian scandal. In an attempt to bury its news, the Senate Intelligence Committee released its report on Russia’s election interference late the day before the Fourth of July. The bipartisan effort concluded that the U.S. intelligence agencies were correct in their findings that Russia tried to help DDT win the presidential election and intended to “denigrate” and “harm” Hillary Clinton as well as “undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process” while helping Trump. The committee also supported the intelligence agencies findings that Russia’s tactics included cyberattacks and intelligence collection “against the U.S. primary campaigns, think tanks, and lobbying groups they viewed as likely to shape future U.S. policies.” There was “no politically motivated pressure to reach any conclusions,” according to the report. The Committee will be releasing a final report to contain information about the possibility of collusion between the campaign and Russia.

At the same time, seven GOP senators and a representative spent the Fourth of July in Russia wooing its officials.

In June, DDT proved himself inept at negotiating with North Korea. Kim Jung-Un got everything he wanted while continuing to build up his nation’s nuclear arsenal. DDT got nothing but still says that he thinks that Kim will keep his deal with DDT. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo feeds DDT’s ego by saying that Kim “made a personal commitment” and promising that North Korea will “denuclearize as quickly as we can achieve that.”

Now DDT is headed to a meeting with Putin in 11 days where he plans to give away more for nothing. National security adviser John Bolton said that DDT may recognize Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. He also echoed DDT by saying that “Putin said…there was no meddling in 2016 by the Russian state,” something that a Senate Intelligence Committee disputes.

Before the Putin meeting, DDT will attend a NATO summit on July 11-12. He has already sent dunning letters to all the members indicating what they owe with an indication of “pay up or else.” His present for Putin the next week will be an attempt to destabilize Ukraine. DDT has already worked to unseat German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Friday the 13th will celebrate DDT’s meetings with UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Queen Elizabeth II. Protests force him to see them at their homes outside London, Chequers and Windsor Castle. Two million people signed a petition asking May to cancel the “working visit,” a much less prestigious invitation than a formal state visit.

Protesters are planning to be in a number of places, including outside Chequers. DDT may not be directly exposed to the protesters, including the flying of the huge blimp, Trump Baby, but the world will be well aware of their presence. Demonstrations are also planned in Glasgow and Edinburgh when DDT travels to Scotland where he owns two golf courses. Only Vladimir Put supports DDT by now.

June 27, 2016

Brexit Fails; So Will Trump

Filed under: Foreign policy — trp2011 @ 8:49 PM
Tags: , , , ,

The “Leave the EU” campaign has won, and it doesn’t seem to be working for them. Leading “Leave” politicians made failed promises:

“Leave” promise: EU cash will go to the National Health Service. The campaign even put the promise on its big red bus: The EU costs £350 million a week, “enough to build a brand new, fully staffed … hospital every week.” Politicians repeated the promise, but after the vote, Leave leader Iain Duncan Smith said that the campaign didn’t say “all” of the money, just “a significant amount of it.” After the vote Nigel Farage, another Leave leader, said, “No I can’t [guarantee it], and I would never have made that claim.” The UK gets about half that money back for farmers’ subsidies, research grants, and infrastructure funding.

“Leave” promise: We’ll take control of the UK’s borders. The claim was that the expected immigration to fall. “Leave” leader Nigel Evans said there had been “some misunderstanding” over the Leave campaign’s position on reducing immigration and that he didn’t say it would fall. The UK won’t separate from the EU for at least two years, and the UK may have to keep borders open to EU workers to freely trade with Europe. Boris Johnson, a leading Leave campaigner and wannabe prime minister, wrote, “British people will still be able to go and work in the EU; to live; to travel; to study; to buy homes; and to settle down.” If that’s right, Europeans—including immigrants—will enjoy the same freedom of movement.

“Leave” promise #3: The economy will be fine. Anti-Remain campaigners laughed at the “Project Fear” that maintained the UK would suffer financial and economic turmoil. Yet, the pound is at the lowest level in decades, UK bank stocks collapsed, and GDP growth forecasts have been slashed. Companies are calling off investments, and markets throughout the world have gone down drastically, including the Dow Jones in the United States which lost almost 900 points in two days of trading.

“Leave” leaders have absolutely no exit plan.

Comments about Brexit:

Philippe LeGrain at The New York Times:

“Brexit’s supporters are deluded when they argue that Britain could cherry pick what it likes about the European Union and discard the rest. Since exports to the European Union (13 percent of G.D.P. in 2014) matter much more to Britain than exports to Britain (3 percent of G.D.P. in 2014) do to the European Union, the European Union will call the shots. Other governments have every incentive to be tough, both to steal a competitive advantage and to deter others from following Britain out the door.”

Damian Carrington at The New Republic:

“The crashing financial markets will damage the huge investments needed to create a cleaner and safer environment and will dent the nation’s fast-growing green economy, one economic sector where the UK could lead.”

From a financial authority:

The aftershocks from the UK’s EU referendum results continue to persist. Last Friday saw exceptionally sharp declines in the major global equity markets, though the sharpest drops were recorded in the Italian and German equity markets, down 12.5% and 6.8% respectively, compared with 3.1% for the FTSE100 index, although UK bank stocks were ‘hammered’ on speculation as to how ‘pass porting rights’ to the EU might be affected, as well as a cut in the UK’s credit rating. The S&P500 index fell 3.6% and the US 10-year Treasury yield made a new low for the year at 1.40%.

In the currency market, the US Dollar to Japanese yen briefly dipped below the 100.00, and the Japanese authorities might be ready to intervene in order to stabilise the currency. The Chinese currency went in the other direction and made a new low for the year, with investors sensing that the Chinese authorities are set to countenance some slippage in the exchange rate to act as a shock-absorber for the economy.

Cable dropped sharply from $1.5000 to $1.3200 and continues its slide today, touching $1.3122. UK 10-year Gilt yields fell below 1.00% this morning for the first time ever. (The Bank of England was founded in 1694.)

From a political perspective, the referendum decision has divided the UK. “Remain” members of the Conservative Party want to stop Boris Johnston from being the next Prime Minister. In the opposition Labour Party, a series of resignations in protested Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership style. In Scotland, the SNP is looking to block the “Brexit” vote and call for a second independence referendum. The scope for a constitutional crisis is quite high, and the Brexit vote has exposed the fault-lines in British politics.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said this morning that Article 50 of the European Union Treaty would not be triggered until October. Article 50 lays down the terms and conditions of the negotiation process between the UK and EU and the framework for the exiting country’s future relationship with the EU. Article 50 sets a 2-year deadline on talks that can only be extended by a unanimous decision of the other 27 EU countries. Once activated, Article 50 eliminates the UK from EU decision-making at the highest level. Article 50 is concluded by the European Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining consent of the European Parliament.

The EU Summit this week looks to push for very early negotiations, but it is the UK Government that has to decide when to invoke Article 50. At the moment, UK PM David Cameron remains in place until October when a new Conservative Party leader and PM are to be announced. This might be too distant a time and the pressure for an early settlement to the leadership question is likely to intensify. There is no guaranteed timetable as to how it all works out.

From the EU’s perspective, the risk is that “Brexit” contagion’ spreads to other countries and encourages voters to think of breaking away from the EU. The results of the Spanish elections (the centre-right People’s Party won with 137 seats) yesterday mitigated some of that risk, though there is a question whether the appetite for ever-increasing integration is still there.

Italy holds a constitutional referendum in October, but Italian voters might view “Brexit” as a way of expressing their view on the EU. The Italian economy has suffered a very low economic growth rate for some time, but it is the Italian banks that remain under-capitalised and have the potential to trigger another banking crisis.

Some forecasters are talking about a UK recession next year and perhaps an early cut in UK interest rates. In the Eurozone, the sharper declines in equity markets and concerns over the health of the banking system are likely to keep the European Central Bank’s accommodative monetary stance in place. However, German criticism of negative interest rates in terms of the cost to German banks and German savers is something that the ECB cannot afford to ignore.

Wider afield, the “Brexit” uncertainty gives the U.S. Fed every excuse to defer an increase in US interest rates. The key upcoming dates are the US non-farm payroll report on July 8. The Fed meetings after that are July 26-27 and September 20-21, which seems to be the last opportunity to raise rates prior to the US Presidential Election on November 8. A faltering US economy might require quantitative easing.

Why did UK voters favor “Leave”? Many of them probably didn’t even know the consequences. The two most Googled questions in the UK on the day after the vote was announced was “What does it mean to leave the EU?” and “What is the EU?”  John Oliver, host of Last Week Tonight, had another funny, factual, hard-hitting piece about the vote. To the people who asked if they could change his vote, he emphatically said, “That was the f*cking vote! That was it!”

Although unlikely, Oliver might be wrong. The Brexit vote was not binding, and Members of Parliament could vote against it. Over 3.5 million UK residents have signed a petition demanding a second vote if support for either side was under 60 percent with a voter turnout under 75 percent. The turnout was about 72 percent, and the winning side had 52 percent of the vote. Scotland voted heavily to remain, and the Scotland Act 1998 requires the Scottish Parliament to approve measures that remove EU law from Scotland. The same might be true for Northern Ireland. The least likely scenario is that the EU could offer major concessions.

Yet the longer the uncertainty in a wait for the outcome, the greater the political and economic costs. The U.S. suffers from the same uncertainty as everyone waits for the outcome of the presidential election in a little more than four months with Donald Trump representing everything that the Leave campaign did—promises he cannot keep, an irrational xenophobia to turn the country white, and an untenable austerity approach toward the economy. The UK today could be the US this January.

June 25, 2016

Brexit Brings Buyers’ Remorse

Filed under: Foreign policy — trp2011 @ 1:26 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

brexit

Many people in the United Kingdom went to bed Thursday night feeling safe and woke up yesterday feeling they were in serious danger after the 52-percent vote for the UK to leave the European Union. EU leaders want Britain to move forward immediately to avoid further financial instability throughout the world, but leaders of the Leave campaign seem nervous about their win, perhaps because of the advantageous trade relationships between UK and EU.

Boris Johnson said that they’d rather not take any immediate steps, perhaps because he hopes to use the vote as leverage for becoming prime minister. He could even allow the UK to stay in the EU. People who voted for leaving the EU are now wishing they could change their vote, agreeing with one British voter who said she voted to leave but “I never thought it would actually happen.”

People who voted in favor of leaving the EU should feel remorseful. Predictions show a one percent drop in GDP, a fall of £19 billion equivalent to £720 (over $1,000 in US dollars) for each UK household. Each households could annually be £4,300 a year worse off by 2030. Prolonged uncertainty, reduced access to the single market, and decreased investment from overseas are joined by the banks’ loss of “passporting” rights to conduct business throughout the EU. In the hours after the vote was announced, the British pound’s 11-percent decrease hit a 31-year low against the dollar. A British recession seems likely because businesses usually defer spending during uncertain times. A bleak economy causes consumers to stop spending on big-ticket items. The collapsing pound will drive up inflation, cutting into incomes. Some jobs will disappear, and wage growth will fall.

The Cornwall area that soundly voted against staying with the EU is now worried about the annual loss of at last £60 million that it received in the past decade. European money provided infrastructure, universities, and broadband internet for them, and farmers and fishers had benefited from the EU policies. New trade deals between the EU and the UK mandate approval and unanimity by over 30 European, national, and regional parliaments that may be able to act only after national referendums. Goods leaving the UK will face tariffs, and everyone leaving the island will be forced to go through customs just to travel to Europe.

Both Northern Ireland and Scotland want to leave the UK in order to stay in the EU, and Spain wants to take back Gibraltar from the UK. After 95.9% of people in Gibraltar voted to stay with the EU, Spain renewed its claim that Gibraltar is its territory, something that Spain has declared for three centuries since the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht. People living in Gibraltar are British citizens with British passports, but they also want to be part of the EU.

The economy of countries around the world started to take big hits. The world’s 400 richest people lost $127.4 billion yesterday, 3.2 percent of their total net worth.  In Canada, the loonie had its biggest drop in 18 months to around 76.8 cents. U.S. Oil fell by 3 percent. Asia’s stock market started the fall after the vote, followed by other main indices which fell by about 10 percent. In the U.S., Friday’s Dow Jones industrial average fell 611 points, causing a loss of $160 million in market value. Big corporations on the S&P index lost $627 billion–just yesterday. It could have been much worse, but this is only the beginning. The drops also hurt retirement funds. Tighter financial conditions makes it harder and more expensive for people and businesses to get money—less borrowing, less investing, and less economic activity.

Touting his new golf course in Scotland, Donald Trump saw the results through the prism of Donald Trump’s business ventures. The New York Times reported that his business interests “still drive his behavior, and his schedule. He has planned two days in Scotland, with no meetings with government or political leaders scheduled.” The Republican’s itinerary “reads like a public relations junket crossed with a golf vacation,” complete with “a ceremonial ribbon cutting.”

Trump didn’t even know that Scotland had overwhelmingly voted against leaving the EU: he said they were celebrating because “they took their country back.” NBC’s Katy Tur asked him whether he was traveling with any of his foreign policy advisors who talked to him about the vote. He said that he’d been in touch but that “there’s nothing to talk about.” Instead of talking about the vote, he talked about the golf course and its refurbished holes, plumbing, putting greens, and zoning. Asked about Brexit’s undermining the British pound value, he said that the decline is good news for him.

“If the pound goes down, more people are coming to Turnberry, frankly. For traveling and for other things, I think it very well could turn out to be positive.”

People traveling from the U.S. may get a better deal for their dollars, but the U.S. economy can suffer depressed exports because of the weak English pound and the possible ramifications in the EU. U.S. banks said Brexit could force an overhaul of their business in the U.K. It doesn’t happen all at once, but the dominos are falling.

Trump’s business ventures in Scotland bulldozed through its elected officials and land owners, and Trump sued the Scottish government to break environmental laws and obtain property through eminent domain. Scottish officials allowed Trump to flatten a third of the Foveran dunes complex, a legally protected site of special scientific interest. Whenever he couldn’t get permits, he built anyway.

The neighbors of his golf courses roundly despise Trump because he tried to tear down what he called their “ugly” houses. He called their houses “ugly” and wanted to tear them down. When they refused to leave, he built a tall earthen wall that blocked their view of the dunes and beach and put up a locked gate that blocked the public road to reach the beach. Security staff sit in 4×4 vehicles watching all their movements.

Trump claims that the Scottish people “love” him, but 200-300 protesters appeared with a mariachi band during his press conference at the golf course and threw red golf balls with swastika symbols on the ground. In the background, neighbors of both his golf courses flew the Mexican flag in solidarity with other peoples who he has denigrated.

Many people in the UK had no idea what the EU was before the vote or what the connection between the UK and the EU meant to everyday people. Like Donald Trump, the Leave campaign scapegoated immigrants and created a culture of hatred because of economic inequality. They also accused the country’s leaders of being the elite and maintained that “experts” know nothing. The Leave slogan was “Take Back Control.” Since 2010, the austerity measures of the Conservative Party slashed the social safety net and left deprivation in its place.

As in the United States, British leaders are increasingly purchased by corporate and financial interests. Democratic rights, promised by the Leave campaign, were taken by the wealthy and corporations that control the country’s politics and economy. The loss of the EU will worsen the situation for workers who no longer guaranteed the EU rights, and Conservative Party control will only exacerbate their problems. Less regulated British corporations will cause more environmental damage and more mistreatment of employees and customers. Like the U.S., the media fed the paranoia and the fear.

Is “Texit” next? Daniel Miller, head of the Texas Nationalist Movement, hopes so. In his revisionist history that overlooks the area’s original Hispanic (and of course Native American) residents, Miller said, “We come from a heritage of people that carved an empire out of a wilderness.” The TNN calls for a referendum, as one in the UK, to vote on secession from the U.S. The “Republic of Texas” goes farther, maintaining that Texas never ceded sovereignty to the U.S. when it joined the union in 1845.

Steve Willliams wrote on care2.com:

“If there is anything that can be learned from the UK’s political fight over the past months, it’s that alienation, fear-mongering and a deep distrust of other nations can create a perfect storm of political action that can lead even usually reasonable people to go against compassion, unity and progressive causes….

“Americans who reject all that Donald Trump stands for will want to make sure that doesn’t happen in the United States come November and will hope that the UK can serve as a wake up call for Americans who felt disengaged from the political process.”

Brexit lessons for people in the U.S.:

  • One should never underestimate the forces of right-wing nationalism and nativism.
  • Successful far-right nationalist parties, leaders, and campaigns leave immediate consequences.
  • Centrist political parties will reap what they sow if they slyly invoke nationalist and racist sentiments for their own purposes.

Williams calls for another vote—perfectly legal—for those people who suffer buyers’ remorse. The vote to leave the EU is not legally binding, and the deal is not set in motion until Article 50 is invoked. Over 2 million people have already signed the petition on the official UK Parliament website for another vote, a number well over the mandatory 100,000-signature level to force a debate in Parliament. The high volume of traffic caused the website to temporarily crash. Ironically, the petition had been placed earlier by a Leave supporter who was afraid that the referendum would support staying with the EU.

If Trump is elected this fall, however, the U.S. has no way back. An ignorant, megalomaniacal dictator will be in charge. Those who think that one person cannot make a difference should ask people in Scotland.

More details about Brexit background and impact.

July 31, 2012

Romney’s Gaffes Embarrass Republicans

“Kiss my ass!” This statement polished off what might have been the most disastrous tour for a U.S. presidential wannabe. Mitt Romney’s week through the U.K., Israel, and Poland began with one of his campaign persons, still not clearly identified, stating the President Obama doesn’t belong to the Anglo-Saxon culture. Rick Gorka finished the catastrophe with the above expletive as well as the directive “Shove it” to the press after they pressed for information. Gorka later apologized.

Romney personally made a large number of gaffes, starting out with criticizing the organization of the Olympics during an interview with Brian Williams. This insensitivity brought derisive comments from both Prime Minister David Cameron and Mayor of London Boris Johnson, the latter when he spoke to a crowd of thousands. One UK journalist said that Romney had brought the Brits together in support of the Olympics. Romney later backed down on his criticism of the current Olympics.

Then Romney called the Ed Milliband, head of the Labour Party, “Mr. Leader” indicating that he had possibly forgotten the man’s name. After Romney met the head of M16, the international arm of the British secret service, he talked about their get-together. The M16, much like the CIA, is highly secret; the chief’s scheduling is almost never revealed. Romney even referred to the “back side” of 10 Downing Street which is a term in England for the lower rear part of the human torso.

During a speech in Israel, Romney praised the country’s health care system, a government-controlled universal health care plan. Wanting to pander to the Israelis, he went back to the culture discussion, stating that the Jewish people were more economically successful than the Palestinians because of their “culture” and because the Jews have “the hand of providence.” Evidently Romney thinks that God likes the Jews more than the Palestinians. Still not taking the foot out of his mouth, he explained that Mexico lacks the same superior culture and hand of providence that the United States does.

Romney first said he didn’t say anything about Palestinian culture and later tried to defend himself by saying that his remarks were taken out of context. (Apparently, it’s okay when he takes the president’s statements out of context, but that no one should do this to him.) You can check out the “context” for yourself.

In Israel, Romney’s campaign also organized a $50,000 a plate fundraiser—on a Jewish day of fasting to mourn the Jewish tragedies. Romney’s campaign said they were aware that they had scheduled a fundraiser with food in Israel on a day of fasting, but they thought that people wouldn’t be so upset. They later dropped the price to $10,000

Today in Poland, Romney praised Poland’s economy when he said, “A march toward economic liberty and smaller government has meant a march toward higher living standards, a strong military that defends liberty at home and abroad, and an important and growing role on the international stage.” This follows his criticism of Europe as a “social welfare state.” Hint to Mr. Romney: Poland is in Europe.

In addition, ABC Fact Check pointed out that the Polish government gives women $300 for each baby they have, doubling that sum for poor families; fully funds state university educations; and guarantees health care to all its 38 million citizens. Some of its economic growth comes from subsidies flowing from the European Union since Poland joined the bloc in 2004. Total government expenditure as a percentage of GDP was about 44 percent in Poland last year compared to 41 percent in the United States. And they don’t pay over half their taxes for defense. Unemployment in Poland is 12.4 percent, and wages are low, and GDP per capita last year in Poland was $20,600 compared to $49,000 in the U.S.

Romney even alienated the Polish people before he set food on their ground. Poland’s storied Solidarnosc (Solidarity) trade union, founded by former president Lech Walesa and others in 1980, issued a press release saying it is “in no way involved” in the Romney meeting with Walesa and had no “initiative” to invite the American candidate to Poland. The union has expressed dismay at Romney’s anti-union stances in the U.S.

The staunchest of U.S. conservatives are also appalled at the results of Romney’s tour which was designed to show that he is accomplished in foreign policy. Karl Rove said, “You have to shake your head.” Charles Krauthammer went much farther on a Fox panel discussion, claiming that Romney’s statements were “unbelievable, it’s beyond human understanding, it’s incomprehensible. I’m out of adjectives.”

Beyond stupidity, Romney has made dangerous statements on his tour. Romney declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel and stated that he would move the U.S. embassy there. At this time, the UN has declared Jerusalem an international city, and this issue is extremely sensitive. Even the Chinese are upset about Romney’s statement. The Xinhua News Agency, the government news resource, wrote, “Romney’s remarks totally neglect historical facts and are actually irresponsible if he just meant to appeal to voters at home.”

Russia is our country’s “number one adversary,” he said on CNN last night. AT least he did say “Russia.” Two of his advisers have recently referred to the country as the “Soviet Union.”

In last Sunday’s speech to the Israelis, Romney said that he would stand with their country against any Iranian threat, pointing out a hawkish approach that could lead to World War III. “We have a solemn duty and a moral imperative to deny Iran’s leaders the means to follow through on their malevolent intensions. We must not delude ourselves into thinking that containment is an option.” Dan Senior, Romney’s senior foreign policy aide, suggested that Romney would support a unilateral military strike by Israel. Senior later said that he didn’t really mean a military strike.

As Rove shakes his head and Krauthammer runs out of adjectives, others wonder why Romney is making so many mistakes. One simplistic theory from people who see Romney as intelligent is that he is trying to show that he’s one of the people. Others connect it to his anxiety and lack of experience in interacting with people who don’t share his wealthy background and Mormon faith. The result is contempt for people not in his personal world which slips out when he isn’t careful. The British aren’t running the Olympics correctly, or young people without money for college should borrow from their parents rather than the government. His failure in communication then leads to hostility that leads to bullying.

These gaffes, however, may not cause him as much trouble as what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today. After saying that Romney couldn’t make it through a Senate confirmation process as a mere Cabinet nominee because he wouldn’t release information about his personal finances, Reid said that a Bain Capital investor told him that Romney didn’t pay taxes for ten years.

Romney himself has said that he should be elected as president if he paid taxes he didn’t owe. But now there is speculation about whether he isn’t paying taxes that he does owe. Everyone in the country should question a man who pays less than 14 percent taxes in the one year in which he released his tax returns and then wants to be elected because his economic plan will lower his own personal taxes.

About Romney’s dismal performance in England, Krauthammer said that all he had to do was keep his mouth shut. Henry Porter, writing for the UK Guardian, agreed, in charming British language: “All that is required of any foreign personage is to speed along the line of greeters, murmuring: ‘Jolly good show–carry on.’”

Porter continued with this gem about Romney: “He displayed the sure touch of a Tourettes sufferer.”

In guessing at the reason behind Romney’s vast mistakes:

“It is that Romney has stripped himself of reason, personality, and sense in order to become the next president of the United States and that that is ultimately why he will fail to persuade the undecided voters to endorse him. Devilishly cunning new legislation in 19 key U.S. states, designed to place obstacles between voters and the ballot boxes most likely to affect those who vote Democrat, may eventually swing it for the Republicans. But in a straight fight with Obama on the candidates’ weight, experience, and merit of their convictions, he comes a distant second. This is as much about authenticity as politics.

“Romney is generally smooth in interview yet he leaves you counting your change. The general debate on how the rich got richer in the last 15 years may prove embarrassing for him. Bain’s chief mode of operation was to create efficiencies by outsourcing jobs to cheaper labor markets. That is not a great record if the main thrust of your campaign is to concentrate on the administration’s failure to create jobs on American soil.

“Romney has got nothing to say. He hollowed himself out to gain the nomination and is now too drained of character to win the presidency.”

And there you have it: the Republican presidential nominee of 2012.

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