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The Amazing thing about this political campaign is how much we learned about Mitt Romney's career and the dubious shenanigans of his colleagues in the darker edges of the .01%.  We have also learned some jaw-dropping things about the Republican Party and its contempt for the democratic process in our nation.  

Here are just a few of the things we've learned;

1. Some political candidates believe they can lie, almost non-stop, and the voters and the press will not be able to keep up with their lies as long as they keep piling on more of them.  Anyone who would like someone like that to be their President needs to have their head examined.

2. Fox News is a wholly-owned branch of the Republican Party.  Or vice-versa.  In any case a foul-mouthed Octogenarian has clearly managed to worm his way into our public life, gain citizenship and wrap himself in one of our two major political parties.  It is interesting to note that when Murdock asked for British citizenship it was refused, for reasons not made public.  Murdock then moved his center of operations to New York and began buying influence.

3.  The Republicans claims of "fiscal responsibility" have been exposed as "fiscal posturing" and "fiscal ineptitude".  There are important differences between these last to and the first one.  Clinton was the real deal, the Republicans, first under George Bush, used our national budget and our military to throw money at the wealthiest and send our military out to fight wars in countries that had oil, or oil pipelines.  A bit like having a pro-oil foreign policy.  People have noticed that.

And there's more!

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When I said "puppy dog eyes", I'll bet that a lot of you immediately thought PAUL RYAN!!

You are correct, he's got 'em.

I think I did get to know Paul Ryan a great deal better during the debate. What I came away with is the sense that Ryan believed that if he looked straight into the camera and gave long speeches, while his soulful eyes were staring out at me, that I would swoon and believe every vague promise and dubious claim that he made.

Didn't work. Instead I found myself looking at what an odd double-bump nose he has, what odd Brilliantined hair, what a peculiar rabid puppy-dog look he has, and I found myself not wanting to be subjected to any more of his diatribes. Ever. He came across as a true believer, a sort of "Mini Mitt", a less practiced version of his running mate, but with more extreme theories about the economy and our society. I would not want such a person to be "one heartbeat away" from the Presidency.

So, not only do I think Biden won, on points, on personality and on the facts, the contrast between the two men has fired me up to work as hard as possible to make certain our country is not subjected to Ryan and Romney.

Oh, and their claims about Romney being so bipartisan when he was Governor of Massachusetts? Because he worked with an 87% Democratic Legislature? (their figures, not mine). Well gee, did he have any CHOICE about working with Democrats? Short of barricading himself in the Governor's Mansion and bellowing out the windows over a bullhorn, he either had to work with the Legislature or take a hike. Now if the Legislature was 49.5 - 50.5 and he worked well with Democrats, then they'd have a talking point. Do they imagine the American people are too stupid to understand the difference?

Guess again, quasi-pseudo-crypto-conservatives!


Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 09:34 AM PDT

I woke in a cold sweat this morning

by arthura

Has everyone lost their minds?  Were enough Americans favorably impressed by Mitt Romney's "forcefulness" during the recent debate to make a 180┬║ turn and decide he was more fun than President Obama?  Was our election teetering on that tenuous a balance that things could change so dramatically?

Or is this not much more than storyline and the need for continuing uncertainty about this election?  Is this the press and the pollsters, who seem to do selective data-picking relative to their polling?  Selective?  you know, like all Republicans vote, but a lot of Democrats don't vote because they are poor, black and employed, or some story like that?

I'm not sure about others, but I found Romney's debate demeanor quite off-putting.  I know that as a Mormon he is not supposed to drink coffee, but did he fudge a bit and knock back three Red Bulls prior to the event?  He came across like Newt Gingrich on steroids.  Can you imagine that personality showing up at a G-20 Meeting and forcefullu lecturing the other nineteen world leaders as to what he (or more likely his handlers) think they are doing wrong?  Wow, that would go over well, wouldn't it?  Our allies would be peeling away from us in a hot hurry.

I heard a clip from the debate between Romney and Ted Kennedy, when Romney ran for the Senate in Massachusetts.  Romney had a plan, Kennedy questioned him about the details, but Romney could not say how much his plan would cost, or what the effects would be on the budget.  Kennedy, correctly, suggested that Romney was full of horsefeathers.  So has anything changed?  Nope, Romney now says that he will release his new tax plan on November 7th.  I hope he keeps that promise, after he gets a well-deserved drubbing in the election.  Anyone who has a "plan" that they can't tell the American people about, would appear to be asking our citizens to take it "on faith" that he's got a really, really good plan, honest!  You just wait, we're all going to swoon over how clever and fair and progressive it all is!  Wait, progressive?  Ooops, that's a bit of a loaded term, isn't it?  Why is it "loaded"?  Because Mitt Romney does not believe in the progressive tax system.  Omigod, there I've gone and let the cat out of the bag.  How do I know this?  Because I am part of the OTHER 47%.  Who are they?  They are the large group of Americans who pay a higher tax rate than Mitt Romney does, even though their income is far, far lower.

There's an explanation of all this below the fold;

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As Mitt "Foot in Mouth" Romney left to attend the London Olympic Games he mused aloud about how disorganized the British appeared, seeming to imply that HIS Olympics in Salt Lake City, a far smaller event, outside an urban area, was far, far better managed.  Oh, and the British didn't seem very excited about the Olympics, which he was disappointed by.

What that earned Romney were some of the more colorful newspaper headlines related about an American Presidential Candidate that anyone can recall.  He really, really annoyed a lot of people, including two key political figures, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and the Mayor of London, a younger and more hyperactive version of Newt Gingrich.  These should-have-been-allies extended the Boot of Welcome to Romney, for talking trash about a project they had been working for several years to organize.  When people are doing their normal daytime job, AND have undertaken a massive international event of enormous complexity, they get a bit thin-skinned.

When one watched NBC and MSNBC the coverage of the London Olympics strikes was uniformly bland.  Individual events were memorable, but seemed missing was a sense of the mood in the city, how it all felt there.  I hadn't thought about it one way or the other until a friend sent me an e-mail, talking about how she and other Londoners were responding to the experience.  She earlier had several colorful comments to make about Romney, but all of that had been forgotten, in the fun of the moment.  Forgotten, but definitely not forgiven.  

And Mitt Romney?  We've not heard much about the Olympics from him, have we?  Having made a fool of himself by trashing the event and the British people before he knew anything about anything, he showed us the key distinction between someone with the ability to be President, and a clueless wanna-be who imagines he can buy the job, buy our votes and then presumably pay someone to do the job for him.  Heck, maybe he'll try to outsource the job to China.  He seems to enjoy doing that.

So how did our competent President comport himself?

A White House spokesman said: "President Obama called Prime Minister Cameron today to congratulate him and the people of the United Kingdom and London on an extremely successful Olympic games, which speaks to the character and spirit of our close ally. Both leaders commended the exceptional performances by both the Olympic teams of the United States and Great Britain and noted how proud we all are of them. The president thanked the prime minister for hosting so many US athletes and fans and for the extremely warm welcome shown to First Lady Michelle Obama."
But after kicking the Mitt down the road a bit, let's just stop and enjoy this spontaneous letter, which absolutely bubbles over with the fun of it all.  Good for them, good for the athletes from all over the world, let's remember we are all brothers and sisters, joined by our shared humanity, on this small planet.  Life can be a grind, but the load feels lighter if we can all stop and have wonderful party now and then.  I'm sorry now that I wasn't in London, if only to see the London Bus that could do push-ups...
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That title may sound a bit incendiary, but it also is a factually accurate assessment of what the Paul Ryan clone Republicans have decided they can't do...   just yet

Nope.  What they need to do first is to pretend they are on the side of the American people and American seniors.  Then, when their ruse has helped them gain control of the Senate and the Presidency (presumably by fraud) then they can rip off their disguise as fiscally-responsible moderates who really really like Grandma after all and reveal their action hero costume;


Because by that time they will have taken so many hundreds of millions in Corporate slush-funding that there will not be a shred of integrity left in any of them.  They can all cry like John Boehner, all the way to the bank of their current choice and paid affiliation.  Heck, and why stop there?  Why not have the GOP members of Congress just go ahead and decorate their suits with the logos of their patrons?  You know, like NASCAR drivers?  Sponsors, that's what they are called, isn't it?  What do the Koch brothers make?  Pampers?  I'd like to see Mitch McConnell wearing a suit with a big Pampers logo on the chest, wouldn't you?

But not this year.  This year the GOP has decided to go to ground and work to present the American (voting) public with the fantasy, the illusion that they never really meant that "destroy Medicare" thing.  See, that budget plan?  The one that would reward their (sponsors) and (future employers) was a sort of conceptual thing.  That's it!  It was an intellectual exercise! (cough) that they never, really, ever actually meant to impose on the American people. Nooo.  That threat to hold the debt ceiling hostage to its adoption?  Oh, you know how boys will be boys!  They really were just having a little fun with those fuddy-duddies from the Democrat Party, you know, the one that really isn't Democratic because Karl Rove said that using a different name would be a nice way to act like a bully and a douchebag?  Yeah, those guys.

And watch.  The true heart and soul of the Republican Party, their true agenda was revealed for the first stunning time in the Paul Ryan budget.  Did you see what they really want to do to our country?

1.  End Medicare
2.  Destroy Social Security
3.  Kiss the tushes of their wealthy donors
4.  Cut taxes on the wealthiest, who already had tax cuts
5.  Rein in the parts of government that look out for individuals

What would be left?  A perfect Kleptocracy, where corrupted government officials, once elected, could expect to be on a financial gravytrain run by their Corporate sponsors for life.

What can we do to avoid that fairly awful destruction of the American Dream?  Well, in the 2012 election we can do our damnedest to help the American people remember what the dark heart of the Republican nightmare would look like, if these ideologues gain power.  They have driven and are driving out the moderates within their own party.  Voters are catching on and leaving the GOP in droves, but the Republican'ts will have about a gazillion dollars to throw at the upcoming election.  They will have patrons willing to spend enormous amounts of money in an effort to buy the upcoming election and turn back the clock in this country by seventy years.  Or more.

Our task will be to not let the American people forget who these characters really are, what their agenda would be, the moment they entered office.  Try Scott Walker times five hundred or so and you'll get the picture.

Oh, and Grandma?  When Grandma's "voucher" gets lost in the mail or she gets confused and gives it to the paperboy by accident?  Guess what (regrettably) may happen to Grandma?  And guess which coterie of Corporate Shills may shake their head a time or two, before they head off to a French restaurant with their real "constituents".

Taking care of Grandma?  Not their job...  at least as they see it.


While others may be counting the days until George W Bush is no longer President I personally am counting the days until Condoleezza Rice is no longer the US Secretary of State.  While a serious situation has been boiling in the Indian subcontinent we were treated to the news that Secretary Rice was playing a recital for the Queen of England.  Great.  We certainly have some serious tensions in England, right?

Others may disagree, but I think Rice is a doorstop, at best. She appears to aggravate conflicts, rather than solving them.  She lectures instead of having dialogs, she criticizes rather than commiserating.  Both nations enmeshed in the fallout from the Mumbai terror attack have tough internal problems and conflicting political pressures that could, in a worst case scenario, lead to a pointless border conflict.

The sad thing is that if we had an effective diplomatic agenda I suspect that the Mumbai tragedy could potentially be turned into the catalyst to help resolve some of the many tensions between the two nations.  Rather than posturing, as Rice and others have done, some shuttle diplomacy could in theory help the two nations realize their shared interests.  How?  walk with me...

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Okay, this is going to be a relatively short alert, to let everyone know that the movie "Boogieman, the Lee Atwater Story" is going to be aired on PBS's show "Frontline" tonight, Tuesday, November 11th at 9 PM.

Lee Atwater, for those who have forgotten him, was the creator of the race-baiting "Willie Horton" ad that helped Bush 41 beat Michael Dukakis in the 1988 election.  Dukakis was perhaps not the most dynamic campaigner, but he would have brought a lot more to the Presidency than Bush did.

Atwater was Karl Rove's mentor.  What did little Karl learn at Lee's knees?  Tune in to find out.  My guess is a casual disregard for the truth, in favor of slander and scare tactics.

Just guessing.


I will not dwell on whether Representative Michelle Bachmann is a raging McCarthyite, a loose-lipped partisan or an unpleasant and destructive personality.  It is possible that she is all three combined.

Instead I want to say "Thanks!" to Michelle Bachmann for something she did by accident:  she helped introduce us to a fine and deserving candidate, her Democratic opponent Elwyn Tinklenberg.  As I have said elsewhere;  what a great name.  Can anyone doubt the overall good sense of someone with as rootstock an American name as that?  I can't.

Let's take a closer look at Elwyn "El" Tinklenberg.  It turns out El Tinklenberg is far more interesting than just being the anti-Bachmann.  He is a former Methodist Minister who became an expert on transportation and infrastructure issues and believes strongly that we have abandoned our responsibility to maintain and improve our infrastructure in terms of road and rail, and in regard to high-speed information networks.  Tinklenberg was tapped to serve in as head of the Minnesota Department of Transportation in the administration of Jesse Ventura.  How's that for working across the aisle!

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Thu Aug 28, 2008 at 10:51 AM PDT

Ten Random Reasons to Like Joe Biden

by arthura

I have not obsessed over this, it just formed in my head during a hot night of erratic sleep.  I was not a Biden guy, but I find myself increasingly comfortable with the pick and liking him more as I learn about him and watch him.  For someone who had to jump into a new and high-pressure situation and try to keep his balance, Biden is doing surprisingly well. That bodes well for his response to the surprises and challenges a Vice President inevitably must face. So here are…

Ten Random Reasons to Like Joe Biden

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It's time to start planning Plan B, isn’t it?

President Bush and his various advisors appear to be suffering from “planning fatigue”.  They are able to wrap their heads around “The Surge”, but apparently cannot begin to imagine what they might do if that Plan fails to yield a positive outcome.  The problem with putting all of our nation’s eggs into one Plan A basket is this;  General Petraeus, represented to us as the latest in a string of pundits who are going to fix the Iraq situation, has gone on record as saying that the surge is starting late, with too few troops, and oh, by the way, is not likely to succeed.

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Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 11:01 AM PST

The Party of Loyal Opposition

by arthura

There is a term and concept in Parliamentary democracy called "The Loyal Opposition".  Wikipedia notes that it is the concept that a party can be in the minority, and deeply opposed to the party controlling the government, but that their loyalty to the Crown will always be undiminished.  Our nation of course does not have a Monarch, nor any comparable institution that unifies the people and transcends politics, but what we do have is an abiding love of, and pride in, our nation, our people and our enduring system of representative democracy.  It seems to me that we, as Democrats, would do well to adapt the concept of Loyal Opposition to our current situation.  We are, for the moment, out of power for the most part, but despite our electoral woes in some past elections, we have never ceased or wavered in our steadfast loyalty to our nation and its principles.

I have enough respect for my readers to make a bet that you can see where I am going with this one.

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Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 03:37 PM PDT

Rumsfeld admits US failure in Iraq

by arthura

By stating that the US will not set any timetable for leaving Iraq, so as to not give aid and comfort to the terrorists. Rumsfeld is tacitly admitting that the issue is not a matter of dialog on an occupation timetable between the US and the Iraqi people, it is a pitched battle between the US and all of the various warring factions who are fighting to try to force the US to leave.  Further, it is a battle the US assumes it would lose if it left any time soon.

Why does the distinction matter?

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