Friday, August 31, 2012

Trust Me

by Dee Newman

Were you watching the Republican National Convention last night?

I thought the whole point of an acceptance speech is to truthfully tell the American people what kind of president you will be – to tell us the hard truths we need to hear and what you will do to address the tough issues facing this nation – specifically our nation's high rate of unemployment.

In fact, that’s what New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Mitt’s running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, told us Mitt would tell us. I was actually really looking forward to finally hearing Mitt’s plan to put people back to work.

It seems to me, though it required a little effort and courage, he had a fairly easy task – “if you elect me, here's what I will do."

Unfortunately, by the time the balloons dropped last night, we had no better idea what Mitt would do in office than we had the day before.

I wasn’t looking for charts and a whiteboard, but I was expecting to hear something about what he intends to do with the enormous power of the presidency to solve a few of the nation’s problems.

So, I kept waiting and waiting to hear something, anything, that might resemble real substance, but (as you know) it never came.

His whole speech could be boiled down to: President Obama is a nice guy and he tried, but his efforts were inadequate; if you elect me, I will not fail; I will create 12 million jobs; Trust me.

Yeah, right.

He wants the American people to take a leap of faith based on nothing, but his word . . . without proposing any substance or specifics. Just the word of a proven thin-lipped liar, a flip-flopper, who continues to peddle the same old Bush-era policies of deregulation, tax cuts for the filthy rich and trickle-down economics. You know, the exact same thing that not only did not create jobs during W's 8 years in office, but got us into this mess in the first place.

By-the-way, his prevarications last night rivaled his running mate’s the night before.

From RollingStone

The Federal Bailout That Saved Mitt Romney

Government documents prove the candidate's mythology is just that

By Tim Dickinson

August 29, 2012 7:00 AM ET

Mitt Romney likes to say he won't "apologize" for his success in business. But what he never says is "thank you" – to the American people – for the federal bailout of Bain & Company that made so much of his outsize wealth possible.

According to the candidate's mythology, Romney took leave of his duties at the private equity firm Bain Capital in 1990 and rode in on a white horse to lead a swift restructuring of Bain & Company, preventing the collapse of the consulting firm where his career began. When The Boston Globe reported on the rescue at the time of his Senate run against Ted Kennedy, campaign aides spun Romney as the wizard behind a "long-shot miracle," bragging that he had "saved bank depositors all over the country $30 million when he saved Bain & Company."

In fact, government documents on the bailout obtained by Rolling Stone show that the legend crafted by Romney is basically a lie. The federal records, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that Romney's initial rescue attempt at Bain & Company was actually a disaster – leaving the firm so financially strapped that it had "no value as a going concern." Even worse, the federal bailout ultimately engineered by Romney screwed the FDIC – the bank insurance system backed by taxpayers – out of at least $10 million. And in an added insult, Romney rewarded top executives at Bain with hefty bonuses at the very moment that he was demanding his handout from the feds.

With his selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate, Romney has made fiscal stewardship the centerpiece of his campaign. A banner at declared, "We have a moral responsibility not to spend more than we take in." Romney also opposed the federal bailout for Detroit automakers, famously arguing that the industry should be forced into bankruptcy. Government bailouts, he insists, are "the wrong way to go."

But the FDIC documents on the Bain deal – which were heavily redacted by the firm prior to release – show that as a wealthy businessman, Romney was willing to go to extremes to secure a federal bailout to serve his own interests. He had a lot at stake, both financially and politically. Had Bain & Company collapsed, insiders say, it would have dealt a grave setback to Bain Capital, where Romney went on to build a personal fortune valued at as much as $250 million. It would also have short-circuited his political career before it began, tagging Romney as a failed businessman unable to rescue his own firm.

"None of us wanted to see Bain be the laughingstock of the business world," recalls a longtime Romney lieutenant who asked not to be identified. "But Mitt's reputation was on the line."

Mitt Romney's Federal Bailout: The Documents

The trouble began in 1984, when Bain & Company spun off Bain Capital to engage in leveraged buyouts and put Romney in charge of the new operation. To free up money to invest in the new business, founder Bill Bain and his partners cashed out much of their stock in the consulting firm – leaving it saddled with about $200 million in debt. (Romney, though not a founder, reportedly profited from the deal.) "People will tell you that Bill raped the place clean, was greedy, didn't know when to stop," a former Bain consultant later conceded. "Did they take too much out of the firm? You bet."

The FDIC documents make clear what happened next: "Soon after the founders sold their equity," analysts reported, "business began to drop off." First came scandal: In the late 1980s, a Bain consultant became a key figure in an illegal stock manipulation scheme in London. The firm's reputation took a hit, and it fired 10 percent of its consulting force. By the time the 1989 recession began, Bain & Company found itself going broke fast. Cash flows weren't enough to service the debt imposed by the founders, and the firm could barely make payroll. In a panic, Bill Bain tapped Romney, his longtime protégé, to take the reins.

To read the rest of the article click here.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Paul Ryan: Wrong for the Middle Class

"We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers."

by DeeNewman

On July 31, I wrote on this Blog: If there’s one thing we have learned about Mitt Romney over the last year, it is that he does not let facts get in his way.

While defending the campaign's patently false ads that claim the Obama administration removed work requirements from welfare, a Romney pollster, Neil Newhouse, boldly and unashamedly told a reporter this past week: "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers."

Doubling down on that statement, last night during prime time we heard Romney’s running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, at the Republican Convention level one falsehood after another against the President, while neglecting to give a single idea for how to put people back to work.

Ryan lied about Medicare. He lied about the Recovery Act. He lied about the deficit and debt. He even unfairly and deceitfully attacked President Obama for the closing of a GM plant in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin – a plant that closed under George W. Bush in December 2008.

Ryan disingenuously criticize and accused the president of not supporting the Simpson-Bowels Deficit Commission report, while conveniently failing to mention that he, Ryan, had in fact voted against it.

He also reiterating a number of false attack ads that accuse President Obama of funneling $716 billion out of Medicare to pay for Obamacare, while failing to mention that his own budget plan relies on those very same savings to help finance more tax cuts for the filthy rich.

Ryan dishonestly told the GOP delegates that President Obama was solely responsible for the Standard & Poor's downgrade of the U.S. debt. Of course, he failed to mention that the S&P downgrade was actually caused by the debt ceiling standoff, driven by House Republicans, led by no other than – Paul Ryan. In fact, in explaining the downgrade S&P wrote: “We have changed our assumption [on the debt] because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues.”

Yes, it seems that the Romney campaign has calculated that facts are irrelevant and even blatant lies will not hurt them with voters.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

From RollingStone

Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital

How the GOP presidential candidate and his private equity firm staged an epic wealth grab, destroyed jobs – and stuck others with the bill

by Matt Taibbi / August 29, 2012

The great criticism of Mitt Romney, from both sides of the aisle, has always been that he doesn't stand for anything. He's a flip-flopper, they say, a lightweight, a cardboard opportunist who'll say anything to get elected.

The critics couldn't be more wrong. Mitt Romney is no tissue-paper man. He's closer to being a revolutionary, a backward-world version of Che or Trotsky, with tweezed nostrils instead of a beard, a half-Windsor instead of a leather jerkin. His legendary flip-flops aren't the lies of a bumbling opportunist – they're the confident prevarications of a man untroubled by misleading the nonbeliever in pursuit of a single, all-consuming goal. Romney has a vision, and he's trying for something big: We've just been too slow to sort out what it is, just as we've been slow to grasp the roots of the radical economic changes that have swept the country in the last generation.

The incredible untold story of the 2012 election so far is that Romney's run has been a shimmering pearl of perfect political hypocrisy, which he's somehow managed to keep hidden, even with thousands of cameras following his every move. And the drama of this rhetorical high-wire act was ratcheted up even further when Romney chose his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin – like himself, a self-righteously anal, thin-lipped, Whitest Kids U Know penny pincher who'd be honored to tell Oliver Twist there's no more soup left. By selecting Ryan, Romney, the hard-charging, chameleonic champion of a disgraced-yet-defiant Wall Street, officially succeeded in moving the battle lines in the 2012 presidential race.

Like John McCain four years before, Romney desperately needed a vice-presidential pick that would change the game. But where McCain bet on a combustive mix of clueless novelty and suburban sexual tension named Sarah Palin, Romney bet on an idea. He said as much when he unveiled his choice of Ryan, the author of a hair-raising budget-cutting plan best known for its willingness to slash the sacred cows of Medicare and Medicaid. "Paul Ryan has become an intellectual leader of the Republican Party," Romney told frenzied Republican supporters in Norfolk, Virginia, standing before the reliably jingoistic backdrop of a floating warship. "He understands the fiscal challenges facing America: our exploding deficits and crushing debt."

Debt, debt, debt. If the Republican Party had a James Carville, this is what he would have said to win Mitt over, in whatever late-night war room session led to the Ryan pick: "It's the debt, stupid." This is the way to defeat Barack Obama: to recast the race as a jeremiad against debt, something just about everybody who's ever gotten a bill in the mail hates on a primal level.

Last May, in a much-touted speech in Iowa, Romney used language that was literally inflammatory to describe America's federal borrowing. "A prairie fire of debt is sweeping across Iowa and our nation," he declared. "Every day we fail to act, that fire gets closer to the homes and children we love." Our collective debt is no ordinary problem: According to Mitt, it's going to burn our children alive.

And this is where we get to the hypocrisy at the heart of Mitt Romney. Everyone knows that he is fantastically rich, having scored great success, the legend goes, as a "turnaround specialist," a shrewd financial operator who revived moribund companies as a high-priced consultant for a storied Wall Street private equity firm. But what most voters don't know is the way Mitt Romney actually made his fortune: by borrowing vast sums of money that other people were forced to pay back. This is the plain, stark reality that has somehow eluded America's top political journalists for two consecutive presidential campaigns: Mitt Romney is one of the greatest and most irresponsible debt creators of all time. In the past few decades, in fact, Romney has piled more debt onto more unsuspecting companies, written more gigantic checks that other people have to cover, than perhaps all but a handful of people on planet Earth.

By making debt the centerpiece of his campaign, Romney was making a calculated bluff of historic dimensions – placing a massive all-in bet on the rank incompetence of the American press corps. The result has been a brilliant comedy: A man makes a $250 million fortune loading up companies with debt and then extracting million-dollar fees from those same companies, in exchange for the generous service of telling them who needs to be fired in order to finance the debt payments he saddled them with in the first place. That same man then runs for president riding an image of children roasting on flames of debt, choosing as his running mate perhaps the only politician in America more pompous and self-righteous on the subject of the evils of borrowed money than the candidate himself. If Romney pulls off this whopper, you'll have to tip your hat to him: No one in history has ever successfully run for president riding this big of a lie. It's almost enough to make you think he really is qualified for the White House.

The unlikeliness of Romney's gambit isn't simply a reflection of his own artlessly unapologetic mindset – it stands as an emblem for the resiliency of the entire sociopathic Wall Street set he represents. Four years ago, the Mitt Romneys of the world nearly destroyed the global economy with their greed, shortsightedness and – most notably – wildly irresponsible use of debt in pursuit of personal profit. The sight was so disgusting that people everywhere were ready to drop an H-bomb on Lower Manhattan and bayonet the survivors. But today that same insane greed ethos, that same belief in the lunatic pursuit of instant borrowed millions – it's dusted itself off, it's had a shave and a shoeshine, and it's back out there running for president.

Mitt Romney, it turns out, is the perfect frontman for Wall Street's greed revolution. He's not a two-bit, shifty-eyed huckster like Lloyd Blankfein. He's not a sighing, eye-rolling, arrogant jerkwad like Jamie Dimon. But Mitt believes the same things those guys believe: He's been right with them on the front lines of the financialization revolution, a decades-long campaign in which the old, simple, let's-make-stuff-and-sell-it manufacturing economy was replaced with a new, highly complex, let's-take-stuff-and-trash-it financial economy. Instead of cars and airplanes, we built swaps, CDOs and other toxic financial products. Instead of building new companies from the ground up, we took out massive bank loans and used them to acquire existing firms, liquidating every asset in sight and leaving the target companies holding the note. The new borrow-and-conquer economy was morally sanctified by an almost religious faith in the grossly euphemistic concept of "creative destruction," and amounted to a total abdication of collective responsibility by America's rich, whose new thing was making assloads of money in ever-shorter campaigns of economic conquest, sending the proceeds offshore, and shrugging as the great towns and factories their parents and grandparents built were shuttered and boarded up, crushed by a true prairie fire of debt.

Mitt Romney – a man whose own father built cars and nurtured communities, and was one of the old-school industrial anachronisms pushed aside by the new generation's wealth grab – has emerged now to sell this make-nothing, take-everything, screw-everyone ethos to the world. He's Gordon Gekko, but a new and improved version, with better PR – and a bigger goal. A takeover artist all his life, Romney is now trying to take over America itself. And if his own history is any guide, we'll all end up paying for the acquisition.

To read the entire article click here.

Monday, August 27, 2012


7 Reasons Why We Have Not Evolved to Eat Meat


Robert Grillo, who wrote 5 Reasons Why Meat Eating is Not a Personal Choice, reviewed many of the comments raised by Care2 readers about the story and wrote a follow up intended to address the most common concerns and counter arguments on the subject.

How many times have you heard someone justify their behavior based on the illogical premise that history somehow makes it right and assures its ethical legitimacy into the future? In fact, throughout history influential leaders and thinkers have used this same troubled logic to defend slavery, genocide, the oppression of women, racism, and discrimination based on a whole host of irrelevant criteria including sexual orientation, religion, color and now species.

In my discussions with people both online and in person, I find this interpretation of history and evolution to be one of the most common “apologies”for meat eating I hear these days. I see it as yet another way to avoid honestly confronting the moral issue of using and killing animals for food in an age when it is not necessary. Some actually sympathize with the position of vegans and vegetarians, yet still default to this argument which explains perhaps why 95% of us continue to blindly follow the cultural norms reinforced in us since childhood.

But when we are open to taking a critical look at what we have been taught, the modern myth of man evolving to eat meat can be challenged on several levels. Here are a few of them:

1. Because we are highly evolved moral beings, averse to violence and suffering

If evolution teaches us anything at all, it teaches us that our moral consciousness and our emotional intelligence are a result of highly developed areas of our brain that afford us these faculties. ”… humans are the only animals that can intentionally structure the patterns of our lives according to a basic set of self-aware moral ideals, “writes journalist and professor James McWilliams.” This ability, which is generally premised on reducing unnecessary pain and suffering, happens to be the foundation of human civilization.”

2. Because Einstein said so

Ironically the idea that man has somehow evolved to eat meat stands in stark contrast to the evolutionary and ethical theory of one of the greatest scientific minds who ever lived, Albert Einstein. Einstein argued that mankind would need to evolve to vegetarianism to essentially save himself and the planet. “Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

So if the argument from history carries so much weight for most of us, will a mainstream move to vegetarianism as Einstein predicted ever occur? I think so. For one thing, the interpretation of history that meat eaters use to justify meat eating is selectively referenced from those historical sources that support the practice of meat eating, while ignoring the rest. They also go only as far back into history and the origins of hominids to support this position, while once again ignoring our close ancestral relatives who were primarily or entirely herbivores.

3. Because so called progressive should think progressively about animals too

Even more ironic still is how otherwise progressive-minded people today continue to support the oppressive forces in our society with their food choices, the same forces that they have adamantly opposed in other areas of their life - in their political leanings, in their religious and spiritual beliefs, in the kind of media and entertainment they seek, in the kind of books and magazines they read, etc. Still the oppression of animals remains unexamined for most progressives, and their food choices perpetuate a deep denial of this oppression. But this too appears to be changing. Victoria Moran, author of Main Street Vegan, recounts of her friendship with Michael Moore who she describes as “anti-vegan” at one point in his life. Now, she reports, he is on the vegan path.

4. Because glorifying the history of man’s baser instincts thwarts evolution

Yet even in the face of these exciting new developments, groups like the Weston A. Price Foundation continue to frame history in a vacuum, building their case for meat eating and consequently the more covert goal of promoting the animal products produced by their membership. Other variations on the theme include the ever popular Paleo diet fan sites where you’ll find a vast ancestral mythology on the rituals of eating animals, referencing allegedly scientific, anthropological and cultural studies to prove it. Upon closer inspection, however, many of these sources are little more than widely held opinions rather than empirical evidence that substantiate the claims about the diets of our ancestors. There is yet much to debate on this subject and few hard and fast facts.

5. Because by focusing on our potential to do good now, we overcome the oppressive tendencies of our past

All of this talk of what is right for us to eat based on past example distracts us from dealing with the here and now for which we have complete control. No one is arguing that we don’t have a long history of hunting and eating animals. The timelier question is why in an age when meat eating is unnecessary (for the vast majority of the human population) would we want to focus on what our ancestors ate some 10,000 years ago or more? To paraphrase author Colleen Patrick Goudreau, why would we want to base our ethics for eating on our paleontological ancestors whose lives were dictated by a vastly different set of circumstances and for whom we still have many unanswered questions? Certainly there are lessons to learn from history on many levels, but in relating historical facts to present circumstances, context and relevancy is everything.

6. Because the lessons from history strongly support the opposite

When confronting the argument from history, I say, first, agree with that person wholeheartedly. Then explain how the history and evolution of other social justice movements can instruct us and galvanize us about the future of the vegan / animal rights movement. One common thread that runs through all of these movements is that they were ultimately successful in permeating mainstream culture and society.

They may have begun as fringe movements whose followers were ridiculed and dismissed as extremists, but their leaders ended up being canonized in the history books and described as pioneers who popularized their social movements. And many of these leaders clearly articulated the need for both human and nonhuman animal rights, including Cezar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr., and Alice Walker. A modern-day case in point is filmmaker and activist James LaVeck who makes a compelling case for how the British anti-slavery movement serves as an example and inspiration for the contemporary animal rights movement in his presentation, Let’s Not Give Up Before We Get Started.

7. Because our appetite for justice is far stronger

In the words of Victor Hugo, “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” It appears that we are standing on the threshold of an era when the tyranny of history is about to be dealt yet another serious blow. As the vegan / animal rights movement continues to gain momentum, mankind’s deplorable and largely unchallenged legacy of treating animals as property, currency, objects and cheap, disposable pieces of meat is coming under greater scrutiny than ever before in our history. This makes the infamous statement, Man Has Evolved to Eat Meat, seem even more hopelessly out of touch and reactionary, revealing an attitude that clings desperately to the past and fears change, even when that change promises to reconnect us with the most fundamental and universal principle of justice and respect for all. And I believe justice will ultimately prevail in the end.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Neil Armstrong Died

Photo of Armstrong inside the Lunar Module just after he and Aldrin completed their historic moon walk.

Neil Armstrong, the first man to step on the surface of the moon, died at 2:45 p.m. yesterday after suffering complications from his recent cardiac bypass surgery. He was 82 years old.

Armstrong and his fellow Apollo 11 astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, landed their lunar module on the moon on July 20, 1969 at 4:14:40 p.m. EST. People from all around the world were watching and listening on televisions and radios, holding their breath until they heard Armstrong say, "Houston, Tranquility base here. The Eagle has landed."

Six hours later on July 21, Armstrong step onto the lunar surface and said, "That's one small step for man, one giant step for mankind."

Michael Collins, a third member of the mission, remained alone in orbit around the moon until they returned from the surface 15 hours later. All three men completed the 8 day mission and returned to Earth safely.

I remember watching those historic event enfold on television as if it were yesterday.

Armstong's family released the following statement:
“We are heartbroken to share the news that Neil Armstrong has passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures.

Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend.

Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job. He served his Nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut. He also found success back home in his native Ohio in business and academia, and became a community leader in Cincinnati.

He remained an advocate of aviation and exploration throughout his life and never lost his boyhood wonder of these pursuits.

As much as Neil cherished his privacy, he always appreciated the expressions of good will from people around the world and from all walks of life.

While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.

For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”

Friday, August 24, 2012

From the Huffington Post

My New Rule for Todd Akin and the Republican Party

by Bill Maher

New Rule: If your entire party tries to get rid of you, and you stay in, you can't talk about how easy it is for a woman to push a stupid prick out of her body.

I don't want to waste another second thinking about Todd Akin, and his theory that you can't get pregnant unless your eggs are asking for it. Here's the only thing you need to know about Todd Akin and human anatomy: he's an asshole. What I want to talk about is how it's not a coincidence that the party of fundamentalism is also the party of fantasy. When I say religion is a mental illness, this is what I mean: it corrodes your mental faculties to the point where you can believe in tiny ninja warriors who hide in vaginas and lie in wait for bad people's sperm.

Evangelicals might like to pretend that the magical thinking that they indulge in at home doesn't affect what they do at the office, but it absolutely does. The brain that believes in angels and miracles and Jesus riding a dinosaur is trained to see the world not as it is, but as they want it to be.

Republicans would like to pretend like Congressman Akin's substitution of superstition for science is a lone problem but it's not: they're all magical thinkers, on nearly every issue. They don't get their answers on climate change from climatologists, they get them from the Book of Genesis. Hence Sharia Law in America is a dire threat, and global warming a hoax.

Or take the issue that consumes the right these days, our sea of red ink: Republicans are united in their fervent desire to reduce the deficit, but they want to do it in some magical fashion that doesn't involve raising taxes or cutting any spending. When given a choice in polls between these two options, a majority of Republicans check "none of the above" as a way to reduce the deficit. That's like deciding to pay off your student loans by daydreaming.

Or as it's known on Capitol Hill, supply-side economics. Remember that magic beans theory? That you actually bring in more revenue by bringing in less? Ronald Reagan believed it. But at least back in the '80's it was new. The thing is, we tried it, and it doesn't work. Yet, Paul Ryan, who every shit-for-brains pundit in America keeps telling us is a "serious" guy, still believes in the supply-side theory. All the Republicans do. They all believe in something that both science and history have shown to be pure fantasy. The symbol for their party shouldn't be an elephant -- it should be a unicorn.

Paul Ryan is their tough guy on spending but he doesn't want to touch defense -- that's right, a budget hawk who doesn't think there's anything bloated about the Defense Department's budget. It's like being a health inspector and finding nothing wrong with the Asian place that has the chicken hanging in the window. This is how low we've put the bar for political courage -- that you can just write, "I want a pony" in a binder and call it the "Plan For Restoring Vision For the Future of America's Greatness" or some shit, and then everyone has to refer to you as the serious one in Congress. It reminds me of health care. Republicans are for all the popular things, like covering people with pre-existing conditions, but they're not for the part where you pay for it, like the mandate. Just like they were for our recent wars, but not for paying for them. For the prescription drug bill, but not for paying for it.

How do they get away with it? They know that, because we're already such a religious country, our minds are primed for magical, fantasy thinking. The gullibility comes factory-installed. They've learned that you appeal not to an American's head, but to his gut -- it's a much bigger target. But here's the problem: life is complicated. I mean, I know we know some things for sure, like why Jesus put us here on Earth: to watch Here Comes Honey Boo Boo on a 50-inch TV screen. But what about the Chinese slaves who made the TV? What about carbon from the coal that generated the electricity? What about the Walmart where we bought it, where the workers don't have health insurance? What about racism, or the oceans turning into nail polish remover? The grown-up answer is: identify problems scientifically, prioritize and solve. The Republican answer is: there isn't a problem. And anyone who tells you different is a liar who hates America. We don't have to make hard choices. We just have to ignore the science and the math -- that's why God gave us values.

If rape babies throw a monkey wrench into the whole right-to-life pitch, just make believe rape babies don't exist. If you want to cut down on teen pregnancy, just tell curious kids with raging hormones to practice abstinence. Until they get married. Because everyone knows, that's when the fucking never stops. Health care? Not a problem if you just keep repeating, "We have the greatest health care in the world." Even though the U.N. ranks it 37th.

What's the solution to global warming? It's that it isn't real, and even if it is, big whoop, just buy an air conditioner, you pussy. Republicans also believe that putting the word "clean" next to the word "coal" creates something called clean coal. Even thought there's the exact same amount of evidence for clean coal as there is for Todd Akin's mistaken baby makin' theory.

Republicans also believe if they kick all the Mexicans out of the country, the strawberries will pick themselves, and that if they cut the safety net all the poor blacks are "resting" in, they will fall gently to the ground, stand up, dust themselves off, and get good-paying jobs as Olympic gymnasts.

Next week in Tampa the Republicans must admit that the difference between a GOP convention and Comic-Con is that the people at Comic-Con have a much firmer grasp of reality.

Veronique Peck Died

Veronique Peck, wife of Gregory Peck, died yesterday at her home in Los Angles. She was 80 years old. They were married for nearly 50 years, until Gregory Peck's death in 2003.

Veronique Passani Peck was born in Paris. She was the daughter of  Antoine Passani, an architect and  Alexandra Passani, a Russian artist.

Upon graduation from Marymount Univdrsity, she became a reporter for the leading French daily, France Soir.  She interviewed leaders in politics and the arts.

In 1953 she interviewed Gregory Peck. After their interview, Peck flew to Italy to film "Roman Holiday" with Audrey Hepburn. Six months later he returned to Paris and called the newspaper to invite the beautiful young journalist who had interviewed him out to lunch.

In Peck's telling of the story, he recounts that he heard a loudspeaker announce “Veronique Passani, c’est Monsieur Gregory Peck au telephone,” and the noisy newsroom went silent.

When she picked up the phone he reminded her of their meeting six months earlier and invited her to lunch. When she hesitated, he asked if she had a boyfriend.  She told him that she didn’t, but still wouldn’t agree to go to lunch. Peck was persistent. Their lunch at a Left Bank restaurant marked the beginning of a love story that lasted for over a half century.

Years later, she told him why it had taken her so long to accept the luncheon date. “I wasn’t going to tell you this,” she confessed, “but I had an interview that day with Dr. Albert Schweitzer at Jean-Paul Sartre apartment.”  Gregory replied,  “Well, you made the right choice, kiddo.”

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Samuel Silvia

Samuel Silva is a lawyer and self-taught artist from Portugal.  In the above drawing he used 6 colored Bic ballpoint pens to make the 8” x 9” drawing. By crosshatching the 6 different colors in layers, he was able to create the illusion of blending, as well as other subtle shades of colors.

To see more of his work go to

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Consistently Inconsistent The story of two men trapped in one body 


Over the years Mitt Romney has flip-flopped on a number of issues including his stands on abortion, signing a no tax pledge, support for Reagan policies, whether humans contribute to global warming, gun control, the economic stimulus and TARP.

Integrity is an ethical concept of consistency of values, methods, principles and actions. As a child my father told me that a man's integrity is all that he truly owns. A person's reputation is determined by it. Never say anything you are not willing to do. Your credibility is built over time from the history of your values, words and deeds.

Mitt Romney's values, words and deeds over a long period of time have been consistently inconsistent. Or, as my father would have said – his reputation as a lying hypocrite precedes him.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Rachel Maddow Show

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

A Follow Up to My Last Post

by Dee Newman

The following is Todd Akin’s entire response when he was ask to explain why he opposes abortion even in cases of rape:
"It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. You know, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child."
Notice anything?

Representative Akin clearly told us how he believes we should treat the rapist and how we should treat the product of the rape – the fetus or as he proclaims, “the child”. But, isn't there someone else involved?

How about the person who had to endure the rape, who, according to him, should be legally compelled to give birth to the rapist's baby even if she can prove in a court of law that it was a “legitimate rape”?

Women who are victims of rape deserve no consideration at all, it seems.

The only way Republicans will stop their misogynistic attacks on women is to stop voting them into office.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Three of a Kind

 by Dee Newman

When the Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin declared that victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant because “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan immediately tried to distance themselves from Akin’s offensive comments.

But, try as they may, they cannot run away from their own position.

Every piece of legislation introduced in the House in recent years limiting a women's right to choose, even for victims of rape and incest, has been sponsored by guess who – Todd Akin and Paul Ryan.

When Ryan joined with Akin and tried to limit the definition of “rape” to “forcible rape,” what exactly do you think they were trying to do, other than to determine “rape legitimacy” and create more barriers for rape survivors seeking justice?

When Mitt Romney recently endorsed “personhood amendments” in a number of states limiting a women's right to choose, even for victims of rape and incest, he too revealed his support of Akin’s attitude.

In fact, Akin’s point of view is the prevailing position of the Republican Party. According to news reports, the draft of the GOP's 2012 party platform, once again, calls for a band on abortion with no exceptions for rape and incest.

If the Fourth Estate does its job and ask the right questions, Romney and Ryan will never be able to distance themselves from themselves.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ann Romney

Ann Romney told Natalie Morales from NBC News, "There's going to be no more tax releases given." "We have been very transparent to what's legally required of us." “It will give them [the Obama administration] just more ammunition.”

My question is: What’s the ‘more ammunition’?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

From The Washington Post

Romney and Ryan’s disdain for the working class

By Eugene Robinson, Published: August 13

Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate underscores the central question posed by this campaign: Should cold selfishness become the template for our society, or do we still believe in community?

Romney wanted the election to be seen as a referendum on the success or failure of President Obama’s economic policies. Instead, he has revealed that the campaign is really a choice between two starkly different philosophies. One could be summed up as: “We’re all in this together.” The other: “I’ve got mine.”

This is not about free enterprise, and it’s not about personal liberty; those fundamental principles are unquestioned. But for at least the past 100 years, we have understood capitalism and freedom to exist within a larger context — a complicated, real-world, human context. Some people begin life at a disadvantage, and it’s in the national interest to open doors of opportunity for them. Some people make mistakes, and it’s in the national interest to create second chances. Some people are too young, too old or too infirm to care for themselves, and it’s in the national interest to secure their welfare.

This sense of the balance between individualism and community fueled the American Century. Romney and Ryan apparently don’t believe in it.

It is well known that Ryan, at least for most of his career, has been enamored of the ideas of Ayn Rand, the novelist (“Atlas Shrugged,” “The Fountainhead”) whose interminable books tout self-interest as the highest, noblest human calling and equate capitalist success with moral virtue. Ryan now disavows Rand’s worldview, primarily because she was an atheist, but he lavishly praised her ideas as recently as 2009.
What about Romney? While he has never pledged allegiance to the Cult of Rand, his view of society seems basically the same.

At least three times in recent days, as part of his response to President Obama’s “You didn’t build that” peroration, Romney has told campaign audiences variations of the following: “When a young person makes the honor roll, I know he took a school bus to get to the school, but I don’t give the bus driver credit for the honor roll.”
When he delivered that line in Manassas on Saturday with Ryan in tow, Romney drew wild applause. He went on to say that a person who gets a promotion and raise at work, and who commutes to the office by car, doesn’t owe anything to the clerk at the motor vehicles department who processes driver’s licenses.

What I hear Romney saying, and I suspect many others will also hear, is that the little people don’t contribute and don’t count.

I don’t know whether Romney’s sons ever rode the bus to school. I do know that for most parents, it matters greatly who picks up their children in the morning and drops them off in the afternoon.

It may not be the driver’s job to help with algebra homework, but he or she bears enormous responsibility for safely handling the most precious cargo imaginable. A good bus driver gets to know the children, maintains order and discipline, deals with harassment and bullying. Romney may not realize it, but a good driver plays an important role in ensuring a child’s physical and emotional well-being — and may, in fact, be the first adult to whom the child proudly displays a report card with all A’s.

School bus drivers don’t make a lot of money. Nor, for that matter, do the clerks who help keep unqualified drivers and unsafe vehicles off the streets. But these workers are not mere cogs in a machine designed to service those who make more money. They are part of a community.

The same is true of teachers, police officers, firefighters and others whom Romney and Ryan dismiss as minions of “big government” rather than public servants.
And what do the Republicans offer their supposed heroes, the entrepreneurs who start small businesses? The few who succeed wildly would be rewarded with tax cuts so huge that they, like Romney, might one day have a dressage horse competing in the Olympics. Most of those who just manage to scrape by, or whose businesses fail, could look forward to only as much health care in their senior years as they are able to afford, and not one bit more.

This is a campaign Democrats should relish. The United States became the world’s dominant economic, political and military power by recognizing that we are all in this together. School bus drivers, too.

Flower Photos

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Another Romney Lie

You may have heard Romney and his surrogates recently say that President Obama stole $700 billion from Medicare to fund Obamacare. If not, you soon will.

The statement is false. It's a lie. Granted the Affordable Care Act does reduce Medicare spending, but as Politifact has explainied:
"Those dollars aren’t taken out of the current budget, they are not actual cuts, and nowhere does the bill actually eliminate any current benefits."
The reduction in Medicare spending isn’t aimed at beneficiaries. It is largely directed toward hospital payments, prescription drug discounts and cuts to private insurance companies under Medicare Advantage.

By now we should all just take for granted that anything we hear from the Romney campaign about our President is a lie.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

From Truthout

Mitt Romney: Gold Medal in Dishonesty

Tuesday, 07 August 2012 13:02 By Dr Brian Moench, Truthout | News Analysis

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the presumed Republican presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign event at the Bowling Green Community Center in Bowling Green, Ohio, July 18, 2012. (Photo: Madalyn Ruggiero / The New York Times) Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the presumed Republican presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign event at the Bowling Green Community Center in Bowling Green, Ohio, July 18, 2012. (Photo: Madalyn Ruggiero / The New York Times) Even as Mitt and Ann Romney were going for a gold medal with their dressage horse, Rafalca, in the London Summer Olympics, Mitt already - in my opinion - had a gold medal wrapped up. Maybe not for horse dancing, but for mental gymnastics, and by that I mean lying. And not just for lying about his Bain Capital tenure, or being deliberately deceitful about Obama. I think a serious fundamental defect in Mitt has been on display for a long time.

In 1969, at age 19, I went on a Mormon mission just like Mitt. I eventually supervised about 200 other missionaries. A few years later, while living in Boston during my medical residency, I also attended the same church as Mitt and Ann Romney. Mitt had several high callings from the Mormon Church hierarchy during his time in Boston, eventually supervising the ecclesiastic affairs of about 4,000 Boston Mormons, much like a shepherd watching over his flock. Ann and my wife shared positions of responsibility in our local "ward," and in that capacity, Ann was in our home several times.

Obama/Biden Reaction to Romney's VP Pick

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

From Rachel Maddow Show (GOP Fake Outrage)

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Clinton: Romney's Latest Misleading Ad

The following is a statement by President Bill Clinton on Governor Mitt Romney's latest misleading television advertisement:

Governor Romney released an ad today [7/7/2012] alleging that the Obama administration had weakened the work requirements of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act. That is not true.

The act emerged after years of experiments at the state level, including my work as Governor of Arkansas beginning in 1980. When I became President, I granted waivers from the old law to 44 states to implement welfare to work strategies before welfare reform passed.

After the law was enacted, every state was required to design a plan to move people into the workforce, along with more funds to help pay for training, childcare and transportation. As a result, millions of people moved from welfare to work.

The recently announced waiver policy was originally requested by the Republican governors of Utah and Nevada to achieve more flexibility in designing programs more likely to work in this challenging environment. The Administration has taken important steps to ensure that the work requirement is retained and that waivers will be granted only if a state can demonstrate that more people will be moved into work under its new approach. The welfare time limits, another important feature of the 1996 act, will not be waived.

The Romney ad is especially disappointing because, as governor of Massachusetts, he requested changes in the welfare reform laws that could have eliminated time limits altogether. We need a bipartisan consensus to continue to help people move from welfare to work even during these hard times, not more misleading campaign ads.