Wherein I defend Lil Luke Russert
But damn, I do love dragonflies and that is one helluva of a specimen.
[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]
Blogging to the highest common denominator
But his traveling press secretary was furious.Can't think of a more appropriate ending to this miserable tour myself. Priceless.
“Kiss my ass; this is a holy site for the Polish people,” said aide Rick Gorka. “Show some respect.”
Gorka then told a reporter to “shove it.”
Gorka subsequently called a pair of reporters to apologize, saying he lost his cool.
“It was inappropriate,” Gorka said.
...The fact is that Mitt Romney is a steely-nerved businessman, who has turned around failed companies, the corruption-plagued 2002 Olympic Winter Games and an almost-bankrupt Massachusetts – against all odds in each case. Moreover, he has raised a great family with his wife, Ann.Steely-nerved businessman? Don't believe I've ever seen Rmoney's predatory business practices described in quite that way.
Of course, it’s a political move for President Obama to release this web ad on the day Mitt Romney visits Israel. But since the right wing is hyping their completely false “Obama hates Israel” meme like angry weasels, this is a welcome answer to these deranged claims — full of facts and details about Obama’s record, and testimonials from Israeli figures.Not that I'm holding my breath waiting for the prime time prima donnas on the idiot box to mention any of them.
Romney is also scheduled to give a foreign policy address in the late afternoon in Jerusalem, but reporters have not been invited to attend the event. Adding to the sense that Israel is a background prop for the Romney campaign is the fact that the press pool for the meeting with President Shimon Peres does not include any members of the Israeli media. Romney will also sit for an ABC interview from Israel.As David Axelrod put it on twitter, the Mittness Protection Program is fully operational again.
Not so much as a glance at the press corps from Romney on the plane, which was both funny & telling. Biggest press group traveling w/him yet— Maeve Reston(@MaeveReston) July 28, 2012
Romney plane also decorated w/ Middle East map & Team USA Olympic sign. Aides had an Israeli flag to hang but nixed it— Holly Bailey (@hollybdc) July 28, 2012
The London blogger Guido Fawkes reports that organizers of a Romney fundraising reception in the city this evening have slashed the original $2,500 ticket price to $1,000 for "a few last minute guests," in an effort to drum up participation.And I suppose I should try to find the transcript of Mittster's pre-tour interview. This was the hidden gem there:
Fawkes quotes an email from organizers:
Subject: romney dinner…..reduced price for last minute guests has been negotiated
Good news: The Romney dinner in London on Thursday, July 26th is reaching an all time record for a one event fundraiser. In order to get us over the top, we have been allowed to invite a few last minute guests at 10,000 [sic] per ticket vs 25,000 [sic] per ticket.”
We'd like to know the nature of that all-time record for a one-event fundraiser. What's the data pool? Thursday night events featuring at least one internationally competitive heptathlete?
Surely athletes get in free.
As if questioning the enthusiasm of the British public wasn't enough, Romney appeared to go on to denounce the whole of Europe, telling NBC: "We're at a point here where we have two different roads we can go down. One leads to Europe. The other leads to the kind of dynamism and prosperity which has always characterised America."There's just so much marvelous fail in this tour today, it would take too long to post it all. TPM has a summary of such priceless stuff like Mitt forgetting the name of Labour's Ed Miliband, and calling him "Mr Leader" instead. Mitt announcing he met with M16, the highly secretive intelligence agency in England, which is simply not done, old chap. Mitt using an English euphenism for arse in describing his visit to 10 Downing Street. And Andrew, an ex-pat Brit himself, has yet more and tells us why it matters.
LONDON — Mitt Romney’s carefully choreographed trip to London caused a diplomatic stir when he called the British Olympic preparations “disconcerting” and questioned whether Londoners would turn out to support the Games.More on the Mitt's gaffes at The Guardian. And the Brits aren't the only ones pissed off. Via Political Wire, the Mittster's U.S. media minders are not amused:
“The stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging,” Mr. Romney said in an interview with NBC on Tuesday.
That prompted a tart rejoinder from the British prime minister, David Cameron. “We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere,” an allusion to Salt Lake City, which hosted Games that Mr. Romney oversaw.
Romney’s press-corps faux pas: During his meeting with Miliband, according to the pool report, Romney answered questions from British reporters but did not take any questions from the American reporters, which isn’t protocol. In fact, it’s considered a bit of an insult to the U.S reporters who are following the presumptive GOP presidential nominee overseas.My considered advice to Chuck and the rest of the campaign media corps is don't get mad, get even.
There is a book out on the Mormon way of doing business. We are trained from a young age to learn skills that can be transferred to the business world.I want to read this book. I wonder if I can buy it without joining.
A top campaign official who worked for Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 2008 presidential bid and helped select his running mate said Sunday that Mitt Romney's tax returns "do not look anything like the average American," but held nothing which prevented him from being on the ticket.That official would be Steve Schmidt who is now saying he viewed the tax returns. If memory serves, only a few days ago, Schmidt claimed he didn't see them at all. Why doesn't somebody ask him about that? And if there's nothing in bad them, then Slippery Mitt should fracking release the last ten years so the voters can see for themselves just how different he is from "us people."
Mormons make up only 1.4 percent of the U.S. population, but the church’s holdings are vast. First among its for-profit enterprises is DMC, which reaps estimated annual revenue of $1.2 billion from six subsidiaries, according to the business information and analysis firm Hoover’s Company Records (DNB). Those subsidiaries run a newspaper, 11 radio stations, a TV station, a publishing and distribution company, a digital media company, a hospitality business, and an insurance business with assets worth $3.3 billion.They own land, "about 1 million acres in the continental U.S." worth well over $1 billion. And then there's their foreign holdings:
Outside the U.S., AgReserves operates in Britain, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil. Its Australian property, valued at $61 million in 1997, has estimated annual sales of $276 million, according to Dun & Bradstreet.And they own non-profits including "the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC), a 42-acre tropical theme park on Oahu’s north shore that hosts luaus, canoe rides, and tours through seven simulated Polynesian villages." That's worth some $70 million. PCC’s president earns a cool $296,000 annual for running it. Hawaii finally insisted they pay state taxes but they get to skip out on federal taxes on "claims to be a 'living museum' and an education-oriented charity that employs students who work at the center to pay their way through church-run Brigham Young University-Hawaii." In fact, as a church, they get to skip out on a lot of taxes, even those related to profits from their commercial properties. Also they "don't pay taxes on donated funds and holdings."
The mall includes a retractable glass roof, 5,000 underground parking spots, and nearly 100 stores and restaurants, ranging from Tiffany’s (TIF) to Forever 21. Walkways link the open-air emporium with the church’s perfectly manicured headquarters on Temple Square.Meanwhile, SoBeale flags a piece on one of their other business enterprises, "one of the most active and unregulated gun sale websites in America. KSL.com runs "classified adverts which allow individuals to buy and sell handguns and other firearms without proper background checks and no questions asked."
"The responsibility for the transaction is that of the parties involved," Mr Atkinson added. "This is just like any other transaction, a vehicle, a lawnmower, a bicycle."Yes, that's exactly the same as selling Glocks, Smith & Wessons and Sigs to any random anonymous maniac with an internet connection. Guess we know now where Slippery Mitt learned his business ethics.
The organizers claimed that 800,000 people participated, and El Pais noted that the cuts program ‘ has unified a range of unions, organizations and social movements whose cooperation would have been unimaginable up to a week ago — six major labor unions working together for the first time is a telling sign.’It reminds me of the now nearly ancient article in The Atlantic, The Quiet Coup: "But inevitably, emerging-market oligarchs get carried away; they waste money and ... look first to ordinary working folk—at least until the riots grow too large."
Indeed it is. And similar protests have been taking place all over Spain. Last Wednesday, thousands of demonstrators in Valencia, Alicante and Castellón took to the streets in a joint protest organized by Spain’s two major unions under the slogan ‘Quieren arruinar el país: hay que impedirlo’ -’ they want to ruin the country, we have to stop them.’
In Valencia demonstrators surrounded the office of the mayor chanting ‘¡corruptos!’ and ‘¡Hasta los huevos,estamos hasta los huevos!‘ – ‘Up to here, we’ve had it up to here!’ and ‘con este gobierno vamos de culo’ – ‘ with this government, we’re screwed.’ [...]
Others placards denounced the government’s austerity measures as ‘financial terrorism’, while demonstrators chanted ‘Rajoy, escucha, el pueblo esta en la lucha’ – ‘Listen Rajoy, the people are in struggle’ (it sounds better in Spanish) and ‘se va a acabar la paz social‘ – ‘the social peace is over.’
“We’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life,” she said.I watched the clip at the link and I'm with Steve M.. I'm not inclined to make a federal case out of the phrase "you people." There's not one person on this planet who hasn't used that term, though granted it's usually in jest. You probably said to a group of friends as some point in your life, "You people are all crazy!" Or all drunk. Or all wrong. Or something.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks Federal Election Commission data, Obama has collected $118,121 from donors who list Bain as their employer between June 2004 and May 2012. The period covers Obama’s bid for the Senate and his presidential campaigns.Rmoney trying to spin this as hypocrisy but he might want to think that through just a little more. These are people who work for the corporation Romney built, some perhaps even had direct dealings with Romney himself. So what does it say about their judgment of Slippery Mitt's character when they're donating to his opponent? It's not shouting vote of confidence to me.
One of Obama’s top campaign financiers — Jonathan Lavine — is also managing director at Bain, bundling between $100,000 and $200,000 in contributions for the 2012 Obama Victory Fund, according to estimates released by the Obama campaign.
“I mean, this is a guy who admitted to cocaine use, had a sweetheart deal with his house in Chicago, and was associated and worked with Rod Blagojevich to get Valerie Jarrett appointed to the Senate,” the adviser said. “The bottom line is there’ll be counterattacks.”And if rehashing those stale memes doesn't work, they'll deploy Joe the Plumber. Okay I made that one up.
Some in the media have chosen to take my answer today, in response to the question of why I did not select Governor Romney as my vice presidential nominee, out of context. I selected Sarah Palin because she was the best fit for my campaign, and my decision had nothing to do with the bogus tax return attacks currently being waged by the Obama campaign. I have the highest respect for Governor Romney and his record of public service, and he will make an outstanding president.”Sorry Gramps, but quoting your full remarks is not "out of context." You just suck at messaging. Which is why you're not president now.
"Release of the document, while it might serve a political purpose, would not prove very much, he argued. One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show, and what mattered in personal finance was how a man conducted himself over the long haul." [...]The returns revealed an ethical businessman and a concerned citizen. Harris went on to write a glowing account of how George Romney became a self-made man of means who used his money to make the world a better place. Decidedly not driven by obscene acquisition and accumulation of power. He also paid his taxes without complaining.
George Romney, however, called Harris back and surprised him.
"Stumped by this argument, I was not prepared for the move that it eventually led him to make: He ordered up all the Form 1040's that he and Mrs. Rome had filed over the past twelve years — including those profitable ones from when he saved the American Motors Company from bankruptcy and became a millionaire on the company's stock options."
Romney also payed an income tax rate several times that of his son's roughly 15%: He payed more than half of his income in taxes some years, and paid a total rate for the period over 50%.Makes me wish we could retroactively replace the son with the father on this year's ticket.
What’s clear from a review of the public record during his management of the private-equity firm Bain Capital from 1985 to 1999 is that Romney was fabulously successful in generating high returns for its investors. He did so, in large part, through heavy use of tax-deductible debt, usually to finance outsized dividends for the firm’s partners and investors. When some of the investments went bad, workers and creditors felt most of the pain. Romney privatized the gains and socialized the losses.Read the whole piece. It's not that long and the details are damning.
Thanks to leverage, 10 of roughly 67 major deals by Bain Capital during Romney’s watch produced about 70 percent of the firm’s profits. Four of those 10 deals, as well as others, later wound up in bankruptcy.
"We're little tea pots and we're getting steamed up because Obama is tipping us over, pouring us out and draining the entrepreneurial spirit from us, that which grew America into the most exceptional nation ever known."And I here I thought that was just smoke coming out of her ears...
GREGORY: He was still financially linked to Bain. And of course, a lot his fortune is due to his time with Bain. Even when he was on leave, does he stand by the business decisions that were made by the firm he created?Brilliant. We could apply this to so much that ails us. As I said earlier on the twitter, everyone with an underwater mortgage because of predatory lending practices can tell the bank they retroactively refuse the deal after all. Foreclosure problem solved.
GILLESPIE: He actually retired retroactively at that point. He ended up not going back to the firm after his time in Salt Lake City. So he was actually retired from Bain.
…The governor will no longer allow the mainstream media to dictate the terms of this debate. This is just the beginning… We are witnessing the rise of the center right media.And by center right they mean the Zombie Breitbart task force, Tucker's vanity project and the various other far fringe screechers of Wingnutopia.
On five different occasions in the first few minutes of the interview, Romney said he had “no role whatsoever” at Bain Capital after February 1999.Well of course, there is a mountain of evidence that suggests otherwise leaving the Romneybot to explain that just because he's listed as sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer and president, and was paid $100K+ a year for holding those titles, it doesn't mean he actually was in charge of anything. In fact he has absolutely no idea what those people were doing while he was so busy running the Olympics that he just didn't have time to so much as set foot outside of Utah.
“I know there will always be calls for more. People always want to get more. And you know, we’re putting out what is required plus more than that is not required,” Romney said.Actually, no it's not. If that was enough there wouldn't be all these questions about conflicting legal filings. But clearly he's going to do his best to keep everybody in the dark because, it would be bad if anyone figured it out. He's running for president for Pete's sake.
Referring to the 2010 and 2011 returns, Romney could not be more clear about his plans. “And those are the two years that people are going to have. And that’s – that’s all that’s necessary for people to understand about my finances,” he added.
Their returns do not disclose which foreign countries are responsible for paying the Obamas the $2.7 million in foreign source income, but the overwhelming bulk of it must come from payments resulting directly or indirectly from book sales. Nonetheless, the Obamas did report a total of $3,611 in foreign passive income in 2009 and 2010, a type of income that most often results from investments in foreign countries. Like some of the foreign investments for which Romney has been pilloried, this Obama passive foreign income might result from the foreign investments of U.S. financial entities in which the Obamas invested.Oops. Addendum to the paragraph.
[See update below; the passive income indeed came from the foreign investments of a U.S. entity in which the Obama's had an interest (Michelle Obama in a beneficiary), but it is not one over which they had any control over the investments.]So, in other words. Nevermind. (To be read in Emily Latella's voice)
In a survey of 500 senior executives in the United States and the UK, 26 percent of respondents said they had observed or had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace, while 24 percent said they believed financial services professionals may need to engage in unethical or illegal conduct to be successful.Would appear that Mitt Romney is okay with lying and cheating to get ahead too:
Sixteen percent of respondents said they would commit insider trading if they could get away with it, according to Labaton Sucharow. And 30 percent said their compensation plans created pressure to compromise ethical standards or violate the law.
But Bain and Co., the person recalls, pushed employees to find out secret revenue and sales data on its clients’ competitors. Romney, the person says, suggested “falsifying” who they were to get such information, by pretending to be a graduate student working on a project at Harvard. (The person, in fact, was a Harvard student, at Bain for the summer, but not working on any such projects.) “Mitt said to me something like ‘We won’t ask you to lie. I am not going to tell you to do this, but [it is] a really good way to get the information.’ … I would not have had anything in my analysis if I had not pretended.I suspect the numbers are really much higher. But the CEO class use their ill-gotten gains to purchase the politicians who then dutifully rig the legal and regulatory system in their favor. None of the big players go to jail and they still get multi-million dollar bonuses. Which is why I suppose so many were willing to admit it happens. Talk about perverse incentives.
“It was a strange atmosphere. It did leave a bad taste in your mouth,” the former employee recalls.
To spread the message, the source said, the campaign is going to start circulating a document to press that compiles "presidential falsehoods and exaggerations."Yeah, that will impress our tragically cynical media, for sure. But it might fool the rubes into thinking Romney is putting up a fight. So there's that.
A New York City donor a few cars back, who also would not give her name, said Romney needed to do a better job connecting. "I don't think the common person is getting it," she said from the passenger seat of a Range Rover stamped with East Hampton beach permits. "Nobody understands why Obama is hurting them.Yeah this country just went to hell when they gave those stupid working class people the vote. You know, like these obviously undeserving folks:
"We've got the message," she added. "But my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies -- everybody who's got the right to vote -- they don't understand what's going on. I just think if you're lower income -- one, you're not as educated, two, they don't understand how it works, they don't understand how the systems work, they don't understand the impact."
"It's not helping the economy to pit the people who are the engine of the economy against the people who rely on that engine," said as the couple waited in their SUV for clearance into the Creeks shortly after the candidate's motorcade flew by and entered the pine-tree lined estate. "He's basically been biting the hand that fed him in '08. ... I would bet 25% of the people here were supporters of Obama in '08. And they're here now."Poor little rich people. They thought they had an easy patsy when they supported Obama last time but then he goes and hurts their feelings by suggesting they kick in a few thousand extra from the millions and billions they made since Obama has been in office. Hell, how they are supposed to afford $75K dinners if they have to carry that awful burden? Oh, and by the way, Steve M does some digging on Michael Zambrelli. Ironically, it turns out he's a sold out hippie. Which proves the old saw, money changes everything.
At the evening fundraiser at the estate of Julia and David Koch on Meadow Lane in Southampton, the suggested contribution was $75,000 per couple — with funds going to Romney's campaign, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee.Kochs are playing a long and wide game. They're using the presidential race as a distraction. The real power is in controlling the Congress and the Statehouses and with their billions, they can afford to buy it all. And have I mentioned the election is only four months from now?
EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. – A woman in a blue chiffon dress poked her head out of a black Range Rover here on Sunday afternoon and yelled to an aide to Mitt Romney, “Is there a V.I.P. entrance. We are V.I.P.”Sorry lady. At 25K a head for a brief meet and greet, everybody is a V.I.P. in that queue.
After that, Mr. Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, was also scheduled to attend fund-raisers at the Hamptons homes of Clifford Sobel, the former United States ambassador to Brazil, and the billionaire industrialist David H. Koch, a major donor to conservative causes.Word has it, a couple of hundred demonstrators are planning a "welcoming committee" at the Koch bash.
Ms. Simmons paused to highlight what she said was her husband’s generous spirit: “Tell them who’s on your yacht this weekend! Tell him!”Oh the humanity!
Over Mr. Conklin’s objections, Ms. Simmons disclosed that a major executive from Miramax, the movie company, was on the 75-foot yacht, because, she said, there were no rooms left at the hotel.
I was just a 13-year-old kid spitting up the nonsense he’d learned. In the future, a good rule of thumb might be: If you’re not old enough to have consensual sex, you’re probably not old enough to make consequential political statements.In the case of the alleged adults who now attack him for growing up and learning to think for himself, I suppose we have to amend the rule to read, anyone who hasn't acheived the emotional maturity of a ten year old...
The estimated 750,000 voters who do not have state-issued IDs in Pennsylvania surpasses President Obama’s margin of victory in 2008. Many of the voters without ID are in poor and minority communities — typically blocs that vote Democratic. Democrats’ worst fears appeared to be confirmed when the Republican leader of the state House, who helped shepherd the legislation onto the books, recently boasted that it will “allow” Mitt Romney to win the Keystone State.The requirements to get an ID are so convoluted my eyes glazed over just reading them. But if you're a resident, or especially a student, in Pennsylvania, Kay at Balloon Juice, who is my ultimate authority on state voting laws, has read the new law. It's designed to steal your rights at the ballot box.
At one point, Romney supporter Richard Brysac of Parma confronted protester Al Neal of Canton, who attended with members of a group called Fight for Fair Economy Ohio.. Difficult not to notice the classic GOP dodge. "I apologize if I offended anyone."
Brysac, 77, attempted to hush Neal by emptying a bottle of water into the 25-year-old union worker's mouth.
"He seemed thirsty, so I tried to shove the bottle in his mouth," Brysac said. "I thought it was wrong to interfere with [Pawlenty's] freedom of speech.
"I acted out of character and I apologize if I offended anyone."
When the bottle didn't work, Brysac pulled out his handkerchief and gagged Neal
“I think it was naive,” Krohn now says of the speech. “It’s a 13-year-old kid saying stuff that he had heard for a long time.… I live in Georgia. We’re inundated with conservative talk in Georgia.… The speech was something that a 13-year-old does. You haven’t formed all your opinions. You’re really defeating yourself if you think you have all of your ideas in your head when you were 12 or 13. It’s impossible. You haven’t done enough.”Sadly, most of the role models of his childhood apparently never made the same transition into the critical thinking of mature adults.
Trips to Wolfeboro are controlled and mandatory. There is no opting out.And boy howdy, doesn't this sound like fun?
One summer when Romney’s eldest son, Tagg, now 42, was working for the Los Angeles Dodgers, he told his father he wouldn’t make it to Wolfeboro. Baseball, after all, is a summer sport, and he didn’t think he could take a week off in the middle of the season.
“My dad said, ‘No, you will make it,’ ” Tagg recalled in an interview. So he showed up, noting, “I had to beg forgiveness from my bosses at the Dodgers.”
At night, the adults gather for family meetings, with each evening focused on a frank and full discussion of a different son’s career moves and parenting worries.Not to mention the chore wheel ceremony and the mandatory family photo op. Coordinated clothing required.
“You know,” Mitt added, “there’s more to that. I changed the nature of the triathlon after that. I didn’t like this idea that these were only swimming, biking and running.”Just like he added shameless lying and selling his soul to the crazies and his fellow plutocrats in order to try to avoid losing this race. At least he's consistent.
Now, he said, “we have log-sawing, nail-hammering. We added some things I excel at so I don’t come in last every year.”