Shorter Question Everything
But first, a laugh…
• Mitt Romney Out of Context
If the Romney campaign didn’t have a whiff of desperation about it before, it reeks of it now. Everything, no matter how lame, is being puffed up into a gaffe. Crap from the right wingnut sphere is getting chucked into the air like so much flak in the hope that something will stick. Or at least obscure. I’m voting on obscure. After all this flailing by the Romney camp, I’m guessing Romney will have to tack even further to the right, especially after his attempt at a pander on Univision.
• This is not a gaffe, no matter what your crazy relatives and their forwards say. Right wingers have been claiming that they’re Washington outsiders for, oh, forever: Obama on Univision – “I think that I’ve learned some lessons over the last four years, and the most important lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t change Washington from the inside. You can only change it from the outside. That’s how I got elected, and that’s how the big accomplishments like health care got done, was because we mobilized the American people to speak out. That’s how we were able to cut taxes for middle class families. So something that I’d really like to concentrate on in my second term is being in a much more constant conversation with the American people so that they can put pressure on Congress to help move some of these issues forward.”
• Romney’s response – ‘the people’ can’t change Washington, only Washington insiders can?: “He said he can’t change Washington from inside. He can only change it from outside. Well, we’ll give him that chance in November, he’s going outside. I can change Washington, I will change Washington, I’ll get the job done from the inside. Republicans and Democrats will come together.” The new attack is a departure from Romney’s repeated claims that only Washington outsiders, particularly those with private sector experience, can change the course of the country. The GOP presidential candidate has previously said that he plans to fill his cabinet with appointees from the business world (people like Meg Whitman or BET President Debra Lee), eschewing career politicians or bureaucrats. Back in 2007, Romney agreed that change does not start in Washington. “I don’t think you change Washington from the inside. I think you change it from the outside,” he said on December 30, 2007.
• I can usually understand when some random comment gets Republicans and political reporters riled up, but this one’s even thinner than most. The president, right or wrong, believes that real political change is dependent on outside-the-Beltway activism, pressuring policymakers to do the right thing — the whole notion of politics from the grassroots up. That’s not a “gaffe”; it’s not even new — Obama has said this repeatedly, before and after his election. Update: As part of his answer, which the RNC left out of the video, Obama talked about doing more in a second term to engaged in “more of a conversation with the American people so they can move these issues forward.” This context makes the so-called “gaffe” even less controversial and more mundane.
Oh, it’s good to be a Latino!
• Has it gotten so bad that Romney is now resorting to “brownface” in order to make himself more appealing to Univision viewers? Democratic Underground has looked at the photo above from last night’s “presidential forum” and concluded that, yes, Romney definitely “dyed his face brown.”
• Romney flip-flops again on health care, after proudly telling Latinos he’s “grandfather of Obamacare”. “Today, the Romney campaign will hold a press conference call to discuss… that Obamacare is a costly disaster for American families and businesses. The call will feature Governor Bobby Jindal. ”
• The latest nontroversy being circulated in the wingnut-o-sphere today is the release of a new logo by the Obama campaign designed around the America flag. I decided to collect some campaign flags used in the past by various political campaigns and by political groups.
• GOP parrots Glenn Beck conspiracy theory, suggests Obama plans to release World Trade Center bomber:
In the letter dated September 19, 2012, GOP Reps. Lamar Smith, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mike Rogers, Howard “Buck” McKeon, Peter King, Hal Rogers, Frank Wolf and Kay Granger write:
We are concerned about recent reports that the Obama administration is considering the release of Omar Abdel-Rahman. … Succumbing to the demands of a country whose citizens threaten our embassy and the Americans serving in it would send a clear message that acts of violence will be responded to with appeasement rather than strength.
The Obama administration has already said this report is false (“utter garbage” in the words of a Justice Department spokesperson). Yet these top Republicans ran with the charge anyway. So where did it come from?
It seems that the conspiracy theory started in part with a post on the Weekly Standard’s website last week, quoting a USA Today story reporting that the protests in Cairo may have been planned by a group the blind sheik formerly led.
But Glenn Beck’s website the Blaze reported on Sept. 17 that according to an anonymous source, “the transfer of the Blind Sheikh to Egypt is something that is being ‘actively considered’ by the administration as a solution to the ongoing crisis in the Middle East.” The Blaze also reported DOJ’s denial and did not corroborate the anonymous source’s claim.
Right-wing blog Red State then picked up the story on Sept. 18. Yet Obama administration officials continued to say the story is false. “To my knowledge, it hasn’t come up,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said on that day. On Sept. 19, a reporter pressed the issue, and Nuland was a bit more direct. “Let me say as clearly as I can, there is no plan to release the blind sheikh,” she said. “There is no plan.”
• Yes, the Lizard people again: Jamie Weinstein, a senior editor at the conservative website the Daily Caller and his colleague Will Rahn, the DC deputy editor, are publishing The Lizard King: The Shocking Inside Account of Obama’s True Intergalactic Ambitions by an Anonymous White House Staffer.
• Obama Official Says No Evidence Gitmo Detainee Behind Benghazi Attack: The Obama administration is pushing back on a Fox News report that the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, including Ambassador to J. Christopher Stevens. was lead by former Gitmo detainee. Fox News reported Wednesday that, “U.S. intelligence sources say Sufyan Ben Qumu may be behind the attacks.” Qumu was transferred into Libyan custody in 2007. His detention file describes him as a former member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and a “probable member of al Qaeda.” But a US national security official tells Mother Jones that “that report is wrong, there’s no intelligence suggesting that he was leading the attack on the consulate that evening.” The official insisted there was no evidence that Qumu “directed, coordinated, or planned” the attack.
• Is the secret tape Romney the real Romney?: Romney has no ideological convictions, but — as I’ve said many times — he has a deep reserve of free-floating anger. In this he’s like Nixon, except that Nixon resented certain fixed groups (economic elites, blacks, Jews), while Romney seems to despise … well, anyone who gets in his way. That resentment strikes me as absolutely genuine. …Romney isn’t a natural wingnut, but the wingnut idea that people who take government benefits are incorrigible moochers and Democratic voters as a result of that mooching really appeals to Romney’s innate, deep-seated sense of grievance. He feels victimized whenever he doesn’t get what he thinks is his due, and this argument provides him with an explanation of why he’s not getting his due. He may not have believed this nonsense all his life, but once he absorbed it, it stuck. It stuck because it gave him someone to hate, which is what he wants.
Reid, Warren and Brown
• Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: “For all we know, Mitt Romney could be one of those who have paid no federal income tax,” Reid said Wednesday. “Thousands of families making more than $1 million pay nothing in federal income taxes each year… Is Mitt Romney among those? We’ll never know, since he refuses to release tax returns from the years before he was running for president. From that one return – only one we’ve seen – we know Mitt Romney pays a lower tax rate than middle-class families, thanks to a number of things he’s done: Swiss bank accounts, Cayman Islands tax shelters,” Reid added. “And we can only imagine what new secrets would be revealed if he showed the American people a dozen years of tax returns, like his dad did.”
• There’s something really offensive about this. It was first thing out of the door for Brown, and he kept pressing it. First off, what’s wrong with being Native American? Second, he kept asking people whether she looked like she was Native American. How could anyone tell? Seriously, when you’re talking about distant relatives, how the hell is anyone supposed to tell? And should it matter? Is this a take on the one-drop rule? Trying to find out if Warren is ‘passing’? Why the hell, in the year 2012, are we still having these kinds of race-based debates?
“Professor Warren claimed that she was a Native American, a person of color and as you can see, she’s not,” he said.
• Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid interrupted proceedings on the Senate floor to announce there would be no more votes Thursday afternoon, delaying action on pressing issues like funding the government. Why? Because he thinks Republicans were fixing the schedule to allow Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) to use evening votes as an excuse to get out of a debate with Elizabeth Warren. “Madam president, I’m so sorry. We have no more votes today,” Reid said. “No more votes today. It’s obvious to me what’s going on. I’ve been to a few of these rodeos. It is obvious there is a big stall taking place. One of the senators who doesn’t want to debate tonight won’t be in a debate. While he can’t use the Senate as an excuse, there will be no more votes today.”
Queen Ann wants you to stop it!
• Republicans are going to have to right this thing. They have to stabilize it. It’s time to admit the Romney campaign is an incompetent one. It’s not big, it’s not brave, it’s not thoughtfully tackling great issues. It’s always been too small for the moment. All the activists, party supporters and big donors should be pushing for change. People want to focus on who at the top is least constructive and most responsible. Fine, but Mitt Romney is no puppet: He chooses who to listen to. An intervention is in order. “Mitt, this isn’t working.” [...] Romney needs to get serious here.
• Queen Ann wants you republicans to “stop it“, when it comes to criticizing Romney.
“Stop it. This is hard. You want to try it? Get in the ring,” she said. “This is hard and, you know, it’s an important thing that we’re doing right now and it’s an important election and it is time for all Americans to realize how significant this election is and how lucky we are to have someone with Mitt’s qualifications and experience and know-how to be able to have the opportunity to run this country.”
The criticism and very public hand wringing from Republicans comes as national polls show the race between Romney and President Obama is essentially tied.
“It’s nonsense and the chattering class…you hear it and then you just let it go right by,” she told Radio Iowa. “…Honestly, at this point, I’m not surprised by anything.”
• Ann Romney – just stop: 6:58 to 7:50
• We’ve well reached that point: In yet another bit of surreptitiously captured audio that makes the GOP Presidential nominee sound like a complete prick, Romney can be heard to hear “We use Ann sparingly right now, so that people don’t get tired of her.”
• A reactor at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant shut down unexpectedly this afternoon because of a cooling problem, releasing steam containing radiation “below detectable levels,” a utility spokesman told WHTM-TV, a month after it went offline because of a leak in the cooling system, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says.
• Mitt Romney’s campaign handed out more than $200,000 in bonuses last month to senior staffers, according to new disclosure records filed Thursday. The bonuses came the day after Romney formally accepted the Republican presidential nomination at the party’s convention in Tampa. Despite strong fundraising since May, new records show that the campaign was struggling badly for money in August because it had run low on primary funds and was unable to tap into contributions collected for the general election until after the nomination. As a result, the campaign borrowed $20 million. Records show that the campaign still owed $15 million of a $20 million loan from the Bank of Georgetown on Aug. 31. The campaign has since paid off another $4 million of the total by collecting new contributions for its primary account, officials have said.
• Lawsuit and PR attack: The Army officer who once taught that the U.S. ought to consider “Hiroshima tactics” for a “total war” on Islam has put America’s top general on notice for a possible lawsuit. Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley is accusing the government of concealing “the truth about Islam” at a time when proponents of his view of an inevitable clash between Islam and the West have succeeded at fanning precisely those flames.
• Bill Clinton on the Jon Stewart show: “If we don’t deal with it, it will deal with us,” Clinton said, referring to the national debt. “If I come to you and I say, ‘we have this terrible national debt and here is my opening gambit, first thing I’m going to do is increase it by $5 trillion over a decade by doing another round of tax cuts that mostly benefited the people that we benefited in the last decade, even though it didn’t produce jobs. Now we are in a really deep hole, now let me tell you how we are going to get out of it — well what about the details? See me after the election.’” “So I wanted to try to explain that in simple terms. No one would do that unless you were being driven by ideology.”
• Pennsylvania voter suppression: A Tea Party group is now threatening to exact revenge upon the state supreme court for refusing to uphold a law that prevents many low-income, student and minority voters from casting a ballot: A Philadelphia-area tea party group says it will work to defeat two state Supreme Court justices next year if the state’s new voter identification law isn’t in effect for the Nov. 6 election. The Independence Hall Tea Party on Thursday also criticized the court’s decision to send a legal challenge to the law back for a lower court review.
• Increasing numbers of GOP politicians’ language about the nature of sexual assault actually echoes Akin’s — including New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R), whose state’s policies use language that effectively narrows the definition of rape. Not only did Martinez refer to “forcible rape” in an announcement instating April as New Mexico’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month — as if some kinds of sexual assault need to be qualified as more or less “legitimate” than others — but, as RH Reality Check reports, the term also appears in the state’s proposed changes to its official applications for childcare assistance. If the proposed changes take effect, women in New Mexico will be required to prove that their sexual assault qualified as “forcible rape” if they are seeking childcare assistance for a child that resulted from rape.
• Trayvon Martin: New evidence could shake up George Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial this week. Florida Department of Law Enforcement released the results Wednesday of a DNA test performed on the gun and holster owned by George Zimmerman. It revealed the DNA of Trayvon Martin was not present on the grip, slide, or trigger of the pistol used in the fatal shooting that claimed young Martin’s life on February 26 in Sanford, Florida.
• BC: A new Ipsos Reid poll spells more trouble for the ruling Liberals. The NDP are now polling at 49 percent support. That is 17 points up on the Liberals who actually improve three points to 32 percent. The BC Conservatives have fallen to 12 percent with the biggest drop, four points, from the last poll.
• Is Netanyahu apologizing through back channels for the optics of supporting Romney? Would he be saying sorry in any fashion if he thought Romney would win? Lynn Sweet in the Sun Times: I’ve learned that Mayor Rahm Emanuel met Thursday with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak—who is delivering a message from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—that he is not attempting to interfere in the U.S. elections on behalf of Mitt Romney.
• IDF chief orders surprise Golan Heights drill. Live-fire exercise meant to test readiness, fitness of a number of units specializing in offensive firepower; army says drill does not suggest change in alert level. However, it should be noted that the exercise is taking place only a week after the Golani Brigade conducted an even more extensive exercise near the Lebanese border.
• Kyrgyzstan: President Vladimir Putin on Thursday agreed a deal with Kyrgyzstan that will allow Russia to keep a military base in the country until 2032 as Moscow and Washington jostle for influence in the region. The agreement — essentially a set of memorandums of intent ahead of formal treaties — also foresees Russia wiping out nearly $500 million (380 million euros) in debt owed by Kyrgyzstan, a significant sum for the central Asian ex-Soviet state.
• Ukraine’s upcoming elections have been rigged before they have even begun and the West must act to prevent the demise of its democracy, a jailed opposition leader claimed Thursday. Yulia Tymoshenko is serving a seven-year sentence for abuse of power over a gas deal with Russia she signed when she was prime minister, and is now being prosecuted on fresh charges of embezzlement and tax evasion.