Shorter Question Everything
And if you let him lie and do nothing, you’re not much of a moderator.
Firstly, my take on last night’s debate, in a post of its own, because – rant!
Some thoughts on the first presidential debate: I don’t think that the opponent won anything and if he did come away with something, I think he’s going to deeply regret having it, especially by the next debate.
• Full 2012 First U.S. Presidential Debate
• Mitt Romney’s Debate Performance: “Mostly Fiction”
• Disclaimer – much of the ‘crosstalk’ in here artfully cuts out the ‘rulessplainin’ that Romney plays at. Just sayin: 2012 presidential debate: President Obama and Mitt Romney’s remarks in Denver on Oct. 3 (full transcript). [PDF]
• Not so much a win: CNN says that Mitt Romney won the debate. They say he’s the more “forceful” debater (he’s certainly the more energetic liar). And then they say something curious: “He aggressively criticized the president’s record while also outlining, however vaguely, his own ideas about taxes and the deficit.” However vaguely… Did vague suddenly become a positive attribute? I’ve never heard of vague being held up as a virtue in a debate. Forceful and vague? And this is good? And outlined. That’s been the problem all along. Romney and Ryan won’t do more than outline their plans. Ryan said he has no time for details. Romney just says he doesn’t care to give them. He said a debate isn’t the place for it but Obama had no plan providing the details for him. As Democratic strategist Paul Begala observed, Obama debated the Etch A Sketch man. It is sadly indicative of Republican politics these days that when the Romney campaign said they wanted to create “moments” in the debate, what they really meant was “lies.” Everyone knew the zingers were coming. It would be more helpful to the American people, if less helpful to Mitt Romney, if the mainstream media would focus a little more on substance and less on flash.
• Indeed, it seems to me Romney thrived in large part because he abandoned the pretense of honesty. And as it turns out, winning a debate is surprisingly easy when a candidate decides he can say anything and expect to get away with it. Romney told viewers his proposed $5 trillion tax cut isn’t really his proposed $5 trillion tax cut. He suggested he could eliminate a $1 trillion deficit by going after Big Bird. He said his non-existent health care plan protects those with pre-existing conditions when in reality the exact opposite is true. He cited trumped up “studies” from far-right ideologues as if they’re legitimate, assuming the public won’t know the difference. He said a deficit that’s shrunk has actually “doubled.” And when Romney wasn’t repeating falsehoods, he was furiously shaking an Etch A Sketch, rolling out yet another version of himself.
• My take is only this: Mitt Romney has shown himself a man who will stop at nothing — not laws, not rules, not manners — to get what he wants. And he’s willing to do anything to get it. I guess rudeness doesn’t matter to anyone anymore? And, of course, Mitt and the Truth aren’t on speaking terms. No one knows what the Truth did that hurt Mitt’s feelings so deeply. If that’s your idea of “presidential” may god have mercy on your soul.
• I am starting to think that Mitt Romney is a sociopath. Who else lies so easily, so regularly, so completely without even blinking his eyes? I’ve heard from a lot of Dems tonight who seem to be upset with the President’s performance. They imagined some movie-magic takedown, some decisive knockout blow. Granted, that would have been fantastic. However, it was never going to happen. Mitt trained for this thing for eight weeks. It was the longest prep time in debate history. He wasn’t going to come on stage and pratfall his way into losing. But he did lose. Let me explain. Mitt needed to knock the President out. He didn’t. He didn’t come close. In fact, as I write this piece, immediately after watching the debate, I can’t think of one solid hit Mitt landed on the President. Oh, he swung a lot. He may even have clipped the President some. However, he didn’t connect. Not really, not on any major issue.
• #Debates: Ultimately, It’s Not Good News for Mitt Romney. The media has been building up this debate as if it was going to be a game-changer. Folks expected Romney’s debate performance to be as much of a clusterfuck as his campaign is. It wasn’t. Romney stood up on two feet, with a weird grin that made him look like he was in gastrointestinal distress, and he lied. HE LIED. He exuded confidence when he did it, which, hooray!, I guess. But he lied. Mitt Romney lied. And it’s really hard to debate a liar. No matter what you say a liar will just make shit up. But as soon as the Internet stops marveling at the fact that Romney stood on stage and didn’t get his dick caught in his pants zipper, the substance of what Romney said tonight is going to bite him in the ass. Mitt Romney just stood on that debate stage and trolled you, America. And he didn’t even buy you a drink first. What a dick.
• No, Obama Didn’t Lose the Election. Get a Grip. Calm the fuck down already. P.S. Somebody should put MSNBC on suicide watch too. They’re downright hysterical over there.
• Nobody keeps their best stuff secret: “[A]t some point I think the American people have to ask themselves: Is the reason that Gov. Romney is keeping all these plans to replace secret, because they are too good?” Obama asked. “Is it because that somehow middle class families will benefit too much from them?”
• PBS Executive Editor Jim Lehrer was criticized in various media circles for his performance during Wednesday’s first presidential debate after losing control of the proceedings and allegedly letting Republican candidate Mitt Romney “push him around.”
Walking it back begins
• Romney lied about pre-existing conditions during debate: Mitt Romney’s camp is already flip-flipping over Romney’s promises during last night’s presidential debate. Starting with health care reform and pre-existing conditions, a topic Romney already flip-flopped on four times in a single 24-hour period a month ago. Which is a pretty amazing record, considering that Romney has never really given anyone any details as to just what his health care plan is.
• After the first presidential debate at the University of Denver in Colorado on Wednesday night, Eric Fehrnstrom, one of Mitt Romney’s top advisers acknowledged that, as a result Romney’s plan to repeal Obamacare, people with pre-existing medical conditions would likely be unable to purchase insurance.
• Romney Campaign Confirms He Would End Obama’s DREAM Directive: Today, his campaign confirmed to the New York Times that Romney would end the program to grant deportation deferrals to young undocumented immigrants who qualify.
• This Wednesday, Jack Goldsmith, the head of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) under President George W. Bush, concluded that any return [something the Romney camp has been floating] to the use of torture or any other so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” would be both “indisputably illegal” and strongly opposed by the interrogators who would be tasked with the torturing.
• Paul Ryan Calls For Holder To Resign Over Fast And Furious Despite Report Exonerating The Attorney General : GOP vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan may be so busy campaigning that he hasn’t had time to read the news in the last few weeks. At least, that is the most charitable explanation of how Ryan could have called for Attorney General Eric Holder to resign or be fired because he supposedly “misled Congress and entirely botched the investigation of the Fast and Furious program.” In reality, of course, the Department of Justice’s Inspector General conducted a thorough investigation of the botched “gun running” operations that began under President George W. Bush and included the Fast and Furious sting, and his 471-page report cleared Holder of any wrongdoing.
Repulsive Right Wing Crap
• As Slate’s Amanda Marcotte reported Tuesday, Akin gave a speech on the House floor in 2008 denouncing abortion providers as “terrorists,” claiming that they sometimes perform abortions on women who “are not actually pregnant”: “It is no big surprise that we fight the terrorists because they are fundamentally un-American, and yet we have terrorists in our own culture called abortionists. One of the good pieces of news why we are winning this war is because there are not enough heartless doctors being graduated from medical schools. There is a real shortage of abortionists. Who wants to be at the very bottom of the food chain of medical profession? And what sort of places do these bottom-of-the-food-chain doctors work in? Places that are really a pit. You find that along with the culture of death go all kinds of other law-breaking: not following good sanitary procedure, giving abortions to women who are not actually pregnant, cheating on taxes, all these kinds of things, misuse of anesthetics so that people die or almost die.”
• Court Requires Disabled Rape Victim To Prove She Resisted, Calls For Evidence Of ‘Biting, Kicking, Scratching’: In a 4-3 ruling Tuesday afternoon, the Connecticut State Supreme Court overturned the sexual assault conviction of a man who had sex with a woman who “has severe cerebral palsy, has the intellectual functional equivalent of a 3-year-old and cannot verbally communicate.” The Court held that, because Connecticut statutes define physical incapacity for the purpose of sexual assault as “unconscious or for any other reason. . . physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act,” the defendant could not be convicted if there was any chance that the victim could have communicated her lack of consent. Since the victim in this case was capable of “biting, kicking, scratching, screeching, groaning or gesturing,” the Court ruled that that victim could have communicated lack of consent despite her serious mental deficiencies.
• The Oklahoma State Department of Heath has just announced that it will end its WIC contract with the state’s Planned Parenthood affiliates, effectively cutting off the federal funding that the organization’s clinics rely on to provide health services to low-income women.
Fresh after his speech insisting that President Obama is reestablishing the Ottoman Empire, Texas congressman Louie Gohmert told anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney that the Obama administration is “getting advice on how to deal with the Muslim Brotherhood from people who are in the Muslim Brotherhood.” He claimed that the Obama administration is sending money to “radical jihadists” in order to “buy [them] off,” not understanding that they can only use “raw power” against those who worship “a radical, mean-spirited, hateful Allah that these people that twist Islam believe in.”
Gohmert, who signed letters with Michele Bachmann calling for an anti-Muslim witch hunt within the administration that were ultimately rejected but lauded by Gaffney and Newt Gingrich, charged that Muslim Brotherhood agents may be the ones shaping Obama’s foreign policy. Gohmert claimed that Muslim Brotherhood operatives are involved in Janet Napolitano’s “super-secret, trusted, Homeland Security advisory council” but said she won’t give him the names. He also criticized Napolitano for allowing an Egyptian lawmaker to meet with members of the U.S. government in Washington, even after he was vetted by Homeland Security, the State Department and the Secret Service, because he is a member of a political party tied to a listed terrorist organization that has since renounced violence.
• PROPAGANDA ALERT: A Russian Major General who worked as a military advisor to the Syrian regime was killed by opposition forces in August, according to leaked documents published by Al-Arabiya. On Aug. 8 Moscow denied the report and had Vladimir Kuzheyev, a reserve general, go on TV to explain that he was “alive and well.” But Free Syrian Army claims that they killed Maj. Gen. Vladimir Kojève when they raided his car in Damascus, and gave Al-Arabiya a number of documents taken from his personal briefcase to prove it.
• Turkish Parliament Authorizes Military Action In Syria: Turkey’s parliament authorized cross-border military action into Syria “as Turkey began its second day of shelling targets within Syria in response to a mortar attack that killed five civilians.” The measure passed 320-129 and gives the Turkish government authority for one year to send troops into Syria to carry out strikes on Syrian government targets. NATO has held an urgent meeting to support Turkey, demanding “the immediate cessation of such aggressive acts against an ally.” Turkish daily Today’s Zaman has text of the measure. Update: The AP reports: “Turkey says Syria admits shelling Turkish village, apologizes for civilian deaths.”
• Mortar from Syria kills five family members in Turkey. A mortar bomb fired from Syria landed in a residential district of the southeastern Turkish town of Akcakale on Wednesday, killing a woman and four children from the same family and wounding at least eight other people. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu signalled over the weekend that Turkey would take action if there was a repeat of a mortar strike which damaged homes and workplaces in Akcakale last Friday. Syria’s worsening bloodshed has increasingly affected border zones, with stray bullets flying into Turkish territory.
• Protests have flared up in Tehran after two days of collapse of the Iranian rial in the currency market. International sanctions on Iranian banks and oil have caused the rial to plummet 18 percent against the U.S. dollar on Monday and hit a record low of 37,500 rial to the U.S. dollar on Tuesday.
• Iran could put an end to sanctions that are debilitating its economy “in short order” if only it would cooperate with international calls to abandon its alleged nuclear weapons program, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday.
• Israeli President Shimon Peres expressed hope on Wednesday that his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would vanish during the coming year, along with others whom he said threaten the Jewish State. “I pray that next year will be the greatest year in the history of the State of Israel and that those, like Ahmadinejad, who threaten us will disappear”
• U.S. Alleges Smuggling Ring Shipped Guarded Technology To Russian Military: Eleven Russian nationals have been indicted in U.S. District Court for being part of a false-front operation to procure sensitive microelectronics for Russian military and state security agency use. The Department of Justice is charging that the Russian company APEX, Ltd. worked through a Houston-based front company, ARC, Inc. to illegally export these U.S.-made components to Russia. The court documents show several instances of APEX falsifying reports to circumvent U.S. customs.