Shorter Question Everything
Mittens may be doing his pandering thing but perhaps he’s willing to throw out a bit of veiled red meat to his base, just to make sure that they’ll continue to put up with the temporary – and I’m sure it’s temporary – swing to the left. It’s that ‘boy’ thing. That horridly offensive ‘boy’ thing. And Mittens isn’t alone in it. He’s got his family, and even Paul Ryan, in on the fun, with Ryan suggesting that poor people in the inner cities – and we all know who he’s talking about – lack character and discipline.
The VP debates are tomorrow and when Biden mops the floor with Ryan and the right wing loses their bounce, will they lose their shit as well? Will Mittens have to come out even harder to the right in order to appease them? The base may be willing to mutter quietly about needing to keep quiet while they think Mittens is winning, but if it looks like he’s not, even for a second, will they tear him to pieces? What will he have to do to appease them then?
• Wow, did he just say that? Following the ‘boy’ thing from the debates?: Josh Romney, one of Mitt Romney’s sons, told a pointed joke Tuesday about President Obama’s debate performance, while warming up the crowd for his father at a campaign rally in Van Meter, Iowa. “I don’t know if you guys saw the debate last week,” Josh Romney said, as the crowd cheered and applauded. “I take a lot of pride in that, because — I don’t know if you noticed, but I was — me and my brothers were responsible for my dad doing so well. We were the ones, as kids, that kept saying the same thing over and over. And we’d say the same lie over and over. And my dad learned then, not to believe it. While we didn’t go to any of the formal debate preparation, we did the real hard stuff. So as a father, he learned how to debate an obstinate child. We had a lot of fun, we had a lot of fun watching the debate.”
• About that Paul Ryan clip from ABC, is he saying that poor people, and especially poor people in the inner cities – meaning people of colour, lack character, lack discipline?: “We have lots of laws that aren’t being properly enforced. We need to make sure we enforce these laws. But the best thing to help prevent violent crime in the inner cities is to bring opportunity in the inner cities, is to help people get out of poverty in the inner cities, is to help teach people good discipline, good character. That is civil society. That’s what charities, and civic groups, and churches do to help one another make sure that they can realize the value in one another.” [I'll add a thought from a friend on Facebook who noted that there was no mention of education here - as in - not a word about putting more money in schools. That's telling, isn't it?]
• “Wow! Here’s old moderate Mitt. Where you been boy? I missed you all these last two years!” Clinton, on the new Mittens.
• Intervention – The candidate’s family prevailed on Mitt Romney, and the campaign operation, to shake things up dramatically, according to campaign insiders. The family pushed for a new message, putting an emphasis on a softer and more moderate image for the GOP nominee — a “let Mitt be Mitt” approach they believed more accurately reflected the looser, generous and more approachable man they knew. Chief strategist Stuart Stevens — whom the family held responsible for allowing Romney’s personal side to be obscured by an anti-Obama economic message — has seen his once wide-ranging portfolio “fenced in” to mainly the debates, and the television advertising that is his primary expertise, according to campaign officials. Tagg Romney, channeling his mother’s wishes, is taking a much more active role in how the campaign is run.
• Flip: Mitt Romney today said no abortion legislation is part of his agenda, but he would prohibit federally-funded international nonprofits from providing abortions in other countries. “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda,” the GOP presidential candidate told The Des Moines Register’s editorial board during a meeting today before his campaign rally at a Van Meter farm. Flop: Romney campaign walked back his comments.
• 9 Things That Show Mitt Romney Is Morally Bankrupt – It’s not that hard to be good to your family and friends. If true morality is evidenced by how one treats strangers, Romney’s reputation as a moral actor should be under water:
In the psychic make-up of any politician, the phenomenon of compartmentalization is common, but rare is the politician who proudly makes an art of it, as has Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Even as he publicly celebrates his squeaky-clean personal life, Romney lauds his own brutal record as a leveraged buyout specialist and lies with impunity on the stump, often in terms laden with race-baiting code.
To Romney, it seems, personal morality amounts to a roster of good personal habits (no smoking or drinking, a faithful marriage, generosity and compassion for ailing members of his faith community) that add up to a kind of personal exceptionalism that trumps whatever havoc his business behavior or political policies may wreak on the life of any poor schlub who should should cross his path.
Romney’s sense of morality seems to be based on a kind of fierce individualism, in which he apparently believes himself to be morally superior by dint of his own personal habits, and assumes no responsibility for the fate of those less rigorous in their personal code, should they find an appeal to their baser instincts in the words and actions of the beyond-reproach church leader, dutiful husband and father of five.
It all amounts to a kind of moral bankruptcy, in which the former Massachusetts governor presumes he is entitled to a morally superior reputation for which he has not kept up the payments. It’s not that hard to be good to your family and friends. If true morality is evidenced by how one treats strangers, Romney’s reputation as a moral actor should be under water.
• CNN host Soledad O’Brien on Wednesday challenged Romney surrogate Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) who is blaming President Barack Obama’s administration for the attacks in Libya even though he pressured the State Department to reduce security personnel when he voted to cut embassy funding.
• Staff for House Democrats allege in a memo to Democratic members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that Republicans on the committee withheld information from Democrats in the investigation surrounding the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi Libya.
Other right wing asshattery
• Why The Obama Foreign Donation ‘Scandal’ Is Pure Fiction. Despite significant right-wing hype, a new report by the conservative Government Accountability Institute (GAI) on the potential for foreign nationals to illegally contribute to U.S. political campaigns does not actually find any evidence of foreign nationals successfully donating to the Obama campaign. Still, a wide array of conservative and mainstream publications have incorrectly reported that the report documents foreign donors giving to the President’s re-election.
• I hate to be redundant, but Fox News is lying. On this latest occasion they posted an article on their community web site, Fox Nation with the headline, “Obama Campaign Processed Donation From The Kremlin.” The charge stems from an attempt to make a phony online donation to President Obama’s campaign. The “donor” states that he put in fake information hoping to prove that Obama was taking foreign funds in violation of the law. That’s an allegation that was completely debunked here yesterday. Now, after extensive research I have been able to prove that this new allegation by Fox is totally false as well. That research consisted of reading the article to which they linked. The payment was rejected. And without an explanation at that, as if one was needed. Ericksen and Fox just outright lied in saying that the payment was processed.
• Jack Welch, the former chairman of General Electric who sparked an outcry with a tweet last week suggesting the White House manipulated job numbers for political gain, is no longer writing for Reuters or Fortune.
• Days before the National Rifle Association endorsed the Republican presidential ticket, Paul Ryan echoed the gun lobby’s speculation of what an unleashed President Obama would do on gun control in a second term. Ryan told Outdoor Life: RYAN: What I worry about as a hunter, as a person who believes in the Second Amendment, as a gun owner, is knowing that President Obama – in his earlier career, prior to his presidency – was an advocate for gun control. I worry about what his attitude will be once he never has to face voters again. And that to me is a concern just as a gun owner, that this is somebody who has a history of being hostile to the Second Amendment. He hasn’t, for political reasons I believe, done much to go after the Second Amendment, but his history, his party, lead me to be concerned about what he would be like in a second term.
• Ann Romney, a breast cancer survivor, will visit the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida on Wednesday — which has received millions from the stimulus (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act). Her husband and his running mate Paul Ryan both opposed the measure, which President Obama signed into law in February of 2009.
• Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced Tuesday he will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to make the final determination on whether the state General Assembly or federal courts should set Election laws.
• Wisconsin election officials are warning voters to be cautious about slick mailings giving misleading or incorrect information about voter registration and absentee voting. The Government Accountability Board said in a release Monday that it and local election officials around the state have been receiving an increasing number of questions and complaints and recent mailings that contain errors that could interfere with voting. One of the mailings in question from the Republican Party of Wisconsin incorrectly told residents in the heavily Democratic areas of Madison and Dane County to return voter registration applications to the town of Albion, even if they did not live there.
• Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset Danny Danon told a gathering in Chicago that President Obama’s policies were “catastrophic” for Israel, according to the Associated Press. Danon, who is also planning trips to New York and Florida on a book tour, also argued that the President was “not a friend of Israel.” Though Danon, a Likud minister and ally to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, claimed that he was stating a personal opinion rather than interfering in the U.S. election, he has effusively praised GOP candidate Mitt Romney, framing his comments in nakedly electoral terms
• Mitt Romney and his campaign team have struggled quite a bit when it comes to speaking coherently on U.S. policy towards Iran, but the difficulties took an interesting twist yesterday when the Republican presidential hopeful seemed to praise President Obama’s existing policy. “There’s no daylight between the United States and Israel. We have coincidental interests. We share values, and we’re both absolutely committed to preventing Iran from having a nuclear weapon…. But I can tell you this, that the crippling sanctions do have an impact. They’re having an impact on Iran’s economy right now. They will have an impact on the public there in Iran. And there’s great hope and real prospects for dissuading Iran from taking a path that leads into a nuclear setting.”
In other news
• This is what happens when you label Russia a ‘number one geopolitical foe’: Russia plans to walk away from participating in a program with the United States designed to dismantle weapons of mass destruction, U.S. officials said. Russian daily Kommerstat reported Wednesday U.S. State Department officials indicated Russia isn’t interested in participating in the Cooperative Threat Reduction program that helped in the dismantling of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons after the fall of the Soviet Union. The officials said their Russian counterparts told them recently that Moscow no longer needs the financial assistance. The move is the latest in Moscow’s re-examination of its relationship with Washington. Earlier in October, Russia barred the U.S. Agency for International Development from working in the country, RIA Novosti reported.
• Bing maps reveal CIA training facility in the lead-up to bin Laden’s death. The team of elite Navy SEALs who hunted down and killed Osama bin Laden last year stormed his Pakistani compound for 15 minutes, shooting his son and two associates before killing the al-Qaeda leader. According to “No Easy Day,” an account of the raid written by a SEAL, the troops prepared for their mission by training at Harvey Point Defense Testing, a CIA training base in North Carolina that mirrored bin Laden’s compound. The site Cryptome unearthed evidence of the facility on Bing maps
• A Canadian psychiatrist accused of human rights abuses in apartheid South Africa for subjecting gay soldiers and conscientious objectors to electric shock “cures”, will stand trial in Calgary on Wednesday for allegedly sexually abusing male patients. Aubrey Levin, known in South Africa as “Dr Shock” for his use of electroshock therapy, is charged with sexual assaults on 10 patients, mostly prisoners assigned by the Canadian justice system for treatment. On Tuesday, a jury ruled he was fit to stand trial after the defence claimed Levin, 72, was suffering from the early stages of dementia. Levin’s arrest raised questions in Canada as to how he was allowed to become a citizen and permitted to practice at the University of Calgary’s Medical School even after he was named by South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) for “gross human rights abuses” during the apartheid era. Levin was a colonel in the South African military and chief psychiatrist at 1 Military hospital in Pretoria in the 1970s and 80s, where he was in charge of a unit where electric shocks were administered to “cure” gay white conscripts. Levin also oversaw the use of electroshocks and powerful drugs against conscientious objectors refusing to fight for the apartheid army in Angola or suppress dissent in the black townships, who were held against their will and classified as “disturbed”.
• Texas schools punish students who refuse to be tracked with microchips. A school district in Texas came under fire earlier this year when it announced that it would require students to wear microchip-embedded ID cards at all times. Now, students who refuse to be monitored say they are feeling the repercussions. Since October 1, students at John Jay High School and Anson Jones Middle School in San Antonio, Texas have been asked to attend class with photo ID cards equipped with radio-frequency identification (RFID)
• The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) admitted this week that portions of a detailed file on legendary outlaw journalist Hunter S. Thompson were destroyed during the Clinton administration.
• Mexican officials simultaneously confirmed Tuesday morning that they had killed the leader of one of the country’s most notorious drug cartels and that the body had been stolen. According to TV Azteca, authorities in the state of Coahuila said fingerprint records prove one of the two men killed in a shootout with Mexican Navy forces Sunday was Humberto Lazcano Lazcano, aka “El Lazca,” founder and leader of the Zetas cartel. However, Lazcano’s body was stolen late Monday night from the funeral home where his autopsy was held.