Sometime You Wonder: Are Rising Waters or Rising Idiocy the Greater Danger?

Hurricane Sandy and FEMA help? Immoral says Romney

From June 14, 2012:

Asked about federal disaster relief for recent tornado and flood victims at last night’s GOP debate, candidate Mitt Romney called the spending “immoral” and said the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be privatized. With greenhouse pollution on the rise, the United States has been struck by a “punishing series of billion-dollar disasters.”

Embracing a radical anti-government ideology from the most extreme elements of the Tea Party, Romney said that the victims in Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Massachusetts, and other communities hit by tornadoes and flooding should not receive governmental assistance. He argued it is “simply immoral” for there to be deficit spending that could harm future generations:

As the East Coast braces for a massive storm, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are trying to cover up the fact that if elected they intend to cut funding for both FEMA and disaster relief.

Here is something to think about while we watch Hurricane Sandy morph into a perfect storm, what if there was no federal disaster relief? What if states were left to fend for themselves?

These questions may sound absurd right now, but they won’t be if Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are elected next Tuesday. In June 2011, Romney went on the record asopposing federal disaster relief, “… read all

PLUS: GOP STRATEGIST RON BONJEAN: I have to say that I don’t think anyone, most people don’t have a positive impression of FEMA, and I think Mitt Romney is right on the button.  I don’t think anybody cares about that right now.

… there’s video of Romney during the primaries supporting the closure of FEMA.  Then, last night, the Romney campaign stood by Romney’s promise to shut down FEMA. more at Americablog

Josh Whedon says it all:

You Don’t Own Me: Leslie Gore to Mitt Romney

Romney’s Tax Plan Explained

Here it all is, on the internets!

Climate Change a National Security Issue and No Presidential Debate

From Climate Progress:

So far, the debates have ducked conservation. That’s even though poll after poll shows deep concern about climate change:

  • Two-thirds (67%) of Americans, including 65% of independents, see solid evidence of global warming, up 10% in the last 3 years. That’s according to a new Pew Research Center poll.
  • Government action to regulate the release of greenhouse gases from sources like power plants, cars and factories in an effort to reduce global warming is supported by 74% of Americans, according to an August poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
  • Among sportsmen, a conservative-leaning group, two in three (66%) believe we have amoral responsibility to confront global warming to protect our children’s future. Additionally, 69% agree the U.S. should reduce its carbon emissions that contribute to global warming and threaten fish and wildlife habitat.

Tonight’s town hall debate may open up new topics, thanks in part to the over 3,000 questions submitted by Google users. However, the early agenda for the final debate doesn’t look good for talk of global climate change. Moderator Bob Schieffer is defining “foreign policy” to focus heavily on terrorism and the Middle East. His released list of topics doesn’t even mention energy policy or climate change, even though the Pentagon calls global warming a national security threat.


Send Bob Schiefer a message:  Climate Change is Vital!

Romney: No One in America Dies Because He is Uninsured (sic!)

Every time I think about the GOP position on healthcare I go immediately to the bottom line — the gutter.  Is that what you do for those who run out  their voucher allocation?  Now it turns out the Romney has the same socialized approach as W Bush — go to the emergency care!

I’ve been in public hospital emergency care and whatever the law is, or the good doctors’ intent to provide adequate care, It Cannot Happen!  In my case I arrived at 2 a.m. to SF General after an altercation with a thief in the back seat of my cab.  My right hand seemed broken.  Basically, “take a number.”  I think someone brought ice.  At 7 am I went home.  I slept.  I came back at 1 pm.  Surprise!  My number was called in 20 minutes.  The hand was broken.  I got a cast.  Went off, and drove my shift that night.

This is a far far cry from the treatment I  received from the socialized Kaiser Permanente system for a recent total hip replacement: computerized records; each specialist can see what the others have seen, and judged; months of blood draws recorded; appointments made for me, and followed up.  Emergency?  [I had one!] That staff is there for actua,. unpredictable emergencies, not those which are the predictable end of no appointments, no care and ultimately a sense that no one does care.

For Romney, however, apparently Emergency Rooms — which he must oppose on principle, as catering to the “takers” not the “makers,” are a synonym for Health Care:

Last week, speaking to The Columbus Dispatch, Mr. Romney declared that nobody in America dies because he or she is uninsured: “We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance.” This followed on an earlier remark by Mr. Romney — echoing an infamous statement by none other than George W. Bush — in which he insisted that emergency rooms provide essential health care to the uninsured.

These are remarkable statements. They clearly demonstrate that Mr. Romney has no idea what life (and death) are like for those less fortunate than himself.

Even the idea that everyone gets urgent care when needed from emergency rooms is false. Yes, hospitals are required by law to treat people in dire need, whether or not they can pay. But that care isn’t free — on the contrary, if you go to an emergency room you will be billed,

Krugman goes on: there’s no real question that lack of insurance is responsible for thousands, and probably tens of thousands, of excess deaths of Americans each year. But that’s not a fact Mr. Romney wants to admit, because he and his running mate want to repeal Obamacare and slash funding for Medicaid — actions that would take insurance away from some 45 million nonelderly Americans, causing thousands of people to suffer premature death. And their longer-term plans to convert Medicare into Vouchercare would deprive many seniors of adequate coverage, too, leading to still more unnecessary mortality.


Or perhaps, to be perfectly cynical, cutting the non-wealthy from healthcare, and letting them die in the gutters is in fact the plan.  47% of takers and moochers must be a tremendous drag on the wealth that could be generated without them

Related: Nick Kristoff: A Possibly Fatal Mistake

Update:  From a physician about how Romney’s emergency room back up is far far from healtcare…



Mitt Romney No Businessman …. A Master Financial Speculator who bought, sold, stripped and flipped…

Via The Daily Beast comes an insider screed from David Stockman who was the crown prince of  supply-side voodo, has had somewhat of a turn around.  He’s still no friend to the ordinary Joe and Jane, but he’s no friend of the Romneyites either.

 Mitt Romney claims that his essential qualification to be president is grounded in his 15 years as head of Bain Capital, from 1984 through early 1999. According to the campaign’s narrative, it was then that he became immersed in the toils of business enterprise, learning along the way the true secrets of how to grow the economy and create jobs. The fact that Bain’s returns reputedly averaged more than 50 percent annually during this period is purportedly proof of the case—real-world validation that Romney not only was a striking business success but also has been uniquely trained and seasoned for the task of restarting the nation’s sputtering engines of capitalism.

Except Mitt Romney was not a businessman; he was a master financial speculator who bought, sold, flipped, and stripped businesses. He did not build enterprises the old-fashioned way—out of inspiration, perspiration, and a long slog in the free market fostering a new product, service, or process of production. Instead, he spent his 15 years raising debt in prodigious amounts on Wall Street so that Bain could purchase the pots and pans and castoffs of corporate America, leverage them to the hilt, gussy them up as reborn “roll-ups,” and then deliver them back to Wall Street for resale—the faster the better.

That is the modus operandi of the leveraged-buyout business, and in an honest free-market economy, there wouldn’t be much scope for it because it creates little of economic value. But we have a rigged system—a regime of crony capitalism—where the tax code heavily favors debt and capital gains, and the central bank purposefully enables rampant speculation by propping up the price of financial assets and battering down the cost of leveraged finance.

There is plenty more in the article, and it is a part of the  Forthcoming The Great Deformation: How Crony Capitalism Corrupts Free Markets and Democracy

Romney Tax Plan: There Is No Math There

from TPM

In response to the persistent and substantial questions about the math of his tax plan not adding up, Mitt Romney and his campaign frequently argue that six independent studies back him up by ratifying the arithmetic of the centerpiece of his domestic agenda.

But the talking point about the talking point is unraveling.

More and more mainstream outlets are pointing out that they fail to validate its soundness. And on Sunday Romney senior adviser Ed Gillespie was challenged on Fox News by Chris Wallace, who questioned whether the studies are really nonpartisan.

“Those are very questionable. Some of them are blogs. Some of them are from the AEI [American Enterprise Institute], which is hardly an independent group,” Wallace said. “One of them is from a guy who is — a blog from a guy who was a top adviser to George W. Bush. These are hardly nonpartisan studies.”

“These are very credible sources,” Gillespie said.

Of the six studies, two are blog posts by the conservative American Enterprise Institute; one is areport by the Republican-friendly Heritage Foundation; one is a paper by Princeton professor and former George W. Bush adviser Harvey Rosen; the fifth and sixth are a Wall Street Journal op-ed and blog post by Harvard economist Martin Feldstein, an adviser to the Romney campaign.

Remember, this is Chris Wallace! asking the questions, on FOX!

Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose — Not

“Your politics and campaign are clearly not aligned with the themes we portrayed in our series,” Berg writes in the letter, challenging the GOP contender’s use of “Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose.”


Peter Berg, writer-director of the movie and television series, Friday Night Lights, has asked Mitt Romney — though without legal bombast– to quit plagiarizing the theme of the show.


So let’s get this straight, Mr. Business, Mitt Romney, blithely appropriates the signature phrase of a show, because he likes it, without looking into the actual “business” involved?  Maybe we should appropriate the Romney slogan, “Believe in America,” for a violent TV  show about Americans invading another country and massacring its citizens….

The Romney “Reach Across the Aisle” Claim

Governor Romney claimed in the debate Wednesday night to have reached across the aisle to Democrats when he was governor of Massachusetts, in contrast to President Obama’s stiff-arming the GOP (was the implication.) Obama didn’t have a come-back for that, as he didn’t for much that evening, but the reality of  the Romney Reach stops short of actually existing.


On close scrutiny, some of the bipartisan successes that Mr. Romney claimed in the Wednesday debate turn out to by peppered with asterisks.

On education, Mr. Romney was correct in stating that Massachusetts students were ranked first in the nation during his tenure. Students in grades four and eight took top honors in reading and mathematics on the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress.

However, educators largely credit an overarching reform of state schools 10 years earlier under Governor Weld. The reforms doubled state spending on schools and brought standards and accountability to administrators and students.

“Governor Romney does not get to take the credit for achieving that No. 1 ranking,” said Mike Gilbert, field director for the nonprofit Massachusetts Association of School Committees, “but it did happen while he was in office.”

Mr. Romney’s claim that he was responsible for 19 separate tax cuts is also technically accurate, but not the full story. In 2005, for example, Mr. Romney’s administration wrote legislation refunding $250 million in capital gains taxes — but the bill came only in response to a court ruling that the taxes had been illegally withheld in 2002.

See much more with Michael Wines