27 Myths in 38 Minutes

From Think Progress:

Romney spoke for 38 minutes of the 90 minute debate and told at least 27 myths:

How Romney got it all wrong on Wall Street.

Ad Questions Romney as Commander in Chief

Romney Adviser “Bring Back Enhanced Interrogation” Indisputably Illegal says Bush Lawyer

Debate or Demonstrably Untrue? (…but not demonstrated)

Count me among those dismayed by President Obama’s performance in the first debate. (Ed Schultz and Chris Mathews at MSNBC were positively livid.)  If it had been tennis he missed smashing lob after lob back into Romney’s court.  My guess is one of two things: 1) he over-trained and was tight, insisting to himself he had to make points he and his team had decided on and trained for.  Instead of listening to Romney’s extreme changes of course and responding to them — “I am very glad to hear you say you you will not have a $5 trillion tax cut.  Should the voters simply forget your repeated promises to “permanently extend certain tax cuts that are scheduled to expire, cut taxes further, and offset part or all of the additional tax cuts by reducing or eliminating unspecified tax preferences?” — he dug down into his notes.  2) He was distracted by what is going on at the Turkey-Syria border where large caliber fire has been exchanged, and the Turkish Parliament has authorized such army response as is deemed necessary.  Tinderbox with enormous implications.

In any case, he’s got to do better in the next one.  Romney has put up some very fat targets.  Insisting that health care be left to each state — on the basis of a good template in Massachusetts– invites the slack-jawed question — Can North Dakota, Maine or Mississippi replicate Massachusetts? Really?  And if they fail?  Who steps in, at what cost, to ensure that the poor and sick who are taken care of in one state are not left in the streets in another? [Let’s talk about “states rights” in the fullness it deserves:  we could start with election equality, or schools, or actually, segregation.]

Romney’s blithe suggestion that if, in his imaginary free market, you don’t like one health insurer you can go get another, is ludicrous beyond description, as anyone who has gone through the annual “open period” of choosing between two or three (not dozens) of insurers knows: the fine print is impossible to understand; there are no apples and apples comparisons; the doctors within each network are different, and on and on.  Picking lettuce out at the supermarket is one thing, finding insurance and doctors under particular family medical conditions is a whole other universe — which Romney has shown us he knows nothing about.

To let Romney get away with saying with a big smile that ‘tax rates will go down and deductions will be closed’ without pushing him on specifics is to stand at mid-court and not even go after the ball.  Look, no one cares about  abstract ‘tax rates.’  What we care about is how much actual tax we are going to pay.  What percent of our income is going to be used for the general welfare?  I want mine used.  America is a great place to live because, on the whole, taxes are used for things that make life safer, more comfortable and easier to negotiate.  Nevertheless, I want to know: what am I paying, and what is the millionaire who, without question, benefits much more than I.  It doesn’t matter a bit to me if my tax rate goes from 20% to 15% if what I actually pay goes up because, for example, the home mortgage deduction is no longer allowed.  Romney has to be pressed on his cheerful use of smoke and mirrors to disguise what will actually happen to real people if his plans are implemented.

Romney Tax plan as explained at the Tax Policy Center.

Romney Budget as detailed at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

For the most part, Governor Romney has not outlined cuts in specific programs.  But if policy­ makers repealed health reform (the Affordable Care Act, or ACA) and exempted Social Security from cuts, as Romney has suggested, and cut Medicare, Medicaid, and all other entitlement and discretionary programs by the same percentage to meet Romney’s overall spending cap and defense spending target, then they would have to cut non-defense programs other than Social Security by 22 percent in 2016 and 34 percent in 2022 (see Figure 1).  If they exempted Medicare from cuts for this period, the cuts in other programs would have to be even more dramatic — 32 percent in 2016 and 53 percent in 2022.

If they applied these cuts proportionately, the cuts in programs such as veterans’ disability compensation, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for poor elderly and disabled individuals, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), school lunches and other child nutrition programs, and unemployment compensation would cause the incomes of large numbers of households to fall below the poverty line.  Many who already are poor would become poorer.

The cuts in non-­defense discretionary programs — a spending category that covers a wide variety of public services such as elementary and secondary education, law enforcement, veterans’ health care, environmental protection, and bio-medical research — would come on top of the substantial cuts in this part of the budget that are already in law, due to the discretionary funding caps in last year’s Budget Control Act (BCA).  By 2022, the cuts under Governor Romney’s budget proposals would shrink non-defense discretionary spending — which, over the past 50 years, has averaged 3.9 percent of GDP and never fallen below 3.2 percent — to 1.8 percent of GDP if Medicare shares in the cuts, and to 1.3 percent of GDP if it does not.

These cuts would be noticeably deeper than those required under the austere House-passed budget plan authored by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI).  (Romney’s nondefense cuts are deeper because his proposal increases core defense spending — the defense budget other than war costs and some relatively small items such as military family housing — to 4 percent of GDP, while the Ryan budget does not.)  Over the coming decade, Romney would require cuts in programs other than core defense of $6.1 trillion, compared with $5.0 trillion in cuts under the House-passed budget plan.

P.S.  Mr. President, fire your debate coaches.  They failed you.  Use Bill Clinton as a debating partner, and loosen up.  It’s not tennis, it’s basketball and you are good at it.  Get back your shoulder bump, spin dribble, pick and roll and remember your jump shots.  You’ve got what it takes.  You gotta use it.


Andrew Sullivan is another who was dismayed — here with some of  what he saw:

Now I’ve slept on it, that seems to me what happened last night. It was such a mesmerizing sales job and so relentless, checked at no point by Lehrer, and at no point checked by past reality or facts, Obama was left with two options: say this pleasant-seeming guy next to him is a shameless weather-vane and liar (wouldn’t work in a debate, is just against Obama’s character) or to try and remind the country of Romney’s actual policies as he has laid them out, and rebut the facts relentlessly. Obama tried the latter really, really badly, but the obvious retort to Romney’s smiling total pivot was: what on earth are you talking about? Who are you? Who will you be tomorrow?

But here’s the key political-policy point, it seems to me. In the last few days, Romney has said he will keep the DREAM executive order, keep all the good things in Obamacare, while getting rid of “Obamacare” (impossible); he will protect Medicare from Obama’s $700 billion “raid” and keep it as an option for seniors for ever, if they choose; and he will enact his version of Simpson-Bowles, because he is more moderate and bipartisan than Obama. Lehrer, who made Romney’s case for getting rid of PBS funding all by himself, did not see himself as a fact-checker – or even a moderator who could press a candidate to explain himself. He was simply a facilitator for the Romney sales job, which flummoxed Obama, in the worst public performance bar none of his campaign (I watched him give an economic policy speech once that was seriously coma-inducing).

More fatally for the president, the argument works. And it works precisely because of GOP extremism. If one party simply refuses to support anything a president of another party proposes and is primarily devoted to obstructionism on everything, then they can, if they are reckless enough both to create a credit crisis and prevent any further stimulus, succeed in essentially blackmailing the country by destroying its political system and then blaming it on the president. It’s cynical and corrupt and contemptible and unpatriotic – but lethal.

And included in a earlier Sullivan post is this from Jonathan Chait:

Romney won the debate in no small part because he adopted a policy of simply lying about his policies. Probably the best way to understand Obama’s listless performance is that he was prepared to debate the claims Romney has been making for the entire campaign, and Romney switched up and started making different and utterly bogus ones. Obama, perhaps, was not prepared for that, and he certainly didn’t think quickly enough on his feet to adjust to it.

and more from Chait:

 Romney was forceful and articulate and dodged his association with almost all the most unpopular aspects of his platform. But his success at doing so was built upon two demonstrable untruths.

The most important was taxes. Romney asserted, “I cannot reduce the burden paid by high-income Americans.” Let me explain how this is untrue even by his own campaign’s accounting.

Obama badly flubbed this topic by allowing Romney to change the baseline of the discussion. Romney is promising to extend all the Bush tax cuts and refuses to accept even slightly higher revenue as part of a deficit deal. On top of that, he is proposing a huge, regressive income tax rate cut that would reduce revenue by an additional $5 trillion, but promises to make up for it by closing tax deductions. Obama directed his fire almost entirely at the additional tax cut, leaving mostly untouched, until the end, Romney’s pledge to never bargain away any of the Bush tax cuts.

…  The other issue was health care. Romney has promised to protect health insurance for people with preexisting conditions who maintain continuous coverage. That caveat is vital, because that right has existed since 1996. It’s a very minor protection. Phrasing his promise this way has allowed Romney to make a promise that sounds like he would keep Obamacare’s protections for people with preexisting coverage without committing himself to anything at all (except, I suppose, keeping in place a 1996 law that didn’t do much).

At the debate last night, Romney didn’t phrase his promise in this misleading-but-true fashion. He promised, “preexisting conditions are covered under my plan.” That is not true. He dropped the legalistic mumbo-jumbo that renders his promise meaningless and promised something. But his plan doesn’t do that. And his adviser Eric Fehrnstrom, asked after the debate if Romney was really promising to cover people with preexisting conditions, admitted that he isn’t.

And as to Jim Lehrer, the PBS moderator?  As Richard Kim at the Nation says, “he got pwned.”


P.P.S to Obama supporters.  Don’t let our (my) dismay rule our response.  Contact has been made.  Adrenaline is the natural response.  Let’s use it!  Here’s a “parody” that has some lift to it: OneMoreTerm.com

The Makers v the Moochers: The Word of Ayn Rand from the Mouths of Her Disciples

The Romney campaign has quit pretending and is merely reading from the pages of Ayn Rand who excoriated the “moochers” in both her fiction and non-fiction.

President of the United States?  Nope.  Merely of the Makers.  Though of course Mr. Romney has his ideas twisted like  cold spaghetti in last week’s bowl.

He has told us time and time again that the name of the game is to pay few taxes; now he is blaming those who have succeeded?

47% have paid no taxes!  And I still have to pay 13%? The nerve!

The problem is that this 47% has its hand out for government largess?  Were there any Lockheed execs in that room?  Was he talking about them?

In 2010 60% of Lockheed sales were to the Department of Defense:  $35.9 billion!

If you look at purchases for the entire government from Lockheed Martin, the percent of sales goes up to 85%

Romney is incensed because of the increase of government dependency — but not a word about the enormous increases in weapons procurment:

A March 2009 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the total acquisition costs of the Pentagon’s 96 major weapons programs had grown by 25% over their lifetime. Further, 42% of these programs had each experienced cost growth of more than 25%

As to the Rand/Romney/Ryan claim that Capital Makes and Labor Mooches, the NY Times lead editorial has it right:  it is Marxism stood on its head:

 When you think of class warfare, you probably think of inciting anger, resentment and jealousy among the have-nots against the haves. That’s what Mr. Romney has accused Mr. Obama of doing, but those charges have always been false. The truth is that Mr. Romney has been trying to incite the anger of a small slice of the richest Americans who need no government assistance but get it anyway, against the working poor, older Americans, the disabled workers and veterans, and even a significant chunk of middle-class Americans.


Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity

It’s really hard to keep up with the foolishness, not to say out-right lies, of the GOP team.  Here’s a good try by Steve Benen at the MaddowBlog.


“In an interview aired this morning with George Stephanopoulos, the host told Mitt Romney that, despite his claims to the contrary, the Obama administration never showed sympathy for attackers in Egypt and Libya. How did the candidate explain the discrepancy? He didn’t — Romney dodged the question and let the lie stand.

Towards the end of the interview, however, Romney looked ahead to the upcoming debates and said he’ll have a challenge to deal with: “[T]he president tends to, how shall I say it, to say things that aren’t true.”

There’s no sense of shame and no sense of irony.

Washington Post/ABC News poll out today shows a plurality of Americans believes the Obama campaign is saying things “it believes to be true” rather than “intentionally misleading people.” On the other hand, a plurality of Americans believes the opposite about the Romney campaign.

If anyone’s wondering why the public has this impression, consider the 34th installment of my weekly series, chronicling Mitt’s mendacity.

1. At a campaign event in Virginia yesterday, Romney said he “couldn’t believe” the president said “if you have a business you didn’t build it, someone else did that.”

Of course he couldn’t believe it — that’s not even close to being true.

2. On Wednesday morning, Romney accused Obama administration officials of issuing an “apology for American values.”

That never happened.


and all the rest….

Romney Clarification: Pre Existing Conditions? Forget Medical Care

Don’t know how many voters there are with pre-existing medical conditions, and no medical care, but they should be voting en-mass against Mitt Romney


In a Sunday interview, Mitt Romney spoke out for a popular provision in the Affordable Care Act that guarantees coverage for people with preexisting conditions. But his campaign later clarified that he  … he wasn’t signaling a shift in policy and was instead referring to his existing stance in favor of protections on preexisting conditions only for those with continuous insurance coverage — not for first-time or returning buyers.


The GOP Witness Protection Program

From the Bill Maher Watch


“If your party can run the nation for eight years, and then have a national convention and not invite Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Karl Rove, or Tom DeLay, you’re not a political movement. You’re the witness protection program.” 

“Clint Eastwood came out at the Republican convention and did ten minutes of wingnut improv. It was kind of a metaphor for the entire Republican party — a confused old person yelling at something that doesn’t’ exist.” 

“Mitt had to follow that. He’s a little stiff. He makes Al Gore look like James Brown at the Apollo. And for five minutes the crowd was chanting, ‘Bring back the chair!’” 

Thx Marty K

Shady Money, Voter Suppression, Shifting Positions…

“Shady money, voter suppression, shifting positions, murky details and widespread apathy.

If there is a road map for a Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan win in November, that’s it. Distasteful all.”

Thursday, as Think Progress pointed out, Ryan adopted Romney’s position on China’s currency manipulation and stealing of intellectual property, saying: “Mitt Romney and I are going to crack down on China cheating and make sure trade works for Americans.”

However, as Talking Points Memo reported: “Ryan has consistently opposed measures to crack down on China’s currency manipulation practices, which tilt the playing field against American labor.”

Charles M Blow has more delicious hypocrisies detailed in his Saturday column.

Krugman on Ryan

Not jut one, but several posts about the so-called brains of the GOP:

Romney/Ryan: The Real Target

So, let me clarify what I believe is really going on in the choice of Paul Ryan as VP nominee. It is not about satisfying the conservative base, which was motivated anyway by Obama-hatred; it is not about refocusing on the issues, because R&R are both determined to avoid providing any of the crucial specifics about their plans. It is — as Jonathan Chait also seems to understand — about exploiting the gullibility and vanity of the news media, in much the same way that George W. Bush did in 2000.

Like Bush in 2000, Ryan has a completely undeserved reputation in the media as a bluff, honest guy, in Ryan’s case supplemented by a reputation as a serious policy wonk. None of this has any basis in reality; Ryan’s much-touted plan, far from being a real solution, relies crucially on stuff that is just pulled out of thin air — huge revenue increases from closing unspecified loopholes, huge spending cuts achieved in ways not mentioned. See Matt Miller for more.

So whence comes the Ryan reputation? As I said in my last post, it’s because many commentators want to tell a story about US politics that makes them feel and look good — a story in which both parties are equally at fault in our national stalemate, and in which said commentators stand above the fray. This story requires that there be good, honest, technically savvy conservative politicians, so that you can point to these politicians and say how much you admire them, even if you disagree with some of their ideas; after all, unless you lavish praise on some conservatives, you don’t come across as nobly even-handed.

The trouble, of course, is that it’s really really hard to find any actual conservative politicians who deserve that praise. Ryan, with his flaky numbers (and actually very hard-line stance on social issues), certainly doesn’t. But a large part of the commentariat decided early on that they were going to cast Ryan in the role of Serious Honest Conservative, and have been very unwilling to reconsider that casting call in the light of evidence.

So that’s the constituency Romney is targeting: not a large segment of the electorate, but a few hundred at most editors, reporters, programmers, and pundits. His hope is that Ryan’s unjustified reputation for honest wonkery will transfer to the ticket as a whole.

So, a memo to the news media: you have now become players in this campaign, not just reporters. Mitt Romney isn’t seeking a debate on the issues; on the contrary, he’s betting that your gullibility and vanity will let him avoid a debate on the issues, including the issue of his own fitness for the presidency. I guess we’ll see if it works.


The Ryan Role

Galt / Gekko 2012

Culture Of Fraud (actually not about Ryan but Romney and his economic lackeys.)

These Guys

Thanks Louie Ludwig


Paul Ryan: Authentically Dangerous Zealot

The acid tongued Charles P Pierce at Esquire has some interesting news for you about Mr. Ryan

Paul Ryan is an authentically dangerous zealot. He does not want to reform entitlements. He wants to eliminate them. He wants to eliminate them because he doesn’t believe they are a legitimate function of government. He is a smiling, aw-shucks murderer of opportunity, a creator of dystopias in which he never will have to live. This now is an argument not over what kind of political commonwealth we will have, but rather whether or not we will have one at all, because Paul Ryan does not believe in the most primary institution of that commonwealth: our government. The first three words of the Preamble to the Constitution make a lie out of every speech he’s ever given. He looks at the country and sees its government as something alien that is holding down the individual entrepreneurial genius of 200 million people, and not as their creation, and the vehicle through which that genius can be channelled for the general welfare.

In the lengthy — and now, very prescient — profile of Ryan that ran in The New Yorker this week, Ryan Lizza pinned him down on this very point. Ryan responded in fluent Weaselspeak….

When I pointed out to Ryan that government spending programs were at the heart of his home town’s recovery, he didn’t disagree. But he insisted that he has been misunderstood. “Obama is trying to paint us as a caricature,” he said. “As if we’re some bizarre individualists who are hardcore libertarians. It’s a false dichotomy and intellectually lazy.” He added, “Of course we believe in government. We think government should do what it does really well, but that it has limits, and obviously within those limits are things like infrastructure, interstate highways, and airports.”

The fact is that his “budget” will demolish federal spending on those very things, either directly, or by sending the deficit off in the direction of Alpha Centauri. But the quote illustrates something else about Paul Ryan: get him out of his comfort zone of being thought an intellectual by the likes of Louie Gohmert, and of being thought of as a bold thinker by half the buffet-grazers in the Beltway media, and he really is quite the political coward. (In this way, he is a perfect match for the man who picked him.) He does not have the raw balls to explain to the country that, no, he does not believe in government — not the federal government, anyway, and not as it was originally conceived, as the fundamental expression of a political commonwealth. He’s grandfathered his plan to chloroform Medicare so that, despite the deficit that he considers such an urgent problem, nobody alive today who might vote against him will be affected by it. For the same reason, he will not specify the cuts that he will make or the tax “loopholes” —coughMortgageInterestDeductioncough — that he will close. In any way that will come to matter to the people whose lives his policies will make harder and more miserable, Paul Ryan is still the high-school kid living off Social Security survivor benefits and reading Ayn Rand by flashlight under the sheets. Instead, he’s a guy pretending to be something he’s not, and doing so back in Janesville in a very swell Georgian mansion, which just happens to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Which, among other things, means that Paul Ryan, who lies awake at night worrying that The Deficit will come and eat our grandchildren, lives in a house overseen by the National Park Service, which means that he qualifies for a 20-percent investment tax credit for the house he lives in. Of course, his “budget” would largely decimate the NPS, but that would be only those parts of it enjoyed by other people. Yes, Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny starver, has done very well by the federal government that he seeks to dismantle. Come to think of it, so has Willard Romney, although we may never know exactly how well he’s done by it. It turns out this is a match made in heaven, after all.

Of course, it still could be that they’re just trying to give poor Paul Krugman a stroke.

For the acid read the first part here.