Saturday, November 03, 2012

IRS Asked to Investigate Illegal Activities of Catholic Bishops

Norfolk priest who is crossing the line on allowed activities of 501(c)(3) charities
In a move that is long overdue given the huge amounts of money being spent by the Roman Catholic Church to influence legislation and advocate against Democrats - all of which is forbidden conduct for supposed charities enjoying tax exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) the Internal Revenue Code -  Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington wants the federal Internal Revenue Service to investigate the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for allegedly engaging in prohibited political activity in violation of its protected tax status.  If you want to hurt the bishops where it really counts other than jailing them for obstruction of justice in the cover ups of sexual abuse by priest, hit them in the pocket book.  Money is, after all, the true god.  The Wisconsin Gazette looks at this welcomed action.  Here are article highlights:

The complaint filed recently notes press reports indicating a number of bishops are using their positions to advocate against the re-election of President Barack Obama and sermons this weekend likely will involve other political activity.

CREW says that in Illinois, Bishop Daniel Jenky, who has compared Obama to Josef Stalin and Adolf Hitler, is requiring priests in his diocese to read a statement accusing the Obama administration of an "assault upon our religious freedom simply without precedent in the American political and legal system." Jenky says that Catholic voters who fail to heed his warning have no hope of salvation.
Said CREW executive director Melanie Sloan in a news release, "This weekend, the Catholic bishops plan to use every tool in their arsenal, including warning parishioners that they may go to hell, to promote the candidacy of Gov. Mitt Romney. While the bishops are free to hold their own opinions, tax law is clear that this sort of political activity is prohibited."

The group, in its complaint, also raised concerns about the political activity of Nicholas Di Marzio in New York, David Ricken in Wisconsin, Edward J. Burns in Alaska and Paul Loverde in Virginia.

To qualify for tax exemption under IRC 501(c)(3), an organization must not participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. The publication or distribution of written or printed statements on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate is also prohibited. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, as a 501(c)(3) group, and, according to CREW, "is clearly prohibited from opposing a candidate as it is clearly doing with its presidential election." 

Sloan continued, "In completely unqualified terms, the IRS should immediately tell the Conference of Catholic Bishops that the conduct of its members is beyond the pale. If the Catholic bishops would like to continue receiving the tremendous tax benefits on which they rely, they should follow U.S. law and stay out of American politics."

I would hope complaints will also be filled against individual parishes with priests who see themselves as above law such as Holy Trinity in Norfolk.  Sadly, the actions of these bishops (and priests) is yet another example of how the Catholic clergy and the Catholic Church hierarchy as a whole arrogantly think them selves above the law be it through abetting and covering up for child rapists or blatantly violating the tax laws.  All deference and special rights need to cease and violations need to be criminally prosecuted where applicable

Hurriane Sandy Leaves NYC's Ali Forney Center for HomelessGBT Youth Severely Damaged

As noted in previous posts, it is estimated that up to 40% of homeless youths are LGBT individuals.  Many have been disowned by their "godly Christian" parents and/or, parents who, in my view, are more concerned about their own personal embarrassment at having an LGBT child than about the welfare of their own children.  One city where many such homeless youth gravitate is New York City, a city with far too few resources to help these youths.  One bright spot that was available for them are the Ali Forney Center facilities.  Sadly, as the Washington Blade is reporting, the Ali Forney Center drop off facility for the most vulnerable youth - like so many properties and facilities in New York and New Jersey - suffered severe damage in Hurricane Sandy.  The Center is soliciting donations to help repair the facility and prepare it to once again provide critical services.  Here is how the condition has been described:  

Yesterday we were finally able to inspect our drop-in center in Chelsea, half a block from the Hudson River. Our worst fears were realized; everything was destroyed and the space is uninhabitable. The water level went four feet high, destroying our phones, computers, refrigerator, food and supplies.

I hope that readers will consider making a donation via the Center's website.  The boyfriend and I are doing so.  Here are highlights from the Blade story:

Superstorm Sandy’s record storm surge on Oct. 29 inundated a New York City drop-in center for homeless youth.  Carl Siciliano, executive director of the Ali Forney Center, told the Washington Blade earlier on Saturday the storm left up to four feet of water from the nearby Hudson River in the facility on West 22nd Street in Manhattan’s West Chelsea neighborhood. 

The water has since receded, but Siciliano said the storm surge “decimated” the drop-in center.  “Everything is destroyed — all of the electricity in the place, the floors, the computers, the laptops, the phones, files, all the furniture,” he said. “Everything is just destroyed. The refrigerator was floating and knocked over, all the food was out. The space is uninhabitable.”

“It’s going to be some months before we’re able to be in there so we’re going to have to really scramble to figure out a way to work with these kids,” said Siciliano. “The kids that come into that space are like our most vulnerable kids. They’re the ones who are out on the streets with nowhere to go. And that program’s really a lifeline for them. They get food and clothing and showers and bathroom facilities, medical care [and] HIV testing. It’s kind of our triage place in the city for kids who are chucked out on the streets.”

Siciliano said he has spoken with officials at the White House, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and both New York City Council Christine Quinn’s and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s offices. The Ali Forney Center is also accepting donations on its website to continue its outreach and advocacy efforts.

“There are so many problems that I have to deal with all the time with these kids, but I never did really think in my mind about catastrophic flooding,” said Siciliano. “That’s definitely a new level of things to be concerned about.”

More Saturday Male Beauty

Romney: Elect Me Or Else the House GOP Will Wreck The Economy

It's a bizarre closing argument for any campaign, but here's part of Mitt Romney's effort to close the deal: elect me or else the GOP controlled House of Representatives  will force a debt ceiling disaster. Yes, it is truly bizarre, but then again today's GOP is way past bizarre.  Rather than allow Barack Obama to be successful in a second term, Romney states that the House Republicans would rather force a debt crisis and drive the nation (and possibly the world) into a new economic depression.  It's an example of the spoil brat syndrome that is today's GOP.  It's akin to a spoil, undisciplined child who cannot have his/her way who then destroys whatever they can get their hands on.  Sadly, in this case what will be destroyed is the lives and finances of millions of Americans.  The GOP has clearly discarded any sense of wanting what's best for the nation or everyday Americans.  

Of course, what makes it all even more perverse and hypocrisy filled is the fact that the GOP claims to be the party of "family values" and "Christian morality."  The GOP simply no longer cares what harm it inflicts on millions of hard working Americans and their families.  It's part and parcel with the desire to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act and leave millions without insurance and the sick Romney/Ryan desire to disband federal emergency relief programs and leave relief and recover work either to the states or vulture like private contractors.  In the wake of Hurricane Frederic in Mobile back in 1979, I saw first had how rapacious contractors can be in desperate situations such as those currently in New York and New Jersey.  Yet this is what Romney in the past says he favors.  But I digress.  Here are highlights from Talking Points Memo where Romney's threat to voters is reviewed:

In what his campaign billed as his “closing argument,” Mitt Romney warned Americans that a second term for President Obama would have apocalyptic consequences for the economy in part because his own party would force a debt ceiling disaster.  “Unless we change course, we may well be looking at another recession,” Romney told a crowd in West Allis, Wisconsin.

Romney said that Obama “promised to be a post-partisan president, but he became the most partisan” and that his bitter relations with the House GOP could threaten the economy. As his chief example, he pointed to a crisis created entirely by his own party’s choice — Republican lawmakers’ ongoing threat to reject a debt ceiling increase. Economists warn that a failure to pass such a measure would have immediate and catastrophic consequences for the recovery. 

“You know that if the President is re-elected, he will still be unable to work with the people in Congress,” Romney said. “He has ignored them, attacked them, blamed them. The debt ceiling will come up again, and shutdown and default will be threatened, chilling the economy.”

With four days left, Romney may need an exceptionally strong close to overcome the president in the electoral college. The overwhelming majority of polls show Obama with a modest but stable lead in critical swing states, most notably Ohio, and other potentially decisive states like Virginia and Colorado remain tossups at best. 

Many in the GOP seek to describe Obama as "un-American."  One can only assume is what is really happening is that they are looking at themselves in the mirror.  

Barack Obama: The Only Choice in this Election If You're Jewish and/or Gay

In a column in The Advocate Stuart Milk - a Facebook friend - makes the case that for many of us in Tuesday's election there is only one choice if you are Jewish and gay.  I would argue that the similar reasoning also applies if one is black, Hispanic, a non-native born citizen, or non-conservative Christian and motivated by anything other than racism, greed and/or one form of bigotry or another.  Mitt Romney by his own admission has no desire to think about most of us citizens.  He will be looking out for only the 1%, the homophobes, the white supremacists and the Christianist  religious extremists - i.e., the base of today's Republican Party - and, of course large corporations which in Romneyworld are people.  Here are excerpts from Stuart's column:

The great evil the world saw [during WWII] with the horrific persecution and mass murder of minorities—from Jews and Roma to many members of the LGBT community—led Harvey [Milk] to adopt the Jewish community’s post-war message, “never forget,” as his compass for human rights. He saw that our community, the Jewish community, took the ideal of b'tzelem elohim, that all are created in the image of the divine, to heart, through standing arm-in-arm with those fighting for the civil rights movement and helping to lead the women's right movement.

Jewish support for the LGBT community was visible back even in 1965 when the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods (now Women of Reform Judaism) passed a resolution condemning the criminalization of homosexuality when no one else would. My uncle was quite prophetic in his belief that fellow Jews would be among the first to fight for marriage in numerous states and they have—Jewish organizations ranging from the Religious Action Center to the Anti-Defamation League and local communities around the country have championed LGBT equality efforts for decades. But the fight is not over and this is why the LGBT community needs you to carefully weigh your vote in this year's presidential election—an election that is likely to impact LGBT individuals for years to come.

I ask you to look at our two options for our next president.

We'll start with President Barack Obama. The President's record advancing pro-LGBT legislation is too extensive to list, but highlights include repealing the discriminatory "don't ask, don't tell" policy, signing into law the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and issuing a mandate that requires hospitals to provide LGBT families the same visitation policies given to everyone else.

President Obama also became the first sitting U.S. president ever to declare support for same-sex marriage, joining 81% of American Jews who, according to recent polling by the Public Religion Research Institute, also share his desire that same-sex couples be able to celebrate their love—under a chuppah, at a church, or in the town hall—the same as different-sex couples.

Now I ask you look to at Governor Romney's record. The Governor carved out an extremist anti-LGBT position from the beginning to appeal to socially conservative voters. Governor Romney voiced his opposition to not just same-sex marriage but even to civil unions, putting him at odds with the views of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. What’s more, Mitt Romney openly declared he would not support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of "sexual orientation" and "gender identity." This position puts him out of touch with 73% of all voters—even 66% of Republicans—who support protecting LGBT individuals from workplace discrimination. 

The Jewish community has been involved in every major civil rights fight in American history. We know with our all too painful memory of the ancestors we lost due to intolerance and hate-mongering that those who marginalize and diminish any minority group should put us all on alert. The struggle for LGBT equality is no different. I am an American who is proudly Jewish and proudly gay. The LGBT community needs support and the Jewish community needs to be at the forefront. Not just because of b'tzelem elohim, but because it is the right thing to do. There is only one choice for the LGBT community and that choice is President Barack Obama.

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

Black Pastors Seek to Dash Goals of White Christianists and Romney

President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign event at Norfolk State University in Norfolk
It is no secret that the National Organization for Marriage and hate groups like Family Research Council headed by white supremacist embracing Tony Perkins are working to use Barack Obama's endorsement of same sex CIVIL law marriage as a tool to either suppress the black vote or to convince black Christians to vote for Mitt Romney even though they are clearly part of the 47% that Romney despises.  Fortunately, a number of pastors in Hampton Roads took action and have worked to educate their flocks against drinking the Christianist/GOP Kool-Aid and looking at the larger picture.  A piece in the Virginian Pilot looks at the effort.  Here are some highlights:

Late in August, a group of local African American pastors met in Chesapeake to develop a strategy after the president announced his support for same-sex marriage.  Members of their flocks were concerned that Obama, in a television interview in May, had taken a stand many of them believed was contrary to Scripture.

Some of the pastors who attended the hastily called meeting at Bethany Baptist Church were worried the issue would soften support for the president among one of his strongest constituencies.  While few believed their congregants would vote for Republican challenger Mitt Romney, some said Obama’s stance might dampen enthusiasm for the president, prompting some voters to sit out the election.

That troubled the ministers, who saw a potential problem developing for the president just as the race in Virginia was tightening.  “We felt we needed to make our parishioners aware that not voting was the same as voting for the other guy,” said the Rev. Joseph E. Lamb, pastor of St. Thomas AME Zion in Norfolk, who attended the meeting.

Being careful not to openly endorse any candidate from the pulpit, the pastors agreed to instruct their congregations on the broader issues of the campaign – health care, education, the economy – and discourage a single-issue focus.  They also would educate their flocks on Romney’s Mormon faith and how it differs from their own.

The strategy apparently has paid off. In the closing days of the campaign, some pastors say support for the president within their congregations is as strong as ever.  “They’re still very much looking to back the president regardless of his view on that issue,” Lamb said.

The Rev. Lin Hill, who called the pastoral meeting at Bethany Baptist Church, said what appeared in the summer to be a potential problem for the Obama campaign has been averted.  African American church members, he said, “have never been single-issue voters. While they see same-sex marriage as something they can’t support as Christians, they see it as just one of many matters of concern.”

No doubt stories like this will make Maggie Gallagher, Tony Perkins and Victoria Cobb at The Family Foundation act as if someone has peed in their Cheerios.  Black voters are not as stupid as they had hoped and believed.  The article goes on to look at the efforts of Catholic clergy in the area many of whom have been preaching the anti-Obama message dictated by child rapist protecting Catholic bishops and pedophile enabler Pope Benedict XVI.  The good news, is that from most of the Catholics I know, they will happily ignore the bishops and the Vatican 

Did People Fail to Take Hurricane Sandy Seriously Enough?

Watching television and viewing other media coverage of the devastation in New York and New Jersey I continue to be horrified.  And I am no stranger to the ravages that hurricanes can inflict.  I lived through the direct hit of Hurricane Frederic back in 1979 when I lived in Mobile and now three hurricane storm surges since 2009 in our home in Hampton (2009 caused major flooding to the house and the boyfriend and I lived in basically two rooms for the better part of the next six months as the entire first floor was ripped up and repaired in a manner that made it water resistant).  But I keep wondering why more people seem to have not evacuated both in New York and New Jersey.  With the hype of Sandy as the "Frankenstorm" and the dire predictions of the level of the storm surge, it is not as if there wasn't warning.  It is a question that needs to be asked and investigated because too many lives seem to have been lost needlessly.

The New York Times profiles some of the harsh aftermath of Sandy.  As for the speed of relief services arriving, I know that it can seem like an eternity before power is restored and debris is removed, etc.  And sadly, in New York and New Jersey the amount of debris is staggering.  And the numbers of people needing relief are staggering as well.  One can only hope that (1) future storms - of which scientists say will will like see more - will be taken far more seriously and (2) as rebuilding begins new construction standards and flooding criteria will be imposed. This is something that will not be popular with many - people in Alabama screamed when Gulf Shores and Dauphin Island had to be rebuilt to much more exacting standards - but simply ignoring the new climate and sea level reality will only court future disasters and the needless loss of lives.

One can only hope that on Tuesday we do not see climate change deniers elected to offices where acceptance of the new reality is impeded or totally rejected.  There will be more Hurricane Sandy's and all of us need to accept that and plan accordingly.  Hurricanes are no longer just a southern or southeastern danger to be dealt with.  We cannot undo what has happened, but we can be much more ready for the next monster storm.
Evacuation zones in red

Friday, November 02, 2012

More Friday Male Beauty

Mitt Romney’s Son Went to Russia With a Secret Message for Putin

Mitt Romney and son Matt, at right
The lies and false posturing of Mitt Romney never end.  While some in the media are wringing their hands whining that Obama has "goner negative" they continue to give a total pass to the easily documented lies of Mitt Romney.   Lest we forget, America was suckered into the Iraq War because of the lies of Chimperator Geoprge Bush and Emperor Palpatine Cheney.  Lies that could have been exposed had the mainstream media pulled its collective thumb out of it ass and done some hard hitting investigative reporting.  We are seeing the same failure of the old main stream media in the current 21012 elections:  it refuses to expose lies and to call out liars.  The last post looked at Mitt Romney's lies on foreign policy towards Israel.  In the same presidential debate Romney sought to depict Russia as the USA's principal foreign policy foe and made claims that  he'd "get tough on Russia."  Apparently, that message was intended only for American voters who Romney seems to view as simple minded cretins.  Via his son Matt who is in Russia soliciting investors, Romney sent a different message to Putin: I'd ddin;t really mean what I said about Russia or getting tough.  New York Magazine looks at the message Romney was actually sending to Putin.  Here are excerpts:

Mitt Romney has made a point throughout his campaign to refer, with teeth, to Russia as our country's "number one geopolitical foe" and promising to have "more backbone" than Barack Obama when dealing with the Kremlin. But that's all just bluster, says Romney's second-oldest son Matt, who made a sojourn this week to the former Soviet Union in search of investors for his real estate company. According to Matt's colleague, it was just a "harmless trip," but the New York Times has the juicy geopolitical gossip via an anonymous source:
 [...] while in Moscow, Mr. Romney told a Russian known to be able to deliver messages to Mr. Putin that despite the campaign rhetoric, his father wants good relations if he becomes president, according to a person informed about the conversation.
Now we're used to these rascals saying things they don't mean, but that sure sounds like some massive foreign policy undermining just days before the election. Can a grown man get grounded?
The Romney campaign has opted not to comment, but we can imagine Mitt's defense in his own words: "Look, I got five boys. I'm used to people saying something that's not always true and just keep on repeating it and ultimately hoping I'll believe it." Who's getting fooled here?

Seriously, I believe that the most tawdry whore is a pillar of virtue and honesty compared to Mitt Romney.   I keep asking myself, are all Mormons this incredible dishonest?  Similarly, I keep wondering whether or not a majority of voters - or at least the non-racists among them - are stupid enough to believe anything Romney says.

Israel's Largest Daily Newspaper Rebukes Romney and Endorses Obama

If you recall, in the third presidential debate Mitt Romney accuse Barack Obama of having betrayed Israel and of having basically kicked Israel to the curb in terms of a faithful ally.  According to Romney, Obama had seriously strained US/Israeli relations.  Well, today, Israel's most influential daily newspaper, Haaretz, endorsed Obama.  This clearly suggests to me that during the last presidential debate Romney was - oh the shock and surprise - lying yet again.  I swear to God, if Romney's lips are moving, the man is lying.   Here are highlights from the Haaretz endorsement of Barack Obama:

The outcome of the elections will be determined by the voters' decision as to which of the two candidates is good for America. But if any of them are vacillating in their vote over whether Obama has been a good president for Israel, the answer is yes.

Tens of millions of Americans will go to the polls on Tuesday to vote for a president and vice president. It will be an important day for American democracy. This will be the Americans' day, but the outcome of the elections will impact the entire world.

For Americans in general, and American Jews in particular, the United States' attitude toward Israel is just one of many factors to consider - among internal and foreign affairs, the economy and defense - when casting their vote.

But for various reasons, Republican candidate Mitt Romney has made incumbent President Barack Obama's policy toward Israel a hot-button issue in the campaign. One of those reasons is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's open support for Romney, who like him enjoys the patronage of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

 [A] deeper examination of the core issues comprising the two countries' relations - devoid of political and personal interests - reveals no grounds for portraying Obama in a negative light.

Obama continued this two-way track vis-a-vis Iran and the issue of Palestinian statehood. Under his pressure, Israel suspended for the first time - for a while - construction in the settlements. Relations between the two countries' armed forces have never been so close. Obama's challenge in his second term, if he wins the elections, is to lead the region to a stable arrangement of peace and security.  

Yes, once again, Mitt Romney was not telling the truth.  I truly don't think that Romney would recognize the truth if it beat him about the head with a two by four.  The man is a disgrace to to America.

Friday Morning Male Beauty

Christianist Election Apocalypse

The Christofascists are becoming increasingly hysterical over the prospect that Barack Obama might just eke out a reelection win and thereby  throw a major wrench in their agenda of infusing more of their hate and fear based religious dogma into the nation's laws.  These extremist recognize that Mitt Romney would be a willing tool in implementing their theocratic agenda simply because he would want to avoid a Christianist primary challenge in 2016 were he to be elected next week.  Some of their hysteria might almost be funny were it not for the fact that these religious fanatics are completely serious in their desire to subvert the U. S. Constitution and end all abortion, re-criminalize gays and uphold white Christianist privilege.  A piece in Religion Dispatches looks at the hysteria and tactics the enemies of freedom for all citizens are emplying.  Here are some excerpts:

The final stretch of the presidential campaign is bringing out the last-minute scramble for a miracle, whether it be undecided voters in a swing state breaking your candidate’s way or prodding the apathetic to the voting booth on November 6th.

Or, to put a different spin on the phenomenon: we’re now seeing the dumbest of religious appeals, the most craven partisan tactics, a dramatic spike in proof-texting the Bible to score political points, and dire prophecies.

Focus on the Family’s political arm is sending Iowa voters a flyer claiming that President Obama thinks “we’re no longer a Christian nation” (read: we were once a Christian nation but bwwaaahahahahahaha, my evil Islamo-socialist plan has worked!).

Obama is an oppressor of Christianity, in the view of the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, who tweeted that “#Obamacare seems aimed squarely at dismantling and/or silencing the family and the Church.”

Billy Graham—or, as many suspect, someone speaking on the 94-year-old evangelist’s behalf—put his name on an advertisement that reads, “I strongly urge you to vote for candidates who support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and woman, protect the sanctity of life, and defend our religious freedoms.”

The Christian Post, the subject of an intense investigation by Christianity Today (which was founded by the elder Graham), was also the venue for a Romney endorsement by Richard Land, who serves as the magazine’s executive editor.

Land, disgraced from his position as the Southern Baptist Convention’s “ethics” guru after admitting to plagiarizing racist rants about the Trayvon Martin case, broke his pledge not to endorse a candidate because “America is at a fork in the road and must choose between a President Barack Obama who wants to remake America in the model of a European welfare state and a Governor Mitt Romney who wants to restore a more economically vibrant and traditionally moral America.”

Anti-marriage equality crusader Bishop Harry Jackson, who is African American, urges readers to vote for Romney “as a statement of Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream.” While King was sitting in the Birmingham jail, Romney was tormenting boys with long hair at Cranbrook, and his Church was still 15 years away from lifting its ban on black men serving in the priesthood.

Pastor Robert Jeffress, who just a year ago endorsed Rick Perry over Romney in the Republican Primary, and called Mormonism a cult, is now telling pastors in Florida—even though he still thinks Mormonism is a cult—that “It’s time to stand up and push back against all the evil in our country.” He suggested that failing to go out to vote for Romney would be like being a pastor in Germany in the 1930s and failing to try to stop the Holocaust.

Here’s the reality: white evangelicals are an ever-shrinking proportion of the electorate; according to a recent Public Religion Research Institute poll, they make up 30% of those 65 and older, but just 9% of 18- to 29-year-olds. A recent Pew poll found that now the “nones” make up the same segment of the population (19%) as white evangelicals. And the younger the cohort studied, the more likely that a “none” is an atheist or agnostic. There’s no convincing the evangelical partisans, though.

That the GOP and Romney/Ryan are so beholden to such religious extremists and outright nutcases ought to terrify rational, thinking Americans.   If these people are the ones supporting Mitt Romney and the GOP, there isn't a much stronger argument to be found for voting Democrat and for Obama.

Why Mitt Romney Is the Wrong Man for America

The list of reasons why Mitt Romney and the GOP need to be defeated next Tuesday is a long one and this blog has looked at many of these reasons which range from Romney's pathological lying, to his contempt for 47% of the population (perhaps the only true thing we have seen from the man) and to his reckless plan to slash taxes for the wealthy while going on a defense spending binge that would make the budget deficit explode.  A piece in The Daily Beast that includes the summary "The candidate lies to women, manipulates the truth about his taxes and his tax policy, and covers for racists"adds to the litany of why Romney is wrong for America.  Here are some excerpts:

Mitt Romney is a pimp. He’s pimping his base, lying every opportunity he gets with the hope that the uninformed—as well as those who are supporting him because they just want to get that black man out of the White House—will spread his ill will and surrender to his lack of compassion for those who have suffered because of what President Bush and corporate America have done to Americans. If I thought for one minute that Romney would be better for this country than President Obama, I would vote for him.

I’ve talked about, ranted about, and even tweeted regularly about just how racist this entire campaign season has been and how so many people either don’t see, or refuse to see, the real truth behind the Republicans and Mitt Romney.

From day one of the Obama administration, Republicans agreed not to support any legislation he proposed that would have improved the economy, especially the Jobs Bill, which would have created almost 2 million jobs.  .  .  .  .  They didn’t mind when Bush was spending trillions on wars, did they? In their quest to embarrass and humiliate the president, Republicans have harmed our country.

I’m so glad the Times, along with many other news organizations, is able to see through Mitt Romney as well as the B-movie performances he relies on to fool his base. Even a fifth-grader should be able to see clearly what those truths are: Mitt Romney is a phony, arrogant, dishonest, manipulative, pompous, elitist human being who lacks genuine compassion, and, as a result, is ill-equipped to run the United States of America.
He lies about things a presidential hopeful shouldn’t be lying about. Three of my favs: his bogus tax policy, Medicaid, and, the biggest of all: that he’s a magician and can create 12 million jobs in four years! 

There also is another major truth about Romney that no woman in her right mind should ignore. He seems downright excited about having the power to throw women off the bridge and setting us back 40 years. Mitt and his posse—Todd Akin, Paul Ryan, and now Richard Mourdock (along with 13 other white male senators and even two females)—have decided to use “big government” to impose their religious beliefs on us.  

Church and state are supposed to be separate. Elected officials should not be allowed to use the Senate, the House of Representatives, and especially the White House as a platform from which to impose their religious beliefs on women. Period. I’d really like to know why they are so preoccupied with what women do with their bodies.
In his willingness to “expose” his policies affecting women, Romney has made it clear that he wants to eliminate Planned Parenthood and repeal Roe v. Wade and yet he has not been as forthcoming when it comes to releasing his taxes. (Even a 3-year old would know he’s hiding something that would make us see how slick he really is.)

Republicans have done everything possible to pass laws to suppress the vote: they are losing their grip. This Club they’re obviously honorary members of is one where honesty, dignity, and fair play take a backseat to winning at all costs, and they feel not one ounce of shame when their tactics are exposed.

Many do not want to hear this truth - including neighbors on my street - that racism and a fear of a permanent loss of white privilege and entitlement is what motivates far too many in today's GOP.  It's all about maintaining power in the hands of white, heterosexual conservatives who believe that the rest of us should be forever subservient and be forced to live in accordance with their dictates.  This arrogant contemptuous attitude are personified in Mitt Romney who will engage in any and every lie and deception to further himself.  Personally, I think the man is amoral or perhaps even a sociopath.  The man scares me.

Australian Priest: State Must Act Against Catholic Church

It is refreshing to see someone within the Catholic Church clergy admitting that the Church hierarchy has engaged in criminal activity in the cover ups of sexual abuse of children and youths.  I suspect that Jesuit priest Frank Brennan may face repercussions for his honesty and underscoring of the fact that the Church cannot be left to police itself or properly deal with sexual predators because the hierarchy is part of the criminal conspiracy.  Hopefully, Australia will act against the Church contrary to what has occurred in the USA where no high clerics have been prosecuted.  Here are highlights from The Age:

THE Catholic Church will need state intervention to resolve the crisis surrounding sexual abuse of children by priests, according to noted jurist and Jesuit priest Frank Brennan.

''Where there is a social organisation within the democracy with a proven and self-admitted case of ongoing criminal activity, and it's related to very vulnerable children, the state should intervene,'' he said.

Delivering the annual Law and Justice Oration in Sydney's Parliament House on Wednesday night, Professor Brennan said: ''Clearly, the church itself cannot be left alone to get its house in order. That would be a wrongful invocation of freedom of religion in a pluralist, democratic society.''

His comments echo those made by RMIT professor and former priest Des Cahill to the state inquiry into the church handling of clergy sex abuse.
Professor Brennan said that as politicians decided how to proceed, they needed the help of ''lawyers committed to justice, not lawyers acting primarily to protect the church or to condemn it''.

Professor Brennan said in his oration that any problems in the Catholic Church needed to be identified for the good of all citizens, not just Catholics.

''At the moment, there is little more that any Catholic priest can credibly say on this issue in the public square. I make this plea to all lawyers having a commitment to justice. While putting aside any religious prejudice, please contribute fearlessly to the debate.''
 Would that we would see a single bishop or cardinal in America call out the Church for the criminal organization it is in fact.  No, instead they focus their efforts on depriving LGBT citizens of civil rights while coddling and protecting child rapists.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

More Thursday Male Beauty

Hampton Roads from Chesapeake Avenue

As much as I complain about living in backwards Virginia, I will concede that our neighborhood known as Old Wythe in the City of Hampton is beautiful.  The scene above was taken by a neighbor down the street looking  across Hampton Roads harbor towards Norfolk and Portsmouth to the south.

Michael Bloomberg Endorses Obama

Four years ago Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City, did not endorse either of the presidential candidates.  Many expected that Bloomberg would act similarly in 2012.  That expectation was shot down today when Bloomberg, in a well reasoned statement, endorsed Barack Obama on his political website.   What tipped the scales in Bloombergs mind?  The fact that one of the presidential candidates, Barack Obama, embraces science and the fact that the earth's climate is changing and the other, Mitt Romney, does not.  Adding to the motivation to endorse Obama Bloomberg also notes Romney's embrace of the frightening agenda of the Christofascists and others of the far right.  Here are excerpts from Bloomberg's endorsement of Obama:

The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the Northeast – in lost lives, lost homes and lost business – brought the stakes of Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief.

Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be – given this week's devastation – should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.

Here in New York, our comprehensive sustainability plan – PlaNYC – has helped allow us to cut our carbon footprint by 16 percent in just five years, which is the equivalent of eliminating the carbon footprint of a city twice the size of Seattle. Through the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group – a partnership among many of the world’s largest cities – local governments are taking action where national governments are not.

But we can't do it alone. We need leadership from the White House – and over the past four years, President Barack Obama has taken major steps to reduce our carbon consumption, including setting higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks. His administration also has adopted tighter controls on mercury emissions, which will help to close the dirtiest coal power plants (an effort I have supported through my philanthropy), which are estimated to kill 13,000 Americans a year. 

Mitt Romney, too, has a history of tackling climate change.  .  .  .  .  But since then, he has reversed course, abandoning the very cap-and-trade program he once supported. This issue is too important. We need determined leadership at the national level to move the nation and the world forward.

In the past he has also taken sensible positions on immigration, illegal guns, abortion rights and health care. But he has reversed course on all of them, and is even running against the health-care model he signed into law in Massachusetts.  

His [Obama's] health-care law – for all its flaws - will provide insurance coverage to people who need it most and save lives..

When I step into the voting booth, I think about the world I want to leave my two daughters, and the values that are required to guide us there. The two parties’ nominees for president offer different visions of where they want to lead America. 

One believes a woman’s right to choose should be protected for future generations; one does not. That difference, given the likelihood of Supreme Court vacancies, weighs heavily on my decision.

One recognizes marriage equality as consistent with America’s march of freedom; one does not. I want our president to be on the right side of history.

One sees climate change as an urgent problem that threatens our planet; one does not. I want our president to place scientific evidence and risk management above electoral politics.

Presidnts Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan both found success while their parties were out of power in Congress – and President Obama can, too. If he listens to people on both sides of the aisle, and builds the trust of moderates, he can fulfill the hope he inspired four years ago and lead our country toward a better future for my children and yours. And that's why I will be voting for him.  

I agree with Michael Bloomberg.  I'd go even further and state that one candidate, Barack Obama, is on the right side of history and morality and the other, Mitt Romney is not.  Romney could be the poster boy for why one should walk away from organized religion, the Mormon Church in particular.

Catholic Bishop of Peoria Tells Parishioers "Vote Democrat and Go to Hell"

Once again I have to ask myself, where in the Hell is the IRS?  Why?  Because the porcine (why are so many of the bishops grossly obese?) Roman Catholic bishop of Peoria has through his choice of words basically ordered Catholics in his diocese to vote Republican or go to Hell.  Moreover, exerting his feudal lord like powers over diocesan priests, bishop Daniel R. Jenky (pictured above) has ordered every priest to read his fiat to the laity in the pews.  One can only hope that as word of the bishop's arrogance and partisanship sinks in that at least some Peoria Catholics will say they've had enough and will vote with their feet.  As I've noted numerous times, both the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America offer wonderful, almost identical options to Catholics who seek to escape the moral bankruptcy of the Catholic Church hierarchy.  Here are excerpts via the National Catholic Reporter from Jenky's batshitery filled letter to those he considers little better than ignorant, uneducated serfs:

By virtue of your vow of obedience to me as your Bishop, I require that this letter be personally read by each celebrating priest at each Weekend Mass, November 3/4. 

Dear Catholic Believers,

Since the foundation of the American Republic and the adoption of the Bill of Rights, I do not think there has ever been a time more threatening to our religious liberty than the present. .  .  .  .
This assault upon our religious freedom is simply without precedent in the American political and legal system. Contrary to the guarantees embedded in the First Amendment, the HHS mandates attempt to now narrowly define and thereby drastically limit our traditional religious works. They grossly and intentionally intrude upon the deeply held moral convictions that have always guided our Catholic schools, hospitals, and other apostolic ministries. 

Nearly two thousand years ago, after our Savior had been bound, beaten, scourged, mocked, and crowned with thorns, a pagan Roman Procurator displayed Jesus to a hostile crowd by sarcastically declaring: Behold your King. The mob roared back: We have no king but Caesar. Today, Catholic politicians, bureaucrats, and their electoral supporters who callously enable the destruction of innocent human life in the womb also thereby reject Jesus as their Lord. They are objectively guilty of grave sin.

For those who hope for salvation, no political loyalty can ever take precedence over loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ and to his Gospel of Life. God is not mocked, and as the Bible clearly teaches, after this passing instant of life on earth, God's great mercy in time will give way to God's perfect judgment in eternity.

I therefore call upon every practicing Catholic in this Diocese to vote. Be faithful to Christ and to your Catholic Faith. May God guide and protect his Holy Church, and may God bless America.

True, Jenky does expressly order members of the diocese to vote only for Republicans, but one need not be a rocket scientist to get the coded message.  I'd also note that today, I have not heard a peep out of Jenky on the need to rid the Church hierarchy of those who aided and abetted sexual predator priests.  But that, of course, would mean that he'd have to demand Benedict XVI relinquish his crown.  For those in the hierarchy who are motivated principally by a quest for power and privilege that act of moral courage and righteousness will never happen.

Delaware “Family Values” GOP Candidate Busted on Child Molestation Charges

For the third time in as many days we are seeing the true nature of the "family values" conservatives who oppose same sex marriage, claim to worship the "sanctity of marriage" - all of whom coincidentally are REPUBLICANS.   First it was the prostitute soliciting "Christian family company" business owner in Maine, and then there was the GOP Attorney General of Arizona who had his affair exposed following a hit and run accident.Now it is Republican candidate for the Delaware State Senate, Eric Bodenweiser (pictured at left) who has been arrested on child molestation charges.  And, if you haven't already guessed it, the victim was a young boy.  And as is par for the course, Bodenweiser was a member of the anti-gay Delaware Family Policy Council.  The Washington Blade has details.  Here are highlights:

A Republican candidate for the Delaware State Senate who boasted of being a member of the anti-gay Delaware Family Policy Council was indicted this week on multiple charges of engaging in unlawful sex acts with a 13-year-old boy.

The indictment came less than a week after Eric Bodenweiser, 53, abruptly dropped out of his race for a State Senate seat in a conservative-leaning district near Rehoboth Beach that includes the City of Georgetown.

The indictment includes 113 felony sex charges, including 39 counts of unlawful sexual intercourse — first-degree and 74 counts of unlawful sexual contact — second-degree. Although the indictment doesn’t identify the gender of the victim, the Gape Gazette identified the victim as a boy who allegedly was sexually abused by Bodenweiser between Oct. 1, 1987 and Aug. 31, 1990 when he was between the ages of 10 and 13.

Jason Miller, a spokesperson for the Delaware Attorney General’s office, which is prosecuting the case, said the victim, who is now in his 30s, has spoken to the media and revealed details not disclosed in the indictment but which are expected to surface at a trial.

Among those who had endorsed Bodenweiser in his State Senate race was Christine O’Donnell, the 2010 Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Delaware.

Democratic candidate Jane Hovington, who was expected to lose to Bodenweiser by a wide margin, is now the only candidate on the ballot in the race for the 19th Senate district. She is being challenged by Republican former Georgetown Mayor Brian Pettyjohn, who is running as a write-in candidate.

Why is it that 99% of the time it is always the Republicans and "family values" crowd that are the child molesters and adulterers?

The Economist Endorses Obama - Math Does Still Matter

I continue to be amazed at the Republicans who keep saying the nation's budget deficit has exploded under Obama - obviously they have "romnesia" about the real budget busters: Chimperator George Bush and Emperor Palpatine Cheney.  Worse yet, the foam at the mouth about what will happen to the budget deficit if Obama is reelected.  Meanwhile, they have done nothing to check the impossible math of Mitt "I'm a Liar" Romney's proposals.  Between the promised tax cuts and huge increases in defense spending Romney has promised, the budget deficit would utterly explode.  One can only assume that they have imbibed far too much Kool-Aid laced with mind altering drugs or that they live in an alternate universe where simple math doesn't exist.  Well, the Economist HAS done the math and in large part because Romney would be a financial disaster deficit wise, the Economist has endorsed Barack Obama for reelection.  The entire endorsement is worth a read because it looks honestly - and critically - at Obama's record but nonetheless concludes that Romney/Ryan would be far worse.  Here are some excerpts:

[T]his choice turns on two questions: how good a president has Mr Obama been, especially on the main issues of the economy and foreign policy? And can America really trust the ever-changing Mitt Romney to do a better job? On that basis, the Democrat narrowly deserves to be re-elected.

Mr Obama’s first term has been patchy. On the economy, the most powerful argument in his favour is simply that he stopped it all being a lot worse. America was in a downward economic spiral when he took over, with its banks and carmakers in deep trouble and unemployment rising at the rate of 800,000 a month. His responses—an aggressive stimulus, bailing out General Motors and Chrysler, putting the banks through a sensible stress test and forcing them to raise capital (so that they are now in much better shape than their European peers)—helped avert a Depression. That is a hard message to sell on the doorstep when growth is sluggish and jobs scarce; but it will win Mr Obama some plaudits from history, and it does from us too.

Two other things count, on balance, in his favour. One is foreign policy, where he was also left with a daunting inheritance.  .  .  .  .  The other qualified achievement is health reform. Even to a newspaper with no love for big government, the fact that over 40m people had no health coverage in a country as rich as America was a scandal.

Mr Obama’s shortcomings have left ample room for a pragmatic Republican, especially one who could balance the books and overhaul government. Such a candidate briefly flickered across television screens in the first presidential debate. This newspaper would vote for that Mitt Romney, just as it would for the Romney who ran Democratic Massachusetts in a bipartisan way (even pioneering the blueprint for Obamacare). The problem is that there are a lot of Romneys and they have committed themselves to a lot of dangerous things.

Take foreign policy. In the debates Mr Romney stuck closely to the president on almost every issue. But elsewhere he has repeatedly taken a more bellicose line.   .  .  .  .  Mr Romney seems too ready to bomb Iran, too uncritically supportive of Israel and cruelly wrong in his belief in “the Palestinians not wanting to see peace”. The bellicosity could start on the first day of his presidency, when he has vowed to list China as a currency manipulator—a pointless provocation to its new leadership that could easily degenerate into a trade war.

[F]ar from being the voice of fiscal prudence, Mr Romney wants to start with huge tax cuts (which will disproportionately favour the wealthy), while dramatically increasing defence spending. Together those measures would add $7 trillion to the ten-year deficit. He would balance the books through eliminating loopholes (a good idea, but he will not specify which ones) and through savage cuts to programmes that help America’s poor (a bad idea, which will increase inequality still further). At least Mr Obama, although he distanced himself from Bowles-Simpson, has made it clear that any long-term solution has to involve both entitlement reform and tax rises. Mr Romney is still in the cloud-cuckoo-land of thinking you can do it entirely through spending cuts.

Mr Romney’s more sensible supporters explain his fiscal policies away as necessary rubbish, concocted to persuade the fanatics who vote in the Republican primaries . . . . However, even if you accept that Romneynomics may be more numerate in practice than it is in theory, it is far harder to imagine that he will reverse course entirely. . . . . Mr Romney, like Mr Hollande, will have his party at his back—and a long record of pandering to them.

Indeed, the extremism of his party is Mr Romney’s greatest handicap. The Democrats have their implacable fringe too: look at the teachers’ unions. But the Republicans have become a party of Torquemadas, forcing representatives to sign pledges never to raise taxes, to dump the chairman of the Federal Reserve and to embrace an ever more Southern-fried approach to social policy.

As a result, this election offers American voters an unedifying choice. Many of The Economist’s readers, especially those who run businesses in America, may well conclude that nothing could be worse than another four years of Mr Obama. We beg to differ. For all his businesslike intentions, Mr Romney has an economic plan that works only if you don’t believe most of what he says. That is not a convincing pitch for a chief executive. And for all his shortcomings, Mr Obama has dragged America’s economy back from the brink of disaster, and has made a decent fist of foreign policy. So this newspaper would stick with the devil it knows, and re-elect him.

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

Romney Likens Hurricane Relief to Cleaning up "Rubbish and Paper Products" from a Football Field

Providing further proof that he is not only out of touch but also devoid of any empathy for others, Mitt Romney has likened hurricane relief in the wale of Hurricane Sandy to cleaning up "rubbish and paper products" from a football field.  Apparently, Romney has been too busy counting his money or concocting new campaign lies to take the time to watch the media coverage of the horrific devastation in New York and New Jersey and other areas damaged by the storm.  Or perhaps in Romney's mind, given his multiple homes, recovery from the storm is as simple as moving to one of your other residences while the one that has been devastated is rebuilt.  The more I see of this man, the more terrified I am of the prospect of someone like him in the White House.  Salon looks at Romney's incredible out of touch comment on hurricane relief.  Here are excerpts:

It’s become a platitude to say that no one should be playing politics with Hurricane Sandy, but that’s silly. When the performance of government suddenly becomes a literal matter of life and death to many Americans, we ought to be thinking about what kind of government we want to have, and that involves politics.

It’s impossible not to see that this storm has devastated Mitt Romney’s presidential candidacy. The response to the hurricane has seemed like one long dramatic Obama campaign commercial, a lesson in “We’re all in this together,” while Romney, the man who said he’d dismantle FEMA, flails on the sidelines.

Romney’s “relief” event outside of Dayton, Ohio, was surreal enough to be a campaign parody, with the candidate comparing the federal government’s hurricane relief efforts to the time he and some friends had to clean up a football field strewn with “rubbish and paper products.”

[O]utside of Romney’s embarrassing European tour this summer, when he insulted Britain over Olympics planning and divulged a secret briefing by MI6, this is Romney’s worst moment yet. As the storm approached, political reporters dredged up his pledge to “absolutely” restructure FEMA to give power to the states. At a Republican debate in June 2011, he suggested the private sector should do more, because federal spending even on FEMA was “jeopardizing the future of our kids.” Tell that to the kids of New Jersey, Gov. Romney. And of course the Ryan budget would slash funding for FEMA.

After Romney’s laughable relief event Tuesday, reporters swarmed him to ask if he still favors sending FEMA funding and responsibility back to the states. .  .  .  .  .  Romney won’t answer because he can’t.

The heroes of Sandy, so far, are the first responders, the cops and firefighters and emergency technicians, the folks evacuating patients from hospitals and trapped citizens from flooding. These are the people who’ve been demonized by Republicans for the last two years: the public workers who have become the new “welfare queens.” 

No one can be reassured by Romney’s empty posturing. Unless there is some government-abetted or neglected further disaster, I think Obama will be reelected next Tuesday. Hurricane Sandy has reminded us what’s at stake.
Look at the photos in this post and then try to tell me Romney doesn't have his head up his ass and that he would not be a menace in the White House.

Why Is the New York Times Promoting "Ex-Gay" Therapy?

I nearly spit up my morning coffee this morning when I saw a ridiculous piece in the New York Times that on its face is supportive of the psychologically tortured and disturbed "ex-gay" crowd and even makes the statement that "thousands of men across the country, often known as “ex-gay,” who believe they have changed their most basic sexual desires through some combination of therapy and prayer." Yes, and I think I am Queen Victoria and that my partner is Prince Albert.  That claim would have the same legitimacy as the claims of the "ex-gay" crowd.  Perhaps the biggest lie in the piece is that it regurgitaes the claim that thousands believe they have "changed" their orientation even though time and time again NONE of the proponents of the witch doctor like "ex-gay" programs have EVER produced names to back up the claims.  That's right, NEVER.  Fortunately, the story does include some coverage of the positions of legitimate medical and mental health experts who say claims of "change" are at best self-delusion.  My advice to the "ex-gays" is to find a different denomination that doesn't embrace ignorance and bigotry and which accepts modern knowledge and stop torturing themselves.  Remaining in an anti-gay religious tradition is nothing more than than a form of self-flagellation and masochism.  Here are some article highlights that look at the truth about these bogus claims:

Ex-gay men are often closeted, fearing ridicule from gay advocates who accuse them of self-deception and, at the same time, fearing rejection by their church communities as tainted oddities. Here in California, their sense of siege grew more intense in September when Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law banning use of widely discredited sexual “conversion therapies” for minors — an assault on their own validity, some ex-gay men feel. 

Signing the measure, Governor Brown repeated the view of the psychiatric establishment and medical groups, saying, “This bill bans nonscientific ‘therapies’ that have driven young people to depression and suicide,” adding that the practices “will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery.”

Major mental health associations say teenagers who are pushed into therapy by conservative parents may feel guilt and despair when their inner impulses do not change. 

Reparative therapy suffered two other major setbacks this year. In April, a prominent psychiatrist, Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, publicly repudiated as invalid his own 2001 study suggesting that some people could change their sexual orientation; the study had been widely cited by defenders of the therapy.
Then this summer, the ex-gay world was convulsed when Alan Chambers, the president of Exodus International, the largest Christian ministry for people fighting same-sex attraction, said he did not believe anyone could be rid of homosexual desires. 

Critics like Wayne Besen, the executive director of Truth Wins Out, which fights antigay bias, liken such therapy to faith healing, with apparent effects that later fade away.   They also point out that the failures of such therapy are seldom reported. 

S. Marc Breedlove, a neuroscientist and psychologist at Michigan State University, said there was overwhelming evidence that sexual orientation is affected by both biology and environment. Clearly, he said, reparative therapy helps some people alter sexual behavior. But that is far different, he noted, from transforming instinctive sexual desires, something never proved in scientific studies.

Religion has damaged so many lives.  It is sad that these want to be "ex-gays" cannot see that they are being sold a false bill of goods and that they might just as well consult a voodoo practitioner as to enroll in an "ex-gay" program.  In view, proponents of reparative therapy make snake oil merchants look reputable and make Mitt Romney look like an honest person.

Romney Versus the Automakers and the Truth

Throughout this presidential campaign Mitt Romney's dishonesty has been shocking. Many say they have never seen a candidate so willing to lie and make up stories out of thin air.  Sadly, too often the media has aided Romney by lacking to call him what he is: a liar.  Perhaps some of Romney's most incredible lies have involved the auto industry - an industry that Romney was willing to utterly collapse and die.  As noted yesterday, both Chrysler and General Motors have felt compelled to speak out because Romney is running ads and making statements that simply are not true.  And Romney knows they are untrue.  The man simply cares nothing about the truth.  His sole values seem to be amazing more money and power for himself.  Literally not else matters, especially honesty and telling the truth.  I am honestly coming to believe the man is a sociopath.  A column in the New York Times looks at Romney's lies about the auto industry.  Here are excerpts:

When General Motors tells a presidential campaign that it is engaging in “cynical campaign politics at its worst,” that’s a pretty good signal that the campaign has crossed a red line and ought to pull back. Not Mitt Romney’s campaign. Having broadcast an outrageously deceitful ad attacking the auto bailout, the campaign ignored the howls from carmakers and came back with more. 

Mr. Romney apparently plans to end his race as he began it: playing lowest-common-denominator politics, saying anything necessary to achieve power and blithely deceiving voters desperate for clarity and truth. 

This started months ago when he realized that his very public 2008 stance against the successful and wildly popular government bailout of G.M. and Chrysler was hurting him in the valuable states of Ohio and Michigan. In February, he wrote an essay for The Detroit News calling the bailout “crony capitalism on a grand scale” because unions benefited and insisting that Detroit would have been better off to refuse federal money.

When that tactic didn’t work, he began insisting at the debates that his plan for Detroit wasn’t really that different from President Obama’s. (Except for the niggling detail of the $80 billion federal investment.) 

That was quickly discredited, so Mr. Romney began telling rallies last week that Chrysler was considering moving its production to China. Chrysler loudly denounced it as “fantasies,” saying it was only considering increasing production in China for sale in China, without moving a single American job. 

The Romney campaign ignored the company, following up with an instantly notorious ad saying President Obama “sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China.”  

Nearly 1.5 million people are working as a direct result of the bailout. Ohio’s unemployment rate is well below the national average. G.M.’s American sales continue to increase, and Chrysler said this week that its third-quarter net income rose 80 percent. These companies haven’t just bounced back from the bottom; they are accelerating. 

What Mr. Romney cannot admit is that all this is a direct result of the government investment he would have rejected. It’s bad enough to be wrong on the policy. It takes an especially dishonest candidate to simply turn up the volume on a lie and keep repeating it..  .  .  .  .  Mr. Romney is providing a grim preview of what kind of president he would be.

What I find deeply disturbing is that Romney claims to be a deeply religious man.  Yet he lies with impunity.  As with the Christofascists and the Catholic Church hierarchy, the truth simply doesn't matter.   No wonder the younger generations are fleeing organized religion in record numbers.  Increasingly, being a Christian or in Romney's case, Mormon, is synonymous with being a liar.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Quote of the Day: Refuting the GOP Claim that Obama's First Term Has Been a "Failure"

I - like most of us I suspect - love immediate gratification.  It's an aspect of human nature I suspect.  But sometimes our desires for immediate gratification simply cannot be met given all of the attendant circumstances.  A case in point is the nation's economy.  Having launched my law firm with the intent to focus heavily on real estate as it turns out right before the real estate market collapsed I know first had the financial cost the economic collapse shepherded in by Bush?Cheney and the GOP controlled Congress.  As a result, I had high hopes for Obama and recall sitting with a group of gays and straights in the Bourbon Street Pub in Key West on Inauguration  Day 2009.  Many people were in tears that day.  Have all of our hopes been realized?  Certainly not, but compared to where the nation was we have come a long way.  Yes, we might have gone even further toward full recovery, but we had a major obstacle: the GOP controlled House of Representatives which obstructed virtually everything Obama sought to do from Inauguration Day onward. But did Obama fail us?  Andrew Sullivan sums up the reality of what Obama has accomplished - in spite of the Republicans.  Here are the principal highlights:

I have no idea what standard people are using to declare Obama's first term a failure. To save us from a Great Depression, rescue the auto industry, re-regulate Wall Street, decimate al Qaeda, kill bin Laden and Qaddafi and provide universal healthcare? That's failure

Unemployment is lower now than it was when he took office, and moving downward. Next year's IMF-predicted US growth is higher than any other developed country. Compared with austerity-ridden Europe, where unemployment is still climbing, Obama's, Geithner's and Bernanke's leadership has been stellar. The US has never exported as much as now as a percentage of GDP ever. Given the catastrophe Obama walked into, and the froth-flecked obstructionism of his opposition, he's had a remarkably successful, historic first term. His long game also makes much of the progress promised durable only if he gets a second term.

He told us it would take two terms; he predicted obstruction and setbacks; yet he has persisted - and succeeded. But take his second term away? Back to ballooning, rather than shrinking deficits, millions left without access to private health insurance, a guaranteed war against Iran, climate change policy handed over to the oil and coal companies, and massive spending on defense we don't need. Not to mention torture.

And a highlight from Chait's case against Romney:

[T]he reality remains that a vote for Romney is a vote for his party — a party that, by almost universal acclimation, utterly failed when last entrusted with governing. Romney may be brainier, more competent, and more mentally nimble than George W. Bush. But his party has, unbelievably, grown far more extreme in the years since Bush departed.  .  .  .  .  The party has almost no capacity to respond to the conditions and problems that actually exist in the world.
And Andrew doesn't even factor the contrast so far between Obama's response to Hurricane Sandy compared to the failed GOP response after Hurricane Katrina.  Oh, and did I mention that Romney has surrounded him with countless former Bus/Cheney advisers?