Tag Archive: Mitt Romney

Oct 23 2012

The 3rd Obama – Romney Debate: Foreign Policy

The third and final debate between President Barack Obama and his challenger, Governor Mitt Romney took place in Boca Raton, FL at Lynn University moderated by Bob Schieffer, host of CBS’s “Face the Nation.” The focus was on foreign policy with most of the questions centering on the unrest in the Middle East, the conflict in Afghanistan, the military and the war on terror. Many of the pundits and snap polls gave the “win” to Pres. Obama, who let loose with a few well placed “zingers” in response to Gov. Romney’s criticism of his foreign policy. The “horses and bayonets” quip countering Gov Romney’s criticism of the US Navy’s fleet strength. Here is some the more balanced analysis from the left who had as much to say about the Obama administration’s bungled foreign policy, as they did about the dubious future policies of a President Romney.

From David Dayen, FDL News Desk, article, We Don’t Have an American Foreign Policy Debate

While Mitt Romney hid behind Barack Obama and displayed about as much independent thought as a college student who didn’t cram enough the night before the test and spent the whole time looking at his neighbor’s paper, his neighbor Barack Obama reflected so strongly the smoldering wreck that is this nation’s foreign policy consensus.

It’s amazing that the Republican Party, once associated almost totally with a “strong national defense,” would give up so completely on foreign policy, to the extent that they have no identity whatsoever on the issue. Romney agreed with every Obama position but said the nation needed a “comprehensive strategy” to deal with the world, the equivalent of Gerald Ford’s “Whip Inflation Now” buttons, a signifier without anything behind it.

But it’s also amazing to me that anyone would call the Republican candidate Peacenik Mitt, since on the one area by which we wage war in the 21st-century world, Mitt agreed “completely” on the use of drones. That’s increasingly the only way America and the west fights wars these days. So agreement on drones means agreement on the war strategy for the world powers over the next several decades. [..]

When war policy gets reduced to “send flying robots overhead to strike,” eliciting no sacrifice on the part of the general population, it becomes much easier to make these calls, to sign off on interventions in Libya or Somalia or Yemen or Mali or wherever else. [..]

From Glenn Greenwald‘s comments during the live blog of the debate at The Guardian:

9.34pm: Both candidates are eager to ignore the topic of this debate – foreign policy – in order to talk about the economy because they perceive, accurately, that this is what most voters care about, and because they don’t really have much to disagree in the foreign policy area. And so they are now dispensing with any pretense and regurgitating their economics debate.

But US foreign policy actually does have a significant relationship to the economy- namely, the massive military, the constant aggression, war and occupation, the hundreds of military bases around the world all drain resources away from far more constructive purposes – but neither of these two candidates will dare to question any of those imperial premises, so they can’t actually address the prime economic impact of US foreign policy. [..]

10.22pm: A primary reason this debate is so awful is because DC media people like Bob Scheiffer have zero interest in challenging any policy that is embraced by both parties, and since most foreign policies are embraced by both parties, he has no interest in challenging most of the issues that are relevant: drones, sanctions, Israel, etc.

10.34pm: That was just a wretched debate, with almost no redeeming qualities. It was substance-free, boring, and suffuse with empty platitudes. Bob Scheiffer’s questions were even more vapid and predictably shallow than they normally are, and one often forgot that he was even there (which was the most pleasant part of the debate.)

The vast majority of the most consequential foreign policy matters (along with the world’s nations) were completely ignored in lieu of their same repetitive slogans on the economy. When they did get near foreign policy, it was to embrace the fundamentals of each other’s positions and, at most, bicker on the margin over campaign rhetoric.

Numerous foreign policy analysts, commentators and journalists published lists of foreign policy questions they wanted to hear asked and answered at this debate. Almost none was raised. In sum, it was a perfect microcosm of America’s political culture.

10.56pm: Echoing a common refrain of progressives, Andrew Sullivan after the debate says that Obama has “restored America’s moral standing in the world”. I suppose one can say that if one excludes the entire Muslim world from “the world”, as many do, because in that rather large and important part of the world, there has been no restoration of any kind. Quite the opposite. See, just as a beginning, here, here, here, and here.

From lambert‘s Mission elapsed time: T + 45 and counting* at Corrente:

Obama vs. Romney Round III. Recently, I’ve started taking the bus into town, so I can caffeinate myself and work on my laptop in a milieu that could make me feel like I lived in a city again, if I were able to suspend disbelief, which I can’t.

Point being that I take the last bus home, and the last bus here, like last buses everywhere, is filled with characters. A selection of characters I’m highly confident is drawn from populations that are under this or that form of supervison. Most exhibit detailed knowledge of pharmaceuticals, especially barbiturates. Their language is technical and official. They are expert in brands, dosages, arrests, trials, hearings, sentences, and treatment regimens. They trade tips. Most present well; they speak fluently and often, especially of compliance, recovery, and the disasters of others.

And heaven knows what they do when they get home.

So, tonight, listening to our affectless, sweating, droning candidates speak so fluently and present so well, I couldn’t but be reminded of junkies on the last bus. Because it really is about the next fix with these guys, isn’t it? It always is, with junk. Oil, money, power: Junk. Right in the imperial vein.

From Gary Younge‘s comment at The Guardian:

Obama fires and Romney falters but third debate fails to find a flourish

The president did better than an unconvincing Romney – but it’s difficult to imagine this debate changed minds or won hearts

If the world could vote on 6 November, Barack Obama would win by a landslide. A global poll for the BBC World Service revealed that 20 out of 21 countries preferred the president to his challenger. But when you watched the presidential debate on foreign policy on Monday night you had to wonder why. Not because Mitt Romney was better, but because on matters of policy, Obama was almost as bad. It takes a friend to reveal the harsh truth to the global community, so here it is: “Obama’s just not that into you.”

No one could love Israel more, care less about the Palestinians, put more pressure on Iran or be a greater fan of drone attacks or invading Libya. Both candidates agreed that America’s task was to spread freedom around the world: nobody mentioned Guantánamo Bay, Abu Ghraib or rendition. “Governor, you’re saying the same things as us, but you’d say them louder,” said Obama. It was a good line. The trouble was it condemned them both.

Charles Pierce, in his analysis at Esquire noted some significant glaring ommissions:

A discussion of foreign policy that did not mention climate change. (Four debates and nary a mention. Somebody else is going to have to tell the polar bears.) A discussion of foreign policy that mentioned teacher’s unions exactly as many times – once – as it mentioned the Palestinians, and I am not making that statistic up. A discussion of foreign policy that did not mention hunger, or thirst, or epidemic disease, but spent better than ten minutes on The Fking Deficit. (Here Romney cited in defense of his position that noted political economist, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.) A discussion of foreign policy that was all about threats, real and imagined, and wars, real or speculative, and weapons, and how many of them we should build in order to feel safe in this dangerous world.

There is no light between them.

Oct 18 2012

“A Different Set of Rules”

From Glenn Greenwald: “A violent breach of everything America stands for,”:

In Tuesday night’s debate, President Obama delivered a bold, powerful, aggressive performance that has Democrats across the land cheering. One of his most effective lines about the oligarchical fraud known as Mitt Romney was this one:

“Governor Romney says he’s got a five-point plan. Governor Romney doesn’t have a five-point plan; he has a one-point plan. And that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules.”

It would be terrible indeed if “folks at the top” were able to “play by a different set of rules”. It might mean that Wall Street tycoons could perpetrate a massive fraud that virtually collapses the world economy and causes massive economic suffering, yet suffer no consequences of any kind thanks to a subservient Justice Department – all while ordinary Americans are subjected to the world’s largest and one of its most unmerciful penal states. It might mean that the nation’s largest telecoms could enable illegal spying on millions of their customers and then be retroactively immunized from all civil and criminal liability.

We cannot afford this from either party.

Oct 18 2012

The 2nd Obama – Romney Debate

Since I support neither Barack Obama or Mitt Romney and do not intend to vote for either one of them, no matter how well they do in this debate farce, I can objectively say that Pres. Obama had the upper hand and was pretty much the clear “winner” of debate #2. Gov. Romney showed his privileged elitist 1950’s side in his demeanor. As Jeralyn Merrit at Talk Left pointed out he showed his dominant trait: rudeness:

Mitt Romney is one rude guy. It’s not that he’s a bully, it’s that he is impervious to anything and anyone around him. It’s all about him. And when he doesn’t get his way, he stomps his foot like a spoiled brat.

He’s rude and impatient. Which is a sign he doesn’t play well with others. He thinks he knows best. Would he even listen to his own advisers, or would we be in for four years of Mitt knows best?

He was awful tonight. He may be one of the most unlikable politicians to come along in a while.

Mitt Romney needs to go to charm school. I bet he didn’t have many friends as a kid.

Yes, Gov. Romney was rude but I disagree with Jeralyn, he was also  bully, a typical trait of someone raise in privilege and a corporate CEO. What other candidate would have had the unmitigated audacity to say to a sitting President of the United States, “You’ll get your chance in a moment. I’m still speaking.”? As Charles Pierce at Esquire Politics Blog noted:

Wow. To me, this was a revelatory, epochal moment. It was a look at the real Willard Romney, the Bain cutthroat who could get rich ruining lives and not lose a moment’s sleep. But those people are merely the anonymous Help. The guy he was speaking to on Tuesday night is a man of considerable international influence. Outside of street protestors, and that Iraqi guy who threw a shoe at George W. Bush, I have never seen a more lucid example of manifest public disrespect for a sitting president than the hair-curling contempt with which Romney invested those words. (I’ve certainly never seen one from another candidate.) He’s lucky Barack Obama prizes cool over everything else. LBJ would have taken out his heart with a pair of salad tongs and Harry Truman would have bitten off his nose.

But the best assessment of the night has to be from Jon Stewart:

Oct 08 2012

Open Debate: Romney’s Tax Plan

This weekend on MSNBC’s Up with Chris Hayes Nobel Prize winning economist Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz and Avik Roy, an adviser to Presidential Republican nominee Mitt Romney, debate the nominee’s tax plan and its impact on Americans.

In the second segment, Prof. Stiglitz and Mr. Roy try to outline what is known about Mr. Romney’s tax plan and whether he would be able to implement the plan if elected president.

Oct 04 2012

The President Agreed With Mitt Romney on Social Security in the Debate

And it’s not just people like me that support the Democratic Party Platform over any politician that noticed this. It was one of the President’s biggest most enthusiastic supporters; Ed Schultz of the Ed Show on MSNBC.

Let’s look at the transcript:

LEHRER: All right? All right. This is segment three, the economy. Entitlements. First — first answer goes to you, two minutes, Mr. President. Do you see a major difference between the two of you on Social Security?

OBAMA: You know, I suspect that, on Social Security, we’ve got a somewhat similar position. Social Security is structurally sound. It’s going to have to be tweaked the way it was by Ronald Reagan and Speaker — Democratic Speaker Tip O’Neill. But it is — the basic structure is sound.

And yes, I know the President offered a touching anecdotal of what SS has meant for his family and I respect that; however I’m going to borrow a line from someone whom I won’t speak for, but it’s a good line anyway so I’ll tweak it for my POV on this. Mr. President, don’t tell me what you believe about Social Security, you have shown what you plan to do with Social Security by agreeing to another Greenspan commission like “tweak.” So I’ll tell you what you really believe and why that is a problem.

Sep 18 2012

Romney Campaign Continues to Melt Down

The Romney/Ryan campaign continues to implode. A video has emerged from a private fund raiser in Boca Raton, Florida where GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney let his benefactors know how he really feels about half the country. At first the videos were dismissed as bogus, doctored works that appeared on a bogus You Tube account by someone claiming to be MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. But after the “owner” of the video contacted David Corn at Mother Jones the authenticity of the hour long diatribe against the 47% of voters was confirmed as very real. The Romney campaign is not denying the accuracy of the video. Here is the unedited full speech with transcript. Please read David Corn’s commentary about each segment,

Romney on Obama voters

Romney on treating Obama “gingerly”

Romney on his consultants

Romney on what wins an election

Romney on the economy

The home where this fund raiser was held is owned by private equity manager Marc Leder who likes sex parties. So much for those family values.

And this is where the 47% live:

Non-Payer States

h/t watertiger @ Dependable Renegade

After Mr. Romney comments chastising President Obama while our embassies were under attack and four of our foreign service personnel were killed, he and his vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan continue on the low road. The debates should be very interesting. The first debate is October 3.

Sep 03 2012

Obama Will Not Prosecute Torture

We know that the Obama administration was determined to never prosecute any of the main architects of the Bush regime torture program, or close Guantanamo. Last week while everyone was focused on the Republican Party Convention in Tampa, the Department of Justice announced that it is formally ending its investigation of the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program with out bringing criminal charges:

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced Thursday that no one would be prosecuted for the deaths of a prisoner in Afghanistan in 2002 and another in Iraq in 2003, eliminating the last possibility that any criminal charges will be brought as a result of the brutal interrogations carried out by the C.I.A.

Mr. Holder had already ruled out any charges related to the use of waterboarding and other methods that most human rights experts consider to be torture. His announcement closes a contentious three-year investigation by the Justice Department and brings to an end years of dispute over whether line intelligence or military personnel or their superiors would be held accountable for the abuse of prisoners in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Mr. Holder had stated that the DOJ would not charge any of the interrogators if they had acted strictly in accordance with the department’s legal advice. Thus giving legitimacy to the “we were just following orders” defense that was rejected when used by German war criminals at Nuremberg. Mr. Holder just thumbed his nose at established international law, as well.

The lame excuse that there is a lack of solid evidence is just ludicrous, as David Dayen wrote in his article at FDL News Desk:

This was the investigation headed by John Durham, the federal prosecutor selected in August 2009 to look into charges of torture in CIA interrogations during the Bush Administration. We know plenty about those charges. The Justice Department released a previously classified document around the same time that they named Durham to lead the investigation, detailing the methods they used to interrogate suspects, including plenty of metMr. Obamahods that a plain reading would consider to be torture. This included waterboarding, stress positions, mock executions, threatening with handguns and power drills, vowing to kill or rape members of a detainee’s family, and inducing vomiting. [..]

In July 2010, federal judge and former Bush-era Justice Department official Jay Bybee, who wrote many of the Administration’s guidelines on interrogation, admitted to a House committee that CIA personnel never asked for approval for many of the interrogation techniques they used, that they went further than the prescribed guidelines from him, and that the ones he did prescribe were used excessively. Even if you believe that Bybee’s techniques were legal and did not violate federal and international conventions against torture, his testimony revealed clearly that CIA interrogators broke the law. Despite this prima facie evidence of unauthorized interrogation, the investigation went nowhere.

From the very start of his administration Pres. Obama and his officials have shielded the Bush torturers from all accountability, despite his campaign promise to have his Justice Department thoroughly investigate any charge of torture because no one is above the law. Then, even before he was inaugurated Mr. Obama declared that he was apposed to any of these investigations declaring  “we must look forward, not backward.”

Glenn Greenwald writing for The Guardian, reviews the timeline of decisions that has lead to a whitewash of the “war on terror crimes.”

Throughout the first several months of his presidency, his top political aides, such as the chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel and his press secretary, Robert Gibbs, publicly – and inappropriately – pressured the justice department to refrain from any criminal investigations. Over and over, they repeated the Orwellian mantra that such investigations were objectionable because “we must look forward, not backward“. As Gibbs put it in April 2009, when asked to explain Obama’s opposition, “the president is focused on looking forward. That’s why.

On 16 April 2009, Obama himself took the first step in formalizing the full-scale immunity he intended to bestow on all government officials involved even in the most heinous and lethal torture. On that date, he decreed absolute immunity for any official involved in torture provided that it comported with the permission slips produced by Bush department of justice (DOJ) lawyers which authorized certain techniques. “This is a time for reflection, not retribution,” the new president so movingly observed in his statement announcing this immunity. Obama added:

   “[N]othing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past … we must resist the forces that divide us, and instead come together on behalf of our common future.” [..]

(I)n August 2009, Holder announced a formal investigation to determine whether criminal charges should be brought in over 100 cases of severe detainee abuse involving “off-the-books methods” such as “mock execution and threatening a prisoner with a gun and a power drill”, as well as threats that “prisoners (would be) made to witness the sexual abuse of their relatives.” But less than two years later, on 30 June 2011, Holder announced that of the more than 100 cases the justice department had reviewed, there would be no charges brought in any of them – except two.

Glenn goes on to discuss the evidence in those two brutal cases that the justice department has now closed without charges and how the Obama administration even shut down investigations by Spain and Germany:

Moreover, Obama’s top officials, as WikiLeaks cables revealed, secretly worked with GOP operatives to coerce other countries, such as Spain and Germany, to quash their investigations into the US torture of their citizens, and issued extraordinary threats to prevent British courts from disclosing any of what was done. And probably worst of all, the Obama administration aggressively shielded Bush officials even from being held accountable in civil cases brought by torture victims, by invoking radical secrecy powers and immunity doctrines to prevent courts even from hearing those claims.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has prosecuted whistleblowers with a vigor that has surpassed all other presidents. In the NY Times article, Mr Holder noted one case in his announcement:

While no one has been prosecuted for the harsh interrogations, a former C.I.A. officer who helped hunt members of Al Qaeda in Pakistan and later spoke publicly about waterboarding, John C. Kiriakou, is awaiting trial on criminal charges that he disclosed to journalists the identity of other C.I.A. officers who participated in the interrogations.

Glenn appeared on Democracy Now with host Amy Goodman to discuss Mr. Holder’s announcement. During the seven minute interview they also discussed Clint Eastwood’s conversation with an empty chair at the RNC Convention,

Mr. Holder covers up the evidence, allows the real criminals to walk, instead prosecuting those who spoke out about the crimes.

Is this the change we are suppose to believe in and vote to reelect?  

Aug 16 2012

Honest Questions All Democrats Must Ask Themselves

Ever since last weekend, I’ve been seeing Paul Ryan’s mug everywhere and it is all anyone can talk about. I can’t help but think this constant attention elevates him a little, even though as Elliot Spitzer said, if he turned his budget to the SEC he would be fined for turning over fraudulent documents. I also don’t believe Ryan helps the Romney ticket at all, except for the pretense by the corporate owned media that he’s an intellectual instead of someone who just likes crazy immoral Ayn Randian ideas and terrible mathematical projection fantasies.

Regardless, there are too many negatives and a lack of anything at all for Romney to run his campaign on. It won’t be a contest, in my opinion, when you look at electoral votes(though the media will have fun playing up the head to head match-ups as if the popular vote still matters) and the President is lucky he doesn’t have an opponent who excites the base at all. He’s lucky because his record is a mediocre one at best when it comes to what should have been pursued in what many are now calling a depression(economic inequality and private debt overhang is on par with the Great Depression).

This isn’t the 90s. He shouldn’t have hired people from the 90s that helped crash the economy. He wasted this crisis, which conservatives never do when they get a chance to exploit one, ruining any chance for real reform and stability. It’s really not OK because the opportunity only comes once every 20 or 30 years and he blew it. There will be more financial panics and bailouts in the nearer than you think future because of this wasted crisis.

History shows that Dodd Frank will not stop implicit bailout guarantees, specifically, with the massive political power, the biggest power, of TBTF banks. Our safety net is not safe even if Democrats win this election. The banks own our government, so we must be on guard when the lame duck period comes after next November.

I hope there is a major moment of self reflection for a party I’m having trouble recognizing by the second so I’m asking these questions to spur one. I’ll give my take on each of them, but you all can answer them for yourself.

Jul 23 2012

Mitt And His Fellow Vulture Capitalists See Venezuela As a Threat: It Is. by Justina

The likely Republican presidential candidate and quintessential vulture capitalist, Mitt Romney, chided President Obama for not being sufficiently fearful of Venezuela’s socialist president, Hugo Chávez Friás last week.  In the conservative Daily Telegraph Mitt is quoted as saying:

“The idea that this nation, this president, doesn’t pose a national security threat is simply naive and an extraordinary admission on the part of this president to be completely out of touch with what is happening in Latin America,” Romney said of Chavez in an  interview Wednesday with Fox News.

.

Yes, socialist Venezuela, the country which was recently ranked the 5th happiest in the world, following four social democratic countries, presents a threat to Mitt’s vulture business model and his support base, who largely come from the 92,000 wealthy individuals who sequester their wealth in “tax havens” such as Switzerland the Cayman Islands. (See rt. com  for its report on “The Price of Off Shore Revisited”.

After President Chavez was elected to office in 1998, Venezuela has had currency controls in place to prevent its national wealth from being looted and sent to extra-territorial banks, a model which defeats the efforts of would-be off shore tax evaders in Venezuela.  Other countries have allowed themselves to be systematically raped of their needed tax revenues.

Venezuela also jailed its criminal banksters for speculating with their depositors money.  Here, Mitt, you would likely be in jail for creating tax-evading investment vehicles in the Cayman Islands.  No, socialist Venezuela, under President Chavez, is definitely not a vulture-capitalist friendly country.  That is why it is now thriving.

Jul 19 2012

“You People” Don’t Need to Know

Mitt Romney made his wealth an issue of the campaign when he touted his business acumen as head of Bain Capital where he made most of his fortune. Romney has already said that he will not release anymore returns than his 2010 tax return and an estimate for 2011. In a lame defense of this refusal, Romney has said that, “I pay all the taxes that are legally required, not a dollar more,” claiming that the problem is not him but the tax laws. But you know you have problems when you have neo-conservatives like Bill Kristol and George Will along with 18 other prominent Republicans, telling you to release the returns. Nope, Mitt is sticking with his story and sent the missus out to put her foot in her mouth down:

Mitt Romney’s wife is reinforcing her husband’s refusal to make public several years of tax returns, saying “we’ve given all you people need to know” about the family’s finances.

“You people”? A bit condescending there, Annie.

Mitt made this an issue as Eugene Robinson notes that it just makes it all that much more suspicious:

Mitt Romney has every right to cloak his personal and professional finances in secrecy-and voters have every right to assume he has something embarrassing to hide. If this seems unfair, Romney has only himself to blame. [..]

Romney has spent the better part of a decade running for president. Did it never occur to him that if he ever won the Republican nomination, surely there would come a time when he was under pressure to release multiple years’ worth of tax returns? Did he think everyone would forget that it was his own father, George Romney, who set the modern standard for financial disclosure? Did he not recall that when he was being considered for the vice presidential nod four years ago, he furnished tax returns spanning more than two decades to the John McCain campaign?

Clearly he knew the subject would come up. The only reasonable conclusion to draw is that Romney believes that while stonewalling on his taxes may cost him some support, releasing them would cost him more.

Jon Stewart added his analysis of “The Romney Returns”

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