Open Thread: Voting Fraud IOKIYAR


(Nick Anderson via GoComics.com)
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Rebecca Schoenkopf at Wonkette says “Good Job, Republicans, You Finally Found A Dead Voter!“:

Well, you finally found a dead voter besides the one James O’Keefe found, who wasn’t actually dead. But sad face, that is because your candidate for Pinal County, Arizona, supervisor, was voting for his dead girlfriend for five years. Oops…

Good job, Ms. Schoenkopf, for datapoint #3,487,212 on the “When It Comes to Republican Accusations, It’s Always Projection” graph (and also for filtering one of our most-used acronyms further up the blogworld food chain).
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Apart from the usual criminal fraud, what’s on the agenda for the evening?



Romney Intends to Share No More Than We Peons Deserve

And he’ll be the one to decide what that little shall be. Don’t miss Charles P. Pierce’s wise words on “The Shredder Campaign“:

… Over the course of the past 30 years, the shredder has become emblematic of how the government of the United States works, particularly in its Executive branch. Ever since Richard Nixon failed to follow Pat Buchanan’s advice to burn the tapes on the South Lawn, presidents have taken it as axiomatic that the first principle of the office is the cover-up. This was true throughout the Reagan administration, and particularly during the Iran-Contra aftermath and the extended cover-up that followed it. (Remember that Attorney General Ed Meese gave Oliver North and Fawn Hall sufficient time to spirit critical documents out of their offices before revealing the scandal to the world.) The current controversy over HSBC’s role as the worldwide laundromat for dirty money has a clear antecedent in the BCCI scandal that erupted during the adminstration of George H.W. Bush, when it was discovered that the U.S. intelligence services were running dirty money through the spin cycle in that institution for distribution to the Contras and to the mujahideen in Afghanistan. At about the same time, it was revealed that the senior Bush, through a complex web of transactions that became known collectively as Iraqgate, had helped arm Saddam Hussein during Bush’s tour as director of the CIA, as vice-president, and as president. During the transition period between the first Bush administration and that of Bill Clinton, it is said, the shredders in the Executive branch sounded like the Indianapolis Speedway at the start of the race. Those scandals are lost to political memory now because the shredders did their jobs so well.

Corporate America has led the way in the battle against transparency of any sort anywhere. In this, the government learned from business. (Any time you hear a politician suggest that we run government “like a business,” this is what he really means.) Romney grew up in the culture of the shredder.He made his pile in a culture that disdains openness and scoffs at transparency. He simply doesn’t know any other way, and he’s not intellectually deft enough to pretend that he does. If he were, he’d have released those tax returns all in a great lump at five o’clock one Friday afternoon, probably prior to a three-day holiday weekend. Instead, he seems determined to brazen it out. On this issue, he’s removing the country’s hard drives and feeding democracy into the shredder…

Let it not go unremarked that one thing all the unindicted co-conspirators mentioned above had in common was the “Republican” brand. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

And speaking of the Republican mania for undisclosed locations and man-sized safes, the Old Hands stand ready to “help out” the latest figurehead recruit:

Former vice president Richard B. Cheney said the selection of Sarah Palin as the Republican vice presidential candidate in 2008 was “a mistake” — the sort of mistake Mitt Romney should avoid.

In an interview with ABC News, Cheney said Sen. John McCain’s choice of the relatively inexperienced Palin was one “I don’t think was well handled.”

In choosing a running mate, Cheney said, “there are two lists. There is the big list. And it’s got a lot of folks on it.”

To make the smaller list, he said, “the test . . . has to be, ‘Is this person capable of being president of the United States?’ ”…

A small, select list, of experienced candidates. Such as a person, some might say, who’s already had the experience of running the Oval Office for eight years, in everything but the legal figleaf. Romney/Cheney 2012 — America’s first all-cyborg ticket!



Romney’s Dishonesty World Tour Sets Sail…


(Tom Toles via GoComics.com)
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… with an extra-big bagful of hot air. Per Mr. Pierce, at Esquire:

Bolstered by the roaring cheers of dozens over the past week, the newly butched-up Willard Romney went before the VFW convention in Reno today and gave what was thought to be an “important” speech on “foreign policy.” He needed one of those because, as even the guys at the VFW hootenanny must know by now, Willard worked very hard in his youth not to be a V of the FW that was going on at the time. So, what was Willard’s take on foreign policy that he sought to share with the people who’d fought elsewhere while he was keeping luxury Parisian apartments safe from Viet Cong infilitration?

Well, basically, he is a bigger, tougher man than the president is, and he’s got the speechwriters to prove it…

The rest of the speech was an aria of elaborate dick-waving because, frankly, on these difficult issues, that’s all Romney has. His experience in foreign policy is decidedly limited to finding new places to hide his fortune.

“I am an unapologetic believer in the greatness of America.”

Which I did my level best not to pay for.

Dave Weigel points out another interesting detail about the Romney “No Apologies, No Details” team:

The Romney campaign spent the afternoon issuing statements of pride and agreement with the candidate’s VFW speech. The sure-thing applause lines: Romney’s denunciation of national security leaks, something he effectively re-introduced into the campaign. Among the Romney advisers called on to endorse this: Eric Edelman.

I guess if you’re going to get outraged about leaks, you summon experience. Eric Edelman worked for Scooter Libby during the period in which Libby and others shared info about Joe Wilson’s trip to Niger….

There are people who can pronounce shock and horror at official leaks, and then there is Eric Edelman.

Jon Chait at NYMag goes all sercon (serious & constructive):

It is not clear whether Romney believes Obama’s “apologies” were wrong as a matter of fact — that the U.S., in Romney’s view, has never made any significant mistake in its international conduct — or simply that such mistakes should never be admitted, even in the course of a broader defense. Would any serious international affairs expert of any stripe endorse either proposition? The worldview is sheer belligerent nationalism, completely inimical to actual thought. In hard times, people grow more open to the appeals of nationalist demagogues. Whether or not it reflects his authentic self, this is in part what Romney is offering to the voters.

Over-thinking, Mr. Chait! The Last Progressive Republican said “Speak softly, and carry a big stick”. Since the mantra for today’s GOP is “Whatever the progressives want, we’ll demand the opposite”, Willard “Mitt” Romney is reduced to talking tough and hoping his band of paid syncophants will be enough to discourage the opposition.



Open Thread: Romney’s Retroactive Honesty


(Ted Rall’s website)
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It’s not that Romney is a liar, exactly, it’s just that he has a context-fraught relationship with the truth. Dan Amira, at NYMag‘s Daily Intel blog:

Romney’s message was undercut in two brand-new ways today. First, the New Hampshire Union Leader reports that the indignant business-owning star of a new Romney TV ad actually received hundreds of thousands of dollars in government loans, thus lending support to Obama’s point about government’s role in helping business thrive.

And that’s not all! NBC News discovered footage of Romney making pretty much the same point as Obama in a 2002 Olympic speech — only instead of businesses, he was referring to the world’s best athletes.

“You Olympians, however, know you didn’t get here solely on your own power,” said Romney, who on Friday will attend the Opening Ceremonies of this year’s Summer Olympics. “For most of you, loving parents, sisters or brothers, encouraged your hopes, coaches guided, communities built venues in order to organize competitions. All Olympians stand on the shoulders of those who lifted them. We’ve already cheered the Olympians, let’s also cheer the parents, coaches, and communities. All right! [pumps fist].”

(As a sidebar, it is not good news for Willard that the Union Leader is sniping at him, since this “practitioner of a style of knife-and-kill journalism that went out of fashion half a century ago in the rest of the country” is so notoriously paleoconservative that it considered Pat Buchanan a little squishy on immigration and Donald Rumsfeld an undercover pacifist.)

Dave Weigel at Slate catches Romney (once again) bullshitting about his record as governor, on the hot conservative topic of the day:

… KUDLOW: As the governor of Massachusetts, you did sign legislation restricting or banning assault weapons. Did that work in Massachusetts to your satisfaction?

ROMNEY: Well, actually the law that we signed in Massachusetts was a combination of efforts both on the part of those that were for additional gun rights and those that opposed gun rights, and they came together and made some changes that provided, I think, a better environment for both, and that’s why both sides came to celebrate the signing of the bill. Where there are opportunities for people of reasonable minds to come together and find common ground, that’s the kind of legislation I like. The idea of one party jamming through something over the objection of the other tends to divide the nation, not make us a more safe and prosperous place. So if there’s common ground, why I’m always willing to have that kind of a conversation.

He was for the legislation before he was against it — or maybe it was the other way around. Dahlia Lithwick, also at Slate, discusses “The GOP’s War Against Facts“:

It’s tough times for facts in America. First Mitt Romney—interviewing for the position of president—declined to release his tax returns because, as he explained, the Obama team’s opposition research will “pick over it” and “distort and lie about them.” He isn’t actually claiming that his opponents will lie. He’s claiming he’s entitled to hide the truth because it could be used against him. As Jon Stewart put it, “You can’t release your returns, because if you do, the Democrats will be mean to you.” These are tax returns. Factual documents. No different than, say, a birth certificate. But the GOP’s argument that inconvenient facts can be withheld from public scrutiny simply because they can be used for mean purposes is a radical idea in a democracy…

In his own defense, Romney would presumably quote Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin — or was that David Brooks? — “There go the people. I must follow them, for I am their leader.”



Rules are For the Little People

One of the most difficult things about following modern politics is remaining cynical enough:

CNN is reporting that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) office wrote a loophole into the House version of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK) exempting Congress members’ spouses and children from having to report stock market transactions over $1,000 in a timely manner.

The Senate version of the bill requires these transactions be reported within 45 days by both its members and their families. But a memo from the Office of Government Ethics, which oversees all federal executive branch employees, used the House version, telling them spouses and children were not subject to the rule.

Neither of the bill’s Senate co-sponsors, Scott Brown (R-MA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), knew about the discrepancy.

“I mean, bottom line, we’re supposed to have that level of transparency and have us be treated like every other member of the United States,” Brown told CNN’s Dana Bash. “Bottom line, if we can’t do it, then — sorry, if they can’t do it — then we shouldn’t be able to do it as well.”

Writing loopholes into transparency bills. It’s like these guys have modeled their political careers after one of Pixar’s evil geniuses.



Jobs Are Their #1 Priority

Remember when our betters said it was outrageous to claim that Republicans are actually trying to sabotage the country:

Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked the No.1 item on the president’s congressional “to-do-list,” refusing to allow a vote on a bill that would give tax breaks for companies that “insource” jobs to the U.S. from overseas while eliminating tax deductions for companies that move jobs abroad.

In voting against the bill, Republicans raised both substantive and procedural problems with the measure.

The bill, which needed 60 votes in order for the Senate to begin debating it, was defeated on a vote of 56-42.

With job creation the top issue this campaign season, and outsourcing being blamed as a big contributor to the high unemployment rate, Democrats saw the bill as an election-year winner. Sponsored by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, who is running for reelection, the bill made it to the top of the “to-do list” for Congress President Barack Obama unveiled earlier this year.

The Bring Jobs Home Act would provide a 20% tax break for the costs of moving jobs back to the United States and would rescind business expense deductions available to companies that are associated with the cost of moving operations overseas.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, had warned Democrats before the vote that his party would want to amend the bill — possibly with hot-button issues like repealing the health care reform law or extending the Bush-era tax cuts for all income levels.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, responded that those amendments were not germane to the bill and he would not allow votes on them.

Gut unions, keep unemployment high, and keep the tax cuts for the rich while devastating Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. It’s a wet dream for the business owners who own the GOP- with high unemployment they can pay shitty wages with lousy or nonexistent benefits, while at the same time knowing that all the SS money they looted via tax cuts the last decade will never have to be repaid. Quite simply, they don’t want those jobs coming back here. The cheaper employment overseas with the added benefit of high unemployment at home making people feel lucky to have a McJob is precisely what they want.

Your modern GOP. And this 60 vote bullshit just disgusts me. We are no longer a functioning democracy.



Look, Over There — A “No Label” Jackalope!

These farkin’ people, again! Today, Charles P. Pierce at Esquire noticed another Republican revanchist shilling for his house brand of “bipartisanship”:

Of all the people pretending that they only worked for The Good George W. Bush — the guy who liked brown people, and education reform, and who could Work With Democrats — and not for the abject, thoroughgoing incompetent who sat in the White House for eight years while the rest of the country got frog-marched into the handbasket, Mark McKinnon may well be the most singularly annoying. Instead of taking himself off into the desert, with a water-skin and a staff, and while millions of Americans jeer and throw small lizards at him, to do penance for what he and his Texas bag-of-hammers did to the country, McKinnon has spent the last few years trying to jimmy the lock and slip back into political influence through the sliding glass doors.

His vehicle is something called No Labels, one of those faux-reasonable exercise in “centrist” wankery that argues that the principal problem with American politics these days is that there are too many politics involved… Today, on Morning Squint, McKinnon was on with the substitute cast of characters, making to case for his latest scam….

Just over four months from now, we will elect either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney as president based on what they say they want to do. But America’s future will be decided by what our president can do in the years ahead. And increasingly, he can’t do enough. Almost 40 years after Congress began the post-Watergate roll-back of the “Imperial Presidency,” America’s chief executive now arguably faces too many impediments to enacting his or her agenda.”

These people have to be kidding. Were they alive in the past 40 years? Almost all of those “post-Watergate reforms” — which can be more accurately described as “post-Vietnam” reforms, since the price of the imperial presidencies in question was a few million dead Asians — have been repealed, gutted, or simply ignored… It may have escaped the notice of the scholars at No Labels, but the Supreme Court tossed into the spittoon all the campaign-finance laws passed subsequent to the Watergate scandals. A Democratic Senate gave McKinnon’s old boss his tax-cuts in 2000, rolled over and begged when he wanted a war in Iraq, and even when he was at the nadir of his power, he still managed to get his “surge” out of Congress in the wake of his party’s shellacking in the 2006 midterms. The current “chief executive now arguably faces too many impediments to enacting his or her agenda” because the opposition in Congress is a collection of crackpots and vandals, few of whom have any interest in governing the nation. The solution to that is for people to stop electing crackpots and vandals…

Much more information, and video, at the link.

Our own Dennis G has previously discussed Mr. McKinnon:

For those who do not know the name, McKinnon is one of the bottom feeders who helped to destroy America’s ability to solve problems. McKinnon is a hype master, a spin doctor, a bull shit artist without peer and a complete weasel.
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