Political Gum Hockey

Political Commentary and Humor

The Billionaires’ Tea Party – How the Koch’s and Other Billionaires Have Bought Mitt Romney and America

Please watch the entire video.

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October 26, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 4 Comments

Mitt Romney Disqualifies Himself from the Presidency of the United States

Mitt Romney has disqualified himself from the presidency. He probably had done that already by showing his incompetence and dishonesty during the crisis in which Americans were killed in Libya, and when he was caught writing off as “freeloaders” half of the country, but now he has declared himself, in his own words, to be disqualified to be President.

See this video as one example.

This, of course, has to do with his intentional manipulation of his 2011 tax returns in which he took fewer deductions than allowed. Why would he do this? Especially after having declared that only a fool would do so?

For political expediency, of course.

Mitt made a political statement saying he paid “over 13%” in taxes all of those years. Except his 2011 taxes were about to prove otherwise. So he told his tax preparation team – the same ones who hide millions of dollars of income overseas to avoid paying any federal income tax on it – to “miss” taking deductions. To artificially pump up his tax rate over 14%. To keep from being called a liar.

His loss, right? Well, no. He won’t lose a cent.

Right after the election, when no one is paying attention, Romney will immediately file an amended return to claim all of the deductions he and his highly paid team of professional tax lawyers somehow “missed.” So he will retroactively get all those deductions he “missed.”

Kind of like he “retroactively” retired from Bain Capital. And yet somehow still gets paid by them today.

So whether Mitt and his team of professionals are incompetent or dishonest isn’t really important. Either disqualifies him from being president.

Mitt himself says so.

CNN has a good analysis of why Mitt Romney chose to be dishonest in the release of his 2011 tax returns and why he is still hiding his previous tax returns even though he gave them to John McCain four years ago (ever hear of a copy machine?).

UPDATE: The Romney campaign has issued a statement declaring that, in fact, they manipulated the tax return purely for political purposes.

September 22, 2012 Posted by | Mitt Romney, Taxes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Mitt Romney Disdains the Elderly, the Working Poor, the Middle Class in Secret Video

Mitt Romney’s secret video is all over the internet. The one(s) where he disdains all the elderly, working poor and others who don’t pay federal income taxes. The one(s) where he shows how he repeats known falsehoods to play to the super-rich and the bigots of the party. The one(s) where he presumes all Palestinians to be terrorists and completely writes off the two-state solution that both Israel and the Palestinian Authority want. Yea, that one.

Okay journalists. Now ask him how he would “elegantly phrase” his false contentions, which is virtually everything he said. Go ahead – ask him to explain “elegantly” why he said 47% of people are lazy – you know, all those elderly people, those working mothers, those unemployed, those millionaires. Go ahead, ask him what he thinks about the programs expanded under Ronald Reagan that help some of those people pay no federal income taxes. Ask him how much those same people pay in payroll taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, and all the other taxes they pay. Then, journalists, ask Mitt Romney to show you his tax returns and how he hid hundreds of millions of dollars from any taxation in Swiss bank accounts, front corporations in Bermuda, and tax havens like the Cayman Islands. Ask Romney if he considers himself a freeloader because he doesn’t pay taxes on the vast majority of his income. Then ask him why his running mate, Paul Ryan, is proposing to eliminate even the tiny 15% capital gains tax and the estate tax that only helps about 1% of the population.  Go ahead, journalists, ask him to explain all of that.

Elegantly, of course.

September 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Romney Goes All-In Against the Middle Class by Picking Paul Ryan as VP Running Mate

Mitt Romney has decided to go all-in against the middle class by selecting Congressman Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate. Ryan is the author of the infamous budget plan that decimates the middle class, turns Medicare into a voucher program, and yet increases spending on Defense contractors and other corporate giveaways.

Not surprisingly, Paul Ryan has been bankrolled by the billionaire Koch brothers, whose lobbying arms fund and organize the tea party. So it’s no big surprise that the Romney Ryan plan increases middle class taxes in order to pay for more tax breaks for the super-rich and increases the debt.

Perfect. Democrats will love it.

At least Romney has made clear that he thinks giving more chances for the 1% to hide their money offshore and allowing more loopholes for the supercorporations to ship jobs and money overseas will somehow, despite history and logic, create the jobs that they haven’t created during all this time to date.

What does the Ryan pick mean for the campaigns?

Ezra Klein at the Washington Post captures this nicely…

This is an admission of fear from the Romney campaign.

Let the games begin.

August 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

Book Review: We Can All Do Better by Bill Bradley

Former Senator, New York Knick basketball player, and Olympic athlete Bill Bradley offers his substantial insights into the workings of government and how, by focusing on cooperation and the good of the country instead of party, we can all do better. And by “we” he means all of us – the politicians, the media, and the American people. We are all in this together and only by working together can we find resolutions to all of the challenges that face us here in America.

But accomplishing this won’t be easy. Bradley begins by reminding us that even though politicians all love this country, it is easy for the “members of the club” to become absorbed into the cynicism that dominates Washington DC today. The “duopoly” of the two parties cater to the extremes and the media play along because it is easier – and more profitable – to turn gossip into news than to report honest policy discussions. And the people – you and me – force politicians into playing the game at either end of the spectrum where compromise is seen as treachery, and then turn around and voice our perpetual dissatisfaction because politicians are dancing in the corners in which we have painted them.

Still, Bradley notes that “the sad irony is that many members of the club may be idealists underneath,” and like most Americans living their daily lives, continue to believe in the country’s fundamental health and promise for the future. In the chapter, “Breaking the Logjam,” Bradley offers some concrete proposals to encourage economic growth and job creation in the immediate, the proximate, and the long-term. He dispels some of the common myths (e.g., that the wealthy are “job creators”) and offers solutions that will improve the employment picture now while positioning us to lead the world in the future. His ideas are too numerous to list here, but well worth the time spent reading the book. One quote, though perhaps oversimplified, summarizes his philosophy:

“I cannot emphasize enough the requirement of balance: asking something from everyone. Democrats want the rich to bear the burden; Republicans want primarily the poor to sacrifice. Both political parties champion the middle class and neither asks anything significant of it in this crisis. A true solution cannot give the middle class a pass.”

In short, politicians need to put country ahead of re-election. They need to be honest with us as citizens. And we need to be honest with them – and with ourselves.

In “Celebrating Selflessness,” Bradley provides the most emotionally inspirational chapter of the book. In it he relates stories that contradict the assumption by both parties that human beings are basically selfish. Instead, he says, most people may actually prefer to be unselfish if given the chance by politicians and the media. In “Raising All Boats,” Bradley discusses the major source of disheartenment – that the system is rigged to give all the benefits to the very wealthy while the middle class bears the brunt of the burden. “The elevator is no longer working,” he quotes, meaning that the middle class and the working poor can no longer count on getting ahead by working hard and being honest. This dissatisfaction becomes fertile ground for demagoguery from both parties.

In the remaining chapters Bradley cites such disparate leaders as Lincoln, T. Roosevelt, Wilson, FDR, and Eisenhower as recognizing the critical role of government and how “free markets” dominated during times of robber-barons, monopolies, and “too big to fail.” Further, he addresses our long-standing ambivalence about our role in foreign affairs and how our forthcoming challenges with China stem not from military prowess but from economic domination. In short, while America bickers amongst itself and accomplishes little, China moves its own future forward, which more and more intertwines with the future of the world.

Bradley argues that we need both “collective caring” and “personal responsibility” to move forward. In his final chapter, “The Path to Renewal,” he proposes that solutions should include taxing labor less and things more, adoption of a massive infrastructure program, investments in research, embracing talented immigrants while educating our own citizens for a lifetime in a world of constant change, reduction of our structural budget deficit, and leading the world “by example.”

There is so much more in this relatively short book and I strongly encourage anyone interested in the future of America to read it.

For a full discussion of the book please review the comments and links here.

August 4, 2012 Posted by | Barack Obama, Book review, Mitt Romney, Republican | , , , , | Leave a comment

Racist? Second country, second round of screwing up foreign policy for Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney is now in the second country of his foreign policy “coming out” tour. As previously noted, he started off in the UK by insulting the British three times in one day. Now he’s in Israel, where on the first day he managed to offer his support for going to war against Iran and then offered what has been interpreted as racist statements against the Palestinians.

Besides not seeming to understand the basic fact that Israeli occupation just might have a teensy bit of influence over the economy of the regions it occupies and controls, he also got all the numbers wrong. Not even close, as this Washington Post article explains in depth. A certain amount of leeway is given to “the new guy” who obviously doesn’t have access to all the Intel as the actual President, but come on, his buffoonish platitudes would suggest that I have more Intel than he does. One of his advisers is Dan Senor, the former spokesperson for the Coalition Authority in Iraq during the early days of the Bush war there, so it’s not like he doesn’t have someone there to tell him what to say (though perhaps Senor is acting more in his role of Fox News commentator instead of on actual factual knowledge).

At this pace he ought to have completely destroyed our foreign policy relationships with much of the world by the end of the week. With his next stop being Poland, everyone is praying he does the wise thing and not talk. At all.

July 30, 2012 Posted by | Mitt Romney, Tea Party | , , , , | 4 Comments

Hilary Rosen, Ann Romney and the Dishonesty of the Republican Party

By now everyone has heard of Hilary Rosen and her comments related to Mitt Romney’s touting of his wife Ann as his go-to person on women’s economic issues.  The Rosen comment is a perfect example of how the Republican party has devolved into abject dishonesty. After her comment the Republicans immediately extracted it from its context and created a completely new – and false – meaning for it, which they then have been browbeating to death. The goal is to distract from the original point.

So no, Rosen wasn’t saying anything against mothers, women, or any of the other straw men (or straw women) that the GOP has created out of whole cloth. She wasn’t even chastising Ann Romney for her choice to be a full time mom.  Her point was directly, clearly, and unambiguously about the hypocrisy of Mitt Romney’s touting of his wife as some sort of mentor on “women’s economic issues.”

That concept is, of course, ludicrous. Mrs. Romney has zero experience dealing with “women’s economic issues.” She has enjoyed an economic life of comfort, attending private schools when young and then being considerably wealthy for most of her adult life (can we say “dressage”). She chose to be a stay at home mom to their five children and has endured serious medical issues, and done so with aplomb. Everyone acknowledges both her contributions and her tribulations. That isn’t the point.

The point is that she has had the major advantage of not having to worry about money while facing these motherhood and medical issues. “Women’s economic issues” were never even relevant to her decision-making or her ability to successfully raise a family. The same cannot be said for the other 99.9% of women and families. For the “not fabulously wealthy” of us, being a stay at home mom is not always a choice; it may simply be that day care costs would exceed the income generated from working outside the home. For most people a two-income family is a necessity, not a choice (even Mitt has admitted this as he sought to restrict funding for young mothers). And as far as Mrs. Romney’s medical issues, most people would have had to worry about both the costs of insurance coverage and the very real possibility that they would be dumped by their carrier for having the audacity to actually make a claim. Mrs. Romney did not have this concern.

In fact, Mitt Romney wasn’t even being serious when he said that he turns to his wife for “women’s economic issues.”  He was merely trying to deflect an awkward question for which he knew he didn’t have an answer – why is the Republican party so arrogantly hostile to women? [The same can be said of the party being arrogantly hostile to gays, non-Christians, anyone not the super-rich, minorities, and a whole host of other groups that make up, well, the vast majority of Americans.]

It is this jokingly-offered ludicrous attempt at deflection to which Ms. Rosen was alluding when she made her comment.  Romney’s stumbling assertion that a rich woman with no real economic concerns would be his source of insight for “women’s economic issues.”

But not wanting to miss a political opportunity, the Republicans took advantage of Rosen’s statement to create their lie and saturate the media with it. Their goal was to use a dishonestly reinterpreted comment by one of the thousands of self-avowed “strategists” as a means of distracting from the Republican party’s constant attacks on women’s rights.

Remember that prior to this fake controversy arising it was the Republicans who were spending considerable time arguing against something as basic as a women’s right to contraception. It is the Republicans who have been trying to roll back the legal right of women to make their own reproductive choices. It is the Republicans who have gone so far as to pass a law saying that women are pregnant two weeks before they even have sex, and that they must undergo an invasive medical procedure and be forced to adhere to the wishes of politicians prior to making the already difficult choice to do something they have the legal right to do. And those are only the most recent examples. The Republican party has a long history of attacking the very issues that allow most women to participate in the American dream. The very “women’s economic issues” Mitt Romney ridiculously asserted his wife is his source of guidance.

It’s clear why the Republicans have jumped at Rosen’s statement and intentionally reinterpreted it in their usual dishonest way – they recognize that American women are tired of having their rights attacked by Republican politicians and extremist religious zealots.

April 17, 2012 Posted by | Mitt Romney, Women | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jeb Bush Endorses Mitt Romney for President – It’s all over

The Republican spectacle of picking their nominee to run for President is over.  Today Jeb Bush endorsed Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination.  So it’s “So long, Santorum,” “Goodbye, Gingrich,” and “Pack it in, Paul.” Elvis has left the building.  The nomination battle is done.  [Feel free to add your own silly platitude.]

Not that Jeb Bush controls the Republican party or anything.  The very thought of having a Bush backing you is sure to become an Obama campaign commercial in September.  But Jeb represents the establishment.  The establishment that now sees that Romney is their guy, for better or worse.  So expect to start seeing more establishment “leaders” rally behind Romney and calling for Gingrich and Santorum (and that other guy) to drop out.  And expect to see the tea party hypocritically vote for the guy they have actively despised and hated for his hypocrisy.

Will Gingrich and Santorum take the hint? Probably not.  Gingrich still has his one super-rich 0.01-percenter paying for his campaign (Romney has most of the rest of the super-rich).  Santorum might have a shot at winning a few more states, primarily the anachronistic bigoted ones,  so may stay in to see if he can get a prime speaker slot at the convention (which will boost further the post-election lobbyist consultant fees he plans to collect).

So congratulations, Mitt.  You’re going to be the nominee.  Welcome to Disneyland.

More about Jeb Bush’s endorsement of Romney here, here, here, and probably a million other places.

March 21, 2012 Posted by | Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Tea Party | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Does Santorum live in the United States?

Rick Santorum is giving his speech in Ohio before the votes are counted.  That in itself says something.

But listening to his speech begs the question – what country does this guy live in? He seems to think he lives in a theocratic country, Iran perhaps?

In short, he seems unable to say anything that is remotely related to actual fact.  He’s one bumper sticker after another.  And I’m not holding him to a normal standard of actually being honest and reality based.  After all, he’s a politician.  But listening to him I have to wonder if he’s simply gone off into some parallel universe in which reality is whatever rhetoric he can come up with.

I’m sorry to be blunt, but the guy is unreal.  Not only has he shown over the last few months that he is a maniacal bigot, he just seems not to realize that people actually are not all as uniformed as his rhetoric suggests he believes they must be.

Okay, Santorum won Tennesee and Oklahoma.  That tells you something.  What is interesting is that he is slightly ahead of Romney in Ohio with about a third of the vote in as I write this. That doesn’t bode well for Romney.   But we’ll see that it bodes very well for Obama given Romney’s utter disconnect from anyone who isn’t a $200 millionaire.

Is this thing over yet? Seriously. The Republican party has effectively demonstrated that it is incapable of governing this country.   Blame it on the tea party bigots.

Next.

March 6, 2012 Posted by | Bigotry, Caucus, Mitt Romney, Primary, Rick Santorum, Tea Party | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Arizona and Michigan Choose Obama in Republican Primary

Today is the big day.  Arizona and Michigan go to the polls to pick their respective choices for the Republican nominee.  And the big winner is…

…President Obama.

Mitt Romney has done an excellent job letting the voters of both states know who he is – a super-rich, out of touch, elitist who just can’t seem to fake this whole communing with the common man thing.  He doesn’t know NASCAR racing, but hey, he has some good friends who own NASCAR racing teams.  He reiterated his belief that the American auto industry – based in Detroit – should have been left to go bankrupt with no intervention, but hey, his wife’s two cars are both Cadillacs.  [Mitt’s cars also are American, though it’s unclear if that only happened recently when he started running for president and knew it would look bad to have foreign cars…you know, like the undocumented foreign workers the company he hired to have his domestic work done were asked to leave because “I can’t have undocumented aliens; I’m running for President.”]

Then there is Rick Santorum.  Well, Jennifer Granholm, Michigan’s former Governor, says it all with:

“The version of Republicanism you are offering is a gift to Democrats looking for recruits. The anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-Latino, anti-Muslim, anti-Europe (particularly the French and the Greeks), anti-labor, anti-poor, anti-99 percent and now anti-college graduate rhetoric enables us to eagerly welcome your castoffs into the Democratic Party — where inclusivity is celebrated and their contributions are welcome.”

So no matter which GOP candidate officially wins tonight in the Republican primary, the big winner is President Obama.  Thanks Mitt and Rick (and those other two guys) – you let people know exactly who you are.  And that got President Obama a bunch of new votes in November.

February 28, 2012 Posted by | Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Primary, Rick Santorum, Tea Party | , , , , , , | Leave a comment