Friday, August 31, 2012

Quick Question

There has been much talk in the past few months about whether the Republicans would ban all abortions, even in the case of rape or incest.  We keep hearing that they want to protect the "personhood" of the embryo that may have resulted from a rape. 

??? Well, what about the rape victim?  She doesn't deserve protection?  Being the victim of a rape isn't horrible enough, they would force her to delay her life, just stop everything and go through nine months of hell on top of it?  To live with the nightmare for an additional 270 days before even being permitted to attempt to re-enter the life she had before she suffered the most evil of violations?  What about her "personhood"?  (Discussion welcome here, because I really don't understand how they justify this.)

Eye Recommend --- Mr. Romney Reinvents History

MR. ROMNEY REINVENTS HISTORY, New York Times editorial -- "Mitt Romney wrapped the most important speech of his life, for Thursday night’s session of his convention, around an extraordinary reinvention of history — that his party rallied behind President Obama when he won in 2008, hoping that he would succeed."

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mitt Romney, Warm and Fuzzy?

1.   Let’s face it, Mitt Romney has a personality problem--he really doesn’t have one. His wife, Ann, has been brought in to “warm up” his image.

what eye thynk: In an interview a few days before the Republican National Convention, she spoke with correspondent Chris Wallace and described how Mitt had ironed his own shirt just that morning. “I noticed he was doing laundry last night”. (My husband occasionally does laundry too, but I don’t necessarily feel that announcing that to the general public earns warm and fuzzy points.)

During her speech at the RNC on Tuesday night, she spoke to female voters telling them that “You can trust Mitt”. (Trust him to do what? To make sure I pay more in taxes so he can pay less? To take away my right to make my own health choices?) “No one will care more.“ (About who--the rich? ‘Cause he doesn’t even appear to be aware that I exist let alone “care” about me.) And notice, that, while these statements were enthusiastically cheered by the Republican faithful, Ann Romney offered no details on why I should trust him or how he was going to show he cares. Platitudes without facts do not make me feel warm and fuzzy.

She went on to say his wealth is his own doing, “no hand me down”. In an interview earlier this year, Mr. Romney said “I did get a check from my dad when he passed away. I shouldn’t say a check, but I did inherit some funds from my dad.” Well, either you did or you didn’t. You would think, as husband and wife, they might have gotten their facts straight on this. (Once again, the warm and fuzzy thing eludes me here.)

Earlier in the campaign, when asked about Mitt’s refusal to release more of their tax returns, and in an effort to bring this whole trust-Mitt-he-is-the-best thing into the public discussion she said “You should really look at where Mitt has led his life and where he’s been financing”. Well, yes, Ann, we’d love to do that. We’d love to know, is he investing in America or just fleecing it? But, see, your husband won’t let us. Secrecy for no apparent reason doesn’t get my warm and fuzzy going and it doesn't make me trust the man; it just makes me wonder what he is hiding.
2. Mitt himself has tried to explain his apparent inability to connect with voters on a personal level.

what eye thynk: Earlier this week, when asked about this issue, he answered “Remember that Popeye line, ‘I am what I am and that’s all what I am’”.   Apparently not even Mitt can explain the void where his personality should be.

According to a story in the New York Times this morning, in 2008 Mr. Romney told friends that, looking back on his unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination, he felt he had come off as a caricature he did not recognize: emotionally uncaring, intellectually inauthentic and ideologically malleable.

Well, with all the issue hopping he has done since then, at least he can say that nothing has changed there.


Eye Recommend --- How the Republicans Built It

HOW THE REPUBLICANS BUILT IT, New York Times editorial -- "Voters looking for a few nuggets of truth would not have found them in Tampa on Tuesday."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mitt Romney, Jobs Creator?

1. Mr. Romney keeps waving his Bain credentials to show how he can run a business, (or a country), and create jobs.

what eye thynk: Bain is a private equity company, designed to make money for its investors. Even Rush Limbaugh agrees that these kinds of companies are not job creators. “That is not what they do." Jobs may be a bi-product, but it is never the stated goal and job cuts are very often the consequence of having your business taken over by a private equity firm.

Instead of looking at his record as a businessman at Bain, we should be looking instead at his record as the governor of Massachusetts. While Mr. Romney was governor, Massachusetts ranked 47 out of 50 states in job growth.  Why should we expect anything different to happen with him in the White House?

2. Mr. Romney insists that President Obama is entirely to blame for our jobless rate.

what eye thynk:  Our current unemployment rate is too high, we can all agree on that; but it is improving--slowly, but improving. In 2010, we added 940,000 new jobs. In 2011, we added 1.6M new jobs. The private sector added more jobs in June 2012 than at any time since the beginning of the recession. The public sector is not doing as well, but with a Congress that refuses to fund government programs, there can be no government hiring. Still, our current unemployment rate is lower today than at any point since March 2009 when businesses were still shedding employees like fleas because of the October 2008 financial meltdown. So, yes, the recovery is slow; but it is still a recovery.

Mitt Romney once said that blaming the president for the jobs market was “poppycock”. In 2004, when John Kerry was attacking Bush’s jobs record, Mr. Romney defended W by saying: “The people of America recognize that the slowdown in jobs that occurred during the early years of the Bush administration were the result of a perfect storm. And an effort by one candidate to somehow say, ‘Oh, this recession and the slowdown in jobs was the result of somehow this president magically being elected’, people in America just dismiss that as being poppycock…Every indication is that the economic policies adopted and pursued by this president are creating jobs…And so the people of America have to ask, ‘Do I stay with the president who is rebuilding the economy, who is creating jobs, or do you want to stop mid-stream and find someone new?”

For once, I agree with Mitt. Blaming the President for the jobs market is “poppycock” and I see no need to “stop mid-stream and find someone new”, especially someone who couldn’t do any better than 47 out of 50 when he was last in charge.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Eye Recommend --- The Real Romney

THE REAL ROMNEY, by David Brooks -- a tongue in cheek biography, funny and sad at the same time.  The final line is worth the reading.

Eye Recommend --- Huggability and Helium

HUGGABILITY AND HELIUM,  by Frank Bruni -- " Tampa, the helium and revelry obscure a great deal of doubt..." 

Quick Fact

Today's Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the coal miners who appeared at that Mitt Romney rally in Beallsville, Ohio earlier this month were there because their company told them to be and they lost a day's pay in the bargain!  During a Monday morning interview at a West Virginia radio station, a top company official of Century Mine located in Pepper Pike, Ohio admitted that workers were told "that attending the Aug. 14 Romney event would be both mandatory and unpaid".

Mitt Romney, Decision Maker?

1. Domestic Policy - Can’t Make a Decision Without a Committee -- In a meeting with Rupert Murdoch during a previous campaign, Romney said he would bring in McKinsey, (a management consulting firm), to help him set up his cabinet.

what eye thynk:   Mr. Murdoch was not impressed with the McKinsey idea; but Mitt Romney’s statement says much about his approach to government. Mr. Romney says he can run this country because he knows how to run a business and he will bring in more business types to help him with his job. But the United States is not a corporation and cannot be run like one.  Don't forget, the last CEO who became President was Herbert Hoover and we know how that turned out.

Think about the make-up of the board of directors on any corporation. For the most part, they are rich white guys who may or may not know anything about the business on whose board they serve and who most certainly are not experienced in government leadership roles. Do we really want some corporate board member making decisions on our military? Or choices about our education policies? What about transportation? Energy? Labor? Do we want an actuary serving as Secretary of Health and Human Services? And where in corporate American will we find a Secretary of State?  Sheldon Adelsen maybe?

This is not the type of domestic leadership plan I want from my President.  I am not an employee. I am a citizen and I want my President to remember that.

2. Foreign Policy - Can’t Make a Decision Without a Buddy -- Romney said of his friend Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “We can almost speak in shorthand”. He also said he wouldn’t make any decisions about Israel without consulting his buddy. “I’d get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say: ‘Would it help if I say this? What would you like me to do?’”

what eye thynk: So who is going to write our Middle East foreign policy, us or Israel? Will Romney make us sub-contractors to Israel‘s desires?

While Israel certainly has the right to exist, there will never be peace in that region until Israel acknowledges that their existence does not annul the rights of all other peoples to a homeland of their own.

If we are going to maintain any credence as a world leader, the President of the United States needs to be seen as a fair and open listener to every country; one who can look on a question from the view of an outsider without prejudice.
We cannot be seen as an Israeli rubber stamp.  Leadership decisions cannot be outsourced.

Monday, August 27, 2012

August 27 -- Monday Quote

As school starts again, I think a quote from Winnie the Pooh's creator fits the bill this week.

monday quote:  To the uneducated, an A is just three sticks. (A.A. Milne, author, 1882-1956)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Flip-flop Friday -- Romney on Coal (Clean Air is Good Only for Massachusetts?)

“That place kills people. I will not create jobs that kill people…If the choice is between dirty power plants or protecting the health of the people of Massachusetts, there is no choice in my mind. I will always come down on the side of public health.” -- 2003, Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts as he fought to close a coal powered electric plant in that state.

“We have 250 years left of coal. Why in the world wouldn’t we use it? We’re going to take advantage of our energy resources to save your jobs and...use our inexpensive carbon-based resources..." -- 2012, Mitt Romney as he campaigned in Beallsville, Ohio this past week.

what eye thynk:  To address the jobs issue, according to industry statistics, jobs in the coal industry reached a 15 year high in 2011; but Mitt has never been one to let the facts get in the way of a good stump speech.

As for the environmental and health side of the coal argument, President Obama has introduced initiatives to develop cost-effective clean coal technology while the Recovery Act is invested in carbon capture research.  I'm not sure that there will ever be a completely "clean" way to use coal; but at least this administration is addressing the problem while at the same time attempting to develop alternate technologies like wind, wave and solar power--new technologies that will create even more new jobs.

Mitt Romney, on the other hand, wants to  leave things just the way they are.  Why waste all that coal?  Sure, we're continuing to damage our fragile environment, (an issue agreed upon by most of the industrialized world); but, hey, using coal is inexpensive!  And the thousands of lives lost each year that are attributed to air tainted by coal based pollutants?  Well, those lives are just the price he's willing to pay. 

 When clean air was the popular choice in Massachusetts in 2003, he was staunchly on the opposite side of this issue.  I guess we're supposed to believe that clean air is good only for Massachusetts, not the rest of America, (sort of like universal health care).

Of course, the real issue here is not coal vs. solar or natural gas or wind or whatever.  The real issue isn't the
truth about jobs gained or lost as the coal industry changes.   It is simply the case of a man pandering for votes; a man who will jump the track on any issue as long as you let him know when and where.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Businessman and the Blind Ideologue -- This is No Fairytale and There is No Happy Ending

The Republicans have made a crusade out of wanting to overturn the ACA and Romney has promised to make that a first-day-in-office priority. Add to that the fact that Romney and Ryan both favor a new Medicare model where senior citizens would be given vouchers to purchase private insurance.

what eye thynk:   The Republicans want us to believe that putting them in charge and allowing them to make major changes to our entitlement programs will make our national deficit disappear and we’ll all be doing the Disney dance of happiness under a sun-filled sky; but for the average senior citizen in this country, the dissolution of Medicare as we know it will not have a happy ending.

First, the ACA, which prohibits private insurance companies from denying insurance for a pre-existing condition, will be gone.

Next, when this Republican tag team gets their new Medicare voucher program set up and senior citizens start shopping with their new vouchers, how many will be turned away because of a pre-existing condition? Think about it--how many people get to retirement age without a pre-existing condition? If the Democrats tried this, Republicans would be screaming themselves hoarse about “death panels”.

Romney went out and got himself an ideologue to join his campaign to appeal to the far right and bolster his conservative creds; but blindly following the doctrine of your ideology is not the sign of a leader, it is the sign of a despot.

Monday, August 20, 2012

August 20 - Monday Quote

After a Spring and Summer of six-day work weeks, I decided to take a few days for myself.  I haven't been writing, but I've been taking notes and thinking and I'll be back; but for now...

monday quote: People who cannot find time for recreation are obliged sooner or later to find time for illness. (John Wanamaker, Am. Businessman, 1838-1922)

Monday, August 13, 2012

August 13 - Monday Quote

Makes sense to me...

monday quote:   If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over? (John Wooden, coach, 1910-2010)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Romney's Hypocritical Welfare Argument

In Des Moines on Wednesday, Romney continued his attack on President Obama and welfare saying that when the work requirement was first argued in Congress, then Senator Obama voted against it, (which is true). Mr. Romney went on, “Now he's President, and just a few days ago he put that original intent in place with a very careful executive action, he removed the requirement of work from welfare”.

what eye thynk: First, let’s get the facts straight…the work-for-welfare requirement has not been removed. Then, let’s call Romney's latest attack what it is…hypocrisy, plain and simple.

Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services granted all states some flexibility in the work-for-welfare requirement first put into effect in 1996 under President Clinton.  Following the President's signature, states will now be permitted to extend training periods as well as grant some exemptions. Each state must show that they have a plan better suited to their individual needs and must ask for and gain approval before making any changes. This is the exact type of flexibility that was sought by twenty-nine Republican governors in 2005 -- INCLUDING THEN GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY.

Last year, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, (Republican) asked for and was granted an easing of the work rule. Some families in that state can now be exempted from the work requirement for six months while officials work with them to stabilize their household.

More recently, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, (Republican) asked that refugee families be treated differently because of cultural barriers to employment.

The President, along with the Department of Health and Human Services, has given states exactly what they have been asking for for seven years, but Romney refuses to acknowledge that the impetus for the changes originated with Republicans like himself, choosing instead to vilify the President in the hope that his sanctimonious outpouring of outrage will drive a wedge between President Obama and blue collar voters.

The numbers of white and minority welfare recipients are currently fairly equal, but why allow facts to get in the way when ignoring them can be used to feed the latent racism of this country’s conservatives? And what better way to do that than to malign our first black President by portraying him as coddling his own?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Romney, the Businessman. Think About It.

Mitt Romney continues to campaign on his business record saying it is this record that proves he is ready and capable of running the country.

Last month in an interview on Radio Iowa when asked to defend his off shore accounts, he said, “I don’t manage them. I don’t even know where they are”. According to Mr. Romney, these accounts are managed by a trustee and Mr. Romney makes no hands-on decisions about them.

what eye thynk: Mr. Romney is running on his business record, but large parts of his business enterprises are actually being run by a trustee with no day to day input from Mr. Romney.

So, if we follow this to the Land of Ludicrous, maybe the trustee should be running instead of Mr. Romney?

And, yes, I realize this is silly and there are lots of holes to aim for, but there are just days when Swiss cheese silly is the best way to make a point.  A man who is so wealthy that he doesn't even know where all his money is located cannot possibly understand the economic realities of middle class America. 

If you want my serious take on whether I think Mr. Romney’s business record makes him the right choice for President of the United States, read my post from March 21 of this year:

It reads, in part, “We need answers, and ‘I know how to run a business’ is not an answer. You can’t run a country like you run a corporation. When part of your citizenry asks for decent health care, you can’t fire them because you don’t like their attitude. When the budget doesn’t balance, you can’t sell off a couple of states to raise capital. Think about it”.

Please.  Think about it.

Monday, August 6, 2012

August 6 - Monday Quote

If only we could get Mitt and the rest of the 1% to be more in touch with their inner patriot...

monday quote: While some people might find it distasteful to pay taxes, I don't. I find it patriotic. (Mark Cuban, Am. Businessman 1958-   )

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Devalued by Romney

Much has been written about Mitt Romney’s overseas trip this past week. One of the most deconstructed exchanges has been his comparison of Israel and Palestine.

While in Israel, he spoke at length about the difference in Israeli and Palestinian economic situations, comparing the two countries' GDP, (gross domestic product) and pointing out that Israel's GDP is much higher than Palestine's. His interpretation of that was that Israel is populated by a higher class of people with a better developed “culture".  "…and as I come here and look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things."

What eye thynk: “…a few other things”? Really, that’s the best his speech writers could do?

The difference in these two countries’ economic picture has very little to do with “culture” and much to do with economic sanctions forced upon the people of Palestine by the government of Israel. No country can develop a prosperous economy if its citizens are isolated, forbidden trade and restricted from regular, gainful employment.

All of that is obvious to anyone, (except, apparently, Mitt),  and has been dissected by every media outlet over the past few days; but what struck me the most about Mr. Romney’s speech wasn’t the summary of his judgment, but the criteria that he used.

His determination of each country’s “accomplishments” was based solely on their monetary worth--not education, not customs, not religion, not art or music, not family unit, not morality--simply by how much money they have. Can anyone listen to his words and believe that he would judge the 99% in this country any differently?

The man has only one yardstick--money--and if you don’t have it, you are inferior. I may be holding onto the lower end of the middle class by my fingernails, but that doesn’t make me less worthy of notice as a person and citizen of this country.

The fact that the possibility exists that we could elect a man who would impugn my value based simply on the state of my bank account angers me.  And if you’re one of the 99%, it should anger you too.