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The time spent on Romney's biography was a waste. That was supposed to be their main goal

It's remarkable that the Romney campaign thought that his image needed to be softened by an entire convention gushing over life experiences which most folks will assume are the advantages of his wealth.

This bland and rambling convention was an attempt to establish Mitt Romney as some Reagan-like figure who should be regarded as some kind of icon, rather than a politician accountable for the details of his ambitions and endeavors for the presidency. Romney spent the week ducking behind this poorly erected diversion -- with a tedious line of folks trying to fill in the blanks of his tepid, vacuous campaign -- and emerged to accept their nomination with the gravitas of a wet slice of bread.

With all of that done and over, the question is still directly on his finances and the tax returns he's hiding. There wasn't enough in his curiously empty speech to the convention to recall, past the lies and distortions, to distract from the questions that followed the mostly unknown republican candidate.

He's been effectively defined by the Obama campaign and others as the worst of what we've come to expect out of capitalism. That's still the referendum here: Vulture capitalism and taxpayer-enabled greed, vs. the vast majority of working American families without access to the benefits Romney enjoyed to his financial success. He's a poster for the speculation, scheming, and manipulation of our financial industry by slick insiders which most Americans rightly blame for our present economic struggle and collapse.

NONE of what just occurred in that convention hall obscures ANY of that.

Think about it . . . at this time in our nation's history, with our first African American president

Republicans have been scrambling since this president's nomination in 2008 to find a way to disenfranchise and disqualify the legions of African-American voters from voting for Barack Obama. States have put regressive and discriminatory laws in place to deny the black vote this very November.

Our nation's first black Attorney General is well and timely placed and is having NONE of it! Att. Gen. Holder has blocked voter ID laws in several states, including Texas, and has effectively preserved the rights of African-Americans (and others) in Texas to free and unencumbered access to the voting polls with the court's decision to reject Texas' insidious attempt to suppress the minority and poor vote in their state.

What a perfect storm of antagonism and forceful resistance at the very top levels of our nation's government. What a thing of beauty, in my lifetime! I know we'll be looking back on this as an integral part of a transformational era in civil and voting rights for African-Americans (like me).

A Most Dubious Republican National Convention

Mitt Romney's campaign is torn between a panic that they have to, both, define their candidate for the majority of American voters, and their desperation to spend their time hollering at us from their podium what a scary, liberal, and un-American president they believe Barack Obama is.

That first ambition of Romney's campaign -- presenting their version of who Mitt Romney is in a way that connects and resonates with voters -- won't tolerate or bear well distraction of the blistering negativity that comes with each and every one of their desperate attacks on the record and character of President Obama.

That cynical balancing act was on display this morning when RNC chairman, Reince Priebus, speaking on 'CBS This Morning,' explained to Charlie Rose that the purpose of their convention was to "tell Mitt Romney's story." Preibus immediately stomped on that ambition by declaring his republicans' need to 'prosecute' Barack Obama:

"We need to prosecute the president on what he promised and what he delivered...we need to remind the American people that said if we pass a trillion dollar stimulus, we would have unemployment at this point below 6%. We need to prosecute the president who seems to be in love with his own voice...," Preibus said.

Is this the same republican party that complained all this week about how much they objected to what they saw as a 'divisive' Obama campaign?

There is no question that the Romney camp will feel that their time was wasted and their money disappeared down a rabbit hole if they didn't use this moment when they had the eyes and ears of the most Americans possible before the election to put Barack Obama down hard.

Yet, that destructive ambition will likely serve to reinforce and widen the negative perceptions of Mitt Romney that have already been generated and deepened by a withering primary battle with his republican opponents; and by an advertising campaign which hasn't yet found room in their increasingly defensive posturing to present their candidate as anything other than a caustic critic of Barack Obama.

It's not as if there aren't a bevy of substantive issues that Mitt Romney wants to represent in this campaign. Mr. Romney has offered his opinion on the stump about taxes, welfare, Medicare, Afghanistan . . . He just hasn't found a way of presenting them as anything other than an attack on his opponent. He's even raised a few issues just to defend against, and deflect from, charges by the Obama campaign about his personal financial conduct; or to defend the legislative record of the congressman he chose as his running mate.

In all, the atmosphere going into this republican convention is more full of animosity toward their Democratic opponent, than it's vibing on excitement about 'telling Mitt Romney's story.' Their candidate has presented no tax plan for them to cheer; no budget plan for them to celebrate. What's left to tell about Mitt Romney that work-weary American voters are interested in hearing?

"Enough talk about Barack Obama . . . let's talk about Mitt Romney, and how much he's against Barack Obama."

Despite all of the calculated complaining from republicans this week about divisive politics, divisive politics is just what their convention is all about. That's not, in and of itself, such a damning indictment on republicans. Campaigns usually get their best traction by being as abrasive as they can be without turning more folks off than they attract.

Is Mitt Romney's campaign at that point? I dunno, but, I don't think he can come out of a convention which is angry and mean and successfully cast himself as a hope and a promise. I think our media is as anxious to broker and amplify every juicy insult and slam they can manage; and, I think there's enough of a contingent of republicans attending the convention determined to be the eager 'prosecutors' of those opportunistic and ad hominem attacks.

"I think we're going to be able to have a great convention, tell the Mitt Romney story, prosecute Obama and his promises made and promises delivered," Preibus said in and interview on Fox News Sunday. "We're not where we need to be. We need to -- we have to fire Obama and save this country. We're going to make that case, but we're going to make Mitt Romney case this week as well."

Hope springs eternal, but this republican convention is a boiling crock of hate; ready to explode in an orgy of recrimination, taunts, and arrogance. The first salvo of the republican convention was rumored (then abruptly cancelled at the last minute) to be coming from the antics of the nation's most prominent birther, Donald Trump, who, reportedly, in a surprise opening, will 'fire' Barack Obama in a typically autocratic sketch which (would) surely mirror most republicans' most recurring and reassuring dream.

Ah, well . . .on with the show!

High Five!


. . . Romney's birther remark -- I want to say this

That type of ignorant flirting with racism, bigotry, and xenophobia is in a pandemic stage these days; elevated and amplified by this election and the term of our nation's first black president.

We have had an undercurrent of racism, bigotry, and xenophobia in America, in this decade; decades beyond the point where our legislative remedies were met with a majority sense that these expressions of superiority and hatred would not be tolerated; especially in our public debate. There have certainly been many, many political and public figures who have made a point of denigrating one group of Americans or some individual they saw fit to posture as if the target of their divisive remarks was somehow beneath them and undeserving of respect and dignity because of differences from our nation's 'white' majority.

Yet, there is something surging right now which is related to the wide access to communications -- such as the internet --, perhaps a more willing and permissive media which has found room to broadcast hateful remarks and petty slurs as if there was something in them that deserved even a moment consideration of their appropriateness or acceptability.

Regular surfers of internet-published news and opinion are certainly familiar with open racism and vicious slander presented in news form and available right alongside of the mainstream and alternative press. The proliferation of hateful, bigoted, and racist media is certainly a product of a subculture in America of regressive and throwback beliefs among many of our citizens.

The willingness of that subculture to embrace any and all deliberately divisive rhetoric offered by demagogues and opportunists has not gone unnoticed by republican politicians who regularly employ subtle and recognized language which gives comfort to, and encourages those Americans who would have us divided among ourselves along the often fine lines of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation; all for some political advantage.

It's pretty standard with republicans; at least from the point of view of those who have been the repeated targets of their political rants and ire.

We look at the statement Romney made yesterday:

"No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised."

The Obama campaign summed up my reaction:

"Take a moment or two to think about that, what he's actually saying, and what it says about Mitt Romney."

Mitt Romney was not merely making an ignorant observation; he was suggesting to his mostly-white audience (those who would give him a second-thought) that he shares with them an affinity that he doesn't believe others -- like our nation's first black president -- can or should be considered equal and integrally part of.

At the very heart of the affinity that he's presuming to parcel out among those he chooses is something basic to each and every American; our citizenship -- that special bond to our land and nation which is conferred on us through geography, relations, or application.

What Mitt Romney is saying is that few, if any, should assume that he wasn't born in America, because he happens to have fair skin.

Conversely, fully aware of the slander and bigotry about the President's birth certificate coming from the very top of his chain of supporters, like Donald Trump -- slander which he took time to explain to Americans he did not share --Romney is suggesting that there is something about President Obama which is visibly foreign to this country. He's allowing that there is nothing that he can find recognizably American about Barack Obama.

That means that Mitt Romney must not recognize the rest of our non-white citizens as equal and integral to our country; as he does those who share in his affinity and appearance. In this new century, that is an amazing regression from the efforts of our collective population to recognize ALL of our men, women, and children as individual reflections of the pattern of our nation.

What possesses this man to openly encourage such divisiveness and derisiveness? It almost doesn't matter; until you consider what he's aspiring to at the moment. This isn't mere ignorance; but a deliberate, political tactic. It's much more pernicious than just a belief that someone holds somewhere. It is part of a movement to project such bigotry from the elevation of the highest office in our land for the petty purpose of furthering Mitt Romney's corporate-driven, political career and ambition.

In the ultimate happenstance of his election to office, Mitt Romney won't be engineering his oblique politics against minorities alone. Nothing that subtle. He's going to be content for his followers to expand and deepen his deliberately-generated animosity in their communities to pave the way for the next divisive campaign. All the while, Romney will be using his position in government to deliver his promised tax-cut booty to his money-soaked benefactors; all at the expense of the 98% of Americans of ALL races, religions, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation who lack any affinity at all with his tax-evading, wealthy lifestyle.

Fortunately, we are still a nation which is making strides in the ways we relate, work, and live with one another. Most of us can't and won't accommodate actions and rhetoric which only serves to separate us from each other. It's dysfunctional; as well as, just plain wrong -- and we know it.

That tells us a great deal about Mitt Romney . . . doesn't it?

Romney is most likely going to pick a conservative, white male for his running mate

All of the talk and speculation about a women, a minority, or both getting the nod is just a weak attempt to make it appear that Romney is inclusive and supporting of diversity.

That effort is a hollow one because the voters Romney thinks he needs to support his campaign don't really believe there's any race, gender, or ethnicity deficit in politics -- or in the country, for that matter -- which need special attention and elevation. In fact, Romney just went out of his way to show that he's willing to talk down to minority communities (in his appearances at Latino and African-American forums) and tell them, for the benefit of his right-wing supporters, that they needn't ask his presumptive administration for anything which might be of particular interest or concern for their community.

As far as Romney's craven campaign is concerned, blacks Latinos, women, immigrants, etc., are best represented in government by the paternalistic, misogynistic, xenophobic, bigoted agenda of his homogenized party's regulars. Any deviation from that ideal would alienate the Romney campaign from their increasingly isolated base of supporters who insist that these diverse Americans' pleas for inclusion and legislative equity amount to wanting 'handouts' and special treatment.

It's safe enough for the Romney campaign to throw out a few names of 'safe' minorities, like Condi Rice, but she, and other diverse choices mentioned have never been anything more to republicans than cynical props to try and make it appear that the vast majority of minorities and women who identify their politics with Democrats aren't the decided monopoly that they demonstrate almost every presidential election.

I fully expect the charade to end in a week or so when Romney announces someone like Rob Portman or Chris Christie to share in his campaign's political assault on progress and progressiveness in this election. Is anyone really buying into their pretense that they have enough regard for minority or women voters to include someone who would actually represent them in their campaign?

After Palin's disastrous addition to the McCain presidential bid, it's unlikely we'll see another experiment in gender triangulation; much less likely we'll see some reliance on someone who's race or gender isn't actually viewed as an asset by these privileged pols and their scapegoating, republican following.

There's so much of the republican political appeal and logic which assumes that government is too focused on addressing the needs and concerns of these diverse interests and individuals. That overriding, bigoted peeve of republicans and their conservative supporters is just too ingrained and encompassing of the majority of their politics and initiative for Romney risk identifying his presidential bid with anything other than their white, male ideal that I can't see this craven man diverting from all of that.

Passed, Signed, Upheld

'Health Battle Enters Round 2'

The pathetic headline above appeared on the front page of the WSJ yesterday. This is the corporatist right-wing's version of democracy today. It's not enough for Congress to pass landmark legislation and for the President to sign it (at least not this President). After all of that democracy, the right needs to test our product of legislative government against their conservative dominated court; not on the merits of the law, so much, as a gamble against their stacked majority.

Next, presumably, they want a re-do of the last presidential election to re-shuffle their etch-a-sketch and wipe out history with a supposed wave of their corporate-executive's hand. Romney and the rest are busy telling their supporters that they'll have a shot at undoing this health care law, in their favor by just electing them to office.

That might well be a possibility, but it's certainly wishful thinking. I'll say this, though . . . this will be their last shot at manipulating the democratic process which brought us the ACA and pretending like it's some unsettled law which is open for debate.

We win this damn election and we make the ACA the new 'third rail.' Damned if we're going to let these politicians and their flacks pretend like the last three years of this presidency and its legislative accomplishments were just some aberrations. We lived and breathed this history and they are fighting with our futures to undo all of it and replace it with NOTHING!


Narrow lead? In 12 battleground states, Pres. Obama has an 8 point advantage in WSJ/NBC poll

The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll finds that Obama edges Mitt Romney 47 percent to 44 percent nationwide. In 12 battleground states identified by the pollsters, Obama has an 8 point lead, beating Romney 50 percent to 42 percent. That's up from 48 percent to 42 percent in May's poll.

link: http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/06/poll-obama-maintains-narrow-lead-127383.html

The Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll Wednesday found Obama leading in three swing states:

Florida: Obama 45 -- Romney 41
Ohio: Obama 47 -- Romney 38
Pennsylvania: Obama 45 -- Romney 39.

. . . if Romney had this same margin as Barack Obama, they'd be calling the President's reelection campaign over. It's not a 2008-style margin, but this isn't 2008. It's a testament to his efforts in office and to his campaign to have such a competitive margin of support in the face of such a volatile economy and such a turbulent political year.

Remember, past candidacies have overcome deficits at this point in the election season and gone on to victory in November. We can take heart from these numbers that our efforts in organizing and outreach in support of this President are making a difference where it matters in this campaign. Direct support for the Obama campaign is also expanding and intensifying along with the poll numbers.

Although, there is some apprehension about the money race . . .

from OFA:

The Romney campaign raises more than we do, and the math isn't hard to understand: Through the primaries, we raised almost three-quarters of our money from donors giving less than $1,000, while Mitt Romney's campaign raised more than three-quarters of its money from individuals giving $1,000 or more.

More than 2.2 million Americans have already chipped in for us.

We can be outspent and still win—but we can't be outspent 10 to 1 and still win.

Still, the real strength of the Obama campaign right now is their support from actual individuals. Boston Globe spelled it out:

As of the end of April, 43 percent of the donors who contributed to the Obama campaign gave $200 or less, generating a total of $88.5 million, according to the Campaign Finance Institute, a nonpartisan Washington research group. By contrast, only 10 percent of those who gave to former governor Mitt Romney’s campaign had made donations of $200 or less, accounting for $9.8 million . . .

While Obama has embarked on a grass-roots fund-raising drive based largely on small donations, as he did four years ago, Romney has relied on contributions from more generous donors to his campaign, and unlimited contributions from wealthy individuals and corporations to the independent super PACs sympathetic to his candidacy . . .

“Small donations matter a lot because they indicate enthusiasm and energy for a campaign,’’ said Rob Gray, a Boston political consultant who was an adviser to Republican John McCain’s 2008 campaign. “The shortage of small donors means the Republican and conservative base is not jumping on board with Romney in big numbers - at least not yet.’’

“Obama has a huge advantage there,’’ said Philip W. Johnston, an Obama fund-raiser and former chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, noting Romney’s reliance on wealthier donors. “Wall Street bankers are unlikely to be knocking on doors in the neighborhood anytime soon.’

Romney's Cut-And-Paste Capitalism

In a speech to business executives, Wednesday, Romney dished out the usual republican tripe about President Obama's economic record and economic plans -- along with the iced tea, salmon, couscous, salad and fruit tarts served to the 100 CEOs attending the business roundtable.

Romney made a clumsy stab at his latest campaign hat trick; projecting President Obama's 'doing fine' remark into his own distorted and warped version of a Democratic party platform.

Romney also gave an outline of his '100 days' pledge to reform and remake the federal government into a mimic of every regressive Reagan-Bush-era economic assault on the U.S. Treasury his campaign minions could cut-and-paste from the favorites' list on Grover Norquists facebook page and insert in the republican candidate's speech.

It's not as if there's some expectation that this 'businessman,' who's touting his business experience and ability, would be looking to highlight the most impressive planks of his own mind-blowing economic plan before a group of his peers and fellow financial mavens.

Sure, he brought his '100 Days' thing with him and laid it out for the crowd. Yet, it played like just another extension of his schoolboy bully-like, singsong attack on his Democratic rival, instead of something which might have struck the CEOs as both dynamic and doable.

Of course, these CEOs already understood that a Romney administration means another term of free-wheeling capitalism with a dollop of trickle-down beneficence to convince the rubes that they can't survive without their profit-taking, wage and job-cutting return on taxpayers' investment in the wealthy's further reduced tax rates.

Romney fleshed it out for them as if he invented the Reagan-Bush era rhetoric about cutting government and lowering taxes for rich businessmen; invented the prattle about cutting entitlements and balancing the budget . . .

"I will in my first 100 days take action to eliminate government programs, to send a lot of government programs back to states where I limit the rate of growth at inflation, and to cut back the number of federal employees through attrition," Romney said. "And by the way, to link the pay of government workers with the pay that exists in the private sector. And those things save about $500 billion a year by my fourth year in office, if I am lucky enough to be elected, and get us to a balanced budget within eight to 10 years."

Also on Romney's to-do list: approving the controversial Keystone pipeline, slashing non-security discretionary government spending, reducing the number of government regulations and repealing 'Obamacare.'

There was little in Romney's actuarial address about where average Americans would benefit from the reductions in their social safety nets and the incentives built into the tax code, and his planned cuts in other federal spending which invests in our individual aspirations for our families to grow and prosper.

In fact, it's those average, working-class Americans who Romney expects to make the largest sacrifice in his economic plan to advantage their employers' bank balances in the promise that they will share out those benefits when they cash in on the fruit of their labor.

If it's CEOs' prosperity, though, that we're waiting to inflate to the point where they can share-up, you should wonder why that rain-down of prosperity on the little man who labors for them hasn't happened yet -- despite record earnings and profit-taking at the top by the nation's CEOs; even during the period where the majority of the nation suffered to find a financial foothold in the faltering economy.


The Standard & Poor's 100 Index of the biggest U.S. companies rose 5.5 percent in 2012 through yesterday, beating a version of the S&P 500 that strips out weightings for market value by the most since 1999. Earnings for the 100-company measure are projected to reach a record high this year, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Here is a list of the top 100 CEOs and their pay packages according to public record from Sept. 2011. The top three CEOs all made more than $70 million in one year alone.

Where's the trickle-down beneficence from these 'good guys' that Romney says deserve the lion's share of of the tax reductions in his budget -- at the expense of the 99% of the rest of us? Where's the 'hurt' on these companies' profits? Most of these CEOs he was talking to have personally prospered greatly from their divestments; which often accrue from reductions in workforces; closing plants; and from 'productivity,' as workers are forced to work harder for less.

I can just hear this group of economic moguls rallying Romney to keep government from bolstering the individuals who work in their factories and industries; to keep their corporate welfare flowing; to give them more of our debt-owing money to gamble with; to keep their workers hungry for anything they'll toss to them.

"He said, as you know, just a few days ago that the private sector is doing fine, but the incredulity that came screaming back from the American people has caused him, I think, to rethink that," Romney told the top 100 CEOs.

You know, I can just hear the 'American people' now; 'screaming' about how 'not-fine' these wealthy CEOs are doing in the Obama recovery . . . screaming for more tax breaks for these fortunate few on top of the renewal of the expiring ones. I can just hear average Americans caterwauling for their own benefits to be cut to pad-out the bank accounts of these multimillionaires and billionaires.

As enticing and satisfying as all of that may have sounded to these businessfolk, you've got to think that at least one or two of them were wondering if there really was an actual economic plan hidden inside of Romney's cut-and-paste collection of political attack lines from the past that went beyond merely providing his aid and comfort for yet another corporate raid on our Treasury. But, hey, if the appeal ain't broke yet . . .
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