Sorry, but Jon Stewart’s Friday night broadcast was pure gold. There is no way that I could possibly top it . . . unless I added Stephen Colbert’s interview with Clint Eastwood’s chair.
Month: August 2012
“Fact checkers come to this with their own sets of thoughts and beliefs, and we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.” ~ Neil Newhouse, Pollster for Mitt Romney Campaign
I mean, what kind of an irresponsible lunatic would vote for every one of these misguided fiscal time bombs? I’ll give you a hint. His name begins with Paul Ryan and ends with silence and this is his picture!!
I really wanted to post a clip from last night’s Daily Show, but WordPress is making it hard to post those clips, so I’ll settle for some stills from an earlier show in which Stewart lambasts Ryan. For this post, I’m just going to go a more traditional route and expose VP Candidate (aka Mr. Dead Fish Eyes) Paul Ryan’s blatant mistruths as he presented them in his RNC speech.
In this case, anything that I might have to add, curmudgeonly or otherwise, is pretty much unnecessary. The media and the blogosphere are blowing up Ryan’s speech all over the place. Oh, and that fact checking thing that the Republicans don’t want to interfere with the campaign? Well, the sources for the facts below are included.
From Brenda Witt, MoveOn member:
Here is a list of five lies that Paul Ryan told when he gave his speech at the Republican National Convention last night. Every single news outlet should report on these lies.
1. Lie: President Obama is the “greatest threat” to Medicare.
Truth: Obama didn’t make any cuts to Medicare benefits; he made cuts to provider reimbursements, to improve cost efficiency and extend the fiscal security of Medicare by eight years. According to the Medicare actuary, “[Obama’s] Affordable Care Act makes important changes to the Medicare program and substantially improves its financial outlook.”1
But Ryan actually does want to cut benefits. He proposed dismantling Medicare and replacing it with a voucher system, leaving millions of seniors to come up with more money to pay for care out of pocket.2,3
2. Lie: President Obama didn’t save a General Motors plant in Wisconsin.
Truth: First, Obama wasn’t even in office when the GM plant closed. Second, Obama never made a promise to save it.4
3. Lie: President Obama ignored recommendations of a bipartisan debt commission.
Truth: Paul Ryan actually sat on that commission. And he led Republicans in voting down the commission’s own recommendation. So the commission never gave a report to Obama, because Ryan himself voted to kill the report before it could.5
4. Lie: President Obama is responsible for the downgrading of the U.S. Credit Rating.
Truth: House Republicans, including Paul Ryan, held the full faith and credit of the United States hostage to try to ransom it for trillions of dollars in cuts to social programs without increasing taxes on the wealthy one dime. Standard & Poor’s said specifically, “We have changed our assumption on [revenue] because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues.” That’s why our nation’s credit rating was downgraded.6,7
5. Lie: Ryan wants to protect the “weak.”
Truth: Ryan’s biggest feat in his political career was proposing a budget with dramatic cuts to programs benefiting the poor. He’d cut Medicaid by one third, take away health care insurance from 30 million Americans, and cut Pell Grants for 1 million students. All so that he could give more tax breaks to the rich.8
1. “Fact check: Paul Ryan at the RNC,” USA Today, August 30, 2012
2. “Undoing Obama Medicare cuts may backfire on Romney,” The Boston Globe, August 18, 2012
3. “Romney-Ryan Medicare Plan Would Cost 29-Year-Olds $331,200: Report,” Huffington Post, August 27, 2012
4. “Paul Ryan Misleads With GM Plant Closure Tale,” Huffington Post, August 29, 2012
5. “Fact Check: Paul Ryan misleads on debt panel’s spending cut plan,” CNN, August 30, 2012
6. “Top 5 Fibs In Paul Ryan’s Convention Speech,” Talking Points Memo, August 30, 2012
7. “Paul Ryan Address: Convention Speech Built On Demonstrably Misleading Assertions,” Huffington Post, August 30, 2012
8. “4 Ways Paul Ryan’s Budget Would Devastate The Poor,” ThinkProgress, August 17, 2012
Yes. I do have to go there.
Okay. I’m on that horse again. You know the one, the one that goes straight to wonderland, where everything is rosy and pretty . . . no wait. Not that one. The dead one. That’s the one I’m on, the proverbial one in the front yard that I continue to beat whenever I come across some glaring instance of some person who is pretending to be for the people, while that same said someone is obviously not of the people.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Ann Romney, spouse of the Mitt, and her take on what it means to be without.
And P.S. Dressage (aka dancing horses), even in the Olympics, is not the same thing as hippotherapy.
Reprinted from the Huffington Post
Larry Womack: Ann Romney Addresses the Common People
Last night, Ann Romney took the stage at the Republican National Convention to tell us all that she (and, by extension, Mitt) understands the troubles of the average American. That she knew what it was like to be one of us.
The problem with that, obviously, is that she doesn’t.
I hope I’m not dating myself too terribly by recalling that old Pulp song, “Common People.” If you haven’t heard it, you can listen to it here. Or, if you would prefer a William Shatner cover set to suggestive clips from Star Trek: The Animated Series (and who wouldn’t?), you can check that out here instead. The song is about a sort of poverty tourist — a privileged woman who thinks it’s very novel and amusing to slum it for a bit. The narrator, of course, doesn’t find his own meager means nearly so amusing because, unlike his delighted companion, his poverty is real, not pretend. “If you called your dad,” he points out, “he could stop it all.” Still, she persists.
Last night, Ann Romney was that woman and we were the common people.
Romney opened with a long, agreeable “I feel your pain” routine that, at times, seemed to resonate. She, like most speakers last night, was especially interested in appealing to women. She then applied it to a personal narrative, portraying her upbringing as exceedingly modest. In fact, her father — admittedly a remarkable self-made man — was a manufacturing magnate and mayor of the affluent Bloomfield Hills by the time Ann was growing up. Finally, she went on to describe her early days with young Mitt in rather humble terms:
We were very young, both still in college. There were many reasons to delay marriage. And you know what? We just didn’t care. We got married and moved into a basement apartment. We walked to class together, shared the housekeeping, ate a lot of pasta and tuna fish. Our desk was a door propped up on saw horses, our dining room table was a fold-down ironing board in the kitchen. But those were the best days.
The image is adorable, you must admit. Two struggling students, madly in love, happily eating tuna off of an ironing board. Even doing their own housekeeping! No staff at all. These people actually had to wash their own dishes. Mitt Romney, we are told, started out with nothing.
Happily for them, the Romney idea of “nothing” is probably not yours, mine or even that of a lucid billionaire. Before they got married, Mitt Romney’s regular “allowance” from his parents was large enough to buy him regular flights back and forth from Stanford, where he was attending college, to Ann’s home in Michigan. When they did get married and move into that “basement apartment,” both were spared the inconvenience and indignity of actually having to get a job — Mitt just sold some of his stock to “get by.” And while they may have walked to class together, they probably didn’t need to; even they acknowledge that Mitt’s parents had given them a car. And when they moved to Boston — after Mitt Romney obtained his MBA and JD from Harvard — his parents “helped” the young couple buy a house.
Even slogging through that pile, Romney came across as sweet, good-natured and, to the best of her ability, genuinely empathetic. There were even moments that felt truly candid — a rare thing coming from a convention stage — as Romney spoke about her battle with MS and her no-doubt horrifying brush with breast cancer. After Rick Santorum’s long whisper through a fog of insanity and Nikki Haley’s jarringly oblivious implication that companies like Boeing don’t need the government to succeed, Ann Romney was one big, huggable breath of fresh air. But the financial narrative she presented contrasted so strikingly with reality that I actually found myself wondering if she really is crazy enough to believe that she has at any point in her life been genuinely poor.
The Romneys ate off of an ironing board. They seem to think that’s what poverty feels like. Well, I went camping once. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t what homelessness feels like. Trying to pass this situation off as anything like the fear and heartbreak experienced every single day by millions of Americans living in genuine poverty is insulting, insensitive and, frankly, deranged.
The people living out of cars, in homeless shelters and on the streets didn’t have more stock to sell. They don’t have two rich daddies they could turn to if things got scary. Or two rich mommies. Or every rich person doing business in one entire state and two entire industries, who knew that helping out an influential person’s son or daughter might benefit them later.
Just to be perfectly clear: I do not mean to imply that Mitt Romney has been some sort of slouch. Whatever you or I might think of his methods, the man has obviously worked hard for his fortune. Not “digging ditches” hard or “nursing home orderly” hard, but hard. A lot of trust fund babies waste their lives partying and pretending that they’re important, instead of working hard and actually becoming important. It’s a sad thing to see, but you see it often. Young Mitt Romney took full advantage of every opportunity he was granted and is clearly a genuinely successful businessman. Anyone can—and should—applaud the young Romneys’ frugality, determination and dedication.
But that success must also be credited in large part to his unique level of privilege, which clearly shielded the young couple from the true nature of poverty. And real poverty, I am afraid to inform Mrs. Romney, is not merely a series of choices in décor. It is not some sort of a lark. It is not an act of youthful defiance. It is not living frugally simply because you want to prove a point. It is having nothing to fall back on. It is knowing that if you fail or run into even a tiny bit of bad luck, you and your family will not have food or shelter.
Real poverty is not knowing where your children’s next meal is coming from. It’s not being able to put shoes on their feet or take them to the doctor. It’s living in constant fear of losing your job or getting sick. It’s not having a car to take you to that job. It’s wondering if you’ll still have a home two months from now. It’s hunger. It’s cold. And, above all, it is fear. It’s a thousand other worries that millions upon millions of Americans have endured that Ann Romney never will. It is not a cute anecdote about how cheap your insanely privileged husband is. [emphasis mine]
I don’t say this to pick on the Romneys, or to suggest that anyone resent their circumstances. I say it because, unlike many others who have never really known these fears, either, they sometimes seem incapable of discerning the difference between their reality and everyone else’s. That is an enormous problem.
You see, a man with this mindset might understand what it takes for the very wealthy to succeed, but cannot possibly fathom what it takes to allow the rest of America to do the same. In Mitt Romney’s world, college kids can just borrow tens of thousands of dollars from their parents—if they can’t bring themselves to part with more stock. In the real America, there are over one million students who are currently homeless. Still, in Mitt Romney’s world, there’s nothing wrong with wasting billions in taxpayer money that could be used to pay down the national debt or lift these students out of poverty, so long as the nation can also move more money from those college kids to private lenders. In Mitt Romney’s world, unemployed with $200,000 million in the (known) bank is somehow comparable to unemployed with nothing. In Mitt Romney’s world, people say things like, ” I’m not concerned about the very poor,” and “corporations are people, my friend!”
His wife may have just given the common people another glimpse of it, but Mitt Romney’s world is nothing like the one in which we live and our nation cannot be effectively governed from it. Sounds like a nice place, though.