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EditorBlog (1608)

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

mittdebate2

It is reassuring to the DC punditry world and the corporate journalism industry to write up a post-debate headline, such as this one over a Los Angeles Times article: "Mitt Romney makes smooth shift to center in debate with Obama.
In his first debate with the president, the Republican works on his empathy problem and appears to gain momentum." 

Let us concede that in the television age, style often triumphs over substance.  This goes back to the first pivotal television debate in 1960.  Allegedly, a poll was done after the Kennedy/Nixon debates and Nixon won among those who listened on the radio (which was still a major source of programming in many homes then) and Kennedy among those who watched on television.   Maybe it's folkore, but Kennedy on television came across as a young optimistic dynamic handsome candidate – and Nixon had his famous dour stubbly bristle look on TV.

If you watched television last night with the sound off, Romney gave the visual cues of the kind of guy who is so bursting with confidence in himself and his "product" that he could sell you a junk car rendered permanently inoperable in an accident and make you believe that it is a brand new Cadillac with the fresh smell of leather seats.  Meanwhile, President Obama took the route of trying to appear above the fray, but ended up looking sedated and sour – and failing to find a unifying narrative.  George Lakoff (the master "framer" of progressive themes) and Elizabeth Wheling wrote about Obama's epic rhetorical failed opportunity for BuzzFlash at Truthout this morning.

It's a great American weakness and strength that optimism is appealing, except that it is so often a style of optimism built upon a dry gulch. There are shyster optimists who are con artists with ebullience and there are true believers. Romney is a bit of both. 

(Image by DonkeyHotey)

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

votingbooth

And about that smoking gun concerning the Republican Party and the Romney campaign claiming they didn't know what Sproul was up to?

Sproul belies that very claim in an interview with the Los Angeles Times:

Sproul said he created Strategic Allied Consulting at the RNC's request because the party wanted to avoid being publicly linked to the past allegations. The firm was set up at a Virginia address, and Sproul does not show up on the corporate paperwork.

"In order to be able to do the job that the state parties were hiring us to do, the [RNC] asked us to do it with a different company's name, so as to not be a distraction from the false information put out in the Internet," Sproul said. 

In essence, Sproul is asserting that the Republican National Committee knew of his sordid reputation and told him to disguise his involvement in his legally questionable strategies to "register" Republican voters while driving down Democratic voter registration.

Meanwhile, in Florida, the epicenter of where the Sproul voter registration fraud scandal broke out, Governor Rick Scott (whose company committed Medicare fraud to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, but he didn't go to jail due to 1% immunity) is still trying to disenfranchise people entitled to vote.

According to Time Magazine, Scott's "approval rating currently stands at a lowly 38%, with 50% disapproval. Moreover, a Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9 poll shows Scott losing the 2014 gubernatorial race to both his 2010 Democratic rival, Alex Sink, and former Governor Charlie Crist, a Republican-turned-independent who may soon turn Democrat."

Of course, if Scott can limit voting to the 38% of Floridians who approve of him, he just might win. He'll just need some assistance from Nathan Sproul.

(photo by magrippi)

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT                                    vote

Yes, you remember the ACORN cause célèbre of the rabid GOP attack squad on claiming voter fraud (which is technically different than voter registration fraud). ACORN was a target because it was an organization that engaged in voting registration outreach to the poor and minorities as part of its empowerment mission.  The Republicans built a trumped up case against ACORN -- with the ludicrous media frenzy over misleading sensational tapes taken by the convicted and on probation James O'Keefe -- and got Congress to prohibit federal contracts with ACORN.  Eventually, the grassroots agency went bankrupt as a result.  No court convicted ACORN; it was trial by FOX.

Subsequent government investigations, including the Office of the Attorney General and the Government Accounting Office found no violations of the law committed by ACORN or misuse of federal funds. But the damage was done in killing off an organization that brought the powerless into the voting booth.

Yet, now there is a massive Republican scandal, as Brad Friedman points out, that actually has just done what ACORN was accused of  – and nary a word has been herd about it from members of Congress, the media in general, and conservative or even liberal activists.

Just more proof that when it comes to Republicans rigging elections by rigging the vote, there's no vigorous force to intervene and stop them.

If it weren't for the caging scandal that denied tens of thousands of minorities the right to vote in Florida in 2000 – and the various GOP engineered election place voting snafus --  Al Gore would not only have won the national vote by more than a half a million votes (which he did), he would have won a decisive victory in the Sunshine State.

In many ways, many of the Republican presidential elections of the last 50 years have been stolen either through election manipulation or foreign policy interference (as BuzzFlash at Truthout detailed yesterday ).

Will the theft of democracy succeed once again?

(Photo: League of Women Voters)

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

A cynical foreign policy/campaign strategy bombshell lurks, largely unnoticed, in the full transcript of the now-infamous "47 percent" tape secretly recorded at a Romney fundraiser.  The remarks (revealed in the full Mother Jones transcript of the Florida mega-bucks gathering) further reinforce the dangerous gamble that the Romney campaign is making that if Americans were to be harmed or held hostage between now and election day,  the Romney campaign would attempt to use such a nightmare as a "game changer" in the 2012 election.

A key current Romney campaign thrust (even after the candidate's opportunistic Libyan fiasco) is to attack Obama on foreign policy. Given that this is an area of polling strength for Obama, one can possibly speculate that the Romney campaign is hoping for increased upheaval in the Middle East that will lead to either American deaths or hostages.  

Does this sound just overbearingly cynical and unfair?

Not according to Romney's own words, as posted on Mother Jones, which included this note in their summary of the former governor's comments that day: "Envisioning a pre-election hostage crisis, à la Iran and Jimmy Carter, [Romney said], "If something of that nature presents itself, I will work to find a way to take advantage of the opportunity."

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

If you were superstitious about all the poll trending showing Obama on a surge in the key swing states of Ohio, Virginia and Florida, it's official now: the race is over.  How do we know: the right wing Neo-con prime minister of Israel, American-educated (MIT) Benjamin Netanyahu, used a UN speech yesterday to end his flirtation with Mitt Romney and compliment Barack Obama at the same time.

Netanyahu had been using a "red line" against Iran's nuclear program to make it seem like Obama would not support an Israeli strike on the nation's nuclear facilities this autumn, while tilting toward Romney.

But his September 27th speech to the UN, complete with a blow-up of a Rocky and Bullwinkle type of fuse bomb, was a message to Mitt that the courtship is over.  Perhaps it was the polling trends that scared off Netanyahu from trying to assist Romney with the Jewish vote; perhaps it was just the never-ending Romney bumbling that got Mr. Neo-con of the Jewish State nervous.

But as the New York Times (NYT) reported:

netenyahu1

Photo by Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

 

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Brad Friedman reports on a remarkable story of seemingly systematic Republican voter registration fraud occurring nationally. Although he focuses on Palm Beach County, Florida, where the elections supervisor recently found more than 100 questionable registration irregularities submitted by a "vendor" for the GOP, Friedman exposes a much broader trend across the nation of Republican state parties and the Romney campaign abusing the voter registration system.

Occasionally, pieces of this likely illegal manipulation of the voting process, get picked up by local mainstream press, such as the Palm Beach Post. It reported on the most recent Florida abuse:

The Republican Party of Florida is dumping a firm it paid more than $1.3 million to register new voters, after Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher flagged 106 “questionable” registration applications turned in by the contractor this month.

Bucher asked the state attorney’s office to review the applications “in an abundance of caution” because she said her staff had questions about similar-looking signatures, missing information and wrong addresses on the forms.

The state GOP hired Strategic Allied Consultants of Glen Allen, Va., for “voter registration services” and get-out-the-vote activities. The firm got identical payments of $667,598 in July and August.

But the national press seems to write more about a false Republican narrative about virtually non-existent Democratic voter fraud than the GOP effort to violate voter registration laws.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

BuzzFlash at Truthout talked today to Tom Gaulrapp who is losing his job after 33 years because Mitt Romney's Bain Capital is sending the Sensata plant where he works to China.  Not only will Gaulrapp and about 170 US workers lose their jobs to low paid workers overseas, many of them – such as Gaulrapp – will have lost considerable severance payments due to Bain's acquisition of the plant from Honeywell in late 2010.

Bain Capital owns the majority shares in Sensata since 2006.  According to Gaulrapp, when Sensata --under Bain Capital's "guidance" -- acquired the Freeport, Illinois, plant, the severance was dramatically reduced. Gaulrapp, for instance, will see his termination pay cut from 46 to 26 weeks when his job is phased out on November 15 – after current employees train their Chinese replacements.  All the employees at the plant that "develops, manufactures, and sells sensors and controls for major auto manufacturers such as Ford and General Motors" will be let go by Christmas.

Over the past several weeks, the Sensata workers have launched an aggressive public awareness campaign.  They have put pressure on Mitt Romney through a campground protest across from the Freeport plant, solicited community support, started a press release campaign, and are currently conducting a bus tour targeting outsourcers of jobs to China.  The soon to be displaced employees call their encampment Bainport and maintain a website to publicize their efforts. Bainport.com

In a curious turn of events, after ignoring the worker protests and the imminent plant closing, the Romney campaign finally responded through a spokesperson earlier this week:

"Governor Romney has not worked at Bain Capital for over a decade, but for four years President Obama has been presiding over an economy that is creating too few jobs and sending more jobs overseas. Despite the President being invested in Sensata through his personal pension fund, and the government owning a major Sensata customer in GM, President Obama has not used his powers to help this situation in any way." — Curt Cashour, Romney Campaign Spokesman

Say what? 

bainport

Courtesy Sensata Workers Fighting for Their Jobs Against Bain Capital: Bainport.com

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Okay, so the governor who broke the back of public union collective bargaining in Wisconsin – and would crush all unions if he could, by many accounts, is implying that the union refs are better at their jobs.  Well, maybe he's got a point – and that applies to many public employees who have long years of training and experience.

One of the great ironies here is that the Green Bay Packers are the only team in the NFL owned by a city: the people of Green Bay. They are non-profit as a result of this.  So this, if you are a Tea Party kind of guy, makes them a "socialist football" team, right?

Not only that, but during the Wisconsin uprising against Walker's anti-collective bargaining legislation, many of the most prominent Green Bay Packer players sided with the public unions.  Why?  Because the gridiron athletes are members of a union: the National Football League Players Association.

So Governor Scott Walker, the go-to man of GOP billionaires for busting unions and dismantling government, supports union refs, a union football team, and ownership of that team, the Green Bay Packers, by the community – without a profit incentive.

cheese45 Image by Ratterrell

 

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

A little background first. President Obama has long battled with Republicans on the Hill in his attempt to preserve tax breaks on those families making $250,000 a year or less, while eliminating Bush tax cuts for the super rich.  

Enter stage right: Mitt Romney. He has been promoting an idea that he can cut every one's taxes including the top 1 percent (even more than the current Bush tax cuts), but hasn't provided details of how this can be done while reducing the deficit.

An article in The Washington Post by Ezra Klein, details Romney's sleight of hand in this paradoxical promise of cutting everyone's taxes, especially the ultra rich, while cutting national debt: he's lying.

To understand, Klein's analysis, you need to start with Romney's recent statement that someone who makes $250,000 is in the middle class (few would agree with him, but that's Romney's definition).  

Klein points out Romney's "do the math dilemma" on his tax cut plan on steroids.

WILL DURST FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT


It is time to start worrying about Mitt Romney. Seriously. The guy may just be running the worst campaign ever. And yes, that includes the McDLT, print ads for organic hemp underwear and France in 39. Not to mention McCain/Palin in 08. Which currently holds the gold standard for lousy campaigns. Sure to be a Hall of Fame inductee in a couple of years.

Willard has taken bad to a whole new level. Bad like a dumpster behind a fish market during a garbage strike bad. Bad like a three dollar Dark Knight Rises DVD bought off a Times Square cardboard table with Albanian subtitles bad. Bad like Todd Akin at a NARAL benefit bad. Bad doubled down. Beyond breaking bad to the point of broken bad.
 
And every time the former Governor of Massachusetts opens his mouth, it gets worse. He’s tone deaf, tongue tied, logically challenged and as approachable as a near-sighted porcupine in heat. The Anti Ray Romano: nobody Loves Mitt.
 
So uncomfortable around real people, you can practically hear him whisper “icky, icky, icky,” under his breath while shaking hands at rallies. You know there’s an aide with a bottle of Purell hand sanitizer waiting for him on the bus. Maybe even a 55- gallon drum connected to a shower head.

 elvisromney elvis3IMAGE BY LYNN LARROW

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