CORRECTION: WEAPONS BANNED, NOT GUNS

James Valente:  “If you scroll down in the link you posted, you’ll see that an update/correction was subsequently posted.  No guns were allowed in the convention hall by Secret Service, but the 7.4 mile radius refers only to ‘weapons,’ which did not, incidentally, include guns.  (Tampa’s Democratic mayor requested the ban, but Florida’s Republican Governor refused to include guns.)  I’ll refrain from commenting on the logic of all this, but assume you don’t want to be spreading a mistaken fact.”

I do not.

THE CRACKPOT CAUCUS

Here.  Do we really want to entrust the House committee that oversees climate change to a climate-change denier?

At a 2009 hearing, [Representative John] Shimkus [of Illinois] said not to worry about a fatally dyspeptic planet: the biblical signs have yet to properly align. “The earth will end only when God declares it to be over,” he said, and then he went on to quote Genesis at some length.  It’s worth repeating: This guy is the chairman.

Remember, according to Rush Limbaugh, science is one of the “four pillars of deceit.”

Have I mentioned Barney Frank’s preferred bumper sticker?  WE’RE NOT PERFECT, BUT THEY’RE NUTS.

RECORD-LOW WAGES, RECORD-HIGH PROFITS

Here.

Wages as a percent of the economy are at an all-time low. This is both cause and effect. One reason companies are so profitable is that they’re paying employees less than they ever have as a share of GDP. And that, in turn, is one reason the economy is so weak: Those “wages” are other companies’ revenue.
Business Insider

RELATIVE PERFORMANCE

Ohio Governor John Kasich told the Republican Convention Tuesday night that on his watch he had taken Ohio from 48th in the nation in job creation to 4th.  He made a big deal of this, and attributed it to his cutting taxes (no mention of the auto-industry bail-out Ryan voting against that may have helped the auto-industry-dependent midwest rebound).  The implication?  A governor CAN boost his state’s job creation rank and SHOULD be judged by this.

Which bears note, becausewhen Mitt Romney was sworn in as governor, Massachusetts ranked 37th in job creation.  When he left: 47th.  He had taken it down almost to the bottom of the heap.  His Democratic successor has boosted it all the way up to 11th or so.

So while Kasich was trying to promote a Romney presidency, the logical point he was making is that he, Kasich, had done a very good job on job creation; Romney had done a very bad job.

(Romney supporters purposely miss the point and stress the low unemployment rate Romney’s Massachusetts enjoyed.  But of course times were very different then — Romney left office two years before the 2008 collapse — and it’s widely acknowledged that a principal reason for Massachusetts’ low unemployment rate back then was that so many people left the state to look for work elsewhere.  Kasich is right: what matters is relative job-creation performance.  In Kasich’s case, from 48th, near dead last, all the way up to 4th.  In Romney’s case, from 37th to an even worse 47th.)

BUT HE RESCUED THE OLYMPICS!  HE FIXED +THAT+ AT LEAST

And do you know how?  By getting a larger taxpayer-financed federal bail-out than had been required by all seven prior U.S. Olympics, combined.  If that’s an argument for miraculous government-shunning job-creation skills, it’s not a great one.

MATT TAIBBI ON MITT

In Rolling StoneHere.

. . . And this is where we get to the hypocrisy at the heart of Mitt Romney. Everyone knows that he is fantastically rich, having scored great success, the legend goes, as a “turnaround specialist,” a shrewd financial operator who revived moribund companies as a high-priced consultant for a storied Wall Street private equity firm. But what most voters don’t know is the way Mitt Romney actually made his fortune: by borrowing vast sums of money that other people were forced to pay back. This is the plain, stark reality that has somehow eluded America’s top political journalists for two consecutive presidential campaigns: Mitt Romney is one of the greatest and most irresponsible debt creators of all time. In the past few decades, in fact, Romney has piled more debt onto more unsuspecting companies, written more gigantic checks that other people have to cover, than perhaps all but a handful of people on planet Earth.

By making debt the centerpiece of his campaign, Romney was making a calculated bluff of historic dimensions – placing a massive all-in bet on the rank incompetence of the American press corps. The result has been a brilliant comedy: A man makes a $250 million fortune loading up companies with debt and then extracting million-dollar fees from those same companies, in exchange for the generous service of telling them who needs to be fired in order to finance the debt payments he saddled them with in the first place. That same man then runs for president riding an image of children roasting on flames of debt, choosing as his running mate perhaps the only politician in America more pompous and self-righteous on the subject of the evils of borrowed money than the candidate himself. If Romney pulls off this whopper, you’ll have to tip your hat to him: No one in history has ever successfully run for president riding this big of a lie. . . .

And that’s the gentle part of Taibbi’s article.  Taibbi writes with such heat and outrage that it will scare off, turn off, anyone who isn’t already predisposed to agree.  After all, how could anyone as nice-looking as Mitt Romney — a good family man who wants to reduce the estate tax rate on billionheirs from 45% to zero — not be striving to achieve whatever is in the best interest of those less advantaged than he?

But it’s worth a few minutes of your weekend to read it anyway.  Decide for yourself whether Taibbi’s venom is justified, his tone appropriate, his world view skewed too far left — I’m not comfortable with all of it myself.  But separate from that, what do you think of his account of, for example, Ampad?  Of KB Toys?  And what do you think:  Is this the guy to whom we should entrust our future and, essentially, the weightiest responsibility in the world?

 

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